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  1. Via Twitter, Andy Revkin tells us that climate scientists do not see Australia’s present Big Dry drought as “CO2-driven”. I’ve downloaded the article he points to (http://j.mp/AusDry), but I don’t think they actually rule out a role of climate change. This is more or less in line with your analysis earlier this year (http://bit.ly/BigDryRC). Any new insights on this matter?

    Comment by Kees van der Leun — 1 Jan 2010 @ 11:57 AM

  2. Isn’t “Climate Change” something of an oxymoron?
    If I understand correctly, climate is the aggregate of weather over a prescribed period of time. If so, then change is inevitable.

    Comment by David Wright — 1 Jan 2010 @ 11:58 AM

  3. A paper that attempts to remove ENSO and volcanic noise from the surface record. Does a similar analysis to this realclimate post:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/07/global-trends-and-enso/

    Thompson et al 2009, Identifying Signatures of Natural Climate Variability in Time Series of Global-Mean Surface Temperature: Methodology and Insights

    http://www.atmos.colostate.edu/ao/ThompsonPapers/ThompsonWallaceJonesKennedy_JClimate2009.pdf

    Comment by Cthulhu — 1 Jan 2010 @ 12:02 PM

  4. David Wright,
    1)That is why we usually add the modifier “Anthropogenic” up front, but as this is multi-syllabic, some folks have trouble with it.

    2)Actually, over the past 10000 years global climate has been remarkably consistent. Interestingly enough, the same period is the one where human civilization developed.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Jan 2010 @ 12:15 PM

  5. I was initially disappointed by the misleading headline on the Knorr article on ScienceDaily, but I think this is going to turn out to be an excellent opportunity to expose the idiocy of the deniers. Not, of course, that they have any shame.

    Comment by Heraclitus — 1 Jan 2010 @ 12:30 PM

  6. fyi – http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/01/opinion/01dutton.html?pagewanted=all

    Comment by David Wilson — 1 Jan 2010 @ 12:37 PM

  7. Just as troubling as the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, is the amount absorbed. What ecological impact will that have? We know the danger of acidity level changes in the oceans and its catastrophic impact on the marine ecosystem.

    Comment by Gilles Fecteau — 1 Jan 2010 @ 12:42 PM

  8. I see that David Archer and Stefan Rhamstorf have a new book appearing on Jan. 31: Climate Crisis: An Introductory Guide to Climate Change. But what’s the difference between that and David Archer’s other book due to appear simultaneously: Climate Crisis?

    Comment by Tom Dayton — 1 Jan 2010 @ 12:53 PM

  9. My sense is that the Watts of the world are pushing on the new finding as a way to push back against various assertions recently that natural sinks are losing the race with human emissions and this constitutes one of those “runaway tipping points of no return” that you (Gavin) and I have written about:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/07/runaway-tipping-points-of-no-return/
    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/28/tipping-points-and-the-climate-challenge/

    The differences between Knorr and Le Quéré may be somewhat of a distraction from that overarching point?

    With respect to comment #1 above, here’s the full Tweet, which puts the Australia paper in the context of what’s been asserted about the Australian fires, dust, etc by some:
    @revkin: Joe R still sees Aussie’s Big Dry as co2-driven event http://j.mp/co2panic Not what climate scientists see: http://j.mp/AusDry

    Comment by Andy Revkin — 1 Jan 2010 @ 12:57 PM

  10. Knorr 2009 looses [sic] a little credibility with the homophone error in the first sentence of the Abstract!

    As a student of the history of science, I’m also interested to read that:

    “…the statistical model of a constant airborne fraction agrees best with the available data if emissions from land use change are scaled down to 82% or less of their original estimates.”

    Look, guys, there is absolutely no theoretical basis for a constant airborne fraction (AF). Only one of the processes of uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere (equilibration of dissolution in the surface waters of the oceans) certainly occurs in proportion to annual emissions; some (especially removal of CO2 from oceanic surface waters) definitely do not; and others (e.g. increased photosynthetic uptake of CO2, the so-called fertilisation effect) are uncertain.

    The apparent AF constancy is an artefact of the data.

    Estimating land use changes on the assumption of a constant AF is a classic case of “saving the appearances” (of a scientific theory). The Ptolemaic (pre-Copernican) astronomers would have been impressed!

    When I did some back of a fag packet stuff on oceanic CO2 uptake and the AF on my own blog, I found a paper by Terenzi and Khatiwala (pdf) that made some sense, noting that:

    “…results suggest that both the quasi-constancy of AF over the past half-century, and its particular numerical value of ~50%, are essentially a consequence of exponentially growing emissions with a nearly-constant growth rate of 1/40th per year.”

    Comment by Tim Joslin — 1 Jan 2010 @ 12:59 PM

  11. The confusion in the denialosphere is based on a misunderstanding between ‘airborne fraction of CO2 emissions’ (not changing very much) and ‘CO2 fraction in the air’

    I got up to grade ten science and ditched it for arts, but even a rube like me understood the misconception just from reading the paper – no googling for blog help – when a (cough) skpetic posted that canard at a forum I frequent.

    Sorting that out wasn’t rocket surgery, I suppose. But reading climate-sci blogs like this has helped me be slightly less rub-ish. Thanks, Gavin (et al).

    The full version of the Knorr paper is online.

    http://radioviceonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/knorr2009_co2_sequestration.pdf

    Comment by barry — 1 Jan 2010 @ 1:18 PM

  12. On the Knorr thing. Is this saying that the AMOUNT of CO2 in the air is increasing, but that the FRACTION of the total C02 NOT REMOVED from the air by various means is staying the same? At issue then is, perhaps, the Amazon’s (or the ocean’s) ability to store carbon, which some have theorized might be falling.

    Comment by bigcitylib — 1 Jan 2010 @ 1:21 PM

  13. A quote from “SkepticalScience” thread linked to from Gavin’s article.

    “[Fossil fuel combustion is calculated from international energy statistics. CO2 emissions from land-use changes are more difficult to estimate and come with greater uncertainty.]”

    It should be very difficult, since CO2 molecules are indistinguishable at that level of density therefore it behaves according to quantum statistics (particle indistinguishability – fermion or boson) which deviates from classical maxwellian-boltzman particles which are distinguishable.

    Any claim to measure CO2 emission level from a specific source must be viewed with suspicion, since one cannot distinguish the CO2 that originated from source A or CO2 that originated from source B and so forth.

    Comment by Falafulu Fisi — 1 Jan 2010 @ 1:34 PM

  14. I googled “co2 not increasing” and sure enough, I got hundreds of hits from the usual conspirators and their brainwashed minions.

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 1 Jan 2010 @ 1:34 PM

  15. “Isn’t “Climate Change” something of an oxymoron?
    If I understand correctly, climate is the aggregate of weather over a prescribed period of time. If so, then change is inevitable.” I am not sure what this means. I think Mr. Wright means CLIMATE VARIABILITY over a period of time. A continuous rise in temperature is change and the simple understanding of evaporation and warm air holding more moisture concludes more drought and more downpours.

    Comment by Harry Applin — 1 Jan 2010 @ 1:36 PM

  16. Ah, I think I answered my own question about David Archer’s paperbound “Climate Crisis” book. Seems to be Barnes & Noble’s incorrect shortening of the number of authors, title, and number of pages (by 50 pages!) of the paperbound edition of the same book. My source for that inference is David’s web page, which lists only the one book by he and Stefan, with links to Amazon.com which lists both hardbound and paperbound versions of the one book.

    Followup question for David or Stefan, if they are lurking here: What’s the difference between this new “Climate Crisis” book and David’s previous “Global Warming” book, aside from the fact that the latter is a textbook? If I were to buy just one (sorry), and I’m not a student, but I am rather technical, my guess is that the newest book would be better suited to me, at least because it’s more recent. What about for the general, less technical public that frequent my public library–which is more appropriate?

    Comment by Tom Dayton — 1 Jan 2010 @ 1:36 PM

  17. Tom Dayton: One is hardback, one is paperback. The Amazon descriptions, titles and authors are identical, so it looks like Barnes and Noble were a little sloppy with their pre-release information (the UK publication date was yesterday).

    Comment by Didactylos — 1 Jan 2010 @ 1:36 PM

  18. Lindzen has a recent paper where he examines data from Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) . In the tropics, it appears that outgoing long wave radiation is increasing with increasing sea surface temperatures; a negative feedback.

    Response time increases with increasing climate sensitivity. So, the negative feedback implies a very short response time. Considering how response time and sensitivity correlate, an extrapolation of the ERBE data imply that an infinite climate sensitivity should be considered as opposed to the commonly considered maximum value of 5C/CO2 doubling.

    According to Lindzen:

    “Indeed, Fig. 3c suggests that models should have a range of sensitivities extending from about 1.5°C to infinite sensitivity (rather than 5°C as commonly asserted), given the presence of spurious positive feedback.”

    http://www.leif.org/EOS/2009GL039628-pip.pdf

    Comment by Andrew — 1 Jan 2010 @ 2:03 PM

  19. I think I scooped you guys by an hour or two on this one, but I’m glad you’re talking about it. My article doesn’t contribute much that isn’t here, except for a link to an earlier discussion on Knorr on R Pielke Jr.’s blog. Notable, Knorr says, to Pielke’s approval, “Climate critics will always find something, no matter what the results are. It’s not an indication not to do anything and you can always misinterpret results. But I think that kind of misinformation dies out quickly, I don’t see a problem.” We’ll see how he feels now that his is the misinterpretation du jour.

    The good news is that Chip Knappenberger (usually counted among the naysayers), in the comments to the Pielke Jr. article, correctly states “Not sure how this [is] ammunition for ‘deniers’ – CO2 from anthropogenic activities is still building up in the atmosphere at an increasing rate.” One hopes this sane message gets through the confusion engendered by Science Daily, but the early indications aren’t good.

    Comment by Michael Tobis — 1 Jan 2010 @ 2:09 PM

  20. Well hell has certainly frozen over! WUWT is featuring the same article. Should be fun going back and forth from both these sites to see how it is commented on by different “optics”.

    Comment by Leo G — 1 Jan 2010 @ 2:09 PM

  21. Re #9. @Andy Revkin: Even in your full tweet I read that climate scientists do not see the Big Dry as a CO2-driven event, but that’s not the conclusion of the paper you refer to. In the Discussion, the author’s recommend to further look “into the degree to which anthropogenic climate change contributes to the current drought (the Big Dry) and if/how the risk of drought may change in the future.”
    In his earlier RC contribution, prof. Karoly comes to the conclusion that “it is clear that climate change is increasing the likelihood of environmental conditions associated with extreme fire danger in south-east Australia and a number of other parts of the world.”
    I recognize the limits of 140 characters, but most people will not bother to purchase and check the full text of the paper.

    Comment by Kees van der Leun — 1 Jan 2010 @ 2:12 PM

  22. bigcitylib@12

    On the Knorr thing. Is this saying that the AMOUNT of CO2 in the air is increasing, but that the FRACTION of the total C02 NOT REMOVED from the air by various means is staying the same? At issue then is, perhaps, the Amazon’s (or the ocean’s) ability to store carbon, which some have theorized might be falling.

    Yes, the airborne fraction seems to be constant, according to Knorr09. Some papers have tentatively suggested that the airborne fraction may be increasing. That’s science for you. We’ll see how it unfolds.

    I’m wondering why AR4 gives the airborne fraction as 60% and Knorr (and Gavin) puts it at 40%.

    The relationship between increases in atmospheric CO2 mixing ratios and emissions has been tracked using a scaling factor known as the apparent ‘airborne fraction’, defined as the ratio of the annual increase in atmospheric CO2 to the CO2 emissions from annual fossil fuel and cement manufacture combined (Keeling et al., 1995). On decadal scales, this fraction has averaged about 60% since the 1950s. Assuming emissions of 7 GtC yr–1 and an airborne fraction remaining at about 60%, Hansen and Sato (2004) predicted that the underlying long-term global atmospheric CO2 growth rate will be about 1.9 ppm yr–1, a value consistent with observations over the 1995 to 2005 decade.

    AR4 Ch 2, p 139

    Hopefully I didn’t, rube-like, overlook something obvious.

    Comment by barry — 1 Jan 2010 @ 2:32 PM

  23. Andrew, re your posting about the Lindzen ERBE paper –

    see the Search box in the upper right corner of the page?
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Arealclimate.org+Lindzen+ERBE
    —————————————————–

    (Gavin — could the same Search invitation be displayed right above the “Leave a Reply” line? That might help people remember to check!!)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Jan 2010 @ 2:33 PM

  24. Falafulu Fisi says “Any claim to measure CO2 emission level from a specific source must be viewed with suspicion, since one cannot distinguish the CO2 that originated from source A or CO2 that originated from source B and so forth.”

    Well, except that 1)we can calculate how much CO2 we are producing from burning fossil fuels using simple chemistry, 2)we can estimate CO2 from other sources with varying levels of uncertainty, and 3)carbon from fossil fuels has a higher ratio C-12/C-13 and almost no C-14, and we see C-12 content of atmospheric CO2 rising in lockstep with CO2 concentrations.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Jan 2010 @ 2:50 PM

  25. Barry says of the Knorr tempest: “I got up to grade ten science and ditched it for arts, but even a rube like me understood the misconception just from reading the paper – no googling for blog help – when a (cough) skpetic posted that canard at a forum I frequent.”

    Yes, Barry, but then you aren’t an ideologically blinkered idiot!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Jan 2010 @ 2:54 PM

  26. I guess the headline writer didn’t understand what “fraction” or “percentage” means.
    I realize there are numerous models. But do they, in general, assume a rising amount of airborne CO2 based on an increasing percentage of CO2? If so, then I assume those models will tend to show a faster rate of global temperature increase than would be expected based on Dr. Knorr’s article.

    Comment by Don Shor — 1 Jan 2010 @ 3:04 PM

  27. Barry #22, it seems that the IPCC-defined airborne fraction is referred to fossil fuel burning emissions only, not considering land use changes.

    Not exactly a ‘rube’ mistake ;-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 1 Jan 2010 @ 3:17 PM

  28. “Isn’t “Climate Change” something of an oxymoron?”

    Interesting note: The original paper from Plass (year 1956) was called “The Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climate Change” (someone pointed me to it in another thread). This should put end to speculation as to where the term “climate change” originate; there were claims that it appeared for political reasons.

    Comment by JS — 1 Jan 2010 @ 3:37 PM

  29. Science Daily is off the hook for the terrible headline about the Knorr work. Anna Haynes (thanks!) traces it back to (are you sitting down) an AGU press release!

    I am more and more convinced that science journalism must be done by trained scientists.

    [Response: Oh dear. However, I don't think your solution is the right one (in this instance). Most scientists (until this happens to them directly) have no idea how dumb some of the ideas floating around out there really are - and so it wouldn't even occur to them to think that someone would mess up the interpretation of this paper so badly. Same with the 'methane from plants' guys, or Wilerslev's 'greenland stability' quote and there are dozens of other examples. Truly understanding the milieu into which we are putting information is much more important than technical expertise. Just being a scientist is not enough. - gavin]

    Comment by Michael Tobis — 1 Jan 2010 @ 3:45 PM

  30. JS says: “there were claims” — not about where it originates, you’re misinformed. You can look this stuff up, instead of relying on people who are misleading you (unless you misunderstood this for yourself from doing your own research, of course).

    Luntz–responsible for the PR change in language by the Bush administration, from “global warming” to “climate change”– describes it in many places. Here, you’ll want to get this correct next time, right?

    http://www.google.com/search?q=“global+warming”+”climate+change”+luntz

    The Luntz Research Companies – Straight Talk. Page 132 … “climate change” instead of global warming and “conservation ” instead of preservation.
    http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/LuntzResearch_environment.pdf

    Frank Luntz has since changed his position on global warming.
    http://lightbucket.wordpress.com/2008/04/09/pr-versus-science-the-luntz-memo/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Jan 2010 @ 3:54 PM

  31. German physicists Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner recently published … [edit. Still trash]

    Thanks,
    Doug

    Comment by Doug — 1 Jan 2010 @ 3:56 PM

  32. Science Daily publish press releases, they don’t write their own articles.

    Comment by SteveF — 1 Jan 2010 @ 3:57 PM

  33. PS for JS — Lightbucket turns out to have much that will help you understand how this stuff works. Try this one too:
    http://lightbucket.wordpress.com/2008/04/07/doubt-is-our-product-pr-versus-science/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Jan 2010 @ 3:57 PM

  34. RE Micheal Tobis

    I think I scooped you guys by an hour or two on this one,

    Yep – it was interesting to see how this was spun by Ken Green in the other thread.

    At IIFTG, dhogaza pointed out that this has been on WUWT. The new and old threads on WUWT are so much fun to read. Despite the backtracking, it appears that the initial WUWT posters (like a lot of other people) believed that CO2 levels were not increasing. “Smoking gun” “smoking CANNON”

    If these results just restate what was in the IPCC report, how is this a “bombshell”?

    Comment by Deech56 — 1 Jan 2010 @ 4:03 PM

  35. How consistent is the observed relatively constant airborne fraction in Knorr’s paper with the projections of coupled climate-carbon cycle models for 1850 to the present?

    Or to get to the bottom line, is there anything in these findings to suggest the models may be exaggerating the carbon-cycle feedback to come over the 21st century?

    (I’ve looked at AR4 WG1 7.3.5.2 and am guessing Knorr’s findings may be well within the pretty wide spread of model results. But I wouldn’t mind being spoon-fed.)

    Comment by CM — 1 Jan 2010 @ 4:06 PM

  36. The whole “airborne fraction” idea seems like nonsense to me, although I’m a total amateur. A certain amount of the CO2 in the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans (etc) every year, because the carbon cycle isn’t in equilibrium. This amount depends on the total CO2 level in the atmosphere, and on some other factors such as temperature, ocean pH, etc. But one of the things it does not depend on is the source of that CO2: whether an individual CO2 molecule is from burned fossil fuels, or from respiration, or oxidation of bio-methane, or has come out of solution in the oceans. It’s just a coincidence that (about) 50% of our total fossil emissions are still in the atmosphere. If we suddenly stopped emitting, the fraction would rise (as ongoing absorption took up more of our emitted CO2). If we suddenly emitted much much more, the fraction would fall (as the absorption rate would stay about the same). Or so it seems to me.

    It is very important that (let’s say) 2GtC, net, is absorbed by the oceans every year. But that number, the net absorption amount, is the figure of merit. Not where that CO2 came from, or what proportion of fossil carbon remains in the atmosphere.

    Comment by Nick Barnes — 1 Jan 2010 @ 4:14 PM

  37. #21 Kees van der Leun, #9 Andy Revkin

    en addendum to Kees:

    My general assumptions based on my current understanding:

    ‘The Big Dry’ is related to ENSO and likely other oceanic cycles in variant degrees. The ENSO pattern rides on top of the ocean temperatures and systemic affects.

    It certainly seems more than reasonable to see how ‘The Big Dry’ can be affected by, and likely is influenced by AGW. Exacerbated effects in various degrees must be part of considerations. The connections need to be assimilated by the public to better understand the reality and potentials.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 1 Jan 2010 @ 4:30 PM

  38. 6 David, the article comparing Y2K to AGW was seriously flawed. As a programmer, I spent the end of 1999 laughing at people who thought Y2K would be an issue. Yep, some things would print 1900 instead of 2000, but generally people are smart enough to figure out that it wasn’t really 1900. The biggest Y2K bug for the vast majority of systems was that reports would crash if an attempt was made to run them for both 1999 and 2000. Running reports across multiple years is rare, and the easy workaround was to run the report twice, once for each year. This small bug was also self-healing. Once 1999 was past, multiple year reports worked again. There are probably still y2K bugs out there, all harmless until 2100.

    In contrast, AGW is about physical reality. Those CO2 molecules are real, and their effects are real. Remember the moral of the story about the boy who cried, “Wolf!” which is that though some panic about non-problems, a situation with real danger is still to be taken seriously. The article seems to suggest that fire departments should stop responding to real fires because some people phone in false alarms.

    Comment by RichardC — 1 Jan 2010 @ 4:40 PM

  39. Not sure if this is entirely on topic but I was thinking about our measurements of sea level change – do we have the technology to measure (or calculate) volume, rather than just sea level? It seems to me that sea level is greatly influenced by local tectonics and weather and tides, which must make it very difficult to calculate a single valid number for the whole planet which can be compared to subsequent years. If it was possible instead to calculate the *volume* of all the world’s oceans for a particular point in time, rather than sea level, I think it would give us a more reliable and accurate measure of thermal expansion and ice melt. Can this be done, e.g. with radar from satellite or some other means?

    [Response: Altimeters measure volume. Gravity measurements capture mass. We have both (at least for the time being) and they are indeed complementary. - gavin]

    Comment by Icarus — 1 Jan 2010 @ 4:46 PM

  40. Gavin, Re your reply to 29:

    Not every scientist could make a good science journalist or science PR person. Not every journalist could either.

    Do you think the best communicator among 50 typical scientists would learn such a profession better or worse than the best scientist among 50 typical professional communicators?

    So far we have been mostly trying to find science communicators among people trained as communicators rather than among people trained as scientists. It does keep the costs down a bit, but how well is that working out?

    [Response: Point taken. But since you can't ensure that all communications go through the best spokespeople you are always going to have these outbreaks. I don't have a solution to this other than to suggest spending a fair amount of time educating scientists about the world outside their office. - gavin]

    Comment by Michael Tobis — 1 Jan 2010 @ 4:51 PM

  41. comment#1, huh?, there are plenty of climate scientists in Australia that do suspect warming is causing the big dry, by intensifying the sub tropical ridge and altering rainfall patterns. See the South Eastern Climate Change Initiative:

    http://www2.mdbc.gov.au/subs/seaci/news.html

    Comment by Dappled Water — 1 Jan 2010 @ 4:56 PM

  42. Gavin: “I don’t have a solution to this other than to suggest spending a fair amount of time educating scientists…”
    Mandating that graduate students take courses in rhetoric, as is often done to undergraduates, would help. Public speaking would be best, but any good course in communications would be a start. Having spent countless hours at seminars, listening to researchers and graduate students, in order to get continuing education hours in my field, I can tell you that most communicate poorly.

    Comment by Don Shor — 1 Jan 2010 @ 5:56 PM

  43. For Gavin and Michael Tobis — it’s worth taking a look at what’s here:

    STATS: We Check Out the Numbers Behind the News
    Nicholas Kristof: STATS winner of the worst “science” journalist of the year … Health and Risk Communication at George Mason University shows how experts view the risks … Spinning heads and spinning news: Statistics in the media … disagree on dangers, and don’t trust the media’s coverage of climate change …
    http://stats.org/

    That’s a site posing as an evenhanded, academically sound source of writing assistance for journalists about science and statistics.

    Look at what they write — for example on climate change, or endocrine mimics — compared to the published science. Highly professional spin.

    Here’s a report on them worth reading, on the hormone mimic coverage:
    http://acronymrequired.com/2009/07/bisphenol-a-lobby-rhetoric-media.html
    (“Acronym Required observes science and technology.”)

    “… We’ve been incidentally covering Butterworth’s employer Statistical Assessment Service and Center (Stats.org’s)** campaigns since 2000-2001. We couldn’t have been writing about BPA industry astroturfing here at AR since 2005 without reading their stuff. …. You can read Stats.org 27,000 word defense of BPA, which we assume they got paid for — perhaps by the word, or you can read this post, which is about 2,700 words and mentions their large document. (We’re not paid per word.)”

    Good science coverage. Worth following.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Jan 2010 @ 6:12 PM

  44. #41 thanks for the reference Dappled Water (sadly ironic name), although the links to the research papers are a bit confused from that site. I think Mr van der Leun at #1 is falling for the old trap of “can we specifically link a particular climatic event to climate change?” Well, no, of course we can’t. But we can see that the current drought (and yes, Virginia, there have indeed been droughts in Australia before) is being exacerbated by the warming planet. It also seems likely to me, sitting pretty much on the sub tropical ridge, that the pattern of rainfall (as well as its absolute amount) has changed in this area, and this is a big worry for the future.

    Comment by David Horton — 1 Jan 2010 @ 6:32 PM

  45. Anyone who thinks the folk who run this site are proper scientists should take a read of

    http://assassinationscience.com/climategate/

    an assessment of the CRU / IPPC etc Climategate emails written between them, by John P. Costella, B.E.Elec.Hons./ B.Sc.Hons./Ph.D.(Physics) / Grad.Dip.Ed.

    [edit yada yada yada]

    [Response: Check out the rest of that website: 9/11 Truthers, Kennedy assassination conspiracy nuts, faked moon landings and intelligent design. You couldn't wish for a better framing. - gavin]

    Comment by Sam — 1 Jan 2010 @ 6:41 PM

  46. re #39. AFAIK, altimeters measure altitude, not volume, yes?

    [Response: Yes. But in a fixed bowl, the height measurement is directly related to volume. (In the real world, the ocean 'bowl' is not quite fixed, but this is a small correction). - gavin]

    Comment by Larry Lidar — 1 Jan 2010 @ 6:41 PM

  47. Hank Roberts:

    Thanks for the feedback regarding Lindzen paper.

    I have now searched this website and see that there are a few comments about the paper, but nothing appears to fully explains it.

    Am I missing something or not?

    Was thinking I understood the paper well enough and was hoping to see if anybody else does.

    Thanks

    http://www.leif.org/EOS/2009GL039628-pip.pdf

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL039628.shtml

    Comment by Andrew — 1 Jan 2010 @ 6:42 PM

  48. Regarding science reporting for popular consumption, I think it is uniquely important as a form of continuing adult education, for many of us the only continuing education in the sciences we’re likely to receive.

    To that extent, science journalists labor under a special requirement to sort out facts from unsupported opinion prior to committing a story for publication. Judicious consideration of the content of scientific reporting is imperative if the job is to be done correctly. This is what we demand of educators, after all.

    This stands in opposition to how coverage of qualitative subjects should be handled, such as reporting on religious or political affairs. Perhaps it needs a conscious act of shedding inappropriate techniques for a reporter to move from reporting of human affairs and into the world of discrete facts.

    As well, it would be good to remember that first impressions count, especially in a world where demands on attention are so many and so clamorous. For example, correcting the misapprehensions caused by the bungled Knorr press release is essentially impossible, if for no other reason than editors are not going allocate sufficient space for that task. Thinking of this from a continuing education perspective, I cannot remember a time when a teacher or lecturer appeared to tell me that the lecture I heard yesterday was wrong in its facts, that I should dismiss what I heard and instead listen to today’s corrected version. It’s unthinkable that such a thing should happen, and ideally the same standard should apply to science reporting.

    Of course this is probably impossible in an era of shrinking newsroom budgets. It’s very easy to criticize, not so easy to suggest how to repair the sad allocation of resources to such an important activity.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 1 Jan 2010 @ 7:18 PM

  49. Facts are not really the issue. Here’s my take on what’s going on in the denialosphere:
    http://www.buffalobeast.com Pants On Fire
    This is an online magazine popular on college campuses. The editor helped with the excellent denier are portraits and the “comeuppances”. Young people who know what’s going on are a lot more angry and frustrated than people realize. Maybe this will help put it in focus, with a very different attitude, but certainly a debt to Roggan’s book.

    Comment by mike roddy — 1 Jan 2010 @ 7:22 PM

  50. To be fair, George Mason also has:

    http://eagle.gmu.edu/newsroom/729/
    http://www.google.com/search?q=george+mason+center+climate+change

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Jan 2010 @ 7:45 PM

  51. Andrew, as far as I know (that is, as far as Google Scholar shows) there are no journal articles yet citing the Lindzen and Choi paper. Several scientists who publish in the field have blogged on it; here’s one:

    —- begin excerpt —

    (1) I am not completely comfortable with their averaging of the satellite data, (2) I get such different results for feedback parameters than they got; and (3) it is not clear whether their analysis of AMIP model output really does relate to feedbacks in those models, especially since my analysis (as yet unpublished) of the more realistic CMIP models gives very different results.

    Of course, since the above analysis is not peer-reviewed and published, it might be worth no more than what you paid for it. But I predict that Lindzen and Choi will eventually be challenged by other researchers who will do their own analysis of the ERBE data, possibly like that I have outlined above, and then publish conclusions that are quite divergent from the authors’ conclusions….

    I found that here:

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/11/some-comments-on-the-lindzen-and-choi-2009-feedback-study/

    —- end excerpt —

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Jan 2010 @ 8:06 PM

  52. Please do an article analyzing the various geo-engineering solutions out there.

    In the past you’ve just tried to hand-wave it away, which is really disappointing from a site as prestigious as RC.org. If you’re serious about stopping AGW, you should do an in-depth analysis and not just say that “it’s spooky” or “we don’t have enough information”, because that makes you sound just as ignorant as the AGW deniers.

    Comment by Foobear — 1 Jan 2010 @ 8:10 PM

  53. Re #38 Y2K – Yes a bad date in a report was the most -common- problem but this is not to say there weren’t others (me) working on more serious problems that could have brought certain companies (a large telco) to their knees.

    What Y2K demonstrates is that industry can act responsibly when asked to perform tedious but essential due dilligence. It would have been nice to see the politicians at COP15 apply similar due dilligence toward the environment.

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 1 Jan 2010 @ 9:03 PM

  54. Of course headlines are written by copy editors or higher ups, not reporters. They tend to over reach or just plain blow it quite often.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 1 Jan 2010 @ 9:04 PM

  55. RE Andrew

    Hank Roberts:

    Thanks for the feedback regarding Lindzen paper.

    I have now searched this website and see that there are a few comments about the paper, but nothing appears to fully explains it.

    Andrew, I think that people have sort of deferred to Roy Spencer’s critique. Of course, Spencer has his own sensitivity calculation that is below the accepted values. Chris Colose has a post in response to Lindzen’s earlier musings. He also has a more recent post about sensitivity here, although this post does not directly address Lindzen and Choi.

    Comment by Deech56 — 1 Jan 2010 @ 9:14 PM

  56. Comment by Don Shor — 1 January 2010 @ 5:56 PM:

    There was a topic thread a while back about communicating science to the public and I posted about a Science Communications Skills class that I and a colleague ran for Ph.D. students in a biomedical sciences department. This course was relatively easy to set up and run, but initially we had to buck resistance from faculty members that were protecting their students from distractions from lab or study time.

    The essence of the course was a technique called micro-teaching that required a three minute presentation every week that was video taped and played back for critique by the class. This can be tough, but it served to help students with stage fright, general skills, and irritating habits.

    Initially I had students present an assigned study from the Annals of Improbable Research (AIR, e.g. inducing religion in sea monkeys, aerodynamics of potato chips, the evolutionary tree of trucks) to reduce preparation time and increase fun. Later, students presented difficult short segments from their area of interest, or their thesis research, to help them with perspective taking. Students have to learn that, even though they understand their complicated topic very well, they have forgotten the effort required to learn it initially, and they now have to learn how to lead an audience to a nontechnical understanding. One of the requirements of the course was to give a full lecture to a general audience.

    I think all high level science students should get this training. Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 1 Jan 2010 @ 9:16 PM

  57. Having done science journalism of a sort, I do have at least some sympathy for the journalists. In my case, I was at least still writing for a technical audience (summarizing cutting-edge physics for the non-expert physicist). It was always a challenge getting the facts right while still preserving a narrative that wouldn’t lose the reader. If you were an expert in the field itself, it was difficult not to get lost in all the minutiae that would iterest and expert but lose a casual reader. And if you weren’t an expert, you had to figure out which experts you could trust, which had an agenda and which had a complete of how the research fit into the broader field.

    I also had the opportunity to attend a conference and workshops with David Perl (former San Francisco Chronicle science writer). Perl was absolutely convinced that it would be too hard for a science writer to identify with his audience if he or she were a scientist. Ultimately, it comes down to being able to write a piece people will read. All too often, especially for a reporter under a tight deadline that means either over-emphasizing conflict or sacrificing technical depth for narrative. On the other hand, if nobody reads the story, it won’t matter if its got the technical detail right.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Jan 2010 @ 9:32 PM

  58. Headlines are sometimes done by different people than those who write papers, abstracts, or articles about the papers. It is not necessarily a question of educating scientists about doing all this well, but in assuring end-to-end Q/A. In computing, people who do *good* human interfaces often have usability testing, which includes watching how a variety of users understands or makes errors with the interface, often run by people with relevant backgrounds.

    Headlines, especially in print, are prone to horrible errors, even with no malice involved. I cite The MIPS Stock Glitch, i.e., how a mis-done headline on a great article cost my company about 15% of its market cap in a few hours. This occurred *without* having a bunch of people looking to misinterpret.

    Amusing now, not then.

    Comment by John Mashey — 1 Jan 2010 @ 10:02 PM

  59. Many years ago now a friend of mine won a scholarship to attend a “science journalism” course or program at MIT. I was inspired to hear that such a course or program was actually being offered.

    I don’t know what became of that course/program but it might be a thought to find out who organized the thing and see what their latest on it might be.

    The problem with teaching journalists to be science reporters is there’s so few jobs or positions for science reorters these days. CNN fired every science reporter they had just a few months ago.

    Some solid thinking outside the box will be needed to get science reporitng going in the right direction.

    Comment by Sean Rooney — 1 Jan 2010 @ 10:50 PM

  60. The University of Colorado had an excellent press release video just a few weeks ago
    http://www.colorado.edu/news/r/fff17f8947aba3f5e502f0ed30adb9ee.html

    Clear and easy to follow, clearly and dramatically shows the situation with permafrost and sea coast erosion.

    “The northern coastline of Alaska midway between Point Barrow and Prudhoe Bay is eroding by up to one-third the length of a football field annually because of a “triple whammy” of declining sea ice, warming seawater and increased wave activity, according to new study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder.”

    Comment by Richard Pauli — 1 Jan 2010 @ 10:54 PM

  61. Gavin, et al, It may be that some scientists do not handle the big picture well, but I think there are scientists out there who can, and should, be encouraged to listen to the common concerns and jump into the conversation in the public sphere. Retired scientists who do not have to fear career threats, interdisciplinary scientists, and, yes, even social scientists and psychologists.

    Scientists could help most by using their labor in specifically changing the minds and motivations for the most charismatic leaders of the denialist universe: those people who are propagating the pap and planting doubt. It they change their minds and become emotionally settled, then they they might, at least, change the topic off climate.

    These “leaders” have reasons for causing trouble, don’t they? Ask them, to their faces, “Why are you doing this?”, “What do you gain by pushing this agenda?”, and “What are you afraid of losing?” What it their motivation for perpetuating this?

    Maybe it is not just reasoning that they need as much as some reassurance? People who stand to lose something will make up their own reality if it will help them keep what they have. Can we give them the answers that will make them feel better about the changes that we, as a country, must make? Can we reassure them that this will work, and that we will be better for it?

    Do we need to present a fanciful vision of what we must become? Can this vision depict a better future?

    Human beings rarely push a political agenda, especially one like this one, for rational reasons. The motivation is almost always irrational. There is fear and anxiety about something. It is not enough to use reason alone in convincing a skeptic

    It wasn’t too long ago that this was not a politicized issue. Didn’t President Bush I help sign the IPCC into being because of his concern?

    Comment by sarah mcintee — 1 Jan 2010 @ 11:56 PM

  62. Sam (45):
    “Anyone who thinks the folk who run this site are proper scientists ”

    Actually, I KNOW the folks running this site are proper scientists. I’ve read many of their papers, checked into their educational background (yep, looks like real degrees in real scientific fields), and sough independent collaboration of what they write enough times to know that they are a reliable source of scientific information. You, on the other hand, are posting a link to a conspiracy theory site seemingly run by the lunatic fringe.

    Comment by Ken W — 2 Jan 2010 @ 12:41 AM

  63. The state of, I think it was Iowa, had a problem with license plates having a series of 3 letters that could be interpreted to have an inappropriate or sexual meaning. The license plate letters were generated as a simple mechanical numberings, as in 1, 2, 3. The “meanings” were purely coincidental. The state hired some “dirty minded” people to sort out the letter sequences that would be skipped from then on.

    Perhaps AGU needs to do something similar: Hire some people who are “good” at misinterpreting headlines. In other words, hire people with low reading comprehension to help sort out headlines that could be misinterpreted. Since practice at the job might lead to improved reading comprehension, there would have to be turnover in the job. They would also need people who are good at intentional misinterpretation.

    A few bad headlines would still slip through, but not as many. Sigh again.

    Third sigh: Whole articles and books need the same treatment. This is more difficult to nearly impossible, but worth trying to do. There is really no way that difficult ideas can be made easy enough for everybody, including the malicious, to understand correctly.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Jan 2010 @ 2:06 AM

  64. Topics that unfortunately need to be covered: Rush Limbaugh. Vast numbers of people actually believe him. Get guest articles from psychiatrists, psychologists and sociologists. We need to know how to pry people away from Rush. Rush says AGW is a hoax. Most people have no way to know that he is wrong. We also need a talk radio show that debunks Rush.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Jan 2010 @ 2:19 AM

  65. Re #44. David, thanks for your concern but I am quite wary of the old trap of “can we specifically link a particular climatic event to climate change?”. Please take a look at the contribution by prof. Karoly that I refer to (http://bit.ly/BigDryRC). He concludes that climate change indeed strongly exacerbates drought conditions in Australia.
    Given the fact that Big Dry now lasts for over 7 years, and that temperatures in Australia have risen by a full degree C since the 1950s, it does seem likely that this “exacerbation” shows up in some of the Big Dry conditions over those years, doesn’t it?

    Comment by Kees van der Leun — 2 Jan 2010 @ 3:17 AM

  66. Mike Roddy #49, looked at your text and no, this isn’t my thing. But if you want to do this, make a point of getting the facts right.

    Pat Michaels’ claim “each increment results in less and less warming” is formally correct: CO2 forcing behaves logarithmically. The dishonesty is in that it suggests ‘saturation’ without saying so, which is bollocks as we know.
    (I don’t know where he gets 1872. As far as I am aware, that should be Arrhenius 1896).

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 2 Jan 2010 @ 4:01 AM

  67. As a lay person who has a basic understanding of how science works but only took High School level Physics and Calculus, I would really like it if you guys would address in much greater detail, the “lists” that people like Senator Inhofe and the “Copenhagen Climate Challenge” and the Heartland Institute’s list of 500 “peer reviewed studies” that contradict AGW (or whatever they call it) have gathered.

    After having read “The Steve Project”, I understand the basic fallacy behind most of these lists but the general public does not and I’m finding a number of my friends and family who are being convinced, or at least have significant doubts about them.

    Could you please address this subject?

    Sincerely,
    Dan Martin.

    Comment by Dan Martin — 2 Jan 2010 @ 4:04 AM

  68. I think there has already been far too much done along the lines proposed by Edward Greish for dealing with Rush Limbaugh.

    One can’t go around saying that anyone who disagrees with one’s views is automatically in need of being locked up.

    Comment by David Watt — 2 Jan 2010 @ 5:52 AM

  69. This issue is that the media from the left and right (as it is framed in both Europe and the USA) pedal that which interests them and influences politics and hence the economics.

    If we look at 250 years of growth for coal usage and 150 years for coal and gas then we can see that politics and economics has come to rely on these primary industries for the mantra of war (machinery and logisitics of moving it and troops around as well as bombing from the air) and of economic growth and its cost effectiveness (fossil fuels are conisdered cheap). All other fuels except nuclear are considered too expensive and not energy dense enough to be worthy of researching or deploying. This was all before AGW came along of course and now that it has and the projections are somewhat and potentially alarming for the worlds peoples then we are left floundering as to what to do about it.

    30 billion tonnes annually of CO2 emissions rising by 2-3% per annum makes for 60 billion tonnes annually come to 2040 – 2050. If we add it all up then it comes to around another 400 ppmv added to the atmosphere.

    Comment by pete best — 2 Jan 2010 @ 8:01 AM

  70. FF: Any claim to measure CO2 emission level from a specific source must be viewed with suspicion, since one cannot distinguish the CO2 that originated from source A or CO2 that originated from source B and so forth.

    BPL: Sure one can. Carbon comes in different isotopes, and you get different ratios of them from different sources. For instance, carbon from the biosphere or the ocean has a normal complement of 14C, but carbon from fossil fuels, which are 100-300 million years old, have little or no 14C.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 Jan 2010 @ 8:22 AM

  71. People are easily confused by math concepts like unchanging fractions. Speaking of which the term “remaining airborne fraction” is surely incorrect. It implies that the annual CO2 increase is made up entirely of anthro-emmitted molecules. Given the huge natural CO2 flux this is far from true. It would be a miraculous mechanism indeed that tagged and saved just our molecules. But then a surprising number of people do not know about the huge natural flux. They do not know where food comes from. Go figure.

    Comment by David Wojick — 2 Jan 2010 @ 8:23 AM

  72. re: comment #9

    Andy, if you read only the abstract which says:

    ‘This diversity arises due to the fact that the droughts are driven by different climatic teleconnections with the Pacific, Indian and Southern Oceans.’

    I don’t know if you read the entire paper, but the abstract only refers to the teleconnections. This cannot lead to the assumption that what occurs in the Pacific, Indian and Southern Oceans is not related to climate change due to increased CO2!

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 2 Jan 2010 @ 8:32 AM

  73. This thread is featured on Yahoo News at the moment:
    http://news.yahoo.com/topics/climate-change-and-global-warming where 3 blogs are listed lower middle.

    So I came by to see what the public would get. The repetitive use of the derogatory term “denialosphere” and its variants is interesting. I suppose the skeptic’s counter name is “scareosphere” or some such. This language marks the site as ideological, as opposed to scientific, along the lines of the Climategate emails. It is this, not the actual content, that people find most offensive. Being very old I am reminded of the Nixon tapes.

    Comment by David Wojick — 2 Jan 2010 @ 8:33 AM

  74. Please program your spam filter to point out the actual problem. I find it too hard to find the problem. The spam filter should print the comment with the offending word highlighted, please.

    Open thread topics: Links to actual free online courses in things as simple as high school math and as complex as graduate level free courses in climatology.

    I know that you don’t want to because it would lower book sales [I haven't done it either] but you could put your books on line.

    Put Al Gore’s actual movie on line, if he will let you.

    Link to or mirror public television shows like NOVA that are on the subject of climate. NOVA-like shows are the best method of getting the message across.

    Climate Progress ran a cartoon of some animals discussing AGW recently. Don’t imagine that only children need that level of
    education. Many adults do too. Put the same cartoon on your web site. Right wing bullies Build-A-Bear into removing videos about manmade climate change
    http://climateprogress.org/2009/12/25/science-build-a-bear-remove-videos-about-manmade-climate-change/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+climateprogress%2FlCrX+%28Climate+Progress%29

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Jan 2010 @ 8:37 AM

  75. David Wojick@73,
    Well, what name would you suggest for those who refuse to acknowledge the mountains of evidence that support the proposition that we are warming the planet? Jim Lippard has suggested pseudoskeptic or ersatz skeptic, but I still contend that their attitude has nothing to do with skepticism.
    Personally, I favor a 4-tiered classification system:
    Ignorance–they simply have not been exposed to the evidence but are sincerely trying to understand–this is a curable condition
    Willful Ignorance–They are ignorant but obstinately refusing to look at the evidence
    Denialist–They refuse to acknowledge the evidence despite repeated exposure
    Tin-foil-hat conspiracy theorist.

    That seems to me to encompass all the subtlety we find among denialists–for lack of a better encompassing term.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Jan 2010 @ 8:59 AM

  76. Sean Rooney @59 brings up an interesting point: Journalism, and especially science journalism is in steep decline. Are we perhaps planning to fight the last war? Since it is likely that what few true news outlets last well into the new decade will be regurgitating press releases rather than reporting, then perhaps our target ought to be PR offices of research institutions. I suspect that there will be a lot of sensationalism coming from PR offices as they strive to include enough buzz words to catch the attention of the few remaining news outlets.

    And as far as blogs, we may be looking at the future right here. The staff at RC have found a way to get the science out to the tiny fraction of the population who are in fact interested.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Jan 2010 @ 9:14 AM

  77. I have been reading posts here during the last couple of weeks. I appreciate the efforts you guys put into making climate science understandable to those of us in different fields (i.e. social science). I want to recommend this site where ecological issues are framed within a larger socio-political context.
    Happy New Year!

    http://monthlyreview.org/100101foster.php

    Comment by Nelson — 2 Jan 2010 @ 9:17 AM

  78. Ray #75: s/ignorant/uninformed/g. I know “ignorant” is an OK term in science, but not outside.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 2 Jan 2010 @ 9:17 AM

  79. #75 Ray

    I think you have to add a fifth category: Conspirators or perhaps Propagandists. These are people who are actively conspiring to prevent climate change mitigation legislation in order to protect the short-term profitability of the fossil fuel industry. This goes beyond denialism. The intentionally deceive.

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 2 Jan 2010 @ 9:50 AM

  80. Re Ray Ladbury #75: The problem is that the other side also has “mountains of evidence” and nobody knows how to measure these mountains. In fact both sides make the ridiculous claim that the other side has no evidence. So your taxonomy is based on a false premise.

    Comment by David Wojick — 2 Jan 2010 @ 10:06 AM

  81. @80 David,
    Your claim is silly, the scientists here, and elsewhere, waste mountains of time exposing why the “evidence” of the skeptics et al, doesn’t hold water as well reponding to criticisms of their own work (most times unjustified). The skeptics et al’s standard MO is to ignore the criticisms and just keep repeating the claims.

    Comment by wildlifer — 2 Jan 2010 @ 10:25 AM

  82. David Wojick@80

    Really, mountains of evidence from the denialists? And where might they be hiding it? I certainly haven’t seen it in the peer-reviewed journals. I haven’t seen it coming from any responsible group or organization of scientists. Gee, David, where is all this evidence?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Jan 2010 @ 10:26 AM

  83. RE the scientific stupidity in the denialsphere –

    Now I understand why some Americans prefer to medically treat themselves rather than have professional health care and go to doctors. It’s not the high cost of the medical-insurance complex or being denied health care by insurance companies, or their desire/need to save money. They truly think they know more about medicine than the doctors, who have studied medicine for 10 years and have practiced it for many more.

    Likewise they think they know better than scientists about global warming.

    This whole thing is very irritating to me, because I myself am having to learn more about climate science than I really want or need to learn. Back in 1990, it was plenty enough for me to know that the scientists said AGW could be happening (they had not quite reached .05 on it….which did happen in 1995) and it could be very dangerous. It didn’t require me being a rocket scientist to conserve energy & resources, become energy and resource efficient, and go onto alternative energy. I didn’t have to know the internal electronics of energy efficient gismos.

    In fact I sort of thought it a total waste of time (time I really needed to pursue my own field) to learn anything more than the simple basics about global warming, bec, afterall, I figured if people I met doubted what I said about it, I could refer them to the scientists. Plus, I always used my “better safe than sorry” line about avoiding very dangerous false negatives and not being put off by fear of false positives that actually lead to economic windfalls & solve many other problems. But all I ever met was a brick wall of stupid-anti-science from non(anti)-scientists and talk-radio/TV hosts who figure they know more science than scientists.

    Now I have to know everything there is to know about climate science to argue against such stupidity, even though it’s absolutely no use, because they will never accept ANY evidence or scientific theory or research that proves global warming, until some beam conks them over their head during a cat 5 hurricane and they’ve breathed their last, and they go to a much hotter place than a globally warmed world for their absolute arrogance.

    On the last thread there was this guy, Matthew, who first accuses me of a distorted “belief” and cogitive dissonance re global warming because I’ve been mitigating it for 20 years and am supposedly psychologically invested in global warming, and accuses me of arrogance for my impugning the motives of denialists. When I respond about how I learned about global warming from documentaries and science articles in the late 80s (I forgot to mention, however, that I already had learned about the natural greenhouse effect decades earlier, which facilitated my understanding of AGW), which THEN (notice my time sequence, a crucial element for establishing cause & effect in science) made my heart go out to the people suffering (past, present, and on into the future) from global warming effects, he accuses me of being unobjective, aying that emotional entanglement is bad for science, as if I’m the one and only scientist doing research on global warming, and I’ve destroyed the science because I’m human and not a Vulcan, and ergo all global warming science is false — because of me.

    You cannot carry on an intelligent discussion with such people. Reminds me of how some students dabbling in Freud during my college days attacked a person’s psychology with meta-Freudian pop-analysis to gain superiority points, while refusing to engage in straight-forward discussions.

    I used to read about “the rise of science” as a 50s/60s kid, but now it’s like “the rise and fall of science.” I used to think the post-modern, anti-positivist phase in the social sciences sort of silly, but this is serious. It not just the world being destroyed and souls going to that very hot place, it’s also science (which could tell us useful reality things we need to know) that’s being destroyed.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 2 Jan 2010 @ 10:48 AM

  84. DW@73

    “Being very old I am reminded of the Nixon tapes.”

    That’s the idea. Find a dust-up from the past and try to emulate it with a lot of frantic spinning. (Also Google-bomb and energetically digg contrarian sounding articles.)

    DW@80

    “he problem is that the other side also has “mountains of evidence” and nobody knows how to measure these mountains. In fact both sides make the ridiculous claim that the other side has no evidence. So your taxonomy is based on a false premise.”

    How conveniently symmetrical. Kind of turns it into a mind numbingly palatable sports spectacle.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 2 Jan 2010 @ 10:51 AM

  85. I have a few open questions:

    First of all I’m interested in the various lags between forcing and climate response.

    1)I’ve read that the Sun has a 1-2 year lag (Hansen’s annual summation) to the 11-year solar cycle. I’ve also read that there is maximum correlation with a 10 year lag from paleo-reconstructions. How do I reconcile these? (I suppose it is possible to have multiple lag effects, but it is unclear to me). I also suppose the answer would impact predictions in the now current decade.

    2)I understand that Greenhouse gases take decades for climate to reach an equillibrium response. I’m hoping for something a little more precise. Ideally, some kind of distribution function relating global temperature change to change in greenhouse gas concentrations, as a function of time. (Because of the linear nature of greenhouse gas concentrations, statistical fitting won’t provide a very good estimate.)

    3)I think ENSO seems to have about a 3-6 month lag on average, and statistical fitting seems to provide a more credible adjustment. I suppose there should be some kind of distribution function for this as well that is a little more physics based.

    I partly ask because I learn quite a bit in doing my own independent modeling. I’ve done the best I can with regard to the various lags, but I still aim for further improvement. By the way, I do get a pretty good fit with the temperature record, and since I’ve started doing this, I’ve done pretty good at predicting short term changes in global temperatures (i.e. annual temperatures). And I agree with Hansen’s assessment that there is a >50% chance of 2010 breaking a new global temperature record. Though, it also seems his “>50%” is a conservative probability. I would put it closer to 75%.

    Comment by Todd Friesen — 2 Jan 2010 @ 11:06 AM

  86. Re Ray Ladbury #82. The peer reviewed journals are full of articles about things like natural variability, the weaknesses of the models, problems with the temperature record, etc. Your problem is that, as we have known since the 1700s, the weight of evidence is in the eye of the beholder. Skeptics can and do cite a mountain of journal evidence. Surely you know this, or is ignorance your problem?

    [Response: If their quality of citation is anything on a par with the conclusions being trumpeted about with respect to the Knorr article, I would adjudge that it is vice versa. - gavin]

    Comment by David Wojick — 2 Jan 2010 @ 11:51 AM

  87. Looks like Cryosphere has changed it’s NH sea ice anomaly period from 1979-2000 to 1979-2008. Any reason?

    Comment by J. Bob — 2 Jan 2010 @ 11:56 AM

  88. Edward Greisch #63 # 64

    Ever read Orwell 1984?

    Comment by Keith — 2 Jan 2010 @ 11:59 AM

  89. Lynn Vincentnathan (83):
    “They truly think they know more about medicine than the doctors”

    True, true. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but in the US there’s a University of Google phenomena. That’s where people with little (often no) education or experience in a complex field think they can Google a subject, read a few articles that fit into their world view and suddenly they consider themselves experts. From that point forward, anyone (no matter their credentials, patience, or reasoning skills) who presents evidence contrary to their view is dismissed or accused of all kinds of evil.

    I remember debating Y2K in the late 90′s (telling people we really didn’t need to panic and the actual problem was properly being addressed). I was actually accused of being responsible for the death of millions (because my words might prevent people from “preparing”).

    Comment by Ken W — 2 Jan 2010 @ 12:05 PM

  90. Re Radge Havers #84. Frantic is not my style, as I do cold logic. What people did not like about the Nixon tapes was the obscene tone of superiority. Same for Climategate, and RC (but I do love Gavin). As for the symmetry, my yes oh dear. Are you unaware of the fact that the game is a draw? Bit of a scrum actually and as of now the skeptics have the momentum. Push boys.(The fact that hell and DC are both freezing over helps a bit.) I just call them like I see them. So sorry.

    Comment by David Wojick — 2 Jan 2010 @ 12:07 PM

  91. 45, Sam and Gavin: http://assassinationscience.com/climategate/

    an assessment of the CRU / IPPC etc Climategate emails written between them, by John P. Costella, B.E.Elec.Hons./ B.Sc.Hons./Ph.D.(Physics) / Grad.Dip.Ed.

    Of course this site is maintained by scientists. The AGW theory might be true, or at least a good first approximation. (sorry if I imply that all your decades work is a “first” approximation, but I really look forward to the day of more accurate forecasts.)

    That is a good review of the stolen emails, in chronological order and with context. Snark and “framing” aside.

    I am puzzled that the identity of the thief has not been discovered yet. Is it possible that the identity has been discovered but not disclosed? In England, the press is not permitted to write about legal investigation in progress.

    75, Ray Ladbury: what name would you suggest for those who refuse to acknowledge the mountains of evidence that support the proposition that we are warming the planet? Jim Lippard has suggested pseudoskeptic or ersatz skeptic, but I still contend that their attitude has nothing to do with skepticism.

    Skepticism is the acknowledgment of the existence of the evidence while not committing to a belief that the evidence is conclusive. It isn’t unusual for scientific debates to be settled only after decades of research. Consider the claim that “A majority of scientists believe AGW, and therefore the minority of dissidents must be wrong.” No one with some knowledge of the history of science should be persuaded by such a claim, and no one should make the claim with a serious intent. Skepticism and vigorous skeptical debate are among the advantages that the scientific methods have over other paths to knowledge and understanding.

    Comment by Matthew — 2 Jan 2010 @ 12:08 PM

  92. Re #18,47 Andrew

    There is not currently a thorough debunking of the Lindzen paper in either the literature or the blogosphere. One is hopefully on the way. The Lindzen paper has several fundamental flaws. First and foremost, the way they calculate their slope variable is simply not robust – it depends sensitively on the month endpoints they choose for each “segment”. Secondly, they include the Planck feedback incorrectly in how they calculate climate sensitivity. Third, they do their analysis for tropics only, which no one has shown is a robust estimation for the global-scale response. Finally, they do not include short-term forcing variations (solar, aerosol, etc).

    For a GOOD paper on the subject, see Forster & Gregory (2006), JClim:
    http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2FJCLI3611.1

    Comment by Chris ODell — 2 Jan 2010 @ 12:42 PM

  93. Goodness!

    Have you all failed to notice the excellent work of Dr. Gordon Hamilton!?!

    Read here:

    http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/2009/10/new-hampshire-could-lose-entire.html

    He and others have face-to-face meetings with city councils of the cities all along the Atlantic coastline.

    This kind of activity works.

    We need more. We need scientists to do outreach, but it needs to be well done and face to face.

    He started with the communities most likely to be affected by sea level rise, and communities that have already experienced sea level rise.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 2 Jan 2010 @ 12:45 PM

  94. As for the symmetry, my yes oh dear. Are you unaware of the fact that the game is a draw? Bit of a scrum actually and as of now the skeptics have the momentum.

    In science? Are you joking?

    Unfortunately, probably not.

    Comment by dhogaza — 2 Jan 2010 @ 12:50 PM

  95. There is something I haven’t seen discussed here which is a major element in the skeptic crowd’s assertions over the airborne fraction article at scienedaily. To quote from sciencedaily: “Many climate models also assume that the airborne fraction will increase.” For those who at least understand that a steady airborne fraction doesn’t equate to total CO2 in the atmosphere there is one basic argument they come away with. If climate models factor in an increasing airborne fraction to predict future warming then the climate models are flawed… you know the garbage in – the garbage out theory. So we have the IPCC AR4 quoted in the skeptical science article saying “There is yet no statistically significant trend in the CO2 growth rate since 1958 …. This ‘airborne fraction’ has shown little variation over this period.”

    Again, sciencedaily says many climate models are based on an increasing airborne fraction. Is this true? Gavin, do you incorporate an increasing airborne fraction in your modeling? Have other climate models done that? If they have, what rate of increase do they use and can we assume it has a minor effect on the output?

    [Response: One needs to distinguish between different kinds of models. The AR4 results I posted on last week, use CO2 concentration scenarios as input i.e. estimates of how fast CO2 will rise through time. The modellers see these as just examples of what might end up happening and they could be equally constructed from low emissions growth plus a strong carbon cycle feedback, or higher emissions growth and weak CC feedback. Most of the scenarios were designed with no CC feedback. Then there are the Carbon Cycle models themselves. They predict what the airborne fraction is as a function of the terrestrial and oceanic processes. They don't show any dramatic change over the 20th Century, but do start to show changes for the future. Thus, to that extent they are consistent with the observational analysis of Knorr (see figure 7.13 p536). (Note a philosophical point that an analysis of the past cannot prove a prediction of the future wrong, particularly if the hindcast is in line with the observations). Thus the statement "Many climate models also assume that the airborne fraction will increase." is true, but not contradicted by Knorr. The magnitude of the change by 2100 varies from an extra 20 to 220 ppmv over the nominal ~800 ppmv for SRES A2 (IPCC AR4 10.4.1). - gavin]

    Comment by orpilot — 2 Jan 2010 @ 1:16 PM

  96. 68 David Watt: Who said anything about locking up Rush Limbaugh? Not me. I said we have to have an equal radio show.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Jan 2010 @ 1:20 PM

  97. Re David Wojick @80: The problem is that the other side also has “mountains of evidence”

    No, what the other side has is mountains of “evidence.”

    There’s a difference and it is a difference that matters because it is the difference between science and pseudoscience.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 2 Jan 2010 @ 1:22 PM

  98. re: #85

    Dear Tod,

    Your question is better posited to tamino at:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 2 Jan 2010 @ 1:29 PM

  99. DW@90:
    Well David, there is a difference between sophistry and good science. If all you care about is an entertaining kerfuffle, then you are part of the problem.

    To whomever:
    One thing I think doesn’t get enough emphasis in discussions of method, probably because it’s so hard to get a handle on, is the discipline of constant and rigorous self-examination and developing techniques to avoid fooling oneself. It’s a value that should be celebrated, imo.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 2 Jan 2010 @ 1:39 PM

  100. 88 Keith: Yes.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Jan 2010 @ 1:40 PM

  101. The problem we have is a PR /Communication issue:The public at large see information on general temperatures like the recent CET information for Dec 2009 and cant understand what we are talking about.
    “CET 12-2009: 3.1°C. Rank: 257/351
    Warmest December in this series was in 1934.
    Average last 12 months: 10.11 °C.”
    We need to address the public view, somehow, in a much clearer manner.

    Comment by Bill — 2 Jan 2010 @ 1:41 PM

  102. Re #86 response by Gavin! Hello Gavin, I have been waiting for you. If you want to compare stupidities on your side and mine I would love to do it. Last week I saw a green blog that proclaimed the end of the human race, specie, or genus due to AGW. I think it was a Munich RE guy, but maybe not. But then, this week I drove a skeptic off my debate because he claimed that Maurice Strong invented AGW, then conned the scientists (like you) into believing it. Hoax or apocalypse? Go figure.

    You know as well as I do that the scientific debate is alive and well. God bless it. One way or another we are moving forward. Science does that. Happy New Year. David

    [Response: On any issue one can always find idiots and uninformed commentary to criticise. Sometimes it's amusing to do so. But since there is no recession in idiocy this can never be a substitute for constructive dialog or for inquiring into the truth of any matter. Providing correctives to the more widespread of these inanities (as above) is occasionally worthwhile and can serve as a 'teaching moment', but to confuse that with serious debate, is to equate is the colour of the wrapping paper for the quality of a present. - gavin]

    Comment by David Wojick — 2 Jan 2010 @ 1:50 PM

  103. Since most anthropogenic CO2 is dissolved in ocean sinks I have two questions:

    Can CO2 dissolved in sea water help retain more heat in sea water than in sea water without dissolved CO2, or does the chemistry of carbonic acid prevent the carbon-oxygen bond from absorbing infrared energy?

    At what concentration is anthropogenic (or any) CO2 dissolved in sea water degassed back into the atmosphere? When do ocean CO2 sinks become sources? Is there a tipping point for this?

    I would like to better understand the interaction of CO2 and the oceans.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 2 Jan 2010 @ 1:59 PM

  104. > David Wojick
    Are you the ‘David Wojick’ from ‘Greening Earth Society’?
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=David_E._Wojick
    If so, I imagine the more people repeat what you say, even to debunk the claims, the happier you will be to see them appearing over and over.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Jan 2010 @ 1:59 PM

  105. Re wildlifer #81. You might consider that the reason the scientists here spend (not “waste”)so much time is that the scientific debate is ongoing. The medium is the message.
    David

    [Response: Wrong. And the Woody Allen prize for the least informed use of a Marshall McLuhan quote goes to.... - gavin]

    Comment by David Wojick — 2 Jan 2010 @ 2:00 PM

  106. Matthew@91

    “Consider the claim that “A majority of scientists believe AGW, and therefore the minority of dissidents must be wrong.” No one with some knowledge of the history of science should be persuaded by such a claim, and no one should make the claim with a serious intent.”

    And no-one here, that I’ve seen so far, has made that claim as you characterize it. In fact, discussions of consensus here have been pretty nuanced. Funny you should miss out on that…

    Let’s see. First the denialists were trumpeting that there’s no consensus on AGW and so the “debate” was wide open. When it finally sunk in that there was pretty wide agreement that the “A” in AGW was significant, then the denialists fell into the mantra that “consensus isn’t science” (which wasn’t the argument at all anyway).

    Denialists have shown that they’re inclined to indulge in elaborate and detached arguments about simple concepts of evidence, but when it comes to actual evidence the content gets pretty slight.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 2 Jan 2010 @ 2:02 PM

  107. David Wojick@86,
    Gee, I will have to admit to being ignorant of any peer-reviewed, well accepted scientific research that poses a significant issue for the current consensus that we are warming the planet. Pray, enlighten me.

    I am plenty familiar with the abortions that pass for insight on WUWT, with the monomaniacal focus on minutia that purport to overturn established science on CA and with the general shouts and claims that 3 cool years constitute more compelling evidence than a 30 year warming trend. However, I haven’t heard, for instance, of a denialist scientist producing an actual climate model that explains anything having to do with Earth’s climate; or with a statistically valid analysis that shows significant deviation from model predictions; or, in fact with a single peer-reviewed article proferred by you that would back up your claims of parity between the scientific and anti-science postions. Care to back up your position with, oh, I don’t know, maybe… evidence?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Jan 2010 @ 2:14 PM

  108. Matthew,
    I would not have a problem with anyone acknowledging the evidence–all of it–and offering an alterntive interpretation that could at least pass the straight-face test. I have never heard anyone do that. What I hear is either monotonic droning on a single, tiny and usually trival piece of evidence that they claim is problematic. Or I hear accusations that the evidence is flawed, usually backed (if at all) by only the flimsiest idea of how the evidence is gathered and analyzed. Or I hear about application of statistical models to inadequate datasets. Or I hear that the entire scientific community is perpetrating a gigantic fraud. So, where are these skeptics, Matthew. ‘Cause they sure ain’t publishing.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Jan 2010 @ 2:20 PM

  109. Comment by Matthew — 2 January 2010 @ 12:08 PM:

    Do you also apply your skepticism argument to the debate over the theory of evolution, and if not, what is the difference?

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 2 Jan 2010 @ 2:23 PM

  110. David Wojick says: as of now the skeptics have the momentum…

    I’m not sure that’s the case. Over on the little thread I started, Please remove anti-science blogs from the Best Science Blog category, the two contrarians arguing against the proposal both gave up in tantrums.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 2 Jan 2010 @ 2:32 PM

  111. #91 Matthew – Costellos’s is not an unbiased assessment. The most obvious clue is that the states outright that a whistle-blower leaked the emails. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to substantiate this claim.

    When someone outright LIES in the second sentence of an article, it is reasonable to assume that the rest of the article is similarly deceptive.

    If you weren’t brainwashed, you would have noticed that.

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 2 Jan 2010 @ 3:04 PM

  112. Hank:

    Are you the ‘David Wojick’ from ‘Greening Earth Society’?

    He is, his handle here links to his skeptic site, which is also mentioned in the sourcewatch wiki entry Hank links to.

    Comment by dhogaza — 2 Jan 2010 @ 3:07 PM

  113. Lynn @ 83
    easy argument – just tell them that Anthony Watts drives an electric car, has solar panels, and does the conservation thing. I find this usually brings an incredualous gasp from some people. May not change their minds, but is good for a laugh when looking at their face!

    Comment by Leo G — 2 Jan 2010 @ 3:22 PM

  114. is it gonna get cold again?

    http://climate.gi.alaska.edu/ClimTrends/Change/TempChange.html

    Comment by Joseph March — 2 Jan 2010 @ 3:35 PM

  115. J. Bob says:
    2 January 2010 at 11:56 AM
    Looks like Cryosphere has changed it’s NH sea ice anomaly period from 1979-2000 to 1979-2008. Any reason?

    The norm for climate is 30 years, up until now the first 20 years has been used (30 not yet possible), now that 30 years of data is available that’s what they’re using. No big deal either way.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 2 Jan 2010 @ 3:35 PM

  116. Better discussion is here:

    http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2009/11/have-we-started-to-fill-our-carbon-sinks.ars

    Each year, human beings put vast amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere through processes like the combustion of fossil fuels or the clearing land for agriculture. Thankfully, the majority of it doesn’t stay there, as there are a number of significant carbon sinks that pull somewhere around 60 percent of human emissions back out of the air, dissolving it into the oceans and sequestering it in growing forests. One of the worries about our continued carbon emissions is that these sinks could eventually start to fill, increasing the challenge involved in limiting the levels of atmospheric carbon. Two new studies have looked at the issue, and they come to what appear to be very different conclusions.

    Now, what I don’t understand here is why realclimate is ignoring (or is unaware of) the Nature Geosciences paper that addresses this issue but which comes to a somewhat different conclusion. Timmer at ArsTechnica isn’t even an expert in the field, but he seems to have a better grasp of the issues – although you might be reassured to not that he comes to the same conclusion as you do:

    So, are carbon sinks beginning to reach their limits? Given the two papers, I have to admit I lack the expertise to judge.

    What is clear, however, is that two extremely cautious and technical papers have been handled awkwardly from a media perspective. The GRL paper was heralded with a press release that touted it as “Controversial new climate change data,” even though it didn’t directly address climate change, and actually applies new methods to existing data sets. Two articles removed from the press release, and you end up with an article that claims “new research shows that atmospheric levels of CO2 have effectively remained unchanged since the advent of the industrial revolution.” It’s hard to imagine anyone getting it so badly wrong.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 2 Jan 2010 @ 3:36 PM

  117. 107 Ray Ladbury: CA is not in the acronym index. What does CA mean?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Jan 2010 @ 3:39 PM

  118. P.S. I’d ignore everything Revkin has to say – talk about biased slanted journalism, all he does these days is quote the fossil fuel lobby’s collection of “media scientists.”

    As far as Australia’s drought, it’s very odd that La Nina brought no rain to Australia – but the simple explanation, that continental forcing is starting to overpower global ENSO influences, meaning regional air circulation changes – well, that’s been seen over and over again around the world. Persistent wintertime high-pressure patterns over continental landmasses in the subtropical zones – you can see that everywhere.

    New report shows global warming link to Australia’s worst drought

    14 Jan 2003

    SYDNEY: A new scientific report by WWF-Australia and leading meteorologists has shown that human-induced global warming was a key factor in the severity of the 2002 drought. The report compares the 2002 drought with the four other major droughts since 1950 and has found higher temperatures caused a marked increase in evaporation rates from soil, watercourses and vegetation.

    Do Revkin and his feeders have anything to support their position, study-wise? Nope – it’s just fossil fuel lobby PR.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 2 Jan 2010 @ 3:41 PM

  119. Wojick is a prime example of one that I’d label “conspirator”. He is nothing but a paid propagandist.

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 2 Jan 2010 @ 3:44 PM

  120. Edward Greisch, Climate Fraudit–I am loath to give them any more hits or publicity than they already get.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Jan 2010 @ 3:48 PM

  121. Edward Greisch …

    CA is Climate frAudit.

    Comment by dhogaza — 2 Jan 2010 @ 3:55 PM

  122. Leo G.,
    While driving a green car or embracing green habits is commendable, I don’t consider it a substitute for acknowledging (or in Watts’ case understanding) the evidence and its implications. Acknowledgement of the truth matters because
    1)it is essential to developing effective mitigation strategies
    2)it increases pressure on spineless politicians and clueless, complacent electors
    3)it forces us to believe what is real rather than what we would like

    When the fallout from all of our procrastination and delay in addressing climate change begins to manifest, I rather doubt that the thing people will remember about Watts was what car he drove. At the risk of invoking Godwin’s Law, Hitler loved dogs and backed pollution legislation, but it is not what he is chiefly remembered for.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Jan 2010 @ 3:56 PM

  123. “Are you unaware of the fact that the game is a draw? Bit of a scrum actually and as of now the skeptics have the momentum. Push boys.”

    I do believe your cravat is cinched down a little too tight, old chap, eh what. You actually believe “skeptics have the momentum”?

    You need to get out and around from your blog a little more, methinks.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 2 Jan 2010 @ 3:57 PM

  124. 117 CA = Climate Audit, McIntyre’s blog, which is (I believe due to the moderators’ animosity towards its founder and his attempts at analysis) not listed as a resource here despite its notoriety. It is to some degree the “anti-RC”.

    Comment by Walter Manny — 2 Jan 2010 @ 4:01 PM

  125. Matthew says:
    2 January 2010 at 12:08 PM
    That is a good review of the stolen emails, in chronological order and with context. Snark and “framing” aside.

    I am puzzled that the identity of the thief has not been discovered yet. Is it possible that the identity has been discovered but not disclosed? In England, the press is not permitted to write about legal investigation in progress.

    Apparently Steve Mosher has admitted his rôle, he’d better stay away from the UK in future.
    A matter doesn’t become sub judice in the UK until legal proceedings are instituted.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 2 Jan 2010 @ 4:20 PM

  126. Mr. Nick Barnes wrote on 1st January 2010 at 4:14 PM

    “A certain amount of the CO2 in the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans (etc) every year, because the carbon cycle isn’t in equilibrium. This amount depends on the total CO2 level in the atmosphere, and on some other factors such as temperature, ocean pH, etc. But one of the things it does not depend on is the source of that CO2: whether an individual CO2 molecule is from burned fossil fuels, or from respiration, or oxidation of bio-methane, or has come out of solution in the oceans.”

    I believe that some biological processes do differentiate isotopically, and so do some chemical processes in both uptake and emission of CO2 by the oceans and land.. Then of course there is the square root of mass effect in diffusion. Some of the expected fractionation has been observed. Mr. Levenson has already pointed out that fossil fuel emissions can be tracked by the change in isotopic mass ration of atmospheric CO2

    sidd

    Comment by sidd — 2 Jan 2010 @ 4:21 PM

  127. #104 Hank Roberts, thanks for posting that link. I was going to make a similar post, as I believe Le Quéré’s methodology is more accurate. I believe that Korr, by averaging over a period of time when our emissions were not 30 billion tonnes of CO2 annually, he makes the resulting numbers far lower than they would be if you went by what is happening *now*.

    Comment by Josh Cryer — 2 Jan 2010 @ 4:32 PM

  128. #102, 105 David Wojick

    There is a scientific debate going on but apparently you are not a part of it.

    The ‘scientific’ debate is not about whether or not this global warming is human caused, but rather how to refine and understand the finer components of the climate system in relation to sensitivities, oceanic mechanisms, climate feedbacks, and potentials.

    Many indicators are leaning toward things might be worse than models can predict, at this point in time, but these things need to be better understood in order to be more meaningful. In no way does any of this uncertainty indicate we need to delay policy development of mitigation, adaptation, and actions.

    Unfortunately, with those whose ‘wishful thinking’ is telling ‘them’ we are uncertain about the basic science, or that there is a problem, or that it is human caused, the scientific understanding often falls on deaf ears.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 2 Jan 2010 @ 4:46 PM

  129. RE Wojick, gotta love this:

    “ClimateChangeDebate.Org needs your DONATIONS. We are not funded by anyone and you can help keep the debate alive by donating at least $10 to ClimateChangeDebate.Org.”

    Boldface as seen on site. And mind you, no cheap attempts with $2 and a sandwich.

    Carpetbagger.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 2 Jan 2010 @ 5:11 PM

  130. Jim Galasyn @110, Ms. Hilary’s repeated protestation that she “did not come here to debate – or even learn about – “climate science”. I have my preferred sources for such information and I do not need your guidance or judgement” is just about the best illustration of stubborn willful ignorance that I have ever come across.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 2 Jan 2010 @ 5:48 PM

  131. Todd Friesen — Yes, response to volcanis sulfates and TSI both appear to have a lag of 3/4 to 1 year. Tamino has a most illuminating two box model, which does quite well indeed:
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/10/19/volcanic-lull/
    For the temperature changes over an average solar sunspot cycle, see recent papers by Tung and co-workers.

    The respnose to CO2 forcing is the response to any other forcing; the two box model explains the long delay portion.

    I’ve never seen anything suggesting that paleoclimate proxies demonstrate a 10 year lag. Where did you find this?

    Comment by David B. Benson — 2 Jan 2010 @ 5:53 PM

  132. sidd@126: Yes, some biological and chemical processes do differentially affect different isotopes, and yes fossil emissions do have a slightly different isotopic mix, but the former is a very tiny effect – basically irrelevant, I think, with regard to ocean solubility of atmospheric CO2 – and even the latter is second order. So I stand very much by my claim that the absorption of atmospheric CO2 does not distinguish (to any interesting degree) between CO2 of differing sources. I would be amazed if there were a significant effect.

    Comment by Nick Barnes — 2 Jan 2010 @ 6:45 PM

  133. Matthew, you and David Wojick both demonstrate the Dunning-Kruger effect*. You are currently incompetent to understand the scientific evidence for AGW, and you are unable either to recognize your own incompetence or that others may be more competent than yourselves.

    I say “currently incompetent”, because the D-K effect can be ameliorated by educating yourselves, if you’re willing; if not, you can hardly expect be taken seriously by anyone here. Start here for everything from the basic physics, to the data collections, to the full source code for the models. For detailed refutations of specific denier talking-points, see SkepticalScience.

    Look, it may take you awhile, but it’s not that difficult. Of course, if you’re not up to it…;^).

    *It appears that the original article by Kruger and Dunning is now behind a paywall.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 2 Jan 2010 @ 7:01 PM

  134. Dang — that should be Start here and the original article by Kruger and Dunning. Can we please have a preview option?

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 2 Jan 2010 @ 7:04 PM

  135. 109, Steve Fish: Do you also apply your skepticism argument to the debate over the theory of evolution, and if not, what is the difference?

    One of the differences is that the Darwinian theory of evolution is much older. One of its inadequacies, that puzzled Darwin (as he admitted) was the source of the random variation in phenotypes, which we now trace back to the random variation in genes. Until recently, Darwinians were mistaken in not knowing about mitochondrial DNA. Right now there is a lively debate about the relative roles of evolution and development: constraints on genetic expression of the genes imposed by the intra-oval protein milieu (among other things.)

    Darwinians were wrong to promote eugenics, which shows yet again that a group of scientists can draw the wrong policy conclusion from a sound theory.

    [edit]

    Comment by Matthew — 2 Jan 2010 @ 7:16 PM

  136. The Greenhouse effect is mostly caused by the glass in a greenhouse… which we don’t have surrounding the earth. So the only thing that will retain heat is clouds… which would reflect the radiating CO2 light… right? What is frustrating is that Increased CO2 in the atmosphere is caused by increased temperatures. The warmer it is, the less water can retain the dissolved CO2. So the effect of warming is increased CO2 in the air…regardless of CO2 that is released by mankind. I don’t see the models accounting for this, either that, or I am not seeing it properly… any suggestions?

    Comment by Gene Madison — 2 Jan 2010 @ 7:20 PM

  137. I have a question. If it is true that the increase in CO2 is mostly due to anthropogenic emissions, how is it that the fraction of the total that is anthropogenic has remained constant? It’s as if there is some mechanism devoted to removing anthropogenic CO2 that has increased along with anthropogenic CO2 emissions themselves.

    A partial explanation might be that the increases in CO2 emissions by the biggest emitter until recently (the US), occurred simultaneously with the reforestation of the US, and the regrowing forests abosrbed most American CO2. This is a topic of debate in the journal Science, and estimates of CO2 uptake by American forests range from about 60% to about 100% of total. The measured increase of CO2 is not primarily from increased anthropogenic CO2, but from reduced CO2 uptake caused by 20th century deforestation.

    This explanation can’t be more than partial because it does not account for EU and Japan.

    Comment by Matthew — 2 Jan 2010 @ 7:23 PM

  138. 135 Matthew “Darwinians were wrong to promote eugenics, which shows yet again that a group of scientists can draw the wrong policy conclusion from a sound theory.” I smell a creationist and a fundamentalist. Another case of the close relationship between AGW denialism and evolution denialism, and meaningless sayings, plucked from denial and creation web sites, spouted out with the utmost confidence.

    Comment by David Horton — 2 Jan 2010 @ 7:28 PM

  139. Matthew (135):
    “Darwinian theory of evolution is much older”

    That all depends on your definition of AGW. “Origin of the Species” was published in 1859. Atmospheric gases trapping heat was first proposed in the 1820′s by Fourier. Tyndall then discovered in 1859 (coincidentally the same year as Darwin’s publication) that CO2 was one such gas. And once Arrhenius, in 1896, computed a climate sensitivity of approximately 5C AGW was clearly established.

    Comment by Ken W — 2 Jan 2010 @ 7:33 PM

  140. Matthew wrote “the Darwinian theory of evolution is much older.”

    Matthew was completely wrong:

    1824: “Fourier calculates that the Earth would be far colder if it lacked an atmosphere.”

    1838: “Darwin conceived his theory of natural selection as the cause of evolution.”

    1858: Darwin and Wallace presented their first papers on evolution.

    1859: “Tyndall discovers that some gases block infrared radiation. He suggests that changes in the concentration of the gases could bring climate change.”

    And so on…”

    Comment by Tom Dayton — 2 Jan 2010 @ 7:34 PM

  141. 108 Ray Ladbury

    Here is an item from the peer-reviewed literature, Science magazine of July 24, 2009.

    Some evidence that the effects of clouds amplify (positively feed back) CO2 effects on global warming.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/325/5939/460

    from the intro:

    Low-level clouds are of great climatic importance because of their net cooling effect on the global climate (1). If the coverage of this type of cloud were to change as the climate warms, it could lead to either an enhancement or a reduction in the warming (i.e., as either a positive or negative feedback, depending on whether cloud cover decreases or increases). At present, the sign of the low-level cloud feedback in climate change is unknown (2–5).

    There is also a review of the hockey stick published by Wegman et al in Statistical Science.

    Comment by Matthew — 2 Jan 2010 @ 7:40 PM

  142. Ray @ 122
    I agree completely, but I just love to see peoples faces twist when they realize that one of their own drives an electric car!

    As the commercial goes – “priceless”

    Now back to more serious commentary….

    Has anyone studiied the effects of all the microscopic particles of plastic in our oceans as to whether they are a positive or negative forcing factor? If at all?

    Comment by Leo G — 2 Jan 2010 @ 7:43 PM

  143. Gene Madison (136) — I fear you have it rather muddled. I suggest starting by reading “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart, first link under science section of the sidebar.

    Matthew (137) — I am certainly under the impression that the fraction of CO2 which is anthropogenic in origin is constantly increasing.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 2 Jan 2010 @ 8:36 PM

  144. RE Jim Galasyn

    That was interesting. I can never understand the contrarian notion that climate science is done differently from other sciences. I’ve always thought it important that scientists in other disciplines point out that there are certain methods that are used by all scientific disciplines. Peer review and publication are important aspects of all sciences, as is independent verification, such as the many lines of evidence that the earth is warming and that climate sensitivity is around 3 oC/doubling of CO2. One does not need to be climate speci-alist to know this.

    Comment by Deech56 — 2 Jan 2010 @ 8:50 PM

  145. Comment by Matthew — 2 January 2010 @ 7:16 PM:

    You are dissembling. The earth is a flat big circle was a simple observation without data, but this was subsequently modified to the earth is a sphere. Further on, with better instrumentation and observation, we found that the earth is actually an oblate spheroid. A theory that is not proven wrong early on is enhanced and added to as technology allows. This is the way that science progresses.

    Darwin’s original hypothesis overturned simple religious ideas. His theory of decent with modification and natural selection was accepted because there was no demonstrable alternative. It was conceptually true from its inception and hasn’t changed, but has been enhanced and extended as technology allowed (especially computers and methods of dissecting genetic mechanisms). The debate within the scientific community, a small amount of which you mention, has not been about the validity of the overall theory but about refinements of the mechanisms.

    Similarly, climate science started early in the 19th century and understanding of the role of greenhouse gasses and other climate forcings described then are still conceptually true. Subsequently research has enhanced and extended the global climate circulation model as technology allowed (especially computers and most recently satellite instrumentation). Current legitimate skepticism and debate is not about the validity of the overall theory, but about refinements of the mechanisms involved.

    Your notion of skepticism regarding the theories of evolution and global climate is stuck in the 1890′s. One can be skeptical about specific scientific studies that are refining understanding of the climate model if you are knowledgeable enough to see a flaw, but a true skeptic of the theory would have to be able to explain how large numbers of previous studies are wrong in order to make a fundamental challenge to the model. Are you able to do this?

    In addition, eugenics was a cultural and political movement. The biological scientific community as a group never supported this notion. Your assertion sounds like the accusation that climate science in the 1970′s claimed that an ice age was immanent.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 2 Jan 2010 @ 9:00 PM

  146. Gene Madison, you are correct that you are not seeing things right. But there are so many fundamental misconceptions in your comment, that a huge amount of your time will be saved by reading cce’s The Global Warming Debate. (It has both a text version and a narrated-slides version.) But cce’s server is slow, and just now it didn’t respond to me at all, so don’t give up on it; check back with it periodically until it responds.

    After you read cce’s site (or if it never responds), click on some of the links in the “For complete beginners” section of the Start Here” section whose link is at the top of this RealClimate site.

    Comment by Tom Dayton — 2 Jan 2010 @ 9:08 PM

  147. Leo G., I would think that the effect of the plastic would depend mainly on its albedo–although it probably also limits evaporation and heat exchange between atmosphere and water.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Jan 2010 @ 9:48 PM

  148. Uh, oh. I just reread the Knorr article and realise that I misunderstood what fraction had remained constant.

    Yuck.

    138, David Horton: I smell a creationist and a fundamentalist

    That is a comment about your sense of smell.

    139, 140 Ken W, Tom Dayton. Good points. Both theories have been substantially elaborated and enlarged over about the same time span. Neither theory is complete (we really don’t know what caused human natural selections to produce extreme musical, mathematical, athletic talent as occurs, or even the average amounts — though there is an interesting conjecture about selection forces acting on Jews in Europe, and I repeat that it is a conjecture.) Evolutionary theory does not purport to make detailed quantitative predictions about coming decades (though it predicts that populations of microbes will always acquire immunity to medications formulated by us to combat them, it does not predict the mechanisms that will evolve), and it is the quantitative forecasts made by AGW promoters that I principally question, not approximate claims about mechanisms. As I quoted a while ago, you can find debate in the peer-reviewed literature about whether even the sign of the water feedback mechanism is known, and whether the magnitude of the solar forcing is known.

    The detail of the conjecture about the Jews in Europe: all over Europe the Jews kept extremely detailed and complete birth and death records. Among this group it has been well-documented (again, in really good detail) that the children and grand children of the rich had higher survival rates than the children and grand children of the poor. By law and practice, Jews were required to earn their livings in restricted occupations, and were prohibited from owning property. The conjecture is that the wealth-earning ability was related to combinations of intelligence, talent, and energy, so that the genetic base of those attributes increased across the 2,000 years of the Diaspora. I mention this controversial conjecture to underline my main claim: in general, we do not know what selection mechanisms created the current distributions of talents like intelligence, musical and mathematical abilities in humans. If it was random variation and natural selection, the details are a mystery. So we can’t predict what is going to happen to those talents in the upcoming 100 years.

    Comment by Matthew — 2 Jan 2010 @ 9:49 PM

  149. Comment by Gene Madison — 2 January 2010 @ 7:20 PM:

    The ocean is still taking up CO2, but this will reverse if the ocean temperature increases enough.

    “Greenhouse effect” is a misnomer. To understand how it actually works you can use the “Start Here” button at the top of this site, or do an in site search for “greenhouse effect” to find several articles.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 2 Jan 2010 @ 9:49 PM

  150. Leo G, the additives in the plastic stuff get released somewhat, some of it is beneficial some bad, and plastic generally doesn’t have Fe in it, that would be the limiting substance on large areas, hence the iron fertilization experiment. I think there was some more speculation on that paper.

    What they certainly do is to provide a flotation device for some microscopic algae, so in that respect they add to the carbon sink (possibly red tides and such). Complete effects, like where they end up in the food chain and does marine fish taste more like plastic in the future are yet to be determined to my knowledge.

    Comment by jyyh — 2 Jan 2010 @ 9:49 PM

  151. 145, Steve Fish: You are dissembling.

    No I’m not.

    Comment by Matthew — 2 Jan 2010 @ 9:50 PM

  152. Matthew asks, “If it is true that the increase in CO2 is mostly due to anthropogenic emissions, how is it that the fraction of the total that is anthropogenic has remained constant?”

    Huh? Where on Earth did you get this idea? The proportion of C-12 has risen monotonically throughout the period we’ve been able to measure it. Are you perhaps misunderstanding Knorr?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Jan 2010 @ 9:53 PM

  153. Matthew,
    First, low-level clouds would have to have a significant negative feedback to bring CO2 sensitivities down to levels where there was no concern, and there is zero evidence of that. In fact, since we cannot determing the sign of the feedback here (which would have to be due to changes in the clouds), it probably isn’t all that significant positive or negative. Note that the title of the piece suggests the feedback is positive.

    As to Wegman, that is now history of science, not science. Mann et al. 98 is now of interest primarily because it was the first paper to use multi-proxy techniques and PCA. It has been supplanted by several other, better reconstructions, including Mann2008.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Jan 2010 @ 10:03 PM

  154. 98, thanks Tenney for the link. It is helpful to find other people doing the same types of things I’m doing. I’ve posted in the newest topic there.

    #131, David, thanks for your comments too. The article you linked appears to be the type of thing I’m looking for, and it appears to be understandable too.

    Regarding the 10 year solar lag, I would reference Usoskin 2005, found here, http://www.mps.mpg.de/dokumente/publikationen/solanki/c153.pdf. I found the link from Skeptical Science’s article on whether the sun is causing global warming: http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm)

    I took another glanced at Usoskin, and realized that the data regarding sunspots and temperature is decade averaged, which is done to minimize the solar cycle impact. Usoskin found the highest correlation with a 10 year lag between decade averaged sun spots and temperature.

    And perhaps this is an answer to my question too. A 1.5 year lag might correspond with non-adjusted data, and a 10 year lag might form when the data is detrended for the 11-year solar cycle. Though, there could be something else I haven’t considered.

    It’s something I want to be aware of in modeling. It may impact model predictions, particularly if the solar cycles are changing in intensity.

    Comment by Todd Friesen — 2 Jan 2010 @ 10:08 PM

  155. Tom Dayton,

    Your link is broken. I think it should be http://cce.890m.com/ (not http://cce.890.com/).

    Comment by Ernst K — 2 Jan 2010 @ 10:20 PM

  156. Unforced Variation: Can you make a simulation of a spectrometer experiment that runs in Java on almost any computer? It seems to me that it might help to show them how the infra-red trapping effect of CO2 gas was measured way back in the 19th century. It wouldn’t be as good as giving people the hands-on experience with real 19th century or 20th century hardware, but it might help. Ideally, every high school student should replicate the original experiment. Since most high schools are not that good, RC needs to make up for the average high school education.
    The simulated experiment should be runnable on RC or downloadable from RC.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Jan 2010 @ 10:23 PM

  157. I’d be curious to hear RC’s take on the 1974 CIA report (http://www.climatemonitor.it/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/1974.pdf) that supposedly shows there was a scientific consensus that the world was cooling. It seems to be getting a lot of coverage in the denialosphere…

    Comment by Gerry Beauregard — 2 Jan 2010 @ 11:22 PM

  158. Edward, #156 Spectra Calc does the job

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 2 Jan 2010 @ 11:34 PM

  159. The Greenhouse effect is mostly caused by the glass in a greenhouse… which we don’t have surrounding the earth. So the only thing that will retain heat is clouds… which would reflect the radiating CO2 light… right? What is frustrating is that Increased CO2 in the atmosphere is caused by increased temperatures. The warmer it is, the less water can retain the dissolved CO2. So the effect of warming is increased CO2 in the air…regardless of CO2 that is released by mankind. I don’t see the models accounting for this, either that, or I am not seeing it properly… any suggestions?

    Gene Madison … you have two choices here …

    1. Learn to read, at a layman’s level, enough basic physics to understand why your post is stupid (and be quiet while learning).

    - or –

    2. Post nonsense that makes it annoyingly clear that you don’t have the least understanding of the science involved, in which case you’ll be met with either laughter or derision (or both).

    Think hard about which category you want to be bin-sorted into, and study, study, study and learn or post ignorant crap accordingly.

    Comment by dhogaza — 2 Jan 2010 @ 11:46 PM

  160. #157 Gerry Beauregard

    70′s COOLING… AGAIN!!!!!!

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

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

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/ice-age-predictions-in-1970s.htm

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/03/the-global-cooling-mole

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/10/global-cooling-again

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

    Though the document is not verified you should note that it states in the beginning:

    “…the views and conclusions contained herein are those of the author and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official position, either expressed or implied, of the Central Intelligence Agency.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 3 Jan 2010 @ 1:12 AM

  161. I have a question, one not related to the denialism debate. As long as denialist propaganda is out there I’m glad you are there to rebut it. But recent events in Copenhagen raise some questions climate science might throw some light on.

    1) How hard is it to measure greenhouse gas concentrations and greenhouse gas emissions, and how granularly can we measure them
    A) For example, in terms of concentrations I understand that this is pretty uniform planet wide – that once methane, CO2 and so forth are releases they get distributed pretty uniformly within a short time, so that concetration in the atomosphere is pretty much the same shwerever you measure it, perhaps subject to a time lag. Mostly correct? Vastly oversimplified? Completely wrong?
    B) Emissions – Again I will put my question in the form of a statement, because I think confirming a correct statement or explaining what is wrong with an incorrect one often brings the explaination into sharper focus. We can measure emissions to some extent directly via sattelite and instruments especially with a broad scope. That is, for an area the size of the U.S. or China, we can determine annual emissions fairly well just based on sattelite and instrument data. To some extent this may even apply to large sub-areas like Wales or Southern California. But if we want to measure emissions on a really granular level, say factories or farms, or even cities then we can’t rely on this kind of reading and have to depend on things like records of fossil fuels burned, land use changes and so on. Is the first true – that we can measure emissions over broad geographical areas decently even if we don’t have good fossil fuel consumption records or land use change data? And is it also true that for granular measurements at the factory or farm or neighborhood level we do need this kind of consumption record?

    Question 2) A great deal of argument has taken place over whether we need to limit temperature rise to 2 degrees celcius or 1.5 degrees celcius from 1990. What is our total remaining carbon equivalent budget for a 2 degree temperature rise? What is our total remaining carbon equivalent budget for a 1.5 degree temperature rise? How does this compare to actual annual emissions?

    Comment by Gar Lipow — 3 Jan 2010 @ 2:07 AM

  162. My question at #35 about any implications of Knorr’s findings for coupled carbon-cycle models got answered inline at #95. Thanks. And yes, on second try I see that everything I wondered about is there in IPCC fig. 7.13 (but darn, it took this layman a long time to figure out how to read it).

    Comment by CM — 3 Jan 2010 @ 2:26 AM

  163. 158 Eli Rabett: http://www.spectralcalc.com/
    is too “advanced” for the “students” I had in mind. It is too difficult for the average high school graduate. Spectralcalc requires thinking and knowledge on the part of the user. Don’t use wave number. Stick to wave length. Show the wavelengths graphically. Pre-set the spectrum to be covered. Let’s add a cartoon little professor that does the experiment for you and makes all of the choices for you. The little professor needs to be dressed up like Tyndall and should speak like Tyndall, as long as he is easily understood. “Tyndall” should have “apparatus” that looks like it could have come from 1859. “Tyndall” should do enough experiments to demonstrate the difference between air, oxygen, vacuum, CO2 and water vapor. After “Tyndall” has finished, allow the student to try it with dry nitrogen, dry CO2 at different pressures and wet CO2. Have the student “ask” “Tyndall” to do the added experiments via dialog boxes.

    Thanks for the URL and the clarification. PS: It needs to be part of RC’s web page.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 3 Jan 2010 @ 2:35 AM

  164. #156

    Iteresting point. 1974 Technology and Scientific Knowldge was so much better than we have today.

    Comment by Garrett — 3 Jan 2010 @ 3:48 AM

  165. I meant #157 :) How about the Bucks :)

    Comment by Garrett — 3 Jan 2010 @ 3:49 AM

  166. Sry if this is a distraction. I am getting the feeling that skeptics can maintain the argument that there is no consensus on the IPCC’s predicted impacts of AGW because most agreement statements that so many scientific orgs put out only say they recognise ‘significant’ or ‘mostly’ AGW but nothing more; nothing about the adverse consequences. Just an interesting point.

    Comment by Shills — 3 Jan 2010 @ 4:15 AM

  167. DW: What people did not like about the Nixon tapes was the obscene tone of superiority. Same for Climategate, and RC (but I do love Gavin).

    BPL: Let me remind you that the people who went to jail over Watergate WERE THE ONES WHO DID THE BREAK-IN. The Democratic National Committee didn’t do any jail time.

    DW: As for the symmetry, my yes oh dear. Are you unaware of the fact that the game is a draw? Bit of a scrum actually and as of now the skeptics have the momentum. Push boys.(The fact that hell and DC are both freezing over helps a bit.) I just call them like I see them.

    BPL: You must be seeing them through rose-colored glasses, then, because the evidence is overwhelmingly on the side of AGW theory and I’m not aware of ANY serious evidence against it. Why don’t you cite some of the alleged evidence against AGW, instead of just gassing about it?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Jan 2010 @ 6:46 AM

  168. Gerry Beauregard,

    The CIA also invested millions in “remote viewing”–locating important Soviet military and intelligence sites through clairvoyance. Their grasp of science has never been very good.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Jan 2010 @ 7:08 AM

  169. dhogaza,

    I think Gene is honestly uninformed rather than trolling or being ideological. He is clearly going by what he knows and politely asking if he’s right or not. So please give him a break for now.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Jan 2010 @ 7:21 AM

  170. Fortunately, the folks at Science Daily are open to making corrections. I emailed the editor about the misleading headline and they have now corrected it: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091230184221.htm

    [Response: Good for them! - gavin]

    Comment by James — 3 Jan 2010 @ 7:35 AM

  171. RE Ray Ladbury

    As to Wegman, that is now history of science, not science. Mann et al. 98 is now of interest primarily because it was the first paper to use multi-proxy techniques and PCA. It has been supplanted by several other, better reconstructions, including Mann2008.

    Ray, the problem is that you live in a reality-based world, where important pioneering studies are updated and conclusions are strengthened by new and more complete data. ;-)

    But you know the comeback to your excellent point, right? “Mann2008 used bad proxies” “But if those proxies are removed, the results hold.” “But then then latest proxy temp (~1994) is not the highest.” “But real temps are higher than they were in 1994.” “That’s HadCRUT; need to use UAH.” and so on…

    Point out that climate theory does not rely solely on the hockey stick and get accused of changing the subject. Rinse, repeat.

    Comment by Deech56 — 3 Jan 2010 @ 7:55 AM

  172. #159 dhogaza

    I don’t think it is fair to attack Gene. He appears to be sincere. Others made it clear that he was not on the right track and directed him to sources of information without insulting him.

    Now, if he comes back with bs about the models being wrong, scientists being corrupt, etc., THEN a ferocious counterattack will be fully warranted.

    David Wojick is a conspirator.
    Matthew is one of the brainwashed minions.

    Gene is just a regular guy who making an attempt to understand the fundamentals of AGW.

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 3 Jan 2010 @ 7:58 AM

  173. re# 144 and others; Peer review needs to be demonstrably more independent with public declarations of ‘conflict of interest’. We have to improve the public perception of the science & scientists to really make progress in getting the message across…

    Comment by Bill — 3 Jan 2010 @ 9:04 AM

  174. Re Matthew @141: There is also a review of the hockey stick published by Wegman et al in Statistical Science.

    Matthew, you might want to read up on how Wegman et al basically bastardised Raymond Bradley’s work to conform with their preconceived conclusion: http://deepclimate.org/2009/12/22/wegman-and-rapp-on-tree-rings-a-divergence-problem-part-1/#more-1321

    Comment by Jim Eager — 3 Jan 2010 @ 10:03 AM

  175. Bill@173, There is absolutely no indication that there is anything wrong with the peer review process. If anything, it lets too much crap through. When I do a review, I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to the author unless what they have done is demonstrably crap. Even then, I often try to salvage some germ of good research that they could emphasize in a rewrite. I do not think I am peculiarly beneficient in that regard.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Jan 2010 @ 10:14 AM

  176. 172: I agree. Many regular posters here are WAY too sensitive. Insulting people at the drop of a hat is simply wrong. People who post questions here have an extremely broad range of education with regard to climate science (and everything else). Questions ought to be encouraged. If some one asks the same question over and over and over so that it becomes patently obvious that they are trying to spread disinformation, by all means insult if you must, but don’t insult people just because you’ve heard the question before. Real scientists ask “What if … ?” all the time. If you do that here there’s a not insignificant chance that you’ll be attacked. Such attacks stifle free communication.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 3 Jan 2010 @ 10:47 AM

  177. I’ve been defending science and the ipcc against the hack attack on a forum, but they kept coming with tidbits until finally they came with one I could not answer: the claim on the 2035 himalayan glacier reduction in an IPCC report seemed to have slipped in via a WWF/New Scientist loop, with an apparent mixup of facts on glaciers as a result. Does this mean the IPCC reports’ claim for being peer review is not valid, how should one read the reports now, etc.
    I really would like you or desmogblog to say something about this. I have collected links to and quotes from the relevant reports and articles if you are interested.

    Comment by Chris H — 3 Jan 2010 @ 10:47 AM

  178. Gerry Beauregard (157):
    “supposedly shows there was a scientific consensus that the world was cooling”

    John Reisman (160) already gave you some excellent links to dispel the myth of any scientific consensus of global cooling. But I’d like to add a few points.

    1) The world WAS cooling slightly from the mid-40′s to the 70′s. The CIA report, however, is addressing 1 – 5 year climate (or weather) forecasting, not long term changes.

    2) Page 27 of that report shows that a 2-day meeting reached a consensus which included: “A global climate change is taking place”. Notice that the words “global cooling” and “global warming” are both missing.

    Comment by Ken W — 3 Jan 2010 @ 10:48 AM

  179. re#175.
    We know that. However, the perception outside the group here in the public domain is that all is not well with the process, and its here that the battle for public hearts and minds is being lost. Because something is OK today, it doesn’t mean that it should not be looked into and further improved

    Comment by Bill — 3 Jan 2010 @ 11:15 AM

  180. But there’s nothing that can be done against such propoganda, Bill (179). That isn’t for scientists, it’s for politicians.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 3 Jan 2010 @ 11:38 AM

  181. JEP wibbles: “Questions ought to be encouraged.”

    But do you encourage your children ETERNALLY asking “why?”?

    How many times has gavin had to inline a link to the ModelE GISS code, to use one example?

    People are querying based (at the very best) on what someone else has told them without them asking the “why” to their statements.

    So do you keep answering the “why?” until your child runs out of breath?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 3 Jan 2010 @ 11:45 AM

  182. The point being how many times have such “honest questions” been pointless haranguing?

    Quite a lot. The answers are a short google away.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 3 Jan 2010 @ 11:47 AM

  183. #176 John E. Pearson

    Geez, yet another politeness discussion…

    My experience in the thread is that the regulars are very polite to those with sincere questions that are genuinely interested in learning.

    They are also very good at spotting memes that have been repeated ad infinitum over the years.

    They are also good at spotting those denialists who just discovered RealClimate and just popped in to say the climate scientists are all wrong because (insert common long-debunked ridiculous meme here)

    They are also good as spotting the more nefarious, hey you guys are polite so climate scientists must be wrong about AGW straw-man arguments.

    Sincere questions are not only encourages, they are the most welcome type of questions. I believe most here recognize the difficulty in understand the complexities of the climate science as well as the complexities of the debate and confusion campaign.

    I would ask you to understand that being wrong is simply being wrong. I have asked dumb questions in here too, simply because I did not yet know where to look and it did not matter to me how I was pointed to the information. I admit I can be an idiot and don’t really know all that much. I am trying to piece together the verifiable peer reviewed work and responded to work to assure that what ends up on the OSS site is pretty darn solid; I also add what that work reasonably implies for the future. In other words, if I’m willing to ask a stupid question (realizing that is a relative point), I should not be afraid of the answers I receive.

    Your point is well taken i believe by regulars here, but understand their experience level in spotting denialists and parsing them form sincere questioners… and no one is perfect.

    I believe the frustration rises sometimes as we all contemplate the problem of the time factor. The costs of inaction are reasonably understood to be tremendous in human and economic terms as meaningful action is moved further into the future.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 3 Jan 2010 @ 12:03 PM

  184. #177 Chris H

    Chris any mistakes that get through peer review are typically caught in peer response. RealGoodScientists appreciate this and the science marches on.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/glacier-retreat/glacial_retreat_IPCC_WG1_2001.gif/view

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/glacier-retreat/GlacierCumulativeMassBalance.jpg/view

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 3 Jan 2010 @ 12:05 PM

  185. Bill @179,

    The solution to someone spreading false rumors that you beat your wife isn’t for you to hire a marriage counselor.

    Comment by Jinchi` — 3 Jan 2010 @ 12:06 PM

  186. Bill@179
    Ever hear the old saying: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”?

    Peer review ain’t broke. First off, who is more likely to know whether a technique, dataset or theory is useful than the people actively trying to solve problems in that field? Second, and perhaps more important, if an article is dreck, only a few researchers have it inflicted on them rather than having the whole community waste time on it. Third, most reviewers tend to be pretty lenient about letting articles through if they have any merit whatsoever. Fourth, if a bad article does get through, then it mostly sits there like a dog turd on a New York sidewalk. Scientists can identify the things that are useful in understanding their field.

    So, I ask you: How would you improve on the process? It is not as if climate science has a dearth of ideas. It’s not as if the denialists are making great (or in fact, any) progress with their own ideas (or lack thereof). What’s broken? And if you are saying “the public trust,” well, why should we let ignorant food tubes who are looking merely to justify their complacency dictate how science functions?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Jan 2010 @ 12:10 PM

  187. For Chris H:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Arealclimate.org+WWF+himalayan+glacier+IPCC+2035

    “… the WWF report which was compiled as a review article from work by scientific institutes in India, Nepal and China. The article contains tables, graphs and more than 200 references. ….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Jan 2010 @ 12:17 PM

  188. Dear Gavin,

    Thank you so much for the link:

    [Response: Wrong. And the Woody Allen prize for the least informed use of a Marshall McLuhan quote goes to.... - gavin]

    I have never seen Annie Hall — as a country girl I have assiduously avoided movies about neurotic urbanites, but perhaps now I will rent the DVD since truly that was a very funny scene! (and apt)

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 3 Jan 2010 @ 12:19 PM

  189. More clarification:

    http://www.ccrc.unsw.edu.au/PDF/Ummenhofer.etal_2009_GRL_clarification.pdf

    “Clarification of results of GRL paper
    Ummenhofer et al. (2009) What causes Southeast Australia’s worst droughts? Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L04706, doi:10.1029/2008GL036801
    The implications of our work (Ummenhofer et al. 2009) have been misunderstood in some media commentary, with some reporters asserting we have discovered that south-eastern Australia’s recent “Big Dry” is not related to climate change. This is not correct….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Jan 2010 @ 12:24 PM

  190. 181: Did you actually read my post? It’s one thing if someone asks the same question over and over and over and it’s another entirely if someone new comes along and asks a question that’s been answered repeatedly. The new person presumably hasn’t seen all the answers. Maybe they should’ve googled and maybe they shouldn’t have. This is a major site for learning about climate. You shouldn’t try to discourage people from learning. If you want to convince people that global warming is happening and that it is serious I can assure you that insulting them is not going to do it.

    Beyond that: you don’t know why people are querying. I know that for certain because I’ve been attacked on here for asking specific questions and they most certainly weren’t based on what someone else told me. I asked for where the key reference was that set 30 years as the time scale on which “climate” is defined and Hank Roberts asked me if I needed an elementary statistics book. Someone else actually provided me with an interesting and useful reference: http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F1520-0477%281989%29070%3C0602%3ASDOC%3E2.0.CO%3B2
    Could I have found it via google? Sure but more than likely I’d have given up first.

    Somebody got irate with me for wondering what the consequences of polar thaw would be for the biological pump. I wrote something like “I have no idea what polar thaw will do to the biological pump.” The only response was something like “If you have no idea why bring it up at all?” This kind of attitude stifles communication.

    dhagoza wrote “be quiet while learning”!!! WTF? No one seeking information should come here and ask a question? Only those who have finished learning should be permitted to speak? Those of us who are still learning should sit silently and learn from the illuminated ones? This is an asinine attitude.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 3 Jan 2010 @ 12:37 PM

  191. I was also upset at how dhogaza handled thatexchange.

    It is not easy to tell who is sincere, who is lazy, and who is malign; nor is it easy to tell who is sophisticated, who is posing, and who is confused. It is not only your own impression you need to worry about but also the impression of third parties reading the exchange.

    Please read my very first blog posting. My blogging career started with a very similar (albeit somewhat more prominent) controversy on RC.

    Comment by Michael Tobis — 3 Jan 2010 @ 12:43 PM

  192. Matthew wrote: “… we do not know what selection mechanisms created the current distributions of talents like intelligence, musical and mathematical abilities in humans … So we can’t predict what is going to happen to those talents in the upcoming 100 years.”

    Right. Which is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of the situation with anthropogenic global warming, where we DO know what mechanism is causing the current warming, and we thus CAN predict with quite a lot of confidence what is going to happen as a result in the upcoming 100 years.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 3 Jan 2010 @ 1:20 PM

  193. re #180.
    There is much we can do ! As scientists ,we must get smarter at communicating in a succint way that gets the public onside with us.
    The last thing needed is for anything to be left to politicians. Public opinion based on our well presented information holds the key and we need to get out of this defensive mindset widely shown on here,stop the childish name-calling and look like professionals to the outside.

    Comment by Bill — 3 Jan 2010 @ 1:35 PM

  194. John E. Pearson says: 3 January 2010 at 10:47 AM

    I think many regulars here have become hypersensitive to groundless assertions initially disguised as questions. The pattern is familiar, something along the lines of “I’m new to this debate, a bit of a fence sitter, but I have a question about BLAH”, with “BLAH” being one of a myriad of misconceptions. When an attempt is made to clear up the misconception, the person bringing the “question” digs in and begins defending his/her disguised assertion.

    What finally exhausts patience is the repetitive nature of whatever “BLAH” might be, plus perhaps annoyance with the lazy and some would say malicious nature of the deception involved.

    “Chris H says: 3 January 2010 at 10:47 AM” looks like a variant on another tiresome theme: “I believed in AGW until I heard BLAH.” I’m guessing from the signs on display that Chris imagines he’s going to drive a fatal spike into a plethora of climate diagnostics with this single issue. “All the science is bad because [plug in triviality].”

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 3 Jan 2010 @ 1:37 PM

  195. Gene Madison says: 2 January 2010 at 7:20 PM

    Gene, you really need to read this:

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

    If you’re not a “history buff”, don’t let the title dissuade you. Once you’ve read it, you’ll have an excellent grounding in the topic.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 3 Jan 2010 @ 1:46 PM

  196. Why is it if you dont belive in man made climate change you are classified as an idot or worse. One of the main reasons I canot accept your veiw point as absoulte truth is your arrogance. No matter how much research and data you come up with the fact will remain is that no one realy knows.

    Comment by Kirk — 3 Jan 2010 @ 2:02 PM

  197. Regarding today’s Washington Post – Chris Mooney op-ed:
    “On issues like global warming and evolution, scientists need to speak up”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/31/AR2009123101155_pf.html

    One good way to do this is for knowledgeable RC posters to branch out from preaching to the choir and post to the comments sections following such items as Mooney’s to denialist’s screeds in the popular press. The anti-science crowd needs to be balanced off with a preponderance of the truth in the media most people read.

    In any case thanks to all the posters here for the intellectual ammo needed to share in the effort to bring the truth of dangerous climate change to the public.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 3 Jan 2010 @ 2:07 PM

  198. #183 Reisman

    Missing word alert!

    They are also good as spotting the more nefarious, hey you guys are (not) polite, so climate scientists must be wrong about AGW.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 3 Jan 2010 @ 2:58 PM

  199. Tim jones hasn’t read many of the posts here when he states: “branch out from preaching to the choir”.

    Comment by Comletely Fed Up — 3 Jan 2010 @ 3:00 PM

  200. John, if whatever you’re referring to above was the first time you asked, then I apologize. I shouldn’t have asked you whatever it was that offended you unless people had been trying for a while to explain the basic point that Robert Grumbine and Tamino both teach.– and I should’ve pointed you to the explanations of how to decide whether a signal is detected in noisy data.

    (If you’d been persistently asking why exactly 30 and what single paper defined that, then I may well have suggested you needed to understand the basic statistics to understand why it wasn’t the right question.) I don’t recall; as always, a direct quote and cite to a source will help everyone when pointing out something I got wrong. I’m just another reader here like you are, and certainly do get educated by others.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Jan 2010 @ 3:00 PM

  201. Kirk complains arrogantly about arrogance…

    Whattasuprise.

    Comment by Comletely Fed Up — 3 Jan 2010 @ 3:01 PM

  202. Bill: “we must get smarter at communicating in a succint way that gets the public onside with us.”

    This DOES rather require that

    a) the audience wants to know.
    b) the audience isn’t being deliberately flim-flammed by others who don’t WANT the public to know.

    The majority of people already are onside.

    The minority are just very vocal.

    Comment by Comletely Fed Up — 3 Jan 2010 @ 3:04 PM

  203. I’m backing into a corner I don’t like but so be it.

    196: “Why is it if you dont belive in man made climate change you are classified as an idot or worse.”

    Because the vast majority of the people who don’t believe in it are grossly ignorant of the science. Many individuals ask the same question over and over and over and do not acknowledge that the question has ever been answered. When that happens people get frustrated and lash out. Your claim: “No matter how much research and data you come up with the fact will remain is that no one realy knows” implies that we don’t and can’t know anything at all about anything.

    194: “I think many regulars here have become hypersensitive to groundless assertions initially disguised as questions. The pattern is familiar, something along the lines of “I’m new to this debate, a bit of a fence sitter, but I have a question about BLAH”,” I’ve gathered as much, but still if you want to convince people of something (anything) opening up with “You’re an idiot and your question is stupid” is unlikely to sway them.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 3 Jan 2010 @ 3:05 PM

  204. #190 John E. Pearson

    Understanding is needed on both sides but if you have not yet delved deeply into the pool, your questions, and others will likely be so far out of context as to be unanswerable, or difficult at best. Everyone here posts on their own time, so either side, it is from ones own perspective of the debate/science depending on what side of the fence you are on.

    Have you delved deeply into:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/

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

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

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

    So asinine is probably not the best way to describe what you are experiencing.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/unforced-variations-2/comment-page-4/#comment-152750

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 3 Jan 2010 @ 3:06 PM

  205. Kirk, you’re not classified as an idiot, but as someone who
    – probably hasn’t read or hasn’t understood the high-school physics,
    – probably hasn’t clicked on “Start Here” at the top of each page, and
    – probably hasn’t clicked the top link under Science in the right sidebar.

    That’s all we know about you — you _probably_ didn’t do any of those.

    Yes, no one really knows for sure. That’s true of all science.

    “Probably” is the punch line for the joke in this cartoon:

    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/science_montage.png

    Do you get the joke? If not — do you know why the rest of us do?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Jan 2010 @ 3:07 PM

  206. Re #196 Kirk:

    Kirk, this is not a sensible or reasonable comment in a number of ways.

    Firstly, if you are going to judge the validity of the science of climate change based on your impressions of people’s character or manners, you need to focus that same measure on those who are opposed to the mainstream scientific view. There are many striking examples of rudeness, intellectual dishonesty, and abslute arrogance readily available. I am not a scientist, but have spent many hours over the last few weeks reading widely in the climate change area. In my view, the arrogance measure is easily won by the contrarians. If I took the postion you have to assess the climate change issue, there is no doubt what where my opinion would fall.

    But why should the personality or commments of a particular person or two matter one iota in perceiving the truth? That’s silly and superficial. If you take a clear-eyed and genuine look at the information, the contraian position has little to support it.

    That is plain by the repetitive recycling of the same points of debate, irrespective of what evidence is there to back those points. In truth, not much at all. What is also plain is that most contrarian commentators are working from their established ideological and personal beliefs, and are not open to open inquiry.

    Above this post there are several comments about posters racting with frustration to insincere questions. I’ve read thousands of posts on blogs recently, and I don’t find it hard to understand that frustration. I’d be surprised if even one in five apparent questioning posts on blogs like this are genuine inquiries. Usually they are veiled assertions of contrarian ideas.

    Comment by Johnmac — 3 Jan 2010 @ 3:07 PM

  207. Kirk says: 3 January 2010 at 2:02 PM

    Remember, arrogance and supercilious attitudes are not science, so try not to get ‘em mixed up.

    Somebody could ask you politely to fasten your seatbelt, or they could say “Fasten your seatbelt, idiot”, but the advantages of fastening the belt remain the same.

    As to uncertainty, excellent reasons for fastening your seatbelt are numerous, even though you don’t know the seatbelt will save you in any particular accident.

    As it stands, it appears that our foreknowledge of the consequences of leaving the C02 problem unaddressed is in general better than what any of us could say about the benefit of fastening our individual seatbelts on any given day.

    It’s very probably a good idea to do something about C02.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 3 Jan 2010 @ 3:08 PM

  208. Just quickly, my experience since arriving here just recently, has been very cordial. I appreciate that all the experts here have a life to live and when they pushed me to start to study for myself first, i thought that this was just fine. Not only were they cordial, but also pointed me towards the data that I am interested in. I call this my homework!

    Of course maybe it is just a big conspiriacy to keep me busy so that I do not have time to really investigate their nefarious activities! LOL!

    Thanx people for your time and patience. I am full of questions, but as Mrs. Harris use to say in the third grade, “finish the reading, as the answers are probably there.”

    Comment by Leo G — 3 Jan 2010 @ 3:19 PM

  209. No matter how much research and data you come up with the fact will remain is that no one realy knows.

    Don’t forget to pay your gravity bill!

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 3 Jan 2010 @ 3:52 PM

  210. And then hot on the heels of yet another round of quite valid and well-meaning admonishments to play nice, along comes Kirk to bluntly tell us that no matter how much scientific research and data we come up with he will not believe in reality because we hurt his feelings.

    For anyone who believes that Kirk would turn ’round on a dime and “believe” if only we treated him nicely and posited our evidence with humility, I hear there is a lot of unclaimed cash to be had simply by sending your bank account number to some nice government official in Nigeria.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 3 Jan 2010 @ 4:02 PM

  211. Kirk (196) Says, “One of the main reasons I canot accept your veiw point as
    absoulte truth is your arrogance.” Setting aside the veracity of your charge of
    arrogance among RC contributors (I disagree with you), would you rather have a
    competent, arrogant brain surgeon or an incompetent, “nice” surgeon? Arrogance
    has absolutely nothing to do with the evidence for global warming/climate change.

    I suspect you’re trolling anyway.

    Thanks Gavin and all the rest doing this important work – best to all of you in 2010!

    Comment by Mac Crawford — 3 Jan 2010 @ 4:05 PM

  212. Kirk says “No matter how much research and data you come up with the fact will remain is that no one realy knows.”

    So, wait, you are saying it’s impossible to ever know anything and you want to know why people think you are a moron?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Jan 2010 @ 4:07 PM

  213. Wow, just asked…. on the Himalaya 2035 reference problem(#177).
    #184 John P. Reissman your graphs do shed light on glaciers but do not alter the fact that this reference seems to be wrong.
    #187 Hank Roberts I googled that already but it does not seem to give a satisfying explanation for the 2035 glacier reference.
    #194 Doug Bostrom you are very very wrong about me and I must say you managed to offend me quite strongly. I’ve taken quite some flak from the deniers recently. I was not exactly waiting to be treated like this here, by you.
    Here: http://www.freethinker.nl/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=7145&start=360#p201321 you can see me start following the trace of the IPCC references – in Dutch but you can see the articles referenced. Here I follow it a step further: http://www.freethinker.nl/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=7145&start=360#p201326 .
    Here you see me doubting the explanation fishhook gives – the reference to the Kotlyakov report-:
    http://www.freethinker.nl/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=7145&start=360#p201362 and go up till Hasnain.
    And here: http://www.freethinker.nl/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=7145&start=375#p201370 I yield to the ‘Pearce from the New Scientist messed up and was quoted by the WWF’ suggestion because I cannot find Hasnain or the WHGH saying anything about 2035 and the glaciers.

    Earlier in the thread you can see me defending climate science and showing the deniers why the cru hack is not proving false intentions.

    Comment by Chris H — 3 Jan 2010 @ 4:25 PM

  214. Wow, just asked…. on the Himalaya 2035 reference problem(#177).
    #184 John P. Reissman your graphs do shed light on glaciers but do not alter the fact that this reference seems to be wrong.
    #187 Hank Roberts I googled that already but it does not seem to give a satisfying explanation for the 2035 glacier reference.
    #194 Doug Bostrom you are very very wrong about me and I must say you managed to offend me quite strongly. I’ve taken quite some flak from the deniers recently. I was not exactly waiting to be treated like this here, by you.
    Here: forum you can see me start following the trace of the IPCC references – in Dutch but you can see the articles referenced. Here I follow it a step further: forum2 .
    Here you see me doubting the explanation fishhook gives – the reference to the Kotlyakov report-:
    forum3 and go up till Hasnain.
    And here: forum part 4 I yield to the ‘Pearce from the New Scientist messed up and was quoted by the WWF’ suggestion because I cannot find Hasnain or the WHGH saying anything about 2035 and the glaciers.

    Earlier in the thread you can see me defending climate science and showing the deniers why the cru hack is not proving false intentions.

    Comment by Chris H — 3 Jan 2010 @ 4:33 PM

  215. In relation to land-based sinks like the Amazon, sea level rise won’t help this much.

    It seems that a lot of the good coastal rain forest will be lost, turning from a carbon sink to a rotting methane emitting mess.

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_hpUJPjLjGlc/SqJcOKydI7I/AAAAAAAAAKc/j2V4H8D4mEc/s1600-h/80m+SAm+01.png
    http://the100metreline.blogspot.com/2009_09_01_archive.html

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 3 Jan 2010 @ 4:42 PM

  216. RE: Comment by Kirk — 3 January 2010 @ 2:02 PM

    “Why is it if you dont belive in man made climate change you are classified as an idot or worse.”

    Because so many of the “non-believers” keep saying things like this:

    “One of the main reasons I canot accept your veiw point as absoulte truth is your arrogance.”

    Comment by Ernst K — 3 Jan 2010 @ 4:45 PM

  217. Todd Friesen (154) — I read Usoskin et al. and am rather puzzled about the purported 10 year lag as I can think of no physical reason (yet). Anyway, Tamino put in other factors in the two box model here
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/not-computer-models/
    to which you might wish to add the sunspot variations. Based on the work of Tung and co-authors and known responses to volcanic sulfates, I still am of the opnion that the fast response has a characteristic time of about one year (or less).

    I suggest some experiments with actual or artificil data for sunspots and look at the response of your model or Tamino’s two box model to see if “decade averaged data” gives a 10 year lag for best correlation. If so, that would show a defect in the analysis methods used by Usoskin et al.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 3 Jan 2010 @ 5:50 PM

  218. Chris H. (#177, re: Himalayan glaciers 2035),

    Unfortunately, I gather from a brief comment by Mauri Pelto that the ’2035′ statement was indeed a screw-up, but if someone has more context, I’m interested too — ?

    Regarding peer review, the statement was tucked away in a ‘case study’ section in a regional impacts chapter (AR4, WG2, ch. 10, p. 493), not in a snow-and-ice chapter where it would have come under glaciologist reviewers’ scrutiny. Seeing how jumbled the whole paragraph is, I’d hazard that an editing mishap was at least partly to blame, possibly late in the process. Any generalizations from a sloppy bit on p. 493 to the IPCC review process being a failure or a sham strike me as badly overwrought.

    As for sources, the WG2 section attributed it to a 2005 WWF report surveying the scientific literature, which in turn attributed it to a 1999 report by the Working Group on Himalayan Glaciology (WGHG) of the International Commission for Snow and Ice (ICSI). WG2 did not reference New Scientist (as I recall BBC mistakenly reporting). But it does look possible that the WWF report relied on a New Scientist story for the soundbite on the WGHG report (which AFAICS was not listed in the references).

    The WG2 Summary for Policymakers states merely:

    Glacier melt in the Himalayas is projected to increase flooding, and rock avalanches from destabilised slopes, and to affect water resources within the next two to three decades. This will be
    followed by decreased river flows as the glaciers recede.

    Comment by CM — 3 Jan 2010 @ 6:14 PM

  219. OK, question that I haven’t found an answer for – yet!

    See if I can term this right, Is there any difference in CO@ uptake between salt water, fresh water, snow and ice?

    My Spidey senses seem to feel that salt would absorve the most, followed by fresh, snow then ice, but…

    Comment by Leo G — 3 Jan 2010 @ 6:18 PM

  220. Should be CO2 uptake and absorb.

    Must proof read before button push….

    Comment by Leo G — 3 Jan 2010 @ 6:19 PM

  221. 196 wrote: “Why is it if you dont belive in man made climate change you are classified as an idot or worse. One of the main reasons I canot accept your veiw point as absoulte truth is your arrogance. No matter how much research and data you come up with the fact will remain is that no one realy knows.”

    You’ve answered your own question. A great many of the “sceptics” are grossly ignorant of the science. Yet they’re convinced that the science is wrong. Consider your own arrogance: “No matter how much research and data you come up with the fact will remain is that no one realy knows.” You’re arguing that we can’t know anything about anything because no matter what we do to learn something we can’t ever “really know” (anything about anything). Do you truly believe that?

    194: I hear ya, but all the same insulting new-comers is self-defeating.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 3 Jan 2010 @ 6:32 PM

  222. [Comment by a non expert i.e. me]

    Re: #153 (Ray and Mathew) #171

    Re #174 Jim Eager

    <i?Mcintyre, Wegmann & Hockey.

    This topic is still being hyped by denialists the world over, and it is being revived in connection with the stolen emails. It is not correct to see this just as a controversy about the temperature reconstructions. It has always been part of a larger ad hominem campaign , to discredit individual researchers. This should inform the hockey stick defence team even in 2010. In particular the details of the old PCA analysis should not be ignored because we still see a lot of propaganda suggesting that this work was mathematically discreditable and that its authors can never be trusted again. (More later).

    If the argument is about the science, we should not start by discussing the personal behaviour of the authors. But what if there is an agenda concerned more with researchers than research? In that case we have every right to ask about the people involved, in this case Senator Barton and Prof. Wegman. Since Wegman’s report has been promoted by reverse ad hominem , i.e by reminding us of his status as an independent authority on statistics, then we have every right to ask about his subsequent behaviour. Why did Wegman sign this letter probably prepared by Bob Carter and Tom Harris ?

    “Leading scientists, including some senior IPCC representatives, acknowledge that today’s computer models cannot predict climate. Consistent with this, and despite computer projections of temperature rises, there has been no net global warming since 1998.”

    This reflects on:
    (a) Wegman’s impartial ‘status’.
    (b) His judgment of Bob Carter’s work.
    (c) His strange lack of interest, for a statistician, in the statistical problem of extracting a trend from a noisy data.

    Perhaps its time for the Senate to call a committee of statistical experts to cross examine Wegman about item (c)?

    Given all that, I applaud Jim Eager for #174 although it could benefit from a brief summary. I also think that the scientific discussion is scattered in several places (to include all the links is inappropriate here).

    Returning to the PCA dispute , I am not an expert, but I have read Tamino’s articles and I tend to agree with his approach. One criticism that was levelled at the non centered PCA was that it could extract a hockey stick shape from white noise. Tamino argued that this choice of basis was justified because there was a hockey stick shape in the actual data and it was also self correcting; if it had been a bad choice then it would be put right by adding more terms. But it turned out to have been a good choice , to lead to faster convergence than the one Wegman preferred. So it is not sufficient to argue that the original method was, by good luck, approximately equivalent to the Wegman one ; it appears to me that it was a good way of approaching the problem, and that Mann,Bradley and Hughes did a good job with the maths. Am I wrong? The climatologists tend to emphasise that they now use different methods. Good logical point, but it appears to suggest that the maths rather than the data is partly responsible for the progress and that could be unfair to the first version?

    There is yet another point about the denialists version. They tend to omit all reference to the error bars (the broad grey smear) which you can see in Fig.1 here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/temperaturevariations-in-past-centuries-and-the-so-called-hockey-stick/#figure2

    which tends to imply that the very first stab at this problem was not so bad after all.

    As an analogy you could describe the nucleus of carbon by means of either a shell model basis or one of alpha particles (helium nucleii); the only difference would be one of convergence. Yet another example would be the basis for the independent particle approximation for electrons in a solid; you have quite a big choice ; APW’s, OPW’s , Wannier functions, LCAO and lots more. How absurd would it be for some chairman in a committee to come along and lay down the law about the right way of doing it! They are all right.

    It appears to me that the method used by MBH was not just approximately the same as the alternative but was in some respects to be preferred.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 3 Jan 2010 @ 7:01 PM

  223. Some denialists apparently thought it was great news to read “CO2 … no change .. 160 year, etc etc”. But the reality is that they didn’t even care to look at the paper or try to understand what it means. The message that 40% of the emitted CO2 stays airborne is actually really bad news, since you would have to reduce our carbon emissions to practically zero to see any sort of stabilization of the atmospheric CO2 concentrations. What do we know about the carbon sinks? Is it really that bad?

    Comment by Ernst — 3 Jan 2010 @ 7:19 PM

  224. Leo G., WRT absorption of CO2 by water. The thing that determines how much CO2 the water CAN absorb is the chemical potential (it has to equalize between atmosphere and the water for equilibrium), and that will not depend on other solutes unless they react with CO2. In practice, CO2 uptake will depend on how much overturn of the surface there is–more turbulence means more mixing and more absorption. Hopefully that helps.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Jan 2010 @ 7:22 PM

  225. Re the claim that denialists now have momentum.

    I don’t think they do and they have never been very important.

    My take on AGW and policy responses to it are that by the mid 1990s the science consensus was settled, after that came a non-earth shattering lack of action by governments. In some cases this was simple laziness and intertia and lack of political courage, in others active lobbying behind the scenes by the fossil fuel industry and other corporations. The result: practically zero action in the last 15 years.

    But none of this is due to the denialists, who are simple a noisy but ineffectual sideshow.

    Comment by calyptorhynchus — 3 Jan 2010 @ 7:24 PM

  226. Chris H — did you get as far as this post? I don’t know that you’ll find a better explanation than this and the followups in that thread, without going directly to the glaciology literature Mauri mentions here.
    http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=2193#comment-147645

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Jan 2010 @ 7:53 PM

  227. Wow, just asked…. on the Himalaya 2035 reference problem(#177).

    As CM pointed out above, apparently an inappropriate reference did sneak in and wasn’t ferreted out.

    So, what are the consequences? Your denialist friends are jumping up and down triumphantly pointing out one small goof in a very long, comprehensive report and screaming “climate science is a fraud!” or something?

    If so … just point out to them how silly it makes them look. Of course any comprehensive review report of the size and scope of AR4 is probably going to have a few minor goofs in it. This doesn’t impact the major conclusions of the report at all, much less climate science.

    A few years ago I carefully reviewed a several hundred page summary of the science underlying decisions made during the Clinton administration regarding old growth forests and northern spotted owls, commissioned by the Bush administration at the request of the timber industry, and farmed out to a private consultancy because the USF&W and the scientists they consulted with are “biased”.

    The report pretty much slammed the timber industry position, but that’s not the point.

    While reading on the impacts of barred owl incursions on spotted owl populations, I found a couple of instances where the two species were mixed up. If I were a population ecology, timber-industry financed denialist I would’ve screamed “all the science is a fraud! This proves spotted owls live in junkyards and nest in bashed-up chevy’s!”.

    Instead, I e-mailed the editor, pointed out the error, got an appropriate “oops, how embarrassing, thank you!” and the fixes went out with an errata follow-up.

    That’s how real people deal with mistakes. You keep them in context, you evaluate their impact, and you acknowledge that they do happen bur rarely mean a thing in regarding the big picture.

    Comment by dhogaza — 3 Jan 2010 @ 8:01 PM

  228. As I live at sea level I have a keen interest in what the future holds for sea level change. Today’s high tide of 4.9m came worryingly close to the top of the sea wall near my house. In October 2015, 5.13m is predicted – not sure if this includes any projected sea level rise between now and then. I’d like to know if there are any plausible mechanisms for really abrupt changes in sea level (other than storm surges), or whether the worst case is a gradual acceleration of global sea level rise over decades from faster-moving glacier outflow. Thanks in advance for any interesting information…

    Comment by Icarus — 3 Jan 2010 @ 8:02 PM

  229. #214 Chris H

    Generally speaking mix-ups happen. What I try to provide in such arguments is that mix-ups don’t overturn the gist of the science and can not falsify what is now well known.

    In other words when the argument turns to this is wrong so all AGW is wrong I always turn to the context. A mistake, a mix-up, an instrument problem, etc. does not change the science. Sometimes it really is better to provide the overarching view to understand any contextual problem one is having.

    It’s the old Al Gore is fat so AGW is wrong argument. The details are important, but in context. Mistakes happen, they get corrected… but this global warming event is human caused, and we should help others realize that focusing on the needle, one might miss the haystack.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 3 Jan 2010 @ 8:05 PM

  230. Chris H says: 3 January 2010 at 4:33 PM

    My sincere apology to you. I stand as an example of the “hypersensitized”. Can anybody recommend an antihistamine?

    Given the amount of activity around the topic of climate change and the sheer number of edits etc. that are poured into the IPCC reports, I suppose it’s inevitable a few errors will creep in.

    Faced with an overwhelmingly large amount of research that converges on confirming the central phenomenon of anthropogenic climate change, I’d throw the glacier thing into the same bucket as “flawed tenure process”, “they’re just in it for the grant money”, “all data is bad” and “wow, that code is really ugly”.

    None of these trivialities separately or together are of sufficient power to sway an argument based on evidence. Pardon my sexism, but these arguments are like telling Gwyneth Paltrow she’s ugly because she’s got a run in her nylons.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 3 Jan 2010 @ 8:11 PM

  231. Geoff Wexler, MBH98 was a revolutionary application of multi-proxy techniques to temperature reconstructions. Like all pioneering efforts, which are of necessity feeling their way in the dark, there were some aspects of the analysis that were not as satisfying or rigorous. Fine, science marches on and improves on the techniques. It doesn’t diminish the importance of the original paper, which is recognized in historical context for its real contribution–a coherent application of multi-proxy techniques.

    Frankly, the fact that denialists are still attacking this paper after a dozen years merely demonstrates how little they really have to discuss. The ad hominem attacks are also more symptomatic of the extreme poverty of their position, methods and ideas. They have no evidence and no constructive ideas on how to understand the climate, so all they can do is attack their opponents.

    The one advantage the denialists have is that they are selling wishful thinking, and humans have always had an insatiable demand for that commodity. We’re offering an unpleasant truth as best science can determine it. We’ll have to see which one humanity chooses.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Jan 2010 @ 8:25 PM

  232. 200: Hank: no worries.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 3 Jan 2010 @ 8:25 PM

  233. John Pearson and Michael Tobis (176, 190, 191 etc): Good posts.

    John, good to see you here contributing. Hank is one of the most helpful persons here, so whatever he said, it was not likely meant to demean. And Hank, if John is who I think he is, he is a bright guy and his questions come from a definite scientific interest and background. The “why 30 years?” question is one I’ve wondered about too (and why I pointed to the Guttman paper).

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 3 Jan 2010 @ 8:30 PM

  234. Just can’t help myself. Here’s Monckton weighing in from his private universe, as reported in NYT “Green Inc.”:

    “The mountains shall labor, and what will be born? A stupid little mouse. Thanks to hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens who contacted their elected representatives to protest about the unelected, communistic world government with near-infinite powers of taxation, regulation and intervention that was proposed in early drafts of the Copenhagen treaty, there is no Copenhagen treaty.”

    Really? Based on what evidence does he make this claim? These representatives had operators standing by, in Denmark? Thank goodness, or we’d all be bowing under the whips of our Marxist overlords. Death panels, too.

    Rally the troops, there, m’lord. Throw enough glitter in their eyes, they’ll never notice they’re being pushed over the top armed with rubber swords.

    More here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/04/business/energy-environment/04green.html?hpw

    Also in the Times, an article on migration to Dhaka in Bangladesh:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/04/world/asia/04migrants.html?hp

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 3 Jan 2010 @ 9:16 PM

  235. Re199

    “Tim jones hasn’t read many of the posts here when he states: “branch out from preaching to the choir”.”

    Now how would you be knowing that? In fact It’s from reading a thousand or so posts in the last few days as I sit here healing from a knee replacement operation which leads me to observe some of the efforts to play blog at RC could be directed toward supporting the efforts of those on the front lines of the comment wars in other places.

    I do know Gavin is out there. I’ve seen him more than once. His presence is enormously commendable and appreciated.

    And I do recognize the “education” of denialists posting here as well as how important this blog is in educating the rest of us. I believe I was among the first to post here years ago.

    But Chris Mooney makes a point.

    My point is to question how much of the literary effort so well articulated here gets out to reinforce activists in the trenches of the popular media. The asylums as it were. I’ve tried to be civil all afternoon in various forums.

    Look at the comments to the Washington Post article I alluded to. I posted three times this afternoon. The truth of it is that we’re being wiped out by hoards of fulminating idiots. It’s going to take more than three or four of us to keep the denialist snowball from rolling over us. The point that these pawns are winning the media wars right now is well taken.

    Please check it out before you claim things about me of which you have not a clue. But in general I appreciate your comments. I’m pretty completely fed up myself.

    Silence is consent.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 3 Jan 2010 @ 9:58 PM

  236. Somewhere in the comments in the last couple of posts, there was mention of some disadvantages of the peer-reviewed process. Well, here’s a suggested improvement. :-)
    http://media.photobucket.com/image/cartoon/weirdscience_photos/PeerReviewCartoon.jpg

    Comment by Daniel J. Andrews — 3 Jan 2010 @ 10:34 PM

  237. RE # 75 and following, there may be a class of people who believe its to late to do anything. The more people amplify the predictions of what will happen the more I tend to get to the point of saying lets eat, drink, do drugs, and be merry becase we are already dead!. Having been told for all of my adult life that one way or the other we are doomed, starting with 1962 and going forward its hard not to take a view that it is hopeless. Just like if a nuclear war had come I wanted to be at ground zero of one of the bombs, (it would be the least painful way to go). Apocalypse fatigue is a real issue, and it seems to be that if you are a prophet of doom you do get media coverage, that may lead many to say (explitive deleted) it. I will just live for today.

    Comment by Lyle — 4 Jan 2010 @ 12:16 AM

  238. I hope this is the appropriate place to pose this query, but I was confronted with a novel (to me, anyway) skeptic argument today and not entirely satisfied with my response. The argument:

    “What most people don’t understand is that CO2 is more dense than air so stays near to and even sinks into the ground.
    If this wasn’t so then plants would suffocate & there wouldn’t be any land based life at all.

    If CO2 levels had increased to a level to make ANY major impact on global warming people who live in valleys would suffocate as it would force out the O2″

    My response was to document the vast difference between toxic (50,000 ppm) and the current atmospheric levels (over 380 ppm) of CO2 that are already forcing warmer temps, with citations to support that much, but I couldn’t easily find data documenting any differences in CO2 between ground level and various altitudes. I did find reference to CO2 tending to fall through the atmosphere, and that air movement serves to keep it dispersed, but as asides rather than direct research. I also asserted that if what he said were true, coal power plant workers would be at great risk.

    This was a new one on me, and I was left feeling a more convincing response was out there than the one I gave. I’m not a scientist, but have followed the AGW issue closely over the years, and between that, a math degree, a handful of college science courses and a good grasp of logic and common sense usually do all right in such disputes.

    Any help with this one would be greatly appreciated.

    Comment by Dave Bassage — 4 Jan 2010 @ 12:34 AM

  239. Back to Knorr.
    When looking at past trends, there is often a human tendency to assume the trends continue, and after all, that’s often a good bet. Of course, some kinds of trends suddenly hit inflection points due to various limits. For example: Moore’s Law is really about increasing number of transistors/die, and it still works for a while. But for a long time, smaller transistors meant faster switching speeds, thus higher clock rates. But, that hit a limit, and clock rates have stalled.

    SO: suppose airborne fraction = f(total CO2 in atmosphere, other factors), and the Knorr paper says that f = ~constant. What’s the current state of having any idea when there might be an inflection point, i.e., where fraction might start rising after total CO2 hits some level? I know inflections are hard to predict, especially when they get into new domains. Actually, maybe a nice essay would pull together a good list of “inflection points we worry about and what we know?”

    Comment by John Mashey — 4 Jan 2010 @ 1:45 AM

  240. An unforced variation: I have a BS in physics and some grad school, but RC still snows me sometimes. I am willing to trust the professors. Others do the opposite. Would it be better for RC if I said: “Show me more steps” more often? The problem is often statistics that is beyond what is taught in undergrad school. It is not possible to teach statistics in any simple or easy way. “There is no royal road to mathematics.” Could we discuss this rather than whether or not RC people could get jobs in the State Department? They applied for jobs as scientists. They never said they were diplomats.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 4 Jan 2010 @ 3:47 AM

  241. Chris H. #213, I see you took the source checking further than I had (thanks for the links).

    Any plans for an RC (guest) post on Himalayan glacier retreat…? Important topic, quite aside from the questions over p. 493.

    Comment by CM — 4 Jan 2010 @ 4:24 AM

  242. hey folks, I am keen to see you discuss the current extreme winter in northern hemisphere.

    Comment by Jimi Bostock — 4 Jan 2010 @ 4:51 AM

  243. The issue of internet-spread denialism has reached epidemic proportions today and affects anyone who seeks to be well-informed. One possible solution to the problem of memetic infections has been proposed by sci-fi author Neal Stephenson.

    In his novel Anathem, Neal Stephenson explains the problem and envisions a solution and implements it on an alien, though still human, world:

    Anyone can post information on any topic. The vast majority of what’s on the [Internet] is, therefore, crap. It has to be filtered… When I look at [an esoteric topic] I don’t just see information about that topic. I see meta-information … the filtering system tells me that only a few sources have provided information about this and that they are mostly of high repute… If I look up the name of a popular music star who just broke up with her boyfriend… the filtering system tells me that a vast amount of data has been posted on this topic recently, mostly of very low repute.

    – Neal Stephenson, Anathem, p. 407

    Lots of commenting engines have reputation scores, but they are extremely subjective. A person who spreads disinformation in a denialist forum can have an extremely high reputation, that’s the nature of the echo chamber. I’m frankly drawing a blank on ideas to implement it without forcing everyone to have their own personal, permanent IP address, destroying the internet as we know it.

    Lots of bright young chaps here, it seems; any ideas from them?

    Comment by Proper Gander — 4 Jan 2010 @ 5:29 AM

  244. hi folks. Well, I have been taking a break and have just come back in to check on the ‘competition’. Yes, I am one of the so called deniers but I am also not averse to the discussion continuing.

    I really think that you do have some issues here and that I am sure that you should consider some radical rethinking.

    Generally one gets a tone from these forums that is based on a flat out denial that there is any evidence againts AGW. Folks, that is just nonsense and please, before you start yelling, please let me explain.

    It is just impossible that there is absolutely no evidence contrary to your group opinion. There just is. Whether that is completely credible is something that we can all argue about but the blunt ‘there is none’ statement is really where you are starting to lose the game.

    It also is contrary to what is seen in the CRU emails, no matter how hard you want to deny. There is arguement and debate in them. To say there is not, well that is just denial.

    And then, as many have pointed out on this forum, some of you folks are just plain rude. as simple as that. I am sure that a newbie to the whole CC issue would be quickly put off by the tone found here.

    I would suggest that some of you really take a long hard look at what you are doing for your cause. Humans just don;t take kindly to the pompous and defiant. You are doing yourselves a disservice.

    The other thing that I am noticing out in teh real world, as oppossed to teh rarified air here or on the denier blogs, is that people are asking questions about things like why it is so cold in the northern winter when they think they were told that it would be warmer.

    Heck, even I ask that question and I am a denier. Even I am shocked.

    So, come on folks, what is the answer as best as you know. Why do predictions keep not coming true. Why is it so cold.

    In the end, you are wrong to just want to the debate to go away and people like me to shut up. You are wrong to say that I am just being willfully ignorant. I am not. I am confronted with many things that make me skeptical.

    I say you should start gathering evidence of actual things happening. You should provide people with some serious “we said this and it is happening”, plain english, note qaunt science jargon that always ends in a “so there!”

    You babble and vitrioul is boring and I do want you to convince me and if you turn around as say that I don’t, then I know that you are just being an idealouge, not scientists.

    Comment by Jimi Bostock — 4 Jan 2010 @ 5:39 AM

  245. JEP, you’re getting there, but this: ““You’re an idiot and your question is stupid” is unlikely to sway them.” isn’t what’s being done.

    That is an ad hom.

    What’s being done (and you’ve done it yourself wrt that post) is saying “your statements are idiotic and so you’re an idiot we will ignore”.

    This is an inference.

    We don’t KNOW he’s an idiot. Or a troll. Or even insincere. But we can infer that he is from his “arguments”.

    The whole quacking duck thing again.

    PS if you really want to help, see if you can come up (along with all the others who have posted deer-in-headlights queries) with a way to answer the 1,001 repeats of “I was just hearing from a friend… BLAH CONTRARIAN POSITION BLAH” that doesn’t require repeated manual intervention and doesn’t leave it open to “so you don’t have an answer, then? So they must be right”.

    The “Start Here” tag doesn’t seem to be working.

    So confab and find out what will.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Jan 2010 @ 6:04 AM

  246. Kirk @ 196:
    No matter how much research and data you come up with the fact will remain is that no one realy knows.
    So you don’t think anybody knows any scientific result?
    If not by science, by what means do you think people do acquire knowledge?

    Comment by Nick Barnes — 4 Jan 2010 @ 7:10 AM

  247. #244 Jimi

    Regarding the recent cold weather, it is just weather. A couple or even a lot of cold winters doesn’t disprove anything. And vice versa, a lot of warm winters doesn’t prove anything either. We need to look at long term trends which has been significantly up over 30 years or so but somewhat flat in trend line for the last 10. Even so, some of the warmest global temperatures in recent Earth history have been in the last 10 years.

    The real question to me is whether the last 10 years of flat trend-line but warm temperatures is really an part of variation above the trend line or below it if the trend line could be extended for another 50 years or so into the future? The consensus here at RC is that we are running below the trend line and warming sooner or later will resume with a vengeance. The opposing view that we have been above the trend line or, in the most extreme, there is no long term upward trend but instead a natural variation up and then down.

    Comment by Jim Cross — 4 Jan 2010 @ 7:46 AM

  248. Jimi likes talking in third person form. It enhances his personal gravitas: “Generally one gets a tone from these forums that is based on a flat out denial that there is any evidence againts AGW”

    One would, if one were open-minded, get the tone that there is flat-out denial that denialists (like yourself, Jimi) have produced any evidence against AGW.

    A rather important difference.

    One that could be undone by the production of evidence and proof of that evidence against AGW.

    Rise to the challenge, Oh Magnificent One.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Jan 2010 @ 7:50 AM

  249. “So, come on folks, what is the answer as best as you know. Why do predictions keep not coming true. Why is it so cold.”

    Because it’s winter.

    Winter in temperate or polar zones is colder than summer.

    If that’s not what you meant, then define your terms scientifically.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Jan 2010 @ 7:51 AM

  250. Jimi Bostock, c/o the real world, writes: “people are asking questions about things like why it is so cold in the northern winter when they think they were told that it would be warmer.”

    Well, it is: “Surface temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere have warmed during winter months up to 9 degrees Fahrenheit over the last three decades, over 10 times more than the global annual average 0.7 degree Fahrenheit” (NASA, 2001)

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/view.php?id=21597

    They said it.
    It came true.
    So there.

    Comment by CM — 4 Jan 2010 @ 7:56 AM

  251. Tim Jones says ““Tim jones hasn’t read many of the posts here when he states: “branch out from preaching to the choir”.”

    Now how would you be knowing that?”

    Because there is most DEFINITELY NOT “the choir” here.

    1) Many posts flat out state that Gavin et al are part of a global conspiracy in order to bring in the bennies.
    2) This is the internet. Plenty of people on other newsgroups state just what #1 do

    So in so far as the recipients of the word, the choir includes everyone. The only way to avoid preaching to everyone is to shut up.

    Is that what you’re demanding?

    If I state that 2×2 = 4 is that preaching to the choir because so many people would agree that’s true?

    This is what you seem to think, based on how you consider this site to operate.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Jan 2010 @ 8:04 AM

  252. “My response was to document the vast difference between toxic (50,000 ppm) and the current atmospheric levels (over 380 ppm) ”

    Toxic effects occur at 1000ppm. Heck, there’s reduced operation of human organisms below 700ppm.

    You just don’t drop dead immediately unless it’s thousands of ppm.

    Fail.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Jan 2010 @ 8:06 AM

  253. Jimi Bostock what hemispheric cold? From http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_07a.rnl.html
    it looks like rather the planet is sending more of the Canadian and Arctic Ocean cold down than usual. The reason for That is of interest to me too, could be climate, could be weather, if I would be asked (and trusted on this matter, and luckily there are forums in the net to opinionate :-)).

    Comment by jyyh — 4 Jan 2010 @ 8:07 AM

  254. PS the problem with “CO2 is more dense and sinks to the ground” is that the air doesn’t stratify out like that.

    400/1,000,000 x 11km makes 4.4m of CO2.

    If the air distilled like that, we’d all suffocate.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Jan 2010 @ 8:08 AM

  255. PS tim, what would you say to this site:

    http://blackswhitewash.com

    made up expressly to vilify a reporter because he doesn’t report what they want to hold up as the truth.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Jan 2010 @ 8:36 AM

  256. Dave Bassage, the topic of how we know that CO2 is well mixed in the atmosphere has been discussed in the comments sections in two threads at Skeptical Science the past couple days, starting with a question by Theo on one thread with augmentation on another thread.

    Comment by Tom Dayton — 4 Jan 2010 @ 9:04 AM

  257. First of all just want to clarify that I am not to be confused with any other ‘Matthew’ here – it is just a rather common first name!

    I am gradually getting a handle on this debate and am beginning to form a (hopefully) rational view of my own.

    After reading a lot of stuff here, and elsewhere, it is clear that
    – the globe is warming
    – that warming is having adverse effects on our environment – particularly the cryosphere
    – human CO2 emissions are probably (i.e. more likely than not) a major contributor to that warming.

    The current state of climate science and modelling shows that the climate is sensitive to increased levels of CO2 with a positive feedback balance. Scientists are right to point out the overwhelming weight of evidence to date for AGW.

    However I think they miss a major point in that in a ‘predictive’ science such as climate modelling (or economics) just because the knowledge acquired to date all tends towards one conclusion does not necessarily make that conclusion correct. In fact, in something as hugely complex as climate science, it is probably reasonable to assume that there are many things we simply do not know and have not even thought of yet – one or more of which may be a real ‘biggie’.

    Already we are aware of some ‘known unknowns’ such as the sign of cloud feedback and the effect of cosmic rays. The problem for climate science is that these are both potential ‘biggies’ against current predictions. Water vapour is the strongest greenhouse gas but low level cloud has a big negative (albedo related) effect. Current models assume relative humidity is stable as temperatures increase but empirical evidence is showing it reduces. Why? Could it be that humidity is reducing because more condensation (cloud) is being generated than predicted? More cloud would mean a higher albedo effect than predicted. Reduced relative humidity means there is less water vapour than predicted in the atmosphere as temperatures rise. Both more cloud and reduced water vapour reduce the positive feedback effect from CO2 rise and may even send it negative.

    CERN is currently doing tests on the effect of cosmic rays which may point to a role in cloud formation which might explain some of the recent warming (during higher solar activity) and may lead to a reduced positive feedback balance.

    Until climate science has pinned down at least these major issues is it really safe to hitch our entire economic and political system to an attempt to reduce CO2?

    In addition there are likely to be a lot of ‘unknown unknowns’. And I would suggest it would be rather rash for any scientist to pin his/her reputation on the current state of knowledge being correct with 90% certainty.

    As well as some concerns over the current perception of climate science, I also think the whole international attempt to reduce CO2 emissions is doomed to failure. Whatever we do, short of a war, we are not going to be able to stop China and India and their neighbours growing fast and increasing their CO2 outputs far faster than we can reduce output. Their undertaking to reduce ‘energy density’ is laughable. We can only cross our fingers and hope that China at some point gets the message and decides to co-operate. We don’t have international Government, and until we do, our best strategy would be to try and mitigate the effects of climate change (as well as sensible fossil fuel reduction policies of our own of course).

    Being an older guy I have seen many environmental and energy crises come and go I am naturally sceptical of political bandwagons hitched to the back of scientific arguments. The politicians have a lot of whips and carrots they can use to send the scientists where they want them to go – please don’t be led!

    Politicians and Kings like consensus, they don’t like sceptics and ‘turbulent priests’. The problem is that the ratio of village idiots to turbulent priests (true sceptical scientists) at the moment probably runs at a ratio of about 100,000:1 or greater – and it is all too easy to tar the latter with the same brush as the former.

    My final point (you will be glad to read!) is the fact that all the hullabaloo over CO2 is diverting our attention from some real environmental disasters happening now with absolute 100% certainty that we can actually do something about without changing the entire world economic system:
    – deforestation and all the myriad disasters that causes (landslips, water run-off, species extinction, bio-diversity destruction etc)
    – over-intensive agriculture on marginal land causing desertification
    – water over-extraction, dry rivers, ground water salination, water wars
    – over-population and poverty
    – fisheries destruction
    – big game poaching

    …to name but a few.

    I know the latter point is not really what this site is about, but does anybody in the Real Climate community share any or all of these concerns?

    Comment by Matthew L. — 4 Jan 2010 @ 9:12 AM

  258. #243 Proper Ganda

    How about Google Scholar? It has some anti-bodies against memetic infections.

    It also sometimes finds articles in Realclimate.

    Occasionally useful is to create a filter by adding the words “Google Scholar” to a search string in Google.

    But seriously you highlight a major problem. The internet is a major amplifier of garbage and it can be bought by the richest bidders.

    However it is not only the internet. I have been into the local bookshop and seen piles of the latest denialist books as against only one or so of the more serious science. I even asked for a book which had been well reviewed here, and was told that the bookshop had no plans to hold it. I then went to look for more reviews and found that it had also been well reviewed on the central web site for that chain of bookshops. Another phone call , no change of policy. Then there is the UK press; the Daily Express has recently carried an article entitled 200 things wrong with the science of global warming (or similar); they can now been added to the Mail and Telegraphs.

    I notice that you take the opposite position from that of #225, but because of the internet and other examples such as the above, I tend to veer more towards your view. It matters a lot what the general public thinks.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 4 Jan 2010 @ 9:13 AM

  259. The rise in atmospheric CO2 is so slow and the human organism’s biochemistry is so very adaptable, we have nothing to fear on the respiratory front. Climatic effects may be another thing……….

    Comment by Bill — 4 Jan 2010 @ 9:18 AM

  260. Matthew L. says, “And I would suggest it would be rather rash for any scientist to pin his/her reputation on the current state of knowledge being correct with 90% certainty.”

    And I would suggest that you understanding of the current state of knowledge is very incomplete. Yes, clouds remain a big uncertainty. So do aerosols. However, we know with a high degree of confidence that CO2 sensitivity is between 2.1 and 4.5 degrees per doubling, with a most likely value of 3 degrees per doubling. That is constrained by over 10 independent lines of evidence–all of which favor a value around 3 degrees per doubling. What is more, if the most likely value is wrong, it is most likely to be too low rather than too high.

    We also know that the current warming epoch looks just like what we would expect from a greenhouse mechanism–including tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling.

    The greenhouse effect has been known since 1824. That anthropogenic greenhouse gasses ought to warm the globe was predicted in 1896.

    And on and on. In short, climate science is actually a mature science, with a theory of Earth’s climate that has a long list of successful predictions to its credit as well as very strong explanatory capability. In contrast, your suggested alternative of GCR modulation of clouds is flawed for several reasons–GCR fluxes did not increase after 1950 to the present (modula solar-cycle variations), the mechanism for GCR resulting in cloud-condensation nuclei is murky at best, and it is not clear that there is ever a shortage of CCN in any case. Most important though, such a mechanism would not negate what we already know about the role of CO2 in Earth’s climate, which is constrained by mountains of paleoclimate and current data.

    Finally, your casual dismissal of scientific consensus demonstrates a deep ignorance of how science actually works. Consensus does not concern opinions of individuals as it does utility of ideas, techniques and theories. When an idea, technique or theory becomes so indispensible to understanding the world that nearly all authors use or assume it in their work, we have consensus. By any measure, the importance of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses has achieved such a position. The power of consensus is demonstrated not just by the many papers published that support the consensus, but also by the dearth of publications (especially influential ones) from those few scientists who dissent from the consensus.

    Science works. Deal with it.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Jan 2010 @ 10:10 AM

  261. Jimi@244

    “Generally one gets a tone”

    Your concern with style is noted. Got any substance?

    “It is just impossible that there is absolutely no evidence contrary to your group opinion. There just is.”

    And yet your post is remarkably free of evidence.

    “You should provide people with some serious “we said this and it is happening”, plain english,”

    Come on. Admit it. You didn’t come here to learn what scientists think. If you were paying attention, you’d know that what you said just isn’t true. You came here to give them uppity egg-head scientificals what for. Either that or you’re a POE.

    “some of you folks are just plain rude.”

    Some. Not so much in this forum. Except for people who say things like “You babble and vitrioul is boring.” Oh wait. That was you.

    “so cold in the northern winter”

    This has been discussed over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over…

    Climate isn’t weather. And do you wonder that people get angry with you?

    Comment by Radge Havers — 4 Jan 2010 @ 10:17 AM

  262. > we have nothing to fear

    “What did you mean “we” grandfather? Wheeze …..”

    Look this stuff up before you make statements that resemble facts, and you’ll get more accurate over time. Yes, if you have no descendants, the narrowly construed “we” that means “you” has nothing to fear.

    Indoor CO2 levels in any sizeable occupied building are always markedly higher than outdoor CO2 levels.
    http://www.google.com/search?q=co2+levels+indoor+outdoor

    See the problem?
    Got grandchildren?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Jan 2010 @ 10:39 AM

  263. Bill, wrong.

    How long will it take for the physiological problems to be abated by a genetic change in human respiration? a few thousand generations?

    If we burned all the coal and oil and captured the methane to burn too, what PPM would we have? How long would that take?

    Current estimates would have 400 years to reach 1000ppm where we have physiological problems.

    less than a hundred generations.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Jan 2010 @ 10:42 AM

  264. Jimi,

    The reason I didn’t come out and say that the global temperature for November 2009 proves climate change is happening is because one months numbers don’t prove anything. November 2009 is the warmest November in the global instrumental record series see here: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/.

    Or how about the data for the Central England Temperature, the longest instrumental time series there is. From 1659 to present day. If the ranking is 1 for the coldest month or year, and 352 is the warmest. Then December 2009 is ranked as 99 and November 2009 is ranked as 345. This doesn’t prove anything either. It is short term temporal noise in the climate system just like having December 2009 being quite cold. See here: http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcet/data/download.html

    But if you want interesting information in relation to the number of records broken, hot or cold then see http://scienceblogs.com/islandofdoubt/2009/11/record_high_and_low_temps_an_i.php for information about the US.

    Kevin

    Comment by Kevin — 4 Jan 2010 @ 10:43 AM

  265. Matthew L. wrote: “… all the hullabaloo over CO2 is diverting our attention from some real environmental disasters happening now …”

    Global warming and consequent climate change driven by anthropogenic CO2 emissions is a “real environmental disaster happening now.” If you don’t understand that, you are not paying attention.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 4 Jan 2010 @ 10:45 AM

  266. “– human CO2 emissions are probably (i.e. more likely than not) a major contributor to that warming.”

    Nope, it’s 100% certain.

    Nothing we know works without including human emissions in the mix.

    At the very best, it may be the biggest, but not majority contributor (<50% caused). But nothing else can work with any form of tweaking.

    "Politicians and Kings like consensus, they don’t like sceptics and ‘turbulent priests’."

    Wrong. They LOVE skeptics if the alternative is making a change that doesn't help their payers. If actions otherwise taken would reduce the concentrated power.

    They LOVE that.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Jan 2010 @ 10:46 AM

  267. Matthew L. #257, is it really safe to gamble that the known and unknown unknowns will tend in the direction of saving our bacon from the threats we know about?

    Comment by CM — 4 Jan 2010 @ 10:47 AM

  268. #242 Jimi Bostock

    Generally it’s called weather.

    However, to address your winter topic:

    - with global warming comes warming oceans,
    - with warming oceans comes more water evaporation,
    - with more evaporation comes more precipitation,
    - which of course results in more rain and snowfall.

    Here are some extreme earth maps for you:

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/climate-extremes

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 4 Jan 2010 @ 11:06 AM

  269. #244

    What your referring to as evidence against AGW are actually claims.

    I can say your not human, but is that evidence that you are not human? Evidence needs slightly more substance than you might think.

    As to your other points:

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

    Rude? People here are not that rude really. Direct, sure. Attacking the lack of evidence and argument sure. But what is more rude. The presentation of evidence to refute claims or the assertion that claims are evidence?

    Cold in winter? generally because the sun places more solar energy on the southern hemisphere in the winter.

    It is important to look at the big picture and short term events are still considered int eh realm of weather or natural variability.

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

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

    As to “Why do predictions keep not coming true. Why is it so cold.”? You are not looking at the observations, are you?

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/arctic-polar-amplification-effect

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 4 Jan 2010 @ 11:17 AM

  270. “Not sure how this [is] ammunition for ‘deniers’ – CO2 from anthropogenic activities is still building up in the atmosphere at an increasing rate.”

    Because if the oceans are still happily absorbing a lot of CO2 then there is no danger of a “tipping point” due to saturation being reached where sudden dramatic change in climate is a possibility.

    Thus humankind can go on for the next 50 years just as it has for the last 50 years with a “wait and see” attitude, expecting only slow change in climate which can readily be adapted to.

    The science doesn’t depend on tipping points – but the politics does.

    Comment by Ryan — 4 Jan 2010 @ 11:49 AM

  271. Fed up wrote: “JEP, you’re getting there, but this: ““You’re an idiot and your question is stupid” is unlikely to sway them.” isn’t what’s being done.”

    It has been done and it’s been done to me with varying degrees of hostility in the attack. I’ve seen it done to others. It stifles communication. If I ask a question I shouldn’t have to add 5 pages of qualifiers explaining that I’m not a denialist in order to receive a civil answer. Is it bad to wonder out loud what will happen to the biological pump if the artic ocean thaws? Does that make me a denialist? (To someone like me who is largely ignorant of the functioning of the pump the question does have an obvious implication that there might be one positive aspect to thawing the arctic ocean if the pump were to function up there. I have no idea what the relevant rates are likely to be.) I had hoped some knowledgeable person might say something interesting. Instead I was told I shouldn’t ask such questions. (I wasn’t insulted in that particular instance but the attitude was there.) No real scientist can believe that such an attitude is good for science.

    One more thing: There is a huge difference between someone asking a question once that others have asked many times and the same person asking the same question over and over and over and refusing to acknowledge the answer.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 4 Jan 2010 @ 12:00 PM

  272. 225: Re the claim that denialists now have momentum. I don’t think they do and they have never been very important. My take on AGW and policy responses to it are that by the mid 1990s the science consensus was settled,

    I think you’re right about the science having been more or less settled by the mid 90s. But I don’t agree that the denialists have ever been important. I sat in a scientific review meeting in 1995 or early 1996. There was a program officer from D.C. listening to people explain what they’d done with the money the grant money they’d spent over the past year or two. One guy had done what I thought was brilliant work on ocean modeling. He’d more or less single handedly programmed an ocean circulation model and got it up and running on the big iron of the day (probably the CM-5) and was starting to generate interesting results. In fact the program he started still exists today. But back in 1995 the program officer told him that he could present his results or not but that either way his funding was going to be cut off. The political reasons for this are fairly obvious. At the time people like Dana Rohrbacker were running around saying things like “Global warming is liberal hysteria at best and outright fraud at worst.” Rohrbacker and his ilk had (still have??) considerable clout.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 4 Jan 2010 @ 12:13 PM

  273. Re 261

    Well excuuuuse me! You’ve flown off the handle quibbling over a word. You’re exhibiting a complete misperception of my intent.

    Did you read the Chris Mooney article?

    I was merely echoing a suggestion – that some of the preponderance of expert amateurs as well as professional climate scientists who provide much of the invaluable commentary as well as airhead deflation take a few minutes to engage with the conservative mob out there and at least help set the record straight in the popular press. I’ll withdraw the “choir” metaphor since my meaning eludes you.

    In the spirit of Chris Mooney’s suggestion:
    “On issues like global warming and evolution, scientists need to speak up”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/31/AR2009123101155_pf.html

    Or would that be too unsafe for you over at the Washington Post?

    BTW, I’ve had pages of climate change links to publications and other resources up on my website since 2003.

    http://www.groundtruthinvestigations.com/climate_change.html
    I’m finding your tone to be offensive and divisive. Sorry I’m not freaking PC enough for you. You can have the last bark.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 4 Jan 2010 @ 12:21 PM

  274. David, 217.

    I tried Tamino’s two box model with a 1-year and 10-year lag with the instrumental temperature record (concurrent with adjusting for volcanism, anthropogenic forcing, ENSO), and I got more weight on the 10-year exponential lag. About a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio, if I remember correctly. As with most variable, wouldn’t there be a longer term lag due to the time it takes for the oceans to reach an equillibrium response?

    At any rate, even with the 10-year lag, the solar contribution to climate peaked in 1981, and is roughly 0.07C cooler in 2009 relative to 1998. 2009 isn’t the second warmest year (or possibly third depending on December) on record because of the Sun. It is warm in spite of the Sun.

    Comment by Todd Friesen — 4 Jan 2010 @ 12:38 PM

  275. 257 Mathew L

    Current models assume relative humidity is stable as temperatures increase but empirical evidence is showing it reduces.

    If you are interested in that topic why not try BPL’s collection here?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/cru-hack-more-context/comment-page-9/#comment-147201

    and for “may even send it negative.

    you should read Chris Colose at

    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2009/03/05/what-if-relative-humidity-was-not-constant/

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 4 Jan 2010 @ 12:39 PM

  276. Does anyone have any idea why ScienceDaily issued two different articles on the Knorr findings? One on November 11, another in December. Different articles, referencing the same Knorr article (I even checked the DOI).

    Comment by Steve Runge — 4 Jan 2010 @ 12:50 PM

  277. Completely Fed Up says:
    4 January 2010 at 8:36 AM
    “PS tim, what would you say to this site:”

    I was approaching the Antarctic Peninsula on a ship last year about this time with a Canadian expedition leader and climate change denialist. When he showed the movie “The Great Global Warming Swindle” to a captive audience on a stormy day at sea I walked out remarking “I feel like the bastards are taking a piss in my head.”

    Pretty much my view regarding http://blackswhitewash.com/.

    There is a massive, well funded conspiracy being perpetrated by fossil fuel interests to subvert climate change legislation. The stolen emails were timed and orchestrated to cast doubt on climate science as the Copenhagen talks began. These are ruthless, dangerous people. More of us need to speak out to counter the conservative mob echoing their message in every venue they can find.

    The problem is that way too many influential folks are persuaded the denialists are right. It’s a clever anti-science campaign. People are believers. They buy what makes them comfortable. I wouldn’t underestimate the enemy in their ability to gratify “consumers” and persuade them to hang onto high carbon lifestyles for dear life.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 4 Jan 2010 @ 1:04 PM

  278. Thanx Ray.

    Thinking a bit further – snow absorbs CO2 as it forms, falls to the earth, let’s say at the antarctic, over time compresses and becomes ice, thus trapping the CO2 content. Can this new ice absorb/release CO2?

    Comment by Leo G — 4 Jan 2010 @ 1:17 PM

  279. Steve, see if they mention a source for the articles.
    Usually Science Daily is just reprinting press releases.

    I recall a publication with three authors — each from a different university. The first university rushed out an incorrect press release within days; the third one, home of the senior author, sent out a good press release after a week. The bad one got all the press. Might be a similar situation here, different authors, different PR departments.

    Just guessing.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Jan 2010 @ 1:34 PM

  280. JEP: “It stifles communication.”

    Communication requires some INFORMATION to be passed around.

    most of the time there’s no information in the questions. Just sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    Just like when your five year old keeps asking “why?” when you answer a question.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Jan 2010 @ 1:38 PM

  281. Communication is also two-way, if a response is going to be sent.

    But note the number of zombie questions.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Jan 2010 @ 1:40 PM

  282. Dave Bassage asks about this claim: What most people don’t understand is that CO2 is more dense than air so stays near to and even sinks into the ground. If this wasn’t so then plants would suffocate & there wouldn’t be any land based life at all.

    Whoever makes this claim has seriously misunderstood the basic mechanics of gases. You may want to point them to references on Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics and partial pressures.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 4 Jan 2010 @ 1:55 PM

  283. re#263.
    Dont panic. We have already adapted to 388 from ….approx 250 or so, and we are healthier now, for lots of reasons. No need for alarm for health reasons,

    Comment by Bill — 4 Jan 2010 @ 2:05 PM

  284. #275 – Geoff Wexler

    Thanks for those, very useful. I have read a couple of the BPL cited papers – he is a very useful source. I don’t dispute at all that water vapour increase is a positive feedback, however the key phrase in Chris Colose’s post is:
    “So, if RH were actually declining, it could simply be that the water vapor feedback is positive but less powerful than the mainstream science suggests”.

    The total positive feedback budget in the models used by ‘mainstream science’ is what drives the increase in temperatures predicted over the next 90 years. If the overall positive feedback from water vapour is lower than previously thought, and a negative feedback becomes apparent (such as a negative temperature effect from increased cloud) then a significant element of the presumed warming over the next century may not happen.

    I would stress my concern is not that the science is somehow wrongly done, but that our picture of the ‘engine’ driving the climate is incomplete and therefore the outcomes from the models maybe significantly more uncertain than current models show.

    I question whether it is worth going to (metaphorical) war over the single issue of CO2 when there are much more current, certain and devastating problems that need tackling. We may reduce global emmissions of CO2 but while our backs are turned the fish have all gone, the forests burnt to dust, all the big primates dead and the rivers sucked dry. These are often cited as consequences of AGW, but actually they are the consequences of direct human action. They would happen whether global temperatures rise or fall.

    Comment by Matthew L. — 4 Jan 2010 @ 2:18 PM

  285. For those paranoid about the choir and the consensus (as I can be at times) could someone point us to examples of robust disagreements and challenges at some time in the past among the current choir members and how those disagreements were/have been resolved? I belabor, yet again, the obvious fact that the amount of data, proxies, etc. is overwhelming, especially when one can look at 50 years or 50 million years. And even more overwhelming is what has been done with and to the data.

    The greatest fear out there among reasonable people is that this much-tweaked data got nudgeded consistently in ways which always eventually confirmed, or at a minimum never negated the thrust of AGW assertions.

    It is discouraging that even what should be a simple assertion about whether the weather has warmed, cooled, or stayed the same for the last ten years is clouded. Ask that question; The responses? “You idiot, it has obviously: A. warmed B. stayed the same C. Cooled D. It is too soon to say because it is only 10 years E. Don’t forget that you really are an idiot, dupe, or ideologue because you have not already decided (which can be said with gusto by either side, although I will grant that the blather of the right is LOUDER, for sure).

    But hey, it’s the internet where “robust” conversations happen all the time, right?

    Comment by Dwight — 4 Jan 2010 @ 2:21 PM

  286. Matthew L. says: 4 January 2010 at 9:12 AM

    “Being an older guy I have seen many environmental and energy crises come and go…”

    Matthew, can you quickly name five environmental crises that were identified by scrupulous research and which then went away all by themselves?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Jan 2010 @ 2:49 PM

  287. #260 Ray,
    I think you are over-reacting a touch. I am not dismissing any science, just suggesting that there is plenty of room for new discoveries.

    Just because a science is ‘mature’ does not make it ‘complete’. With Newton’s help astronomy and astrophysics were very mature before Einstein came along and turned it all upside down. There is still plenty of room in climate science for big shocks, paradigm reversals and major discoveries. I am not saying there necessarily will be any shocks, but to say with any certainty that there won’t be any is a bold call in such a massive and complicated scientific field.

    You state that the greenhouse gas theory has been known since 1824 yet 186 years later we still do not know the effect on the greenhouse effect of the most obvious feature of our climate and weather – the clouds. And it is not just the clouds – what about the PDO, NAO, ENSO? Do we know really know everything there is to know about ocean currents and their effect on global warming?

    What you are stating is that the models and constraints are mature and well tested, but that is assuming we know all we need to know about the underlying mechanisms driving climate.

    You really say it all in your first paragraph. “Yes, clouds remain a big uncertainty. So do aerosols.”

    Quite – and there are the unknown unknowns as well. That is my point.

    Comment by Matthew L. — 4 Jan 2010 @ 2:53 PM

  288. Ryan (#270) said:

    Because if the oceans are still happily absorbing a lot of CO2 then there is no danger of a “tipping point” due to saturation being reached where sudden dramatic change in climate is a possibility.

    Talk about famous last words. What do you think “tipping point” means? If your cup is still happily filling up with coffee does that mean it will never brim over? Think.

    (That’s just a comment on the logic of tipping points in general. It is not to say we’ll reach a tipping point in ocean CO2 uptake as if the “cup” metaphor applied. On the contrary I believe a gradual slowdown is expected.)

    Comment by CM — 4 Jan 2010 @ 2:57 PM

  289. Leo G., Gas transport in ice is slow but nonzero. This is why ice cores are able to give us a picture of temperature and CO2 going back ~600000-800000 years.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Jan 2010 @ 3:11 PM

  290. Todd Friesen (274) — Tamino makes the point that a 30 year characteristic time agrees quite well with ModelE; that is presumably the characteristic time to affect the whole mixed layer ocean. So now we have quite a puzzle. Various studies indicate that the response to the solar sunspot cycle is in the range 3/4 to 2 years; Tung and co-workers suggest less than 1 year is most likely.

    The effects noticed in Usoskin et al. ought, IMO, be quite small but I don’t see anything wrong with their correlation analysis. Try a two box model with characteristic times of 10 and 30 years and then a three box model with characteristic times of 1, 10 and 30 years. Do either of these do better than Tamino’s and your 1 and 10 year model, and if so, is the improvement statistically significant?

    Comment by David B. Benson — 4 Jan 2010 @ 3:14 PM

  291. Dwight (285) — You’ll find various disagreements mentioned in “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart, first link in the science section of the sidebar.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 4 Jan 2010 @ 3:16 PM

  292. Matthew L., What you are ignoring is all the different lines of evidence that show us that CO2 sensitivity is more than 2.1 degrees per doubling and most likely 3 degrees per doubling. Now why would you be ignoring that. The damage that could result from climate change could negate any progress we make on any of the other issues you raise. At present it is the only issue that poses an imminent threat (~100 year timeframe) to the continued viability of human civilization. I consider that worth fighting for.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Jan 2010 @ 3:16 PM

  293. Bill, it’s not solely _your_ health that matters, and not only mammalian respiration. Adaptation is wishful thinking.
    http://www.int-res.com/articles/theme/m373p285.pdf

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Jan 2010 @ 3:27 PM

  294. Dwight asks: could someone point us to examples of robust disagreements and challenges at some time in the past among the current choir members and how those disagreements were/have been resolved?

    Serendipitously, we have Gavin’s new post, The carbon dioxide theory of Gilbert Plass, which fits the bill nicely.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 4 Jan 2010 @ 3:33 PM

  295. Dave Bassage @238, your “skeptic” has either never learned anything about how the atmosphere works or is hoping that you haven’t. You might suggest that he read up on temperature-driven convection and pressure gradient driven wind and turbulence as they are what insure that CO2 is a well mixed gas throughout the atmosphere.

    That said, his example of people who live in valleys suffocating does in fact rarely happen in instances of still air and temperture. Try googling Lake Nyos, Cameroon:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Nyos

    Comment by Jim Eager — 4 Jan 2010 @ 3:35 PM

  296. Gavin, might I suggest a post called ‘Arguing in the noise while drowning in the signal.’ or something to that effect.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 4 Jan 2010 @ 3:42 PM

  297. To those worried about the tone of this debate: yes, it’s true. Supporters of the Anthropogenic explanation of climate change can be testy at times when arguing, especially on the internet. But you have to keep in mind the company you’re in.

    We don’t and shouldn’t claim to be omniscient or sinless, but for the most part, such reasoned commentary as you see here comes from people who are keen to understand the problem and its consequences. I can’t speak for others, but I’ve found that once you get down to it, that the consequences are frankly terrifying.

    The way in which the arguments unfold is a testament to the anonymous and democratic nature of the internet. An intelligent eleven-year-old in Tulsa can post something inspired by his father’s latest rant against the “elitist scientists and their crazy theories” and reach a hundred million people. A marine biologist can talk about his latest research on the effects of ocean acidification on coral reefs and reach just as many. The vast majority of people reading might find the the eleven-year-old’s commentary is funny, cogent, something that they can connect to. The marine biologist’s piece, however, is boring, depressing, perhaps incomprehensible to most people.

    I’ve found that writing thousand-word posts in response to the most vocal deniers is generally a waste of time- I’ve been accused of just “posting a bunch of crap,” when I feel that I explained my position and the evidence behind it to the best of my ability.

    Being a denier puts you in poor company. It puts you in the company of people who think that “Liberals and Gorons do not require proof of anything, no scientific method, tests, history, nothing is required. The only necessary proof needed is their “feelings”" is appropriate commentary.

    http://www.delawareonline.com/comments/article/20100101/OPINION10/91231029/The-evidence-of-man-made-global-warming-is-missing

    (Full disclosure- I’m the Propergander you see in that thread)

    Being a denier puts you in the company of people who have no idea how to think scientifically. I had one denier claim that an analogy where I compared Earth’s heat budget to a household budget was wrong because I didn’t take into account how “obvious” each of the factors I named was. Thinking scientifically, I had listed the factors by magnitude. “Obvious,” being so subjective, never entered into my mind.

    If we seem rude, it’s because each of us has likely had dozens of similar interactions and have concluded some very uncomplimentary things about the mentality of those who deny anthropogenic global warming. So please, consider not just our rudeness, but the illogical, rude, and just plain crazy people that you have chosen to surround yourself with.

    Comment by Proper Gander — 4 Jan 2010 @ 3:51 PM

  298. You AGW folks have a real problem in logic. You have to insist that the evidence for catastrophic AGW is beyond debate, which is a very difficult line to take. The skeptic’s line is merely that catastrophic AGW is debatable. So if you debate you have conceded their argument. You have to take what I call the “Gore defense,” which is refusing to debate. This makes you appear unscientific, because debate is at the heart of science.

    David

    [Response: Sorry, but it is you that have it all wrong. The issue is not whether we can prove whether AGW is catastrophic (a strawman argument), but whether the risks of continually increasing CO2 emissions are worth hedging against. By defining the problem your way, you close yourself off from ever acting in the absence of 100% proof of catastrophe (an impossibility prior to any such event), and thus paint yourself into a denialist corner from which no discussion will ever draw you out. And you wonder why people don't waste time talking to you? - gavin]

    Comment by David Wojick — 4 Jan 2010 @ 4:10 PM

  299. I am currently developing an online non-majors course on climate change biology.

    Any suggestions for books that cover both the physical and biological aspects of climate change at a level appropriate for non-science majors?

    Thanks!

    Comment by Peter Houlihan — 4 Jan 2010 @ 4:21 PM

  300. Just because a science is ‘mature’ does not make it ‘complete’. With Newton’s help astronomy and astrophysics were very mature before Einstein came along and turned it all upside down.

    Yet how many armies had to recompute their artillery tables after Einstein “turned physics upside down”?

    None.

    Why? Because the errors introduced by using Newtonian physics are very small, one might say tightly constrained, under normal circumstances. Even before Einstein we would’ve known if Newtonian physics was grossly wrong at that scale, due to observations (apples falling up from trees, not down, etc).

    That’s what Ray’s trying to get you to understand about climate. There are undoubtably “known unknowns”, but enough is known about climate from multiple lines of evidence that there’s extremely high confidence in climate sensitivity to CO2 doubling being constrained to the range given by the IPCC.

    Comment by dhogaza — 4 Jan 2010 @ 4:23 PM

  301. #297 – Keep writing your long well-reasoned and researched replies.

    But, keep in mind you will not convince the denier you are responding to. However, there will be many lurkers who are sitting on the fence and they may appreciate your well reasoned and mature post.

    Write for the fence-sitters and you will not feel as frustrated.

    Comment by Peter Houlihan — 4 Jan 2010 @ 4:25 PM

  302. Matthew L.,

    Blaming other environmental problems on too much concern over global warming is disingenuous. Do you think, for instance, that EU fisheries ministers are ignoring dire scientific warmings about overfishing because they’ve got too much global warming on their minds? Seriously?

    If your claim is that global warming distracts public concern: How can we assume that there’s only so much environmental concern to go around? Sounds like a lump-sum fallacy. Isn’t it at least as likely that increased concern over global warming sensitizes the public to environmental issues in general?

    (There ought to be some public opinion research addressing this; anyone got pointers?)

    There *are* synergies. Halting deforestation was a central issue in the Copenhagen talks. Reducing fossil fuel use will cut a range of harmful emissions. Of course there are conflicts, too, such as adverse impacts of renewable energy.

    Comment by CM — 4 Jan 2010 @ 4:28 PM

  303. Re #284 ; Mathew L (again)

    [I see that Ray has already answered you; I'll post this all the same]
    I have not run any climate models, but from what I have read, clouds contribute substantially to the range of values for the climate sensitivity which can be estimated from climate models. With regards to your comment, you must be careful not to double count the uncertainty involved. In addition there are other ways of estimating the climate sensitivity which have been discussed in Realclimate and in Mann and Kump’s book.

    As for relative humidity , whose possible variation still holds you in thrall, I believe it is an emergent property of the models (constancy not assumed), but observational evidence , the models and the theoretical physics * appear to be more or less consistent as far as I know, so that particular mechanism is less likely to lead to significant uncertainty in the conclusions.

    * Discussed by Raymond Pierrehumbert in some papers and his book on line.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 4 Jan 2010 @ 4:32 PM

  304. Peter H. asked suggestions about books.
    Good place to start:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/01/our-books/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Jan 2010 @ 4:36 PM

  305. With Newton’s help astronomy and astrophysics were very mature before Einstein came along and turned it all upside down.

    Newton’s laws still hold up pretty well, last I checked. Einstein helped revolutionize the science, but he didn’t “turn it upside down”. Nothing in Newton’s understanding of planetary motions was fundamentally wrong, we simply know more now than we did then. You argue as though you believe scientific knowledge is simply the fad of the day to be tossed aside wholesale every few generations.

    When you say “is it really safe to hitch our entire economic and political system to an attempt to reduce CO2″ you apparently accept without evidence the denialist argument that doing anything about global warming is a fundamental threat to our way of life. And yet you’re highly dubious of the scientifically backed counter argument that doing nothing will.

    Comment by Jinchi — 4 Jan 2010 @ 4:37 PM

  306. Re: CO2 not sinking.
    Its because common bog standard energy is not the only thing to learn about in physics. The sinking tendency is overwhelmed in this case by the drive towards disorder ; that is one way of introducing the concept of entropy.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 4 Jan 2010 @ 4:50 PM

  307. Peter Houlihan @298, although it does not focus on the biology, David Archer’s Global warming: Understanding the Forecast covers the physics and earth science for non-science majors:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/01/our-books/#Archer06

    The best part is that David’s lectures are available for free on-line here:
    http://geoflop.uchicago.edu/forecast/docs/lectures.html

    As are the computer models used in the labs:
    http://geoflop.uchicago.edu/forecast/docs/models.html

    Comment by Jim Eager — 4 Jan 2010 @ 4:56 PM

  308. David Wojick (298):
    “You AGW folks have a real problem in logic. You have to insist that the evidence for catastrophic AGW is beyond debate, which is a very difficult line to take. ”

    Given that your 2nd sentence is a classic Straw man fallacy, perhaps you are the one with a “real problem in logic”.

    Comment by Ken W — 4 Jan 2010 @ 5:02 PM

  309. Just a quick question. Any answers or pointers to where I can find the answer would be much appreciated.
    Is the raw data used by GISStemp (and Crutemp) actual single observations (as in e.g. 3 hourly), or do the NWS deliver aggregation (like monthly means), or both?

    Cheers,
    D.

    [Response: Monthly means. They use the CLIMAT reports to WMO. - gavin]

    Comment by diessoli — 4 Jan 2010 @ 5:03 PM

  310. Matthew L. wrote: “I question whether it is worth going to (metaphorical) war over the single issue of CO2 when there are much more current, certain and devastating problems that need tackling …”

    You keep asserting that there are “more current, certain and devastating problems” than anthropogenic global warming. You are wrong. That is false. AGW is happening now — it is “current” — it is not mere speculation about what might happen in the future. It is already “certain”. It is already “devastating”.

    You keep implying that our ability to deal with other environmental problems will somehow be diminished by reducing CO2 emissions. You are wrong about that also. That is also a false assertion. In fact, all of the other problems you have mentioned will be greatly exacerbated by AGW. We simply CANNOT even hope to address those problems successfully, if we don’t also address AGW.

    Does the “L” in your handle stand for “Lomborg”? Because you are basically reciting Bjorn Lomborg’s script, which like all denialist propaganda, always boils down to one very simple message: under no circumstances should we adopt any government policies that will reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 4 Jan 2010 @ 5:05 PM

  311. Alas, my request to Kevin Aylward (Please remove anti-science blogs from the Best Science Blog category)is now moot.

    Update – The 2009 Weblog Awards are off

    It is with a great deal of regret that I must inform everyone that The 2009 Weblog Awards are canceled.

    Unfortunately the resources required to handle the load of voting (nearly 1,000,000 votes in 2008) could not be adequately provisioned. Even if the servers and bandwidth required appeared today it would be at least a few weeks before everything could be ready for voting.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 4 Jan 2010 @ 5:11 PM

  312. Peter Houlihan — Also consider W.F. Ruddimans testbook, “Earth’s Climate: Past and Future” as well as Gavin Schmidt’s new book.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 4 Jan 2010 @ 5:20 PM

  313. Re#293: Sorry but we were specifically talking about human biochemistry/metabolism, not about larval fragility as a result of some reduction in ocean alkalinity.

    Comment by Bill — 4 Jan 2010 @ 5:25 PM

  314. “The greatest fear out there among reasonable people is that this much-tweaked data ”

    And the DUMBEST thing about that fear is that if the data HADN’T been tweaked, Anthony Watts would have proclaimed that AGW was just an artifact of UHI and urbanisation of observing stations.

    Heads the denialists win. Tails IPCC loses.

    The greatest PARANOIA is “these tweaks were to confirm AGW”. NOT ONE SHRED of evidence that this happened, but these “truthers” don’t want to understand that, the CONSPIRACY IS TOO STRONG!!!

    Sheesh.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Jan 2010 @ 5:31 PM

  315. “For those paranoid about the choir…”

    You mean those who are “questioning” AGW???

    They’re always bringing up the choir meme. Or “singing from the same hymnsheet”.

    Or, since you then ramble off in to “AGW is reasonably disbelieved … $SOME UNSUPPORTED BLATHER$” maybe you’re just making stuff up there too…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Jan 2010 @ 5:34 PM

  316. “and we are healthier now, for lots of reasons…”

    … completely unrelated to adaption to higher CO2 levels.

    Figured I’d complete the sentence you forgot to end properly, Bill.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Jan 2010 @ 5:36 PM

  317. The Annual climate Statement from the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology has just been released:
    http://www.bom.gov.au/announcements/media_releases/climate/change/20100105.shtml

    Comment by Lawrence McLean — 4 Jan 2010 @ 6:25 PM

  318. Regarding Matthew L and his worry about opportunity costs, why bother thinking about C02 when you can make decisions entirely divorced from that consideration, and even better find that you can make useful choices that have no negative impact on future opportunities?

    I have a nice little case in point to describe, and by circumstance it’s neatly tied together with the general topic of climate change.

    Every month, I get a certain amount of money from petroleum royalties. That money is dumped into the overall household kitty and spent on various things, some tangible and useful and some not so much. Much of it is wasted, frankly.

    As a fun project to do with my kid and because I like anything that is free, I took a little bit of that money (~$900) and spent it putting together a pragmatic, easily reproducible and aesthetically acceptable system to reduce energy input into our domestic hot water system. To emphasize, the objective was not to eliminate DHW energy input, just reduce it to the extent we could without going to absurd lengths.

    With the measured results of the completed project and taking into account our situation, second only to Anchorage for lousy sunshine in the major metro areas in the US, this system appears able to capture something like 17MWH of energy over the next 10 years. Assuming our remarkably low electric rates don’t go up we’ll end up about $400 in the black if the system requires major renewal at that point, which I doubt since it has only 2 moving parts.

    Out of curiosity I ran that $900 through some investment scenarios and unless I take on a lot of risk, I do better putting the money on my roof, where my return is guaranteed.

    Strictly as an intangible, I trade some of my squeamish feelings about petroleum revenue for a little bit of smugness about reducing my energy footprint.

    Now, as it happens I’m persuaded by the preponderance of evidence supporting the whole notion of AGW, but even if I were a die-hard contrarian, why would I choose to turn down free energy and pass up the opportunity to be paid for capturing it?

    What was my opportunity cost for offsetting my DHW energy input? What did I give up by taking the steps I did?

    This is just one example of many where we can make choices that can be viewed as entirely selfish and disconnected from AGW concerns yet end up helping to ameliorate that problem. I can’t think why one would end up paralyzed in indecision about whether or not to make a guaranteed improvement in financial health and environmental impact because of some degree of uncertainty about AGW.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Jan 2010 @ 7:28 PM

  319. Peter at 301:

    Perfectly stated.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 4 Jan 2010 @ 7:40 PM

  320. Matthew L @ 257:

    CERN is currently doing tests on the effect of cosmic rays which may point to a role in cloud formation which might explain some of the recent warming (during higher solar activity) and may lead to a reduced positive feedback balance.

    There are two possibilities, neither of which are pleasant.

    1). GCRs play little or no role in long term weather patterns (meaning, less than 30 years or so that people here call “climate”). If that’s the case, the run-up in temperatures leading to the 1998 record high year is caused by something else, and the only “something else” we’ve got going is CO2, in which case we’re screwed. The current “pause” is just natural variation, and once it ends, we’re going to be warming again. Tough luck.

    2). GCRs play a larger role than many of the scientists here accept. If that’s the case, the run up during SC22 and SC23 is caused by high solar activity, and the current “pause” is evidence of that. Once the current “pause” ends, we’ll return to the same level of temperature rise as before because of rising CO2 concentrations, which is to say something between close to “very little” since 1998 and “a helluva lot” before 1998. Since the direction is generally “up”, there still needs to be something else doing it, and the only other “something else” is CO2.

    In other words, whichever way GCRs go, “up” is the direction and the only other hypothesis with legs is CO2.

    But there’s more, and that has to do with scientific credibility. Here, I’ll do that again.

    1). GCRs play little to no role in long term weather. The current pause is just a pause, and CO2-dominated global warming will go back to business as usual. Once the pause ends, more people will be convinced of a need to act.

    2). GCRs play a larger role than many of the scientists here accept. The current “pause” is here to stay for the life of SC24, and will likely result in longer periods of little or no warming as GCR related cooling counteracts CO2 related warming. As the global temperatures continue to move sideways, people will become convinced that CO2 isn’t a big deal, and oppose action. Once the pause ends, we’ll be 10 or 20 years further down the road and the situation will be even more dire.

    Now, let’s look outcomes based on ideology. I’ll divide that into “CO2 only” supporters and “GCRs rule supporters”.

    CO2 only –

    If the GCR hypotheses are wrong, we’ll be warming again soon, and people will embrace CO2 mitigation and the planet is saved. WIN!

    If the GCR hypotheses are right, we’ll be warming again in a few decades, but it’ll be too late because people won’t have acted. FAIL …

    GCRs rule –

    If the CO2 hypotheses are wrong, we’ll be cooling again soon and CO2 will be completely debunked. WIN!

    If the CO2 hypotheses are right, we’ll be warming as soon as GCR influences cease dominating CO2 influences, but it’ll be too late because people won’t have acted. FAIL …

    Notice — the worst scenarios are that both CO2 =and= GCRs affect weather in the long-enough-to-almost-be-climate time frame. Conveniently, picking which of the two ways things go — CO2 only or GCRs rule — has a short time horizon. And even more conveniently, the temperature trends to debunk the “wrong” scenario diverge.

    But more obviously, the current “pause” has only one possible cause in the above set of scenarios: CO2 =and= GCRs are both involved. The implications of that are that we’re screwed because few people seem to be able to say “Yes, both are causing the observed temperature trends”.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 4 Jan 2010 @ 7:49 PM

  321. Has anyone evaluated this site?
    http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/climatedata.aspx?Dataset=GHCNTemp

    It appears one can select any weather station in the NOAA GHCN database and get the program to automatically translate the temperature data into a graph of recorded temperatures. It even averages the curve.

    Here’s one for my neck of the woods.
    http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/climgraph.aspx?pltparms=GHCNT100AJanDecI188020080900110AR42572334000x

    The site seemed really cool until I reached the index page
    http://www.appinsys.com

    Nice picture of Al Gore. I wish I could do that.

    Then my eyes started opening.

    29 Dec 2009 – Nature Admits No Real Evidence for Anthropogenic Causation
    http://www.appinsys.com/globalwarming/
    “Nature published an editorial admitting there is no real evidence of anthropogenic greenhouse gas warming – just computer models. There is no empirical data to support it. They say denialists are hindering the CRU scientists. See the new Nature: No Anthropogenic Evidence page examining the Nature editorial.”

    ,,,somehow derived from

    Editorial
    Nature 462, 545 (3 December 2009) | doi:10.1038/462545a; Published online 2 December 2009
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v462/n7273/full/462545a.html
    Climatologists under pressure

    I can’t find it. Any help here?

    Comment by Tim Jones — 4 Jan 2010 @ 8:01 PM

  322. I would be interested in RC comments on the following article

    http://news.discovery.com/earth/nitrogen-deficit-global-warming.html

    which describes new research showing that future global warming is being underestimated due to the models not taking into account that lack of fixable nitrogen will not be available to plants in sufficient quantity in the future. Thus leading to a higher level of CO2.

    Txs

    [Response: This is related to the magnitude of any future carbon cycle feedback - which as we have discussed is quite uncertain. This might be one of the factors to account for, but there are lots more and so in and of itself it's unlikely to make that much of a difference. - gavin]

    Comment by Wyoming — 4 Jan 2010 @ 8:15 PM

  323. David Wojick, Scientific debate is important in science (not the heart, maybe the liver). Debate with ignorant food tubes or anti-science stooges serves no purpose.
    In the end, it’s about evidence. You’ve yet to cite any, so there’s not much to debate, is there?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Jan 2010 @ 8:28 PM

  324. RE Jim Galasyn

    Alas, my request to Kevin Aylward (Please remove anti-science blogs from the Best Science Blog category)is now moot.

    Awww. And we were having so much fun over there. Partners in slime, indeed.

    Comment by Deech56 — 4 Jan 2010 @ 8:29 PM

  325. Jim Eager, I’ve written on Lake Nyos, and as it turns out, I was within about 30 km of the lake about 5 years after the disaster. The limnic eruption that gave rise to the disaster was not a very powerful event, and the CO2 simply flowed down into the valley below. The thing is that within a km or so, the cloud had dissipated sufficiently that it was no longer lethal. That is, the fall of the gas itself was sufficient to introduce enough turbulence to mix the CO2.

    When I was there, a large portion of the population believed that the event had been the result of a CIA neutron bomb test, so conspiracy theories are not a uniquely American enterprise. BTW, the area around the lakes (Nyos and Monoun) is beautiful. Evidently, there are also legends in the vicinity about angry spirits, so this has probably happened before.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Jan 2010 @ 8:45 PM

  326. “Thinking a bit further – snow absorbs CO2 as it forms, falls to the earth, let’s say at the antarctic, over time compresses and becomes ice, thus trapping the CO2 content. Can this new ice absorb/release CO2?” Leo G — 4 January 2010 @ 1:17 PM

    http://www.igsoc.org/journal/54/187/j07j102.pdf
    “Assuming an atmospheric CO2 concentration of 278 ppm (microatm/atm) (Indermuhle and others, 1999) at the gas age of 2.74 kyr BP and surface pressure at Siple Dome of 937 hPa, we expect 16 230 ppm CO2 (micromol CO2 /mol total air) dissolved in 0degC meltwater in equilibrium, 58 times greater than in the atmosphere (Table 1).”
    “Unfortunately, the solubility of CO2 in ice is not well known at present, as it is too small to be measured precisely (Hondoh, 1996). Improved measurement of CO2 solubility in ice in the future would allow a better estimate of the diffusion coefficient of CO2 in polar ice. We estimate the solubility of CO2 in ice to be 5.1e-11 mol/m3/Pa at -23.8C, using the permeation coefficient divided by the modeled diffusion coefficient of 7.8e-11m2/s (Ikeda-Fukazawa, 2004, table 3).”

    The mechanism for trapping atmospheric gasses in ice sheets is dependent on the creep properties of ice crystals under stress. The weight of new snow accumulating on top of the older layers forces the crystals to deform; the air filled spaces around the ice crystals, maintained in equilibrium with the air above by diffusion, slowly close, eventually trapping bubbles of gas in the ice. The time required to close off diffusion results in an offset of gas versus Ice age which is dependent on accumulation rate.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 4 Jan 2010 @ 8:52 PM

  327. Hank @279, thanks. Took a second look: the first Science Daily article in November is from Bristol U., where Knorr works. The second is “adapted from” an AGU press release. The differences are interesting, because the November article didn’t feed the “skeptical” echo chamber. I think it’s a matter of how the lead is phrased in each. In the november article, there’s no room for mistaking a steady fraction for a steady C02 level:

    New data show that the balance between the airborne and the absorbed fraction of carbon dioxide has stayed approximately constant since 1850, despite emissions of carbon dioxide having risen from about 2 billion tons a year in 1850 to 35 billion tons a year now.

    That lead goes to some lengths to avoid ambiguities. In the December version, the first sentence doesn’t assertively prevent the (mistaken) ambiguity to which the “skeptics” fell prey:

    Most of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activity does not remain in the atmosphere, but is instead absorbed by the oceans and terrestrial ecosystems.

    And since that sentence came verbatim from the AGU press release, yes, AGU is somewhat to blame… (And had I written something like that, I’d have deeply regretted the word “most,” which is not at all an accurate representation of 55%.)

    But in some respects the practices of journalism are to blame. A journalist is charged with writing a “story.” Stories have to follow the rules of narrative. A narrative begins with a character or two, and setting and action. In some senses, the November article is poor journalism, because the lead is so cluttered with facts and figures and details that the average reader is going to have too many questions: what’s meant by “fraction” in this context? What’s the significance of the balance between airborne and absorbed C02? How is that all related to the dramatic increase in emissions? A good journalist, pitching to a reasonably educated audience, tries to limit the number of variables introduced in the lead. Certainly, there’s a place for them later in the article, when the readers who have the time and attention to continue reading have done so, but not in the lead. Never in the lead: that’s when you’ll turn away a potential audience if it’s too technical. Some of the posters here might insist that the reader then needs to educate him or herself… but that’s what they were attempting to do by reading articles in Science Daily, which presumably do more than merely summarize. That’s what abstracts do. They also simplify, provide context for, and explain developments in science. And they do so in the genre of journalism.

    So, is climate science inevitably going to be misrepresented in the press? No. But only if scientists work hard at simplifying the picture. Each element of the global warming picture has to be distilled into simple story elements. What is the most relevant implication (if any) of Knorr’s study on climate science? That’s what needs to be in the lead. Whoever wrote up this little article for AGU blew that one. The thing to do in response isn’t to go chasing after denialists, but to devise quick and direct clarifications of the results and their implications.

    Comment by Steve R — 4 Jan 2010 @ 8:54 PM

  328. Suggestion for a thread. How fast does the ocean respond to forcings? Re:
    http://www.usclivar.org/Newsletter/VariationsV4N1/ClivarCPT_Emilie.pdf
    by R. Farrari, MIT.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 4 Jan 2010 @ 8:54 PM

  329. > Wyoming
    Just because some plants could use more nitrogen doesn’t mean that increasing nitrogen would be a good idea. This is another example of saying that because things are out of balance, the answer is to throw more stuff on the other side of the balance to even them out.

    See, just for example (much more can be found)
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v433/n7028/full/433791a.html
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2007.04.024

    See also http://www.rhymes.org.uk/there_was_an_old_lady.htm
    which begins:

    “There was an old lady who swallowed a fly
    I don’t know why she swallowed a fly – perhaps she’ll die!
    There was an old lady who swallowed a spider,
    That wriggled and wiggled and tiggled inside her;
    She swallowed the spider to catch the fly;
    I don’t know why she swallowed a fly …..”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Jan 2010 @ 9:00 PM

  330. Matthew L., The question is not whether there will be new discoveries. There most certainly will. The question is whether those new discoveries will significantly alter our estimation of how much a doubling of CO2 will raise the planet’s average temperature. The answer to that question is almost assuredly no. It is virtually impossible to understsnd Earth’s climate if CO2 sensitivity is below 2.1 degrees per doubling. At the same timea sensitivity of 4.5 is not ruled out. By presuming that there will be new discoveries that will magically make the threat vanish, you are betting the future of human civilization on a 20:1 longshot. We have wasted 2 decades waiting for known unknows and unknowns to save us. In the end they’s wound up all adding up to a sensitivity of 3 degrees per doubling. It’s now time to either do what the science tells us, rather than, as you would have us do, go 180 degrees against it. Those are the only two choices left to us.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Jan 2010 @ 9:01 PM

  331. Just ran across a very nice summary of the doubt industry, by Wundergound founder Jeff Masters:

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1389

    Succinct yet comprehensive.

    If you’d like to see examples of just how impervious folks are once they’ve ossified around an opinion, scroll down the comments following Dr. Masters’ essay.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Jan 2010 @ 9:04 PM

  332. Right, here goes;
    #205 – Doug
    You misunderstand my point. I have never seen a single “scrupulously researched environmental crisis that went away all by itself”. I have seen lots of scare stories about population explosions causing mass starvation, imminent ice ages, widespread crop failures and so on. None of them turned out to true and hence my natural tendency to scepticism when a new theory crops up telling us we are all imminently going to die.

    #292
    Ray, I am not ignoring the different lines of evidence. What is not yet certain is the magnitude of the feedbacks or that all the feedbacks are known. As I stressed clearly in my first post I am convinced that AGW is happening, but not convinced that we have enough knowledge to know the extent.

    There is one thing that to me seems to me to defy common sense, and perhaps you could explain. CO2 does not by itself create the feedbacks, it is the warming it creates. That warming could (totally hypothetically) be caused by any heat source such as volcanic activity or an improbably large increase in solar energy. What the models tell us is that a warming of the air by 1deg C will lead, over time, to a warming of the air by 2-3 degrees. Surely then if that is the case, a warming of the air by 3 degrees will lead to further warming (or even tiping points) – and so on. Obviously some positive feedbacks are self limiting such as once all the ice has melted there will be no further change in albedo but generally speaking if you run a positive feedback model indenfinitly it will eventually create a runaway greenhouse effect and we all die.

    However this has clearly not happened in the past when the globe has significantly warmed, even in the presence of much higher CO2 levels. Clearly major negative feedbacks have kicked in at some point to limit the growth in temperatures. So why do we think it is different now? Surely we should be looking for those negative feedbacks?

    302 – CM
    I have thought a lot about this myself, but the tenor of a lot of the press I read is that every climate disaster is caused by global warming. For instance I read a piece by an NGO stating that global warming was causing destertifcation in the Sahel region of central Africa. I know for a fact that this is just plain wrong. That desertification is caused by regular droughts that have happened intemitently for over 3000 years(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahel_drought). This is exacerbated by increased population and grazing cattle eating away the vegetation and destabilising the soil leading it vulnerable to ‘dust bowl’ like wind erosion. However the implication of the NGO article is that if we solve global warming we solve desertification.

    The danger is that the press and media tend to blame all environmental disasters on global warming. People may then think that those disasters will be averted if we fix global warming. No, what we need to do is find ways of convincing Brazilian peasants not to burn down the rain forests, we need to limit the water take from the upper reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates valleys, we need to stop the Japanese fishing fleets from wiping out the Bluefin Tuna stocks, we need to encourage the regrowth of Mangrove forests and stop Bangladeshi peasants from farming on vulnerable flood plains – and so on. I really do believe that the current obsession with CO2 driven AGW is diverting us so that by the time we have saved the planet there won’t be much on it left to save.

    I disagree with your “sensitising” point, if anything I think it may be “desensitising”. People get so fed up of being told that in 90 years time it will be so hot we will boil/drown that they turn off. I may be wrong, but I think it is a real danger.

    305 – Jinchi (also 300 – Dhogaza)
    First point – It was just an example of how surprises and shocks can arise in even apparently settled science. That was as far as I meant the analogy to go. Of course the two areas of science are not comparable. I don’t believe climate science is anywhere near as settled as Newtonian physics and, be honest, neither do you!

    Second point – I think there is plenty that we can do about limiting CO2 emissions that will not be a threat to our way of life. I am already doing a lot of them myself. I use energy saving light bulbs. I have solar hot water heating and have sold one of our two cars. I take public transport, walk or cycle whenever I can. Much of this is for personal financial gain as for any sense of civic duty.

    However in the USA they currently consume about 14 tons of carbon per head per annum. Stabilising CO2 emissions at current levels will require a reduction to about 1 ton of carbon per head (we consumed more in the 17th Century!) – oh and the rest of the world will have to do likewise too. Are you telling me that reducing carbon emissions by that sort of amount will have no implications for the global economy and politics? Even if it were possible, I doubt we could ever convince the Chinese to do it.

    310 – SecularAlarmist
    You are a perfect example of what I am most worried about.

    Yes AGW is current, but it is not “already devastating”. Name me one current “devastating” effect from global warming? I bet you that anything you mention will actually be caused by something other than global warming. Coral bleaching? Water pollution, fishing damage, tourist distubance. Bangladeshi flooding? Population extending onto vulnerable land, loss of Mangrove swamps. Reduction of Polar Bear population? Isn’t happening – polar bear populations are stable or increasing. I could go on – there are lots of devastating environmental disasters going on a the moment but none of them are caused by global warming and all are caused by Man. AED, Anthropogenic Environmental Destruction.

    Sure, some might have been exacerbated by the 0.4 dec C of warming we have seen since 1979 to a minor extent – but to say that we “simply cannot hope to address those problems succesfully if we don’t also address AGW” is just ludicrous and actually very dangerous – verging on negligent.

    I have already very significantly reduced my consumption of fossil fuels. Have you?

    Comment by Matthew L — 4 Jan 2010 @ 9:06 PM

  333. Wyoming, here’s a bit more on nitrogen:

    Scientists at climate talks: ‘The nitrogen cycle is changing faster than that of any other element’

    “The effects of reactive nitrogen are not limited to a single medium. A single molecule of reactive nitrogen may transition through many forms — ammonia, nitrogen oxide, nitric acid, nitrate and organic nitrogen — and may successively lead to a number of environmental, health and social impacts, including contributing to higher levels of ozone in the lower atmosphere.”

    Graph of the Day: Response of Nitrogen Emissions and Soil Respiration to Increasing Temperature

    The conditions that promote abiotic N gas loss from desert soils also inhibit N fixation (31), the dominant N input to arid regions. Future environmental shifts will therefore probably disrupt natural N dynamics by unbalancing rates of N inputs and losses, gradually reinforcing N limitations in arid environments.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 4 Jan 2010 @ 9:17 PM

  334. > appinsys
    Oh, is _that_ where the AMO stuff is coming from lately?
    Put that word into Scholar; they’re relying on Pielke Jr.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Jan 2010 @ 9:20 PM

  335. Yeah Deech, it was a fun ride. I posted a little howdy note to Hilary on her blog.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 4 Jan 2010 @ 9:22 PM

  336. Bill @313, how about the health impact on that portion of the global human population that depends on the marine food chain for the majority of it’s protein and/or income?

    Comment by Jim Eager — 4 Jan 2010 @ 9:27 PM

  337. Matthew L says: 4 January 2010 at 9:06 PM

    Sorry, Matthew, but you failed to rise to the occasion, for my purposes anyway.

    More, your responses to other posters all rely on highly selective use of information, far more selective than what you’re requiring for verification of climate science to your satisfaction.

    I guess I’ll put you in the “contrarian” column. Thanks!

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Jan 2010 @ 9:42 PM

  338. Re Matthew L @332; if you run a positive feedback model indenfinitly it will eventually create a runaway greenhouse effect and we all die

    Only if the feedback amplification produces an increasing series, as in: 1 + 1.25 + 1.5 + 1.75 etc.

    But not if the amplification produces a decreasing series, as in: 1 + .75 + .5 + .25 etc.

    No unknown significant negative feedbacks are needed to limit growth in the latter case.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 4 Jan 2010 @ 9:55 PM

  339. Example “Fact”:

    “Reduction of Polar Bear population? Isn’t happening – polar bear populations are stable or increasing.”

    Reality:

    “The PBSG reevaluated the status of the 19 recognized subpopulations of polar bears distributed over vast and relatively inaccessible areas of the Arctic. Despite the fact that much new information has been made available since the last meeting, knowledge of some populations is still poor. Reviewing the latest information available the PBSG concluded that 1 of 19 subpopulations is currently increasing, 3 are stable and 8 are declining. For the remaining 7 subpopulations available data were insufficient to provide an assessment of current trend. The total number of polar bears is still thought to be between 20,000 and 25,000. However, the mixed quality of information on the different subpopulations means there is much room for error in establishing that range. That potential for error, given the ongoing and projected changes in habitats and other potential stressors is cause for concern. Nonetheless, the PBSG is optimistic that humans can mitigate the effects of global warming and other threats to polar bears, and ensure that they remain a part of the Arctic ecosystem in perpetuity.”

    http://pbsg.npolar.no/en/meetings/press-releases/15-Copenhagen.html

    Now I’m guessing Matthew is going to come back with a link to a discredited paper released early last year, purporting to show that polar bear populations are increasing. I’ll stick with the findings of actual experts in the topic, thanks.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Jan 2010 @ 10:03 PM

  340. Matthew @ 332:

    However in the USA they currently consume about 14 tons of carbon per head per annum. Stabilising CO2 emissions at current levels will require a reduction to about 1 ton of carbon per head (we consumed more in the 17th Century!) – oh and the rest of the world will have to do likewise too. Are you telling me that reducing carbon emissions by that sort of amount will have no implications for the global economy and politics? Even if it were possible, I doubt we could ever convince the Chinese to do it.

    Nope, that’s actually NOT correct.

    It means we have to consume less than 1 ton of NEW carbon per head per year. Excluding the trip in the car I took earlier (no electric car yet) and the natural gas that fed the furnace (no solar thermal yet), I’ve emitted -3 pounds of CO2 today. That’s a “negative” minus sign not an “approximately” tilde character. That’ll probably wind up closer to 0 pounds for the day before the clock strikes midnight, but that’s just because the house is lit up like nobody’s business, I think I’m up to 6 or 7 computers running (burn-in testing a hardware monitor for a client’s 8KW DC solar system), Pandora is playing music, and who knows what else. I might even practice my ELECTRIC guitar (been practicing with my classical guitar more lately) and waste even more electricity — my son has resisted my prodding to learn “Freebird”, so I’ve found the tabs and may see if I can bang it out. It’s an annoying song. Someone in the house should be able to play it.

    If I =quit= wasting electricity, my daily electric CO2 might be closer to 0 pounds. I’m pretty sure we’ve been using more than 0 pounds of old carbon per head per day for a while now.

    Note what I said — wasting electricity. I waste the hell out of it and maybe I get back to 0 pounds of CO2 for the day.

    (Minor nit — all of my “imported” electricity is carbon-free (Green Mountain is my electric provider), so my electricity-related CO2 output is always less than zero because I “export” CO2-free electricity, and Green Mountain doesn’t credit those carbon credits (they are legally mine and I don’t sell them, and I’ve produced almost 6MWh that way), so they have to buy new ones when I “import” the power back later.)

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 4 Jan 2010 @ 10:19 PM

  341. Matthew, could you save us some time and carefully go through all the assertion you made in your post #332, correcting them when necessary? I’m pretty sure you’re wrong on coral bleaching, just as you were on the polar bears, but why should we have to do the work of undoing your misinformation? Seems to me if you s__t the bed, you need to do the laundry.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Jan 2010 @ 10:24 PM

  342. For some reason, a lot of the usual suspects were against this idea, but fortunately the grownups are in charge again:

    From NY Times:

    C.I.A. Is Sharing Data With Climate Scientists

    “The nation’s top scientists and spies are collaborating on an effort to use the federal government’s intelligence assets — including spy satellites and other classified sensors — to assess the hidden complexities of environmental change. They seek insights from natural phenomena like clouds and glaciers, deserts and tropical forests.

    The collaboration restarts an effort the Bush administration shut down and has the strong backing of the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In the last year, as part of the effort, the collaborators have scrutinized images of Arctic sea ice from reconnaissance satellites in an effort to distinguish things like summer melts from climate trends, and they have had images of the ice pack declassified to speed the scientific analysis. ”

    more:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/05/science/earth/05satellite.html?hp=&pagewanted=print

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Jan 2010 @ 10:29 PM

  343. Thanks to all who have provided guidance on my attempt to respond to the skeptic who asserted CO2 would suffocate people at ground level before ever influencing climate. I found the links and basic information helpful, as well as the corrections in my initial response attempt.

    I’m not a scientist, and neither, obviously, is the skeptic I engaged. The setting was a forum on a social site not particularly focused on science issues, but where any and all topics can emerge.

    And it speaks to some of the general issues addressed elsewhere here. A great deal of discussion and debate occurs among the general public between individuals who do NOT have a firm grasp of climate science in particular or what constitutes good science in general. I’m often part of those discussions, as I do sustainability and environmental work and have found climate change an area of particular interest for about 15 years now.

    While the scientific foundation for serious concern over what humans have done and should do to impact the climate has certainly strengthened over that time, I fear the disconnect between that science and those who elect the leaders who make critical policy decisions looms large, and I’m not quite sure what should be done about that.

    As most here know too well, denial arguments and tactics can be downright confounding to deal with, and I too have been guilty of becoming less than civil with those who think they understand climate science better than climate scientists.

    And frankly, it’s become more difficult for the truly impartial interested observer with limited science background to sort out sound from junk science on the matter. A google search on any related topic will yield at least as many hits on credible sounding but scientifically indefensible points of view as it will examples of diligent application of the scientific method.

    I’m reminded of an observation I made years ago: “even if you’re right that doesn’t mean you’re doing the right thing.”

    In this context, that translates to emphasis that not only do we need the foundation of the best science available, but also need to express those findings in a manner that will seem most reasonable and easy to grasp for the benefit of those less informed, less scientifically inclined, or already influenced in the wrong direction by their cousin’s friend who used to be a weatherman or whatever other ‘reliable’ source they may choose to believe.

    What matters is not only the strength of the science, but the effectiveness of the presentation of that science in adequately convincing a general population more prone to responding to the crisis of the moment than the crisis of the century.

    I wish I had the answers on how best to do that. All I know is that I’ve renewed my resolve to patiently educate, persuade, and recruit all I can to support aggressive action to minimize our climate impact.

    Comment by Dave Bassage — 4 Jan 2010 @ 10:36 PM

  344. 310, SecularAnimist: Because you are basically reciting Bjorn Lomborg’s script, which like all denialist propaganda, always boils down to one very simple message: under no circumstances should we adopt any government policies that will reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.

    Why is such a gross distortion of Bjorn Lomborg permitted?

    Comment by Matthew — 4 Jan 2010 @ 11:17 PM

  345. Environment Canada year end reportin Canada, the decade just ending was the warmest by far looking back over the past six decades

    Comment by flxible — 4 Jan 2010 @ 11:24 PM

  346. FYI I did a piece on nitrogen in my October ‘Leading Edge’ report:

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/summary-docs/leading-edge/2009-oct-the-leading-edge

    I talked to ORNL a few times to make sure I was characterizing things correctly. It looks like the gist is ‘refined results in predictability’.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 4 Jan 2010 @ 11:26 PM

  347. Doug Bostrom @342:

    I think that this is a great idea, glad to see that it is happening again. One thing that brings joy to my heart is the conniption fits McIntyre will throw when tries to get the original, raw, unadjusted data and finds out it is classified!

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 4 Jan 2010 @ 11:40 PM

  348. Dear Gavin,

    A fellow on a Washington Post comment forum posted Alan Cheetham’s interactive Climate Data Graphing. It’s easy to plot the temperature record for most any weather station on the planet. It’s supposed to plot weather data from the NOAA GHCN database.
    http://www.appinsys.com/globalwarming/
    upper right sidebar >
    AIS Climate Data Visualizer Provides Climate History Graphing
    http://www.appinsys.com/globalwarming/climate.aspx

    The poster’s point was that wherever one looks the local temperature rises in the last 30 years remain unconvincing
    and hardly demonstrate global warming at all. There is no recent “spike” in temperatures. Finally, the last ten years of raw data pretty much show a cooling trend in many of the places one looks.

    Here’s the web page for temperatures: http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/climatedata.aspx?Dataset=GHCNTemp

    I’m concerned that people looking for raw data conversion to confirm their suspicions regarding the CRU email thefts and data manipulation as well as scientists’ cheating to prove global warming will seize on these charts to support denialists
    claims that warming just isn’t happening There is no doubt this was the WP posters intent.

    When I went through the drill I found the limited data average for my town confirmed warming, except for the last ten years. Austin, Texas http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/climgraph.aspx?pltparms=GHCNT100AJanDecI188020080900110AS42572254000x.

    But with other towns the story was more like what the poster claimed. San Antonio.
    http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/climgraph.aspx?pltparms=GHCNT100AJanDecA188020080900110AS42572253000x

    It’d been much hotter in the past. So far it doesn’t look good for extraordinary global temperature rise. Of course my sample is small.

    My question is, having noted Cheethan won’t hesitate to draw questionable conclusions, are these charts the real McCoy? Am I being flimflammed by a data/graphics trickster? If I’m going to take on folks like the WP poster I’m going to need as much help as I can get with this sort of thing.

    I apologize for reposting this question, but so far I’m stuck.

    [Response: Compare it to the GISTEMP station analyses. If there is one thing that is likely to be wrong it is probably that he isn't using the data after homogenisation or corrections for moves, time-of-observation bias and the like. These are real issues that need to be corrected for - see Hansen et al 2001 for instance. - gavin]

    Comment by Tim Jones — 5 Jan 2010 @ 12:00 AM

  349. 290, David,

    I don’t think a 3 box test would improve it significantly, considering the limited improvement of a 2 box test. I should also caution that statistically fitting the solar contribution isn’t what I would call a robust estimation process. On a single box test, I get the best results around a 5-6 year lag. On a two box test, I get the best results with 0 and 9 years. (That’s not to say that I think a 0 lag is more appropriate than 1 year).

    Another observation I have is that the sun is contributing about 0.2C of 20th century warming (with decadal smoothing), about 3/4 of it is happening before 1950, and the rest between 1950 and 1980.

    Comment by Todd Friesen — 5 Jan 2010 @ 12:41 AM

  350. “Why is such a gross distortion of Bjorn Lomborg permitted?”

    Answered with other questions: Why do people get to claim the population of polar bears is increasing, when it isn’t? Why do they get to say that mangrove swamps are unaffected by sea level rise, when we know that these swamps are at equilibrium for any given sea level and must in fact retreat with any rise of sea level?

    Bjorn Lomborg’s precious reputation is the least of the problems you’ll find here.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 Jan 2010 @ 12:45 AM

  351. Tim @348:

    In both links you supplied the unadjusted data is being plotted. Click on the “Adjusted” checkbox at the right of the page to show the adjusted data. the old MKI eyeball shows pretty strong warming since the 1970′s, although the warmest decade is from about the mid to late 20′s through the 30′s. This is no surprise, this was when the dustbowl happened and the GISS analysis has 1934 in a tie with 1998 for the warmest year in the lower 48.

    I looked at the station nearest my house BOZEMAN/MSU and it shows a strong warming throughout the record, even after the adjustments which remove some of the recent warming. Same thing for the shorter record at BOZEMAN/GALLATIN FIELD.

    However, if you are looking mostly at stations in the USA, you are going to find fewer stations which show strong warming since the US has not shown as strong a warming signal as some other regions of the planet.

    So, I think these are the real McCoy. The Bozeman/MSU charts are very similar to those from GISS. GISS is currently plotting 2009 for this station which comes in almost 2C(!) cooler than last year, which seems about right, we had a very cool first 8 months of the year and a pretty cool December. Here is the Bozeman chart from Appinsys. Bear in mind that GISTEMP does not use the GHCN adjustments, but rather uses their own method. Code is available at the GISS website.

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 5 Jan 2010 @ 1:53 AM

  352. If you can read this:
    http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/polar-bear-status-report/

    and conclude that climate change is the primary problem facing polar bears, or even conclude that there is solid evidence that their populations are declining, then you are reading the data through an ideological prism. It is just as reasonable to say they are “stable or increasing” as it is to say they are decreasing. “Data deficient” seems to be the predominant condition.

    “The total number of polar bears is still thought to be between 20,000 and 25,000.”

    Comment by Don Shor — 5 Jan 2010 @ 2:13 AM

  353. Brian @ 326

    thanx. didn’t understand the first paragraph to well, but your summary made it “icy” clear! :)

    Comment by Leo G — 5 Jan 2010 @ 2:19 AM

  354. Looking particularly at the generally rigorous and useful contributions of Hank Roberts, Ray Ladbury, Timothy Chase et al on this site in comparison to slackers repeating nonsense, is there any reason why reader-contributed thread input containing assertions of a scientifically remarkable, controversial or novel nature should not be accompanied either by a reference of reasonable quality, or a justification containing enough detail and method to be assessed on its merits?

    Some minimum standard of performance would be helpful in maintaining the quality of discourse here. Presently it seems too easy for threads to be degraded by regurgitated baseless talking points by persons too lazy to make an effort to discover if they’re spewing nonsense. Worse, RC is exploited as an echo chamber to “keep the debate alive” on dead thoughts that ought to be pushing up daisies.

    Posts not up to snuff could then be dumped into a publicly accessible bucket, indicating “revise and resubmit” as an available recourse.

    This of course would not apply to questions or remarks of a general nature, just claims such as “polar bear populations are increasing”, “I believe sea ice extent/volume is increasing” and the like.

    Yet another suggestion…

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 Jan 2010 @ 2:23 AM

  355. Don Shor says: 5 January 2010 at 2:13 AM

    Your ideological prism has a higher refractive index than does mine.

    Funny thing is, I rejected the link you cited because I thought it too ideologically biased in favor of hysteria about declining polar bear populations; the actual release from the actual group of experts is sufficiently foreboding, thanks.

    http://pbsg.npolar.no/en/meetings/press-releases/15-Copenhagen.html

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 Jan 2010 @ 2:33 AM

  356. FWIW, I don’t share the contempt some of my fellows have for Lomborg. Yes, he plays a bit fast and loose with the facts at times. And his risk analysis is crap. However, he does at least acknowledge that we are warming the planet and doesn’t try to defend the absurdly indefensible.

    The biggest problem I see with Lomborg is his risk analysis. He doesn’t consider ALL the potential risks, and is particularly scrupulous about ignoring those risks that we cannot bound at present. The first rule of risk analysis is that you cannot ignore an unbounded risk. You must either find a way to bound it or avoid the realization of the threat. An unbounded risk can be absolutely ruinous–as AIG found out the hard way. In the case of climate change, there are some risks that could result in the end of human civilization and a massive population crash–and we cannot yet preclude them.

    Ironically, the absolute best tools for bounding risk are the climate models–you know, the ones the denialists keep bashing as unreliable. They had better hope they are wrong (and they are), because if we don’t have bounding models, avoiding the threat becomes the only viable strategy, and that would mean limiting CO2 to pre-industrial levels.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Jan 2010 @ 5:35 AM

  357. Matthew L.,
    You are missing the point. The constraints on CO2 sensitivity tell us that the answer–including ALL feedbacks–has to work out to between 2.1 and 4.5 degrees per doubling. We have the answer in the back of the book. Now it is a matter of figuring out all the contributing factors. The fact that we have more than 10 independent lines of evidence that all pretty much agree on this range is pretty damned strong evidence that we know this quantity (CO2 sensitivity).

    Now as to the second part of your question, have you ever studied infinite series? They can be convergent as long as each successive term decreases enough–and this is the case for climate feedbacks. Even on Venus, the series converges–it just does so at a temperature above that of a pizza oven.

    Matthew, there are two ways to approach this issue: science and wishful thinking. Thinking that all the uncertainties will line up to save our sorry asses, despite all the evidence to the contrary is wishful thinking. Thinking that the consequences will not be so bad is wishful thinking. Thinking that we’ll come up with a magical solution like carbon gobbling trees is wishful thinking.

    You talk of previous environmental scares like the population crisis. Do you think those crises solved themselves by wishful thinking or do you think a bunch of smart people worked their asses off to come up with ingenious (and as it turns out temporary) fixes? Do you realize that even with all those efforts, about 20% of the global population remains hungry?

    Well, Matthew, you can pick science or anti-science (wishful thinking). I think science has a much better track record.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Jan 2010 @ 5:49 AM

  358. Don Shor, I call “strawman”.

    Nobody said that.

    And your quote doesn’t necessarily say what you want to say. If polar bear populations were at 25-30,000 50 years ago, then a cut of 5,000 would leave the population still at 20-25,000.

    Still going down.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Jan 2010 @ 6:14 AM

  359. Dave Bassage: “A google search on any related topic will yield at least as many hits on credible sounding but scientifically indefensible points of view as it will examples of diligent application of the scientific method.”

    Actually, it will almost entirely consist on the first page of denialist pages. trollbots up the link count by posting “A friend of mine pointed this out to me $URL TO TROLLBOT CENTRAL$ and I was wondering if anyone had counterpoints”.

    The trollbot central link gets another plus point for being linked to on RC, a widely referred site and overtakes the legitimate science.

    It also shows how many times you get fake concern from “noobs”.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Jan 2010 @ 6:21 AM

  360. “So, is climate science inevitably going to be misrepresented in the press? No. But only if scientists work hard at simplifying the picture”

    Nope, been tried. AIT tried it.

    And despite being accepted, the judge recommended that for EDUCATIONAL USE FOR CHILDREN there should be a few additions to clarify (and that complicates the picture, so your simplification is undone) the uncertainties in climate science, this has been pounded to death ever since as “proof!!!!” that AIT is just false propoganda.

    Simplifying the science lets the denialists, who do not have a theory to prove, say “but you missed this out, therefore your conclusions are wrong”.

    Doesn’t work, kid. Doesn’t work.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Jan 2010 @ 6:29 AM

  361. #352 Don Shor

    Only one who is thoroughly brainwashed could read the article and state that “It is just as reasonable to say they are ‘stable or increasing’ as it is to say they are decreasing.”

    The article itself may be biased. There may be other evidence contradicting the conclusions of the article, but there is NO WAY that a rational person could read the article and conclude that polar bear populations are stable or increasing.

    You have been brainwashed and rendered incapable of rational thought.

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 5 Jan 2010 @ 7:53 AM

  362. It seems to be accepted that in the 1950s there were far fewer Polar Bears than now. Estimates seem to range around the 5000 figure. Given than current estimates are around 20 – 25000 I would call that an increase and a large one. Is anyone declaring that as a decrease?

    That increase has taken place in the period that the AGW signal has been detected at its strongest. Of course you could say that the population would be even higher if not for GW. Is there any evidence for this?

    What studies exist to show what the ideal population should be. What would be the maximum population that the environment could support?

    Without this information why would anyone be worried about polar bears? How do we know that that the population is not oscillating between its natural low and high points at the moment?

    Alan

    Comment by Alan Millar — 5 Jan 2010 @ 9:48 AM

  363. Don Shor @ 352:

    If you can read this:
    http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/polar-bear-status-report/

    and conclude that climate change is the primary problem facing polar bears, or even conclude that there is solid evidence that their populations are declining, then you are reading the data through an ideological prism.

    The title of that article is “Unprecedented Loss of Sea Ice Renews Concerns for Survival of the World’s Polar Bears”. The first sentence says “the PBSG renewed the conclusion from previous meetings that the greatest challenge to the conservation of polar bears is ecological change in the Arctic, resulting from climatic warming”.

    If you can read that article and conclude that climate change is not the primary problem facing polar bears, then you are doing it wrong.

    Comment by Nick Barnes — 5 Jan 2010 @ 10:24 AM

  364. It doesn’t even have to be a primary problem, Nick.

    It just has to be a major problem.

    But Don wants to see it as no problem. This is creating a few difficulties for him…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Jan 2010 @ 10:29 AM

  365. “It seems to be accepted that in the 1950s there were far fewer Polar Bears than now”

    Reporting bias?

    1) It’s easier to fly over Polar Bear habitat nowadays
    2) With polar bears moving south and humans expanding north, you’ll get lots more reports of polar bear sightings.

    “How do we know that that the population is not oscillating between its natural low and high points at the moment?”

    We don’t. But the assumption that there is an oscillation is more wrong than assuming that they are in decline.

    There is a clear causation for the decline and no causation why those reasons have no effect.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Jan 2010 @ 10:31 AM

  366. Tim Jones and Dave Bassage,
    While I sympathize with the layman trying to make sense of all of this complicated science, I have to wonder why people don’t avail themselves of the tried and trusted remedy in such situations: ask the experts. After all, appeal to authority is not in fact a logical fallacy. Now it is true that your opponent can also cite an authority. However, there are objective ways of deciding which authority is more trustworthy (e.g. peer-reviewed publication record, # of citations, etc.). No one can be an expert on every subject, and no one should be allowed to diminish the importance of expertise gained by a lifetime of devoted study, innovation and hard work. And as to the question of an individual scientist having a personal agenda–that is one of the reasons why scientific consensus is important. It dilutes any personal motives/grudges, etc.

    One of the reasons why denialists resort to ad hominem attacks is because they have no evidence they can cite–ad hom is all they have. However, another more sinister reason why denialists attack experts and expertise in general: If you can’t trust the experts, then everyone’s opinion on every issue becomes equal, and even an asshat, ignorant food tube like Steve Milloy counts! The attack on scientific consensus is part of the same strategy.

    It’s time to take the initiative back from the idjits. Get them sputtering mad and reveal them for the tin-foil-hat-wearing nutjobs they really are.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Jan 2010 @ 10:40 AM

  367. @Jim Eager:

    “Only if the feedback amplification produces an increasing series, as in: 1 + 1.25 + 1.5 + 1.75 etc. ”

    That is an example of positive feedback.

    “But not if the amplification produces a decreasing series, as in: 1 + .75 + .5 + .25 etc. ”

    That is an example of NAGATIVE feedback.

    Positive feedback always results in instability – i.e. a “tipping point”.

    The social politics of climate science relies on climate chnage not being a slow progression over time to a warmer climate, which could likely easily be adapted to by man and beast, but to a point being reached where positive feedback results in positive feedback resulting in catastrophic climate change – i.e. a tipping point.

    Belief in the “tipping point” is based on the idea that certain feedbacks for the climate are positive, and result in increased levels of CO2 and hence increased warming. It also relies on the belief that no such tipping point has ever been reached in the recent past, e.g. the earth’s climate has not been pushed to the tipping point by a large volcanic eruption releasing large amounts of CO2 which would then also result in the same catstrophic and unrecoverable climate change scenario.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_feedback

    [Response: This is not the definition used in climatology (and although that Wiki article mentions climate, it's intro paragraph and discussion do not apply). Where's Connolley when you need him? In climatology, there is an easy to calculate no-feedback response to a forcing, 'positive' feedbacks are those processes that amplify the signal from that no-feedback case, while negative feedbacks damp that signal. It does not imply runaway instability. Please note that this is how things are defined in this field - arguing that climatologists have defined things differently from other fields and therefore are confused is pointless. Actually, the wiki article would be a good place to give the varying usages across fields and resolve the confusions that sometimes occur. Any volunteers? - gavin]

    Comment by Ryan — 5 Jan 2010 @ 11:12 AM

  368. Alan Millar says: “It seems to be accepted that in the 1950s there were far fewer Polar Bears than now. Estimates seem to range around the 5000 figure. Given than current estimates are around 20 – 25000 I would call that an increase and a large one. Is anyone declaring that as a decrease?”

    Yes, it’s amazing how much better the population does when you restrict the overhunting that was prevalent in the 1940s-60s. Populations recovered until about 1987, and then…

    The latest situation:

    At the most recent meeting of the IUCN Polar Bear Special-ist Group (Copenhagen, 2009), scientists reported that of the 19 subpopulations of polar bears, eight are declining, three are stable, one is increasing, and seven have insufficient data on which to base a decision. (The number of declining populations has increased from five at the group’s 2005 meeting.)

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Jan 2010 @ 11:12 AM

  369. Alan might need to consider a more expert opinion about just what “seems to be accepted” concerning historic bear populations and climate change

    Comment by flxible — 5 Jan 2010 @ 11:26 AM

  370. Doug Bostrom (354 et al): why do your rules of posting apply to many but not, for instance, yourself? Almost every source that deals with it agree that polar bear population has at least doubled since 1970. Even taking into account that polar bear population estimates are wildly uncertain (including the ones taken today) and exceeded in their uncertainty only by projections of population. Why would, under your rules, be allowed to boldly assert otherwise?

    Comment by Rod B — 5 Jan 2010 @ 11:29 AM

  371. Re #224
    Ray Ladbury says:
    3 January 2010 at 7:22 PM
    Leo G., WRT absorption of CO2 by water. The thing that determines how much CO2 the water CAN absorb is the chemical potential (it has to equalize between atmosphere and the water for equilibrium), and that will not depend on other solutes unless they react with CO2. In practice, CO2 uptake will depend on how much overturn of the surface there is–more turbulence means more mixing and more absorption. Hopefully that helps.

    In the case of seawater and CO2 the other solutes do react and therefore influence the absorption of CO2. That’s why strictly Henry’s Law does not apply to CO2-water, CO2 reacts to form carbonic acid which partially dissociates to bicarbonate ion (the predominant species in seawater) which can further dissociate to carbonate ion.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 5 Jan 2010 @ 11:55 AM

  372. Ryan says “Positive feedback always results in instability – i.e. a “tipping point”.”

    This is just flat wrong! An infinite series can converge provided the terms tend toward zero with sufficient rapidity. Each term still contributes positively to the total, is positive definite and depends on the previous term–and so it is a positive feedback.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Jan 2010 @ 12:13 PM

  373. A child’s treasury of grim polar bear news

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 5 Jan 2010 @ 12:16 PM

  374. Comment by Rod B — 5 January 2010 @ 11:29 AM

    Hi, Rod.

    According to the “polar bear experts”, the horse’s mouth when it comes to polar bears, of the population groups with reasonable measurements available most are in a state of declining population. That’s the available data. One can speculate about the state of the groups with unknown populations, but the actual data we have indicates a declining population.

    From the most recent meeting of the experts group:

    “Reviewing the latest information available the PBSG concluded that 1 of 19 subpopulations is currently increasing, 3 are stable and 8 are declining. For the remaining 7 subpopulations available data were insufficient to provide an assessment of current trend. ”

    Here’s a useful link:

    http://pbsg.npolar.no/en/index.html

    Now, as to your objection, I’ve referred to summary data from the ultimate authority on polar bear populations. I can’t do better.

    If you google polar bear populations, you’ll be overwhelmed with links referring to a single study with optimistic projections about polar bear populations. This study has been disavowed by the experts group. As to population rebound since the 1950s, that does not seem relevant today, since the experts group concludes that of the groups with known populations, most are in decline.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 Jan 2010 @ 12:33 PM

  375. Re Ryan @367: “That is an example of NAGATIVE feedback.”

    No, Ryan, it is an example of a positive feedback with a diminishing effect.

    Let’s say the initial forcing = X and the initial feedback to X = 1
    Now let’s say the second iteration feedback to X+1 = .75
    The feedback is still positive, but of diminishing value.

    Now let’s say the second iteration feedback to X+1+.75 = .5
    The feedback is still positive, but of diminishing value.

    A negative feedback actually requires a negative sign, not just a reduced value, I.E., X-.25, X-.5, X-.75.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 5 Jan 2010 @ 12:49 PM

  376. General FYI on Polar Bears

    For those denialists using the polar bear increasing argument, can we please bear in mind that polar bear population increased due to conservation efforts. That does not change the fact that global warming is still a threat to them.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 5 Jan 2010 @ 1:03 PM

  377. Ryan, a negative feedback REDUCES THE SIGNAL.

    As in

    INPUT: 5. FEEDBACK. OUTPUT: 3

    the feedback is negative.

    A positive feedback INCREASES THE SIGNAL

    INPUT: 5. FEEDBACK. OUTPUT: 8

    the feedback is positive.

    So if your feedback adds a reducing amount, you have a POSITIVE feedback.

    The hint is in the maths:

    1 + 1/2 + 1/4 +…

    Note the “+” signs. Positive.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Jan 2010 @ 1:11 PM

  378. Ray,

    If Lomborg “plays a bit fast and loose with the facts at times. And his risk analysis is crap. However, he does at least acknowledge that we are warming the planet and doesn’t try to defend the absurdly indefensible,” you should have a big problem with him. Just because he lands on the favored warming side of things doesn’t justify the looseness that got him there, given it could possibly have landed him on the flat or cooling side of things — how loose is he? Surely rigor is a requirement for any academic you might take seriously? I know you are not a Gore fan, for instance, though he is famously “right-thinking”.

    As to the “asshats” and “foodtubes”, for the life of me I can’t understand why you keep falling victim to the temptation to denigrate people as opposed to their arguments. Failing that (resisting the temptation) if what they are saying is silly, why respond at all?

    Comment by Walter Manny — 5 Jan 2010 @ 1:13 PM

  379. 350, Doug Bostrom: Answered with other questions: Why do people get to claim the population of polar bears is increasing, when it isn’t? Why do they get to say that mangrove swamps are unaffected by sea level rise, when we know that these swamps are at equilibrium for any given sea level and must in fact retreat with any rise of sea level?

    I suppose that it wouldn’t work to be too strict in maintaining standards. But I had a technical comment deleted even though it contained a reference to a recent peer-reviewed article in a prestigious journal.

    Comment by Matthew — 5 Jan 2010 @ 1:22 PM

  380. Walter, In science, the evidence is the foundation upon which all arguments are based. Refusal to accept or even acknowledge the evidence is indefensible as it precludes all possibility of scientific debate. It places one in the “not even wrong” category. Unfortunately, denialists refuse to acknowledge the evidence, all they are left with are repeatedly resurrected zombie arguments, ad hominem attack and conspiracy theories. I am afraid that when science itself is under attack, the insult cannot go unanswered.

    Lomborg at least acknowledges the evidence, so civil debate is possible. His mistakes stem from his lack of understanding of risk management–which is not his specialty. This makes him wrong, but wrong can be corrected. “Not even wrong” cannot.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Jan 2010 @ 1:38 PM

  381. Gavin,
    Would it be correct to say that the standard definition of positive feedback still holds but there is no instability so long as the negative feedback effects come into play over longer time scales to damp the buildup: such as decrease in temperatures due to solar orbit resulting in greater absorption in the oceans, the weathering of rocks etc.? In other words, if the positive feedback occurs with greater magnitudes at shorter timescales before the long term damping effects kicked in, one could have a runaway unstable effect such as occurred on Venus?

    Comment by RB — 5 Jan 2010 @ 1:44 PM

  382. 376, John P. Reisman: For those denialists using the polar bear increasing argument, can we please bear in mind that polar bear population increased due to conservation efforts. That does not change the fact that global warming is still a threat to them.

    If it is true that the polar bear population grew while the CO2 was rising and global temps were rising, and if previous population loss was due to hunting, and if contact between polar bears and humans is increasing, then the next question is How much of current polar bear decline is caused by the human-polar bear interaction, and how much is due to recent (up till 2007) summer Arctic ice loss?

    Comment by Matthew — 5 Jan 2010 @ 1:45 PM

  383. #378 Walter Manny

    “why respond at all?”

    For the benefit of those that wish to learn.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 5 Jan 2010 @ 1:48 PM

  384. Todd Friesen (349) — Ok, but I’m unclear just what you are fitting to and whether you are using annual or decadal averaged data. Can you explain just what you have done?

    As the average solar sunspot cycle is 10.448 years according to a NOAA(?) website, a 5-6 year lag is exactly out-of-phase. Seems quite odd.

    By the way, as I understand it, Leif Svalgaard claims no change in TSI (other than solar sunspot cycles) over the last 175 years. So even changes in TSI does not seem to be a settled matter.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 5 Jan 2010 @ 2:26 PM

  385. Re: polar bears

    Completely Fed Up: “If polar bear populations were at 25-30,000 50 years ago, then a cut of 5,000 would leave the population still at 20-25,000.”

    Where did you get your 25-30,000 number? I’m not asking rhetorically. I just couldn’t find that figure anywhere.

    “But Don wants to see it as no problem. This is creating a few difficulties for him…”

    Where did you get that idea? I just don’t think that polar bears are presently very good poster animals for AGW. You might just as well use panda bears, and they’re cuter.
    Climate change is a long-term potential problem for the polar bear population. Hence the “threatened” status they’ve been awarded.

    Jiminmpls: “You have been brainwashed and rendered incapable of rational thought.”
    Great riposte! Say, isn’t this a moderated forum?

    Alan Millar: “It seems to be accepted that in the 1950s there were far fewer Polar Bears than now. Estimates seem to range around the 5000 figure. Given than current estimates are around 20 – 25000 I would call that an increase and a large one. Is anyone declaring that as a decrease?”

    Which supports the idea that the major factor affecting polar bear populations has been the management of hunting. The site I linked also mentions bear/human interactions and pesticides as risk factors. Climate change is a potential long-term threat.

    Doug Bostrom: “According to the “polar bear experts”, the horse’s mouth when it comes to polar bears, of the population groups with reasonable measurements available most are in a state of declining population.”

    8 out of 19 subpopulations are declining. The same experts indicate their estimate of the total population hasn’t changed (20 – 25,000) since 2005.

    “…of the groups with known populations, most are in decline.”

    Take a look at the detailed table (unfortunately, only available from 2005 that I could find):
    http://pbsg.npolar.no/en/status/status-table.html
    5 – 10% annual removals in certain subpopulations seem to be the major factor. If we know anything, it is that we need more information.

    Comment by Don Shor — 5 Jan 2010 @ 2:29 PM

  386. RB (381) — Not at all. A positive feedback is an amplification of the orignal signal; it need not lead to unstable runaway. The standard example is

    1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + … = 2.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 5 Jan 2010 @ 2:33 PM

  387. “Would it be correct to say that the standard definition of positive feedback still holds but there is no instability so long as the negative feedback effects come into play over longer time scales to damp the buildup”

    No need to.

    If positive feedback is a convering series, there’s no need for negative feedbacks.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Jan 2010 @ 2:34 PM

  388. #382 Matthew

    Good question? I don’t know. Someone in the area that is doing the studies might be able to establish attributions to varying degrees but I doubt with extreme precision. There are always error bars in such estimations. Someone may have already done a study but I don’t know. Not the most pertinent issue in my mind when examining evidence on AGW effects (not saying I don’t care about the polar bears so please don’t jump on me). Personally I hope never to meet one. I hear they are quite ferocious.

    I have seen many use the polar bear argument and no doubt some bears are being affected and even drowning due to increased distances. But for my money, if we are looking for a smoking gun in the Arctic on AGW it’s the predictions and confirmations in the ice volume and ice extent loss rates.

    It’s to easy to just say the polar bear population is increasing so AGW is wrong (a classic strawman and non sequitur).

    http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20091207_Figure3.png

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/arctic/20070822_oldice.gif/view

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 5 Jan 2010 @ 2:43 PM

  389. Matthew says: 5 January 2010 at 1:22 PM

    A “/dev/nul/” non-thread would be great. Just a linear sequence of rejected posts, for all to see, no need for support of discussions. Like I suggest, an invitation to puzzle out what was wrong, revise, resubmit. No further effort on RC’s part required.

    The posts I’ve made that have vanished have consistently not deserved to see the light of day. Perhaps I’ve just been the beneficiary of fortuitous technical glitches; considering the “quality” of many posts on RC it’s hard to believe any get moderated out. Whatever the reason, I’m grateful.

    Matthew says: 5 January 2010 at 1:45 PM

    Here’s what the polar bear experts conclude from their most recent convocation:

    “The PBSG renewed the conclusion from previous meetings that the greatest challenge to conservation of polar bears is ecological change in the Arctic resulting from climatic warming. Declines in the extent of the sea ice have accelerated since the last meeting of the group in 2005, with unprecedented sea ice retreats in 2007 and 2008. The PBSG confirmed its earlier conclusion that unabated global warming will ultimately threaten polar bears everywhere.

    The PBSG also recognized that threats to polar bears will occur at different rates and times across their range although warming induced habitat degradation and loss are already negatively affecting polar bears in some parts of their range. Subpopulations of polar bears face different combinations of human threats. The PBSG recommends that jurisdictions take into account the variation in threats facing polar bears. ”

    http://pbsg.npolar.no/en/meetings/press-releases/15-Copenhagen.html

    Also, if you look here and dig around

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    you’ll find ample evidence to indicate that 2007 by no means marked a terminating punctuation mark in the continuing decline of Arctic sea ice.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 Jan 2010 @ 2:48 PM

  390. Ray Ladbury, your comments about Bjorn Lomborg reflect a generosity of spirit that I unfortunately cannot share, and which I don’t think Lomborg deserves. I don’t think Lomborg makes “mistakes”. I believe he engages in deliberate, knowing deceit about the urgency, necessity, costs, and benefits of emissions reductions. Lomborg is every bit as deceitful as those who seek to deliberately, knowingly deceive about the basic science. Lomborg is just creating public confusion and undermining public support for action in a different area, that’s all.

    And as I said above, all of his sophistry boils down to one simple bottom line, which is the same bottom line that ALL the denialist sophistry ALWAYS boils down to: there is no need for urgent action, particularly for any government policies, to rapidly phase out fossil fuels on a large scale.

    It is always the same, whether the particular denier is denying the basic science, or acknowledging the basic science but denying the urgency and severity of the danger, as Lomborg does: whatever we do, we must not do anything that would reduce the fossil fuel corporations’ profits.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 5 Jan 2010 @ 2:55 PM

  391. #340 – FurryCatHerder
    You are right, it is not correct. I have gone back to basics and done some numbers.

    Waxman-Markey sets a target of reducing total U.S. GHG emissions by 83 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2050 (with intermediate benchmarks at 2020 and 2030). I have seen estimates that this is a reduction from a projected 5.7 billion tons in 2009 to just a little over 1 billion tons in 2050.

    The United States last emitted 1 billion tons in the year 1910, when the nation’s population was only 92 million people, so per capita consumption was roughly 10.9 tons per annum. By the year 2050, however, the United States is expected to have a population of circa 420 million meaning 1 billion tons is 2.38 tons per capita per annum – less than a quarter of the amount consumed per capita in 1910. Even at the current population it is only just over 3 tons.

    Assuming that similar levels are needed throughout the world, that will involve hugely disruptive changes to our production and consumption of energy. We will need to be very sure of the science if we are going to convince the world that such a change is necessary. I don’t envy the climate scientists task.

    I think it is self evidently a “good thing” to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels for all sorts of reasons. However there are many out there who do not think that way (several billion Chinese for a start) and you need to convince them – not me!

    I have tried resonding to other posts but am getting blocked.

    Comment by Matthew L. — 5 Jan 2010 @ 3:12 PM

  392. Aha! That one worked, so will try a shortened version of the original post I tried to get through.

    #337 – Doug,
    sorry you feel that way Doug. I thought this was a discussion, I am quite happy to be proved wrong where better information is available, not all of us have the time and resources to seek out and cite relevent research. A paper written that way would appear in the main blog not in the discussion. I am sure you can tell from my posts that our Environment is very much my major concern.

    I am very much a product of the current state of the internet on this subject. It is impossible for me to tell whether research is s__t or truth, old or new, current or superseded. This is a great place for guidance. Much of what I say is playing ‘devil’s advocate’. I am aware that I may be completely wrong, but I, and people like me, need to be convinced.

    In the light of better information I am more than happy to concede the point on the Polar Bears.

    #338 – Jim Eager
    Thanks! That clarifies the position a lot and I now understand. Do you have a reference to an article that shows what the series looks like as applied to feedbacks used in climate models? How does the series look going backwards? Tried looking on this site but can only find generalities.

    Similarly Ray’s point on the 10 supporting analyses supporting positive feedback.

    Further replies to follow if I don’t get blocked again.

    Comment by Matthew L. — 5 Jan 2010 @ 3:20 PM

  393. #341 – Doug,
    a bit uneccessary Doug. Much of my assertions are from memory, I don’t keep a book of citations. I have a day job and little spare time so just read lots of stuff and try and remember it.

    I have done more research on Coral Bleaching and concede that warming of the seas has caused bleaching in the past. Much of this was attributed to the exceptional Nino event in 1998. More minor and localised events have occurred since, most notably in 2002. Much of the coral (where isolated or protected) has since started recovering so this could just be an exceptional natural event and part of the natural process of adpatation to change. That has not stopped a lot of coral being damaged by human sewerage and exploitation in the meantime.

    Apart from the Polar Bears and (possibly) coral bleaching, can you think of any other environmental catastrophe (in particular plant or animal extinction) that has happened, or is happening, as a result of global warming and that cannot be attributed to direct human intervention?

    I am genuinely interested to know as I have failed to find any yet.

    I could give you several thousand instances where plant and animal species populations are declining due to habitat destruction, hunting or over exploitation.

    #350 – Doug (you’re busy!)
    sea level is rising at a rate of around 2mm a year and has done at least as fast, if not faster, since approximately the end of the last ice age. Despite that Mangrove swamps have grown and thrived throughout the tropics, helping to build river deltas and providing a wonderful habitat for unique species of birds, mammals, amphibians and insects. There is no evidence that Mangrove forests are unable to adapt to rising sea levels. Sure they retreat as all species will do as sea levels rise, but just because they retreat does not mean they get smaller, unless constrainted by man or geology they will encroach at the rear as well as retreating at the front. However, there is plenty of evidence that they are unable to adapt to being cut down and replaced by marginal agriculture and human habitation.

    If this gets through then, irony of irony, the bit that got me blocked was a citation!

    Comment by Matthew L. — 5 Jan 2010 @ 3:28 PM

  394. The United Nations Environment Program estimated that shrimp farming causes a quarter of the destruction of mangrove forests.
    (Botkin, D. and E. Keller (2003) Enrivonmental Science: Earth as a living planet (p.2) John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-38914-5 )

    Comment by Matthew L. — 5 Jan 2010 @ 3:29 PM

  395. There is a heap of confusion on the feedback issue, with various people’s intuitions mostly right but at odds with one another, even among climate scientists. For that matter, even recent papers (such as this one just out by Mike Lockwood on solar forcing: http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/466/2114/303.full ) can get significant things wrong – Lockwood seems to have a differing definition of forcing (measuring at the surface, rather than Top of Atmosphere) which leads to discussion of how the feedbacks are somehow part of the forcings…

    From my limited understanding of the issues, I think the best explanation is to be had by looking at the precise mathematical definition in terms of partial derivatives of various terms, in particular Appendix A of Bony et al’s review article in Journal of Climate, Vol. 19, p. 3445 (2006); the appendix is titled appropriately enough “How are Feedbacks Defined?” from which we see the main issue immediately is the central negative stabilizing feedback that everybody knows about but forgets to include among the feedbacks as usually understood:

    “The most fundamental feedback in the climate system is the temperature dependence of LW emission through the Stefan–Boltzmann law of blackbody emission (Planck response).”

    This is large and negative; all other feedbacks, positive or negative, add to this one. Positive ones move the climate to a less stable state, negative ones make things a little more stable. But overall, as long as the sum of the positive feedbacks doesn’t become larger in magnitude than the negative Planck response, the climate system is stable.

    Comment by Arthur Smith — 5 Jan 2010 @ 3:42 PM

  396. “The United Nations Environment Program estimated that shrimp farming causes a quarter of the destruction of mangrove forests.”

    Therefore 75% by NOT shrimp farming!

    QUICK! START FARMING SHRIMP!!!

    Come on.

    And this:

    “1 billion tons is 2.38 tons per capita per annum – less than a quarter of the amount consumed per capita in 1910. Even at the current population it is only just over 3 tons.”

    You know what we’ve got that we didn’t have in 1910?

    Modern electric vehicles.

    Modern Solar PV

    Modern Wind Turbines

    Modern insulation

    Double Glazing

    TECHNOLOGY.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Jan 2010 @ 3:46 PM

  397. “Where did you get your 25-30,000 number? I’m not asking rhetorically. I just couldn’t find that figure anywhere. ”

    It was an example.

    if it WAS 30,000, then “still 25,000″ is both correct AND proof of reduction in numbers. It’s still a lot of polar bears. It’s not like it’s about to go extinct like white bengal tigers or anything.

    And that is despite, I may add, controlling the predation by humans.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Jan 2010 @ 3:50 PM

  398. Matthew L. wrote: “… that will involve hugely disruptive changes to our production and consumption of energy.”

    It sure will — it will involve a massive transfer of wealth from the fossil fuel corporations to other sectors of the economy. Very disruptive to ExxonMobil’s tens of billions of dollars in annual profits. Can’t have that, now can we? Much better to accept “disruptive changes” like the total failure of agriculture and mass famine.

    Matthew L. wrote: “… I think it is self evidently a ‘good thing’ to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels for all sorts of reasons. However there are many out there who do not think that way (several billion Chinese for a start …”

    China is moving more aggressively to reduce fossil fuel use and build up a wind and solar energy infrastructure than is the USA, and even has higher fuel economy standards for vehicles than does the USA. Not to mention that China is already on track to become the world’s largest exporter of wind and solar technology — all technologies that were invented in the USA.

    Phasing out fossil fuels will be “disruptive” and the Chinese won’t do it anyway. Sounds like the same old, same old denialist, obstuctionist sophistry to me.

    First deny the science.
    If that barricade falls, then deny the urgency or severity of the problem.
    If that barricade falls, then deny that we have the ability to change.
    If that barricade falls, then blame the Chinese.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 5 Jan 2010 @ 3:51 PM

  399. Matthew L. wrote: “… that will involve hugely disruptive changes to our production and consumption of energy.”

    You know, the invention of the networked personal computer involved “hugely disruptive changes” to what was then known as “data processing”.

    The invention of the cell phone involved “hugely disruptive changes” to telecommunications.

    And yes, the proliferation of technologies that will enable businesses, communities, factories, family farms and individual homeowners to harvest limitless, ubiquitous, clean, free wind and solar energy will surely cause “hugely disruptive changes to our production and consumption of energy.”

    I’m looking forward to it.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 5 Jan 2010 @ 3:57 PM

  400. Hmmm… this spam blocking is a mystery. I have managed to post all of the text of my original blocked post in bits, but the whole post won’t go through.

    To those who have commented that my views are just wishful thinking that future discoveries will save my sorry a_s (or ar__e in English) you have a point :)

    However – struggling hard to analyse my own scepticism – I don’t think that really is my motivation. It is more that experience has taught me to be sceptical of extreme views and extreme predictions that diverge from previous experience so radically – particularly when the true outcome is not likely to be apparent until long after I am dead and gone.

    I am also sceptical of precitive models that make best guess assumptions about major factors (such as clouds and ocean current feedacks and forcings) – particularly where (in the case of clouds) those assumptions are all biased either to the neutral or positve.

    Is it wise to discount the possibility that cloud feedback might be negative? Has anybody run climate models scenarios that assume just that?
    http://www.realclimate.org/images/soden_fig1.jpg

    My fear is that this is not done because it might show that the range of outcomes for a doubling of CO2 might be more like 0 – 6 kelvin rather than 2 – 6 kelvin. In which case we still have the probability of global warming but just with a huge range of uncertainty.

    Comment by Matthew L. — 5 Jan 2010 @ 3:59 PM

  401. Matthew: “can you think of any other environmental catastrophe (in particular plant or animal extinction) that has happened, or is happening, as a result of global warming and that cannot be attributed to direct human intervention?”

    Tom Knudson has written extensively about current impacts of climate change on the Sierra Nevada mountains.
    Most of his work is in the Sacramento Bee: http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/sierra_summit/
    Here is a link to his blog, sorted specifically for climate change posts: http://www.savingthesierra.org/taxonomy/term/49

    I realize that these are not scientific articles. Consider them a starting point.

    Comment by Don Shor — 5 Jan 2010 @ 4:03 PM

  402. I should correct myself. The standard control structure definition for an amplifying stage that incorporates feedback is as follows:

    Output, Y= G*(X-H*Y), where X is the input, Y is the output, H is the feedback gain, G is the forward gain. This then results in
    Y= (G*X)/(1+G*H)

    If -1 < G*H < 0, there is amplification without runaway instability. But you start to see a lot of overshoots and undershoots i.e. a ringing response. But at the frequency (timescale) of interest, if G*H=-1, you have runaway instability.

    Comment by RB — 5 Jan 2010 @ 4:10 PM

  403. Some counterweight for all deniers so happily blogging, posting and twittering about present winter weather in some places: GISS update:
    November 2009 was the warmest November ever, worldwide: http://bit.ly/WarmestNov. Extremely warm (> 4 C over normal) in Arctic, mid-Canada and SE Australia.

    Comment by Kees van der Leun — 5 Jan 2010 @ 4:25 PM

  404. Matthew L.:

    “I am very much a product of the current state of the internet on this subject. It is impossible for me to tell whether research is s__t or truth, old or new, current or superseded. This is a great place for guidance. Much of what I say is playing ‘devil’s advocate’. I am aware that I may be completely wrong, but I, and people like me, need to be convinced.”

    Did you notice the trend of your concessions? There’s a signal there, and if you follow my rudely stated suggestion about verifying your various claims I think you’ll find that signal sufficiently robust to help with easing your doubts, if not entirely erasing them.

    We’ve collected a plethora of observations of features of the earth’s regolith, soils, oceans, biota, cryosphere and atmosphere indicating vector changes in thermal or chemical regimes.

    Certainly we can look at observed changes in single environments and hypothesize individual explanations for each. But when we integrate the results of so many diverse fields of inquiry and see that all of these features have a common direction as well as a common potential driving force the choices we have for reasonable hypotheses diminish. Ultimately we’re left with very few choices indeed. One of those– adding “greenhouse gases” including C02 to the atmosphere– comports well with our observations.

    Have I said anything controversial? I don’t think so.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 Jan 2010 @ 4:28 PM

  405. “I should correct myself. The standard control structure definition for an amplifying stage that incorporates feedback is as follows:”

    This isn’t op-amp theory.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Jan 2010 @ 4:54 PM

  406. “Tom Knudson has written extensively about current impacts of climate change on the Sierra Nevada mountains.”

    Sorry, I’m losing it here.

    How many polar bears live in the Sierra Nevada mountains?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Jan 2010 @ 4:56 PM

  407. “I don’t think that really is my motivation. It is more that experience has taught me to be sceptical of extreme views ”

    But that itself is an extreme view.

    Yet you’ve shown no skepticism in applying it.

    Try this on. Which is more likely:

    This is a world-girdling multinational conspiracy to $ONE OF MILLIONS OF IDEAS THAT ARE BAD, M’KAY$ and all the evidence is faked.

    or

    The IPCC have it right.

    Where is your skepticism on that?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Jan 2010 @ 4:58 PM

  408. Arthur:
    “There is a heap of confusion on the feedback issue,… get significant things wrong – Lockwood seems to have a differing definition of forcing (measuring at the surface,”

    Uh, feedback as in “is this a positive or negative feedback” has naff all to do with that differing definition of forcing.

    “I think the best explanation is to be had by looking at the precise mathematical definition in terms of partial derivatives of various terms”

    Nope, it’s far simpler to think of it in mathematical terms:

    Positive feedback:

    X + 1/4X + 1/16X + … sum to infinite terms 1/4n where n tends to infinity.

    Plus.

    Negative feedback:

    X – 1/4X – 1/16X – … sum to infinite terms -1/4n where n tends to infinity.

    Minus.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Jan 2010 @ 5:07 PM

  409. Matthew “Apart from the Polar Bears and (possibly) coral bleaching, can you think of any other environmental catastrophe … as a result of global warming and that cannot be attributed to direct human intervention?

    I am genuinely interested to know as I have failed to find any yet.”

    I’m getting flashbacks to Holy Grail and “what have the Romans ever done for us”.

    Sheesh. Did he really say “OK, you’ve given me some. But do you have any *others*???”

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Jan 2010 @ 5:12 PM

  410. 388, John P. Reisman: It’s to easy to just say the polar bear population is increasing so AGW is wrong (a classic strawman and non sequitur).

    Yes, that happens.

    398, SecularAnimist: China is moving more aggressively to reduce fossil fuel use and build up a wind and solar energy infrastructure than is the USA, and even has higher fuel economy standards for vehicles than does the USA. Not to mention that China is already on track to become the world’s largest exporter of wind and solar technology — all technologies that were invented in the USA.

    China is increasing energy production in all technologies: coal, oil, and gas; wind, solar, and biofuels; multiple designs of nuclear. They are not “moving aggressively to reduce fossil fuel use.” As a matter of policy, I’d prefer for the US to subsidize manufacture of solar and wind devices (as China does, and some states do), instead of subsidizing their purchase, which leads to importation from China (not that I have a beef against China, but we do have a large trade deficit which I think is disadvantageous.) The US has a more restrictive regulatory environment, so it is hard to increase manufacture of anything as rapidly as China is increasing manufacture of PV cells. The US is however expanding manufacture, so we aren’t a total loss. In the US, energy from non-hydro renewable sources is increasing faster than energy consumption generally (even as gas supplants coal), something that is not yet happening in China.

    Comment by Matthew — 5 Jan 2010 @ 5:17 PM

  411. Completely Fed Up:
    “Tom Knudson has written extensively about current impacts of climate change on the Sierra Nevada mountains.”
    Sorry, I’m losing it here.
    How many polar bears live in the Sierra Nevada mountains?

    None.
    I was giving Matthew some examples of current problems caused by climate change. Just because I was talking about polar bears before, doesn’t mean that all of my replies are about polar bears.

    Comment by Don Shor — 5 Jan 2010 @ 5:31 PM

  412. Some have commented on the need for scientists to better educate the public. I thought perhaps this might of some interest to some of you: http://www.cred.columbia.edu/guide/

    It is a link to “The Psychology of Climate Change Communication”. Printed it comes to around 50 pages, or so I’ve been told. Someone recommended it to me the other day and I haven’t had time to do more than skim a few pages, but it looks interesting.

    Comment by Witgren — 5 Jan 2010 @ 5:37 PM

  413. Matthew L @400: It is more that experience has taught me to be sceptical of extreme views and extreme predictions that diverge from previous experience so radically

    Matthew, since there is currently more CO2 in the atmosphere than there has been in at least the last 3 million years and perhaps the last 20 million [Tripati, et al, Science 4 December 2009 http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1178296 ] the entire human genus has had zero experience with the kind of climate and physical conditions that will ultimately produce. Neither have any of the plant species that we have domesticated for our agriculture.

    Moreover, since there is also around 329 Gt more carbon in the active carbon cycle than there has been in at least that long, levels of atmospheric CO2 will remain elevated for not hundreds but thousands of years unless we can devise ways to remove it as fast as we put it there.

    Is it wise to discount the possibility that cloud feedback might be negative? Has anybody run climate models scenarios that assume just that?
    My fear is that this is not done because it might show that the range of outcomes for a doubling of CO2 might be more like 0 – 6 kelvin rather than 2 – 6 kelvin.

    As has already been pointed out to you, that experiment has already been run, many times, no computer models necessary. Earth’s paleohistory shows that the chance of a doubling of CO2 producing a 0-2K increase in temperature is not just slim, but zero.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 5 Jan 2010 @ 5:53 PM

  414. Matthew L : My fear is that this is not done because it might show that the range of outcomes for a doubling of CO2 might be more like 0 – 6 kelvin rather than 2 – 6 kelvin.

    In other words, you believe that climate scientists are deliberately putting their fingers on the scales to get a preferred result. In other words, engaging in scientific fraud.

    That’s a pretty common opinion on the skeptic side of the debate (it’s pretty much the whole of the “Climategate” nonsense) and I’ve always considered an absurd one. First of all, scientists want to be right in the long run, they don’t want to be remembered in the same breath with Cardinal Bellarmine. Secondly, deliberately fudging the numbers like that would require them to tweak the results of any dependant studies so that they didn’t come into conflict. It wouldn’t take too many iterations before actual research ground to a halt and some frustrated grad student brought the whole charade tumbling down simply so he could finish his thesis.

    Comment by Jinchi — 5 Jan 2010 @ 6:15 PM

  415. #405 “This isn’t op-amp theory.”

    Specifically, if forward gain in the above notation is +1 and feedback gain is (-1/2), you get the specific example you cite, i.e.,
    Y= 1*X/(1-1/2)

    which is your summation 1+1/2+1/4+1/8+… = 2 (or maybe it was somebody else’s example.

    (Just as in your example, initially 1/2 the signal is fed back, then 1/2 of this 1/2 is fed back) etc.
    The notation I described is general – therefore, I believe climate positive feedback is not different in usage from the widely used definitions.

    Comment by RB — 5 Jan 2010 @ 6:30 PM

  416. OK, RB.

    If that’s what it works out to.

    But you see my other point: it’s far easier to show with that summed series.

    If you could use MathML or Tex to draw your mathematical equation it would have been easier to see, but that just proves the point above, doesn’t it.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Jan 2010 @ 6:33 PM

  417. > as a result of global warming
    Bzzzzt!

    Global warming is a _result_ of increasing CO2.
    So is ocean pH change.

    Both of those have further consequences.

    Increasing CO2 is a _result_ of burning fossil fuels in excess of what natural biogeochemical cycling can handle

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Jan 2010 @ 6:45 PM

  418. BTW, just because I say feedback gain is (-1/2) don’t point to the + or – sign as representing positive/negative feedback. In my case a feedback gain of (-1/2) represents positive feedback because implicit in the expression
    Y= G*(X-H*Y) is that feedback gain H is a negative feedback that subtracts H*Y from the input. Therefore a negative number for H effectively represents positive feedback. The Barkhausen criterion applies for stability i.e. no blowing-up instability.

    Comment by RB — 5 Jan 2010 @ 6:53 PM

  419. More generally, the Nyquist stability criterion.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyquist_stability_criterion

    Comment by RB — 5 Jan 2010 @ 6:54 PM

  420. RB (415) wrote “therefore, I believe climate positive feedback is not different in usage from the widely used definitions.” You are completely correct. Jim Hansen, in one of his earlier papers, started from the general definition.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 5 Jan 2010 @ 6:56 PM

  421. Matthew L. says, “My fear is that this is not done because it might show that the range of outcomes for a doubling of CO2 might be more like 0 – 6 kelvin rather than 2 – 6 kelvin.”

    OK, Matthew, it’s your turn to teach me something. Why in bloody hell would a climate scientst not want to be the one to make this crisis go away? Hell, said scientist would be famous! They’d be on Oprah! And why in bloody hell would a scientist not want to have the uncertainty right on a quantity as important as CO2 sensitivity.

    Matthew, it may shock you to learn this, but if all of a sudden, a new model came along and showed CO2 sensitivity was negligible or we had evidence that showed the same thing, all the climate scientists would heave a sigh of relief, sleep better than they have in years and GO TO WORK THE NEXT DAY AT THE SAME CLIMATE SCIENCE JOB!!! That’s right, Matthew, nobody’s job depends on the outcome to this issue! In science, you don’t get fired for being wrong as long as you did the science the right way and considered the evidence. Wrong is correctable.

    The surest path to fame and glory for a young turk scientist would be to overturn the crisis of climate change. And as to the rest of us scientists who have looked at the evidence and found it compelling, it is strongly in our interest for this crisis to go away. It will impact our funding and our research. So this idea that climate scientists aren’t overturning every rock looking for evidence that the current model of Earth’s climate isn’t just WRONG, it’s SO BAD IT’S NOT EVEN WRONG!

    Really, Matthew, I’m curious what you think motivates climate scientists.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Jan 2010 @ 7:04 PM

  422. #385 Don

    Take a look at the detailed table (unfortunately, only available from 2005 that I could find):
    http://pbsg.npolar.no/en/status/status-table.html

    THINK real hard, Don. Has anything happened since 2005 that has had an impact on polar bear populations? Is there reason for greater concern about polar bear populations now than there was in 2005?

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 5 Jan 2010 @ 7:18 PM

  423. “My fear is that this is not done because it might show that the range of outcomes for a doubling of CO2 might be more like 0 – 6 kelvin rather than 2 – 6 kelvin.”

    Oh, brother, and here I thought we had some kind of reasonable dialog going on and whoops, down the CT rabbit hole we plunge.

    All done here for me, Matthew L. Cheerio.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 Jan 2010 @ 7:19 PM

  424. David Appel has moved his blog to a new location.

    Good article here:

    http://trueslant.com/davidappell/2010/01/04/why-believe-in-manmade-climate-change/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Jan 2010 @ 7:50 PM

  425. Who was it back there who needed proof of a catastrophe?
    http://trueslant.com/coates/2009/09/17/global-warmings-targeting-czech-beer-nothing-is-safe/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Jan 2010 @ 7:51 PM

  426. #404 – Doug and #409 – CFU
    Global warming induced disasters:
    Polar bears and coral bleaching. is a whole 2 “disasters”, although the bears is a predicted disaster rather than a current one, and much of the bleached coral is recovering. Still waiting to here about any others.

    I am talking about catastrophes here and now, not change. The “Vector changes” in the earths “regolith, soils, oceans, biota” are just changes, I am talking imminent disaster / extinction / desertification.

    Directly Man Made Disasters
    Amazon rainforest Destruction
    Congo rainforest Destruction
    Madagascan temperate forest destruction
    Indian jungle habitat destruction
    Malaysian rainforest destruction
    Indonesian rainforest destruction
    African and asian desertification
    Illegal hunting and poaching
    Over-fishing
    etc…

    and the many, many, consequent critically endangered species (Ignoring the merely vulnerable or endangered species) in primates alone we have

    Western Lowland Gorilla
    Cross River Gorilla
    Mountain Gorilla
    Sumatran Orangutan
    Eastern Black Crested Gibbon
    Pagai Island Macaque
    Celebes Crested Macaque
    Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey
    Delacour’s Langur
    White-headed Langur
    Yellow-tailed Woolly Monkey
    Northern Muriqui
    Yellow-breasted Capuchin
    Superagui Lion Tamarin
    Blue-eyed Black Lemur
    Greater Bamboo Lemur
    Silky Sifaka
    Miss Waldron’s Red Colobus
    Golden-headed Langur
    Grey-shanked Douc
    Hainan Black-crested Gibbon
    Brown-headed Spider Monkey
    Kipunji

    plus
    23 species of bat
    19 large carnivores (big cats, foxes, wolves)
    6 “odd toed ungulates” (all four species of rhino, two horses)
    17 “even toed ungulates” (deer, camel, gazelle etc)
    13 species of shrew
    169 species of bird
    41 species of lizard
    16 species of snake
    6 species of crocodilians
    30 species of turtle and tortoise
    ~500 species of amphibian
    ~500 species of fish
    not to mention the plant life.

    In total there are 1,665 CRITICALLY endangered species and 2,488 merely endangered species. The vast majority of these are threatened by man’s deliberate actions in destroying them directly or through destruction of their habitats.

    Puts the poor old Polar Bear in context does it not?

    Global warming, if and when it occurs, will take decades to become apparent. We have time to adjust to and mitigate its effects. Should we build a solar generation facilities or use the money to provide alternative land for Brazillian peasant farmers who would otherwise burn down the forest? or legislate to ban unsustainable hardwood imorts? Or educate fisherman in sustainable fisheries management?

    If we opt to do the former we are in grave danger of leaving ourselves with a less warm world of deserts and extinct animals.

    Comment by Matthew L. — 5 Jan 2010 @ 7:54 PM

  427. Completely Fed Up wrote in 408:

    … Positive feedback:

    X + 1/4X + 1/16X + … sum to infinite terms 1/4n where n tends to infinity.

    Plus.

    Negative feedback:

    X – 1/4X – 1/16X – … sum to infinite terms -1/4n where n tends to infinity.

    Minus.

    Don’t mean to be argumentative or anything, but if X is the forcing and (-1/4)x the initial feedback to the forcing, wouldn’t the next term — representing the feedback to the initial feedback — be positive in sign? For example, the initial rise in temperature due to the forcing results in an initial cooling feedback, wouldn’t the initial feedback to the initial feedback (second order feedback?) be a warming feedback?

    Not that climate models work by means of calculating feedbacks — they work based upon physical principles.

    For example with positive feedback, increasing solar absorption raises the temperature resulting in more evaporation (as the partial pressure of water is a function of temperature) where the resulting water vapor absorbs infrared based upon its spectral emissivity, the spectra and intensity of the incident light, and then emits infrared based upon its temperature, raising the temperature, resulting in further evaporation and so on.

    Likewise, with negative feedback, increased evaporation may lead to greater low level clouds, increasing the albedo of the atmosphere, reducing the amount of solar radiation that reaches and would otherwise be absorbed by the darker surface, resulting in a cooling effect, but the cooling effect will reduce the amount of evaporation that takes place, reducing the formation of clouds, therefore reducing the albedo, increasing the absorption of solar radiation and therefore raising the temperature.

    However, after climate models have done their calculations, for the purpose of our understanding it makes sense to speak of forcing and feedbacks and climate sensitivities — as to a first approximation the net feedback is proportional to the forcing and climate sensitivity remains constant.

    Likewise, it really doesn’t make that much sense to break things out into positive and negative feedback or into a series — in as much as the feedbacks are taking place simultaneously. But if one does break things out into a series for conceptual reasons then a negative feedback would result in an alternating series. And pointing this out I believe might help in understanding what negative feedback is and therefore what feedback is.

    Incidentally, what we actually seem to be seeing with cloud formation under an enhanced greenhouse effect is stronger moist air convection leading to a reduction in low level clouds and an increase in high level clouds — such that shifting the balance cloud-based albedo and cloud-based greenhouse effect from the cooling former to the warming latter. So clouds would seem to be a positive feedback.

    If the temperature of the clouds is nearly the same as the ground as the result of being closer to the ground, they will tend to radiate heat to the upper layers of the atmosphere, but if they are cooler than the ground as the result of being at a higher altitude then they will tend to absorb higher temperature radiation rather than emit it to space. This will result in the trapping heat — keeping more thermal energy in the climate system — and reduce the net rate at which the surface is able to radiate thermal energy to higher layers of the atmosphere and ultimately to space.

    Somewhat tentative, but please see:

    Cloud feedback could accelerate global warming
    Jul 23, 2009
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/39908

    Provisional evidence for positive cloud feedback
    July 28, 2009
    http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/2009/07/28/provisional-evidence-for-positive-cloud-feedback/

    Clement et al. (2009 July 24) Observational and Model Evidence for Positive Low-level Cloud Feedback. Science 325(5939):460-464
    *
    Oh, and this might help sum:

    Geometric Series: Sum
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geometric_series#Sum

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 5 Jan 2010 @ 8:11 PM

  428. #393 “Apart from the Polar Bears and (possibly) coral bleaching, can you think of any other environmental catastrophe (in particular plant or animal extinction) that has happened, or is happening, as a result of global warming and that cannot be attributed to direct human intervention?

    I am genuinely interested to know as I have failed to find any yet.

    I could give you several thousand instances where plant and animal species populations are declining due to habitat destruction, hunting or over exploitation.”

    As a biologist you will know that most changes in the natural world are the result of complex causation, not just one or two causes.

    However, as AGW is such a biggie then it can be expected to amplify the other causes you identify, such as “to habitat destruction, hunting or over exploitation” in a major way.

    From my own neck of the woods I would nominate the decline of southern Australian woodlands and their animal and bird species. This is surely due to habitat destruction, but the way that the periodic droughts in southern Australia now seem to be joining up has amplified habitat destruction.

    Mac Nally, R, Bennett, A. F., Thomson, J. R,
    Radford, J. Q., Unmack, G., Horrocks, G., Vesk, P. A.
    (2009) Collapse of an avifauna: climate change appears
    to exacerbate habitat loss and degradation.
    Diversity & Distributions, Vol. 15, No 4, pp. 720-730.

    Comment by calyptorhynchus — 5 Jan 2010 @ 8:19 PM

  429. Re Matthew L. @393 sea level is rising at a rate of around 2mm a year

    Another Bzzzt: The rate of sea level is rise increased to 3.0 to 3.2 mm / year in the early 1990s.

    And @426: Global warming, if and when it occurs, will take decades to become apparent.

    And a really big Bzzzt: Dude, it is already quite clear to anyone who bothers to look at the evidence that global warming is already occurring, including Christy, Lindzen, Michaels, Spencer, and even Lomborg.

    We have time to adjust to and mitigate its effects.

    Are you sure? Are you willing to bet everything on it? Because that is exactly what you are advocating.

    And you don’t even have the basic facts right.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 5 Jan 2010 @ 9:51 PM

  430. December (month end averages) NSIDC (sea ice extent)

    30 yrs ago
    1980 Southern Hemisphere = 11.1 million sq km
    1980 Northern Hemisphere = 13.7 million sq km
    Total = 24.8 million sq km

    Recorded Arctic min yr.
    2007 Southern Hemisphere = 12.7 million sq km
    2007 Northern Hemisphere = 12.4 million sq km
    Total = 25.1 million sq km

    Last yr.
    2008 Southern Hemisphere = 12.2 million sq km
    2008 Northern Hemisphere = 12.5 million sq km
    Total = 24.7 million sq km

    This yr.
    2009 Southern Hemisphere = 11.4 million sq km
    2009 Northern Hemisphere = 12.5 million sq km
    Total = 23.9 million sq km

    1979-2000 Southern Hemisphere Dec. mean = 11.1 million sq km
    1979-2000 Northern Hemisphere Dec. mean = 13.4 million sq km
    Total mean = 24.5 million sq km
    GK

    Comment by G. Karst — 5 Jan 2010 @ 10:14 PM

  431. I have to note that NSIDC has started giving forecasts in their monthly bulletin: “Figure 5. The map of sea level pressure anomalies (in millibars) for December 2010″…

    Comment by jyyh — 5 Jan 2010 @ 10:22 PM

  432. Jiminmpls
    “THINK real hard, Don. Has anything happened since 2005 that has had an impact on polar bear populations?”
    That HAS had an impact? Apparently not, since the population estimate is the same in 2009. That MIGHT have an impact at some future time? Certainly.

    “Is there reason for greater concern about polar bear populations now than there was in 2005?”
    Sure. But I repeat that much of the problem appears to have been harvest management, and that the polar bear is not the best poster child for AGW. There are a lot of better examples posted by Matthew L in #426.

    By the way, you might want to stop being offensive. Ok?

    Comment by Don Shor — 5 Jan 2010 @ 10:27 PM

  433. Global warming, if and when it occurs, will take decades to become apparent.

    This should cause you grave concern. Our actions of the past will have an impact in decades to come. If we continue to do nothing except emit carbon, then not only will we be reaping the reward of our past emissions, but we will be storing up yet more warming “in the pipeline” for our descendants.

    As for the fear-mongers on both sides: be realistic about what we expect to see in the future. Here is a good graphical summary: http://maps.grida.no/go/graphic/projected-impact-of-climate-change

    Remember that Copenhagen was trying to peak at 2 degrees. Knowing humanity, that’s optimistic.

    Comment by Didactylos — 5 Jan 2010 @ 10:54 PM

  434. Don Shor says: 5 January 2010 at 10:27 PM

    “Sure. But I repeat that much of the problem appears to have been harvest management, and that the polar bear is not the best poster child for AGW.”

    Polar bears are after all just one signal of many, true enough.

    It’s helpful to note that the polar bear experts group is composed not only of biologists with a bear bent, but “managers” as well. They’ve got the “harvest” thing pretty well in hand, as evidenced by the rebound since we finally noticed that we’d killed too many of ‘em. Meanwhile, they all seem to agree that the present looming issue for these animals is loss of habitat due to climate change effects.

    I have to laugh somewhat ruefully at that term, “harvest”. Like ears of corn or some other vegetable matter, except of course that ears of corn don’t have the distressing tendency to thrash around bleeding and howling after having been shot, and of course ears of corn don’t have dependents waiting for dinner. Call me an old softy, but maudlin attachments to brutal, anachronistic rituals make me squirm a bit.

    Matthew L., as I mentioned already your swerve into conspiracy theory ended any desire I had for conversation with you. Wallow in your false worries about opportunity costs freely, have the last word on me.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 Jan 2010 @ 11:22 PM

  435. Re #448
    Thanks much for the links, Gavin. This helps a lot.

    Re #351
    Thanks too Rattus. But I’m finding Cheetham’s “Interactive Climate Data Graphing” doesn’t allow adjusted data to be plotted for Texas. The pages’ architecture is pathetic.

    Much better temperature data plotting is available from GISS.

    GISS Surface Temperature Analysis
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/station_data/

    Here is Austin’s “raw GHCN + USHCN corrections” data plotted:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/work/gistemp/STATIONS//tmp.425722540000.0.1/station.gif
    And:
    here is Austin’s “after homogeneity adjustment” data plotted:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/work/gistemp/STATIONS//tmp.425722540000.2.1/station.gif

    A warming trend becomes clear. (The graphs are conveniently geographically named.)

    Some of the anti-science propagandists are unglued because some of the stations they looked at were adjusted for things that didn’t seem appropriate to them. Thus they preferred to use only raw data to evaluate trends. Mostly they could not find a warming trend in the last 30 years
    in the USA. (Neither could I.)

    Since this seems to be the crux regarding the application of scientific method to raw temperature data plots, one of the things GISS scientists could focus on is a clear explanation of exactly why the particular data was/is adjusted for any particular site.

    All the bad guys have to do is sow the seeds of doubt and confusion. Scientists have to ensure the BGs can’t do that with any sense of legitimacy.

    It’s useful to peruse the comments sections following GW articles for intelligence gathering purposes as well. One sees the anti-science PR boys targets du jour.

    In this regard, but as devil’s advocate I would like to know exactly why/how Austin’s data was adjusted to make the rising temperature trend more apparent – and not just a trick, myself. An answer to this would arm me enough in the next go-round in the news forum wars to put the truth of it on the table.

    For what it’s worth, someone did a survey of who said what for twelve hours of back and forth on the Washington Post’s article comments pages. Some 50% were dismissed by appellation as “trollspam.” Those of us actually trying to add to understanding were acknowledged kindly for our depth of knowledge. I was amazed. It seemed to be worth the effort to reach people with a truthful view of AGW.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 5 Jan 2010 @ 11:35 PM

  436. I have heard that the whole midwest becomes a desert, and the opposite. That the monsoon misses India and China completely in X years. Etc. I know that “the rain moved” has caused many previous civilizations to collapse.
    Do you know anything about where the rain is going to move that the rest of us don’t?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 5 Jan 2010 @ 11:36 PM

  437. Matthew L. says:
    5 January 2010 at 7:54 PM

    I am talking about catastrophes here and now, not change. The “Vector changes” in the earths “regolith, soils, oceans, biota” are just changes, I am talking imminent disaster / extinction / desertification.

    Try this from Nature

    Here we show that a recent mass extinction associated with pathogen outbreaks is tied to global warming. Seventeen years ago, in the mountains of Costa Rica, the Monteverde harlequin frog (Atelopus sp.) vanished along with the golden toad (Bufo periglenes). An estimated 67% of the 110 or so species of Atelopus, which are endemic to the American tropics, have met the same fate, and a pathogenic chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) is implicated. Analysing the timing of losses in relation to changes in sea surface and air temperatures, we conclude with ‘very high confidence’ (> 99%, following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC) that large-scale warming is a key factor in the disappearances. We propose that temperatures at many highland localities are shifting towards the growth optimum of Batrachochytrium, thus encouraging outbreaks. With climate change promoting infectious disease and eroding biodiversity, the urgency of reducing greenhouse-gas concentrations is now undeniable.

    Is 70-80 species extinct enough?

    Comment by Tim McDermott — 5 Jan 2010 @ 11:48 PM

  438. #393 “Apart from the Polar Bears and (possibly) coral bleaching, can you think of any other environmental catastrophe (in particular plant or animal extinction) that has happened, or is happening, as a result of global warming and that cannot be attributed to direct human intervention?

    Try Adelie Penguins.

    “Adelie Penguins Extinct in a Decade in Some Areas?”
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/12/071228-penguins-extinct.html
    Anne Casselman
    for National Geographic News
    December 28, 2007
    “Adélie penguins in Antarctica are in the midst of a major upheaval as climate change causes their icy habitat to warm up, experts say.”
    “Some populations of the birds are thriving, but most are declining rapidly.”
    [...]

    Comment by Tim Jones — 6 Jan 2010 @ 12:30 AM

  439. http://www.greenprophet.com/2010/01/05/15665/arab-world-water-protection/
    So far, climate change has caused a 30 per cent reduction in the Kingdom [of Jordan]’s surface water resources….
    Here is a real problem in real time for RC to talk about. How can they deny this?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 6 Jan 2010 @ 1:28 AM

  440. Matthew L. #393,

    sea level is rising at a rate of around 2mm a year and has done at least as fast, if not faster, since approximately the end of the last ice age.

    You remember wrong:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Post-Glacial_Sea_Level.png

    and references therein.

    Sea level has been rising around 1.5 mm/yr over the tide gauge period, accelerating to 3.4 mm/yr over the satellite altimetric period. References left as an exercise for the reader ;-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 6 Jan 2010 @ 4:14 AM

  441. Edward asks:
    “Here is a real problem in real time for RC to talk about. How can they deny this?”

    They’ll say “prove it’s because of CO2!”.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 6 Jan 2010 @ 4:26 AM

  442. Ah good old G Karst.

    Continuing his ever present quest to confirm AGW whilst mistakenly beleiving that he’s proving it wrong.

    It’s like spring daffodils rising.

    It means midwinter on one of the two poles has arrived.

    G Karst, where’s the sea ice volume metrics? And your figures prove that we’ve lost 800,000km2 of sea ice in the southern hemisphere in one year. At that rate, we’ve only got ~14 years of southern polar ice left.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 6 Jan 2010 @ 4:29 AM

  443. “Don’t mean to be argumentative or anything, but if X is the forcing and (-1/4)x the initial feedback to the forcing, wouldn’t the next term — representing the feedback to the initial feedback — be positive in sign?”

    Maybe.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 6 Jan 2010 @ 4:31 AM

  444. #429 – Jim
    http://www.climate4you.com/SeaTemperatures.htm#Global sea level
    From the recent satelite record since the end of 1992 global mean sea level has risen 15mm (using the trend line), just under 1mm a year. No Bzzt there then.

    By “global warming” I am using shorthand. I should have said catastrophic, irreversible, anthroprogenic global warming that is clearly visible above the noise of natural variability. You might think that is the case, my reading of the data is that the jury is still definately out.

    Sure the globe is warming, the temperature record shows that. I know most climate scientists are of the opinion that Mann and co settled the argument years ago, but his methodolgy is controversial and the proxy data he is working with is rather thin on the ground at best.

    As stated earlier, I am probably just a mirror put up to the internet, so use me as a reflection on how the current debate appears to the reasonably intelligent (albeit sceptical by inclination) observer.

    The “denialist meme” de jour is that the positive feedbacks in the models are too high, and in particular that clouds and ocean currents are not sufficiently well modelled. Ray here has said there are 10 lines of enquiry all supporting feedbacks at the levels currently used. I have tried looking but failed to find any paper detailing these. A link would be useful.

    On the accusation that I am shouting “conspiracy” I don’t think I am. I think there is an element of “circling the wagons” and groupthink going on, but I am sure there is no deliberate attempt to falsify any science. There appears (again to the casual observer) to be a tendancy to put more effort into finding ways of proving your chosen hypothesis and defending it rather than deliberately setting out to try and find ways why it might be wrong. This is a natural human reaction when challenged. The best scientists are the ones who try hard to disprove their own hypothesis. If they are not willing to do that themselves they should let others do it for them – with good grace rather than by shouting “denier” all the time.

    I am no scientist and I am sorry if anybody here thinks I am personally denigrating their work. That is absolutely not my intention. What I am trying to do here is using myself as a channel into the RC debate for some of the main sceptical arguments currently out there on the interweb. Sometimes the debate here can seem a little sterile with everybody agreeing with each other and having fun jumping on sceptics.

    Although not a scientist myself, I am from a scientific background and from my ealiest days been fascinated by science and the environment. I am by no means “anti-science”, Richard Dawkins is a particular hero of mine.

    Comment by Matthew L. — 6 Jan 2010 @ 5:01 AM

  445. Meanwhile Gary Karst has a news bulletin: December in the Northern Hemisphere is still cold.

    Golly, thanks, Gary!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Jan 2010 @ 5:24 AM

  446. Matthew L. @426, So Matthew, I take it that you are only interested in events that will affect YOU directly and are content to let future generations go hang. Correct?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Jan 2010 @ 5:27 AM

  447. Its curious that we still seem to have such an uphill battle getting across the interpretation of scientific data to the public at large. A lot of people switch off when confronted with statistical probability of something happening, or a temperature ‘anomaly’, or repeated aberrant long term ‘forecasts’ by supposedly expert met experts.
    On the other hand, if you ‘eye-ball’ long-term absolute temperature data ( such as Armagh in Ireland, Hadley CET in England which are apparently well documented and stable data collections), you can see that the temperature record in the last 10-20 years are like those in 1820-1830 and further back in 1693-1730.
    I can kind of understand why we have the communication issues we do…..

    Comment by Bill — 6 Jan 2010 @ 7:23 AM

  448. What do people think of the most recent Bray, Von Storch survey here:

    http://coast.gkss.de/staff/storch/pdf/CliSci2008.pdf

    Sorry if this has already being answered and if so, could you link me to its discussion? I don’t wan’t to pass it off as evidence for general consensus on AGW if it is a shoddy survey.

    Also is there a some official definition for ‘significant’ in science? As in: ‘man-made warming is significant’ The lay definition seems too vague.

    Comment by Shills — 6 Jan 2010 @ 7:46 AM

  449. I’m surprised no one has mentioned the mountain pine beetle as an example of catastrophic change resulting form AGW.

    And Don, I see no reason to be polite to anyone who says that “Evidence of these environmental changes, in conjunction with a re-evaluation of the polar bear subpopulations, have led PBSG to list eight of 19 subpopulations as currently decreasing, three as stable and one as increasing.” means that polar bear populations are not decreasing.

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 6 Jan 2010 @ 8:08 AM

  450. the trouble with using the beetles and other such pests as evidence of GW is a bit unpractical and tricky since there have been outbreaks in the 1930s before most of the insecticides were found out. i admit the scale of that is pretty worrying.

    Comment by jyyh — 6 Jan 2010 @ 8:49 AM

  451. Re: 367

    [Tell Gavin I added it to [[Wikipedia:WikiProject Environment/Climate change/to do]]. Actually, tell Gavin to get off his bum and fix it up himself :-) -W]

    [Response: But I wouldn't want to usurp Connolley's lead role in the conspiratorial vanguard at Wikipedia.... - gavin]

    Comment by Wildlifer — 6 Jan 2010 @ 8:57 AM

  452. RE Matthew L

    The “denialist meme” de jour is that the positive feedbacks in the models are too high, and in particular that clouds and ocean currents are not sufficiently well modelled. Ray here has said there are 10 lines of enquiry all supporting feedbacks at the levels currently used. I have tried looking but failed to find any paper detailing these. A link would be useful.

    Knutti and Hegerl, discussed here; also see Annan and Hargreaves, discussed here and here.

    Comment by Deech56 — 6 Jan 2010 @ 8:57 AM

  453. Shills, I think the latest Bray & Von Storch survey is a vast improvement over their previous efforts. However, there are still some ambiguities in phrasing of the questions that could distort the results. In particular, what is “adequate” or “inadequate”–for what purpose. And in several cases, there was no opportunity to respond what specific inadequacy they found.

    I think it’s evidence of a strong consensus, that most scientists feel our understanding is pretty good and that something needs to be done NOW about the threat. Certainly, nobody can accuse the authors of being card-carrying greenies. Of course the denialists will view the agreement as being due to a shadowy conspiracy rather than the overwhelming strength of the evidence.

    Significant could mean anything from “outside of expected errors” to 90-95% confidence level.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Jan 2010 @ 9:08 AM

  454. John P. Reisman, how is it that increasing (due to conservation efforts) polar bear populations morphs into decreasing??

    Doug, you’re probably correct that your source is the best available for polar bear populations, but it doesn’t make their assessments and projections any more accurate absolutely (probably more accurate relative to other studies). They still consolidate others data periodically (they also assess and analyze – don’t mean it to sound like they are simple gatherers) and make projections based on pretty loose statistical hypotheses, albeit probably the best guess there is. While they should be taken seriously, the large uncertainties and small confidence levels should not be forgotten. I think the assessment ought to be: is the population decreasing? Maybe. Could very well be. Or maybe not, but seems like it is. Is it going to continue to decrease? That’s anybody’s guess but it’s possible. Should we keep a watchful eye out? Certainly.

    The assessment should not be proof positive of AGW and shouldn’t be touted as such, IMO. Though I do understand the PR benefits because of the aaaaawwwh factor – “look at the cute cuddly polar bear all by hisself on the ice floe” followed by scaring the children to get them young.

    Comment by Rod B — 6 Jan 2010 @ 9:10 AM

  455. Is there any chance of sprinkling low cost transmitting thermometers all over the arctic? If I’ve understood this correctly the main difference between HadCrut and Gisstemp temperature records is the way they treat voids in the arctic temperature data. The best way to resolve that would be with more data.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 6 Jan 2010 @ 9:11 AM

  456. Uh, Matthew L,

    Did you even bother to look at your own graph? It shows about 3 mm/yr since 1992.

    OK, so you think groupthink is going on. However, you said yourself that the greatest scientists are those who work to overturn established wisdom, right? Don’t you think scientists would want to do that, when it’s their key to fame and glory? And if it were possible to do so, don’t you think they’d want to be the ones to do it even if it overturned a pet theory of theirs (damage control and all)?

    And do you also attribute groupthink to the countless outside panels and committees that have reviewed the methods and conclusions of climate science and endorsed them (NAS, AGU, APS, ACS, AMS,…). Not one honorific or professional organization of scientists that has reviewed climate science has dissented from the consensus view. Now isn’t that remarkable, particularly since climate change mitigation is probably going to take a big bite out of their research budgets? ‘Fraid I don’t see the motivation to go along here.

    BTW here is the reference to the Knutti and Hegerl review for Nature Geo–excellent reference.
    http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/knutti08natgeo.pdf

    Matthew, I know that you think you are being honest with yourself, but what you are saying and the objections you are raising make it sound as if you are just trying to find a reason to avoid worrying about this issue. You say you are not “anti-science”, but what the science is telling us to do is pretty unequivocal. We can either follow that advice or go against it. I make that as science or anti-science, and I don’t see a compromise.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Jan 2010 @ 9:31 AM

  457. Matthew L., if you haven’t noticed, any assessment or solution that does not include bashing the hell out of ExxonMobil is a non-starter to SecularAnimist.

    SecularAnimist, neither of your two examples (PCs and Cellular) were anywhere near as massively disruptive as driving down via fiat per capita CO2 emissions to what it was before we were even burning (for all practical purposes) fossil fuels – based on a wishful wistful prayer that there will be enough windmills and green panels to pick up the slack and every vehicle on the road will be 100% electric within 40 years.

    Comment by Rod B — 6 Jan 2010 @ 9:33 AM

  458. JEP: you’d need some GPS location too. And a power source.

    It’s more likely than I make out that this could be done, but I feel the cost/benefit analysis is poor and the utility easy to deny.

    More data has never resolved arguments with the denial dittos.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 6 Jan 2010 @ 9:44 AM

  459. Rod B: why do you think it is impossible to do?

    It seems like you’re presupposing it to scare people off trying.

    And there’s an EASY 20% reduction just in the higher users becoming more sensible with their energy use. No need to change all cars to electric.

    In fact, even without that, there’s no need to change all cars to electric. so why did you make that a prerequisite for AGW mitigation to work?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 6 Jan 2010 @ 9:47 AM

  460. Rod B, we’ve noticed that anything that means mitigation of AGW is possible by moving away from fossil fuels is a non-starter with you.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 6 Jan 2010 @ 9:52 AM

  461. #446 – Ray

    So Matthew, I take it that you are only interested in events that will affect YOU directly and are content to let future generations go hang. Correct?”

    Not at all Ray, I have kids and hopefully grandchildren some day. I don’t want them to live in a boiling wasteland. However, if you and your family are standing in the middle of the highway do you jump out of the way of the car about to hit you or do you worry about the car 500 yards behind it?

    Yes Doug, I am wallowing in worries about opportunity costs. You may think they are false, but have you seen the size of the world’s budget defecits? There is no open market in saving the planet – we need government action and expenditure on energy conservation, renewable power generation, wildlife conservation, university research into climate change and the environment (among a lot else). We are already seeing major cuts in University teaching budgets. At the moment I see climate change getting the lions share of funding. And as things stand I don’t hold out much hope for ‘Miss Waldron’s Red Colobus’ and his friends.

    By the way, thanks to Tim Jones and Tim McDermot for their links re threat to species from global warming. Have bookmarked for future reading.

    Comment by Matthew L. — 6 Jan 2010 @ 9:58 AM

  462. Re: #444 (Matthew L)

    From the recent satelite record since the end of 1992 global mean sea level has risen 15mm (using the trend line), just under 1mm a year. No Bzzt there then.

    What planet are you talking about? Here on earth, sea level rise since end-1992 has been three times that much.

    Comment by tamino — 6 Jan 2010 @ 10:03 AM

  463. MattL Worries: “However, if you and your family are standing in the middle of the highway do you jump out of the way of the car about to hit you or do you worry about the car 500 yards behind it?”

    So where’s this nearer car?

    Or is that leaf blowing your way scaring you?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 6 Jan 2010 @ 10:07 AM

  464. Yup.

    Matthew, one of the most obvious catastrophic consequences of global warming has been the huge success of PR pushing “Ignoramus-Ignorabimus” (“We don’t know, and e can’t know”) among people who could be smart enough to think for themselves and look things up before deciding what to think.

    Someone in my carpool said yesterday — “First, destroy the public educational system; once the majority population don’t care to learn, and are easily kept entertained, destroy the political system.”

    And then you went and wrote “I am probably just a mirror put up to the internet, so use me as a reflection on how the current debate appears to the reasonably intelligent ….”

    I am afraid you may be right. But you could do much better. Please try.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Jan 2010 @ 10:22 AM

  465. Matthew @444: From the recent satelite record since the end of 1992 global mean sea level has risen 15mm (using the trend line), just under 1mm a year. No Bzzt there then.

    Ahhh, Matthew, do you not know how to read a graph?
    You could start by paying attention to the + and – signs!

    Let’s carry the mean trend line in the graph through to both end scales, making it ~ -15 mm on the left near the end of 1992 and ~ + 30 mm on the right near the end of 2009, for a difference of 45 mm over 16 years, not 15!

    45/16 = 2.81 mm/year if the mean trend line were a straight line.

    Taking a line between the actual end points shows an even higher rate: ~ -16.5 to ~ 39 = 55.5. 55.5/16 = 34.47 mm/year.

    As I said: you don’t even have the basic facts right.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 6 Jan 2010 @ 10:23 AM

  466. Riddle me this, polar bear population optimists:

    Why wouldn’t polar bears be under extreme stress as the sea ice, their primary hunting and nursing platform, disappears around them?

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 6 Jan 2010 @ 10:32 AM

  467. #452 – Deech52
    Excellent, just what I need thanks. I can think of several bloggers out there that need to read these, “ClmateSkeptic” for one. Despite the sometimes tetchy tone of some postings here I am learning a lot.

    On the proper sceptic science side, Roy Spencer thinks the process of extracting feedback figures from the more recet events (such as Pinatubo) over-estimates how much is due to feedback rather than forcing. I know he is not widely respected here, but I would like to see somebody’s opinion on his point.

    I also take on board Ray’s points about group-think. As I said I was commenting on how it appears from casual observation, not from any knowledge of the characters involved.

    Still wallowing in worries about opportunity cost and how we are going to replace 85% of our fossil fuel consumption – particularly as about half the world’s population seem to want expemption from the process.

    Still think that we should be looking at ways to mitigate the effects given the low likelyhood that anybody will actually be doing anything major to reduce CO2 emissions any time soon.

    Still think we should be putting more effort into saving the worlds vulnerable enviroments.

    However at least I am now much clearer on the climate science itself. Thanks.

    Finally, Ray #456 – first paragraph.
    Yes it is currently +3mm, in early 2008 it was -0.5, in 1998 it got as high as +10. However the three year moving average is currently just over +1mm and the annual change in the moving average over the 16 or so years of the record is just under +1mm. With a longer series we could get more certainty – but so far there is nothing to show accelerating sea level rise, just a trend of ~+1mm with temperature driven expansion and contraction around that figure. Anybody else can look at the graph for themeselves and make their own mind as to which of us is closer to stating the likely underlying trend.

    Comment by Matthew L. — 6 Jan 2010 @ 11:01 AM

  468. #465 – Jim
    Oops! and Duh! Well spotted. +3mm it is then. Still no evidence of rapid accelleration though. If you look at the second graph below it, the trend in the trend is, if anything, declining, granted that it is over a very short period.

    Comment by Matthew L. — 6 Jan 2010 @ 11:11 AM

  469. Jim Eager (413)Some of what you say about CO2 levels is true, but it is very misleading. True current levels are indeed higher than in the past million years, maybe even 20 million years. But are significantly lower (by 60-80%) than the past 10 or so to almost 300 million years, and much much lower than about 350 to 550 million years when it averaged roughly 4000ppm. Paleohistory, other than a short minor (though interesting) period, does no such thing as show that doubling CO2 produces a greater than 2 kelvin temperature increase. Much of paleohistory even shows CO2 lagging temperature increases. But don’t let facts get in your way.

    Jinchi (414), very few questioners accuse the scientists of fraud (though Matthew L’s syntax could have been better). IMO you should spill your paranoid crocodile tears somewhere else.

    Comment by Rod B — 6 Jan 2010 @ 11:26 AM

  470. Ray (421), you say, in essence, “…scientists are overturning every rock looking for evidence that the current model of Earth’s climate is WRONG…” You make a decent basic point, but you outlandish hyperbole supporting it is not helpful. If someone tomorrow would prove the model entirely wrong, Jim Hansen would pop the corks before bedding down with a total serene sense of satisfaction?? I think not. Maybe in about a year but not tomorrow.

    Comment by Rod B — 6 Jan 2010 @ 11:37 AM

  471. Bill wrote in 447:

    Its curious that we still seem to have such an uphill battle…

    On the other hand, if you ‘eye-ball’ long-term absolute temperature data ( such as Armagh in Ireland, Hadley CET in England which are apparently well documented and stable data collections), you can see that the temperature record in the last 10-20 years are like those in 1820-1830 and further back in 1693-1730.

    Well, as someone familiar with climatology, it might help if you were to explain to them of the law of large numbers and how it applies — that there can be a great deal of variability in a population, such that if you pick someone at random they will be tall or short, but that the range of uncertainty regarding the average can be a great deal more narrow. Pick a day at random from next summer and try to guess its high for the day in a particular city and you might be twenty degrees off, but try to guess the average for the summer given the historical figures and chances are you will be a great deal closer.

    Same thing with regard to guessing the average temperature for a particular region as opposed to a continent or a particular continent vs. the world. The greater the number of days or months and the greater the size of the area over which you are averaging, the more accurate you can expect the average to be. Particularly when smaller areas are more prone to being buffeted about by a nearby climate oscillation but where over larger areas the oscillations largely average out.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 6 Jan 2010 @ 11:41 AM

  472. Rod B wrote: “… neither of your two examples (PCs and Cellular) were anywhere near as massively disruptive …”

    I think you are likely correct:

    The transition from an energy economy based on destructive consumption of increasingly scarce, increasingly costly, increasgingly dirty (eg. shale oil) fossil fuels, to an energy economy based on the proliferation of increasingly inexpensive, increasingly powerful technology for harvesting a limitless supply of clean, inexhaustible, free wind and solar energy, will be far more “massively disruptive” than either personal computers or cell phones.

    And it will also be far more beneficial to the well-being of humanity than either of those disruptive technologies.

    Like I said, I’m looking forward to it. (Of course since I buy 100 percent wind-generated electricity through my regional utility, I have already started.)

    The folks who are NOT looking forward to it are the ones who are watching their prospects for trillions of dollars in profit from continued business-as-usual consumption of fossil fuels evaporate.

    You know who I mean — the folks who pay phony “think tanks” and “conservative” media personalities to spoon-feed you denialist talking points.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 6 Jan 2010 @ 11:42 AM

  473. Completely Fed Up (459) how many fossil fuel burning vehicles can we have a still get down to per capita CO2 emissions comparable to 1865 or so? Where did your 20% come from? We’re discussing 90%++ reduction within 40 years. That’s what’s in the current bill and what The Bamster said at Copenhagen.

    (460): Huh?? I don’t think there is any practical way to mitigate AGW without at least some reduction of fossil fuels. You’ve never heard me say otherwise.

    Comment by Rod B — 6 Jan 2010 @ 12:04 PM

  474. >>>”Why wouldn’t polar bears be under extreme stress..”

    Seal hater.

    Comment by J — 6 Jan 2010 @ 12:18 PM

  475. >>#399 “You know, the invention of the networked personal computer involved “hugely disruptive changes” to what was then known as “data processing”.

    By choice, for a less-expensive, known better technology, improving productivity and effectiveness.

    If you had this corollary for current energy sources, you wouldn’t have to force people to use it – which is solid evidence that you don’t.

    [Response: An "efficient market" economist sees a $100 bill lying on the floor and reasons that if it was really there, someone would have picked it up already. So he doesn't pick it up either. You might want to think about whether that says more about economists than it does reality. - gavin]

    Comment by J — 6 Jan 2010 @ 12:22 PM

  476. Rod B says: 6 January 2010 at 9:10 AM

    “The assessment should not be proof positive of AGW and shouldn’t be touted as such, IMO. ”

    No, absolutely not, just as I would not decide that AGW is a false premise because it’s snowing a lot in Great Britain.

    Stretching the analogy between weather events and other occurrences in the natural world, when you can assemble a significant collection of findings in disparate fields that may all be explained by the same underlying cause, it becomes harder to put individual cases in the “weather” bucket.

    Sure, pine beetles by themselves can be explained as an isolated phenomenon. Increased coral bleaching may be put down to localized troubles. Increasing heat content of the ocean might be due to some unknown reason (can it?). Accelerating sea level increase might be explained atomically as well (though that’s a little tough without linking in some other domain). Shifting domains of individual populations of flora and fauna might each be assigned unique hypothetical causation.

    There are a number of other observations I could cite, any of might be interpreted as self-contained. But what about when all of these changes are happening more or less in harmony, and when a reason for this harmonization is not only staring us in the face but can better explain many of these phenomena, and in some cases may be the only reasonable understanding available?

    A skeptic may well point out that any given iota of evidence of AGW effects is uncertain in its meaning, but I think the challenge of dismissal is increasingly more difficult as more pieces of the puzzle are thrown on the table.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 6 Jan 2010 @ 12:27 PM

  477. What is the status of the Arctic Buoy program? When will their last decades worth of data get incorporated in a global mean temperature record?

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 6 Jan 2010 @ 1:33 PM

  478. “how many fossil fuel burning vehicles can we have a still get down to per capita CO2 emissions comparable to 1865 or so?”

    Some.

    When most of the miles driven by car are less than 2 miles, when the speed on the motorways and highways is slower than the Victorian-era horse drawn coach, none is very likely a possibility.

    Food production in the US used to be 2600 calories of food per calorie of oil used in the production (1920, IIRC). Today it is 1:1.

    A 2600-fold increase in CO2 and fossil fuel use PER CALORIE.

    None, most likely.

    But again, anything that may mean a move from fossil fuels MUST BE WRONG!!! according to your religious fervour.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 6 Jan 2010 @ 1:56 PM

  479. #464 – Hank,
    I am trying (very trying) believe me. To the lay person this is heavy stuff and the real science is spread around a huge variety of journals that you may need a subscription to read as well as over a rather long time-span too. A paper written in 2003 that is old hat to you guys will probably be new to me, and ~99.9999% of the rest of the population.

    That is why I come here and post my ignorant musings in the hope that I will get some useful arguments – and also on the understanding that I will be in for a bit of a kicking too ;-)

    One final comment, I think there is a place here for an instant response “sub-blog” (if there can be such a thing) to counter the current themes showing up in the Sceptic / Denialist blogs. It does not need to comment much but should be a summary of the counter arguments and links to relevent papers. The main blog could stay out of the fray and be kept for comment on genuine research papers. The “Start here” bit is handy but runs out of steam at a relatively low level. Such a resource would head off a lot of people like me before we got as far as these comments.

    Probably more wishful thinking bearing in mind how busy Gavin and the team probably are at the moment.

    Comment by Matthew L. — 6 Jan 2010 @ 2:21 PM

  480. Rod B. asks incredulously, “If someone tomorrow would prove the model entirely wrong, Jim Hansen would pop the corks before bedding down with a total serene sense of satisfaction?? I think not. Maybe in about a year but not tomorrow.”

    Rod, do you think that if the model were proven wrong that Hansen or any of the other top-notch climate scientists would be out of a job? Do you think they’d be sorry? First, Hansen and all the other scientists have placed credence in the model because it is supported by the evidence and it has tremendous explanatory and predictive power. They have voiced concern about anthropogenic climate change becaue it is a robust prediction of that model and poses significant concerns for the continued viability of human civilization. There is nothing to be ashamed about or to regret even if they were wrong. Their actions and motivations have been honorable. So climate scientists would have nothing to fear from falsification of the model. Hell, the overturning of an established theory is one of the most exciting times to be in a field!

    I do not know a single scientist who does not wish this crisis would just go away. Not one! But the evidence tells us that is not likely.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Jan 2010 @ 2:41 PM

  481. Matthew L:

    I think the fundamental point is that if we already have all these human-inflicted problems on the biosphere (and I agree with your points on that), adding climate change, with it’s many uncertain effects and ramifications, is not going to help anything. That includes both from a scientific cause-and-effect perspective, and from a restoration ecology perspective. Or rather just “maintenance” ecology because you can probably forget about restoration in many cases.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 6 Jan 2010 @ 2:43 PM

  482. Matthew L., Believe me, I do sympathize with your difficulties in trying to learn the science. We all went through it at one point–it’s not my specialty either.

    I did have a bit of an advantage over you in that I’ve been working as a physicist for more than 20 years and have had to study a lot of different subfields of physics. I also have the advantage that I trust the scientists. That’s probably easier for me in that I’ve known some of them, and being a scientist, I understand what motivates us (it ain’t money, believe me).

    In learning the science, you could do much worse than to consult the IPCC summaries. If you look at the results of the Bray and Von Storch poll cited on the Plass entry, the overwhelming majority think it’s a pretty good summary of the state of the science. Also, take a look at the Knutti and Hegerl and Annan and Hargreaves papers.

    Science, ultimately, is about trying to figure out how things work. Sometimes you find that there are aspects that are very hard to understand (e.g. clouds are very complicated phenomena). However, you can look at something else (e.g. paleoclimate, response to volcanism, etc.) and that will have implications for the thing you are stuck on. In the end, if you find enough evidence that all points to the same conclusion, you can have pretty high confidence that it’s right–even if you don’t understand every last aspect of the system.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Jan 2010 @ 2:56 PM

  483. Rod @469, I can’t effing believe you would dare pull out the “CO2 lagging temperature increases” in the ice core canard here when you know very well what causes that lag and that it most definitely does not mean that CO2 plus feedbacks do not cause warming after the lag.

    Are you being deliberately obtuse about what CO2 levels not being this high in at least the last 3 million years or more means?

    Here, let me spell it out for you: CO2 is presently higher than it has been since before the Pleistocene glacial-interglacial epoch began, and perhaps as high as it was in late Miocene.

    Now think about what that implies about the potential for the survival of most of the perennial ice in the northern hemisphere, and even much of the perennial ice in the southern hemisphere, and what that means for potential future sea rise.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Neogene-MioceneGlobal.jpg
    What ice core?

    Don’t you dare lecture me about letting facts get in the way.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 6 Jan 2010 @ 3:12 PM

  484. John E. Pearson says: 6 January 2010 at 1:33 PM

    “What is the status of the Arctic Buoy program?”

    Probably you’ve already seen it, but in case not here are bunches o’ data:

    http://iabp.apl.washington.edu/data.html

    And here’s some of that boiled down to trends:

    http://iabp.apl.washington.edu/data_satemp.html

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 6 Jan 2010 @ 3:13 PM

  485. Matthew @468, no problem, it was obviously an innocent mistake. Please learn from it, though: units and sign matter — a lot!

    As for no evidence of rapid acceleration, that’s a good thing, no? But in view of the observational and paleo evidence of Arctic and Antarctic ice sheet dynamics I wouldn’t take much comfort in an absence of current evidence for acceleration.

    And Matthew @479: besides the Start Here button, the Index button is most useful as it is sorted by topic.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 6 Jan 2010 @ 3:29 PM

  486. Completely Fed Up says: 6 January 2010 at 1:56 PM

    Rod would be probably be the first to agree that I’m not in tune with him but fundamentally it is going to be challenging to fully emancipate our little hydrocarbon slaves. They’re a vanishing species quite incapable of reproducing themselves, particularly the extra submissive liquid and condensing sort. We’ve built an entire bloated human population around their work and now not only are they proving to be unreliable but positively rebellious in that they’re busily sabotaging the planet.

    One thing I’ve noted about all “alternative” (shortly to be mainstream) power technology advocates is that as a group we’re entirely too sanguine, falling into the usual traps of not anticipating problems because as humans we’re innately optimistic. All of our schemes face scaling problems once they hit the windshield of existence.

    We’re going to need to deploy =everything= we can think of that significantly reduces emissions of GHG if we’re going to have a population similar to what we support today.

    Monomaniacs need not apply.

    Really, we could have avoided this mess if we’d practiced better birth control. Everybody could then drive a Cadillac Escalade and live in a 5,000 square foot home equipped with private helicopter, with clear conscience if not good taste.

    What a pickle we’re in.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 6 Jan 2010 @ 3:29 PM

  487. Qualifying my above remark: We can make our own hydrocarbon slaves; the fossil sort are the nonreproducing and poisonous kind.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 6 Jan 2010 @ 3:31 PM

  488. RE 332 Matthew L says:
    “Reduction of Polar Bear population? Isn’t happening – polar bear populations are stable or increasing.” Matthew conceded
    his point was mistaken, but I didn’t see the following reference come up to confirm that.

    “New Federal Studies: Alaskan Polar Bear and Walrus in Trouble”

    http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2009/polar_bear_walrus_12_30_2009.html.html

    Stock Assessments Indicate Tenuous Future for Arctic Icons
    December 30, 2009
    Contact: Rebecca Noblin, (907) 274-1110

    “ANCHORAGE, Alaska— Today, responding to a court-ordered deadline, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized long-overdue reports documenting the status of polar bears and Pacific walrus in Alaska. The reports confirm that polar bear populations in Alaska are declining and that Pacific walrus are under threat. Both species are being hurt by the loss of their sea-ice habitat due to global warming, oil and gas development, and unsustainable harvest.”

    “Polar bears and walrus are losing their sea-ice home to global warming at an alarming rate,” said Rebecca Noblin, in the Anchorage office of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Unless we act fast to reduce greenhouse pollution and protect their habitat from oil development, we stand to lose both of these icons of the Arctic.”

    Re: 385 Don Shor says:
    “I just don’t think that polar bears are presently very good poster animals for AGW. You might just as well use panda bears, and they’re cuter.”

    That’s ridiculous. Most people see the polar bear as an icon of the Arctic and well representing threats to Arctic habitat by global warming. However:
    “Bamboo, the panda’s staple diet, is also part of a delicate ecosystem that could be affected by the changes caused by global warming. “http://www.panda.org/about_our_earth/aboutcc/problems/impacts/species/

    “Climate change is a long-term potential problem for the polar bear population. Hence the “threatened” status they’ve been awarded.”

    Not so fast. See link above. Politics, hunting and oil interests are inappropriately influencing listing efforts.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 6 Jan 2010 @ 3:38 PM

  489. [Response: An "efficient market" economist sees a $100 bill lying on the floor and reasons that if it was really there, someone would have picked it up already. So he doesn't pick it up either. You might want to think about whether that says more about economists than it does reality. - gavin]

    The free market is not made up of fools.

    I’m freezing here today. I have a $100 to buy more butane – or I’ll gladly pick up that free hundred dollar bill you see on the floor – if you’ll just point it out to me. If you can’t, you might want to think about what that says about you as an economist and reality.

    [Response: If you are arguing that there are no energy efficiency saving left to be realised in the economy, or your home, then take it up with McKinsey. There is always a great deal that can be done to improve design, insulation, and efficiency but is prevented by a lack of capital - even for projects that have very short payback times - ask any schoolboard. (Note that I do not pretend to be an economist). - gavin]

    Comment by J — 6 Jan 2010 @ 3:40 PM

  490. MattL: “That is why I come here and post my ignorant musings in the hope that I will get some useful arguments ”

    But you don’t listen to the replies.

    You just repeat your ignorant musings, deny the answers or pass on to YET ANOTHER ignorant musing.

    And every ignorant musing is stated as if factual and correct instead of “this’ll be wrong, but…”.

    Worse: NOT ONE SHRED OF EVIDENCE that you’ve tried to find the answers yourself.

    Any wonder your interlocutors are getting fed up?

    You’ve been acting a denier for, what? 30 posts now? When you quack like a duck…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 6 Jan 2010 @ 3:43 PM

  491. Florida will have those sprinklers working full time tonight. I know it’s only weather, not climate, but a killing frost is a killing frost. It has something to do with the stationary high over Greenland. Anyone care to expound?

    It also makes me consider a winter(s) in which Greenland was very cold, but had less snow. I assume that the icecap would shrink even more the next summer, even if it was just an average summer, because of lack of snow cover ice on the perimeter?. Snow vs cold?

    Comment by Dwight — 6 Jan 2010 @ 3:52 PM

  492. “We’re going to need to deploy =everything= we can think of that significantly reduces emissions of GHG if we’re going to have a population similar to what we support today. ”

    But the 20% worldwide is pretty damn easy.

    No changes necessary except to the idea of wastage.

    Sweden CO2 load per capita 1/3-1/4 what the US does, despite being far north and having a higher standard of living.

    US moving to Sweden’s per capita would save, what? 8% of global? Middle east states waste even more per capita, though they’re smaller. But could easily save 4%.

    Europe? Another 4% no problem.

    Darn near there already.

    But yes, if we do EVERYTHING then we can get to 80% first-world reduction in CO2 load.

    THAT will be hard.

    But 20%?

    Easy peasy.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 6 Jan 2010 @ 3:59 PM

  493. Jimi @ 449 – read an article in Canadian Goegraphic about the pine beetle. The geologist interviewed stated that another factor in this infestation was mans’ fire control. Most Jack Pine only live about 60 years, because of our fire fighting effort, a lot of the trees in B.C. were well over that age. Again, another man assisted disaster.

    Now the kicker to this story is another unfortunate occurance. It seems that the new pine trees that are starting to infill the cleared areas are getting attacked by mistletoe. Whether this is from warming was never stated.

    Comment by Leo G — 6 Jan 2010 @ 4:08 PM

  494. yikes.

    http://www.doublex.com/blog/xxfactor/cold-enough-you

    Comment by Dan Whipple — 6 Jan 2010 @ 4:23 PM

  495. 445, Ray Ladbury: Meanwhile Gary Karst has a news bulletin: December in the Northern Hemisphere is still cold.

    It could be a random transient of some sort, but the current NH cold spell is unusually cold by historical standards, way out of line from what was predicted for NH Decembers by the AGW m9dels of the late 90s. November 2009 was warm, but Oct-Nov-Dec combined were unusually cold compared to recent standards.

    Really large random transients are evidence that AGW proponents are over-optimistic in their beliefs about the accuracy and adequacy of their quantitative theories. I do not mean to imply that some other theory is better, only that too much is unknown to have belief in AGW, though I like the “risk management” approach to thinking about possible losses.

    Comment by Matthew — 6 Jan 2010 @ 4:29 PM

  496. “but the current NH cold spell is unusually cold by historical standards, way out of line from what was predicted for NH Decembers by the AGW m9dels ”

    Citation of the models, please.

    Note also that November 2009 was the hottest on record according to GISS.

    Way out of line from what was predicted.

    I guess, on average, the models must be getting it about right, yes?

    “Really large random transients are evidence that …”

    …Weather is quite chaotic

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 6 Jan 2010 @ 4:59 PM

  497. Dan: “Yikes!” indeed:

    “and poor people in developing countries could enjoy the myriad comforts and benefits of carbon-based modern life.”

    Unless they’re aliens or cro-magnon, those poor people are already carbon-based modern life.

    I mean, really.

    “a new study shows.. AGW is COMPLETELY WRONG!!!”.

    Funny how that got accepted so quickly.

    How long did it take for the denialists to stop saying “you can’t prove it’s warming”?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 6 Jan 2010 @ 5:43 PM

  498. Completely Fed Up says: 6 January 2010 at 3:59 PM

    “But the 20% worldwide is pretty damn easy.”

    Yes, agreed. AI look around my house, I still see a bunch of stuff that sits patiently waiting to be used, 24/7, with an actual active duty time of 5%. According to my calculations (and the next 10 years will tell, but the data looks good), I’ve dumped roughly 10% of my electrical consumption by spending a little money on solar hot water. No rocket science, in fact if anything it’s too boring, easy and non-proprietary to attract the kind of attention and capital seemingly necessary to captivate our attention.

    So 20% is an easy target. I’m not a genius or exceptional, after all.

    What bugs me is that everybody seems to tacitly agree, we absolute -must- accept a substantial (20-60%) increase in population rise over the next 50 years. Right now, how’s it working out with 6.5 billion?

    Unchecked population growth is the elephant in the room nobody seems to want to discuss, and it’s going to make everything much harder. I’ve expounded before on some of the hidden features of the support required for this population increase, such as that our -current- population leans heavily on petrochemicals to feed itself, not just for machinery but much more for agrochemicals. A lot of this can be substituted or even just dropped, but once we’ve done that there’s still a big hole to be filled.

    All these billions of glints in the eyes of future parents are not going to accept sitting in monastic poverty, barely clothed, housed and fed, either. They’re going to want to be equipped with a reasonable approximation of the trappings to which we’ve become accustomed.

    We really do all suffer from a numeracy gap.

    Beats me how it’s all going to work out. But it’s inhuman not to try and optimize the whole mess.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:World-Population-1800-2100.png

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 6 Jan 2010 @ 5:44 PM

  499. Re the recent cold weather, we all known very well that an individual weather event says very little about changes in climate. The following graph puts it into perspective.

    Record-high U.S. temps outpace record lows: study

    In another sign of a warming planet, there were twice as many record-high temperatures in the United States as record lows over the last decade, climate scientists reported on Thursday.

    This does not mean there are no record lows, just that there are fewer of them, said Gerald Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 6 Jan 2010 @ 5:50 PM

  500. “What bugs me is that everybody seems to tacitly agree, we absolute -must- accept a substantial (20-60%) increase in population rise over the next 50 years”

    Seeming is not reality.

    After all, the sun seems so small.

    The lower end IS probably inevitable.

    But we currently produce more food than our population needs. Distribution and greed (as in troughing your fat face) are the problems. Even with high use of meat.

    Rubbish is the big problem with so many humans. Reducing will help sort that out. As will garbage based power (poorly, but it’s cheaper than burying it when the landfills fill). Waste of water is a big one. And the third world (like with phones) have a great advantage: the first world already have one freshwater pipe and no real way of separating out

    drinkable water

    from

    clean but not drinkable water

    “They’re going to want to be equipped with a reasonable approximation of the trappings to which we’ve become accustomed.”

    Why?

    This site here has several people who have given up those trappings.

    10-15 years ago mobile phones were posh in the first world. And landlines posh in the third.

    Nowadays the third world has better coverage than many first world areas in mobile phones.

    But they won’t want or need a 4.8l 4×4. Nor will they really want or need triannual trips to the Canaries.

    There are so many things that we today are finding we’re buying “because its there” and some are getting fed up with it.

    “But it’s inhuman not to try and optimize the whole mess.”

    Yup.

    So concerns like yours MUST be aired.

    Fight to get them.

    But approach it with hope.

    You could be just pessimistic. But the downside to your change may still be welcome. Just not *necessary*.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 6 Jan 2010 @ 5:55 PM

  501. Ray Ladbury says:
    …I’ve known some of them, and being a scientist, I understand what motivates us (it ain’t money, believe me).

    Never. It’s strictly about the babes and the fame.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 6 Jan 2010 @ 5:59 PM

  502. It could be a random transient of some sort, but the current NH cold spell is unusually cold by historical standards, way out of line from what was predicted for NH Decembers by the AGW m9dels of the late 90s. November 2009 was warm, but Oct-Nov-Dec combined were unusually cold compared to recent standards.

    Or perhaps there’s only so much arctic cold to go around … from the NSIDC:

    December air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean region, eastern Siberia, and northwestern North America were warmer than normal. In contrast, temperatures in Eurasia, the United States, and southwestern Canada were below average. The strongest anomalies (more than 7 degrees Celsius/13 degrees Fahrenheit) were over the Atlantic side of the Arctic, including Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, where ice extent was below average.

    Hmmm … and further (and this should help Dwight):

    These regional contrasts in temperature anomalies resulted from a strongly negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation (AO). … In the negative phase, the opposite is true; pressures are higher than normal over the Arctic and lower than normal in middle latitudes. The negative and positive phases of the AO set up opposing temperature patterns. With the AO in its negative phase this season, the Arctic is warmer than average, while parts of the middle latitudes are colder than normal.

    This pattern has been seen before, and it will be seen again, and each time it does we’ll hear all about the end of global warming from Watts and The Mob.

    Comment by dhogaza — 6 Jan 2010 @ 6:00 PM

  503. #444 Matthew L

    Huh? Eyeballing the graph, it looks like a ~45mm rise since 1992 – or about 3mm per year.

    It amazes me that people can look at a graph or read an article and see/read things that just aren’t there! If someone has a better and more polite term than “brainwashed” to describe this bizarre phenomenon, let me know.

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 6 Jan 2010 @ 6:01 PM

  504. Oh, and Matthew, please tell us, which model has predicted the end of the Arctic Oscillation? Please tell us how the continued existence of this is “way out of line” with model results, while you’re at it.

    Comment by dhogaza — 6 Jan 2010 @ 6:04 PM

  505. 484: I’d seen that, but what I am wondering about is the incorporation of that data into a global mean temperature estimate. My understanding is that the HadCrut and gisstemp records look different because of how they treat the arctic and antarctic regions for which there is little data recorded in real time. I read that the Arctic buoy data takes longer to download and process but that eventually it will go into a temperature estimate. I would think that once the data from the buoys is downloaded and processed and incorporated into global mean temperature estimates that if Hadcrut and gisstemp estimates are generated that use that data that they’d be much closer to each other than the current ones are?

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 6 Jan 2010 @ 6:06 PM

  506. #479, Matthew L.:

    You wrote, “…I think there is a place here for an instant response “sub-blog” (if there can be such a thing) to counter the current themes showing up in the Sceptic / Denialist blogs. It does not need to comment much but should be a summary of the counter arguments and links to relevent papers.”

    You should check out: http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

    which clearly presents and debunks (with relevant links) the most popular 82 denialist arguments on the web. It might take a bit of time before it picks up a new topic – but most of what is on the web are recycled talking points anyway.

    Comment by Neal J. King — 6 Jan 2010 @ 6:53 PM

  507. Matthew says “Really large random transients are evidence that AGW proponents are over-optimistic in their beliefs about the accuracy and adequacy of their quantitative theories.”

    Uh Matthew, show me the model or the scientist who says weather will end. Jeebus Hiram Jehosaphat Christ, now they’re not content to look at 10 years of data. Instead they want to look at a single month!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Jan 2010 @ 6:59 PM

  508. > MattL: “That is why I come here and post my ignorant
    > musings in the hope that I will get some useful arguments”

    Matt, they’re not your ignorant musings, they’re just long refuted claims we’ve seen over and over. New people show up regularly who’ve read assertions on blogs and think “gee, that’s a devastating criticism, I’ll go show those scientists they’re wrong” — like you’ve been doing.

    Hint: don’t scrape for ideas on PR opinion blogs. You can look at the science, read the links, and come up with your own questions (and cite your sources) and people will help.

    You aren’t likely to find some argument that nobody here has heard by just reading stuff elsewhere. Read _here_.
    “Start Here” at the top of the page, for a good place.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Jan 2010 @ 7:00 PM

  509. Doug Bostrom wrote: “One thing I’ve noted about all ‘alternative’ (shortly to be mainstream) power technology advocates is that as a group we’re entirely too sanguine, falling into the usual traps of not anticipating problems because as humans we’re innately optimistic. All of our schemes face scaling problems once they hit the windshield of existence.”

    There is no question that the world’s vast solar and wind energy resources are far more than sufficient to provide ample energy to power a technologically advanced, prosperous and comfortable human civilization indefinitely, using today’s mature technologies that are already being rapidly deployed all over the world (let alone with the much more powerful technology, particularly PV technology, currently in development).

    There is no question that we have the technological and economic capability to transition to such a near-zero-emissions, clean, sustainable solar and wind based energy economy very rapidly, if we choose to do so.

    Whether we WILL, in fact, choose to do so, is another story.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 6 Jan 2010 @ 7:01 PM

  510. J says “The free market is not made up of fools.”

    I would imagine the free market has a composition roughly comparable to the general population, and as George Carlin said, “The average person is an idiot, and 50% of them are dumber than that.”

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Jan 2010 @ 7:06 PM

  511. [Response: If you are arguing that there are no energy efficiency saving left to be realised ...-gavin]

    No, of course I’m not. Increased efficiency has never decreased energy use. If you understand why it never does, you’ll have a better understanding of energy and power.

    [Response: Not true. I just moved to a better insulated and more efficiently equipped apartment, and my energy consumption has halved. I have not bought twice as much stuff to compensate. People who install roof insulation do not all build extensions. etc. Overall, reductions in demand through efficiency can reduce prices of energy which can increase aggregate use, but efficiency gains combined with some form of carbon pricing could possibly prevent this. - gavin]

    I was responding to the foolish comparison of better, cheaper, more productive technology being adopted willingly (computers) to forced use of alternative energy sources – those currently available other than nuclear – which regulation seems currently make unfeasible to propose.

    Your $100 bill story seemed to indicate I’m missing an energy source right before my eyes as my butane tank is empty and I’m cold. If you have a non-carbon one I should spend my $100 on instead of butane – or using my electric heater, I’m still open to hear it.

    [Response: Well yes. 'Nega'-watts are cheaper than megawatts, and so if you had the extra $100, you should use it to better insulate your home and buy a more efficient boiler rather than buy more butane. - gavin]

    Comment by J — 6 Jan 2010 @ 7:09 PM

  512. SecularAnimist says: 6 January 2010 at 7:01 PM

    Ignoring advice to the contrary I’ve gone on a dismal track.

    I agree with you that we have the technical knowledge needed to sort things out. I’d even argue we’ve had it for a while but have ignored our possibilities; one of the inefficiencies of the “magic market” is the paralyzing effect it can have on actually deploying “the good and sufficient” as opposed to “but wait, it can be even better”. It would have been a big help if the market had some serious and persistent guidance a few decades ago but that was not to be and so now we’re standing on the stern of a ship already deeply down by the bow. There’s not a lot of time available and we’ve got a lot of planks to lash together before we have something on which we can continue floating.

    I’m doubtful about the scaling of manufacturing capacity needed to bring sufficient amounts of any mix of any selection of replacement energy sources online rapidly enough to substitute even for the fraction of our energy coming from liquid and condensible petroleum products. This has nothing even to do with C02. Even the gullible or greedy consumers of climate change doubt are facing the same problem: our supply of petrochemicals is going to be overwhelmed by demand despite handwaving by optimists bearing magically linear upward-sloping prognostications of production. This is going to happen faster than we can calmly deal with it. We’ll ultimately accommodate while not necessarily solving that problem because we have to, but not without noticeable dislocations and not without notable changes in the landscape of what we consider to be the “developed world”.

    Then there’s electricity and the coal filth, another enormous problem.

    Somebody (here) I think did a compelling little treatise on the industrial capacity needed to produce nuclear plants in sufficient numbers to make a serious dent in our demands for coal-fired generation. The numbers don’t add up, we can’t do it in a reasonable amount of time. Well, that is to say, we could but we won’t because we’re not really very rational animals at the end of the day; for some reason we don’t like living in wartime economic conditions which is what would be required to divert adequate resources to nuclear construction programs with sufficient intensity to ameliorate our problems during a useful period of time.

    But what about wind and solar? As the real estate agent says, it’s all about location, location, location. For an example of how wind and solar are going to get hung up on rationality issues, see the fiasco at Cape Cod, where First Americans have apparently decided they’d prefer to watch the sunrise through periscopes from underwater rather than allow wind turbines being built. In the Mojave, it’s “environmentalists” who happen to have backyards or favorite hiking trails situated overlooking where PV and solar thermal plants could go. In Scotland, every single council along the path of the transmission upgrade needed to bring major wind online into the grid has opposed that construction because “it’ll spoil the view”.

    As if our own suicidal aesthetic considerations were not enough there are natural resources issues and more rationality problems. How about neodymium? Here’s a arresting bit of news: almost all of our current known neodymium resources are located in a bit of the world that sometimes has problems playing nicely with others:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/concern-as-china-clamps-down-on-rare-earth-exports-1855387.html

    Problem, eh? How about this:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/concern-as-china-clamps-down-on-rare-earth-exports-1855387.html

    Meanwhile, we’re going to jack the population up still further.

    I’m not among those who say the human race will be eliminated by all this, far from it. Indeed the biosphere will weather the mess we’re creating, though it’ll look different. Worse things have happened to both. But it’s going to be a hell of a mess.

    Historians will probably conclude that the various bits of our brains did not evolve in a sufficiently synchronized way.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 6 Jan 2010 @ 7:50 PM

  513. Whoops, stuffed my second link in previous post:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/precious-metals-that-could-save-the-planet-1855394.html

    That really was a nasty little bit of negativity, my last post. I’m not saying everything’s hopeless, I guess more that we may face abandonment of our affections for technologies with a particular personal appeal, certain stretches of beautifully unsullied landscapes, dare I say even some notions of national sovereignty that are probably outmoded on a planet that is wall-to-wall people and where borders only really signify differences in local laws.

    We’ve never really gotten anything of this size right before, but here’s a fresh chance.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 6 Jan 2010 @ 8:20 PM

  514. Regarding the high stuck over Greenland and the weather anomaly driving the arctic cold down over the US:

    I can’t help but wonder whether this has something to do with all the extra open water over the arctic.

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png shows us tracking the remelt after the 2007 record low extent with something like a million square km more open water than the 79-2000 average.

    Comment by David Miller — 6 Jan 2010 @ 8:58 PM

  515. [Response: Well yes. 'Nega'-watts are cheaper than megawatts, and so if you had the extra $100, you should use it to better insulate your home and buy a more efficient boiler rather than buy more butane. - gavin]

    Again, increased efficiency has never resulted in less energy use. Your mileage may vary, but overall, that’s the history of energy efficiency gains. More efficient cars result in more power per gallon – and more miles driven, bigger engines, more cars bought. Personally, my home is insulated, and had I gained even more efficiency I would have had the heater on more this last month, as well as having it on now instead of a coat and hat.

    People use as much energy as they can afford to do things, power is power – power to travel, create things, do more. If they can afford more they will find new ways to use the more they can afford. As you no doubt have. Or put it in the bank for others to borrow to do more things, using more power.

    As for the example of the switch to computer power. Computers “waste” more energy than less delicate machines – a heating coil for example. It takes more power “wasted” to do get the the power pure enough for semiconductors to work. In this case “efficiency” of energy is decreased, while the value increases. Future computing innovations most likely will “waste” even more power – while saving power in another area.

    Increasing efficiency, while a wise engineering goal, is a very unskillful way to look at the needs and consequences of human power usage.

    Comment by J — 6 Jan 2010 @ 8:59 PM

  516. RE Matthew L

    #452 – Deech52
    Excellent, just what I need thanks. I can think of several bloggers out there that need to read these, “ClmateSkeptic” for one. Despite the sometimes tetchy tone of some postings here I am learning a lot.

    On the proper sceptic science side, Roy Spencer thinks the process of extracting feedback figures from the more recet events (such as Pinatubo) over-estimates how much is due to feedback rather than forcing. I know he is not widely respected here, but I would like to see somebody’s opinion on his point.

    Glad I could help. I wouldn’t be so sure that some bloggers would benefit from reading the papers that I cited. Advocates are really not swayed by the evidence. You can see many examples here of posters who bring up debunked points again and again, which is why similar arguments brought up by new posters often get less than warm receptions.

    The climate sensitivities are not just based on recent events, so I don’t understand Spencer’s point. His calculations are one of many – we should not be eager to jettison all the other studies in favor of one calculation, which I am not sure has even been published.

    Comment by Deech56 — 6 Jan 2010 @ 9:04 PM

  517. @ Ray Ladbury

    Thanks for the reply.

    Re. the meaning of ‘significant’.

    Do you think that the word ‘significant’ in Q. 2 of this survey only shows a consensus that AGW exists but not nec. a major feature of the observed warming?

    http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf

    I am not a skeptic but I think the question is too vague, to be evidence for AGW causing most of the observed warming.

    Thanks.

    Comment by Shills — 6 Jan 2010 @ 9:15 PM

  518. RE Matthew L

    #464 – Hank,
    I am trying (very trying) believe me. To the lay person this is heavy stuff and the real science is spread around a huge variety of journals that you may need a subscription to read as well as over a rather long time-span too. A paper written in 2003 that is old hat to you guys will probably be new to me, and ~99.9999% of the rest of the population.

    With a little poking, a lot of papers are available. Many authors will post the published manuscript, proof or accepted paper on their web sites. If you Google the title (with quotation marks) you can sometimes avoid the pay-wall. Also, public libraries may have subscriptions to Science and Nature or may get other articles by interlibrary l o a n. Or you may get a PDF directly from the author by writing a nice e-mail.

    We’re a lot better off than we were ten or fifteen years ago when we were pretty much limited to getting reprints from the authors via snail mail or having access to a university library.

    John Cook published a series of articles in SkepticalScience starting on September 28, 2009 that go through the basics step-by-step. Whenever possible, he links to PDFs of the articles he cites. We’re all here to learn, and I find his work to be pretty understandable.

    Comment by Deech56 — 6 Jan 2010 @ 9:21 PM

  519. 502, dhogaza: This pattern has been seen before, and it will be seen again, and each time it does we’ll hear all about the end of global warming from Watts and The Mob.

    On the whole, that was a good post. If large enough areas are cold enough often enough, then they discredit the AGW predictions. If the earth returns frequently enough to levels of cold characteristic of ca. 1885, then global warming isn’t happening.

    However, it was recently noted that Nov 2009 was the warmest on record. That transient was taken as supporting AGW, though it could be a random transient.

    The increasing Arctic summer thaw in 2003-2007 was taken as confirming AGW, but the successively reduced summer Arctic thaw from 2007-2009 was taken as incidental to global warming. The nearly constant Arctic summer thaw from the 70s to the late 90s was taken to be less informative than the thaw from 2003-2007. The Arctic isn’t warmer than it was 70 or so years ago.

    Possibly off-topic, one of Phil Jones’ emails in the stolen CRU emails comments that no more than 20% of the grids show statistically significant warming across the 20th century. As I understand it, the warming occurs most toward the poles, mostly in winter, and mostly at night. If the regions that are warming are currently breaking low temp records set 50-150 years ago, then earth can’t have warmed very much. If, as you forecast, this recurs again 30 and 60 years from now, then the earth will not have warmed as much as predicted by the AGW models. If the earth is really warming, then the intervals between equal cold snaps have to increase.

    Comment by Matthew — 6 Jan 2010 @ 9:31 PM

  520. > You should check out:
    > http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php
    > … It might take a bit of time before it picks
    > up a new topic

    You can sign up there to submit new sources and check off what you see in them — it’s meant not for adding repetitive copypaste stuff but for contributing a pointer to anything that actually is new writing, that might belong on the list. That speeds along how quickly new arguments show up in the survey there

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Jan 2010 @ 9:40 PM

  521. Re J @515: Again, increased efficiency has never resulted in less energy use. Your mileage may vary, but overall, that’s the history of energy efficiency gains.

    But before now the drivers of increased energy efficiency have been general improvements in technology and the need to cope with increases in energy cost or shortages of supply or threats to supply. Never before in that history has there been the need to reduce energy use in order to reduce CO2 emissions in the face of a clear and present danger to Earth’s climate system.

    History amply demonstrates that human populations are willing to voluntarily use fewer resources when properly motivated and educated about an imminent threat. Perhaps that’s why the denial industry is working so furiously to undermine that education.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 6 Jan 2010 @ 9:57 PM

  522. Matthew, you use a lot of passive tense, statements without sources.
    “Citation needed” isn’t harassment, it’s “show your source for this belief.”

    Look at this, edited down. Each of these merits a cite to your source, something saying why you believe what you wrote to be true. Otherwise these are just assertions looking for homework help from others, or attempts to find some argument nobody can refute. But people just get tired of doing the work for you, if you keep making assertions without citations. Look at the recent runs by others who came here pasting their beliefs but never being able to give cites to sources. It goes nowhere.

    Matthew says: 6 January 2010 at 9:31 PM:

    If …, then they discredit the AGW predictions.
    If …, then global warming isn’t happening.
    … it was recently noted …
    …That transient was taken as supporting ..
    … was taken as confirming AGW, but
    … was taken as incidental to global warming.
    … was taken to be less informative…
    The Arctic isn’t warmer…
    … one of Phil Jones’ emails in the stolen CRU emails comments…
    If …, then earth can’t have warmed very much.
    If… , then the earth will not have warmed as much as predicted by the AGW models.
    If…, then the intervals between equal cold snaps have to increase.

    Says who? Some guy on a blog?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Jan 2010 @ 10:56 PM

  523. Don’t know if Rasmus has seen the Calogovic et al. “Sudden Cosmic Ray Decreases: No Change of Global Cloud Cover” paper yet (GRL, in press, doi:10.1029/2009GL041327). The short and sweet of it is that Calogovic et al. can’t replicate the Svensmarks’ findings from their most recent paper using reasonable criteria for Forbush decrease selection. Shocker, I know.

    Comment by thingsbreak — 6 Jan 2010 @ 11:31 PM

  524. “Again, increased efficiency has never resulted in less energy use. Your mileage may vary, but overall, that’s the history of energy efficiency gains. More efficient cars result in more power per gallon – and more miles driven, bigger engines, more cars bought.”

    How exactly do you ascribe increased sales of vehicles to improved efficiency?

    Do your observations take into account that for the entire time we’ve been improving efficiency, the number of consumers of vehicles has increased?

    Did the creation of suburbs and exurbs come about as a result of improvements in efficiency?

    Sloppy. Very sloppy.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 6 Jan 2010 @ 11:34 PM

  525. What’s going on with the gulf stream? It appears to be following a rather unusual course. How common is this? What are the consequences if it continues?

    Comment by silence — 7 Jan 2010 @ 12:38 AM

  526. Matthew wrote in 518:

    Possibly off-topic, one of Phil Jones’ emails in the stolen CRU emails comments that no more than 20% of the grids show statistically significant warming across the 20th century.

    It might help if you had an exact quote and reference — especially given your earlier underestimate of the rate of sea level rise by a factor of 3. In any case, I believe that what you have latched on to is a great deal less “significant” than you might think.

    The majority of global warming has taken place in the northern hemisphere and land warms more rapidly than water. So just looking at the northern grids you are considering 50% of the total grids, and looking at land you are considering 31% percent of the total grids. So at this point by 20% of all grids he could easily still be referring to every grid of land in the northern hemisphere.

    More importantly, I would assume that by “grid” he is referring to the grids used by climate models in their calculations. Models during the 1990s were using 2°x2°. Last I heard, today’s models are using 1.25°x1.25°.

    So if these are the grid cells that he is speaking of no wonder the noise would tend to overwhelm the signal at that scale. But by the law of large numbers if you start putting those grid cells together and what was drowned out by the noise becomes a strong signal.

    If you are interested, Tamino has plotted the temperature trends from 1975 to 2007 for land for the following latitudes in the northern hemisphere : 64°N-90°N (5.7±1.8°C/century), 44°N-64°N (3.8±1.0°C/century), 24°N-44°N (2.9±0.8°C/century), and Equator-24°N (2.1±0.7°C/century) All of these are highly significant, not simply for an entire century, but for a 33 year period which according to climate skeptics has seen temperatures remain flat for at least 1998-2007 or 2001-2007 of the period for which the trends were calculated — depending upon the skeptic you are listening to at the time.

    Please see:

    Hit You Where You Live
    January 11, 2008
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/01/11/hit-you-where-you-live/

    He has also done temperature trends for the corresponding bands of latitude here:

    Down Under
    January 17, 2008
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/01/17/down-under/

    … which is where I got the statistical significance from for both the northern and southern bands of latitude.
    *
    Matthew wrote in 518:

    As I understand it, the warming occurs most toward the poles, mostly in winter, and mostly at night.

    Bingo! I believe you just made much of the case for an enhanced greenhouse effect…

    Polar amplification is expected partly as the result of albedo feedback, but it is also a sign of an enhanced greenhouse effect. Increased solar insolation would result in more warming at the equator, whereas an enhanced greenhouse effect would decrease the rate at which heat can be radiated by the climate system and will be stronger at the higher latitudes. Likewise, a stronger warming trend during the night is a signature of an enhanced greenhouse effect, and a stronger warming trend during the winter rather than the summer is indicative of an enhanced greenhouse effect. And of course another important signature of an enhanced greenhouse effect is the warming of the troposphere occuring simultaneously with a cooling of the middle and upper stratosphere. (I assume your omission of this was unintentional? However, the cooling of the lower stratosphere has been predominantly the result of ozone depletion — where ozone absorbs ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and some wavelengths of infrared from the earth’s thermal radiation.)
    *
    Matthew wrote in 518:

    If the regions that are warming are currently breaking low temp records set 50-150 years ago, then earth can’t have warmed very much.

    When you speak of breaking temperature records, you are speaking of a particular day or night for a particular station. It shouldn’t be at all surprising that when you are looking at things on that small a scale you have difficulty seeing anything of climatic importance. For the same reason as the grids. But even then, there is a signal.

    Just looking at the United States — only about 2% of the earth’s surface — during the period of northern hemisphere cooling attributed to aerosols from combustion prior to the enactment and enforcement of clean air laws record highs to record lows were 0.77:1. By the 1990s record highs to record lows were 1.36:1. By the 2000s this became 2.04:1. Under business as usual, by mid-century this is projected to be 20:1 and by end of century 50:1.

    Please see:

    Record high and low temps: An interesting trend
    November 12, 2009
    James Hrynyshyn
    http://scienceblogs.com/islandofdoubt/2009/11/record_high_and_low_temps_an_i.php

    Still, that’s the trees, not the forest.

    A day that is 5 or 10°C warmer than usual in one city isn’t particularly significant. If you are talking about an entire summer or year for the same city that is 2 or 5°C warmer than usual in one city that is a great deal more significant — as it could mean failed harvests. But that isn’t climatic. 2-5°C on average higher than what temperatures used to be for an entire country or for several years? Decades? We may be speaking about a more or less permanent state of drought. Warmer winters and springs mean reduced snowpack during the growing season. Warmer summers mean increased rate of evaporation – with the rate of evaporation increasing 8% for every 1°C and doubling for every 10°C.

    Consider the glaciers of the Tibetean Plateau. They are the source of water that feeds the ten of the major rivers of of Asia — including the Yangtze and Yellow rivers of China, the Indus in Pakistan, the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers of India and Bangladesh, and the Mekong in Southeast Asia.

    The plateau, says the [Chinese Academy of Sciences], has a staggering 46,298 glaciers, covering almost 60,000 square miles. At an average height of 13,000 feet above sea level, they make up the largest area of ice outside the polar regions, nearly a sixth of the world’s total.

    Ice-capped roof of world turns to desert
    Scientists warn of ecological catastrophe across Asia as glaciers melt and continent’s great rivers dry up
    By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/icecapped-roof-of-world-turns-to-desert-477184.html

    They are disappearing at an alarming rate:

    The glaciers have been receding over the past four decades, as the world has gradually warmed up, but the process has now accelerated alarmingly. Average temperatures in Tibet have risen by 2 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 20 years, causing the glaciers to shrink by 7 per cent a year, which means that they will halve every 10 years.

    ibid.

    At that rate less than 7 percent will be left in 40 years.

    So far, the consequences have included sandstorms reaching as far as Korea and Japan:

    Sandstorms, blowing in from the degraded land, are already plaguing the country. So far this year, 13 of them have hit northern China, including Beijing. Three weeks ago one storm swept across an eighth of the vast country and even reached Korea and Japan. On the way, it dumped a mind-boggling 336,000 tons of dust on the capital, causing dangerous air pollution.

    ibid.

    But the gravest consequences would appear to be in terms of water supply.

    Please see:

    In China alone, 300 million people depend on water from the glaciers for their survival. Yet the plateau is drying up, threatening to escalate an already dire situation across the country. Already 400 cities are short of water; in 100 of them – including Beijing – the shortages are becoming critical.

    ibid.

    And in time – mid-century, judging from the above? –

    Melting waters from the Tibetan Plateau’s glaciers feed many of Asia’s longest rivers, including the Yangtze, Mekong and Ganges, which supply water to more than 1 billion people.

    Tibet’s glaciers in danger of disappearing
    Published: Dec. 15, 2009
    http://www.upi.com/Science_News/Resource-Wars/2009/12/15/Tibets-glaciers-in-danger-of-disappearing/UPI-79851260920600/

    This may not seem that important to people in the United States — until one stops to consider that much of the water in that part of the world is used not simply as drinking water but for the production of food — and if food can no longer be produced there then it will raise food prices throughout the world. Moreover, mid-century consequences of global warming are at this point more or less unavoidable. In degrees they are however quite tame compared to business-as-usual projections for later in this century — and like the rate of evaporation, the consequences of further degrees are essentially an exponential function of temperature. By that time, according to our best projections, the consequences of business-as-usual will be devastating even to US agriculture — such that we will no longer be able to grow even wheat here. But those consequences are still largely avoidable.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 7 Jan 2010 @ 12:56 AM

  527. silence says: 7 January 2010 at 12:38 AM

    I don’t know what’s up with the Gulf Stream but that site has some really great visualizations!

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Jan 2010 @ 1:09 AM

  528. Just above I had suggested that the destruction of wheat production in the United States was still avoidable, but it appears I was somewhat overly optimistic…

    Indeed, a map based on research by Cimmyt, a nonprofit network of global organizations working on food security and agricultural issues, shows the belly of North America’s wheat bounty shifting to Canada by 2050.

    Christopher Mims at the Scientific American blog noted yesterday that this would put America’s breadbasket squarely north of the border, and asked “if that’s what will happen to wheat, what’s going to happen to other key crops, like soybeans and corn?”

    America’s Breadbasket Moves to Canada?
    By Tom Zeller Jr.
    http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2006/12/05/americas-breadbasket-moves-to-canada

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 7 Jan 2010 @ 1:19 AM

  529. silence says: 7 January 2010 at 12:38 AM

    Huh. It does seem rather drastically different, at least compared over snapshots of the past year.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Jan 2010 @ 1:21 AM

  530. Timothy Chase — 7 January 2010 @ 12:56 AM

    Excellent response, Timothy. Let me add (I skimmed, so you may have stated this) that the low temps currently being experienced are due to:

    “The cause of what one weather service refers to as these “upside down” conditions is an extreme of the Arctic Oscillation (AO).

    Essentially, air pressure is measured at various places across the Arctic and at the middle latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere – about 45 degrees north, roughly the latitude of Milan, Montreal or Vladivostok.

    The difference between the average readings for the two latitudes gives the state of the Arctic Oscillation index.

    A “positive” state is defined as relatively high pressure in mid-latitudes and relatively low pressure over the polar region. “Negative” conditions are the reverse.

    And what we have at the moment is an unusually extreme negative state.”
    The link is here (Climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/01/arctic_conditions_arctic_cause.html

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 7 Jan 2010 @ 1:28 AM

  531. I don’t either know what’s up with the Gulf Stream but am of suspicion that might become a textbook example of something yet to be determined.

    Comment by jyyh — 7 Jan 2010 @ 1:53 AM

  532. #760 dhogaza #761 Didactylos

    Using Tilo Reber logic, by extrapolation, if winter is cooler than summer in his backyard, then the whole idea of AGW must be false. It’s simple, in the 6 months from summer to winter it got colder, that is, in his mind, significant!

    He can’t seem to connect the idea of 30+ years with attribution to climate and still thinks that natural variability on short time scales proves long term trends are not that important.

    Of course to do this he has to ignore current total radiative forcing, Pre-industrial radiative forcing, The Milankovitch cycles, Human industrial output of GHG’s, and in general, common sense.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 7 Jan 2010 @ 2:20 AM

  533. #454 Rod B

    If conservation efforts are increasing polar bear population, and climate change is decreasing the population, both are correct in context. One factor is increasing while another is decreasing. Please don’t tell me you don’t understand this?

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 7 Jan 2010 @ 2:21 AM

  534. J: “Again, increased efficiency has never resulted in less energy use. Your mileage may vary, but overall, that’s the history of energy efficiency gains.”

    Wrong. Port Talbot Steelworks changed their processes and cut their energy bill massively (80%+). They didn’t produce 5x the amount of steel.

    And the steel became cheaper because of efficiency.

    Which reduced the price of (mainly steel) vehicles.

    “never”, J?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 7 Jan 2010 @ 4:28 AM

  535. J @515: “Again, increased efficiency has never resulted in less energy use.”

    Did it occur to you that the reason for that is because energy costs are absurdly low and the supply of energy has remained high. The example I use is that I can buy durian–a tropical fruit that smells like an open sewer and so is a bit of a niche market–more cheaply than I can buy locally grown apples and pears.
    When we save energy in one sector it is used in another. If energy reflected it’s true costs (environmental as well as production), people could then make intelligent decisions. Isn’t that what the free market is supposed to be about?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Jan 2010 @ 6:00 AM

  536. Matthew says, “If the regions that are warming are currently breaking low temp records set 50-150 years ago, then earth can’t have warmed very much.”

    No, I’m just curious. Why don’t you look at what the science says rather than posting completely fabricated bullshit. Weather is weather. Climate is climate. Learn the difference.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Jan 2010 @ 6:06 AM

  537. Shills@517, I think you have to interpret the question in the context of the entire survey. Not only do the vast majority think warming is significant (well outside of natural variation), they see it as an issue that merits serious attention.

    All in all, I would say the survey is a fair snapshot of the consensus. It shows that most scientists think the theory is pretty good, that they see it supported by evidence, are concerned about the trends they are seeing and think we need to do something about it. For a group as contrary as scientists tend to be, that’s pretty strong consensus.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Jan 2010 @ 6:11 AM

  538. A weather qustion: Is there any relationship between the new Arctic dipole pattern and the current cold weather in the central and eastern United States?

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 7 Jan 2010 @ 6:17 AM

  539. In some areas increased efficiency will lead to greater consumption (Jevons paradox), but this is not at all an absolute. If I replace an old refrigerator with a newer, more efficient model, I’m not going to turn the temperature down further or buy a bigger one. Same thing with a dryer and any number of appliances. I don’t cook more with a more efficient stove, nor do I wear more clothing with a more efficient washer/dryer. Replacing my old, drafty windows with something better will not cause me to crank up the thermostat in the winter. Of course this is just me, but I am hardly alone and I have not seen any figures for these particular examples that would lead me to believe this is not the trend.

    Comment by Nick — 7 Jan 2010 @ 8:17 AM

  540. RE: J #515: “Again, increased efficiency has never resulted in less energy use.” And, “Increasing efficiency, while a wise engineering goal, is a very unskillful way to look at the needs and consequences of human power usage.”

    This argument probably originates in Tom Princen’s “The Logic of Sufficiency.”

    Book Review Perspectives
    http://ejournal.nbii.gov/archives/vol3iss1/book.princen.pdf
    MIT Press, 2005, 401pp, ISBN: 026266190X

    and:

    http://ejournal.nbii.org/archives/vol3iss1/book.princen.html
    (excerpt)
    “Princen’s main argument is that to adequately deal with growing environmental problems, we need to move from an economy built around the principles of profit maximization and efficiency to that of sufficiency.”

    Comment by Tim Jones — 7 Jan 2010 @ 8:38 AM

  541. Timothy @528, those familiar with the geology and geography of Canada will recognise the obvious implications of that map: roughly two thirds of the blue shaded area covers exposed Canadian Shield bedrock, boreal forest and muskeg that is incapable of sustaining mechanised agriculture. Good luck feeding the world on what’s left over.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 7 Jan 2010 @ 8:46 AM

  542. Re #519:
    “The Arctic isn’t warmer than it was 70 or so years ago.

    Please go here:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.B.lrg.gif

    Look at the graph for northern latitudes (top graph) and explain how the ‘prox 0.7C increase above the 1940s shows that the arctic hasn’t warmed in 70 years.

    Comment by spilgard — 7 Jan 2010 @ 9:03 AM

  543. Re: #519 (Matthew)

    The Arctic isn’t warmer than it was 70 or so years ago.

    Which planet are you talking about? Here on earth, the arctic is quite a bit warmer than it was back then.

    Comment by tamino — 7 Jan 2010 @ 9:24 AM

  544. 542: Tamino, Have you (or anyone else) incorporated the arctic buoy data into annual global temperature averages? As far as I can tell, the guys who do the work don’t calculate yearly averages from that data. Are there problems in merging station data w/ buoy data?

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 7 Jan 2010 @ 10:00 AM

  545. Re: #544 (John E. Pearson)

    I haven’t looked at that data; I don’t know who may have included it in global averages. I’m sure there are problems — as with all data — like the fact that the buoys drift, for instance, but I doubt the problems are insurmountable. It looks like the IABP data don’t start until 1979, but it’s probably still well worth a look.

    Comment by tamino — 7 Jan 2010 @ 11:21 AM

  546. SecularAnimist, losing trillions of dollars in profits is a major disruption, even if it is happening to people you don’t like.

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Jan 2010 @ 11:31 AM

  547. >>>#521 Jim: “History amply demonstrates that human populations are willing to voluntarily use fewer resources when properly motivated and educated about an imminent threat. Perhaps that’s why the denial industry is working so furiously to undermine that education.”

    Well, it hasn’t happened in history. More efficient cars have not reduced gas usage. Perhaps it will in the future, there’s a significant percentage that believes in an imminent threat, hybrids are being sold – though the overall environmental and energy impact (batteries, etc) may be a wash.

    Owning a hybrid or small car does not mean he owner isn’t a hypocrite in another area. Ed Begley Jr.’s carbon footprint is significantly larger than mine and I’m not even a believer. Al Gore’s is several orders of magnitude above mine and likely yours.

    As for industry, car makers are pushing high mileage and hybrids as fast as the public will buy.

    Comment by J — 7 Jan 2010 @ 11:41 AM

  548. 2009 seems to be #2 in GISTEMP, although december (globally +.58 °C) has been very cold in northern Eurasia (calculated with preliminary data, SST up to 2009-12-30):

    2005 +.626 °C
    2009 +.569 °C
    2007 +.567 °C
    1998 +.565 °C
    2002 +.558 °C
    2003 +.550 °C
    2006 +.540 °C
    2004 +.485 °C
    2001 +.478 °C
    2008 +.434 °C
    1997 +.397 °C

    Comment by Andreas — 7 Jan 2010 @ 11:41 AM

  549. > incorporated the arctic buoy data

    I Googled: http://www.google.com/search?q=arctic+buoy+temperature

    Found this: http://seaice.apl.washington.edu/ARCSS-SAT/

    ——excerpt follows——

    Which begins:
    “Accurate fields of Arctic surface air temperature (SAT) are needed for climate studies (Fig. 1), but a robust gridded data set of SAT of sufficient length is not available over the entire Arctic, e.g. ACIA (2004) report exhibits a “data void” over the Arctic Ocean (Fig. 2).

    Over the Arctic Ocean, the SAT data sets with wide spatial coverage begin in 1979 with buoy observations (Fig. 3) and satellite-derived surface temperatures.

    We plan to produce authoritative SAT data sets covering the Arctic Ocean from 1901 to present, which will be used to better understand Arctic climate change.

    The Problem

    However, there are discrepancies between the in situ, satellite-derived, and reanalysis data, e.g. the satellite estimates of trends show cooling over the Arctic during winter where the in situ estimates show warming …

    The Plan
    • Reconcile the differences between the various SAT data sets obtained from in situ observations (Fig. 5), reanalysis, and satellites. These data will be filtered and bias-adjusted as appropriate…..”

    ——end excerpt——

    Cue the septic response:
    http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/TrickSTRIPdraft.jpg

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Jan 2010 @ 11:52 AM

  550. #254 Doug: “Do your observations take into account that for the entire time we’ve been improving efficiency, the number of consumers of vehicles has increased?”

    Yes. Gas use per capita. The factor that decreases use is increased price, not efficiency.

    Comment by J — 7 Jan 2010 @ 11:56 AM

  551. >>>#534 FedUp: Port Talbot Steelworks changed their processes and cut their energy bill massively (80%+). They didn’t produce 5x the amount of steel. And the steel became cheaper because of efficiency. Which reduced the price of (mainly steel) vehicles.”

    Which, all other factors equal, increases the sales of steel vehicles, increasing the demand for steel, increasing the competitiveness of Talbot, increasing their need for production. To wit, from the Western Mail: “Production at the Corus Port Talbot Works is expected to rise by a quarter with the launch of a new continuous caster at the steelworks. Continuous Caster 3 (CC3) will be formally opened today by First Minister Rhodri Morgan. Steel slab output at the plant is expected to rise by one million tonnes, moving Port Talbot Works from a 3.7 million tonne operation to a 4.7 million tonne one.”

    If steel becomes cheaper to produce, demand increases, if it’s goes low enough, it will replace other materials in other uses. You don’t decrease people’s desire for the things that power produces by making power more efficient, you decrease the price side, which, all things remaining equal, increases the demand side. People, yourself included, like power and use it as much as they can. This is in large measure why we have the highest standard of living in history – power.

    Comment by J — 7 Jan 2010 @ 12:09 PM

  552. Ray, it’s not worth getting into a deep assessment of individual psychology. Sure, if asked, everyone would wish for AGW to not be happening. But to think a person, after spending his career analyzing and supporting AGW, would be just elated and overjoyed right after finding out his efforts were all wrong is just nonsense – even though he would have been included in the “wish it wasn’t so” crowd. No, I don’t think Hansen would (or should) be fired in this scenario.

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Jan 2010 @ 12:12 PM

  553. jyyh says: 7 January 2010 at 1:53 AM

    “I don’t either know what’s up with the Gulf Stream but am of suspicion that might become a textbook example of something yet to be determined.”

    It’s a weather thing but all the same I wondered if the seeming swerve in the current might have something to do w/the cold snap in the UK. Looking at the sea surface temperature visualizations on the same site, I don’t see any dramatic difference between the same period in 2008 (when the current seemed to follow its more typical path) and the display _silence_ called out.

    Whatever the case, if you’re a visualization maven you’ll definitely want to check the animations. Really cool.

    Link straight to juicy stuff for North Atlantic:

    http://bulletin.mercator-ocean.fr/html/produits/psy2v3/ocean/global/bull_ocean_g_en.jsp?nom=psy2v3_20091216_21899

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Jan 2010 @ 12:14 PM

  554. >>>#535 Ray: “Did it occur to you that the reason for that is because energy costs are absurdly low and the supply of energy has remained high.”

    Yes. Precisely. Energy use is effected by price, not efficiency, that’s my point. And price is determined by supply and demand. Demand for power is near infinite, so price is the main determinate.

    >>>”If energy reflected it’s true costs (environmental as well as production), people could then make intelligent decisions. Isn’t that what the free market is supposed to be about?”
    The free market is about a lot of things, mostly people freely determining the value of good and services and maximizing economic activity and therefore, historically, the overall standard of living.

    But you are on the right track. The only way to reduce use is to increase price. If you do this arbitrarily or wrongly (your definition of “wrong” here may vary) then an unintended consequence is a reduced economy. This is the usual result of centralized dictated markets.

    In a nutshell this is the crux of where you are with climate change. A majority think some action is warranted; a majority think government will do more harm than good about it, or at least that it should not be the top concern for government action – which is where your price increase will have to derive from, given the supply situation.

    Comment by J — 7 Jan 2010 @ 12:24 PM

  555. Jim Eager(483), said, “…dare pull out the “CO2 lagging temperature increases” in the ice core canard here when you know very well what causes that lag and that it most definitely does not mean that CO2 plus feedbacks do not cause warming after the lag.”

    Fine and dandy, ‘cept it was you that said it does prove that CO2 increases do cause warming. You’re just wrong because your facts and logic are wrong. And what do you men by “canard”? Are you implying that temperature increases didn’t ever lead CO2 increases? Or do you just wish it is a canard so you can continue to use it as a “proof” in bass-akward logic that increasing CO2 later increases temperature?

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Jan 2010 @ 12:28 PM

  556. Overposting.

    But here’s an article that really caught my eye, seeing as Mt. Rainier looms over us in this part of the world. Shrinking glaciers have knock-on effects that are beginning to be felt many miles from the main pimple as riverbeds become choked with freshly liberated glacial till.

    “The fallout from Mount Rainier’s shrinking glaciers is beginning to roll downhill, and nowhere is the impact more striking than on the volcano’s west side.

    “This is it in spades,” said Park Service geologist Paul Kennard, scrambling up a 10-foot-tall mass of dirt and boulders bulldozed back just enough to clear the road.

    As receding glaciers expose crumbly slopes, vast amounts of gravel and sediment are being sluiced into the rivers that flow from the Northwest’s tallest peak. Much of the material sweeps down in rain-driven slurries called debris flows, like those that repeatedly have slammed Mount Rainier National Park’s Westside Road.

    “The rivers are filling up with stuff,” Kennard said from his vantage point atop the pile. He pointed out ancient stands of fir and cedar now up to their knees in water.

    Inside park boundaries, rivers choked with gravel are threatening to spill across roads, bump up against the bottom of bridges and flood the historic complex at Longmire. Downstream, communities in King and Pierce counties are casting a wary eye at the volcano in their backyard. There are already signs that riverbeds near Auburn and Puyallup are rising. As glaciers continue to pull back, the result could be increased flood danger across the Puget Sound lowlands for decades.

    “There is significant evidence that things are changing dramatically at Mount Rainier,” said Tim Abbe, of the environmental consulting firm ENTRIX. “We need to start planning for it now,” added Abbe, who helps analyze Mount Rainier’s river systems.

    Similar dynamics are playing out at all the region’s major glaciated peaks, from Mount Jefferson to Mount Baker, said research hydrologist Gordon Grant, of the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station in Corvallis, Ore.”

    More:

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2010689013_rainiergravel04m.html

    How about a variation on a an old saw?
    “A warmist is a denier whose basement was just filled with glacial till”

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Jan 2010 @ 12:41 PM

  557. Jim Galasyn(499), why do you debunk (appropriately) the use of individual weather activities that refute global warming by using individual weather activities that seemingly support global warming?

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Jan 2010 @ 12:43 PM

  558. J says: 7 January 2010 at 11:56 AM

    “Yes. Gas use per capita. The factor that decreases use is increased price, not efficiency.”

    And does that take into account that vehicles are being introduced into markets where they previously did not find much penetration? Run the numbers on China, for instance.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Jan 2010 @ 12:45 PM

  559. J:

    “People, yourself included, like power and use it as much as they can.”

    Wrong in my case J, and I have no reason to think I’m exceptional.

    It sounds as though you’re signed onto an ideology as opposed to an attachment to facts.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Jan 2010 @ 12:47 PM

  560. Not sure if this is the right place to post this question, but I’ll go ahead anyway…

    I’m struggling to understand the distinction between “weather” and “climate”.

    As I understand it “weather” is what is happening at the moment. If it’s colder than usual at the moment, and that continues for a few weeks, it’s still just weather.

    But if it’s warmer than usual for, let’s say, fifty years, that’s the climate that changed. [I think]

    My question: At what point on the timescale do fluctuations of temperature stop being variable weather and start being a change of climate?

    My guess is that it’s more than one year but less than ten years. But my searches have failed to clarify this point.

    Thanks for any enlightenment.

    [Response: There are two answers, the first (standard) response is that if you average over 30 years, that's the climate, and anything on shorter timescales is the weather. But the second response is actually a little more subtle and is tied to the issue of climate drivers. The main issue that is being addressed is to what extent changes in temperatures, ice rainfall etc. can be said to have been caused by changes in climate drivers (CO2, volcanoes, the sun, the orbit or whatever). We know that weather forecast models indicate that the weather is chaotic - it has a sensitive dependence on initial conditions. So if you change the smallest thing, a month later, the weather pattern is completely different. We also expect that the small year on year increment of CO2 is not large enough to show up on a year by year basis. A big volcano though does have a large enough effect to show up in one year. Thus the distinction between weather and climate in the context we discuss here, is a question of signal to noise for the part of the climate system that is driven by some external factor. For a very big signal (a volcano), you can see a climate change quite quickly, but for the current trends in greenhouse gases, you need 15 or more years (at least in the temperature field). - gavin]

    Comment by Martin Roydack — 7 Jan 2010 @ 12:48 PM

  561. Hank, “septic/skeptic” is a cute pun. Intentional, not Freudian, I presume?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 7 Jan 2010 @ 1:03 PM

  562. >>Doug: “And does that take into account that vehicles are being introduced into markets where they previously did not find much penetration?”

    Per capita. If vehicles are introduced to new capita, per capita still goes up, and totals go up. When vehicle use cost goes down, people use vehicles more. Same for airline fuel cost, ticket prices and per capita use of airline travel.

    Comment by J — 7 Jan 2010 @ 1:14 PM

  563. Of course no one is saying that CO2 is the only driver of climate change. But the denialists want to say that the IPCC is saying that, while asserting that other influences are being ignored… and then leap to the conclusion that other forcings are more important. (Always spinning in such a way so as to reduce the importance of CO2 emissions.) Lately, topics that have been seized on include the role of black carbon, and uncertainty about the effects of water vapor in climate models.

    Another is the perennial “it’s cold outside” argument. For this one there’s a good response: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/20091208_globalstats.html

    Comment by Sean A — 7 Jan 2010 @ 1:14 PM

  564. >>#559 Doug: “Wrong in my case J, and I have no reason to think I’m exceptional.”

    Well you are an exception then. Fuel use goes up and down with price, not efficiency. And unless you put your fuel savings in a sock, you’ve got some other power use compensation to calculate.

    >>>”It sounds as though you’re signed onto an ideology as opposed to an attachment to facts.”

    No, the facts are that fuel efficiency does not decrease fuel use in the aggregate. Your mileage may vary.

    Comment by J — 7 Jan 2010 @ 1:17 PM

  565. >>>#558 Doug: “Run the numbers on China, for instance.”

    Which brings up a major monkey wrench in the works. Since China and India are definitely not going to be onboard, and since their increase in CO2 output dwarfs ours, what would be the requirement for our carbon-based energy use reduction in order to result in any effective change in warming – according to the models?

    Comment by J — 7 Jan 2010 @ 1:22 PM

  566. 536 Ray Ladbury: Weather is weather. Climate is climate. Learn the difference.

    Sure, climate is composed of weather. If the weather recurs regularly, then the climate isn’t changing. Warm transients, such as the warm Nov 2009 and Hurricane Katrina, are always taken as evidence of global climate change by AGW proponents, even when they are localized.

    543, tamino; 542 spilgard: thanks for the links.

    526 Timothy Chase: especially given your earlier underestimate of the rate of sea level rise by a factor of 3.

    That was Matthew L. Some day perhaps I’ll choose a different name, perhaps “Septic Matthew”.

    I like your “Bingo!”

    Comment by Matthew — 7 Jan 2010 @ 1:24 PM

  567. Lost the comment, but FWIW the idea that 25,000-30,000 polar bears is somehow a large enough number to “guarantee” their survival is a pure non sequitur.

    By the 1830s, the “buffalo” (AKA American Bison) were being killed at a rate of about 200,000 annually. An initial population that may have been in excess of 60 million was reduced to possibly 300-3000 by the 1890s. And to save them required not only stopping the hunting, but also saving their habitat by setting aside protected lands.

    Polar bear habitat–ie, Arctic sea ice–appears to be in big trouble. How are we going to “set aside” sea ice?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 7 Jan 2010 @ 1:33 PM

  568. Climate vs. Weather:

    “There are two answers, the first (standard) response is that if you average over 30 years, that’s the climate…”

    “…but for the current trends in greenhouse gases, you need 15 or more years (at least in the temperature field)”

    I am not trying to play “gotcha” here (as in “Aha, you say 30 AND 15 — were you lying then or are you lying now? Mwah-ha-ha.”)

    What I am wondering, though, is: What is the distinction between the 15 and the 30, and the inference (should the distinction remain unexplained) that we don’t really know what the difference is between unpredictable, chaotic weather and predictable climate change. Otherwise stated, what is the physical theory driving the 15 and/or the 30?

    Comment by Walter Manny — 7 Jan 2010 @ 1:35 PM

  569. “No, the facts are that fuel efficiency does not decrease fuel use in the aggregate.”

    That isn’t what you said before J.

    You said energy efficiencies *never* resulted in less energy being used.

    Have you changed it because you’re wrong?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 7 Jan 2010 @ 1:51 PM

  570. J says: 7 January 2010 at 1:17 PM

    You’re running aground on a shoal of dogma, J.

    For instance, my gasoline usage has not tracked fluctuations in price. My requirement for gasoline is fairly well tuned to my needs; I have little or no flexibility in how much gasoline I consume. If I bought a car with better efficiency, I can’t imagine how I’d drive it farther than I drive my present car. If my circumstances changed, so might my driving requirements but that has nothing to do with efficiency of my vehicle.

    So your statement is controversial on its face.

    Here’s another example. My electrical consumption has dropped dramatically over the past few years because I moved from a place where electricity is not only more expensive but I also used central air conditioning about 9 months of the year. The climate here does not require a compensatory increase in heating consumption. Now I’m in a place where electricity costs about 1/3 less but I’m using less electricity. According to your curious generalization I should be using more electricity. I’m not.

    Again, your statement becomes controversial when compared with real world data.

    Faced with a lack of data, your theory is apparently still so compelling for you that you must imagine that I’ve increased my energy consumption in some mysterious way of which I’m not aware, rather than accept that you may be over-applying an economic concept found in freshman textbooks but which is not actually descriptive of the real world, as is the case with so much economic theory.

    As to my exceptional qualities, can you quantify those? Does your theory explain all of the myriad exceptions you’ll find as you get to individual cases?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Jan 2010 @ 2:01 PM

  571. J, I agree that energy use tends to track price. However, the price of fossil fuels is ridiculously subsidized. If they reflected their true environmental and security cost, people would make rational decisions.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Jan 2010 @ 2:21 PM

  572. Martin Roydack, here’s a pretty good analysis

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/how-long/

    Basically the thing to remember is that there are many, many influences that can have a big effect on climate for a short time–days, months, a few years, even a few decades (e.g. grand solar minima). The influence of CO2 persists for centuries. No matter how these short-term influences play out, CO2 eventually wins.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Jan 2010 @ 2:25 PM

  573. Gavin – #560 –

    Many thanks. I think I get it.

    There is the underlying stochastic process that generates the day-day variation that we call the weather. If the climate did not change at all, then at a given location, this would be a cyclo-stationary random process with parameters varying cyclically with a period of 12 months.

    But in reality, the characteristics of the underlying process are themselves varying in an unknown way due to changes in greenhouse gases, volcanic dust emissions, variation in solar output, geomagnetic field variations, and who know what else, but probably on a time scale in which the change over 12 months is small. Unless, as you point out, something changes the statistics abruptly – such as a Krakatoa for example. The statistics of the weather are the result of modulating a cyclostationary process with variations on a longer timescale, so that it’s no longer stationary in any sense.

    So, from observations, you are trying to separate out normal variations due to randomness from longer term changes in the underlying stochastic process. If you have inside information that the underlying process have changed, you can say at once that the observed change in temperature (or rainfall or whatever) is because the climate has changed. Otherwise, you would have to apply some sort of statistical test on oberservations over a period and finally say “ok, it’s now pretty certain that what we are seeing is more than just random variation – it seems that the climate itself has changed xxx much”.

    I think what you have told me is that, if there is a consistent change over a thirty year period, then the conclusion is that the climate has changed. But over a shorter period, it’s just the weather.

    Thank you for the elucidation.

    [Response: Wow. Yes. - gavin]

    Comment by Martin Roydack — 7 Jan 2010 @ 2:29 PM

  574. Kevin, I keep forgetting to write that term properly, it’s
    “septicTM Stoat” (the TM should be superscript)
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Ascienceblogs.com%2Fstoat+septic

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Jan 2010 @ 2:31 PM

  575. Rod B. says “But to think a person, after spending his career analyzing and supporting AGW, would be just elated and overjoyed right after finding out his efforts were all wrong is just nonsense – even though he would have been included in the “wish it wasn’t so” crowd. ”

    Then you don’t understand what it is to be a scientist. First, the most exciting time to be in a field is when a major theory is overturned. Second, it is unlikely that everything in the old theory will be trashed, and since the leaders who promoted the old theory are probably among the brightest and most forceful in the field, they will probably become leaders in promoting and developing the new theory.

    Rod, what matters is understanding how things really work.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Jan 2010 @ 2:38 PM

  576. J says: 7 January 2010 at 1:22 PM

    >>>#558 Doug: “Run the numbers on China, for instance.”

    Which brings up a major monkey wrench in the works…”

    No numerical analysis on my question forthcoming?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Jan 2010 @ 2:42 PM

  577. Have people spotted this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8437703.stm How worrying is this?

    Comment by dcomerf — 7 Jan 2010 @ 2:42 PM

  578. Matthew says, “Warm transients, such as the warm Nov 2009 and Hurricane Katrina, are always taken as evidence of global climate change by AGW proponents, even when they are localized.”

    Not by the scientists unless they are taken as an illustration of an ongoing trend. Listen to what the scientists are saying, not the blowhards (left or right).

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Jan 2010 @ 2:44 PM

  579. Jay says, “Since China and India are definitely not going to be onboard, and since their increase in CO2 output dwarfs ours, what would be the requirement for our carbon-based energy use reduction in order to result in any effective change in warming – according to the models?”

    Actually, both the Indian and Chinese governments are on board with the scientific consensus, and they are among the nations that will suffer the worst later this century. The thing is that they face an immediate crisis of increased expectations and population that threatens the viability of the government. What must happen is development of alternative means of meeting energy demand, especially in India and China. Both nations are capable of deciding in their interests as long as the choice is not suicide now or suicide later.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Jan 2010 @ 2:50 PM

  580. Manny, you’ve been told before why it’s 30 years.

    Why do you need to keep being told?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 7 Jan 2010 @ 2:54 PM

  581. Ray Ladbury says: 7 January 2010 at 2:21 PM

    “J, I agree that energy use tends to track price. However, the price of fossil fuels is ridiculously subsidized. If they reflected their true environmental and security cost, people would make rational decisions.”

    Oh, boy, let’s not depend on rationality. It’s never there when we need it.

    I believe the problem for J. is that he’s doing a variant of the old no-no, associating correlation with causation. In this case it’s not entirely false but I think it’s temporary.

    At the same time as we’ve been exploding our population, we’ve been improving the efficiency of our machinery. From a certain perspective I have to concede that for a certain period of our history J. is correct because much of the population explosion is thanks to our machinery and to the extent our machinery’s efficiency is improved it helps to feed runaway population growth, resulting in increased demand.

    However, it seems to me this is a temporary association. In a world with a stable population size, overall efficiency gains will result in reduced overall energy consumption, unless that society dreams up entirely new requirements for energy and very large requirements at that. Maybe time travel, space folding or the like? We can wish.

    On a scale of individual cases J.’s concept falls completely apart and helps to illustrate my hypothesis about stabilizing demand. My personal world is “fully developed”; I have if anything an excessive amount of machinery requiring energy inputs and there’s nothing I can think of that I really need to add to the roster. Lately I’ve been on an efficiency kick, resulting in plucking a lot of low-hanging fruit around the house in terms of energy consumption. When I unplug any given little-used device driving parasitic consumption I’m not adding consumption somewhere else. My efficiency has improved and because the population of the tiniest governmental domain I rule is not changing I will not be adding consumption due to increased numbers of people.

    This does not seem like a very controversial notion, but perhaps I’m missing something.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Jan 2010 @ 3:00 PM

  582. >>>>#570 Doug: “For instance, my… My… I… I…I…my… my…my.”

    No doubt accurate but not significant historically in the overall effect of efficiency and energy use. And, tangentially, what are you doing with your savings?

    If you were offered a much better job at a further distance would you drive more – with your more efficient car?

    If you travel, does your decision depend on cost of fuel of various means of transportation – or do you stay at home to not use any?

    Is your goal to do less, to earn less, to create less, to provide for others less, to communicate less, to produce less, to see less of the world, to be colder, hungrier and thirstier? If not, you seek increased power.

    >>> “Does your theory explain all of the myriad exceptions you’ll find as you get to individual cases?”

    The per capita use of fuel increases with efficiency, decreases with price, exceptions included.
    I think you are missing the large picture. And I think you are assuming energy use = bad. Most other folk’s energy use that is.

    Comment by J — 7 Jan 2010 @ 3:00 PM

  583. “[[...] For a very big signal (a volcano), you can see a climate change quite quickly, but for the current trends in greenhouse gases, you need 15 or more years (at least in the temperature field). – gavin]”

    A volcano like Pinatubo 1991 is just noise as ENSO is. You can see the signal if you filter out some well-known noise (ENSO), but if you do that, you don’t need 15 years to see a change in climate either (for global temperatures). Much depends on the spatial scale. For local temperatures, less than 30 years doesn’t make much sense, unless the signal is very strong (e.g. Arctic warming). At the global scale, some weather balances out.

    Comment by Andreas — 7 Jan 2010 @ 3:12 PM

  584. >>>#571 Ray: “J, I agree that energy use tends to track price. However, the price of fossil fuels is ridiculously subsidized. If they reflected their true environmental and security cost, people would make rational decisions.”

    We agree that, at least in the short-mid term, price is the only way to affect usage.

    I’m not sure what the grand total of subsidies would be. Look at the tax per gallon at the pump. Google search shows $30 billion in taxes for Exxon in 07. Google the horsepower taxes in Europe. Compare with the subsidies for hybrid cars, solar and wind.

    Regardless, taxes and subsidies are artificial and along with the required centralized forced economies, they tend to have bad, often very bad, consequences. The home run, IMHO, is non-carbon based energy sources – that work and are close to the price of exploration and development of carbon-based ones.

    We only have one now, nuclear. IMHO again, this is the only possible way reduced use of carbon-based energy can actually happen. But it needs to start yesterday. Energy production has to be started decades in advance.

    Comment by J — 7 Jan 2010 @ 3:14 PM

  585. Spilgard (542), tamino (543), I suspect you might be correct but your use of extremely loosey-goosey measurements to presumably absolutely prove a point is pushing credibility hard. To prove the Arctic temperatures have increased over the past 70 years, one graph show temperature anomalies between 23.6N and 90N degrees – hardly the Arctic – especially since very few of the measurements came within the Arctic.

    Tamino is at least more open because (and but…) he admits he’s looking at 60N degrees and above, but hasn’t much more than 30 years of data (??) – hardly useful in looking at 70-year movements, and the preponderance of the Artic, above 70N has a single grid in his analysis. At least tamino is rigorous and for all I know might be correct. But to claim any of this as irrefutable truth re the Arctic temperatures of the past 70 years shows way too much self-confidence

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Jan 2010 @ 3:16 PM

  586. >>>#579 Ray: “Actually, both the Indian and Chinese governments are on board with the scientific consensus..”

    And adamant in their refusal to decrease their output of CO2.

    Comment by J — 7 Jan 2010 @ 3:18 PM

  587. Here’s an idea for future posts, which is already being done now and then on RC: Take some recent climate science (articles, conference presentations, speculations), and explain them in very simple terms for lay persons. Confidence levels can be noted — such as, “this is definitely a possibility since it has happened in the past (or on Venus), but a lot more research needs to be done on it.”

    While this site needs to continue debunking denialists false claims, such efforts tend to put the discussion between science (which requires 95% confidence) and industry & other denialism (which require 99% to 101% confidence). Speaking more to cutting edge climate science on speculations of harms and dangers that might not yet be completely accepted by the scientific community, or might not be proven at the .05 level, but have some merit due to theory or “it’s happened before,” would put the discussion more between science and environmentalism/policy-makers.

    Here is an example. PNAS had a recent issue on “Tipping Elements on Earth.” See: http://www.pnas.org/content/106/49.toc (the articles are open-access). I was reading the abstract for David Archer’s “Ocean Methane Hydrates…” and came across 35 Pg. I asked my niece, a biotech grad student what “Pg” meant, and she said if it’s small case, then picagram; then I found on-line petagram or 1,000,000,000,000,000 grams. That’s quite a lot. The article suggests a .4 to .5C increase due to methane (and the CO2 it degrades into). So the Q for us laypersons is, is 35 Pg a lot, and is .4 or .5 a lot. And does the speed with which that positive feedback warming occur make a difference (say from the past when the warming may have been slower). What does it mean for life on planet earth, and when?

    Some posts about the “4 Degrees and Beyond” conference might be nice, as well as the “Copenhagen Diagnosis.”

    I mean, if we’re all (scientists and environmentalists alike) going to be labeled “alarmists” for talking about even a 7 cm sea level rise, why worry about such a ridiculous label at all; some folks would just prefer to burn in the theater than be informed a raging fire was consuming the building — they probably weren’t watching AVATAR anyway.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 7 Jan 2010 @ 3:24 PM

  588. J says: 7 January 2010 at 3:00 PM

    “>>>>#570 Doug: “For instance, my… My… I… I…I…my… my…my.”

    Rejoined by a lot of “ifs”, heh!

    “And I think you are assuming energy use = bad. Most other folk’s energy use that is.”

    Excuse me, but -I- think your ideology is showing. Meanwhile, you’re apparently unable to move your generalization into the real world.

    Don’t get mad, get even. Show me how I’m exceptional.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Jan 2010 @ 3:25 PM

  589. Documerf@577, While I’m sure the denialists will just tell us it’s whale farts, this could be the beginning of the tipping point we’ve been worrying about.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Jan 2010 @ 3:26 PM

  590. Jones on 20%:
    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=296&filename=1047390562.txt

    He used the word “significant”, which I take to mean “statistically significant” as the word “statistically” is usually dropped, but he could be meaning “significant” in the sense of “important” instead of “signaling”. The issue of “synchronicity” that he mentions is obviously important, but so is the comment that most grid boxes show no significant 20th century warming.

    I renamed myself “Septic Matthew” to distinguish myself from Matthew L and the other Matthews.

    from my own 566: If the weather recurs regularly, then the climate isn’t changing.

    I mean not warming uncontrollably or changing in an unprecedented manner. Obviously the long-term cycles like alternating glacial/interglacial periods are changes, and the alternating Roman Warm Period, early Medieval cooling (Possibly the source of the Wasteland legends”), Medieval Warm period, LIA, and the alternating warming/non-warming periods since the LIA are climate “changes”.

    578, Ray Ladbury: Not by the scientists unless they are taken as an illustration of an ongoing trend. Listen to what the scientists are saying, not the blowhards (left or right).

    Scientists used Katrina as the harbinger of things to come and predicted even worse for subsequent years, but actual hurricane activity has declined, and there has never been evidence of a century-long trend toward greater energy release in tropical storms. Scientists projected the 2003-2007 decline in Arctic Ice as predicting an Arctic ice-free summer by 2015 (more or less), but instead we have recorded a regression toward the previous mean (not yet all the way), which will postpone the ice-free Arctic summer for decades if the regression to the mean continues.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 7 Jan 2010 @ 3:43 PM

  591. Ray, you say, “…you don’t understand what it is to be a scientist. First, the most exciting time to be in a field is when a major theory is overturned.”

    Especially when it is somebody else’s!

    And, “…it is unlikely that everything in the old theory will be trashed…”

    True, but that isn’t the discussion.

    And, “…since the leaders who promoted the old theory are probably among the brightest and most forceful in the field, they will probably become leaders in promoting and developing the new theory.”

    I agree fully. Which is why I said Hansen wouldn’t and shouldn’t be fired (in answer to your question, BTW.)

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Jan 2010 @ 3:45 PM

  592. J:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=california+energy+voluntary+conservation

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Jan 2010 @ 4:07 PM

  593. Septic Matthew says: 7 January 2010 at 3:43 PM

    “Scientists used Katrina as the harbinger of things to come and predicted even worse for subsequent years, but actual hurricane activity has declined, and there has never been evidence of a century-long trend toward greater energy release in tropical storms. Scientists projected the 2003-2007 decline in Arctic Ice as predicting an Arctic ice-free summer by 2015 (more or less), but instead we have recorded a regression toward the previous mean (not yet all the way), which will postpone the ice-free Arctic summer for decades if the regression to the mean continues.”

    How about chopping the misinformation into bite-sized chunks so we don’t choke on it?

    “Scientists used Katrina …”

    Which ones? Any publications on that?

    “Scientists projected the 2003-2007 decline in Arctic Ice as predicting an Arctic ice-free summer by 2015…”

    Which ones? Any publications on that?

    “…instead we have recorded a regression toward the previous mean…”

    That one, -again-? You’re hard on the heels of a least two others touting the same vacuous claim. Based on a statistical sample of how many years?

    Bzzzt. Where do you find that published? Off-the-cuff remarks to reporters by 1 or 2 persons are one thing, reputation destroying assertions are another, as you’re finding out. Credibility is precious.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Jan 2010 @ 4:29 PM

  594. http://www.arcus.org/search/seaiceoutlook/2009_outlook/2009_pan-arctic_summary.php

    Note: Hamburg uses a 50% sea ice concentration for the extent and NSIDC uses 15%. http://www.ifm.uni-hamburg.de/

    “… the question is whether below normal multi-year ice fractions account for a persistence in ice extent anomalies on interannual time scales, or whether the ice pack is now back in a mode with no interannual correlation between extent anomalies (Bitz, personal communication). Lindsay comments, “with nonstationary statistics, the standard error of the fit over past years is not a good measure of the uncertainty in the prediction.”

    ——–

    There’s real fascinating science being done every day in these areas. Could we focus for a while on the researchers instead of always having to repeat things to the rebunkers? Wouldn’t it be good to learn about what’s happening?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Jan 2010 @ 4:42 PM

  595. Re: #585 (Rod B)

    Tamino is at least more open because (and but…) he admits he’s looking at 60N degrees and above, but hasn’t much more than 30 years of data (??) – hardly useful in looking at 70-year movements, and the preponderance of the Artic, above 70N has a single grid in his analysis.

    If I only had 30 years data, how is it that the smoothed temperature curve for 70N-90N starts in 1900, while other grids start in 1880?

    Answer: you didn’t read the post to find information, you only wanted to find fault. Although the current trend rates were based on 30 years data, the long-term temperature curves included all the available data from every station in the GISS analysis north of 60N latitude. The single grid for 70N-90N includes 17 station records, and shows conclusively that your claim “The Arctic isn’t warmer than it was 70 or so years ago” only applies to bizzarro world.

    It’s also clear that when you made that claim, you had nothing to back it up — you were just regurgitating.

    Comment by tamino — 7 Jan 2010 @ 4:46 PM

  596. Rod @555: ‘cept it was you that said it does prove that CO2 increases do cause warming.

    Nope, not what I wrote, Rod. I didn’t need to since we know from multiple independent lines of evidence that that increasing CO2 causes warming, whether it is as an amplifying feed back to an initial forcing, or as an initial forcing itself when it is increased independent of some other forcing. You’ve been here long enough to know that, at least.

    What I wrote @413 was: “Earth’s paleohistory shows that the chance of a doubling of CO2 producing a 0-2K increase in temperature is not just slim, but zero.”

    I’ll admit that I did overstep by saying there is “zero” chance it could be under 2 (I’ll stand by “zero” for 0-1K, though), but it is almost certainly somewhere between 2 and 3C, amplifying feedbacks included.

    And by “canard” I mean the denialist meme that the lag in the ice core proves CO2 does not cause warming, and you darn well know it so don’t play dumb.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 7 Jan 2010 @ 4:49 PM

  597. RodB said:”Tamino is at least more open because (and but…) he admits he’s looking at 60N degrees and above, but hasn’t much more than 30 years of data (??) – hardly useful in looking at 70-year movements, and the preponderance of the Artic, above 70N has a single grid in his analysis. At least tamino is rigorous and for all I know might be correct. But to claim any of this as irrefutable truth re the Arctic temperatures of the past 70 years shows way too much self-confidence.”

    From Tamino’s post which you link, the single grid for latitude 70-90 took ALL stations with “At least 30 years of data and at least some data since the year 2000″ to answer a question about recent warming. However, there were stations that went back to 1900, which he plotted “For those who want more than just the last 30 years”. Evidently also plotted for those who refuse to look, yet are willing to impute too much self-confidence to OTHERS. Perhaps RodB should get the plank out his eye before trying to remove any imagined motes from tamino’s eye.

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 7 Jan 2010 @ 5:02 PM

  598. Rod: Why do you debunk (appropriately) the use of individual weather activities that refute global warming by using individual weather activities that seemingly support global warming?

    Hmm, I don’t think I understand. The graph is all about showing how the ratio of record highs to record lows has been increasing since the 1950s. These are aggregate statistics, so I’m not sure how “individual weather activities” fit into the picture.

    The data show that the likelihood of record-breaking highs is increasing, while the likelihood of record-breaking lows is decreasing, which shows clearly that the climate has changed since the 1950s.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 7 Jan 2010 @ 5:31 PM

  599. >>>>#592 Hank etc.

    It could be that Californians will voluntarily limit their energy use. It could even happen elsewhere. Historically however the effect of increased efficiency has resulted in lower price per use and increase usage. In aggregate and per capita. Usuage numbers vary with price, but not with efficiency – historically in aggregate.

    Barring green taxes – again a price adjustment, I wouldn’t count on this to change suddenly. Certainly not in any significant amount as regards AGW, and most certainly not in poorer areas.

    Airline fuel cost, ticket price and travel correlations are among the most obvious illustrations of this effect. It’s been observed in economics for some time with coal and is known as Jevon’s Paradox:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox

    Comment by J — 7 Jan 2010 @ 5:31 PM

  600. Septic Matthew (590):
    “The issue of “synchronicity” that he mentions is obviously important, but so is the comment that most grid boxes show no significant 20th century warming.”

    80% of noncoincidental small warming changes (local records, very hard to detect given weather noise) + 20% of medium to large warming changes (easier to detect) = warming (easy to detect on a global basis).

    Nothing in that e-mail even remotely suggests that Jones thinks the instrumentation record shows no significant global warming. Quite the contrary, he was expressing his doubt in another paper and their inability to make any conclusions about global temps during the Little-Ice-Age and Medeival Warming Period (with their various regional temperature fluctuations). He knows that without a full record of global temperature records (instrumental or other) it’s nearly impossible to say anything about a global temperature change.

    Comment by Ken W — 7 Jan 2010 @ 5:37 PM

  601. This is in response to the claim that improving efficiency does not reduce demand. To the contrary, CAFE standards enacted in the mid 1970′s more than doubled the average fuel economy of the US automobile fleet by 1985. US oil consumption dropped significantly after 1980 (when highly efficient models were produced in large quantities) and remained below 1979 levels until 1997. Oil prices were quite low after 1983 and the economy boomed. Mandates for improved efficiency worked.

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/ipsr/t46.xls

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 7 Jan 2010 @ 5:42 PM

  602. J: I don’t think you have a good enough handle on the counterfactual. We have economic growth, and therefore increased energy usage, resulting from a number of factors. One of the factors leading to growth is increased efficiency. But there are other factors leading to growth: showing that we have had simultaneously increased efficiency and increased energy usage does not prove that increased efficiency causes increased energy usage.

    Where energy is a limiting factor in life, I might grant you that increasing efficiency would not reduce energy usage (and in some edge cases even increase energy use). But I don’t think we’ve seen that historically: our consumption of energy as a fraction of GDP has dropped precipitously over time, implying that savings from increased efficiency in energy use has actually been applied to all kinds of non-energy goods.

    California is a good example: increased fridge efficiency lead to larger fridges for a while, but eventually the fridge was large enough – other, non-energy costs (space, for example) outweighed the fact that fridges had become very cheap to run. Energy use/capita and happiness also shows a plateau where increased energy use does not actually lead to increases in most indicators of well-being after a certain point. etc. etc.

    Comment by Marcus — 7 Jan 2010 @ 5:44 PM

  603. >>#581: “In a world with a stable population size..”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but barring forced population control, I believe the only place population growth willingly declines is in developed nations.

    And I do understand your concept of being personally “fully developed”. I’d have to assume you had only produced replacement children of course.

    I can imagine a developed earth comprised of “fully developed” replacement only producing humans with a stable population. This is imagination only, likely for a great while if ever. Your imagination may vary.

    I think to get there is as much a religious (in the broadest sense of the word) task as well as a technological one, which is off topic. If we deal as we must with the world we are given, Bottom line: I think it obvious that putting one’s hope on increased energy efficiency to significantly affect CO2 output, worldwide, within the time scale of the medium-alarmist AGW predictions is a fools errand.

    Comment by J — 7 Jan 2010 @ 5:44 PM

  604. RE:582

    I’m still not convinced that more energy efficient homes and especially more energy efficient office buildings
    don’t lower total energy use. One could be using the money for a toaster consuming more energy. Or one could
    buy a better car, a solar water heater, more land to put a conservation easement on, a charitable gift or any of a plethora
    of things to spend money on.

    What’s at issue here is disposable income, not whether efficiency works or not. It works fine if one’s not just one of the army of lemmings using overconsumption to display an illusion of superiority.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 7 Jan 2010 @ 5:45 PM

  605. @598
    Has there been a similar global comparison of highs and lows performed? I would hate to use that one since I keep telling the skeptics and deniers its about global temps and not just a nation or region.

    Comment by wildlifer — 7 Jan 2010 @ 5:45 PM

  606. J says: 7 January 2010 at 5:31 PM
    >>>>#592 Hank etc. It could be…

    If you actually read any of the history, you’ll learn that it’s not a hypothetical. It’s happened each time there was a public need, and each time surprised the traditional economists.

    Turns out people aren’t innately selfish — or a good many aren’t — and that people actually do get organized for their common good and mutual benefit.

    Some would call it soc ia lism. Others call it civilization.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Jan 2010 @ 5:58 PM

  607. Re 549: Thanks Hank. I’d scanned a paper of theirs and found it a little hard to discern what they were saying about trends. I think the page you linked to says “We’re working on it” ?

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 7 Jan 2010 @ 6:10 PM

  608. 49 Mike, thanks for the editorial. I don’t think the editor did the piece any good. The “Most egregious lie” section should have been called “Most egregious quote”. And what’s wrong with number 7, Patrick Michaels “lie”, “It has been known since 1872 that as we emit more and more carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, each increment results in less and less warming.”, which was responded to with, “(He apparently forgot about feedback loops.)”

    Michaels was right. Feedback loops don’t matter as long as they’re not runaway. Unfortunately, the magnitude of the warming doesn’t decrease fast enough to help us much.

    Comment by RichardC — 7 Jan 2010 @ 6:33 PM

  609. #593 Doug Bostrom
    “Scientists projected the 2003-2007 decline in Arctic Ice as predicting an Arctic ice-free summer by 2015…”
    Which ones? Any publications on that?

    Predictions of ice-free Arctic by 2015 are easy to find in the media. Here are a couple that actually point to their scientific origins.

    http://www.space.dtu.dk/English/News/News/Arkiv/Nuuk_koncerence_summery.aspx

    http://arcticfocus.com/2008/12/08/arctic-summers-to-be-ice-free-by-2015/

    “Scientists used Katrina …”

    Which ones? Any publications on that?

    Katrina imagery figured heavily in An Inconvenient Truth. From Wikipedia: “Gore cited Kerry Emanuel’s 2005 report in Nature on hurricane intensity increasing with the increase of global mean temperatures.”
    Note that Emanuel has modified his views.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerry_Emanuel#cite_note-2

    Comment by Don Shor — 7 Jan 2010 @ 6:33 PM

  610. J wrote: ” … Since China and India are definitely not going to be onboard … And adamant in their refusal to decrease their output of CO2.”

    With all due respect you are shockingly uninformed, to the point where it is a fair characterization to say that you really don’t know what you are talking about. Your statements about China and India are simply, flatly, false, which you would know if you bothered to find out what those governments’ policies actually are, rather than what your ideology tells you they must be.

    J wrote: “Regardless, taxes and subsidies are artificial and along with the required centralized forced economies, they tend to have bad, often very bad, consequences. The home run, IMHO, is non-carbon based energy sources – that work and are close to the price of exploration and development of carbon-based ones. We only have one now, nuclear.”

    With all due respect, that is just more ideologically-driven, ill-informed blather.

    You say we have “only one” non-carbon based energy source — nuclear. Then please explain how it is that solar and wind are the fastest and second-fastest growing new sources of energy in the world, growing at record-breaking double-digit rates year after year, while nuclear power is barely maintaining its share of electricity generation? Why is it that vast amounts of private venture capital are pouring into wind and solar and efficiency and smart-grid technologies, while the nuclear industry is begging for a massive big-government bailout because private investors won’t touch it?

    The “artificial” subsidies to nuclear power and fossil fuels dwarf those that have been extended to wind and solar.

    And as for solutions that “require centralized forced economies”, nuclear power is the poster child for that. Nuclear power has always and everywhere been a state-supported or state-run industry. Nowhere in the world has nuclear power ever succeeded economically on its own two feet. And the extremely dangerous nature of the nuclear fuel cycle absolutely requires a high-degree of “centralized forced” government control.

    Where new nuclear power plants have been proposed in the USA recently, the industry has demanded that the taxpayers and the ratepayers put up all the money up front, and absorb all the costs and all the risks, including the risk of financial losses if the plants prove unprofitable when ultimately built. In some cases utility rate payers will be forced to pay increased electric bills to subsidize the new nukes before they have even been approved for construction! And this is the technology that your “libertarian” sensibilities prefer? Rather than solar technologies which allow small businesses, factories, farms, and households to generate their own electricity from free sunlight? Rather than giving tax cuts to individuals and businesses who install solar and wind energy systems? Give me a break.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 7 Jan 2010 @ 6:39 PM

  611. #602 Marcus: “increased fridge efficiency lead to larger fridges for a while, but eventually the fridge was large enough – other, non-energy costs (space, for example) outweighed the fact that fridges had become very cheap to run.”
    and #601 Jiminmpls: “…CAFE standards enacted in the mid 1970’s more than doubled the average fuel economy of the US automobile fleet by 1985…”

    More important from a policy standpoint, most of the increase in energy efficiency of refrigerators and freezers was mandated, but the public bought them without any apparent qualms. “A typical new refrigerator with automatic defrost and a top-mounted freezer uses about half the energy used by a typical 1990 refrigerator.”(http://www.aceee.org/Consumerguide/refrigeration.htm).
    When my grandfather went to buy a new Chrysler in the 1970′s, he was surprised to find his favorite model a foot shorter and with improved mpg. That wasn’t a factor in his decision to buy it, and he certainly didn’t drive more because of it.
    It seems that CAFE standards have more direct and long-lasting impact on fuel economy than do prices. Wikipedia has a good overview:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_Average_Fuel_Economy

    Comment by Don Shor — 7 Jan 2010 @ 6:45 PM

  612. J says 7 January 2010 at 5:44 PM:

    Regarding a stable population, we’ll get there, all right. The exact nature of that stability may take a very ugly form, where it is “stable” only when viewed as a smoothed signal, with unbounded forces causing it to dither in a very unappealing way over shorter periods. Or, if developed nations are any example, we may hope for something more better and be encouraged because it seems possible to produce the desired result without too much needless suffering.

    I don’t buy into magical thinking that affords a notion of ever-growing population, any more than I believe that any resource is infinite in scope. We’re likely not going to the stars, we’ve got one planet remotely suitable for colonization, most of us don’t want to live underground and in any case only a fraction of the interior of the Earth could be used for habitation.

    So our population will reach a limit. We’ll want to pay attention to the manner and style of that limit. Improvements in efficiency of resource utilization will be a key part of any serious effort to optimize our way around our proclivity for procreation.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Jan 2010 @ 6:47 PM

  613. Don Shor says: 7 January 2010 at 6:33 PM

    Thank you, you make my point: no scientific publications.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Jan 2010 @ 6:48 PM

  614. > http://seaice.apl.washington.edu/ARCSS-SAT/

    Yep, sounds like they’re working on it. Dr. Bitz did a guest topic here some years back, I hope we’ll see more from her.

    > efficiency

    Like, replacing all the big utility transformers with the most energy-efficient models, for example. No way that’s going to increase use, unless you think the utilities will blow the money they save on snowmobiles and vodka or something.

    But California and other states had to sue Bush’s Dep’t of Energy for mandating not the most efficient but the cheapest available replacement transformers– this for hardware that can stay in service for decades where huge longterm savings far exceeded the shortterm price difference.

    Let’s see, it’s been a few years, is there news on that?

    http://www.google.com/search?q=bush+DOE+California+energy+transformer+lawsuit

    Yeah!

    “… Distribution Transformers Get Energy Boost from U.S. DOE

    Agency will review current standard and propose stronger ones by 2011

    August 10, 2009

    Electricity Distribution Transformer
    Electricity distribution transformers can be made much more efficient.
    Photo: F. Fish

    San Francisco, CA — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Friday set in motion a U.S. Department of Energy agreement to review the existing energy efficiency standards for electricity distribution transformers, the gray boxes mounted on utility poles, and propose changes to maximize future savings three years earlier than otherwise required. The agreement, which is part of a lawsuit settlement reached with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Earthjustice and several states, is expected to speed up efforts to increase the efficiency and the cost-saving potential of energy transmission in the United States….”

    http://www.earthjustice.org/news/press/2009/distribution-transformers-get-energy-boost-from-u-s-doe.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Jan 2010 @ 7:18 PM

  615. 592, Doug Bostrom. Here is the arctic ice cover record:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/sea.ice.anomaly.timeseries.jpg

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 7 Jan 2010 @ 7:24 PM

  616. Uh, oh:

    Breecker, D., Sharp, Z., & McFadden, L. (2009). Atmospheric CO2 concentrations during ancient greenhouse climates were similar to those predicted for A.D. 2100 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0902323106

    Hat tip to:

    http://scienceblogs.com/islandofdoubt/2010/01/is_the_earth_even_more_sensiti.php

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Jan 2010 @ 7:24 PM

  617. for the fun of it, here is a graph of sunspot number and earth temperature. It only goes up to 1980. If there is a message here (and the solar theories do have some lacunae and shortcomings of their own), then the current low solar activity is a worrisome sign for the future.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 7 Jan 2010 @ 7:32 PM

  618. Don Shor: There’s a reason for US CAFE standards having a bigger impact than prices do: time. People are willing to spend a more or less fixed amount of time each day commuting. The amount of time required to travel to work is largely unaffected by the fuel efficiency of the vehicle they use. Because housing in outlying areas is cheaper than housing near jobs, few Americans’ commutes are cost-constrained. As a result, there are very few Americans who move, change jobs, or quit working entirely in response to modest fuel price increases.

    Comment by silence — 7 Jan 2010 @ 7:37 PM

  619. We need not just to cut back on fossil fuels ourselves, but to put heavy carbon tariffs on any country that doesn’t–and get our allies to do the same.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Jan 2010 @ 7:54 PM

  620. WM,

    Try here: http://bartonpaullevenson.com/30Years.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Jan 2010 @ 7:58 PM

  621. >>>#610 SecularAnimist: “please explain how it is that solar and wind are the fastest and second-fastest growing new sources..”

    I just have a minute, but the point is these can’t “work” in the sense of completely replacing the carbon-fueled electric power stations. Only nuclear technology, currently, can do this. Solar and wind provide power, but they are not technologically feasible to replace the energy sources for the nations power grids.

    As to second and third fastest growing, more small percentage of power demand to them, but you have to plan and begin major power generation decades in advance, and that means using what is possible today. The only technology that fits that requirement is nuclear.

    Comment by J — 7 Jan 2010 @ 8:03 PM

  622. J — birth rates have been lowered very successfully in third world countries. This was done by using voluntary programs that enlisted the women. In Bangladesh, for example, the typical number of births per woman fell from 7 to 3. Making birth control cheap or free and pushing it locally, and to both sexes, works, and works very well. From 2001-2008, however, the US cut off most of its support from the organizations doing this, since many of them at least mentioned abortions. Just saying the word to a client could get your funding cut under Bush.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Jan 2010 @ 8:14 PM

  623. >>>#604 Tim Jones: “What’s at issue here is disposable income, not whether efficiency works or not. It works fine if one’s not just one of the army of lemmings using overconsumption to display an illusion of superiority.”

    Few people, proportionately, have enough wealth for conspicuous consumption. While some on this thread are fortunate enough to have all they need or wish, most people have fairly normal human wants and very normal human needs that they’ve not yet accomplished. They want a better house (or just a house), another room added to have room for a child, another car for the wife to drive to work, a vacation this year, or they want to move to a larger office, hire another worker, grow their business, etc. etc.

    For most of the world’s inhabitants the great majority many of these material needs and wants require power/energy. When an efficiency is gained in one energy-use, it is rapidly and gratefully applied to another – or more of the same one.

    Comment by J — 7 Jan 2010 @ 8:16 PM

  624. Predictions of ice-free Arctic by 2015 are easy to find in the media.

    Here’s what the scientists are actually saying:

    Arctic could go ice-free within decades: Study

    Once the ice at the end of summer drops to 4.6 million square kilometres — it hit 4.3 million square kilometres in 2007 and 4.7 million in 2008 — all six models show rapid sea-ice declines, the researchers report. Averaged together, the models point to a nearly ice-free Arctic in 32 years, with some of the models suggesting it could be happen in just 11 years [ note that puts the early side of the prediction at 2020, not 2015].

    “The effect of the missing ice, it will be felt all over the globe,” according to David Barber at the University of Manitoba, who last fall said the Arctic appears to be on a trajectory towards an ice-free summer between 2013 and 2030.

    In other words, they aren’t predicting that the pole will be ice-free “by 2015 (more or less)”, they are predicting that the pole will be ice free as early as 2013 – you’ve picked their lower limit and decided it was their most likely point.

    And of course, we are on a pretty obvious path to having an ice free arctic sometime within the next few decades.

    Comment by Jinchi — 7 Jan 2010 @ 8:20 PM

  625. J, I agree that increased energy isn’t a silver bullet. However, increased efficiency along with cap & trade or carbon taxation to make the price of fuel reflect its true cost is simply a way of ensuring market efficiency. The cheapest energy source is the energy you don’t use. It ought to be one thing everyone can agree on… well, except maybe Exx-Mob.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Jan 2010 @ 8:24 PM

  626. J says: 7 January 2010 at 8:03 PM

    “The only technology that fits that requirement is (fill in blank)”

    Monomaniacs are monotonous.

    For instance, there are lots of places in the world where a grid would be handy or is even in place already but a reactor would not be a good idea. It’s sort of axiomatic that reactors need a particular environment in which to thrive, one with demonstrated societal stability likely to last for the lifetime of a reactor, where there’s an educated workforce, where there’s a place to dump rejected heat. That short, reasonable list of requirements eliminates reactors as a viable alternative for many localities. Fortunately there are other choices.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Jan 2010 @ 8:28 PM

  627. Septic Matthew says: 7 January 2010 at 7:24 PM

    Oh, the old superficial gobstopper, visually impressive at first glance but reliable as a rotted ice bridge as a support for an argument. I’ve only been interested in the climate discussion for a couple of years but I’ve seen it paraded by at least 1/2 dozen times.

    Did you notice the thick line running down the middle of the Y axis? That’s the droid you’re looking for, not the squiggly one.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Jan 2010 @ 8:33 PM

  628. Septic says “Scientists used Katrina as the harbinger of things to come…”

    Cite???

    “…and predicted even worse for subsequent years,…”

    Cite???

    “…but actual hurricane activity has declined,…”

    Remember when I told you to learn the difference between climate and weather? YER DOIN’ IT WRONG!!!

    “…and there has never been evidence of a century-long trend toward greater energy release in tropical storms.”

    Huh? We haven’t even been keeping stats on hurricanes for a century. Oh, and Matthew, folks in the Philipines or Baja or China or Darwin or even Brazil might disagree that huricane activity has decreased. OK, we’ve got climate, meteorology, geography… Anything else you are clueless on?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Jan 2010 @ 8:38 PM

  629. J, see the cover story in the November 2009 Scientific American (and a companion interactive web feature that is free). It describes how to supply all power with wind, water, solar, and geothermal by 2030. Without nuclear. With a resulting electric cost less than that from other sources.

    Comment by Tom Dayton — 7 Jan 2010 @ 8:39 PM

  630. Here’s information on the hurricane energies of the last 30 years.

    624, Doug Bostrom: Oh, the old superficial gobstopper, visually impressive at first glance but reliable as a rotted ice bridge as a support for an argument.

    The solar theorists produce lots of graphs like that, each with a different summary statistic for solar activity. On the whole, I respect the solar theory more than I did 10 years ago. I think that they have too much to ignore and not enough to convince.

    “Down the middle of the Y axis?” That would be a thick line in the middle of a thin line. I think you must mean something else.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 7 Jan 2010 @ 8:43 PM

  631. http://www.sec.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/f10.gif
    http://www.sec.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/sunspot.gif
    http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/LATEST/current_c2.mpg

    (hat tip to Kevin VE3EN, solarcycle24.com)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Jan 2010 @ 9:18 PM

  632. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2008.06.003
    “A need of very long time-series for obtaining robust results becomes obvious. Here at least 50 years of data were used.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Jan 2010 @ 9:41 PM

  633. 624 Jinchi says:
    Predictions of ice-free Arctic by 2015 are easy to find in the media.
    Here’s what the scientists are actually saying:
    Arctic could go ice-free within decades: Study… Averaged together, the models point to a nearly ice-free Arctic in 32 years, with some of the models suggesting it could be happen in just 11 years

    I don’t know the date of your quote. Here is a direct quote from the article I linked, dated 12/8/08:
    http://arcticfocus.com/2008/12/08/arctic-summers-to-be-ice-free-by-2015/
    “David Barber, a University of Manitoba geoscientist, claims that the Arctic will see its first ice free summer in 2015, due to global warming. Mr. Barber was in charge of almost 300 scientists from 15 different countries who were all taking part in the Circumpolar Flaw Lead System Study. The CFL was a $40 million dollar Arctic research project that saw the scientist studying the Arctic for a nine month period, based out of the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker, the Amundsen. Mr. Barber has previously claimed that the Arctic basin would see its first ice free summer between 2013 and 2030, but due to his recent findings he is now able to narrow it down even further, stating it will most likely be in 6 years.

    Doug Bostrom is absolutely right that these are not scientific publications. It is a quote in the media from a climate scientist. Oftentimes we are dealing with exaggerations in the media, misquotes, etc., on all sides of the climate change issue.

    Similarly, with the issue of increased hurricane intensity most of the media hype originated (I think) from Vice President Gore’s emphasis on Katrina in his movie. But it was based on scientific publications. Subsequent publications seem to have modified the conclusion that hurricane frequency and intensity will increase. But in support of Gore’s position, a recent publication from NOAA concludes “It is likely that greenhouse warming will cause hurricanes in the coming century to be more intense on average and have higher rainfall rates than present-day hurricanes.”
    http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/global-warming-and-hurricanes

    Comment by Don Shor — 7 Jan 2010 @ 9:50 PM

  634. Septic Matthew says: 7 January 2010 at 8:43 PM

    “Down the middle of the Y axis?” That would be a thick line in the middle of a thin line. I think you must mean something else.”

    Let me put it another way and see if it works for you.

    The ice signal starts at the left of the graph and can be seen generally floating above a line that has been superimposed midway up the y-axis and is parallel to the x-axis. The ice signal gradually descends in a herky-jerky fashion and eventually ends up at the far right (today) significantly below the line that is superimposed midway up the y-axis and is parallel to the x-axis.

    The line superimposed halfway up the y-axis and parallel to the x-axis is called the “mean” and represents the central value of the overall ice signal. The relationship of the ice signal to this “mean” as we see it evolve over time tells us that the ice has been diminishing over time.

    More, by scrutinizing the graph you so kindly provided, we can see that a prediction of improving health of the ice sheet based on the past two years of data is drastically premature. The hypothetical “reasonable man” would probably conclude there’s no reason to expect a sudden reversal of the signal.

    I’m not really good at this sort of thing so apologies if its still not clear.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Jan 2010 @ 10:11 PM

  635. Don Shor says:7 January 2010 at 9:50 PM

    Probably also helps with clarification to note that Kerry Emmanuel did not mention Katrina in his published work.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Jan 2010 @ 10:17 PM

  636. You know Tom Fuller (SF Examiner) has a great idea. He thinks it would be a good thing if you had outsiders come in and inspect the climate science work that you guys are doing. He has been pushing the idea for a few posts, and in his comments to this post:
    http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner~y2010m1d6-The-global-warming-smell-test

    I thought I would pitch in and help get this going, so I suggested this:
    (I wanted to give the GISS guys a heads up before the inspection team arrives.)

    Tom Fuller:
    Is this the kind of science inspection you envision?

    Dr. Hansen:
    Goddard Institute of Space Studies

    Under the new Inhoff Science Inspection Act, our inspection team will be conducting the GISS inspection to ensure that your scientists have not made any errors or mistakes.

    In our first inspection round, we will particularly focus on auditing your statistical analyses to identify calculation errors. This inspection will be led by our Climate Science Auditor, Steve McIntyre. Mr. McIntryre is here on guest worker visa, so the information gathering phase of his audit should take less than six months. Based on previous inspection work on the Hockey Stick, we anticipate that multiple followup inspections will be needed over the next ten years, until his discretionary final audit report is published in 2020. Please communicate to your staff, that additional statistical analyses should not be attempted, until Mr. Mcintyre and his team of internet bloggers have finished correcting the mistakes in the existing calculations.

    Our lead climate theorist, The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley will be reviewing the purely theoretical equations used for calculating radiative forcing. The Viscount will also be interviewing each of your staff to ensure they understand the basic theories of climate science. He will conduct mandatory lectures each day from 9 AM to 9 PM Greenwich Mean Time, and to ensure that your staff doesn’t err in calculating the time zone differential, he will conduct these lectures in Greenwich, England. Until these interviews are concluded, please desist from using any equations being reviewed by Viscount Monckton. In particular, under no circumstances are computers to be used to conduct any calculations for any model runs. Henceforth, and until further notice, all model run calculations will be checked using an abacus, to prevent computer malfunctions from causing mistakes. In addition, all input data, will be adjusted to ensure that results don’t differ from Viscount Monckton’s expected results.

    Our Lead Inspector of your temperature measurement systems will be Mr. Anthony Watts. Mr. Watts will begin his inspection with a slide show of every land based temperature measurement site in the world, with a oral commentary of the siting and installation mistakes of each station. Mr. Watts requests that your staff prepare the photos for this slide show, and present a comparison of the temperature measurements at each station, with data from the nearest measurement stations. Mr. Watts also wants measurement data from every urban heat source in the world, and expects your staff to compare this data to special important data that Mr. Watts will personally select from the temperature measurements.

    Our second science inspection team will be arriving immediately after the departure of the first wave team. We are fortunate to have energy industry experts on the second team, who are currently preparing their list of inspection demands. The team will be accompanied by the father and son Pielke team who will make up analyses on the spot, publish their impressions and conjectures, and then demand your staff provide analysis supporting their conclusions.

    The third inspection team will be led by one of the self-declared brilliant people on the planet, Mr. Glenn Beck. He is assembling a particularly august group of similar climate experts such as Mr. Limbaugh, Mr. Hannity and Dr. Plimer. Mr. Beck will be supported by a million Tea Party workers who will be happy to come in personally and help your team get the science done right (and we mean done RIGHT, and not left).

    The entire inspection process will be monitored and reported by our Super Examiner Thomas Fuller, who has a spotless record when it comes to mis-reporting mistakes in climate science uncovered by the experts on our inspection team.

    Love and Kisses,
    Mr. Marc Morano
    Climate Science Inspection Team Leader

    So what do you think guys? A few more inspections can’t hurt if we want better quality science and help scientists advance our understanding? This is a good thing, right?

    Comment by Paul Klemencic — 7 Jan 2010 @ 10:52 PM

  637. To the deafening silence on whether the 30-year climate standard (or 15 if we’re talking temperature only) has any particular physical basis to its definitive status:

    Nobody needs to answer the question just because I’m curious, but somebody might want to counter the obvious [perhaps cynical] reaction to there being no such definitive standard, that being: “how convenient that climate has meaning only in a 15- or 30-year time frame given the flat temperatures over the last decade.” I note with great interest that decades count big-time in phrases such as “the hottest decade in recorded history” and not so much in those such as “negligible temperature change in the last decade.” I would hope that folks on either side of the debate (or non-debate, whatever you want to call the disagreement) would agree or at least hope that some day there will be an explanation for why there was no global rise in recent years, and that the explanation will be of a piece with the theory/model that predicted no such flat period at first but was eventually reconciled using a new understanding of some variable, sensitivity or feedback sign not in the earlier model. Until that time, the current view that it must and only be anthro-CO2 growth because models don’t work otherwise, and we have no better explanation, seems a bit shaky. Do we have a decade of inflection on our hands or a decadal maximum? We’ll see, or at least you young people will!

    Comment by Walter Manny — 7 Jan 2010 @ 11:03 PM

  638. Well, they keep changing even my favourite site for monitoring the arctic sea ice anomaly (link at #615). The reference used to be 1979 – 2000, now it is computed over 1979 – 2008. Better of course, as it now conforms to the usual 30 year climate standard. But it also includes a clear trend over the reference period.

    The main interest of this graph is elsewhere, however. It displays rather explicitly that a tipping-point may have been passed in 2007. A distinctive summer anomaly has appeared, a pattern quite different from anything seen earlier.

    Too short a data set to be sure, but here is a logic to it. A declining long term trend (extent and thickness) leads to a situation where a spurious impulse (wind pattern in 2007) triggers a permanent step change in the process. Typical system behaviour.

    An interesting development is also reported by the NYT. Some restricted data produced by the reconnaissance satellites is to become available for scientific research, particularly from the Arctic.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/05/science/earth/05satellite.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

    Some U.S. Navy scientists have earlier mentioned very early dates for an ice-free Arctic ocean. They may (or may not) have had access to such restricted data already.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 7 Jan 2010 @ 11:40 PM

  639. >>>>#625 RaY: “However, increased efficiency along with cap & trade or carbon taxation to make the price of fuel reflect its true cost is simply a way of ensuring market efficiency. The cheapest energy source is the energy you don’t use. It ought to be one thing everyone can agree on”

    You’re on the right track, not on increased efficiency, but increasing price to affect use; however, ‘true cost” and “everyone can agree on” is, in reality, not there.

    I’m sorry, it’s just not the same for an, as one poster put it a “fully developed” American and a freezing my ass off poor Siberian, or whatever.

    We cannot assume the whole world, or even the US, is in energy satiation. So the true cost, or conversely, the true value is not something everyone can agree upon.

    Long term we can dream of utopia. However, if you assume the mid worse case predictions of AGW, “consensus” is elusive; what works for the upper middle class in Oregon sucks for the poor in Texas, and sucks even more for the poor of Brazil.

    Comment by J — 8 Jan 2010 @ 1:18 AM

  640. >>>#629 Tom Dayton: “It describes how to supply all power with wind, water, solar, and geothermal by 2030. Without nuclear. With a resulting electric cost less than that from other sources.”

    I eagerly await its implementation.

    Comment by J — 8 Jan 2010 @ 1:24 AM

  641. #552 Rod B

    I understand your angle here Rod, but in the 80′s and 90′s I spent a lot of time hanging out with scientific types. I don’t know any good scientist that would have a problem altering their perspective in the face of evidence.

    In other words, your proposition as far as I can tell is in our mind. There may be some scientists that would fit your description so you may not be entirely wrong. However, I would not consider them good scientists. Maybe some examples might be those like Lindzen, or Svensmark and the like. Scientists that are stuck in confirmation bias for whatever reasons, be it some form of compensation of a lack of scientific integrity or just plain naivete or ignorance.

    I’m just saying I don’t know any scientists that have that sort of integrity problem.

    #555 Rod B

    Rod, for the umpteenth time… CONTEXT IS KEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 8 Jan 2010 @ 1:55 AM

  642. Forgive me if this has been raised before, but I am interested in any comments on Pielke Snr take on forcings. He compares the mean forcing calculated from ocean heat content at 0.85 W/m2 with the IPCC mean GHG forcing of 1.6 W/m2. Pielke’s take on this is that the feedbacks are over-estimated. Note that I also am aware of the spread of values in those numbers, but from on average he seems to have a point.

    [Response: Not sure how this follows. The feedbacks control the temperature response to forcings. But whatever the magnitude of the initial forcings, you expect the imbalance to be less (since there has been some reaction in temperatures). The magnitude of the imbalance is related to the thermal interia in the system (the time need to warm the ocean). But you can't estimate the feedbacks without thinking about the temperature changes. But maybe I've missed the point... do you have a link? - gavin]

    Comment by Terry — 8 Jan 2010 @ 2:54 AM

  643. Walter, the deafening silenc arises because you’ve had the question answered before–many, many, many, many times. I would think that you would be as tired of writing it as we are of answering it.

    The one difference was Gavin’s introduction–I think that Gavin was saying you only need 15 years of data to reliably determine CO2 trends–as in concentration, not temperature. It’s 30 years to determine the trend, as is shown quite clearly in Tamino’s “How Long” post. Please, Please, go read it.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Jan 2010 @ 5:13 AM

  644. 637: http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F1520-0477%281989%29070%3C0602%3ASDOC%3E2.0.CO%3B2

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 8 Jan 2010 @ 6:03 AM

  645. WM: To the deafening silence on whether the 30-year climate standard (or 15 if we’re talking temperature only) has any particular physical basis to its definitive status:

    BPL: Here it is for you the second time. Read it this time!

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/30Years.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Jan 2010 @ 6:50 AM

  646. JPR: “#555 Rod B

    Rod, for the umpteenth time… CONTEXT IS KEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Rod B’s context is “Government is always wrong” and everything has to be seen in that context.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Jan 2010 @ 7:10 AM

  647. Manny: “To the deafening silence on whether the 30-year climate standard (or 15 if we’re talking temperature only) has any particular physical basis to its definitive status:”

    If you’re sticking your fingers in your ears, then of COURSE you’ll hear nothing.

    That pony has been ridden to death.

    Go look it up.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Jan 2010 @ 7:13 AM

  648. J says “I just have a minute, but the point is these can’t “work” in the sense of completely replacing the carbon-fueled electric power stations.”

    Why?

    “Solar and wind provide power, but they are not technologically feasible to replace the energy sources for the nations power grids.”

    Are the electrons the wrong shape?

    “but you have to plan and begin major power generation decades in advance, and that means using what is possible today.”

    How long does it take to build a nuclear reactor?

    And if you build lots, how long does it take to up the reprocessing capacity?

    These are hardly doable “today”.

    This would take DECADES.

    How many renewable sites could be built in that time?

    Lots and lots.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Jan 2010 @ 7:21 AM

  649. Don “Predictions of ice-free Arctic by 2015 are easy to find in the media.”

    How easy are they to find in the science papers?

    PS note it’s easy to find reports of Jesus Christ appearing in someone’s butter dish in the media.

    Doesn’t make it authoritative.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Jan 2010 @ 7:28 AM

  650. What’s your take on this? How likely is it that it is just random fluctuation and how likely that it is a portent of the future?

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/1/6/822520/-Freak-Current-Takes-Gulf-Stream-to-Greenland1

    Comment by Mikko — 8 Jan 2010 @ 8:02 AM

  651. My feeling on what I’ve read on the science and the Gulf Stream is that you can find pretty much any answer you want as to whether a change is due to it changing permanently, just “one of those things”, or nearly any other answer you want to find.

    It’s here where “science is settled” is wrong, the problem with those who parrot that statement (to knock it down) is that they think that they are the only ones saying the science is not settled and they think where it is not settled is in the places where we, oddly enough, have greatest confidence.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Jan 2010 @ 8:52 AM

  652. Realclimate is under a zombie attack. Every day, I see the same thrice-killed zombie arguments being trotted out in search of “brains…brains”. And then the regulars all say, “Oh Jeebus, not this again,” and trot out the same explanation of why the argument is wrong and the zombie dies yet again–usually with much blood and spillage of brains. And the denialist/ignoramus/contrarian slumps off to CA or WUWT or some other dark dungeon and complains about what meanies all the scientists are.

    Well, folks, let’s make a deal. Everybody trot on over to Skeptical Science and read about all the zombies that have been killed already. And when somebody unearths a zombie and reanimates it, we can just quote the number and give them a link.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

    This resource isn’t perfect, but hopefully we can ask John Cook to add entries as we slay new zombies. For instance, maybe John could link to the AMS paper John Pearson linked to and Tamino’s “How Long” post as justification for the definition of 30 years being climate. Zombie #83

    Contrarian-types, please save us all a lot of trouble, and read up so you’ll know if you are posting a zombie argument. If you have legitimate questions about the answer, fine, but don’t reanimate zombies if you don’t want to be abused.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Jan 2010 @ 9:15 AM

  653. J: have a butchers over at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8443865.stm

    “According to the British Wind Energy Association, the UK has potentially the largest offshore wind resource in the world, with relatively shallow waters and a strong wind resource extending far into the North Sea.”

    “The UK has been estimated to have more than 33% of the total European potential offshore wind resource, which is enough to power the country nearly three times over.”

    “According to figures released by the winning licence bidders, the smallest will be able to produce around 600 megawatts and one, based at the Dogger Bank zone, will have a capacity of 9,000 megawatts.”

    “To put this into context, an average coal or gas powered station produces between 1,000 and 1,500 megawat”

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Jan 2010 @ 9:25 AM

  654. Ray (#652) worse is that there then turn up the Vampire Squad saying “you’re all very rude to people who are just asking questions”.

    Rinse, lather, repeat unto the heat death of the universe…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Jan 2010 @ 9:37 AM

  655. On another topic altogether, thanks to Martin Vermeer and others on RC who provided help with my article on Nils Ekholm and his “CO2 theory” paper!

    That article is now up; you can check it out at:

    http://hubpages.com/hub/Global-warming-science-press-and-storms

    Ekholm led an interesting life generally. But the most interesting science tidbit to me was that he gave a very clear statement of the multi-layer atmosphere idea. In effect, he answered Angstrom’s saturation argument even as it was being put forth. But (AFAIK) there was no mathematical treatment, and the implications seemingly went unrecognized.

    Pale’s climate science WIki has Ekholm’s paper here:

    http://wiki.nsdl.org/index.php/PALE:ClassicArticles/GlobalWarming/Article5

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 8 Jan 2010 @ 9:55 AM

  656. Pielke Jr. and The Breakthrough Institute succeeded in removing his name from my 15 Most Heinous Climate Villains article, which appeared yesterday on Alternet. It’s not the 14 Most. Pielke, Nordhaus, and Schellenberger richly deserved to be on this list, of course. The fair and balanced act that they tout is about as persuasive as Fox News, but apparently they still believe that there are still a lot of suckers out there. In any case, censorship of an article that has already appeared- and in a consolidator at that- is a bad precedent. The original can be found at buffalobeast.com.

    Comment by mike roddy — 8 Jan 2010 @ 10:15 AM

  657. I don’t know the date of your quote.

    April 2, 2009 – Arctic could go ice-free within decades: http://www.canada.com/technology/Arctic+could+free+within+decades+Study/1457742/story.html

    Here is a direct quote from the article I linked

    That’s not a direct quote. A direct quote would’ve been the words that came from David Barber’s mouth.

    Comment by Jinchi — 8 Jan 2010 @ 10:50 AM

  658. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8437703.stm

    Bubble bubble off the coast of Siberia. Methane release from clathrates is ramping up.

    Comment by RichardC — 8 Jan 2010 @ 11:55 AM

  659. >>#653 FedUp

    From your link: “Offshore farms are weather dependent. Whereas a nuclear power station operates all the time, a wind farm only operates when the wind is blowing.”

    They also cost more and take up more space. Solar has a similar problem at night and in some climes, and imagine the land area necessary for enough panels to feed the nation’s power grids. Then there’s the peak demand problem.

    The electrons, however, are the same size.

    Comment by J — 8 Jan 2010 @ 12:19 PM

  660. From Alternet:
    > Editor’s note: The original article was a list of 15, but after
    > researching the #14th “villain” Roger Pielke Jr after complaints
    > from an affiliated organization, we concluded that he shouldn’t
    > be on the list.

    “Affiliated” — with what? Citation needed.
    Are there any “unaffiliated” organizations?

    My recommendation: make Breakthrough #1 on the next list– of organizations. The individuals won’t primarily be blamed in looking back at this era, it’s the organizations that used them that provided the force and the leverage behind the blunt human instruments.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Jan 2010 @ 12:22 PM

  661. tamino (595), Admittedly I wasn’t sure if I read the “30-year” part correctly; hence the “(??)” in my 585 post. Thanks for the correction.

    I never claimed “The Arctic isn’t warmer than it was 70 or so years ago” as you charge. I claimed the analyses in 542 and 543 do not prove that it is warmer. I’m still of that assessment, even with your correction.

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Jan 2010 @ 12:38 PM

  662. Ray, your continuing non-response and name-calling (“Zombies”? Seriously? Are we still in grade school?) speaks volumes. What in the peer-reviewed literature you love so well (as opposed to the pseudonymed literature) lays out the physical basis for the 15-year or 30-year climate standard? I know you do not wish to countenance any view of the flat decade being a, well, flat decade, and that you are loath to believe it could possibly represent a trend of any sort, but Trenberth’s lament and subsequent rationalization – we know it’s there, but we can’t find it – matters.
    You and others would have me go to:

    So to summarise, Trenberth’s email says this:
    “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”
    After reviewing the discussion in Trenberth 2009, it’s apparent that what he meant was this:
    “Global warming is still happening – our planet is still accumulating heat. But our observation systems aren’t able to comprehensively keep track of where all the energy is going. Consequently, we can’t definitively explain why surface temperatures have gone down in the last few years. That’s a travesty!”

    What in that explanation would lead you to believe there is no further explanation necessary or that “Tamino” or any other entity has offered up a good enough explanation to keep us zombies underground? I agree with you regulars that you have answered the 30-year question to your own satisfaction many times over. What you have not accomplished, of course, is to explain it well enough to those who are not so credulous. The easy thing, of course, is to make us go away by deriding intellect and lamenting a refusal to learn. That’s not exactly what I would call good teaching, but then again, the regulars at RC could hardly claim that to be their real mission here.

    Comment by Walter Manny — 8 Jan 2010 @ 12:51 PM

  663. Plenty of direct quotes from David Barber here:
    http://climateprogress.org/2009/11/08/arctic-multiyear-sea-ice-nsidc-david-barber/
    Apparently we are already ‘almost’ ice-free.

    Comment by Don Shor — 8 Jan 2010 @ 1:26 PM

  664. 32GW of offshore wind turbines projects approved for UK:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/goahead-given-to-develop-offshore-wind-farms-1861981.html

    I like the idea of the North Sea being exploited for this purpose; a giant physical metaphor as gas and oil production there declines and is replaced with something more modern.

    Add in nuclear plants for base load, pumped hydro to help with demand swings on inclement days, etc. and the UK is a decent way to meeting goals.

    Pragmatism rules today, but I wonder who’ll be the first to file lawsuits to stop these projects?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 8 Jan 2010 @ 1:28 PM

  665. J wrote: “… imagine the land area necessary for enough panels to feed the nation’s power grids.”

    Your comments indicate that you prefer fact-free discussion of whatever you “imagine” reality to be, but in fact, that question has been studied.

    Concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) plants on less than 5 percent of the USA’s desert lands could generate more electricity than the entire country uses.

    And with low-cost thermal storage, CSP can provide 24×7 baseload power.

    And that is only one small part of the USA’s vast solar and wind energy resources. For example, the commercially exploitable wind energy resources of just four midwestern states could also generate more electricity than the entire country uses. PV installed on existing commerical rooftops could provide many tens of gigawatts of power.

    And, multiple studies in the USA and Europe have found that a diversified regional portfolio of renewable energy sources (e.g. wind, solar, geothermal, hydro and biomass), managed and distributed with smart grid technologies, can provide 24×7 power that is at least as reliable as coal or nuclear — even without storage.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 8 Jan 2010 @ 1:55 PM

  666. Walter Manny says: 8 January 2010 at 12:51 PM

    May I offer that the appropriate time period for examining an aggregate collection of signals depends on what you’re looking for? If I want to roughly understand the character of diurnal swings in temperature, I might look at year of records. If I’m interested in annual characteristics, I might look at 5 years’ data. When it comes to climate, the period I choose will again depend on what sort of drivers I’m examining.

    With regard to climate research, as I understand it from Weart’s history there are two objectives at play in the field, one deriving from the other. The primary and original aim for most if not all of the scientists scrutinizing climate was and still is satisfaction of curiosity, like most pure research; it was not originally an arena of scientific inquiry offering application as an outcome. However, as the field progressed, an application did in fact emerge; the path of curiosity lead to a possible conclusion and result that could have a significant impact on human society.

    With the realization that climate research had stumbled on a potential problem further research into the topic has evolved to more thoroughly incorporate and understand the original dim realization that we might ourselves be affecting the climate. Looking at the anthropogenic facet of the research, results and predictions so far seem to converge, indicating a problem does exist, is likely of high impact, and is sensitive to timing.

    Looking at it from a more nuts and bolts R&D perspective, “time to market” is a factor here.

    You mention the word “credulous”, often used in a pejorative sense. I can’t tell from whether by “credulous” you mean the period of 30 or 15 years is too short or too long. I’m not even sure why you chose that word when “prudent” or “cautious” might be more descriptive. What I do believe is that while it’s probably better from a purely scientific perspective to go with as long a period as possible, that ivory tower approach is not appropriate in this case. There’s a market for conclusions and the market won’t wait for too much dithering. We need results as fast as possible in order to calibrate our response to what we’ve discovered.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 8 Jan 2010 @ 2:05 PM

  667. Walter Mitty:

    “Ray, your continuing non-response and name-calling (“Zombies”? Seriously? Are we still in grade school?) speaks volumes”

    a) Why is it you’ll only listen to ray and not anyone else who has answered your question?

    And

    b) isn’t “are we still in grade school?” ***ALSO*** name-calling?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Jan 2010 @ 2:13 PM

  668. J wombles on: “From your link: “Offshore farms are weather dependent. Whereas a nuclear power station operates all the time, a wind farm only operates when the wind is blowing.””

    It also produces THREE TIMES the UK needs.

    This is DESPITE only giving power when the wind blows.

    I mean, do you think you are the ONLY person IN THE WORLD who thought that the wind doesn’t always blow???

    Truly your intellect knows no bounds.

    It’s not the only thing it doesn’t know…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Jan 2010 @ 2:14 PM

  669. Thanks Gavin at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/unforced-variations-2/comment-page-13/#comment-153646

    My sloppy typing I should have said an observed ocean forcing of 0.85 W/m2 not heat content. Pielke Snr’s argument is at http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/reply-to-andrew-dresslers-guest-post-on-water-vapor-feedback/ in response to a guest article by Andrew Dessler. Rgds Terry

    [Response: I don't follow his reasoning at all. The net imbalance is always going to be less than the initial forcing - and as the planet re-equilibriates the imbalance will go to zero. The rate at which it does is related to the ocean heat content rise, not to the magnitude of the feedbacks. - gavin]

    Comment by Terry — 8 Jan 2010 @ 2:19 PM

  670. Completely Fed Up says: 8 January 2010 at 2:14 PM

    Also good to remember that from an economic perspective nuclear plants really operate best at or near 100% capacity. Disregarding other considerations, they’re appropriate for base load, not so much for variations in demand. Building a grid around 100% nuclear generation would be needlessly expensive, even if we had the industrial capacity and money to do it.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 8 Jan 2010 @ 2:29 PM

  671. > operates all the time
    False, and easy to check. Don’t make economic arguments based on fiction, eh?
    Heat, cold, drought, flood–all conditions that have required shutdown.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Jan 2010 @ 2:37 PM

  672. Jim Eager (596), this may seem like a nitpick argument but I think it’s more significant than just semantics and such. You said (413), “…Earth’s paleohistory shows that the chance of a doubling of CO2 producing a 0-2K increase in temperature is not just slim, but zero,” which meant in the context of (413), “Earth’s paleohistory shows that the… doubling of CO2 [produces a 4-6K increase.]” I said the paleohistory proves no such thing, which it doesn’t, for the reasons I stated in (469). Then you said you couldn’t effing believe that I would call out facts (which you called a canard) to disrupt what you certainly felt might have been just a little overstatement of the situation, or maybe simply not what you meant (which I have no way of responding to).

    You didn’t notice (too busy perhaps), but I never did nor have refuted the physics where sometimes temperature increase precedes CO2 rise. I simply said that that situation in no way proves the physics of going the other way — CO2 preceding temperature, as you did. The logic shouldn’t be that difficult to comprehend. Nor have I ever said that CO2 can’t precede and cause temperature increase. Before you accuse me of that “meme” you ought to at least first hear me say it.

    Helpful hint: taking exaggerated editorial license actually hurts your cause rather than aids it, IMO.

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Jan 2010 @ 2:45 PM

  673. Walter, First, the zombies I am referreing to are the same tired arguments that denialists like you keep resurrecting, only to have them killed again by the same argument. Do you have a suggestion for a better term for a thoroughly discredited argument that a disputant refuses to admit has passed on. Fergodsake, feel the frigging pain and let it go!

    Second, I guess you missed the article John Pearson posted showing the basis for 30 years as a standard for climate trends:

    http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F1520-0477(1989)070%3C0602%3ASDOC%3E2.0.CO%3B2

    More to the point, there is a pretty well defined are to determining how much data you have to have to have confidence in a trend. Tamino’s analysis illustrates how this works. I would urge you to read it

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/how-long/

    Here is the deal–Trenbreth made it clear that he was concerned with short-term variation. That includes things like volcanoes, ENSO, PDO. These occur with a variety of strengths and durations. However, the important thing about all of these factors is that their influence is short term (of order a few years at most). Now contrast that with the influence of CO2, which persists for hundreds of years. CO2 will win. It is what will change the climate, while the short-term influences will peter out.

    Yes, we want to understand all the short-term influences. They are interesting. They are not, however, a threat. That is where we are, Walter. Climate change has simply followed the same basic procedures of all the other sciences. It has developed a model of its subject that does a very good job of explaining observed behavior and predicting new behaviors. If that were all it did, it would be just one more interesting subfield of the geo-sciences. However, climate science identified a threat. It showed that the threat was credible. And now it is being attacked by people who don’t want to hear about threats that demand action. That is the difference.

    The problem, Walter, is that all the folks who are attacking climate science bring nothing with them that helps us understand climate better. They have no constructive ideas, no evidence, no new techniques. All they can do is attack the theory and the evidence and the scientists and science itself. That is how we know that they are anti-science. We know the patterns from the attacks on science that came before–on evolution, on the dangers of smoking, etc.

    The problem you have learning has nothing to do with intellect and everything to do with ideological blinders. However, the threat doesn’t care what you believe. So that, ultimately is the issue: Is science strong enough to make us confront a threat to our civilization or will it sucumb to wishful thinking and ideological purity.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Jan 2010 @ 2:57 PM

  674. Re: SecularAnimist and FedUp:

    The problems of wind and solar power are not unknown just often ignored here. These are being implemented where feasible and of course I’m all for that. It’s being done in favorable areas in my state, and new problems are also arising. Certainly there is enough power from the sun, wind, ocean, geothermal; the problem is converting it to electricity in an economical and reliable manner.

    When the U.K. shuts down its non-windpower sources and maintained energy prices at the same or lower level, you’ll have proved your point with regard to the North Sea project. There are still major problems to be tested.

    Again, I’m all for what works reliably and economically, and there’s a lot of activity in these areas because of the inherent value. I’m not pro-nuclear but pro-whatever works (reliably and economically), and I’m anti-cold and dark.

    Unless we want repeats of California’s power policy nationwide, large scale power projects that work now have to move forward.

    Comment by J — 8 Jan 2010 @ 3:16 PM

  675. BPL, before putting heavy tariffs on Chinese exports to the US, e.g., one ought to think through the global economic situation very very carefully first. China being our sugar daddy and all…

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Jan 2010 @ 3:19 PM

  676. An example of problems with large solar projects:

    “Large alternative energy projects planned for the Mojave Desert are running into conflicts with efforts to protect pristine lands in California.”

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/green-power-projects-face-new-hurdle-2009-12-22

    Comment by J — 8 Jan 2010 @ 3:40 PM

  677. J says: 8 January 2010 at 3:40 PM

    It’s going to take people a while to grow up. What are the odds many of the same people are vehemently opposed also to nuclear and coal generation schemes? In fact are suffering from a complete absence of big-picture considerations?

    How about a qualifier for participating in this sort of obstruction: “If you live within sight of the thing you’re worried about despoiling, you’re not allowed to complain because the opposite view features you”?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 8 Jan 2010 @ 4:14 PM

  678. Quick question, hopefully someone has an answer – how long has “30 years” been used in the standard definition for climate?

    Comment by Witgren — 8 Jan 2010 @ 4:44 PM

  679. 634, Doug Bostrom; OK, that’s better: a line parallel to the X-axis intersecting the Y-axis halfway up.

    Ice cover right now is below its seasonally-characteristic mean.

    More, by scrutinizing the graph you so kindly provided, we can see that a prediction of improving health of the ice sheet based on the past two years of data is drastically premature. The hypothetical “reasonable man” would probably conclude there’s no reason to expect a sudden reversal of the signal.

    “Improving” might be premature; “regressed toward the mean” was accurate; “returned to average” would be false. However, it was premature for scientists (even those quoted in the press instead of writing for peer review) to use the 2003-2007 change as a basis for predicting an “ice-free Arctic summer” any time soon.

    And how much respect do you have for the hypothetical reasonable man, anyway? Most reasonable people don’t think highly of AGW once it is pointed out to them how little CO2 there is in the atmosphere, and that most of the warming effect comes from the much more prevalent H2O.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 8 Jan 2010 @ 4:51 PM

  680. J. — Google would like to be your friend.

    The economics are as important as, likely more important than the ecology, for practical politics. It’s another place where a few big players, or many smaller ones, will get the next round of funds and benefits:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=California+problems+with+large+solar+projects

    finds for example:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2010/01/04/MNBU1B492N.DTL
    “… Distrust and dislike of California’s big utility companies, he says, fuel many supporters of the small-is-beautiful idea.
    ‘A lot of the distributed power advocates really hate utilities,’ Zichella said. ‘They don’t want utilities to own these facilities.’”

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-10152459-54.html
    “solar-technology company Ausra has dropped plans to make massive solar-thermal power plants in favor of smaller, cheaper units.”

    I’m not arguing for any particular fact.

    I’m urging looking at what’s really happening, instead of just repeating our personal favorite claims.

    What’s real is changing. Look at the rate of change in materials, and costs, and efficiencies of installation for rooftop solar. It’s fast.

    Look at long distance power transmission–still done with the finest 1940s technology (okay, that’s unfair, they do use computers — but nobody’s got a smart grid even designed yet. Nobody has disclosed open files for the computer programs that would be needed to run one (besides the risk of attacks on them) Bet they’re proprietary, and I’ll also bet we have more solar flares and surges soon.)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Jan 2010 @ 4:54 PM

  681. For really serious fat-chewing on evolving electrical generation schemes, may I suggest this fresh thread at Brave New Climate:

    http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/09/emission-cuts-realities/#more-2224

    You’ll find a just completed, fairly detailed cost model and description for replacing coal generation with various mixes of other technologies, somewhat locale specific for Australia. Sure to annoy lots of people.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 8 Jan 2010 @ 4:59 PM

  682. “Most reasonable people don’t think highly of AGW once it is pointed out to them how little CO2 there is in the atmosphere, and that most of the warming effect comes from the much more prevalent H2O.”

    If they’re swayed by that sham they’re not equipped with enough information to apply their reasoning skills. If you don’t care about honesty and are prepared to exploit this failing, bad on you.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 8 Jan 2010 @ 5:20 PM

  683. Don @663, Plenty of direct quotes from David Barber here: … Apparently we are already ‘almost’ ice-free.

    Let’s remember where this argument started – with this post @590 by Septic Matthew:

    Scientists used Katrina as the harbinger of things to come and predicted even worse for subsequent years, but actual hurricane activity has declined, and there has never been evidence of a century-long trend toward greater energy release in tropical storms. Scientists projected the 2003-2007 decline in Arctic Ice as predicting an Arctic ice-free summer by 2015 (more or less), but instead we have recorded a regression toward the previous mean (not yet all the way), which will postpone the ice-free Arctic summer for decades if the regression to the mean continues.

    In fact, this is what scientists were saying immediately after Katrina:

    there is no way to prove that Katrina either was, or was not, affected by global warming. For a single event, regardless of how extreme, such attribution is fundamentally impossible.

    That was posted at RealClimate by Stefan Rahmstorf, Michael Mann, Rasmus Benestad, Gavin Schmidt, and William Connolley in September 2005. So Matthew was dead wrong on the first point.

    As for his second point, we’ve now shown that scientists actually predict that the Arctic will be ice free within a few decades, and the only exception you’ve shown is a quote from a single scientist who is referring to the multiyear ice-pack, which is a fairly different standard than what you and Matthew are setting. He’s talking about the volume of ice. You are talking about the area covered by it. Far from “returning to the mean” as Matthew puts it, the sea ice volume has continued to decline.

    Comment by Jinchi — 8 Jan 2010 @ 5:22 PM

  684. jinchi:
    the only exception you’ve shown is a quote from a single scientist who is referring to the multiyear ice-pack…

    Summer sea ice likely to disappear in the Arctic by 2015
    mongabay.com
    http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0831-arctic.html
    “If current melting trends continue, the Arctic Ocean is likely to be free of summer sea ice by 2015, according to research presented at a conference organized by the National Space Institute at Technical University of Denmark, the Danish Meteorological Institute and the Greenland Climate Center.”

    from 2002, though a rather different metric:
    :Arctic Summer Sea Lanes Open By 2015 Forecasts ONR
    http://www.spacedaily.com/news/arctic-02a.html
    “Although recent terrorist events keep our minds occupied elsewhere in the world, what a navigable Arctic means for our national security is significant,” says Dr. Dennis Conlon, Program Manager for Arctic Science at the Office of Naval Research. “Geographical boundaries, politics, and commerce changes would all become issues.”
    Washington – Feb 14, 2002
    The Arctic ice cap is shrinking that much is known with certainty. Over the past century, the extent of the winter pack ice in the Nordic Seas has decreased by about 25%. Last winter the Bering Sea was effectively ice-free, which is unprecedented, and if this big melt continues, some say the formerly ice-locked Arctic will have open sea lanes as soon as 2015. By 2050, the summertime ice cap could disappear entirely.”

    SepticMatthew’s comment Scientists used Katrina as the harbinger of things to come was inaccurate. He should have said that Vice President Gore used Katrina as a harbinger, and cited research by a climatologist. That is an old argument now. And as I noted, it seems that more recent research suggests he might have been right anyway.

    Comment by Don Shor — 8 Jan 2010 @ 5:53 PM

  685. “Quick question, hopefully someone has an answer – how long has “30 years” been used in the standard definition for climate?”

    The historical development of the concept of climatological normals is described by Guttman (1989). The term ‘normal’ first appeared in the meteorological literature in 1840, and was first put into formal effect in 1872, when the International Meteorological Committee resolved to compile mean values over a uniform period in order to assure comparability between data collected at various stations.

    Over much of the following century, the dominant paradigm was one in which climate is essentially constant on decadal to centennial timescales, and that variations from this constant state over a specific period of time were artifacts of sampling. It followed from this concept that long-term averages would converge to this constant state given a sufficiently long averaging period. After much international discussion in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, 30 years was settled on as a suitable averaging period.

    The concept of the 30-year climatological standard normal dates from 1935, when the Warsaw conference of the International Meteorological Committee recommended that the period 1901-1930 be used as a world-wide standard for the calculation of normals. In 1956, WMO recommended the use of the most recent available period of 30 years, ending in the most recent year ending with the digit 0 (which at that time meant 1921-1950).

    http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/wcp/wcdmp/documents/WCDMPNo61.pdf

    Comment by Andreas — 8 Jan 2010 @ 6:02 PM

  686. I’ll give you one more:
    http://www.earthsky.org/interviewpost/earth/ice-free-arctic-summers-within-a-decade
    “Wieslaw Maslowski: We’re suggesting that sometime between 2010 and 2016, we might melt all this multi-year ice cover during summer in the Arctic.”

    Just for the record, I’m not necessarily agreeing with SepticMatthew about anything in particular. But he was immediately challenged to find “scientists” who said what he said they said. The rhetorical gambit, of course, was to question his premise. Was SepticMatthew using a straw man? Ice-free arctic: No. Katrina: Maybe.

    Comment by Don Shor — 8 Jan 2010 @ 6:07 PM

  687. Is everything I post now spam???

    Comment by Tim Jones — 8 Jan 2010 @ 6:27 PM

  688. Re:623

    Here’s an article on the South Texas Nuclear Project (STNP).

    “Costs Cloud Texas Nuclear Plan”
    http://www.energiamia.org/news_wallstreetjournal_120509.html
    December 5, 2009
    By REBECCA SMITH
    Wall Street Journal

    Comment by Tim Jones — 8 Jan 2010 @ 6:32 PM

  689. And, indeed, the “Arctic summer sea lanes” were open in 2009. Beluga Fraternity and Beluga Foresight, two heavy lift freighters, used the Northern Sea Route to transport cargo including heavy generators from South Korea to Novyy, on the Ob in western Siberia, and then sailed on to Rotterdam. They saved hundreds of thousands of Euros by taking that route, and observers expect a lot more ships to do likewise in this and later years.

    Comment by Nick Barnes — 8 Jan 2010 @ 6:36 PM

  690. Don,

    You and I seem to be arguing past each other. From your second reference:

    some say the formerly ice-locked Arctic will have open sea lanes as soon as 2015. By 2050, the summertime ice cap could disappear entirely.

    In other words, it doesn’t claim the arctic will be ice free in 2015, it claims there will be open sea lanes. Since the both the Northeast and Northwest passages were nearly navigable in 2007, that 2002 prediction was a pretty good one. The article predicts that the arctic will be ice free by 2050 which is an essentially the same estimate than the one I mentioned above.

    From your first reference:

    If current melting trends continue, the Arctic Ocean is likely to be free of summer sea ice by 2015, according to research presented

    To paraphrase, some studies conclude an ice free arctic by 2015. This is not yet the consensus view it’s the lower limit of a 30 year range.

    Matthew argued that scientists had jumped the gun by extrapolating the drop in sea ice extent from 2003-2007 (your 2002 reference demonstrates that they were projecting rapid ice loss even before that). Matthew also argued that this conclusion had been falsified when sea ice extent “regressed to the mean”. But sea ice volume continues to drop, not increase, and none of these studies are particularly alarmist nor have they been falsified.

    Comment by Jinchi — 8 Jan 2010 @ 7:00 PM

  691. Septic says, “Most reasonable people don’t think highly of AGW once it is pointed out to them how little CO2 there is in the atmosphere, and that most of the warming effect comes from the much more prevalent H2O.”

    No, those would not be “reasonable people”. Those would be ignoramuses. a 15 micron photon must pass within a wavelength of roughly 100 trillion CO2 molecules on its way out of the atmosphere, and any one of those molecules could absorb it. Doesn’t sound quite so small now does it, Matthew.

    Get serious. If you are going to make arguments like that then why shouldn’t we dismiss you as a troll?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Jan 2010 @ 7:02 PM

  692. Witgren, there’s not just one “standard definition for climate”

    “The nice thing about standards is that we have so many of them.”

    30 years is about right (or maybe 15 or 20) for the statistics to detect a real trend but not imagine one in annual average global temperature–it depends on much that statisticians deal with and argue about.

    For statistics, each set of data has a measurable amount of variation, and there are ways to decide from that how many measurements are needed for a reasonable chance of detecting a real trend but not imagining one that’s not there in the real world.

    Robert Grumbine has a good series on this, with attention to annual temperatures: http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/01/results-on-deciding-trends.html — and he won’t tell you “30 years” he’ll show you how to decide for yourself and walk you through how to do it, then you can do it with various data sets. The answer depends on the data set and the statistical test chosen.

    Google Scholar will lead you to some wonderful reading if you start looking for an answer to that one (I hope you do, and report back, it’d be an interesting contribution to do the work.

    Google doesn’t have a “find the earliest mention” feature that I know of).

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=%22definition+of+climate%22+%2230+years%22&btnG=Search&as_sdt=2001&as_ylo=&as_vis=1

    Example:
    Annual Review of Phytopathology September 1988)
    (doi:10.1146/annurev.py.26.090188.001115)
    Variation in Climate and Prediction of Disease in Plants

    “Because a sequence of years in the 1970s had more variation than did the previous decade, research on climate expanded to determine if and why the world’s climate might be changing.”

    “In the 1970s, the definition of climate was expanded from an “average of weather” …”

    Or for a different usage

    http://shadow.eas.gatech.edu/~jean/paleo/Rahmstorf_2002.pdf
    Ocean circulation and climate during the past 120,000 years
    Stefan Rahmstorf, NATURE, VOL 419, 12 SEPT. 2002

    “Dansgaard–Oeschger (D/O) events (Figs 3, 4) are perhaps the most pronounced climate changes that have occurred during the past 120 kyr. They are not only large in amplitude, but also abrupt (irrespective of whether one follows a physical definition of abruptness_33 or takes it to mean ‘in less than 30 years’_8).

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Jan 2010 @ 7:34 PM

  693. Don Shor says: 8 January 2010 at 6:07 PM

    ““Wieslaw Maslowski: We’re suggesting that sometime between 2010 and 2016, we might melt all this multi-year ice cover during summer in the Arctic.””

    Now that multi-year thing looks not so far fetched.

    “But he was immediately challenged to find “scientists” who said what he said they said. The rhetorical gambit, of course, was to question his premise. Was SepticMatthew using a straw man? Ice-free arctic: No.”

    Straw man? Maybe, but lacking further data it depends on perspective. Nobody stuck their necks out and published such an assertion. Speaking as people dismayed with an extraordinary year, yep. The final interpretation depends on what Matthew intended to convey by “Scientists projected the 2003-2007 decline in Arctic Ice as predicting an Arctic ice-free summer by 2015 (more or less)…” Did he mean to imply this was a refuted finding? Only Matthew really knows. Hairsplitting in any case, and transmitted as rhetoric as opposed to inquiry.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 8 Jan 2010 @ 7:35 PM

  694. Ray, thanks for your clarification on the zombie/denialist business. You know I find both terms distasteful and a distraction from actual argument, but to each his own.
    As to the 1989 piece you cite, I could not swear to have read it or not read it in the past, though the following rung a bell; perhaps I only read references to:
    p. 602:
    Normals are now defined as “period averages computed for a uniform and relatively long period comprising at least three consecutive 10-year periods” (WMO 1984)

    p. 604:
    The predictive value of normals was extensively studied over two decades ago by Enger (1959), Court (1967, 1968a-c) and Slusser (1968). After his 3-year study, Court (1968d) stated, “Climatic normals… are extremely inefficient for the primary purpose to which they are put: estimating future conditions” and “…the concept of climatic normal should be abandoned in practical climatology.”

    Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the 30-year standard, at least insofar as it is used to predict anything, and there is nothing in the paper that I can find that would say there is nothing to see in the last ten years. Obviously, the 30 years is an arbitrary definitional norm and not based on any particular physics – you see no reference to 3 sets of 9 years, or 3 sets of 11, say.
    You state with utter assurance that CO2 will win, and I get that – I know everyone here believes the same thing and it is, indeed, the premise upon any argument here is put forward or insult launched. Your belief is so unshakable as to preclude listening to anyone who believes otherwise, who cannot possibly be thinking or taken seriously.
    Your reading causes you to believe that significant temperature rise is due to increased CO2 and that nothing else can explain it. Mine takes me to conclude that is pretty unlikely given the number of variables, short- and long-term, well-understood and mysterious, swirling about and responsible for an ever-changing climate. Neither of us is a climate scientist – you choose, reasonably, to believe the majority of climate scientists, and I persist in wondering why the minority continues to question the consensus. You think the history of science shows us that the consensus is proven true the vast majority of the time, and I am fascinated by the heretics whose science has so often won the day or at least changed the consensus.
    You view questioning the consensus science as “attacking” the consensus, as have many of the so-called Climategaters. You are forced to argue from analogy (evolution, smoking…) and to question the motives of those with whom you disagree. You inject ideology into it, as though anyone who disagrees with your worldview must therefore be some sort of an ideologue, and that ideology is to be found only in the skeptic camp. There are days, yes, when I am envious of your cocksure view of the current consensus – it would make things simpler, no doubt – but given that I read other than Real Climate, there is no way for me to get there, not that it matters.

    Comment by Walter Manny — 8 Jan 2010 @ 10:00 PM

  695. Walter, the denial of “evolution, smoking” is more than analogy wrt climate denialism.

    In some cases, the same people are making, or have made, denialist arguments more than one of these arena. The poster child would be Fred Singer (though Fred Seitz would also make a good one.) Singer also illustrates the fact that being a scientist-for-hire (a polite term) can be quite lucrative.

    The techniques of denialism have not arisen by chance, nor independently.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Singer
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Seitz
    http://hubpages.com/hub/Climate-Cover-Up-A-Review

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 8 Jan 2010 @ 11:16 PM

  696. “You think the history of science shows us that the consensus is proven true the vast majority of the time, and I am fascinated by the heretics whose science has so often won the day or at least changed the consensus.”

    I’m wondering, just how often have these wins occurred?

    More, how often have they been accompanied by massive public relations campaigns that were quite divorced from scientific inquiry?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 9 Jan 2010 @ 12:07 AM

  697. > How often?

    Well studied, well documented, easy to find. Need a list?

    http://thepumphandle.wordpress.com/2009/08/24/tobacco-tactics-in-the-battle-over-bpa/

    “… the plastics industry is using tobacco-industry tactics to fight against BPA regulation, but with a 21st-century twist: They’re posting what appears to be neutral, unbiased information on YouTube and blogs without revealing the funding source.

    The article … won’t be very surprising for anyone who’s familiar with the history of tobacco, lead, asbestos, or other substances that have only been removed from consumer products after a protracted battle.”

    Got that?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Jan 2010 @ 12:24 AM

  698. Hank Roberts says: 9 January 2010 at 12:24 AM

    It boggles my mind.

    There is scads of detailed documentation of industrial deception campaigns, not just on the climate issue but repeated all the way into the 19th century, ever since public policy began incorporating research findings. When London closed private city wells supplying what was essentially clarified sewage in response to cholera outbreaks, guess what? A lying campaign was mounted, including all the usual features: “it’ll damage the economy, it’ll disadvantage the poor, there’s no proof that the water is carrying disease, it’s bad air.”

    Here in the future, we have ample evidence of industrial vandalism of public policy with regard to climate change, yet doubters are gobbling up conspiracy theories about evil Marxist scientists who want to wreck the economy. Hence the infantile TomskTwaddle affair. Fiction is not only stranger than truth, but apparently far more exciting.

    I guess it’s no surprise that confusion about science reigns in certain quarters. Walter says people who don’t buy into bought and paid for bunk “credulous”. What an ironic position.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 9 Jan 2010 @ 1:17 AM

  699. Matthew(aka SepticMatthew) — 6 January 2010 @ 9:31 PM says
    “The increasing Arctic summer thaw in 2003-2007 was taken as confirming AGW, but the successively reduced summer Arctic thaw from 2007-2009 was taken as incidental to global warming. The nearly constant Arctic summer thaw from the 70s to the late 90s was taken to be less informative than the thaw from 2003-2007. The Arctic isn’t warmer than it was 70 or so years ago.” No. The increasing ice loss started in the 50s; although summer 2009 is higher than summer 2007, it’s still below the long term trend. http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seasonal.extent.1900-2008.jpg
    (“global warming” is to “climate change” as “ice loss” is to
    A. penguins
    B. igloos
    C. thaw
    D. polar bears)

    “As I understand it, the warming occurs most toward the poles, mostly in winter, and mostly at night.” You forgot over land & in the NH.
    Try reading Svante Arrhenius (1859-1927)
    “On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground”(excerpts) Philosophical Magazine 41, 237-276 (1896)[1]
    at http://web.lemoyne.edu/~giunta/arrhenius.html or the excerpt at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/09/decadal-predictions/comment-page-2/#comment-136588

    Spikade den! (Can you picture Arrhenius interviewed on Jon Stewart?)

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 9 Jan 2010 @ 1:57 AM

  700. WM: What in the peer-reviewed literature you love so well (as opposed to the pseudonymed literature) lays out the physical basis for the 15-year or 30-year climate standard?

    BPL: It doesn’t need a peer-reviewed article, WM! It just needs an elementary statistics course! This is the third time I’m going to explain it to you:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/30Years.html

    If I see you asking about this one more time, I will assume you are simply trying to cause trouble here out of malice. RTFM!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Jan 2010 @ 7:20 AM

  701. Walter Manny,
    First, to say that the 30 years is inefficient suggests that in many cases a longer period is needed rather than a shorter one. Thirty years is cited as a MINIMUM standard. And if 30 years is “inefficient” then 10 years is simply delusional.

    Walter Manny says, “Your reading causes you to believe that significant temperature rise is due to increased CO2 and that nothing else can explain it. Mine takes me to conclude that is pretty unlikely given the number of variables, short- and long-term, well-understood and mysterious, swirling about and responsible for an ever-changing climate.”

    The difference, Walter, is that my “reading” has equipped me with specific facts and evidence, whereas all you have is a vague impression that it’s all to complicated to understand. Which attitude is more scientific?

    Walter, do you dispute that the consensus model of climate has had remarkable successes? See for example:
    http://bartonpaullevenson.com/ModelsReliable.html

    This record of success would seem to belie an assertion (and that is all it is) that the climate is beyond human understanding.

    Walter says, “You think the history of science shows us that the consensus is proven true the vast majority of the time, and I am fascinated by the heretics whose science has so often won the day or at least changed the consensus.”

    No, Walter, there are no heretics. It is fine and honorable to challenge the consensus. However, one does so by gathering evidence that challenges the consensus and PUBLISHING IT; not by endlessly examining a single set of tree-ring data used in a 12-year old paper; not by cherry-picking data; not by torturing noisy data until it yields the trend you want; and certainly not by hacking into an email server to release emails out of context with an intent to impugn the reputations of your rivals. The latter are the same tactics used by creationists, tobacco companies, anti-vaccine activists–in other words anti-science.

    It is fine and honorable to challenge the consensus science, but a true skeptic scientist does so by generating new science and new understandings, not by giving up and saying it’s all too difficult. And if you do not trust Realclimate, then read the goddamned technical literature. If anything it is even more dominated by the consensus position

    The publication record of the so-called skeptic scientists is woeful. This is not because they are stupid or evil. It is because they cannot, for whatever reason (and yes, the reason is usually ideological) accept critical aspects of current climate theory. This precludes their having insights that advance understanding. Walter, I’ve referenced this page by Jim Prall many times before. It shows leading climate authors and how often their work is cited. Please go there and study it. Really look at the productivity of consensus scientists and compare it to the so-called “skeptics”. What do you think explains the difference?

    http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Jan 2010 @ 8:03 AM

  702. I would suggest staying away from the Exxons, Greenpeaces, lawyers, lobbyists and focus on the scientists’ work, not their corporate or government funding. It’s taken a while, for example, for Lindzen to begin to emerge on this site as a serious scientist and not the oil industry shill the regulars preferred to label him as, not so many years ago. He’s still taking his potshots, to be sure, perhaps because he is a threat to the hegemony, but I note that serious folks here are taking him seriously, even if they believe he is wrong. Conspiracies are fun, but I doubt the “Climategaters” and “Denialists” are that nefarious.

    Comment by Walter Manny — 9 Jan 2010 @ 8:28 AM

  703. J states as if he’s a mindreader:

    “Re: SecularAnimist and FedUp:

    The problems of wind and solar power are not unknown just often ignored here. ”

    Please where are they ignored?

    You don’t mention the risk of nuclear contamination of water tables, but has ANYONE accused you of ignoring them?

    Nclear power has to be taken offline so you still need more than 100% of power supply to supply 100% power.

    Nuclear power ramps up over time so cannot be used for spikes in demand, so you still need another power source.

    Now show where it says ANYWHERE that the power available from those wind farms are “maximum possible if the wind blows all the time”.

    Or are you ignoring the possibility that that reduction could have already been taken into account.

    And wind power for the UK can replace 300% of power requirements alone.

    So it can handle 1/3 of the power output rated maximum ***IF*** that is the power they are talking about, which you haven’t shown is the case.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Jan 2010 @ 8:37 AM

  704. J why don’t you suggest a couple of nuclear power plants in the Mojave as a replacement?

    If complaints about solar power plants there are the reason why solar power is unusable, then if you can’t get your new nukes built there, then nuclear power is likewise unusable and all we have is “reduce power needs by 80%”.

    Which is doable.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Jan 2010 @ 8:41 AM

  705. Manny:

    “I would suggest staying away from the Exxons, Greenpeaces, lawyers, lobbyists and focus on the scientists’ work, not their corporate or government funding.”

    How about the nonscientists, then?

    E.g. Monckton. Morano. Ihofe. Watts. McIntyre.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Jan 2010 @ 9:06 AM

  706. > Walter Manny says: 9 January 2010 at 8:28 AM
    >
    > I would suggest … focus on the scientists’ work, not
    > their corporate or government funding.

    Walter would suggest not looking at what difference the funding makes because — why?

    It’s been done–repeatedly–and that look consistently turns up something really interesting.

    When Walter and his ilk say not to look — trust them. Look.
    Walter and his peers are a reliable indicator, in their own way.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=scientific+journal+article+study+funding+source+results
    ——-

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Jan 2010 @ 9:30 AM

  707. Hank, I have no ilk. I do my own reading, thanks, as do you. If you want to get into Jones’ and Lindzen’s funding issues, to try to infer motives in either case, then go for it. In this case, though, you will find much of your ilk – Got Ilk? – in favor of studying the science and not the funding. The climate cares not a whit who is funding the study of it.

    Comment by Walter Manny — 9 Jan 2010 @ 10:24 AM

  708. 233: Hey Jim. Didn’t see that post until now. Hope all is well w/ you. I hope to be out in your neck of the woods sometime this year.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 9 Jan 2010 @ 10:28 AM

  709. > Doug Bostrom says: 9 January 2010 at 1:17 AM
    > Industrial deception

    I wasn’t aware of that earlier history, and would welcome a pointer.
    History books all tell about the triumph of closing the public pumps and halting cholera. But it’s amazing how much more was happening, e.g.

    http://freepages.history.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mandx/page22cholera.htm

    It’s also surprising to me–there being no end to my ignorance–how directly relevant this history is to understanding climate change, e.g.

    http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=lydia_stewart_ferreira

    “The struggle between authority and liberty, the tyranny of the majority, the prevention of harm, unlimited state control, the necessary rights belonging to citizens, and the establishment of constitutional checks by a consent community – is the theory and practice of public health.
    …. To ensure the well being of the whole community, the majority of the given population – most often represented by the State – will take steps …. and usually does – impact on the rights of individuals…..
    … this essay explores how the 1665 Great Plague of London demonstrated State rights versus individual rights and may have influenced John Locke and his ideas outlined in “The Second Treatise on Civil Government [1690]. This essay also explores the London cholera epidemic of 1854 in terms of State vs. individual rights which may have influenced J.S. Mill perspective outlined in “On Liberty”.
    …. Individual rights were different for the rich and the poor.
    “Cunning, privilege and private power stood above the laws, mocking the regulations ….”
    ———

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Jan 2010 @ 10:40 AM

  710. Sorry for this Q if it’s been addressed; I don’t have time to read over the site.

    The denialsphere has made much of the cold weather, implying it disproves GW. Of course, I understand the difference between weather and climate. What I understand is that the cold weather is due to an “arctic blast,” or coming from the north (for the N. Hemisphere, at least), that the weather is sort of zig-zagging north-south rather than the more usual west-east. Why is that, or is it just one of those variations.

    The other Q would be what is the global situation. Is it colder than usual everywhere (incl the S. Hemisphere), or do the warming than usuals balance out the colder than usuals. I did hear it is warming than usual in Washington State and Alaska. Also that it was warmer than usual in Minnesota last month, though the snowfall was heavier (but that was just an impression of a resident there).

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 9 Jan 2010 @ 11:07 AM

  711. Ray Ladbury (691), your basic point is of course correct, but dazzling folks with BS big ole numbers is not very scientific.. Compared to 100 trillion CO2 molecules in the path roughly 2,000,000 trillion (2 quintillion) photons are released in the 15um band every second (if my math holds up). Using just big numbers for the argument photons would overwhelm the puny CO2 molecules!

    Comment by Rod B — 9 Jan 2010 @ 11:08 AM

  712. Just my opinion for the record: your all’s continued bashing of skeptics because they also didn’t fully agree with the conventional or your wisdom of tobacco, evolution, asbestos, or had blond hair or only had one leg or all studied physical education or were divorcees or whatever scapegoat association you can come up with is really getting tiresome. You sound like, as you charge, so-called “deniers” asking the same old questions over and over.

    Comment by Rod B — 9 Jan 2010 @ 11:26 AM

  713. Rod B BS with numbers: “Compared to 100 trillion CO2 molecules in the path roughly 2,000,000 trillion (2 quintillion) photons are released”

    That means that almost no energy is in any one of those photons, Rod old bean.

    Your implication is that many photons get through without hitting anything.

    However, this is incorrect: each one has to pass each of those molecules individually. Run the gauntlet.

    If the absorption rate is 1% for an IR photon within that distance, then the chance of getting through isn’t 1% of 100 trillion, but 0.99**100 trillion.

    What’s the chance of that, Rod, or do you know nothing about maths?

    Funny how you projected your BSing by maths of big numbers on to someone else.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Jan 2010 @ 11:45 AM

  714. I posted this yesterday in the wrong thread and some people might not have seen it:

    Letter sent yesterday by a varied group of 40 scientists, to the American Farm Bureau Federation, questioning their stated position regarding the weight of evidence for human-induced climate change, and requesting a meeting with the AFBF director. The AFBF position letter states: “There is no generally agreed upon scientific assessment on the exact impact or extent of carbon emissions from human activities, their impact on past decades of warming, or how they will affect future climate changes. The UCS and Grist have stories.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 9 Jan 2010 @ 11:49 AM

  715. And on that 2 quintillion number, I don’t have my physics book with me, but if it’s a 0.1eV photon (1.6×10^-20J), then 2 quintillion of them is 3×10^-2 J of energy over a 1umx1um square.

    A radiant energy flux of 3×10^10J/m2.

    If the entire energy from the sun is in that range, then that would be over a period of 10^8 seconds or about 4 months.

    Not 1 second.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Jan 2010 @ 11:51 AM

  716. No problem John. Send a note when you’re coming–I’ll be all over the place this year.
    Jim

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 9 Jan 2010 @ 11:52 AM

  717. Sorry, that would be ~10 years. Or 100. But years, anyway.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Jan 2010 @ 11:53 AM

  718. Walter maintains: “Hank, I have no ilk. I do my own reading”

    However, this doesn’t seem to be the case:

    “637
    Walter Manny says:
    7 January 2010 at 11:03 PM

    To the deafening silence on whether the 30-year climate standard”

    “662
    Walter Manny says:
    8 January 2010 at 12:51 PM

    Ray, your continuing non-response ”

    You don’t actually seem to do any reading Manny.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Jan 2010 @ 12:00 PM

  719. Rod B pouts:

    “Just my opinion for the record: your all’s continued bashing of skeptics because they also didn’t fully agree with the conventional or your wisdom of tobacco”

    Nobody here bashes skeptics, Rodney.

    Denialists, yes.

    They can be spotted by their slow movement and repetition of the same phrase and how they’re always looking for brains.

    Skpetics would be saying “hang on, what if I’m wrong”.

    Denialists repeat “Brains”

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Jan 2010 @ 12:03 PM

  720. Rod: your all’s continued bashing of skeptics because they also didn’t fully agree with the conventional or your wisdom of tobacco, evolution, asbestos…is really getting tiresome.

    It speaks to judgment. Would you consider a person to have good judgment who says things like:

    “Smoking doesn’t cause cancer.”
    “Evolutionary biology is wrong because the Bible says so.”
    “You can breathe asbestos all day and it won’t hurt you.”
    “Vaccines cause autism.”
    “Global temperature has been declining for the last 12 years.”

    Anyone who makes one of these statements immediately reveals himself to be ignorant.

    [Response: Please note this is not the place to start discussing all these issues (except the last, and frankly, even that has got boring). - gavin]

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 9 Jan 2010 @ 12:05 PM

  721. Rod B
    #711: you overlooked one more big number: a second is an eternity for a photon or a molecule.
    #712: your condition is likely treatable, check with your physician. We’re getting tired of suffering too.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 9 Jan 2010 @ 12:17 PM

  722. Doug Bostrom @698 and Hank Roberts @709, a similar well-documented historical example of entrenched resistance by self-interests to public health projects would be the battle to construct the Paris sewer system, a public works project that should have taken far less time to construct and fully connect to private buildings than it actually did. John Ralston Saul uses it to illustrate the struggle between public and private interests in his Voltaire’s Bastards, although there are obviously more in depth examinations in the literature.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 9 Jan 2010 @ 12:19 PM

  723. I did something I really had no desire to do and that is I went through Singer’s arguments regarding second hand smoke. They seemed like a fairly sound arguments to me. They all seemed to deal with the poor scientific methods used by the EPA and not arguments about what the final results should be. Since I was obviously fooled perhaps someone can tell me why he is evil for making those arguments? I can think of only a few reasons.

    1. He lied? Can anyone state how he lied?

    2. He took money, not sure this is true but really don’t care, from someone we have determined is evil in order to tell the truth and because of this he is evil also. If this is the case I can think of many experts in many fields that should be scorned, but we still consider the right to a fair trial a good thing, I think?

    3. It doesn’t matter if the science wasn’t done properly, the cause is good and we just “know” what the right answer is. Scary if this is the reason don’t you think? It is if it is the reason any scientists are using anyway.

    I am interested in the psychology behind why it makes a difference that Singer presented the argument he did regarding second hand smoke. Perhaps I missed a possible reason?

    Comment by stevenc — 9 Jan 2010 @ 12:41 PM

  724. Rod B., What is the area for your photon density? My figure was for a square 15 microns on a side. Yours?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Jan 2010 @ 1:08 PM

  725. Walter, Lindzen was a serious scientist long before the climate debate caught fire. The problem with Lindzen is not so much his science, but rather his ex cathedra remarks to laymen (e.g in public debates, editorials) who do not know enough about the science to spot a patent deception (e.g the “Mars is warming red herring.)
    He has uttered enough of these that it has me wondering whether he is more interested in understanding climate or simply scoring pointw with adoring denialists.

    Oh, and Walter, it’s easy to get off of the “denialist” list. All you have to do is acknowledge the evidence–all of it.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Jan 2010 @ 1:15 PM

  726. @710 “The other Q would be what is the global situation. Is it colder than usual everywhere (incl the S. Hemisphere),”

    Not sure about the whole southern hemisphere but it’s probably easy enough to get from NOAA or similar. Down where I am in SE Australia we’ve finally got a bit of rain after several years, but the temp hasn’t dropped.
    http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/timeseries.cgi?graph=tmax&area=seaus&season=0112&ave_yr=0

    Comment by Sou — 9 Jan 2010 @ 1:17 PM

  727. Ray,

    You keep sending me interesting references to back up my skepticism. Your reference to the science fiction writer’s

    http://bartonpaullevenson.com/ModelsReliable.html

    yields the score 17-5, and this from an ardent AGW proponent. You’re focused on the 17, me the 5. What is the big deal? I’m skeptical of CO2 as the sole driver, and you present it as though it’s a dunk shot. There’s nothing wrong with an uninfluential writer such as me keeping the jury in the box, though for some reason it seems to rile up the pseudonymed regulars here. But screaming, “Agree with me or I’ll call you bad names again!” has never moved the ball too far.

    Comment by Walter Manny — 9 Jan 2010 @ 1:22 PM

  728. Ray, et al: Never mind! My double checking/guessing (as it seems you have, too) tells me you were using a much narrower column of air/CO2 than was my column of photons. Sorry. To complete the mea culpa there would be about 1,000,000 times the number of CO2 molecules in a column emitting my photons, though my photons repeat every second. — again assuming my math is close…

    Comment by Rod B — 9 Jan 2010 @ 2:03 PM

  729. Completely Fed Up (719), save your self-serving definitions for the pep rally.

    You also say “…Skpetics would be saying “hang on, what if I’m wrong”.

    As I would expect scientists to do also, eh?

    Comment by Rod B — 9 Jan 2010 @ 2:14 PM

  730. Is there any way the second two paragraphs in this NYT article can be seen as correct?

    Heavy Rains End Drought for Texas
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/09/science/earth/09drought.html
    By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.
    Published: January 8, 2010
    (excerpt)
    “State officials say the period from September 2008 to September 2009 was the driest on record in the state.”

    “[John Nielsen-Gammon, the state climatologist] said the drought owed much to the two winters in which surface water temperatures along the equator in the Pacific Ocean were above normal, a phenomenon known as El Niño. In addition, the tropical storms that raked the Texas coast in 2008 dropped almost no rain inland.”

    “But this winter the Pacific cooled off, producing the pattern known as La Niña, which generally brings wet weather to Texas, he said. The central region around Austin and San Antonio received 8 to 12 inches more rain than normal from August to October. Farther south, around Corpus Christi, a wave of storms in November and December dropped up to 10 inches more rain than usual, he said.”

    Comment by Tim Jones — 9 Jan 2010 @ 2:29 PM

  731. Can anyone point me in the right direction for my question. It is my understanding that global warming cools the stratosphere. If that is the case, could it increase the prevalence of PSCs and increase the rate of ozone depletion?

    [Response: Yes, and it depends. Increasing CO2 cools the stratosphere in general and the reactions governing ozone formation and destruction are temperature sensitive. However, for the bulk of the stratosphere, the ozone loss dependence is dominant and so you get slightly higher ozone (i.e. less loss) with colder temperatures. In really cold parts of the stratosphere (i.e. inside the wintertime polar vortex) ozone loss is dominated by heterogeneous reactions on the surfaces of PSCs. These only form in very cold environments and so cooling adds to the PSCs and would be expected to lead to more polar ozone loss. - gavin]

    Comment by Rich — 9 Jan 2010 @ 3:07 PM

  732. > I’m skeptical of CO2 as the sole driver

    So is everyone.

    A few people claim that someone somewhere thinks CO2 is the sole driver.

    It was said of the early Puritans in Boston that they were worried that someone somewhere might be having a good time.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Jan 2010 @ 3:26 PM

  733. 730 Tim Jones says:
    Is there any way the second two paragraphs in this NYT article can be seen as correct?
    No. The reporter (I assume) got it backwards. Texas has been under La Niña conditions in ’08 and ’09, leading to drier than usual conditions. That has changed to El Niño now, with rainfall returning.

    Comment by Don Shor — 9 Jan 2010 @ 4:09 PM

  734. OK, Walter, I’ll put aside the fact that you are willing to ignore 17 successes that provide strong to very strong evidence in favor of the models. Let’s look at your (or rather BPL’s) list of 5 shortcomings. Let’s see how and how much they might be likely to affect warming we see:
    1)ITCZ–There are a variety of possible causes–perhaps even as simple as insufficient resolution. And I don’t see any potential cause that would significantly affect CO2 sensitivity. What is more, it is being researched quite actively (see below). This hardly looks like a problem that has been “missed”.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=double+itcz&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7PCTA_en

    2)ENSO variability–Actually, given the current resolution of GCM, it’s amazing they exhibit ENSO at all. Again, though ENSO is a short-term behavior, so it will not affect CO2 sensitivity measurements. And again, being researched actively, not swept under the rug.

    3)Insufficiently sensitive sea ice–OK, now here’s one where it is clearly a positive feedback. Also being actively researched. This one counts against you, though, given the sign of the feedback.

    4)Diurnal moist convection cells–Again, note the presence of “diurnal”. This is a short-term effect and very unlikely to affect CO2 sensitivity estimates. And again an area of active research.

    5)Clouds–Ah, finally, a possible candidate. However, a very active area of research, and in this case the observations do not favor a strongly negative feedback AND the sensitivity estimates are independent of the data and models for clouds. In this case, the sensitivity estimates provide a likely constraint for what the clouds will give.

    So, Walter, unless you are claiming that the shortcomings of the models are indicative a fundamental failing in our understanding of climate, I don’t see the grounds to cancel the crisis. And given the very real successes of the climate–many of which wouldn’t be there without a fairly strong CO2 sensitivity–it’s hard to countenance a claim that there is something fundamentally wrong.

    You love to go on about how complicated climate is. Do you have any comprehension of how hard it would be to get such complicated models ALMOST RIGHT and still have something fundamentally wrong with phenomenon as central as CO2 forcing and feedbacks?

    And you should notice another thing. Who are the ones actively doing research into current model shortcomings? Here’s a hint–it ain’t microWatts, McI or even the real scientists among the denialists/skeptics. Nope. If there were research that overturned our current understanding of climate, it would be the product of the mainstream consensus scientists, because they are ones actively pulling on the threads of the models.

    Walter, many questions in climate science are complicated. WRT AGW, the question we’re asking the climate science is pretty simple:

    Will an increase in a well mixed (makes it global), long-lived (means long-term averages are the crucial metric) known greenhouse gas significantly alter Earth’s climate over a period of decades to centuries?

    So we aren’t saying that no other influences are important. We’re just saying that the other influences are unlikely to persist for centuries. Know of any influences that affect climate for centuries other than Milankovitch cycles and the carbon cycle? Have any of them been changing dramatically of late? How likely do you think it is that we would utterly miss such an influence?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Jan 2010 @ 4:10 PM

  735. “Rod B says:
    9 January 2010 at 2:14 PM

    As I would expect scientists to do also, eh?”

    And they do: read the IPCC reports.

    Plenty there about “we don’t know X and we’re not sure of Y”.

    Where was your “what if I’m wrong”? e.g. with the photon count stuff?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Jan 2010 @ 4:24 PM

  736. Rod backpedals

    “Ray, et al: Never mind! My double checking/guessing (as it seems you have, too) tells me you were using a much narrower column of air/CO2 than was my column of photons…”

    Rod, your column would be a 1cm square to fit your figures. Why were you taking a 1cm square?

    You were also using maths incorrectly: the chance of a photon getting out is the combination of NO CO2 interception.

    And that’s not a linear fit: that’s geometric.

    And EVEN THEN your physics doesn’t make any sense: with a relaxation time of ~microseconds, you’d need to take a snapshot of how much is going on in your colum before they relax to the previous state. Not how many goes along in one unit of arbitrary time.

    I mean, there’s multiple lines of epic fail going on in there.

    To be capped by a mega-epic-fail of rubbishing Ray for BSing with big numbers.

    Even were that the case, at least they were the right physics.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Jan 2010 @ 4:32 PM

  737. Walter, #727, the way I look at it is “hope for the best (no GW, no ill effects from GW), expect the worst” or in my case “strive to mitigate GW, hoping that it really isn’t real.”

    I use Pascal’s wager to help me think about it.

    Q1: THE FALSE POSITIVE: What are the harms in thinking GW is happening (and mitigating it) when in fact it isn’t happening (the false positive, which scientist strive to avoid like the plague, which is why they are closer to denialists than environmentalists). I have found that mitigating down to 75% reduction of GHG emission can actually be done cost-effectively, without lowering living standards or productivity, AND mitigating GW also mitigates many other environmental and non-environmental problems, there is virtually not reason not to mitigate global warming, even if it isn’t happening.

    Q2: THE FALSE NEGATIVE: What are the harms in thinking GW is not happening & failing to mitigate it, when in fact it is happening. Since it can lead to world food shortages thru droughts, floods, storms, heat stress, CO2 overload/acidification — a vicious killer musical chairs of diminishing resources, and many other problems to boot (pollution, resource waste, military/warlord conflict, etc), and apparently the worst that could happen just got much worst last year (re scientists’ knowledge — see pg. 24 of http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/AGUBjerknes_20081217.pdf ) — the Venus syndrome of permanent runaway warming as on Venus, in which all life on planet earth dies a billion years before necessary, when the sun goes supernova — it might just be a good idea to mitigate and save money, than fail to mitigate and lose not only our shirts from a profligate, wasteful lifestyle, but our (mainly our progeny’s) lives.

    So we have a way of making a decision on this even in the face of our layman’s lack of scientfic understanding, even in the face of not trusting the climate scientists.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 9 Jan 2010 @ 4:34 PM

  738. Re #710 Lynn Vincentnathan:

    The cold weather in much of the northern temperate zone is due to a strongly negative phase of the arctic oscillation. NSIDC has a discussion of current conditions:

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    Global anomaly maps are available at (e.g.) http://esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/clim/glbcir_rnl.shtml

    http://esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_30a.rnl.gif
    http://esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_90a.rnl.gif
    http://esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_365a.rnl.gif

    Zonal mean anomalies:

    http://esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-bin/hovmoller/timeplot.pl?var=air&level=2000&mon1=10&mon2=1&dy1=1&dy2=31&yr1=2009&yr2=2010&datatype=reanalysis&type=anom&fxdlon=yes&postscript=no&lon1=0&lon2=360&lat1=90&lat2=-90&cint=.5&lowr=-4&highr=6.5&size=100&Submit=Create+Plot

    For comparison last year and 2006/2007 (warmest Nov/Dec/Jan so far):

    http://esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-bin/hovmoller/timeplot.pl?var=air&level=2000&mon1=10&mon2=1&dy1=1&dy2=31&yr1=2008&yr2=2009&datatype=reanalysis&type=anom&fxdlon=yes&postscript=no&lon1=0&lon2=360&lat1=90&lat2=-90&cint=.5&lowr=-4&highr=6.5&size=100&Submit=Create+Plot
    http://esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-bin/hovmoller/timeplot.pl?var=air&level=2000&mon1=10&mon2=1&dy1=1&dy2=31&yr1=2006&yr2=2007&datatype=reanalysis&type=anom&fxdlon=yes&postscript=no&lon1=0&lon2=360&lat1=90&lat2=-90&cint=.5&lowr=-4&highr=6.5&size=100&Submit=Create+Plot

    (Note that these aren’t equal area maps)

    Comment by Andreas — 9 Jan 2010 @ 4:35 PM

  739. stevec comes up with some brammers:

    “1. He lied? Can anyone state how he lied?”

    Because it was already known to be false.

    “2. He took money, not sure this is true but really don’t care,”

    You don’t care? Why on earth don’t you care if someone can pay wodges to a scientist and they will lie when the same scientist is “bucking the trend” again (with someone with lots of money to spend wanting this to be said standing nearby)?

    “3. It doesn’t matter if the science wasn’t done properly,”

    Then why are you even asking? Seems you don’t care about anything to do with it.

    So stop asking.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Jan 2010 @ 4:36 PM

  740. Oh, and on 712, the same old responses come back because the same old question is being asked.

    It would be like someone asking “so what is 1 plus 1?” and when they’re told, asking again. And again. And so on. Then when they’re asked to stop repeating, you come along and say “well, you keep repeating too!”.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Jan 2010 @ 4:39 PM

  741. Hank Roberts wrote in 706:

    Walter would suggest not looking at what difference the funding makes because — why?

    It’s been done–repeatedly–and that look consistently turns up something really interesting.

    When Walter and his ilk say not to look — trust them. Look.
    Walter and his peers are a reliable indicator, in their own way.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=scientific+journal+article+study+funding+source+results

    Well, since Walter Manny was talking about Richard Lindzen, I decided to look at whose funded the organizations that Lindzen has been associated with.

    Going to:

    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1496

    I see:

    Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy, Cato Institute, Tech Central Station, George C. Marshall Institute, Heartland Institute, all of which have received funding from Exxon.

    In the following:

    Factsheet: Richard Lindzen
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/personfactsheet.php?id=17

    … they give the following relationships:

    Member, Annapolis Center – Science and Economic Advisory Council.
    Contributing Expert, Cato Institute.
    Contributing Expert, George C. Marshall Institute.

    Digging a little further for the other two organizations, ExxonSecrets also shows that a biography existed at Tech Central Station although it is no longer there – but an image can be gotten at www-archive-org

    http://www.techcentralstation.com/biolindzenrichard.html [obsolete]

    … and you can also find for example:

    A Mayor Mistake
    By Dr. Richard Lindzen, Published 09/17/2003
    http://www.techcentralstation.com/091703C.html [obsolete]

    So Richard Lindzen has been a contributing expert/author for Tech Central Station as well.

    Likewise, Heartland Institute has him listed here as one of their experts:

    Heartland Institute – Global Warming Experts
    http://www.globalwarmingheartland.org/experts.html
    *
    But what of Lindzen himself?

    SourceWatch states:

    In a biographical note at the foot of a column published in Newsweek in 2007, Lindzen wrote that “his research has always been funded exclusively by the U.S. government. He receives no funding from any energy companies.” (Emphasis added).[10]
    Ross Gelbspan, journalist and author, wrote a 1995 article in Harper’s Magazine which was critical of Lindzen and other global warming skeptics. In the article, Gelbspan reports Lindzen charged “oil and coal interests $2,500 a day for his consulting services; [and] his 1991 trip to testify before a Senate committee was paid for by Western Fuels and a speech he wrote, entitled ‘Global Warming: the Origin and Nature of Alleged Scientific Consensus,’ was underwritten by OPEC.”[11]
    A decade later Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam reported, based on an interview with Lindzen, that “he accepted $10,000 in expenses and expert witness fees from fossil- fuel types in the 1990s, and has taken none of their money since.”[12]

    *
    Now I had three of the five organizations down as being involved in both the tobacco and AGW denial campaigns. The were:

    9. Cato Institute
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Cato_Institute
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=21

    16. George C. Marshall Institute
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=George_C._Marshall_Institute
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=36

    18. Heartland Institute
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Heartland_Institute
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=41

    Some coincidence. Richard Lindzen is also well-known as having made statements that the tobacco industry have found useful. For example, reporters have stated after interviewing him how he argued that the evidence against tobacco is weak.

    Please see:

    Lindzen has claimed that the risks of smoking, including passive smoking, are overstated. In 2001, Newsweek journalist Fred Guterl reported, after an interview with Lindzen,
    “He’ll even expound on how weakly lung cancer is linked to cigarette smoking. He speaks in full, impeccably logical paragraphs, and he punctuates his measured cadences with thoughtful drags on a cigarette.”

    http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Richard-Lindzen

    … then at the very last paragraph of a tobacco industry propaganda piece:

    Richard Lindzen, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has emphasized that problems will arise where we will need to depend on scientific judgement, and by ruining our credibility now we leave society with a resource of some importance diminished. The implementation of public policies must be based on good science, to the degree that it is available, and not on emotion or on political needs. Those who develop such policies must not stray from sound scientific investigations, based only on accepted scientific methodologies. Such has not always been the case with environmental tobacco smoke.

    Reprinted from the July 1991 Consumers’ Research Special Report:
    Passive Smoking: How Great a Hazard?
    by Gary L. Huber, Robert E. Brockie, and Vijay K. Mahajan
    http://tobaccodocuments.org/pm/2046323437-3484.txt

    … where, incidentally, the very same authors wrote,

    Smoke and Mirrors: The EPA’s Flawed Study of Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Lung Cancer
    by Gary L. Huber, Robert E. Brockie, and Vijay K. Mahajan
    http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv16n3/reg16n3c.html

    … available at Richard Lindzen’s Cato Institute.

    Given these coincidences, I decided to dig a little deeper on the two Exxon-funded organizations which did not at first glance look like they had been involved in tobacco denial campaign.

    Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy (previously known simply as Annapolis Center)
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=13

    The Google Search…

    site:tobaccodocuments.org “annapolis center”

    … returned at least 6 distinct “Weekly Activities Reports to Issues Management” about various discussions with the Annapolis Center.

    Yes, it would appear that they were involved in the tobacco denial campaign as well. But what of Tech Central Station?

    Directly they have no relationship that I know of with the tobacco industry. However, looking at:

    Tech Central Station
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Tech_Central_Station

    … we see that they were created by DCI Group (a PR firm) in 2000.

    Digging a little further:

    DCI Group
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=DCI_Group

    … we see that they were involved in the tobacco denial campaign.

    You just gotta love those coincidences!

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 9 Jan 2010 @ 4:42 PM

  742. Walter Manny — 9 January 2010 @ 1:22 PM says “You’re focused on the 17, me the 5.”
    It seems to me that you are betting that the 5 known inaccuracies in the climate model predictions will someday resolve by overturning the 1 most important model prediction – doubling CO2 will cause ~2-4.5 degree warming.
    The underestimation of cryosphere response is also an underestimation of albedo feedback, so we know that the models underpredict sensitivity because of this.
    The models underestimate diurnal cycles of moist convection and rainfall intensity as shown here, so storm damage will likely be worse than currently predicted.
    According to Lin
    “About half of the models have significant double-ITCZ problem, which is characterized by cold SST bias over much of the tropical oceans…” so correcting model inaccuracies which result in a double ITCZ will give warmer tropical SST, and bias the sensitivity higher. (Not to mention that warmer SST=>more H2O evaporation=>stronger water vapor amplification of global warming).
    Since ENSO is a climate “wobble”, not a trend, more accurate modeling of changes in the frequency/magnitude of the ENSO won’t effect the predictions or trend of warming being caused by CO2, but may help prevent food riots in Indonesia. It’s possible that “future seasonal precipitation extremes associated with a given ENSO event are likely to be more intense due to the warmer, more El Niño-like, mean base state in a future climate.”

    Which leaves cloud feedbacks as your only possible winning bet that doing nothing is the least risky approach. Have Lindzen or Svensmark and Friis-Christensen explained why GCR-cloud physical processes which occur fast enough to be seen within ~7 day after a Forbush event somehow get filtered out of the 11 year solar cycle with which they are correlated, leaving no trace of modulation on our rising temperatures?

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 9 Jan 2010 @ 5:23 PM

  743. Don Shor wrote in 633:

    Here is a direct quote from the article I linked, dated 12/8/08:
    http://arcticfocus.com/2008/12/08/arctic-summers-to-be-ice-free-by-2015/
    “David Barber, a University of Manitoba geoscientist, claims that the Arctic will see its first ice free summer in 2015, due to global warming. Mr. Barber was in charge of almost 300 scientists from 15 different countries who were all taking part in the Circumpolar Flaw Lead System Study. The CFL was a $40 million dollar Arctic research project that saw the scientist studying the Arctic for a nine month period, based out of the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker, the Amundsen. Mr. Barber has previously claimed that the Arctic basin would see its first ice free summer between 2013 and 2030, but due to his recent findings he is now able to narrow it down even further, stating it will most likely be in 6 years.”

    Doug Bostrom is absolutely right that these are not scientific publications. It is a quote in the media from a climate scientist. Oftentimes we are dealing with exaggerations in the media, misquotes, etc., on all sides of the climate change issue.

    Jinchi wrote in 657:

    That’s not a direct quote. A direct quote would’ve been the words that came from David Barber’s mouth.

    Don, it looks like Jinchi is right: that isn’t a direct quote.

    The following is a bit more mainstream, and it is a direct quote — regarding 2030:

    Dr Serreze said: “If you asked me a couple of years ago when the Arctic could lose all of its ice, then I would have said 2100, or 2070 maybe. But now I think that 2030 is a reasonable estimate. It seems that the Arctic is going to be a very different place within our lifetimes, and certainly within our children’s lifetimes.”

    Ice-free Arctic could be here in 23 years
    David Adam, environment correspondent
    The Guardian, Wednesday 5 September 2007
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/sep/05/climatechange.sciencenews

    No, if you want something a bit more technical that gives an earlier date you might check the presentation Wieslaw Maslowski gave in Japan back in 2008:

    When will Summer Arctic Sea Ice Disappear?
    Wieslaw Maslowski, Naval Postgraduate School
    Sustainability Weeks 2008 – Symposium on Drastic Change in the Earth System during Global Warming
    Sapporo, Japan, 24 June 2008
    http://eprints.lib.hokudai.ac.jp/dspace/bitstream/2115/34395/5/Maslowski.pdf

    On page 15, after noting that sea ice volume decreased by 40% roughly linearly from 1997 to 2004, Wieslaw Maslowski states, “If this trend persists the Arctic Ocean will become ice-free by ~2013!” And at that point the data that he was using didn’t even take into account the great melt of 2007.

    The exclamation point might seem like a bit much, and we might prefer that he distinguish between first- and multi-year ice. But there you are: someone arguing that simple extrapolation based upon sea ice volume suggests that we might see and ice free Artic sea as early as 2013 — and doing so in a technical presentation.

    But lets bring in the distinction between first- and multi-year ice. Later in 2008, first-year sea ice barely increased in volume. In contrast, multi-year ice volume decreased from roughly 7500 km^3 to 4500 km^3 going from the winter of 2007 to the winter of 2008, 40%, dropping more rapidly than any earlier period from 2004-7.

    Please see:

    Trend in winter sea ice volume (2004-2008)
    http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/365871main_earth3-20090707-full.jpg

    Images: New NASA Satellite Survey Reveals Dramatic Arctic Sea Ice Thinning, 07.07.09
    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/icesat-20090707.html

    This was during a period that many a skeptic would regard as a recovery — simply going on sea ice extent.
    *
    And what of 2009?

    You might look at:

    Arctic sea ice age at the end of the melt season
    http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20091005_Figure5.png

    Figure 5. These images compare ice age, a proxy for ice thickness, in 2007, 2008, 2009, and the 1981 to 2000 average. This year saw an increase in second-year ice (in blue) over 2008. At the end of summer 2009, 32 percent of the ice cover was second-year ice. Three-year and older ice were 19 percent of the total ice cover, the lowest in the satellite record.

    … from:

    6 October 2009
    Arctic sea ice extent remains low; 2009 sees third-lowest mark
    http://nsidc.org/news/press/20091005_minimumpr.html

    Second year ice saw a substantial of a recovery according that map. However, third year fell to a dramatic new low, perhaps only half of what it was the year before. Some recovery.

    *
    But much of this is going off of IceSat images — showing us what is and what is not second and third year ice — and now observations made by Barber and his team have cast that into doubt. What looked to IceSat like multi-year ice in the Beaufort Sea as far south as 71°N was rotten ice until about 74.5°N

    Please see:

    Barber, D. G., R. Galley, M. G. Asplin, R. De Abreu, K.-A. Warner, M. Pucko, M. Gupta, S. Prinsenberg, and S. Julien (2009), Perennial pack ice in the southern Beaufort Sea was not as it appeared in the summer of 2009, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L24501, doi:10.1029/2009GL041434. (abstract only)
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL041434.shtml
    *
    Personally I don’t know when the arctic sea ice will melt completely for the first time. Personally I don’t know whether it will make much of a difference distinguishing between the point at which all the multi-year ice melts and all sea ice melts for the first time. But I see no reason to think that we are anywhere near a recovery of any sort and it looks to me like an we will see ice free Arctic Sea sooner rather than later.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 9 Jan 2010 @ 6:28 PM

  744. [Corrected html]

    #668 Completely Fed Up

    It also prod-uces THREE TIMES the UK needs.

    I’m not sure what your ‘It’ repres-ents here. But this morning on Radio 4
    I heard a report of the government’s announcement:

    Licenses granted for 32 gW off shore wind power, cost about 100b UKP,
    producing about 1/4 of UK’s needs and creating about 70,000 jobs
    This would be a factor of 12 less than the THREE above.
    >
    > This evening Radio 4 consulted their spe-cial-is-t in numerical data (who
    presents a programme called ‘More or Less’) and got this

    1. The 32 gW reps max. power ; average would be 10gW and this would be
    about 4% of UK needs (I suppose the lower value includes such needs as
    fuel for cars, aviation and keeping warm , the higher one refers to
    electrical power ?) We would now be a factor of 75 below your THREE.

    2. The government has promised it will be paying for about 3m UKP out of
    the 100bn (factor of about 33,000 here)

    3. the number of jobs cre-ated will lie in the range -2,000 to +20,000

    Is ‘More or Less’ biased? No idea. But they have ignored my suggestion
    to discuss some of the simpler examples of statistical blunders made by
    climate conrarians.

    The government always exagg-erates but they have done one thing right and
    that is to employ Prof. David McKay as an adv-isor on energy matters. I
    wonder if that deci-sion and the deci-sion to go for off shore wind might
    be related?

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 9 Jan 2010 @ 6:36 PM

  745. Fed Up, it appears your change of name has not changed your willingness to leap in with meaningless answers. You say he lied. Could you be a bit more specific?

    Comment by stevenc — 9 Jan 2010 @ 6:45 PM

  746. Re:733 Don Shor says: “No. The reporter (I assume) got it backwards.”

    [edit - stick to the facts]

    James C. McKinley Jr. certainly can’t get climate reporting right. Before anyone thinks Texas A&M’s Dr. Nielsen-Gammon is just another Texas doofus consider this article in the San Angelo Standard Times:

    WINDMILL: El Niño may bring more rainfall,
    http://www.gosanangelo.com/news/2009/jul/15/el-ni241o-may-bring-more-rainfall/
    by Jerry Lackey,
    Posted July 15, 2009.
    (excerpt)
    “The current drought conditions are partly because of La Niña, during which cold sea surface temperatures are found in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, said John Nielsen-Gammon, professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University who also serves as Texas’ climatologist.”

    “Nielsen-Gammon said history records that when La Niña occurs, winters in this part of the country are typically drier and warmer than normal, frequently with strong, drying winds from the southwest and west.”
    [...]
    “El Niño, the periodic warming of central and eastern tropical Pacific waters, occurs on average every two to five years and typically lasts about 12 months.”

    The comments above are correct – just the opposite of what McKinley writes in the NYT. He should post an apology for his grasp of science – posted in comment 730, and below:

    “[John Nielsen-Gammon, the state climatologist] said the drought owed much to the two winters in which surface water temperatures along the equator in the Pacific Ocean were above normal, a phenomenon known as El Niño. In addition, the tropical storms that raked the Texas coast in 2008 dropped almost no rain inland.”

    “But this winter the Pacific cooled off, producing the pattern known as La Niña, which generally brings wet weather to Texas, he said. The central region around Austin and San Antonio received 8 to 12 inches more rain than normal from August to October. Farther south, around Corpus Christi, a wave of storms in November and December dropped up to 10 inches more rain than usual, he said.”

    McKinley’s been the Mexico City bureau chief of The New York Times since 2006. [edit]

    Comment by Tim Jones — 9 Jan 2010 @ 6:45 PM

  747. Geoff, go to the bbc link I gave.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8443865.stm

    is it again.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Jan 2010 @ 7:39 PM

  748. #738, Andreas, thanks a lot. This is very useful. First of all what I make of it is that even on short time scales, such as Dec 2009 (and one should not really do “climate” on short time scales) there seem to be the same or more temp anomolies in the warmer direction as in the cooler direction on the upper northern hemisphere circumpolar map (http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ see esp. http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20100105_Figure4.png ), and many more warmer latitudes on the world zonal chart (http://esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-bin/hovmoller/timeplot.pl?var=air&level=2000&mon1=10&mon2=1&dy1=1&dy2=31&yr1=2009&yr2=2010&datatype=reanalysis&type=anom&fxdlon=yes&postscript=no&lon1=0&lon2=360&lat1=90&lat2=-90&cint=.5&lowr=-4&highr=6.5&size=100&Submit=Create+Plot ).

    On longer time scales, 90 days to one year, there are definitely more warmers/hotters than coolers; in fact almost all (if diff from zero) are in the warmer direction in recent years.

    I think these maps and graphs are worth 100,000 words. That’s what the denialists need to see, as they seem to be taking keen note of unusually cold days in their communities and regions, and ignoring warm days or the bulk of the daily temps, and ignoring the rest of the world.

    Even the hockey stick doesn’t say it so eloquently, in terms of showing that, yes, it might be cooler in Chile & a couple of other places over an entire year & in the U.S., parts of Europe & Russia during Dec-Jan 2009-10, but nearly everywhere else it’s either the same or warmer, and quite warmer in the Atlantic-side Arctic region…where BTW the Greenland ice sheets are being regaled with warmer than usual weather.

    It is also revealing that while the sea ice extent Sept 2009 was not as minimal as in 2007, it is about the same Dec 2009 & Dec 2007, which looks actually more ominous, like warming is kicking in more to stay for the winter, or something. And I think that fits global warming, like one can’t blame the sun for that, not in the arctic during winter.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 9 Jan 2010 @ 8:36 PM

  749. Hank Roberts wrote in 706:

    Walter would suggest not looking at what difference the fun*ding makes because — why?

    When Walter and his ilk say not to look — trust them. Look.
    Walter and his peers are a reliable indicator, in their own way.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=scientific+journal+article+study+funding+source+results

    Nice link!

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 9 Jan 2010 @ 8:48 PM

  750. Couple that may be of interest…

    http://www.the-scientist.com/templates/trackable/display/blog.jsp?type=blog&o_url=blog/display/55671&id=55671

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/25428.php

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 9 Jan 2010 @ 8:52 PM

  751. PS

    Sorry about those links, but something in them was setting off the spam filter. (Get rid of the asterisks and spaces)

    But here are the titles:

    Merck published fake journal
    Phar-maceutical Companies Submit Ghostwritten Articles, Medical Journal Editors Say

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 9 Jan 2010 @ 8:54 PM

  752. McDonald’s UK looking to reduce to flatulence (bovine, that is):

    “McDonald’s seeks to cut cows’ methane emissions

    Three-year study by burger giant aims to reduce pollution from flatulent livestock

    McDonald’s has long been the butt of jokes about what goes into its burgers, but now it is to spend thousands of pounds investigating what comes out of its beef cows.

    The fast food chain, which uses beef from 350,000 cattle a year for its burger meat, is to conduct a three-year study into methane emissions from cattle on 350 farms across Britain. Gas produced by flatulent livestock accounts for 4% of the UK’s total carbon emissions. It is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse agent.”

    More:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/10/mcdonalds-methane-emissions-cattle

    If we all included Beano in our diets…

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 9 Jan 2010 @ 9:28 PM

  753. Rod B, Re: #557,
    There is no problem in attributing unusually warm weather events to Global Warming, overall that is what Global warming means. Cold weather events in the midst of global warming are somewhat intangible, the way to look at those events is how cold would it have been without global warming? The obvious answer is likely colder! The example where I live (in Australia,) more than thirty years ago, snow had fallen as late as Christmas day. Now, we are lucky to get snow in Winter!

    To me the situation is exactly analogous to the change from Winter to Summer. Each warm day is a sign of the coming Summer. Does a cold day, week or even month disprove that the summer is coming?

    Comment by Lawrence McLean — 9 Jan 2010 @ 9:31 PM

  754. # 737 is the way to proceed compare the costs of the two cases that are errors in some sort and decide which is the least cost option. Then we need the costs of the mitigation versus the costs of doing nothing to be made on common base economic assumptions to make a reasonable comparison. This is the limit of the insurance model where you ask what if you are wrong and evaluate the costs in each case, rather than than assuming each side is correct and evaluating the savings. The there is no AGW case but we act as if there is is like most peoples purchase of homeowners insurance, their house does not burn down during the year, but they were protected in case it did. That would apply in this case.

    Comment by Lyle — 9 Jan 2010 @ 9:34 PM

  755. #743 Timothy Chase re: arctic ice
    Thanks for the excellent overview and the links, and especially the update on multi-year ice.
    it looks to me like an we will see ice free Arctic Sea sooner rather than later.
    Everything you’ve posted certainly leads to that conclusion.

    Comment by Don Shor — 9 Jan 2010 @ 9:34 PM

  756. A follow-up to 743 on Arctic Sea Ice…

    The following has a chart produced by Maslowski (2009) which takes into account studies up to 2009 in projecting the near disappearance of summer arctic sea ice between 2012-16.

    FreshNor: The freshwater budget of the Nordic seas
    http://freshnor.dmi.dk/handout_freshnor.pdf

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 9 Jan 2010 @ 9:41 PM

  757. In other news, with usual hat tip to Kevin VE3EN:

    http://www.sec.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/f10.gif
    http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/ssn_predict_l.gif

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Jan 2010 @ 10:09 PM

  758. I’ve seen some of the excellent articles on here relating to Antarctica. The SCAR report “Antarctic Climate Change and the Environment” dated November 2009 seems to be a great compendium of the latest findings and research papers.
    http://www.scar.org/publications/occasionals/acce.html

    What is the status of this report in regard to the most recent science (it includes a number of references “in press” so I assume it’s fairly up to date, within publication constraints). Is there any value in pulling together some particular insights from this report on realclimate?

    I have not found a huge amount in the press about it. For example, the report discusses the ice cores records back to 800,000 years (previously 600,000 years as I understand it). Another example is the concern that sea levels might rise much more than previously expected.

    I’m just reading the report now. It’s long and my science is rusty, so I’m taking my time and haven’t got far yet. But I have to say it’s very readable, even for me. (It may all been covered here already – I’m a relative newcomer to this site so apologies if this is out of order.)

    Comment by Sou — 9 Jan 2010 @ 10:31 PM

  759. Far from “returning to the mean” as Matthew puts it, the sea ice volume has continued to decline.

    I ought to have written that the rate of summer Arctic ice melt had regressed “toward the mean” instead of “to the mean”. It’s clearly not “at” the mean, and it did not in fact regress all the way “to” the mean.

    For more about NH cyclones go here:
    http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/tropical/

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 10 Jan 2010 @ 12:07 AM

  760. Nice, quick article in NY Times illuminating cold snap in various media-rich bits of the world:

    “A bitter wind has been blowing over parts of North America, Europe and Asia. Some places have been colder than ever, like Melbourne, Fla., which dipped to 28 degrees last Thursday, a record low. Europe has been walloped by snowstorm after snowstorm.

    What’s going on? Global cooling?

    Nope. A mass of high pressure is sitting over Greenland like a rock in a river, deflecting the cold air of the jet stream farther to the south than usual.

    This situation is caused by Arctic oscillation, in which opposing atmospheric pressure patterns at the top of the planet occasionally shift back and forth, affecting weather across much of the Northern Hemisphere.

    What’s notable this year is that the pattern of high pressure over the Arctic is more pronounced than at any time since 1950. ”

    More:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/10/weekinreview/10chang.html?hpw

    So, a dilemma. Doubters must make hay with cold weather where they live, simultaneously talk away a 15 degree variance further north. Tally ho.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Jan 2010 @ 12:16 AM

  761. 683, Jinchi: In fact, this is what scientists were saying immediately after Katrina:
    there is no way to prove that Katrina either was, or was not, affected by global warming. For a single event, regardless of how extreme, such attribution is fundamentally impossible.
    ;
    That was posted at RealClimate by Stefan Rahmstorf, Michael Mann, Rasmus Benestad, Gavin Schmidt, and William Connolley in September 2005. So Matthew was dead wrong on the first point.

    Semi-True: I read quotes from some scientists, not web posts from different scientists.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 10 Jan 2010 @ 12:17 AM

  762. Just hopped over to GISS to check out how the “climate isn’t warming” people are doing. They don’t have the J-D figures in yet, but the D-N figures are in and 2009 comes in at #3 behind 2005 and 2008.

    The numbers look like this:

    2005: .76
    2008: .74
    2009: .71

    Yep, it’s warm out there. Data is here.

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 10 Jan 2010 @ 12:30 AM

  763. Regarding the miraculous recovery of Arctic sea ice, here’s a nice summary.:

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/01/06/science-nsidc-warm-greenland-arctic-rotten-ice-multi-year-arctic-oscillation/#more-17125

    Teaser: “…an unfortunate trick of Nature helped hide the decline…”

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Jan 2010 @ 2:45 AM

  764. #707 Walter Manny

    Walter, I think you need to assimilate the known and apparent premise from which Lindzen may operate. Consider the following:

    #741 Timothy Chase

    On Lindzen, my read of the situation is thus: Lindzen claims none of his ‘research’ is funded by anything other than the government.

    It’s a classic red herring. If you are watching the right hand you may not notice the left hand.

    His ‘consulting’ is not his ‘research’. So his phrase may be correct but appears to be a lie of omission if my assertion is correct. Personally I think my assertion is correct.

    He was associated with Singer when they/he were apparently plotting to trash Revelle/Revelle’s work. I count him as dishonorable on many levels.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 10 Jan 2010 @ 5:02 AM

  765. Matthew quotes Jinchi (683):

    Far from “returning to the mean” as Matthew puts it, the sea ice volume has continued to decline.

    … then responds in 759:

    I ought to have written that the rate of summer Arctic ice melt had regressed “toward the mean” instead of “to the mean”. It’s clearly not “at” the mean, and it did not in fact regress all the way “to” the mean.

    Matthew, I believe Jinchi’s main point in the bit you quote is that in measuring the growth, decline or recovery of ice (or what you call “regression towards the mean”), one should not measure it in terms of sea ice area or extent, but volume. And as multi-year ice volume fell by 40% from the winter of 2007 to the winter of 2008, in terms of volume this would hardly be the sort of thing that one would regard as a regression “toward the mean.”

    Besides, with regard to your 590:

    Scientists projected the 2003-2007 decline in Arctic Ice as predicting an Arctic ice-free summer by 2015 (more or less), but instead we have recorded a regression toward the previous mean (not yet all the way), which will postpone the ice-free Arctic summer for decades if the regression to the mean continues.

    … the only projection I know of based off of the decline from 2004 to 2007 was an informal statement by Mark Serreze giving us a conservative 2030. In contrast, Maslowski’s projection of 2013 made in 2008 was based off of a 40% volume of melt from 1997-2004.

    Of course if you actually do know of a scientist who projected a sea ice free Arctic summer in 2015 based simply off of the melt from 2004 to 2007, I would be interested in finding out who it is. But it won’t make area or extent any better a measure of sea ice growth or decline. If sea ice volume is declining more or less linearly, then the Arctic Sea would seem to be “regressing” towards a summer sea ice free state.

    Please see: 743, 756

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 10 Jan 2010 @ 5:22 AM

  766. Septic: “Semi-True: I read quotes from some scientists, not web posts from different scientists.”

    So you don’t read quotes from scientists you don’t approve of.

    Anything written down and viewed on the Internet Web Browser is a web post.

    So what hurdle do scientists have to pass to be read by you?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Jan 2010 @ 6:54 AM

  767. Septic: “I ought to have written that the rate of summer Arctic ice melt had regressed “toward the mean” ”

    Which means “Arctic ice is still disappearing”.

    Which isn’t what you’ve been saying before, so does this change mean you agree that the sea ice is reducing now?

    Or are you going to make another “I ought to have written…” post?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Jan 2010 @ 6:56 AM

  768. Because i am mostly interested in climate change risk analysis. I would like to know your opinion about the claim Swetnam, Bowman et al that the fire feedback risk has not been fully recognized in the IPCC reports….

    “The scary bit is that, because of the feedbacks and other uncertainties, we could be way underestimating the role of fire in driving future climate change,” Swetnam said.

    The report’s 22 authors call for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, to recognize the overarching role of fire in global climate change and to incorporate fire better into future models and reports about climate change.

    David Bowman, a lead co-author, said, “We’re most concerned that fire has not been rigorously and adequately incorporated in the climate models. It’s remarkable that such an integral part of the landscape has been so sidelined.”
    ………….
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090423142332.htm

    Comment by Harmen — 10 Jan 2010 @ 7:19 AM

  769. Rattus, I think you mean that 2007 is the second warmest… Doesn’t alter your point, though. We’ll still have the denialists saying “Pay no attention to the melting Arctic!!!”

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Jan 2010 @ 9:41 AM

  770. Re 762,769

    Rattus is reporting land based numbers.

    Comment by hf — 10 Jan 2010 @ 11:04 AM

  771. Ray, yep. That’s what I get for posting past bedtime.

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 10 Jan 2010 @ 11:20 AM

  772. Re:752
    “McDonald’s UK looking to reduce to flatulence (bovine, that is)”

    It’s bovine eructations, not flatulence they’re trying to cut. Most of the methane emissions are derived from the front end of the cow.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/feb/17/cadbury-dairy-milk-cows

    Comment by Tim Jones — 10 Jan 2010 @ 11:32 AM

  773. BPL @ 619:

    We need not just to cut back on fossil fuels ourselves, but to put heavy carbon tariffs on any country that doesn’t–and get our allies to do the same.

    I love you. Will you marry me?

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 10 Jan 2010 @ 12:59 PM

  774. Land-Ocean:

    2005: .62
    2007: .59
    1998: .57
    2009: .56

    Data is here. Note that Hansen says that uncertainty is around .01 so 2009 and 1998 are in a statistical tie. Still pretty warm out there.

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 10 Jan 2010 @ 1:19 PM

  775. J @ 621, CFU @ 648:

    The (mistaken) claim keeps getting repeated the “Only (coal, nukes, the technology XYZ company makes) can solve our needs.” when contrasted against wind, solar, tidal, etc.

    The claims that wind, solar, tidal, etc. can’t do it are, to a large extent, a thing of the past, and continue to become more of a thing of the past as the problem of large scale energy storage, combined with meeting regulatory needs, are being met.

    There are two sets of problems (shape and color not being in there …) that must be solved:

    1). Balancing energy — the minute fluctuations in supply versus demand that happen throughout the day and have to be evened out. A lot of that is “smart grid” related and is being met with “demand response” loads. “Demand response” is jargon for “making the demand go down when generation goes down”. Over the past year or so (I forget, I’m old — I’m allowed to forget) I’ve sent 20 or more patent applications to the PTO on “demand response” and “distributed renewable generation” problems — it’s a very, very active field.

    2). Storage and dispatching — the ability to have power for a day when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow. This is another fertile field and technologies such as thermal, compressed gasses, pumped hydro, gyroscopes, etc. are being deployed to address these needs.

    Ironically, the =problems= with green power come with some pretty cool benefits — like, it’s possible for power to be free, or even have a negative cost. Why? Because what can’t be stored, and what can’t just be “turned off” has to be used. Figure out a way to use “surplus” power, and you’ve got a way to make money using electricity. Figure out a way to return power when there’s a deficit, another money maker.

    But the other really cool benefit has to do with the fact that more generation has to be deployed than needed, and with fully realized costs much lower non-renewable technologies, the costs of all that extra power are going to be low, and it’s only going to keep getting lower as economies of scale continue to work into the market place. The $25K system I have could be installed tomorrow for about $19.5K, and it was intentionally over-built so I could write all those patent applications (which have covered more than half of the $25K cost :) ). Had I taken a more traditional approach, that system would be $16.8K, and I’d have paid it off with the money IBM paid me to write patent applications, plus the money I’ve made doing renewable energy consulting since IBM decided I was too old and gray to keep working there.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 10 Jan 2010 @ 1:32 PM

  776. Lynn Vincentnathan @ 748:

    It is also revealing that while the sea ice extent Sept 2009 was not as minimal as in 2007, it is about the same Dec 2009 & Dec 2007, which looks actually more ominous, like warming is kicking in more to stay for the winter, or something. And I think that fits global warming, like one can’t blame the sun for that, not in the arctic during winter.

    Why? Because someone erects a magical heat transfer barrier?

    I get that it’s warmer “up north” than it is “down south”. It’s just that there is a lot more “down south” than “up north”, at least on this side of the equator.

    FWIW, it was 9F here the other morning. Texas broke a winter power record at 55,000 megawatts with the current cold spell.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 10 Jan 2010 @ 2:01 PM

  777. Re #748, Lynn Vincentnathan:

    Arctic warming happens mostly during autumn and winter (Oct-Jan). In summer, most heat goes into the melting of ice and into the ocean, and near-surface air temperatures stay close to 0 °C. Later in the year, some of the stored heat is released into the atmosphere. The trend for the last 20 years is about 2 K per decade for Oct-Jan north of the polar circle in NCEP reanalysis 2 and ERA-Interim, while the July trend doesn’t exceed the global mean. In GISTEMP the difference isn’t that extreme, but still very visible, see http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/maps/

    The cold anomalies in the Andes (and often New Zealand too) are an artifact of the NCEP reanalysis (both 1 and 2). Snow cover analysis in the southern hemisphere was mostly absent before 1999, and temperatures dropped markedly when it was introduced, because some grid points with no modelled snow before have all-year snow cover now. On the other hand, some of the warm anomalies in the Arctic last year may be caused by missing sea ice in the model. On some days in winter/spring, big parts of the Arctic were ice-free because a satellite instrument failed.

    The global temperature trend for the last 20 years is higher in both NCEP reanalyses (0.24 K per decade, GISTEMP and RSS have 0.19, HADCRUT3 and NCDC 0.18, UAH 0.17, ERA-Interim 0.16), so the anomalies on the linked PSD maps may be too high, but on the other hand the climatology period is 1968-1996 with warmer ‘normal’ temperatures than GISTEMP’s 1951-1980.

    Re #762/#774, Rattus Norvegicus:

    I posted preliminary GISTEMP LOTI data (including SST) for 2009 in #548.

    Comment by Andreas — 10 Jan 2010 @ 2:41 PM

  778. re (720): [Response: Please note this is not the place to start discussing all these issues.... - gavin]

    Aaawwhh. My response was so good, too!

    Comment by Rod B — 10 Jan 2010 @ 2:43 PM

  779. FurryCatHerder (773), since I was a bit counter to BPL’s statement I suppose I’m out of the running… ;-)

    Comment by Rod B — 10 Jan 2010 @ 2:57 PM

  780. Just now we have had a flurry of comments in several newspapers about something Jason Lowe APPARENTLY (there is no actual interview link) said about Rahmstorf’s work from 2007… maybe. Some quote the Holgate comments but none of course, contain Rahmstorf’s reply to those.

    I wonder if you could arrange a head-to-head or commentary by either or both… I am actually extremely interested to see Lowe’s comments in context as I suspect strongly that the media is doing its usual beat-up on the story.

    respectfully
    BJ

    Comment by BJ_Chippindale — 10 Jan 2010 @ 3:23 PM

  781. Did anyone see this?

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/ghcn-gistemp-interactions-the-bolivia-effect/#comment-2405

    “One Small Problem with the anomally map. There has not been any thermometer data for Bolivia in GHCN since 1990.

    None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Nothing. Empty Set.

    So just how can it be so Hot Hot Hot! in Bolivia if there is NO data from the last 20 years?

    Easy. GIStemp “makes it up” from “nearby” thermometers up to 1200 km away. So what is within 1200 km of Bolivia? The beaches of Chili, Peru and the Amazon Jungle.”

    [Response: This guy is completely clueless, both about the source of the data in the GHCN (it is not chosen by NASA or NOAA), and about the concept of using temperature anomalies. If Bolivia does not choose to submit CLIMAT summaries, there is nothing NOAA or NASA can do about it. I've suggested before that a citizen science project that uses the more widely available SYNOP and METAR reports to produce coherent anomaly maps would be more constructive than indulging in juvenile rants about the perfidy of GISS. - gavin]

    Now, I don’t know if this is true or not, but I DO know that the Bolivian glaciers are melting at an alarming rate. If anything, the warmth in Bolivia is probably underestimated by interpolations.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6496429.stm
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8394324.stm

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 10 Jan 2010 @ 5:50 PM

  782. #747
    CFU.

    Many thanks for the link. Its bigger still in that version of the story. i.e this project will provide “33% of Britain’s energy needs” as against Radio 4′s first version of 25% and Tim Harford’s (from
    ‘More or Less’) 4%. I am not sure how much of this will be set in concrete before the next government takes over.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 10 Jan 2010 @ 6:12 PM

  783. Gavin – I don’t know how I stumbled across that little bit of idiocy, but I did. I don’t know who E.M Smith is, but apparently he’s going to be featured in a TV special of some sort. The comments on the site are really quite special.

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 10 Jan 2010 @ 7:25 PM

  784. Jiminmpls @ 781: ChiefIO is a fairly smart guy, who has said kind things about ClearClimateCode, and I think he may have a point in that post, to wit: some of the holes in the GHCN instrumental record are pretty bad. But his discussion of temperatures is either clueless or shameless, and I can’t figure out which.

    He contrasts tropical beaches and rainforests – places his audience intuit are hot – with high Andean mountains – cold – to imply that using the former to estimate temperatures for the latter will generate a false warming signal. But GISTEMP is all about anomalies, not temperatures. His post strongly suggests that he either (a) doesn’t understand this, one of the most basic facts about the GISTEMP method and dataset, or (b) does understand it, but is hoping his audience does not.

    Hansen and Lebedeff 1987 argues for a 1200km anomaly correlation radius, which has been used in GISTEMP ever since. Maybe the radius is wrong, but nobody seems to be arguing that from evidence. Some people, such as ChiefIO, are arguing it by innuendo. Note that these people have datasets at their fingertips which could be used as strong evidence against a 1200km radius, if such evidence exists.

    For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Bolivian Andes have a huge warming signal (e.g.: all those melting glaciers might well reduce the thermal inertia of the area by reduced latent heat capacity). Presumably there’s data, outside GHCN; anyone want to dig it up?

    Comment by Nick Barnes — 10 Jan 2010 @ 7:48 PM

  785. Nick Barnes says: 10 January 2010 at 7:48 PM

    “For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Bolivian Andes have a huge warming signal (e.g.: all those melting glaciers might well reduce the thermal inertia of the area by reduced latent heat capacity). Presumably there’s data, outside GHCN; anyone want to dig it up?”

    Here’s an example.

    The airport serving La Paz is El Alto (SLLP), located 4058 meters above sea level and as such a nicely weird location for gathering temperature data. As Gavin suggests, temperature data for this location could be extracted from METAR reports, found at:

    http://adds.aviationweather.gov/metars/index.php

    The NOAA aviation site only provides UI access to data extending back 36 hours (pilots are usually future looking) but presumably it’s archived somewhere? Surely?

    Doubtless all sorts of criticisms could be leveled at whatever instrumentation is in use at airports, but the effects in question are becoming pretty large at this point.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Jan 2010 @ 8:45 PM

  786. Huh. Quick scrutiny of historical records at SLLP seems to indicate that all record temperatures at that location have been established within the past 15 years. So that location at least is useless. (?)

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Jan 2010 @ 8:56 PM

  787. Rod B @ 779:

    FurryCatHerder (773), since I was a bit counter to BPL’s statement I suppose I’m out of the running… ;-)

    I really wanted to just say “No, my heart already belongs to BPL” or something pointless like that.

    But I think that BPL’s comment is something that we really need to start looking at, because it’s become very clear to me that Ex/Im-Port isn’t fully costing much of anything these days. How much landfill space is occupied by imported garbage? And I don’t mean low-quality products, I mean the packaging that’s left over, regardless of the quality of the product. I recently purchased a USB WiFi adapter. The adapter itself is the standard pen-drive size gadget. A couple page “How To Use This” booklet, 5 1/4″ CD-ROM, and then several times more, by volume and weight, packaging. What a waste. Tax-payers are the ones who have to pass the bond resolutions for yet another public landfill (though a lot of them are now private) for all that trash.

    Likewise, we can pass all the Clean Air and Clean Water legislation in this country we want, but if we’re “importing” dirty air and dirty water from foreign countries, along with the products that are produced in those countries, we really need to look at fully-costing those imports.

    And the reason is that we can’t seem to figure out WHO needs to be paying. There was a piece on the Clark Howard show about a small-time seamstress who is now having to test her products for lead content because the Chinese can’t seem to keep lead out of everything they make. So now the cost of keeping the lead out is being born by tax payers in various countries WITH stricter lead standards. Likewise if Country XYZ has no clean air policy, and Country ABC is trying to reduce CO2 emissions, Country ABC is going to have a harder go of it, because they have to work harder to overcome the impacts of Country XYZ.

    The beautiful thing about BPL’s suggestion is that it gets rid of the need for Cap And Trade. Country XYZ can keep it’s polluting ways, and stop being an exporter. I bet they change their ways, if they want to become an exporter again. Or Company PDQ can demonstrate that they are more CO2-free in their processes and have an export advantage over Company TUV.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 10 Jan 2010 @ 11:27 PM

  788. 767, Completely Fed Up: Which isn’t what you’ve been saying before, so does this change mean you agree that the sea ice is reducing now?

    No. It means I think we can’t now tell the degree to which Arctic Sea Ice is recovering to its former average or if it is “reducing now”. The appropriate time scales are decades. Whether Arctic sea ice has or has not returned to its pre-2003 average thickness has not been determined yet (the Humboldt University team has made informal statements to the press, but has not published in peer-reviewed journals yet, as far as I am aware.)

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 10 Jan 2010 @ 11:37 PM

  789. “There was a piece on the Clark Howard show about a small-time seamstress who is now having to test her products for lead content because the Chinese can’t seem to keep lead out of everything they make.”

    They’ve since moved on to cadmium. Neurological damage -plus- cancer! Who says there’s no such thing as progress? Anyway, the rules don’t specifically say “don’t use this specific acutely toxic metal” so apparently it’s ok, according to Walmart et al. Each toxic metal must apparently be spelled out.

    “Barred from using lead in children’s jewelry because of its toxicity, some Chinese manufacturers have been substituting the more dangerous heavy metal cadmium in sparkling charm bracelets and shiny pendants being sold throughout the United States, an Associated Press investigation shows.

    The most contaminated piece analyzed in lab testing performed for the AP contained a startling 91 percent cadmium by weight. The cadmium content of other contaminated trinkets, all purchased at national and regional chains or franchises, tested at 89 percent, 86 percent and 84 percent by weight. ”

    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/01/10/us/AP-US-Cadmium-Jewelry.html?scp=1&sq=cadmium&st=cse

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 11 Jan 2010 @ 12:26 AM

  790. Septic Matthew says: 10 January 2010 at 11:37 PM

    “The appropriate time scales are decades.”

    So you agree from the observed data that Arctic sea ice is reducing. Good.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 11 Jan 2010 @ 12:28 AM

  791. “No. It means I think we can’t now tell the degree to which Arctic Sea Ice is recovering to its former average or if it is “reducing now”.”

    Well there’s an answer to that quesiton, septic:

    statistical analysis and trend projection.

    Or, alternatively, you can come up with a scientific physical process that would make your purported recovery a recovery to the mean.

    “Whether Arctic sea ice has or has not returned to its pre-2003 average thickness has not been determined yet”

    So what process has changed from decades before 2003 and has returned now to, decades later, produce a recovery of ice extent?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Jan 2010 @ 5:49 AM

  792. Geoff: “Many thanks for the link. Its bigger still in that version of the story. i.e this project will provide “33% of Britain’s energy needs”

    No worries, but you missed (and continue to miss) this bit:

    “The UK has been estimated to have more than 33% of the total European potential offshore wind resource, which is enough to power the country nearly three times over”

    The contracts do not say that they are exploiting 100% of the ***potential*** supply of energy.

    This is not a problem.

    After all, you don’t conclude your house is impossible to build because they’ve only cleared and dug the foundations.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Jan 2010 @ 5:52 AM

  793. Matthew, Given that ice thickness requires years to build up, I think you can take it as given that ice extent that melted away completely in 2007 is substantially thinner now than it was. Just because YOU don’t understand something doesn’t mean the pros don’t.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Jan 2010 @ 5:55 AM

  794. PS the change from 33 to 4 to 25 could be based on what they MEANT.

    After all, the amount of wind is a predicted variable, not a known value and you also have the problem of how often will downtime reduce your capability (much like I’ve never read anywhere how many power stations are kept idle or producing and venting power and therefore not giving the headline power rate).

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Jan 2010 @ 5:55 AM

  795. @788–

    Matthew, I think your hopes for Arctic sea ice recovery are totally delusionary. Extent (per IJIS) is tracking at near-record low levels and the data on thickness we do have is completely at odds with your perspective.

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/icesat-20090707.html

    (This is from a story on Kwok et al., 2009.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 11 Jan 2010 @ 8:14 AM

  796. “The most contaminated piece analyzed in lab testing performed for the AP contained a startling 91 percent cadmium by weight.”

    This is “contaminated” in the same way that the sea is contaminated with water.

    Comment by Nick Barnes — 11 Jan 2010 @ 9:38 AM

  797. #792 and #794 CFU

    You are quite right. The ‘energy’ area is much less certain, than the climate in my opinion and being ambiguous does not help. In order to get hold of some magnitudes for which the definitions are given, I have just gone to David McKay’s book on line book ‘Sustainable Energy’, p.109; which states :

    Energy needs for UK people = 125 kw hrs/day /person (David M’s units).

    Deep offshore wind ~ 32 kw hrs./d/p
    Shallow offshore wind ~16 kw hrs/d/p
    Inshore wind ~ 20 kw hrs /d/p

    The last three entries do not refer to the new announcement, but might perhaps be compared to the THREE in your first comment. Three times UK’s energy needs would be 375 kw hrs/d/p. In addition the value given above for UK energy needs is too low because it takes no account of imports of manufactured goods from e.g China.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 11 Jan 2010 @ 9:55 AM

  798. Re #795

    The disturbing part of Kwok’s work is the drop in MY ice in winter to 40% of its former value in about 5 years, the implication of the graph is an almost total absence of MY ice in a couple of years time (so far this year the extent data is in line with Kwok’s data for previous year’s decay).

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 11 Jan 2010 @ 10:20 AM

  799. I don’t know if this has been covered here already but “Bishop Hill” is about to launch a book, The Hockey Stick Illusion

    Given his previous disgusting track record, I expect this book to be libellous in the extreme. I think that any scientists libelled should consider their legal options.

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 11 Jan 2010 @ 10:37 AM

  800. > cadmium

    It takes damned little cadmium in a fire to produce a plume that will slowly poison both firefighters and people exposed downwind.

    It’s a waste metal from zinc and lead refining, though it now has an industrial use in cadmium telluride solar cells, so it’s being looked at hard because of the risks of spreading it around widely. Bad, bad news.

    http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/htdocs/Chem_Background/ExSumPdf/CdTe.pdf.

    “What do you think of intelligent life on Earth?”
    “It would be a good idea.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Jan 2010 @ 10:43 AM

  801. Bishop Hill actually found a real publisher in the UK to publish it.

    Interesting.

    The Hockey Stick Illusion is a remarkable tale of scientific misconduct …

    Well, libel laws in the UK are favorable to the libeled, but I have no idea if Mann would want to sue over this public claim that he’s guilty of scientific misconduct.

    But there’s no better country in the English-speaking world, at least, to do so.

    Comment by dhogaza — 11 Jan 2010 @ 10:46 AM

  802. FurryCatHerder (787), You get all of that superfluous stuff with the imported connector only because the connector is coincidentally imported — probably because it’s cheaper. If we tariffed it out of existence, domestics would start producing it… and deliver it with the same amount of superfluous stuff: no gain for the landfills.

    I’m not necessarily against the tariff stuff. But I don’t know enough to be for it, either, which was my point. Tariffs come with tons and tons of secondary effects, some with near disastrous effects (read Smoot-Hawley), many of which we can’t even predict. This is even more critical with China which pretty much owns us — well, has tremendous leverage over our finances. I only suggested this tariff idea get great analysis and thought before we yell YaHoo as we jump off the edge without knowing the consistency and depth of the abyss.

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Jan 2010 @ 10:47 AM

  803. Citizen actions are a huge complement to progressive government’s efforts to forestall dangerous climate change.
    In case you haven’t seen these….

    Hopi and Navajo Residents Stop Peabody’s Coal Mine Expansion on Black Mesa
    http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2010/black-mesa-01-08-2010.html
    Interior Department Judge Vacates Permit for Peabody’s Black Mesa Mines
    January 8, 2010

    see also:

    Scientists say mountaintop mining should be stopped
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/07/AR2010010702530.html
    By David A. Fahrenthold
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, January 8, 2010

    And the resistance…
    North Dakota Threatens Suit Against Minnesota, For Even Thinking About Future Carbon Cost
    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/01/north_dakota_thnn.php

    Comment by Tim Jones — 11 Jan 2010 @ 12:05 PM

  804. The illusion of a problem with the Hockey Stick is evidence of malpractice in those proposing it.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Jan 2010 @ 12:25 PM

  805. “The ‘energy’ area is much less certain, than the climate in my opinion and being ambiguous does not help. ”

    Geoff, you’re wandering off the point.

    Your point I was responding to was your assertion that the link said that there was less than the amount of power needed to power britain.

    I corrected you.

    The possible power production for offshore *only* for the UK is not what you quoted. You quoted the amount of production being created in the current round of offshore windfarm production.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Jan 2010 @ 12:28 PM

  806. Re:801
    “The Hockey Stick Illusion is a remarkable tale of scientific misconduct …”

    Montford has gone too far. With such a strong defense I’d sue the bejesus out of the s o b. Too many people that I otherwise respect actually push the drivel he publishes. I’m sure we can raise the funds. Silence is consent.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 11 Jan 2010 @ 12:50 PM

  807. 801 dhogaza,

    It won’t be just Mann. It will be everyone whose taken any part in the work supporting MBH98 and the later similar findings. How can it not be?

    Amazon are taking advance orders for the book, BTW.

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 11 Jan 2010 @ 1:28 PM

  808. 806 Tim,

    I agree. I’ve been surprised by the apparent unwillingness to take action against those who are repeating defamatory libel of the most despicable kind. I’m sure many of us would put a few £ or $ into a legal fund to deal with the filth merchants.

    But then, how on Earth are Steven Milloy and Marc Morano free men? It’s not just science either: Morano attempted to subvert the democratic process in the USA, and may have succeeded to some extent (the Swift Boat campaign).

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 11 Jan 2010 @ 1:40 PM

  809. 806 Tim,

    Who are the people you otherwise respect? I find that hard to understand.

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 11 Jan 2010 @ 1:42 PM

  810. #781 Gavin: Your reference to METAR and SYNOP data in particular. I am a bit surprised if these data are not used.

    Could the ECMWF provide some contribution in this respect? I seem to remember that a couple of years ago ECMWF mission was formally broadened a bit to include climate analysis (or was it?). There was recently some mention of their work by the U.K. Met Office, but the ECMWF homepage does not discuss climate at all.
    http://www.ecmwf.int/
    http://www.ecmwf.int/about/overview/

    For those less familiar with ECMWF: It was established in 1975 to do specialized research and produce medium range weather forecasts (5 to 15 days ahead), supported by 31 member states. It enjoys an excellent reputation as one of the leading international centers in that rather narrow field. ECMWF is equipped with quite powerful computing resources.

    ECMWF daily receives and archives huge amounts of data from various sources. Part of their fame comes from a leading edge ability to merge data from a wide range of observation systems, such as many types of satellite sensors, surface based networks and aircraft. ECMWF also maintains a readiness to evaluate quantitatively the contributions of individual observation systems to forecast accuracy, and they run extensive data quality monitoring and reporting routines.

    Another major activity is to do research and testing to improve their weather forecasting software. For test purposes they re-analyse past data quite extensively. Maybe ECMWF data collection, quality control and archiving activity could be seen as a parallel channel to the climate analysis data chain. They may cover more resources with independent data collection and processing procedures. I have no idea if they presently have any scientists to do climate related work.

    (I suppose the results will be substantially the same, anyway. ECMWF is very heavily model driven, so it provides no solution for the “all models are crap” or “simple explanations only, please” crowds).

    Best regards, your efforts are very valuable indeed.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 11 Jan 2010 @ 1:51 PM

  811. Thanks all for a very informative site – I had one question that I was curious about

    From AR4 chapter 8

    “Using feedback parameters from Figure 8.14, it can be estimated that in the presence of water vapour, lapse rate and surface albedo feedbacks, but in the absence of cloud feedbacks, current GCMs would predict a climate sensitivity (±1 standard deviation) of roughly 1.9°C ± 0.15°C (ignoring spread from radiative forcing differences). The mean and standard deviation of climate sensitivity estimates derived from current GCMs are larger (3.2°C ± 0.7°C) essentially because the GCMs all predict a positive cloud feedback (Figure 8.14) but strongly disagree on its magnitude.”

    So without the positive cloud feedback it seems that the ‘physics’ gives an unrealistically small climate sensitivity (compared with the observation based estimates in chapter 9) and I guess wouldn’t be able to successfully hindcast the various observations mentioned in chapter 9

    Sorry – this next bit is a clumsily worded because I don’t really understand enough to ask the question precisely.

    I know cloud feedback is one of the uncertain areas – do the models start off with the observational based climate sensitivity and then come up with a cloud ‘model’ that has properties that ‘make up the difference’ or is their enough observations of the cloud ‘parameters’ themselves to compare the cloud ‘model’ itself with observations.

    Comment by PeteB — 11 Jan 2010 @ 1:51 PM

  812. Well, TS, Peilke Sr has had a few moments where grandstanding was put second place behind accuracy. Junior’s sometimes done the same.

    It’s not much, but if you’re stuck in the Sahara, any water will do.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Jan 2010 @ 1:52 PM

  813. Rod B @ 802:

    I think that companies could figure out how to stop wasteful packaging if they were being taxed on imported packaging.

    A lot of times secondary effects happen because the thing that is desired is what’s being taxed. Unless someone really, really has to have half a pound of packaging for a couple of grams of USB WiFi adapter, I don’t think we’re going to see weird and unpredictable secondary effects.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 11 Jan 2010 @ 2:11 PM

  814. Rod B says: 11 January 2010 at 10:47 AM

    “You get all of that superfluous stuff with the imported connector only because the connector is coincidentally imported…”

    Oh, my goodness, I’m agreeing with Rod again.

    Consider, there is an army of salesman pushing packaging products on manufacturers. These folks take their commissions and don’t have to worry about what happens downstream to the stuff they’re selling.

    So, push the costs of disposal upstream.

    Another example: everyday, my mailbox is filled with garbage by various marketers. I have to remove it, sort it into recycling, and then pay to dispose of it. It’s a hell of a mess both in my mailbox and systemically, but I have to pay for dealing with it. Why do I have to support the many business plans of the intricate industrial system that sees to it that garbage is stuffed into my mailbox? Because they don’t have to consider the costs they’re imposing on other people. So, they need to be reminded, with a monthly bill, same as I’m reminded of my downstream costs via my garbage fee.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 11 Jan 2010 @ 2:14 PM

  815. Sorry, memory lapse. It was more likely the EUMETSAT, not ECMWF that got its mission broadened to include climate work.

    Still, ECMWF probably holds the premier collection of world weather measurement data. How to access it is another issue. Simple perhaps for the 31 member governments.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 11 Jan 2010 @ 2:17 PM

  816. Re 808

    “I was only ruined twice in my life; once when I lost a lawsuit and once when I won one.”–Voltaire

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Jan 2010 @ 2:19 PM

  817. Pekka, how long would it take you to download 4 petabytes of data over ADSL?

    You also need a lot of disk space.

    This is one reason why it would be simple for 31 member governments.

    It is also the reason why it would be forbidden: 31 governments would need to fork out several million to store it, and ask the taxpayers to pony up for it.

    And ECMWF’s internet bill would go up a lot too: needing more money from those member governments. Which they’d have to get from …

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Jan 2010 @ 2:39 PM

  818. PeteB, both.

    The physics can only come up with so much and you can use microclimate models (resolution of 10′s of cm, even!) to give you a handle on it.

    But there’s still a lot of uncertainty.

    One way to manage that is to run it with several values of feedback.

    Whichever one fits the observations best is most likely the right one.

    This is no different than Kepler’s work on the orbits of the planets.

    You could start with Newton’s laws of motion and get ellipses, but you wouldn’t know a priori exactly how elliptical each orbit is, so you’d fit the data and project where it would go. The eccentricity that best fits would be the considered correct value.

    It doesn’t matter how good the maths: if it’s meant to show something real, reality gets the last laugh.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Jan 2010 @ 2:44 PM

  819. Re: #801
    “Hockey Stick illusion” by A Montford a.k.a. Bishop Hill, published by Stacey International.

    It’s not clear which category of Stacey’s catalog this book falls in. Categories seen at the Stacey website include:
    - Archaeology & Geology
    - Cookery
    - Fiction

    Comment by Deep Climate — 11 Jan 2010 @ 2:59 PM

  820. May I suggest there’s enough of this going around that RC may want to do a post on it?

    “A leading scientist has hit out at misleading newspaper reports that linked his research to claims that the current cold weather undermines the scientific case for manmade global warming.

    Mojib Latif, a climate expert at the Leibniz Institute at Kiel University in Germany, said he “cannot understand” reports that used his research to question the scientific consensus on climate change.

    He told the Guardian: “It comes as a surprise to me that people would try to use my statements to try to dispute the nature of global warming. I believe in manmade global warming. I have said that if my name was not Mojib Latif it would be global warming.”

    He added: “There is no doubt within the scientific community that we are affecting the climate, that the climate is changing and responding to our emissions of greenhouse gases.”

    A report in the Mail on Sunday said that Latif’s results “challenge some of the global warming orthodoxy’s most deeply cherished beliefs” and “undermine the standard climate computer models”. Monday’s Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph repeated the claims.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/11/climate-change-global-warming-mojib-latif

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 11 Jan 2010 @ 3:10 PM

  821. Re:809

    I find it hard to understand myself. It’s with immense disappointment that I know what I know.

    To name just two…

    Lars Jonsson, a world famous ornithologist and water color artist from Sweden. He’s a fascinating and incredibly informed naturalist, but who’s quoted as saying “Global warming is nothing but a hoax and a scare tactic.” He has impugned Michael Mann’s credibility as per M&M.

    http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8872.html

    Lauri Dexter, an expedition leader who’s led expeditions to both the North and South Poles and performed other amazing feats of endurance, who showed the film “The Great Global Warming Swindle” on board ship on expedition to the Antarctic in 2009.

    http://www.quarkexpeditions.com/our-people/expedition-staff/expedition-leaders/laurie-dexter

    I’m certainly not claiming these folks are unstudied dupes. But I’ve argued with both to no avail. They do need to see we won’t take Moncton’s crap …and be educated to the truth of the science to date as would come out in court. Their current views are being reinforced by lies. We just cannot let this stand.

    Both these fellows are admirable and likable. I mean them no ill will.

    A lawsuit would give Moncton wanted exposure. Too bad. He should be sued for at least every penny of profit made off the book.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 11 Jan 2010 @ 3:21 PM

  822. #805 CFU (UK’s wind)

    “Your point I was responding to was your assertion…. ”

    No I did not make the assertion that you saw in my comment. It is true that I had not realised that you were correcting me, but that was not the only misunderstanding. In my experience, when people on a thread start to misunderstand each other; it tends to lead to an amplification effect and it gets boring for the other readers. For example “you quoted” is another pitfall.

    No more contributions from me to this dialogue even though this is an important topic. Anyone else interested in it, should look up David McKay’s book and write to his web site if they can demonstrate that it is wrong about estimated wind capacity. As for the other topic, they can compare (for consistency) the various interpretations of the UK government’s announcement.In David’s words: Every big step counts . The question is how big is this one?

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 11 Jan 2010 @ 3:33 PM

  823. Tim @ 821:

    I think it’s the same reason that I have problems. The weather charts I keep are pointing about as “down” as temperature can get. I said a couple of years ago, if SC24 is a fizzle, we’re in for cold weather. SC24 is a fizzle — SSN is 25 for today. Yawn. But each time I say “GCR!” I get told “No”.

    Perhaps if the message was a bit less rigid and absolute people would have fewer problems. Meanwhile — the heater here is running more than the AC ran last summer. And that means it isn’t just cold, but positively frigid outside.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 11 Jan 2010 @ 3:34 PM

  824. re 816:Voltair obviously never divorced…

    Or married…

    :-)

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Jan 2010 @ 3:37 PM

  825. 821 Tim,

    Thanks for the examples. This reinforces my belief(!) that AGW Denial is a religious, not a rational, stance.

    I’ve got used to the fact that many people can be supremely rational and intelligent in every other way, and yet believe the most bizarre, ridiculous, and just plain nasty stuff when it comes to religion or “faith”. I just have to let it pass, as it’s “just the way it is”.

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 11 Jan 2010 @ 4:23 PM

  826. 821 Tim,

    I forgot to add: this is AW Montford (“Bishop Hill”). Nothing to do with Lord Munchkin, other than their shared AGW denial.

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 11 Jan 2010 @ 4:27 PM

  827. #806 #821 Tim Jones.

    Person drift?

    “A lawsuit would give Moncton wanted exposure.”

    This could be true although I think you intended it to be Montford not Moncton or Monckton.

    Either way the propaganda machine may provide plenty of exposure without a libel action. As we see every day, it has bought up a large chunk of the web and has a sympathetic press.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 11 Jan 2010 @ 4:52 PM

  828. Doug Bostrom, 820:

    Latif is a co-author on the Keenlyside paper that’s already been the subject of two topics here (“Global cooling, wanna bet?”)

    I don’t think the latest noise is about anything new.

    Incidentally, I like review articles, and here’s a multi-author overview of decadal predictions and initialisation. Could be of interest.
    http://ams.allenpress.com/archive/1520-0477/90/10/pdf/i1520-0477-90-10-1467.pdf

    [Response: See also Dunstone and Smith (2010) (in press, sub. reqd.). - gavin]

    Comment by tharanga — 11 Jan 2010 @ 5:09 PM

  829. To all you guys salivating over a possible lawsuit, I’ll kinda second Ray Ladbury’s thought with the fundamental law of legal action: the chance of winning a law suit or court case, of any type, or anywhere, is 50/50.

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Jan 2010 @ 5:28 PM

  830. Poor Latif. He was ridiculously misrepresented back in September, and apparently is being so again–despite having flatly stated the fact of the previous misrepresentation on air in an NPR interview.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 11 Jan 2010 @ 5:38 PM

  831. Ironically enough, Roy Spencer’s site shows AMSU global temps for the start of 2010 running significantly warmer than 09.

    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/

    Of course, it’s still just weather.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 11 Jan 2010 @ 5:43 PM

  832. Re:827 et al,

    I was distracted. I meant A.W. whatshisname …Montford.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 11 Jan 2010 @ 6:13 PM

  833. Gavin,
    I’m afraid the link you’ve provided twice to Dunstone and Smith (2010) just takes me to an AGU login page and I’ve searched that site to no avail. Can you provide a bit more info with which to try to track it down? Thanks.

    [Response: Sorry, it's 'in press' at GRL - you can't get it without a subscription (unless you email one of the authors of course (Doug Smith at the Hadley Centre perhaps). - gavin]

    Comment by Rick Brown — 11 Jan 2010 @ 6:26 PM

  834. How is Latif’s expectation of 2 or more decades w/o warming compatible w/ the ideas that (a) it’s warmer now than the late 70s so there is more water vapor in the air,(b)water vapor is a positive feedback to warming, (c) there is more CO2 in the air than in there was in the late 70s and (d) CO2 is the dominant cause of warming?

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 11 Jan 2010 @ 6:39 PM

  835. Re:829

    “…the chance of winning a law suit or court case, of any type, or anywhere, is 50/50.”

    What’s the chance of a pie in the face?

    Comment by Tim Jones — 11 Jan 2010 @ 6:51 PM

  836. How is Latif’s expectation of 2 or more decades w/o warming compatible…

    Except Latif doesn’t hold that expectation. His latest complaint, in response to the Daily Mail piece, is “I don’t know what to do. They just make these things up.” (in an interview with Joe Romm).

    So, may I suggest you be a responsible human being, and to STOP MAKING STUFF UP? Or at least to STOP QUOTING THOSE WHO MAKE STUFF UP?

    Comment by dhogaza — 11 Jan 2010 @ 7:33 PM

  837. 828, 833:

    Doug Smith gets some press in this Economist article for his initialised model work.

    http://www.economist.com/sciencetechnology/displayStory.cfm?story_id=15211377

    Not sure if it’s been posted before, but it’s nice to see a journalist try a little harder to understand and convey the material. Though the analogy of the portrait is a little strained.

    Comment by tharanga — 11 Jan 2010 @ 7:49 PM

  838. > Septic Matthew says: 11 January 2010 at 6:39 PM
    > How is Latif’s expectation …

    I wonder if this is the same person who was posting as “Matthew” a while back, now using Stoat’s trademark as a monicker, pushing harder for attention? If so, please get over it. you can do much better than this stuff.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Jan 2010 @ 8:01 PM

  839. Re:836

    Link to:

    “FoxNews, WattsUpWithThat push falsehood-filled Daily Mail article on global cooling that utterly misquotes, misrepresents work of Mojib Latif and NSIDC”

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/01/11/foxnews-wattsupwiththat-climatedepot-daily-mail-article-on-global-cooling-mojib-latif/

    Comment by Tim Jones — 11 Jan 2010 @ 8:15 PM

  840. Hank Roberts (838) — He explained that there were now two posters using “Matthew”, so he changed his monicker to differentiate the two…

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Jan 2010 @ 8:16 PM

  841. Septic, OK. Let’s go through it. First, you have more CO2 and water vapor (because it’s warmer) than in 1970. However, you also have several influences that could cool things for a few years (e.g. ENSO or volcanic eruptions) or even a few decades (Grand Solar Minima). When those cooling influences end, whether it is a few decades or a few days, CO2 is there and warming continues. Is that really so hard to grasp, or are you just being a troll?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Jan 2010 @ 8:20 PM

  842. Rod B @ 829:

    A business I’ve been exposed to sent a “take-down” letter to a web-site. The business owner cited Georgia law as the justification. The web-site is in Indiana, the business is in Texas. I’m thinking 0/100 would be the odds in his case.

    Kevin @ 831:

    Yeah, well, it’s all of January 11th. I don’t know of any denialist who’d insist that 11 days is the correct value for “Climate”. Twenty or thirty days, sure. But 11?

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 11 Jan 2010 @ 8:32 PM

  843. 841, Ray Ladbury: However, you also have several influences that could cool things for a few years (e.g. ENSO or volcanic eruptions) or even a few decades

    ENSO and volcanoes are recurrent — if they are as powerful as you say, then CO2 isn’t really dominant. As to the other influences that could cool down the earth for a few decades, if they overcome the combined effects of CO2 and positive feedback from water, then CO2 is not dominant. What other influences did you have in mind?

    838, Hank Roberts: I wonder if this is the same person who was posting as “Matthew” a while back, now using Stoat’s trademark as a monicker, pushing harder for attention?

    I did not know that “Septic” was “Stoat’s trademark”. I thought it was a clever pun when I read it, so I chose it to distinguish me from Matthew L.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 11 Jan 2010 @ 9:18 PM

  844. I did a post on the latest Latif kerfuffle, and then went back at looked at David Rose’s debut a month ago as a climate science “investigative journalist” (ClimateGate/Steve McIntyre, natch).

    http://deepclimate.org/2010/01/11/mojib-latif-slams-daily-mail/

    In comments, several readers suggested that I examine a recent report from the U.K. newspaper the Daily Mail that attempts to tie the research of modeller and IPCC author Mojib Latif to the current cold spell in Europe. Now that Latif has responded to this latest distortion of his views in an interview with the Guardian, I’m happy to oblige.

    And, while I’m at it, I’ll also take a look at the short and dubious track record of newly-minted contrarian climate “investigative journalist” David Rose, whose very first climate change article was an overview of Climategate “research” from Steve McIntyre, with generous assistance from Ross McKitrick.

    You’ll have to read to the end to see Rose’s fawning comments at ClimateAudit, though. They’re great examples for Deech56′s proposed “CA drinking game”.

    Comment by Deep Climate — 11 Jan 2010 @ 10:36 PM

  845. Kevin McKinney wrote in 831:

    Ironically enough, Roy Spencer’s site shows AMSU global temps for the start of 2010 running significantly warmer than 09.

    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/

    Of course, it’s still just weather.

    If you plot 1998, 2009 and 2010 near ground, the earlier half of 1998 is missing. I am assuming the data just isn’t there. But in early to mid August 1998 and 2009 are virtually on top of one another, criscrossing. Then from about September 1 forward 2008 it is pretty clear that 2009 is on top except for a short sliver in December. So far 2010 is 0.2-0.5°F above 2009. But as you say, its “just weather.”

    Would like it if you could pick temperature anomaly instead of temperature. Do you think he might take a request?

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 11 Jan 2010 @ 11:30 PM

  846. RE:843

    “What other influences did you have in mind?”

    The phrase Grand Solar Minima describes an influence
    that could cool the the planet, or at least keep it from
    warming as quite as rapidly.

    The Maunder minimum in the 17th century is an extreme example.

    AGHG forcing is like the sea. Other forcings are like waves on it.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports//tar/slides/large/06.01.jpg

    As you can see volcanoes could be a strong negative forcing,
    though transient.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 11 Jan 2010 @ 11:34 PM

  847. Matthew, have a look over here:
    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/
    Learn the meaning the word has acquired. It’s not likely one you want to adopt, I bet.

    Let’s see if the HTML works here:

    septic TM Stoat

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Jan 2010 @ 11:50 PM

  848. Er, nope, here’s how it ought to look, just for the record:

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/01/cold_and_dark.php#comment-2193301

    Seriously, this is one of the blogs listed in the right sidebar; all worth serious reading if you want to join the rest of us amateurs who are trying to understand the science here.

    There’s a lot of history to learn along with it, not taught in the schools I attended.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Jan 2010 @ 11:52 PM

  849. Septic @ 843:

    ENSO and volcanoes are recurrent — if they are as powerful as you say, then CO2 isn’t really dominant. As to the other influences that could cool down the earth for a few decades, if they overcome the combined effects of CO2 and positive feedback from water, then CO2 is not dominant. What other influences did you have in mind?

    Let’s say that a big volcano is “-20 years of global warming”. In 20 years, assuming another big volcano blows up, instead of the temperatures going back to, say, 1990, they only go back to 2010. In 40 years, instead of it being 2050 weather, it’s 2030 weather, which is 40 years of global warming warmer than 1990 weather.

    The risk of your approach is that even if — as I believe is the case — we’re in for another 8 or 10 years of mostly sideways weather, when we get out of the current “sideways” pattern, the warm-up is going to be even stronger because we’ve got another 8 or 10 years of accumulated CO2 emissions. The impact of a volcanic eruption isn’t forever. Accumulated CO2 has the potential to be “forever”, if we don’t knock it off.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 12 Jan 2010 @ 12:06 AM

  850. Gavin, I am someone who reads this site as well as a few others including CA, TAV, and WUWT since they are the ones most likely to raise contentious issues (some right, some wrong, some just fun). I wonder if this thread or something like it might be usefully set up as a “sticky” or permanent thread. It will be impossible to manage as a single thread but Im sure that it could be made to work with multiple sub-threads that address some of the more useful issues that the other guys raise. Just a thought. Cheers

    Comment by Terry — 12 Jan 2010 @ 12:58 AM

  851. septic #843:

    ENSO and volcanoes are recurrent — if they are as powerful as you say, then CO2 isn’t really dominant. As to the other influences that could cool down the earth for a few decades, if they overcome the combined effects of CO2 and positive feedback from water, then CO2 is not dominant. What other influences did you have in mind?

    Eh, ENSO goes up… and then it goes down. Volcanoes push temperatures down… and then they come up again, as the stuff washes out. It’s variability.

    CO2 goes up… and up… and up. And up. (Did I say: up?) at 0.2 degrees a decade. It’s trend. Just give it 30 years and it’s dominant. And that’s for starters. Even a prolonged Solar quiet at -0.2K (which we seem not to be getting) would be eaten up in a decade.

    As I say to my students: please confirm that you understood this before continuing.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 12 Jan 2010 @ 3:08 AM

  852. Septic swings and misses: “ENSO and volcanoes are recurrent — if they are as powerful as you say, then CO2 isn’t really dominant.”

    Except we don’t get “volcano accumulation”.

    They stop.

    CO2, meanwhile, accumulates.

    [edit]

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 12 Jan 2010 @ 4:37 AM

  853. FCH: “Perhaps if the message was a bit less rigid and absolute people would have fewer problems. ”

    Doesn’t work.

    If you say “maybe this, maybe that”, then the denialosphere say “SEE! they don’t KNOW what’s going on, and this will KILL the economy (please don’t ask us why we know that)”.

    If you simplify, they say “SEE! They lie to you by leaving out (some small thing like, say PDO or squid farts releasing methane)”.

    If you explain fully, they say “SEE! They’re BSing you with complex science!”.

    People *can* think, it’s just that so many prefer not to. So they get their ideas from newspapers who love a controversy, so big it up as much as possible.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 12 Jan 2010 @ 4:43 AM

  854. PS when it comes to stating the uncertainties, what’s the point when the denialists post like Gary Winter, Strathmiglo does in the closing remarks of this BBC HYS:

    http://newsforums.bbc.co.uk/nol/thread.jspa?forumID=7393&edition=1&ttl=20100112094413

    “”It would be very easy for scientists to devise experiments to disprove the manmade CO2 link to CC.
    Schrodinger ( no cat!)”

    They have done ! No statistical correlation between co2 and climate change; no physical sign of any in troposphere; clear and unambiguous link – with 11-13 year lag of solar activity variation and global temperature.

    Gary Winter, Strathmiglo ”

    When such a bald-faced lie is promoted, what’s the point?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 12 Jan 2010 @ 4:46 AM

  855. ” Septic Matthew says:
    11 January 2010 at 6:39 PM

    How is Latif’s expectation of 2 or more decades w/o warming”

    You didn’t quote him, you quoted the misquotes (from a rightwingnut radio talkshow host).

    See

    http://www.youtube.com/user/greenman3610#p/u/6/khikoh3sJg8

    And anyone thinking Matt here is thinking for himself, check the fact against his fantasy.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 12 Jan 2010 @ 4:48 AM

  856. Deep Climate, thanks for the shout-out. In the 14 minutes of “fame” I have left, I will try to claim prior art on the Scooby theme as well. ;-)

    Comment by Deech56 — 12 Jan 2010 @ 5:30 AM

  857. Matthew, OK. Let’s take it slow. Let’s say I have a space heater in a room. At time t=0, I bring in a big block of ice, which cools the temperature of the room. Over time, though, the ice melts, but the space heater stays on. In the long term, will the room warm or cool?

    Come on, Dude. Are you being deliberately obtuse?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Jan 2010 @ 5:58 AM

  858. Furry, you’re kidding me, right?

    We’re hearing from these folks by the truckload just now.

    And not just 11 days, but just selected areas of the globe.

    Is it ridiculous? Of course it is, but it remains important to say so–repeatedly. Else the BIg Lie prevails.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 12 Jan 2010 @ 8:37 AM

  859. Matthew, Let’s look at it another way. Start with the physics. Earth at equilibrium and now greenhouse gasses. Energy_in=Energy_out. Now add greenhouse gasses, Energy_in stays the same, but the ghgs take a big bite out of Energy_out, so the temperature must increase.

    As the temperature increases, the energy radiated increases. We are still taking a big bite out of the energy in the wavelengths where ghgs absorb, but the energy around these wavelengths that escapes is still increaseng. We reach equilibrium when the area under this energy curve (with the bites taken out) again equals Energy_in, or the area of the curve at the lower temperature without the bites taken out. Got that?

    So as long as Energy_in doesn’t change, the only way we reach equilibrium again is by reaching a certain higher temperature. In otherwords, increasing greenhouse gasses sets the world’s thermostat higher. Volcanos and ENSO can make big changes in Energy_in, but only for a short time. Afterwards, we go right back to the temperature climbing back toward the new equilibrium point. Does that make sense?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Jan 2010 @ 9:19 AM

  860. 847, Hank Roberts: Learn the meaning the word has acquired. It’s not likely one you want to adopt, I bet.

    “Tar Heels”, “Hoosiers”, “Yankees” were initially insults taken as names by the people at whom the insults were thrown. Despite its other associations, “septic” is still a good pun on “skeptic”, so I think I’ll keep it. There are ogres named “Matthew”, and I am not dropping that name either.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 12 Jan 2010 @ 9:28 AM

  861. I see, Latif and Keenlyside are misquoted:

    http://climateprogress.org/2008/05/02/nature-article-on-cooling-confuses-revkin-media-deniers-next-decade-may-see-rapid-warming/

    They expect noticeable warming to resume by 2015, and they speak/write in overlapping decades: 2000-2010, 2005-2015.

    857, Ray Ladbury: Come on, Dude. Are you being deliberately obtuse?

    What does the ice block represent (reduced solar activity?), does it recur? Are you saying that there are known reasons why the earth temperature has remained stable since about 1997, and that those reasons will not recur?

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 12 Jan 2010 @ 9:50 AM

  862. “What does the ice block represent (reduced solar activity?)”

    It represents a new source (or in this case, sink) of heat energy.

    “does it recur”

    No, it melts. Rather like volcanic dust gets rained out.

    “Are you saying that there are known reasons why the earth temperature has remained stable since about 1997″

    Are you saying that the solar minimum has had no effect? Are you saying that the El Nino has no effect? Are you saying that cherry picking 98 had no effect?

    PS it’s warmed from 1998 to 2005. Unless you figure that the CRU data is correct.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 12 Jan 2010 @ 10:12 AM

  863. Septic Matthew wrote: “the earth temperature has remained stable since about 1997″

    False.

    You are posting repeated false assertions and ignoring the commenters who correct you.

    I call Rumplestiltskin.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 12 Jan 2010 @ 10:13 AM

  864. Ray Ladbury wrote in 857:

    Matthew, OK. Let’s take it slow. Let’s say I have a space heater in a room. At time t=0, I bring in a big block of ice, which cools the temperature of the room. Over time, though, the ice melts, but the space heater stays on. In the long term, will the room warm or cool?

    Come on, Dude. Are you being deliberately obtuse?

    … then further elaborates in 859:

    …Volcanos and ENSO can make big changes in Energy_in, but only for a short time. Afterwards, we go right back to the temperature climbing back toward the new equilibrium point. Does that make sense?

    Matthew responds in 861:

    857, Ray Ladbury: Come on, Dude. Are you being deliberately obtuse?

    What does the ice block represent (reduced solar activity?), does it recur? Are you saying that there are known reasons why the earth temperature has remained stable since about 1997, and that those reasons will not recur?

    Matthew has a point, Ray. If ten volcanoes the size of Pinatubo started erupting continuously those would be just about sufficient to cancel out a doubling of carbon dioxide. Then every time carbon dioxide doubles there could be more volcanoes.

    Can you honestly say that you know for sure this sort of thing isn’t in the deck? After all, volcanoes erupt, and there is no law that I know of that puts a cap on the number of volcanoes that can erupt at the same time. Ergo.
    *
    Matthew wrote in 860:

    Despite its other associations, “septic” is still a good pun on “skeptic”, so I think I’ll keep it. There are ogres named “Matthew”, and I am not dropping that name either.

    Matthew, to distinguish yourself from the first Matthew you could have just gone “Matthew II,” you know, like holding up two fingers. Others might find this easier to understand.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Jan 2010 @ 10:53 AM

  865. Matthew, comparing ‘septic’ to ‘tarheel’ is self-glorification.
    Do you cast yourself as a barefoot revolutionary fighter warring against oppression?

    Gee, and a few days ago you were coming on as a sincere, new reader wanting to learn.

    I have a mental image for ‘septic’ — nothing like a tarheel.

    http://www.scandalist.com/files/2008/07/fatty_arbuckle.jpg

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Jan 2010 @ 10:55 AM

  866. A few, intermittent point source volcanos–more particulates, temporary cooling

    But large scale flood basalt vulcanism–more CO2, longterm warming

    http://www.google.com/search?q=deccan+traps+carbon+dioxide

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Jan 2010 @ 11:45 AM

  867. Timothy and Septic,
    Volcanic eruptions tend to occur with some mean frequency, and even if we have a fluctuation upward, the influence is still finite in time–on order of a couple of years. CO2 persists for centuries. CO2 wins.

    La Nina typically cools temperatures a few degrees for a few months to a year and a half at most. It then goes neutral or to El Nino which warms things. CO2 persists for centuries. CO2 wins.

    Grand Solar Minima can cool things for up to a few decades. Insolation then returns to roughly the pre-Minimum means. CO2 persists for centuries. CO2 wins.

    Now, the chorus, Everybody!!! CO2 persists for centuries. CO2 wins.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Jan 2010 @ 12:07 PM

  868. This is a fun development:

    Police extremist unit helps climate change e-mail probe

    A police unit set up to support forces dealing with extremism in the UK is helping investigate the leaking of climate change data in Norfolk. …

    Now it has been revealed the force is getting help from the National Domestic Extremism Unit, based in Huntingdon.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 12 Jan 2010 @ 12:15 PM

  869. Timothy: “Matthew has a point, Ray. If ten volcanoes the size of Pinatubo started erupting continuously those would be just about sufficient to cancel out a doubling of carbon dioxide.”

    But only if they run continuously.

    (And nothing makes it more than a doubling. Like, for example, volcanic CO2.)

    The problem is that Matt’s point only exists under situations where it exists. I.e. begs the question: do volcanoes never die?

    We know they do, but for short periods (even centuries are short), they can last.

    But what conditions will pertain to make this happen? A catastrophic epoch of increased vulcanism.

    We can’t hope for that, and we can’t engineer it.

    So why make the point?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 12 Jan 2010 @ 12:24 PM

  870. Completely Fed Up wrote in 869:

    So why make the point?

    To let the novices know what sort of context would be required in order to have the problem raised by Matthew make sense, and preferably in order to do so with some humour. As he raised it this might not be obvious to them.

    Incidentally, it is possible to write things in a way in which — given their different contexts — you will be saying some to for one audience but something different/more to others. He does it.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Jan 2010 @ 1:44 PM

  871. People are invoking the possibility of ten Pinatubos continuously going off?

    I think over long time scales there can be shifts in the mean level of volcanic activity, but is this level of hypothetical relevant in any way?

    I wonder if the odds of a major asteroid or meteor impact are higher. Anybody have a stab at the odds? That would also have a climate impact, but we don’t bother basing our climate policy around it.

    Comment by tharanga — 12 Jan 2010 @ 1:54 PM

  872. In any case I am finding Matthew’s particular thread mind-numbing so I believe I will seek my entertainment elsewhere.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Jan 2010 @ 2:22 PM

  873. Septic Matthew (843) — On the centennai scale, CO2 is dominant. Plase do read David Archer’s “The Long Thaw”.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 12 Jan 2010 @ 3:04 PM

  874. OK you guys, time to go home, the riddle has been answered!

    Gavin et al, just want to thank-you for your time here, enjoy your lives back in society.

    To all the others who post here, “so long, and thanks for all the fish!”

    http://translate.google.no/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=no&ie=UTF-8&layout=1&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aftenposten.no%2Fnyheter%2Furiks%2Farticle3460872.ece&sl=no&tl=en

    :)

    Comment by Leo G — 12 Jan 2010 @ 5:38 PM

  875. I have a question.
    What is the net vector of photons released in the upper atmosphere, above the highest volume of greenhouse gases?
    I contend that the net flow is outward, since a photon travelling inward is likely to be intercepted by a molecule in the denser atmosphere. Travelling outward, it is less likely to encounter an absorbing molecule. The result is a net outward flow, right?
    This relates to heat carried aloft by convection.
    Do climate models account for the dynamic (seemingly immeasurable) energy transport process of convection, and if so, how?

    Comment by David Wright — 12 Jan 2010 @ 8:19 PM

  876. David Wright, Of course photons have to escape from the atmosphere–just far fewer of them in the wavelengths absorbed by greenhouse gasses. Also, in the troposphere, far more CO2 molecules relax via collision with other molecules than via radiation.

    Heat conduction via convection is not that tough to model.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Jan 2010 @ 8:53 PM

  877. RE:871

    “I think over long time scales there can be shifts in the mean level of volcanic activity, but is this level of hypothetical relevant in any way?:

    Of course it depends on how the volcanoes erupt, but if ten Pinatubo or Krakatoa type volcanoes erupted continually for years the ensuing volcanic winter would precipitate a worldwide extinction. Clouds of volcanic ash and sulfate aerosols could absorb and reflect away solar radiation. CO2 warming would be the least of our problems.

    But it could be more complex than this. See: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Volcano/

    Volcanic activity like the Siberian Traps or the Deccan Traps in India where eruptions lasted for thousands of years yielded flood basalts instead of ash clouds. The release of CO2 aggravated global warming. There is a body of thought that the Deccan Traps eruptions contributed to the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction.

    The Permian Extinction due to the Siberian Traps was also a global warming event where volcanism released CO2, caused warming which in turn triggered the release of methane from clathrates.

    http://palaeo.gly.bris.ac.uk/Essays/wipeout/default.html

    Thus volcanism can cause either global warming or cooling depending on the nature of the eruptions.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 12 Jan 2010 @ 9:03 PM

  878. http://www.google.com/search?q=convection+in+climate+models
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=convection+in+climate+models%3F&btnG=Search&lr=&as_sdt=2001&as_ylo=&as_vis=1

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Jan 2010 @ 9:31 PM

  879. Re:875

    see: Figure 1.2
    The Energy Budget of the Atmosphere
    http://www.ace.mmu.ac.uk/resources/gcc/1-2-4.html

    Comment by Tim Jones — 12 Jan 2010 @ 11:29 PM

  880. 865, Hank Roberts: Matthew, comparing ’septic’ to ‘tarheel’ is self-glorification.
    Do you cast yourself as a barefoot revolutionary fighter warring against oppression?

    My understanding was that “tarheels” were run out of South Carolina for suspected near-criminal activity (which was why they were about to be tarred and feathered.) If they were fighting against oppression, that is news to me.

    864, Timothy Chase: Matthew has a point, Ray. If ten volcanoes the size of Pinatubo started erupting continuously those would be just about sufficient to cancel out a doubling of carbon dioxide.

    Ray Ladbury did not say exactly what was analogous to the ice block. I suggested solar activity decline, and someone else mentioned volcanic activity (which I retained as another possibility.) If it was volcanic activity that blunted the effect of CO2, then I agree that is unlikely to double every time that CO2 doubles. However, if it was the solar activity (which I believe is not reliably known to be quantitatively related to climate except for extreme changes over tens of millenia), then it could happen that the effect of solar decline more than matches CO2 increase.

    If, as SecularAnimist maintains, temperatures have continued to increase since 1997 at the same rate as 1977-1997, then there is no reason to wonder whether the CO2 effect was offset by some combination of volcanic activities and ENSO.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 13 Jan 2010 @ 2:02 AM

  881. Tim: ” if ten Pinatubo or Krakatoa type volcanoes erupted continually for years the ensuing volcanic winter would precipitate a worldwide extinction.”

    And if a 10km asteroid hit the earth, the ensuing impact would precipitate the same thing.

    So therefore the models are incorrect: they don’t include 10km asteroid strikes!

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Jan 2010 @ 4:10 AM

  882. “Do climate models account for the dynamic (seemingly immeasurable) energy transport process of convection, and if so, how?”

    Convection is a physical process.

    It depends on buoyancy and where other airmasses are going. And is therefore open to physical modelling.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Jan 2010 @ 4:12 AM

  883. Septic says, “However, if it was the solar activity (which I believe is not reliably known to be quantitatively related to climate except for extreme changes over tens of millenia), then it could happen that the effect of solar decline more than matches CO2 increase.”

    Uh, Dude, you are so missing the point! First, Sol is a pretty typical, middle-aged star. They tend to get brighter on average at this stage. Second, we can look at frigging data on this:

    http://cc.oulu.fi/~usoskin/personal/7704.pdf

    Second, the current rise in temperatures is more than the fall of the last several minima.

    Third, the longest Grand solar minima last less than a couple of hundred years. The effects of CO2 last centuries longer.

    What’s the chorus? CO2 wins.

    Septic, Please, please, please. Look at the Usoskin manuscript. It is quite good.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Jan 2010 @ 9:38 AM

  884. > Septic Matthew says: 13 January 2010 at 2:02 AM ‘my understanding’ about ‘tarheels’
    Try looking it up; at least compare what you think you know to what anyone can find by looking.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Jan 2010 @ 11:11 AM

  885. Insurance Group Says Stolen E-Mails Show Risk in Accepting Climate Science

    Detlefsen’s letter says the “e-mails show that a close-knit group of the world’s most influential climate scientists actively colluded to subvert the peer-review process … manufactured pre-determined conclusions through the use of contrived analytic techniques; and discussed destroying data to avoid government freedom-of-information requests.”

    “Viewed collectively, the CRU e-mails reveal a scientific community in which a group of scientists promoting what has become, through their efforts, the dominant climate-change paradigm are at war with other scientists derisively labeled as ‘skeptics,’ ‘deniers,’ and ‘contrarians,’” he added.

    Maybe Mr. Detlefsen should have a few words with Munich Re.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 13 Jan 2010 @ 11:30 AM

  886. Jim Galasyn,
    Jesus, these people are idiots. All they want is a security blanket to pull over their heads so they can be alone with their wishful thinking and complacency.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Jan 2010 @ 11:42 AM

  887. Recently, there’s been a rather surprising flowering of AGW-scepticism on the Institute of Physics Public Policy forum (see here, for example).

    A little browsing of the peer-reviewed literature enabled me to convince myself that most of the sceptics’ points of detail were mistaken, and to say so in the forums, but two have proved less tractable.

    Firstly, there’s the idea that there exists an ISO standard for estimating confidence intervals (part of ISO 17025, apparently – who knew?), and that the IPCC’s confidence intervals on 20th century trends may not be constructed in compliance with the standard. Any information on whether this idea is true, and if so, whether it’s important, would be welcome.

    [Response: Never heard of it. But the idea that there is a standard that would work with all sorts of data and for all purposes is somewhat surprising. If anyone knows any more, they should post a link. - gavin]

    Secondly, there’s the suggestion, based on doi:10.1260/095830507780682147 and possibly also doi:10.1007/BF02986939, that pre-industrial atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were much higher than the consensus view suggests. I know there’s a RealClimate critique of the first of these papers under the title “Beck to the future”. Has that critique appeared anywhere peer-reviewed? What about the second paper?

    [Response: Can't find any references to the second doi (did you get it right?), but the first is indeed nonsense. It was specifically rebutted here and has been commented to death in other parts of the blogosphere. - gavin]

    Your comments welcome

    Thanks

    DanH

    Comment by DanH — 13 Jan 2010 @ 12:21 PM

  888. Jim Galasyn says: 13 January 2010 at 11:30 AM

    Now those seem like actionable words. Crackpots sieving dusty emails on self-published blogs are one thing, this is on a different level. Plus it’s coming from a source that presumably has insurance to help pay for defending a lawsuit.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 13 Jan 2010 @ 12:28 PM

  889. Jim Galasyn says: 13 January 2010 at 11:30 AM

    Actually, now that I think of it, where else could “actively colluded to subvert the peer-review process” have come from, other than Steve McIntyre’s bizarre conjectures?

    Maybe McIntyre’s not so funny after all. He’s certainly got a patina of respectability, enough to get folks to let down their guard. Maybe nobody’s really noticed what a strange path he’s taken of late.

    Apparently the trade group did not a close look at his train of thought before rushing to spread the word about the conspiracy. I don’t frequent McIntyre’s site, so when I happened to collide with his strikingly odd email parsing thread it immediately struck me as amazing that he’s got so much pull. Leaving aside all the emotional and intellectual baggage attached to this topic, I think most reasonable people viewing the email “analysis” on McIntyre’s site would conclude that his elevator does not go all the way to the roof.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 13 Jan 2010 @ 12:54 PM

  890. Re: 881 Completely Fed Up says:

    “Tim: ” if ten Pinatubo or Krakatoa type volcanoes erupted continually for years the ensuing volcanic winter would precipitate a worldwide extinction.”

    “And if a 10km asteroid hit the earth, the ensuing impact would precipitate the same thing.

    So therefore the models are incorrect: they don’t include 10km asteroid strikes!”

    Yeah, and if dogs ate trees and birds drank beer, penguins would take vacations in the tropics.

    A 10 KM asteroid strike would NOT do the same thing, Not by any stretch of the imagination. The impact of an object that large would literally fry the planet.

    Your logic here leaves a lot to be desired. I wrote nothing implying the models were incorrect!

    My thought when I followed with, “CO2 warming would be the least of our problems,” was that 10 simultaneous Pinatubo type eruptions for years at a time are so unlikely that it’s quite improbably that a climate model would need to include such an eventuality. If it did however, I would venture to guess that the ensuing volcanic winter would be so extreme that CO2 warming would be completely overridden by a huge degree of reflection of incoming sunlight.

    In the unlikely occurrence of a climate model including the possibility of the 10 Pinatubos I’m sure it would reflect extreme global cooling.

    I don’t quite see why you take sentences out of context to create a strawman to win a point. It seems we’re strongly objecting to such tactics when it comes to stolen emails. Are we no better than they are?

    Comment by Tim Jones — 13 Jan 2010 @ 1:10 PM

  891. “In the unlikely occurrence of a climate model including the possibility of the 10 Pinatubos I’m sure it would reflect extreme global cooling.”

    Briefly, then as particulates settle and S02 reacts out the C02 will predominate for vastly longer than either of the former. But this is a pointless argument, isn’t it? We can’t manage asteroids and volcanoes, we can manage ourselves at least a little bit.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 13 Jan 2010 @ 1:26 PM

  892. 884, Hank Roberts: here is something that I looked up instead, another forecast for cooling (till 2030), followed by warming, followed by cooling.

    https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/aatsonis/www/2007GL030288.pdf

    [Response: That paper contains no such forecast. As far as I can tell, the only future simulations they discuss use the standard GCMs which were part of the IPCC AR4 ensemble, and they do not show 'cooling to 2030'! - gavin]

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 13 Jan 2010 @ 2:25 PM

  893. Re: 891

    Actually, there’s some thinking about how to manage asteroids out there.

    http://impact.arc.nasa.gov/news_detail.cfm?ID=136

    Otherwise I’m simply recognizing natural influences for what they are and sorting out the real warming culprit.

    The lynchpin of the AGW deniers point of view is an emphasis on natural variability. Volcanoes have a real influence on climate, to the extent of causing mass extinctions via CO2 warming. Pointing out that such occurrences are not in the cards at this time helps substantiate the fact that these aspects of natural variability haven’t been much of an influence on climate in recent years.

    But they could have been in the past. Were cooler temperatures in previous centuries due to volcanic activity?

    Are we now warm because cooler back then was due to volcanoes? (I don’t think so, not for more than a short period of time.)

    As to extreme cooling, the premiss includes years of volcanic action. No particulate settling for years. No growing plants for years. It wouldn’t take too long for a mass extinction to ensue, less than half a decade. Later warming due to natural increases in CO2 might be irrelevant.

    But we don’t have examples of volcanic cooling at this time. We have had a drop in the rate of warming. Why? La Niña. Low ebb in solar cycle. This is the sort of natural variability we have in the context of our times. And these influences are very variable, but to what extent are they a long term forcing?

    Nothing special with the sun, nothing special with volcanoes. Nothing special with Milancovitch Cycles. La Niña has turned into El Niño. The only forcings that count long term are the relentless increases in anthropogenic greenhouse gasses.

    The argument is with the Farm Bureau. (Etc) We get it. Apparently they don’t. Whether or not we manage anything in a meaningful way gets to the point of counting votes. We need to have a handle on the volcanoes, too.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 13 Jan 2010 @ 3:15 PM

  894. Re #885 and #886.

    it’s coming from a source that presumably has insurance to help pay for defending a lawsuit.

    Does that mean that we shall see the insurance industry employing the great email hype before and during these lawsuits in several decades from now? Its bad eneough with the fossil fuel industry and the media.

    Anyway can we trust the insurance companies to do their main job properly i.e to intelligently assess risk? Detlefsen’s letter throws even more doubt on this shaky proposition.

    The attitude of insurance companies to climate change may be different in the UK but I am not at all sure.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 13 Jan 2010 @ 3:31 PM

  895. “Septic” Matthew wrote in 880:

    However, if it was the solar activity (which I believe is not reliably known to be quantitatively related to climate except for extreme changes over tens of millenia), then it could happen that the effect of solar decline more than matches CO2 increase.

    No more reason to expect solar activity to match our carbon emissions than the volcanic activity. And betting that it will just so that we can continue to emit carbon dioxide is either dumb or insane. And after my explaining the bit about ten volcanoes with new volcanoes popping up every time our carbon emissions increase I am hopeful that most kindergarteners would see the fallacy in it. And if they can you can and now everybody here knows it.

    Matthew, I have argued with Young Earth Creationists who go out of their way to play stupid. They try to get the science types to explain to them in one syllable terms each and every step, each and every detail — and then explain it to them again in two weeks. Its not that they don’t want to learn. Its their way of pulling one over on the science types and thereby proving to themselves how much brighter they are than the science types by getting the science types to believe that the creationists are less bright than they actually are and thereby getting those science types to waste their time explaining the obvious.

    You have been doing the same right here. Except earlier on you played it a little to bright — and more recently while trying to f**k with us along these lines you played it a little to obvious with the “Septic.” Basically a “f**k you” while trying your mindf**k.

    When I said that your thread is mind-numbing I was refering to your game. And it is mind numbing because it distracts — it gets in the way because it forces people to belabor the obvious rather than move forward and both learn and teach more. It dumbs down the conversation and even thought itself.

    This isn’t in our interest — and as a matter of fact it isn’t in your interest. I refuse to play your game — and I strongly recommend that others refuse to as well. In fact they might just want to do an “RE Septic Matthew #880″ (or whatever your post number is) then a “Please see ” with a hyperlink to this post number. Although not every time. For the most part they should just ignore you.

    Enough wasted time.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 13 Jan 2010 @ 3:45 PM

  896. 892, Gavin, you are right. It (Fig 4c plus text) only shows that the CO2 forcing through 2030 (2C per century) is nearly offset by the natural dynamism. So it’s “reduced warming through 2030)”, followed by “enhanced warming”, followed by “reduced warming.”

    Do AGW proponents generally propose that the CO2 effect is roughly linear (2C per century, 0.2C per century) because CO2 increases approximately exponentially unless action is taken? Put differently, is the CO2 effect nearly deterministic with the random variability due to everything else?

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 13 Jan 2010 @ 4:26 PM

  897. CORRECTION to my most recent post. Third paragraph second sentence “to” should have been “too” in two places. I was writing the piece as I heard it in my own mind — in something resembling stream-of-consciousness where I wasn’t being self-conscious regarding my spelling.

    My apologies.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 13 Jan 2010 @ 4:27 PM

  898. > Septic Matthew says: 13 January 2010 at 4:26 PM
    > Do AGW proponents generally propose that the CO2 effect is

    See 13 January 2010 at 3:45 PM

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Jan 2010 @ 4:41 PM

  899. Timothy Chase says: 13 January 2010 at 3:45 PM

    “When I said that your thread is mind-numbing I was refering to your game. And it is mind numbing because it distracts — it gets in the way because it forces people to belabor the obvious rather than move forward and both learn and teach more. It dumbs down the conversation and even thought itself.”

    And that’s the whole point: keep the conversation at a stupid level on all metrics.

    There’s a lot of that going around.

    This site in particular is substantially degraded as an educational facility because the few serious requests for information or elaboration are drowned out in malicious noise and misguided attempts to reason with noisemakers.

    Perhaps worse, the patience of regulars and even for that matter maintainers able to do a good job with explanations seems completely exhausted.

    A real win for the Dark Ages.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 13 Jan 2010 @ 4:45 PM

  900. Geoff asks, Anyway can we trust the insurance companies to do their main job properly i.e to intelligently assess risk?

    Some seem to be fully cognizant of the risk, e.g., Munich Re:

    Climate change is one of the greatest challenges mankind faces. We need to take steps to combat it for economic reasons as the upward trend in losses caused by weather-related natural catastrophes persists.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 13 Jan 2010 @ 4:55 PM

  901. Thanks for the responses. I’ll take a look at the Meijer and Keeling comment.

    The second DOI I mentioned resolves fine for me in dx.doi.org. Although bear in mind that the comma at the end is punctuation of my sentence, not part of the DOI ;-).

    [Response: Indeed, google didn't like it though (and I thought they had a link up to dx.doi.org). Anyway, that's crap too. ;) - gavin]

    Comment by DanH — 13 Jan 2010 @ 5:03 PM

  902. Septic Matthew (896) — Yes, CO2 emissions growth has been approximately exponential up to now, see the graphs at the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center @ ORNL. So, approximately, expect linear forcing from atmospheric CO2 until something changes.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 13 Jan 2010 @ 5:54 PM

  903. Has anybody got a reference linking the LIA, volcanism and Greenland and Antarctic ice core clues? Also sediment cores.
    Seems to me the best way to tease out the degree of the influence of volcanism on climate might be this way.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 13 Jan 2010 @ 6:31 PM

  904. > a reference
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?sourceid=Mozilla-search&q=LIA%2C+volcanism+and+Greenland+and+Antarctic+ice+core

    Try putting author names into the search box at the top of the Realclimate page, to see if they’ve been discussed here.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Jan 2010 @ 7:17 PM

  905. 1000 year model run with proxy based forcings
    http://nzc.iap.ac.cn/ewea/images/stories/reference/2009/7/703_peng_qi.pdf
    ought to be of some interest.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 13 Jan 2010 @ 7:21 PM

  906. I notice that the RealCliamte editors have seen fit to edit my post #8 in this (closed) thread http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/are-the-cru-data-suspect-an-objective-assessment/
    A cute “trick” but my original analogy is much closer to the reality of the situation.
    Hope this wasn’t done on government time.

    Comment by David Wright — 13 Jan 2010 @ 8:02 PM

  907. Re:904

    Thanks Hank. I don’t think volcanic forcing goes anywhere more than maybe minus 1.5º C over about three years after an eruption in the last several hundred years. One paper recognizes only 26 significant eruptions between 1400 and 1950. The LIA could not have been caused by the Tambora eruption because temperature was declining before the event.
    It may have aggravated cooling, but only for a few years, according to Fischer et al.
    Little Ice Age In Northern Greenland Ice Cores
    http://epic.awi.de/Publications/Fis1998c.pdf

    Apparently the LIA was due to solar forcing experienced as the Maunder minimum.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 13 Jan 2010 @ 9:27 PM

  908. David, I can’t help but think that your standard of evidence for ghosts is lower than your standard of evidence for anthropogenic global warming.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 13 Jan 2010 @ 9:51 PM

  909. In response to “Septic” Matthew I wrote in 895:When I said that your thread is mind-numbing I was refering to your game. And it is mind numbing because it distracts — it gets in the way because it forces people to belabor the obvious rather than move forward and both learn and teach more. It dumbs down the conversation and even thought itself.

    Doug Bostrom responded in 899:

    And that’s the whole point: keep the conversation at a stupid level on all metrics.

    Agreed — and it is often that way — not just with him but others, here and elsewhere.

    Back in 895 I’d written:

    Matthew, I have argued with Young Earth Creationists who go out of their way to play stupid. They try to get the science types to explain to them in one syllable terms each and every step, each and every detail — and then explain it to them again in two weeks…

    I didn’t realize it at the time, but SecularAnimist had actually called him on this as recently as 863.

    He quoted Matthew’s 861:

    …the earth temperature has remained stable since about 1997…

    … then SecularAnimist stated in 863:

    False.

    You are posting repeated false assertions and ignoring the commenters who correct you.

    I call Rumplestiltskin.

    … and it was only a few posts before that that Ray Ladbury had asked in 857:

    Come on, Dude. Are you being deliberately obtuse?

    I wrote in 895:

    You have been doing the same right here. Except earlier on you played it a little to bright — and more recently while trying to f**k with us along these lines you played it a little to obvious with the “Septic.” Basically a “f**k you” while trying your mindf**k.

    He was fairly obvious about his hostility while playing stupid in 860, stating:

    Despite its other associations, “septic” is still a good pun on “skeptic”, so I think I’ll keep it. There are ogres named “Matthew”, and I am not dropping that name either.

    “Ogre” and “troll” are more or less synonyms, and an internet troll’s purpose and intent is to disrupt conversation in a newsgroup, email list or blog.

    Please see:

    http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/troll
    http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/ogre

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogre

    I obliquely refered to his hostility and tactics back in 864:

    Matthew, to distinguish yourself from the first Matthew you could have just gone “Matthew II,” you know, like holding up two fingers. Others might find this easier to understand.

    Among the Brits a two-finger salute means essentially the same thing as one finger in the US. Didn’t expect him to know that necessarily (as I suspect given his “tar heel” reference he may be from North Carolina or at least the South) but I figured that those among us with some exposure to those on the other side of the pond would.

    Likewise, he made it clear that he knew that “tar heel” has positive associations in 860:

    “Tar Heels”, “Hoosiers”, “Yankees” were initially insults taken as names by the people at whom the insults were thrown.

    … and so it did among the Confederates:

    Somehow, these terms evolved until the nickname Tar Heel was used to refer to residents of North Carolina and gained prominence during the American Civil War. During this time, the nickname Tar Heel was a pejorative, but starting around 1865, the term began to be used as a source of pride.

    Wikipedia: Tar Heel
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tar_Heel

    Hank Roberts called him on this in 865:

    Matthew, comparing ‘septic’ to ‘tarheel’ is self-glorification.
    Do you cast yourself as a barefoot revolutionary fighter warring against oppression?

    … but then Matthew played stupid in 880

    My understanding was that “tarheels” were run out of South Carolina for suspected near-criminal activity (which was why they were about to be tarred and feathered.) If they were fighting against oppression, that is news to me.

    Thinly-masked hostility and feigned stupidity to disrupt and dumb down the conversation.

    Doug Bostrom continued in 899:

    There’s a lot of that going around.

    This site in particular is substantially degraded as an educational facility because the few serious requests for information or elaboration are drowned out in malicious noise and misguided attempts to reason with noisemakers.

    Perhaps worse, the patience of regulars and even for that matter maintainers able to do a good job with explanations seems completely exhausted.

    I know that the contributors have complained about this. I myself find it exhausting.

    Doug Bostrom continued in 899:

    A real win for the Dark Ages.

    Doesn’t have to be.

    I think we can expect some hostility on the part of those who have been the victims of disinformation. But even then there comes a point at which they become victim of their own ideological opposition to science. And there comes a point soon after that where we may have to say that the person is beyond help. But Matthew falls into an altogether different category. At least the victims of disinformation don’t pretend to be stupid. Matthew does. He deliberately repeats what he knows to be disinformation, and he appears to take misplaced pride in this.

    If we can learn to distinguish between those who are simply seeking information, those who are somewhat hostile victims of disinformation and people like “Septic Matthew,” we should be able to come up with strategies for dealing with this sort of thing and change things for the better.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 13 Jan 2010 @ 9:57 PM

  910. David Wright, you should watch the list of inline responses in the right sidebar, that’s not a new change. So if you can’t smell it and see it, it can’t hurt you?
    http://www.orau.org/ptp/collection/shoefittingfluor/shoe.htm

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Jan 2010 @ 11:07 PM

  911. 895, Timothy Chase Matthew, I have argued with Young Earth Creationists who go out of their way to play stupid. They try to get the science types to explain to them in one syllable terms each and every step, each and every detail — and then explain it to them again in two weeks. Its not that they don’t want to learn. Its their way of pulling one over on the science types and thereby proving to themselves how much brighter they are than the science types by getting the science types to believe that the creationists are less bright than they actually are and thereby getting those science types to waste their time explaining the obvious.

    There are some hypotheses about why warming has been reduced these past 10 year, and whether the counter-acting forcing will last.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 14 Jan 2010 @ 12:13 AM

  912. Dai
    “A cute “trick” but my original analogy is much closer to the reality of the situation.
    Hope this wasn’t done on government time.”

    Why? What value do you think you’d get out of the fifteen seconds that would take?

    It’s just a way to whine that you can defend with “I wasn’t whining about my silly analogy being dumped, I was whining about my taxes being wasted”.

    PS are you using time at work to post here?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Jan 2010 @ 4:10 AM

  913. David Wright wrote in 906:

    I notice that the RealCliamte editors have seen fit to edit my post #8 in this (closed) thread http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/are-the-cru-data-suspect-an-objective-assessment/
    A cute “trick” but my original analogy is much closer to the reality of the situation.
    Hope this wasn’t done on government time.

    ABC’s Wright latest to mislead on stolen climate emails
    December 10, 2009 6:16 am ET filed under Research

    Media Matters: David Wright
    http://mediamatters.org/search/tag/david_wright

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 14 Jan 2010 @ 11:17 AM

  914. S Matthew: There are some hypotheses about why warming has been reduced these past 10 years.

    Warming has not been reduced in the past ten years:

    First decade of 21st century warmest on record

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 14 Jan 2010 @ 11:36 AM

  915. re: 913. Indeed, let’s hope David Wright’s continuing to spout misleading/far out of context information re: global warming despite being shown to be wrong wasn’t done while being paid by ABC.

    Comment by Dan — 14 Jan 2010 @ 12:31 PM

  916. Re:911

    “There are some hypotheses about why warming has been reduced these past 10 year, and whether the counter-acting forcing will last.”

    And they’ve all been gone over here ad nauseum.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 14 Jan 2010 @ 12:32 PM

  917. Tim Jones, you say “apparently” — you mean “it appears to me” the sun caused the Maunder. But it’s not apparent that it’s so simple from the research in the record, and it’s been studied exhaustively. Eyeballing charts leads to simple conclusions; looking at the research complicates them.

    Try this:
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/04/05/stalking-the-elusive-solar-cycletemperature-connection/ and the followup posts.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Jan 2010 @ 1:19 PM

  918. > ABC’s Wright latest to mislead
    Wow — same person, or just a coincidence of names?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Jan 2010 @ 1:21 PM

  919. Jim Galasyn wrote 914:

    [Septic Matthew]…

    Tim Jones wrote 916:

    [Septic Matthew]…

    Indiana, let it go.

    (Please see: 895, 909)

    PS

    I will let you in on something a little later… Or you can email me at timothy chase AT g mail dot com (no sp.s) if you have difficulty waiting.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 14 Jan 2010 @ 1:55 PM

  920. Re: 917

    Thanks Hank. You wrote,

    “…you mean “it appears to me” the sun caused the Maunder.”

    Not exactly, but that too. I tried to copy excerpts from the pdf I cited but couldn’t in a way I could paste into a message. The paper also suggests such a meaning, as I read it. Thus “apparently” referrs to the paper, though I admit ambiguity.

    To wit:

    The Conclusion reads in part: “Although the causes for LIA climate variations are not unambiguously known, our data point to a substantial solar influence which has to be reevaluated when longer time series from the northern Greenland ice sheet are available. Volcanic aerosols in the stratosphere, however, are unlikely to have a Holocene climate effect on the century and millenium (sic) time scale.”

    Therefore the paper suggests solar influences as a substantial cause of the LIA.

    I suspect the AO and the Gulf Stream are also of such a nature
    as volcanic forcing, ie transient on long time scales, so I didn’t go into all the other possible contributing factors. I could easily be wrong. The LIA could easily be a coincidence of a group of cascading negative forcing factors. But the length of the Maunder Minimum fits the time scale.

    This could be an interesting thread where much research was pulled together. I’m not sure sure how redundant this might be
    in this forum.

    My original intent was to examine volcanic forcing as it realistically occurs in the context of global cooling. So far,
    from what I’ve read, such a forcing has a minimal effect on
    climate trends. If this morphs into what caused the LIA so be it.
    The conversation would be a lot more edifying than most of the current bs regarding trolling denialist palookas and their appellations.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 14 Jan 2010 @ 2:56 PM

  921. Seen this in the Guardian? Experts say methane emissions from the Arctic have risen by almost one-third in just five years, and that sharply rising temperatures are to blame. Doesn’t look good, although it’s still a rather short time series. http://bit.ly/ArcticCH4

    Comment by Kees van der Leun — 14 Jan 2010 @ 3:10 PM

  922. Kees van der Leun says: 14 January 2010 at 3:10 PM

    Here’s a link to the article.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/14/arctic-permafrost-methane

    For me, the real takeaway are the comments on our paltry remote sensing inventory:

    “Palmer said: “Our study reinforces the idea that satellites can pinpoint changes in the amount of greenhouse gases emitted from a particular place on earth. This opens the door to quantifying greenhouse gas emissions made from a variety of natural and man-made sources.”

    Palmer said it was a “disgrace” that so few satellites were launched to monitor levels of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. He said it was unclear whether the team would be able to continue the methane monitoring in future. The pair of satellites used to analyse water, known as Grace, are already over their expected mission life time, while a European version launched last year, called Goce, is scheduled to fly for less than two years.”

    Also in the Guardian, investors controlling some $13 trillion in assets gather to demand that Copenhagen swiftly followed up, or be replaced with something more concrete and more effective:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/14/business-low-carbon-economy

    Looks as though they’re not paying very much attention to the recently unveiled conspiracy directed against Steve McIntyre, as discovered by Steve McIntyre.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 14 Jan 2010 @ 5:26 PM

  923. 914, Jim Galasyn: Warming has not been reduced in the past ten years:

    No cooling has occurred, but the rate of warming has declined, according to denialists, sceptics, and even a few warmers.

    Comment by Matthew — 14 Jan 2010 @ 6:48 PM

  924. RE Doug Bostrom

    Palmer said it was a “disgrace” that so few satellites were launched to monitor levels of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.

    A travesty, even.

    Comment by Deech56 — 14 Jan 2010 @ 7:01 PM

  925. I’d like to see a Real Climate article about the current state of ice sheet modelling and an opinion on the study that just occurred in Proceedings of the Royal Society A. The article is available at this link:

    http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2010/01/13/rspa.2009.0434.full.pdf+html

    In the article, they claim that their simple models and recent observations indicate that Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers in Antarctica have already passed their tipping points, and are going to lose substantial amounts of mass before restablilizing sometime in the future. This would lead to about a half meter of sea level rise from West Antarctica alone. They also state that their model underestimates the problem.

    What do other ice sheet models say?

    Comment by Ken Feldman — 14 Jan 2010 @ 7:49 PM

  926. Timothy, lulz!

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 14 Jan 2010 @ 7:53 PM

  927. “PS are you using time at work to post here?”

    No, but if I were, do you think that would justify it?

    “Why? What value do you think you’d get out of the fifteen seconds that would take?”

    Negative value most likely, so in retrospect, I’m glad he wasted the 15 seconds.
    Thanks, I feel better.

    Comment by David Wright — 14 Jan 2010 @ 8:31 PM

  928. Anyone care to comment on this? Or refer me to a past post that addresses this canard?

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/14/more-on-john-colemans-special-tonight-kusi-press-release-says-nasa-improperly-manipulated-data/#more-15263

    [Response: What a load of tripe. We should give prizes for the biggest number of factual errors, logical errors and complete non sequitors that readers can find. Just in the first segment, they get the provenance of the ice cores wrong (Antarctica, not the Arctic), the grant Monckton and D'Aleo PhDs they have not earned, they insinuate strongly that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas (despite this being known since the 19th Century), they steal video from the Great Global Warming Swindle, they still can't seem to get their heads around the fact that temperature can cause the carbon cycle to change at the same time that CO2 causes warming because it's a greenhouse gas, and... someone else can continue - I haven't got the stomach for it. - gavin]

    Comment by Johnhayte — 14 Jan 2010 @ 8:34 PM

  929. Is Antarctica melting, or not?
    http://www.enn.com/top_stories/article/40923
    Roger Greenway
    January 14, 2010
    (excerpt)
    “NASA notes that one new paper states there has been less surface melting recently than in past years, and has been cited as “proof” that there’s no global warming. Other evidence that the amount of sea ice around Antarctica seems to be increasing slightly is being used in the same way. But both of these data points are misleading. Gravity data collected from space using NASA’s Grace satellite show that Antarctica has been losing more than a hundred cubic kilometers (24 cubic miles) of ice each year since 2002.”

    Comment by Tim Jones — 15 Jan 2010 @ 12:07 AM

  930. Tim Jones says: 15 January 2010 at 12:07 AM

    GRACE is hard (impossible?) to fool, it’s been used successfully to measure many things other than Antarctic ice. So unless there’s something specially strange about Antarctica, I’d say gravimetric data from GRACE rules them all. A steady 100km2/yr is too much to be a lake drainage feature, too, which I’m sure is the first joker doubters will pull from their bottomless deck.

    Johnhayte says: 14 January 2010 at 8:34 PM

    Not about science, but then John Coleman never was about science himself. Here’s the very first thing Coleman published about global warming:

    “Global Warming: It is a SCAM.”

    This was before he did any research. Now, what a coincidence, he guessed right? Uh-huh.

    Here’s a full workup on TV weathermen and their performance art, in the Columbia Journalism Review:

    http://www.cjr.org/cover_story/hot_air.php?page=all

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 15 Jan 2010 @ 12:26 AM

  931. GRACE is hard (impossible?) to fool, it’s been used successfully to measure many things other than Antarctic ice.

    Actually it’s not quite that simple. There’s an ongoing glacial isostatic adjustment of the solid Earth due to the reduction in Antarctic ice cover at the end of the last ice age. This motion is hard to measure precisely (GPS does something like 0.5 mm/yr at best geocentrically) and even harder to model precisely. This is currently the biggest limiting factor in deriving mass changes from GRACE in areas thus affected.

    …and yes, we would need a GRACE follow-up. GOCE is no substitute as it does the static geopotential only — although with much better spatial resolution. But GRACE is the thing for monitoring changes over time. It has been a wild success.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 15 Jan 2010 @ 2:28 AM

  932. …a wild success:

    http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/grace-images-20051220.html

    http://bgi.cnes.fr:8110/geoid-variations/variable/v1/archives_films/GRGS.film.geoid.d20.RL01.gif

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 15 Jan 2010 @ 2:50 AM

  933. Matthew says:
    “No cooling has occurred, but the rate of warming has declined, according to denialists, sceptics, and even a few warmers.”

    Nope, because the time of selection to show such a decline is not long enough to prove it.

    Note also that your modification is not taken on board by MOST denialists and MOST (self-assigned) skeptics.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Jan 2010 @ 4:23 AM

  934. tim: “My original intent was to examine volcanic forcing as it realistically occurs in the context of global cooling.”

    So why did your original comment include the unrealistic of a 10-Pinatubo eruption for 10 years?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Jan 2010 @ 4:25 AM

  935. For Tim Jones, from a quick search on LIA causes, this is recent:

    “… The coldest temperatures of the Little Ice Age are observed over the interval 1400 to 1700 C.E., with greatest cooling over the extratropical Northern Hemisphere continents. The patterns of temperature change imply dynamical responses of climate to natural radiative forcing changes involving El Niño and the North Atlantic Oscillation–Arctic Oscillation.”
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;326/5957/1256

    Sunspot counts in early years may be low because haze from distant volcanos reduced what could be seen, an effect that the observers didn’t know about; I’ve seen this suggested in a number of papers; here’s one I hadn’t found before:
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1990QJRAS..31..109S

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Jan 2010 @ 9:41 AM

  936. > What a load of tripe.
    Bingo, anyone?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Jan 2010 @ 9:42 AM

  937. “There’s an ongoing glacial isostatic adjustment of the solid Earth due to the reduction in Antarctic ice cover at the end of the last ice age.”

    Since wales has gone 200ft (60,000mm) since the last time it was covered with Ice (12,000 years), it would be assumed that the change is 5mm and that was when removing 1500m (uh, dunno, that’s all the wiki page on it has: how thick the continental ice was at peak), that would be about 0.003 mm/m/year, the 9m per year antarctic thinning would be 0.03mm a year change from isostatic rebound.

    Not a big error added.

    And the change has to be compared with the nine meters loss that is the maximum change in ice thickness in Antarctica in a year seen.

    I don’t know if my BotE calculation is right, hence I put the workings there.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Jan 2010 @ 10:25 AM

  938. Hank and Gavin’s inline of #928:

    Yes, it’s so bad it’s not even wrong, but amazingly, even though I’ve never known micro-Watts to be right about anything, it doesn’t diminish his following or authority. It’s the Faux-News effect on steroids…or maybe that’s laxatives. I can only conclude that it is futile to try and refute anything on WUWT, as the denizens do not live in the same Universe as the rest of us…and yet they still vote.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Jan 2010 @ 10:31 AM

  939. Looks like another Monckton wave propagating through the blogosphere; the “recent cooling” meme seems to be resurgent.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 15 Jan 2010 @ 10:35 AM

  940. Martin Vermeer says: 15 January 2010 at 2:28 AM

    “Actually it’s not quite that simple. There’s an ongoing glacial isostatic adjustment of the solid Earth due to the reduction in Antarctic ice cover…”

    GRACE measures gravitational anomalies, not surface altitude, so unless I’m missing something data from GRACE is an indicator of Antarctic mass, not topography. Failing loss of liquid water or rock, the loss of mass in Antarctica would pretty much come down to ice.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 15 Jan 2010 @ 10:50 AM

  941. Jim Galasyn says: 15 January 2010 at 10:35 AM

    “…the “recent cooling” meme seems to be resurgent.”

    Didn’t Hank Roberts assign “rebunked” as the official term for zombie concepts called forth from the grave?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 15 Jan 2010 @ 10:54 AM

  942. Ray Ladbury: “I can only conclude that it is futile to try and refute anything on WUWT, as the denizens do not live in the same Universe as the rest of us…and yet they still vote.”

    If you’re interested in how widespread this is, some of the clips from The Young Turks (a progressive internet news broadcaster) show how this is widespread among the republican talking-heads and, supposedly, the people who watch them.

    Tactics and the gigantic self-deception (or ability to avoid looking at yourself) needed to believe some of the talking heads required by Fox watchers are very much in evidence there on such diverse topics as

    Healthcare reform
    Bank bailouts
    Terrorism and responses

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Jan 2010 @ 10:54 AM

  943. Doug, I wonder if these waves of rebunked topics are self-excited or responses to external drivers. It seems like the blogosphere is an excitable medium in which zombie topics can re-appear spontaneously and trigger self-amplifying waves with very long decay constants bouncing around the closed system.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 15 Jan 2010 @ 11:53 AM

  944. Completely Fed Up says:
    15 January 2010 at 10:25 AM
    Since wales has gone 200ft (60,000mm) since the last time it was covered with Ice (12,000 years), it would be assumed that the change is 5mm and that was when removing 1500m (uh, dunno, that’s all the wiki page on it has: how thick the continental ice was at peak), that would be about 0.003 mm/m/year, the 9m per year antarctic thinning would be 0.03mm a year change from isostatic rebound.

    I don’t know if my BotE calculation is right, hence I put the workings there.

    Current isostatic rebound measured in Scandinavia by GPS is ~1 cm/yr

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 15 Jan 2010 @ 12:30 PM

  945. Jim Galasyn says: 15 January 2010 at 11:53 AM

    “I wonder if these waves of rebunked topics are self-excited or responses to external drivers. It seems like the blogosphere is an excitable medium in which zombie topics can re-appear spontaneously and trigger self-amplifying waves with very long decay constants bouncing around the closed system.”

    I’m sure it’s tractable for scientific inquiry, and I have no doubt that some of today’s children will be cranking out PhD work based on this very thing. There’s a plethora of social science related data sloshing around in our networks; just yesterday I read an article about USGS tapping into Twitter streams to help with collecting human perception data for temblors.

    So, in conclusion we know that even twits can help push forward our horizon of knowledge.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 15 Jan 2010 @ 12:32 PM

  946. “Current isostatic rebound measured in Scandinavia by GPS is ~1 cm/yr”

    OK, though from post 940, it’s not all that relevant.

    Still a lot less than 9m change in depth seen.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Jan 2010 @ 1:10 PM

  947. Re: 935 Hank Roberts says:

    “Sunspot counts in early years may be low because haze from distant volcanos reduced what could be seen, an effect that the observers didn’t know about; I’ve seen this suggested in a number of papers; here’s one I hadn’t found before:

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1990QJRAS..31..109S ”

    Seems to me the paper ascribes spurious sunspots to volcanic activity more than it ascribes a suspected subtraction of sunspots due to aerosol veiling, if the latter at all.

    questions:

    Is there a correlation between sunspot (or lack of) observations and either tropospheric haze or stratospheric aerosol optical veiling events due to volcanic activity during the period of
    the Maunder Minimum?

    Is there a correlation between low power optical and high power observations of sunspots during the Tambora (1815) and Krackatoa (1883) eruptions where aerosol veiling can be shown to obscure the perception of sunspots with low power
    telescopic observations?

    Comment by Tim Jones — 15 Jan 2010 @ 1:48 PM

  948. Re:945 Doug Bostrom says:
    15 January 2010 at 12:32 PM

    Jim Galasyn says: 15 January 2010 at 11:53 AM

    “I wonder if these waves of rebunked topics are self-excited or responses to external drivers. It seems like the blogosphere is an excitable medium in which zombie topics can re-appear spontaneously and trigger self-amplifying waves with very long decay constants bouncing around the closed system.”

    I see it as an effort by the fossil fuel lobby to keep the subject alive in order to win more adherents and thus more negative pressure on progressive moves to advance climate change legislation.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 15 Jan 2010 @ 2:00 PM

  949. Tim Jones says:15 January 2010 at 2:00 PM

    “I see it as an effort by the fossil fuel lobby to keep the subject alive in order to win more adherents and thus more negative pressure on progressive moves to advance climate change legislation.”

    To whatever the extent the doubt community is driven by fossil fuel interests, we should see an upsurge in public policy vandalism activity in the coming months, here in the U.S. at least.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 15 Jan 2010 @ 3:03 PM

  950. Watch the denialagogues get apoplectic over this…

    ‘No basis’ for excluding climate impacts from NEPA reviews — CEQ
    http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/2010/01/15/1/ (subscription)
    Noelle Straub, E&E reporter
    (01/15/2010)

    “The White House Council on Environmental Quality has found “no basis” for excluding greenhouse gas emissions from National Environmental Policy Act reviews.”

    “Responding to inquiries from Republican lawmakers, CEQ Chairwoman Nancy Sutley said NEPA “cannot be used to regulate greenhouse gas emissions” and that the Obama administration remains committed to energy and climate legislation to address those broader issues.”

    “Nonetheless, NEPA compels Federal agencies to consider environmental effects before undertaking significant actions or policies,” Sutley wrote in a letter to the lawmakers late last month. “CEQ sees no basis for excluding greenhouse gas emissions from that consideration.”
    [...]
    Click here to read Sutley’s letter.
    http://www.eenews.net/features/documents/2010/01/15/document_gw_02.pdf

    Comment by Tim Jones — 15 Jan 2010 @ 3:34 PM

  951. Doug Bostrom #940:

    GRACE measures gravitational anomalies, not surface altitude, so
    unless I’m missing something data from GRACE is an indicator of
    Antarctic mass, not topography. Failing loss of liquid water or
    rock, the loss of mass in Antarctica would pretty much come down to ice.

    I’m sorry Doug, what you’re missing is that glacial isostatic adjustment isn’t just the surface moving up, it is a deep flow of mantle rock from outside the uplift area inward. Slow viscoelastic deformation, time scale thousands of years. So yes, it’s both rock and ice changing.

    Like here :-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 15 Jan 2010 @ 4:36 PM

  952. 933, Completely Fed Up: Nope, because the time of selection to show such a decline is not long enough to prove it.
    *
    Note also that your modification is not taken on board by MOST denialists and MOST (self-assigned) skeptics.

    I think those are fair statements. If the current “non-warming” persists as long as the 1940-1980 (appx) and 1885-1915 (appx) non-warmings, then it might be considered “proved”. Latif acknowledges recent apparent non-warming with warming expected to resume about 2015; Tsonis acknowledges apparent non-warming with noticeable warming to resume about 2030. The selection of the time is not completely arbitrary because it fits with the periodicity of alternate warming/non-warming since 1855 and fitted by some mathematical models.

    WUWT today notes that January 2010 to date is the warmest January on record, with a temp of about -17C. That does not suggest any “cooling”.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 15 Jan 2010 @ 5:09 PM

  953. > WUWT today notes … a temp of about -17C

    Meaningless number, as stated, without more information
    Citation needed, and not to WUWT; know what they’re talking about?

    I’d bet it’s http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/execute.csh?amsutemps

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Jan 2010 @ 6:28 PM

  954. Re:951 Martin Vermeer says

    “I’m sorry Doug, what you’re missing is that glacial isostatic adjustment isn’t just the surface moving up, it is a deep flow of mantle rock from outside the uplift area inward. Slow viscoelastic deformation, time scale thousands of years. So yes, it’s both rock and ice changing.”

    The additional mass from outside the uplift is still offset by a loss of ice over what’s being uplifted. Does it make a difference as to whether the mantle is rebounding from beneath or from the sides regarding the GRACE finding of a loss of crustal mass?

    Wouldn’t “both rock and ice changing” indicate even more loss of ice?

    Comment by Tim Jones — 15 Jan 2010 @ 7:07 PM

  955. Tim Jones (954) — Prepare a shallow pan of jello. When set, dig out a dramge channel and ponding area. Then place an ice cube in the middle and observe for some time.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 15 Jan 2010 @ 7:48 PM

  956. Martin Vermeer says: 15 January 2010 at 4:36 PM

    “I’m sorry Doug, what you’re missing is that glacial isostatic adjustment isn’t just the surface moving up, it is a deep flow of mantle rock from outside the uplift area inward. Slow viscoelastic deformation, time scale thousands of years. So yes, it’s both rock and ice changing.”

    Ooh, picky, picky!

    Yes, rebound needs to be accounted for, which the investigators do. Indeed, if there’s a weakness to this approach it’s the assumptions that have to be made surrounding PGR.

    In this case, as with many GRACE experiments the timescale makes rebound due to the specific phenomenon under observation of little significance. The existing “background” PGR is removed from the signal, leaving a fairly robust result. Even working at the extremes of the error bars– thus attributing most apparent mass loss to unrelated PGR effects– significant mass is unaccounted for, that missing mass coming down to one guilty party, vanishing ice.

    I’m sure this is vastly disappointing to the holdouts who have been using their Antarctic Ice Fortress as one of the last redoubts in defense of doubt. Tsk. For doubters, my suggestion would be to attack the paper via PGR, but if you want to have any influence amongst the grownups who do policy you’ll need to do some actual science, instead of whining about bad data. And if the word “model” is a dirty word for you, don’t bother; you can’t discuss the mantle without using models, ok? Just get over it or stay mum. Finally, you’ll need to figure out how to overcome mutual confirmation of the method and observations by two sets of investigators.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/311/5768/1754

    ftp://ftp.csr.utexas.edu/pub/ggfc/papers/epsl_ant_preprint.pdf

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 15 Jan 2010 @ 8:15 PM

  957. 953, Hank Roberts: Meaningless number, as stated, without more information
    Citation needed, and not to WUWT; know what they’re talking about?

    Sorry, it was only 1 day, the warmest January day yet recorded. Just a little factoid.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 15 Jan 2010 @ 8:36 PM

  958. AMSU has a very pretty Javascript presentation here
    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/
    But when you click on the “trends” link (left sidebar) you get — daily temperature numbers for various elevations.

    Odd. Anyone see a way to get a trend out of that presentation?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Jan 2010 @ 9:32 PM

  959. Re: 955 David B. Benson says:
    15 January 2010

    Tim Jones (954) — Prepare a shallow pan of jello. When set, dig out a dramge channel and ponding area. Then place an ice cube in the middle and observe for some time.

    Sterling idea, David. A 3D model!

    Be my guest. Let me help.

    Prepare a glass aquarium, the bottom representing the Core. The Jello should be floating on water to represent the Mantle floating on the Outer Core. Separate water and colored Jello with Saran Wrap. You’d want to see the deformation of the Mantle so there should be a layer of clay resting on the Jello to represent the Crust floating on the Mantle. Then have the ice cube representing melting glaciers resting on the clay. I’m not sure it matters where the water goes as long as not all in one spot.

    Carefully place horizontal and vertical colored pins in the jello near the ice to indicate movement of isostatic and viscoelastic rebound.

    Photograph before and after ice melts.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 15 Jan 2010 @ 9:42 PM

  960. Oh, yeah, AMSU at http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/ also has this text over their temperature chart:

    > During global warming, the atmosphere in the lower atmosphere (called
    > the troposphere) is supposed to warm at least as fast as the surface
    > warms, while the statosphere above the troposphere is supposed to cool
    > much faster than the surface warms.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Jan 2010 @ 9:44 PM

  961. NOTE: All Royal Society content is currently free to access in celebration of the Royal Society’s 350th Anniversary.

    e.g.

    http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/466/2114/303.abstract
    Solar change and climate: an update in the light of the current exceptional solar minimum– Mike Lockwood

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Jan 2010 @ 9:55 PM

  962. Tim Jones #954

    Does it make a difference
    as to whether the mantle is rebounding from beneath or from the
    sides regarding the GRACE finding of a loss of crustal mass?

    It sure does… and in Fennoscandia this has been a subject of active study, like in the paper I linked to. Having 3D rebound patterns on the surface from GPS gives you a handle on the 3D viscoelastic deformations going on in the mantle — unfortunately with a lot of ambiguity.

    To be clear, I don’t think the finding of ice mass loss itself is in question, it’s just that GIA remains an important confounding factor contributing to the error bars.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 15 Jan 2010 @ 10:06 PM

  963. Weatherman Watts has an amazing and comforting explanation on his site describing why none of us should ever have to worry about increases in average global temperature. What a relief. Here I was getting all worried, now it turns out that via the magic of statistics everything’s going to be ok after all.

    Here it is. Read it, then let’s all relax:

    “So while it may be fun to watch the global temperature – a meaningless game that many people began to play in recent years because of the AGW fad (and yes, your humble correspondent only plays these games because others do, not because it is scientifically important) – it is very important to realize that the changes of the global mean temperature are irrelevant for every single place on the globe. They only emerge when things are averaged over the globe – but no one is directly affected by such an average.”

    See how easy that was? Cool. That means we don’t need airbags in our cars, or for that matter seatbelts. Nobody is affected by statistical improvements in morbidity and mortality, after all. Forget penicillin also; for you personally, penicillin is useless.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/15/uah-satellite-data-has-record-warmest-day-for-january/

    He says not to worry about this, either:

    “By the way, it’s almost certain by now that January 2010 will also be the globally warmest January on the UAH record – the anomaly will likely surpass 0.70 °C. It may even see the highest (or at least 2nd highest) monthly UAH anomaly since December 1978.”

    So much for cooling. Who ever said anything about cooling, anyway?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 15 Jan 2010 @ 10:20 PM

  964. http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2010/01/13/rspa.2009.0434.full?sid=5c390383-dc22-4c29-af60-4f551f0523a7

    Stability of ice-sheet grounding lines
    Richard F. Katz, and M. Grae Worster

    doi: 10.1098/rspa.2009.0434

    Full Text Free

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Jan 2010 @ 10:51 PM

  965. 961, Hank Roberts

    Good to know. I downloaded it. Thanks.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 16 Jan 2010 @ 3:01 AM

  966. Martin @962,
    Given its dependence on the geoid, could they use detailed patterns in sea level rise to constrain the GIA?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Jan 2010 @ 7:28 AM

  967. Doug@963, That sounds like “Micro” Watts trying unsuccessfully to yack back up what R. Pielke, Sr. has been arguing of late. Roger has been saying that averages are irrelevant, because nobody lives the average.

    I would propose that we engage these gentlemen n a little game of chance–it doesn’t matter which game as long as the expectation value of the game is positive for us and negative for them. After all, what is the expectation value but an average, and they know averages are unimportant, right?

    See I figure if folks are going to live in these little fantasy worlds, we in the reality-based community ought to be able to benefit somehow. After all, as W. C. Fields said, “Never give a sucker an even break.” And these guys suck in the worst way imaginable.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Jan 2010 @ 7:39 AM

  968. “The Jello should be floating on water to represent the Mantle floating on the Outer Core.”

    And compared to the stiffness of jello and water, the ice is far too dense.

    Therefore it won’t work.

    Unless we have neutron star matter as ice on the real earth…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 16 Jan 2010 @ 7:46 AM

  969. Martin: “Slow viscoelastic deformation, time scale thousands of years. So yes, it’s both rock and ice changing.”

    And we’re measuring on a timescale thousands of times smaller, therefore the change is thousands of times smaller.

    Plus, you forget, that it is the relative densities that would make a change in the gravitational anomaly. Not the movement alone. So scale it down there too.

    NOTE: if Sweden is going up 1cm/year then over the last 12000 years, it would have gone up 120m.

    I don’t think it has.

    Therefore there’s some large delay for isostatic rebound that is somewhat analogous to internal friction and inertia. A delay of some thousands of years to get to full speed, at least.

    Since significant ice loss is within the last 50 years or so, so how big an effect can it be?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 16 Jan 2010 @ 7:53 AM

  970. “See I figure if folks are going to live in these little fantasy worlds, we in the reality-based community ought to be able to benefit somehow. After all, as W. C. Fields said, “Never give a sucker an even break.” And these guys suck in the worst way imaginable.”

    How does one sign up for this “reality based community”?
    Is there an initiation ritual?

    [Response: You just need to remove the blinkers. - gavin]

    Comment by David Wright — 16 Jan 2010 @ 10:16 AM

  971. Re:968
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “And compared to the stiffness of jello and water, the ice is far too dense.”

    Ice is LESS dense than water! Ice floats, remember?
    Water has a specific gravity, a density of 1. Ice has a specific gravity of 0.9168

    Re:934
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “So why did your original comment include the unrealistic of a 10-Pinatubo eruption for 10 years?”

    Not what I wrote. It was not one eruption of a magnitude of 10 Pinatubos as you suggest. Nor did my original comment #877 include “10 years.”

    How about you getting your facts straight?

    Comment by Tim Jones — 16 Jan 2010 @ 10:22 AM

  972. “What a load of tripe. We should give prizes for the biggest number of factual errors, logical errors and complete non sequitors that readers can find. Just in the first segment, they get the provenance of the ice cores wrong (Antarctica, not the Arctic), the grant Monckton and D’Aleo PhDs they have not earned, they insinuate strongly that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas (despite this being known since the 19th Century), they steal video from the Great Global Warming Swindle, they still can’t seem to get their heads around the fact that temperature can cause the carbon cycle to change at the same time that CO2 causes warming because it’s a greenhouse gas, and… someone else can continue – I haven’t got the stomach for it. – gavin]”

    Ad Hominem aside, I would like an explanation of the film’s “smoking gun” claim that, for example, in California more recent temperature data is culled so that measurements along the coast are extrapolated long distances, to the Sierra Navada in their example. The film states that no data points from the Sierra Nevada or the central valley are used to establish more recent temperature anomolies from the old baseline, which uses stations at locations such as the Sierra Nevada.
    It makes logical sense that old temperature data which included the Sierra Nevada would tend to average lower, and that the removal of same for later timeframes would tend to average higher.
    You cannot make such selections without imparting a bias. You cewrtainly could confirm a bias by malipulating data in such a way. It seems that the “auditors” are simply truying to point out these flaws. It is not a good policy to resist an audit.

    [Response: This 'smoking gun' is not even a dripping water pistol. Their claim is apparently that a coastal station absolute temperature is being used to estimate the current absolute temperature in the mountains and that the anomaly there is warm because the coast is warmer than the mountain. Well, if anyone was doing that, the temperature anomalies would be a lot larger than a few tenths of a degree! What is actually done is that temperature anomalies are calculated locally from local baselines, and these anomalies can be interpolated over quite large distances. This is perfectly fine and checkable by looking at the pairwise correlations at the monthly stations between different stations (London-Paris or New York-Cleveland or LA-San Francisco). The second thread in their 'accusation' is that the agencies are deleting records - this just underscores their lack of understanding of where the GHCN data set actually comes from. They could just try reading Peterson and Vose (1997) which indicates where the data came from, and which data streams give real time updates. The principle one is the CLIMAT updates from WMO GCOS. These are distributed by the Nat. Met. Services who have decided which stations they choose to produce monthly mean data for (and how it is calculated) and is absolutely nothing to do with NODC or NASA. These claims are based on nothing but ignorance and prejudice. PS. You appear to be unaware of what 'Ad hominem' means. - gavin]

    Comment by David Wright — 16 Jan 2010 @ 10:33 AM

  973. > Septic Matthew says: 16 January 2010 at 3:01 AM
    > 961
    [Lockwood paper]

    Always remember–check for prior discussion of an author’s work, e.g.
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Arealclimate.org+lockwood+frohlich
    will get you a start, then use search within results and add keywords to reduce the (huge) total number of hits, over 1400 at RC on that search.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Jan 2010 @ 11:10 AM

  974. If David Wright is this network news guy
    http://www.google.com/search?q=“David+Wright”+climate+ABC
    please keep asking for clarification on details and don’t be put off by some of us, me included, who do get cranky at times at old familiar questions.

    News people especially won’t have time to ‘do the reading for themselves’ — for example, the difference between an absolute temperature and an anomaly measurement is obvious to me by now as a longtime reader on the site. It leaps off the page and it’s clear the assertion is just meant to confuse new readers.

    For someone new to the subject and particularly if you’re that ABC guy and in a rush to a news deadline–the two words look much the same, and do often cause people to get confused.

    On this area you can’t just report what other people are saying–without having a good staff looking very skeptically at it–or you end up reporting pure bafflegab.

    The story obscuring the difference between absolute and anomaly measurements is typical of stuff that will fool a reader and sucker a reporter

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Jan 2010 @ 11:21 AM

  975. This David Wright?
    http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=9296468….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Jan 2010 @ 12:13 PM

  976. 973, Hank Roberts

    Thanks again.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 16 Jan 2010 @ 1:07 PM

  977. Gavin,
    Thanks for the response. Sorry for the misuse of term “ad hominem”, but I percieved the language as a personal attack upon a group, so to speak. I see a form of prejudice againsts “skeptics” or “septics” here. For example, we are typically lumped in with creationists, religious right or flat earthers. This could not be further from the truth in my case, as science is one of my passions (recognizing that I am but an amateur, simply fascinated by nature).

    I did not take from the video any implication that data had been destroyed, but that it has been used inappropriately (apples to oranges). I remain skeptical that the data is being properly applied and that models are appropriate forecasting tools (as it is being applied for public climate policy). I’m all for research.

    IMHO the public in general will continue to be more and more skeptical until renowned scientists such as yourself publicly discuss the methods of your field in some sort of neutral forum. I can see how you might not want to lend credibility to the skeptical viewpoint by associating with it’s proponents
    in in such a way, but common folks, particularly in the developed world, really want to understand issues that affect them. We do not take well to folks who simple ask us to trust them. This trust has been abused far to often in the past, particularly when it comes to matters involving public funds. You have to admit that, for better or worse, the public has a much greater ability to air it’s collective view than it has at any other time in history. Public debate is more than simply great sport, it serves a very useful cultural purpose.
    IMHO the polarized media we see today will eventually settle down and trusted sources will rise to the top by natural selection. Hopefully scientists will adapt to the change toward a more open source form of communication with the public at large. Why not be on the forefront of this movement? It would take a great deal of courage, but if your science is sound, you have everything to gain.
    Cheers!

    Comment by David Wright — 16 Jan 2010 @ 1:42 PM

  978. “This David Wright?”
    Nope.

    Comment by David Wright — 16 Jan 2010 @ 1:43 PM

  979. David Wright says: 16 January 2010 at 10:33 AM

    It’s also helpful to remember that for many locations historical weather records are available for purchase by resellers, or in some cases even can be obtained for free, with sufficient elbow grease. The records are not state secrets, though some weather agencies seem to believe they have intrinsic value.

    So if somebody is truly concerned about how things would look without interpolation, they could actually acquire these records and then do the work required to find out what happens when they’re included.

    I’m puzzled that this simple and obvious step has not been taken by doubters.

    Bolivia’s impact was recently under discussion at a favorite site for doubters; all sort of speculation was being flung around concerning massaging of data. It took me about an hour to find 20 years of records for two sample locations in Bolivia. Not enough data to form any firm conclusions and in any case I don’t have the skill to use it properly, though from my dull perspective I did not see any surprises. The point is, if it took me so little time to do this, why don’t the doubters do so as well? They don’t trust climate scientists so I doubt their worries will diminish until they’ve gone through the process on their own, which they apparently choose to avoid.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 16 Jan 2010 @ 2:08 PM

  980. Ray Ladbury says: 16 January 2010 at 7:39 AM

    “I would propose that we engage these gentlemen in a little game of chance–it doesn’t matter which game as long as the expectation value of the game is positive for us and negative for them. After all, what is the expectation value but an average, and they know averages are unimportant, right?”

    Trouble is, we’re in a game now, it’s called “Global Russian Rou_lette”, there’s a shell in the cylinder, we keep going “klick, klick, klick…” Just a question now of what bits will be blown away.

    Watts’ site is really quite abysmal. He writes well, but his followers are an entire grade below the folks at CA.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 16 Jan 2010 @ 2:17 PM

  981. Completely Fed Up — Too picky. The ice on jello is a conceptual model of isostacy, not to scale. Doesn’t even handle all lateral aspects.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 16 Jan 2010 @ 3:01 PM

  982. “IMHO the public in general will continue to be more and more skeptical until renowned scientists such as yourself publicly discuss the methods of your field in some sort of neutral forum.”

    I hate to mention ‘em again, but this has been tried repeatedly w/creationists, it has not an iota of effect.

    Anyway, there is a “neutral forum” for discussion, it’s called academic publication.

    Unfortunately the doubt industry is beavering away at deceiving the public about the academic publication arena, busily constructing imaginary conspiracies and the like. Take a look at Steve McIntyre’s site. The only “research” being performed there has to do with raking email sediment for “code” from the “team”.

    This meta discussion about climate research is not about science. It’s about preserving cash flow. Trying to interpret it any other way is futile.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 16 Jan 2010 @ 3:05 PM

  983. Doug #979
    “It took me about an hour to find 20 years of records for two sample locations in Bolivia. Not enough data to form any firm conclusions and in any case I don’t have the skill to use it properly, though from my dull perspective I did not see any surprises.”

    Any clues as to where to find said data, or what they show?

    Thanks in advance.

    Comment by Chris S. — 16 Jan 2010 @ 3:08 PM

  984. “The point is, if it took me so little time to do this, why don’t the doubters do so as well?”

    The public pays for this information to be gathered by its institutions. We should not have to pay for it twice.

    It seems to me that if complete datasets are collected, then complete, unprocessed datasets should be archived and made available to the taxpayers for audit purposes.

    I’m still confused as to the reason we are using a much smaller dataset than is available, and extrapolating it to areas where real data is available (in the US). It also seems that data which is for sale and proprietary should not be used for public purposes since it cannot be audited publically.

    I’m also wondering if it is true that historic tree ring data should not be used as a temperature proxy. That is my understanding of the “hide the decline” issue, not that temperatures are declining, but that the proxies are unreliable.

    Comment by David Wright — 16 Jan 2010 @ 3:15 PM

  985. > “Global Russian Rou_lette”

    I think it was Feynmann who observed that if the first time you pull the trigger you just get a ‘click’– this doesn’t mean you should feel confident nothing will happen and keep pulling the trigger.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Jan 2010 @ 3:35 PM

  986. For David Wright — recommended for clarification of the word:
    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2008/01/septic_arguments.php

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Jan 2010 @ 3:37 PM

  987. Yesterday I was in my ski shop and naturally the talk turned to weather. I explained that I didn’t really believe in long range weather forecasting but that the forecast for 3 weeks had been predicting a break in the dry spell we’d been having and the prediction was starting to look believable. The guy I was talking to says something like: “especially climate change, right?” I looked at him and said, “Climate change is easy. Predicting climate change is you turn up the heat on the pot you’re cooking and you predict that it gets hotter. Predicting weather is predicting how the temperature changes with time everywhere in the pot.” I don’t know that I had an immediate convert but he did say that no one had ever explained that to him so simply before.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 16 Jan 2010 @ 3:59 PM

  988. Time’s headline’s pretty scary if the think about what a treasure wetlands are. But Bryan Walsh fleshes out the subject pretty well, gets it, and ends on the right note. It might be noted that traditional wetlands contribute to the natural carbon cycle and important wildlife habitat and shouldn’t be replaced with coal fueled power plants.

    How Wetlands Worsen Climate Change
    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1953751,00.html
    By Bryan Walsh Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010
    [excerpts)
    Now there's new focus on a pair of methane sources that we usually don't think of as natural polluters: wetlands and rice paddies."
    [...]
    “…but a new paper in the Jan. 14 issue of Science has provided some hard numbers. Using satellite data, investigators determined that wetlands contribute from 53% to 58% of global methane emissions and that rice paddies are responsible for more than a quarter of that output. The study could help make climate-change models more accurate, and help scientists understand whether increasing temperatures will lead to even higher methane emissions down the road. “It’s all about more accurately describing climate in these models,” says Paul Palmer, a geoscientist at the University of Edinburgh and a co-author of the Science paper.”
    [...]
    “Indeed, many scientists worry that we could reach a tipping point at which warming could begin to melt the Arctic permafrost and unleash masses of buried methane — which would then further warm the atmosphere, releasing more methane and continuing in a dangerous feedback cycle. But if we’re going to prevent that from happening, we’re going to have to find a way other than reducing methane emissions from wetlands. Global food requirements mean that we can’t cut back seriously on rice paddy cultivation, and wetlands are far too important to the environment as groundwater filters and buffers against coastal floods. “I just don’t see any way to control methane emissions from wetlands,” says Palmer. Instead, we’ll need to focus on methane emissions from man-made sources — like landfills or natural gas drilling — and cut what is still greenhouse gas No. 1: CO2.”

    Hear hear. It hope “350″ does the trick. I’m not convinced this level of diminished CO2 forcing is sufficient to turn round the feedbacks we see, where man’s contribution to CO2 warming is just the fuse on the canon.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 16 Jan 2010 @ 4:02 PM

  989. “Anyway, there is a “neutral forum” for discussion, it’s called academic publication.”
    The general public, for whom policy is being affected, does not read academic publications. That’s more of a forum between scientists, and rightly so.
    Any consensus required for public policy is a matter for public debate beyond the academic debate.
    That’s why, more than ever, scientists need to be ready to debate one another publicly, at least where “soft science” (forgive me for calling it as I see it) relates to public policy.
    There needs to be more clarity from the science community as to what the “settled science” really is. At the moment, we are given the impression that the settled science is a 20 foot rise in sea level and more catastrophic storms. Most folks here know that that is not really what the settled science indicates. Let’s hear it publicly, from real scientists willing to stake their reputations on it, not from some politician.
    I’m pleased that Dr. Hansen has softened his stance against fossil fuel, but I’m not pleased that he recently sat nodding in agreemnent as David Letterman implied that his young child faces doom. Sure, Letterman is a comedian, but sitting idly by without so much as a “but seriously folks” cheapens the image of a renowned scientist. IMHO Dr. Hansen missed a great opportunity to display real courage.
    Sorry if I’m overworking the issue and OT.
    Cheers!

    Comment by David Wright — 16 Jan 2010 @ 4:04 PM

  990. Re my previous post -

    “It hope…” should read “I hope.”

    Comment by Tim Jones — 16 Jan 2010 @ 4:06 PM

  991. Chris S. says: 16 January 2010 at 3:08 PM

    “Any clues as to where to find said data, or what they show?”

    I’m sorry, I know it’s anti-science but I really would like the doubters to move off their shiftless bums, stop whining and flinging accusations and instead do some work. I will say that Bolivia’s METAR records can be found on the web, I’m sure many other places as well. And as I mentioned, there are resellers, which I did not use.

    As to conclusions, the only thing that struck me was that evening temperatures -appeared- to have a more positive supposed trend than day temperatures. But again, the data I looked at was scanty and I’m not really clued in on statistics so take it with a mountain of salt.

    David Wright says: 16 January 2010 at 3:15 PM

    “The public pays for this information to be gathered by its institutions. We should not have to pay for it twice. ”

    Just as one example, you’re not Bolivian, are you? What individual countries choose to do w/their data is up to the citizens or despots locally in charge. We’re fortunate to have grownups around who understand which principles are important, which are not and thus are prepared to make arrangements to get the data under NDA or whatever.

    “It seems to me that if complete datasets are collected, then complete, unprocessed datasets should be archived and made available to the taxpayers for audit purposes.”

    Which would be pointless, because the mentality that sees conspiracy behind homogenization is going to see a conspiracy if the unprocessed records do not agree with prejudice.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 16 Jan 2010 @ 4:18 PM

  992. David: “There needs to be more clarity from the science community as to what the “settled science” really is. ”

    Maybe you mean well, but this is just rubbish.

    It’s only a problem because denialists pop it out when they have nothing better to do and use it as a strawman.

    There’s a complete thread on it here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/unsettled-science/

    Yup, it’s on RC.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 16 Jan 2010 @ 4:23 PM

  993. “I looked at him and said, “Climate change is easy. Predicting climate change is you turn up the heat on the pot you’re cooking and you predict that it gets hotter. Predicting weather is predicting how the temperature changes with time everywhere in the pot.”

    This appears to be a septic argument in reverse. Way oversimplified.(thanks for the def. link Hank)

    Yes the pot will get hotter, but how much? Convection increases, more energy is released.

    “I think it was Feynmann who observed that if the first time you pull the trigger you just get a ‘click’– this doesn’t mean you should feel confident nothing will happen and keep pulling the trigger.”

    reverse septic as well…not necessarily analogous…the comfort and safety we all enjoy by virtue of industry and cheap energy does not equate to a suicidal tendency.

    IMHO we suffer from some sort of collective guilt syndrome due to our relative comfort in relation to our forefathers and our poorer brothers in other lands. Hence the propensity toward pennance. IMHO our efforts and resources could be better channeled.

    Anyway, ‘scuse the flood of posts. It’s rainy & clammy here, waiting for the Saints game. Who dat…….
    Thanks, see ya later!

    Comment by David Wright — 16 Jan 2010 @ 4:25 PM

  994. David Wright (989) — Using CO2 concentrations, paleoclimate studies suggest Pliocene (Pli on the linked graph, toward the left) to mid-Miocene (Mio) conditions: Some substantial portion of Antarctica melts and then 3 meters sea level rise is the least to expect. This seems as good a prediction as it is currently possible to make, although I am in no position to declare “settled science.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:65_Myr_Climate_Change.png
    Less settled is how long it might take for a 3 meter sea level rise; rather unlikely this century, maybe half that.

    More serious storms? In a heating world seems likely to me; again I am in no position to state “settled science”.

    The issues are better expressed in terms of unknown, but real, risks and arranging for risk avoidance. Such as stop using fossil fuels or else removing the excess carbon expressed from active carbon cycle.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 16 Jan 2010 @ 4:50 PM

  995. “the comfort and safety we all enjoy by virtue of industry and cheap energy does not equate to a suicidal tendency. ”

    But counting the comfort TODAY for the comfort TOMORROW is very much a base animal thing.

    We’re supposed to be sapiens sapiens.

    Read Dune?

    The Gom Jabbar is the trap that separates humans from animals.

    AGW is our species real Gom Jabbar.

    Will we act, or just react?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 16 Jan 2010 @ 5:11 PM

  996. David Wright says: 16 January 2010 at 4:25 PM

    “IMHO we suffer from some sort of collective guilt syndrome due to our relative comfort in relation to our forefathers and our poorer brothers in other lands. Hence the propensity toward pennance. IMHO our efforts and resources could be better channeled.”

    Oh, come on, that’s an ideological fling and really too broad.

    I thank my lucky stars I was born late enough and in the right place to enjoy Shockley, Bardeen and Brattain’s work in all its efflorescent glory. For most things, better than vacuum tubes and guess what? More efficient, too! What one could call “better channeling of efforts.”

    Same deal as fossil fuel versus progress. There’s an ironic term for us: “Fossil fuel”. Stuck in the past.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 16 Jan 2010 @ 5:18 PM

  997. IMHO we suffer from some sort of collective guilt syndrome due to our relative comfort in relation to our forefathers and our poorer brothers in other lands. Hence the propensity toward pennance. IMHO our efforts and resources could be better channeled.

    Oh, good grief. CO2 molecules don’t care about our “collective guilt syndrome”. Whenever science points to problems caused by industrial activity, we always hear arguments like this.

    Comment by dhogaza — 16 Jan 2010 @ 5:22 PM

  998. Re: 993
    “…the comfort and safety we all enjoy by virtue of industry and cheap energy does not equate to a suicidal tendency.”

    Insofar that it amounts to driving a car with bad brakes toward the edge of a cliff it is. We keep putting off fixing the brakes
    as they get worse and worse. The cliff (dangerous climate change) gets nearer and nearer and too many of us are stepping on the gas.

    We’re being warned every day. Who listens? The problem is we take down much of biodiversity with us as our rainforests are cut down for more beef and more fuel, our plastic trash spins endlessly around in a huge Pacific gyre, we sacrifice wetlands for urban sprawl, our oil spills despoil our shore lands, our mines and our farms poison our rivers, we fry the planet with our emissions, our CO2 is poisoning the ocean, and on and on. We continue to worship the gods of conspicuous consumption. Our religions keep us from getting a handle on overpopulation.

    “Unbridled growth is the etiology of a cancer cell. It serves nothing but to kill the host.” “The evolution of every higher mammal but man and his chattel has ceased.” It’s not that that we’re just suicidal, we’re taking down the rest of God’s creatures as well.

    It’s called the 6th Extinction. Use Google. Enjoy your game.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 16 Jan 2010 @ 5:24 PM

  999. David Wright wrote in 977:

    IMHO the public in general will continue to be more and more skeptical until renowned scientists such as yourself publicly discuss the methods of your field in some sort of neutral forum.

    Science is neutral and the case for anthropogenic global warming was very strong even in the 1970s.

    Please see:

    The American Denial of Global Warming
    by Naomi Oreskes
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T4UF_Rmlio

    The scientific consensus on global warming includes every major scientific organization that has seen fit to take a position on the issue. Please see:

    The Consensus on Global Warming:
    From Science to Industry & Religion
    http://www.logicalscience.com/consensus/consensusD1.htm

    However, scientific organizations focus predominantly on science, not public relations. They don’t fund public relations, front or shell organizations, and they don’t engage in astroturfing. They have neither the money for it nor the interest in it.

    Doug Bostrom wrote in 981:

    Unfortunately the doubt industry is beavering away at deceiving the public about the academic publication arena, busily constructing imaginary conspiracies and the like. Take a look at Steve McIntyre’s site. The only “research” being performed there has to do with raking email sediment for “code” from the “team”.

    I put together a list of 32 organizations with documented involvement in both the tobacco and AGW denial campaigns.

    Please see comment 855 of the Unforced Variations

    Many of the same organizations that were involved in the tobacco denial campaign were also involved in the denial campaigns surrounding dioxin, DDT, asbestos, nuclear waste and acid rain. Fortunately, tobacco companies were required to make much of their internal documentation publicly available — and has since been put online. You can search it using Google to see what else the denial industry was involved. I have suggested a few searches in the above comment. And as the comment itself makes clear, both http://www.sourcewatch.org and http://www.exxonsecrets.org are real resources.

    If you want to track the money that a given individual, company or foundation is giving to a foundation, you might try mediamattersaction.org/transparency. It is possible to show, for example, that the Scaife (Allegheny, Carthage, Scaife Family — no longer controlled by the family, Sarah Scaife), Bradley (Lynde and Harry Bradley), Koch (Charles G. Koch, David H. Koch), Claude R. Lambe), and Coor’s Family “Castle Rock” Foundations have given over a quarter of a billion dollars over the years to organizations that are part of Exxon’s denial network. But to some extent it is difficult to say specifically what this money was for. As one example, Much of the wealth of Richard Mellon Scaife comes from oil. He was also heavily involved in the funding of the Religious Right. He has funded the Heritage Foundation — which was involved in both the rise of the Religious Right and the AGW denial campaign — as well as the tobacco denial campaign.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 16 Jan 2010 @ 5:33 PM

  1000. David Wright: You insist you want a debate. Do you want a public debate about creationism before your kids are taught biology in public school?

    Obviously you don’t want to be lumped together with creationists, which you regard as an insult. What you don’t get is that you’re the one doing it to yourself. The case for doubting dangerous man-made global warming is no better than the case for creationism. You regard the analogy as a way to insult the opposing viewpoint, but — truly! — that’s because you don’t know what you’re talking about. Your “smoking gun” comment is, plain and simple, proof of that.

    The analogy with creationism is just plain correct. I’m sorry that the truth is so offensive to you.

    Comment by tamino — 16 Jan 2010 @ 5:35 PM

  1001. CORRECTION

    I stated:

    I put together a list of 32 organizations with documented involvement in both the tobacco and AGW denial campaigns.

    Please see comment 855 of the Unforced Variations thread.

    … but had broken the links in the above comment. They have been fixed in this comment.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 16 Jan 2010 @ 5:47 PM

  1002. On terminology (from a weblog I’m coming to think highly of)
    “Acronym Required observes science and technology.”
    http://acronymrequired.com/2010/01/haiti-ozone-epa-plos-open-access.html

    — excerpt follows —-

    In 2005, physicist Lisa Randall urged that “global climate change” was the appropriate phrase to use, because “global warming” would lead people to argue that their winter was actually very cold. Others argued that “climate change” sounded less dangerous, so therefore would be used to manipulate people who would be fearful enough about “global warming” to urge policy changes, whereas “climate change” seemed benign. But it gets even more complicated for some agencies. NASA differentiates between “global warming”, which is surface climate change, and “climate change”, and “global change”, and “global climate change”, which deems the most accurate term. I think everyone pretty much knows what everyone’s talking about now, though I dare not make conclusions about that.

    —- end excerpt —-

    Congratulations to physicist Lisa Randall–got that right!

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Jan 2010 @ 5:48 PM

  1003. Timothy Chase says: 16 January 2010 at 5:33 PM

    Documentation of industrial deception campaigns including the one at play here is indeed numerous and meticulous, established as fact. Ignoring that while fantasizing about corrupt scientists is one of the features I find most astonishing about the doubter community.

    It turns out there’s an entire website dedicated to performing weird scholarship (if you care to use that term) on a bunch of largely archaic email. The scholars or monks or whatever you care to call them preoccupy themselves with parsing their scrolls for willow-the-wisps, signs and portents they imagine reveal the dark psychology of various scientific investigators. The fact that their source texts were purloined apparently only adds to the allure.

    Meanwhile there’s a multi-trillion dollar motivation for deception staring them in the face, amply documented and entirely beyond debate. That’s of no interest, presumably failing in the romance department. “Hardy Boys Mysteries” are no fun if there’s no mystery.

    Just goes to show, with over 6.5 billion on the planet and a wonderful communications channel open to participation by all we’ll find every sort of arcane niche packed with enthusiasts.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 16 Jan 2010 @ 5:52 PM

  1004. David Wright — The basic scientific discoveries, including some mistaken views which eventually fell by the wayside, was over quite some time ago. You can read the history in “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    Comment by David B. Benson — 16 Jan 2010 @ 6:10 PM

  1005. David Wright says, ” I remain skeptical that the data is being properly applied and that models are appropriate forecasting tools (as it is being applied for public climate policy). I’m all for research.”

    Ah! Which data? We have 2 independent terrestrial data sets and two independent satellite data sets–and they all pretty much agree on trends, etc. We have huge amounts of ice loss. We have phenological data. And all the data paint a consistent picture of a warming planet. Is it your contention that ALL of these data are being misused? Do you have any idea of how unlikely it would be to achieve a consistent picture if this were true?

    David Wright again, “IMHO the public in general will continue to be more and more skeptical until renowned scientists such as yourself publicly discuss the methods of your field in some sort of neutral forum.”

    OK, now explain something to me. Just how is the National Academy of Sciences not a neutral forum? How about the American Physical Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Chemical society and about a dozen other professional organizations for scientists–not one of which have dissented from the consensus position? I could go on,… and on and on and on, in fact, but for brevity’s sake, I hope this will suffice.

    Now, as to debate, the problem is that a scientist must debate scientifically–using evidence, careful interpretation and statistics to make his case. Anti-scence–and sorry, David, but climate denialism is anti-science–need do nothing of the sort. They can hack email servers, take emails and quotes and data out of context, spread lies and calumny, even physically threaten, because their goal is not understanding but rather undermining science. The scientists are playing baseball, the anti-science types are playing Calvin-ball. Even Richard Lindzen sees fit to make arguments he knows to be unphysical to lay audiences.

    Until there is a common set of rules, I don’t see how there can be debate, and until both sides understand the science, I don’t see how there can be a common set of rules.

    So my suggestion, David, is that you make an effort to learn the science. Start with the Start Here button and maybe read Spencer Weart’s History. Ask QUESTIONS. The see if you understand why scientists are concerned.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Jan 2010 @ 6:51 PM

  1006. Hank Roberts wrote in 986:

    For David Wright — recommended for clarification of the word: