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  1. Bbbbbuttt…. it’s all those temperature gauges sitting right next to air-conditioning exhaust vents!

    Oh, wait… this time of year, most of those “air conditioners” are either off or are running in “heat-pump” mode. Never mind….

    Comment by caerbannog — 17 Jan 2010 @ 11:08 AM

  2. The big question is — will we get freezing temps again in Edinburg, TX, in the lower Rio Grande Valley this season (latitude 26.3 N)? My husband wants to know if he can plant his vegetable garden. The one he planted earlier froze (which hardly ever happen here).

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 17 Jan 2010 @ 11:19 AM

  3. Mr Hansen you have demonstrated at Fossil Fuel powered electrical generating facilities, and testified for greenpeace activists whom have demonstrated at Fossil Fuel powered electrical generating facilities!

    yet to the best of my knowledge neither you or greenpeace support replacement technolgies, why is that ?

    [Response: Knowledge about Jim Hansen’s view are best found by reading what he has written on the subject. Try his book, or his plentiful popular science pieces. I can’t speak for Greenpeace, but you are definitely wrong about Hansen. – gavin]

    Comment by Dennis Baker — 17 Jan 2010 @ 11:36 AM

  4. > heat-pump mode
    Yeah, see, they’re sucking the heat right out of the thermometers, making it seem colder than it really is. Oh, wait ….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Jan 2010 @ 11:39 AM

  5. The debate used to be about whether to call it “Global Climate Destabilization” – a much more descriptive term.

    From what I read and what I experience, one can say that our climate is destabilized, with more to come. This means extreme, erratic weather events of all kinds – not just heat. Expect stronger storms, wetter rains, dryer droughts, colder cold snaps, and plenty of heat waves.

    [Response: This is not something that emerges from the IPCC consensus. You can see from the AO index how hard it is to discern a trend in the mean and to validate that against model expectations, trying to do the same with the variability is much harder and has not been done. Given the link between cold air outbreaks and the AO, one would anticipate fewer cold extremes as a function of the expected positive trend in the AO. The blanket claim that more variability in every index is expected because of ‘climate destabilisation’ is wrong. Statements about extremes of any kind are very specific to exactly what is being discussed and the extent to which any changes are expected needs to be properly sourced. – gavin]

    Comment by Richard Pauli — 17 Jan 2010 @ 11:41 AM

  6. December was .59 degrees C warmer than average. Really? That’s ..well…curious.

    Comment by Cardin Drake — 17 Jan 2010 @ 11:50 AM

  7. It’s nice to see time-linear data presented (at least on occasion) as “running means”. Figure 2 demonstrates their utility in making order out of chaos. As long as the author doesn’t opt for 100-year applications!

    Comment by Charles Raguse — 17 Jan 2010 @ 11:53 AM

  8. Lynn, if you’re serious about that question, you’re a bit muddled, and you’re probably asking the wrong people: you’re asking about the weather, not the climate. If you want an answer, it’s ‘maybe’– if the AO drops through the floor again, arctic air could flow down to your neighborhood again. But the frost you’ve had might just be a one-off; after all, as you said, it’s a pretty rare event.

    Comment by Bryson Brown — 17 Jan 2010 @ 11:57 AM

  9. Can you address this story, in a way that Joe Public can understand?

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100022474/climategate-goes-american-noaa-giss-and-the-mystery-of-the-vanishing-weather-stations/

    [Response: It’s nonsense born of ignorance of what these analyses do and prejudice against the results. The basic 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. – gavin]

    Comment by Leanan — 17 Jan 2010 @ 11:59 AM

  10. Those charts show less than a one degree rise in 130 years. That would seem consistent with pre-industrial centuries preceding this chart.

    Comment by realist — 17 Jan 2010 @ 12:21 PM

  11. Ok, disclaimer: I’m a layman, I have a decent amount of general math and science knowledge. BTW, I have just gotten through some very unseasonably cold weather here in South Florida…So I’ve heard the Oh, sooo much for global warming, eh?, cliche so much recently, that I just want to punch people out at this point!

    I just took the time to carefully read What Hanson et al have written in this short paper. I’m willing to bet a considerable amount of money that your typical climate change denialist will not even take the time to read a single paper such as this and even if they did they probably don’t have a clue what something as basic as:

    Green vertical bar is estimated 95 percent confidence range (two standard deviations) for annual temperature change.

    means.

    Let alone grasp something as basic as the difference between weather and climate.

    So you guys must be doing a lousy job getting the true story out to Joe public! ;-)

    Just kidding, frustated in Florida!

    [Response: Understood, but you need to see that the information conduit is a process. Scientists do their job and produce technically correct statements, and hopefully some context, and then the various levels of popularisers take that information and make pithier and more palatable (though less informative statements) that are nonetheless consistent with the scientific statements. So here, soundbites like ‘it’s weather not climate’, or ‘look globally, not locally’, can follow knowing that there is some factual basis for that. Scientists can of course be popularisers as well, but we can’t neglect the technical stuff that stands behind it. – gavin]

    Comment by Fred Magyar — 17 Jan 2010 @ 12:23 PM

  12. People believe those lies because public relations professionals got those lies placed in front of the public over and over. Even if people doubt a statement, if it is repeated over and over to them from different sources, people will come to accept it.

    For such acceptance, the lie must be simple and repeated often. It does not have to be self consistent or consistent with any other knowledge framework.

    Scientists are different from public relations professionals because scientists get tired of saying the same thing over and over and over. (RC may say the same thing a few times. Real PR guys would get those things said thousands of times. Folks have to find, and come to RC. Real PR guys would “push it out”, whether people wanted to read it or not.)

    Face it, (climate) science just does not “get” the concepts of public relations and mass communications. Science does not market itself or its products. For one thing, science does not have a marketing budget. Imagine writing a grant proposal to do atmospheric research and putting in a line item that was 30% of the total request to “market” the results.

    In contrast, the oil companies and car companies really do understand the fine points of marketing. Each of their products has a fully funded marketing budget.

    Our marketing program is called “public education”, and it has been under resourced for a long time.

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 17 Jan 2010 @ 12:27 PM

  13. I just came across — and mentioned over at Tamino’s — this year-old story; it looks at the same Arctic weather and ice conditions and at an ocean circulation hiccup. http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=12455&tid=282&cid=54347

    Followup there http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/models-2/#comment-38598 about modeling generally; just curious if the wind change discussed there is related to this winter’s weather changes.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Jan 2010 @ 12:30 PM

  14. A useful antidote to the “my drive has more snow than I’ve ever seen” school of climate science.

    A future piece on oscillations would be of interest. My understanding is that they explain a lot but cannot themselves be explained.

    Comment by Ron — 17 Jan 2010 @ 12:38 PM

  15. Regarding Gavin’s response to #5 (extreme weather events), would it be accurate to narrow down and say that more and/or worse droughts and heat waves can be inferred from high-probability IPCC conclusions (though of course not in all locations)?

    [Response: Yes. But the regionality of the droughts (in particular) is still poorly defined. – gavin]

    Comment by Dean — 17 Jan 2010 @ 12:57 PM

  16. What is the diference between the rankings from GISS and NOAA?
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/

    [Response: Different treatment for urban heat effects and different procedure for extrapolation to data poor areas. The correlation is pretty high though. – gavin]

    Comment by nube — 17 Jan 2010 @ 12:58 PM

  17. “Underlying this variability, however, is a long‐term warming trend that has become strong and persistent over the past three decades.”

    Figure 4 undercuts the use of the term “strong” for the last decade of that three-decade period. Unfortunately, this is the sort of imprecise language that causes problems.

    Comment by Don Shor — 17 Jan 2010 @ 1:35 PM

  18. Typo Fig. 3 “Temperature anomalies in 1988 (left column)” should be 1998.

    [Response: Fixed. Thanks. – gavin]

    Comment by Slioch — 17 Jan 2010 @ 1:41 PM

  19. Looking at GISS hemispheric data, the SH busted all prior 130 years on their record and not by that silly 5th decimal BS “oh 1934 was warmer than 1998, for the United [below Canada] States” margin… 0.489C+ anomaly for 2009, with in second place 2002’s 0.443C+ anomaly. Oceanic heat content starting to come back at us with a vengeance.

    Comment by Sekerob — 17 Jan 2010 @ 2:04 PM

  20. I need help in interpreting the statement in the main article: “The AO index is not so much an explanation for climate anomaly patterns as it is a simple statement of the situation. However, John (Mike) Wallace and colleagues have been able to use the AO description to aid consideration of how the patterns may change as greenhouse gases increase. A number of papers, by Wallace, David Thompson, and others, as well as by Drew Shindell and others at GISS, have pointed out that increasing carbon dioxide causes the stratosphere to cool, in turn causing on average a stronger jet stream and thus a tendency for a more positive Arctic Oscillation.”

    What I get out of it is that greenhouse gases warm the planet overall, but can also cause artic oscillations that change the pattern of the jet stream and therefore cool portions of the planet affected by the change in the jet stream. Is there an inconsistency in saying that CO2 causes the stratosphere to cool while causing the earth to warm?

    Comment by Russ Doty — 17 Jan 2010 @ 2:25 PM

  21. “Is there an inconsistency in saying that CO2 causes the stratosphere to cool while causing the earth to warm?”

    No, because they do different things.

    If you sleep under a thin blanket, the top of the blanket will be warm because of your body and your body cold because of the heat it is letting through.

    If you sleep under a thick blanket, the top of the blanket will be cooler because it’s stopping more heat loss and your body warmer because your body is still generating the same heat.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 17 Jan 2010 @ 2:45 PM

  22. Dr. Hansen: “This information needs to be combined with the conclusion that global warming of 1‐2°C has enormous implications for humanity. But that discussion is beyond the scope of this note.”

    That is the reason why the average person isn’t listening. What is an enormous implication? A 1% drop in the stock market? The ONLY thing the average person cares about is the implication for himself. Quit writing “this note” and write about the implications for humanity. The other reasons are the financial clout of the fossil fuel companies, the extreme length of the article and that people want to see blood. Shorten it to a sound byte.
    What are people watching almost continuously now? The disaster in Haiti. They get to see dead bodies in Haiti. They like to see dead bodies and flowing blood. Seeing what they want to see it makes them feel guilty, so they “contribute”. Make climate change graphic and gory. Make it bleed. If it doesn’t bleed, it doesn’t lead. Make sure you outdo the story from the earthquake in Haiti. Include lots of pictures of mountains of dead people. Tell them that, if AGW isn’t stopped, THEY will personally be at the bottom of the pile of dead bodies.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 17 Jan 2010 @ 2:46 PM

  23. Figure 4b will be interpreted by the denialists to mean that AGW stopped in 2000.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 17 Jan 2010 @ 2:49 PM

  24. realist, did you pick the same conditions at the start of that 130 years as at the end?

    1) Solar minimum
    2) ENSO minimum, picking up to a warm phase
    3) Similar PDO phase
    ?

    If not, you’re comparing apples to oranges. Solar state can make a .2C difference, either end, straight off the top, there, for example. We know we’re at a minimum of solar. What was 1870?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 17 Jan 2010 @ 2:53 PM

  25. Fred Magyar says: 17 January 2010 at 12:23 PM

    Your comment seems consistent with others I’ve read elsewhere.

    I’m an enthusiast for this sort of stuff right now, and I still did not take time to wade through the details. Perhaps that’s because I’m fairly confident about my ability to discern weather versus climate, but all the same, it’s a pretty dense essay.

    All the same, if anything is left out or is treated ambiguously, doubters will exploit that. So, a bit of a dilemma.

    A succinct distillation for consumption by journalists accompanied by a full appendix would be an excellent move.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 17 Jan 2010 @ 2:55 PM

  26. Russ, I think you got that mixed up. The idea is that a strengthening of the northern jet stream will tend to keep arctic air in the arctic, instead of having it break out into temperate zones. Key phrase there is “tend to”. There will still be cold air outbreaks since there is a natural variation in the AO, and as mentioned, there are other possible influences as well (e.g. arctic ice conditiions).

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 17 Jan 2010 @ 2:58 PM

  27. Here’s another, possibly more user-friendly explanation, in TV form:

    http://www.youtube.com/v/sAvqabAPIr4

    More great stuff here:

    http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=029130BFDC78FA33&search_query=Climate+Crock

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 17 Jan 2010 @ 3:05 PM

  28. Don Shor says:
    Figure 4 undercuts the use of the term “strong” for the last decade of that three-decade period. Unfortunately, this is the sort of imprecise language that causes problems.

    The “problem”, I would say, is in how you fail to recognize that the statement in the article is referring to a 30 year period, not to any individual 10 year period. Seems pretty clear to me.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 17 Jan 2010 @ 3:11 PM

  29. According to NOAA, the AO reached a record low since 1950:

    “The phase of the AO is described in terms of an index value. In December 2009 the AO index value was -3.41, the most negative value since at least 1950, according to data from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center.”

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    However, Figure 6 of this Article indicates a blue dot around 1977 or so that is just about the same as the most recent blue dot. The AO during the 1950’s doesn’t look very negative.

    Which one is correct?

    Thanks!

    Comment by Andrew — 17 Jan 2010 @ 3:24 PM

  30. Hi there. Thanks for the great post. Informative as always. I just thought I’d point out an excellent blog post I read just yesterday, pointing out in very simple, layman friendly terms, just how difficult it is to identify trends over statistically small samples with such “noisy” data i.e. where local (spatial/temporal) anomalies swamp the trend line.

    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2010/01/17/nerdy-sunday-when-trends-go-bad/

    Keep up the good work.

    Comment by Michael Lambrellis — 17 Jan 2010 @ 3:24 PM

  31. Jim Bouldin says: 17 January 2010 at 3:11 PM

    “The “problem”, I would say, is in how you fail to recognize that the statement in the article is referring to a 30 year period…”

    Jim, remember, the default in a situation of “failure to communicate” is that the communicator failed, not the listener. If an average reader is susceptible to misunderstanding the message, the message could probably use some additional tuning.

    Perhaps it would be better if the phrase was “summarizing all of the available data, we see a long‐term warming trend that has become strong and persistent over the past three decades” or something to that effect.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 17 Jan 2010 @ 3:28 PM

  32. I think some of the problem with the perception among us lay people is the way the charts are drawn. The chart is a rectangle with roughly 3:2 aspect ratio. Using the constraints of the data as the max and min for each axis you have to use extreme compression of the horizontal axis to accommodate 139 years whereas the whole vertical axis is just 1.4 degrees.

    I understand that these are the constraints of the data – but it does give the impression of a precipitous rise in temperatures when it actually is only around +0.9 deg C in 129 years. I often think that people look at the chart and think “no, the temperature is not rising that fast!” without actually realising that the global warming signal is just around 0.02c a year hidden within a huge annual variability, such as between -5c and +30c in the UK. I think the statement:

    “But the perceptive person should be able to see that climate is warming on decadal time scales.”

    is presuming people have some quite miraculous memory for temperatures!

    As for myself, my abiding impression of my childhood was that it was much warmer than it is today. Clearly it wasn’t but I think “the perceptive person” is no good judge at all over decadal timescales!

    I am not sure what to use as an alternative range for the vertical axis. Perhaps the average variance of temperatures between night and day? The average human being could at least relate to that.

    The 11 year running mean does show a very clear linear upward trend – so how does this compare with the predictions of +3 to +6 degrees between 2000 and 2100?

    Looking at the chart the current upward trend in temperatures seems to start in the early 1970s. I have taken the data and calculated 11 year running means from 1965 to 2009. This produces the first data point in 1975 which is -0.030c. The last data point, 2009, is +0.608c with an almost straight line between the two points. Using the 11 year running mean as a proxy for the actual data (not sure how valid this is) the difference is 0.638c over 34 annual data points.

    That gives an annual rise of 0.01876c a year. Extrapolated over the next 100 years that would give a change of just 1.876c.

    Now I am sure the argument is that the models show accelleration in warming as the century progresses. But there is little sign of it yet, and of course that also presumes that the current linear trend continues and that we won’t see any more periods of flat temperature like we saw between 1940 and 1970 at any point in the next 90 years.

    Just a few random thoughts…

    Comment by Matthew L. — 17 Jan 2010 @ 3:37 PM

  33. Re: Cardin #6

    The NCDC climate report breaks down December into different areas that Dr. Hansen does. They report that the weather in the US WAS below average. It actually was cold in the USA in December. Dr. Hansen’s data above discusses the GLOBAL average anomaly. The NCDC global anomaly is similar to Dr. Hansen within the limits of the errors Dr. Hansen describes. If you look at figure 5, the anomaly in December for the USA is substantially cold (it is also cold in Siberia). Keep in mind it is Global climate change and you expect there to be regional variations on a monthly basis.

    Comment by Michael Sweet — 17 Jan 2010 @ 3:38 PM

  34. In the post here at RC at:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/updates-to-model-data-comparisons/comment-page-9/#comment-152359

    we see that 10×10^23 Joules went into the oceans from 1985 to 2005. If that had not happened the world atmosphere would be about 7.5 degrees C warmer than it is now.

    That would have been easy to see in the data.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 17 Jan 2010 @ 3:43 PM

  35. “Jim, remember, the default in a situation of “failure to communicate” is that the communicator failed, not the listener.”

    True, but you can’t see the lack of lividity over the internet: we can’t tell who are zombies.

    And when they’re on the line, the communicator isn’t the problem: zombie ears don’t hear too good.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 17 Jan 2010 @ 3:45 PM

  36. Using red ink for the loss. If you’ve ever wondered why people don’t trust these graphs, perhaps you should consider using colors that do not make it look like the planet is being parbroiled. This is a bad trick sufficient for inclusion in Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.

    [Response: Riiiight…. People don’t trust climate scientists because of the colour scheme. Got it. – gavin]

    Comment by Foobear — 17 Jan 2010 @ 3:49 PM

  37. “Now I am sure the argument is that the models show accelleration in warming as the century progresses. But there is little sign of it yet,”

    But how many 11 year periods do we have as the century progresses? What is the normal figure for working out non-linear line fitting and therefore seeing an accelleration? 8? 12 periods?

    But 11 years isn’t really long enough to show climate, since there’s still plenty of variation by non-persistent causes in those values.

    So instead of taking 11 year means and using the fewer plots, check to see what the best-fit accelerating curve fitting that line would be, with all the points used.

    That should give you the exponent and therefore how much accelleration you would expect to see.

    Roll that back into how many 11-year periods you would have to sample and see if there’s signal appearing above the noise.

    If you have enough, but there’s no such acceleration, then the hypothesis is not borne out by your analysis.

    If you have enough, and that acceleration is seen, then the hypothesis is seen.

    If you haven’t enough, then you can’t say one way or the other. If you do or don’t see that acceleration, then it could easily be a mathematical ghost brought from the analysis.

    If you really want to see and there’s not enough time, then you need to get clever with the analysis.

    Which requires you think of a physical cause and then model its emergent result on the data.

    If you’re going that way, might as well try and get a grant…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 17 Jan 2010 @ 3:52 PM

  38. Why the obsessive need to explain and justify the GISS readings? It is like an orchestrated campaign of persuasion. If your temperatures are correct then we are in serious trouble should the trend persist. If you are not right and the satellites have the right trend then we have nothing to worry about.

    I don’t want to give away my own personal position, suffice it to say that I am NOT worried at all.

    Keep up the good work though James. Your people need you.

    [Response: Suffice to say your personal position is very clear. However, the satellites also show warming – I fail to see how that means you have nothing to worry about. – gavin]

    Comment by David Harington — 17 Jan 2010 @ 3:59 PM

  39. re: #22 (but for all)
    I continue to recommend (for USA), Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States from the USGCRP. It is well-written and illustrated, and in particular, it has a 5-10-page section per region, which is really, really important, given the regional differences in effects.

    I think for most people, this is way more impactful than average global temperature changes.

    Like: will there be more or less water than I Like?
    A: yes, and which depends on where you are…

    Comment by John Mashey — 17 Jan 2010 @ 4:03 PM

  40. Foobear:
    http://www.fark.com/cgi/comments.pl?IDLink=1092301&hl=Teachers-switch-to-purple-pens-to-correct-papers-since-red-is-too-harsh-Here-comes-pseudo-science

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Jan 2010 @ 4:15 PM

  41. 35 Comp.F.U.

    What Jim are you talking to?

    (comment numbers would help a lot)

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 17 Jan 2010 @ 4:19 PM

  42. “If that had not happened the world atmosphere would be about 7.5 degrees C warmer than it is now.”

    Jim, please prove that. If you can point to a couple of papers that show that, this is sufficient, but all I’ve heard is you saying that.

    Remember: include all the changes and explain where you may have forgotten something or where your assumptions make a difference.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 17 Jan 2010 @ 4:26 PM

  43. Sorry, post 35 was to Doug posting about Jim Bullis. Your post from me was (currently) 42.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 17 Jan 2010 @ 4:36 PM

  44. David Harington says: 17 January 2010 at 3:59 PM

    “Why the obsessive need to explain and justify the GISS readings? It is like an orchestrated campaign of persuasion.”

    Out of the whole document the one thing that compels a comment from you is a between-the-lines extraction of meaning confirming some kind of conspiracy to mislead the public. Same deal as the TomskTwaddle email dust sieving. It’s amazing how oblivious some folks are to the impression they make; don’t you find yourself a little embarrassed from time to time, blurting out such nonsense?

    Completely Fed Up says: 17 January 2010 at 4:26 PM

    CFU, I -think- Jim’s point is that there’s a lot of additional energy trapped on the planet that’s hidden from us air breathers. He’s not calling the essay into question.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 17 Jan 2010 @ 4:45 PM

  45. This is all very nice RC and once again scientifically exact but it won’t wash with a lot of the public regardless of what science says. There is a lot at stake here, out entire way of life to be fair and hence you cant really expect to be listened to all that much. 100,000 people potentially lie dead in Haiti – how did AGW effect them?

    It didn’t and hence our cultural way of life is not going to change for a meer 0.8C of global average warmin now is it.

    Comment by pete best — 17 Jan 2010 @ 4:46 PM

  46. 42 Compfu

    Ok, there are 10 million meters from equator to pole so area of earth is 5.1×10^14 m^2, volume of a roughly 200 km thick atmosphere is 1.02×10^20 m^3, weight of that atmosphere is 1.33×10^23 grams. Specific heat of air, const. vol., is .24 cal/gm, and 4.186 Joules/calorie. From this, it turns out that it takes about 1.34×10^23 Joules to change the atmosphere 1 degree C. The 10×10^23 Joules that went into the ocean from 1985 to 2005 would raise the air temp by 7.46 degrees C if that energy had gone into the atmosphere instead.

    Some of my numbers are rough estimates. As far as explaining where I may have forgotten something, you are joking of course. Maybe I should just say, “The only time I was ever wrong was once when I thought I was wrong.” And I am joking.

    But let me put it back on you. Where is there a discussion of how climate models explain how the massive amount of energy got into the oceans as shown in the NOAA chart here at:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/updates-to-model-data-comparisons/comment-page-9/#comment-152359 ????

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 17 Jan 2010 @ 4:52 PM

  47. David Harrington, do you have any comprehension of how involved an analysis you must perform on the satellite data to get a meaningful lower tropospheric temperature? So what is your basis for preferring these datasets–particularly given their shorter span?

    Also, add GISTEMP and it’s trend–how divergent are the slopes of the 3 trends? What does that tell you?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 17 Jan 2010 @ 5:06 PM

  48. On Harrington nr.38 and the in-line by Gavin… hmmm not worried about what the stats indicate… well eventually the sheep Dolly had to be put out of it’s misery too. Go http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/execute.csh?amsutemps , select near surface, ch04, redraw, tick the 1998, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010 boxes then see what Jan.2010 is looking like :P

    Expect Dr.WATTS to studiously comment “As expected …”

    Comment by Sekerob — 17 Jan 2010 @ 5:21 PM

  49. What is the scientifically accepted reason for the lack of warming during the 50s and 60s?

    Comment by Mark — 17 Jan 2010 @ 5:26 PM

  50. “The magnitude of monthly temperature anomalies is typically 1.5 to 2 times greater than the magnitude of seasonal anomalies.”

    I don’t understand this statement. The magnitudes of the seasonal anomalies are on the same order as the monthly anomalies; you average the monthlies to get the seasonal.

    I’ll accept that the annual means are more noisy than the seasonal means, which are in turn more noisy than the monthly means. Is that what this sentence is trying to say?

    Comment by tharanga — 17 Jan 2010 @ 5:27 PM

  51. #37 CFU
    Wouldn’t want to steal Gavin’s job! ;-)

    This is always the problem with this branch of climate science. If the only way we can tell a trend measured in fractions of a degree is over 30 year timescales, and we have only been measuring temperature (reliably) for a hundred years, then there are simply too few data points to work with – so you have to get into the job of prediction. Not a practice that has a good track record in any field.

    I do think the graphics need sorting out a bit. After all it is the main way climate science communicates with the media.

    I definitely think the temperature charts need a less narrow vertical range and, despite Gavin’s derision, #36 Foobear has a point. Deep blue to deep brown is used to describe whatever temperature variance is being shown on the map. In one it is -4 to +9.6 and in another it is -3.6 to +3.7. This makes it difficult to compare the maps at all. Why not use a more sophisticated ‘absolute’ scale rather than a relative one? Human eyesight is remarkably well attuned to shades of different colours (it is the way JPG images work), so you could use a much finer gradation of tones than you might imagine.

    Another point is that white is generally seen as a ‘hot’ colour, whereas in these graphics white is used as the neutral colour for ‘no change’. As this dominates the picture it makes it look like it is dominated by heat – parboiled even.

    In UK weather reports traditionally green is used as the colour for temperate, er, temperatures. Ever deeper shades of blue are used for sub zero temperatures, mid-green fading to pale yellow for 0 – 20c then yellow merging to orange for temperatures 21 – 30. You could use something similar for the temperature variance in these maps.

    By the way, not a good day for clmate sooth-sayers in the UK press today…
    – World misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6991177.ece

    – Al Gore tries to cool ‘climate spin’ by correcting claims of North pole thaw
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/copenhagen/article6959509.ece

    – BBC forecast for Met Office: changeable
    http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/tv_and_radio/article6991064.ece

    Comment by Matthew L. — 17 Jan 2010 @ 5:45 PM

  52. Message 11 and its response deal with popular befuddlement at statements like “Green vertical bar is estimated 95 percent confidence range (two standard deviations) for annual temperature change.”

    This brings to mind the general tone of Hansen’s recent tome (“Storms of my Grandchildren”). I greatly appreciate Hansen’s enthusiasm for sharing the gritty grimy technical details – in case there are some people who really want to understand why and how we know what we know about the climate. I found the whole book intellectually invigorating. But at the same time, it’s hard for me to imagine that most people will have any patience for this sort of thing. And that right there may be where the real hard problem is.

    Comment by Daniel C. Goodwin — 17 Jan 2010 @ 5:48 PM

  53. Can anyone explain why the NSDC/NOAA thinks that UK Decembers were several degrees Celsius colder in 1971-2000 versus 1961-1990 when the UK Met Office reckons they were slightly warmer?

    Latest December anomalies available here:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/anomalygraphs/index.html http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/?report=global&year=2009&month=12&submitted=Get+Report

    Straight to the graphics:

    http://i45.tinypic.com/2gtxhf7.png

    Comment by Vinny Burgoo — 17 Jan 2010 @ 6:10 PM

  54. to #3 – Hansen does support replacement technology such as nuclear power, read his writings.

    Even [edit] Greenpeace (as opposed to scientists) dropped their opposition to nuclear energy. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP_Greenpeace_change_the_politics_1310091.html

    Perhaps later this year Greenpeace is going to tell us that they actually always supported nuclear energy, everyone just misunderstood … :D

    Comment by moonshine — 17 Jan 2010 @ 6:17 PM

  55. Mark:
    > 1950s and 1960s

    You can look this stuff up; reading for yourself will probably be much more helpful to you, once you think it through, than getting some guy on a blog to type some fragmentary answer from memory. Suggestions:

    start here

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/08/the-co2-problem-in-6-easy-steps/

    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Arealclimate.org+global+dimming
    finds, among much else:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/global-dimming/
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/global-dimming-ii/

    http://www.google.com/search?q=“clean+air+act”+”global+warming”+aerosol+sulfate+temperature
    finds, among much else:
    http://stanfordreview.org/old_archives/Archive/Volume_XXXVI/Issue_8/Opinions/opinions1.shtml

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Jan 2010 @ 6:19 PM

  56. Oops. Double quotes don’t work inside WordPress example Google links, they break; copy and paste those into the Google search box
    “clean+air+act”+”global+warming”+aerosol+sulfate+temperature

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Jan 2010 @ 6:21 PM

  57. Its worth noting that in the southern hemisphere Australia has just had the warmest decade on record and for the last few months has been experiencing record and mid 40C temps two months before their normal peak in that range. Whilst here in New Zealand we have had one of our coldest January (Summer)months largely driven by El Nino, allowing cold Antarctic air to push up into the Southern Ocean. So the extremes keep getting more extreme. But the mirror Pole affects both in the northern and southern hemispheres is interesting that instability is occuring with the result that some regions within both hemispheres are experiencing unexpected and extreme cold and warmth.

    Comment by Ian Turney — 17 Jan 2010 @ 6:27 PM

  58. A bit off topic, but… The urban heat effect does exist, and we have proof of it right here in Paris : nowadays, on a regular basis, on the pavement of our capital city, one can see olive trees bloom , and one can even pluck ripe olives from them. Fifty miles away from Paris, and even a couple hundred miles down South, it still is impossible to witness such events.
    True, but think about that for a sec. : fifty years ago, that would have been utterly unthinkable. No olive tree in its right mind would have survived North of the 45th parallel. Actually, drawing a bit adventurous plans on the future, some Brits have even started planting olive trees in Southern England.
    For about a week, we had to bear with what is now called a “cold wave” : temperatures barely went down below five degrees C, at night only…

    Comment by François Marchand — 17 Jan 2010 @ 6:28 PM

  59. Mark (49) — Nobody is quite sure. Sulfates and other aerosols from industrialization without pollution controls?

    Comment by David B. Benson — 17 Jan 2010 @ 6:28 PM

  60. Thank you for the informative article.

    I have recently gotten myself into a debate with a denier in the letters section of my local newspaper. I am not a climate scientist and rely heavily on mainstream science websites such as RealClimate to help me substantiate the scientific consensus on global warming.

    Recently my opponent brought up the report by Smith and D’Aleo which is proliferating in the denial-o-sphere under inflammatory titles such as “NASA Caught in Climate Data Manipulation; New Revelations…”

    This report is now enjoying an inordinate amount of underserved media attention. I trust that the community of climate scientist appreciates the necessity (and urgency) of preparing a rebuttal directed at clarifying specific issues raised in this polemic. I know I am anxiously awaiting its completion so that I can set the record straight.

    Comment by Al Fresco — 17 Jan 2010 @ 6:31 PM

  61. #49 (Mark): I believe that the lack of warming in the mid-twentieth century is understood to be mainly due to the rapid increase in anthropogenic aerosol pollutants at a time when greenhouse gas levels were rising but not yet that high. This view is supported by the different temperature behavior seen in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres (since most of the pollutants were released and remained in the Northern Hemisphere). There may also have been some natural contributions to cooling from a few large volcanic eruptions and from a reduction…or at least secession of increase…in solar luminosity.

    Note that the responses to aerosol pollutants and to greenhouse gases (CO2 in particular) are somewhat different because the concentration of aerosols is roughly proportional to their rate of emission (because their lifetime in the atmosphere is short) while the concentration of CO2 is roughly proportional to the cumulative (integrated) emissions over time. In such a scenario, it is possible for the cooling effects of the aerosols to dominate at early times but the warming effects of greenhouse gases to surpass them at later times. (Of course, the details of the rate of emissions, and in particular, the fact that emissions of aerosol pollutants decreased in most developed countries later in the century due to pollution controls, also plays a role.)

    Comment by Joel Shore — 17 Jan 2010 @ 6:51 PM

  62. I mangled my comment in 50 a bit. Meant to say that annual data are less noisy than monthly, and so on.

    In any case, I’d appreciate if anybody can clarify what the authors are saying there. I also don’t grasp what we’re to draw from the comparison between Fig 8 and Fig 9. Perhaps I’m a little slow today.

    Comment by tharanga — 17 Jan 2010 @ 7:00 PM

  63. tharanga: I think the answer to your question is ‘yes': there is a confusion here between the ‘range’ and ‘average’ of a set of anomalies.

    cjs London: 0030 hrs.

    Comment by Chris Squire [UK] — 17 Jan 2010 @ 7:30 PM

  64. It seems to me that the explanation of the Arctic Oscillation Index may differ from that of other groups. NSIDC calls the negative phase the time when the Arctic Sea Level Air Pressure is high http://nsidc.org/arcticmet/patterns/arctic_oscillation.html Similarly here: http://jisao.washington.edu/ao/

    The present post would seem to come into agreement with those descriptions if high pressure is switched with low and low with high. Then, a negative excursion in the Index still leads to low temperatures (here at mid-northern latitudes) in all descriptions and makes more physical sense in terms of how wind patterns respond I think.

    [Response: ?? They are consistent. The AO was very negative in December which is a high pressure at the pole, combined with low pressure in the mid-latitudes. – gavin]

    [Further response: Sorry! There was an error in the Fig 6 caption. Fixed now. – gavin]

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 17 Jan 2010 @ 7:38 PM

  65. Great article by the GISS group, much appreciated.

    I observe -AO driven largely by clouds heat combination, where as a strong High pressure usually over the Arctic Ocean Gyre (North of Alaska) current has clear air creating cooling in winter long night so strong there is a “punch” at its center actually creating a break in the ice as if High pressure center air has a heavy footprint. The opposite, a dominant Low Pressure is a sign of clouds heat exchange between the Arctic Ocean and lower cloud decks. Clouds predominated until recently, now taking a look, the ice appears extremely “loose” “cracked” , rather fluid. Surface (and Upperr Air) temperatures were unusually above normal, and so wind storms more frequent , exacerbating ice fluidity. a lack of sea ice consolidation is in the making by the once usual and now missing extreme long night cooling means next time a High pressure, or a stong positive AO appears, there will be great flushing NE of Greenland . I believe -AO and moderate to strong EL-Nino are a tandem, as or if El-Nino fades towards being La-Nina like in 1998, AO will turn positive making Arctic Ocean ice more vulnerable to the rising towards solstice sun, by lack of clouds and exacerbated flushing, possibily recreating a 2007 extreme melt event, however starting from a much thinner, more fluid pack ice base. a bad year for Arctic Ocean pack ice cover is highly likely…

    Comment by wayne davidson — 17 Jan 2010 @ 7:42 PM

  66. Matthew L (51), seriously, what are you talking about? Suppose we measure temperature in deg C x 10, or x 100. Will those larger values somehow convince you of the “significance” of a documented temperature change? Or if measured in C/10, make you even less convinced. The units, and the way those units are expressed in graphs, are beside the point. The point is the degree to which physical and biological processes are affected by a given change in thermal energy, regardless of its units. Forest fuels, spring snowpacks, and glacier mass balances don’t care too much about the units etched on mercury thermometers.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 17 Jan 2010 @ 7:47 PM

  67. 28 Jim Bouldin says:
    17 January 2010 at 3:11 PM
    Don Shor says:
    Figure 4 undercuts the use of the term “strong” for the last decade of that three-decade period. Unfortunately, this is the sort of imprecise language that causes problems.

    The “problem”, I would say, is in how you fail to recognize that the statement in the article is referring to a 30 year period, not to any individual 10 year period. Seems pretty clear to me.
    If you show a chart illustrating that in the last decade of the 30-year period the rate of global temperature increase has slowed, it is not precise to say that the 30 year period shows a strong increase.

    31 Doug Bostrom says:
    17 January 2010 at 3:28 PM

    Perhaps it would be better if the phrase was “summarizing all of the available data, we see a long‐term warming trend that has become strong and persistent over the past three decades” or something to that effect.

    No, over two of the past three decades. The rate of global temperature increase over the last decade has been at the low end of the “expected” range (I hesitate to use the term “projected” range). And overall the warming trend has been persistent over many decades. There is variability.

    35 Completely Fed Up says:
    17 January 2010 at 3:45 PM
    And when they’re on the line, the communicator isn’t the problem: zombie ears don’t hear too good.
    I really don’t understand why juvenile name-calling of this sort continues to be allowed on thjs blog. For the record, I’m not a denialist, nor even a skeptic. I just have an aversion to imprecise statements by scientists, and to exaggerations by the media.
    My father was a geophysicist (at Scripps), who taught me to be cautious about scientists who had found or sought the limelight, for two reasons:
    1. when quoted by the media, their statements tend to be misquoted or distorted.
    2. those who seek the limelight often lose their professional objectivity.
    Scientists need to be objective and accurate. Dr. Hansen is arguably the most prominent scientist in the whole field of climate change. He needs to speak very carefully, to avoid and discourage exaggerations, and needs to write his conclusions very accurately.

    49 Mark says:
    17 January 2010 at 5:26 PM
    What is the scientifically accepted reason for the lack of warming during the 50s and 60s?
    Aerosols.

    Comment by Don Shor — 17 Jan 2010 @ 7:49 PM

  68. Al Fresco says: 17 January 2010 at 6:31 PM

    “Recently my opponent brought up the report by Smith and D’Aleo which is proliferating in the denial-o-sphere…”

    “This report is now enjoying an inordinate amount of underserved media attention. I trust that the community of climate scientist appreciates the necessity (and urgency) of preparing a rebuttal directed at clarifying specific issues raised in this polemic.”

    Huh. I took a quick look around and cannot find much media coverage of this, but lots of reverberation in the doubter community. A quick survey found the story in the UK’s Telegraph, which is sort of an official extension to WUWT and CA, not elsewhere.

    Excerpt:

    “What it shows is that, just like in Britain at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) temperature data records have been grotesquely distorted by activist scientists in order to exaggerate the appearance of late 20th century global warming. They achieved this – with an insouciant disregard for scientific integrity which quite beggars belief – through the simple expedient of ignoring most of those weather station sited in higher, colder places and using mainly ones in warmer spots. Then, they averaged out the temperature readings given by the warmer stations to give a global average. Et voila: exactly the scary “climate change” they needed to persuade bodies like the IPCC that AGW was a clear and present danger requiring urgent pan-governmental action.

    The man who spotted all this is a computer programmer called EM Smith – aka the Chiefio. You can read the full report at his excellent blog. ”

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100022474/climategate-goes-american-noaa-giss-and-the-mystery-of-the-vanishing-weather-stations/

    If you go and visit the “Chiefio” blog, you’ll find a level of discussion that’s even worse than WUWT. It’s like dropping into the locker room of a football team losing badly: all hollow bluster and boo-ya, bereft of winning points, more than a bit smelly.

    Poor Telegraph, the company they have to keep.

    Not to say that a match dropped into poor fuel by an arsonist cannot erupt into a destructive fire. The message conveyed by Chiefio and his band of apes is familiar: “Government scientists are corrupt, you cannot trust data.” The Big Lie, repeated by little teeny tiny pipsqueaks, laughable on its face. Yet if your ankles are gnawed by enough yapping Pomeranians, you may yet bleed to death.

    Somebody with authority ought to do a response that’s not buried in comments thread.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 17 Jan 2010 @ 7:54 PM

  69. re # 3 Dennis Baker said: “Mr Hansen you have demonstrated at Fossil Fuel powered electrical generating facilities, and testified for greenpeace activists whom have demonstrated at Fossil Fuel powered electrical generating facilities!

    yet to the best of my knowledge neither you or greenpeace support replacement technolgies, why is that?”

    Jim Hansen publishes articles in major peer reviewed journals that stand up over time (unlike Lindzen, Pielke, Singer, Soon and most other contrarians). Jim Hansen’s scientific work (in the journals and conferences)is considered outstanding.

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 17 Jan 2010 @ 7:58 PM

  70. 44 Doug Bostrom,

    Right you are about my point, except I am trying to point out that the energy going into the oceans, deep ocean that is, is huge compared to the little bits that seem to actually stick to the air.

    And I am trying to find out how this is accounted for in the climate modeling. In pursuit of this, I keep finding descriptions that suggest that it is not accounted for at all, or in some cases, not adequately.

    Are all the arguments about atmospheric temperature missing the bigger issue of ocean temperature?

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 17 Jan 2010 @ 8:19 PM

  71. > Al Fresco
    > D’Aleo
    Easy to rebut. My opinion (just another reader here, mind you): Tell people not to expect you to do their research for them; you shouldn’t feel the need to try to encompass in letter columns of a local newspaper a real research effort worthy of a high school senior. Give them a few pointers, point out that the guy’s a PR expert not a scientist, and makes things up. That’s easy to confirm.
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Ascienceblogs.com%2Fdeltoid+d'aleo

    Trying to rebut every bunk point raised in every newspaper letters column is, well, not very focused.

    This should suffice:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fmoregrumbinescience.blogspot.com%2F+d'aleo

    Need more? Do the obvious searches, for example
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Arealclimate.org+d'aleo
    http://www.google.com/search?q=sourcewatch+d'aleo

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Jan 2010 @ 8:36 PM

  72. Urk. WordPress doesn’t handle apostrophes in links to searches; you’ll need to copy those out and paste them into your browser navigation box for them to open properly for you.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Jan 2010 @ 8:38 PM

  73. Re: 49 Mark says:

    “What is the scientifically accepted reason for the lack of warming during the 50s and 60s?”

    Frequently Asked Question 9.2
    http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/pd/climate/factsheets/canwarming.pdf
    (excerpt)
    “In the early part of the 20th century, global average temperature rose, during which time greenhouse gas concentrations started to rise, solar output was probably increasing and there was little volcanic activity.
    During the 1950s and 1960s, average global temperatures levelled off, as increases in aerosols from fossil fuels and other sources cooled the planet. The eruption of Mt. Agung in 1963 also put large quantities of reflective dust into the upper atmosphere. The rapid warming observed since the 1970s has occurred in a period when the increase in greenhouse
    gases has dominated over all other factors.”

    Use Google

    Comment by Tim Jones — 17 Jan 2010 @ 9:08 PM

  74. “The urban heat effect does exist, and we have proof of it right here in Paris : nowadays, on a regular basis, on the pavement of our capital city, one can see olive trees bloom , and one can even pluck ripe olives from them. Fifty miles away from Paris, and even a couple hundred miles down South, it still is impossible to witness such events.”

    I don’t know what you are implying? Do you not think that mainstream science has not deeply looked into this (especially the big oil-paid contrarians?) and taken it into account in the open peer reviewed process under intense scrutiny many years ago? We have been studying climate factors since at least 1824 (Fourier)[energy imbalance]. Scientifically, the heat island effect is extremely old news. Even the contrarians (whose work does not stand up over time in the journals) have stopped raising this issue.

    What do you think happens if the Earth’s urban heat island effect temperatures are totally eliminated from the Earth’s average temp record…the average still goes up!

    There are no cities where most of the warming is currently happening (the poles) as well and where the warming was first projected to happen most mathematically since 1896 (Arrehenius).

    Here’s a few of the peer-reviewed journal studies on the urban heat island effect alone:

    Howard 1833
    Oke 1987
    Lo C. P et al., 1997
    Camilloni et al.,2004
    Q. Li1 et al., 2004
    Crutzen, 2004
    Price, 1979
    Voogt, 2003
    Baik et al., 2001
    H Taha, 1997
    SM Khan, 2001
    Y Delage, 1970
    KP Gallo et al., 1993
    DB Olfe et al., 1971
    BW Atkinson et al., 2003
    SH Schneider, 1989
    H Taha, 1988
    AC Comrie, 2000
    JS Golden et al., 2006
    TR Karl et al., 1988
    TR Oke et al., 1991
    L Jiahong et al., 1998
    M Santamouris et al., 2004
    JL McElroy et al., 1993
    Y Shimoda et al,. 2003
    H KUSAKA, 2004
    GT Johnson, 1991
    SM Khan, 2001
    MA McGeehin et al., 2001
    A Haines et al., 2004
    L Xuechun et al., 2005
    JM Giovannoni et al., 1987
    HE Landsberg et al., 1970
    E JAUREGUI et al., 2009
    JA Winkler et al., 1981
    H Taha et al., 1999
    DR Streutker et al., 2002
    PP Childs et al., 2005
    M Santamouris et al., 2007
    DJ Sailor et al., 2004
    AJ Brazel et al., 2002
    M Colacino et al., 1982
    A Iino et al., 1996
    IPCC 1997, 2001, 2007

    …There are probably quadruple this number or more of mainstream peer reviewed journal studies on the heat island effect… This is an extremely well studied subject. Now think of how many there are for global warming dating to 1824 which refer to studies from the 1700s/1600s on panes of glass and boxes with them retaining heat with them.

    …and this is not a comprehensive list or of those including all the studies of the urban heat island effect done of individual cities such as Anchorage, New York City, Athens, etc….

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 17 Jan 2010 @ 9:17 PM

  75. Al Fresco, As usual, Smith and D’Aleo is much ado about nothing. First, it affects only a couple of stations. Second, the data concerned are anomalies, not absolute temperatures, which tend to correlate better over different topography. Gavin has discussed this on the Unforced Variations2 post

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 17 Jan 2010 @ 9:22 PM

  76. Re:51 Matthew L. says:

    “By the way, not a good day for clmate sooth-sayers in the UK press today…”
    – World misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6991177.ece

    I’m not so sure Times Online is an unbiased resource.
    Perhaps better discussion on the subject in a parallel report is here:

    “Satellite images show Himalayan glacier receded 1.5 km in 30 years”
    http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/297875satellite-images-show-himalayan-glacier-receded-15-km-in-30-years.html
    (excerpt)
    “Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, blasted the research, calling it “unsubstantiated” and said “ We do need more extensive measurement of the Himalayan range but it is clear from satellite pictures what is happening.” He likened the explanations to “climate change deniers and school boy science”.
    “Raina admits in his paper that there is a lack of available data. For the moment long-term data exists for only 20 to 30 Himalayan glaciers and that there was only one automated weather station recording climatic data in the Himalayas, he said.”
    “According to Raina, all glaciers under observation in the Himalayan region during the past three decades have shown cumulative negative mass balance (determined by annual snow precipitation). Degradation of the glacier mass has been the highest in Jammu and Kashmir state, relatively lower in Himachal Pradesh region, even less in Uttarakhand, and the lowest in Sikkim — showing a declining trend from the north-west to the north-east.”
    […]

    I don’t think we can relax just yet. Though the IPCC was embarrassed, climate scientists caught themselves on this one.
    (excerpt from TimesOnline)
    “Last week the IPCC refused to comment so it has yet to explain how someone who admits to little expertise on glaciers was overseeing such a report. Perhaps its one consolation is that the blunder was spotted by climate scientists who quickly made it public.”

    Comment by Tim Jones — 17 Jan 2010 @ 9:58 PM

  77. #9, Leanan, I tend to look for other evidence, rather than trying to decide who’s right on particular issues. The fact that glaciers around the world are melting and shrinking, ice disappearing in the Arctic, and ice sheets disintegrating and breaking off in the Antarctic tells me it’s warming.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 17 Jan 2010 @ 10:29 PM

  78. Good article. But the satellite data for the upper atmosphere show 1998 as the warmest year to date and a general trend closer to the Hadcrut graph.

    Isnt this the most accurate data? Doesnt this indicate at least a significant slowing in global warming since 1998? Why is the giss and upper atmosphere satellite data different?

    Im not a sceptic and have studied a little climatology a million years ago. I may be missing something obvious but an explanation would help.

    Comment by nigel jones — 17 Jan 2010 @ 10:33 PM

  79. Could someone give a response, ( in the media), to this?

    It would be nice to see a refutation intelligible to laypeople, ( such as myself).

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1242011/DAVID-ROSE-The-mini-ice-age-starts-here.html

    Comment by evagrius — 17 Jan 2010 @ 11:00 PM

  80. Figure 1a shows 2009 as the second warmest year, but it is so close to 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2007 that we must declare these years as being in a virtual tie as the second warmest year. The maximum difference among these in the GISS analysis is ~0.03°C (2009 being the warmest among those years and 2006 the coolest). This range is approximately equal to our 1‐sigma uncertainty of ~0.025°C, which is the reason for stating that these five years are tied for second warmest.

    Well Said.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 17 Jan 2010 @ 11:14 PM

  81. It looks like the warming over the 20th century is about 0.9C. Is that a generally accepted figure, or fair interpretation of the graph (or both)?

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 17 Jan 2010 @ 11:25 PM

  82. Tim Jones #76: I must say I was a bit surprised when I looked up the IPCC report and there it was, a reference to WWF, 2005 (my response was another acronym, WTF?).

    I’m sure errors have slipped into the IPCC’s reports. The only puzzle is why this one took so long to surface. Contrast this with the extremely careful handling of sea level rise, where contributions from melting ice caps were removed if modelling wasn’t considered reliable.

    On the other hand, from “sceptics” I still get reports that satellite data shows no warming, a claim that was discredited in 2005. There is a double standard here: the slightest error on the side of the mainstream is blown up out of all proportion, whereas egregious errors on the denial side are simply ignored.

    Finally, thanks RC team for this article. A nice piece of work.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 17 Jan 2010 @ 11:31 PM

  83. Re #79 (evagrius): One thing that to look at is simply how horrendously shoddy and biased the reporting in that article is. One of the major climate scientists quoted (Latif) says that article misinterpreted his research: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/11/climate-change-global-warming-mojib-latif Folks from Britain may be able to give you a better perspective, but my impression is that the Daily Mail is not exactly thought of as a serious newspaper, to put it mildly.

    Comment by Joel Shore — 17 Jan 2010 @ 11:37 PM

  84. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. says: 17 January 2010 at 8:19 PM

    “Right you are about my point, except I am trying to point out that the energy going into the oceans, deep ocean that is, is huge compared to the little bits that seem to actually stick to the air.

    And I am trying to find out how this is accounted for in the climate modeling. In pursuit of this, I keep finding descriptions that suggest that it is not accounted for at all, or in some cases, not adequately.”

    Perhaps it’s one of those questions that’s been asked so many times, nobody can stand to answer it again? Not your fault if you’re last in the queue. For that matter perhaps you were not insulting enough when answering the question, heh.

    If the ocean heat sink were not accounted for at all, the models would be wildly off.

    If I remember correctly you were originally wondering less about the absence of oceans in the model, more about what level of detail is involved?

    Given the enormous capacity of even the first kilometer of ocean, presumably it can be treated as a lump with enormous inertia for the time being. This paper seems to suggest so, though it’s kind of a fossil:

    http://ams.allenpress.com/archive/1520-0442/11/6/pdf/i1520-0442-11-6-1115.pdf

    My caveman knowledge of thermodynamics tells me, the more heat is pushed into the ocean the harder it’s going to push back. As the ocean becomes more saturated, it stands to reason that more detail in the models will be helpful.

    It’s really big. It’s really cold. Can’t you just tell what a super expert genius I am on this!?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 17 Jan 2010 @ 11:37 PM

  85. Re: 1950s and 1960s – Thank you Hank, David, Joel and Don. Quite helpful!

    Comment by Mark — 17 Jan 2010 @ 11:47 PM

  86. Thanks to all. Your comments have been most helpful.

    I still think, however, that it would be beneficial to the cause to have a more comprehensive response to the Smith/D’Aleo article.

    Comment by Al Fresco — 17 Jan 2010 @ 11:54 PM

  87. @ 67

    >> those who seek the limelight often lose their professional objectivity <<<

    Scientists are often criticized for not getting their research out to the public. Now if we try, we're also damned.

    You're concerns are valid but self-correcting.

    Comment by Jefferson — 18 Jan 2010 @ 12:03 AM

  88. Ray:

    Al Fresco, As usual, Smith and D’Aleo is much ado about nothing. First, it affects only a couple of stations. Second, the data concerned are anomalies, not absolute temperatures, which tend to correlate better over different topography.

    Yeah, well, one might imagine people long ago talking about “maritime environments”.

    Surely, though, they were proto-commie-pinko-hippy-freak-genocidal-maniacs.

    What other kind of person would notice fronts blowing off the ocean and dominating the weather?

    Comment by dhogaza — 18 Jan 2010 @ 12:08 AM

  89. >Daily Mail … mini ice age

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/01/latif_keenlyside_cooling_revis.php
    “… In the hotly contested competition to see who are the biggest tossers in the british newspaper industry there has been an early entry this year by the Daily Mail: The mini ice age starts….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Jan 2010 @ 12:08 AM

  90. re 79 Evagrius wrote: “”Could someone give a response, (in the media), to this?”” (they already have-RO).

    “”The bitter winter afflicting much of the Northern Hemisphere is only the start of a global trend towards cooler weather that is likely to last for 20 or 30 years, say some of the world’s most eminent climate scientists.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1242011/DAVID-ROSE-The-mini-ice-age-starts-here.html#ixzz0cw8p3gxI“”

    “”It would be nice to see a refutation intelligible to laypeople””

    Urrrr… *what global cooling trend????*

    Lots of the globe is currently experiencing *record warming*. Doesn’t anyone read? Global warming means GLOBAL (averages). This regional cooling has been covered in the last two threads.

    Certain people are on purposely ignoring this highly visible and understandable information although it is publicly available. It is unbelievable that people are falling for this. This stuff is easy for anyone to understand.

    The parts of the Earth currently cooling (as opposed to parts of the Earth which are currently warming) are most likely linked to a regional effect of an interlinked high and low pressure system (NAO)which is known to be at an extreme level right now (and still only affects parts of the globe in spite of this).

    Okay…. all this back and forth stuff you seem to hear in the media is granted, I guess, a bit confusing. But don’t believe the media with its hype of immediate death by the ice ages, Y2K, bird flu, etc. They have to sell copy and they (and talk show hosts) are as much scientists as my German Shepherd. You need to read the peer review journals where there is no talk of global cooling that stands up over time and never has been (and don’t count National Geographic, Time or Newsweek as journals either…not to insult them but “they ain’t publishing scientists.”

    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/20090916_globalstats.html
    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/ao_index.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_atlantic_oscillation
    WMO global 2009 temperature analysis:
    http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/press_releases/pr_869_en.html

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 18 Jan 2010 @ 12:30 AM

  91. Matthew L.: You have it backwards. When choosing ranges and scales for a graph, the goal is to clearly show the information that is of interest. When discussing global warming, the primary thing of interest is the trend, on century and decadal scales.

    What is not of interest is the month to month and year to year weather noise. If you just chart what the thermometer outside your window shows every day, then you could waste a decade and you would never, ever get anything that hints of global warming. To trot out an old trope, you wouldn’t see the wood for the trees.

    Your only motive in wanting to concentrate on the noise and ignore the trend must be so that you can justify inaction. Well, the trend is there, and only the most egregious of liars have managed to hide it by messing with the scales as you suggest.

    Manipulating a graph so that a statistically significant trend becomes invisible is simple deception. And yes, some deniers do stoop that low.

    Comment by Didactylos — 18 Jan 2010 @ 12:34 AM

  92. evagrius, it’s just tabloid nonsense. I don’t think any of the cited scientists agree with a word of it.

    Frankly, anyone getting their “science” from a tabloid like the Daily Mail deserves to be misled.

    Comment by Didactylos — 18 Jan 2010 @ 12:41 AM

  93. First, I’m not really an expert on oceanic cycles.
    My interpretation of Latif et. al is that they seem to think the melt of the arctic has reached a level that induces colder winters in Atlantic coasts. Once theres enough water coming from arctic it induces the type of weather pattern seen this past month. My guess is they expect this weather pattern to continue whole year around in the future. On contrast, this IMHO would mean rapid warming in north Pacific – Siberia – Arctic Canada, as they do not deny the increasing greenhouse effect that is a result of anthropogenic interruption of natural carbon cycles (Rising CO2 -> sightly risen temperatures (oceanic and land) -> Slightly risen methane and clathrate outbreaks -> a bit more risen temperatures -> increased ice melt in Greenland -> Gulf stream stays diverted -> locally cooler in the areas near by.) I’d say ‘Local North Atlantic Micro-Nano Cool Period may start here’ to tone it down. If true, agriculture will be less affected here than elsewhere, if you want the positive aspect. I think the global climate is the result of balances between tropics (namely, ITCZ) and both poles (partly secluded by the polar jetstream), if that is of any help in thinking this.

    On another matter, the SH was 2nd warmest when the NH was much lower in the placement in 2009 according to GISS averages. Has there been some unusual weather phenomenon during winter 2008-2009 that has leaked some of the NH temperature rise to the SH?

    Comment by jyyh — 18 Jan 2010 @ 1:01 AM

  94. .

    There seems to be little debate on the most visible , most important effect of Climate , weather or seasons , the water cycle
    The power involved are enormous , at the human scale , clouds and precipitations , either rain or snow , are the most appreciable manifestation of weather for the layman or professionals in many fields
    on any discussion on the weather

    The hydrological cycle is a pump removing heat from the liquid water interface and flinging millions of tonnes up in the atmosphere ,
    that amount of work must be accounted for
    evaporation can cool whole landmasses in the matter of hours ,
    those process are understood in their principle since centuries but it’s hardly discussed as a forcing ,even less quantified

    the only thing I could find was

    http://www.arm.gov/science/highlights/RNzQ=/view

    http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/30/26/55/PDF/npg-12-741-2005.pdf

    http://olmo.elet.polimi.it/climate/nature02/HydrologicCycle.pdf

    is there some further research available on the subject of the hydrological cycle feedback on the climate ?

    .

    Comment by jeannick — 18 Jan 2010 @ 1:53 AM

  95. Maybe you can address these claims.
    [edit]
    The detailed report by D’Aleo is available at http://icecap.us/images/uploads/NOAAroleinclimategate.pdf

    [Response: Here. – gavin]

    Comment by Anonymous — 18 Jan 2010 @ 3:03 AM

  96. evagrius (79):
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/11/climate-change-global-warming-mojib-latif

    Comment by Molnar — 18 Jan 2010 @ 3:37 AM

  97. Re evagrius 79: It was on ClimateProgress recently:
    http://climateprogress.org/2010/01/14/science-dr-mojib-latif-global-warming-cooling/

    Comment by moonshine — 18 Jan 2010 @ 3:42 AM

  98. An update of the ENSO-corrected global temperature (i.e. global temperature corrected for the ENSO induced interannual variations) presented in http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/07/global-trends-and-enso/ would be interesting and an alternative to the 5y running mean.

    A simple statistical correction for the ENSO influence (GT minus 0.1*half-year-timelagged-MEI-Index; derived from the correlations of the last 40 years) shows that 2009 was the warmest year in the record if the ENSO influence is taken into account. This seems to be the case for all available global data sets (GISS, HadCRUT, NOAA), although the HadCRUT data set is not yet available to the end of the year.

    If taking into account the current solar minimum, too, 2009 is a clear leader.

    Comment by Urs Neu — 18 Jan 2010 @ 4:26 AM

  99. “Good article. But the satellite data for the upper atmosphere show 1998 as the warmest year to date and a general trend closer to the Hadcrut graph.

    Isnt this the most accurate data?”

    So the CRU data is now the most accurate…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 18 Jan 2010 @ 4:39 AM

  100. JB: The 10×10^23 Joules that went into the ocean from 1985 to 2005 would raise the air temp by 7.46 degrees C if that energy had gone into the atmosphere instead.

    BPL: If it happened all at once, yes. If it happened at the same RATE it had gone into the ocean, most of it would have radiated away into space by now.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 18 Jan 2010 @ 4:39 AM

  101. Don Shor,

    You need 30 years to tell a climate trend. 10 years tells you nothing at all.

    Temperature has risen strongly over the past 30 years.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 18 Jan 2010 @ 4:43 AM

  102. Jim Bullis: “Right you are about my point, except I am trying to point out that the energy going into the oceans, ”

    But the heat capacity is likewise huge, therefore the temperature change is nowhere near as big as you imply with your huge *energy* figure.

    Given you’ve already used the weird global figure over 20 years accumulation to big up your numbers, I would have hoped you would be more careful.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 18 Jan 2010 @ 4:44 AM

  103. “67
    Don Shor says:
    17 January 2010 at 7:49 PM

    Aerosols.”

    Language…

    :-)

    “I really don’t understand why juvenile name-calling of this sort continues to be allowed on thjs blog.”

    Shall we go back over Don’s posting history and see how much name-calling is here from him?

    And please, what is juvenile about it?

    “What caused the cooling in the 50’s then???” is a zombie argument. And the zombies say it again and again, in different venues, never hearing the answer.

    I don’t understand why zombies are allowed on here.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 18 Jan 2010 @ 4:51 AM

  104. @evagrius:
    Done here:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/11/climate-change-global-warming-mojib-latif
    David Rose himself managed to get one comment in on Deepclimate’s criticism of his piece, showing his blatant disregard to take on the big flaws in his nonsense-filled piece:
    http://deepclimate.org/2010/01/11/mojib-latif-slams-daily-mail/

    But then again, the Daily Mail isn’t to be taken serious on much related to science. It jumped on the MMR-autism bandwagon, and recently had this howler:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1240746/Prehistoric-sat-nav-set-ancestors-Britain.html
    (for a few comments on the laughable matter in that research, see:
    http://www.badscience.net/2010/01/voices-of-the-ancients/)

    Comment by Marco — 18 Jan 2010 @ 4:54 AM

  105. Matt: “and we have only been measuring temperature (reliably) for a hundred years, then there are simply too few data points to work with – so you have to get into the job of prediction.”

    The second part doesn’t follow from the first.

    Prediction doesn’t come because we don’t have enough elapsed time and doesn’t solve the problem either.

    What you can do is be more clever with your analysis.

    But then you’re back into the realm of the speci alist and you and I are left going “well, they seem to know what they’re doing, and there’s a lot of different ways people get the same answer, so I guess that’s solid”.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 18 Jan 2010 @ 4:56 AM

  106. “The magnitudes of the seasonal anomalies are on the same order as the monthly anomalies; you average the monthlies to get the seasonal.”

    3 measurements randomly differed from the mean with a standard deviation of s.

    1 measurement is likely within s of the mean.

    3 measurements are likely to average to s/sqrt(3) of the mean.

    s ~ 1.7 times bigger than s/sqrt(3).

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 18 Jan 2010 @ 4:58 AM

  107. Doug: “I -think- Jim’s point is that there’s a lot of additional energy trapped on the planet that’s hidden from us air breathers. He’s not calling the essay into question.”

    I think he’s obfuscating the difference between heat and temperature to say that the simple graph is far too simple.

    Then, when the more complex graph is made, it will be denounced as too complex for the ordinary person.

    So it will be simplified…

    …brains…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 18 Jan 2010 @ 5:02 AM

  108. Nigel Jones,
    A lot of people think that the satellites are making a simple measurement that equates directly to temperature. Not so! Extracting lower troposphere temperature from the instrument readings–as exemplified by the fact that both MSU and RSS have repeatedly had to revise their temperature series.

    What is more, the satellite readings tend to be more distorted by El Nino and La Nina, which makes them less reliable in these periods.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 18 Jan 2010 @ 5:09 AM

  109. No 32, Matthew L; No, people don’t need a memory for temperatures. There are obvious indicators. Looking out of my window, across the road is a palm tree that is nearly 5 metres high, when I was a child in the 1940’s and 50’s we used to marvel at palm trees growing outdoors at south coast seaside resorts, the only other places we saw them was in the palm house at the local botanical gardens. Perhaps palm trees have become hardier, but it is more likely that the weather has grown milder. In my garden I have a three metre + high flowering speciman of Rhododendron Falconeri var. Eximium. Read textbooks about rhodies that were published 30 years ago and you would have the impression that this rhodie could not possibly be grown successfully in the English Midlands, but there it is! When I was a child my father took up his stock of dahlias at the first frost in autumn, usually in september, and stored the tubers in the cellar…and even so got the occasional losses due to cold. Now they continue flowering well into the autumn and can be left in the ground if covered with a good mulch.

    There are a multitude of similar indicators, just talk to somebody who has held an allotment garden for a number of decades and he/she will tell you about earlier planting seasons and later first frosts. If you are not into gardening and don’t appreciate the force of what I am saying, check with the wildlife enthusiasts instead: how about for the last few years swallows attempting to overwinter in Cornwall, and various warblers deciding not to go south for the winter? Our blast of Siberian air in December will undoubtably be a setback for them, but the trend is clear.

    No, we don’t need temperature statistics to know in our water that things are changing. We need the science to tell us how and why, and to predict trends, but not to tell us what we can see for ourselves.

    Comment by Brian Carter — 18 Jan 2010 @ 5:42 AM

  110. #79: Try this article (from Climateprogress – Joe Romm is often pretty heavy-handed in his wording, but the facts speak for themselves): http://climateprogress.org/2010/01/14/science-dr-mojib-latif-global-warming-cooling/

    Comment by JasonW — 18 Jan 2010 @ 5:45 AM

  111. evagris @ 79:

    Deep Climate has done a good refutation of that Daily Mail article:

    http://deepclimate.org/2010/01/11/mojib-latif-slams-daily-mail/#more-1409

    Comment by Steve Brown — 18 Jan 2010 @ 5:47 AM

  112. Please,could you please help me and indicate the proportion of areas on the Earth on which GW will worsen significantly the life condition? (and incidentally why it would worsen exactly?)

    and please also could you give an estimate of the average distance I have to travel to reach the closest region where the conditions won’t worsen significantly ?

    I need to plan my future next decades, say.

    If it can help : I live in France. The local annual average fluctuates typically by one degree, from a year to another. The difference between north and south of France is also a few degrees (around 4°C I guess). I am mainly interested by the local temperatures, but neither by the average temperature of the Earth, nor that of the solar system, or the entire Universe (which anyway stands very close to 2.7 K if I understand correctly).

    Comment by Gilles — 18 Jan 2010 @ 5:58 AM

  113. Why does NOAA/NCDC’s analysis (released 15 Jan) say 2009 was the fifth warmest year in the history of temp records, whereas GISS says it’s the second? Could somebody explain the difference in analysis – or point me to a link where it’s been done? Which is supposed to be the better analysis of the data?

    [Response: As discussed above the differences between the top 5 or so years are all very small, and so minor differences in analysis will make a difference in the ranking, but not in anything substantive. – gavin]

    Comment by Richard — 18 Jan 2010 @ 6:28 AM

  114. Doug: “If I remember correctly you were originally wondering less about the absence of oceans in the model, more about what level of detail is involved?”

    The original start of Jim’s querying of the ocean was in relation to a graph that shows the energy balance (which was in answer to a question about how much GG do, etc).

    Though I’m trying to pick up where, but Jim’s cross posted his queries from another thread to make sure it gets maximum traction and loses its original intent.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 18 Jan 2010 @ 7:27 AM

  115. “There is a contradiction between the observed continued warming trend and popular perceptions about climate trends. Frequent statements include: “There has been global cooling over the past decade.” “Global warming stopped in 1998.” “1998 is the warmest year in the record.” Such statements have been repeated so often that most of the public seems to accept them as being true. However, based on our data, such statements are not correct.”

    [edit – comments that deliberately confuse statements about the global anomaly and the US anomaly are pointless]

    Comment by Jason — 18 Jan 2010 @ 7:47 AM

  116. Gavin in #64,

    I think you need to switch low for high and high for low in the second paragraph after fig. 6 as well. The AO index seems to be backwards somewhat in the way magnitudes are in astronomy. It also seems to be in units of sigma. Do you know the formula?

    [Response: Thanks. Those have been fixed too. The AO is defined as the principle component of the sea level pressure first EOF and you can define that either in an unitless way by leaving the units in the EOF pattern, or vice versa. – gavin]

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 18 Jan 2010 @ 8:58 AM

  117. This is true that gardeners have been able to grow less and less hardy variety in Europe and US those last years. However, those last 2 winters, many of those “exotics” growing north of their recomended regions have died, except if the gardeners have been very carefull protecting them effectively. Many species are more sensitive to the lowest temperature than the average, and a few mild winters can gives false impressions, makeing gardeners overenthusiastic and real sad when a hard winter hit after their precious tree has thrived for a few years. I know it, here in Belgium i am not sure my bamboo will make it through this winter (last one was too hard), and I know some people crying over dead olive trees (they have been really optimistic)…

    So I think that southern species extending their habitat to the north is a good indicator of a warming climate, but only after a few years or dozen of years, you need time to catch low probability hard winters that really limit a species expansion. In this respect it is not really better than 10 years temperature averages…

    Comment by greg kai — 18 Jan 2010 @ 9:04 AM

  118. When scientists talk about this or that year being the second warmest on record, etc., doesn’t that play into the hands of the denialists by conditioning the public to think that individual years are significant in defining the trend?

    Seems to me that Levenson’s analysis of statistical significance on his Web page is much more valid, and therefore a stronger argument.

    [Response: Agreed. But people will rank things anyway – the best you can do is stress the ‘statistical tie’ issues, but that is frequently ignored. – gavin]

    Comment by Richard Palm — 18 Jan 2010 @ 9:08 AM

  119. I hope that RC can have a column on the AO soon. Perhaps something like “Shindell 2001 for the climate hobbiest” (BTW your link to http://tao.atmos.washington.edu/ao/ is dead).

    [Response: Try this instead: http://www.atmos.colostate.edu/ao/ – gavin]

    I never heard the term Artic Oscillation until Hansen’s 2009 summary; but live in Calgary Canada and it has been obvious to me for a long time that some thing like this was responsible for our winter weather. During the winter we have many hours of darkness and are well aware that within a mere 15 degrees of latitude there are those that are living though 6 full sunless weeks.

    All that dark makes things cold and it is virtually invariable that if we experience an unusually warm winter we will also get what we refer to as a “crappy summer”.

    So what is know about the causes of changes in the AO index?

    Also what effect on artic sea ice is expected from the changes in AO? and vise versa?

    Comment by KSW — 18 Jan 2010 @ 9:15 AM

  120. Gilles,
    When the climate caca hits the fan, you will not be the only one seeking better conditions. I hope you like it crowded.
    Regional projections are not as reliable as global projections.

    Here’s a start. Be aware that different regions may be affected by different threats. The coastal regions may have more moderate climate in general, but will be more prone to inundation. Inland areas are safer from inundation, but will have highly variable precipitation and probably more extreme temperatures:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/…/regional-climate-projections/

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 18 Jan 2010 @ 9:18 AM

  121. Al Fresco says, “I still think, however, that it would be beneficial to the cause to have a more comprehensive response to the Smith/D’Aleo article.”

    Why? Either they know their points are bogus, in which case they are disingenuous, or they do not know, in which case they are ignoramuses.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 18 Jan 2010 @ 9:26 AM

  122. There was an article in New Scientist early last year about a PI for a thermokarst (permafrost) study, Katey Walter from the University of Alaska. She has links from her NSF project site to just the sort of descriptions that earlier posters here have suggested GW needs to communicate to a wider range of the public.

    I couldn’t find a reference to it in RC index so I’ll list a couple here.

    New scientist article:
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20127011.500-arctic-meltdown-is-a-threat-to-humanity.htm

    Katey’s UA cv:
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20127011.500-arctic-meltdown-is-a-threat-to-humanity.htm

    utube videos in Alaska and Siberia:
    http://www.alaska.edu/uaf/cem/ine/walter/videopage.xml

    Don’t get “turned off” because it’s methane and oil company supported. She’s not at all a denier.

    Comment by John — 18 Jan 2010 @ 9:37 AM

  123. greg: “So I think that southern species extending their habitat to the north is a good indicator of a warming climate, but only after a few years or dozen of years”

    We’ve had the dozens of years.

    The effect has been noticeable in extent for biologicals to change behaviour for the last 30 years, near enough.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 18 Jan 2010 @ 9:57 AM

  124. I think I get it now. Most of the warming is occuring in places where almost nobody lives. How clever!

    Comment by NJ Tom — 18 Jan 2010 @ 10:00 AM

  125. I am not an expert, but I do understand that perception is everything. As I remember, the earth is not flat. The nice colorful and flat temperature anomoly charts show very large areas of deep red warm areas in the northern latitudes. If this were an accurate flatten chart of the globe, those areas would not be so large, and the perception would not be the same.

    Comment by Paul C — 18 Jan 2010 @ 10:11 AM

  126. > 94, Jeannick, asking about the hydrologic cycle

    This might be a start; there’s so much written, I’d guess you may be using the wrong words in searches.
    Try keywords you find in this article, following footnotes and citing papers for example
    Andrew Dessler and Sun Wong on ‘Estimates of the Water Vapor Climate Feedback during El Niño–Southern Oscillation‘ in Journal of Climate.
    (link found and stolen from http://delayedoscillator.wordpress.com/ )

    If you’re looking for global scale hydrologic changes rather than shorter term ones, try for example
    http://jgs.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/164/6/1093
    “Although the Earth’s environment is constantly changing, there have been a few unusual episodes Each event was associated with a major carbon isotope excursion, significant levels of biotic extinctions, severe global warming, an enhanced hydrological cycle, and evidence for widespread seawater anoxia. Both carbon isotope excursions can be subdivided into distinct stages with broadly similar characteristics and durations; based on a detailed comparison, the Palaeocene–Eocene thermal maximum may have been an incipient Oceanic Anoxic Event. The geochemical and biotic changes during these two events are most readily explained by the abrupt, large-scale dissociation of methane hydrate that followed a period of more gradual environmental change linked to the emplacement of a large igneous province. Carbon release rates at those times were of the same order of magnitude as the current anthropogenic release rate of carbon to the atmosphere, indicating that ancient events such as these may usefully serve as analogues for present-day environmental change….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Jan 2010 @ 10:12 AM

  127. “Most of the warming is occuring in places where almost nobody lives.”

    Really? Nobody lives in central north america?

    See:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0JsdSDa_bM

    And check out the weather report for 15th Jan…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 18 Jan 2010 @ 10:12 AM

  128. Emailed to my congressmen with a request for an investigation:
    http://www.judicialwatch.org/news/2010/jan/judicial-watch-uncovers-nasa-documents-related-global-warming-controversy

    [Response: Curious. What do you think should be investigated? – gavin]

    Comment by Jeff Boarman — 18 Jan 2010 @ 10:14 AM

  129. “The nice colorful and flat temperature anomoly charts show very large areas of deep red warm areas in the northern latitudes.”

    They also show lots more blue in mid-high lattitudes and less blue in equatorial and most of the southern hemisphere.

    The equatorial changes would, by your admission, be less well represented than the blue still.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 18 Jan 2010 @ 10:16 AM

  130. > NJTom, “warming is occurring in places where almost nobody lives”

    You’re probably using at a distorted map, if you think nobody lives where it’s warm this month.
    This one, maybe? http://strangemaps.files.wordpress.com/2007/02/newyorker2.JPG

    How clever is that?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Jan 2010 @ 10:18 AM

  131. NJ Tom says “I think I get it now. Most of the warming is occuring in places where almost nobody lives. How clever!”

    Yeah, like the Indian Subcontinent, China, Africa… Hardly anybody there. Did you even bother to read the friggin’ charts?!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 18 Jan 2010 @ 10:22 AM

  132. [Response: Curious. What do you think should be investigated? – gavin]

    Hopefully GW Bush’s administration canning scientists who even allowed some hint of veracity to the idea that fossil fuels were affecting the climate significantly…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 18 Jan 2010 @ 10:24 AM

  133. Gavin, how do you guys respond to this:

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/152422/The-new-climate-change-scandal

    [edit]

    [Response: Unlike the pope, no-one has ever claimed that the IPCC is infallible. There are indeed some errors that will have crept in (shock!). However, this particular issue is not ‘a key finding’. It is not mentioned in the WG1 (the climate science section), nor in the Synthesis report, nor in any of the summaries for policy makers. It is possible that the full WG2 got less attention from physical climate scientists than it should have, and in any case, un-peer reviewed statements shouldn’t have been cited. However, mountain glaciers – in the Himalayas or elsewhere – are still retreating dramatically. I trust you are as hard on all your other sources of information. – gavin]

    Comment by sam — 18 Jan 2010 @ 10:38 AM

  134. RE evagrius

    Could someone give a response, ( in the media), to this?

    It would be nice to see a refutation intelligible to laypeople, ( such as myself).

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1242011/DAVID-ROSE-The-mini-ice-age-starts-here.html

    You might try this for a start. Also, the subject of this post.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDTUuckNHgc

    Comment by Deech56 — 18 Jan 2010 @ 10:45 AM

  135. I think this year’s “cold” is just a case of people being spoiled by the unusual warm winters we’ve had. The coldest it got here was 6 degrees and it got down to around 10F for around 10 days or so. Cold, but that was normal for most winters just 20 years ago. In 86 or 87, for example, we went to our family’s Christmas Eve gathering with temp readings of -10F and wind chills of around -45F.

    The forecast for the rest of January looks like it will hard pressed to even dip below freezing. Not freezing in January is the “new normal” but because it’s cold in January people don’t associate that with anomalous increases in temps.

    I saw the maps of the anomalous temperatures during the cold spell. It looked like the Earth was wearing an ice pack for a toothache. The Arctic was much warmer than normal, but the cold air was right there where the decision makers live. If I believed in Gaia, I’d say she was laughing at us.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 18 Jan 2010 @ 10:51 AM

  136. Gavin in #116,

    Thanks. So it is derived from pressure measurements only. Cool.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 18 Jan 2010 @ 10:57 AM

  137. Gavin in #116,

    One other thing. I’m thinking of low pressure at the pole holding winds in (and more organized) in the same manner that the eye of a hurricane keeps drawing winds that would depart the storm back towards it. Is that a picture that has some use?

    [Response: Actually yes. If you plot the contours of the of particular temperatures at the 500mb height level such that you circle the polar regions, you’ll see that for AO +ve periods, the contours all line up very neatly in a roughly circular pattern. In AO -ve periods, the contours are all over the place. So one way of thinking of this is organised vs. disorganised circulation. – gavin]

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 18 Jan 2010 @ 11:03 AM

  138. RE #76 & the Himalayan glacier melt, I also spotted (and thought odd) the use of WWF information in the IPCC, and decided not to include that 2035 claim in my recent paper on FOOD RIGHTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE, although I did use a couple of non-peer-reviewed studies by such types environmental and humanitarian organizations for other issues. I’ve found such “overview” studies, in general, to be based on mainly peer-reviewed studies themselves and to be of high quality, and they are valuable in making meta-assessments and conjectures, bringing together a lot of scientific piece-work.

    RE the glaciers I instead wrote: “With glaciers melting at alarming rates and many possibly disappearing by 2100, there could be massive rain events and floods during winter, with no water for irrigation in summers,” and this was based on more recent 2008 peer-reviewed studies of Himalayan glaciers.

    This Himalayan glacier fiasco sort of misses the point of the many many climate change threats to India and other countries in the region, including but not limited to glacier retreat. And it misses the whole injustice of rich nations (per capita) being the biggest cause, both now and historically, of global warming (and that includes emissions involved in whatever products people of rich countries buy from poor countries, as in “Made in China”), while poor countries are facing the most severe threats from global warming.

    Whoever is writing articles criticizing the IPCC, should point out these larger issues, at least in passing, or they themselves should be very severely criticized.

    Global warming isn’t just glacier melt — and it looks like they eventually will melt, if not all by 2035. It isn’t just sea rise. It isn’t just more intense storms and cyclones. It isn’t just more heat deaths. It isn’t just decreasing crop yields (even in the northern latitudes after mid-century, despite carbon fertilization and longer growing seasons). It isn’t just increased floods. It isn’t just increased droughts and wild fires. It isn’t just increasing disease spread. It’s all of these and much much more. And global warming is only one (big) environmental problem; there are many more environmental problems.

    Picking (and dwelling) on one aspect of global warming because one scientific claim might be wrong (and using this to disprove global warming), is like saying a terminal cancer patient’s claim to having a tooth ache is false.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 18 Jan 2010 @ 11:05 AM

  139. Jeff Boarman@128

    Yawn.

    I mean really. This is so fricking sad. They file a fricking FOI, and THIS is the most they can come up with. Seriously, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    Now…About the evidence…

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 18 Jan 2010 @ 11:06 AM

  140. I liked the last paragraph from that JudicialWatch press release:

    “This email traffic ought to be embarrassing for NASA. Given the recent Climategate scandal, NASA has an obligation to be completely transparent with its handling of temperature data. Instead of insulting those who point out their mistakes, NASA scientists should engage the public in an open, professional and honest manner,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

    I think insulting McIntyre is open, professional and honest 8^)!

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 18 Jan 2010 @ 11:33 AM

  141. Regarding Jeff Boarman,

    Here’s what he posted here almost two months ago: http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=2036#comment-145683

    Secondly, there are rumors afoot that much more data/emails, etc. were hacked, and the hackers are waiting for an opportune time to release them.

    So, Jeff…. how have all those rumors panned out?

    Comment by caerbannog — 18 Jan 2010 @ 11:34 AM

  142. Gavin in #137,

    Thanks.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 18 Jan 2010 @ 11:47 AM

  143. Gavin, how do you guys respond to this:

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/152422/The-new-climate-change-scandal

    [edit]

    [Response: Unlike the pope, no-one has ever claimed that the IPCC is infallible. There are indeed some errors that will have crept in (shock!). However, this particular issue is not ‘a key finding’. It is not mentioned in the WG1 (the climate science section), nor in the Synthesis report, nor in any of the summaries for policy makers. It is possible that the full WG2 got less attention from physical climate scientists than it should have, and in any case, un-peer reviewed statements shouldn’t have been cited. However, mountain glaciers – in the Himalayas or elsewhere – are still retreating dramatically. I trust you are as hard on all your other sources of information. – gavin]

    I see…. nothing to see here. Gavin, you are not talking to an idiot. There is definitely something to see here. This is (was) a central claim by UNIPCC and you know it.

    [Response: Hmmm… how am I supposed to know that something on p493 in vol 2 of a three volume report is a ‘central claim’? Generally, ‘central claims’ make it to the summaries. But maybe you have a different metric. Please enlighten us. – gavin]

    Even in your response you make unproven claims about glacier melt. (I love the AGW buzz words like “dramatically” btw) The people studying these glaciers most closely (in India) don’t have any such certitude. Only 30 glaciers are even being studied out of thousands and they are all in different states of retreat or advance. Your claims were (I’m guessing) based on the UN report which itself turns out literally to be based on a article, based on news story based on a phone interview. What other evidence do you have?

    [Response: Oh, I don’t know – maybe some of the photos? Try here, here, here, or if you prefer the technical literature try some remote sensing. Now what evidence do you have that this isn’t happening? – gavin]

    Comment by sam — 18 Jan 2010 @ 12:05 PM

  144. 100 BPL

    JB: The 10×10^23 Joules that went into the ocean from 1985 to 2005 would raise the air temp by 7.46 degrees C if that energy had gone into the atmosphere instead.

    BPL: If it happened all at once, yes. If it happened at the same RATE it had gone into the ocean, most of it would have radiated away into space by now.

    JB: Nope. It did not get radiated. The 10×10^23 Joules accumulated in the oceans over the period 1985 to 2005. That is what the NOAA chart says. And they only measure down to 700 meters. And if it had been radiated, the air temperature would have gone up roughly another 7.5 degrees.

    #84 Doug Bostrom,

    My current point, starting back about a week ago, was that the NOAA chart here posted on Dec28,2009 seemed to indicate that ocean heat had accumulated faster than expected over those years especially. Simply calibrating the climate models for this unexpected, but actual, data might account for the also factual data of temperature not rising as fast as the models seem to have expected.

    If the net heat downward at the TOA was 4 W/m^2 and the heat into the oceans was 3 W/m^2, as would be consistent with an accumulation of 10×10^23Joules, you have 1 W/m^2 for warming the atmosphere over that time period. This should be about 3.3×10^23Joules into the atmosphere. This would be an atmospheric temperature increase of about 2.5 deg C by my very rough estimates. This is all just a sanity check that I got into because of the sequence of misinformation that I encountered through the sequence of my questions.

    And even before that, my point has been for about a year that the oceans seem to be getting underestimated as a counter to atmospheric warming. This does not mean that things are good, but it does suggest a different climate scenario than was being discussed a year or two ago.

    And if this point is correct, it would be better to focus the argument on the problem of global heat accumulation, which might be far worse than atmospheric temperature indicates.

    Thus the superstitious crowd has been given an anti-science club, since temperature might not play out in a way that confirms the fundamental heat imbalance problem.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 18 Jan 2010 @ 12:15 PM

  145. Matthew@51

    The resolution of the images should reflect the resolution of the data.

    The white isn’t hot so much as tending to bleed with large areas of yellow. This is a problem of the nature of how we perceive both aereal extent and different colors. There’s always a trade-off between logic, perception, and convention. Bottom line, you have to look at the key, read the data and adjust your intuition to it, not the other way around.

    If I have a quibble with the ramp it’s the use of purple at the low end, but it works well enough in this context.

    Paul@125

    “If this were an accurate flatten chart of the globe, those areas would not be so large, and the perception would not be the same.”

    So what projection system would you prefer?

    I suppose they could use an animated rotating globe. Is that really necessary here?

    Fed Up@129
    I think his complaint is that, in these projections, the top and bottom portions of the world maps are over-represented relative to the middle. If you look at it as each square cm on the map representing the same number of square miles on the ground, the upper and lower potions are rubber-sheeted out, which also expands the relative extents of red.

    The answer, I think, is that the map has to be read first then intuited, not the other way around.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 18 Jan 2010 @ 12:22 PM

  146. “Most of the warming is occuring in places where almost nobody lives.”

    Really? Nobody lives in central north america?

    Or the Pacific NW? About a million and a half here in the greater Portland area, about twice as many in Seattle.

    Maybe we’re not bitching enough about the fact that it’s warmer than normal here, and that we’re not freezing our bums off.

    For example, yesterday:

    Normal Max, 46F. Yesterday’s Max, 55F.
    Normal Min, 34F. Yesterday’s Min, 46F.

    Temps were closer to, but still above, normal during the Big Freeze a week or so ago.

    So even if we pretend the US is the world, the Big Freeze was an event limited in extent.

    Comment by dhogaza — 18 Jan 2010 @ 12:25 PM

  147. Radge: “I think his complaint is that, in these projections, the top and bottom portions of the world maps are over-represented relative to the middle”

    But the middle is the equatorial, where there’s more red dots.

    *HE* is talking about the mid-latitudes around 50N, which isn’t the middle, it’s three quarters the way up.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 18 Jan 2010 @ 12:38 PM

  148. Ray, thank you for your attention. Actually I live in the Alps, with no real risk of flood, and the temperatures are already rather extreme compared to France (often – 10 °C in winter and + 30°C, sometimes up to 40°C in summer). Actually this doesn’t prevent me to live normally like any other French guy, you know , those living near the coast have often rain but they can also go the beach when it’s sunny. And by me, I enjoy snow in winter and go hiking in summer, where the temperature decreases rather rapidly , – 1°C every 100 m. So very concretely, in the all day life, could you give me some indication of what would change in my life, or my children’s life ?

    concerning the “poor” people who will suffer the most from AGW, I understood that BAU scenarii assuming the burning of a lot of fossiles would also assume that these fossiles would be burnt by the very people who are currently poor, but would not be that poor once they burn fossiles. Specifically, I heard that A1 scenarii assume something like a multiplication by 20 or so of the GDP, and the reduction of a factor 10 of inequality, so actually the “poor” people on the earth would be on average as rich as current europeans, or may be more. And have a lot of fossile to build new houses, well heated and air-conditionned, and that they could be smart enough to built not exactly at the lowest points on the ground. But may be I misunderstood something in the SRES ?

    Comment by Gilles — 18 Jan 2010 @ 12:48 PM

  149. My reason for thinking a more comprehensive response to the Smith/D’Aleo article would be useful is based on the predictable use of that article by the deniers to summarily discount any findings based on NASA data. I am aware that this article is an anti-warming propaganda piece. My concern is not what effect it will have on the principle players on either side of the issue. It is the fence-sitting layperson (who elects the policy makers) who is trying to make some sense of all this seemingly contradictory information who I am afraid will be duped by this accusation of fraud and data manipulation.

    Most of the public has neither the time nor inclination to wade through a comments section such as this to uncover the facts. Nor do they have the scientific expertise to understand much of what is said here. That is why I think an official response (even one that the average person might not fully comprehend) that specifically addresses the points raised in the article in some detail would be of value. At least those of us trying to defend consensus opinion would then have something of substance to point to that would help put the matter into perspective.

    I think it is important to remember that, just as with the evolution/creation debate, good science suffers if the lay public is unduly influenced by the merchants of bad science.

    Comment by Al Fresco — 18 Jan 2010 @ 12:58 PM

  150. Radge@145
    Wow…calm down a notch. Looking at the flat earth plot Hansen used, it does appear at second glance that a equal-area plot was used, and if I had to guess, it looks like the Lambert cylindrical equal-area projection, but the aspect ratio is not as large as I’ve seen and therefore doesn’t look right. But since you were kind enough to ask my preference, I would be interested to see the same plot using a sinusoidal projection, preferably the classic-looking interrupted sinusoidal projection.

    [Response: It’s a plate-caree cylindrical projection. If you want to plot it differently, you can download the data from gistemp. I’m a fan of the Robinson projection myself…. – gavin]

    Comment by Paul C — 18 Jan 2010 @ 1:05 PM

  151. > Al Fresco
    > an official response

    You’re asking about misinformation in the press
    You want to dignify bad work by a poor writer by an “official response”?
    What official do you think would appropriately respond to this guy?
    Remember–it’s a British newspaper. They have their own ways of dealing with this stuff.

    I refer you again to the (British) bloger’s response http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/01/latif_keenlyside_cooling_revis.php

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Jan 2010 @ 1:23 PM

  152. > Al Fresco
    Did you follow the pointer Stoat gives there?
    What better “official response” could you ask for than this one?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/11/climate-change-global-warming-mojib-latif

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Jan 2010 @ 1:32 PM

  153. 102 Compfu,

    I was trying to point out the part of the NOAA curve on ocean heat accumulation that seemed to exceed expectation. The huge numbers are owned by NOAA, not me. And yes, they represent all the oceans down to 700 meters. That is a lot, but nowhere near all of it.

    Yes, the oceans have huge heat capacity, and that capacity can moderate atmospheric temperture increases, which is my point.(see #144)

    What is this about not being careful? Maybe rocks should be thrown, but not until you understand my question. If my way of asking the questions has been confusing, I apologize for that, but no apologies are offered for asking questions.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 18 Jan 2010 @ 1:34 PM

  154. Gavin@150
    Thank you for the quick response. Unfortunately, the plate caree, nor the Robinson projections are equal area projections, which was the point of my original comment. AN equal area projection temperature plot would likely look very different. Unfortunaltely, I am a casual observer and do not have the expertise to plot it for myself and have to rely on honest interpretation of data from others.

    [Response: I’m not arguing with you, but plate-caree is a common default for lat-lon gridded data in this field and that would take some work to dislodge it. It is not ‘dishonest’ to use it. If you want to play around with the data in different projections, download Panoply and use it to view the data. – gavin]

    Comment by Paul C — 18 Jan 2010 @ 1:36 PM

  155. 117 greg kai says:
    18 January 2010 at 9:04 AM

    This is true that gardeners have been able to grow less and less hardy variety in Europe and US those last years. However, those last 2 winters, many of those “exotics” growing north of their recommended regions have died, except if the gardeners have been very carefull protecting them effectively. Many species are more sensitive to the lowest temperature than the average, and a few mild winters can gives false impressions, makeing gardeners overenthusiastic and real sad when a hard winter hit after their precious tree has thrived for a few years. I know it, here in Belgium i am not sure my bamboo will make it through this winter (last one was too hard), and I know some people crying over dead olive trees (they have been really optimistic)…

    So I think that southern species extending their habitat to the north is a good indicator of a warming climate, but only after a few years or dozen of years, you need time to catch low probability hard winters that really limit a species expansion. In this respect it is not really better than 10 years temperature averages…

    It is difficult to make any reasonable assessment of climate change based on anecdotes from gardeners, because what gardeners are growing is not consistent over the decades. There are many horticultural varieties, varying in cold hardiness and vigor (a factor in recovery from freeze damage). For example, there are plenty of bamboos that are hardy in Belgium, some of which were not likely available in the nursery trade 30 years ago. You can probably grow species and varieties of Fargesia and Phyllostachys. Citrus hardiness varies by rootstock, and clones probably differ as well (there are at least four different strains of “Satsuma” mandarins on the market).

    And it only takes one single cold episode to wipe out several years worth of mild winters’ growth of exotics. In the years I’ve been in the nursery business we’ve had four major freeze events in Northern California: 1975, 1990, 1998, 2007. Some of those killed plants that had been established for many years. Of course, people promptly replanted them….gardeners always try to grow things that are out of their range.

    Having said all that, the USDA has revised its hardiness zones to reflect longterm trends: http://wwwp.dailyclimate.org/tdc-newsroom/usda/climate-change-comes-to-your-backyard
    And here’s a cool interactive map from Oregon State University: http://www.prism.oregonstate.edu/

    Changes in populations of native plants might be a better guide to local climate change.

    Comment by Don Shor — 18 Jan 2010 @ 1:42 PM

  156. 101 Barton Paul Levenson says:
    18 January 2010 at 4:43 AM

    Don Shor,
    You need 30 years to tell a climate trend. 10 years tells you nothing at all.
    Temperature has risen strongly over the past 30 years.

    Right. 1/3 of the period is irrelevant. Got it.

    Comment by Don Shor — 18 Jan 2010 @ 1:46 PM

  157. > Don Shor …
    > irrelevant. Got it.

    Don, you didn’t get it.
    For that data set, 10 years is not “irrelevant” — it’s inadequate.

    Want to learn why?

    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/01/results-on-deciding-trends.html

    “Now, if you trust me absolutely (which I don’t recommend — and if I’m talking science, you don’t need to), you can stop and move on to some other reading. But let’s take a look at the whys. As before, I’m putting the data and programs on my personal web site and you can run the analysis yourself, and modify the programs to work on different assumptions, methods, data sets.

    Let’s consider the first point — how long it takes to determine a climate trend in global mean temperature….”

    Recommended.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Jan 2010 @ 2:11 PM

  158. Paul@150

    Sorry. No offense intended. This is about as calm as I get.

    Maybe I should switch to decaf.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 18 Jan 2010 @ 2:12 PM

  159. To Gilles #148 – I lived in Switzerland for 3 years, and people there are already well aware that compared to decades past, it snows less in winter, and is much hotter in summer. (I think I remember reading that warming has occurred faster around Lac Leman than any other area of Europe.) Glaciers all throughout the Alps are retreating. What does that mean for you? Well, if you like your skiing then you’ll have to go higher, and consequently pay more, and probably be more limited in what times of year you can do that. Areas not so far from you will be prone to flooding; natural water sources will diminish. The only people benefitting from this will be the air conditioning industry, rushing to install in buildings that were built for a cooler climate. This, in fact, is more or less the description of what has already happened. You can judge for yourself what will happen in the future.

    All of this is very well known to people living in the Swiss Alps – I doubt the French Alps are quite so different.

    Comment by Paul Levy — 18 Jan 2010 @ 2:27 PM

  160. Don Shor, Ever hear of Yasuyuki Aono? He conducted some rather amazing work correlating temperature to opening times of Cherry blossoms in Kyoto. It indicates about a 2-2.5 degree rise in temperature over the last century. You can find it described here.

    http://www.louiserouse.com/blog/?p=123

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 18 Jan 2010 @ 2:28 PM

  161. One of the only redeeming features of the article linked earlier in this thread….

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1242011/DAVID-ROSE-The-mini-ice-age-starts-here.html

    … is that it apparently features direct quotes from Drs. Latif and Tsonis. Most others that I’ve seen paraphrase Dr. Latif and distort his meaning.

    Dr. Latif:
    ‘A significant share of the warming we saw from 1980 to 2000 and at earlier periods in the 20th Century was due to these cycles – perhaps as much as 50 per cent.
    ‘They have now gone into reverse, so winters like this one will become much more likely. Summers will also probably be cooler, and all this may well last two decades or longer.
    ‘The extreme retreats that we have seen in glaciers and sea ice will come to a halt. For the time being, global warming has paused, and there may well be some cooling.’

    Prof. Tsonis, head of the University of Wisconsin Atmospheric Sciences Group, referring to MDO’s:

    ‘They amount to massive rearrangements in the dominant patterns of the weather,’ he said yesterday, ‘and their shifts explain all the major changes in world temperatures during the 20th and 21st Centuries.
    ‘We have such a change now and can therefore expect 20 or 30 years of cooler temperatures.’

    Assuming they were accurately quoted (I realize that is a big assumption!), it seems that they
    1. consider the trend of the last decade to be significant.
    2. possibly have an explanation for why global temperatures have been rising at the lower end of the models.

    Note that they are not saying “global warming has stopped.” But Dr. Latif himself used (we assume, since it is in quotes) the term “paused.”

    So apparently Dr. Latif and Dr. Tsonis don’t believe that “10 years tells you nothing at all.”

    In response to denialists who cite MDO’s via Latif and Tsonis, it should be pointed out that any conclusions from their data also suggest that warming would likely resume in a couple of decades when the pattern reverses.

    Comment by Don Shor — 18 Jan 2010 @ 2:41 PM

  162. Does anybody have an explanation why the GISS data keeps changing all the time?

    Article about it (but other people have noted this as well, so the changing is real).
    http://climateaudit.org/2008/04/06/rewriting-history-time-and-time-again/

    What does this mean?
    The data in question:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts.txt

    Is there some summary somewhere about the changes, and are the changes always/mostly in a warming direction?

    [Response: This is very confused. GISTEMP is an analysis of the raw data and homogenisations provided by GHCN and others. Over time, the homogenisation and corrections have changed at GHCN (and USHCN) and GISTEMP has incorporated those corrections (this is the biggest difference between the 1999 and 2001 analyses (as can be read in the documentation i..e Hansen et al (2001)). For time periods near the present, new data is added to the database, sometimes up to 2 years late. The analysis will obvious adjust to include that. Additionally, GISTEMP makes an urban correction based on how nearby rural sites are warming. This uses a two-piece linear fit and uses all the data to make that fit. Given longer time series, the fits will change a little and so therefore will the urban correction. All the code is available here if you want to see for yourself.

    Comment by KTB — 18 Jan 2010 @ 2:43 PM

  163. Gilles @148, so where does your water come from? If from glacial melt or snowpack, you will likely have an issue? Your food? I presume you do not grow your own food. It may well be that they may no longer be able to grow winter wheat in France–a tragedy, in my opinion, as the French have turned baking into alchemy. This will of course affect livestock, etc. Given likely degradation of coral reefs and other resources critical to fisheries, you can expect less food from the sea.

    Do you perhaps have a spare room in which you could put up a distant cousin whose house is inundated in periodic coastal flooding? And of course, it will be difficult to stop immigration from areas more severely affected than yours–people will have to resettle somewhere.

    That is a beginning.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 18 Jan 2010 @ 2:44 PM

  164. Al Fresco says: 18 January 2010 at 12:58 PM

    “My reason for thinking a more comprehensive response to the Smith/D’Aleo article would be useful is based on the predictable use of that article by the deniers to summarily discount any findings based on NASA data.”

    [bold mine]

    Me, too. It’s pretty obvious (and you can see it from various Telegraph/Mail/Mirror articles being flung into this thread) that the “scientists are corrupt, data is bad” concept is where doubters are pinning their hopes these days, and no wonder because it’s both a wise move and the only solid card they’ve got left. Everything else lacks power and is incoherent, but this is completely irrational and thus potentially very dangerous.

    All of these “silly rumors” need to be jumped on with both feet, with succinct and cogent responses backup up with some form of appendices. Immediately! If there’s one thing we know about PR, time is of the essence. You don’t let trash talk from your opposition fester, you pick it up and deal with it pronto.

    Look, at this point the “science is settled” enough to conclude this entire problem needs to be transferred to the public policy arena for swift action. It’s a social science and political problem now, and that moves it solidly into the realm of perceptions as opposed to depending on facts.

    Ask John Kerry how much good his solid service track record did him. Unimpeachable, wasn’t it? Uh-huh. Now consider that we -know- the same fellow that trashed Kerry’s reputation with fiction is working this case.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 18 Jan 2010 @ 3:03 PM

  165. “All of these “silly rumors” need to be jumped on with both feet, with succinct and cogent responses backup up with some form of appendices.”

    And not buried in a thread as a comment, either, I’ll add.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 18 Jan 2010 @ 3:14 PM

  166. [edit – no need to copy the whole conversation]

    Ok about the photos…. I have seen the ones in the first link before and remember laughing about it. Were both pictures even taken during the same time of year? What are the dates? I’m sure this could be figured out by looking at the shadows, but not worth it, its only one glacier. Who says that individually their size (or existence) isn’t highly transient? If as you are asserting global warming is causing these glaciers to melt at a much higher rate, wouldn’t there necessarily be a drastic increase in water flowing to the rivers of India? (Conservation of matter anyone?) The other option is that precipitation is decreasing, which is as far as I know not consistent with global warming. [edit]

    About the article you link to…. seems like they [edit] mixed different types of data…. Not worth the paper it isn’t written on.

    [Response: Ah. And you would be the expert on that I suppose. You are exhibiting some confusion though. As the glaciers recede, you will get more water in the rivers initially, but if the snow pack reduces a lot, you end up with more winter flow and less summer flow (assuming constant precip), and that is the major concern. There are other issues related to pro-glacial lakes which can form as the glacier recede, that prone to catastrophic collapse. In the photos, you need to focus on the glacial ice, not the snow cover. – gavin]

    This is the Indian report I read:

    http://moef.nic.in/downloads/public-information/MoEF%20Discussion%20Paper%20_him.pdf

    “Vijay Kumar Raina, the geologist who authored the report, admitted that some “Himalayan glaciers are retreating. But it is nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing to suggest as some have said that they will disappear.”

    [Response: That’s a weird statement. But even he shows that the glaciers are retreating, thus this point is uncontested. – gavin]

    Comment by sam — 18 Jan 2010 @ 3:34 PM

  167. Don Shor, you repost a link to the Daily Mail article, talking about it including what appear to be quotations — but we know those are misleading.

    Look at the interviews that debunk that article instead, for real quotes:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/11/climate-change-global-warming-mojib-latif

    When you write
    > don’t believe that “10 years tells you nothing at all.”
    you leave off the important point — which data set does that refer to?

    Annual global temperature data have a known variability that tells us how long a span you need to detect a trend with other data sets.

    Other data sets each have their own variability. Then to figure out how many observations are needed to analyze those, you do the arithmetic:
    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/01/results-on-deciding-trends.html

    This isn’t hard — but it is basic Statistics 101 stuff.

    Statistics 101 is just the basics — my teacher said the goal was to convince us we should talk to a statistician before collecting data, nothing more. Working out how much you need to estimate anything is a significant exercise, for each data set, there’s no single rule of thumb.

    For weather, you can collect data every day. For ocean temperatures, you can collect every day from thousands of different instruments. The variability in each case determines the test needed to have a good chance of knowing for sure that there is or is not a trend.

    For annual global temperatures, you get one number per year, and need twenty or thirty years to detect a trend.

    It’s a new area of mathematics, being developed constantly.

    You’re beating a stuffed animal here, leaving out what you and others need to actually understand what they’re saying.

    Look at the real interview:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/11/climate-change-global-warming-mojib-latif

    That article ends with:

    The recent articles are not the first to misrepresent his research, Latif said. “There are numerous newspapers, radio stations and television channels all trying to get our attention. Some overstate and some want to downplay the problem as a way to get that attention,” he said. “We are trying to discuss in the media a highly complex issue. Nobody would discuss the problem of [Einstein’s theory of] relativity in the media. But because we all experience the weather, we all believe that we can assess the global warming problem.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Jan 2010 @ 3:43 PM

  168. May I point out again, Don Shor appears to be highlighting a presentation problem, a nit for doubters to pick.

    Can anybody suggest a communications technique that addresses the issue he points out, as opposed to monotonously repeating what we all know but cannot necessarily express in a way that is hermetic?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 18 Jan 2010 @ 3:45 PM

  169. Don falls down: “Note that they are not saying “global warming has stopped.” But Dr. Latif himself used (we assume, since it is in quotes) the term “paused.”

    So apparently Dr. Latif and Dr. Tsonis don’t believe that “10 years tells you nothing at all.” ”

    They are SPECIFICALLY saying it doesn’t tell you anything: that is why, though they continue to state and affirm that it’s warming, that a 10year slowdown in warming is still completely valid and doesn’t prove the science is wrong.

    If a 10 year period could tell you something, then they would be saying that seeing a 10-year hiatus in warming would show that the models and the science was incomplete and to such an extend that they are wrong.

    They state the opposite.

    Therefore they are stating that 10 years cannot tell you anything about the climate.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 18 Jan 2010 @ 3:57 PM

  170. Jim Bullis: “The huge numbers are owned by NOAA, not me.”

    But using them out of context is your fault, Jim.

    And your attempts to use them in different threads to continue your crusade against a simple but illustrative picture is likewise your fault.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 18 Jan 2010 @ 4:00 PM

  171. I have to wonder what would be revealed if some of the major denialist organizations’ emails were hacked. I know that working climate scientists don’t have time for that kind of thing, but there are a lot of hackers in the world.

    At the very least, one can ask if the denier organizations would be willing to make all their own emails public, and if not, why not?

    Comment by Richard Palm — 18 Jan 2010 @ 4:15 PM

  172. Completely Fed Up says: 18 January 2010 at 4:00 PM

    Jim Bullis: “The huge numbers are owned by NOAA, not me.”

    But using them out of context is your fault, Jim.

    Unless I’m reading him wrong, Jim Bullis is trying to point out that increased retention of heat by the Earth is inadvertently being minimized in communications because surface temperature reporting is being dominated by air temperature measurements?

    It’s a communications problem, again. Not an issue with science, as I read it, anyway. Jim Bullis, can you confirm my perception?

    On a related note, I’m going to head off to the Web-0-Sphere and see what I can discover about what we can expect in the way of the ocean burping out heat from time to time, as opposed to absorbing it obediently and smoothly. I have to wonder how much of a contribution to variability this is.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 18 Jan 2010 @ 4:33 PM

  173. Regarding the Himalayan non-scandal, here’s a useful treatment:

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/01/18/science-ipcc-melting-ice-himalayan-glaciers-2035-sea-level-rise/#more-17623

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 18 Jan 2010 @ 4:50 PM

  174. “It’s a communications problem, again. Not an issue with science, as I read it, anyway. Jim Bullis, can you confirm my perception?”

    If that’s it, then I have got it wrong.

    But I still don’t like it when someone pops along with an argument, gives a stupid number (like, say power integrals over 20 years. Like Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!!!) then when called on it goes “Hey, it’s not my number, it’s $SOMEONE_ELSE’s!”. If it’s someone elses, then why the he** did you bring it up as your endpoint argument?

    It’s VERY easy for someone trying to throw muck in the well to misuse figures from another source then go “It’s not MY numbers!!”.

    It’s happened before: someone used numbers from all over the place and abused them until they said that CO2 from human sources was 0.000012% of the atmosphere.

    When called on it, it was “Those are Wikipedia’s numbers, so go talk to them”.

    But they weren’t. Or at least they’d taken the numbers Wikipedia had on total CO2, human additions and the total CO2 concentration then used those numbers to arrive at that ridiculous endpoint.

    Wikipedia’s numbers, but their own conclusion and argument.

    And Jim’s doing it here, it seems.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 18 Jan 2010 @ 4:55 PM

  175. “Can anybody suggest a communications technique that addresses the issue he points out”

    Unfortunately you can’t slap someone with a clue-by-four until either

    a) they stop abusing that fine instrument the human brain (‘cos it’s broken)
    b) the clue actually sticks

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 18 Jan 2010 @ 4:57 PM

  176. 159, Paul Levy: Glaciers all throughout the Alps are retreating. What does that mean for you?

    Alpine glaciers retreated in the 1930s, and then they advanced again. Records in the Himalayas are not complete back to the 1930s, so we do not know whether any of them retreated and then grew back.

    [Response: But there are photos from the 1920s showing more ice than now. – gavin]

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 18 Jan 2010 @ 5:17 PM

  177. “Can anybody suggest a communications technique that addresses the issue he points out”
    Dr. Latif could choose his words more carefully when he speaks to the media. If you go back to the original letter to Nature (Nature 453, 84-88 1 May 2008), they say:
    “Our results suggest that global surface temperature may not increase over the next decade, as natural climate variations in the North Atlantic and tropical Pacific temporarily offset the projected anthropogenic warming.”

    Maybe he should have left it at that.

    169 Completely Fed Up says:
    “If a 10 year period could tell you something, then they would be saying that seeing a 10-year hiatus in warming would show that the models and the science was incomplete and to such an extend that they are wrong.”

    I don’t see how you leap to that conclusion of what they “would be saying.” The Nature article discusses how, using sea-surface temperatures, they were able to do retrospective decadal predictions. Changes in the MDO’s seem to correspond to variations in measured global temperatures. A 10-year hiatus in warming would lend support to this component of existing models.

    Comment by Don Shor — 18 Jan 2010 @ 5:50 PM

  178. Of course the cold waether doesn’t demonstrate the climate is cooling. However, the warmist would have a little more credibility on these issues if they would speak up when warm weather is used to demonstrate that the climate is warming. When that happens Climate warmist are either silent or they are all too happy to join in.

    [Response: Not true. Find one comment by a scientist on this site that demonstrates inconsistency on these kinds of issues. – gavin]

    Comment by Bill H — 18 Jan 2010 @ 5:51 PM

  179. Glacier photos, past and present:
    http://nsidc.org/data/glacier_photo/index.html

    Comment by Don Shor — 18 Jan 2010 @ 5:54 PM

  180. #109 Brian,
    sorry this comment is just non-scientific. The fact that a plant you thought was not hardy actually turns out to be means absolutely nothing. The last two winters have been perishing cold, and a few winters before that rather warmer. That just tells you about some changeability in our local regional climate. It tells you absolutely nothing about global warming.

    If I want to know how temperatures have changed in the UK I will look at the Hadley Central England Air Temperature series (from 1659 to today).
    http://www.climate4you.com/CentralEnglandTemperatureSince1659.htm

    The average winter temperature (DJF) since 1660 is 3.73c. I have plotted the 30 year rolling mean variance from this.

    Between 1925 and 1940 the 30 year average variance hovered between about +0.65 to +0.75c. After 1940 it dropped sharply back so that average variance for the 30 years to 1969 was -0.01c. It has risen since then reaching +0.89 in 2009. If this winter continues to be cold it is likely this will drop back down to around +0.85 (or lower) for 2010.

    Using the 30 year rolling mean, winters in central England have warmed by about +1.5c since 1660. But there was 1.30c of warming between 1660 and 1925 meaning only +0.2 of net warming in winter has occurred since 1925.

    All interesting regional stuff, but very little proof of global anything except that your recollection of temperatures probably only extends back to the mid 1960s. If it had extended back to the 1930s you would probably think that things had not changed very much, and may even be lamenting how your Palm trees and Rhododendron Falconeri var. Eximium planted in 1925 were killed off by the cold winters of the 1950s.

    Comment by Matthew L. — 18 Jan 2010 @ 5:56 PM

  181. Septic Matthew (176) — Seems you were attempting to change the subject. Do note just how far the Alps have retreated:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7580294.stm
    http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/quelcoro.htm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%96tzi_the_Iceman
    Further than at any time in the past 5200+ years. What does that suggest?

    Comment by David B. Benson — 18 Jan 2010 @ 6:03 PM

  182. RE #143, Sam, here are some other peer-reviwed sources re Himalayan glacier retreat & its impact re freshwater resources; we’re talking about 40% of India and 40% of China eventually without water for drinking, much less irrigation and crops, which is an extremely serious situation, not to be taken lightly or mocked:

    (1) Kehrwald, N. M., L. G. Thompson, Y. Tandong, E. Mosley-Thompson, U. Schotterer, V. Alfimov, J. Beer, J. Eikenberg, and M. E. Davis. 2008. “Mass Loss on Himalayan Glacier Endangers Water Resources.” Geophysical Research Letters 35: L22503.

    (2) Kundzewicz, Z. W., L. J. Mata, N. W. Arnell, P. Döll, B. Jimenez, K. Miller, T. Okt, Z. Sen, and I. Shiklomanov. 2008. “The Implications of Projected Climate Change for Freshwater Resources and their Management.” Hydrological Sciences 53.1: 3-10.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 18 Jan 2010 @ 6:06 PM

  183. Some of the skeptical camp are trying to come up with an explanation, of why the January satellite data seem to be trending toward the highest January UAH anomaly in the database. The explanation some suggest is unusually large snowfalls in the NH. (see Climate Progress post for links).

    I am interested in the projection that the January ‘10 UAH anomaly will exceed 0.70. I checked the UAH data, and this would be the highest Jan anomaly in the data, beating 0.59 in Jan 07 and 0.58 in Jan 98.

    In addition, the UAH anomaly hit 0.50 last November, the highest Nov anomaly in the records. The runner-up was Nov ‘05 with 0.40 and only two other Nov anomalies exceeded 0.30.

    And the September UAH anomaly hit 0.42, the second highest for that month. The record was Sep ‘98 with 0.43, and only other September reading to exceed 0.30 was Sep ‘05 with 0.35.

    And the July UAH anomaly was also 0.42, the second highest in the record. The record was Jul ‘98 with 0.52, with the third place going to Jul ‘05 with 0.33. Only one other July exceeded 0.30.

    Notice that the other years were El Nino years following a January El Nino peak, and 2010 will be the El Nino year, following this January El Nino peak. The UAH satellite data seem more sensitive to the ENSO cycle than other temperature records, and this could mean 2010 will be a barnburner year for the UAH data.

    Questions:
    1. Is there a reason why the satellite microwave data would show higher anomalies during El Nino years?

    2. Is this a measurement issue, or a definite change in the atmospheric temperatures during ENSOs? I am aware that several people have pointed out a seasonal drop in UAH anomalies from Jan/Feb until May (May has unusually low UAH anomalies).

    3. Can a statistical method be used to take outlier data points that correspond to El Nino years, and use this to ‘forecast’ UAH anomaly data during an El Nino year? It seems more than coincidental that the highest UAH monthly anomalies were dominated by 1998 and 2005, until 2009 second half run-up.

    4. Can we forecast that 2010 UAH anomalies should show a monthly average exceeding 0.40 for the first six months of 2010, with a significant chance that the anomaly could exceed 0.50, and a reasonable chance the anomaly could average over 0.60? Please note that the only time the rolling six month average exceeded 0.60 was in 1998.

    Thanks to any responders.

    Comment by Paul Klemencic — 18 Jan 2010 @ 6:10 PM

  184. “”Please, could you please help me and indicate the proportion of areas on the Earth on which GW will worsen significantly the life condition? (and incidentally why it would worsen exactly?)

    and please also could you give an estimate of the average distance I have to travel to reach the closest region where the conditions won’t worsen significantly ?

    I need to plan my future next decades, say.””

    Hummph. That is a really, really loaded question isn’t it?

    You need to read the peer reviewed IPCC documents which do peer review of the peer review and are unanimously approved by all 130 countries (links below).

    The short term answer is that mainstream science does not have enough confidence in most inhabited areas yet to make confident projections. However some areas will probably see more changes than others.

    Since you asked, you had better read the IPCC documents. However, you asked a pretty specific question which mainstream science is not ready to answer yet (quite rightly).

    So, here are my personal opinions after having been at a national climate research center for 11 years. To me the following seems possible which could affect your question of what areas might be most affected by human-caused climate change.

    I suggest that the inhabited areas being affected now (and will probably continue to be affected), is the American Southwest (including parts of California) and southern Europe. High pressure areas are in general moving in and rain bands are moving away toward the poles at a relatively fast rate (we also detect this in past records of past slowly (relatively) warming natural climates.

    Unless we act soon, economically, I suggest it could be too late and much too expensive and politically prohibitive to transport water in from the Great Lakes, Canada or coastal desalinization plants to stop severe problems in the American Southwestern cities and many parts of California. Mass human migration out of the American Southwest is possible with entire cities being at risk as water simply evaporates. About 75% of the US west’s water comes from snow melt. As the storm tracks move northward and warmer temperatures strike the higher elevations, America’s western water supply will most likely evaporate.

    In the journals, they basically state these areas will probably have water shortages and a reasonably high chance of long term drought.

    I suggest a climate refugee problem from South and East (Caribbean) of the United States’ boarders are possible unless quick and sufficient action is taken to slow human-caused climate change down. With the rain bands moving and sea levels rising, it will probably severely affect many parts of central and south America. This might lead to external immigration pressures on the United States of perhaps up to 100 million or more external climate refugees crowding a possible boarder wall with breaches being most likely.

    I suggest that this could lead to insurmountable infrastructure problems in the United States and a commiserate decrease standard of living in many parts of the USA as food, medical, law enforcement transportation and social networks are quickly pushed beyond their limits.

    I suggest that for many American coastal cities…a high probability of eventually being evacuated unless strong action is taken to slow down climate change. Seas rise for two reasons: thermal expansion and melting ice fields. It is considered prohibitively economically expensive to build protective barriers around all these cities (perhaps maybe some)…many barriers would have to be the same length as the entire US boarder with Mexico.

    I suggest that this could lead to a massive climate refugee problem within the United States much less having severe negative effects to the US economy.

    I suggest an infectious disease problem. Unless sharp action is taken to slow down climate change, with moving rain/snow belts out of productive areas world-wide combined with disappearing glaciers and the elimination of water in most of Asia (melting glaciers mean no river water and that means no irrigation water for most of Asia’s population and rising sea levels forcing the evacuation of most coastal dwellers combined with the loss of reef fishing (“acidifying the oceans”) which many reefs won’t probably be able to tolerate with their associated fishing loss),there will be a huge pressure for a high world-wide death toll perhaps in the billions around the world.

    I suggest that this could lead to unstoppable infectious diseases striking the USA and perhaps the further abandonment of global trade and the evacuation of densely populated areas in the USA. This could weaken the US economy to the extent that any major action to adapt could be severely compromised.

    All these pressures on the USA could lead to intense pressure for many to emigrate to Canada.

    I suggest that northern Europe could be a destination point for 100s of millions of climate refugees from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe unless sharp action is taken to slow down climate change.

    I suggest that if we don’t take sufficient action, the probable time lines of all these events are uncertain. However, extremely sharp accelerations of climate change have been documented in the far past under natural slow climate change (especially under a possible permafrost sudden release of greenhouse gases).

    Since you asked so where should you move? I think, in my personal opinion, that is a bit drastic to do that yet. I have joked with some people behind the scenes about this. The joking goes that perhaps Canada for its relative isolation and storm tracks moving toward it, the American Great Lakes region for its water, or England for its moat (channel). However, maybe the best place to move, is to stay put and to try to effect action to slow down climate change.

    Remember, the above is not science, but my personal opinion since you asked. The IPCC has very little of this in it, so don’t blame science, blame me. Oh, and make sure to read the IPCC documents below, which is science.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/contents.html
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/syr/en/contents.html

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 18 Jan 2010 @ 6:12 PM

  185. RE #166, Sam, & “Ok about the photos…. I have seen the ones in the first link before and remember laughing about it.”

    It’s not right to laugh at this tragedy that is unfoldling for India and other countries that get their irrigation and drinking water the Himalayan glacial cycle.

    See my post just above for other sources re glacier retreat.

    I would call on all people to please please reduce your GHGs. Maybe you don’t live in the Himalayan region, but please have compassion for those people who are beginning to suffer increased flooding while the glaciers are melting and will eventually suffer severe lack of water for irrigation in the summer, and rain-fed and melting snow-fed floods in the winter, once the glaciers are gone.

    Please have compassion.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 18 Jan 2010 @ 6:17 PM

  186. 172 Doug Bostrom,

    That is almost what I am trying to say, but not quite. Surface temperature is a composite of air and water temperature as well as air and land temperature, whatever the basis for surface emissions is.

    I am really talking about the heat that goes deeper into the ocean and thus plays no part in the IR radiation process. I am estimating that the temperature below about 50 meters has no role in IR radiation upwards, and of course the boundary is not an abrupt thing.

    My central point is that the ocean has the capacity to take up a lot of heat and the wind ocean interface has the power to make this happen as a function of increasing temperature. And this process of taking up heat will act to reduce the surface temperature. Thus, even though there is a serious amount of heat being held by the globe, it might not cause surface temperatures to go up all that much.

    170 Comp. F.U.

    If this chart you refer to is a wrong explanation, maybe due to an attempt to simplify, then it needs to be fixed. However, it is you that asserts my purpose as a crusade against that chart. I don’t care that much about it except that it distracts away from what I think is a real discussion.

    I think the threads I am on relate to interpreting the predictions relative to actual measurements.

    Your contention that I am using the NOAA numbers out of context seems to show that you do not understand the difference between heat and temperature, or maybe there is confusion about the difference between the deep ocean and the atmosphere.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 18 Jan 2010 @ 6:23 PM

  187. 176, Septic Matthew

    Look at the graph of global glacier thickness change here:

    http://nsidc.org/sotc/glacier_balance.html

    (scroll down to the bottom of the page)

    The graph clearly shows that the total ice volume in mountain glaciers has been steadily declining for the last 50 years.

    Comment by Jerry Steffens — 18 Jan 2010 @ 6:28 PM

  188. #174 Comp.F.U.

    Huh?

    #175 Comp.F.U.

    Wow!

    I am reading points from the NOAA chart on heat content of the ocean and trying to discuss the meaning of them. What is out of context about that?

    Then I make a point that seems to cause you great discomfort.

    Please let me know your technical objections.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 18 Jan 2010 @ 6:39 PM

  189. > Hank Roberts

    I am not talking about the article referring to the work of Latif. I am talking about the article written by Smith and D’Aleo that accuses NASA climate scientists of manipulating data to skew the results in their favor. The latter article is currently spreading like wildfire in the blog-o-sphere. That’s why I think something should be done to deconstruct their argument before it becomes accepted as fact by the public. Failure to respond decisively gives the false impression that the accusations are legitimate. See http://www.kusi.com/weather/colemanscorner/40749822.html for the article that is of concern to me.

    Since you ask, I can think of no one better qualified than Jim Hansen to address this issue.

    [Response: But there is no there, there. It’s based on nothing but ignorance as explained previously. – gavin]

    Comment by Al Fresco — 18 Jan 2010 @ 6:40 PM

  190. Ray, Paul , thank you. Well of course , there are some station resorts at 1500 m or so, that would be sad that they don’t have enough snow anymore, but how to say … most people on the earth don’t have ski resorts AT ALL isn’t it ? furthermore, which cut on fossile use do we have to do to avoid that significantly ? I heard of cutting by a factor 4 .. hemm.. difficult to imagine how people can travel each year through France to go skiing if they have to burn one fourth of the current consumption. Most probably they won’t be ski resorts any more in this case, or restricted to a very small number of people. So If I can’t go at all skiing to keep snow where I won’t be able to go … hmmm.. I wonder also how people from Maldives islands would live without tourism, but it’s their problem.

    Concerning water, well, I’m living under a 3000 m mountain, there is no big glacier, but there is water flowing in rivers the whole year. I assume that’s a kind of big sponge. I can hardly imagine why there wouldn’t be any water raining on these mountains.Doesn’t the water evaporate from the oceans, and with a still higher rate when it’s warmer ? (I heard of some retroaction by water vapor, so I imagine that this water must rain sometime again on the earth). Of course it would be very sad that ALL the water rains on my poor cousins to make floods and so on, but not any more on my mountains to bring me drinking water :( do you really think that this can happen? and to most people on the Earth? I’m scared…)

    But I heard that glaciers have retreated since the mid-XIX century. So may be we still have a chance to survive this, since my grandparents and my parents have survived the diminishing glaciers during their life – actually I can’t remember they ever told me about a shortage of water in France because of that. They told me about two wars, economic crisis, les années folles, de Gaulle, Brigitte Bardot, but I can’t remember they have given a great importance to retreating glaciers. Oh yes, may be, seeing an old postcard of the Mer de Glace, during holydays..

    Speaking of my cousins living near costs (I have some indeed) I read that that IPCC forecasts a sea level rise between 20 cm and 60 cm. None of my cousins lives with the head constantly between 20 cm and 60 cm above sea level, as far as I know. But I will check .You probably know that the tides on the Atlantic coasts have an amplitude of several meters, so I cannot really imagine what a 60 cm rise would exactly do. I think very few people have built their house just 60 cm above the highest tide. Probably some beaches would be narrower, but beaches evolve spontaneously anyway don’t they ? Actually I can’t tell you where the beach was exactly 50 years ago – it seems that nobody really cares, people are so unconscious. Concerning floods, there are some indeed, but they seem to be much more due to urbanization, tarring of surfaces, building in the bed of rivers, and so on, than to temperatures.

    So I’m embarrassed. It is still very difficult to imagine precisely what will happen and where to go.I mean i COULD have been italian or spanish, with a temperature definitely higher than mine. Actually I went in quite a lot of countries with a higher temperature than mine. But I had the impression that the standard of living was much more correlated with the use of fossiles than with the temperature. May be I am wrong? do you have some statistical study that shows that fossile don’t really matter for life , but temperatures do ?

    Comment by Gilles — 18 Jan 2010 @ 6:50 PM

  191. Matthew, please: “we do not know” — unless you have parasites, this is overplurification. You may well not know, but you can look it up. If someone told you that the information isn’t available — who told you that? Why do you rely on that source? Why do you trust your source?

    Do you know how important this glacier is? What river rises from it?
    http://nsidc.org/glims/glaciermelt/images/gangotri4.jpg

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Jan 2010 @ 6:51 PM

  192. Now here’s a idea for communicating to the public: even cartoon animals get it.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 18 Jan 2010 @ 7:18 PM

  193. Gilles (190) — Learn about storm surge. During Katrina the surge invaded many kilometers inland. That’s at current sea levels, mind you.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 18 Jan 2010 @ 7:20 PM

  194. [edit – no need to copy the whole conversation]

    Sure, I concede that it looks like some or maybe even a majority of the glaciers are shrinking. But if I had to place money on it, I bet it will continue to snow in the himalayas for a long long long time and this snow will have to go somewhere. Whether it melts off in 6 months or is buffered in a glacier for 1 thousand years the water still has to go somewhere!

    What I don’t understand is that people on the pro AGW side of this issue will assume that any side effect of predicted global warming are negative. Isn’t it at the simplest (and perhaps most accurate) level just as likely that the side effects might be positive? It’s just a temperature increase, it has no evil, diabolical spirit or intelligence! [edit – OT]

    [Response: You are fighting straw men. Melting glaciers do have impacts for irrigation, summer river flow and the potential formation of unstable proglacial lakes. They are also very clear signs that the planet is indeed warming. But no-one as far as I can tell has ever said this is the worst possible impact of global warming – I would put sea level rise and shifts in the sub-tropical arid zones much higher up in the list. You do touch on a real issue – which is that absent our reliance on the status quo, climate change is neither good nor bad. However, we have built our cities, our agriculture, our infrastructure in the expectation that climate won’t change too much – whether that is a reliance on the statistics of 100-year floods, or the hardiness of plants, or the height of the sea wall, or depth of the sewers, or the availability of irrigation. We, sometimes unconsciously, rely on services that are provided by the climate – by rainfall, by ecosystems, by currents, by winds. All of these things could be changed given enough time, goodwill and money – but don’t underestimate how hard it would be to resettle a big fraction of Bangladesh, or to build a barrage in New York Harbor, or build extra reservoirs to provide the water storage no longer provided by the snow pack. Some adaptations will be easy – the English can grow better grapes, heating costs for the Swedes might decrease – but lots won’t be. And the faster things change, the more costly it will be. NB. Might I suggest if you want to argue here, you confine yourself to criticising things that are said here, and not on the wilder shores of the internet. People looking for stupidity will also find it, but don’t confuse that with reasoned discussion. However, if reasoned discussion is not your goal, you will be happier somewhere else. – gavin]

    Comment by sam — 18 Jan 2010 @ 7:21 PM

  195. KTB, I’m writing an article about GISS “raw” data, and about USHCN raw compared to NCDC. I discovered how these data sets are incorporated while looking at D’Aleo’s Central Park allegation (he claims that GISS uses “cooked” GHCN data, while linking homogenized data to “compare”).

    To answer your qusetion (if gaven’s response wasn’t sufficient), GISS uses USHCN (F52 for v2) which changed from v1 to v2. If you actually look at what the homogenization process does, though, you will find that the overall warming trend is decreased with improved methods, not increased as is the allegation on so many denialist websites (the homogenization methods decrease it due to UHI, which is quite visible on many stations). I will show this in due time once I write the software to do the analysis.

    What we usually get with denialists is cherrypicked stations that were originally “cool” but because of TOB (time of observation bias) are made “warm.” Or other station changes which introduce huge anomalies. This scientific analysis of stations is used by denialists to “prove” data cooking.

    The website where I show D’Aleo’s poor data construction methods is in my name, btw.

    Comment by Josh Cryer — 18 Jan 2010 @ 7:26 PM

  196. 187, Jerry Stefens,

    Thank you.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 18 Jan 2010 @ 7:38 PM

  197. # 79 Evagrius – Here is your response. Prof Latif was taken out of contect as per usual. Prof Latif did not say what your article is suggesting he did.

    http://deepclimate.org/2010/01/11/mojib-latif-slams-daily-mail/

    Comment by Luke — 18 Jan 2010 @ 7:39 PM

  198. 176, Gavin: [Response: But there are photos from the 1920s showing more ice than now. – gavin]

    I am pretty sure that my memory of advancing glaciers came from reading the journal Science. I’ll see if I can find the reference.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 18 Jan 2010 @ 7:43 PM

  199. Regarding the IPCC Glacier Problem. Many people here are missing the point. The issue is how a wildly inaccurate statement which borders on alarmist hysteria made it unchecked into AR4 and stayed there for two years. You can’t both claim the IPCC as a definitive scientific peer reviewed assessment, and then casually dismiss this as a minor overlook.

    [Response: There is a big difference between definitive and infallible. Until last month I’d never heard of this claim – though looking back through google news it has been used, mainly in Indian sources, for a couple of years. Since it’s wrong, it will get fixed (that’s the thing with science, it progresses – even if people make mistakes). But to conclude that every fact in IPCC is now wrong is very dumb. It is still your best bet for what we know – even though that is improving all the time. Given the scrutiny IPCC has had since it was published, the infrequency of problems with the text speaks very well for it’s peer review quality. – gavin]

    Check Google for how many times this and the consequences has been repeated without ANYONE ever checking until now. Here is the original CNN article:

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/10/05/himalayas.glacier.conflict/index.html

    This lessens credibility further. Are there more landmines in AR4? Maybe someone should suggest double checking this? This debate is not a fair fight, and it shouldn’t be. AGW proponents are asking for great public resources to solve a theoretical future problem that has significant uncertainties (which are frequently understated IMO). Public perception matters if you want their money.

    Comment by Tom S — 18 Jan 2010 @ 7:49 PM

  200. 177, Don Shor: Dr. Latif could choose his words more carefully when he speaks to the media. If you go back to the original letter to Nature (Nature 453, 84-88 1 May 2008), they say:
    “Our results suggest that global surface temperature may not increase over the next decade, as natural climate variations in the North Atlantic and tropical Pacific temporarily offset the projected anthropogenic warming.”

    Dr Latif, I believe, invites misquotation: you can’t tell from this quote whether he thinks his model does or does not predict non-warming for the “next decade”. You can’t tell from some of his more recent quotes whether he does or does not believe that it is fair to characterize the 1999-2009 decade as a decade of non-warming.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 18 Jan 2010 @ 7:51 PM

  201. RE #182 / 185 Lynn Vincentnathan

    I wasn’t laughing at any predicted humanitarian tragedy! The reason why I thought the pictures were funny is that the contrast, lighting, color, and potentially the time of year were totally different in the two pictures. That and I couldn’t tell what I was even supposed to be looking for!

    So I’m gonna go ahead and believe this guy: http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/304455,indian-ecology-minister-ramesh-says-i-was-right-on-glaciers-melting.html and not you.

    [Response: How convenient for you. – gavin]

    Comment by sam — 18 Jan 2010 @ 7:55 PM

  202. Figure 4 is missing the 2009 data point, which is a bit confusing when reconciling 2009 as being the 2nd hottest year. The last data point (2008) is the lowest temp in 8 years which confuses the discussion.

    Comment by Tom S — 18 Jan 2010 @ 7:55 PM

  203. Advancing and retreating glaciers here:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/324/5927/599?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=alpine+glacier&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT

    It’s a review that refers ahead to a report later in the issue. There are links to other studies. I’ll see what I can find that is more specific to advances within the 20th century.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 18 Jan 2010 @ 8:00 PM

  204. Here is an advancing glacier in Canada, 1954-1960

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/133/3461/1361.pdf

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 18 Jan 2010 @ 8:08 PM

  205. 172 Doug Bostrom,

    You said: On a related note, I’m going to head off to the Web-0-Sphere and see what I can discover about what we can expect in the way of the ocean burping out heat from time to time, as opposed to absorbing it obediently and smoothly. I have to wonder how much of a contribution to variability this is.

    I say: Where did you get the idea that the ocean “burped out heat from time to time?” You only have to go to the Dec.28, 2009 post to see how heat goes into the ocean. The NOAA chart showing heat content of the top 700 meters should give you a good record to go on. No burping to my eye.

    Just click on:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/updates-to-model-data-comparisons/

    And then maybe you will report back that there was indeed an increase in ocean heat content of about 10×10^23 Joules over the 20 years under discussion, so our overfed friend will believe me. And maybe then we can talk about how that much heat got into the oceans, and why it happened so powerfully from 1985 to 2005, (and not meaning it stopped there).

    I wonder why said fed friend thinks I have control over how the ocean integrates its heat input. If I need to teach the ocean how to do that I should next get on with teaching water to run downhill.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 18 Jan 2010 @ 8:14 PM

  206. Al Fresco says: 18 January 2010 at 6:40 PM

    “I am not talking about the article referring to the work of Latif. I am talking about the article written by Smith and D’Aleo that accuses NASA climate scientists of manipulating data…”

    And Gavin replies:

    “But there is no there, there. It’s based on nothing but ignorance as explained previously. ”

    Gavin refers to an update to the “Unforced Variations 2″ thread:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/unforced-variations-2/

    I’m loath to second-guess here but I don’t think that’s a sufficiently forceful response.

    Again, looking to recent examples, you can expect your work to be attacked on its very strengths. The brick and mortar of the case for AGW is data, observations. Insufficiently contested attacks on the foundations of your research is potentially disastrous.

    There was no “there, there” w/regard to Kerry’s treatment, the Swiftboat argument was wholly based on exploitation of ignorance. Nonetheless an impression was successfully conveyed that turned off a sufficient proportion of the electorate to change the outcome of that election.

    Post mortem analysis of Kerry’s Swiftboat debacle yields a consensus that Kerry was late in rebuttal, allowing an attack that its face initially seemed ridiculous to take root and ruin his chances for election. He trusted in rationality, to his great loss.

    It’s sad commentary that time should need to be devoted to swatting down rank untruths before they turn into lethal infections. All the same, effective message coordination and delivery is sorely needed for people carrying the banner of mainstream science when stakes are so high. Is this distasteful, wrong somehow? No. It may be irritating but it’s urgently necessary.

    This seems to be the go-to place for climate change information. There are other helpful sites but the primary locus of contention seems to be here.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 18 Jan 2010 @ 8:17 PM

  207. Sure, I concede that it looks like some or maybe even a majority of the glaciers are shrinking. But if I had to place money on it, I bet it will continue to snow in the himalayas for a long long long time and this snow will have to go somewhere. Whether it melts off in 6 months or is buffered in a glacier for 1 thousand years the water still has to go somewhere!

    What I don’t understand is that people on the pro AGW side of this issue will assume that any side effect of predicted global warming are negative. Isn’t it at the simplest (and perhaps most accurate) level just as likely that the side effects might be positive? It’s just a temperature increase, it has no evil, diabolical spirit or intelligence! [edit – OT]

    [Response: You are fighting straw men. Melting glaciers do have impacts for irrigation, summer river flow and the potential formation of unstable proglacial lakes. They are also very clear signs that the planet is indeed warming. But no-one as far as I can tell has ever said this is the worst possible impact of global warming – I would put sea level rise and shifts in the sub-tropical arid zones much higher up in the list. You do touch on a real issue – which is that absent our reliance on the status quo, climate change is neither good nor bad. However, we have built our cities, our agriculture, our infrastructure in the expectation that climate won’t change too much – whether that is a reliance on the statistics of 100-year floods, or the hardiness of plants, or the height of the sea wall, or depth of the sewers, or the availability of irrigation. We, sometimes unconsciously, rely on services that are provided by the climate – by rainfall, by ecosystems, by currents, by winds. All of these things could be changed given enough time, goodwill and money – but don’t underestimate how hard it would be to resettle a big fraction of Bangladesh, or to build a barrage in New York Harbor, or build extra reservoirs to provide the water storage no longer provided by the snow pack. Some adaptations will be easy – the English can grow better grapes, heating costs for the Swedes might decrease – but lots won’t be. And the faster things change, the more costly it will be. NB. Might I suggest if you want to argue here, you confine yourself to criticising things that are said here, and not on the wilder shores of the internet. People looking for stupidity will also find it, but don’t confuse that with reasoned discussion. However, if reasoned discussion is not your goal, you will be happier somewhere else. – gavin]

    Gavin, I’ve thought about most the things that you bring up here but it is on the magnitude and impact that we totally differ. I’m sorry if I tend to try to ridicule but I, like many people, do not give much credit to the underlying theory that you advance. If it’s worth anything you seem to be far and away the most credible and tireless spokesman your side has. But let’s be honest, the last 2 months have left you with much work to say the least. Either way in about 30 years (or less) you will either be hailed as a genius or well… the opposite. Take care.

    Comment by sam — 18 Jan 2010 @ 8:20 PM

  208. RE #182, here is the weblink to the Kehrwald, et al. article re Himalayan glacier mass loss and its implications for freshwater resources — http://www.wrq.eawag.ch/organisation/abteilungen/surf/publikationen/2008_kehrwald.pdf

    And the other article about threats to freshwater (including a discussion of melting glaciers and snowpacks) – http://www.atypon-link.com/IAHS/doi/pdf/10.1623/hysj.53.1.3?cookieSet=1

    #194, Sam, you can read these articles, and even the IPCC section the critics are citing – Ch. 10 Asia of the WG2 ( pp. 493-494) – http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg2/ar4-wg2-chapter10.pdf

    The critics were right to suspect the 2035 claim (with the WWF cited), just as I did & decided not to quote it (and I’m not even a climate scientist or glaciologist), but the rest of the section is a pretty good explanation of the problem, even tho (except for the 2035 claim) the IPCC is a pretty conservative document.

    Science and individual scientific studies are conservative, requiring 95% confidence before making a claim (would anyone with a suspicious lump wait years and year before the doc was 95% confident it was cancerous?); and the IPCC is conservative times 1000, because so many scientists have to agree on what to say. We cannot wait 30 years to start deciding to mitigate CC, we have to start yesterday, and even then it might be too little too late.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 18 Jan 2010 @ 8:20 PM

  209. Hank,

    “Overplurification” – LOL! Your own invention? Masterful! More like that, please 8^)!

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 18 Jan 2010 @ 8:32 PM

  210. Doug, there are other bloggers competently handling the dumptruck loads of ‘contention’ hauled in every day — individuals perfectly able to take apart the garbage pile and report on it. RC’s Contributors are doing the research and teaching about it.

    This is the meme of the weekend, apparently: Google finds about 580 for:
    Smith and D’Aleo that accuses NASA climate scientists of manipulating data

    Page through it to see where it’s popular. I got through five pages of results and didn’t find a reliable climate blogger even talking about it.
    Nor a newspaper, nor a reliable PR or political blog.

    So — eventually someone will dissect the claim and address it.
    But — why not you? I mean, demanding that someone else, like Gavin, take time out to deal with each of these stories just means more of them will get hauled in and dumped. It’s not the best use of his time, until and unless he decides to address it.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Jan 2010 @ 8:37 PM

  211. Well, Doug, after reading about nine pages of Google results, I found an actual reputable source taking on the story you’re asking about.

    Try here: the Columbia Journalism Review

    http://www.cjr.org/cover_story/hot_air.php?page=all

    Cover Story — January / February 2010
    Hot Air
    Why don’t TV weathermen believe in climate change?

    That piece ends with these words:
    ———————————

    The biggest difference I noticed between the meteorologists who rejected climate science and those who didn’t was not how much they knew about the subject, but how much they knew about how much they knew—-how clearly they recognized the limits of their own training. Among those in the former category was Bob Breck, the AMS-certified chief meteorologist at Fox affiliate WVUE in New Orleans and a thirty-two-year veteran of the business. Breck rejected the notion of human-driven climate change wholesale-—“I just find that [idea] to be quite arrogant,” he told me. Instead, when Breck talked to local schools and Rotaries and Kiwanis clubs about climate change, he presented his own ideas: warming trends were far more dependent on the water vapor in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, he told them, and the appearance of an uptick in global temperatures was the result of the declining number of weather stations in cold rural areas.

    These theories were not only contradictory of each other, but had also been considered and rejected by climate researchers years ago. But Breck didn’t read much climate research; “the technical journals are controlled by the professors who run the various societies,” he told me, and those professors were hopelessly dependent on the “gravy train of grants from the NSF” that required them to propagate “alarmist theories.” When I mentioned the AMS, Breck bristled. “I don’t need the AMS seal-—which I have,” he said. “I don’t need their endorsements. The only endorsements I need are my viewers, and they like what I do.”

    As Breck went on, I began to get a sense of the enormity of the challenge at hand. Convincing someone he is an expert is one thing. Actually making him one—well, that is another thing entirely. 
    —————-

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Jan 2010 @ 8:46 PM

  212. Gavin@154
    Great..thanks for the links and I’ll give it a try.

    Radge@158
    No harm – no foul, and no offense taken.

    Comment by Paul C — 18 Jan 2010 @ 8:48 PM

  213. PS, if you dig far enough into a Google search, you’ll find, after the echo chambers, a PR Newswire press release that sums up j’accuse:
    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nasa-caught-in-climate-data-manipulation-new-revelations-headlined-on-kusi-tv-climate-special-81507392.html

    Suggested exercise: take long, juicy phrases from the press release and count how many times they show up verbatim, copied and pasted.

    The accusation they make (apparently expanded to an hour of TV time; I wonder who’s sponsoring this show?):

    “… The report reveals that there were no actual temperatures left in the computer database when NASA/NCDC proclaimed 2005 as “THE WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD.” The NCDC deleted actual temperatures at thousands of locations throughout the world as it changed to a system of global grid points, each of which is determined by averaging the temperatures of two or more adjacent weather observation stations. So the NCDC grid map contains only averaged, not real temperatures …”

    Gasp! It’s like they used — arithmetic!

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Jan 2010 @ 8:59 PM

  214. However, you can continue to rely on your local TV weatherman, because he doesn’t do arithmetic. He just points to the pictures and talks to you, in a calm, reassuring voice. He knows what’s true and what’s not true:
    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/semicontrolled_demolition.png

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Jan 2010 @ 9:01 PM

  215. Sam says, “But let’s be honest, the last 2 months have left you with much work to say the least.”

    And this is different from the past 20 years…exactly…how? It is never easy to tell people what they do not want to hear. Unfortunately, we have to keep trying because what you don’t want to hear happens to be the truth.

    Sam, there are mountains of evidence that tell us unequivocally that it is warming. There are mountains of evidence that tell us that WE are the ones doing it. We have about a dozen different lines of evidence that all agree on how much warming we are likely to see, and we know of lots of adverse effects that will occur if it does warm significantly.

    Read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene_climatic_optimum

    The early portion of this period corresponds to the onset of agriculture, and with it human civilization. Prior to this time, humans had been hunter gatherers. Why did they pick this particular time to switch to agriculture? We don’t know, but every element of the infrastructure of human civilization was developed during this period of exceptional climatic stability. It is now warmer than it has been during any sustained period during the HCO.

    Now read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petm

    This period coincides with one of the greatest mass extinctions in global history.

    Are we bringing about another such period? We do not know–but the fact that we do not know OUGHT TO SCARE YOU. Uncertainty is not your friend, Sam.

    The evidence doesn’t change because of a few hacked and carefully selected emails. It is still there, and it still points undeniably at a potentially serious crisis for human civilization even as human population soars to 9-10 billion. Science is our best guide to figuring out what to expect and to developing possible solutions. You can either go with what the science and evidence tell you, or you can go 180 degrees against it. Science or anti-science. Pick.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 18 Jan 2010 @ 9:04 PM

  216. why the delay in updating the graph for the US? still doesn’t have a data point for 2009 but the other graphs have been updated.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.D.lrg.gif

    Comment by gary thompson — 18 Jan 2010 @ 9:39 PM

  217. To Mark (item 49) about lack of warming in the 50s, 60s..

    Maybe tons of dust by about 1000 nuclear bomb testing by both the US and Russia at the same period of time. It takes not much to lower the global temps – just one volcano. Imagine 1000 nuclear test (aerial : from the ground up).

    It’s getting warmer since they stop the aerial testint and went underground (mid 60s). But don’t tell that to the GOP, it might give them ideas ;-)

    For the rest .. Jim and all your group – wow, your patience and determination.

    Comment by Regg — 18 Jan 2010 @ 9:55 PM

  218. Re: 203 Septic Matthew says:
    18 January 2010 at 8:08 PM
    Here is an advancing glacier in Canada, 1954-1960
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/133/3461/1361.pdf

    Few and far between aren’t they? Not to mention this one occurred during the period of well noted aerosol cooling
    before the US Clean Air Act was codified.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 18 Jan 2010 @ 10:03 PM

  219. CLIMATE: Senate’s top EPA critic raked in utilities’ campaign cash
    http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/2010/01/18/1/
    (01/18/2010)
    “One of the Senate’s most vocal critics of U.S. EPA’s climate rules is also Congress’ top recipient of campaign funds from the electric utility industry. Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski, who was elected to Senate GOP leadership last year and holds a key post on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, received more campaign contributions from the utility industry than any other lawmaker during the 2009-2010 election cycle, according to data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Last year, Murkowski received $157,000 from electric utilities, and since 2005, she has received more than $244,000, according to the center’s data.”

    Who woulda thought…

    Comment by Tim Jones — 18 Jan 2010 @ 10:26 PM

  220. My own opps #65 ….. I’ve never really used AO language, living in the Arctic I should since it is perrhaps easier than saying that there is usually a high North of Alaska mimicking the the Arctic Ocean gyre current. However positive associated with a Low pressure and negative with a High pressure is as confusing as negative lapse rates with inverrsions and positive ones with adiabatic lapse rates, someone didn’t think AOI nomenclature through. Who has the authority colder air is more negative than warmer air? Haha ! Perhaps some academic living in Florida…. Now I correct and add , look at the sat pic, quite telling :

    I observe +AO driven largely by clouds heat combination, where as a strong High pressure usually over the Arctic Ocean Gyre (North of Alaska) current has clear air creating cooling in winter long night so strong there is a “punch” at its center actually creating a break in the ice as if High pressure center air has a heavy footprint. The opposite, a dominant Low Pressure is a sign of clouds heat exchange between the Arctic Ocean and lower cloud decks. Clouds predominated until recently, now taking a look, the ice appears extremely “loose” “cracked” ,

    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/data/satellite/hrpt_dfo_ir_100.jpg

    rather fluid. Surface (and Upperr Air) temperatures were unusually above normal, and so wind storms more frequent , exacerbating ice fluidity. a lack of sea ice consolidation is in the making by the once usual and now missing extreme long night cooling means next time a High pressure, or a stong negative AO appears, there will be great flushing NE of Greenland . I believe +AO and moderate to strong EL-Nino are a tandem, as or if El-Nino fades towards being La-Nina like in 1998, AO will turn negative making Arctic Ocean ice more vulnerable to the rising towards solstice sun, by lack of clouds and exacerbated flushing, possibily recreating a 2007 extreme melt event, however starting from a much thinner, more fluid pack ice base. a bad year for Arctic Ocean pack ice cover is highly likely…

    Comment by wayne davidson — 18 Jan 2010 @ 10:34 PM

  221. CLIMATE: IPCC to review Himalayan glacier claim http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/2010/01/18/3
    (01/18/2010)

    The chief of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said today that it would investigate claims that the group’s 2007 report made an erroneous claim that the Himalayan glaciers were receding faster than in any other part of the world and could “disappear altogether by 2035 if not sooner.”

    This past weekend, Britain’s Sunday Times reported that the 2035 claim was taken from an interview with an Indian glaciologist in New Scientist a decade ago. Separately, last month the BBC quoted J. Graham Cogley of Trent University as saying that the IPCC authors “misread 2350 as 2035,” calling the 2035 forecast an “egregious” error.

    “We will take a view of this,” the IPCC chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, said in comments broadcast on the CNN-IBN network.

    India’s environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, has repeatedly challenged the IPCC’s glacier claims, saying there is no “conclusive scientific evidence” linking global warming to the melting of glaciers (AFP/Yahoo News, Jan. 18). — PV http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100118/sc_afp/indiaenvironmentglacierswarmingun

    Debate heats up over IPCC melting glaciers claim
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18363-debate-heats-up-over-ipcc-melting-glaciers-claim.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news
    (excerpt)
    “In 1999 New Scientist reported a comment by the leading Indian glaciologist Syed Hasnain, who said in an email interview with this author that all the glaciers in the central and eastern Himalayas could disappear by 2035.”

    The original article is here:
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg16221893.000-flooded-out.html

    Comment by Tim Jones — 18 Jan 2010 @ 10:56 PM

  222. Gavin your response to 189 “But there is no there there” is technically correct, but Al’s point is that this is a PR battle, which has little to do with truth, and everything to do with fallible human perceptions. The PR types have some knowledge of their field and know something about damage control.

    I have another question. Actually I want to conjecture a little theory about modification of the shortterm effects of negative AO on hemispheric or global temperatures. I would think that if the arctic air outbreaks come over the ocean, that this air will rapidly heat up because of the warmer water, but if they come over land, the airmass will stay cold longer. And of course by conservation of mass, we must have southerly winds at some latitudes as well. But in any case, if the cold comes down over land, it can contribute to short term global cooling, but if it comes down over water -not so much as it rapidly moderates. In weather speak, what I am conjecturing is that the longitude of where the different phases of the Rossby waves probably has a significant short term effect on global temperature.

    Comment by Thomas — 18 Jan 2010 @ 11:00 PM

  223. Hank Roberts says: 18 January 2010 at 8:46 PM

    “I don’t need their endorsements. The only endorsements I need are my viewers, and they like what I do.”

    Like seamen and their food: They know what they like, and they like what they know.

    Saves glucose.

    “So — eventually someone will dissect the claim and address it.
    But — why not you? I mean, demanding that someone else, like Gavin, take time out to deal with each of these stories just means more of them will get hauled in and dumped. It’s not the best use of his time, until and unless he decides to address it.”

    “Eventually”? When, after literally hundreds of millions of television viewers and newspaper readers have been confused by inaccurate and mendacious crap? A sizable fraction of the human population? How many of those will ever be set right? Why wait until the damage is done?

    Hank, I’m not demanding anything. I can only offer advice informed by a modicum of observation.

    What I’ve observed is that while there are other great sites for information on AGW— ClimateSkeptic, ClimateProgress, et al– this site is the most trafficked, most likely because it’s run by actual practicing scientists in the field and is the horse’s mouth.

    I have in fact recently dipped my oar into some other sites with comments but the problem is, what you or I contribute some dozens or hundreds of lines into a comments thread is reaching an audience that was small to begin with and is even smaller yet, for instance here on the –5th page– deep of a trace that’s mostly noise. Who’s going to read it? Practically nobody; those that do drill down to this level are rare and frankly a bit odd, present company included.

    Slashing the level of allowed commentary here (including 95% of what I write, maybe 5% of your contributions) would improve the SNR in comments, but again these are trivial suppressed sidebands compared to the main modulation.

    We can gnash our teeth and cry in our beer about our lamentable general level of science education and critical thinking skills but at the end of the day, first impressions count and stick. Leaving first impressions in the hands of propagandists working on behalf of fossil fuel interest is a bad idea.

    Gavin and his colleagues have the bully pulpit. Somebody needs to use every iota of air time available from the lectern to address timely topics here and those do undeniably include a lot of calculated synthetic bullshit.

    We know from documentation that the opposition is to a certain extent running a coordinated effort. I don’t see coordination here.

    Formally enrolling the help of a pro such as James Hoggan would be helpful. That person would probably suggest that partnering w/SkepticalScience would be a good move.

    Obviously it is not Gavin’s or the other RC proprietors’ responsibility to do this, but ignoring the requirement is going to lead to a result that is far from optimal and will leave us deeply unhappy.

    Again, look to history. Look at the enrollment of professionals in the opposition. A good result is not just going to happen on its own.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 18 Jan 2010 @ 11:08 PM

  224. RE #201, Sam, I also agree with you that the WWF claim of near total meltdown by 2035 seemed suspicious, and I did NOT include that in my recent paper, but the article you cite does say there is retreat, and that is the main issue:

    India’s Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh Monday said “I was right on the glaciers” while maintaining that the Himalayan glaciers are “indeed” receding, which is a cause for great concern, but the view that these rivers of ice would melt down completely by 2035 due to global warning is “alarmist” and without any scientific basis.

    “It is a clear vindication of our position. (But) It is a serious issue. (Himlayan) glaciers are serious issues for India. Most of the Himalayan glaciers are in a poor state, but the report that suggested that the glaciers will vanish completely by 2035 is alarmist and misplaced,” Ramesh told reporters in New Delhi.

    So it is serious (their agriculture is gravely threated by this, if not today, then in the near future, within 100 to 200 years), and this retreat is most likely due to anthropogenic GW, esp in the context of most other glaciers around the world in the mid and lower latitutes retreating (heat does melt ice). So we have a responsiblity to reduce our GHGs, AND (good news) we in the rich nations can do so while saving money.

    It would be pure calousness and lack of human compassion not to do what we can to help by reducing our GHGs, especially when it’s no skin off our noses and even a boon to us.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 18 Jan 2010 @ 11:14 PM

  225. Mr. Hansen – I read your article with an open mind. Then, wham, at the end you CONCLUDE with the following:

    “For the time being, until humanity brings its greenhouse gas emissions under control, we can expect each decade to be warmer than the preceding one.”

    Yet your article brought out NO evidence that supported this conclusion – ya kinda threw that thought in there at the end. And that’s what makes me skeptical – its called jumping to conclusions.

    Comment by RalphieGM — 18 Jan 2010 @ 11:41 PM

  226. 208
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:
    18 January 2010 at 8:20 PM

    “The critics were right to suspect the 2035 claim (with the WWF cited), just as I did & decided not to quote it (and I’m not even a climate scientist or glaciologist), but the rest of the section is a pretty good explanation of the problem, even tho (except for the 2035 claim) the IPCC is a pretty conservative document.”

    You misunderstand the issue. The issue is that IPCC reports are supposed to rely upon the “best” peer-reviewed research published in reputable scientific journals. The WWF report and the New Scientist news article do not qualify as best science practice published in reputable scientific journals.

    The section in the IPCC chapter is not a pretty good explanation as you say because it is not based on good science and therefore the reference and interpretation should be expunged from the IPCC chapter.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 18 Jan 2010 @ 11:56 PM

  227. Regg, I’d guess that’s not likely. Hemphill/Daly blogged that theory.

    I’ve never seen convincing (or any) numbers attached to it.

    By contrast, the ‘nuclear winter’ models, for both the original ‘USA-USSR massive exchange’ and the more recent ‘India-Pakistan limited war’, assume cooling due to quite a bit of black smoke from burning cities.

    Of the surface nuclear tests, many were airbursts intended to minimize fallout by keeping the fireball off the ground. That includes China’s surface tests, which also did not produce any weather events I know of.

    I found one paper that might help:
    http://www6.cptec.inpe.br/queimadas/documentos/2001_holben_etal_jgr_aeronet.pdf

    Journal Of Geophysical Research, Vol. 106, No. D11, pages 12.067-12.097, June 16, 2001 http://labfi.fisica.uson.mx/AERONET_climo.pdf

    An emerging ground-based aerosol climatology: Aerosol Optical Depth from AERONET

    “… a few multi-year spatial studies have contributed to our knowledge and experience (Table 1). The following section reviews those investigations past and present that significantly addressed long-term measurements over widely distributed locations…. Records dating to 1956 clearly showed the influence of volcanic eruptions on stratospheric loading however no long term discernable trends are observable suggesting no anthropogenic induced trends….”
    

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:00 AM

  228. For Gary Thompson: there’s quite a lag involved in turning all the individual station records into that one final dot on the annual chart!

    Compare last year’s dates:

    Jan. 13, 2009: 2008 calendar year temperature summary was posted.
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2008/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:09 AM

  229. What I wrote: “What I’ve observed is that while there are other great sites for information on AGW— ClimateSkeptic, ClimateProgress…”

    Oops. Scratch ClimateSkeptic, replace w/SkepticalScience. Wow.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:19 AM

  230. 208
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:
    18 January 2010 at 8:20 PM

    “Science and individual scientific studies are conservative, requiring 95% confidence before making a claim (would anyone with a suspicious lump wait years and year before the doc was 95% confident it was cancerous?); and the IPCC is conservative times 1000, because so many scientists have to agree on what to say. We cannot wait 30 years to start deciding to mitigate CC, we have to start yesterday, and even then it might be too little too late.”

    This statement is wrong on many counts.

    1. You are confusing statistical probability (95% confidence) with scientific interpretation.
    2. The IPCC is not conservative times 1000 because many scientists who disagree with an interpretation are ignored.
    3. We can and should wait until the science is in (and it isn’t) before making any decisions on climate change.
    4. The situation is not as urgent as you make it out to be.
    5. Why do we have science at all when we have people like yourself saying let’s go with our gut rather than wait for the truth? You are basically saying that gut feelings are more important than the science.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:22 AM

  231. #178 “Of course the cold waether doesn’t demonstrate the climate is cooling. However, the warmist would have a little more credibility on these issues if they would speak up when warm weather is used to demonstrate that the climate is warming. When that happens Climate warmist are either silent or they are all too happy to join in.
    [Response: Not true. Find one comment by a scientist on this site that demonstrates inconsistency on these kinds of issues. – gavin]”

    Gavin that’s fine but incomplete. Two things that could be added. First, the claim by us “warmists” is not that a hot day doth global warming make but that RECORD hot days, or RECORD hot sequences, both indicate global warming because there are far more record high temps being set (especially in Australia it seems) than low ones. And second, if you want to illustrate what is coming our way in 10, 20, 30 years time, then heatwaves and many extremely hot individual days (together with the droughts and bushfires that result) are a pretty good illustration of what people can expect. Should we pretend instead that global warming has no consequences?

    Comment by David Horton — 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:27 AM

  232. “sam” said: “Either way in about 30 years (or less) you will either be hailed as a genius or well… the opposite.”

    Yeah, right! In 30 years, the same thoughtless people criticising Gavin (and thousands of other scientists) will be complaining (with absolutely no sense of irony) that these same scientists failed to warn them, and that now it is too late for action.

    Sometimes, humanity really makes me sick. You need to listen now, while action isn’t going to be prohibitively expensive. If you delay 30 years, then dealing with climate change will be many times more difficult – and we will have to deal with the irreversible changes whether we like it or not.

    Ask yourself this: how has history remembered other people who have taken needed (or unneeded) precautions against future events? Good grief – the wisdom of acting with foresight is so obvious that it has been spelled out by just about every major religion I can think of. Remember Noah’s ark? The parable of the wise and foolish virgins?

    It’s not rocket science. You take prudent precautions based on the knowledge available to you at the time.

    Comment by Didactylos — 19 Jan 2010 @ 1:04 AM

  233. Maybe you should take a look at the PDO.

    Comment by Ibrahim — 19 Jan 2010 @ 1:05 AM

  234. So I was over at Joe Romm’s place, and he linked to a real blast from the past:
    http://climateprogress.org/2010/01/18/so-its-in-the-50s-in-dc-again-and-the-global-temperature-is-still-breaking-records-for-january/

    LUBOS MOTL!!! whose seems to think it odd that January 2010 is set to be the warmest January on record even though it was soooooo cold. His explanation? The latent heat of snow. I’m clearly not a Motl-level genius so I didn’t understand his post at all. What a moron I am! Clearly the answer can’t be that the cold was confined to exactly those places on the planet with a high density of media outlets.

    Comment by pointer — 19 Jan 2010 @ 1:31 AM

  235. Dr. Hansen: The notation “high low” with one of the words stricken through needs to be explained to most people. “Standard deviation” is Greek to most people. The math IQ assumed by the author is possessed by 1% of the people. The same goes for the math training. Most people are allergic to math and will stop reading at the first sign of a mathematical concept or symbol.

    [Response: It’s not notation, it’s an editorial fix of a statement that was wrong. – gavin]

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 19 Jan 2010 @ 2:42 AM

  236. Gavin, your response to comment 36 demonstrates that you choose to ignore the obvious. Foobear’s comment is right on the mark and you dismissed it out of hand. Showing a par-broiled earth is scaremongering despite your unwillingness to recognize it.

    Comment by Johannes Rexx — 19 Jan 2010 @ 3:32 AM

  237. 184 Richard Ordway: Where can you be safe from global warming? I suggest Mars, as long as very few people can get there. Transportation is such that no place on Earth is safe. Mars is safe because it is beyond reach. Global warming is likely to be an extinction event, or nearly so. That means planet-wide.

    why it would worsen exactly?: 1. Famine. Because the rain moves. 2. Methane fuel-air explosions from melting tundra peat bogs 3. H2S made by sulfur bacteria that take over anoxic hot oceans.

    Why doesn’t RealClimate have a special page on this stuff? I have posted the details too many times already.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 19 Jan 2010 @ 4:03 AM

  238. 112 Gilles: See:
    http://www.marklynas.org/2007/4/23/six-steps-to-hell-summary-of-six-degrees-as-published-in-the-guardian
    “Under a Green Sky” by Peter D. Ward, Ph.D., 2007.

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=00037A5D-A938-150E-A93883414B7F0000&sc=I100322

    http://www.geosociety.org/meetings/2003/prPennStateKump.htm
    http://www.astrobio.net is a NASA web zine. See:

    http://www.astrobio.net/news/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=672

    http://www.astrobio.net/news/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=1535

    http://www.astrobio.net/news/article2509.html

    http://astrobio.net/news/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=2429&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

    “Climate Code Red” by David Spratt and Philip Sutton
    “The Vanishing Face of Gaia” by James Lovelock

    Try Mars, the asteroid belt, the moons of Jupiter, etc. In other words, millions of miles away.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 19 Jan 2010 @ 4:15 AM

  239. sam: “I bet it will continue to snow in the himalayas for a long long long time and this snow will have to go somewhere.”

    But that’s not a bet on the table, sam. Nobody in the IPCC and AGW science says that snow won’t fall.

    Your bet is like betting with astrophysicists talking about how the end of the sun will occur that tomorrow the sun will still be there.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 19 Jan 2010 @ 4:32 AM

  240. “And then maybe you will report back that there was indeed an increase in ocean heat content of about 10×10^23 Joules over the 20 years under discussion”

    Jim, why the 20 years?

    It’s an odd figure.

    Why not 150 (the length of time since anthropogenic CO2 started)?

    Or each second, averaged over 1 year (to be scientific)?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 19 Jan 2010 @ 4:34 AM

  241. Septic: “Dr Latif, I believe, invites misquotation:”

    Nope, he doesn’t.

    His phraseology allows those with malignant purpose to selectively quote mine. Even to make words up to make a quote-a-like.

    As they have done.

    cf:

    Latif: a downturn of a few years, even a decade or so
    RW Radio: a cooling period for the next 20 years.
    RW Radio buddy: yeah, 30 years

    Check http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khikoh3sJg8

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 19 Jan 2010 @ 4:38 AM

  242. jeannick: evaporation can cool whole landmasses in the matter of hours , those process are understood in their principle since centuries but it’s hardly discussed as a forcing ,even less quantified

    BPL: The Earth’s surface cools, on global annual average, by about 80 watts per square meter by evaporation and evapotranspiration. By contrast, it cools by 17 watts per square meter in pure convection and conduction, and 389 watts per square meter in longwave radiation. The first atmosphere model I’m aware of to account explicitly for the role of latent and sensible heat in cooling the surface at the expense of the atmosphere was written by Manabe and Strickler in 1964.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 19 Jan 2010 @ 6:34 AM

  243. Gilles,

    Don’t think in terms of moving to a better climate. The danger is that human civilization will collapse due to an agricultural crash and a widespread lack of fresh water.

    Buy a house in an isolated rural area, preferably at the top of a hill so it’s defensible, and with land around it you can raise crops on. Raise them “biodynamically,” in short flexible-plastic greenhouses, with individual attention. Dig privies and set up rain barrels for when the municipal water system fails, and set up a windmill and solar cells to generate power for when the electrical utility fails. Surround the whole thing with a good, solid stone fence, preferably about two feet thick. To avoid trouble with the authorities, just make it decorative, but when civilization falls, string concertina wire along the top, or an electrified fence.

    Stock up on long-term-storable food and water. Also firearms, ammunition, and medical supplies. If you can get people to stay with you, that would be great–concentrate on farmers and gardeners, one or more doctors or nurses, maybe a marksman or martial arts expert to help defend the place.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 19 Jan 2010 @ 6:43 AM

  244. BPL: If it happened all at once, yes. If it happened at the same RATE it had gone into the ocean, most of it would have radiated away into space by now.

    JB: JB: Nope. It did not get radiated. The 10×10^23 Joules accumulated in the oceans over the period 1985 to 2005.

    BPL: Duh! The subject was what would happen if it had gone into the atmosphere instead.

    JB: That is what the NOAA chart says. And they only measure down to 700 meters. And if it had been radiated, the air temperature would have gone up roughly another 7.5 degrees.

    BPL: Only if it happened all at once. Otherwise most of it would have radiated away by now.

    Listen: The temperature of the Earth is not primarily due to STORED heat. It’s from the radiation balance at the top of atmosphere.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 19 Jan 2010 @ 6:59 AM

  245. BPL: You need 30 years to tell a climate trend. 10 years tells you nothing at all.
    Temperature has risen strongly over the past 30 years.

    Don Shor: Right. 1/3 of the period is irrelevant. Got it.

    BPL: Can’t you read? Temperature has risen strongly COUNTING the last ten years (20 + 10 = 30). The TREND is strongly up. The last ten years don’t tell you the TREND any more than the first ten years or ten years picked at random. It’s not a big enough sample size.

    The trend is still STRONGLY up. Deal with it.

    And crack a book on introductory statistics. Brown and Brown is a good one.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 19 Jan 2010 @ 7:03 AM

  246. But the main question from skeptics has not been answered.

    Why the decline in the number of temperature points? 1000 data points seems awfully small to get a mean temperature of the earth. There`s over 30000 McDonalds restaurants in the world – but we use only 1000 thermometers?

    I’m from Canada, and there’s no way 39 thermometers can give an accurate reading of the average temperature in Canada.

    [Response: Actually you are over-estimating enormously. First, the fact is that temperature anomalies have very high spatial correlation at the monthly and annual scale – that is to say that if Montreal is having a cold winter, than so is Toronto and Quebec City. For the monthly scale, the number of spatial degrees of freedom is around 60-100 in each hemisphere. Thus if they were well placed you could get away with ~200 stations for the globe in order to get a good estimate of the mean anomaly (within 0.05 deg C say). But there are many more than that so that they can provide good checks on each other. You can check this by simply dropping half the stations and seeing whether you get basically the same number. – gavin]

    Comment by Syl — 19 Jan 2010 @ 7:46 AM

  247. Ibrahim says “Maybe you should take a look at the PDO.”

    Been there; done that!

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/index.php?s=pacific+decadal+oscillation&qt=&q=pacific+decadal+oscillation+site%3Awww.realclimate.org&cx=009744842749537478185%3Ahwbuiarvsbo&client=google-coop-np&cof=GALT%3A808080%3BGL%3A1%3BDIV%3A34374A%3BVLC%3AAA8610%3BAH%3Aleft%3BBGC%3AFFFFFF%3BLBGC%3AFFFFFF%3BALC%3A66AA55%3BLC%3A66AA55%3BT%3A000000%3BGFNT%3A66A%5CA55%3BGIMP%3A66AA55%3BFORID%3A11%3B&searchdatabase=site#1051

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:30 AM

  248. Richard Steckis (230),

    Your number 3 is especially off the mark. We are used to making decisions in the face of uncertainty every day. Ideally, a decision should be based on the available information, with its inherent uncertainties. It is a question of risk management, and Lynn’s analogy to a health issue is very apt: A health diagnosis is never 100% certain, yet if the potential risks of business as usual (e.g. continuing to smoke) are grave, you’d do wise to change your course of action (e.g. quit smoking). Given the information about the relative risks (i.e. probabilities and effects), what is the best course of action? That is the question. “Waiting until the science is in” (when is that?) is not the answer.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:39 AM

  249. Ray Ladbury says:
    The evidence doesn’t change because of a few hacked and carefully selected emails.

    Au contraire!

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:45 AM

  250. Steckis,

    1. You are confusing statistical probability (95% confidence) with scientific interpretation.

    Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot does this even mean? Most of the scientific interpretation is based on probabality–for instance, there is a better than 95% probability that CO2 sensitivity is greater than 2 degrees per doubling.

    2. The IPCC is not conservative times 1000 because many scientists who disagree with an interpretation are ignored.

    Bullshit. Unless by “many” you mean to include scientists with zero expertise in climate science. 97% of actively publishing climate scientists agree with the consensus. What is more, the dissenters offer nothing in the way of coherent interpretation of the science. And clear evidence of the conservatism of the IPCC is found in the toned down language of the summaries relative to the technical documents.

    3. We can and should wait until the science is in (and it isn’t) before making any decisions on climate change.

    What science, specifically, do you contend is missing? (Careful here, Steckis, it’s only fair to warn you that I’m baiting a trap with this open-ended question.)
    4. The situation is not as urgent as you make it out to be.

    And you base this on what other than your usual wishful thinking? Dude, we’ve got methane bubbling out of swamps in Siberia. We’ve got the second warmest year on record occurring at the end of a prolonged solar minimum! We’ve got the ocean acidifying. And we’ve got a problem that requires us to completely revamp our energy infrastructure to solve it. How is that not urgent?

    5. Why do we have science at all when we have people like yourself saying let’s go with our gut rather than wait for the truth? You are basically saying that gut feelings are more important than the science.

    Uh, no. She’s saying that when your gut and the science are on the same side, you should probably listen.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:45 AM

  251. News flash: A typo in a 400 page document does not change fundamental physics.

    Neither do emails suggesting that a well known denialist sports the latest in rectal haberdashery.

    And there’s no Easter Bunny of Tooth fairy either.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:49 AM

  252. You’re only showing the record from 1880 on because this was the time when instrumental weather recordings started. But taking into account other records as for example ice core record, one would clearly see, that the recorded warming during the 20th century follows a cold period, the little ice age, which was preceded by the medieval warm period. So, is that recent warming related to human activity or is it just a natural variation as earth history experienced lots of in the last, say, millions of years. Recent climate scientist, and these are the only ones you hear of in public, are just to much concerned about proving the human made climate change and forgot to look at the other side, towards possibilities that might exclude a men-made climate change and just involve natural causes.

    Comment by Andreas P. — 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:50 AM

  253. Particularly relevant to Richard Steckis 3rd and 5th point combined:

    “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions, if in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true!”

    Sherwoord Rowland, Nobel Laureate, referring to ozone depletion by CFC’s.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:08 AM

  254. Gavin@133 regarding IPCC Glaciers Issue:
    “It is not mentioned in the WG1 (the climate science section), nor in the Synthesis report, nor in any of the summaries for policy makers.”

    The NYT is reporting this appeared in the summaries:
    “The summaries said only that the Himalayan glaciers “could decay at very rapid rates” if warming continued.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/19/science/earth/19climate.html

    Obviously they toned it down, but still used. This item was picked up by the NYT, Wall Street Journal, BBC, ABC, Bloomberg, most major newspapers in Britain, Australia(not sure on this one), so the media seems to be paying closer attention now. I understand what the science feels is really important is different than the public, but AGW proponents are going to be hearing about this every time they use IPCC as a defense of the science, valid or not.

    It is kind of comical though the way it changes over time, this may not be totally accurate, but is close.

    Indian Scientist: A glacier is melting very quickly
    New Science: A glacier may melt by 2035
    WWF: All glaciers may melt by 2035
    IPCC: Very likely all glaciers will melt by 2035.

    And the final irony: A British newspaper is reporting the Indian scientist is now working on a $500,000 grant to study the rapid glacier retreat. (this may have happened anyway, but it is an interesting end-point)

    Comment by Tom S — 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:13 AM

  255. Another minor thing: the updated Global Annual Mean Surface Air Temperature Change graph here: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/ has an open symbol for 2009 in the GIF version but a filled symbol in the PDF version (didn’t check the PS version).

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:29 AM

  256. Andreas: “So, is that recent warming related to human activity or is it just a natural variation as earth history experienced lots of it”

    The MWP has an explanation and that explanation isn’t CO2 products.

    The LIA has an explanation and that explanation isn’t CO2 products.

    The recent warming has no explanation that doesn’t include CO2 products.

    My grannie died on the operating table. My grandad from old age.

    This doesn’t prove Jamie Bulger http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_James_Bulger died of natural causes or hospital accidents.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:44 AM

  257. RE #207, Sam, and “What I don’t understand is that people on the pro AGW side of this issue will assume that any side effect of predicted global warming are negative. Isn’t it at the simplest (and perhaps most accurate) level just as likely that the side effects might be positive?”

    Not really.

    I guess the most positive thing might be crop increase in northern places like the northern U.S., Canada, Europe, and Russia, due to CO2 fertiliation and longer growing seasons, BUT that is only for about 40 years, after which a sharp decline is expected; crop decline is expected for much of the rest of world due to GW even earlier than this.

    RE CO2*: it will not have as much crop benefit as expected, acc to recent experiments; C3 plants (incl weeds) do better than C4 crops, however, experiments in Japan found it causes floret sterility in rice (a C3 plant), reducing yield by up to 40%; it makes crops less nutritious, some crops more toxic; it becomes carbonic acid and acidifies & harms the soil (along with other pollutants-turned-acid that are also emitted along with CO2); it acidifies the ocean, harming sea life & coral reefs (home to 1/4 of sealife); some places where CO2 increases seaplant life, like algae, it will cause too much, pushing plants out of the sunlight, where they will intake & deplete oxygen, contribute to ocean dead zones, killing fish.

    RE warming*: it will harm crops through heat stress, droughts, floods, loss of irrigation from glaciers & snowpacks (on which 1 billion of the world’s population, incl much of California, depend).

    And there are other considerations — GW is now and will greatly contribute to species extinction, and many of those species are vital to healthy ecosystems. The scientists don’t even know how many tears can be rent in the web of creation before the whole thing pretty much collapses. Take bees — there is some idea that hive collapse may be exacerbated by GW (more research needs to be done) — but without them a huge chunk of our crops and fruit/nut trees won’t get fertilized. It could be a really huge loss.

    But not all species will be so harmed — it seems lots of tropical disease vectors will be moving into new territories, causing illness and death.

    And this is just the beginning of pretty much the end. Since a portion of CO2 can stay up in the atmosphere up to 100,000 years (see http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/03/how-long-will-global-warming-last/langswitch_lang/in ), and warming causes release of methane (25 more potent GHG than CO2, but lasting about 10 years) and CO2 by melting permafrost and ocean hydrates, the warming could very greatly spiral very high. This happened (tho by natural causes) 251 million years ago at the end-Permian, when 95% of life died — the final kicker was the warming caused super depletion of ocean oxygen, which cause outgassing of hydrogen sulfide, a deadly gas.

    Then there is the possibility that if we burn all fossil fuels, we could trigger eventual runaway warming as on Venus, in which all life dies — partly because the sun is brighter than 251 mill yrs ago, and also bec of the rapidity with which we are emitting GHGs (lickity-split in geological terms) – see esp p. 24 of http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/AGUBjerknes_20081217.pdf

    So anyway, if we pay money for insurance against harm to our property & ill health, I think it is a wise insurance policy to reduce our GHGs, even if one doesn’t think what I said is very likely. And reducing GHGs, also reduce the other co-pollutants that cause acid rain and local pollution & harm, and, best of all, reduction can be done while saving money & not lowering living standards, at least up to a 70% reduction.

    __________
    * Note: I have peer-reviewed sources for these claims, and if anyone wants any of them, let me know.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:46 AM

  258. Blog commenter “rewinn” has got the cause of this supposed temperature rise thing quite figured out.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:51 AM

  259. RalphieGM says:

    Mr. Hansen – I read your article with an open mind. Then, wham, at the end you CONCLUDE with the following:

    “For the time being, until humanity brings its greenhouse gas emissions under control, we can expect each decade to be warmer than the preceding one.”

    Yet your article brought out NO evidence that supported this conclusion – ya kinda threw that thought in there at the end. And that’s what makes me skeptical – its called jumping to conclusions.

    Hey, Ralphie …

    1980-1989 was warmer than 1970-1979
    1990-1999 was warmer than 1980-1989
    2000-2009 was warmer than 1990-1999

    Do you see a pattern here? I do. So does Hansen …

    On what basis do you jump to the conclusion that there’s no evidence to suggest that Hansen’s claim is true?

    [Response: Hansen’s claim is not based on linear extrapolation, but from reasonable confidence that the drivers of the recent trends are known and that those drivers will continue in the same direction for the next few decades too. – gavin]

    Comment by dhogaza — 19 Jan 2010 @ 10:04 AM

  260. @254: Tom: I think you missed the publication in the November issue of Science which already gave an overview of Himalayan glacier retreat, it concluded: Most Himalayan glaciers decay very slow, some decay rapidly, some are stable and some actually grow. which makes the irony even bigger…

    Comment by Gerard — 19 Jan 2010 @ 10:23 AM

  261. RalphieGM said:

    Mr. Hansen – I read your article with an open mind. Then, wham, at the end you CONCLUDE with the following:

    “For the time being, until humanity brings its greenhouse gas emissions under control, we can expect each decade to be warmer than the preceding one.”

    Yet your article brought out NO evidence that supported this conclusion – ya kinda threw that thought in there at the end. And that’s what makes me skeptical – its called jumping to conclusions.

    I suspect either you didn’t read the whole article at all, or that if you did, you simply failed to grasp what it says. The conclusion is amply supported by the evidence – but Hansen’s highly technical analysis isn’t perhaps the best way to make the point to non-scientists.

    Fortunately, Tamino has an excellent way of visualising these things. Look at the 10 year averages. http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/10yrave.jpg?w=488&h=360 Clearly, they have been rising steadily for decades now. All the complexity that Hansen tried to explain can be disregarded – his conclusion is based on the big picture, not the fine detail.

    Comment by Didactylos — 19 Jan 2010 @ 10:34 AM

  262. Septic Matthew: I think you will find this relevant: http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/08/06/graph-jam/

    Comment by Didactylos — 19 Jan 2010 @ 10:38 AM

  263. 245 Barton Paul Levenson says:
    19 January 2010 at 7:03 AM

    BPL: You need 30 years to tell a climate trend. 10 years tells you nothing at all.
    Temperature has risen strongly over the past 30 years.

    Don Shor: Right. 1/3 of the period is irrelevant. Got it.

    BPL: Can’t you read? Temperature has risen strongly COUNTING the last ten years (20 + 10 = 30). The TREND is strongly up. The last ten years don’t tell you the TREND any more than the first ten years or ten years picked at random. It’s not a big enough sample size.

    The trend is still STRONGLY up. Deal with it.
    Clearly you didn’t read my posts carefully, nor most of the subsequent ones on the topic. And apparently you can’t look at graphs, either.
    “Deal with it?” What is this, junior high school?

    Comment by Don Shor — 19 Jan 2010 @ 10:54 AM

  264. Fascinating discussions.

    I remember, many, many moons ago, while at university, ( UCSC), taking a “science for humanities” class and hearing about “global warming”. This was round about 1971 or so.
    The main point was that increased amounts of gases from industry etc; were going to cause increased overall temperature etc;
    Also, I remember that ocean currents were going to be affected to the point that they might actually stop circulating.

    I also remeber watching James Burke’s little series on Global Warming. It’s amazing that such a series, ( done 20+ years ago), was so accurate in predicting, not the climate change, but the politics, national and international, that would occur.

    Comment by evagrius — 19 Jan 2010 @ 10:57 AM

  265. > Don Shor
    > “apparently you can’t look at graphs, either.”

    Nobody who’s passed Statistics 101 can’t look at graphs the same way either.

    Seriously, until you doubt your own eyes’ ability to detect patterns, you don’t understand what people are trying to explain to you here.

    Please make the effort to lose the illusion that every pattern you see is really there. Learning to see the world with mathematics does change everything to some degree.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Jan 2010 @ 11:21 AM

  266. Can we get a thread going that explains why headlines like this are appearing all over the world?

    “World Misled Over Himalayan Glacier Meltdown”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6991177.ece

    Comment by AJ — 19 Jan 2010 @ 11:42 AM

  267. 112 Gilles: The #1 kill mechanism is famine. See “The Long Summer” by Brian Fagan and “Collapse” by Jared Diamond. You will not be a survivor. Moving is pointless. Your only hope is to stop global warming. Get radical about stopping coal fired power plants.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 19 Jan 2010 @ 11:52 AM

  268. Fig 2b, comparing NH and SH, suggests a lazy question. How are aerosol forcings input into models? Are aerosols in the models uniformly distributed around the globe, or are there spatial distributions? If the latter, is the spatial nature a fixed input, or are the models allowed to blow the aerosols around?

    [Response: The spatial distribution of aerosols is very important, and so we have always used estimates of their distribution and properties both horizontally and vertically. It used to be that these distributions were calculated separately and then imposed on the GCMs, but these days, they are calculated as part of the GCM itself given just the emissions data. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough observed data to prescribe this purely from observations, and so the direct measurements (from stations and satellites) are used to evaluate the model-derived distributions. – gavin]

    Comment by tharanga — 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:02 PM

  269. > why headlines like this are appearing all over the world?

    Try using Google to search for phrases from the places you find it; it looks like a very effective press release/copypaste operation. I wish I knew how to find time stamps with Google. I think there’s a way to chart the prevalence over time of particular search strings.

    … about 18,600 for climate media funding Himalayan Glacier Meltdown.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:16 PM

  270. Gavin: “resettle a big fraction of Bangladesh”
    NO. It just doesn’t work that way. According to Tim Flannery, “Now or Never”, the population of humans is already 25% above the carrying capacity of the Earth. The “Green Revolution” made the situation worse.
    Have you ever studied population biology? Populations of ALL species oscillate up and down. Overpopulations result in population crashes. Homo Sap is no different. Trying to make it different is suicidal. Being too “ethical” is as unethical as you can be. See “The Genetics of Altruism” by Lumsden and Wilson. Altruism directed toward the wrong people is suicide.
    THERE WILL BE A POPULATION CRASH. There is nothing you can do to stop it. [edit – calm down]

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:18 PM

  271. Well Don, maybe if you hadn’t jumped in (17 and 67) with your claims regarding how Figure 4 somehow invalidated the text statement that there had been a strong and persistent rise in T over the last 3 decades (actually 3.5), you would have saved yourself some time. Notwithstanding the fact that said statement was not made wrt Fig 4, nor is the long term trend per se even the point of Fig. 4.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:18 PM

  272. RE: 239 Completely Fed Up says:

    sam: “I bet it will continue to snow in the himalayas for a long long long time and this snow will have to go somewhere.”
    But that’s not a bet on the table, sam. Nobody in the IPCC and AGW science says that snow won’t fall.

    But the snow line is gaining elevation:

    MONITORING OF HIMALAYAN GLACIERS AND SNOW COVER
    http://www.slideshare.net/equitywatch/kulkarni-glacier-august27-revised

    “Elevation of the snow line from 4900 to 5300 meters since 1970 means many glaciers are without accumulation area and may experience terminal retreat due to lack of formation of new ice.”

    FWIW, posts #s 1123 & 1132 in “unforced variations 2″ include much information regarding Himalayan glaciers

    Comment by Tim Jones — 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:20 PM

  273. RE BPL

    Stock up on long-term-storable food and water. Also firearms, ammunition, and medical supplies. If you can get people to stay with you, that would be great–concentrate on farmers and gardeners, one or more doctors or nurses, maybe a marksman or martial arts expert to help defend the place.

    The new and improved MWP. To the manor born.

    I think the interdependence of our civilization is taken for granted some times. Evolution of H. sapiens is really the story about the survival of societies of people, not individuals; a point that people like Randians seem to forget.

    Comment by Deech56 — 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:30 PM

  274. 265
    Hank Roberts says:
    19 January 2010 at 11:21 AM
    > Don Shor
    > “apparently you can’t look at graphs, either.”
    Nobody who’s passed Statistics 101 can’t look at graphs the same way either.
    Seriously, until you doubt your own eyes’ ability to detect patterns, you don’t understand what people are trying to explain to you here.
    Please make the effort to lose the illusion that every pattern you see is really there.

    As we subsequently discussed, the pattern I see in the last decade, which is clearly there, is possibly explained by Latif et al. This would be an improvement to the models. In fact, explaining the decadal changes in global warming would be of great use to those who have to make risk assessments and policy decisions resulting from climate change.

    You, BPL, and Dr. Hansen apparently want the last decade to be a statistical fluke, not worthy of consideration. But it is there, there is a possible explanation, and to ignore it is imprecise. Which was my original point.

    Comment by Don Shor — 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:31 PM

  275. Re: 266 AJ says:
    “Can we get a thread going that explains why headlines like this are appearing all over the world?”

    It would be redundant, but, comment #1123 & #1132 in “unforced variations 2″ & #221 in “2009 temperatures by Jim Hansen” include much information regarding this specific subject as well as the status of melting Himalayan glaciers.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:32 PM

  276. J asks:”Can we get a thread going that explains why headlines like this are appearing all over the world?

    “World Misled Over Himalayan Glacier Meltdown” ”

    World Misled by TimesOnline Headline.

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:41 PM

  277. 266 AJ says:
    19 January 2010 at 11:42 AM
    Can we get a thread going that explains why headlines like this are appearing all over the world?
    “World Misled Over Himalayan Glacier Meltdown”

    Roger Pielke, Jr. is discussing this in detail at his blog. For once, the headline is reasonably accurate. The world was misled over the pace of the melting of Himalayan glaciers. Unfortunately, another black eye for the IPCC and its chairman, Dr. Pachauri.

    Comment by Don Shor — 19 Jan 2010 @ 1:11 PM

  278. So in figure 3, I’m looking at the top row of Arctic grid cells in the HadCRUT 2005 chart. An eyeball estimate shows me that more than 50% is not covered. I see two cells that are covered by the +6.5 anomaly. In the GISS portion of the chart I see that the same line of grid cells has been expanded to where there are about 25 cells with an anomaly of +6.5. In fact, there are even 6 HadCRUT cells that show cooling than show the maximum +6.5 warming in the GISS map. In fact, looking at the available cells in the top row for the HadCRUT data, I cannot see how such a hot top row for GISS could be interpolated or extrapolated from the available cells.

    I’m assuming that HadCRUT masking means that we take all the cells that don’t have coverage in HadCRUT and also count them as having no coverage in GISS. But when I look at the GISS/HadCRUT mask map, I see that some of the GISS cells have actually had their values changed from the GISS stand alone. Why would masking produce such an effect. It seems that the masking not only dropped out the HadCRUT cells, but it also cooled many of the GISS cells. So the total difference ends up being more than just a coverage difference.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 19 Jan 2010 @ 1:19 PM

  279. Very interesting paper, thank you.

    One thing which puzzles me, and this maybe a naive question, is whether we might expect greater variability in the climate in future – or whether we can more likely expect the same sort of variability but a few degrees warmer? This is a rephrasing of an issue which was debated in the UK parliament on Jan 5, 2010 and in the British media at that time.

    A fuller description of this query can be found at my Haddock Research blog:

    Going beyond averages in describing climate – http://tinyurl.com/yl3pcdr

    Comment by Peter Winters — 19 Jan 2010 @ 1:22 PM

  280. No one of the reviewers spotted a freaking TYPO of this magnitude? Whatever the case the whole thing is disgusting. The error between 2035 and 2350 is 315 years. This stood for 3 years! There’s no defense, though some scientists expressed doubts, and some of us tried on the merits of the research we found.
    We don’t need denialists to cast doubt on the science. The IPCC seems to doing plenty well by itself.

    “CLIMATE: Indian minister slams IPCC over Himalayan glacier warning”
    http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/2010/01/19/6/
    (01/19/2010)
    “India’s environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, harshly criticized the United Nations’ top climate research body in remarks published today, saying the group’s warning about the abrupt disappearance of the Himalayan glaciers lacked “scientific evidence.”
    Ramesh’s critique focuses on a claim in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2007 report that said the chances of Himalayan glaciers “disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high.”
    “The IPCC claim that glaciers will vanish by 2035 was not based on an iota of scientific evidence,” Ramesh told the Hindustan Times. “The IPCC has to do a lot of answering on how it reached the 2035 figure, which created such a scare,” he added.
    Yesterday, IPCC’s chairman said the panel would review the 2035 figure.
    “Ramesh felt “vindicated,” he said, after reports began surfacing that the glacier figure may have surfaced from a typo or other error (Greenwire, Jan. 18). He also conceded that “most glaciers are in a poor state” but are receding at different rates, with some even advancing (AFP/Yahoo News, Jan. 19). — PV”

    [Response: Note that the Ramesh report said nothing about the IPCC or the 2035 number and was still a little odd. Not really sure how much ‘vindication’ should be allotted.- gavin]

    This does not bode well.

    SENATE: Climate is dead, but energy bill lives — Dorgan
    http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/2010/01/19/2/
    (01/19/2010)
    Mike Soraghan, E&E reporter
    A leading Democratic senator on energy issues is contradicting his party leadership’s assertions that it can pass a climate change bill this year.
    Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), who recently announced his retirement, said today in a conference call sponsored by Securing America’s Energy Future that after the bitter battle over health care, there won’t be enough political will left to undertake such a contested bill.
    […]

    Since all these people are bought and sold I’m not sure this is accurate either.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 19 Jan 2010 @ 1:51 PM

  281. For Peter Winters, the question about variability comes up often; for example
    http://www.realclimate.org/?s=augura

    Brief excerpt (far more in that thread):

    “saying it this way — that “climate is becoming more unpredictable” is misleading. In fact, climate may, if anything, become more predictable as anthropogenic forcing becomes even more dominant (as greenhouse gas concentrations increase), relative to natural forcing and variability. And what is definitely not the case — but might be inferred from the article — is that weather is becoming more unpredictable. Weather prediction is based on observations just a few days in advance — climate and climate trends have nothing to do with it.

    The point here is not that we shouldn’t be concerned about the fate of insects and birds in the UK (that would be the kind of conclusion that only the most willfully ignorant would draw.) They have been in decline for a long time (mostly due to land use change and pesticides) and there is little doubt that climate change will continue to add insult to injury. But it is simply wrong to confuse a year or even two years of unfavorable weather with a change in climate, and it is irresponsible to headline an article that is really about weather with the provocative juxtaposition of “climate” and “devastates”. Doing so gives the average reader the sense that their personal observations about “weird weather patterns” or fewer sightings of Parus caeruleus represent definitive manifestations of climate change. The fact is, climate changes are — so far — small enough in most places, relative to the natural variability, that one’s personal experience is a very poor guide to what is happening over the long term (observations of sea ice changes by those that live in the high Arctic notwithstanding).”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Jan 2010 @ 1:54 PM

  282. #266, Hi AJ, you’re perhaps right that we may need some post on this issue. Hopefully glaciologists will step in give us a good analysis of the actual state of Himalayan and/or world glaciers.

    However, I’m thinking this fiasco is sort of ridiculous.

    For instance why are they suddenly discovering this glitch in the 2007 IPCC report, which has been out for years? Precisely. That’s what I thought. No one (except me) has actually read p. 493 of WG2, Ch. 10 Asia until recently. Perhaps because few people have time to read beyond the executive summaries (which did not contain that 2035 claim). I only read p. 493 of Ch. 10 of Working Group II because I was writing a paper on food rights and climate change.

    So it’s not like “the world” has been misled all along, as those news stories claim. And it looks like the fiasco will shortly clear up any problems or confusions — just as science is supposed to work. Problem solved, except in the media’s bloated head.

    Furthermore, even I (seemingly the only reader of page 493 in the yrs before someone else recently discovered it) was NOT MISLED. I noted that the 2035 date seemed pretty cutting edge soon for such large glaciers (and I’m just your average citizen, not a climate scientist), so I looked at the source, and it seemed too flimsy for me to include in my paper, or even to use in my harange about global warming in informal contexts. As much as I rail against scientific conservatism & its fear of the false positive, when I myself am doing something for peer-review, I want my sources on critical and startling claims to be from peer-reviewed sources. Okay I’m the pot calling the kettle black; I’m myself guilty of scientific conservatism.

    Anyway, who really knows, maybe the glacial mass will actually shrink from 500,000 km3 to 100,000 km3 by 2035 (as claimed on that IPCC page), since we know that other factors are involved, aside from mere heat. Gravity and break up of glaciers gives us more surface area to melt, and water melting on top, leaking down to the bottom, lubricates the flow and break-up, etc.

    And four-fifths of the glacial mass doesn’t melt by 2035, it might happen by 2046 or 2093 or 2157 or later (or never if we get on the dime and drastically reduce our GHGs). Glacier retreat is in (geologically speaking) speedy process now. That we know.

    Considering that many laypersons seem to think GW and its effects are so slow as not to be of concern, if they had read and believed that 2035 date at which 4/5 of Himalay glaciers would be melted, they would have possibly thought — “That’s so far off intp the furture, too slow for my concern.” It seems those types of lay perceptions are in more dire need of change, than the 2035 claim (which should be corrected, mind you).

    So the real Q is why certain media make such big deals out of such things and why they present them in such ways (need to intrigue readers and sell product, who’s funding them, etc), and how many readers/viewers are they able to bamboozle into thinking GW is not real or threatening, and thus into stopping (or not starting) efforts to reduce GHGs. That’s the big, important story.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 19 Jan 2010 @ 1:54 PM

  283. “Unfortunately, another black eye for the IPCC and its chairman, Dr. Pachauri.”

    Funny how there’s never a black eye for the denialist talking heads like Monckton:

    http://www.altenergyaction.org/Monckton.html

    when he gets it wrong, or McIntyre:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/10/mcintyre_had_the_data_all_alon.php

    Or, indeed, Lindzen and Choi:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/lindzen-and-choi-unraveled

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 19 Jan 2010 @ 1:58 PM

  284. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. says: 18 January 2010 at 8:14 PM

    So if I take your meaning correctly, absorption of heat by the oceans will moderate effects of AGW for us air breathers.

    That does not seem controversial. It also has been taken into account by models. Gavin could say with authority, but my lay perspective says we’d be looking at wildly inaccurate model predictions if the gross effects of warming the oceans were not taken into account.

    Regarding “burping heat”, right after posting that I realized it’s not really necessary to go digging for confirmation of that, we’re in an El Nino year after all. The processes manifested there are drivers of variability at least on a regional scale, and those processes include shedding of heat energy from the ocean. Without a fully developed model it does not seem reasonable to hypothesize that heat released from the ocean during an El Nino event is exactly balanced by absorption elsewhere on a time scale of months, so perhaps an El Nino event drives variability on a global scale too.

    Seeing as how models have apparently successfully taken into account the lump effect of heat absorption by the oceans, it does not seem to me that we’ll see an additional buffering effect beyond what we’ve already got unless we can hypothesize some sort of more rapid overturning or other transfer effect that will speed the arrival of heat at deeper levels of the ocean.

    An increased vertical thermal gradient seems a likely candidate for increasing the rate of transfer of heat into the deep ocean, which is what I think you might be driving at.

    As I said earlier, looking at the ocean as a lump we should see absorption of heat in the ocean decrease, albeit slowly, if again we’re prepared to look at the ocean as a lump. It seems reasonable to imagine this would be offset by speedier transfer of heat downward if indeed a vertical thermal gradient is increased over time.

    What’s the net result of those temporarily competing effects? Is that modeled? Maybe that’s the ultimate answer you’re looking for.

    El Nino and like events tell us that over a shorter period the ocean is no entirely lumpen and is capable of displaying dynamic effects. Are bulkier dynamic processes accounted for? I don’t know, to me it seems it’s probably not a good idea to count on that sort of cavalry charge.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 19 Jan 2010 @ 2:00 PM

  285. Jim Hansen:
    “The GISS analysis assigns a temperature anomaly to many gridboxes that do not contain measurement data, specifically all gridboxes located within 1200 km of one or more stations that do have defined temperature anomalies.
    The rationale for this aspect of the GISS analysis is based on the fact that temperature anomaly patterns tend to be large scale.”

    How do we reconcile this with the fact that there are gridboxes right next to each other that have a difference of 4.5 C for the annual mean anomaly in the HadCRUT data.

    [Response: But mostly they are not. You can do the spatial correlations for yourself – it doesn’t have to have an r^2 of 1.0 to be useful. – gavin]

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 19 Jan 2010 @ 2:01 PM

  286. Am I doing something wrong?

    The top right half of the paper is hidden by the recent comments/links section.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    [Response: what browser are you using? – gavin]

    Comment by PHG — 19 Jan 2010 @ 2:07 PM

  287. Don projects into others: “You, BPL, and Dr. Hansen apparently want the last decade to be a statistical fluke,”

    Nope, just that there’s nothing proving the models are wrong in the last decade.

    E.g. 2009 and 2005 are as warm or warmer than 1998. Despite a “perfect storm” of warmings that even your friend Bob Carter said that using 1998 was wrong (admittedly it was wrong to use it to show warming because of a confluence of factors).

    That was before 2005, mind, and the “it’s been cooling since 1998″ meme got thought up.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 19 Jan 2010 @ 2:11 PM

  288. Don Shor says: 19 January 2010 at 1:11 PM

    If it’s adroitly handled by one party and fumbled by another, the world can indeed be misled over an trivial error. In this case an error has been exploited to mislead. Thus “world misled” is quite true, in a twisted sort of way.

    Combating bad faith is always done from a defensive position; fiction is impossible to anticipate in detail.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 19 Jan 2010 @ 2:14 PM

  289. [Response: what browser are you using? – gavin]

    IE version 6.0

    [Response: Can you email me a screen shot (at contrib -at- realclimate.org) and I’ll investigate. In the meantime – upgrade to Firefox! – gavin]

    Comment by PHG — 19 Jan 2010 @ 2:15 PM

  290. Tom, your conclusion doesn’t follow. There is ample support in the literature (and, though I don’t have time to check this moment, I’m willing to bet in the AR4 bibliography too) for the statement that you quote, that “Himalayan glaciers “could decay at very rapid rates” if warming continued.”

    Don, the world may have been “misled” by the error, but clearly unintentionally so. That’s what you meant, I presume?

    Tilo, yes–as I understand it, there are differences in detail between the Hadley and GISS algorithms, so yes–the anomalies at specific locations can vary a bit. (Glad you figured that out.) But the graph also shows that the coverage difference can account for the difference in the global value–and demonstrates that the global value is robust to those differences.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 19 Jan 2010 @ 2:15 PM

  291. 280 Completely Fed Up says:
    19 January 2010 at 1:58 PM
    Funny how there’s never a black eye for the denialist talking heads like Monckton [etc]

    What’s your point?
    Monckton (who I’ve never read), McIntyre, and the others speak for themselves only, and don’t even purport to represent any body of evidence.

    “Because of its scientific and intergovernmental nature, the IPCC embodies a unique opportunity to provide rigorous and balanced scientific information to decision makers. By endorsing the IPCC reports, governments acknowledge the authority of their scientific content. The work of the organization is therefore policy-relevant and yet policy-neutral, never policy-prescriptive.”

    Comment by Don Shor — 19 Jan 2010 @ 2:17 PM

  292. re 272 and you know what he’ll consider “still snowing in the Himalayas”?

    There is snow hitting the ground.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 19 Jan 2010 @ 2:17 PM

  293. Don Shor —

    There have been four IPCC reports, next one is number five.
    None of them have been perfect. The next one won’t be either.
    This is how science works.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Jan 2010 @ 2:31 PM

  294. 287
    Completely Fed Up says:
    19 January 2010 at 2:11 PM
    Don projects into others: “You, BPL, and Dr. Hansen apparently want the last decade to be a statistical fluke,”
    Nope, just that there’s nothing proving the models are wrong in the last decade.

    Nobody (here) said they were. The rate of temperature increase over the last decade has been at the low end of the range of the models.

    290 Kevin McKinney says:
    19 January 2010 at 2:15 PM
    Don, the world may have been “misled” by the error, but clearly unintentionally so. That’s what you meant, I presume?
    I hope so. But it’s hard to tell so far exactly what the authors knew and when they knew it. http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/01/stranger-and-stranger.html

    Comment by Don Shor — 19 Jan 2010 @ 2:32 PM

  295. #285:

    Uh-oh, there goes the neighborhood.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 19 Jan 2010 @ 2:34 PM

  296. RE #285 & “How do we reconcile this with the fact that there are gridboxes right next to each other that have a difference of 4.5 C for the annual mean anomaly in the HadCRUT data.”

    It just occurred to me that the dubbed in warming anomolies could just as well be underestimated as overestimated — maybe the lacking data on the whole tends to be warmer than is dubbed in.

    Of course, if the errors are unbiased and unsystematic then they would tend to cancel each other out.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 19 Jan 2010 @ 2:47 PM

  297. RalphieGM (225) — There is pllenty of evidence, but not all of it can be presented in a short essay.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 19 Jan 2010 @ 2:53 PM

  298. Don Shor, before stating as though it were a fact that people like Monckton “speak for themselves only, and don’t even purport to represent any body of evidence”

    you should try pasting your own belief into the Google search box.

    It will pop right up with their sponsors and what they claim as evidence.

    “It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.” Paste what you think into Google to see what’s new–and whether your source was reliable.

    Lord Monckton Debunks Global Warming
    See the SPPI website for details of Lord Monckton’s evidence, scientific papers. scienceandpublicpolicy.org/. You can buy the video DVD …
    That’s from “Accuracy in Media” — http://www.aim.org

    Who’s “aim.org”? Glad you asked:
    Accuracy in Media (AIM) has grown from a one-person crusade to a million-dollar-a-year operation by attacking the mainstream media …
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Accuracy_in_Media

    You’re thinking the little lord is speaking only for his own opinions?
    He’s moving his lips to the tune of a highly orchestrated PR program.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Jan 2010 @ 3:01 PM

  299. Try to understand what’s written, and why, instead of casting aspersions Don. You’ll save yourself and others some grief. If you don’t like the melt rate in the Himalaya, check back in a few years or decades. On the other hand, you are quite correct in saying that Monckton and McIntyre don’t represent any body of evidence.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 19 Jan 2010 @ 3:07 PM

  300. Maybe when y’all are done blamestorming about the latest typo–one that you guys didn’t even find–we can get back to actually considering evidence.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 19 Jan 2010 @ 3:11 PM

  301. The IPCC cited the WWF report, which in turn cited the Working Group on Himalayan Glaciology (WGHG) of the International Commission for Snow and Ice (ICSI). the New Scientist duplicated the error. The relevant passage in the WWF report is

    “In 1999, a report by the Working Group on Himalayan Glaciology (WGHG) of the International Commission for Snow and Ice (ICSI) stated: “glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the livelihood (sic) of them disappearing by the year 2035 is very high”. Direct observation of a select few snout positions out of the thousands of Himalayan glaciers indicate that they have been in a general state of decline over, at least, the past 150 years.
    The prediction that “glaciers in the region will vanish within 40 years as a result of global warming” and that the flow of Himalayan rivers will “eventually diminish, resulting in widespread water shortages” (New Scientist 1999; 1999, 2003) is equally disturbing.”

    Its a tangled web, but John Nielsen-Gammon unweaves http://tinyurl.com/yc5hzwl

    Its worth remembering that ‘the IPCC report’ is not a single monolith but consists of detailed reports from three Working Groups, plus technical summaries for Policymakers. This statement about the Himalayan glaciers occurred in the WG2 report on ‘Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’. It does not appear in any of the executive or policymaker summaries, and the report of Working Group I – the Physical Science (where there are glaciaologists aplenty) does not mention it either in the Chapter on Glaciers or Regional Projections. Perhaps this explains why this ‘dynamite’ error on one page out of 3000, went unnoticed for 2 years?

    This is not to excuse the inaccuracy, it is surely embarassing for the IPCC and for Pachauri who attacked critics for their lack of peer-reviewed sources. Tim Lambert has examined how it came to be published and its clear from the review comment trail that the authors did not follow their own procedures correctly. http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/01/a_beat_up_of_himalayan_proport.php

    So what is happening to the Himalayan glaciers? http://www.thehindu.com/2007/04/10/stories/2007041001520900.htm

    Comment by pjclarke — 19 Jan 2010 @ 3:14 PM

  302. Gavin:
    But mostly they are not. You can do the spatial correlations for yourself -it doesn’t have to have an r^2 of 1.0 to be useful. – gavin

    I agree, cells with those kinds of temperature differences are rare. But I think that the assumption – even if it is mostly true – can lead to very large differences in outcome when applied to the globe. For example, look at GISS 2005 as compared to HadCRUT 2005 in figure 3. GISS looks like it is much more smoothed. That shouldn’t make a difference, but sometimes it does. Look at the lower center of the HadCRUT 2005 chart and you can see many more cooled cells than in the same area of the GISS chart. In theory, it would seem like such an effect would cancel out when taken across the globe. But that doesn’t seem to work at the poles. For example, look at the last 2 lines of grid cells at the bottom of GISS 1998 and again the same cells at GISS 2005. There has been a dramatic coversion of cool cells to hot cells. And yet, if you look at the southernmost part of the HadCRUT charts for the same periods, the change is not nearly so dramatic. But that large expanse going from cool to hot in those two rows is mostly due to just a very few cells.

    Now compare that to the US, which actually seems to have become cooler over the same period of time, there is no extrapolation magnification effect for those cells, like there is at the poles. I think that is more evidence of what I explained in #278. It seems to me that the difference between GISS and HadCRUT is an extrapolation and interpolation artifact, not a real world temperature difference. I don’t know if this is true for all years. But it certainly looks to be true when comparing 98 and 05.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 19 Jan 2010 @ 3:15 PM

  303. It just occurred to me about the Himalayan glacier issue — this sort of disproves what the denialists constantly claim about climate change science being overfunded, and everyone in it for the big bucks.

    It seems if there were enough funding, then a better expert on Himalayan glaciers would have been been available for input on page 493.

    I mean if we can put a man on the moon and fight two wars simultaneously, we ought to be able to adequately finance science to study perhaps the greatest threat to the earth’s biosphere we’ve ever faced, outside of all out nuclear war. You’d think.

    And what about those missing temp areas on the anomaly maps? Climate science sure does need a lot more funding, and any claim that it has too much is quite laughable.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 19 Jan 2010 @ 3:17 PM

  304. [Response: Actually you are over-estimating enormously. First, the fact is that temperature anomalies have very high spatial correlation at the monthly and annual scale – that is to say that if Montreal is having a cold winter, than so is Toronto and Quebec City. For the monthly scale, the number of spatial degrees of freedom is around 60-100 in each hemisphere. Thus if they were well placed you could get away with ~200 stations for the globe in order to get a good estimate of the mean anomaly (within 0.05 deg C say). But there are many more than that so that they can provide good checks on each other. You can check this by simply dropping half the stations and seeing whether you get basically the same number. – gavin]

    There’s quite a difference in climate between Montreal Toronto and Quebec City. I live 25km north of the city of Montreal. The difference in average winter temps just between the south shore and north shore is about 2 C. They are about only 50km apart.

    Besides, NASA never really explained why they dropped 5000 thermometers from the mean temperature calculation. More resolution is always better than interpolation.

    [Response: You aren’t paying attention. It is the anomalies that are similar – not the absolute climate. That is, if Montreal is 1 deg C above normal, then it is likely that Toronto and Quebec City will be around 1 deg C above normal too. And NASA didn’t ‘drop’ any stations. Please read Peterson and Vose (1997) to get a clue about how the GHCN data was put together. – gavin]

    Comment by Syl — 19 Jan 2010 @ 3:40 PM

  305. Don Shor,

    “There have been four IPCC reports, next one is number five.
    None of them have been perfect. The next one won’t be either.
    This is how science works”

    It`s not the mistakes that are the problem, it`s the response to them that discredits the IPCC.

    Comment by Syl — 19 Jan 2010 @ 3:42 PM

  306. Kevin:

    “But the graph also shows that the coverage difference can account for the difference in the global value–and demonstrates that the global value is robust to those differences.”

    Kevin, the differences can vary by more than a bit. In the cases in figure 3, it looks like the differenes have more to do with the algorithms used to provide coverage than it does to the actual differences of temperature in the areas not covered. I explain that in #278 and #302.

    Lynn: #296
    “Of course, if the errors are unbiased and unsystematic then they would tend to cancel each other out.”

    I was thinking that they should also. But as I pointed out to Kevin, above, that it looks like it’s not always the case. Even on a global scale.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 19 Jan 2010 @ 4:05 PM

  307. JH: For the time being, until humanity brings its greenhouse gas emissions under control, we can expect each decade to be warmer than the preceding one.

    RalphieGM: Yet your article brought out NO evidence that supported this conclusion – ya kinda threw that thought in there at the end. And that’s what makes me skeptical – its called jumping to conclusions.

    BPL: Here are the mean global annual temperature anomalies for each decade in the NASA GISS record:

    1880s -0.25
    1890s -0.26
    1900s -0.27
    1910s -0.28
    1920s -0.16
    1930s -0.03
    1940s 0.04
    1950s -0.02
    1960s -0.01
    1970s 0.00
    1980s 0.18
    1990s 0.32
    2000s 0.51

    Looking at that progression, I think any reasonable person would conclude that “For the time being, until humanity brings its greenhouse gas emissions under control, we can expect each decade to be warmer than the preceding one.”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 19 Jan 2010 @ 4:18 PM

  308. > Tilo Reber:
    > … that large expanse going from cool to hot in those two rows
    > is mostly due to just a very few cells.

    Well, no. Look up local records; check the result from the analysis. That large expanse going from cool to hot is what happened in the actual world.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Jan 2010 @ 4:20 PM

  309. RS: We can and should wait until the science is in (and it isn’t) before making any decisions on climate change.

    BPL: It was essentially all in by 1990.

    RS: The situation is not as urgent as you make it out to be.

    BPL: If the prospect of the complete destruction of human civilization within 40 years is not “urgent,” what would you call it?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 19 Jan 2010 @ 4:31 PM

  310. Ibrahim: Maybe you should take a look at the PDO.

    BPL: I have. It accounts for about 4% of the temperature variation from 1900 to 2000. Want the details?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 19 Jan 2010 @ 4:33 PM

  311. There’s a forest for the trees aspect to the 2035 Himalayan glacier statement. The 2035 statement was not referenced to a peer-reviewed journal, illustrating the importance of academic citations.

    Some of those citations:

    http://www.grid.unep.ch/glaciers/pdfs/references.pdf

    Full report:

    http://www.grid.unep.ch/glaciers/

    Central Asia:

    http://www.grid.unep.ch/glaciers/pdfs/6_9.pdf

    If we discard any informal statements made, not supported by academic citations, the 2035 disappears but so does every silly “glaciers are growing” claim. We’re left with the rapid net glacier loss observed in the Himalayas and the world.

    Comment by MarkB — 19 Jan 2010 @ 4:41 PM

  312. Deech,

    I’m a liberal Democrat, not a Randian. A situation like I describe for Gilles might get him through the ten years or so when the big population crash is happening. After that, the various enclaves can spread out and real societies can form again from the few hundred million or so people left around the globe, if it’s that many. I was describing a life raft, not a working society.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 19 Jan 2010 @ 4:47 PM

  313. Tom S (#254),

    Gavin is correct that none of this appears in the Synthesis Report or a Summary for Policy Makers (which is where it could have had political import).

    The line quoted by NYT does appear in the ‘Technical Summary’ of the IPCC Working Group II report. The TS has merely been “accepted” by the working group but “not approved in detail”.

    Specifically, the line appears twice in the TS, once on p. 49 (blissfully unquantified), and once on p. 59 (quantified as “shrinking from the present 500,000 km2 to 100,000 km2 by the 2030s”).

    Lynn #282 and Kevin #290, note that the latter figures appear to be part of the goof-up. There aren’t 500,000 km2 of glaciers in the Himalayas – that’s the area cited for glaciers and ice caps worldwide (excluding Greenland and the Antarctic). If the source of of that projection has been correctly identified as Kotlyakov (1996), then the projection actually refers to the change in the total area of the extrapolar glaciation of the Earth, not the Himalayas, and by 2350, not the 2030s.

    The IPCC should issue a corrigendum. Better yet, an update with recent research on Himalayan glaciers. Better yet, an update on everything to do with melting ice, including the Arctic…

    Comment by CM — 19 Jan 2010 @ 5:04 PM

  314. Syl …

    It`s not the mistakes that are the problem, it`s the response to them that discredits the IPCC.

    A glaciologist caught the error, reported the error, and the IPCC has said “yes, it’s an error, oops, our bad”.

    How does this response discredit them? They forgot to say “Al Gore is fat”, or what?

    Comment by dhogaza — 19 Jan 2010 @ 5:06 PM

  315. > It`s not the mistakes that are the problem, it`s the response

    Whose response?

    The IPCC’s response is easy to find.
    It looks reasonable so far, and is continuing.
    You can look it up.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aipcc.ch+himalayan+glacier

    Finding the problem, discussing the problem, publishing a response, and correcting the next report.

    Which of these do you think was a mistake, and why?

    Or — are you perhaps reading some other statement about the response somewhere? From some other source, telling you something second hand?
    If so what’s your source? Why do you consider it reliable?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Jan 2010 @ 5:07 PM

  316. Hank: #308
    “Look up local records;”

    Which local records? If there are local records, then why aren’t they being used to produce gridcells in HadCRUT.

    By the way Hank, why did some of the GISS cells become cooler when the HadCRUT cells were masked off. Why did the extrapolation process for GISS produce a temperature difference of +7.1C in cells that were actually present for HadCRUT3.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 19 Jan 2010 @ 5:23 PM

  317. “It`s not the mistakes that are the problem, it`s the response to them that discredits the IPCC.”

    I think you misspelt “the skeptics”…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 19 Jan 2010 @ 5:31 PM

  318. re 289, of course, since the landed title of “Lord” (as opposed to the current normal use of the word to mean : member of the House of Lords, which Monckton managed NOT ONE VOTE to get a seat on…) is actually a downgrade by two levels from Viscount.

    So Chris (as he’s affectionately known) being called “lord” is actually a bit of a downgrade. And that’s why he’s even more pleased at having ALL title removed from his name. That’s an even bigger downgrade, therefore is better.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 19 Jan 2010 @ 5:35 PM

  319. Don: “Funny how there’s never a black eye for the denialist talking heads like Monckton [etc]

    What’s your point?”

    The point is you’re awful ready to down people who say AGW is real yet surprisingly reticent when they’re saying that it’s wrong.

    This is called “evidence of bias in reporting”.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 19 Jan 2010 @ 5:38 PM

  320. Syl says: 19 January 2010 at 3:42 PM

    “It`s not the mistakes that are the problem, it`s the response to them that discredits the IPCC.”

    Syl, not to go totally meta here but stop for a moment and ask yourself, is the response you’re thinking of from IPCC, or is it possible that you’re thinking of conclusions regarding IPCC’s response that are actually an interpretation suggested to you by somebody else? What actually is the response by IPCC? Does it discredit IPCC? How much?

    Barton Paul Levenson says: 19 January 2010 at 4:31 PM

    BPL, may I respectfully suggest that “complete destruction of human civilization within 40 years” is a somewhat controversial and distracting assertion and affords a ripe target for swerving discussion in a counterproductive way?

    Even so few as 100,000,000 persons would afford us most of the beautiful and almost all of the ugly features we’re pleased to lump together and term as “civilization”; many people living 400 years ago considered themselves members of a civilization. It would actually be a better number for the long run, though getting there would be unacceptably horrific over period less than several generations.

    How about “dramatic degradation of the overall human condition” or “significant degeneration of civilization”?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 19 Jan 2010 @ 5:39 PM

  321. CM says: 19 January 2010 at 5:04 PM

    “Better yet, an update on everything to do with melting ice, including the Arctic…”

    Yes, forthcoming in any case. Doubters should be careful what they wish for.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 19 Jan 2010 @ 5:42 PM

  322. dhogaza: #314
    A glaciologist caught the error, reported the error, and the IPCC has said “yes, it’s an error, oops, our bad”.

    No, they were told that they very likely had an error long ago and they refused to look into it until it became very public and until there was no longer any way to deny it.

    http://www.canada.com/technology/climate+report+Scientist+warned+glacier+forecast+wrong/2455973/story.html

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 19 Jan 2010 @ 5:48 PM

  323. 284 Doug Bostrom,

    Thanks for the thoughtful discussion.

    Maybe I am a little more cautious about assuming things than you might be.

    About a year ago I was raising similar questions and the sort of answers I got from real modeling folk, I believe, were not completely assuring. It seemed that most of the climate models depend on the Monterey ocean model and there is some kind of interface with that. The Monterey ocean model is not easily penetrable, but I looked at the data definitions and dimension statements said to be used in that analysis, and from that I concluded that lower depths were not included. I could not be sure whether there was a serious attempt to account for vertical mixing due to wind or not. At the time I was putting my point in reference to hurricanes which create very large waves and hence, substantial vertical mixing. I believe it was Gavin who said they treat hurricanes as Poisson events, which seems reasonable, though the mechanism of vertical mixing was not clarified. I understand climate modelers are busy folk, so getting ignored on further questions seemed understandable.

    The process is more general than just with hurricanes. Any wind makes some waves and waves cause a circular motion of water particles in a vertical plane. The circular motion extends to a depth that is about equal to the wavelength, wave peak to wave peak. That takes water downward, though not to a great depth. From there the various internal waves and currents take over and get things into the thermohaline circulation system, including things like the Gulf Stream and the Pacific Current.

    I don’t think anyone claims to know what makes El Nino warm currents.

    But the key point about vertical mixing being a function of wind which is a function of temperature differences, land to sea, is that increase of surface temperature will stimulate the process whereby heat is taken into the deeper ocean, where there is a lot of capacity for that heat.

    Now comes along the NOAA data curve which shows that something has happened to greatly increase heat in the oceans. That seems to have significantly exceeded the amount of heat that the climate models predicted. That seems notable to me.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 19 Jan 2010 @ 5:49 PM

  324. 319 Completely Fed Up says:
    19 January 2010 at 5:38 PM
    Don: “Funny how there’s never a black eye for the denialist talking heads like Monckton [etc]”

    “What’s your point?”

    “The point is you’re awful ready to down people who say AGW is real yet surprisingly reticent when they’re saying that it’s wrong.
    This is called “evidence of bias in reporting”.

    How could my comments at realclimate possibly have you come to any conclusion about what I think of AGW deniers? Once again, you seem to think I’m a denialist or skeptic.
    I reply to the topics posted here by the blog owners. How am I “surprisingly reticent” about anything? I haven’t seen a thread topic of “Monckton’s Views Are Nonsense.” Should there be one, I would go look at the particulars of Monckton’s views and might comment on them. Until then, I — like you and others — am replying to the topic at hand. Which, in this case, is Dr. Hansen’s article.
    Quit assuming stuff about me.

    Comment by Don Shor — 19 Jan 2010 @ 6:09 PM

  325. “No, they were told that they very likely had an error long ago and they refused to look into it until it became very public and until there was no longer any way to deny it.”

    Rubbish.

    Be sure to read the article. And thanks, Tilo Reber, this article actually confirms my confidence in the process.

    http://www.canada.com/technology/climate+report+Scientist+warned+glacier+forecast+wrong/2455973/story.html

    What the article actually contains:

    “PARIS – A top scientist said Monday he had warned in 2006 that a prediction of catastrophic loss of Himalayan glaciers, published months later by the UN’s Nobel-winning climate panel, was badly wrong.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report said in 2007 it was “very likely” that the glaciers, which supply water to more than a billion people across Asia, would vanish by 2035 if global warming trends continued.

    “This number is not just a little bit wrong, but far out of any order of magnitude,” said Georg Kaser, an expert in tropical glaciology at the University of Innsbruck in Austria.

    “It is so wrong that it is not even worth discussing,” he told AFP in an interview.

    The triple-volume Fourth Assessment Report is the scientific touchstone for political action on climate change.

    Destruction of Himalayan glaciers by 2035 was questioned in a report by Britain’s Sunday Times, which said the reference derived from a news article published in 1999 and had failed to be scrutinized by the IPCC.

    Kaser suggested the initial error originated from a misreading of a 1996 Russian study or from findings on a handful of glaciers that were mistakenly extended to apply to the whole region.

    In either case, he suggested, the fact that it found its way into the report underpinning global climate negotiations signalled the need for a reform of the way the IPCC collects and reviews data.

    “The review community has entirely failed” in this instance, he said.

    Kaser was a lead author in Working Group I of the IPCC report, which dealt with the physical science of climate change.

    Its conclusions — that climate change is “unequivocal” and poses a major threat — remain beyond reproach, he said.

    The prediction for the Himalayan glaciers was contained in the separately published Working Group II report, which assessed likely impacts of climate change.

    More specifically, the chapter focussed on an assessment of Asia, authored by scientists from the region.

    “This is a source of a lot of misunderstandings, misconceptions or failures,” Kaser said, noting that some regions lacked a broad spectrum of expertise.

    “It is a kind of amateurism from the regional chapter lead authors. They may have been good hydrologists or botanists, but they were without any knowledge in glaciology.”

    Kaser said some of the scientists from other regional groups took heed of suggestions, and made corrections ahead of final publication in April 2007.

    But the Asia group did not. “I pointed it out,” he said of the implausible prediction on the glaciers.

    “For a reason I do not know, they did not react.”

    But blame did not rest with the regional scientists alone, Kaser added.

    “I went back through the comments afterward, and not a single glaciologist had any interest in looking into Working Group II,” he said.

    The head of the UN climate panel, Rajendra Pachauri, told AFP his organization would look into the matter.

    He has already vowed to probe the so-called Climategate affair involving hacked email exchanges among IPCC scientists that skeptics say points to bias.

    The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment, scheduled for release in 2013, will probably be adjusted to avoid such problems, said Kaser.

    “All the responsible people are aware of this weakness in the Fourth Assessment. All are aware of the mistakes made,” he said.

    “If it had not been the focus of so much public opinion, we would have said ‘we will do better next time.’ It is clear now that Working Group II has to be restructured,” he said.

    There will still be regional chapters, but the review process will be modified, he added.”

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 19 Jan 2010 @ 6:23 PM

  326. This is very informative. However, being an electrical engineer turned business person, it pains me that almost nobody I know will take the time to read this kind of piece. And even if they did, they would likely be so overwhelmed by the complexity that they would give up or be unable to properly assess the importance of the information, or worse.

    Beyond doing the research, the biggest thing the scientific community can do to help educate people on climate change is simply to use words and concepts that people can understand. I reject the idea that it’s someone else’s job to make the translation, because then it becomes a question of “do you trust the translator” instead of getting a “clean channel” into the information. People tend to trust scientists…until they say things which are too hard to understand. Then they lose interest and trust whoever translates the scientist’s findings in a way that aligns with their ideology or is most entertaining.

    The most effective visionaries and leaders in any field are able to take complex ideas and make them accessible to the majority…the common man/woman. Because let’s face it…it’s the common man/woman who votes, lobby’s their representative, buys things, invests, runs companies, talks to other common men/women, writes editorials, and makes a difference.

    I’m wondering if anyone’s read The Psychology of Climate Change Communication: A Guide for Scientists, Journalists, Educators, Political Aides, and the Interested Public – an interesting perspective developed by Columbia University’s Center for Research on Environmental Decisions.

    Comment by Dave Abood — 19 Jan 2010 @ 6:25 PM

  327. Barton Paul Levinson

    I didn’t really understand the kind of situation you describe : is it a likely situation to happen to most of us if nothing is done ? or a likely situation to happen in the best case? or a personal advice of what I should do, whereas other people living would be much worse (but how?)

    In any case , I think I would better let the farmers do what they know the best – grow vegetables and food- and pay them with the money earned with what I know the best – maybe teach their children or something like that.

    In any case, what do you think would be the consumption of fossile per capita per year in the world you describe ?

    Comment by Gilles — 19 Jan 2010 @ 6:26 PM

  328. Doug Bostrom says, “Even so few as 100,000,000 persons would afford us most of the beautiful and almost all of the ugly features we’re pleased to lump together and term as “civilization”…”

    A decrease of population to ~100,000,000 is not the threat. Rather, it is 9-10 billion people competing for resources on a planet with productive capacity degraded to the point where supporting 1 billion is a challenge. I rather suspect that those in danger of being voted off the island would not be sanguine about the prospect.

    There have been only a few instances in human history where our population actually decreased. None of them were much fun. It is rare that only one of the horsemen shows up for the party.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 19 Jan 2010 @ 6:27 PM

  329. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. says: 19 January 2010 at 5:49 PM

    Further to those musings, here’s something quite interesting, both reading-wise as well as in terms of practical benefit to research.

    http://climateprediction.net/content/thermohaline-experiment

    The experiment description is quite informative in a general way. For myself, I learned that our ocean is not a “lump”, it is a “slab”, among other things.

    The link also affords an opportunity to donate idle CPU time for running models.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 19 Jan 2010 @ 6:28 PM

  330. RE BPL

    Deech,

    I’m a liberal Democrat, not a Randian. A situation like I describe for Gilles might get him through the ten years or so when the big population crash is happening. After that, the various enclaves can spread out and real societies can form again from the few hundred million or so people left around the globe, if it’s that many. I was describing a life raft, not a working society.

    As am I (and a Presbyterian, to boot). I was guilty of veering a bit and I apologize if you thought I might be referring to you. I was speaking more of those in the “skeptical” camp who for various reasons embrace selfishness as a life view; a view that is at odds with both biology and religious faith, IMHO.

    For me the “life raft” description conjured up medieval manors. Hopefully some centers of learning can be preserved as well. Pacem.

    Comment by Deech56 — 19 Jan 2010 @ 6:36 PM

  331. I have “read” (mostly noting claims and counter-claims)through No.323, and taking for granted that a very high proportion of comments came from knowledgeable professionals, I find myself wondering whether this outpouring about an issue that certainly is relevant to the continuance of biological life on this planet is susceptible to a clear summarization of historical “facts”, current trends, and plausible assumtions for conditions of, say, the next century. This distillation would be formatted such that it is intelligeble to a seriously-interested, but lay, readership. It seems pointless for the cohort of climatic scientists to simply wrangle among themselves, for the sake of personal ego or to bone up for their next peer-reviewed journal article, which, in turn, will only be read by them. If this is not possible one wonders how many “Towers of Babel” exist in today’s world.

    Comment by Charles Raguse — 19 Jan 2010 @ 6:59 PM

  332. Dave Abood says: 19 January 2010 at 6:25 PM

    “I’m wondering if anyone’s read The Psychology of Climate Change Communication: A Guide for Scientists, Journalists, Educators, Political Aides, and the Interested Public – an interesting perspective developed by Columbia University’s Center for Research on Environmental Decisions.”

    Not me but I will now. Thank you.

    Ray Ladbury says: 19 January 2010 at 6:27 PM

    “There have been only a few instances in human history where our population actually decreased. None of them were much fun. It is rare that only one of the horsemen shows up for the party.”

    Is there a precedent in recorded history? I’m not sure but I take your point. Granting BPL degeneration squared.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 19 Jan 2010 @ 7:00 PM

  333. Gavin: But mostly they are not. You can do the spatial correlations for yourself -it doesn’t have to have an r^2 of 1.0 to be useful.

    TR: I agree, cells with those kinds of temperature differences are rare. But I think that the assumption – even if it is mostly true – can lead to very large differences in outcome when applied to the globe.

    BPL: TR, will you TAKE A FREAKIN’ STATISTICS COURSE? Your ignorant comments are getting to the level of “embarrassingly obtuse.” When are you going to lose the warped idea that variations affect the mean MORE than the the individual case?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 19 Jan 2010 @ 7:08 PM

  334. Hank Roberts,

    Here is the IPCC`s initial response. Totally dismissing critics. Even calling it Voodoo Science.

    http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/health/pachauri-calls-indian-govt-report-on-melting-himalayan-glaciers-as-voodoo-science_100301232.html

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/29/climate-science-2009

    [Response: You are conflating two separate issues. The Indian Govt. report is odd, and has some very strange statements in it, and it too was not peer reviewed. It neither mentions IPCC nor the 2035 claim, and so cannot be assumed to be a critique of the error highlighted above. I wouldn’t have gone as far as Pachauri in criticising it, but what is needed here is proper science, not more grey literature. – gavin]

    Comment by Syl — 19 Jan 2010 @ 7:10 PM

  335. Tilo said:”No, they were told that they very likely had an error long ago and they refused to look into it until it became very public and until there was no longer any way to deny it.”

    Who is “they”? The Asia impact group, which had no experts on glaciology? By a panel member of IPCC who was an expert?

    Moral of the story: The only effective auditing can be done by real experts who publish in the field, not (to pick a random example) mining consultants or economists with experience in “statistics”.

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 19 Jan 2010 @ 7:14 PM

  336. Dave Abood says: 19 January 2010 at 6:25 PM

    “The Psychology of Climate Change Communication: A Guide for Scientists, Journalists, Educators, Political Aides, and the Interested Public”

    It’s online! Practical advice, based on actual research, w/cites. What a breath of fresh air. Thanks again.

    Recommended reading.

    HTML:
    http://www.cred.columbia.edu/guide/

    PDF version:
    http://www.cred.columbia.edu/guide/downloads.html

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 19 Jan 2010 @ 7:21 PM

  337. Doug Bostrom (332) — Regarding population declines, try W.F. Ruddiman’s “Plows, Plagues and Pertoleum”, cointinuing with “1491”. There is an abundant literature.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 19 Jan 2010 @ 7:21 PM

  338. 320: BPL, may I respectfully suggest that “complete destruction of human civilization within 40 years” is a somewhat controversial and distracting assertion and affords a ripe target for swerving discussion in a counterproductive way?

    BPL: No, because I believe that’s what’s going to happen. Furthermore, your assertion that “Even so few as 100,000,000 persons would afford us most of the beautiful and almost all of the ugly features we’re pleased to lump together and term as “civilization”; many people living 400 years ago considered themselves members of a civilization.” is incredibly foolish, for the following reasons:

    1. All the easily available metal, fossil fuels, wood, cropland and rangeland will be used up. We will not achieve a civilization comparable to our own again for at least a thousand years, I would say.

    2. Life 400 years ago chomped the hog. Infant mortality was sky-high–do you want to live in a society where chances are most of your kids will die before age five? Queen Anne got the best medical care in England, for Christ’s sake, yet her 17 pregnancies resulted in four miscarriages, seven stillborn babies and six sons and daughters who died as kids.

    Want to live in a city without working sewers?

    How about a village where you have to kill people who want to steal your crops–or where gangs of such people break into your house, rape you and your wife, and then kill you? I know it happens in Bed-Stuy and Detroit, too, but not as a rule. But life was like that along the European coast during the whole Viking period. Or during the breakdown of the Roman Empire… or the Caliphate… or the Chinese Empire… or the Empire of Timbuktu…

    Sure the Renaissance civilization thought it was civilized. I, personally, would have been upset with the Witch Trials, religious wars, the vast plague which wiped out most of South America… shall I go on?

    Would you enjoy doing without flush toilets? How about doctors qualified to treat your child if he or she comes down with appendicitis? Want to try removing his or her appendix yourself, with a kitchen knife and no anesthetic?

    If you’ve never lived in a feudal society, please don’t think it was like “The Lord of the Rings” or some sword & sorcery fantasy. Life sucked for everybody but the nobles, and it even sucked for them. They just didn’t realize, until a particular war or famine hit, just how badly it sucked.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 19 Jan 2010 @ 7:22 PM

  339. Gilles: I didn’t really understand the kind of situation you describe : is it a likely situation to happen to most of us if nothing is done ? or a likely situation to happen in the best case?

    BPL: Best case. The worst case will be if you live in a big city when the trucks and trains bringing in food stop coming, or on the coast when a big storm hits, or any food-growing area where you suddenly can’t grow food any more.

    Gilles: In any case , I think I would better let the farmers do what they know the best – grow vegetables and food- and pay them with the money earned with what I know the best – maybe teach their children or something like that.

    BPL: You’re assuming a functioning society with a marketplace. Drop that assumption. It won’t exist for years. You can go into teaching once people once again care about educating their kids, rather than finding food for them, or pimping them out to get food.

    Gilles: In any case, what do you think would be the consumption of fossile per capita per year in the world you describe ?

    BPL: Nearly zero, since the infrastructure for acquiring and distributing it will be gone. People in places like Pennsylvania and Kentucky will be able to burn easily accessible coal for a while–a year or so.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 19 Jan 2010 @ 7:27 PM

  340. Deech,

    Pacem, frater, I did mistakenly think you meant me. BTW, I’m also a Presbyterian (PCUSA).

    But seriously–people have no bloody idea how bad it’s going to be to live in the world of 2050 AD. The survivalists think it’ll be this cool adventure. No. There’s no adventure in starving to death or dying of cholera.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 19 Jan 2010 @ 7:30 PM

  341. Charles Raguse says: 19 January 2010 at 6:59 PM

    It’s helpful to understand there’s little or no wrangling about the main salient feature of AGW by actual scientists. The kvetching you see here is noise mostly contributed by laypersons (including yours truly).

    For an idea of where we might be headed, you may wish to look here:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    Although Weart’s title suggests his piece is all about history, understanding the fundamentals of the science, where those lead and possible inferences from the entire body of investigation gives you a reasonable shot at prognostication. Certainly without that background it’s not possible to do any prediction.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 19 Jan 2010 @ 7:35 PM

  342. Is there some reason why you refuse to address the claims made on John Coleman’s blog?

    http://www.kusi.com/weather/colemanscorner/40749822.html

    These seem to be the most damaging claims and you seem to want to ignore them.

    [Response: They are not damaging, they are just stupid. See the ‘Unforced Variations 2‘ post for some discussion and suggested reading. – gavin]

    Comment by Anonymous — 19 Jan 2010 @ 7:53 PM

  343. Tim Jones #280:

    No one of the reviewers spotted a freaking TYPO of this magnitude?

    Actually the obvious red flag is citing WWF, not exactly an academic research lab. The bigger surprise to me is with thousands of hostile readers looking for reasons to attack the IPCC, this has taken so long to surface.

    On the bigger picture, we have two competing sides:

    professional scientists backed by amateur PR
    amateur attacks on the science backed by professional PR

    Who do you think is winning?

    In the latter category I increasingly count real scientists like Lindzen, because their science is increasingly amateurish. Even if you don’t accept this point, you see the problem. What climate science really needs is a PR firm good enough to take on the denial argument. The denial argument is founded on one thing, and one thing alone: causing doubt about the authenticity of the science by any means necessary. If the science can’t be shown legitimately to be wrong (in the case of the Himalayan glaciers, let’s be thankful if the most dire predictions are wrong), then confuse the public about what the scientific claims really are, create distrust of science in general and look for reasons to attack climate scientists personally. The last is why such a big deal is made of issues like the CRU emails and the hockey stick. Even if Mann et al. had made the sort of errors claimed in the hockey stick case, the worst you could have said about their results is they got lucky and the errors cancelled out because they matched so many other reconstructions. However by pinning the entire credibility of the field on one person who was cornered and made to look bad by persistent attacks, the perception is created that the whole field is flaky.

    This is not new stuff. The same exactly was done with tobacco, asbestos, the ozone hole and to a lesser extent (less of a threat to commercial interests) HIV-AIDS. It continues to disappoint me that professional journalists and editors are so easily taken in (“fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” — and this is the 5th time at least).

    So: anyone keen on hiring some professional PR?

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:22 PM

  344. Doug, Globally, human population has grown consistently since the Toba Catastrophe when we are thought to have been reduced to fewer than 20000 individuals.
    Locally, there have been significant declines–Europe in 542 and again from about 1350-1420, and parts of Africa saw significant declines associated with slavery and colonialism (especially the Congo). Plague, Famine, Death and War. Fun times, huh?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:35 PM

  345. > taking for granted that a very high proportion of comments
    > came from knowledgeable professionals …
    > … the cohort of climatic scientists to
    > simply wrangle among themselves

    Oh, lord, no. When people are wrangling, that’s not what’s happening here.

    Look at the right sidebar under Contributors; those are climatologists sponsoring the site. The “inline responses” — in square brackets, recent ones listed separately in the right sidebar — are comments by the Contributors.

    Some few other commenters here are scientists, some of them climate scientists; they’ll have real names, likely links to web pages or lists of publications, and will be findable if you search Google Scholar for their work.

    Anyone else is almost certainly just another reader. I’m one of those.

    After a while, regular readers can and do reply to new people with pointers for questions answered before. Some people post what they believe or want to believe; some of us try to help them (or more likely other later readers) look up the published science, to check their beliefs.

    A wrangle is almost a guarantee that the participants are _not_ climate scientists. We try not to let those blow up; usually a pointer to a reference, or the buttons for FAQ or Start Here at the top of the page, are enough to get someone started reading and questioning what they thought they knew and asking smarter questions.

    Watch for the rare occasion when Gavin or one of the other contributors tells someone ‘Good question!’ and explains. Those are the good times.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:42 PM

  346. re #325 Doug Bostrom,

    Thanks for trying with the link. However, it did not work for me.

    If this link discusses modeling of the ocean as a “lump” or a “slab,” this does not suggest much perception of the 3D nature of the oceans. Certainly the thermohaline part of the process is key, but the vertical transport is also important.

    I add to my last. The Monterey ocean model is said to be the model that is used by all the climate models. That is an important fact in itself. These would be the folks at the Naval Postgraduate School who are certainly knowledgeable, but I worry at single source info as a basis for world actions. Hopefully, there is a lot of collaboration.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:46 PM

  347. Barton: #333
    “Your ignorant comments are getting to the level of “embarrassingly obtuse.” When are you going to lose the warped idea that variations affect the mean MORE than the the individual case?”

    Barton, when are you going to try to comprehend what other people are saying instead of jumping up and down in ignorance. I never said what you think I said, and I never thought it. When I say, “But I think that the assumption – even if it is mostly true – can lead to very large differences in outcome when applied to the globe.”, I’m talking about Hansen’s assumption when he says “The GISS analysis assigns a temperature anomaly to many gridboxes that do not contain measurement data, specifically all gridboxes located within 1200 km of one or more stations that do have defined temperature anomalies. The rationale for this aspect of the GISS analysis is based on the fact that temperature anomaly patterns tend to be large scale.”. What I was not talking about where the large individual adjacent grid box differences that I pointed out to Gavin.

    The way in which Hansen’s assumption is used means that there are cases where very few samples are extrapolated to very large areas. This is done to an extent in the Arctic that it strongly effects the global outcome. Now go back and read the rest of what I said in #278 and #302. Then, if you want to attack me, at least do it based upon what I said, not what you hope I said from an out of context reading.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:51 PM

  348. 248
    Bart Verheggen says:
    19 January 2010 at 8:39 AM

    Richard Steckis (230),

    “Your number 3 is especially off the mark. We are used to making decisions in the face of uncertainty every day. Ideally, a decision should be based on the available information, with its inherent uncertainties. ”

    It is not off the mark at all. Available information is insufficient to make an informed decision. Trying to tackle climate change (which is the height of human arrogance) will cost western economies trillions of dollars and bring the western economic system to it’s knees. If we are going to do that then we had better have more than uninformed risk management to go on.

    [Response: Alarmist much? – gavin]

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 19 Jan 2010 @ 10:16 PM

  349. Could it be that the Arctic melting is sending tons of cold water to the sea, thus lowering the North Hemisphere winter temp ? Add this to the weakening of the Gulf Current, and you get an extreme winter.

    Comment by Gustavo Molina — 19 Jan 2010 @ 10:21 PM

  350. 250
    Ray Ladbury says:
    19 January 2010 at 8:45 AM

    Steckis,

    1. You are confusing statistical probability (95% confidence) with scientific interpretation.

    Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot does this even mean? Most of the scientific interpretation is based on probabality–for instance, there is a better than 95% probability that CO2 sensitivity is greater than 2 degrees per doubling. ”

    No there isn’t Ray. have a look at http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F2009JCLI3461.1 they estimate that climate sensitivity is probably overestimated. And you completely misinterpreted my statement about scientific interpretation and probability. Evolution (which we interpret as the most likely explanation for the existence of life on the planet) has no probability attached to it for there has been no empirical study of evolution as such, just a accumulation of evidence from scientific study most of which had no statistical analysis attached those studies.

    [Response: Great! Jump on the next paper that apparently claims that climate sensitivity is negligible (which it doesn’t) despite the fact that all of the other papers that said what you think is the same thing have been debunked already. Are you not starting to see a pattern here? – gavin]

    “2. The IPCC is not conservative times 1000 because many scientists who disagree with an interpretation are ignored.

    Bullshit. Unless by “many” you mean to include scientists with zero expertise in climate science. 97% of actively publishing climate scientists agree with the consensus. What is more, the dissenters offer nothing in the way of coherent interpretation of the science. And clear evidence of the conservatism of the IPCC is found in the toned down language of the summaries relative to the technical documents.”

    You are not still hanging on to this Oreskes study as evidence of consensus are you. the 97% figure is total BS. By the way what about the IPCCs latest conservative times 1000 reference to the dissapearing glaciers in the Himalayas. They referenced gray literature and not peer reviewed science on that one. How conservative is that?

    [Response: Don’t be ridiculous. Until last month you didn’t even know about this claim, and so you can hardly turn around and suggest that this was the consensus that everyone was talking about. – gavin]

    “3. We can and should wait until the science is in (and it isn’t) before making any decisions on climate change.

    What science, specifically, do you contend is missing? (Careful here, Steckis, it’s only fair to warn you that I’m baiting a trap with this open-ended question.)”

    Most of it. Whilst you physicists keep concentrating on radiative physics and not on the climate system as a whole. The climate system is a complex amalgam of interactions between the lithosphere, oceans, atmosphere, cryosphere with inputs from chemical, biological and physical processes which are all interacting. Radiative physics is just the basis not the answer. After all Ray, if the science is in then why do we have an IPCC at all. Their job would have been done.

    “4. The situation is not as urgent as you make it out to be.

    And you base this on what other than your usual wishful thinking? Dude, we’ve got methane bubbling out of swamps in Siberia. We’ve got the second warmest year on record occurring at the end of a prolonged solar minimum! We’ve got the ocean acidifying. And we’ve got a problem that requires us to completely revamp our energy infrastructure to solve it. How is that not urgent?”

    The usual scaremongering tactics of methane bubbling from swamps (which it does as a matter of course). Second warmest year on record (so what?). A two year solar minimum is not a prolonged one (by the way have you not heard of thermal inertia?). The Dalton solar minimum went for about four decades. You bring up the good old ocean acidification crock. If you think that the biota cannot adapt to changes in ocean pH then you know nothing about biology, ecology and geology. No. We do not need to revamp our energy infrastructure to solve anything (again, human arrogance in thinking we have the power to change climate). Global warming is finished for the moment. The next 30 years will be a period of little or no warming.

    “Uh, no. She’s saying that when your gut and the science are on the same side, you should probably listen.”

    She is not saying that at all. She is saying ignore the science and go with the precautionary principle (which should not apply in this case).

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 19 Jan 2010 @ 10:45 PM

  351. 253
    Bart Verheggen says:
    19 January 2010 at 9:08 AM

    Particularly relevant to Richard Steckis 3rd and 5th point combined:

    “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions, if in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true!”

    We have not developed science well enough to make predictions. Anyway, that is not the role of science. Climate modelling should be about understanding the climate system and not about trying make accurate prediction. Predictions in climate modelling should be about testing the model and nothing more.

    [Response: What tosh. There is no scientific method without predictions. What is the point otherwise? This is just trying to avoid what the predictions say by demanding they not be made! Very ostrich-like. – gavin]

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 19 Jan 2010 @ 10:50 PM

  352. 300
    Ray Ladbury says:
    19 January 2010 at 3:11 PM

    “Maybe when y’all are done blamestorming about the latest typo–one that you guys didn’t even find–we can get back to actually considering evidence.”

    I came in late. What typo are you referring to?

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 19 Jan 2010 @ 10:55 PM

  353. Tilo, your peering at individual grid cells and noting that this one or that one is significantly different in GISS than HADCRUT is pointless. The masked versions have, to .01 degrees, the identical anomaly.

    Therefore, these variations in detail do not affect the global values significantly. That means 1) that the polar values must account for the GISS-Hadley variance, and 2) that, regardless of differences of detail here and there, Hadley and GISS algorithms reproduce essentially the same result. This doesn’t prove that they *are* correct, but it is an indicator that they *may* be correct.

    The significance of the small differences you are going on about resides largely in your imagination, I’m afraid.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 19 Jan 2010 @ 11:32 PM

  354. Kevin McKinney: #353
    “Tilo, your peering at individual grid cells and noting that this one or that one is significantly different in GISS than HADCRUT is pointless.”

    No, not just “this one or that one” are different, whole areas are different. For example, 8 gridcells in a row in HadCRUT which showed cooling have been changed in GISS to show maximum warming in the top row of 2005. In other words, the difference is 6.7C or greater. When two methods cover the same gridcells and show a difference of 6.7C for a long row of them, you can believe that it all comes out, somehow, magically, in the wash. I don’t believe it.

    Also, when only 2 or 3 maximum hot gridcells in HadCRUT are extrapolated to be 25 to 30 maximum hot gridcells in GISS, that is also not just a few individual gridcells. And looking at the bigger picture of the Arctic areas that do have coverage in HadCRUT, it simply doesn’t justify the super hot extrapolation that has been done in the 2005 GISS arctic chart. This may be a product of the GISS algorithm – but it has introduced a huge bias into the Arctic. Look at the top row of the HadCRUT 2005 chart. It is a mixture of values, including even some cold anomalies. Now look at the GISS 2005 chart. It only has two values. The absolute hottest and the next to absolute hottest.

    Kevin:
    “The masked versions have, to .01 degrees, the identical anomaly.”

    I’m not so much interested in the similarity of the masked version to HadCRUT as I am with the extrapolation that was done to get the hotter unmasked GISS. The thing that does worry me about the masked version, however, is why cells that were not masked changed their value when moving from the GISS chart to the masked GISS chart.

    Kevin:
    “That means 1) that the polar values must account for the GISS-Hadley variance,”

    There you are correct. But the variance that they produce are a result of the extrapolation, interpolation process, not of actual radical temperature differences in the Arctic.

    And when you look at the Antarctic, you have huge areas of warming that are produced by a very few measurement sites. Virtually all of the warm gridcells in the last two rows of the Antarctic are a result of extrapolating a very tiny number of actual measurements. Look at the bottom row of the HadCRUT 2005 chart. You can see that there are many cool gridcells available. And yet all of the gridcells immediately below these in the GISS chart have been extrapolated as hot.

    Kevin:
    “2) that, regardless of differences of detail here and there, Hadley and GISS algorithms reproduce essentially the same result.”

    No, they produce a very different result at the poles that goes well beyond simply filling in the missing gridcells.

    Kevin:
    “The significance of the small differences you are going on about resides largely in your imagination, I’m afraid.”

    The differences that I’m going on about account for most of the difference between GISS and HadCRU, and they appear to be much more of an algorithm artifact than a real temperature difference.

    Maybe you should peer at a few gridcells yourself, Kevin, and see if there is a rational way to justify both the differences and the extrapolations.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 20 Jan 2010 @ 1:13 AM

  355. Richard Stekis: “We have not developed science well enough to make predictions [. . . .] Climate modelling should be about understanding the climate system and not about trying make accurate prediction”

    Richard Stekis: “Global warming is finished for the moment. The next 30 years will be a period of little or no warming.”

    no inconsistacy in this guys bias

    Richard Stekis: “I came in late.”

    obviously – maybe you’d be so kind as to leave early

    Comment by flxible — 20 Jan 2010 @ 1:27 AM

  356. Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 19 January 2010 @ 7:22 PM

    A question of degree of degeneration, there are a number of features about your prediction of timing and resource starvation which I’m inclined to quibble about but unfortunately doing so would end up making my original point, which is that predicting the end of civilization takes our eye off the ball, here, now.

    If you’re keen to sway opinion, don’t stuff your consumers until they gag and choke.

    That’s a research finding, BTW.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 20 Jan 2010 @ 1:28 AM

  357. Doug Bostrom said (re wishing for an IPCC update on melting ice in general): “Doubters should be careful what they wish for.”

    Not referring to me, I hope. I was just echoing the ClimateProgress post that you linked to earlier.

    Comment by CM — 20 Jan 2010 @ 3:10 AM

  358. Gilles: In any case, what do you think would be the consumption of fossile per capita per year in the world you describe ?

    BPL: Nearly zero, since the infrastructure for acquiring and distributing it will be gone. People in places like Pennsylvania and Kentucky will be able to burn easily accessible coal for a while–a year or so.

    Gilles : hemmm I puzzled here. If the consumption of fossiles has fallen to nearly zero, this is very very far from any SRES scenario and the GW would be MINIMAL, actually probably just 1°C or less, even Hansen has not dreamt of that !!!!

    so really your situation is much closer to that described by those who think that peak oil for instance would cause a complete collapse of the industrial society – well it’s possible but it completely at odds with GW predictions, which describe exactly the opposite : massive consumption of fuels driven by a constant economic growth, GW being just a “side effect” (less snow on the low altitude ski resorts ..sigh..)

    So really at this point this is really a mess : how can you hold for two exactly opposite senarii ??? I thought that we were on a “scientific” blog, not a romantic movie.

    So apart from cousins drowning in 20 cm sea water, less snow on small ski resorts , and unlikely back-to-the-tree scenarii , is somebody able to describe the REALISTIC problems I can have in the next decades, pleaaaaase ??? I’m scared but I don’t know exactly why … :(

    Comment by Gilles — 20 Jan 2010 @ 3:22 AM

  359. The following paper just published in JGR uses reanalysis to confirm the trends estimated from station data, and (similar to the GISS estimates) demonstrates these trends probably underestimate global warming. It also contains interesting results on humidity.

    Simmons, A. J., K. M. Willett, P. D. Jones, P. W. Thorne, and D. P. Dee (2010), Low-frequency variations in surface atmospheric humidity, temperature, and precipitation: Inferences from reanalyses and monthly gridded observational data sets, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D01110, doi:10.1029/2009JD012442

    Comment by Dick Dee — 20 Jan 2010 @ 4:24 AM

  360. RS: If you think that the biota cannot adapt to changes in ocean pH then you know nothing about biology, ecology and geology.

    BPL: They can adapt if it happens slowly enough. It’s happening very fast, which is why 50% of the coral reefs in the world are ALREADY DEAD and 30% of the krill are also missing–you know, the base of the whole ocean food pyramid?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 20 Jan 2010 @ 5:41 AM

  361. We can and should wait until the science is in (and it isn’t)

    This one is my favorite. Let’s make it personal:

    I was diagnosed with Stage IIb lung cancer last year and elected to have a pneumonectomy. Statistically, my chance of survival after five years is 50%. Should I have waited until there was something with a 95% chance of working before doing any treatment? Lindzen, Seitz, Singer and the Cato Institute all say that there is little evidence that smoking causes cancer. Should I believe them and go back to smoking two packs a day?

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 20 Jan 2010 @ 7:33 AM

  362. > Steckis
    > You bring up the good old ocean acidification crock. If you think
    > that the biota cannot adapt to changes in ocean pH then you know nothing

    Rate of change; you must be talking about natural selection, not adaptation –right? We can guess there are genes out there at a low level from the last time ocean pH went much lower than it is now (so we don’t have to wait for random mutations to occur — this time — but merely for the selection pressure to change and the organisms with those genes to have more grandchildren.)

    So we can hope the ocean biota will “adapt to changes in ocean pH” — but weren’t you saying something about not being able to predict what happens with climate change?

    Citation needed. Would you be able to either cite some source for this stated belief, or show your work?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Jan 2010 @ 8:06 AM

  363. oh, by the way…are we still talking about it being cold in the US? Because…it’s been unusually warm here on the East coast this past week (overnight low temps. exceeding our normal daily high temps. for January!)

    Comment by keith — 20 Jan 2010 @ 8:48 AM

  364. Richard Steckis says “Climate modelling should be about understanding the climate system and not about trying make accurate prediction.”

    Wow, somebody needs to go review Scientific Method 101. Predictions are how you test the model/science. And predicting a 30 year warming trend ain’t half bad. Predicting details of what regions would warm, about how much and that some regions in the atmosphere would cool while others warmed? Priceless!

    The typo is the incorrect date given for Himmalayan glacier melt in a relatively obscure WG report. Yawn!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 20 Jan 2010 @ 8:51 AM

  365. Kieth (363) that’s the point, really.

    It’s only newsworthy to the self-described “skeptics” when it “proves” AGW wrong. That they don’t apply their skepticism equally shows this is not the right term.

    Since they place their disbelief only where AGW is right and accept unconditionally ideas saying AGW is wrong, they are in denial of the science that AGW is right.

    Denialists.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 20 Jan 2010 @ 9:27 AM

  366. [Response: What tosh. There is no scientific method without predictions. What is the point otherwise? This is just trying to avoid what the predictions say by demanding they not be made! Very ostrich-like. – gavin]

    You have got to be joking. Scientific method is about empirical investigation of hypotheses and not prediction. An hypothesis is not prediction it is an individual scientists conjecture and conceptualisation of how a system operates. That is not prediction. The scientific method is employed to collect data on the system under study and then to analyse those data to verify or reject the hypothesis.

    I can understand that as mathematicians and physicists you have a problem with that concept. I think a referral to this web page will give you some insight as to why we seem to be poles apart on this philosophical argument of what is scientific method: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v419/n6904/full/419244a.html

    There is another site that I would like you to look at but I will have to track it down.

    So. For a biologist, prediction does not even have to come into the scientific method.

    [Response: I’m going to be charitable and assume that you think that predictions can only be about future events. In that case you would just be a little wrong, but if you really think that science is just a cataloging of observations, then I’m afraid I’m going to go all Ernst Rutherford on you. – gavin]

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 20 Jan 2010 @ 9:28 AM

  367. “So apart from cousins drowning in 20 cm sea water, less snow on small ski resorts , and unlikely back-to-the-tree scenarii , is somebody able to describe the REALISTIC problems I can have in the next decades, pleaaaaase ???”

    Yup:

    More environmental refugees from lowlying areas (Bangladesh), marginal desert areas (North Africa), snowmelt-deprived regions (China).

    If you’re in the first world and above 20m ASL.

    Ask the Danes or, indeed, Louisianans how they feel about 10cm rise in sea level.

    ” I’m scared but I don’t know exactly why … :(”

    Nope, you’re kidding on you’re scared.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 20 Jan 2010 @ 9:38 AM

  368. 360
    Barton Paul Levenson says:
    20 January 2010 at 5:41 AM

    “RS: If you think that the biota cannot adapt to changes in ocean pH then you know nothing about biology, ecology and geology.

    BPL: They can adapt if it happens slowly enough. It’s happening very fast, which is why 50% of the coral reefs in the world are ALREADY DEAD and 30% of the krill are also missing–you know, the base of the whole ocean food pyramid?”

    Oh God! NO NO NO it is not happening fast. The problems with coral reefs is not from co2 acidification. The problem is, that with few exceptions, coral reefs are impacted by heavy population pressure by humans who are populating those regions that have coral reef systems. I dispute your 50% figure. I would like multiple references please so that I may verify.

    The problem with the krill is not pH change in the oceans (unless you have multiple references confirming such) and is most likely due to overfishing (krill is a very sought after fishery commodity). There is some conjecture about a disease impact. Again, I dispute your 30% and would request a justification for the statement.

    BPL you really need to research more carefully before attributing any loss of reef systems or ocean populations to pH changes or global warming.

    I would suggest

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 20 Jan 2010 @ 9:41 AM

  369. Response: I’m going to be charitable and assume that you think that predictions can only be about future events. In that case you would just be a little wrong, but if you really think that science is just a cataloging of observations, then I’m afraid I’m going to go all Ernst Rutherford on you. – gavin]

    That is not what I said nor what I implied.

    [Response: You said that the scientific method didn’t involve prediction. You are absolutely, fundamentally, 100%, completely, entirely, utterly and wholly wrong. What is the point of a hypothesis that only covers the cases you already have observations for? There is none. Hypotheses and theories have power because they can predict what new observations are likely to show – that’s how they get tested and rejected if necessary. Like I said, if you think that ‘prediction’ is some special word that only applies to multi-decadal climate projections, you would only be a little wrong, but if it is anything else, the above applies. – gavin]

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 20 Jan 2010 @ 9:42 AM

  370. Richard Steckis@ 350,
    Oh my. Just, oh my. How do you get so much wrong in a single post:

    1)It looks to me as though Schwartz is making the same mistake he did back in 2007–forgetting that the climate is not yet at equilibrium. And even with this the amount of warming seen is well within what would be expected for the 90% CL of sensitivity estimates. Steckis, there are about a dozen different independent constraints on climate sensitivity, and they all pretty much point to 3 degrees per doubling as the most probable value and rule out less than 2 degrees per doubling.

    2)The consensus: Steckis, even Bray and von Storch get about this level of agreement in their most recent survey (flawed though it was).
    http://coast.gkss.de/staff/storch/pdf/CliSci2008.pdf
    The denialists simply are not publishing because they have nothing to say. Prove me wrong: Cite any denialist work in the past decade that has increased our understanding of climate.

    3)I asked: What science, specifically, do you contend is missing?
    Steckis replied: Most of it.

    Oh, Steckis. That is just so sad. It reads like a 5th grader’s response when he hasn’t done his homework. Let us review, shall we? The science is based not just on the radiative physics of CO2, but also on paleoclimate, on dynamical models that incorporate best estimates of the physics and astoundingly get the basic characteristics of Earth’s climate right over millions of years AND predict the response of Earth’s climate to changes with pretty good accuracy. And the denialist response? Bupkis. Just a constant whine of “Oh, it’s all too complicated.” Well, Steckis, there are several hundred published papers that say “No, it ain’t.” If it’s OK, I’ll take those documented successes over your unsubstantiated assertion that it’s impossible to succeed.

    4)Steckis, I’d be a lot more willing to experiment on planet Earth if you would kindly show me another habitable planet we can get to just in case something goes wrong. Now as to your factual errors:

    A)Steckis: “A two year solar minimum is not a prolonged one ”

    Jeez! Do you even think about this stuff before you write it. A “normal” solar minimum is about 4 years. This one was about 6 years.

    B)”the good old ocean acidification crock”

    Is it your contention that the ocean is not acidifying? Gee, that will come as news to the dissolving coral. And of course biota can adapt–but on long timescales, and that is not what we have here.

    C)Methane: Did you notice it’s on the rise again, Steckis? Gee, I wonder where it’s coming from. Given its far greater warming potential, it might be nice to know, don’t you think?

    All in all, Steckis, your sanguine attitude toward climate change might be more convincing if it were backed up by even a modicum of research, data or understanding. It is clear that is not the case, so I hope you won’t mind too much if I listen to the experts and verify their results to the best of my ability rather than simply accepting your reassuring platitudes.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 20 Jan 2010 @ 9:51 AM

  371. “Scientific method is about empirical investigation of hypotheses and not prediction.”

    Ah, evidently someone who has been told what to say and has no clue about what he’s saying.

    How refreshing.

    Not.

    How, RS, can you investigate and empirically measure a hypothesis if you don’t predict what measurement you should get if your hypothesis is true?

    E.g.

    http://www-istp.gsfc.nasa.gov/stargaze/Sfall.htm

    G: I hypothesise that gravitational and inertial mass are the same.

    —hypothesis—

    G: I predict therefore that though I drop two things of very different weight, they will hit the ground at the same time.

    —prediction—

    G: [drops lead ball and wooden ball]

    G: [measures the time difference between them hitting the ground]

    —empirical investigation—

    G: Looks like I was right.

    —science has been done—

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 20 Jan 2010 @ 9:53 AM

  372. 368: RS you really need to research more before you make statements as if you were knowledgeable on the subject.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 20 Jan 2010 @ 9:56 AM

  373. Steckis says “So. For a biologist, prediction does not even have to come into the scientific method.”

    This is simply false. Without a prediction–meaning a necessary implication of a result by the model which is outside the data/info used to build and calibrate the model–you have no way of verifying the model. Yes, it is true that in its very early phases, a science can be mainly observational, but eventually the science has to grow up and make sense of all those observations. Otherwise, a)there is nothing to guide future observations, and b)the field will stagnate.

    Also, you really need to go back and read that article again–it says that biology is in need of models to make progress. Yes it’s difficult, but you seem to equate difficult with impossible. With an attitude like that, it’s no wonder you still don’t understand climate science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 20 Jan 2010 @ 10:05 AM

  374. “Response: You said that the scientific method didn’t involve prediction. You are absolutely, fundamentally, 100%, completely, entirely, utterly and wholly wrong. What is the point of a hypothesis that only covers the cases you already have observations for? There is none. Hypotheses and theories have power because they can predict what new observations are likely to show – that’s how they get tested and rejected if necessary. Like I said, if you think that ‘prediction’ is some special word that only applies to multi-decadal climate projections, you would only be a little wrong, but if it is anything else, the above applies. – gavin”

    Where did I actually say that the scientific method cannot involve prediction?

    I think my statement was that prediction (and I did mean predicting the future ala climate models) is not the role of science.

    Personally, I think we are circling over the semantics of the meaning of prediction.

    [Response: You are still wrong. Prediction is the central role of science. Without it, it is just stamp collecting. – gavin]

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 20 Jan 2010 @ 10:13 AM

  375. 370
    Ray Ladbury says:
    20 January 2010 at 9:51 AM

    “2)The consensus: Steckis, even Bray and von Storch get about this level of agreement in their most recent survey (flawed though it was).
    http://coast.gkss.de/staff/storch/pdf/CliSci2008.pdf
    The denialists simply are not publishing because they have nothing to say. Prove me wrong: Cite any denialist work in the past decade that has increased our understanding of climate.”

    Ahhh. Ray!!! You should have qualified your statement. You were talking about climate scientists not all scientists! And I still don’t believe the 97% figure. After all you cite only one limited survey. I can’t cite any denialist work because I do not regard Lindzen, Choi, Soon, Carter, Spencer, Christie, Svensmark, Shaviv etc. etc. etc. as denialists. And those scientists have published more than a hundred papers between them and all of them have contributed to our understanding of climate.

    “3)I asked: What science, specifically, do you contend is missing?
    Steckis replied: Most of it.

    Oh, Steckis. That is just so sad. It reads like a 5th grader’s response when he hasn’t done his homework. Let us review, shall we? The science is based not just on the radiative physics of CO2, but also on paleoclimate, on dynamical models that incorporate best estimates of the physics and astoundingly get the basic characteristics of Earth’s climate right over millions of years AND predict the response of Earth’s climate to changes with pretty good accuracy. And the denialist response? Bupkis. Just a constant whine of “Oh, it’s all too complicated.” Well, Steckis, there are several hundred published papers that say “No, it ain’t.” If it’s OK, I’ll take those documented successes over your unsubstantiated assertion that it’s impossible to succeed.”

    Your little tirade completely ignores the impact of biological, chemical and geological and geophysical influences on climate. The models can reproduce our past climate so well because they are made to after each failure. I did not say it is impossible to succeed just that our knowledge is young. As usual you set up a straw man to tirade against.

    “A)Steckis: “A two year solar minimum is not a prolonged one ”

    Jeez! Do you even think about this stuff before you write it. A “normal” solar minimum is about 4 years. This one was about 6 years. ”

    My original statement stands. By the way, Cycle 23 reached it’s minimum in 2008 I don’t know where you got six years from. I can provide a reference if you wish.

    B)”the good old ocean acidification crock”

    Is it your contention that the ocean is not acidifying? Gee, that will come as news to the dissolving coral. And of course biota can adapt–but on long timescales, and that is not what we have here.

    I attribute a lot of said acidification of coral reef systems to runoff from human land-use activity and sewage disposal etc. not from carbonic acid produced from co2. Has anyone actually bothered to identify the species of acid that is causing the pH changes along coral reef systems that are increasingly under pressure from human activity and not global warming.

    It is my understanding that pH is one of the hardest chemical metrics to measure. So trying to measure it on a global scale from satellites is almost laughable particularly when pH can change significantly over a distance of a kilometer along a beach. Of course your tirade ignores completely the buffering effect of sea water to moderate the impact of pH change. We biologists often buffer highly acidic compounds such as formalin with sea water to reduce it’s corrosiveness.

    “C)Methane: Did you notice it’s on the rise again, Steckis? Gee, I wonder where it’s coming from. Given its far greater warming potential, it might be nice to know, don’t you think?”

    Love to know how much methane is running around the system Ray. Got any figures? Or at least a site where I can access long term methane data?

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 20 Jan 2010 @ 10:57 AM

  376. Gilles said:

    So apart from cousins drowning in 20 cm sea water, less snow on small ski resorts , and unlikely back-to-the-tree scenarii , is somebody able to describe the REALISTIC problems I can have in the next decades, pleaaaaase ??? I’m scared but I don’t know exactly why … :(

    It’s easy to get confused. Scientists are saying “we must act now“, but at the same time, they are saying there will be almost negligible effects over the next few decades. How can this make sense?

    Think of it like this: what we put in the atmosphere today has an impact over the following decades and centuries. So, our problems over the next few decades are already “locked in” – there’s little we can do about it. But what we shouldn’t do is make things worse. If we keep heading down the road we are on, then in 2050 we will not only have to deal with the emissions we have already dumped into the atmosphere, but also all the emissions between now and 2050.

    And if, in 2050, we suddenly decide we had made a big mistake – and we magically reduced our emissions to zero – then our emissions to date would still be raising the global temperature for decades beyond 2050. It would take centuries for temperatures to reduce.

    Some of the effects of global warming will be a consequence of ever-increasing temperatures. But other consequences only require that the temperature be elevated slightly for a very long time. Ice (and therefore sea level) is one of the latter consequences. It doesn’t matter if we stabilise at 2 degrees or even 1 degree – if it’s too warm, then the ice will continue to melt, and sea level will continue to rise. The temperature really only determines how quickly it happens.

    It’s easy to see why so many deniers are old people. They won’t be around. But their children, and their grandchildren? They won’t be so lucky.

    Have a look at this diagram to see what impacts we can expect from what temperature increases: http://maps.grida.no/go/graphic/projected-impact-of-climate-change

    Gilles, your area of interest lies between 1 and 2 degrees rise – but we must act immediately to avoid making the consequences at the right hand edge of the diagram inevitable. Think of it like steering a ship. A really huge ship. If we put on full rudder right now, it will take a long time to turn – but we may just avoid a tragedy ahead.

    Comment by Didactylos — 20 Jan 2010 @ 10:58 AM

  377. “Where did I actually say that the scientific method cannot involve prediction?”

    Here:

    “Scientific method is about empirical investigation of hypotheses and not prediction.”

    Oh dear.

    RS has the brain of a goldfish.

    I blame MTV.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 20 Jan 2010 @ 11:00 AM

  378. Giles: “It’s easy to get confused. Scientists are saying “we must act now“, but at the same time, they are saying there will be almost negligible effects over the next few decades. How can this make sense?”

    I’d like to think of it like this:

    Should you worry about the sudden stop at the end of the drop off a cliff in the last 8 inches, or would have thinking about it BEFORE walking forward off the edge have been a better idea?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 20 Jan 2010 @ 11:01 AM

  379. In other news, I really wish this site had a comment preview.

    In other other news, I really wish this site operated a “stupid threshold” similar to Tamino’s comment policy. When individuals demonstrate a long-term unwillingness and total inability to learn, is it fair to let them repeat the same nonsense ad nauseam?

    Comment by Didactylos — 20 Jan 2010 @ 11:03 AM

  380. Temperature, not pH, did the damage in this study of a remote coral island.

    http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/faculty/duffy/arb/545-555/551.pdf

    Far from the other human use runoff/fertilizer/etc. factors Steckis is claiming are causing the problems. He must be able to find this himself.

    And isn’t there a physical chemist on the faculty where he works, who can explain how increased atmospheric CO2 changes ocean pH? This is a lot simpler than climate change.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Jan 2010 @ 11:38 AM

  381. 377
    Completely Fed Up says:
    20 January 2010 at 11:00 AM

    “Where did I actually say that the scientific method cannot involve prediction?”

    Here:

    “Scientific method is about empirical investigation of hypotheses and not prediction.”

    I stand corrected.

    [edit]

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 20 Jan 2010 @ 11:41 AM

  382. Giles said – “It’s easy to get confused. Scientists are saying “we must act now“, but at the same time, they are saying there will be almost negligible effects over the next few decades. How can this make sense?”

    I look at it like stopping at a stop light. You don’t just suddenly hit the brake when you arrive right at the edge of an intersection – you have reaction time and stopping distance to deal with. A typical passenger car will take about 265 feet to come to full stop (variable, of course, with specific type of car, brake and road conditions, etc.) from a speed of 55 mph (88.5 kph), of which about 121 feet is perception and reaction time from realizing the light has changed to getting your foot to the brake pedal. The other 144 feet is the amount of distance it takes for the braking action to actually stop the vehicle. So, getting your foot on the brake 50 feet from the intersection means you’re going to stop on the far side of the intersection and, what with physics being a cruel master, there is nothing you can do about it at that point.
    We’re in the perception/reaction period of AGW period and we’re right at edge of being able to stop in time (maybe), but if we react too slowly… again, physics being a cruel master, we will be at a point where there will be nothing we can do about it. The problem is right now we have a driver at the wheel that thinks he can make it through the yellow light, while one passenger is hollering at him to stop and the other passenger is saying “What stop light? And even if the stop light exists, it’s not for another 265 feet, so why brake now? And where is this other guy’s proof that the stop light will turn red after the yellow anyway? Besides, there might not even be another car coming from the other direction anyway, so why worry about it?”

    Comment by Witgren — 20 Jan 2010 @ 11:50 AM

  383. Steckis, I don’t know why I’m even bothering with someone who doesn’t even acknowledge the importance of prediction in the scientific method, but here goes.

    Solar cycle is roughly 11 years on average, with 7 years of solar maximum and 4 years of solar min in a typical cycle. Solar cycle 23 had about 7 years of solar max and 6 years of solar min. FWIW, the longest cycle had about 7 and 7 for 14 years. Trust me on this, Steckis. It’s my day job.

    Now as to CO2 senitivity estimates–actually these would take into account biology, geology and chemistry unless you are assuming that paleoclimatic conditions wrt these variables were utterly different (Try justifying that!) Again, you are waving your hands and saying, “Oh, it’s all too complicated.” It really isn’t. The fact of the matter is that you simply cannot understand anything about Earth’s climate unless sensitivity is somewhere in the 2-4.5 degree per doubling range. Sometimes you have to take Occam’s razor to the Gordian Knot

    Your assertions wrt acidification and pH betray a truly special ignorance. Just what do you think happens when you dissolve CO2 in water. Ever wonder why soda water tastes sour? See:
    http://pubs.acs.org/cen/science/87/8708sci2.html

    WRT methane:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8437703.stm

    What’s your explanation here? Whale farts?

    OK, now, finally, let’s see if I can overcome that reading program. I said cite works by denialists THAT HAVE INCREASED UNDERSTANDING OF CLIMATE IN THE PAST DECADE!!!!

    Hopefully that is clearer.

    Your ability to deny what is clearly staring you in the face continues to astound!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 20 Jan 2010 @ 11:52 AM

  384. the gulf between scientific and public “opinion” on global warming is appalling.

    ***PROJECT JIM***

    Comment by walter crain — 20 Jan 2010 @ 12:01 PM

  385. sorry I fully understand the problem of the cliff. Usually when I see a cliff, I stop at a respectable distance to avoid a deadly fall, I’m not stupid.

    I was just asking some precisions on the KIND OF FALL I could experience in my life. I didn’t hear a very clear answer, concerning a middle-aged european living in a temperate country. Nothing that seems to be that dangerous.

    OK, let us examine the argument that I should do something for the poor people of Bengladesh living in 50 years. Hmmm. First there would be many things we could do NOW for the poor people of Bengladesh od NOW , who are lacking basics things like water, cars, buildings, etc… The most simple thing to do would be to give them money, directly or indirectly . Plus it has the advantage to reduce our own purchasing power and so our fossile consumption :) . So I assume that probably most of you are already giving a fair part of their income to those people you are very concerned with – please let me know the order of magnitude you are currently giving them annually, so that I can imitate you.

    Now are my present actions really efficient to avoid anything in the future … hmm.. France doesn’t burn a lot of coal, it has the biggest part of its power produced by nuclear plants , you know (the biggest in the world actually). So I burn essentially oil in my car – and wood in my chimney completed with electric (heat pump) heating, but that’s ok for CO2. But I understood that there are only 300 Gtep proved reserves of oil and gas – and that’s a ridiculous amount of CO2 whatever we do with them. Actually peak oil could come soon so there is nothing left to spare, let us finish the second half as we can. The danger is in the 2000 or 3000 Gt of coal .. but.. I DON’T USE IT ANYWAY ; what can I cut ??? furthermore, these 2000 to 3000 Gt of coal (a propos nobody knows exactly where they lie and who could offer them since the proved reserves are only 800 GtC or may be stlll lower…) will not be burnt mainly bu western people but by all these poor people you are very concerned with, who need them to produce power , steel, concrete … but what I could do NOW could prevent people from Africa and Asia to burn them in 50 years ??? really I can’t imagine that a chinese guy in 50 years (that may be not yet born) would think something like “oh , I remember, this poor Gilles in France went to his office by bike 50 years ago to spare some oil, so I won’t use this coal to heat my house , I will rather freeze”. Hemmm.. it’s possible , but is is EXTREMELY UNLIKELY , speaking IPCC language. I can’t see how the fossile consumption will have NOW has anything to do with what people 5000 km away from us did 50 years ago .. but I may be of course completely stupid. So in practice what can i PERSONNALLY DO to avoid that anybody in the world will touch some of the 1000 or 2000 GT of coal during the whole century ????

    (that, by the way, no one can precisely locate up to now …)

    I really would help, if I could.

    Comment by Gilles — 20 Jan 2010 @ 12:03 PM

  386. 364
    Ray Ladbury says:
    20 January 2010 at 8:51 AM

    “The typo is the incorrect date given for Himmalayan glacier melt in a relatively obscure WG report. Yawn!”

    What date was that Ray? 2035? Well that is the date that was quoted in the New Scientist article and the WWF report and admitted to by the scientist who was quoted.

    The fact is that the reference should not have even made into Ch.10 of AR4 as it was not peer reviewed literature.

    Are we trying to spin doctor here?

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 20 Jan 2010 @ 12:05 PM

  387. “…the perceptive person should be able to see that climate is warming on decadal time scales.”

    This conclusion has the caveat in the note that the perceptive person needs to have been around in the 1950s. That seems OK to me since we don’t know that we are seeing a steady climate trend without a long baseline. But what other caveats might be needed?

    I am wondering if, based on fig. 9, one should say the warming should be noticeable if you don’t live in Uruguay, Gabon, Hawaii or the Bahamas?

    Also, do you need to be a homebody? Again, based on fig. 9, a politician from Oklahoma should notice changes at least in the Winter and Spring but what if the politician spends most of his time at Washington, DC energy company fund raisers during those seasons? Would he miss the direct experience of warming? I think it likely.

    Making global warming accessible to direct experience is a big departure. After all, it is the accumulation of data from everywhere that puts the “global” in Global Warming. But, at some point, the change does have to become noticeable if it is large enough. I still like this demonstration even though it depends on geographical averaging: http://www.arborday.org/media/mapchanges.cfm

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 20 Jan 2010 @ 12:11 PM

  388. This is obviously my own opinion and not science. I suggest that Jim Hansen is not alone as a senior scientist in his concern for possible future events in the United States and the world unless sharp action is taken to curb fossil fuel use…much more so than we are currently doing.

    I am doing this with the purpose in mind of perhaps giving some readers some food for thought and perhaps as an impetus for their own personal inquiries.

    In the last year, I have privately talked to several senior scientists at both a national center for climate research as well as at NOAA, and a visiting Canadian government-linked scientist about their private thoughts (opinions) of where we might be headed.

    One of the highest-placed senior scientists from the place I was as well one of the highest-placed senior scientists at NOAA and two senior NOAA scientists in one of their divisions, both stated to me phrases that deeply concerned me.

    Among the phrases they privately stated to me were that unless sharp action was taken to sharply reduce fossil fuel use, that they were concerned about the eventual possibility of “anarchy”, “destabilization”, “questions about the future viability of our democracy”, “questions about the future viability of interntional trade”, “martial law”, “mass population evacuation out of the American southwest including parts of California”, and “severe water shortages” eventually coming to the United States as a result of the effects of mass numbers of climate change refugees both internal and external, the evacuation of major US coastal cities, the moving northward of storm tracks, rising sea levels and the inability of the US central government to adapt quickly enough.

    A Canadian government scientist told me privately that the Canadian government “is well aware of these potential issues in the USA and is taking necessary actions.” He also stated to me that he believed that Canada is hardly immune to many of the same problems and that he too was very concerned. Most of Canada’s population lives in a band of land near the border with the USA. These are obviously all only personal opinions.

    I suggest that Jim Hansen is not alone.

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 20 Jan 2010 @ 12:30 PM

  389. CM says: 20 January 2010 at 3:10 AM

    “Not referring to me, I hope. I was just echoing the ClimateProgress post that you linked to earlier.”

    Not at all.

    Richard Steckis says: 20 January 2010 at 10:13 AM

    “I think my statement was that prediction (and I did mean predicting the future ala climate models) is not the role of science.”

    Entirely leaving aside science, when you’ve adequately quantified the properties and behaviors of a material or a system, you may then do predictions in the form of engineering. Engineering is -all- about making predictions, informed by scientific research. Dealing with our various effluvia is an engineering challenge, we’re rapidly improving our ability to make the predictions we need in order to rise to that challenge. C02 is undoubtedly a major undesirable sidestream arising from our various activities, managing it is an engineering challenge, effective management and resultant engineering of solutions requires predictions.

    Is that so hard to understand? Surely not.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 20 Jan 2010 @ 12:55 PM

  390. Richard Steckis #366 said: “An hypothesis is not prediction”

    The hypothesis is used to generate a prediction – a claim that can be empirically tested to confirm or disconfirm the hypothesis. Where I went to university, understanding the hypothetical-deductive method was an entrance requirement, and not an awfully hard one at that.

    From the article Steckis cites to explain to physicists why biologists abhor prediction:

    Physicists are also helping to explain molecular influences on the behaviour of entire cells. Herbert Levine, a condensed-matter physicist (…) is collaborating with biologists (…), to model the way in which cells detect and migrate towards chemical signals. (…H)is background in modelling enabled him to generate a set of quantitative predictions that can now be tested experimentally.

    Is that supposed to be a bad thing for biology? The article doesn’t say so.

    Comment by CM — 20 Jan 2010 @ 1:00 PM

  391. Steckis says “So. For a biologist, prediction does not even have to come into the scientific method.”

    Agricultural entomologists would disagree.

    Comment by Don Shor — 20 Jan 2010 @ 1:05 PM

  392. Gilles, you should read a copy of “Six Degrees” by Mark Lynas. It paints a fair picture of what is thought will happen with each degree of warming.

    You’ll have to help yourself out some though because it doesn’t say how soon any particular temperature will be reached, nor what level of CO2 is required for any particular level of warming.

    As for regional predictions about exactly what will happen in any particular region on/by XYZ date, I don’t think there’s anything really available yet. Regional models are being developed, but are likely to be harder than general global models to verify.

    On a related note, I’d just echo previous sentiments that the biggest, earliest, effects will be changing weather patterns (drought, floods) that impact agriculture in a growing population. Look up the podcast for “Climate Wars”. They couldn’t put it better when they observed: “Over human history people always raid before they starve”

    Comment by David Miller — 20 Jan 2010 @ 1:06 PM

  393. Tilo, I don’t know why I keep trying to dispel the peculiar brand of confusion you specialize in sowing.

    However, you state that GISS and Hadley “produce a very different result at the poles that goes well beyond simply filling in the missing gridcells.”

    Wrong. Hadley doesn’t produce a result at the poles at all–and the result elsewhere is functionally identical to the GISS algorithm. No matter how you try to spin it, that remains the bottom line here.

    By the way, do you know how GISS and Hadley grid boxes compare? Do you know that they use the same scheme? Perhaps you’ll share your knowledge of this.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 20 Jan 2010 @ 1:22 PM

  394. http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?archives=true&id=65266

    excerpt follows:

    Although ocean acidification and global warming stem from the same source, they are different problems, said Cooley; acidification is a matter of simple chemical reactions that have been understood for more than 100 years. Excess CO2 in the air dissolves in seawater and forms carbonic acid and, through a series of other reactions, reduces the amount of carbonate in seawater.

    That is bad news for many of the so-called calcifying sea creatures that use carbonate and calcium to build their shells or skeletons. “The waters are becoming less and less welcoming for shelled organisms,” Cooley said.

    Experiments done at WHOI and elsewhere show that in seawater containing high levels of CO2, corals have difficulty making new skeleton and may have existing skeleton dissolve away; many calcifying plankton struggle; mollusks such as oysters and scallops find it harder to build and maintain shells; and juvenile mollusks grow more slowly and have more abnormalities and lower survival rates. Among calcifying organisms, only crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters appear to tolerate low carbonate levels; some even make thicker exoskeletons under such conditions. On the whole, though, more acidic seas and lower carbonate levels could spell trouble for hundreds of species, the ecosystems they belong to—and the human communities that depend on them.

    ‘Not just a dollar thing’
    In a paper in the December 2009 issue of Oceanography, Cooley and her coauthors described how ocean acidification could endanger some “ecosystem services”—the benefits to human societies provided by healthy ecosystems. …

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Jan 2010 @ 1:26 PM

  395. “sorry I fully understand the problem of the cliff. Usually when I see a cliff, I stop at a respectable distance to avoid a deadly fall, I’m not stupid.”

    Good.

    Now when you have a pain in your chest and your left arm goes a bit numb, do you wait until you KNOW it’s a heart attack? Or do you pop along to the doctor?

    When he tells you to cut back on the red meat and exercise more, do you refuse because you’re not dead yet?

    I mean, you like meat and don’t have time for exercise (you’d rather be with your kids).

    And there’s no *proof* that cholesterol causes heart attacks: all they can prove is that more (but by no means all) people who die of heart attacks have higher levels of blood cholesterol.

    And anyway, it’s God who does this, not medical so-called “doctors” who are just spreading their heathen word…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 20 Jan 2010 @ 2:38 PM

  396. “First there would be many things we could do NOW for the poor people of Bengladesh od NOW , who are lacking basics things like water, cars, buildings,”

    Which won’t be movable in 50 years, so all that spending will be wasted.

    Penny wise, pound foolish.

    And a lot of them do not lack such things: have a look at the homeless in your country.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 20 Jan 2010 @ 2:39 PM

  397. PS I notice that Giles has given up appearing to be scared for no reason.

    Now he’s so “scared” he ignores the AGW problems. Either that or he’s ***terrified*** of people in the third world without a home.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 20 Jan 2010 @ 2:46 PM

  398. re 397 completely fed up says:

    “”I notice that Giles has given up appearing to be scared for no reason.

    Now he’s so “scared” he ignores the AGW problems. Either that or he’s ***terrified*** of people in the third world without a home.””

    Oh, don’t worry…they “will” find a new home . (Sorry, I really don’t mean any disrespect to anyone or anything. Some people at the climate center where I was, were developing a graveyard sense of humor).

    But seriously according to quite a few sources, India is building an anti-climate change refugee fence with concertina wire around Bangladesh to stop climate change refugees from entering into India.

    All this global warming is really happening now, people…we’re not making it up (and we have a solid body of peer-reviewed evidence back to 1824- Fourier)…and it’s going to be coming to a country near you unless we slow it down. We have to stop burning oil, coal and gas before it is too late for major changes to be locked up in the 20-30 year ocean pipeline(thermal inertia). (Sorry for being preachy).

    Remember, there is also probably a tremendous lag in the climate system…in other words a lot of change is already here in the USA…but the oceans are most likely causing a 20-30 year delay before it hits us (thermal inertia): Also, below the Bangladesh fence references, there are peer reviewed possible solutions from Science and Nature journals.

    “Next door in Bangladesh, 15 percent of whose land mass will be under water if sea levels rise as predicted, things are even worse. Little wonder India is building a fence along its border with Bangladesh in anticipation of a wave of climate-change refugees. At 4,000 kilometers in length, the Indo-Bangladeshi Barrier will rival the Great Wall of China.”

    Here in America, we apparently don’t want to hear things like this… so not many American sources can be given:

    Bangladesh GW fence:

    http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:SxTN324x5BwJ:www.sfu.ca/cstudies/idfe/climatechange/powerpoint/Zaman_SFU_Climate%2520Chnage_21%2520May09.ppt+india+built+fence+bangladesh+climate+change+refugees&cd=5&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/12/8/811837/-NBC-Report-500,000-Climate-Refugees-per-year-in-Bangladesh-NOW
    http://www.countercurrents.org/kamdar150609.htm
    http://www.docudharma.com/diary/14646/climate-refugees
    http://www.khabor.com/english/news/03302009_0000005.htm

    Peer reviewed possible solutions:

    http://www.princeton.edu/mae/people/faculty/socolow/socdoc/carbonincheck.pdf
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/305/5686/968
    http://www.nature.com/climate/2008/0807/full/climate.2008.59.html

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 20 Jan 2010 @ 4:15 PM

  399. The interesting thing that I have been thinking last days is that whenever there are so big see-saw perturbations in mid-latitudes as the ones we have seen … energy is being transported to the northern latitudes by the atmospheric circulation. So … perhaps higher latitudes are really “warm” lately. People tend to forget this.

    Comment by jon — 20 Jan 2010 @ 4:21 PM

  400. I think what Gilles represents is what ‘warmilists’ face in motivating policy makers to move ahead on adaptation and mitigation in the ‘developed world’. The middle aged ‘man on the street’ doesn’t see the urgency in preventing a problem that will have profound effects beyond his lifetime, beginning in areas of the planet he’s not too concerned about, particularly when a major part of the change seems required on the part of others.

    As an old timer myself I can relate – I already live frugally, consume little, use the least possible fossil energy, and am expecting to be gone well before ‘peak oil’ causes real peak prices – do I press for fast action like a carbon tax that will only benefit future generations [that I haven’t contributed too], so that the minimal energy I do use will increase in price tomorrow? Never mind 2100 or even 2035, what’s the motivation and solution from my side of the fence?

    Where climate science needs to go is where folks live, like the CRED guide points out, rather than to “prove” AGW theory or terrify people about remote possibilities, it needs to be related to the day to day of the here and now – the denialists will fade away like smokers and CFCs once science can show more immediate cause/effect rather than trying to convince Joe Average of the validity of a hypothetical proposition. The reason the ‘big boys’ are fighting the science so hard is they know it’s right, convince the middle class before the ‘tipping points’ become the proof. I appreciate Gavins clarity and focus as a contributor to understanding, hopefully he can continue as long as needed!

    OTOH, considering the real problem is human overpopulation, maybe I’ll root for the planet to shake many/most/all off like a dog shaking fleas – population crashes or even extinction events [stun the creationists!] aren’t necessarily all bad.

    Comment by flxible — 20 Jan 2010 @ 4:57 PM

  401. I’ve been talking about the qualitative problems that I noticed in the GISS charts in figure 3 above. So I thought that I would try to take a rough shot at quantizing the problem as well. I used the HadCRUT 2005 chart and the GISS 2005 chart to make comparisons. And I wanted to compare the HadCRUT gridcell row that was furthest north to the GISS gridcell row that occupied the same position. First I counted the number of gridcells in a row. There are 72. Then I counted the number of HadCRUT cells that have data in that row. There are 24. This means that the topmost HadCRUT row has 30% coverage. So I added up all of the covered gridcell anomaly values in the row. The total was 43.8. Dividing by 24 I got an average covered gridcell value for the HadCRUT row of 1.85 C. The GISS row obviously had 100% coverage using interpolation and extrapolation. When I added all of the gridcell anomaly values together for the GISS row I came up with 300. Dividing by 72 gave me an average anomaly value of 4.17 C. So the anomaly for the top row of GISS is 2.25 times as large as that of HadCRUT.

    It seems to me that this reflect very badly on the GISS interpolation extrapolation algorithm. The other problem is that there are 6 cells in that top row that HadCRUT has negative values for. GISS turns them all to the maximum positive value. The difference is 6.7 C or greater per cell for those 6 cells.

    I can only conclude from this that the GISS divergence from the HadCRUT data is an artifact of the GISS processing algorithms and not a reflection of actual temperature variance at the poles.

    The exercise was an exercise in eye strain. But I’d love to have someone else repeat my count.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 20 Jan 2010 @ 6:49 PM

  402. fixible – Speak for yourself. Many of us middle-aged and older folks do care about the future for those who will come after us–and that’s whether or not we have children of our own. After all, we were born as beings well-adapted to the earth as it exists today and, in justice, want no less for those who come after us. I am constantly amazed at the rank selfishness, even of those who already have children and grandchildren (or who expect to) that will only care about AGW if it effects them personally. Of course, one of my pet peeves is that too many of those who are concerned about AGW keep speaking about “saving the earth.” Uhm, the earth will do just fine, no matter what we do. What we are talking about, really, is saving the future of humanity.

    I do agree, though, that a very real problem is overpopulation. In addition to AGW, human beings are facing other serious threats from depletion of resources, and I see few solutions to either AGW or that depletion coming in time to avoid a horror show. Not to be a pessimist or anything. Nevertheless, I’ll do my best to make a difference.

    Comment by Mary C — 20 Jan 2010 @ 7:08 PM

  403. “OTOH, considering the real problem is human overpopulation, maybe I’ll root for the planet to shake many/most/all off like a dog shaking fleas – population crashes or even extinction events [stun the creationists!] aren’t necessarily all bad.”

    Flxible, you raise some important questions. Unfortunately, population crashes are all bad for those who experience them. The effects you mention could be like the Jewish holocaust times over a thousand. Just as we should do everything we can to avoid a large-scale nuclear war, we should do everything we can to avoid this as well. Doing anything less is morally unconscionable.

    Something else that’s morally unconscionable is drawing down the capital of all resources rather than living off the interest of renewable resources. We are really waging a kind of genocide against future generations, who I believe will view us even more harshly than we view slaveowners today.

    I’m glad you live frugally and simply, but just having been a member of such a consumptive society as America’s makes one a disproportionate consumer relative to current world or all previous generational averages.

    So yes, I think you should support a carbon tax. You have benefitted, as have I and each of us, from our plundering fossil fuels, all minerals and all other resources infinitely more than our fair share.

    And the impacts of climate change, peak oil, freshwater pollution, fossil water depletion, and the drawing down of topsoil, trees, fish and all minerals will degrade the life of everyone on Anthro-Earth within some small number of decades.

    The cumulative effects of all of these things and others will make it seem like we were a completely ignorant blindfolded person falling from the Empire State Building. Only ignorance could allow one to think that the state of falling could be sustained indefinitely. The impact will come much more slowly and in infinitely more complex ways, but over enough time the effect could be similar.

    Using the Titanic as a metaphor, we’ve just hit the iceberg. The captain, ship’s architect and others of the most perceptive and educated officers (climate scientists, those who understand what climate scientists understand) know that we can not and will not continue on our journey. Those in the hull (like those in Tuvalo and soon Bangladesh, etc) also know this. But most are ignorant of our fate and imagine the ship will continue sailing at any time.

    Flxible, you seem very thoughtful and caring and so I don’t mean to take this out on you – you just raised the good questions. Please reference Barton Paul Levenson, every comment by Gavin especially his response to #194, and Richard Ordway, especially #184 and #388 here – and I’d love to know how Gavin feels about those comments of Ordways and mine here, if he cares to put on his philosophical hat.

    Comment by Richard Brenne — 20 Jan 2010 @ 7:13 PM

  404. Tilo Reber says: 20 January 2010 at 6:49 PM

    I suggest you do it over, using 45 degrees N and S latitude, 0 degrees latitude, where coverage is complete in both.

    For real completeness, truncate both models at 60 degrees N and S, do it all again using all cells in between.

    I can’t think why you’d try this in a region where coverage is known to be incomplete.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 20 Jan 2010 @ 7:43 PM

  405. 398
    Richard Ordway says:
    20 January 2010 at 4:15 PM

    But seriously according to quite a few sources, India is building an anti-climate change refugee fence with concertina wire around Bangladesh to stop climate change refugees from entering into India.

    There is no evidence that the fence India is building is for “climate change refugees.” India is concerned about terrorists hiding in Bangladesh, and about an already prevalent problem with illegal immigration from Bangladesh into India. Most of the linkage of that fence to climate change occurs on climate change blogs.
    We are building a fence along our border with Mexico. It is not primarily to prevent “climate change refugees” from Mexico from entering the US.

    Comment by Don Shor — 20 Jan 2010 @ 7:55 PM

  406. > future generations

    “… each generation inherits substantial climate change caused by CO2 emissions that occurred previously, particularly those of their parents, and shows that current CO2 emissions will contribute significantly to the climate change of future generations. …”

    http://www.pnas.org/content/102/31/10832/F1.medium.gif

    http://www.pnas.org/content/102/31/10832.full

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Jan 2010 @ 8:01 PM

  407. Gilles, when fossil fuel is no longer being burned in great quantities, the damage will ALREADY HAVE BEEN DONE. Do you think the CO2 will just vanish when we stop burning fuel? I hate to tell you this, but the mean atmospheric lifetime of a pulse of CO2 is 200 years.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 20 Jan 2010 @ 8:16 PM

  408. Doug: #404
    I can’t think why you’d try this in a region where coverage is known to be incomplete.

    Obviously because that is where the interpolation and extrapolation algorithms are going to come into play to produce the missing gridcells. And obviously that is where the divergence between HadCRUT and GISS is coming from. I’m not saying that GISS gets materially different results away from the polar areas. I’m saying that GISS gets results at the polar areas that are inconsistent with the known cells from HadCRUT in the polar areas. And I’m saying that the divergence between GISS and HadCRUT is due to the way that the GISS algorithm produces gridcells in the polar area.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 20 Jan 2010 @ 8:31 PM

  409. A clearer image:
    http://www.pnas.org/content/102/31/10832/F1.large.jpg

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Jan 2010 @ 8:49 PM

  410. And this, from a different article, makes the point in words that that chart shows:

    “this much is well established: greenhouse gas levels today are far higher than they’re ever been in the last million years, and the difference between pre-industrial and today’s levels is greater than the difference was between glacial and interglacial levels.”

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/environment/three-cultures-of-climate-science

    Hat tip to MT at http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/ — this link is from his “Shared Items” list.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Jan 2010 @ 8:54 PM

  411. by Don Shor “We are building a fence along our border with Mexico. It is not primarily to prevent “climate change refugees” from Mexico from entering the US.”

    yeah, right

    Comment by flxible — 20 Jan 2010 @ 9:52 PM

  412. Mary – I do speak for myself, and for many others, who see humanity as a part of the whole, not the apex of it or the reason for it . . . . as someone who understands that I was very fortunate to have arrived at a time AND in a place of exceptional opportunity, I also realize that we “developed” types are but a small fraction of the biomass on the planet and have greatly abused our welcome, even those of us who try to “make a difference” . . . I do feel very sorry for those who have to deal with the aftermath of our heyday, just like I feel for those poor beings who endured the middle ages, but the facts are the facts, and if Gaia doesn’t continue to provide those wonderful conditions we stumbled into, as you say, the world will do fine without us . . . when it comes to the intelligence of “civilized” humans, on average half the population is – – yes – – below average.

    So as I said, Joe average needs to be addressed if anything is to be achieved, and mostly they’re distracted by daily survival, not to mention religious conflicts.

    Comment by flxible — 20 Jan 2010 @ 10:00 PM

  413. Tilo Reber says: 20 January 2010 at 8:31 PM

    “And I’m saying that the divergence between GISS and HadCRUT is due to the way that the GISS algorithm produces gridcells in the polar area.”

    If that’s your main assertion, I don’t see how you’re going to support it without doing the whole map. I’m amazed you’re trying to make the claim based on a single raster line.

    Print the image and use a bright light, is my suggestion. It’ll be easier on your eyes. Come to think of it, if you can’t source the data in tabular form you might want to write a little program to extract it from the pictures. Or perhaps GIMP has something that would be of assistance? Good luck.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 20 Jan 2010 @ 10:19 PM

  414. Richard Brenne – as a resident of British Columbia I do pay a carbon tax [on ALL energy], do you? or are we still the only jurisdiction to actually do it? I also live where probably 90% of the electricity comes from hydro power [tolerating the blight on the environment that creates] – I agree with you entirely, except the “morality” of it all is where the problem lies, the way Americans deal with morality is by and large with cash in hand, if not a gun. Humans are first and formost creatures of self-aggrandization [like any other animal really], like it or not.

    From the beginning I have been very grateful and appreciative for Gavins effort [and the group] in running this gauntlet, and I think his very presence here, as well as his patient, measured, intelligent inline comments, speaks volumes for his concern. I’m also glad that they have some help from a few commentors who are well versed on the literature. I share Richard Ordways understanding, particularly as a result of the CBC radio piece mentioned above: Climate Wars, which I think puts things in terms more understandable to “average Americans” . . . I never considered “may you live in interesting times” a curse, I hate boredom :)

    Comment by flxible — 20 Jan 2010 @ 10:29 PM

  415. Flxible (#414):

    I’m glad you pay a carbon tax and wish I did too (I live just south of you in Oregon but have a Canadian
    wife who would like for us to move up there and join you, if the fence isn’t put in by that time)!

    Oregon advertises that our electricity is mostly hydro when it’s 40 per cent at most (this from my friends at the Oregon Department of Energy) so I’d like to see documentation of the 90 per cent hydro figure for BC.

    I share your appreciation for the comments of Richard Ordway and, like you, find Gavin amazing and the average American right now a little less so.

    I’m obsessed with doing just what you suggest, communicating climate change to the average Joe (Sixpack,
    not Romm) and work on an AMS Committee to so, teach a NASA-sponsored Global Climate Change on-line class,
    and producing dozens of events about climate change with top climate scientists – more power to us all!

    Comment by Richard Brenne — 20 Jan 2010 @ 11:27 PM

  416. Doug: #413
    “I’m amazed you’re trying to make the claim based on a single raster line.”

    There are only three gridcell lines that contain almost all the missing gridcells for the Arctic. And there are only 36 rows total. Look at the second line. The GISS interpolation extrapolation contains nothing but 6.5 anomaly and 3 anomaly cells. The second line of HadCrut3 contains many lower anomaly cells. Even some cool anomaly cells. The result will be at least qualitatively the same. The third row and even the fourth row have the same problem, if to a lesser extent. If you like counting and adding pixels, then be my guest. If you can find justification for turning negative anomaly pixels into positive anomaly pixels with a differnce of 6.7 C, even it it were only in a single raster line, which it’s not, I’d like to hear it. What would you hope to show by doing the whole map? The divergence is at the poles. That is exactly what Dr. Hansen is telling you and showing you in his post.

    “Print the image and use a bright light, is my suggestion. It’ll be easier on your eyes.”

    I blew it up to 400% on a 24 inch, 1920 by 1200 screen. But it’s still a pain. When gridcells of the same color flow together you have to find another row to use as a reference for the count and you have to keep them aligned with a straight edge.

    [Response: Why not look at the raw data? Both are available online. – gavin]

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 20 Jan 2010 @ 11:42 PM

  417. BPL : “Gilles, when fossil fuel is no longer being burned in great quantities, the damage will ALREADY HAVE BEEN DONE. Do you think the CO2 will just vanish when we stop burning fuel? I hate to tell you this, but the mean atmospheric lifetime of a pulse of CO2 is 200 years.”

    I understand, but when do you think that the peak of absolute consumption of fossiles will happen ? and how many ppm , which CO2 production per capita , and what GDP per capita corresponds to your scenario in 2050 ? in 2100 ? you seem to have rather precise ideas on the future of the world, I’d like to have these numbers. I’m 45 you know, so for me the practical consequences are limited to four decades.

    Comment by Gilles — 21 Jan 2010 @ 12:28 AM

  418. Tilo Reber said (I paraphrase): HADCRUT and GISS are different!

    I say: Duh.

    The disagreement around the Arctic rim was noticed long, long before you did, Tilo.

    This fact doesn’t make one analysis or the other “better”. We derive our knowledge of high Arctic anomalies from other, independent sources, not from interpolation.

    Personally, I suspect that this difference around the Arctic is caused by the difference in ocean heat transports where melting ice is involved. The re-analysis (which hopefully includes ice dynamics – but I don’t really know) differs slightly from both analyses in the Arctic, but is probably closer to the GISS result.

    Should CRU rush to try to “fix” their Arctic figures? No! Actual scientists are perfectly aware of what the analysis means, and the different analyses complement one another, rather than being meaningless repetition.

    But despite the regional differences, the global data track each other very closely.

    Save your eyesight, Tilo. Real scientists got to it long before you did. And they used (gasp!) a computer to calculate the differences for all grid cells.

    Comment by Didactylos — 21 Jan 2010 @ 1:02 AM

  419. 394
    Hank Roberts says:
    20 January 2010 at 1:26 PM

    “Experiments done at WHOI and elsewhere show that in seawater containing high levels of CO2, corals have difficulty making new skeleton and may have existing skeleton dissolve away; many calcifying plankton struggle; mollusks such as oysters and scallops find it harder to build and maintain shells; and juvenile mollusks grow more slowly and have more abnormalities and lower survival rates.”

    The problem with this statement Hank is that corals evolve when the co2 concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere was over 2000ppm. There are many forms of calcium carbonate, and some are more tolerant of lower pH than others.

    With regard to Oystersm scallops, molluscs (the proper spelling) etc. the result is basically tosh (as Gavin likes to use the word). There is recent research where it has been observed that many mollusc species have actually increased their shell densities in the lower pH environs.

    I work for a fisheries agency. I asked on of our mollusc biologists if he has observe any shell thinning in scallops, abalone or other commercial mollusc species. His answer was a resounding NO. There has been no observed changes in survival, growth rate or any other metric that may be attributable to pH change; There is no evidence in nature, at this time, of any pH related thinning of shell in molluscs or crustaceans, at least in Western Australia.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 21 Jan 2010 @ 1:06 AM

  420. In figs. 5 and 8 there are some gray patches over a part of Africa. Is this missing data?

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 21 Jan 2010 @ 1:06 AM

  421. 383
    Ray Ladbury says:
    20 January 2010 at 11:52 AM

    “Now as to CO2 senitivity estimates–actually these would take into account biology, geology and chemistry unless you are assuming that paleoclimatic conditions wrt these variables were utterly different (Try justifying that!)”

    Please cite the peer-reviewed studies that actually show that biology, chemistry etc. are taken into that account of climate sensitivity. I want references Ray not your word for it.

    “Your assertions wrt acidification and pH betray a truly special ignorance. Just what do you think happens when you dissolve CO2 in water. Ever wonder why soda water tastes sour? See:”

    What are you on about? And by the way the solubility of co2 is INVERSELY proportional to temperature. If SSTs in the tropics are increasing then the proportion of co2 dissolved into those waters declines and potentially, outgassing will occur. If I am wrong, please provide a reference to show that I am wrong. As a biologist who has done hundreds of pH measurements in the marine and estuarine environments, I am confident that I know a good deal more about the subject than you imply.

    “WRT methane:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8437703.stm

    What’s your explanation here? Whale farts?”

    Again. What are you on about. I asked to be directed to data sites and you give me some crappy BBC article. Proper data sites please. Your appeal to ridicule shows your lack of debating ability.

    “OK, now, finally, let’s see if I can overcome that reading program. I said cite works by denialists THAT HAVE INCREASED UNDERSTANDING OF CLIMATE IN THE PAST DECADE!!!!”

    I don’t know of any “denialist” science. The scientists I referred to are not denialists (even by your broad definition i.e. anyone who does not ascribe to Anthropogenic GW caused by co2). The have all contributed significantly to the improvement of our knowlege of climate and climate systems. Period. If you cannot admit to that then state your position as one who regards any science that goes against your personal bias as bad or denialist science. You are so sad Ray.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 21 Jan 2010 @ 1:41 AM

  422. Re. Indian fence to keep out Bangladesh climate change refugees
    Re. 405 Don Shor says:

    “Most of the linkage of that fence to climate change occurs on climate change blogs, There is no evidence that the fence India is building is for “climate change refugees.”

    Don, many legitimate sources (not political “blogs” as you state) write (and sometimes give evidence by on-the-scene reporting) that the fence is being finished with global warming refugees as one of its reasons for existence according to the SFU University, Scientific American, the Seattle Times, the New York Times, The Independent, and the Washington Times.

    To say that there is “no evidence” is ludicrous and shows a lack of even taking the time to try to Google for a minute or even read the citations I gave and stongly brings into question your possible political motivations.

    These sources are hardly blogs or political “think tanks” which are usually political entities. They also come from two different countries: England and the USA.

    Some of “the evidence” that you claim does not exist is being done by multiple on-the scene reporters from different groups/countries who are interviewing the climate change refugees themselves (and cross referencing each other in some cases).

    Please, take the time to read the information this time.

    One article was in the Washington Times this past April that I gave you before (hardly a blog):

    The Washington Times says that the fence between India and Bangladesh is being built to stop “migrants, many displaced by changes in climate.”

    Equity’s estimates are more dire than the U.N.-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which estimates that 22 million people in Bangladesh will be forced from their homes by 2050 because of climate change.

    “India is building a fence along its porous 2,500-mile border with Bangladesh, hoping to stop the flow of migrants, many displaced by changes in climate.”

    The SFU university says “The climate-induced migrants are considered “illegal” eco-migrants.”

    “Many climate-induced displaced families from the border areas have moved to India, Nepal, often to Burma.”

    The Seattle Times also states the phrase “global warming is a reason the fence is being built:”

    “Its 150 million people, about half the U.S. population, jam an area the size of Wisconsin, and the low-lying land is prone to devastating floods and typhoons. Scientists also warn that rising sea levels from global warming could force millions from their homes.”

    http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:SxTN324×5BwJ:www.sfu.ca/cstudies/idfe/climatechange/powerpoint/Zaman_SFU_Climate%2520Chnage_21%2520May09.ppt+india+built+fence+bangladesh+climate+change+refugees&cd=5&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

    The New York Times says:

    “Climate change didn’t bring this fence, but it is providing a fresh reason for its existence and ongoing expansion.”

    “On this side of the fence, rising sea levels caused by climate change are beginning to inundate low-lying Bangladesh. Scientists estimate that by midcentury as many as 15 million people could be displaced.”

    Scientific American also brings up climate change in its article on the Bangladesh fence.

    “Climate change didn’t bring this fence, but it is providing a fresh reason for its existence and ongoing expansion.”

    “In the border village of Harinagar, on the other hand, cross-border climate migration is an everyday cause of stress and concern.”

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=climage-refugees-national-security

    The Independent says: “Floods in the Ganges caused by melting glaciers in the Himalayas are wreaking havoc in Bangladesh leading to a rise in illegal migration to India. This has prompted India to build an immense border fence in attempt to block newcomers.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/water-wars-climate-change-may-spark-conflict-467957.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2009/03/23/23climatewire-a-global-national-security-issue-lurks-at-ba-10247.html

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 21 Jan 2010 @ 2:32 AM

  423. Re: 351 “We have not developed science well enough to make predictions.”

    I’d suggest catching up.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prediction#Anticipatory_science_forecasts

    Re: 362 …ocean acidification crock. “If you think that the biota cannot adapt to changes in ocean pH then you know nothing.”

    I don’t see anything about adaptation in the following. But the predictive power of science is utilized to see what’s going to happen to specific ocean biota. Predictions are used to develop water quality criteria.

    Ocean Acidification and Marine pH Water Quality Criteria
    http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-WATER/2009/April/Day-15/w8638.htm
    (excerpt)
    As more CO2 dissolves in the ocean, it reduces ocean pH, which changes the chemistry of the water. These changes present potential risks across a broad spectrum of marine ecosystems.

    Biological effects are projected based on models that predict lower pH regimes in marine waters over the next 50-100 years. Using these predictions, reduced pH conditions and/or increased CO2 saturation have been simulated in the lab and have shown the potential to impact marine life. The majority of the effects observed in lab studies have occurred at pH levels beyond the allowed variability of 0.2 units in the CWA 304(a) recommended criteria for marine pH. For instance, ocean acidification related reductions in pH is forecast to
    reduce calcification rates in corals and may affect economically
    important shellfish species including oysters, scallops, mussels,
    clams, sea urchins, crabs, and lobsters. A recent field study on marine plankton described reduced shell weight over time “consistent with reduced calcification today induced by ocean acidification” (Moy et al. 2009). One study demonstrated effects at pH changes of less than 0.2, describing effects on squid metabolism (0.2 is the allowed pH variation from normal conditions under current EPA criteria recommendation) (Portner 2008). Impacts to shellfish and other calcifying organisms that represent the base of the food web may have implications for larger organisms that depend on shellfish and other
    calcifying organisms for prey.

    Current research indicates the impact of ocean acidification on marine organisms will largely be negative, and the impacts may differ from one life stage to another. There may be interactions between CO2 saturation, temperature, and other stressors which are not fully understood. Preliminary projections indicate that oceans will become more acidic over time and overall, the net effect is likely to disrupt the normal functioning of many marine and coastal ecosystems.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 21 Jan 2010 @ 2:52 AM

  424. Tilo makes s*t up again: “Obviously because that is where the interpolation and extrapolation algorithms are going to come into play to produce the missing gridcells.”

    Well, there’s also the interpolation and extrapolation that makes the point measurements apply to a large surface area.

    Do you think that the human body temp is actually a lot off 36C just because we only measure it from one spot?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 21 Jan 2010 @ 4:22 AM

  425. Don:
    “We are building a fence along our border with Mexico. It is not primarily to prevent “climate change refugees” from Mexico from entering the US.”

    Not entirely…

    So it is intended for that use.

    Just that and some others.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 21 Jan 2010 @ 4:23 AM

  426. Tilo (#401) counted colored dots in fig. 3 and said:

    So the anomaly for the top row of GISS is 2.25 times as large as that of HadCRUT. It seems to me that this reflect very badly on the GISS interpolation extrapolation algorithm

    No, even if your count is a valid approach, surely it would only say that GISS and HadCRUT gets different results, which was the point of the original post. It wouldn’t say which one of them better reflects reality.

    Has the same test that was done for the GISS analysis in Table 1 above (against model results known with perfect certainty) been done for HadCRUT too, in a way that would allow comparing GISS and HadCRUT? Would it be valid to do a test like that restricted to the Arctic?

    Comment by CM — 21 Jan 2010 @ 5:29 AM

  427. I’m sure it wasn’t the intention of the original poster to convince me that HadCRUT is “better” than GISS, but looking at the images side by side that way, and noticing that the GISS pushers keep it up with what looks to be close to a Mercator projection, my faith in GISS is lower today than it was yesterday.

    Could someone provide the same data in an equal-area projection?

    [Response: Mollweide. (This stuff is easy – download the data in netcdf format from the ‘Maps‘ section at GISTEMP. Then download Panoply, and plot away. – gavin]

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 21 Jan 2010 @ 6:57 AM

  428. 423
    Tim Jones says:
    21 January 2010 at 2:52 AM

    “As more CO2 dissolves in the ocean, it reduces ocean pH, which changes the chemistry of the water. These changes present potential risks across a broad spectrum of marine ecosystems.

    Biological effects are projected based on models that predict lower pH regimes in marine waters over the next 50-100 years. Using these predictions, reduced pH conditions and/or increased CO2 saturation have been simulated in the lab and have shown the potential to impact marine life. The majority of the effects observed in lab studies have occurred at pH levels beyond the allowed variability of 0.2 units in the CWA 304(a) recommended criteria for marine pH. For instance, ocean acidification related reductions in pH is forecast to
    reduce calcification rates in corals and may affect economically
    important shellfish species including oysters, scallops, mussels,
    clams, sea urchins, crabs, and lobsters.”

    Tim please read my response to Hank Roberts (#419). I will take field observation over model projections any day. There has been NO observed reduction in any commercial species of mollusc or crustacean due to pH in the marine environment (particularly Western Australia). Those models and laboratory experiments will be shown to be wrong. Again calcification rates have been shown to increase in some mollusc species under conditions of lowered pH.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 21 Jan 2010 @ 7:54 AM

  429. Richard Steckis: you fail logic. Again.

    How exactly do past observations invalidate future forecasts? And why the obsession with molluscs? And what is your deep-seated objection to providing sources for your claims, instead of “a guy I met down the pub” – oh, forgive me, “on [sic] of our mollusc biologists”?

    Personally, I am much, much more worried about the sensitivity of various types of algae to pH. Richard, your mistake is in imagining that the impacts of ocean acidification are even slightly understood. As it is, your claims that the impacts will somehow be “good” are just silly.

    I find it particularly amusing that you claim “laboratory experiments will be shown to be wrong”. You have already expressed your disdain for model results, and you have discarded (time and time again) direct observations from the real world. Or… wait…. do the rules change when you find something that fits your agenda? Model results are only good when they match your conclusion, laboratory results are wrong only when you disagree with them, and clearly we can’t measure the real world properly – unless you like the result?

    That’s confirmation bias red in tooth and claw. And I’m calling you on it.

    Comment by Didactylos — 21 Jan 2010 @ 8:33 AM

  430. This article appeared Canada wide today:

    http://www.nationalpost.com/m/story.html?id=2465231&s=Home

    Where can I find info to refute the allegations made.

    [Response: What nonsense. He can’t even spell Hansen’s name properly, thinks that NOAA is in charge of the Canadian weather records (I’m guessing Environment Canada will not be happy), and, despite his claim, people at GISS did agree to talk to him, but never got a call. Please see the NCDC description of the GHCN dataset to get a better idea about what this data set is. The bottom line is that the Environment Canada only sends out monthly summaries to the WMO for selected stations and not their entire network. Accusing GISS of ‘manipulation’ for this is like blaming your mail delivery person for the fact that your friend didn’t send you a birthday card. – gavin]

    Comment by Harvey — 21 Jan 2010 @ 8:36 AM

  431. Gilles said: “I’m 45 you know, so for me the practical consequences are limited to four decades.”

    I really wish you hadn’t said that. In essence it means that you are only interested in yourself, and that you are not even slightly concerned about the future welfare of other people.

    I know humanity as a whole is fundamentally selfish – but we don’t usually parade the fact.

    Comment by Didactylos — 21 Jan 2010 @ 8:45 AM

  432. RS: “Biological effects are projected based on models that predict lower pH regimes in marine waters over the next 50-100 years”

    Well, that would be a requirement to consider what would happen to a lower pH regime, wouldn’t it? Assume that pH reduces?

    If you didn’t and assumed pH increases, it wouldn’t change what happens when pH lowers, but it WOULD make it hard to model the magnitude of the effect.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 21 Jan 2010 @ 9:02 AM

  433. Gavin in #427,

    Based on the note to the map coming from your Maps link, the gray patch in Africa is missing data. It seems to go back a few years. And, it seems to affect figs. 5 and 8 above. Here is a link to some weather data in Gabon that might be useful for filling this in: http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/world/city_guides/results.shtml?tt=TT000220

    [Response: The gap is in what is reported to WMO for the monthly summaries. Building an alternative product based on the daily weather reports (which are far more widespread) would be a great citizen-science project and certainly worthwhile, but can’t be done on a casual basis since there are definitely issues in how the means are defined through time and mixing different sources without thinking about it clearly would be a mistake. – gavin]

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 21 Jan 2010 @ 9:10 AM

  434. Re: Panoply — Ooh, cool! (My 9-year-old thinks so, too.) Thanks, NASA.

    Comment by CM — 21 Jan 2010 @ 9:13 AM

  435. Didactylos: “I really wish you hadn’t said that. In essence it means that you are only interested in yourself, and that you are not even slightly concerned about the future welfare of other people.”

    It also shows that his “I’m scared and I don’t know why :-(” was a load of horse-puckey.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 21 Jan 2010 @ 9:21 AM

  436. @428

    Again calcification rates have been shown to increase in some mollusc species under conditions of lowered pH.

    Which species, what percentage of all species (>1?), where, and by whom was this shown?

    Comment by Wildlifer — 21 Jan 2010 @ 9:35 AM

  437. 429
    Didactylos says:
    21 January 2010 at 8:33 AM

    “How exactly do past observations invalidate future forecasts? ”

    They don’t. Did I say such?

    “And why the obsession with molluscs? And what is your deep-seated objection to providing sources for your claims, instead of “a guy I met down the pub” – oh, forgive me, “on [sic] of our mollusc biologists”?”

    Because molluscs and crustaceans will be among the first indicator species of pH change. The rest of your statement is straw man rubbish.

    “Personally, I am much, much more worried about the sensitivity of various types of algae to pH. Richard, your mistake is in imagining that the impacts of ocean acidification are even slightly understood. As it is, your claims that the impacts will somehow be “good” are just silly.”

    This is more straw man rubbish attributing to me statements that I have never made. Where did I ever say the impact would be good? Or that the impacts of changes in ocean pH are well understood?

    “I find it particularly amusing that you claim “laboratory experiments will be shown to be wrong”. You have already expressed your disdain for model results, and you have discarded (time and time again) direct observations from the real world.”

    The lab experiments will fail because they cannot simulate the natural world. Even with mesocosms. The second part of the statement is more Didactlylos construction of what I have never said. I do not disdain models I disdain their mis-use. Real world observations discarded? Where?

    “Or… wait…. do the rules change when you find something that fits your agenda? ”

    Boy, this is really a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

    “laboratory results are wrong only when you disagree with them, and clearly we can’t measure the real world properly – unless you like the result?”

    No. Lab results are wrong when they are wrong. Let me explain here. By wrong I mean that the results do not accurately reflect the real world. We still have to sample from the real world. Lab studies will give us insights but not accurate answers to the functioning of a particular system. We can do more to measure the real world. Of course we cannot ever measure it in-toto.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 21 Jan 2010 @ 9:48 AM

  438. Didactylos – Give Gilles a break, aisde from English obviously being his 2nd language, he did specify “practical” consequences, which is really the only thing relevent to promoting action on the part of the population that are onboard concerning the condition of the planet, which likely means in fact they are concerned about the future.

    Comment by flxible — 21 Jan 2010 @ 9:55 AM

  439. Wildlifer, Steckis is probably referring to this recent paper, which under laboratory conditions it was shown that 10 of 18 mollusk (the correct US spelling) species showed reduced calcification, but 7 showed increased calcification.

    In Steckis’s world, you must ignore the 10 and focus exclusively on the 7, and therefore conclude that acidification is not a problem.

    Comment by dhogaza — 21 Jan 2010 @ 9:59 AM

  440. Tilo, can you really not see that you are ASSUMING that HADCRUT is always right where there is a divergence with GISS? And given that the overall masked anomaly is the same, you’re rather assuming against the evidence.

    By the way, did you realize that the grids are set up differently in GISS and HadCRUT? (GISS uses a scheme of 8000 equal-area grids; HadCRUT, like the NCDC scheme, uses 5 x 5 degree boxes then weights for the unequal areas.) What significance that has for your attempts to do a direct comparison based upon an image that, per map, should run about 100 x 100 pixels, I leave you to ponder.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 21 Jan 2010 @ 10:00 AM

  441. Steckis @421
    The paleoclimate estimates of CO2 sensitivity are global measurements–they show the temperature response to a change in energy. So unless you are claiming that the biology, geology, etc. are very different now than they were then, those effects are all included. No just in case you are claiming such a differenc, we have the response of the climate to volcanic eruptions and the general respons exhibited in the 20th century. Guess what: They all point to 3 degrees per doubling. Occams razor cuts through your Gordian knot. I strongly recommend the review by Knutti and Hegerl in Nature Geo.

    Steckis says, “Proper data sites please.”

    Ask and ye shall receive:

    http://globalchange.mit.edu/files/document/MITJPSPGC_Reprint08-20.pdf

    and as usual, Tamino was right on top of it:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/12/26/the-other-anthropogenic-greenhouse-gas/

    Steckis: “And by the way the solubility of co2 is INVERSELY proportional to temperature.”

    Actually, it depends on the chemical potential, which is temperature dependent. It also depends on atmospheric concentration, and since temperature is rising rougly linearly, while CO2 is rising exponentially…

    Steckis: “If SSTs in the tropics are increasing then the proportion of co2 dissolved into those waters declines and potentially, outgassing will occur.”

    Oh, that’d be a lot of fun now. Isn’t that one of those tipping points you don’t want to acknowledge. Own goooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllll!! as they say in Latin America.

    Regarding denialist scientists: “The have all contributed significantly to the improvement of our knowlege of climate and climate systems.”

    Then isn’t it funny that you can’t cite a single article they’ve published in the past decade that significantly increased understanding of climate science. Hmm. Now even one?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 21 Jan 2010 @ 10:12 AM

  442. Richard Brenne
    I’ve heard about 90% everywhere for some time. The Province says [bottom] 92.8%, Wikipedia says 80%. AFAIK there’s only a couple natural gas fueled back up generators in the system, no public oil fired except isolated northern communities, and no coal used [just mined and exported].

    Official figures are confused, here and in Oregon, due to grid inter-dependence, you’ve likely been getting hydro power from here at times in the past, but that’ll be unsure in the future. BC has been IMporting about 10% of it’s power for some years now, population/economic growth outstripping existing supply [varies with seasonal availability/demand], but the Provincial govt has been aiming at public/private “run of river” projects since at least 2002, and that’s moving along

    Locally, we’re 100%, the Comox Lake/Puntledge River generating station near me is one of the older ones in the province – I’ve thought about investigating it’s projected useful life as it supplies all power locally, and some of that feeds the grid for the whole Island – when the glacial lake isn’t too low, which has been happening of late in a dry early fall, after years of less snow. :)

    Comment by flxible — 21 Jan 2010 @ 10:21 AM

  443. 436
    Wildlifer says:
    21 January 2010 at 9:35 AM

    “@428

    Again calcification rates have been shown to increase in some mollusc species under conditions of lowered pH.

    Which species, what percentage of all species (>1?), where, and by whom was this shown?”

    See: http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=7545&tid=282&cid=63809&ct=162

    And for you Didactlylos a quote from the above site:

    “Organisms displaying such improvement also included calcifying red and green algae, limpets and temperate urchins. Mussels showed no effect.”

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 21 Jan 2010 @ 10:23 AM

  444. Richard Steckis, what about a balanced overview of all of the available evidence on ocean acidification, instead of your usual practice of citing what you like and ignoring everything else?

    For anyone who is interested, read the report from the Second Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World, held in 2008 and attanded by 220 scientists from 32 countries.

    Yes, sure the problem is complex, there are many uncertainties and more research is needed but after reading this can anyone really say this is “the good old ocean acidification crock”? “NO NO NO it is not happening fast”? “No measurable effects”?

    Comment by Igor Samoylenko — 21 Jan 2010 @ 10:39 AM

  445. 422 Richard Ordway says: Don, many legitimate sources (not political “blogs” as you state) write (and sometimes give evidence by on-the-scene reporting) that the fence is being finished with global warming refugees as one of its reasons for existence according to the SFU University, Scientific American, the Seattle Times, the New York Times, The Independent, and the Washington Times.

    To say that there is “no evidence” is ludicrous and shows a lack of even taking the time to try to Google for a minute or even read the citations I gave and stongly brings into question your possible political motivations.

    I looked at your links. They were excellent examples of the common tendency to link everything to climate change, no matter how far-fetched. The Indian government started the fence and continues to justify it on the basis of national security. Other people are ascribing climate change as their motive.

    I guess all of the folks who moved from New Orleans to Houston and other areas — some 25% of the city’s population, by some estimate — are also “climate refugees” whose displacement was caused by climate change?

    I will keep in mind that newspaper reporters are now reliable sources on this blog. They have a sterling track record to date, and are known for their astute and probing analysis of climate change issues.

    I have no “political motives.” That is just stupid, but is, of course, an ongoing theme here at realclimate.

    Comment by Don Shor — 21 Jan 2010 @ 10:52 AM

  446. Richard Steckis, love that last line from the report on the Woods Hole experiments you cite: ““The bottom line is that we really need to bring down CO2 levels in the atmosphere.”

    (And BTW, weren’t you decrying lab experiments a couple of comments back?)

    Anyway, here’s another one, worth a look for those interested:

    http://www.reinat.com/lpmnm/benthic_reef_environment/lesson5/Kuffner_et_al2007NatureGeo.pdf

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 21 Jan 2010 @ 10:55 AM

  447. 441
    Ray Ladbury says:
    21 January 2010 at 10:12 AM

    Ray. Thanks for the reference. But otherwise you are off the mark as usual.

    Chemical potential is a red herring. The chemical potential is more dependent on the changes in volume for a given pressure. Temperature is part of the equation for chemical potential but is not the primary dependent for chemical potential. http://www.geol.umd.edu/pages/facilities/lmdr/chmpot.htm

    No Ray. Outgassing of co2 is not a tipping point. It is a natural process that goes on all the time with the increase of a temperature of a water body.
    goal prevented!!!!!

    Regarding denialist scientists. I know of none. I know of lots of sceptical scientists and I have directed you to a listing of over 500 peer reviewed papers by said scientists. Get off this one Ray, You are losing badly.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 21 Jan 2010 @ 11:03 AM

  448. Richard Steckis said: “The lab experiments will fail because they cannot simulate the natural world.” and then cited a press release for the recent paper by Ries et al, which did just that – lab experiments. So, which way is it? Or are you OK with lab experiments as long as they produce results you like?

    Richard Steckis also said: “And for you Didactlylos a quote from the above site:

    “Organisms displaying such improvement also included calcifying red and green algae, limpets and temperate urchins. Mussels showed no effect.””

    And here is another quote from the same press release for you (in case you missed it):

    Conversely, some organisms—such as the soft clam and the oyster—showed a clear reduction in calcification in proportion to increases in CO2.

    And the conclusion by Ries:

    “The oceans absorb much of the CO2 that we release to the atmosphere,” Ries says. However, he warns that this natural buffer may ultimately come at a great cost.

    “It’s hard to predict the overall net effect on benthic marine ecosystems,” he says. “In the short term, I would guess that the net effect will be negative. In the long term, ecosystems could re-stabilize at a new steady state.

    “The bottom line is that we really need to bring down CO2 levels in the atmosphere.”

    Comment by Igor Samoylenko — 21 Jan 2010 @ 11:06 AM

  449. 446
    Kevin McKinney says:
    21 January 2010 at 10:55 AM

    “And BTW, weren’t you decrying lab experiments a couple of comments back?”

    Yes and this one is no different. That is why we now have to get out and observe in nature.

    Good reference. The only problem is that Kaneohe Bay is a eutrophic environment and not a good place to conduct such an experiment.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 21 Jan 2010 @ 11:14 AM

  450. “I guess all of the folks who moved from New Orleans to Houston and other areas are also “climate refugees” whose displacement was caused by climate change?”

    If the sea level rises a foot, yes.

    That one foot difference makes a BIG difference to how badly they will be affected by flooding and storms and mean the evacuation.

    At the moment, the people have moved back. And the seas have not risen by enough to definitely cause the area to be uninhabitable.

    So they aren’t a climate refugee. *Yet*.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 21 Jan 2010 @ 11:20 AM

  451. This one is for Barton Paul Levenson.

    Have you not considered that another reason for the decline in Krill may be due to the increase in Whale populations (their main food by the way for baleen whales) since the close of whaling in Antarctica? Part of that 30% loss may be just bringing the Krill population back to pre-whaling levels.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 21 Jan 2010 @ 11:25 AM

  452. RS should have read more.

    From the link he gave:

    “The “take-home message, “ says Cohen, is that “we can’t assume that elevated CO2 causes a proportionate decline in calcification of all calcifying organisms.””

    But RS wants to take home the message that this

    a) causes no decline in calcification in all organisms
    b) causes no decline in some organisms (if he can’t get you to swallow a)

    And later on it says:

    “Conversely, some organisms—such as the soft clam and the oyster—showed a clear reduction in calcification in proportion to increases in CO2.”

    Do we eat “red and green algae, limpets and temperate urchins”?

    And later still

    “But there were a couple that didn’t respond to CO2 or didn’t respond till it was sky-high—about 2,800 parts per million. We’re not expecting to see that [CO2 level] anytime soon.””

    A couple.

    Yeah, that’s enough to keep a viable ecosystem going…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 21 Jan 2010 @ 11:25 AM

  453. I just heard on NPR that it is so warm in Vancouver that there may not be enough snow for the Winter Olympics. Those who are cold in the US should take a nice warm vacation to the north. On the other hand, the mud ski enthusiasts could do well in the competition.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 21 Jan 2010 @ 11:28 AM

  454. “he did specify “practical” consequences,”

    But he didn’t say “in my lifetime, for me, here in $WHEREVER”.

    A practical consequence is that what he is doing now will harm people living after him.

    A car driver doing 50 past a school hits a kid and kills them.

    But apart from having to clean the car and take out the dents, the driver is fine.

    So why do we prosecute merely *driving* fast past a school???

    Why do we expect *good* drivers to care about harm done to SOMEONE ELSE by THEIR driving?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 21 Jan 2010 @ 11:34 AM

  455. “Richard Steckis says:
    21 January 2010 at 11:25 AM

    This one is for Barton Paul Levenson.

    Have you not considered that another reason for the decline in Krill may be due to the increase in Whale populations”

    Have you checked that it’s not the inclusion of more raunchy videos on MTV from Lady Gaga?

    OK, that was silly, but you can’t just go out and give “it could be X” if you don’t know whether the change can explain the result you wish to attribute it to.

    Doing so is lazy and I can’t be arsed putting more effort into making you look an idiot if you can’t expend at least SOME effort in trying not to act like one.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 21 Jan 2010 @ 11:37 AM

  456. “Yes and this one is no different. That is why we now have to get out and observe in nature.”

    And how do you know what you should be observing in nature if you don’t PREDICT what should happen?

    And didn’t Arrhenius do just this? Predict there should be some warming, then we measure that there was?

    So isn’t this AGW science really the science you’re complaining that it isn’t?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 21 Jan 2010 @ 11:38 AM

  457. I’ve got to get off this site and do some work, but–

    Don Shor wrote “I guess all of the folks who moved from New Orleans to Houston and other areas — some 25% of the city’s population, by some estimate — are also “climate refugees” whose displacement was caused by climate change?”

    Well, maybe, in part at least. As far as I know, there has been no formal attribution of Katrina to climate change, and maybe the methodology to do so doesn’t even exist. So there’s no way to claim “scientifically” that Katrina was a climate change influenced event. And obviously, infrastructure inadequacy and (engineered) wetland loss played big roles.

    But it cuts both ways–there’s also no way to prove that Katrina wasn’t influenced by climate change. And on the face of it, I don’t think it’s an unreasonable speculation that, given a generally cooler climate, the “unusually warm” waters that fuelled Katrina from Cat 3 to Cat 5 in about 9 hours might have been a bit cooler too–and that consequently, Katrina might have made landfall with a smaller surge, one that didn’t result in catastrophic failure of the levees.

    We need to avoid “false positives” in attribution, but also “false negatives.”

    What we can say is that with continuation of the observed sea level rise, a lot of other large cities are going to be in New Orlean’s position over the coming decades. (Mike Tidwell points this out at length in his book “The Ravaging Tide.”) And New Orlean’s position is going to be much worse, particularly as it has been reported that the repairs to the levees–about $15 billion worth!–are such that another Katrina would predictably cause failure. (BTW, the number I found for the direct cost of Katrina was $110 billion–I’m not sure exactly what is, or is not, included in that estimate.)

    And they say mitigation is too expensive. . .

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 21 Jan 2010 @ 11:53 AM

  458. CM: #426
    “Tilo (#401) counted colored dots in fig. 3 and said:”

    I didn’t just count colored dots. I computed the average anomaly values for those dots.

    CM:
    “No, even if your count is a valid approach, surely it would only say that GISS and HadCRUT gets different results, which was the point of the original post.”

    No, it’s not a take your pick scenario at all. HadCRUT gives us results where they have measurements. And those results have a close relationship with those measurements. GISS gives us results that have been produced by interpolation, extrapolation and the UHI algorithms. And those are giving irrational results at the poles. Look at the row of cooled HadCRUT cells in the top 2005 row. GISS has changed them by 6.7 C or more. What could possibly justify such a difference. The point of the article was to explain that the difference between the two data sets was infill. It didn’t exlain why the process gave such drastically different results for cells that were represented by both data sets. And it didn’t explain why the extrapolations were so far from available measured values.

    Now look at the top right area of GISS 98 and look at the same top right area of GISS 05. That shows you that there are a bunch of cells up there that have changed their values by +6.7 C in 7 years – when there was no warming for the rest of the globe. Look at the change of the lowest Antarctic line for GISS 98 and for GISS 05. The change is almost as drastic in the + direction and equally as irrational. So the GISS interpolation extrapolation algorithms don’t make sense – even when they are compared to themselves.

    CM
    “It wouldn’t say which one of them better reflects reality.”

    If you look at the middle areas of both HadCRUT and GISS it looks like there is a smoothing effect that is done due to the GISS algorithms. Some hot HadCRUT cells are cooled and some cool HadCRUT cells are warmed. There is no obvious bias that I can see. So I think that we could say that if one reflect reality, the other probably does also. This seems to break down at the poles. There is definitely a GISS bias. The outcome looks very very different from the available HadCRUT cells. And we have to assume that the available HadCRUT cells are a product of the available stations. But the GISS bias doesn’t look like it’s a one sided bias. It looks like it’s more of an effect amplification bias. In 1998 it produced a couple of polar areas that look like they are a little cooler than they should be. And in 05 it looks like they produced polar areas that are much hotter than they should be.

    [edit]

    [Response: Tilo, this is beyond silly. The full data sets are available online where you can analyse them exactly instead of getting into dumb arguments about pixels and contour intervals. Then you can do exactly the same exercise as Hansen did and make a proper determination of whether the extrapolation is valid or not. You will never do that from squinting at two low resolution jpgs on a blog post. If you want to make serious points, do serious analysis. – gavin]

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 21 Jan 2010 @ 12:13 PM

  459. If I may make a humble suggestion to my fellow commenters here, the release of the NASA-GISS data provides an opportunity to educate the public about the science, and to at least highlight the bogus-ness (is that a word?) of the “global cooling” claim. There is major legislation pending here in the US and we should make our voices heard.

    We are scattered around the world and while we may not have the stature of someone like Gavin but we can at least make the scientific case to our local newspapers. I wrote a letter to the editor of our local paper that I believe will be published (the editor just called me for confirmation), and there are so many knowledgeable and persuasive writers here who can do the same, if you are not already doing so. We can send copies to our elected leaders; it may help.

    OK, enough advocacy – back to the science.

    Comment by Deech56 — 21 Jan 2010 @ 12:15 PM

  460. As Igor points out:

    Steckis: “Organisms displaying such improvement also included calcifying red and green algae, limpets and temperate urchins.”

    Mmmmm! Those do sound tastey, don’t they!!!

    Too bad about things we actually could eat.

    “Conversely, some organisms—such as the soft clam and the oyster—showed a clear reduction in calcification in proportion to increases in CO2.”

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 21 Jan 2010 @ 12:27 PM

  461. Apologies if this has been answered already (I can’t read all 457 comments, most of which seem to be off-topic!) but how does Hansen justify the dark red area at the North pole in fig 3? And the corresponding spike at 90N that is not in this article but is quite striking in the plot if you go to the GISS web page. Clearly this cannot arise through interpolation. I don’t think he has explained this adequately.

    [Response: You are mistaken, there is nothing else going on except interpolation. Look at the maps with the 250km radius of influence and you will see that the northernmost stations were extremely warm in December. The North Pole number in the 1200km map is smaller than the value of the northernmost latitude in the sparser dataset as you would expect from an interpolation routine. – gavin]

    Comment by PaulM — 21 Jan 2010 @ 12:38 PM

  462. Richard Steckis, your sources don’t support your argument. Tough luck – citation-mining isn’t enough. You have to read it, and make sure you don’t ignore all the details.

    From your own link:
    “The bottom line is that we really need to bring down CO2 levels in the atmosphere.”

    Comment by Didactylos — 21 Jan 2010 @ 12:46 PM

  463. FU – “A practical consequence is that what he is doing now will harm people living after him.”

    As you obviously have no idea what he’s doing now, that’s total assumption, ignoring what he actually said, which seemed to me to indicate he was living at a way lower consumption level than yer average yank. This site is about AGW globally and historically and scientifically, but that doesn’t preclude individual, personal, political, practical level discussion does it? Allow for folks who already have a lifestyle way less problematic than your countrymates but want to understand practical aspects of how they might contribute to a solution, beyond consuming different technology.

    It’d be helpful to see a little less of the attack dog mentality in the comments here. Some one questioning in an apparently naive way isn’t necessarily a denialer, or attacking the science or the scientists or humanity, they’re searching for understandable information and direction – and some can’t express themselves any more clearly than your usually cryptic offerings. What relation does speeding in a school zone bear to his question about time scales and a possible personal response to the constant predictions of disaster and mayhem from some concerning AGW? do you know he even uses a car much or at all?

    Comment by flxible — 21 Jan 2010 @ 12:54 PM

  464. Gavin, I don’t think this can be right. The bit above Svalbard is pale orange in the masked version. Then it goes to dark brown in the final version!

    Secondly, if it is just interpolation, why does Hansen speak of ‘interpolation and extrapolation’?

    [Response: Psychic I am not, but the NP number is interpolated from surrounding stations. – gavin]

    Comment by PaulM — 21 Jan 2010 @ 1:04 PM

  465. RE #230, Richard, &:

    3. We can and should wait until the science is in (and it isn’t) before making any decisions on climate change.
    4. The situation is not as urgent as you make it out to be.
    5. Why do we have science at all when we have people like yourself saying let’s go with our gut rather than wait for the truth? You are basically saying that gut feelings are more important than the science.

    You sound exactly like my senator in her responses to me — Sen. Kathryn Bailey Hutchison (R, TX), the most highly paid politico by the oil industry. See her “environmental record” at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kay_Bailey_Hutchison .

    I hope you’re getting also something out of it, and that you don’t have grandchildren to be concerned about.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 21 Jan 2010 @ 1:42 PM

  466. “Some one questioning in an apparently naive way isn’t necessarily a denialer, or attacking the science or the scientists or humanity,”

    Someone questioning would be better served with the “Start Here” button in most cases.

    And so many of those turning up with doe-eyes then turn around when answered in a way that shows AGW is robust to their query, they then turn all attack dog.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 21 Jan 2010 @ 2:00 PM

  467. Guys, the images are not the data. The images are low-resolution representations of the data. You are “looking at the finger, not at the moon.”

    Please do what Gavin suggests and look at the data.

    [Response: I doubt that will help. He appears to think that HadCRUT mask is the same thing as the HadCRUT temperatures and thinks that the interpolation is changing HadCRUT cold temps into warm temps. However, it’s obvious to me that the ‘cold’ boxes in question are SST data, not met station data, and thus come from two different sources Reynolds vs. HadISST2. Thus the differences in that location between GISTEMP and HadCRUT are not due in the slightest to interpolation issues, but to source data issues – and I’m going to guess – the difference in how the two SST products deal with partially ice covered ocean. – gavin]

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 21 Jan 2010 @ 2:00 PM

  468. Richard Steckis – You won’t like this one either.
    in situ study confirms predictions of deleterious effects of elevated pCO2 on ecosystems
    http://www.bioexpress.ac.cn/upload/20080704-nature07051.pdf

    Comment by Pat Cassen — 21 Jan 2010 @ 2:05 PM

  469. oh yes, my favorite for the denialists, so listen attentively too Mr.Steckis: CO2 up 38%, nutritious value of wheats due that 38% increase in atmospheric CO2, 8% down. 9 Billion it won’t be by 2050, talking about the successor to homo erectus!

    Comment by Sekerob — 21 Jan 2010 @ 2:15 PM

  470. Gavin:
    “The full data sets are available online where you can analyse them exactly instead of getting into dumb arguments about pixels and contour intervals.”

    Actually, I’ve been doing just that. I’ve been looking for stations that justify the extremes in extrapolation and I can’t seem to find any. The one that comes closest and that covers 98 and 05 and is way way north is Vize Island. It has a difference of about 4.5 C between 98 and 05. But that’s still not the 6.7 C between 98 and 05 that the chart shows. Much more typical for the far north stations on the Russian side is a difference of 2 to 2.5 C between 98 and 05.

    [Response: It’s because the differences are in the SST not the stations data at all. The clue is in the fact that there isn’t any land there. It’s got nothing to do with any interpolation procedure. – gavin]

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 21 Jan 2010 @ 2:45 PM

  471. If GCMs had predicted the cold winter, this all might have a hint of legitimacy. However, The Met Office forecast a warm winter, continuing a long streak of seasonal mispredictions.

    [Response: Seasonal forecasts are a whole different set of models, a different set of problems, and different people doing it – it has very little (i.e. nothing) to do with either temperature records or climate projections. – gavin]

    Comment by TH — 21 Jan 2010 @ 3:06 PM

  472. Richard Steckis & others — This paper
    Atmospheric CO2 concentrations during ancient greenhouse climates were similar to those predicted for A.D. 2100
    http://www.pnas.org/content/107/2/576
    suggessts, at a minimum, that we cannot be certain that atmospheric CO2 levels were ever much above 1000 ppm.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 21 Jan 2010 @ 3:07 PM

  473. @443
    So all we know is at least 7 percent of the known species don’t have problems with acidification.

    And their take-home message is still:
    “The bottom line is that we really need to bring down CO2 levels in the atmosphere.”

    Comment by Wildlifer — 21 Jan 2010 @ 3:07 PM

  474. Gavin:
    “He appears to think that HadCRUT mask is the same thing as the HadCRUT temperatures”

    No, I think that the HadCRUT mask is a mask that takes the HadCRUT gridcells with no coverage and then changes the corresponding GISS gridcells to also have no coverage. Do I have that wrong? But if I am right, then why do GISS gridcells that are not removed by the HadCRUT mask change their values?

    Gavin:
    “and thinks that the interpolation is changing HadCRUT cold temps into warm temps.”

    No, I’m looking at HadCRUT cells to give me an idea of about what the measurements for the GISS gridcells would be if they had not been run through the GISS algorithms. I’m then assuming that the difference between the GISS gridcells and the HadCRUT gridcells is mostly due to the algorithms.

    “However, it’s obvious to me that the ‘cold’ boxes in question are SST data, not met station data, and thus come from two different sources”

    Interesting point. You may be right about that. I can’t find the land based stations that would justify those cool cells in HadCRUT. I was trying to figure out if the difference might be USHCN adjustments. Your explanation is more likely. But I wonder, if SST data is available for that area, why wouldn’t GISS also use it instead of extrapolating to the sea from the land. When I look at the rest of the globe I don’t see any sharp temperature distinctions when moving from land cells to sea cells. If having partially ice covered ocean produces a difference in sea surface temperature, then is it appropriate to extrapolate land based values to the ocean.

    [Response: Have you read any of the papers on GISTEMP? All of this is explained. – gavin]

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 21 Jan 2010 @ 3:15 PM

  475. Gavin:
    “It’s because the differences are in the SST not the stations data at all. The clue is in the fact that there isn’t any land there. It’s got nothing to do with any interpolation procedure. – gavin]”

    Sorry Gavin, we may be talking at cross purposes now. In the post you are addressing I was comparing GISS 98 to GISS 05. If you look at the area north of Siberia, the gridcells show a change from 98 to 05 of 6.7 C for a large group of cells. I was trying to find Siberian stations that justified such a change. But I couldn’t. It looks like 2.5 C is more realistic.

    Just to be sure that I haven’t got your answer wrong – might you be saying that those cells are also represented by SST in GISS. And if that is so, then why wouldn’t HadCRUT also have those cells filled with SST data?

    [Response: This is like nailing jelly to the wall. I really should be doing something different…. You started off talking about ‘6 boxes’ of cooler temps in HadCRUT being changed by the GISTEMP interpolation. Do I take it that this is no longer your concern? (Perhaps you might want to update them at WTF). Now you are talking about eyeballing the difference between two years, when you could just calculate the difference. There is nothing mysterious here – go look at the code. – gavin]

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 21 Jan 2010 @ 3:38 PM

  476. Re #430. Did the reduction of weather sites change the trend? As D’aleo and Smith seem to contend that there is a bias, have they presented any data to dispute the existing findings? I’m sure data from all sites are available(for a price of course). Proof of this should be incredibly easy (but timec-consuming) to come by if there has been meaningful cherry picking (accidental or otherwise.
    On a side note at least the site in Canada mentioned in the article is not in the vicinity of an airport (unlike almost all other Arctic sites in Canada).

    [Response: No. – gavin]

    Comment by Riesz — 21 Jan 2010 @ 3:44 PM

  477. I’d like to ask, what is your point to answer schleptics like Tilo Reber or Richard Steckis again and again and again and again. These guys are noise machines: nothing new, just dead-beaten horse corpsesn all over again. Is this some sort of educational stuff, huh?

    Comment by Petro — 21 Jan 2010 @ 3:48 PM

  478. Tilo,
    it’s not a compelling objective argument that it “looks like” the GISS analysis produced polar areas that are much hotter than in your personal opinion they “should be”. And after Gavin’s pointed out that the two using different SST products (#467 and #470), I’m not going to lose sleep about those top-row pixels.

    Comment by CM — 21 Jan 2010 @ 3:53 PM

  479. “This statement is wrong on many counts.

    1. You are confusing statistical probability (95% confidence) with scientific interpretation.
    2. The IPCC is not conservative times 1000 because many scientists who disagree with an interpretation are ignored.
    3. We can and should wait until the science is in (and it isn’t) before making any decisions on climate change.
    4. The situation is not as urgent as you make it out to be.
    5. Why do we have science at all when we have people like yourself saying let’s go with our gut rather than wait for the truth? You are basically saying that gut feelings are more important than the science.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 19 January 2010 @ 12:22 AM”

    You needs to do yerself sum larnin’ ’bout risk assessment. Where the worst possible case is bad enough, it must be dealt with. Ex.:

    Hurricane coming.
    Tides 25 – 30 ft.
    House at 27.

    Winds at 120 – 150mph.
    House good to 135.

    What d’ya do?

    Here’s ACC:
    No mitigation = very changed planet
    Mitigation = possibly very changed planet
    Deep and fast changes = fair possibility of stabilizing planet at levels close enough to current to not disrupt the planetary system so much that there is systemic change/collapse that we cannot adjust to in a timely fashion.

    Given the polls I’ve seen all show climate scientists largely doubting we will succeed in stabilizing at or near 2C above pre-industrial, I strongly suggest you…

    Pull yer hed outta yer butte.

    And, do some reading on Rapid Climate Change, what we know of tipping points, and non-linear systems.

    Comment by ccpo — 21 Jan 2010 @ 4:09 PM

  480. Tilo, you seem to have missed the point that there is not a one-to-one correspondence between GISS (8000 equal-area cells) and Hadley grid cells (5,184 5×5 degree unequal-area cells.) So there is no “corresponding grid cell.”

    Also, you seem to miss the point made by Gavin that the the algorithms use different SST datasets. Ie., GISS doesn’t usually “extrapolate from land.”

    See steps 4 & 5 in this discussion:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/sources/gistemp.html

    Petro, I’ve been asking myself the same question. Must be addictive, I suppose.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 21 Jan 2010 @ 4:29 PM

  481. TH says: 21 January 2010 at 3:06 PM

    “If GCMs had predicted the cold winter, this all might have a hint of legitimacy. However, The Met Office forecast a warm winter, continuing a long streak of seasonal mispredictions.”

    Better to speak from an informed perspective. Before you say another thing, be sure to read this:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/GCM.htm

    Unless you’ve got a solid grasp of the major content of that article, you’re going to be prone to making poor comparisons such as that in your comment.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 21 Jan 2010 @ 4:37 PM

  482. The title of the essay is already a bit outdated. It’s been mild in the U.S. recently.

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_07a.rnl.html

    I guess the ice age is over.

    Comment by MarkB — 21 Jan 2010 @ 4:43 PM

  483. Riesz says: 21 January 2010 at 3:44 PM

    “I’m sure data from all sites are available(for a price of course).”

    Yes, and while I could say I’m mystified as to why doubters don’t substitute money for endless yapping and buy the data, I’d be dishonest.

    Doubting meteorologists in particular will be well familiar with sources for data, the commercial limitations on access and distribution of data, yet they choose to tout accusations of incompetence if not conspiracy theories to advance their agenda of doubt.

    So no mystery, instead only a couple of alternative interpretations. Either the objective is to deceive, or doubters don’t care to find out what’s really going on because it’ll be contrary to their message.

    Pass the hat, doubters. Buy the data, build a case if you can.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 21 Jan 2010 @ 4:49 PM

  484. Didactylos: “I really wish you hadn’t said that. In essence it means that you are only interested in yourself, and that you are not even slightly concerned about the future welfare of other people.”

    Didactylos, first I’m sorry, English is not my native language indeed and I can be misunderstood.
    Note first that I asked a precise question just before (it was actually addressing BPL imaginary world : in which kind of scenario would people in 50 years have an almost vanishing fossile consumption AND a catastrophic AGW ? this is a nonsense for me).

    Second ; I just try to be honest. I am fairly concerned about other people. Meaning that I try to do as less harm as possible, and I give reasonable amounts of money to charity organizations. I have raised my children honestly, giving them what I think is a good education. But of course it has some limits, I won’t get poor with all my family just for the sake of chinese and Bengladeshi people; and honestly you won’t either, because there are a lot of people NOW (totally independantly of AGW) whose welfare is much less than yours and it doesn’t prevent you to sleep. So I can’t really see the argument that welfare of people in 50 years is much more important than that of currently living people.

    But there is more : it seems obvious for you that MY action will have a strong impact on the guys living in 50 years. Hmmm … strange idea after all. The future of GW depends essentially of the amount of fossile fuels burnt above some limit, which is not exactly known but should be around 5 or 600 GtC, say, may be we can offer up to 1000 GtC. But how can I control NOW if people IN 50 YEARS will burn – or not – some 1000 ou 2000 GtC more of fossile -essentially coal actually – and worst, unknown coal. I don’t know AT ALL which people will burn it or why, and how the hell could I influence that in any way , PRACTICALLY ? think of the inverse problem : how can YOUR current standard of living be influenced in any way by what some chinese people did 50 years ago in a far country ????

    There is a very, very, very strange theory among the economists : that growth is fixed anyway by some magical law, and that we could change the total amount of fossile we will burn in the future just by adapting energy intensity. That’s a very very strange theory because it assumes that the fuel you don’t burn now will NEVER be burnt, neither now nor in the future , by ANYBODY – and particularly this possible huge amount of coal that nobody knows where it is. But wait .. things have NEVER worked like that ! each time we have made improvement in energy use, we just use this opportunity to produce more goods and a better life for more people, with all the energy we can produce. Not the same wealth with fewer energy, but a larger wealth with the same energy. we have never stopped- to my knowledge – extracting oil, coal, or gas when some was still left in the ground, before they were exhausted. And certainly not under the pretext that somebody did not use it 50 years ago and so nobody should use it again -which is of course totally impossible to evaluate and is most obviously something nobody cares AT ALL. So explain me how anything I can do NOW will have the slightest influence on the welfare of people living in 50 years – or equivalently, please tell me what a chinese guy should have done 50 years ago to improve your welfare now exactly ?

    Comment by Gilles — 21 Jan 2010 @ 4:54 PM

  485. “So explain me how anything I can do NOW will have the slightest influence on the welfare of people living in 50 years”

    Cut your energy use, change to non-fossil fuels.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 21 Jan 2010 @ 5:34 PM

  486. That portion of the population that thinks warmer global temps are a good thing, and don’t think it will have any significant effect might want to reconsider: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120498442

    “It’s like our map of the area vulnerable to 27 inches of sea level rise looks like someone took a razor to the state right above Miami and sliced off everything below that,” said Frank Ackerman, a senior economist at the Stockholm Environment Institute, who has studied what impact climate change — and sea level rise — will have on Florida. His model calls for a sea level rise of just over 2 feet by 2060.

    Under that scenario, Ackerman says Florida stands to lose almost 10 percent of its land area and the homes of 1.5 million people.

    “The zone that’s vulnerable to 27 inches turns out to include a whole lot of buildings that people would probably rather save,” said Ackerman. “There’s residential real estate worth $130 billion in that, half of Florida’s beaches, two nuclear reactors, three prisons, 37 nursing homes, and on and on.”

    1.5 million people displaced, two nuclear reactors affected, billions in real estate impacted… no big deal, right? And that’s just in Florida, and assuming only a 27 inch rise in sea level. Extrapolate that over the Eastern seaboard, Gulf Coast, West Coast…then extrapolate that globally…

    Comment by Witgren — 21 Jan 2010 @ 5:49 PM

  487. Don Shor. Please present some evidence. You are saying the Indian government says the fence being built between Bangladesh and India is due to the vague term “national security”…That does not exclude masses of climate refugees. Do they say it is *not* due to climate?

    How many reliable sources say it is not due to climate? Below is an Indian government authority (which you conviently chose to ignore) who says Bangladesh climate change refugees are a threat to India’s national security…and everyone agrees the fence is being built because of national security and refugees.

    An Indian retired Air Marshal states on record:

    “If one-third of Bangladesh is flooded, India can soak in some of the refugees, but not all,” Retired Air Marshal A.K. Singh, the former commander of India’s air force, told a London conference recently. “Low-lying coastal area flooding is a national security issue.” (Scientific American).

    If that isn’t the Indian government admitting that climate change refugees from Bangladesh aren’t a national security threat, I don’t know what is.

    Scientific American quotes from a native that Bangladesh immigration vs. climate change is such a touchy issue that no one in government wants to talk about it.

    A Bangladesh villager interviewed states:

    “We are in trouble here. If the water comes up, we will have to move, as well,” said Shushanto, who lost part of her home in a September flood. “I don’t really want to go, but if the situation arises where I have to go, that’s where we’ll go (India).” (Scientific American).

    Multiple outside sources investigating in situ, say it is a complex problem including climate refugees and the finishing of the unfinished fence is due to climate refugees.

    You are saying that “it ain’t so” with no evidence, and you’re not even personally on the scene in Bangladesh and India talking to witnesses from both countries, nor quoting multiple published sources stating “the fence is not due to climate change” and changing your story (from “Its mostly from blogs”, “there is no evidence” and then to a “common tendency to link everything to climate change, no matter how far-fetched.”) [are all demonstrably false]. I’d say an Indian government official who “fessed up” and interviews with the locals admitting to it is pretty strong.

    So where are we I this “discussion”? You say the Indian government is not saying it is not climate change. I have an Indian government official on record directly saying Bangladesh climate change refugees are a national security threat as well as five or six major newspapers here and abroad and a university saying it, villagers saying it is as well as a publishing scientist who is going to lose his credibility, his career and his income if he is lying (see below). He links the fence to climate change.

    I do not know if it will help, however a non-peer reviewed paper (published on-line) written by a peer-reviewed publishing author (M. Shahidul Islam) for the University of Singapore who has in the past published in the peer-reviewed journals Quaternary International, 1999 titled “Coastal and sea-level changes during the Holocene in Bangladesh” (24 citations); Bangladesh demographic and health survey 1993-1994 (73 citations); National Institute of Population (73 citations); Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 1997 (52 citations), Asiatic Society of Bangladesh titled “Sea-level changes in Bangladesh: the last ten thousand years”, 2001 (15 citations); Bioscience, 2002 (15 citations); Marine pollution, 2004 (9 citations) was also written (on line) mentioning the Bangladesh fence’s “illegal immigrants are believed to be environmental refuges.”

    He writes exactly as shown below (including exact paragraph divisions) in 2007:

    “The issue of illegal immigration from Bangladesh to India has become a major bone of contention between New Delhi and Dhaka, and many of these immigrants are believed to be environmental refuges. To curb illegal immigration, India has been fencing the porous Bangladesh border. Floods in the Ganges, caused by melting glaciers in the Himalayas and the changing pattern of monsoons in South Asia, displace thousands of people in Bangladesh every year.

    The sea-level rise can create millions of environmental refuges across the world. In South Asia, 60 million people live in coastal flood zones.”

    Definition of reasonable person links:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=hUgwAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA87&lpg=PA87&dq=english+common+law+based+on+a+rational+person&source=bl&ots=KffmbibM6y&sig=ZuMcBL_wXx05ItxJRi4rHmY1qMs&hl=en&ei=K7FYS77FFsG0tgew_fS2BA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CBEQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=prudent%20and%20rational%20person%20&f=false

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reasonable_person

    M. Shahidul Islam publication links:

    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:JcSJv6Jm10AJ:se1.isn.ch/serviceengine/Files/ISN/44524/ipublicationdocument_singledocument/3EE945CD-81AB-461C-8EDC-1007E22952E9/en/28.pdf+M.+Shahidul+Islam+Climate+Change,+Conflict+over+Scarce+Resources&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgKR-0Sxup10LDYFGXClPKBNAXiyZSWut5rnr7RFnuEiAgaZrfpkG1hoHhbAhJcnai83eHLhHIGVcyuk0ceg7XWcfx9aGWVgc1WA-aC8hw-i8eiEywdT4ek1u5JodZaQMHZot8o&sig=AHIEtbTZvU9MJOkC2x7uywm3IXtJsBSjOQ

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=M.+Shahidul+Islam&hl=en&btnG=Search&as_sdt=2001&as_sdtp=on

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WBK-45P0MJK-CH&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1175857649&_rerunOrigin=scholar.google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=6c30641140daad304d7f9748165fa5dc

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?cluster=2553622110813658337&hl=en&as_sdt=2000

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V6N-49YCYND-4&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1175876262&_rerunOrigin=scholar.google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=897e223d0b1637e70ac676716c582fc0

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V6N-49YCYND-4&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1175884945&_rerunOrigin=scholar.google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=56bea5a5d70ad6243dcf24b94b94d330

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 21 Jan 2010 @ 6:12 PM

  488. I guess the ice age is over.

    Don’t worry, we’ll have another “Ice Age” next winter! :)

    Comment by dhogaza — 21 Jan 2010 @ 6:14 PM

  489. Gavin:

    “Do I take it that this is no longer your concern?”
    As far as the 6 boxes goes, yes that is still a concern. The difference is huge, regardless of what the reason and the data sources are. I just went to the Reynolds SST site. It looks like Reynolds reports 0 anomaly when an area freezes over. The 6 cells that we are talking about are north of Svalbard and we know that freezes over for part of the year. But if you look at the Reynolds months that do have values, they don’t seem to show an anomaly larger than about 1.5C for any month. And annual average looks to be close to zero. The NASA GISS site says:

    “Areas covered occasionally by sea ice are masked using a time-independent mask.”

    So I’m assuming that those 6 cells wouldn’t use SST data – at least for GISS. I need to find out what the HadCRUT rules are for using their
    HadISST2 data.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 21 Jan 2010 @ 8:06 PM

  490. Re. the India Bangladesh border fence is due to climate change refugees. Re. Don Shor

    Here is some peer-reviewed scientific evidence that the Bangladesh wall is being built against climate change refugees. Here are two peer reviewed articles as well as the one by a publishing scientist published on the Internet.

    This is not to mention the 4-5 major newspaper from two different countries and the Canadian University stating this.

    “Fencing the border
    At the other extreme is India’s 4,095 kilometre fence along the Bangladeshi border. In 1985 a fence along the porous Indian-Bangladesh border was first discussed to stop smuggling, trafficking and illegal immigration (which Delhi estimates at 20 million people annually).128 Construction started in 2002 and was due to finish in mid 2007. The 3.6 metre high, double wire fence, built at a cost 11 billion rupees also serves the purpose of controlling the flow of future forced climate migrants.129

    Syed Sajjad Ali (2006) “Fencing the Porous Bangladesh Border”, Worldpress.org, India, 14 December 2006

    Climate change and forced migration: Observations, projections and implications
    Oli Brown UNDP 2007 (cited by 13) including the the Lancet, 2009, and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    The (non-peer-reviewed) article on the Internet by the publishing scientist M. Shahidul Islam entitled “Climate Change, Conflict over Scarce Resources and the Nobel Peace Prize.”

    “The issue of illegal immigration from Bangladesh to India has become a major bone of contention between New Delhi and Dhaka, and many of these immigrants are believed to be environmental refuges. To curb illegal immigration, India has been fencing the porous Bangladesh border. Floods in the Ganges, caused by melting glaciers in the Himalayas and the changing pattern of monsoons in South Asia, displace thousands of people in Bangladesh every year.

    The sea-level rise can create millions of environmental refuges across the world. In South Asia, 60 million people live in coastal flood zones.”

    Published on the Internet by (M. Shahidul Islam) for the University of Singapore who has in the past published in the peer-reviewed journals Quaternary International, 1999 titled “Coastal and sea-level changes during the Holocene in Bangladesh” (24 citations); Bangladesh demographic and health survey 1993-1994 (73 citations); National Institute of Population (73 citations); Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 1997 (52 citations), Asiatic Society of Bangladesh titled “Sea-level changes in Bangladesh: the last ten thousand years”, 2001 (15 citations); Bioscience, 2002 (15 citations); Marine pollution, 2004 (9 citations) was also written (on line) mentioning the Bangladesh fence’s “illegal immigrants are believed to be environmental refuges.”

    http://www.climate-adaptation.info/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/gechs-report-3-08-disaster-risk-reduction-climate-change-adaptation-and-human-security.pdf

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=12952396060527229659&hl=en&as_sdt=2000

    M. Shahidul Islam publication links:

    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:JcSJv6Jm10AJ:se1.isn.ch/serviceengine/Files/ISN/44524/ipublicationdocument_singledocument/3EE945CD-81AB-461C-8EDC-1007E22952E9/en/28.pdf+M.+Shahidul+Islam+Climate+Change,+Conflict+over+Scarce+Resources&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgKR

    Please present some evidence. I did.

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 21 Jan 2010 @ 8:27 PM

  491. Gilles@484 No raindrop thinks that it is the cause of the flood.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 21 Jan 2010 @ 8:28 PM

  492. Kevin: #480
    “Tilo, you seem to have missed the point that there is not a one-to-one correspondence between GISS (8000 equal-area cells) and Hadley grid cells (5,184 5×5 degree unequal-area cells.) So there is no “corresponding grid cell.””

    No, I got that part. But the charts in figure 3 are all 72 by 36, having 2592 gridcells. The gridcell resolution on the chart is a problem however. A dark red cell can have a value of 3.01 or 6.5. Big difference when you are trying to figure out if it is a reasonable extrapolation.

    Kevin:
    “Also, you seem to miss the point made by Gavin that the the algorithms use different SST datasets. Ie., GISS doesn’t usually “extrapolate from land.””

    I went and looked at the Reynolds SST data that GISS uses, and it has values of 0 for iced over areas. Also, GISS says that they don’t use SST data from areas that are covered with ice for any part of the year. The oceans at the northern part of Russia freeze right to the edge of the land. So I don’t see how there is any choice but to extrapolate from the land to the sea ice if your are going to get that coverage. The cool cells that HadCRUT has north of Svalbard for 05 are in an area that freezes over for part of the year. I think that means that GISS would not cover those areas using SST. I don’t yet know what HadCRUT does concerning areas that ice over for part of the year. Okay, I’m out of here for a little while. I need to find some HadCRUT info.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 21 Jan 2010 @ 8:29 PM

  493. well we aussies are not as stupid as i look it seems
    a morgan poll showed that while 31% of those aged 14+ feel that the effects of climate change might be overstated. only 3.5% of those do not accept the science.
    this gives a figure of only 200,000 nationwide

    Schwartz new paper , temp should have increased by 3.8degC has them all crowing again,

    Comment by john byatt — 21 Jan 2010 @ 9:27 PM

  494. 490
    Richard Ordway says:
    21 January 2010 at 8:27 PM
    Re. the India Bangladesh border fence is due to climate change refugees.

    First, thanks for the links. They were interesting to read.

    But they tend to show how unprovable, unverifiable conclusions take on the patina of being verified, peer-reviewed facts.

    From the links you provided:

    The Oli Brown article makes the following statement: “The … fence….also serves the purpose of controlling the flow of future forced climate migrants” with a footnote 129. That footnote goes to a blog post. The blog says nothing at all about climate change as a reason for the fence.

    Here is what you DO find at the blog article at footnote 129:
    http://www.worldpress.org/Asia/2603.cfm
    “In 1985 the government of India mooted the idea of constructing a fence along their common international frontier in the eastern part of the country. Subsequently, after deliberations at the highest policy-making levels, the decision was made to erect barbed wire fencing along entire common boundary with Bangladesh. The move to put up a barrier along the border was made to check illegal infiltration, contain smuggling and to frustrate militants who were using the border route to cross over into India to commit subversive acts.”

    Is there agreement on this issue in India and Bangladesh? From another article:

    “This question of migration to India is one of the topics that is a heated debate in our country, because we believe people are not moving to India,” said Abdul Kalam Azad, a senior research fellow at the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies. He and others describe climate migration as a distant issue earning an inordinate amount of media hype.
    Bangladesh officials insist that they haven’t detected any new dynamic in such back-and-forth border crossings.
    “Even their tigers traverse the same territory,” said Azad. “Given the fact that there’s a porous border, there could be some possibility that people are moving to India, but moving for a job and coming back.”
    Bangladesh officials, meanwhile, say the fence and everything it represents are just distractions. The country needs to build embankments, they say. It needs cyclone shelters and rice research. And it needs to address the already explosive internal migration to its capital city, Dhaka, an issue that rarely makes it into dramatic climate change reports.
    http://www.eenews.net/special_reports/bangladesh/part_four

    The Mr. Islam who wrote the overview for the ISAS brief does not appear to be the same Dr. Islam you are citing at the other links. This Mr. Islam is an economist. He does indeed say “to curb illegal immigration, India has been fencing the porous Bangladesh border.” It is his analysis or opinion that “many of these immigrants are believed to be environmental refugees” but he provides no evidence for this.

    Moreover, it is neither provable nor falsifiable. They are just as likely to be economic refugees. Will rising sea level make more of them try to cross the border? Perhaps, if no adaptive strategies are employed. But there is no evidence whatsoever that this is a primary or secondary reason that India embarked on their border fence.

    “You say the Indian government is not saying it is not climate change.”

    The fence is to prevent illegal immigration, smuggling of weapons and narcotics, and block the movement of terrorists. That is usually the purpose of barrier fences. Any other purpose is being ascribed to the Indian government without factual basis.
    India has built a 300+ mile fence along the border with Kashmir. Is that to prevent climate refugees? They are considering one along the border with Pakistan.
    Here is why governments build separation barriers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_barrier#Current_barriers

    Does this mean I believe that rising sea level will not be a problem for Bangladesh? Of course I don’t believe that. Bangladesh will need to develop adaptive strategies for sea level rise (regardless of whether the nations of the world agree to reduce CO2 output). Otherwise they will continue to have the calamitous human disasters associated with poverty and lack of infrastructure in low-lying flood plains that they already have on a regular basis.

    Comment by Don Shor — 21 Jan 2010 @ 10:14 PM

  495. @John Byatt #493. We aussie women seem to be holding the flag for climate change. And we older aussies are a bit slow to follow suit, compared to the younger folk :D

    The trends are falling unfortunately, but this issue will not be front of mind all the time. My thinking is it depends to some extent on the weather. This summer has not been as difficult so far as last year was (despite still getting hottest days and nights), at least in the south east (where a lot of the population lives) and not as many big fires so far. With the rain and subsequent growth, next year might be a very difficult fire season, especially if it dries out before next summer. That will remind people of climate change again.

    Unfortunately we are getting too used to breaking ‘hottest day’ and ‘most hot days’ records in this part of the world. It’s becoming the norm. If we don’t keep breaking new heat records every week in summer, many people think it’s getting cooler :D

    http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2010/4459/

    Comment by Sou — 21 Jan 2010 @ 11:22 PM

  496. After my previous post I got to thinking, people really only sit up and take note of events that affect large populations. Eg South eastern Australia has had major fires burning huge areas in at least 3 of the past six years (where I live we got the lot), but the one that grabbed the headlines was, of course, the one that devasted outer Melbourne last year. It was by no means the largest area and by no means the only fire that day, but all the fires in Victoria that day (there were several) were totally off the charts in intensity. Other fires in Australia can be larger and just as intense but have little impact because they affect fewer people. (I noticed the fire that burnt the largest area of the state in the past six years was only picked up by the media when the smoke distressed those in Melbourne.) South eastern Australia has just suffered the longest drought, but most people are not aware of the fact and it has had little media coverage. People are becoming aware of the plight of the Murray River (arguable the nation’s most important), but probably not sure why it’s in strife. (It is far from most capital cities.)

    Same with Katrina. I expect there have been other cat 5 hurricanes – but that one affected several large population centres, being most well-known for the impact on New Orleans. Other hurricanes that bypass major population centres are quickly forgotten by most people, I expect.

    Likewise the recent cold weather hitting some of the most densely populated areas in the world – highly visible.

    It’s just the way we are, I suppose.

    Comment by Sou — 21 Jan 2010 @ 11:49 PM

  497. Don Shor says

    “But they tend to show how unprovable, unverifiable conclusions take on the patina of being verified, peer-reviewed facts.”

    *You* are the only one making this idiotic statement. Science is never settled.

    You don’t have the slightest idea of what you are talking about. We just upgraded from non-peer reviewed newspapers and powerpoints to science with peer reviewed published articles. Our opinions don’t matter any more, it’s what’s in the peer review. That’s how science works, guy. The Lancet citation, the UN publication and 13 citations show that it is a legitimate source.

    Obviously, nothing is ever settled in peer review. Much too little has been written on this fence vs. climate change refugees issue in peer review (that I could find) to say that it is strong yet. However, unless you find something in peer review to counter it, it is very good, solid evidence. However the newness of the 2006, 2007, 2009 publications also show that it has not been around long enough to have been tested much scientifically.

    Read my lips, show me the money. We just stepped it up to peer review. The ball is in your court now to show a peer review response…not amataterish opinions any more, gibberish and excuses… You obviously do not understand peer review and are applying double standards.

    Science accepted two economist’s peer reviewed articles on the climate change science of Mann et al.s MBH98 reconstruction [McIntyre, McKitrick]. You should know better.

    If it is in peer review, it doesn’t matter who writes it…that is the beauty of mainstream science and you should know it. Anyone can write and it will be evaluated. So I say again stop playing games…show me the peer review responses and don’t make any more excuses.

    The Brown UNDP 2007 paper, and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs article was published, and quoted Syed Sajjad Ali (2006) and had 13 citations including the world renowned Lancet.

    This is also the third time you have changed your position. So what is it? “Only blogs are reporting it?”; “There is no evidence?; “It shows
    how unprovable, unverifiable conclusions take on the patina of being verified, peer-reviewed facts.”

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 22 Jan 2010 @ 12:01 AM

  498. 486, Witgren: 1.5 million people displaced, two nuclear reactors affected, billions in real estate impacted… no big deal, right?

    Are you sure that they can’t build levees? Levees are not unknown in the Netherlands, along the central US rivers like the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri, and their tributaries, and in the California central valley. Levees at least 6 feet tall, 20 feet broad and covered in trees are not unknown. By 2030 there ought to be plenty of evidence whether that forecast of a 27 inch rise by 2060 is realistic, and the building of any necessary levees can be started.

    More problematical by far are Calcutta, Bangladesh and Venice.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 22 Jan 2010 @ 12:02 AM

  499. Re: 419 Richard Steckis says:

    “There is recent research where it has been observed that many mollusc species have actually increased their shell densities in the lower pH environs.”

    What research? Other research points to ocean acidification being harmful to many forms of life.

    What Life Forms Will Be Affected?
    http://www.global-greenhouse-warming.com/ocean-acidification.html

    “Some of the most abundant lifeforms that could be affected by ocean acidification are a type of phytoplankton called coccolithophorids, which are covered with small plates of calcium carbonate and are commonly found floating near the surface of the ocean (where they use the abundant sunlight for photosynthesis). Other important examples are planktonic organisms called foraminifera (which are related to amoeba) and pteropods (small marine snails).

    “…free-swimming planktonic molluscs form a calcium carbonate shell made of aragonite. They are an important food source for juvenile North Pacific salmon and also are eaten by mackerel, herring and cod.

    “Experiments carried out at sea have shown that the shells of live pteropods dissolve when seawater reaches corrosive levels. Ocean acidification is detrimental to high-latitude ecosystems and highly acidic conditions could develop within decades, not centuries as suggested previously.

    “A fall in the numbers of pteropods could cause a chain reaction since they make up the basic food for organisms from zooplankton to whales, as well as for species that are important commercially, such as North Pacific salmon. For example, the plankton on which cod larvae feed would disappear, and the cod would then go too, and something else not linked heavily to the food chain – like jellyfish – will move into their niche in the ecosystem.”

    see also:

    Planktic foraminiferal shell thinning in the Arabian Sea due to anthropogenic ocean acidification? (update)
    http://oceanacidification.wordpress.com/2009/09/24/planktic-foraminiferal-shell-thinning-in-the-arabian-sea-due-to-anthropogenic-ocean-acidification-update/
    Published 24 September 2009
    (excerpt)
    “We found that light, thin-walled shells from the surface sediment are younger (based on 14C and ?13C measurements) than the heavier, thicker-walled shells. Shells in the upper, bioturbated, sediment layer were significantly lighter compared to shells found below this layer.”

    see also:

    Ocean Acidification and Biological Consequences
    http://www.science.fau.edu/biology/koch/Documents/Climate%20Change%20Presentations/Ocean%20acidification.pdf
    Conclusion
    • Increasing atmospheric CO2 leads to an increase in ocean acidity as well as in dissolved CO2
    • Increase in CO2 likely beneficial for photosynthesis and/or calcification of phytoplankton, zooplankton, and aquatic plants
    • Increase in CO2 harmful for oxygen-breathing marine animals
    • Increase in acidity likely harmful for all, but especially aragonite calcifiers
    • Of those, coral reefs and the aragonite pteropod-based Southern Ocean ecosystem are in most immediate peril

    Comment by Tim Jones — 22 Jan 2010 @ 12:21 AM

  500. Completely Fed up : “Cut your energy use, change to non-fossil fuels.”
    is my English that poor or haven’t you read at all what I said ? i just said : I don’t understand why cutting MY fossil fuel use now will influence in any way that of chinese or indian people in 50 years (especially that of coal which we only use in very tiny amounts in France anyway) , and you answer : nevermind, just do it !

    do you think really it can be considered as an explanation?

    Ray Ladbury : Gilles@484 No raindrop thinks that it is the cause of the flood.

    OK, let consider the whole water : What could the 500 millions Chinese people have done 50 years ago to change YOUR life now ?

    in other , more scientific words : what is the correlation length and time in the way different people live in the world ?

    and how do you insure the fuels that you don’t burn now will never be extracted in the future ?

    sorry, I need to be sure of that before cutting anything in my life : somebody answered that he didn’t give his money to present poor people because it was useless. So it’s natural to ask if it is really efficient to cut anything.

    Of course, there is no harm in doing conservation and adopting more efficient techniques consuming less carbon – that’s obvious for anybody , even if CO2 would not absorb IR radiation , just because fossil fuels are finite and precious. That’s not an issue; the issue is that I can’t understant why these fuels won’t be use by somebody else, either elswhere (in poor countries that need it), or later (when they will be almost exhausted, and people will fight against their depletion, do you think they will let them in the ground ?)
    so I need to understand that, has anybody a (convincing) answer ?

    Comment by Gilles — 22 Jan 2010 @ 1:37 AM

  501. I must say that I find this article amazing in the British understatement sense. Firstly, it is clear from the graphs of the complete GISS data in figure 1 and of the HadCRUT and GISS data in figure 4 that the past decade remains special among the last decades. The trend is suddenly clearly quite flat – it is difficult to say whether it is in fact rising or falling but it is flat. This is not commented on in the entire article – only a rather desperate and not very interesting wish to get the past year as the second warmest. So it is not at all surprising that the public is feeling that global warming has stopped. It has and your data show it. Secondly, it is also amazing that this article fails to make any reference to UAH (or RSS) MSU satellite data. These data have their own pros and cons but give a much better global coverage and less need to revert to extreme methods such as assing measurements to boxes where no measurements have been made(!) They clearly show the same thing, the past decade was essentially flat. If you start at 2000 (an unusually cool year) you get a very slow warming of about 0.5 C per century. If you start in 2001 you actually get cooling. Thirdly, the Arctic Oscillation Index discussion is very interesting. Why did not that appear many years ago? Suddenly an explanation is presented why so many winters in the last decade in northern Europe have been so warm. This row of warm winters is probably the one most important reason for people to have believed in AGW. No serious climate scientist would have believed that, of course, the change was far too rapid and extreme. But the scientist have remained essentially dishonestly SILENT on this question and left the public to their own misleading imagination and in the grip of unserious activist journalists, presumably for the “good cause”. Not surprising then that in this winter when people have became aware that winters can still be severe and cold, that they have started to seriously doubt AGW and climate science in general.
    Finally, a question that could prove important in the future. For how long must the global temperature remain flat (but with noise, of course) until you accept that the trend has been broken? Another 5 years, 10 or perhaps 20? This time is important since it gives us a measure of when the current model-measurement relation can be falsified. And stating the number of years in advance makes the test much more valuable.

    Comment by Steven Jörsäter — 22 Jan 2010 @ 2:20 AM

  502. “So explain me how anything I can do NOW will have the slightest influence on the welfare of people living in 50 years”

    Ah, an interesting question, usually used as an excuse for inaction. But if everyone uses the same excuse, nobody will do anything. What we actually need is for everyone to act, since it is only in aggregate that our efforts can be made felt.

    Think of it as a vote in an election. Alone, your vote means almost nothing. But if nobody voted, democracy would not exist. Together, millions of votes represent the will of the people – and can have a significant impact on the world.

    I can’t speculate about what happened in China 50 years ago – but I do know that certain past decisions in other countries have turned out very badly. For example, if Chernobyl had never happened, or had not been used as a rallying cry for anti-nuke protesters, then perhaps now coal would be marginalised as an energy source, and replacing it completely would be a small matter of adding a few extra wind turbines and reactors. Ah, what might have been. We don’t really profit from looking back with regret, but we would be very foolish not to learn the lessons that history can teach.

    Comment by Didactylos — 22 Jan 2010 @ 2:48 AM

  503. re 494: can you prove it won’t stop or slow people migrating?

    Why would they migrate?

    One reason is that they can’t grow enough food. Have a look at the border countries of an African nation with famine.

    What do you think those people in camps on foreign land are? Tourists?

    “Bangladesh will need to develop adaptive strategies for sea level rise”

    Like invade another country.

    Of course, they don’t have much in the way of an army, but pakistan has nuclear weapons.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 22 Jan 2010 @ 4:25 AM

  504. Gilles,

    Sorry, I’m not interested in pursuing this further. I thought you were asking an honest question; I tried to provide answers. It seems clear at this point that you’re not going to accept anything I say, but just want to waste my time asking more and more questions, with the firm intention of ignoring any answers I give.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 22 Jan 2010 @ 5:03 AM

  505. RS: the solubility of co2 is INVERSELY proportional to temperature. If SSTs in the tropics are increasing then the proportion of co2 dissolved into those waters declines

    BPL: This is only true at equilibrium. At present acidity is increasing despite increasing temperatures because partial pressure in the atmosphere is increasing faster.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 22 Jan 2010 @ 5:05 AM

  506. Re: 362 Richard Steckis says…

    “You bring up the good old ocean acidification crock.”

    Not a crock.

    Science 20 November 2009:
    Aragonite Undersaturation in the Arctic Ocean: Effects of Ocean Acidification and Sea Ice Melt
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/sci;326/5956/1098?
    Vol. 326. no. 5956, pp. 1098 – 1100
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1174190
    (excerpt)
    “…the effects of decreased CO32– concentrations on marine organisms may place some species at risk (3, 4). For either aragonite or calcite, the two types of CaCO3 produced by marine organisms, the saturation state of CaCO3 () is expressed by the product of the concentrations of CO32– and Ca2+ in seawater relative to the stoichiometric solubility product at a given temperature, salinity, and pressure. Waters with > 1 are favorable to forming CaCO3 shells and skeletons, but waters with < 1 are corrosive, and in the absence of protective mechanisms, dissolution of CaCO3 will commence. In surface waters, is lower in high-latitude oceans than tropical or temperate oceans (4, 5) because colder water absorbs more CO2 and this reduces CO32–. Therefore, apart from intermittent upwelling of undersaturated subsurface water as observed along the North American coast (6), surface waters are expected to become undersaturated ( < 1) first in high-latitude oceans as atmospheric CO2 concentrations increase. The Southern Ocean is predicted to become undersaturated with respect to aragonite-type CaCO3 (aragonite is more soluble than calcite) by 2030 (7) and the North Pacific by 2100 (8). Model simulations of the Arctic Ocean predict will decrease because of freshening and increased carbon uptake as a result of sea ice retreat and that Arctic surface waters will become undersaturated with aragonite within a decade."

    see also:

    "Impacts of ocean acidification on marine fauna and ecosystem processes"
    http://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/65/3/414?ijkey=8989c8d0e180bb4b74761b23e57e19cbf111963d&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha
    ICES Journal of Marine Science: Journal du Conseil 2008 65(3):414-432; doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsn048

    "Oceanic uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) is altering the seawater chemistry of the world’s oceans with consequences for marine biota. Elevated partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) is causing the calcium carbonate saturation horizon to shoal in many regions, particularly in high latitudes and regions that intersect with pronounced hypoxic zones. The ability of marine animals, most importantly pteropod molluscs, foraminifera, and some benthic invertebrates, to produce calcareous skeletal structures is directly affected by seawater CO2 chemistry. CO2 influences the physiology of marine organisms as well through acid-base imbalance and reduced oxygen transport capacity. The few studies at relevant pCO2 levels impede our ability to predict future impacts on foodweb dynamics and other ecosystem processes. Here we present new observations, review available data, and identify priorities for future research, based on regions, ecosystems, taxa, and physiological processes believed to be most vulnerable to ocean acidification. We conclude that ocean acidification and the synergistic impacts of other anthropogenic stressors provide great potential for widespread changes to marine ecosystems.”

    Comment by Tim Jones — 22 Jan 2010 @ 5:51 AM

  507. Steven: “The trend is suddenly clearly quite flat ”

    Incorrect.

    There is no significant difference in the trend for the last 10 years from the trend predicted by the role of AGW.

    The ***trend*** is ***up***.

    The ***error*** in the trend determination is ***high***.

    Because 10 years isn’t long enough to determine a trend.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 22 Jan 2010 @ 6:43 AM

  508. Giles: “i just said : I don’t understand why cutting MY fossil fuel use now will influence in any way that of chinese or indian people in 50 year”

    Because reducing CO2 now will mean that there will be a lesser change in the climate the world will encounter in 50 years time.

    The poorest will ALWAYS come out worse in any change. The poorest live in China and India (and Africa).

    Therefore they will be better off if you do your part to reduce CO2 production by humans.

    This is not rocket science.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 22 Jan 2010 @ 6:55 AM

  509. Completely fed up (507): I agree that ten years is short given the “noise”. But when looking for a trend change you have no choice but to look at recent data. See RSS data plotted during the last decade at http://klimatet.jorsater.se/#post12. It looks quite flat to me! Certainly, it does in no way support a continued trend anymore than it does a flat trend. Maybe you missed my point and end – suppose THAT an underlying trend change has ocurred – when will everybody agree that is has done so judging from the measurements?!

    [Response: But maybe it started again last Tuesday? If the uncertainty in the trend is large you simply can’t conclude anything. – gavin]

    Comment by Steven Jörsäter — 22 Jan 2010 @ 8:27 AM

  510. Gilles asks: “OK, let consider the whole water : What could the 500 millions Chinese people have done 50 years ago to change YOUR life now ?”

    Instituted birth control earlier. Avoided the cultural revolution, which retarded Chinese economic and and cultural development. Kept riding bicycles. Instituted pollution controls. Practiced responsible water and soil management. Opened up to the West earlier. Allowed Internet freedom.

    Want more?

    in other , more scientific words : what is the correlation length and time in the way different people live in the world ?

    We are still living with political mistakes made at the end of the US civil war, WW I, WW II, the colonial era. Tobacco is now a global health scourge, even though it was almost banned by the Spanish crown in the 16th century. I use calculus on a daily basis–the product of a 17th century mind. As Faulkner said, “The past isn’t over. It isn’t even past.”

    “and how do you insure the fuels that you don’t burn now will never be extracted in the future ?”

    By finding alternative energy sources so that fossil fuels are not needed and by educating people about the consequences of burning fossil fuels.

    The fuel you burn today will release CO2 that will be around for hundreds to thousands of years. The full consequences of that added CO2 will not manifest for decades to centuries. So it is quite possible your children could live in a world where environmental conditions worsen steadily toward a complete collapse they can do nothing to avoid. I guess the question is whether you want your children to die cursing your name with their last breath.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Jan 2010 @ 8:48 AM

  511. ” It looks quite flat to me! ”

    That doesn’t mean the trend is flat.

    You’re picking two points and going “but they look flat between them”.

    You’re not even picking 10 years of data: you’re picking 2 years worth of data 10 years apart.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 22 Jan 2010 @ 8:49 AM

  512. Steven Jorstater, do you understand what a complicated process it is to turn the spectral measurements made by a satellite into a lower troposphere temperature? It is hardly straightforward, and the result is hardly free of error. If your “trend” is present in only one dataset, it ain’t significant.

    Here is an exercise for both you and Tilo. Model your temperature data as a linear mean with gaussian noise around that mean–that gives you 3 parameters. Now assume that SOMEWHERE there is a change in that trend, that can be modeled via a second linear trend–that gives this new model 7 parameters–2 slopes and intercepts, 2 noise standard deviations and a date that best fits the change. Determine these parameters using a likelihood fit and calculate the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC). If the likelihood for the 7 parameter is not a factor of ~55 better than your linear trend, the linear trend will have superior predictive power. In other words, your additional parameters will give you no additional information. Be sure to report back!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Jan 2010 @ 8:57 AM

  513. Gilles, do you make your obedience to the law conditional upon other people following it, too? Your ethical choices in areas such as marital fidelity, telling the truth, not causing distress to others by inadvertence, etc.?

    No?

    So if you do the right thing in these areas just because it is the right thing, why would you do harm to the environment just because it’s convenient and “everybody else is doing it?”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 22 Jan 2010 @ 9:26 AM

  514. Steven J., we are not constrained to argue only from statistical fits of temperature and CO2.

    There’s a highly detailed understanding of the physical mechanisms involved. The predictions of warming follow mostly from this: and they’ve been looking very good. Yes, the 2000s look flat–but they were also very, very warm. The statistics are such that the second fact is a good deal more significant than the first.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 22 Jan 2010 @ 9:30 AM

  515. Me, post 486: 1.5 million people displaced, two nuclear reactors affected, billions in real estate impacted… no big deal, right?

    Septic Matthew, post 498: “Are you sure that they can’t build levees? Levees are not unknown in the Netherlands, along the central US rivers like the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri, and their tributaries, and in the California central valley. Levees at least 6 feet tall, 20 feet broad and covered in trees are not unknown. By 2030 there ought to be plenty of evidence whether that forecast of a 27 inch rise by 2060 is realistic, and the building of any necessary levees can be started.

    More problematical by far are Calcutta, Bangladesh and Venice.”

    They may be able to do something in some areas, but you’re talking substantial expense to do it (look at the cost of the work going on in the Gulf post-Katrina). And again, this is just one very small part of the global coastlines that will be impacted. We may save coastal Florida at great expense, but what about the rest of our coastlines? How much expense would it take to either armor and levee our coasts, or relocate populations along them? And the US is a wealthy country, many other coastal countries (and areas like you name like Calcutta)will not have the wealth and resources to do that.

    Comment by Witgren — 22 Jan 2010 @ 9:38 AM

  516. I thank all people who took some time to answer me. Unfortunately , I think it is becoming kind of dialogue of the deaf, where I’m asking an explanation of how what I do now will change the life of further , distant, generations, with some explanation why I don’t think it will, and I am answered basically “How DARE you being so selfish as not to think about future generations ” . I think few people have realized that to avoid putting CO2 in the atmosphere, it is not enough to spare fuel now : you also have to prevent ANYBODY IN THE FUTURE to burn it. actually all the fuel available now will be burnt anyway in the next 100 years, so basically sparing it now will only delay a little bit it’s use , but not change anything in its contribution to the total CO2 in 2100. But depriving future generation of left fossil fuels would probably be for them much more a problem than a solution.

    What really matters is the use of the extra 1000 or 2000 GtC of coal – although this coal is NOT YET discovered, NOBODY KNOWS where it is,and whether we ever can extract them, and who and where they will be used – if they are used. Just look at the differences between the scenarii to understand that. So it’s simply very unlikely that the fact that they are burnt or not in the course of the XXIth century depends strongly on the way we use now conventional resources.

    Actually my best guess is quite different of IPCC scenarii , at the moment. I think basically that non-conventional resources will never be extracted at the pace IPCC is predicting. Conventional reserves correspond approximately to the lowest B1 scenario (although the repartition of fossil fuels is quite different). Already the oil seems to peak much earlier than predicted, and the theories that it will be massively replaced by coal is probably imaginary as well – CTL is much too expensive to be produced at comparable rate. Peak oil will plunge the world in the deep recession for centuries -aggravated when natural gas, then coal will peak at their turn- I think the situation BPL describes will happen, although may be not so rapidly that he imagines. Just taking conventional reserves give approximately 550 ppm CO2 in 2100. You may think it is still too much, but I don’t think we can reasonably do less – or more. And I think that mankind is basically able to cope with that. The true mess is that we don’t have real alternatives to fossil fuels, so that the civilization is gradually condemned to decline. I really think that the global temperature will be a minor problem compared with the decline of fossil fuels, for an obvious reason : the standard of living is obviously much more dependent on the fossil consumption than on the average temperature of your country. Just compare a rich Italian with a poor Norway guy, a rich guy in Arizona with a poor guy in Illinois, and even a rich Indian with a poor german. So that’s really a strange thing to think that cutting fuel consumption to avoid some degrees more is a good bargain – and the failure of Copenhaguen is just the evidence of how weird this idea is. My prognosis is that mankind will never cease to extract as much fuel as possible to feed it’s inextinguishible thirst for energy – but that Nature will limit it very soon to “reasonable” values. We’ll already see in ten years how things go, I think ;).

    Comment by Gilles — 22 Jan 2010 @ 11:39 AM

  517. SM — baloney. Look at the discussion of flood risk around the Sacramento River and the problems with levees now, and estimated costs. This is a huge problem.

    Levee failure will introduce salt into groundwater in a major agricultural area. When the floodwater is removed, much of the salt will remain. This irreversible result of a failure is a big worry in the planning process.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=Sacramento+River+levee+flood+sea+level

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Jan 2010 @ 11:47 AM

  518. “Unfortunately , I think it is becoming kind of dialogue of the deaf, where I’m asking an explanation of how what I do now will change the life of further , distant, generations, with some explanation why I don’t think it will”

    Well, the response is really “you think wrong”.

    Not “how DARE you think selfishly”.

    But if a persecution complex gets you through the day, feel free.

    “you also have to prevent ANYBODY IN THE FUTURE to burn it.”

    Wrong: we don’t prevent anybody from burning dung in a fire.

    It’s just that there’s not many dung-fuelled cars around any more.

    Because we’ve got better than dung to burn and we developed technology to avoid having to do so.

    And you’re assuming that in 100 years, someone will come along with your mindset and decide to burn that coal.

    Why would they?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 22 Jan 2010 @ 12:15 PM

  519. Gilles – I think you’re a WUM which is why I haven’t engaged with you so far, but I hope these useful comments answer your questions

    “I thank all people who took some time to answer me. Unfortunately , I think it is becoming kind of dialogue of the deaf, where I’m asking an explanation of how what I do now will change the life of further , distant, generations,”

    What /we/ do now, collectively, will determine climate impact. What /you/ do, on your own, is meaningless, but since we are /all/ individuals we either act, collectively, selfishly and do not solve the problem, or act, collectively, to reduce emissions, deforestation etc. and attempt to solve the problem. I think that is clear.

    “I think few people have realized that to avoid putting CO2 in the atmosphere, it is not enough to spare fuel now : you also have to prevent ANYBODY IN THE FUTURE to burn it.”

    I think that /anyone/ who’s spent /any/ effort on climate policy realises this. The entire object of the execise is to leave the coal and tar sands in the ground, and the forests intact. That is the object of mitigation policy (as opposed to climate science). I should point out that Realclimate is largely about climate science, not mitigation policy.

    “actually all the fuel available now will be burnt anyway in the next 100 years, so basically sparing it now will only delay a little bit it’s use , but not change anything in its contribution to the total CO2 in 2100. ”

    This is incorrect. The object of the execise would be to LEAVE THE FUEL in the ground. To do this, obviously, you need clean alternatives, or CCS (which burns the fuel but buries the CO2)

    “But depriving future generation of left fossil fuels would probably be for them much more a problem than a solution. ”

    Incorrect. You understand neither the cost of the problem, nor the cost of the solution. Read ‘The Stern Review’

    “What really matters is the use of the extra 1000 or 2000 GtC of coal – although this coal is NOT YET discovered, NOBODY KNOWS where it is,and whether we ever can extract them, and who and where they will be used – if they are used.”

    Read IEA World Energy Outlook 2009. There is more than enough KNOWN coal, oil, gas and non-conventional resource to take us a long way past 450ppm CO2. Or google “Known coal reserves” which leads to

    http://www.worldcoal.org/coal/where-is-coal-found/

    “It has been estimated that there are over 847 billion tonnes of proven coal reserves worldwide. This means that there is enough coal to last us over 130 years at current rates of production. In contrast, proven oil and gas reserves are equivalent to around 42 and 60 years at current production levels”

    “Just look at the differences between the scenarii to understand that. So it’s simply very unlikely that the fact that they are burnt or not in the course of the XXIth century depends strongly on the way we use now conventional resources.”

    I have no idea what you are talking about here. And the word is “scenarios”, not “scenarii”

    “Actually my best guess is quite different of IPCC scenarii , at the moment.”

    Your best guess is based on your own ignorance (as already displayed by comments like “this coal is NOT YET discovered, NOBODY KNOWS where it is”). The IPCC scenarios are based on known economic drivers. I’d take the economists who contributed to the IPCC plus the IEA economists who wrote the WEO 2009 over your ‘best guess’.

    “I think basically that non-conventional resources will never be extracted at the pace IPCC is predicting.”

    What does the IPCC predict about non-conventional resources.

    “Conventional reserves correspond approximately to the lowest B1 scenario (although the repartition of fossil fuels is quite different).”

    This statement is completely untrue. It is based on nothing more than your ferbile imagination.

    “Already the oil seems to peak much earlier than predicted,”

    Define ‘much earlier’. The IEA say peak oil will not occur between now and 2030. The IEA is the World’s leading authority on global energy. What are your qualifications, exactly?

    “and the theories that it will be massively replaced by coal is probably imaginary as well – CTL is much too expensive to be produced at comparable rate.”

    What evidence do you have for this? CTL is economic in South Africa. What EVIDENCE (which is different from your ‘feeling’) do you have that CTL would not be economic in the USA and China?

    “Peak oil will plunge the world in the deep recession for centuries -aggravated when natural gas, then coal will peak at their turn”

    What evidence do you have for this utterly ridiculous claim? What evidence do you have that a range of technologies, including solar, wind, tidal, nuclear and biomass cannot produce energy at the necessary scale?

    “I think the situation BPL describes will happen, although may be not so rapidly that he imagines. Just taking conventional reserves give approximately 550 ppm CO2 in 2100.”

    This statement is NOT TRUE. Just taking conventional reserves takes us far inexcess of 550ppm as the IEA have set out, clearly, in WEO 2009. Read it.

    “You may think it is still too much, but I don’t think we can reasonably do less – or more.”

    We /can/ do less (though I don’t think we will). We will do more, if we do nothing now. There is 130 years of coal left. We pass 550ppm, on a BAU, before 2050. Even if we to fix emissions at current levels (and NO ONE believes that will happen) we’ll get there in under 60 years.

    “And I think that mankind is basically able to cope with that.”

    Do you? Good. What evidence do you have for that? What degree of GDP loss could mankind live with?

    “The true mess is that we don’t have real alternatives to fossil fuels”

    Not true

    “so that the civilization is gradually condemned to decline.”

    Not true. Your assumption is that we don’t have the ability to innovate and develop new forms of energy. This is demonstrably false, as the invention of nuclear (to pick a tech at random) over the last 50 years shows.

    “I really think that the global temperature will be a minor problem compared with the decline of fossil fuels, for an obvious reason : the standard of living is obviously much more dependent on the fossil consumption than on the average temperature of your country.”

    This is true, right up until the point climate change has wrecked agricultural production world wide, and you starve to death.

    “So that’s really a strange thing to think that cutting fuel consumption to avoid some degrees more is a good bargain”

    You’re argument is that fossil fuels are going to run out and this will kill us all. So we should burn them quicker. My argument is that fossil fuels are going to run out, and in the meantime do enormous damage to the environment, so we should move, as quickly as possible to alternatives.

    Your arguement appears to be that alternative sources of energy are impossible. This arguement is based on no evidence whatsoever.

    ” – and the failure of Copenhaguen is just the evidence of how weird this idea is.”

    This, I agree with. Current economics forces us to increase consumption. It cannot does not cost future environmental degradation properly, and it can’t deal with resource depletion.

    ” My prognosis is that mankind will never cease to extract as much fuel as possible to feed it’s inextinguishible thirst for energy”

    This is probably true

    ” – but that Nature will limit it very soon to “reasonable” values.”

    This is false.

    ” We’ll already see in ten years how things go, I think ;).”

    You predicting peak coal in the next 10 years?

    I’ll give you a prediction. In 10 years time global CO2 emissions will be higher than they are today and there will be ample coal reserves, and demand for coal, to keep them going to 2050 at least.

    Hopefully, over the next 10 years, record investment in clean technology will lead to major breakthroughs, particularly in solar, that offer alternative energy sources that mean, if we chose to limit CO2 emissions, we can.

    And I’ll give you one further prediction. Irrespective of the damage done by climate change, human society will continue (probably with a very much smaller population, or at least a very much smaller ‘rich’ populatuion) and, when they run out of fossil fuels, they will have the innovative capacity to find alternatives.

    We aren’t heading for extinction. We might undergo population crash.

    Comment by Silk — 22 Jan 2010 @ 12:39 PM

  520. Comment to Ray Ladbury (512): You miss the point completely. I asked the question at the end how many years of a new trend are required before you believe in it. Your answer seems to be – almost never! Not very scientific… And yes, I think I have an idea of the difficulties in the calibration of the satellite data having worked with the calibration of Space Telescope data for a couple of years. Measuring surface temperature of a globe with something like 1% coverage seems harder… Besides, as I wrote, the flatness is seen in the the GISS data as well.

    Comment to Kevin McKinney (514): “There’s a highly detailed understanding of the physical mechanisms involved”. Yes, and I am Santa Claus! It is exactly this unscientific overbelief in largely untested models and the underlying physics that I react against. Climate models have essentially never been tried in different parameter spaces (compared to the present one) and compared with real data and thus the credibility must necessarily remain low until that is done [please reconstruct the Little Ice Age or the end of the real Ice Age as a SIMPLE exercise]. There are some parameters that are poorly known and most likely a number are unknown. The CO2 by itself is possibly quite straightforward but the nonlinear feedback processes simply aren’t as you all know. Anything from land use, cloud sensitivity and space interaction remain at best obscurely understood. Complex numerical models of this kind typically contains so many parameters and are sensitive to them all that getting only one wrong may be catastrophic for the result. There is a famous parallel example in astronomy regarding Supernova 1987 A. Stellar models, vastly more trained and better understood than climate models since there are many well observed stars with widely different parameters (ages, metallicities, masses etc.) that they have been trained on, all predicted that a precursor of a supernova should be a red giant star. Before 1987 A no precursor had ever been observed. When it blasted off in nearby Large Magellanic Cloud, a well mapped region, the precursor could be identified. It was – blue! Not surprising, within a few months after the event papers started to appear indicating that blue supernovae were indeed possible. Post fact – models can always be adapted. Science advances by disbelief rather than belief. I think that on these pages we all want to understand the climate, don’t we? Let’s do science then and not religion!

    [Response: Fine, but why then do you have a dogmatic belief that climate models are untested? This is not true. They predicted the response of the climate to Pinatubo before that impact was seen, they predicted warming from the 1980s before it occurred, they correctly predicted that the original CLIMAP ocean temperatures for the last glacial maximum would be revised down with better data, they predicted that the original MSU data which showed cooling were wrong (and they were) etc. – gavin]

    Comment by Steven Jörsäter — 22 Jan 2010 @ 12:48 PM

  521. Gilles, You seem to be resisting learning what the consequences of warming are. Yes, it is likely that the worst consequences will occur for your children and grandchildren than for you. I do not understand why that means YOU should not care. I care, and I don’t even have children!

    Your prognosis is based on nothing beyond your own opinion–no research, no learning, no deep analysis. If this is really the best you can do, then fine. I personally would not be satisfied with it. I would want to understand the world around me.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Jan 2010 @ 1:49 PM

  522. Comment by Steven Jörsäter — 22 January 2010 @ 12:48 PM

    Further to this post, it seems that a lot of folks are really missing the boat on the entire climate model history of development, challenges met, present limitations, etc. Over and over, we hear various anecdotes of other model failures, these used as analogies to climate models. I’m a fan of analogy but it only works in the simplest of cases, for portraying something that can be substantially conveyed without need for detail.

    Steven, without picking on you on in particular but just as the most recent example, you say,

    “Climate models have essentially never been tried in different parameter spaces (compared to the present one) and compared with real data and thus the credibility must necessarily remain low until that is done…”

    But climate models have faced exactly these things you describe, some of them long ago. It’s not flattering to you and it’s counterproductive to discussion when you make such an assertion. In its general features, your assertion is one of the most tired and exhausted misunderstandings found on this site. You need to be much more specific if you’re going to effectively attack models.

    Now I’m going to be entirely redundant and post a hint as to where you might be able to derive an argument worth pursuing:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/GCM.htm

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 22 Jan 2010 @ 4:58 PM

  523. Steven Jorsatter: Try here:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/30Years.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 22 Jan 2010 @ 5:39 PM

  524. “On the reliability of the U.S. Surface Temperature Record”

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/On-the-reliability-of-the-US-Surface-Temperature-Record.html
    Friday, 22 January, 2010

    How denialists assist with climate science. Doesn’t help them much though.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 22 Jan 2010 @ 6:38 PM

  525. Silk

    What /we/ do now, collectively, will determine climate impact. What /you/ do, on your own, is meaningless, but since we are /all/ individuals we either act, collectively, selfishly and do not solve the problem, or act, collectively, to reduce emissions, deforestation etc. and attempt to solve the problem. I think that is clear.”
    That’s only an unproved statement. Just repeating it again doesn’t prove it more. Kyoto was supposed to “do something”, and it has really done nothing. Do you believe in facts, or in theology?


    I think that /anyone/ who’s spent /any/ effort on climate policy realises this. The entire object of the execise is to leave the coal and tar sands in the ground, and the forests intact. That is the object of mitigation policy (as opposed to climate science). I should point out that Realclimate is largely about climate science, not mitigation policy.”
    That’s true, this debate should rather take place on TheOilDrum for instance.

    There is a very simple way of leaving all the fuels in the ground : live like during Middle Age. Very simple.

    The tough issue is to keep the current standard of living without fuels. You seem to think there is no fundamental problem to do that. The only thing is that there is absolutely no fact proving it’s possible. The current countries without (or almost) fuels are Afghanistan, So malia, Chad, Haiti (you sure have seen recently some pictures of the latter on the news). And it is so obvious that development is impossible without fuels that all developing countries are excluded from restricting their fuel consumption. Why do that, if they are not necessary ?

    “This is incorrect. The object of the execise would be to LEAVE THE FUEL in the ground. To do this, obviously, you need clean alternatives, or CCS (which burns the fuel but buries the CO2)”
    I agree. You could also need Santa claus or some fairies. That doesn’t prove they exist.

    ““But depriving future generation of left fossil fuels would probably be for them much more a problem than a solution. ”

    Incorrect. You understand neither the cost of the problem, nor the cost of the solution. Read ‘The Stern Review’”

    Right. I don’t understand the Stern review. It seems it compares to different solutions : a situation with GDP A, with X fossil fuels and a climatic cost C, giving a A-C benefit. and a situation A , with much less Y fossil fuel, and a mitigation cost D, giving a A-D benefit. As D<C, it concludes : the best choice is the second one.

    But for me that's silly. If we can produce A with only Y fuels instead of X, it means we have improved energy efficiency by X/Y. Fine, but the rightl thing to do is to produce A*X/Y with X fuels ! Of course you will find again the climatic cost C , but the net benefit will be A*X/Y – C, that you can verify is much larger than any of the previous values. Because it is much more interesting to use energy efficiency to produce MORE wealth with the same amount of energy than THE SAME wealth with less energy – it would be stupid not to consume the energy left, since they produce much more wealth than even the climatic cost.

    "
    Read IEA World Energy Outlook 2009. There is more than enough KNOWN coal, oil, gas and non-conventional resource to take us a long way past 450ppm CO2. Or google “Known coal reserves” which leads to

    http://www.worldcoal.org/coal/where-is-coal-found/

    “It has been estimated that there are over 847 billion tonnes of proven coal reserves worldwide. This means that there is enough coal to last us over 130 years at current rates of production. In contrast, proven oil and gas reserves are equivalent to around 42 and 60 years at current production levels”

    That's exactly what I said. Have you ever computed the amount of CO2 this would produce ? more than 450 ppm, but less than 550 . Now compare the extra cost to go from 450 to 550 ppm; and compare it with the cost NOT extracting this coal.

    "“Just look at the differences between the scenarii to understand that. So it’s simply very unlikely that the fact that they are burnt or not in the course of the XXIth century depends strongly on the way we use now conventional resources.”

    I have no idea what you are talking about here. And the word is “scenarios”, not “scenarii”"

    Actually the right italian plural is scenari, but ok for scenarios.

    You don't have any idea of what I'm talking about? I'm talking about the amount of coal you must burn to reach dangerous levels of CO2. What is a dangerous level of CO2 for you, why, and which amount of coal do you have to burn to reach it ?

    "
    Your best guess is based on your own ignorance (as already displayed by comments like “this coal is NOT YET discovered, NOBODY KNOWS where it is”). The IPCC scenarios are based on known economic drivers. I’d take the economists who contributed to the IPCC plus the IEA economists who wrote the WEO 2009 over your ‘best guess’.
    "
    You mentioned 850 billions t coal or so. Compare to the answer you gave to the above question, the amount of coal you need to burn to reach dangerous levels.

    And what would you bet for the oil production in 2020 based on the IEA and IPCC scenario ? I think I'd like to bet with you.
    "
    “Conventional reserves correspond approximately to the lowest B1 scenario (although the repartition of fossil fuels is quite different).”

    This statement is completely untrue. It is based on nothing more than your ferbile imagination.
    "

    That's very, very easy to settle : it's just a comparison between two numbers : the total amount of carbon in proved reserves, and the amount of carbon burnt in the most conservative B1 scenario (taking into account that everything has not been burnt in 2100 but you can still extrapolate the fuel consumption with an exponential decrease).

    Do you want to do the exercise or do you want me to give you the answer ?
    "
    “Already the oil seems to peak much earlier than predicted,”

    Define ‘much earlier’. The IEA say peak oil will not occur between now and 2030. The IEA is the World’s leading authority on global energy. What are your qualifications, exactly?
    "
    just an average scientist. What would you bet for the oil production in 2020 ? which countries do you think are able to raise their production to reach this goal ?

    "

    What evidence do you have for this? CTL is economic in South Africa. What EVIDENCE (which is different from your ‘feeling’) do you have that CTL would not be economic in the USA and China?
    "
    it's produced indeed, but just evaluate how much per capita.

    "
    What evidence do you have for this utterly ridiculous claim? What evidence do you have that a range of technologies, including solar, wind, tidal, nuclear and biomass cannot produce energy at the necessary scale?
    "
    first all these energies but biomass produce electricity, and electricity does not replace oil where it is irreplaceable, mainly in transportation. The evidence I have is just that each burst of the barrel price above current 80 $ has been followed by a severe recession – including the present one. If you think it was only due to subprimes and some foolish bankers, just wait for some years …till the next oil shock in fact. You will then better judge how "ridiculous" is my claim.

    This statement is NOT TRUE. Just taking conventional reserves takes us far inexcess of 550ppm as the IEA have set out, clearly, in WEO 2009. Read it.

    YOU read it please ! and read also Hansen, even him admitted that (though he thinks 550 ppm is still too much).

    “And I think that mankind is basically able to cope with that.”

    Do you? Good. What evidence do you have for that? What degree of GDP loss could mankind live with?

    mankind can live like in Middle Age. Actually it has done it. So you can basically divide the GDP by 100, approximately (but of course not exactly in the way we live now; but you may now that still a lot of people are living approximately like that, even now).

    "“The true mess is that we don’t have real alternatives to fossil fuels”

    Not true
    "

    If it is not true, why do we admit that we should not restrain developing countries to use fossil fuels ? why do they refuse to develop without increasing their fuel consumption? do you think they are stupid ?

    BTW, do you know how to produce without fossil fuels : concrete, steel, all kind of metals, plastics, paintings, insulators, glass, glues, fertilizers, medicines, solvents, semiconductors, etc… many of them being rather useful for all alleged "alternatives" to fossil ?

    “so that the civilization is gradually condemned to decline.”

    Not true. Your assumption is that we don’t have the ability to innovate and develop new forms of energy. This is demonstrably false, as the invention of nuclear (to pick a tech at random) over the last 50 years shows.

    Nuclear produces only 15 % of the world electricity, 5% of the total energy. And if you want it to produce more, you will have only 10 years of reserves – breeding reactors are awful to master and are politically very sensitive. And again, it produces only electricity, and you don't make everything with it – beginning with the above list.

    “I really think that the global temperature will be a minor problem compared with the decline of fossil fuels, for an obvious reason : the standard of living is obviously much more dependent on the fossil consumption than on the average temperature of your country.”

    This is true, right up until the point climate change has wrecked agricultural production world wide, and you starve to death.
    "
    I predict that the decline of fossil fuels will be the primary issue for agriculture, starting with the price of fertilizers and fuel for engines.

    "
    You’re argument is that fossil fuels are going to run out and this will kill us all. So we should burn them quicker. My argument is that fossil fuels are going to run out, and in the meantime do enormous damage to the environment, so we should move, as quickly as possible to alternatives.
    "
    Of course we SHOULD if they would exist ! I say that they don't really exist. I never said we must burn them quicker. I said it would be stupid not to use what we can easily extract from the ground. The rest will be too difficult anyway.

    "
    Your arguement appears to be that alternative sources of energy are impossible. This arguement is based on no evidence whatsoever.
    "
    I just look at facts.

    And isn't YOUR argument that we will never be able to face some degrees more on the Earth? what EVIDENCE do you have of that?
    "
    ” We’ll already see in ten years how things go, I think ;).”

    You predicting peak coal in the next 10 years?
    "
    No – but peak oil will be enough to reduce first energy consumption per capita, then total energy consumption (around 2025 following my estimates).

    "I’ll give you a prediction. In 10 years time global CO2 emissions will be higher than they are today and there will be ample coal reserves, and demand for coal, to keep them going to 2050 at least."

    It's possible, but it won't be enough to produce more than 550 ppm.
    "
    And I’ll give you one further prediction. Irrespective of the damage done by climate change, human society will continue (probably with a very much smaller population, or at least a very much smaller ‘rich’ populatuion) and, when they run out of fossil fuels, they will have the innovative capacity to find alternatives."

    That's plainly contradictory, if you mean by "alternative" something as efficient as fossil fuels = why should the population decrease then? If it's not as efficient, that's basically what I'm saying, and we are heading not for extinction – I think that mankind can survive some billions years yet – but for gradual decline, and eventually total extinction of the industrial civilization.

    Comment by Gilles — 22 Jan 2010 @ 7:40 PM

  526. Gilles,
    Peak oil is upon us. We have no choice but to change our energy infrastructure. The question is whether we rely on cheap and very dirty coal or go with cleaner, sustainable energy sources that will require significant research to develop and integrate into a coherent whole.

    Climate science is trying to tell us something very important that shifts the balance of this equation. It tells us that there is a not insignificant risk that further reliance on fossil fuel could permanently change our planet’s climate–the climate upon which the infrastructure of civilization depends.

    There is precisely one habitable planet that humans are likely to ever set foot on, Gilles. That is Earth. I would contend that we ought to have a little trepidation about carrying out an uncontrolled experiment on that planet–particularly when all the science tells us it’s a very bad idea.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Jan 2010 @ 8:41 PM

  527. Steven Jorstater,
    First, a climate trend becomes clear with about 30 years of data–that’s a definition based on statistics. After 15 years, it becomes enticing, but it is not definitive. Is that OK with you, or do you want us to make a special exception for you?

    As to your experience on telescopes, there is a really, really big difference between calibrating a purpose-built detector to perform the mission it was designed to perform and extracting a signal from an instrument that was never designed to measure that parameter. The GISS and HADCRUT algorithms are comparatively much simpler.

    Now as to your assertions about models, all I can say is BULLSHIT! To contend that stellar models are better understood than climate models is simply laughable, and saying that climate models have not been validated is either astoundingly ignorant or mendacious.

    http://bartonpaullevenson.com/ModelsReliable.html

    And frankly, I find your accusation that the entire scientific community–not just the climate scientists–is deluding itself to be insulting.

    So, Steven, next time you want an ego boost from throwing your buzzwords around, maybe you should pick a site that isn’t so full of real scientists who will see through your bullshit like the thin gruel that it is.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Jan 2010 @ 9:12 PM

  528. #524 Tim: Interesting reference.

    However, it appears that the impact of system changes are still not adequately discussed. A station’s temperature readings are not only dependent on sensor type (mercury vs. some electronic type), but also on how well the sensor is protected against direct sunlight, IR-radiation from the ground, rain and winds.

    A standard Stevenson screen (a.k.a. cotton field screen) is naturally ventilated (in most cases), so on a cloudless day with very light winds its temperature reading can be a couple of degrees higher than it should be. If the screen is dirty, the heating can be several degrees. These errors are strongly diluted of course whenever there are clouds or moderate winds, and they disappear at night.

    U.S. introduced screens with forced ventilation apparently in the 1980’s. This eliminates the solar heating errors. That results in a cooling of the readings. If this system change can be corrected for, I do not know. It is a very complex issue, dependent on cloud and wind conditions on each station.

    Globally, forced ventilation screens have not become dominant for cost reasons – they require electric power. Power is a major issue on most automatic weather stations. Also a desire to maintain a standard has been important for climatological reasons, even if the standard is less accurate. A completely new level of interest in climatology has also motivated improvements of thermometer screen maintenance, so there are more freshly painted and clean screens in the network. Some cooling bias is introduced.

    Several national weather services have carried out comparisons involving different screen types but not much has been published. There was even an extensive and carefully organized test arranged by the WMO/CIMO (Commission on Instruments and Methods of Observation). Data was collected from tens of commercial screen types installed side-by-side. Unfortunately funding was cut before a final report was finished.

    Overall it is a minor error of measurement. Recent data is a little cooler than it should be, by less than 0,1 degC.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 22 Jan 2010 @ 11:36 PM

  529. Gavin in #433,

    Turns out that was not a useful link in any case. It had average data rather than annual. Still, I was surprised to see Gabon missing since it is stable and prosperous. I’m interested in fig. 9 and the explanation for the regions that have not warmed. Could the Falkland and Benguela Currents help to explain what is seen there? But the missing data might be important to what is seen in fig. 9 as well.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 23 Jan 2010 @ 12:08 AM

  530. Ray, if you admit that peak oil is upon us, then you admit that there is a big flaw in IEA predictions, and so in IPCC scenarios, because none has predicted such an early peak in oil production. That is a true issue : why did they mistake so much ? I think that’s because they tool their scenarios from economists, who don’t know about physical constraints, and have been used to think that growth is just an economic question, and that we can feed it with any kind of energy at any price. That’s -in my mind- profoundly erroneous. Growth is linked to the availability of increasing amount of CHEAP energy, not only energy. That’s not true anymore with oil.
    “We have no choice but to change our energy infrastructure.” That’s true if we refuse absolutely to become poorer (which is understandable anyway). It is not obvious at all that it’s possible, but your sentence shows that you wouldn’t like become poorer,and probably nobody would like it too. But it means ALSO that it is very unlikely that we would willingly not extract fossil fuels we can access in the ground : meaning concretely that you close a coal mine, a gas or an oil well, although they still hold a lot of this treasure. And it is very unlikely that what YOU spare now won’t be used by anybody else in the world- for instance these people in Bengladesh you are very much concerned about, that REALLY NEED THEM, even with a very efficient energy system. So what I try to explain is what you consider as “conservation” is just a change in repartition, in space and maybe in time, and that all the easily accessible fuel, includind 850 Gt coal, will be much probably consumed anyway, for the very same reason that drives your “we must change our energy system” – because that’s in human nature not liking getting poorer.

    Now on the consequences of this burning, I’m still skeptical; I really think that fossil fuels produce CO2 and that CO2 may produce warming. I think that climate scientists may be a little be too confident about the strength of heavy computations and the epistemological value of “look, great, we can fit the data”. Actually many wrong models can fit data. The real strength of a model is its predicting power. I still wait for a strong – not too obvious, meaning significantly different from what other models would predict – prediction to be confirmed by observations AFTER it has been done. Before that, I remain cautious on the exact value of climate sensitivity. So my present status is : I think that the three pillars of the AGW speech are : uncertain climate models, unlikely fossil fuels, and unreasonable economics.

    Comment by Gilles — 23 Jan 2010 @ 2:46 AM

  531. Gilles, Until the price spike in 2008, NOBODY but the Club of Rome was predicting peak oil in the near term. Even now, it is difficult to predict whether we are upon it or whether we’ll hit the wall in a couple of decades. However, Peak Oil is not the end of fossil fuels. Coal remains plentiful–and very dirty. And after that we have oil shale and tar sands. And if you think humans would just give up on energy consumption even if the fossil fuels were gone, you clearly have not spent any time in India or Africa or Indonesia, where entire forests are disappearing to make charcoal.

    And given that your understanding of the climate models, energy and economics are all founded on the single pillar of your own ignorance, you will forgive me if I don’t take it too seriously.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Jan 2010 @ 8:50 AM

  532. “530
    Gilles says:
    23 January 2010 at 2:46 AM

    Ray, if you admit that peak oil is upon us, then you admit that there is a big flaw in IEA predictions, and so in IPCC scenarios,”

    Why?

    Peak oil doesn’t mean “can’t get out more oil”, it merely means that the rate at which you can get oil out cannot increase with demand.

    And as anyone who’s done ANY reading on free markets knows, when demand rises but supply cannot match that rise, prices go up.

    What’s happened to oil prices, Gilles?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 23 Jan 2010 @ 10:54 AM

  533. Earth Changes —->
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7I_eFoIk64

    Comment by Andi Prama — 23 Jan 2010 @ 11:48 AM

  534. Re:531 Ray Ladbury says:
    23 January 2010

    “Gilles, Until the price spike in 2008, NOBODY but the Club of Rome was predicting peak oil in the near term.”

    Au contraire, mon ami! Some of the first proponents of the concept, C.J.Campbell, the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO), http://www.peakoil.net/ has conventional oil peaking ~2008. (We were seeing this chart in 2004)

    http://www.aspo-ireland.org/contentFiles/newsletterPDFs/newsletter100_200904.pdf
    Scroll to oil and Gas production Profiles

    see also:
    http://www.energybulletin.net/primer.php

    A lot of us were onto peak oil before 2008.

    See: http://dieoff.org/ for the more grim scenarios following the peak in peak oil.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 23 Jan 2010 @ 2:01 PM

  535. Completely Fed Up says: 23 January 2010 at 10:54 AM

    “Peak oil doesn’t mean “can’t get out more oil”, it merely means that the rate at which you can get oil out cannot increase with demand.”

    Indeed and that will need to be repeated, ad nauseam.

    But the situation is even worse, in the medium to long term. Production will begin trending downward, not so terribly long from now.

    The collision between rising demand and declining production is going to be truly spectacular.

    There will be beneficiaries of that collision, of course. Folks with large production royalty shares are going to harvest a lot of money in years to come. I’m not sufficiently versed in economics to say if they’d do better trickling this revenue over many decades versus grabbing it as quickly as possible as a side effect of thoughtless behavior. The reality of human nature indicates there will be an astonishing acceleration in cash flow when production/demand curves truly cross.

    We had an endowment of petroleum that– if it had been used wisely, with combustion as a temporary measure– would have made a wonderful ladder for us to climb up and away into the future. We’ve wasted it, to the point it’s easily conceivable we’re going to have a needless lot of bother and aggravation.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 23 Jan 2010 @ 4:18 PM

  536. FWIW, the Arctic is below average for this time of year, having cooled about 15C in the past 3 weeks: http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

    It isn’t unusual for the Arctic temp to swing up and down 15C-20C during fall, winter, and spring, but it is intriguing that it has cooled while simultaneously sending all that cold air to northern Europe and Asia.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 23 Jan 2010 @ 5:20 PM

  537. Re:530 Gilles & 531 Ray Ladbury, 23 January 2010

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me you both perceive peak oil and peak coal to mean nearing the end of the supply. Nothing could be further from the truth. Peak oil simply means the peak in global oil production. Every year following the peak oil companies will produce less oil than the year before. Most likely long plateaus in production will follow the peak as new technology enhances recovery.

    Something else to remember, originally M. King Hubbert was referring to conventional oil, oil drilled up out of the ground. Now we have unconventional oil like Alberta tar sands, deep, offshore oil, oil shale and coal to liquids as potential sources of unconventional oil. We have methane clathrates as a source of natural gas. We also have potential oil and gas finds in the Arctic coming as the Arctic ice sheet melts. Much of this is unaccounted for in setting a date for peak oil. Sometimes it is recognized and the charts see the peak out 20 years. Whatever, it’s an illusion to think that just because oil (or coal) has peaked we’ll be seeing a whole lot less produced anytime soon.

    As we cross the peak demand will increase. Remember it will be a plateau for some years as new production is spurred by rises in price. Therefore prices will be higher. And then demand destruction will ensue and demand will drop. And then the price. The economy goes nuts. We just went through such an episode. Peak oil had nothing to due with the price rise, except perhaps in some people’s heads.

    Another aspect of the economy flattening the peak in peak oil will be the emergence and application of new energy producing technology. But in aggregate alterative energy won’t replace demand for fossil fuel. It will supplement it as population pressure and the revolution in rising expectations has more people seeking a better life.

    There will be more fossil fuel energy combined with alternative energy until as alternative energy becomes more available and cheaper there is more of that available than high priced fossil fuel. The peak in peak oil will be flattened for years as heavy demand is softened and alternative energy supplants the use of fossil fuels.

    But we almost certainly will not stop using fossil fuels until they have reached practical limits in recovery, many decades from now. Thus we won’t be looking at the end of emissions for decades as humanity strives to support its addiction to a material world. Peak oil will not be the silver bullet. The only thing that will attenuate emissions is government intervention –
    a carbon tax or cap and trade. Even that will simply be seen as a cost of doing business. Some sorts of sequestration technologies including Biochar could help downstream. But again, no silver bullet.

    Fossil fuel would have to be outlawed to prevent global warming. Right now, does anyone in a sober moment actually think this will happen?

    All this is to say, DO NOT count on peak oil or peak coal to end our emissions crisis and thus our greenhouse gas warming problem.

    As Al Gore answered one day, “There’s enough coal left in the ground to fry the planet.”

    The only answer is to willfully leave the stuff in the ground. I suspect we’ll have a taste of the reason why this coming summer and fall.

    http://www.groundtruthinvestigations.com/

    Comment by Tim Jones — 23 Jan 2010 @ 5:33 PM

  538. Gilles (#530) says: “I still wait for a strong – not too obvious, meaning significantly different from what other models would predict – prediction to be confirmed by observations AFTER it has been done. Before that, I remain cautious on the exact value of climate sensitivity.”

    Take a look at the link in #527.

    Comment by Alex De Visscher — 23 Jan 2010 @ 6:43 PM

  539. #501 (Steven Jorsatter) and subsequent comments (e.g., #523)

    If the temperature of a given year is lower than the temperature the previous year then, yes, it would be technically correct to say that the earth cooled during that year. However, this information is not useful if one’s purpose is to predict what the Earth’s temperature will be 100 years from now. For that, one needs 30 – 50 years of data for reasons explained by BPL in 523 (22 January, 5:39 PM)

    Analogy: The fact that you have just descended into a valley doesn’t mean that you’re not heading toward the mountains.

    Comment by Jerry Steffens — 23 Jan 2010 @ 6:51 PM

  540. Steven (#501): Do me a favor and analyze the data for yourself. Google GISTEMP, find the file with the annual global mean surface-ocean index, enter the mean annual data of 1970-2009 in the spreadsheet software of your choice, make a chart, and add a linear trendline. You will see that the trendline almost exactly matches the 2009 data point. No surprise here: the first half of 2009 was in the wake of a La Nina event, and the second half was the onset of an El Nino event, and the two effects canceled each other in the annual mean. What this little analysis shows you is that global warming in the early 2000s was ahead of schedule due to some persistent El Nino events. Global warming is exactly where it’s supposed to be. There is no stalling of global warming at all.

    Comment by Alex De Visscher — 23 Jan 2010 @ 6:54 PM

  541. Ray, I am surprised that you are so little informed about the peak oil community. As reminded by Tim Jones, peak oil has been rather precisely predicted to happen between 2005 and 2010 by Campbell and Lahérerre in 1998 in Scientific American, in their seminal paper “The End of Cheap Oil”,

    http://dieoff.org/page140.htm

    These predictions have been repeated by a lot of people like Matt Simmons, whereas official agencies predicted BAU continuous growth.
    There is a lot of references, but just have a look on 2006 predictions
    http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2006/10/3/104458/751

    compared to 2009 situation
    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5979

    Completely Fed Up : I’m totally aware that peak oil means an increase of price, of course. I’m just saying that the peak of production has never been predicted to occur so early by IEA and EIA, and hence by IPCC scenarios. It’s understandable that an intergovernmental agency can not tell something else than another one – but if one is mistaking, the other will too. Basically enconomists seem to have forgottent the other half of the basic law of offer and demand, that is the demand is decreasing when prices go up ! it’s often said that the elasticity of oil is very low – but it’s not vanishing. And a low elasticity just mean that the prices will climb to the sky when the resource is depleting – and they just did it.

    But if peak oil is now, it means that we won’t extract much more than the conventional resources, around 150 Gtep left, and probably that will be the same for coal, not more than 800 GtC. taking into account that the exhaustion won’t be completed in 2100 , this give a maximum concentration of CO2 around 575 ppm, as has been shown by Hansen.

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2007GB003142.shtml

    (the authors considered that this is already a dangerous level, but it is comparable with the lowest B1 scenario – I have some doubt about the real “danger” of such a concentration. And I have still more doubts that the effort needed to cut further the coal use to stay below 450 ppm , meaning practically cutting all power almost everywhere in the world, would produce less harm that the GW of 2°C -assuming GCM are correct of course.

    Comment by Gilles — 23 Jan 2010 @ 7:03 PM

  542. Tim Jones, I admit the my statement about Peak Oil coming as a surprise was a bit of an exaggeration. However, Club of Rome started making noise about it in 1972! Imagine how things might have been different if we’d listened. Although somewhat pessimistic about abilities to find future reserves, they were only off by a couple of decades. Not bad for a simple model.
    And yes, I know that consumption doesn’t stop at the peak. However, the exponential rise in consumption of petroleum does, while the exponentially rising demand for energy does not! From a greenhouse point of view, coal is an even bigger nightmare than oil, particularly if we are talking about extracting a liquid fuel for transport from it.

    Known extractable coal reserves are about a teratonne. That’s about enough to double CO2 content in the atmosphere by itself–even if more than half the CO2 goes into the ocean. And what is more, this would likely happen in ~50 years or so. I don’t think Peak Oil or Peak Coal will save us, or Peak Oil Shale or Peak Tar Sands for that matter.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Jan 2010 @ 8:25 PM

  543. These pages of analysis that make exactly two points:
    (a) The fluctuations in temperature being analyzed are small relative to uncertainties associated within the primary data and those arising from arbitrary choice of the model to distill them to draw an argued conclusion.
    (b) Whether one concludes that 2005 is slightly warmer than 1998 or vice versa depends on the choice of model.
    Any healthy science would infer, correctly, that any conclusion that depends on an arbitrary choice of an analytical model and, in any case is scarcely outside of experimental error (if that) is not a conclusion worth arguing about.
    But climatology is not a healthy science. It is politicized from top to bottom, and therefore everyone on both sides is selecting models to manipulate the data to get the answer that they want about conclusions that are not worth having, all while politicians declare the “science settled”. No wonder climatology is doing such damage to the public perception of scientists and science.
    The facts are clear. Today’s temperatures are not higher (and may be lower) than temperatures created by natural variation in the Medieval, Roman, or Minoan periods. Even this statement is not worth arguing over, as it is correct enough given errors involved. Further, even this variation is negligible compared to the variation that we know can naturally occur, as undisputed records in the Pliocene, Miocene, and Pleistocene establish.
    And none of this is relevant to the issue at hand: Will human CO2 release create a new regime in climate behavior? It is conceivable that humankind’s generation of CO2 will overwhelm natural variation, even though it is quite clear that existing models that credit CO2 as a climate “forcer” are essentially unsustained by an analysis of the historical past, especially in the Pleistocene and Pliocene. Again, this disfunctional field cannot even get this discussion right (meaning, one cannot see a thread of Aristotelian logic that moves from data to conclusion).

    Comment by Sean — 23 Jan 2010 @ 10:10 PM

  544. Re:542 Ray Ladbury says:
    23 January 2010

    “Known extractable coal reserves are about a teratonne. That’s about enough to double CO2 content in the atmosphere by itself–even if more than half the CO2 goes into the ocean. And what is more, this would likely happen in ~50 years or so. I don’t think Peak Oil or Peak Coal will save us, or Peak Oil Shale or Peak Tar Sands for that matter.”

    Both of us are trying to make clear that living in climate la la land because peak fossil fuels will solve all our problems is
    grasping at straws to justify business as usual. …as if peak oil was going to solve ANY problems. Peak oil is one of the whammies of a double whammy coming out of burning hundreds of millions of years worth of ancient sunshine.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 23 Jan 2010 @ 11:51 PM

  545. It is conceivable that humankind’s generation of CO2 will overwhelm natural variation, even though it is quite clear that existing models that credit CO2 as a climate “forcer” are essentially unsustained by an analysis of the historical past

    Oh, good God, CO2’s GHG properties are well-known physics.

    You might as well be arguing against gravity.

    [edit]

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Jan 2010 @ 12:05 AM

  546. Sean says: 23 January 2010 at 10:10 PM

    What was that all about? No questions, no contribution of information, just a casserole of expired talking points. It looked like something generated by a machine, for Pete’s sake.

    Come to think of it, it really does look artificial. But it does not pass the Turing test.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 24 Jan 2010 @ 12:34 AM

  547. Ray, actually things have changed since 1970. The energy efficiency has indeed improved. Nuclear energy has been developed. Peak oil should have occurred maybe 10 years ago if nothing would have been done. But the gain has been only a shift in a peak – modest shift after all. Because the real message of Club of Rome was that an endless growth is impossible, and that any exponential curve will catch up any limit in a few growth times – the growth(doubling) time correponding to +2%/yr being only 35 years. Basically, it means that the period of growth cannot exceed a few centuries, meaning that we are more or less at the peak. The question is where is PRECISELY this peak? now? in 50 years ? in 100 years, which would assume a further 10 times increase of our energy consumption ?
    I’m just stating that all indicators, starting with peak oil, show that the global peak of civilization is much more likely to be close that distant, and that it is merely ignored in IPCC scenarios.
    I agree on your teratonne or so of extractible coal , actually of easily extractible fossil fuels since oil and gas wouldn’t add so much. I agree on the doubling of CO2. I disagree it would happen in 50 years, since it would require an unreasonable growth rate of coal consumption. I disagree that this is an “nightmare”, since I am not aware of a real catastrophe associated with a doubling of CO2. 20 cm sea level rise ? moving by a few 100 km to the south in climate equivalent ?

    for 100 years, the climate has already warmed by almost one degree, and fossil fuels have multiplied by 10 the average consumption per capita (and still more in developed countries). What has been the most important factor in the all-day life between these two ?

    Different countries differ currently by order of magnitudes in their fuel consumption AND by several degrees (more than 10°C I guess) in their average temperature. So it is an obvious thing to seek for the correlation between the standard of living and these two factors. Compare Sweden,Italy, Illinois, California, North Korea,South Korea, Western Germany and Eastern germany : do you see a correlation of life with climate, or with fuel consumption ? Honestly ?

    How can you imagine that decreasing the fossil consumption by a factor 2 , 3 or 4 could be done at no cost, with no harm, or at least with much less consequences than an increase of 1 or 2 °C more ? I can’t see the scientific and rational argument behind this; all the facts I know just show the exact opposite. So I may be ignorant and stupid, but I just ask for an explanation.

    Comment by Gilles — 24 Jan 2010 @ 3:54 AM

  548. Sean: existing models that credit CO2 as a climate “forcer” are essentially unsustained by an analysis of the historical past, especially in the Pleistocene and Pliocene.

    BPL: I take it you’re not familiar with any of the work of Lasaga, Berner, Walker, Hays or Kasting on the carbonate-silicate cycle.

    In the meantime, try here:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/ClimateSensitivity.html

    Pay special attention to the ones that deduced their figures from paleoclimate data. See also:

    Knutti, R. and G. Hegerl 2008. “The equilibrium sensitivity of the earth’s temperature to radiation changes.” Nature Geoscience 1, 735–743. [3 K, 2.0-4.5]

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 24 Jan 2010 @ 7:06 AM

  549. Giles: “Completely Fed Up : I’m totally aware that peak oil means an increase of price, of course. I’m just saying that the peak of production has never been predicted to occur so early by IEA and EIA”

    And Peak Oil isn’t “peak production”.

    Look, you say English isn;t your first language, but this has been repeated again and again and AGAIN.

    Peak oil isn’t peak production.

    Peak oil is not peak production.

    When peak oil is past, you haven’t necessarily reached peak production.

    Peak production and peak oil are not the same.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 24 Jan 2010 @ 7:49 AM

  550. Sean:
    “Any healthy science would infer, correctly, that any conclusion that depends on an arbitrary choice of an analytical model”

    But that is not the correct inference.

    Your climate model isn’t going “look, we fit the graph and the temperatures are going up”.

    Your climate model is going “these are the factors that affect the temperature and this is how we think they will change in the future”.

    When that future becomes the past, you no longer have to guess which way the factors changed: you have seen the change.

    Just like Hansen’s 88 model had a pinatubo-like eruption not at the time and strength of the real one that happened, but when it HAD happened, the EXACT SAME MODEL could be rerun with the actual eruption in the place it was and the strength it was and guess what?

    It turned out pretty accurate.

    A scientist would not make your mistakes, Sean.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 24 Jan 2010 @ 7:53 AM

  551. Sean@543, Uh, no. The climat scientists have been VERY up front that small differences are not significant. Maybe you haven’t met Jim Hansen. He’s a climate scientist. The press is not so circumspect. Records sell papers.

    And yes, the facts are clear–you’ve just got them wrong. The warm periods you cite are likely not global, any more than the MWP. And yes, there have been wamer epochs on Earth, but I don’t think the dinosaurs had a complex, global civilization that was trying to support 9 billion individuals–or are you one of those creationist biologists who tries to cram all prehistory into the 2000 years before the FLUD.

    The consensus model of Earth’s climate has been tremendously successful. It has the unfortunate implication that our love of fossil fuels is changing the planet’s climate–a prediction first made 114 years ago by Arrhenius. If you don’t like that conclusion, great. Come up with a better model that does not have that implicaton. ‘Til then, we’ll stick with science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Jan 2010 @ 8:27 AM

  552. Tim Jones @ 536:

    All this is to say, DO NOT count on peak oil or peak coal to end our emissions crisis and thus our greenhouse gas warming problem.

    That’s complete and utter nonsense. Whale oil consumption was effectively ended by large scale, =cheaper= crude oil production. Peak oil is going to make crude oil extremely expensive, relative to newer technologies.

    In the solar biz we talk about the “Apocalypse” crowd — people who are installing solar power as a way to avoid the Coming Apocalypse when the World Runs Out of Oil. Let’s just say that crowd is growing. As soon as solar goes from that fringe, as well as the Tree Hugger crowd, we’ll see a major change in how people perceive energy costs.

    Several years ago I calculated the cost it would take to completely remove “carbon-based energy” from my life. It was right around $75,000 for a 7.5KW DC solar system. That would have provided 100% of my gasoline, natural gas, and coal-fired electricity. That same system today is between $52,500 and $45,000. Taking into account energy savings I’ve done =since= that calculation, the actual cost would be closer to $41,600. At my old rate of energy consumption, payback would be 76 months, or a bit over 6 years, with a system life of 25 years. That 76 month payback doesn’t take into account rising energy costs, so the payback would be even faster. The electricity I make right NOW cost $0.23 / KWh to deploy, with the lowered cost of materials it would be about $0.17 / KWh. I’m paying Green Mountain Energy $0.145 / KWh.

    And yes, right now I’m looking into where to site the rest of the solar array and collectors because the add-on cost to get to that size system is about $15,000 with the equipment I own already.

    As Al Gore answered one day, “There’s enough coal left in the ground to fry the planet.”

    Yes, and it can be produced at prices that will bankrupt the planet far sooner than it is all gone.

    Al Gore and the IPCC would have a lot more credibility if they included the economic destruction contained within the FINANCIAL assumptions underlying BAU.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 24 Jan 2010 @ 8:56 AM

  553. FCH: “Al Gore and the IPCC would have a lot more credibility if they included the economic destruction contained within the FINANCIAL assumptions underlying BAU.”

    Given how Al Gore is villified because he’s not a scientist and Stern vilified because he’s an economist when they talk about climate, how do you think it will go when the IPCC start talking about economics, let alone Al Gore?!?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 24 Jan 2010 @ 9:53 AM

  554. Gilles:

    “Ray, actually things have changed since 1970. The energy efficiency has indeed improved. Nuclear energy has been developed.”

    Nuclear energy has been developed since the 1950’s, Gilles.

    And what’s happened nowadays is that VCs don’t want to put money into building new nuclear powerstations unless their risk is covered.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 24 Jan 2010 @ 9:57 AM

  555. FCH, don’t ignore coal. There’s enough coal to double CO2 concentration in the atmosphere–and they have a lot of money pulling the strings of those in power. Coal can be produced very cheaply precisely because those in power do not hold them accountable for the damage they cause. I’ve lived in Appalachia. Coal is still king–or at the very least, kingmaker.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Jan 2010 @ 10:05 AM

  556. Completely Fed Up @ 549:

    “Peak Oil” is, BY DEFINITION, the peak in production. Once peak oil is reached (a few years ago …), the global daily output will never exceed that value (from a few years ago …).

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 24 Jan 2010 @ 10:36 AM

  557. RE:549 Completely Fed Up says:
    24 January 2010

    Giles: “Completely Fed Up : I’m totally aware that peak oil means an increase of price, of course. I’m just saying that the peak of production has never been predicted to occur so early by IEA and EIA”

    CFU: “And Peak Oil isn’t “peak production”.”
    “Peak oil isn’t peak production.”
    “Peak oil is not peak production.”
    “When peak oil is past, you haven’t necessarily reached peak production.”
    “Peak production and peak oil are not the same.”

    Really?

    Perhaps you should enter this revelation here:

    What is Peak oil?
    http://www.peakoil.net/
    “The term Peak Oil refers to the maximum rate of the production of oil in any area under consideration, recognising that it is a finite natural resource, subject to depletion.”

    Or here:

    “Peak oil”
    From Wikipedia,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil

    “Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of
    production enters terminal decline.

    “The concept is based on the observed production rates of individual oil wells, and the combined production rate of a field of related oil wells. The aggregate production rate from an oil field over time usually grows exponentially until the rate peaks and then declines—sometimes rapidly—until the field is depleted.

    “This concept is derived from the Hubbert curve, and has been shown to be applicable to the sum of a nation’s domestic production rate, and is similarly applied to the global rate of petroleum production.

    “Peak oil is often confused with oil depletion; peak oil is the point of maximum production while depletion refers to a period of falling reserves and supply.”

    Comment by Tim Jones — 24 Jan 2010 @ 11:08 AM

  558. Re: 552 FurryCatHerder says:
    24 January 2010

    Tim Jones @ 536: “All this is to say, DO NOT count on peak oil or peak coal to end our emissions crisis and thus our greenhouse gas warming problem.”

    “That’s complete and utter nonsense. Whale oil consumption was effectively ended by large scale, =cheaper= crude oil production. Peak oil is going to make crude oil extremely expensive, relative to newer technologies.”

    I’m not sure how one is supposed to reply to a preface pejorative like “that’s complete and utter nonsense” except to hang it back on you, where it belongs.

    Peak oil is not about the price of oil. Its about a physical reality tied to the decline in oil extraction. Price is secondary to production.

    Your calculations do not in any way support your disparaging remark. Large scale whaling ended because the world ran out of large whales around the turn of the century, not because the price of whale oil got too high.
    Coal is relatively cheap to produce. Large deposits of coal are easy to obtain.

    By the way, I’ve done a little more than “calculate” the price of PV. I’ve installed 6 kW of PV of grid tied PV on the roof
    as well as built a battery barn for two inverters and 16 large batteries. We turn the electric meter backwards with central air conditioning on. The investment will take some time to turn the financial aspect around. It may wear out first.

    The limiting factor on oil is ERoEI. Energy Returned on Energy Invested.
    http://netenergy.theoildrum.com/node/4678

    Comment by Tim Jones — 24 Jan 2010 @ 12:16 PM

  559. http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2899

    “The world is consuming more oil than it is producing.” –The Economist, July 14-20 print edition.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/oil/supply_demand.html

    “World demand for oil is expected to increase by 54 per cent in the first 25 years of the 21st century, according to the Energy Information Agency of the U.S. government. To meet that demand, the world’s oil-producing countries will have to pump out an additional 44 million barrels of oil each and every day by 2025.”

    To meet current production, you have to deliberately pump out the oil: costing energy and money.

    To increase more, you need to exploit the less efficient to remove sources.

    Costing energy and money.

    This is even true if you DO manage to increase production RATES.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 24 Jan 2010 @ 12:33 PM

  560. “Once peak oil is reached (a few years ago …), ”

    The problem with that definition, is that if the price of oil goes high enough, you could start exploiting coal reserves and tar shale extraction.

    Now you’ve increased production and fossil-fundies proclaim “See!!!! The scientists got it wrong AGAIN!!!”.

    Your version is far too fungible, my definition is the economic one, yours and Tims the engineering one.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 24 Jan 2010 @ 12:42 PM

  561. To expand on the point: “Large scale whaling ended because the world ran out of large whales around the turn of the century, not because the price of whale oil got too high.”

    Peak whale oil (and bone) preceded the end of the industry by about 30 years or so.
    http://www.theoildrum.com/files/TOD_whales_bardi_fig1.gif

    See:
    “Crude Oil: how high can it go? (19th century whaling as a model for oil depletion and price volatility)”
    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/3960

    One can see from the graphs that the price of whale oil (used for lamps) followed the peak in production.

    http://www.theoildrum.com/files/TOD_whales_bardi_fig2.gif

    “The results are clear: whaling did follow a Hubbert style “bell shaped curve”, approximated in the graphs with a simple Gaussian. Whales did behave like a non renewable resource and some studies say that at the end of the 19th century hunting cycle there remained in the oceans only about 50 females of the main species being hunted: right whales.
    “Now, looking at the historical prices, we see an increase in the vicinity of the peak for both whale oil and whale bone. For whale oil we see a spike after the peak…”
    […] (means, snip)
    “There were alternative fuels for lamps: animal fat or vegetable oil, a little more expensive and considered as inferior products; but usable. Then, starting in the 1870s, crude oil started to be commonly available as lamp fuel. It probably had an effect in keeping down the price of whale oil. For whale bone, instead, a replacement didn’t really exist except for steel, which was probably much more expensive during the period that we are considering. But stiffeners for ladies’ clothes were hardly something that people couldn’t live without.”

    Thus the price of whale oil was kept _lower_ because of crude oil.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 24 Jan 2010 @ 2:11 PM

  562. Re: 362 Richard Steckis says…

    “You bring up the good old ocean acidification crock.”

    Oh really? It has been documented (and deeply studied) in the best open, peer-reviewed, juried world-wide scientific journals humanity has, it has been documented for a long time and has held up over time under intense scrutiny unlike the contrarian’s work. A small sampling of published peer reviewed journal articles on ocean PH:

    K Caldeira, ME Wickett, Nature, 1995 (cited 373 times)
    MR Palmeret al., Science, 1998 (cited 57 times)
    A Sanyal, NG Hemming, GN Hanson, WS Broecker 1995, Nature
    JC Orr et al., Nature, 2005 (cited 387 times)
    K Caldeira, ME Wickett, Nature, 2003 (cited 57 times)
    O Hoegh-Guldberg et al., Science, 2007 (cited 57 times)
    Kleypas, J.A., R.A. Feely, V.J. Fabry, C. Langdon, C.L. Sabine, and L.L. Robbins, 2006. Impacts of Ocean Acid-ification on Coral Reefs and Other Marine Calcifiers: A Guide for Future Research, report of a workshopheld 18–20 April 2005, St. Petersburg, FL, sponsored by NSF, NOAA, and the U.S. Geological Survey, (cited 95 times)
    K Caldeira, ME Wickett, J. Geophys. Res, 2005 (cited 90 times)
    VJ Fabry, BA Seibel, RA Feely, … – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 2008 (cited 88 times)
    SC Doney et al., Annual Review of Marine science, 2009 (cited 55 times)
    SC Doney, ret al., PNAS, 2007 (cited 36 times)
    JM Guinotte, VJ Fabry – Annals of the New York Academy of Science, 2008 (cited 34 times)
    HL Wood et al., Proc. R. Soc., 2008 (cited 30 times)
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    Okay, I’m getting tired and I have barely touched the number of peer-reviewed articles on ocean PH changes and its effects. Get it…there’s quite a bit. Imagine how many more there are on human caused climate change going back to 1824.

    Non-science below:

    I know a woman oceanographer at NCAR (I’ll give you a hint, she is one of the authors listed in a study above). When at a conference, overwhelming evidence was finally presented that the oceans were becoming less PH, she had to go to the bathroom and throw up because she knew what it meant to the ocean life she had been studying for most of her life.
    Yeah, it is hardly a crock.

    Talking to a senior peer reviewed publishing scientist about this at NCAR two years ago, he stated that he thought it might even be a more immediate threat than climate change itself to humanity. This is because there is still a time issue involved with human-caused climate change (at least this was the case two years ago). This ocean PH problem is happening fast right now even to the United States and has tremendous implications for destroying a lot of the world’s food supply because many people need reef fish to eat.

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 24 Jan 2010 @ 7:01 PM

  563. 472
    David B. Benson says:
    21 January 2010 at 3:07 PM

    “Richard Steckis & others — This paper
    Atmospheric CO2 concentrations during ancient greenhouse climates were similar to those predicted for A.D. 2100
    http://www.pnas.org/content/107/2/576
    suggessts, at a minimum, that we cannot be certain that atmospheric CO2 levels were ever much above 1000 ppm.”

    You have got to be joking. I suggest you get you head out of the physics books and into some geology books. It is well established that co2 concentrations exceeded 1000 and even 2000ppm in our ancient atmosphere.

    Assertions from one paper does not make it fact.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 24 Jan 2010 @ 9:41 PM

  564. 452
    Completely Fed Up says:
    21 January 2010 at 11:25 AM

    RS should have read more.

    From the link he gave:

    “The “take-home message, “ says Cohen, is that “we can’t assume that elevated CO2 causes a proportionate decline in calcification of all calcifying organisms.””

    But RS wants to take home the message that this

    a) causes no decline in calcification in all organisms
    b) causes no decline in some organisms (if he can’t get you to swallow a)

    Another straw man. I have never implied either a) or b). That is your construct which you are trying to attribute to me.

    I never said that were would not be problems with calification in many species. Just that many species have the capacity to adapt.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 24 Jan 2010 @ 9:49 PM

  565. 465
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:
    21 January 2010 at 1:42 PM

    “You sound exactly like my senator in her responses to me — Sen. Kathryn Bailey Hutchison (R, TX)”

    Sounds like a very smart woman.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 24 Jan 2010 @ 9:52 PM

  566. 491
    Ray Ladbury says:
    21 January 2010 at 8:28 PM

    “Gilles@484 No raindrop thinks that it is the cause of the flood.”

    No raindrop thinks.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 24 Jan 2010 @ 9:55 PM

  567. 505
    Barton Paul Levenson says:
    22 January 2010 at 5:05 AM

    “RS: the solubility of co2 is INVERSELY proportional to temperature. If SSTs in the tropics are increasing then the proportion of co2 dissolved into those waters declines

    BPL: This is only true at equilibrium. At present acidity is increasing despite increasing temperatures because partial pressure in the atmosphere is increasing faster.”

    Thanks for that answer. It makes far more sense than Ladbury’s ravings about chemical potential.

    I still disagree with you though. The partial pressure in the atmosphere would have to increase very significantly for you argument to be valid.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 24 Jan 2010 @ 10:02 PM

  568. I’d sure like to see some of Steckis’s coworkers join the discussion. I wonder if he’s in the mainstream, wherever it is he works. Do any of _them_ publish?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Jan 2010 @ 10:04 PM

  569. Richard Steckis, did you read the abstract? There it is said that “Empirical estimates of [CO2]atm during Paleozoic and Mesozoic greenhouse climates are based primarily on the carbon isotope composition of calcium carbonate in fossil soils. We report that greenhouse [CO2]atm have been significantly overestimated because previously assumed soil CO2 concentrations during carbonate formation are too high.”
    The fact it’s been published in PNAS suggests that this it at least something to think about. That is to say, this may be an alternative method to verify those high numbers of CO2 (atm) you so easily state are well established. Do you wish there would not be an alyernative systems of measurement? Do you want to monopolize measuring? How does that advance science? Sorry, can’t comment on the methods they have used, since I’ve not read the whole article.

    Comment by jyyh — 24 Jan 2010 @ 10:10 PM

  570. “No raindrop thinks.”

    And damn few denialists.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 24 Jan 2010 @ 10:57 PM

  571. Hey, peak oil combatants, anybody here familiar with the term “adelphophagy?”

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 25 Jan 2010 @ 12:02 AM

  572. Re:564 Richard Steckis says:
    24 January 2010

    “ I never said that were would not be problems with calification in many species. Just that many species have the capacity to adapt.”

    No, but you started saying ocean acidification is a crock.

    Being a charitable guy, I’ll accept that you’re learning just like the rest of us. If you are a scientist as you claim, you’ll naturally be absorbing the papers and other literature we’ve posted in reply to your comments and use them to evolve a deepened perspective.

    That said, since you’re in for the specific enlightenment more than most of us, as a fisheries biologist sampling the real world in his field of expertise, how about categorizing all forms of sea life as its effected by increasing concentrations of CO2 in the ocean?

    You’re a biologist, I’m sure you know the drill. Lets see the two lists and settle this problem.

    While you’re getting a handle on effected sea species some AGW proponents have studied the atmospheric aspect to find an acceptable level in the air. Actually, about 350 PPMV is safe enough until proven otherwise.

    We must already know how many tons of coal per year were burned to get that number. If 350 PPMV atmosphere works for your best sea water concentration, we can start calculating specific emissions from specific places and
    start whittling down the problem.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 25 Jan 2010 @ 2:57 AM

  573. Steckis #567:

    I still disagree with you though. The partial pressure in the atmosphere would have to increase very significantly for you argument to be valid.

    Not true, e.g.:

    http://jcbmac.chem.brown.edu/myl/hen/carbondioxideHenry.html

    You see that solubility decreases about 3% for every degree of temperature increase. Very typical behaviour.

    What we have since pre-industrial is less than one K, but some 40% increase in partial pressure, which translates directly into 40% more CO2 dissolved into surface waters.

    40% much greater than 3%, agreed?

    The full picture is more complicated. Still, the net CO2 flux is into the ocean, driven precisely by the increasing partial pressure, and not yet measurably counteracted by the temperature effect. Here’s to hoping it stays that way.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 25 Jan 2010 @ 2:58 AM

  574. I have just done a quick analysis of global temperature trends, CO2 levels, sunspots and volcanic activity using commonly available data bases. My main reason was to see what the numbers said about the recently claimed trend of global cooling rather than global warming. I am happy to send the data base, source and analysis to anyone who wants it if you want to argue with my results.

    The results were as follows:

    Model 1 continuing linear growth in global temperature
    R squared (adjusted)=0.79, Coefficients: CO2 0.0080 (p=0.000); Sunspots 0.0006 (p=0.021); volcanic activity -0.004 (p=0.213); constant -2.7 (p=0.000)

    Model 2 plateauing warming
    R squared (adjusted)=0.80, Coefficients:(CO2)^2 -0.000068; CO2 0.0551 (p=0.019); Sunspots 0.0005 (p=0.055); volcanic activity -0.006 (p=0.082); constant -10.85 (p=0.000)
    This predicts a plateauing of temperature increase at a CO2 level of 405 ppm(vol), with this level predicted for around 2018.

    What this means is, based on analysis of the data, a view that global warming is levelling out with respect to CO2 is slightly more favoured than a view that global temperature will continue to increase with increasing CO2. Also, in this model the well documented effect of volcanic activity becomes significant at the 90% level. I was somewhat surprised, as I have been blowing off the “its really cooling people” on the basis of “one swallow doesn’t make a summer”.

    Looks to me like we need more data on this one.

    cheers

    John

    [Response: Or physics of course. – gavin]

    Comment by John Storer — 25 Jan 2010 @ 3:02 AM

  575. RS: “Thanks for that answer. It makes far more sense than Ladbury’s ravings about chemical potential”

    They’re the same thing.

    Read up on “elecromigration” and consider why you’re told not to use different metals when making an electrical connection without consideration of their caompatability.

    “I still disagree with you though.”

    What a surprise.

    “The partial pressure in the atmosphere would have to increase very significantly for you argument to be valid.”

    And you worked this out, how? Decide you didn’t like being wrong and therefore thought this a good idea for saying it was wrong?

    Where’s your working out, boy?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Jan 2010 @ 4:01 AM

  576. “I never said that were would not be problems with calification in many species. Just that many species have the capacity to adapt.”

    Yeah, just like the Dodo had the capacity to adapt to human predation by… dying out.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Jan 2010 @ 4:03 AM

  577. Steckis, In equilibrium between two reservoirs, chemical potential potential must be equal in the to reservoirs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_potential

    You can also look at in terms of partial pressures.

    So, evidently we can add physical chemistry to the long list of subjects on which you are clueless.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Jan 2010 @ 5:14 AM

  578. Sean: Today’s temperatures are not higher (and may be lower) than temperatures created by natural variation in the Medieval, Roman, or Minoan periods.

    BPL: Incorrect.

    Bradley, R.S., Hughes, M.K., and H.F. Diaz 2003. “Climate Change in Medieval Time.” Science 302, 404-405.

    Dean, J.S. 1994. “The Medieval Warm Period on the Southern Colorado Plateau.” Climatic Change 26, 225-241.

    Goosse H., Arzel O., Luterbacher J., Mann M.E., Renssen H., Riedwyl N., Timmermann A., Xoplaki E., Wanner H. 2006. “The Origin of the European ‘Medieval Warm Period’.” Clim. Past, 2, 99–113.

    Mann, Michael E. et al. 2009. “Global Signatures and Dynamical Origins of the Little Ice Age and Medieval Climate Anomaly.” Science 326, 1256-1260.

    Osborn, Timothy J. and Keith R. Briffa 2006. “The Spatial Extent of 20th-Century Warmth in the Context of the Past 1200 Years.” Science 311, 841-844.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Jan 2010 @ 6:56 AM

  579. RS: The partial pressure in the atmosphere would have to increase very significantly for you argument to be valid.

    BPL: Up 38% is “significantly.”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Jan 2010 @ 7:04 AM

  580. Richard Steckis says “Assertions from one paper does not make it fact.”

    Please, everyone, take a moment and savor the delicious irony…

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Jan 2010 @ 10:00 AM

  581. RS: the solubility of co2 is INVERSELY proportional to temperature. If SSTs in the tropics are increasing then the proportion of co2 dissolved into those waters declines

    BPL: This is only true at equilibrium. At present acidity is increasing despite increasing temperatures because partial pressure in the atmosphere is increasing faster.”

    RS: Thanks for that answer. It makes far more sense than Ladbury’s ravings about chemical potential.

    Dude, that is what Ray Ladbury’s answer was trying to tell you. All that you have demonstrated is that you have no clue what chemical potentials are. Original “ravings” quoted below:

    “Steckis: “And by the way the solubility of co2 is INVERSELY proportional to temperature.”

    Ray L: Actually, it depends on the chemical potential, which is temperature dependent. It also depends on atmospheric concentration, and since temperature is rising rougly linearly, while CO2 is rising exponentially…”

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 25 Jan 2010 @ 12:15 PM

  582. Mother nature is still far more powerful than what man has ever done.
    By all means let’s reduced GHG emissions gradually, for that is all we can really d at this point anyways, but some of the high end predictions prove to be false while the medium estimates need more evidenc that only time will provide. Steam boilers from the 1800’s had an efficiency of 90-95% and steam can heat large buildings with few to no moving parts… the technology does exist; planting wind mills and solar panels helps but will not solve the issue. Then again we do have more time than Hansen had predicted… this much is pretty clear, so now what do we do with this time?

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 25 Jan 2010 @ 1:31 PM

  583. This paper includes a citation to “many confidential oil- and gas exploration studies” — a reminder that research done not for publication but for confidential business planning can contribute to other science.

    Climatologists might consider how to protect the ability to use this material for policy work.

    The paper (stumbled on it) is interesting as new information coming out of the Arctic, new proxy information, and new correlations (and has anyone looked at Azolla sp. to see if the rate of growth is changing now?):

    http://www3.bio.uu.nl/palaeo/people/Andy/andypdf/Speelman%20et%20al.%202009%20Geobiology.pdf

    Geobiology (2009), 7, 155–170,
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1472-4669.2009.00195.x

    The Eocene Arctic Azolla bloom: environmental conditions,
    productivity and carbon drawdown

    … The sustained growth of Azolla, currently ranking among the fastest growing plants on Earth, in a major anoxic oceanic basin may have contributed to decreasing atmospheric pCO2 levels via burial of Azolla-derived organic matter. The consequences of these enormous Azolla blooms for regional and global nutrient and carbon cycles are still largely unknown. Cultivation experiments have been set up to investigate the influence of elevated pCO2 on Azolla growth, showing a marked increase in Azolla productivity under elevated (760 and 1910 ppm) pCO2 conditions….

    … storing 0.9 1018 to 3.5 1018 g carbon would result in a 55 to 470 ppm drawdown of pCO2 under Eocene conditions, indicating that the Arctic Azolla blooms may have had a significant effect on global atmospheric pCO2 levels through enhanced burial of organic matter….

    … . Sporadically, mass abundances of Azolla remains have previously been recognized in the Eocene Arctic and Nordic Seas (e.g. Manum et al., 1989; many confidential oil- and gas exploration studies; Eldrett et al., 2004). Yet, concentrations of Azolla megaspores recovered at the Lomonosov Ridge Site are an order of magnitude higher than those found elsewhere (Brinkhuis et al., 2006). Sustained growth of Azolla throughout the Arctic provides important constraints on the Eocene Arctic environment. The presence of the freshwater fern Azolla, both within the Arctic Basin and in all Nordic seas suggests that at least the surface waters were frequently fresh or brackish during the Azolla interval (Brinkhuis et al., 2006). The occurrence of such a fresh surface layer in combination with

    … Interestingly, the Azolla phase approximately coincided with the onset of a global shift towards heavier deep sea benthic foraminifera δ13C values (Zachos et al., 2001) and an overall global cooling trend. In effect, around this time (~48.5 Ma) the transition from a global greenhouse climate towards the modern icehouse started (Tripati et al., 2005; Zachos et al., 2008), possibly heralded by decreasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations (Pearson & Palmer, 2000; Pagani et al., 2005). Together these notions suggest that sustained growth of Azolla in a major anoxic oceanic basin may have contributed substantially to decreasing atmospheric pCO2-levels…..

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Jan 2010 @ 1:49 PM

  584. Oops, permanent URL for Geobiology (2009), 7, 155–170
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1472-4669.2009.00195.x
    The Eocene Arctic Azolla bloom: environmental conditions,
    productivity and carbon drawdown

    is: http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/62273

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Jan 2010 @ 1:52 PM

  585. I graduated from this space some time ago, but I expect some of you to remember me.

    What do I mean, “Graduate?”

    I mean there was nothing more to learn.

    The sides have become hardened, even as the science and the conditions go on. I do notice that far fewer “regular” people care than ever before; even a year ago, the warming of 2009 would have been big news, dominating in some circles for days or weeks. I notice that the general press barely acknowledged it, and it was gone in a day.

    I notice that we still fight over basics. Why? Call it sport, I guess. I notice that “those in the right” have become more and more defensive. Tired of losing to the “wrong” side? I get it.

    But the ocean acidification issue, now really. Isn’t this basic chemistry? Let’s see, and I won’t be the one to plug in the numbers, but surely there is an expression here somewhere:

    Man has emitted A tons of carbon since 1985.

    B is the amount of that carbon which is still in the atmosphere.

    C is the amount of that carbon absorbed by the world ocean.

    (B and C are derived from samples.)

    D represents the liquid volume of the upper layer of the world ocean.

    E represents the pH balance of the ocean in 1985.

    In the past 25 years, C has been added to D. Some of it has escaped, for which we can allow an error bar, which we need anyway for these estimates.

    Now, somebody more skilled than me: Can’t we “prove” what should happen to the pH balance of the world ocean based on these changes?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 25 Jan 2010 @ 2:09 PM

  586. John Storer@574, Your statistical analysis is invalid. By introducing a slope change, you have more than doubled the number of parameters in your fit. Of course it will give a better fit!

    The problem is that there is more to such an analysis than goodness of fit. There is also parsimony of the statistical model. Try a parameter such as AIC or BIC, and you will find that the simpler model still has the greater predictive power. And that is what science is about, after all.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Jan 2010 @ 2:19 PM

  587. Walt Bennett: no. There is some carbinic acid formation and heating of surface waters but large amounts of heat transfer can go to far deeper depths, and with so much water there is comparaitively little carbonic acid formation (though of concern) and to make matters more complicated the extra aicidity supports certain species of bacteria an algae which intakes excess C02 not to mention methanophiles. The readings of the ocean surfaces do change and are not static. Factor in the hight heat capacity of water as well along with other factors and we still have a lot more to learn at this time.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 25 Jan 2010 @ 2:19 PM

  588. ~carbonic~

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 25 Jan 2010 @ 2:20 PM

  589. I’m no more skilled than Walt but a couple of notes:
    — Walt is asking for a global average number, but organisms live in local concentrations– a big difference.

    To simplify searching for anyone not clear on how to find this stuff:

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=ocean+ph&lr=lang_en&as_sdt=2001&as_ylo=2006&as_vis=1

    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/48/18848.abstract
    “… pH decline is proceeding at a more rapid rate than previously predicted in some areas, and that this decline has ecological consequences for near shore benthic ecosystems.”

    Chart and references here:
    http://www.www.eoearth.org/article/Ocean_acidification
    “… The values shown in the table are global values for ocean surface waters. Changes will be much more pronounced in areas such as the Southern Ocean, which will become undersaturated with respect to aragonite in 2050. Data collected at several time-series stations fully validate the above changes in the carbonate chemistry derived from thermodynamic calculations.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Jan 2010 @ 2:45 PM

  590. “I notice that we still fight over basics. Why? Call it sport, I guess.”

    Nope.

    Zombies.

    Or vampires (the nasty neck-sucking ones, not the cool looking ones).

    We fight over basics because there still come people debunking the basics with zombie arguments.

    What YOU continue to argue the basics over is your look-out walt.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Jan 2010 @ 2:58 PM

  591. “582
    Jacob Mack says:
    25 January 2010 at 1:31 PM

    Mother nature is still far more powerful than what man has ever done.”

    And mother nature will be the cause of the warming because that’s what she does when more CO2 gets emitted.

    It isn’t a heat-ray from the humans causing global warming, Jacob, so stop with the strawmen.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Jan 2010 @ 2:59 PM

  592. > Steam boilers from the 1800’s had an efficiency of 90-95%
    Citation needed; I looked and didn’t find anything. Did find:
    http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=92495876938&topic=10659
    “… condensing boilers with touted efficiencies of 90-95%”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Jan 2010 @ 3:12 PM

  593. Being a charitable guy, I’ll accept that you’re learning just like the rest of us.

    Steckis, unfortunately, has demonstrated no capacity for learning.

    If you are a scientist as you claim, you’ll naturally be absorbing the papers and other literature we’ve posted in reply to your comments and use them to evolve a deepened perspective.

    Steckis has a BS, no more. He likes to describe himself as a “scientist” so folks who haven’t run across him in the past think he’s at the same level as PhDs doing research in climate science, in other words, an authority.

    Comment by dhogaza — 25 Jan 2010 @ 3:13 PM

  594. Walt,
    http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2010/nsf10530/nsf10530.htm?WT.mc_id=USNSF_179

    More funding for research on this matter.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 25 Jan 2010 @ 3:13 PM

  595. > Schwartz

    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2010/01/more-schwartz.html

    “… The calculations presented are rather trivial zero-dimensional energy balance estimates. …
    ….
    There is no useful uncertainty analysis …. despite the misleading title which has predictably resulted in an equally misleading press release and coverage, there is really nothing for anyone (not even the sceptics!) to get excited about.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Jan 2010 @ 3:20 PM

  596. Richard Steckis (563) — Actually, I have been an amateur student of geology for over 50 years. In even that interval textbook geology had to be revised; most notibly because of the discovery of plate tectonics.

    The paper in question raises serious doubts about at least one of the proxies used to estimate paleoclimate CO2 concentrations. The work was considered good enough to be accepted for publication in PNAS. I suggest you take it rather seriously.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 25 Jan 2010 @ 3:33 PM

  597. LOL Ray Ladbury.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 25 Jan 2010 @ 4:40 PM

  598. John Storer,

    Try doing partial-F tests on your added variables. I’m especially dubious about the CO2^2 term, since there’s no physical justification for it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Jan 2010 @ 5:11 PM

  599. Mr. Hansen, did you leave out a few data points?
    http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Scientists+using+selective+temperature+data+skeptics/2468634/story.html

    [Response: No. – gavin]

    Comment by Jeff Boarman — 25 Jan 2010 @ 6:53 PM

  600. Thanks for all your comments! This discussion is becoming really interesting , probably more interesting than many of you realize [ see posts 501, 507, 509 including Gavins comment, 511, 512, 514, 520, 522, 523, 527, 539, 540]. But first, let me show you the graph of the GISS (GISTEMP) and MSU RSS (satellite) monthly data in the years 2000 – 2009 (don’t worry about the short time interval – I’ll get back to that in a short moment), you find it at http://jorsater.se/klimatet/MSU%20RSS%20and%20GISS%202000-2009.jpg As you can see, both the GISS data and the satellite data agree reasonably well but they also show discrepancies. You find the linear regression line for both data sets – it is rising but rather slowly, 1,1 C per century for the GISS data and quite a bit less for the MSU RSS (satellite) data. I chose the even year 2000 in order not be accused for cherry picking – if you start at 2001 the GISS data is absolutely flat and the MSU RSS data is actually showing cooling, see http://jorsater.se/klimatet/MSU%20RSS%20and%20GISS%202001-2009.jpg. This is the basis for the claim that global warming has stopped. Everybody with me so far? Good! Now to the statistical significance of such a short time interval. Several of the listed comments above are basic lessons on how long a significant interval should be. Ray Ladbury [post 527] also answered my question as to how long such an interval should be that he would believe in – he says “after 15 years enticing, but it is not definitive”. OK, fine. The only problem is, of course, that if you are looking for a trend change you must look at a reasonably short interval, mustn’t we? Because trend changes is what we are interested in if we want to know if global warming is still going on, isn’t? If we already know it is going on we don’t even need bother looking. Unfortunately, some of you may indeed be right that ten years is too short for us to be able to say anything. Let’s see what an authority says – fortunately Jim Hansen discusses exactly this in another article – the very recent (January 21) report from GISS http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20100121/

    In this article, Hansen says “But when we average temperature over five or ten years to minimize that variability, we find that global warming is continuing unabated.” This statement is very interesting. For one thing, Hansen thinks that something like 5-10 years is enough. So the flat curve in the last nine years ought to start getting interesting! But secondly, Hansen claims that “global warming is continuing unabated”. From what thin air did he get that conclusion? The recent curves are quite flat, as we just saw! We know that the world got warmer from 1900-2000 – that he demonstrates clearly in the graphs in the paper (which is misleading since the last decade – which is the real subject, is hardly visible) we are commenting. But how do we know that warming is going on now? From what many of you have been writing – no measurements can tell us whether it is going on now or, for that matter in the last ten years. How is it then possible that the NASA report claims that “global warming is going on unabated”!? The fact the we just had the warmest decade doesn’t tell us anything (and the second warmest year stuff even less). Or does it? We have to make up our mind – if a clear flat trend is not significant then a hypothesised rising one isn’t either! What’s more – the NASA report is released as news which gives the false impression that measurements have verified recent global warming. This NASA text is sent to journalists of which many most certainly do not how to it should be interpreted.
    Hansen should of course have written : The last year was the warmest on record and so was the last decade but the time period is really too short to tell us anything about global warming! It could still be going on and it could have stopped or been reversed – we cannot really tell. Please do not come to any false conclusions! In the paper we comment here Hansen and coworkers are more cautious – they essentially only states that no cooling is going on (again – how does he know what lurks behind the noise!)

    But there is more to our discussion here. When I wrote about the satellite data I got comments from Ray Ladbury [512 and 522] that they are hard to calibrate. That may be so but this is a very strange argument as to why they should be left out in Hansen’s et al. paper. Is the moral – any data contradicting your results are left out and should anyone discover that, you do your best to discredit that data?! Not very scientific! Hanssen should of course have commented on the satellite data and possible discrepancies and, if he thought them inferior, clearly have stated that and also given appropriate references.

    Finally, let’s get back to the models which several of you comment upon. Climate models are fine science, don’t get me wrong on that. They are the best we can do. But it is their uncritical application to the real world that I am worried about. Several of you claim that they are well tested. That confuses me. To my knowledge the conventional wisdom is that the earth hasn’t had the present abundance of carbon dioxide in several millions of years (and proxy data is poor over such time) and certainly far longer back in time for the levels projected for the future by the IPCC. How could you then have tested the models with high levels of carbon dioxide AND compared them with detailed real measurements?

    Finally, it should be stressed that the models CAN be reasonably tested for low CO2 situations. Run them backwards and reproduce the entire past century, the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period and the general picture of the last ice age and I shall be a believer. This has not been done, as far as I know. It requires, of course, abstaining from fine tuning such as fiddling with aerosols – if you allow such things you can fit anything. Also I should mention that there might be a semantic problem. Climate models is one thing but to really know what is happening with the climate over long time you need to model the entire earth system including the biosphere. Are you really saying that all this is well understood?

    Finally, a comment to Ray Ladbury [527]. I don’t think rude language has ever been effective as a tool for convincing people in a scientific discussion. Frankly, it has quite the opposite effect.

    Comment by Steven Jörsäter — 25 Jan 2010 @ 7:21 PM

  601. Jacob (#594),

    What a timely link, thanks. By the way, I have no idea what “Completely Fed Up” thinks he’s accomplishing with his hijacking of this and the IPCC thread. I see that he even jumped on my little comment. All I can say to the man without having followed his many dozen comments: Overshare.

    Why this place can never be fun again is that people like him think it’s all about what they need to prove to the world.

    I see that the chemistry is still being studied, and I of course know that the surface readings tell us that acidification is occurring, but I just sort of figured, hey, you have these chemicals, you have some idea of their relative quantities and properties…this isn’t as amorphous as atmospheric CO2, where fifteen other things have to happen before the surface warms. This is: Add carbon to ocean water, and what happens?

    My larger point was that there is literally nothing that isn’t being fought over like a scrap of meet on a lifeboat.

    We’ve come a long way in 3 years, and I’m here to report it was the wrong way.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 25 Jan 2010 @ 8:38 PM

  602. As an addendum to the #599, you can find a nifty Google Earth visualization of all the stations with monthly updates in the GSN here: http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/gcos/index.php?name=GCOSNetworksvisualised

    You will notice plenty in Canada, and for that matter plenty worldwide.

    You can see the actual data from each of these stations here: http://www.dwd.de/bvbw/appmanager/bvbw/dwdwwwDesktop/?_nfpb=true&_windowLabel=T15806838371147176099165&_state=maximized&_pageLabel=_dwdwww_klima_umwelt_datenzentren_gsnmc

    So far, every station I’ve checked in Northern Canada seems to have plenty of data.

    Comment by Zeke Hausfather — 25 Jan 2010 @ 8:43 PM

  603. 580
    Ray Ladbury says:
    25 January 2010 at 10:00 AM

    “Richard Steckis says “Assertions from one paper does not make it fact.”

    Please, everyone, take a moment and savor the delicious irony…”

    When all else fails good old Ray resorts to the Ad-Hom attack. You are so predictable.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 25 Jan 2010 @ 9:05 PM

  604. 593
    dhogaza says:
    25 January 2010 at 3:13 PM

    ” Being a charitable guy, I’ll accept that you’re learning just like the rest of us.

    Steckis, unfortunately, has demonstrated no capacity for learning.

    If you are a scientist as you claim, you’ll naturally be absorbing the papers and other literature we’ve posted in reply to your comments and use them to evolve a deepened perspective.

    Steckis has a BS, no more. He likes to describe himself as a “scientist” so folks who haven’t run across him in the past think he’s at the same level as PhDs doing research in climate science, in other words, an authority.”

    Unlike you, I have a peer-reviewed publication record as both primary and co-author. For your information I was studying toward my Ph.D. and was about half way through my research. However, It became too much to complete on a part-time basis. I will complete it some time in the future.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 25 Jan 2010 @ 9:09 PM

  605. 596
    David B. Benson says:
    25 January 2010 at 3:33 PM

    “Richard Steckis (563) — Actually, I have been an amateur student of geology for over 50 years. In even that interval textbook geology had to be revised; most notibly because of the discovery of plate tectonics.

    The paper in question raises serious doubts about at least one of the proxies used to estimate paleoclimate CO2 concentrations. The work was considered good enough to be accepted for publication in PNAS. I suggest you take it rather seriously.”

    Mann’s hockey stick paper was considered good enough to be published in Nature. Yet it is still controversial.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 25 Jan 2010 @ 9:12 PM

  606. Hank Roberts
    It’s easy to figure actual and potential boiler efficiency, and it’s definitely myth that steam boilers from the 1800’s had anything like 90-95%, likely more on the order of 60-65% max when new and well setup, and rarely achieved considering the state of technology, engineering and “robber baron” business practices of the day ….. and considering modern boilers are rarely as much as 90% – professional boiler info – note that the Lancashire boiler [the “peak” of 1850’s tech] is 65-75% – some industry info, primarily from: ‘Boilers and Heaters: Improving Energy Efficiency’ Natural Resources Canada, 2001 PDF here

    A good part of the reason England near asphyxiated itself back then was the inefficient coal burning with all the early steam powered industrialization

    Comment by flxible — 25 Jan 2010 @ 10:35 PM

  607. Gavin @599:

    [Response: No. – gavin]

    Okay, so a “limited” number of temperature records doesn’t refute the LIA or MWP being “localized events”, but a “limited” number of temperatures =does= mean that the Arctic is warming?

    I also take offense to this comment —

    It said the sampling of weather stations around the world has declined in recent years, not because fewer stations are being included in the temperature records, but because of time delays in collecting data from individual stations.

    How is it that thousands and thousands of Weather Underground stations — run by amateurs — can all have their data gathered in real time, but professionals can’t? And has anyone given any thought to firing the people who can’t seem to gather their data faster / better than people who don’t do it for a living?

    If you are trying to convince me that GISS isn’t a valid data set, you are succeeding.

    “The idea that we’re fraudulently cutting out stations is appallingly defamatory and ignorant,” he said. “These people are desperate to come up with some hint of impropriety. The allegations are absolutely without foundation and based on profound ignorance.”

    On which planet is capturing =less= data viewed as the right decision when questions about the validity of the data exist?

    [Response: Oh please. The accusation was that NASA and NOAA were ‘deleting’ stations in cold places in order to somehow boost the global warming signal. This is untrue, defamatory and based on a complete ignorance of both where the data comes from (CLIMAT reports from WMO) and the whole point of the anomaly method. Pointing this out is not ignoring questions about data validity. If you want more Canadian data to be included in the global indices, ask Environment Canada to submit more CLIMAT reports. I’ve suggested this before though no-one took it up, but It would be possible to use the SYNOP and METAR daily reports to create an alternate global temperature index – and of course the reanalysis products do something analogous (and come up with the same answer in any case – Simmons et al (2010)). – gavin]

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 25 Jan 2010 @ 11:28 PM

  608. Re: 593 dhogaza says:
    25 January 2010
    Tim:
    “If you are a scientist as you claim, you’ll naturally be absorbing the papers and other literature we’ve posted in reply to your comments and use them to evolve a deepened perspective.”

    dhogaza:
    “Steckis has a BS, no more. He likes to describe himself as a “scientist” so folks who haven’t run across him in the past think he’s at the same level as PhDs doing research in climate science, in other words, an authority.”

    I always wonder about folks who can be shot down repeatedly and keep coming back with more. The tenacity to search through no-matter-what is replied to tease out the fatal flaw in the theory is a quality we can use.

    If he wants to prove he’s right, prove that ocean acidification is a crock, then he could do an _inventory_ of the ocean’s animal and plant taxa by genus and species. He could classify them by degree of impact of CO2 poisoning for various life stages and various carbonic acid concentrations.

    This would settle it.

    Of course maybe he doesn’t want it settled. Perhaps he’s too lazy to take on finding the truth of it for himself and wants us to do it for him.

    Or perhaps Mr. Steckis can concede the point that ocean acidification is a serious problem and we can all live happily-ever – after having learned so much new cool stuff about the ocean. I think he should do the inventory.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 26 Jan 2010 @ 1:15 AM

  609. 591:Completely Fed Up… I see you do not often read other’s posts or atleast not mine. The physics of greenhouse gases is indisputable and AGW is a real phenomenon. I have never stated otherwise. Nature still has and can and might still do far more and far sooner than man’s emissions of greenhouse gases will in terms of environment detriment. Look at all the eartquakes for example. I also stated in this thread that we should lower greenhosue gas emissions, so please read beore you reply… no worries I do not always read every single post either before I respond and usually at my own loss.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 26 Jan 2010 @ 1:24 AM

  610. “Nature still has and can and might still do far more and far sooner than man’s emissions of greenhouse gases will in terms of environment detriment. Look at all the eartquakes for example.”

    Which earthquakes?

    I didn’t feel a single one.

    The last one that affected anyone in the UK rattled plates and nothing else.

    So, no, earthquakes are not worse.

    How many earthquakes have reduced US wheat production? None. Warming climates have.

    No, earthquakes are not worse.

    Because they stop.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 Jan 2010 @ 9:16 AM

  611. “When all else fails good old Ray resorts to the Ad-Hom attack. You are so predictable.”

    RS is so predictable.

    Making up an “ad hom attack” so he can become the victim.

    Diddums.

    “Please, everyone, take a moment and savor the delicious irony…”

    Is not an attack, let alone an ad homming one.

    It IS ironic that you state that one paper doesn’t make truth: you’ve very often posited one single paper as “PROOF!” that AGW was wrong.

    This makes your statement ironic.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 Jan 2010 @ 9:24 AM

  612. “Finally, a comment to Ray Ladbury [527]. I don’t think rude language has ever been effective as a tool for convincing people in a scientific discussion.”

    And RS, Tilo, Septic and many, many more (Heironymous for example who doesn’t CARE if the science is sound: he doesn’t like some of the people) aren’t here for the science.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 Jan 2010 @ 9:30 AM

  613. Richard Steckis @603
    Somehow, I predicted that you wouldn’t know the meaning of ad hominem, either.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Jan 2010 @ 9:48 AM

  614. Steven Jorstater, Wow, I think you might have just scored a record for the most distortions in a single post.

    Steven: “The only problem is, of course, that if you are looking for a trend change you must look at a reasonably short interval, mustn’t we?”

    WRONG!!! If it is a trend change, it will show up in the long-term data. Good lord, why not just fit 30 years worth of data to a 29th degree polynomial! That’ll give you a really good fit, won’t it. A great fit, but zero predictive capability!

    Steven: “For one thing, Hansen thinks that something like 5-10 years is enough.”

    Absolute bullshit! This verges on mendacious. All Hansen is saying is that if you average over 5-10 years, you filter out enough of the noise that the trend starts to emerg. Good Lord, man, if you average over 10 years, 2 decades gives you only 2 data points!!!

    As to why Hansen used GISS data–well, it’s his data set. DUH!!! Taken over a meaningful period of time, UAH, RSS, HADCRUT, GISS, ice melt, phenological data and any other dataset you care to name is consistent with warming. And your allegations of misconduct against Jim Hansen are beneath what one would expect of any true scientist!

    As to the models–is it your serious contention that the physics of the greenhouse effect changes dramatically from 280 ppmv to 385 ppmv or even 600 ppmv? On what possible scientific finding could you base this contention.

    Steven, your post betrays a stunning ignorance of climate science. Now you can either stay ignorant and keep posting absolute BS, or you can actually try to learn the science so you will at least be arguing against the real thing rather than a straw man. Your choice, but right now nearly everything you think you know is flat-assed wrong!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Jan 2010 @ 10:09 AM

  615. > Nature still has and can and might still do far more and far sooner
    > than man’s emissions of greenhouse gases will in terms of environment
    > detriment. Look at all the eartquakes for example.

    Citation needed. How many earthquakes, of what magnitude, would it take to cause the predicted level of ice loss, sea level rise, ocean pH change, etc.?

    Yes, climate change can’t destroy Haiti like one earthquake did. http://www.xkcd.com/687/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Jan 2010 @ 10:57 AM

  616. Hi Gavin

    “les temps sont durs en ce moment”

    for your suggestion:

    “I’ve suggested this before though no-one took it up, but It would be possible to use the SYNOP and METAR daily reports to create an alternate global temperature index”

    it is already done in ECA KMNI(http://eca.knmi.nl/dailydata/index.php)

    “The series collected from participating countries generally do not contain data for the most recent years. This is partly due to the time that is needed for data quality control and archiving at the home institutions of the participants, and partly the result of the efforts required to include the data in the ECA database. To make available for each station a time series that is as complete as possible, we have included an automated update procedure that relies on the daily data from SYNOP messages that are distributed in near real time over the Global Telecommunication System (GTS). In this procedure the gaps in a daily series are also infilled with observations from nearby stations, provided that they are within 25km distance and that height differences are less than 50m.”

    [Response: Interesting. Has anyone done a comparison? – gavin]

    Comment by meteor — 26 Jan 2010 @ 11:35 AM

  617. Sorry Gavin in this site, these are the raw data.
    There is an homogeneity test but the series value are not changed.
    For France, for example, the decennal trends (1980-2009) are, with these data, 0.6°C/dec (with 12 stations) and for Meteo France rather 0.45-0.50°C/dec.
    The difference is not huge but real.
    But a question: get you the raw or homogeneized data?
    And, in the case of raw, do you apply your own homogeneisation?

    [Response: Me? I don’t do any of these things. GISTEMP uses the GHCN homgenization combined with a urban bias correction. With respect to the SYNOP data, you would need to do your own homgenisation. – gavin]

    Comment by meteor — 26 Jan 2010 @ 12:12 PM

  618. The news is a good citation Hank for earthquakes, but that was just one example. There are terrible hurricans, tsunamis and the like which also are devastating throughout our and the Earth’s history that kill so many. The flu epidemic of 1918 killed over 600,000 people. I do not see strong evidence that global warming will match that anytime soon. Again, I agree that GHG emissions should be lowered, but it is foolish for some to think global warming is the worse issue we face as the human race. Also it is impossible to do away with all GHG emissions ever. Just do a quick look on scholar too and see how many so called green technologies are leading to equal and even greater emissions as well. We need to keep this issue in context is all I am saying. Again: what we can do in regards to lowering GHG emissions we should do.

    Fedup you are taking me out of context and I think you will find it very hard to back up your claims on wheat production and warming in the US and then attribute it to greenhouse gases. Bacteria, algae and plant life love C02 and some love methane as well. Let us not forget ntural weather patterns which are devastating and various cycles… my concern is as GHG get higher it will cause more extreme weather conditions to get the system back to equilibrium.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 26 Jan 2010 @ 12:34 PM

  619. Fed up: saying you cannot feel an earthquake is like someone in Dallas saying they cannot feel the warming in these recent times of record cooling; these kind of statements do nothing for the science of global warming or any other global concern in terms of scientific research.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 26 Jan 2010 @ 12:36 PM

  620. Jacob: you’re saying that the power of the earthquake is greater than that of global climate change.

    Except the earthquakes are temporary and minor.

    Your statement is one based on faith without any sort of thought behind it.

    I don’t *have* to attribute the wheat farming losses to warming. You have to show that earthquakes are more damaging.

    Because climate change WILL mean those wheat farms will die, unless we avoid the worst.

    That they are bad enough to register yet the warming has hardly begun shows how much more of a threat to human existence CC is than earthquakes.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 Jan 2010 @ 12:41 PM

  621. And yes I have been reading links like this:http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/1748-9326/2/1/014002/erl7_1_014002.html

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 26 Jan 2010 @ 12:47 PM

  622. Gavin’s response @ 607:

    [Response: Oh please. The accusation was that NASA and NOAA were ‘deleting’ stations in cold places in order to somehow boost the global warming signal. This is untrue, defamatory and based on a complete ignorance of both where the data comes from (CLIMAT reports from WMO) and the whole point of the anomaly method. Pointing this out is not ignoring questions about data validity. If you want more Canadian data to be included in the global indices, ask Environment Canada to submit more CLIMAT reports. I’ve suggested this before though no-one took it up, but It would be possible to use the SYNOP and METAR daily reports to create an alternate global temperature index – and of course the reanalysis products do something analogous (and come up with the same answer in any case – Simmons et al (2010)). – gavin]

    Yes, but I didn’t repeat that accusation because it’s irrelevant. All sorts of people can come up with all sorts of conspiracy theories.

    What’s =relevant= is demonstrating the validity of the data, regardless of which accusation is used to question its validity.

    So, I ask the question again — on what planet does using fewer data sources address questions about the validity of a data set? I get that Environment Canada isn’t providing the data — now, what’s actually being done about it? Who should Canadians (and everyone else) write in order to get more data into the models?

    [Response: This has nothing to do with models. Where did you get that from? The only issue is whether there is sampling issue with the current CLIMAT network, but the match to the satellite data and the reanalysis products indicates that there isn’t. – gavin]

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 26 Jan 2010 @ 12:54 PM

  623. Quote:

    “Because climate change WILL mean those wheat farms will die, unless we avoid the worst.” No one knows this and the line of evidence does not point in this direction; that is too far in the future to be answered with such high level of confidence.

    “Except the earthquakes are temporary and minor.” Really? With the recent high level of confidence in the research by seismologists that California is going to be hit by a the ‘big one’ an earthquake of extremely high magniude, would you like to rethink that? How about the 150,000 plus dead in Haiti? Many seimologists believe based upon data collection and history that California may be under water within my life time at 31 years of age due to a cataclysmic earthquake. Now add to that power outages, and violent chaotic weather events and the picture starts to get into focus.

    “I don’t *have* to attribute the wheat farming losses to warming. You have to show that earthquakes are more damaging.” You as of yet have not shown that global warming is more damaging and your assumpton that I have to show you evidence when you have not is just an argument in futility.

    “Because climate change WILL mean those wheat farms will die, unless we avoid the worst.” By all means better irrigation techniques should be used since some areas are drought prone to begin with; some wheat will evolve the necessary adaptations while others will not. However, some areas will become cooler and with increased precipitation due to climate change, even from the global warming we see changing in microclimates more coundusive to crops and other forms of life.

    “Your statement is one based on faith without any sort of thought behind it.” It seems to me it is you who are speaking with a lot of faith here.

    “That they are bad enough to register yet the warming has hardly begun shows how much more of a threat to human existence CC is than earthquakes.”

    You have not made your case. All that aside, however, rising lung cancer rates and asthma is good enough reason to me to lower emissions of air pillutants of all kinds. The 2 degree warming will affect regions of severe poverty the most as outlined in the IPCC report. Earthquakes, however can end whole civilizations far faster than the current trend of global warming can… I suggest to study the history of earthquakes and infectious disease epidemics. No doubt warming has, does and will encourage the incubation of some pathogens, but your view and resulting comparison of global warming due to man made means and natural disasters is a little misguied albeit sincere.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 26 Jan 2010 @ 1:24 PM

  624. I leave you with this: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/states/us_deaths.php

    Do not forget to look up the flu epidemics as well:)

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 26 Jan 2010 @ 1:26 PM

  625. FurryCatHerder says: 26 January 2010 at 12:54 PM

    Just to clarify, FCH, are you looking at the sample size (sorry!) as a public perception issue?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 26 Jan 2010 @ 1:39 PM

  626. Hank Roberts,my apologies and retraction about the steam boiler statement. I meant to say 1950’s not 1800’s; I was looking at several different related references. Matter of fact the boilers usually only reached 90% efficiency in the 1950’s. The supercritcal boiler does get to 95% efficiency. Some modification can get a steam boiler to 95%, but that takes some work.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 26 Jan 2010 @ 1:45 PM

  627. #622, “The only issue is whether there is sampling issue with the current CLIMAT network, but the match to the satellite data and the reanalysis products indicates that there isn’t. – gavin”

    This is where laypeople have difficulties understanding science — sampling and probability distributions.

    Even I (who teach the basics of that) am somewhat amazed how scientists can take a sample — a fairly small proportion of the total population of cases — and make fairly accurate inferences about the population, specifying the 95% confidence intervals, etc.

    But I guess if people are going to question the science, then they really should read that chapter in a stat book.

    I had a distant relative in the EPA, who had to decide whether old industrial sites around Chicago were contaminated. They only took a few random samples, and were able to make that decision.

    Then there is calling 2000 people or even 1000 people to see who’s ahead in the national polls.

    Hope this helps people who have a hard time understanding and complain that there are not enough weather stations. Read the basics of probability and statistics first, then understanding will begin to dawn.

    Question of the Week: How many red herrings can denialists come up with in a week? (Hint: it’s a rhetorical question)

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 26 Jan 2010 @ 2:07 PM

  628. Richard Steckis (605) — Not by the knowledgable. And your comment does seem to be somewhat changing the subject just to score a point. Not the purpose of serious scientific discussion, is it?

    Comment by David B. Benson — 26 Jan 2010 @ 3:07 PM

  629. 610 Completely Fed Up says:
    26 January 2010 at 9:16 AM
    How many earthquakes have reduced US wheat production? None. Warming climates have.

    Really?

    From U.S. Wheat Associates, 2009: http://www.uswheat.org/uswPublic2009.nsf/index?OpenPage

    “USDA’s Annual Small Grains Summary released on Wednesday, Sept. 30, reports that total 2009 U.S. wheat production is 60.4 MMT, an increase of two percent from USDA’s previous estimate. The summary indicated record spring wheat yields (45.0 bushels per acre) and barley yields (72.8 bushels per acre), along with increased durum production.

    The past two years have been the most prolific for global wheat production. As a result, supplies are abundant and more wheat is being stored. USDA’s quarterly Grain Stocks Report, also released Wednesday, revealed U.S. wheat stocks are at their highest level since 2000. The report estimates wheat stored in all positions as of Sept. 1, 2009 is 60.3 million metric tons (MMT), up 19 percent from this time last year and 21 percent higher than the five-year average of 50.0 MMT. USDA’s estimates exceeded trade expectations of 58.1 MMT. The indicated disappearance for June – August 2009 is down significantly (30 percent) from last year because of decreased exports compared to last year’s breakneck pace. First quarter exports for MY 2009/10 were down 42 percent from last year.

    In addition to higher wheat stocks, USDA reported increased stocks for corn, sorghum, barley, and sunflower, which are competing with wheat for storage space. Kansas, the largest producer of hard red winter wheat, is facing its largest grain stocks since 2000. This has put significant pressure on local cash prices.”

    Comment by Don Shor — 26 Jan 2010 @ 3:38 PM

  630. Just a couple more sources on global wheat production:
    http://westernfarmpress.com/mag/farming_world_wheat_production_3/

    In 2007, Dr. Pachauri stated that climate change was affecting wheat production in India:
    http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/india/news/article_1376486.php/Climate_change_hurting_wheat_production_in_India_Pachauri
    “Agriculture productivity, particularly of wheat, has shown signs of going down as a result of the climate change.”

    So how has wheat production fared in India since then?
    http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/india-news/indias-wheat-production-estimated-to-surpass-record-78-million-tonnes_100171249.html
    “New Delhi, Mar 25 [2009](ANI): The country is going to witness record production of wheat consecutively for the second year with output estimated to surpass 78 million tonnes.
    Last year, 78.57 million tonnes of wheat was produced, which was the highest ever in the history of India.”

    Comment by Don Shor — 26 Jan 2010 @ 4:16 PM

  631. > My larger point was that there is literally nothing that isn’t being fought over like a scrap of meet on a lifeboat.

    Walt Bennet: I believe that most of us lurkers and rare posters that have been here since before you “graduated” and are still here, learn to step over the tro lls (it’s not easy when one is Competely Fed Up with folks like Mark).

    I’m not ready to graduate as I am still learning.

    Comment by arch stanton — 26 Jan 2010 @ 4:40 PM

  632. I am reading Schmidt et al (2006) with particular reference to the clouds on ModelE. I’m afraid this will probably mean I will have completely weird questions to ask later.

    But on first read, one thing struck me: you say (p172):

    We look at three key diagnostics of the model cloud fields. First, the total cloud amount (Fig. 7) is systematically too low in these model runs. Since planetary albedo (Fig. 3) is reasonable, this implies that cloud optical depths must be too high.

    The planetary albedo is indeed reasonable, according to the provided figure. But I noticed that total cloud cover is particularly higher than expected in the polar regions. I just can’t reconcile that with “systematically too low”.

    Snow and cloud have almost identical (and hugely overlapping) albedos. This means that the albedo is useless as a diagnostic in precisely the area that seems to have a problem.

    I feel I am missing something here.

    [Response: In the global mean, the optical thickness was high. Cloud cover estimates in the poles are particularly difficult, and so these are not a strong constraint on the models. – gavin]

    Comment by Didactylos — 26 Jan 2010 @ 4:43 PM

  633. http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=Qd9b8taIAqgC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=global+warming+is+a+hoax&ots=ZxIp7MFjtB&sig=rFYg9BX6ANluAN23TLNl6gb4NXw#v=onepage&q=global%20warming%20is%20a%20hoax&f=false

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 26 Jan 2010 @ 4:48 PM

  634. Re Inline response to 617:

    The GISS webpage and Hansen’s publications explicitly state that GISS starts with the GHCN raw, not the GHCN homogenised. Has something changed of late?

    Comment by tharanga — 26 Jan 2010 @ 5:38 PM

  635. RE responses to my post 574
    moderators response seems to promote an inductive over a deductive approach. I would say, as an empiricist, that if the empirical data does not align with the modelling than the hypothesis that the modelling is wrong needs to be taken seriously.
    Re 586 I reported modified R squared, this adjusts for the additional parameter (One extra parameter out of three doesn’t increase the fit by two, I suspect what you are trying to say is that one can always get a perfect fit by using an n-1 polynomial to fit n data points)
    Re 598 all joint tests significant at 95% level. The CO2^2 is just a trend variable, effectively I am hypothesising that the rate of temperature increase varies with CO2 concentration, it appears this is a reasonable empirical conclusion from the data.

    Comment by John Storer — 26 Jan 2010 @ 6:35 PM

  636. John Storer,
    What I am saying is that if the goodness of fit (Likelihood) doesn’t improve exponentially in the number of parameters, then the additional parameters represent an overfitting of the data. The Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) is one way to deal with this. It ensures that the model used has the best predictive power rather than merely giving the best fit to the data. See here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akaike_information_criterion

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Jan 2010 @ 7:53 PM

  637. Don Shor, First, your harvest numbers are not particularly informative because 1)what matters is yield and 2)1-2 years is not a trend. Finally, get back to us in about 20 years on wheat production.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Jan 2010 @ 7:59 PM

  638. This website remindes me of that old game we played as kids, with a twist. The king of the hill (Gavin) has a whole army motivated to keep him there. Any time someone makes a comment that is even the least bit detramental to the AGW cause, the troops immediately attack and put it under. When one does finally make it through, Gavin heroically puts it down with malace.

    What a game!

    Comment by Toledo Tim — 26 Jan 2010 @ 8:19 PM

  639. ps re 586 AIC is lower for the four parameter model

    Comment by John Storer — 26 Jan 2010 @ 9:56 PM

  640. I’ve looked at the problem of the GISS/HadCRUT divergence more closely, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the divergence is due to the way that changes in sea ice effect the readings of the coastal thermometers. I give a complete explanation here:

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 26 Jan 2010 @ 10:05 PM

  641. #629 Don, that is what’s expected with CO2 and GW — increasing crop production in the mid and northern latitudes, due to longer growing seasons and CO2 fertilization, up to about 2050, after which there is expected to be a sharp decline due to effects of GW.

    See: Schlenker, W., and M. Roberts. 2009. “Nonlinear Temperature Effects Indicate Severe Damages to U.S. Crop Yields under Climate Change.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 106.37: 15594-15598. Online at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/22765244/Nonlinear-Temperature-Effects-Indicate-Severe-Damages-to-U-S-Crop-Yields-Under-Climate-Change

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 26 Jan 2010 @ 11:15 PM

  642. RE #630, the news item re increased wheat crops in India was dated Mar 2009, so it might be a good idea to see if the devastating floods in several states in India this past Sept/Oct 2009 (probably enhanced by GW) reduced their wheat crops. The floods were more to the South and wheat is grown mainly in the North, but I know the floods caused huge crops losses.

    See: NDTV. 2009. “India: Prices set to soar as crucial crops are lost in floods.” Oct. 7. http://www.ndtv.com/news/india/prices_set_to_soar_as_crucial_crops_are_lost_in_floods.php

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 26 Jan 2010 @ 11:24 PM

  643. “This website remindes me of that old game we played as kids, with a twist.”

    All this proves is that you didn’t grow up.

    Sometimes people are wrong.

    Ever consider that?

    Or is anyone saying AGW is wrong automatically right?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 Jan 2010 @ 3:53 AM

  644. “I would say, as an empiricist, that if the empirical data does not align with the modelling than the hypothesis that the modelling is wrong needs to be taken seriously.”

    And the data aligns with the modeling.

    You not been reading much, have you.

    There’s absolutely NO model that works if you don’t have AGW science and the role of anthropogenic CO2 in there.

    But denialists will not let the idea go that such CO2 has no role.

    You’re pointing that accusation over to the wrong place.

    Point it over to Watts where his “model” that the UHI is making a warming trend appear doesn’t fit the data retrieved:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/On-the-reliability-of-the-US-Surface-Temperature-Record.html

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 Jan 2010 @ 4:06 AM

  645. “629
    Don Shor says:
    26 January 2010 at 3:38 PM

    610 Completely Fed Up says:
    26 January 2010 at 9:16 AM
    How many earthquakes have reduced US wheat production? None. Warming climates have.
    Really?”

    Really.

    Why else would you then quote a report that doesn’t mention earthquake disruption of wheat production and DOES mention how climate has?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 Jan 2010 @ 4:09 AM

  646. Jacob says: “You have not made your case.”

    Except even Don Shor has quoted a report that shows the case has been made and has much greater provenance than earthquakes being worse.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 Jan 2010 @ 4:11 AM

  647. 637 Ray Ladbury says:
    26 January 2010 at 7:59 PM
    Don Shor, First, your harvest numbers are not particularly informative because 1)what matters is yield and 2)1-2 years is not a trend. Finally, get back to us in about 20 years on wheat production.
    First of all, I was replying to CFU’s statement that climate change has already had an impact on wheat production. It hasn’t.
    Second, the FAO has lots of data on world agriculture.
    Total value ($) of world food production has increased (by amounts ranging from 2.4% to 2.1%) between 1993 and 2007.
    Total world exports of wheat in tons, after dropping from 1992 – 1995, has increased steadily through 2007. The world’s total production of wheat in tons also has increased steadily through 2007.
    Total arable land has increased somewhat. Arable land has increased in developing countries, and decreased in some developed countries (notably Europe). Forest cover has decreased.

    You can fuss with these numbers. But they illustrate that there is no reasonable way to claim any linkage yet between existing climate change and agricultural yields. CFU did exactly that, with no statistical evidence. I am unaware of any basis for Dr. Pachauri’s statement with respect to productivity.

    Comment by Don Shor — 27 Jan 2010 @ 4:39 AM

  648. Shorter Toledo Tim@638

    Waaaaaah! You meanies keep using evidence and logical argument! ‘Snot fair!

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 27 Jan 2010 @ 5:36 AM

  649. 641 Lynn: #629 Don, that is what’s expected with CO2 and GW — increasing crop production in the mid and northern latitudes, due to longer growing seasons and CO2 fertilization, up to about 2050, after which there is expected to be a sharp decline due to effects of GW.

    Thanks for the link; that is an interesting analysis.
    As it says clearly on page 4, there are many caveats. “The simplest form of adaptation would be to change the locations or seasons where and when the crops are grown.” In other words, farmers aren’t stupid. Whether or not they will invest in irrigation supplies or more expensive varieties that tolerate heat will depend on crop prices and yields. “Greater precipitation partially mitigate damages….”

    I live in an area where all agriculture is irrigated. Studies of agricultural impacts of climate change tend not to factor changes in crop practices and the willingness of farmers to invest to get higher yields. Most that I have read appear to be detailed statistical analyses based on the continuation of current cropping patterns. But farmers aren’t going to sit by and wring their hands while yields decline. Agribusiness will develop more heat-tolerant varieties, and growers will choose other things to grow.

    It is common here in northern California for orchards to be top-worked to change the variety, or to be completely replanted, if prices are changing. Taking out pears and prunes, putting in walnuts or almonds; that is an investment that takes 3 – 5 years or more to pay off. Cropping patterns of annuals have changed markedly over the years. Farmers here choose between canning tomatoes, sunflowers, safflower or corn, or a couple of years of alfalfa. Or they decide to put some percentage of their acreage into tree crops. I realize that midwestern growers have fewer options.

    Chilling and heating hours, availability of irrigation water, cost of fertilizers, and world market trends are all factors in the decision-making process. In the case of corn in the midwest, I’d imagine that the long-term viability of the ethanol market and the status of government price supports and tax credits are probably going to have big impacts. Climate change is just another factor in all of that, affecting some of those variables as well as perhaps some of the crops directly. I am very skeptical about the dire predictions about agriculture in developed countries due to AGW. But increased agronomic aid to developing countries will be crucial to maintaining the world food supply.

    Comment by Don Shor — 27 Jan 2010 @ 5:39 AM

  650. SJ: if you are looking for a trend change you must look at a reasonably short interval, mustn’t we? Because trend changes is what we are interested in if we want to know if global warming is still going on, isn’t?

    BPL: Will you for God’s sake CRACK A BOOK? I mean a book on statistics, preferably time-series analysis. NO, you do not want “a reasonably short interval” to find a trend change. The shorter your interval, the more likely the “trend change” isn’t a trend change at all.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Jan 2010 @ 5:51 AM

  651. RS: Mann’s hockey stick paper was considered good enough to be published in Nature. Yet it is still controversial.

    BPL: Not to climatologists, it isn’t. Just to internet crackpots.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Jan 2010 @ 5:53 AM

  652. Jacob Mack: it is foolish for some to think global warming is the worse issue we face as the human race.

    BPL: Does the phrase “complete collapse of world agricultural production” mean anything to you?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Jan 2010 @ 5:58 AM

  653. John Storer, I rather doubt that. What error model are you assuming? It can’t be a 4 parameter model, because your error model must also have parameters. What is more, the date the change occurs is a parameter as well.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Jan 2010 @ 5:59 AM

  654. Toledo Tim doesn’t understand the rules of the game. What keeps anthropogenic causation at the top of the hill is the fact that the science supports it. Go learn the rules (science), then come back.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Jan 2010 @ 6:01 AM

  655. JS 635,

    I still suggest you do a partial F-test on your CO2^2 term. If you want to forward me your data I’ll do it for you. Would that be easy?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Jan 2010 @ 6:03 AM

  656. Toledo Tim,

    Yeah it is really malicious (the word is not “malace”) to tell pseudoscientists they have it wrong. We ought to give equal time to creationists and biologists, Velikovsky freaks and astronomers, Nibiru cultists and archaeologists, and of course, OF COURSE, AGW theory deniers with climate scientists. All opinions are equally good and ought to be treated with equal respect!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Jan 2010 @ 6:33 AM

  657. Why do you have to manipulate the raw measurements, can you not use stations that are not subject to urban encroachment and plot the raw figures ?

    [Response: The weather station network was not designed with climate in mind, and changes in instrumentation, location, altitude, time of observation etc. introduced inhomogeneities into the records that need to be dealt with before you can get at the climate signal. – gavin]

    Comment by Brad — 27 Jan 2010 @ 6:36 AM

  658. Doug Bostrom @ 625:

    Just to clarify, FCH, are you looking at the sample size (sorry!) as a public perception issue?

    Yes and no. I’m also concerned that complex methods are being relied on to “fill-in-the-blanks” without on-the-ground verification via the old tried-and-true “read a thermometer” method.

    On the perception side, deople are being asked to radically alter their entire lifestyle and someone in the Canadian government can’t be bothered to get weather data reported. WTF?

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 27 Jan 2010 @ 7:55 AM

  659. Lynn, should a few degrees of temperature increase cause such a dramatic reduction in corn production one has to wonder why nations such as Mexico and Egypt even bother planting any much less why their corn production has also increased significantly (in the common meaning of the word) over the last 50 years. Perhaps they use different hybrids? Adjust their growing seasons accordingly? It does not seem to be an insurmountable problem.

    Comment by stevenc — 27 Jan 2010 @ 9:34 AM

  660. By the way Ray. Why the fascination with Methane? It is short lived in the atmosphere (5-15 years) and it’s oxidation byproducts are water vapour and CH3.

    the CH3 is further oxidised to CH3O2 which reacts with the peroxy radical HO2 to produce methyl hydroperoxide and oxygen. The hydroperoxide is then precipitated out of the atmosphere in rainfall.

    The OH radical is not limiting. CO2 is NOT an oxidative byproduct of methane oxidation.

    The short residence time of methane along with it’s precipitation out of the atomsphere relatively quickly through it’s oxidation byproducts make it a non-event unless there is a massive release of methane to the atmosphere and there is no evidence of that at this time.

    Source: Wayne, R.P. (1992)Chemistry of Atmospheres (second ed.). Oxford Science Publications. 447pp. Oxford University Press.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 27 Jan 2010 @ 10:01 AM

  661. Re: #631 (arch stanton),

    Arch,

    I well remember my final few attempts at dialog here. I was well aware, probably in early 2008, that the solutions business, always on thin ice, had become a fraud. I saw my own beloved Dr. Hansen go from telling us that atmospheric CO2 stays aloft “essentially forever” to telling us that not only did we need to get back to 350 ppm to avoid +2*C of warming, but that it was actually possible to do as long as we stop burning coal immediately.

    (a) That was a lie if his first statement was true.
    (b) Sheer inertia means we will certainly exceed 450 ppm and perhaps go much higher than that;
    (c) There was never the slightest chance that the world would stop burning coal in anything close to the timetable that Dr. Hansen insisted we needed.

    I saw scientists go from impartial people doing work to advocates of hardened positions. And worse, those hardened positions were impossible to achieve. And still worse, being too rigid makes something more breakable, and climate science is becoming too easy to break because it won’t bend.

    And finally, the human race has made its choice. It prefers abundant energy today instead of worrying about the future. “Central planning” would require an enormously heavy governmental hand, which free people flatly reject.

    In other words, we’re going where we’re going no matter what anybody says, and so there are two paths, neither of which gets any traction at RC:

    (1) Adaptation. The world will warm past +2*C, lots of permanent ice will melt (perhaps the vast majority of it, perhaps within the next several hundred years); world sea levels will rise a lot (perhaps half a meter in this century, perhaps more than that) and we will be forced to make survival choices. This is inevitable.

    (2) Geoengineering. It will become necessary to find ways to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Period. Nobody wants to admit it, but there is simply no avoiding it. Especially given the scenarios that Dr. Hansen espouses.

    So, while I respect the “more to learn” attitude, there is nothing more to learn about AGW that will save us from the above. It’s time to think clearly about what comes next, not argue back and forth for 14 pages over whose measurements and methods to trust.

    The world is a red map, year after year. The planet is warming. We did it.

    Now we get to deal with the aftermath. That discussion will not take place here.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 27 Jan 2010 @ 10:38 AM

  662. Completely Fed Up #644
    “But denialists will not let the idea go that such CO2 has no role.”

    Completely, why keep trotting out these phoney straw men. The skeptics position is that the IPCC climate sensitivity numbers are too high – not that CO2 has no role. The skeptics position is that CO2 is not a pollutant. The skeptics position is that there is no climate emergency. Let’s at least be honest about where the argument is.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 27 Jan 2010 @ 10:44 AM

  663. “But farmers aren’t going to sit by and wring their hands while yields decline. Agribusiness will develop more heat-tolerant varieties, and growers will choose other things to grow.” – Don Shor

    It’s true that farmers are adaptable; but they can’t work magic; nor can agribusiness. I attended a talk on crop production and food security by Prof. Peter Gregory, a recognised expert in the area, last week. He noted that yield/hectare increases for one of the world’s three main crops – rice – have already slowed, and those for wheat and corn appear to be following the same sigmoid curve. Also that agricultural experts consider “peak phosphorus” a more urgent problem than “peak oil”. Third, that gains in yield due to longer growing season tend to be greatly reduced in the field, because the longer growing season also helps pests. Fourth, that the continuing trend toward sowing fewer varieties increases risk.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 27 Jan 2010 @ 10:49 AM

  664. FCH @ 658 – “People are being asked to radically alter their entire lifestyle” Please explain what you consider radical about people being asked to consider insulating their houses, driving less polluting cars and taking fewer flights… Oh yes, I forgot, it’ll “send us back to the Stone Age…”

    I recently read one denialist blog seriously describing a general request to restaurants not to serve iced water as “ORWELLIAN!” “Whatever next, soon they’ll be demanding we walk to the corner shop. Is there no end to their Draconian fascisto-Marxist diktats?!”

    “someone in the Canadian government can’t be bothered to get weather data reported.” Again with the alarmist exaggeration.

    Comment by Joe Cushley — 27 Jan 2010 @ 11:18 AM

  665. Gavin:
    “This is untrue, defamatory and based on a complete ignorance of both where the data comes from (CLIMAT reports from WMO) and the whole point of the anomaly method.”

    Yes, I find the whole argument about moving thermometers from cold mountains to beaches as being rather idiotic. What does concern me, however, is the increasing percentage of thermometers that are at airports; the falling percentage that is rural; and the idea that one rural is as good as another and no adjustment is needed. Rural communities can grow also. And depending where a thermometer is placed within the community it can make a difference.

    What also bothers me is this USHCN chart that shows that their adjustments are now adding more than .5C to the raw data.

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/epubs/ndp/ushcn/ts.ushcn_anom25_diffs_urb-raw_pg.gif

    And I’m bothered by the fact that GISS takes polar coastal stations that are profoundly effected by local sea ice cover and uses those stations to extrapolate inland where the sea ice effect is less and across the Arctic ocean where the SSTs show that the anomaly is much smaller than what is being extrapolated.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 27 Jan 2010 @ 11:33 AM

  666. “And I’m bothered by the fact that GISS takes polar coastal stations that are profoundly effected by local sea ice cover and uses those stations to extrapolate inland”

    Hadley data doesn’t.

    And so a comparison between then should show the effect this problem would have on the result.

    And it shows no meaningful difference.

    So why are you bothered?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 Jan 2010 @ 11:46 AM

  667. Tilo: ““But denialists will not let the idea go that such CO2 has no role.”

    Completely, why keep trotting out these phoney straw men.”

    Yeah, I don’t know why they keep trotting out these phoney straw men either. But they do.

    Do you know why, tilo?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 Jan 2010 @ 11:48 AM

  668. ” Richard Steckis says:
    27 January 2010 at 10:01 AM

    By the way Ray. Why the fascination with Methane?”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane_clathrate

    Would have thought a *scientist* would know more…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 Jan 2010 @ 11:51 AM

  669. Don Shor:
    “As it says clearly on page 4, there are many caveats. “The simplest form of adaptation would be to change the locations or seasons where and when the crops are grown.” In other words, farmers aren’t stupid.”

    The Canadians may have something to say about US farmers growing wheat on their land.

    Russia won’t like India/Pakistan/*stan planting their crops on Russian soil.

    Etc.

    These sorts of things are how wars start.

    And some of us have nuclear weapons.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 Jan 2010 @ 11:55 AM

  670. Walt Bennett,
    The only hardened position you will find among the scientists generally is that people accept the science.

    But, Walt, part of the science is that there are no validated geo-engineering mitigations at present outside of limiting CO2 emissions. The leading candidates proposed to date–e.g. sulfate aerosols, plankton fertilization…–all have very serious side effects and still have serious doubts about their effectiveness. By all means we should keep looking, but wouldn’t you agree that since we don’t have a strategy in hand now, nor any roadmap to reach such a strategy, it would be irresponsible to proceed at full steam ahead?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Jan 2010 @ 11:59 AM

  671. FCH: “Okay, so a “limited” number of temperature records doesn’t refute the LIA or MWP being “localized events”, but a “limited” number of temperatures =does= mean that the Arctic is warming?”

    Define limited.

    The limit in the LIA and MWP is much more limited. After all, we didn’t have a global array of satellites for 30 years in the MWP or LIA…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 Jan 2010 @ 12:00 PM

  672. Steckis asks, “By the way Ray. Why the fascination with Methane? It is short lived in the atmosphere (5-15 years) and it’s oxidation byproducts are water vapour and CH3.”

    I’m glad you asked that question, Richard! Although the CH4 has a short residence time, it has much more greenhouse potential than does CO2. Since many of the tipping points in the system are thermally activated, the worry is that a rapid pulse of warming could put us over the top.

    Second, we aren’t really dealing with a single pulse, are we? Rather there is a steady and increasing supply to the atmosphere, so the warming would be sustained longer than a decade or two.

    Third, a methane pulse is precisely the putative mechanism that initiated the PETM–a period I’d just as soon not repeat.

    Fourth, while Methyl hydroxide does precipitate out, it does break down into CO2 and water eventually, and the CO2 does wind up in the atmosphere.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Jan 2010 @ 12:20 PM

  673. Completely: #666
    “And so a comparison between then should show the effect this problem would have on the result.
    And it shows no meaningful difference.”

    But it does show a meaningful difference.

    http://reallyrealclimate.blogspot.com/2008/10/updated-11-year-global-temp-anomoly.html

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 27 Jan 2010 @ 12:22 PM

  674. 645: Completely Fed Up says:
    27 January 2010 at 4:09 AM
    “629
    Don Shor says:
    26 January 2010 at 3:38 PM
    610 Completely Fed Up says:
    26 January 2010 at 9:16 AM
    How many earthquakes have reduced US wheat production? None. Warming climates have.
    Really?”
    Really.
    Why else would you then quote a report that doesn’t mention earthquake disruption of wheat production and DOES mention how climate has?
    Completely Fed Up says:
    27 January 2010 at 4:11 AM
    Jacob says: “You have not made your case.”
    Except even Don Shor has quoted a report that shows the case has been made and has much greater provenance than earthquakes being worse.

    That is nonsense. You said climate change has already reduced wheat production. It hasn’t. I wasn’t addressing earthquakes, which don’t affect wheat production. You said climate change has already reduced wheat production. You said it very clearly. It hasn’t. You were wrong. Climate change has NOT already reduced wheat production. You were wrong. Your statement was incorrect. Got it?

    Comment by Don Shor — 27 Jan 2010 @ 12:58 PM

  675. 669: Completely Fed Up says:
    27 January 2010 at 11:55 AM
    Don Shor:
    “As it says clearly on page 4, there are many caveats. “The simplest form of adaptation would be to change the locations or seasons where and when the crops are grown.” In other words, farmers aren’t stupid.”
    The Canadians may have something to say about US farmers growing wheat on their land.
    Russia won’t like India/Pakistan/*stan planting their crops on Russian soil.
    Etc.
    These sorts of things are how wars start.
    And some of us have nuclear weapons.

    If the price of a commodity goes high enough, arable and that is presently being used for less profitable purposes can be planted. Irrigating land that is presently dryland farmed is another option, if the cost of bringing in water is worth it.

    Crop choices can change. Earlier varieties can be planted. With corn, for example, the effect of heat is on the pollen development; there are varieties of corn that tassel earlier in the season. Some farmers will simply shift over to more heat and drought tolerant crops such as safflower.

    The comment about phosphorus limitation is actually more relevant than any impact of climate change. Expanded corn production due to the boom in ethanol has already had supply effects on ammo-phos, a staple in the ag and lawn fertilizer industries. There were big spikes in the cost of basic fertilizers over the last couple of years, and those prices tend to trend with oil prices. Federal ethanol policies (and price supports) have much more effect on farmers than a gradual increase in temperatures.

    Dr. Gregory has an interesting article “Discernable effects of climate change on crop production” that reviews the impact of climate change over the last 40 years. The URL is long; I’d urge anyone interested to Google it.

    Comment by Don Shor — 27 Jan 2010 @ 1:12 PM

  676. Gilles: “If the price of a commodity goes high enough, arable and that is presently being used for less profitable purposes can be planted.”

    And all the good land is already planted, Gilles.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 Jan 2010 @ 1:31 PM

  677. “You said climate change has already reduced wheat production. It hasn’t.”

    Yes it has.

    Your link and quote said so.

    More intensive farming increased it too, but without the climate change it would have been even higher.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 Jan 2010 @ 1:35 PM

  678. Don Shor sees no problem with “If the price of a commodity goes high enough”. I do.

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 27 Jan 2010 @ 1:35 PM

  679. “But it does show a meaningful difference.”

    No it doesn’t: AGW sensitivity is still on track for a sensitivity of the upper half of 2.5C-4.5C per doubling.

    PS 11 years isn’t climate.

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

  680. Tilo Reber’s link is to an incompetent analysis. Go to http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/last:360/trend/plot/gistemp/last:360/trend.

    Replace this with an 11-year trend (132 months instead of 360) to reproduce the results in Tilo’s link.

    Anybody interested can see that there is negligible difference between HADCRUT3 and GISTEMP slopes.

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 27 Jan 2010 @ 1:48 PM

  681. Don Shor says: 27 January 2010 at 12:58 PM

    (and not aimed particularly at you, btw)

    May I suggest that choosing a particular crop raised in a particular region and forming conclusions from that is somewhat akin to using local weather for/against the notion of a climate trend?

    I found Nick Gotts’ post on this more informative.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/2009-temperatures-by-jim-hansen/comment-page-14/#comment-157177

    In particular the fertilizer issue is of concern. W/regard to discussions on population limits, the “Green Revolution” is frequently cited as a reason for optimism about the planet sustaining a 9GP inventory of people. The green revolution was possible in large part due to fossil fuel inputs; pulling another agricultural production revolution out of our hats is not going to be as easy when we have one arm cut off.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 27 Jan 2010 @ 2:13 PM

  682. Since my earlier post, I found this excellent publication from Environmental Research Letters that covers many of the topics here and has something for almost every viewpoint:
    Global scale climate–crop yield relationships and the impacts of recent warming
    David B Lobell and Christopher B Field

    It is a pdf with a long URL, so again I’d urge those interested to Google it.

    They have constructed a model that attempts to detect yield reductions due to climate change. They show reductions in some crop yields globally, offset to some extent by increased fertilization by CO2. They mention adaptive measures as having possibly countered the impact of temperature. (“Thus, the yield impacts of climate trends reported here can be viewed as the expectation in the absence of explicit recognition of, and adaptation to, climate trends since 1980….these models are limited in their ability to simulate future yield responses when cropping areas shift”). They even showed the impact of sample size (# of years) on results.

    “The extent to which farmers adapt to climate trends is thus a source of uncertainty in estimating impacts of past climate change, as it is for projecting future impacts.”

    Comment by Don Shor — 27 Jan 2010 @ 2:49 PM

  683. 678 t_p_hamilton says:
    27 January 2010 at 1:35 PM
    Don Shor sees no problem with “If the price of a commodity goes high enough”. I do.
    It may or may not be a problem, depending on how we deal with it.
    I raise almonds. The price has been pretty consistent, but acreage has been increasing. So as I add more trees on my property, I’m switching to walnuts just to cover my bets. That is my response to price sensitivity, and it is the kind of decision farmers make all the time.
    Canning tomatoes used to be a major crop in this area. The price dropped steadily, and many of those fields are now planted in sunflowers (a big improvement aesthetically!) or have been planted in tree crops.
    Sugar beets, which were a major crop in our area 25 years ago, are non-existent now due to the gradual removal of price supports. They were often grown on more marginal soils. With some effort at grading and drainage, those could be used for more profitable crops. If not, they will just be used for pasture.

    If the price of one commodity goes higher, it will result in more farmers planting it. If the cost of the inputs goes higher, fewer will plant it. Just read any of the farm bureau sites to see how this plays out year to year. It isn’t going to result in mass starvation, as it tends to be self-correcting. But federal price policies have historically been a big factor.

    Comment by Don Shor — 27 Jan 2010 @ 2:56 PM

  684. “It may or may not be a problem, depending on how we deal with it.”

    Well, by starving people, obviously.

    Just because almonds are $600/pound doesn’t mean you’ll be able to grow them in the Gobi Desert.

    So how are farmers going to plant more of it?

    Who is going to be able to afford it?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 Jan 2010 @ 3:10 PM

  685. Don in post 682: “They show reductions in some crop yields globally”

    Don in post 674: “You said climate change has already reduced wheat production. It hasn’t.”

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 Jan 2010 @ 3:18 PM

  686. “The green revolution was possible in large part due to fossil fuel inputs; ”

    Indeed.

    Watch:

    http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-5267640865741878159#

    US output was 2600 calories of food for each calorie of oil used.

    Today that figure is 1 to 1.

    Has the uptake gone up 2600 times?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 Jan 2010 @ 3:21 PM

  687. The problem with high commodity prices is that it squeezes disposable income, with rather unpleasant effects on the economy. If gas goes up to $5/gallon I guarantee farmers aren’t going to be happy. How are farmers going to deal with it?

    People are going to feel the same way about food – if it becomes more expensive because of supply/demand issues.

    Ask the western loggers what they think of the spread of the pine bark beetle because of milder winters.

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 27 Jan 2010 @ 3:29 PM

  688. t_p_hamilton: #680
    “Tilo Reber’s link is to an incompetent analysis.”

    No, tp, your analysis is an incompetent analysis. I’m showing that GISS has diverged since 1998. I don’t care if it didn’t diverge before then. My chart is correct and yours is wrong because it uses the wrong time period.

    Even James Hansen recognizes that there is a difference.

    Hansen:
    “The origin of this contradiction probably lies in part in differences between the GISS and HadCRUT temperature analyses”

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 27 Jan 2010 @ 3:55 PM

  689. Completely: #679
    “No it doesn’t: AGW sensitivity is still on track for a sensitivity of the upper half of 2.5C-4.5C per doubling.”

    Try to stay on subject Completely, we were talking about GISS divergence, not climate sensitivity.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 27 Jan 2010 @ 4:00 PM

  690. “Try to stay on subject”

    I am.

    The subject is “is there a significant difference between HadCRUT and GISS data”.

    And there isn’t, they still both track fine.

    PS why didn’t you stay on subject? 11 years isn’t climate.

    We were talking about climate.

    It’s even in the blog name.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 Jan 2010 @ 5:55 PM

  691. “I’m showing that GISS has diverged since 1998.”

    Nope, the question is “is there significant divergence”.

    You haven’t shown anything of significance because you’ve shown no detailing of the level of significance.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 Jan 2010 @ 5:57 PM

  692. 682: Completely Fed Up says:
    27 January 2010 at 3:18 PM
    Don in post 682: “They show reductions in some crop yields globally”
    Don in post 674: “You said climate change has already reduced wheat production. It hasn’t.”

    That was my point. The article I cited in 682 plausibly supports both of our positions, depending on the many variables they discuss. You seem to have missed the part about uncertainty and adaptation. Or maybe you didn’t read the article.

    Well, by starving people, obviously.
    Just because almonds are $600/pound doesn’t mean you’ll be able to grow them in the Gobi Desert.
    So how are farmers going to plant more of it?

    You missed the point. But never mind.

    Comment by Don Shor — 27 Jan 2010 @ 6:03 PM

  693. 687 t_p_hamilton says:
    27 January 2010 at 3:29 PM
    The problem with high commodity prices is that it squeezes disposable income, with rather unpleasant effects on the economy. If gas goes up to $5/gallon I guarantee farmers aren’t going to be happy. How are farmers going to deal with it?

    Gas here in California averaged $4.60/gallon in June 2008. Diesel was $5.15/gallon. It affected farmers, truckers, and all of us who are supplied by them. As a retailer I paid more for my goods. Farm operations cost more. We dealt with it by changing behavior.
    In fact, rising fuel prices, if sustained, would be a very effective way to change energy use.

    Comment by Don Shor — 27 Jan 2010 @ 6:40 PM

  694. May I suggest redirecting followups?

    The Tilo Reber Thread : Deltoid
    Since Tilo Reber’s comments always seem to take discussion off topic, all further comments from Tilo should be posted to this thread as well as any replies …
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/05/the_tilo_reber_thread.php

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Jan 2010 @ 6:59 PM

  695. Tilo doesn’t like being shown incompetent:

    t_p_hamilton: #680
    “Tilo Reber’s link is to an incompetent analysis.”

    No, tp, your analysis is an incompetent analysis. I’m showing that GISS has diverged since 1998. I don’t care if it didn’t diverge before then. My chart is correct and yours is wrong because it uses the wrong time period.”

    Your analysis only shows a huge difference because of sensitivity to starting and ending points. That is what is incompetent, arising from not analyzing nearby 11 year periods starting 1 year earlier, or 1 year later. You have discovered noise, and posted it.

    “Even James Hansen recognizes that there is a difference.”

    Hansen:
    “The origin of this contradiction probably lies in part in differences between the GISS and HadCRUT temperature analyses”

    Properly done, you can detect a difference in the two trends. It is not nearly as large as the slopes in your plots indicate. For example, the period from 1990 to 2010:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1990/to:2010/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1990/to:2010/trend

    This is because the arctic is heating faster, and GISTEMP has arctic temperatures while HADCRUT3 does not.

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 27 Jan 2010 @ 7:01 PM

  696. 672
    Ray Ladbury says:
    27 January 2010 at 12:20 PM

    “Third, a methane pulse is precisely the putative mechanism that initiated the PETM–a period I’d just as soon not repeat.”

    Interesting that you use the word putative which means supposed. In other words you are saying that it is not the known mechanism for PETM but a theoretical mechanism.

    If a methane pulse is to occur and it will some time in the future, it will not be because of us but will occur through a natural mechanism.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 27 Jan 2010 @ 8:53 PM

  697. #649, Don, I lived in the Midwest for 25 years. One of the issues there regarding water is the aquifers, such as the great Ogallala Aquifer (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogallala_Aquifer ) are being depleted — not due to GW, but just overuse. Our own local aquifer in Aurora, IL had dropped down 800 ft since water had started being mined from it 100 or so years ago.

    Then there is the issue of industrialized agriculture’s heavy dependence on fossil fuels and finite resources, and with “peak oil” there will be “peak food” — see http://peakfood.co.uk/ by a farmer in England — again, not a GW issue.

    In Calif, I understand there could be come problem with snowpack river-fed irrigation, as global warming advances and melts snowpacks during winter plus precip coming down as rain, rather than snow. That could mean flooding in the winter, and drought in summer….but I’m not sure when or where in Calif that might happen. It’s similar to the glacial cycle being harmed and disrupted as discussed in this and the later thread.

    Then there is toxicity due to CO2 — a little bit more is good for plants, too much becomes bad for various plants…

    And there are other issues. More later….

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 27 Jan 2010 @ 9:00 PM

  698. Re: #670

    Ray,

    You know I value your opinion. I would like to thank you for responding in such a way that I would not feel trampled upon for making this occasional point.

    I do appreciate the attempt at actual discussion.

    What I’ve said before is that the continued fabrications coming from the “solutions business”, including Copenhagen and whatever comes next, accomplish two things, neither of them useful: (1) They reveal the hardened positions: “Everything’s Melting!” “No it’s not! It’s cold where I live!”; (2) We spend all our time talking about that (see the past 14 pages and any other thread on this site) instead of taking a reality check and asking these questions:

    1. What are the likeliest real-world worst case scenarios in the next 25, 50 and 100 years?

    2. How much money do we have?

    3. What are the various things we need to know more about than we do today?; how quickly can we learn them?; how likely are they to improve conditions in 25, 50 and 100 years?

    Now of course we’ve been trying for 20 years to have that conversation; it has not worked. It’s likely not to work. Global solutions to this problem are likely impossible. As we all know, lacking a global solution there is less incentive for ANY country to make sacrifices that are not directly in their own best interest. If the planet will warm ANYWAY because not enough is being done ELSEWHERE, it becomes self-perpetuating that nobody does nearly enough.

    That’s today’s reality, and it is 13 O’Clock. It’s past midnight. The horses are out of the barn and so forth. If you follow the actual science and not the rhetoric about the science, and if you ask Dr. Hansen if he meant what he said about CO2 levels being extremely long-lasting, and if you are at all honest about what’s realistic, then you cannot help but come to the conclusion that these are yesterday’s conversations.

    So: The above questions must be asked, but at a national level. The U.S. needs to decide how to spend its money, as does China, as does India.

    Do you realize that we would ALREADY be above +2*C if we had cleaner air? So as China improves its emissions controls, for example, the problem gets worse. So what’s the correct move?

    Ah! Nobody knows. Let’s stop pretending we do.

    As to your question: It does not matter, if it ever did, what “we” “should” do, we being the planet and should being what’s best for the planet.

    Humans don’t behave that way, and if it was theoretically possible to get them to, you would have to kill a lot of them in order to do it. Forget it, it’s not possible. Just not possible.

    I could go on like this all night, write you a 300 page story about my journey these last 3 years since I first endeavored to “dive in” to the climate debate. It isn’t pretty and there is plenty of blame to go around.

    If Dr. Hansen, to single out one person, is going to continue to advocate that we can still stay under 2*C if we only do this and that, somebody needs to challenge him to (a) reconcile that with his previous statements and (b) explain how it is remotely feasible to accomplish what he proposes.

    How many more years can he keep saying “There’s still time left, but not much?”

    My honest belief, based on the science itself, is that the above statement has been a lie for several years.

    And so: Mitigation and adaptation, and an investment in a whole generation of new ideas to replace the really lousy ideas we are stuck with at present.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 27 Jan 2010 @ 9:54 PM

  699. re the opinions about wheat and it’s relation to petroleum and climate change, remember that modern grains require intensive management and certain ecology:

    “Farming is the process of ripping that niche open again and again. It is an annual artificial catastrophe, and it requires the equivalent of three or four tons of TNT per acre for a modern American farm. Iowa’s fields require the energy of 4,000 Nagasaki bombs every year. (….) And much of the energy is simply wasted, a trail of dollars billowing from the burglar’s satchel. (….) On average, it takes 5.5 gallons of fossil energy to restore a year’s worth of lost fertility to an acre of eroded land. (….) In 1940 the average farm in the United States produced 2.3 calories of food energy for every calorie of fossil energy it used. By 1974 (the last year in which anyone looked closely at this issue), that ratio was 1:1. And this understates the problem, because at the same time that there is more oil in our food, there is less oil in our oil. A couple of generations ago we spent a lot less energy drilling, pumping, and distributing than we do now. In the 1940s we got about 100 barrels of oil back for every barrel of oil we spent getting it. Today each barrel invested in the process returns only ten”

    This is old “news”, but evidently some here haven’t heard it: The conservation of energy is not an option, it is a fact [as PDF

    Comment by flxible — 27 Jan 2010 @ 10:12 PM

  700. Re my post of 25 January

    I revisited the data and found that I used southern hemisphere temperature data rather than global. There is also a collinearity problem with the variable CO2 and CO2 squared which I have sorted using a linear transform. To recant and represent:

    Using data for 1958-2008 for temp, CO2, sunspots and vulcanism, global temperature is increasing with increasing CO2, and at an accelerating rate. The recent apparent cooling trend (since 1998) is within the underlying random variation in global temperatures (what I started off looking at).

    The data if anyone is interested:

    CO2 0.0086 (p=0.000) [An increase of 100 ppm is equivalent to 0.9 degree temp rise and with this increase expected in 70 years]
    CO2 squared 0.0000689 (p=0.046)
    sunspots 0.000721 (p=0.009)
    Volcanic activity -0.0046 (p=0.165)

    The 70 years is based on current trends, includes current heat sinks which presumably have limits and does not include anticipation of state changes etc. so it is probably an underestimate. Not sure how this all fits in with people’s hobbyhorses.

    cheers

    John

    PS I am not sure of other people, but I have developed a mistrust of the environmental lobby due to ongoing exaggeration, misrepresentation and catastrophic claims so I don’t accept any claims on face value anymore.

    PPS comments about f tests, AIC are understood

    Comment by John Storer — 27 Jan 2010 @ 10:26 PM

  701. (I will also point out that there are zero historical examples of humans embracing a behavior which is more costly and less efficient than their current behaviors, especially when those behaviors are essential to their lives.)

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 28 Jan 2010 @ 12:10 AM

  702. “That was my point. The article I cited in 682 plausibly supports both of our positions”

    How can it when you assert “That is nonsense.” to my position?

    Were you caught out and now backpeddaling for all your worth to hide it?

    There have been effects that have reduced wheat production.

    They are absolutely known because farmers KNOW how their crops respond to changes in environment and we KNOW from measurements what those changes have been.

    Likewise we KNOW that CO2 has an effect on the climate and that without this effect the climate as it had been would have seen a weather record significantly different in toto to the one seen in the actual records.

    These changes are KNOWN to reduce wheat yields and many other staple crops worldwide.

    Unless the farmers are in on “teh conspirasy” too…

    “You missed the point”

    So what was the point, or did you push that out there to leave the lingering smell of your own superiority out there without the terrible burden of showing it?

    Because your snideness didn’t answer the question: how are farmers going to plant more of it?

    Seems like you’re avoiding the point.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 Jan 2010 @ 6:38 AM

  703. Completely: #690
    “PS why didn’t you stay on subject? 11 years isn’t climate.”

    Completely, you might want to mention that to Dr. Hansen when he compares individual years like 98 and 05. And also when he speaks about the warmest decade on record.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 28 Jan 2010 @ 10:41 AM

  704. #682, Don, I’d sincerely hope farmers are doing all they can to adapt.

    However, this doesn’t reduce the need to mitigate GW one iota. In fact, people, including farmers, who put sincere efforts at reducing their GHG emissions through energy/resource efficiency/conservation and alt energy have found (often to their surprise, as with me) that they are saving money without lowering living standards or productivity.

    For instance 3M’s 3P program — Pollution Prevention Pays. They were able to reduce pollution substantially AND save $millions doing so. The CEO had simply asked all the employees (from engineers to assembly line workers) to look for ways to reduce that wouldn’t cost them too much, so as to meet regs, and when they did, they came up with with all these money-savers. When they CEO asked why they hadn’t come up with the money-savers before, they said it wasn’t put to them that way.

    Then there is DOW’s WRAP – Waste Reduction Always Pays.

    Now these companies are far from squeaky clean, and they could probably find even more environmental money-savers, but if they can do it, why can’t others?

    I suggest everyone in America give it the ole American try, and then we might really be world leaders.

    Let’s not wimp out.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 28 Jan 2010 @ 12:42 PM

  705. Re; 692 Don Shor says:
    “You missed the point. But never mind.”

    Global warming is much more likely to negatively influence food production than some of y’all are letting on with your endless quibbling.

    High temperatures can wipe out cereal and vegetable crops as well as livestock. Droughts are devastating. So are floods. Floods coming after droughts are ruinous. As these sorts of events become more commonplace, who’s going to take a chance on a good year?

    It’s incredible that the US Farm Bureau has come out against action to attenuate climate change.

    “Scientists Request Meeting with American Farm Bureau President to Discuss Group’s ‘Inaccurate’ Stance on Climate Change”
    http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/scientists-letter-to-farm-bureau-0331.html
    January 7, 2010 

    Michigan to Face More Heat Waves, Flooding, and Reduced Crop Yields with Unchecked Climate Change
    http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/michigan-climate-impacts-0273.html
    September 9, 2009
     
    Congress Considering Legislation that Could Help Michigan and the Rest of the Nation Avoid Worst Consequences of Climate Change

    CHICAGO (Sept. 9, 2009) — If the United States does not significantly curb heat-trapping emissions, global warming will seriously damage Michigan’s climate and economy, according to a new peer-reviewed report released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

    http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/impacts/climate-change-midwest.html

    The report found that a combination of clean energy policies—such as those currently under consideration by the U.S. Senate—would help blunt the extent and severity of global warming in Michigan and across the country. 

    “The Midwest climate is already changing. Over the past 50 years, we’ve seen higher average annual temperatures, more frequent downpours, longer growing seasons, and fewer cold snaps,” said Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University and a co-author of the report. “The likely changes documented in this report are sobering. The good news is that we can avoid the worst of them if we substantially cut global warming emissions and start doing it now.”
    […]

    Comment by Tim Jones — 28 Jan 2010 @ 2:44 PM

  706. Taking a lesson from denialists and how some arrive at conclusions I’m able to report that Richard Steckis has conceded the point that ocean acidification is a serious problem. After all, if he had not I’m sure he’d be all gang-busters to set the record straight by now.

    Last week I offered Mr Steckis 2 simple ways he could settle the debate.

    1. “…how about categorizing all forms of sea life as its effected by increasing concentrations of CO2 in the ocean?”

    I made it easier since he’s such a busy guy:

    2. “If he wants to prove he’s right, prove that ocean acidification is a crock, then he could do an _inventory_ of the ocean’s animal and plant taxa by genus and species. He could classify them by degree of impact of CO2 poisoning for various life stages and various carbonic acid concentrations.

    This would settle it.”

    Both non-starters I’m afraid. I guess we are just supposed to take his word for it since he actually once studied and all.

    Richard replied to comment #564 with #604 to dshogaza, writing, “Unlike you, I have a peer-reviewed publication record as both primary and co-author. For your information I was studying toward my Ph.D….

    What a timely subject for a wonderful and informative dissertation, “Ocean Acidification: Nothing to Worry About Here. Move On.”

    But what answer hear we? #603 “When all else fails good old Ray resorts to the Ad-Hom attack. You are so predictable.”

    And so too has Mr Steckis become predictable – hardly interested in adding anything meaningful to the discussion, or defending his grasp of reality but rather more interested in being accusatory and argumentative for its own sake.

    So it is with these denialists, the only time they’re useful is when they go out on a limb with a saw.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 29 Jan 2010 @ 12:55 AM

  707. Pete Best – that was an earthquake that had nothing to do with weather or climate.

    Comment by 4TimesAYear — 29 Jan 2010 @ 1:46 AM

  708. For Jim Hansen and Mark Serreze:

    The riddle is growing. Can’t understand how global land temp is the exact middle of the NH and SH values when land distribution is wholly not equal for what’s below and above the equator (CRUTEMP). Same thing for SST anomalies as published by NOAA:

    November 2009
    NH 0.5330C+
    SH 0.5323C+
    GL 0.5241C+

    A dumb average would be 0.5327C+

    December 2009
    NH 0.5516C+
    SH 0.5448C+
    GL 0.5398C+

    Another dumb average would be 0.5482C+

    I’m sure there a simple explanation (a slap of the forehead one), but the global SST value, albeit something the tip of my nose might not feel, outside the NH and SH SSTs is well, strange the least. The Annual figure is also, hmmm suspect, if one weights the total ocean/sea surface of the two halves on our sphere.

    Comment by Sekerob — 29 Jan 2010 @ 2:56 AM

  709. PS: Of course it could be the wrong data sets were loaded. I’m getting them from here: ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/anomalies/

    Comment by Sekerob — 29 Jan 2010 @ 3:01 AM

  710. “703
    Tilo Reber says:
    28 January 2010 at 10:41 AM

    Completely: #690
    “PS why didn’t you stay on subject? 11 years isn’t climate.”

    Completely, you might want to mention that to Dr. Hansen when he compares individual years like 98 and 05.”

    Hansen doesn’t call them climate.

    So why should I tell him something that he knows and has never countered with a statement to the contrary?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 Jan 2010 @ 8:23 AM

  711. “The riddle is growing. Can’t understand how global land temp is the exact middle of the NH and SH values when land distribution is wholly not equal”

    Here’s why:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemisphere

    Half a sphere.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 Jan 2010 @ 8:24 AM

  712. “701
    Walt Bennett says:
    28 January 2010 at 12:10 AM

    (I will also point out that there are zero historical examples of humans embracing a behavior which is more costly and less efficient than their current behaviors”

    In fact, the use of agribusiness chemicals HAS caused a farming process that is more expensive and less efficient.

    In the northern parts of India and in the forested areas of Zaire the old ways had the farmers being given mechanical harvesters and agribusiness chemicals. The machines broke down and they don’t have the parts, training or money to fix them. The chemicals are sold and the price fixed from foreign needs, not theirs. It also ignored any local knowledge on how to farm.

    But as a change they tried recently to use local knowledge, no chemicals and animal/human power. The yields actually increased.

    Seems like the first years after chemical treatment increased yields greatly but each year you needed more chemicals for the same effect. These farmers were too poor but “had” to use chemicals because they were told that yields would drop even more if they stopped.

    They lost the cost of exporting money they needed to a foreign company and increased yields.

    They don’t have thousand-acre farms to work, so mechanisation to reduce human effort isn’t needed and human effort is cheap and renewable. They tend to fix themselves.

    So your assertion is wrong.

    Not to mention that weaning off fossil fuels is not shown to result in a less efficient or more expensive life or even a reduction in living. In fact, living conditions may increase, much like the clean air acts “cost” some money but saved more in lives and illnesses AND made life better for the people in the cities.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 Jan 2010 @ 8:32 AM

  713. RS: “If a methane pulse is to occur and it will some time in the future, it will not be because of us but will occur through a natural mechanism.”

    Yes, the natural heating of the oceans causing the breakup of the conditional stability of the methane clathrates.

    That heating being the natural result of increasing CO2.

    That increase in CO2 being the natural result of burning trillions of tons of fossil fuels.

    The burning of trillions of tons of fossil fuels being a natural result of us burning them.

    But we don’t naturally burn fossil fuels.

    So the methane clathrates are a result of our unnatural actions.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 Jan 2010 @ 8:38 AM

  714. Tilo Dr. Hansen was responding to bullsh*t, not initiating a topic. As I’m doing now.

    From the GISS press release:

    In total, average global temperatures have increased by about 0.8°C (1.5°F) since 1880.

    “That’s the important number to keep in mind,” said Gavin Schmidt, another GISS climatologist.

    But then, you’ve all this before, haven’t you?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 29 Jan 2010 @ 8:42 AM

  715. Re: #712

    You failed to address mass human behavior, and your last paragraph utterly ignored the intermediate cost factor.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 29 Jan 2010 @ 9:06 AM

  716. I need some answer on this. Received a chain email with photos of ribboned Antarctic icebergs, claiming they formed because 2008 was the coldest year (didn’t specify since when). But I need give some better background picture (like “It was cold in Antarctic that year bec…,” or “It was cold in Antarctic, but it was above normal elsewhere in ____ & ____”)

    Here is the caption:

    STRIPED ICEBERGS

    Icebergs in the Antarctic area sometimes have stripes, formed by
    layers of snow that react to different conditions.

    Blue stripes are often created when a crevice in the ice sheet
    fills up with melt water and freezes so quickly that no bubbles form.

    When an iceberg falls into the sea, a layer of salty seawater can
    freeze to the underside. If this is rich in algae, it can form a
    green stripe.

    Brown, black and yellow lines are caused by sediment, picked up
    when the ice sheet grinds downhill towards the sea.

    These pictures are available because 2008 has been the coldest winter.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 29 Jan 2010 @ 10:03 AM

  717. Steckis says of the proposed mechanism for the onset of the PETM:
    “Interesting that you use the word putative which means supposed. In other words you are saying that it is not the known mechanism for PETM but a theoretical mechanism.”

    Ah, the old “It’s only a theory,” gambit. You sure you haven’t been hanging out over at Answers in Genesis? I suppose the PETM could have been the result of some Martian heat ray and they dumped all that methane into the atmosphere just to throw us off, huh? Thanks, Richard, but I’ll take the best scientific explanation and leave science fiction to you.

    Steckis then says “If a methane pulse is to occur and it will some time in the future, it will not be because of us but will occur through a natural mechanism.”

    Wow, Richard, such certainty. I’m sure you have some dazzling analysis or peer-reviewed research to back it up. Why not share it?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Jan 2010 @ 10:04 AM

  718. CFU 711, you’re such a smart cookie… Lets try again for you: If Australia’s northern 2rds have a 1C anomaly and the southern 1rd has a 0.5C anomaly… how much would the combined anomaly be?

    Comment by Sekerob — 29 Jan 2010 @ 10:08 AM

  719. “and your last paragraph utterly ignored the intermediate cost factor.”

    The immediate cost of what?

    In fact, why do people become millionaires when you can’t spend it in your lifetime?

    It can’t be the immediate benefit.

    In fact all the rhetoric is about how they MUST be allowed to let thier heirs inherit.

    Funny how it’s all about the kids when they’re dead at the time and can’t spend a nickel.

    So if people are worried about what their children inherit, how about the immense cost of not saving now?

    After all, buying a house on a mort gage is a huge IMMEDIATE cost, but in the long term it’s cheaper than renting. And your children inherit a house.

    Or you could go millions in debt and leave your children with crushing debt to deal with.

    You would propose that it’s fine to leave the next generation with a debt because it’s cheaper for you to live a deficit life.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 Jan 2010 @ 10:28 AM

  720. RE #706, the mid-summer heat would be enough (even without the floods and droughts — which would be the final nails in the crop coffins) to pretty much do in Midwestern agriculture once GW really starts kicking in (even just with what’s in the pipes — the 2.4 C warming see Ramanathan & Feng, 2008 below)

    This is just a small scenario of what might happen. I’m in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, latitude 26.3 N. There are 2 planting seasons — in the Sept/Oct and in late Jan-Feb-Mar. It’s just too hot for things to grow (or grow well) in summer; the goal is just to keep the plants alive with irrigation water. And there isn’t as much sun in the winter (and the temps do get down a bit), so things don’t grow well in winter either; the goal is just to keep them alive. This year it was disaster with a few freezing days due to this strongly negative Arctic oscillation anomaly; pretty much did in our newly planted vegetable garden, except for the spinach (luckily my husband kept some potted plantlings in the garage and planted them a couple of weeks ago, so we’ll see).

    Imagine up North in the Midwest once the warming (heating) really kicks in by around 2050, where there is even less sun in winter, and longer days in summer with the heat and sun mid-summer wreaking havoc on the hottest days. I guess farmers could get some massive umbrella-tarps and draw out even more water from the Ogallala aquifer to keep a fine mist on the crops…that would be an adaption to GW.
    _________
    Ramanathan, V., and Y. Feng. 2008. “On Avoiding Dangerous Anthropogenic Interference with the Climate System: Formidable Challenges Ahead.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105.38: 14245-14250. http://www.pnas.org/content/105/38/14245.full

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 29 Jan 2010 @ 10:30 AM

  721. Walt Bennett,
    I understand that you are eager to get on with the risk mitigation phase of the climate crisis. I agree that it is well past time for that. However, there are still 3 important obstacles to effective risk mitigation for climate. The first is that any mitigation strategy must be based on the science as best we understand it–and there is still a large number of people who do not understand the science and so reject it.

    The second obstacle is more fundamental: We cannot mitigate until we can bound the risk at some reasonable confidence level. However, the risk escalates extremely rapidly with increasing temperature, and the temperature increase we can expect depends on a lot of things we do not know–
    1)a usable upper bound for climate sensitivity (the current bound of the 90% confidence interval of 4.5 degrees per doubling gives pretty severe consequences for even 3x preindustrial CO2)
    2)how much CO2 we will emit in the future (current known reserves of major fossil fuel sources could take us well over 1000 ppmv)
    3)possible tipping points that would release large amounts of ghgs

    The third problem is that mechanisms proposed for mitigation are precisely those areas of climate where we have the least understanding. This makes it extremely difficult to validate their effectiveness and to anticipate and mitigate undesirable side effects (e.g. increased ocean acidification).

    Since we cannot at present bound the risk, the only responsible risk mitigation strategy is risk avoidance–and that means limiting CO2 emissions to the extent possible while we work to bound risk better and develop and validate effective mitigations.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Jan 2010 @ 10:48 AM

  722. Re #716

    Lynn the photos are genuine and are all over the web, they have nothing to do with 2008 being a cold winter however. They have been accompanied in emails with images purporting to show waves freezing instantly in mid air which has been debunked in many places!
    See here for example: http://www.inhabitots.com/2009/10/10/behold-natures-art-striped-icebergs-and-frozen-waves-of-antarctica/

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 29 Jan 2010 @ 11:33 AM

  723. Lynn – might point out that those icebergs weren’t created in one year [although the e-mail originated in spring ’08, but are the result of multiyear processes, nor are oddly colored ones unique to 2008 or “the coldest winter” colored bergs

    Comment by flxible — 29 Jan 2010 @ 11:54 AM

  724. Lynn, you might want to counter that nonsense by mentioning a) how it takes hundreds, even thousands of years for glacial ice or floating ice shelves to form, and b) that Antarctica (and Greenland) is losing huge ice shelves due to catastrophic collapse from warming temperatures.

    Those ice shelves were often thousands of years old. That’s how long it will take to replace them, too.

    Comment by Didactylos — 29 Jan 2010 @ 11:59 AM

  725. Re: 707
    4TimesAYear says:
    29 January 2010
    Pete Best – that was an earthquake that had nothing to do with weather or climate.

    Not so fast…

    Fire and Ice: Melting Glaciers Trigger Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Volcanos
    http://environment.about.com/od/globalwarming/a/earthquakes.htm
    Geologists Say Global Warming Expected to Cause Many New Seismic Events
    By Larry West,

    Melting Ice Sheets Can Cause Earthquakes, Study Finds
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/03/080314-warming-quakes.html
    Mason Inman
    for National Geographic News
    March 14, 2008

    Climate change could cause earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, scientists say
    http://www.climateemergency.org/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=44&Itemid=110
    Canadian Press
    By: DENNIS BUECKERT
    July 4, 2006

    Comment by Tim Jones — 29 Jan 2010 @ 12:04 PM

  726. Re: 716 Lynn Vincentnathan says:
    29 January 2010
    I need some answer on this. Received a chain email with photos of ribboned Antarctic icebergs…”

    Fascinating. The images depict different things that happen to icebergs.

    I was on the Antarctic Peninsula in January 2009 and saw nothing
    like these incredibly beautiful images.

    See:
    http://www.polarconservation.org/news/pco-news-articles/iceberg-in-rainbow-colours
    &
    http://www.snopes.com/photos/natural/stripedicebergs.asp#photo2
    &
    http://www.francescjosep.net/tag/curiosa/
    &
    http://www.inhabitots.com/2009/10/10/behold-natures-art-striped-icebergs-and-frozen-waves-of-antarctica/
    &
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1582098/Rainbow-iceberg-in-the-Antarctic.html
    &
    http://trance.nu/v4/forum/viewtopic.php?t=151899

    image:
    http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/03_03/Berg2BAR1703_800x545.jpg
    from:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-536928/Revealed-The-Antarctic-iceberg-looks-like-giant-humbug.html

    Commentary:
    http://www.hoax-slayer.com/striped-icebergs.shtml

    Comment by Tim Jones — 29 Jan 2010 @ 12:07 PM

  727. 716: Interesting, Lynn. That picture is on snopes.com, but it doesn’t have anything to do with “the coldest winter.” They’d probably be interested in this mutation of the email.

    Comment by Don Shor — 29 Jan 2010 @ 12:34 PM

  728. Richard Steckis says: 27 January 2010 at 8:53 PM

    “If a methane pulse is to occur and it will some time in the future, it will not be because of us but will occur through a natural mechanism.”

    Just because. Bank on it.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 29 Jan 2010 @ 12:35 PM

  729. Lynn #716, scroll down to “Global highlights” at
    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2008/20080313_coolest.html

    Comment by CM — 29 Jan 2010 @ 12:52 PM

  730. > zero historical examples of humans embracing a behavior which is more
    > costly and less efficient than their current behaviors, especially when
    > those behaviors are essential to their lives

    Your education omitted altruism?

    Ever heard of Leningrad?

    “During the terrible starvation of the siege …. One of his assistants even died of starvation … surrounded by 200,000 types of plant seed, most of them edible. …”
    http://www.inyourpocket.com/russia/st-petersburg/The-Siege-of-Leningrad-70962f?more=1

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Jan 2010 @ 12:57 PM

  731. Re: #716

    I’m sure you would agree that it makes sense that when an ice sheet breaks up it forms more icebergs. Therefore, one stage of warming in the Antarctic is just such an effect: Ice sheets shatter, creating many icebergs.

    I’m sure you’ll find that to be the actual explanation. Coastal regions of the Antarctic are among the fastest warming on the planet.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 29 Jan 2010 @ 1:33 PM

  732. re #715 and you’ve merely stated that mass human behaviour is the way you say it is.

    If it were true, please explain Live Aid and the more recent work in Haiti.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 Jan 2010 @ 1:35 PM

  733. @Lynn #716 – Are these the photographs?
    http://www.snopes.com/photos/natural/antarcticwave.asp
    If so, they were taken in 2002. I’ve read there is an email doing the rounds again along the lines you’ve quoted.

    Regarding the temperature in Antarctica – I don’t know if 2008 was an especially cold year down there or not. You can check the following link for some Australian stations:

    http://www.bom.gov.au/weather/ant/

    Comment by Sou — 29 Jan 2010 @ 2:26 PM

  734. @Lynn Vincentnathan”
    http://www.snopes.com/photos/natural/stripedicebergs.asp
    Flagged as true. The article is verbatim, except without the last line in bold.It is an actual natural phenomenon, but is not evidence related to a colder than average winter.
    The snopes article links to this research site with more breath-taking photos and interesting facts. http://www.aad.gov.au/default.asp?casid=37157

    Comment by Smitty — 29 Jan 2010 @ 2:45 PM

  735. > STRIPED ICEBERGS …
    > Received a chain email …

    http://www.snopes.com/photos/natural/antarcticwave.asp

    Snopes has the explanation of the pictures, description of the false claims attached to them in the hoax chain email, and a link to the origina images.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Jan 2010 @ 3:00 PM

  736. > STRIPED ICEBERGS
    Here’s how I looked that up:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=Brown%2C+black+and+yellow+lines+are+caused+by+sediment%2C+picked+up+when+the+ice+sheet+grinds+downhill+towards+the+sea.++These+pictures+are+available+because+2008+has+been+the+coldest+winter

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Jan 2010 @ 3:02 PM

  737. What’s the question, Lynn? The causation claimed seems like a total non sequitur. (Icebergs form all the time, after all, not just in 2008. And how do we “know” when these bergs calved, anyway?)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 29 Jan 2010 @ 4:22 PM

  738. Looks as if Tilo R has moved his musings on Hansen’s paper to WUWT, where the level of adulation for him probably exceeds that here. (Haven’t read his article or the comments it’s elicited, just guessing!)

    Comment by Sou — 29 Jan 2010 @ 11:06 PM

  739. Good update on Pine Island in a recent topic at AccuWeather:
    http://global-warming.accuweather.com/2010/01/whats_the_deal_with_antarctica_1.html
    (usual septic comments of course)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Jan 2010 @ 12:01 AM

  740. Thanks to you all re the striped icebergs. Before responses came in (I needed to nip it in the bud), I wrote my friend:

    Those are beautiful photos. However the message may have been a bit misleading to laypersons who don’t know about climate science…

    I checked to see if the Antarctic had indeed been “the coldest” in 2008, and since when. I know that climate scientists predicted some parts of the Antarctic to get a bit colder during this early phase in global warming, while other parts were predicted to get warmer, and while other parts of the world were predicted to get a lot warmer, for an average warming. So the 2008 map does show some parts of the Antarctic cooler than the 1950-1980 baseline average, while other parts warmer; and also the newly released 2009 map shows nearly all parts warmer (as I had been hearing, but had not seen the maps). Also the last page is for the 2000-2009 decade on the whole, since it is not good just to look at one year (climate, as opposed to weather, is a composite of many statistics). Attached are the maps.

    So while the iceberg photos you sent are truly spectacular, the sender probably should have put that “coldest year” in context, since many people are dying from global warming, especially in the poorest nations, and many more will be dying on into the future, while some people here in the U.S. continue to deny any culpability (just like Adam and the apple story, or Cain re his brother, Abel). I sure hope that wasn’t the underlying message of those striped iceberg photos.

    & I attached a sheet of maps from:
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=36699
    & http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=42392

    After reading your helpful comments, I sent her another email with some of their insights in it.

    I’ve also written to Snopes that this is a meme — the photos are true and beautiful, but the message with some emails (that they are due to 2008 being the coldest) are false. People send them bec they are beautiful, along with the implicit climate denialist message.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 30 Jan 2010 @ 2:18 PM

  741. Re: #721

    Ray,

    Risk-avoidance is a dead letter.

    Surely you realize that.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 30 Jan 2010 @ 7:16 PM

  742. Re: #732

    Examples of people gathering to hear music is supposed to convince me that the mass of humanity will submit to less energy at greater cost?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 30 Jan 2010 @ 7:18 PM

  743. My previous comment was not posted, because the system has detected it as spam message.
    The comment was that you should check the fact about frozen Niagara in 1911 (Figure 1 in the pdf version). This statement about frozen Niagara seems to be incorrect. If you let me post here links to other web sites, I’ll give references to discussion of this problem.
    Niagara Falls stopped in March 1848. However it was related not with anomalously low temperature, but with an ice dam on Lake Eri!

    Comment by Alexei Ivanov — 4 Feb 2010 @ 2:22 AM

  744. http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/get-file.php?report=national&image=timeseries02&byear=2009&bmonth=10&year=2009&month=10&ext=gif&id=110-00

    As a non-climate scientist, I’m still intrigued by datasets/graphs like this one. I believe that the data for Nov and Dec show the same ‘up and down’ temperatures over a century or so? Thanks for any help ?

    Comment by Bill — 5 Feb 2010 @ 1:17 PM

  745. “I believe that the data for Nov and Dec show the same ‘up and down’ temperatures over a century or so?”

    Yes, because we still have weather, Bill.

    What? Did you expect the line to straighten out like pulling on a wrinkled sheet or something???

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Feb 2010 @ 1:35 PM

  746. re Walt: Of course I don’t expect YOU to believe that. Because you hate other people if they get in your way and to justify it you project that onto everyone else so that it’s “everybody else does it, so why not me?”-justified.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Feb 2010 @ 1:37 PM

  747. Walt says, “Risk-avoidance is a dead letter.”

    In saying this, you are saying that we cannot carry out proper risk management strategy. And since risk avoidance is the only viable strategy at this point, you are in effect saying nothing can be done. I do not accept this.

    At the very least, we have to reduce consumption to buy time for coming up with geoengineering and other risk reductions strategies.

    Or perhaps if you know of any viable strategies, you could share them.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Feb 2010 @ 2:04 PM

  748. Bill (744), keep in mind that the contiguous US only accounts for about 1.5% of the global surface area and the warming isn’t distributed evenly around the planet. Perhaps this chart from the same site you linked too will help:

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/global-jan-dec-error-bar-pg.gif

    Comment by Ken W — 5 Feb 2010 @ 2:29 PM

  749. Thanks for the explanation, thats clearer for me. Can I conclude that the contiguous USA has not warmed on average,over the last 100+ years, but the ocean has ?

    Comment by Bill — 5 Feb 2010 @ 2:59 PM

  750. Paul Klemencic (183): Yes, indeed: Last month was the hottest January globally in 30 years of UAH satellite measurements: http://bit.ly/HotJan. Anomaly +0.72 C

    Comment by Kees van der Leun — 5 Feb 2010 @ 4:44 PM

  751. Hank (739), thanks for your accuweather link concerning the Pine Island Glacier. I have been surprised that there has been no comment about the brief report on the PIG in the January 22nd issue of Science. This is not a paper, but a news report from the AGU meeting. As I read it, the PIG has detatched from its submerged grounding line ridge. That would seem to be serious, since there is a 250 km basin behind the ridge, which is now receiving warmer water. The link is here:

    http://ksjtracker.mit.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/AGU-2009-briefs-Kerr2.pdf

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 5 Feb 2010 @ 5:43 PM

  752. Polar ice study results coming, read some reports and watch for the conclusions

    Comment by flxible — 6 Feb 2010 @ 12:38 PM

  753. CFU@745 “What? Did you expect the line to straighten out like pulling on a wrinkled sheet or something???”
    actually if you look at the graph of US temperature [not anomolies] Bill linked, it does exactly straighten out when “pulled on”, with the long term mean dead flat – your response isn’t very helpful to his request for understanding – nor is Ken’s I think, judging by Bills response to that – makes me curious too, just how that 110 year record of [October?] yearly temps relates to the “big picture”

    Comment by flxible — 6 Feb 2010 @ 12:50 PM

  754. Bill (749) wrote:
    “Can I conclude that the contiguous USA has not warmed on average,over the last 100+ years, but the ocean has?”

    Here’s a good analysis at a laymans level:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-stopped-in-1998.htm

    Comment by Ken W — 8 Feb 2010 @ 11:10 AM

  755. Bill says: 5 February 2010 at 2:59 PM

    “Thanks for the explanation, thats clearer for me. Can I conclude that the contiguous USA has not warmed on average,over the last 100+ years, but the ocean has?”

    No, not really, but you can conclude that we’re borrowing time from the ocean but just like Citibank it’s not going to be infinitely patient when it comes to payback. Eventually the word will come back “Transaction declined.” Expect reminder notices first.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 8 Feb 2010 @ 1:13 PM

  756. Bill : “Can I conclude that the contiguous USA has not warmed on average,over the last 100+ years, but the ocean has ?”

    You can conclude that the globe has, Bill.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Feb 2010 @ 1:23 PM

  757. A denier/skeptic asked me WHY 1934 was so warm? After perusing this forum and US meteorological sites I am still unable to explain why. Would someone fill me in please, mark

    Comment by mark conley — 8 Feb 2010 @ 6:41 PM

  758. > 751
    Thank you Ron Taylor.

    Yeek! That link points to a page from the “Newsfocus” of
    http://www.sciencemag.org SCIENCE VOL 327, 22 JANUARY 2010 reporting a presentation at the recent AGU on work done a year ago. Was this reported elsewhere earlier?

    —excerpt follows—

    “… An unmanned autonomous submarine has discovered a sea-floor ridge that may have been the last hope for stopping the now-accelerating retreat of the Pine Island Glacier, a crumbling keystone of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The ridge appears to have once protected the glacier, but no more. The submarine found the glacier floating well off the ridge and warmer, ice-melting water passing over the ridge and farther under the ice. And no survey, underwater or airborne, has found another such glacier-preserving obstacle for the next 250 kilometers landward….
    … At the meeting, glaciologist Adrian Jenkins of the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge and colleagues described how the instrument-laden Autosub3 cruised for 94 hours along 510 kilometers of track beneath the floating portion of the Pine Island Glacier in January 2009. The sub found a 300-meter-high ridge across the ocean cavity formed by the floating end of the glacier. Deep, warmer water was overtopping the ridge and passing through the gap between floating ice and the ridge top on its way to melting back more of the glacier. That gap has been growing, Jenkins said, perhaps since the 1970s. An aerial photograph from 1973 shows a bump in the ice where the ridge is now known to be, suggesting that the ice was then resting on the ridge and no warmer water could have been getting through….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Feb 2010 @ 7:32 PM

  759. I just ran a linear regression of continental USA (NASA GISS) temperature anomalies for 1880-2008. The regression equation was:

    Anom = -10.2973 + 0.005332 Year

    with R^2 = 18%. The coefficient on the Year term was significant (t = 5.21) at well beyond the 99.9% confidence level.

    So it bleeding well HAS warmed, and significantly. Not as fast as the rest of the globe, but the trend is UP. Real, significant, and up.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Feb 2010 @ 6:04 PM

  760. For the benefit of us ‘non-experts’ is that the same as using : ‘Data used to calculate Contiguous United States mean temperatures are from the USHCN version 2 data set’.? Thanks

    Comment by Bill — 10 Feb 2010 @ 11:27 AM

  761. Bill, it’s the same as “any complex and varying picture will over small areas suitably selected, show whatever conclusion you’d like to see.

    Why ask about US only temperatures? Are you going to end up saying “well, it doesn’t matter if the world burns up, God is protecting the US!”?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Feb 2010 @ 12:22 PM

  762. mark conley says: 8 February 2010 at 6:41 PM

    “A denier/skeptic asked me WHY 1934 was so warm? ”

    That’s an old one. 1934 is the warmest year on record in the contiguous United States, comprising some 2% of the globe.

    The answer is variability, as always. But the audience for that infection is not supposed to think about context, they’re supposed to go away thinking only “wow, 1934 was the warmest year” with no further understanding. Getting stuck on “why” is key to making sure the infection is planted in the mind of the audience.

    See here for more details of how this misunderstanding was created:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/08/1934-and-all-that/

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/1934-hottest-year-on-record.htm

    [Response: Yes, yes…. but. It is still an interesting question. What controls annual temperature in the US? ENSO? amount of winter snowpack? soil moisture anomalies? It doesn’t have to be a climate driver, but maybe there are particular things that helped make a randomly warm year into a scorcher – what was the state of the dust bowl? (and the answer is not Oklahoma), what were black carbon emissions like? (the peak in the greenland ice cores is around this time) , what about the North Pacific SST? etc. Maybe someone can go back and see what they thought at the time? – gavin]

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Feb 2010 @ 2:14 PM

  763. Re: #747

    Ray,

    You wrote “I do not accept this.”

    I understand. It’s not easy to accept.

    However, if we are honest we don’t simply follow the science to happy places, we follow the science where it leads. An honest appraisal of what we know about climate science today is that the ice sheets will destabilize, and that process is likely already underway.

    Thus, we cannot avoid the “risk” of higher sea levels. We should, if we’re honest, accept that “risk” as “highly likely to be unavoidable.”

    All I can say is, we have to separate emotion from rationality.

    Now, as to your concept of slowing things down to buy time, that brings us back around to the other unavoidable truth, and this will also address CFU, who chose not to deal with the reality of my observation about mass behavior:

    There are zero examples in human history of mass voluntary change to a less efficient, more expensive behavior,

    [Response: Not true. What about the switch from leaded petrol? seatbelts? breast milk to bottle in the 1970s (admittedly not a good idea), deli coffee to Starbucks in the 1990s? – gavin]

    and certainly the odds of getting that change out of humanity when it deals with such a vital aspect of behavior: Access to energy, must be even worse.

    We can talk about war rationing, except we have utterly failed to frame AGW in such a “win or lose” manner, and I’m sure we will never succeed at trying to.

    The steady dripdripdrip of CO2 increases, which is at the heart of it all, is too obscure to react to. That’s just the fact of it.

    So combine those two things: 1) we are past the tipping point for destabilization and headed the wrong way; 2) mass human behavior change with regard to energy consumption is not subject to immediate change, and we are where we are.

    That’s just the way of it.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 10 Feb 2010 @ 2:45 PM

  764. “What controls annual temperature in the US? ENSO? amount of winter snowpack? soil moisture anomalies? It doesn’t have to be a climate driver, but maybe there are particular things that helped make a randomly warm year into a scorcher – what was the state of the dust bowl? (and the answer is not Oklahoma), what were black carbon emissions like? (the peak in the greenland ice cores is around this time) , what about the North Pacific SST? etc. Maybe someone can go back and see what they thought at the time? – gavin]”

    Fair enough and here’s a cool paper speaking mostly to drought but with some very interesting paleo and model insights:

    http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/div/ocp/pub/cook/Cook_etal_2007.pdf

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Feb 2010 @ 4:41 PM

  765. Hank (758), thanks for picking up on the Pine Island Glacier report. I tried to draw attention to it on another thread, but failed. The apparent loss of the grounding ridge would seem to have enormous implications for the future of West Antarctica. Its “weak underbelly” seems to be collapsing. It would explain the 4x acceleration of the glacier in the past few years.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 10 Feb 2010 @ 4:55 PM

  766. Re: 762

    There was a dramatic reduction (~30%) in sulfur dioxide output from 1930-1932 in the US associated with the reduction of coal use at the beginning Great Depression. http://capita.wustl.edu/CAPITA/CapitaReports/GlobSEmissions/GlobS1850_1990.htm

    Comment by Harold Brooks — 10 Feb 2010 @ 8:53 PM

  767. Re: #763

    Gavin,

    The threshold we would have to be looking for in those examples would have to come somewhere close to what is being asked of humanity today. Seitching to unleaded added a few cents a gallon and you only had to do it on newer cars. You could keep your old care and burn leaded. Same with seatbelts. Manufacturers installed them when ordered to, and it was not a very big deal to ask car riders to use them. Certainly it was not “more expense for less efficiency”; in fact, the numbers supported that it was an easy way to make your ride safer.

    I’m sure that you and I basically agree on the enormity of the task, and I say again there is no example on record of humans behaving in such a way.

    Other than in times of war.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 10 Feb 2010 @ 10:24 PM

  768. > somewhere close to what is being asked

    There’s what you’re afraid of, Walt? That something’s being asked that will cost us here and now in the short run and benefit someone else later, eh?

    What’s being asked is that we make the change to _not_wasting_resources_.
    Simple as that. What’s new is that we can actually be aware of our impacts and the wasteful result of “business as usual” — and the benefits of acting smarter.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Feb 2010 @ 11:43 PM

  769. It does not seem unreasonable to say that the recent surge of activity in the doubter camp as set newspaper coverage of climate change back a fair distance.

    Take this article about “snowpocalypse” in the NY Times:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/science/earth/11climate.html?hp

    All of a sudden there’s a resurgence of tit-for-tat as reporters feel compelled to press their thumbs on the uncalibrated scale of “balance”.

    As Ray and others say, the facts don’t care. Unfortunately by extending all this dithering we’ll be manufacturing even more facts than we want or need.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 11 Feb 2010 @ 1:42 AM

  770. Re: #768

    Hank,

    When you use words such as “afraid” I understand that you aren’t paying any attention at all to what I’m saying nor to climate reality.

    If we believe what we’ve been told, we are past the tipping point for ice sheet destabilization. As evidenced by the last 20 years of efforts to get humans to care about this and make difficult, expensive, radical changes in their relationship with energy, we are going to continue to do those things, for the foreseeable future.

    I could easily turn your question around: What makes you (and so many others) afraid to face these bare, irrefutable facts?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 11 Feb 2010 @ 9:16 AM

  771. “When you use words such as “afraid” I understand that you aren’t paying any attention at all to what I’m saying nor to climate reality.”

    If you think what you’ve been saying is climate reality, it seems like YOU aren’t paying any attention to what you’re saying either.

    “I could easily turn your question around: What makes you (and so many others) afraid to face these bare, irrefutable facts?”

    you’d have to come up with some irrefutable facts and where they’ve been ignored first.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Feb 2010 @ 9:27 AM

  772. Walt, the committed warming now much less than it will become if we go on with business as usual.

    You still have time to stop indulging yourself before you make thing much worse for your grandchildren.

    Don’t you understand what you’re throwing away?

    Time. The time to adapt. You’re pushing the rate of change faster and faster and that’s always something you can stop doing.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Feb 2010 @ 10:35 AM

  773. Walt asks:”As evidenced by the last 20 years of efforts to get humans to care about this and make difficult, expensive, radical changes in their relationship with energy, we are going to continue to do those things, for the foreseeable future.

    I could easily turn your question around: What makes you (and so many others) afraid to face these bare, irrefutable facts?”

    Trying to get people to make these changes requires something I like to call leadership. You are right to point out that we have not seen much of this in the past 20 years (and hence have reason to “fear” more of the same), that is no reason to give up. The consequences are too severe.

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 11 Feb 2010 @ 10:42 AM

  774. For anyone new to the subject, here’s the key information–this is the point people focused on their own immediate comfort don’t want to think about.

    We know the end point depends on the total carbon burned.

    Above, you see the leap from denial-one (nothing we do could cause a problem so we can keep burning carbon) to denial-two (it’s certainly too late for anything we do to make a difference so we can go on as we were) — the mark of greed is the people who can do this with no intervening period of concern or responsibility for the result.

    What they ignore is the rate of change, which they can still push faster and faster by continuing to burn carbon carelessly.

    You can find this explained many places. Here’s one:

    https://regtransfers-sth-se.diino.com/download/f.thompson/migrated_data/EandH/nature08019.pdf

    —-excerpt—-

    LETTERS
    Warming caused by cumulative carbon emissions
    towards the trillionth tonne
    Myles R. Allen, David J. Frame1,, Chris Huntingford, Chris D. Jones, Jason A. Lowe, Malte Meinshausen, & Nicolai Meinshausen

    Global efforts to mitigate climate change are guided by projections
    of future temperatures(1). But the eventual equilibrium global mean
    temperature associated with a given stabilization level of atmo-
    spheric greenhouse gas concentrations remains uncertain(1–3),
    complicating the setting of stabilization targets to avoid poten-
    tially dangerous levels of global warming(4–8). Similar problems
    apply to the carbon cycle: observations currently provide only a
    weak constraint on the response to future emissions(9–11). Here we
    use ensemble simulations of simple climate-carbon-cycle models
    constrained by observations and projections from more compre-
    hensive models to simulate the temperature response to a broad
    range of carbon dioxide emission pathways. We find that the peak
    warming caused by a given cumulative carbon dioxide emission is
    better constrained than the warming response to a stabilization
    scenario. Furthermore, the relationship between cumulative
    emissions and peak warming is remarkably insensitive to the emis-
    sion pathway (timing of emissions or peak emission rate). Hence
    policy targets based on limiting cumulative emissions of carbon
    dioxide are likely to be more robust to scientific uncertainty
    than emission-rate or concentration targets….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Feb 2010 @ 11:24 AM

  775. Walt, do you hear more and louder screaming from a toddler being towed away from the shiny they’re currently interested in, or when they’re not interested in the shiny?

    AGW denialists are toddlers screaming about their toys. As long as it looks like screaming will get them their toys back, they’ll do it. And giving in just makes them more determined to scream louder next time.

    And, if you wish, take into account the hack of the CRU emails. Since then you would EXPECT more noise and, since people often let others do the thinking for them, and the theft IS news after all, you would expect some fence-sitters to move away.

    So how significant is the change seen?

    Could it be explained with the media push to throw a controversy out there?

    It’s not unlikely, is it.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Feb 2010 @ 11:56 AM

  776. Walt Bennett,
    A very relevant example of a voluntary switch in behavior:
    http://www.lbl.gov/publicinfo/newscenter/features/2008/EETD-alaska.html

    I’d call savings of 40% in a little over a month pretty significant.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Feb 2010 @ 1:24 PM

  777. Re: #772

    Hank,

    Listen to yourself. You keep talking as though it will make any difference.

    Do you really think the problem is that we haven’t talked about it enough yet?

    You, or somebody, is going to have to come up with a way that humanity can change mass behavior in ways that they never have before.

    I submit to you that you have yet to do that. You keep engaging in these zero sum assertions that the other side simply ignores.

    What’s your next move?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 11 Feb 2010 @ 1:26 PM

  778. Re: #773

    t.p.,

    There is no doubt that reason, logic and morality lie on the side of those who want to slow GHG emissions. My point is, So what? Who’s listening? Who’s making changes? Who is even slowing down the growth in their emissions?

    For all of China’s efforts, and they are quickly becoming world leaders, they will still emit more GHGs each year than the year before for the foreseeable future, as will almost every industrialized nation, barring things like massive economic contraction.

    Yes, alternatives are coming online. Probably in 20 or 30 years we will be much less dependent on fossil fuels.

    The question before us would seem to be: How can we make rapid, radical changes so as to avert loss of ice mass leading to higher sea levels? In other words, how much effort, expense and change, how soon?

    Give me a straight answer.

    It’s impossible.

    If we are to believe the science, it’s probably already too late, but just in case it’s not, we really have to make massive changes now.

    Well, look around you.

    I could rest my case right there.

    So either we start admitting what inning we’re in, or else this is all just wasted time while the changes go right on happening.

    People are so confused. Trying to make something out of all this snow, other than the obvious: Warmer and moister air has a lot more energy, as we’ve been saying for years. These storms are in fact capable of being due to global warming, and it’s not even difficult to grasp.

    And yet people are confused. In 2010. Four years after AIT. 22 years after Hansen Goes To Congress.

    You get my ten foot snowdrift, pal?

    It’s over. They won.

    What’s the new plan?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 11 Feb 2010 @ 1:32 PM

  779. Re: #774

    Hank,

    What you call a “leap” brings to mind a very short trip.

    Nothing could be less true.

    These two forces have been battling it out for decades, and the fact is that from a policy standpoint they have forced a stalemate, and as we all know, that means the BAU scenario did in fact unfold, well past the year 2000, and likely will for a few more decades.

    Please slow down and think about what you write, and it would behoove you to spend a little more time thinking about where we are and how we got here.

    Your dismissiveness courts humiliation, and I say that to you only as a proxy for the much larger group of those who continue to deny reality.

    Warmers, in many ways, have become the deniers.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 11 Feb 2010 @ 1:39 PM

  780. Re: #775

    CFU,

    There is so much blame to go around, isn’t there? The media, for sure, paid lobbyists, for sure, heads of oil companies and coal companies and so forth, people who are too lazy to learn and instead rely on biased sources of information…

    Interesting discussion. It all comes down to…mud.

    We’re good at creating mud. Then we like to wallow in it.

    Call deniers toddlers if you like. Warmers are not necessarily more mature, nor more honest. When scientists get sucked into policy debates, the whole discussion quickly turns to mud.

    Lots and lots of mud.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 11 Feb 2010 @ 1:42 PM

  781. Re: #776

    Ray,

    I agree that innovation can take place on certain scales, especially under specific conditions.

    So, one plan would be to blow up all the generating plants and then insist that they be replaced by cleaner sources.

    As I said, if we turned this into a war, there would be a chance to make quick, massive changes.

    My point, as I’m sure you’ll agree, is that talking about it has gotten us nowhere, and there is no way to honestly assert, anymore, that we can hold things down to what the scientists say we must.

    There’s just no way.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 11 Feb 2010 @ 1:45 PM

  782. Walt Bennett said: “Call deniers toddlers if you like. Warmers are not necessarily more mature, nor more honest. When scientists get sucked into policy debates, the whole discussion quickly turns to mud.”

    Walt, that is nihilism. There are people who are right on the facts, and there are people who are wrong on the facts, whether through ignorance or willfull misrepresentation. The two groups are in no way equivalent.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 11 Feb 2010 @ 2:13 PM

  783. Re; #781

    Ron,

    If you believe that, and I’m sure you do, then you are naive.

    And you drink Kool-Aid as much as the deniers do.

    Both camps have a ton of dirty laundry. At this minute you are being lied to as much by the “solutions” camp as you are by the denier camp.

    I hope you learn to understand that.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 11 Feb 2010 @ 3:07 PM

  784. Sorry Walt, but I think you are nuts. I believe what I said. At age 72, and having worked and lived in a number of different cultures, I have seen pretty much everything, so am hardly naive. But I do think there is an inherent level of integrity in the self-correcting nature of the scientific process. Do individual scientists ever lie or make mistakes? Of course. But I have great trust in consistent conclusions from multiple independent lines of evidence that stand up over time. If you can’t bedlieve that, then you can’t believe anything.

    And, by the way, it is easy to demonstrate the egregious lies of the knowledgeable deniers. I have never seen anything of the kind among climate scientists who support AGW.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 11 Feb 2010 @ 4:03 PM

  785. > You keep talking as though it will make any difference.

    Talking, I do in my spare time, between getting things done.

    Nothing any one person can do will make any difference.
    Everything we do makes the difference.
    How do you want it to come out?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Feb 2010 @ 4:20 PM

  786. Ray posts a great link to a great example above of smart behavior choices.

    Brief excerpt follows:

    How do you save electricity in a hurry? One way to do it is to call in Berkeley Lab scientist Alan Meier, who wrote the book Saving Electricity in a Hurry while on leave to the International Energy Agency.

    “… countries can quickly reduce electricity consumption without harming the economy as much as blackouts or unplanned curtailments. The strategies are diverse, unique and often surprisingly cheap. They include mass media campaigns — where a good joke can save a megawatt — improvements in equipment efficiency, and quickly adjusting electricity prices.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Feb 2010 @ 4:25 PM

  787. “Call deniers toddlers if you like.”

    I didn’t need your permission, but thanks anyway.

    ” Warmers are not necessarily more mature, nor more honest.”

    Yes they are. Whether they *necessarily* are I can’t say, but they are more mature and more honest.

    Have a look at monckton’s rants and compare with Michael Mann’s. They’re about the same position within the anti-science and pro-science groups.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Feb 2010 @ 4:33 PM

  788. PS what does all that guff about AIT have to do with anything???

    “Warmers, in many ways, have become the deniers.”

    Well since you haven’t given anything to deny except your unsubstantiated toddler rant, what is there to *be* denied?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Feb 2010 @ 4:35 PM

  789. 781 Walt Bennett wrote: “My point, as I’m sure you’ll agree, is that talking about it has gotten us nowhere, and there is no way to honestly assert, anymore, that we can hold things down to what the scientists say we must.

    There’s just no way.”

    I believe that you’re wrong. I believe we are moving in the right direction and that we will get there. Just to show that I put my money where my mouth is:
    I’ll bet you $100 that by the end of 2015 we’ll have 100GW of installed wind power capacity.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 11 Feb 2010 @ 4:59 PM

  790. Re: #784

    Ron,

    Scientists, for the most part, do honest work.

    Where has their honest work gotten us on AGW? Not too far. People are more confused than ever.

    If you insist that the only reason for that is that deniers lie, then you are oversimplifying and yes, naive.

    The solutions business has always looked for ways to make the most alarmist claims. Politicians do the same. The Left is as interested in your business as the Right is, they just want you for different reasons.

    And they’ll both tell you anything to convince you.

    More equivalency? One wants to radically disrupt society to save the planet, the other wants to leave society alone at the possible expense of the planet.

    Today, in 2010, if you can assure me that one path is more moral than the other, let’s have that discussion.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 11 Feb 2010 @ 5:04 PM

  791. Re: #785

    Hank,

    How I “want it to come out” is irrelevant.

    That’s my point. An open-eyes gaze upon the landscape may be harsh and may be frightening, but I prefer to continuing to lie and deny.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 11 Feb 2010 @ 5:05 PM

  792. Re: #787

    My snark detector went off, please be careful.

    You can pick one denier and one warmer and make your point.

    I can do the same and make mine.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 11 Feb 2010 @ 5:07 PM

  793. Re: #788

    Denialism is rampant in the warmer camp.

    If you follow the narrative from 2006 til today, we’ve missed every target.

    So what do they do? Move the target.

    You’re going to let them keep getting away with that?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 11 Feb 2010 @ 5:08 PM

  794. Walt Bennett says, “So, one plan would be to blow up all the generating plants and then insist that they be replaced by cleaner sources.”

    Well, or you could save a whole lot of C-4 and just raise the price charge per kW-hr. I think that is the difference, Walt. I’m not a bomb-thrower.

    I also think that it’s unlikely we’ll hold CO2 levels down below dangerous levels. However, perhaps we can hold them below catastrophic levels. And perhaps we can buy time by slowing the rate of growth–because right now time is what we need. There are no viable, validated geo-engineering schemes. None. All I’m saying is that since we have none and it will take time to build some–how much, we know not–then maybe it makes sense to quit digging or at least dig a lot more slowly.

    I think the experience in Juneau shows that it’s possible to live just fine on a whole lot less energy. Europe already does it. So does much of Asia. There is a whole lot of low-hanging fruit. By all means let’s look into geo-engineering, but let’s try and buy ourselves time to do so by harvesting that low-hanging fruit and conserving NOW.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Feb 2010 @ 5:44 PM

  795. Re: #794

    Ray,

    I don’t disagree with a word you’re saying, except to note that it’s not happening and it’s not likely to happen.

    So, let’s talk about what’s real.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 11 Feb 2010 @ 6:55 PM

  796. Re: #794

    Ray,

    To elaborate, I fully encourage a migration to cleaner fuels, especially if they can reach a point of being economically consistent with current methods of creating and supplying energy.

    I believe we ought to be inventing a new national electric grid. I believe we ought to provide strong tax incentives for oil companies to become energy companies and invest in future technologies.

    But keep in mind, mistakes have been made. Using corn for ethanol turns out to be a real bad plan. So we need to make sure we don’t incentivize a new approach that actually creates problems of its own.

    Speed is the enemy of thoroughness. If we move too fast we can make matters worse.

    So, it’s tricky.

    And if we jack up the price of oil with no access to a better way to spend the money, all we do in the short term is create intolerable social conditions.

    Speed is the enemy of thoroughness.

    Unfortunately, we are in the late innings of the game, and everybody wants speed. I assure you that we will not change the law: If we go too fast we can really, really mess things up.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 11 Feb 2010 @ 7:17 PM

  797. Delay is the deadliest form of denial.

    David Brin puts it quite well:
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/2/9/835542/-The-Real-Struggle-Behind-Climate-ChangeA-War-on-Expertise

    —excerpt follows—-

    “… all the major recommended actions to deal with Global Climate Change are things we should be doing, anyway.

    That’s the most bizarre aspect. I’d listen patiently to GGC Deniers and strive to answer their endlessly refurbished narratives, if they would only say the following first:

    “Okay, I’ll admit we need more efficiency and sustainability, desperately, in order to regain energy independence, improve productivity, erase the huge leverage of hostile foreign petro-powers, reduce pollution, secure our defense, and ease a vampiric drain on our economy. Waste-not and a-penny-saved and cleanliness-is-next-to-godliness used to be good conservative attitudes. And so, for those reasons alone, let’s join together and make a big (and genuine*) push for efficiency.

    “Oh, and by the way, I don’t believe in Global Climate Change, but these measures would also help deal with that too.

    “There, are you happy? Now, as gentlemen, and more in a spirit of curiosity than polemics, can we please corner some atmospheric scientists and force them into an extended teach-in, to answer some inconvenient questions?”

    When I meet a conservative who says all that (and I have), I am all kisses and flowers. And so will be all the atmospheres guys I know. That kind of statement is logical, patriotic and worthy of respect. It deserves eye-to-eye answers.”

    —–end excerpt——

    Ya know, I wish Brin and the Contributors and other climate and science and science-fiction bloggers would collaborate on a single list somewhere, for people who’d sign up for his program as stated there.

    It’d be real progress.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Feb 2010 @ 8:40 PM

  798. Walt, I read your earlier posts and was surprised at how much I agreed with. Yes, I agree that not much has changed, or is likely to change for the next few years. But when sea level rise really begins to take off, when temperatures resume their rapid climb, when severe weather conditions can no longer be ignored, then the process of change will also take off in an exponential way. It is the old business of being able to fool part of the people all the time and all the people…you know.

    You are assuming that public psychology will remain more or less fixed. I think you are in for a big surprise.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 11 Feb 2010 @ 9:32 PM

  799. For some people, a picture may be more effective than text.

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_2fgn3xZDtkI/S3OxtwJPGPI/AAAAAAAACy0/AgETNf-2F_k/s1600/MillionaireSTRIP(web).jpg

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Feb 2010 @ 10:05 PM

  800. Doable, and affordable:
    http://islandpress.org/bookstore/details.php?prod_id=1992

    Climate 2030
    National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy
    03/01/2010; Publisher: Union of Concerned Scientists
    212 p. 8 x 10; ISBN: 9780938987086

    “… Among the solutions modeled are increased energy efficiency, greater contributions from renewable energy, increased vehicle efficiency, increased investment in research, development and deployment of existing and new low carbon technologies, smart growth incentives and the implementation of an economywide cap-and-trade program.

    The analysis shows that the technologies and policies pursued under the Blueprint produce dramatic changes in energy use and cuts in carbon emissions. It also shows that consumers and businesses reap significant savings on their energy bills, while the economy continues to grow robustly.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Feb 2010 @ 10:11 PM

  801. 792: Walt Bennett: My snark detector is going into overload. You are full of hot air. I challenge you to put your money where your mouth is. I claim that we are making major strides. You claim the opposite. I bet you $100 that by the end of 2015 we will have 100GW of installed wind power capacity. Put up or shut up.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 11 Feb 2010 @ 10:14 PM

  802. Re: #798

    Surprised? I wonder why.

    I get a lot of knee-jerk reactions in here, and I get a lot of people throwing their data at me.

    All while neatly avoiding dealing with the very real issues I bring up.

    I’ms something of a one man show.

    Remember “Twelve Angry Men”? The one holdout looked to the others like a madman, until slowly they came to understand that he saw things they did not see.

    Why is it that I see things that others don’t? Well, one explanation would be that they are dug in and I am not. I have no horse in the race. I started off in 2006 ready to rush to the front lines to save the planet.

    A lot can change in four years. Actually, three. I’m on hold for at least the last year, waiting for the conversation to catch up with me.

    Believe it or not, this latest round is a huge improvement. Perhaps you noticed the same thing while archiving me.

    Your latest assertion is that humanity will spontaneously respond to visual evidence.

    I quite agree.

    What you will find, from all the brightest minds, is that AGW cannot be solved that way. By the time we see visual evidence, the damage is done. That’s why all the urgency to act now, even when it’s still not evident to many people that the need is there. By the time the need is evident, the system will have so much warming momentum that it will finish the job of melting all or most of the ice on the planet, eventually raising sea levels 75+ meters, a devastating outcome.

    So, yes, man will react, only to find out that it’s much too late.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 11 Feb 2010 @ 11:05 PM

  803. Re: #801

    Here’s what I want to know, John:

    By 2015 will humankind be emitting more or less CO2 than it does today, per annum?

    I assert that it will be more, and furthermore, I assert that it will continue to be more for at least another decade beyond that.

    I never said we weren’t developing alternatives. I said we need 20 or 30 years to see a lessening of reliance on fossil fuels.

    As I’m sure you know, that’s where all the action is.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 11 Feb 2010 @ 11:08 PM

  804. “By 2015 will humankind be emitting more or less CO2 than it does today, per annum?”

    What will knowing that prediction do?

    The question to ask is “Should we be emitting more or less CO2 than today in 2015″.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 12 Feb 2010 @ 4:46 AM

  805. Ron: “You are assuming that public psychology will remain more or less fixed. I think you are in for a big surprise.”

    It is, however, a self-fulfilling prophesy. If Walt can ensure that enough people learn the helplessness he says that all peons have, then nothing WILL be done, because the greater cost is borne by the richest and most powerful and the consequences felt by the least able to cope.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 12 Feb 2010 @ 4:53 AM

  806. Re: #804

    CFU,

    All I can do is laugh at you.

    What does it matter to Ma Nature what the question “should be”?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Feb 2010 @ 9:56 AM

  807. Re: #805

    CFU,

    So your plan is to watch my predictions play out, then blame me for them?

    Thanks for my morning funnies.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Feb 2010 @ 9:57 AM

  808. Re: #804

    CFU wrote: ” the helplessness he says that all peons have”

    Those were your words, not mine, and they come nowhere close to describing my position.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Feb 2010 @ 9:59 AM

  809. Don’t fall for the chant that ‘people will never decide’ as individuals to have foresight. That’s the gibbertarian notion that only individuals can make decisions individually, forgettabout that community planning stuff..

    One of the big energy conservation measures has long been controlling urban sprawl, strict zoning limitations, and planned building.

    That transfers the profits from build-and-runners to longterm buyers and communities. And it works, and it worked again this time: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/10/slumburbia/?em

    “… look at the cities with stable and recovering home markets. On this coast, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and San Diego come to mind. All of these cities have fairly strict development codes, trying to hem in their excess sprawl. Developers, many of them, hate these restrictions. They said the coastal cities would eventually price the middle class out, and start to empty.

    It hasn’t happened. Just the opposite. The developers’ favorite role models, the laissez faire free-for-alls — Las Vegas, the Phoenix metro area, South Florida, this valley — are the most troubled, the suburban slums.

    Come see: this is what happens when money and market, alone, guide the way we live.”

    Compare San Diego in past slumps, before it regulated sprawl, to San Diego this time ’round

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Feb 2010 @ 10:09 AM

  810. Re: #809

    Hank,

    As long as people believe they are acting in their own best interests, they can unite as a group and make significant changes. I’m sure we agree on that.

    My point is, there is no such belief among humans with regard to AGW, not nearly enough to move the needle. And as I noted before, that is not due to lack of discussion.

    It’s due to lack of clarity.

    Well, what’s the solution to that? Gore failed; Hansen failed. Two extremely well spoken men who know their subject well. They did not move the needle.

    They moved some people, sure, including me. It just didn’t add up to a hill of beans.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Feb 2010 @ 11:48 AM

  811. “Well, what’s the solution to that? Gore failed; Hansen failed. Two extremely well spoken men who know their subject well. They did not move the needle.”

    The solution is concerted, constant effort, same as the fossil fuel lobby is performing.

    Examples abound. The U.S. DoJ has burned through much of our constitution and bill of rights, just by always being there, always being ready to exploit a moment of doubt or fear. The attorneys at DoJ are a tightly focused constituency with a narrow set of goals, facing nothing with similar drive, purpose and organization. Thus their agenda prevails.

    A little tiny knife can slice through a huge block of butter if it is kept warm with gentle pressure sitting on it. To push the metaphor further, a knife is an inherently better weapon than a block of butter because it is better organized, more wieldy, harder.

    Gore is one person yet he put climate change on the map for a measurable fraction of the human population, but his message has not been backed up by a suitable organization to maintain pressure. The progressive side of the climate change policy debate (there is no “debate” on science) is effectively an ad hoc rabble facing an opposition that is small in numbers but well organized. They are a block of butter, facing a knife.

    Until this is recognized and dealt with, policy making for dealing with C02 will be crippled.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 12 Feb 2010 @ 1:14 PM

  812. Walt B’s rant is all about facing reality. He mentioned admitting what inning we’re in. The thing is, we know we’re behind (not taking the needed steps), but it’s not clear whether we’re down by 3 runs in the 6th, or it’s the bottom of the 11th and they just scored 8 runs in the top. We just don’t know. This is part of reality, and well known to RC readers, and Walt’s rants make much less sense if he admits that. So Walt, take some of your own recommended medicine, fess up that you don’t know all is lost, and cop to the crime of spreading pessimism, which could very well feed back and make things worse.

    A well-run hospital is a fine thing, but you’re not excused from triage and helping out if you find yourself in the Eastern Congo, and things are rough. (The analogy is inexact, as I just made the point that we don’t *know* where we are, but the logical and moral point remains.)

    Comment by Ric Merritt — 12 Feb 2010 @ 1:17 PM

  813. Walt says: “Well, what’s the solution to that? Gore failed; Hansen failed. Two extremely well spoken men who know their subject well. They did not move the needle.”

    Personally, I have been disappointed that some of the more decent conservatives in the Senate who have accepted the science have not been more vocal. If Al Gore were standing on stage with John McCain and Lindsey Graham, the impact would be much greater. I still don’t know if they would succeed in convincing the die-hard libertarian right as to the existence of objective reality, but the impact would be significant.

    Instead, what we hear from the right is deafening silence. Frankly, I think it is arguable that the ability to accept objective reality is a litmus test for whether a supposedly intelligent species if fit to survive.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Feb 2010 @ 1:34 PM

  814. Walt, do you ever read the pointers to the successes? Some long- and hard-fought.

    Reading some of those would limit your argument that you don’t know of any.

    For example, these:
    http://ag.ca.gov/globalwarming/energyefficiency.php

    Repeating the prior example, with an older link that had more discussion:

    http://www.earthjustice.org/news/press/2009/california-ag-environmental-groups-in-court-over-weak-energy-efficiency-standards.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Feb 2010 @ 1:34 PM

  815. Ric Merritt says: 12 February 2010 at 1:17 PM

    Not to bash Walt in particular, but well said, particularly “A well-run hospital is a fine thing, but you’re not excused from triage and helping out if you find yourself in the Eastern Congo, and things are rough.”

    Pilots contemplating emergencies are fond of the phrase “Aviate, navigate, communicate” with priority dependent on the phase of an emergency. We seem to be at the “communicate” part.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 12 Feb 2010 @ 1:36 PM

  816. Re: 811,

    Doug,

    Your hubris is bleeding all over. Please don’t say there’s no debate on the science, because it makes you look like you accept every new observation, conclusion and publicity release without question.

    Debate is an integral part of science.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Feb 2010 @ 1:53 PM

  817. Uh, folks, I think Walt is on to something here. I hear him saying that we have to find a different approach to uniting the public if we are going to reduce greenhouse gases in time to avoid disaster. I also hear him saying he does not know the answer, but that is no excuse for avoiding the question.

    Walt, if I have read you correctly, I don’t know the answer either. That is why the default position is simply to keep trying. But it is generally true that continuing to try something that has not worked, and expecting a different result, turns out to be an exercise in futility.

    I agree with others here that we are making progress, but the question is whether it will be fast enough. There is so much greenwash mixed in that some of the apparent progress may be misleading.

    My honest speculation? Society will not get serious about this until serious trouble is obvious, probably at least a decade. We probably will be committed to an eventual sea level rise of at least 3-5 meters. But if we can hold it to that, that is much better than 10-20 meters, or more. Even that, I think, will require not just emissions reductions, but something like CO2 air capture to pull down the long tail.

    The only way to get going faster would require the emergence of a critical mass of outstanding political leaders across ideological lines. That is a very tall order. It might be worth a try though.

    How about DOD framing this as a national security issue, which it is and they are already doing. Get the CIA and others involved. Then have them give regular classified briefings to key political leaders to update them on the risks associated with AGW. Making them classified helps avoid a need for posturing by the attendees. Having political leaders attend the briefings makes it clear to them that they will be held accountable for what they do with the knowledge.

    Just a thought.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 12 Feb 2010 @ 1:56 PM

  818. Re: #812

    Ric,

    You know I’m all about keeping it real.

    So let’s remember what I have consistently said:

    “If we are to believe the science, destabilization is already underway and are past the tipping point to prevent further destabilization.”

    Or, to paraphrase Hansen and others, “When it goes, it goes.”

    I think everybody agrees we are in late innings, perhaps extra innings.

    Now if they would just admit the score.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Feb 2010 @ 1:56 PM

  819. I also decline to have my comments described as “rants”, as they are no such thing. They are usually short, to the point and devoid of ad hom.

    I also try not to repeat myself too much.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Feb 2010 @ 1:57 PM

  820. RE- Comment by Doug Bostrom — 12 February 2010 @ 1:14 PM:

    Perhaps what is needed is for someone to whom Bill Gates would listen to convince him that his foundation’s world health efforts are being hampered by the climate denial industry. This is an easy argument to make. An aggressive, independent, persistent and well funded agency that took on global warming, ocean acidification, peak oil, overpopulation, and …. might be able to cut through the smoke and mirrors, and apathy.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 12 Feb 2010 @ 3:26 PM

  821. Nothing relevant to the original post in the last 50 or so comments, and , like so many threads on RC recently, it just degenerates into the same old ‘warmist/deniers’ name-calling. So boring now………..

    Comment by Bill — 12 Feb 2010 @ 4:23 PM

  822. Re: #813

    Ray,

    I see that you are becoming more open to the reality. (a) Gore/McCain might get together but further right pols, no way. And furthermore, they will continue to bash. (b) It wouldn’t make any difference anyway.

    This is tough stuff, no doubt. But when we’re all on the same page, we can at least have meaningful discussions.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Feb 2010 @ 4:50 PM

  823. Re: $814,

    Hank, are you saying that I have asserted that I am not aware of any government efforts to wean us off of fossil fuels?

    I have made no such claim.

    I have simply looked at this as empirically as I can, and concluded this:

    It’s not going to make enough of a difference in the time scales being discussed. In fact, it’s already too late in some ways.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Feb 2010 @ 4:52 PM

  824. Some further thoughts…

    It is a shopworn phrase, but we need a new paradigm.

    So far, the effort has been to educate the public (with the help of the popular press) and policy makers through the work of the IPCC. An educated public would then push policy makers, or elect people to Congress who would support action on AGW.

    There are several problems with this approach:
    (1) As noted above, the public will not really get it until it is too late.
    (2) There will always be a substantial number of Republicans in Congress for whom the UN is ideological anathema.
    (3) This approach hands AGW opponents in Congress political cover by allowing them to frame the debate as political, with both sides having scientific support, but with the AGW side undermining national sovereignty by giving power to the UN, weakening the US economy, and expanding government.

    The goal is not to educate the public, but to get effective action. It is only necessary that the public be willing to accept action; they do not have to understand it.

    To get effective action, it is essential that Republicans be brought on board. To do that, several things are necessary:
    (1) Remove the anti-action political cover of Republicans by reframing the debate as a national security issue.
    (2) Remove the potential cover of plausible deniability of understanding of the problem by the use of regular briefings.
    (3) Have the effort led by someone who will have trust and respect across ideological lines among both the public and policy makers.
    (4) Provide Republicans with political cover for shifting, however gradually, to support of action on AGW. This has to be made a political win-win to succeed.

    We still need the IPCC, but a new path has to be found to feed the information into the policy formation process. It has to be vetted, laundered, if you will, by someone who cannot be dismissed out of hand. To me, that has to be some combination of the DOD and the intelligence services. I can imagine someone like RAND being given a six month contract to review the findings of the IPCC, then a continuing contract to provide semiannual or quarterly updates. Their reports would include threat assessments based on their review of the findings. (Okay, I have been away from this game for a long time, so this may be naïve, as Walt likes to say.)

    Anyway, if this worked, can you imagine any member of Congress declining to attend a DOD/CIA briefing on a critical national security issue?

    Bill, I agree this is getting OT, but…

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 12 Feb 2010 @ 4:55 PM

  825. Re: #821

    Bill,

    Go over these last 50 posts again. Nothing typical about them.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Feb 2010 @ 5:28 PM

  826. Walt Bennett says: 12 February 2010 at 1:53 PM

    “Your hubris is bleeding all over.”

    How pugilistic.

    I was referring to the vast bulk of broadly agreed scientific research findings on dominant gross effects beginning with the response of the atmosphere/ocean system to insolation, including the well known role of C02 in the atmosphere and uncontroversial response of C02 to illumination with IR, extending to a plethora of observational evidence, all of which predicts and indicates a very real risk factor far beyond what we would sensibly ignore. All that is beyond debate.

    That still leaves a lot of things to quibble over, sort of like arguing over whether you should fasten your seatbelt when traveling at 50mph, or 60mph. In other words, not truly a debate for anybody with average common sense.

    Don’t bother trying to change my mind; I fasten my seatbelt before I even start my engine.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 12 Feb 2010 @ 5:33 PM

  827. Re: #817/#824

    First, this is RealClimate and we are having a climate discussion, so Bill can spare us his “OT” concerns and really, if you don’t want to participate in a discussion, then don’t. No need to announce it.

    Ron,

    I appreciate the “take a step back” approach you are taking here, because that’s what I’ve had to do too.

    Why do I say “had to do”? Did somebody force me?

    Yes. I forced me. If I have a unique gift/curse in this world, it is that I am hyper-rational to the point of completely changing positions without regard to any previous emotional investment I may have made. My mind will not let my emotions overrule my rational side.

    So to all of those who don’t understand: Does Walt even want solutions? The answer is: What I want is rational discussion, which gives us our only chance to arrive at rational conclusions.

    Ron, I am somewhat further down the road on this, as to be expected. I may have crossed over into cynicism, but if so I have a lot of supporting reasons why. It may not be as late in the game as I say it is, but it probably is, or even later.

    I find it interesting that you are concluding that a “war-like” footing may be the only realistic way that we make an immediate shift away from fossil fuels.

    And suppose the U.S. did that? Now, what about India, China, Australia? Therein lies the rub, as I outline some pages back: When a nation has X dollars to spend, it will tend to spend them in its own national interest. It is not in the national interest to invest in a global solution while others do not. No matter how much we spend we cannot reduce China’s or India’s emissions.

    Only a global treaty had a chance to get that done, and it failed utterly. The disgusting part of all of this is that these people still seem to believe that a meaningful global treaty is achievable, and that it will make a difference. I scoff at both of those beliefs, in the strongest possible terms. My belief that these efforts are futile is a pillar of my current position.

    I believe that global measures are a fiction. What will happen is that each nation will determine the economic cost of using fossil fuels, and each nation will use different metrics, because each nation is at a different stage of development (especially the former Soviet states), and each nation has different access to resources, and different levels of cash available.

    The reason there is not a global treaty is that those differences proved impossible to reconcile.

    Now, you still seem convinced that the IPCC holds the moral high ground. I continue to say: That’s a discussion worth having. The relationship humans have with energy is essential, fragile and complex. One reason we still do things the way we do, is that change implies disruption, and access to energy is not something that people tend to be cavalier about. I already pay an enormous amount for my electricity; alternatives, from an infrastructure standpoint alone, START in in the thousands of dollars.

    And I should mention I am a well paid middle class white collar worker.

    You dig me? I can’t afford much disruption; what does that say about 99% of the rest of the planet?

    So, I see global cooperation as a fantasy, and yes of course it is a commentary on humanity itself. Nation states are by definition in competition with each other, so you would have to imagine a post-border world where we have resolved those conflicts, at of course the cost of a massive human toll.

    Suffice it to say, that’s an awful vision. We can’t force the dissolution of Nation states, certainly not peacefully, and certainly not nearly soon enough to head off worst case scenarios.

    You say you are resigned to some sea level rise. The problem is that the property of acceleration is very real. The more it warms, the more it warms. The more it loosens, the more it loosens. And the awesome amount of energy involved implies that there’s no way to turn it around, not without a significant game changing leap forward.

    So no, unfortunately I am not saying “There’s still time, but not much.” I am saying “That game is over, we lost, what’s the new game?”

    And I am suggesting as a first response that nations will act in their own best interests, so let’s get started discussing what those interests might be and how we might address them.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Feb 2010 @ 5:49 PM

  828. Ron:
    “(1) As noted above, the public will not really get it until it is too late.”

    Actually, since the ones who “don’t get it” won’t want to pay anything and the scare is that this mitigation will cost them, they will complain loudly as it progresses towards doing something.

    The noise level of the public is not a reliable indicator of the public.

    And I hope we’re all intelligent enough here to understand how easy it is to rig a poll to say what you want.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 12 Feb 2010 @ 5:58 PM

  829. see that you are becoming more open to the reality. (a) Gore/McCain might get together but further right pols, no way. I wouldn’t have considered Newt Gingrich and Pat Robertson as being to the “left” of McCain but whatever. I’d say they’re pretty far right. Robertson is so far right that he has publicly advocated detonating a nuclear weapon in Washington D.C. .

    Pat Robertson: I’m ‘A Convert’ On Global Warming, ‘It Is Getting Hotter’
    http://thinkprogress.org/2006/08/03/robertson-global-warming/

    Newt Gingrich:
    Newt admitted his thoroughly off beam conviction …
    “that the evidence is sufficient that we should move towards the most effective possible steps to reduce carbon loading in the atmosphere.”

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/04/newts_global_warming_surprise.html

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 12 Feb 2010 @ 6:15 PM

  830. Walt Bennet wrote:

    “The disgusting part of all of this is that these people still seem to believe that a meaningful global treaty is achievable, and that it will make a difference.”

    Walt, you claim to be “hyper-rational,” yet this statement appears to have no rational foundation whatever.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 12 Feb 2010 @ 7:13 PM

  831. Re: #826,

    Doug,

    Insolation is a constant. I assume you know that, but just for clarity.

    Solar variability is negligible in this discussion, as Hansen explained in 1988.

    However, things are not as settled as you say they are. It’s a common mistake. But if you isolate just the last four years, many things have been learned about the carbon cycle and climate sensitivity which were not as well known then.

    I think what you’re trying to say, which of course most of us fundamentally agree with, is that when we pour enough carbon into the atmosphere to re-create the conditions of 3 million years ago, we get the climate of 3 million years ago, 6*C warmer than today.

    And what I’m saying to you is, as you can plainly see and as Ron has started to elaborate upon, the human race is going to permit most of that warming to happen. It’s an undeniable reality, and if you don’t agree with that, let’s have that discussion.

    As regards hubris, what I said is true: Nothing is certain in science. There may be a strong negative feedback that we don’t know about. The last time this happened, continents were configured differently.

    One example of how we get out of this is: A massive overturning of ocean circulation, burying vast amounts of carbon in the layer that normally does not interact with the surface layer. We don’t know that it will, we don’t know that it won’t, but if it did – it’s a new ballgame.

    The point being, and I am trying to find the right way to say this, “What’s the moral thing to do?” is a much more complicated question than you and many others in here wish to admit.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Feb 2010 @ 7:17 PM

  832. Re: #829,

    John,

    Certainly I was referring to Republicans who are trying to get re-elected.

    :-)

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Feb 2010 @ 7:25 PM

  833. Re: #830

    Kevin,

    I didn’t say I was Spock, did I?

    :-)

    I have feelings in all of this. I get mighty riled up when people stick their heads in the sand, coming out only long enough to call me names before sticking them back in.

    I feel stabbed in the back by the political left. They were the ones who screamed “FOLLOW THE SCIENCE! IT’S – THE – SCIENCE – STUPID!”

    That was four years ago, when they could still sell that there was time, that we just had to do this and that and all would be well.

    We didn’t do this, we didn’t do that, and the science informed us that things were worse off anyway.

    And what did the political left do?

    They changed the goals and tried to convince us that they could be achieved.

    Liars, one and all.

    I guess they just didn’t want to go home from the party.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Feb 2010 @ 7:28 PM

  834. #831

    “One example of how we get out of this is: A massive overturning of ocean circulation, burying vast amounts of carbon in the layer that normally does not interact with the surface layer.”

    Actually, the concentration of dissolved CO2 INCREASES with depth; thus, bringing deep water to the surface would send more CO2 into the atmosphere.

    See, for example, Fig. 3 here:

    http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/oceanography/faculty/zeebe_files/Publications/ZeebeWolfEnclp07.pdf

    Comment by Jerry Steffens — 12 Feb 2010 @ 7:39 PM

  835. Ray #813 “I still don’t know if they would succeed in convincing the die-hard libertarian right as to the existence of objective reality”. Ray you are assuming that these people are rational, educated human beings, who are truly skeptical in the best sense – have examined all the evidence and still have one or two doubts about, say, the projected rates of sea level rise, or the extent to which CO2 rise can be buffered by extra plant growth. And that all we need to do is just clear up those last couple of points and they will be happy to join Al on stage to plead with the world, and American energy companies, to stop adding CO2 to the atmosphere, right now. But it ain’t like that in the real world. These people are hard shelled ideologues for whom no regulation is still too much; no environmental problem should ever get in the way of business, ever, and if we humans decide to concrete over the whole planet to help Ford sell more cars then by god that’s what we’ll do; god is looking after the planet anyway, so what could go wrong, and anyway the rapture is coming soon, so bring on armageddon; science is a conspiracy against religion, and that atheistic nonsense about evolution should be kept out of schools; and the United Nations is a conspiracy by communists led by Hugo Chavez to take all the money away from god-fearing republicans in Utah and give it to al-kyda (wahtever) as the form a one world government led by hockey stick wielding hippie freaks and feminazis and libruls. These people aren’t for turning, they aren’t listening to arguments and they don’t understand the evidence and couldn’t care less what the evidence is. They may not know much but they know what they like. And what they like is for the world, the American world, to stay just as it is.

    Comment by David Horton — 12 Feb 2010 @ 7:40 PM

  836. Walt, I am not prepared to throw in the towel. I think you really are too cynical about the human race.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 12 Feb 2010 @ 7:45 PM

  837. Re: #834

    Jerry,

    That was a very interesting read, but from what I could tell it explains that the deep ocean is a very efficient repository for absorbed CO2, for several reasons.

    I was looking to see if there might be some mechanism which could transfer a lot of CO2 from the upper layer to the deeper ocean, but I did not find any, and in fact it seems that the transfer is somewhat strictly regulated by certain chemical properties.

    But a very interesting read.

    I was definitely spitballing with my “sudden transfer” suggestion. I don’t know that’s possible for a lot of CO2 to be transferred in a short time, but what this paper clearly states is that much of the CO2 which is currently in the atmosphere will eventually be absorbed by the ocean and stored inertly at depth.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Feb 2010 @ 8:15 PM

  838. Re: #836

    Nobody is talking about giving up, certainly not me.

    I am starkly focused on getting the discussion right, so we can get the answers right.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Feb 2010 @ 8:16 PM

  839. Walt Bennett says: 12 February 2010 at 7:17 PM

    “The point being, and I am trying to find the right way to say this, “What’s the moral thing to do?” is a much more complicated question than you and many others in here wish to admit.”

    You talk of hubris even as you speak it. The posture you strike here is conspicuously arrogant and supercilious.

    Give up trying to find the right way to express your ignorance of me. You don’t know me, don’t know what I am. You have zero information about how I would respond to any given moral hazard. Even I don’t know how I would respond to an infinity of possible true dilemmas. I cannot until I occupy their exact context.

    Last word on this discussion of nothing in particular goes to you; I don’t care what you think of me.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 12 Feb 2010 @ 8:24 PM

  840. David Horton, “They may not know much but they know what they like. And what they like is for the world, the American world, to stay just as it is.”

    Well, that really is not an option, is it? I mean T. Boone Pickens is about as hardcore and unsentimental a capitalist as there is, and he sees the writing on the wall–and in fact is looking to profit from it. Even if we were not wrecking the climate that fostered the growth of human civilization, things would still have to change dramatically just due to Peak Fossil Fuels. Even the denialists admit that.

    Certainly, we won’t reach everyone. There are still apologists for slavery, after all. All I am saying is that people tend to listen to people like themselves–people they otherwise trust already.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Feb 2010 @ 8:37 PM

  841. Walt, again, with your deep ocean sequestration idea: it isn’t validated, we don’t know what the unintended consequences might be and it’s very tough to model. That is the problem with all geo-engineering solutions to date. Those that have actually been tested to some degree (e.g. iron fertilization of oceans) haven’t worked out too well.

    Time, Walt. It takes time to work out such mechanisms, and the only way to buy time is to conserve our asses off.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Feb 2010 @ 8:43 PM

  842. Walt Bennett (837) — Its not that simple; please read David Archer’s “The Long Thaw”.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 12 Feb 2010 @ 8:50 PM

  843. > some mechanism which could transfer a lot of CO2 from
    > the upper layer to the deeper ocean

    Settling of calcite and aragonite — forming limestone and dolomite and chalk, eventually.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Feb 2010 @ 9:08 PM

  844. Walt, I commend to you the counsel of Henry Louis Mencken:
    “Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.”

    And

    “Truth would quickly cease to be stranger than fiction, once we got as used to it. ”

    And

    “The truth, indeed, is something that mankind, for some mysterious reason, instinctively dislikes. Every man who tries to tell it is unpopular, and even when, by the sheer strength of his case, he prevails, he is put down as a scoundrel.”

    And

    “The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind.”

    At least we know the problem we confront is not new.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Feb 2010 @ 10:06 PM

  845. Re: #841

    Ray,

    I was not proposing a half baked geo-engineering idea, not at all.

    I was speculating that this warming may not follow the script of previous warmings. Nature is in charge and no two eras are identical.

    We’ll know it once it’s happened, and only then after some time to gain perspective.

    As Ron has speculated, it’s around then that humans will act.

    But back to your point, I am not in disagreement with you.

    But please understand my essential point: The game is over and we lost.

    We are going to burn most of our oil and much of our coal.

    In other words, don’t you already know that we’re going past 450 ppm? Don’t you already believe that only in hundreds of years will atmospheric CO2 decline? Don’t you agree that this is the nightmare scenario and that it simply can’t be avoided?

    I assume somewhere down inside, you do. Thus, we must really stop betting the ranch on agreements that will never come and if they did would not solve the problem but likely create massive new problems.

    And thus my discussion point: Which is the more moral course, At This Point?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Feb 2010 @ 10:30 PM

  846. Re: #843

    Hank, right. Just as the article said. Not likely subject to a sudden surge, I agree.

    Probably there is no natural mechanism to remove a lot of CO2 from the ocean/atmosphere system in a very short time.

    I wouldn’t bet any significant amount of money on it, for sure.

    My suspicion is that the planet will warm faster than we think.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Feb 2010 @ 10:34 PM

  847. Re: #844

    Ray, I quite agree. My observation is that humans behave, by and large, short-sightedly. I’ve read interesting POVs that this is not accidental, it’s actually the best way to survive. With all the variables which lurk in our midst, planning too far ahead can be foolhardy.

    Of course, AGW would seem to stand that paradigm on its head, and so:

    A lot of people are betting the future of the planet on our ability to stop being that way.

    And we may learn how to be more foresighted as a species; if so, we may save ourselves.

    However: We’re still going to burn most of our oil and much of our coal.

    So: CO2, she’s gonna keep going way, way up.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Feb 2010 @ 10:37 PM

  848. Ray #840. I don’t doubt that some people (hardcore capitalists as you put it) will change sides, at the last possible moment, when there is more money to be made out of a changing climate than out of funding the deniers. The bulk of the people that are causing the delay in political response are incapable of changing. They would find it easier, and more palatable, to have a sex change operation than an ideology change operation. The beliefs that capitalism is not causing environmental damage, and that regulation leads to world communist government, are fundamental (and I use the word deliberately) to the core of their being.

    Comment by David Horton — 12 Feb 2010 @ 10:37 PM

  849. Re #744
    Does the US temperature record correlate with changes in the US climate?

    When I first saw the graph I was surprised by the relatively low temperature rise compared to Australia (see: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/change/datasets/datasets.shtml).

    The records do not correlate with changes resulting in the preferred habitats for some US species moving to higher elevations (see: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=species-shift-across-yellowstone, http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=big-win-for-a-tiny-endangered-speci-2009-02-13.)

    Maybe the US temperature record has a cool bias in recent years (that is temperatures are actually higher than the records indicate). I believe that habitat changes are the best indicator of climate change, including temperature changes.

    The Scientific American articles that I refer to here indicate that there are temperature changes of around +3 degrees Celsius, which is more than indicated by the link in comment #744.

    Comment by Lawrence McLean — 12 Feb 2010 @ 10:40 PM

  850. “The beliefs that capitalism is not causing environmental damage, and that regulation leads to world communist government, are fundamental (and I use the word deliberately) to the core of their being.”

    well describes some folks I’ve encountered, who no doubt will deride any suggestions for change when they’re up to their knees in [warm] water and paying $50 a gallon to fuel their Hummers – it’ll be the governments fault

    Comment by flxible — 13 Feb 2010 @ 12:49 AM

  851. Walt, you seem to be saying that you yourself are the only person who knows a lot of stuff. But I can’t figure out what you think you know that’s unusual.

    Does it have something to do with the topic? Or are you looking for an economic or policy blog?

    What are you trying to say? Can you say it simply? Cite to some source, or show your work if it’s your own work?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Feb 2010 @ 1:17 AM

  852. Re: #851

    Hank,

    I can say it simply and I have said it simply:

    The game is over. We lost. What’s the new game?

    [Response:
    Not a game, regardless of how you view or phrase it. And nobody’s “lost” anything–Jim]

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 Feb 2010 @ 3:00 AM

  853. Walt Bennett: No matter how much we spend we cannot reduce China’s or India’s emissions.

    BPL: Agree with our allies on a carbon-intensity tariff.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Feb 2010 @ 5:44 AM

  854. Geoengineering solution: Crush massive amounts of dolomite or whatever it is CO2 combines with when weathering happens, and spread it all over the place. Have dedicated, mobile machines to do this, piloted by people with experience in those environments. If we pour a massive amount of funding into such a project (once agriculture has already started to fail and people are finally motivated), and massively switch to renewables, we might just preserve human civilization.

    But, like Walt, I doubt it’s going to happen. I think we’re in for a huge population crash and a thousand-year dark ages. I only disagree with him that it’s **impossible** to find a way out and implement it. I just think it’s very, very unlikely that we will.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Feb 2010 @ 6:50 AM

  855. “However: We’re still going to burn most of our oil and much of our coal.”

    Wrong.

    And the only reason why it could even be possibly right is if people refuse to follow guidelines unless there’s government mandate and law to back it up.

    But you’re going to complain to your congresscritter if you hear of any laws done aren’t you.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Feb 2010 @ 7:36 AM

  856. Walt, I think it is very likely we’ll break 450 ppmv of CO2. However, I also think that the interval in which we will do so will present us with opportunities for making fundamental changes that could postpone reaching that level. Unlike climate, Peak Oil is not a crisis that people can ignore. We will be utterly remaking our energy infrastructure. The question is whether we will be relying on coal or on renewables and perhaps nukes. Keeping the heat on wrt climate could tip the balance of that decision. That is why the coal barons are so worried. Indeed, I think there is a possibility of turning Petroleum interests into Energy interests (ala Mr. Pickens), and thereby splitting them from coal interests.

    In the meantime while this plays out, James Hansen’s latest paper in which he suggests we concentrate efforts on ghgs other than CO2 has merit–at least while we wait for rectal haberdashery to go out of style.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Feb 2010 @ 7:37 AM

  857. “But if you isolate just the last four years, many things have been learned about the carbon cycle and climate sensitivity which were not as well known then.”

    However, if you check the last four years with the last four when we had such a strong solar activity minimum, you’ll find that one thing you have learned is that CO2’s effect is likely above 3C increase per doubling.

    Funny how the things we don’t know become, for some people, a reason to deny a problem needs a solution.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Feb 2010 @ 7:41 AM

  858. Looks like Phil Jones has finally broken ranks. “”statistically insignificant” warming since at least 1860. Debate not closed on the MWP which he concedes may have been comparable.

    He challenges people to make their own datasets! that is not the way science is done, and we cant reproduce hadCRUT as the MET have only released 80% of the SST data anyway. So Gavin, time to release ALL your data and methodology?

    [Response: Something tells me you show up late to parties–Jim]

    Comment by John — 13 Feb 2010 @ 9:22 AM

  859. 801: Walt Wrote: “Re: #801 Here’s what I want to know, John:
    By 2015 will humankind be emitting more or less CO2 than it does today, per annum? ”

    That isn’t the point and you know it. You’ve written over and over that “the needle hasn’t moved”, etc. I claim that the US-China wind power race constitutes movement. If my claim that by 2015 the US will have 100 GW of installed wind power capacity proves correct, the US will be well on its way to a low carbon future. DOE projects that the US will get 20% of its electricity by 2030. If we start building nuclear plants it isn’t unimaginable that the US would not be burning coal in 2050. In 2008 US CO2 production was almost 3% below our 1991 CO2 production. This constitutes movement.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 13 Feb 2010 @ 10:40 AM

  860. John@858, My, that is an awfully creative reading of Jone’s answers. I’m wondering if you are similarly creative in your interpretations of other aspects of reality. What Jones says is that there have been other periods where warming has been significant. Uh, yeah, and… The current warming epoch has lasted 35 years, significantly longer than the other periods.

    He says there is debate over the global nature of the MWP. Yup, as evidenced by posts here at RC and posters at multiple conferences. The fact remains that there is no convincing evidence that this period was global and strong evidence to suggest that even if it was global, MWP temperatures were well below those of the present.

    John: “He challenges people to make their own datasets! that is not the way science is done,…”

    Um, yeah, that is exactly how science is done. You get the data. You crunch it in a reasonable way and you validate it. Then you use the data and theory to make predictions and validate them. Scientific method in a nutshell.

    Here’s an idea, John. Why don’t you go to the Start Here button and learn what the science really says so you won’t make a fool of yourself again. ‘Kay?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Feb 2010 @ 10:53 AM

  861. Re: #852

    Jim,

    OK, how about this? We lost the war, and it’s because we never really fought it.

    Now, what’s the next move?

    And Jim: We are going past 450 ppm and you know it as well as you know your name.

    [Response:“The difficulty with prediction is that it involves the future”–Niels Bohr.
    “It ain’t over ’till it’s over”–Yogi Berra.
    Jim]

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 Feb 2010 @ 11:20 AM

  862. Re: #853

    Bart,

    If you think China will allow a concerted economic policy to dictate to them how they grow their energy apparatus:

    I strongly disagree, and I mean strongly.

    And who has the political will for that?

    And is the U.S. even committed to its own reductions? What has Obama promised, a 20% reduction in 2005 levels by 2020? Under any scenario we know of, will that accomplish anything useful?

    I suspect you have more faith in things unseen than is warranted.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 Feb 2010 @ 11:22 AM

  863. Re: #854

    Bart! I appreciate the candor, I truly do.

    With any luck we can start a trend.

    And by the way I do not think it is impossible to solve AGW.

    What I have said, most vehemently, is that the current solutions businessis a fraud, and that the people who meet for these climate summits are perpetuating a vicious lie, that a global agreement can be reached, can be implemented and can avoid calamitous warming. No, no and most definitely no.

    Once we accept that plain reality, we can – at last – start looking for the much, much better ideas we will need to actually have a chance to solve it.

    I loved your out-of-the-box brainstorming. We need so much more of it.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 Feb 2010 @ 11:26 AM

  864. Re: #855

    CFU,

    I appreciate that you are trying to come to grips with climate reality.

    And I completely understand, I honestly do, why it is so difficult to accept my assertion that we will burn most of our oil (including shale and tar) and much of our coal.

    On the other hand, you have to also understand inertia. I don’t know how old you are: I am 50. That affords a certain perspective that is generally unavailable to younger folks. You need to see a lot before you get a real sense of what is and isn’t likely to occur on mass scales.

    And for sure there are many “older folk” (not that 50 is terribly old) who still do believe there will be a massive shift in human behavior before we burn through most of our oil and much of our coal.

    They are simply and plainly wrong.

    Just look at year-by-year numbers and you will see that they still go up and that the rate of growth is also still going up.

    So, based on what logic would we assert that there will be a sudden reversal in that usage? Nothing that’s been tried til now has come close to accomplishing that.

    We can and we should go right on investing in green technology, but the simple fact is that more people need more energy than these measures can, today, produce, so as energy needs increase, CO2 emissions, for the next couple of decades, will continue to increase.

    Somewhere in there it will flatten. Ten years? Maybe. Nothing has happened as fast as we would like, so my hedge is that it’s more like 20. Now, we need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Trucks, jets, rockets, plastic…things that no alternative that we know of can replace their CO2 emissions. Getting green tech to the masses will be wickedly expensive. Most nations these days are running deficits. No significant tax policies have been passed in the U.S., for one, to encourage a private market shift.

    Policy makers are either paralyzed or caught in a political system which grinds this issue to a halt.

    That’s not subject to rapid change, either.

    CFU, there is no avoiding the simple fact that we will emit enough CO2 to go past 450 ppm, and that also implies a massive dump of much more carbon into the world ocean, with its attendant knowns and unknowns and its ability to maintain the atmospheric equilibrium far into the future.

    Just keep this simple process in mind:

    a) Man at some point stops adding to atmospheric CO2 levels.
    b) The world keeps warming.
    c) A warming ocean gives up more of its CO2.

    If we simply follow the science, we know, approximately, where we are and what we face.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 Feb 2010 @ 11:37 AM

  865. Re: #856

    Ray, this lazy man’s quickie from Wikipedia:


    Optimistic estimations of peak production forecast the global decline will begin by 2020 or later…

    So, we can easily maintain current rates of use and growth for the next decade. I expect that we will. And yes, as the level of available oil declines, refined oil will become more expensive. So at some point “market forces” will kick in. They always do.

    It just won’t be in time.

    And coal remains, for the U.S. and China, insanely cheap to produce compared to any alternative. That’s not changing real soon.

    And as we warmers know, AGW did not cancel winter. It gets cold in our countries, and we will be burning coal to keep warm.

    For a long, long time to come.

    (We keep building new plants!)

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 Feb 2010 @ 11:43 AM

  866. ReL #857

    CFU,

    I completely agree that most of what we’ve learned in the last four years paints an even scarier picture than what we thought was true.

    Two observations:

    1) It hasn’t made a bit of difference;

    2) It does confirm that science is about uncertainty, which makes it harder to say “we know” and get away with it.

    And I have to also underscore that many advocates of AGW are very quick to staple the latest observation or hypothesis to AGW theory, which is a sure way to get burned.

    In a policy debate as sticky as this, overselling is a major crime.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 Feb 2010 @ 11:46 AM

  867. Re: #861

    Jim!

    That’s two inlines in a row. I’m excited! Can we have an actual debate on this sometime, somewhere? Give me a few weeks to get prepared?

    We can state that the premise is: Atmospheric CO2 will surpass 450 ppm.

    You can take the negative and I will take the positive.

    I’m just an average guy. All I’ll bring with me are the actual observations of actual scientists and my own reading of human behavior, backed by statistics.

    I am highly confident that I can make a strong case for the positive, using the words of people who I assume you hold in high regard, as do I.

    [Response: I’m sure you can but why discuss it all when we’re all doomed? Wouldn’t it be easier and quicker just to kill ourselves, given that “we lost” and everything’s hopeless and all…–Jim]

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 Feb 2010 @ 11:51 AM

  868. By the way:

    I’m having trouble coming up with a “Jim” who contributes to this site.

    If the “Jim” with whom I’m corresponding is Dr. Hansen, allow me to reveal that my knees have suddenly gone weak.

    You are (if that’s who I’m speaking to) one of my all-time heroes.

    And what I’d really like to ask you, as I’ve been posting here and elsewhere:

    How do you reconcile your previous statements about the lifetime of atmospheric CO2 levels with your recent assertions that we can (a) avoid 40 ppm (in a real-world scenario) and (b) how we can preside over a decline to 350 ppm.

    I would also suspect that you have little time for a “warmer versus warmer” debate, but one thing is true:

    If we did have that debate, I would be relying heavily on your own words and observations.

    And I know it would be mighty difficult to say “We’ve locked in enough momentum to destabilize the ice sheets, so now we need a new plan” after your many years advocating that we can and must avoid that.

    Man, if that’s really you: I hope you would win that debate. I hope I’m wrong.

    I just don’t think so, and my hyper-rational mind insists that I go with that.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 Feb 2010 @ 12:02 PM

  869. Walt Bennett:

    Your negative rant is not getting much traction here. I am a bit more hopeful about the situation, but you say– “The game is over. We lost. What’s the new game?” Do you just enjoy the negativity? Lets try this, what do you think the new game is?

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 13 Feb 2010 @ 12:09 PM

  870. Re: #866

    Jim,

    I’m happy to defend myself from that assertion.

    Feel free to name the time and place.

    (You won’t find anything I’ve said to support the assertion that I am claiming anything like “everything’s hopeless.”)

    [Response: Other than “it’s over” and “we lost” and “we lost the war” and that international treaties will not help, and that we are lying to ourselves, and that our efforts are ineffective, and that we’re making no progress, and that you have no confidence in various proposed plans of action–other than those you mean? You have an interesting concept of hope.–Jim]

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 Feb 2010 @ 12:28 PM

  871. Re: #867

    Steve,

    There is nothing remotely rant-like about my comments, so please stop using ad-hom, inflammatory language.

    And if you thin this is “not much traction” then you’ve missed previous exchanges of this kind. Trust me, this is MAMMOTH traction compared to past experiences.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 Feb 2010 @ 12:29 PM

  872. Re: #867

    Steve wrote: “What do you think the new game is?”

    Steve, I’ve touched on that. Allow me to admit that for all my gusto, I try to be humble here and there as well.

    You won’t see me rattling off a list of answers to that question. I have no confidence in any assertion that “This is what we must do now” or any such thing.

    All I am advocating for, at this time, is honesty. Just admitting what the science is telling us, and what we can observe about human behavior (there is a history to that, as well as there being a history to climate change itself).

    But some of the forward-looking suggestions I have made include:

    1. Admitting that nations will act, and spend, in their own national interest.

    2. Admitting that global treaties will not solve this problem.

    3. Engaging in research to understand likely rates of change, especially to sea levels.

    4. Engaging in robust policy discussions about how to spend the nation’s wealth in response to the above. What will be most important is to choose policies which have the potential to “grow the economy” while also addressing practical, likely scenarios over the next several decades.

    None of the above can happen until we stop lying about where we are and the ineffectiveness of current efforts.

    Sadly.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 Feb 2010 @ 12:35 PM

  873. I see Walt as argueing how to adapt in preparation for what he sees as unavaidable, while others are defending the possibility of prevention / mitigation to negate that unavoidability …. Walts search is what I’ve been interested in, the changes already evident dictate adaptation, but everyone seems to think [theoretical, possible, future] GHG reduction is “adaptation” – not – unless you’re talking very long term future of the species rather than short term adaptation to present reality for current and short term population [which must decline in any event]

    Hansons projections seem reasonable to me, we and your children [I have none] are “in for it” – the political reality seems counter to any possibility of rapid GHG reduction on the necessary scale – the science seems to counter any feasible major mitigation possibilities – the focus of economics on growth = health/success along with the particular entrenched interests that profit from it, mean the growth necessary in alternates won’t/can’t be rapid enough …. what’s left?

    Hopefully Gavin, et al will discover some critical uncertainty that lends itself to useful manipulation – meanwhile …. ?

    Comment by flxible — 13 Feb 2010 @ 1:15 PM

  874. Sometimes, it matters a lot how much you lose by. Giving up the “game” before the final whistle makes no sense however you look at it.

    Even if the final result cannot be changed, we can close the margin and (straining the metaphor to breaking point) eventually win the series.

    Oh, and “John”: you fail reading comprehension forever.

    Comment by Didactylos — 13 Feb 2010 @ 2:23 PM

  875. RE- Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 February 2010 @ 12:29 PM and — 13 February 2010 @ 12:35 PM:

    Repeating the same negative comments in reaction to what anyone says qualifies as a rant, the most negative comment in my post was your quote, and you need to look up the meaning of ad hominem.

    Your “new game” ideas may, or may not be any better than what is going on, but I don’t see how they would fare better in the current anti science disinformation campaign. Perhaps you can elaborate.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 13 Feb 2010 @ 3:59 PM

  876. “873
    flxible says:
    13 February 2010 at 1:15 PM

    I see Walt as argueing how to adapt in preparation for what he sees as unavaidable, while others are defending the possibility of prevention / mitigation to negate that unavoidability”

    EVERYTHING is unavoidable if you don’t bother avoiding it.

    It’s unavoidable that we’re all going to die one day.

    Would Walt or you just advice we adapt to avoid death?

    Or would we be better off doing something about it like, say, start developing medicine?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Feb 2010 @ 4:41 PM

  877. Two observations:

    1) It has made a bit of difference;

    2) It doesn’t confirm science is about not knowing anything just because we don’t know everything

    3) It does demonstrate that you’d prefer to avoid any action and we’ll just continue and acknowledge that we’re the last generation or two who are going to live fat off the land. Bwahahahahahahaa.

    (did I do your evil cackle right, Wally?)

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Feb 2010 @ 4:44 PM

  878. “CFU, there is no avoiding the simple fact that we will emit enough CO2 to go past 450 ppm,”

    And this means we should go hog wild and do BAU why?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Feb 2010 @ 4:45 PM

  879. “If you think China will allow a concerted economic policy to dictate to them how they grow their energy apparatus:”

    They are: they’re producing much of the worlds apparatus for renewable energy.

    We’ve already burned the easy stuff, so China isn’t going to get the free ride off future generations you managed, Wally. So they’re getting ahead in the next generation. Moving out of the stone age (coal) and into the technology age.

    They agreed to Copenhagen, with the proviso that the west couldn’t just keep dumping production onto China whilst reaping the benefits.

    The US didn’t.

    The “leaders of the free world” are leading from behind.

    And you’re cheering them on.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Feb 2010 @ 4:48 PM

  880. [Response:
    Not a game, regardless of how you view or phrase it. And nobody’s “lost” anything–Jim]

    Jim, someone has lost.

    Walt’s lost the plot.

    He may never find it again in this life…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Feb 2010 @ 4:50 PM

  881. Re: #870

    Jim,

    “You have a very unique concept of hope.”

    Thanks. I take that as a sincere observation from which I do not shy away.

    I’m happy to have that discussion as well.

    I am doing what I can to position myself in favor of hope.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 Feb 2010 @ 6:11 PM

  882. CFU:
    EVERYTHING is unavoidable if you don’t bother avoiding it.
    It’s unavoidable that we’re all going to die one day.
    Would Walt or you just advise we adapt to avoid death?
    Or would we be better off doing something about it like, say, start developing medicine?

    It’s humanity as a body that’s not avoiding climate change [death], and science [medicine] is telling us it’s happening and why, I have no illusions that the species is or should be, an indispensible part of the whole – my solution to knowing that I’m going to die isn’t to start developing medicine to avoid the inevitable, but to modify my behaviour to lessen my personal contribution to accelerating that end, and lessen the need for heroic medical interventions – like useing known “natural nutricuticals” rather than manufactured drugs ….. physican, heal thyself :)

    Comment by flxible — 13 Feb 2010 @ 6:11 PM

  883. Re: #875

    Steve,

    Your belief that I am being “negative” is the core of your problem, and the key reason that you can’t at this moment seem to hear me.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 Feb 2010 @ 6:12 PM

  884. Re: #876

    CFU,

    I agree that we need better medicine.

    To do that we must start with a correct description of the problem.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 Feb 2010 @ 6:14 PM

  885. Re: #878

    There is actually a defensible answer to that, but that’s not what I was saying.

    And before I elaborate on the rest of that post, please and this is my last request, keep your snark in your pocket. We can talk or you can flame, those are the choices.

    Now: You said “go hog wild” by which I take it that you mean, go ahead, burn more and more carbon, go and have your fun while we incinerate the planet.

    I paraphrase, with some color thrown in.

    No, I advocate no such thing. I simply say to the people who are trying to tell us what to do: Please stop lying about our ability to avoid catastrophic sea level rise. Let us know the real facts so we can make intelligent policy choices.

    I’ve been thinking about what some of those policy choices might be, and I have some, these are all on a national scale:

    1. Commit to building many more dams to trap rainwater. The future planet will have less snow but more rain. Spread out over a continent, we should be able to trap enough water to flourish.

    2. Create regulations for new building construction which mandate certain levels of energy efficiency. As a technology is demonstrated as cheap and effective, it becomes the minimum required standard for new construction.

    3. Create regulations for efficiency levels for all appliances. Again: as a technology becomes cheap and effective, it becomes the minimum standard. We are close enough at this point to, for example, ban fluorescent light bulbs.

    4. Encourage green growth, by which I mean trees and shrubbery, things which absorb a lot of heat and CO2, keeping the surrounding area cooler. As the planet warms, hot weather will get real hot, and shade will be important. We’re going to want mature trees, so we should start soon. I have no specific ideas for how to encourage this, but one example would be community planning boards insisting that new home developments and other parcels must preserve a certain amount of the trees present, or in cases where there are no trees, commit to planting a certain number.

    5. Create policies which move people away from coastlines. Declare “no new or replacement construction” policies within certain distances from the shore line. If this is done correctly, migration can be smoother.

    6. Of course, coastal cities are another story. A lot of study, planning, preparation and investment will be necessary to make sure that coastal cities can withstand sea level rise, which within 100 years could easily swamp them otherwise.

    These ideas will help get the ball rolling on the subject of how nations might spend their climate change dollars.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 Feb 2010 @ 6:25 PM

  886. Re: Item 1 above, my error. I meant “reservoirs”.

    Mea culpa.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 Feb 2010 @ 6:26 PM

  887. Item 3 above (having a good day, Walt?) I did of course mean, ban incandescent light bulbs.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 Feb 2010 @ 6:27 PM

  888. I took the time to catch up with Dr. Hansen’s latest public comments, at least as of last year, in this 1:22 video from a lecture he gave at OSU:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jarAWIGML5k

    And I will say that Dr. Hansen is closer than ever to admitting the actual state of affairs. Almost every comment he made was couched in pessimism (and I’m being called the no-hope voice lol) “if government policies don’t change.”

    In the Q&A segment he was asked why there is not a lot of talk about fee/rebate versus cap/trade when there seem to be so many advantages.

    Dr. Hansen said in so many words that cap/trade is a fraud, and that he asked Al Gore why he supports Waxman/Markey. According to Dr. Hansen, Gore said that the train had left the station, to which Dr. Hansen replied:

    “The problem is, the train that has left the station won’t work.”

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 Feb 2010 @ 8:19 PM

  889. 1) but we’re tearing down dams that were reservoirs that silted up already; recharging aquifers is more effective and being done already
    2) being done already
    3) being done already
    4) being done already
    5) being done already
    6) being done already

    Click a few of those links I suggested earlier.
    Good program. But do you have anything to suggest that’s new?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Feb 2010 @ 9:23 PM

  890. “Commit to building many more dams to trap rainwater. The future planet will have less snow but more rain. Spread out over a continent, we should be able to trap enough water to flourish.”

    Right, no one has thought of that here in California and the West. Only the Yellowstone River is not dammed now.

    Now all you need is to make Kansas attractive and move both coastal populations there. Sounds like fun. I realize yours is a work in progress, but anything is better than taxes to actually fix the carbon situation.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 13 Feb 2010 @ 10:24 PM

  891. Re: #889

    Hank,

    Please direct me to the federal programs which are actively pursuing the above.

    And if you do find them, then shame on them for burying these measures.

    And by all means, Hank, feel free to contribute your own ideas.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 14 Feb 2010 @ 2:31 AM

  892. Re: #890

    Mark,

    By now you know I meant reservoirs.

    Hanks seems to think we’re at full speed on all of these.

    I’d like to see a vast network of interconnected clean, fresh water reservoirs and transfer systems which can send water from where it falls to where its needed, and can help overflow from one reservoir fill up another that’s falling low.

    And no matter what anybody says, today as we speak most rainwater finds its way to the sea, as does most waste water.

    We can do a lot more to be self-sufficient hydrologically by the time the rivers run dry.

    Unless Hank wants to reveal the secret government program that’s already got that covered.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 14 Feb 2010 @ 2:34 AM

  893. And we’ve banned incandescent bulbs?

    ANOTHER thing I missed, evidently.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 14 Feb 2010 @ 2:35 AM

  894. Walt – see here re light bulbs. And for other measures you suggest, check around with local authorities, usually less influenced by lobbying than the feds – my local city bylaws include landscapeing requirements for new construction permits and prohibit the removal of trees until approved only because of safety considerations or disease – and we’re wrangling over metered water [user pay] right now, although [or because] our supply is from a snow capped glacier …. and all this in a temperate rain forest area – it all starts from the bottom

    Comment by flxible — 14 Feb 2010 @ 1:48 PM

  895. Walt: “To do that we must start with a correct description of the problem.”

    Feel free to start with one.

    You haven’t managed so far.

    This may help:

    http://www.ipcc.ch

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Feb 2010 @ 2:28 PM

  896. I’m a bit limited in my time to participate right now, but I want to say something on behalf of Walt. I do not see his posts as negative, once they are understood; nor do I see them as rants.

    He is simply saying that based on his understanding of the science and his observations of human nature and history, what we are trying now will not result in effective action until after it is too late to avoid disasterous consequences.

    His reference to interia is spot on. In the U.S., for example, with our current ideological polarization in government, and with the power of big money in governmental decisions, it is going to be very hard and time consuming to transform our energy infrastructure. And, as he observed, this is something Hansen understands perfectly and has commented on numerous times.

    I also agree that nations are going to approach the AGW problem independently, but with a measure of coordination and cooperation. Why? They do want to address the problem, but the relative national consequences of particular actions vary greatly from country to country. For example, I thought the response by China was understandable. For them, action to reduce greenhouse gases has buried within it the potential for dangerous social instability due to economic disruption. Where the danger frontiers lie, I do not know, but I am sure they are there.

    That is why I felt a peculiar hope about the outcome of Copenhagen. I am more confident about the outcomes produced by nations honestly doing as much as they can in whatever ways they can, than I am about outcomes produced by an agreement that virtually everyone has no serious intention of actually implementing. That is not cynical, but a judgement concerning the political realities. Once countries gain some experience with this, then they may be more inclined to commit to honest agreements.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 14 Feb 2010 @ 2:32 PM

  897. As a follow up to my comment about China, in spite of their refusal to commit to reduction targets, they are working furiously in implement solar and wind power, so much so that they have become the world’s largest producers of each. China’s highly educated (in science and engineering) leaders are well aware of the importance of addressing AGW, but in doing so they must weigh a delicate balance of social factors that they are not about to discuss with the rest of us.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 14 Feb 2010 @ 3:16 PM

  898. Walt Bennett — See the graphics in IPCC AR4 WG1 chapter 10 which prognosticates that while global precipitation may well increase, most of it falls into the oceans and the majority of the land dries up.

    I recommend (i) stop adding CO2 and (ii) removing much of the excess CO2.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 14 Feb 2010 @ 3:45 PM

  899. Ron,
    I understand Walt’s point. However, arguing that we must mitigate when there are no viable mitigation schemes at present doesn’t strike me as a winning hand.

    Of course we need efforts there–and in alternative energy, and in development and in conservation. And of course we cannot expect China and other developing countries to give up on coal until they have something better. My answer is to work with them to find something better. However, it all starts with conservation and conservation starts with a rational pricing structure for energy.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Feb 2010 @ 3:46 PM

  900. Re: #894

    flxible,

    Of course I’m aware that we sporadically and disjointedly address each of these things.

    My intent was to identify areas where a national commitment can help us prepare for the inevitable future of much higher sea levels, lower rivers, less snow, more rain and shifts in dry/wet regions.

    There is no such national commitment today no matter what Hank says, and that is because there is no national commitment to even a “future world” mindset, other than a vague awareness that oil will one day run out.

    I don’t know how a serious person can attempt to assert otherwise.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 14 Feb 2010 @ 3:59 PM

  901. Re: #895

    CU,

    The IPCC is so yesterday.

    That’s the point you have yet to grasp.

    Let me correct that: The science in IPCC is first rate. The solutions business side of IPCC and Copenhagen and so forth is a complete [edit]

    [Response: The IPCC had/has nothing to do with Copenhagen. Policies may be ineffectual, or incoherent or produce the opposite of what is intended – but whatever it is you wish to convey, I suggest you use more appropriate language. – gavin]

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 14 Feb 2010 @ 4:01 PM

  902. Ron: “As a follow up to my comment about China, in spite of their refusal to commit to reduction targets, ”

    Except they did.

    They stated that they would reduce CO2 per GDP. Since they make most of the western world’s heavy goods and being cheaper (and without those pesky labour laws that stop people being protected at work at the expense of their shareholder’s Beemer), they didn’t want the west dumping more on them and making China work twice as hard where they have now exported all their CO2 and can happily drive 10 litre hummers.

    All that was needed to ensure a real *absolute* reduction was to buy less from China.

    That is in the hands of… you.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Feb 2010 @ 4:06 PM

  903. Re: #896/897

    Ron,

    I appreciate, greatly, your effort to see my comments in a true light, as free of preconceived bias as possible. Would it only be that others would see the benefit of that effort.

    Eventually they will, but the majority of the gang in here serves as a proxy for the larger reality: They don’t want to know.

    And because they don’t want to know, guess what? They remain human pinballs, caught between advocates arguing about the science and dug-in politicians and their proxies, who are viciously determined to defend their turf, even at the expense of lying through their teeth.

    Acceleration is real, folks.

    If we stopped emitting CO2 TODAY, (a) CO2 would continue to rise from natural sources, a process which is accelerating and (b) the chemistry between the atmosphere and the top layer of the world ocean will see to it that levels do not sink in any period of time which matters to this discussion.

    Yes, Dr. Hansen may be able to envision an eventual stabilization at 350 ppm, but then he would have to address what the world will look like when that day comes, many many decades from now.

    That world will be much more heavily influenced by its own momentum than by anything that man can do.

    I know that Dr. Hansen knows that, but for whatever reason, he doesn’t mention it when discussing his reduction scenarios.

    An honest statement in that regard would sound something like this:

    “We can, through certain measures, reduce atmospheric CO2 over time. However, the planet will continue to warm for some period after that, and changes already underway will have to essentially complete before they can reverse, because of the enormous amounts of energy involved. Therefore, we will lose a lot of ice mass, we can’t say how much, and nations will need to address such consequences. It would benefit them to start soon.”

    See how that shifts the focus?

    Does that help explain why nobody’s saying it? That view currently fits no popular agenda. It does not fit the denier agenda – what, admit that the planet is warming?, nor does it fit the warmist agenda – what, admit that we can’t stop it?

    And here we are.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 14 Feb 2010 @ 4:10 PM

  904. Re: #859

    John,

    I apologize for missing that comment.

    Of course, you’re right. I was not as clear as I should have been.

    See, I am focused on two things: 1) CO2 emissions and 2) acceleration.

    See the years you mentioned? 2030, 2050? If I am correct that we are already past the point of no return, then those years are far, far too late.

    See above. I assert that acceleration is already unstoppable. I am looking for the specific reference, but I read last night that the scientist for the IPY project to analyze the Greenland ice sheet has determined that it is already lost.

    We have no idea about the time scales, of course, not today, and certainly a warmer planet will speed the acceleration, so we should do what we can to limit that warming. No argument.

    When I say “the needle hasn’t moved” I mean in the area where it matters: A global agreement to reduce CO2 emissions.

    Suppose I’m wrong about the point of no return. How wrong am I? Ten years at most?

    Even you don’t predict that we will be reducing CO2 emissions in ten years.

    Jim (Dr. Hansen) objects to me calling this a game, perhaps because he believes that it connotes something less than serious.

    If Jim cares about understanding my position, then he will have read enough of my posts to know that I am far from frivolous in my views. Completely out of step? Yes, today. But guess what? I am getting much more traction here these days than I did a year ago with essentially the same observations.

    Why? Well for one thing, Copnhagen came and went without a binding agreement (Good!) and for another, at least some among you are trying to stay rational and not just pick a leader to follow, no matter what they say.

    My two biggest heroes are Gore and Hansen, and look what’s become of them: Gore supports a fraudulent bill, and Dr. Hansen runs from his own empirical conclusions.

    Sometimes we have to show the leaders how to lead.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 14 Feb 2010 @ 4:35 PM

  905. WB: CO2 emissions, for the next couple of decades, will continue to increase… Somewhere in there it will flatten. Ten years? Maybe. Nothing has happened as fast as we would like, so my hedge is that it’s more like 20.

    BPL: Then we’re all screwed.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 14 Feb 2010 @ 4:39 PM

  906. “Acceleration is real, folks.”

    Decelleration is real too.

    US, UK and much of the western world have reduced CO2 production. One poster stated that the US are down on their 1991 levels.

    Acceleration is real and we’re accelerating back, folks.

    [Response: US numbers are much higher than their 1991 levels – where did that come from? (2009 was about 6% less than 2008, but 2007 was already 18% ahead of 1991 numbers) – gavin]

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Feb 2010 @ 4:40 PM

  907. Re: #891

    Gavin,

    I see them as twins, joined at the hip, especially politically.

    You cannot deny that IPCC has a political slant (leftward, obviously), as do the people who are trying to sell us on global treaties.

    I really don’t know how we can separate them. Would there be climate policy groups without the IPCC findings?

    And Gavin, I appreciate the couched language you use. See, I honestly pity you and others in the climate science world. I’m sure an anonymous poll would reveal a strong bias toward the opinion that we have passed the point of destabilization, throwing us into a wild new era of unknowns. I understand the enormous pressure you’re under to keep seeking “solution”. It’s far too political now, and that will only get worse.

    Let me ask you a question: Have models been run to identify a destabilization point? Can the question even be framed as something that can be modeled?

    If no/yes, would it make sense to see what we can learn there?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 14 Feb 2010 @ 4:42 PM

  908. Re: #891

    Gavin, why did you [edit]

    [Response: I do it to prevent conversations taking pointless detours (like this one) about language and tone. This is our forum, run our way. If you want something different, host it yourself. This is not up for discussion. – gavin]

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 14 Feb 2010 @ 4:46 PM

  909. PS Ron, does the statement from here

    http://www.desmogblog.com/china-gets-it-future-belongs-low-carbon-industries

    sound like it comes from a country that thinks that they have to burn fossil fuels?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Feb 2010 @ 4:51 PM

  910. “[Response: US numbers are much higher than their 1991 levels – where did that come from?”

    It was another poster on this thread. I’ll have to Ctrl-F to find it.

    #

    #
    859
    John E. Pearson says:
    13 February 2010 at 10:40 AM

    In 2008 US CO2 production was almost 3% below our 1991 CO2 production.

    [Response: Well, it’s not true as the EIA numbers strongly attest. – gavin]

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Feb 2010 @ 5:04 PM

  911. Re: #906

    CFU,

    Perhaps you misunderstood my use of the word “acceleration”.

    I was referring to the natural acceleration of a warming event. Dr. Hansen, for one, believes that we reach a point in a warming where the event must complete itself, in other words, little or no permanent ice.

    I agree and I believe we are past that point.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 14 Feb 2010 @ 5:04 PM

  912. “you now you know I meant reservoirs.”

    Exactly what is it that dams form behind them? Virtually everything is dammed and has reservoirs already. You have vast holes in your knowledge of current conditions. You may want to slow down before claiming to know what is to be done as long as it avoids taxes and real solutions.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 14 Feb 2010 @ 5:07 PM

  913. Re: #912

    Mark,

    Please avoid sweeping statements.

    I’m quite happy to have any of my suggestions improved upon, which would at a minimum require the other person to present me with some information.

    With regard to reservoirs, I don’t know why you consider it necessary to associate dams with reservoirs. As you surely know, there are many reservoirs which are not the result of dams.

    I never meant to use the word dams at all. It was a complete mistake, an accident.

    This is the third time I am saying this and I don’t like to waste everybody’s time doing that, so for the last time:

    The U.S. of the future will have less snow but more rain, and snow/glacier-based rivers will run low or run dry. Wet and dry regions will likely also shift, and the wet regions will likely get far more rainfall than they could, today, capture and preserve. Thus, in order to survive in that new world, we need a comprehensive national water management strategy which at a minimum improves on how much rainwater can be captured and preserved but which should also include dumping as little waste water as possible into streams and back out to sea (better to recycle and preserve it) as well as an integrated network to get water from where it falls to where its needed, and to replenish low supplies from over-supplied stocks.

    Now, can I make an easy million by betting that much that not you nor Hank nor anybody else can produce evidence that there is even a concerted effort to have that discussion, let alone actually taking steps in that direction?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 14 Feb 2010 @ 7:58 PM

  914. Re: #907

    Gavin,

    Did you see my question?:

    Have models been run to identify a destabilization point? Can the question even be framed as something that can be modeled?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 14 Feb 2010 @ 8:01 PM

  915. Re: #905

    Bart,

    Why are we all screwed?

    We can’t learn to adapt?

    What choice will we have?

    Let me propose this: Some will survive, some won’t. What will be the factors which determine who is who?

    I submit that one such factor will be how willing they were to face reality and make the wisest use of available information.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 14 Feb 2010 @ 8:06 PM

  916. CFU, I’m not sure why you conclude from your link that China feels it does not need to burn fossil fuels. It clearly recognizes that the future is in non-fossil energy sources, but it will burn fossil fuels during the transition of its energy system to the extent necessary to maintain civil order. That is a non-negotiable commitment of the Chinese government, and who could blame them?

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 14 Feb 2010 @ 9:17 PM

  917. > Please direct me to the federal programs which are actively pursuing the above.

    Did you yet read any of the links I gave? Walt, I only do homework help with a note from a teacher. You’ve been doing the “nobody but me knows what to do next” routine for many days here and never once commented on any of the things people have pointed to that are already accomplishing the things you seem to think you’re suggesting for the first time. You can look this stuff up if you bother. Then critique the efforts, don’t claim there’s nobody but you who imagines the need for such programs.

    One suggestion: Google: transformer energy efficiency DOE lawsuit

    Google (and Scholar) each of the suggestions you’ve made. Read what’s being done.
    Comment on what’s being done and how it can be improved. You might have a good idea.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Feb 2010 @ 9:29 PM

  918. 906: Gavin said “where did that come from” It came from me misreading. Sorry. We’re not below 1991 levels. 2008 was down 2.8% from 2007 and 2009 was down 6% from 2008, but as Gavin said we’re well above 1991 levels. The 2009 level will rise this year. Still I stand by my prediction that we’ll have 100GW of wind power capacity by the end of 2015. If that works out I still think we have a decent chance to be done with coal by 2050.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 14 Feb 2010 @ 10:27 PM

  919. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_reservoirs_and_dams_in_the_United_States

    “As you surely know, there are many reservoirs which are not the result of dams.”

    I’m just a simple fisheries biologist who surveyed a vast area of western national forest watersheds over the last 20 years, but where I come from in Maine, we call those lakes. Are you saying we should dig more lakes? Try to stay in your field, Walt, which according to your blog is avoiding taxes. It sure as hell isn’t watershed science or any other scientific discipline.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 14 Feb 2010 @ 11:10 PM

  920. Re: #917

    Hank,

    I got no links.

    My email: wbennettjr@yahoo.com

    Please stop trying to argue from authority.

    You know as well as I do that no such national effort is underway.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 14 Feb 2010 @ 11:47 PM

  921. Re: #917

    Hank,

    Doesn’t this:

    http://www.earthjustice.org/news/press/2009/distribution-transformers-get-energy-boost-from-u-s-doe.html

    make my point?

    Lets you and I take a step back and see what we agree on.

    We agree that energy efficiency slays more than one dragon, and that there is some low-hanging fruit.

    We agree that there are some good ideas out there which unfortunately encounter a lot of resistance.

    Now, some things I submit that we could agree on:

    There is no national commitment to specific targets for energy effiency.

    There is no coordinated national effort to plan for the eventual likely effects of persistent warming.

    I won’t ask you to agree with me regarding what time it is; I’ve made my argument, I can provide supporting documentation, we all have to decide what the information means to us.

    But my issue is this, sir: My “good idea” is to get us to a point where enough of us agree on what constitutes a “good idea” that we have a chance to get it done.

    I see no point in continuing to attempt this on an international scale. It amounts to fiddling while Rome burns. Rome is going to burn anyway, so we have to learn to live with the consequences.

    I do not dispute that you can find anecdotal evidence of good-faith efforts to accomplish some of these “green goals”. I would simply ask you to compare that with the ticking clock of AGW. I assume that you are at least as familiar with the science as I am, therefore you know about acceleration and some of what Hansen has said about it. You understand that CO2 will continue to rise, as will temperature, even after man stops adding to the atmospheric levels. You know it will be many decades, no matter how successful we are at reducing CO2 emissions, before AGW “turns around”, and I presume you know that the likelihood is that the even must complete before that can happen.

    My hedge against all of that is to plan for the consequences.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 14 Feb 2010 @ 11:56 PM

  922. “Perhaps you misunderstood my use of the word “acceleration”.”

    Probably did, but it was rather open to misunderstanding. You want to keep things short but that means you take out all the words that supply context.

    And by your avowed definition, then yes, but this is not news to the AGW science. Because over decade scales, CO2 has a cumulative effect.

    We are also out of equilibrium.

    Therefore, it has ALWAYS been known by the scientists that your “acceleration” exists.

    It’s one reason to start as soon as possible.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Feb 2010 @ 4:00 AM

  923. “916
    Ron Taylor says:
    14 February 2010 at 9:17 PM

    CFU, I’m not sure why you conclude from your link that China feels it does not need to burn fossil fuels.”

    I don’t get how you suggest otherwise.

    Unless you’re suggesting China doesn’t want to be a leader in the next stage of the world economic powers.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Feb 2010 @ 4:04 AM

  924. “Why are we all screwed?”

    Because in the case where you asserted we don’t change, we are screwed.

    “We can’t learn to adapt?”

    Because you put forward the case were you asserted we didn’t adapt (reducing CO2 emissions IS an adaption, or were you thinking of humans evolving gills?)

    “What choice will we have?”

    What choice do you have?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Feb 2010 @ 4:12 AM

  925. Last one for Walt B: Sorry if you object to my attribution of “rants” to you. I was using it good-humoredly. And, considering the number and volume of your comments, I thought accurately. I will desist.

    I skimmed rather fast over the weekend’s prose, but you were kind enough to pin down the bases of our disagreements at 12 February 2010 at 1:56 PM, with your statement that

    “If we are to believe the science, destabilization is already underway and are past the tipping point to prevent further destabilization.”

    This statement is unsupported to the point of utterly fatal weakness. It is grossly vague, and can’t have much force until tightened up, expanded upon, and so solidly supported in the peer-reviewed literature that there is hardly any oppostion. You can’t even come within shouting distance of doing that. Don’t even try. You’d have to write (or rather, respected authorities would have to write) an IPCC-style and IPCC-length review to make most of us believe that. Gimme a break. Preposterous, for at least the next several decades, and maybe for centuries. Making pessimistic statements out of your own predilections is one thing, but reading them is getting boring. My engagement with you is over until you contribute a new thought. Have the last word if you wish, be my guest.

    Comment by Ric Merritt — 15 Feb 2010 @ 12:52 PM

  926. Re: #922

    CFU,

    You wrote: “It’s one reason to start as soon as possible.”

    We would have to have a longer discussion about what that sentence implies.

    To me it implies that we just haven’t tried hard enough to convince people, that somehow the effort is lacking.

    But do you honestly believe that?

    I don’t know how long you’ve been involved in the “AGW debate”. For me it’s not that long, 3+ years, but in just that time I’ve had an incredible arc in my reaction to denialist positions.

    At first I thought they were just confused. That didn’t last long. I soon found out that they were dug in and that they had some prominent scientists on their side. Warmists were already quite busy attempting to undermine the validity of these scientists.

    I’ll gloss over the back and forth; presumably you are quite familiar with it yourself.

    Unfortunately, one inescapable conclusion I have reached at this point is that the denialist position is highly adaptable and probably undefeatable, for several reasons:

    1. AGW takes a long, long time to kick into a gear that will stir a conscious response;

    2. Annual variability means that we will, on a regular basis have unusual “cold” events, which will serve to undermine the message;

    3. AGW science is of course a pursuit of knowledge which will never be complete; the denialist camp has become expert at turning this uncertainty and replacing of older information with new into spin which declares: “They just don’t know, and they’re asking us to bet the future on it.”

    To that last point you would probably say: “It’s the uncertainty that makes it important to act as soon as possible.”

    Which they bat down dismissively. There are more important short term problems to deal with, they say.

    The point being: A large chunk of the public responds positively to those messages.

    And keep in mind: A lot of people just don’t trust the government. I could give you solid reasons why Dr. Hansens’ favored approach, fee/rebate, could almost certainly never happen in the U.S. Short version: It would be seen by some as another massive government program. There is enough resistance to such things in American politics to, at minimum, stall it for the foreseeable future.

    The denialist intent has been to stall. Stalling has always been the enemy of nipping this in the bud.

    And that’s where we are, I think you’d have to agree.

    By now you know why I stand where I do. I take it that you still disagree, and I have accepted the responsibility to develop my position more thoroughly.

    When I have that done I will post it online and let you and others know where to find it.

    I don’t want anybody to think that I am simply making wild accusations in order to be “different”.

    Nothing could be less true. I had to be pried off of the AGW bandwagon, and it was the evidence that finally did it.

    I owe it to the group to present that evidence, and I will, soon.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 15 Feb 2010 @ 12:58 PM

  927. Re: #924

    CFU,

    Certainly some of us are screwed. That’s inescapable. There will be disruption. It will mostly be slow, but specific events will lead to mass displacements.

    By “slow” I mean: slow enough to adapt to.

    But I absolutely do not believe that we are all screwed. I believe there will be survivors, and those people will be highly adaptable. Of course there will be massive loss of life in the interim, not purely from climate but from the wars which will no doubt be necessary to prune the human herd enough to survive on the remaining resources.

    But then what will happen? The tundra of the north will prove habitable, opening up new land for development and cultivation. What is now white, then brown will eventually be green, and become a net CO2 sink. Man will be “reborn” after his near-death.

    None of it avoidable. If it wasn’t climate change it would be overpopulation, or religious intolerance, or two nations mad enough to hurl nukes at each other.

    Small, adept, adaptable beings survive extinction events. Large, high-maintenance, slow-to-adapt creatures perish.

    Humans occupy both ends of that spectrum.

    Now, we can get weepy and talk about the victims who did nothing wrong, did not leave a large carbon footprint but are left to pay the price.

    And do you know why that is? Because they were weak. They lacked the power to form a constituency which could protect their interests.

    That, sadly or not, is how life works.

    So, framing the AGW debate in terms of “saving the innocent” is, to me, just one more lie. The “innocent” are “the powerless” and they are powerless for a reason.

    Now, the next step would be to assert that it is our human duty to look after the powerless.

    That’s a discussion worth having.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 15 Feb 2010 @ 1:25 PM

  928. Re: #925

    Ric,

    I understand the gauntlet you are throwing down.

    I accept.

    I believe that recent scientific observations are clear that ice mass loss is accelerating rapidly. There is a certain amount of energy implied in that process. It would take a certain amount of energy to reverse that process. It does not need much more external energy in order to complete itself.

    I believe that much of the above can be quantified based on recent observations and assessments.

    I also believe there are many previous efforts to determine how ice sheets break up, including by Dr. Hansen, which predicted as much: The process will start slow and pick up speed; past a certain point, the event must complete itself (notwithstanding an enormous offsetting force, which is absolutely unimaginable).

    I absolutely believe that a strong case can be made that the acceleration can no longer be stopped.

    I intend to make that case.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 15 Feb 2010 @ 3:17 PM

  929. Re: #925

    Ric’s somewhat ad-hom, informationless comment did accomplish one thing that can be put to use:

    We get to look at how warmists like to have it both ways.

    Ric says that we need to “prove” that we are past the tipping point for unstoppable acceleration of ice mass loss. In other words, visual evidence, something undeniable. He refuses to accept acceleration any other way.

    And yet, what about AGW itself? We are told, over and over, that by the time we “see” proof it will be too late to stop it. Ric has no trouble accepting that premise on faith. He accepts, as do I, that waiting until we see and feel the effects at such a level that it is no longer deniable, will be far too late.

    Yet he demands visual proof that we are past the tipping point. In this regard, solid science is not enough. In this regard, there is all sorts of room for doubt.

    SO, what we’re certain of and uncertain of would seem to depend on what preconceived outcome we prefer.

    Food for thought.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 15 Feb 2010 @ 3:26 PM

  930. As for me, I am checking out of this discussion at this point.

    You will hear from me next when I have a detailed presentation ready, at which time I will gladly