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  1. I’m curious — what does long-term paleo evidence say about gamma? It seems to me that during glacial cycles, global T changes about 5 – 6 deg.C while global CO2 changes about 100 – 120 ppm, implying gamma is about 20 ppm/deg.C. Is this too simplistic?

    Comment by tamino — 6 Feb 2010 @ 10:58 AM

  2. Can’t you estimate this feeback by looking at the last glacial? Temperatures were about 6°C lower and CO2 leves was 180 ppm. To the interglacial tenperature rose and CO2 too (280 ppm). That estimate would give ~15 ppm/°C. Or is this too simple?

    Comment by Bobo — 6 Feb 2010 @ 11:15 AM

  3. Can someone point me to a somewhat nontechnical explanation of gamma? Thanks. I’m also curious about this statement from the article: “Still, based on these low estimates of gamma, the authors suggest that surprises over the next century may be unlikely.” What surprises are they talking about.

    Comment by Charlie Laurel — 6 Feb 2010 @ 11:28 AM

  4. The CO2 increase between 1760 and 1850 isn’t correlated with temperature.
    But, is’nt there, already, an anthropogenic CO2 (the beginning of industrial era)?
    So, in consequence, isn’t there a bias, or is it accounted, in this study?

    Comment by meteor — 6 Feb 2010 @ 11:37 AM

  5. Thank you for the excellent write up, Gavin. May I ask: did the models used to produce AR4 all include interactive carbon? Or, to put this another way: if gamma is indeed 10ppm per degree C, would that have much effect on the ensemble mean temperature projections given in AR4 for 2100?

    Comment by jack kelly — 6 Feb 2010 @ 12:00 PM

  6. Longer term feedbacks include melting of glaciers, sea ice, ice shelves, ice caps and changes in vegetation. Each of these have their own characteristic feedback sensitivity and response rates.

    During the period 1050 to 1800, there were considerably more ice shelves in the Northern Hemisphere than there are now. So, what ever influence NH ice shelves had on gamma will no longer be a factor in the future.

    Likewise, some day (perhaps soon) the same will be said about Northern Hemisphere sea ice.

    Comment by Andrew Xnn — 6 Feb 2010 @ 12:20 PM

  7. Hi Gavin

    Thanks. When I read this paper, the question that came to mind is that these results are for 275 to 285 ppmV and a narrow range of temperature as well. Would you expect them to be relevant to much higher levels of atmospheric carbon and temperature? Would carbon sources like permafrost and methane hydrates have been affected in some linear way?

    best regards

    Tony

    Comment by Tony Noerpel — 6 Feb 2010 @ 12:55 PM

  8. On another tack I’ll recommend any of the articles at The Oil Drum documenting the status of coal reserves, such as this one, from 2007: COAL – The Roundup

    2. The Future of Coal, a study by B. Kavalov and S. D. Peteves of the Institute for Energy (IFE), prepared for European Commission Joint Research Centre
    Read the report (PDF, 1.7 MB, 52 pp).

    The report identifies three trends:

    * Proved reserves are decreasing fast – unlike oil and gas.
    * Bulk of coal production is concentrated within a few countries.
    * Coal production cost are rising all over the world.

    The following observations are also made:

    * Hard coal in the EU is largely depleted.
    * Six countries (USA, China, India, Russia, South Africa, Australia) hold 84% of world hard coal reserves. Four out of these six (USA, Russia, China, Australia) also account for 78% of world brown coal reserves.
    * Growth in consumption has not been matched by increasing reserves leading to falling R/P ratios.
    * Poor investment over the past 10-15 years.
    * The USA and China — former large net exporters — are gradually turning into large net importers with an enormous potential demand, leaving Australia as the “ultimate global supplier of coal”. However all of Australia’s steam coal exports equal to only 5% of Chinese steam coal consumption.

    Another excellent article was Richard Heinberg’s Coal in the United States, which was later expanded into an excellent book, Blackout, covering the status of coal reserves worldwide. None of this is to say that ample reserves of coal exist to continue extraction for decades, but the more extreme scenarios formulated by the IEA and utilized by the IPCC deserve much closer scrutiny than the eternally optimistic numbers government agencies give them.

    Comment by KLR — 6 Feb 2010 @ 1:10 PM

  9. Very interesting summary, Jim; thanks.
    Can someone who has a subscription to Nature identify the data sets shown in the temperature anomaly chart in Figure 1?

    Comment by Don Shor — 6 Feb 2010 @ 1:13 PM

  10. The above says that sensitivity is MUCH higher than previously thought. It is degrees per 10 ppm rather than degrees per doubling. Am I right or did I miss something?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 6 Feb 2010 @ 1:18 PM

  11. Thanks for this. Two questions:

    First, if we use these low values of Gamma, can Earth escape an ice age?

    [Response: Good question. Don't know but I much doubt it. Hope people start discussing that. Jim]

    Second, using meatball physics, there should be absolute temperature thresholds at which Gamma takes a step e.g. changes in ocean pH changing the solubility of CO2, letting methane hydrates loose assuming the time resolution here is long enough that the CH4 oxidizes just to name two.

    [Response: meatball physics? :)]

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 6 Feb 2010 @ 1:40 PM

  12. Are they only finding the natural amplification of CO2 and thus NOT the sensitivity? I read the abstract at Nature, but I don’t have access to the whole article. Gavin, please clarify.
    If they are finding only the amplification, they have omitted the ocean bottom clathrates and the tundra peat bogs. The amplification only applies to a narrow range of temperature and CO2. Am I reading it correctly now?
    So how does the article help us predict what comes next in our current situation?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 6 Feb 2010 @ 1:42 PM

  13. The Death of Global Warming
    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2010/02/01/the-death-of-global-warming/

    Science is losing the battle…….

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 6 Feb 2010 @ 1:48 PM

  14. With regards to the paragraph

    “One such involved the analysis of time lags. The authors found that in 98.5% of their regressions, CO2 lagged temperature… these results from the past millennium support the usual interpretation of the ice core record over the later Pleistocene, in which CO2 acts as a feedback to temperature changes initiated by orbital forcings.”

    Based upon analysis of current orbital forcings, can this be substantiated? I mean does the beginning of the current warming fit into the cyclical pattern determined from milankovich cycles? If this is the case, then at what point can we really differentiate orbital forcings from CO2 forcings with regards to the most recent warming. Particularly with evidence of a 1000 year warming cycle evidenced in Viau et al. (2006) also being superimposed on this. (yes its pollen records but the analysis is quite robust and involves quite a significant amount of proxies)

    Comment by Robert W — 6 Feb 2010 @ 2:11 PM

  15. I have questions :-)
    1. Any idea why the “gamma lag” in the last millennium would be 80 years while the gamma lag coming out of a glacial period is 800?
    2. Given that 80 years is long relative to the fast temperature feedbacks, does the definition of gamma include those feedbacks? In other words, suppose that over some time period >>80 years, temperature goes up 1C while CO2 goes up 20ppmv … but assuming a sensitivity of 3C and that the 20ppm was from 280 to 300, then the 20ppm was responsible for 0.45C of the warming itself … so is gamma 20, or is gamma 20/.55 = 36? I’m guessing that the definition includes feedbacks (so gamma is 20) because the definition of sensitivity includes feedbacks and taking the feedback out involves more uncertainty.
    3. If gamma does include feedbacks, then don’t we already have a pretty well constrained estimate of gamma from the glacial/interglacial ice cores – something like 100ppmv over 6-8C, so gamma is around 14? I realize that’s in a different regime from the present, and the temperature changes include slower feedbacks, but it seems like the logic should hold, unless there is a “phase change” to the behavior of the carbon cycle around current temperatures.
    Thanks!

    Comment by GFW — 6 Feb 2010 @ 2:23 PM

  16. I’m not convinced this article is particularly helpful in considering future CO2 feedbacks:

    (i) There’s a little bit of a strawman feel to it. A couple of previous papers suggesting large carbon cycle feedbacks are used as a justification for re-stating what we really knew already, namely that the historical CO2-response to warming is positive but likely less than 20 ppm per oC of earth temperature rise. That’s consistent with the glacial interglacial response (around 90 ppm of CO2 release per 5/6 oC of warming; i.e. ~ 15-18 ppm/oC), and with previous estimates from analysis of the last millennium of a CO2 response of ~ 12 ppm/oC:

    Gerber S et al. (2003) Constraining temperature variations over the last millennium by comparing simulated and observed atmospheric CO2 Climate Dynamics 20, 281-299

    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~mann/shared/articles/GerberClimDyn03.pdf

    (ii) I can’t find any indication in the paper of the timescales of these feedbacks. Are these equilibrium feedbacks (as expected for the very long term response during glacial-interglacial cycles)? Or are these transient feedbacks that apply on short timescales (decadal; multidecadal?).

    (iii) They address the question within a very narrow set of boundary conditions (in the period 1050-1800 AD) encompassing slow global temperature variations encompassing around 0.5 oC of total temperature variation across many centuries. Surely the concern for the future is the carbon cycle response to fast temperature variations encompassing potentially several oC of warming.

    Comment by chris — 6 Feb 2010 @ 2:45 PM

  17. Here’s Friedlingstein 2006:

    http://eric.exeter.ac.uk/exeter/bitstream/10036/68733/1/Model%20Intercomparison.pdf

    All models simulated a negative sensitivity for both the land and the ocean carbon cycle to future climate. However, there was still a large uncertainty on the magnitude of these sensitivities. Eight models attributed most of the changes to the land, while three attributed it to the ocean. Also, a majority of the models located the reduction of land carbon uptake in the Tropics. However, the attribution of the land sensitivity to changes in net primary productivity versus changes in respiration is still subject to debate; no consensus emerged among the models.

    These ecological models are all over the place, in other words (giving response factors between 20-200 ppm over one century) – and they are awfully complex, while also lacking key elements – It’s hard to include the nitrogen cycle, for example, which can have impacts on the carbon cycle (due to nutrient limitation issues). The climate models seem far more robust.

    What also makes the approach seem somewhat curious is that the CO2 changes over the time period 1080-1800 are very small, as are the temperature changes – so you’re trying to calibrate using conditions that are very different from expected future conditions. Major factors could be ignored – i.e. the models could suffer from systematic biases.

    The main issue is that the permafrost was stable over that period, but that’s no longer the case:

    Zimov et al. 2006 Permafrost and the Global Carbon Budget Science (pdf)

    Look at the accounting – if CO2 went from 360 gigatons at the last glacial maximum, to 560 Gt before 1800, to around 740 Gt today – and if the yedoma permafrost contains about 500 Gt, as estimates go, then clearly even partial transfer of that carbon to the atmosphere could have some large effects.

    If these rates are sustained in the long term, as field observations suggest, then most carbon in recently thawed yedoma will be released within a century – a striking contrast to the preservation of carbon for tens of thousands of years when frozen in permafrost.

    That seems to give a CO2 sensitivity well above any previous coupled model estimation, doesn’t it? Notice that polar amplification trends will result in temperature responses well above 1.5C /century.

    It’s hard to tell from the abstract, but this current Nature paper seems to neglect permafrost emissions. There’s even an additional uncertainty – will permafrost emissions be dominated by methane or by carbon dioxide? That could also be a critical factor.

    If they left out the permafrost, it’s likely not a very good prediction.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 6 Feb 2010 @ 2:48 PM

  18. Most clear, thank you!

    Comment by David B. Benson — 6 Feb 2010 @ 3:05 PM

  19. Interesting contribution and caveats in the analysis. The main of the statistical argument seems to assume the biogeochemical cycles of the photosynthetic plankton hold consistent even under the onslaught of the massive pulse of atmospheric carbon; near certain ensuing effects, such as ocean acidification, await. As a specific concern, wouldn’t one encounter (unpredictable) non-linear macro-ecological responses of the Earth carbon cycle to arise at some point if we continue atmospheric carbon release?

    Comment by Jim Redden — 6 Feb 2010 @ 4:12 PM

  20. What is the state of knowledge of the carbon cycle particularly on the biological side of things? Any studies come out since the latest IPCC?

    Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 6 Feb 2010 @ 5:01 PM

  21. What is the state of knowledge of the carbon cycle particularly on the biological side of things? Any studies come out since the latest IPCC report?

    Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 6 Feb 2010 @ 5:02 PM

  22. 17 Ike Solem: What is yedoma?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 6 Feb 2010 @ 5:13 PM

  23. Is there an explanation for the drop around 1500?

    Comment by evagrius — 6 Feb 2010 @ 5:13 PM

  24. Vendicar, global warming is not dead. Why? Because within the next five years we will see:

    1) A new global maximum temperature anomaly,
    2) A new minimum Artic sea ice extent, and
    3) A rapid and accelerating disintegreation of the Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers in Antarctica, among other things.

    Okay, my judgement, but I would bet money on two out of three.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 6 Feb 2010 @ 5:26 PM

  25. Edward Greisch (10) — Read again. Gamma is in units of ppm/K. Makes no difference to equilibrium climate sensitivity.

    Various commenters —
    The long lags of CO2 after temperature seen at the end of LGM do not appear to be the same at the beginning of every interglacial; consider especially the beginning of the one in MIS 11, the prior integlacial most similar in orbital forcing to the Holocene. I, in my amateur way, attribute the long lag measured at the end of lGM as being due to the expressed CO2 from the warming oceans being snatched up immediately by growing vegitation.

    I take the approximately 10 ppm/K as being in fairly decent agreement with the LGM to Holocene transition, once the positive feedback of CO2 upon temperature is taken into account; for that interval of time one has to solve the entire feedback equation.

    This estimate of gamma certainly takes almost none of the potential methane releases into account. It does take some because there is evidence of fairly recent and continuing methyl clathrate blowouts which are presumably due to the continued warming of the oceans now that the glacial is over. Rmember, all that water takes a long time to warm up.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 6 Feb 2010 @ 5:35 PM

  26. I have a bunch of questions:

    1) You say in paragraph 2:

    “Values of gamma are typically positive in these studies (i.e. increased T => increased CO2).”

    This is a bit confusing. When you say ‘value is positive’, do you imply they are >0 (zero), or are you referring to absolute values?

    For example, in a cooling period, gamma is high, but its ‘sign’ is negative, (i.e. reducing temperature => rapidly falling CO2).

    I do understand that if one considers the whole preindustrial millenium, gamma values are positive (>0) overall.

    Great post!

    Regards
    Anand

    Comment by Anand — 6 Feb 2010 @ 5:47 PM

  27. Minor typo: “methodologicalvariables”.

    KLR #8: in Australia, the coal industry with government backing is aiming for a rapid expansion in production and exports, with plans for new mega-mines; on project alone will add more than 10% to Australia’s output. Given the Australian federal and Queensland state governments claim they aren’t climate change deniers, I wonder what they think they actually are.

    With contributions like that to the forcing, you wonder how vital it is to fine-tune our understanding of the feedbacks.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 6 Feb 2010 @ 6:02 PM

  28. “It’s hard to tell from the abstract, but this current Nature paper seems to neglect permafrost emissions.”

    It doesn’t consider any sources at all Ike; it’s not a mechanistic paper (no physics, geology, biology, ecology). It’s a statistical comparison between two groups of published time series data – proxy temperature reconstructions (which they recalibrate) and ice core CO2 concentrations. They actually just divide the second by the first (with an 80 year lag), average the result over a couple of different time intervals and call that their gamma. They crunch the numbers using monte carlo simulation, though, oddly, they don’t call it that. Hence the probability distribution output.

    Comment by GlenFergus — 6 Feb 2010 @ 6:08 PM

  29. RE Don Shor

    Can someone who has a subscription to Nature identify the data sets shown in the temperature anomaly chart in Figure 1?

    Don, it turns out that the reconstructions are in the SI, which is freely available. Of course, without the article, you would not have known that. ;-)

    Figure S1 shows: Jones 1998, Briffa 2000, MannJones 2003, Moberg 2005, D’Arrigo 2006, Hegerl 2007, Frank 2007, Juckes 2007, Mann 2008.

    Comment by Deech56 — 6 Feb 2010 @ 6:14 PM

  30. Excellent analysis, Gavin, and thank you much for focusing on the interpretation of the science (as always) of how it helps us to understand the system, rather than getting caught up in the numbers.

    I’m a numbers guy, though, so I tried to put together an equation / graph that would represent what this means, in a quantitative sense, to the climate.

    CO2 Feedback Miscalculation Graph

    What I basically did was to say, okay, if we see 3C from a doubling in CO2, we started at 280 ppm as the norm, and we’re up to 387.5 ppm now (2010), then we’ve already committed to a temperature increase of log(387.5/280) * 0.996 (last factor is from k[log(2)]=3C, hence k=0.996).

    [Response: Something's not seeming right here. First it should be natural logs, not base 10 logs. The summary forcing equation for CO2 is RF = 5.35*ln(C2/C1), or 3.71 W/sq m, where C2 and C1 are the ending and beginning CO2 concentrations respectively. Assuming an equlibrium (fast feedback only) climate sensitivity of 3C, this gives an equilibrium temperature change due to changes so far, of T = (3/3.71)*5.35*ln(387.5/280) = 1.41 deg C. Not all of this has been realized yet of course--Jim
    see http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/08/the-co2-problem-in-6-easy-steps/

    I'm presuming that the 3C/doubling number is based on models which already assumed some degree of CO2 feedback (in whatever fashion, either by just including it outright, or by modeling in specific events like the eventual mutation of some percentage of forests into savannas at certain tipping points, or whatever).

    [Response: I don't know that the models do (or don't, some may now), but the empirical estimates from the end of the Pleistocene almost certainly include some terrestrial and oceanic feedbacks--Jim]

    I presumed a constant rate of anthropogenic CO2 increase equal to the average of the last 10 years (1.953 ppm/year).

    [Response: 1.87 is what I get, using Mauna Loa from 1998 to 2008, but close enough--Jim]

    I also presumed that we have not yet seen any CO2 feedback as a result of warming to date (i.e. that it’s too soon in the cycle, and, as Gavin pointed out in his opening paragraph, CO2 feedback would be relatively slow).

    [Response: Possible rub there, see below

    With this, then, we can compute a new ultimate temperature increase, for each year that we continue to add 1.953 ppm CO2, by adding more or less CO2 feedback to the equation than was originally presumed. Note that while the equation appears to be adding or subtracting CO2, that's not really what's happening. It's simply adding/subtracting the warming that would have resulted from changing the CO2 feedback -- CO2 itself is not actually being increased or reduced, per se.

    I included a case where the models are accurate (pure 3C/doubling) and so there is a 0 ppm/C adjustment (black), where the models underestimated CO2 feedback by 7 ppm/C (blue), and cases where they overestimated CO2 feedback by 7 ppm/C, 14 ppm/C, 21 ppm/C, and 28 ppm/C (cyan, green, orange, red). I had originally graphed lines for having underestimated CO2 feedback by 14 ppm/C, 21 ppm/C and 28 ppm/C, but they were too depressing to look at.

    Did I make any mistakes? Is my logic (and end result) sound?

    [Response:OK, I see from below that you did come up with 1.4 somehow, just via a different route, so OK there. Everything seems fine except one: your graph lines don't take into account that there has already been some (unknown) degree of cc feedback contribution. But, even if we take the authors' mean estimate of 10.2 ppm/degree (or any other value), we don't know the lag time that the feedback is operating on (only that it's something 80 or less). If it's 80, the cc feedback to date is negligible, but if it's 10, it's potentially much more substantial. Therefore it's hard to know whether your graph lines are in the right place, or need to be shifted (to the left). And of course the issue of leaving out the higher possible feedback rates. This points up another reason why I wish the authors had included the details on the observed time lags--important info it seems to me--Jim]

    Quick note: The graph does not show actual temperature increases. Obviously we haven’t already warmed the planet by 1.4C as of 2010. The graph shows what the eventual, inevitable increase will be based on the “setting of the CO2 dial,” i.e. based on how much we have already added and may continue to add in anthro CO2. Hence, the intersection of the black line at 1.4C at 2010 isn’t saying we’ve warmed by that much already. It’s just saying that, no matter what we do from here on out, that’s how much we will warm once all of the feedbacks play out (and therefore the label “Committed Temperature Increase”).

    Correspondingly, moving forward in time, it suggests that the current 3C/doubling number will see us committed to a 2C increase by 2039… or sooner or later, if the CO2 feedback is more or less than expected.

    Comment by Bob — 6 Feb 2010 @ 6:19 PM

  31. Type in the previous post, although the graph is correct. k=9.996 (not 0.996).

    Comment by Bob — 6 Feb 2010 @ 6:22 PM

  32. It’ll be really great to see this technique refined and improved, it seems as though it has some genuine promise for refining “our” predictive abilities, if my woefully amateurish reading of it is somewhat on the mark.

    An exceptionally nice writeup by Gavin, by the way. You should get a special medal for phlegmatically plowing forward despite all. Thank you.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 6 Feb 2010 @ 7:12 PM

  33. Robert W, Based on Milankovitch cycles, we ought to be cooling now. However, such cycles are not the only things that can cause temperature to change. Insolation can change or volcanism can change the amount of light that reaches the surface.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Feb 2010 @ 8:32 PM

  34. #1, #2

    Another possibility is that the value you are using for the temperature change is too low; if delta_T = 10C, one obtains gamma = 10 ppm/deg_C, which is in good agreement with the result described in the post.

    Comment by Jerry Steffens — 6 Feb 2010 @ 8:38 PM

  35. There seems to be some misunderstanding regarding what the authors did, relative to the time scales of various feedbacks. Perhaps I failed to make this clear.

    The authors were trying to provide estimates of gamma over policy relevant timespans–the next several decades to a century. This is clear both from their opening sentence, and from details of their study methods. I assume this is why they limited the evaluation of time lags to +/- 80 years.

    Several mentioned the estimates from the Pleistocene. The authors are aware of the use of Pleistocene-based estimates of gamma. But the range of timescales involved there are different, and so there is potential for confounding by mulitple, simultaneous variations in other factors–e.g. albedo and ice-free land area for starters. Of course there is potential for confounding in their empirical estimates also, but by fewer factors, and they tried to control for the (likely) most important one: land cover changes.

    The main point though, to me, goes along the lines Ike Solem discusses.

    Charlie: They mean unexpectedly high increases in atmospheric CO2, in response to high feedback rates.

    Edward: You have the sensitivity idea reversed. This is the sensitivity of CO2 to T, not T to CO2. Not sure what you have in mind re amplification vs feedback. The study makes no attempt to discriminate pathways/mechanisms.

    Robert: The point on the orbital forcing example was simply that CO2 can lag temperature, not that the current warming is forced in any way by orbital factors (it’s not). Orbital forcings are very predictable.

    GFW: (1) policy relevant scales (see above). The 80 years was not a finding of the study, but simply the limits of the explored time lags. (2) Yes, it does include them. It would implicitly include any T feedbacks operating over the scales that the individual regressions were performed over–which ranged up to several centuries. Gamma would be 20 in your example.

    Chris: (1) I understand your point but I think the strawman idea is wrong. Testing existing parameter estimates using different methods, and/or over different time or space scales, is a big and important part of validation in science. If their values are in line with pleistocene based estimates, that’s important information. Also, a major point of the paper is to account for the uncertainty in the reconstructed T record since 1050–that’s new (2) no, they are transient–they have to be, given that there’s no way to control an empirical estimate and thus run it out to equilibrium. (3) yes, I made that point in the article.

    Ike: This is exactly the type of discussion I was hoping would result when I talked about no-analogue states and models vs empiricism.

    The fact that we do not now have the forest land area buffer–the potential forest area uncovered by ice during deglaciations–is another major difference from the pleistocene warmings. Nor do we have anywhere near a full handle on the global ecosystem productivity response to current and future temperatures. You mention N but an even bigger one is precipitation and humidity patterns.

    Jim Redden: A critical question indeed.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 6 Feb 2010 @ 9:17 PM

  36. I’d expect some genes in the ocean biota remain at low levels from previous times when there have been rapid changes, and may be favored in the current rapid change. looking:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=evolution+coccolithophores

    turns up for example
    http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/bookaudience.cws_home/712230/description
    particularly Ch. 12, “Origin and evolution of coccolithophores: from coastal hunters to oceanic farmers.”– they’re still out there in the oceans, threatened by pH change, but I’d think with some genetic equipment that will handle rapid changes since they evolved in similar situations.

    Wild speculation of course on my part.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Feb 2010 @ 9:57 PM

  37. Another good one:
    http://www.cprm.gov.br/33IGC/1349196.html
    Evolution of coccolithophores: Tiny algae tell big tales

    “… Coccolithophores, a group of calcifying unicellular algae, constitute a major fraction of oceanic primary productivity, and generate a continuous rain of calcium carbonate (in the form of coccoliths) to the seafloor. Hence, they play an important role in the global carbon cycle, representing natural feedbacks in the climate system. Coccolithophores are a crucial biological group subjected to present-day climate change and ocean acidification due to oceanic uptake of excess atmospheric CO2. It is not known to what extent the natural populations can acclimatize or adapt to these changes, nor how their natural feedback mechanisms will operate in future. However, we can learn valuable lessons from their past and present-day behavior: Coccolithophore evolutionary rates are fast, with a fossil record dating back to 220 million years. Their global and abundant fossil occurrences in deep-sea sediments provide detailed records of plankton evolution that can be readily compared to proxy records of past ocean environmental parameters. In addition, cultivation of extant species of coccolithophore can inform us how modern calcifiers respond to different experimental physico-chemical conditions, and what factors are pivotal to sustain algal growth and biocalcification. Intriguingly, distinct responses between different modern species could relate to variable evolutionary adaptation strategies of their Cenozoic ancestors.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Feb 2010 @ 10:06 PM

  38. Guest Commentary by Jim Bouldin (UC Davis):

    Excellent explanatory review.

    Thanks, Steve.

    Comment by Steve Fish — 6 Feb 2010 @ 10:33 PM

  39. Yedoma – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Yedoma is an organic-rich (about 2% carbon by mass) Pleistocene-age loess permafrost with ice content of 50–90% by volume. The amount of carbon trapped in …
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yedoma
    ——-
    If you invert gamma, you get a sensitivity of at least 1 degree C per 10 ppm, which would have given us 10 degrees C between 280 and 380 ppm. That didn’t happen. I think the take-home message is that Mother Nature doesn’t sit still for tickling, not even a little bit of tickling. If you add a little CO2, Nature is going to react to it somehow; probably by raising the temperature and then adding more CO2, etc. Since Nature has all of the cards, it is not clever for humans to play the game.

    Surprises unlikely? I don’t agree. Jim Bouldin is in a “Black Swan” situation. See the book by that name.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 6 Feb 2010 @ 10:43 PM

  40. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=defusing-the-methane-time-bomb

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Feb 2010 @ 11:07 PM

  41. Oh, brother, I failed to notice the author of this. Gavin’s articles are -always- great, of course, and Jim Bouldin did a great job with this one. Am I digging fast enough?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Feb 2010 @ 3:00 AM

  42. Gavin, please go over why there are 2 distributions for 2 time periods. What happened in 1550 that made the distribution change?

    The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
    By Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
    Like the turkey who thinks that the human farmer is benevolent for 1000 days, then comes Thanksgiving; economists have been fooled by their own statistical analysis.
    “[T]he authors suggest that surprises over the next century may be unlikely.” Sorry Gavin, I just don’t understand Jim Bouldin’s reasoning on this one. Could you elaborate? I think we have already identified some “black swans,” such as Yedoma, clathrates, tundra peat bogs and melting Arctic ice.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 7 Feb 2010 @ 3:04 AM

  43. As a naive guess, it seems unlikely that gamma would be linear over large temperature swings simply because of increasing areas of carbon stores becoming ‘unfrozen’ as ice-covered land and sea reduces (eg permafrost / clathrates).

    Comment by William T — 7 Feb 2010 @ 3:32 AM

  44. 16 Chris: Cites a paper that says: “Simulations with natural forcings only suggest that atmospheric CO2 would have remained around the preindustrial concentration of 280 ppm without anthropogenic emissions.”

    THAT is a reasonable conclusion from Jim Bouldin’s paper. Without people burning fossil fuels, the present CO2 concentration of 387 ppm and 455 ppm equivalent would not have happened. It is worth testing the proposition that the extra greenhouse gas is indeed anthropic [human caused]. We can say with greater confidence that humans have caused the 100 ppm increase in CO2 and the increase in the other greenhouse gasses. Nature just would not have done it by herself.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 7 Feb 2010 @ 3:59 AM

  45. This lower sensitivity could well explain why higer temperatures in the previous last 3 interglacial periods did not tip the earth into runaway glowal warming from higher methane or C02 release in the arctic and subarctic.

    Comment by Marcos Mattis — 7 Feb 2010 @ 5:03 AM

  46. @1, 2
    Possibly, carbon/climate feedbacks during the LGM involve longer-term processes (deep oceans, icesheet dnamics…) which are not relevant to the centennial time-scale of human-induced climate change… ?

    Comment by ICE — 7 Feb 2010 @ 7:01 AM

  47. It seemed to me that the Cox and Jones estimate of gamma (20-60 ppm/°C) was already a conservative one: they used the Moberg T reconstruction, which has a large variance, thus minimizing the estimation of gamma…
    Any comments ?

    Comment by ICE — 7 Feb 2010 @ 7:07 AM

  48. RE: 19

    Hey Jim,

    The main interest I would have is to see what would happen if we were to suddenly start growing phytoplankton in large tank farms and porting the organic mass to defunct oil wells and coal mines and pumping a bit of the added carbon back into the earlier geologic epoch.

    As to the expectation of a CO2 biologic response that would step up. That would be appropriate if there were less humans on the planet allowing more of the arable land to “go wild” and convert the CO2 to biomass. Instead humans have now converted nearly 82% of the earths arable land to cultivation.

    This only leaves the oceans to rise to meet the added CO2 supply and as you may be aware the theory is that CO2 is not only possibly more biologically damaging; but, according to recent measures less likely to dissolve in the “warmer” oceans. (This is one of those little confounding bits of discovery many seem to miss…)

    This then suggests that the answer to your question is likely a no.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 7 Feb 2010 @ 8:29 AM

  49. Co-2 and Temps are interconnected and drive each other when not in equilibrium, as long as the earth ecological systems support them. Tipping Points mark those like within a domino game.

    Comment by Prokaryote — 7 Feb 2010 @ 8:41 AM

  50. “The above says that sensitivity is MUCH higher than previously thought. It is degrees per 10 ppm rather than degrees per doubling. Am I right or did I miss something?

    Edward Greisch”

    You are thinking about the sensitivity of temperature to CO2. This articles refers to the increase of CO2 in response to temperature.

    Comment by KeithGuy — 7 Feb 2010 @ 9:34 AM

  51. Thank you, a very interesting study. Still, it is quite hard to project how f.e. a mixed forest will react to say 1,5C and +20ppm [CO2], are the researches supposed to build 30 meter high greenhouses with winter heating/CO2 supplements to get results that can be applied to the future conditions? Should there be many such installations in many climates? Wouldn’t ordinary greenhouses do?

    Comment by jyyh — 7 Feb 2010 @ 10:03 AM

  52. I wonder if anyone can comment on the following, which makes its way through the blogs (DotEarth most recently). It’s confusing me–and I don’t have time to start a new career as a modeler, but need direction on the credibility of the models, especially with respect to signal-noise of CO2 and implications for risk analysis.

    Gerlich and Tschneuschner, “Falsifiction of the Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within the Framework of Physics”; Atmospheric and Ocean Physics.

    [edit]

    [Response: It's nonsense. - gavin]

    Comment by Pablo N. — 7 Feb 2010 @ 10:25 AM

  53. A couple of questions maybe someone can answer:

    1) Kinetics vs equilibrium. Gamma is presumably an equilibrium value but how long would it take for equilibrium – 800 years is often bandied about for CO2 lag vs temperature whereas this study only seems to apply to the last 1000 years ?

    [Response: Gamma can be either a transient or equilibrium value, depending on one's goals and methods, and can be defined over any desired time lag, because the carbon cycle will operate at a wide variety of temporal scales. The study addresses only those that are operating at late Holocene lags < 80 years.]

    2) Are there standard values of gamma in the current climate models and how significantly does this study likely affect the overall range of temperature rises predicted ?

    [Response: Not sure but I don't think so. Jim]

    Comment by Brian Fox — 7 Feb 2010 @ 11:19 AM

  54. The significantly different results from the two periods 1050-1550 and 1550-1800 could be a result of proxy data that does not adequately represent actual temperatures and/or atmospheric CO2.

    Comment by John Phillips — 7 Feb 2010 @ 12:36 PM

  55. Jim Bouldin,

    You state that “Gamma has units in ppmv per ºC. It is thus the inverse of climate sensitivity”. It would seem that you simply mean that the DIMENSIONS of gamma are the inverse of those of climate sensitivity. I think that some readers were confused into thinking that climate sensitivity is literally 1/gamma.

    [Response: Thanks for clarifying. I meant that the units are the inverse of each other, not the values.]

    Comment by Jerry Steffens — 7 Feb 2010 @ 2:31 PM

  56. #13 Decarian,

    Science is the rules we “play” by. It cannot “lose”. It does not listen to the likes of Beck or Rush. It doesn’t care about our arts, religion, politics, or, yes, even “our science”. It cannot be spun. We either play by its rules or don’t get to play at all. Right now, I’d say we have a short period of time to decide what its going to be.

    Thanks to Real Climate for all they do.

    Mike Tabony

    Comment by MikeTabony — 7 Feb 2010 @ 2:55 PM

  57. The most worrying impact of gamma will be on the long-term climate response to human emissions. As an example, suppose we double pre-industrial CO2 in the next few decades, up to 560ppm. Then the “fast” climate feedbacks (Charney sensitivity) will give us about 3 degrees C of warming over the next century.

    So far so bad, but we are nowhere near the end-point. First we must add “slow” feedbacks (mainly albedo changes) which according to Hansen et al will double the Charney sensitivity, so we get 6 degrees. But now we have to consider gamma as well. If it is comparable to the value estimated in this paper (or the rough estimates in comments above), then those 6 degrees give an additional 100ppm of CO2, taking us up to 660ppm.

    But we are still not done! That extra CO2 means another ~0.7 C of fast feedback warming, and the same again of slow feedback warming, taking the total warming to 7.5 degrees. And the extra 1.5 degrees then means another ~25ppm CO2 from gamma, inducing further warming still.

    Fortunately, this is a converging series: it terminates at about 700ppm and 8 degrees C. But this is still enough to take us back to PETM territory (if not worse). And we haven’t even touched on methane feedbacks.

    And remember, all this starts with “just” a doubling of CO2, which seems rather an optimistic scenario under BAU assumptions. Given the Copenhagen fiasco, Climategate, Glaciergate, stalled legislation in Congress, and record snowfalls on top of already skeptical populations, that is exactly what we’ll be getting.

    [Response: It would be extremely hard to get to 560 ppm in the next few decades without some major feedback. But you have explained the feedback concept very well. Jim]

    Comment by Dr Nick Bone — 7 Feb 2010 @ 3:37 PM

  58. Brian Fox (53) — It might be bandied about, but its wrong.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 7 Feb 2010 @ 3:57 PM

  59. Seems like kind of a short time frame, geologically. Wouldn’t a better study span thousands of years, instead of hundreds?

    [Response: Policy relevant timescales was what they were after. Jim]

    Comment by Sean A — 7 Feb 2010 @ 4:50 PM

  60. I’m lacking background here, but I’d like to better understand the graph. Density is density of what? Thanks if someone has patience for a beginner.

    [Response: Density refers to the proportion of the observations that fall within a given interval, i.e. the density of the observations if you will. Sums to one (over all intervals); referred to as a probability density function. Jim]

    Comment by Charlie Laurel — 7 Feb 2010 @ 4:58 PM

  61. Will the current CO2 saturation levels of the oceans affect the figure of gamma compared to previous warming events?

    Comment by Tony O'Brien — 7 Feb 2010 @ 6:33 PM

  62. > could be a result of proxy data that does not ….

    Which set? Are you this guy?
    “John Phillips (Garfug) on Twitter
    What a farce this whole climate thingy is!”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Feb 2010 @ 8:33 PM

  63. I’m still puzzling about the answer to Eli’s first question
    > First, if we use these low values of Gamma, can Earth escape an ice age?

    How long a time span are we talking about for that to be a concern?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Feb 2010 @ 9:27 PM

  64. Re: #37 – Jellyfish seem to become much more dominant in ecological damaged marine and estuarine systems. Maybe we’re sending the earth back to its earlier days. Hotter, more deserts, more swamps and seas full of primitive creatures that aren’t very good to eat.

    Thanks for a description of this paper. Its findings are nothing like what I’ve read in the popular press which seem to confuse carbon dioxide’s forcing and feedback roles. News accounts inevitably reported on this paper and the study on stratosphere water vapor levels simultaneously. And then threw in something about the CRU hacks as well. It will all get worked out in the end.

    [Response: The media is a very serious problem. Avoid it. Get your info from sites like this, the IPCC, and agency and lab websites, especially NOAA, NASA, USGS, ORNL etc. Jim]

    My question: why not study carbon dioxide levels during the Younger Dryas period? We know why temps fell and rose at that time. Aren’t the ice cores a fine enough instrument to determine a CO2 release rate as the globe warmed again?

    [Response: The younger dryas requires other T proxies. People are working on longer time periods, including back to the Pliocene (>2.6 mya), using other proxies (e.g. Pagani et al. cited in post), and even further back.]

    Comment by Andrew — 7 Feb 2010 @ 9:30 PM

  65. #26 Anand

    “I have a bunch of questions:”

    In the previous thread, I asked you some questions. I did not see your answers though? Did I miss them? Or are you unable, or unwilling to answer them?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/the-wisdom-of-solomon/comment-page-7/#comment-158298

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 7 Feb 2010 @ 10:23 PM

  66. Thanks, Gavin. If you all on RealClimate ever question your role in setting the record straight for people willing to go the extra mile to understand, don’t. It’s a confusing world in the blogs, and the social scientists, journalists, and policymakers among us need the extra nudge here and there to help confirm our suspicions of disingenuous or sloppy work on the part of some.

    Comment by Pablo N. — 7 Feb 2010 @ 11:12 PM

  67. I think I understand this. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    Gamma has to do with temperature and its impact on the “live” biosphere & its carbon (T–>CO2), I guess mainly how live plants on land and in the sea respond to temperatures by either drawing down CO2 from the atmosphere when they are florishing (presumably in warmer climates), or releasing CO2 when they are not florishing or when they are dying. So it doesn’t really have to do with remains of already long dead flora/fauna (methane hydrates, fossil fuels, etc).

    And the time frame is basically within our geologically recent past of fairly mild climates fluctuating between warm and cold spells, but not necessarily with climates much warmer than today’s climate. So as the frigid higher latitudes warm up and have longer growing seasons (and more sun, since the sun shines longer up north), the plants will do better, drawing down CO2.

    Does this take into consideration that in warmer climates than we now have mid-summer heat may kill plants, stymie their growth, and/or dry them out, creating fuel for wildfires? I’m wondering also about the CO2 effects — too much of a good thing might be bad for plants in some ways, such as creating more acidic oceans and soils, ocean eutrophication from too much plantlife, or ??. Just as CO2–>T has to consider T releasing methane in permafrost and hydrates to get a more complete picture, so too the T–>CO2 has to consider CO2 doing other things besides fertilizing plants.

    [Response: Yes, you have the concept of gamma correct. The study's estimates do not account for changing conditions in the future. This includes anything from permafrost thaw to frozen methane to changes in net ecosystem productivity (NEP). The main negative effects of CO2 are elevated temperature and ocean acidification. Fertilization is a generally positive effect, as it is a negative carbon cycle feedback. Jim]

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 7 Feb 2010 @ 11:25 PM

  68. Jim, That was a pretty clear explanation, however a few commenters are still confused about the difference between Gamma, and the Charney sensitivity. For Charney, consider a thought experiment on an earthlike planet: control CO2 levels, and measure the temperature versus CO2 level. Feedback from T to CO2 is eliminated, as our (imaginary) experimental apparatus controls atmospheric CO2. Now to understand Gamma, we do a similar experiment, but we control the planet’s temperature, and allow CO2 to vary. That second very different experiment gives Gamma. Although they have the same units (I think they are recipricals) the two concepts represent different experiments, and hence should not be confounded. Clearly a predictive model of how the system responds to a delta in CO2 inventory requires the use of both constants, both they are both best understood by isolating them.

    To the issue of potential permafrost releases of CO2: If the equlibrium concentration of CO2 versus temperature is smooth enough such that a linear approximation over policy relevant values makes sense, then I would expect that this study does cover permafrost feedbacks (i.e. I am saying that even for an infintessimal change of temperature that there will be an infinetessimal change in CO2, and that the derivative makes sense). Now this assumption of linearity, and the limitation of the modeled 80year time lags are big ones.

    I would be concerned that perhaps the current and future biosphere is so dominated by man, that historic relationships may no longer be relevant. If the carbon feedbacks come largely from tropical and temperate land areas, I this this concern is valid. If they are dominated by subarctic ecosystems (Boreal forest and tundra), or ocean, perhaps the natural world can still be thought of as being in control.

    [Response: Good explanation of the relationships, thanks. Not sure I follow your last P though. Jim]

    Comment by Thomas — 8 Feb 2010 @ 12:06 AM

  69. Very cool stuff; it’s great to see every flippin’ thing is being looked at in climatology. That’s two papers that show that there are feedback mechanisms that mitigate global warming in a row!

    If the tolerance of the system is mitigated in a good way, we get some bought time for technological advances that increase efficiency without sacrificing effectiveness.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 8 Feb 2010 @ 12:06 AM

  70. Joseph:
    Yes, many papers–it’s a rapidly expanding field. Far too complex to summarize briefly.

    Anand:
    A positive gamma means the two quantities move in the same direction. A negative gamma means they move in opposite directions.

    Glen:
    No that’s not what they did. They regressed each of the CO2 concentration series on each of the recalibrated, reconstructed temperature series, for a given set of factor levels. The lag was not set at 80 but rather varied from -80 to +80. There was no Monte Carlo simulation involved: it was a full factorial experiment as far as I can tell.

    Edward:
    Back up a few steps. First, I didn’t write the article, I’m just reporting on it. Second, the authors conclude the article thus: “The convergence of [gamma] computed herein with other more moderate values quantified for interannual to Milankovitch timescales suggests limited timescale dependence and thus reduced possibilities for unwelcome surprises within the next century. However, as this indication is based on pre-industrial CO2 concentrations and temperatures, possible threshold responses, transient behaviour, fertilization effects, and the role and rates of oceanic circulation and uptake and release from peatlands still need reconciliation in observational studies and climate-modelling efforts.” Third, the two time periods used by them was simply to recognize that values varied with time (although this does sort of conflict with their statement above). And fourth, they are not trying to say anything at all about the anthro input since 1800.

    William:
    Yes, and many other factors as well. The carbon cycle works over all imaginable space/time scales, just like climate does.

    ICE:
    Interesting point. Larger T variances will indeed minimize gamma–so not sure how Cox and Jones came up with that estimate. Points up the very reason Frank et al. did their study.

    L. David Cooke:
    I tend to agree David. The land cover change topic is very complex though–e.g. there is a sizeable component of recovering forest land globally to partially offset the reduced buffer capacity loss due to ag.

    jyyh:
    Separate topic, but yes indeed. If we could only do controlled experiments on climate change effects…but mostly we can’t. There’s a take home message there.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 8 Feb 2010 @ 12:08 AM

  71. Jim, good explanation of the paper. Given all the BS that some have posted, I was beginning to wonder whether I had read the abstract correctly. Thankfully my intelligence and reading comprehension is still intact. I haven’t “gone emeritus” yet.

    My basic question is whether or not we have gone into a different regime than the studied time period. I am not sure that the conclusion that we should not expect any nasty surprises in the near future really holds, although the study itself only really seems to have implications about how fast we will get to 2x CO2.

    [Response: Thanks, and your question is the critical one, as several have brought up. And they're only suggesting, based on their analysis, that high feedbacks might be unlikely--not strongly concluding it. Jim]

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 8 Feb 2010 @ 2:09 AM

  72. So, could this be put in other words:”During recession of solar orbital forcing (1050-1800 AD (the solar forcing was at maximum during the Holocene Optimum c.5000BC)), the response of the vegetation (well, ecosystem) was found to be trailing the atmospheric CO2 98,5% of the time.”? As is known the lag was 800 years during the increasing orbital forcing at the end of the last glacial, because that’s how long it took for CO2 to start to decrease after the Tmax. (I know this is not accurate description, just trying to get a handle in more familiar terms…)

    Nice touch to end the analysis in 1800 (for 1815 Tambora effects to be exluded). Is the CO2 lag a bit larger during sudden changes than during slow changes? Is this the signal they have calculated experimentally? I might be way off here, really difficult for a mere Biochem. M.Sc., please correct, if I’m way off, as this is truly difficult to get.

    [Response: No, you've mixed up things there. Orbital forcing is not involved and the 98.5% refers to the CO2 lagging temperature. 1800 was chosen so as to avoid the industrial CO2 source period. It had nothing to do with Tambora. Jim]

    Comment by jyyh — 8 Feb 2010 @ 3:34 AM

  73. Pablo, the short answer is that the paper makes false claims backed up by equations that don’t apply.

    G&T’s paper, for example, would have blankets not working because they would violate the second law of thermodynamics (by their interpretation). I.e. despite being colder than your body at the top of the blanket, they keep your body warmer, therefore transferring heat from that cooler blanket to the warmer body.

    Despite this, blankets continue to keep billions of people warm each night.

    With such a infant-school level error, what makes you think that the rest of the paper would be any good?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Feb 2010 @ 3:38 AM

  74. Brian: “whereas this study only seems to apply to the last 1000 years ? ”

    No, the study applies where CO2 is outgassing in the trillions of kilos a year range.

    800 years apply where the earth orbit has more solar energy reach the ground to warm the planet.

    It is that the earth orbit change doesn’t apply for the last 4000 years and that CO2 outgassing at that rate doesn’t apply after about 200 million years and until about 100 years ago that the 800 year lag doesn’t apply today.

    The cause is different.

    Surely if the cause is different, you’d expect the delays to be different, absent any better idea.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Feb 2010 @ 3:41 AM

  75. On the methane release from tundra/deep water issue, the problem with them (just like with glacier breakoff and melt) is that these are conditionally stable states. As long as the situation doesn’t change, they remain stable.

    Predicting their change would be like predicting when an inverted cone will fall over from its balance point. All you *know* is that unless you’re very careful, it will fall over some time. About the only way to make it predictable is to cause the change yourself.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Feb 2010 @ 3:48 AM

  76. Another mention here of the response of CO2 to temperature change — as with the above paper I’ve only seen the abstract; just curious if they’re related work:
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL040975.shtml
    (hat tip to http://delayedoscillator.wordpress.com/
    “… transition can be explained if the response time of CO2 to a global temperature fluctuation has lengthened from 6 months to at least 15 months. A longer response time may reflect saturation of the oceanic carbon sink, but a transient shift in ocean circulation may play a role.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Feb 2010 @ 5:20 AM

  77. There are 2 fundamental questions left by this study:
    1) Does the time period in question capture the dynamics we expect in the next 200 years?,
    and
    2) Does the cyclicity caught in the record (primarily cycle lengths of 50 yr for T) long enough to get a strong feedback from the C-cycle?

    Longer time cycles are important for policy, by the way,since one of the pertinent questions being asked is to what extent is the T-baseline being offset.

    Comment by Mitch Lyle — 8 Feb 2010 @ 7:31 AM

  78. #41 Doug Bostrom says:

    7 February 2010 at 3:00 AM
    Oh, brother, I failed to notice the author of this. Gavin’s articles are -always- great, of course, and Jim Bouldin did a great job with this one. Am I digging fast enough?

    I made exactly the same attribution mistake! Many thanks for the excellent write-up, Jim (and thanks for posting Jim’s write-up, Gavin ;)

    Comment by Jack Kelly — 8 Feb 2010 @ 10:48 AM

  79. # 62. Hank Roberts – Which set? The ones use by the study. Are you this guy? No. That’s one disadvantage of having a common name like John Phillips. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a mild skeptic though.

    Comment by John Phillips — 8 Feb 2010 @ 12:29 PM

  80. It’s worth looking back a little, to see how predictions in this area have changed:

    Science 16 April 1999:
    Vol. 284. no. 5413, pp. 464 – 467

    Global Warming and Marine Carbon Cycle Feedbacks on Future Atmospheric CO2
    Fortunat Joos, * Gian-Kasper Plattner, Thomas F. Stocker, Olivier Marchal, Andreas Schmittner

    A low-order physical-biogeochemical climate model was used to project atmospheric carbon dioxide and global warming for scenarios developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The North Atlantic thermohaline circulation weakens in all global warming simulations and collapses at high levels of carbon dioxide. Projected changes in the marine carbon cycle have a modest impact on atmospheric carbon dioxide. Compared with the control, atmospheric carbon dioxide increased by 4 percent at year 2100 and 20 percent at year 2500. The reduction in ocean carbon uptake can be mainly explained by sea surface warming. The projected changes of the marine biological cycle compensate the reduction in downward mixing of anthropogenic carbon, except when the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation collapses.

    Much of that needs revision now. The entire concept of the “oceanic conveyor belt” and the thermohaline circulation (THC) has been modified – the subsurface current flow is far more complicated than what the textbooks show. As a result, the THC is now the MOC – the meridional overturning circulation – and there’s also a greater understanding of the importance of wind-driven upwelling. The main problem in this area is the lack of comprehensive historical subsurface data for much of the oceans, to test models against.

    Simple relations between sea surface temperatures and ocean carbon uptake are now known to be heavily complicated by winds – and the magnitude and even the direction of the feedback effect seems to vary quite a bit from model to model:

    Le Quere (2007) Saturation of the Southern Ocean CO2 Sink Due to Recent Climate Change”

    Zickfield et al. (2008) Comment on Saturation of the Southern Ocean CO2 Sink Due to Recent Climate Change

    Le Quere et al. (2008) Response to Comments on Saturation of the Southern Ocean CO2 Sink Due to Recent Climate Change

    For the most recent take on the Southern Ocean:

    Ito et al (2010) Anthropogenic carbon dioxide transport in the Southern Ocean driven by Ekman flow, Nature

    Our results suggest intimate connections between oceanic carbon uptake and climate variability through the temporal variability of Ekman transport.

    As a result, long-term model-based predictions about ocean carbon uptake alone are likely to have a wide spread – and that’s also ignoring any new terrestrial CO2 sources.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 8 Feb 2010 @ 1:24 PM

  81. Frank Giger says:

    Very cool stuff; it’s great to see every flippin’ thing is being looked at in climatology. That’s two papers that show that there are feedback mechanisms that mitigate global warming in a row!

    Uh, of course every flippin thing is being looked at. Contrary to the caricatures drawn up by denialists, climate scientists really are trying to understand everything about the climate.

    Frank, how do you figure this “feedback mechanism mitigates global warming” ??? Quite the contrary, I’m afraid. This is not any sort of negative feedback, nor does it alter the response of temperature to changing GHG levels.

    What this paper attempts to define is *how much more CO2 is released from the natural system in response to increasing temperatures*. IE, we can pump X Gton of CO2 into the atmosphere and raise temperature Y degrees. As a result we’ll get a bonus round of CO2, gratis, from mother nature.

    Hank and others were discussing whether we could stave off snowball earth with such low values of gamma.

    Wouldn’t low values of gamma be a good thing in this respect? Assuming the CO2 response is symmetric around deltaT regardless of sign, lowering temperatures from Milankovitch cycles would remove CO2; a lower gamma would remove less CO2 and cause less change than would a high gamma.

    Am I missing something here?

    Comment by David Miller — 8 Feb 2010 @ 1:42 PM

  82. David B. Benson

    Brian Fox (53) — It might be bandied about, but its wrong.

    OK – any idea where that meme came from and why you’re so sure it’s wrong ? What is the best view as to the dynamics of the carbon cycle in response to temperature rises ?

    Completely Fed Up

    Surely if the cause is different, you’d expect the delays to be different, absent any better idea.

    Personally I’d have thought that if a temperature rise caused a rise in CO2 then the rise in CO2 would be the same regardless of the cause of temperature – the oceans, for instance don’t know where the temperature rise is coming from, just that it’s warmer.

    Speculating, I guess there could be exceptions such as solar heating of newly exposed previously snow covered areas where radiative heating would be significant, but that’s likely the exception rather than the rule ?

    Comment by Brian Fox — 8 Feb 2010 @ 1:59 PM

  83. Thomas says:

    “To the issue of potential permafrost releases of CO2: If the equlibrium concentration of CO2 versus temperature is smooth enough such that a linear approximation over policy relevant values makes sense, then I would expect that this study does cover permafrost feedbacks.”

    Hmmm….. Let’s say I make a careful study of the behavior of water, at sea level, over the temperature range from from 10C to 90C – now, as long as I am very accurate, I should be able to predict the behavior of water at -10C or 110C with no problems, right?

    Wrong. Linearity is often local in the real world, and assuming otherwise doesn’t make much sense.

    Trying to hide all this variability within a single variable, gamma, seems odd as well. Is there a “cryosphere sensitivity” factor? In terms of, say, ice volume lost per degree C increase? Or does that depend primarily on where the ice is, and what state it is in?

    Likewise, the Charney sensitivity doesn’t tell you much about how permafrost will respond over time because of the Arctic amplification effect.

    Put it this way: should we expect such “gamma factors” to remain constant over space and time? If not, shouldn’t we go and measure gamma in many different locations, from permafrost to tropical wetlands, over long periods of time, rather than going back to a poorly-characterized pre-industrial period and then projecting those estimates forward?

    Comment by Ike Solem — 8 Feb 2010 @ 2:01 PM

  84. Mike Tabony says, “Science is the rules we “play” by. It cannot “lose”.”

    Here, here! My only regret is that I won’t be there to see the looks on the faces of the denialists when they find that with all the slander, character assassination and fault-finding, they have accomplished precisely bupkis. The evidence is untouched, towering over them, waiting to come crashing down.

    The current outcry in the public and press is nothing but an adolescent tantrum by a species collectively saying “I don’ wanna!” Nature doesn’t care. She just says “Suit yourself. Wise up or die.”

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Feb 2010 @ 2:12 PM

  85. Could someone (anyone) comment on whether my logic/math was correct in comment 30 and so whether the accompanying graph is also correct (see here)? [If not, RC should delete the whole post, to avoid having the graph found and circulated... there's enough misinformation out there already.]

    If it is correct…

    It works out that each ppm of more (or less) CO2 feedback per degree C then expected does two things. The first is to subtract/add about one year from/to the time it will take, at the current annual rate of CO2 emissions, to reach a committed temperature increase of 2 C. The second is to add/subtract about 1/70 C to/from the temperature increase to which we’ve already committed by raising CO2 to 387.5 ppm.

    So… if the models overestimated gamma by 7 ppm/C, then we have about 7 more years than we thought before we reach 2 C, and we’ve already raised the final global temperature by about 0.1 C less than we think.

    Similarly, if the models underestimated gamma by 7 ppm/C, then we have 7 years less than we thought before we hit 2 C, and we’ve already raised the final global temperature by 0.1 C more than we think.

    My point is… in the scheme of things, these numbers are small, although there’s more margin for error one way than the other (i.e. we’re very close to that 2 C number already). Of course we’re dealing with estimates and averages when the world is actually made of discrete mechanisms and events. I agree with Eli in that increase will likely be realized as step functions (e.g. the relatively sudden/rapid transition of the a large chunk of the Amazon or some other forest into a savanna, or transition of grasslands into desert, or a limit/change in ocean CO2 uptake).

    Which isn’t to say that the subject isn’t important, or very interesting, or doesn’t hold valuable nuggets to be learned about what might or might not happen. It’s definitely an interesting case of chicken/egg sleuthing.

    [Response: I'll look at it later if nobody else gets to it. Jim]

    Comment by Bob — 8 Feb 2010 @ 2:29 PM

  86. Completely Fed Up, thanks. Gavin directed me to the dedicated page, also. The point of my second comment is that the blogosphere is a confusing place for people working on social vulnerabilities to environmental change – we who rely on impact scenarios – and so shortcuts to scientific rebuttals of particular memes helps. There are many of us out here who are trying to get a better grasp on the physical science in the time we can spare away from social science and policy matters – and we ARE the targets of misinformation. So, a short response to your question, “With such a infant-school level error, what makes you think that the rest of the paper would be any good?”: I am not a physical scientist, and I rely on people like you to characterize that error as “infant-school level”.

    Comment by Pablo N. — 8 Feb 2010 @ 2:51 PM

  87. re “The authors found that in 98.5% of their regressions, CO2 lagged temperature. There will undoubtedly be those who interpret this as evidence that CO2 cannot be a driver of temperature, a common misinterpretation of the ice core record. Rather, these results from the past millennium support the usual interpretation of the ice core record over the later Pleistocene, in which CO2 acts as a feedback to temperature changes initiated by orbital forcings (see e.g. the recent paper by Ganopolski and Roche (2009)).”

    “The authors find that CO2 lags the temperature change, so therefore CO2 did not drive the temperature change”, is not a misinterpretation. You say the same thing in the last sentence … “that CO2 acts as a feedback to temperature changes intiated by orbital forcings.”

    What you omit to define, is what you mean by “feedback”. Do you mean that CO2 release in response to increased temperatures produces a further increase of the temperature (a positive temperature feedback)?

    I don’t know anyone who disagrees with that among climate realists. All agree that increase in CO2 will increase temperature in a log-concentration dependent way. What it will not do is result in a runaway greenhouse overwhelming the “orbital forcings”.

    If you’re going to trash climate-realists, then do so honestly and honorably, not putting words of straw in their mouths.

    Comment by lgp — 8 Feb 2010 @ 7:34 PM

  88. Okay, I’ve extended my semigray model to cover a hemispherical planet with nine latitude zones, each 10 degrees “high.” I set water vapor in each latitude band by the Clausius Clapeyron equation and adjust so the average matches the present Earth average (about 392 pascals). I also added a term to represent advective heat transfer from one band to another. I can reproduce the gross radiative effects on Earth, but the latitude distribution is horrible, and I don’t know why. Here’s the final printout of the model, which uses a time-marching scheme:

    B Lat Aclr A frac F Te Ts Pass: 13
    - — —– —– —— —– —– —– dT: 0.021
    9 85 0.600 0.433 0.0152 21.5 139.5 202.7
    8 75 0.600 0.433 0.0451 63.9 183.2 216.4 A: 0.310 (0.306)
    7 65 0.600 0.433 0.0737 104.3 207.1 228.1 F: 242.8 (237.0)
    6 55 0.600 0.433 0.1000 141.5 223.5 238.1 Fsi: 193.1 (161.2)
    5 45 0.600 0.433 0.1233 174.5 235.5 246.5
    4 35 0.100 0.243 0.1428 269.8 262.6 273.0 Te: 251.0 (254.3)
    3 25 0.100 0.243 0.1580 298.5 269.4 278.2 Ts: 276.1 (288.2)
    2 15 0.100 0.243 0.1684 318.1 273.7 280.8
    1 5 0.100 0.243 0.1736 328.1 275.8 357.1

    B Labs Lc Ladv Losses tau tauv Ph Run ends.
    - —– —– —— —— —– —– ——
    9 0.0 2.8 -74.0 -71.1 0.176 0.000 0.0
    8 0.0 9.1 -60.0 -50.9 0.194 0.000 0.1
    7 0.0 16.6 -48.2 -31.6 0.224 0.000 0.5
    6 0.0 25.7 -38.1 -12.4 0.266 0.000 1.4
    5 0.0 36.1 -29.2 6.9 0.321 0.000 3.4
    4 0.0 83.9 -2.9 81.0 0.626 0.000 29.5
    3 17.6 99.8 2.4 119.8 0.722 0.061 42.9
    2 33.2 109.3 4.5 146.9 0.763 0.110 49.5
    1 148.6 184.3 81.0 413.9 4.104 0.603 2142.8

    (Boy, I hope that comes out readable on the blog. Cut and paste into Word and use a proportional font to see the original, in case it’s inintelligible here.)

    My mean global annual temperature is 276 K, which isn’t too horribly far off and could be tweaked by making this and that more realistic. But the latitude bands average from 203 K at the poles to 357 K at the equator, which is ridiculous. If anyone has any suggestions, I could sure use the help. If you want to see the code, it’s relatively short–I wrote it in Just Basic, a great language for quick-and-dirty proof-of-concept programs.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Feb 2010 @ 7:43 PM

  89. RE: 70

    Hey Jim,

    Thanks for your thoughts. Though I am not sure if you were responding to what you perceived as a note addressed to you or as an independent observation. (My response No. 48 was to Jim Redden’s post No. 19.)

    As to forest land recovery, you may be right regarding developed countries. However, lesser developed countries are doing their best to exchange their resources for economic growth. To this end millions of hectares are being denuded, (slash and burn), with little action to replant original species. In their stead either the top soil erodes away, they plant rubber trees, bananas, oil palms, or the land goes to housing and/or other AG purposes. I would that your observations were global; however, based on the latest satellite analysis it appears that universally net global losses are averaging 2-3% every year.

    (A note for the uninitiated: We have to keep in mind that where land makes up, by area, about 28% of the CO2 sink, most carbon cycle models suggest an actual land CO2 uptake on the order of 48% of total annual CO2 emissions. On the other hand where the ocean surface area is roughly 66% of the total surface area, the best carbon cycle estimate suggests its participation in uptake is roughly 49% of total CO2 emissions. The main difference between land and ocean carbon sinks are that the ocean offers a long term, geologic carbon sink capacity which can be measured in millions of years.)

    I’m sorry I digress, obviously there is more research to be done in regards to the carbon cycle models. (IMHO, other things may need to be re-evaluated as well, like the possibility that cement production may actually be a near net 0 emission.)

    The main point I was trying to make to Mr. Redden was that the opportunity to recover CO2 has been negatively impacted by increasing populations of man, as you noted. I suspect increased weather would quickly effect a recovery were it not for the anthropogenic impact. (We have to keep in mind that the Earth was in the condition man found it due to entropy and it would likely quickly return to a similar condition based on the age/physics/chemistry of the Sol system, without man.)

    Separately, what I was suggesting by the pumping of biomass underground was a test similar to “FutureGen”. It would be interesting to see if anthropogenic actions could make a statistical difference in the CO2 or surface temperature trend in the opposite direction for a change.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 8 Feb 2010 @ 8:29 PM

  90. ….pretty warm weather up here in the sub-arctic lately. I can almost hear the ice melting. Oh, that is the ice melting and I guess I’ve got a leak in the roof:-) The good news is the furnace has finally stopped running. Oh…never mind, there it goes now.

    Comment by Rando — 8 Feb 2010 @ 9:22 PM

  91. What is the expected sea level rise by 2400, 2500, 3000? Does anyone do long term models, or best guesses? Any other items modeled that far out: what kind of global avg temperatures by 3000? Could you point me to readable lay summary, thanks

    Comment by Susan Kraemer — 9 Feb 2010 @ 12:18 AM

  92. I realize that the year 3000 is outside the relevant policy time period, but as a matter of morbid interest – what sea level is expected by 3000? What global average temperature? Have any long term studies been done?

    Comment by Susan Kraemer — 9 Feb 2010 @ 12:23 AM

  93. Nice post! I would like to ask if the CO2 emissions of the places which had high CO2 emissions decreased? Well, the whole world is concerned on the progress of these places. With all of these CO2 emission reduction campaigns, are there positive news that are needed to be heard?

    Comment by bigjobsboard — 9 Feb 2010 @ 2:23 AM

  94. 68 Thomas “a linear approximation over policy relevant values makes sense, then I would expect that this study does cover permafrost feedbacks”
    Why would permafrost only partly defrost even at one latitude? Maybe at different latitudes it would do different things, but “the farther poleward you go the greater the warming” leads me to believe that all those permafrost things respond like a tipping point rather than linearly. Maybe you mean that “policy” is short sighted? OK, supposing the permafrost can melt just a little, and supposing 57 Dr Nick Bone is correct in saying that the series converges. That’s good except that 57 Dr Nick Bone says it converges to 8 degrees C of warming. 8 degrees C of warming is beyond the extinction point for Homo Sap. Not good.

    70 Jim Bouldin: Thanks for your clarification. It isn’t your thesis, you are just reporting it. So this gamma is a variable, or at least a “variable constant.” Gamma is different now than it was then. And Gamma isn’t related to the sensitivity even though their units are inverses. Both of those concepts bother me. Most of the time constants are constant. Most of the time, inverses have physical meaning and people theorize in the Physics Department by playing with the math. Since I don’t have a good enough equation for the variable constant, I’m not sure I should do anything at all with it.

    [Response: I was simply trying to make the point that carbon dioxide can force, and be forced by, temperature. "Constants" can easily be scale dependent--happens all the time. An interest rate is not the same number if you calculate it over different time intervals. Jim]

    On the other hand, it is interesting that somebody was able to find a gamma representing the variation in CO2 with temperature. Still, I’m not ready to assume that there is a nice equation that can assure me that Dr Nick Bone is correct about convergence. I think it is a better idea to go measure the size of the tundra peat bogs, etc..

    [Response:It takes a village as they say]

    Climate change is a hard problem. But interesting. And terrifying.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 9 Feb 2010 @ 3:26 AM

  95. #70: Thanks Jim.

    “The lag was not set at 80 but rather varied from -80 to +80.”

    Yeah, but I still don’t get it. The lag was optimised over that range, so the gammas presented are for the optimums, no? Lag variation is not part of the ensemble.

    [Response: Yes, that's my understanding of it.]

    So was optimisation done once for the whole ensemble together, or individually for each member? Second one I think.

    [Response: I would think it would have to be the latter, but am not sure]

    Do they tell us somewhere what the (mean) optimum lag was?

    [Response: That's the one thing I was looking for more detailed info on and didn't see. Seems important.]

    “There was no Monte Carlo simulation involved: it was a full factorial experiment as far as I can tell.”

    Yeah again. “Full factorial experiment” sounds rather grand, but of course that was only possible here because they predefined (sampled!) their key variables to only take certain discrete values (the smoothing spline lengths and calibration intervals). In engineering, the term M-C tends to get applied (rather loosely) to all such ensemble approaches, whether the sampling is strictly random, stratified random, or discrete and exhaustive (as here).

    [Response: Does one ever test every single possible value within the range of a given factor? Of course not--it's impractical to impossible. Monte Carlo refers to the random choice of values from a defined distribution--which is not what they did.]

    Comment by GlenFergus — 9 Feb 2010 @ 4:59 AM

  96. Just read the Elisabeth Rosenthal NYT A1 article “Skeptics Find Fault With U.N. Climate Panel”. The entire article is based on Pielke and Mockton and casual readers are going to assume that there’s fire in all that smoke. Argh. I don’t follow Rosenthal closely. Is she always this bad? It’s not just that she treats, oh, Mockton as a serious critic, she doesn’t provide enough to context for the reader to know that: 1. The smoke created by Pielke and Mockton is just smoke. Assuming every charge is true doesn’t change anything. 2. The charges are, generally, false. And, 3. Mockton, Pielke, and Co. have serious credibility issues themselves. Doh. The byline could have been Anthony Watts.

    Comment by paperbagmarlys — 9 Feb 2010 @ 11:44 AM

  97. Slightly OT but what do you make of this in the light of this new report?
    http://www.pnas.org/content/97/18/9875.full

    Comment by kasphar — 9 Feb 2010 @ 4:41 PM

  98. Brian Fox:

    Personally I’d have thought that if a temperature rise caused a rise in CO2 then the rise in CO2 would be the same regardless of the cause of temperature – the oceans, for instance don’t know where the temperature rise is coming from, just that it’s warmer.

    Yeah, but the oceans “know” the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere above them.

    Comment by dhogaza — 9 Feb 2010 @ 5:59 PM

  99. re: susan Kraemer….
    Year 3000 sea level? To quote Bill Cosby “… how long can you tread water…”

    Comment by RFL — 9 Feb 2010 @ 6:18 PM

  100. > kasphar
    > what do you make of this (2000 article from PNAS)

    Well, Watts is making something of it this very day. Imagine.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Feb 2010 @ 6:18 PM

  101. OT: I have a new project.

    The simplest, fastest way to make a difference regarding sound policy on greenhouse gas emissions: Sign the Petition!

    http://www.climatelobby.com

    I designed it to fit anywhere in the world. As results come in, I will begin reporting on signatures by country.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 9 Feb 2010 @ 6:45 PM

  102. #88, Barton:

    My first thought was axial tilt, but I guess you could presume that your hemispherical world is in permanent equinox.

    Alternately… do GHG’s have a sort of accidental heat distributing effect? That is, heat would cause infrared radiation to be radiated up from the surface, but not always straight up. It would radiate up at many angles. At the same time, energy is radiated back down by GHGs, but again, not straight down, but in a range of angles. In this way, heat could zig zag from the equator toward the poles (and from one side of the equator to the other, but for your model, you could just bounce back the energy that leaves your hemisphere, i.e. assume that what you are losing over the equator is what you are getting back from the other side).

    Separately, how are you treating reflectivity? Is it a function of angle of incidence? If so, perhaps you have it set too high. For a rough surface like true terrain, even if the reflectivity is high at high angles, and the angle relative to the average surface of your hemisphere is higher closer to the pole, it would still hit raised objects (boulders, trees, hillsides) more directly. Perhaps you need to adjust the reflective parameters downwards at higher angles of incidence to account for a non-uniform (i.e. non-smooth) surface.

    Comment by Bob — 9 Feb 2010 @ 6:56 PM

  103. Brian Fox (82) — The 800 year figure comes from the end of LGM and the beginning of the warming to the Holocene. I know of two sources for this and doubt it not at that time. However, the data for the transition to the interglacial in MIS 11 has CO2 leading temperature at Vostok.

    The point of the paper currently under discussion is that CO2 follows temperature after a short, 80 year pause. I actually find that rather long, but ok, let’s use that for now. But that’s not what the LGM->Holocene data says! Well, something else was also active, such as strong uptake by plants, or…

    The central point is that climate is rather complex and our proxy data doesn’t enable us to see the full story.

    Susan Kraemer (91&92) — Go find the full melt sea level rise estimates for GIS, WAIS and EAIS. Add a little more for the Patagonian ice fields and the Tibetan glaciers. That’ll give a upper bound. Also, please read David Archer’s “The Long Thaw”.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 9 Feb 2010 @ 8:25 PM

  104. RE: 88

    Hey BPL,

    A fixed, even stepped, 9 band zonal model, will clearly bake the lower zones and freeze the upper zones. Missing the 12 Deg. shift in the Zones every 3 months is critical to the reason for your extremes at the edges.

    If I were you, first, I would reduce the zones. There are three simple zones, (though if you want to add seasonality I would suggest five zones). Secondly, you are clearly missing seasonality. For simplicity the use of a alternating 3/5 zone model might work for this purpose.

    Taking your simple model further is where it can get interesting. It would be great if you could install regional variations with multiple latitude ranges for each zone. To achieve a rough demonstration of what I think I saw regarding insolation in the data record would be cool.

    The final part you might want to reconsider is the inter-zonal flow of heat content. As of right now there is insufficient data to support this value from what I can find in the public domain.

    In my opinion, there is a small problem were you are plugging in the inter-zonal exchange. As you go up in latitude, I believe the exchange for a given inter-zonal transfer of heat content would be greater, (due to reduced surface area and non-reduced heat content area). You may want to attempt a estimate based on the GEOS East and West water vapor or even IR images as an approximation of the amount of flow as it appears from a geostationary low earth orbit.

    (Keep in mind the heat content added to the Poles would generally be near the tropopause and not play into ground temperatures. Instead the Polar inter-zonal heat content would likely evaporate high altitude clouds.)

    (I was hoping in 2000 that we would soon have ground station Lidar similar to the NCAR tests in OK at each NWS station/metro-airport. With the change over to the GPS based sodium/water vapor tracking UCAR Cosmic Suominet dataset and the CloudSat/Calipso tools this should provide a fairly good heat content snapshot. 16 of these overpasses per day could provide a fairly good low resolution macro model of the inter-zonal heat flow, though how to get it into your model is beyond me.)

    Rather then building a basic model I would be more inclined to try to build a spreadsheet or database matrix for the graphics interface; but, each to their own. (I am unlikely to attempt it on my own due to being mathematically challenged. I would not be able to form the necessary equations…)

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 9 Feb 2010 @ 8:47 PM

  105. #97–The article is dated August 29, 2000. Not a new report. Perhaps see Hansen’s new book “Storms of My Grandchildren” for his recent views (and a story connected to the article you point to).

    Comment by Charlie Laurel — 9 Feb 2010 @ 9:55 PM

  106. #103 thanks, David Benson.

    So, per David Archer – we would have ultimately 50 meters sea level rise. Anybody got a link to maps of what the remainder of our continents would look like with 50 meters higher sea levels?

    Comment by Susan Kraemer — 9 Feb 2010 @ 11:03 PM

  107. 106, Susan Kraemer: So, per David Archer – we would have ultimately 50 meters sea level rise. Anybody got a link to maps of what the remainder of our continents would look like with 50 meters higher sea levels?

    I thought that even a 20 foot sea level rise was only a typo, and that there was no reliable forecast of anything like that much. Are we talking here about the year 3010 or something?

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 9 Feb 2010 @ 11:41 PM

  108. #106, Susan Kraemer –

    0 to 14m. Set the water level with the drop down at the top. Zoom out and move around (it’s just google maps). Florida, Delaware and New Orleans are “fun” to look at under 14m of water.

    100 meter sea rise maps

    30 and 100 meter sea rise maps for the U.S. east coast

    Comment by Bob — 9 Feb 2010 @ 11:47 PM

  109. #106, Susan Kraemer –

    66m sea rise map

    Note: all maps are presented without warranty or guarantee (i.e. you have to trust the people that generated and hosted them, and that could be anyone).

    Comment by Bob — 9 Feb 2010 @ 11:52 PM

  110. Thanks, Jim. BTW, I’m about an hours drive South of you.

    [Response: Ah, beautiful downtown Stockton?]

    By my last paragraph, I’m questioning whether the industrial age has brought the planet into what would essentially be a new geologic age, which some have called the Anthropocene. The premise is that the roughly 7 billion humans have so changed the way to world works, that all the empirical findings about the way the planetary system responds are brought into question. When I think about land cover, I think a great deal of it is affected by human actions other than changes in atmospheric composition/climate. For instance farmland is different than praire/forest. Grazed land is different from natural land, i.e. vegetation and soil are affected over time, even if the denisty of humans on the ground is quite low. Even for semi-pristine areas, hunting of things like apex predators and grazers is changing the way these ecosystems function. So the question naturally arises, that aside from the potential for nonlinearities, is the current/future planet likely to produce the same value of gamma as the preindustrial planet? Even in the ocean, quite aside from climate and chemical changes, we’ve removed most of the larger fish, so the whole ecology is likely to function differently than in the past.

    [Response: Very good points that I wish people were more aware of. There is an element that wishes to ascribe to have the world believe we think all problems are due to climate change. No, rather climate change creates new problems, and exacerbates or complicates some other ones driven by other factors]

    Now if I go back to my original argument. I was making essentially a mathematical statement: Consider the function DELTAT(T), which represents the change in atmospheric CO2 concentration (from some baseline amount) with global temperature. As long as DELTAT is continuous and has a first derivative at T, by definition gamma is that derivative. Obviously over a sufficiently large change of T the slope may change. But I can see no reason a priori to expect that an infinetessimal change in T won’t affect the permafrost carbon storage. There should in general always be some areas of marginal permafrost, and the boundary of permafrost/no permafrost might be expected to continually change as the temperature is changed. Hence a measurement of gamma over even a small range of temperature should sample the permafrost effect. None of which invalidates concerns over potential nonlinearities and tipping points. But I hope it gives some credibility to the paper’s claim that gamma can be estimated in this way.

    [Response: Excellent underlying concept and argument for their approach. The extent to which it will apply to thawing permafrost remains unclear however, because we don't know how much permafrost thawing is implicated in their empirical estimates--possibly very little.]

    Comment by Thomas — 10 Feb 2010 @ 12:37 AM

  111. #100 and #105

    Marvellous how science has progressed in the past 10 years. Where will the thinking be in another 10?

    Comment by kasphar — 10 Feb 2010 @ 12:57 AM

  112. For Susan Kramer, I scanned quickly through what Google Scholar finds searching sea level rise map
    Short answer, “it depends” — for example, this publication offers some maps for short term (a century or two) changes but with caveats, including specific cautions about this to journalists who may repring their maps:

    http://epa.gov/globalwarming/climatechange/effects/downloads/maps.pdf

    “Efforts to project flooding and shoreline change require (1) data on land and water surface elevations, and (2) a model of coastal processes. Some questions can be answered with elevation data and no model. For example, if mean high water has an elevation of 1 meter, then in areas with little wave erosion, the 1.5-meter contour is a good estimate of the area that would be inundated at high tide if the sea rises 50 centimeters, assuming that no measures to hold back the sea are implemented. At the other extreme, along the typical ocean-coast barrier island, a good model of erosion is important; but the precise location of the 1.5-meter (5-foot) contour may be almost completely irrelevant.4 In areas where wetlands dominate, one needs both good elevation information and a model of how wetlands erode and accrete, as well as a scenario regarding future shore protection efforts….

    … Those interested in the elevations of specific locations should consult a topographic map. Although the map illustrates elevations, it does not necessarily show the location of future shorelines. Coastal protection efforts may prevent some low-lying areas from being flooded as sea level rises; and shoreline erosion and the accretion of sediment may cause the actual shoreline to differ from what one would expect based solely on the inundation of low land.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Feb 2010 @ 1:17 AM

  113. 91, 92 106 Susan Kraemer: The maximum possible sea level rise is something like 400 feet. Any more requires boiling oceans. Note I said maximum possible, not expected. I think David Archer is correct. The average shore is at about a 1/2 degree slope from horizontal. You can get the expansion of water from the Chem-Phys Handbook.

    PS: Get yourself a degree in Physics, or at least take the freshman and sophomore courses. It is really essential in your line of work now as a protection against misinformers.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 10 Feb 2010 @ 3:04 AM

  114. Dave,

    Thanks for your comments. I will take them seriously.

    The equation I’m using is Ladv = kA (BTs(i) – LastTs) where where kA is a proportionality konstant, BTs is the surface temperature in badn i, and LastTs is the mean global annual surface temperature on the previous iteration. This follows a suggestion Tom Huber made in 1997.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Feb 2010 @ 3:29 AM

  115. Susan, got a map with contour lines on it? One with a 50m contour?

    PS Al Gore’s presentation had one with, IIRC, a 20m rise and shows Florida afterward.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Feb 2010 @ 4:05 AM

  116. Pablo: “I am not a physical scientist, and I rely on people like you to characterize that error as “infant-school level”.”

    You don’t NEED a physics education to know, Pablo. All you need to know is that blankets keep you warm. Then G&T’s assertion that greenhouse gasses cannot warm the earth is ridiculous.

    This is my REAL 100% TRUE-BLOOD beef with people: you’d all rather not think.

    I completely get when you would learn from Gavin’s link because that’s information that doesn’t require common sense alone.

    But that element is 100% common sense based. All it needs is a little clarity.

    I suppose that is why they used so many equations: scare people off by making them THINK that this is a serious and learned physics paper and that someone with a physics education is the only one that has a chance of reading it.

    But waaay back my new spectrum turned up. Wasn’t working. Ohshitohshit.

    My grandad was there. But rather than suppose that since he was an invalid or too old to understand computers, he said “Have you plugged it in fully?”.

    HE DIDN’T LET WHAT HE DIDN’T KNOW STOP HIM FROM THINKING.

    You shouldn’t too.

    And your lack of physics education should have led you to “how do blankets work”. G&T won’t have answered and you’d get shouted down on WUWT. But you could either argue the rebuttals over there or come here and ask about the ones where some law of physics is being applied and you haven’t been *taught* how to view it.

    Not knowing isn’t wrong.

    Not thinking is beneath you.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Feb 2010 @ 4:17 AM

  117. Fox: “Personally I’d have thought that if a temperature rise caused a rise in CO2 then the rise in CO2 would be the same regardless of the cause of temperature ”

    But you attributed the same correlation when the cause changed.

    So why would they be the same result?

    If you’re warmed because you have a blanket on, that’s one result. If you’re warm because of a chemical burn, that’s another.

    Yet your body knows the extra heat on the skin surface. So why is the result (death/discomfort) different?

    Your skin knows it’s burning because the cause is different.

    Why do you insist that there must be only one cause for one effect?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Feb 2010 @ 4:28 AM

  118. Or Bob, rather. Sorry. It’s 5 in the morning and I’ve been up since I got a wrong number at 1:30…

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Feb 2010 @ 5:04 AM

  119. Susan Kraemer,
    Here’s a map I found. It’s not “Waterworld,” but a pretty significant land area–and even moreso if you consider current population densities.

    http://sb350.pbworks.com/f/1247713617/700px-Global_Sea_Level_Rise_Risks.png

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Feb 2010 @ 6:15 AM

  120. Re: 57. Thanks for your comment Jim, though I don’t see how it would be hard to get to 560ppm fairly soon. For instance, the IPCC A1B scenario reaches this level by about 2060, and we are tracking it closely so far.

    [Response: At a rate of 1.87 ppm per year (Mauna Loa, 1998-08, http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ftp/trends/co2/maunaloa.co2), you don't get to 560 until about 2100--Jim]

    However, I also set up a small spreadsheet to look at some other scenarios. Even the current level of 390 ppm produces big long-term problems, as it gives ~1.4 degrees of Charney warming, another ~1.4 of slow feedback (albedo) warming and then ~50 ppm of extra CO2 from carbon feedbacks. Adding the warming effect of that ~50 ppm and then summing to the limit, we end up with CO2 at around 460ppm, and warming of ~4.3 degrees. That is in the range of melting all ice sheets on the planet (back to the Eocene).

    [Response: 50 is from where? From this study, 2.8 x 10.2 ppm/degree = 28.6 ppm. And it also assumes your albedo feedbacks are correct. Jim]

    What about a 350ppm “target”? Still no good, even if we suck CO2 out of the atmosphere to achieve it. The result after allowing for all the slow feedbacks, including carbon feedbacks, is a creep back up to ~400 ppm and ~3 degrees of warming. We are in the Pliocene with ~20-30 metres of sea level rise. Remember this is the “radical” suggestion that environmental groups are campaigning for (and which is endorsed by low-lying island states).

    How about an ultra-radical reduction to 300ppm, as endorsed by (say) the “Climate Code Red” authors? Cranking through the feeback limits takes us back up to ~320 ppm and ~1.1 degrees of warming. A little bit warmer than we are now: enough to remove the summer Arctic sea ice, and continue the melt-down on Greenland and West Antarctica. Ultimately we still get several metres of sea level rise.

    Also, this assumes that gamma remains in the region of ~16ppm for future warming. If it is actually as high as 30ppm, then here are the results.

    [Response: Where are you getting these numbers?

    560ppm -> 850ppm and 9.5 degrees C of warming
    390ppm -> 580ppm and 6.3 degrees
    350ppm -> 500ppm and 5 degrees
    300ppm -> 375ppm and 2.5 degrees

    Notice that the gamma effects are surprising large in the last two cases, because the feedback series converges rather slowly.

    Before anyone accuses me of “alarmism”, I should stress that these changes wouldn’t happen all at once. They are the ultimate effects, accumulated over several centuries, though that will be of little comfort to the inhabitants of those centuries. (Sea level just keeps rising, crop belts keep shifting, communities have to relocate again and again, and more and more species go extinct.)

    Comment by Dr Nick Bone — 10 Feb 2010 @ 9:35 AM

  121. “I thought that even a 20 foot sea level rise was only a typo, and that there was no reliable forecast of anything like that much. Are we talking here about the year 3010 or something?”

    We’re talking “if all the ice went bye-bye”, I think.

    20ft was if Greenland and the WAIS went, not if all continental ice wend bye-bye.

    In fact 50m might be merely if all greenland and antarctica went bye-bye.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Feb 2010 @ 10:25 AM

  122. Completely Fed Up: I’m just grateful that RealClimate exists to direct us to concise rebuttals. That’s all. Didn’t mean to give an impression that I don’t think. Back to work I go.

    Comment by Pablo N. — 10 Feb 2010 @ 11:42 AM

  123. Thanks to all who have attempted to relieve me of my ignorance on this.

    #98 dhogaza made an interesting point about partial pressure CO2 above the oceans, which made me think that it doesn’t matter whether the process is equilibrium or not. If it is then the driving force for absorption in sinks is reduced, so atmospheric CO2 will be higher, and if it’s an irreversible CO2 release process then more CO2 is added, again raising atmospheric concentrations.

    A couple of folk have made the point that both the value of gamma and it’s time dependence depend on starting conditions eg level of glaciation, which makes me wonder to whether attempting to reduce CO2 feedback to a single constant is a simplification too far. Certainly seems to have confused me…

    [Response:Few parameters are scale independent. As long as you define the scale, you're fine--Jim]

    Anyone able to answer the point about what value of gamma is assumed in or derived from coupled climate/carbon cycle models and to what extent this study informs model development ?

    [Response: The models' average are just slightly higher than the median reported by the authors. About 6 of the 10 are within a couple ppm of it. Pretty good correspondence overall]

    Completely Fed Up #117

    “Why do you insist….”

    I’m genuinely bemused as to why you think I’m insisting on anything. Just interested in understanding, that’s all. It does seem to be a general point of agreement that forcing has the same effect regardless of source, which allows climate feedback to be applied equally to, for instance, solar and CO2 forcings. So it seems odd to expect carbon cycle feedback to be different. I don’t at all insist that it is though, very happy to have it explained.

    I’ll stop now and go and re-read AR4 on the carbon cycle.

    Comment by Brian Fox — 10 Feb 2010 @ 12:19 PM

  124. “Didn’t mean to give an impression that I don’t think.”

    But you didn’t, Pablo. At best you avoided the effort. You assumed that this paper could only be answered by someone with a physics training.

    You dnn’t: just ask yourself what would be the consequence of something you DO know about if their paper were true.

    If blanketing of the earth by heat retaining CO2 didn’t work, how would heat-retaining blankets work?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Feb 2010 @ 12:21 PM

  125. > Septic Matthew says: 9 February 2010 at 11:41 PM
    > I thought that even a 20 foot sea level rise was only a typo

    Look back at our previous exchange of comments on that.

    “20 feet by 2100″ is the famous Associated Press Wire typo, widely repeated in text and headlines and still possible to find uncorrected if you look for it.

    What matters to us is _rate_of_change_.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Feb 2010 @ 12:34 PM

  126. #116 Completely Fed Up

    You mean blankets actually keep you warm?

    …so I’ve been freezing needlessly all time since G&T because I was naive enough to believe that lots of equations on a page must mean something, no matter who wrote them…

    Shucks, and I was just starting to get used to the antibiotics…

    (cough, cough)

    ;)


    The Climate Lobby
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 10 Feb 2010 @ 12:41 PM

  127. RE: 102

    Hey Bob,

    I believe the BPL modeling experiment was in relation to a thought shared in an earlier thread regarding polar amplification. The simple radiation model he is working with as you note, would mainly only provide a reasonable explanation for the Temperate Zone or average.

    In the case of total average energy your suggestions may be correct; however, in a simple model such as this, a variation in the 5-10% range is acceptable. As long as the inter-zonal transfer is correct, the gray body temperature emitted at 45 Deg. should be close to the real world measured value, if you have accurate standard values for negative and positive feed-backs.

    (Without seasonality you have to throw out about 40% of the extremes of the upper and lower limits. (Hence the polar terminal 202 C would be closer to 230K min and the equatorial terminal value of 357 would be closer to 323K max creating an average at 45 Deg of approximately 276K, if my math is correct. I fear this ends up being about 8 to 10 Deg. below the accepted average or stated another way within 2.8% of the accepted real world value. (I have been here before only rather then using a thermo-dynamic integral I estimated it using longhand… and MS Excel linked via ODBC to MS Access.))

    By integrating high resolution seasonality into the model at the offset it should achieve a similar output without the need to apply parametric corrections to the results. This should deliver a more accurate terminal value. This also would allow multiple variables to be run together with a more accurate energy transfer at the interaction points.

    (Also note: It is likely that much of the difference between the model and the real world accepted value would likely be due to the factors you are suggesting. Where as the difference between the seasonal versus non-seasonal model values at the extreme latitudes would likely be the total inter-zonal transport. (At issue is partial radiation during the latitude transfer, which involves speed and heat content.))

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 10 Feb 2010 @ 1:19 PM

  128. QUOTE:Comment 11
    Second, using meatball physics, [etc.]

    [Response: meatball physics? :)]

    ENDQUOTE:
    You know, meatball physics – where you assume a spherical meatball….

    (sorry…)

    [Response:
    Physics was never my strong suit. We think in terms of inverted conical tree boles (when we think at all)--Jim]

    Comment by David N — 10 Feb 2010 @ 1:58 PM

  129. 120 Dr Nick Bone: You are not alarmist, but I am greatly alarmed. 6 degrees C total of warming is the for sure extinction point for Homo Sapiens. I have listed the references in comments to RealClimate so often that I hesitate to do so again. Here is a shortened list of kill mechanisms:
    The #1 kill mechanism is famine. See “The Long Summer” by Brian Fagan and “Collapse” by Jared Diamond. The rain moves, disrupting agriculture. Already happening.

    See: “Six Degrees” by Mark Lynas
    http://www.marklynas.org/2007/4/23/six-steps-to-hell-summary-of-six-degrees-as-published-in-the-guardian
    Lynas lists several kill mechanisms, the most important being famine and methane fuel-air explosions. Other mechanisms include fire storms.

    H2S bubbling out of hot oceans is the final blow at 6 degrees C warming:
    “Under a Green Sky” by Peter D. Ward, Ph.D., 2007.
    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=00037A5D-A938-150E-A93883414B7F0000&sc=I100322

    So, how do we keep the total warming below 2 degrees C? Are we already doomed? We don’t have time to set up a self-sustaining colony on Mars. How do we convince Republicans to quit filibustering? How do we out-spend the coal industry on advertising? I’m forwarding your comment to my senators.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 10 Feb 2010 @ 2:14 PM

  130. Comment by Completely Fed Up – 20ft was if Greenland and the WAIS went, not if all continental ice wend bye-bye.

    No, 20 feet if either WAIS OR Greenland melts completely. Actually, more like 15 feet for WAIS and 23 feet for GIS. Also, I see 50 meters for all ice. I think it is closer to 80 meters. But really, who cares at that point?

    Comment by Andy — 10 Feb 2010 @ 5:01 PM

  131. @#130

    I live near Cleveland where we are 128m above sea level. So, that means I’m safe :P

    Comment by Garrett — 10 Feb 2010 @ 6:22 PM

  132. Re: 120 and Jim’s comments.

    For the first calculations, I assumed gamma of about 16ppm per degree C, based on the transition from LGM of 180 ppm to pre-industrial CO2 at 280ppm with a temperature change of about 6 degrees. This was also in line with comments 1 and 2 above, and with the paper’s estimates for the latter period (1550-1800) which you suggested were more plausible. I fully agree that if gamma is as low as 10.2 ppm then the impacts are not nearly so great (will recalculate if you like).

    [Response: OK, thanks.]

    Equally, the impact is not as great if the albedo sensitivities are much lower (I was using Hansen’s estimates here, again based on the gap between LGM and pre-industrial.)

    For the latter calculations, I considered what would happen hypothetically for a gamma of 30ppm per degree C, which is in the long tail of this paper. Not well supported but not ruled out either.

    [Response: OK]

    The exact numbers in both cases came from an iterative procedure:

    1. Take a CO2 level left in the atmosphere from human impacts.
    2. Calculate long-term warming response (after allowing for albedo feedbacks).
    3. Calculate additional CO2 as a result of the warming response found at step 2.
    4. Calculate additional warming induced by this additional CO2 from step 3.
    5. Calculate additional CO2 induced by the additional warming from step 4.

    [Response: Yes, got that, just wasn't sure on the rationale for your numbers--thanks--Jim]

    and so on until the series converges. It was a fairly simple Excel sheet: if the process is not described well enough by the above then I will mail you the sheet.

    Comment by Nick Bone — 10 Feb 2010 @ 7:49 PM

  133. Fed Up: Chill out. I realize that if I had copied and pasted Tscheuschner’s name correctly into the search box, I would have found the damn page myself and wouldn’t be getting dressed down by someone who assumes I’m lazy. Be fed up all you want, but I suggest not taking out your angst on people who are trying to keep up.

    [Response: Some articles, like that one, are common denialist talking points and they can trigger responses. Keep coming back, there are lots of helpful people here who can answer honest questions--Jim]

    Comment by Pablo N. — 10 Feb 2010 @ 8:51 PM

  134. Jim, thanks for the comments, you have an amazing amount of patience, and I suspect that is what is needed, as without several iterations to try to achieve clear thought, some people will not understand it. [And that is not meant to be disrespectful, heck I wish I had had someone to explain concepts that I didn't quite grasp].

    [Response: Thanks Thomas. You touched on a suite of important ideas in your post--I wanted to respond to more of them, but alas, time constraints. Maybe will happen still. No disrespect felt whatsoever.]

    In any case I’m about a half hour West of Stockton, but I have a son at UofP.

    [Response: Ah, much better, out in the Delta somewhere, maybe near the river? I love it out there.]

    Comment by Thomas — 10 Feb 2010 @ 10:17 PM

  135. Thank you Jim (for the reply), I think I need to go to read the entire study.

    [Response: And thank you for making the effort to learn. Yes, always try to go as close to the source of the information as you can. ps -there is a brief synopsis of the article in that issue of Nature also, that might help too.]

    Comment by jyyh — 10 Feb 2010 @ 10:28 PM

  136. 132 Nick Bone: I’m waiting for the results of your new calculation. Can you give it a time scale? What do we have to do by when? We should have taken action a long time ago? Now we have to do geo-engineering as well?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 11 Feb 2010 @ 2:55 AM

  137. PAblo “I realize that if I had copied and pasted Tscheuschner’s name correctly into the search box, I would have found the damn page myself”

    I missed the bit where you said that. So apologies because without that it looked like you went “Ohh, scary maths!” and turned off.

    You don’t have to understand everything.

    Read some of Feynman’s autobigraphies. He’s always going on about how he makes a real-life analogue of some mathematical setup and then when someone says “and the conclusion is…” he looks at that real-life analogue and goes “no, that’s not what this fuzzy spiky thing does”.

    Remember: even Feynman wasn’t born with QCD information built in. He had to learn it.

    Jim: the problem for me isn’t that it’s a common counterpoint by dittos, but that you don’t even have to know anything about science beyond what a few terms mean which everyone who went to school until 16 had been taught.

    Rather than a prime example of denialist idiocy, it’s a prime example of how bad their science is and a prime example of people believing something just because it looks technical and says what they want.

    Just about ANYONE can see the problems in G&T’s paper.

    Just about NOBODY who complains against AGW bothers to look.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Feb 2010 @ 4:32 AM

  138. “Also, I see 50 meters for all ice. I think it is closer to 80 meters. But really, who cares at that point?”

    Someone whose house is at 27m ASL?

    :-)

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Feb 2010 @ 4:36 AM

  139. @#137–

    Yes, G & T and similar work do have problems evident to those who, like myself, are equipped with little more than logic and a little determination to think.

    For me, the classic example from G & T is probably the bit where they attempt to use a pot on a stove as a “counterexample” to the greenhouse effect. (Great analogy, other than the fact that radiative physics are pretty much irrelevant to the pot on the stove, while being the very essence of the greenhouse effect.)

    A different example would be the “we don’t need no stinking greenhouse effect” meme which comes out in various blog discussions. This is the idea that “a non-conducting N2/O2 atmosphere” will by itself raise planetary temperatures by somehow “keeping heat in.” (It seems intuitively obvious to some, apparently, but those folks must be overlooking the fact that zero heat can leave the atmosphere–any atmosphere– by conduction in the first place. “Nothing from nothing leaves nothing,” and this line of er, thought, clearly gives us “bupkes.”)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 11 Feb 2010 @ 9:03 AM

  140. CFU and Pablo N.,
    Look Pablo is clearly one of the white hats. He’s trying to learn–and that’s what this forum is about. Let’s help him all we can and try to make learning a pleasurable experience. It is remaining blinkered and stupid that we want to make unpleasant.

    [Response: Bingo.
    Jim]

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Feb 2010 @ 9:08 AM

  141. “140
    Ray Ladbury says:
    11 February 2010 at 9:08 AM

    CFU and Pablo N.,
    Look Pablo is clearly one of the white hats.”

    Where did I say he was a denialist?

    NOWHERE.

    Where did I say he was trolling?

    NOWHERE.

    What did I say?

    “You don’t need to know physics to know his paper is bull”.

    [Response: CFU, Ray's not accusing you of calling him a denialist, he's just urging you to be as helpful as possible to those with legitimate questions. We can clearly see that Pablo qualifies in that regard, and in fact is a prototypical example of the type of person we want to help. Until someone demonstrates that s/he stubbornly refuses to listen to rational arguments or read suggested info, the onus is on us to make an honest effort (which you did in your initial response). People come here with all manner of levels of understanding. Now, no more on this please, let's move forward--Jim]

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Feb 2010 @ 9:25 AM

  142. 125, Hank Roberts: What matters to us is _rate_of_change_.

    That was why I asked if the expected date was 3010.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 11 Feb 2010 @ 9:47 AM

  143. Pablo N. says: Fed Up: Chill out.

    I agree.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 11 Feb 2010 @ 10:07 AM

  144. “[Response: CFU, Ray's not accusing you of calling him a denialist, he's just urging you to be as helpful as possible to those with legitimate questions.]”

    And I’m being helpful: I’m pointing out that there’s a lot more available to someone than just going to authority and asking.

    For some of the most egregious stuff made up to “prove” AGW is wrong (and G&T’s workings is among the very best examples), it’s enough just to read it skeptically and go “if this was right, what do I think this means for what I *do* know?”.

    [Response: Yes, it's helpful when we all stick to substantitive arguments, and generally not when we don't. No more on this topic--Jim]

    [edit]

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Feb 2010 @ 11:49 AM

  145. Re 132 and 136: I’ve put a spreadsheet and summary table here.

    Note that I calculated a range of cases for the table, using Earth System Sensitivity of 2xCharney (as estimated by Hansen et al) or 1.5xCharney (as estimated by Lunt et al) and gamma ranging from 10 to 30.

    I also looked at the case for Charney sensitivity alone, which gives an estimate of the effects prior to any slow albedo feedbacks. I used the typical estimate of 3 degrees C for CO2 doubling, though you can vary this if you like.

    Re: 129. Edward, I haven’t read Lynas’ book (or Ward’s for thar matter). Also, I’m not a climate scientist, so can’t comment with any real authority on them: my PhD is in a different field. But judging by the summary you linked to, the 5 and 6 degree sections seem mis-calibrated. From what I’ve read, most of the Eocene was hotter than 6 degrees above pre-industrial (with the PETM representing an especially big spike on top of an already hot background inherited from the Paleocene). Though the climate was very, very different from today’s, the world avoided being burned up by methane fireballs or suffocating from H2S poisoning. Those effects seem to require much higher warming still. Maybe we get them with 4xCO2 from industrial pollution, and a big methane belch, but that’s just me speculating (and maybe Lynas is speculating too).

    Comment by Dr Nick Bone — 11 Feb 2010 @ 2:06 PM

  146. Bob, see inline responses to your post #30, as I see it.
    Jim

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 11 Feb 2010 @ 3:04 PM

  147. I realize now that this comment thread was the wrong place to pose my question – I should have spent a little more time searching, myself. Sorry to muddy the stream. And I seem to have miscommunicated my appreciation for RC as a source for non-climate scientists to get trusted refutations of the blizzard of denialist talking points which we are all dealing with inside and outside of the blogosphere. This, I know, was one of the reasons why RC was established, as non-climate scientists are integral to discrediting the talking points in public and pushing for action.

    The other motivation behind RC was to have enlightened discussions about emerging research. So, thank you, Jim, for your presentation. Despite setting myself up as someone who knows squat about the greenhouse effect and unwilling to learn, I understood a great deal.

    [Response: Great! There's a LOT of material to learn from here, so keep at it!--Jim]

    Comment by Pablo N. — 11 Feb 2010 @ 3:06 PM

  148. 138 Completely Fed Up: My house is 600 feet above sea level now. I’m safe, sea level wise. How about your house?

    139 Kevin McKinney: “equipped with little more than logic and a little determination to think.” You need to do EXPERIMENTS in your own LABORATORY. The ancient Greeks had logic. It got them almost nowhere. Galileo did experiments. That is why Galileo was the inventor of SCIENCE. Prior to Galileo, there was no science.
    What Science is all about is really quite simply and elegantly stated in the book: “Science and Immortality” by Charles B. Paul 1980
    University of California Press
    The Eloges of the Paris Academy of Sciences (1699-1791)
    page 99: “Science is not so much a natural as a moral philosophy”. [Drylabbing [fudging data] will get you fired.]
    page 106: Nature isn’t just the final authority, Nature is the Only authority.
    Scientists do not vote on what is the truth. There is only one vote and Nature owns it. We find out what Nature’s vote is by doing Scientific [public and replicable] experiments. Scientific [public and replicable] experiments are the only source of truth.

    145 Dr Nick Bone: Thanks. I hope you are right. The Scientific American article also says 6 degrees, but I think I heard elsewhere that the End-Permian Great Death was maybe 20 degrees C of warming.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 11 Feb 2010 @ 3:20 PM

  149. Septic Matthew (107) — A sea level rise of 50 meters will take quite long to happen, many centuries most likely. However, at current and projected levels of CO2, this seems rather likely; that isn’t even all of the ice. Please do read David Archer’s “The Long Thaw”.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Feb 2010 @ 3:35 PM

  150. “148
    Edward Greisch says:
    11 February 2010 at 3:20 PM

    138 Completely Fed Up: My house is 600 feet above sea level now. I’m safe, sea level wise. How about your house?”

    About 400ft ASL.

    Why do you want to know? (heck, why did you feel the need to let me know?)

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Feb 2010 @ 4:33 PM

  151. #148–Edward, you are off-base. It was not me who made substantive statements without experimentation, but G & T. My point was simply that logic is sufficient (in many cases at least) to diagnose a misapplied analogy.

    Perhaps your sermon on the philosophy of science could be redirected to them?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 11 Feb 2010 @ 4:41 PM

  152. > That was why I asked if the expected date was 3010.
    Want the month and day also? You’re asking for impossible precision.

    Try this presentation (webex audio/slideshow), it’s good: http://ams.confex.com/ams/90annual/techprogram/paper_160915.htm

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Feb 2010 @ 4:41 PM

  153. Jim, #146 (re #30):

    Thanks, much! So my equations/graph are accurate.

    As an aside, using natural or base 10 logs don’t really matter in the end (which is why I got to 1.41, too). It just changes the constant. Where a natural log gives you RF = 5.35*ln(C2/C1), a base 10 log gives you RF = 9.996*log(C2/C1), but you get exactly the same answer, so no worries there [the statement log(x)=ln(x)*(log(k)/ln(k) is true... sorry, my dad was a math professor, so I grew up liking that stuff].

    [Response: OK, I figured it was along those lines, since you got the right value. The typo on the value of k threw me some.]

    Yes, I agree completely on having to make a lot of (too many) assumptions, in particular whether or not any CO2 feedback has yet been realized, what the time scale is, and what the actual feedback values were in the models…. although what I’m computing (committed temperature) is mostly independent of time scale (we might see that temp in 20 years, or 200 years — the equation only says what we’ll reach, not when).

    [Response: Right, but if part of what one is observing in the CO2 record is due to relatively fast feedbacks from T changes, say 10 years lag, your numerator includes that effect already. E.g. in 2010, at 388 ppm, let's say of the difference of 108 from pre-industrial, 10 ppm is due to T induced feedback. That is, the numerator should be 378 + 10 = 388, therefore a 10ppm feedback, not a 0 ppm feedback. This will shift all your curves. Granted though, this only holds if the feedback is fast relative to the previous century's T increase--jim]

    The one exception is in determining feedback to date. But I’d be willing to bet (based on the mechanisms that would be involved) that we’ve seen negligible positive CO2 feedbacks to date, or we’ve nullified them with civilized behavior (forest clearing for wood products in place of forest fires), or perhaps there even would have been negative effects that we’ve also nullified the same way (e.g. increased plant growth and corresponding CO2 uptake has been restrained by annual harvesting and foresting of land).

    [Response: Yes, I would tend to agree the feedback CO2's probably not been great so far. But land use change has not offset it, but rather added to it, and in fact far oustrips it. One way to estimate gamma would be to use the info on time lags from the study, if we had it, and apply it to the industrial era. In fact that's about the only way to estimate it, given the uncertainties in the carbon cycle's fluxes--Jim]

    But based on what I’ve read here since I did those computations, my takeaways are:

    1) Time scales for CO2 feedback are probably longish. There could even be negative feedbacks in play right now (ocean uptake, increased plant growth) that will reverse and be replaced with longer term positive feedbacks (desertification/savanna-fication, etc.) that only arise when certain regional tipping points are reached (e.g. frequent and powerful droughts in the Amazon or central USA resulting in frequent and massive forest fires).

    [Response:Hornet's nest here. There definitely are strong negative feedbacks in play; the study is only trying to estimate the temperature induced feedback, not to quantify all feedbacks. There may well be "shortish" lag feedbacks that show up unexpectedly, especially if there are major droughts in forested areas. Your overall point is the most critical one though, and is exactly the critical point: temperature will drive many of these longer term feedbacks. Hence, gamma will likely be higher, at some point, than values given here--Jim]

    2) The models are apparently not far from this study, so maybe I never should have plotted lines for overestimating feedback by 14 ppm/C or 21 ppm/C or 28 ppm/C. If the models are mostly in the 10 ppm/C range, and that’s where this study falls, then it doesn’t make sense to assume an “over estimation” much beyond 10 or 12 ppm/C (which would equate to zero or a possible slightly negative rather than positive feedback). It would be possible to go to any degree in the other direction, however (e.g. up to 30 ppm/C more CO2 feedback than modeled), but as I said already, that’s way too scary to even think about. It means we’re already committed to temperatures over 2C no matter what we do.

    Anyway, I’ll take my bottom line result to be mostly accurate, then…

    Each ppm/C more feedback than expected puts us one year closer to reaching the point of no return on hitting 2C, and puts the current temperature commitment 1/70 C higher.

    Each ppm/C less feedback than expected puts us only one year further from reaching the point of no return on hitting 2C, and puts the current temperature commitment 1/70 C lower.

    Which means that while this study is very interesting, the net impact of the unknowns on the climate (compared to anthro CO2) is marginal with respect to short term planning and timing. It only really matters if we’re so foolish as to let things get way out of control.

    Comment by Bob — 11 Feb 2010 @ 5:15 PM

  154. #95 on M-C:

    You are right Jim and I am wrong, but we’re actually not far from semantics. When you repeatedly sample a parameter space to drive a model and accumulate a result distribution, that is statistical simulation. All we’re talking about is the sampling scheme. Exhaustively working through a discrete grid (as here) has the advantage of completely eliminating stochastic sampling bias, but at the expense of possible systematic bias (operator chooses the samples). It’s also very inefficient, as you point out. Am I saying this was a poor choice here? Of course not.

    BTW, one cannot apply this approach without “a defined distribution” for each parameter. The authors chose those, although they don’t express it that way. For example, they made each of the temperature reconstructions and each of the CO2 series equally likely (discrete uniform distributions). They made similar choices for the smoothing splines and calibration intervals (continuous uniform distributions – which have defined bounds). Again, poor choices? Of course not. But choices; yes.

    This is a powerful technique, but I don’t think one should pretend that it does things it does not. There’s just the faintest whiff of that in the author’s “…229,761 estimates for gamma” and, with respect, in your “full parametric experiment”. The results distribution necessarily depends on the parameter distributions. The degree of dependence here is not particularly high (as the supplementary demonstrates), which gives some confidence in the robustness of the result.

    [Response: I guess I'm still not sure what it is exactly that you think is being pretended here. Nobody's pretending that these are iron-clad results wrt the future--jim]

    Comment by GlenFergus — 11 Feb 2010 @ 6:57 PM

  155. Much as I dislike schadenfreude, the news that climate denier Chris Monckton has come down with heat stroke is a delicious irony. No doubt he thinks it’s a case of frostbite.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 11 Feb 2010 @ 7:40 PM

  156. Jim, re #153:

    Yes, okay. Sounds right.

    I think it’s interesting to consider that it’s probably a gross oversimplification (one of many, I know) to label gamma as a linear value. It’s quite probably not (e.g. 1 C may give you 10 ppm, but the next 1 C might give you 20 ppm more if it comes too quickly on the heals of the first 1 C increase).

    I’m rather afraid that one of the factors that we can’t easily quantify is that CO2 is very much a part of the cycle of living things, and living things, given time, would adapt and compensate at least to some small degree. But if it happens too fast for ecosystems to adjust (e.g. for plants better adapted to the changed environment to assume a CO2 mitigating role) the effects could be far worse.

    I don’t suppose anyone is doing a study to itemize and parametrize the various potential specific, individual CO2 feedbacks in the system. It would be interesting to see a time-line with all of the “coulds” and their dependencies (e.g. if precipitation falls below X and temperature above Y, which might be expected sometime between years A and B, then forest M could add between R ppm and S ppm CO2 to the atmosphere).

    [Response: Oh yes. Lots going on there, from all angles. You just don't hear much about it. I hope I can help change that.--Jim]

    No one could ever put that into a single prediction of any sort (although they could all be built into models, and I assume many are), but it would be nice to sort of see what the list is, what’s big and small, what is surprising and unexpected, and what would add up… and, God forbid, check them off as they come to pass.

    [Response: Wicked problem for sure. Constraining the carbon cycle budget is critical. We’re playing with fire with our ignorance of it. It’s the BIG wildcard.

    Comment by Bob — 11 Feb 2010 @ 8:27 PM

  157. 152, Hank Roberts: Want the month and day also? You’re asking for impossible precision.

    No, I am just asking for reasonable projections (and ranges of projections) for the next 25, 50, and 100 years. The figure that I first commented had no indication of when that much melting would have occurred.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 11 Feb 2010 @ 10:03 PM

  158. Way O/T but was wondering if any here had heard of this project? Using peoples computers, laptops, etc for climate modeling (or Milky Way investigating or Malaria control, etc.)

    http://climateprediction.net/content/about-climatepredictionnet-project

    This could be a very economical way to help science and scientists!

    Comment by Leo G — 11 Feb 2010 @ 11:57 PM

  159. 151 Kevin McKinney: OK. Whoever. The point is that whoever is completely new to science needs to start with experiments. Science is something you DO, not something you READ. So, to whoever is completely new to science: The way you tell who is telling the truth and who is telling lies is by doing an experiment personally. For people with degrees in music or english or whatever that isn’t science, don’t be embarrassed to buy a chemistry [or other experiment] set from a toy store and start there. That is where the scientists started. Don’t worry about age.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 12 Feb 2010 @ 2:56 AM

  160. You don’t need to know individually what all the forces are on a log rolling downhill are. You can roll the log down hill (or check the results of past log rolling downhill, measuring the grade) and check the velocity of the log through its rolling passage.

    That you don’t know the energy loss through the uneven surface of the rough-hewn log doesn’t mean that gravity doesn’t pull down with a force of 9.8Newtons. That you measure that force as 10N +/- 1N from your log rolling measurements doesn’t mean that it’s outside that range because you didn’t account for a heavy clump of grass.

    Yet dittos do exactly this for reconstructions of temperature sensitivity of CO2 changes.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 12 Feb 2010 @ 4:42 AM

  161. EG: “Science is not so much a natural as a moral philosophy”

    BPL: With the proviso that it’s a moral philosophy directed toward one particular end, finding the truth about nature. Being a scientist does not make you a moral person–witness Nobel prize winner Philip Lenard denouncing relativity as “Jewish Science,” Werner Heisenberg trying to build an A-bomb for Hitler, Bill Shockley on race and IQ, etc.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 12 Feb 2010 @ 6:36 AM

  162. Miskolczi – is it all bunk or does he have a point? A piece on it would be great.

    [Response: Bunk. - gavin]

    Comment by John — 12 Feb 2010 @ 8:56 AM

  163. #158 Leo G:

    Yes, I use this screensaver but I have a 6 year old PC so I had to change the resource useage settings. This thing really sucks up resources while running in the background on default settings. :(

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 12 Feb 2010 @ 11:30 AM

  164. OT:

    I just posted a new thread on my fledgeling blog titled: I am Saving 21% on my Electric Bill – So Can You!

    I show my electric bill from Feb. 2008 vs. Feb. 2010 where I am now saving $39 per month because of a few green changes I made two years ago. I made my money back in less than six months.

    If any of you have green stories to show savings please comment over there. Money talks louder than science apparently.

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 12 Feb 2010 @ 11:35 AM

  165. Re: 145. I think you need to consider uptake of CO2. The way I see the 10 ppm/C line is as an equilibrium state, which we are now well above due to injecting fossil carbon. When above this line there should be a net uptake, and when below a net CO2 emission. The uptake rate can be estimated from knowing we only see half the increase of CO2 that is injected, so it must be about 2 ppm/yr, given a rise of 2 ppm/yr. Whether the uptake rate is constant or in some way dependent on the distance from equilibrium is not easy to know, and also whether the 10 ppm/C line still applies in an increased carbon environment, but uptake is a first order term in this type of calculation that can’t be neglected.

    Comment by Jim D — 12 Feb 2010 @ 12:32 PM

  166. Leo G says: 11 February 2010 at 11:57 PM

    “Way O/T but was wondering if any here had heard of this project? Using peoples computers, laptops, etc for climate modeling (or Milky Way investigating or Malaria control, etc.)

    http://climateprediction.net/content/about-climatepredictionnet-project

    Part of BOINC!

    I have BOINC running here on an offsite backup server. The box uses a little more electricity as a result, ~430kWh/year for a cost of about $20. The “Al Gore is Fat” freaks will undoubtedly find it completely unacceptable, but on the other hand as long as the thing is installed on machines that otherwise would be running anyway I believe it’s a net benefit in terms of resources and of course it saves researchers a pile of cash.

    BOINC allows you to choose your contribution from a smorgasbord of interesting projects.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 12 Feb 2010 @ 12:55 PM

  167. > Septic Matthew says: 11 February 2010 at 10:03 PM
    > I am just asking for reasonable projections (and ranges of projections)

    Of what, for which location? I can help you a bit (a librarian could help you much more, if you go to a local library). You need to ask an answerable question.

    Note the reply earlier, for sea level you need more than just a contour map. Exampple: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/futureslc.html

    > for the next 25, 50, and 100 years.
    You’ve read the sections of the FAR and the recent followups on uncertainties in sea level rise? You’re aware of the range of uncertainty?

    Here’s an example of the kind of information you can find if you look, for one particular area:
    http://www.pacinst.org/reports/sea_level_rise/

    Why not make the effort of looking for yourself, because you can specify the details important to you, and come back and comment on what you are able to find?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Feb 2010 @ 12:57 PM

  168. Sea level: see also:
    http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/environment/sealevel_feature.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Feb 2010 @ 1:11 PM

  169. Denialists aren’t playing Russian roulettte with the planet — see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7221110/Climate-change-sceptics-playing-Russian-roulettte-with-planet.html . It’s far worse than that, one bullet in a 6-chamber pistol. It’s more like they’re playing (let’s think of a word) SIBERIAN ROULETTTE, with 19 bullets in a 20-chamber pistol.

    At least that’s what we can glean from the science, with the first studies reaching the .05 significance level in 1995, and the science becoming ever more robust since then.

    (Note: take the extra “t” out of roulettte on the weblink — the spam filter wouldn’t let me post with the correct spelling)

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 12 Feb 2010 @ 2:37 PM

  170. 167, Hank Roberts: You need to ask an answerable question.

    I was responding to a post, and I asked a question to clarify the post. If someone suggests that there is possibly a 60m sea level rise, it is not unreasonable to ask that person when the sea level rise will occur.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 12 Feb 2010 @ 3:06 PM

  171. Septic Matthew (157) — Three groups of engineers in three countries are all planning for 1+ meter SLR by 2100 CE.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 12 Feb 2010 @ 3:22 PM

  172. 171, David B. Benson: Three groups of engineers in three countries are all planning for 1+ meter SLR by 2100 CE.

    I read that the Netherlands is planning for a 55cm – 110cm SLR. Is that one of the groups you know of, or is it a 4th group of engineers? Just curious.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 12 Feb 2010 @ 4:57 PM

  173. Septic Matthew: engineers design for the top value in the range. Always. Then, then civil and structural engineers I know (out of an excess of caution) multiply by two. Or five. Or as much as they can get away with, really.

    And what sort of building only stands for a hundred years? Many engineers have to take far longer timescales into account (which includes once in a century storms and similar considerations).

    I’m curious: is your chosen nickname some kind of pun or in-joke?

    Comment by Didactylos — 12 Feb 2010 @ 5:45 PM

  174. > …Matthew
    > 60m sea level rise

    Who are you attributing this to?
    It’s always important to cite your fact claims, even if you claim it’s something you read somewhere.

    Then we can look at the source, instead of your questions, and check your recollection against a source.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Feb 2010 @ 6:45 PM

  175. Septic Matthew (172) & Didactylos (173) — The other two are in Britian and in California. While it is true that sea defenses have to take storm surge and so on into account, it seems the three groups all independently arrived at 1+ m as suitable with those in California, I think, actually having a somewhat larger figure.

    While I suppose engineers in Venice are also alying plans, so far haven’t seen anythiing for New Orleans and around to Washington, D.C., where Foggy Bottom may well have to be renamed; SLR is not expected to be uniform due to mass redistribution and so changes in geodesy.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 12 Feb 2010 @ 7:19 PM

  176. Septic Matthew & sea rise:

    I actually asked the same Q about a 60 m rise some 2 years ago here, and the answers I got ranged from 2.5 m per century worst case to 5 meters per century worst case (based on paleoclimate research). Of course, we’re warming the world a lot faster, but still it takes a lot of time to melt ice, esp when winter still comes around each year to cool it down again. From these above rates, there could be a 60 m rise in 1,200 years or by 3,200. Or bec we’re warming up the world faster, maybe less than this.

    MAPS: Here is a good set of maps with 100 m rise — you can click to get close-ups of coast lines by clicking it: http://resumbrae.com/archive/warming/100meter.html

    I was especially interested bec I was writing a screenplay, HYSTERESIS, set in the future of a dying world, that had nevertheless managed to invent time travel, and sent a soldier back to kill the fictitious U.S. pres (so his better VP could take over tha steer the country/world on a path to avert such future destruction). For cinematic effect, I wanted shots of DC in a 60 m rise (you’d see the top of the Capitol buidling and the W Monument), and used that timeline to set my story. BTW (don’t want to spoil the ending) but the hero fails to kill the pres (a pacifist woman gets to him), with an intereting outcome.

    Only problem now with my screenplay is that hysteresis isn’t the worst that can happen (100,000 years of extreme warming in which most of life on earth dies out, but then comes back slowly to eventually flourish again). According to Hansen the worst, which he says is likely if we burn all fossil fuels, including tar sands and oil shale, is the Venus syndrome, in which ALL life on earth dies out. See: http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/AGUBjerknes_20081217.pdf

    So anyway, if I rewrite my screenplay it will be under a different title: THE VENUS SYNDROME.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 12 Feb 2010 @ 7:46 PM

  177. 173, Didactylos: I’m curious: is your chosen nickname some kind of pun or in-joke?

    Some kind, yes. On one of these threads I read the use of “septic” as a put-down pun on “sceptic”, so I self-agrandizingly took it as a name, like Yankees did with “yankee” and North Carolinians did with “tar-heel”, Indianans did with “hoosier”, and some others. And your name? I gather it means that you type with only two fingers, but you turn it into self promotion?

    176, Lynn Vincentnathan: I actually asked the same Q about a 60 m rise some 2 years ago here, and the answers I got ranged from 2.5 m per century worst case to 5 meters per century worst case (based on paleoclimate research).

    In most of the 20th century, the rate was 2mm/yr, but over the last 30 years might be higher at 3mm/yr.

    174, Hank Roberts: Who are you attributing this to?

    Take your own advice: check out post #107 by me.

    Also, check out 63, by Hank Roberts. It’s a simple question, after all.

    175, David Benson, thanks again.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 12 Feb 2010 @ 9:17 PM

  178. 155
    Philip Machanick says:
    11 February 2010 at 7:40 PM

    “Much as I dislike schadenfreude, the news that climate denier Chris Monckton has come down with heat stroke is a delicious irony. No doubt he thinks it’s a case of frostbite.”

    NO. You like schadenfreude. If you did not you would not have posted the above. Dont shroud your delight in falsity of presentation.

    Monckton is in Australia (we are in summer here) after coming from your crappy Northern Hemisphere winter. This is not uncommon with visitors from the north.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 12 Feb 2010 @ 11:29 PM

  179. 162
    John says:
    12 February 2010 at 8:56 AM

    “Miskolczi – is it all bunk or does he have a point? A piece on it would be great.

    [Response: Bunk. - gavin]”

    It has a point. AGW believers just hate it.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 12 Feb 2010 @ 11:33 PM

  180. OT, but science is a cruel mistress> (xkcd for 2/12/10)

    Comment by Tim McDermott — 13 Feb 2010 @ 12:03 AM

  181. 176
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:
    12 February 2010 at 7:46 PM

    “Only problem now with my screenplay is that hysteresis isn’t the worst that can happen (100,000 years of extreme warming in which most of life on earth dies out, but then comes back slowly to eventually flourish again). According to Hansen the worst, which he says is likely if we burn all fossil fuels, including tar sands and oil shale, is the Venus syndrome, in which ALL life on earth dies out. See: http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/AGUBjerknes_20081217.pdf

    Hansen’s hypothesis is nothing more than speculative crap with no empirical evidence. The earth cannot have a “Venus syndrome”.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 13 Feb 2010 @ 12:17 AM

  182. Given that Jones has thrown Manns hockey stick under the bus and admited to the MWP and David Eyton, head of research and technology at British Petroleum who currrently fund, the CRU is investigating Jones; how much C02 would it take to re-inflate the tires on the bus, is the Earth was Venus and you all shared at least one brain?

    [Response: Good question, I don't know why we didn't think of it--Jim]

    Comment by Andrew — 13 Feb 2010 @ 1:52 AM

  183. RC: http://www.mediafire.com/?trm9gnmznde to which 181 Richard Steckis points does indeed have a 2.4 MB pdf attributed to Dr. Hansen that says we are in danger of going Venus [page 24] if we burn all of the coal and for sure go Venus if we burn all possible fossil fuel.
    RC: Please please do a huge article on this possibility. Is it really Dr. Hansen’s work?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 13 Feb 2010 @ 3:09 AM

  184. “The earth cannot have a “Venus syndrome”.

    —-

    Explain. Detail please.

    Comment by Garrett — 13 Feb 2010 @ 3:50 AM

  185. RS: [Miskolczi] has a point. AGW believers just hate it.

    BPL: If you think there is any scientific merit at all to Miskolczi’s jackass paper, you are a scientific illiterate.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Feb 2010 @ 5:18 AM

  186. #162 #179

    A propos Miskolczi, and considering water vapour, any increase in (tropospheric) temperature (for whatever reason) will release water vapour (from cloud evaporation) leading to a further increase in temperature (GHG effect of water vapour). Since clouds are an inexhaustible supply of fresh water vapour this effect should cause catastrophic run away. It doesn’t. Why not?

    Comment by simon abingdon — 13 Feb 2010 @ 5:58 AM

  187. “It has a point. AGW believers just hate it.”

    It has two: AGW deniers just love it.

    It has no science, but that’s not a problem for you, is it RS.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Feb 2010 @ 7:29 AM

  188. Steckis, have you even bothered to read the critiques that utterly demolish Miskolczi. The only possible merit I could find in it was the most “creative” application of the Virial Theorem–utterly wrong, but creative. I am almost afraid to ask this, Richard, but pray, what merit does this dog turd of a paper have other than as an exercise to Junior-level climate science students to find what’s wrong with it?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Feb 2010 @ 8:42 AM

  189. Hi,

    I’d like to know if there’s a source where one can check global surface temperature on a daily basis.

    Thanks a lot for your help and for your work.

    Comment by Mangeclous — 13 Feb 2010 @ 9:08 AM

  190. [Westfield]– is it all bunk or does he have a point?

    http://oddbooks.co.uk/oddbooks/westfield.html

    Actually, there is a point and purpose to Miskolczi’s paper. Now, he and his family will be treated to lavish vacations in exchange for unintelligible presentations at conferences sponsored by right-wing think tanks (an oxymoron if there ever was one.)

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 13 Feb 2010 @ 9:14 AM

  191. Steckis:

    It [Miskolczi] has a point. AGW believers just hate it.

    Hansen’s hypothesis is nothing more than speculative crap with no empirical evidence. The earth cannot have a “Venus syndrome”.

    Detailed blog science disproof of global warming in action …

    Comment by dhogaza — 13 Feb 2010 @ 9:36 AM

  192. Simon Abingdon, given your trolling tendencies, I’m reluctent to even engage. However, look up two things:
    Claussius-Clapeyron equation

    Convergent infinite series.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Feb 2010 @ 10:02 AM

  193. Andrew @182
    Could you try that again in English or at least some other language comprehensible to humans?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Feb 2010 @ 10:04 AM

  194. RE: 184

    Hey Garrett,

    I concur, the eras around the Carboniferous M-P epochs may have been as close as the Earth would have come in the past; however, that was when Sol was cooler (On the order of 14/15ths…, (estimated), of the current incoming energy). Given the lesser heat content and high volume of water presence, there would not likely have been the initial conditions that existed on Venus.

    It is likely a terrestrial or extra-terrestrial event may have covered a wide portion of the Earth in two separate planet wide events, eventually ending the Carboniferous era. (These events may have caused much of the die off of the Blue-Green Algae, that participated in the massive oxidation of iron and sulfur in the Earths land and oceans. In essence, high Carbon in the presence of high Oxygen content may have been enough to prevent the runaway heating during this time frame.) The resulting atmospheric chemistry was unlikely to support a Venus like climate.

    The question is what would happen if you had high Carbon and higher Sulfates of dying biologic decay, without the high Oxygen content…, similar to what we are seeing in the oceans today?

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 13 Feb 2010 @ 10:17 AM

  195. simon abingdon — 13 February 2010 @ 5:58 AM postulates “…clouds are an inexhaustible supply of fresh water vapour…”

    This postulate is refuted by observation; it was cloudy and 30F(-1C) last night here in North Carolina. Today, it is 33F(0.5C), not cloudy, and there is ~ 2in(5cm) of new snow on the ground. Clearly clouds are a finite(not “inexhaustible”) source of snow(not “water vapour”).

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 13 Feb 2010 @ 10:30 AM

  196. This thread about sea level rise of 10s of meters has been off-track for a while.
    Septic Matthew should go to post # 92 (Susan Kraemer): “I realize that the year
    3000 is outside the relevant policy time period, but as a matter of morbid interest
    – what sea level is expected by 3000? What global average temperature? Have any
    long term studies been done?” The question is clearly in reference to the year 3000.
    Septic Matthew writes in # 107: “I thought that even a 20 foot sea level rise was only
    a typo, and that there was no reliable forecast of anything like that much. Are we
    talking here about the year 3010 or something?” So, yes we should be “talking here about
    3010 or something” and not going back and forth needlessly.

    Thanks for your valuable service RC!

    Comment by Mac Crawford — 13 Feb 2010 @ 10:31 AM

  197. 190: Jiminmpls says:
    http://oddbooks.co.uk/oddbooks/westfield.html

    Thanks for that! Hilarious. The comments were the best part.

    [Response: Something tells me I shouldn't have started reading that...I already have a sideache--Jim]

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 13 Feb 2010 @ 11:02 AM

  198. Richard Steckis says: Miskolczi has apoint. AGW believers just hate it.

    Ok. I’ll bite. What is the point? What are your qualifications for determining its veracity or do you just believe everything you read that purports to show that AGW can’t happen? I suspect the latter. Prove me wrong.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 13 Feb 2010 @ 11:08 AM

  199. #177, Septic Matthew, & “In most of the 20th century, the rate was 2mm/yr, but over the last 30 years might be higher at 3mm/yr.”

    Well, see, SM, this is where I’m sort of an expert. Have you ever had the duty of defrosting your SunFrost refrigerator (the one that save 90% electricity)? I thought so. It’s like this, the process starts out really slowly, then it starts speeding up, and toward the end it goes really fast. Furthermore, the paleoclimatologists have found that 2.5 m (some finding 5 m) per century (once the warming reaches a certain level, and the melting gets going in earnest) is what could happen….at least under the slow warming conditions of the past. Bets are sort of off for this unique, very fast, lickety-split warming we are involved with.

    Here is one of the answers I got — the 5 m per century scenario:

    The most rapid known rise in sea level occurred at the end of the last ice age during the so-called Meltwater Pulse 1A. I’ve seen various estimates, but a typical one is a 25 metre rise in 500 years or 5 metres per century, 0.5 metres per decade.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Post-Glacial_Sea_Level.png

    The actual forcing that triggered this was small compared to current climate forcings – initially only about 0.25 W/m^2 – we currently have 0.75 +/- 0.25 W/m^2 and rising. Somehow this initial trigger led to the build up of GHG’s and albedo changes (and more forcing) that resulted in this rapid rise in sea level. I don’t know exacly how soon after the trigger it occurred, I suspect it’s unknown.
    You could theoretically calculate a maximum rate based on climate forcings and some albedo feedbacks, and an assumption of how much of the forcing went into melting ice. Let’s assume 100% of the forcing went into melting ice.

    Lets say 1 W/m^2 forcing – thats 5*10^14 W over the globe.
    The latent heat of melting for water is 334J/g or 3.34*10^17 Joules/km^3 water equivalent – i.e. water volume once melted.
    Over the whole globe over a year, 1 W/m^2 corresponds to:
    1W/m^2*(500*10^6km^2)*(1*10^6m^2/km^2)*(3600sec/hr)*(24/day)*(365day/yr)=1.58*10^22Joules
    Dividing these two results gives:
    1.58*10^22Joules/3.34*10^17 Joules/km^3=47,000km^3 melted water per year.
    This is distributed over 350 million km^2 of ocean
    47,000km^3/350 million km^2=0.13*10^-3km/yr=0.13 metres per year.
    (For comparison each of Greenland and West Antarctica is estimated to be losing about 150 km^3 per year, for a combined sea level rise of a little under 1mm per year.)

    So if all that 1 W/m^2 forcing went into ice melting it could raise sea level by 1.3 metres per decade or 13 m/100yrs. This is unlikely in itself as a good proportion of heat must go into warming the ocean, although this may stop if large amounts of ice spread through the oceans as ice sheets break up – creating an efficient way to transfer heat from ocean to ice, which incidentally is half of the key to the whole process – the other half being albedo changes on the ice itself (eg. meltwater ponds, soot), which transfer heat straight to the ice.

    If you wanted to speed things up for fictional purposes you could double the forcing due to albedo changes, eg loss of the polar sea ice, formation of large meltwater lakes on ice. You could then add release of CO2 and methane from permafrost. In addition, in some areas, especially West Antarctica, the ice won’t need to melt – it will just flow off the surface it rests on once enough lubrication and buoyancy is present – this could happen in a decade or less (5 metre rise). Almost as rapid collapse is possible in Greenland – 7 metre rise. The stable ice sheet is East Antarctica – equivalent to about a 55-58 metre rise.

    In short, I’ve no idea of the maximum possible rate. I could believe extreme conditions could do it within a century, but a number of worst-case positive feedbacks would have to be present.

    What do others think?

    —————————————————————
    #181, Richard & “The earth cannot have a ‘Venus syndrome.’”

    Now this is where we lay people diverge from the scientists — any scientist will tell you that we certainly will have a Venus syndrome (runaway warming) when the sun goes supernova.

    Can it happen before that, is the question. According to Hansen (who really knows his science well), the sun is slowly but surely becoming brighter over the eons. IF you add that into consideration (and that during the earlier extreme CO2-warming scenarios the sun was less bright), AND you add in the fact that we are releasing CO2/CH4 into the atmosphere a lot faster than in past warming events, AND you consider that the slow negative feedbacks, such as weathering drawing down CO2, are happening too slow to make much difference, AND you consider that Jim Hansen is a nice guy who doesn’t understand just how evil human nature is (that there are enough people out there who would actually speed up their GHG emissions just to spite others, despite economic harm to themselves — enough of those types to make a real difference), then you can see that the situation looks fairly bleak.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 13 Feb 2010 @ 11:21 AM

  200. (182)Comment by Andrew — 13 February 2010 @ 1:52 AM
    For those of you who would like to know what Phil Jones actually said, you can read it here -
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8511670.stm

    Comment by Moira Kemp — 13 Feb 2010 @ 11:25 AM

  201. I don’t understand this business of “the Earth can’t go Venus-like.” Whether or not it’s true, what in the he#* is the point of comparing Earth to some inferno planet that can sustain no life whatsoever? Because we supposedly can’t warm to several hundred degrees, I’m supposed to believe it’s all good? What kind of idiocy is that?

    It’s like those “skeptics” who insist humans are too small and feeble to affect something as large as the climate and then compare the consequences of human activities to the largest cataclysms of Earth’ history, trying to make them look small in comparison. As if only major cataclysms were worth considering.

    Ah, that sweet freedom from any logical train of thought…
    Must be fun to be a skeptic.

    Comment by Philippe Chantreau — 13 Feb 2010 @ 12:13 PM

  202. 196, Mac Crawford: Septic Matthew should go to post # 92 (Susan Kraemer): “I realize that the year
    3000 is outside the relevant policy time period, but as a matter of morbid interest
    – what sea level is expected by 3000?

    Thank you. I am sorry that I missed that. I have read “almost all” of the posts in order, but I missed those.

    199, Lynn Vincentnathan: Have you ever had the duty of defrosting your SunFrost refrigerator (the one that save 90% electricity)? I thought so.

    No (I live in a semi-arid climate, and my freezer has been frost-free for more than a decade, as long as I have lived here), but I don’t doubt your description. Even a septic sceptic can’t doubt everything.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 13 Feb 2010 @ 12:41 PM

  203. Ray #192 (Thanks for responding)

    You suggest I look up (1) Convergent infinite series and (2) Clausius-Clayperon.

    (1) Is it true that a doubling of the CO2 level in the atmosphere will produce a fixed rise in temperature? If so, the temperature rise resulting from an infinite succession of CO2 doublings appears to me not to be convergent. Do different considerations apply to water vapour?

    (2) Clausius-Clayperon is about phase changes and latent heat. As the sun comes up I often see the clouds disappearing as if by magic. No problem with the phase change to water vapour there. Are you saying that the GHG warming effect of more water vapour cannot happen in practice because of the energy needed to effect the phase change from clouds?

    #195 Brian Dodge

    At any time clouds cover more than 60% of the earth´s surface. The potential supply of water vapour as a result of heating is effectively inexhaustible. Local effects are trivially unimportant.

    Comment by simon abingdon — 13 Feb 2010 @ 1:31 PM

  204. Mr. Machanick:
    155.Much as I dislike schadenfreude, the news that climate denier Chris Monckton has come down with heat stroke is a delicious irony. No doubt he thinks it’s a case of frostbite.

    Kind of like how Phil Jones felt that the death of the denier John Daly was cheering news, isn’t it? I totally agree.

    Mr. Reismann
    “In the previous thread, I asked you some questions. I did not see your answers though? Did I miss them? Or are you unable, or unwilling to answer them?”

    I am sorry for not answering to your earler ‘hunter gatherer’ post.

    Jim Bouldin:
    There are many posts on this thread – some of which you have responded to – suggesting that climatic ‘unknowns’ are at play which could negate the significance of the values for gamma as per this study. This is in fact, in your original post too. You say:

    “We are in a no-analogue state with respect to mechanistic, global-scale understanding of the inter-relationship of the carbon cycle and temperature…”

    This is problematic for several reasons:
    1) By this small backdoor you leave open in your main post and comments, various commenters claim that various factors have not been taken into account and therefore higher gamma values are possible after all. The paper does the exact opposite – it constrains gamma, given all the same uncertainties.

    [Response: No, you're misunderstanding. The study constrains gamma given the limitations of our knowledge of past millennial temperatures and CO2 concentrations. The point is that if the future conditions move outside the range of those in the past millennium, the estimates might not apply well. But the time it will take for that to become evident is uncertain, and the authors' estimates give us at least some idea of feedback rates until then, and a starting point from which to estimate future rates as other carbon cycle processes change.]

    Comment by Anand Rajan KD — 13 Feb 2010 @ 1:32 PM

  205. 186

    “any increase in (tropospheric) temperature (for whatever reason) will release water vapour (from cloud evaporation) leading to a further increase in temperature (GHG effect of water vapour).”

    Think about it for a second: When a cloud forms, water vapor turns into liquid; when the cloud evaporates, liquid turns into water vapor. There is no net change in the amount of water vapor.

    Comment by Jerry Steffens — 13 Feb 2010 @ 2:24 PM

  206. 199 Lynn Vincentnathan: Our sun cannot go supernova or even nova. It is too small. It will go red giant briefly in something like 5 billion years, then become a white dwarf [burned out cinder]. The Earth will go Venus some time before the sun reaches the red giant phase, perhaps in 2 ± 1 billion years.

    If we sane up and quit burning fossil fuels, we have at least a billion years to evacuate to other solar systems.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 13 Feb 2010 @ 3:19 PM

  207. #205 Jeffrey Stevens

    Sorry, I didn’t realize that water (liquid) behaves as a GHG like water vapour. Er, does it? (When temperatures rise, clouds decrease, water vapour increases. So more GHG effect. No?)

    Comment by simon abingdon — 13 Feb 2010 @ 3:31 PM

  208. #205 Jerry Steffens

    Apologies Jerry, got you now. (Couldn’t spell Clapeyron either).

    Comment by simon abingdon — 13 Feb 2010 @ 3:40 PM

  209. 203: Simon says: “the temperature rise resulting from an infinite succession of CO2 doublings appears to me not to be convergent.”

    Where you gonna get all that carbon?

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 13 Feb 2010 @ 3:45 PM

  210. Barton Paul Levenson (185) — You can write that again!

    Lynn Vincentnathan (199) — The 5 m per century or thereabouts during Meltwater pulse 1A was surely sped up by the low sea stand with Antactic ice all the way out over the current continental shelf. Then a small rise in sea level gave a disproportionately large amount of melted ice, leading to more rise in sea level and so on. Maps of the Anarctic continental shelf clearly show the massive drainage channels off the current coast of West Antarctica.

    The current situation is constrained by the narrow exit channels in Greenland and West Antarctica (although for Pine Island and vicinity this maybe streches the meaning of narrow; check the scale on your map). So while I certainly expect an S-shaped curve for the forthcoming sea level rise, I don’t expect the maximum rate to be anything like 5 m per century. HOwever, glaciologists are always working on better ice melt models and I suggest reading what they have to say.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 13 Feb 2010 @ 3:56 PM

  211. Edward Greisch (206) — Less than that before Terra loses all its hydrogen and so dessicates; see a fairly recent issue of Scientific American.

    However, I have read that the average span for a mammalian species is a million years. As Homo Spaiens has been around for about 200,000 years we’ll do quite well to survive for another million. The point is that a million years ought to be a unit of political time; unfortunately it seems that (almost) everybody is more short-sighted with even IPCC only looking one ten-thousanth so far ahead.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 13 Feb 2010 @ 4:02 PM

  212. first time here. “Baghdad Bob” comes immediately to mind.

    EVERYTHING IS FINE!! EVERYTHING IS FINE!! THE TITANIC IS NOT SINKING!!! WE’RE DOING “SCIENCE”.

    HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    LMFAO! HAHAHAHA.

    Comment by Baghdad Bob — 13 Feb 2010 @ 4:05 PM

  213. #209 John E. Pearson

    “Where you gonna get all that carbon?” Search me. It was Ray (#195) who introduced infinite series. I just said that the earth’s supply of water vapour was inexhaustible, which to all intents and purposes it is.

    I just wanted to know why the potential global warming effects of H2O aren’t at least an order of magnitude more serious than those of CO2. Any idea why not?

    Comment by simon abingdon — 13 Feb 2010 @ 4:24 PM

  214. Correction. Ray #192.

    Comment by simon abingdon — 13 Feb 2010 @ 4:27 PM

  215. “201
    Philippe Chantreau says:
    13 February 2010 at 12:13 PM
    what in the he#* is the point of comparing Earth to some inferno planet that can sustain no life whatsoever? ”

    Because it shows that the common denialotrope of the saturated gassy argument is, well, a load of marsh gas.

    If it were true, Venus would be a lot cooler. After all, we’ve only got ~400ppm, whereas Venus as ~950,000ppm.

    This is quite a long way away from the denialists who claim that AGW is not going to be a problem because of Beers’ Law kicking in any moment now…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Feb 2010 @ 4:27 PM

  216. simon abingdon (213) — Assuming nearly constant relaitive humidity (think about why that is highly likely), raising the air temperature a bit means it holds a bit more water. That’s all. So it is an amplification of the global warming provided by CO2, etc.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 13 Feb 2010 @ 5:24 PM

  217. Warming oceans… well, much of that heat goes down to deep depths and water has such a high hear capacity, though over time we should see warmer oceans that is not what is being shown over the last few years. That the recent interannual cooling could not be explained is just recently being explained.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 13 Feb 2010 @ 5:34 PM

  218. #216 David B. Benson

    “Assuming nearly constant relative humidity (think about why that is highly likely)…” Thanks David, I’ll have to sleep on that one.

    However, if I have a closed box containing air and water vapour and I raise the temperature of the box and its contents, the RH will decrease, will it not? OK, if the box originally contained some liquid water, I can see that raising the temperature might cause some of the water to evaporate, but why would that have the exactly compensating effect of keeping the RH constant? Certainly once all the water has been evaporated any further temperature increase could only decrease the RH, wouldn’t you say?

    However, I do remember Hansen saying something about RH being a constant but I didn’t understand it then. So why, as a matter of intuition, doesn’t global warming imply decreasing global RH?

    David, I expect you’re lucky enough to be able to see this whole scenario at a glance. Me, I’m still at the level of struggling with why the square of the sum of the integers should be the sum of the cubes (without actually doing the algebra).

    Comment by simon abingdon — 13 Feb 2010 @ 6:00 PM

  219. Mangeclous (#189)–

    Interesting name, that.

    But in response to your question, the only near-real time global number I know of is on Dr. Roy Spencer’s site, which posts preliminary global lower-troposphere numbers daily. Here’s a URL:

    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/

    Its a back door, kind of.

    Today’s value is from the 11th, and shows that the anomaly is .36 F. The troposphere has been very warm so far in 2010–warmer, I think, than any time except the height of the ’98 El Nino.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 13 Feb 2010 @ 6:44 PM

  220. Re: 218. The atmosphere is not a closed box. The ocean surface is an effectively infinite source of water vapor, so the atmospheric water vapor content is limited mostly by the atmospheric temperature.

    Comment by Jim D — 13 Feb 2010 @ 7:53 PM

  221. simon abingdon (218) — If the RH goes up, the water precipitates out. If the RH goes down, it doesn’t until there is more evaporation. Globally it seems to be the case that the RH is close to constant as is the precipitation, although total precipitation is expected to increase (think about that for a bit). Just where the precipitation occurs is a very important question for agriculture.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 13 Feb 2010 @ 7:55 PM

  222. #219 Kevin McKinney:

    Thanks a lot -btw, my nickname is borrowed from one of the fiction characters that most made me laugh.

    About the link you provide, I already knew it, but I’m unable to realize what the figures mean exactly. For example, if I take “near surface layer (ch4)” I would expect the result to refer to the layer where most of humans live everyday’s life, that is, near Earth’s surface. But the temperatures range from -17 to -16 degrees Celsius, which is not what one would expect as a global mean for that layer.

    I know absolute values for global temperature are not very meaningful and that what matters is the long-term trend, but 30 Celsius degrees of offset with the usual values stated for global mean temperature seems a bit too much difference and makes me think “near surface layer (ch4)” may not be as near the surface as I thought.

    So the URL you provide is exactly what I was looking for, just as long I understand how to “read” it. :)

    Thanks a lot for your attention and have a nice day,

    Comment by Mangeclous — 13 Feb 2010 @ 9:12 PM

  223. RE: 221

    Hey David,

    In relation to precipitation, I suspect that RH is not the only factor… It is likely that chemistry, aerosol density and size also plays a part. However, the greatest impact may be related to the upper tropospheric temperature and insolation. Too warm near the surface and even with adiabatic cooling we end up at 250mb with super saturated air parcels, according to recent NASA Intex and British Canadian Arctic surveys.

    My recent experience of RH variability and precipitation ranges between 65 and 90%. So I do not know that RH as related to temperature as a constant would be a valid conclusion. Going further we also have the issue of insolation (due to Ozone depletion) or GHG’s delaying phase change.

    (As to regional precipitation increase/deficits there was a paper out of NASA about 2 years ago suggesting that it seems that in the Sub-Tropical regions that normal weather conditions associated with low pressure ridges seem to demonstrate extremes. Meaning warm, dry conditions to the SW and deluges in the NE quadrants of tropical low pressure (cyclonic) systems were observed in the Indian Ocean region during the Monsoon season.)

    Part of the confusion may be relate to the various states of matter, for instance, clouds (visible) versus water vapor (invisible). In essence, 1 cu meter of cumulus cloud should contain roughly 1 gm of water meaning it has an inherent 2500 calories less heat content due to its state. Where as water vapor would contain roughly 2500 calories more heat per meter per parcel of air. If I recall correctly that would also apply for ice crystals versus the visible water vapor in clouds…

    I suspect that the physical state of H2O has as much to do with RH as temperature. The issue is that the reverse is likely not true, temperature does not seem to be the only driver of the physical state of H2O, at least in the Earths atmosphere… The end result would seem to remove RH as much of an indication of temperature…, IMHO…

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 13 Feb 2010 @ 10:27 PM

  224. 201 Philippe Chantreau: Those who are talking about Venus are NOT the denialists. They are the extreme AGWers.

    209 John E. Pearson: There is far more than enough carbon available, most of it undiscovered, and hopefully never discovered. Check “cosmic” abundances, meaning solar system abundances.

    211 David B. Benson: Thanks. Once we get off of Earth, we should be able to populate the galaxy within 64 Million years if we only hop to stars that enter the local Oort cloud. But we do a lot of speciation [branching] in that time.

    RealClimate: You are missing a huge public relations opportunity. See:
    http://climateprogress.org

    Vancouver, Canada just had the warmest January on record, forcing postponement of some Olympic events!!! Olympic officials are blaming it on El Nino, which is pure fiction. It is global warming. It rained on the snow they trucked in. So right now do a big article on AGW vs Olympics and put it in the big newspapers. My son lives in Vancouver, so I have independent confirmation of the hot January.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 13 Feb 2010 @ 10:30 PM

  225. During an interview at the BBC on February 12 2010, Professor Jones from the CRU at the University of East Anglia was asked:

    “Do you agree that according to the global temperature record used by the IPCC, the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 were identical?”

    In answer he gave the following figures for trends in global temperatures:

    Period Length Trend (oC per decade) Significant
    1860-1880 21 0.163 Yes
    1910-1940 31 0.15 Yes
    1975-1998 24 0.166 Yes
    1975-2009 35 0.161 Yes

    The differences in these trends were not statistically significantly different.

    He also noted that from 1995-2009 the trend was 0.12C /decade although this was not quite significant at the 95% level

    From these figures it seems that there have been warming trends pre the industrial revolution no different from that seen in the latter part of the 20th century and that since 1995 there has been a decrease of about 25% in global temperature despite an increasse of about 8% in C02 concentration.

    [Response: None of these data are "preindustrial"--Jim]

    These data don’t seem to unequivocally support the claims that anthropogenic CO2 is the major driver of post industrial revolution increases in global temperature and that unless CO2 levels are reduced the global temperature will increase with catastrophic consequences.

    Are the denialists correct to be sceptical?

    [Response: Skepticism itself is never the problem. Everyone should be skeptical to some degree. Denying evidence because of preconceptions or bias is the problem. The interview with Jones is being passed around among denialists as some sort of “proof” that he’s admitted defeat, or AGW is wrong, or something or other. The very question itself reveals a kind of ignorance of the significance of historical data.
    There have been many times in the past, far far earlier than these, when temperature rose at the rate we have seen over the past few decades. This is not evidence that AGW is somehow falsified. Please re-read that statement. The relevant question here is one of proper attribution of the cause(s) of the observed global warming over the last century+. And on that, the evidence is clear that greenhouse gases are, far and away, the most likely cause of this warming. The rationale for that is beyond what can be explained here in a few sentences, but the main point is: the fact that temperatures have changed rapidly in the past, for whatever reason, has little relevance to the physical attribution of recent changes, which is based on a very solid knowledge of the physics of the planetary system. Go the “start here” link of this site and start reading. Then read some more. Then some more. Then you will begin to understand that this is a topic that has a great deal of sophisticated evidence behind it, contrary to the simplistic explanations you will find in the media and on the internet. Hope that helps.–Jim

    Comment by Ian — 13 Feb 2010 @ 10:37 PM

  226. Lynn Vincentnathan — 13 February 2010 @ 11:21 AM said
    “For comparison each of Greenland and West Antarctica is estimated to be losing about 150 km^3 per year..”

    but according to “Changes in the Velocity Structure of the Greenland Ice Sheet”
    Eric Rignot and Pannir Kanagaratnam Science 17 February 2006: Vol. 311. no. 5763, pp. 986 – 990 DOI: 10.1126/science.1121381

    “Accelerated ice discharge in the west and particularly in the east doubled the ice sheet mass deficit in the last decade from 90 to 220 cubic kilometers per year.”

    Two points on the curve don’t allow determination of whether the 130km^3 increase is sigmoid, linear, or exponential growth, but I wouldn’t wager something I couldn’t afford to lose (like Miami, New Orleans, or the ports of Oakland & Seattle) on the outcome.

    simon abingdon — 13 February 2010 @ 1:31 PM
    “At any time clouds cover more than 60% of the earth´s surface. The potential supply of water vapour as a result of heating is effectively inexhaustible. Local effects are trivially unimportant.”
    My apologies for not answering you seriously.
    According to http://www-das.uwyo.edu/%7Egeerts/cwx/notes/chap08/moist_cloud.html, the theoretical amounts of vapor in a cloud varies from 0.1 t0 25 grams per cubic meter, and the droplet (water and ice) content varies from 1.2 to 7.7 grams/m^3, with high, cold base clouds having a larger portion of liquid to vapor but less total water content. Because of the effects of precipitation removing water and mixing with dry air, the observed droplet content ranges from 0.002 g/m^3 in cirrus clouds to a maximum of 1.5 g/m^3 in continental cumulonimbus. A large number of measurements shows that half of all stratiform clouds have a droplet content of less than 0.1 g/m^3. A 10km thick cloud would on average have only a kg or so of water per m^2, about the same as contained in the top mm of the ocean, which also cover about 60% of the earths surface.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 13 Feb 2010 @ 10:45 PM

  227. Edward Greisch

    {RealClimate: You are missing a huge public relations opportunity.}

    The only problem with this, is that last year we had a record cold spell of about 6 weeks. in Dec/Jan.

    You know the old saw, this is weather, not yet climate.

    By the by, just watched the woman’s mogul event from Cypress Mtn.
    In the rain and a bit foggy, the gold goes American, silver Canadian, Bronze American. Absoloutly the best moguls event I have seen so far!

    Jim, just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your article, and replies. I understand a bit more this week then last, and am really enjoying this journey. Keep up the good work!

    [Response: Thanks ever so much Leo. You stay on this journey, because it is a beautiful and meaningful one! And life requires beauty and meaning, or it's nothing at all.--Jim]

    Comment by Leo G — 14 Feb 2010 @ 12:14 AM

  228. Since we are all quoting our abode’s feet above sea level like it was our zodiac sign or cholesterol number: For those of you who may live nearby or otherwise have a burning desire to figure out this sea level rise stuff controversy; here’s an upcoming conference in Corpus Christi, Texas http://www.sealevelrise2010.org/
    Good town for beers and the weather is usually perfect in early March. BTW I’m a 16 (feet above MSL).

    Also, Dr. Eli at Rabbett Run found someone who translated Solomon’s paper into plain English. Actually plain German and then Eli brought it into the English language.

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/02/low-lands.html

    Comment by Andy — 14 Feb 2010 @ 12:21 AM

  229. 185
    Barton Paul Levenson says:
    13 February 2010 at 5:18 AM

    RS: [Miskolczi] has a point. AGW believers just hate it.

    “BPL: If you think there is any scientific merit at all to Miskolczi’s jackass paper, you are a scientific illiterate.”

    Miskolczi argues his point at http://miskolczi.webs.com/Answers_to_some_criticism.htm

    I would respect him and his theory well above your amateurish attempts to discredit him.

    [Response: But why? When there is an obvious nonsense in his derivation and the basic confusion of assuming a current observation must be an immutable fact, why can't you - as a proclaimed scientific thinker - see past your desire for him to be correct and just acknowledge that this isn't the magic bullet people have claimed? Do you in fact acknowledge that any of the anti-GW science that I would claim is purely crank nonsense, is indeed crank nonsense? Or does all of it have some merit? I guess what I'm asking is whether there is anything that even you consider nonsense? Take your pick - G&T, Khillyuk+Chilingar, 'the iron sun', Velikovsky, Beck etc. - gavin]

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 14 Feb 2010 @ 12:22 AM

  230. #181, Richard & “The earth cannot have a ‘Venus syndrome.’”

    “Now this is where we lay people diverge from the scientists — any scientist will tell you that we certainly will have a Venus syndrome (runaway warming) when the sun goes supernova.”

    We are about a billion years away from that so what is your point?

    “According to Hansen (who really knows his science well), the sun is slowly but surely becoming brighter over the eons”

    In geological terms an Eon is about a billion years. Again, what is your point? This has nothing to do with current warming.

    “AND you add in the fact that we are releasing CO2/CH4 into the atmosphere a lot faster than in past warming events”

    And the current warming event is no more different than other warming events in the holocene record in both temperature and rate of temperature increase.

    “AND you consider that Jim Hansen is a nice guy who doesn’t understand just how evil human nature is”

    Human nature is not inherently evil. Stop being an amateur philosopher.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 14 Feb 2010 @ 12:44 AM

  231. 224: Ed. there is a finite amount of carbon in the universe. The poster suggested otherwise.

    213: Simon sez: I just wanted to know why the potential global warming effects of H2O aren’t at least an order of magnitude more serious than those of CO2. Any idea why not?

    Dunno where you got your number from. I gather you just pulled it out of thin air? I’m no climate scientist and I suggest if you’re serious and not just trolling I suggest you start reading some of these books: http://www.amazon.com/Principles-Atmospheric-Physics-Chemistry-Richard/dp/0195093623 and Weart is excellent but he doesn’t do the math. http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

    That being said, I’ll hazard a guess. I hope some of the RC guys will correct me if I get too far off base here. The upper atmosphere is cold and consequently very dry. There is very little water up there. The water mainly precipitates out lower down in the form of rain/snow/etc. CO2 doesn’t rain out. CO2 and water both have distinct “windows” (transparent regions in their respective absorption spectra) that allow infrared to escape. The windows don’t all overlap. Some of H2O’s windows are closed by CO2′s absorption in the upper atmosphere. Thus it warms. This stuff is pretty well understood by now as far as I can tell although it annoys me no end that I can’t calculate the temperature increase for a given increase in CO2. It’s hard and I don’t have the weeks or month that it would take to do even an idealized calculation, although I’m trying to read BPL’s (Barton Paul Levenson’s) stuff which is also pretty good. It’s a difficult subject. If you try to learn this stuff from blogs you’ll fail, especially if you try to learn it from denialist blogs which spout enormous amounts of nonsense, like the common denialist claim that absorption by H2O trumps absorption by CO2. Physics matters. You have to pay attention to it if you want to learn the subject.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 14 Feb 2010 @ 1:02 AM

  232. 224
    Edward Greisch says:
    13 February 2010 at 10:30 PM

    “Vancouver, Canada just had the warmest January on record, forcing postponement of some Olympic events!!! Olympic officials are blaming it on El Nino, which is pure fiction. It is global warming. It rained on the snow they trucked in.”

    Where is your evidence that it is global warming. YOU HAVE NONE.

    Of course it is El Nino driven.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 14 Feb 2010 @ 1:03 AM

  233. For those who want to know why the “Venus Syndrome” cannot happen on earth. Just a preliminary. Do your own research for the rest.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=twisted-sister-venus-earth

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 14 Feb 2010 @ 1:08 AM

  234. > Olympic officials are blaming it on El Nino, which is pure fiction.
    > It is global warming.

    Er, no. It is El Nino, as it was the last time.

    Same for the snowfall on the Atlantic seaboard, it is El Nino, as it was the last time. http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2010/02/hill-of-snow.html

    It’s likely we’ll see more El Nino conditions with global warming.

    You can’t attribute any single weather event to any single cause. It’s more complicated than that.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Feb 2010 @ 1:39 AM

  235. #173 Risk estimate guidelines used in the Netherlands:

    “The commission initially set the acceptable risk for complete failure of every “dyke ring” in the country at 1 in 125,000 years.
    However the cost of building this level of protection was deemed too high, so the acceptable risk was set according to region as follows:

    * North and South Holland (excluding wieringermeer): 1 per 10,000 years
    * Other areas at risk from sea flooding: 1 per 4,000 years
    * Transition areas between high land and low land: 1 per 2,000 years”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_Works

    There is a recent program of improvements, costing abot 1 billion annually.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 14 Feb 2010 @ 2:40 AM

  236. Thank’s Jim for your considered response. I don’t think the interview did in any way suggest Prof Jones didn’t believe in AGW or that it was all a big mistake. It is interesting that you comment on higher temperatures in the past but is there any data that gives information on previous global temperatures when CO2 levels were as high or higher than they are now? I

    Comment by Ian — 14 Feb 2010 @ 2:41 AM

  237. 227 Leo G: Yes, I know the old saw. That doesn’t change the publicity value. Vancouver also had a record warm winter on 2006, per Climate Progress. If you are in Vancouver and that is where the record cold was last winter, notice that your variability has increased. As we said before, GW means Wilder weather. You can’t depend on the snow any more. The climate is now undependable, and undependability has publicity value as well. People need a climate that they can depend on.
    So make the article about what the olympic committee has to do to make sure that the snow is good for the winter olympics, now that we have AGW. Do the winter olympics have to be in farther from the equator or indoors?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 14 Feb 2010 @ 3:17 AM

  238. #220 Jim D “The ocean surface is an effectively infinite source of water vapor, so the atmospheric water vapor content is limited mostly by the atmospheric temperature.”

    Thanks Jim, you reinforce my point for me.

    So let me restate my original question (#186):

    Considering water vapour, any increase in (tropospheric) temperature (for whatever reason) will release water vapour (from cloud/ocean evaporation) leading to a further increase in temperature (GHG effect of water vapour). Since clouds/oceans are an effectively inexhaustible supply of fresh water vapour this effect should cause catastrophic run away. It doesn’t. Why not?

    [Response: Because it rains. - gavin]

    Comment by simon abingdon — 14 Feb 2010 @ 3:24 AM

  239. 225 Ian: I count the year 1750 as the start of the Industrial Revolution. It has to do with the invention of the steam engine.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 14 Feb 2010 @ 3:25 AM

  240. #221 David B. Benson “If the RH goes up, the water precipitates out.”

    Water doesn’t precipitate out until the RH reaches 100%, or does it?

    If it doesn’t, then as long as the water remains in the vapour phase (RH below 100%) any rise in temperature would enable an increase in Absolute Humidity without a phase change back to liquid (precipitation). This increase in AH should mean an increase in the GHG effect of the atmospheric water vapour, leading to increased global temperature, enabling a further increase in AH, leading to unstable runaway given the effectively inexhaustible availability of more water vapour.

    Since this effect is obviously not seen in practice, there must be something missing. What is it?

    Ray (#192) suggests there’s a convergent infinite series somewhere (where exactly?) or that the answer lies in phase change considerations (Clausius-Clapeyron) but I don’t yet see how.

    Perhaps if I knew enough physics I wouldn’t ask the question; maybe one of the residents could explain it in suitably simple terms for me.

    Comment by simon abingdon — 14 Feb 2010 @ 4:10 AM

  241. #226 Brian Dodge

    Thanks for the data. In the context of global warming I don’t have a feel for whether such figures are significant or not. In particular, can you draw a comparison for me between the warming effect of a cloud “sample” and its “equivalent” water vapour that would result from a rise in temperature?

    Comment by simon abingdon — 14 Feb 2010 @ 4:20 AM

  242. OT
    I’d like some commentors’ views on this BBC interview with Professor Phil Jones of the Climate Research Unit (CRU).

    “He said he stood by the view that recent climate warming was most likely predominantly man-made.

    But he agreed that two periods in recent times had experienced similar warming. And he agreed that the debate had not been settled over whether the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than the current period.
    …..
    “I’m a scientist trying to measure temperature. If I registered that the climate has been cooling I’d say so. But it hasn’t until recently – and then barely at all. The trend is a warming trend.”"

    Comment by Jimbo — 14 Feb 2010 @ 4:56 AM

  243. Ooops! Forgot to give the source for the Jones interview:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8511701.stm

    Comment by Jimbo — 14 Feb 2010 @ 4:58 AM

  244. I love the “beauty and meaning stuff”. And on Velntine’s Day to boot. I think I’ll go start a coccolith ranch and power it with photovoltaics.

    Comment by Neil — 14 Feb 2010 @ 6:44 AM

  245. @jim -225
    I agree with you that the fact that there were temperature rises similar of the recent one before, with a lot less CO2, does not mean that the current one is not CO2-linked. However, it shows that the attribution to CO2 by default (because we can not find something else) is much less convincing. For this central argument to still hold water, the models should be able to simulate all the previous rises without CO2, just from their other forcing. Do they? If not, AGW is dead because it means that there are unknown factor in the climate that are not included in the models, but that can cause a temperature increase equivalent to what is currently observed…

    Comment by kai — 14 Feb 2010 @ 6:54 AM

  246. Figure S10 from the Frank Paper is beautiful and made me all warm and fuzzy:
    “Figure S10. Despite the ensemble calibration methods applied and the consistent instrumental target, the choice of a particular large-scale temperature reconstruction over another yields a wide variety in estimates of γ. In general all distributions have a very long upper tail, with largest γ obtained for Mann2008 and smallest γ for Frank2007. Some of the reconstructions tend to yield more closely spaced median estimates (colored dots) for the different time periods (e.g., MannJones2003) whereas
    others tend to display high sensitivity to the chosen time period (e.g., Mann2008). The bimodal distribution for the Frank2007 record is a result of the generally weaker correlation between the CO2 and temperature over the full 1050-1800 period – a characteristic which results from the early “exit” from warm Medieval conditions in comparison to the CO2 peak ~ 1200. Similar features are seen in Briffa2000 and Hegerl2007, for example.”

    doi: 10.1038/nature08769 SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION

    The “good news” for the rest of us is the paleo stuff is pretty much noise. [edit]

    Comment by Neil — 14 Feb 2010 @ 7:17 AM

  247. Re: Barton Paul Levenson(#88):
    I agree with L. David Cooke(#104) exept for reducing the number of zones. I find 10 degrees a good choice. Seasons are neccessary but more difficult to implement and less important then proper heat transfer.
    I think you should first increase the heat transfer between the bands so, that you get about 6 Petawatt polwards heat flow per hemisphere at 40 degrees latitude. You should get then Te>200K at B=9, and Ts<310K at B=1. You could post the updated version to compare.
    Im not sure about the meaning of most of the column titels, maybe you could explain it.

    Comment by Uli — 14 Feb 2010 @ 7:28 AM

  248. Re: Barton Paul Levenson(#88):
    I agree with L.David Cooke(#104) exept for reducing the number of zones. I find 10 degrees a good choice. Seasons are neccessary but more difficult to implement and less important then proper heat transfer.
    I think you should first increase the heat transfer between the bands so, that you get about 6 Petawatt polwards heat flow per hemisphere at 40 degrees latitude. You should get then Te>200K at B=9, and Ts<310K at B=1. You could post the updated version to compare.
    Im not sure about the meaning of most of the column titels, maybe you could explain it.

    Comment by Uli — 14 Feb 2010 @ 7:35 AM

  249. “240
    simon abingdon says:
    14 February 2010 at 4:10 AM

    #221 David B. Benson “If the RH goes up, the water precipitates out.”

    Water doesn’t precipitate out until the RH reaches 100%, or does it?”

    It will precipitate out of an airmass that is on average about 60% RH.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Feb 2010 @ 7:55 AM

  250. I haven’t noticed any of the whiners complaining about Baghdad Bob’s post.

    They were all “oh, you’re damaging ‘our’ cause with your rudeness”, but they’re nowhere to be found.

    Too there were others saying “both sides are being terrible”. Yet they are seriously absent too.

    Indicative of reporting bias hiding behind false balance?

    Hey, I’m not saying anything, I’m just asking the question.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Feb 2010 @ 8:00 AM

  251. Hey folks, could we get some more regular posts here, you seem to have dropped off. Perhaps a post on the BBC Q&A with Phil Jones. What do you all make of his answers?? Us deniers would really like to know what you make of all of this.

    Comment by Jimi Bostock — 14 Feb 2010 @ 8:39 AM

  252. Seriously Jim, I enjoyed the class candor and humility of your post. I care a lot that we are not buggering the place up. I hope one day to take my kid to see these little critters–
    http://www.neilpelkey.net/flatworms.jpg
    TO share the joy of discussing whatever evolution or creation narrative works for his inquisitive mind. When he asks, “Will they be there when I grow up?” Will my “yes of course” be a lie? Probably… Because, sadly, the siltation and pesticides will get them long before AGW does. But the money that could have created near shore refuges has gone to computer toads in dehra dun.
    Anyway, thanks again.

    Comment by Neil — 14 Feb 2010 @ 9:04 AM

  253. Steckis cites Miskolczi’s defense of his clearly wrong paper and says:

    “I would respect him and his theory well above your amateurish attempts to discredit him.”

    See, now Richard, this is what I don’t understand. Miskolczi’s paper contains many absolutely amateurish mistiakes. His expertise is simply too narrow to take on the problem he took on. The real experts on climate modeling have pronounced his work not only wrong, but laughably so. He had to publish in an obscure journal on meteorology. And yet, Steckis, you, with absolutely zero understanding of the science, pronounce his theory has merit.

    Don’t you think that if this were so that at least one modeller somewhere would have seized on the result and thereby kicked the collective butts of his competition? Or that if Miskolczi were sufficiently knowledgeable to understand what he was writing about that he would have developed his own model and similarly kicked butt. And yet…bupkes.

    Two questions, Steckis.
    1)Why, if the research has merit, has it led nowhere?

    2)Is there any piece of denialist crap you won’t swallow?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Feb 2010 @ 9:45 AM

  254. #37 Ed

    You don’t counter a well-organized and well-funded disinformation campaign with more disinformation. Current weather patterns are consistent with an El Nino. The El Nino effects may be attenuated by global warming, just as gw may contribute to the increased intensity of hurricanes and other major weather events, but to say that the warmth in Vancouver is proof of global warming is every bit as wrong as the assertion that the cold and snow in the southeastern USA if proof of the absence thereof.

    I think making the NCDC State of the Climate reports more widely publicized would be a better means to counter the conspirators. Each monthly update should result in a series of press releases, blog articles, news program appearances, letters to the editor, etc. These efforts should be short on hyperbole and alarmism and long on the facts. Just a simple graphic like http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/get-file.php?report=global&file=map-blended-mntp&year=2010&month=1&ext=gif can have a very powerful effect if the general public would just see it.

    Bryan Walsh’s recent article in Time Magazine was quite good. Readily understandable and based on rational science. http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1962294,00.html Indeed, several recent articles in Time magazine have been quite good.

    Unfortunately, real news sources like Time have been largely drowned out by pop news like Fox. So yes, step up the publicity and public relations, but not with sensationalist lies and distortions.

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 14 Feb 2010 @ 10:02 AM

  255. Hey folks, could we get some more regular posts here, you seem to have dropped off. Perhaps a post on the BBC Q&A with Phil Jones. What do you all make of his answers?? Us deniers would really like to know what you make of all of this.

    You can’t read plain english?

    Denierthought is odd …

    Jones states his opinion that there’s insufficient proxy evidence for the SH to say for certain that there was not a global, synchronous MWP. Other scientists disagree.

    Denialists conclude: the existence of a global, synchronous MWP is hereby proved due to the previously loathed Jones stating uncertainty. Jones has admitted that AGW is false.

    Jones states that yes, there have been two relatively recent warming periods, mid-1800s and early 1900s, similar to the current one. He says nothing about attribution. However, later he says that warming in current decades differs because it can’t be explained in terms of changes in solar output or a period of reduced volcanic activity.

    Denialists conclude: Jones has admitted that AGW is false.

    It’s hilarious.

    So, Jimi Bostock, why don’t *you* tell *us* what you, personally, conclude. Help us with a little insight into the denialist mind. I really do not understand why a mainstream scientists making uncontroversial, conventional responses to questions has denialists in such a tizzy of excitement.

    Comment by dhogaza — 14 Feb 2010 @ 10:08 AM

  256. RE: 247/248

    Hey Uli,

    The main point to my limiting zones was to attempt to make it more representative of the Earth’s atmospheric heat content flow. With attempting to model every 10 degrees of latitude you may be enabling heat transfer; but, at the cost of modeling the source and sink, hence the flow path/rate.

    By reducing the zones and specifying the primary convective heat content source at Solstice at approximately 20 degrees and at the Equinoxes at roughly 0 degrees, it should be more accurate then a zone to zone hand off, IMHO. (Going further to suggest a heat flow block in the region of about 45 degrees goes towards splitting the heat flow both towards the Polar region and into powering the northern jet stream at the Polar convergence zone. I suspect the Ferrel Cell is the Earth’s answer to bridge this condition.)

    My main focus was to offer the suggestion of a simple Earth atmospheric model. To accomplish a Earth model: I was suggesting a reduction to a three zone model at the Solstices intended to model a “stable” state; Along with a five zone model which would be intended to model the Equinoxes or the “transition” state.

    The intent is to attempt to run eight different quarterly models, with one model run for the each season for each condition. Meaning, we would start with a winter “steady” state run and then advance the model through each quarter, each with seasonal initial conditions which includes a heat flow transition vector. You then perform a similar run of the “transition” state each with seasonal initial conditions, (such as differing heat content flow rates).

    With this data it should be possible to model source and flow more readily. If we were to go further to add the modeling of the changing zonal transfer based on the state of the seasons that should provide an even greater resolution to the model without complicating it.

    To incorporate the data into a fairly sophisticated model, the ability to interpolate and hand off or incorporate a bridging between a “steady state” and a “transitioning” model run might offer an easy way to replicate why you might get unusual conditions if the heat flow were delayed or increased and the zonal implications they might wrought.

    I guess the intent on my part was to model with the end in mind, with the intent being to create a simple model that would more readily provide a “trouble shooting” tool. As you may be the expert here I bow to your expertise.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 14 Feb 2010 @ 10:38 AM

  257. To talk about “sceptics” as the ones who will “seize” upon “evidence” of flaws is unwittingly to make global warming into a matter of religion and not science. It’s not the skeptics who look bad. “Seize” sounds willful, but science should motivate us to grab at evidence. It’s the nonskeptics who look bad. It’s not science to be a true believer who wants to ignore new evidence. It’s not science to support a man who has the job of being a scientist but doesn’t adhere to the methods of science.

    Comment by Anton — 14 Feb 2010 @ 11:15 AM

  258. In other interesting news, the state of Utah is going the Kansas route on science, and has just passed a bill declaring fossil fuel emissions to be “essentially harmless.”

    A respected professor once told me, “science is politics” but I don’t think this is what she was talking about… more the struggle for grants and tenure, I think – not the actual determination of fact.

    It’s really strange, psychologically – as if the members of the Utah legislature think they can control nature and physics via the deliberative legislative process… is it mass insanity?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/12/utah-climate-alarmists

    Comment by Ike Solem — 14 Feb 2010 @ 11:16 AM

  259. #249 Completely Fed Up “[Water] will precipitate out of an airmass that is on average about 60% RH.”

    This sounds to me like a by-and-large figure applicable to airmasses of considerable extent. I should like to know if precipitation can occur when the local RH is less than 100%. Sorry if this is elementary.

    Comment by simon abingdon — 14 Feb 2010 @ 11:35 AM

  260. RE this discussion:

    A couple of folk have made the point that both the value of gamma and it’s time dependence depend on starting conditions eg level of glaciation, which makes me wonder to whether attempting to reduce CO2 feedback to a single constant is a simplification too far. Certainly seems to have confused me…

    [Response:Few parameters are scale independent. As long as you define the scale, you're fine--Jim]

    Yes, but if you’re making projections outside of your defined region of reliability, then you have to at least consider what might have been left out. Making careful measurements of the biosphere response to CO2 changes of a 5-10 ppm and expecting that response to remain constant as CO2 changes reach 100-500 ppm – that doesn’t seem to make much sense.

    [Response: They weren't making, or attempting to make, predictions, they were just providing a best estimate of the parameter for 1050-1800.--Jim]

    Anyone able to answer the point about what value of gamma is assumed in or derived from coupled climate/carbon cycle models and to what extent this study informs model development ?

    [Response: The models' average are just slightly higher than the median reported by the authors. About 6 of the 10 are within a couple ppm of it. Pretty good correspondence overall--Jim]

    Ah, the carbon models are all over the place, from 20-200 ppm,

    [Response: You're confusing the analyses by Friedlingstein et al., 2006, with my statement regarding the results of the analyses the authors did.--jim]

    and they appear to have different systematic biases as well – they can’t even agree on the role of the terrestrial biosphere vs. the oceanic biosphere when it comes to the carbon cycle.

    [Response: What's the point? There's lots of uncertainty in how these fluxes behave, yet the authors got quite good correspondence between empirical and modeled analyses.--jim]

    In reality, not only is there regional variability in gamma, there is temporal variability

    [Response: Of course there are spatio-temporal variations in gamma--I've made that point several times now. They're trying to estimate it at policy relevant scales given the best empirical data at hand.--jim]

    even species variability – the gamma factor for pines and for oaks and for tropical jungle all vary widely.

    [Response:What? We are talking about the global system here--there isn't even any such thing as a gamma for individual taxa, and if there were it wouldn't even apply here--completely wrong scale.--jim]

    Ask yourself this: What will a tree do in response to higher temperatures? Some will die, some will flourish – and the key variable might actually not be temperature, but rather water or nutrient issues, and the hydrological response to global warming is expected to vary hugely with region, right?

    [Response: Of course. None of this means you can't estimate a global average T effect on CO2.--jim]

    The conclusion from that and similar considerations is that a catch-all gamma is a pretty useless variable, and is poorly defined as well.

    [Response: Completely wrong! It is clearly defined--the change in ppm CO2 per degree T change. And how can you call useless something which indicates how much additional CO2 is likely to accumulate???--jim]

    Even the Charney sensitivity is of little use outside of benchmarking model performance, because it’s a global average – hence, if you try to make predictions of permafrost behavior based on Charney, you’re ignoring the fact that Arctic temperatures are rising far faster than equatorial and midlatitude temperatures

    [Response: I suppose, but who is doing so?--jim]

    - and there are further effects that could start to play major roles in biosphere feedback processes, including ocean anoxia, insect invasions, and Amazonian drought. Unlike the Charney estimate, the gamma estimate is confounded heavily by the biological response – so physical models that claim to produce estimates of “gamma” are just about useless.

    [Response: You really seem to have completely missed the point of this paper--jim]

    This is a long-standing problem in modeling in Earth Sciences, by the way – modelers would rather not deal with biological complexity, and so they often just ignore it or assume it doesn’t matter to long-term geological processes – hence, you get serious oversimplifications more often than not. Modeling an ecosystem has proven to be far more difficult than modeling a purely physical system (say, Mars or Venus), because of the highly variable behavior of living systems – and in such situations, real life data is more reliable.

    [Response: ??? What do you think the authors' data was, made up? You're against the very concept of gamma, against the models, and against these empirical analyses as well. I wonder how you think the science is supposed to procede?--jim]

    For an example of a data-based approach, see Zimov et al 2006, a separate Science paper on permafrost responses, which seems to indicate a feedback significantly greater than the 20-200ppm reported in the models. To me, it seems to be the more reliable paper:

    http://forms.mbl.edu/sjp/pdf/readings/zimov_permafrost2005.pdf

    [Response: As I said elsewhere, it takes a village. Permafrost is but one element, and possibly not even the most important one, on the scales the authors are addressing--jim]

    Comment by Ike Solem — 14 Feb 2010 @ 11:50 AM

  261. 259 simon abingdon says:
    14 February 2010 at 11:35 AM
    #249 Completely Fed Up “[Water] will precipitate out of an airmass that is on average about 60% RH.”
    This sounds to me like a by-and-large figure applicable to airmasses of considerable extent. I should like to know if precipitation can occur when the local RH is less than 100%. Sorry if this is elementary.

    RH is 100% where the rain is forming, but not necessarily where you are measuring it on the ground. Or, as Wikipedia puts it:
    “For clouds to form, and rain to start, the air doesn’t have to reach 100% relative humidity at the Earth’s surface, but only where the clouds and raindrops form.”

    Comment by Don Shor — 14 Feb 2010 @ 12:02 PM

  262. cce has got his excellent site The Global Warming Debate back up, but in a new place: http://laymans-guide.com/. The link to it in the RealClimate sidebar needs updating to that address.

    (Sorry for the off topic comment, but the Unforced Variations was closed. Don’t hesitate to delete this comment.)

    Comment by Tom Dayton — 14 Feb 2010 @ 12:03 PM

  263. Anton,
    Science requires us to consider evidence. Anthropogenic climate change has evidence in thousands of peer-reviewed papers and over a period of about 110 years. Where is yours?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Feb 2010 @ 12:06 PM

  264. Ike Solem says: “In other interesting news, the state of Utah is going the Kansas route on science, and has just passed a bill declaring fossil fuel emissions to be “essentially harmless.””

    Next up, they’ll pass a bill declaring pi to have the value of 3, following up on the Indiana legislature…

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Feb 2010 @ 12:08 PM

  265. Ike,

    what’s pi in Utah?

    :-(

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 14 Feb 2010 @ 12:22 PM

  266. Simon – This sounds to me like a by-and-large figure applicable to airmasses of considerable extent. I should like to know if precipitation can occur when the local RH is less than 100%
    “Can occur” doesn’t mean “will occur”. Do you pay any attention to your local weather report [not "prediction"]? Where I live, we regularly register less than 100% RH in the rain, and sometimes show 100% when it’s not raining. Although of course, those reports may be for areas of “considerable extent” and is much tied up with other factors. Watch the dew point, and see here

    Comment by flxible — 14 Feb 2010 @ 12:33 PM

  267. Ian (225),

    You seem to be embracing the fallacy that a consequence can only have 1 cause. That’s simply not true. Yes, we know there have been hot times on our planet before we ever had SUV’s or coal power, but that in no way discounts the evidence that the current warming is caused by SUV’s and coal power …

    We are quite certain that many forest fires (natural events) were caused by lightening before humans ever migrated to North America. Does that mean we can’t attribute human cause to any modern forest fires? Of course not! Such an idea is clearly silly. Yet the same concept is embraced by many deniers of global warming.

    Comment by Ken W — 14 Feb 2010 @ 12:43 PM

  268. DARPA just released a game-changer! Algae-Diesel produced for less than $3 a gallon and its only 2 years away from full-scale deployment.

    Comment by matt — 14 Feb 2010 @ 12:55 PM

  269. simon: Ray suggests there’s a convergent infinite series somewhere (where exactly?)

    A completely made up example: Say a 1 K increase in temperature raises the water vapor content of the atmosphere by 1%, and that increase raises the temperature by 0.1 K, which then increases the water vapor by 0.1%, etc. This is a convergent series, and the additional warming due to water vapor feedback from the initial 1 K will be 0.111…, or 1/9 K. Positive feedback, but not runaway.

    Comment by NoPreview NoName — 14 Feb 2010 @ 1:07 PM

  270. Re: 238. Simon, it is established that water vapor alone does not have a sufficient feedback factor to cause a runaway effect, but instead leads to about a doubling of the initial temperature forcing. Mathematically a feedback factor of f, gives a feedback of 1/(1-f), which is the sum of the infinite series. For f<1 it is not a runaway effect. For water vapor it might be about 0.4 globally-averaged (Held and Soden 2000), assuming RH is fixed. Global mean RH is established by dynamics (distribution of ascending and descending areas), and as a percentage is unlikely to change as much as water vapor with increasing temperature, so the fixed RH assumption is a good approximation, leaving the Clausius-Clapeyron effect dominant. (I might even argue that RH could decrease slightly as the oceans warm more slowly than land areas, but that is just my opinion).

    Comment by Jim D — 14 Feb 2010 @ 1:25 PM

  271. > matt …. only 2 years
    hmmmm. This maybe?
    http://www.u.tv/News/Algae-to-solve-the-Pentagons-jet-fuel-problem/6b30603a-e866-4cf6-b4a2-a10be9432a84

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Feb 2010 @ 1:32 PM

  272. Ike Solem says: 14 February 2010 at 11:16 AM

    ‘In other interesting news, the state of Utah is going the Kansas route on science, and has just passed a bill declaring fossil fuel emissions to be “essentially harmless.”’

    The unequivocal definition of C02 as a pollutant will be a major defeat for fossil fuel interests. They’re acutely aware of the stepwise shift in perceptions that will arise from identifying C02 as an effluent needing active management. That’s why we’re seeing such an exaggerated response to this issue in the Senate and elsewhere.

    Unlike CFC management, C02 is neatly amenable to muddying in the public mind as it’s a natural constituent of the atmosphere.

    C0 is also present in the atmosphere as a naturally occurring component, but that did not stop us from recognizing excessive quantities as a pollutant and thus engaging in a major engineering effort to fix the problem of tailpipe emissions of C02.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 14 Feb 2010 @ 1:46 PM

  273. Not entirely sure where I should post this, but as a non-scientist I’m having trouble providing counter-arguments to my friend, who is a left-wing sceptic.

    He has just made his case here:

    http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.com/

    If someone with more scientific knowledge can help rebut some of his claims, I’d be grateful. Thanks!

    Comment by Matt — 14 Feb 2010 @ 2:01 PM

  274. Phil Jones of the CRU admits their is no warming, and has recently discredited Mann (Hockey Stick). I fear the world will swing the other way on Global Warming now that this has happened.

    [Response: Baloney, he has said no such things.--Jim]

    Comment by Brandon Sheffield — 14 Feb 2010 @ 2:01 PM

  275. RE #230 & others, OK, so the sun will not go supernova, but only become a big red hot ball before it self-destructs, and it will take some 5 billion years to do that, the earth going Venus in 1 to 2 billion years (thanks, Edward, for the heads up on this),…

    …the general idea is what’s important, that the sun is slowly getting hotter, and in that respect things are different from the end-Permian great warming or even the PETM, compared to what we are triggering now (among other differences).

    Now on to the real issue — we humans are likely causing a horrible mass extinction event, perhaps even total life-on-earth extinction. And people are busy critiquing others for not dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s, sort of fiddling while the earth burns, so to speak, or worse, totally denying the whole thing.

    “Evil” might not be a term used in psychology, but I feel funny about “medicalizing” or “psychologizing” away into some cubby-hole our human behavior and human nature — a nature that has probably always been there, only our toys were not as dangerous in the past.

    Even “evil” seems to fall short of what we are in this context. So too “diabolical.” It’s some form of “bad,” but we just don’t have a word for it. Sort of like “global warming” and “climate change” totally fail as words to describe what’s happening.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 14 Feb 2010 @ 2:18 PM

  276. BPL: If you think there is any scientific merit at all to Miskolczi’s jackass paper, you are a scientific illiterate.

    RS: Miskolczi argues his point at http://miskolczi.webs.com/Answers_to_some_criticism.htm

    I would respect him and his theory well above your amateurish attempts to discredit him.

    BPL: Can you point out a mistake in my calculations or arguments? If not, why should I care what you think?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 14 Feb 2010 @ 2:30 PM

  277. RS: Human nature is not inherently evil.

    BPL: Wasn’t created that way, but we fell.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 14 Feb 2010 @ 2:31 PM

  278. ” I should like to know if precipitation can occur when the local RH is less than 100%.”

    [edit], do you know that it gets colder as you rise through the air?

    Did you know that as the temperature of the air drops, the amount of water it can hold is reduced?

    Did you know that RH is the amount of vapour held in water compared to the maximum amount of water that such vapour could hold?

    See those rain clouds [edit]?

    Up there, in the sky?

    With the rain coming from them?

    It’s 100% RH there.

    But not where you’re standing.

    Because the clouds are “up there” (cf earlier about it being colder the higher up you are) and you’re “down here” (ditto).

    [edit - if you are going to answer a question, just answer a question. Juvenile name-calling and excessive sarcasm are not required. If you don't want to answer a question, then don't]

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Feb 2010 @ 2:34 PM

  279. Sniffle. Neil’s heartwarming story. Sob.

    “But the money that could have created near shore refuges has gone to computer toads in dehra dun.”

    Oh, how about instead of spending billions on armaments (including nuclear), how about creating a near shore refugee for the poor little things?

    Heck, not spending 0.1% would given plenty of dosh for such a sad, heartrending tale of woe to be avoided.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Feb 2010 @ 2:38 PM

  280. RE:270

    Hey JimD,

    I suspect though that RH will not be stable. Just as the Dew Point rises in the face of seasonal change so will the global dew point rise in the face of GW as well as a slight drop in vapor pressure. The point is unless you change the physics of water, everything else around it will change… If you lift the GAT you would likely lift the Dew Point and the RH. Looking at the Devonian, Carboniferous and Permian relationships between GAT, Ocean Depths, RH, CO2 and O2 it is likely that RH is not stable in the face of changing GAT. (Worst case Ocean Level estimates?: Haq, B. U. (2008). “A Chronology of Paleozoic Sea-Level Changes”. Science 322: 64–68. doi:10.1126/science.1161648 )

    As the main balance of the Carbon in the atmosphere being introduced to the atmosphere today was laid down in the Carboniferous, at best we might return to the climate then when the CO2 levels were near 800ppm CO2 and the GAT was 14 Deg. C greater then current. When we look at the carbon recovery in from most mineral/fossil carbon mining/drilling running about 50% and coupled with the millennial of sequesteration of CaCO3 in the oceans, it is likely that the CO2 that will be returned to the atmosphere by man in this epoch may not exceed 35-50% of the carbon that was present in the Devonian period.

    (This as opposed to the Devonian with 2200ppm CO2 and a 20 Deg. C greater GAT and the Permian with 900ppm CO2 and 16 Deg. C GAT greater then current.) 540 – 65 Myr BP : Royer, Dana L. and Robert A. Berner, Isabel P. Montañez, Neil J. Tabor, David J. Beerling (2004) CO2 as a primary driver of Phanerozoic climate GSA Today July 2004, volume 14, number 3, pages 4-10. , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Phanerozoic_Carbon_Dioxide.png )

    If you have better references that the RH would be stable I would be interested…

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 14 Feb 2010 @ 2:39 PM

  281. kai: the attribution to CO2 by default (because we can not find something else) is much less convincing.

    BPL: Nobody’s doing that. We expect global warming because CO2 is a greenhouse gas and CO2 is rising. Ditto methane and nitrous oxide. It’s a matter of radiation physics, not climate correlations.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 14 Feb 2010 @ 2:49 PM

  282. Uli,

    Thanks, I’ll look into that. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head–the weakness in the model is the parameterization I’m using for inter-latitude heat exchange. If I can make that more realistic, it should help.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 14 Feb 2010 @ 2:51 PM

  283. #270 Jim D

    Jim, thanks for your reply. I’m too far out of my depth on this to have an informed opinion, but when you say “Global mean RH is established by dynamics … and as a percentage is unlikely to change as much as water vapor … so the fixed RH assumption is a good approximation. [But] RH could decrease slightly as the oceans warm … that is just my opinion” I do not get the comfortable feeling that I’m listening to the confident findings of a well-established scientific discipline. Sorry if I sound like a Doubting Thomas.

    Comment by simon abingdon — 14 Feb 2010 @ 2:53 PM

  284. L. David Cooke (223) & simon abingdon (240) — Yes, there are all those other factors but CCNs are in more than ample supply everywhere except maybe Antarctic interior, where it doesn’t matter. It does seem than globally and averaged over a year that RH has remained nearly constant as has global precipitation.

    What little I know about this began with reading CaltechWater.pdf, available from Ray Pierrehumbert’s web site. If you read that you’ll know what I do (other than some preciptation products).

    Comment by David B. Benson — 14 Feb 2010 @ 3:21 PM

  285. For quite a variety of commenters here today, it would help if they carefully read the decadal averages from the GISTEMP global temperature anomaly product. BPL computed these and I added the plus signs to remove any ambiguity.
    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
    Do note that it has been really warming up for the past 30 years.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 14 Feb 2010 @ 3:30 PM

  286. Matt says: 14 February 2010 at 2:01 PM

    That’s a pretty funny writeup and indeed shows how science is not fundamentally political. Arguments parroted by a person leaning right are equally hollow when regurgitated by a left winger.

    Dr. Easterbrook, again. What a hoot.

    There’s nothing new there, the only novelty is the perspective of the author.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 14 Feb 2010 @ 3:30 PM

  287. “Even “evil” seems to fall short of what we are in this context. So too “diabolical.” It’s some form of “bad,” but we just don’t have a word for it. Sort of like “global warming” and “climate change” totally fail as words to describe what’s happening.”

    How about “inhumane”?

    We’re supposed to be “seriously wise man”.

    Definitions of wise on the Web:

    * having or prompted by wisdom or discernment; “a wise leader”; “a wise and perceptive comment”
    * a way of doing or being; “in no wise”; “in this wise”
    * judicious: marked by the exercise of good judgment or common sense in practical matters; “judicious use of one’s money”; “a wise decision”
    * knowing: evidencing the possession of inside information
    * wiseness – wisdom: the quality of being prudent and sensible
    * wiseness – wisdom: the trait of utilizing knowledge and experience with common sense and insight

    Ergo the opposite of this is the opposite of “seriously wise man”.

    Ergo, inhumane.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Feb 2010 @ 3:32 PM

  288. “273
    Matt says:
    14 February 2010 at 2:01 PM

    Not entirely sure where I should post this”

    Get him to read this

    http//www.ipcc.ch

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Feb 2010 @ 3:33 PM

  289. 254 Jiminmpls: No dispute. I agree with you. I think the RC people are smart enough to add all the caveats, tell only the truth and STILL attract attention to the subject of global warming with a headline that involves the olympics and Vancouver. For example: http://blogs.dailymail.com/donsurber/archives/9309
    Don’t you think the Olympic Committee should have picked Resolute Bay or Yellowknife? ;) ;) Not. But they could have picked a place that was more certain to be colder.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 14 Feb 2010 @ 3:42 PM

  290. And reading that “story” I wonder who could possibly be reading this with an open mind and not find it completely vacuous.

    Starts off with “there is a consensus that AGW is happening and this shows you need good evidence to say it isn’t”.

    Meanders into nothing about the science, just how you should be scared if you state openly that AGW is happening.

    ‘cos you could be *wrong*.

    Ooooh!

    Then it states that there are some scientists against AGW.

    Proposes that this is good enough to make you skeptical of the consensus. Yet this is not (as he earlier stated you had to have) good evidence that AGW is wrong.

    Then complains that the idea has been heavily politicised.

    Well duh.

    Those against AGW have gone running to the public and the politicians calling out how they’re being joe-jobbed. This politicisation happened not from the IPCC scientists, but from the political pundits against AGW mitigation.

    And is nonetheless not a reason why the science is wrong.

    Then brings up a few choice and unsupported statements about how temperatures have peaked (which, even if it were true, is correlation, not causation. But it’s not even true).

    Still not a reason why AGW is wrong.

    Then states of his own violition:

    “The HadCRUT3 data on global temperature actually shows a halt in global warming in this decade. That is to say, the trend line in temperature is flat.”

    When this is not seen.

    Unless you cherry pick your points just as he cherry-picked his dataset (GISS would have shown 2005 warmest. Hardly supportive of a peak in 1998).

    Then states that one dissenter is right, when many others say he’s wrong. Yet he stated right at the beginning that a consensus was the right thing and that ignoring it required solid proof.

    Yet here one lone non-consensus voice is not undermined by a greater number of voices counter to his.

    Strange how the undermining only happens one way, isn’t it?

    “I can’t stress enough the last sentence I quoted above:”

    Indeed he can’t.

    is entire thesis is based on misrepresenting others words as long as they are ones that can be led to say AGW is not happening.

    In no ways is a pause a peak in temperatures.

    He didn’t stress his own collection of statements enough, did he.

    Like contrasting his “it’s peaked” story with “even the AGW scientists say it’s paused”.

    I guess he can’t emphasise denialist talking points enough, because he doesn’t want you to hear what he’s saying, he wants you to buy what he’s selling: Be Scared Of Stating AGW Is Real.

    Again back to his own statements:
    “The IPCC predicted a 0.2 °C temperature rise in this decade. That has not happened. ”

    And the last decade was 0.17C warmer than the previous one.

    Indeed this is not 0.2C, but I don’t see it as proof the prediction was wrong.

    “Nor did the climate computer models predict the flat trend.”

    No, because there hasn’t been one.

    Adding weather on to climate you can get years where there has been no higher temperature some years after a local peak. But if we looked at 1935 and said that it was now cooling, would we have looked stupid today?

    Indeed.

    Weather is not climate.

    And a trend is not the difference between two data points.

    Something else he refrained from emphasizing.

    He rounds up with:

    “These developments are clearly a completely legitimate argument for questioning the current consensus on global warming.”

    Except he hasn’t actually shown, as he stated was necessasry to do this at the beginning that:

    “the burden of proof is squarely on you to try and justify criticism of an accepted theory”.

    I also note he still doesn’t have one to explain the temperature history nor his future prediction of no more warming.

    Einstein didn’t say “Newton was wrong ‘cos Mercury’s orbit is well bent”.

    Einstein came up with a theory that explained Newton’s laws and Mercury’s orbit BETTER.

    To *appear* even handed, he dismisses solar changes. But then comes out with this humdinger:

    “But there are dissenting scientists who have proposed that ocean oscillations – notably, the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and, above all, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) – are the major causes of climate change”

    So where does that extra energy come from to engender century long changes in total energy budget of the earth’s atmosphere?

    And how does ENSO/PDO cool the stratosphere?

    Funny how he’s all over “problems” with AGW science but he’s completely blind here.

    He then brings up Roy Spencer, a man willing to let the bible trounce his science if they come into conflict.

    He then rounds up with three damning pieces of “evidence”:

    (1) it is widely reported that there has been a flat trend in global temperatures since 1998 (which is recognised in the peer-reviewed scientific literature);

    Except it isn’t recognised:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/10/a-warming-pause/

    or the APS’s blind test on statisticians

    (2) the IPCC’s predictions for the 2000s are wrong, and

    Except we’ve already seen that, except in the trivial sense of wrong, they weren’t/

    (3) a major study by climate scientists attributes one third of the warming of the 1990s to water vapour and the stall in the temperature rise from 1998 to less water vapour in the atmosphere.

    Doesn’t give a climate change, only weather changes.

    He tries to play the even-handed card again:

    “Note that this does not mean that long-term warming of the planet has stopped. ”

    So what are we supposed to be sceptical of from the IPCC, then?

    “But that falls far short of the warming predicted by the IPCC”

    Uh, we’ve already done that.

    ” – and it will not be catastrophic.”

    Can ***anyone*** say where this is shown by anything in his tale or the linked papers he applies as his argument?

    ‘cos I can’t see it.

    “In view of all this, it seems perfectly legitimate to question the AGW thesis. ”

    May I contrast this with his statement only a few lines earlier:

    “Note that this does not mean that long-term warming of the planet has stopped.”

    I’m getting tired of reading this pish, but he goes on about how the hockey stick is broken and cites three papers or blogwrites that say so but none of the reports that show it’s still solid.

    He’s turned off now into full-on dittoheading.

    I suspect he knows that anyone still reading from this point on is a believer like him and don’t care to think about what he’s saying, they’ve bought the message.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Feb 2010 @ 4:02 PM

  291. Re: 283. Simon, water vapor may change about 6% per degree C. The only way RH changes could be significant is if they change by similar amounts as a global average. While the water vapor response has a solid scientific base, there is no reason to think RH could change significantly enough in either direction to affect this 6% much. Changes in RH would have consequences for cloud cover, and this is all part of the cloud feedback issue, which is far from quantified, and independent of the somewhat established water vapor feedback. Is the cloud feedback as large as the vapor feedback? It is hard to even say what sign it is, since it is opposite for high and low clouds, so I suspect not, but this is where the debate continues.

    Comment by Jim D — 14 Feb 2010 @ 4:07 PM

  292. Re: 280. David, yes, but the context about RH being near constant is relative to the water vapor increase of 6%/degree, and for near-future climate change amounts of a few degrees. So we can take Clausius-Clapeyron as a good guideline for water vapor feedback.

    Comment by Jim D — 14 Feb 2010 @ 4:17 PM

  293. Re: 273. Tell your friend to look at decadal averages (e.g. post #285 here). The 2000′s is the warmest decade, despite the so-called plateau. The 2010′s are quite certain to be warmer still. The earth is warming and the increasing CO2 can explain it very well. Denialists first have to explain (i) why CO2 isn’t, then (ii) explain what else has been, causing it. The first of these is going to be hardest to refute since it is deeply rooted in physics. If we already have an explanation for observed warming in terms of observed CO2, why look for something else? Can it really be that simple? Yes. Can we use this to help predict the future in some way? Why not?

    Comment by Jim D — 14 Feb 2010 @ 5:04 PM

  294. What Jones should have said (BBC interview) about the 19th century is that there is no statistically significant trend over that period (1850-1899 t-test on correlation coefficient p = 0.44).

    On decadal trends, if you really want to cherry-pick your data, HadCRUT3 shows a 4.4K per century decline over 1878-1887.

    Start of an ice age? No, more like an indication of how sharp short-term variation can be compared with the scale of the long-term trend we are looking at today, around 1.5K per century. Add that trend on to the 19th century, and you’d still have a decline of 2.9K/century over that period. Even if you double the current trend to 3K/century and add it to that period, you still get “cooling” of 1.4K/century.

    Relate that now to the rather trivial slowdown in warming we’ve seen over the last decade. Clearly this sort of “analysis” is rubbish.

    Meanwhile the last issue of Guardian Weekly (which I subscribe to as a counter to the dross that passes for news in Australia) to reach me reprinted the atrocious Fred Pearce article. This really is substandard: it’s hard to believe they had not picked up feedback from its publication in the daily that it’s severely flawed. I blasted them with a letter ending “PS: has Rupert Murdoch bought The Guardian?”. The letter’s a bit long to post here but if anyone’s interested I’ll put it up on my blog.

    [Response: I'm working on a longer piece on the Guardian series. Some time this week. - gavin]

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 14 Feb 2010 @ 5:21 PM

  295. Jim D (292) — Well, global precipitation seems to be holding constant so far, or nearly so, despite the prediction from water vapor increase of about 6%/K. So possibly RH has been declining slightly so far? No evidence for that AFAIK.

    Under some scenarios, this is all supposed to change, rathr drastically, by 2080 CE; see IPCC AR4 WG1 chapter 10.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 14 Feb 2010 @ 5:51 PM

  296. Ike Solem: inline comments to #260 added.
    Jim

    Comment by Jim — 14 Feb 2010 @ 6:16 PM

  297. Re: 295. David, precipitation is a throughput (or flux) measurement of water, while atmospheric water vapor is a reservoir, so it is quite possible for the water flux from/to the atmosphere (precip and surface evaporation) to remain near constant while water vapor increases. The reservoir change would result from surface evaporation exceeding precip by a probably imperceptible amount relative to their sizes. Even 6% would amount to only about a 1 or 2 mm extra liquid equivalent in the atmosphere. I don’t think this can tell us anything about RH.

    Comment by Jim D — 14 Feb 2010 @ 7:21 PM

  298. Jim D (297) — That was clarifying, thanks.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 14 Feb 2010 @ 8:07 PM

  299. RE: 297

    Hey Jim D,

    I don’t know, given the difference in vapor pressure and the mass/m^3 it would look like the 6%of RH/1K value may be worth revisiting. To see an 800% in water mass/m^3 change for doubling the GAT of say around 20 Deg. C would seem to suggest 40%/Deg. C. (Based on; http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/kinetic/watvap.html ref: 2-14-2010) In essence, something must be happening in the atmosphere if as David Benson suggests that the RH actually seems to be decreasing in the atmosphere with the generally accepted 0.5+/-.15 Deg C GAT increase over the last 30 years. (At least in the Stratosphere… We also have to be careful of the assumption that precipitation started where the dew point and the adiabatic temperature of water vapor match up, coming out of the atmosphere. As we have the potential of partial to complete evaporation of the precipitation such as Virga…; but, I digress…)

    The point I was wanted to point to in my earlier references of the Paleozoic Sea Levels were that as a reservoir there appeared to be 120 meters below current. If the difference between 2000ppm CO2 and 800ppm CO2 is 120 meters would that suggest 10ppm of CO2 equates to the reduction of the Sea Level of one meter. Given this and the gamma of 10ppm/deg. K, would this then suggest 10ppm CO2 to 1 meter of Sea Level loss and not gain? This would seem to suggest a addition of 1000kg of water to the atmosphere for every square meter of the Earth’s Oceans surface. Is this estimate accurate, I do not think so; however, if my macro comparison were accurate it would seem to suggest the 6%RH/1 Deg. K is questionable. As I am unfamiliar with Clausius-Clapeyron would you care to discuss it in more depth?

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 14 Feb 2010 @ 8:37 PM

  300. #277, Barton &

    RS: Human nature is not inherently evil.
    BPL: Wasn’t created that way, but we fell.

    Yes, that’s right. Even from a purely evolutionary science pt of vw, nonhuman animals are not evil — they just act according to their intincts and nature, which is amoral.

    We humans KNOW BETTER. We have evolved to the point of being able to create moral systems. We understand right and wrong, tho these be culturally defined, but most of world’s peoples I imagine subscribe to cultures that consider willy nilly killing and harming people, children, future generations to be wrong; many would considering killing off (causing to go exinct) other life forms in such a way also to be wrong.

    Language has helped us discuss and consider the past and imagine and project into the future. We have developed science to help us understand all the more what’s going on. We have Pascal’s wager to help us decide and avoid the false negative on this issue (even if one does not accept the science on AGW completely). We have our mothers who told us to be good. We have our children and progeny who need us to leave them a viable world.

    So there’s absolutely no excuse for us not to mitigate AGW, especially no economic or political excuse (not to mention no moral loopholes), since a large portion of measures make good economic sense, and any political remedy (in the form of taxes, incentives, or structural facilitation, better public transportation) would be like some beneficial innoculation to prevent a terrible disease, and would (if AGW can be mitigated enough) help prevent the political upheavals — war, warlords, totalitarian clampdowns, amid chaotic conflicts, a vicious, killer musical chairs over diminishing life-sustaining resources — the very political and economic ruinous things the denialists fear.

    So it really beats me what the problem is in accepting the AGW science and mitigating AGW. If it isn’t fallen, evil human nature, it must be the devil. And the only weapon effective against the devil is humility, but our fallen human nature makes humility really tough. It’s like the evil syndrome meets the Venus syndrome.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 14 Feb 2010 @ 9:24 PM

  301. “Response: But why? When there is an obvious nonsense in his derivation and the basic confusion of assuming a current observation must be an immutable fact, why can’t you – as a proclaimed scientific thinker – see past your desire for him to be correct and just acknowledge that this isn’t the magic bullet people have claimed?”

    I do not have an immutable desire for him to be correct. But the fact remains that there is not a single peer reviewed paper that falsifies his theory. In fact, the only half intelligent attempt to challenge his theory is from Nick Stokes.

    Therefore, in the absence of falsification, his theory must stand as valid.

    It is up to those that find fault with it, to falsify his theory.

    [Response: Strange. In the case of Schwartz and Chelyk, even peer-reviewed critiques were not enough. Consistency fail? But look instead at whether people actually build on this stuff. How many papers have used this info? Or predicted something? None will, because this is garbage. Really, you don't need to be an expert to work this stuff out. Use your own intellect - try it, it can be fun. - gavin]

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 14 Feb 2010 @ 9:49 PM

  302. Re: 299. Dave, the 6% is not RH, but saturated vapor pressure or number of water molecules per air molecule, which is currently averaging about 4000 ppm. This is what matters for radiative effect, not RH. Also, I am not sure why you mention sea-level. The sea-level change is an exchange with ice mass not vapor mass. Hope this clears it up a bit. RH only relates the vapor mass to its saturated value which is the maximum it can be for its temperature.

    Comment by Jim D — 14 Feb 2010 @ 10:30 PM

  303. 301: Steckis continues nonsensically

    I take it you are not a scientist. IF you were you would understand that the fact that nobody bothers to shoot down that paper is because it is a waste of time. Progress is made by pushing forward not looking backwards at irrelevant stuff. Citation counts are important for scientists. Works that aren’t cited at all like the Miskolczi paper are not cited because they haven’t said anything that anyone found worth discussing. The vast majority of scientific publications in all fields share the same fate. If you look at a histogram of the number of papers that have a given number of citations you’ll find a huge spike at 0 and 1 citations which drops off very rapidly as the number of citations goes up. It is utterly ridiculous to assume that all the uncited/poorly cited papers are correct/interesting/relevant/etc . You’re arguing that the less attention a paper draws the more important it is.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 14 Feb 2010 @ 11:08 PM

  304. Jim Bouldin:
    A quick question –
    With respect to this paper, do you believe that the uncertainties that were talked about – permafrost, methane, vegetation, insects etc – are subsumed under the single numerical value of gamma?

    In other words, let’s say we look past the spread-eagled error bars of the temperature reconstruction, and the same being the case with the CO2 conc. reconstruction for the past millenium. If we claim CO2 to be the main driver of climatic temperature, would you agree that that all aforesaid minor influences will be included in either T – the temperature sensitivity to CO2, or in gamma – the CO2 sensitivity to gamma?

    Thanks
    Anand

    [Response: The goal of course, is to estimate the T effect alone, and therefore exclude any non-temperature related CO2 sources. That's why they chose the time period they did, assuming these other things to be of minor importance--which I think is fairly reasonable. That approach is, I'd guess, difficult to impossible right now because the anthro CO2 source is so dominant. So it's going to require better estimates of the different changes in natural C fluxes than we've had till now to know where all the atmospheric CO2 is coming from.--jim]

    Comment by Anand — 15 Feb 2010 @ 12:51 AM

  305. @Richard Steckis:
    I guess you therefore also say that Gerlich & Tscheuschner are correct? Their paper has not been rebutted in the peer reviewed literature either!

    One problem, though: Miskolczi and G&T cannot both be right…

    Comment by Marco — 15 Feb 2010 @ 1:26 AM

  306. #278 Completely Fed Up “Did you know that RH is the amount of vapour held in water compared to the maximum amount of water that such vapour could hold?” Er, say again.

    Comment by simon abingdon — 15 Feb 2010 @ 3:11 AM

  307. Stickis,
    OK, a crank publishes an obviously flawed paper in an obscure journal that is outside the expertise of that journal. It doesn’t get cited in subsequent work. It lies there like a dog turd on a New York sidewalk Why in the normal process of scientific inquiry would anyone bother to waste time and effort to publish a paper refuting it. This ain’t the sort of thing that’s going to get you into Nature

    In any case, I would contend that every peer-reviewed paper that uses the models to successfully predict some aspect of climate is a refutation of Miskolczi.

    And do you know of any peer-reviewed papers that refute Velikovsky? Do you also subscribe to Plimer’s iron-sun musings because there’s no peer-reviewed paper refuting them?

    Here’s the thing, Steckis. Although you see this “great debate” between “skeptics” and scientists as the main event, it is a sideshow. The main event for science is advancing understanding of Earth’s climate, and Ferenc Miskolczi isn’t even inside the big tent. Hell, he even missed the circus train and is back in the last town.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Feb 2010 @ 4:30 AM

  308. Steckis says, “Human nature is not inherently evil. Stop being an amateur philosopher.”

    “Never attribute to evil that which can be explained by stupidity.”–Napoleon

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Feb 2010 @ 5:03 AM

  309. 305
    Marco says:
    15 February 2010 at 1:26 AM

    “@Richard Steckis:
    I guess you therefore also say that Gerlich & Tscheuschner are correct? Their paper has not been rebutted in the peer reviewed literature either!”

    I understand that it has been by none other than the Rabbett. Am I wrong?

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 15 Feb 2010 @ 7:50 AM

  310. @Richard Steckis: yes, you are wrong. It has not been rebutted in the peer reviewed literature. Several people (including Arthur Smith) have pointed to the grave errors, but that’s it.

    Comment by Marco — 15 Feb 2010 @ 8:03 AM

  311. Anand asks: “With respect to this paper, do you believe that the uncertainties that were talked about – permafrost, methane, vegetation, insects etc – are subsumed under the single numerical value of gamma?”

    Allow me to test my comprehension: I’d say they show that gamma does not have a single numerical value, but is likely a function of temperature. Am I far off the mark, Jim?

    [Response: You got it Ray. I seem to have had a hard time making my points on this whole topic, the main point being that gamma can certainly vary as the carbon sources and temperature change. Predicting such changes in the future is tough, because we have so much uncertainty in anthro emissions, which drives T, which in turn drives C feedbacks. I was trying to walk the fine line between "yes there's definitely the possibility for nasty surprises because of uncertainties" and "but this is the best empirical estimate we have to go on for now"--Jim]

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Feb 2010 @ 9:14 AM

  312. Steckis:

    Therefore, in the absence of falsification, his theory must stand as valid.

    It is up to those that find fault with it, to falsify his theory.

    In other words, since physicists tend to ignore those who claim to have figured out how to build a perpetual motion machine, rather than dive in, find the error, and publicly falsify the claim … the world is filled with perpetual motion machines.

    Comment by dhogaza — 15 Feb 2010 @ 9:58 AM

  313. RE: 302

    Hey Jim D,

    Thanks, yes that did clear things up a bit. Do I understand correctly that the principle is; in an ideal gas that, 1 Deg.C would increase the internal energy by approximately 4.8 Joules? Hence, this would relate to an ability of the atmosphere to support more water vapor content due to the ensuing vapor pressure 6% additional water vapor by what, mass? I am curious though where you get the 6% from.

    Going back to the earlier table I referenced ( http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/kinetic/watvap.html ), it seemed to suggest that 40 Deg. C would support approximately 51g/m^3 versus the roughly 17g/m^3 or roughly an increase in the mass /m^3 of roughly 300% (Sorry for my earlier error, must be a form of dyslexia.), suggesting that a 20 Deg. C rise (or doubling of the approximate GAT), results in a 300% increase in the mass of water vapor in the air or about a 15% rise in mass per degree per cubic meter. Am I still getting this wrong, if so would you please explain?

    As to radiative effect I find I am a bit confused by your conclusion. We have a slug or parcel of water vapor laden air rising to an altitude where by the Dew Point and the surrounding air are matched (100% RH est.) and then we achieve a phase change by either the adiabatic expansion resulting in the cooling and reduction of vapor pressure or the radiative emission of the latent heat in the water vapor which in-turn will warm the surrounding air forcing the surrounding air parcel to rise while the partially condensed water vapor falls or re-evaporates in the warmer air. By the additional feeding of convective air parcels from the air column base, in stable or still upper level air, the local region or air rises further till it achieves a new equilibrium. In a Sun warmed land surface with high surface humidity the parcel will be forced higher to achieve the Dew Point. In a Sun warmed land surface with low humidity the parcel will be lower when it achieves the Dew Point. If the convective air parcel is raising in non-stable air or high advection conditions what happens to the precipitation and radiative potential then?

    As to the Sea Level Change, I also made an error there. I was attempting to address the issue of CO2 as a Primary driver for increasing the secondary forcing of additional water vapor in the atmosphere. (The intent is to address the potential water vapor reservoir of the ocean versus the simple recycling of the atmospheric water vapor.) If the GAT were to rise say 20 Deg. C as was seen in the Paleozoic period and there was roughly 1200ppm more CO2 in the atmosphere at the beginning versus the end period and the Seal Level dropped from the 120m above current at the end of the Devonian to the 60m above current at the end of Carboniferous then that would suggest a reduction 1200ppm of CO2 may be related to a reduction of 60m of sea surface.

    My earlier error was the sign, the loss of Sea Level was during the drop in CO2 suggesting that increase in 10ppm of CO2 equates to a rise (not a loss) of 1/2 m^3 of the sea level. Then if gamma equates to 1 Deg. C rise equates to 10ppm more CO2 then the logic seemed to suggest that 1 Deg. C rise in GAT should equate to 0.5 meters cu added to the sea surface height.

    I was trying to relate the temperature change, CO2 change and sea surface levels with water vapor change. As there are so many degrees of freedom I fear the idea was wrong. However, I was curious if you or anyone else had considered if there may be a macro or top down approach in the historic record we could then analog to the current changes.

    The desire was since the Carbon we are currently adding to the atmosphere came mainly from the Carboniferous period I was hoping that we could then correlate the changes then to the inverse of changes today and coupled with the change in Sols radiative strength develop a confirmation for the purpose of drawing an analog to a prior data record at the same time insuring that natural or biologic influences were included in the hypothesis (As biologic functions have a tendency of confounding current calculations the hope was an analog to a past record would help define the weight that biologic influences could have.

    Any additional insight you can offer are welcome. My apologies WRT my errors. Hopefully, I communicated my thoughts better this time.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 15 Feb 2010 @ 11:03 AM

  314. #308 & “Never attribute to evil that which can be explained by stupidity.”–Napoleon

    Thanks, Ray. Actually when I’m being generous, giving the benefit of the doubt, and not being so evil myself, I do attribute it to stupidity.

    I guess I’m just getting very impatient. For God’s sake, it’s been 20 years since we (all of us) should have known that we have to mitigate AGW. And 15 years since even science (the first studies) reached .05 on the issue, and science is usually the laggard on these types of life-threatening issues, obsessed with avoiding the false positive, with the laypeople rushing out ahead to save the world.

    “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time” — Mark Twain

    “You can fool all of the people most of the time, and most of the people all of the time….” — me

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 15 Feb 2010 @ 12:26 PM

  315. RE: 132 and 145

    I’ve done a bit more experimenting with the sheet at http://sites.google.com/site/essandgamma and found something quite interesting: for some parameters in the “tail” of gamma, the feedback series no longer converges.

    In practice, we know that it must converge, otherwise very small natural perturbations around 280 ppm (due to volcanoes say) would already have destablized the climate, leading either to extreme warming or (in the other direction) a collapse of CO2 and extreme cooling.

    So the convergence condition actually translates into a rather neat bound on gamma, which I’ve worked
    out as (ESS x gamma) < 280 x ln(2). Putting in Earth System Sensitivity of 6 degrees C forces gamma < 32, so the case of gamma = 30ppm per degree C in my table is near the upper limit of what's possible.

    Another thought: if gamma has actually been constant since the LGM (we don't know that, but it's a plausible guess), then the same reasoning applies there, only using the lower CO2 concentration. We get (ESS x gamma) < 180 x ln(2) and now ESS = 6 gives gamma < 20.8.

    I'm curious if there is any published analysis along these lines already, since the mathematics is quite straightforward (see below).

    Suppose the CO2 concentration is perturbed from 280 to 280(1 + epsilon), and the ultimate temperature change after all feedbacks is Delta_T. This ultimately results in a further CO2 concentration increase of gamma.Delta_T. But the climate is now stable at the new temperature, so Delta_T is a solution to the equation:

    Delta_T = ln [(280 + 280.epsilon + gamma.Delta_T) / 280] X [ESS / ln(2)]

    Delta_T = ln [ 1 + epsilon + gamma.Delta_T / 280] x [ESS / ln(2)]

    which for small epsilon and Delta_T implies:

    Delta_T = [epsilon + gamma.Delta_T / 280] x [ESS / ln(2)]

    and after re-arranging:

    Delta_T / epsilon = [ESS / ln 2] / [1 - gamma.ESS / (280.ln 2)]

    Since the right-hand side must be positive to allow a stable solution (we can't reduce the temperature by increasing CO2) we arrive at the stated condition that gamma.ESS < 280.ln(2)

    [Response: Thanks Nick, I'll look at this more closely when I get some time.--Jim]

    Comment by Dr Nick Bone — 15 Feb 2010 @ 1:53 PM

  316. Re: 313. Dave, quite an essay. I’ll only be brief though.

    The 6% per degree is really to be thought of as an exponential, not linear growth, so for each degree it would be 1.06 times what it was, so for 20 degrees you get 1.06^20 which is over 300% (like compound interest). It refers to the same curve you have, and is an approximation. It actually varies from 6-8% as temperature gets lower.

    The third paragraph is hard to answer because it considers at least three separate physical processes in a combined question. Note that condensation leads to latent heating, regardless of any radiation effects, which should not be confused here. Also, a parcel closer to saturation has to be lifted less to achieve saturation. Radiation interacts in different ways with vapor and clouds, and does so independent of their motion.

    I am not going to argue about the sea-level issue, but I think the 10 ppm/degree CO2 sensitivity only applies in the range 270-280 ppm, and anything else is a dangerous extrapolation to make. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are not in this equilibrium state any more, and whether biological processes and ocean uptake alone can return us to this same equilibrium in the long term is a big question.

    Comment by Jim D — 15 Feb 2010 @ 2:17 PM

  317. RE: 316

    Hey Jim D,

    Thanks for the response. I was aware of the air parcel latent heating as a non-radiant process. (Hence, the turbulence generally found at cloud tops even in a stable air column.)

    Another Error (as you suggested):
    As to the third paragraph saturation/dew point example, I clicked on submit just as I saw the error. (If the water vapor is rising in a stable air parcel with a dew point of say 20 Deg. C it would not have to rise as high as say a parcel with a Dew Point of say 14 Deg. C providing the air column temperatures were the same for both parcels.)

    Radiation and Heat Content Flow:
    Where my observations of radiation come into play refers to the earlier discussion with Bob and BPL regarding the inter-zonal flow of heat content. It appears interesting to me that I can see a water vapor band associated with a pressure wave front extend from near the 25th N to the 45th N parallel (over the N. Pacific) and when looking down from the TOA it seems like a hosepipe until it reaches the 45th N and there it looks like a fountain with both a cyclonic and anti-cyclonic outflow.

    The point being that I suspect the convective parcel should be radiating and losing energy as it increases in latitude. The problem is we can not see it from the side at the same time as the GEOS package provides us the TOA water vapor and IR optical depth image.

    (Using the Lidar data from CloudSat or Calipso should demonstrate that the thickness of the vapor laden band/parcel is reducing in thickness or we should detect an increasing optical depth as it increases in latitude, which I suspect is due to radiation ( as a change in specific heat). (I am curious to see if there is a significant change in water vapor in these long fetch parcels of water laden air…))

    Paleozoic Vectors:
    I understood the lack of support to try to make a correlation to the paleozoic period. I am mainly curious if we might be able to find some vectors there that could assist us now.

    Equilibrium:
    As to a return to equilibrium, as I said earlier if the energy from Sol were the same and the influence of mankind were removed, I would expect that entropy driven weather would likely reestablish the initial conditions fairly quickly. However, if Sol is progressing into the next phase of its life cycle we may not see a return to the initial conditions.

    (I suspect that may be part of the reason for the recent flurry of solar experiment packages…, though the ARM.gov down-welling short wave detectors do not support any significant change in the overall radiation budget.)

    As an aside, sorry about the epistles, I just have many thoughts on my mind and it seems I see connections everywhere. I am afraid I am trying to “resolve too many equations simultaneously…”. Editorial comment: Life is short and everything fits, trying to figure out how it fits is real science.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 15 Feb 2010 @ 4:21 PM

  318. > not rebutted

    That doesn’t mean it’s supported, mind you. A paper is valuable to the extent it leads to further interesting work, if it does. Many are published and never mentioned again in the research journals.

    That one has been cited — but in PR/opinion pieces:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=523710823726435697&hl=en&as_sdt=2000

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Feb 2010 @ 4:44 PM

  319. simon abingdon — 14 February 2010 @ 4:10 AM
    “This increase in AH should mean an increase in the GHG effect of the atmospheric water vapour, leading to increased global temperature, enabling a further increase in AH, leading to unstable runaway given the effectively inexhaustible availability of more water vapour.”

    “Since this effect is obviously not seen in practice, there must be something missing. What is it?”

    Short answer -rain.

    long answer – part 1 – convection –
    A parcel of air + water vapor warmer than the surrounding atmosphere is less dense, and will buoyantly rise, cooling at a rate of 9.8 deg C/km (dry adiabatic lapse rate) by expansion as the pressure drops with altitude, until
    1. it’s the same density as the surrounding air, and stops rising, or
    2. it cools to the dew point, the vapor starts condensing into cloud droplets, and the cooling rate drops to ~ 5 deg C/km(moist adiabatic lapse rate – depends on actual temperature – heat of condensation replaces some of the heat lost to expansion).
    The average actual change in temperature of the atmosphere is ~6.5 degrees per km, (environmental lapse rate, which varies depending on the weather). Since the heat of condensation keeps a saturated rising parcel warmer(= less dense) than the surrounding atmosphere, it keeps rising until it runs out of steam(condensible water vapor – pun intended). The cloud droplets condense/freeze/coalesce out as rain.

    part 2 – mechanical lift -
    When large scale circulation (Ferrel cells, jetstreams, high/low pressure anticyclones/cyclones) push colder/dryer/denser air under warm/moist air(frontal), or push warm/moist air up mountain ranges(orographic), the mechanical lift created replaces the bouyancy, but cloud formation, condensation, and precipitation remove moisture from the atmosphere.

    Both processes can occur together, often causing intense thunderstorms in the US Great Plains – http://www.weatheranswer.com/public/Thunderstorm.pdf.

    The turnover rate is rapid – “Once evaporated, a water molecule spends about 10 days in the air.” http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/watercyclesummary.html

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 15 Feb 2010 @ 7:21 PM

  320. RS, read my lips–Miskolczi was WRONG. I’ll just go over one point in intimate detail for you. I’ll use nothing harder than algebra, okay?

    Miskolczi’s theory depends on the atmosphere being subject to something called “The Virial Theorem.” This is normally applied to two bodies in orbit. One of its consequences is that the magnitude of potential energy of one of the bodies in question must be twice that of its kinetic energy.

    With me so far? When the virial theorem applies, P / K = 2. If the virial theorem doesn’t apply, P / K = some other number.

    I divided the Earth’s atmosphere into 20 layers of equal mass, assigning temperatures from the US Standard Atmosphere of 1976. If the mass of the atmosphere is 5.136 x 10^18 kilograms (Walker 1977, p. 20), then each layer has a mass of 2.658 x 10^17 kg. Here are the details:

    Layer P (Pa) T (K) z (m)
    1 2468.6 216.67 26598.2
    2 7405.9 216.67 18141.8
    3 12343.1 216.67 14759.2
    4 17280.4 216.67 12584.7
    5 22217.7 216.82 10973.4

    6 27154.9 225.30 9668.7
    7 32092.2 232.60 8545.4
    8 37029.4 239.04 7555.2
    9 41966.7 244.81 6667.2
    10 46904.0 250.06 5860.4

    11 51841.2 254.87 5119.9
    12 56778.5 259.33 4434.6
    13 61715.7 263.48 3796.0
    14 66653.0 267.37 3197.7
    15 71590.3 271.03 2634.2

    16 76527.5 274.49 2101.5
    17 81464.8 277.78 1595.9
    18 86402.0 280.91 1114.6
    19 91339.3 283.89 655.0
    20 96276.6 286.75 215.2

    For the virial theorem, the Earth’s atmosphere being “gravitationally bound” to the Earth, as Miskolczi puts it, gravitatinal potential energy is:

    P = G M m / r

    where P is potential energy in Joules, G the Newton-Cavendish constant (6.67428 x 10^-11 m3/kg/s2 in the SI), M and m the masses of the two bodies. For Earth M = 5.9736 x 10^24 kg, and I told you m above. Separation r would be the Earth’s radius plus the altitude of the layer in question. Using R = 6,371,010 meters (Lodders and Fegley 1998, p. 128), I get (in Computer math notation to shorten it):

    P = 6.67428e-11 * 5.9736e24 * 2.568e17 / (6371010 + z)

    for each layer, and they add up to

    P = 3.21 x 10^26 Joules. Check my math, maybe I got it wrong.

    The mean molecular velocity for a gas is

    v = (8 R T / (π MW))^1/2

    With v in m/s, the universal gas constant R = 8314.472 J/K/kg, the temperatures T from the table above, π the circle constant, and MW the mean molecular weight (it’s about 29 AMU). The mean atmospheric temperature of 249.76 K, yields v = 427.6 m/s and a total kinetic energy:

    K = (1/2) m v^2

    of K = 4.696 x 10^23 J.

    The ratio P/K for Earth’s atmosphere is thus approximately 684. Not 2.

    Some deniers critical of my point here say I should be using potential energy relative to the Earth’s surface. They’re absolutely wrong if the virial theorem is supposed to apply, but let’s check it out anyway. For small heights, we have

    P = m g z

    where g is gravity, averaging about 9.80665 m/s^2 at Earth’s surface. That gives us P = 3.682 x 10^23 J. Much closer, but what it gives us is P/K = 0.74… which is still not 2. Correct for variation of gravity with height and it diverges further.

    So when Miskolczi says the atmosphere is following the Virial Theorem, he is just plain bloody red-mark-from-the-teacher WRONG–and anybody who can do simple algebra can prove it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 15 Feb 2010 @ 8:39 PM

  321. I’ve been wading through Miskolczi’s paper, and it appears to me that there are internal inconsistencies. He shows in figure 1 that Sg (or Su, as its called later in the paper), the thermal radiation from the ground, is partitioned into St, the portion transmitted into space, and Aa, the portion absorbed by greenhouse gases. On P9 Miskolczi states that Ed, the downward radiation from the atmosphere, and Aa are always equal. An increase in GHG will decrease St and OLR, increase Aa, and increase Ed by the same amount. On P29 Miskolczi says “As long as the F0+P0 flux term is constant and the system is in radiative balance with a global average radiative equilibrium source function profile, global warming looks impossible.” But the ground can’t differentiate F0+P0 from Ed – it’s assumed to be a blackbody absorber, and radiation is radiation – so the effect of increasing Ed is indistinguishable from an increase in F0+P0. Since OLR must equilibrate with downward radiation, K(nonradiative transfer from the ground to the atmosphere) must increase, warming it and increasing Eu, upward atmospheric radiation, and/or Su/St must increase; both would require that the surface temperature increase.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 15 Feb 2010 @ 10:07 PM

  322. #319 Brian Dodge

    Thanks for your trouble in responding Brian. Though I know the general physics of how weather phenomena occur (but thanks for refreshing my memory) I still can’t see how the fact of precipitation occurring somewhere/sometime answers my question; (to quote “cloud droplets condense/freeze/coalesce out as rain”, “cloud formation, condensation, and precipitation remove moisture from the atmosphere”).

    Every instance of weather is basically only a local phenomenon, is it not? Why should the fact that it is raining in X, Y and Z today remove just the right amount of moisture from the atmosphere to keep it constant globally?

    I was trying to visualise what the effect of a general global rise in temperature might be. Since water vapour is a GHG any change in global conditions which increases its percentage in the atmosphere should cause a rise in global temperature – because that’s what GHGs do. Now it seems to me that a general rise in global temperature should result in a measurable increase in the amount of water as vapour globally, simply because the atmosphere would then be generally warmer (this notwithstanding the fact that water vapour takes part in the condensation/evaporation cycles of weather phenomena).

    So what stops there being more water vapour in the atmosphere if the world heats up? That was my question. To say “because it rains” doesn’t seem convincing enough to my limited understanding.

    Comment by simon abingdon — 16 Feb 2010 @ 8:41 AM

  323. “So what stops there being more water vapour in the atmosphere if the world heats up? That was my question. To say “because it rains” doesn’t seem convincing enough to my limited understanding.”

    It rains out.

    That you don’t seem to think this through isn’t really available to us because we cannot psychoanalyse you over the internet.

    “Now it seems to me that a general rise in global temperature should result in a measurable increase in the amount of water as vapour globally,”

    Yes, now do you know why you’ve forgotten that this is “RELATIVE humidity” we’re talking about?

    Because this seems to be the source of your expressed problem and the cause of this the deeper problem you have not yet expressed.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 16 Feb 2010 @ 10:04 AM

  324. RE: 322

    Hey Simon,

    You have to keep in mind one thing, not all of the natural ice has melted yet… As long as there is a seasonal heat sink, the increase in temperature from any global source will have some form of compensation. It is when you no longer have a heat sink that can match the heat source that you have the conditions you are expecting. Currently we still have about 1/2 of the heat sink necessary (Polar/Glacial Ice) to overcome the rampant change in atmospheric humidity.

    Hence, we get more dramatic weather conditions (rain/drought) that reflect the differences in the zonal heat content/flow. If the heat imbalance becomes more stable, with the reduction of heat sink capacity at 273K, then the system reaches a new plateau. The atmosphere will likely begin to fill with water vapor, then, as the oceans become the next heat sink at 316K.

    It is likely you are just ahead of the curve. Thinking long term with short term data may be a bit confusing, sorry it just is…

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 16 Feb 2010 @ 11:20 AM

  325. #323 Completely Fed Up, you’ve responded to my #322 before responding to my #306. Disrupting the chronology of contributions in a debate can be very confusing and counterproductive. Please respond to my #306 and I will then be able to consider in context your #323. Thanks.

    Comment by simon abingdon — 16 Feb 2010 @ 2:08 PM

  326. #324 L David Cooke

    David, thanks for responding to my thought experiment. You say “Currently we still have about 1/2 of the heat sink necessary (Polar/Glacial Ice) to overcome the rampant change in atmospheric humidity”.

    “rampant change in atmospheric humidity”? I hadn’t read about that before. Does the climatological community generally accept that such is happening, held back only by the polar/glacial heat sink? Do tell me.

    Regards, simon

    Good to talk to you David. Cheers. simon

    Comment by simon abingdon — 16 Feb 2010 @ 2:33 PM

  327. “325
    simon abingdon says:
    16 February 2010 at 2:08 PM

    #323 Completely Fed Up, you’ve responded to my #322 before responding to my #306. ”

    I thought you had intelligence, simon.

    The human brain is quite able to maintain several independent timelines and is, indeed, supposed to be one reasons why homo erectus grew bigger brains: more independent timelines, the more “what if” scenarios can be processed and the more the brain can make up for the poor physiology of the species as a hunter.

    And if I were to reply and get the next free number, then you’d be answering my post #327 before you answer my post #323, thereby braking the timeline you’re so certain is an impediment.

    Answer the 323.

    Is the answer “I, simon abingdon, do not know what relative humidity is”?

    If so we can investigate why you’re speaking so often and with such assumed authority about a subject where this is a rather central concept.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 16 Feb 2010 @ 5:12 PM

  328. PS When you ask “Does the climatological community generally accept that such is happening,”

    How about starting here:

    http://www.ipcc.ch

    and working from there?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 16 Feb 2010 @ 6:23 PM

  329. Hey Simon,

    Sorry, I am not in vast company with this idea. As others have recently suggested, with the limited data, it is “dangerous” ground I tread. This simply reinforces, I am not a professional, so I need you to understand that the ideas I share here are at best an educated guess.

    (Note, contrary to your suggestion in your last post, the suggestion of a current increase in humidity is unlikely. Absolute humidity may not increase until the ice based heat sinks have been exhausted. As the zonal atmospheric heat content stabilizes and exceeds the heat sink of surface ice, the absolute humidity due to increasing Sea Surface Temperatures should begin to increase, substantially. It would likely begin as a seasonal thing and then slowly increase in duration, similar to how we are seeing the NH Polar Sea Ice diminish.)

    We also have to keep in mind there may be a limitation to the amount of fossil/mineral Carbon that man can reach. When coupled with the amount of Carbon in long term sequestration in the ocean, I suspect the Earth may not return to a near Paleozoic condition, at least until Sol actually moves into a mature life cycle phase, a large extraterrestrial object hits the ocean or the tectonic subduction process increases the release of ocean sediments… The point being Carbon emissions may not be the only driver…

    The main question as I see it becomes one of the total heat content potential of the total fossil/mineral Carbon released by man-kinds activities. The fossil/mineral Carbon as a participant in the total insolation versus the terrestrial emission / convection / evaporation / re-radiation equation is what the experts here are trying to determine. At least you are in the right place, you would be well served to learn what they have to share.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 16 Feb 2010 @ 6:26 PM

  330. > there may be a limitation to the amount of fossil/mineral Carbon that
    > man can reach. When coupled with the amount of Carbon in long term
    > sequestration in the ocean

    Bzzzt. Rate of change. All those previous events were occurring at natural rates of change. This one is occurring so much faster (10x? 100x?) that the biogeochemical cycling isn’t handling the removal.

    When you fill your bathtub from a firehose, you are bound to overflow it even if the tub drain is working at its full normal capacity. That’s our situation.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Feb 2010 @ 6:53 PM

  331. Oh, yeah, and

    > Carbon emissions may not be the only driver…

    Nobody’s ever thought carbon emission was or is the only driver.
    Strawman

    > The main question as I see it becomes one of the total heat content
    > potential of the total fossil/mineral Carbon

    Nope, heat content is not the question — another common misunderstanding, that — because CO2 doesn’t simply hold heat and get warm, it transfers heat to the rest of the atmosphere, which transfers heat to the oceans.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Feb 2010 @ 6:55 PM

  332. Re: 322. Simon, at the risk of starting an infinite loop, I refer you to my #270 to answer your last two paragraphs. You have it right that there is a water vapor feedback, but the feedback is not of sufficient strength to run away. It converges.

    Comment by Jim D — 16 Feb 2010 @ 10:47 PM

  333. RE: 330/331

    Hey Hank,

    Sorry, did you get bored elsewhere…, great, I was too. Is it possible that we can discuss your viewpoints?

    Let us see where to start, first let me clarify the amount of fossil/mineral carbon accessible by current human technologies statement. At best we are able to recover about 50% of liquid deposits in each field. (Most of the balance remains locked up within the rock and is not retrievable.) As to tar sands even attempting to recover it from the surface deposits would be unlikely to exceed 5 million barrels/day by 2020.)

    At best no more then 70% of estimated solid deposits are significant enough to mine. It appears that no more then 40% of those reserves are Anthracite, forcing the application of coking, reducing its economic efficiency. Which is a good thing especially with President Obama championing Gen. 4 Nuclear Plant financing. (As long as this is a real offer and not a political maneuver.) Though if someone gets the great idea of applying geothermal technology to the coking process we may have an uphill battle.

    Any idea on your part of what the atmospheric balance of CO2 would be in the atmosphere if all the recoverable fossil/mineral Carbon were re-introduced to the current eon? If it exceeds 800ppm I will be very surprised. Of course if the US gets the bright idea that it can simply start stuffing biomass (sludge), down old oil wells and mine shafts it might be even less. In essence, returning something similar in a like for like exchange… )

    As to the rate of change, what has that got to do with the heat in the atmosphere? I concur wholeheartedly we should be actively dumping processed human wastes underground, the more humans the faster the sequestration. Of course if there were fewer humans in the first place, there would likely be less fossil/mineral CO2 in the atmosphere as well. Population conditions not withstanding, the rate of sequestration is not the issue, IMHO.

    What I believe matters is the rate of exchange between incoming and outgoing atmospheric heat. (As to your fire hose allusion and a fixed drain, would you care to share why you are certain there is only one drain? I seem to remember an overflow drain as well in modern tubs…)

    As to the transfer of heat to the oceans, obviously there needs to be better data collection there, as the measured evidence suggests that the overall long term NOAA and Woods Hole ocean measurements from below the 100 meter range do not support heating. This is further supported by observations of the Pacific Triton buoy data sets. (Now as to the PIRATA data sets you may have a point.) Do you have an alternative data set I should also monitor?

    You might also have a point with the Triton 20 Deg. C isotherm depth; however, most measures seem to suggest that the long term values there were near their historic lows last year… I know natural variation…, funny though I seem to remember something about oceans being slow to respond being discussed and yet it certainly looked quick enough in 1998, why would it suddenly have slowed in 2004…? (I have a good idea why, would you care to share your insights, and no PDO/La Nina short cuts allowed!)

    (Oh and please let us not get into a discussion of the ARGO systems at this time. At least until the roughly 10% of the Atlantic installed buoys has been retired or remedied and not just corrected for in the data set.)

    Did you also want to expand the discussion regarding dissolved CO2 in the oceans? It certainly seems interesting that there could be both an increase in acidification and yet, less dissolved CO2 due to warmer water temperatures… (Of course we should be talking about actual measures of dissolved CO2 in the oceans and not the ionic or conductivity measurements which have no less then 3 degrees of freedom, right off the bat, (H2SO4 being the main one). It seems Professor Andrew Watson at UAE, is implementing a great CO2 sensor system to be employed on ships in the N. Atlantic. (I can’t wait to see what the results will offer us.)

    Apparently, you do not consider that CO2 is fully mixed in the atmosphere if you do not consider the heat content of CO2 to be important. (To be honest, Dr. Georg Hoffman in 2007, suggested that most CO2 would likely be limited to the 4km region over land and the recent MODIS GEOS packages seems to suggest the CO2 is found in pockets distributed downwind of many urban regions.)

    Would you also clarify if you consider that CO2 would appear to directly contribute to the heating of the oceans surface. Generally, my observations suggest where there is significant SST increase, there is also indications of high salinity. This combination appears to suggest large amounts of evaporation, which generally points to a condition in which a cloudless stagnant sky has been overhead for some time… This appears to be even further substantiated by observing the NCDC SSRS Northern Hemisphere Analysis at the same time, while comparing the GEOS Eastern water vapor and IR images, and reviewing the UCAR Cosmic SST anomaly data. Can you provide any references supporting your observation? I fully support the idea of a secondary forcing of cloud cover or Jet Stream meander if that is also acceptable to you.

    (BTW, thank you to the folks who contacted the NCDC to get the SRRS system fixed and apparently funded for another year! This has been a fantastic tool.)

    I am not saying I am correct or that you are wrong as much as I am limited to the public data sets, which does not seem to not support your criticisms at this time. If you have data sets that are available that I can review with you that would help me to understand your point it would be most welcome…

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 16 Feb 2010 @ 10:48 PM

  334. “Nobody’s ever thought carbon emission was or is the only driver.”

    Actually, Hank, the denialists often believe it.

    They ALWAYS believe in only one cause.

    Of course, they accuse the IPCC of doing this, because, like, THEY do it, don’t they, so doesn’t everyone?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 17 Feb 2010 @ 3:56 AM

  335. The goal of course, is to estimate the T effect alone, and therefore exclude any non-temperature related CO2 sources. That’s why they chose the time period they did, assuming these other things to be of minor importance–which I think is fairly reasonable. That approach is, I’d guess, difficult to impossible right now because the anthro- CO2 source is so dominant. So it’s going to require better estimates of the different changes in natural C fluxes than we’ve had till now to know where all the atmospheric CO2 is coming from.

    Mr Bouldin, Just as I suspected :)

    [Response: Not sure what you suspected, something nefarious I guess, but anyway...]

    In my opinion, there are a few serious problems with this line of reasoning.

    Firstly, the authors do not choose this time period to “minimise the importance of other things” as much for the availability of “highly resolved temperature and atmospheric CO2 reconstructions”. I do agree with you though; the authors also state what you say – about the limited possibilities of providing constraints on gamma given the high CO2.

    [Response: Your first sentence there is incorrect. First, if high time resolution was what they were after, then T, and especially [CO2], are both much more highly resolved in their instrumental periods. Second, quoting the article: “The substantial anthropogenic perturbation of the carbon cycle and physical climate system characteristics limits possibilities of providing tight constraints during the recent (instrumental) period, while past glacial–interglacial CO2 fluctuations are governed by currently poorly quantified processes. This means that neither the interannual nor glacial–interglacial domains permit feedback quantification on timescales relevant for addressing amplification of anthropogenic global warming.” That’s about as clear as you can state it.]

    But the overall direction we’re taking things in general, including this paper, is that we have reasonable evidence to believe that the paleo-reconstructions are good enough. In fact, good enough for us to graft the instrumental reconstruction onto. A graft, mind you, that is undertaken during the same said period of unprecedented high CO2 of the ‘recent period’. If we can do that, we should go the next step too. That is, accept that values of gamma in the past millennium are meaningful to the present situation.

    [Response: Hold on Anand. The 'grafting' of instrumental T to proxy T estimates is done to account for the fact that the proxies do not always track actual T over the last few decades (i.e. the divergence problem). It does not follow logically from this that past estimates of gamma are necessarily valid (or invalid) for the future. You are comparing two very different processes (T effect on proxy variables vs its effect on [CO2]). In fact, if the recent divergence is unique (it may or may not actually be, depending on time frame chosen), it could be viewed as a no-analogue phenomenon too.]

    In addition, the recent past (50-70 yrs) is contiguous with the paleo period. It is not as if we are measuring T and gamma in divorced time periods. The probability of general acceptance of estimates for both T and gamma values recedes in proportion to how much we go back in time to measure them. We have no other choice.

    [Response: I think this argument has some validity (but they ended their analysis in 1800 so you're going back 200 years, not 70), or at least should be considered. I think that's why the authors argue that these estimates may be reasonable approximations out over the next several decades.]

    Secondly, using the ‘excuse’ of ‘no-analogue’, esp in the context of this paper, is discomforting. It reminds of a situation where certain ‘divergences’ were sought to be explained (away?). Why is it that the same no-analogue argument is not employed for studies that show indirect evidence of anthropogenic warming, for example? I do not see much in the way of “We know it is warming, but conditions during periods compared to which we are warmer, were very much different. So conclusions about causation cannot be made with full certainty”.

    [Response: "No-analogue" is not offered as an excuse but as a simple statement of fact. You have to go back to the Pliocene (2.6+ mya) to find T and [CO2] conditions similar to now. But the time resolution of the data then is not nearly as good as now, and so mechanistic understanding of C fluxes occurring then is also lowered. Also, “no-analogue” is not meant (by me) to predict or explain anything. To the contrary, it indicates that prediction is difficult due to lack of good understanding of how the system will behave–i.e. there are possible (or likely?) surprises in store. Regarding your argument against people making unwarranted attributions of various observed effects to climate change, yes I agree–they should not do that (and yes, some have. And I’ve taken some to task for doing so).]

    I think it is wrong to say we’ll do paleo, but not accept the lessons we learn because CO2, vegetation cover, anthropogenicity etc were different. Why should we dissemble so? Especially when we don’t, at times.

    Thirdly, you point out, and the bimodal distribution of gamma during the past millenium (Fig 3) indicates that gamma can change with time. Doesn’t this imply that factors other than CO2 concentrations could drive climate? (i.e. be the predominant driver?) For instance, the last time CO2 was high (~280+ ppm), and temperatures were high (beginning of LIA), there was a dramatic increase in gamma. Meaning ‘x’ happened, drove temps down, drove CO2 down and ramped up gamma. Meaning CO2 was not the main driver, atleast at one point. What that ‘x’ is, can it happen again?

    [Response: Nobody's arguing here that [CO2] declines caused the little ice age. But moreover, we already know full well that other things besides GHGs can change the climate, such as global albedo or ocean conditions. We’re not using this study to say that other things can’t change the climate.–Jim]

    [Response: The bottom line here is that this study provides us very good constraints on likelihoods of gamma in the last 1000 years, but more information--from other approaches--is needed to know how well they will really apply in the coming century.--Jim]

    Thank you for your time.
    Regards
    Anand

    Comment by Anand — 17 Feb 2010 @ 7:34 AM

  336. #323 #327 Completely Fed Up

    Since you appear to regard your constant stream of logorrhoea as somehow authoritative, I thought you might like to revisit your own definition of relative humidity in #278, viz “RH is the amount of vapour held in water compared to the maximum amount of water that such vapour could hold“, which to my untutored eye looks to have about three mistakes in it, despite its brevity.

    Comment by simon abingdon — 17 Feb 2010 @ 8:04 AM

  337. Anand, see inline responses to your recent post.
    Jim

    Comment by Jim — 17 Feb 2010 @ 10:19 AM

  338. #332 Jim D Thanks and roger the #270. Just so I might get a little closer to understanding, can you confirm that “leaving the Clausius-Clapeyron effect dominant” (penultimate line) refers to the (in this case excessive) heat required to effect the liquid water to vapour transition?

    Comment by simon abingdon — 17 Feb 2010 @ 10:44 AM

  339. > 334 Completely Fed Up says: 17 February 2010 at 3:56 AM
    >> “Nobody’s ever thought carbon emission was or is the only driver.”
    > Actually, Hank, the denialists often believe it.

    [citation needed]
    I’ll be surprised if you can find support for this claim. I sure can’t.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Feb 2010 @ 11:25 AM

  340. RE:333

    Hey All,

    My apologies to Professor Watson and the great folks at UEA, I mistakenly associated him with UAE and not the UEA… for more on his efforts: http://www.uea.ac.uk/env/events/early-warning

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 17 Feb 2010 @ 11:31 AM

  341. “336
    simon abingdon says: ”

    Nothing.

    Since you didn’t answer, I’ll answer for you: you do not understand what relative humidity is.

    This is why you don’t understand climate science.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 17 Feb 2010 @ 11:49 AM

  342. “339
    Hank Roberts says:
    17 February 2010 at 11:25 AM

    > Actually, Hank, the denialists often believe it.

    [citation needed]
    I’ll be surprised if you can find support for this claim. I sure can’t.”

    Hank, every time someone says to prove AGW wrong:”CO2 has been increasing but the temperatures haven’t gone up”, they’re stating that there is only one driver of climate: CO2.

    Every time someone points to the sun and says “IT’S THE SUUUUN!!!”, they’re stating that there’s only one driver of climate: the sun.

    Every time someone says “why then is it not warmer than 1998″, they’re stating that there’s nothing else driving the climate: No ENSO.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 17 Feb 2010 @ 12:01 PM

  343. “So what stops there being more water vapour in the atmosphere if the world heats up? That was my question. ” is not quite the same as “Since clouds are an inexhaustible supply of fresh water vapour this effect should cause catastrophic run away. It doesn’t. Why not?.”
    There will be more water vapor(absolute humidity) in the atmosphere as the average temperature increases – that is a key driver of the 2-4.5 degree climate sensitivity, but because the temperature at some level in the atmosphere will always be cool enough for water to precipitate out, it doesn’t matter how big the (ocean) supply is – at some point, more evaporation gives more rain, not “a further increase in AH”. The other important consideration is that the absolute amount of water vapor varies dramatically with altitude because of the effect of the lapse rate removing water from rising parcels of moist air. At 30 deg C and 100% RH,(tropical ocean surface) the partial pressure of water is ~4.2e-2 bar. At 230mb(11km) altitude, -56.5 deg C, and 40% RH (ICAO tropopause, humidity from http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-bin/data/timeseries/timeseries1.pl), the water vapor has dropped to ~6.9e-6 bar (about a factor of 6000) even though there is still about a quarter of the atmosphere above this level, You can play with humidity vs temperature & pressure at http://www.humidity-calculator.com/index.php

    “Every instance of weather is basically only a local phenomenon, is it not? Why should the fact that it is raining in X, Y and Z today remove just the right amount of moisture from the atmosphere to keep it constant globally?” All the X’s, Y’s, and Z’s, heterogeneously distributed around the globe are a reflection of the heterogeneity of the parcels of various moisture content distributed around the globe. Since the cloud cover is about 60%, that percentage of the global area has saturated parcels of air. Those saturated parcels act as a buffer to rising water vapor – if you try to increase the water vapor in a cloud, you just get more or larger cloud droplets, and more rain. As more heat raises the humidity in areas that currently are cloud free, that will increase the greenhouse effect, but the devil is in the details – small clear areas can lose moisture to adjacent clouds, or pick up moisture from cloud evaporation, depending on humidity/temperature gradients, turbulence, mixing, latitude and solar input, diurnal changes etc.The atmospheric bucket of water vapor has a lot of holes in it in the form of clouds; as we pour more water vapor into the bucket by raising CO2, capturing more solar energy, and causing more evaporation, the level in the bucket goes up, but the holes leak more out; we get a higher level in the bucket, and additional warming, but the increased flow through the leaks (rain) matches the increased evaporation preventing runaway. Like Jim D said, the effects converge.
    ” observations suggest that precipitation and total atmospheric water have increased at about the same rate over the past two decades.”How Much More Rain Will Global Warming Bring?
    Frank J. Wentz,* Lucrezia Ricciardulli, Kyle Hilburn, Carl Mears Science 13 July 2007:

    From http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/266.htm
    “The atmospheric water vapour content responds to changes in temperature, microphysical processes and the atmospheric circulation.”
    “The complexity of water vapour radiative impact is reflected in the intricate and strongly inhomogeneous patterns of the day-to-day water vapour distribution (Figure 7.1a). The very dry and very moist regions reveal a strong influence of the large-scale dynamical transport. Model simulations exhibit similar patterns (Figure 7.1b), with a notable qualitative improvement at higher resolution (Figure 7.1c).” http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/266.htm

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 17 Feb 2010 @ 4:42 PM

  344. RE:342

    Hey CFU,

    To take the heat off Hank, let me suggest a different point of view. Other then natural phenomenon which, has caused prior peaks and valleys in the Earths temperature record, there currently appears to be something different going on when compared to the weather of the prior 100 years. The primary focus over the last 10-12 years has been on anthropogenic fossil/mineral carbon that has been released into the atmosphere over the last 50 years in an amount exceeding what had been deemed as the normal Earths Carbon Cycle capacity.

    Many including myself doubted that Carbon has been a direct contributor to the trend in the Earths temperature. When I did some early research with the ARM.gov short and long wave down-welling pyrolytic detectors the noise was too high to make a determination.

    (Using the SkyRAD60 data set, prior to the DOE take over.)

    When looking further it seemed there had to be a slightly different cause and effect then a direct forcing. Looking at the data sets between 2004 and 2007 many could see the large pattern drivers such as the ENSO you reference. However, it has been very difficult to try to determine how the large scale phenomena were playing into a global warming observation. It was about this time there was a lot of work surrounding the development of the Raman Lidar. (Which I believe were incorporated in the CloudSat and Calipso packages.) The Lidar systems offered the ability to estimate water content and temperatures of the over head precipitate water.

    It has not been until the last 2 years that there was the ability to see both side of clouds. It has been this ability provided by Raman Lidars that began to offer detailed insights into weather patterns. This coupled with the spat of Water Vapor research coming out of WSU and CSU seemed to point to the combination of aerosols, cloud and surface characteristics as participants in insolation and water vapor transfer began to point to some interesting things going on in the atmosphere.

    Going back to the long term data records and comparing them to recent events in US we see an unusual pattern of blocking Highs and cutoff Lows that seemed to pop-up during the recent abnormal global temperature run up. Hence, my thoughts I shared with Simon that it appears to me that Carbon could be playing a part; but, not necessarily the major part in the change in global warming. Rather it seems the change in the weather patterns are the major part of the global warming phenomenon we are seeing.

    This is what lead me to this site, yet again, as I am trying to find my way through to the next phase of my research. Now I am curious if the recent Polar Amplification may be part and parcel of the effects of Carbon driven warming. However, rather then the idea of dirty ice which I initially thought, I am thinking: Part One, it may be that Carbon is playing into insolation changes forcing changes in the weather patterns. Part Two, will be determining if the Dry Slot areas are the same size in upper latitudes as at lower latitudes even though the surface area at the Poles is smaller. I suspect this results in greater insolation in a region that may not have had a great deal of insolation in the past.

    Part and parcel with this is the character of the Northern Jet Stream. I suspect that the spat of 2005 papers documenting the reduction in the Walker circulation may be related to the Northern Jet Stream meandering. The point being that the Jet Stream may be expanding or contracting based on the heat differential between the Sub-Polar and the Temperate zones. If so then I am hoping to see significant CO2 traces in this region. At worst an unusual Ozone pattern emerging in this region.

    Does this help reduce your concerns over cause and effects assignment? After all, I am way too big to be standing on a sandy beach, in a white suit, crying out. “The Plane, The Plane”…

    The key points I suspect are that the deviations of the Northern Jet stream that may be the driver of the recent weather extremes including Summer Droughts in the SE US, the Floods in the SE Asia, the Snows in the SE US and the Sun in the NW US up through Alaska… Hence, IMHO, carbon plays into the heating of the Polar Temperate Convergence Zone which in turn seems to play into Blocking Highs and Cutoff Lows resulting in extremes of droughts, floods and global warming along with polar amplification.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 17 Feb 2010 @ 5:30 PM

  345. #343 Brian Dodge

    Many thanks for a very informative and interesting explanation. Much appreciated. simon

    Comment by simon abingdon — 17 Feb 2010 @ 6:06 PM

  346. David the first four paragraphs are saying absolutely nothing not already known.

    However, such natural effects would have appeared in previous warming and cooling events and Annan and Hargreaves is one study often referred to here has done just that.

    Such effects do not seem to change the median temperature sensitivity from that produced by the models you presuppose do not have sufficient inclusion of minor features of climate and weather.

    This should be a strong signal that such feedbacks ARE indeed minor.

    The classic school test for the value of g, the acceleration to gravity is never done except on paper. Where you’re told that a log is on a slope of, say 7 degrees slope. You are then asked to show what the time taken to drop a certain distance would be and then goes on to say that this experiment would give you the experimental value for g.

    However, this is not the case, since such a simple model doesn’t include such things as friction, stiction, slippage and, most importantly, rotational inertia.

    If you were to do the experiment you would see that your value for g would be, say 9.58 +/- 0.0.

    If such were the result, you would not conclude that the effect of stiction would be a change in the real value of G of 2m/s^2.

    There’s nowhere for that value to fit in the 0.13m/s^2 difference between what a more accurate measuring technique produces and what you produced.

    Doubly so if you found out that rotational inertia could account for 0.11 +/- 0.04 of that.

    But you would proffer clouds as being able to undo all the evidence that points to anthropogenic CO2 production being a problem.

    Why?

    How?

    Para 6 is gibberish.

    At one point you’re talking about CO2 in the atmosphere then segue into how this changes insolation at the poles.

    I was not aware of any polar axis shift nor any mechanism how CO2 changes could cause this.

    Para 7 is asking a question that has no genesis. Where do you get the feeling I have a problem with cause and effect assignment and how do you think the previous paragraphs could have affected one if such were extant?

    Para 8, start: yes. This is what I’ve heard. I suspect that this too is not news to the climatologists. It then leads off into an assertion that is also not one I am aware of being news.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 17 Feb 2010 @ 6:15 PM

  347. RE 343

    Hey Brian,

    I do not agree with the conclusion regarding rain, as the total column is not condensing. (Based on ground based Raman Lidar measurements in the South West between OK, CO and NM in 2005 on the old Souminet site, it had shown that the tropopause lifts in the presence of higher localized air temperatures and low air pressure. At the time there was not a CloudSat/Calipso fly over so I could not confirm the Mesosphere compression; however, Stratospheric compression was clear.) Are you considering the differences between the wet and dry adiabatic lapse rates?

    If we want to go further we might need to consider Polar Stratospheric Clouds and their origins. If you increase the heat, the air parcel rises higher in the atmosphere; however, it is only that portion that has changed state that can rain. So what happens to the rest of the column until it becomes cool enough to change state? What happens to the lapse rate of the total column? If the air temperature of the air column is greater would it not be able to hold more water? ( http://www.tis-gdv.de/tis_e/misc/klima.htm ) The result I see would suggests that a warmer parcel of air near the Sea Surface may have a greater Absolute Humidity.

    If globally the air above the Sea Surfaces were to be warmer are you suggesting that the atmospheric AH would not increase? As we go up in altitude and the adiabatic the vapor pressure falls the water cools. This begs the question of what is the rate of temperature drop versus altitude. For instance going from 40 Deg. C at 1033mb at 90% humidity with a dew point of what around 37 Deg. C what would the temperature be of the same parcel at say 550mb and again at 250mb. (BTW, I broke the calculator…)

    We both know that a lower vapor pressure cools the water vapor; however, in a warmer atmosphere the height for achieving state change increases, to a point. Would the maximum AH be related to the the maximum height a parcel can rise before dropping to the dew point? If so would that not suggest that there would be a greater AH in the atmosphere as the entire atmosphere would contain more water vapor?

    Note: There likely is a maximum altitude limitation if you look at the total temperature gradient of the standard atmosphere at greater then 55km. ( Page 26 Figure 3 http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19770009539_1977009539.pdf )

    To suggest that higher temperatures are going to result in more rain and not AH is insufficient unless you can describe the mechanism, IMHO. So far I do not see it. I do not think I am being dense, is there a practical example we could employ, maybe that would help?

    As for the IPCC radiative description I know the distributions I have observed over the last 40 years have a very clear pattern. On the other hand, I have not seen a fixed number of global Cyclonic and Anti-cyclonic systems balancing out the global atmospheric systems. Is that what they mean?

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 17 Feb 2010 @ 7:52 PM

  348. RE:346

    Hey CFU,

    I have not a hint of how your statements 5-10 are in anyway related to what I posted.

    The historic record seems to suggest the cycle of Drought wrought be Blocking Highs since 1970 are significant, with nearly 10 sever events since 1970 ranging from CA, to the Sierras, the Mid-West and down through the SE including Florida. During these periods, at least locally, there were record high temperatures and record low temperatures to the point that dew formed on raised surfaces, in the middle of the drought. These regional events certainly contributed to a slightly higher average temperature (regionally about 2 Deg. C over a period of about 6 months), though the daily range was abnormally high at an average 32 Deg. (The daily range measured as the Daily High Temperature of the current day with the next mornings Daily Low Temperature in the attempt to measure the amount of Radiant heat released. This has been an experiment I attempted to account for any overhead increased radiant impedance.) I do not consider long term drought a minor signal…

    As to clouds being the difference, I do not know where you got that impression. Lets reset that thought and talk total water vapor. Clouds or their lack are mainly only a signal, to a point. (That point being a vapor density of greater then roughly 1g/m^3). Water vapor and both it’s radiant and optical depth effects are well documented. Increasing the amount of insolation by it’s reduction and it’s effects on ice in the Arctic Region, (my error for not being more precise), have been clearly demonstrated by recent experiments near Arctic ice melt ponds/pools. (Performed by Dr. Jason Box from Ohio State University (DVD available here: http://store.discoveryeducation.com/product/show/54306 )

    The point I clearly see you missing is the cause of the Jet Stream deviations. I have monitored the GEOS and SSRS inter-zonal patterns over the N. Pacific for the last 4 years. I feel fairly confident with the both the patterns of the ITCZ and Northern Jet Streams, as the Rossby Wave steering energy and hence a driver for most of the ENSO. PDO and NAO activity since 2006.

    The question I was attempting to discuss earlier is what drives the deviations in the Jet Stream. At best I can only theorize at this time that it has more to do with the heat content at the Hadley-Ferrel Cell convergence. Kind of like heating and cooling a small diameter copper pipe coil. Fill it with hot water and the coil expands, fill it with cold water and the coil contracts.

    The hypothesis should be if the major difference in the Earths atmosphere since 1950 has been the change in CO2 in the atmosphere and all other things remain roughly the same then CO2 would be assumed to causing additional heating at the Hadley-Ferrel convergence. However, that assumption which is easy to measure, though based on what I have seen from Japanese satellite reported by NASA, CO2 does not seem to be concentrated along the SRRS 200mb Analysis indicated Jet Stream track. However, public access to the images have been hit and miss at best…

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 17 Feb 2010 @ 9:10 PM

  349. Mr Bouldin
    The ‘grafting’ of instrumental T to proxy T estimates is done to account for the fact that the proxies do not always track actual T over the last few decades (i.e. the divergence problem).

    I don’t think I agree with line of reasoning.

    If we seek an explanation as to why grafting of temperature proxies over the paleo ones is done, the most important reason, and probably the most valid reason is: to demonstrate that the paleo reconstructions of the GTA track well with the temperature proxies and therefore, to increase confidence in the veracity of the paleo reconstructions. Because, like Phil Jones says, the instrumental series is the “best proxy” after all.

    The divergence issue is not dealt with by the grafting. It is a consequence of the grafting. The Briffa truncation in the TAR is how they dealt with it. Leaving out the same data for Briffa, 2001 with an explanation, is how chapter 6 AR4 deals with it.

    [Response: Your points here are very unclear. You mentioned grafting without specifying exactly what you mean, ans I was trying to interpret it (mistake!). It appears (though it's hard to tell) that you are confusing proxy calibration with the completely separate issue of showing instrumental and proxy temperatures together in graphs. Furthermore, it is not clear why you are even discussing this.--Jim]

    Check their own words:

    [Response: Who's?]

    “Virtually all of these used chronologies or tree ring climate reconstructions produced using methods that preserve multi-decadal and centennial time scale variability”

    “That this is a defensible simplification, however, is shown by the general strength of many such calibrated relationships, and their significant verification using independent instrumental data.

    Moreover, the instrumental series extend back to about 150 years, well beyond the non-divergent period. Why did they do that then?

    [Response: Sorry, not following. They used variable length calibration periods over the instrumental period, as stated in the article, and this post.--Jim]

    Once again, thanks for your time and comments. This paper and this thread (your posts mainly) helped me understand how the same thing is understood differently by two sets of people. I do agree and understand with many of your observations above.

    With regards
    Anand

    Comment by Anand — 18 Feb 2010 @ 11:38 AM

  350. “Because, like Phil Jones says, the instrumental series is the “best proxy” after all”

    Please explain then why “hide the decline” is so bad when to do that, he used the best proxy: real temperatures?

    “Moreover, the instrumental series extend back to about 150 years, well beyond the non-divergent period. Why did they do that then?”

    Because we didn’t have any thermometer readings from the indiginous Amerindian population, nor the Australian continent etc.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 18 Feb 2010 @ 12:19 PM

  351. LDC: what are you talking to me about that for?

    The reason you don’t understand my answers is because you have a think in your head that requires you to tell me stuff that isn’t news. My answers are based on my best guess as to why you’re asking me or, where I cannot discern that, how you’re lecturing the wrong person.

    I mean, if you want to continue, just remember this: dilligaf?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 18 Feb 2010 @ 12:21 PM

  352. Re: 338. Simon, by Clausius-Clapeyron effect, I just mean that when temperature increases, the equilibrium vapor increases in proportion to their function, i.e. 6%/degree. Think of it as an equilibrium between the water and vapor phases, which depends on temperature.

    Comment by Jim D — 18 Feb 2010 @ 8:48 PM

  353. #352 Jim D Thanks for the clarification Jim. While I’m here could I ask you to comment on CFU’s (#278) mocking question “Did you know that RH is the amount of vapour held in water compared to the maximum amount of water that such vapour could hold?”. It seems a far cry from the usual definition, (loosely) “the amount of water vapour in a given volume of air expressed as a percentage of that required to saturate it”, but maybe his formulation amounts to the same thing though I can’t see it. Please put me straight. I’ll apologize to him if I’m wrong of course. Thanks, simon.

    Comment by simon abingdon — 19 Feb 2010 @ 8:54 AM

  354. Mr Bouldin.
    What I originally said, and talked about again is very simple.

    -If we believe in paleontologic reconsctructions of the past climate (global temperature anomaly), and

    -If these reconstructions extend, in continuity right up to the instrumental period

    then,

    (A) we shouldn’t have problems accepting values for gamma, derived from the same period.

    (B) Even if we say similar values for gamma cannot be accepted as being in play in the present (given all the perturbation), we should at least, be ready to accept that, in all likelehood, similar broad rules for gamma apply for the present period.

    [Response: No, that is an open question. You can't conclude that from this study.--Jim]

    These rules being:
    1) gamma is lower in periods of warming
    2) gamma is higher in periods of cooling
    3) probability of very high gamma values is diminishingly low, esp in warming periods (from fig 3)

    [Response: No again. This study does not show what you state. There was cooling throughout the entire period (1050 to 1800). The causes of the difference in gamma between the two sub periods is unknown. Gamma did not show a dependence on the direction of T change, but rather on the rate of CO2 change (pg 529).--Jim]

    I am not confusing proxy calibrations with graphic co-representation of temp and tree-ring proxies. But I believe there is no need to talk about that at all.

    When we say that current temperatures are unusually high compared to the previous millenium – we are comparing the recent period to the pre-industrial period. We don’t say:

    “we cannot compare temperatures from those two periods because the global conditions were completely different during the two periods”, do we? Would Realclimate hesitate to condemn such imaginative ‘denialism’, if someone were to actually use that logic?

    [Response: Not analogous! We have T estimates over both periods. We don't have gamma estimates, and furthermore, the uncertainty discussion is in regards to likely future feedbacks.--Jim]

    Comment by Anand — 19 Feb 2010 @ 2:37 PM

  355. Anand, I wonder how your reasoning would look during an interglacial when the ice melted and exposed a large area of former permafrost and peat bogs that were now free to emit their CH4 and CO2 into the atmosphere.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 19 Feb 2010 @ 3:06 PM

  356. Re: 353. Simon, it seems misphrased. RH is the amount of vapor held in air compared to the maximum amount of vapor that such air could hold.

    Comment by Jim D — 19 Feb 2010 @ 10:35 PM

  357. “So what happens to the rest of the column until it becomes cool enough to change state?” It cools by expansion at the dry adiabatic lapse rate. If it cools enough to become denser than the surrounding air, it stops rising (barring momentum effects, which can be significant in large thunderstorms, but lets not complicate the discussion).

    “What happens to the lapse rate of the total column?” If its dry(no condensation), it cools at the dry lapse rate, if it’s wet(contains droplets or ice), it cools at the wet lapse rate. If the column is heterogenous – parcels with cloud and parcels without, the different parts cool with expansion at different rates; the wet parcels cool more slowly, so they become less dense compared to the adjacent dry parcels over time. The bouyancy difference drives the moist parcels to rise faster than the dry parts, The continuing condensation tends to increase the number/mass of the cloud particles until it starts to rain out, unless mixing & transport to adjacent dry parcels remove enough water vapor to prevent this (happens a lot in real atmospheres). The difference in speed of rise creates turbulence & mixing.

    “If globally the air above the Sea Surfaces were to be warmer are you suggesting that the atmospheric AH would not increase? ” As the air becomes warmer, the AH will increase, but not without limit. Even though the supply is huge (the oceans), once you reach 100%RH, any further evaporation turns to clouds then rain. Conceptually, the maximum upper limit under any circumstances is when the troposphere is filled with clouds everywhere. Practically, the earth already has ~60% cloud cover, e.g. at some altitude the RH is 100% and the air is drier above and below the cloud layer. Warming is putting more water vapor into the atmosphere(from the bottom). Convection, tropospheric mixing, lateral transport, macroscopic air mass movement into different temperature regimes move this moisture into an area where condensation starts. Once cloud particles form, the situation becomes unstable, driving the system towards rain. The particles are denser than air, so they settle gravitationally. If they are really small, the rate will be really slow, but never zero. Surface energy increases as surface curvature increases, so small particles lose mass to larger ones, and larger particles fall faster, When particles collide, they coalesce; larger falling particles traverse a larger volume per unit time, so they collide with more particles than smaller slower moving particles. Precipitation starts at higher cooler levels, so particles falling through moist warmer air increase mass by condensation. all these positive feedbacks result in an average residence time of ~10 days.

    “For instance going from 40 Deg. C at 1033mb at 90% humidity with a dew point of what around 37 Deg. C what would the temperature be of the same parcel at say 550mb and again at 250mb.” lets say 5km & 10km instead(264 & 540 mb) so we can do the math in our head. The dry lapse rate is ~10degC/km, so the parcel would cool to 37 deg & start condensation at about 330m altitude, where it would transition to a wet lapse rate of ~5degC/km, reaching 13degC at 5km and -12C at 10 km. If there’s enough volume of 40deg’C 90%RH near rhe ground to sustain inflow and development of a cloud column that extends from ground level to 10 km, with an area sufficient to sustain coriolis rotation, you will likely get a supercell thunderstorm. see http://ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu/(Gh)/guides/mtr/svr/type/spr/home.rxml (although the site is about weather, it is a good overview of many of the processes related to hydrologic part of climatology.)

    How do we know that AH increases with temperature? Because gamma alone doesn’t provide enough positive feedback to convert the small change in insolation from Milankovic cycles into the temperature change recorded in the ice cores over the glacial cycles, and observations show increasing AH with temperature (Wentz et al referenced previously).
    How do we know that the AH greenhouse increase with temperature doesn’t cause a runaway situation(Simon’s original question 13 February 2010 @ 5:58 AM) Because it didn’t at the PETM, because the water vapor stays in the troposphere, and even there is concentrated in the lower levels (lapse rate – a wool blanket under a down comforter doesn’t have as great a temperature gradient or warming effect), and precipitation provides an effective mechanism to remove water from the atmosphere. If you compare the rainfall pattern from http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-8-5.html to the SST image at http://nasascience.nasa.gov/images/oceans-images/amsre-sst.jpg/ you can see that the water vapor/rainfall doesn’t get transported very far northeast from the coasts of Japan & the US from the warm surface pools of water south of Japan and in the Caribbean, where the water is evaporating.
    What are the areas where the accuracy of models needs to improve? “Precipitation patterns are intimately linked to atmospheric humidity, evaporation, condensation and transport processes. Good observational estimates of the global pattern of evaporation are not available[1], and condensation and vertical transport of water vapour can often be dominated by sub-grid scale convective processes which are difficult to evaluate globally.”http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch8s8-3-1-2.html
    [1]but the situation is improving –
    http://www-calipso.larc.nasa.gov/ “CALIPSO and CloudSat are highly complementary and together provide new, never-before-seen 3-D perspectives of how clouds and aerosols form, evolve, and affect weather and climate. CALIPSO and CloudSat fly in formation with three other satellites in the A-train constellation to enable an even greater understanding of our climate system from the broad array of sensors on these other spacecraft.”.
    http://cloudsat.atmos.colostate.edu/overview “Changes in climate that are caused by clouds may in turn give rise to changes in clouds due to climate: a cloud-climate feedback. These feedbacks may be positive (reinforcing the changes) or negative (tending to reduce the net change), depending on the processes involved. These considerations lead scientists to believe that the main uncertainties in climate model simulations are due to the difficulties in adequately representing clouds and their radiative properties.”.
    http://aqua.nasa.gov/about/instrument_amsr_science.php “Measurements by AMSR-E of ocean surface roughness can be converted into near- surface wind speeds. These winds are an important determinant of how much water is evaporated from the surface of the ocean. Thus, the winds help to maintain the water vapor content of the atmosphere while precipitation continually removes it.”

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 20 Feb 2010 @ 4:44 PM

  358. OK, I’ve read the main post and all the comments and I still can’t see that this article does much for us. As I understand it, the data was based on the last thousand years (or two?), and that period shows a carbon feedback r ate (or gamma?) of 10ppm for every degree of temperature rise.

    But we are now seeing (and are about to see) temperature changes that are much larger and faster than anything seen in the last few millennia (at least). Is there any reason to believe that temperature jumps at these new levels and r ates are going to have the same effect as the smaller and slower movement of the relatively recent past? And as others pointed out, the global system was a much different, much more resilient one during most of this time–no ocean acidification, no massive die off of forests world wide…

    Furthermore, carbon feedbacks are already starting to kick in that have not been seen during this time frame, as far as I understand–

    vast melting of permafrost

    methane hydrates bubbling to the surface from beneath the ocean (see the many papers by Igor Semiletov and others)

    an Arctic Ocean on the verge of being ice free in summer (or nearly so)

    These types and levels of feedback, as far as we know, did not happen to this extent in the past thousand years. It seems to me that we are hitting huge discontinuities that make these linear finding from the past centuries essentially worthless as predictive models.

    You can’t predict based on observing water heated from 1 to 99 degrees what will happen when you heat it one degree further, yet that is what this paper seems to do. And we do see to be at that kind of a change-of-state moment, or very, very near it.

    Am I missing something here? (I assume I am since much more informed posters than I seem to find this work of great worth.) Is the value that it gives us some kind of baseline to work from?

    Comment by wili — 20 Feb 2010 @ 7:26 PM

  359. wili (358) asks “Is the value that it gives us some kind of baseline to work from?” I opine so from my amateur standing. I should think that laboratory experiments could establish values of gamma for various teemperatures and near equilibrium concentrations. Alas, that leaves out the role of all the plants, in the oceans, on the land and in the soil; that changes the reality.

    I now think Tamino had a good point in his comment #1; the transition from LGM to Holocene, as he points out, gives a much larger value of gamma, but under non-equilibrium conditions. So there is plenty more to puzzle out yet.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 20 Feb 2010 @ 8:15 PM

  360. RE: 357

    Hey Brian,

    Okay, now have general agreement or an understanding of the pre-GW observational atmospheric physics, I think we may need to do a reset as we seem to be talking past each other. In short, I think we have the necessary model update observations you refer to.

    To my question regarding, in a warming world where there is more water vapor in the atmosphere, are you suggesting that the global AH is not increasing? In response to the question you say, “yes; but, not without limit”. Not a problem; however, you did not venture to suggest a limit, I did. My limit rose to a level of 55km meaning that over 80% of the atmospheric density is below the height of PSCs. At this level the AH may have the potential to be nearly 1/3rd greater, what would you suggest this would do to the RH and rainfall potential?

    Going further, the point I was trying to point to was that the processes you are talking about appear to have changed. Where you are attempting to describe the mechanics of normal rainfall which would occur in the 2-6km range, you are missing that the mechanics have been observed to have changed over the last four years. It appears that we have liquid water vapor being observed at altitudes as high as 10-12km. (That was the reason I asked the question about the estimated temperature of the 40 Deg. C air parcel at altitude. Your values clearly should suggest condensation and frozen precipitate phase change.

    If your wet lapse rate at 10km would suggest a temperature of -12 Deg. C at 10km you would expect the water there to be frozen. (Even though your wet lapse rate might differ from mine (6.3 Deg. C/km)) And yet we have direct measurements of liquid water at this altitude. The point remains that the processes you are describing seem to have broken down in the warming atmosphere, as observed by researchers at Washington State University and USC between 2005-2007. Another confirming observation was offered by the British Arctic Survey in the Canadian Arctic region in 2007.

    If this is true then why would you expect more rain if even at 10km and -12 Deg C we have liquid precipitate rather then frozen? (To me it appears you may have missed that most precipitation is actually related to the accretion of frozen ice particles and not condensate. The surface tension of the liquid water seems to effect the tendency for colliding water droplets to repel or bounce off and not become absorbed.)

    I understand your point of view, I am only suggesting recent research suggests that the processes appear to have changed. We have seen clear cases in which high altitude aerosols density has prematurely dried out air parcels stopping convection and rainfall. (Droughts observed in the US Eastern seaboard as related high altitude desert dust.) We also have issues of insolation on dark aerosols which seem to delay the transition from the wet lapse rate to the dry lapse rate by nearly 4km. The good folks at UCAR and NCAR have done a lot of research which seems to suggest that there are clearly confounding processes that are changing the normal atmospheric processes you described.

    All of these observations appear to suggest that where an increase in rain is possible, it is not happening. The truth is that the AH will have increased which would suggest that the RH potential of the atmosphere should have increased. If this is true then there would be a clear delay in the rain at the normal “limits”.

    So where would all of this additional water come from, is the actual root of my reason for pursuing this subject. It comes from soil moisture, and sea surfaces, as a reflection of a change in gamma, which was the initial point of this discussion. Gamma appears to change in correlation to changes in the Earths processes. If radiation is no longer sufficient to reduce the surface temperature and to keep the inter-zonal heat content (specific heat) flow stable, Earths processes appear to change. However, it is not so much that they change, as the balance of heat flow through the conduits or atmospheric processes change.

    The next question is do the conduits get bigger or does the flow rate increase. Every thing I have seen suggests that just like bubbles in a pot about to boil, the conduits increase in size and a large pulse of heat flows to the upper latitudes. The question then is does gamma actually increase or is gamma stable and the Earths processes change to re-balance gamma? Then to go full circle is the deviation in the Northern Jet Stream a signal or a forcing of the change in the Earth’s processes?

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 20 Feb 2010 @ 8:32 PM

  361. RE: 360

    Hey All,

    My error it looks like my memory is failing. Apparently the Washington State University research I referred to should have been in relation to the University of Washington and research stemming from a series of 1998 expeditions; ( http://www.arm.gov/campaigns/nsa1998firesheba ) There should be references at the bottom of the page. What I do not see was references to the follow up where they were experimenting with data collection devices.

    If I find the reference I will post it. In the meantime my apologies to the University of Washington team. I will also go back and check the USC reference now…

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 20 Feb 2010 @ 9:49 PM

  362. RE: 361

    Hey All,

    This is a link to the follow up of FireIII-ACE super cooled liquid water observation: http://lidar.ssec.wisc.edu/papers/journal/bulletin_mpace.pdf Apparently the new device appears to be called SPLAT, and regards aerosols. From what I understand SPLAT testing was not part of the 2004 M-PACE expedition.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 20 Feb 2010 @ 10:41 PM

  363. RE #67. Thanks, Jim, for your response: “Fertilization is a generally positive effect, as it is a negative carbon cycle feedback.”

    This is an early study, and just as the earlier CO2->T studies didn’t include much about long term positive feedbacks, the T->CO2 study may not include all factors. I’m thinking that T at higher values (which it looks like we’re headed toward) may at some point actually end up releasing more CO2 than absorbing thru increased plantlife (nevermind releasing frozen methane).

    I’m thinking of how T dessicates soil and plants, holds up more WV in the atmosphere, then releases it as deluges (killing plants), and also T may be causing stronger winds (I know this is less certain), which with dried out vegetation would translate into wildfires. So then we’d get into a +t -> +CO2 -> + T, and so on. There might be some threshhold T at which the system flips into a positive feedback syndrome.

    [Response:If gamma is positive, this means that feedback is positive. The statement above that CO2 fert. is a negative cc feedback still holds even if gamma is positive--it's just that other things (like, e.g. what you mention), make the net feedback positive.--Jim]

    And I’m still not certain the CO2-plant connection is linear. I’m thinking that perhaps really high CO2 might be bad for plants (sort of like overeating is bad for us) or at least in some log-type relation of decreasing benefit, not linear, esp in a really hot climate.

    [Response: You have to get to CO2 levels far beyond what's likely to occur to get toxic effects.--Jim]

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 21 Feb 2010 @ 10:33 AM

  364. Mr. Bouldin
    1) gamma is lower in periods of warming
    2) gamma is higher in periods of cooling
    3) probability of very high gamma values is diminishingly low, esp in warming periods (from fig 3)
    Your response was: “No again. This study does not show what you state. There was cooling throughout the entire period (1050 to 1800).”

    Going by the AR4. Chap 6, the medieval warm period was from 950 AD to 1300 AD. There is much hand-wringing about this, but no matter, for we are only interested in the time period for the MWP, not the temperature anomaly of that period. Likewise, the Little Ice Age extends from 1350 to 1770 (source: Chap 6 again). It can be considered 1550-1800, by other accounts.

    The paper divides the past millennium into two periods:
    1050-1549 &
    1550-1800

    The time periods for the MWP and LIA, as we can clearly see, roughly correspond to the periods considered in the paper.

    [Response: So what?!. Your point here was that gamma is lower when temperatures are warming, than when they are cooling. There remains no basis to conclude this from this paper, regardless of these irrelevant statements about time intervals. ]

    And moreover, I am not the one using the MWP/LIA terminology – I am aware that the IPCC tries to look down upon these terms (or tries to look away). The authors use these terms in the paper.

    [Response:Then why did you just introduce those terms into this discussion (???) when they are not related to your point about gamma values in relation to the direction of T change? Very weak]

    Vincentnathan: I don’t believe it is a good idea to answer a study, which uses verifiable data with speculation.
    may at some point actually end up releasing more CO2″
    “There might be some threshold T at which the system flips into a positive feedback syndrome.”

    For I can simply answer you “may be” and “might be” with a may not be and a might not be. If you do insist that actual studies exist that predict the emergence of conditions you describe, I could answer saying such conditions might have transpired, to varying degrees in the warmer periods of the past too. If you then insist, that there is no geologic/climatologic evidence for such conditions in the past I could say even then, that the positive feedback syndrome you speak of, continues to be in the realm of speculation.

    Mr wili
    “It seems to me that we are hitting huge discontinuities that make these linear finding from the past centuries essentially worthless as predictive models.”

    My question again is: if you can infer temperatures from tree rings of the ‘resilient’ period centuries past(remember – it is an inference), you should be able to learn other lessons from models which use the same tree-ring temperatures. If they suddenly become worthless to you, given all the huge discontinuities, then you would surely agree that those who make claims of an unprecedented temperature rise shouldn’t do so too. After all, the vastly different conditions that prevailed past the current discontinuity, form the very basis for the precedence that we speak of.

    [Response: I already answered this. You are making an improper analogy, and from this are drawing improper conclusions.

    It seems that you want to believe that this paper rules out the possibility of high feedbacks and unpleasant surprises in the future. It doesn't. Both the authors and I have been quite clear about that.--Jim]

    Regards
    Anand

    Comment by Anand — 21 Feb 2010 @ 12:51 PM

  365. Mr Bouldin
    Your point here was that gamma is lower when temperatures are warming, than when they are cooling. There remains no basis to conclude this from this paper, regardless of these irrelevant statements about time intervals.

    How do you say this? I really don’t know what I am missing here.

    [Response: Look at Figure 1. The various reconstructions show that there was gradual cooling almost over the entire interval of their study--forget about MWP and LIA etc. The higher gammas in the 1550-1800 interval, compared to lower such in the earlier period, do NOT correspond with some difference in the direction of T change (which is what you claimed they did). Rather, the higher gammas in the later period are most strongly associated with the magnitude of the CO2 change, if anything. The authors state this in the paper, on page 529, 1st P. (Plus there are sample size differences--that could have an effect too). You therefore cannot conclude what you concluded. It might have been interesting if the authors had presented results for the mangitude of gamma in relation to warming or cooling temps, but they did not present such, nor even mention it --Jim]

    I am referring to Figure 3, also reproduced in your post above.

    And let me quote:
    “Values for gamma for the early period (1050-1549) indicate a lower mean (4.3 ppmv per C)…”
    “than estimates for 1550-1800 (mean = 16.1)…”

    These periods roughly correspond to the MWP and the LIA of the AR4.

    Therefore:
    1050-1549 – 4.3 – MWP
    1550-1800 – 16.1 – LIA

    I was hesitant to use the terms ‘MWP’ and ‘LIA’ only because I did not want the issue to get sidetracked into a discussion of whether the MWP or the LIA ever existed at all.

    [Response: Yes, I understand and appreciate that.--Jim]

    Regards

    Comment by Anand — 21 Feb 2010 @ 4:13 PM

  366. Anand,

    I’m not sure I follow your point. The correlation between rising temperatures and feedback release of additional carbon into the atmosphere is a particular kind of dynamic. That we are likely to see (further) discontinuities in this particular relationship does not seem to me to automatically imply anything particular about other correlations. As Jim notes, you seem to be reaching for an analogy here that isn’t quite apt.

    Comment by wili — 21 Feb 2010 @ 5:39 PM

  367. Since google did not cough up anything readily, I would like to ask a stupid question:

    What exactly is included in “Charney feedback(s)”?

    I get the impression that it (or these) are fast feedbacks, but I’m not sure what exactly they include. I downloaded the 1979 paper, but I’m not sure which of the many topics covered in that interesting piece is now included in “Charney feedback(s).”

    Thanks ahead of time for any light you can throw on this or source you can point me to.

    Comment by wili — 21 Feb 2010 @ 6:07 PM

  368. Wili: I used Google Scholar for the term; it’s defined here:

    Charney J, Carbon dioxide and climate: a scientific assessment. In National Academy of Sciences Press 1979 Washington, DC:National Academy of Sciences Press

    I found it described here: see this article for much more detail:
    http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/365/1856/1925.full
    “… the Charney (1979) definition of climate sensitivity, in which ‘fast feedback’ processes are allowed to operate, but long-lived atmospheric gases, ice sheet area, land area and vegetation cover are fixed forcings. Fast feedbacks include changes of water vapour, clouds, climate-driven aerosols1, sea ice and snow cover.

    ——-
    Aside, I don’t recall seeing this, which may be good news:

    http://www.physorg.com/news128613620.html
    (about a paper published in Science April 18, 2008)

    “… the majority of ocean calcification is carried out by coccolithophores such as Emiliania huxleyi, and the amount of calcium carbonate produced at the ocean surface is known to have a direct influence on levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.”

    The coccolithophore she referred to, E. Huxleyi, is like the “lab rat” of coccolithophores, Rehm says. Laboratory experiments where one increased the acidity caused all kinds of problems for E. Huxleyi. But in this new work, Iglesias-Rodriguez’s group didn’t just add acid, they bubbled CO2 at increasing levels into the culture. The coccolithophores increased their calcification in response.

    Assessing the amount of calcification done by hundreds of thousands of coccolithophores grown in the experiments was the job of the UW researchers using flow through cytometery and techniques refined by Peter von Dassow while a post-doctoral researcher in Armbrust’s group. He’s now at France’s Station Biologique de Roscoff and also a co-author on the paper.

    A second group of researchers on the paper, led by Paul Halloran, doctoral student at the University of Oxford, took cores from sediments in the North Atlantic and found that two dominant coccolithophores species had increased in size in the 220 years since the Industrial Revolution, when humans began turning more and more to fossilized fuels for energy

    “Our research has also revealed that, over the past 220 years, coccolithophores have increased the mass of calcium carbonate they each produce by around 40 percent,” Halloran says….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Feb 2010 @ 9:55 PM

  369. Something newer on coccolithophores and climate change from two of the same authors, and less optimistic:
    http://biogeosciences-discuss.net/6/9817/2009/bgd-6-9817-2009.pdf
    “Conclusions
    Ocean acidification may induce changes in the composition and quality of biogenic particles that impact the formation, as well as the sinking and degradation rate of aggregates. As a consequence, the efficiency of deep export may be reduced in the future ocean, and the shallow remineralisation of organic matter enhanced. Thus, our study provides an example of how the biological pump may transmit the signal of anthropogenic perturbations from the surface into the ocean’s interior.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Feb 2010 @ 11:14 PM

  370. wili:
    “As Jim notes, you seem to be reaching for an analogy here that isn’t quite apt.”

    I am not making an analogy, not quite so, irrespective of what you might claim. I am saying there is a logical fallacy in your position (vis-a-vis the discontinuities) when considered against other positions adopted by proponents of anthropogenic warming, which it contradicts.

    Not enough to make Bertrand Russel turn in his grave, but maybe just enough to make his toes curl up. :)

    I always choose my words carefully. I do understand your point, but I am not sure of the same from you.

    Thanks
    Anand

    Comment by Anand — 21 Feb 2010 @ 11:50 PM

  371. RE: 357

    Hey Brian,

    Not to beat a dead horse as much to show independently the cloud processes I failed to identify regarding water vapor condensation and rain drop formation.

    According to this article it appears for water to form into a droplet requires what appears to be an RH of up to 120%, (apparently due to surface tension). So earlier posts by others suggesting that at an RH of 100%, water vapor condenses, then coalesces forming larger droplets and Wa La, rain…, in light of this article may need to be revised.

    http://weather.cod.edu/sirvatka/bergeron.html

    I hope this helps laymen like myself here to gain a little more understanding of the micro-physics occurring in clouds regarding raindrop formation. Hope you have a wonderful day!

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 22 Feb 2010 @ 9:45 PM

  372. @24 [who argued that Global Warming isn't dead because we will see new signs of it in the next few years]:

    I just read a remark by Pier Vellinga, professor Earth sciences and climate change: “Much will depend on the melting of the ice caps. That’s a strange realization: the trust people have in us now depends on the short term aberrations in local climate. While the essence of our message is about risks for the global climate in a 30-100 year time frame. If there is ice on the IJsselmeer now, we are blamed.”

    [from Resource, the weekly for students and staff of Wageningen UR, the Netherlands, translation mine]

    Comment by Remco Gerlich — 23 Feb 2010 @ 7:11 AM

  373. “According to this article it appears for water to form into a droplet requires what appears to be an RH of up to 120%, (apparently due to surface tension)”

    It can go somewhat above that RH if the air is devoid of nucleation sites.

    Similarly, water doesn’t freeze definitely until about -30C.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercooling

    Again, if there aren’t any nucleation sites or regular sites to form on.

    So in light of this, does your fridge need recalibrating?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 23 Feb 2010 @ 3:14 PM

  374. Feedback from carbon release does seem to still be a concern for these folks:

    tmospheric levels of methane, the greenhouse gas which is much more powerful than carbon dioxide, have risen significantly for the last three years running, scientists will disclose today – leading to fears that a major global-warming “feedback” is beginning to kick in.

    For some time there has been concern that the vast amounts of methane, or “natural gas”, locked up in the frozen tundra of the Arctic could be released as the permafrost is melted by global warming. This would give a huge further impetus to climate change, an effect sometimes referred to as “the methane time bomb”.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/methane-levels-may-see-runaway-rise-scientists-warn-1906484.html

    [Response: Reasonable story except for the headline and the 'runaway feedback' paragraph which implies that this happened at the end of the last ice age. Positive feedback does happen and is likely in the future (though of uncertain magnitude) but that isn't the same as 'runaway affects'. - gavin]

    Comment by wili — 23 Feb 2010 @ 4:18 PM

  375. Thanks for the distinction. Help me with my maths. What value of gamma moves a feedback over from non-runaway into runaway territory.

    [Response:Given the various uncertainties it seems to me doubtful that such a value could be identified very specifically.--Jim]

    Comment by wili — 23 Feb 2010 @ 6:45 PM

  376. RE: 373

    Hey CFU,

    That is for Pure Water, this only goes to show for what is in the ice you may put in your tea… Add in a bit of dirt, bacteria, salt, metals or oxides and you have plenty of nucleation sites…

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 23 Feb 2010 @ 8:58 PM

  377. I’ve been taking a more detailed look into Earth System Sensitivity. These recent papers seem very interesting :

    1. In Pagani et al “for the early and middle Pliocene, when temperatures were about 3–4 C warmer than preindustrial values… CO2 levels at peak temperatures were between about 365 and 415ppm”. So if CO2 roughly the same as today led to 3-4 degrees of warming in the early Pliocene, that would mean an ESS of about 6-8 degrees for CO2 doubling. However, we must be careful, because CO2 is not the only relevant forcing.

    2. Lunt et al estimate Earth System Sensitivity about 30–50% greater than Charney sensitivity, because they also analyse orography in the mid-Pliocene as a forcing separate from CO2 or any of its feedbacks. This summary seems to have the main points. At mid-Pliocene ~3 million years ago, CO2 is modelled at 400ppm. Overall temperature is about 3.4 degrees above pre-industrial, with ESS due to the 400ppm CO2 contributing about 2.3 degrees.

    3. However Tripati et al argue that CO2 hasn’t been as high as today since the Miocene. Their reconstructed peak level for the mid-Pliocene is only 350ppm: see the graph at the bottom right of the last page here . Even allowing for the additional orography forcings, and some forcings by other GHGs, ESS for doubled CO2 would be in the ~6 C range again.

    So it’s bad news, then a bit better news, but then more bad news, returning us to the ballpark of Hansen et al’s original estimates.

    On top of that, we need to add carbon cycle feedbacks, as discussed above and calculated here . There is maybe another degree or two from naturally-released CO2, even after we’ve stopped adding our own. Plus there will be other GHG feedbacks (methane, N2O), but it seems those are rather constrained by Paleoclimate data. For instance Hansen et al have methane and N2O moving in synch with CO2 between Ice Age cycles, with CO2+CH4+N2O forcing about 25% bigger than forcing from CO2 alone. A crude approximation would be to combine these GHGs into a “CO2-equivalent”. Then construct a “gamma-equivalent” which also reflects the changes of these other GHGs in response to temperature, and so is about 25% bigger than gamma by itself. For example a gamma of ~16ppm per degree C would turn into a “gamma-equivalent” of ~20ppm per degree C (which is still convergent, fortunately). This is very rough and ready, and the error bars on gamma are big enough to swallow it anyway.

    But is that it? Unless I’ve missed anything, we may be close to totting up all the feedbacks (i.e. seeing all the bad news at once).

    There’s another kicker in Tripati’s paper. If we do manage to melt down the Greenland and West Antarctic ice-sheets, we would have to reduce BELOW pre-industrial CO2 to get them back again. “Lower levels were necessary for the growth of large ice masses on West Antarctica (~250 to 300 ppmv) and Greenland (~220 to 260ppmv)”. Should there be a 250.org ???

    Comment by Dr Nick Bone — 24 Feb 2010 @ 9:21 AM

  378. “Hey CFU,

    That is for Pure Water,”

    No, it can handle non pure water as long as the impurities are liquid at that temperature too, and therefore will not act as nucleation sites.

    [edit]

    [Response: --just stick to the science and drop the insults and everyone will be better off.--Jim]]

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 24 Feb 2010 @ 11:41 AM

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