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  1. You need to read George Lakoff’s work on framing a political argument. You should never repeat a derogatory allegation in an effort to refute it. Repeating the allegation reinforces it.

    http://www.alternet.org/media/19811

    The attacks on climate scientists are political, not scientific. Attempts to respond to political attacks by a scientific approach will not be successful in the public arena. The public in the U.K. is losing trust in climate scientists because scientists are responding in a way that reinforces the negative framing of the attackers.

    Comment by FishOutofWater — 24 Feb 2010 @ 5:48 PM

  2. The vicious and unprincipled tactics of the deniers has been swept under the rug by far too much of the media. These tactics display their character, but only for all those who can see. To much of the media turns a blind eye and so hides reality from the rest of us.

    This behavior requires a vigorous response. Bullies must be push back with energy or they continue to gnaw away at social norms of decency. IMHO, decency is one of the essential elements of civilized behavior that can contribute to our survival. The deniers who behave like thugs or unrestrained parasites should be treated as such. Their enablers should be called on their behavior as well.

    Comment by John Atkeison — 24 Feb 2010 @ 5:59 PM

  3. Scientists are being chewed up by disreputable and dishonest political attacks. I am angry that reputable scientists have to take the time to rebut the nonsense cited in this article. However, I agree with both previous comments, that a far different tact is needed in responding to the global warming deniers. If all of you at Real Climate haven’t read Lakoff I recommend doing it immediately.

    Comment by Larry Saltzman — 24 Feb 2010 @ 6:04 PM

  4. What ever could have moved Mr. Pearce to publish these zombie allegations without following the usual rule of contacting the primary source?

    But I’m curious about another thing: I have heard that you have received death threats! If so, when? Were the threats a reward for your “fingerprinting” research?

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 24 Feb 2010 @ 6:06 PM

  5. Your doing a great job. The right are now desperate. Carry on for science is the ultimate philosophy of humans. Dont let the political system and its vitriolic ways intimidate the scientists. This site is has been that beacon along with climate progress amongst other I am sure.

    A good article.

    Comment by pete best — 24 Feb 2010 @ 6:12 PM

  6. Thanks for a great post.
    In 1919 Eddington led measurements during a solar eclipse that seemed to confirm Einsteins General Relativity. Since then many studies have further confirmed relativity. However, it is sometimes claimed that Eddingtons measurements were incomplete, and did not really confirm GR.

    First when I came across the “audit” method it was compared to regular business practices, where financial statements etc are audited. I remember wondering if those applied to science. It seemed to me that replicating the findings of a study is usually a matter of showing they are robust to new data and methods.

    That was years ago and my initial feeling for this has proved correct. The audit method is not applied to advance the search for scientific truth but for kicking up dust. A good example is the 1990 study of Urban Heat Island effect that has been the subject of recent reporting by the guardian and others. The question if the study had insufficient station history is to me beside the point. What the authors purported to show was that a certain proposed physical mechanism was not very strong. What matters is if their claim was true.

    If they are correct those findings should be replicable using other data from other cities and other periods, – the details of the physics should not apply solely to China. Since the 1990 study many other studies have replicated the findings and shown that regardless of the details of the original study the findings are robust.

    Auditing the original study misses the point that the validity of the claim no longer rests on that particular study.

    It is the same as with Eddingtons 1919 measurements, the validity of General Relativity no longer depend on Eddington. You could audit his study for historic reasons (I belief this has been done), but it would not have any bearing on the physics of relativity.

    Comment by Halldór Björnsson — 24 Feb 2010 @ 6:18 PM

  7. In small measure, this is the kind of reply needed. Now, I ask the real scientists here to find the salient points and distill them into one line “sound bites”.

    Don’t leave it to the denial squad to pick the response, force them instead to respond to very tight. very clear “bites” of information.

    Scientists need to do this so that the information is not ignored as irrelivant by those in the media.

    Good, well thought out rebuttal from a layman’s perspective here.

    Comment by Dale Power — 24 Feb 2010 @ 6:24 PM

  8. Dear Dr. Santer,

    Please be assured that you have the support of science-minded people, and those just devoted to basic fairness, around the world. Keep doing the right thing, and expect to be persecuted for it (Mark 10:29-30). We’re going to lose this war, but we’ll go down fighting.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 24 Feb 2010 @ 6:36 PM

  9. Ben, thanks for this detailed and comprehensive rebuttal. The inside story of the events in the mid-90s is particularly useful for people like me who were not involved then.

    Comment by Chris McGrath — 24 Feb 2010 @ 6:42 PM

  10. Not so, Fish out of water.

    Attempts (and re-attempts) at framing of the issues by the doubt creation movement in a manner that defames individuals and research can only be countered by a thorough, independently verifiable recounting of the facts of what has occurred. That is what Santer provides in this post.

    The charges that have been and continue to be leveled by doubt creationists against Santer and others of the scientific community are, in addition to their corrosive (but far from fatal) effects upon international and national climate policy formulation, libelous.

    It is the responsibility of socities and nations to ascertain the facts surrounding these charges and dismiss or confirm them in appropriate fora.

    While Lakoff’s framing theses may be somewhat useful in charting activities and communications strategies in the policy realm, they are not relevant to investigating and resolving such conflicts as they (possibly) begin to be taken up by the courts.

    Comment by Sloop — 24 Feb 2010 @ 6:47 PM

  11. Now if only this post could be seen by the same people who read and are subsequently misled by the on-line Guardian story.

    Comment by Dan — 24 Feb 2010 @ 7:05 PM

  12. Isn’t there any opportunity for legal action amidst this constant barrage of baseless attacks? Slander, libel, character defamation… doesn’t something apply?

    I think scientists have better things to do with their time, but at some point someone has to make an example of somebody…

    Comment by Bob — 24 Feb 2010 @ 7:20 PM

  13. This and the previous article have been wonderful refutations of sloppy journalism from a supposed ‘quality’ newspaper. It’s a pity this isn’t done more often.

    Ben, I really sympathise with what you have had to go through, which should not have been necessary if the media upheld the standards they are supposed to uphold.

    Veritas omnia vincit

    Comment by calyptorhynchus — 24 Feb 2010 @ 7:22 PM

  14. Nicely written rebuttal. These are trying times and unfortunately the attacks on honest climate scientists (which certainly most are) will only increase in the short term. It is a battle for public and political perception. Billion of dollars are at stake, and if the majority of climate scientists are correct…so too could be the fate of humanity. In matters such as these, as has been the case in so many epic battles, ultimately the weather will dictate the outcome. When enough people experience climate change on a regular basis, no amount of bickering over the facts will matter, as the facts will have swept away their home or left their bellies hungry. Let us hope that if there are some nasty climate tipping points upon which we are soon approaching, that wisdom and rationality can return before they are crossed.

    Comment by R. Gates — 24 Feb 2010 @ 7:31 PM

  15. It has got to the point where climate scientists and perhaps all scientists will have to undertake media studies. Dealing with a terribly biased media requires a different sort of finess that is alien to the nature of science.

    Detailed nuance is the field of scientists, media is almost a nuance free zone. Scientists are used to answering the question asked, they need to answer the question as it should have been asked.

    Comment by Tony O'Brien — 24 Feb 2010 @ 7:38 PM

  16. I have much sympathy for the ridiculous ordeal your have had to endure, which is a rotten distraction from your research.

    Please keep slogging along, you are indispensable and the only hope humanity has.

    Comment by Gail — 24 Feb 2010 @ 7:48 PM

  17. “Me thinks the lady doth protest to much.”

    Comment by nvw — 24 Feb 2010 @ 8:02 PM

  18. What goes around comes around!

    Comment by Jim Steele — 24 Feb 2010 @ 8:03 PM


  19. A little over a month after receiving Mr. McIntyre’s Freedom of Information Act requests, I decided to release all of the intermediate calculations I had performed for our International Journal of Climatology paper. I made these datasets available to the entire scientific community. I did this because I wanted to continue with my scientific research. I did not want to spend all of my available time and energy responding to harassment incited by Mr. McIntyre’s blog.

    Silly question: It’s been well over a year since McIntyre got access to those intermediate calculations. What, if anything, has he (or any of his fellow “auditors”) done with them?

    Comment by caerbannog — 24 Feb 2010 @ 8:03 PM

  20. Fishoutofwater says “You need to read George Lakoff’s work on framing a political argument. You should never repeat a derogatory allegation in an effort to refute it. Repeating the allegation reinforces it.”

    I think that this is a profound (and common) misunderstanding of Lakoff.

    Lakoff talks about the importance of the over-arching metaphorical ‘frame’ and suggests that you should project your own view of the world and your own values, language and metaphors rather than spending all your time using your enemies values, language and metaphorical frames. In other words, go on the offensive.

    He particularly condemns the left wing’s hopelessness at projecting their own vision and they way they have pandered to the right by using the right’s language, values and concepts, allowing them to win the battle to determine how society is thought about. (He uses the example of ‘tax relief’ but I think that ‘tax-payers money’ and ‘stakeholder’ are 2 better examples).

    That is all perfectly in line with common sense. But it hardly means you should not respond to specific accusations and lies. The fact that you should not spend all the time on the defensive (good idea) is very different from suggesting that you should never defend yourself (very stupid idea)!

    Lakoff’s work may suggest that climate scientists should spend more time explaining the REAL science to the public and not spend so much of the time on the defensive replying to the deniers, as the latter is allowing the deniers to dictate the ‘frame’. But it isn’t like RealClimate don’t also explain the real science! Most of the time actually.

    There has been a great deal of blaming climate scientists for the nonsense in the press and telling them that they are crap at communicating. But I think a lot of the time they are very GOOD at communicating. They are just being faced with an impossible situation that would throw anyone: a well funded and vicious smear campaign by dishonest, unscrupulous individuals.

    (UEA are an exception. Their response to the emails has been pathetic, precisely because they HAVEN’T defended themselves).

    Comment by Josie — 24 Feb 2010 @ 8:06 PM

  21. Great to hear directly from Ben Santer, even though the IPCC incident is long passed….because it will never be truly resolved in the media; someone will always bring it up. I was only a toddler when the accusations were going through the media of Santer’s “misconduct”, so it’s nice to hear a full rebuttal now.

    It’s incredibly unfortunate, and frightening, that the media has treated accuracy as irrelevant when it comes to climate change. I wrote a post just today (http://climatesight.org/2010/02/24/ipcc-reform/) about how frustrating it is that truth, our strongest weapon in this political battle, has become useless. Writing it out calmed me for a while. Reading this riles me up again. When will it end?

    Comment by Kate — 24 Feb 2010 @ 8:12 PM

  22. Thanks.
    One of the best article on the topic. Should everybody read, specialy those who are confused by the media coverage.

    Comment by prokaryote — 24 Feb 2010 @ 8:22 PM

  23. Dan:

    Now if only this post could be seen by the same people who read and are subsequently misled by the on-line Guardian story.

    Someone posting as JBowers (I’ve seen his handle elsewhere) has posted what might be called the juicier bits, including this very powerful closing paragraph by Dr. Santer:

    My research is subject to rigorous scrutiny. Mr. McIntyre’s blogging is not. He can issue FOIA requests at will. He is the master of his domain – the supreme, unchallenged ruler of the “ClimateAudit” universe. He is not a climate scientist, but he has the power to single-handedly destroy the reputations of exceptional men and women who have devoted their entire careers to the pursuit of climate science. Mr. McIntyre’s unchecked, extraordinary power is the real story of “Climategate”. I hope that someone has the courage to tell this story.

    This is a fantastic closer, very well done, and captures what to me is the most disgusting aspect of McIntyre’s attacks over the years – his ongoing attempts to destroy the careers of scientists who dare present research results McIntyre doesn’t like. He is truly the Joe McCarthy of the anti-science mob.

    JBowers might need some help with the inevitable denialist shout-down at the guardian.

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Feb 2010 @ 8:40 PM

  24. I’ve given a lot of thought to why debates between science and anti-science always turn nasty. Ultimately, I think it comes down to the fact that science is about evidence, and anti-science has none. When confronted with scientific evidence, the anti-science fanatic can only respond by attacking the source of the evidence, namely the scientist. Scientists, being human, respond in kind. Indeed, the escalating nastiness of the anti-science contingent makes it clear that we must respond.

    It will be interesting to see how the anti-science side responds once they find their campaign of lies, distortion and slander have availed them nothing–that they are still surrounded by mountains of evidence against them. I think it would be naive to expect them to fole. Their position has never been evidence based. No, they will escalate their campaign of lies, distortion and slander even further. These are, after all, all they have.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Feb 2010 @ 8:51 PM

  25. Simply adding my gratitude for the detailed rebuttals. And to urge Ben, and all others like him, to keep just keep going.

    Comment by Justin Wood — 24 Feb 2010 @ 8:54 PM

  26. The problem, here, is that most of the deniers and their followers do not read RealClimate, and actively resist doing so when I have suggested this to some whom I’ve known. So, while the climate community may be doing good science, the forces of denialism are winning in the political realm, because too many voters are misinformed about these issues. To make matters worse, our politicians are frequently misled by lobbyists, and even those who believe “we’ve got to do something” fall victim to other lobbyists whose interest is more commercial than it is sound public policy.

    Comment by Geno Canto del Halcon — 24 Feb 2010 @ 8:57 PM

  27. Pulitzer Prize winner Ross Gelbspan from the Boston Globe also writes in depth about Ben Santers accusations and clears him in the book “The Heat is On”. It was required reading at a pilot climate change course I took at the University of Denver.

    By the way (and I did not make this up), the Boston Globe had to issue a statement that yes, Gelbspan did indeed receive the Publizer Prize after the the oil lobby claimed that he had never received it. It is like a house of mirrors.

    See Gelbspan’s website for photocopied evidence.
    http://www.heatisonline.org/

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 24 Feb 2010 @ 8:59 PM

  28. @19. Yes, it’s a silly question. Pick from the following answers:

    a) McIntyre doesn’t understand how to check the intermediate calculations or what they mean, but is too embarrassed to ask for help.

    b) McIntyre checked them, but found nothing wrong, so it has all gone quiet.

    c) McIntyre hasn’t checked them, and never intended to, as he was just trying to “prove” that data was being hidden.

    Comment by Mike — 24 Feb 2010 @ 9:01 PM

  29. Thank you Dr Santer.

    There is nothing good about the mob.

    Eventually the climate itself will explain the truth to them.

    At that point it will be too late for us.

    It is still important to defend the truth and it is important to present the actual science.

    Whether the mob believes it or not.

    respectfully
    BJ

    Comment by BJ_Chippindale — 24 Feb 2010 @ 9:17 PM

  30. “Balanced account of the rebuttals?”

    I could swear this blog was firmly opposed to such in the media. Or are the rules different when the topic is scientific ne’er-do-wells?

    Comment by Matthew — 24 Feb 2010 @ 9:18 PM

  31. Dr. Santer,

    I appreciate the time you have taken to try to clear your name. It is a shame how much time you and others such as Dr. Mann and Dr. Briffa have wasted answering these baseless claims.

    I just hope Dr. Judith Curry reads this and realizes that she needs to stop promoting McIntyre.

    Comment by Scott A Mandia — 24 Feb 2010 @ 9:31 PM

  32. I thought that Ben Santer’s comments are clear, direct and convey Ben’s concerns perfectly adequately. The risk of “framing” as it is called, is that the framer may lose credibility with the very audience that they seek to inform. The use of the word “framing” has unfortunately moved to take on a derogatory meaning, akin to “manipulate” or “deceive”. Scientists such as Ben will never get the last word on a political hot potato, but they can provide the material in a form that others may frame. The problem is that at the moment the science journalist and journalism itself is in something of a crisis – the rise of the partisan journalism strategy has made significant inroads against the investigative journalism of older times. Science journalists aren’t free from these pressures to the extent that they once were.

    The real question in my mind is why is it that so many science journalists, even some of the deservedly respected old timers, have morphed into what in all kindness I’ll call sloppiness. Less kindly would be to assume a particular agenda is set for the journalist to adhere to or lose the job, and most unkindly would be to assume their personal politics now trumps truth and accuracy. It’s probably a bit of each factor, as well as the competitive threats brought about by new publishing technologies (web etc).

    As a final comment, the day may be coming when the most vital popular science magazines are under the control of one particular media mogul. If that happens then I’ll wager a more vicious campaign against climate science than what we’ve seen so far.

    Comment by Donald Oats — 24 Feb 2010 @ 9:37 PM

  33. #19 Caerbannog: According to Mr. McIntyre, he submitted a comment to IJOC on this matter over a year ago (http://climateaudit.org/2009/01/27/submited-article-on-tropical-troposphere-trends/). I do not know whether it has been published. Mr. McIntyre also reported that it is not quite as simple as Dr. Santer suggests in the head post here to extract precisely the same “raw data” that some one else has previously extracted for purposes of later statistical analysis (http://climateaudit.org/2009/05/09/mannian-collation-by-santer/)

    Comment by Testing — 24 Feb 2010 @ 9:54 PM

  34. > 20 Josie … 24 February 2010 at 8:06 PM
    I can’t vouch for Lakoff as a source, but the advice not to repeat false claims even to rebut them is well documented by good research.

    Tara Smith of Aetiology (one of the Scienceblogs) discusses it, and I’ve cited it before because the temptation to repeat falsehoods when debunking them is so strong, and so counterproductive.

    Here’s the story and a bit from the blog:

    Correcting misinformation can backfire.

    The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a flier to combat myths about the flu vaccine. It recited various commonly held views and labeled them either “true” or “false.” Among those identified as false were statements such as “The side effects are worse than the flu” and “Only older people need flu vaccine.”

    When University of Michigan social psychologist Norbert Schwarz had volunteers read the CDC flier, however, he found that within 30 minutes, older people misremembered 28 percent of the false statements as true. Three days later, they remembered 40 percent of the myths as factual.

    The experiments do not show that denials are completely useless; if that were true, everyone would believe the myths. But the mind’s bias does affect many people, especially those who want to believe the myth for their own reasons, or those who are only peripherally interested and are less likely to invest the time and effort needed to firmly grasp the facts.

    The research also highlights the disturbing reality that once an idea has been implanted in people’s minds, it can be difficult to dislodge. Denials inherently require repeating the bad information, which may be one reason they can paradoxically reinforce it.

    Obviously, this has implications for correcting these myths. The article suggests that, rather than repeat them (as the CDC “true and false” pamphlet does, for example), one should just rephrase the statement, eliminating the false portion altogether so as to not reinforce it further (since repetition, even to debunk it, reaffirms the false statement). Ignoring it also makes things worse, as the story noted that other research “…found that when accusations or assertions are met with silence, they are more likely to feel true.”

    Of course, all this is easier said than done–and not everyone wants to “bust” these sorts of myths. Indeed, politicians and others interested in getting their (maybe not wholly correct) message out there can take (and have taken) advantage of this phenomenon–get their mantra out there first, and it’s reinforced even when an opponent tries to correct it.

    See the original, with links, at:
    http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2007/09/deck_is_stacked_against_mythbu.php

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:08 PM

  35. > it is not quite as simple … to extract precisely the same “raw data”

    How would you know if you got “precisely” the same raw data as someone else?
    And why would you want to?

    Your new query should extract _current_ data from the source, which may have changed over time — all databases do, for example as corrections are made. If both studies are done reasonably well, any differences will be minor; if the results are really different, that’s when researchers want to start comparing methods, visit one another’s labs, watch one another work.

    This is how it’s done. Sometimes it leads to something fascinating.

    There’s a famous old study in which a lab in Europe tried and tried to replicate growing some kind of insect larva, following the methods used by a lab in North America. After repeated failures and much comparison, the only difference turned out to be the paper towels used in the cages — the ones from North American trees had traces of something that killed the insects (and gave the trees some resistance to infestation). The paper towels from trees in Europe lacked those traces.

    It led to a whole field of research.

    This is why replication is done by _redoing_ the study not taking the first scientist’s materials and using them.

    Imagine if the biologists in Europe had required shipping over the entire lab, paper towels and all, to replicate the North American study — they wouldn’t have discovered anything (nor had anything interesting to publish).

    Designing your query is part of the exercise of replicating work — figure out how to ask the question, ask it, get the data set, do the study, and see if the _results_ replicate the prior _results_.

    Independently doing the work is science. Fishing through other people’s information is politics.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:20 PM

  36. FishOutOfWater@1:

    “You should never repeat a derogatory allegation in an effort to refute it.”

    Josie@20:

    “I think that this is a profound (and common) misunderstanding of Lakoff.”

    AFAIK both are essentially correct.

    Josie’s explanation of Lakoff matches my recollection and is well worth understanding and using. In addition, other research (not Lakoff, IIRC) has been reported recently that seemed to show that repeating the allegation prior to refuting it seems to reinforce the “truth” of the allegation for a significant proportion of the population. To be more effective, you need to rephrase the allegation as the refutation-of-the-allegation, i.e. the inverse of the false allegation.

    Comment by Lotharsson — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:24 PM

  37. David Brin speaks up:
    http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2010/02/distinguishing-climate-deniers-from.html

    Just the beginning:

    let’s focus on the core matter at hand. What factors would distinguish a rational, pro-science “skeptic” – who has honest questions about the HGCC consensus – from members of a Denier Movement who think a winter snowstorm means there’s ni net-warming of the planet? Is such a distinction anything more than polemical trickery?

    Well, in fact, it happens that I know some people who do qualify as climate change “skeptics.” Several are fellow science fiction authors or engineers, and you can quickly tell that they are vigorous, contrary minds, motivated more by curiosity than partisan rigor. One who I could name is the famed physicist Freeman Dyson. (In fact, if truth be told, there are some aspects of HGCC that I feel I want clarified — that seem to be poorly-justified, so far. I am an ornery, contrarian question-asker, of the first water!) After extensive discussions with such folk, I found a set of distinct characteristics that separate thoughtful Skeptics from your run of the mill, knee-jerk Denier dogma puppet. Here’s the first one: — WHO IS AN EXPERT?—-

    click the link for the rest

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:37 PM

  38. RE: Bob in #12,

    One would think so, and maybe? I’ve studied this issue as part of my journalism degree and it appears we are approaching “actual malice” against specific scientists in this en masse kerfuffle, but proving intent is tough. For public figures such as the climate scientists, the test is New York Times Actual Malice. Times V. Sullivan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Times_Co._v._Sullivan

    At the least of it, in my view, public retractions are in order. You can’t allow media to repeat falsehoods that undermine a researcher’s reputation, but it would take a loss of status in the climate community, as opposed to the eyes of a dubious public, to prove a loss due to the printed lies. Tricky stuff. The defamatory language on comment threads is out of control. Can such moronic behavior ruin a career? I doubt it but it can sure influence public policy. Where I come from, them’s fightin’ words.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:41 PM

  39. Ok. Read your complaints about McIntrye and Christie and thought you might have a point so I went back and reviewed the CA postings as well as the AT article where Christy accused you of rigging the process.

    What I found was:

    1) McIntrye spent a lot of time analyzing your paper before he even asked for the data. He asked for the data because he ran into a puzzle that he could not solve without seeing exactly what you did.

    2) After submitting FOI request for the data David Bader sent a letter to McIntrye claiming that the release of data was planned all along but it takes time. This makes your original refusal appear extremely petty. If the data was going to be released anyways you could have said that and there would have been no FOIs. You seem to be the author of your own misfortune unless you wish to accuse David Bader of lying about the release being planned.

    3) The CRU correspondence referenced by Christy makes it clear that you “negotiated” preferential terms for your submission with the assistance of Osborn. Whether you knew the editor beforehand is irrelevant. What is clear is the editor gave you preferential treatment and that you would not have been able to publish your paper so quickly under your terms without that consideration.

    I realize that you believe you have been wronged by McIntrye and Christie but the facts really don’t seem to support your argument.

    Comment by Tim — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:51 PM

  40. With apologies to Gertrude Stein, an ideologue is an ideologue is an ideologue. I see no difference between the socio-political processes currently going on trans-nationally and what went on in China during the Cultural Revolution, except, of course, that the stakes are immeasurably higher.

    As a Guardian & Observer reader for over 30 years I was appalled by Pearce’s laziness and mendacity. I sent the link to Gavin’s post yesterday to the Guardian reader editor with a complaint and a demand that the record be set straight. I did the same tonight with Dr Slater’s response.

    I also informed the Guardian that Pearce no longer exists for me, that I will not read anything under his byline. I also told them that whether I continue to be part of their readership will depend on how well they clean up Pearce’s mess. I would urge everyone as concerned as I am to do the same. It is a shame in the current age the volume of complaints matters at least as much as the quality of a refutation.

    My heartfelt thanks to Gavin and friends/colleagues who run this site, as well to all the other scientists, climate and otherwise, who also take the time to listen, inform and instruct. As an old Humanities graduate and longtime lurker heading into my 7th decade, I have profited immensely from your patience and scholarship which has broadened and deepened my understanding of our planet. You are doing great work!

    Comment by Gordon Cutler — 24 Feb 2010 @ 11:05 PM

  41. Readers of Dr. Santer’s “Close Encounters with Mr. Steven McIntyre” may be interested in reading the original email exchange with Mr. McIntyre, available at
    http://climateaudit.org/2008/11/10/santer-refuses-data-request/

    Santer’s refusal of McIntyre’s data request ends with:

    “Please do not communicate with me in the future.
    Ben Santer”

    Comment by Peter D. Tillman — 24 Feb 2010 @ 11:19 PM

  42. I find it to be somewhat interesting that Dr. Santer liberally provides links in the entire article to back up his assertions except in one area. The answer is obvious, Dr. Santer knows that he is mischaracterizing the actions taken by Steve McIntyre. I got a chuckle that even when you quote him you still couldn’t bring yourself to provide a link to the quote so that the interested reader could put the quote in its proper context. Your dodging the issue like this only gives Steve more credibility.

    Comment by cbone — 24 Feb 2010 @ 11:21 PM

  43. There is a lot of highly specific information provided here by Dr. Santer, leaving Pearce’s account seeming very incomplete. All of this seems to reveal just how much conjecture is infecting these stories in the Guardian and substituting for information.

    Fred Pearce needs to write much less and research much more. He’s published an astounding quantity of material in the past weeks but it’s becoming painfully apparent he’s cutting corners on taking the time to get his facts straight.

    How can Mr. Pearce possibly have time to be writing sanctimonious editorials for New Scientist when his own work appears to be far more rushed and consequently sloppier than anything he’s criticizing?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 24 Feb 2010 @ 11:27 PM

  44. So, have I understood this correctly?

    McIntyre: Hey everybody, Santer is hiding stuff from us. He wont give anyone his raw data.
    Santer: Hey, this is where I got it from, you can get a full copy of it there.
    McIntyre: That’s not good enough! We need your calculation methods too.
    Santer: That’s fine, here they are.
    McIntyre: That’s not good enough! We need all the results of your intermediate calculations as well!
    Santer: Um, you can get that by using the calculation methods on the raw data.
    McIntyre: See everyone? He’s hiding the ‘truth’ from us!
    Santer: Well, if you’re going to be like that, here they are.
    McIntyre: …

    Comment by Bern — 24 Feb 2010 @ 11:29 PM

  45. The “fraud” statements are incorrect (hopefully!!). They are therefore a clear case of defamation.

    People’s careers and finances will be put at risk or have already been affected.

    It is time that those affected used the power of the courts to right these wrongs.
    In the UK (the defamation capital of the world!) It would cost less than £2000 to serve a writ.
    The submission for the writ requires NO input from legal representative. A straight forward statement of facts is all that is required. Only tenuous connections to the UK are required to be able to use the courts here.

    In the UK defamation is the only case where you are assumed guilty and have to prove innocence.
    Once a writ is raised the defendant is therefore forced to provide a defence. I would suggest that most claiming fraud have no proof and so would be wise to settle out of court.

    To allow these statements of fraud to stand without taking action just encourages them to make further damaging claims.

    Action is required!

    Comment by thefordprefect — 24 Feb 2010 @ 11:37 PM

  46. PS
    In the UK Libel (written defamation) does not require proof of financial loss.

    Comment by thefordprefect — 24 Feb 2010 @ 11:39 PM

  47. Readers may also wish to read Roger Pielke, Jr.’s comments on the McIntyre-Santer kerfluffle, at

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/im-a-mac-and-im-a-pc-climate-science-edition-4711

    It’s also worth noting that Santer made this request in his refusal email:

    “I gather that you have appointed yourself as an independent arbiter of the appropriate use of statistical tools in climate research. Rather that “auditing” our paper, you should be directing your attention to the 2007 IJoC paper published by David Douglass et al., which contains an egregious statistical error.”

    Had Santer looked at earlier Climate Audit posts, such as
    http://climateaudit.org/2008/05/01/david-douglass-comments/
    and
    http://climateaudit.org/2008/10/16/santer-et-al-2008/

    – he would have found a lively discussion of both Santer 2008 and Douglass 2007, with interesting criticisms of both papers. Indeed, CA contributors expressed substantial doubts as to whether either Santer et al. OR Douglass et al. got it right.

    Peter D. Tillman
    Consulting Geologist, Arizona and New Mexico (USA)

    Comment by Peter D. Tillman — 24 Feb 2010 @ 11:42 PM

  48. #35 Hank Roberts: “And why would you want to?” Answer: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/please-show-us-your-code/
    .
    When one is doing a statistical analysis on a dataset for purposes of comparing, contrasting, or building upon a previous statistical analysis, it is essential to have the identical dataset that was used by the previous researcher and not one that is similar, or worse, updated. No?

    Comment by Testing — 24 Feb 2010 @ 11:57 PM

  49. Belief In Climate Change Hinges On Worldview
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124008307
    Christopher Joyce, NPR
    Published February 24, 2010
    “Over the past few months, polls show that fewer Americans say they believe humans are making the planet dangerously warmer, despite a raft of scientific reports that say otherwise.
    “This puzzles many climate scientists — but not some social scientists, whose research suggests that facts may not be as important as one’s beliefs.
    […]

    yup

    Comment by Tim Jones — 24 Feb 2010 @ 11:59 PM

  50. One other thing I find astounding about Pearce’s story on Santer: Pearce completely misses the really histrionic story he could be using to titillate his readers, which is that Santer has now been facing persecution by a mob of dung-flinging monkeys for well over a decade with no sign of the attacks stopping. That’s a remarkable thing, arguably much more dramatically appealing to readers than doing a dismally poor job of relating details of a meeting 14 years dead.

    Meanwhile, Inhofe seeks to tar climate scientists with a criminal reputation.

    http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/index.php/csw/details/sen._inhofe_inquisition_seeking_to_criminalize_climate_scientists/

    This is (hopefully) a rhetorical flourish, but it’s with a purpose. This will be instantly propagated, it’ll appear in the mainstream press shortly and ultimately we’ll end up with a bunch of citizens scratching their heads wonder if climate scientists really -are- criminals.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 25 Feb 2010 @ 12:13 AM

  51. If your goal is for the public to trust your work enough to base policy decisions on it, then you darn well had better make all data and calculations available for “audit” by any interested party. If your work cannot be replicated by an independent researcher, then who knows what “tricks” you may be using to “hide” inconvenient information. You cannot blame McIntyre for the loss of trust in your work, and in the field of climate science.

    Comment by TA — 25 Feb 2010 @ 12:43 AM

  52. It’s amazing, this current climate. (Pun not intended, but tolerated.)

    Today I was treated to a story about how Dr. Mojib Latif (will he never learn not to say *anything* to some of these guys!?) had used the word “fraud.” (Well, “betrug,” actually, he was speaking in German.)

    Pielke Jr.’s blog broke the story to a breathless world, and had about a dozen cut-and-paste jobs showing in Google. Thing was, you couldn’t tell what the comment was in response to, to whom it was addressed, where, when, or by whom the “fraud” was allegedly committed. Really, anything you’d naturally want to know if you wanted to understand it.

    But some of the usual suspects were all agog. “Fraud!” Well, that proves it! (Whatever “it” may be.)

    These guys don’t only not understand the climate, they don’t understand what they themselves are saying.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 25 Feb 2010 @ 12:45 AM

  53. Re: McIntyre

    Has anyone thought of doing this? Seeings as it seems all climate scientists hide things and do not pass on data until hounded into the ground with FOI requests, has anyone though of giving him everything no matter how trivial.

    I mean send him several times a day massive volumes of your data relevant or not in the spirit of cooperation. Include him on all your email lists no matter what they are so he gets 10000 emails a day reminding people to clean the upstairs fridge on Friday. I mean too much information is surely better than none for him.

    I am sure if you all got together you could provide enough data to be really annoying – if he changes his email address then obviously he is not really interested in the data in the first place.

    Comment by Stephen Gloor — 25 Feb 2010 @ 12:45 AM

  54. I am in the skeptic camp, but I don’t take to the personal attacks on either side of the debate. Seems the pendulum has swung a bit too far. Hopefully we can get back to discussing the science and not the politics. or personal attacks. Unfortunately, so long has corporate government has such a big role in funding
    science, it will probably be difficult to eliminate politics, if not the personal attacks.

    The practice of human sacrifice comes to mind when it comes to dumping what some might see as excess
    baggage. It is a common practice in business and politics to discredit old faces when a program hits a
    tough spot, and replace them with new faces, and claim the problem is solved, and all is well again. I see an attempt by some of the AGW proponents to say to the skeptic blogs, hey, we dumped these guys, lets start again, maybe we can work something out and you can play a role, and perhaps mute the skepticism. Silencing the critics is a key to winning a political debate. But thats not science, is it.

    Comment by pft — 25 Feb 2010 @ 12:52 AM

  55. For some reason, being a bit bored and sort-a watching the Olympics, I decided to re-read some very old science fiction.

    Isaac Asimov, from his collection of short stories, “I Robot”.

    The story entitled “Reason”.

    Nails climate science (or other anti-science) skepticism perfectly.

    The same through-the-looking-glass feeling you get when dipping into climate science or evolutionary biology denial (the latter, I’m sure, was his inspiration).

    Published in 1941. Nothing has changed.

    Comment by dhogaza — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:15 AM

  56. But the scientist, or rational individual, who bases their world-view on logic, facts, cogent arguments etc. will always be at a distinct disadvantage in relation to the demagogue who primarily aims to sway and influence his audience by appealing to their emotions and feelings.

    Comment by Michael K — 25 Feb 2010 @ 2:31 AM

  57. Thank you, Dr. Santer.

    Stephen Walt just offered: “Top ten ways to handle a smear campaign”, for colleagues being attacked in the media.

    http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/02/22/on_grabbing_the_third_rail

    It’s a quick read that complements Lakoff. My favorites:
    3. Never Get Mad.
    5. Explain to your Audience What is Going On.
    10. Don’t Forget to Feel Good About Yourself and the Enterprise in Which you are Engaged.

    Read the whole thing. Especially number 10. Good night, all.

    Comment by Mark Shapiro — 25 Feb 2010 @ 2:38 AM

  58. Dr. Ben Santer is very bright and very well connected. He got his degree 22 yrs ago at East Anglia under Tom Wigley . Ben is currently based at Livermore, so he at least, should know to encrypt his emails.

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 3:11 AM

  59. What is the function of most journalists in the corporate media? In short it’s to legitimize and spread the veiws, attitudes, and prejudices of ruling political and business elite. Journalism functions like a priesthood supporting the social structure of a fuedal society ruled by an aristocracy.

    In journalism land, there is no past and no future, only an eternal present, which means that learning and memory have no real place and isn’t important.

    For example, a bloody and screaming example, the demonization of Iran and its non-existant nuclear weapons programme, is remarkably similar to the propaganda offensive aimed at Iraq and its non-existant weapons of mass destruction; yet one would never guess from an examination of most reporting that this glaring parallel exists. Witness the fact that supposedly over 70% of Americans apparently believe that Iran already has nuclear weapons!

    Journalism isn’t meant to inform, but to mis-inform, not to reveal, but to conceal, especially when dealing with anything that’s perceived as a threat to established power relationships in society.

    Comment by Michael K — 25 Feb 2010 @ 3:23 AM

  60. That said, Benn isn’t really squeaky clean. In addition to admitting to modifying an IPCC technical section – which will continue the assault on trust, he is caught up in the email bruhaha. (hmm, looks like he didn’t encrypt)

    “…The 1,000-plus e-mails sometimes illustrate the hairier side of scientific research. Criticisms of climate change are sometimes dismissed as “fraud” or “pure crap,” as in this 2005 e-mail from CRU Director Phil Jones. Other messages, like a 2007 e-mail from Michael Mann of Penn State University, show indignation at being the target of skeptics’ ire. Some of the e-mails are in bad form; for instance, climate scientist Benjamin Santer of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory makes a crack about “beat[ing] the crap out of” opponent Pat Michaels…”
    http://www.factcheck.org/2009/12/climategate/

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 3:26 AM

  61. The problem, here, is that most of the deniers and their followers do not read RealClimate,
    Comment by Geno Canto del Halcon — 24 February 2010 @ 8:57 PM

    Your comment is nearly accurate. Most people do not read RealClimate.

    Comment by James Allison — 25 Feb 2010 @ 3:50 AM

  62. Ben Santer and all of RC and the IPCC deserve medals for bravery, the well deserved Nobel Prize, financial compensation for overtime work, apologies from denialists, Secret Service protection, a bureaucracy to defend you from FOIA requests, your own public relations firm, etc. I hope that you at least reported all threats to the proper authorities.

    I hope that in the future you demand a decent salary for working for the IPCC. It should not be done for free. I have posted on this subject in RC before. Your salary should be at least 7 or 8 figures in US dollars.

    Governments and corporate organizations should not be allowed to comment or negotiate or anything else the IPCC reports. IPCC reports should be strictly science. The watered down IPCC reports are further watered down by national politicians, resulting so far in no action by the US senate.

    Thank you Ben Santer.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 25 Feb 2010 @ 3:59 AM

  63. Thanks for this, Ben. Time and again, a sensationalist media story published elsewhere simply boils down to plain old science once the uncertainties are cleared up.

    Good link from Hank #37 too – I enjoyed reading that! It has always struck me that the opposition do not understand how utterly implausible their “theory of everything” is.

    Cheers – John

    Comment by John Mason — 25 Feb 2010 @ 4:23 AM

  64. Testing@48 says:
    “When one is doing a statistical analysis on a dataset for purposes of comparing, contrasting, or building upon a previous statistical analysis, it is essential to have the identical dataset that was used by the previous researcher and not one that is similar, or worse, updated. No?”

    Actually, no. In fact, an analysis with an independent method and an independent but similar dataset adds to the confidenc the confirmation supplies. Accountants audit. Scientists do research.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Feb 2010 @ 5:42 AM

  65. RE BJ Chippindale

    Eventually the climate itself will explain the truth to them.

    At that point it will be too late for us.

    The excuse is already out there: “Even if they were right, it’s the fault of the scientists for not being open enough.” The jackals blame the antelope for not moving fast enough.

    Comment by Deech56 — 25 Feb 2010 @ 5:49 AM

  66. pft says: “Unfortunately, so long has corporate government has such a big role in funding science, it will probably be difficult to eliminate politics, if not the personal attacks.”

    Pft, this makes it very clear that you understand nothing of how science works. And no (responsible) one has talked of silencing critics. When it comes to the peer-reviewed literature, they have silenced themselves.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Feb 2010 @ 5:54 AM

  67. I really don’t know why you folk at Real Climate are getting so irate at Fred Pearce.

    As far as I can see, the whole point of Fred Pearce’s run of articles is so that you, and other scientists, can reply to the article, so as to get an agreed and accurate narrative of the issues around the criticisms that have been made of the (mainstream) climate community.

    When I last looked at the Guardian’s run of articles, Gavin S had already made comments, which could be read by the public, on some of the articles.

    This seems to me to be a novel and useful exercise – essentially a “work in progress”* with the goal of a definitive set of articles in the future.

    Pearce is doing you folks a favour – but perhaps you have now become so defensive that you can’t see that you are blind to this.

    Relax :-)

    *And climate science is a “work in progress” too.

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 25 Feb 2010 @ 5:57 AM

  68. Unfortunately I agree with comment 1 by FishOutOfWater.
    You guys are being diverted from the main task.

    Can you bring this blog back to explaining the science please.

    Let us mere mortals handle the campaigning and politics.

    Comment by The Ville — 25 Feb 2010 @ 6:26 AM

  69. If a British newspaper prints a misinforming article on climate science or a climate scientist replies through a blog such as this are not enough. A sustained effort through the Press Complaints Commission is required to stop it.

    All these articles in the Guardian should be complained about to the PCC. When they have to respond to complain after complaint they will start to exercise some editorial control over their journalists who seem to see climate science as a free for all to publish whatever they want.

    We can stop it, but only through a concerted effort. This is in process at present through myself on one such article late last year where a series of factual lies were published as a leading story in the run up to Copenhagen.

    A sustained complaining of such articles will hopefully lead to them being stopped in the future and in retractions having to be published by the papers.

    Comment by Jez — 25 Feb 2010 @ 6:41 AM

  70. @Tim #39:
    The CRU correspondence as referenced by Christy is actually a good example of the ‘liberal’ interpretation of certain people. Christy and Douglass claim in the American Thinker article that Santer’s paper was rushed through peer-review. If you read Santer’s rebuttal (here ), you will see that that is a claim that does not hold to actual scrutiny. Santer’s paper took slighty under 4 months from review to acceptance, Douglass et al slightly over 4 months. You can also check this yourself on the actual papers (they indicate submission and acceptance dates).
    Douglass and Christy also claim Santer blocked publication, but an online publication *is* a publication already!

    @Peter Tillman:
    Thank you for showing the difference also pointed out by Ben Santer. Santer et al is discussed and criticised in detail by McIntyre. Douglass gets his own comments on his paper on the website, with ZERO comments from Steve McIntyre himself. That some others at CA criticise the paper in the comments is beyond the point: McIntyre himself ‘audits’ Santer et al, but doesn’t ‘audit’ Douglass et al at all.
    The most ‘hilarious’ part of McIntyre’s piece on Santer that you linked is his lamentation of a statistician on the paper not being “independent”. First it is a problem that no statisticians are being used, and when people do, the problem is that they supposedly are not “independent” (whatever that is supposed to mean). Note that Douglass et al involves no statisticians at all…did McIntyre criticise that?

    Comment by Marco — 25 Feb 2010 @ 7:04 AM

  71. @Josie, #20:

    Will Hutton will be very surprised to find that the word “stakeholder” is part of “the right’s language, values and concepts”.

    Comment by DanH — 25 Feb 2010 @ 7:37 AM

  72. Dr. Santer,

    Did your immediate supervisor decide to release the data before you did?

    “…preparation of the datasets and documentation for them began before your FOIA request was received by us.” Dr. David Bader, January 2009

    “A little over a month after receiving Mr. McIntyre’s Freedom of Information Act requests, I decided to release all of the intermediate calculations I had performed for our International Journal of Climatology paper.” Dr. Ben Santer, February 2010

    Comment by Pasteur01 — 25 Feb 2010 @ 8:01 AM

  73. “48
    Testing says:
    24 February 2010 at 11:57 PM

    #35 Hank Roberts: “And why would you want to?” Answer: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/please-show-us-your-code/

    Not answer, testing:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhetorical_question

    try again.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Feb 2010 @ 8:04 AM

  74. #54–

    I’ve seen this thought before. For some reason, a number of “skeptics” are fantasizing that the “team” (which in fact does not exist as such) will scapegoat various people.

    Don’t know why this is so compelling to them, but clearly it’s another thought out of la-la land. Perhaps it’s part and parcel of the mindset that simplifies everything: science is thought to advance by singlehanded actions of heroes (eg., Galileo), often relying upon single experiments written up in single papers. Correspondingly, communities are cabals, and there must be a central directing strategist at work, one who could not only make the cold political calculations, but execute the plan, too.

    Of course, what UAE–or any other institution– decides to do is not decided at the UN (or wherever fantasy locates “Team Central.”)

    And science, though it loves to remember its heroes, does not advance by their single-handed actions. Einstein, for example, may have been highly original in his thought, but without prolonged–indeed, ongoing–efforts to test his ideas experimentally, his ideas would not truly be science.

    http://science.jrank.org/pages/5797/Relativity-Special-Experimental-verification.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tests_of_general_relativity

    Correspondingly, in the climate debate, the “hockey stick” is reified as some kind of central point, the refutation of which brings down the “whole house of cards.”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 25 Feb 2010 @ 8:12 AM

  75. It’s typical of the likes of John Peter that he blames the victims of email hacking, not the perpetrators@58; and @60 he attempts once more to smear Ben (not “Benn” – can’t you even get someone’s name right, Mr. Peter?) Santer by saying that he “admits” taking section that was in no way disreputable, and on the basis of an intemperate phrase in a private email. Let’s see all your private correspondence for the last 20 years or so, Mr. Peter.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 25 Feb 2010 @ 8:13 AM

  76. Readers might be interested in this.

    Comment by tamino — 25 Feb 2010 @ 8:44 AM

  77. Dr Santer, thanks for setting the record straight, including the very helpful background on the 1996 libels. The revolting smear campaigns against you and your colleagues must be a strain. It is good of you to take a clear stand.

    Not having walked a mile in your shoes, I perhaps shouldn’t venture an opinion on the last paragraph. But look, from the safe distance where I sit, McIntyre’s some guy with a blog who goes on and on about tree rings and hockey sticks and ten-year-old emails. I understand he’s had the tenacity, intelligence and cunning to make himself a nuisance to the people he targets, and a one-eyed king to the denialist kingdom of the blind. But don’t credit people like him with extraordinary powers, it just boosts their ego and reputation as climatologist-slayers (‘climatologist-slayers’? what a pathetic age we live in).

    Also, with regard to some comments on this thread and the previous one, let’s keep things in perspective with regard to Pearce and the Guardian. This series is a disappointment mainly by contrast to one’s high expectations of Pearce. In my impression he still gets more of the story more nearly right than the competition, though he leaves waters muddied that shouldn’t be. And remember, the Guardian’s actually soliciting serious corrections to the online version. By all means vigorously criticize the flaws, provide documentation and suggest specific rewrites, as these last two posts have done, but don’t push them away, they’re not the enemy. That’s my two cents on strategy, anyway. (I have been known to be naïve).

    Comment by CM — 25 Feb 2010 @ 8:47 AM

  78. John Atkeison says:
    24 February 2010 at 5:59 PM

    Perhaps you should take a dose of your own medicine and have the decency of not using the word “deniers”. Skeptics don’t deny the climate is changing, they just aren’t sure to what degree humans are affecting this change. True scientists are always skeptical.

    Comment by Allen C — 25 Feb 2010 @ 8:54 AM

  79. Here’s the email Santer wrote to McIntyre refusing the intermediate data he was requesting:
    Dear Mr. McIntyre,

    I gather that your intent is to “audit” the findings of our recently-published paper in the International Journal of Climatology (IJoC). You are of course free to do so. I note that both the gridded model and observational datasets used in our IJoC paper are freely available to researchers. You should have no problem in accessing exactly the same model and observational datasets that we employed. You will need to do a little work in order to calculate synthetic Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) temperatures from climate model atmospheric temperature information. This should not pose any difficulties for you. Algorithms for calculating synthetic MSU temperatures have been published by ourselves and others in the peer-reviewed literature. You will also need to calculate spatially-averaged temperature changes from the gridded model and observational data. Again, that should not be too taxing.

    In summary, you have access to all the raw information that you require in order to determine whether the conclusions reached in our IJoC paper are sound or unsound. I see no reason why I should do your work for you, and provide you with derived quantities (zonal means, synthetic MSU temperatures, etc.) which you can easily compute yourself.

    I am copying this email to all co-authors of the 2008 Santer et al. IJoC paper, as well as to Professor Glenn McGregor at IJoC.

    I gather that you have appointed yourself as an independent arbiter of the appropriate use of statistical tools in climate research. Rather that “auditing” our paper, you should be directing your attention to the 2007 IJoC paper published by David Douglass et al., which contains an egregious statistical error.

    Please do not communicate with me in the future.

    Ben Santer
    ————————–

    Is that the response of a scientist who embraces openness and transparency? Of course not. It is a totally absurd. By now, no one really needs to defend McIntyre’s requests for data. Yes, McIntyre knows the equations can be found in the papers. He wants the intermediate data because he wants to know if Santer did it right.

    I cannot imagine why Santer wants to bring up this embarrassing episode in his career. He ought to focus on doing research and archive all of his data, metadata, intermediate data, methods and code so that McIntyre would never have reason to contact him again. Writing “Please do not communicate with me in the future” is just childish.

    Comment by Ron Cram — 25 Feb 2010 @ 9:00 AM

  80. IIRC,Pearce wrote twelve articles.

    Are you at RC happy with those articles that you are not covering here?

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 25 Feb 2010 @ 9:02 AM

  81. Pasteur01 asks:”Dr. Santer,

    Did your immediate supervisor decide to release the data before you did?”

    No, you are confusing data and documentation with intermediate calculations.
    Data: 10, 13, 16
    Documentation: I took the average of these numbers:
    Intermediate calculations (for the slow-witted): 10 + 13 + 16 = 39 ; 39/3 = 13

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 25 Feb 2010 @ 9:12 AM

  82. This is from the Guardian, explaining what they want to do.

    [["In a unique experiment, The Guardian has published online the full manuscript of its major investigation into the climate science emails stolen from the University of East Anglia, which revealed apparent attempts to cover up flawed data; moves to prevent access to climate data; and to keep research from climate sceptics out of the scientific literature.

    As well as including new information about the emails, we will allow web users to annotate the manuscript to help us in our aim of creating the definitive account of the controversy. This is an attempt at a collaborative route to getting at the truth.

    We hope to approach that complete account by harnessing the expertise of people with a special knowledge of, or information about, the emails. We would like the protagonists on all sides of the debate to be involved, as well as people with expertise about the events and the science being described or more generally about the ethics of science. The only conditions are the comments abide by our community guidelines and add to the total knowledge or understanding of the events.

    The annotations - and the real name of the commenter - will be added to the manuscript, initially in private. The most insightful comments will then be added to a public version of the manuscript. We hope the process will be a form of peer review. If you have a contribution to make, please email climate.emails@guardian.co.uk.

    The anonymous commenting facility under each article will also be switched on so that anyone can contribute to the debate."]]

    See:http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/09/climate-change-data-request-war

    I say this with sadness, but you folk at RC seem to have got the wrong end of the stick. This series of articles by Pearce is a “work in progress” that is set up for the very reason that people can post to the site, so that the final article is, as Pearce writes “The most insightful comments will then be added to a public version of the manuscript. We hope the process will be a form of peer review.”

    And when Pearce writes “the most insightful comments” that reads to me as comments from mainstream climate science. :-)

    Stop whinging, RC, and get busy posting to Pearce.

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 25 Feb 2010 @ 9:22 AM

  83. With all due respect to Ben Santer, many scientists working in other fields find his and others actions surrounding Douglass et al, including explicit efforts to influence the print publication date, and explicit efforts to keep Douglas et al from being given an opportunity for formal reply (“given the last word”), are far beyond the pale of normal scientific discourse. The stolen emails paint a rather sorry picture of the events surrounding Douglass et al and Santer et al’s critique. While it appears, based on his post, that Ben Santer sees absolutely nothing wrong with anything that was done, I do hope the others who were involved can appreciate that their actions, as judged by many practicing scientists, were clearly improper.

    [Response: You are not reading the same text. There were no 'explicit efforts' to influence the publication date (what would have been the point? It was already published online). As for deciding whether to submit a comment or a new paper - that is a decision that is made all the time. Presumably you think it equally heinous that McKitrick, McIntyre, Douglass, Soon, Baliunas, Scafetta, etc. made identical decisions in manuscripts they've submitted? The decision should be based on whether the submission is a stand-alone contribution, or whether it is merely a technical comment on a specific issue arising. I have no doubt that the Santer et al paper was sufficient to be a stand-alone paper and the reviewers and editor agreed. Douglass has a track record of not acknowledging errors and wasting people's time, and so a desire not to have much to do with him is completely understandable. He and his co-authors are of course free to write a comment on Santer et al, or submit a completely new paper at any time. He has not done so, preferring to make baseless accusations such as the ones you repeat without even once acknowledging that they got it wrong. How proper is that? - gavin]

    Comment by Steve Fitzpatrick — 25 Feb 2010 @ 9:23 AM

  84. John Peter

    Dr. Ben Santer is very bright and very well connected. He got his degree 22 yrs ago at East Anglia under Tom Wigley . Ben is currently based at Livermore, so he at least, should know to encrypt his emails.

    At which point the denialsphere would just be screaming that encryption of the stolen e-mails proves the conspiracy theory.

    Comment by dhogaza — 25 Feb 2010 @ 9:35 AM

  85. Just an observation…you know the wheels have come off the wagon when RealClimate guys are complaining about their coverage in the Guardian. Two months ago, if someone had told me this would be happening I would have thought he was off his rocker.

    Comment by Tom — 25 Feb 2010 @ 9:39 AM

  86. Pasteur01

    Did your immediate supervisor decide to release the data before you did?

    Why would it matter?

    “…preparation of the datasets and documentation for them began before your FOIA request was received by us.” Dr. David Bader, January 2009

    This is a response to the FOIA, nothing more. Perhaps Dr. Santer wanted someone higher up at LLNL to respond, maybe LLNL policy is to have someone higher up respond. So?

    “A little over a month after receiving Mr. McIntyre’s Freedom of Information Act requests, I decided to release all of the intermediate calculations I had performed for our International Journal of Climatology paper.” Dr. Ben Santer, February 2010

    This is the good part. Originally the data and methodology sufficient to recreate the intermediate calculations was released. This, by Santer, indicates the intermediate calculations themselves were released. Because rather than do the work himself, McI demanded silver-platter treatment, is my guess … the first release was sufficient for scientists, and is all scientists would expect.

    Comment by dhogaza — 25 Feb 2010 @ 9:43 AM

  87. All this talk about McIntyre, not once did he impress about anything about climate, aside from wanting to AUDIT every asinine thing aside from his knowledge of climate, especially Canadian Climate, which he lacks terribly. Why would anyone give private E-mails to this guy is beyond crazy. The man can’t explain the current warming aside that it happenned during the MWP. But in his own Canada, he doesn’t know, MWP or MCA has not changed Canadian historical settlements, not one bit:

    http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thule_culture

    The NW Canadian Archipelago, beautiful lands, even today with wolves, caribou and musk oxen, yet devoid of settlements, from formidable ice formations, thick
    multiyear climate changing ice, is now about to vanish, wouldn’t there have been
    people then, in the MWP if the climate was the same as today? Climate Audit
    is for the worst in science, paranoia drivel well deserving of the screwed up undisciplined mind.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 25 Feb 2010 @ 9:55 AM

  88. TA (51): If your goal is for the public to trust your work enough to base policy decisions on it, then you darn well had better make all data and calculations available for “audit” by any interested party.

    BPL: News flash, genius–all the data and calculations are already available, and have been for years.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:06 AM

  89. Michael K (59): the demonization of Iran…

    BPL: How far do you need to go to demonize a regime that tortures and rapes prisoners, decertifies any political candidate that doesn’t meet rigid religious ideology standards, sends squads of goons around to beat up women who wear western dress or use lipstick or go around without veils, sends secret police to beat up, stampede, and even shoot peaceful demonstrators, funds terrorists all over the world, and is currently trying to take over part of Iraq by military force during Iraq’s worst time of crisis in decades?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:12 AM

  90. John Peter (60): climate scientist Benjamin Santer of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory makes a crack about “beat[ing] the crap out of” opponent Pat Michaels…”

    BPL: Oh, we’ve all wanted to do that for years.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:13 AM

  91. “78
    Allen C says:
    25 February 2010 at 8:54 AM
    Skeptics don’t deny the climate is changing, they just aren’t sure to what degree humans are affecting this change.”

    And the deniers call themselves skeptics to kid on that they COULD be persuaded but aren’t, so there’s no point doing anything yet.

    Denying evidence that ANSWERS the question “to what degree are humans affecting this change” is denialism.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:19 AM

  92. BPL 89, your litany sounded rather like some of the GOP parties.

    ‘cept in those cases, it’s muslims, gays and so forth, but mostly congruent.

    “Free Speech Zones” ring a bell?

    But politics has no more place here than religion except as ILLUSTRATIVE of something that has *something* to do with science.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:21 AM

  93. @thefordprefect, #45

    This doesn’t affect the main thrust of your argument, and is somewhat off-topic, but for information, defamation is not quite `the only case where you are assumed guilty and have to prove innocence.’ There’s also common-law bias – see paragraph 103 of the Law Lords’ ruling in Magill vs. Porter/Magill vs. Weeks (2001) – someone in a quasi-judicial role is considered guilty of bias if a reasonable observer would think it “possible” (not necessarily “likely”) that that person was biased.

    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.

    Comment by DanH — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:23 AM

  94. Dr. Santer, FOIA is the Federal law of the land. I’m certain that your employer has in place approved procedures for handling FOIA requests. As a publicly funded National Laboratory involved with nuclear weapons and nuclear energy work I’m certain that FOIA requests are well-known issues there.

    If you think LLNL does not have sufficiently satisfactory procedures for handling FOIA, take it up with your employer. FOIA is the law of the land; you can’t change those laws. Your employer can change the procedures for handling FOIA requests. If you can’t deal with FOIA requests, and I have dealt with them, then maybe you should consider moving to a position in which these are not an issue.

    Comment by Dan Hughes — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:24 AM

  95. CFU,

    As it happens, I’m a liberal Democrat.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:26 AM

  96. Ron Cram@79,
    Actually, Santer’s email is far more courteous than McIntyre deserved. McIntyre is not an idiot. He is certainly capable of reproducing the calculation without having his hand held. If he cannot reproduce the results on his own, that may be worth a publication in and of itself. That is how science works, but then, Steve McI isn’t interested in science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:34 AM

  97. Allen C. says, “True scientists are always skeptical.”

    Which is why denialists are neither skeptics nor scientists.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:36 AM

  98. 78: Allen C says: “Skeptics don’t deny the climate is changing, they just aren’t sure to what degree humans are affecting this change. ”

    Would you say that climatologist Sean Hannity is a skeptic or a denialist? He said in late 2009:”Here’s what I don’t understand. This is one of the coldest years on record. I don’t believe climate change is real. I think this is global warming hysteria.”

    Click on the video. You can listen to him yourself.
    http://mediamatters.org/research/200911250020

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:57 AM


  99. Is that the response of a scientist who embraces openness and transparency? Of course not. It is a totally absurd. By now, no one really needs to defend McIntyre’s requests for data. Yes, McIntyre knows the equations can be found in the papers. He wants the intermediate data because he wants to know if Santer did it right.

    McIntyre’s had the intermediate data for some time now. “Enquiring minds” want to know whether McIntyre has gone through the calculations to see if “Santer did it right”.

    So Mr Cram, has McIntyre done that yet? He’s had access to the intermediate results for over a year now.

    Comment by caerbannog — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:07 AM

  100. “Just an observation…you know the wheels have come off the wagon when RealClimate guys are complaining about their coverage in the Guardian.” – Tom

    Just an observation, and a remarkably absurd one: when any newspaper publishes sloppy journalism, a complaint is justified. Or perhaps you disagree, provided the sloppy journalism suits your prejudices?

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:07 AM

  101. In reference to #79: yes, real scientists replicate the work of others independently; we don’t want people to spoon-feed us everything that they do.

    *This is how we cross-check one another.*

    Lazy people like McIntyre, on the other hand, demand that other people do all of the work for them. This may be because they’re not competent enough to do steps that are standard for people in the field, or because their intent is to harass working scientists with results that they dislike.

    But, no, I *never* expect others to derive things for me which I am perfectly capable of doing myself. I *might*, for example, have already generated some final results, gotten a different answer, and then return to someone to ask them why we did not see the same thing. *That* is the stage where sometimes you ask someone to do something extra. You actually have to bother to do some work first, that’s all.

    Comment by Marc — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:08 AM

  102. Theo Hopkins@82,

    Actually, that screed from the Guardian indicates to me that they now realise Pearce has produced a sloppy, inconsistent mess, and are trying to get expert help to clear it up, while saving face.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:10 AM

  103. 91.

    “And the deniers call themselves skeptics to kid on that they COULD be persuaded but aren’t, so there’s no point doing anything yet.

    Denying evidence that ANSWERS the question “to what degree are humans affecting this change” is denialism.”

    And when one stops questioning the “ANSWERS”, it becomes religion extolled by zealots. This is anti-science.

    Comment by Allen C — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:13 AM

  104. Is that the response of a scientist who embraces openness and transparency? Of course not. It is a totally absurd. By now, no one really needs to defend McIntyre’s requests for data. Yes, McIntyre knows the equations can be found in the papers. He wants the intermediate data because he wants to know if Santer did it right. – Ron Cram

    What ridiculous nonsense. It is the response of a scientist exasperated beyond endurance by years of persecution from ignorant and mendacious climate science denialists. If he has the competence to assess whether Santer “did it right”, he has the competence to do it himself and see if his results agree. If they do not, he can send a comment to the journal where Santer published, and if they won’t publish it, send an article to Energy and Environment: they will publish any old rubbish provided it fits the denialist agenda.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:15 AM

  105. @81
    McIntyre, Santer and Bader all refer to the January 14, 2009 release as “data.” Yes, it resulted from intermediate calculations from the raw data that was previously available.

    And thanks for the primer on averaging.

    @86
    Perhaps your question regarding the materiality of the point is better directed to Drs Santer and Bader. They both felt compelled to reveal the rationale and timing of their release of the data. I’m not sure either statement was necessary.
    But since they chose to make the statements I’d think they would want to have their stories straight. They are both well familiar with the scrutiny given by the audit legions to everything that occurs in this debate. Inconsistencies, even tiny ones, fuel the fire.

    Comment by Pasteur01 — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:23 AM

  106. Ray Ladbury wrote: “I’ve given a lot of thought to why debates between science and anti-science always turn nasty.”

    The phony “debate” about climate science is “nasty” because the ExxonMobil side has trillions of dollars in profit at stake.

    The “debate” is nasty because RUTHLESS, RAPACIOUS GREED is nasty.

    It’s really as simple as that.

    Much breath and many keystrokes are wasted debating the nature of “science” and “evidence” and so on with the deniers. You need to realize that they don’t care. They are lying. They know they are lying. They are not going to stop. And the closer that human societies move towards the urgently needed phase-out of fossil fuels, the more frantically and viciously they will lie in order to delay and obstruct that phase-out as long as possible. Every single hour that it can be delayed means millions of dollars in profits.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:23 AM

  107. I agree with 39 above. I respond as a political scientist with some knowledge of climate science and over 2 decades of observation of the climate science/policy and energy politics interface.

    Having myself observed an IPCC negotiation session (as researcher investigating the IPCC)in the mid 1990s, I can only report that Sir John Houghton entered with the final text ready in his hand, and while there was some debate and even opposition, his text was accepted unaltered.(Don’t ask me when and where…I gave all my IPCC papers away but have published a lot in the policy literature.)

    Sir John, as an example and there are many others, was much more than a scientist, he was and remains a reborn Christian who believes that pollution is a sin and that it is Man’s duty to save the planet whose demise he could foretell with science. Other scientists I interviewed felt compelled by their environmental belief to support the dangerous man-made warming hypothesis, others because this idea has been funded and doubts could onoy be expressed in private. Business people and investors (like Al Gore and the BBC) hope to make money out the ‘response strategies’ to the warming threat. Recommending response strategies was of course another duty of the IPCC, well establihed by 1988.

    Science and ideology (political belief) cannot be separated in indiviual people. Surely, the oil and coal people, as well as political conservatives, have an equal right and even duty to fight their corner and demand scientific honesty where policy would undermine their interests or beliefs. Smearing opponents has tended to be a failing of ‘warmers’ like Santer and his wider group of supporters.

    [Response: I can't believe you wrote that with a straight face. - gavin]

    Science, selected and diluted, has always been used and misused for the justification of policy ambitions. Seeking funding and recognition by peers is the ‘interest’ of the science lobby, in my analysis it was a major political actor in the climate ‘game’. What would have happened to CRU (a project-funded research body)and its US equivalents if ‘research’ had withdrawn or weakened its support for ‘decarbonisation’ while policy was being negotiated?

    [Response: Nothing. There is enormous amounts of research to do in climate science regardless of the 'decarbonisation' policies. - gavin]

    Having studied climate scepticisim over a long time I agree that many sceptics have ‘right-wing’ values, are critical of environmentalism as a dangerous ideology and favour carbon fuels. Like I they are suspicous of environmentlaism because it tends to assume that humanity is at fault and that industrialisation damages the planet. But then, what is wrong with that? The opposite tends to be true for many ‘warmers’,'alarmist’ or ‘global salvationists’. Scientsts must become aware of their own filters or prejudices before declaring that only thay posess the truth.

    [Response: No scientist has ever declared that. This is claimed only by people who want to paint us as rabid zealots. Strawman. - gavin]

    With ‘Climategate’ and it world-wide effects, the ‘warmers’ (and Al Gore) have at last got what they deserve, a closer look at their manners and scientific practice. The well funded egos supporting the IPCC have indeed been offended by peoplelike Steve McIntye, McKitrick, Singer, Christy and many others, and they seem to respond as a ‘pack’ (note the help Santer received in writign the above).

    IMHO, the RealClimate group and their allies in quite a few other countries deserve criticim less for their science than for how they have ‘marketed’ and ‘branded’ their research outputs as true and above criticism.

    [Response: Again, a complete strawman. Perhaps you'd care to point to anything any of us have ever published where we said this was true and above criticism? Just one. And if you want to come back and say 'well I didn't really mean it', don't bother. - gavin]

    In the end, the value judgements they are hiding in their work are not for them to publicise as truths, but belong to the world of politics, including the politics of science, a much neglected subject.

    And please remember that the 1992 Climate Convention agreed in Rio already enshrines in law that global warming is dangerous, man-made and caused by GHG emissions.

    [Response: Not true. It says that countries should aim to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system by the emission of greenhouse gases. And if even Saudi Arabia can agree to that, I'm surprised you can't. (Though actually nothing much surprises me anymore). - gavin]

    Scientists were not asked test this as a scientific hypothesis but were asked to assume it in order to justify a major international policy effort involving not only energy, but also new politial structures, aid flows, forestry, agriculture and much more. Challenging this justification – the climate threat to the planet and humanity – is indeed High Politics. Doing so seems very necssary, if only in the light of ‘unintended consequences’ for science and much else.

    Dr. Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen (editor Energy&Environment) former senior research fellow at the Energy Group, SPRU, University of Sussex)

    [edit advertising]

    Comment by Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:24 AM

  108. A while back, I posted a comment that included an estimate that the US Government had invested $50 billion in climate research during the past 20 years. Several respondents criticized me severly for my serious error. I have just learned that the total US Government investment in climate research since 1989 is approximately $79 billion. I apologize for any inconvenience that my mistake may have caused.

    [Response: Almost all of that is for satellite observations. Perhaps you'd like NASA and NOAA to stop doing that? - gavin]

    Comment by Snorbert Zangox — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:30 AM

  109. @79–”Yes, McIntyre knows the equations can be found in the papers. He wants the intermediate data because he wants to know if Santer did it right.”

    Ridiculous. If McIntyre had done his own intermediate calculations (not “data”), then he would know “if Santer did it right.”

    It didn’t happen, presumably because it was too much trouble for McIntyre.

    As to “please don’t communicate with me again,” it’s straightforward enough. I don’t see anything “childish” about it. IMO, McIntyre has had the problems he has experienced essentially because he insists that the only way to do things is his way. He’s bringing a business/accounting culture to an area which has different customs, much as nineteenth-century missionaries sought to impose their cultural norms as being unquestionably “superior.” Science here is, in a very real sense, resisting “colonization.”

    Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. Perhaps there could be practices that could be usefully “imported” into scientific culture–I’ve seen more than a few fairly specific suggestions here and in other fora. But McIntyre’s bull-in-a-china-shop approach is guaranteed to produce conflict. IMO, it’s primarily for the (uninvited) guest, not the host, to make the effort to try to understand what’s what–and then make a reasoned account of the desirability of change.

    Cries of “fraud” ain’t gonna do it.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:31 AM

  110. #70 Marco : McIntyre himself ‘audits’ Santer et al, but doesn’t ‘audit’ Douglass et al at all.

    So? Does he have to write a comment about every paper if he criticizes one? I’m not sure what your point is.

    Comment by BlogReader — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:33 AM

  111. John Peter says:
    25 February 2010 at 3:26 AM

    “Some of the e-mails are in bad form; for instance, climate scientist Benjamin Santer of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory makes a crack about “beat[ing] the crap out of” opponent Pat Michaels…””

    I’m surprised that Jim Hansen didn’t do exactly that when, in 1998, Michaels deleted two lines (including the “most plausible” line) from Hansen’s 1988 graph and then held the doctored graph up as evidence that Hansen’s predictions were extraordinarily inaccurate.

    Yeah, I know violence isn’t the answer, but it must be really tempting to chin someone who is dishonestly misrepresenting your work. Thankfully, neither Hansen or Santer have resorted to violence. They have more self control than I think I would have under similar circumstances.

    Comment by Dave G — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:46 AM

  112. #78: Allen C says — 25 February 2010 @ 8:54 AM

    “Perhaps you should take a dose of your own medicine and have the decency of not using the word “deniers”. Skeptics don’t deny the climate is changing, they just aren’t sure to what degree humans are affecting this change. True scientists are always skeptical.”

    Allan,

    True scientists are always skeptical, indeed. That’s the way to distinguish them from denialists. The latter are always highly reactionary against any publication that dares to suggest that humans are affecting the climate, whilst they lap up anything that says the opposite like a dog having been given a bowl of stout!

    Put it another way – when is McIntyre planning to “audit” the Douglass et al paper, or maybe the writings of Watts? If you are highly sceptical of publications that state position ‘A’ but simply lap up publications that state position ‘B’ then you are NOT sceptical – you are behaving according to your inherant onboard prejudice. This works both ways of course, but it’s a pattern that is overwhelmingly seen within the camp who are opposed to mainstream science.

    Cheers – John

    Comment by John Mason — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:48 AM

  113. tamino@76 – One would think that McI et al would have started with a similar look at available data – having found as you did, a policy-advising mineral-exploring statistician who wished to disprove/discredit the findings would necessarily be pushed to other tatics, like discrediting the individuals and institutions involved. And I hope none of his targets are underestimating his math skills, statistics are a powerful tool to confuse the masses and policy makers. Once some, like Michael Mann or Ben Santer or Phil Jones or [especially] James Hanson were hung out to dry by the witch hunters, the “auditors” would by default have gained the legitimization they seem so desperately to want. WHY they think discrediting the scientists will help anything, can only be because they really believe climate change isn’t an insurmountable problem for tecnological man, and they do seem largely to be “tecnocrats”. McI’s backing doesn’t need to be “big oil”, he likely has a govt pension from his work as policy analyst for the Canadian govt, on top of the profits from many years in the minerals business.

    The current posts by the group and comments by supporters are focusing on methods [of the "opposition"], what’s really more relevent IMHO is the motives. While it may be the case that the climate future is not as bleak as some have been interpreting it to be, it surely would be a sad confirmation of humanities history to see the science snuffed in favor of immediate profit-as-possible for the “aristocracy”.

    Comment by flxible — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:58 AM

  114. If I understand the McIntyre events correctly, they can be summarized as follows:

    1. Douglass et al. publish a paper.
    2. You detect flaws in the paper.
    3. You publish a paper which corrects the flaws.
    4. McIntyre insists you give him everything on your paper.

    If McIntyre were genuinely interested in science, would the proper course of action be for him to do the same rigorous analysis on the Douglass paper that he wants to do on yours?

    Comment by Dennis — 25 Feb 2010 @ 12:04 PM

  115. Ron Cram says: 25 February 2010 at 9:00 AM

    Yes, McIntyre knows the equations can be found in the papers. He wants the intermediate data because he wants to know if Santer did it right.

    Whoa there. Stop for a minute and think about this. If McIntyre wants to know if Dr. Santer did his sums correctly, the best way to do that is to use the methods and data Santer did and perform the same calulations independently. If McIntyre then gets different results, there could be a problem either with his computations or Dr. Santer’s, which of course would warrant McIntyre checking his own work carefully then letting Dr. Santer know either by correspondence or a publication that Santer may have a problem.

    Getting literal copies of tables of numbers representing Dr. Santer’s intermediate product is completely useless as a means of checking Santer’s methods.

    Is there something about this that you don’t understand? If so, here’s the place to ask; you might actually get an answer from Santer himself.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 25 Feb 2010 @ 12:07 PM

  116. Theo Hopkins says: 25 February 2010 at 9:22 AM

    Sorry, but when he published his rubbishy narrative about Kamel Pearce damaged his own credibility, no question about it. Producing sloppy work, publishing it and then expecting others to finish the job for him is not what he’s paid to do, I suspect.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 25 Feb 2010 @ 12:10 PM

  117. John Peter (60) wrote:
    “In addition to admitting to modifying an IPCC technical section – which will continue the assault on trust”

    The word “admitting” can infer some sort of wrong-doing, which is clearly not the case here. The more appropriate way to phrase it might be “making the necessary edits to clarify the points raised during the Madrid meeting”. That’s kind of the purpose of a lead author, to make sure the document is clear and understandable by the readers.

    Comment by Ken W — 25 Feb 2010 @ 12:30 PM

  118. Nick Gotts (75)

    Whoa, slow down. I don’t know you, you don’t know me, you’ll kill the messenger.

    I’m a technical guy, know little or nothing about CS, trying to learn from RC. I am very grateful for the privilege, don’t want to offend anyone because you all are providing me with a very valuable education and I know it. The opinions I post are just that – you are free to reject them – they are given by me to you in return for that valuable education you give me. Of course they have nowhere near that value, but they do represent some life experiences of a technical guy. Good climate scientists are a pretty tight group, my opinions seem to be way outside their box, you might be wiser to consider them carefully. I have no intention to debate but I will try to explain where I’m coming from.

    That said, I have a couple of my opinions to share.

    1- The CRU emails were not stolen. Emails usually pass through several servers, the servers are owned by the IT administers, from time to time they need to examine them. so if you want the content private, encrypt them. I can’t see how anyone with half Ben’s intelligence, based at LRL could miss that. It may make you feel good to call them stolen but the internet world, that has to deal with stuff like identity theft all the time, will think you’re silly.

    2- I don’t care about McIntyre but I do agree with Judith. You warmers have won your war with the deniers. What you’re into now is, like the bankers, you need regulation. Your critics don’t want to go head-to-head with you on the science, they see the need to audit. Just like the banks.
    If you want the public to pay for you, in this period of sovereign debt, you’re going to have to teach them to trust you. The biggest problem the military has succeeding is that the generals want to fight the last war. Wise up, Judith is trying to help.

    That’s it for now -you are great people and hope you’ll let me stay.

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 12:34 PM

  119. Last week someone was talking about an unrelated issue involving ideologues, and told how they keep shouting the same wrong stuff. He added, “but shouting that misinformation louder doesn’t make it more right.”

    I would add, “Repeating a lie over and over doesn’t make it right.”

    OTOH, sad to say, there is sociologist W. I. Thomas’s theorem: “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.”

    So we just have to keep shouting the truth louder and more and more often. When I encounter these lies re climate science and climate scientists, I tell them they’re wrong and give them the RC link. Or in longer conversations I add in a few talking talking points.

    One being, “The natural greenhouse effect has been well accepted by science for a looooog time — there’d be no life without it — and any dufus should be able to figure out anthropogenic global warming by themselves.”

    For the “It’s cold today as disprove of GW” point, I say, “Well first you have to know how to average; you add X1 and X2 and X3 and so on, then divide by the number of cases.”

    These sometimes backfire, bec they are a bit sassy.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 25 Feb 2010 @ 12:35 PM

  120. BPL (90)

    Yeah, but you shouldn’t let on.

    When I first began my technical career, my boss handed me a booklet called the unwritten laws of engineering. I still remember #1 ” Be nice to everyone you pass on the way up, you’ll meet them again on the way down.

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 12:40 PM

  121. Snorbert says, “I have just learned that the total US Government investment in climate research since 1989 is approximately $79 billion.”

    Just curious, Snorbert, is it possible for you to post a single sentence that doesn’t contain a distortion, lie or denialist talking point? Just wondering.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Feb 2010 @ 12:44 PM

  122. Dave G (110)

    I agree, CS is tough work. Ben/Jim need ways to blow off steam. But don’t use an unencrypted internet email.

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 12:45 PM

  123. Ken W (116)

    I don’t agree and neither do many observers of the so-called IPCC process. The editor’s job is to get the writers to correct their own work.

    That’s how peer review is supposed to work and IPCC makes a big deal of peer review.

    Jim Hanson went over his manager’s head – to a congressman I believe – when his manager tried to change some of Jim’s wording to be more “politically correct”(?)

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 12:56 PM

  124. Ron Cram (79) wrote:
    “Is that the response of a scientist who embraces openness and transparency?”

    It’s exactly the kind of response I’d expect from a scientist that:
    A) Has already been harrassed and falsely accused of wrongdoing
    B) Has already spent nearly a year to point out an error in someone else’s paper
    C) Knows a legitimate request from an actual researcher would have been for the raw data and algorithms, not for his intermediate calculations
    D) Can quickly see from McIntyres blog that’s he’s not a researcher, but an activist that seems intent on confusing the actual science

    The part where he says: “I see no reason why I should do your work for you” is especially appropriate and if McIntyre were a serious researcher interested in forwarding scientific knowledge, that should have been the end of it.

    Comment by Ken W — 25 Feb 2010 @ 12:56 PM

  125. John Peter,
    I am afraid that I found your posts about Ben Santer quite disingenuous as well. There was a time when scientists could do their work without harassment from the public and politicians. Now they face constant harassment, slander and even death threats.

    You see fit to cast aspersions against Ben Santer, but you evidently see nothing wrong with denialists fabricating quotes:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/fabricated-quote-used-to-discredit-climate-scientist-1894552.html

    making unsbstantiated allegations against scientists and science itself:
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/false-claims-proven-false/

    hacking into email servers and releasing a portion of what they find taken entirely out of context.

    You say: “Your critics don’t want to go head-to-head with you on the science, they see the need to audit.”

    Isn’t it interesting that science has gotten by just fine without auditing for 400 years. Revolutionized society, created prosperity. What is more, climate science has been examined by independent organizations ranging from the National Academy to the AAAS. Guess what, not one professional or honorific organization of scientists has dissented from the consensus. Just who would you have perform the “audit”–a self-appointed guarantor with only one peer-reviewed publication to his name? A former TV weather man who doesn’t even have a degree?

    The problem is that the denialists are not interested in truth, only in delay. There are two sides to this debate, John: Science and anti-science. I suggest you choose.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:00 PM

  126. JP: “That said, I have a couple of my opinions to share.”

    Oh dear. This isn’t going to be good.

    “1- The CRU emails were not stolen. ”

    Yes they were.

    I knew it.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:01 PM

  127. “110
    BlogReader says:
    25 February 2010 at 11:33 AM

    #70 Marco : McIntyre himself ‘audits’ Santer et al, but doesn’t ‘audit’ Douglass et al at all.

    So? Does he have to write a comment about every paper if he criticizes one”

    No, but if he’s asking for more than he needs but ONLY for people who all have this one thing in common: they show AGW effects, then you have a claim for bias.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:04 PM

  128. “103
    Allen C says:
    25 February 2010 at 11:13 AM

    And when one stops questioning the “ANSWERS”, it becomes religion extolled by zealots. This is anti-science.”

    What do you think all those papers in GRL, Nature, et al are???

    No, you are not questioning the answers. You don’t believe them. So you ignore them.

    http://science.slashdot.org/story/10/02/24/2332234/Beliefs-Conform-to-Cultural-Identities

    Facts do not rely on belief or disbelief.

    But whether you accept them does.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:10 PM

  129. dhogaza (84)

    So what? If they really care, and you don’t want to show it to them, they can try to get a court order. Since we all believe that, while perhaps inappropriate, there wasn’t any really “bad” content, sooner or later they’ll have to trust you and go away.

    Full disclosure is much better, ask Hanson. And count to ten before you hit the send button.

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:12 PM

  130. > John Peter
    > you warmers

    What do you call the marine biologists concerned about pH change — acidifiers?

    You haven’t got opinions of your own, yet. Please make the effort to develop your own. They won’t duplicate the copypaste stuff, if you think this through.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:12 PM

  131. “95
    Barton Paul Levenson says:
    25 February 2010 at 10:26 AM

    CFU,

    As it happens, I’m a liberal Democrat.”

    This has no effect on the observation.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:12 PM

  132. Snorbert Zangox says: 25 February 2010 at 11:30 AM

    Janitors scrubbing toilets at JPL? Climate science.

    Sure thing, “Snorbert.”

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:13 PM

  133. “94
    Dan Hughes says:
    25 February 2010 at 10:24 AM

    Dr. Santer, FOIA is the Federal law of the land.”

    Ever read it?

    There’s plenty of reasons why FOI requests may not be valid and can be ignored.

    Much the same was as the right to access to the court system for redress is the law of the land, but you still have the crime of “vexatious litigant” which, in the case of one lawyer in the US has caused them to be barred from ever entering a plea with the court ever again.

    Try reading the law of the land.

    PS it’s the law of the land you can’t break the speed limit. Unless there’s a reason accepted as a reason to do so by law.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:14 PM

  134. The CRU emails were not stolen. – John Peter

    You can repeat this garbage as many times as you like, it won’t make it true: when someone obtains private correspondence by underhand methods and publishes it, that’s theft. You made your agenda quite clear@60, and by using the term “warmists”@118. With “friends” like you, climate science wouldn’t need enemies. BTW, I’m not a climate scientist, nor do I personally know any of the people involved in all the pseudogates.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:14 PM

  135. John Peter wrote: “I have a couple of my opinions to share … The CRU emails were not stolen.”

    Whether the emails were “stolen” or not is a matter of fact and a matter of law, so your “opinion” is irrelevant.

    And your comments in support of your irrelevant opinion demonstrate ignorance of both the facts of the case, and of the relevant law.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:15 PM

  136. Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen (107) wrote:
    “Scientists were not asked test this as a scientific hypothesis but were asked to assume it in order to justify a major international policy”

    Kind of like: “Hey, Dr. XYZ, we’ll give you lots of money if you’ll do studies that prove AGW. Don’t worry about any peer review, because we’ve got all the other climate scientists around the world on our payroll too”

    I’m eager to see what solid incriminating evidence you have to support your assertion.

    Comment by Ken W — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:16 PM

  137. JP “I still remember #1 ” Be nice to everyone you pass on the way up, you’ll meet them again on the way down.”

    Almost all the denialists seem to have ignored this one.

    You yourself are no beacon of amity when you’re accusing third parties of malfeasance without any evidence.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:16 PM

  138. If your goal is for the public to trust your work enough to base policy decisions on it, then you darn well had better make all data and calculations available for “audit” by any interested party.

    Is that what Santer’s goal was? The goal of most of the professional scientists I know is contribute to the body of scientific knowledge. They are hoping that their professional peers will examine their work, and determine whether it’s valid and correct. They expect that if any of their professional peers want to replicate their findings, it will be done the way Hank described in #35:

    This is why replication is done by _redoing_ the study, not taking the first scientist’s materials and using them.

    Independently doing the work is science. Fishing through other people’s information is politics. [emphasis mine]

    For better of for worse, it’s up to the public to decide whether they should trust McIntyre the pugnacious denier, or the community of climate scientists who have evaluated Santer’s work by the criteria of their community.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:17 PM

  139. BlogReader (110) wrote:
    “Does he have to write a comment about every paper if he criticizes one? I’m not sure what your point is.”

    No, McIntyre is free to only criticize those papers that support AGW and ignore the obvious flaws in papers that don’t. His “credibility” will clearly reflect that.

    Comment by Ken W — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:19 PM

  140. “Is that the response of a scientist who embraces openness and transparency? Of course not. It is a totally absurd. By now, no one really needs to defend McIntyre’s requests for data. Yes, McIntyre knows the equations can be found in the papers. He wants the intermediate data because he wants to know if Santer did it right.”

    I am not in the Climate Science field, but I would certainly have much the same response as Santer to a request of this nature. I think most scientists would bridle at being asked to spend their time to provide somebody else with intermediate results that that person could just as well calculate for himself. Certainly this goes far, far beyond the bounds of professional courtesy. The very fact that McIntyre is clearly not interested in whether the scientific conclusions are right, but rather whether Santer “did it right” is highly revealing. Anybody who has done science knows that if you pore over somebody’s detailed calculations in enough detail, you will almost always find something that is incorrect–typos, rounding errors, etc.–although it almost never affects the conclusions, because errors tend to be random and cancel out, and if the methods are robust an error has to be so massive as to be obvious to change the conclusions. McIntyre has a history of finding small, scientifically insignificant errors and presenting them in such a way as to imply that the conclusions are in error, larded with dark hints that the data has been intentionally manipulated to mislead, while maintaining a blog in which commenters routinely make wild accusations of fraud and malfeasance without restraint. I can’t help wondering if McIntyre is really just the scientific crank that he appears to be, or whether his behavior is part of a coordinated effort to create doubt in the public media over the field of climate science. It is certainly the case that McIntyre has made zero meaningful contributions to the actual science, but has managed to consume huge amounts of the time of productive laboratories–time that would otherwise have been spent on research. Is this by accident, or is this the true intent?

    Comment by trrll — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:34 PM

  141. Kevin – “McIntyre’s bull-in-a-china-shop approach is guaranteed to produce conflict. IMO
    Actually it appears more to be calculated to produce conflict – and confusion. :(

    Comment by flxible — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:43 PM

  142. @blogreader #110:
    Apparently you failed to have noticed that McIntyre posted a comment from Douglass et al (well before Santer et al came out). It’s a consistent pattern of Steve McIntyre: certain people are audited all the time, while those that make the most grievous mistakes or have significant issues that are poorly discussed are given free reign. Soon&Baliunas? Let’s not comment on that. Loehle? Let’s not be critical of its choice of proxies. Douglass et al using shoddy statistics? Let’s attack the paper that shows how shoddy the original paper was!

    The auditor appears to be rather one-sided in his auditing. Of course, he already admitted that his interest lies not in publishing in the scientific literature, but in keeping his blog audience happy…and we know what most of those want: dirty laundry. Even if it requires pouncing on a comma.

    Comment by Marco — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:46 PM

  143. Ben

    Glad to meet you and this fine example of your craftsmanship. I do have a question. You say
    “…Mr. Pearce – who was not present at the Madrid Plenary Meeting – argues that the discussion of human effects on climate in the IPCC Summary for Policymakers “went beyond what was said in the chapter from which the summary was supposedly drawn”. In other words, he suggests that the tail wagged the dog. This is not true. The “pre-Madrid” bottom-line statement from Chapter 8 was “Taken together, these results point towards a human influence on climate”. As I’ve noted above, the final statement agreed upon in Madrid was “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate”.

    Is “suggests” stronger than “points towards”? I doubt it. Is “The balance of evidence” a more confident phrase than “Taken together”? I don’t think so…

    “balance of evidence” might be considered stronger than “these results”
    and would seem to me to be more important than discernible.

    If you have questions about me, please read my post #118

    Thanks

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:46 PM

  144. @John Peter:

    Letters go through the post office and past several postmen/women. You’ll be OK with them opening up your letters, reading them, and put some of the saucy details on the Internet?

    Comment by Marco — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:48 PM

  145. John Peter (60) wrote:
    “In addition to admitting to modifying an IPCC technical section – which will continue the assault on trust”

    The word “admitting” can infer some sort of wrong-doing, which is clearly not the case here. The more appropriate way to phrase it might be “making the necessary edits to clarify the points raised during the Madrid meeting”. That’s kind of the purpose of a lead author, to make sure the document is clear and understandable by the readers.

    If they’re not allowed to edit based on feedback and live meetings, I guess there’s no point in requesting feedback or holding meetings such as the Madrid one.

    And, yes, thinking there shouldn’t be feedback or meetings to reconcile them is as stupid as it sounds.

    I’ve participated in (largely meaningless) software standards efforts, and I know how difficult it is to get agreement on wording even when Saudi Arabia’s financial health isn’t possibly at stake (at least, that’s how they view efforts to cut emissions). Nothing unusual at all about the laborious effort Dr. Santer describes.

    Comment by dhogaza — 25 Feb 2010 @ 2:07 PM

  146. @110

    A true skeptic (as opposed to a ideological denier) would be skeptical of all papers and “audit” all papers, whether they were in philosophical agreement with the conclusions or not.
    So it proves McIntyre is a partisan hack.

    Comment by Wildlifer — 25 Feb 2010 @ 2:09 PM

  147. Words matter. Here’s what an “honest broker” says:

    Talking about the prosecution of scientists is a good way to get a debate going, and this thread will meet that demand…

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/02/red-meat.html

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 25 Feb 2010 @ 2:15 PM

  148. BlogReader @110 “I’m not sure what your point is.”

    Think very carefully how professional auditing is done and how they select who/what is audited. Now ask yourself how many papers written by ‘skeptics’ CA had ‘audited’? And also ask yourself, when did McI discover an error that changed the original conclusions of a paper? And also ask yourself why McI needed to see Santer’s emails when he was asking him for data, while at the same time bad mouthing Santer in the public domain? And ask yourself when exactly was the last time CA actually tried to audit something?

    CA is a fraud, and a front for an egregious and malicious agenda. If anything, CA and their acolytes are being obstructionist and hindering the advancement of science; that much is blindingly obvious to anyone with an understanding of how real science works. McI operates in a fantastical microcosm and is seemingly completely oblivious of the much bigger and more important picture.

    Now I, and others, should be demanding to see his emails to see what he has been up to. Anyone game?

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 25 Feb 2010 @ 2:29 PM

  149. 124 Ken W,
    Sonja have written extensively on this, just dig in the peer review literature if you are interested….

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 25 Feb 2010 @ 2:31 PM

  150. #107:

    Excuse the sarcasm but….

    To date, there has not been a single credible journal article that shows a natural cause for the modern day warming while also showing how record high greenhouse gas concentrations are not significant.

    NOT ONE.

    Do you really believe that the scientists at CRU were able to squelch every scientist on the planet who tried to publish this landmark anti-AGW paper? Is there no sense of the low probability and the large scale of this conspiracy for this to be true?

    If one throws out the HadCRU data and all papers by these folks, there is still a mountain of evidence for AGW.

    Do the rapidly melting ice sheets and glaciers have access to these emails and joined in on the conspiracy?

    Do the various climate models that show GHGs as the dominant forcing mechanism have access to these emails and joined in on the conspiracy?

    Do the GISS, UAH, RSS data that show global warming of approximately 0.2C per decade over the past 30 years have access to these emails and joined in on the conspiracy? Certainly Spencer and Christy who run UAH and are well-known skeptics of AGW would not align themselves with AGW and yet their satellite-derived measurements track reasonably with GISS, RSS, and HadCRU. (BTW, 2009 was the second warmest year since 1850 even though it was the “weakest sun” in 100 years!)

    Does the ocean read these emails and magically increase its heat content?

    Does the cooling stratosphere (even accounting for ozone loss) read the emails and join in on the hoax?

    Do the plants and animals read these emails and decide to die off and/or change their migratory habits so that they can support the conspiracy?

    I could go on ad infinitum.

    For quite a long time, we have known that a doubling of CO2 will warm the climate at least 1C and there is fairly good certainty that the resulting feedbacks will produce at least 2C additional warming with 3C more likely. We are also measuring CO2 increases of 2 ppm and climbing and we have levels that have not been seen in the past 15 million years.

    Are we to conclude that these emails deny all of this evidence?

    There are many scientists from many fields that have published data that show the effects of global warming and why humans are the primary drivers of this warming. These scientists include some of the obvious: climatologists, meteorologists, geologists, modelers, and oceanographers. Some less obvious include: biologists, marine biologists, zoologists, chemists, astrophysicists, economists, environmental politics reasearchers, and others. I am quite confident that MANY of these folks have NEVER spoken to the CRU folks nor emailed them.

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 25 Feb 2010 @ 2:44 PM

  151. Pastuer01 realizes that the data being discussed at different times is actually different:”McIntyre, Santer and Bader all refer to the January 14, 2009 release as “data.” Yes, it resulted from intermediate calculations from the raw data that was previously available.”

    Your original question of Santer: “Did your immediate supervisor decide to release the data before you did?” If there are two sets of data (raw, and intermediate) being discussed, “the data” makes no sense at all.

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 25 Feb 2010 @ 2:53 PM

  152. Scott Mandia wrote: “Do you really believe that the scientists at CRU were able to squelch every scientist on the planet who tried to publish this landmark anti-AGW paper?”

    And the people who believe that call themselves “skeptics”. They know they are “skeptics” because Rush Limbaugh and Fox News tell them that they are.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 25 Feb 2010 @ 2:57 PM

  153. 128.
    “No, you are not questioning the answers. You don’t believe them. So you ignore them.”

    Whoooaaa, I haven’t learned the art of mind reading. Perhaps you can tell me what else I am thinking??

    So questioning the “ANSWERS” is not allowed? Exactly what is wrong with questioning the “ANSWERS”? Isn’t that what Galileo did? Isn’t that what Einstein did? (btw, Einstein was not a physicist; he was a worker at the patent office at the time.)

    So one must accept the religion of the “ANSWERS” or what? Science is never settled.

    Comment by Allen C — 25 Feb 2010 @ 2:58 PM

  154. Scott A. Mandia says: 25 February 2010 at 2:44 PM

    Well, Scott, you’re supposed to focus on all the little bits of glittery tinsel being tossed in front of your eyes, not 24 ton weight hanging over your head.

    Get with the program, ok?

    Now, look at the emails! See how shiny they are!

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 25 Feb 2010 @ 3:06 PM

  155. “”"”"Dr. Santer,

    Did your immediate supervisor decide to release the data before you did?

    “…preparation of the datasets and documentation for them began before your FOIA request was received by us.” Dr. David Bader, January 2009

    “A little over a month after receiving Mr. McIntyre’s Freedom of Information Act requests, I decided to release all of the intermediate calculations I had performed for our International Journal of Climatology paper.” Dr. Ben Santer, February 2010.”"”"”

    Why don’t you read a Pulitzer prize winning author’s detailed book clearing Santer…”The Heat is on” Gelbspan (Amazon.com)

    Pulitzer Prize winner Ross Gelbspan from the Boston Globe also writes in depth about Ben Santers accusations and clears him in the book “The Heat is On”. It was required reading at a pilot climate change course I took at the University of Denver.

    By the way (and I did not make this up), the Boston Globe had to issue a statement that yes, Gelbspan did indeed receive the Publizer Prize after the the oil lobby claimed that he had never received it. It is like a house of mirrors.

    See Gelbspan’s website for photocopied evidence.
    http://www.heatisonline.org/

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 25 Feb 2010 @ 3:10 PM

  156. Hey, Sonja,

    I know John Houghton. I’ve worked with John Houghton. And let me tell you, Sonja–you’re no John Houghton.

    The implication that his science must be bad because of his religious beliefs was especially cute.
    [edit - I understand where you are going, but let's not go down that road]

    Take your hateful attacks somewhere else.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Feb 2010 @ 3:10 PM

  157. JP (118): The CRU emails were not stolen.

    BPL: Then why is there an ongoing criminal investigation into the theft?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Feb 2010 @ 3:14 PM

  158. Dr. Boehmer-Christiansen @107:

    Surely, the oil and coal people, as well as political conservatives, have an equal right and even duty to fight their corner and demand scientific honesty where policy would undermine their interests or beliefs. Smearing opponents has tended to be a failing of ‘warmers’ like Santer and his wider group of supporters.

    I can’t believe you said that with a straight face either. Are you completely unaware that the “oil and coal people” who “demand scientific honesty” are paying the same lobbyists who “fought the corner” of the tobacco companies? Did they have the “right and duty” to escape responsibility for pushing their deadly product? Are you ignorant of the abundant evidence for the concerted, sophisticated and richly-funded campaign by the “oil and coal people” to escape their own responsibility?

    Having studied climate scepticisim over a long time I agree that many sceptics have ‘right-wing’ values, are critical of environmentalism as a dangerous ideology and favour carbon fuels. Like I they are suspicous of environmentlaism because it tends to assume that humanity is at fault and that industrialisation damages the planet. But then, what is wrong with that? The opposite tends to be true for many ‘warmers’,’alarmist’ or ‘global salvationists’. Scientsts must become aware of their own filters or prejudices before declaring that only thay posess the truth.

    If your comment is sincere, you are demonstrating that your ‘right-wing’ values have blinded you to reality. Even if you’re dissimulating, you’ve presented a nearly perfect example of the tu quoque logical fallacy. No wonder Energy&Environment is held in such low regard by honest climate scientists!

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 25 Feb 2010 @ 3:14 PM

  159. Here goes my first attempt to comment on RC.
    Up until last week, reading this blog was frustrating because of the one-sided hubris.
    Remarkably, these same characteristics have become quite entertaining. I just might subscribe to the RSS feed. Responding to the public’s concerns is much more informative than ignoring them. Kudos for moving past the initial phase of denial and moving into toward anger.
    As a skeptic, I am interested in challenging my positions. It strengthens them. The elite, prominent climate scientists might try it. If your hard work withstands independent scrutiny, you gain true confidence in your conclusions. Resisting the scientific process stunts the progression of knowledge.
    I’m not a climate scientist,so I pose no threat. Still I’m anxious to see if my contribution will be posted, as RC has the reputation of aggressive moderation.

    Comment by Smitty — 25 Feb 2010 @ 3:18 PM

  160. Mapleleaf@148 “Now I, and others, should be demanding to see his emails to see what he has been up to. Anyone game?”
    Unfortunately McI isn’t subject to FOI requests. Probably would need some Chinese and Russions involved but, maybe John Peter could use his disdain for the privacy of email to hack the mail and publish it. Surely would be entertaining to have a few groups quote mining that correspondence! “Just sayin’”

    Comment by flxible — 25 Feb 2010 @ 3:24 PM

  161. ray (125)

    Hi,

    You have helped me more than you know with CS. Let me try to help you with life.

    You said:John Peter,
    I am afraid that I found your posts about Ben Santer quite disingenuous as well. There was a time when scientists could do their work without harassment from the public and politicians. Now they face constant harassment, slander and even death threats.

    You are referring to the 20th century. We are now in the 21st century with a new and different environment. I don’t like it any more than you do. If you find somewhere else to go, tell me. I might just go along.

    You see fit to cast aspersions against Ben Santer,

    I told Nick mea culpa and I didn’t mean to cast aspersions. Read # 118

    but you evidently see nothing wrong with denialists fabricating quotes:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/fabricated-quote-used-to-discredit-climate-scientist-1894552.html

    It’s not that I see nothing wrong. A lie is a lie and not right in my book. It’s just that I don’t care what other people do. If I felt libeled, I’d sue if I could size the cost to me of their lie.

    The problem here really is that, while the deniers may be paid for by the oil companies, the warmers are being paid for by you, me, and the deniers. It’s not a symmetrical relationship.

    making unsbstantiated allegations against scientists and science itself:
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/false-claims-proven-false/

    They sound like Fox news listeners

    hacking into email servers and releasing a portion of what they find taken entirely out of context.

    How many time do I have to repeat there is no – zero – zilch expectation of privacy for unencrypted email content on the internet. I’d give you the GW law professor rel again if I thought you would read it. In this matter you have no interest in facts. For shame!!! 8<(

    BTW if you look up the definition of "hacked" you'll discover that is precisely what Mann did to get the hockey stick.

    You say: “Your critics don’t want to go head-to-head with you on the science, they see the need to audit.”

    That’s not quite what I said. Judith and Ibelieve you’ve won your war with deniers. It’s the public that pay for you and the MSM that want you audited. They don’t trust you much more than they trust the bankers.

    Isn’t it interesting that science has gotten by just fine without auditing for 400 years. Revolutionized society, created prosperity. What is more, climate science has been examined by independent organizations ranging from the National Academy to the AAAS. Guess what, not one professional or honorific organization of scientists has dissented from the consensus. Just who would you have perform the “audit”–a self-appointed guarantor with only one peer-reviewed publication to his name? A former TV weather man who doesn’t even have a degree?

    Exactly what the bankers claim with different nouns. Tell me the difference between to big to fail and AGW.

    The problem is that the denialists are not interested in truth, only in delay.

    That’s just what they say about you.

    There are two sides to this debate, John: Science and anti-science. I suggest you choose.

    I choose to try to get you and the deniers together. Bank auditors get along well with bankers they do different jobs but they have the same objective. Success.

    Ray, to repeat, I owe you a lot – we just don’t see things the same way.

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 3:43 PM

  162. Andreas Bjurström (149) wrote:
    “Sonja have written extensively on this, just dig in the peer review literature if you are interested….”

    I’ve been following the climate science peer reviewed literature fairly closely for the past 7 – 8 years, and I must say I haven’t seen anything which supports Sonja’s blanket accusation. Perhaps you could provide some kind of reference to (let’s keep it simple) the 1 or 2 best peer reviewed (no books or op-eds please) articles that support Sonja’s claim?

    Comment by Ken W — 25 Feb 2010 @ 4:11 PM

  163. Dr. Santer,

    I’m a layperson trying to educate myself in this area. I appreciate the information provided in your rebuttal. I would guess that the average person might read it and wonder like me why you didn’t just send McIntyre the intermediate calculations in the first place, even if it was irritating to do so and he could do it himself. Could you kindly explain? (This is a sincere question.) Your reaction may be obvious to other scientists, but not necessarily to the general public. If you plan to respond thru the MSM, you’ll need to spell out things like this for non-scientists.

    Thank you and good luck.

    Comment by ClimateCurious — 25 Feb 2010 @ 4:16 PM

  164. Gavin,

    Re: your response to my comment #75

    Tim Osbourn to Phil Jones and Ben Santer:
    “He also said (and please treat this in confidence, which is why I
    emailed to you and Phil only) that he may be able to hold back the
    hardcopy (i.e. the print/paper version) appearance of Douglass et al.,
    possibly so that any accepted Santer et al. comment could appear
    alongside it.”

    Which is of course what actually happened. I believe that many people found this (and several other actions) wholly inappropriate.

    [Response: Where was that 'explicitly' requested by Santer? The editor is in charge of his journal, and he is entitled to schedule publications when he likes. I happen to agree with him that this was a good idea - but it is a triviality in the greater scheme of things because hardly anyone reads the paper copies any more. Now, the egregious errors in the Douglass et al paper - they were really something 'wholly inappropriate'. - gavin]

    Comment by Steve Fitzpatrick — 25 Feb 2010 @ 4:18 PM

  165. Andreas (#149), when you direct us to Sonja B-C’s articles in the peer-reviewed literature, are you doing that to establish “objectivity” and thus gain political power? Just curious to learn more about the interface of science and policymaking.
    ;)

    Comment by CM — 25 Feb 2010 @ 4:22 PM

  166. RE Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen #107

    Just, wow.

    Comment by Deech56 — 25 Feb 2010 @ 4:28 PM

  167. Hank Roberts 130

    One opinion I have is that if you keep going with this siege mentality you will continue to loose more and more of the public trust until they will cease to fund you. You don’t see this coming because you are paying attention to sovereign.

    Another opinion I have is that would be a terrible tragety for the world, but the world will survive.

    Read some of my copy paste, I’m not trying to debate you, I’m trying to get you to peek outside your box.

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 4:29 PM

  168. I cannot see how deliberate lies and distortions, slanders and libels, can be allowed to continue any longer. We have seen the numbers of Americans who “get” climate science fall from around 75% to around 50%.

    That’s a death sentence for us all. This is serious stuff.

    If the scientists can’t see that a vigorous response is not only warranted, but ethically and morally necessary, perhaps it is time for a class action, grassroots legal campaign against these… less than truthful individuals and organizations.

    Comment by ccpo — 25 Feb 2010 @ 4:42 PM

  169. Theo Hopkins (82)
    Steve Fitzpatrick (83)
    dhogaza (84)
    Nick Gotts (118) (134)
    CDC (226)
    Secular Animist (135)
    Here’s my legal “facts” about the internet email, a post card, not a letter.

    Email on the Internet

    While adopting a policy of sending personal email only from home is an obvious step towards protecting your privacy at work, it doesn’t guarantee that your messages will be fully protected from prying eyes. After your email leaves your home it travels over multiple online services and open networks to reach its destination. Although interception of email transmission — that is, snooping while an email is in “real-time” transmission between sender and receiver — is a federal crime under the Electronic Communications Protection Act (ECPA) (18 U.S.C.A 2517(4)), it has been accomplished by hackers.

    The ECPA also permits an ISP to look through all stored messages, including email awaiting you in your mailbox or recently sent and received mail. Some ISPs temporarily store all messages that pass through the system. The ECPA normally prevents the ISP from disclosing the messages to others, but even here there are exceptions. Law enforcement officials, when armed with proper warrants or administrative subpoenas, can gather basic information about users from ISPs, including their names, and also gain access to the content of stored messages. Also, once the email reaches its destination, the ECPA does not protect against snooping at the recipient’s mailbox.

    Some ISPs, worried about their own liability for the email content, require subscribers to conform to an End User Service Agreement that further reduces the user’s expectation of privacy with ISP-favorable terms. For example, the service agreement for one popular ISP states: “Service Provider has no obligation to monitor the Service, but may do so and disclose the information regarding the use of the Service for any reason if Service Provider in its sole discretion believes that it is reasonable to do so, including to satisfy governmental or legal requests.”
    Keeping Email Secret

    Ultimately, the only way to ensure a high degree of privacy for your messages on the Internet is to encrypt them. Encryption is a system in which sophisticated software using cryptographic algorithms garbles your message, sends it across the networks as gibberish and then — assuming the recipient has the correct digital “key” — reconstitutes it, or “decrypts” it.

    Commonly used public key technology uses two keys: one that is unique and private and one that is public and freely distributed to all users of a particular system. These keys only work when matched — what one scrambles, only the other can undo. These techniques can also verify the integrity of the data (that it wasn’t altered along the way) and authenticate it (check to make sure the stated creator is the person who sent the message).

    But successfully using encryption requires some foresight, because the person receiving the message has to be able to decode it. Two popular encryption standards are Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension (“S/MIME”) and Open Pretty Good Privacy (“OpenPGP”). Neither of these software products can decode the other’s algorithms.

    In the end, email’s speed and convenience outweighs its non-private nature for most every day discussions. But you should think of it like a postcard, not a letter — a message open to every eye along the way.”

    I already posted the GW professor who said we needed new legislation had no statues supported by case law.

    Come on guys, where are your legal “facts”. Scientists know that a lot of people saying or believing something doesn’t make it so.

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 4:57 PM

  170. My local newspaper published this editorial titled “Facts no longer mean what they once did” by Leonard Pitts.

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/02/21/1492484/facts-no-longer-mean-what-they.html

    From the editorial:
    “To listen to talk radio, to watch TV pundits, to read a newspaper’s online message board, is to realize that increasingly, we are a people estranged from critical thinking, divorced from logic, alienated from even objective truth. We admit no ideas that do not confirm us, hear no voices that do not echo us, sift out all information that does not validate what we wish to believe.”

    But the optimist in me still says all is not lost. Eventually scientific facts will win.

    Pete

    Comment by Pete Wirfs — 25 Feb 2010 @ 5:00 PM

  171. This was posted at Pielke Jnr’s blog regarding Inhofe’s repeated attacks on scientists:

    “Roger, I find your wording on this intriguing. You are seemingly critical of Inhofe, but at the same time you do not explicitly state that what he is doing or proposing is ridiculous in the extreme. Does he even know that several of those scientists on his list do not reside in the USA? This is McCarthyism all over again.

    You also say that “Senator Inhofe is not alone in serving up red meat for his partisan followers”.

    True, but you have been engaging in similar (dog whistle) tactics for some time now. Not for “partisan followers”, but for so-called “skeptics”. And don’t try and deny it; the evidence is on your very own blog and elsewhere on the web.

    Anyhow, what I want to know is *exactly* do you stand on this persecution of scientists by Inhofe? For example, Do you denounce or approve of what he is proposing?

    I would like to see you do a post on why what Inhofe is proposing is so wrong and to take him to task on it. Anything less can easily and reasonably be construed as support for Inhofe by you.”

    No response yet from Pielke Jnr.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 25 Feb 2010 @ 5:03 PM

  172. Last week “dispatches ” CBC radio ( audio available on the website) ran a segment on the banning of Minarets in Switzerland. A strategist for the anti- immegrant party was ademant: play to emotion, but do not make people think. My reaction may have been skewed by the slimew, but I first thought that a simple , no thought , programme was right.

    I have had my third shower and I now think that if the reactionary right is terrified of people thinking, the voices or reason should always try to provide the information base for independant thought. Mr. Sanders” reply hopefully will enable the thought process.

    John McManus

    Comment by John McManus — 25 Feb 2010 @ 5:11 PM

  173. #130

    > you warmers

    “What do you call the marine biologists concerned about pH change — acidifiers?”

    And how about this for those who believe in gravity — downers.

    Comment by Jerry Steffens — 25 Feb 2010 @ 5:14 PM

  174. Allen C wrote: “Exactly what is wrong with questioning the ‘ANSWERS’? Isn’t that what Galileo did?”

    Galileo pointed a telescope at the planets and reported what he observed.

    Back then, Galileo was threatened with torture by those who felt their wealth and power was threatened by the results of his scientific research.

    Now, legitimate climate scientists like the moderators of this site are being threatened with persecution and prosecution by the likes of Senator Inhofe — not to mention having their lives threatened by deranged, delusional, denialist Ditto-Heads — because the results of their research likewise threaten the wealth and power of the wealthy and powerful.

    Is that the parallel you were looking to elucidate?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 25 Feb 2010 @ 5:20 PM

  175. http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=climate+“60+year+cycle”

    Yeah, there’s discussion of it. No, there’s not enough there to explain the trend. Nothing new here.

    Please try to find something new and interesting to argue about.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Feb 2010 @ 5:26 PM

  176. MapleLeaf, funny Luke hasn’t been around to decry the uncalled for comment from Pielke.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Feb 2010 @ 5:38 PM

  177. Gavin,
    Re:your reply to my comment #164

    If delaying the Douglass et al printing so that Santer et al could appear along side was such a good idea, then why did Tim Osbourn ask that the information be held in confidence? I would venture that Osbourn believed people would see this as inappropriate; and I believe he was correct, people really do see it as inappropriate.

    If those involved just said something like “You know, we were upset about Douglas et al because we thought it was a really crappy paper, and because we were upset we did some things that, in hindsight, we probably should not have done.”, then the episode would become a non-issue. I just do not understand the steadfast defense of very questionable actions. Honestly, I just don’t see any value in it.

    [Response: So I should just agree with every random accusation because to defend myself for doing something that isn't wrong makes you feel that I'm a better person? Nonsense. There just isn't anything improper here. No-one asked for this to happen, the editor decided it would be appropriate - which was his prerogative. Who cares about this other than people who just want to find to nit to pick because Ben Santer is piñata of the month? Where are the hundreds of papers in the literature discussing the ethics of paper scheduling? They don't exist, because this isn't an ethical issue. It's just another manufactured faux controversy. Sorry. - gavin]

    Comment by Steve Fitzpatrick — 25 Feb 2010 @ 5:44 PM

  178. #169 John Peters

    Well it’s quite obvious that these e-mails were most likely not sniffed from server to server. That they resided on a certain server, and not just passing through. Of course sniffing can be quite illegal and a felony offense.

    Just a link for you to peruse.

    http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=13494

    The teen figured out Sarah Palin’s e-mail address he was indicted for crimes. Yet he didn’t hack anything in the literal sense but he did access without authorization her e-mail account.

    I can also show in different cases where people that worked at a company were found guilty of unauthorized access even though they worked at the company in question.

    I’m not sure how IT you are, but certainly it would be illegal regardless of whether it was hacked, insider, etc. It was unauthorized access to a computer which is against the law.

    Though there are certain less defined rulings on an employee who happened to copy his client list when leaving a company.

    Comment by JRC — 25 Feb 2010 @ 5:52 PM

  179. Wow. It is amazing how much people on this blog just don’t get it. There is a reason that even left leaning papers and blogs are starting to grant the skeptic camp a lot more respect. Some points:

    1) This whole approach that you will provide the raw data but that the skeptics should do their own work just doesn’t fly. Why not just send the files? They must or at least should be sitting on a computer somewhere and they can be sent in 30 seconds. I understand that you don’t want to provide the skeptics with ammunition, but the reality is that you have given them a bunch more ammunition by making it look like you have something to hide. You are losing this battle and you should just stop. Post the data, the intermediate data, the code, whatever.

    2) The whole reason you are getting FOI requests is #1. It is hard to have a whole lot of sympathy when you really brought this on yourself.

    3) While the glacier thing has been damaging to the IPCC, the really damaging thing was the head of IPCC denying it and calling the claims voodoo science right up to the point where he had to admit the error. Errors happen and evenone gets that, but the denial makes the whole thing look like a partisan hack job rather than scientists weighting the available evidence and just trying to get it right. This blog would have gaining a lot of credibility if it had talked to some of those real climate scientists and agreed that the claim was wrong. It was an opportunitiy missed.

    4) This blog is only making it worse with some of these addiitional allegations. Any fair reader (like the various reporters) can go through the skeptic blogs and it is clear that the IPCC blew it. Now maybe by using terms like “up to” the claims aren’t technifically untrue, but they are clearly misleading and shouldn’t have gotten in the report. Trying to defend them just makes this website look bad. Most of these mistakes aren’t that big a deal. Just call a mistake a mistake and work with the IPCC to make sure they don’t happen again. Actually finding an area of agreement with the skeptics would give you a lot more credibility.

    The contributors to this website need to wake up and smell the coffee. When you start losing people who are naturally sympathetic to your arguments you need to understand that you have lost. Maybe you were trying to do the right thing but you screwed up. You can keep denying your errors and continue down the same path or just fix it.

    My sense is that if you don’t fix it yourselves someone in the scientific community will fix it for you and your won’t like it one bit.

    Comment by Reasonable Observer — 25 Feb 2010 @ 5:56 PM

  180. “I have had my third shower and I now think that if the reactionary right is terrified of people thinking”

    I took you three–THREE–showers to figure that out??
    This latest contribution to RC is extremely valuable and in fact RC generally is extremely valuable, especially for someone as unversed in the science as I am.
    But it has occurred to me that what Gavin & Co. really need is a pack of full-time Bulldogs. I mean modern-day T. H. Huxleys with combativeness, showmanship and gift of gab combined with thorough knowledge of the science, the sort who could slug it out with the deniers so that serious scientists wouldn’t have to. In effect, people who could do for climate change science what Huxley did for Darwinian evolution.

    Comment by Sufferin' Succotash — 25 Feb 2010 @ 6:05 PM

  181. Reasonable Observer, your comment is a litany of ignorance and falsehoods, all delivered with sneering, belligerent arrogance.

    Which is not surprising since you seem to get all of your information from so-called “skeptic” blogs, which are dedicated to keeping people ignorant by spoon-feeding them lies and encouraging malice towards climate scientists.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 25 Feb 2010 @ 6:06 PM

  182. “1) This whole approach that you will provide the raw data but that the skeptics should do their own work just doesn’t fly”

    No, because it isn’t a plane.

    But this is how science is done.

    Pons and Fleischmann weren’t asked for their data. They were asked for their methods. And this didn’t stop scientists finding out that cold fusion by their method doesn’t happen.

    “2) The whole reason you are getting FOI requests is #1.”

    No, the whole reason they are getting FOI requests is because they want to halt any progress in science.

    Death by a thousand demands.

    Or don’t you know what spam is?

    “3) …but the denial makes the whole thing look like a partisan hack job …” So McIntyre’s, Monckton’s, G&T’s, Soon’s, Douglass’ (etc) denial about errors makes their work (which constitute the ENTIRETY of the denialist writings) look like a partisan hack job too.

    Yes?

    No?

    “4) …Now maybe by using terms like “up to” the claims aren’t technifically untrue, but they are clearly misleading”

    How about this:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/greenman3610#p/u/8/khikoh3sJg8

    Where after Latif says “…for a few…even ten years…” then gets turned into, by the magic of reporting “for ten or twenty years… at least” and “…thirty years…”.

    Which isn’t even technically true.

    I take it that any fair reporter would have seen these and noted that the denial industry is failing.

    Oh, no, not reported.

    Maybe it’s not fair reporting going on, then.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Feb 2010 @ 6:07 PM

  183. #107 Sonja writes

    “Sir John, as an example and there are many others, was much more than a scientist, he was and remains a reborn Christian who believes that pollution is a sin and that it is Man’s duty to save the planet whose demise he could foretell with science.”

    Well I was raised C of E and if I was still a Christian that’s pretty much what I’d think too. I don’t understand these fundamentalists who are happy to trash God’s creation just because Augustine decided nature was evil. If I was them I wouldn’t look forward to the Second Coming:

    Quando judex est venturus
    Cuncta stricte discusurus

    (apologies for any typos, I’m quoting from memory)

    However, most denialists seem to be secualr types who are worried that soc!alists want to take away their SUVs.

    Comment by calyptorhynchus — 25 Feb 2010 @ 6:15 PM

  184. > “To listen to talk radio, to watch TV pundits, to read a newspaper’s online
    > message board, is to realize that increasingly, we are a people estranged
    > from critical thinking ….

    Oh, there have always been folks like that, probably more of them in proportion.

    What’s changed is they’ve learned to type, and we’ve got electronic reproduction and telecommunications.

    Instead of a scrawl mailed to one newspaper editor, or wrapped around one rock and thrown through one window, the old way, nowadays this kind of text gets into type (and in many cases spellchecked, and certainly repeatedly copypasted) it somehow seems like there’s more people behind it.

    I blame public education (wry grin).

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Feb 2010 @ 6:34 PM

  185. Gavin,
    “It’s just another manufactured faux controversy.”

    I read the complete string of emails (as well as the Douglas and Santer papers), and I honestly disagree with your evaluation. I believe that your dismissal is symptomatic of what has caused climate scientists to lose credibility with a lot of honest and fair minded people. That loss of credibility is unfortunate, and very bad for climate scientists. For what it is worth, I personally believe that some prudent steps should be taken to reduce CO2 emissions, although I recognize that this will be a political, economic, and values based decision as much as one based on science. I am trying to help, not to criticize Ben Santer or anybody else.

    Thanks for allowing me to comment unedited.

    Comment by Steve Fitzpatrick — 25 Feb 2010 @ 6:40 PM

  186. Reasonable Observer @179, contrary to you moniker, your observations and accusations are anything but reasonable. Engaging you is hopeless if the above is your unreasonable starting point. There is more going on here than you will read at CA or WUWT or other contrarian blogs. Your expectations are unrealistic and unreasonable, your characterization of what has transpired incorrect and grossly oversimplified.

    I for one do not defend the errors in WG-II of AR4. The IPCC is going to have to make some changes, and I think that almost everyone here would agree with that.

    Pachauri was actually correct characterizing the content at CA, WUWT, AirVent, Lucia, it is pretty much all voodoo science. It might be compelling to the untrained eye, but it is pseudo-science nonetheless.

    In science one is often required to preface statements with caveats or words like ‘possibly”, b/c we do not know for sure. One cannot prove anything in science, mathematics yes, but not science.

    Also, on one hand if the IPCC says that they are 100% sure that we are contributing to global warming, then you would mock us for being arrogant and omniscient. Then we say we are >90% confident, and then you turn around and say, that is all hand wavy and not ‘technically true’ (whatever that means). There is just no pleasing you.

    The truth is that there will always be uncertainties, and scientists have ways for quantifying those uncertainties. If you expect certainty, then you clearly do not understand science. We know that increasing GHGs increase temperatures in the troposphere and cool the stratosphere. The key question is exactly how much warming there will be for doubling CO2, well much research and brainpower has been invested in that and the data all converge to around +3C warming for doubling CO2. Can we give a definitive number? No. Can we give a range and quantify the uncertainty? Yes, 1.5-4.5 C. It is worth noting that the PDF for the sensitivity has a long tail extending out to ~10C warming for doubling CO2.

    The AR4 (IPCC) was too conservative on it estimates of sea level rise, and Arctic sea ice loss.

    And lastly, if you think Steve McIntyre is an honest broker, then think again. And I mean really think critically and apply that skepticism of yours to the actions of those in denial. That would be the reasonable thing to do would it not?

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 25 Feb 2010 @ 6:45 PM

  187. If anyone ever wonders why Energy and Environment is not even suitable for wrapping stinky dead fish they should read Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen’s views on climate science and scientists in general. I have never read such a radical anti-science view by someone who is an editor of what she, and her fellow deniers, like to call a “science journal”.

    Comment by Ian Forrester — 25 Feb 2010 @ 6:51 PM

  188. > Jerry Steffens says: 25 February 2010 at 5:14 PM

    >>> #130
    >>> you warmers

    >> “What do you call the marine biologists
    >> concerned about pH change — acidifiers?”

    > And how about this for those who believe in gravity — downers.

    those who believe it’s natural cycles — unicyclists, bicyclists, tricyclists

    I suppose this belongs at DenialDepot, to recruit more sincere suggestions.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Feb 2010 @ 7:15 PM

  189. Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen: “Sir John, as an example and there are many others, was much more than a scientist, he was and remains a reborn Christian who believes that pollution is a sin and that it is Man’s duty to save the planet whose demise he could foretell with science.”

    I trust someone on the editorial board of E&E is getting their facts right about Sir John Houghton for a change. That said, I’d prefer to see Sir John confirm it first.

    Comment by J Bowers — 25 Feb 2010 @ 8:07 PM

  190. You can look this kind of thing up—college students are expected to be able to do this, to figure out if the’re looking at a peer-reviewed source or not.
    Any library can help you with this kind of question.

    For example:

    Peer-reviewed journals, University of Sydney Library
    Use these resources to check if a journal is refereed (peer-reviewed):
    http://www.library.usyd.edu.au/databases/peerreviewed.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Feb 2010 @ 8:09 PM

  191. Or, if you’re not a student (grin) you may want to use Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_&_Environment

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Feb 2010 @ 8:12 PM

  192. Ian @187: Can you link to that statement by SB-C please? I’d be interested to read it.

    Comment by Stephan Lewandowsky — 25 Feb 2010 @ 8:32 PM

  193. In response to #164.

    Seems to me that scheduling a critique of a paper(comment) to be published concurrent with the paper does nothing but improve the quality of the science.

    Do you have any substantial critique of the comment?

    It speaks volumes that this type of triviality is now one of the current obsessions of the confusionists.

    Comment by Peter Houlihan — 25 Feb 2010 @ 8:32 PM

  194. #179,

    You should check before making things up – this blog never defended “the glacier thing”. RealClimate never defended the claim. Quite the opposite. They did put it in context.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/02/ipcc-errors-facts-and-spin/#more-2832

    Read section: “Errors in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4)

    As far as we’re aware, so far only one–or at most two–legitimate errors have been found in the AR4:

    Himalayan glaciers: In a regional chapter on Asia in Volume 2, written by authors from the region, it was erroneously stated that 80% of Himalayan glacier area would very likely be gone by 2035.”

    Don’t have time to dig further into your misrepresentations. But, I think I’ve made my point.

    Comment by Peter Houlihan — 25 Feb 2010 @ 9:13 PM

  195. John Peter,
    Are you familiar with the nonreci-procal formulation of the 2nd Law of Thermo: It says that if you mix a teaspoon of wine with a gallon of sewage, you get sewage; if you mix a teaspoon of sewage with a gallon of wine you get sewage. I am afraid that is also true of science and anti-science.

    Science has existed in more or less its present form for about 150 years. It works. The reason why it works is because of the way it has structured its checks and balances and filters and incentives.

    You don’t become a scientist without about 20 years of hard work and crappy wages. A corollary is that you don’t become a scientist unless you are passionate about understanding your subject matter. The curiosity-driven nature of science is one of the things that makes scientific fraud extremely rare. It also means that any fraud is likely to be detected fairly quickly, since an interesting result will attract a large number of researchers trying to reproduce it just to understand it better.

    Science also rewards ambition while at the same time punishing too great an emphasis on personal ambition. The way to get ahead is to set aside personal agendas and work to advance understanding.

    Peer review, scientific consensus–all the elements that make up modern scientific methodology–they are all there for good reason. And as I say, it works–astoundingly well. There simply is no better human institution for delivering reliable knowledge. Because science works so well, I am loathe to tinker with it. Add or subtract one element, and at best, you may slow the process. At worst, you could wreck it. I’m very conservative when it comes to things that work, but then, fortunately, there aren’t too many of those things in life.

    “Auditing” is not part of the scientific method. It adds no value. The ersatz skeptics have added not one iota of understanding about Earth’s climate. Indeed, that is not their goal. They have no passion to understand the climate. So where is their incentive for progress? Where is their incentive to put aside personal agendas and push understanding forward? The methods of the auditors are sterile–as evidenced by their abysmal publication record. In fact their methods are VERY similar to those of creationists, HIV deniers, anti-vaxers, tobacco companies, etc. They all concentrate on tiny perceived chinks in the evidence while ignoring the mountains of evidence all around them.

    So, John, just as we cannot teach “ID” in the biology classroom, we also cannot compromise scientific methodology to accommodate the methods of the “auditors”. If they want to influence science, they will have to do science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Feb 2010 @ 9:31 PM

  196. Steve @ 185,

    you wrote:

    I read the complete string of emails

    So you read a compiliation of emails, stolen, and inferred context into them coming to a conclusion. Fair …. or not. Whatever string you read was “released” on purpose. You get that don’t you? You understand the entire record was not released, right? Have you questioned why? I wonder the reason all of the emails were flooding through the internet …. only some …. hmmm….

    It seems on dangerous ice to come to conclusions based on stolen emails …. but, then, I guess not everyone uses the same standard to come to sound conclusions.

    Best

    Comment by Kris Aydt — 25 Feb 2010 @ 9:40 PM

  197. Ben Santer, Phil Jones, Michael Mann and other climate scientists are undergoing a vicious attack intended to destroy their credibility as scientists, and to bully them into withdrawing from the debate. It is so sad to see people like Fred Pearce and Judith Curry drawn into this sordid business, even if that is not their intent.

    Several people commenting on this thread suggest that, since this smear effort has had some success, if scientists will just admit to what the public perceives, then all will be well.

    That is terrible advice and I am not sure it is offered in good faith. The proper approach is an honest and thorough response to the accusations. That is exactly what Ben Santer has done here, as have Gavin and others on earlier posts. If you truly think that throwing red meat to the people behind these accusations will satisfy them, I wonder what universe you are from. The scientific standard of objective honesty is the only approach.

    The greatest success of the campaign has been to shift the discussion from the science to procedure and politics. That is tragic. But I have a feeling that nature will soon redirect our attention.

    Ben, Gavin, Mike (and others), you guys are the age of my kids and you have become my heros. Not that that means much of anything, but please hang in there. This is the most critical issue of my lifetime (including MAD). I am deeply sorry that you have to put up with this nonsense.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 25 Feb 2010 @ 9:43 PM

  198. In this whole foolishness about scheduling of the print editions, the Steve Fitzs of the world are looking in the wrong direction. Editors usually know the field they are editing in (although there have been a fair number of editori printing stuff they were clueless about, or politically motivated to print:) Hi Princess Denial, good to see you in fine fettle).

    Silly stuff does get through though and it can be embarrassing. Pretty obviously the editor of the International Journal of Climatology knew he had put a stinker into electrons and was holding off printing it on paper as long as he could. The Santer, et al. manuscript was a gift from the gods, a clear refutation of Douglass, Christy, Singer and someone else whose name Eli forgets, nonsense, that actually advanced the state of the art in comparing observation and modeling. Guess what happened.

    No dumb bunnies here.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:12 PM

  199. Marco (144)

    An internet email is not like a letter, it’s like a postcard. Read and try to be more understanding of my post *169.

    An internet email is free, a post card (and postal workers) cost money. You get what you pay for in this 21st century. You better believe it! 8<)

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:17 PM

  200. #23 dhogaza: “JBowers might need some help with the inevitable denialist shout-down at the guardian.”

    Thanks for thinking of me, it’s touching. I’ve only had a couple of suggestions to stop breathing and the like at The Guardian… so far ;) They can turn into real bloodbaths over there. Of course, I’m then immediately accused of being abusive and a pinko commie in a very predictable manner, although today’s suggestion after a particularly trying ding-dong that the denialists should move to another planet to conduct their CO2 experiment on may not go down too well. Oh well, c’est la vie, it’s not like I do it often… at The Guardian, that is.

    I tip my hat to Ben Santer for his thorough rebuttal.

    Comment by J Bowers — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:21 PM

  201. Reasonable Observer says: 25 February 2010 at 5:56 PM

    1) This whole approach that you will provide the raw data but that the skeptics should do their own work just doesn’t fly.

    A few minutes’ reasonable observation of previous entries on this thread would have prevented you from making such an ignorant statement.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:21 PM

  202. The point of these attacks on scientists is that they are part of a well-funded attack by fossil-fuel companies. Steve McIntyre is their willing puppet.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:23 PM

  203. As someone who worked for 6 years as a technical editor on scientific journals for Elsevier Science Publishers, B.V., in Amsterdam, I can inform readers here that it would not be at all unusual to attempt to publish two related papers in the same issue and naturally this would involve paying attention to the production scheduling. And of course it also means that one paper might be delayed. So what?

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:29 PM

  204. Could global warming instigated by carbon dioxide pollution be causing the extinction of the honey bee around the world?

    [Response: No.]

    Along with the other purported causes like cell phone radiation and genetically modified crops. I understand that Bayer corporation is violently attacking biologists who suggest that GM crops are harmful to honey bees.

    “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”

    Albert Einstein

    [Response: The grasses, which include all the major cereal crops, are wind (or self) pollinated. Even Einstein made mistakes.--Jim]

    Comment by Howard Livingston — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:40 PM

  205. whoops… found it (above), ignore previous post.

    Comment by Stephan Lewandowsky — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:40 PM

  206. Ian Forrester (187)

    I’ve been mentioning sovereign debt in my posts lately but nobody’s taken the bait. You’re a bright guy, get around so do you know what sovereign debt is?

    What is the average temperature of Iceland? Did they really go bankrupt last year? What did they do?

    Is Greece going to follow Iceland? When? Will the Euro survive?

    How about the US? Why are those nasty Wall Street bankers 10% of US GDP? What will US unemployment be next year? In 2020?

    BTW UK is in worse shape than we are.

    Will California go bankrupt? How about Michigan? New Jersey?

    Bottom line. The world assets are less than 1/3 of available credit. Now, not at the end of the century.

    I’m only trying to get you to think about what’s on the minds of a lot of other folk these days.

    If scienttists would work for $10/hr, I expect Sonja (whoever she is) wouldn’t bother to share her views. She’d work on someone else.

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:42 PM

  207. MapleLeaf #186

    Hello

    The skeptics pay your salary. They have to pay attention to sovereign debt.

    Cheerio

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:46 PM

  208. Steve Fitzpatrick (185)

    Right on!

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:48 PM

  209. Hank Roberts (184)

    Hi again,

    I blame sovereign debt. Think about it

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:51 PM

  210. calyptorhynchus (183)

    Hi

    Iexpect their more worried about their job. You lose that first.

    cheers

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:54 PM

  211. 165 CM,
    I am trying to lure you all down into the abyss, haha

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:57 PM

  212. CFU (182)

    You said:
    “…I take it that any fair reporter would have seen these and noted that the denial industry is failing…”

    Along with just about every other industry.

    Except in China, they burn coal…8<(

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:00 PM

  213. Smitty (159) wrote:
    “Still I’m anxious to see if my contribution will be posted, RC has the reputation of aggressive moderation”

    A genuine skeptic might have been a little more skeptical before believing that claim ;-)

    If you follow RC very long, you’ll actually become amazed at their level of patience. They will respond to any legitimate questions and clarify things for those actually interested in learning something about climate science. But they will also block some comments when they are derogatory, far off-topic, or intentionally obtuse (they tend to allow those through a few times, but grow tired of it when the poster is unable/unwilling to grow-up).

    But keep in mind. There are a steady stream of newbies that come on here thinking they have the silver bullet which will destroy the evil theory of AGW. Patience is pretty short among most regulars for that kind of poster. If they aren’t willing to even click on the “Start Here” link at the top and attempt to educate themselves a little before posting, they don’t deserve a lot of patience.

    Comment by Ken W — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:00 PM

  214. SecularAnimist (181)

    Well come on now, they do pay your salary…

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:01 PM

  215. Sufferin’ Succotash (180)

    Where do you get the $$ to pay for bulldogs. PR is expensive.

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:03 PM

  216. Reasonable Observer (179)

    Hi, glad to meet a reasonable person.

    Good post. I guess you are someone who does know what sovereign debt is.

    Keep up the good work

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:07 PM

  217. 162 Ken W,
    What parts of the climate science peer reviewed literature do you follow? Sure, I can give you a few references, but what are you interested in? Sonja are saying many things, several are more or less accepted truths in the social sciences and she state these things on a general level. She also make some more strict factual claims (of which some are best judged by the physical scientists). And some normative claims where agreement mostly depends on whether you share her norms or not. Guess her claims are best backed up by her papers (not sure if she published recently, I have a couple of old ones that I have cited myself). She is also critiqued (among others for overstressing interests) and she is controversial within the social science community, also because of her political views on climate change. Give me a reply and I will give you a couple of references.

    As a starter I give you these two (not because they agree with Sonja, but because I like these papers, they are well cited and within the same kind of discussion):

    Cohen, S., Demeritt, D., Robinson, J., Rothman, D. (1998) Climate change and sustainable development: towards dialogue. Global environmental change 8(4):341-371

    Demeritt, D. (2001) The construction of global warming and the politics of science. Annals of the association of American geographers 91(2):307-337

    And these two books:

    Jasanoff, S., Wynne, B. (1998) Science and decisionmaking. In: Rayner S, Malone E (eds) The societal framework. Human choice and climate change, vol 1.

    Jasanoff S (ed) States of knowledge: The co-production of science and the social order.

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:13 PM

  218. JRC (178)

    Thanks for the link.

    “…”Unauthorized access” entails approaching, trespassing within, communicating with, storing data in, retrieving data from, or otherwise intercepting and changing computer resources without consent. These laws relate to either or both, or any other actions that interfere with computers, systems, programs or networks…”

    My IT internet support were all authorized so I thought we had consent. I told the users in their terms of agreement, to encrypt if they wanted privacy. I also had it in our privacy policy.

    Oh well, live and learn I always say. 8<))

    I admit it's a murkey area but did the teen get convicted? A judge or jury determines whether or not we're guilty. Prosecuters just claim and you're innocent until proven guilty in the US.

    My GW Law proffessor said we would need new legislation to make conviction possible. If you can get bail and hang in there, the prosecutor will usualy give up.

    Do you know of any convictions?

    Thanksagain

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:28 PM

  219. “[Response: The grasses, which include all the major cereal crops, are wind (or self) pollinated. Even Einstein made mistakes.--Jim]” well, yes JIm, but man does not live by bread, or rice, alone. If the the honey bees are doomed, for whatever reason, or combination of reasons, then legume crops and fruits, to name just two foodstuffs, are doomed, and human diet is going to get a lot less interesting and nourishing.

    Comment by David Horton — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:28 PM

  220. Steve Fitzpatrick (177)

    I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:30 PM

  221. Ray Ladbury says: 25 February 2010 at 9:31 PM

    That was an exceptionally fine summary, worth pinning on the wall.

    I especially liked this bit:

    The curiosity-driven nature of science is one of the things that makes scientific fraud extremely rare. It also means that any fraud is likely to be detected fairly quickly, since an interesting result will attract a large number of researchers trying to reproduce it just to understand it better.

    Put another way, the more things misbehave or are inexplicable, the more fascinating they are and the more driven by mystification researchers will be, compelled in a way some would call pathological to satisfy both their curiosity and ambition.

    This is something I think a lot of rejectionists fail to understand. If by some unlikely circumstance it turns out that our climate does not behave roughly as folks such as Gavin Schmidt have modeled it, that’s not going to kill the fascination and ambitions of researchers focused on understanding the behavior of the ocean-atmosphere system. Quite the opposite– researchers in the field will be burning with curiosity to how the system has been misunderstood, and falling all over themselves to be first with a solid result explaining where things went wrong and what is a better approximation. Many rejectionists seem to imagine this is like football or some other game, where a “team” loses and leaves the field in humiliation, but that’s not a good model at all.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:43 PM

  222. John Peter@199 – Where can I get some of this free internet you have? My ISP charges me one he-doublehockeysticks of a lot more than the post office and in exchange they also assure me they will abide by the privacy laws of this country, and I DO expect to get what I pay for.

    Comment by flxible — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:45 PM

  223. “An internet email is not like a letter, it’s like a postcard.”

    An electronic *copy* of a previously sent e-mail sitting on a private e-mail server…is NOT “like a postcard”. The derivation is left as an exercise for the reader.

    Your point does not lead to the implication that you think it does.

    Comment by Lotharsson — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:59 PM

  224. “I mean send him several times a day massive volumes of your data relevant or not in the spirit of cooperation. Include him on all your email lists no matter what they are so he gets 10000 emails a day reminding people to clean the upstairs fridge on Friday. I mean too much information is surely better than none for him.”

    It’s an awesome way to manage a micromanager…but I suspect the problem with McIntyre is not micromanaging, but cherry-nit-picking (if I can make up a term). You can see this by his choice of nits to pick…the nits have a well-known anti-AGW bias ;-)

    Comment by Lotharsson — 26 Feb 2010 @ 12:06 AM

  225. I agree with Reasonable Observer, the Climate science community similar to my own geologist community tend to live in their own academic world and their studies are not understood by 90% of the rest of humanity.
    Because science in the last two centuries has been largely responsible for changing civilization for the better and improving lifestyles, scientists as a group have been considered relatively apolitical and generally trustworthy, and respected in society.
    Enter the climate debate!- as a concerned bystander in the AGW debate -and it has become a real debate, not so much in scientific journals but in the public domain mainly in the “blogosphere”- it is evident that due to the science influencing the political arena as a consequence your community is now exposed to heavy world wide scrutiny.

    Naturally the public and big business at large doesn’t want to believe that their lifestyles and profits will be affected strongly by catastrophic future climate change and don’t necessarily want to pay for costly measures to militate against it right now.
    This is especially the case for Cap in trade / ETS policies where the same “financially savvy” people who gave us the GFC stand to profit from the proposed carbon trading schemes that have proved such a failure so far in Europe.
    Therefore the skeptics-deniers from all backgrounds- question the science behind the predictions hoping that they will be found to be wrong or not proven and so the mess can be avoided or mitigation will be less painful.
    This is not necessarily malicious or underhand and it is actually good for science to be more rigorously vetted by the broader not just the peer community- given the way that research funding has become ever more a political game and less objective.
    You have to admit that climate science has now become a political football and needs to be better understood by elected decision makers for the wider community, so they can make properly informed choices for us all.

    The IPCC practice of sexing up conclusions in legitimate research studies to suit particular political goals and frighten the public into submission is not to be condoned.
    Now that various gross errors have been detected in the IPCC political reports, particularly the temperature data manipulation to eliminate the Little ice age and other modern cooler periods, and the obvious person bias to AGW shown by the Jones clique of “Climategate” scientists; the educated public suspects it has been duped by climate change experts- political spin merchants and wants the evidence verified.
    As a scientist, I am more concerned about the integrity of the science process and our standing in the general community, now that the collapse of the political consensus on AGW has occurred after the Copenhagen debacle.

    Getting back to that science- It is clear the results of your collective research on global climate change show a general fluctuating mildly warming trend and a possible correlation with GHG escalation that is likely human induced in part. This is fair enough as it goes, however to then take this trend and subject to various climate forcing agencies in climate models to predict rapid uncontrolled global warming with consequent severe environmental problems for society in coming decades really amounts in my view to improbable scary science fiction!.

    I don’t admit to any predetermined disbelief in AGW, but having read a selection of recommended peer reviewed articles and portions of the 2007 IPCC report, I understand that global climate changes are different in the Northern and Southern hemispheres and we have a lot to learn about wind and ocean current patterns, and the effects of GHG.
    To single out and blame CO2 as a major driver in this AGW process is only an educated guess based on the evidence I have seen, because the limitations of other drivers are so poorly understood in particular the effects of solar irradiation. To build a whole political castle in the sky based on alleged CO2 pollution is irresponsible and asking for trouble.
    We the public need to see the smoking gun re CO2, and in my opinion you have not done that yet. I believe you have shown human civilization induced GHG’s are a factor as are sulphate aerosols but do they far outweigh natural climate pattern effects such as El Niño, volcanic eruptions and solar changes?- I strongly doubt it.

    You need to build confidence in this science by focussing on the understanding the key drivers of climate change, the relative importance of AGW and how this may reasonably effect our society in the short and long term. Goodluck!

    Comment by Bob Close — 26 Feb 2010 @ 12:13 AM

  226. 158 Are you completely unaware that the “oil and coal people” who “demand scientific honesty” are paying the same lobbyists who “fought the corner” of the tobacco companies?

    I’ve been wondering….What field of science makes one an expert on both the climate and the health effects of smoking?

    Mendaciology?

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 26 Feb 2010 @ 12:17 AM

  227. 159 Still I’m anxious to see if my contribution will be posted, as RC has the reputation of aggressive moderation.

    You obviously haven’t been reading the comments lately. If they have been aggressively moderated, I’d LOVE to see the redacted comments.

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 26 Feb 2010 @ 12:19 AM

  228. Dr. Santer, thanks for fighting the good fight. The truth will win out, I just wish that you did not have to endure all the nonsense, threats of violence and nastiness that are unfortunately associated with fighting for the truth and integrity of science. Again, a sincere thanks.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 26 Feb 2010 @ 12:22 AM

  229. Re: 169 John Peter says: 25 February 2010 at 4:57 PM
    “Come on guys, where are your legal “facts”. Scientists know that a lot of people saying or believing something doesn’t make it so.”

    You’re justifying theft on the grounds that emails, once they’re sent basically have a life of their own. Yes? The sender can not expect privacy once such a transmission leaves his computer.

    In the first place the first of the emails was from 1996, fifteen years old, well prior to any adjudications regarding privacy. It’s likely the senders did assume or expect privacy at the time. They can hardly be blamed for being unaware of current thinking on the subject.

    The fact is that the emails were just part of the package of archived information that was stolen. Are you saying that pdf files, raw data, program codes and word processing documents also fall under the umbrella of electronically recorded property without expectation of remaining secure?
    documents: 166.1 MB
    mail 10.2 MB

    The theft wasn’t from emails floating around in cyberspace. The theft was of an archive of all sorts of data that qualifies as intellectual property. It was CRU property that was stolen. A bank heist set up by some one on the inside doesn’t make it any less of a crime. Leak, hack, whatever. A theft is a theft.

    “Who leaked the Hadley CRU files and why”
    “Other commenters have observed that the very form and organization of the archive, which expands to 168 MB of text files, word-processing documents, PDF files, raw data, and even program code, indicate that someone already having access to the system logged in through his usual channels, made the archive, and then logged out.”

    Here’s an interesting take on the emails…
    No, climatologist Paul Dennis did _not_ leak the CRU data; there was cracking involved
    http://ijish.livejournal.com/3744.html

    Comment by Tim Jones — 26 Feb 2010 @ 12:25 AM

  230. Smitty @ 159

    ” As a skeptic, I am interested in challenging my positions. It strengthens them. The elite, prominent climate scientists might try it. If your hard work withstands independent scrutiny, you gain true confidence in your conclusions.”

    The object is to gain better insight into reality, not to publicly hash out and harden ones self-esteem issues.

    “Resisting the scientific process stunts the progression of knowledge.”

    “Elite, prominent climate scientists, resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.”

    Has it occurred to you that just maybe the “elite, prominent climate scientists” here might have a much better grasp of the scientific process and how it should be practiced than do you? Did you think to check, Smitty?

    “I’m not a climate scientist,so I pose no threat.”

    wow

    Comment by Radge Havers — 26 Feb 2010 @ 12:31 AM

  231. Ray (195)

    Another excellent post! If you haven’t done so already, you should look into writing a book. You are an excellent advocate.

    You’re pretty good on science, how are you on auditing?
    Scientific programs get audited all the time. The audits are often called technical evaluations.

    There are three types of audits – internal, external, and consultive (Wickipedia audit – read it)

    What I was posting earlier was to get together with McIntyre – “better to have em inside pissing out, than outside pissing in”, the second unwritten law of engineering. What Judith says less crudely is get your former enemies, the deniers, with you as internal auditors, or you’ll get joe 6-pack as an outside auditor. I’ll make book on it, you’ll all prefer Steve McIntyre as an outside auditor to Inhofe or Gingrich or Palin.

    Again, I think your post is great. I agree with you about the joys of science. Why else would I want to learn climate science?

    Unfortunately, my second law of thermodynamics memory is pretty dim. I do remember we used to sing:

    Increasing, decreasing, increasing, decreasing
    what the heck do we care what the enthropy does?

    That said, if your “nonreci-procal formulation of the 2nd Law of Thermo” has anything to do with radiation chemistry in clouds, I’d sure appreciate learning about it. I studied from Hertzberg’s Diatomic, but I’m currently trying to work through Goody and Yung. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    Comment by John Peter — 26 Feb 2010 @ 12:42 AM

  232. Speaking of absurd: From Climate Progress: “Sen. Inhofe inquisition seeking ways to criminalize and prosecute 17 leading climate scientists” including RC people. Putting the link here causes rejection as spam.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 26 Feb 2010 @ 1:14 AM

  233. In response to Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen at #107:

    What in general is a scientist’s “environmental belief”? Does she suggest that the Christian faith she attributes to Sir John Houghton – saying he is “a reborn Christian who believes that pollution is a sin and that it is Man’s duty to save the planet” – is common to all scientists? That’s plainly absurd, but the lady doth go on …

    Sonja assures us that “business people and investors (like Al Gore and the BBC) hope to make money out [of] the ‘response strategies’ to the warming threat”. The BBC? It’d make more money out of a documentary or three deconstructing some of the gibberish people like her talk, I should think.

    “Science and ideology (political belief) cannot be separated in individual people” says Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen. She’s joking?! I think what she means is that she as a political scientist is indeed a political scientist, not a physical or natural scientist. Otherwise she ought to get started publishing her thesis because Nature (the bit we live in not the journal) is I’m sure just hanging on her every word to hear about its political belief system. She should be joking, it’s funnier that she’s clearly not.

    “Science, selected and diluted, has always been used and misused for the justification of policy ambitions” she says. Dear Sonja this is called “politics” not “science”. You can’t help but conflate the two completely different things in your mind but that’s a quirk of you and your journal, not science itself.

    “Like I they [my tribe] are suspicious of environmentalism … ” and – we should care?

    “Scientists must become aware … that only they possess the truth”. Completely pointless point so I imagine Sonja will appreciate my creative editing of it for her, or at least accept my political right to rearrange her words to amuse my own comic prejudices. “Political scientist” is turning out to be an oxymoron I suspect.

    “IMHO, the RealClimate group and their allies in quite a few other countries deserve criticim less for their science than for how they have ‘marketed’ and ‘branded’ their research outputs as true and above criticism.” Well! – truly spoken like one from a world of delusion where “marketing” and “branding” rule and science is either unknown or fears for its life.

    “… value judgments … hiding … the politics of science, a much neglected subject”.
    Laughing out loud, the chutzpah of her! Of course the IPCC and world leaders should listen more to Sonja than scientists on science, this much is quite clear.

    Sonja goes on to misrepresent the 1992 Convention on Climate Change, in the process showing why she’s in politics not science. Clear thinking is essential for one but just useful for the other.

    Finally “Challenging this justification – the climate threat to the planet and humanity – is indeed High Politics” and further gibberish. Well it sounds to me Sonja more like a job for science than for politics so perhaps you might like to sit it out, let the grown-ups get back to work, calm yourself a little?

    What a joke.

    Comment by john frankis — 26 Feb 2010 @ 1:46 AM

  234. Mr. John Peter wrote at 25 February 2010 at 10:42 PM:

    “If scienttists would work for $10/hr…”

    Sir, I am a once and sometime physicist, and as a grad student and postdoc I routinely worked at least eighty hours a week. Often more. Every week. Years on end. Both experimental and theoretical physics. I once calculated that, as a postdoc, I was making far less than minimum wage.

    The professors I have worked with put in similar amounts of time, were paid better, but nowhere near the hourly rates that the unionized janitors made.

    So I quit.

    Work for myself these days, but still, I volunteer, work with my ex advisor, develop some large scale codes for free, and for my personal curiosity. The money isn’t why I did it, or why I continue. The money just ain’t there.

    Don’t get me started on the status and working conditions of grad students, or of the systemic corruption of an academic system that exploits people because they love a subject.

    sidd

    Comment by sidd — 26 Feb 2010 @ 2:27 AM

  235. Yet another reason to sign my petition.

    Ben, whatever these clowns say about you, their antics are no substitute for producing a superior theory that better explains the evidence.

    And that is … ? This may give you an idea.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 26 Feb 2010 @ 4:04 AM

  236. In response to #204 Howard Livingston:

    [Response: The grasses, which include all the major cereal crops, are wind (or self) pollinated. Even Einstein made mistakes.--Jim]

    Einstein was indeed human. In this instance he made the very serious mistake of being quoted saying something he almost certainly never said.

    In today’s world, he could be a climate scientist :(

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 26 Feb 2010 @ 4:13 AM

  237. > What do you call the marine biologists concerned about pH change — acidifiers?

    “de-basifiers” ;-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 26 Feb 2010 @ 4:23 AM

  238. The UK has some of the strongest libel laws on the planet, they should not be used to argue science or silence opinion but they should certainly be used when every paper in the land is falsely accusing you of criminal activity.

    Many people will see your lack of legal action as a tacit admission of guilt and perhaps this is what is happening at the Gaurdian. Stop being such nice guys! As loathsome as a court case sounds you need to vigoursly defend your hard earned reputations and hit the sources of the worst allegations where it will hurt them the most, in their back pockets. If you fail to stand up to such bully boy tactics then it’s only going to get worse.

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 26 Feb 2010 @ 4:42 AM

  239. #161

    I choose to try to get you and the deniers together. Bank auditors get along well with bankers they do different jobs but they have the same objective. Success.

    Scientific authors get along fine with their reviewers too, and with those attempting replication or otherwise checking their work — often appreciating their effort to the point of mention in the acknowlegements.

    Now, try and imagine a gang of doctrinary, unrepentant marxists-leninists insisting on ‘auditing’ the bankers… just try. Actually the mental image is quite entertaining ;-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 26 Feb 2010 @ 4:57 AM

  240. Allen C (153): Science is never settled.

    BPL: Does the Earth orbit the sun? Is gravity inverse-square? How many protons does a hydrogen atom have? Will those questions ever be settled, do you think?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 26 Feb 2010 @ 5:05 AM

  241. But it has occurred to me that what Gavin & Co. really need is a pack of full-time Bulldogs. I mean modern-day T. H. Huxleys with combativeness, showmanship and gift of gab combined with thorough knowledge of the science, the sort who could slug it out with the deniers so that serious scientists wouldn’t have to. In effect, people who could do for climate change science what Huxley did for Darwinian evolution.

    Hear, hear.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 26 Feb 2010 @ 5:09 AM

  242. The misnamed Reasonable Observer: This whole approach that you will provide the raw data but that the skeptics should do their own work just doesn’t fly.

    BPL: We should do their work FOR them? Gee, you must have been a real hit with your professors. “Why is a hard question like this on the test? Why don’t you show me how to do it, step by step?” Because you’re supposed to be able to do it on your own. Duh!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 26 Feb 2010 @ 5:12 AM

  243. Sufferin’ (180),

    Arrange a debate for me with any of those denier blowhards and I will do my best to kick their sorry asses. Metaphorically speaking, of course. I know basic radiation physics and I’m not afraid to use it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 26 Feb 2010 @ 5:14 AM

  244. JB (189): Sir John is, like myself, an evangelical Christian. The stuff about his motives Sonja made up.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 26 Feb 2010 @ 5:17 AM

  245. Hi, thanks a lot for your work. I urge everybody here to send a mail to the Guardian asking them to correct their articles and guarantee a complete investigation of the facts in their future work. I copy-paste below the letter I sent, for interested readers to get inspiration from.

    “Hello,

    I have been following the environmental pages of The Guardian for quite some time now, and have always enjoyed your broad, documented and scientifically sound way of exposing the facts, providing your readers with high quality information.
    It might help you understand my mail by mentioning that I have a very strong scientific education [...] Science has been part of my daily life for almost ten years now, and its methods have definitely helped me understand much more than what is limited to my research field.

    I know that every single argument must be justified and proven using the appropriate mathematical tools, or experiments following a defined and rigorous procedure. And getting a result is not enough, the argument must be contemplated from different aspects in order to fully validate it. And I believe the same applies to journalism as well.

    In your series of articles dealing with the “climategate” you have several times failed to investigate what really happened by asking the concerned scientists about their own version of the story. You have failed in giving them the opportunity to once and for all give publicly their version of the facts and face it to the unfounded and dishonest attacks orchestrated by lobbies and free market dogmatists they have been the target of. In other words, you have given the attackers full coverage and silenced the victims.
    This is not journalism as it should be. Now those scientists must spend precious time justifying themselves on realclimate.org, with proofs and details that you should have given in your series of articles. Two lengthy posts (links provided) have been published those last days, explaining and debunking methodically some of your articles. Unfortunately in this “debate” skeptic readers will never go and check the other version on such a website. They will take what you write for granted. And what you write is biased, incomplete and deeply unfair. What you write is a signal to manipulating lobbies and think tanks, that they are winning the war against science.

    This is not what I was expecting from The Guardian. This is not what I expected from Fred Pearce either. There is a disinformation, anti-science campaign raging against climate science and The Guardian has the duty to keep to its high quality standards and give an objective overview of the issue. The public opinion believes less and less in AGW although the scientific community as a whole gets more confident every day about it. Scientists know the physics, laymen don’t. You, The Guardian, the media, shape the public opinion by acting as an intermediary between scientists and readers. What you are doing right now by misrepresenting real facts is failing to your job. And given the consequences of climate change on our societies, a failure of the media to do their job correctly could mean a failure of our civilization as well.

    I urge you to correct your articles by updating them according to the information provided by the concerned climate scientists on http://www.realclimate.org. I hope you will take more time in the future to contact the concerned persons before writing any such incomplete posts. I understand that time costs money, but by choosing sensationalism over high quality investigations you will risk losing many readers, me included. By participating in delaying any necessary action on climate change, you will put countless lives at stake. Please do not. Provide your readers with the whole truth.

    Best regards,

    Julien C.

    Comment by Julien — 26 Feb 2010 @ 5:38 AM

  246. In the news to-day; how significant? (a bit off topic)

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8538060.stm

    [Response: I've actually been to the Mertz glacier tongue which is (was) a very odd thin 'river' of ice sticking out for kilometers into the ocean. I'm actually surprised we've never seen it knocked out by a passing iceberg before. Very interesting for what impact it might have on local ecosystems (which are quite closely tied to the presence of the glacier tongue and the 'shadow' polynya to the side), but climatically, this is not going to be significant. - gavin]

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 26 Feb 2010 @ 5:50 AM

  247. So questioning the “ANSWERS” is not allowed? Exactly what is wrong with questioning the “ANSWERS”? Isn’t that what Galileo did? Isn’t that what Einstein did? (btw, Einstein was not a physicist; he was a worker at the patent office at the time.) So one must accept the religion of the “ANSWERS” or what? Science is never settled. – Allen C@153

    Right, so it isn’t settled that the earth is roughly spherical rather than flat, or that the sun is considerably larger than the earth? Really? If you want to be taken seriously, you don’t waste your time and everyone else’s pretending that nothing is ever settled to the extent that science should move on to other questions. BTW, you’re wrong about Einstein: he was a physicist working in the patent office. As wikipedia says: “Much of his work at the patent office related to questions about transmission of electric signals and electrical-mechanical synchronization of time, two technical problems that show up conspicuously in the thought experiments that eventually led Einstein to his radical conclusions about the nature of light and the fundamental connection between space and time.” Incidentally, are you seriously comparing yourself, or other denialists, to Galileo and Einstein? That way, madness lies.

    I told Nick mea culpa and I didn’t mean to cast aspersions. Read # 118 – John Peter@161

    A complete falsehood. You neither withdrew nor accepted blame for the unjustified aspersions you deliberately and maliciously cast against Ben Santer.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 26 Feb 2010 @ 5:53 AM

  248. Several people commenting on this thread suggest that, since this smear effort has had some success, if scientists will just admit to what the public perceives, then all will be well.

    That is terrible advice and I am not sure it is offered in good faith. – Ron Taylor

    I am pretty sure it is not offered in good faith. The phenomenon of the “tone troll”, who appears on a blog to say “I basically agree with you, but saying/doing X harms your case”, where X is the most effective argument or action, is well known in the blogosphere.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:07 AM

  249. The thing that gets me about all this “heavy moderation” is how bad it is. Even if 1000 posts are removed by moderation, please explain the 100′s of nutcase posts that get through.

    [Response: Argue with the nutcases all you want, but posts that consist of 'You're a nutcase' and similar are just noise. This goes for everyone: unsubstantive comments that consist only of abuse of other commenters are not welcome. - gavin]

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:14 AM

  250. “Except in China, they burn coal…8<("

    You mean, they're the biggest producer worldwide of renewable energy harvesting.

    The US burns coal, you know….

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:15 AM

  251. Andreas, and we hate you for it. Ha ha ha ha.

    http://xkcd.com/707/

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:16 AM

  252. I am amused at the use of the term denialist by many contributors to this website. Most seem to be in denial themselves that the wheels are coming off the agwarmer bus, and that there is plenty of science in WUWT, unlike this ‘sainted’ blog. The last 5 articles (over 2 weeks) have been 3 attacks on English newspapers including 2 incomprehensible attacks on the Grauniad, (previously without sin) a description of an i-fone App confusingly described as sceptical when it isn’t and another rehash of climategate etc.

    Where is all the climate science? Answer in WUWT, Climate Audit, Roy Spencer, Pielke Sr and Junior, etc. Most recent scientific evidence demonstrates that the agwarming case has been at least a mite over-egged. Based on the current state of knowledge most reasonable observers would conclude that burning fossil fuels is not going to cause catastrophe.

    We need to conserve energy because it is valuable and scarse. But the current anti-carbon policies have distorted the market with scarse natural gas (higher H, lower C) preferred to plentiful coal so electric companies can improve their ‘carbon footprint’. Who does that distortion benefit?

    Comment by votenotokyoto — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:17 AM

  253. I see John Peter is now trying to turn the discussion to sovereign debt. Why? His justification appears to be:

    I’m only trying to get you to think about what’s on the minds of a lot of other folk these days.

    Actually, John Peter, most people no more spend their time thinking about sovereign debt than about AGW or the pseudogates, as I’m sure you know.

    If scienttists would work for $10/hr, I expect Sonja (whoever she is) wouldn’t bother to share her views. She’d work on someone else.

    That you don’t know who Sonja is indicates that you are ignorant about the interface between climate science and politics which you have been pontificating about. Why not take the time to learn a little? The issues have nothing to do with scientists’ salaries (no-one goes into science, let alone climate science, to get rich); everything to do with fossil fuel industry profits. Moreover, your frequently repeated implication that “We pay your wages, so you have to placate us” is absurd and self-defeating. If your physician says you should stop smoking, lose weight, take more exercise, do you get all huffy and tell them they need to show you all their intermediate calculations? Only if you’re a fool.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:18 AM

  254. CFU @176:

    “MapleLeaf, funny Luke hasn’t been around to decry the uncalled for comment from Pielke.”

    I pulled you up on the other thread because I respect and agree with a lot of what you post here and I thought that your comment to Charlie Chutney was unworthy of you.

    Would you rather I put you on the internal ignore list I reserve for Pielke and others of his ilk?

    Regards
    Luke

    Comment by Luke Silburn — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:44 AM

  255. “Putting the link here causes rejection as spam.”

    Probably because it is.

    :-)

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:49 AM

  256. “216
    John Peter says:
    25 February 2010 at 11:07 PM

    Reasonable Observer (179)

    Hi, glad to meet a reasonable person.

    Good post. I guess you are someone who does know what sovereign debt is.”

    http://www.investorwords.com/4630/sovereign_debt.html

    If you think post 179 is indicating anything to do with sovereign debt, then you do not know what it means.

    This does however concord with your normal apparent knowledge of just about everything.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:57 AM

  257. Bob Close says:
    26 February 2010 at 12:13 AM

    “Now that various gross errors have been detected in the IPCC political reports, particularly the temperature data manipulation to eliminate the Little ice age and other modern cooler periods, and the obvious person bias to AGW shown by the Jones clique of “Climategate” scientists; the educated public suspects it has been duped by climate change experts- political spin merchants and wants the evidence verified.”

    In reality they have been duped by sceptic bloggers and the rightward-leaning sections of the media, as the LIA (and the MWP, for that matter) is clearly visible in graphs in IPCC reports. A scientist like yourself should know that.

    Comment by Dave G — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:58 AM

  258. “215
    John Peter says:
    25 February 2010 at 11:03 PM

    Sufferin’ Succotash (180)

    Where do you get the $$ to pay for bulldogs. PR is expensive.”

    Indeed it is, and there’s nowhere near the money for PR in climate research that there is overflowing in the fossil fuel industry. Never mind the rest of large industry that is sick-scared of any government intervention in the normal business of companies (which seems to be “screw over the customer as hard as possible”).

    Which is why so many pitbulls attacking climate science are seen.

    Lots of money in that black gold…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 Feb 2010 @ 7:00 AM

  259. Bob Close@225,
    I do not know what scientific articles you have read, but you clearly do not understand the science. CO2 is a known greenhouse gas. Arrhenius predicted anthropogenic CO2 would warm the climate way back in 1896. This is not an argument by correlation, it is a confirmation of a prediction based on physics. You need to unlearn what you think you know and start over.
    Start with this:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Feb 2010 @ 8:51 AM

  260. Doug Bostrom,
    Thanks, but Isaac Asimov said it better and more succinctly than I did:

    “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not Eureka! (I found it!) but rather, ‘hmm… that’s funny…’”
    - Isaac Asimov

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Feb 2010 @ 9:09 AM

  261. 156Barton Paul Levenson says:

    Wow, severe misundrstandings (but I do not say Sonja are right, only that you fail understanding what she is saying) and intellectual crap logic:
    A is friend with B -> therefore is analysis X wrong because A do not like it. It is the logic of a denialist. And you guys are NOT a tight knit community of peers defending each other (tribalism). Come on! Please, a little bit more honesty [edit] from you guys. I am afraid I have to say, again, that many of you are very ignorant of a great many issues of importance outside of your limited fields of expertise …

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 26 Feb 2010 @ 9:21 AM

  262. Bob Close wrote :

    “The IPCC practice of sexing up conclusions in legitimate research studies to suit particular political goals and frighten the public into submission is not to be condoned.
    Now that various gross errors have been detected in the IPCC political reports, particularly the temperature data manipulation to eliminate the Little ice age and other modern cooler periods, and the obvious person bias to AGW shown by the Jones clique of “Climategate” scientists; the educated public suspects it has been duped by climate change experts- political spin merchants and wants the evidence verified.”

    Can you give any examples of that ‘sexing up’ and those ‘gross errors’ ? You mention ‘temperature data manipulation’ and ‘obvious person bias to AGW’ but it is not at all clear what you are going on about. Could you be more specific ?
    What evidence would you like verified ?

    Comment by JMurphy — 26 Feb 2010 @ 9:25 AM

  263. Gee, voteno, no wonder you are confused if you are looking for your climate science on the intertubes. Why not try the peer-reviewed journals–you know, the ones where McI, micro-Watts et al. don’t publish.

    Funny thing. Ice is still melting. January was the warmest ever–even by MSU measurements. 2009 was the 2nd warmest year on record. Huh, looks to me like the world’s still warming. Maybe drop reality a line now and again. She misses you.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Feb 2010 @ 9:38 AM

  264. Bob Close sez:

    I agree with Reasonable Observer, the Climate science community similar to my own geologist community tend to live in their own academic world and their studies are not understood by 90% of the rest of humanity.

    I have no problem with the notion that speci-alists in your field of geology understand things that lay people, including scientists in other fields, do not.

    To single out and blame CO2 as a major driver in this AGW process is only an educated guess based on the evidence I have seen…

    You’re not a physicist, yet you’re arguing that you understand physics better than physicists do, and that all this work that’s been done starting with Tyndall is nothing but “educated guessing”.

    Think about what you said in my second quote in light of what you said in my first quote.

    Of course, your claim that 150 years of physics which show that without CO2 in the atmosphere the earth would be extremely cold is wrong is no more that a statement of personal incredulity.

    To a physicist, your claim is equivalent to someone telling you, a geologist, that the earth is only 6,000 years old.

    Think about it…

    Comment by dhogaza — 26 Feb 2010 @ 10:04 AM

  265. Bill McKibben wrote an inreresting piece on http://www.tomdispatch.com yesterday. He compares the attack on climate science to the tactics OJ lawyers used to sow doubt among the public and the jurors in his murder trial.The paradox is that the more evidence that science produces, the more ammunition, in the form of science language, the denialists have against it (not because they are correct, but because like lawyers they use its complexity to abstract partial information for their owon purposes.) Instead of admitting that they have no real arguments against climate science (other than their political ones), the Lord Exxons of the world disguise their propaganda as a form of ‘scientific’ discrepancy and objections against teh ‘proces.’ OJ was acquitted, but he finally ended up in jail after all those years. Climate science may lose the political battle; although in the end it will be vindicated (at a big cost as the right decisions continue to be postponed).

    Comment by Nelson — 26 Feb 2010 @ 10:04 AM

  266. Philip, fwiw I linked to your cool petition: Petition: Stand up for Climate Science. Luck to us all!

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 26 Feb 2010 @ 10:47 AM

  267. Re #265 – yes that McKibben piece was a good read – an exploration into what is going on here. I’m certain the science will be vindicated (to me it is right now), but I don’t want to have to wait until predictions become horrifically expensive reality for those calling for vindication to give up on that front!

    They are gambling in a card-game with civilisation as the stake.

    Cheers – John

    Comment by John Mason — 26 Feb 2010 @ 10:56 AM

  268. Andreas #261: The apparent c**p logic at #156 was allusion to an American political quote. Actual c**p logic involves errors such as the ad hominem, e. g. questioning a person’s scientific work on the irrelevant personal grounds of his religious beliefs. As Sonja appeared to do at #107.

    Comment by CM — 26 Feb 2010 @ 10:57 AM

  269. Now, try and imagine a gang of doctrinary, unrepentant marxists-leninists insisting on ‘auditing’ the bankers… just try. Actually the mental image is quite entertaining ;-)

    LOL :-) Thanks for that image!

    Comment by Lotharsson — 26 Feb 2010 @ 11:01 AM

  270. 247.
    “Incidentally, are you seriously comparing yourself, or other denialists, to Galileo and Einstein?”

    I will ignore your classification of me since you know nothing about me.

    I do believe that the situation Galileo faced in his time is similar, in many respects, to the situation surrounding the hypothesis of AGW. Galileo was fighting the religion of the day which hypothesized that the earth was the center of the Universe. Today, many (some would say, “the consensus”) believe that humans are the main (only?) cause of Global Warming (or is it Climate Change?. Galileo was castigated by the Church in much the same manner as many on this thread (and numerous others on this website) castigate those who aren’t members of the AGW “church”. But once Galileo’s hypothesis was tested, it became the current model upon which much of science is based today.

    The hypothesis of AGW is still being tested. (Although I suspect many on here don’t believe that.) The AGW hypothesis was the foundation upon which the IPCC developed its climate models. So if the hypothesis is true, then the forecasts produced by those models should be highly accurate. So far actual observation isn’t strongly correlated with the forecasts. That isn’t to say that in time this correlation might strengthen. But for now, no conclusions can be drawn about the hypothesis of AGW.

    This is normal science. A hypothesis is developed. Experiments are conducted to test the hypothesis. If the results of the experiments are the same or highly correlated to the predicted results of the hypothesis, then the hypothesis is accepted.

    Is there any other way to test the hypothesis of AGW?

    Please don’t give me a long list of anecdotal evidence of melting ice caps, more severe storms, etc.. These are just observed climate events without any proof of what caused them (man or nature). These pieces of anecdotal “evidence” would never stand up in a criminal court because there is no trace of their source.

    (btw, your Wikipedia “evidence” still doesn’t support your contention that Einstein had any University Degree in Physics)

    [Response: Sorry for bothering you with inconvenient red herrings, such as say...long lists of evidence, or the actualities of what the IPCC did (it didn't develop any climate models for one). If you think Galileo was in an analogous position to climate change deniers, you seriously don't know the science or the history. And thanks for informing us on the methods of science--Jim]

    Comment by Allen C — 26 Feb 2010 @ 11:05 AM

  271. Dan 23 MapleLeaf 171

    I agree, climategate does remind me of McCarthy at Ft Monmouth. The charge was only symphony for communism and was never proved. Attacks on (Jewish) scientists, false accusations, biased MSM reporting, viscous public reaction, etc., etc.

    What I remember most were the rocks thrown through innocent scientists’ windows by “neighbors”. All this happened in a few days between the scientists’ suspension and reinstatement. Suspension was front page news in the MSM, reinstatement was never even mentioned.

    An example can be found at http://www.infoage.org/html/app-2003-11-10-pb3.html It includes a report with is representative of MSM reporting then.

    There is a paper rebuttal a year later by Yale biological physics people at

    http://books.google.com/books?id=8AgAAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA148&lpg=PA148&dq=mccarthy+squire+monmouth&source=bl&ots=l_VG327F40&sig=LzxYsu3kw56CTeRXQhCHkF7v-G0&hl=en&ei=U_eHS-DINYOysgOlrOmEAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=&f=false

    Comment by John Peter — 26 Feb 2010 @ 11:32 AM

  272. #252 votenotokyoto, I am amused about your apparent ignorance of climate, while you adhere to websites
    who do just that, profess competence while denigrating reality, the Arctic Ice cap is on the verge of disappearing during the summer season. I do understand that ignorance loves company, but shed your eyes elsewhere:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/ARCHIVE/20070917.jpg

    behold a sea never seen by humans, opening on their own planet.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 26 Feb 2010 @ 11:40 AM

  273. Andreas, you’re not understanding: Sonja is talking bollocks.

    Several people have tried to explain exactly HOW this conclusion is reached, but you seem to miss it.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 Feb 2010 @ 11:56 AM

  274. I’m not a scientist though i believe strongly in the scientific method. I would love to see someone make a show for one of the discovery channels or all of them explaining in terms everyone can understand just what these documents mean. You see, I also believe that the truth when explained is still the truth. Showing the truth to the public on a show like this would eliminate manipulation by the media by making it common knowledge, common truth. Showing the rest of us just what the scientists are looking for, chemical markers, climate history of the planet etc. would set right anyone with doubts about the data. Even a show on BBC would work well for this purpose.

    [Response: I agree. Where are the educational filmmakers on this whole topic? Why aren't say Nova, or National Geographic, doing series on this? But not being much of a TV watcher, maybe I've just missed them.--Jim]

    Comment by michael schlabig — 26 Feb 2010 @ 11:58 AM

  275. Like Silborn: I couldn’t give a monkeys.

    Where were you earlier? Hmm?

    Missing In Action.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 Feb 2010 @ 11:59 AM

  276. gavin, maybe you misunderstood #249.

    It was intended as basically the same post as:

    “227
    Jiminmpls says:
    26 February 2010 at 12:19 AM”

    I.e. if there is supposed to be “heavy moderation”, how come so many cranks are seen?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 Feb 2010 @ 12:03 PM

  277. To #236.

    How boorish. Einstein is talking about human dependence on the food chain. Which is correct. And besides don’t you like wild flowers? And the quote is indeed correct, it’s in “How I see the World.”

    [Response:Sorry to disappoint. You've missed the point obviously.--Jim]

    Comment by Mark — 26 Feb 2010 @ 12:13 PM

  278. Allen C wrote: “Galileo was fighting the religion of the day which hypothesized that the earth was the center of the Universe.”

    And the legitimate climate scientists of today are fighting the “religion” today’s fossil fuel corporations, which has as its central article of faith a ruthless, relentless, rapacious GREED for the trillions of dollars in profit that continued business-as-usual consumption of fossil fuels will bring.

    To that “religion”, the truth about anthropogenic climate change, with its implication that fossil fuel industry profits are not the center of the Universe, is blasphemy.

    If ExxonMobil could simply drag the world’s climate scientists into the Inquisition and “show them the instruments of torture” as was done to Galileo, in order to silence and suppress the “inconvenient truth” that these courageous, brilliant and diligent scientists are trying to tell humanity, I’m sure they would do it. It would be simpler and cheaper than funding all the bogus denialist cranks and frauds.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 26 Feb 2010 @ 12:22 PM

  279. RE Andreas Bjurström

    I am afraid I have to say, again, that many of you are very ignorant of a great many issues of importance outside of your limited fields of expertise …

    Climate science is outside my area of expertise, which is why I, like most people here, seek out information from reliable sources. Besides my day job (coming up with stuff for people to take in case of a nuclear holocaust) I have a family, a mort gage, college to pay for, taxes to pay, and all the rest, but that does not mean that I can safely ignore the unintended consequences of an energy-intensive civilization, as indicated by the best science we have. All the framing, all the behavior analysis cannot change physical laws. Stuff happens whether we study it or not.

    Comment by Deech56 — 26 Feb 2010 @ 12:28 PM

  280. I will ignore your classification of me since you know nothing about me. – Allen C.

    On the contrary, Allen C., your comments here have told me plenty about you. The usual denialist rubbish about the theory of AGW being a “religion”, the failure to look at the actual record of predictions from GCMs (readily available on this site) or at the multiple consilient lines of evidence supporting the theory, the mistaken ideas about what the IPCC is and does: together, they scream denialist so loud I have to cover my ears when I read your comments.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 26 Feb 2010 @ 12:35 PM

  281. Allen C.,
    OK, first on Einstein:
    http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1921/einstein-bio.html

    Note it says he did get his degree in physics in 1901 and his doctorate in 1905. Dude, you can look this stuff up. Don’t you ever get tired of being wrong?

    Now on to you other error-ridden swill. First, Anthropogenic Global Warming is not a hypothesis, but rather a prediction in 1896 by Svante Arrhenius. This prediction is confirmed by mountains of evidence, including the temperature record, melting ice, earlier springs, a simultaneously cooling stratosphere along with the warming troposphere (try that with a solar mechanism), polar amplification…

    And in the case of Galileo, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it Galileo who had the evidence and the church had the dogma. In this case, dude, it’s the climate scientists who have the evidence and you who have… well, bupkes.

    It is clear that you have not made the slightest effort to understand the science, but instead argue against a straw man of your own construction. What’s the matter, Allen C., are you afraid learning something would spoil your objectivity?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Feb 2010 @ 12:40 PM

  282. Blimey! Daily Mail now goes 180 degrees (not temperatures)!

    “Doomsday: How 4C temperature rise this century will change world beyond recognition and threaten human survival”

    Link

    Cheers – John

    Comment by John Mason — 26 Feb 2010 @ 12:42 PM

  283. Allen C #270, “I do believe that the situation Galileo faced in his time is similar, in many respects, to the situation surrounding the hypothesis of AGW. Galileo was fighting the religion of the day which hypothesized that the earth was the center of the Universe.”

    While AGW scientists are fighting the Ayn Rand religion of these times that says unfettered capitalism is as true and pure as anything Jesus could have come up with. You believe that those who are pragmatic are apostates.

    Comment by Dale — 26 Feb 2010 @ 12:56 PM

  284. What are the most current and definitive fingerprinting papers?

    Comment by jonesy — 26 Feb 2010 @ 1:09 PM

  285. Allan C@270 – Maybe you didn’t read enough [any?] of the Wikipedia reference on Einstein to find “evidence” that Albert graduated in 1900 with a degree in physics – or maybe you don’t consider the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich a university?
    Of course he did develop the foundation for his theories well before obtaining a degree, which may be further indication that comparison of your understanding of anything to him is colored by something other than “skepticism”.

    Comment by flxible — 26 Feb 2010 @ 1:22 PM

  286. Re: 252
    votenotokyoto says: 26 February 2010 at 6:17 AM

    “I am amused at the use of the term denialist by many contributors to this website. Most seem to be in denial themselves that the wheels are coming off the agwarmer bus…”

    You come across like Tokyo Rose. “Yankee dog, the wheel come off your bus. Soon all you will die.”

    Do you expect anyone to fall for that drivel? The fact is that the dissent you’ve manufactured will soon turn against you as the tactics you use are exposed. That’s what the last few RC topics are doing, bringing to light the sleazy manner in which
    you climate denialists are confusing the public.

    Roy Spencer, one of your idols has himself published the graph of recent warming that as it’s expanded month by month will unravel your bogus science and frivolous accusations.
    Daily global average temperature at: Sea Surface
    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/execute.csh?amsutemps+001
    Read it and weep.

    Here’s the broader trend.
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/
    Not so cool is it?

    Propagandize as you will. The facts speak for themselves.
    You doing real harm you know, keeping the world from getting on with damping down emissions. You should focus your talents on doing the right thing.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 26 Feb 2010 @ 1:32 PM

  287. #270 Allen C

    If you won’t accept evidence. What will you accept? Belief?

    You seem to have succumbed to the common fallacies spread on the intertubes that science knows nothing about this particular global warming event. Science is pretty good actually on the last million years or so.

    And by the way, the individual in #247 (Nick Gotts) asked you a question, he did not classify you.

    There are many things that are not well understood in climate science, the general constraints of climate sensitivity are fairly well bounded at this time. It’s not about belief.

    As pointed out already, the IPCC does not develop climate models.

    You need to understand some basics. Weather is not climate and prediction has ranges.

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

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

    I find it interesting that you pass off evidence as anecdotal.

    Please do use your full name on this web site. I find it shows that you have the gumption to back up what you say with fact.

    You seem to have fallen into the trap that your opinion can overturn mountains of evidence. That is interesting.


    The Climate Lobby
    Understand the Issue
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Feb 2010 @ 1:34 PM

  288. @238 “As loathsome as a court case sounds you need to vigoursly [sic] defend your hard earned reputations and hit the sources of the worst allegations where it will hurt them the most, in their back pockets.

    Anyone who seriously thinks that a libel case (or appeal to the Press Complaints Commission, as other posters have suggested) is even a faint possibility is completely out with the fairies.

    It’s quite obvious that Dr Santer’s case is not quite as clear cut as you all want to believe it is. Do you really want sceptics’ arguments getting an airing in court, as they inevitably would? And in the current climate that’s what’s going to get reported, not a nicely balanced appraisal.

    As for the PCC, are you serious? Come on! They wouldn’t touch this with a bargepole.

    Comment by AxelD — 26 Feb 2010 @ 1:47 PM

  289. Just to answer a couple of questions / remarks:

    1) I take everything I read on blogs like CA and WUWT with a huge grain of salt. These are clearly issue advocacy blogs and I think any rational person understands that they are written with a certain viewpoint.

    2) Six months ago, I think many people (including the press) thought that this blog was something more than that. They believed that this blog represented the mainstream view of climate scientists and that gave this blog a whole lot more credibility.

    3) The release of the CRU e-mails caused a whole lot of people to take another look at the AGW issue. While I don’t believe that there were any real smoking guns in those e-mails, they did paint a bit of an ugly picture of climate science. I think even the bloggers here would have to agree that these e-mails have hurt (rightly or wrongly) the credibility of climate scientists in the minds of the general public.

    4) I believe that this blog is contributing to the further deterioration of the credibility of climate science in a couple of ways. This lack of willingness to “show your work” as frequently supported by this blog is just crazy. It makes it look like you have something to hide. I fully understand that it probably started out of frustration with skeptics, but I am telling you that it has done a ton of harm to your cause. While the science is hard to understand, it is very easy to understand this issue.

    [Response: Been discussed to death already. Nobody here's advocating hiding anything. Rather, you focus on the very small and inconsequential amount of data that various interests have blown completely out of proportion both as to cause of its being withheld, and it's importance to the reality of the temperature record.--Jim]

    5) A fair minded person who reads the European Referendum blog post on Amazon Gate and then reads the posts here will come to the conclusion that the IPCC got it wrong. Don’t take my word for it. Just ask yourself why all these stories are getting written in the MSM and even the more left leaning outlets. These are not crazy people and many are even sympathetic to your cause.

    [Response:This statement reveals a completely biased viewpoint on this topic. If you think the blog post you reference is a better account of the Amazon drought sensitivity issue, you have very serious problems with your ability to separate fact from fiction. In our piece on the attacks on the IPCC we linked directly the statement by Daniel Nepstad at Woods Hole RI, who very clearly explained that the supposed issue boiled down simply to incorrect citation, and that the IPCC's discussion was in fact a reflection of the science. And anyway, I thought you took all these various blogs with a "huge grain of salt"--Jim]

    6) Furthermore, when you try to defend the IPCC despite the facts, it destroys your credibility. It brings you down to the same level as the skeptic blogs. You may not like that, but I think you have to read the papers and essentially acknowledge that is what has happened. Times reporters are now asking Phil Jones questions essentially scripted by the skeptic blogs. That is where we are right now.

    [Response: Apparently you seem to feel entitled to your own facts. Read the post, and the relevant parts of AR4.--Jim]

    7) You can rail all you want about the skeptics and the press, but you should really look at yourselves. There is a reason your credibility is in the tank. Maybe the whole world is just too ignorant to understand or maybe you should look at yourselves.

    [Response: Or...maybe you should try to actually understand the issues, which you do not.--Jim]

    8) It is clear that the IPCC and various scientific bodies are starting to take a hard look at what happened. Participants here can either be a part of that process and the solution or continue to right screeds about how unfairly you have been treated. The longer you deny the problem the worse it will be.

    [Response:Whatever.--Jim]

    Comment by Reasonable Observer — 26 Feb 2010 @ 1:49 PM

  290. Hello,

    I find it strange that you all are so angry at McIntyre. It is normal scientific procedure to be able to reproduce other scientists results.

    Otherwise it isnt science.

    So in the future, I would suggest that you organise the raw data on the
    web, and code for download. Then there will be no requests for data or code.

    After all, this is the property of taxpayers. And there is nothing to be afraid. The worst that can happen, is that a colleguae might correct some mistake. And that would be of the best for everyone.

    Thanks.

    [Response: First, RealClimate is not a data depository and has no control over those entities which are. Second, there is an enormous amount of climate data available freely via the web. See the "Data Sources" tab on the top of the main page. Third, you are wrong on "the worst that can happen"--it can be used by those without the proper training and understanding of the issues, whose goal is to find fault and defame rather than improve understanding, as McIntyre is an outstanding example of. This is, combined with his demanding attitude and tactics, are why he engenders animosity--Jim]

    Comment by kenneth — 26 Feb 2010 @ 1:51 PM

  291. #274 michael schlabig

    I’ve been trying for sometime to get funding for a commercial communication steam for climate, just have not made the right connections yet.

    My career started in Hollywood but, I was just at a meeting down there a couple days ago and their is so damn much confusion about climate they don’t know what to think either. Most think Hollywood is a liberal bastion, it’s not true in my experience. The face of Hollywood is the actors. The people that develop and run the shows are just people and no one know their faces, but they are not all liberals.

    It’s the confusion level that is working against us.

    BTW I just updated my Arctic Ice Melt video to HD!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rp4m2Xs1iv0&feature=player_embedded

    Please feel free to comment. As I understand it, these videos can also be played on iphones


    The Climate Lobby
    Understand the Issue
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Feb 2010 @ 1:56 PM

  292. My, what a lot of posts from selective skeptics and outright rejectionists here.

    Everything is information. When RC does a straight science piece that does not involve personality-based controversy, we usually see a handful of regular contrary-minded individuals joining in the discussion. When a post is not about science per se but instead is process driven with theatrical flair, we see the drama queens come out in droves.

    Dr. Santer seems to be the subject of overweening fascination in some quarters, to the exclusion of other more productive avenues of inquiry. All sorts of unfounded conjectures about climate change are hanging in the air, waiting for attention, but priorities don’t seem to include following up on any of that. Nope, it’s all about Dr. Santer. Watt’s up with that?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 26 Feb 2010 @ 1:59 PM

  293. #218 John Peter

    I posted a few links to cases in which people were convicted a different cybercrimes including unauthorized access. So yes I know of cases in which there were convictions for these crimes.

    http://www.justice.gov/criminal/cybercrime/cccases.html

    http://cybercrimes.virginiacomputercrimedefenseattorney.com/2009/01/26/man-found-guilty-of–a-computer-crime.aspx?ref=rss

    http://www.justice.gov/criminal/cybercrime/WestPlea.htm

    http://www.infoworld.com/d/developer-world/hacker-found-guilty-in-massive-data-theft-case-367

    I think if you want just type in “found guilty unauthorized access” in google and/or “cybercrime found guilty unauthorized access” and you’ll find plenty to read about convictions and particular websites with Federal laws concerning cybercrime.

    Comment by JRC — 26 Feb 2010 @ 2:02 PM

  294. Further to my earlier post, I created the following timeline from the leaked emails and from CA posts.

    On November 10, 2008 McIntyre receives refusal to release intermediate data from Dr. Santer.

    McIntyre files FOIA request for the intermediate data and related emails on the same day, November 10, 2008.

    November 10 or November 11, 2008 Thomas Karl informs Dr. Santer of Mr. McIntyre’s request.

    Dr. Santer cc’d his immediate superior, Dr. David Bader, among others in a response to Thomas Karl in an email dated November 11th, 2008.

    Thereafter, but before December 16, 2008, Dr. Santer sends an email to his co-authors indicating that he learned of Mr. McIntyre’s FOIA request “earlier this morning.” In that same email Dr. Santer indicates that he had been discussing the “FOIA Issue” with others including Dr. Bader for “several weeks.”

    On January 30, 2009 Dr. Bader sends an email to Mr. McIntyre indicating that the decision to release the intermediate data was made before the FOIA request was received.

    In his recent statement on this blog Dr. Santer indicated that the decision to release the intermediate data was made after receiving the FOIA request.

    Comment by Pasteur01 — 26 Feb 2010 @ 2:27 PM

  295. John Mason says:
    26 February 2010 at 12:42 PM

    !Blimey! Daily Mail now goes 180 degrees (not temperatures)!

    “Doomsday: How 4C temperature rise this century will change world beyond recognition and threaten human survival””

    Thanks for the link. Judging from the outrageously ignorant comments, it looks to me as if the Mail wanted to post something which included what they regard as outrageous predictions, so that the brainwashed deniers could all pile in and tell us all what nonsense AGW is and, even if it is true, how killing off billions of the world’s population would actually be a good thing.

    Deniers seem to have multi-layered positions, don’t they? They shift from “it’s not warming” to “it may be warming, but it’s not man’s fault” to “warming would be good for humanity”, like a child inventing successive excuses when caught doing something wrong.

    [Response: It's truly sad that anyone reads such crap for anything other than a glimpse of the absurd.--Jim]

    Comment by Dave G — 26 Feb 2010 @ 2:40 PM

  296. wayne davidson #272:

    behold a sea never seen by humans, opening on their own planet.

    Behold, also, an island never seen by humans, revealed by melting ice:

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=7738

    (OK, strictly speaking, we’ve seen it before. We just didn’t know what it was we were seeing. The fact that it is an island was unknown, because the straight that separates it from the mainland was ice-covered.)

    Comment by Chris Dunford — 26 Feb 2010 @ 2:40 PM

  297. UN to commission independent scientific inquiry into IPCC
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/26/ipcc-independent-scientific-review
    UN climate body to appoint scientists to review climate change panel as UK climate change secretary writes to Rajendra Pachauri to express concern over ‘damaging mistakes’
    David Adam
    guardian.co.uk,
    Friday 26 February 2010
    “The UN is to commission an independent group of top scientists to review its climate change panel, which has been under fire since it admitted a mistake over melting Himalayan glaciers.

    “The experts will look at the way the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) operates and will recommend where they think changes are needed. The panel will be part of a broader review of the IPCC, full details of which will be announced by the UN next week.

    “Nick Nuttall, of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) told Reuters: “It will be [made up of] senior scientific figures. I can’t name who they are right now. It should do a review of the IPCC, produce a report by, say, August and there is a plenary of the IPCC in South Korea in October. The report will go there for adoption.”

    [...]

    Count on skeptics howling that the findings are a colossal whitewash intended to perpetuate the global warming hoax. It’ll come up in giant bubbles of hot air as they bloviate through the storm surge this Fall, trying to keep from drowning in the evidence.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 26 Feb 2010 @ 2:51 PM

  298. @290
    You might have a point if McIntyre actually tried to reproduce the work of others rather than crying because they won’t do his work for him.
    He can get raw data from the same place the scientists do.

    Comment by Wildlifer — 26 Feb 2010 @ 2:57 PM

  299. A list of sceptic demands.

    1. The specific AGW model that accounts for all of the global warming up to 1995 and also accounts for the lack of warming since then, while CO2 concentrations have increased the whole time.

    2. Peer-reviewed and independently corroborated proof that lowering atmospheric CO2 concentrations to a specific level will result in a specific average global temperature – meaning that there exists a particular CO2 concentration that will hold temperatures steady.

    3. The rates, to within a 50% margin or error, at which CO2 is respectively absorbed by and released by, the Earth’s oceans, which hold more than 50 times the CO2 than the atmosphere holds.

    4. An AGW model that accounts for the elevated temperatures of the Medeival Warm Period, the depressed temperatures of the the Little Ice Age, the most global warming trend that ended in 1995 and also accounts for the atmospheric CO2 concentrations during all of these periods.

    Of course given the answers they just declare then null and void based on charges of fraud. That’s the denier manifesto, but perhaps four quick links would run that experiment one more time? Sigh. Have at it.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 26 Feb 2010 @ 3:11 PM

  300. #289 Reasonable Observer

    Who here is advocating hiding things?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

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

    Do you actually think you are a reasonable observer?


    The Climate Lobby
    Understand the Issue
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Feb 2010 @ 3:12 PM

  301. #290 kenneth

    See my response to ‘Reasonable Observer’

    and

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

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

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


    The Climate Lobby
    Understand the Issue
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Feb 2010 @ 3:16 PM

  302. “RealClimate is not a data depository …. combined with his demanding attitude and tactics, are why he engenders animosity…”

    Well, I dont agree on that. I never mentioned RealClimate. I think it would be wise to put all data on the web so its all in the open.

    I’m suspecting is the lack of openness that has lead to the situation you are in now.Also the lack of some humility and acceptance of the fact that mistakes can happen. And then correct the mistakes. Thats what is expected of a scientist in all other areas of science.

    And thats what leads to advance in science.

    It is my impression that McIntyre has a lot of integrity, and only wants to correct mistakes. He has my respect.

    [Response: Then why the endless series of personal comments and attacks on people's integrity? I have many colleagues who manage to point out mistakes I've made in a constructive manner without questioning my honesty. - gavin]

    Comment by kenneth — 26 Feb 2010 @ 3:18 PM

  303. kenneth:

    Hello,

    I find it strange that you all are so angry at McIntyre. It is normal scientific procedure to be able to reproduce other scientists results.

    You have unwittingly hit the nail on the head.

    Yes, you are correct, a scientist would reproduce Dr, Santer’s work from the published data and methodology.

    A scientist wouldn’t say “give me all the intermediate results of computation”.

    If McIntyre wasn’t lazy or incompetent or both, he would not have needed the intermediate results, either.

    An example:

    Raw data:

    temperature at 8 AM 36F
    temperature at 11 AM 45F
    temperature at 3 PM 65F

    Methodology to compute the average temperature for the day: “add each recorded temperature and divide by the number of observations”.

    McIntyre: “I need your intermediate results to recreate your computation. Can you please tell me what 36+45+64 is?”

    Get it, now?

    Comment by dhogaza — 26 Feb 2010 @ 3:22 PM

  304. So, the commenter “Reasonable Observer” at #289 has posted yet another litany of blatant ignorance and malicious falsehoods, with the same arrogant, sneering tone that is characteristic of the Ditto-Head denialists who are certain that their unquestioning belief in everything that Rush Limbaugh and Fox News tell them makes them “skeptics” and thus morally superior to the hundreds of climate scientists who have studied the issue of AGW diligently and in-depth for decades.

    Yawn.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 26 Feb 2010 @ 3:30 PM

  305. Let me quote the Institure of Physics:

    “The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law. The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their ideas and results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital. The lack of compliance has been confirmed by the findings of the Information Commissioner. This extends well beyond the CRU itself – most of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other international institutions who are also involved in the formulation of the IPCC’s conclusions on climate change.”

    And then let me respond to your post:
    “[Response:This statement reveals a completely biased viewpoint on this topic. If you think the blog post you reference is a better account of the Amazon drought sensitivity issue, you have very serious problems with your ability to separate fact from fiction. In our piece on the attacks on the IPCC we linked directly the statement by Daniel Nepstad at Woods Hole RI, who very clearly explained that the supposed issue boiled down simply to incorrect citation, and that the IPCC's discussion was in fact a reflection of the science. And anyway, I thought you took all these various blogs with a "huge grain of salt"--Jim]”

    Reading both blogs very carefully here is my view:

    The original ER post is totally right. The Nepstad work cited in the WWF report doesn’t say at all what the IPCC report says. The original Nepstad work was on the vulnerability to fire of the Amazon during periods of drought and the 40% number in that report was on the Brazilian Amazon and not the whole thing.

    [Response: Nepstad has explained all of this, and more.--Jim]

    Nepstad then chimes in to say that he has other work that wasn’t cited. Apparently he extended the 40% number during later work to the whole Amazon. He also supports the IPCC statement. Fair enough. But to me there still seems to be a disconect between work on fire vulernability and the statement that the forest “could react drastically”.

    [Response: Oh, the leading researcher on the topic is "chiming in" is he? Pretty audacious isn't it?--Jim]

    Then there is this Lewis guy who apparently has done some additional research that is on point but wasn’t available untill after the IPCC deadline. In any case, he believes: “The IPCC statement is basically correct but poorly written, and bizarrely referenced.”

    [Response: See below on Lewis.--Jim]

    It strikes me that the IPCC did a poor job. Maybe some evidence can be later found that tries to butress the statement, but even the scientists trying to support the IPCC don’t believe that they gave a good coherent summary of the science.

    I would also note that the original blog post on ER is totally fair. The original cites clearly don’t back up the statement.

    Of course, in your blog post you say: “This “issue” is thus completely without merit.”

    [Response: You have got to be kidding. You think this piece (followed by this one), reflects better on the reality of how well the IPCC AR4 WG2 represented the susceptibility of Amazonian forests to drought, than the public word of the primary researcher involved himself? Did you even actually read these things? The first piece doesn't even discuss the merits of the claims! And by the way "this Lewis guy" is Simon Lewis, one of the world's leading researchers on tropical forest dynamics. But you are right on that last point, so let me rephrase: This issue is utterly and completely without merit, trumped up by those looking to find fault with the IPCC, with the usual help from bloggers and bad journalism.--Jim]

    Comment by Reasonable Observer — 26 Feb 2010 @ 4:09 PM

  306. Let me quote the Institure of Physics

    So? Who declared them judge and jury?

    Especially when they include this:

    “The lack of compliance has been confirmed by the findings of the Information Commissioner.”

    There have been no “findings”.

    Comment by dhogaza — 26 Feb 2010 @ 4:35 PM

  307. Andreas Bjurström (217),

    Your previous post (149) suggested that Sonja has written extensively in peer review literature. I asked for some references. None of the ones you provided are written by Sonja, nor do they appear to support her assertion that I challenged. I have no doubt that politics can and does sometimes interfere with science (just look at what our Sen. Inhofe is now attempting). But that alone doesn’t support Sonja’s blanket claim “Scientists were not asked test this as a scientific hypothesis but were asked to assume it in order to justify a major international policy”

    If she said “some” (of the many, many, many) research projects were motivated by politics, I wouldn’t doubt that. But there is no evidence (certainly not in the references you provided) that any significant portion of the climate science done throughout the world over the past 5 decades was merely attempting to justify policy and not to test hypothesis. Such extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Neither you or she has provided that.

    Comment by Ken W — 26 Feb 2010 @ 4:50 PM

  308. Kenneth @302:

    Seriously, McIntyre only wants to correct mistakes? Well, he’s been pointed to mistakes of his own (amongst others after his attack on Briffa). Has he corrected and humbly acknowledged those corrections? No.

    Santer discusses another example of McIntyre apparently not interested in correcting mistakes. Rather than correcting Douglass et al, he tries to go after the paper *correcting* Douglass et al. If he’d gone after *both*, he’d actually would do something useful, but the pattern will become clear with some more examples:

    Take the Essex et al paper, claiming there is no such thing as a global temperature. It used two different methods to calculate an average, but also used a *different missing-value infill procedure* for the two methods. Take the same infill method, and the result is the same. Pure and utter data manipulation, but McIntyre has apparently banned discussions on “global temperature” on his blog.

    There’s also the McKitrick & Michaels paper, confusing radians and degrees. McIntyre? Oh, he acknowledged the error, but not that it completely negated the conclusions from the paper. Rather, he decided to attack a smaller mistake in MBH98.

    Soon&Baliunas? McIntyre decided not to discuss that paper. More worrysome, repeatedly his comments indicate that he’s not interested in finding out whether Soon&Baliunas is wrong. Stuff like “our text today provides an interesting oportunity to reflect on Soon and Baliunas, or rather the mugging of Soon and Baliunas by the Hockey Team.” and “I’m not going to discuss whether Soon and Baliunas actually committed the alleged confusion” (followed by a sneer to MBH98). Interesting how he himself sees his work as “auditing”, but criticism of Soon&Baliunas “mugging”.

    Perhaps you now start to see that Steve McIntyre is apparently *not* out to correct mistakes, period. He’s out to correct *alledged* mistakes of *certain* people, however small they may be. And he uses those small mistakes to cover up the humongous mistakes of others.

    Comment by Marco — 26 Feb 2010 @ 4:52 PM

  309. votenotokyoto (252) wrote:
    “Where is all the climate science?”

    Try clicking on any one of the numerous links along the side of this page. Or even better, try reading an actual peer reviewed science journal.
    The field of AGW isn’t on a 24×7 schedule, like the confusion and spin you’ll find at WUWT. When significant new scientific issues come up they are generally addressed here in a very timely manner.

    Comment by Ken W — 26 Feb 2010 @ 5:01 PM

  310. Allen C 270

    Models are a big part of the problem today. The global models don’t have enough resolution to get down to joe 6-pack’s regional level. Result is that “global temperature”, a statistical concept as the warmers do it, doesn’t swing with him/her.

    Six months ago Michael Mann told the world that there was a mistake in the paleo-climate science, the two models he tried for his recent paper did not compute correctly. They would back-test for only a hundred years or so. For the 1000 or 2000 years prior to that, the regional climate goes from cold to hot, as we all believe, with a 200 or 300 yr period, as we all believe, but the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere are 180 degrees out of phase with each other, probably Atlantic oscillation and the ninos. While this counter-intuitive (Mike’s words) notion should settle the MWP hockey stick brewhaha just as he has always claimed, but it’s out of the frying pan into the fire. The basis for last century’s model projections, the weight of the evidence as Ben called it, was the paleoclimate – but an intuitive paleoclimate not the one that Mike now believes. When the interviewer asked Mike if these new results would be in the Mike boggled a little and said not in the main report, perhaps in a side note. As sensible and scientific as I believe that answer is, the warmers may have a hard time getting it past Senator Inhofe and the other deniers in the current environment (financial meltdown due to the “quants”). Ben should have changed to the “weight of the evidence as we now see it” or words to that effect. 20/20 hindsight

    RAM, Sue, and Phil are on record saying the models are wrong (much more politically correct words, of course). Too large a spread, too much climate sensitivity, and the wrong, or (regional) trend. RAM has left the global view for the rest of his career, he will concentrate on supplying stoves to India and China to mitigate the brown cloud. Phil has had his fill (8<)) of centre direction, wants to go back to being a scientist. Jim is ill, so rumors go, maybe dying of cancer – if true, an irreplaceable loss to the world.

    Plenty of good warmers to fill what's becoming a leadership vacuum – go forit Ben, Gavin, whoever.

    So Allen, keep up your good work, these guys can use your help. But be prepared for a tough sell, these folk are hard headed. For good reason, and rightly so, I might add. They've been carrying a torch for a long, long time.

    FWIW, I'm neutral on ACC. I believe that, even if it's wrong, the risks of ignoring it are much too high. The science needs to be continued, expanded if possible in these sovereign debt times, The folk work too hard. More regional projects like Surya, less boondoggles like C&C, improved action oriented IPCC, …

    That's it folks. As always, just my opinion, offered in gratitude to some people who are charging hard that I don't want to see go over a cliff.

    Comment by John Peter — 26 Feb 2010 @ 5:05 PM

  311. > “Institure [sic] of Physics”

    That doesn’t seem to be the American Institute of Physics.

    So what organization are you actually quoting?
    Citation needed.

    The place Shaviv works, perhaps?
    http://www.phys.huji.ac.il/~shaviv/
    Or the nuclear industry’s Institute of Physics?
    http://www.spinprofiles.org/index.php/Institute_of_Physics

    I’d bet on the latter, given their content.

    You quote whatever that source is for:

    > e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence …

    That’s clearly baloney, because the people who posted them claim they were just a random sample from the stolen files. Clearly they’re not, given the obvious selection — but either a random or a cherrypicking selection isn’t “prima facie” evidence of anything except quoting material out of context.

    It’s your job to cite a source, not ours to try to guess where you’re getting this stuff. You could tell us why you believe this source is credible, though.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Feb 2010 @ 5:06 PM

  312. Three cheers for Ben Santer. Hip Hip…………….???????

    Comment by Carmen S — 26 Feb 2010 @ 5:08 PM

  313. Would it save a little time if we all learned the Galileo Gambit?

    Detailed implementation instructions are here.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 26 Feb 2010 @ 5:14 PM

  314. Hank:

    Or the nuclear industry’s Institute of Physics?
    http://www.spinprofiles.org/index.php/Institute_of_Physics

    Yes, that IOP, you’ve nailed it.

    Here’s the document that’s been quoted:

    http://www.iop.org/activity/policy/Consultations/Energy_and_Environment/file_39010.pdf

    Comment by dhogaza — 26 Feb 2010 @ 5:23 PM

  315. Institute of Physics sounds like a real hotbed of science:

    Business affiliates
    The Institute runs a ‘Business Affiliates network’ which is markets as providing the following ‘privileges’ for business:

    Share our visions: Be identified with the Institute’s initiatives in support of industry…

    Power to influence: Advise the Institute on industry focus and policy, and input to Institute publications. Also, extend your power to influence, for example, through the Institute’s submissions to government.

    Recruitment advantages: Gain access to the Institute’s job search services…

    Networking opportunities: Receive invitations to our industry-relevant events and meetings, and those held jointly with other industry and technology networks.

    Exclusive access: Claim complimentary places at our biannual Key Insight Business Briefings, which attract high-profile speakers and participants from business, government and finance. …

    Special invitations: Take your place at the Institute’s prestigious black-tie Awards Dinner each spring. Business affiliates may book tables – perfect for corporate entertaining of clients or staff.

    Information updates: Get regular information updates and copies of reports, keeping business affiliates informed about relevant developments in government policy, support initiatives and other activities.

    Hot links & prominence: Benefit from a complimentary hot link from the Institute’s website.

    Sponsorship priority: Business affiliates are given advance notice and priority for sponsorship opportunities across the Institute’s activities and initiatives.

    Comment by dhogaza — 26 Feb 2010 @ 5:25 PM

  316. Kenneth (#302) writes:

    “It is my impression that McIntyre has a lot of integrity, and only wants to correct mistakes.”

    My impression is the opposite.

    http://climateaudit.org/2010/02/24/rob-bradley-climategate-from-an-enron-perspective/

    http://shewonk.wordpress.com/2010/02/24/enron-and-the-zombie-fungus/

    Comment by MarkB — 26 Feb 2010 @ 5:35 PM

  317. @Me 294 Dr. Santer received the McIntyre DOE FOIA request after the NOAA FOIA request, hence the learning about the FOIA today and discussing it for several weeks.

    Comment by Pasteur01 — 26 Feb 2010 @ 5:43 PM

  318. #289 Reasonable Observer

    Again you make allegations about this blog that are not true – you make stuff up.

    “I believe that this blog is contributing to the further deterioration of the credibility of climate science in a couple of ways. This lack of willingness to “show your work” as frequently supported by this blog is just crazy.”

    Really? Obviously you missed this:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

    and this: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/wheres-the-data/

    You sir have no credibility and are far from reasonable.

    Comment by Peter Houlihan — 26 Feb 2010 @ 5:43 PM

  319. #252: votenotokyoto

    There is not much science at WUWT. Scientific method uses data to arrive at a conclusion. Watts already has a conclusion and finds data to support it. Even worse, his supporting data doesn’t actually support him! Why? He rarely does any analyses.

    I suggest you visit False Claims Proven False and Shame. These links show that Watts and D’Aleo’s claims about scientific fraud are unfounded. Watts should be cleaning up his mess but he won’t.

    I used to post there as one of the few Loyal Opposition but after awhile I realized that Watts didn’t care about the truth and neither did most of his followers. There were a few folks there who did educate me about several issues but they were few and far between. After the Briffa and CRU hatchet job over there and the subsequent lack of an apology, I gave up.

    Watts has no shame and cannot say “sorry” if his life depended on it. It is too bad because he has a huge following and if he could ever step back and just accept the obvious, he could really do some good.

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 26 Feb 2010 @ 5:55 PM

  320. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc3902.htm

    Comment by SoNowWhat — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:01 PM

  321. From the first sentence of the “Institute of Physics” submission:

    The Institute of Physics is a scientific charity

    Mmmm sounds like a real hot bed of research and science.

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc3902.htm

    [Response: IOP publish Physics World which is a respectable publication, so I wouldn't write them off because of the organisational structure. They do appear to be extrapolating beyond their knowledge in this submission though. Many of the statements are of a form 'if bad things were done, that would be bad' - which is fine, but kind of avoids the essential question of whether anything bad was done. - gavin]

    Comment by Ian Forrester — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:08 PM

  322. #315 “Institute of Physics sounds like a real hotbed of science” – yes, and that is of course the point. It is all of a par with “Clean Skies” and “No Child Left Behind”. The conservatives have learned that you can call something anything you like and it will be taken at face value by willing dupes, and by the mainstream media.

    Comment by David Horton — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:09 PM

  323. 225:
    Bob Close: “The IPCC practice of sexing up conclusions in legitimate research studies to suit particular political goals and frighten the public into submission is not to be condoned…”

    Utter nonsense.

    Bob Close: “…Now that various gross errors have been detected in the IPCC political reports…”

    One error, or one and a half at most I believe. Just because it has ‘-gate’ at the end doesn’t mean Woodward and Bernstein are gonna come knocking at the door. I’m sure they’d be looking at the real villains in this story, and they don’t blog here.

    “… particularly the temperature data manipulation to eliminate the Little ice age and other modern cooler periods…”

    Uh oh.

    “…as a concerned bystander in the AGW debate…I don’t admit to any predetermined disbelief in AGW,…”

    I like New Scientist, too, Bob, so was it you there last October calling AGW a con and encouraging people to go to reputable sceptic sites, finishing off with “AGW is a non-event”? If so, have a read of this:
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/02/betroffenheitstroll.html
    If not, I still disagree with what you said above.

    Comment by J Bowers — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:11 PM

  324. Dr. Santer: Sharing your processed data with Steve McIntyre did not destroy your scientific reputation, but withholding such information did. First, withholding implies that you were afraid that your calculations might not withstand “audit” and that McIntyre ouldl find a mistake.

    [Response: Not in the slightest. The point was that the whole calculation should be 'audited' from the raw data that was available to everyone. - gavin]

    Second, on the “remote” chance that McIntyre found a disagreement, wouldn’t you want the scientific record to be corrected?

    [Response: Of course. But the errors here were in the Douglass et al paper - and they still have not corrected them. Perhaps you should be talking to them instead. - gavin]

    Results which represent consensus agreement from a variety of analysts are far more valuable to the scientific community than dueling publications like Douglas/Santer that don’t clearly resolve (or at least define) the issue. McIntyre’s analyses suggest a substantial difference exists between observations and models, but a differences that falls somewhat short of Douglas’s claim to statistical invalidation of models. This seems to be a sensible position. Unfortunately, it does mean that the uncertainty in models is so large that it is difficult to make any useful predictions about how much change is expected in any 20-year period. That problem could be solved by anyone with the resources to run a model a few hundred times, but those with the resources don’t want to invalidate their models.

    [Response: This is just nonsense. The issue is not the defining the ensemble mean (for which more simulations might help marginally), but in the representation of the internal variability (which a hundred more runs will not improve). We run the models as often as resources allow, and efforts like CPDN have managed to run thousands of versions of their model. Your supposition as to the motives of the modelling groups is completely groundless. - gavin]

    Third, if you do your work intending to share all immediate results and calculations with skeptics like McIntyre, you and your associates will work more carefully and produce more reliable science in a form that the whole community can use. (Your emails show that you and co-authors were convinced Douglas was wrong even before you began your data analysis. They also show that you rushed a paper out to refute Douglas and arranged for peer-review by scientists who were sympathetic to your views and “knew what to say”. This is precisely the situation where mistakes are most likely to be made – though McIntyre didn’t find any.) Fourth, your intermediate data was generated with public funds appropriated because of the serious impact climate change might have on the future of our planet. Both you and Douglas had obtained similar intermediate data, the scientific issue at hand was the best way to determine their statistical meaning, an area where Mr. McIntyre has significant expertise.

    Before writing a post, I suggest you consult the record at ClimateAudit and the Climategate emails to avoid being caught making “mis-statements”. Mr. McIntyre does have a nasty (entertaining?) habit of exposing such contradictions, even when they are made unintentionally. For example, Mr. McIntyre’s blogging on your paper included computer code allowing readers to immediately audit his work and links to the data you released. He includes all critical remarks and makes corrections based on the feedback he receives.

    Comment by Frank — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:19 PM

  325. Filed under shame.

    Most Credible Climate Skeptic Not So Credible After All (Patrick Michaels)
    http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2010/02/pat-michaels-climate-skeptic

    What is more on shame today?

    Two of the most prominent claims of global warming denialists have been proven wrong.
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/shame/

    Comment by prokaryote — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:22 PM

  326. dhogaza 315

    “Institute of Physics sounds like a real hotbed of science”

    You’re making a fool of yourself.

    The IOP is one of the UK’s oldest and foremost scientific bodies.

    Most UK physicists working on climate change in the UK are likely to be members.

    I doubt they’ll appreciate your cheap and ill-informed jibes.

    Comment by DavidC — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:31 PM

  327. Frank – theres no evidence Santer’s scientific reputation has been desotryed amongst his peers, ie those actually engaged in climate science.
    The rest of your comment is along the lines of the usual ones from people woh fundamentally misunderstand science and approach it with an engineers viewpoint. And instead of trying to help understand this miscommunication issue and suggest how things acn be improved, they proceed to tell the scientists they are doing science wrong, and get huffy when the scientist get angry at being told what to do.

    Comment by guthrie — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:34 PM

  328. David C – then why did the IOP not actually speak to anyone engaged in climatology? I’ve read their submission, its just bluster and what if, no useful comment at all.

    Comment by guthrie — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:36 PM

  329. Kenneth (290) (as well as the moderators):
    “It is normal scientific procedure to be able to reproduce other scientists results”

    Every time this is brought up, can we please get statement to the effect that it does not mean copy their work, in the response?

    Comment by Hvordan — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:37 PM

  330. #295, Daily Mail link

    Yes I thought I’d post it as an example of absurd inconsistency. Jim is quite right!

    Private Eye used to do spoof Mail covers on a regular basis, one of which from about 1987 springs to mind. At the time the Mail used to print any old stuff to get at the UK Labour party.

    Private Eye’s spoof headline ran: “AIDS threat to Labour voters”! The syndrome was fairly new back then and the public didn’t know a lot about it. So the Eye spoof went on to suggest that it could be contracted by voting Labour in the forthcoming General Election, and the only way to minimise the risk was to vote Conservative!

    Cheers – John

    Comment by John Mason — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:37 PM

  331. Gavin’s response to 321:

    “….IOP publish Physics World which is a respectable publication, so I wouldn’t write them off because of the organisational structure. They do appear to be extrapolating beyond their knowledge in this submission though. Many of the statements are of a form ‘if bad things were done, that would be bad’ – which is fine, but kind of avoids the essential question of whether anything bad was done.”

    I don’t know how you got that idea.

    The IOP actually say:-

    “The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law. The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their ideas and results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital. The lack of compliance has been confirmed by the findings of the Information Commissioner. This extends well beyond the CRU itself – most of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other international institutions who are also involved in the formulation of the IPCC’s conclusions on climate change.”

    [Response: This is just not specific enough to warrant attention. With the one exception of the 'delete the emails' email (which I have said all along was ill-advised - even if no emails were deleted, and it's not clear that any were), I don't see what else they are referring to. The open exchange of data and materials is indeed vital - but it is not the CRU's fault (as the FOI body eventually ruled) that some of their temperature data was covered by NDAs. And what is this 'extension' to international institutions? This is just an insinuation without evidence. I appear in some emails. Am I therefore guilty of impeding the free flow of scientific information? I would like you to demonstrate that if indeed you think that is what they are implying. The point is that there is plenty enough boilerplate outrage knocking around that appears to based on vague feeling that people have rather than specific issues. It's not clear what the IOP are adding here. We've looked into almost everything that people have pointed to and shown that the accusations are usually completely baseless. - gavin]

    Comment by DavidC — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:48 PM

  332. guthrie wrote: “The rest of your comment is along the lines of the usual ones from people woh fundamentally misunderstand science and approach it with an engineers viewpoint.”

    Actually Frank’s comment is along the lines of the usual ones from people who are reciting the scripted talking points they have been spoon-fed by the ExxonMobil-funded Ditto-Head denialist media, without really even understanding what they are talking about.

    Does anyone else notice how all the Ditto-Head commenters are regurgitating the same list of talking points, using virtually identical language, using the same disingenuous, obviously coached posturing about being “concerned” about the “proper conduct of science”, pretending to advise climate scientists on how they need to “restore their reputation” and “regain public trust” by embracing ExxonMobil’s propaganda?

    “I used to be an AGW believer but whatever-gate has really shaken my faith in you guys so you’d better get on the WattsUp bandwagon if you want to regain my trust.” Blah blah blah.

    It is really hard sometimes to distinguish the “live” Ditto-Head commenters from spam-bots.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 26 Feb 2010 @ 7:01 PM

  333. Really, after reading the recent Guardian pieces on climate-related science, I think it is about time someone laid down some lawsuits on the media for its completely inept reporting.

    Michael

    Comment by Michael Turton — 26 Feb 2010 @ 7:03 PM

  334. Reasonable Observer says: 26 February 2010 at 4:09 PM

    “destroy your scientific reputation”

    You do realize your head is full of jangling echoes, don’t you? Santer’s reputation is not destroyed, except in the hallucinatory vision you’re part of.

    “audit”

    Every time I read “audit” I think of this:

    http://denialdepot.blogspot.com/

    “consult the record at ClimateAudit”

    Oh, right, you remind us to ask, where are the results of the “audit”, finally?

    BTW, that IOP thing was posted today at WUWT and sure enough it begins popping up in all the usual places, carried forth by a flock of squawking parrots. Enjoy your crackers, Polly.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 26 Feb 2010 @ 7:23 PM

  335. The real problem; The FOIA.

    I think you have to accept the following; FOIA exist.

    If you work for a big institution receiving dollars
    from the State (McIntyre does not) , or some other Government-associated institution, you are under the FOIA. Or?

    So, when someone request information, you must give it to them.

    You must follow the law of the land?

    Next logical sequence is; Okay, information must be provided.

    So, you have the choice;
    Either make tools to easily provide it automatically,
    or
    provide it manually in a case by case basis.

    If you choose the latter, it will choke you.
    So the logical choice is to choose the first.

    SQL databases, C#, you name it, You get money from the government.

    Just an honest advice.

    Thanks.

    Comment by kenneth — 26 Feb 2010 @ 7:25 PM

  336. Color me confused.

    Is there more than one Institute of Physics?

    If so, from which is the bafflegab about CRUhack and its aftermath?
    If we really care, that is…

    Comment by David B. Benson — 26 Feb 2010 @ 7:25 PM

  337. prokaryote says:
    26 February 2010 at 6:22 PM

    “Filed under shame.

    Most Credible Climate Skeptic Not So Credible After All (Patrick Michaels)”

    They thought Michaels was somewhat credible up until this year? He lost all credibility as far as I’m concerned with his dishonest congressional testimony in 1998.

    Comment by Dave G — 26 Feb 2010 @ 7:27 PM

  338. Anyway, regarding FOIA requests, I’ve always wondered what one does if a request arrives for data archived prior to the neat little Windows PCs that folk use today. Thinking back to the days of tapes and continuous-reel “computer-paper”.

    Something like “Thankyou for your request. And to what address would you like the lorry to be sent?” springs to mind.

    Cheers – John

    Comment by John Mason — 26 Feb 2010 @ 7:38 PM

  339. “David B. Benson says:
    26 February 2010 at 7:25 PM

    Color me confused.

    Is there more than one Institute of Physics?

    If so, from which is the bafflegab about CRUhack and its aftermath?”

    The quote is from the UK’s Institute of Physics “response to a House of Commons Science and Technology Committee call for evidence”. The pdf is available here: http://www.iop.org/activity/policy/Consultations/Energy_and_Environment/file_39010.pdf

    Comment by Dave G — 26 Feb 2010 @ 7:42 PM

  340. Kenneth @335:

    If you work for a big institution receiving dollars
    from the State (McIntyre does not) , or some other Government-associated institution, you are under the FOIA. Or?

    Or not. Only information that meets specific criteria is covered by FOIA.

    Just an honest advice.

    Honest, perhaps, but not sufficiently informed.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 26 Feb 2010 @ 7:44 PM

  341. Deniers: “Galileo, Galileo, Galileo!”

    Climate science: “Eppure riscalda!”

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 26 Feb 2010 @ 7:59 PM

  342. Dave G (339) — Thank you.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 26 Feb 2010 @ 8:00 PM

  343. David Benson,

    It is this one:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_of_Physics

    This is real and not some astroturf thing, and DavidC appears to be right, pretty much any UK physicist would be a member.

    However I would question whether they really signed off on this and whether they had a real mandate from the membership. It appears to have been quietly released (I don’t see any mention on the iop.org main news feed or press releases for example). That said, it is on their site, and it is really emanating from within the IOP. But the statement itself is so perfectly in line with ‘sceptic’ talking points, why isn’t it primetime news for their members, many of whom would I daresay be pretty surprised to hear that this is their submission?

    This seems to me like it was largely written by a ‘sceptic’, specifically one who fully swallows the climate audit line. Point 4 in particular makes this obvious – nobody talks like that unless they are immersed in the blogs.

    The only names actually attached to the submission are those of Peter Main and Tajinder Panesor. Main wrote the covering letter and Panesor is shown as the author of the PDF. There is a ‘sceptic’ called Peter Main posting online – of the ‘AGW is nonsense’ variety – and I wonder if it is the same guy or just a coincidentally shared name. Tajinder Panesor organised an IOP seminar about the predictive power of models with Lindzen and Piers Corbyn speaking for the ‘sceptic’ side – though what Panesor’s own views are I have no idea.

    They say they had input from the ‘science board’ and the ‘energy group’, but what input? Did they sign off on it?

    An obvious question is whether these people really speak for “The Physicists” or if it is simply a guerilla effort from the usual small bunch of geezers.

    Comment by Frank O'Dwyer — 26 Feb 2010 @ 8:02 PM

  344. Here is the full list of submissions made to the Science & Technology Select Committee:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/contents.htm

    Cheers – John

    Comment by John Mason — 26 Feb 2010 @ 8:04 PM

  345. JRC

    I never, never claimed there were no cybercrime convictions.

    I never claimed there were no convictions for unauthorized access.

    I never claimed there were no email convictions on private networks.

    If anyone had asked me, I would said sure, but what you’re complaining about was somebody reading the climate scientist’s email which had been sent on the internet.

    Of course there are no convictions for reading someone’s internet email.
    1) Internet email is not like a sealed letter unless its encrypted. It’s like a postcard. Ever hear of a postperson being convicted for reading a postcard? Of course not, if that’s all that was done. If the postal delivery take some illegal action using the information from the post card they can be prosecuted for that action, but not for reading the card or even for gossiping about what was read. Same with email on the internet.
    If you wish privacy for internet for internet email encrypt it. That’s what Jones et al. should have done if they wanted their conversations to remain private.

    So was a crime committed in this case. Maybe, but the crime was accessing the servers, if the access was unauthorized. We are pretty sure that it was, at least for loading the emails into the RealClimate server(s). Since we do not know who DeepThroat was (yet), that will be hard to tell. We may have to fire someone for violating some provision of his or her employee contract (or just because we don’t like this person) but we can’t charge a crime. Even then we have to very careful to say alleged crime because the suspect is innocent until proved guilty.

    OK, suppose we want to go ahead with a criminal charge. First we have to find a prosecutor who believes there is enough evidence (that a judge will accept and defense counsel will not debunk) to convict, i.e. convince all 12 jurors the person is guilty. Very tough since it is hard for all 12 Joe 6-packs, the jurors, to beyond a reasonable doubt.

    That said, Phil et al. can sue the suspect. (Anyone can sue anybody any time.) For damages, but not for stealing. Stealing is a crime and I tried to cover that above. BTW that’s the OJ case, OJ did not murder, he killed 2people but he didn’t murder them. Murder is a crime.

    Not very likely. So unlikely that you can’t find a conviction for READING someone else’s internet email.

    Even I am getting tired of this. I did like your links though, I scanned and bookmarked them.

    Thank you.

    Comment by John Peter — 26 Feb 2010 @ 8:07 PM

  346. Dave G says: 26 February 2010 at 7:42 PM
    > The quote is from the UK’s Institute of Physics

    Yep. Private company, do note.

    They interviewed Gavin last year:
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/print/40528
    Wrong but useful Oct 1, 2009 12 comments
    > Many policymakers have traditionally seen climate models as
    > irrelevant, but Gavin Schmidt argues ….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Feb 2010 @ 8:09 PM

  347. The real problem; The FOIA.

    I think you have to accept the following; FOIA exist.

    If you work for a big institution receiving dollars
    from the State (McIntyre does not) , or some other Government-associated institution, you are under the FOIA. Or?

    So, when someone request information, you must give it to them.

    The real problem: you don’t understand FOIA. When someone requests information, you must follow the law. *sometimes* following the law means you must give it to them. *sometimes* it means you must reject the request.

    Comment by dhogaza — 26 Feb 2010 @ 8:15 PM

  348. It seems something happened while I blinked. I could have sworn there was a “science” section on the various news websites, like http://www.CNN.com. I just went there to check something out (I think the last time I visited may have been some 3 or 4 months ago), and no “science” section. They had “Health,” and “Sports,” and “Winter Olympics,” but no “Science.”

    Even their “Tech” section is a misnomer, since it only has to do with information technology, and nothing to do with technology in genertal (which would include everything from Oldawan choppers to wind-generators and solar panels).

    So that’s it. The world has decided it can do without science.

    Hard come, easy go.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 26 Feb 2010 @ 8:28 PM

  349. Gavin in response to Frank (#324) says: “This is just nonsense. The issue is not the defining the ensemble mean (for which more simulations might help marginally), but in the representation of the internal variability (which a hundred more runs will not improve).”

    Furthermore, even disregarding the (very real!) complication of internal variability, this notion of defining the mean to such high certainty that it would disagree with observations is a red herring. Imagine that we ran the climate models that the IPCC AR4 report used enough to pin down the mean for the equilibrium climate sensitivity in them to be (3.2347 +/- 0.0001) C where the “uncertainty” quoted is the standard error in that mean value. Would subsequent evidence that the climate sensitivity of the real climate system is not actually in this very narrow range be of interest to anybody? I for one will categorically state that I am 99.99% certain that the ECS in the real climate system is in fact outside of the standard error for the mean from the climate models determined to this precision. But, so what?…Because the IPCC didn’t claim that the equilibirum climate sensitivity is (3.2347 +/- 0.0001) C. They say it is likely in the range of 2.0 to 4.5 C, which is a number that you get by assuming that it is the standard deviation…and not the standard error…in the mean (of all the different models) that the IPCC thinks is a reasonable metric of uncertainty. (In fact, even the standard error of the climate models is smaller than this range…You have to go out to ~2 standard deviations to get a range this broad; I think the 2.0 to 4.5 C range actually encompasses all of the ~20 models that the IPCC used for which the ECS has been determined.)

    Comment by Joel Shore — 26 Feb 2010 @ 8:57 PM

  350. John Mason says:
    26 February 2010 at 8:04 PM

    “Here is the full list of submissions made to the Science & Technology Select Committee:”

    I’m just wading through the links and there’s some fascinating stuff in there. Edward Dilley sent the committee two books, one by Ian Plimer and the other by Christopher Booker. These are the two most ridiculous deniers on the planet, in my view, yet Mr Dilley calls the books “excellent at putting climate change in true perspective”. Plimer thinks the Sun is made of iron and Booker thinks that asbestos is chemically identical to talcum powder. Maybe I should write a sceptic book – I’m as scientifically illiterate as both Plimer and Booker.

    I’m sure there will be other gems in the list.

    Comment by Dave G — 26 Feb 2010 @ 9:02 PM

  351. Just a note to the posters using the “Joe Six Pack” phrase in reference to persons outside your scientific clique:

    This arrogant and demeaning phrase is a real turn off to laypersons reading this blog to educate themselves. I read a number of blogs and this phrase shows up here far more than any other place. This “Joe Six-Pack” has a graduate degree from Berkeley, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and is female. If you want to drive away readers like me, just keep up the Joe Six-Pack routine.

    Comment by ClimateCurious — 26 Feb 2010 @ 9:05 PM

  352. “[Response: You have got to be kidding. You think this piece (followed by this one), reflects better on the reality of how well the IPCC AR4 WG2 represented the susceptibility of Amazonian forests to drought, than the public word of the primary researcher involved himself? Did you even actually read these things? The first piece doesn't even discuss the merits of the claims! And by the way "this Lewis guy" is Simon Lewis, one of the world's leading researchers on tropical forest dynamics. But you are right on that last point, so let me rephrase: This issue is utterly and completely without merit, trumped up by those looking to find fault with the IPCC, with the usual help from bloggers and bad journalism.--Jim]”

    Jim,

    Some final thoughts on your response.

    I read the two ER posts you linked. Both are from immediately after their first posts. It looks like they are both from before the Nepstad release. The Nepstad release was Feb with no specific date. The two AR posts are 1/30 and 2/1. Neither of these posts even addresses the later Nepstab statement. Given that it probably hadn’t even been made yet, I am not sure how he could have addressed the issue.

    [Response: Well, I'm glad that since you were the one who first referred to one or both of them here, that you did actually read them! The fact that Nepstad had not made a public statement until after North fired his missiles does not excuse North from his responsibility to check things for himself before yelling. Where's this guy's investigation? Did he read the IPCC report? The WWF report? Better yet, did he look into the literature to see whether Nepstad, or anyone else for that matter, had produced studies to support the IPCC statement? But you want to just give him a free pass anyway.--Jim]

    Read the Nepstab statement and you will notice that while he quotes from the original Nature 99 article, he doesn’t quote from his more recent articles. If the peer reviewed literature supports the IPCC statement, then why can’t he supply a quote or an abstract? While Nepstab may believe the IPCC, that is a far cry from peer reviewed literature.

    [Response: How can you in good conscience make such a directly wrong interpretation of his statement? He very clearly discusses that in two separate papers, one in 1994 and another in 2004, his group provided evidence that up to half (not 40%) of Amazonian forests are highly susceptible to drought-induced mortality, but that instead, their 1999 paper got the citation in the WWF report, which was then cited by the IPCC.--Jim]

    Next, go back and reread what Lewis said. According to you he is the world authority. He said that: “The IPCC statement is basically correct but poorly written, and bizarrely referenced.” In other words, even he is admitting that the IPCC did a poor job summarizing the science even if it is “basically correct”.

    [Response: I do love how you subtly twist meanings and then push them back for further comment. If you had actually been paying attention, you would have noticed that I did not say he was "the world authority" but rather one of them, and anyway his notoriety is not "according to me" but is built on a legacy of research in the tropics. But the main point here is how you take Lewis' statement, which basically summarizes exactly what happened, and interpret it to support what you want to believe about the situation.--Jim]

    Lets review the bidding then. ER finds a clear error in the IPCC. The cits don’t back up the statement and no one disagrees on that point.

    Some experts then come out and say that the IPCC statement is at least directionally correct, although there are no peer reviewed papers that directly back up their point.

    The leading expert admits that the statement is poorly written.

    [Response: Pathetic on so many levels. ER didn't find anything--he repeated what he read somewhere that supported his conspiracy, anti-IPCC needs.]

    Real Climate says: “This issue is utterly and completely without merit, trumped up by those looking to find fault with the IPCC, with the usual help from bloggers and bad journalism.”

    I hate to break it to you but your own leading expert finds fault with the IPCC. A fair read of all of this shows at best very shoddy work and a poor summary of the science. Another read is that environmental scientists are doing their best to give credence to an IPCC statement that was clearly poorly done and not supported by peer reviewed literature.

    [Response: I hate to break it to you but your twisting of the story to make it fit how you want to perceive it is obvious to everyone but yourself. A "fair reading" is something you are quite apparently not capable of making.--Jim]

    I am done arguing.

    [Response: Arguing involves having an argument to make. You are simply supporting crap written by a blogger.]

    I think many here are so wedded to their group think and worldview that they refuse to admit what is happening. Gavin’s responses to the Institute of Physics would almost be funny if they weren’t so sad. The scientific community is starting to look at this and they are turning on you.

    [Response: In your dreams.]

    I really do think that the bloggers here have the best of intentions. But sometimes even people with the best of intentions go down the wrong path.

    Best of luck and I sincerely mean that. I think you are going to need it.

    [Response: Thanks but I'll take evidence over luck any day, "Reasonable" Observer. But good luck to you.--Jim]

    Comment by Reasonable Observer — 26 Feb 2010 @ 9:15 PM

  353. 307 Ken W,
    Sonja was an pioneer in social science analysis of climate change, now retired. That she was a pioneer explains why she is well-known (it appears she has written less than I thought, but she have a couple of well cited papers and many not so well cited). Her interest was in the interface of science and politics of climate change, also energy and environmental politics. She is basically doing political interest analysis, where interests in part is an theoretical premise. Here is a few relevant papers:

    Boehmer-Christiansen, S. (1994): Global climate protection policy: The limits of scientific advice, Part 1 and 2. Global Environmental Change
    Boehmer-Christiansen, S. (1997) A winning coalition of advocacy: climate research, bureaucracy and “alternative” fuels: Who is driving climate change policy? Energy policy

    She takes an anti-environmentalism and sceptic stance. Her sceptical position follows a dubious contrarian logic: she seems to argue that sceptics are right because many are believers, i.e. the antithesis of concencus science. This becomes problematic since her scepticism also embrace the physical basis. I therefore ignore this part of her personal beliefs and values and concentrate on her more valuable contribution that interests do have a role and that she have some theory and empirical support for that. Her statement (empirically based) that energy politics determines climate politics is reasonable. Her critique that climate science contain many hidden values that should be explicit is also reasonable empirical statement and moral critique.

    Regarding the assertion: “Scientists were not asked test this as a scientific hypothesis but were asked to assume it in order to justify a major international policy”.

    How do one prove a statement like that? And more important, how should one interpret the statement? I interpret it this way: many politician and also scientists had already made up their mind, they believed in climate change and wanted policy. The IPCC etc was set up to promote policy and many researcher had a climate believer bias. This is fair I think. I do not interpret the statement as assertion of bad science per se or that they do not search for truth and test hypothesis. It is an assertion of bias and momentun in the co-production of policy by science and politics.

    Irrespective of this, I do not think you can find the proof you want, or rather don’t want. The assertion is abstract and general and based on interpreting the whole situation and it assumes different kinds of interests among the actors. However, I do think the climate scientists here interpret it too narrow, basically as an accusation of bad science, as you also do. Sonjas interest is in the broader picture and more in the societal function of climate research, how is function to legitimate policy, not in whether climate research per se is of high quality. As always in this discussion, much confusion arise from the different professional interests and ways of thinking between disciplines.

    This paper makes a stronger case for the role of financial issues for climate research, and how climate researchers jumped the environmental issue in part to gain money when US military wanted to pay less:
    Scientific Elites and the Making of US Policy for Climate Change Research, 1957-74 (Hart and Victor 1993)

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 26 Feb 2010 @ 9:18 PM

  354. ClimateCurious says: 26 February 2010 at 9:05 PM

    “I think they’re just not used to someone coming from the outside saying, “You know what? It’s time that normal Joe six-pack American is finally represented in the position of Vice Presidency,” and I think that that’s kind of taken some people off guard, and they’re out of sorts, and they’re ticked off about it.”

    –Sarah Palin

    Besides, if you’ve got a graduate degree from Berkeley, bad news: you’re part of the “clique.” That’s what Sarah thinks, anyway.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 26 Feb 2010 @ 9:22 PM

  355. I read a number of blogs and this phrase shows up here far more than any other place.

    A quick search of this thread shows that the only reference to “joe six pack” here is yours. A search of the whole web-site returns a dozen or two “joe six pack” hits in the comments (and none in any of the articles). Given that this web site has been on line for 5 and 1/2 years and has had nearly 11 million visitors, you really have to work hard to find “joe sixpack” references here without using the search engine.

    And as for the term “joe sixpack”? I’ll wear that label with pride. I am not above wallowing in a six-pack of beer from time to time.

    That being said, if you have really come here to learn about climate science, your time would be much better spent reading the articles than the comments.

    Comment by caerbannog — 26 Feb 2010 @ 9:33 PM

  356. More to CLimateCurious …..

    I always find it interesting when someone admittedly new to a site comes in finger waving ….

    It took me a while to find where anyone here used Joe six-pack as it is not the usual languaging found here…..

    way up there I found it

    “Models are a big part of the problem today. The global models don’t have enough resolution to get down to joe 6-pack’s regional level. Result is that “global temperature”, a statistical concept as the warmers do it, doesn’t swing with him/her.”

    This was written by John Peter …. and you’re thinking John Peter’s post is somehow reflective of the general opinions at RealClimate??? Really, that’s what you got out his your reading here so far? Oh dear!

    Comment by Kris Aydt — 26 Feb 2010 @ 9:51 PM

  357. 268 CM,
    Thanks for explaining the allusion. But I think you and most others are partly mistaken of Sonjas assertion and that this is due to your strong focus on the science. What Sonja basically are saying is that she do not like that scientists legitimate climate policy since she is opposed to climate policy due to her political stance. She is simply opposed to environmental politics. Since she believes that science can not be separated from scientists or from politics, she discuss all this at once. Ad hominem is not fully applicabe given this perspective, since what is of interest to Sonja is the political outcome, not what is true. You have different views on what science is and of what is important.

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 26 Feb 2010 @ 9:52 PM

  358. Good find, Frank (#343). Tajinder Panesor is indeed the author on the pdf file. I would guess the majority of their members would be strongly opposed to the various statements and vague innuendo being put forth in that statement. I would encourage members to push towards making it certain the views expressed are those of the authors only.

    Comment by MarkB — 26 Feb 2010 @ 10:01 PM

  359. Climate Curious, I believe that most of the folks that use “Joe Sixpack” are referring to themselves and people like them.

    You say: “This “Joe Six-Pack” has a graduate degree from Berkeley, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and is female. ”

    According to The Daily Show, that would make you a “Jane Winebox”.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Feb 2010 @ 10:12 PM

  360. The IOP “submission” really doesn’t ring true–rather like the APS Physics and Society end around from a couple of years ago. The really odd thing is that there is no reference to physics in it, just denialist talking points. It would be quite surprising if it had the imprimatur if the full IOP.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Feb 2010 @ 10:27 PM

  361. Andreas et al ….. re Sonja

    aiming off for her sceptic pov, I thought her views, in her parliamentary submission especially, worthy of consideration. They have a perspective that is interesting, wherever you stand on the science and likely policy response.

    Comment by HotRod — 26 Feb 2010 @ 10:40 PM

  362. “I would encourage members to push towards making it certain the views expressed are those of the authors only”

    Live by consensus…die by consensus.
    You can’t have it both ways.

    Comment by David Wright — 26 Feb 2010 @ 10:46 PM

  363. Ray Ladbury says: 26 February 2010 at 10:27 PM

    The IOP submission will blow up into a festival of backbiting within a few days, that’s my bet.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 26 Feb 2010 @ 11:19 PM

  364. Ken@307 & Andreas@352 – You might try getting a fix on Sonja right from the horses mouth, so to speak – doesn’t sound like someone who’s logic is only a little “dubious”, sounds to me like someone with a very clear political agenda who feels she’s the expert on anything to do with climate AND politics.

    ““Scientists were not asked [to] test this as a scientific hypothesis but were asked to assume it in order to justify a major international policy”.
    How do one prove a statement like that? And more important, how should one interpret the statement?”

    One should interpret it exactly as stated, with respect to who she’s stating it of, the CRU scientists and the UK govt – should be pretty easy for her to prove [and you to ask rather than "interpret"], all she has to do is lay out the government mandate she claims exists.

    Judging by the “official” timeline of CRU history compared to her own, I’d guess she’s confusing the Hadley Centre’s founding mandate? I don’t find any “clearly stated objective that it must support a decarbonisation agenda” [not really an "abstract" statement, Andreas], but then I suppose she’d be able to elaborate on the politics of it all.

    Comment by flxible — 26 Feb 2010 @ 11:28 PM

  365. Something along these lines should suffice…

    “All articles and editorials published in the newsletter solely represent the views of their authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Forum Executive Committee.”

    http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/200807/monckton.cfm

    Comment by MarkB — 26 Feb 2010 @ 11:31 PM

  366. [Response: Not in the slightest. The point was that the whole calculation should be 'audited' from the raw data that was available to everyone. - gavin]

    No. Not necessarily. I work for a fisheries agency and have had my work audited by the government auditor-general’s office after complaints from industry about our modelling results and the management implications for the industry concerned.

    What they audited was the procedure and methodology employed to get our results. They only wished to know where the raw data were and how it was incorporated in the modelling. They did not try to replicate our results from first principles and nor should they have to.

    In the end they verified our procedure and we passed the audit with flying colours. This is not a dissimilar process to that which McIntyre uses.

    [Response: Hardly. - gavin]

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 27 Feb 2010 @ 12:09 AM

  367. Why no libel suit against this character?

    Comment by B S Kalafut — 27 Feb 2010 @ 2:32 AM

  368. I hope it’s not too off-topic (journalists == bloggers these days…), but I think you may be able to apply your pattern-recognition skills to this blog:

    http://faultline.org/index.php/site/item/incendiary

    Do you this this applies to anything you’ve seen?

    [Response: Oh indeed! - gavin]

    Comment by Damien — 27 Feb 2010 @ 3:25 AM

  369. Emails: Encryption should be standard and universal as it is in the US DOD, and I guess, the whole US government. Is this correct? Before I retired, I noticed that all of the documents in the computer on my desk at work were encrypted without effort on my part.

    They hacked UEA because the UEA server was undefended or not well enough defended. I hope UEA and other universities have changed their policy. Everything in your server should be encrypted. Am I correct in thinking that if they had tried to hack/crack any US government computer, they would be in trouble with nothing to show for their effort?

    Are the servers at Your university defended against crackers/hackers? Is the RealClimate server defended? It must be, or surely it would have been attacked.

    [Response: It has been. - gavin]

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 27 Feb 2010 @ 3:46 AM

  370. Ray Ladbury #360: I would love to see the professor who wrote this IOP hit piece cross-examined to cut him down to size. He obviously didn’t even read the emails — or do any other due diligence, instead relying on second-hand sources before joining the mob. Sigh.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 27 Feb 2010 @ 4:12 AM

  371. Bob Close: We the public need to see the smoking gun re CO2, and in my opinion you have not done that yet.

    BPL: Then you can’t have been following the professional literature.

    BC: I believe you have shown human civilization induced GHG’s are a factor as are sulphate aerosols but do they far outweigh natural climate pattern effects such as El Niño, volcanic eruptions and solar changes?- I strongly doubt it.

    BPL: Look again:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Sun.html

    Pay special attention to the multiple regression at the bottom.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Feb 2010 @ 5:43 AM

  372. voteno (252): there is plenty of science in WUWT

    BPL: Right, but it’s all of the cryptozoology, Face on Mars, aliens-built-the-pyramids variety.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Feb 2010 @ 5:51 AM

  373. sidd (234)

    You are absolutely right, I went through the same pain. I hung in, got my degree and went to work for a large corporation because they paid more than the schools. In school I had a fellowship that barely paid tuition and room – I took a job as a waiter for just meals, NO pay, not even tips. And yes, we worked 70+ hours which made our “hourly rates even lower. Student’s wives, I had none then, worked for exactly minimum wage (kept the school out of trouble with the government.

    Government or industry scientists today probably make at least $30/hour. I don’t know what PIs and assistants make, but I would guess more than $50/hour or more for the time they spend on the contracts. That what I meant as a comparison for the $10/hour.

    Love independent consulting, good luck.

    Comment by John Peter — 27 Feb 2010 @ 5:55 AM

  374. Allen C (270): So far actual observation isn’t strongly correlated with the forecasts. That isn’t to say that in time this correlation might strengthen.

    BPL: Please read:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Correlation.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Feb 2010 @ 5:59 AM

  375. CFU 256

    Thanks for the compliment, much better than your usual…

    Comment by John Peter — 27 Feb 2010 @ 6:00 AM

  376. Ray Ladbury post 360
    The IOP submission was signed off by Professor Peter Main, the Director of Education and Science:
    http://www.iop.org/activity/policy/Consultations/Energy_and_Environment/file_39010.pdf
    It “was prepared with input from the Institute’s Science Board, and its Energy Sub-group”

    The Science committee members are listed at:
    http://www.iop.org/aboutus/Governance/Science_Board/page_21340.html

    The Vice-president of the Committee is Prof Denis Weaire FRS
    Members of the Committee include:
    Prof Ian Halliday FRS Edinburgh
    Prof Douglas Paul
    Prof Chris Sachrajda FRS
    Prof Robin Nicholas
    Prof William Gelletly
    These are no intellectual lightweights.

    Comment by wallruss — 27 Feb 2010 @ 6:41 AM

  377. ClimateCurious (351): The “Joe Six-Pack” meme was brought in here by denier posters. Go back and look. And keep your accusations to yourself until you’ve looked into an issue.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Feb 2010 @ 6:49 AM

  378. “BPL: Look again:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Sun.html

    Pay special attention to the multiple regression at the bottom.”

    Citation of BPL : “And if we don’t do something to control our output of that greenhouse gas, we’re going to be in serious trouble.”

    Can you equally justify this assertion by a correlation between any global indicator of “trouble” and CO2 concentration (or temperature)?

    Comment by Gilles — 27 Feb 2010 @ 7:03 AM

  379. The IOP
    It seems that a slight Anglo-American split is opening up on RC. The IOP is comparable with the American version. The coverage of the UK version is better for some disciplines (see e.g http://www.iop.org/EJ/toc/-ff30=7 to get some free examples), worse for others, such as the history of science; (its a pity that the IOP has not posted Spencer Weart’s History of Global Warming on its web site).

    But I had not heard of that letter, or for that matter of the Scottish businss friendly tributary. That probably applies to most other people in the IOP. Letters like that are not peer reviewed. Perhaps the authors have spent too much time reading the UK newspapers and not enough time reading Realclimate and the papers it mentions?

    I think that we should be more concerned about the enquiry being organised by the admin. people at the UEA. How well have those concerned been informed? I don’t like the way that the science and maths and statistics are being hived off to be discussed (or not?) as an after thought. Is it not relevant whether a paper which has been rejected contains trivial errors? Will the enquirers have read Ben Santer’s Appendix A mentioned in the lead article?

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 27 Feb 2010 @ 7:28 AM

  380. Andreas (#357),

    if someone dislikes scientists legitimating climate policy because one is politically opposed to that policy, that’s fair enough.
    She can challenge the scientists if they go beyond what their findings support, or if she suspects an actual bias in the findings, she can try to prove them wrong. (Of course, identifying the ideological views of a researcher is not the same as proving a bias in the results. That takes more work and skills.)

    …what is of interest to Sonja is the political outcome, not what is true

    If so (and you know her work better than I), well, that’s where she entirely parts company with scholars and scientists. Wouldn’t you say?

    Comment by CM — 27 Feb 2010 @ 8:51 AM

  381. #349, Joel you are hitting on the heart of the matter. There is the issue of:

    RELIABILITY — do you get consistent answers using your method (but the method could be wrong, the speed detector out of kilter);

    there is the idea of PRECISION (telling one’s exact age, say “39,” rather than age range — but if a woman is lying it doesn’t really help); and

    there is the much more important issue of VALIDITY of does the science reveal the reality of what’s happening in the real world — which is why I trust the RealScientists here at RealClimate (who consider current data, laws of physics (and other fields), models, and paleoclimate data and studies) over Rush Limbaugh, weathermen, news journalists, Joe Blow on the streets, and statisticians.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 27 Feb 2010 @ 8:53 AM

  382. The Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Statistical Society are three of the principal bodies representing scientists in the UK. They have made many common points, and they all seem to be highly critical of those who with-hold data, methods or results. If the professional bodies of physicists, chemists and statisticians are prepared to take a clear view, it will be interesting to see how that compares with an assertion on realclimate that their views should be dismissed. I am sure that the politicians can form their own view.

    This is the opening salvo from the IOP
    1. The Institute is concerned that, unless the disclosed e-mails are proved to be forgeries or adaptations, worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research in this field and for the credibility of the scientific method as practised in this context.

    2. The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law.

    [Response: 'Prima facie' does not imply guilt, merely that there is a case to be made (and defended). It is the same as saying 'well if things look as bad as they seem on it face, that would be bad'. But it isn't a proof that something bad has happened. The wikipedia article is pretty good on this. I find the IOP submission remarkably lacking in specifics. - gavin]

    Comment by per — 27 Feb 2010 @ 9:23 AM

  383. I have been directed to this blog as a place to find the truth as to what we should expect to occur with the climate over both the short, intermediate and long term.
    My reasons being that in considering the optimum in sustainable construction, I hold the view that to minimise resource depletion, we should design for the long term.
    My question is a simple one, what shift in climate should we expect over the coming year, decade and century?

    Thanks

    Comment by David — 27 Feb 2010 @ 9:46 AM

  384. > IOP … principal bodies representing scientists in the UK

    _”representing”_ how? It’s a private publishing company program, if its own website is to be believed!

    What kind of “representing” do they do, or claim to do, and where and how?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Feb 2010 @ 10:13 AM

  385. All submissions to the curent CRU investigation into the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee can be found at:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/contents.htm

    Comment by wallruss — 27 Feb 2010 @ 10:16 AM

  386. Oh, good grief. It appears to be mostly a business lobbying organization that gives awards to businesses.

    Media Information 2007
    *Member of the Institute of Physics’ Business Affiliates Network. If your company is interested in becoming a Business Affiliate, contact …
    images.iop.org/dl/physicsweb/PWMP2007.pdf -
    #
    News & Events – Starpoint Adaptive Optics becomes a Business Affiliate of the Institute of Physics. The IoP’s Business Affiliates Network brings together organisations of all sectors that engage …
    #
    … Membership of the Institute of Physics is open to all who have an interest in physics …
    http://www.plasma.org/Conferences/Conference…/event_10726.html
    http://www.starpointao.com/StarpointNews.html

    Sounds like the Chamber of Commerce in the US. “Representative” not.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Feb 2010 @ 10:22 AM

  387. Well, Wikipedia makes them sound far more like a professional organization
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_of_Physics
    (but who wrote that?)

    Their own website makes them sound far more like a business lobbying group, proposing for the 2010 elections http://www.iop.org/aboutus/file_39015.pdf
    ” an integrated model for funding and managing research in national priorities such as climate change. Consideration should be given to addressing the grand societal challenges through focused programmes, directed by relevant government departments and appropriately resourced to achieve practical solutions on realistic timescales”
    and
    “… We ask for:
    • • •

    • • •
    an expanded R&D tax credit scheme to keep the UK ahead of European competitors;
    enhanced support for collaboration and people exchange between universities and industry;
    … directing a fixed proportion of public expenditure to foster science-based businesses and support innovative solutions;
    … provision of long-term investment in start-ups through a large-scale science-focused venture capital fund…..”

    Well, who could argue with any of that, eh?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Feb 2010 @ 10:30 AM

  388. Andreas,
    The fact that Sonja operates E&E as a clearinghouse for substandard papers that support her ideology makes everything she says or has ever said suspect in my eyes. If she told me it was sunny outside, I’d reach for my umbrella. Moreover, her sociological analyses of “science” are utterly unrecognizable to anyone who actually does science. I am very much reminded of the sorts of patronizing studies done on so-called “primitive tribes” by anthropologists and sociologists who didn’t speak the language, and didn’t deign to try and communicate for fear it would spoil their “objectivity”. The net amount that Sonja has added to the sum of human knowledge is negative.

    As to the problems of democracy, well we have a problem. Democracy presumes that the “demos” are competent to judge what is in their own best interest. That in turn presumes that they can distinguish a sincere politician from a charlatan who tells them what they want to hear while fleecing them.

    The founding fathers of American democracy realized that this was a system of government that made demands of its citizens. Ben Franklin was asked by a woman during the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia what sort of government they had given the people, “A democracy, Madam,” Franklin replied, “if you can keep it.” Franklin had severe doubts whether we could keep it, speculating that the new nation would enjoy democracy for perhaps a decade before the people became to lax in their responsibilities and government became despotic.

    If the people have reached a point where they are incapable of telling real science from anti-science on issues of critical societal importance, then we have reached a point where democracy will fail. Indeed we have reached a point where H. L. Mencken’s view of democracy is realized:

    “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”–H. L. Mencken

    It really is not as if it is that hard to tell where the science is–just look at the people who are publishing regularly on the subject and take the consensus of those experts. Alternatively, one can come to educational resources like Realclimate and learn the science. If people are too lazy to do that, it is difficult to see how democracy can succeed or indeed how civilization can endure.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Feb 2010 @ 10:45 AM

  389. Gilles asks: “Can you equally justify this assertion by a correlation between any global indicator of “trouble” and CO2 concentration (or temperature)?”

    Well, there is this well known correlation:

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=267352

    http://econ-www.mit.edu/files/3689

    Temperature correlates negatively with GDP.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Feb 2010 @ 10:55 AM

  390. Pssst…Ray, Franklin reportedly said, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” There was a mistrust of the “demos” and our founding fathers wanted us to choose the most enlightened among us to make our laws. Then there’s Inhofe…

    Comment by Deech56 — 27 Feb 2010 @ 10:55 AM

  391. Ah, Nature’s blog may coincidentally reveal why the IOP is advocating that their government take over climate change research and guide it to “practical solutions on realistic timescales” — that would be just in time to cut the funding for the actual research.

    Coincidence?

    A pertinent heads-up from Olive Heffernan at ClimateFeedback:

    “… Right now, HADGEM2-ES is gearing up for a major challenge. Over the coming months, it will run a series of climate simulations out to the year 2100 for the next report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), on the physical-science basis of climate change, due out in 2013.

    The scientists – such as Jones – who have developed HADGEM2-ES hope that by representing the earth system in greater complexity they will be to simulate the present-day climate with greater realism. This should, in theory, lead to more realistic projections for the future, but many of the climate modellers I spoke to were keen to point out that simulating the climate with more complex models may well lead to greater uncertainty about what the future holds. That’s because including sources of large feedbacks – such as forests that can expand or die or tundra that can release vast amounts of methane – adds a whole new suite of factors to which the climate can respond.

    So, it’s quite likely that the next IPCC report will have much larger error bars on its estimates of future temperature or precipitation, compared with AR4. Climatologist Jim Hurrell of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, who is heading up development of the NCAR Earth-system model, had this to say:

    “It’s very likely that the generation of models that will be assessed for the next IPCC report will have a wider spread of possible climate outcomes as we move into the future”.

    So why include more complexity in the model, if it will produce results that are less useful for decision-making? Here, it’s worth remembering that for climatologists, models are not just tools that can give a glimpse of what the future holds; they are also an experimental playground – a replica world on which they can test their knowledge of the climate system. Without the ability to conduct global-scale experiments in the lab or in the field, models are the only tools they have. So while the results from more complex models may, in the short-term, be less informative for policy makers and the public, they will help scientists better understand what drives climate change and lead to better simulations in the long-term.”
    http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/2010/02/the_climate_machine_1.html#more
    —-

    Not what the IOP wants, eh?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Feb 2010 @ 10:57 AM

  392. Richard Thomas CBE, ex-information commissioner (my emph):

    4.3 Section 77 is a very important section of FOIA, which most public
    authorities take very seriously. It is the only section with a criminal
    sanction, although there have not yet been any prosecutions. It has to be
    established that the “applicant would have been entitled” to receive the
    requested information, in particular that no exemptions applied.
    It is also
    necessary to establish that the destruction or alteration was done with the
    “intention” of preventing disclosure.

    Hmmm, that’s interesting. And surprising to me at least. The request by David Holland was for the IPCC correspondence on Chapter 6 IIRC… which later FOI practice found to fall under the confidentiality exemption. So, the deletion order was perhaps ill-considered but not even necessarily illegal. And unnecessary :-(

    Comments from British law cognoscenti?

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 27 Feb 2010 @ 11:01 AM

  393. @348, Lynn Vincentnathan, CNN eliminated its entire science team in December 2008. See http://www.sej.org/publications/watchdog-tipsheet/cnn-weather-channel-axe-environmental-units

    Comment by Imback — 27 Feb 2010 @ 11:05 AM

  394. FYI, a podcast of an excellent interview with Dr. Michael Mann has just been posted at: http://cdn3.libsyn.com/pointofinquiry/POI_2010_02_26_Michael_Mann.mp3

    Dr. Mann is definitely not pulling any punches!

    Comment by caerbannog — 27 Feb 2010 @ 11:06 AM

  395. Right – if you don’t like what the IOP has to say…..attack the IOP! I suggest a more fruitful response would be for those involved in this (however peripherally) to step outside themselves and see how this looks to uninvolved parties. The answer is that the entire picture looks as if the “mistakes”, or “errors in judgment”, or “unfortunate e-mails”, or “data problems”, or “upside down proxies”, or “statistical tricks: are **all** stacked one way in terms of the impact on the interpretation of the science. This is the “prima facie” case that there is a deeply ingrained bias in the climate science community. It was a probabilistic and circumstantial case before the e-mails were released and the IPCC report errors were found. Now in the opinion of many observers, it no longer is. The laundry now has to be washed, and it looks like it’s well on it’s way to happening. I think that the center will not hold in the climate science community after this process is completed.

    Comment by Avatar — 27 Feb 2010 @ 11:09 AM

  396. David (383):

    Actually, your question is quite complicated :)

    Try starting with the IPCC summary.

    Comment by Molnar — 27 Feb 2010 @ 11:23 AM

  397. Avatar, #395:

    1) “The entire picture looks as if…” The picture you are looking at was painted by one group of people, with an agenda, so you are only seeing one side of the issue (and a grossly distorted and misrepresented side). You aren’t bothering to look anywhere else. The fact that you and others trust this distorted image without question is the real problem.

    2) “… the IPCC report errors…” Error, not errors. One error was found in the IPCC report. One.

    3) “… the climate science community…” I am not directly involved, so this is purely hypothetical on my part but… What exactly is the climate science community? Are they some cohesive group, with weekly meetings and a secret handshake? There’s an image that is conjured by that phrase, with a lot of connotations and implications, which I suspect are very, very misplaced and ill-founded. It would be like saying “the truck driver’s community” or “the grocer’s community.” I think you are imagining more cohesion and single minded direction than there ever could be in a cross section of scientists of different ages, geographical locations, languages, nationalities, educational and economic backgrounds and fields of expertise. I’m not the right person to say, though. A lot of others here would know better.

    Comment by Bob — 27 Feb 2010 @ 11:42 AM

  398. From http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/ICOcorrespondence (emphasis added if the html tags work as intended)


    Any assertion that the University has been found in breach of any part the Freedom of Information Act is incorrect. The ICO had not communicated with the University before issuing the statement and has still not completed any investigations into this matter. Media reports have been inaccurate.

    …..

    … that the FOI request at issue did not concern raw data but private email exchanges.

    Comment by caerbannog — 27 Feb 2010 @ 11:53 AM

  399. Quoting Ben Santer:

    Fact 4: I did not want to submit our paper to the International Journal of Climatology if there was a possibility that our submission would be regarded as a mere “comment” on Douglass et al. Under this scenario, Douglass et al. would have received the last word. Given the extraordinary claims they had made, I thought it unlikely that their “last word” would have acknowledged the serious statistical error in their original paper. As subsequent events showed, I was right to be concerned – they have not admitted any error in their work.

    /quote

    What was this ‘serious statistical error’?

    Comment by Alex Cane — 27 Feb 2010 @ 11:55 AM

  400. Avatar says, “The answer is that the entire picture looks as if the “mistakes”, or “errors in judgment”, or “unfortunate e-mails”, or “data problems”, or “upside down proxies”, or “statistical tricks: are **all** stacked one way in terms of the impact on the interpretation of the science. ”

    And yet, the denialists cannot point to a single result that was corrupted or is not confirmed by other independent analyses or datasets–including some done by “skeptic” scientists, themselves. I wonder why this is.

    We know why you want to focus on personal attacks. It is because you have no evidence of your own. It is much easier to focus on personal foibles and frailties. And yet science has been delivering reliable knowledge of the physical world of 400 years while practiced by just such frail human beings.

    Science: It works. Try it sometime.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Feb 2010 @ 11:57 AM

  401. What is the IOP — a registered charity — up to?

    Did you see the Institute of Physics “Memorandum submitted by the Institute of Physics (CRU 39)” here:
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc3902.htm ?
    …and the IOP Energy Management Group’s July 2008 Newsletter here:
    http://www.iop.org/activity/groups/subject/Energy/Newsletter/file_31726.pdf ?

    I did and was shocked (I have asked if the article and memo represent IOP policy). I have specifically asked why the newsletter contains an article entitled “Reliability of CO2 Ice Core Studies” by one Zbigniew Jaworowski. He cites Idso S.B, (1988), “Carbon dioxide and climate in the Vostok ice core”, Atmospheric Environment, 22, pp. 2341-2342 — but I cannot find that article. However, it must be pre-1994, before the Vostock core was drilled!
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/icecore/antarctica/vostok/vostok.html

    Of course, the name rang a bell. Even an undergraduate reviewer could have found serious problems with the Jaworowski article citations. But what is the IOP — a registered charity — up to? If it is a charity, is it allowed also to be a front for industry, if that is the case?

    Comment by melty — 27 Feb 2010 @ 11:57 AM

  402. Avatar wrote: “I think that the center will not hold in the climate science community after this process is completed.”

    I think you are reciting scripted talking points that have been spoon-fed to you by ExxonMobil’s multimillion dollar propaganda machine, and that in fact you don’t know what you are talking about, and thus your pompous, fatuous opinions about what will or won’t happen to the “climate science community” are founded in arrogant, gullible ignorance, and have no value except as low comedy.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 27 Feb 2010 @ 12:00 PM

  403. The Idso/Vostock article (thanks to Google Scholar) was published in 1988. That’s NINETEEN EIGHTY-EIGHT! Link: http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/0004698188901515 Yet 20 years later — in 2008 — the IOP Energy Management Group thinks it is OK to publish denialist newsletter articles that cite this and write nasty memos. Unbelievable. Perhaps I should have searched RC for IOP first?

    Comment by melty — 27 Feb 2010 @ 12:04 PM

  404. ClimateCurious wrote: “This arrogant and demeaning phrase is a real turn off to laypersons reading this blog to educate themselves.”

    As other commenters have noted, the “arrogant and demeaning” phrase “joe six-pack” was first used here by laypersons reading this blog, to refer to themselves, and to other unspecified members of the general public who they claimed share their opinions.

    I would think it arrogant and demeaning to be called a “Ditto-Head” — suggesting a person incapable of independent thought, a person who slavishly believes, embraces and repeats whatever he is told by someone else.

    And yet that is what devotees of Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the so-called “right wing” media proudly call themselves.

    Go figure.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 27 Feb 2010 @ 12:12 PM

  405. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/
    cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc3902.htm

    IOP (deniers?)

    Comment by Herbert — 27 Feb 2010 @ 12:14 PM

  406. Hank Roberts 386 and 391
    You truly are showing you ignorance. I don’t know how the moderators of this site cope with the amount of junk that gets posted, from both sides of the fence, and that’s just the stuff that gets through. I commend your efforts, but I’ve had enough.

    Comment by wallruss — 27 Feb 2010 @ 12:18 PM

  407. Gavin’s inline comment to #382 is mistaken. His expressions of legal opinion are generally careful, but this one misses the mark. Contrary to Gavin’s statement, “prima facie” does imply guilt. Indeed, prima facie means that guilt will be considered proven UNLESS further evidence is brought forward to rebut the prima facie case. One way to think about prima facie is that it means, “Based on what we know now, the defendant is guilty but we’ll wait to hear what evidence he has to offer.”

    In this instance, the enforcement agency didn’t just say “prima facie,” it said that the prima facie case was “compelling.” So Gavin’s denial that there was an inference from the statement of a legal violation (but for the lapse of the statue of limitations, which is, of course, a complete defense) is wrong.

    Comment by Leighton — 27 Feb 2010 @ 12:28 PM

  408. Gilles (378),

    Try drought.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Feb 2010 @ 12:32 PM

  409. What say you on the Institute of Physics take on your…to put it nicely…methodologies?

    Memorandum submitted by the Institute of Physics (CRU 39)

    The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc3902.htm

    Comment by ted — 27 Feb 2010 @ 12:33 PM

  410. David (384),

    Over the next year: No idea. That’s weather, not climate.

    Next ten years: Still weather, but I’d say hotter and drier, with more violent weather along coastlines.

    Next century: No good agricultural land left, leading to complete collapse of human civilization.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Feb 2010 @ 12:35 PM

  411. re: # response to 382.

    I hate to suggest anything which might require even more work from people who have done an almost infinite amount, but considering the prestige of its source,I think that the submission from the IOP might deserve an article all to itelf. Even though the material is already out there, it needs to be assembled and focussed on the wording of the letter. This letter is already being amplified and producing a severe ‘howl- around’ i.e.a big unpleasant noise created by positive feedback.

    The letter is not neutral as indicated by its willingness to go well beyond a plea for more data sharing and instead to support Nigel Lawson’s highly publicised demand for a wider inquiry. The reasons given given would also please Lawson in particular i.e veiled forecasts that the hockey sticks might all be broken and that this story will be written up under the heading of the martyrdom of Stephen McIntyre.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 27 Feb 2010 @ 12:42 PM

  412. I think I may have guessed what’s causing the problem with my latitude-zone climate simulation. I’m basing H2O partial pressure on the zone temperature via the Clausius-Clapeyron relation and relative humidity, then normalizing so the total matches the observed. I get an absurdly hot equator and too-cool intermediate zones, though the average is correct (286 K in the latest version).

    But heat isn’t the only thing transferred among latitude zones–water vapor must be as well. Wind carries water. Clouds carry water. Precipitation. And currents and heat-mixing in the ocean must affect large-scale rates of evaporation.

    The problem is, I don’t know how to parameterize this. Does anyone at RC know how the general circulation affects water vapor by latitude? I could try guessing at a fit, but I need something to fit it too–is there empirical data on PH2O versus latitude anywhere?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Feb 2010 @ 12:51 PM

  413. Isn’t this kerfuffel all about the Santer Wigley Jones et al nature paper? (Vol.382, 4 July 1996, p.39-46) “A Search For Human Influences On The Thermal Structure Of The Atmosphere”.

    Didn’t this paper inspire the IPCC 1995 report chap 8 to state the now infamous “a discernable Human influence on Global climate”?

    Did you not use radio sonde data from 1963 to 1987 that showed close to a 1degC of warming?

    However, when the full available time period of radio sonde data is used (Nature, vol.384, 12 Dec 96, p522) from 1958-1996, isn’t the warming shown in your paper just a product of the dates you had chosen?

    [edit]

    Comment by Baa Humbug — 27 Feb 2010 @ 12:52 PM

  414. melty (#401) — psst — Vostok ice core data became available in the mid-1980s. They’ve continued drilling since.

    Comment by CM — 27 Feb 2010 @ 12:59 PM

  415. OK well since this group has asked for specifics here we go:

    1. The released emails clearly show a concerted effort to promote the research of one group of scientists at the expense of other groups who do not share the opinion about the unprecedented degree of recent warming. I’ve read them , and there is not doubt about that. The group at the center of this is important in the field, and in the middle of both the temperature reconstruction record and the iconic “hockey stick graph”.

    [Response: Reading the emails of any group of researchers will tend to find an effort of those researchers to push their research. I find this completely unsurprising. However there is also a lot of disputes over methodologies and processing and interpretation. The clear and shared disdain for contrarians is not because the 'do not share the opinion about the unprecedented degree of recent warming', but because they use bad logic, bad science, and false analyses to disinform the public. That is very different to differences of opinion about recent attribution. You are confusing combatting anti-science with actual science. - gavin]

    2. The paleoclimate research is shoddy, and although I don’t agree with everything that goes on at Climate Audit, they have done a good service in pointing out the weakness of much of that research. Whether it’s looking at the actual physical basis for believing the proxies work, the questionability of the statistical methods used or the failure to come to grips with the divergence problem, the general picture is quite unimpressive. I think a lot of the squealing about releasing data comes from the fact that those involved were well aware that the emperor was partially clad. Again this is pointed out in the emails quite well.

    [Response: 'Shoddy' is too strong, but the fact that there are uncertainties is front and center of all the work being done - just read the papers (not the commentaries). - gavin]

    3. The historical instrument temperature record is a mess, both for unavoidable reasons and because of lack of funding and staffing. However, it should not be controlled by a small university group which believes it is unaccountable to the public or FOI requests. My personal opinion is that it this record need to be redone by a group that understands this accountability much better. A group run by someone who discusses deleting emails to cover his tracks is not the group for the job.

    [Response: The data was not and is not controlled by a small university group. The data are controlled by the National Met Services all across the world. This misconception is at the heart of the misinformation on this issue. Much of the data is public domain, and GISTEMP for instance uses that. But so can anyone else. Higher resolutoin SYNOP data is also public domain and any other group could create an ongoing record based on that. FOI requests to CRU for data that was not theirs to give were correctly rejected. - gavin]

    4. Since the IPCC report, closer examination of it’s claims of current impacts all seem to point in the direction of reducing their actual magnitude. Whether it’s glacier melting rates, severity of hurricanes, severity of droughts, current flat temperature trend, the actual picture seems much less alarming. If fact, it’s not alarming at all. The earth is a prosperous, hospitable, slightly warmer place after a near doubling of CO2 in the last century.

    [Response: The 'alarm' is for where we are going, not where we have been. - gavin]

    5. The argument for immediate, dramatic action is based on essentially 4 legs: the unprecedented nature of current warming int he past 1500 yrs, the “accelerating” current warming shown by the instrument record, claimed evidence of current extreme climate disturbances, and positive feedback computer models calibrated to the instrument temperature record that come nowhere near reflecting the actual complexity of the climate (see for example Solomon paper). As I see it, these are 4 weak legs that seem to get weaker upon scrutiny.

    [Response: Read the reports again, these are not the basis of the problem. The temperatures of the last 1500 years doesn't even come into it, neither does the acceleration (though it has accelerated), neither do the changes in the few extreme measures where the data is good enough to say anything. Your last point is vaguely related, but does not require models to show. The real issues are that CO2 is increasing rapidly, it is a greenhouse gas, it is very likely that the trends in recent decades are being driven by anthropogenic effects and the magnitude of those effects are going to increase rapidly if we stay on a BAU course. - gavin]

    6. Climate science is hard. I’m a physicist by training, and it a much different discipline than running lab experiments 1000′s of times with reproducible results. I get that. But since climate science interacts with the political economy in such a tightly coupled way I think that the fundamental pillars of data need to be above reproach and accessible to all, and much more upfront about the possible uncertainties and errors lurking in the analyses. The interface between the science and entities like the IPCC has turned an investigative enterprise into something resembling advocacy politics. That’s both unacceptable and unfortunate.

    [Response: If it were true, I would agree, but this is very far from the case. Once again, read the reports - you will find them very different from this cartoon. - gavin]

    Comment by Avatar — 27 Feb 2010 @ 1:03 PM

  416. 391, Hank Roberts: Here, it’s worth remembering that for climatologists, models are not just tools that can give a glimpse of what the future holds; they are also an experimental playground – a replica world on which they can test their knowledge of the climate system.

    A better test of their knowledge (as embodied in their computer code, which includes not just particular methods for solving diffeqns but also particular code) would be to run the simulation from 1900 to 1999. Running the simulation from 2000 to 2099 only tests whether the program runs, not whether it gives accurate results. Model runs to date only show that the random variability in the data and parameter estimates is too great to pass or fail the model on the record since 1995.

    FWIW, I disagree with wallruss of 406. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with your posts 386 or 391, but they are surely not junk.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 27 Feb 2010 @ 1:28 PM

  417. #382 – “…………..
    My reasons being that in considering the optimum in sustainable construction, I hold the view that
    My question is a simple one, what shift in climate should we expect over the coming year, decade and century?
    Thanks
    Comment by David — 27 February 2010 @ 9:46 AM”
    Just watch “An Inconvienient Truth” It’s all there…… and peer reviewed to boot.

    Comment by Martin — 27 Feb 2010 @ 1:38 PM

  418. 391, Hank Roberts Here, it’s worth remembering that for climatologists, models are not just tools that can give a glimpse of what the future holds; they are also an experimental playground – a replica world on which they can test their knowledge of the climate system.

    NOT incidentally, it is a difficult chore to show that a complex computer program actually calculates the correct results of the model that it embodies. This is not a hypothetical problem. The SIAM Applied Dynamical Systems Conferences regularly have presentations on this topic, with examples of seemingly trustworthy programs that got the wrong answers, even after having been seemingly coded correctly. Computer programs, like bridges (cf “Galloping Gerty”), are not dependable until they have been thoroughly tested against lots of objective criteria directly relevant to their goals. For the GCMs, there is no solid foundation for believing that they correctly compute the results of the theoretical models that they embody. At minimum, they should correctly model some well-known record, such as the global temp annual means since 1900. They might still be wrong about the future, but at least there would be grounds for optimism that they might be correct.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 27 Feb 2010 @ 1:41 PM

  419. 386, Hank Roberts: News & Events – Starpoint Adaptive Optics becomes a Business Affiliate of the Institute of Physics. The IoP’s Business Affiliates Network brings together organisations of all sectors that engage …
    #
    … Membership of the Institute of Physics is open to all who have an interest in physics …
    http://www.plasma.org/Conferences/Conference…/event_10726.html
    http://www.starpointao.com/StarpointNews.html
    &&&
    Sounds like the Chamber of Commerce in the US. “Representative” not.

    You make them out to be just like every other professional association, like the American Statistical Association, Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics, or the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 27 Feb 2010 @ 1:51 PM

  420. In this instance, the enforcement agency didn’t just say “prima facie,” it said that the prima facie case was “compelling.” So Gavin’s denial that there was an inference from the statement of a legal violation (but for the lapse of the statue of limitations, which is, of course, a complete defense) is wrong.

    They’ve clarified that the “prima facie” evidence is in regard to Phil Jones e-mailing colleagues urging them to delete e-mail. I think everyone agrees it was wrong of Phil Jones to do that. I can’t imagine anyone thinking it has anything to do with the data request FOIs, the HadCRUT temperature product, etc.

    So this statement by the IOP:

    2. The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law. The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their ideas and results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital. The lack of compliance has been confirmed by the findings of the Information Commissioner.

    Is incorrect because it suggests that the ICO statement had to do with requests for data, and further incorrect because no “finding” has been made.

    Comment by dhogaza — 27 Feb 2010 @ 2:48 PM

  421. Leighton says:
    27 February 2010 at 12:28 PM

    “Gavin’s inline comment to #382 is mistaken. His expressions of legal opinion are generally careful, but this one misses the mark. Contrary to Gavin’s statement, “prima facie” does imply guilt. Indeed, prima facie means that guilt will be considered proven UNLESS further evidence is brought forward to rebut the prima facie case. One way to think about prima facie is that it means, “Based on what we know now, the defendant is guilty but we’ll wait to hear what evidence he has to offer.””

    I can’t speak for Gavin, but I don’t think he is wrong. The burden of proof in a legal case does not shift, purely because someone says something. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty and that includes Jones and anyone else at CRU.

    Comment by Dave G — 27 Feb 2010 @ 2:52 PM

  422. That Institute of Physics memo to Parliament is the new coffin nail for deniers. It looks like a faction of the organization got Lindzenized.

    http://www.iop.org/activity/policy/Events/Seminars/file_25825.pdf

    But they make quite the opposite view in a pre-Cop15 press release. Moreover, the aren’t exactly advertising their dissent on the CRU in public.

    http://www.iop.org/Media/Press%20Releases/press_38339.html

    Comment by Mark A. York — 27 Feb 2010 @ 2:54 PM

  423. Andreas @353

    This paper makes a stronger case for the role of financial issues for climate research, and how climate researchers jumped the environmental issue in part to gain money when US military wanted to pay less:
    Scientific Elites and the Making of US Policy for Climate Change Research, 1957-74 (Hart and Victor 1993)

    Hmm, that paper is kind of interesting. The idea that “elite” scientists can influence government policy with respect to funding for broad areas of scientific research, wasn’t new or controversial even in 1993, of course. The article doesn’t support claims that AGW theory is a fraud perpetrated by climate scientists to preserve or enhance their funding, either. But it was worth reading, so thanks. What else you got 8^)?

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 27 Feb 2010 @ 3:00 PM

  424. “Gilles (378),

    Try drought.”

    BPL , i have no doubt that SOME bad things have increased throughout the XXth century. Think of the great unlikelihood of the opposite : that NOTHING bad would have increased in the XXth century. And everything that increased in the XXth century is obviously positively correlated with CO2. So with cherry picking you can obviously find a lot of negative (and positive) things correlated with CO2.

    So it is important to define a “blind” indicator of welfare, (or of” trouble”), a priori independent of what you try to correlate. I doubt that drought is such a global indicator. Actually I also doubt that there is a global drought indicator well correlated with CO2 throughout the history, but I may be wrong.

    Comment by Gilles — 27 Feb 2010 @ 3:11 PM

  425. #377 Barton Paul Levenson re. #351 ClimateCurious

    Thank you for raising that point. It wreaks with irony that individuals of the denialist ilk use phrases such as ‘Joe Six-Pack’ and then, when one responds using the very language they introduced in the lexicon of the discussion, to have it thrown back at those who are merely responding.

    ClimateCurious, like so many others, of such persuasion, hide behind their online names. So they never have to be identified, or take responsibility, for the silliness that is dredged up from their myopic opinions.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 Feb 2010 @ 3:13 PM

  426. David (384),
    Over the next year: No idea. That’s weather, not climate.
    Next ten years: Still weather, but I’d say hotter and drier, with more violent weather along coastlines.
    Next century: No good agricultural land left, leading to complete collapse of human civilization.”

    I am still waiting for reasonable numbers behind your scenario , BPL. Which date for the beginning of the decline, of GDP, of population, of agricultural land? which temperature would cause this following you? which amount of fossil fuels would we have burnt at this date? can’t find any sensible set of parameters matching your scenario, sorry… (of course no need to say that no scenario of IPCC looks like that..)

    Comment by Gilles — 27 Feb 2010 @ 3:16 PM

  427. #382 per

    En addendum to Gavin’s response one might also consider that even if prima facia evidence results in a guilty verdict, guilty in and of itself does not necessarily imply wrong doing, though it implies unlawfulness.

    One can be guilty of something and still not have conducted unethical behavior.

    An example might be: a homeless person has nowhere to sleep and so decided to sleep on a park bench. He is awakened by an officer of the law and is given a ticket for his conduct… but where is the unethical behavior? The person simply chose the safest location to sleep under stated circumstance.

    I once slept under a pool table at the air base in Swindon because I arrived quite late at night on the rotator from Iceland, and I did not feel the situation warranted my waking the base commander as per regulation (at 1am). Technically I was guilty of breaking a regulation, but was it unethical. I would think the commander would be thankful had it become an issue.


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

  428. Please stop with the IOP bashing, you are just making yourselves ridiculous.

    The IOP is the UK equivalent of the American Physical Society. Its history dates back to the 19th century, has more than 36000 members, and its publishing arm includes the top European journals in physics.

    As others have mentionned before in the comments, I don’t think that the majority of the IOP membership will be happy with this.

    Disclaimer: I was a member of the IOP for a few years (but not any longer). Otherwise, I have no ties to it.

    Comment by Claude — 27 Feb 2010 @ 3:31 PM

  429. Correction: I forgot the word “statement”

    “I don’t think that the majority of the IOP membership will be happy with this statement.”

    Comment by Claude — 27 Feb 2010 @ 3:34 PM

  430. Publish everything. Data, methodology, notes, programs. Tell us exactly why you calculate x as x etc.
    Provide everything, show the world. You are adamant you are right, so what are you afraid of, there should be nothing to not share.

    Comment by john — 27 Feb 2010 @ 3:55 PM

  431. Is there any one site dedicated to debunking all of the individual CRU e-mail myths? I have seen the truth here and there on one blog or the next (for instance, the reality behind Harry’s grumbling program code comments — something, as a programmer, I can appreciate on an emotional as well as intellectual level), and I’ve read a lot of the e-mail trails myself to get to the heart of what really was/wasn’t being said at all, but for the most part, I see people ranting and raving here and there and everywhere about how “Climategate” (I hate the name) proves this and that, when I know myself that this is not the case… but they take it as gospel.

    Has anyone posted a step by step defense of the individual allegations in any one, easily referenced spot?

    It would be nice if someone did, and one could just point the IOP there and say “exactly which allegations are you backing?”

    [Response: We discussed many of them here and here. It might be worth collating this.... - gavin]

    Comment by Bob — 27 Feb 2010 @ 4:55 PM

  432. Scientific investigation crucially depends on collegiality – so does intelligent discussion, for that matter. By this I mean that knowledge is most effectively advanced when people confine their discussion to the subject matter in question, avoiding ad hominem issues such as the motivations of those involved in the dispute. Even if the opposing argument is made in bad faith, with deceptive intent, it’s generally more useful to proceed as if all arguments are good faith arguments. It can be a difficult standard of discourse for humans to put into practice, but good scientists have a lifetime of practicing this discipline in their collaborative work.

    The recent eruption of transparently bad faith from the climate change denial industry therefore catches scientists off-balance. Dr. Mann, for instance, has commented on his surprise at the depths to which denialists will stoop.

    James Hansen has touchingly explained his own motivations: he doesn’t want his grandchildren to say “Opa knew this could happen, but didn’t do enough to stop it.” The impulse Hansen describes is basic not only to humanity, but to life itself: reproduction (not individual survival) is the most primal biological imperative.

    The apparent absence of this impulse in the denialist community as a whole is the main thing which scares the crap out of me. Do they think there’s going to be a bunker somewhere for their children to retreat into? In terms of our government of this world, we humans have lost touch with concern for our progeny. In terms of activist individuals in the denialist community, there must be something (money, status, belief system, who knows what) of higher priority than concern for the welfare of their own children.

    Gavin dislikes this kind of talk, so I’d be surprised if this comment gets through. But the problem we face here is bigger than science: how did this moral mutation of Homo sapiens arise, after tens of thousands of years of successful evolution and development?

    Comment by Daniel C. Goodwin — 27 Feb 2010 @ 5:04 PM

  433. Kris Ayah (356)

    Thank you for noticing.

    You said:

    This was written by John Peter …. and you’re thinking John Peter’s post is somehow reflective of the general opinions at RealClimate??? Really, that’s what you got out his your reading here so far? Oh dear!

    Thank you again, although your last sentence could be better stated. At no time have I tried to reflect RC general opinion. Rather I have tried to play devil’s advocate and, to the best of my limited abilities, offer to RC zealots a stitching together of their own writings and statements. I have cherry-picked various AGW public positions to show what might be claimed in, say, a Congressional hearing on IPCC.

    Scientists make poor public impressions until they have developed experience in simple straight-forward communication. A public speaker’s most serious difficulty is an unanticipated question. If you listened to Michael Mann’s interview on his paleoclimate findings and his model’s failure to be able to reproduce them you might believe, as I do, that he was caught off-guard by the interviewer’s, perhaps naive, but sensible assumption that the next IPCC report would be based on Mann’s new findings. Mann has some public experience, and his recovery was truthful and pretty good. He answered no and added words to the effect that maybe in some side subsection.

    I have no problem with Mike’s answer, it was sensible, scientific and truthful. However, it raises the question, or allows opponents to raise the question, as to why are his findings will not be in the next IPCC report and opens the door further to claims that the IPCC process is too cumbersome or that our models are somehow too non-representative for “current” climate science”.

    Maybe Mike’s answer was the best that could be done, then so be it. If considering more fully the implications of the question in advance developed a better answer, I think it would be worth it and save the expensive, sometimes futile attempts to correct it after the fact. Climate-gate is just one example of the costs of loose talk.

    I will repeat again what I have tried to make clear over and over, my comments are offered in exchange for my use of this excellent site. Any comment of mine may be rejected, that’s fine by me. If I believe I have been misunderstood, I may try to explain myself further. I hope if any of my straw-man arguments are brought up in future discussions outside of this site, that I have given the RC sponsors the opportunity to come up with the best answer/defense they can. I will be satisfied that I have contributed.

    If Joe-6pack is offensive, try a synonym like John Q. Public, a 20th century term. I was attempting to use 21st century terminology.

    Comment by John Peter — 27 Feb 2010 @ 5:12 PM

  434. 410, Barton Paul Levenson: Next century: No good agricultural land left, leading to complete collapse of human civilization.

    The IPCC report (AR4) says that more people will probably experience reduced water stress than will probably experience increased water stress. This was omitted from the summary for policy leaders.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 27 Feb 2010 @ 5:21 PM

  435. “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate”

    Who could argue with “suggest”, or the oft-repeated word “might”?

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 27 Feb 2010 @ 5:51 PM

  436. Andreas Bjurström #149: Sonja claims to edit a scientific journal. That she is willing to expose her prejudice in such a public way is so astonishing that I have to wonder if this is the real deal. Anyone can post on a site like this with any name.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 27 Feb 2010 @ 5:57 PM

  437. Well since I’m a nobody in both the world of physics and climate science I feel free to say this.

    Many brilliant scientists lack a fully mature set of societal skills.

    The authors of the Institute of Physics letter and Dr. Judith Curry are both responding to attacks on the credibility of science with an embarrasing “he did it”, finger pointing defense. Without checking on whether or not anybody did anything.

    I strongly recommend reading “Under a Green Sky”, a book about the search for the causation of past extinction events. It has a number of examples of how scientists sometimes fail to work together in a constructive manner which ring true to me.

    Some very good advice was passed onto me by a senior research professor when I was confronted with a situation similar to today’s attack by the press on science. Here it is: “Don’t Panic”. Just do your best and try to let the rest go.

    Comment by Andy — 27 Feb 2010 @ 6:12 PM

  438. Hi

    I wonder if anyone can help. I’m not a scientist just trying to read as much as I can. I’m currently in the middle of an argument with a couple of fairly determined deniers. One of them has come up with the old ’450 peer reviewed papers that back deniers cause’ argument but can anyone give me an approximate figure of the papers that support AGW? I know its thousands but i can’t find a definitive figure.
    Thanks for your time

    [Response: Start here, and here. - gavin]

    Comment by Richard Lloyd — 27 Feb 2010 @ 6:40 PM

  439. The last portion of my comment at 413 was edited AND RIGHTLY SO.
    On reflection, my comment was uncalled for and I apologise for it.

    My comment also included a link to more info which was edited along with the unsavoury remark. I would appreciate it if this link could be posted now so that others reading may inform themselves fully.

    Once again please accept my apologies.

    The link was http://www.john-daly.com/sonde.htm

    Comment by Baa Humbug — 27 Feb 2010 @ 7:10 PM

  440. #415 Avatar

    You say you area physicist? Do you have any published works you can share with the group?

    You also say we have doubled Co2 in the last century? Where did you get this erroneous information?

    Don’t you think it is important to at least try to be accurate? Or do you feel that opinion and guessing based on what you read on the internet is good enough?


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 Feb 2010 @ 8:18 PM

  441. #430 john

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources

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

    You might want to visit a web site called:

    http://www.realclimate.org

    There they discuss how x gets calculated as x etc. You will actually have to read the material though to understand it. It can not be assimilated by osmosis simply because your computer is attached to the internet.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 Feb 2010 @ 8:22 PM

  442. Septic Matthew opines:

    For the GCMs, there is no solid foundation for believing that they correctly compute the results of the theoretical models that they embody. At minimum, they should correctly model some well-known record

    Imagining that those working on GCMs have never thought about validation efforts of this type, and have never done validation of this type.

    Septic Matthew has quite the imagination.

    Comment by dhogaza — 27 Feb 2010 @ 8:32 PM

  443. > Baa H.
    > john-daly.com/sonde.htm

    Note the date of the web page you’re referring people to.
    Take the citations of the papers there.
    Paste them into Google Scholar
    Read the subsequent work on the subject up to the present.

    It’s always interesting to read antique papers, but old science papers aren’t “foundations” on which everything else relies — they’re valuable to the extent other people mention them as sources where they found something interesting to work from. The newer papers are the ones to rely on.

    Daly’s site is of historical interest, but not a place to go for information
    except to find keywords and cites to paste into Scholar.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Feb 2010 @ 8:33 PM

  444. I said:

    They’ve clarified that the “prima facie” evidence is in regard to Phil Jones e-mailing colleagues urging them to delete e-mail. I think everyone agrees it was wrong of Phil Jones to do that. I can’t imagine anyone thinking it has anything to do with the data request FOIs, the HadCRUT temperature product, etc.

    I am mistaken, and I believe the ICO is overreaching, because apparently Section 77 makes it illegal to destroy records, but NOT to simply talk about it.

    AFAIK there’s no prima facie evidence that e-mails were deleted, just evidence that one pissed-off Phil Jones sent an ill-advised e-mail suggesting it.

    Comment by dhogaza — 27 Feb 2010 @ 8:34 PM

  445. Re: 438

    It’s also important to note that not all of the papers on the list “back the deniers’ cause.” The paper that I’m lead author on that’s on the list doesn’t say anything about anthropogenic climate change, one way or the other. The people who put the list together are aware of many of the misrepresentations, but haven’t taken anything off.

    Comment by Harold Brooks — 27 Feb 2010 @ 8:46 PM

  446. John Peter re: 433

    You are correct. That last sentence I wrote was not checked before I pushed the send button. “His” should have been “of”. Oops. Just as I imagine you missed the correct spelling of my name. No big deal.

    I did listen to Dr. Mann’s interview this morning as I was getting ready. I enjoyed it.

    Best,

    Comment by Kris Aydt — 27 Feb 2010 @ 8:53 PM

  447. 426 Gilles: Uncertainty is a 2 edged sword. It cuts both ways. We can’t prove that we won’t be extinct in 5 years or that we will be extinct in 100 years. It is way too risky to take that chance. There is no reason to expect it to take more than one century. “Climate Code Red” by David Spratt and Philip Sutton says the following:
    Long term warming, counting feedbacks, is a least twice the short term warming. 560 ppm CO2 gets us 6 degrees C or 10.8 degrees F. We will hit 560 ppm before mid century.

    YOU WILL NOT GET DATES. NOBODY IS FOOLISH ENOUGH TO MAKE A FORECAST LIKE THAT. TAKE A LABORATORY COURSE IN PROBABILITY AND STATISTICS.

    THERE WILL NOT BE ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO PROVE IT TO YOU UNTIL IT IS TOO LATE. Just like you never see the face of the Grim Reaper until you die. You will know that the famine has started when you get to the grocery store and there is no food. Don’t bother to go squirrel hunting at that time because there will be no squirrels either. A friend of mine was involved in the Hungarian Uprising of 1956. He had exactly that experience: No food in the grocery store and no squirrels out in the country. This time, there will be no food anywhere on Earth.

    See “The Long Summer” by Brian Fagan and “Collapse” by Jared Diamond.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 27 Feb 2010 @ 9:21 PM

  448. O/T

    A rising meme in the denialosphere is concerned with the 1860 – 1880 trend given by Phil Jones in the BBC written interview, which is a fraction higher than that he gave for 1975 – 2009, both of which are statistically significant.

    The argument runs as you might expect – if there was greater global warming in the early part of the record greater than that recently, then dynamics other than CO2 can provide a greater forcing. I made use of the woodfortrees site to find that the solar trend was positive for the period. Could you direct me to a helpful link, and/or give a brief reply?

    [Response: This is a complete red herring. Does the prior conviction of someone a hundred years ago of arson mean that you cannot convict someone of the crime today? No. Each case must be taken on its merits. Attribution for climate works in exactly the same way. Even accepting the quality of the data that far back (which in reality is dubious - both for the temperature and the forcings), it certainly could be that there was a big shift in solar and a decrease in volcanoes that explains it. But these are not what happened in the last 50 years - there we have a flat solar trend and a slight increase in volcanism, combined with a huge increase in GHGs. Therefore you would get a different attribution. - gavin]

    Comment by barry — 27 Feb 2010 @ 9:24 PM

  449. Baa Humbug sez …

    Please show my link to John Daly’s site!

    I’m glad they passed it through. You have *no* idea how much harm your citing John Daly has done for your credibility here.

    Comment by dhogaza — 27 Feb 2010 @ 9:26 PM

  450. “Matthew has quite the imagination”

    I hear that question frequently over on WUWT — Why don’t they try and verify the models somehow, by, say (sound of “skeptic” thinking harder than they ever have before in their life to date) STARTING THE MODELING IN THE PAST and SEEING IF IT REFLECTS THE REAL CLIMATE HISTORY.

    The sad kind of kills the funny. It’s not a terrible sin to be ignorant — this is America, ignorance is a hallowed tradition here. It’s the arrogance that will not be taught, will not be shown, is determined that any effort to recognize that not everybody is equally skilled at science is “elitism.”

    In other news, Al Gore pwns deniers in the NYT today: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/opinion/28gore.html?ref=opinion

    Other people fighting for the truth on this issue should take a lesson from him; he doesn’t back down, he doesn’t qualify, he doesn’t dignify the attacks on him by deniers. He just hits back with the plain-language summary of denialism:

    “Over the years, as the science has become clearer and clearer, some industries and companies whose business plans are dependent on unrestrained pollution of the atmospheric commons have become ever more entrenched. They are ferociously fighting against the mildest regulation — just as tobacco companies blocked constraints on the marketing of cigarettes for four decades after science confirmed the link of cigarettes to diseases of the lung and the heart.”

    “. Some news media organizations now present showmen masquerading as political thinkers who package hatred and divisiveness as entertainment. And as in times past, that has proved to be a potent drug in the veins of the body politic. Their most consistent theme is to label as “soc!alist” any proposal to reform exploitive behavior in the marketplace.”

    Ouch. That’s going to leave a mark.

    Comment by Robert — 27 Feb 2010 @ 9:42 PM

  451. Is there any possibility that an earthquake near a shoreline could be triggered by a rise in sea level?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 27 Feb 2010 @ 9:56 PM

  452. @ Richard Lloyd #438

    Greenfyre has posted something on this, with some help:
    Greenfyre on poptart’s 450

    I notice that pop tech says it’s managed to find 500 papers now. I wonder if McIntyre would have a go at showing up the falsity of this claim?

    Comment by Sou — 27 Feb 2010 @ 10:12 PM

  453. John Kerry’s weak response to the Swift Boat nonsense probably cost him the presidency. The attacks on climate scientists are no doubt made in the hope that the response of the scientific community will be equally weak. The lies and accusations must be refuted, promptly, clearly, and vigorously. The public may not have much of a head for science, but it respects a fighter and loathes a liar and a bully.

    Comment by Jesse Fell — 27 Feb 2010 @ 10:19 PM

  454. Gavin – thanks for the replies.

    1. I’m well aware that various temperature data is available, but it’s incomplete and a mess. If there is going to be some kind of global climate regulation, how about a global climate data repository that is available to all, and not just available to Phil Jones?

    [Response: Sure. But the reason is doesn't exist has nothing to do with Phil Jones and everything to do with commercial imperatives that have been imposed on National Met Services around the world. Jones has for years tried to do the best that was possible within those constraints, as have the people at NOAA/NCDC with the GHCN datasets. - gavin]

    2. It’s really disingenuous to say that the hockey stick type analysis and current environmental changes have not and are not being used to support the argument for fast action. For example, read Al Gore’s piece in the Times today.

    [Response: The fact that it does seem likely that warming is unprecendented over the last thousand years. However, this is simply interesting - it is not a component of the attribution of current climate changes that informs our expectations of future change. Had the data shown a warmer medieval period than present, due perhaps to increased solar activity, it would not change the projections. Getting hung up on paleo-climate reconstructions as the 'issue' is just missing the forest for the tree rings. - gavin]

    3. It seems like you are distancing yourself from all arguments except the following: CO2 forcing sensitivities implied by our current computer models and the temperature rises we have seen in the past 50 yrs imply a range of outcomes in the future, some of which may be unacceptable. If so, then we get to a technical set of questions about the models and their calibrations – fair enough. However, the other (unprecedented warming, scary things already happening) arguments have been, and continue to be presented to make the case – and they are weak. This is what I mean by the science devolving into advocacy. You shouldn’t let the weak arguments pollute the strong – it undermines credibility of the endeavor.

    [Response: CO2 sensitivities are not constrained by models, but by data. This is another misconception. But the really persuasive points for concern have been clearly outlined many times. Again, please read the IPCC report. Nonetheless, there are signs of climate change now - glacier retreat, earlier onset of spring, ocean warmings, Arctic sea ice decline, increasing in rainfall intensity etc. that add to the body of evidence supporting the attributions of recent changes to anthropogenic causes. It is fine for these things to be reported. When people and media have gone too far (as in attributing every unusual weather event to global warming), we are on record dozens of times in reminding people that weather is not climate. I challenge you to find any statement of mine that could possibly be misconstrued in this way. Thus, when people ask us (or even when they don't), we do stress the strong arguments and do not use ones that are unsupported (as I am doing here). Unfortunately, the media often has other ideas about what they want to stress, and correcting that is an immense job. - gavin]

    4. I don’t see any way to make a case that warming is *accelerating* in a statistically significant way, and yes I’ve been through all the trend analysis stuff, and understand inherent variability masking the trend, etc, etc. Is there a good argument for this?

    [Response: Easy. Global warming over the last century was about 0.07 deg C/dec. Over the last 30 years, double that. That is an acceleration and it is significant. - gavin]

    Thanks.

    Comment by Avatar — 27 Feb 2010 @ 10:23 PM

  455. 378 Gilles; Citation of BPL : “And if we don’t do something to control our output of that greenhouse gas, we’re going to be in serious trouble.”
    Can you equally justify this assertion by a correlation between any global indicator of “trouble” and CO2 concentration (or temperature)?

    408 BPL Barton Paul Levenson says:
    27 February 2010 at 12:32 PM
    Gilles (378),Try drought.

    Nope. Review of Sheffield et al.

    410 Next century: No good agricultural land left, leading to complete collapse of human civilization.

    You have never provided reasonable evidence of this claim, yet you continue to make variations of it over and over on this blog. Do you understand that this is counterproductive?

    Comment by Don Shor — 27 Feb 2010 @ 10:28 PM

  456. RE #415 Avatar & “The argument for immediate, dramatic action.”

    There is no more an argument for immediate, dramatic action. I don’t hear it anymore. It was made over 20 years ago, but people in general decided to pass, keep the party going, live it up, squander it away, and to hell with the children.

    Now it’s a matter of “hold on to your horses, here we go.” And “going, going, gone!”

    No hope left to save people from themselves, considering how entrenched the denialists are now. I’m just praying for people’s immortal souls, so that they at least confess their wrong-doing before they die and avoid going to that much hotter place than a globally warmed world for eternity no less.

    Alarmism is passé.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 27 Feb 2010 @ 10:41 PM

  457. That link didn’t work. Here it is:
    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2010/02/24/update-on-global-drought-patterns-ipcc-take-note/

    Comment by Don Shor — 27 Feb 2010 @ 10:57 PM

  458. Response: Hardly. – gavin

    Well. That’s your opinion. And that’s all it is.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 27 Feb 2010 @ 10:57 PM

  459. There was an amusing seminar Eli saw at AGU about ten years ago given by Drew Shindell(??) with the ~title of which do your trust more, models or data for 1850-1900. It was a close call.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 27 Feb 2010 @ 11:07 PM

  460. 380 CM,
    AB: what is of interest to Sonja is the political outcome, not what is true
    CM: that’s where she entirely parts company with scholars and scientists?

    No and yes. No, because the political outcome from the interaction of science and politics is her object of study. Yes, because she gives herself far to much liberty to do and say what she please and she trump science with ideology.

    423 Mal Adapted,
    True, it is not even possible to show that climate change is a fraud with such methods (you need physical science for that). The paper however shows that climate change as an environmental problem was good business for climate science, their funding increased significantly. And this is what Sonja assume, that climate science is favoured by the framing of climate change as an environmental problem. Actually, uncertainty should be what is favoured, and one should not hear “science is settled”, since that should result in solution research (i.e. not physical science). That many climate scientists advocate policy sugggest environmental and social concern rather than financial concern I would say?

    Tell me what you are interested in and I might have a paper to suggest, but I don´t have the paper that verify that everything is a scam, lol

    436 Philip Machanick,
    It is the real deal :-)

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 27 Feb 2010 @ 11:12 PM

  461. 447 E. Greisch;

    Be careful citing Diamond’s “Collapse” as definitive authority for your world view. As is the case with most archeological evidence, the information presented in his book can be interpreted in different ways. God forbid, there might be some diversity of opinion!

    What do each of the ‘civilizations’ (Pacific Islanders, Anasazi, Mayans, and Norse) described by Diamond have in common? They shared the common problems associated with the growth of successful subsistence cultures, including over-specialization and becoming too successful for their own good.

    It must be a coincidence that each of these disparate and diverse cultures all collapsed at around the same time. It couldn’t be that they were unable to adapt and their cultures quickly cratered in when the climatic conditions to which their cultures had become specialized suddenly changed. That would mean that there was climate change prior to the late 20th century! But that couldn’t be true because it conflicts with our conclusions!

    Comment by FHSIV — 27 Feb 2010 @ 11:56 PM

  462. Don, link to actual papers; ‘World Climate Report’ has no credibility, they cherrypick and spin egregiously. If you find something you want to point to on their site, go to the original source and read it carefully; don’t assume what you read in WCR descriptions will match the actual source.

    Ya know, the same advice you hear about the World Wildlife Fund?
    Be skeptical, and always read the original source, whether you like the PR site or dislike it — don’t rely on sites making secondhand claims.

    Read the original. Google Scholar can be very helpful finding these things (and finding updates and corrections, which the blogs often fail to add).

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Feb 2010 @ 12:30 AM

  463. > Steckis …
    > I work for a fisheries agency and have had my work audited by the
    > government auditor-general’s office after complaints from industry

    Citation needed. This is public information; where can we read it?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Feb 2010 @ 12:33 AM

  464. For those who are wondering why so many engineers (who should have the technical skills to know better) are global-warming denialists, this article may provide some insights: http://www.slate.com/id/2240157/

    The article does not deal with global-warming in any way, but its insights into the attitudes/mindsets of some individuals with engineering backgrounds would seem to apply here.

    Comment by caerbannog — 28 Feb 2010 @ 12:47 AM

  465. Gavin (454)

    Is “back-testing” not an important criteria for verifying a climate model? If not, why not?

    Comment by John Peter — 28 Feb 2010 @ 1:04 AM

  466. 442, dhogaza: Imagining that those working on GCMs have never thought about validation efforts of this type, and have never done validation of this type.

    Have they modeled the 20th century?

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 28 Feb 2010 @ 1:45 AM

  467. Septic Matthew (#434) said:

    The IPCC report (AR4) says that more people will probably experience reduced water stress than will probably experience increased water stress.

    Where do you get that information? See WG2 table 3.2 and surrounding text. The net change discussed is more people experiencing increased water stress, on the order of hundreds of millions to billions. The report does emphasize other drivers of water stress (population growth, income growth, efficiency) over climate. And it does make clear (including in the SPM) that increased precipitation will make more water available in some regions.

    Comment by CM — 28 Feb 2010 @ 2:32 AM

  468. Gavin :” Jones has for years tried to do the best that was possible within those constraints, as have the people at NOAA/NCDC with the GHCN datasets. – gavin”

    So it is hard to understand why there has been any issue at all when he has been asked to communicate his work. Scientific retribution is not money, it is the acknowledgement for a good and valuable work. What was the problem in showing the work was fine?

    [Response: He has published dozens of papers and communicated his work very widely, what are you talking about? - gavin]

    “The fact that it does seem likely that warming is unprecendented over the last thousand years. However, this is simply interesting – it is not a component of the attribution of current climate changes that informs our expectations of future change. Had the data shown a warmer medieval period than present, due perhaps to increased solar activity, it would not change the projections.”
    Of course it would !! because you don’t have a precise measurement of the solar activity in the medieval period , but it is rather unlikely that it was much larger than at any other time for two millenia; so if the temperature during warm medieval period were shown to be higher, this would raise the likelihood of a higher influence of the sun, or may be of unforced variability and spontaneous cycles, so this would decrease the expected sensitivity to CO2, and decrease the future projections of warming. You seem to think as if the current paradigm has been firmly established – but the question is precisely whether it has really been !

    [Response: No, you are wrong. It's precisely because the forcings and reconstructions for the medieval period are uncertain that using that time period to constrain sensitivity or the magnitude of internal variability is not very useful. Therefore whatever the temperatures showed (within the uncertainties as we can estimate them), nothing would change in the estimate of climate sensitivity and nothing would change in the model projections. LIA changes would potentially be of more use, but this has hardly ever been used to constrain projections either. In future, these periods might be useful (and have been included in CMIP5 for that reason), but as yet they have had no significant influence either on attribution of recent changes or on projections. - gavin]

    “CO2 sensitivities are not constrained by models, but by data. This is another misconception. But the really persuasive points for concern have been clearly outlined many times. Again, please read the IPCC report. Nonetheless, there are signs of climate change now – glacier retreat, earlier onset of spring, ocean warmings, Arctic sea ice decline, increasing in rainfall intensity etc. that add to the body of evidence supporting the attributions of recent changes to anthropogenic causes. ”
    I can’t understand the argument. Why does it support the ANTHROPOGENIC cause ? to my knowledge, none of these changes has been firmly established to occur only after 1970, where anthropogenic influence is supposed to be predominant. Before 1970, the data are either missing or of poor quality, or show that the changes started much before this date. And all the proxy curves I have seen start to climb much earlier than 1970 – when they don’t “decline” after this date, they show only little variation. That’s one of the main pieces of the climatic speech that put skeptics in furor – and I think they have some reason for that.

    [Response: I'll give two examples: Ocean warming implies a radiative imbalance - which was predicted ahead of time for a GHG-induced change (not so for an 'internal change'), stratospheric cooling is a clear signature of CO2 related changes to radiative transfer (and the opposite effect to what you'd expect from solar or ocean induced warming). The fact is that there are fingerprints of changes that differ depending on the cause - and this fingerprinting is not just done using the global mean temperature changes. - gavin]

    Comment by Gilles — 28 Feb 2010 @ 3:09 AM

  469. 450, Robert: I hear that question frequently over on WUWT — Why don’t they try and verify the models somehow, by, say (sound of “skeptic” thinking harder than they ever have before in their life to date) STARTING THE MODELING IN THE PAST and SEEING IF IT REFLECTS THE REAL CLIMATE HISTORY.
    &&&
    The sad kind of kills the funny. It’s not a terrible sin to be ignorant — this is America, ignorance is a hallowed tradition here. It’s the arrogance that will not be taught, will not be shown, is determined that any effort to recognize that not everybody is equally skilled at science is “elitism.”

    You seem to be mocking the very idea of testing models. A real test would be (and in fact will be) to test predictions of the future against the realized future. That will take decades to occur (during which time there will be increased computer power.) A model that adequately reproduces the already observed record will go a ways toward establishing the reliability of the model, and increase the credibility of its predictions. There is one of these simple predictions toward the end of the “Whatevergate” thread, by Benson. It “forecasts” (if you take the computed value as a forecast) a substantial increase in temperature over the next 2 decades. That differs from the forecast by Tsonis’ model (and some others.) We’ll have to wait 2 decades to know which is more accurate, but we’ll gain confidence in whichever one that is. It’s unfortunate that the models require so much time for thorough testing, but they do. One of the regular contributors here (I don’t remember which one) has a list of model predictions that have already been confirmed — that’s a good start. It should be complemented by surprising things that have happened, that are relevant, that have not been predicted (if there are any) and predictions that have been disconfirmed (if there are any.)

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 28 Feb 2010 @ 3:17 AM

  470. “Gilles asks: “Can you equally justify this assertion by a correlation between any global indicator of “trouble” and CO2 concentration (or temperature)?”

    Well, there is this well known correlation:

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=267352

    http://econ-www.mit.edu/files/3689

    Temperature correlates negatively with GDP.”

    And much more negatively with the use of fossil fuels : the argument is biased because BPL has studied the global average of temperatures with global CO2, but then they are all correlated positively with GDP ! if you start to study the geographical correlation, then GDP is much more strongly positively correlated with the use of fossil fuels than with temperature ! so advocating the reduction of a strongly positively correlated quantity (use of carbon), to improve a little a slightly negatively correlated other quantity (temperature) , is just plainly stupid, and no wonder it raises some objections ! How can smart and scientific people arrive to so absurd conclusions?

    Comment by Gilles — 28 Feb 2010 @ 3:17 AM

  471. E. Greisch :”YOU WILL NOT GET DATES. NOBODY IS FOOLISH ENOUGH TO MAKE A FORECAST LIKE THAT. TAKE A LABORATORY COURSE IN PROBABILITY AND STATISTICS.”

    Sorry Edward, that’s not acceptable. You can’t ask people to strongly reduce there standard of living just with some “possibility” of trouble, unquantified neither in amplitude nor in time. And if you ask, you don’t have a single chance to get it. Be a little serious, please. How much did YOU reduce willingly your own wages these last years ?
    560 ppm = 6°C. Aheemm … which slope do you expect in the next decades? and which level do you expect to reach reasonably with all measures we could take before 2050 ?

    Comment by Gilles — 28 Feb 2010 @ 3:49 AM

  472. Don Shor #457, why not refer to the paper itself:

    http://water.washington.edu/research/Articles/2008.global.continental.drought.pdf

    And the lead author’s site for background:

    http://hydrology.princeton.edu/~justin/

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 28 Feb 2010 @ 4:08 AM

  473. #458 Steckis, I suppose Gavin just got tired of pointing out the inanity (insanity?) of using ‘auditors’ that have no understanding either of the subject matter they are auditing, or of how to properly audit it, and compensate by ideological certainty.

    You’re not telling us that the folks auditing your fisheries work were Greenpeacers, are you?

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 28 Feb 2010 @ 4:17 AM

  474. Avatar (415),

    You’re a physicist? Really? Specializing in what? Where and when did you get your degree? And why aren’t you posting your real name? Mine is on my posts, and I got my physics degree at Pitt in 1983. I’ve worked mostly as a computer programmer, and I’ve been writing atmosphere models since 1998. Have you ever cracked a climatology book?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 Feb 2010 @ 5:45 AM

  475. SM (418): For the GCMs, there is no solid foundation for believing that they correctly compute the results of the theoretical models that they embody. At minimum, they should correctly model some well-known record, such as the global temp annual means since 1900.

    BPL: They have, over and over again. Here’s an example. Check the charts in chapter 5. Pretty good match, wouldn’t you say?

    http://www.members.iinet.net.au/~johnroberthunter/www-swg/

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 Feb 2010 @ 5:47 AM

  476. Gilles (424): And everything that increased in the XXth century is obviously positively correlated with CO2.

    BPL: You need to read up on statistics. The concept of “spurious correlation” has been a major topic in regression analysis at least since Durbin and Watson’s famous paper of 1958, and detecting such nonrelationships is at the heart of tecniques like the Dickey-Fuller and Adjusted Dickey-Fuller tests.

    Gilles: So with cherry picking you can obviously find a lot of negative (and positive) things correlated with CO2.

    BPL: See above.

    Gilles: So it is important to define a “blind” indicator of welfare, (or of” trouble”), a priori independent of what you try to correlate. I doubt that drought is such a global indicator.

    BPL: General Circulation Models predicted greater drought in continental interior decades before Dai et al. confirmed it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 Feb 2010 @ 5:51 AM

  477. BPL: Next century: No good agricultural land left, leading to complete collapse of human civilization.”

    Gilles (428): I am still waiting for reasonable numbers behind your scenario , BPL.

    BPL: Do you know how to multiply?

    Fraction of Earth’s land surface “severely dry” by Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI < 3.0) in 1970: 12%.

    In 2002: 30%.

    30/12 = 2.5

    Elapsed time: 32 years.

    2002 + 32: 2034

    2.5 x 30%: 75%

    Now, of course, we don't know that it will continue to grow at the same rate. No doubt diminishing returns will set in at some point and the curve will become sigmoid rather than exponential. Want to bet the future of human civilization on when that will happen?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 Feb 2010 @ 5:54 AM

  478. Re #382

    Royal Societies of Chemistry and Statistics

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc4702.htm

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc4202.htm

    I have only skimmed these. Quick conclusion. Unlike the submission from the IOP. these do not require a response (e.g. from RC) to the UK Parliament

    Incidentally, weak responses , such as some of those in the comments above, excluding the responses in green, denigrating the IOP, would be counter-productive.
    ————————————————————
    Re#422.

    Useful comment, except it should have been McIntyre-ised or Wegmanised. I don’t see any logical connection between the argument presented by Lindzen in your first link and the IOP’s recent submission to Parliament.

    My interpretation is based on direct observations i.e that there are numerous scientists at all levels who are badly informed about climate science and particularly badly informed about this x.gate stuff. Unfortunately, busy researchers have to pay a price, in units of time, for reading outside their subject.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 28 Feb 2010 @ 6:00 AM

  479. me, I am just glad to see the issues around the IPCC second report are starting to be aired. That is where it all started to go pear shaped and Ben has one basic issue. There are just too many others that have the other side of the story to tell. He can bat them all back over the court all he likes but people will just wonder why there are so many people telling similar stories.

    So, instead of that approach, let me, a humble denier (of the science being settled), try to offer you some suggestions in damagae control. Here is my basic guidance statement.

    “The truth, and there is no use hiding from this, is that there are a number of crucial issues that need to be resolved in the current debate on climate change. Clearly it is difficult for the people of the world to make a clear judgement on this. What seems to have happened is that scientists have tried as best as possible to provide quality science and this has been the basis of a major and global political landscape. That interface is one that needs to be looked at closely. The issue is too important to leave to the vagueness of the political process. The interface between science and policy has clearly resulted in some level of underplaying of the clearly communicated uncertainties and some level of increase in the potential outcomes. What is now required is for the world government’s to take back the process, ensure a complete and transparant probe into the whole climate issue, including the IPCC process. Only then will the world be able to to look at the appropriate actions that may or may not need to be taken.”

    So, yep, just a suggestion.

    Comment by Jimi Bostock — 28 Feb 2010 @ 8:06 AM

  480. RE Jesse Fell

    John Kerry’s weak response to the Swift Boat nonsense probably cost him the presidency. The attacks on climate scientists are no doubt made in the hope that the response of the scientific community will be equally weak. The lies and accusations must be refuted, promptly, clearly, and vigorously. The public may not have much of a head for science, but it respects a fighter and loathes a liar and a bully.

    Bingo. There’s an excellent post by Prof. Juan Cole (via Michael Tobis) about this. Excerpts:

    Climate Scientists continue to see persuasive evidence of global warming and climate change when they speak at academic conferences, even though, as Andrew Sullivan rightly put it, the science is being ‘swift-boated before our eyes.’ [note: Sullivan was quoting Walter Russell Mead] (See also Bill McKibben at Tomdispatch.com on Climate Change’s OJ Simpson moment).

    This article at mongabay.com includes some hand-wringing from scientists who say that they should have responded to the attacks earlier and more forcefully in public last fall, or who worry that scientists are not charismatic t.v. personalities who can be persuasive on that medium.

    Let me just give my scientific colleagues some advice, since as a Middle East expert I’ve seen all sorts of falsehoods about the region successfully purveyed by the US mass media and print press, in such a way as to shape public opinion and to affect policy-making in Washington:

    1. Every single serious climate scientist should be running a blog. There is enormous thirst among the public for this information, and publishing only in technical refereed journals is guaranteed to quarantine the information away from the general public. …

    2. It is not your fault. The falsehoods in the media are not there because you haven’t spoken out forcefully or are not good on t.v….(see a-f)

    3. If you just keep plugging away at it, with blogging and print, radio and television interviews, you can have an impact on public discourse over time…

    Unfortunately, all this outreach takes time away from the fun stuff, but we live in a time when doing nothing has its own consequences. Of course, posting on RC is preaching to the choir a bit, but maybe others will get the message. As an example, Mike’s interview was very good, bit I would have loved to learn more about the evolution of his paleoclimate research – what are the important take-home messages of his recent paper in Science and how have the recent papers answered questions raised by critics. A discussion of the MCA at a time when critics are still harpiog on MBH98/99 might get some attention.

    Comment by Deech56 — 28 Feb 2010 @ 8:16 AM

  481. Dr. Santer:

    Thank you for presenting your thoughts on this issue.

    I do have concerns regarding your reaction to FOI requests. The purpose of these laws is to ensure a transparent government.

    If you find complying with them unduly burdensome, you should not work for a government agency. Private foundations do not have to respond to FOI requests.

    Comment by kbausch — 28 Feb 2010 @ 8:26 AM

  482. 455 Don Shor “410 Next century: No good agricultural land left, leading to complete collapse of human civilization.

    You have never provided reasonable evidence of this claim”

    Hold on there, Don. I’ve challenged Barton’s assertion that AGW will have catastrophic effects on a global scale in the next 30-50 years. (Desertification WILL have a catastrophic impact in the is time frame, but NOT on a global scale and AGW is NOT a primary cause of this desertification. Desertification will still be a major threat even if there is no warming.)

    OTOH, there is plenty of support for the contention that unchecked carbon emissions and associated warming will have a catastrophic impact on a global scale in the 22nd C. I’m not sure about the probability of a “complete collapse of human civilization”, but even that is possible.

    Comment by JiminMpls — 28 Feb 2010 @ 8:54 AM

  483. Sometimes well-intentioned and generally well-informed people get things wrong. This does not necessarily invalidate their central argument.

    For example, in the most recent Sierra magazine, Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, erroneously states that the Red River drains in the Mississippi. It doesn’t: It flows north into Hudson Bay.

    Nevertheless, his central argument that Mississippi River flooding is the result of decades of (well-intentioned) mismanagement by the Army Corps of Engineers and that the solution is the restoration of the natural floodplain and protective wetlands is fully correct.

    Comment by JiminMpls — 28 Feb 2010 @ 9:22 AM

  484. Hank Roberts says:
    27 February 2010 at 8:33 PM

    Thanks for the response, but it didn’t add to my knowledge. The paper I referred to was dated 1996. The Daly site is dated 1997 so historically it was “current”. Did you read my first post at #413?
    I came to this blog because I believe it is the “source” of the Daly article I sited. So I wish to learn if the Daly article is accurate or not. i.e. Did the Santer et al paper of 96 choose radio sonde data from 1963-87 when 1958-96 was available?

    Regards historical/antique information/knowledge, call it what you like, they can be valuable sources in all walks of life. I happen to be an old bloke, an antique if you will. Am I redundant because of a pimply faced 20 something with a degree in his hands?

    Comment by Baa Humbug — 28 Feb 2010 @ 9:52 AM

  485. Some of the readers here simply don’t get it. McIntyre was well within his rights to ask for the data he requested. The proof of this is in the fact he eventually got the data. The embarrassing part for Santer is that he refused a reasonable request in the very beginning.

    The recent submission to the UK Parliamentary Committee by the Institute of Physics should help clear up muddled thinking by the readers of this blog. Although written specifically regarding the CRU emails, points 6 through 9 look almost as if the authors had Ben Santer in mind. Here they are:

    6. There is also reason for concern at the intolerance to challenge displayed in the e-mails. This impedes the process of scientific ‘self correction’, which is vital to the integrity of the scientific process as a whole, and not just to the research itself. In that context, those CRU e-mails relating to the peer-review process suggest a need for a review of its adequacy and objectivity as practised in this field and its potential vulnerability to bias or manipulation.

    7. Fundamentally, we consider it should be inappropriate for the verification of the integrity of the scientific process to depend on appeals to Freedom of Information legislation. Nevertheless, the right to such appeals has been shown to be necessary. The e-mails illustrate the possibility of networks of like-minded researchers effectively excluding newcomers. Requiring data to be electronically accessible to all, at the time of publication, would remove this possibility.

    8. As a step towards restoring confidence in the scientific process and to provide greater transparency in future, the editorial boards of scientific journals should work towards setting down requirements for open electronic data archiving by authors, to coincide with publication. Expert input (from journal boards) would be needed to determine the category of data that would be archived. Much ‘raw’ data requires calibration and processing through interpretive codes at various levels.

    9. Where the nature of the study precludes direct replication by experiment, as in the case of time-dependent field measurements, it is important that the requirements include access to all the original raw data and its provenance, together with the criteria used for, and effects of, any subsequent selections, omissions or adjustments. The details of any statistical procedures, necessary for the independent testing and replication, should also be included. In parallel, consideration should be given to the requirements for minimum disclosure in relation to computer modelling.
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc3902.htm

    The Institute of Physics make several very good points. Real scientists, as opposed to pseudoscientists, should be making data, methods and code available on the first request. FOIA requests should never be needed, but if they are needed should be honored without question. Any spurious claim by Santer to being “harrassed” by FOIA requests just brings more dishonor down on his own head. If he had just acted like a scientist and provided the data when requested, there would be no problem. Regarding archiving, many journals already have policies on archiving but for some reason would not enforce them on climate researchers. It is clear that day is over. Any journal which refuses to enforce its own archiving policies now will lose all credibility.

    Comment by Ron Cram — 28 Feb 2010 @ 9:58 AM

  486. @Don Shor — 27 February 2010 @ 10:57 PM
    If you look at the abstract, http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F2008JCLI2722.1, Sheffield et al actually say
    “Three metrics of large-scale drought (global average soil moisture, contiguous area in drought, and number of drought events shorter than 2 years) are shown to covary with ENSO SST anomalies. At longer time scales, the number of 12-month and longer duration droughts follows the smoothed variation in northern Pacific and Atlantic SSTs.” Although the paper is primarily about variability, not trends, it’s obvious that as SSTs continue to increase, drought severity will increase. In another paper from the same author, http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F2007JCLI1822.1, the abstract states “Although drought is driven primarily by variability in precipitation, projected continuation of temperature increases during the twenty-first century indicate the potential for enhanced drought occurrence.”
    This is consistent with the findings of Dai et al, http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/adai/papers/Dai_pdsi_paper.pdf,
    “The global very dry areas, defined as PDSI ,-3.0, have more than doubled since the 1970s, with a large jump in the early 1980s due to an ENSO-induced precipitation decrease and a subsequent expansion primarily due to surface warming, while global very wet areas (PDSI >3.0) declined slightly during the 1980s. ”
    Given the misrepresentation of what Sheffield said, I suspect the minds, like the comments, at worldclimatereport.com, are always closed.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 28 Feb 2010 @ 10:11 AM

  487. > Don Shor
    > 457

    That paper does not say anything like what World Climate Report kind-of-vaguely-suggests — they spin it based on the word “natural” in the Abstract!

    Duh. Who told you you could rely on WCR for analysis? Please look into this:

    http://water.washington.edu/research/Articles/2008.global.continental.drought.pdf

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Feb 2010 @ 10:12 AM

  488. Remember all those high school level claims over the past year or so that the Sun was going into something like a new Maunder Minimum? Ain’t happened.
    http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/LATEST/current_eit_304.gif

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Feb 2010 @ 10:20 AM

  489. #345 John Peter

    I don’t know if you were saying I couldn’t find anyone that was convicted of looking at someone e-mail. Anyway, this isn’t a case of simply looking at someone’s e-mail, but copying it, and then posting it. Here are a few more links.

    http://www.hacking-news.com/2007/06/29/former-police-officers-found-guilty-of-hacking/

    http://news.softpedia.com/news/Former-TV-Presenter-Admits-to-Hacking-His-Coworker-s-Email-92353.shtml

    https://www.hackinthebox.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=3903

    Yes, I’m tiring of this as well.

    Comment by JRC — 28 Feb 2010 @ 10:44 AM

  490. So, if the forcing/historical data/model based case as Gavin presents it is the strongest case to be made, and the others are weak, how do we end up with for example the mush that Al Gore published in the Times. Don’t you guys talk to him? Any casual observer can spot problems with his line of reasoning:

    1. It’s not credible that the modest degree of warming we have seen has produced **only ** negative effects. It’s just not. And many of the things he mentions are not really problems at all in the list of actual problems the world faces today.

    2. He takes the bait and makes unsupportable comments about snowfall. Really silly.

    3, He confuses level with slope and comes out with this bit of nonsense:

    “Similarly, even though climate deniers have speciously argued for several years that there has been no warming in the last decade, scientists confirmed last month that the last 10 years were the hottest decade since modern records have been kept.”

    Educated people won’t buy this. Temperature rise could stop forever and this statement would be perpetually true.

    If the one really supportable argument is as Gavin outlines, then I suggest someone take a crack at selling it, even though it is not as simple as what the Rev. Gore is preaching.

    Maybe instead of focusing on the mysterious idea of an average global temperature (which doesn’t really exist anyway, and averages mask the dispersion which is the real problem), maybe try focusing on retained heat. So you can say:

    “Well, more CO2 causes more heat to be retained by the earth in various ways, in the air, on the ground, and in the oceans. We really don’t know exactly where that heat will end up since the climate and weather are pretty unpredictable, but this heat is energy and like all forms of energy it can do both good things and bad. Since the Earth’s climate is pretty hospitable right now, the risk of this extra heat doing bad things in some areas of the world outweighs the possibility it might do some good things in other ares, so we should be careful about trapping too much more heat.”

    I think people might buy that.

    Comment by Avatar — 28 Feb 2010 @ 11:40 AM

  491. “I do have concerns regarding your reaction to FOI requests. The purpose of these laws is to ensure a transparent government.”

    They are not there for harrassment.

    Just like the law courts are there fore justice not for harrassment (SLAPP: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_lawsuit_against_public_participation ).

    Also aren’t corporations supposed to be transparent so that shareholders can see what’s going on?

    So why isn’t there a FOIA for corporate emails and minutes?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 Feb 2010 @ 11:42 AM

  492. “463
    Hank Roberts says:
    28 February 2010 at 12:33 AM

    > Steckis …
    > I work for a fisheries agency and have had my work audited by the
    > government auditor-general’s office after complaints from industry

    Citation needed. This is public information; where can we read it?”

    Just a bump up: notice that RS still hasn’t answered.

    Probably hiding something…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 Feb 2010 @ 11:49 AM

  493. @kbausch #480:
    Exactly what FOIA requests are you talking about?

    Your apparently mixing up things.

    Comment by Marco — 28 Feb 2010 @ 11:54 AM

  494. I read the Sheffield article.
    From Sheffield: “Globally, the mid-1950s showed the highest drought activity.”
    There is no evidence that global warming has increased drought activity. As you speculate, it might. But it hasn’t so far.

    Re: “… projected continuation of temperature increases during the twenty-first century indicate the potential for enhanced drought occurrence.”
    Wow, talk about cherry-picking! Same abstract: “Trends in drought duration, intensity, and severity are predominantly decreasing.”

    Comment by Don Shor — 28 Feb 2010 @ 11:54 AM

  495. #488: You seem very determined to dismiss the science involved. Your first point is a dead giveaway to your denialism. Once you move past blowing smoke about how the climate hasn’t changed…you then shift to “well, it’s good for us! Surely there must be some good?”

    Your second point is an argument from incredulity – e.g. you don’t buy something, so it’s obviously false.

    His rejoinder to your third point, of course, is that the long term temperature rise is obvious if you step back from noisy annual data. If there was some cooling trend then you wouldn’t have gotten such a high average, would you?

    But the real tell that you’re not approaching this as a scientific question is when you go on with sheer nonsense about how you can’t compute a global mean temperature. Of course there is an average, and it’s just standard denialist nonsense to claim that this obvious statistical measurement doesn’t exist or mean anything. Anyone with scientific training would know that (temperature measures energy.)

    How are you on the theory of evolution; the age of the Earth; and whether Obama is an American citizen?

    Comment by Marc — 28 Feb 2010 @ 12:08 PM

  496. Avatar,
    Hmm, I don’t remember seeing Al Gore’s name on the list of contributors to this site. Let’s see. Nope. Not there. Maybe you should take you “Al Gore is fat” arguments against physical reality somewhere they might hold water.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Feb 2010 @ 12:17 PM

  497. Jimi Bostock @478, do you ever tire of making unsubstantiated allegations?
    Guess not, huh?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Feb 2010 @ 12:22 PM

  498. Gilles says: “Sorry Edward, that’s not acceptable. You can’t ask people to strongly reduce there standard of living just with some “possibility” of trouble, unquantified neither in amplitude nor in time.”

    Hmm! Sounds very much like an argument that a corporate officer from AIG might make back in, say, 2007. Sorry, Gilles, but there are situations that can develop where you have the certainty of a disaster but cannot predict when it will occur.

    An avalanche is an excellent example. But then you can’t ask people to curtail a fun day of skiing just with some “possibility” of trouble, can you?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Feb 2010 @ 12:28 PM

  499. Gilles, Are you actually contending that it is impossible to achieve prosperity without fossil fuels? Did you ever consider that the correlation might run the other way–increased prosperity leads to greater fossil fuel use? Did you ever think what your contention might imply given the fact that fossil fuels are running out. You want that one back, maybe?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Feb 2010 @ 12:31 PM

  500. SM says, “You seem to be mocking the very idea of testing models.”

    Nope, Matthew, he’s mocking your contention that the models haven’t been tested. Really dude, you can look this stuff up.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Feb 2010 @ 12:33 PM

  501. “492
    Don Shor says:
    28 February 2010 at 11:54 AM

    There is no evidence that global warming has increased drought activity.”

    Don, even if you admitted any, this would be correlation, not causation.

    However, we DO have a causation.

    Or please explain why drought areas like the Australian Outback won’t get worse if temperatures rise.

    PS see also how denialists still crow about how the sun causes the changes and that’s why we’re in a cooling phase, therefore we don’t (and can’t) do anything about climate change.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 Feb 2010 @ 12:54 PM

  502. “497
    Ray Ladbury says:
    28 February 2010 at 12:31 PM

    Gilles, Are you actually contending that it is impossible to achieve prosperity without fossil fuels? ”

    Ray, Gilles has been peddling that idiotic axiom since he started posting here.

    Yes, he IS contending that.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 Feb 2010 @ 12:55 PM

  503. #493

    1. I never said the climate hadn’t changed. Just that the changes have been modest, and it’s not credible that all the changes have been bad.

    [Response: That last clause is a strawman. Nobody's saying there might not be some positive benefits.--Jim]

    2. A pause in warming has certianly occurred. Statistically it probably means nothing. But Gore’s comment is nonsensical on the face of it.

    3. The point about a spatially weighted average temperature 5 ft above the grounds is obvious – you can have very large changes, in opposite directions, in air temperature all over the globe and still come up with the same average. Also, the heat in the oceans is as or more important than air temperatures, and it’s not only the surface temperature of the oceans that matters. Heat content broadly defined is a much more intelligent way to talk about this issue.

    [Response: You are aware that the heat stored in the oceans is the reason why the observed atmospheric temperature increase is a substantial underestimate of what will manifest, right?--Jim]

    The current anomaly idea doesn’t play well since no-one really experiences this average temperature. That’s a problem with pitching the average. And it ain’t selling.

    [Response:This makes no sense but seems likely to be connected to your belief that there is no such thing as a global mean temperature, which is among the most absurd arguments ever offered against global warming.--Jim]

    Comment by Avatar — 28 Feb 2010 @ 1:00 PM

  504. Drought in Australia:
    http://www.bom.gov.au/lam/climate/levelthree/c20thc/drought.htm

    “please explain why drought areas like the Australian Outback won’t get worse if temperatures rise.”

    There is no evidence that it will, or that it won’t; more important, there is no evidence that drought is increasing worldwide.

    Comment by Don Shor — 28 Feb 2010 @ 1:02 PM

  505. > Don Shor

    Don, I suggest again that you look at the original material — and then look at the footnotes, put the paper into Scholar and look for subsequent material, and — as Martin points out — look at the author’s website.

    Don, don’t get into fights with people who come here to have fights. There are a good many of us here to try to learn about the science and help each other look things up and think things through.

    This is a good example. If you just post stuff from places like WCR without looking beyond what they provide, people will doubt you’re thinking.

    If you look stuff up, read the references, and ask questions based on your own reading, some folks will try hard to be helpful.

    Ignore the people here just to call others names and you’ll learn more than if you get into arguments with them, is my best suggestion.

    Ask yourself, skeptically, why WCR wouldn’t quote you this part from the website, and whether you can imagine any reason they would not inform you of this information — and ask yourself how this compares to what they claim.

    — excerpt follows —

    18 May 2008: Our paper published in Climate Dynamics shows that drought will increase globally over the 21st century. We analyzed soil moisture from 8 climate models that participated in the latest IPCC assessment (AR4) and calculated changes in drought frequency, severity and spatial extent globally and regionally. The regions projected to be hardest hit are the Mediterranean, southwest US, central America, southern Africa and Australia: regions that currently suffer from drought. The main culprit is descreasing precipitation, coupled with warmer temperatures that lead to increased evaporation. Although the climate models generally predict wetter conditions in high northern latitudes, these will be offset somewhat by earlier and faster spring melt and increased summertime evaporation. The time frame for these changes to be noticeable (statistically different form current climate variability) is of the order of a few decades in some regions.

    The figure … http://hydrology.princeton.edu/~justin/gfx/figure_future_drought_small.png

    shows the changes in drought frequency, duration and severity for the world and 20 regions for the SRES B1, A1B and A2 future climate scenarios. The bars indicate the range across the climate models.

    Sheffield J., and E. F. Wood, Projected changes in drought occurrence under future global warming from multi-model, multi-scenario, IPCC AR4 simulations, Climate Dynamics, 13 (1), 79-105, doi:10.1007/s00382-007-0340-z
    — end excerpt —

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Feb 2010 @ 1:33 PM

  506. You guys don’t read very carefully so here are the main points again:

    1. Many of the weak arguments for AGW ( proxies, cherry picked climate events, accelerating current warming) pollute the strong, physics based arguments for slow, inevitable warming with various effects both positive and negative. These weak arguments are on full display in Al Gore’s op-ed piece.

    [Response: Baloney. Your so called "weak arguments" are supporting evidence that the radiation physics are right, not the opposite.--Jim]

    2. The idea of a global air temperature doesn’t mean much to many people as the center point of a marketing campaign. I’m well aware that it “exists” as do many other averages.

    [Response: Then why did you say this: "Maybe instead of focusing on the mysterious idea of an average global temperature (which doesn’t really exist anyway, and averages mask the dispersion which is the real problem)..."? As to your main point, most people can understand that the increased heat will not necessarily be equally distributed globally.--Jim]

    In summary – drop the weak arguments, censure the bad actors and salesmen in your community, find a better and more moderate way to explain the strong part of the argument to the rest of the population. I’m not claiming RC is particularly guilty of these crimes, but the general climate change community certainly is.

    Let’s start here – anyone here willing to criticize anything about Al Gore’s piece in the NYT?

    [Response: Why are you obsessed with finding fault with Al Gore and/or his synopsis of the situation? --Jim]

    Ciao.

    Comment by Avataer — 28 Feb 2010 @ 1:36 PM

  507. Don Shor@292:
    Trends in drought frequency [abst] and effects on loss of dissolved organic carbon from UK upland peats
    Trends in 20th century drought over the continental US [abst], noting the regionality of decreasing AND increasing trends.
    Trends in drought intensity & variability, Iberian peninsula [PDF], emphasizing the “origin and direction of air masses and flows”, as in atmospheric conditions affecting precipitation.
    Trends in drought in Swiss forested ecosystems “(…) the analysis detected an increase of drought during the observation period. The trend is particularly pronounced in rather dry areas as the inner-alpine valley of Valais”.
    Trends of Drought in the Canadian Prairies “studies suggest that the Canadian Prairies is among the regions which have exhibited the strongest rising trends in drought over the second half of last century.” [Canadas major grain producing area]

    [PDF]: “over the past thirty years, droughts have dramatically increased
    in number and intensity in the EU and the cost in this period amounts to €100 billion”

    You can argue whether “global warming has increased drought activity”, I’d think risk analysis indicates it’s time to consider dealing with facts.

    Comment by flxible — 28 Feb 2010 @ 1:37 PM

  508. JRC (487)

    Thanks for agreeing with about about INTERNET email. The babel on RC was always about invasion of privacy on the INTERNET . There is very little privacy on the INTERNET, certainly not using email. INTERNET is about as private as a postcard..

    Thanks for the links, there sure is more than I realized.

    I also discovered that they still haven’t prosecuted the teenager who guessed security question answers, got access to Sara Palin’s account, changed her password then read her email looking for “dirt”. That happened two years ago (>(

    Comment by John Peter — 28 Feb 2010 @ 1:43 PM

  509. Avatar (488): It’s not credible that the modest degree of warming we have seen has produced **only ** negative effects. It’s just not.

    BPL: Oooh, good line of logical reasoning there. I’m sure it convinced a lot of readers.

    Evidence….?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 Feb 2010 @ 1:52 PM

  510. Avatar: he point about a spatially weighted average temperature 5 ft above the grounds is obvious – you can have very large changes, in opposite directions, in air temperature all over the globe and still come up with the same average. Also, the heat in the oceans is as or more important than air temperatures, and it’s not only the surface temperature of the oceans that matters. Heat content broadly defined is a much more intelligent way to talk about this issue.

    BPL: What the heck do you think temperature IS? Do you know how it’s defined? It’s a measure of heat content, for God’s sake!

    H = m cp T

    Remember that one? Heat content (in Joules in the SI) = mass (kg) x specific heat capacity at constant pressure (J/K/kg) x absolute temperature (K).

    And your hypothetical case of wide dispersion is true but irrelevant. Why don’t you TAKE THE ACTUAL NUMBERS AND CALCULATE THE MEAN AND MEASURES OF DISPERSION, instead of just gassing about it?

    I find it very, very hard to believe at this point that you are any kind of scientist, let alone a physicist. No physicist I know–and I know quite a few of them–would think an armchair argument trumps field measurements and/or statistical analysis.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 Feb 2010 @ 1:59 PM

  511. 503: Actually, Hank, I did read the paper in its entirety. I prefer not to link pdf’s in general, but I guess

    Sheffield’s 2008 paper does not negate my comment. That paper, based on your excerpt, is an analysis of what might happen. I agree, drought might increase in areas currently prone to drought; rainfall might increase in other areas. Changes in the distribution of precipitation are certainly possible. Ethiopia may get more rainfall, while nearby desert areas less. Here in California, we expect that we could get more rain, less snow. The impact on our (California) state water system will require adaptive planning for those parts of the state dependent on Sierra snowmelt. There are some interesting models about how that would affect different watersheds and water districts in the state, and it is highly variable depending on the orographic precipitation patterns.
    Is all of that happening already? Not provably.

    [Response: Actually there is such evidence, via a series of changing hydrology attribution studies in the western USA over the last couple of years.--Jim]

    That is what Sheffield’s 2009 paper indicates. Their 2008 hypothetical projections, compared to their 2009 actual analysis, indicate that increased drought is not yet a reality. Anecdotally, there are epic droughts in the last hundred years in all of the drought-prone parts of the world; see the Australia link for examples there. Should we plan for increased drought? Certainly.

    Flxible — thanks for the links. I won’t comment specifically until after I’ve read the articles. But to your conclusion — “risk analysis indicates it’s time to consider dealing with facts…” I agree. I think that Roger Pielke Sr.’s “vulnerability paradigm, focused on regional and local societal and environmental resources of importance” is the most reasonable approach to drought and land-use issues.

    I agree that trying to have a conversation with CFU is like trying to sculpt pudding. I give up.

    Comment by Don Shor — 28 Feb 2010 @ 2:01 PM

  512. Don Shor (503): there is no evidence that drought is increasing worldwide.

    BPL: PDSI < 3.0: 12% of Earth's land surface 1970. 30% 2002.

    Which is greater, 12 or 30? You can use a calculator.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 Feb 2010 @ 2:01 PM

  513. Truncated by mistake!

    “I prefer not to link pdf’s in general, but I guess…”

    should read

    “I prefer not to link pdf’s in general, but I guess that would be better than linking to a web site that has a perceived agenda. I tend to assume people here can sort the grain from the chaff at other sites. A lot of the articles we talk about here are either pdf’s or at subscription sites.”

    Comment by Don Shor — 28 Feb 2010 @ 2:03 PM

  514. E. Greisch :”YOU WILL NOT GET DATES. NOBODY IS FOOLISH ENOUGH TO MAKE A FORECAST LIKE THAT. TAKE A LABORATORY COURSE IN PROBABILITY AND STATISTICS.”

    Sorry Edward, that’s not acceptable. You can’t ask people to strongly reduce there standard of living just with some “possibility” of trouble, unquantified neither in amplitude nor in time

    Oh, I don’t know, countries like the US, Japan, and Chile require people to spend extra money, often significant amounts, on construction in order to strengthen buildings against earthquakes.

    Haiti doesn’t (nor unfortunately can she apparently afford to).

    Haiti: 200,000+ dead. Chile: some hundreds dead.

    Ask the people of Chile if spending the extra money for (at the most basic level) rebar to help protect against “some possibility of trouble, unquantified in amplitude or time” was worth it.

    Well, OK, Chile knows it’s going to get whacked once or twice a century with a big earthquake so amplitude and time are somewhat quantified.

    So is climate change, however.

    Comment by dhogaza — 28 Feb 2010 @ 2:05 PM

  515. 505 – Wow.

    Maybe because he is the lead figure in trying to sell the idea of Climate Change around the word, because he was awarded the Nobel Prize along with the IPCC? Because he did more than anyone to place the “hockey stick” at the center of the debate? Because he is as guilty as anyone of the cherry picking fallacy?

    The existence of this blog is an attempt to interface with non climate scientists and explain the issues, yes? If so, the way that the science is being presented to the public is a key, maybe *the* key point.

    As an educated and interested non climate scientist with a science background I’m trying to help you guys see what is going wrong. But you can;t see it.

    Comment by Avataer — 28 Feb 2010 @ 2:05 PM

  516. 461 FHSIV: “That would mean that there was climate change prior to the late 20th century! But that couldn’t be true because it conflicts with our conclusions!”
    WRONG!!!!!!
    Nobody I know of ever said that there were never climate changes before. FHSIV is just another dis-interpreter. Of course Nature caused previous climate changes. So what? Nature’s climate changes caused major and minor disasters and major and minor EXTINCTION EVENTS.
    BUT WE ARE CAUSING THIS ONE!

    =================

    470 Gilles: “You can’t ask people to strongly reduce there standard of living just with some “possibility” of trouble, unquantified neither in amplitude nor in time.”

    Who asked you to reduce your standard of living? Not me! And it IS A CERTAINTY OF TROUBLE! We just don’t know the date. We do know plenty about the amplitude: Gilles will not survive. Neither will Billions of other people. Humans may well go extinct. Civilization WILL collapse. GW WILL put an end to your standard of living if we don’t end GW.
    You can keep on using just as much energy as before, you just can’t get it by burning fossil fuel any more.
    Again, you sound like a person who is ignorant of probability and statistics. Take the course. Aheemm yourself.

    Thank you Ray Ladbury and Completely Fed Up
    ================

    489 Completely Fed Up: “So why isn’t there a FOIA for corporate emails and minutes?”
    Agreed. But my reasoning is that corporations are quasi-governments.



    Comment by Edward Greisch — 28 Feb 2010 @ 2:09 PM

  517. #all by Avatar

    Didn’t you say somewhere up-thread you are a scientist?

    Based on your lack of logic, I don’t see how that is possible?

    Or did you get one of those online degrees that you don’t have to study for?

    You know…, the ones where they just trust you when you tell them that you studied stuff and then send them a check, and they send you a diploma.


    The Climate Lobby
    Understand the Issue
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Feb 2010 @ 2:27 PM

  518. > Don Shor
    > That paper, based on your excerpt,

    Don, read more carefully. Martin Vermeer pointed you to the author’s website.
    I quoted from, and linked to an illustration from, the author’s website.

    This is why it’s important to provide people _good_ sources of information, rather than the limited spin you got about it from WCR.

    Look, seriously, you know you ought to look for the original source material, not rely on second hand opinions. Remember all the concern because the IPCC cited a WWF report instead of citing the actual research papers that were in the footnotes?

    The WCR isn’t giving you any help finding real info, because the real info contradicts the spin they’re selling — Martin did give you the pointer to the author’s website, and I quoted from it.

    Focus. Be skeptical. Don’t be fooled, go to the source material.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Feb 2010 @ 2:37 PM

  519. Thanks for agreeing with about about INTERNET email. The babel on RC was always about invasion of privacy on the INTERNET . There is very little privacy on the INTERNET, certainly not using email. INTERNET is about as private as a postcard..

    John Peter, you were told some hundreds of posts ago that breaking into a server is a crime, The fact that the data stolen happens to be e-mail is besides the point. It is you that has consistently been trying to divert the argument into one of privacy and e-mail.

    CRU’s backup server was illegally accessed. The server hosting Real Climate was illegally accessed. Both are crimes (not civil) offenses in the US, and I imagine the UK.

    End of story.

    Comment by dhogaza — 28 Feb 2010 @ 2:45 PM

  520. #505 Avataer

    Al Gore’s op-ed is here:
    We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/opinion/28gore.html?pagewanted=1&th&emc=th

    What he says about the science is:
    “Here is what scientists have found is happening to our climate: man-made global-warming pollution traps heat from the sun and increases atmospheric temperatures. These pollutants — especially carbon dioxide — have been increasing rapidly with the growth in the burning of coal, oil, natural gas and forests, and temperatures have increased over the same period. Almost all of the ice-covered regions of the Earth are melting — and seas are rising. Hurricanes are predicted to grow stronger and more destructive, though their number is expected to decrease. Droughts are getting longer and deeper in many mid-continent regions, even as the severity of flooding increases. The seasonal predictability of rainfall and temperatures is being disrupted, posing serious threats to agriculture. The rate of species extinction is accelerating to dangerous levels.”

    Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 28 Feb 2010 @ 2:52 PM

  521. Avataer (505)

    “censure the bad actors and salesmen in your community”

    Sure thing, mate. I’ll just call the Ministry of Truth IPCC and they’ll get right on it. Would you also like them to be fed to the polar bears?

    Comment by Molnar — 28 Feb 2010 @ 2:54 PM

  522. Hank Roberts says: 28 February 2010 at 2:37 PM

    Be skeptical.

    Truly.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 Feb 2010 @ 2:58 PM

  523. Avatar: It is of no use. Amazingly, and ironically, they profess to be researchers of “change”, but they do not recognize change when it readily presents itself. I have no trouble understanding that you are trying to help them salvage what is good in the efforts they have expended. But they are too faithful to their cause to see that the time has come to do just that.

    [Response: Maybe you should go back and read through Avatar's posts, where s/he made numerous assertions about the quality of the science and Al Gore, under the guise of helping to illuminate the nature of the problem. Many of these were wrong, and rebutted, but not acknowledged or responded to, followed then by an increasing focus on the "Rev." Al Gore and his supposed mistakes to the exclusion of the larger message that he has correct.--Jim]

    Comment by moray watson — 28 Feb 2010 @ 3:01 PM

  524. Avatar, OK, I read Gore’s editorial. Let me preface things by saying that I’m not a huge Al Gore fan. I think he ran a piss poor campaign in 2000. Having said that, I didn’t see too much in terms of the science that he got wrong. I still think the evidence for any trend in hurricanes is rather more tentative than Gore does, but I’m probably on the more conservative side of the consensus on that issue. His discussion of the relation of the big snowfalls to precipitation trends while not wrong was a bit simplistic. Other than that, what I saw was a politician using a fair laymans understanding of the science to beat his political opponents severely over the head.

    What, pray, did you find that was so tremendously wrong?

    See, we all know that Al Gore has a political agenda. What I find remarkable is that he seems to have no problem squaring his political agenda with physical reality, while the libertarian types prefer to attack science rather than find solutions to the problems science has alerted us to. I think that’s a pretty big difference there, and as I say I’m not a big fan of Al Gore.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Feb 2010 @ 3:32 PM

  525. Re: 511 [Response: Actually there is such evidence, via a series of changing hydrology attribution studies in the western USA over the last couple of years.--Jim]
    Hi Jim,
    I would be interested in a link toward those articles. If you remember some authors and journals, I can Google it from there.
    Don
    (ps — Good to see UC Davis represented here!)

    [Response: Don, I started looking for them and got sidetracked. I need to re-read at least one of them anyway. Check back here later today.--Jim]

    [Response: Here's a few--there are others as well. The Pierce etal and Bonfils etal papers are the two with the strongest attribution base.--Jim

    Western USA/N. Am.:
    Regonda et al, 2005, J Climate.
    Andreadis et al, 2005, J Hydrometeor.
    Pierce et al, 2008, J Climate.
    Bonfils etal, 2008, J. Climate

    Mountains:
    Stewart, 2009, Hydrol. Process.

    CA:
    Howat and Tulaczyk, 2005, J Geophys. Res.
    Howat and Tulaczyk, 2005, Annals Glaciology.]

    Comment by Don Shor — 28 Feb 2010 @ 3:56 PM

  526. There will be no libel or defamation writs issued in the UK or anywhere else. Why? Because the truth is the nuclear defence to any claim of defamation or libel and the issues being defended here would not in any way stand up to scrutiny in a court of law and the defenders know this.

    Comment by David Harington — 28 Feb 2010 @ 3:57 PM

  527. dhogaza #519

    CRU’s backup server was illegally accessed. The server hosting Real Climate was illegally accessed. Both are crimes (not civil) offenses in the US, and I imagine the UK.

    I’m in the UK and when I log into our company’s network I get a message saying that it is criminal offence to gain access without proper authorisation, so I think you are correct.

    Comment by Andrew Adams — 28 Feb 2010 @ 4:15 PM

  528. re #515 Avataer:

    “Maybe because he is the lead figure in trying to sell the idea of Climate Change around the word, because he was awarded the Nobel Prize along with the IPCC? Because he did more than anyone to place the “hockey stick” at the center of the debate? Because he is as guilty as anyone of the cherry picking fallacy?

    The existence of this blog is an attempt to interface with non climate scientists and explain the issues, yes? If so, the way that the science is being presented to the public is a key, maybe *the* key point.

    As an educated and interested non climate scientist with a science background I’m trying to help you guys see what is going wrong. But you can;t see it.”

    You must think we were born yesterday!

    Most if not all people on here recognise that Gore is a politician. Most if not all of us on here recognise that the “hockey stick” has been independently replicated by various researchers using various proxies. More importantly, we recognise that the stick’s blade represents what is being directly observed. Does that not concern you at all?

    What is “going wrong” is that science is up against a rejectionist political mindset that has no science of its own but instead an arsenal of dishonest targeted PR stunts that is has been deploying, and what it “goes wrong” against is the global economy and, ultimately, people. If you have any young offspring or other relations who might normally see it out towards the latter years of this century, and who might indeed have children and grandchildren, then you might want to pause and consider what kind of future these rejectionists do not care about them and their offspring having to experience. Looking further ahead, you might want Mankind to have a viable future. Or, perhaps, not? Nice people, huh? For a few dollars more, eh?

    Cheers – John

    Comment by John Mason — 28 Feb 2010 @ 4:19 PM

  529. David Harington says:
    28 February 2010 at 3:57 PM

    “There will be no libel or defamation writs issued in the UK or anywhere else. Why? Because the truth is the nuclear defence to any claim of defamation or libel and the issues being defended here would not in any way stand up to scrutiny in a court of law and the defenders know this.”

    That depends what was said. You surely can’t be saying that anything derogatory which is said about climate scientists is true, therefore any libel suit would be bound to fail.

    Comment by Dave G — 28 Feb 2010 @ 4:40 PM

  530. Avatar wrote:
    “Right – if you don’t like what the IOP has to say…..attack the IOP! I suggest a more fruitful response would be for those involved in this (however peripherally) to step outside themselves and see how this looks to uninvolved parties. The answer is that the entire picture looks as if the “mistakes”, or “errors in judgment”, or “unfortunate e-mails”, or “data problems”, or “upside down proxies”, or “statistical tricks: are **all** stacked one way in terms of the impact on the interpretation of the science. ”

    Except that’s not true. The IPCC actually has also erred in the direction of *understating* AGW effects too. How do you square this with your simplistic ‘entire picture’?

    As for the IOP submission, I’m fairly confident that we’ll be hearing more about just how that came to be. The submission of the other two reputable scientific umbrella organizations (chemistry and stats) are *far* more evenhanded.

    Comment by Steven Sullivan — 28 Feb 2010 @ 4:57 PM

  531. Since he thinks so much of Roy I’d like to hear Tim Jones (286) comments about Roy Spencer’s latest posting about Jones’ spurious US warming since 1973. Does this support the agwarmer case? Us ‘denialists’ don’t deny the world warms and cools. We just deny that so-called global warming gas emissions will cause catastrophic warming. I know sea temperatures are high now because of an El Nino. Hasn’t exactly caused catastrophic warming on land has it? Our weatherman has just told us we are in for another week of winter at least despite the calendar moving to spring. I wish to God the world was warming as you guys predict. Unfortunately I fear that we are in for a few very cool years as a result of recent solar activity, or lack thereof.

    Many engineers like myself rely on data. That is why we question agwarming armageddon. [OT]

    Comment by votenotokyoto — 28 Feb 2010 @ 4:57 PM

  532. [Response: He has published dozens of papers and communicated his work very widely, what are you talking about? - gavin]
    I meant : why was it such a mess with the communication of data and procedures he used to get these results ?

    [Response: No, you are wrong. It's precisely because the forcings and reconstructions for the medieval period are uncertain that using that time period to constrain sensitivity or the magnitude of internal variability is not very useful.]
    OK, but I never said they were used quantitatively to constrain the sensitivity ! juste that a high temperature in the MWP would reduce the probability of a low influence of natural variability. For instance, a important – and for me mysterious – assumption of models is that the average temperature is a single, univalued fonction of the forcing. This is wrong if large scale oscillations change the relationship between average temperature and power emitted , which is by no way impossible, since the average temperature is a very approximate estimate of the radiative power. Large amplitude of the past temperatures would lead to enhance the possibility of such secular oscillations.
    [Response: I'll give two examples: Ocean warming implies a radiative imbalance - which was predicted ahead of time for a GHG-induced change (not so for an 'internal change'), stratospheric cooling is a clear signature of CO2 related changes to radiative transfer (and the opposite effect to what you'd expect from solar or ocean induced warming). The fact is that there are fingerprints of changes that differ depending on the cause - and this fingerprinting is not just done using the global mean temperature changes. - gavin]
    For ocean temperatures : I heard that everything wasn’t fully understood on the radiative balance. For stratosphere cooling : if I understand well, this is the consequence of the increase of cooling , due to increasing radiative emissivity of CO2. So basically it confirms that CO2 concentration is increasing in the stratosphere. Nice, but few people are denying that. It doesn”t prove much on the origin of the variation of ground surface temperatures : for instance, the 1900-1940 warming period wasn’t due to the increase of CO2 concentration…
    BTW, I do not deny that the CO2 has some warming effect – I am just not really convinced by the imminence of a catastrophe scenario

    Comment by Gilles — 28 Feb 2010 @ 5:00 PM

  533. #506

    ” anyone here willing to criticize anything about Al Gore’s piece in the NYT?”

    You appear to be operating under the misapprehension that Gore is the SOURCE of mainstream climate-change science. He’s merely REPORTING the conclusions of actual scientists, and doing it rather well. (Not perfect, but light years beyond the capabilities of most politicians!)

    Comment by Jerry Steffens — 28 Feb 2010 @ 5:00 PM

  534. BPL :BPL: Do you know how to multiply?

    Fraction of Earth’s land surface “severely dry” by Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI < 3.0) in 1970: 12%.

    In 2002: 30%
    "

    strange : the food production per capita has increased by more than 20 % in the same period, with a doubling population. Any explanation ?

    But i DO think we'll have problem with the food. But first due to the lack of fossil fuels, which will make the price of food increase on a long term. Reducing fuel use would worsen the problem, instead of fixing it.

    Comment by Gilles — 28 Feb 2010 @ 5:10 PM

  535. Avatar (#506): anyone here willing to criticize anything about Al Gore’s piece in the NYT?

    Gore advocates in his NYT piece, as elsewhere, for Cap & Trade – which is a good way to get the geniuses at Goldman Sachs involved, and to waste another decade or two accomplishing nothing in terms of emissions reductions.

    The alternative, Fee & Dividend, is also vulnerable to unproductive gaming of the system – but Cap & Trade is an engraved invitation.

    Comment by Daniel C. Goodwin — 28 Feb 2010 @ 5:23 PM

  536. Ray : “An avalanche is an excellent example. But then you can’t ask people to curtail a fun day of skiing just with some “possibility” of trouble, can you?”
    you know that avalanches occur because you have statistics.. And you quantify the risk following statistics. So indeed , what you say is true : you can’t convince people to curtail their fun with a poor statistics.
    “Are you actually contending that it is impossible to achieve prosperity without fossil fuels?”
    Yes. And that “idiotic axiom ” following CFU is much more proved that any influence of the temperature on prosperity. Again, simple question above : what is brought by prosperity, that doesn’t require fossil fuels?

    ” Did you ever consider that the correlation might run the other way–increased prosperity leads to greater fossil fuel use?”
    that’s basically the same. What does prosperity brings to you, that doesn’t require fossil fuels (compared with poorer countries)?

    Did you ever think what your contention might imply given the fact that fossil fuels are running out.

    Of course : big trouble. Much bigger than the increase of some fraction of degrees of the average temperature. Much bigger, much sooner, and much more certain.

    Comment by Gilles — 28 Feb 2010 @ 5:24 PM

  537. “Civilization WILL collapse. GW WILL put an end to your standard of living if we don’t end GW.”

    I do think that civlization will eventually collapse. But not because of GW, but because of the end of fossil fuels. You can be rich in hot countries and with fossil fuels, even in deserts (look at Saudi Arabia , California, Nevada, Florida..). You cannot be rich without fossil fuels (look … everywhere).

    Comment by Gilles — 28 Feb 2010 @ 5:28 PM

  538. My biggest problem with Al Gore is that he didn’t win in 2000, for the reason Ray stated, and here we are. As has been said here before, he got the science right. He raises the hackles of the hard right, because they choose to be blinkered by ideology and junk science manufactured for political reasons alone. That’s a big difference. Gore linked an interesting hurricane intensity paper too.

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SCI_WARMING_HURRICANES?SITE=MOSTP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

    Comment by Mark A. York — 28 Feb 2010 @ 5:57 PM

  539. 516 E. Greisch:

    “Nobody I know of ever said that there were never climate changes before.”

    OK, but why so much effort by Mann et al. to rewrite Holocene earth history to make the perceived changes in the 20th century seem to be ‘unprecedented’? What are you trying to sell?

    [Response: Get your facts straight before basing a false conclusion on a suggestion of fraud. The last 1000 years does not constitute the Holocene, and moreover, many reconstructions now exist that show this same pattern of 20th century uniqueness, as anyone looking at the topic with the intent to understand knows.--Jim]

    “FHSIV is just another dis-interpreter.” what’s a dis-interpreter?

    “Of course Nature caused previous climate changes. So what?”

    Would you be offended if I spelled ‘nature’ without a capital ‘N’? I don’t want to be insensitive to your religious beliefs!

    “Nature’s climate changes caused major and minor disasters and major and minor EXTINCTION EVENTS.
    BUT WE ARE CAUSING THIS ONE!”

    Can you name a single species that has become extinct because of AGW? How come the fragile species you seem to be so concerned about didn’t succomb to the nine previous temperature driven shifts in North American vegetation since the end of the last glacial epoch?
    I guess that I’ll have to unlearn what I know about Holocene biogeography and palynology if I want to be able to appreciate your perspective.

    [Response:If you know palynology like you claim, you'll know that the detection of individual species' extinction is largely impossible, because pollen cannot usually be resolved that finely. And the extinction concern is more about the future rather than what has happened to date. And we are moving into a state we have not seen in millions of years, rendering the Holocene analog questionable.--Jim]

    Comment by FHSIV — 28 Feb 2010 @ 6:16 PM

  540. 538 M.A. York:

    “…they choose to be blinkered by ideology and junk science manufactured for political reasons alone.”

    Those that live in glass houses should not be throwing stones!

    Comment by FHSIV — 28 Feb 2010 @ 6:23 PM

  541. Gilles # 537: “You can be rich in hot countries and with fossil fuels, even in deserts (look at Saudi Arabia , California, Nevada, Florida..). You cannot be rich without fossil fuels (look … everywhere).”

    Depends on your definiton of rich. The party’s over, the house is a tip, the whirlwind we’ve been reaping looks damned certain to hit soon (pun intended), and the grandkids are gonna have to live in a shed or a tent in a world resembling Mad Max on crack. Think I like that image? Time to change the paradigm and get out of the fossil fuel trap.

    Comment by J Bowers — 28 Feb 2010 @ 6:57 PM

  542. > For stratosphere cooling : if I understand well

    You don’t. Let me try a little recreational typing, though someone can probably point to a more carefully worded explanation.

    You got this wrong: CO2 doesn’t increase only in the stratosphere (how would it get there?); CO2 is well mixed, when added from fossil fuel, the amount increases throughout the atmosphere. Don’t make a Wegman error either, it doesn’t sink to the bottom. It mixes.

    The increased amount of CO2 in the lower atmosphere intercepts more of the infrared coming off the warm surface, before it reaches the stratosphere.

    Some of that heat gets radiated back to the surface, and that CO2 shares the heat among the other gases in the lower atmosphere by collision.

    The increased CO2 in the stratosphere isn’t getting as much heat from below, because it’s “shaded” by the extra CO2 below it.

    Remember it’s the surface that’s emitting infrared.

    The CO2 in the stratosphere still does emit heat to space, so the stratosphere cools.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Feb 2010 @ 7:01 PM

  543. Don Shor@525 – As someone in an area of agriculture dependent on degree days, hydrological info relates:

    Human-Induced Changes in the Hydrology of the Western United States, 2008
    Detection and Attribution of Temperature Changes in the Mountainous Western United States, 2008
    Detection and Attribution of Streamflow Timing Changes to Climate Change in the Western United States, 2009
    Structure and Detectability of Trends in Hydrological Measures over the western United States, 2010

    The first 20 or so years I’ve been involved in fruit production I never saw the phenomena of blooms occuring in late summer/fall – the last 10 years it’s become quite regular, although obviously spatial, and thankfully not widespread ….. yet.
    But Gillies assures me the Saudis can use their “fossils” to overcome the climatic requirements of agriculture, so maybe he can conjure some of that oil into water for California too. :)

    Comment by flxible — 28 Feb 2010 @ 7:13 PM

  544. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/27/science/earth/27climate.html?ref=science
    A “broader” inquiry. No not the one demanded by the IOP. Any advance on four? It looks as if the lobbyists have discovered divergent sequences:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limit_of_a_sequence.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 28 Feb 2010 @ 7:15 PM

  545. #542

    “The CO2 in the stratosphere still does emit heat to space”
    Actually, one can do a little better: the increase in CO2 in the stratosphere INCREASES the emission of infrared radiation (for a given temperature); the combination of reduced energy input from below and greater energy loss implies cooling.

    Comment by Jerry Steffens — 28 Feb 2010 @ 7:22 PM

  546. Gilles, OK, so you are willing to admit that CO2 cools the stratosphere, but not that it causes warming in the troposphere? Dude, are you even capable of taking a self-consistent position?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Feb 2010 @ 7:22 PM

  547. Gavin (454)

    Another crazy idea. Why not have on RC a simple and bullet-proof single paragraph rebuttal. Anyone could tweak it and send it individually as a letter to the editor wherever we saw claims not backed by science.

    Comment by John Peter — 28 Feb 2010 @ 7:25 PM

  548. Hank Roberts (542) — That was exceptionally clear! Thank you.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 28 Feb 2010 @ 7:26 PM

  549. Don 455

    I think your link http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2010/02/24/update-on-global-drought-patterns-ipcc-take-note/%E2%80%9D is broken.

    Comment by John Peter — 28 Feb 2010 @ 7:34 PM

  550. repair for my link at 542 [maybe] Structure and Detectability of Trends in Hydrological Measures over the western United States, 2010

    Comment by flxible — 28 Feb 2010 @ 7:42 PM

  551. John Peter@547 – Rebuttals already available at Skeptical Science, and on your Iphone no less, as discussed in the earlier post

    Comment by flxible — 28 Feb 2010 @ 7:45 PM

  552. Re #542

    As pointed out by Raypierre, its the short wave heating from above which enables extra gh gas to produce cooling:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/the-carbon-dioxide-theory-of-gilbert-plass/comment-page-2/#comment-153414

    [It is less long winded in equation form, but it survived the 'peer review' offered by RC's other commentators]

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 28 Feb 2010 @ 7:49 PM

  553. > 455, 549, “World Climate Report”
    That points to a misleading source, at best.
    Watch 511 for an update from Jim.
    See also 487, 505, and 518

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Feb 2010 @ 8:13 PM

  554. Perhaps Avatars point is being missed or maybe the point of RC is being missed (perhaps RC doesn’t feel it’s their job to sell the message of AGW. It is easy for this website to forfeit any authority whenever they wish. Avatar correctly points out that this is a marketing campaign. Right now my evaluation is that the campaign is being lost by the AGW side. You may have the best, most revolutionary product on the market, but if you can’t sell it it’s worthless (happens all the time). Do not bemoan this fact of life, but use it to your advantage if you hope to win.
    Do not cling to the hope that people will eventually figure out how radiative heat transfer operates or how historical temperature records are constructed.
    As I see it, your salesman right now on the world stage is Al Gore. He is losing the battle tremendously and causing great harm to your message (at least from my perspective.
    Dissect your audience and you may earn some respect from them. Until then, no one sympathetic to your plight wants to hear the whining. Fight fire with fire.

    Comment by Sean — 28 Feb 2010 @ 8:36 PM

  555. “Those that[sic] live in glass houses should not be throwing stones!”

    Mine is made of Lexan.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 28 Feb 2010 @ 8:42 PM

  556. > 542
    better info on stratospheric cooling:
    http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2009/08/e-pur-si-scalda.html?showComment=1250485939966#c5022610716385114537
    and various posts before and after that one.

    Take this stuff with a reminder that anything _I_ write here is bound to be way oversimplified; I’m trying for simple language that doesn’t go too far wrong, always. To paraphrase myself, any explanation of radiation physics without the mathematics is poetry, at best.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Feb 2010 @ 9:04 PM

  557. Septic Matthew (469)

    It’s an American tradition to try to sell a model’s future predictions by back-testing. This helps to get action now (buy this stock) rather than wait for the future.

    As far as I can tell, 5 to 10 years ago climate scientists shifted away from heavy dependence on models to building more and more of their case on physical/chemical science, an enormously difficult task because of the many interactions, scarity of lab like data and, in some cases incomplete physical/chemical science.

    Even should they now have a strong purely physical/chemical science case for AGW, not requiring models, there is the problem of explaining to the public.

    In a recent interview of Michael Mann, the interviewer asked:

    “So what type of climate patterns are there, in your team’s model of the past, that also
    appear in the more recent climate record where there is temperature data, not proxy data?”

    Mann then described El Niño, La Niña and the so-called North Atlantic Oscillation, or Arctic Oscillation.

    The interviewer then asked “What aspects then, more precisely, of your team’s model of the past may help in
    predicting current climate change?”

    Mann answered “Well, there are really two very interesting observations in the reconstructed patterns that we were actually able to test against climate model predictions. And so, we took those same periods – that Medieval Climate Anomaly period and the Little Ice Age period – …and we ran two different climate models… (NCAR coupled), (NASA GISS) …and what we observed was …counter-intuitively…Medieval temperature patterns look more like the (cold) La Niña phenomenon…and (LIA) patterns look more like (warm) El Niño state…”

    Interviewer asked “So is it your team’s intention, then, to try to get your model(s NCAR/NASA in IPCC) included in the next assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC?”

    Mann “Yeah, exactly. So the – yeah, I think that it’s useful, and in the next IPCC assessment, it
    may very well be the case that there will be a new section that deals with the question of how paleoclimate data can inform our understanding of some of these fairly complex, dynamical responses of the climate. So, while I don’t see our results as being made explicitly part of an IPCC projection, I do see them as potentially informing our assessment of the extent to which we think the current generation models are, or are not, capturing some of the regional mechanisms that may be important in making regional
    climate change assessments.”

    The interview can be found at http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/data/326/5957/1287-b/DC1/1

    It seems to me that the MSM and, by extension, John Q. Public want there to be back-tested models. We need to fix this if we want their trust.

    Comment by John Peter — 28 Feb 2010 @ 9:07 PM

  558. Hank (542), you said, “…The CO2 in the stratosphere still does emit heat to space.” Do you actually mean emits proportionally less to space?

    Comment by Rod B — 28 Feb 2010 @ 9:18 PM

  559. 549 John Peter:

    Here’s the pdf of the actual article:
    http://water.washington.edu/research/Articles/2008.global.continental.drought.pdf

    Here are some followup articles by Jim Bouldin and flxible. I’ve just started reading them, but so far I’ve been able to find each one by just Googling it. Thanks; this is one of the things I really like about this blog.

    From Jim Bouldin:
    [ Here’s a few–there are others as well. The Pierce etal and Bonfils etal papers are the two with the strongest attribution base.–Jim
    Western USA/N. Am.:

    Regonda et al, 2005, J Climate.

    Andreadis et al, 2005, J Hydrometeor.

    Pierce et al, 2008, J Climate.

    Bonfils etal, 2008, J. Climate
    Mountains:
 Stewart, 2009, Hydrol. Process.
    CA:
    
Howat and Tulaczyk, 2005, J Geophys. Res.


    Howat and Tulaczyk, 2005, Annals Glaciology.

    From flexible:

    Human-Induced Changes in the Hydrology of the Western United States, 2008

    Detection and Attribution of Temperature Changes in the Mountainous Western United States, 2008
    Detection and Attribution of Streamflow Timing Changes to Climate Change in the Western United States, 2009

    Structure and Detectability of Trends in Hydrological Measures over the western United States, 2010

    Comment by Don Shor — 28 Feb 2010 @ 9:27 PM

  560. fixible (551)

    Thanks, it’s a good start, but not enough for a letter IMO. I was hoping for more of an RC bullet proof approach from Gavin.

    Organizations like e.g. “Hands-On” have tried common emails. This requires coordination. I’m suggesting that, instead of or in addition to griping about a specific MSM piece you write a letter to that MSM’s reporter or editor.

    Comment by John Peter — 28 Feb 2010 @ 9:38 PM

  561. 479, Barton Paul Levenson, thanks for the link.

    Others studies of the models that I have read produced poor approximations to the data records.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 28 Feb 2010 @ 10:27 PM

  562. Rod, I don’t know what you mean “proportionally” — what to what?

    I tell ya what we need is someone competent with Javascript to take this image
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/10.1175_2008BAMS2634.1.pdf
    and give us one of those lovely slider thingies like the one here
    http://hot-topic.co.nz/keep-out-of-the-kitchen/ and page down a ways

    The Kiehl picture could be animated to show how as greenhouse gases change, the radiation transfer numbers change (the width of the arrows could change accordingly)

    Point is, as CO2 increases throughout the atmosphere, the incoming solar energy (mostly visible) stays the same, and goes right on through (minus and plus what clouds, sea ice, and new open ocean do of course) –while the outgoing heat (infrared) is rearranged for a while, til the planet heats up to a new equilibrium temperature.

    Any takers wanta animate that? Or has it already been done with Modtran data somewhere, which I think would be the right source to look into?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Feb 2010 @ 11:03 PM

  563. John Peter:

    As far as I can tell, 5 to 10 years ago climate scientists shifted away from heavy dependence on models to building more and more of their case on physical/chemical science, ≈

    As far as I can tell, you’re a liar.

    The physical/chemical science goes back to Tyndall, and was nailed 50-60 years ago before the first climate models were built.

    an enormously difficult task because of the many interactions, scarity of lab like data and, in some cases incomplete physical/chemical science.

    If this were true, the strongest so-called scientific argument against AGW wouldn’t be UNKNOWN EFFECTS OF GALACTIC COSMIC RAYS>

    Think about this, a bit. And then more.

    By your thinking, the physical science essentially doesn’t exist. By skeptical science thinking, the case is so strong that they’re reduced to insisting on sky fairies (GCRs).

    Think hard. And then more.

    Comment by dhogaza — 1 Mar 2010 @ 1:04 AM

  564. It seems to me that the MSM and, by extension, John Q. Public want there to be back-tested models. We need to fix this if we want their trust.

    And, of course, there have been. Climate models are used in paleoclimatology all the time.

    Comment by dhogaza — 1 Mar 2010 @ 1:07 AM

  565. Re: 539
    Hey Moderator (Jim):

    You said: “Get your facts straight before basing a false conclusion on a suggestion of fraud. The last 1000 years does not constitute the Holocene, and moreover, many reconstructions now exist that show this same pattern of 20th century uniqueness, as anyone looking at the topic with the intent to understand knows”

    Glad to see I ruffled your feathers! You said ‘fraud’, not me!
    [edit]

    [Response: Thanks for telling us what your aim is in posting here. As for the rest of your post, don't waste our time with word games. When you want to ask genuine questions without impugning motives, come back.--Jim]

    Comment by FHSIV — 1 Mar 2010 @ 1:51 AM

  566. Hank:The increased CO2 in the stratosphere isn’t getting as much heat from below, because it’s “shaded” by the extra CO2 below it.
    Jerry ;”the combination of reduced energy input from below…”
    Ok, may be I got it wrong, so you’re saying that the cooling of stratosphere is just a transient phenomenon during the warming of the Earth and will stop when a new equilibrium temperature is reached, even if the concentration of CO2 in the stratosphere has eventually increased (because then I understand that the input solar power will be exactly balanced by the output power ) ? Anyway, even if it’s right, it means that it is controlled by the fact that the heat content of the Earth is increasing – but natural cycles can do that anyway, like during El Nina events.

    Ray “Gilles, OK, so you are willing to admit that CO2 cools the stratosphere, but not that it causes warming in the troposphere?”
    I never said that CO2 does not warm the troposphere. I said that I think that the combination of climate sensitivity, available resources, and human sensitivity to climate (which is actually relatively low…) doesn’t converge towards a catastrophe climatic scenario , and that the overall effects of warming are very likely to be much less severe that the disappearance of fossil fuels. Please first read what I am saying before discussing it .

    Comment by Gilles — 1 Mar 2010 @ 2:05 AM

  567. In response to various comments claiming recent unusual drought in Australia; Here are three stanzas from Dorothea McKellar’s poem of 1904

    I love a sunburnt country,
    A land of sweeping plains,
    Of ragged mountain ranges,
    Of droughts and flooding rains.
    I love her far horizons,
    I love her jewel-sea,
    Her beauty and her terror –
    The wide brown land for me!

    Core of my heart, my country!
    Her pitiless blue sky,
    When, sick at heart, around us
    We see the cattle die –
    But then the grey clouds gather,
    And we can bless again
    The drumming of an army,
    The steady soaking rain.

    Core of my heart, my country!
    Land of the rainbow gold,
    For flood and fire and famine
    She pays us back threefold.
    Over the thirsty paddocks,
    Watch, after many days,
    The filmy veil of greenness
    That thickens as we gaze.

    Then see an old sepia photo of horse-drawn SUV’s on the dry bed of the Murray River and a centennial history.
    [photo]During the Federation drought it stopped flowing for about 6 months
    http://home.iprimus.com.au/foo7/droughthistory.html

    Comment by BobFJ — 1 Mar 2010 @ 2:08 AM

  568. “554
    Sean says:
    28 February 2010 at 8:36 PM
    Avatar correctly points out that this is a marketing campaign.”

    So if the marketing campaign says that gravity doesn’t exist, we all fly off into space???

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 3:06 AM

  569. “547
    John Peter says:
    28 February 2010 at 7:25 PM

    Gavin (454)

    Another crazy idea. Why not have on RC a simple and bullet-proof single paragraph rebuttal.”

    Because it’s already done here and in other places.

    But those who do not wish to learn won’t read it (how many pepople have complained about a lack of, say, hindcasting to verify models, when the IPCC report says that they do this?) and if someone dares to take that single paragraph as proving AGW, these same people who don’t want to learn will say “they’re ignoring X, Y and Z and it’s not proof anyway, show where that heating is due to CO2, heh?”. Leaving us nowhere.

    Or else you explain why the simple paragraph answer doesn’t work.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 3:10 AM

  570. “526
    David Harington says:
    28 February 2010 at 3:57 PM

    There will be no libel or defamation writs issued in the UK or anywhere else. Why? Because the truth is the nuclear defence to any claim of defamation or libel”

    Wrong.

    If it is deemed to be a truth exposed to damage, it is in the UK still defamation.

    Think on Blackmail: if it were not the truth, then there would be no leverage. Yet this truth is illegal: blackmail is a crime.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 3:18 AM

  571. Journalism, old-school journalism, is in delcine, along with the primacy of the written word. This is part of a larger story, part of cultural shift in our civilization that’s really quite dangerous, for reasons too numerous to go into here.

    Increasingly journalism and the presentation of “news” is coming to resemble advertizing, or if you like, propaganda, carefully disguised as “objectivity.”

    Facts and truth, the rational element, don’t matter very much anymore, not even in the so-called quality newspapers, why?

    Because “rationality” is a direct threat to the fairytale, or myth, or the leading ideological narratives, our corporate state is built on.

    The primary myth is the following, the myth all the others are built on; that it’s possible to have unlimited, infinite growth, on a limited, finite, planet.

    In essence the entire debate about “climate change” pushes this dogma, of unlimited growth, into the centre of discourse, and this is itself, is highly controlversial and questions the basic, fundamental assumptions which our modern society is based on.

    Obviously, such a discussion, cannot be anything but highly political, as we are dealing with the distribution of wealth and power, and consumption, in global, corporate/capitalist society.

    Clearly, anything that dares to question the basic assumptions, ideology, and dogmas, of “capitalism” isn’t exactly going to be greeted with open arms and smiles by our ruling elite who profit so disproportionally from business as usual, and this is why these fundamental questions are increasingly sidelined, deflected, and sabotaged by powerful interests determined to defend their way of life, even at the expense of the rest of us.

    Comment by Michael K — 1 Mar 2010 @ 3:35 AM

  572. To single out and blame CO2 as a major driver in this AGW process is only an educated guess based on the evidence I have seen, because the limitations of other drivers are so poorly understood in particular the effects of solar irradiation. To build a whole political castle in the sky based on alleged CO2 pollution is irresponsible and asking for trouble.

    Comment by Bob Close — 26 February 2010 @ 12:13 AM

    Anyone else less than impressed by the Denialist claiming not to be a Denialist shtick? It ain’t CO2? What an obvious “tell.”

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 1 Mar 2010 @ 3:36 AM

  573. 512 Barton Paul Levenson: “BPL: PDSI < 3.0: 12% of Earth's land surface 1970. 30% 2002."
    WOW! I think you said that before, but it didn't sink in because you also mentioned the really scary number for later this century.

    ========================

    537 Gilles: I'm glad to find out what was really bugging you. Since you are worried about the end of fossil fuels: We need energy, not fossil fuels. Why not learn to get along without fossil fuels before they run out? Then fossil fuels will no longer matter to you. There is plenty of energy available that does not come from fossil fuels. We can be just as rich or richer without fossil fuels. We used fossil fuels in the beginning of the industrial revolution because that was the limit of our knowledge and technology. We now have much greater knowledge and technology. We can avoid the collapse of civilization caused by energy shortage, by switching to non-fossil energy now. We can get far more energy from non-fossil sources and be even richer than we are now.

    How much food is grown in Saudi Arabia? Saudi Arabia is a desert. Saudi Arabia Imports food. What happens when the places that grow the food become deserts?

    So Gilles is going to wait until there is no food in the grocery store before acting on global warming. Once there is no food in the grocery store, guess what? No matter how much money you have, you will not be able to get food. Oh yes, you can buy an airplane and fly to Antarctica. You will arrive just in time to see somebody else eat the very last bite of the very last penguin. That is when Gilles will understand what we are saying.

    [Woops! Nobody will be interested in money if there is no food. In a typical civilization collapse, when there is no lunch, people just drop their tools wherever they are and wander off looking for food. Who needs a job when there is no food?]

    Gilles; we CAN avoid both the energy problem and the famine problem. We CAN prevent the collapse of civilization. We have to start now. There is no reason to allow civilization to collapse. The solution to the warming problem is also the solution to the energy problem: Switch to non-fossil energy sources. This switch will also create jobs and grow the economy, creating new wealth. If you own a coal mine, now is the time to sell it.

    PS: I am now reading "The End of Energy Obesity" by Peter Tertzakian. He says we will soon be telepresence-commuting rather than commuting in cars.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 1 Mar 2010 @ 3:37 AM

  574. 529 Dave G

    It does not depend on anything other than the accusation being made being demonstrably false.

    If you felt that your reputation had been unjustly inpuned then you have a recourse in law to sue for defamation of character, if you are convinced that such defamation was unjustified, untrue and caused you actual reputational damage, and you could prove this on the balance of probabilities, then you would take action.

    [edit]

    [Response: Only if you had unlimited access to a large legal fund, some confidence that legal proceedings would not make the situation worse, and an appetite for endless and time-consuming dealings with lawyers. Assuming that something is not defamatory purely because there is no suit is false logic (particularly in the US, where to win a case you need to prove that things were said maliciously if you are a 'limited public figure' - it is not enough simply for them to be false). - gavin]

    Comment by David Harrington — 1 Mar 2010 @ 3:49 AM

  575. @BobFJ – your post and tag suggests a person of sentiment (I used to ride in an old holden as well, when it was new!).

    Undoubtedly the Murray would be dry now if not for the dams built since the days of the horse drawn carriages – and those dams have got pretty low recently, with the Hume Dam down as low as 4% just last year.

    An old favourite poem doesn’t mean squat against actual measures. Australia is indeed the second driest continent on earth after the Antarctic. But in this second driest continent, although the Federation drought was widespread and lasted seven years, the drought just passed is the longest on record lasting 12 years in many parts of the country.

    The temps across south eastern Australia last year were the highest on record. The heatwave in November just this past summer in south eastern Australia was also a record, with the MONTHLY MEAN MAXIMUM for Melbourne 27.1C, a whopping 6.7C above the 1961 to 1990 November average of 21.8 (that’s 12.1 degrees Fahrenheit for those in the USA). And that’s not a misprint – it’s for the whole month, not just a single day. And it’s compared to a recent 30 year average – not temps of a century ago.

    If you visit the BOM website, it’s hard to argue that here in Australia it’s not a tad warmer than it used to be.

    Comment by Sou — 1 Mar 2010 @ 5:02 AM

  576. BPL: Do you know how to multiply?

    Fraction of Earth’s land surface “severely dry” by Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI < 3.0) in 1970: 12%.

    In 2002: 30%

    Gilles: strange : the food production per capita has increased by more than 20 % in the same period, with a doubling population. Any explanation ?

    BPL: Yeah. Fertilizer. You could have looked this up yourself.

    The question was whether drought had increased worldwide. Don Shor said flatly that it hadn't. I gave confirming evidence that it had.

    Stop moving the goalposts.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 1 Mar 2010 @ 5:36 AM

  577. I was sufficiently surprised at Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen’s #107 to email her to ask if it was for real, or posted by an impostor. No reply yet.

    Even for Energy and Environment, the posted attitudes border on the surreal, and are more conspiracy-theoretic than scientific or even social science.

    I think it’s worth repeating again: science is not a matter of opinion. A theory stands or falls by evidence. A better theory explains the evidence better. Vaudeville acts, unsubstantiated accusations of fraud, stealing emails and arguments constructed out of erroneous data or invalid data analysis techniques do not qualify.

    Meanwhile I’m still soliciting signatures for my pro-science petition.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 1 Mar 2010 @ 5:58 AM

  578. Sean,
    You know, there’s a bitter irony in denialists using high-tech to broadcast their distrust of science. Sean, there are very good reasons why the message of anthropogenic global warming is hard to sell. First, it is telling people something they don’t want to hear. Second, the most severe consequences are decades away, and humans have trouble considering risk unless it is imminent. Third, the very reason we cannot ignore this risk is that its consequences are daunting–even the destruction of human civilization cannot be ruled out. When confronted with such severe, even mortal consequences, humans tend to simply shut down rational thought and construct narratives that make the fear go away. Think of how a smoker reacts to the prospect of lung cancer.

    There are good evolutionary reasons for all of these responses. They allowed humans to devote their concentration to risks (e.g. large carnivores) that could kill them NOW, rather than the prospect of dying of hunger during the next winter. Unfortunately, now that large carnivores are no longer the major threat we face, these vestigial tendencies are maladaptive and in themselves pose a serious threat to our longterm survival.

    Science is a tool for cutting through our tendency toward self delusion. It can help us realize which risks we are under-emphasizing (e.g. smoking and climate change) and those we are over-emphasizing (e.g. terrorism). The problem is that for science to do this, we need to pay attention when it delivers bad news. Now, one would think that science had proved its mettle, having utterly revolutionized the way we live for the better in 400 short years. Your post and others make it clear that not everyone realizes that worth.

    Science is about finding as close an approximation to truth as humans can muster. Realclimate is about sharing that process with a lay readership. It is about education, not salesmanship, and the distinction is important. The salesman tries to appeal to the unconscious mind to get people to act in the interests of the salesman–and sometimes counter to their interests. The educator tries to bring the approximation of truth supplied by science into the rational mind so that the individual can make conscious informed decisions. Compare what you find here on RC to any other resource on climate, and you will find the ratio of information to advocacy is astoundingly high. (After all, you are here, aren’t you?) If humans are not smart enough to tell the difference betwee such education and a salesjob, then I don’t hold out a lot of hope for the long-term future of our species.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Mar 2010 @ 6:14 AM

  579. Yeah, BobFJ, we know: Oz is dry. And it’s getting drier–that’s what you get from statistics that you don’t get from poetry or photos. Try it sometime.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Mar 2010 @ 6:15 AM

  580. Further on McIntyre and demanding that intermediate calculations be made public, in fields of science with vast amounts of data, that is not a reasonable request. As long as the calculation methodology is known and the source data is available, anyone with competence in the field can and should redo the calculations, a valuable check on whether there was any error in the original processing. The substance of McIntyre’s complaint appears to be that he was not interested in that original processing but in the data analysis method on the intermediate results. However, the effort for him to do the intermediate work would probably have been less than all the fuss, FOI requests, etc. that essentially amounted to avoiding doing what any normal scientist would have done: redo the basic calculations himself.

    A good trick to try: use Google Scholar to check out as many published papers as you can and see how many have comprehensive published data sets (look for supplementary material). Many do not, because they do work derived from published data, using reproducible methods. Imagine now the bottleneck in scientific productivity if everyone wanting to do follow-up work badgered an author for their intermediate results. McIntyre is not being reasonable. The only defence against his tactic is if everyone in climate science publishes their intermediate results, which is not a good thing for science, because the incentive to check by recreating them from scratch goes away.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 1 Mar 2010 @ 6:25 AM

  581. BPL: “Fraction of Earth’s land surface “severely dry” by Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI < 3.0) in 1970: 12%.

    In 2002: 30%”

    strange : the food production per capita has increased by more than 20 % in the same period, with a doubling population. Any explanation ? – Gilles

    More irrigation, more use of (fossil fuel based) fertilizers, more effective pesticides, new crop varieties, better storage and transportation facilities, bringing more land into cultivation. Did you really think agricultural technology had stood still since 1970? You are right that some of these gains will be threatened by rising oil prices, among other factors (e.g. shortage of phosphates, soil erosion, failing ground-water reserves), in the coming decades. Makes sense to find alternatives to fossil fuel use as fast as possible, and avoid a shift to high-fossil-fuel-input agriculture where it doesn’t already exist, doesn’t it? Moreover, prominent among the other factors is anthropogenic climate change: while this is likely to increase yields at high latitudes up to about a 2-3 degree rise, the opposite is projected for lower latitudes, where the ability to import food will be limited by financial constraints for many countries.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 1 Mar 2010 @ 6:34 AM

  582. Most media institutions in the U.S. and Britain are owned by groups or individuals with large interests in the status quo as far as fossil fuels are concerned.

    This goes well beyond left-right ideology, which fossil fuel companies view as irrelevant to their bottom line, by and large. Some have reluctantly backed cap-and-trade, seeing it for what it is – a shell game designed to fool the public into believing actions is being taken – but others have declined and are pursuing the same “Global Climate Coalition” agenda as before. Others are using “clean coal” and “carbon capture” PR as the basis of their efforts to expand heavy oil production. All recognize that taking action on global warming will wipe out their profitability, however – unless they get out of the fossil fuel business.

    The Guardian has never written any exposes on “carbon capture” – it’s treated as scientific fact, when it reality it doesn’t even exist in prototype format. Oh, you can capture CO2 after combustion – but it costs energy. How much energy? Almost all the energy produced by combustion of the coal!

    Renewable portfolio standards, photovoltaics coupled to energy storage, photochemical hydrogen production, wind turbines, electric cars – those are real threats to the fossil fuel industry, as are regulations imposed due to global warming. You see almost no media discussion of this reality, not in Britain or in the U.S. – namely, that renewable energy and global warming could put an end to the era of fossil fuels – and of fossil fuel-based wealth.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 1 Mar 2010 @ 7:30 AM

  583. P.S. If anyone wants a more comprehensive climate politics history of the 1980s and 1990s, they should read ‘The Carbon Wars’ by Jeremy Leggett.

    You would think Fred Pearce would have read this book prior to launching his bizarre retro attack… but apparently not.

    Regarding the GCC efforts to discredit the IPCC 2nd Assessment:

    With the Second Conference of Parties due for July in Geneva, and substantive discussion of emissions reductions on the agenda, it was vital for the carbon club to attempt to discredit the IPCC’s Second Scientific Assessment.

    Remember, the goal of the fossil fuel lobby is to make sure binding emissions targets, which would spur renewables and undermine their profits, are not implemented.

    They began the process in April by publishing two reports. The first, from the George C. Marshall Institute, concluded that there was ‘no evidence’ that human activity caused global warming. The right-wing think tank devoted only 22 pages to trying to prove this case, compared to the 572 of the IPCC’s scientific assessment, considerations of size and authoritativeness rarely featured in media coverage of the war of claim and counter-claim.

    Some things haven’t changed at all, such as the media’s willingness to promote a handful of the fossil fuel tobacco scientists (just look at the NYT’s Andrew Revkin’s reliance on ‘skeptics’ like Don Easterbrook, Roger Pielke, etc.) to the same “level of authority” as the entire climate science community. Fred Pearce is just following in his predecessor’s footsteps. As far as the main issue?

    The most serious attack did not come until June, when the IPCC’s 2nd scientific assessment appeared in print. The GCC immediately releases a nine-page analysis of the changes that Ben Santer had made in the chapter on detection….

    That’s described well enough above, and the IPCC rejected those claims:

    Sir John Houghton, vice-chairman of the scientists’ group, agreed. In a departure from his normal stand-back attitude to the politics, Sir John told Nature magazine that many of the revisions made in the IPCC-approved text had in fact been in response to political interference by the GCC, via proxy lobbying using Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

    .

    You can see the kind of dirty tricks being employed here – but it all goes right back to the fossil fuel lobby, which included Saudi oil interests as well as Canadian tar sand interests and Midwestern coal interests – and yes, U.S. politicians are closely allied with these interests, even Presidents.

    Obama spokesperson Tommy Vietor: “Sen. Obama believes investing in coal technologies is an important part of weaning the United States off foreign oil. He also believes that through investment and innovation, we can make these technologies cleaner.” Vietor pointed to ongoing research into sequestering the carbon released by coal gasification and suggested that similar strides could be made with the coal-liquefaction process.

    None of that is backed up by any scientific proof – these are the coal industry’s talking points, lifted verbatim. The same goes for tar sands – which were given an export permit by the U.S. State Department (the EPA was not allowed to comment), again under Obama.

    Yes, you are seeing some more support for solar now – the DOE set up a $1.5 billion guarantee for a southwestern solar project – but it pales in comparison to the much larger support for coal gasification and liquefaction (as well as nuclear).

    Comment by Ike Solem — 1 Mar 2010 @ 7:34 AM

  584. “579
    Nick Gotts says:
    1 March 2010 at 6:34 AM

    More irrigation, more use of (fossil fuel based) fertilizers, more effective pesticides, new crop varieties, better storage and transportation facilities, bringing more land into cultivation.”

    Which is why the EROI for farming has reduced massively.

    However, it’s likely that after the first few years of production, the yield is lower than that for less intensive farming. It just jumps early on and then you’re stuck because you’re told if you don’t use more chemicals, you’ll lose productivity.

    It does drop and some studies in third world areas going back to local farming techniques (which is more than just “don’t dose with chemicals”, so the attribution is problematical) show that less intensive use increases yeild.

    However, that could itself be a temporary change just as chemical agri-business practices were.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 7:50 AM

  585. Completely Fed Up@583,

    I wouldn’t disagree with what I take to be your main point – that intensive, high fossil-fuel and industrial-input agriculture (at least as currently practised) has seriously adverse long-term agricultural consequences, some of which I identified. Another is the shift in power from small farmers to agribusiness and related TNCs. However I’m not convinced EROI is a useful measure here – agriculture produces food and other essential products like fibre, not simply “energy”. It’s not true in general that yields fall after a few years of intensive farming – if it was, the continual rise in yields/hectare for all crops over the past four decades could not have happened. Getting through the next few decades without major food shortages would be a difficult challenge even without AGW; taking that into account, it requires major socio-economic, political and cultural changes, including a reversal of the tendency to increased meat and dairy consumption, and the much better focused use of technology, including artificial fertilisers and pesticides, deployed in ways that empower small farmers. Such uses of technology can also help with reducing GHG emissions and increasing carbon sequestration on agricultural land.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 1 Mar 2010 @ 8:16 AM

  586. Okay, here is my (very tentative!) prediction for the NASA GISS land-ocean temperature anomaly for 2010:

    0.58 K.
    68% chance it will be between 0.48 and 0.67.
    95% chance it will be between 0.39 and 0.76.
    About a fifty-fifty chance that it will be the warmest year on record.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 1 Mar 2010 @ 8:29 AM

  587. David Harrington says:
    1 March 2010 at 3:49 AM

    “529 Dave G

    It does not depend on anything other than the accusation being made being demonstrably false.”

    As I said, it depends on what was said, so your assertion that “there will be no libel or defamation writs issued in the UK or anywhere else” isn’t actually based upon anything, as you haven’t specified which comments you are referring to.

    When Monckton accused AGW supporters of being “Hitler Youth” and “Nazis”, was that true?
    All the accusations of “scientific fraud” seem to be based upon a (deliberate?) misunderstanding of the meaning of emails.

    I’d like to see a climate scientist sue the people responsible for the more outrageous comments. Unless and until they do, it will only get more and more extreme. We’ve had people on national television shows suggesting that climate scientists should commit mass suicide. Where does this nonsense stop? In the courts, IMO. The sliming will continue until the deniers are taught, in a court of law, that they can’t just get away with saying anything, no matter how untrue and damaging.

    Comment by Dave G — 1 Mar 2010 @ 8:53 AM

  588. “The primary myth is the following, the myth all the others are built on; that it’s possible to have unlimited, infinite growth, on a limited, finite, planet.”

    Michael, the myth is that “everyone” thinks it won’t happen in their time. It’s always someone else.

    This myth jars with the myth that makes people *hate* inheritance tax: “how come I can’t give my wealth to my family? I WANT to give them every advantage!”.

    But if you use up all the cheap stuff and leave a mess, you’re not just leaving them your money, you’re leaving them a bigger threat to their lives.

    Rather schizoid.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 9:33 AM

  589. “However I’m not convinced EROI is a useful measure here – agriculture produces food and other essential products like fibre, not simply “energy”.”

    Correct, but until we stop burning hydrocarbons for the majority of our energy needs and as long as we don’t commit to large increases in efficiency AND enormous reductions in waste (really, reduction in waste SAVES money, but people prefer not to be told, preferring to be told to tell someone else what to do), EROI is a very beneficial metric.

    Would you rather eat or drive a 4l sports van?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 9:38 AM

  590. PS on “It’s not true in general that yields fall after a few years of intensive farming – if it was, the continual rise in yields/hectare for all crops over the past four decades could not have happened.”

    This is done by increasing use of agrichemicals and more complex procedures.

    I don’t know (I only remember the three year result of IIRC Northern India trials of local knowledge and abandonment of agribusiness methods) whether it was a genuine rise or just a relaxation of one of the other limits of growth by changing processes. That’s what happens with overuse of fertilisers, etc.

    I’ll see if I can at least dig up the region they did the test on.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 9:42 AM

  591. @586 Dave G:

    While taking on board the fact that you have to pick your battles, I think that if scientists were able to get an organisation to sponsor an international fund to fight this stuff, they they might have a shot. (It’s a rare scientist who’d have the money for a lawsuit on their own.)

    If a fund could be set up, many of us non-scientists would willingly contribute a few dollars. If every climate scientist put in even $100 to a ‘fighting fund’ the kitty might be large enough to finance a case in the UK, especially if a top firm could be found who’d give it a go maybe partly pro bono (or paid by result). If those of us who are concerned about this added to the kitty, then enough money surely could be raised. Everyone would be a winner even if all that happened was that the media article (or whatever) was shown to be false. (The scientist in the test case might also be willing to put excess damages back into the international fund to fight future cases for others.)

    I don’t know if the US laws are designed to protect those defamed, but in the UK (or Australia) there’d be a good chance of winning if the right case was selected.

    The NFF in Australia did this with farmers contributing and it worked a treat, allowing farmers to win some test cases against governments. The fund is still going strong.

    Comment by Sou — 1 Mar 2010 @ 10:10 AM

  592. ” There is plenty of energy available that does not come from fossil fuels. We can be just as rich or richer without fossil fuels. We used fossil fuels in the beginning of the industrial revolution because that was the limit of our knowledge and technology. We now have much greater knowledge and technology.”

    Of course, that’s the key point that makes our points of view so different. I know perfectly your speech. I just think that’s the greatest illusion of the current epoch : just seeing fossil fuels as a possible source of energy, only used because of some historical reasons, polluting and dangerous, and that we could easily eradicate with some limited efforts.

    I understand you believe that. I simply don’t share this opinion. Fossil fuels can not be replaced cheaply for a number of essential applications. Most of the so-called “alternatives” are only possible for producing a limited amount of electrical power. That’s all. And that’s not enough to sustain civilization. Fossil fuels can’t be replaced for metallurgy, organic chemistry, cheap and fast transportation, fertilizers, and even stable electric grids in most countries, or more exactly the replacement would be so difficult and expensive that the whole economy would collapse. What is essential for a modern society is not “energy”, but “cheap, abundant, and easy to use energy”. That’s not exactly the same…
    Simple experiment. Look at a village in Africa, and at a village in America. Just make a list of everything that makes life so different in these two places. And ask yourself how you could bring these things to african people without using any fossil fuels. The answer will be immediate, I guess….

    Comment by Gilles — 1 Mar 2010 @ 10:50 AM

  593. “Which is why the EROI for farming has reduced massively.

    However, it’s likely that after the first few years of production, the yield is lower than that for less intensive farming. It just jumps early on and then you’re stuck because you’re told if you don’t use more chemicals, you’ll lose productivity.”
    I agree. But the economic growth is not driven by EROEI but by productivity per capita – which has increased a lot throughout the use of fossil fuels. You can accept a bad EROEI if the fuel is cheap and abundant. On the opposite, diminishing the productivity per capita can only produce recession. And if you extrapolate to ZERO fossil fuels, then it is hard to imagine how productivity per capita could increase, since everything else is more expensive. That’s the obvious basic issue.

    Comment by Gilles — 1 Mar 2010 @ 10:55 AM

  594. Re : Cooling stratosphere

    I am sorry to return to this well ploughed topic but I have been provoked by earlier comments on this thread. First this is a relatively important educational issue because it is one of the finger-prints for gh warming which discriminates against e.g. solar forcing. I should imagine that it probably also discrimates against cosmic rays (?). That is why it is not a good idea to repeat a dodgy analogy, (I plead guilty of doing this in the past) e.g. that of cooling the loft by putting thermal insulation between the joists. This is because the analagous loft should have its own heators and the loft is cooling because a crack is appearing in the roof (sorry the analogy is now a bit forced).

    Simplifications are part of the toolbox for both scientists and educationists. But some are better than others. The stratosphere has its own physics. The warming of the Earth from the gh effect can be attributed to the raising of the effective level from which escaping infra-red is emitted. Higher > colder> less radiation emitted > less heat loss> Earth warms. But in the stratosphere this does not work because higher > warmer. Interesting, but not good eneough because it does not refer to the temperature of a bit of the stratosphere. I like this brief version:

    “In response to increased CO2 concentration, the atmospheric temperature
    increases in the troposphere but decreases in the stratosphere (Manabe and Wetherald 1967; Manabe and Wetherald 1980). The temperature decreases in the stratosphere occur because to first order the dominant balance in the stratosphere is between warming due to shortwave absorption by ozone and cooling due to longwave emission by CO2 (e.g. Held 1993). Therefore an increase in CO2 leads to more longwave cooling in the stratosphere.

    http://www.aos.wisc.edu/~deweaver/lorenz_deweaver_uchange.pdf

    [See beginning of paper.]

    I enclosed the entire argument in italics. Simplified? Yes, it ignores all sorts of things such a rival mechanism caused by the ozone hole effect and possibly other mechanisms. But at least it is a mechanism which makes sense, unlike the one which concentrates on the reduction of the IR coming up from below which was already the junior partner in determining the temperature. As I see it now, IR absorption only matters near radiative equilibrium when the temperature of the gas is so low that IR(abs.) and IR(em.) are of similar magnitudes. This will be valid when there is no short wavelength heating. More simplification?? Yes the troposphere appears to be more complicated than the stratosphere, in the sense that it is less likely to be in radiative equilibrium; one layer gets heated while another layer gets cooled even before you start adding more gh gas. This is compensated by convection so that you end up with a steady state. Thats before we create a mess by burning fuel.

    Am I wrong?

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 1 Mar 2010 @ 11:03 AM

  595. “You seem to be mocking the very idea of testing models.”

    No, Matthew, and pardon my sarcasm, but I am mocking those who have formed passionate opinions on this issue, but have so little interest in how science actually works that they actually think that “hindcasting” is a new idea. It’s done with every model, with every scenario. A model that doesn’t accurately recreate the past, given the starting conditions, isn’t ready for prime time and would not be presented as predictive of the future.

    I respect the desire to work things out for yourself and look for flaws in the science, but a careful study of what you are criticizing is an essential prerequisite to that effort.

    Comment by Robert — 1 Mar 2010 @ 11:17 AM

  596. #508 John Peter

    John, not being prosecuted yet is much different than still facing indictment and having more felony charges brought against a person. You’ll see from my link the “hacker” is still in a bit of hot water to say the least.

    Of course I don’t really see a comparison to what happened in the case with the server being accessed without authorization and the Palin e-mail “hack”, other than they are both illegal as opposed to ,say, the Lori Drew and the MySpace case which I thought was distortion and manipulation of the laws to bring a case against her. Though her actions may have been immoral they were not illegal, they were not illegal under the letter of the law. A jury did find her guilty, but even the judge had to dismiss the case on that same letter of the law.

    http://linkstomemphis.com/2009/10/trial-delayed-again-for-alleged-palin-e-mail-hacker-david-kernell.html

    Anyway, I think I’m done with this topic. Clearly what happened on the server was illegal. I think I support that position in several posts.

    At the least I’m glad I could direct you to some interesting and maybe useful information out there concerning the topic of cybercrime.

    Comment by JRC — 1 Mar 2010 @ 11:26 AM

  597. Gilles 565: “. . . the heat content of the Earth is increasing – but natural cycles can do that anyway, like during El Nina events.”

    I’d guess that as a first approximation 98% of those commenting here have had more education in physics than I, but I’ll take a stab at this one. Natural cycles such as El Nino events, can redistribute heat, and temporarily increase surface temperature (think 1998), but they can’t increase the heat content.

    Comment by Rick Brown — 1 Mar 2010 @ 11:38 AM

  598. “590
    Sou says:
    1 March 2010 at 10:10 AM

    I think that if scientists were able to get an organisation to sponsor an international fund to fight this stuff, they they might have a shot.”

    Which would be even more obviously political. How much hassle as the NON POLITICAL IPCC had? How much more would a politiciking program have?

    When one side doesn’t care about the truth, there’s not a lot you can do against it. Don’t play their game. It’s the only way to win.

    If you still lose, it’s not because of something you did, but something someone else did. Something that politicians should be a lot more on board with (you don’t torture enemies just because they torture your people: you lose the battle against their evil by doing it yourself. As an example).

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 11:42 AM

  599. RE: http://climateprogress.org/ says Senator Inhofe is accusing you of crimes.

    Don’t your universities have law schools? Can’t you professors talk to law professors over lunch? Doesn’t NASA have staff lawyers you could talk to about legal issues?

    I assume Senator Inhofe’s insane accusations are meeting a wall of silence at the Obama Department of Justice and Attorney General’s offices. Do you have any updates?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 1 Mar 2010 @ 11:45 AM

  600. I ought maybe to say I’m not against the idea, Sou, just that I don’t think it’s going to do anything but play in the same tarpit that the denialists play in.

    Don’t let them frame it as a PR battle.

    Keep repeating it framed as science.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 11:46 AM

  601. “597
    Rick Brown says:
    1 March 2010 at 11:38 AM
    Natural cycles such as El Nino events, can redistribute heat, and temporarily increase surface temperature (think 1998), but they can’t increase the heat content.”

    Bingo.

    You win an internets. Please use BitTorrent.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 12:25 PM

  602. Gilles wrote: “Fossil fuels can not be replaced cheaply for a number of essential applications [...] And that’s not enough to sustain civilization.”

    First of all, if you are correct, then civilization’s days are numbered, since the supply of fossil fuels is finite … and the supply of economically recoverable, let alone “cheap”, fossil fuels is even more finite than that.

    We don’t need to literally run out of fossil fuels: once it takes more energy to get fossil fuels out of the ground than they provide when burned, then fossil fuels are no longer a source of energy.

    Second, if you are correct, there must have been no such thing as human civilization in the world until fossil fuels became cheap and plentiful — around the late 19th century. Are you really saying that there was no such thing as human civilization until large-scale coal mining and oil drilling was under way? I guess all the science, literature, art, philosophy, legal systems, etc. that predate that time are just an illusion?

    Third, you display the general ignorance of alternative energy and what it is capable of, that is common to people who have listened to too much fossil fuel industry propaganda.

    The earth receives more solar energy in one hour than the entirety of present day human civilization uses in a year. Concentrating solar thermal power plants on less than five percent of the USA’s deserts could produce more electricity than the entire country uses. The commercially exploitable wind energy resources of only four midwestern states could do the same. Ditto for the USA’s off-shore wind energy resources.

    Do you think we are too stupid and incompetent to learn how to harvest, store, distribute and efficiently use that vast flow of energy?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 1 Mar 2010 @ 12:26 PM

  603. “Gilles says:
    1 March 2010 at 10:55 AM
    I agree. But the economic growth is not driven by EROEI but by productivity per capita – which has increased a lot ”

    But that isn’t through fossil fuels.

    That’s through easy availability of energy and technology.

    Or do you think that the increase in engineering tolerances that was a result of better engineering design wasn’t why we’re able to make so many cheap aluminium cans, increasing productivity per capita?

    How about the digital revolution: it has increased the profit margins and productivity of music, movies and to a more limited extent, books by increases through technology.

    None of that technology needs fossil fuels.

    It needs ENERGY.

    But you won’t change your mind. Your mind is wedded to Fossil Fuels as the One True Source Of All Progress.

    You’ve dismissed the power of technology and counted for nothing the work of our engineers.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 12:30 PM

  604. “I understand you believe that. I simply don’t share this opinion. Fossil fuels can not be replaced cheaply for a number of essential applications.”

    Which you cannot name…

    “Most of the so-called “alternatives” are only possible for producing a limited amount of electrical power. ”

    How limited?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/10/an-open-letter-to-steve-levitt/

    Not very limited at all.

    In potentia, enough to lift all the humans into outer space faster than we humans can pop them out.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 12:32 PM

  605. Sou says:
    1 March 2010 at 10:10 AM

    “@586 Dave G:

    While taking on board the fact that you have to pick your battles, I think that if scientists were able to get an organisation to sponsor an international fund to fight this stuff, they they might have a shot.”

    I agree and would certainly be willing to contribute to such a fund. I also agree that picking the correct battle to wage would be important.

    George Galloway sued any newspaper who alleged that he had profited from the “Oil for Food” program and nobody dares to reprint those allegations now. If he had not sued, the allegations would still be being made. Suing is a deterrent for possible future libels, as well as a remedy for those libels that have already occurred.

    At the moment deniers can write or say anything with impunity, because their lies haven’t been legally challenged, so they have no fear of being held to account. If a particularly egregious falsehood were to be successfully challenged in a libel court, it would at least give deniers some pause for thought and they may be forced into using more temperate language, which could only be a good thing.

    Comment by Dave G — 1 Mar 2010 @ 12:46 PM

  606. nick 253

    You are quite wrong to believe that Sonya has “no interest” in sovereign debt or project funding of scientists’ salaries. Read her submission to the investigation to broaden your naive and limited knowledge.

    Comment by John Peter — 1 Mar 2010 @ 1:09 PM

  607. Rick Brown #597, but if natural events can change the weather they can change the albedo and hence the energy budget.

    Comment by stevenc — 1 Mar 2010 @ 1:18 PM

  608. John Peter,

    Why not try reading what I actually wrote – you know, just for a change? I said most people do not spend their time thinking about sovereign debt, and that the issues are nothing to do with scientists’ salaries, and everything to do with profits from fossil fuels. Of course a professional denialist like Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen (not “Sonya”) will use any stick to beat climate science with. So what?

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 1 Mar 2010 @ 1:23 PM

  609. Re #603, thats a little harsh on the man dont you think secular? After all its a big topic to know, AGW, civilization and its energy requirements. Personally I reckon its a tough call getting off of fossil fuels in time to avert significant atmospheric warming due to our global need to grow. We live longer and consume more in ways that previous generations would scarely believe. Our politics and culture don’t really see science for what it really is either and we are loathe to change culturally so its a technological fix first and if that does not work significantly enough its culture and the economy second and third.

    Comment by pete best — 1 Mar 2010 @ 1:39 PM

  610. How do you know Sonya so well? After all, you’re not agreeing with the stated aims on the IPCC website about their activities and the reason for it:

    http://www.ipcc.ch

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 1:47 PM

  611. No Geoff, you are 100% right. You have to consider the temperature gradient. In the troposphere, it’s warmer at low altitude, while in the stratosphere it’s warmer at high altitude. More greenhouse gasses means that they can more efficiently radiate heat away when excited by collisions with warm molecules (e.g O3 excited by UV absorption). The lower loss of IR from the troposphere plays very little role.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Mar 2010 @ 1:56 PM

  612. Sou (591), it’s not clear how such an organization would have standing with the court. Generally an entity can not sue if it was another entity that was wronged.

    Comment by Rod B — 1 Mar 2010 @ 2:01 PM

  613. Gilles says, “Simple experiment. Look at a village in Africa, and at a village in America.”

    Well, having lived in both rural Africa and in the US, I feel qualified to say that your idea that everything that separates them can be reduced to fossil fuels is risible. Do you actually expect civilization to end in a century when there are no fossil fuels left? Is your imagination (not to mention your technical understanding) that limited?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Mar 2010 @ 2:08 PM

  614. #600 CFU
    “Don’t let them frame it as a PR battle.”

    The anti-science forces construct playing fields and define rubberband rules to further their propaganda guerilla warfare as they see fit. But to keep powerful interests at bay, I think a direct confrontation on strategic fronts is imperative.

    I’m sure science and reason will prevail, the only question is how long it will take and what the cost for mankind will be.

    Comment by Stefan N — 1 Mar 2010 @ 2:18 PM

  615. [edit - that is unlikely to result in constructive commentary. Please (everyone) try and avoid simply shouting. ]

    Comment by John Peter — 1 Mar 2010 @ 2:23 PM

  616. Andrew 519

    Until we discover who deep throat was, we can’t say the access to the internet emails was unauthorized. Even then, here in the states, we can’t say any law was broken. Even then we can’t say deep throat was guilty of a crime beyond reasonable doubt. A US prosecutor won’t even try to go to court over reading internet email and passing it or its contents on. Because the privacy don’t hold in that specific case.

    WRT the CRU and RC servers, I believe that was unauthorized access and probably a crime. Security experts don’t agree, they believe it was an employee, possibly authorized because “hackers” usually boast which hasn’t happened.

    Net, in IPCC terminology,
    Reading the emails on the internet very unlikely to be a crime.

    Breaking into servers very likely to be a crime.

    Any prosecution very unlikely in the US – too hard to prove intent beyond reasonable doubt.

    Sorry, that’s the way I see it.

    Comment by John Peter — 1 Mar 2010 @ 2:45 PM

  617. “But to keep powerful interests at bay, I think a direct confrontation on strategic fronts is imperative.”

    The powerful interests are the politicians who come up with the laws.

    PR battles will not work unless the politician WANTS to be PR’d. And if they want to be PR’d into believing the science, then they’re going to believe the science when it’s explained without PR.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 2:49 PM

  618. #616 John Peter
    Bogus.

    Even if you’re the server admin you’d be prosecuted.

    Go ahead and analyze the CRU data theft (or whatever you want to call it) using the categorical imperative. Or for that matter, feel free to use any ethics theory.

    Let us know what you find. If you still defend your position, I guess it tells us a lot.

    Comment by Stefan N — 1 Mar 2010 @ 2:56 PM

  619. “617
    John Peter says:
    1 March 2010 at 2:45 PM

    Andrew 519

    Until we discover who deep throat was, we can’t say the access to the internet emails was unauthorized. ”

    Yes you can.

    If it wasn’t authorized by the president (or Congress under supermajority(?)) then it was unauthorized. And even then, there are laws which limit the president’s power to bypass laws and authorize actions.

    He’s a citizen of the United States too, you know.

    Since no president has said that it was authorized and nothing has been shown to have the actions legal, then we do not need to know who Deep Throat is.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 2:58 PM

  620. Ray, a quibble. You said:

    “The salesman tries to appeal to the unconscious mind to get people to act in the interests of the salesman–and sometimes counter to their interests.”

    The ethical salesman doesn’t. (And they exist, snark aside.)

    The intelligent salesman doesn’t either, not if he or she ever expects to deal with that customer again. (And not if there’s any indication that they know how to publicize bad treatment, either!)

    I’m thinking that the denialists are moving themselves into the territory eschewed by ethical and intelligent salespersons.

    Of course, it’s a race–and the four guys on the other side are proverbially well-mounted, if you take my meaning. (Cf. Revelations chapter 6.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 1 Mar 2010 @ 3:05 PM

  621. Hank Roberts 542

    I agree with almost everything you say, and I’ll agree with it all if you would straighten me out on this:

    You say …The increased CO2 in the stratosphere isn’t getting as much heat from below, because it’s “shaded” by the extra CO2 below it….

    I was under the (probably mistaken) impression that

    there wasn’t change in the troposphere because it was already absorbing as much radiation as it could (GHG+H2O)
    the changes from CO2 came in the stratosphere because there was little H2O there and the additional CO2 could be more effective

    I know that the radiation exchange, uv as well as ir, is intricate but that’s what I’m trying to learn about. Can you help straighten me out?

    TIA

    Comment by John Peter — 1 Mar 2010 @ 3:19 PM

  622. Just a quick post, slightly off topic, but Phil Jones was put through the mangle today by the House of Commons Select Committee, who made a good point of being outraged that Jones hadn’t put absolutely everything – codes, intervening analyses, you name it – in the public domain:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8543289.stm

    When asked why he hadn’t, his reply was that to do so was not standard practice within the climate research community. Presumably this is because that community is fairly up to date on all the techniques and methods employed among its practitioners, and it takes up a lot of time and space to display “everything”, whilst not serving advancement of the science to any great effect.

    So far as I am aware, this is not simply a climate science practice either. I would be quite astounded if anyone really wanted to see all of my raw data, my metadata and my codes and scripts with regard to landscape evolution modelling, hydrological modelling, geomorphometry, bootstrapping and correlation, metamodelling and emulation, etc. etc. etc., regardless of whether the codes and scripts worked or not, or whether the output made sense or not. For every modelling effort I finish that actually works reasonably well, or metamodelling exercise that comes up with something sensible, I must go through dozens that don’t, and scores of analyses that are half-baked or incomplete in some respect, as one tries to find a way through a difficult set of problems – and sometimes problems that feel downright impossible.

    If the politcal commmunity, and the skeptic community, thourhg this type of questioning is seriously suggesting they want to see all of this sort of thing from scientists, that it all has to be laid out for them on a plate and explained again and again to the nth degree, including all of the dead ends, all of the codes and analyses we get wrong or that lead nowhere, and so on, well, I wonder whether we might just as well pack up and go home, as it seems to be a ridiculously burdensome standard of examination. And particularly so when, how shall I say, much of that examination appears to be somewhat vexatiously intended?

    Does any other branch of human endeavour have to be subject to such scrutiny? Would the critics of people like Jones, for example, or his questioners for that matter, last more than a day in the job if their procedures and motives were taken apart in this way?

    Or am I just plain wrong here somehow, just over-reacting?

    Comment by Nick O. — 1 Mar 2010 @ 3:21 PM

  623. #617 John Peter

    “Security experts don’t agree, they believe it was an employee, possibly authorized because “hackers” usually boast which hasn’t happened.”

    You are incorrect in saying possibly authorized. The person whether working there or not was not authorized according to the law. That is obvious. That person took information on the server and posted it on the internet. I think you are confusing being allowed to use a computer, and being authorized to steal data and post it. Let say a defense contractor was authorized to use a computer and decided to copy information and post it on the web.

    Or this case where the employee exceeded his authorization.

    http://www.databreaches.net/?p=6523

    And you say if it were a hacker he would come forward. Why? If he were hacking for just hacking purposes, maybe. If he was paid well and his hacking was for the purpose of money, and him getting caught could lead back to those that paid him off he’d have no reason to. However if it was a “whistle blower” why haven’t they come forward, especially in the current political climate and make a statement as to how he just had to do it? I think he’d have plenty of people come to his defense. So I find that it was a “whistle blower” very very unlikely.

    I hate to be rude, but come on dude. Sheesh.

    Comment by JRC — 1 Mar 2010 @ 3:25 PM

  624. #618 CFU
    I agree.

    PS. I may have been a bit unclear in my previous post. I wasn’t primarily referring to politicians…

    Comment by Stefan N — 1 Mar 2010 @ 3:31 PM

  625. #617 John Peter

    “Any prosecution very unlikely in the US – too hard to prove intent beyond reasonable doubt.”

    That is like saying that you have to prove intent when someone breaks into a house and takes property. The law was broken when the data was copied and reproduced, and published online. That’s all the intent that was needed under the law as I posted.

    Doesn’t matter if the server was completely open with no security at all. It was against the law.

    Now you are like a cybercrime denialist. I’ve posted more than enough evidence. Now I know how the climate scientist must feel like.

    Comment by JRC — 1 Mar 2010 @ 3:32 PM

  626. Seems Fred Pearce is a lost cause. Sad to see someone go down like this.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 1 Mar 2010 @ 3:45 PM

  627. dhogaza 563
    1-slander
    2-Not Robert Woods
    3-huh
    4-have
    5-wrong
    6-repitious

    Comment by John Peter — 1 Mar 2010 @ 3:59 PM

  628. JRC 596

    Excellent summary, I believe we agree.

    Thanks again for your research and comments

    Comment by John Peter — 1 Mar 2010 @ 4:01 PM

  629. Nick 609

    Not worth the time

    Comment by John Peter — 1 Mar 2010 @ 4:07 PM

  630. McIntyre made quite a gaffe in his written submission to the UK Science and Technology Select Committee. He culminated his criticism of the CRU tree-ring proxy data by presenting a reconstruction he put alongside Briffa’s claiming in his final sentence “The medieval-modern differential changes with one seemingly inconsequential change of version.”

    However, his figure caption says something different, that it was calculated by “varying the Tornetrask and Urals versions to newer versions.”

    Even more surprising is McIntyre’s response at Climate Audit:

    “Thanks for noting the inconsistency. I re-used a graphic and will have to check against the generating script to see which I did. I have a hugely busy week, but will try to post up a turnkey script for the a various results.”

    So in his submission to the Select Committee he included a figure and based his conclusions around it without being sure how he had calculated his plot. Of all the accusations McIntyre has made against various climate scientists, I don’t think included was publishing plots without knowing quite what they had calculated.

    Comment by Tom P — 1 Mar 2010 @ 4:13 PM

  631. 617 John Peter: From published accounts, it seems very likely that the CRU e-mail release was enabled by inside access. In the public domain there is less to go on re the RC release. I agree with you that prosecution in the US is unlikely.

    Comment by two moon — 1 Mar 2010 @ 4:14 PM

  632. Gilles wrote: “Fossil fuels can not be replaced cheaply for a number of essential applications [...] And that’s not enough to sustain civilization.”

    I would add to my previous comment, that if you really want to bring an end to human civilization, then continued business-as-usual burning of fossil fuels looks like the best way to do it.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 1 Mar 2010 @ 4:23 PM

  633. > the politicians who come up with the laws
    Ah, but first you need to reach the lobbyists who provide them with the material:
    http://blogs.chron.com/newswatchenergy/archives/2010/01/_lobbyists_writ.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Mar 2010 @ 4:28 PM

  634. “the House of Commons Select Committee, who made a good point of being outraged that Jones hadn’t put absolutely everything – codes, intervening analyses, you name it – in the public domain:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8543289.stm

    When asked why he hadn’t, his reply”

    should have been “why don’t you do that?”

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 5:05 PM

  635. “628
    John Peter says:
    1 March 2010 at 3:59 PM

    dhogaza 563
    1-slander”

    Nope.

    It isn’t.

    Even if it had been spoken.

    Opinion is not libelous.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 5:06 PM

  636. “632
    two moon says:
    1 March 2010 at 4:14 PM

    617 John Peter: From published accounts, it seems very likely that the CRU e-mail release was enabled by inside access.”

    It actually seems very unlikely. Physical access may have happened, but that isn’t all that likely either.

    And it would still be illegal access.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 5:07 PM

  637. Gilles (592): Fossil fuels can’t be replaced for metallurgy,

    BPL: Electric furnaces.

    Gilles: organic chemistry,

    BPL: Biofuels.

    Gilles: cheap and fast transportation,

    BPL: Electric trains. Biodiesel. Bioethanol. Biomethanol. Hydrogen from electricity.

    Gilles: fertilizers,

    BPL: Organic farming.

    Gilles: and even stable electric grids in most countries,

    BPL: Simply not true. Solar thermal power, wind, geothermal and biofuel over a wide-area smart grid can do BETTER than fossil fuels

    Gilles: or more exactly the replacement would be so difficult and expensive that the whole economy would collapse.

    BPL: Wind is CHEAPER than coal.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 1 Mar 2010 @ 5:08 PM

  638. Hank: “Ah, but first you need to reach the lobbyists who provide them with the material:”

    And that’s the point. If you can’t pay more than the oil industry you won’t win PR because cupidity is the only thing that sells PR: how much wonga.

    Same when it comes to marketing drugs: more than half the cost of drugs goes on marketing. Dinner time chats with doctors, etc.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 5:09 PM

  639. Gilles #592: in your world view, civilization ends when fossil fuels end. How soon is that? If you take 200 years as the current stocks at current rates of use and escalate by the current rate of growth in demand of 2.4%, you are left with 75 years of supply. The current rate of growth is a low-ball figure because the massive growth in China and to a lesser extent India will sooner or later break out of the background average. If Africa industrialises too based on a high carbon economy, and all this adds up to growth of 5% per year, 200 years’ supply is gone in 50 years. We can add some to this by using really dirty fuels like tar sands, but, in the face of exponential growth, those only add a few years at the end.

    So what are you going to do? Start investing in cave futures for your grandchildren?

    You are right that the easy alternatives are for stationary power, but that includes land-based transport (maybe you’ve heard of electric trains)? The hardest challenge is air travel, where you need a fuel of high energy density by both weight and volume. Chemical industries also present some real challenges but one effect will be that we change materials we use. Plastics are cheap so they are ubiquitous. If they were not, we would find some other material, possibly used less wastefully (remember when all drinks were sold in reusable bottles?). Steel manufacture needs carbon, not fossil fuels (it’s an exothermic reaction). Carbon is not in short supply, it just happens to be a lot cheaper today in the form of coal (or coking coal). An insoluble problem? I don’t think so, but if we wait until oil (the fossil fuel closest to peaking) is really expensive, there certainly will be massive worldwide misery as we transition. So much better to accept the inevitable now and expend the R&D dollars when we have the luxury of time.

    As for the African village, getting electricity there by conventional means is an extremely hard project because there is no grid right next door to wire into. In that scenario, a small-scale renewables option can work well and indeed may be the only viable option. All the more reason to do the R&D to get the costs down. Some people are already working on this in Bangladesh.

    Don’t forget to sign: http://www.petitiononline.com/clim4tr/petition.html

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 1 Mar 2010 @ 5:10 PM

  640. “621
    Kevin McKinney says:
    1 March 2010 at 3:05 PM

    Ray, a quibble. You said:

    “The salesman tries to appeal to the unconscious mind to get people to act in the interests of the salesman–and sometimes counter to their interests.”

    The ethical salesman doesn’t. (And they exist, snark aside.)”

    I’m reminded of a Scott Adams discussion on sales. You don’t HAVE to deceive or cheat or lie, but they set the quota so high they don’t have to.

    May I say this could be a place where 90% of the salesmen give the rest of them a bad name.

    After all, if they were ethical and in the majority (so they couldn’t be shouted down), there wouldn’t need to be the No-Call lists or anti-SPAM laws, or consumer protection laws.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 5:14 PM

  641. JP (617): Until we discover who deep throat was, we can’t say the access to the internet emails was unauthorized.

    BPL:

    “Climate emails hacked by spies”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/climate-emails-hacked-by-spies-1885147.html
    Interception bore hallmarks of foreign intelligence agency, says expert
    By Steve Connor, Science Editor Monday, 1 February 2010

    “A highly sophisticated hacking operation that led to the leaking of hundreds of emails from the Climatic Research Unit in East Anglia was probably carried out by a foreign intelligence agency, according to the Government’s former chief scientist. Sir David King, who was Tony Blair’s chief scientific adviser for seven years until 2007, said that the hacking and selective leaking of the unit’s emails, going back 13 years, bore all the hallmarks of a co-ordinated intelligence operation – especially given their release just before the Copenhagen climate conference in December. … “In an interview with The Independent, Sir David suggested the email leaks were deliberately designed to destabilise Copenhagen and he dismissed the idea that it was a run-of-the-mill hacking. It was carried out by a team of skilled professionals, either on behalf of a foreign government or at the behest of anti-climate change lobbyists in the United States, he said.”

    [Response: This was just speculation and I wouldn't take it seriously at all. - gavin]

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 1 Mar 2010 @ 5:17 PM

  642. two moon (632): it seems very likely that the CRU e-mail release was enabled by inside access.

    BPL: See my post above to JP. No, it doesn’t seem likely at all. That’s right-wing disinformation, pure and simple. And you bought it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 1 Mar 2010 @ 5:21 PM

  643. Few subjects
    John Peter 617
    “WRT the CRU and RC servers, I believe that was unauthorized access and probably a crime. Security experts don’t agree, they believe it was an employee, possibly authorized because “hackers” usually boast which hasn’t happened.”

    Hackers might usually boast but that would depend on who the hacker was and why he did it. Governments don’t boast when they access secret information that helps them achieve an aim. The fact that no one has boasted or come forward to say that they did it is probably a decent clue as to who did it and that they had a lot more than just a political agenda.

    Efforts to improve the PR associated with AGW
    Some of the comments seem addressed to the wrong group. There are Environmental groups who could be advised on how to win the hearts and minds propoganda war. Maybe some of the spokesman who have gotten involved have too much old baggage to be as effective as they could be – though given how any person who seems to speak on the wrong side politically of an issue gets demonized pretty much with impunity (going after Michael J Fox was a pretty impressive low), any person/organization who speaks up is going to be trashed.

    Deniers/skeptics
    I think that there are deniers/skeptics (whatever is the term that least offends) who truly just need to see more to be convinced. I think Ronald Bailey who was/is? the science correspondent on the Libertarian web site Reason is an example. Some time ago I saw an article by him agreeing that he’d been convinced that AGW was real etc but that he did not agree with the proposed fixes he’d seen to date. Of course he could have gotten beaten back into the standard line by now so his position might have shifted.
    I agree with some of those worries. I don’t know that I agree with cap and trade or some of the other proposed fixes/remediation efforts. We’ve wasted so much time not doing a lot of the less dramatic things that could have bought more time. Now we’re headed to fewer and fewer options and still no plans in place. And having to talk far more severe interventions because the people equate climate with weather and all the other factors mentoned on the posts on the subject. But not agreeing on any one or more of the proposed actions does not equate with denying the science. That’s where I would agree in not shooting the person asking the questions, raising concerns. There are legitimate disputes and concerns about some aspects of the situation (too bad that too few ‘skeptics’ ever raise those, instead just continuing to play their useless games)
    I don’t think civilization will end if nothing is done. After all civilization survived the Black Plague, the fall of Roman, fall of Egypt etc. We just had long periods of time of misery that could have been avoided and lots of people died who could have lived.
    So some at least will suffer through and likely some historian will write a book on “if only”.

    Comment by Donna — 1 Mar 2010 @ 5:26 PM

  644. Martin Vermeer:

    Seems Fred Pearce is a lost cause. Sad to see someone go down like this.

    Looks like some knowledgeable people are taking him on in the comments, at least. I’m sure the thread will be drowned in a denialbot s***storm soon, but hopefully he’ll read a few of the comments from rational people before that happens.

    Comment by dhogaza — 1 Mar 2010 @ 5:29 PM

  645. Philip Machanick wrote to Gilles: “So what are you going to do? Start investing in cave futures for your grandchildren?”

    Yup.

    Because history shows that before we had cheap, abundant fossil fuels to burn, human beings were incapable of building houses or any type of structure, and that’s why we all lived in caves until the late 19th century.

    Gilles knows that. Don’t you?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 1 Mar 2010 @ 5:32 PM

  646. Posted at the Guardian:

    The vicious anti-science attack continues. If you find this as repulsive as I do, sign my petition.

    Fred, how does it feel to destroy a fellow human being with invective and ignorant snark? What do you mean “survived”? Did you expect him to drop dead? You really are a repulsive specimen of humanity and The Guardian has descended to the dank depths of the tabloid press.

    A few points.

    Sharing derived data and computer code is not nor should it be the primary check on scientific results. All you get if this happens is a very good chance that any errors are repeated. The best check is if other scientists recreate the results using their own methods. That is how climate science has worked. NASA for example produces their own temperature record using a slightly different mix of data sources and their own computer code. They as it happens do make everything public, as do many other organisations. So there is nothing sinister in CRU not making every detail of their data and programs public, nor in the fact that others haven’t asked for them. This would be an issue if their results were inconsistent with those of others who have processed the raw data in different ways but they are not.

    Second, the people claiming that CRU is at odds with broad scientific practice are obviously not familiar with fields where the data is vast. In the 1980s, the total data involved in calculating the planetary temperature would have cost millions of dollars in disk space. To store all that in a convenient form along with all intermediate results would have been very expensive, and not many organizations in that era had the resources to do so.

    Third, CRU used to be held up by deniers as a “good” data source because their warming trend was slightly lower than NASA’s (mainly because NASA includes Arctic data and CRU doesn’t). Strike CRU from the record, and you still have NASA who do publish everything. So the significance of this attack on CRU is negligible. It does not overturn the science, and it is not significantly at odds with broader scientific practice.

    Fourth, the China thing is an absurd beat-up. A paper in 1990 arrived at certain conclusions with possibly flawed data. A 2008 paper supports those conclusions with more accurate data. Why do you need to trawl over the 1990 paper? Many published papers contain errors, which is why you never base a scientific understanding on one paper. You look for follow-ups, and check whether the results have broadly stood up. They have. No big deal.

    If there is any fraud going on, it’s the people who actually understand how science works who cry “fraud” whenever they uncover an error in the mainstream – but at the same time when one of their side publishes a work riddled with errors, they accuse anyone pointing out those errors or nitpicking.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 1 Mar 2010 @ 5:47 PM

  647. Just making sure this one is taken note of, from Tom P ;)

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/02/close-encounters-of-the-absurd-kind/comment-page-13/#comment-163936

    Not only did Lawson “make a mistake” (cough) in evidence today, by claiming that RSS and UAH trends showed significantly less warming trend than the other two…
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1979/trend/plot/rss/trend/plot/uah/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1979/trend
    …(not), and McIntyre was refused the Yamal data for 10 years (not again, 2004 ring any bells?), but other submissions seem to have been amiss.

    Comment by J Bowers — 1 Mar 2010 @ 5:50 PM

  648. Re: 622

    Yes you were right in saying that you might be mistaken. Amongst other things you are confusing the stratosphere with the upper troposphere. This may not be your fault. Some accounts do not distinguish between the two.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 1 Mar 2010 @ 5:54 PM

  649. > 622 John Peter

    Sounds like you’ve heard the notion that the amount of CO2 already in the atmosphere is “saturated” by infrared from the ground so adding more CO2 doesn’t block more of the heat radiated by the ground. It’s wrong. (Do you recall where you came across it? I’m always curious about sources for ideas.)

    Someone will have a better pointer, but — have you seen infrared band weather satellite pictures? The ground is visible in the infrared; if all the infrared were being blocked the lower atmosphere would look in that band like a white fogbank. So the idea doesn’t make sense on its face.

    It’s gone into extensively in some of these threads, and you can always get Rod going at great length about the question, as you’ll see in all these threads. My advice, maybe skim the response/comments from us ordinary readers, but rely on what’s written by the scientists– read the main topic post, and look for inline answers by the climatologists.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Arealclimate.org+saturated+gassy+argument

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Mar 2010 @ 5:55 PM

  650. Barton Paul Levenson says:
    “BPL: Simply not true. Solar thermal power, wind, geothermal and biofuel over a wide-area smart grid can do BETTER than fossil fuels”

    Not to for get that there are interesting advances being made in the nuclear industry… those fast breeder liquid fluoride(thorium salt) reactors look to be a huge advance in that area! They could run 100% passive safeties, basically you could run “frost plugs” on the reactor chambers, and they have the theoretical ability o 95% efficiency, they can use waste material from the old school reactors and nuke weapons to boot. Something i think the world could benefit from investing in anyway.

    Wind is always going to have physical limitations just because of materials and stress’s limiting scale. Geothermal is very muchly so location dependent, same as solar. So they may be viable for some areas, they wont be viable for all, same as hydro.

    Comment by Mike — 1 Mar 2010 @ 6:17 PM

  651. #623 Nick: “So far as I am aware, this is not simply a climate science practice either. I would be quite astounded if anyone really wanted to see all of my raw data, my metadata and my codes and scripts with regard to landscape evolution modelling, hydrological modelling, geomorphometry, bootstrapping and correlation, metamodelling and emulation, etc. etc. etc., regardless of whether the codes and scripts worked or not, or whether the output made sense or not.”

    Spot-on. What raw data would readers of my papers want? The published text plus a sellotaped-on jiffy-bag full of mineralised samples from which to prepare polished sections so that they could “audit” what I had been describing? I can imagine them getting frustrated with a sheet of glass and some Vim, or maybe Brasso (it says it polishes things) rubbing away at a wee chip of galena that I’ve said is stuffed with silver-bearing sulphosalts and yet seeing nothing under the hand-lens apart from lots of scratches. I expect – from an anti-science activist: “I CAN SEE NOTHING. THAT SHOWS IT’S A FRAUD!”

    I’m glad other mineralogists have a peaceful life, apart from those who have strayed into the climate scene! I’m way under best in my field but I’ve figured a few things out and published them, a contribution or three based on my inherent curiosity to go figure things out, and a wish to contribute to the sum of knowledge. Other things are in preparation. Perhaps I ought to start splitting all samples – half to go for sectioning and geochem, isotopes etc, and half to be kept in the safe of The Green Dragon (institutes obviously being untrustworthy) in the event that anybody wants to have a play with them? Generally I would suggest they go in the field and obtain their own samples, but in these Orwellian times, who knows?

    Cheers – John

    Comment by John Mason — 1 Mar 2010 @ 6:26 PM

  652. [edit - this conversation is getting very repetitive. Enough]

    Comment by John Peter — 1 Mar 2010 @ 6:38 PM

  653. 624 & 626 JRC: Regarding the CRU release, publicly available evidence thus far is consistent with a “dual key” scenario–a CRU figure of some authority assisted by a CRU staffer with technical skill. Reason for silence is then readily apparent: to avoid rupture of longstanding professional (and perhaps personal) relationships.

    [Response: Enough fantasizing please. This is now OT. - gavin]

    Comment by two moon — 1 Mar 2010 @ 6:54 PM

  654. Sorry not to answer everybody in every details.

    Yes I think that the days of the INDUSTRIAL civilization are numbered. I don’t think that there was NO civilization before. There were only agricultural civilizations, which doesn’t mean absence of art, literature, philosophy, and so on. Estimates of GDP of all these civilizations are around 500 to 1000 current $/yr/capita, which is very close to the current threshold of absolute poverty. Meaning basically that most of people just tried to survive , with a minimum amount of food, and a very limited number of energy sources and material objects. Even a good knife was a luxurious object. Current standard of living in the poorest countries, that are exactly the same as the most deprived of fossil fuels, was the average standard of living in the world before the XIXth century.

    Yes I think that the current energy availability, around 20 times the biological power on average, 50 times for a european, and 100 times for an american, is possible ONLY through the massive use of fossil fuels. Again, no alternative can be sustained without them. You are so much swimming in fossil fuels that you don’t realize all what they bring. You don’t question the existence of cheap steel, concrete, plastics, roads, buildings, engines, everything that is not only useful but absolutely necessary to build anything that can provide energy on a large scale. Without that, you can just expect wooden windmills or watermills, and animals to draw the plough.

    “BPL :
    Gilles (592): Fossil fuels can’t be replaced for metallurgy,

    BPL: Electric furnaces.”

    BPL : again, read up your chemistry. Electric furnaces do only REDUCTION OF CARBON IN EXCESS in the cast iron to produce steel. you first have to reduce iron ores.


    Gilles: organic chemistry,

    BPL: Biofuels.

    Not on the scale we use petroleum and coal. Impossible.

    “Gilles: cheap and fast transportation,

    BPL: Electric trains. Biodiesel. Bioethanol. Biomethanol.

    can’t power everything with that. Impossible. And they would compete with food.


    Hydrogen from electricity.

    not any closer to being cheap and convenient.


    Gilles: fertilizers,

    BPL: Organic farming.”
    Much more demanding in manpower, so much more expensive.

    “Gilles: and even stable electric grids in most countries,

    BPL: Simply not true. Solar thermal power, wind, geothermal and biofuel over a wide-area smart grid can do BETTER than fossil fuels”

    in your dreams, but nowhere else, excepted some very specific countries like Iceland and Norway, that you can number on one hand.

    Gilles: or more exactly the replacement would be so difficult and expensive that the whole economy would collapse.

    BPL: Wind is CHEAPER than coal.

    Countries with the largest proportion of wind electricity are ALSO among countries that emit the most CO2. Guess why.

    Ray :”Well, having lived in both rural Africa and in the US, I feel qualified to say that your idea that everything that separates them can be reduced to fossil fuels is risible”
    That’s not an answer to the question of what doesn’t require them, is it ?

    Philip :”Gilles #592: in your world view, civilization ends when fossil fuels end. How soon is that? If you take 200 years as the current stocks at current rates of use and escalate by the current rate of growth in demand of 2.4%”

    First forget about the rate of growth of 2.4 % for one century (and all IPCC scenarios as well). Peak oil is upon us, and has started to kill the economic growth in western countries. China’s growth will end as well. I think peak of civilization is close, within ten years or so. Then a slow decline will begin – actually the fossil fuel consumption will be very close to the “frugal” scenarios, like B1 ones, but I doubt very much the economic growth can survive the carbon peak. Probably the exponential decrease will be – a few percent per year, meaning it will take several centuries before it will be completely gone. Much like Roman Empire , I guess. I don’t think we’ll have to wait a lot before seeing the beginning of decline, so maybe we’ll comment together on this very forum the evolution of economic growth in the next years .. ;-)

    Comment by Gilles — 1 Mar 2010 @ 7:00 PM

  655. Sou, Reur 575

    [1]“.Undoubtedly the Murray would be dry now if not for the dams built since the days of the horse drawn carriages – [2]and those dams have got pretty low recently, with the Hume Dam down as low as 4% just last year.”

    [1] Dare I venture to say that if the Murray stopped flowing for 6 months about a century ago, then even if the Hume dam, (1934) and others had been in place they might have run very low back in those days, even ignoring the huge growth in population and irrigation demands since then.

    [2] You may be unaware that the Hume Dam is part of a system, and that although your photo seems to be very alarming, it is probably fairly typical after deliberate summer drawdown. For instance here is a brief extract describing its normal operation:

    Hume Dam follows an annual cycle of filling and drawdown. The storage usually receives inflows during winter and fills by the end of spring each year. Releases generally occur between December and May, with Hume Dam regularly drawn down to less than half of capacity by the end of autumn.

    And here is a dramatic graphical history showing that cycle:

    [3]“.although the Federation drought was widespread and lasted seven years, the drought just passed is the longest on record lasting 12 years in many parts of the country.”

    It is actually not easy to define the scope and severity of a drought, and I think you will find that there are regional variations that don’t necessarily all occur at the same time. (not to mention a few floods during that time).

    Coming back to water storages, for the Melbourne area, the situation is fairly good, at about 35% full, that being about 4% more than this time last year, which is close to the typical low point for each year.

    You may be interested in this report from the Melbourne Age; Melbourne’s water reserves overflowing after rainfall October 15, 2009

    And this is a less alarming reservoir photo for you…. peace:

    http://www.melbournewater.com.au/images/reservoirs/res_maroondah_dusk.jpg

    Comment by BobFJ — 1 Mar 2010 @ 7:16 PM

  656. One and all

    Here’s the need for new legislation for internet privacy that I found. I have not been making this up:

    http://www.cla.purdue.edu/courses/com491e/491%20files/privacy/stored%20data%20act.pdf

    Here is (from California legislation
    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=00001-01000&file=484-502.9)
    a type of exclusion that can be used to exempt an IT employee:
    *******************************************************************
    PENAL CODE
    SECTION 484-502.9 …

    (2) Paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) does not apply to penalize
    any acts committed by a person acting outside of his or her lawful
    employment, provided that the employee’s activities do not cause an
    injury, as defined in paragraph (8) of subdivision (b), to the
    employer or another, or provided that the value of supplies or
    computer services, as defined in paragraph (4) of subdivision (b),
    which are used does not exceed an accumulated total of two hundred
    fifty dollars ($250).

    (8) “Injury” means any alteration, deletion, damage, or
    destruction of a computer system, computer network, computer program,
    or data caused by the access, or the denial of access to legitimate
    users of a computer system, network, or program.
    ********************************************************************

    This stuff can be even more complex than climate science.

    Although different states may have different laws, if you manage a computer facility you need to have some such reasonable limit to protect your IT employees from frivolous criminal lawsuits.

    Comment by John Peter — 1 Mar 2010 @ 7:44 PM

  657. 651 John Mason: Royal Society of Chemistry has weighed in apparently to the contrary.

    Comment by two moon — 1 Mar 2010 @ 7:50 PM

  658. @ John Peter — 1 March 2010 @ 3:19 PM “I know that the radiation exchange, uv as well as ir, is intricate but that’s what I’m trying to learn about.”

    Radiative Transfer in the Earth System
    by Charlie Zender
    University of California, Irvine

    http://dust.ess.uci.edu/facts/rt/rt.pdf

    according to his CV (dust.ess.uci.edu/job/cv_2pg/cv_2pg.pdf) he’s the Maintainer of NCAR CCM Column Radiation Model (http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cms/crm),so he prolly knows what he’s talking about.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 1 Mar 2010 @ 7:56 PM

  659. Can someone pull the plug on John Peter’s endless posts about internet privacy and e-mail, since the issue with the e-mails in question is illegal access to servers (UEA CRU and Real Climate), as was said days if not weeks ago?

    Comment by dhogaza — 1 Mar 2010 @ 8:33 PM

  660. Philip Machanick (sp?) said:

    Posted at the Guardian:

    The vicious anti-science attack continues. If you find this as repulsive as I do, sign my petition.

    Fred, how does it feel to destroy a fellow human being with invective and ignorant snark? What do you mean “survived”? Did you expect him to drop dead? You really are a repulsive specimen of humanity and The Guardian has descended to the dank depths of the tabloid press.

    I saw that there awhile ago and just wanted to thank you for telling it like it is and otherwise making a very fine post.

    Comment by dhogaza — 1 Mar 2010 @ 8:34 PM

  661. Brian Dodge (658)

    Wow!!! 178 pages 8<( Up to date Dec 2009 yeah!!!

    Well I can't say I didn't ask for it.

    Thank you very much.

    Comment by John Peter — 1 Mar 2010 @ 8:35 PM

  662. > John Peter
    >> Brian Dodge
    Good one.

    John Peter, for that question you asked, the doc Brian points to says, in very few words, this about “saturation” — which needs much context to make sense and follow how this was figured out over time:

    “Physically, the strong line limit is approached as the line core becomes saturated and any additional absorption must occur in the line wings. Put another way, transition lines do not obey the exponential extinction law on which our solutions to the radiative transfer equation are based. One important consequence of this result is that complicated gaseous spectra must either be decomposed into a multitude of monochromatic intervals, each narrow enough to resolve a small portion of a transition line, or some new statistical means must be developed which correctly represents line absorption in both the weak line and strong line limits….”

    Go to Spencer Weart’s History (first link under Science in the right sidebar) and those many topics for the back story on why the atmosphere didn’t obey the law and how that has been sorted out.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Mar 2010 @ 9:02 PM

  663. And the Royal Statistical Society weighs in. I find the last paragraph to be the most instructive:

    “9. More widely, the basic case for publication of data includes that science progresses as an ongoing debate and not by a series of authoritative and oracular pronouncements and that the quality of that debate is best served by ensuring that all parties have access to the facts. It is well understood, for example, that peer review cannot guarantee that what is published is ‘correct’. The best guarantor of scientific quality is that others are able to examine in detail the arguments that have been used and not just their published conclusions. It is important that experiments and calculations can be repeated to verify their conclusions. If data, or the methods used, are withheld, it is impossible to do this.”

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc4702.htm

    Comment by J. Warner — 1 Mar 2010 @ 9:24 PM

  664. # 574 David Harrington and the other comments regarding the scientists sueing

    A lawsuit is not something to be taken lightly. The expense in time, money and the fact that justice might not prevail is reason enough to give anyone second thoughts. It is to say the least an unpleasant process.

    In the U.S. a libel suit requires as a general rule that 1)the statement is false 2)the person making the statement knows its false 3)the statement is made with the intent to cause harm 4)harm in fact has occurred. All of this is very difficult to prove in legal proceedings.

    For Gavin a lawsuit would interfere with his juggling. ;)
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/secretlife/scientists/gavin-schmidt/

    Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 1 Mar 2010 @ 10:04 PM

  665. Gavin, et al.,

    Great job on the response to some of the shoddy reporting we’ve seen lately from the fourth estate. I’d like to see a rebuttal of some of the latest nonsens from the Institute of Physics:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc3902.htm

    You guys have done a great job wading through the muck in the last few months, and those of us that support science sure do appreciate it.

    Comment by AAA — 1 Mar 2010 @ 10:34 PM

  666. Re: J. Warner #662 (1 March 2010@ 9:24 PM)

    No need for you and others to keep beating this dead horse. As has been repeated endlessly here, many datasets actively used by the researchers at CRU, GISS, and elsewhere are easily available to any researcher who wants to use them, as are codes. Go ahead and have at them, if you like. No one is stopping you.

    Many irresponsible journalists and bloggers have alleged that climate data were lost or intentionally destroyed by CRU researchers. This is baseless. I suggest that a reasonable analogy for the few data records that were not saved by Dr. Jones and CRU due to storage issues is that they are similar to the receipts one gets when making a withdrawal from a bank’s ATM. The ATM receipt provides a record of the balance in the bank account, but it isn’t the only record of the account. One doesn’t need to keep the receipt in order to know what the account balance is, just as there has been no destruction of the MET office data used by CRU.

    The climate data are available from the MET offices to anyone who wishes to obtain them, in accordance with the MET offices’ individual terms of use. Those are the same terms that govern CRU’s use of the data. CRU does not have a right to violate the terms under which they have been given MET data, just because Steve McIntyre wants some more data with which to play games, or more likely, to do nothing but go on another fishing expedition.

    Comment by Taylor Bennett — 1 Mar 2010 @ 10:36 PM

  667. And here are some more graphical histories
    shttp://www.g-mwater.com.au/storages/history.aspx?ContainerID=dartmouthdam&Label=Dartmouth%20Dam&strDef=&formsubmitted=1&&DropDownYear1=1992&DropDownYear2=1996&DropDownYear3=2000&DropDownYear4=2004&DropDownYear5=2009&DropDownYear6=Do%20not%20display&DropDownYear7=Do%20not%20display&DropDownYear8=Do%20not%20display

    http://www.g-mwater.com.au/storages/history.aspx?ContainerID=humedam&Label=Hume%20Dam&strDef=&formsubmitted=1&&DropDownYear1=1992&DropDownYear2=1996&DropDownYear3=2000&DropDownYear4=2004&DropDownYear5=2009&DropDownYear6=Do%20not%20display&DropDownYear7=Do%20not%20display&DropDownYear8=Do%20not%20display

    http://www.g-mwater.com.au/storages/history.aspx?ContainerID=yarrawongaweir&Label=Yarrawonga%20Weir&strDef=&formsubmitted=1&&DropDownYear1=1992&DropDownYear2=1996&DropDownYear3=2000&DropDownYear4=2004&DropDownYear5=2009&DropDownYear6=Do%20not%20display&DropDownYear7=Do%20not%20display&DropDownYear8=Do%20not%20display

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 1 Mar 2010 @ 10:50 PM

  668. Dr. Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen (editor Energy & Environment) former senior research fellow at the Energy Group, SPRU, University of Sussex).

    I believe, Dr., that Energy and Environment is not a scientific journal. So until you publish in a scientific journal and have your work vetted openly like every other scientist has done since the 1600s, why should anyone listen to you?

    Energy and Environment is not listed in the ISI or Eigenfactor.

    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/comments.asp?storycode=407763

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 1 Mar 2010 @ 11:19 PM

  669. > again, read up your chemistry.
    > Electric furnaces do only REDUCTION OF CARBON IN EXCESS
    > in the cast iron to produce steel.
    > you first have to reduce iron ores.

    All of which can be done with electricity. It not commonly used now but the technology has been around since the early 1900. You can find references in metallurgy texts as early as 1913.

    Comment by Lee — 1 Mar 2010 @ 11:20 PM

  670. 655: And here is a dramatic graphical history showing that cycle:

    Yes, add 1992 to the graph and observe the effects of the 12 year drought.

    Comment by JiminMpls — 1 Mar 2010 @ 11:27 PM

  671. #567 The point is that the recent droughts in southern Australia are moving into a new pattern. In place of the seven year cycle that was seen with the Ferderation Drought and the WW2 Drought, we are now seeing longing period charactertised by lower rainfall. The drought sare getting longer and joining up. Not sure Dorothy McKellar would have been quite so celebratory these days.

    Comment by calyptorhynchus — 1 Mar 2010 @ 11:29 PM

  672. @655 BobFJ
    I don’t want to get into a slanging match, but I don’t think your reference to past droughts is any indication that what we are seeing now is no different to the past. It clearly is different to the past – at least for the recent period for which we have measurements.

    There is a very large difference between a regular draw down to half capacity that you referred to, and the less than 4% capacity that we saw last year and years prior. I don’t know if the level of the Hume has ever been that low before. The Eildon was similarly very low during the recent extended drought. I live near the Hume Dam and have done so on and off for more than 50 years, so I am familiar with it and the upstream Dartmouth Dam. I’ve also lived at the other end of the Murray for several years.

    The dams on the Murray were built for flow capacity, irrigation purposes and, to some extent, for flood control. Dartmouth was built to help make sure Adelaide continued to be able to draw water from the Murray. The dams have completely changed the natural flow of the Murray – not just the dams on the river itself but the dams on its tributaries, the hydro schemes and the irrigation systems in the catchment.

    I agree that the effects of droughts are difficult to compare, especially across centuries when agriculture and water systems were vastly different. However temperatures and rainfall measurements are not so difficult to compare, at least not for the periods when they have been recorded by instruments designed for the purpose.

    In my previous post I referred you to the BOM records. There is no doubt that the climate of south eastern Australia has changed to be hotter in recent decades. We cannot be sure of what the climate will be in the future, but I would be more confident that the CSIRO suggestion that it is likely to continue to be hotter and drier in much of South Eastern Australia from now on.

    Comment by Sou — 2 Mar 2010 @ 12:11 AM

  673. Hank Roberts (649)

    OK

    I had thought ir absorption in the troposphere was saturated as far as CO2 bands were concerned and so additional CO2 molecules had to go upstairs to the stratosphere where there was less competition from H2O absorption. The stratosphere gets a wee bit thicker, CO2 wise and AGW charges ahead, despite the saturation. I no longer believe that.

    What happens is there is never CO2 saturation in the troposphere. (At least at the temperatures and pressures we consider.) Instead the effective CO2 absorption bands get wider, enough so as to absorb the added CO2. Since we now have more satellite data and analysis of troposphere stratosphere I don’t have any problem with that either. I divined that change from Raypierre’s 6/07 RC piece on Angstrom. I have to study that and its comments and try to read the Zender pdf that Brian pointed to, but I’m satisfied with my revised picture for now.

    I tried to remember where I got the” move up to the stratosphere explanation” but I haven’t yet. I tried Google but there’s so much on the topic that I haven’t found anything even remotely familiar. The weirdest site I found was “Cold Facts” at http://brneurosci.org/co2.html which sounds like they are trying to be scientific but wandwer all over the map. Are they a denier site.

    So that’s it for now, I’ll see what gives tomorrow.

    Comment by John Peter — 2 Mar 2010 @ 12:15 AM

  674. If data, or the methods used, are withheld, it is impossible to do this.

    The data, of course, is available. it’s not “withheld”, it’s like “you need to talk to Sweden if you want it, sorry”.

    How *bleeping* hard is this to understand?

    And of course, the *methods* used are documented in published papers.

    These people are just the typically politically-charged misinformed science-fraud coattail hangers on that we’re all used to.

    Comment by dhogaza — 2 Mar 2010 @ 12:32 AM

  675. dhogaza Reur 659:

    Can someone pull the plug on John Peter’s endless posts about internet privacy and e-mail, since the issue with the e-mails in question is illegal access to servers (UEA CRU and Real Climate), as was said days if not weeks ago?

    No, the issue is not HOW the Emails were obtained, which is unproven, but what they reveal. (together with many other documents, including code and code comments).

    Comment by BobFJ — 2 Mar 2010 @ 12:53 AM

  676. Donna 617

    Food for thought

    thanks

    Comment by John Peter — 2 Mar 2010 @ 1:45 AM

  677. The current anomaly idea doesn’t play well since no-one really experiences this average temperature. That’s a problem with pitching the average. And it ain’t selling.

    [Response:This makes no sense but seems likely to be connected to your belief that there is no such thing as a global mean temperature, which is among the most absurd arguments ever offered against global warming.--Jim]

    Actually, this time you missed the point, Jim. The above isn’t about the science, but about John and Joanne Q. Public’s perceptions, and the commenter is correct. Anomalies are hard to conceptually nail down because the reference point is unclear to most non-scientists. It’s like saying, “There’s some changes in temperatures overall compared to something… somewhere.” Non-scientists/mathematicians/statisticians don’t get means and standard deviations, etc.

    It’s messy and is not the best way to frame the information.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 2 Mar 2010 @ 2:30 AM

  678. 622, Nick O. : Or am I just plain wrong here somehow, just over-reacting?

    Technology has improved, and standards have been changed. Consider the current standards of Nature, Science, and the Journal of the American Statistical Association: publication requires that the data and code be deposited in a publicly available repository. Last November, Mann et al published a paper in Science, and the Supporting Online Material for the paper, available to any member of AAAS, was 20MB, compressed. If you are not a member of AAAS, you have to pay to download the paper, and that may entitle you to download the Supporting Online Material (I am not sure of this.)

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 2 Mar 2010 @ 2:33 AM

  679. Many of the weak arguments for AGW ( proxies, cherry picked climate events, accelerating current warming) pollute the strong, physics based arguments for slow, inevitable warming with various effects both positive and negative.

    Avataer, my dear friend, you need to study up on Rapid Climate Change. “It would have been very sudden for those alive at the time,” said William Patterson, a geological sciences professor at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, who carried out the research. “It would be the equivalent of taking Britain and moving it to the Arctic over the space of a few months.”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/earth-environment/article6917215.ece

    Comment by ccpo — 2 Mar 2010 @ 2:58 AM

  680. is thinking of betting on when the Mertz glacier tongue is back on it’s original lenght after this breakup event. options could include a)never, since the GW won’t allow it b)the year when this happens, due glacial flow c)if b)will it extend further out since the torque on the grounding line has diminished and d)never, since the currents in the area will produce similar collisions as long as there is a glacier tongue.

    Comment by jyyh — 2 Mar 2010 @ 3:33 AM

  681. “656
    John Peter says:
    1 March 2010 at 7:44 PM

    One and all

    Here’s the need for new legislation for internet privacy that I found. I have not been making this up:”

    Yes you have.

    You’re even doing one version of “making it up” here: what “it” are you defending with that link?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 2 Mar 2010 @ 4:02 AM

  682. “Wind is always going to have physical limitations just because of materials and stress’s limiting scale. ”

    And nuclear power is always going to have physical limitations just because of materials and safety.

    Not to mention that you can only dig it out, transport it, refine it, etc only so fast unless you build lots of roads and buildings purely for that purpose.

    (Also needing lots of water and power)

    Is it still a strawman argument when you take a problem some other thing has and just state that that problem exists with the thing you don’t like?

    Or is that plain old weaselling?

    Any ideas, anyone?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 2 Mar 2010 @ 4:10 AM

  683. “(Do you recall where you came across it? I’m always curious about sources for ideas.)”

    Hank, it came from beyond the grave.

    It’s a zombie argument.

    Again.

    Again.

    Again.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 2 Mar 2010 @ 4:11 AM

  684. Donna:”I think that there are deniers/skeptics (whatever is the term that least offends) who truly just need to see more to be convinced.”

    When you find one, can you let us know who it is.

    Note: It is NOT someone who asks a question but didn’t bother reading any of the links under Start Here.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 2 Mar 2010 @ 4:14 AM

  685. Re 647 J Bowers

    When you do that graph of the trends in the 4 temp records, you should apply the appropriate offsets to GISTEMP and HadCRUT:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1979/offset:-0.24/trend/plot/rss/trend/plot/uah/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1979/offset:-0.15/trend

    Otherwise bears of little brain, such as NZ’s Ian Wishart, get all confused and try to tell you that GISTEMP overestimates temperatures, because its line is higher up the graph.

    Comment by CTG — 2 Mar 2010 @ 4:26 AM

  686. I’m starting to conclude that Gilles is an optimist :(

    Take a look at David MacKay’s Sustainable Energy – without the hot air. He answers a lot of your energy questions, though not your alternative chemicals questions.

    My point remains: if there is a solution to these problems it would be much better to work hard on it before the crisis, rather than deny there’s any crisis (starting with vicious personal attacks on climate scientists). I hope you agree with that even if you see no solution.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 2 Mar 2010 @ 4:49 AM

  687. “Does any other branch of human endeavour have to be subject to such scrutiny? Would the critics of people like Jones, for example, or his questioners for that matter, last more than a day in the job if their procedures and motives were taken apart in this way?”

    The problem is of course that global taxation and the changing of entire societies does not rely on the results of most scientists. When the stakes are as high as taxation, changes in global lifestyle and potential global catastrophe, then yes, we need everything and it has to be treated as a unique case. Anyone reading the CRU emails can see that there is an issue in that science, even if it is just to do with process, and it needs to be resolved and confidence restored in the eyes of a significant proportion of the public’s eyes.

    Or is that unfair and unreasonable?

    Comment by John — 2 Mar 2010 @ 5:11 AM

  688. Joseph O’Sullivan, Thanks. Scientists being human. Amazing concept. Great juggling and great analogies, too, Gavin.

    Comment by Deech56 — 2 Mar 2010 @ 5:49 AM

  689. “When the stakes are as high as taxation, changes in global lifestyle and potential global catastrophe, then yes, we need everything”

    Apparently you don’t need anything to assert that the stakes are high taxation.

    And the desire to have everything everywhere and every time increases taxation.

    Funny how you don’t mind wasting tax money, especially since you won’t bother with using it all.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 2 Mar 2010 @ 6:40 AM

  690. John,

    Yes, it is unfair and unreasonable to judge the processes of CRU scientists on the basis of selective leaking of stolen material. As for your wider point, despite the strange beliefs of many denialists, almost all publicly-funded science (the exceptions are military) is carried out on tightly restricted budgets. It would be absurdly inefficient to employ highly-trained scientists to put everything in a form that will make sense to the general public, let alone deal with the resulting avalanche of further nuisance requests, demands, accusations and lies from denialists. Part of the answer is to develop semi-automated systems for metadata capture and maintenance, and this is a current area of research (try google scholar on “e-science”, “metadata”, “provenance”), but really useful systems are some years off. Meanwhile, you could employ an army of graduate students to prepare the material, but you would inevitably get errors in the process of preparing the material for public availability- followed, of course, by further accusations of conspiracy and cover-up.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 2 Mar 2010 @ 6:51 AM

  691. Mike (650),

    There is “hot dry rock geothermal” which could be used anywhere. No plants yet. We know how to do it; we just have to start building. Preferably today. And it provides power 24/7.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 Mar 2010 @ 6:56 AM

  692. BPL: Biofuels.
    Gilles: Not on the scale we use petroleum and coal. Impossible.
    BPL: Just because you say so? Brazil is already running 100 million cars on bioethanol.

    BPL: Electric trains. Biodiesel. Bioethanol. Biomethanol.
    Gilles: can’t power everything with that. Impossible.
    BPL: Just because you say so? Do you know how much algae could be raised on land, and how fast?
    Gilles: And they would compete with food.
    BPL: Outside of Japan, not many people eat algae. Or switchgrass. Or municipal garbage. Or animal dung. And as for sugar cane, we could probably do better with less sugar in our diet.

    BPL: Hydrogen from electricity.
    Gilles: not any closer to being cheap and convenient.
    BPL: And it never will be until we start building.

    Gilles: fertilizers,
    BPL: Organic farming.
    Gilles: Much more demanding in manpower, so much more expensive.
    BPL: In practice prices are already competitive.

    Gilles: and even stable electric grids in most countries,
    BPL: Simply not true. Solar thermal power, wind, geothermal and biofuel over a wide-area smart grid can do BETTER than fossil fuels”
    Gilles: in your dreams, but nowhere else
    BPL: That’s from STUDIES with ACTUAL PLANTS. Solar thermal plants which store excess heat in molten salts during the day to run the turbines at night achieve BETTER on-line time than coal-fired plants.

    I don’t think you’ve ever seriously researched any of this. I have. You’re wrong. We depend on fossil fuels now, but there is no reason at all why we have to. There is no natural law that says wealthy civilizations can only run on fossil fuel. Energy is energy.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 Mar 2010 @ 7:03 AM

  693. ~664 Joseph O’Sullivan said:

    “In the U.S. a libel suit requires as a general rule that 1)the statement is false 2)the person making the statement knows its false 3)the statement is made with the intent to cause harm 4)harm in fact has occurred. All of this is very difficult to prove in legal proceedings.”

    Not so in the UK! I know that the UK libel laws stink and are often abused, but they have also been used in valid cases. Although using them may feel bad, the other side are playing very dirty and and you can be too honourable in the face of that. I think that now the British press are smearing individual scientists, the time has come to use them.

    Comment by Josie — 2 Mar 2010 @ 8:29 AM

  694. Someone’s already probably mentioned this here, but I’ve just been watching the hearing of the UK House of Commons (HoC) Science and Technology Committee looking at the disclosure of climate data from the CRU.

    My initial take is written up on my new blog. Nothing startling emerged. Fred Pearce wrote a misleading article about the session in the Guardian. Other articles in the Guardian seemed to be a bit more straightforward.

    Comment by Sou — 2 Mar 2010 @ 8:56 AM

  695. #692 BPL. There are huge concerns about getting fuels from crops. Setting aside large areas of arable land to produce crops for fuel and not food will inevitably put upwards pressure on food prices. Obviously, the people who will suffer first in that are the world’s poor. It’s also not going to be too great for the earth’s climate if profits from biofuels encourage farmers to convert large areas of rainforest and peatlands to sugar cane and palm tree plantations. Then there’s also the problem of strain on water resources.

    This isn’t to say that biofuels can’t possibly play a role, but in my opinion western governments have used AGW to railroad through deals on biofuels that will be harmful for the environment and even more harmful for the world’s poor – all the while continuing to ignore their historic responsibility to take specific actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    Of course, none of this changes the fact that Gilles’ claims are n’importe quoi. And frankly, for him to say that civilisation is soon to meet its end – regardless of what we do about greenhouse gas emissions – sounds remarkably like fear-mongering and alarmism. Humankind has overcome technological and social problems in the past. The present one is different in scale, but not in nature. We’ll have to adapt. Our societies will have to adapt. If less travel and fewer consumer goods are what’s required, then I’m sure people can put up with that for the sake of the continued existence of human civilisation.

    Comment by Paul Levy — 2 Mar 2010 @ 9:43 AM

  696. Energy is indeed energy, but the problem is economy of cost.

    There is an easier way out of this conundrum/debacle.

    1) Scientists are scientists, whether their field is particle physics, or climate, and given their innate intelligence (and hopefully humble personalities), are aware of their own biases. We should (and now clearly must) make available all the raw datasets, our calculations and algorithms (code), plus our known facts and assumptions of the unknown elements required for the calculations to all scientists. After all, it did not take us THAT long to get our BS,MS, PhD degrees in Climate Science…so it is not unreasonable that they should not be able to independently derive our conclusions and abandon denial.

    2) I’d like to submit that our aggregate scientific prowess (we are, after all, the newest field of science, but not the only one) and financial resources should be applied to cracking the Fusion nut. Benefits are: no CO2 emissions, no radioactive waste with 50,000 year+ half-lives to contain, no proliferation issues, virtually free fuel sources with no environmental extraction impact (even wind/solar/battery technologies have these)…just cheap, on-demand energy, plus a real crack at non-hydrocarbon derived H2 from H2O hydrolysis for tranportation fuel using internal combusion engines that emit water. If we cracked the Fission nut for ~US$40B (Y2K$) in 1936-45, put a man on the Moon for ~$141B in 1960-69, and spend ~$17B/yr now on the shuttle/ISS programs, we can surely solve the Fusion problem in 10 years with dedicated government funding. The same is true with Superconductivity (which is perhaps even more attractive because it would cause a vitually immediate de-rate of US coal-fired power plants). With a standarized design, the ensuing 40 years will be required for the capital investments to convert from fossil fuels to widespread Fusion electric power facilities. For more info, check the ITER project (though there are many quasi-institutional government/private sector efforts currently, and quietly, going on in this area)

    What am I missing here? Logic-based refutations welcome.

    Respectfully Submitted, TOM

    Comment by doubting Thomas — 2 Mar 2010 @ 10:06 AM

  697. If anyone wants to see how to face up to a Senate hearing, you could do far worse than watch George Galloway giving it very blunt and very straight while barely blinking. Facts talk:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyyGoPerzWc
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lINNad6Njs

    Comment by J Bowers — 2 Mar 2010 @ 10:26 AM

  698. BPL comment 512: Can you give a link or citation for your PDSI numbers? I have not been able to verify them. I find those numbers more threatening than potential sea level rise.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 2 Mar 2010 @ 11:01 AM

  699. On the subject of the IoP’s submission to the Parliament hearing yesterday, apparently it’s started a lively debate at the IoP’s policy forum which, unfortunately, is for members only. The Guardian poster gave me a quick summary:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/mar/01/parliamentary-climate-emails-inquiry?showallcomments=true#end-of-comments
    ___________________________________________________________________

    “Roughly:

    - Everyone welcomed the call for open release of data.

    - One participant, to general approval, mentioned that open release of data needs to be accompanied by good quality metadata.

    - I pointed out that for open release of data to become general practice in science, we will need to be clear about who funds the necessary data storage and server infrastructure, and about how we make sure that spending time and effort on providing good quality metadata does not adversely impact any individual scientist’s REF score.

    - I mentioned that one could argue that the UEA folks had already met the standard of open electronic release of data, before the various FoI requests were made.

    - One participant, who generally distrusts the IPCC, primarily on grounds that the field data they use may not be ISO 17025 certified, welcomed the IPCC-bashing.

    - One other participant and I expressed concern that the submission came perilously close to repeating as-yet-unproven allegations of malpractice by people at UEA.

    - I expressed further concern that the submission may have introduced a new, and downright false, allegation that the post-1960 divergence between tree-ring temperatures and instrumental temperatures had been suppressed from IPCC graphs. I pointed out that the divergence was openly shown in figure 2.21 of the WG1 Third Assessment Report and the hypothesized reasons for it reviewed in some detail in section 2.3.2.1 of that report, which would be a strange way of trying to hide something.

    - There was a brief spat about how high the pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 concentration was – from the literature, Beck or Jaworowski were cited on one side of the argument, and Meijer and Keeling, Oeschger, or Levin and Heshaimer on the other side.

    - One participant argued that it’s meaningless to try to infer secular trends from any temperature time series that’s not long compared with the periods both of ENSO and of the solar cycle.”

    Comment by J Bowers — 2 Mar 2010 @ 11:18 AM

  700. doubting Thomas@696,

    1) You are missing the immense cost in terms of scientists’ time. Actually, I rather suspect that’s exactly the point, and that you’re not missing it at all, but maybe you’re just very naive – in which case, blame my suspicions on your chosen handle.
    2) The timescale is hopeless. We need to reduce GHG emissions by upwards of 80% (probably near 100%) by 2050. Practical fusion power is, as it has been for decades, about 50 years away.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 2 Mar 2010 @ 12:15 PM

  701. “696
    doubting Thomas says:
    2 March 2010 at 10:06 AM

    Energy is indeed energy, but the problem is economy of cost. ”

    Then why, when wind power is cheaper than almost all other energy sources more widely used, is it a problem for renewables?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 2 Mar 2010 @ 12:21 PM

  702. “695
    Paul Levy says:
    2 March 2010 at 9:43 AM

    #692 BPL. There are huge concerns about getting fuels from crops.”

    How about fuel from waste biomass?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 2 Mar 2010 @ 12:24 PM

  703. No, the issue is not HOW the Emails were obtained, which is unproven, but what they reveal.

    which is also unproven.

    Comment by andrew adams — 2 Mar 2010 @ 12:33 PM

  704. doubting Thomas asks: “What am I missing here?”

    Well, actually rather a lot. First, I have no problem releasing data. Great! Knock yourselve’s out. Code is entirely another question. Science progresses by replication of results, not by simple repetition. Scientific programming is entirely unlike commercial software. Much of the code is intended for a single use and then shelved. You don’t devote a lot of effort to commenting, readability or even elegance for such a purpose. The code could contain bugs that are unimportant for the analysis done with the code, but which are important when applied outside previous use. In my opinion, it much better to develop the analysis oneself. Not only will it not contain legacy errors, the new analysis may even be an improvement on the old. I see nothing to gain from making scientific code widely available unless it is part of a well verified library (e.g. GEANT 4). There is a reason why science has always stressed INDEPENDENT verification.

    Even wrt data, using someone else’s data is risky. A dataset not compiled from original sources may have errors that were introduced in compilation. The Himmalayan glacier error in the WG2 summary is an example.

    WRT fusion, one thing you are missing is the 14 MeV neutrons, but then everybody misses those! These require very heavy shielding and over time, that shielding is going to become VERY radioactive. Moreover, that 14 MeV is lost–and that is a lot of the energy released in a deuterium-tritium fusion. There is also the difficulty of “cracking the fusion nut”. It is not a trivial technical problem, and may not even be soluble in a practical way. It is what caused one wag to quip, “Fusion is the energy source of the future…and it always will be.” So while I agree that it is worth pursuing, it would be a mistake to count on it.

    Fortunately, the fusion nut has been cracked, and the generator is ~150 million km away. That energy is available for the taking and is sustainable.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Mar 2010 @ 12:38 PM

  705. A bit OT I know, but as the subject of stratospheric cooling has come up I’m reminded of another topic which puzzles me slightly – the lifetime in the atmosphere of CO2. I believe the IPCC has this as 100 years, which the “skeptics” say is a vast exaggeration. I think they may be talking about two slightly different things. Can anyone point me to a good link or provide a very basic explanation?

    Comment by andrew adams — 2 Mar 2010 @ 12:41 PM

  706. @699 JBowers, those comments were interesting but I wonder how many were from publicly employed scientists. The proposal re making data and workings freely, publicly and immediately available has implications way beyond climate science. At the UK HoC committee hearings yesterday, the Chief Scientist indicated he’d be looking into the situation (from what I recall). If all publicly funded scientists in the UK are required to post on the internet all their data, codes, modelling algorithms etc, they’ll most probably have to tidy up their act quick smart.

    It’s one thing for a scientific body to call for climate scientists to do this, but in the UK at least, it looks as if this will set a precedent for all publicly funded scientists – and I’m not sure if every other field of science would be ready, willing and able to be quite so accommodating.

    Comment by Sou — 2 Mar 2010 @ 12:45 PM

  707. Interesting article on the question of why people do or do not agree with consesus on science

    http://reason.com/archives/2010/02/23/everyone-who-knows-what-they-a

    actual Yale Law school article
    http://www.culturalcognition.net/browse-papers/cultural-cognition-of-scientific-consensus.html

    Comment by Donna — 2 Mar 2010 @ 12:54 PM

  708. The Climate Summit http://www.theclimatesummit.org/
    needs photographic images of various examples of the
    impact of global warming and/or climate change
    as well as images of places which will be impacted.

    We need leads for:

    Madagascar has been recommended by one of us here as
    instructional regarding the loss of elevation due to
    deforestation I believe.

    The destruction of rain forests and boreal forests world
    wide impact climate change in a big way. Pictures of the
    Amazon and palm tree plantations in Indonesia would
    be good…

    Glaciers in South America are receding rapidly and pictures
    before and after will have impact. As will pictures of those
    in Alaska, Greenland, Europe, the Himalayas, and Antarctica…

    Pictures of coal fired power plants and traffic jams interspersed
    with these pictures could have dramatic effect. Clear cut forests
    and desertification due to agriculture …

    Alberta tar sands mining pictures would depict how we just
    won’t stop. Pictures of drilling rigs in the far north would
    indicate how Exxon and others want to drill in the Arctic
    as sea ice recedes…

    Melting tundra and permafrost, buildings tumbling into
    sinkholes, methane bubbling out of thaw lakes in Siberia,
    drunken trees, pine bark beetle infestations, eroding coastal
    Eskimo and other endemic native village lands all are
    phenomena we need pictures of.

    Pictures of the aftermath of violent weather would be
    instructive. Floods and snowfall potentially derived by way of
    evaporation of warming seas.

    Anyone having ideas or examples of other effects of current
    warming are welcome to submit suggestions. Links and photos
    as well as permission to use photos would be helpful.

    A picture is worth a thousand words.

    If you would like to submit material or leads, or have positive
    suggestions, please contact me here or via my websites or
    The Climate Summit website, re: Michael Bailey.

    The idea is to build galleries and a slideshow of compelling
    and beautiful photography to illustrate the site with.

    Adelie Penguin
    http://earthlightimagery.com/datalinks/_ANT1918_W3n.jpg
    Sea Ice in the Weddell Sea Near Paulet Island, Antarctica
    01-20-09
    (please respect the copyright)

    Comment by Tim Jones — 2 Mar 2010 @ 1:09 PM

  709. Tom (696),

    Breakeven fusion power is only five to ten years away.
    And it has been for the past sixty years.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 Mar 2010 @ 1:14 PM

  710. Ron (698),

    Dai, A., K.E. Trenberth, and T. Qian 2004. “A Global Dataset of Palmer Drought Severity Index for 1870–2002: Relationship with Soil Moisture and Effects of Surface Warming.” J. Hydrometeorol. 1, 1117-1130.

    See also:

    Battisti, D.S., and R.L. Naylor 2009. “Historical Warnings of Future Food Insecurity with Unprecedented Seasonal Heat.” Science 323, 240-244.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 Mar 2010 @ 1:16 PM

  711. > IOP
    > “Membership is for everyone interested in physics and its future”

    membership rates page:
    http://www.iop.org/Membership/Membership%20Rates/page_31407.html
    Free for ‘youth’ and ‘over 70′ and many other variations

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Mar 2010 @ 1:20 PM

  712. @706 Sou

    Well, I dug around on the internet looking at both private and public scientific organisations, trying to find out what their policies are on data archiving for data, etc, used for published articles and other work. I couldn’t find any who require data to be kept for longer than ten years.

    AFAIK (and I’m no scientist) if a paper is going to be challenged or debunked, it usually happens well within ten years. The only way I can imagine permanent archiving working would be for the data to be copied to a central government archive funded by the taxpayer. Retrieval would then come under the remit of the IOC or Ministry of Justice to distribute to those making FoIA requests.

    It’s too much for small and tightly funded individuals to take on, especially if the scientific subject becomes a political hot potato. In other words, the politicians need to put the taxpayer’s money where their mouths are.

    Comment by J Bowers — 2 Mar 2010 @ 1:32 PM

  713. @711 Hank Roberts

    I’m neither a sprouter-of-bum-fluff nor a silver surfer. I’d rather put the cash towards a subscription to Nature or beer ;)

    Comment by J Bowers — 2 Mar 2010 @ 1:42 PM

  714. On a different note…I am slightly bewildered why Fred Pearce has turned so fervently to the dark side.
    So on a whim I just searched in the hacked UEA emails for his name.

    He appears 3 times in other people’s emails. None of the three are particularly aggresive, but they are not flattering either. They are all taking in mild mannered terms about errors in pieces he wrote in the New Scientist.

    Maybe he is personally offended? Would seem daft, but it is a small possibility.

    Comment by Josie — 2 Mar 2010 @ 1:44 PM

  715. Tim Jones @ 708, I have a number of photos that might fit your bill; many are public domain (though not all.)

    They illustrate the following web reviews:

    http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Long-Thaw-A-Review
    http://hubpages.com/hub/Climate-Cover-Up-A-Review
    http://hubpages.com/hub/Climate-change-resources–Fixing-Climate–A-review

    You can use the slideshow view feature to quickly view all images, then zero in on any of interest in the regular page view, which contains credits (in most cases.) Contact me for information on specific photos, if you need to.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 2 Mar 2010 @ 1:47 PM

  716. #705 Andrew Adams: it’s actually a very large difference. It’s the difference between what happens to an individual CO2 molecule, and the time scale on which a disturbance in the CO2 atmospheric concentration is restored.
    You see, there is a very large natural circulation of carbon in and out of the atmosphere, through the ocean and biosphere. This cycle used to be in equilibrium, i.e., the amount of carbon stored in these various reservoirs was constant.
    The emission of CO2 by burning fossil fuels disturbs this. The amount of carbon involved is much, much smaller, but it disturbs the equilibrium. That’s how CO2 in the atmosphere — and in reservoirs communicating with the atmosphere — starts building up.
    The time scale of restoration of this equilibrium is much larger than the residence time of individual molecules.

    A metaphor: it’s the difference between the time scale on which to restore a loss-making company to profitability, and the time it takes for a received banknote to get spent again. The former is the interesting time scale.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 2 Mar 2010 @ 1:57 PM

  717. > Andrew Adams
    > atmospheric lifetime of CO2?

    Pasting your question into Google Schlar search (since 2008):

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=lifetime+in+the+atmosphere+of+CO2%3F&as_sdt=2001&as_ylo=2008&as_vis=1

    Take a look and pick some to read yourself.
    I’d go with this from the first page of results, to start, but that’s because I recognize several of the authors’ names, YMMV:

    Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences
    Vol. 37: 117-134 (Volume publication date May 2009)
    (doi:10.1146/annurev.earth.031208.100206)
    First published online as a Review in Advance on January 26, 2009

    Atmospheric Lifetime of Fossil Fuel Carbon Dioxide

    http://arjournals.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.earth.031208.100206

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Mar 2010 @ 2:05 PM

  718. Andrew, Martin, re: atmospheric residence time of CO2,

    I’ve suggested a juggling analogy to show why denier arguments about the atmospheric residence time of CO2 are misleading. Briefly, just like the individual CO2 molecule will get taken up by ocean or vegetation in just a few years, a juggler will toss a ball and catch it again in a second. But that doesn’t change the fact that the more balls you juggle – or the more carbon you put into the carbon cycle – the more you’ll have in the air at any time.

    Gavin apparently has the perfect skill set for communicating this…

    Comment by CM — 2 Mar 2010 @ 2:11 PM

  719. Andrew adams @ 705: “the lifetime in the atmosphere of CO2”?

    The rule-of-thumb that I use after reading the references below is that about a third remains at 100 years, 25% at 1000 years and 10% at 100,000 years. (Bear in mind that what “remains” is not the actual molecules released, but their influence on atmospheric concentration.)

    Archer, D., Fate of fossil fuel CO2 in geologic time. Journal of Geophysical Research, 2005. 110.
    Archer, D. and V. Brovkin, The millennial atmospheric lifetime of anthropogenic CO2. Climatic Change, 2008. 90(3): p. 283-297.
    Archer, D., The Long Thaw. 2009, Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.
    Montenegro, A., et al., Long term fate of anthropogenic carbon. Geophysical Research Letters, 2007. 34.

    Comment by Rick Brown — 2 Mar 2010 @ 2:16 PM

  720. Paul Levy wrote: “Setting aside large areas of arable land to produce crops for fuel and not food will inevitably put upwards pressure on food prices. Obviously, the people who will suffer first in that are the world’s poor … Then there’s also the problem of strain on water resources.”

    The overwhelming majority of the vast quantities of industrial factory-farmed corn and soybeans grown in the USA is fed to industrial factory-farmed animals, to produce cheap meat, with a resulting reduction in the protein content for human consumption of up to 90 percent.

    A United Nations study estimated that livestock production is responsible for nearly 20 percent of global GHG emissions, comparable to the transport sector. A more recent study published by WorldWatch Institute found that livestock production is responsible for more than half of global GHG emissions.

    Either way, animal agriculture is a major contributor to AGW, and yet it is rarely discussed compared to the electricity generation or transport sectors.

    A large scale switch to vegetarian diets would not only help to reduce GHG emissions but would also free up a huge amount of crops for fuel … or to feed hungry humans … or both.

    Unfortunately, meat production worldwide — typically based on the energy and pollution intensive, US-style industrial factory-farming model — is growing, and with it increased GHG emissions and increased levels of the degenerative diseases associated with diets high in animal products.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 2 Mar 2010 @ 2:22 PM

  721. 1) Apologies for not including in my submission the need for “cleaning the dataset” via thowing out outiers based on statistical analysis, smoothing, and all the other sound reasons for data “preparation” prior to input to the algorithms containing current theory and analysis of results, but I assumed the audience here (indeed, any scientist) knew that. My bad. Also, I know algorithms can also contain inconsequential and/or non-leveraging errors (IMHO due to poor formulation). Still, the code(s) should be also “clean and groomed”, if one expects to convince others to agree with you and not have them wasting their time pursuing “blind alleys” in the code (if and where they exist). Seems like entirely re-typing the paper before turning it into the prof, I know, but it must be done.

    2) Similarly, I already knew that a Fusion reactor itself becomes radioactive over the 30 years time it is in service, but I deemed it not worth mentioning, because a) it is relatively inconsequential vis-a-vis the current volume of production of very highly radio-active spent fuels (indeed, we could throw the reactors into the same pit as the current waste, should we eventually come to concensus on where that “pit” should be…I would argue lauching the entire “nuclear pile” (pun intended) into the Sun), and b) again, I assumed this audience already knew that as well. My bad again.

    Fusion is NOT all that far away, as we can see by the sequence of experiments over the last 30 years rapidly approaching the all-sought “self sustaining ignition” temperatures and time. Please take the time to see these plots of the accumulated experimental results thus far, available from multiple sources. Granted, that point may be a “black hole of half-steps”, but it doesn’t appear to be yet (despite the log scales on both axes). We should pursue it until we really see such diminishing returns before we throw in the towel. Fusion, like solar and other alternative energies, has been clearly underfunded versus its potential benefit – even versus the alternative energies we promote that in some cases are near commercial viability (i.e. Wind+Batteries). Finally, the Sun is not what I mean by “cracking the fusion nut.” This should be self-evident, but to clarify, the sun is not controlled by man, whereas Fusion can be.

    PS – I am not a fusion scientist/engineer, just a scientist/engineer who has followed fusion and climate science for years. (Please, no ad-hominems (and jokes too!) about being an engineer)
    Kindest Regards,

    Comment by doubting Thomas — 2 Mar 2010 @ 2:57 PM

  722. @Ray (704)
    I forgot to mention that I also know hand-calulations should be performed (usually this is a requirement to write the code in the first place) and that the computed results should be confirmed against the hand calculations, preferably multiple iterations using different inputs to at least attempt to identify any errors in the code forumlation.
    Finally, is climate science any more a trivial problem than cracking the Fusion nut? Not sure which is tougher, but that certainly doesn’t stop a scientist!
    Thanks for your thoughtful feedback!

    Comment by doubting Thomas — 2 Mar 2010 @ 3:12 PM

  723. > 705, 716

    Andrew, that’s the right answer, from a real scientist (Martin Vermeer)
    He’s pointing out how the way the question is phrased can illuminate — or obscure — what’s really happening.

    To try an analogy

    Normal rainfall will soak in to the ground about as fast as it happens.
    Before we started burning fossil fuel, CO2 cycled steadily.

    Double the rainfall and cause a flood, and it may take days to go down.
    When we started burning fossil fuel, cycling sped up, and about half the _extra_ CO2 we’ve been adding has been taken back out of the atmosphere; the rest accumulates.

    This is why the question should refer to CO2 from fossil fuel — not that the molecule is handled differently but because that’s the _excess_ CO2.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Mar 2010 @ 3:23 PM

  724. There are hundred of scientific fields and thousands of journals. And yet I’ve never heard of scientists in general facing a limitless gauntlet of self-appointed auditors. Do endocrinologists, for example, deal with barrages of FOI requests?

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 2 Mar 2010 @ 3:36 PM

  725. Since science is a social construction and consensus reality is negotiable, I presume “real climate” is just an in house joke, the current orbit of Venus was caused by increasing CO2 levels, and rising CO2 levels will move the earth’s orbit closer to the sun too, thereby warming the globe?

    Comment by don — 2 Mar 2010 @ 3:42 PM

  726. Josie says: 2 March 2010 at 1:44 PM

    “Maybe he is personally offended? Would seem daft, but it is a small possibility.”

    Sort of like when it turns out one’s new lover is overall an excellent driver but is nonetheless given to occasionally shouting at other motorists? Or, despite all their excellent qualities, is still flatulent from time to time?

    A let down, but most folks presumably would not end the relationship over such things unless they consigned themselves to permanent loneliness.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 2 Mar 2010 @ 3:49 PM

  727. A bit OT, but some are fighting back.

    Comment by Nick — 2 Mar 2010 @ 4:30 PM

  728. The ONLY reason CRU received FOI requests was because they refused to release their data, or at least confirm which stations they used. The ONLY reason they became what could be called a barage is because all earlier requests were ignored. No hiding the data = no FOIs. Simple.

    Comment by oakwood — 2 Mar 2010 @ 4:54 PM

  729. Thanks to everyone for your answers. The basic explanations are quite clear but I will do some of the reading as well.

    I will then be able to clearly and concisely explain it to someone who will completely ignore me and carry on spouting the same nonsense anyway. Just like I have been doing today re the difference between no warming and warming which is not statistically significant.

    Comment by Andrew Adams — 2 Mar 2010 @ 5:11 PM

  730. I was a student member of the IOP when I lived in the UK and am now a member of the Australian IOP. I wrote to the (UK) IOP to complain about their intemperate statement. the basis of my complaint was:

    1) It [the statement] seemed to be assuming guilt
    2) It was put together up by the energy group who have no particular expertise in the climate area and despite this seem somewhat sympathetic to the skeptic viewpoint.
    3) Within the membership of IOP there must surely be a few climate scientists/atmospheric physicists who could have given a more balanced perspective and why didn’t they ask them to contribute to a statement?

    The statement seems to be written as if the UEA were denying access to info to genuine ‘good faith’ scientists who would be engaging with them and with the data through the scientific literature, whereas the reality was (to put it mildly) rather different!

    Comment by SCM — 2 Mar 2010 @ 5:16 PM

  731. doubting Thomas opines:

    If we cracked the Fission nut for ~US$40B (Y2K$) in 1936-45, put a man on the Moon for ~$141B in 1960-69, and spend ~$17B/yr now on the shuttle/ISS programs, we can surely solve the Fusion problem in 10 years with dedicated government funding.

    and then asks for logical arguments.

    The problem with this is that you haven’t presented any logic to argue with.

    What you have here is opinion – you feel strongly that with sufficient funding we could harness fusion in 10 years.

    Perhaps it’s true. Perhaps electrostatic containment would work. I’m not opposed to research funds for it, but to bet our future on it seems silly.

    Fusion is not the only nuclear option – various fission reactor designs have been available for years and could conceivably solve all the problems you expect fusion could solve. The fourth generation designs have much higher inherent safety and a fuel cycle that burns fuel left over from current light water reactors. And there’s a much greater likelihood of fission reactors being viable than fusion, based on decades of experience with fission.

    The problem with both of these is build out time. In order to bring either online it’s going to take 10 years of research (best case) followed by some years (10 ?) of product design to come up with something that can be replicated out everywhere, followed by 10 years of deployment. In the 30 years that takes we’ll build a whole pile of new coal plants that the owners will want an ROI on, and we’ll be replacing virtually all of the current light-water nukes in service today. And we’ll have business-as-usual emissions for 30 years.

    30 years out is way too late. As an alternative we could build windmills and solar thermal plants and research electrical storage and have a large part of the buildout done before the research on new nukes (fusion or fission) is done.

    You’re also taking a huge gamble that new nukes will be economically attractive. While they seem to feel that way over at bravenewclimate, the actual nukes being constructed today seem to be way late and way over budget. Are the current contractors just dumb? Can’t settle on a standard design? Don’t remember how to build a nuclear reactor? Whatever the cause it’s clear that it’s a high-risk solution to solving the climate problem.

    Comment by David Miller — 2 Mar 2010 @ 5:39 PM

  732. Re: 715 Kevin McKinney says: 2 March 2010 at 1:47 PM
    “Tim Jones @ 708, I have a number of photos that might fit your bill; many are public domain (though not all.)”

    Thank you! This is excellent stuff and will be useful indeed.

    Any climate scientist, or anyone else who has a favorite photo or two, or a collection of published or unpublished images relating to what I suggested in # 708, who might like to further contribute to the effort, your time would be appreciated – most likely as a credit on the website. You can send a jpg, a tiff whatever electronically. If you send an old photo I’ll scan it and get it back to you. (You can just take a high res picture of the picture if you hold the camera perpendicular and keep the original.)

    You can go to the website The Climate Summit and see how else you can contribute ideas and suggestions.

    I got into this by way of solid friends who introduced me as a photo contributor. I’ve taken on to help Michael collect what his people need to get the site up with the good stuff. What I get is a credit on my pix. Many of us are volunteers.

    If you are thinking of copyright protection for images and how to do this, for those wishing to do so, we have a handle on this. If you’re concerned about it, as I am, we’ll work out copyright protection for your images without expense on your part.

    These are the positive steps in addition to the outright science that keep the effort alive and well. Authentic is a key word here. Sites like these with a positive message to get this going while attenuating any suffering associated with culture change are what all of us need to support.

    This is the PR you were talking about.

    It’s happening.

    We need your help.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 2 Mar 2010 @ 5:40 PM

  733. The Institute of Physics backs off.

    The Institute of Physics recently submitted a response to a House of Commons Science and Technology Committee call for evidence in relation to its inquiry into the disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

    The Institute’s statement, which has been published both on the Institute’s website and the Committee’s, has been interpreted by some individuals to imply that it does not support the scientific evidence that the rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is contributing to global warming.

    That is not the case. The Institute’s position on climate change is clear: the basic science is well enough understood to be sure that our climate is changing – and that we need to take action now to mitigate that change.

    More information about IOP’s views

    The Institute’s response to the Committee inquiry was approved by its Science Board, a formal committee of the Institute with delegated authority from its trustees to oversee its policy work.

    It reflected our belief that the open exchange of data, procedures and materials is fundamental to the scientific process. From the information already in the public domain it appears that these principles have been put at risk in the present case, and that this has undermined the trust that is placed in the scientific process.

    These comments, focused on the scientific process, should not be interpreted to mean that the Institute believes that the science itself is flawed.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 2 Mar 2010 @ 5:52 PM

  734. Jeffrey @ 722: Right. And after The Lancet famously retracted (http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/02/lancet_wakefield_autism_mmr_au.html) the paper it published erroneously linking vaccines and the onset of autism, we didn’t see headlines shouting “Medical Research Disproven, Once and For All!”

    Comment by Pete H — 2 Mar 2010 @ 6:07 PM

  735. BPL “I don’t think you’ve ever seriously researched any of this. I have. You’re wrong. We depend on fossil fuels now, but there is no reason at all why we have to. There is no natural law that says wealthy civilizations can only run on fossil fuel. Energy is energy.”

    I did. And I saw that all what you mentioned has only been developed on a very small, experimental scale, sometimes in very specific locations (for instance, thermal solar power requires hot sunny countries close to large cities. Works in California, Spain, or Australia, but not much elsewhere), and that no country has ever based its industrial development on them, and is any close to use them on a large scale. Furthermore, you persistently forget that they all require cheap steel,glass, transportation, electric wires – but they are unable to produce them.
    You are simply wrong in saying “energy is energy”. Agricultural civilizations had plenty of solar energy and biomass, much more than we use now. But they couldn’t use it on the scale we use fossil fuels.
    So basically you claim that the mankind’s prosperity is very dependent on the average temperature of the globe, and quite insensitive to the availability of the fossil fuels, whereas I think just the opposite. In principle it should be a very simple matter to decide which one of these two assertion is right or wrong. I can find a number of justifications of mine. For instance

    * GDP is obviously much more correlated with fossil fuel consumption , for a given average temperature of the country, than with (minus) temperature, for a give fossil fuel consumption.

    * If you were true, it shouldn’t be a problem to forbid quickly the use of fossil fuels, replacing them with all the clean and convenient energies you’re advocating. It’s obviously not the case, and nobody really asks that.

    *predicability : I’m ready to bet with you than within 20 years, the average temperature won’t have increased by more than 0.2 °C, but that oil production will have fallen by more than 20 %. Obviously if you were right, this shouldn’t be a big deal for the mankind, but I predict also that the world will have experienced the worst economic crisis in its history (worse than the current one, I mean).

    Conversely, if you think that I’m saying “n’importe quoi”, it should be easy for you to find a bet that you’re sure I will loose ! I’m waiting for your proposals ;).

    Comment by Gilles — 2 Mar 2010 @ 6:24 PM

  736. Tim, my wife has some nice photos of some badass erosion in Madagascar. Email me.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Mar 2010 @ 6:30 PM

  737. Oakwood@728, Simple, indeed. The goal was to stop research, pure and simple–not the actions of someone who wants to know the truth.

    And, funny thing, said individual has done bupkes with any of the gigabytes of data already available. He has only a single peer-reviewed publication to his name.

    Sounds to me like the only “fraud” that occurred was in his attestation in the FOI that he would use the data for purposes of “academic research”. Riiiiight!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Mar 2010 @ 6:36 PM

  738. Tim Jones, you might find my collection of stories and images useful. Click in the Label Cloud to filter by specific keywords, such as “coastal erosion”.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 2 Mar 2010 @ 6:47 PM

  739. doubting Thomas,
    I to have long followed the progress of fusion. And I would say that the current efforts to “break even” are a whole helluva long way from a viable energy system–let alone, one that could be deployed globally on a short timescale. By all means we should pursue it, but it would be a big mistake to depend on it. There is no silver bullet to mitigating climate change and achieving sustainable energy economy. This will be the work of the next generation…or that generation will be the last to enjoy the benefits of civilization.

    BTW, I made a pilgrimage to the tomb of your namesake in Chennai (then Mysore) India. The lore says that Thomas as a penance for his doubt resolved to go to the furthest ends of the civilized world to proclaim the gospel. I’ve always loved the fact that when the Portuguese arrived to bring Xtianity to India, they found churches that had been practicing it about 500 years longer than the Portuguese! If you find yourself in Chennai, the Cathedral is along the beach. Nothing special. You’d never know Thomas was buried there if you didn’t know it already. I thought it was a very appropriate pilgrimage for an agnostic physicist.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Mar 2010 @ 6:48 PM

  740. Regarding Gavin’s response to #107

    [Response: Again, a complete strawman. Perhaps you'd care to point to anything any of us have ever published where we said this was true and above criticism? Just one. And if you want to come back and say 'well I didn't really mean it', don't bother. - gavin]

    This is a direct quote from “The IPCC Fourth Assessment SPM”, dated 2 February 2007
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/02/the-ipcc-fourth-assessment-summary-for-policy-makers/

    Key results [of AR4] include the simulations for the 20th Century by the latest state-of-the-art climate models which demonstrate that recent trends cannot be explained without including human-related increases in greenhouse gases, and consistent evidence for ocean heating, sea ice melting, glacier melting and ecosystem shifts. This makes the projections of larger continued changes ‘in the pipeline’ (particularly under “business as usual” scenarios) essentially indisputable.

    “demonstrate” and “indisputable” sound to me words of the kind referred to by Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen

    the RealClimate group and their allies in quite a few other countries deserve criticim less for their science than for how they have ‘marketed’ and ‘branded’ their research outputs as true and above criticism

    Comment by Maurizio Morabito — 2 Mar 2010 @ 6:48 PM

  741. Re: #705 .
    the reason for your puzzle is that you are using a model for decay which involves a single lifetime, in mathematical terms this involves an exponential function which is written as e raised to a power or (easier to type) as :

    n = N exp (t/T)

    (Hold on if you don’t follow) where T is often just called ‘the lifetime’. N is just the value of n at the ‘beginning’ i.e. when the clock records a time t =0.

    But this model for decay is often not good enough.,

    It might work for the decay of radioactivity after a nuclear explosion , provided you consider one element (strictly radio-isotope) like radioactive iodine. . But what if the explosion has also liberated radioactive caesium and strontium? Your mental model is no longer good enough. You would need three different life-times.

    The same is true for CO2 which is removed by several distinct processes. As someone has written above a decent model will involve the sum of say four exponential functions, with four different starting values (like N ) and four different lifetimes (like T). (Hansen in one of his papers in 2007 gave a reference).

    Sorry if this is too elementary or the opposite but I don’t know you.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 2 Mar 2010 @ 7:15 PM

  742. Re: #699 and #730

    Good work. Most important comments in this thread after the lead article.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 2 Mar 2010 @ 7:20 PM

  743. CM

    I like your juggling analogy.

    It made me wonder backwards about atmospheric dynamics. Probably for most jugglers, pushing more and more balls into the system would eventually require going from a cascade to a shower to more easily manage the balls and longer times spent aloft.

    Not trying to break the analogy, just wondering if putting more carbon and/or energy into the atmosphere necessitates a change in functions at some point to capture the effects.

    And are bad shoulder joints like environmental breakdown…

    Comment by Radge Havers — 2 Mar 2010 @ 7:22 PM

  744. 739 comments and mostly smart people defending good science against random nonsense.

    Science never really had a chance. Human limitation is too dense a form of matter to easily manage.

    In 100 years those limitations might be the norm just as they were in the Middle Ages. I’m glad I won’t be around to lament the loss of all that was learned before limitation won. Though on the bright side, the universe will be a mystery again and ready for a new round of explorers. I wish them luck, and hope they have better humans to work with than we did. Perhaps the third time really will be the charm.

    cougar

    Comment by cougar_w — 2 Mar 2010 @ 7:34 PM

  745. David Miller (731) waxes:
    “Fusion is not the only nuclear option”
    Nowhere in my comments above have I suggested we pursue this as an only option, nor that we “hang our hat” on it. Also, I would assume most on this thread and in this community would cringe at the idea of new fission units creating yet more volumes of nuclear waste – which has remained accumulating for the last 50 years in neutron absorbing “swimming pools”, awaiting (in vain so far) disposal options that have not been blocked on scientific or political grounds, or both. While I’ve alway been a supporter of the third/fourth generation reactors (“breeders”, as I recall – actually a very old technology), this was all nixed under the Carter Administration and no US monies have been invested since, TMK. Meanwhile, both the Japanese and French developed it, and now enjoy Bullet & TGV trains due to the cheap electricity, generated by the waste of prior generations of fission technologies, and enjoy an order of magnitude (if not more) greater energy yield per unit of spent fuel radioactive input than the original generations!

    Mr Miller further poses:
    “The problem with both of these is build out time.”…and money. Your point is well taken that we must invest in currently available alternative energy technologies (worts and all) at a brisk pace. Last I looked, this is being done through massive government subsidies, tax-breaks, rebates, grants, quotas, mandates, etc. Still, sustaining even this effort will be very difficult to do in a recessional economy, wherein government income may be expected to decline as well, even if tax rates are raised on whatever industries remain economically viable in the US.

    But what other “economy of scale” technologies (which wind and solar are currently not) do you suggest that do not face exactly the same development/rollout problem as Fusion/Superconductivity? It will take well over 30 years to replace the current US 30+ Quadrillion BTU of power generation from non-renewable coal, natural gas & hydro, even with current technologies and excluding growth (hopefully) in GDP demand for power over the same period. Are we to cover the planet with wind turbines (which look vaguely like the early 1900s fields of oil rigs to me, but the latter disappear in a year and yield far more energy per unit…and energy is energy, as someone above said) and/or still mightily expensive solar panels (which continue to suffer a 30-50% derate in initial quoted capacity at the bus-bar after the first year)? An even larger chunk of time will also be required for the massive investment in battery technologies necessary to balance both wind and solar generation with demand, and which, along with solar panels, consume vast quantities of rare precious metals, the mining of which will further scar the planet?

    My point, er opinion, is, we should perhaps consider diverting some of the $17B per year of shuttle/ISS monies to Fusion research, and elevate it a Manhattan or Mercury/Gemini/Apollo technical policy goal, which so far it has not even approached. (Hate hurting the space program, but like you said, time is of the essence).

    Don’t forget too, that ~50 Quads are consumed in/as transportation fuels in the US. How do wind/solar address that, other than sailboats? Given the inherent thermodynamic inefficiencies in coverting electric power into whatever type of battery/fuel cell/ICE transportation device you chose, that option seems “silly” with current technologies as well.

    Thanks for responding to my (I now stand corrected) opinion, which lacks logic for the purpose of argument. Apologies to all for the run-on sentences, too!

    Comment by doubting Thomas — 2 Mar 2010 @ 7:45 PM

  746. David Miller (731)
    Sorry, I forgot to mention it takes 8-12 years to get the permits for an already designed standard nuke, IF you had a firm Federal go-ahead. So no, dumb contractors and forgotten designs are not the stumbling block on fission power generation, it’s the permitting process.

    Comment by doubting Thomas — 2 Mar 2010 @ 7:58 PM

  747. 682 Completely Fed Up: See http://clearnuclear.blogspot.com if you want to discuss that. It is forbidden here.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Mar 2010 @ 8:19 PM

  748. 691 Barton Paul Levenson: Hot dry rock geothermal: If you are talking about heating homes, yes. If you are talking about making electricity , NO. You can’t drill that deep. Pressure inevitably squeezes your bore casing to zero size before you get deep enough. It only works where there are hot plutons near the surface.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Mar 2010 @ 8:26 PM

  749. Tim Jones, don’t miss the paleo record, the extreme increase in erosion around the PETM is increasingly well documented and cautionary. You’d have to contact the authors for any unpublished pictures they may have (or the journals for published ones, likely harder to obtain).

    I remember the illos for this article being rather stunning, of one of those outcrops on which you can see dramatic change in layers, some aerial views.

    Abrupt increase in seasonal extreme precipitation at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary Geology March, 2007, v. 35, p. 215-218
    increase in seasonal extreme precipitation at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary
    Schmitz, Birger | Pujalte, Victoriano
    Geology. Vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 215-218. Mar. 2007

    “… Here we show from continental records across the Paleocene-Eocene boundary in the Spanish Pyrenees, a subtropical paleosetting, that during the early, most intense phase of CO2 rise, normal, semiarid coastal plains with few river channels of 10-200 m width were abruptly replaced by a vast conglomeratic braid plain, covering at least 500 km2 and most likely more than 2000 km2….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Mar 2010 @ 8:29 PM

  750. 696 doubting Thomas “no radioactive waste with 50,000 year+ half-lives to contain, no proliferation issues, virtually free fuel sources with no environmental extraction impact”

    See: http://clearnuclear.blogspot.com

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Mar 2010 @ 8:43 PM

  751. Re:736 Ray Ladbury says: 2 March 2010 at 6:30 PM
    “Tim, my wife has some nice photos of some badass erosion in Madagascar. Email me.”

    Wonderful! uh, how horrible. Perhaps I’m exceptionally dense today, but I’m unaware of your email address. You could send
    it to me via the link for #708. Or can it be found on site?

    As the observer, how would you (or she) construe a connection to climate change?

    Thanks!

    Comment by Tim Jones — 2 Mar 2010 @ 9:03 PM

  752. Hank Roberts 649 662 673

    I found where my saturated ideas came from a few years back, it was probably from Weart’s web site. When he put the story on RC, he took from three different parts of his site. If you read the site today and don’t follow the right links, you can miss the saturation discussion. The RC write up is better, part 1 is not disjointed and part 2 explains the CO2 spectral bands.

    Thanks for straightening me out.

    Comment by John Peter — 2 Mar 2010 @ 9:06 PM

  753. 721 doubting Thomas: “vis-a-vis the current volume of production of very highly radio-active spent fuels (indeed, we could throw the reactors into the same pit as the current waste”

    There is no such thing as nuclear waste. That is recyclable fuel that is being wasted. In the old days, nuclear fuel was recycled. Then politics happened.

    Gavin where are you?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Mar 2010 @ 9:18 PM

  754. 731 David Miller: See: http://www.hyperionpowergeneration.com/
    http://www.ecolo.org/
    All of your assumptions overturned.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Mar 2010 @ 9:21 PM

  755. A bit OT, perhaps, but does anyone know where go the limits of access to publicly funded science within the defense departments?

    Questions brought forth by some general news recently.

    During the Falklands (or Malvinas) war the British Navy continued to broadcast weather observations made onboard their ships as usual. Reading this data from the world meteorological telecom network, the Argentinian military tracked hour-by-hour movements of the British naval force enroute to the conflict area.

    A quite substantial part of the oceanic observations even today come from the world’s Navies. Such observations are part of the ship’s routine and are very important as there is a permanent shortage of oceanic data for the daily weather forecasts.

    Any historian studying the deployments of military forces would be interested to access the same data. They apparently are also a part of the surface weather records now under discussion. Or are they?

    I seem to remember that the British Meteorological Office is under the Ministry of Defense. If so, where go the boundaries of “public data” within that Ministry?

    A FOIA process brought forth some of the Arctic area submarine data, though active support from the then vice-president Al Gore was needed. A precedent limited to U.S. law, of course.

    Such limits are also very interesting with respect to commercial intellectual property rights, that being the reason why some of the weather data is covered by confidentiality agreements limiting distribution. Particularly in Europe the principle is “user pays”. The national weather services are legally required to charge for data and forecasts, except the most basic outline broadcasts.

    Comment by Tinkerbell — 2 Mar 2010 @ 9:47 PM

  756. Stefan N 618

    My message is that the Internet is a dangerous place. Don’t count on the justice system to protect you from scurrilous acts like the CRU hack.

    A contemporary of Kant (I believe?) Kurt Weill years ago wrote “Three Penny Opera”. Close to the end of the finale comes the moral (which I believe is a good life principle): (in English):

    “In real life the ending isn’t quite so fine. Victorious messenger does not come riding often.
    The reply to a kick in the pants, is just another kick in the pants,
    so pursue – but not too eagerly – injustice”

    Comment by John Peter — 2 Mar 2010 @ 9:47 PM

  757. Brian Dodge 667, JiminMpls 670,
    Yes, you have raised good points concerning the graphs, where I did not adequately cover the period of interest. However, here follows my compilation for the last 18 years, (incl. 2010 to Feb), and you can see that for the Hume, there were good levels and low levels of varying annual patterns during the so-called “12-year drought”
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2775/4402149905_f678d272e4_o.jpg
    This implies that within the catchment area there were some periods of good rainfall run-off, or in other words, the drought was not continuous for 12 years. Yet, even this observation is simplistic, because the Hume is only part of the system for the Murray, and its draw-downs probably have complex considerations, such as the state of other reservoirs, regional forecasts, and release for environmental flows, such as in 2009. (that was on top of a hot year in 2009). Incidentally, there was a case early last year when the Thompson was drawn-down heavily, (and it is still low at ~21%), because of perceived risk of run-off pollution from bushfires at that time.

    Sou 670, calyptorhynchus 671
    In addition to the regional implications in drought discussed above, Sou has written in part:

    “…I agree that the effects of droughts are difficult to compare, especially across centuries when agriculture and water systems were vastly different. However temperatures and rainfall measurements are not so difficult to compare, at least not for the periods when they have been recorded by instruments designed for the purpose…”

    Not only are droughts difficult to compare centennially, but they are difficult to define and even observe in scope, in times of low population and poor communications/ horse-drawn transport.
    I intend to show in my next post a compilation of the BOM rainfall distributions over SE Australia, which probably better illustrates the reported regional variations.
    Temperature and flood records are more tricky!

    calyptorhynchus also wrote in part:

    “The point is that the recent droughts in southern Australia are moving into a new pattern. In place of the seven year cycle that was seen with the Ferderation Drought and the WW2 Drought, we are now seeing longing period charactertised by lower rainfall. The drought sare getting longer and joining up…”

    I wouldn’t be too sure about that! Did you check out the following images per my 567? (Orange = dry, 1921 – 1940) Did you read and view about El Nino?
    http://home.iprimus.com.au/foo7/157.gif and http://home.iprimus.com.au/foo7/141.gif
    See full article @: http://home.iprimus.com.au/foo7/droughthistory.html

    Comment by BobFJ — 2 Mar 2010 @ 10:20 PM

  758. > Tinkerbell
    > FOIA … Arctic …

    Waitaminute, I’ve read a lot about that and never saw any mention of a FOIA request for the Arctic sea ice data. Where did you get that? This is a good example of why citing sources matters.

    A subset of the Navy classified data was opened up (the “Gore Box” on the maps) on his initiative when he was VP, according to the Navy, e.g. here:
    http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=102863
    http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_images.jsp?cntn_id=102863&org=NSF

    “NRL developed GIS applications to digitize, spatially analyze and cartographically output statistical ice maps using common commercial software tools in support of a Vice President Gore initiative. Additionally sea ice charts were digitized and delivered representing temporal sea ice formations for the period 1972-1996 (Naval/National Ice Center). See GIS Ice Atlas transition….”
    http://www7440.nrlssc.navy.mil/transitions.htm

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Mar 2010 @ 10:43 PM

  759. Oh, this shouldn’t be omitted — the Arctic sea ice data sets were not just US data — information was released by both the US and the USSR. I’m _positive_ the USSR wasn’t covered by FOIA. Google finds this mention of it:

    Science/AAAS | ScienceScope : 17 January 1997; 275 (5298)
    … 45 years of data on the Arctic Ocean recently declassified by the United States and Russia. Earlier this week, Vice President Al Gore announced the release of the first volume of … Later volumes will feature data on Arctic ice and meteorology. …

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Mar 2010 @ 10:48 PM

  760. 735 Gilles: With enough energy, we can take CO2 out of the air and make it back into gasoline. That is un-economical. Somebody suggested making hydrazine instead. Un-safe since hydrazine is a monopropellant/explosive. But engines can run on hydrazine, even without oxygen.

    You haven’t covered all of the sources of energy; nor have you thought of all of the other ways to use energy; nor have you thought of all of the ways to re-organize society. The inventions of the next 10 years will more than amaze you. They will re-organize society to such an extent that you won’t recognize it.

    Fossil fuels will be obsolete. The only question is whether fossil fuels will be obsolete before or after environmental disaster causes civilization to collapse. We can have a super-advanced civilization without fossil fuels.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Mar 2010 @ 11:05 PM

  761. #756 BobFJ Why are you spending time on this, BobFJ – care to explain?

    South East Australia is getting increasingly hotter. The rice industry at Deniliquin has all but folded. Every year maximum temperature records keep getting broken. Heat waves are becoming more frequent and go for longer, rivers and dams are under huge stress, farmers haven’t had the water they’ve paid for in years and some will quite possibly never again get their full quota. The dairy industry is looking ahead 50 years to work out the best farm strategies and pasture management regimes, given less water and higher CO2, in a world that will have a much larger demand for food.

    This summer where I live we’ve had some very good rainfalls, although the intensity has been much greater than normal. I don’t take it as a sign that we’ll not get dry periods again. OTOH, it is very likely that all the extra growth this summer means higher fire danger next season.

    As stated in the BOM Australia drought statement issued on 5 February this year:

    “Very long-term rainfall deficiencies outside of the drought periods discussed above persist across parts of southern and eastern Australia. Most notably, rainfall has been below average across much of southwest and southeast Australia since 1997, while the Murray-Darling Basin has experienced below average rainfall since 2002.”

    Comment by Sou — 2 Mar 2010 @ 11:54 PM

  762. Aside, has anyone heard anything from the “extended solar minimum” or “maunder-pondering” people lately?
    http://www.sec.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/sunspot.gif

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Mar 2010 @ 12:40 AM

  763. Edward Greisch : you miss the essential point, which is : cost. What determines the cost of energy? basically, the amount of human time spent to extract it (including the production of all commodities and artifacts used to produce it), because you eventually only pay people, not barrels. So what is this human cost for oil, for instance? the average production cost of one barrel must still be around 10 $, and contain about 1600 kWh. This gives a cost of about 0.6 ct/kWh. Given that 1 kWh is close to the energy produced by one day of manual work, and taking an average of around 30 $/ work day (energy is often produced by rather poor workers), this means that production of oil has an incredible productivity of around 5000. By comparison, agriculture without fuels has a productivity of around 10, maybe. I don’t see how you can contest that the essential ingredient to explain the huge growth since 200 years has been the gradual implementation of this much more productive energy source and its use at all levels of the society.
    Now you’re saying : that doesn’t matter that this hugely productive energy is gradually exhausted, there are plenty of alternative. Wait. To sustain our society, we need equally cheap alternatives, or at least to compensate the loss of productivity by an at least equal improvement of the efficiency of its use. You think that because ELECTRIC POWER (which is by itself an expensive energy) can be at some places, and partly, produced in a cheapest way than by burning directly fossil fuels, you have solved all the problems ??? we are VERY FAR from that. Not only the cost of alternative energies is much larger than the primitive cost of fossil fuels , but there use is less convenient in a number of applications, so their use will diminish the productivity. And much worse, the current cost is valid only because cheap fossil fuels are available every where. Cheap coal and oil to make steel, copper, glass, blades of windmills ,nuclear reactor vessels, not to speak of fusion reactors.. how do you think these things are built ? without cheap commodities, they would be much more costly ! and probably be economically out of range. Unfortunately, all these commodities have no chance of being cheaper without fossil fuels. That’s a basic fact. You can realize it equally well by asking yourself : am I really able to equip an african village with electric windmills or solar panels without fossil fuels? teach them how to build them without the existence of metallurgy, oil to transport them, and so on? obviously not. Nothing of our modern world is sustainable without that. Now of course metallurgy and oil won’t disappear just now or in some years. But they will eventually disappear, that’s a certitude. And you can’t connect a positive value to a vanishing one without decreasing at some time. I am not able to say now which asymptotic state we can reach without FF, but I’m pretty sure it will be much lower than the current one, so basically you can forget about the +2% growth in the next century. Now seeing the impact of a -1% recession on the world, I let you imagine the kind of issues it will cause.

    Comment by Gilles — 3 Mar 2010 @ 2:32 AM

  764. “Anyone having ideas or examples of other effects of current
    warming are welcome to submit suggestions. Links and photos
    as well as permission to use photos would be helpful.

    A picture is worth a thousand words.”

    Does it matter if the pictures are 50 years old :-D ?

    Comment by Gilles — 3 Mar 2010 @ 2:33 AM

  765. Hank Roberts #761: on the extended solar minimum, I see quite a lot of garbage about how it somehow nullifies global warming. The fact that temperatures have held up despite this somehow evades these people as confirming that warming is happening. There’s every reason to expect global temperatures to start increasing again as the solar cycle increases. GISS has already reported one of the warmest Januaries ever, and UAH has January 2010 as the warmest January ever; depending how the current El Niño develops, this year could be pretty warm. All of course just one data point but still, not consistent with the “it’s all the sun” theory.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 3 Mar 2010 @ 2:35 AM

  766. Re Tim Jones (708)
    This posting is headed “Close Encounters of the Absurd Kind”. Ironic that you shuold be requesting photos to support a propaganda of climate change scare stories. You list a random collection of problems and disasters with a veiw with linking all of them to climate change. An example:
    “Pictures of the aftermath of violent weather would be
    instructive. Floods and snowfall potentially derived by way of evaporation of warming seas.”
    But (i) ‘violent weather’ has always ocurred, and always will. You can’t just assume its always due to climate change. (ii)and you suggest that any “flood” or “snowfall” can potentially be linked to warming seas. That’s pure speculation. And just comical.
    If you want pictures and film to support your campaign, I’m sure Al Gore can help.
    This behaviour simply demonstrates the typical approach of so many AGW-faithful. ‘We can use any evidence we can get hold of in any way we want – however misleading – to support the case for AGW’. This behaviour just gives your side a very bad name.

    Comment by oakwood — 3 Mar 2010 @ 2:49 AM

  767. Prof Phil Jones’s name (#195) has appeared on my petition supporting climate science. I don’t count this as a signature because the purpose is to support his right to work without harassment (and of course others) but I’m pleased if this has helped him cope with the abuse.

    Now at 200 (minus his signature and a few duplicates, about 195). Keep signing. It all adds up.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 3 Mar 2010 @ 2:58 AM

  768. Sou Reur 760, keeping it to water availability issues at this time:

    [1] #756 BobFJ Why are you spending time on this, BobFJ – care to explain?…
    …[2] The rice industry at Deniliquin has all but folded…
    …[3] OTOH, it is very likely that all the extra growth this summer [because of the big regional rains] means higher fire danger next season…
    …[4] As stated in the BOM Australia drought statement issued on 5 February this year: (My italics)
    “Very long-term rainfall deficiencies outside of the drought periods discussed above persist across parts of southern and eastern Australia. Most notably, rainfall has been below average across much of southwest and southeast Australia since 1997, while the Murray-Darling Basin has experienced below average rainfall since 2002.”

    [1] If you are prepared to listen to some of the facts that I’m trying to show you, it may become clear.
    [2] It doesn’t really make sense to grow rice on the second driest continent on earth with a history of drought does it? They measure the water usage in “Sydarbs” (Sydney harbours) don’t they? What was that inland sea in the USSR that dried-up because of rice growing water demands?
    [3] Interesting comment!
    [4] The link you gave does not give; in the text; good definitions of the parts of southern and eastern Australia so affected by drought. (temporally & spatially). A map would be good. The very short-term maps shown; (13 months, 7 months and 3 months); indicate that rather small areas are affected by low rainfall. Compare this time-span with the oft repeated statements elsewhere that the current warming/cooling plateau in global temperatures is too short to consider there to be any trend! However, more surprising is that the above average rainfalls, including notable floods during these periods, are not included on the drought graphs.

    OK, moving on; let’s look at the ten-year averages in rainfall per other charts by the BOM that maybe you have not seen:
    Thumbnail:
    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4030/4402732755_2428648d69_m.jpg
    Larger version:
    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4030/4402732755_2428648d69_b.jpg

    These are for decades 1911 through 1920.… 1986 through 1995.… 1996 through 2005, (latest available), in that order. Can you see that the ten-year averages are all remarkably similar?

    This is a quick response to your 760, but I have more to show you on annual rainfall regionality and variability, per the BOM, when I have time.

    Comment by BobFJ — 3 Mar 2010 @ 2:59 AM

  769. 747: Edward Greisch. “If you are talking about making electricity , NO. You can’t drill that deep. Pressure inevitably squeezes your bore casing to zero size before you get deep enough”.

    No so. There is a 1 MW pilot plant coming on line this year in Australia. They did have some problems with the bore casing, but not pressure related. Something to do with some gases causing the type of steel used to become brittle. It seems a different type of steel will fix it. A 25 MW plant to be online in 2013. There are several “hot rock geothermal” startup companies listed on the Australian stock exchange.

    Comment by quokka — 3 Mar 2010 @ 4:28 AM

  770. re: #740 , typo:

    The equation should have been
    n = N exp(-t/T)

    But unfortunately we now have a sum of perhaps five exponentials including one with the uncorrected typo (growing exponential) and about four with the minus sign (decaying exponentials).

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 3 Mar 2010 @ 5:00 AM

  771. Re: Correction of correction of #740.

    The last sentence should be :

    But unfortunately the measured CO2 concentration now and for the near future is best modeled with the uncorrected formula i.e. a single growing exponential.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 3 Mar 2010 @ 5:24 AM

  772. “747
    Edward Greisch says:
    2 March 2010 at 8:26 PM

    691 Barton Paul Levenson: Hot dry rock geothermal: If you are talking about heating homes, yes. If you are talking about making electricity , NO. You can’t drill that deep”

    What is most domestic energy used for, Ed?

    And what use you put the power to doesn’t make the rock harder to drill through.

    I’d cut back on the histrionics, Ed.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 3 Mar 2010 @ 5:53 AM

  773. John@755, OK, not to go all SIWOTI on you, but like much of what you post, you’re almost right. Kurt Weill was born in 1900 and wrote “Three Penny Opera” in 1928. It was in turn based on “Beggar’s Opera,” written by John Gay in 1728, when Immanuel Kant was 4 years old.

    The thing is that once climate change starts in earnest, things won’t “work out right” even if “you’ve money in your pocket.”

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Mar 2010 @ 5:55 AM

  774. “Ray Ladbury says:
    2 March 2010 at 6:48 PM

    doubting Thomas,
    I to have long followed the progress of fusion. And I would say that the current efforts to “break even” are a whole helluva long way from a viable energy system–let alone, one that could be deployed globally on a short timescale.”

    Ray, break-even power has been a fact for years. What ISN’T happening is sustaining it. And that is where the “any day now” issue of fission power comes in: plenty of ideas about what COULD cause a sustainable reaction, but reality has a different idea.

    And until a breakthrough (which cannot really be predicted: if it were predictable, then we’d know what needs to happen. Knowing what needs to happen, we could make it happen sooner. But we don’t), fusion will remain unavailable as a domestic energy source.

    For that reason we cannot rely on fusion as a saviour. We’d be as well off hoping that the Centauri come along with Jump Gate technology…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 3 Mar 2010 @ 5:59 AM

  775. andrew adams (705),

    The deniers deliberately, and after repeated correction, are conflating two different numbers. The lifetime of one carbon dioxide molecule in the air averages 5-10 years. The lifetime of a large pulse of CO2 into the atmosphere is 200 years. The difference comes about because CO2 isn’t just leaving the atmosphere, it’s also entering it, and it’s the net value that determines the latter number.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Mar 2010 @ 6:01 AM

  776. “728
    oakwood says:
    2 March 2010 at 4:54 PM

    The ONLY reason CRU received FOI requests was because they refused to release their data, or at least confirm which stations they used.”

    Nope, the reason they got 40 cut-n-paste FOI requests on one weekend was because Steve McIntyre exhorted His Faithful to spam the scientists, stopping them from doing their ACTUAL JOB and cause them trouble.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 3 Mar 2010 @ 6:10 AM

  777. Decent article for a change.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-met-0228-climate-science-questions-20100302,0,4670437,full.story

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 3 Mar 2010 @ 6:28 AM

  778. Thomas (721),

    It’s too energy intensive to launch waste into the sun. If you want to dispose of it in space, a lunar crater might work better. Or Asimov’s “Trojan Hearse” at one of the L4 or L5 points.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Mar 2010 @ 6:52 AM

  779. don (725),

    Apparently you’re unaware that Venus actually absorbs less sunlight than the Earth does, due to its high reflectivity, and thus should be cooler than the Earth, not as hot as a self-cleaning oven.

    Absorbed flux is

    F = (S / 4) (1 – A)

    with flux density F in watts per square meter, as is the local solar constant S. A is the bolometric Russell-Bond spherical albedo.

    For Earth and Venus respectively, we have

    S = 2611 W/m^2, 1366 W/m^2
    A = 0.750, 0.306

    which leads to F = 163 W/m^2 and 237 W/m^2, respectively.
    Inverting the Stefan-Boltzmann law, the emission temperature is:

    Te = (F / sb) ^ 0.25

    where sb is the Stefan-Boltzmann constant (5.6704 x 10^-8 W/m^2/K^4 in the SI). This yields Te = 232 K for Venus and 254 K for Earth. The fact that their respective surface temperatures are 735.3 and 288.2 K are due to the greenhouse effect, which is much fiercer on Venus than Earth due to Venus’s thick greenhouse atmosphere–96.5% carbon dioxide.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Mar 2010 @ 7:05 AM

  780. oakwood (728): The ONLY reason CRU received FOI requests was because they refused to release their data, or at least confirm which stations they used. The ONLY reason they became what could be called a barage is because all earlier requests were ignored. No hiding the data = no FOIs. Simple.

    BPL: 95% of their data was already in the public domain, and they listed all the stations they used. The other 5% was under proprietary agreements with national meteorological services and could not legally be released. And the barrage was due to a concerted campaign by Steve McIntyre and his blog readers.

    No denier disinformation campaign = no FOIs. Simple.

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

  781. Gilles (735): all what you mentioned has only been developed on a very small, experimental scale, sometimes in very specific locations

    BPL: Denmark: 20% of electricity from wind, planned to rise to 50% by 2020.
    Brazil: 100 million cars powered by sugar-cane ethanol.
    US: 42% of new electrical generating capacity last year was wind, after 35% in 2008.

    You’re wrong. Again.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Mar 2010 @ 7:12 AM

  782. Thomas (744): ~50 Quads are consumed in/as transportation fuels in the US. How do wind/solar address that

    BPL: Electric trains. More mass transit. Electric cars. Cars fueled by electrolyzed hydrogen. And fuels from biomass rather than wind and solar, as with the 100 million cars fueled by sugar-cane ethanol in Brazil.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Mar 2010 @ 7:20 AM

  783. EG (747): Hot dry rock geothermal: If you are talking about heating homes, yes. If you are talking about making electricity , NO. You can’t drill that deep. Pressure inevitably squeezes your bore casing to zero size before you get deep enough. It only works where there are hot plutons near the surface.

    BPL: The geothermal gradient is 25-30 K/km almost everywhere. The Tautona gold mine is 3.9 km deep (it reached 2 km in 1957), the East Rand Mine 3.585 km. Since we’re not stopping to do heavy mining work, we can probably routinely reach 3 km once we get going–call in 75 K. If Th is 363 K (almost boiling!) and Tl is 288 K, the Carnot efficiency is 21%. For contrast, a car’s internal combustion engine commonly has eta = 25%.

    Low efficiency doesn’t much matter when the “fuel” (Earth’s internal heat) is free and the working material is water. HDR has been extensively studied and the potential power available is huge. See, e.g.:

    http://www.glgroup.com/News/Hot-Dry-Rock-Geothermal-Energy—Too-Clean-Too-green-Too-Abundant-to-Ignore-41157.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Mar 2010 @ 7:28 AM

  784. Philip,

    I strongly urge you to add Dr. Jones’s name to the petition again. People generally do have the right to vote for themselves; presidential candidates always do. And you can petition about a wrong done to yourself.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Mar 2010 @ 8:00 AM

  785. BPL and others,

    About Brazilian ethanol: it is indeed a large-scale program here in Brazil. Even gasoline cars (like mine) run on a 25%-ethanol mix. I’m not sure how worldwide spread it can get, though. I think of it more like a wedge.

    About hot dry rock thermal: isn’t the needed drilling technology similar to oil drilling? There’s a lot of underwater oil here that can get as deep as 7000m. The technology is still under development (AFAIK), but I’m sure Brazil is not the only country capable of reaching that.

    Comment by Alexandre — 3 Mar 2010 @ 8:47 AM

  786. Regarding Gavin’s response to #107

    [Response: Again, a complete strawman. Perhaps you'd care to point to anything any of us have ever published where we said this was true and above criticism? Just one. And if you want to come back and say 'well I didn't really mean it', don't bother. - gavin]

    This is a direct quote from “The IPCC Fourth Assessment SPM”, dated 2 February 2007
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/02/the-ipcc-fourth-assessment-summary-for-policy-makers/

    Key results [of AR4] include the simulations for the 20th Century by the latest state-of-the-art climate models which demonstrate that recent trends cannot be explained without including human-related increases in greenhouse gases, and consistent evidence for ocean heating, sea ice melting, glacier melting and ecosystem shifts. This makes the projections of larger continued changes ‘in the pipeline’ (particularly under “business as usual” scenarios) essentially indisputable.

    “demonstrate” and “indisputable” sound to me words of the kind referred to by Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen

    the RealClimate group and their allies in quite a few other countries deserve criticim less for their science than for how they have ‘marketed’ and ‘branded’ their research outputs as true and above criticism

    Comment by Maurizio Morabito — 2 March 2010 @ 6:48

    You are either not understanding what you are reading, or are trying to claim an apple is an orange. Gavin’s response was to the last line of hers that scientists have said the science, implying all of it, is indisputable and not to be challenged. Gavin is correct to dispute this characterization. As the scientists here have stated many times, the basics of climate change are indisputable: the planet is warming and it is largely due to GHG emissions.

    Fudge much?

    Comment by ccpo — 3 Mar 2010 @ 8:50 AM

  787. Ray, (#773) great catch on the musicology. I’m embarrassed, as that’s actually my area, more or less, but I missed the misattribution due to just skimming posts rather than properly reading them. It’s just as you said! John Gay was a contemporary of Handel, whom he was partly satirizing in Beggar’s Opera.

    Hank (#762), now that you mention it, I’ve not heard much about “THE GREAT COMING SOLAR MINIMUM” for a while. Guess your graph illustrates why not!

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 3 Mar 2010 @ 8:53 AM

  788. [edit - OT]

    Comment by ccpo — 3 Mar 2010 @ 9:15 AM

  789. Kevin McKinney,
    I’ve always liked Brecht!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Mar 2010 @ 9:54 AM

  790. Re answers to #705 etc.

    The fact that our different replies concerning lifetimes look so different, might be confusing, but they are just providing different bits of the story. This quite normal in RC’s comments. BPL’s reply in #775 is the best and simplest. He exposes the deniers common ‘trick’ of ignoring one side of a balance equation so as to mislead lay people about the accounting.

    My remark about the 4 exponential decays also relates to #705, but particularly to supporting the comment about it at #719. [Hansen included a reference to a faster decay as well; this is how he suggests that the CO2 concentration might start falling later on if people follow his advice].

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 3 Mar 2010 @ 9:58 AM

  791. 772Completely Fed Up says:
    3 March 2010 at 5:53 AM

    I’d cut back on the histrionics, Ed.
    ____________________

    Oh please CFU. You are really tiresome. Have you ever made a post that contained anything other than histrionics? I’m almost convinced that you’re a troll who is trying to make those of us who support the science look vindictive and childish.

    I love the science discussions here, but your personal attacks and general manner are, to say the least, counter productive. Either you’re the angriest most self rightous person I’ve ever encountered or a troll. Either way, tone it down. Between you and BPL predicting the end of civiliization in forty years you’re giving the denialists a lot of fodder.

    Simple physics is on our side. We don’t need to engage in such hyperbole.

    Comment by Bev A — 3 Mar 2010 @ 10:17 AM

  792. Re PETM, here’s a nice new core: Rate of ocean acidification the fastest in 65 million years

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 3 Mar 2010 @ 10:46 AM

  793. [edit - nuclear is OT]

    Comment by David Miller — 3 Mar 2010 @ 10:57 AM

  794. BPL (778)
    You’re kidding about the moon waste disposal, right? Once the nuclear waste is in space, I (personally) could just kick it into the direction of the sun, and let gravity do the rest. Moreover, it would just be a knat to the sun, and just be totally “atomized”, with no residue.

    BPL (782)
    If I didn’t know better, I’d almost be forced to ask, “Must ALL your answers include 100m sugar-based ethanol cars in Brazil?”. As 785 above pointed out above, 25% is much less than 100% – and the balance is…oil-derived gasoline! Regarding economics, it is very clear that what is driving the newly robust and healthy Brazilian economy is not ethanol from sugar cane, but OIL from PetroBras. The driver for ethanol investment there in the past was clearly the high cost of landed fuel imports. Sadly, that may change back to gasoline due to PetroBras’s abundant sub-salt, off-shore oil development, which with a little refining, will slow if not stop and reverse ethanol use transportation there.

    Biomass is essentially just coal gasificiaton (ala Lurgi at SASOL), but with the additonal cost of feedstock gathering (also, vs coal, you are hauling mostly water) and non-homogeneity. Unless you are talking about biomass as wood burning, of course.

    Gavin…thanks for letting me get waaay OTT on all of the above postings.

    Comment by doubting Thomas — 3 Mar 2010 @ 12:20 PM

  795. Hank (762),

    I am having trouble with the NOAA sunspot graph. It looks to me as if it has ~7 “monthly values” already posted for 2010. (?)
    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/sunspot.gif

    arch

    Comment by arch stanton — 3 Mar 2010 @ 12:29 PM

  796. Interesting graph showing the predicted solar cycle. Noting that the record high temperatures for January and February 2010 were at pretty much at the very bottom of the cycle, it seems that the Danish solar researcher was right about temperatures being pretty much exclusively dependent on the solar cycle.. who cares about the phases being slightly off… On the other hand, it could mean that we are in for some toasty temperatures as the next cycle gets up to speed.

    Comment by Esop — 3 Mar 2010 @ 12:52 PM

  797. Recommended:
    http://climatewtf.blogspot.com/2010/02/willis-eschenbach-deconstructed.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Mar 2010 @ 1:16 PM

  798. Gillies: said

    #*predicability : I’m ready to bet with you than within 20 years, the average temperature won’t have increased by more than 0.2 °C, but that oil production will have fallen by more than 20 %. Obviously if you were right, this shouldn’t be a big deal for the mankind, but I predict also that the world will have experienced the worst economic crisis in its history (worse than the current one, I mean).

    Now that is interesting prediction. 0.2 in a decade isnt too far behind predictions – makes a change from those saying it won’t. But continued temperature rise also depends on what forcings are present. If oil production falls by 20% in 10 years, this would certainly be a good start in the mitigation stakes. If oil production dropped that quickly as a result of production constraints rather than fall in demand, then i would hate to think what that would do for price. An excellent impetuous for development of alternative energy. And as to economic crisis, well if that is what it takes to prevent 3degree plus by 2100, then so be it. Recession seems to me to be a whole lot more survivable for humanity as a whole compared to effects of rapid climate change.

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 3 Mar 2010 @ 3:22 PM

  799. Gilles (735): all what you mentioned has only been developed on a very small, experimental scale, sometimes in very specific locations

    BPL: Denmark: 20% of electricity from wind, planned to rise to 50% by 2020.

    Which doesn’t represent more than 10 % of energy, and is possible only because of power trade across borders in a larger connected grid. Relative to the grid, it will never exceed 20 %, and again electricity is not everything. BTW Denmark is one of the biggest CO2 emitter per capita in Europe, and will remain so.

    Brazil: 100 million cars powered by sugar-cane ethanol.

    don’t be silly. Brazil has less than 200 millions inhabitants , and much less cars than European countries or US. It’s ten times less, only 10 millions flex fuel cars for 200 millions inhabitants. I’d like to see US with this few number of cars. And sugar cane is cheap only because it’s grown by quasi-slaves. Brave world…

    US: 42% of new electrical generating capacity last year was wind, after 35% in 2008.

    percentage of growth doesn’t mean percentage of power, but of course you know that …

    Phil :”Recession seems to me to be a whole lot more survivable for humanity as a whole compared to effects of rapid climate change.”

    Maybe you’re right. May be many people wouldn’t share this opinion. In any case I’m pretty sure we won’t have the choice.

    Comment by Gilles — 3 Mar 2010 @ 4:33 PM

  800. Ray (773)

    Touche

    Comment by John Peter — 3 Mar 2010 @ 4:55 PM

  801. #682 Completely Fed Up — 2 March

    I should perhaps have elaborated… there are physical limitations arising from the size of a wind turbine, but obviously the larger it is the more efficient it is… just because its area increases exponentially to radius…this basic rule applies to all expanders(and compressors). But there is a limit to size because of the greater stress’s involved on the transmission, bearings and turbine arms themselves(vibration is not your friend in harnessing energy mechanically, and centrifugal force can do surprising things to material bonding)… so at the moment the biggest turbines are 7mw… the bigger hydro generators are 700mw… so yah need 100 wind turbines, per single hydro generator(and thats generator, not entire hydro station) Thats 100 more transmissions, bearings, turbines with associated maintenace costs to generate the same power.

    Im not saying they dont have their place, but they are not competitive for primary power production. Just because you cant damn and concentrate the wind.

    As to the rest…im sorry moderators, i wasnt aware this was a no go topic, i only brought it up because that particular technology over comes ALL o the inherent weakness’s associated with it.

    CFU says> “Is it still a strawman argument when you take a problem some other thing has and just state that that problem exists with the thing you don’t like?”

    What can i say…lol oh the irony!

    CFU says>Or is that plain old weaselling?

    Think what yer want, its no skin of my teeth, i do enjoy mechanical engineering, its good fun. Thats why im interested in this discussion, that is all… Oh moderators, sorry bout OT, understand if yer drop the post.

    Comment by Mike — 3 Mar 2010 @ 5:02 PM

  802. BevA 791

    Not a troll, not really grumpy, just a generalist.
    A generalist knows less and less about more and more, until s/he knows nothing about everything.

    Comment by John Peter — 3 Mar 2010 @ 5:10 PM

  803. http://www.physforum.com/index.php?showtopic=7157&st=30

    Someone sent me this trying to disprove AGW theory. Can anyone comment?

    Greenhouse Gas Effect and Carbon Dioxide

    This is a revised and extended version of my initial post.

    When in energy balance, the Earth radiates from the top of the atmosphere at 235 Watts per square meter (1).

    Radiation from the greenhouse gases goes in all directions, and so, effectively, half is radiated out into space, and half is returned to the Earth’s surface and so helps to increase the surface temperature up to a value for which the radiated emission is twice that from the greenhouse gases to outer space, having made allowance for the energy which escapes directly through the ghg layers to space. Thus, the Earth’s surface radiates at 390 W.m^-2

    Carbon dioxide has an important absorption peak for infrared photons of almost 15 micrometres, but very little of significance at other wavelengths.

    In order to ensure 100% absorption of photons of this wavelength, the surface must be “covered” by sufficient molecules of CO2. Now, the absorption cross section of a CO2 molecule for a 15 micron photon is about 5×10^-22 m^2 per molecule (2), and so the number of molecules required to cover an area of 1 m^2 is 1.0 / (5×10^-22), ie. 2×10^21 molecules per square metre.

    Now consider a vertical column of the Earth’s atmosphere based on a square of area 1 m^2.
    This air column has a mass of 1.01×10^4 Kg.m^-2.

    The mass of the neutron (& proton) is approximately 1.67×10^-27 Kg.
    So the mass of the nitrogen molecule is 4.68×10^-26 Kg.
    Therefore, the number of N2 molecules in the column is approximately 2.15×10^29.

    Now, carbon dioxide is currently present at the level of about 380 ppm by volume, and so the number of CO2 molecules in our 1 m^2 column is about 8×10^25.

    Therefore, the 100% cover for the 15 micron photons can be provided 8×10^25 / 2×10^21 times over, ie. 4×10^4 times. Moreover, 100% absorption cover can be provided down to absorption cross sections of about 1.0 / (8×10^25) m^2, ie. 1.25×10^-26 m^2. This is about 1000 times smaller than the smallest spectral lines shown for the 15 micron wavelength region in the HITRAN data to be found at http://vpl.ipac.caltech.edu/spectra/co2pnnlimagesmicrons.htm. The smallest spectral lines shown in this region are at about the 10^-23 m^2 level, and occur within ± 1 micron of the major line, ie between 14 and 16 microns. (Note that the HITRAN ordinate axis is in cms^2.) It follows that the absorption peak in this region must have a flat top, corresponding to 100% absorption of photons, from at least 14 microns to 16 microns wavelength. If still smaller spectral lines occur, too small to be shown in the HITRAN data but greater than 1.25×10^-26 m^2, then the flat top will be wider still.

    However, if there are appropriately small spectral lines, there must be a wavelength at which the absorption cross section is sufficiently small for some photons to manage to escape through the carbon dioxide to outer space. At this point, the height of the absorption peak begins to fall from the 100% level, and this proceeds further as the wavelengths are reduced below 14 microns, and increased above 16 microns. This forms the sides of the peak, sometimes referred to as the “shoulders”.

    Low level infrared absorption cross sections of carbon dioxide

    The diagrams may be enlarged by using CONTROL+SCROLL.
    Alternatively, the Windows Magnifier may be used.

    In the diagram, ABCD represents a simplified infrared absorption peak of CO2 at 15 microns. The ordinate axis is the power per square meter (W.m^-2) of the Earth’s surface per micron element of wavelength. The horizontal axis is the photon wavelength in microns.

    If there are no smaller spectral lines outside the 14 to 16 micron range, as discussed above, this would give vertical sides to the absorption peak in the diagram, and we would get EFCD, which means that extra CO2 could not produce an enhanced GHG effect.

    To be realistic, however, we should allow for the possibility that smaller lines do exist on either side, but are too small to be shown (or are too small to be measured). The exact values do not really matter, but together they would produce sloping sides to the peak, simplified as straight lines, AD and BC, in the adjacent 1 micron sections. Still smaller peaks removed yet again by another micron would give an effect too small to be really significant.

    The effect of doubling CO2 concentration in the atmosphere

    Original peak, at pre-industrial CO2 concentration
    The wavelength axis has been considered to comprise 0.1 micron elements, giving 10 steps per one micron element. The power absorbed by the peak ABCD is given by the area under the peak and so, for arbitrary units with 10 units of height corresponding to the 100% absorption level, the flat top, the original area is 300 area units. (A simple, approximate measure can be obtained by adding the ordinate values for each 0.1 micron step.)

    Final peak, after doubling CO2 concentration
    Suppose that the CO2 concentration is now doubled from pre-industrial levels. The flat top cannot go any higher because it is already at the 100% absorption level. However, the first 0.1 micron element can double from 1 height unit to 2 height units, an increase of 1 height unit, and similarly for the next elements up to and including the fifth one. The increases are shown by the short vertical lines at the left. But the last set of 5 elements cannot double because of the 100% limit. Their increases are shown above the vertical lines. This results in an increase of 25 area units each side, ie a total increase of 50 area units, with the final peak absorbing a power of 350 area units.

    Now, from a Planck distribution of the Earth’s radiation spectrum, with the Earth in radiative balance at a surface temperature of 288.0 degK and emitting 390 W.m^-2, we find that the power from a wavelength element of 1 micron, at 15 microns, is 7.43 Wm^-2. This is equivalent to 100 area units in the diagram. So a power increase of 50 area units in real terms is 3.72 Wm^-2.

    Therefore, (final power) / (initial power) = 393.72 / 390.0 = 1.009538
    Hence, the Absolute temperature of Earth’s surface increases by a factor which is the fourth root of this, (1.009538)^0.25, ie 1.002376, by the Stefan-Boltzmann Law.

    So the Earth’s surface temperature becomes 288.68 degK, ie an increase of, say, 0.7 degC.

    If conditions were such that the original peak sides sloped linearly over two microns instead of only one, then it can be shown that the temperature increase would be 1.4 degC, but this would seem to be very unlikely in view of the way the amplitudes of the small spectral lines fall off with displacement from the major peak within the closest 1 micron elements. From the HITRAN spectra, this fall-off seems to be at least a factor of 10 per micron.

    This simple model using only 10 points each side has been verified by calculating the results for 1000 points each side. Moreover, the simple model has been extended to include 5 one micron sections of assumed small lines on either side, with a fall-off of a factor 10 in each section. The results are shown below.

    CO2 Factor Increase_____Surface Temp Rise degC

    1.36 present day_________________0.42
    1.5____________________________0.54
    2.0____________________________0.86

    For comparison, an absorption peak with sinusoidal sides has also been considered, as shown below.

    CO2 Factor Increase_____Surface Temp Rise degC

    1.36 present day_________________0.27
    1.5____________________________0.34
    2.0____________________________0.50

    Conclusion
    It is not known whether any small spectral lines exist in the 15 micron region, outside the range 14 to 16 microns, because of limitations in available data. If there are no such lines, then it is difficult to see how additional carbon dioxide can have an enhanced greenhouse effect.

    If such small lines do indeed exist, then this could cause an enhanced GHG effect, and for a doubling of CO2 would produce an increase in Earth’s surface temperature of no more than about one degree Celsius.

    References
    (1)http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Clima…hsEnergyBalance

    (2)http://vpl.ipac.caltech.edu/spectra/co2pnnlimagesmicrons.htm

    Comment by Adam — 3 Mar 2010 @ 5:12 PM

  804. There is a great deal that I have read in the above posts, especially into the ideology of growiing more monoculturews to try to answer the energy crisis. But before I get on to that I want to ask this esteemed audience on their views for the weather to come for Europe of the the coming year, decade and half century.
    If the science of AGW is solid, then it should provide predictive sureties that can be relied upon. If it cannot, there is no way that anyone should concede to more interventions from government.

    [Response: Never assume that science "should" fulfill some criterion or other, without understanding its basis. Predictions and assessments of climate change are time and space dependent and are targeted at relatively large space and time scales. Predictions at smaller scales is part of the development of the science, and it takes time and effort--Jim]

    Comment by David — 3 Mar 2010 @ 5:27 PM

  805. GeoffWexler #790

    Thanks for the clarification – for someone like me who is essentially a layman with only elementary qualifications in maths and chemistry it’s good to get a basic explanation which I can understand but also a number of sources for further reading if I want a more in depth and technical description, and it is really good to be able to ask this kind of question and get answers from people who really know their stuff. I was just about able to grasp your explanation @ #741 – it certainly wasn’t too elementary for me ;)

    Comment by Andrew Adams — 3 Mar 2010 @ 5:57 PM

  806. Re:766 oakwood says: 3 March 2010 at 2:49 AM
    Re Tim Jones (708)

    “This posting is headed “Close Encounters of the Absurd Kind”. Ironic that you shuold be requesting photos to support a propaganda of climate change scare stories.”

    Your comments are absurd, oakwood. The photos I’m asking for are to illustrate the potential point that one of the effects of climate change will be that a warming climate and warming seas will engender more severe weather than we already see. No one is claiming that what we already see can be ascribed to a warming climate. After all, the average surface temperature rise is only ~ .7º C. This is not to say we may not be seeing effects. But it would be hard to tease out the warming signal for specific events at this time.

    There IS more energy in the system. This will inevitably lead to increased energy in weather related phenomena. Thus severe weather may be MORE severe. For you not to perceive such a basic aspect of a warming climate is pitiable. It’s exactly why people need to be shown examples of what will happen.

    O: “You list a random collection of problems and disasters with a veiw with linking all of them to climate change.”

    Excuse me. You’re mistaken. I haven’t asked for a random collection of photographs. I’m asking for pictures of the sort of events that rising temperatures may aggravate.

    O: “An example: “Pictures of the aftermath of violent weather would be instructive. Floods and snowfall potentially derived by way of evaporation of warming seas.”

    Yes. Increased snowfall and increased flooding are predicted to be the consequences of climate change.

    O “But (i) ‘violent weather’ has always ocurred, and always will.”

    So what? The point here is that greater extremes of violent weather are expected.

    O: “You can’t just assume its always due to climate change.”

    Who’s trying to?

    O: “(ii)and you suggest that any “flood” or “snowfall” can potentially be linked to warming seas. That’s pure speculation. And just comical.”

    I’m afraid not.. If you studied the science instead of just blabbing off your brain washing you’d see it. An elementary understanding of physics would have you understanding such a basic aspect.

    O: “If you want pictures and film to support your campaign, I’m sure Al Gore can help.”

    Your implication is offensive. But it’s a good suggestion. I’ll ask him.

    O: “This behaviour simply demonstrates the typical approach of so many AGW-faithful. ‘We can use any evidence we can get hold of in any way we want – however misleading – to support the case for AGW’. This behaviour just gives your side a very bad name.”

    Classic Straw Man. You defeat something that doesn’t exist.

    Your rant is baloney. You don’t know the science. You have no idea of the language to be used on the website, your whole screed is a knee jerk reaction full of benighted assumptions. There is nothing misleading in predicting more violent weather in coming years as a result of global warming. If fact, what you write is mendacious propaganda. You would have us be complacent about a warming climate. You do real harm.

    [Edit--no name calling please.]

    Comment by Tim Jones — 3 Mar 2010 @ 6:55 PM

  807. Gilles #799

    Brazil has something around 25 million cars.
    http://ecen.com/eee21/image175.gif

    Only part of these are flex-fuel. Some are ethanol only, and the gas-only vehicles run on a 25%-ethanol mixture, as I stated above. There is no gasoline-only fuel available in gas stations.

    Work is tough and money is minimal, but I would not call this seasonal job “quasi-slave”.

    There are laws to phase out labor-intensive harvest in a few years, as they demand leaves to be burned beforehand. It will have to be mechanically harvested then, and I don´t think it will have much of a negative impact in its competitiveness.

    Comment by Alexandre — 3 Mar 2010 @ 7:01 PM

  808. *sorry:

    instead of “they demand”

    please read

    “it demands” (the process demands)

    Comment by Alexandre — 3 Mar 2010 @ 7:02 PM

  809. Unprecedented current 12-year drought in Australia!
    Further to my 768 & 757, (both on p16), here is another quickie picture showing that this claim is probably wrong, per the BOM‘s own data:
    Chart 1) Total rainfall for Australia has steadily risen substantially since 1900
    Chart 2) Total rainfall in the Murray Darling Basin, which is of key importance for agriculture, Adelaide, and the lower lakes, has always been volatile annually, but the lowest 11-year average rainfall was centred on 1940. After the highs between ~1950 & ~1990, The current 11-year centred average rainfall has returned to about the same mean level as between 1905 & 1940, and should not be treated as unprecedented, according to the data.
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2747/4405240804_c4ec956ee1_o.png

    Comment by BobFJ — 3 Mar 2010 @ 7:04 PM

  810. RE: 804 Either you are a clever joker or have been living under a rock for two decades. Weather is not climate; climate is not weather. What would it prove to you if an extrapolation from the composite climate models happened to forecast the year’s weather approximately correctly? Are you saying that it would lead you to concede to Kyoto-scale CO2 reductions? The climate models generally don’t have the degree of resolution you apparently demand. Maybe you could try the converse–if the weather forecasters cannot predict the state of global climate in 2025 accurately, then you cannot rely on a hurricane track prediction made 24 hours in advance? Truly, if you’re serious, then spend a week reading the archives here. If you are not serious, then thanks for the waste of time.

    RE: Phil in 798: there probably is no need to add that as oil production declines, coal production most likely will increase, leaving little net change in CO2 production (along with a punch of mercury). Maybe natural gas substitutes some to help that budget a little. Little comfort to me, though.

    Comment by ghost — 3 Mar 2010 @ 7:11 PM

  811. Adam #803

    I did not follow all his equations (and I´m not sure I could, if I tried). But 0.7ºC is about how much climate sensitivity you get from the Modtran model – if you neglect the water vapor feedback. When you include this, you get almost 1.5ºC, which is about the lower end of the uncertainty range of the consensus sensitivity.

    There´s a lot of literature about the quantification of this sensitivity. Actually, generations of scientists worked at it already, and it´s a more complex quantitification process than a blog post could handle.

    If your a layman like me (I assume you are), this text can be a good starting point for further information:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-sensitivity.htm

    Comment by Alexandre — 3 Mar 2010 @ 7:14 PM

  812. Adam (803) — Somebody went off on the wrong track. The Arrhenius formula for the forcing due to increased CO2 is well accepted as a decent approximation (and after several decades of digging the quantum mechanical details). So I used it in a conceptual model which accounts for all but 4% of the variance in decadally averaged GISTEMP; it is posted in comments on the Whatevergate thread.

    I just finished revising the conceptual model to use the AMO as an index of internal variablity and with this addition account for all bu 0.9% of the variance in decadally averaged GISTEMP. Either way, CO2 is indeed a climate driver, as is known and seen in IPCC AR4.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 3 Mar 2010 @ 7:58 PM

  813. Adam@803, Well, they utterly neglected pressure broadening, collisional broadening, etc. See the post:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument/

    Raypierre’s climat book has a more detailed treatment. Essentially CO2 forcing remains logarithmic well above 1000 ppmv. So, no, your correspondent did not disprove physics.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Mar 2010 @ 8:09 PM

  814. Gillies. On what basis would anyone say that recession is less survivable than rapid climate change? The only reason I can think of would be denying that there will be rapid climate change. I can find no evidence of economic downturns in mortality data but I could be wrong. On the other hand, the likely effects of hydrological cycle disruption, rapid loss of fertile deltas, and climate-driven migration seem likely to be quite deadly. Me, I would rather not take the risk – give me recession any day. That said I doubt we will lose 20% production capacity in 10 years, but since I work in oil exploration (among other things), I may be deluded.

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 3 Mar 2010 @ 8:32 PM

  815. Adam: Who sent you that — someone you know? If not, why do you consider that person a reliable source?

    You can look at the pictures. Search with Google Image Search. Here’s one of many examples of satellite infrared photography, day and night.
    (Notice the big lakes that look black in the daytime image (cooler than surrounding area) and look white in the nighttime image (warmer than the surrounding area.
    http://www.gly.uga.edu/railsback/CTW/AtlantaHeatMapsSlide.jpeg

    If all the infrared photons coming from the surface were being absorbed and re-emitted in random directions, you couldn’t see the ground. Same as when there’s enough fog in the air to completely intercept all the visual light and none of the photons reaching your eye came directly from the world on the other side of the fog, eh?

    Try another thought experiment: go outside at sunset.
    Hold your hand up in the sunlight as the sun is above the horizon.
    Hold it there til the sun sets. Feel any change? That’s infrared from the sun coming through the atmosphere. (It’s a small part of the total energy, but enough you can feel it). Compare how it feels at noon, when it’s coming through the atmosphere the narrow way instead of the long sideways way. Is having more air between you and the sun changing the warmth you feel?

    Try another experiment: get an infrared thermometer.
    Carbon dioxide is well mixed in the atmosphere.
    If it were completely absorbing the infrared from the planet, the clear sky would always be about the same temperature from zenith to horizon. Check and see what you find.
    http://mynasadata.larc.nasa.gov/P18.html

    Look it up.
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=measurement+outgoing+infrared+climate+prediction

    Read Spencer Weart’s book again.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Mar 2010 @ 8:42 PM

  816. Re: 803 Adam says: 3 March 2010 at 5:12 PM
    http://www.physforum.com/index.php?showtopic=7157&st=30
    “Someone sent me this trying to disprove AGW theory. Can anyone comment? ”

    This is the rebuttal, following on the same physforum page.

    “You’re using a single-slab atmospheric model, the same mistake early-century physicists made.

    “Let’s go over details through a thought experiment: Right now we have some atmosphere which has a temperature profile T(p) which decreases with altitude (with the dry or moist adiabat). Ps is the surface pressure, and Ts = T(Ps) because of heat transfer the surface must be near temperature of overlying air. Now the outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) looks like ??Ts^4 (from Stefan-Boltzmann law). Now put a gas in the atmosphere up higher at lower pressures (Ps > Px) where the gas is transparent to solar radiation, but interacts with infrared as to turn each portion of the atmosphere it is mixed with into a blackbody (a greenhouse gas). Since anything else other than these greenhouse gases (ex. nitrogen, oxygen, argon) are transparent to infrared you can’t measure the importance to be begin with as a function of quantity or mass in the atmosphere alone.

    “Now suppose you slice up the atmosphere into so many pieces as to make each slice isothermal. Each layer with a pressure greater than Px radiates like a blackbody at its temperature (with the energy flux emitted across all wavelengths proportional to the fourth power of the temperature). However, it is only the top layer which determines the radiation loss to space, and hence the heat balance of the planet. This is one reason why water vapor doesn’t overwhelm CO2 as discussed at because it gets drier as you go up to lower pressures in the colder part of the atmosphere. The radiation from all the other ones is absorbed before it reaches the topmost layer, so the OLR is ?T(Px)^4. As we put in more greenhouse gases, we increase the altitude of the effective radiating level, but clearly we can’t make the upper layers a blackbody (understand also that the tropopause has increased in height {e.g. Santer et al 2003} consistent with the warming atmosphere). This happens when the lower layers become opaque to infrared (which is where you are only looking at one layer, but even still, we aren’t near that point). If you go to the right place on the wings, quite a lot of the additional absorption is happening low down. The IR heating change is pretty uniformly distributed. Moreover, the whole troposphere is well mixed in heat, and is more or less constrained by convection to stay near the moist adiabat. In that sense, the vertical structure is largely fixed by convection, and the heating only sets the intercept (e.g.the lower trop temperature.)

    “So when you see a simplified version of the greenhouse effect on the internet (looking like solar radiation in, infrared out, gases absorb some infrared and re-radiate some downward) you should add to it: absorbed solar radiation determines the blackbody radiating temperature Tx. This is not the surface temperature, but the temperature at altitude Px, and Px is determined by the greenhouse gas concentration (where more greenhouse gases decreases Px). As you put in more greenhouse gases, it is more like a pinball effect where re-radiation goes downwards, upwards, collides with other molecules, etc but as you warm you increase the altitude of release to space increases, so even if you get saturated down below you will continue to warm (hence the non single slab atmospheric model).

    “In fact, if you look at the graphs on part 2 you’ll realize there is still extra areas to absorb at thousands of times pre-industrial CO2 levels, past the 22 µm or 11 µm wavelengths. In fact, you’d have to go beyond what is in the HITRAN database, but even a place like Venus is not truly saturated, and we will continue to warm (especially down at the 1 bar pressure where we’re at and at earth-like gravity) as we put in more greenhouse gases. Also, don’t forget that the Earth’s temperature has not yet risen enough to restore the energy balance as you have a lag time required to warm up the oceans and melt ice to equilibriate with conditions aloft (you can almost say we’re in 1980 in terms of what the oceans are doing) so even if everything stops today we will continue to warm and glaciers continue to melt as we equilibriate to new conditions which will take some decades. Obviously if we don’t stop, this keeps continuing. We know there is about 1 W/m^2 of imbalance with more solar radiation being absorbed and heat going in the ocean (inconsistent with interal variability but greenhouse gases) (see Hansen et al 2005) so we still have at least 0.6 degrees C “in the wings” if everything stopped today, and we’ll get about 3 C per 2x CO2 which is significant. — Chris”

    Comment by Tim Jones — 3 Mar 2010 @ 9:12 PM

  817. Ray Ladbury 579, you wrote in full:

    Yeah, BobFJ, we know: Oz is dry. And it’s getting drier–that’s what you get from statistics that you don’t get from poetry or photos. Try it sometime.

    Now perhaps you could try sometime reading my 809, including the opening of the data link therein. If not convinced and if you have time, also try sometime; 768, & 757, including the links and the earlier posts referenced therein.
    All the evidence I’ve seen suggests that your claim is false.
    Were you assuming in your“And it’s getting drier–that’s what you get from statistics“ that such statistics actually exist? If they do, can you cite them please…. I mean data, not opinion or vague statements!

    Comment by BobFJ — 3 Mar 2010 @ 9:14 PM

  818. Thanks, much to follow up on

    Comment by Adam — 3 Mar 2010 @ 9:22 PM

  819. @809 – BobFJ – as you point out, looking at very large areas is not helpful to determine local climate change. The areas that have suffered the extended drought are a much smaller area lying within the areas that you’ve looked at. Australia is a big country and the Murray Darling covers the two longest rivers in the country – which is a huge area.

    Some parts may have had rain, but if I look at the bottom chart, even within the entire Murray Darling catchment, it looks as if there has not been such a long period in the past during which the lower than average annual rain was not ‘broken’ by one or more years of higher than average rain.

    The ‘unprecedented’ refers to the fact that there wasn’t an intervening year to break the long dry period in parts of south eastern Australia (which is not the area that the charts reference). It doesn’t necessarily refer to the average rain over the whole period.

    Also, farmers need rain at a particular time of the year to grow crops and pastures. So you need to look at when it rains, what sort of rainfall and for how long (ie torrential rain in a short period that runs off vs more prolonged rain at the right time of the year).

    I’m still not quite sure of what your point is except maybe to show that over decades, average decadel rain over the whole of Australia looks like it’s rising and there is no clear trend for the whole of the Murray Darling in terms of rainfall. The Murray Darling basin extends way up north, including areas way beyond south eastern Australia.

    The climate has obviously changed in many parts of Australia, as shown by the rising temperatures and recent rainfall patterns. It’s likely that much of southern Australia will be hotter and drier, and parts of northern Australia will be wetter in the future.

    Comment by Sou — 3 Mar 2010 @ 9:43 PM

  820. Regarding “a Saturated Gassy Argument,”

    “What happens to infrared radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface? As it moves up layer by layer through the atmosphere, some is stopped in each layer. To be specific: a molecule of carbon dioxide, water vapor or some other greenhouse gas absorbs a bit of energy from the radiation. The molecule may radiate the energy back out again in a random direction. Or it may transfer the energy into velocity in collisions with other air molecules, so that the layer of air where it sits gets warmer. The layer of air radiates some of the energy it has absorbed back toward the ground, and some upwards to higher layers. As you go higher, the atmosphere gets thinner and colder. Eventually the energy reaches a layer so thin that radiation can escape into space.”

    Would someone please explain the nature of a “layer” as it’s used here? How thick or thin are they? What would define an edge of air?

    Comment by Tim Jones — 3 Mar 2010 @ 9:54 PM

  821. Dear Adam 803,

    Radiation from the ghg is not absorbed a single time, but multiple times. The result is that radiation from the atmosphere in the regions where the ghgs absorb can only be emitted to space from colder, upper levels the troposphere. Since these llevels are colder the ghgs there emit more slowly than at the ground

    Thus more radiation has to come at wavelengths where the ghgs don’t absorb in order to maintain radiative balance. To do this the surface and the lower layers of the atmosphere have to warm.

    The first paragraph in 803 is true, everything else leaves out something important. To get an idea of the most important thing that is left out, at the surface the atmospheric density is ~2 10^25 molecules/m3, (look up Loschmidt’s number) or at 380 ppm CO2 7.6 10^21 molecules of CO2/m. For a cross-section of 5 10^-22 m2/molecule, the distance that a photon will go before being absorbed will be

    7.6 10^21 molecules/m3 x 5 10^-22 m2/molecule ~ 1/3.5 per meter

    (technically this is the distance 67% of the photons in the 15 micron band would go before being absorbed),

    After about a meter ~95% of the light will be absorbed (the cross-section looks a bit big to me, probably is the sum over the band and not for individual lines, but what the heck). As the radiation is sequentially absorbed and emitted many times some of it moves up in the atmosphere where the temperature is lower.

    When the mixing ratio of CO2 or other ghgs increase, the level at which the they emit to space moves up to an even colder level, where the emission rate slows down even more.

    Effectively, no light in the ghg bands can escape to space until you get up to about 10 km, where the density is low enough above you that a photon emitted from CO2 will escape.** However the 10 km temperature is ~220 K. The rate at which an excited CO2 molecule can emit a photon depends strongly on the temperature. Up high, the rate is much slower than down low.

    **The general idea holds, but you have to consider pressure broadening and other effects to get an accurate calculation.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 3 Mar 2010 @ 10:39 PM

  822. 781, Barton Paul Levenson: US: 42% of new electrical generating capacity last year was wind, after 35% in 2008.

    With your permission, I would like to copy that to the “societal inertia” thread. Or you could, if you think it is relevant. I think there is lots of information to the effect that, at least on the alternative energy production side, societal inertia is being overcome.

    It’s just that wind energy is expensive, due in part to its intermittency, so benefits will be in future decades after production prices and backup storage have been significantly improved.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 3 Mar 2010 @ 11:38 PM

  823. Sou, Reur 819;
    Thankyou for your thoughtful and interesting comments.
    As a quick response, I take it that you are more interested in what has been happening in so-called SE Oz rather than the total “big basin“. I’m inclined to agree because of the annual volatility in “the basin”, primarily in the Darling system, although the BOM 11-year smoothing (black line) is of some importance in determining significant decadel trends.
    I’m planning to do a compilation of the annual (regional) mapping of data per BOM, but have hesitated as to whether to do it for “the whole basin” or just the SE. (there is a lot of editing such as resizing and assembly). I prefer the latter choice, much in line with your thoughts.
    Here for reference is SE Oz for the past 12 months:
    http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/awap/rain/index.jsp?colour=colour&time=latest&step=0&map=totals&period=12month&area=seaus
    Here is the Murray Darling Basin over the same period, which, as you say; is a huge area:
    http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/awap/rain/index.jsp?colour=colour&time=latest&step=0&map=totals&period=12month&area=md

    Comment by BobFJ — 4 Mar 2010 @ 12:23 AM

  824. Creationists discover that anthropogenic global warming can be used to catalyze teaching of religion in schools:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/science/earth/04climate.html?hp

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Mar 2010 @ 1:13 AM

  825. @817 BobFJ, you asked for statistics. Here are some for Victoria in south eastern Australia, which is what I was referring to. It’s abundantly clear that since 1900, there has never been a longer period of below average rainfall as this past decade, if you look at the rainfall anomaly for Victoria.

    And since 1900 there has never been a period of such high temperatures as this past decade as shown by the maximum temperature anomaly for Victoria.

    Remember that if you look at the whole of Australia you are including the wet tropical north right down to what used to be cold Tasmania (where I believe that sales of air conditioners are on the rise). The Murray Darling catchment extends from Queensland in the north, through NSW to Victoria and South Australia in the south.

    I’ve read that people are starting to look at how climate change will affect extremes of temperature – not just the ‘average’. It’s the extremes that are the most difficult to adapt to.

    Comment by Sou — 4 Mar 2010 @ 1:42 AM

  826. Phil 804 :” On what basis would anyone say that recession is less survivable than rapid climate change? ”
    Obviously this question doesn’t make sense if you don’t precise how much warming and which recession. -50% recession is much probably worse than +0.1°C, and – 1% recession is better than +10 °C. So the question is more : what the “effective cost” of warming compared to a recession, what is the “value” of 1°C warming for instance ? or may be is there a non linear relationship with a runaway threshold , but which one and where is the threshold ?
    I think one of the main problem of GW is that the answer is mainly unknown. There are (very few) estimates, like Stern’s one, but there are far from being validated. So basically we’re told that the warming is dangerous, but we don’t know exactly when, and that the climate sensitivity is still uncertain, so we know even less how much fossil fuel we should burn and when we should stop using them. But obviously fossil fuels ARE unescapable to sustain a modern society , so stopping using them would cause a complete collapse : something like a – 90 % recession. And even limiting access to fossil fuels means preventing potentially poor people to become a little bit richer. So how can you expect that people stop willingly using something that is obviously needed to sustain their life , to face an uncertain danger than nobody can quantify properly ?

    “I can find no evidence of economic downturns in mortality data but I could be wrong. ”

    look at Russia

    “On the other hand, the likely effects of hydrological cycle disruption, rapid loss of fertile deltas, and climate-driven migration seem likely to be quite deadly. Me, I would rather not take the risk – give me recession any day. ”

    there is a very simple way to participate both to recession and reduction of CO2 : just don’t use a fair part of your income and put it on a blocked bank account …


    That said I doubt we will lose 20% production capacity in 10 years, but since I work in oil exploration (among other things), I may be deluded.

    I said in 20 years ;-).
    So interesting that you work in oil exploration. Do you think we will let under the ground the oil you’re discovering ? the fact that we still look for new resources is the best evidence that what I’m saying is true, isn’t it ?

    Comment by Gilles — 4 Mar 2010 @ 1:43 AM

  827. Tim Jones 820

    I believe that “layer” is just used a pedagogical technique to emphasize that temperature and pressure change as one moves up in the atmosphere, it’s not a uniform slab. It’s the same idea as “levels” used in the next post (821)

    Put your paragraph in “a Saturated Gassy Argument” back in context by including the previous paragraph:

    “…Nobody was interested in thinking about the matter deeply enough to notice the flaw in the argument. The scientists were looking at warming from ground level, so to speak, asking about the radiation that reaches and leaves the surface of the Earth. Like Ångström, they tended to treat the atmosphere overhead as a unit, as if it were a single sheet of glass. (Thus the “greenhouse” analogy.) But this is not how global warming actually works.

    What happens to infrared radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface? As it moves up layer by layer through the atmosphere, some is stopped in each layer. To be specific: a molecule of carbon dioxide,…”

    Five layers of the atmosphere are defined( http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/earth/Atmosphere/layers.html ) with different general properties but I don’t believe “gassy” is trying to be that specific.

    Comment by John Peter — 4 Mar 2010 @ 2:51 AM

  828. tim: “Would someone please explain the nature of a “layer” as it’s used here? How thick or thin are they?”

    It’s the same meaning as an interval in a newton-raphson numerical solution.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Mar 2010 @ 5:18 AM

  829. dt: “Biomass is essentially just coal gasificiaton (ala Lurgi at SASOL), but with the additonal cost of feedstock gathering ”

    And the additional benefit of not being fossilised CO2.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Mar 2010 @ 5:38 AM

  830. Cur back on the histrionics, Bev A.

    [edit]

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Mar 2010 @ 5:39 AM

  831. Further to the stuff on fractured hot rocks, the rocks are not necessarily dry. Some of the sites in Australia have high-pressure water embedded in them. I know the chief scientist at Geodynamics, and this stuff is not only for real, but has many decades of hard science and engineering behind it. He delivered the dinner speech at the 2009 Qld IEEE AGM and I’ve never seen an audience of engineers get so involved in a talk. They peppered him with questions as he spoke, and were pretty impressed with his mastery of the detail. Geodynamics have a capacity to drill to 6km, and considerable experience of the practicalities of getting into full-scale production. This stuff is hard, but not impossible. Once they have the technical problems sorted, they will produce largely pollution-free electricity, with mostly maintenance costs, punctuated by the occasional need to drill again as temperatures under ground drop.

    Their last attempt at setting up a pilot well came unstuck because they tried to use too high a grade of steel that suffered from hydrogen embrittlement arising from dissolved gases in he water.

    This is impressive stuff and a tour of the Geodynamics web site is well worth a visit (and no, no one pays me to promote them).

    It’s ironic that Australia is a world leader in one of the more promising alternatives to fossil fueled electricity as well as one of the world leaders in promoting coal. And it’s great this once to be able to report Australia is not only a haven of denialists.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 4 Mar 2010 @ 5:44 AM

  832. Thomas (794),

    1. Earth has an orbital velocity of almost 30 kilometers per second. You have to kill that to “fall into the sun.” I advise reviewing your Newtonian mechanics.

    2. The 25% figure is for the GASOLINE-powered cars in Brazil, NOT the ETHANOL-powered cars. Read carefully.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Mar 2010 @ 5:54 AM

  833. Gilles (799): Relative to the grid, it [electric power from wind in Denmark] will never exceed 20 %

    BPL: Says who? You?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Mar 2010 @ 5:57 AM

  834. Adam (803): CO2 has many absorption lines throughout the spectrum, not just at 15 microns. For example, there are major peaks at 2.75 and 4.3 microns.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Mar 2010 @ 6:02 AM

  835. Adam (803),

    In addition, there is another problem with the guy’s model. The carbon dioxide molecules are not hovering, they are in motion. The root-mean-square velocity for CO2 at 250 K is 376 meters per second. If we consider the atmosphere a uniform slab 8 km thick, it takes a photon 2.67 x 10^-5 seconds to traverse that distance (if going straight up, if at an angle, it takes longer). In that time a CO2 molecule has moved 0.01 meter — which is about 793 million times its absorption cross-section. Your photon is not passing by points, but by streaks.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Mar 2010 @ 6:52 AM

  836. Sorry, 793 million times the RADIUS of the absorption cross-section. My bad.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Mar 2010 @ 6:53 AM

  837. SM–sure, go ahead. Here are all the figures I could get from DOE:

    2004 4%
    2005 12%
    2006 19%
    2007 35%
    2008 42%

    I don’t know what the figure for 2009 was, so when I said “last year” I was thinking it was still 2009…

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Mar 2010 @ 6:55 AM

  838. in post 707 I linked to an article in Reason and the study that the article referred to
    Article title “Everyone Who Knows What They’re Talking About Agrees with Me –
    And everyone who doesn’t wears a tin foil hat”

    The opening of the article is this:
    “Is man-made global warming happening? Can nuclear waste be stored safely? Do concealed handguns reduce violence? Think about those questions for a minute. Then think about your thinking: Why do you hold those particular views on these controversial issues? And do scientific experts agree with you?

    The Yale Cultural Cognition Project has been probing the question of cultural polarization over scientific risk issues for a number of years. The project’s latest working paper, “Cultural Cognition of Scientific Consensus,” analyzes the question: “Why do members of the public disagree—sharply and persistently—about facts on which expert scientists largely agree?” As examples of strong expert scientific consensus, researchers led by Yale University law professor Daniel Kahan selected three recent National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reports dealing with climate change, nuclear waste, and gun possession.”

    Its a very good thought exercise – what do you think about the 3 issues mentioned and why do you think it?
    It challenged me and also reminded me why some arguments (the consensus of scientists is that X …..) cannot convince people of certain facts depending on their world viewpoints. It is not that they are irrational, lying, etc etc. Assuming that those are the reasons sends you down the wrong path to try and get them to review, rewind and rethink.
    So what can a web site like Real Climate do to get past the mind blocks that make people unable to see the proof that their opinion is wrong.
    Much of what it is doing – putting out basic facts, hosting a forum for the discussion of the science, questions, issues.

    Maybe it could also add some discussion topics aimed at the types of groups that the Yale study identified -

    “Hierarchicalists prefer a social order where people have clearly defined roles based on stable characteristics such as class, race, or gender. Egalitarians want to reduce racial, gender, and income inequalities. Individualists expect people to succeed or fail on their own, while Communitarians believe that society is obligated to take care of everyone. Generally speaking, Individualists tend to dismiss claims of environmental risks because they fear such claims will be used to fetter markets and other arenas of individual achievement. Hierarchicalists tend to see claims of environmental risk as a subversive tactic aiming to undermine a stable social order. In contrast, Egalitarians and Communitarians dislike markets and industry for creating disparities in wealth and power. In fact, they readily believe that such disparities generate environmental risks that must be regulated.”

    A lot of skeptics come across as being “Individualists” who doubt the science not because its unproven or whatever the latest claim is – but because they fear the actions that might result so much that they are incapable of accepting the science. (Until something really paradigm shattering happens). I’m not sure how you break the tie in their minds that accepting AGW is real means somehow that free markets will be damaged. They take that as a given but is it? How can that belief be challenged. Break the link and they may rethink and help move forward versus being the anchor that holds everyone back.

    Comment by Donna — 4 Mar 2010 @ 8:41 AM

  839. But obviously fossil fuels ARE unescapable to sustain a modern society – Gilles

    No. You have repeatedly asserted this, but you have not shown it to be true.

    the fact that we still look for new resources is the best evidence that what I’m saying is true, isn’t it ?

    Well, since it isn’t evidence that what you’re saying is true at all (it’s simply evidence that the companies concerned expect to make a profit), that suggests that we can be absolutely confident that what you are saying is false. I’m not quite that sanguine.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 4 Mar 2010 @ 9:44 AM

  840. #815, No, this is no one that I know. I found this information while researching a denailist claim and I wanted more clarification. I knew I could get to the bottom of it here, thanks for taking the time.

    Also, this may be entertaining, (on Realclimate’s moderation vs. Watts):

    “Climate “scientists” Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann set up the RealClimate website with the help of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenton_CommunicationsFenton Communications.

    ‘Nuff said.”

    You should take it up at his blog site RealClimate, they welcome all opinions unlike Watts.

    “Oh, that is just rich. That is the perfect converse of reality. RealClimate is the reason I discovered Anthony Watt’s blog in the first place. I got tired of getting into debates with people on RealClimate, and then having everything after my first one or two posts “moderated”, i.e. deleted, repeatedly. And then I started wondering why Gavin was always posting these long diatribes about something posted on a blog called (Watts).

    So, I should probably thank Gavin. If not for the way every question asked, and every discussion attempted, was so obnoxiously dismissed, I might not ever have taken a peek at what was behind the CAGW curtain.”

    I certainly have had the opposite experience, Watts wont post my questions that challenge his nonsense. Has anyone else had the same experieince?

    Comment by Adam — 4 Mar 2010 @ 10:32 AM

  841. This makes me mad — http://jrsm.rsmjournals.com/cgi/content/full/103/3/77?ct=ct — an editorial in a medical journal, no less, equating the whole of climate science with the “vaccine causes autism” single article that was retracted.

    Don’t those medical guys get it? They are the ones who are so conservative — part of the rich class — that they are the ones tempted to deny serious problems, unless there’s a buck in it for them. I’m thinking of the editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine against Sandra Steingraber’s book, LIVING DOWN STREAM: AN ECOLOGISTS LOOKS AT CANCER AND THE ENVIRONMENT — the editor worked for W.R. Grace, the company that polluted the water in Woburn, MA.

    If a large body of scientists tell us something that really doesn’t benefit anyone and is very dangerous, we’d better believe it. If one scientist tells us something that harmful to us people, but benefits some frankencorportation for which he/she works, we’d better be very skeptical, very skeptical…

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 4 Mar 2010 @ 10:38 AM

  842. “I’m not sure how you break the tie in their minds that accepting AGW is real means somehow that free markets will be damaged.” What free market? The Government sets the money supply, not the market. The Government sets intentionally inequitable tax policies (e.g. Oil Depletion Allowance) to further political/social policy. The Government provides insurance to select market sectors (Wall Street bailout, legal caps on Nuclear Industry liability). If there’s not enough money to supply the trillions needed to bail out Wall Street, pay Blackwater and Halliburton to fight wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and keep the Social Security checks flowing, Government just cranks up the printing presses, and the “free market” price of a loaf of bread goes from $2.79 to $3.48, even though my demand and the grocery store supply haven’t changed.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 4 Mar 2010 @ 11:41 AM

  843. Donna@838,
    I’ve enjoyed your posts and found value in the references you’ve provided. I’d be interested in your take on something. I have repeatedly tried to engage those who reject the science by pointing out that by concentrating on rejecting the science, they are merely abdicating their place at the negotiating table when it comes to how to mitigate climate change.

    I’ve also pointed out that the longer we wait to address this crisis, the more we will require draconian action to mitigate the risk, and the more individual liberty will be compromised.

    I am afraid that these arguments fall on deaf ears. The irony is that they would prefer to attack the science–which they don’t understand–than try to develop mitigation strategies consistent with their world views.

    It really makes me wonder how much confidence they have in free markets and democracy if they think they cannot cope with these challenges.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Mar 2010 @ 12:20 PM

  844. We’ve got even more interesting problems now:

    Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targets
    By LESLIE KAUFMAN
    Published: March 3, 2010
    Critics of evolution are gaining ground by linking the issue to climate change, arguing that dissenting views on both should be taught in public schools.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/science/earth/04climate.html

    Comment by Peter Backes — 4 Mar 2010 @ 12:36 PM

  845. Donna says: 4 March 2010 at 8:41 AM

    I’m not sure how you break the tie in their minds that accepting AGW is real means somehow that free markets will be damaged. They take that as a given but is it? How can that belief be challenged. Break the link and they may rethink and help move forward versus being the anchor that holds everyone back.

    I keep on resorting to analogy on this, usually relying on disgusting example of sewage, an example we can all understand.

    In bygone days in New York City, households depended on cesspits and honeywagons to dispose of household sewage. Cesspits were almost completely “free” both in that they were negligibly expensive and they were unregulated except by local olfactory tolerance.

    As the population pressure in New York City increased, this system proved inadequate and thus these freedoms were eroded and eventually entirely erased. Vast sums of money were spent to deal with the collective effluent stream of millions of people and by common consent individual choice in this matter was stripped away.

    Yet New York City remains arguably the center of gravity of the free market world. It turns out that compartmentalization is possible; regulation of particular human activities and their impacts does not result in the erasure of the free market.

    Sometimes we need to come together and agree there’s a grownup in the house to tell us what to do. The grownup is us.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Mar 2010 @ 1:09 PM

  846. RE- Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 March 2010 @ 8:42 PM:

    I am a little confused by your explanation:

    “Try another thought experiment: go outside at sunset. Hold your hand up in the sunlight as the sun is above the horizon. Hold it there til the sun sets. Feel any change? That’s infrared from the sun coming through the atmosphere.”

    I thought that it was mostly visible light that penetrates the atmosphere and heats the surface and your hand. You seem to be saying that electromagnetic radiation in IR frequencies is more effective than visible frequencies for heating the earth. Please clarify.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 4 Mar 2010 @ 1:29 PM

  847. Eli has worked REALLY hard to come up with an explanation of the greenhouse effect your (and his) mom would understand. It sweeps away a lot of cobwebs, IEHO, of course:)

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 4 Mar 2010 @ 2:04 PM

  848. “I thought that it was mostly visible light that penetrates the atmosphere and heats the surface and your hand.”

    Fish, read the rest of it. You quoted but didn’t read.

    READ:

    “That’s infrared from the sun coming through the atmosphere. (It’s a small part of the total energy, but enough you can feel it).”
    [edit]

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Mar 2010 @ 2:47 PM

  849. The IR from the sun, is colloquially (among spectroscopists, but WTH) called NIR or near IR and is pretty much gone at 3 microns. The so called fingerprint region, which is what most people mean by IR when they talk about molecules, goes from 2-20 microns roughly. OTOH people who do video call the NIR or anything longer that ~0.8 microns the IR.

    Can’t tell the IR without a scorecard. BTW, this is also a goodie from Eli’s favorite drink, G&T

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 4 Mar 2010 @ 3:56 PM

  850. Gillies – if you stopped using fossil fuel tomorrow, then I think your dire predictions would indeed be true. I suspect that if we stopped finding any oil tomorrow just to maintain production, then the results would also be catastrophic. The Kyoto request however was not to stop fossil fuel consumption but to reduce CO2 emissions to 1990 levels. I think this level is too risky to but a great start. This is also a very long way from “stopping using fossil fuels altogether”. Oil and coal are fantastically useful substances – I think we will use them, but using them for energy is a mistake. Sooner or later we have to find an alternative so lets do it now. Kill all subsidies on fossil fuel for starters – how does that kill your economy? Kill all new fossil fuel generation. That will sure hurt some parts of the economy and stimulate others but I have great faith in the capitalist system to create workable alternatives. The energy is there.

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 4 Mar 2010 @ 3:58 PM

  851. @47,

    I don’t see any indication from either of those CA links that McIntyre actually “audited” Douglass, et al, in spite of Santer telling him that he’d certainly find something that was right up a statistician’s alley if he did so.

    I do see that McIntyre’s choice of words in introductory paragraphs paints a picture of a scientific environment “unfairly” tilted against Douglass, et al.

    It’s clear that McIntyre isn’t interesteding “auditing” to provide clarity or to enhance accuracy, the man has an agenda.

    I’m shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

    Comment by Charlie H — 4 Mar 2010 @ 4:02 PM

  852. Eli Rabett says: 4 March 2010 at 2:04 PM

    Yes that’s all fine and wonderful but where are the nits to pick? This is a primate grooming exercise, not science.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Mar 2010 @ 4:03 PM

  853. At least some reporters in the Grauniad are doing their job right:

    “Evidence from a respected scientific body to a parliamentary inquiry examining the behaviour of climate-change scientists, was drawn from an energy industry consultant who argues that global warming is a religion, the Guardian can reveal…

    “The Guardian has established that the institute prepared its evidence, which was highly critical of the CRU scientists, after inviting views from Peter Gill, an IOP official who is head of a company in Surrey called Crestport Services.”

    Comment by Former Skeptic — 4 Mar 2010 @ 6:28 PM

  854. #840, Amen.

    Comment by J. Bob — 4 Mar 2010 @ 6:44 PM

  855. Sou, Reur 825/p17
    You refer to rainfall stats for Victoria, which for the benefit of other readers here is the smallest mainland state in Oz, and which is dwarfed by adjacent South Australia and NSW. It is true that for Victoria that BOM data shows more continuous low rainfall in the last 12 years or so, and worse than between 1900 and ~1945 in individual durations.

    However, for South Australia and NSW, the low rainfalls between 1900 and ~1945 were very much more severe and prolonged, than in recent times. Furthermore, the recent droughts in both SA & NSW are far less severe than in Victoria. It is thus wrong to say that South East Australia (or all of Oz) has experienced an unprecedented 12-year drought, based on the BOM data. (anomaly graphs) e.g. here follows SA:

    Like I said before, there are regional variations, and there have been worse droughts in the past. (including massive stock losses)

    Comment by BobFJ — 4 Mar 2010 @ 7:28 PM

  856. > Steve Fish
    > You seem to be saying [something different than was written down]
    > Please clarify.

    See Eli for clarification and Science.

    I offered a handwaving (or handwarming) thought experiment to show thicker atmosphere attenuates perceptible infrared, no ‘seem to be’ saying beyond it.

    As Eli says, solar infrared is about gone at 3 microns; this goes to 5 microns: http://bass2000.obspm.fr/solar_spect.php?step=1
    http://www.unitconversion.org/length/angstroms-to-microns-conversion.html

    Anyone have a comparable tool showing the spectrum of outgoing radiation?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Mar 2010 @ 7:59 PM

  857. An excellent history of what happened at that Madrid IPCC WGI Plenary meeting. I remember it all too well. I was part of the group set up by Sir John to work on the Chapter 8 summary. The only thing I remember differently is that Sir John’s original draft SPM was some 30 pages long – clearly far too long to be discussed line-by-line. In the end we took the outputs of groups like yours.

    All the very best,
    John

    Comment by John Stone — 4 Mar 2010 @ 8:35 PM

  858. RE- Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 March 2010 @ 2:47 PM:

    I read just fine. That was a nasty comment, but since you have volunteered to answer my question– If the infra red (at frequencies relevant to Hank’s CO2 experiment) are a very small part of sunshine that would mostly be intercepted by CO2 on the way down, how could you detect the warming from this very small component with your hand relative to the primary visible component that heats the earth for the greenhouse effect? Visible light would heat your hand.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 4 Mar 2010 @ 9:15 PM

  859. Forgive me if I missed it – did Fred Pearce ever respond to these 2 RC articles? Just done a search for the word “Pearce” on the last 2 pages and come up with zip…

    Comment by Guy — 5 Mar 2010 @ 1:42 AM

  860. Former Skeptic says: 4 March 2010 at 6:28 PM

    Further to IOPGate, how about some cherry picking:

    “The institute says its evidence was based on suggestions from the energy subcommittee of its science board. It would not reveal who sat on this sub-commitee, but confirmed that Gill was a member.

    A spokeswoman for the institute said Gill was not the main source of information nor did the evidence primarily reflect his views; other members of the sub-commitee were also critical of CRU. However the IOP would not reveal names because they would get “dragged into a very public and highly politicised debate”.

    The institute supplied a statement from an anonymous member of its science board, which said: “The institute should feel relaxed about the process by which it generated what is, anyway, a statement of the obvious.” It added: “The points [the submission] makes are ones which we continue to support, that science should be practised openly and in an unbiased way. However much we sympathise with the way in which CRU researchers have been confronted with hostile requests for information, we believe the case for openness remains just as strong.”

    Evan Harris, a member of the science and technology select committee, said: “Members of the Institute of Physics … may be concerned that the IOP is not as transparent as those it wishes to criticise.”

    I like the idea that they’re allowed to throw gasoline on a “highly politicized debate” but get all shy and bashful about the prospect of accountability for supplying more fuel. An exercise in hypocrisy if ever there was one.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 Mar 2010 @ 3:11 AM

  861. 840: Adam says: “I certainly have had the opposite experience, Watts wont post my questions that challenge his nonsense. Has anyone else had the same experieince?”

    Watts sometimes goes one better it seems: http://shewonk.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/a-note-to-readers/#comment-1509

    “In one of my last posting names (Bill, TFP) I was effectively banned when he decided to just about posted the name of my employer (Your electronics company there in the UK has a contract with the U.S. Navy for some avionics test systems). I believe this was a threat to inform my employer that I was posting on their computers (actually in break times!). He’s done this to others who post from universities (I know you post from xx uni – use your real name or do not post again).”

    Comment by J Bowers — 5 Mar 2010 @ 6:53 AM

  862. Ray 843
    Like you I am struggling with the question – the argument that you presented is one that I think would influence people. The reality is that in some ways AGW is an opportunity for an explosion of new technologies, businesses. The best approaches for dealing with the issue aren’t known and being engaged now, taking a seat at the table instead of allowing your views on a different subject to act like ear plugs is the best way to see that the opportunties aren’t lost.
    I’ve tried to think of analogies – there was a huge resistence to the idea that germs caused disease. Germs were too small and so could not possibly hurt a person. Other things in the past had been ‘proven’ to cause disease. Just being exposed to certain bacteria did not always cause disease so it had to be something else. It all sounds so familiar.
    After a while though the proof just grew too large and once treatments based on the germ theory were really proven to work, then resistence to germ theory became relegated to the fringes of medicine.
    Now most people don’t even know that germ theory was controversial or how hard fought it was. The opponents of germ theory were not dumb people and had they bought into the idea earlier, they likely could have have helped medicine advance sooner so their resistence can be seen as costing lives.
    But these arguments that convince me are because I can “hear” them. If opponents lock down into automatic listening the instant the terms are used, then they can’t hear any of this. I suspect thats why those commercials were made with people like Gingrich saying that AGW was real – trying to get past the filters but even that did not work.
    That’s when I get frustrated. Germ theory got accepted after enough people sickened/even died that advocates of germ theory could prove that they could save. Do we really have to have that happen? Does some catestrophic event have to happen that can be proven to be AGW related to get the resistence moved to the fringes?

    I don’t know – there has to be a better path. Maybe pushing for them to answer the hypothetical like – okay so you don’t think its real etc but if it was, what types of things do you think could be done. Get them talking about ways that the problem can be mitigated using approaches that they feel are good and they just might remove the ear plugs long enough to let some of the facts get heard.

    Comment by Donna — 5 Mar 2010 @ 7:35 AM

  863. Doug 845
    I like the analogy and again – like a lot of others, it is one that would convince me. I wonder though if I would be convinced because I don’t automatically react to the idea of some government regulation with horror.

    I’ll bet some of the deniers launch into a diatribe on all the sins of the New York City sewage system etc. Which might be the opportunity to ask – what would you have done to get the problem resolved differently?
    We’re just at the time when we’re learning and we’ve got the chance now to pick the path forward. If you think that there was a better approach to dealing with the sewage problem, the green house gas problem lay it out now. Maybe if they are moved into showing how it would actually work, then they would have to use the science that they dismiss now to prove that they are right. That would be pretty interesting to see how quickly all the arguments on the science faded since now they need it to advocate for their proposed actions.

    Comment by Donna — 5 Mar 2010 @ 7:58 AM

  864. @BPL (832)
    1) Sir, regarding my suggestion to send nuclear waste into the sun, please see the forest and not each tree. Surely if we can hit the moon, we can hit the sun. I hope I do not have to present the calculations to prove that assertion. But to speak to your details: I am well acquainted with Newtonian Mechanics. You should have considered that my (personal) kick would offset the inertial movement to orbit the sun, and that my momentum would have been equal and opposite in force to do so. Clearly my mass would have to equal the mass of nuclear waste as well for exact offset – but I am also spinning off into the void …[multiple puns intended :)] I advise you review NASA’s extra-orbital probe missions.
    2) I well understood that the 100 million cars in Brazil are not ALL 75% gasoline. Did you understand (842) above (who apparently lives there) that there are not 100 million but only 25 million cars in Brazil? According to this source [http://www.fiesp.com.br/derex/promocao_comercial/pdf/apresentacao_carlos.pdf],
    Ethanol accounts for 50% of the fuel, including E25. This number is no doubt volume, which makes the consumption look bigger than the actual work done as BTUs. Assuming at least 25% of the 25 million MAY be diesel/biodiesel (probably the former), my ballpark guess would be that it represents only 25% of the actual BTUs input into transportation. Don’t forget that ethanol (and indeed biodiesel-which are largely glycol-type compounds) is what I term “pre-oxidized fuel”, meaning they already contain oxygen, thereby explaining the lower energy content vs BOTH gasoline and diesel, on BOTH a volumetric and weight basis. Read (& research your facts more) carefully.
    Kindest Regards,

    PS – @Ray (739) – thanks for the info on Thomas at Chennai – I was aware, but am jealous of your trip! As a Xtian chemist & chemical engineer, I think it’s a shame his book was excluded from the decisions at Nicea.
    PPS – Sorry again Gavin…just couldn’t help myself…most humble apologies and THANKS!

    Comment by doubting Thomas — 5 Mar 2010 @ 11:08 AM

  865. “864
    doubting Thomas says:
    5 March 2010 at 11:08 AM

    @BPL (832)
    1) Sir, regarding my suggestion to send nuclear waste into the sun, please see the forest and not each tree. Surely if we can hit the moon, we can hit the sun.”

    Says someone who doesn’t know the first thing about orbital mechanics…

    What do you do with all the gravitational potential energy out here, Thomas? there’s no aerobraking available between here and the sun.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Mar 2010 @ 11:48 AM

  866. @855 BobFJ I still don’t understand what you’re trying to show or say. All I’m saying is that the CSIRO models predict hotter and drier climate in parts of southern Australia and wetter climates in parts of the north.

    That seems to be already happening. Clearly it’s getting hotter. We’ll probably have to wait a bit to see if the rainfall patterns are shifting permanently as well.

    Victoria might be small, but it’s home to about 22% of Australians and is as big as the UK – and I believe the climate of Scotland differs from that of Devon.

    South Australia is the driest state in this second driest continent. The chart you showed for South Australia illustrates its rainfall over the whole State has improved over the years if anything. When it was drier it was cooler, unlike Victoria when it was drier recently it coincided with record temperatures, which only made it all worse.

    It’s a mistake to confuse dry climate or generally low rainfall with drought. If that were the case then the Simpson Desert would be permanently in drought. Drought is when the rainfall is below average for a shorter period of time – from a few months to a few years, not decades. Different parts of Australia suffer drought periodically. Once drought goes for a longer period of time it becomes the new ‘climate’ or the norm. It’s likely that much of south eastern and south western Australia will soon be recognised as being drier than they used to be, accepting that lower rainfall is a permanent feature – and that there’ll be a tougher test for ‘drought’ in future.

    Are you trying to say that climate change isn’t happening or isn’t even going to happen? I wish you’d be more clear, then perhaps we wouldn’t be talking at cross purposes. We might even be saying the same thing – who knows?

    If you’re wanting to disregard local climate and just look at all of Australia, well the temperature over all is rising – even though it’s such a big area and temperature rises in some parts are much greater than others – and in a few rare spots the temperature isn’t rising at all. But you won’t see as clear a trend in total rainfall over the whole country because it spans drier and wetter areas.

    Comment by Sou — 5 Mar 2010 @ 12:56 PM

  867. Donna says: 5 March 2010 at 7:58 AM

    “I wonder though if I would be convinced because I don’t automatically react to the idea of some government regulation with horror.”

    Well, you could slightly modify and bring the argument closer to home, asking “If you’re ok with being free to end your household sewer pipe in your neighbor’s yard, will you extend the same freedom to your neighbor, in your own yard?” Which of course leads to the notion of cooperating with your neighbor to have both sewers end somewhere else, which ineluctably and ultimately leads to the concept of civil society and government.

    Hardcore free marketeers walk with their heads in the clouds, I’m afraid, ignoring such prosaic matters as flushing their own toilets. If you can’t get ‘em to acknowledge something as simple as that, they’re sadly intractable and must be ignored or shoved aside.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 Mar 2010 @ 2:07 PM

  868. > cooperating with your neighbor … sewers
    Example: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/02/science/02bag.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Mar 2010 @ 2:56 PM

  869. Doubting Thomas,
    BTW, the orbital mechanics for solar orbits are quite challenging. Look at what it took to get Messenger to Venus:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_assist

    Also, keep in mind that until it loses a lot of energy, what goes in, comes out again, and an accident spreading nuclear waste over the globe would not be a good thing. Orbital mechanics is after all a many-body problem, AND it takes $10000 grand just to lift a coke can into orbit.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Mar 2010 @ 3:01 PM

  870. Eli said (821), … Up high, the rate at which an excited CO2 molecule can emit a photon is much slower than down low.

    Is that correct? I thought the higher the temp the more likely a vibrational energy level will be filled and the less likely it is to emit its energy. Am I backwards with this?

    Comment by Rod B — 5 Mar 2010 @ 4:05 PM

  871. CFU (865), did you say we don’t have the ability or capability to launch a payload into the Sun?

    Comment by Rod B — 5 Mar 2010 @ 4:57 PM

  872. @Ray(869) Thanks, your response was more constructive than CFU (F=Fed, right?), but perhaps Rod B (871) can instruct CFU in the basics of astrophysics and space flight telemetry calcs(including adjustments for the gravitational pull from multiple orbiting bodies) better than I, since I don’t “know the first thing about orbital mechanics” and Rod B clearly does.

    So, are you saying a payload lift cost is $10million per 12oz? Also, I seem to recall encapsulation and “payload containment” engineering technologies are available to prevent both “global spread” and/or creation of a critical mass if a Challenger/Columbia debacle were to occur.

    [edit - nuclear is OT]

    Comment by doubting Thomas — 5 Mar 2010 @ 6:15 PM

  873. Hey, kids, if you want to use a newfangled thermometer instead of your hand, you might as well add a prism, then you can duplicate Herschel’s 1800 work:
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1965ASPL….9..217P
    Title: The Infrared Spectrum of the Sun
    Authors: Pierce, A. K.
    Journal: Astronomical Society of the Pacific Leaflets, Vol. 9, p.217

    Then compare noontime to sunrise or sunset on a clear day and you’ve found out that having the sunlight move through more atmosphere (vertically or tangent to the Earth) changes the amount of infrared.

    If you want to get really fancy, read the leaflet cited; that gets you into the 1840 discovery of absorbtion lines, and the 1881 discovery of the water absorbtion band by carrying the gear up Mt. Whitney.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Mar 2010 @ 6:43 PM

  874. Re #870

    the rate at which an excited CO2 molecule can emit a photon is much slower than down low.

    But that is not exactly what Eli wrote in #821 which refers to the total radiation emitted by all the CO2. If it is assumed that the CO2 keeps on bumping into O2 and N2 it is an excellent approximation to assume that the population of CO2 molecules are in “local thermodynamic equilibrium”. This means that the CO2 emission will be like a piece of a Planck distribution (black body spectrum). As everyone knows cold bodies (like high gases) emit heat, but less than hot ones (like low gases) . [Professors get it right some of the time].

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 5 Mar 2010 @ 7:58 PM

  875. Doubting Thomas–sorry, it’s $10 grand per 12 ounces–teach me to type at the end of the day.

    Yucky mountain is a real mess–a lot more water than they thought, and the rock is a lot more porous, unfortunately. A relative actually worked on the project, so I heard bureaucratic horror stories.

    There was a discussion on Science Friday on NPR on this very subject. Turns out, the geniuses in Congress forbade research on other alternatives once they selected Yucky Mtn. Now that that is off the table, they’re looking at deep injection (~2 miles).

    There’s also the project going on at the NIF at Livermore–maybe we can burn it up using neutrons from laser fusion…

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Mar 2010 @ 8:09 PM

  876. 864, Doubting Thomas: 1) Sir, regarding my suggestion to send nuclear waste into the sun, please see the forest and not each tree. Surely if we can hit the moon, we can hit the sun.”

    A better idea is to use most of it as fuel and return the rest of it to uranium mines. A thread devoted to modern nuclear power technology might not be amiss, though this is a forum about AGW.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 5 Mar 2010 @ 10:19 PM

  877. Here is one of many brief introductions to modern nuclear power:

    http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/default.aspx

    It is just one of many.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 5 Mar 2010 @ 10:22 PM

  878. And more:

    http://www.bing.com/search?q=u%20texas%20austin%20fusion%20fission&FORM=LSBTOL

    this is a very brief and superficial introduction.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 5 Mar 2010 @ 10:52 PM

  879. Hank Roberts Reur 873:

    “Hey, kids, if you want to use a newfangled thermometer instead of your hand, you might as well add a prism, then you can duplicate Herschel’s 1800 work…” blah blah blah

    Well, sorry Hank, but I see that Steve Fish’s 858 makes very much more sense than yours; for instance he wrote in part:

    “…how could you detect the warming from this very small component [of IR] with your hand relative to the primary visible component that heats the earth for the greenhouse effect? Visible light would heat your hand…”

    I don’t know what the albedo of your hand is Hank, but there is no doubt that a substantial proportion of visible light is absorbed by the skin on normal humans. (and beyond left SW; UV which is well known to cause sunburn). Furthermore, visible light penetrates the atmosphere at low elevations better than near infra red, which comprises about 40% of sunlight. Thus, at low elevations, the ~40% near IR has to negotiate more CO2. Need I elaborate more?

    Comment by BobFJ — 6 Mar 2010 @ 12:27 AM

  880. [edit - OT]

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 6 Mar 2010 @ 1:29 AM

  881. 803 Adam: Try considering the mean free path of a scatterable photon. How many times does it get scattered before it escapes Earth’s atmosphere? The more often the photon gets scattered, the longer it takes the photon to escape. Temperature is a smooth function of the number of scatterings. There is no sudden complete blocking. Venus’s temperature is not infinite. There has to be a smooth curve of temperature vs CO2 concentration because infinite derivatives are forbidden.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 6 Mar 2010 @ 1:47 AM

  882. 803 Adam: PS: “It is not known whether any small spectral lines exist in the 15 micron region”
    Refer to the MIT Wavelength Tables. The MIT Wavelength Tables are the size of an encyclopedia. If what you want is not there, it is surely somewhere. Physicists have been accumulating data on the optical properties of matter for a very long time, like 2 centuries. It is surely known whether any small spectral lines exist in the 15 micron region.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 6 Mar 2010 @ 2:47 AM

  883. Re : My previous comment:

    Some figures and formulae here:

    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/greenhouse-effect-revisited/

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 6 Mar 2010 @ 4:51 AM

  884. Thomas (864),

    Yes, I got the number of cars in Brazil wrong. It was a guess.

    No, you can’t just “kick” the nuclear waste and have it fall into the sun as easily as getting it to the Moon. DO THE MATH. Delta vee to the Moon is 11.1 km s^-1. Delta vee to the Sun is 29.9 km s^-1. dV = c ln R, remember, so we’re talking either about four additional stages or using 15 times as much fuel in one stage (not really possible). It would be far, far more expensive in terms of fuel, energy, and cost to fire waste into the sun. Doesn’t work. DO. THE. MATH. Don’t just guess.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Mar 2010 @ 5:59 AM

  885. BPL : Thomas (864),Yes, I got the number of cars in Brazil wrong. It was a guess.

    So carry on : would you admit that even with the most productive agricultural technique and a tropical climate, sugarcane can only power around one car for 20 inhabitants, in a country with one of the largest inequality in standard of living (which is not irrelevant for producing cheap commodities for a few rich people), and that is BTW desperately trying to access difficult oil deposits lying below thousands of feet of water and salt … (strange idea, they must be kind of masochists…)

    Comment by Gilles — 6 Mar 2010 @ 6:53 AM

  886. Gilles, this makes me doubt your statement:

    “Moreover, there is no shortage of good cane land elsewhere in Brazil, where 7.4 percent is under cultivation. Of that, less than 1 percent is used to grow sugarcane, and that amount is already meeting the nation’s ethanol needs.”

    “Does” isn’t the same as “can.”

    From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20070823/AUTO01/708230405/Ethanol-nation–Brazil-finds-energy-freedom-with-sugar-based-fuel#ixzz0hP2x6LaE

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 6 Mar 2010 @ 8:28 AM

  887. As someone who has traveled to Brazil with some frequency, I can attest to the success of the cane-alcohol program. It has brought a measure of prosperity to the Nordeste, which desperately needed it. I has decreased Brazilian dependence on oil imports, decreased CO2 emissions and decreased pollution. And it’s a helluva lot more pleasant being in traffic surrounded by alcohol burning vehicles than it is being surrounded by diesel-burning vehicles. It is simply silly to argue against this program for Brazil. The US would need another program–probably based on switchgrass.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Mar 2010 @ 9:20 AM

  888. Geoff Wexler (874), this helps me understand what Eli said, but not totally and raises other questions. Theoretically there are two ways for CO2 to emit energy. One is through the translation movement (acceleration) of its polarized charge which emits in a “kinda like” Planck distribution. This emission is more from the atmosphere as a whole of which CO2 just does its part. (Though there is some debate over the amount of radiation as it relates to gases.) The 2nd is the absorption and emission from the vibrational energy bands. The latter is the primary player in GW. The emission is in extremely narrow wavelength bands and does not follow a Planck distribution. This emission, opposite of blackbody-like radiation, tends to increase in colder environs as the probability that a vibration energy level is filled is greater in higher temperatures — ergo more likely to relax through emission in colder environs. (I’m ignoring the collision mechanism of relaxation for discussion.)

    How does this mesh with your and Eli”s statement? Or am I missing the point by possibly getting wrapped up in semantics?

    Comment by Rod B — 6 Mar 2010 @ 11:56 AM

  889. doubting Thomas, thanks for the compliment in #872, but, for the record, Ray Ladbury’s knowledge of orbital mechanics and spacecraft exceeds mine.

    Comment by Rod B — 6 Mar 2010 @ 11:58 AM

  890. >devoted to modern nuclear power technology
    –> http://bravenewclimate.com/
    Please go there–anyone who wants conversation about the subject does.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Mar 2010 @ 12:31 PM

  891. Sorry BobFJ, logic fails here; you can look this up. You can tell the difference between infrared and the temperature inside the body.
    It’s just a thought experiment; the other methods (looking at infrared satellite photographs) will be more convincing.

    http://science.hq.nasa.gov/kids/imagers/ems/infrared.html
    “… The heat that we feel from sunlight, a fire, a radiator or a warm sidewalk is infrared. The temperature-sensitive nerve endings in our skin can detect the difference between inside body temperature and outside skin temperature….”

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neucli.2006.08.004
    “… it is important that the pattern of skin heating is known and duly considered. This study was aimed at assessing the skin temperature….”

    Plenty more. Your skepticism is appreciated, but do try to look this up before insisting that logic tells you you can’t distinguish a change in body temperature from a change in impinging IR. Many references say you can.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Mar 2010 @ 12:41 PM

  892. 890, Hank Roberts, thank you. I have read that web page occasionally, but I wanted to provide a page devoted to nuclear power, and then to a specific item about re-using what is now stored as waste.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 6 Mar 2010 @ 1:29 PM

  893. RE– Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 March 2010 @ 12:41 PM:

    Although the peak of radiation from the sun is in the visible range, energy delivered to the earth is about 50% each for visible and infra red wavelengths. This energy is delivered as heat.

    One of the interesting facts about incoming light is that shorter wavelengths are scattered by small aerosols and molecules (Rayleigh scattering) more than the long wavelengths. This property explains the mechanism by which the sun on the horizon is redder and how the sky, blue plants and animals, and blue eyes appear to be blue. There are very few biological blue pigments.

    In the laser experiment a small spot of radiation was used and, like the sky, the infra red is not scattered and is more easily detected because it heats a small area. The equal energy visible light laser spot is scattered over a larger area by the epidermis and is, therefor, less concentrated and less easily detected.

    A better experiment would be to irradiate a large area of skin with a grid of contiguous laser spots with the different wavelengths. In this instance visible light, though scattered, would be much more detectable because scatter from adjacent spots would overlap to provide the same concentration of energy over area as the long wavelength laser.

    To be fair you will have to show how ones whole hand responds to the different wavelengths. It would be under handed to compare someone with a longhand to someone with a shorthand, but I have to hand it to you that you are always very even handed. This is getting a little out of hand, but is fun.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 6 Mar 2010 @ 5:21 PM

  894. Rod B. @888. OK, Rod, think about this. CO2 is a neutral molecule, right? So if it’s center of mass accelerates (e.g. in a collision), it will not emit energy, right? And if its components (oxygen and carbon atoms) are move with respect to each other (vibrational), then they can only do so in quantized energies, right? OK, now, given this, how is CO2 going to emit a “Planck distribution” of radiation? Answer: it can’t. It can only radiate where it has allowed energy transitions…period. Collisions can broaden these by changing the electrical potential between the atoms momentarily, but the radiation is still quantized.

    Look at it a different way. Look at a sodium vapor lamp. Do you see a Planck spectrum underneath the two yellow lines? Nope. So how is this any different than CO2.

    Rod, this is really the reason why a blackbody distribution is an idealization–matter can only emit radiation where it has energy transitions.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Mar 2010 @ 5:39 PM

  895. @BPL(884) A tad disengenuous to have admitted guessing and the admonishing me not to guess, don’t you think? But be that as it may, I shall concede your point that is absolutely impossible to plot any course that provides an orbital decay path into the sun that could avoid gravitational interferences of our planetary system for the disposal of nuclear waste. (But like Galileo after the trial mumbled…”I still believe it” can be done.)

    Comment by doubting Thomas — 6 Mar 2010 @ 5:54 PM

  896. #888: Rod B

    I have tried to do this before on RC but have lost it. So I shall be brief. The problem is to determine the spectrum of infra-red emitted by some CO2. The usual way this is done is to postulate that this is the same as if the gas is locally in thermodynamic equilibrium. This means that it is correct to describe it by a temperature, the same as the one you might measure. Thats just the gas. The question is now a bit simpler. What is the rate of emission of photons emitted by gas in themodynamic equilibrium at a temperature T?

    The problem in reality is that the ground is at a different temperature , and the photons of infra-red have no single temperature ; their spectrum is rather a mess,in other words the photons are out of thermodynamic equilibrium. But the rate of emission of photons from the CO2 does not depend on the photons out there so I shall pretend that the latter are drastically altered. I shall pretend that the photons are themselves in equilibrium with the gas. All that I need to do is to enclose some of the gas in a box and wait for a tiny time. It is reasonable to assume that the gas will not be significantly changed. That does not apply to the photons which will now have their own single temperature, the same as that of the local gas, and also a Planck distribution. Hold on, I am not going to leave them in that condition.

    Now ask the original question again. What is the rate of emission from the CO2? It must be the same as the rate of absorption by the CO2 because we have equilibrium. This latter is proportional to the number of photons whose energy (wavelength) is equal, say , to one of the quantum levels of the molecule. Now take away the imaginary walls. The photons are no longer Planck like but the emission rate from the gas is still Planck like but over a tiny range of energies. This is believed to be an excellent approximation. It can almost certainly be derived by other methods.
    ——————–
    Now to your comment:
    The emission is in extremely narrow wavelength bands and does not follow a Planck distribution

    It is a piece of a Planck distrbution

    this emission is more from the atmosphere as a whole of which CO2 just does its part. (Though there is some debate

    emission from ‘atmosphere as a whole’, at least if you mean the non greehouse gases, is zero to a good approximation. Ditto for debate.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 7 Mar 2010 @ 6:02 AM

  897. Sou, Reur 866,
    Thanks again for another thoughtful response from you, in which you seem to confine your concern mostly to long-term drought in Victoria. My comments have included that the definition of drought and its temporal and spatial significance is somewhat subjective. There have always been regional variations in weather/climate, and the BOM records show that rainfall in SA and NSW was far worse between 1900 through ~1945 than recently, and that such recent long-term drought as in Victoria is not reported there either. Furthermore, in Victoria, although it was not so bad in individual durations during 1900 through ~1945, it is arguable that this ~45 year period in Victoria was also severe in net effect.
    Now let me refer you for example to Ray Ladbury 579, where he wrote in full:

    “Yeah, BobFJ, we know: Oz is dry. And it’s getting drier–that’s what you get from statistics that you don’t get from poetry or photos. Try it sometime“.
    Well this is typical of what I say are ill informed claims of unprecedented recent drought in Oz.
    And YES, the regional drought in Victoria through to 2009 has been problematical, but check-out the perspective of these three articles:
    Victorian Farmer’s Federation speech to Press Club
    food production
    Victorian Senate Committee

    You have also brought up the topic of 2009/10 heat-waves in the south, but this topic is far more complicated, involving for instance ENSO and air circulation. (and BTW “cold-waves“). I might come back to that later.

    Comment by BobFJ — 7 Mar 2010 @ 3:35 PM

  898. Ray Ladbury (894), thanks for the opportunity. As I understand it an accelerating CO2 molecule can radiate energy with a Planck distribution (when averaged with all of the gas molecules) by virtue of a very minor charge distribution within the molecule, mostly/predominately from electron distribution. Not materially different from the way liquids and solids radiate, although solids in particular are more apt to have “roaming” electrons making radiation easier. I recognize that there is significant disagreement over the ability of low density gases to radiate as such. I can’t prove it one way or another — no different from all of the learned experts evidently — but am of the learned opinion that low density gases do radiate ala Planck. Two questions I have and have had: 1) How is the Universe’s background (read really really low density gas) Planck-type radiation with almost a perfect blackbody spectrum explained? 2) Where does the atmosphere’s back radiation of about 333 Watts/m2, 85% of the earth’s upwelling IR radiation, come from? Though the IR downwelling spectrum is only a very rough fit for a Planck curve, the numbers seem not to add up.

    This radiation is separate from the vibration and rotation energy emission radiation and from the electron level shift emissions ala sodium lamps.

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Mar 2010 @ 3:48 PM

  899. Thomas (895): I shall concede your point that is absolutely impossible to plot any course that provides an orbital decay path into the sun that could avoid gravitational interferences of our planetary system for the disposal of nuclear waste.

    BPL: I’m beginning to wonder if you know how to read. I never said anything about interference from other planets. For the Nth time, where N increases without limit, I said IT TAKES A LOT MORE ENERGY TO REACH THE SUN THAN TO REACH THE MOON.

    Let me rephrase this so even you can understand it.

    Energy to reach the moon: a certain amount.
    Energy to reach the sun: a hell of a lot more.

    Do you get it yet?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Mar 2010 @ 4:05 PM

  900. Geoff Wexler (896), thanks for the info. My basic concern/questions are:

    1) Planck-type emission stems from a completely different physical process: Planck emissions result from random variations of accelerating charges associated with molecular/atomic/electron distribution and collisions, versus relaxation of internal molecular energy modes roughly forced by equipartition. The fact that one can consider the latter as a special case of Planck emission is just a convenient mathematical process. Planck is a broadband spectra modified only by sometimes varying emissivity at different wave lengths. But if one, for convenience, assumes it as a narrow band in order to use similar formulas to assess its opacity and such, the mathematics works pretty well. “…It is a piece of a Planck distribution” remains a mathematical construct — not a physics congruency.

    2) the emission or absorption of the extremely narrow band and quantized equivalent vibration or rotation energy has no immediate effect on the thermodynamic temperature of the gas (or molecule) in question. Only the translation energy as determined by Boltzmann distribution affects the temperature. It would seem Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium is not directly relevant, though might have a secondary effect.

    3) Photons per se do not have temperature as a characteristic. Though as above it is mathematically helpful and convenient to pretend that they do and are often given a “characteristic temperature”. In Planck emission an emitted photon can decrease the temperature of the material. When the photon is later absorbed by material B, that material’s temperature is increased so it makes eminent sense to ascribe temperature to photons, even though it is not actual physics — the mathematics still give useful information.

    4) The rate of emission does not necessarily equal the rate of absorption for a CO2 molecule in the routine atmospheric processes. As just asserted the LTE is not relevant. Some absorbed energy into CO2′s internal vibration energy gets dispersed via collision with other gas molecules, not emission. That’s the basis of global warming.

    I’d be most interested in your comments.

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Mar 2010 @ 9:57 PM

  901. #897 So, no problem BobFJ? Nothing to worry about? Seen droughts before, seen it all before? You must be living on a different Australian continent to me. And to CSIRO and BOM scientists. The VFF are deniers to a man.

    Comment by David Horton — 7 Mar 2010 @ 10:04 PM

  902. The deniers (as apposed to honest skeptics) display various mind sets. There are the free marketeers and conspiracy buffs: any problem the market can’t solve can’t be a problem. There is an increasing but unsurprising overlap with creationists. But, to get a feel for the mind set in its pure apolitical form see Mathematical Cranks by Underwood Dudley. It is a very funny survey of people who are convinced have squared the circle or found a short proof of the four color theorem. “Stupidity” is amazingly hard to understand. The book might give you some addition insight. If not, it is still pretty funny!

    http://www.amazon.com/Mathematical-Cranks-Spectrum-Underwood-Dudley/dp/0883855070/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268016737&sr=8-1

    Comment by Mike — 7 Mar 2010 @ 10:04 PM

  903. Hank Roberts Reur 891:
    It’s hard to know where to start, but for instance your “NASA for Kids” quote is severally wrong, or maybe naïve is a better word:

    “… The heat that we feel from sunlight, a fire, a radiator or a warm sidewalk is infrared. The temperature-sensitive nerve endings in our skin can detect the difference between inside body temperature and outside skin temperature…”

    a) Only about 40% of sunlight (EMR) is Infra Red, and it is mostly in the Near Infra Red, quite different to the longer IR wavelengths from a warm sidewalk
    b) The skin also absorbs the shorter wavelengths in sunlight via photon absorption, resulting in molecular excitation in the skin. (= raised molecular KE, = HEAT)
    c) The skin cannot distinguish between molecular absorption (heating) from either longer or shorter wavelengths.
    d) Sunlight, (=Electro Magnetic Radiation), is a different form of energy to HEAT. EMR itself cannot be felt by the skin until it is converted to heat via molecular absorption. An analogy is an electric stove-top hotplate, starting from low, with your hand placed thereon. You can’t feel the electricity, but you can feel heat, which has resulted from electricity being “absorbed” by a resistance. (The heating coil, from where it is conducted into the hand in contact)

    Comment by BobFJ — 7 Mar 2010 @ 10:59 PM

  904. #870, emission comes from a molecule which IS vibrationally excited and loses that energy by emitting a photon.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 7 Mar 2010 @ 11:48 PM

  905. BobFJ, you can conclude the atmosphere isn’t blocking all of any wavelengths in the simplest way by comparing midday to sunset/sunrise. Use whatever instrument you have; your eyes; your skin; your prism and thermometer; your prism and thermocouple; your infrared handheld thermometer. Not your hotplate.

    The better the instrument and the better the thinking, the more accurate the results. CO2 doesn’t block all of the infrared. That was an early mistake. It’s still being repeated by people who don’t know it’s wrong, or who are trying to fool people. You know better, right?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Mar 2010 @ 12:30 AM

  906. 897BobFJ
    I took it that you were previously wanting to contradict the Bureau of Meteorology drought statements. The articles you link to do not appear to focus on drought so I’m unclear of their relevance.

    I referred to the changing climate in Victoria because you seemed to be of the view that the recent long term drought in SE Australia was not that important. Victoria constitutes a large part of south eastern Australia, and the Bureau had identified areas of SE Australia as having the longest drought in the recorded history of those areas, comprising extended below average rainfall accompanied by record high temperatures. And I pointed out that this was in line with the CSIRO projections for a change in the climate.

    I think you are still confusing ongoing low rainfall with drought. Drought is different. Areas of high rainfall can be subject to drought – and it can be particularly devastating in such places even if it only lasts a few months. Areas with persistently low rainfall such as large parts of South Australia have different production (or no production) regimes – like very low stocking rates in the pastoral belt in South Australia and lack of any agricultural activity in much of the deserts.

    If you want to redefine drought then by all means go for it. But it won’t mean anything to farmers, pastoralists, horticulturists or anyone else involved in producting food, feed or fibre. To them, drought means no water when they had expected and planned for and relied on water.

    Not sure if I mentioned it previously, but the Dairy Australia website has some articles on climate change if you are interested. Other agric websites also have quite a bit of info, including advice for farmers on how to adapt to and/or prepare for climate change in different parts of the country.

    I’m afraid I still don’t know what your point is. It could be that you are only interested in seeing what the history of drought is in various parts of Australia. This might or might not be relevant to climate change. It depends on a number of factors – such as whether recent droughts are part of a normal cycle or a denote a distinct longer term shift.

    I’ve said enough on the matter for now. Good luck with your research.

    Comment by Sou — 8 Mar 2010 @ 2:06 AM

  907. “906
    Sou says:
    8 March 2010 at 2:06 AM

    The articles you link to do not appear to focus on drought so I’m unclear of their relevance.”

    The relevance is that the modus operandi of denialist debate is to put up links and say they confirm your point. Whether they do or not is irrelevant: for the audience you’re REALLY trying for, that audience doesn’t read links.

    Even when caught out, this means you have to debunk TWO new arguments: the one that they made and the one that they made that the links were somehow proving their case.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Mar 2010 @ 3:50 AM

  908. “900
    Rod B says:
    7 March 2010 at 9:57 PM

    Geoff Wexler (896), thanks for the info. My basic concern/questions are:

    1) Planck-type emission stems from a completely different physical process: ”

    No, Rod. They occur with exactly the same process. Planck radiation occurs when there are enough collisions to occupy all energy states in a stochastically sound manner that is consistent with the laws of thermodynamics. But the occupancy of the excited levels of CO2 (for example) is such that their addition to the spectra emitted in bulk is as much as it would have been if it was merely a slice of the planck spectrum.

    The Planck blackbody emission is no new physical process, merely a context where simplifications can be made.

    “4) The rate of emission does not necessarily equal the rate of absorption for a CO2 molecule in the routine atmospheric processes. As just asserted the LTE is not relevant.”
    Your conclusion is right, but irrelevant. LTE doesn’t necessarily obtain. However, in the lower atmosphere where most of the earth’s radiation starts and ends, the region over which such excitations exist without collisional relaxation and hence thermalisation, LTE still holds: just here it’s really, REALLY local.

    You’ve asked and had answered this question many times. Will you ever give up resurrecting them?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Mar 2010 @ 3:56 AM

  909. And, BobFJ, if you want to pursue research on skin perception of infrared,
    here’s a well-cited recent paper, the latest info I know of; it ain’t simple:
    http://jp.physoc.org/content/577/1/235.full

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Mar 2010 @ 4:24 AM

  910. Eli (904), I know but my point/question is: isn’t an excited CO2 molecule more likely to relax via emission in colder environs higher in the atmosphere? I know it is more likely because of less frequent collisions but I’m ignoring collisional relaxation trying to understand just the Boltzmann equation effect.

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Mar 2010 @ 10:47 AM

  911. CFU (908), I suppose I’ll keep asking questions until I get credible answers.

    You say, “…1) Planck-type emission stems from a completely different physical process: ”
    No, Rod. They occur with exactly the same process.”

    Wrong. Planck-type emissions stem from acceleration of charge(s) and are not quantized per se. The other stems from a change in internal molecular energy (bond vibration, rotation, electron levels) and are highly quantized. Though you’re kinda correct: the photon emitting from CO2 internal energy changes at 15um looks remarkably similar to a Planck photon at 15 um.

    As to your other comment, “4”, I think we are saying the same thing. Unless I’m misreading it, I don’t disagree with your comment.

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Mar 2010 @ 11:26 AM

  912. Rod B.@900, So how is your program to redefine stat mech going for you?

    Re: your point 1) WRONG!!!

    Rod, are your electrons bound or free? If they are bound (as in part of an atom or molecule) then they are bound and can only absorb or emit energy in energies corresponding to allowed transitions between energy levels. That is quantum mechanics, Rod. If they are free, then they respond to forces by radiating according to Bremmstrahlung or if moving fast enough Cerenkov radiation–they do not absorb or emit photons otherwise.

    Re: your point 2 WRONG!!!
    An individual atom or molecule doesn’t have a temperature–only distributions of atoms have temperature.

    Re: your point 3 Only partially wrong. An individual photon cannot have a temperature. However a “gas” of photons can have a temperature and comes to do so by interacting with matter. When at thermal equilibrium and so possessing a temperature, the energy distribution corresponds to the Planck distribution. This is what defines blackbody radiation.

    Re: your point 4–you got this one mostly right.

    Rod, physicists have looked at this. I promise you. Read Landau and Lifshitz on blackbody radiation. It’s about as clear an explanation as there is.

    And again, look at a sodium vapor lamp. Do you see a “blackbody curve” or do you just see 2 yellow lines?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Mar 2010 @ 11:39 AM

  913. http://chemeducator.org/sbibs/samples/spapers/34samplejg.htm

    The Chemical Educator, Vol. 3, No. 4, S1430-4171(98)04230-7, 10.1007/s00897980230a, © 1998 Springer-Verlag New York, Inc.

    Using Natural and Artificial Light Sources to Illustrate Quantum Mechanical Concepts

    Fascinating piece, well worth reading on a variety of points, at least to me as an amateur reader. Scientists might want to look at this as a good source for a further post somewhere.

    http://chemeducator.org/sbibs/samples/spapers/34samplejg_gifs/34samplejg_image008.jpg (relative intensity of the wavelengths in midday sunlight compared to sunset, well into the infrared range)

    http://chemeducator.org/sbibs/samples/spapers/34samplejg_gifs/34samplejg_image020.gif (low pressure sodium lamp spectrum)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Mar 2010 @ 12:30 PM

  914. 899, Barton Paul Levenson: Energy to reach the moon: a certain amount. Energy to reach the sun: a hell of a lot more.

    Really? I am amazed. Here I was thinking that the rocket energy was used to escape from the earth’s gravitation, and the rest was guidance from much smaller rocket engines.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 8 Mar 2010 @ 12:54 PM

  915. SM,
    Remember, it is not just energy that is conserved, but also momentum and angular momentum. To shed enough angular momentum to reach the sun, you have to apply a significant torque (force x distance). BTW, this is precisely the problem that makes the idea of a reusable space shuttle difficult. With a one-time-use space capsule, you shed momentum by ablating a shielding material as you speed through the atmosphere. You do a lot of thermal damage to the capsule on the way in, but so what as long as it stays intact and insulating.

    A reusable spacecraft on the other hand must shed all that momentum while protecting the body of the shuttle, all the electronics, etc. That’s why the thermal tiles are so crucial and why loss of the tiles is catastrophic. There is no way you could shed all that momentum with rockets. If you reach the thick part of the atmosphere and you haven’t slowed to the point where you are aerodynamic rather than ballistic, you are toast.

    Remember, Earth is zipping around Sol with a tangential velocity of nearly 30 km per second.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Mar 2010 @ 1:35 PM

  916. Septic Matthew:

    Really? I am amazed. Here I was thinking that the rocket energy was used to escape from the earth’s gravitation, and the rest was guidance from much smaller rocket engines.

    Try this. Read the part that’s labeled “inward bound”, and take note that to shift orbit to intersect the sun requires more deceleration (therefore more energy) than to do so to intersect Venus.

    Comment by dhogaza — 8 Mar 2010 @ 1:54 PM

  917. “Really? I am amazed. Here I was thinking that the rocket energy was used to escape from the earth’s gravitation, and the rest was guidance from much smaller rocket engines.”

    And then it goes where?

    Into orbit.

    You have to BRAKE to get down to the sun.

    Not much tarmacadam between us and the sun, so you have to burn energy off to remove your orbital velocity.

    Really, do none of you denialists know orbital mechanics AT ALL???

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Mar 2010 @ 2:02 PM

  918. “911
    Rod B says:
    8 March 2010 at 11:26 AM

    CFU (908), I suppose I’ll keep asking questions until I get credible answers.”

    You mean “answers I can understand” by that, I suppose? If so, you’re going to be waiting a long time.

    Got any credible questions?

    “Wrong. Planck-type emissions stem from acceleration of charge(s) and are not quantized per se.”

    Nope, not one here. They are quantised. The unit (quanta) is given the name “photon”. Seems you know the name, but not what it means. If these quanta did not exist, you would have the problem of the Ultraviolet Catatrophe.

    Check it out.

    “the photon emitting from CO2 internal energy changes at 15um looks remarkably similar to a Planck photon at 15 um.”

    Nope, not right either.

    If that 15um photon has an energy of 0.1eV and the kinetic energy of the molecule is 0.05ev, the resulting photon could be 0.2eV with the CO2 molecule going the other way.

    Or that energy could go out into an inelastic collision.

    Read up on it.

    “As to your other comment, “4”, I think we are saying the same thing.”

    So you agree that LTE works in the lower atmosphere.

    Good.

    Now go off and read some basic A-level physics books, your understanding of basic physics is atrocious.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Mar 2010 @ 2:08 PM

  919. S. Matthew — dhogaza’s right. Don’t feel bad, this is not intuitive, it’s a common misconception that has been used as a plot device by decades of science-fiction writers. The link dhogaza gives is a good start and leads to more info.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Mar 2010 @ 2:25 PM

  920. dhozaga, Ray Ladbury, Barton Paul Levenson & Septic Matthew:

    1) I am not particularly in favor of dumping radioactive wastes into the Sun. I think sending all that hot stuff up in a rocket is asking for trouble. Also, in a few thousand years we might actually need that stuff for something.

    2) However, I am puzzled as to why some folks seem to think it is necessary to worry too much about angular momentum or transfer orbits. It seems to me that two things need to be done: a) escape the Earth’s gravitational field; b) start out with essentially 0 angular velocity with respect to the Sun.
    a) To escape the Earth’s influence, an object of mass m needs enough energy to buy itself out of the Earth’s potential well, or G*Me*m/Re; where
    Me = Earth’s mass and Re = Earth’s radius. Per unit mass, this is
    G*Me/Re = 6.25e7 Joules/kg.
    b) To attain zero angular velocity wrt the Sun, it must further have pick up a velocity increment opposite the Earth’s velocity wrt the Sun, so
    delta-velocity = – sqrt(G*Ms/Res), where Ms = Sun’s mass and Res = radius of the Earth’s orbit wrt the Sun. In the frame of the Earth, this means gaining a speed of sqrt(G*Ms/Res) (in the backwards direction), and thus requires attaining kinetic energy T = G*Ms*m/Res = 8.877e8 Joules/kg

    So for an energetic cost of
    (8.877 + 0.625)e8 = 9.50e8 Joules/kg = 264 kwhr/kg, you can ship the wastes to the Sun.

    I leave it someone more familiar with the nuclear-cycle to judge on whether this is a huge tax, or just a small hit. We need to know how much net energy is released per kg of radwastes.

    Comment by Neal J. King — 8 Mar 2010 @ 3:11 PM

  921. Ray Ladbury (912), Planck-type radiation is obviously not Cerenkov. If taken in its broadest sense (which is technically correct but not common) Bremsstrahlung radiation can define Planck-type radiation. It is just as I described in #900: radiation caused by the acceleration of a charged particle because if its proximity to an E-M field. Though it is common to limit it to very high energies and high accelerations such as an energetic electron colliding head on into a metal barrier and generating X-rays. However Bremsstrahlung radiation emission/absorption in no way describes the process of radiation being emitted or absorbed into a vibration or rotation molecular energy level. Probably does not describe the electron energy level transitions either, though if you really stretched the definition, maybe.

    Whether a molecule has temperature or not is not necessary for the point I made in my 2), which was simply that the absorption per se of IR into (a whole pile of) CO2 molecules does not raise the temperature of the CO2 gas. ‘Course we’ve been up and down the single molecule temperature pole a number of times and I don’t want to redo it, but, as I last left it, I will accept that a single molecule can not have a temperature when you convince me that a single molecule can not have kinetic energy.

    As I said the sodium vapor lamp does not emit Planck-type radiation – at least very very little of it as a secondary emission. Planck-type emission is not caused by internal molecular energy changes.

    I don’t think we really disagree all that much. I just think maybe you mix up your convenient constructs with actual physics. But I dunno.

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Mar 2010 @ 4:01 PM

  922. Doubting Thomas, Rod B; and
    dhozaga, Ray Ladbury, Barton Paul Levenson & Septic Matthew:

    #920, continued:

    Another point people seem to be exercised about: Braking to get to the Sun?

    This is completely unnecessary, since the goal of shipping the wastes is not to LAND on the Sun, but to get it INTO the Sun. It is much cheaper to drop it into the Sun than to land it on the Sun; just as it is easier and cheaper to drop a rock onto the ground than to get a rocket to land itself nicely on the ground.

    This should produce a sizeable cost-reduction from Ray Ladbury’s $10,000 per 12-oz can of Coke (=> $10,000 per 0.355 kg => $28,170/kg).

    Comment by Neal J. King — 8 Mar 2010 @ 4:09 PM

  923. Neal J. King, Remember that just lifting a coke can into orbit costs $10K. Also remember that you have to lift all the propellant to supply your 9.5E8 joules per kg. The more propellant you have to lift, the less payload. This is why the Messenger probe did two slingshots by Earth and one by Venus. Now granted, a sun-shot is easier than putting a probe in orbit around Mercury. However, I doubt you’d want to send a rocket on a ballistic trajectory without the ability to maneuver–since if you miscalculated you could send it right back to Earth, and that would be a bad thing.

    Remember: Nothing is cheap in space.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Mar 2010 @ 4:14 PM

  924. #920, continued again:

    It just struck me that if my estimate of 264 kwh/kg is right, the energetic cost of shipping a kg of radwastes to the Sun should be something like:
    264 * $0.12 = $31.68.

    Of course, that only pays for the gravitational energy; not for all the transport overhead, like the rocket we’re never going to see again, and the fuel needed for that.

    Someone with a more realistic sense of rocketry can give better estimates. (But this is probably NOT going to be Ray Ladbury’s estimate, which seems to assume a NASA mission of some sort, where you want a well-behaved orbit that arrives tangentially in the orbit of the target planet. This time, I just want to go “plop!” straight into the Sun.)

    Comment by Neal J. King — 8 Mar 2010 @ 4:29 PM

  925. Neal, no.

    Remember, if something perteurbs the package you’re ‘dropping’ you miss the Sun — and the package comes back out to about the same distance as it fell from, in a long oval orbit reaching the Earth’s orbit.

    The Hohmann orbit is the _least_ expensive transfer. What you’re suggesting is hugely more expensive.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Mar 2010 @ 4:32 PM

  926. Neal: “It is much cheaper to drop it into the Sun than to land it on the Sun”

    And there you describe completely the fallacy of thought that led people to complain of the LHC that it could create a micro black hole that would suck the entire world in.

    You can’t just drop it into the sun.

    If this could happen, you would have to find out why the earth still orbits the sun.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Mar 2010 @ 4:35 PM

  927. “Of course, that only pays for the gravitational energy”

    So how do we get it out there? Etheric transference of energy???

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Mar 2010 @ 4:55 PM

  928. > CFU

    Please. You’re embarrassing yourself, or at least, I hope you’ve marked the problem here with leaping to respond from partway through an exchange.

    Neil’s step “b” considers the reason Earth still orbits the Sun. Ray’s helping him with the (astonishingly high) costs of accomplishing that step “b”

    > a) … Earth’s gravitational field;
    > b) … 0 angular velocity with respect to the Sun.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Mar 2010 @ 5:18 PM

  929. Completely Fed Up says: 8 March 2010 at 4:35 PM

    If this could happen, you would have to find out why the earth still orbits the sun.

    I wish you’d be more careful; any minute now some obdurate person is going to pipe up with an explanation of how the 3-body problem means we can’t rule it out, resulting in several hundred more comments…

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 8 Mar 2010 @ 5:19 PM

  930. Neal, Where do you get an estimate of 12 cents per kwh? Are you planning on string power lines to space? Look up the orbital mechanics for the Messenger mission? BTW, you do know that this really is rocket science?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Mar 2010 @ 5:38 PM

  931. Completely Fed Up says:
    “If this could happen, you would have to find out why the earth still orbits the sun.”

    huh? The same reason all the planets still orbit the sun, they are perpetually falling towards it, but their velocity isnt great enough to break free of the “warped” space/time caused by the suns mass bending it around it, but great enough that it dosnt spiral into it… An orbit is a perpetual fall(gravity is mass bending space and time around it). And in space they dont have gas/air resistance slowing them down. But basically an orbit is a perpetual fall.

    The old cannon ball analogy explains orbits best… if you had a cannon that was fired from a height and the ball was moving quick enough that its falling was compensated by the curvature of the earth, it would keep going, because it would never get closer…oh course drag would slow it and it wont work in the atmosphere without applying constant force to over come the drag. But that principle is what an orbit is…except in space there is no gas to offer resistance.(and planets have a lot o mass! mass times velocity squared n all that eh)

    This is a pointless discussion anyway… why shoot potential energy sources into the sun?

    Comment by Mike — 8 Mar 2010 @ 5:42 PM

  932. #924, Hank Roberts:

    You’re making two completely separate arguments:

    1) “.. if something perturbs the package… you miss the Sun… and it comes back out.”

    True, but there isn’t a whole lot of material there to hit. The asteroid belt is out in the other radial direction. If you want to get into the realm of reliability, that is a whole other kettle of fish. My point of view: The idea is flakey anyway, but if what you’re trying to hit is 1.39e9 meters across, it should be possible.

    2) “The Hohmann orbit is the least expensive.”
    a) Looking at the issue from the point of view of conservation of energy, I don’t see that: If I use my extract-and-drop method, I have to overcome the potential energy (PE) of escaping the Earth’s attraction, and then I have to kill the orbital speed of the Earth around the Sun; then I drop into the Sun. When I get to the radius of the Sun, I will be going more slowly than would an object circling the Sun at that radius, so my total energy (kinetic + potential) will be less than that of a circling object.
    Using the Hohmann transfer orbit, you start in the same point, but end up at the perihelion of an elliptical orbit at the radius of the Sun, so your rocket will be going faster than would an object circling the Sun at that distance. Therefore, the total energy of your rocket will be greater that of mine, at the radius of the Sun. That makes me believe that you will need to expend more energy to do it your way.
    Of course, there is a big difference between rocket-fuel use and total energy expenditure. But I don’t see offhand why that should work to your advantage and not to mine.

    b) But even if you are right that the Hohmann transfer orbit is least expensive in fuel (which I do NOT concede at this point), I’ve already done an estimate for my energetic cost, in #924: $31.68/kg. That isn’t much more than the cost of shipping a kg across the Atlantic. Can we convert required gravitational energy to expended rocket-fuel energy by any estimated factor?

    (If you use the $10k/coke can figure, keep it mind that this has to be for a throw-away rocket, not a NASA space mission.)

    [Response: Fascinating though this be, it is way off topic and has gone on too long. Everyone please drop it. Thanks--Jim]

    Comment by Neal J. King — 8 Mar 2010 @ 6:09 PM

  933. Completely Fed Up Reur 907: (1) You quoted Sou 906:

    “The articles you [Bob_FJ] link to do not appear to focus on drought so I’m unclear of their relevance.”

    You need to follow the context of some lengthy exchanges that I’ve had with Sou, rather than cherry pick an odd line. Two of the links in #906 from the Victorian Farmers Federation briefly mention water issues, but it would seem that they are more concerned about other problems. The third link in the Melbourne Age points out that despite the long drought, and bad economic conditions etc, the value of net food production 2008/9 has held well. Here is an extract, my bold;
    Lower prices for some crops, milk and wool dragged down the value of Australia’s agricultural production by five per cent in 2008-09 to $41 billion, preliminary figures show.
    Crop production fell seven per cent to $22.1 billion on the back of lower prices
    for all harvested commodities bar wheat.

    Thus Sou is correct that the links do not focus on drought per se, but my point was that they may indicate the relevant importance in harsh financial terms. I’ve agreed that the Victorian drought has been regionally most problematical, without going into some human tragedies such as reported increased suicide rates and bankruptcies.
    (2) And you went on to say:

    The relevance is that the modus operandi of denialist debate is to put up links and say they confirm your point. Whether they do or not is irrelevant: for the audience you’re REALLY trying for, that audience doesn’t read links. Even when caught out, this means you have to debunk TWO new arguments: the one that they made and the one that they made that the links were somehow proving their case.

    It is true to say that the BOM annual rainfall totals time-series data are not a true measure of drought, which in itself is difficult to define. However, I would argue that it is the best proxy available. It is certainly less controversial than various paleo data for past temperatures etc. On that basis, the following charts show that the recent droughts are not unprecedented. BTW, this is sceptical observation of some facts, not denialism as you say.
    Australia …. South Australia …. New South Wales

    Comment by BobFJ — 8 Mar 2010 @ 6:10 PM

  934. #926, 927: Completely Fed Up:

    - “You can’t just drop it into the sun.”
    CFU, I made it perfectly obvious in my first posting (#920) that you had to kill the angular momentum of orbit around the Sun before the rocket is allowed to drop into the Sun. Please go back and read it again, in the neighborhood of the word “zero angular velocity”.
    You might have noticed than when you drop an apple, it does NOT orbit the Earth. It hits the ground. This is because it doesn’t have enough angular velocity to achieve an orbit at a practical semi-major axis. A British guy noticed this, some time back.

    - “‘Of course, that only pays for the gravitational energy’ So how do we get it out there? Etheric transference of energy???”
    CFU, you’re being ridiculous. You’re jumping down my throat for pointing out that there are limitations to the implications of my calculation??!!??

    [Response: End of discussion on this, thanks. Jim]

    Comment by Neal J. King — 8 Mar 2010 @ 6:24 PM

  935. #930, Ray Ladbury:

    [edit-OT forever]

    [Response: Discussion over.--Jim]

    Comment by Neal J. King — 8 Mar 2010 @ 6:36 PM

  936. Ray Ladbury (915), I didn’t know that; interesting.

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Mar 2010 @ 9:52 PM

  937. Over, I promise. Just a pointer elsewhere –> kids, you _can_ do these calculations yourself. Go where people are doing them. Good places to look:
    http://jenab6.livejournal.com/12053.html
    http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=2489675

    Over.
    And out.
    Far out.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Mar 2010 @ 12:16 AM

  938. http://imgsrv.gocomics.com/dim/?fh=033adcb885146c90f018de39797ebc52

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Mar 2010 @ 12:20 AM

  939. Thanks all. Of course I knew of the earth’s (and hence the rocket’s) velocity tangent to its orbit around the sun. It’s off topic so I’ll stop there. You have fairly corrected me.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 9 Mar 2010 @ 3:16 AM

  940. CFU (918), No, I understand the answers, just don’t believe some.

    I’m of course using “quantized” in the common practical use of the term, as in vibration energy levels or bound electron levels are quantized. Certainly and technically heated blackbody radiation energy levels, like pendulums, race cars, and gas or free electron kinetic energy levels, are quantized in the purest sense. But you can’t find a pragmatic text on blackbody radiation that doesn’t present a continuous spectrum.

    When I said “remarkably similar” I was being loose and a bit humorous… and you still missed it. To be precise a 15um photon emitted from a CO2′s vibration energy looks precisely and exactly like a 15um photon emitted from a heated blackbody. And they each have 0.08268 eV, no more no less — ever — so your hypothetical 0.1 eV is nonsensical (though might be acceptably close enough in a totally different context). The rest of your example says in effect that a 15um photon is different from, say, a 17um photon. Well, DUH!

    Good, back! I have never said that LTV doesn’t/can’t hold or be used for analysis in the lower atmosphere. I just said it is irrelevant to the question at hand.

    Comment by Rod B — 9 Mar 2010 @ 10:30 AM

  941. OK,Rod, work with me, son! You say the blackbody radiation energy levels are quantized. Only bound energy states are quantized. What is emitting the radiation and what is providing the binding?

    Again, Rod, think of a sodium vapor lamp!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Mar 2010 @ 11:07 AM

  942. “940
    Rod B says:
    9 March 2010 at 10:30 AM

    CFU (918), No, I understand the answers, just don’t believe some.”

    Which ones?

    “But you can’t find a pragmatic text on blackbody radiation that doesn’t present a continuous spectrum.”

    Because it’s a model. A simplification of real life that doesn’t care if the sums are hard because it’s not doing sums. Each photon, electron, phonon, etc is doing whatever it does.

    But you’re reifying that simplification and falling into a classic fallacy of self-deception that all scientists have to watch out for carefully.

    IT IS NOT A CONTINUOUS SYSTEM. It’s quantised.

    Maybe a LOT of quanta, but still quantised.

    “The rest of your example says in effect that a 15um photon is different from, say, a 17um photon. Well, DUH!”

    And what you missed is that that 15um photon absorbed by CO2 may not be a 15um photon when it leaves.

    This is how thermalisation works.

    “Good, back! I have never said that LTV doesn’t/can’t hold or be used for analysis in the lower atmosphere. I just said it is irrelevant to the question at hand.”

    Then please state the question at hand. Do so in a SEPARATE post, all on its own.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Mar 2010 @ 11:22 AM

  943. Ray L. would you rephrase #941? I suspect it is a helpful question but I can’t totally comprehend it. Sorry.

    Comment by Rod B — 9 Mar 2010 @ 12:03 PM

  944. CFU (942), The answers I don’t fully believe probably go with the questions you say I keep asking.

    re blackbody as a continuous spectrum: Of course it’s a model, or a representation. Not much in physics (or chemistry or sociology or etc.) is not. Cogent physicists aren’t “falling into a classic fallacy of self-deception” as you say. They’re just not wasting their time fooling around with silly ‘angels on the head of a pin’ deep analysis. Just like there is certainly no scientists or engineers who have spent more than a nanosecond worrying about the quantization of energy in their design of a pendulum. Moreover it could easily be a detriment for physicists to focus on the quantization of blackbody radiation because they then can get confused with the quantization that really matters, like absorption/emission from vibration molecular energies. Every physicist understands and focuses on the discrete (quantized) energy levels of electron orbits. They don’t give a twit about the quantization of a free electron.

    re the specific question/answer (#896, 900, et al) regarding LTE: I said that LTE is not directly relevant to the understanding of IR emission/absorption from/into CO2.

    Comment by Rod B — 9 Mar 2010 @ 3:43 PM

  945. Many THANKS to Ray L, Mike, Sceptic Matt – and especially Neil King and Hank Roberts. CFU/BPL Game Over!

    Comment by doubting Thomas — 9 Mar 2010 @ 7:01 PM

  946. Rod, the reason that physicists “don’t give a twit about the quantization of a free electron” is that a free electron really isn’t quantized. (Eisberg and Resnick, “Quantum Physics of Atoms, Molecules, etc.”, Wiley, 1985, p.163. You can “Look Inside” on Amazon if you’re interested – search for the phrase “Schroedinger theory predicts”.)

    As for blackbody radiation: As I understand it, this originates in condensed matter from transitions of electrons between quantized states (like the sodium lines Ray mentioned), but the reason we don’t see individual lines in the spectrum is that the energy levels of those states are extremely closely spaced (because even 1 microgram of metal has ~10^17 atoms whose orbitals interact and hybridize with each other.) The spectral lines associated with transitions between such finely spaced energy states can’t be resolved because the spacing between the lines is much smaller than the width of the lines. (The finite width is a consequence of the uncertainty principle – in gases, this natural broadening is further supplemented by Doppler and pressure effects. See Eisberg and Resnick, p. 76 for a brief mention.)

    Comment by David Warkentin — 9 Mar 2010 @ 10:06 PM

  947. Education is key
    How much easier this would all be
    If everybody had a B.S. in Physics.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 10 Mar 2010 @ 1:49 AM

  948. Hank Roberts,
    Reur 905; I have no problem with some of what you say but not all of it. But so what? How about you get back on track and indicate where and why YOU apparently think my items a), b), c), and d) in 903, do not conform to the laws of physics!?

    Reur 909; You cite a medical paper where I see, (upon quickly flicking through), that they use an IR laser to determine point responses on hairy and non-hairy skin etc. But so what! They could also determine a response with a suitable electrical probe. Or, they could do it with a point concentration of filtered sunlight only in the visible light range, (excluding IR), where they would also find a hotness response!!!!

    I’ve noticed previously that you seem to like citing various stuff that has no value for the topic in hand!

    Comment by BobFJ — 10 Mar 2010 @ 2:03 AM

  949. see:
    http://www.juancole.com/2010/02/advice-to-climate-scientists-on-how-to.html

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 10 Mar 2010 @ 2:09 AM

  950. “944
    Rod B says:
    9 March 2010 at 3:43 PM

    CFU (942), The answers I don’t fully believe probably go with the questions you say I keep asking.”

    What are they then?

    “Cogent physicists aren’t “falling into a classic fallacy of self-deception” as you say.”

    As I say ***cogent physicists*** aren’t doing. YOU are not one of them. YOU are falling into that fallacy.

    Planck radiation is not a new form of radiation.

    [edit - explanations are fine, insults are not. It's really not that hard]

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Mar 2010 @ 3:45 AM

  951. Rod B. A blackbody spectrum is just the equilibrium distribution of a gas of photons at a particular temperature.

    Question: Photons don’t interact with each other, so how can that come into equilibrium?

    Answer: They have to interact with the matter around them, and the matter and the photon gas come into equilibrium with each other and so each is also in equilibrium with itself. If you have a deficit of photons in a spectral range, gas molecules will collide and excite each other and decay radiatively. You will get more radiative decays that radiative excitations and so, you get more photons to make up the deficit.

    The thing is that matter can only absorb/emit where it has allowed energy transitions. An atom or molecule can’t exist in a forbidden energy, right? So in reality, you get emission in lines (for a low-pressure gas), broadened lines (high-pressure gas and liquids) and bands (solids). That is why a gas in a vapor lamp emits light at spectral lines (e.g. sodium, mercury…). The thing is if you drew a blackbody curve at the right energy, it would bound the intensities of the spectral lines. What you have is a slice of a blackbody spectrum determined by the material.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Mar 2010 @ 6:02 AM

  952. Thomas: “Game over!”

    BPL: Thomas, go look up what the cake said to Alice.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Mar 2010 @ 6:57 AM

  953. [edit - explanations are fine, insults are not. It's really not that hard]

    What IS hard is spending 10 minutes coming up with an explanation and then have it thrown out either because the site is failing and being coy about it or someone is throwing it away.

    [Response: We are not being 'coy' - comments that are one or two line accusations that a commenter is being prissy, or is an idiot or is too stupid to look stuff up are completely pointless and not wanted here. Do not bother (for even 10 seconds) to submit comments like that, they will not be posted. Instead, take 10 minutes (or more) and provide an explanation and a link. Instead of 10 one-liners, try writing one substantive post that has a paragraph. More reflection in your comments will improve both their tone and their likelihood of passing moderation. - gavin]

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Mar 2010 @ 9:05 AM

  954. [Response: We are not being 'coy'...]

    No, not YOU being coy.

    Sometimes this site gives a “Internal Server Error” and then go back and click Send and it works. Sometimes it only *says* it works.

    ***IT*** is being coy, in as much as an inanimate program manages to be coy, since programs don’t like to be anthropormophised.

    [Response: Sometimes the site gets busy and in those cases you should resubmit. We will generally catch duplicates if that occurs by mistake. - gavin]

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Mar 2010 @ 9:58 AM

  955. CFU,
    I mean no disrespect, but maybe the question that you need to ask yourself is what your reason for posting a comment is. If it is merely to vent your frustrations, then this might not be the most effective venue.

    If you are seeking to persuade or to educate, there are more effective strategies. Speaking as someone whose tongue is as sharp as anyone’s and who is as frustrated with the [edit] disinformation campaign of the ideologues, I share your frustration. However, would it not be more efficacious to vent your spleen at the most pernicious elements of that campaign–those spreading unsubstantiated calumny?

    The problem is not that people are incorrect. The problem is that they are incorrect because they are being lied to. To insult them after the fact is to injure them twice. Maybe hold fire until they insist on repeating the lie multiple times.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Mar 2010 @ 9:59 AM

  956. Ray –
    You say “The thing is if you drew a blackbody curve at the right energy, it would bound the intensities of the spectral lines. What you have is a slice of a blackbody spectrum determined by the material.”

    Do you happen to have a pointer to a reference with a good explanation of this connection? This seems to be an important key to interpreting intensity vs. wavenumber plots (like those generated by Archer’s MODTRAN tool) so I’d like to understand it in some detail.

    Comment by David Warkentin — 10 Mar 2010 @ 10:46 AM

  957. Hey, guess what, BobFJ, let’s assume for now that I was wrong about the skin being able to detect infrared. I don’t think so, but it was just the first handwaving notion I suggested trying, before using instruments, when someone back there posted the old ‘saturation’ notion. The band isn’t saturated.

    I suggested ways to start thinking about it. Then you got all excited. OK, I don’t have clear proof of the sensitivity in human skin. Beetles, perhaps more favored and gifted than humans, can do it:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1095-6433(00)00322-6

    How would _you_ test whether the CO2 bands are saturated? You can look it up in Spencer Weart’s book, and in topics here at RC.

    More air blocks more infrared (as well as more blue — you can tell that’s missing from sunset light, eh?).

    My handwaving suggestion there was hardly scientific,

    So, if you want to detect infrared, and don’t like handwaving, what will you use? Prism and thermometer? Infrared photocell? Those worked for the Herschels measuring incoming sunlight.

    But Eli points out the band of infrared coming up from Earth is lower-energy photons than the infrared coming in. Someone up there posted the old mistake, claimed that band is saturated. How can you tell whether that’s saturated, besides relying on the scientific work or looking at Modtran?

    How about a satellite in orbit looking down in the relevant infrared bands? That’s been done.
    http://ams.confex.com/ams/Annual2006/techprogram/paper_100737.htm

    The results match the theory: the band isn’t saturated, more CO2 blocks more heat coming up from the surface. (I suggest reading the topics on the subject again if you doubt this.)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Mar 2010 @ 10:47 AM

  958. [Response: Sometimes the site gets busy and in those cases you should resubmit. We will generally catch duplicates if that occurs by mistake. - gavin]

    Problem is I don’t think this one is anywhere near 100% reliable. Probably not even 50-50.

    The website itself is having problems.

    This is not a *fault* of someone, but a *fact* of what we have here now.

    But the site does its best to make posting detailed accounts worthless. Even when the post does not disappear because of temporary issues (and these have happened when the site sees it as “waiting for moderation” but after a later posting gets a squiff, that “waiting for moderation” post has gone away), each post as it approaches a detailed length approaches the spam shot horizon: the system will assert that something somewhere in that message (no message about where) is marked as spam.

    Especially when you talk about a detailed and technical issue where the people who work in that narrow tecnhical field has a name that is flagged as spam.

    So one liners are more likely to go through.

    Since people like Rod B have asked time and time again about planck radiation, a detailed rebuttal is not going to do anything. It never has before.

    So not only is it more likely to get through, it’s less of a waste both on the putative recipient and in retyping in the fairly common (if low as a fraction) failure of the site to accept messages.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Mar 2010 @ 10:56 AM

  959. Ray, I hear what you’re saying but Rod is not being misled.

    This conversation about LTE and so on has happened before.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Mar 2010 @ 10:56 AM

  960. Just to close the circle–it’s the same physics involved in both the greenhouse gases and the infrared receptors in, e.g., beetles:

    “A variety of thermoreceptors are present in animals and insects…. Melanophila pit organs are thermomechanical receptors, which convert IR electromagnetic radiation …. Chitin contains C-H, N-H, and O-H bonds which are bonds that have stretch resonances in the range of 3 um. When IR radiation comes in contact with these bonds their vibrational energy is converted into translational energy producing heat by non-radiative de-excitation processes.”

    Micron 33 (2002) 211-225
    Biological infrared imaging and sensing
    Campbell, Naik, Sowards, Stone
    Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB

    http://web.neurobio.arizona.edu/gronenberg/nrsc581/thermo/biologicalinfraredsenses.pdf

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Mar 2010 @ 11:21 AM

  961. David Warkentin,

    Hmm, that sounds like a question for that Wascally Wabett. Me, I’m just a dumb physicist who assumes that equipartition will apply. It’s usually a pretty good assumption in the near-equilibrium world.

    CFU,
    I know we’ve been over this before, but the arguments I’ve constructed so far haven’t clicked for Rod. It’s a challenge for me to do better.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Mar 2010 @ 1:14 PM

  962. Ray Ladbury #955

    I’ve always been impressed by how you are unfailingly polite and informative in the face of sometimes unremitting mendacity by other posters here, and elsewhere.

    You’re doing a great job, keep it up – to any outsider it’s always clear who is on the side of reason.

    Comment by VeryTallGuy — 10 Mar 2010 @ 2:20 PM

  963. David W (946), Everything is quantized in the purest sense. You and textbooks don’t say it is for precisely the same reason I’ve been trying to tell CFU — in 99.9999% of the time it has no effect on or relevance to anything.

    Comment by Rod B — 10 Mar 2010 @ 2:54 PM

  964. Mr. David Warkentin writes on the 10 of March 2010 at 10:46 AM

    “Ray –
    You say “The thing is if you drew a blackbody curve at the right energy, it would bound the intensities of the spectral lines. What you have is a slice of a blackbody spectrum determined by the material.
    Do you happen to have a pointer to a reference with a good explanation of this connection? ”

    The wikipedia article at
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_spectral_line

    has a relation between the Planck curve, Einstein coefficients, oscillator strengths, and absorption cross section.

    Comment by sidd — 10 Mar 2010 @ 3:13 PM

  965. Ray Ladbury, I think I agree with what you say in #951 but might have a quarrel with words. I understand what is meant by a gas of photons reaching equilibrium (and this is a common helpful use of the phrase), but in pure physics I’m not sure what it is. A blackbody at a discrete temperature will emit photons across a wide spectral range of wavelengths and energy levels covering from UV to far IR. In this large pile of photons most (all?) are different from any siblings. In this context the photons are not in any equilibrium. However, the distribution of the photons across many energy levels will be exactly the same for any blackbody at the same temperature. Is this what is meant by “photon gas being in thermal equilibrium?” [In which case I assume one can not assign the character of temperature to any one photon.]

    Getting back to the original discussion [I think :-) ], you say,

    “The thing is that matter can only absorb/emit where it has allowed energy transitions. An atom or molecule can’t exist in a forbidden energy, right?”

    Right only in the precise purest sense, but not right in what is being implied. A molecule or atom has very narrow allowed energy levels (ergo large forbidden energy zones) as it applies to bond vibration, molecular rotation, or bound electrons. A free electron or whole atomic/molecular movement of translation or vibration has, for all practical purposes, infinite allowed energy levels. The former gives rise to our sodium lamp spectra (bound electrons) and the IR emission/absorption by a gas. These emissions have very precise frequencies with very few extremely narrow — almost a single line — bandwidths, and, technically, they ARE NOT Planck-type blackbody emissions. The latter can and do move and vibrate at an infinite number of frequencies covering a wide bandwidth. If any of these movements involve an accelerating charge, and they mostly do within a matter of nano/microseconds, radiation is emitted (or absorbed in a reverse sequence). This emission is in a virtually continuous spectrum with varying power levels and IS Planck-type blackbody emission.

    The true Planck-type blackbody-type emission can and does have variances in its spectrum and in the emitted power levels by virtue of the material’s overt physical characteristics (again, for all practical discussion purposes), but NOT by virtue of the material’s bound electron status or whether a molecular bond vibration level is filled or not, for example. Ergo, CO2′s emission of IR at 15um IS NOT Planck’s blackbody type.

    However, physicists can (and do) correctly assume that the mathematics of Planck blackbody radiation can be accurately applied to CO2 emission, by conveniently applying emissivities to narrow the emitted bandwidth. This mathematical construct seems to work accurately and is extremely helpful for the analysis. It is what’s done. Or as you said,

    “The thing is if you drew a blackbody curve at the right energy, it would bound the intensities of the spectral lines. What you have is a slice of a blackbody spectrum determined by the material.

    But, my point is that it is still a mathematical construct, not actual physics.

    Maybe this is an academic exercise and not helpful. But this physics is at the heart of GW. If all of this is a simple semantic shortcut used by the scientists it won’t matter in the end. But (and this is hard to fathom) it is not 100% obvious here that the physics is precisely understood in all of its finite detail. That would be a problem.

    Comment by Rod B — 10 Mar 2010 @ 3:32 PM

  966. > it is not 100% obvious here that the physics is precisely
    > understood in all of its finite detail. That would be a problem.

    Wonderful cartoon caption there. Imagine the conditions under which someone might be saying that.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Mar 2010 @ 4:53 PM

  967. Mr. Rod B says in reply to Mr. Ray Ladbury

    ‘ “The thing is if you drew a blackbody curve at the right energy, it would bound the intensities of the spectral lines. What you have is a slice of a blackbody spectrum determined by the material.

    But, my point is that it is still a mathematical construct, not actual physics.’

    I disagree. The mathematics is derived from stat mech and quantum theory. Please read the link I posted earlier.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_spectral_line

    sidd

    Comment by sidd — 10 Mar 2010 @ 7:29 PM

  968. Rod B., OK, you are getting close.

    You say: “A free electron or whole atomic/molecular movement of translation or vibration has, for all practical purposes, infinite allowed energy levels.”

    OK, now if you move an atom or molecule–even if you accelerate it–it won’t radiate, because it is a neutral particle, right? And if you accelerate an electron, it will radiate either at the frequency of the force or according to a Bremmstrahlung or Cerenkov spectrum, right? Neither of these is blackbody, right? So this can’t be where the blackbody radiation comes from either, right?

    Rod, the blackbody radiation distribution is determined by the properties of an aggregation of photons. Once the photon gas has assumed the blackbody distribution, it will continue to interact with the molecules/atoms of and within the container, but the distribution won’t change (at least not much. That is what we mean by equilibrium. Up to that point, the longer the photon gas interacts with its surroundings at temperature T, the closer it will come to a blackbody distribution.

    The thing is that real matter is never a perfect blackbody–it can’t absorb/emit at any and all frequencies, but rather only at those where there are allowed transitions. So, the text books tell us that you never get a perfect blackbody spectrum. They go on to say that the closest you can get is a cavity at temperature T where the gas (photon and material) has had a very long time to come to equilibrium. The longer the equilibration time, the more chance there is for very improbable interactions where a photon is absorbed or emitted at the extreme edge of an absorption band/line (e.g. due to collisional broadening, etc.). These fill in the spaces between lines somewhat, but a true blackbody is always an approximation.

    It is, however, a very useful approximation, and it allows us to understand a variety of physical phenomena–including greenhouse heating. Does that make more sense, Rod?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Mar 2010 @ 8:47 PM

  969. VeryTallGuy,
    Thank you. Do you want to try and convince my wife? ;-)

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Mar 2010 @ 8:51 PM

  970. sidd (967) you make a valid point. I think my basic premise re Planck-type radiation still holds, but my mathematical construct statement was too sweeping. Much of the mathematics stems directly from the discrete vibration, rotation, and bound electronic radiation physics, or radiation in general.

    Comment by Rod B — 10 Mar 2010 @ 11:23 PM

  971. Rod (963) – You keep saying “everything is quantized”, but why do you think that? If it isn’t in textbooks – if, in fact, textbooks flatly state that the energy of bound particles is quantized but that of unbound particles “can have any value” (Eisberg and Resnick) – how did you come to think differently?

    sidd (964) – Thanks for the link; that looks helpful.

    Comment by David Warkentin — 11 Mar 2010 @ 1:27 AM

  972. Hank Roberts says: 10 March 2010 at 10:47 AM

    Hey, guess what, BobFJ, let’s assume for now that I was wrong about the skin being able to detect infrared. I don’t think so, but it was just the first handwaving notion I suggested trying…

    How about a simple experiment in human sensitivity to IR, handwaving included?

    – If you have a portable hotplate, turn it on, set it so that you can’t see any incandescence in the dark.

    – Rotate the hotplate 90 degrees from horizontal, so that convecting air will move more or less vertically yet not impinge on an object a short distance perpendicularly from the surface of the hotplate.

    – Now, wave your hand a few inches or so from the hotplate.

    – Feel any heat?

    Handwaving science…

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 11 Mar 2010 @ 2:32 AM

  973. “963
    Rod B says:
    10 March 2010 at 2:54 PM

    David W (946), Everything is quantized in the purest sense.”

    So why do you say that Plank Radiation is a new sort of radiation because it’s continuous as you did in post 944?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Mar 2010 @ 5:59 AM

  974. Ray: “It’s a challenge for me to do better.”

    In the same way as perfection is an option, ray.

    Education does rather require that both sides (the teacher and the student) wish to learn.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Mar 2010 @ 6:00 AM

  975. Take a look at thse spurious claims!

    “In the atmosphere, on average, water vapor is about 4000 ppmv (0.4%), which is 10 times the concentration of CO₂. H₂O varies in the atmosphere more than CO₂, and it drops off considerably in the stratosphere, but its concentration is still, on average, 5 times greater than CO₂ in the lower stratosphere.

    The hydroxyl bond in the H₂O molecule absorbs very strongly in thermal infrared wavelengths, and it has unique properties which allow it to absorb a very broad range of the thermal infrared spectrum. CO₂ also absorbs strongly in the thermal infrared region, but in a much narrower band. So, any given molecule of H₂O in the atmosphere is slightly less than twice as likely to absorb and re-emit a photon in the thermal infrared spectrum as a molecule of CO₂.
    H₂O overlaps with CO₂ on all bands of thermal infrared radiation (wavelengths between 8 and 15 microns) that CO₂ absorbs, as can be clearly seen in the graph below. And any bands that CO₂ now absorbs at 100% (most of the bands it absorbs) are irrelevant, because this means that increased concentration of CO₂ will not result in increased absorption in these bands.

    What is relevant are the narrow bands where CO₂ and H₂O overlap, but neither currently absorb at 100%. This is the region of the Thermal Infrared Radiation (TIR) spectrum where the warming potential is.

    There is also an issue with “pressure spreading”, or something like that, where the band of TIR that CO₂ absorbs gets broader due to conditions in the atmosphere, but that is complex, and everything I know about molecular physics suggests that it would only “spread” to longer wavelengths, where H₂O absorbs very well.

    So, since CO₂ and H₂O overlap in the bands where neither absorbs 100% of TIR, this means that they “fight” over the available photons (radiation) in this band, and for the reasons I gave above, H₂O is going to win this fight every time, especially since global warming theory says that atmospheric water vapor increases exponentially with a slight warming from CO₂.

    The point is that exactly how much radiation is absorbed by each molecule in these narrow bands is not known, but it is known that the warming potential from CO₂ alone is very limited.

    So, the statement that “added C02 will always = added heat energy” defies the laws of physics. Even assuming that man-made CO₂ produced most of the observed 20th century warming trend (which is a big assumption), then the most warming that any additional CO₂ emissions can produce is still only ~ 1° C. (more on this later, if anyone is interested)

    **Note: The band of thermal infrared radiation is from 8 to 15 µm (microns). That range is close to centered on the 10 µm mark on the X-axis, now follow that range up to the absorption patterns for CO₂ and H₂O.”

    Uggghh……

    Comment by Jim — 11 Mar 2010 @ 4:49 PM

  976. 957, Hank Roberts

    I don’t know whether you’ll check back, but thanks for the link. I downloaded the PDF. It looks real good.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 12 Mar 2010 @ 2:52 PM

  977. “The point is that exactly how much radiation is absorbed by each molecule in these narrow bands is not known, but it is known that the warming potential from CO₂ alone is very limited. ”

    Except above the tropopause where there’s little water.

    If CO2 cannot manage it, please explain Venus. After all, it 100% overlaps with CO2 bands, yet Venus has shown little sign of that being a problem to increasing insulation.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 12 Mar 2010 @ 3:48 PM

  978. Doug Bostrom (972),
    I’m no scientist but I enjoy some basic science. In your experiment with a hot plate on its side, how about you return it to level, and get Hank to wave his hand above it again? Will not his hand feel hotter than before, but not just from infra red, but also from convection? How does Hank think he can distinguish the infra red? Now turn up the heat till it glows bright. When he waves his hand this time, he may go ouch, but how does he tell which part of the ouch is infra red?

    Comment by Jedda — 13 Mar 2010 @ 12:51 AM

  979. David Warkentin (946, 971), a typical pendulum with one joule of energy can easily have that energy quantized into 10^33 separate quanta. It’s not hard to find texts and lecture notes discussing this, but it is very infrequent because it is continuous for all useful purposes and has no effect; including it in classes would only complicate and make the course less effective, and confuse the student all for zero benefit (unless they are specifically studying this.) BTW, the formula is (roughly) E = nhf with n the number of discrete levels allowed. A sample site is http://science.exeter.edu/ssaltman/quantum/quantum.htm

    Comment by Rod B — 13 Mar 2010 @ 1:28 PM

  980. Ray Ladbury (968, et al), et al:

    Sorry I’m slow; I’ve been away.

    A quick related clarification to David Warkentin’s #946: The electron energy levels in every one of your 10^17 atoms will be exactly the same. So if one has a level at A it will emit a photon at a precise frequency associated with the energy quanta change. Every other atom, no matter how many atoms you have, will emit at the exact same frequency in the same circumstances. You will never get a broadband spectrum from this physics mechanism.

    Ray says, “…if you move an atom or molecule–even if you accelerate it–it won’t radiate, because it is a neutral particle, right?”

    Therein lies a rub. NOT RIGHT. Most texts, papers, lectures (of the limited set I’ve perused) simply do not address the physical details of this Planck function radiation. It is usually one of those magic happens steps. However, a few talk about it. The broadband spectra created by colliding free-free electrons is easy to understand, While this can be significant, as you say, it doesn’t seem to be greatly prevalent at normal temperatures. Most at normal temperatures comes from atomic and molecular collisions — either as vibrations in crystalline solids or individual translation collisions in liquids, plasma, or gases. The charge acceleration can stem from polarized molecules; most comes from neutral molecules or atoms with the charge coming from the electron cloud surrounding the molecule/atom. As one source ( http://galileo.phys.virginia.edu/classes/252/black_body_radiation.html — provided by Hank, I think) states, “…heat was known to cause the molecules and atoms of a solid to vibrate, and it was known that the molecules and atoms were themselves complicated patterns of electrical charges…. when a body was heated, the consequent vibrations on a molecular and atomic scale included some oscillating charges…. then these oscillating charges would radiate, presumably giving off heat and light.”

    It’s true that the familiar continuous blackbody spectrum is usually modified by the change in emissivity as a function of wavelength. However this is variations over a large bandwidth or maybe sharp narrowband but numerous variations spread throughout the blackbody spectrum. Blackbody emissivity that is zero everywhere except 14.771 um where it is 1.0 is nonsensical.

    Secondly, although a really torturous explanation is possible, it’s hard to accept CO2 vibrational emissions as a Planck-type function. For example how do you handle Wien’s displacement law where the wavelength (um) at the peak radiation = 2897/T? CO2 has radiation at one very precise wavelength no matter what the temperature?

    I do agree with your other descriptions. But the question at hand is: does the radiation emitting from a change in a molecule’s vibration energy stem from the same physical process, and follows the same Planck-type function as what we commonly call blackbody radiation (but really mean radiation from the heat/temperature of matter)? I say no. Among other things it has virtually no direct relevance to temperature. (There is an indirect function that relates the probability of a vibration level being filled to the temperature of the surroundings.)

    You finally say, “It is… a very useful approximation, and it allows us to understand a variety of physical phenomena–including greenhouse heating. Does that make more sense, Rod?”

    That makes eminent sense, and I agree. I have said all along that the mathematics of Planck functions can lend itself very well to vibrational radiations, and it’s the easiest and best we have. I’m simply saying the radiations do not have the same genesis. And there might be areas in the details where the mathematical application does not work very well. I don’t know if there is or if they’re important. But we need to stay aware. Just like with any model.

    Comment by Rod B — 13 Mar 2010 @ 3:46 PM

  981. > RodB

    The first quote you use says:
    > the molecules and atoms of a solid to vibrate

    Then you say
    > it’s hard to accept CO2 vibrational emissions as a Planck-type function. …
    > no matter what the temperature?

    The first quote is describing solids.

    Freeze a block of CO2 solid.
    What do you think you’ll get if you measure a spectrum from it?

    Look at spectra from a star. You see discrete emissions from iron, carbon, and many other elements — because you’re dealing with gases.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Mar 2010 @ 5:30 PM

  982. Rod, I’m guessing you’re having trouble with the ‘ultraviolet catastrophe’ — sound familiar?
    http://galileo.phys.virginia.edu/classes/252/black_body_radiation.html
    “… (As long ago as 1877, Maxwell had pointed out that hot gases emit light at particular frequencies. The frequencies do not change with temperature, so the oscillations must be simple harmonic—but such an oscillator would surely also be excited by collisions at low temperatures, so why was energy not being fed into this mode?) …”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Mar 2010 @ 5:54 PM

  983. OK Rod (979), I think I see the problem – you haven’t made the connection that a pendulum’s energy is quantized precisely because it _is_ bound. Free particles aren’t bound, and their energy is not quantized. (The book I cited earlier shows how this difference arises from the form of the Schroedinger equation.)

    Furthermore, this:

    “A quick related clarification to David Warkentin’s #946: The electron energy levels in every one of your 10^17 atoms will be exactly the same. So if one has a level at A it will emit a photon at a precise frequency associated with the energy quanta change. Every other atom, no matter how many atoms you have, will emit at the exact same frequency in the same circumstances. You will never get a broadband spectrum from this physics mechanism.”

    is also quite fundamentally wrong. Atoms which are bonded together do _not_ have the same allowable electron energy levels as atoms which are separate. This page on molecular orbital diagrams: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MO_diagram#Dihydrogen_MO_diagram
    illustrates how the 1s orbitals of two separate hydrogen atoms combine to form two molecular orbitals of H2 with distinctly different energy levels. Further down on that page there’s a diagram showing how the 2s and 2p atomic orbitals of C and O combine to form molecular orbitals at six different energy levels in the CO2 molecule.

    (If you’re interested in learning more about this sort of thing, MIT has put videos of the lectures for 3.091 Introduction to Solid State Chemistry online here:
    http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Materials-Science-and-Engineering/3-091Fall-2004/CourseHome/index.htm)

    For a microgram of metal with 10^17 atoms bonded together, the resulting energy levels will be very numerous and very closely spaced – I think my conjecture that natural broadening causes transitions between them to appear as a continuous spectrum is quite plausible.

    Comment by David Warkentin — 13 Mar 2010 @ 6:19 PM

  984. Rod B.

    If the second law of thermodynamics is never invalidated (in statistically-significant populations, and except for small fluctuations of the sort expected from such populations), then there must be such a thing as the Planck function for blackbody radiation. For local thermodynamic equilibrium (among non-photon matter), as the emission weighting function traced back over an isothermal path (including all the branchings and diffusions that may occur by reflection, scattering) approaches 1, for a given direction, frequency, polarization, the intensity of radiation (per unit of the frequency spectrum, per unit of the ‘polarization spectrum’);must approach the blackbody value for that temperature (allowing for that being a function of index of refraction at that location as well as temperature and frequency).

    IF this were not true, it would be possible to devise a perpetual motion machine.

    In full thermodynamic equilibrium (among photons and non-photons), non-photon matter must be emitting as much energy as it is absorbing, and the intensity of radiation that must be present for the absorption to equal emission is the blackbody value. This also must be true seperately for all directions, frequencies, and polarizations, so that the same energy transitions happen in the forward and reverse directions at the same rate; otherwise there would be a net flow of energy from one population of states to another, which is not characteristic of thermodynamic equilibrium (but is, if the inflows and outflows are balanced (for at least some of these, a time average) for a defined system, characteristic of climatic equilibrium, ecological equilibrium, homeostasis, etc.), where each chemical and physical reaction occurs in the forward and reverse directions at the same rate.

    (Thermalization of energy, the process by which energy is redistributed among forms toward a thermodynamic equilibrium, is sufficiently rapid (setting aside kinetic barriers to chemical and physical reactions reactions, which needn’t disrupt LTE in so far as photon emission and absorption are concerned) for most of the mass of the atmosphere to be near LTE in spite of net cooling, heating, or balance from inflows and outflows that are in different forms.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 13 Mar 2010 @ 8:35 PM

  985. “which needn’t disrupt LTE in so far as photon emission and absorption”

    With the exception of photons emitted directly from chemical reactions, as opposed to the enthalpy they might release; this (and other non-LTE emissions, like the aurora) is not a significant contributor to atmopsheric radiation, in terms of energy.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 13 Mar 2010 @ 8:40 PM

  986. … okay, a bit OT from the original point, but in other words, with exceptions to this not making significant changes to the climate system’s energy budget, ***in so far as I know***, chemical and physical disequilibrium (nuclear, too) can be set aside for the purposes of evaluating LTE for radiation processes, with LTE relevant to radiation being determined by the distribution of internal energy, given the composition and physical state of the matter – because the relevant chemical and physical reactions either occur quite slowly (CH4 oxydation) and/or do not directly emit or absorb photons but do so via changes in internal energy (for the most part).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 13 Mar 2010 @ 8:49 PM

  987. Where can I find data/research papers on how C02 migrates above the troposphere and how its measured? How do miniscule amounts play such a large role in the energy imblance at high altidues? Can you point me in the right direction?

    Comment by Adam — 13 Mar 2010 @ 8:52 PM

  988. Rod, you aren’t thinking this through. First, CO2 is a neutral molecule, correct? The carbon and oxygen atoms are bound, correct? If so, then the energy it radiates is quantized. PERIOD! That is not to say that it is a delta function. Spectral lines always have width–or more specifically, a distribution over which they absorb and emit radiation. That spread, too, is defined by quantum mechanics.

    I’ve asked before where you think the radiation in the blackbody spectrum between spectral lines comes from. All you have given is vague, handwaving argumenst. No references, no math, no specifics. The reason: because there are no sources of radiation between the spectral lines. This is most evident when looking at a gas–that is why I keep emphasizing the sodium vapor lamp. The spectrum becomes more continuous when dealing with a liquid, and even more so in a solid. Even so, if you are looking at the spectrum in detail, you will see spectral lines that allow you to identify the material.

    Ask yourself, why is it that blackbody radiation has the same spectrum independent of the radiator? It is because the spectrum is not a property of the material, but of the photon gas–it is the energy distribution such a gas would have at equilibrium. The issue is that photons do not interact with each other, so the only way they can come to equilibrium is to interact with matter around them. OK, so here’s the question: How does a photon interact with matter when the matter has no allowed transition corresponding to the photon’s energy?

    The best blackbody approximators are materials with carbon nanotubes. Why? Because with all those carbon bonds, there is a near continuum of energy states to absorb photons. Now, why given your view would a gas be so much worse of a blackbody radiation?

    Comment by Ray L