RealClimate

Comments

RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. I think the timing issue (i.e. commitment) is an important one to make clear to a lot of people whom I’ll term “reasonable skeptics.” That is, there are any number of people that feel that whether you call the last decade warming or cooling, the overall increase in temperatures for the last 30 years hasn’t been “too bad,” especially if you look at Spencer’s graphs which conveniently squash the Y axis to “hide the incline”, and put the zero point at the beginning of the satellite record (i.e. after some warming had already occurred). But I digress…

    My point is that the idea of “warming in the pipeline” or a “temperature commitment” doesn’t occur to a lot of people. They’re too concrete, hence the ability to distract them with a recent snowy or cold winter, or normal winter Arctic ice recovery, or a recent decade of merely moderate warming (until this year!), or most importantly an overall rate of change that is not consistent or directly proportional in time to CO2 emissions. Their argument amounts to “warming doesn’t look so bad right now, so there is no problem.”

    So this is one other way to point that out… the simple idea that even if civilization came to a complete halt right now, warming would still continue for a while before things started to settle down.

    I’d be very interested in seeing a study presenting a variety of realistic, feasible scenarios that take into account such factors as oil resource limitations (i.e. what if we really do hit peak oil in 3-4 years?) and the subsequent economic impacts — positive feedbacks on fossil fuel reductions, if you will (i.e. if fossil fuel supply drops precipitously, then disturbances in economies would reduce usage even beyond supply changes). I’m not sure that the example of a “feasible scenario” is all that feasible, given that it appears to presume a constant increase in emissions, when fossil fuel availability is going to be increasingly unpredictable in coming decades.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 2 Jun 2010 @ 6:29 AM

  2. 1) This study seems to make use of the answer to a question that arose in the discussion on the last thread… that is, how long will CO2 levels remain elevated in the atmosphere after emissions completely cease? The graph presented here implies that they’ll begin to drop fairly quickly with a reverse logarithmic impact on temperatures, bringing us back to where we are now in about 100 years.

    2) How does this square with Matthews and Weaver in Nature Geoscience (RC post here, from March)? That study shows temperatures leveling off almost immediately, but then staying level for hundreds of years. Did Matthews and Weaver miss the aerosols factor, or is there a discrepancy in how CO2 residence (in terms of concentrations) is estimated in the two studies?

    3) My last point/question would be that this presumes no step changes as a result of tipping points. For example, there is some fear that Arctic ice melt may be dangerously close to a tipping point. What is the picture if, for example, summer Arctic ice completely disappears sometime soon (i.e. before an abrupt cessation in emissions)? Would/could the resulting positive feedback due to decreased albedo further increase temperatures to a point where recovery is dramatically slowed (i.e. could the entire “return to normal” curve be pushed ahead by a hundred years or more)? Or might Arctic ice recover even more quickly (as demonstrated by current winter ice growth), making it a non-factor? Are there other positive step-change feedbacks to be considered (methane release?) that are just as dangerous, and also likely?

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 2 Jun 2010 @ 6:57 AM

  3. I was vague in my own question #2 above… what I should have asked was “is the only factor that Matthews and Weaver missed the aerosols issue, or are there other differences, such as the estimate of the residence/fallout of CO2 in/from the atmosphere, or the reversal of positive feedbacks such as ice melt/albedo changes?”

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 2 Jun 2010 @ 7:02 AM

  4. all this assumes that the main factor to be optimized is the amount of warming, irrespectively of the amount of energy we burn. Meaning that the implicit indicator that measures the “welfare” , whatever it is (GDP, life expectancy, HDI, or any fancy index you’d like) is strongly (negatively) correlated with the average temperature, and weakly correlated with the fossil fuel consumption.

    The only problem is that all the data I’m aware of show exactly the opposite, but I may have missed some of them.

    Comment by Gilles — 2 Jun 2010 @ 7:37 AM

  5. “Did Matthews and Weaver miss the aerosols factor, or is there a discrepancy in how CO2 residence (in terms of concentrations) is estimated in the two studies?”

    I think the authors here think that difference is the result of considering CO2 only, which as a long residence time (note that we don’t get back to pre-industrial levels for a thousand or two years) as opposed to all GHGs some of which have much smaller residency times but are a smaller total effect than CO2’s cumulative change.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 2 Jun 2010 @ 7:52 AM

  6. 4 (Gilles).

    No.

    You are putting your own political spin onto a purely scientific post. The underlying question is “how well can we control the temperature increase resulting from GHG, through emissions controls?”. As is usual with science, degrees of freedom are reduced by focusing on a specific, detailed question and reducing the complexity of the problem to include as few variables as possible. In this case, the only factors are impacts of human emissions on global temperature (explicitly aerosols and GHG effects).

    You are purposely twisting the point of the post, and the science, to promote your own agenda. This is a typical denier tactic… instantly redirect the focus of the discussion to suit your own whim.

    Stick to the science. Question: What controls do we have over our own fates? Answer: Less than expected in the short term, due to the difference in residence time of aerosols versus GHGs. Simple question, simple answer, useful information.

    Not that I care to engage you, but you also highlight the ignorance and short sightedness that understanding “temperature commitment” entails among deniers:

    The only problem is that all the data I’m aware of show exactly the opposite, but I may have missed some of them.

    And there in lies the rub. If we have committed to X (a dangerous X) degrees of increase, but have only seen a fraction of that warming to date, and if we will add to that commitment still without seeing more than a fraction of that warming, then deniers like you will say “all the data I’m aware of show exactly the opposite” because the warming is not yet showing negative impacts with easy, undeniable attribution to climate change.

    But by the time the impacts and attribution are undeniable, it’s too late. That’s the whole point!

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 2 Jun 2010 @ 8:05 AM

  7. The #1 and #2 commitments appear to assume that most or all global warming is anthropogenic, and that stopping anthropogenic forcing will effectively stabilize earth’s climate. ???!

    Comment by Jack Maloney — 2 Jun 2010 @ 8:30 AM

  8. Gilles,
    There are plenty of studies that show a negative correlation between higher temperature and per capita GDP. Had you made even a cursory google search, you would have found them. This has been a very active area of research for decades.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Jun 2010 @ 8:33 AM

  9. Re #4–

    Yes, well acceleration, velocity, and altitude don’t correlate with a person in free-fall, either–until they hit the ground.

    Different regimes, different correlations. Hence the desirability of prediction based upon physical theory, not pure stats.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 2 Jun 2010 @ 8:50 AM

  10. Re #4–

    Yes, well acceleration, velocity, and altitude don’t correlate with well-being for a person in free-fall, either–until they hit the ground.

    Different regimes, different correlations. Hence the desirability of prediction based upon physical theory, not pure stats.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 2 Jun 2010 @ 8:51 AM

  11. Bob (Sphaerica) wrote: “This is a typical denier tactic… instantly redirect the focus of the discussion to suit your own whim.”

    Actually, it isn’t so much specifically a denier tactic, as it is a troll tactic — a gambit used by someone who enjoys impressing himself with his ability to deliberately waste other people’s time with BS.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 2 Jun 2010 @ 9:38 AM

  12. The figure caption for the first line should read:
    “Note that *temperature* intially rise due to ceased cooling by aerosols” (whereas now it says “emissions” instead of temperature)

    [Response: Indeed. But that is the published caption, so I can’t change it…. :( -gavin]

    Bob (2),

    Indeed, Matthews and Weaver omitted the aerosol factor. As I wrote in a comment to the older RC post on their work, in M and W the CO2 emissions are set to zero, but aerosol emissions are (presumably) allowed to continue.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 2 Jun 2010 @ 9:40 AM

  13. > Bart … figure caption
    Perhaps halting emissions of aerosols causes faster feedback emissions due to that faster warming? Caption puzzled me too.

    Gavin — I’d love to see the identical analysis done with ocean pH as the criterion rather than temperature. Is anyone looking at that?

    I’d love to see a list appended to the main post:
    > Good initial targets … where both the short
    > and long-lived components increase warming:
    Methane? CFCs? Bromine? HFCs? Diesel soot? Wood soot? Relative effect?

    Trolling noted; I’m not biting in this topic. Leaving it to admins.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Jun 2010 @ 11:42 AM

  14. Ramanathan and Feng came up with 2.4°C for the zero emissions case, whereas the Hare and Meinshausen graph shows about 1.1°C. Can you explain the discrepancy?

    Comment by Earl Killian — 2 Jun 2010 @ 11:47 AM

  15. true or false?

    http://climaterealists.com/attachments/database/GreenhouseGasTheoryDiscredited.pdf

    [Response: Do you really have to ask? -gavin]

    Comment by Mango — 2 Jun 2010 @ 11:50 AM

  16. While this is yet another in a long list of great articles on RealClimate, I’m still dismayed that it ONLY represents an “absolute BEST CASE scenario!” Sort of “following up” on Mr. Maloney’s comment (#7) it seems to me that the graph and text ONLY consider potential warming based on anthropogenic GHGs and don’t reflect “real world” conditions.

    First, “we” should all be sufficiently aware of “human nature” to understand that there will NOT be any significant, if any at all, deliberate reductions of human-produced GHGs in the foreseeable future… unless, of course, the entire global economy grinds to a complete halt, which seems more and more likely with each passing day. Regardless, and more to the point, from what I see of the SSTs from NOAA and the current news of Arctic “ice-extent” at NSIDC, it almost goes without saying that the cover/volume numbers for northern ice will be dramatically lower than at anytime in recorded history. As a result, the northern seas will be absorbing even more heat than at any time in the history of homo [not so] sapiens.

    Moreover, the research into permafrost thaw/retreat and associated increases in methane release I’ve been reading over the past couple years indicate that that process is accelerating at an “unanticipated” degree. Given the serious under-estimations (in the IPCC reports) of Arctic ice retreat witnessed over the past half-decade or so, I think it’s more “realistic” to assume that there will be a greater and sooner “contribution” to global (especially Arctic) warming than is currently expected. In other words, I find it perfectly reasonable to consider that even IF all anthropogenic GHGs did cease “today,” there is sufficient warming-momentum to expect a release of at least 10% of the CO2, CH4 and NOx from that region which, by my calculations, send global CO2-equivalent concentrations above (maybe WELL above) 500 ppm. As a result, all those curves on your graph will become distinctly more vertical! This seems practically inevitable as we approach the next Solar maximum over the next 1-2 years.

    Comment by Colin Crawford — 2 Jun 2010 @ 12:04 PM

  17. The principle factor I’d expect to motivate revision of the curves given here is methane releases from permafrost and clathrates. Have any discoveries in this vein since 2006 begun to percolate into the models, or is that question a matter of “wait and see” at this point?

    Comment by Daniel Goodwin — 2 Jun 2010 @ 12:22 PM

  18. The “feasible scenario” looks very dangerous to me. I think we will trigger in a big way the positive natural feedbacks that have already begun: Arctic ocean sunlight absorption, tundra peat bog [marsh?] melting and some of the methane hydrate melting. Won’t they will push the temperature high enough to trigger a really big ocean bottom methane hydrate release? Won’t that in turn give us a PETM-like spike that will push GW to the “Humans go extinct for sure” level of 6 degrees C?

    I think we must do the unfeasible scenario that looks more like line “0” or line 1 on the graph. Note that denialists will change arguments again and see the continuation of warming on line 1 as proof that CO2 isn’t what causes GW.

    I have heard that tundra peat bogs can be “tamed” by turning them into grassland. Is that possible? Environmental regulations against touching Alaskan peat bogs would have to be changed because “wetlands” would have to be drained.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Jun 2010 @ 12:59 PM

  19. Mango says: 2 June 2010 at 11:50 AM

    true or false?

    http://climaterealists.com/attachments/database/GreenhouseGasTheoryDiscredited.pdf

    Neither. “Peak Stupid”.

    (Hat tip on “Peak Stupid” to “J” at OpenMind

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 2 Jun 2010 @ 1:47 PM

  20. Gavin, shouldn’t “The curve (1) is the result for zero emissions of all of the anthropogenic inputs (in this case, CO2, CH2….”

    Shouldn’t that be CH4?

    [Response: Yep. -gavin]

    Comment by Jim Eager — 2 Jun 2010 @ 1:57 PM

  21. Earl Killian (14),

    Ramanthan and Feng’s number of 2.4 degrees warming relates to the committed warming of the current level of GHG only (2.9 W/m2, ozone excluded, if I recall correctly), so without the masking effect of the cooling aerosols. The rationale behind that is that A) aerosols are shortlived and B) we’re going to clean them up sooner or later (e.g. for health reasons).

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 2 Jun 2010 @ 2:37 PM

  22. Jack #7, yes, current global warming is mostly anthropogenic. The paper discussed assumes a (positive) solar and (negative) volcanic forcing held constant at the mean levels of recent history. The resulting natural forcing for 2005, they say, is 0.54 W/m2 over preindustrial (1770-1800) levels, which I assume is pretty generous, since it was based on work reviewed for the TAR, and the solar irradiance change was revised down considerably in AR4. The anthropogenic forcing over the same period is nearly three times that, 1.48 W/m2.

    Colin #16, Daniel #17, Ed #18, the authors note that positive terrestrial carbon-cycle feedback or releases of methane hydrates would lead to larger long-term warming for each scenario.

    PS. Colin, a Worst-Case Scenario just in…

    Comment by CM — 2 Jun 2010 @ 2:38 PM

  23. At least three comments so far mention the arctic sea ice albedo effect. Has that been quantified as a function of latitude and season? What I mean is, we know that when the sun is high overhead, ice reflects 90%, and water absorbs almost that much. But at low sun angles, water reflects a lot too. Meanwhile, a dark, slightly warmer than ice ocean can radiate more energy to space than ice.

    So, is there a solid analysis of how the actual trends in arctic ice cover are affecting the year-round energy budget? I suspect the feedback is still positive, but that the strength of the feedback diminishes as the ice retreats further. But that’s just physical intuition. Someone must have done a serious calculation of this.

    Comment by GFW — 2 Jun 2010 @ 2:46 PM

  24. Bob #6 : “Stick to the science. Question: What controls do we have over our own fates? Answer: Less than expected in the short term, due to the difference in residence time of aerosols versus GHGs. Simple question, simple answer, useful information.”

    I assume that in your question , “fate” is equivalent to “average temperature of the globe” ? – which is exactly what I meant… I personnally think that “fates” includes much more than the average temperature we live in – and of course there are many different ways to influence it, most of which aren’t linked with temperature.

    RL#8 : “Gilles,
    There are plenty of studies that show a negative correlation between higher temperature and per capita GDP. Had you made even a cursory google search, you would have found them. This has been a very active area of research for decades.”

    For a given energy consumption? are you sure ? where ?

    Comment by Gilles — 2 Jun 2010 @ 3:00 PM

  25. Mango 15,

    The paper you point to is beyond stupid. Take any layer of atmosphere, or the whole thing. It radiates from the bottom as well as the top. Thus Gavin’s multiplication by two. To say this is bogus, a fraud, a hoax, is to betray gross ignorance of very basic geometry, not to mention radiation physics.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 Jun 2010 @ 3:06 PM

  26. 16, Colin Crawford, First, “we” should all be sufficiently aware of “human nature” to understand that there will NOT be any significant, if any at all, deliberate reductions of human-produced GHGs in the foreseeable future… unless, of course, the entire global economy grinds to a complete halt, which seems more and more likely with each passing day.

    I wonder sometimes that such intemperate comments are not derided by the people here who profess concern about “trolls”.

    To start with, there is no one “human nature”, but lots of human natures: differences between cultures, differences between people within cultures, differences between epochs within cultures (exemplified by the expanding and contracting dynasties in Chinese history.)

    Second, China, the US, and the EU are already investing $billions per year in solar, wind and biofuels to supplement fossil and nuclear power, and eventually to replace fossil power as it runs out. CO2 output has been nearly constant or slightly reduced in the US and EU, and coal consumption is already declining in the US, as the renewable energy sector is growing faster than the total energy demand. Itis also true in China that the renewable energy sector is growing faster than energy consumption overall; starting from a smaller base, it will be making a substantial contribution to overall energy statistics in China by 2020 (some of the “foreseeable future”.)

    Third, there is no threat that global economies will “grind to a halt”. The worst documented recession in US history produced a 25% decline in annual GDP, not a “halt”, and the current monetary problems will produce perhaps as much a decline in the US and EU, but probably not in Japan, China, S. Korea, Indonesia, India or Brazil, though those countries all have problems of their own.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 2 Jun 2010 @ 3:32 PM

  27. This question may be a little bit too involved to properly answer, but I figured I’d give it a shot anyway; why, on the graph provided, is the model’s response to forcings so variable (relative to the actual temperature record)? That is, it looks like at some times the model responds too quickly, going up or down before actual temperatures did (1870-ish, for example, where there’s a peak in the model that doesn’t happen in historical data until what looks like at least half a decade later), at other times the model lags Earth’s actual response (the slow climb and peak at a little after 1950, when the historical temperatures peaked at 1940-ish), and others where the model seems to match the data pretty perfectly. Is this just a result of different forcings being accounted for to lesser or greater degrees, or…?

    …And, um, off-topic, but I just wanted to thank y’all for putting this much effort into communicating climate science to the world at large; it can’t be pleasant at times, particularly when you’ve got all manner of people accusing you of fraud, attempted global domination (seriously, now?), and other nastiness, but…thank you. If we and the world as we know it are going to survive, we need to understand that world and the laws by which it operates, and your work communicating those laws and how our understanding of them are arrived at is invaluable.

    Comment by Sam Yates — 2 Jun 2010 @ 3:55 PM

  28. Mother Nature plays by different rules than gridded models project. The thing is that whenever there is a dispute over the rules, Mother Nature always wins.

    Five years ago, the gridded models said that Arctic Sea Ice would be around for another 80 years.

    Five years ago, I said the Arctic Sea Ice would be seasonal by 2014 and I was called an “Alarmist.” I still am.

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 2 Jun 2010 @ 4:08 PM

  29. Mango@15, Oh my God. The stupidity density in that piece is so dense it bends light! That has to be satire. Please tell me it’s satire!

    [Response:How about that subtitle stunner: “Shock new evidence … shames beleaguered space administration in new global warming fraud scandal”. Not just a scandal but a fraud scandal: serious stuff there. Poe’s law claims another victim–jim]

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Jun 2010 @ 5:25 PM

  30. Sam Yates (26) — The climate model’s internal variability doesn’t coincide with that in the data, I believe. It is possible to more closely match the record:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/unforced-variations-3/comment-page-12/#comment-168530

    Comment by David B. Benson — 2 Jun 2010 @ 5:52 PM

  31. Bart Verheggen (21),

    Yes, I think I understand Ramanathan and Feng. What I don’t understand is how Hare and Meinshausen’s “zero emissions” line comes up with a result so much lower. I haven’t read Hare and Meinshausen so I don’t know how their scenario differs from Ramanathan and Feng to come up with a temperature anomaly that is less than half.

    Comment by Earl Killian — 2 Jun 2010 @ 6:44 PM

  32. I’d like to second the points at posts #16 and 17. I know that there was a thread on them, but it does seem likely that seabed methane in the Arctic could provide a significant discontinuity to these models.

    What the curve in the graph seems to show is that aerosols are currently “masking” at least one degree of warming. Is that the case, or is some of the continued increase because of feedbacks that have already started?

    I know there have been threads on this too, but I’d like to have it clearly stated here–what is the range of uncertainty about the estimation that aerosols are masking one degree of warming? How likely is it that it is much less (presumably not very) or much more.

    Comment by wili — 2 Jun 2010 @ 8:52 PM

  33. #21 & #31 The zero emissions scenario must involve the elimination of aerosols related to fossil fuel emissions – and the key to the figure says that that is the case. Ramanathan and Feng’s scenario is for constant concentrations not emissions. But in order to explain the difference between that and the zero emissions scenario here, either GHG concentrations need to fall very rapidly once emissions stop (and maybe CH4 etc. can explain that?) or there is a difference in the climate sensitivity etc.

    Comment by David Stern — 2 Jun 2010 @ 9:59 PM

  34. > negative correlation between higher temperature and per capita GDP.
    Yeah, look at Iceland. Oh, wait ….

    Or look at the list of countries colonized by Europeans; perhaps they got richer sooner because needing to burn coal to stay warm in winter led to the steam technology of the age of empires?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Jun 2010 @ 10:30 PM

  35. LOL @ higher temps and GDP. Governance and the rule of law are a better correlation.

    Note that Hong Kong and Isreal outstrip their neighbors in the rankings. Plus California, Texas, and Florida would get high rankings if considered countries instead of states.

    Now, back to the science! Thanks for getting back on the information train, RC!

    Comment by Frank Giger — 2 Jun 2010 @ 11:37 PM

  36. > what is the range of uncertainty about the estimation that aerosols
    > are masking one degree of warming?
    I think you’re asking for what’s called a “probability distribution”

    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aipcc.ch+range+uncertainty+aerosols+masking+one+degree+warming
    leads to:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch2s2-9-2.html
    “… Radiative forcings from forcing agents have been combined into their main groupings. This is particularly useful for aerosol as its total direct RF is considerably better constrained than the RF from individual aerosol types ….”
    [describing the pictures on the linked page]
    “… Adding together the anthropogenic RF values shown in panel (A) of Figure 2.20 and combining their individual uncertainties gives the probability density functions (PDFs) of RF that are shown in panel (B). Three PDFs are shown: the combined RF from greenhouse gas changes (LLGHGs and ozone); the combined direct aerosol and cloud albedo RFs and the combination of all anthropogenic RFs….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Jun 2010 @ 12:12 AM

  37. @Mango, and others.
    The paper has been refuted
    http://denialdepot.blogspot.com/2010/06/apollo-mission-giant-leap-contradicting.html

    Comment by toxymoron — 3 Jun 2010 @ 1:40 AM

  38. @ #19, 25 & 29

    Just for the record, I don’t believe it’s true

    I wanted to know if Gavin was going to demand a retraction or sue the guy who printed it

    Comment by Mango — 3 Jun 2010 @ 1:47 AM

  39. Hank, Gilles has displayed a complete inability to understand any responses so please do not respond to him, it only gives him what he wants: attention. He is not going to get the point and this boring and highly repetitive diversion will continue. Enough already

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 3 Jun 2010 @ 2:48 AM

  40. GFW,

    > the arctic sea ice albedo effect. Has that been quantified as
    > a function of latitude and season?

    Layman reply, the fruits of unsystematic reading and discussion on an earlier thread (corrections and improvements welcome):

    The albedo of ocean water is not only a function of the angle of incidence of sunlight (latitude and season), but also a function of cloudiness (diffuse light); roughness of the sea; and clorophyll concentrations. I’ve seen reference works where ocean albedo approaches 100% at 90 degrees latitude, but this assumes a very calm surface on a very clear day so you can just apply the Fresnel equations. Besides, the lower the sun and the higher the percentage of incoming sunlight that is reflected, the lower the total incoming sunlight that matters to the radiation balance. Sources I’ve found put the real-world annual mean Arctic ocean albedo at 10-20%.

    Ice albedo is affected by such things as melt ponds and snow cover. Work is ongoing to improve the parameterizations of all this stuff.

    Someone else would have to speak to how this feeds into the modeling work.

    Possibly helpful links:

    Ocean Surface Albedo Lookup Table: Jin and Charlock
    http://snowdog.larc.nasa.gov/jin/getocnlut.html

    Direct measurements (SHEBA):
    http://data.eol.ucar.edu/codiac/projs?SHEBA

    An old non-paywalled paper, clear and instructive: Cogley 1979
    http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F1520-0493(1979)107%3C0775%3ATAOWAA%3E2.0.CO%3B2

    Some history:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/simple.htm

    Comment by CM — 3 Jun 2010 @ 3:05 AM

  41. Does the model shown include feedback? I seem to recall an article on the Science of Doom giving the effect of doubling CO2 emissions to equate to a global mean temp rise of approximately 1C without any feedback taken into consideration? This model shows a 2.5C rise by 2150. Curious to understand the difference eg:-
    1) Feedback
    2) This is not just the effects of C02
    3) Based on current comsumption CO2 will more than double by 2150

    Based on what I have read today the basic science of increases in CO2 warming the earth is well understood. It is just the feedback mechanisms that are less well known?

    I personnally think it would be useful to split these out in any analysis?

    ;-)

    Comment by Neil — 3 Jun 2010 @ 5:43 AM

  42. 32 (wili),

    I believe “masking” is an inaccurate term. It implies that the warming has happened, but we can’t see it. Rather, it’s simply that the planet takes time to warm (there’s a huge, huge volume of water involved, and that water is in constant motion).

    The analogy I use is that CO2 is like a thermostat in a house. Adding CO2 is like turning up the thermostat to 100 degrees F, and then breaking the switch so that it can’t be turned back down. Your house will not instantly reach 100 degrees. It will take considerable time for your furnace to heat all of the air in the house, but there’s still nothing you can do to stop it. Sitting around after the first hour and saying “gee, it’s only 85 degrees now, I must not have turned the thermostat up as high as I thought” is just wishful thinking.

    To use another analogy, adding CO2 is like adding a blanket. You’re not instantly warm the moment you put on the extra blanket. It takes time to heat. You may actually get too warm, eventually, and want to kick off that extra blanket (except the CO2 blanket is stuck to you with super glue). And we’re constantly adding CO2, so we’re constantly adding more and more (super-glued) blankets.

    The bottom line is that, depending on climate sensitivity, current CO2 levels equate to anywhere from 1 to 1.5 C warming, and we’ve only seen about 0.5 to date (more if this year’s temperatures represent a step change, but it’s obviously too early to tell). That doesn’t mean that warming stopped at 0.5 C, or that climate sensitivity is lower than anticipated. It just means that we’ll have to wait to see the other 0.5 to 1.5 C manifest itself in measurable temperature changes.

    That’s a large part of the danger of GHGs. “What you see is what you get” isn’t true. “What you see now is only a small part of what you are going to get” is more accurate.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 3 Jun 2010 @ 7:27 AM

  43. 32 (wili),

    How likely is it that it is much less (presumably not very) or much more.

    The answer to that question is the complex, heavily debated issue of “climate sensitivity.” Currently, multiple lines of evidence (past temperature changes implied by proxies, computer models, the physics, etc.) point to a wide range of values, with the most commonly cited being somewhere around 3C per doubling of CO2. That’s the temperature increase you’re going to get, no matter how long it takes for the planet to warm to that point.

    Putting a probability on those estimates is (to me) impossible [although one way to attempt to do so is to take the results of 20+ GCMs and plot them as a potential probability distribution]. It’s like arguing the probability of a particular team winning the Super Bowl next year. No matter how knowledgeable you are, or how strong a case you make, there’s just not enough information to be precise, and even if there were, on any given Sunday… Of course, as time goes on and we acquire more knowledge (events unfold, old theories are disproved, new evidence is found, new ideas are embraced) we can narrow that range, and increase confidence.

    So now it’s a race between knowledge and physics. Current score: physics 23, knowledge 7 with an unknown amount of time left on the game clock.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 3 Jun 2010 @ 7:41 AM

  44. 41 (Neil),

    The answer to your question is 1 (positive feedbacks, which are not just the direct effects of CO2). The primary positive feedback is water vapor. As the temperature rises due to CO2, specific humidity rises (i.e. more H2O in the atmosphere), and H2O is itself a strong GHG, which raises the temperature, which raises the specific humidity fractionally more. The next main feedbacks are albedo changes (mainly from shrinking ice cover) and increased CO2 release from various sources (such as the conversion of forests to savanna as a result of regional climate change). And then each positive feedback in turn elicits more of the same (although less powerful — otherwise you get a runaway increase) positive feedbacks.

    This is balanced by some (weaker) negative feedbacks such as increased albedo due to more cloud cover due to greater humidity.

    This information is readily available, although I don’t know the best, cohesive source to which to direct you. Perhaps someone else can provide a link.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 3 Jun 2010 @ 8:30 AM

  45. Let’s assume it is all true and our greenhouse gas emmissions are going to cause the Earth to warm by more then 2C if we maintain our current emmissions. Overall isn’t that a good thing for the Earth? I know there will be some losers but there will be more winners than losers.

    If you doubt this consider the potential effect of 2C temperature fall.

    Comment by votenotokyoto — 3 Jun 2010 @ 8:50 AM

  46. voteno 45,

    No, there will be far, far more losers. Our agriculture will collapse. No food.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Jun 2010 @ 8:57 AM

  47. @votenotokyoto #45

    I would say sea level rise is a big negative for everybody. John Cook covered the subject a while ago by listing the positive and negatives impacts of global warming from peer reviewed studies. There were far more negatives than positives:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Peer-reviewed-impacts-of-global-warming.html

    Comment by Paul A — 3 Jun 2010 @ 9:07 AM

  48. “Let’s assume it is all true and our greenhouse gas emmissions are going to cause the Earth to warm by more then 2C if we maintain our current emmissions. Overall isn’t that a good thing for the Earth? I know there will be some losers but there will be more winners than losers.”

    How do you know that there will be more winners than losers. Also, how do you know that the net gain to the winners will offset the loss to the losers. Will there be enough of a net gain for the winners to compensate the losers and still come out ahead.

    Do you think you and the people close to you are likely to be winners? Would you have the same opinion if it were pretty clear you were going to be losers?

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 3 Jun 2010 @ 9:08 AM

  49. 45 (votenotokyoto),

    2C is a global average change. Regional changes will be much more dramatic, and may be accompanied by major precipitation changes even in areas that see much smaller temperature changes. This will mean the conversion or expansion of some ecosystems, for instance deserts (SW U.S.A.), or transitions from forest to savanna (Amazon), etc. This will also mean major changes in water availability (for crop irrigation as well as human consumption), which is already an issue in many areas due to poor resource management and unrestrained or ill advised population growth.

    In addition, it’s overly simplistic to think things like “we’ll just move our agriculture further north.” For example, the start, end, and length of the growing season varies with latitude, so some crops will not be productive further north just because it’s warmer. I remember seeing one study that talked about much of Canada having inappropriate top soil for agriculture, itself having been greatly scarred by the advance and retreat of glaciers, which carved away the topsoil and deposited it in the American Midwest, making it more fertile. Recreating the top soil in parts of Canada and the northern U.S. is something that could take thousands of years to generate naturally.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 3 Jun 2010 @ 9:19 AM

  50. Neil asks
    “Does the model shown include feedback?”

    and then he states his personal opinion:

    “Based on what I have read today the basic science of increases in CO2 warming the earth is well understood. It is just the feedback mechanisms that are less well known?”

    A good source for an explanation of the feedbacks is “Global Warming, Understanding the Forecast”, by David Archer. You can see this as a set of video lectures at
    geoflop.uchicago.edu/forecast/docs/lectures.html
    The presentation is for non-science majors, so it should be possible for anyone with a reasonable background in basic science to floow. Of course, it isn’t comprehensive. to understand things on that level, one would have to do the equivalent of getting a graduate degree in climate science, which would require at least three years of solid work, assuming a strong background in the relevant physics and mathematics.

    You will discover, if you tstudy the matter, that the feedbacks are reasonably well undersood, and that there are multiple lines of evidence suggesting that the IPCC’s range of possibilities is right. It doesn’t just depend on computer models. There have been only a very few serious attempts to justify a net climate sensitivity of about 1 deg K, most notably Lindzen’s Iris Effect. But these have not been supported by the evidence. Of course, it is possible that Lindzen is right and everyone else who has looked into the matter is just being stupid, or worse, lying for various nefarious reasons. But, seriously, how likely is that?

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 3 Jun 2010 @ 9:26 AM

  51. Voteno,
    Again, temperature and economic growth are negatively correlated. a 2 degree C rise in temperature results in GDP growth rate declining by 2.2 degrees per doubling. Moreover, the uneven distribution of temperature increase impacts rich industrial countries more, so the effect on global economic health is proportionately greater.

    Don’t confuse fetid with fertile. They aren’t the same thing.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Jun 2010 @ 9:28 AM

  52. Re: #44

    This is balanced by some (weaker) negative feedbacks such as increased albedo due to more cloud cover due to greater humidity.

    I’m afraid that remark is over-simplified; also its conclusion is uncertain. As I see it…here is another version, also simplified, but a bit less:

    The sign of the feedback depends on altitude.High clouds tend to have positive feedback and low ones a negative feedback. The reason is that the former are dominated by their effect on the infra-red (greenhouse) whereas the latter are dominated by their effect on the visible radiation (albedo). The point is that the greenhouse effect arises from the reduction of temperature (and hence reduced infra-red radiation) of matter (gas, liquid or solid) at higher altitudes.

    This may all be buried in a computer simulation but no matter how it is done, two contributions of opposite sign tend to make the final output less accurate. For example the proportion of high clouds might vary between different models; thats a guess. Perhaps one of the modelers will correct me if I am wrong.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 3 Jun 2010 @ 9:55 AM

  53. “Of course, it is possible that Lindzen is right and everyone else who has looked into the matter is just being stupid, or worse, lying for various nefarious reasons. But, seriously, how likely is that?”

    That’s typically anti-science reasoning.
    What Nature does is not linked to the number of people supporting a theory of what it should do.
    That’s Science 101.

    As Judith Curry recently said, uncertainties on various topics have been underestimated in IPCC AR4. A lot is still unknown or not well understood, climate science is a young science and a very complex one.

    Comment by Benjamin — 3 Jun 2010 @ 10:02 AM

  54. 45 vote no to kyoto: If you don’t like winter, move south. Why did you move north and then want a southern climate? You knew you didn’t like winter in the first place. The warming we have already had is Negatively affecting agriculture Now. We are having both droughts and flooded out crops in different places in this country and around the world. Why do I have to reprint the following so often? [Please read the books listed below before commenting again.]

    Global Warming can make the human race EXTINCT. The #1 kill mechanism is famine. See “The Long Summer” by Brian Fagan and “Collapse” by Jared Diamond.
    6 degrees C is the for-sure extinction point for Homo Sapiens as reported in a bunch of reports and books.
    The book “Six Degrees” by Mark Lynas says: “If the global warming is 6 degrees centigrade, we humans go extinct.” See:
    http://www.marklynas.org/2007/4/23/six-steps-to-hell-summary-of-six-degrees-as-published-in-the-guardian
    Lynas lists several kill mechanisms, the most important being famine and methane fuel-air explosions. Other mechanisms include fire storms.

    The following sources say H2S bubbling out of hot oceans is the final blow at 6 degrees C warming:
    “Under a Green Sky” by Peter D. Ward, Ph.D., 2007.

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=00037A5D-A938-150E-A93883414B7F0000&sc=I100322

    http://www.geosociety.org/meetings/2003/prPennStateKump.htm
    http://www.astrobio.net is a NASA web zine. See:

    http://www.astrobio.net/news/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=672

    http://www.astrobio.net/news/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=1535

    http://www.astrobio.net/news/article2509.html

    http://astrobio.net/news/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=2429&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

    “Climate Code Red” by David Spratt and Philip Sutton says the following:
    Long term warming, counting feedbacks, is at 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.

    Per “Climate Code Red”, we need ZERO “Kyoto gas” emissions RIGHT NOW and we also need geo-engineering because we have already gone way beyond the safe CO2 level of 300 to 325 ppm. We are already at 455 ppm equivalent and we have tripped some very big tipping points. We aren’t dead yet, but the planet needs critical intensive care if we humans are to have a chance of survival.

    “Storms of My Grandchildren” by James Hansen, chief of NASA-GISS paints the bleakest picture: Earth goes Venus, becoming a completely dead hot rock at 800 degrees and our Mars colonies cannot survive because Mars is a dead planet.

    “The Vanishing Face of Gaia” by James Lovelock has identified a 9 degree lurch in the temperature that happens at 450 ppm equivalent.
    Looks like we are not going to make it. We HUMANS could be EXTINCT by 2050 because politicians are not considering sufficiently strong action.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 3 Jun 2010 @ 10:05 AM

  55. voteno writes @45: I know there will be some losers but there will be more winners than losers.

    And you “know” this how? Or, are you just posing as being clairvoyant?

    Do you also “know” that a 2C increase will not disrupt the timing or distribution of the south Asian monsoon?

    Do you know that in some parts of south Asia overnight temperatures are already at the upper limit for rice germination and that yields are already beginning to slip?

    Do you know how much rice is produced in the Ganges, Irrawaddy and Mekong deltas, all of which will be threatened by sea level rise that will result from an increase of 2C?

    Perhaps you don’t eat much rice, but do you know what portion of the human population depends on rice for the bulk of it’s calories?

    Or perhaps you do know and you’re not worried since most of that population lives in Asia and Africa and you’re not too troubled by consigning them to the “loser” column.

    The fact of the matter is we do not know exactly what the consequences of a 2C rise in global mean temperature will be since human civilization has never experienced it before, but we do know what has happened when regional temperatures have increased by similar levels and precipitation patterns have shifted. Think collapse of the Akkadian Empire 4000 years ago, or the Mayan collapse 1200-1100 years ago, which coincided with the start of the Medieval warm period that allowed European civilization to bloom.

    Yes, there will be winners and losers. That someone would take comfort in that is repugnant.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 3 Jun 2010 @ 10:23 AM

  56. #52, Geoff, you might want to look at the effects of particulates, as they also have an effect.

    Comment by J. Bob — 3 Jun 2010 @ 10:48 AM

  57. RL#51 : “Again, temperature and economic growth are negatively correlated.”
    That’s very weird, since they both increased throughout the XXth century. That’s a very strange mathematical curiosity : two growing quantities that are negatively correlated ?

    ” a 2 degree C rise in temperature results in GDP growth rate declining by 2.2 degrees per doubling. ”
    uuuh? what is a GDP growth rate declining by 2.2 degrees (of what) per doubling (of what ?)

    Comment by Gilles — 3 Jun 2010 @ 11:02 AM

  58. “The following sources say H2S bubbling out of hot oceans is the final blow at 6 degrees C warming”

    No, they don’t. Not a single one of them say “at 6 degrees warming the oceans will produce a massive outpouring of H2S and kill us all.”

    Indeed, every single one of them speaks of the possibility and uncertainty of the hypothesis that it caused the Permian extinction event.

    How the hell did you extrapolate such a claim from your sources?

    Comment by Frank Giger — 3 Jun 2010 @ 11:03 AM

  59. “How do you know that there will be more winners than losers. Also, how do you know that the net gain to the winners will offset the loss to the losers.”

    Or, in other words, “A rising tide sinks all ships”.

    ;-)

    Well, it’s true if you subsitute “coastal cities” (which is most of the big ones) for “ships”.

    I wonder how Vote is going to handle that…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 3 Jun 2010 @ 11:04 AM

  60. Benjamin wrote: “A lot is still unknown or not well understood …”

    Your comments give no indication that you know or understand what is and what is not known and understood by climate scientists.

    In fact, what IS known and IS well understood is far more than sufficient to justify urgent action to phase out all fossil fuel use as rapidly as possible. Which is why every major scientific organization in the world that has anything to do with climate science has officially called for such urgent action.

    Benjamin wrote: “… climate science is a young science …”

    That is a false statement. Climate science is not a “young” science. And the basic mechanisms underlying anthropogenic global warming have been well understood for over a century.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 3 Jun 2010 @ 11:14 AM

  61. Benjamin, While you are correct that scientific truth is not determined by a vote, that is a straw man. What matters is what the evidence will support, and Lindzen’s position is utterly devoid of evidence.

    Unfortunately, Dr. Curry’s credibility has taken 3 direct hits midship. It’s pretty clear from her blog on the Heartland Conference that she doesn’t know what she is talking about.

    As to underestimates of uncertainty–actually most of the errors in the IPCC represent under-estimates of the threat rather than exaggerations (e.g. ice melt and sea-levelrise).

    Climate science young? Please. We’ve known CO2 was a greenhouse gas for ~160 years. Anthropogenic warming was predicted in 1894–106 years ago. And the science has been pretty mature for 30-40 years. You sound like a man who could benefit from the tutelage of the good Dr. Weart:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Jun 2010 @ 11:43 AM

  62. Gilles, the relationship is roughly 1.1% decrease in GDP per degree of warming.

    http://www.voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/3633

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Jun 2010 @ 11:47 AM

  63. 52 (Geoff Wexler),

    I’m afraid that remark is over-simplified; also its conclusion is uncertain.

    Unquestionably, yes. I was trying not to get carried away with the whole explanation, but simply wanted to give a nod to the fact that there are negative as well as positive feedbacks, and it is the sum of all (interacting) effects that lead to an understanding of the mechanisms behind climate sensitivity.

    But yes, clouds are complicated, and may provide both positive and negative feedbacks. Perhaps I should have said “Increased albedo from a potential increase in certain clouds is an example of a negative feedback.”

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 3 Jun 2010 @ 11:49 AM

  64. Well, yeah. When you hear marine biologists talking about invertebrate mortality, don’t think it’s unrelated to what we’re doing.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=Bottjer+Powers+Geology

    From one of those links:

    “… the study finds that organisms in the deep ocean started dying first, followed by those on ocean shelves and reefs, and finally those living near shore.

    “Something has to be coming from the deep ocean,” [USC doctoral student Catherine] Powers said. “Something has to be coming up the water column and killing these organisms.”

    That something probably was hydrogen sulfide, according to Powers, who cited studies from the University of Washington, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Arizona and the Bottjer laboratory at USC.

    Those studies, combined with the new data from Powers and Bottjer, support a model that attributes the extinction to enormous volcanic eruptions that released carbon dioxide and methane, triggering rapid global warming.

    The warmer ocean water would have lost some of its ability to retain oxygen, allowing water rich in hydrogen sulfide to well up from the deep (the gas comes from anaerobic bacteria at the bottom of the ocean).

    If large amounts of hydrogen sulfide escaped into the atmosphere, the gas would have killed most forms of life ….”
    http://www.astrobio.net/pressrelease/2509/extinction-theory-falls-from-favor

    I doubt any of this makes it into the climate models yet, although the change in dissolved oxygen, like the change in dissolved CO2, is chemistry.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Jun 2010 @ 12:02 PM

  65. Frank, look beyond Ed Grielsch’s words.

    He’s given the citations, good ones worth reading (and applaud him for citing sources so people can look — that’s good behavior).

    If he quoted directly what the scientists say, it would be far scarier, because harder to dismiss as opinion.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Jun 2010 @ 12:09 PM

  66. @60
    “Your comments give no indication that you know or understand what is and what is not known and understood by climate scientists.”

    Judith Curry :
    “To keep this short, I will only itemize some topics where I think the confidence levels in the IPCC are too high and uncertainties have been inadequately characterized: much of what is in the IPCC WG2 report (impacts), the 20th century external climate forcings, the historical surface temperature record prior to 1960, attribution of the 20th century climate variations (including the role of the multidecadal ocean oscillations), the impacts of land use change, sea level rise, paleoclimate reconstructions, uncertainties of climate models and lack of metrics for evaluating climate model performance.”

    [Response: Such statements are one person’s opinion, without the support of backing evidence. You will find many who disagree with it, based on evidence.–Jim]

    Comment by Benjamin — 3 Jun 2010 @ 12:09 PM

  67. #53, Benjamin:

    As Judith Curry recently said, uncertainties on various topics have been underestimated in IPCC AR4.

    If Curry is right, there still exists a more significant problem with the error-bars in IPCC reports. Using standard statistical techniques, uncertainties are quantified as equally likely on the high and low sides. This has proven ill-advised time and time again. As we watch further data emerge, the uncertainties consistently break out on the high side of consensus scientific estimates.
    Additionally, what we know about the physical situation gives much more confidence to the pessimistic edge of the error-bar. Numerous uncertainties (such as the behavior of marine clathrates) can only make matters worse, not better.

    Comment by Daniel Goodwin — 3 Jun 2010 @ 12:18 PM

  68. Re #57:

    “uuuh? what is a GDP growth rate declining by 2.2 degrees (of what) per doubling (of what ?)”

    Come on, Gilles, you know perfectly well what was meant. You’re not a fool, and your English is pretty good.

    Degrees C (global mean anomaly), and doubling of CO2e. (That’s a pretty safe presumption, and I didn’t even read the original post.)

    Re #53 et seq:

    As for the “young science” of climatology, here’s the state of play in 1938:

    http://hubpages.com/hub/Global-warming-science-press-and-storms

    (A supplement to Weart for folks interested as much in the people who did the science as the science itself.)

    On another note, we currently have record or near-record tropospheric temps as measured by AMSU, and the lowest sea-ice extent ever recorded for this date (per IJIS.) Can we at least agree that there is a present dearth of evidence that “warming has stopped,” or “sea-ice recovered?”

    (Yeah, I know we’re coming out of an El Nino, but that was true back in 1998, too. “Apples to apples!”)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 3 Jun 2010 @ 1:13 PM

  69. OT, but worth noting:

    http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2010/06/02/con-un-sustainability.html

    Of course, this has predictably drawn much negative comment from conservative/libertarian quarters. (Can you “ad-hom” an organization? If so, they did.)

    The salient points about diet/ag and consumerism have been made here repeatedly, to be sure.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 3 Jun 2010 @ 1:52 PM

  70. Arctic sea ice, almost normal in April, rapidly melting (red line in graph). Now lowest extent ever this time of year: http://bit.ly/IJISgr

    Comment by Kees van der Leun — 3 Jun 2010 @ 2:21 PM

  71. Ray, your climate vs GDP alignment sounds a little like using your thumb and forefinger to visually the cut on the tree 200 yards away, then making the cut with a laser beam. Exactness does not equal accuracy. Exactness in economic predictions doesn’t equal much of anything.

    Comment by Rod B — 3 Jun 2010 @ 4:44 PM

  72. If the problem is with aerosols vanishing too quickly, perhaps we should look at ways of putting more aerosols into the atmosphere to counter the heat inertia we have built up.

    Oh, wait, that’s called geoengineering and “real” climate change people don’t believe in it. :p

    Comment by Foobear — 3 Jun 2010 @ 4:56 PM

  73. Rod B, all I have done is call attention to a well known and irrefutable inverse correlation between higher temperature and wealth and economic growth. This is hardly controversial, and it holds quite broadly. I will leave it for the economists to posit why–and many have. I would also note that tropical agriculture yields fewer calories per hectare than agriculture in temperate climates.

    My point is that the data do not support the rosy scenarios posited by denialists in a warmer world. If anything, the trend is in the opposite direction–a worrying possibility with the population growing to 9-10 billion by mid-century.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Jun 2010 @ 6:14 PM

  74. Foobear says: 3 June 2010 at 4:56 PM

    Oh, wait, that’s called geoengineering and “real” climate change people don’t believe in it. :p

    How very vapid. Foobear, do you -know- your remark is laughable in a way you don’t intend?

    Imagine how silly you’d feel if you could see a film of yourself dialing a phone number at random and then mouthing off some infantile remark to the party answering. YouTube is full of snippets like that, filmed by giggling children who don’t realize where the real joke lies. Now why would you choose to humiliate yourself here, in the same way?

    Why not instead dream up or cite a means of geoengineering you believe has promise and ask the denizens here whether they think it worthwhile? Are you able to support a discussion of that kind?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 3 Jun 2010 @ 7:39 PM

  75. > If the problem is with aerosols vanishing too quickly
    There are several CO2-related problems; that’s a symptom of one of them.
    Ocean pH change is the fastest problem; geoengineering that would be smart.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Jun 2010 @ 8:42 PM

  76. Yeah, that underwater geoengineering is going well, eh?

    Comment by Mark A. York — 3 Jun 2010 @ 9:40 PM

  77. RL :#62 : the observed correlation is between temperature increase and increase of GDP rate of ppor countries
    “In poor countries, we estimate that a 1ºC temperature increase in a given year reduced economic growth in that year by about 1.1 percentage points. In rich countries, changes in temperature had no discernable effect on growth”

    I have a few comments :

    a) taking this seriously, it would mean that diminishing temperature would cause a strong growth in these countries. I doubt very much that this is realistic.
    b) this is obviously du to the fact that “poor” countries GDP are dominated by agriculture , in hot conditions, so probably “the agriculture of hot countries is sensitive to temperature ” . But the difference between poor and rich country is due and this is due to the large difference between their FF consumption – the correlation is much more prominent than that with temperature. So reducing FF consumption would first raise the number of poor countries, and thus increase the average sensitivity to temperature – at least in warm parts of the world.

    Comment by Gilles — 3 Jun 2010 @ 11:25 PM

  78. and last : if your goal is to optimize the RATE of GDP growth (= exponential growth), then it is the best way to insure the total exhaustion of all resources. The only sustainable growth rate is ZERO. Meaning that if your “law” is true, we NEED a temperature increase to make the growth rate vanish.

    Comment by Gilles — 3 Jun 2010 @ 11:28 PM

  79. “If the problem is with aerosols vanishing too quickly, perhaps we should look at ways of putting more aerosols into the atmosphere to counter the heat inertia we have built up.”

    There are several problems with this. First, it would be major intervention in the climate system. One would certainly want a lot of confidence that it would work and that there wouldn’t be horrible unintended consequences. How would you obtain such confidence? Computer models?

    Secondly, if we didn’t limit greenhouse gas emissions, we would have to continually increase the amount of aerosols to compensate. If we ever stopped, the cooling effect of the aerosols would disappear in a few years, leaving very high load of greenhouse gas concentration with the consequent rapid warming.

    Thirdly, would we attempt to do this through international agreement? If no t, how would we deal with violent objections from other countries which felt they would lose out in the process? If we can’t today get agreement on limiting greenhouse gas emissions, it seems unlikely we could get agreement on the injection ofaerosols in the atmosphere.

    It is possible that at some point in the future, a desperate humanity might consider radical geoengineering solutions of this nature, but doesn’t it make sense to try to avoid such difficult choices by limiting greenhouse gas emissions starting today?

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 3 Jun 2010 @ 11:47 PM

  80. Global warming has had and will have a destablizing effect on our weather patterns. Floods in one place, droughts in another. Extremely hot weather in summer seasons mirrored by extremely record cold temperatures edging into new areas. Our weather patterns could be best described by a gallon of milk, left at room temperature which eventually seperates into liquids and solids. Our global weather system seems pretty stable most of the time, however it’s fragility is constantly being measured by means of new record weather extremes.
    This will continue to increase in severity until we see possibly 30 to 40 below zero temperatures in populated areas, which we will have no power to anticipate. Also common will be high temperature extremes which will likely exceed 120 degrees in populated areas. this highlights the immense damage man has done to the earth.
    And yet no one corporation or entity can be blamed for the problem. It has a unique global fingerprint. Uncommon to other disasters. Billions of people operating gas powered machinery, planes, tractors, lawn equipment, trucks, cars, and the list goes on. Factories which belch out pollution into our atmosphere all to satisfy our insatiable desire to seperate ourselves from nature. The modern industrial age, which began in the early 20th century and even before.
    What can be done? get a lawn chair and a radio. That’s about it. I can’t say it will be a fun show. We will all be involved.

    Comment by Wayne — 3 Jun 2010 @ 11:47 PM

  81. Benjamin takes me to task for saying

    “Of course, it is possible that Lindzen is right and everyone else who has looked into the matter is just being stupid, or worse, lying for various nefarious reasons. But, seriously, how likely is that?”

    And then he goes on to say

    “That’s typically anti-science reasoning.
    What Nature does is not linked to the number of people supporting a theory of what it should do.
    That’s Science 101.”

    He left out my previous statement that the evidence so far did not support Lindzen’s Iris Effect. Of course, nature is not interested in what human being think is going on. But, as human beings we have to make choices based on science.

    Let me look at an analogous situation. Peter Dusenberg has questioned the general consensus that Aids is cased by a virus. He has an alternate explanation. It is possible that the consensus is based on stupidy of a whole bunch of medical scientists or that they are engaged in a conspiracy for some nefarious purpose. But that doesn’t seem very likely. Hence, anyone who is unfortunate enough to contract Aids would be foolish to rely on Dusenberg’s being right and the rest of the community being wrong. Dio you disagree with that?

    the point is that we accept consensus science all the time. Doi8ng otherwise would be foolish. The fact that on occasiion, we may be wrong to do so is an unavoidable hazard of being human.

    How, for example, do the rest of us know that Wegener was right about continental drift and the rest of the geological community at the time was wrong? The answer is that it is now the consensus of the scientific community of geologists that such is the case. They base this on evidence that has been elucidated since Wegener’s time. Although nature doesn’t care what we think about it, there is no magic way to know what nature is doing except though human communication. If we decided things in all matters by trying to find some dissenter to the consensus and doing what he suggests, we would be in real trouble. I assume you are no different from the rest of us in ignoring those lone dissenters the great bulk of the time. So why do you find the dissenters so convincing in this particular matter?

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 4 Jun 2010 @ 12:15 AM

  82. 79 Leonard Evens: Putting poison gas in the stratosphere is not the right kind of geo-engineering. If you must do geo-engineering, put something at the Earth-Sun L1 point to reflect sunlight. A harder problem: How would we terraform Venus?
    The only thing that makes sense is to quit burning coal now and outlaw oil shale and tar sands now and for ever.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 4 Jun 2010 @ 12:29 AM

  83. Gavin:
    I scanned this thread for “oceans” for “memory” and for “balance” and got no meaningful hits. Please help me get straightened out.

    Hansen et al (Earth’s Energy Imbalance: Confirmation and Implications, Science 308 1431-1435 2005; you’re part of the et al) looked at some forcings, some feedbacks, and some heat storage and concluded that the energy had been out of balance for a decade or so. It seemed most likely that this excess energy has been stored in the ocean. Doesn’t this stored heat need to be included in addition to atmospheric GHG lifetimes when trying to assess what might happen should we cease AGW emissions? Or is it somehow included in M&W-like work in some other manner?

    For a couple of decades at least, surface temperature and radiation include oceans as well as land. With oceans providing about two thirds of the Earth’s surface and absorbing about half of the heat, I would expect to see more references to them in discussions and papers. For example, why do we say that GW occurs as predicted – just because, say, Nova Scotia is colder, there other regions that are warmer without mentioning oceans to a skeptic?

    Am I correct in assuming that “GW surface temperatures” (unqualified) should include both land and ocean surfaces?

    [Response: Yes. Global temperatures include both land and ocean. -gavin]

    Am I correct in assuming that “GW heat storage” (unqualified) should include land and ocean as well as atmosphere?

    [Response: Sure, but the heat conductivity over land is much smaller, and so the amount of heat being stored is overwelmingly in the ocean (80% or more). -gavin]

    BTW, I have been trying to understand some radiation balance/imbalance papers. I agree with you that the extra tracking measurements they need may not be forthcoming, but the calculations are useful to me because they can be done for some restrictive cases without requiring an ocean-atomosphere climate model. I agree that they might also be useful for addressing various regional mitigation proposals.

    I have looked at a lot of Trenberth, Schwartz and Liu. Any references to further energy imbalance work that seems promising to you would be appreciated. For example, I’m unable to find any follow-up to your Hansen et al 2005.

    [Response: the followup papers will start to come along with the new IPCC runs being done now. Patience. -gavin]

    Comment by John Peter — 4 Jun 2010 @ 3:55 AM

  84. Gilles says, “The only sustainable growth rate is ZERO.”

    This is simply, completely, 100% flat-assed WRONG! Sustainability has been achieved by several societies, and their society progresses. In a sustainable society, the growth rate is limited by the rate of technological advance rather than inceased exploitation. Dude, do you ever get tired of being so ignorant?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Jun 2010 @ 4:38 AM

  85. #62 Ray Ladbury + Kevin McKinney
    “Gilles, the relationship is roughly 1.1% decrease in GDP per degree of warming. ”

    Thanks for this rough estimate of how much GDP decreases per degree of warming.

    In SRES scenarios however, +6°C goes along well with a x24 GDP.
    Same kind of thing for all the other scenarios (x15 GDP on average)
    This information can be easily found on SRES website :
    http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc/emission/097.htm

    If what you say is correct, then we agree that ALL SRES scenarios are wrong, right ?
    I mean you can’t have at the same time a GDP decrease with temperature, and a GDP increase with temperature.
    Do we agree on that ?

    Comment by Benjamin — 4 Jun 2010 @ 4:40 AM

  86. Ben 53: climate science is a young science

    BPL: Look again.

    c. 300 BC Aristotle divides the world into torrid, temperate, and frigid zones.
    1610 Galileo invents the thermometer.
    1640 Torricelli invents the barometer. Shortly afterward, he shows air pressure declines with altitude.
    1740 Hadley works out the basic scheme of the general circulation of the atmosphere.
    1783 Ben Franklin suggests that aerosols from volcanic eruptions may temporarily cool the Earth.
    1824 Fourier discovers the greenhouse effect.
    1837 Agassiz demonstrates that there was at least one ice age which caused monster glaciers to cover much of Europe.
    1859 Tyndall determines that the major greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere are water vapor and carbon dioxide, and elucidates exactly how the greenhouse effect works.
    1870 Croll suggests that astronomical cycles may infuence ice ages.
    1896 Arrhenius proposes the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

    So in short, climatology was a mature science years before special relativity or quantum mechanics were even proposed. Think those branches of science are poorly known?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Jun 2010 @ 5:01 AM

  87. Gilles 57: That’s a very strange mathematical curiosity : two growing quantities that are negatively correlated ?

    BPL: Ever hear of “detrending?”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Jun 2010 @ 5:26 AM

  88. Gavin penned a good post which ends on a hint of an argument for geoengineering. This evidently makes people uncomfortable. After some childish ad homs and other diversions, the ideological objections to geoengineering are coming out of the woodwork.

    So, Leonard (#79),
    -yes, models by all means but high confidence is not required if there’s no confidence inaction is safe to begin with
    -aerosols wouldn’t “vanish too quickly” without emission cuts in the first place
    -no international agreement has ever been required for emissions, whether the point is gross waste of natural resources or geoengineering
    -drastic GHGs emission cuts without geoengineering would be reckless, though admittedly less reckless than BAU

    Please come up with better arguments. You’ve got thirty years of inactivism to draw on. How about “more research is required” as a first line of defence? Then you can claim the people paid to research geoengineering are lying to the public in a conspiracy to obtain research grants…

    Would you rather preserve pollution that happens to have, among a number of nasty effects, a short-time cooling effect instead of having the cooling pollutants delivered in smaller amounts where they’re actually needed? And for what? Get rid of this ideological clutch!

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 4 Jun 2010 @ 5:37 AM

  89. BPL, what happened to Buys Ballot?

    Comment by Sekerob — 4 Jun 2010 @ 5:40 AM

  90. And why must sustainability require growth?

    Back in the 70’s, the idea was that automation would free up so much laborious work that we’d only have to work 10 hours a week, and that there would be a problem in what to do with all our free time.

    That would have been a reduction rather than growth.

    But a very warranted outcome.

    After all, it’s not that money is worth anything. It’s only worth what you can do with it and if you’re dead, there’s not a lot you can do with it any more.

    People retire early if they can afford it.

    People work part time if they can afford it.

    People move to a rural life and “get out of the rat race” if they can afford it.

    All of these are reductions rather than growth.

    Hands up anyone who thinks they are bad goals?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Jun 2010 @ 5:41 AM

  91. Re #82: references please ?

    Comment by Bill — 4 Jun 2010 @ 5:42 AM

  92. 73
    Ray Ladbury says:
    3 June 2010 at 6:14 PM

    “I would also note that tropical agriculture yields fewer calories per hectare than agriculture in temperate climates. ”

    You are quite correct except for the wrong reasons. Tropical environments (including marine and terrestrial) are notoriously devoid of nutrients. Whilst there is a very high diversity of life, this is at the expense of productivity. This has more to do with ecology and climate interacting than just temperature (and probably more due to high rainfall leaching nutrients).

    You should note that the current “temperate zone” agriculture is in regions that can also experience high temperature levels (e.g. Western Australia).

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 4 Jun 2010 @ 7:16 AM

  93. In tropical oceans there is a lack of upwellings that bring nutrients close to the continental margins and the ocean surface.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 4 Jun 2010 @ 7:18 AM

  94. Steckis, the increased precipitation also leaches nutrients from soils. I’m quite familiar with laterite. I did not say that the cause of the lower yield was temperature based.

    However, there are some rice varieties that are quite temperature sensitive–not to mention winter wheat.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Jun 2010 @ 8:07 AM

  95. Benjamin@84, Huh? What are you talking about? I’m not seeing anything in that reference that could even be misinterpreted as supporting your point.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Jun 2010 @ 8:13 AM

  96. 83 (Benjamin),

    Obviously, temperature change is not the only factor that affects GDP. Temperature can go up, with a negative impact on GDP, while population also goes up, along with other factors, exerting a strong influence on GDP that overwhelms the “temperature signal.” The SRES scenarios are in no way inconsistent with a detrimental economic impact of climate change. A 1C temperature increase reduces GDP by 1.1% of what it would have been without the temperature increase.

    Beyond that, the SRES scenarios clearly to not include the negative impacts of climate change in the GDP projections themselves. It is being used to estimate long term fossil fuel usage (population growth and continued development implies GDP growth implies increased FF usage, implies emissions) with the intent of predicting actual future CO2 levels and therefore the extent of climate change. They could not and did not perform the recursive task of then shrinking GDP as an effect of the instigated, projected climate change.

    I’d also suggest that the impacts of climate change are very likely to be non-linear… a 1C temperature increase may equate to a 1.1% GDP decrease, but a 6C temperature increase will cause much more than a 6.6% GDP decrease.

    So you are right, we won’t see a 24x increase in GDP by 2100, because if we proceed at that rate based on a purely fossil fuel economy, we’re going to hit a precipice and topple over it. War, famine, and economic and social upheaval will prevent us from ever getting close to 24x, and that doesn’t even count the fact that there simply isn’t that much fossil fuel to burn, so the supply will be cut off long before we wean ourselves of the addiction.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 4 Jun 2010 @ 8:17 AM

  97. 84 (Benjamin),

    And just to clarify, you are quoting a 24x figure which is based on where we’ll be by 2100, using an annual growth rate somewhere around 2.2% to 3%, so climate change is potentially going to cut growth, annually, by one third to one half (until the wheels come off).

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 4 Jun 2010 @ 8:27 AM

  98. 92
    Ray Ladbury says:
    4 June 2010 at 8:07 AM

    “Steckis, the increased precipitation also leaches nutrients from soils. I’m quite familiar with laterite. I did not say that the cause of the lower yield was temperature based.”

    Then why did you make the statement at all?

    Your original ststement was: “I would also note that tropical agriculture yields fewer calories per hectare than agriculture in temperate climates. ”

    You must have noted it for some reason and I think that reason is to link it to temperature of the tropics (which has a narrower range of temperature variation, compare Kuala Lumpur to Merredin Western Australia). Merredin is in the center of our wheatbelt.

    Otherwise there is no point in noting the ag yeilds for the tropics.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 4 Jun 2010 @ 8:33 AM

  99. When the effects of centuries of European colonialism are reversed, then I’ll believe that temperature =actually= impacts GDP.

    Has anyone noticed where Europe is, and where the the parts of the planet Europeans colonialized are?

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 4 Jun 2010 @ 8:37 AM

  100. Leonard @79. If I understood the original comment corectly, the expressed concerned was the transient temperature spike that would be caused by a sudden cessation of polution. In that case continuing the aerosol emissions for some period of time would be the more conservative thing to do climate-wise. Of course his objection is purely academic,the only plausible scenarios for sudden cessation of GHG emissions are some sort of global catastrophy. If that happened we wouldn’t be embarking on geo-engineering. But I don’t think it was suggested here to simply mask warming via increasing aerosol emissions. I admit that the big danger with proposing geo-engineering solutions at this time is the temptation to, “why not continue business as usual, geo-engineering can save us from the consequences”.

    Comment by Thomas — 4 Jun 2010 @ 9:06 AM

  101. Ray Ladbury, “…well known and irrefutable…” ??!!? Man! You’re easy — at least when in your favor. Why wasn’t Greenland the center of the industrial revolution? You’re probably correct in pooh-poohing the idea that warming will greatly improve things (at least beyond some point) but that doesn’t warrant your hyperbole.

    Comment by Rod B — 4 Jun 2010 @ 9:22 AM

  102. Edward Greisch says :

    “79 Leonard Evens: Putting poison gas in the stratosphere is not the right kind of geo-engineering.”

    Having just given three reasons why the use of aerosols was problematic, I am surprised that anyone would think I was advocating it. As an afterthought I did remark that at some time in the future, as a desperate measure, some method of geonegineering might be considered. But it makes much more sense to limit emissions today, so we don’t have to worry about choosing among highly questionable approaches, the side effects of which would be likely to be unknown.

    Actually, the only `geoengineering’ approach which it seems to me might possibly work is to remove CO_2 from the atmosphere directly, which seems to have developed some advocates. But I suspect it would be very expensive and not all that effective. Again, I say the obvious. Let’s just limit emissions by switching to non fossil fule based energy sources. The main argument against doing that is that it would be more expensive. But, were the eventual costs of the use of fossil fuels figured into their cost, the calculus would be different.

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 4 Jun 2010 @ 9:24 AM

  103. Rod, I’m saying that the correlation is irrefutable. I said nothing about cause or effect. I’ll stand by that unless you have some alternative math I don’t know about.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Jun 2010 @ 9:30 AM

  104. Umm, sorry about the bad link I posted way back there. . . somewhere. (Tried using the “search” function to locate the exact comment, but no joy.)

    I’d said I was linking to “the state of the science in 1938″–but inadvertently linked instead to my article on Ekholm, which gives the state of the science in 1901.

    G.S. Callendar was the 1938 author, of course, and the correct link is here:

    http://hubpages.com/hub/Global-Warming-Science-And-The-Wars

    Thanks–and apologies for any confusion and/or annoyance to those following the link.

    (Author totters off, muttering unintelligibly.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 4 Jun 2010 @ 9:46 AM

  105. BPL, your (and many others) bar for defining a “mature” science is really low. Doesn’t take much

    Comment by Rod B — 4 Jun 2010 @ 9:51 AM

  106. Ray Ladbury, so, if “…the correlation is irrefutable…” [my emphasis] what does this have to do with anything??

    Comment by Rod B — 4 Jun 2010 @ 10:05 AM

  107. > you can’t have at the same time a GDP decrease with temperature,
    > and a GDP increase with temperature.

    Sure you can. Try adding “plus six” to “minus three” for example.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Jun 2010 @ 10:20 AM

  108. I would really like some answers on this: increase in average temperatures, in variability etc. is important but what about dew points? I am sure average dew points are much higher here in SE VA in the summer. But I don’t see data. Increased evaporation can add IR absorbing CO2 to the air, but also promote cooling. That might ameliorate the temperature increase, but high dew points cause their own problems (more mold in houses etc.) and are uncomfortable. Is anyone looking at this, please?

    Comment by Neil B — 4 Jun 2010 @ 10:22 AM

  109. @84, you are so wrong. For one thing, you have no grounds to deem such societies (which, BTW?) as “sustainable” since you don’t know how much longer they’ll continue current SOL. How about oil supply falling or getting so expensive to extract, while demand increases or fails to adapt? And the blind faith in technology is absurd. Technical progress can help but still needs raw materials, energy; has by products etc. Above all, it is not a specific predictable amelioration, it is full of uncertainties and that’s just what will bite us in the ass.

    It would be better to play it safe with push back against population growth, with true sustainables like solar that don’t need supplies that run out or come from nations we have problems with, etc. Finally, I am tired of actually subsidizing population growth through child tax credits awarded (more by Republican policies) up towards 100k family income. Any libertarian types here can’t possible be OK with that. To be consistent, you would have to believe in letting children be a personal cost decision to weigh like everything else.

    Comment by Neil B — 4 Jun 2010 @ 10:29 AM

  110. “Why wasn’t Greenland the center of the industrial revolution?”

    Why industrial? Why not the Renaissance (Holland)? Or agricultural (Ur)? Or scientific (Greece)? Or practical (China)? If we’d found them earlier, we’d probably have a revolution of civilisation from the New World too.

    PS the reason is because the UK had the industrial revolution. Part of this is that you need a large power base and Greenland doesn’t have one.

    It’s funny how you’re all over single attribution when someone else does it, but silent as the grave when you or another denialist does this.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Jun 2010 @ 10:48 AM

  111. @Ray Ladbury
    “I’m not seeing anything in that reference that could even be misinterpreted as supporting your point.”
    The “climate catastrophe” scenario shows a constant GDP growth of 3% as shown in the reference(=x26GDP), which to my knowledge is not a GDP decrease.

    @Bob Sphaerica
    “Obviously, temperature change is not the only factor that affects GDP”
    Good observation. I agree with that.
    Moreover, i would say that as up to now, climate and GPD change are uncorrelated.

    “A 1C temperature increase reduces GDP by 1.1% of what it would have been without the temperature increase.”
    “using an annual growth rate somewhere around 2.2% to 3%, so climate change is potentially going to cut growth, annually, by one third to one half (until the wheels come off).”

    Well no, that’s not correct.
    The annual projected growth is +3% in the catastrophe scenario, we agree on that.
    Now you’re saying we have -1.1% every time we get +1°C.
    But we don’t get +1°C every year : roughly in the +6°C scenario we would get it every 15yrs.
    You still get a x20 GDP !!!!!

    “They could not and did not perform the recursive task of then shrinking GDP as an effect of the instigated, projected climate change.”
    Well, isn’t that basic modeling 101 to get a viable projecton to take into account a feedback ?
    Either the feedback is negligible, and you dont take it into account, or it’s a first order feedback and then you have to take it into account ! Otherwise the projection is totally useless.

    “that doesn’t even count the fact that there simply isn’t that much fossil fuel to burn, so the supply will be cut off long before we wean ourselves of the addiction.”
    Are you saying that the number they used in “fossil fuel reserves” are wrong too ?
    I mean that would be grotesque, fossil fuels = CO2. If you put random fossil fuels numbers, you get radom CO2 emissions and the scenarios are nowhere near realistic scenarios.

    I mean the entire world will be looking at those scenarios and see the +6°C.
    Wouldn’t it be just normal to add a little comment next to it saying “Not only are those high range scenarios unrealistic in terms of fossil fuels reserves and CO2 emissions, they also lead to a multiplication by about 20 of the GDP which means that Bangladesh will basically have current US standard of living by then so life for them should be pretty comfortable”

    Comment by Benjamin — 4 Jun 2010 @ 11:04 AM

  112. 101 (Rod B),

    Why wasn’t Greenland the center of the industrial revolution?

    What you have said equates to “If a harsh climate will cause increased development, then the harshest climate should cause the most development, and if not, then the entire premise is false,” which is clearly an absurd line of reasoning (i.e. it ignores all other factors, such as total population, resource availability, and a threshold beyond which a harsh climate becomes too much of a hindrance rather than merely an incentive).

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 4 Jun 2010 @ 11:18 AM

  113. “Geoengineering” as the term is usually used, is an absurdity.

    There is NO evidence — none, zero, zilch — that human beings have the knowledge, understanding or means to “engineer” the Earth’s climate and biosphere to achieve some particular desired outcome. On the other hand, there is PLENTY of evidence that we have the ignorance and hubris to wreck the Earth’s climate and biosphere, as we are currently doing.

    Talk of adding huge amounts of toxic pollution to the Earth’s atmosphere to offset AGW is just plain stupid. Talk about “ideology” — that is the exact kind of “ideology” that got us in the mess we are in now. Not to mention that there is no reason to believe it would work, and plenty of reasons to believe it could make things much worse.

    Having said that, there is also plenty of evidence that we can change our ways so as to allow, and even help, natural processes draw down the anthropogenic excess of CO2 — specifically, by a massive conversion to organic agriculture techniques and an equally massive global reforestation program, to sequester CO2 in the soil and biosphere.

    We can draw down the excess CO2 by helping to make the biosphere healthier — not by poisoning it even more than we already are with some kind of hare-brained “geoengineering” scheme.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 4 Jun 2010 @ 12:24 PM

  114. This is interesting. Has any followup work been done. For example, if you stop emitting in 2020 under different emissions scenarios, how much do these curves change? This is the real cost of inaction.

    Comment by Journeyman — 4 Jun 2010 @ 12:37 PM

  115. “Ray Ladbury, so, if “…the correlation is irrefutable…” [my emphasis] what does this have to do with anything??”

    Why if something is irrefutable, can you refuse to accept it? Wouldn’t that be refuting the process by personal preference alone?

    Ah, sorry, forgot who I was talking to.

    SOP, Rod.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Jun 2010 @ 12:57 PM

  116. Benjamin gets just plain silly @111:

    “Wouldn’t it be just normal to add a little comment next to it saying “Not only are those high range scenarios unrealistic in terms of fossil fuels reserves and CO2 emissions, they also lead to a multiplication by about 20 of the GDP which means that Bangladesh will basically have current US standard of living by then so life for them should be pretty comfortable”

    since most of Bangladesh will long since be under water by the time we see a +6C increase, regardless of their GDP.

    He also assumes that fossil fuels are the only potential reservoir that could push temperature up by +6C, when in fact we are likely see carbon emissions from terrestrial and continental shelf seabed carbon reservoirs begin to dwarf human emissions somewhere around +4C to +5C.

    Get a grip, Benjamin.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 4 Jun 2010 @ 1:03 PM

  117. 73, Ray Ladbury: Rod B, all I have done is call attention to a well known and irrefutable inverse correlation between higher temperature and wealth and economic growth. This is hardly controversial, and it holds quite broadly.

    Are you sure that’s well known, irrefutable, and holds broadly? In the 15th century economic growth was greater in Italy and Spain than in (what is now) Great Britain, but in the 19th century it was greater in Great Britain than in Italy and Spain. 100 years ago economic growth was greater in Great Britain than in China, but now it is greater in China than in Great Britain. Within China, at various times, economic growth has sometimes been greater in the north near Beijing, and sometimes (like since 1975) greater in the south near Hong Kong. In the 700s economic growth was greater in Baghdad and Damascus than in Paris, London and Berlin, but since 1550 or so the relative growth rates have reversed. At the time the Khmer civilization produced its most rapid economic growth, almost all of the cooler regions of Asia had stagnation. About the only real generalization relating temperature to growth is that economic growth has never been very great at high latitudes where even summer is too cold for plentiful crops. Economies have grown and shrunk in the same climate (most examples of growth and decline), with rainfall (in Central America, and the area inhabited by the Anasazi) and culture (including changes within nominally the “same” culture, as with China) being more important than temperature, and of those culture being predominant.

    The developed world is right now investing more rapidly in non-fossil fuel energy supplies than in fossil fuel energy supplies, and is sharing some of the new technologies with the less-developed world. If present rates of non-fossil fuel technology development and deployment persist, what do you think is the most likely scenario for global temperature change and GDP change in the next decade? Next 4 decades?

    Fossil fuels will continue to increase in price as demand increases or stabilizes, because supplies are diminishing, and what remains is increasingly more costly to extract. Non fossil fuel costs continue to decrease as the technologies are improved and mass produced. When those trend lines cross, business as usual will without subsidies shift greater amounts of investment into non-fossil fuel development. No one knows when that will be (every year there is a new forecast for PV solar that it will be within the next 2 years — I read one such just day before yesterday), but with recent developments I shall be surprised if it has not happened by 2010.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 4 Jun 2010 @ 1:16 PM

  118. 1, Bob (Sphaerica): I’d be very interested in seeing a study presenting a variety of realistic, feasible scenarios that take into account such factors as oil resource limitations (i.e. what if we really do hit peak oil in 3-4 years?) and the subsequent economic impacts — positive feedbacks on fossil fuel reductions, if you will (i.e. if fossil fuel supply drops precipitously, then disturbances in economies would reduce usage even beyond supply changes).

    Me too. What if, instead of increasing or decreasing, the rate of fossil fuel production stays nearly constant over the next 10 years or more? Statistics presented at The Oil Drum make it seem that oil production has been constant over the last 6 years, despite a large increase in the international price. Production has been maintained by drilling deeper (as the BP disaster has alerted everyone who did not already know) and in other ways spending more per each barrel extracted.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 4 Jun 2010 @ 1:22 PM

  119. #113
    “There is NO evidence — none, zero, zilch — that human beings have the knowledge, understanding or means to “engineer” the Earth’s climate and biosphere to achieve some particular desired outcome.”
    but
    “We can draw down the excess CO2 by helping to make the biosphere healthier”

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 4 Jun 2010 @ 1:34 PM

  120. 111 (Benjamin),

    Now you’re saying we have -1.1% every time we get +1°C.
    But we don’t get +1°C every year : roughly in the +6°C scenario we would get it every 15yrs.
    You still get a x20 GDP !!!!!

    No. The statement is not that “a 1˚C increase reduces GDP by 1.1% the year that it happens.” The statement is “for every 1˚C anomaly, there is a 1.1% reduction in annual GDP.” The theory is not that temperatures will go up, and then back down. The theory is that GHG will raise temperatures for the long term. The anomaly will remain, year after year, with the same detrimental effects, year after year.

    Well, isn’t that basic modeling 101 to get a viable projecton to take into account a feedback ?

    Think about it. What was the point of the original exercise? What steps must be done to estimate actual climate change resulting from each scenario? To what degree of accuracy do you get projections? What steps must be performed to then project adjustments to GDP resulting from climate change? What other factors might be involved? What is the point of having several scenarios, and what differences do those scenarios reflect? Is what you are asking/expecting at all reasonable?

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 4 Jun 2010 @ 1:51 PM

  121. Neil B says: 4 June 2010 at 10:22 AM

    I’m not sure I got your question exactly, but evaporation at the surface won’t get rid of energy at the top of the atmosphere, where it needs to emerge and leave in order to keep things reasonably cool. Plus of course water vapor in the air is a GHG itself.

    Regarding dewpoints this item is of interest, thinking from the perspective of comfort etc.:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Heat-stress-setting-an-upper-limit-on-what-we-can-adapt-to.html

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Jun 2010 @ 1:51 PM

  122. AC (#119), please read SA’s opening definition of geoengineering:

    ““Geoengineering” as the term is usually used, is an absurdity.”

    Geoengineering as the term is usually used doesn’t include reducing CO2 and increasing natural draw down. It’s usually “pour SO2 sprays into the air and hope that this works” or similar “big engineering” projects.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Jun 2010 @ 2:02 PM

  123. @Jim Eager
    “since most of Bangladesh will long since be under water by the time we see a +6C increase, regardless of their GDP.”
    That’s not what recent “in situ” studies indicate :
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jxWAlO7hpr2AXkrZMWswKyK39gOA

    And by the way, relocating hundred of millions of people or building hundred of kilometers of dikes over a century is not a problem AT ALL. We could build houses for more than 4 billion people of the XXth century. Global population is predicted to rise to 9 billion so that about +2.5billion people. So just with XXth techniques/knowledge/”richness” we could build houses for 1.5billion people or “refugees”.

    “He also assumes that fossil fuels are the only potential reservoir that could push temperature up by +6C”
    Nope, i’m just using SRES scenarios to say this….

    “when in fact we are likely see carbon emissions from terrestrial and continental shelf seabed carbon reservoirs begin to dwarf human emissions somewhere around +4C to +5C.”
    World GDP would already be multiplied by 10 or 15, what’s the problem then ?

    Comment by Benjamin — 4 Jun 2010 @ 2:03 PM

  124. Shorter Anonymous Coward #115:

    “You claim geo-engineering is crazy, BUT rolling back the on-going unplanned geo-engineering is un-crazy. Contradiction.”

    What contradiction? I see consistency.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 4 Jun 2010 @ 2:05 PM

  125. @ Bob Sphaerica
    “No. […] The statement is “for every 1˚C anomaly, there is a 1.1% reduction in annual GDP.””
    Ok but
    1/ That’s not backed up by any historical data or any data at all
    2/ That’s not very likely … at least for the first 50 yrs or so. Current warming rate is about 0.15C/decade. Even if this doubles every decade, we get the first degree increase from now (where no effect of global warming on economy can be seen) only in … 30yrs.
    3/ that is in contradiction with all SRES scenarios.

    “Think about it. ”
    The questions you are asking me are exactly the questions i would like to ask :
    * What’s the point of unrealistic scenratios ?
    * Are they based on realistic fossil fuels reserves (you seemed to suggest that this is not the case).

    “Is what you are asking/expecting at all reasonable?”
    A model where you add a feedback of temperature on GDP is “more than easy” to do…
    Just to give you an example in 1970’s people could already to whole world simulations with a wide range of forcing/feedbacks (World3 model for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World3).

    Comment by Benjamin — 4 Jun 2010 @ 2:15 PM

  126. To everybody who is arguing over GDP vs climate: The way climate interacts with GDP is through agriculture. Workers work the hardest when they are well fed. They don’t work at all when they are not fed. What farmers need is a STABLE climate and a climate that is THE WAY IT WAS when farmers began growing that crop in that place. Sure, you can say GDP went up when “bad” weather went away and the weather returned to “normal,” but “bad” can mean wetter or dryer or hotter or colder or it rained the right amount but at the wrong time.
    Your extrapolations in any direction are wrong because they are away from stability. The best thing for agriculture here in the middle of the US would be to put the climate back the way it was in the 1950s because the 1950s is a sort of standard for ~1830 to ~1980 when farming was good. Caveat caveat caveat. The climate is becoming less stable and that is bad for agriculture.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 4 Jun 2010 @ 2:36 PM

  127. @Edward Greisch
    “The best thing for agriculture here in the middle of the US would be to put the climate back the way it was in the 1950s because the 1950s is a sort of standard for ~1830 to ~1980 when farming was good. ”
    Now that’s weird.
    Between the 1940’s and 2000’s U.S. agricultural output more than tripled, while the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) index of aggregate inputs (land, labor, capital and other material inputs) remained essentially unchanged.
    http://www.ers.usda.gov/AmberWaves/September08/DataFeature/Charts/DataFeature_fig01.gif

    If this is going away from an optimum, then i don’t understand what an optimum is.

    Comment by Benjamin — 4 Jun 2010 @ 2:47 PM

  128. Colin Crawford says:

    “Moreover, the research into permafrost thaw/retreat and associated increases in methane release I’ve been reading over the past couple years indicate that that process is accelerating at an “unanticipated” degree. Given the serious under-estimations (in the IPCC reports) of Arctic ice retreat witnessed over the past half-decade or so, I think it’s more “realistic” to assume that there will be a greater and sooner “contribution” to global (especially Arctic) warming than is currently expected. In other words, I find it perfectly reasonable to consider that even IF all anthropogenic GHGs did cease “today,” there is sufficient warming-momentum to expect a release of at least 10% of the CO2, CH4 and NOx from that region which, by my calculations, send global CO2-equivalent concentrations above (maybe WELL above) 500 ppm…”

    That seems correct. Why neglect the carbon cycle feedbacks (which are very difficult to model) in their calculation of global warming commitment?

    Comment by Ike Solem — 4 Jun 2010 @ 3:56 PM

  129. You really should read the articles you cite before you link to them, Benjamin. No where in it is there mention of any measurement of warming, let alone a +6C rise in average surface temperature, and it only talks about the impact of a sea level rise of 1 meter on the coast of Bangladesh, yet up to two meters of rise this century can not be ruled out.

    If you think +6C would ultimately produce a sea level rise of only 1 meter you must be smoking something. The last time average surface temperature was 6C higher than today was before both Greenland and Antarctica froze over, which means sea level was around 70 meters (~228 feet) higher than it is today.

    Note that I am not putting a time span on that total melt. That’s because we don’t know how high CO2e will ultimately go and how long it will remain at peak concentration.

    And if you think coping with an earth 6C warmer than it is now think again. GDP will be zero at +6C.

    Try getting a better grip on the science than you have on economics.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 4 Jun 2010 @ 4:07 PM

  130. Rod 105: BPL, your (and many others) bar for defining a “mature” science is really low. Doesn’t take much

    BPL: No, just a consistent theoretical framework, professional journals, people working full-time on the issues in that field, a huge database of measurements, and a lively debate over legitimate theories–all of which were present in climate science by 1900 or so.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Jun 2010 @ 4:16 PM

  131. Benjamin said:”Between the 1940’s and 2000’s U.S. agricultural output more than tripled, while the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) index of aggregate inputs (land, labor, capital and other material inputs) remained essentially unchanged.”
    “If this is going away from an optimum, then i don’t understand what an optimum is.”

    So the climate must be 3 times better for farming now? I think Benjamin is missing the obvious – is there no argument so ridiculous a skeptic won’t use it?

    PS that was a rhetorical question.

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 4 Jun 2010 @ 4:17 PM

  132. “123Benjamin says:
    4 June 2010 at 2:03 PM

    And by the way, relocating hundred of millions of people or building hundred of kilometers of dikes over a century is not a problem AT ALL. We could build houses for more than 4 billion people of the XXth century. Global population is predicted to rise to 9 billion so that about +2.5billion people. So just with XXth techniques/knowledge/”richness” we could build houses for 1.5billion people or “refugees”.”

    Um, yes, there is a major problem, actually several:

    1) building homes for hundreds of millions of people or hundreds of kilometers of dikes will take both resources and funding. This stuff will not build itself for free. Who pays for it, and how?

    2) If I own a beach house in Florida that is worth a million dollars today but is worthless when the sea level rises and takes it, that’s a loss of assets. Maybe I can absorb it, maybe not. Same with people that have other homes, maybe worth a lot less, but still it is an asset that now is worthless and they have to cope with that loss of assets. And not only have they lost their home, they now have to find a new one (see #1). Are you going to build them a house for free?

    3) Where do you put these people? Where do you find the land to put them? Do you take agricultural land out of production for development? Do you let developers ramp up land prices and take advantage of desperate people? Do you build tar-paper tenements and move them all into overcrowded shantytowns? And again, who pays for it all? The displaced?

    Comment by Witgren — 4 Jun 2010 @ 4:22 PM

  133. Benjamin, the reason US ag output increased because of great leaps in mechanization (how many farms were still using horse-drawn equipment in 1930 versus 1960?), coupled with massive use of commercial fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. The mechanization allowed many more acres to be opened up to cultivation by a given farmer, and the chemicals allowed him to greatly increase yields, giving outstanding yields on good ground and allowing for decent yields even on formerly marginal ground (and so even more acres went under the plow).

    Third, there have been massive advances in genetics that have increased yields as well. We’ve come up with insect and disease resistant crops, crops that produce greater yields per plant.

    Comment by Witgren — 4 Jun 2010 @ 4:32 PM

  134. @t_p_hamilton
    I’m sorry i’m not the one coming here saying that agrilcture optimum was in 1950’s when data indicates otherwise….

    @JimEager
    “And if you think coping with an earth 6C warmer than it is now think again. GDP will be zero at +6C.”
    I’m sorry but I trust the IPCC scenarios and the +6°C scenario goes with x24GDP.
    You don’ believe the IPCC numbers ? Are u a climate denier ?
    Would you say that those projections are wrong ?

    Comment by Benjamin — 4 Jun 2010 @ 4:40 PM

  135. 125 (Benjamin),

    Ok but

    Typical denier approach. Move the goalposts.

    The questions you are asking me are exactly the questions i would like to ask

    More of the same. Instead of responding, bob and weave.

    Clearly, you’ve latched onto one piece of data (GDP growth projections, used as a foundation for emissions scenarios fed into GCMs) and decided that it’s the answer to everything (“look, the IPCC says civilization is going to thrive! It says so right here, so everything else must be inconsequential!”).

    Hence, you will continue to use just about any element of it as a debate tool, and keep things focused on that simplistic approach.

    Fact: GHGs will dangerously change the climate if left completely unchecked, which will have a cost in both lives and dollars (blood and treasure, as the neocons are so fond of saying about wars), and the number of lives and degree of suffering will depend on how we (i.e. the human race) behave and react… and 3,000 years of human history show that we handle such stress very, very poorly and unfairly. The fact that the population is projected to increase as much as it is (which is the foundation of much of that GDP-growth factor to which you are so wedded) will simply mean more people with an opportunity to suffer, and more population pressure to cause suffering.

    So no matter how you want to argue it, major (6˚C), unrestrained climate change is likely to cause suffering on an unimagined scale.

    Nit picking one part of one report to argue otherwise, just to make yourself feel good about pursuing your own personal, short term economic goals is… well, you judge for yourself.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 4 Jun 2010 @ 4:52 PM

  136. Benjamin says, “Between the 1940’s and 2000’s U.S. agricultural output more than tripled, while the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) index of aggregate inputs (land, labor, capital and other material inputs) remained essentially unchanged.”

    Hmm, I notice you pointedly left out “energy” and petroleum, both of which are used much more intensively in farming in the US.

    So, cetera paribus, I would agree, except your cetera ain’t paribus!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Jun 2010 @ 4:54 PM

  137. Benjamin says, “And by the way, relocating hundred of millions of people or building hundred of kilometers of dikes over a century is not a problem AT ALL.”

    After all, the partition of the Indian subcontinent went off without a hitch, right?

    Oh, wait…

    Benjamin, you are a wonderful example of the adage that a man thinks that everything he doesn’t understand must be easy. Judging by your performance to date, I’d wager you think just about everything is easy.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Jun 2010 @ 5:00 PM

  138. Benjamin — I recommend reading Mark Lynas’s “Six Degrres”.. Here is a summary:
    http://www.marklynas.org/2007/4/23/six-steps-to-hell-summary-of-six-degrees-as-published-in-the-guardian

    Comment by David B. Benson — 4 Jun 2010 @ 5:01 PM

  139. @Witgren
    Yes i know all the that.
    I’m not the one who thinks that climate is the number 1 factor for everything in life.

    On housing :
    Well, the same way houses were built over this century.
    Do you think people were asking themselves this kind of question in 1900’s ?

    @Bob (Spaerica)
    Ok so you disagree with IPCC scenrios then ?
    Do you find them unrealistic ?

    I don’t understand how you can disagree with the economical growth and agree with the CO2 emission numbers.
    You can’t really have one without the other…
    Clearly if you think that such growth can’t be sustained, then CO2 emissions are to be lower than those indicated in those SRES scenarios.

    This is how SRES scenarios are defined :
    “A scenario is a coherent, internally consistent and plausible description of a possible future state of the world.”
    Coherent… internally consistent…. plausible.
    Clearly you seem to disagree on coherence (GDP growth not linked to fossil fuels emissions) and plausibility.

    Comment by Benjamin — 4 Jun 2010 @ 5:07 PM

  140. Rod, Gilles the troll said that there was no evidence that increased temperature had a negative effect on GDP. I cited this evidence to show he was wrong.

    This is not at all controversial. The correlation exists. There are theories as to why, but no consensus. In addition to the effect on agriculture there is the fact that a warmer climate means things wear out faster–and in many cases a warmer climate is also wetter, which also increases wear-out rates. There are other theories that make note of higher incidence of debilitating diseases like malaria or bilharzia. Having lived in the tropics, I can assert that all of the above are true. This is why I admonish people not to comfuse fetid with fertile.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Jun 2010 @ 5:09 PM

  141. Rod,
    I think that it is beyond dispute that climate science is a mature science–so mature, in fact that there are not contending theories of Earth’s climate, just the one model that manages to explain an astounding diversity of phenomena. What would you add to BPL’s definition of maturity that climate science does not meet? Is quantum mechanics mature? Relativity? How about thermodynamics or electromagnetism? Climate science is older.

    You have been a lot longer on assertions than support for them of late, Rod.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Jun 2010 @ 5:14 PM

  142. Neil Bates, The sustainable societies I was referring to were mainly those on Pacific Island Archipeligos. They practiced various forms of population control–including abortion and even occasional mass suicide–and many persisted for hundreds of years. That is pretty sustainable. Standard of living was generally not high; nor was life expectancy.

    I do believe sustainability is possible–not easy, but possible. Moreover, I don’t think it involves zero economic growth, since increasing technology can increase the value of goods and services without increasing consumption. I do not claim to know what a sustainable modern society would look like. I do think it is possible, and I don’t think it would mean an end to progress.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Jun 2010 @ 5:25 PM

  143. Suggest people stop feeding the trolls. Their questions have been dealt with thoroughly, patiently, and politely, and those of us who can learn from the responses have done so. It is obvious the canned and false assertions will go on with decreasing logic no matter how exact and well explained the responses.

    In the meanwhile, I wondered about the absence of information about “winner” species – skates, algae, microbes etc. in the ocean, insects, animals able to adapt and increase in urban and suburban settings (coyotes, foxes, deer, raccoons). In general, loss of rarer species and of balance (bees and colony collapse disorder as far as I’ve been able to see is due to several causes, but warming is a likely contributor to most of them). We spray and kill the natural predators. Carp in the Great Lakes?

    I found this presentation about ocean change/degradation in a recent comment on another article here:
    http://sackler.nasmediaonline.org/2007/ile/jeremy_jackson/jeremy_jackson.html

    And when it comes to flora, climate change is also advantaging some undesirable items such as poison ivy (increased urushiol potency) and I am seeing a lot more predatory vines in the mid-Atlantic states (mile-a-minute vine, etc.), seem to remember something about kudzu as well. Dammit vine, anyone (I’m vague on this but it’s a lovely descriptive moniker)?

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 4 Jun 2010 @ 5:44 PM

  144. The Guardian published two excellent articles on June 3. I have posted them on them on my last two posts.

    A professor named John Abraham wrote one of the articles and also has a great slide show debunking Lord Monckton.

    He shows how Lord Monckton mischaracterizes and fabricates what real scientists say. It’s really terrific.

    http://www.stthomas.edu/engineering/jpabraham/

    Comment by Snapple — 4 Jun 2010 @ 7:15 PM

  145. Benjamin, don’t be a moron. The economic scenarios are just that–possible ways in which we could reach a sufficiently high CO2 concentration to see 6 degrees (roughly 2 doublings over pre-industrial levels). There are other ways as well: energy use could become less efficient as we try to keep a crumbling infrastructure viable in a warmer and more hostile world. There’s another scenario–equal energy burned to achieve much less growth. What matters is how much CO2 gets into the atmosphere, not how it gets there.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Jun 2010 @ 7:44 PM

  146. Benjamin: “And by the way, relocating hundred of millions of people or building hundred of kilometers of dikes over a century is not a problem AT ALL.”

    I think Benjamin’s throwing a hint that he’s joking, doing a parody.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Jun 2010 @ 8:14 PM

  147. Susan Anderson, is right. People like Benjamin who are completely out of touch with physical reality are not worth wasting any further time on.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 4 Jun 2010 @ 9:03 PM

  148. 126
    Edward Greisch says:
    4 June 2010 at 2:36 PM

    “To everybody who is arguing over GDP vs climate: The way climate interacts with GDP is through agriculture. Workers work the hardest when they are well fed. They don’t work at all when they are not fed. What farmers need is a STABLE climate and a climate that is THE WAY IT WAS when farmers began growing that crop in that place.”

    You couldn’t be further from the truth. Have you not heard of plant breeding? Through plant breeding we can modify crop varieties to become more tolerant of climatic changes.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 4 Jun 2010 @ 9:45 PM

  149. Mr. Ladbury, I think there isn’t any concensus on why warmer climed places have a lower GDP is the monkey wrench of poor governance and an over-all lack of rule of law.

    When we take a look at Haiti versus the Dominican Republic we can see how governance can effect GDP as much as latitude on the globe.

    Or look at Zimbabwe before and after de-colonization. Climate change didn’t turn it from one of the bread baskets of Africa into the land of starvation. Mismanagement and poor leadership did.

    There’s just too much political noise in the signal to say “the hotter, the poorer.”

    Comment by Frank Giger — 4 Jun 2010 @ 10:38 PM

  150. OT FYI, Accuweather Climate Blog linked from RC “Other Opinions” list has moved… new location is http://www.accuweather.com/blogs/climatechange/Science

    Another time sink, wouldn’t want to miss it…

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Jun 2010 @ 10:47 PM

  151. ScienceDaily (May 18, 2010) — The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for both April and for the period from January-April, according to NOAA. Additionally, last month’s average ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for any April, and the global land surface temperature was the third warmest on record.

    Does this match other trends related to temperature?

    NASA satellite image reveals record low snow for the United StatesAccording to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, snow cover retreated to the lowest extent ever recorded in North America by the end of this April. Snow cover was 2.2 million square kilometers below average. With records of snow extent beginning in 1967, this is the lowest in 43 years and the largest negative anomaly in the past 521 months.

    This is a post-El Nino year, and it has also been a fairly cool northern winter, so blaming this on a lingering ENSO effect seems difficult.

    The warm anomalies in the Atlantic are holding steady and increasing a bit, even as the tropical equatorial Pacific remains at neutral conditions for this time of year:

    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/tafb/atl_anom.gif
    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/sst_weekly.gif

    Regardless of the record heat, it’s still hard to predict what the next year will bring in the way of climate – a La Nina? Heat waves and drought, or flooding and storms? For example, China bucked the global trend and had one of the coolest and wettest Aprils on record:

    China had its wettest April since 1974 and Tibet had its wettest April since records began in 1951. Meanwhile, Germany had its second-driest April on record since 1901, behind 2007, according to the German Meteorological Service.

    March 2010 was also the warmest March on record. Arctic sea ice reached its maximal extent Mar 31 and is now turning back towards the melt phase, with the 5th-smallest areal extent since records began in 1979. Current average thickness? I don’t know.

    Over the longer term, you’ve got the improved record over upper ocean temperatures, which indicate steady heat storage:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/05/ocean-heat-content-increases-update/

    This anomalous warmth is due mainly to human combustion of fossil fuels for energy, which has increased CO2 and methane in the global atmosphere, thus acting as a radiation blanket and warming the surface – that’s well established physical theory. The magnitude of the response is moderated by the oceans and ice caps, which absorb a great deal of the resulting excess surface heat – but the primary overall issue is going to be the composition of the atmosphere over the next 100 years – and the main variable there is human behavior.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 4 Jun 2010 @ 11:07 PM

  152. 127 Benjamin: Global Warming DID NOT improve agricultural output between 1948 and 2003. Agricultural technology did.
    Thank you, Susan Anderson and the other people who answered Benjamin. I stick by what I said.
    Benjamin is a good representative of average intelligence, maybe more verbal than average. I would agree with 146 Jim Eager except that all registered voters are allowed to vote and run for election to the Senate. Being completely out of touch with physical reality is a common condition.

    So what to do? Write to rich people and foundations who are not owners of fossil fuel stock and ask for money to set up an advertising fund for RC? Or just try to communicate with senators by email? Senator Reed has a voice mail that supposedly goes directly to the senator. Other ideas please.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 4 Jun 2010 @ 11:09 PM

  153. 147 Richard Steckis: I would like to see you breed a corn plant that can survive being washed away in a flood while still a seed. Or a corn plant that can grow in a desert and achieve in a single year what corn has always done.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 4 Jun 2010 @ 11:16 PM

  154. Neil @108 and Doug @121 I’d love to see a study documenting surface dew point changes in the continental U.S. Here in the corn belt, extreme summer dew points also seem to be rising. While still (thankfully) uncommon, we’re seeing a lot more 80F and above dew points than in the “old days” before 1980.

    The worst of the lot was the 1995 heat wave that killed all those people in Chicago. Dew points climbed as high as 86F (30C) in eastern Iowa, combined with highs around 100F. That’s worse than most of the tropics, where dew points tend to be limited by vertical instability. If the dew points get too high, a little vertical mixing gives you a thunderstorm.

    The only way to get over 80F dew points even for a few days is to have a subsidence inversion, with hot air aloft providing a cap to vertical mixing. If the ground is moist, evaporated water will be trapped in the lowest layers of the atmosphere, and the dew point will soar. In the U.S., the hot air aloft usually originates in the Southwest, and moves into the eastern parts of the country, where more moisture is available.

    In order to get prevailing dew points in the tropics to rise (on a large scale), temperatures in the middle troposphere would also have to rise.
    This should occur more or less in tandem with rising sea surface temperatures. I wouldn’t expect to see dew points rise by 6C unless the ocean temperatures do, too.

    Comment by John Pollack — 4 Jun 2010 @ 11:19 PM

  155. Hmmm… just noticed I posted this in the wrong thread:

    Speaking of climate change commitment . . .

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_stddev_timeseries.png

    Will 2007 still be considered an anomaly by September?


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

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

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 4 Jun 2010 @ 11:49 PM

  156. Doug Bostrom says: 4 June 2010 at 10:47 PM

    OT FYI, Accuweather Climate Blog linked from RC “Other Opinions” list has moved

    And have I remembered to say Thank You recently? I think not.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 Jun 2010 @ 12:20 AM

  157. The more important point I was trying to air and understand is the broad and deep array of likely consequences of our heedless acceleration of consumption and expansion with subsequent toxic consequences. A couple of those least stated are the species alteration aspects – in the animal/insect world and fauna on the one hand, and in the human world with socioeconomic conflict. All this talk about climate change and GDP is a proxy, IMNHSO, for the undoubted fact that desperate people – especially those with children – don’t have time to worry about your highfalutin’ arguments – they will continue to desertify Africa and crowd lowlands (Bangladesh) and that stuff that looks like genocide will continue as long as teenagers (mentally) can get guns or other weapons, and social support from their “peers”.

    I was a little surprised at myself for not anticipating the recent spate of water supply events in unexpected places – my home being Boston, the MWRA (water resources auth) overflowed in one storm, and of course aging infrastructure is a symptom of the same neglectful problem. I don’t think we all realize how close the cessation of clean water supplies is to each and every one of us.

    I think a lot about the way adaptation actually plays out, with the ultimate survival of insects and other simply predatory types (skates seem a good example – giant squid? – jellyfish both victim and winner?). We have a tendency to think God is made in our image and has a personality, but my experience of things that are bigger than I am is that they are not emotionally involved in helping me survive – in other words, the planet and atmosphere really don’t care about me and thee.

    For god’s sake, any doubters out there, get a grip before it’s too late!

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 5 Jun 2010 @ 2:20 AM

  158. “You couldn’t be further from the truth.”

    This could not be further from the truth.

    Are you saying, RS, that farming practices in the Ur valley was driven by plant breeding and not by the inherent fertility of the plains?

    There was a whole bushel load of truth in the statement Ed made.

    “Through plant breeding we can modify crop varieties to become more tolerant of climatic changes.”

    Are you saying that plant breeding can change crops drastically over a 20 year period?

    How do you know that plant breeding will be successful? After all, there’s been marginal land for food production and calls for more food production for decades, yet these plant breeding processes don’t seem to have solved the problem there.

    Where do you get your faith in the healing power of plant breeding?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Jun 2010 @ 4:14 AM

  159. Frank Giger, Agreed. Lots of speculation. No Consensus.

    However, the correlation is beyond dispute. And I think it is important that people be aware of it to counter the prejudice that many Americans (who have never been south of Disneyworld) have that warmer = more fertile. No, food does not drop from trees into the waiting mouths of lazing natives.

    There are lots of reasons why life is more difficult in the tropics. Since you never have a hard freeze, you never get rid of pests and weeds, even temporarily. Nasty diseases (malaria and bilharzia) are virtually impossible to eradicate. Infrastructure is more difficult to maintian–roads wash away and electronics fails in the heat and humidity.

    Hell, I remember when I was teaching in Africa and tried to do a demo with a van deGraaf generator. The damn thing wouldn’t charge above a few thousand volts! You just kept hearing “snap, snap, snap, snap” as the humid air broke down and leached away the charge.

    Everything was difficult in Africa, and it did not all have to do with absence of infrastructure or poor governance. This is why I caution folks not to confuse fetid with fertile.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Jun 2010 @ 7:10 AM

  160. Steckis says, “You couldn’t be further from the truth. Have you not heard of plant breeding? Through plant breeding we can modify crop varieties to become more tolerant of climatic changes.”

    Great, we just wave a magic wand and suddenly we have a magic crop and we can grow rice in Nebraska and winter wheat in the Congo. Oh, gee, it didn’t work.

    There are limits to what we can accomplish with breeding or even genetic modification. Plants still require water at the right times and nutrients–and many very important crops remain very sensitive to the temperature range over their life cycle. And then there are the weeds, which exhibit much less sensitivity to temperature. Dude, maybe if you learned how technology worked, it would look less like magic.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Jun 2010 @ 7:17 AM

  161. Richard Steckis said “Through plant breeding we can modify crop varieties to become more tolerant of climatic changes.”

    Typical delayer nonsense. “We can rely on technology!” “We can do what we like!”

    Why is this nonsense? Scientists are already doing their level best to modify crop varieties to suit local conditions, and feed the world. And it is an uphill battle.

    Which parts of the world get hurt most? Those already at the extremes of liveability, of course. Those countries with the least resources for researching new crop varieties, or for massive changes to planting regimes.

    Don’t make the mistake of believing that the ability to grow is enough – as so many deniers enjoy saying, in a high CO2 world, plants grow faster and bigger. What they forget to say is that water, nutrients and temperature are limiting factors, and even in places where all the requirements are met, nutritional content goes down even as yields increase. We can all starve to death even as the deserts green. That’s a nice thought, isn’t it? And yet more evidence that these problems are complex and multi-dimensional, and can’t be solved with glib remarks and faith in technology that does not yet exist.

    Comment by Didactylos — 5 Jun 2010 @ 7:26 AM

  162. CFU said: “Are you saying that plant breeding can change crops drastically over a 20 year period?”

    Less. Don’t dismiss everything your opponents say just because they are on the “other side”. It makes it very easy to destroy your well-meaning arguments if you don’t do the research and make important mistakes.

    Don’t be an easy target. Think more, write less.

    Read about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Borlaug – it’s interesting and valuable stuff.

    Comment by Didactylos — 5 Jun 2010 @ 9:18 AM

  163. Gilles says, “The only sustainable growth rate is ZERO.”

    This is simply, completely, 100% flat-assed WRONG!

    No, it’s not. Not in a resource-constrained reality. And every reality is resource constrained. There are sustainable societies, and not just on Pacific Islands. How else do you all think those indigenous societies have existed in areas such as the Amazon and Australia?

    I cannot find the link, but there was an excellent example of such a society in the Amazon. As someone else stated above, these typically are well-organized societies that live in a large area, typically have little sense of private ownership, and do practice population control in the forms of infanticide of unhealthy newborns, elderly being either voluntarily or involuntarily sent out, and use natural birth control and/or have strong controls on the use of sexuality.

    Note all this is mutually agreed rather than imposed.

    Sustainability has been achieved by several societies, and their society progresses. In a sustainable society, the growth rate is limited by the rate of technological advance rather than inceased exploitation.

    *That* is utterly incorrect. Growth is constrained by resources above all else, as well as being the primary source of growth.

    http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/images/2008/energy_sector_investing_13_1_08_image002.jpg

    Tainter, Catton, et al., have show increased complexity, in fact, almost always exacerbates collapse rather than preventing it. Societies that successfully step back from collapse, or have orderly collapse, if you prefer, go through orderly reductions in complexity.

    Maya? Water. Angkor Wat? Water. Rome? Multiple, including silver (flooded mines in Spain), food (soil depletion) and simple lack of enough army… because they simply couldn’t support any more… etc.

    Tech without energy equals childrens’ toys.

    Also, did you notice he said “growth” and you said “development?” Two very different apples and potatoes.

    Dude, do you ever get tired of being so ignorant?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 June 2010 @ 4:38 AM

    Ironic, since we almost always are on the same page, but this time it’s your turn, Ray.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 5 Jun 2010 @ 12:13 PM

  164. 159, Ray Ladbury: Great, we just wave a magic wand and suddenly we have a magic crop and we can grow rice in Nebraska and winter wheat in the Congo. Oh, gee, it didn’t work.

    Isn’t that what you call a straw man argument? I think the claim is that you can improve the varieties of potatoes grown in Idaho and the Andes, and the varieties of manioc grown in the tropics. Kind of like they did to develop lodge-resistant rice, for China and the Philippines, but not for Nebraska.

    It isn’t a magic wand, it’s crop breeding, which has a long record of success.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 5 Jun 2010 @ 12:51 PM

  165. 157, Completely Fed Up: Where do you get your faith in the healing power of plant breeding?

    The “faith”, if that is the right word, comes from a long history of successful development. This contrasts with the complete lack of a long history of interventions to reduce CO2, such interventions being the necessary means to separate mere concommittance from causality. We could conceivably spend $100 trillion over a long period of time and have no effect on CO2 accumulation — unlikely I’d judge now, but not ruled out completely on present evidence. But we know that crop breeding works because it always has worked.

    So which is really the better bet, proven techniques or untried techniques?

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 5 Jun 2010 @ 1:00 PM

  166. As for all the rest. The 2nd or 3rd, I believe the 2nd, largest carbon sink is soil. While modern farming techniques degrade soil, organic techniques, both old and new, build carbon into the soil. This is enhanced if all waste is turned into an input either as mulch, compost or some other function that helps create a self-regulating, sustainable system, and if soil is not tilled to disturb the soil and release carbon – as well as keeping the biota community intact so the soil remains optimally set to manage all inputs into it.

    By converting all existing farmland to not only organic, but sustainably organic, methods, we can sequester enormous amounts of carbon. If then also expand farmland, all the more so. If we take sustainable organic methods to the Nth degree to all human use of planting – golf courses, ornamental, etc., all the more so. The numbers, which I cannot remember at the moment, are huge and take a huge step towards bringing carbon emissions down and/or offsetting them.

    Re: Steady-state/vs. growth. Jeavon’s paradox, Receding Horizons and Liebig’s Minimum all come into play.

    Jeavon’s says, “In economics, the Jevons paradox (sometimes called the Jevons effect) is the proposition that technological progress that increases the efficiency with which a resource is used, tends to increase (rather than decrease) the rate of consumption of that resource. It is historically called the Jevons Paradox as it ran counter to popular intuition. However, the situation is well understood in modern economics. In addition to reducing the amount needed for a given use, improved efficiency lowers the relative cost of using a resource – which increases demand and speeds economic growth, further expanding resource use.” (From Wiki.)

    The US improved efficiency by 33% between ’79 and recent years. What happened to energy consumption? This obviously brings us to the population issue, which is so obvious I won’t even go there.

    Receding horizons? Oil. As oil becomes harder to get and more expensive to get both ROI and EROEI (energy returned on energy invested) fall, meaning they become more expensive in terms of energy and economic cost. EROEI on oil was 100/1 a hundred years ago. It’s now, depending on whom you ask somewhere around 11:1. The super-positive folks say as much as 33:1. Still a massive drop, and dropping every day, particularly when you include true total costs in terms of environmental disasters (Alberta, GoM), opportunity cost (lag time to building out renewables, health effects, etc.), and climate changes.

    “Unconventional oil and gas that is difficult to access is more expensive to extract and process, meaning higher costs for oil companies that would likely lead to lower profit margins and/or higher consumer prices that could cut into future demand. Even Tillerson acknowledged that increased reliance on unconventional sources is the inescapable future of the industry”
    http://www.heatingoil.com/blog/exxon%E2%80%99s-oil-and-gas-production-plans-a-sign-of-industry%E2%80%99s-future-reliance-on-unconventional-sources0312/

    Liebig’s Minimum is really nothing more than the old weakest link concept. It’s “a principle developed in agricultural science by Carl Sprengel (1828) and later popularized by Justus von Liebig. It states that growth is controlled not by the total of resources available, but by the scarcest resource (limiting factor). This concept was originally applied to plant or crop growth, where it was found that increasing the amount of plentiful nutrients did not increase plant growth. Only by increasing the amount of the limiting nutrient (the one most scarce in relation to “need”) was the growth of a plant or crop improved.”
    (From wiki.)

    But that critical resources isn’t always obvious, and we are, due to over-consumption and population, coming up against a lot of resource constraints. One that looms is Phosphorus:

    “Estimates of deposits that are economically recoverable with current technology—known as reserves—are at 15,000 million metric tons. That is still enough to last about 90 years at current use rates. Consumption, however, is likely to grow as the population increases and as people in developing countries demand a higher standard of living. Increased meat consumption, in particular, is likely to put more pressure on the land, because animals eat more food than the food they become.

    Phosphorus reserves are also concentrated geographically. Just four countries—the U.S., China, South Africa and Morocco, together with its Western Sahara Territory—hold 83 percent of the world’s reserves and account for two thirds of annual production. Most U.S. phosphate comes from mines in Florida’s Bone Valley, a fossil deposit that formed in the Atlantic Ocean 12 million years ago. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the nation’s reserves amount to 1,200 million metric tons. The U.S. produces about 30 million metric tons of phosphate rock a year, which should last 40 years, assuming today’s rate of production.” http://rs.resalliance.org/2009/06/03/limits-to-phosphorus/

    But, as Bill Mollison, Permaculture guru, likes to say, “The problem is the solution.” Phosphorus being a a mineral, if we simply keep in in place, no problem. Doing that is simple: create regenerative, sustainable systems. If the phosphorus doesn’t the land it comes from, it will not deplete. This is why food should be as locally grown as possible, and why food production “wastes” should be handled in a closed system, i.e., returned to the soil from whence they came. Also a big reason why, in the past, especially, humanure was a vital part of agricultural processes and should be again. Close the loops.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 5 Jun 2010 @ 1:02 PM

  167. John Pollack says: 4 June 2010 at 11:19 PM

    Interesting and thank you. I was intrigued by the item at SkS because it represents the equivalent of the red line on an engine temperature gauge or the like.

    What concerns me is that we’ll probably see an increasing number of bumps over that line, increasingly prolonged and I suppose gradually increasing in affected area. Over-extending the engine gauge analogy, a series of increasingly steep hills pushing the gauge toward and over the red line, more and more unacceptable.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 Jun 2010 @ 1:16 PM

  168. Ed (#151),
    You will have trouble finding many rich people who don’t have a stake in fossil fuels. But having a stake in fossil fuels does not prevent one from thinking straight. Rich people tend to have a stake in everything (including renewables) and look out for opportunities (real and imagined). You keep claiming most people are worthless because they don’t measure up to your standards in science and math but you really need an education in how society works.
    Senators don’t get elected based on what a tiny minority believe about climate science. I told you this already but senators from certain states are likely to continue look out for the interests of the coal industry for the forseeable future and there’s little you can do about it. Lincoln didn’t bother to stand in the South. There are other senators whose states would benefit from bleeding the coal industry dry with carbon taxes. Work on envy, vanity, hate and self-interest. Tell the senators’ base that coal money belongs in their pockets because they’re better than them evil polluters. Senators have a large base and you can’t do this alone.
    Climate science only concerns wonky brainiacs. But everyone understands winners and losers. What you need is a simple climate policy with a majority of winners and a minority of losers who can be demonized.

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 5 Jun 2010 @ 1:42 PM

  169. 158, Ray Ladbury: However, the correlation is beyond dispute. And I think it is important that people be aware of it to counter the prejudice that many Americans (who have never been south of Disneyworld) have that warmer = more fertile. No, food does not drop from trees into the waiting mouths of lazing natives.

    Are you sure that it is beyond dispute? For a time, the richest societies in the Americas were in what is now Central America.

    There are lots of reasons why life is more difficult in the tropics. Since you never have a hard freeze, you never get rid of pests and weeds, even temporarily. Nasty diseases (malaria and bilharzia) are virtually impossible to eradicate. Infrastructure is more difficult to maintian–roads wash away and electronics fails in the heat and humidity.

    There’s tropics and there’s tropics. Lots of high techonology continues to work as well in Guyaquil as as in Quito and throughout Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, and in Lagos and Khartoum (currently enjoying a Chinese-financed Renaissance), and (former) Clark Air Force base and Manilla. The Congo is poor because Mobutu stole all of the wealth, not because The Congo is or was incapable of developing wealth.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 5 Jun 2010 @ 1:50 PM

  170. Speaking of C02 commitments, see Willis Eschenbach undergoing scrutiny as a possible roader, rumblings of discontent as he debunks “skeptical” criticisms of Mauna Loa observations.

    <a href="http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/04/under-the-volcano-over-the-volcano/#more-20202&quot;

    Walking a fine line, dancing in a field of fickle followers.

    Hackles are raised:
    Are the four records you show genuinely independent and unadulterated, or have they been adjusted in any way?

    Some are suspicious of such tricks as “readings” and “computers”:
    My internal alarm goes off once I hear that it’s really ok becuase the scientists use readings [and probably algorithms and computers] to distinguish the volcanic CO2 from the atmospheric CO2 readings.

    Others take comfort in recitations:
    I remain very skeptical that global CO2 increases imperil the Earth. I remain skeptical that humans cause the major increase. I doubt that the human contribution will continue to accelerate (assuming it is significant) simply due to economically driven (not artificially by cap & trade economics) changes in energy sources over the next century.

    Many remain glued to “zero”:
    However, the Mauna Loa data shows seasonal CO2 variation. Why would that be so?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 Jun 2010 @ 2:04 PM

  171. ccpo@164, a really informatice comment.

    I’m not sure I follow the following:
    “By converting all existing farmland to not only organic, but sustainably organic, methods, we can sequester enormous amounts of carbon.”
    My understanding is that organic is less productive (yield per acre) than modern high input industrial farming. Do we have the option to do this? Or are we too far into population overshoot that a gentle landing is no longer possible?

    Of course recycling of waste matter is not all that easy to do in a manner that promotes public health. I think that was why the world was so eager to adopt the present system of waste management. Of course the clock is ticking (as you show), on how long we can continue until we are forced to close the loops.

    Comment by Thomas — 5 Jun 2010 @ 2:41 PM

  172. Thomas wrote: “My understanding is that organic is less productive (yield per acre) than modern high input industrial farming.”

    That’s not correct. And in some studies organic agriculture is more productive than so-called “conventional” agriculture under adverse conditions, particularly drought, which is going to be an increasingly important factor.

    In any case, “modern high input industrial farming” is neither affordable or practical for the developing world, nor is it sustainable in the developed world.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 5 Jun 2010 @ 3:24 PM

  173. Anonymous Coward wrote: “But having a stake in fossil fuels does not prevent one from thinking straight.”

    You think ExxonMobil’s one hundred million dollars in profit per day doesn’t influence the ability of that corporation’s executives to “think straight”?

    One characteristic of the “rich people” you mention is that many of them have a high tolerance for risk — indeed an appetite for risk. Especially risking other people’s money on risky ventures with potentially huge payoffs. And especially when they will get the payoff and other people will bear the risks.

    That’s what they think is “thinking straight”.

    They are thinking about the trillions of dollars in profit that they can reap from continued business-as-usual, growing, accelerating consumption of fossil fuels (until profitably recoverable reserves are exhausted).

    They are willing to risk a lot for that profit. I doubt they would hesitate to risk the inundation of Bangladesh and the deaths of millions of impoverished people there. I doubt they would hesitate to risk the extinction of dozens or hundreds of obscure species with no obvious economic value. I doubt they would hesitate to risk dramatic reductions in agricultural and fishery yields, leading to global famine, since there will still be food available for rich people. They are certainly willing to risk the melting of the Arctic, since it will open up new and potentially rich areas for oil drilling.

    Would they consider it “thinking straight” to knowingly, deliberately risk the collapse of the biosphere and the mass extinction of most life on Earth in a “green sky” event?

    Well, a reasonable person can look at the findings of mainstream climate science (e.g. the IPCC) and reasonably conclude — as many commenters here do — that the risk of something like that is small. And for the trillions of dollars in profit that several more decades of BAU fossil fuel use will bring, it may be a risk they are willing to take. To the bold goes the prize.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 5 Jun 2010 @ 3:43 PM

  174. Bob (Sphaerica), et al, I was merely checking: if higher temperatures hurt economies, wouldn’t it follow that lower temperatures enhance economies? Then why wouldn’t low-temperature Greenland be a booming place?

    Comment by Rod B — 5 Jun 2010 @ 4:38 PM

  175. CFU, accepting something doesn’t mean it’s worth anything…

    Comment by Rod B — 5 Jun 2010 @ 4:41 PM

  176. BPL: “No, just a consistent theoretical framework, professional journals, people working full-time on the issues in that field, a huge database of measurements, and a lively debate over legitimate theories–all of which were present in climate science by 1900 or so.”

    Nonsense. Up to beyond 1900 climate science (as specifically practiced by Arrhenius et al) was pretty much ignored, and often pooh-poohed, by the mainstream.

    Comment by Rod B — 5 Jun 2010 @ 4:58 PM

  177. Thomas (#168),
    Google “DOK trial”. The fall in productivity doesn’t look so bad. But generalities are a poor guide. More R&D is needed at a bioregional level. Some states and NGOs have long financed such. If you’ve got money to burn, you could do worse than supporting that kind of work in low-income countries.
    A realtively small shortfall could be compensated by feeding less grain to livestock or combustion engines and other changes in food processing and distribution but it would likely require extensive coordinated changes at a global level. It’s not clear how to bring that about. Again, we’ve got a political problem. The obvious alternative is chronic famines with all that’s entailed.
    That said, I’m skeptical of potential for sequestering “enormous amounts of carbon” (as compared with the amount emitted from fossil fuels) through agriculture without actively sequestering biomass on a grand scale.

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 5 Jun 2010 @ 5:14 PM

  178. Ray, Bob, t_p_h, et al. I’ll let Benjamin make his own case. But I think he, like me, was responding to the assertion, “…a well known and irrefutable inverse correlation between higher temperature and wealth and economic growth” and the reference that put pretty exact numbers to it. The assertion did not include any ‘unless a bunch of other stuff happens’.

    Comment by Rod B — 5 Jun 2010 @ 5:18 PM

  179. ps, BTW I’m not saying increased temps will increase GDP or will not decrease GDP. Possibilities exist. Describing such scenarios is conjecture. Giving scenarios “irrefutable” exact numbers is silly if not preposterous — that’s what I’m fussing about.

    Comment by Rod B — 5 Jun 2010 @ 5:27 PM

  180. “Gilles says, “The only sustainable growth rate is ZERO.”

    This is simply, completely, 100% flat-assed WRONG! Sustainability has been achieved by several societies, and their society progresses. In a sustainable society, the growth rate is limited by the rate of technological advance rather than inceased exploitation. Dude, do you ever get tired of being so ignorant?”

    All societies are sustainable only under the condition that their lifetime does not exceed a reasonable number of doubling times i.e. inverse of the growth rate (more exactly 35 / t years for a growth rate of t%/yr .(Reasonable = much less than 10; since 2^10 is already a factor 1000 ) – All the societies you’re speaking about had a very slow growth rate (much less than 1%:year) and lasted only because it was low enough. Increasing the growth rate is strictly equivalent to reducing the doubling time , and strictly equivalent to reducing the life expectancy of the society. And sorry, but it is perfectly and mathematically RIGHT. There is no society that lasted more than a couple of doubling times, and if you ignore it, I don’t think you’re qualified to make relevant assertions about the future.

    Comment by Gilles — 5 Jun 2010 @ 5:34 PM

  181. I think–off the top of my head–that the problem with the suggestion that plant-breeding will negate the effects of warming on agriculture are two-fold. First, the global scope of the problem is apt to match up poorly with regionally diverse crops combined with the reality of multinational agriculture. Will Cargill or Dupont or whomever actually even try to develop more heat-tolerant manioc? Second, it won’t be just challenges to the crop species themselves–it will also be loss of accustomed pollinators, disruption of local ecosystems leading to novel pest problems, and similar “second-order” impacts. Plant breeding may help some, but intuition (FWIW) says it won’t “make it go away.”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 5 Jun 2010 @ 5:35 PM

  182. Secular (#170),
    Obviously the job of Exxon’s executives is to push the corporation’s interests. But the rich and corporate executives are different groups, although there is some overlap. And very few executives are Exxon executives.
    If we assume Exxon to be entierly US-owned, it’s worth about 0.5% of US wealth according to the Census. Even though this figure is a gross overestimate, it’s quite small. Because Exxon ownership isn’t well distributed, the “median rich” has a smaller stake still and there’s likely a lot of potential donors who have much smaller stakes. I doubt you’ll find many who have more money in renewables than in fossil fuels but you’ll probably find many who have a stake in Exxon mainly because it’s a “blue chip” and they want a hedge against inflation. These have other priorities than Exxon’s bottom-line.
    As a group, the rich have a lot more to fear from climate change mitigation policies than their potential impact on their fossil fuel holdings.

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 5 Jun 2010 @ 6:26 PM

  183. 173 (Rod B)

    You’re putting words into Benjamin’s mouth. He pretty clearly was saying that the IPCC report says that the GDP will grow wildly, so it must be true, and there’s nothing to worry about. That would be silly.

    For my part, I haven’t done the reading to see where any estimate of change in GDP (relative to temperature) might come from, and I don’t care. I was arguing with Benjamin purely based on the fallacy of his arguments, regardless of the truth or source of the 1.1%/1˚C projection. And if he’d come up with a valid argument, I would have sat back to see if it was properly refuted.

    But, of course, he didn’t.

    You are also, once again, putting words into people’s mouths by adding things that have never been said (like “irrefutable”). You do that a lot. Stop it.

    But… I will accept the statement that there’s little foundation to arrive at exact estimates for %-loss-GDP/˚C-temp-change. I’ll leave it to others to refute that.

    But you can’t argue that a major increase in global temperature would not result in economic loss and hardship, and human suffering. Saying we can’t put an exact number on it is just a distraction. The real issue stands: too great a change in the climate will cause severe economic loss, while reasonable mitigation efforts now would avoid such loss and reap other benefits.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 5 Jun 2010 @ 6:52 PM

  184. Rod, the correlation IS undeniable. It’s there. It’s data. You plot two sets of numbers as ordered pairs on a graph. You ask if one goes up as the other goes up. If so, they are correlated. If one goes down as the other goes up they are inversely correlated. Now you can dismiss any CAUSAL relationship. Fine. But what you cannot do is say the correlation is not there. And you certainly bloody well cannot say that a warmer world will be more productive. The data simply will not support that under any scenario. THAT is the point.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Jun 2010 @ 7:31 PM

  185. Septic Matthew@163,
    The claim was that technology would save us–and it was made with zero support. I do not know of anyone who knows how to breed a potato that survives drought or flood or especially alternation thereof. If you ask the agronomists, they are among the most worried about climate change. I’ll take their opinion over Steckis’s unsubstantiated reassurances.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Jun 2010 @ 7:40 PM

  186. Secular Animist & anonymous coward:
    My information is second hand at best. I was mainly thinking about US and Canada, where nearly all farmland has been industrially farmed intensively. Aren’t these field severely depleted of several key minerals/nutrients, but yields can be maintained by fertilizer? If that is the case then removal of the fertilizer input ought to lead to a significant yield reduction?

    Comment by Thomas — 5 Jun 2010 @ 9:48 PM

  187. Borlaug did not actually help India. They kept their poverty and doubled their population. India is again on the edge and a collapse will be worse thanks to Borlaug.

    The rich will NOT survive the collapse of civilization. They will be the first to be hunted as dinner. The survivors, if any, are still living in the stone age somewhere very far away. The rich may be fooling themselves or they may be psychopaths and just not care. Corporations are definitely psychopaths.

    We are actually trying to SAVE Benjamin, in case anyone hadn’t noticed. Is Benjamin willing to save himself? If not, then what?

    166 Anonymous Coward: The losers are: Everybody. There are no winners if AGW continues because extinction means everybody. “Climate science only concerns wonky brainiacs.” is insane. Climate science concerns everybody. I have already listed the kill mechanisms in a previous comment on this post. This post is about “commitment,” which means that we have to solve the problem NOW. We can’t leave it to our grandchildren because Nature will yank it out of their hands and kill them.

    156 Susan Anderson: Yes, you should expect regional nuclear wars over water. India and Pakistan are already arguing over the flow of a river. China and Viet Nam are already arguing over the flow of the Mekong. All 4 of those countries and the nearby countries get their summer water from the same mountain glaciers and the Tibetan Plateau glaciers. Notice that China, India and Pakistan have nuclear arms and the entire region is already on the knife edge for food and water.
    Yes, you should expect billions of people to die of famine more-or-less all at once in this century, probably in your lifetime unless you are already 90.
    Mother Nature has no mercy. She has already killed 99% of all species that ever lived on this planet, and she has killed Mars and Venus. Humans are no exception. You should be very afraid indeed. I am terrified. Go back and find my list of kill mechanisms. It also has a list of references and books. Read them, starting with “Storms of My Grandchildren” by James Hansen.
    Hunger and thirst are only 2 of the killers. There are more.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 5 Jun 2010 @ 10:27 PM

  188. 152
    Edward Greisch says:
    4 June 2010 at 11:16 PM

    “147 Richard Steckis: I would like to see you breed a corn plant that can survive being washed away in a flood while still a seed. Or a corn plant that can grow in a desert and achieve in a single year what corn has always done.”

    [edit] The assumption that all crops will fail due to weather in a warmer climate is [edit] nonsense.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 5 Jun 2010 @ 10:31 PM

  189. “You will have trouble finding many rich people who don’t have a stake in fossil fuels.”

    Just about every 401K has a stake in fossil fuels. It’s not just “rich” folks.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 5 Jun 2010 @ 10:35 PM

  190. 159
    Ray Ladbury says:
    5 June 2010 at 7:17 AM

    “Great, we just wave a magic wand and suddenly we have a magic crop and we can grow rice in Nebraska and winter wheat in the Congo. Oh, gee, it didn’t work.”

    More irrational thinking [edit]

    [edit] it does not take 100 years or even 20 years for a new variety to be selected. Australia is a prime example of the success of plant breeding to produce prime wheat and other grains in a drier and warmer climate than the original from which the varieties were bred.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 5 Jun 2010 @ 10:38 PM

  191. 178 :”Rod, the correlation IS undeniable. It’s there. It’s data. You plot two sets of numbers as ordered pairs on a graph. You ask if one goes up as the other goes up. If so, they are correlated. ”

    And following this method, the correlation of GDP with the energy consumption is much more prominent than any correlation with temperature, if you don’t restrict to poor countries but take all countries in the world.This correlation holds BOTH on the long term and on the detrended numbers.

    But of course you’re free to dismiss any CAUSAL relation, and think that it is much easier to invert the correlation with fossil fuel consumption than with temperature in the future (meaning that you think that the mankind doesn’t really require fossil fuel to sustain modern civilization, whereas it is totally unable to maintain if the average temperature of the globe is above ..eehm… some threshold, that you surely knows (I don’t) ).

    You’re free to think that, but you can’t find any evidence in the present facts that supports this idea. Only future facts will show if you’re right or wrong – the only thing is I wouldn’t hesitate personally to bet against you. If you think I’m a moron, you shouldn’t hesitate to accept the bet.

    Comment by Gilles — 6 Jun 2010 @ 12:51 AM

  192. Amusing discussion on the inverse correlation between temperature and GDP, which cannot be expected to hold outside of a limited range of temperatures for fairly obvious reasons, even if the relationship is not spurious. It would seem to me that this relationship has both economic (GDP is a flawed measure of economic health, and the relationship only seems to hold for poor countries, which may be arbitrarily defined) and climatological (temperature extremes are as important as means and there are other important climatological parameters) flaws. In any case as far as correlation goes, there are ways to measure it, as any statistician will tell you. It is not a question of whether or not there is a correlation, but how good the correlation is.
    I won’t get into correlation versus causation.

    Comment by Bill Woolverton — 6 Jun 2010 @ 1:06 AM

  193. 179, Ray Ladbury: The claim was that technology would save us–and it was made with zero support. I do not know of anyone who knows how to breed a potato that survives drought or flood or especially alternation thereof.

    No, a claim was made about a particular technology with a proven record of success. You do not know anybody who knew how to breed lodge-resistant rice either, so that is irrelevant. The goal will be accomplished by trial and error, random variation and natural (or human) selection, as always. And your rejoinder was to a totally exaggerated claim that had not been made. Or have you forgotten what you wrote: Great, we just wave a magic wand and suddenly we have a magic crop and we can grow rice in Nebraska and winter wheat in the Congo. Oh, gee, it didn’t work.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 6 Jun 2010 @ 3:20 AM

  194. “But the rich and corporate executives are different groups, although there is some overlap. And very few executives are Exxon executives.”

    However, when the Exxon executives are “moved on”, they will be replaced by other rich non-Exxon executives and the current Exxon executives are rich and will find themselves as C*O’s of other non-Exxon corporations.

    Therefore if the rich rock the boat then they will find themselves unable to move into another company executive job.

    So the difference is minuscule.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 6 Jun 2010 @ 4:25 AM

  195. “CFU said: “Are you saying that plant breeding can change crops drastically over a 20 year period?”

    Less. Don’t dismiss everything your opponents say just because they are on the “other side””

    CFU says: Bollocks.

    Genetic engineering is not plant breeding. 20 years is nowhere near enough to get a different breed of potato.

    Don’t go accepting dumb ideas just because you like them.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 6 Jun 2010 @ 4:29 AM

  196. What you cannot do is make sweeping generalisations as is being attempted on here. Some warming in some regions will be productive, while in others it will be counterproductive. Also, we cannot underestimate the pace of change of human innovation; look at advances in the last 30 years even, and this will only accelerate..less negativity and more foreward thinking needed,

    Comment by Bill — 6 Jun 2010 @ 5:22 AM

  197. Bill, the productive changes only occur on balance. However, that has a limit.

    Thawing out the Siberian Tundra will not open up new land for farming because the soil isn’t up to the job.

    Yet a little warming makes the productive areas a little more productive because the soil isn’t yet the limiting factor.

    However, that little benefit goes away completely if the sequestered methane is released: that is a huge downside no amount of plumper turnips will counter.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 6 Jun 2010 @ 8:17 AM

  198. “No, a claim was made about a particular technology with a proven record of success”

    Remind us of the particular technology and where its record is proven, will you?

    Cheers.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 6 Jun 2010 @ 8:18 AM

  199. Thomas (#182),
    Significant, yes. But you’d need actual figures to determine the impact. And you’d need input figures as well if you want to know if a type of agriculture could be generalized. There are different techniques which are called organic. In any case, the idea isn’t to get rid of fertilizers entierly. Yields can recover from an initial shortfall as the soil comes back to life (depending). Generalities won’t cut it. As you might have guessed, crops behave differently. In the DOK trial, wheat fared better than potatoes with organic techniques or indeed with no fertilization (they also had control plots with zero fertilizer if memory serves). There are lots of specifics to consider. And that’s before you get into the issues involved in actual commercial farming with its peculiar workforce and financing…

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 6 Jun 2010 @ 10:14 AM

  200. 192 (Bill),

    Some warming in some regions will be productive, while in others it will be counterproductive. Also, we cannot underestimate the pace of change of human innovation…

    Wishful thinking.

    First, there’s an implication in your statement that things will balance out. This line of thinking has two flaws.

    The first is that there is no reason to believe things will balance out, or more importantly, that we can quickly take advantage of any redistribution of “climate benefits”. There will be more losers than winners, and taking advantage of the regional winners will not be automatic.

    The second is this constant confidence that technology will save us. The main flaw in that argument is that today’s advancement in technology relies on a stable, industrial society buttressing it. If society starts to decay (as fossil fuels become more rare, famine and migration become growing issues, and wars start) because we delay taking action too long, then the support for the advancement of technology will not be there. Or it may be directed more at creating new weapons (so that we can keep our food, and to hell with the starving countries) or something else.

    You’re hoping for a lot from new technology… new energy sources, new battery/fuel cell methods, new crops, new irrigation techniques, new methods to protect coastal areas, then maybe carbon capture methods to clean the problem out of the air… it’s a lot to ask. You can ask, but pinning your hopes on it, and then using it as an excuse to ignore the problem and avoid making small sacrifices today, is just irresponsible.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 6 Jun 2010 @ 11:16 AM

  201. #176 Rod B

    Arrhenius was pooh-poohed by one or two scientists? until the scientific argument countervailing his theory could be pooh-poohed, which was around 1904/6, at which time there was no more pooh-poohing of Arrhenius. I could be wrong, I am going from memory on that.


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

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

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 6 Jun 2010 @ 11:43 AM

  202. BPL: Ever hear of “detrending?”

    ehhhm … using detrended correlation to extrapolate long term trends? weird idea…

    the correlation between growth rate and temperature is doubtful from the beginning, starting from a dimensional analysis (you guys seem to have a background in physical sciences good enough to agree on the importance of dimensional analysis…). A growth rate has the dimension of time^(-1) : actually the inverse of a doubling time. Sorry for the misprint in previous post, the doubling time is actually 70/k = 100 ln2 /k and not 35 , 35 yrs is the doubling time for the popular 2% growth rate.
    So correlating growth rate with temperature generates a weird quantity of dimension “time. temperature” ^{-1} . What is a “time*temperature” physically? no idea. Of course correlating anything A against anything B allows always to construct a mathematical quantity of dimension A.B-1 , but it may not be physically meaningful – just dependent on particular conditions for which you have computed the correlation.

    Note that the growth rate is just the SPEED at which you grow – meaning that you aren’t saying anything on the possible limits on GDP itself. You just apply a growth rate during a certain time , and of course the result after this time will depend on the growth rate… assuming that it continues indefinitely , i.e. there is no physical limit to the growth.

    Well, this could well be a thought of economists, but I’m sure that most of you would be reluctant to admit there isn’t any limit on growth ;). But note again that giving a correlation between growth rate and temperature doesn’t give any constraint on this limit, it says basically that temperature will limit the rate , but not the accessible GDP level. So complaining about the “low growth rate” means actually that you think that the best thing is to grow as fast as possible and reach as soon as possible the limit. Are you SURE that you’re actually thinking that ?

    So a more meaningful quantity would be a limiting GDP as a function of temperature – does it exist, independently of FF consumption? very doubtful.

    On the opposite, the correlation I’m claiming is between GDP it self (NOT growth rate !) and FF consumption. The same reasoning leads to consider a quantity whose dimension is “$/kJ” “value per unit energy”. Does it make sense? of course YES. value is in some way related to the amount of work you need to produce things, and the amount of work is correlated with energy (correlated doesn’t mean strictly proportional, of course). So it makes sense to correlate GDP with FF consumption, even if the correlation is not perfect. in the same spirit, it makes sense to wonder if reducing FF use can be done without restraining in anyway GDP. This can probably be partly done improving efficiency, but this is not a NATURAL thing , and once you have improved the best you can the efficiency, you will be forced to admit that decreasing FF will much probably result in a decrease of GDP – and changing the index will probably not give much different results. So it is much more natural to question the influence of FF consumption than that of temperature on GDP – acting like it doesn’t matter at all is much likely totally bogus.

    Comment by Gilles — 6 Jun 2010 @ 12:09 PM

  203. Bob (Sphaerica) (183), I don’t disagree with anything you say (I admitted I wasn’t sure if I was citing Benjamin correctly) except the one tiny piece about me putting the word “irrefutable” in people’s mouths. You skipped or forgot a couple of posts.

    Ray Ladbury (184), O.K., as far as it goes. But you’re skimming over a couple of significant points. #1, the correlation between temp and GDP has no point nor value added. I can find a correlation between GW and piracy. So what? #2, what about Greenland? Or are you just (cherry) picking a extremely limited scenario in time (and probably scope) to try to imply a point?

    Comment by Rod B — 6 Jun 2010 @ 1:05 PM

  204. #200–John:

    There was initial enthusiasm for Arrhenius’ theories, but he already had lots of scientific enemies due to his highly controversial primary research focus–the development of electrolytic chemistry–which won him one of the first Nobel Chemistry prizes. It was at this time that <a href="http://hubpages.com/hub/Global-warming-science-press-and-storms&quot; rel="nofollow"Nils Ekholm–a friend and sometime collaborator of Arrhenius–wrote his synoptic paper on climate and CO2.

    Then a controversy with the younger Angstrom developed–this was the genesis of the “saturated gassy argument” (as it was called on an RC post on the topic.) Angstrom won the controversy in the short term; the saturation of CO2’s IR absorption was pretty much the accepted wisdom until 1938, when Guy Callendar took a fresh look at the new spectroscopic results obtained in the intervening 20+ years. That’s really when the science started being taken more seriously again; Callendar’s efforts culminated in the work by Revelle & Suess, Plass, Keeling and others in the 50’s; in many cases the work was helped by the International Geophysical Year in (mostly) ’58–a whole lot of good data got gathered!

    I already posted links to my Callendar article upthread; Arrhenius is discussed here.

    Original papers by Arrhenius, Callendar, and others on climate science are available here:

    http://wiki.nsdl.org/index.php/PALE:ClassicArticles/GlobalWarming

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 6 Jun 2010 @ 1:09 PM

  205. Busted HTML: Ekholm article.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 6 Jun 2010 @ 1:11 PM

  206. And busted here, dammit:

    Arrhenius article.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 6 Jun 2010 @ 1:12 PM

  207. OK, why that’s not working I don’t know. (“Alas, poor preview function, I knew (and appreciated) it well. . .”)

    Arrhenius link in the clear:

    http://hubpages.com/hub/Global-Warming-Science-And-The-Dawn-Of-Flight

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 6 Jun 2010 @ 1:14 PM

  208. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation), et al, from Spencer Weart (very first paragraph in History): “… Svante Arrhenius calculated that emissions from human industry might someday bring a global warming. Other scientists dismissed his idea as faulty. In 1938, G.S. Callendar argued that the level of carbon dioxide was climbing and raising global temperature, but most scientists found his arguments implausible. It was almost by chance that a few researchers in the 1950s discovered that global warming truly was possible.”

    Comment by Rod B — 6 Jun 2010 @ 1:22 PM

  209. Doug @ 167 Thanks. I’m basically in agreement with you that we’re going to be seeing more and longer excursions into extreme heat episodes, and I appreciate your reference to the article. I looked up the original, but it was paywalled, so I confess to only reading the abstract, and saving $10.

    I do have some significant concerns about the way the article portrays the issue of extreme heat. From my perspective as a weather forecaster, it is not surprising that wet bulb temperatures don’t (generally) exceed 31C, unlike the PNAS abstract expressing surprise. That’s due to the extreme vertical instability that I mentioned earlier.

    The brunt of the issue is that the response of the atmosphere to increased moisture, and higher dew points, is extremely nonlinear. The ability of the atmosphere to hold water vapor, and potential energy, increases nearly exponentially with rising temperature. Really high dew points tend to create huge thunderstorms and floods.

    IMHO, models, including both GCMs and forecasting models, don’t do a very good job with this. They have trouble partitioning excess energy between increased temperatures and increased evaporation. They also have trouble with vertical stability. For this reason, while I certainly accept AGW, I don’t trust the regional details. But that’s a separate thread, and I’ll wait until it’s more relevant. I also realize that I could be creamed by some dedicated modelers who will bury me with details. For those people – I know you are working hard and doing your best! I’m talking from the perspective of a forecaster, not a denier.

    Comment by John Pollack — 6 Jun 2010 @ 1:50 PM

  210. To all those who are debating genetic engineering of crops:
    1. GW doesn’t simply raise the temperature. It changes the weather in unpredictable ways and not at all uniformly. Right here, the last 2.5 years have seemed cooler because of the extra rain, but other places have gotten less rain. The rain has come at the wrong times. We can’t do a 1 year or 2 year or 5 year weather forecast, but that is what farmers need. These super-long term weather forecasts have to be local, so there have to be a lot of them.
    2. Farmers keep growing the same thing regardless of the need to change crops. They don’t know how to grow a different crop. It takes experience. It takes many years to switch to an unfamiliar crop.
    3. The genetic engineers need stable goals at least, and a lot more time than electronics engineers. How do you expect them to design one plant to grow in ANY climate?
    4. You are all discussing very small changes in the climate as if the region of stability were very large. The region of relative stability is very small. If we leave it, there is no coming back. Once the climate is out of our control, it is out of our control effectively forever. Once the climate has changed enough, the farmers can grow nothing. Civilization falls very quickly, as in about a day once there is no food in the grocery store. We have about a month of food in storage. Only 1 person in 10,000 survives a typical collapse, but that is a rough average and supposes that the collapse covers only a small area. For somebody to survive, there has to be a refuge to go to that is within reach, but not easy reach. This time, the collapse will be global and there will be no refuge, so we go extinct. [Mars would be the right distance away, but Mars is dead and unlikely to be revivable.]

    Genetic engineering of crops cannot save us no matter how good the genetic engineers are. The only way we can avoid extinction is to prevent the climate from changing. It doesn’t matter who or what we attribute the change to, we still have to prevent the climate from changing. We have to commit our civilization to putting the total CO2 equivalent back to the way it was before the Industrial Revolution. Even if we put the total CO2 equivalent back to 280 ppm, enough ice is likely to melt in the mean time to cause major disruptions.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 6 Jun 2010 @ 1:51 PM

  211. Stealing a term from Spencer Weart, on the “Saturated Gassy Argument” front the CO2-emanating blowhard Chris Monckton makes an appearance at Skeptical Science to hurl threats at John Abraham, who had the temerity to reply to Monckton’s squeals of protest at being outed.

    Abraham’s reply to Monckton can be found here at Skeptical Science, along with Monckton’s meta-meta throwdown of the usual sternly worded letter to Abraham’s university.

    Obviously Abraham’s comprehensive treatment of Monckton has struck a nerve, as well it should. No more free travel, adulation? Could be.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 6 Jun 2010 @ 2:14 PM

  212. “#1, the correlation between temp and GDP has no point nor value added. I can find a correlation between GW and piracy. So what”

    So when you or Gilles complain that GDP goes up when temperatures rise, we know you’re wrong.

    PS it’s funny how you’re all over causation being sine qua non of discussion when you’re using it to avoid being wrong.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 6 Jun 2010 @ 2:22 PM

  213. Rod 176: Up to beyond 1900 climate science (as specifically practiced by Arrhenius et al) was pretty much ignored, and often pooh-poohed, by the mainstream.

    BPL: Prove it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Jun 2010 @ 2:27 PM

  214. Gilles 202,

    It is ABSOLUTELY IRRELEVANT what the units of the two series being correlated are. The mass of main sequence stars is highly correlated with their luminosity. One is measured in kilograms, the other in watts. Real economic growth is highly correlated with changes in unemployment. One is measured in dollars per year, the other in employees.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Jun 2010 @ 2:38 PM

  215. It’s good to see this discussed again on Real Climate.

    Following the previous post, I put together a multi-part analysis looking at the long-term commitment from present emissions. The results were rather sobering, as it seems that after allowing for slow feedbacks we’ve already done a lot of long-term damage. See:
    here and here .

    Brief recap:
    Stage 1: CO2 levels in the atmosphere start declining. After some initial bumpiness (due to the effect of sulphates dropping out), temperature stays at approximately today’s level or falls slightly.

    Stage 2: CO2 stops falling, because there is a portion (20-25%) of our emissions which is persistent for thousands of years. CO2 bottoms out at around 335ppm. Temperature rises owing to fast-feedbacks (Charney sensitivity) for that level are around 0.75 degrees C above pre-industrial, roughly where we are today.

    Stage 3: Slow albedo feedbacks also kick in (Earth System Sensitivity). A slow warming resumes, leading to an additional 0.75 degrees or so over the next few centuries. But we also see a temperature-dependent CO2 response, with CO2 levels slowly rising again. This increased CO2 causes a bit more warming, which causes a bit more CO2, and so on, but in a convergent series.

    Stage 4: CO2 levels converge back up to around today’s levels (370-400ppm), and the temperature to around 2.5 to 3 degrees above pre-industrial levels. The Greenland and West Antarctic ice-sheets have gone. Part of the East Antarctic ice-sheet has gone too. Earth resembles the Pliocene.

    Stage 5: Our persistent CO2 finally drops out of the atmosphere after maybe 100,000 years. Milankovich cycles resume, and eventually ice sheets grow again.

    I haven’t seen anyone pick this apart, but feel free to do so if it’s seriously wrong.

    Comment by Dr Nick Bone — 6 Jun 2010 @ 3:38 PM

  216. I think the responses of Rod B and Gilles to the data on GDP vs. Temperature are revealing. Now when some of us are confronted with data that runs counter to our prejudices, we respond by trying to find out more about the data. Rod B. and Gilles first reaction is to attack the data and the person who brought it to their attention.

    Gilles spews a line of absurdities that makes it clear he hasn’t even bothered to look at the data long enough to understand what it is about. Dimensional analysis? Dude, you don’t have a clue.

    Now, Rod B. has hung around us a bit more, so his argument is at least not absolute bullshit. He points out quite correctly that correlation is not causation. However, while this is true, there are plenty of studies that find plausible mechanisms–and these Rod simply chooses to ignore.

    I guess that is the difference beteween someone who wants to understand and someone who merely wants to argue. The latter do neither particularly well.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Jun 2010 @ 3:40 PM

  217. “The mass of main sequence stars is highly correlated with their luminosity. One is measured in kilograms, the other in watts. Real economic growth is highly correlated with changes in unemployment. One is measured in dollars per year, the other in employees.”

    True, but there is a fundamental reason why there is a correlation between mass and luminosity of the stars – meaning that you can actually construct a “luminosity per unit mass ” (actually per unit mass^3 since luminosity scales more like M^3) from fundamental constants.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass–luminosity_relation

    For economic growth , you’re wrong : it is measured by its RELATIVE (or logarithmic) increase, so the unit is yr^-1, not $.yr^-1. There is no $ in growth (there are in GDP). And rate of unemployment is dimensionless. So the correlation lets a dimension “time” in the constant- it is an interesting question to ask why a “time” appears naturally in economy , and why a growth of “a few % per year” appears to be optimal -meaning a doubling time of a few decades. I suspect that it has to do with the life expectancy of human race : ” a good” growth is a growth improving sensitively the life of average workers during their work time , around 30 years, but without changing it too rapidly. So there is actually a “fiducial” time in economy – the work time of an average worker.

    It’s interesting to remark that it is exactly the same criterion that limits the growth, since it can not exceed a relatively small number of doubling times. So the unavoidable conclusion is that the “good” growth of a few % per year cannot be sustained during more than a relatively small number of generations – that have already largely passed of course.

    Comment by Gilles — 6 Jun 2010 @ 4:06 PM

  218. #176, 212–

    There was an ongoing effort in the late 19th century to try and understand how and why the Ice Ages could have occurred. (There was also an explosion of understanding of the essentials of meteorology.)

    These researches, IM(unscholarly!)O at least, form the roots of modern climate science.

    So I wouldn’t agree–based upon what I’ve read so far–that climate science was ignored prior to 1900, as Rod says. Rather, it was developing rapidly. I’d also perhaps quibble that no-one had done climate science quite like Arrhenius before 1896! See:

    http://www.gustavholmberg.com/tomrum/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/tempestselektronisk.pdf

    This paper has more to say about Ekholm that Arrhenius, but note the section on the “cosmological style” of science practiced by the “Stockholm school,” as opposed to the old-guard Swedish “science establishment.”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 6 Jun 2010 @ 4:09 PM

  219. RL #216 : I’m afraid you didn’t catch completely my point. I didn’t deny that there could be some correlation between GDP and temperature in some countries. There can be also correlation of GDP with the presence of cod fish or the organization of soccer championships. I said that I doubt very much that is it a universal correlation that can be extrapolated ad libitum – actually it seems restricted to poor and hot countries, and the causes can be easily understood. There is probably some optimal local temperature for agriculture – very hot or very cold climate are not so good. So for countries whose economy are relying mainly on agriculture AND that lie at low latitude, warming is probably not good. Note however that it appears to be the opposite for northern countries in the Middle Age, since they probably lie above the optimal latitudes – so it is by no way a universal law, as I said.
    But the main point is that most obviously, industrial countries burning a lot of FF are essentially insensitive to temperatures, which can be here again easily understood. So of course advocating cutting all FF consumption to avoid some warming could have be very strong effects – but not the expected ones.

    Comment by Gilles — 6 Jun 2010 @ 4:19 PM

  220. For all those extolling the power of crop breeding, I recently attended a talk by Prof. Peter Gregory, head of the Scottish Crop Research Institute. He was much less sanguine than you are, particularly about rice, where the rate of yield improvement has slowed considerably in the last couple of decades. At the same time, the number of varieties of each crop in use has fallen, increasing the risk of disastrous disease outbreaks.
    Nor have GM crops, as yet, fulfilled the promises of “feeding the world” the likes of Monsanto make. Yes, crop research is essential, and useful, but it’s also limited in what it can achieve, expensive and uncertain: not a panacea.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 6 Jun 2010 @ 4:31 PM

  221. 198, Completely Fed Up: Remind us of the particular technology and where its record is proven, will you?

    Crop breeding. It has been proven all over the world.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 6 Jun 2010 @ 4:41 PM

  222. “Crop breeding. It has been proven all over the world.”

    And so you can get from a wolfhound to a chihuahua in 20 generations?

    You can get from plains grasses to the heavy head of midwest american wheat in 20 years?

    No, no you can’t.

    And may I refer you back to an earlier statement:

    #158:

    How do you know that plant breeding will be successful? After all, there’s been marginal land for food production and calls for more food production for decades, yet these plant breeding processes don’t seem to have solved the problem there.

    So how has it proven itself for increasing yields and negating things like drought and floods and pauperisation of soils, matching to new pest and invasive species in the time scale of Anthropogenic Climate Change?

    It hasn’t.

    It hasn’t proven to work over the timescales nor over the severity of the change required.

    You’re pointing to a horse drawn cart and saying it’s a drag racer and saying that the horse drawn chariots of the ancient world proves it.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 6 Jun 2010 @ 4:58 PM

  223. #219–

    Funny, the corresponding point (frequently put to Gilles), was that the correlation between fossil fuel use and GDP was not likely to be robust over different technological regimes. . . somehow that logic, so sturdily resisted then, is embraced now.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 6 Jun 2010 @ 5:07 PM

  224. Has crop breeding – drought-resistant plants – diminished desert area all over the world?

    Comment by JCH — 6 Jun 2010 @ 5:32 PM

  225. #204 Kevin McKinney #208 Rod B

    Thanks for the refresher. Not sure which cabinet in my mind the 1904/6 came from. Thinking about it, that might be when the next argument was presented against Arrhenius? So, it was probably a combination of Plass/Revelle/Keeling that ended the Pooh-poohing I suppose. But 1950’s covers that pretty well. Callendar did a good job of bringing attention to the potentials again.

    Rod B, then I’m not sure why this was brought up? My point though possibly out of context is why worry about what was pooh-poohed, when we now know that the pooh-pooh is no longer relevant to current understanding?


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

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

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 6 Jun 2010 @ 5:36 PM

  226. “Completely Fed Up”

    Please go away and check your “facts”.

    Dwarf wheat was bred in just 16 years. Bred using traditional (if accelerated) crossbreeding techniques.

    The doberman pinscher was bred from a few other breeds of dog in just 35 years.

    When you attack a falsehood for false reasons, you only look silly. And you look really, really silly, right now – particularly since you failed completely when it came to basic things like reading the reference I gave you. For the love of all that is holy, stop showering us with your ignorance.

    Every time you say something silly and unsubstantiated (and wrong), you make it harder for others to make serious points about the risks of a changing climate.

    What do you do now? First of all, what you *don’t* do. You don’t attack the messenger. You don’t insist that you are right, and dig yourself into a bigger hole. You don’t pretend you were saying something else and insist *that* was right.

    Instead, you spend a little time reading about selective breeding, crossbreeding and artificial selection. Note that the number of generations required for backcrossing is typically in single digits. Then, find a productive use for your new knowledge.

    Comment by Didactylos — 6 Jun 2010 @ 6:25 PM

  227. Anon Cowar @199. Looks like a pretty good reply. You obviously know more about teh subject than I.

    So do you think global food production will be sufficient in the next few decades? I am particularly concerned that a lot of current and near past production was largely due to the mining of fossil water. Many of these aquifers won’t support anything near current withdrawal levels for much longer.

    Comment by Thomas — 6 Jun 2010 @ 7:08 PM

  228. Septic Matthew,
    My objection is not to crop breeding, but rather to invoking it–or any technology–as a panacea. There are limits to what we can breed a crop to do.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Jun 2010 @ 7:12 PM

  229. 203 (Rod B.)

    You skipped or forgot a couple of posts.

    Yes, and no. I didn’t see how often the word was used, but I went back and looked and it was still never used at all in the way that you implied it was. You said:

    Giving scenarios “irrefutable” exact numbers is silly if not preposterous — that’s what I’m fussing about.

    The problem here is that you tied the word “irrefutable” to the words “exact numbers,” when that was never done. The term “irrefutable” was tied to the idea of an inverse correlation between GDP and temperature only, never to specific numbers quantifying that correlation. So by exaggerating the original claim by cobbling together separate aspects of the argument, you make it sound implausible.

    In effect, you construct a strawman from what people have actually said, by making it sound like they said something else, which you can then refute.

    Stop making stuff up.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 6 Jun 2010 @ 7:36 PM

  230. Dr Nick Bone: Thanks. I needed a breath of science. [I’m skipping Gilles’s comments.]
    Your second “here” doesn’t work. Your starting point is: we cease CO2 production abruptly now, which is optimistic. You say Pliocene-like, as in the time 5.332 Ma to 1.806 Ma when primitive humans developed, would be the hottest. We should be able to hack the Pliocene after enormous disruptions and loss of population, if we survive. But survival would be very much in doubt because starving humans would eat so many species to extinction in the mean time. It would be an horrendously impoverished new Pliocene. There might be nothing left to eat.

    You think 2.5 to 3 degrees C more will not kick the methane hydrates into melting along with the tundra peat bogs, causing a PETM type rise of 6 degrees C or more?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleocene–Eocene_Thermal_Maximum
    That would be a total of 9 degrees C or more if we get a PETM spike. But our PETM spike might be bigger because the methane hydrate “gun” is “fully loaded” this time. I forgot where I saw that. The PETM spike adds methane-air explosions to the list of activated kill mechanisms. 9 to 12 degrees C of GW is outside the range at which humans have ever existed. I have listed kill mechanisms earlier under this article.

    OK, I’m glad you are optimistic . How do we avoid the PETM-type spike other than by mining and burning the methane hydrates and sequestering the CO2? Mining methane hydrates would be a delicate operation since they are sensitive to triggering release. You must be saying their trigger temperature is higher than I thought it was. But somewhere I read about methane bubbles in the Arctic ocean already. Yes, I am interested in this topic. I would like to hear more about it. I agree that we need to “suck CO2 out of the atmosphere” for a while.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 6 Jun 2010 @ 11:34 PM

  231. #219 : since i don’t know any “technological regime” in the modern sense that doesn’t make a massive use of FF , I consider your assertion as self-contradictory, since the correlation is already there from the beginning (in the very definition of “technological regime”) . There hasn’t be anywhere anytime any developed country without FF, and I know no fact showing it is possible.

    Comment by Gilles — 7 Jun 2010 @ 12:33 AM

  232. As the Sun Awakens, NASA Keeps a Wary Eye on Space Weather

    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/04jun_swef/

    Combine a solar maximum with a big El Nino and it could get hot…

    Comment by Ron R. — 7 Jun 2010 @ 12:38 AM

  233. “Dwarf wheat was bred in just 16 years. Bred using traditional (if accelerated) crossbreeding techniques.”

    And dwarf wheat is what we need if we change the climate?

    No.

    Please check your facts for relevancy. Especially if you’re touting a dumb idea.

    Quote:

    “Dwarfing

    Dwarfing is an important agronomic quality for wheat; dwarf plants produce thick stems. The cultivars Borlaug worked with had tall, thin stalks. Taller wheat grasses better compete for sunlight, but tend to collapse under the weight of the extra grain”

    Yeah, that’s exactly what we need to have to make wheat like less rain…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 7 Jun 2010 @ 2:52 AM

  234. “Dwarf wheat was bred in just 16 years. Bred using traditional (if accelerated) crossbreeding techniques.”

    And dwarf wheat is what we need if we change the climate?

    No.

    Please check your facts for relevancy. Especially if you’re touting a dumb idea.

    Quote (from Wikipedia):

    “Dwarfing

    Dwarfing is an important agronomic quality for wheat; dwarf plants produce thick stems. The cultivars Borlaug worked with had tall, thin stalks. Taller wheat grasses better compete for sunlight, but tend to collapse under the weight of the extra grain”

    Yeah, that’s exactly what we need to have to make wheat like less rain…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 7 Jun 2010 @ 2:53 AM

  235. 222
    Completely Fed Up says:
    6 June 2010 at 4:58 PM

    ““Crop breeding. It has been proven all over the world.”

    And so you can get from a wolfhound to a chihuahua in 20 generations?

    You can get from plains grasses to the heavy head of midwest american wheat in 20 years?

    No, no you can’t.”

    You will never get wheat from American plains grasses. This is because wheats such as bread wheat is a hybrid of three grasses from the Caucasian Mesopotamian regions (hexaploid). Other varieties may be from a single species (diploid) and tetraploid (hybrids of two species.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 7 Jun 2010 @ 4:13 AM

  236. Gilles 217,

    You’re quite right, I got the economic units wrong (shame on me, a former econ minor!). On the stellar mass-luminosity relationship, the units of the two are still different, and BTW, the relation is nowhere that I am aware of L proportionate to M to the 3rd. For high-mass main sequence stars the exponent is normally around 4-5; for red dwarfs it is around 2.6.

    My point stands–the units are irrelevant.

    Let’s take a numerical example. Let there be a series, X, measured in watts per square meter, and another, Y, measured in kilograms per second. The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient is defined as

    r = sxy / sqrt(sx2 sy2)

    where the s terms are reduced sums of squares, or sums of squared deviations, for the product of x and y and the squares thereof, respectively.

    The sum of x^2 terms would be in W^2 m^-4, and the sum of y^2 terms would be in kg^2 s^-2.

    Their product would be in W kg m^-2 s^-2.

    Let us assume
    sxy = 50 W kg m^-2 s^-2
    sx2 = 80 W^2 m^-4
    sy2 = 90 kg^2 s^-2

    For Pearson’s r, we then have

    r =

    50 W kg m^-2 s^-2
    ———————————
    sqrt[(80 W^2 m^-4)(90 kg^2 s^-2)]

    Clearly, the answer is about 0.6035 and is dimensionless. The product-moment units must cancel out with the units of the denominator terms.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Jun 2010 @ 6:00 AM

  237. Oops! The units on the product moment should have been W kg m^-2 s^-1, of course, not s^-2. My bad!

    Damn, I want preview…

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Jun 2010 @ 6:08 AM

  238. Gilles 219: I didn’t deny that there could be some correlation between GDP and temperature in some countries. There can be also correlation of GDP with the presence of cod fish or the organization of soccer championships. I said that I doubt very much that is it a universal correlation that can be extrapolated ad libitum – actually it seems restricted to poor and hot countries, and the causes can be easily understood.

    BPL: So stop saying GDP grows with temperature. Whatever the causal link or lack thereof, the correlation is negative–not positive.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Jun 2010 @ 6:10 AM

  239. Re #210 Edward says ” The only way we can avoid extinction is to prevent the climate from changing. It doesn’t matter who or what we attribute the change to, we still have to prevent the climate from changing. We have to commit our civilization to putting the total CO2 equivalent back to the way it was before the Industrial Revolution. Even if we put the total CO2 equivalent back to 280 ppm, enough ice is likely to melt in the mean time to cause major disruptions.”

    How do you propose to achieve this in practice ?

    Comment by Bill — 7 Jun 2010 @ 7:01 AM

  240. Didactylos,
    I don’t think anyone questions the tremendous success and utility of breeding techniques or of genetic modification. The problem comes when one blithely assumes that they will be adequate in the face of any environmental challenge–and particularly when the challenge may not represent a single trend, but rather increased variability. This is further compounded by the fact that we only have a dim inkling of what climate change will mean for regional climates.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Jun 2010 @ 7:28 AM

  241. No, Gilles, your one and only point is actually quite easy to catch. You think human civilization is impossible without high consumption of fossil fuels. That is the only thing you’ve had to say since you appeared last year. You’ve had over half a year to make that point, and you’ve been less than convincing.

    Now, given that fossil fuels are a finite resource, and that their consumption poses all sorts of strategic and environmental risks, I hope you will forgive those of us who want to look to what a society might look like once we move beyond fossil fuels.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Jun 2010 @ 7:33 AM

  242. Thomas (#199),
    I don’t know very much. But I know the system isn’t set up to provide the best nutrition for the maximum number of people or for sustainability. Depending on how you look at it, production is insufficient already. And there are sustainability concerns as well obviously. But, depending on your metric, there’s much potential for improvements.
    As I see it, the main problem is not a resource bottleneck but rather the lack of incentives to produce for social needs and the lack of global governance. To address the issue you raised, there isn’t a technical reason why human nutrition should require so much (or even any) fossil water.
    There aren’t a whole lot of people professionally concerned with food security considering how important it is. Historically, governments have been more often concerned with squeezing the agricultural sector and it shows. You’ve got food riots and fertilizer riots while grain is being used to power SUVs. A simple change such as higher prices for essential human foods would reorient global agriculture towards feeding people but how are dispossessed consumers supposed to pay for this? The sustainability issue is trickier. As with GHG emissions, there are few incentives for producers to take the commons into account and no one is being held responsible for the predictable result. There’s no simple fix.

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 7 Jun 2010 @ 7:40 AM

  243. #231–

    Ludicrous. If you equate “technology” with FF use, you will of course conclude that ceasing to rely on FF will kill technology.

    Of course, there was a time when such thinking was applied to reliance on the horse.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 7 Jun 2010 @ 7:43 AM

  244. No, Gilles, your one and only point is actually quite easy to catch. You think human civilization is impossible without high consumption of fossil fuels. That is the only thing you’ve had to say since you appeared last year. – Ray Ladbury

    Not quite, Ray. He’s also been making the point that we should take no measures whatever to limit their use, because… well, admittedly, why we shouldn’t has never been clear.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 7 Jun 2010 @ 7:54 AM

  245. BPL says, “Rod 176: Up to beyond 1900 climate science (as specifically practiced by Arrhenius et al) was pretty much ignored, and often pooh-poohed, by the mainstream.

    BPL: Prove it.”

    You likely already have, but read Kevin McKinney’s #204 and my quote from Spencer Weart in #208.

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Jun 2010 @ 8:05 AM

  246. Ray Ladbury, when I point out your silly meaningless correlation and your devoid implication, why is it me that is just arguing and you that is “understanding the science”?

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Jun 2010 @ 8:19 AM

  247. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation), I challenged a very minor but bothersome point — the hyperbolic claim that AGW was a “mature science” even before 1900.

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Jun 2010 @ 8:25 AM

  248. BPL (238) et al, you can really analyze the be-Jesus out of basic nonsense. Higher temps can increase GDP. Or not. They can decrease GDP. Or not. I can find constrained scenarios with correlations for all four examples (though you seem to claim in #238 that only the 3rd example holds.) But the scope of the entire correlation is so small as to make it meaningless. I can find a negative correlation between CO2 and global temperature that lasts for (a few) years. What does this mean?

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Jun 2010 @ 8:46 AM

  249. Gilles 231: There hasn’t be anywhere anytime any developed country without FF

    BPL: As of 1850 or so, there hadn’t been anywhere anytime any developed country without whale oil.

    As of 1970, there hadn’t been anywhere anytime any developed country without typewriters.

    Need I go on? That we’ve needed fossil fuels in the past does NOT prove we need it in the future. Technologies change. We don’t drive traps and carriages. We don’t scrape laundry over washboards. Our armies don’t carry swords or shields. Hell, nobody uses DOS any more.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Jun 2010 @ 8:56 AM

  250. Rod 245,

    I think you’re conflating “AGW theory” with “climate science.”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Jun 2010 @ 8:59 AM

  251. Rod B., you position is unscientific because rather than trying to understand data, you simply dismiss it with a handwave.

    If you ever actually produce any data…on anything…then we’ll see how I behave.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Jun 2010 @ 10:13 AM

  252. “248
    Rod B says:
    7 June 2010 at 8:46 AM

    BPL (238) et al, you can really analyze the be-Jesus out of basic nonsense. Higher temps can increase GDP”

    Maybe they can, but in THIS reality, they don’t.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 7 Jun 2010 @ 10:53 AM

  253. “You will never get wheat from American plains grasses. This is because wheats such as bread wheat is a hybrid of three grasses from the Caucasian Mesopotamian regions (hexaploid).”

    Yes you’re right. Not sure how it changes things, but it’s new information. Just irrelevant to the case being made.

    You can breed the American plains grasses to produce wheat. It just takes much, much longer than 19 years to do it.

    After all, how long did it take to change those three grasses into modern wheat cultivars?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 7 Jun 2010 @ 10:56 AM

  254. “231
    Gilles says:
    7 June 2010 at 12:33 AM

    #219 : since i don’t know any “technological regime” in the modern sense that doesn’t make a massive use of FF”

    Why do you limit to a regime “in the modern sense”?

    US military couldn’t see any technology regime growing without access to IC silicon technology.

    USSR didn’t know that and they produced some very technological hardware using valves.

    Modern communications in 1980’s was impossible without wire access to POTS. Africa started modern communication systems using the improvements in technology that did away with wired phones for wireless access.

    Gilles would have counted that impossible 30 years ago.

    He would have been wrong.

    But his problem is that he has to limit himself so that he can frame the process into “We MUST have fossil fuels!!!”.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 7 Jun 2010 @ 11:01 AM

  255. #247 Rod B

    Thank you for the context.

    As to ‘mature’ how one views the maturity also requires context. I would say different aspects of climate science can be viewed as mature and immature.

    One can easily argue that the study of climate goes back to the beginning of the agrarian age, and one can argue that even hunter gatherers were aware and migrated based on that awareness.

    I would mark modern climate science since Fourier in 1824.

    Mature in the relevant context needs perspective. Modern rocket science is a fairly young science, in fact younger than climate science (since WWII). But we have already made it to the moon and beyond with rockets. Sure you could say it is immature, because we will know so much more in the future, but it is an argument that contains significant ambiguity.

    So I would say that because we can get a rocket to the moon and back with humans on board that modern rocket science is mature.

    Same with climate science. There are many things we are highly confident in and those things can be described as mature in this sense. There are lot’s of things that are still not understood well and those those areas can be said to be less mature.

    To say the whole of climate science not mature is to vague and lacks substance for perspective.

    Point of fact:

    – We know which gases are greenhouse gases.
    – We know we have added GHG’s to the atmosphere.
    – We know we have altered the radiative forcing inside the climate system.
    – We know all the maths and physics and models are in line with expectations.
    – We know the land and ocean temperatures are rising in accordance with the additional forcing.
    – We know how the natural cycle is supposed to work.
    – We know we should be in relative thermal equilibrium.
    – We know we are no longer in relative thermal equilibrium in the context of natural forcing minus human influence.
    – We know we are on a new climate path, that of warming.

    While we should, over many thousands of years, be heading toward our next ice age, we are not. We left the natural path and now we are on the path of warming, and by extrapolation, in relation to human infrastructure, it is relatively easy to see that this will be very costly.


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

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

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 7 Jun 2010 @ 11:45 AM

  256. Ray, the average US temperature dropped about 0.6 degreesC from 1940 to 1970. The US GDP had positive growth rates from about 6% to about 2% with an average of about 4% (not including the outlier of 8-10% in the midst of WWII). Somewhat in the ballpark of your negative correlation of temp with GDP, I guess. But then temp went up about 1.1 degreesC from 1970 to 2010. But, whaddayouknow, GDP was still positive from about 4.5 to 2.5% with an average of about 3.5%. Strangely it tapered off the last decade or so, about the same time temperatures took a hiatus — nowhere near your correlation ballpark.

    I haven’t done the mathematical correlation. Mostly because it’s a non-helpful exercise, would provide no useful knowledge about anything, and would be a waste of time.

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Jun 2010 @ 1:19 PM

  257. 228, Ray Ladbury: My objection is not to crop breeding, but rather to invoking it–or any technology–as a panacea. There are limits to what we can breed a crop to do.

    I do not “invoke” panaceas. You have erected another straw man. I propose multiple technologies to be developed and deployed simultaneously; I also propose that blithely asserting what can’t be done is useless. Even if you can’t breed rice to grow in Nebraska (CFU’s ludicrous counterfactual) in a short enough time to feed someone, there is no known reason that relatively robust varieties of manioc and potatoes can not be developed on the time scale of AGW. Salt-tolerant mangroves and lodge-resistant rice were each developed in less than 20 years.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 7 Jun 2010 @ 2:13 PM

  258. “Ray, the average US temperature dropped about 0.6 degreesC from 1940 to 1970.”

    This is not a trend.

    Climate is about the tendency of weather.

    “The US GDP had positive growth rates from about 6% to about 2%”

    Uh, you know what the US got in the late 1940’s?

    1) Europe war torn and no longer a power
    2) Industrialisation from the war effort
    3) No homeland attacks (therefore no build outs needed to recover)
    4) The biggee: the International Currency of Trade

    Being able to print your own money that the rest of the world have to buy unless they do no international trades is a big help in economics.

    Funny how you forget that.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 7 Jun 2010 @ 3:04 PM

  259. “Even if you can’t breed rice to grow in Nebraska (CFU’s ludicrous counterfactual)”

    But that has been your counter to how technology will fix all ™.

    And if these spuds can be manufactured, why have they not been manufactured now? There’s plenty of land that can’t be used because it’s marginal.

    But then you never read that point, do you. It’s devastating to your case.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 7 Jun 2010 @ 3:06 PM

  260. “I do not “invoke” panaceas. ”

    Yes you did, SM. You said warmer climate would be fine because we’d breed heat resistant crops.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 7 Jun 2010 @ 3:08 PM

  261. re: 257

    “It could happen” is the equivalent of jumping off a cliff and hoping for a parachute to grow from your back.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 7 Jun 2010 @ 3:43 PM

  262. #256, Rod B, re GDP and Temp Correlation…

    In addition to the change in temp, we had technological advances over a broad range of disciplines, population growth, immmigration (a/k/a “The Brain Drain” from the perspective of other countries), massively incrased foreign trade and a host of other factors. I’d like to see how you isolate temp to be the driver of GDP.

    Comment by Charlie H — 7 Jun 2010 @ 3:56 PM

  263. 262: Charlie H: You wouldn’t happen to be the “Charlie H” who writes about EROEI and related topics?

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 7 Jun 2010 @ 4:31 PM

  264. Septic Matthew, I did not say you invoked panaceas–that was Steckis who invoked breeding as the solution to all loss of food production. Even so, it is not at all clear how useful a technique developed during a time of climatic stability will be as climate becomes less and less stable.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Jun 2010 @ 5:13 PM

  265. Tell ya what, Rod. You vector me to a peer-reviewed study that supports your thesis that decline in temperature was responsible for the economic growth, and I will read it. This is more than you bothered to do with the peer-reviewed studies I linked to that look for explanations of the GDP growth/tempurature relation. I guess reading the peer reviewed studies might have detracted from your outright denial of the data.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Jun 2010 @ 5:22 PM

  266. Charlie H, you came in at the end of the movie. I (and others) have been saying correlations between temp and GPD is devoid of any substance.

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Jun 2010 @ 5:26 PM

  267. #255–

    John, you’d written earlier “So, it was probably a combination of Plass/Revelle/Keeling that ended the Pooh-poohing [of Arrhenius’ climate work] I suppose.”

    Yes–but Bolin & Erikson 1958 was important, too, maybe the most important single result at that point in the game.

    http://wiki.nsdl.org/index.php/PALE:ClassicArticles/GlobalWarming/Article8

    That was the one that sufficiently nailed down CO2 sinking by the oceans (to oversimplify just a bit.)

    “Maturity” is a pretty undefined term WRT to the state of any given science, but this discussion shows, I think, that most of the major building blocks of the mainstream view of CO2 and climate have been in place for a half century now.

    Dr. Bolin, by the way, went on to serve as chairman of the IPCC. He died in 2007.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 7 Jun 2010 @ 5:36 PM

  268. Mr. Ladbury, I’m missing the links where temperature is the guiding light and determining factor for GDP.

    Shall we tell the Indians they’re peeing up a rope if they think they’re going to increase their GDP? Or at least tell them when they can expect it to stop growing based solely on the average climatic temperature?

    Similarly, if mean temperature is the cornerstone to GDP we can stop all funding in efforts to increase GDP by means of financial assistance and technologies transfers as it’s clearly not worth the effort.

    I’d think good governance (say, not having dictators and applying the rule of law as a crazy idea) would have far more impact on GDP than temperature. At a minimum we should try that first.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 7 Jun 2010 @ 5:48 PM

  269. John E. Pearson,

    If you’re referring to something well thought out and carefully documented, no. If you’re referring to ranting nonsense on certain automotive sites then, likely, yes, it could well be me.

    Comment by Charlie H — 7 Jun 2010 @ 5:52 PM

  270. Septic moans that he’s not talking of a panacea or “waving his magic wand” but he’s definitely invoking teh magic of teh biologies when he says:

    “The goal will be accomplished by trial and error, random variation and natural (or human) selection, as always.”

    Noting about whether the goal is feasible. After all, you can’t breed a dachshund from a banana, despite them both being long and thin.

    Oh, and we have to do that starting WHEN? Remember to keep enough time left over so we have the time for the trial AND the errors.

    And don’t worry, when he says “it will be solved”, this isn’t a panacea:

    “Panacea was said to have a poultice or potion with which she healed the sick. This brought about the concept of the panacea in medicine.”

    “panacea: a remedy for all diseases or ills”

    like climate change causing starvation. That’s an ill.

    Oh, and medicinal biology transgenically modified into plants.

    “It will happen”.

    Sound like a panacea to you?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 7 Jun 2010 @ 6:02 PM

  271. 269: Charlie:

    I was wondering if you might be Charlie Hall from SUNY-ESF.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 7 Jun 2010 @ 7:13 PM

  272. Frank, what is it with you and Rod that you can’t respond to empirical facts without turning them into a straw man? Would you kindly show me anywhere that I have even hinted that temperature is the single determinant of GDP?

    This is not controversial. It has been a longstanding puzzle in economics, and it has generated some interesting research. Basically the explanations advanced have had to do with 1)agricultural challenges, 2)endemic diseases, 3)difficulties of maintianing infrastructure in tropical and/or desert environments. Having lived in the tropics, I can attest that all three are operant.

    Again, I find it interesting that your first impulse is to gainsay the facts and attack a strawman of your own construction rather than try to understand them and see if they apply or not in a broader context.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Jun 2010 @ 7:35 PM

  273. Ran across this at Climate Progress:

    Science stunner: Vast East Siberian Arctic Shelf methane stores destabilizing and venting
    NSF issues world a wake-up call: “Release of even a fraction of the methane stored in the shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming.”

    Comments?

    Comment by greyfox — 7 Jun 2010 @ 7:55 PM

  274. Rod and Frank,
    Again, on the off chance that you might actually be interested in learning something:

    http://faculty.arec.umd.edu/jhorowitz/Income-Temp-Draft-F.pdf

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Jun 2010 @ 8:08 PM

  275. I read the paper and there are a lot of holes in it – most of which the authors themselves point out.

    Why are the former Soviet bloc nations not on par with Western European GDPs? They share the same latitude, are geographically homogenous, and have the same climate and weather? If temperature drives GDP, then the economic power of the former DDR should be identical to the former FRG; hell, they’re the same country sharing the same climate and weather!

    Likewise, they stripped out international trade. Huh?

    There are so many caveats and exceptions (not including this country, adding in another to increase sample size) that it’s pretty weak.

    If we were to look at GDP for the Soviet Union/CIS from 1960 to 2010 we’d see a definate bend in the curve, particularly around 1990. Did the climate change that much?

    I remain unconvinced that the primary driver of GDP change is climate; governance (either benevolent, malevolent, or even anarchy) is far more important.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 7 Jun 2010 @ 9:19 PM

  276. #267 Kevin McKinney

    Nice. Thanks for that.


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

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

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 7 Jun 2010 @ 10:05 PM

  277. Ray, I did too check your link.

    I never said a decline in temperature is responsible for economic growth. That’s what you were implying with your correlation talk — that being the same side of the coin as a rise in temperature being tied to economic reduction.

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Jun 2010 @ 10:30 PM

  278. greyfox says: 7 June 2010 at 7:55 PM

    Ran across this at Climate Progress:

    Science stunner: Vast East Siberian Arctic Shelf methane stores destabilizing and venting NSF issues world a wake-up call: “Release of even a fraction of the methane stored in the shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming.”

    Comments?

    A bit of old news hereabouts, but to answer your question from my personal perspective, how about I told you so?

    The problem is real. As we watch the Arctic Sea Ice melt away, and this year is looking to be a stunner, the entire Arctic becomes extremely vulnerable. We know there is methane seeping over large areas of the Arctic Ocean; we know the warming extends as much as 1500 km inland; we know the ice is not as thick and stable as satellites indicate; we know ice mass started nosediving around 1998 (was that El Nino year the tipping point everyone keeps talking about?); we know the land-based permafrost is also melting…

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/06/06/arctic-death-spiral-maslowski-ice-free-arctic-watts-goddard-wattsupwiththat/

    Really, what is there to say?

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 7 Jun 2010 @ 10:42 PM

  279. Another extreme rain event: “The three-day spell of extreme weather destroyed 11,000 homes and forced 200,000 people to evacuate, state news agency Xinhua reported. It also destroyed 15 reservoirs and thousands of irrigation networks.”
    http://www.enn.com/top_stories/article/41402

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 7 Jun 2010 @ 10:57 PM

  280. Ray, I suppose one can analyze the beJesus out of macro things and can correlate and prove causality with damn near anything as long as the math utilized gets extensive and down to at least three significant figures and you throw enough parameters and pieces in the mix. But as a simple sniff test, if a 1.1 degreesC increase (roughly 1900 to 2000) causes a global GDP decrease of 4%, as your latest reference says, what the hell happened 1900-2000?

    BTW, I find no fault with doing such studies. There could easily be some interesting, even thought provoking, maybe even an AHA! moment (though that is a very long shot). I would encourage such studies; it’s how progress is made. However, I would discourage people from chomping down on the exact conclusions and swallowing them hook, line, and sinker as if they were published on edible stone tablets high on the mountain.

    If global temp increases 50 degrees, global GDP is pretty close to zero. Same, btw, if temp decreases 50 degrees. And it could be said that the temp change was at least the ultimate cause of the non-GDP. (Though I haven’t done any correlations or regression test or whatever on that, so I could be wrong.) But to buy into exact finite relationships on infinitesimal (relatively) scales simply has no credibility or cogency — even though the analysis might be interesting.

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Jun 2010 @ 11:21 PM

  281. Septic: “I do not “invoke” panaceas. You have erected another straw man. I propose multiple technologies to be developed and deployed simultaneously.”

    Interesting. In reply, maybe some thought should be given to what you think you mean when you advance the idea of “development of technologies”

    Comment by J.S. McIntyre — 7 Jun 2010 @ 11:33 PM

  282. Greyfox, that’s a story from last March; here’s more on the story:
    http://blogs.physicstoday.org/newspicks/2010/03/frozen-arctic-methane-shows-si.html
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/327/5970/1246
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/327/5970/1211

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Jun 2010 @ 12:20 AM

  283. 253
    Completely Fed Up says:
    7 June 2010 at 10:56 AM

    “You can breed the American plains grasses to produce wheat. It just takes much, much longer than 19 years to do it.”

    No you can’t. If you could then it would have already been done or at least attempted.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 8 Jun 2010 @ 12:23 AM

  284. 264
    Ray Ladbury says:
    7 June 2010 at 5:13 PM

    “Septic Matthew, I did not say you invoked panaceas–that was Steckis who invoked breeding as the solution to all loss of food production. Even so, it is not at all clear how useful a technique developed during a time of climatic stability will be as climate becomes less and less stable.”

    I invoked nothing of the sort. Plant breeding is only one string to the bow. You seem to think that all food production will be lost. I think it won’t. You are still engaging in extremist thinking (a severe cognitive distortion). i.e. climate change will destroy all agriculture, which is patently untrue.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 8 Jun 2010 @ 12:33 AM

  285. RL#241, NG#244 : although I posted a number of times here, you persistently misunderstood what I’m saying. I never said that “human civilization” as a whole was dependent on FF, and I agree to call “civilization” the greek, roman, chinese, aztec , etc.. who lived without them. I said that the modern way of life (a GDP and a energy consumption per capita several dozens times as large as previously) was only possible with FF.
    I have no objection if you want to give up this way of life and return to ancient times. It’s up to you (you can easily do it just now, basically by giving 90 % of your income to whom you’d like: you may still be richer that many people in the world).
    I say also that following all statistical methods you can imagine, all indicators of wealth will be much better correlated with FF consumption than with temperature . If you think I’m wrong, it is extremely simple to disprove me : show me a statistical method and an index that you consider well suited to measure human welfare, that i could blindly correlate to series of FF consumption and with temperatures, that would show a better correlation with temperature than with FF. If it is that obvious, it should be simple to find.

    Now your other reproach is : “you can’t postulate that we won’t be able to cope with the exhaustion of FF and replace them equivalently by renewables”. OK , but that’s exactly the same with temperature : you can’t postulate that we won’t be able to cope with any GW .

    And be logical : since everybody agree that countries using a lot of FF aren’t very sensitive to a global warming , and if FF can be replaced equivalently in the future, then why wouldn’t all countries benefit from this replacement in the future and cope with temperature exactly in the same way as we cope with it currently ?

    BPL :”BPL: As of 1850 or so, there hadn’t been anywhere anytime any developed country without whale oil.

    wrong of course. There is no quantitative criteria that showed at this time that a given way of life was dependent on whale oil. It was just a commodity used in some countries, but not all. Don’t be disingenuous please.

    Comment by Gilles — 8 Jun 2010 @ 12:37 AM

  286. Comment by Frank Giger — 7 June 2010 @ 9:19 PM

    All that is being said, as simply as possible, is that increased rates of temps don’t mean that GDP will grow as someone said in the beginning. If anything increased rates of temps correlate to lower GDP, and the data proves that. I don’t think that anyone is saying it’s a universal law, but when someone claims that we will be better off with higher temperatures or a increased rate of warming they do not have the data to back it up. I like how people say that higher temperatures are good, but heat kills more people than any other natural phenomenon. I should cite a link, but I figure if I did you’d deny it anyway.

    Comment by JRC — 8 Jun 2010 @ 2:02 AM

  287. Ray #274, the published version of Horowitz here for those with access: Environmental and Resource Economics 44, no. 4 (December 1, 2009): 475-493. DOI:10.1007/s10640-009-9296-2. Some changes from the draft.

    Comment by CM — 8 Jun 2010 @ 2:50 AM

  288. “If temperature drives GDP, then the economic power of the former DDR should be identical to the former FRG;”

    Ah, yes, the single-source mindset rears it’s hydra head again.

    GDP GROWTH, by the way. Not GDP.

    But look at it this way Frank, if communism is so bad and democracy/capitalism so good, why was the difference so small?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Jun 2010 @ 3:33 AM

  289. “I (and others) have been saying correlations between temp and GPD is devoid of any substance.”

    No, you’ve been saying correlations between temp and GDP are in the opposite way of the measurements.

    “248
    Rod B says:
    7 June 2010 at 8:46 AM

    BPL (238) et al, you can really analyze the be-Jesus out of basic nonsense. Higher temps can increase GDP”

    “correlations … devoid of any substance” != “higher temps can increase GDP”.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Jun 2010 @ 3:37 AM

  290. Having spent a fair amount of time in the tropics, as well as living in different cities with about the same range of temperatures, but entirely different cultures, I’m with Frank on this one — there are entirely too many variables to say that temperature and GDP have =any= relationship (except at the extremes).

    My guess is that the “cause” of this relationship is Western Europe being further north than the countries they invaded and colonized.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 8 Jun 2010 @ 4:09 AM

  291. Frank Giger, no one has posited that climate is THE primary driver of GDP. THAT is the straw man. The contention is that increasing temperature influences economic growth negatively, and the data support that. The data certainly do not support the contention that a warmer world will be a paradise–and THAT is the contention I was countering with the data.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Jun 2010 @ 4:43 AM

  292. Rod B 256: I haven’t done the mathematical correlation. Mostly because it’s a non-helpful exercise…

    BPL: Or because you prefer picking out areas of the curve that look “interesting” to you and gassing about them.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Jun 2010 @ 5:53 AM

  293. CFU:

    I made a mistake responding to you. I should have known you would merely dismiss the problem and be rude, irritating both me and the world at large.

    I wish this blog had a way to filter out the noise. And by noise, I mean rude and ill-considered comments like nearly all of yours, CFU. You are ten times worse than a denier.

    Comment by Didactylos — 8 Jun 2010 @ 6:00 AM

  294. FG 268: Mr. Ladbury, I’m missing the links where temperature is the guiding light and determining factor for GDP.

    BPL: He didn’t say it was. He was just saying the claim that warmer temperatures will make us more prosperous was empirically wrong. What correlation exists between the two is negative, not positive.

    FG: Shall we tell the Indians they’re peeing up a rope if they think they’re going to increase their GDP? Or at least tell them when they can expect it to stop growing based solely on the average climatic temperature?

    BPL: When their agriculture fails, their economy will go with it. Abruptly.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Jun 2010 @ 6:03 AM

  295. FG 275: I remain unconvinced that the primary driver of GDP change is climate

    BPL: Hello? Hello? FG, are you reading us? You don’t appear to be receiving our communications. Can you step up your gain? Repeat, can you step up your gain?

    NOBODY SAID CLIMATE IS THE PRIMARY DRIVER OF GDP CHANGE. But when you get a climate DISASTER, as we’re likely to do in this century, the GDP will be affected. Do you understand the difference in the two concepts?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Jun 2010 @ 6:07 AM

  296. Frank Giger:

    I remain unconvinced that the primary driver of GDP change is climate; governance (either benevolent, malevolent, or even anarchy) is far more important.

    In other words, you agree with Ray’s point:

    Denialist claims that a warmer earth would be a more prosperous earth have no basis in fact.

    Cool.

    Comment by dhogaza — 8 Jun 2010 @ 6:20 AM

  297. If temperature drives GDP, then the economic power of the former DDR should be identical to the former FRG – Frank Giger

    Don’t. Be. Silly. No-one is claiming that temperature is the sole determinant of GDP. How many times does that need to be repeated before you stop pretending they are? If you give me an estimate, I’ll provide a post repeating it the requisite number of times.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 8 Jun 2010 @ 7:13 AM

  298. @275 Frank : are you being willfully stubborn? Please show where *anybody* claimed that climate was the primary driver for GDP? What was said was that climate appears to influence GDP to the tune of 1.1% of GDP per degree of warming, not that there are no other factors influencing GDP. You are attacking a straw man of your own construction, everybody here (except perhaps Rod) can see this and it ain’t doing your credibility much good…

    Comment by Bart Declercq — 8 Jun 2010 @ 7:17 AM

  299. D, you made the mistake that you were making sense. you made the mistake of not answering the counter. you made the mistake of thinking that I would care you’re “on my side” when you make a dumb argument.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Jun 2010 @ 7:20 AM

  300. Thanks for the updates. It seems to me that this might be the game changer. It actually concerns me more than the sum of the other issues combined, inasmuch as it would appear that the human contribution to warming may have been just enough to tip something really huge, fast and really deadly. In fact, it may make much of the detail quibbling moot. I suspect that it is in fact going to be a large story relatively soon, and will make denialist rubbish vanish.

    Comment by greyfox — 8 Jun 2010 @ 7:21 AM

  301. Re #230

    Sorry, my second link was to Comment 92 after “Climate Change Commitments”. That also discussed methane release.

    Incidentally, if you are worried about a repeat of the PETM, then there is a big difference between Pliocene temperatures (~3 degrees hotter than pre-industrial) and Paleocene temperatures just before the PETM itself (probably >6 degrees hotter than pre-industrial). A PETM rerun could happen if we continue burning fossil fuels through the 21st century, but it seems unlikely that we’ve set it off already. The Pliocene was stable with CO2 levels like today’s.

    In fact the Earth has been through some very hot times before and survived… can’t say the same for us unfortunately. See
    last 65 million years and
    last 500 million years

    Comment by Dr Nick Bone — 8 Jun 2010 @ 7:26 AM

  302. “I never said a decline in temperature is responsible for economic growth. That’s what you were implying with your correlation talk”

    No, Rod, your errant memory or just plain lying tongue again changes the past in the hope that nobody is watching.

    Ray was pointing out that the contention (that YOU have made too!) that GDP will increase in higher temperature climates is not shown in actual measurements.

    Not once has anyone here said that cooling causes economic growth until you pulled that out of your nethers to wave about as a strawman.

    What Ray was implying with his correlation talk is that the correlation of GDP and temperature is negative, not positive as you and other denialerati would have it.

    Failing to counter these facts, you make up arguments and assert them against others, to enable a Gish Gallop off into the misty marshes where you hope to hide.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Jun 2010 @ 7:26 AM

  303. “I should have known you would merely dismiss the problem and be rude,”

    Uh, you’re the one saying that there is no problem, the solution is that we grow dwarf wheat.

    I’m saying that YOU are dismissing the problem.

    Talk about getting the facts wrong…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Jun 2010 @ 8:01 AM

  304. ccpo, just one question about your 278 post: how do we know that Arctic ice is not as thick or stable as satellite imagery tells us?

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Jun 2010 @ 8:32 AM

  305. Pardon me for butting in, but the argument that warmer temps lead to increased GDP is rather silly and deceptive. What does it matter if they correlate? More to the point, it’s an exercise in semantics. Even if warmer temps correlate to higher GDP, the argument warmer temps contribute or lead to GDP is backwards. Warmer temps are a symptom, a byproduct, not a driver. If anything, this is an argument for more efficient use of energy, not promoting more ‘heat’.

    Seriously, this is almost a silly as Sarah Palin blaming the Gulf oil spill on environmentalists.

    Comment by J.S. McIntyre — 8 Jun 2010 @ 8:40 AM

  306. JRC (282) you say, “…If anything increased rates of temps…” and “…don’t think that anyone is saying it’s a universal law…” but then follow with, “…increased rates of temps correlate to lower GDP, and the data proves that. (emphasis mine)” Sounds like a contradiction in terms. You make a good point about the uncertainty (and probably not) that increased temps enhance GDP and then hurt your credibility by saying that on the other hand the data proves that increased temp does reduce GDP. Why is one side of the coin flaky and the other side certain?

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Jun 2010 @ 8:48 AM

  307. CFU, FYI, the Horowitz paper said GDP, NOT GDP growth. Though ‘course you probably could have read that yourself…

    The difference between DDR and FRG was small? So small??!! That’s probably why West Germans were desperately trying to get into East Germany!

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Jun 2010 @ 9:00 AM

  308. CFU says in #285, “…“I (and others) have been saying correlations between temp and GPD is devoid of any substance.”

    No, you’ve been saying correlations between temp and GDP are in the opposite way of the measurements.”

    I have not, at all.

    I’ll try to get my syntax down to the ‘see Jane run’ level so maybe you can grasp what I write.

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Jun 2010 @ 9:05 AM

  309. “305
    J.S. McIntyre says:
    8 June 2010 at 8:40 AM

    Pardon me for butting in, but the argument that warmer temps lead to increased GDP is rather silly and deceptive. What does it matter if they correlate? ”

    What’s silly and deceptive is asking that question.

    There is no evidence of warmer temps lead to increased GDP, the only evidence of a link is in the reverse direction, therefore anyone (such as rod) who wishes to say that GDP increases with temperature (as rod has said in this thread) have to prove not only the causation but the reason why the correlation is the reverse of what their thesis would make it.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Jun 2010 @ 9:15 AM

  310. “how do we know that Arctic ice is not as thick or stable as satellite imagery tells us?”

    We don’t have to know.

    What we have to know is “is the ice thinner than it was before”. A 50% reduction in thickness still halves the volume of ice, even if the total volume is different.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Jun 2010 @ 9:16 AM

  311. Steckis, Again point to where I have claimed that climate change will destroy ALL agriculture. It doesn’t have to in a world where we must feed 9 billion people. All it has to do is cause a couple of critical crops to fail (rice, potatos, wheat…).

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Jun 2010 @ 9:42 AM

  312. Rod, again, I posted the data and study to illustrate that the claim that a warmer world will be more productive is unsupported by the data. Interesting that you’ve never taken issue with those making that claim. It appears that you only take an interest when the studies show inverse correlation between temperature and economic growth.

    Again, I have mentioned some of the ideas that have been debated wrt this data. It appears that you are more interested in denying the correlation rather than in the possible explanations.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Jun 2010 @ 9:49 AM

  313. “Why is one side of the coin flaky and the other side certain?”

    Because a coin as three sides: top, bottom AND EDGE.

    Therefore just because “it’s not top” doesn’t mean “it’s bottom”.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 8 Jun 2010 @ 9:52 AM

  314. BPL, the assertions are 1) a one degree increase in global temperature will lower global GDP by 3.8% (or roughly 4%). — period. 2) “the relationship is roughly 1.1% decrease in GDP per degree of warming” (62, et al). 3) “a 2 degree C rise in temperature results in GDP growth rate declining by 2.2 [%] per doubling” (51).

    Those are pretty definitive and explicit. Whether it is THE primary cause is a real strawman and doesn’t matter. It clearly is implied to be a definite and A primary cause. Your song and dance to rationalize the correlations and causation is not cutting it. You and others seem to be hoping against hope that we will just close our eyes, succumb to the intimidation, accept entirely the implication, and quit pointing to evident faults and asking questions that can only be answered with a juggling act.

    There is one clear actual and measurable example for the 1st claim above. That is the global temperature and global GDP over some period like 1900 to 2000 (or any 30 year or more period you want). Looks really bad. Quit the tap dancing and re-coloring the argument mid-stream.

    [this is not directed solely to BPL. Actually BPL is not even a primary target — just handy ;-)]

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Jun 2010 @ 10:29 AM

  315. J.S. McIntyre (305), the debate was whether warmer temps lowered GDP. There has been a bunch of scrambling trying to change the debate.

    Is this getting tiresome, or what??

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Jun 2010 @ 10:50 AM

  316. Guys, guys — GDP is Gross Domestic Product.
    Hurricane swamps New Orleans — rebuilding — increases GDP
    Earthquake — rebuilding — increases GDP
    Fish getting scarce — new deeper smarter fishing gear — increases GDP

    You’re acting like spending money on new stuff and wasting stuff is a good thing.

    Conservation doesn’t increase GDP.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Jun 2010 @ 11:23 AM

  317. RS 284: You seem to think that all food production will be lost. I think it won’t. You are still engaging in extremist thinking (a severe cognitive distortion). i.e. climate change will destroy all agriculture, which is patently untrue.

    BPL: If we do nothing about global warming, we will reach the point where human agriculture collapses completely. But if even a third of the world suddenly found itself starving, that would be an unprecedented disaster. Maybe “some” food will still be possible to produce when 70% of the world is in severe drought. But the important distinction is not “some,” but “enough.”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Jun 2010 @ 11:35 AM

  318. Gilles 285: I never said that “human civilization” as a whole was dependent on FF, and I agree to call “civilization” the greek, roman, chinese, aztec , etc.. who lived without them. I said that the modern way of life (a GDP and a energy consumption per capita several dozens times as large as previously) was only possible with FF.

    BPL: You’re still wrong.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Jun 2010 @ 11:36 AM

  319. Furry 290: I’m with Frank on this one — there are entirely too many variables to say that temperature and GDP have =any= relationship (except at the extremes).

    BPL: Such things can be MEASURED, Furry. Crack an introductory statistics book, will you?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Jun 2010 @ 11:38 AM

  320. I vote for “Correlation between temperature and GDP” as the most pointless and insoluble discussion entertained so far in the history of Real Climate. But I’ve not looked comprehensively at the paleo record so perhaps I’m mistaken.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 8 Jun 2010 @ 12:54 PM

  321. How about ditching dubious correlations and instead taking a look at Scafetta’s latest paper, now in review, where recent climate change is ascribed to “vibrations of the solar system?” That should produce a much more entertaining argument.

    Get good vibrations here: Empirical evidence for a celestial origin of the climate oscillations and its implications

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 8 Jun 2010 @ 12:58 PM

  322. Comment by Rod B — 8 June 2010 @ 8:48 AM

    Rod, you are correct, I shouldn’t have said “the data proves that.” My apologies. As far as the coin, in my opinion, it’s more like one side is flaky and the other side is more flaky.

    Comment by JRC — 8 Jun 2010 @ 1:35 PM

  323. Many people could mistake large methane fuel-air explosions for nuclear explosions. Smaller methane fuel-air explosions will still seem like an attack. It will happen on Russia’s northern coast. It would help if everybody were warned ahead of time. Methane fuel-air explosions can kill people and other animals.
    http://climateprogress.org/2010/03/04/science-nsf-tundra-permafrost-methane-east-siberian-arctic-shelf-venting/

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 8 Jun 2010 @ 3:07 PM

  324. Frank Giger (#268),

    > I’d think good governance (…) would have far more impact on GDP than
    > temperature.

    That may well be, but differences in governance between rich and poor countries apparently leave unexplained most of the strong negative correlation between temperature and economic output. Check out Nordhaus (2006): He separated out “national” factors from geographical ones by using sub-national gridded economic data (in cells measuring 1 x 1º latitude/longitude). About 2/3 of the relationship between mean temperature and per capita output could not be explained by “country-specific factors such as institutional differences, history, major locational advantages…”

    Comment by CM — 8 Jun 2010 @ 3:39 PM

  325. ” If anything, this is an argument for more efficient use of energy, not promoting more ‘heat’.”

    Spot on.

    Does climate effect GDP? Sure, on the baseline. The Congo won’t become a grain belt in the near (or distant) future, for an example.

    However, stating that one can quanitify the ups and downs of GDP based on temperature ignores modern economic realities. A 2% swing in GDP up or down can be caused by so many factors that pegging it to global temperature is grasping for a rung too high up the ladder.

    If the paper had gone after sectors of economy I’d probably be right on board, nodding my head, particularly if they chose agriculture. But they didn’t – they went after the whole of the economy.

    Global temperatures have gone up since WWII, but Global GDP has as well. In the USA, agricultural output has gone crazy efficient since then. Not because of global temperatures, but because of mechanization, pesticides, practices, fertilization, crop variety optimizations, etc.

    The counter argument that increasing global temperatures somehow automatically increases GDP is equally specious.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 8 Jun 2010 @ 6:02 PM

  326. BPL @ 315:

    I have. As I’ve noted before, I’ve actually studied statistics at the graduate level, used it in my work for 25 years, and have a pretty good grasp on =how= what you’ve become so attached to can be completely unrelated to “temperature”.

    Need I remind you? Correlation does NOT NOT NOT imply causation.

    The next thing you’ll tell me is that temperature causes Banana Republics, rather than political corruption from a legacy of European colonialism …

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 8 Jun 2010 @ 9:08 PM

  327. CM @ 320:

    About 2/3 of the relationship between mean temperature and per capita output could not be explained by “country-specific factors such as institutional differences, history, major locational advantages…”

    Did they study the counter-example presented by the migration of industry from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt? Did the Sun Belt get colder, and the Rust Belt get warmer, and that’s why the population and per-capita GDP shift happened?

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 8 Jun 2010 @ 9:11 PM

  328. CFU @ 253 “You can breed the American plains grasses to produce wheat. It just takes much, much longer than 19 years to do it.”
    RS @ 283 “No you can’t. If you could then it would have already been done or at least attempted.

    It IS being attempted, at The Land Institute in Kansas, but it will take decades to accomplish. See
    http://www.landinstitute.org/vnews/display.v/ART/2007/03/15/45fac62e11c35
    in the perennial grains research subsection

    Comment by John Pollack — 8 Jun 2010 @ 9:46 PM

  329. 301 Dr. Nick Bone: Thanks much.
    http://climateprogress.org/2010/03/04/science-nsf-tundra-permafrost-methane-east-siberian-arctic-shelf-venting/
    has a comment which leads to
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17625-as-arctic-ocean-warms-megatonnes-of-methane-bubble-up.html
    which quantifies the release compared to global average release, and it is small compared to the global average.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 8 Jun 2010 @ 10:06 PM

  330. CM, from your link:

    At the same time, three reservations should be emphasized. First,the estimates of the impact of geographic variables on output leave a significant fraction of output unexplained. Until output variations
    are fully and robustly explained, we cannot be confident about a projection based on an incomplete model. Second, these estimates include only market output and do not incorporate any nonmarket
    impacts or abrupt climate changes. Hence, impacts on ecosystems or amenities, and particularly the potential for abrupt climate change, need to be included in a full impacts analysis (21, 22). Finally, the model underlying the estimates here, particularly the
    assumption of climate-economy equilibrium, is highly simplified. The dynamic nature of economic growth cannot be adequately captured in cross-sectional estimates. Given the sluggish reactions of population distributions to changing conditions, existing settlement and economic patterns may still be adjusting to economic and climatic conditions. Pursuing each of these issues requires further data and methodological developments.

    Using the assumptions taken in the paper, one need only draw a latitude line and predict GDP….or not, as they themselves admit.

    Making a buck in the tropics has the same pitfalls as making a buck in the artic…weather and soil works against a person. That’s not a news flash.

    The economic system is still too dynamic to pin GDP on temperature to where one can predict output based on it. And yeah, if one is saying “one degree = 2.2% reduction in GDP” one is doing exactly that.

    Similarly, the studies don’t explain why the other side of the globe that matches North America and Europe aren’t a match in GDP. Why aren’t Angola, Zaire, and Zimbabwe the peers of the USA in GDP? The latter has not only roughly the same Latitude, but geography, weather patterns, and soil to support not only agriculture but has a wealth of mineral resources to back it up!

    Comment by Frank Giger — 8 Jun 2010 @ 10:22 PM

  331. Re #230

    Sorry, my second link was to Comment 92 after “Climate Change Commitments”. That also discussed methane release.

    Incidentally, if you are worried about a repeat of the PETM, then there is a big difference between Pliocene temperatures (~3 degrees hotter than pre-industrial) and Paleocene temperatures just before the PETM itself (probably >6 degrees hotter than pre-industrial). A PETM rerun could happen if we continue burning fossil fuels through the 21st century, but it seems unlikely that we’ve set it off already. The Pliocene was stable with CO2 levels like today’s.

    In fact the Earth has been through some very hot times before and survived… can’t say the same for us unfortunately. See
    last 65 million years and
    last 500 million years

    I suspect here are some serious differences between then and now.

    1. I doubt the geography was the same, let alone the geology. Now? We have very shallow continental shelves (Siberia) loaded with clathrates due to all the biomass deposited there during previous interglacials and submerged when the ice age retreated. Those may not have been there during the PETM.

    2. The Siberian shelf is so shallow, we can expect a lot of instability as the pressure/temp ratio gets out of whack. Quickly. After all, all this melting is decades, many decades in some respects, ahead of expectations/projections. Clearly, we don’t model clathrates well at all. One scientists I e-mailed with a couple years ago swore we were a century or more from any serious threat. Scientists here at RealClimate have stated broadly similar comments. Clearly, they are incorrect.

    Scary? The former said clathrates were within 1 and 2 degrees of instability. Given the shallow seas, the influx of warm water shown in a previous link, and the emissions we have already seen coupled with the state of the ice, I’d say it’s a minor miracle we don’t have evidence of even greater emissions.

    3. The permafrost above sea level alone holds 2 times the carbon in the atmosphere and melt is well underway with thermokarst lakes tripling in size, e.g., over short periods of time. (See K. Walter, et al.)

    4. Rate of change. The speed of warming is simply much faster than most other transitions have been. Events such as the Younger Dryas and such were relatively rapid, but those weren’t shifts to new climates, merely big blips along the road.

    5. With the Swiss Cheese that is the Arctic Sea Ice, all bets are off.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 8 Jun 2010 @ 10:59 PM

  332. Ah, I forgot all about this little gem from a link provided above:

    “Shakhova notes that the Earth’s geological record indicates that atmospheric methane concentrations have varied between about .3 to .4 parts per million during cold periods to .6 to .7 parts per million during warm periods. Current average methane concentrations in the Arctic average about 1.85 parts per million, the highest in 400,000 years, she said. Concentrations above the East Siberian Arctic Shelf are even higher.”

    Comment by ccpo — 8 Jun 2010 @ 11:08 PM

  333. Comment by Doug Bostrom: I vote for “Correlation between temperature and GDP” as the most pointless and insoluble discussion entertained so far in the history of Real Climate.
    I second the motion. Particularly on a topic about ‘commitment’.

    Comment by flxible — 8 Jun 2010 @ 11:27 PM

  334. Ray, I made a clear statement that one can find a correlation with all four combinations of temp and GDP, and claimed they all prove no causality of anything — including the case of higher temps causing greater GDP. You will not find where I made a case for the latter anywhere. However, speaking of correlations and ‘no data exists’, as some have said, I’m still waiting for someone to explain the data from the single best actual scenario — global temp vs. global GDP over the last hundred years or so within the context of this debate.

    I think one can find scenarios where increased temperatures have had a non-exclusive causality of enhanced GDP. I also think one can present scenarios where higher temperatures are clearly — even irrefutably — the primary cause of reduced GDP, as I did one in an earlier post. But the limited scenarios in the linked references are interesting but miss proving the case by a country mile. I can’t figure out why you all want to keep it on its very shaky pedestal — even more so than the authors it seems.

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Jun 2010 @ 11:39 PM

  335. JRC (318), I’ll buy that!

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Jun 2010 @ 11:45 PM

  336. Hank (#312),
    Thank you for being a voice of sanity. You are quite right: mind your theories of value! I think most people don’t understand GDP.
    I can’t bring myself to comment directly on this ludicrous GDP/temperature discussion but let me say this: there’s no objective way to compare GDP between countries, regions or periods. This doesn’t make comparisons from a year to the next (growth) or between similar countries useless (though there is some controversy regarding how the numbers should be adjusted) but any comparison between very dissimilar economies such as comparisons of estimates of premodern to current global GDP would yield arbitrary values. What theory of value would one use as a basis? One can’t use a chain deflator, purchasing power parity or labour time and even the value of commodities has varied widely.

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 9 Jun 2010 @ 12:13 AM

  337. “BPL: You’re still wrong.”

    You didn’t answer my question : can you give me a statistical method that I could blindly apply to correlate GDP against temperature, or FF (for instance without knowing which is which in “reduced units”), and that would show a better correlation with temperature than with FF ?

    and more generally, can you give me a method of reasoning , which, equally applied to judge the influence of temperature and FF consumption on human society, would obviously show that the first one is much more important than the second one to explain the wealth of modern countries ?

    Again, if you postulate that “we could find in the future a magic solution to replace FF”, the same thought applied to temperature could equally give “we could find in the future a magic solution to adapt to warming”.

    And conversely, if you estimate the influence of temperature on societies by extrapolating present known facts and correlations, then you should also estimate the influence of FF by extrapolating present known facts and correlations.

    So please, before saying that I’m wrong, give me a rational, scientific method to justify it.

    Comment by Gilles — 9 Jun 2010 @ 1:19 AM

  338. The 1870’s European didn’t have access to modern composite materials to make high efficiency wind turbines from, Gilles. Neither did they have access to modern amorphous silicon production techniques to make photovoltaic cells.

    We do.

    Therefore in 20 years time, there will be a modern industrial society that will have an idiot like you look back and say “electricity from renewable resources is how any modern society created, tell me one modern society that wasn’t created without it? And don’t start me on that ancient ‘civilisation’ of the Victorians… I mean MODERN.”.

    Why?

    [edit]

    You’re like an Apple Fanboi who defends the iPad not having a card reader by saying “Hey, we have ‘the cloud’ and email and FTP, who needs sneakernet with SD cards?”. Refusing to see the utlility of another technology because that would be admitting something is wrong with the technology you’re in love with.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Jun 2010 @ 2:42 AM

  339. I would stress that the correlation between temperature and GDP is totally equivalent to the correlation between temperature and FF consumption, both being much looser than the correlation between FF and GDP. Arguing that we must act on FF consumption to lower temperatures, and hence raise GDP, as if it would influence the GDP only through the second effect, and not the first one (which is much more strongly correlated) , is plainly stupid, just from a mathematical point of view.

    Comment by Gilles — 9 Jun 2010 @ 4:38 AM

  340. BPL wrote: “But if even a third of the world suddenly found itself starving, that would be an unprecedented disaster. Maybe ‘some’ food will still be possible to produce when 70% of the world is in severe drought. But the important distinction is not ‘some,’ but ‘enough.'”

    The people who are driving BP, ExxonMobil, Koch Industries et al — the paymasters for the denialist propaganda machine — are more than willing to risk starvation for a third of the Earth’s human population in return for the prospect of trillions of dollars in profit from several more decades of business-as-usual consumption of their products.

    If there is food for the “top one percent” then that’s “enough”.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 9 Jun 2010 @ 6:20 AM

  341. To Edward G at 319:

    Doesn’t that need some kind of a spark to set off the gas? Can it happen spontaneously? Are you thinking that lightening would set it off?

    If there really are 10,000 gigatons of the stuff under the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, and if a substantial proportion of that was released suddenly and ignited, I’m guessing there would be greater consequences than a few birds or people in the nearby (mostly desolate) local area being killed.

    Back to the graph, I’m having trouble understanding the difference between curve one and curve two. Is the second curve just ignoring the whole aerosol situation–pretending they don’t exist?

    Comment by wili — 9 Jun 2010 @ 8:58 AM

  342. From todays nytimes: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/09/opinion/09krosnick.html?hp

    “ON Thursday, the Senate will vote on a resolution proposed by Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, that would scuttle the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to limit emissions of greenhouse gases by American businesses.
    — and then:a new survey by my Political Psychology Research Group show just the opposite: huge majorities of Americans still believe the earth has been gradually warming as the result of human activity and want the government to institute regulations to stop it.

    When senators vote on emissions limits on Thursday, there is one other number they might want to keep in mind: 72 percent of Americans think that most business leaders do not want the federal government to take steps to stop global warming. A vote to eliminate greenhouse gas regulation is likely to be perceived by the nation as a vote for industry, and against the will of the people.”

    Unfortunately most Americans don’t want carbon taxes which is the most efficient way to reduce CO2 emissions.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 9 Jun 2010 @ 8:59 AM

  343. OT, but this will be welcome news for many here:

    http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2010/06/09/globalwarming-americans.html

    “You can’t fool all the people all the time. . .”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 9 Jun 2010 @ 9:02 AM

  344. “So please, before saying that I’m wrong, give me a rational, scientific method to justify it.”

    You can’t refute the Flying Spaghetti Monster with a rational scientific method. What makes you think that it’s possible with your fantasies?

    Fossil Fuels were the only way Victorians had of collecting concentrated sunlight.

    We have the technology to bypass that slow and dangerous method.

    What was wanted was energy. Not oil. Energy.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Jun 2010 @ 9:58 AM

  345. John E. Pearson quoted the NY Times: “When senators vote on emissions limits on Thursday … A vote to eliminate greenhouse gas regulation is likely to be perceived by the nation as a vote for industry, and against the will of the people.”

    In other words, business as usual for the US Senate.

    As Frederik Pohl and Cyril Kornbluth suggested over 50 years ago in The Space Merchants, perhaps it is time to drop the pretense that Senators represent the citizens of their states, and acknowledge that they represent corporations, i.e. “Lisa Murkowski, Republican from ExxonMobil”.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 9 Jun 2010 @ 9:59 AM

  346. We should impose a tax on poverty. In the same way a carbon tax will discourage carbon based fuels, a tax on poverty will discourage poverty. As with carbon, each year we can raise the tax on poverty, making it more and more expensive to be poor, which will encourage people to stop being poor and encourage them to be rich.

    Over time we will have less and less poor people, and more and more rich people. This will allow us to afford the switch from a carbon based economy to a green economy. After all, a poor person does not choose to own an inefficient car, they simply can’t afford the latest hybrid. After our tax on poverty makes everyone rich, we can all afford to buy new, fuel efficient green cars.

    Comment by ge0050 — 9 Jun 2010 @ 10:12 AM

  347. Wili (#341),
    It looks like curve 2 assumes nothing will change (including aerosols) or that any change will be compensated exactly by another with the opposite sign. I guess the idea is to illustrate the heat inertia of the system. It’s certainly not meant as any kind of forecast.
    Curve 1 is a forecast of sorts. It shows what is believed would happen in an unrealistic scenario. I guess your’re right and that the bump in curve 1 is mainly explained by aerosols being removed from the atmosphere faster than GHGs (and feedbacks).

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 9 Jun 2010 @ 10:32 AM

  348. Mr. Pearson, giving the EPA to legislate through regulation, without oversight, is a bad idea. Why bother to have a Congress – we’ll just appoint chairmen of agencies!

    Comment by Frank Giger — 9 Jun 2010 @ 10:34 AM

  349. CFU (338) says, “Therefore in 20 years time, there will be a modern industrial society that will have [people] look back and say “electricity from renewable resources is how any modern society created, tell me one modern society that wasn’t created without it?””

    Why do you think one/some/most/all people will 20 years from now suddenly become completely stupid and claim such obvious absurdities? Even if, hypothetically, all electricity is magically then being generated with renewables.

    Comment by Rod B — 9 Jun 2010 @ 10:46 AM

  350. I think people have wandered rather far afield in the GDP-temperature debate.

    Also, people on each side are now in positions where they refuse to budge. Every argument is immediately countered without proper consideration. It’s now a game, rather than an argument, and the point is to win, not to reach a logical and truthful conclusion.

    Some points anyone should (individually) agree with:

    A 2C to 3C increase in average global temperatures will mean that some regions of the Earth experience 6C+ seasonal increases. A 6C average increase will mean that some regions experience at least a 10C+ seasonal increase.

    A regional temperature increase of 6C or more in areas of the globe, along with likely precipitation changes, will inevitably cause major agricultural problems. There will be farmland lost, transition of farmland to new crops, and the cultivation of potential new farmland, all at a large cost. Costs will include effort spent, as well as temporary or permanent loss of crop productivity, and the cascading effects of that on food supply and general productivity.

    A regional temperature increase of 6C or more in areas of the globe will result in increased disease, in the short term (before the diseases can be battled) and possibly in the long term (i.e. situations which can only be partially mitigated but never completely corrected). This will happen with malaria and others. Battling the disease itself will cost, treating those afflicted will cost, and it will have cascading impacts on population health and therefore general productivity.

    A regional temperature increase of 6C or more in areas of the globe will result in major water availability problems. As everything in human society has historically been greatly impacted by the availability of water resources, this will require mitigation, and in some areas be untenable. For instance, it may no longer be possible to grow cops in the lower Southwestern states, no matter what effort is undertaken. Worse, large cities may be simply unable to support their populations. This would certainly have a massive negative impact on productivity.

    Sea level rise would displace large populations along ocean and river delta coasts, and interfere with ports and other elements of the infrastructure. Such changes may not occur for many, many, many decades, but would still have a pronounced cost.

    Increases in storm strength and frequency (when I get a chance, I plan to download the historical tornado data, and see if there is a trend corresponding to global temperature) will cause not only repeated, large scale damage, but if recognized as a persistent, repeating pattern may make first cause repeated drops in productivity, and ultimately require a redistribution of infrastructure to move things to less volatile areas.

    In the end, the details say that a major increase in temperature implies a drop in useful productivity. GDP may stay high, because people still have to work to do things, but what they put their time into will be an unnecessary distraction.

    At the same time, if the combined impacts of climate change are too overwhelming (like the dust bowl of the 1930s), and it happens too quickly to simply “up and move” everything affected, then GDP may in fact plummet for a decade or three.

    When a growing scarcity of fossil fuels is added to the picture, along with a growing reluctance to use “the cause” as part of “the cure,” things get dicey.

    Stresses such as those described also, historically, lead to conflict and war, which is man’s single greatest method of reducing his own productivity, both in effort spent building an army, and then the inevitable destruction caused by their use.

    The counter argument to this is that warm temperatures will make everything grow better, increasing productivity, while efforts spent finding alternatives to (limited and expiring) fossil fuel resources would be wasted, and damage overall productivity.

    This all seems pretty clear to me. But I’m just one little guy with one little brain. Don’t mind me.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 9 Jun 2010 @ 10:47 AM

  351. Rod, you are kind of weak on statistical reasoning. Of course you can find individual countries where increasing temperature will increase GDP and the reverse is also true. The quesiton is what effect it will have on the preponderance of countries–and the data indicate an inverse correlation.

    As I have said, this has long been a subject of research in economics–even before climate change became a concern. Some studies even tried to control for the effect of level of development–for example looking at correlations within regions (e.g. Africa and Latin America or within the OECD). The same trend still holds.

    I have mentioned some of the hypotheses advanced on this subject–e.g. that agriculture is more challenging in tropical than temperate environments; that health is more problematic in the tropics; and the problems of increased maintenance cost at elevated temperatures and tropical conditions (note wearout mechanisms are accelerated by temperature differences). These issues would apply globally if the world warmed due to climate change.

    Now you can either continue to gainsay the research and remain ignorant, or you can look into it more deeply to see if there might be something to it–as the professional economists and demographers who do the research think.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Jun 2010 @ 11:14 AM

  352. #343

    This is another example of estimating a significant trend. If you read the last paragraph of that link you will see that the recent rise is similar to the magnitude of the error bars.

    What is the evidence based on earlier US polls? If there had been an earlier negative trend (as in the UK) this may at least provide evidence that it may have halted.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 9 Jun 2010 @ 11:23 AM

  353. #343

    This is another example of estimating a significant trend. If you read the last paragraph of that link you will see that the recent rise is similar to the magnitude of the error bars.

    What is the evidence based on earlier US polls? If there had been an earlier negative trend (as in the UK) this may at least provide evidence that the downward trend may have halted.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 9 Jun 2010 @ 11:25 AM

  354. CFU#The 1870’s European didn’t have access to modern composite materials to make high efficiency wind turbines from, Gilles. Neither did they have access to modern amorphous silicon production techniques to make photovoltaic cells.”

    I hope you will invite me to visit your famous turbine or photovoltaic cell factory that has been built without fossil fuels, that doesn’t use anything made with fossil fuels (things like cement, steel, glas, insulators, copper, silicon, plastic), and that can produce turbines and solar cell at the same price as those other stupid fossil-based factories, some day ?

    I will happily cross the ocean with a fossil-free plane, built in another fossil-free factory, and we’ll go there with your fossil-free car …

    [edit – insults and responses to insults in kind will be edited out]

    Comment by Gilles — 9 Jun 2010 @ 11:31 AM

  355. John E. Pearson says: 9 June 2010 at 8:59 AM

    Kevin McKinney says: 9 June 2010 at 9:02 AM

    Concerning Murkowski, public opinions, today would be a great day to stop arguing about correlations between GDP and temperature for a moment, give your Senator a call.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 9 Jun 2010 @ 12:06 PM

  356. Furry 326: I have. As I’ve noted before, I’ve actually studied statistics at the graduate level

    BPL: Then why are you babbling about how “there are entirely too many variables to say that temperature and GDP have =any= relationship” ??? They’ve measured a relationship. It may or may not be causal, but to say there’s too many variables to tell if there’s a relationship is a meaningless statement when we’ve already measured one. If you meant “to tell if there’s a CAUSAL relationship,” then say so. That way I won’t mistake you for a statistical illiterate.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Jun 2010 @ 12:23 PM

  357. FG 330: The economic system is still too dynamic to pin GDP on temperature to where one can predict output based on it. And yeah, if one is saying “one degree = 2.2% reduction in GDP” one is doing exactly that.

    BPL: The original study probably said something more like “1 degree = -2.2% GDP, all else being held equal.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Jun 2010 @ 12:25 PM

  358. Rod 334: one can find a correlation with all four combinations of temp and GDP

    BPL: What do you mean “all four combinations?” If you’re saying you can find either a negative or a positive correlation, you’re only wrong. Quantify each variable and r will have one and only one value, and it will be positive, negative, or zero.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Jun 2010 @ 12:27 PM

  359. AC 336: there’s no objective way to compare GDP between countries, regions or periods.

    BPL: You mean we don’t know if we’re in a recession or not? We don’t know if the USA produces more goods and services than Haiti? Econometrics is pretty much a useless pseudoscience?

    You need to take a course therein.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Jun 2010 @ 12:28 PM

  360. Gilles 337: can you give me a statistical method that I could blindly apply to correlate GDP against temperature, or FF (for instance without knowing which is which in “reduced units”), and that would show a better correlation with temperature than with FF ?

    BPL: Do it yourself. The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient is computed as follows:

    r = sxy / sqrt(sx2 * sy2)

    where sxy, sx2 and sy2 are “reduced sums of squares” or “sums of squared deviations” for X^2, Y^2, and X * Y:

    sxy = Sum(X * Y) – N * Mean(X) * Mean(Y)
    sx2 = Sum(X * X) – N * Mean(X) * Mean(X)
    sy2 = Sum(Y * Y) – N * Mean(Y) * Mean(Y)

    Gilles: and more generally, can you give me a method of reasoning , which, equally applied to judge the influence of temperature and FF consumption on human society, would obviously show that the first one is much more important than the second one to explain the wealth of modern countries ?

    BPL: Probably not, since their present GDPs correlate to their past fossil fuel use.

    Gilles: Again, if you postulate that “we could find in the future a magic solution to replace FF”, the same thought applied to temperature could equally give “we could find in the future a magic solution to adapt to warming”.

    BPL: We don’t have to wait for the future. We already know how to produce power in other ways than burning fossil fuels. Wind power is not pie in the sky, nor is solar, nor geothermal, nor biomass, nor tidal.

    Gilles: And conversely, if you estimate the influence of temperature on societies by extrapolating present known facts and correlations, then you should also estimate the influence of FF by extrapolating present known facts and correlations.

    BPL: The idea is to change the present situation, not perpetuate it.

    Gilles: So please, before saying that I’m wrong, give me a rational, scientific method to justify it.

    BPL: It’s called “empiricism.” Google it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Jun 2010 @ 12:33 PM

  361. Gilles 339: I would stress that the correlation between temperature and GDP is totally equivalent to the correlation between temperature and FF consumption, both being much looser than the correlation between FF and GDP

    BPL: You’re saying:
    r(T, GDP) = r(T, FF) << r(FF, GDP)

    Prove it. Show your work.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Jun 2010 @ 12:35 PM

  362. 338, Completely Fed Up: The 1870’s European didn’t have access to modern composite materials to make high efficiency wind turbines from, Gilles. Neither did they have access to modern amorphous silicon production techniques to make photovoltaic cells.

    We do.

    Therefore in 20 years time, there will be a modern industrial society that will have an idiot like you look back and say “electricity from renewable resources is how any modern society created, tell me one modern society that wasn’t created without it? And don’t start me on that ancient ‘civilisation’ of the Victorians… I mean MODERN.”.

    Well said. And I think that 20 years is the right time frame. 20 years from now, the debate will be entirely different. The exponential growth in alternative energy supplies is not sustainable for ever, but it is sustainable for 5 – 10 more doublings with today’s proven reserves, and that may take less than 20 years at current rates. The US has sufficient lithium and rare metals if the price rises sufficiently to justify re-opening the mines.

    Ironically, or paradoxically, AGW proponents could achieve a significant fraction of their stated goals by eliminating rhetoric about AGW for a few years (while emphasizing the societal costs, in cash and lives, of fossil fuels, especially now with the BP Gulf disaster on everyone’s mind, and the recurrent coal mine disasters reminding everyone.) Lots of people who are skeptical or indifferent to AGW want the US to have sufficient energy supplies for commerce and war.

    Besides, costs of renewables are declining and the source is inexhaustible (by humans), whereas fossil fuel costs are increasing and the supply is finite.

    But there is no panacea: all the technologies that have promise need to be developed.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 9 Jun 2010 @ 12:50 PM

  363. 345, Secular Animist: As Frederik Pohl and Cyril Kornbluth suggested over 50 years ago in The Space Merchants, perhaps it is time to drop the pretense that Senators represent the citizens of their states, and acknowledge that they represent corporations, i.e. “Lisa Murkowski, Republican from ExxonMobil”.

    I think it was Daniel Webster who was known as the Senator from the New York Central [railway]. All of the Northern Senators of the time supported protective tariffs requested by the industries of their states.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 9 Jun 2010 @ 12:56 PM

  364. 270, Completely Fed Up: Noting about whether the goal is feasible. After all, you can’t breed a dachshund from a banana, despite them both being long and thin.

    No, but you can breed more nutritious, robust manioc and potatoes. When? It has already been started.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 9 Jun 2010 @ 1:04 PM

  365. “I hope you will invite me to visit your famous turbine or photovoltaic cell factory that has been built without fossil fuels”

    Did you know that evacuation of water from coal mines was only possible because of wind power?

    Invite me over to your famous fossil fuel technology that wasn’t started by wind or wave power!

    [edit – please stop]

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Jun 2010 @ 1:22 PM

  366. “Mr. Pearson, giving the EPA to legislate through regulation, without oversight, is a bad idea.”

    Uh, there’s as much oversight in the EPA regulation as there is in any political situation.

    You’re just pissed because the EPA can do it, should do it and you hate it being done.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Jun 2010 @ 1:25 PM

  367. re: temperature and GDP,

    Hank #312,
    > Earthquake — rebuilding — increases GDP

    Indeed, but a quake or a Katrina also disrupts production, sometimes sharply decreasing GDP in the short term, until factories are rebuilt, workers rehoused and so on.

    Frank Giger,
    I read Nordhaus’s fine print, too. I didn’t think it made the whole issue moot, much less the limited point I made. But YMMV.

    J. S. McIntyre, Doug Bostrom, Flxible,
    This silly discussion appears to be interesting enough that serious minds are working and publishing on it.

    But to shift the GDP discussion back to the **original topic** of this thread — warming commitments: Benjamin (back at #111, 125) thought that, if warming significantly decreases growth, projections for emissions and warming that do not take this feedback into account must be exaggerated.

    This idea that a climate-economy feedback might act to dampen global warming by reducing GDP, and hence emissions, has been addressed by Hallegatte (2005). Hallegatte, using a simple integrated model that took due account of global warming and adaptation as stock problems with lots of inertia, found it wouldn’t work, because of the long characteristic time of the climate-economy feedback. Hallegatte’s conclusion is worth quoting at length:

    Additional emissions enhance climate change, which will impact on the economy and then reduce the emissions. In all our hypotheses on the impact level, this process needs more than 50 years to act, and an emission reduction does not feedback on production and emissions for 20 years. […] Such length of time compared with other characteristic times of the climate and of the socio-economic system shows that this feedback is not capable to act as a natural damping process, which might automatically adapt the anthropogenic emissions to the climate sensitivity. In other words, if impacts are found to be serious, the emission reductions corresponding to economic damages will arrive too late to control climate change and avoid stronger damages over a time scale of one century: if climate change is dangerous, a strongly anticipated abatement policy is the only way to avoid it.

    Yep. So, as Doug said, call your senator today…

    Comment by CM — 9 Jun 2010 @ 2:05 PM

  368. OT, Christiana Figueres, Ivo de Boer’s replacement:

    http://www.grist.org/article/2010-06-09-no-quick-fix-on-global-warming-says-new-un-climate-chief/

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 9 Jun 2010 @ 3:06 PM

  369. look at all these idiot billions of chinese and indian people who don’t know they can develop without increasing their FF consumption , sending thousands of coal minor to death each year, look at all these idiot oil companies who spend billions of dollars trying to extract oil in such awful places, risking gas blow-out, oil spills, hurricanes, whereas they could so easily make money with clean, renewable electricity … too sad, all this stupidity all around the world ! – Gilles

    Gilles, your bad faith is quite obvious to most people here. The fact that extracting and using fossil fuels is currently profitable does not imply that we cannot develop an industrial civilisation that does not depend on them; and you are clearly not stupid enough to be unable to see this.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 9 Jun 2010 @ 3:09 PM

  370. A fantastic new post just appeared over at WUWT. Absolutely magnificent.

    It proves that there is a direct correlation between the temperature increase and CO2 increase, and uses this as evidence that (wait for it) increasing temperatures cause increased CO2.

    No reason is proposed for the increase in temperatures.

    I couldn’t have written a better parody myself, and yet it is presented in black and white as if it were a serious argument. Is it April first again?

    Pinch me, I must be dreaming.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 9 Jun 2010 @ 3:21 PM

  371. “No, but you can breed more nutritious, robust manioc and potatoes.”

    Then why don’t we already have them? Or is there no market for nicer potatoes?

    At least at the moment, they don’t have to worry too much about combating the droughts and floods, unlike the ones you insist are going to be able to save our society.

    And how will these new nutritious and robust potatoes cope with drought? Will they continue to be more nutritious and robust than the current stock?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Jun 2010 @ 4:15 PM

  372. “And I think that 20 years is the right time frame. 20 years from now, the debate will be entirely different. ”

    And in 20 years we’ll have dialled in another degree of warming.

    And, if Gilles has his way, we’ll only START looking for new energy sources then!

    So why are we waiting 20 more years again?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Jun 2010 @ 4:17 PM

  373. Bob (Sphaerica) says: 9 June 2010 at 3:21 PM

    A fantastic new post just appeared over at WUWT. Absolutely magnificent.

    There’s a crowd around the doors of the latest train to leave the station, no matter that it’s standing on previously unknown track leading to an entirely novel destination with a conductor speaking a incomprehensible language and sporting a watch set between timezones. Any train will do.

    Comment heard from a member of the throng, grasping a ticket:

    Not as elegant as E=MC^2 perhaps, but if confirmed, just as great a breakthrough for humankind.

    There -are- a few people hanging back, muttering “Hmmm, do I really want to go there? Where is there?”

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 9 Jun 2010 @ 5:18 PM

  374. BPL: “You’re saying:
    r(T, GDP) = r(T, FF) << r(FF, GDP)"

    From the BP statistical review, i computed r(FF, GDP) = 0.75. They don't give the average temperature of countries, strangely enough for such an important parameter, but may be you have references to find them, since you're so certain it's important ?

    CFU : "Did you know that evacuation of water from coal mines was only possible because of wind power?

    Invite me over to your famous fossil fuel technology that wasn’t started by wind or wave power!

    [edit]"

    First, being impolite doesn't raise your credibility, it lowers it rather. Seems that you can't argue without being rough. Second, your statement is obviously wrong – water can be pumped with animals, human work, etc… as well, and at the time when steam engines weren't used yet, the life wasn't very different whether you were heated by coal or by wood, so there was no peculiar feature relying on the use of coal. Third, you seem to imply that another miracle is always guaranteed. But there were only two revolutions in the way of life of humanity : apparition of agriculture, and use of fossil fuels; you're like a guy having found a treasure in his cellar, spending it and saying "oh, doesn't matter, I will find another one. You wouldn't have predicted I would be that rich 10 years ago !" This is an obviously flawed argument.

    But let's us assume you're right. People generally agree that rich western countries, that spend a lot of FF, are not very sensitive to average temperature, since energy can help doing a lot of things : irrigating, unsalting sea water, building solid houses, dams, pumps, and so on (remember that Saudi Arabia or Israel grow crops in the desert…)

    So IF fossil fuels can be easily replaced by other techniques, without any loss of power, I don't see the problem of wasting FF : we can replace them anyway when they will be exhausted. And there is no reason why we couldn't develop all currently poor countries, using your marvelous solar cells and composite turbines or any fancy devices you like, to make them reach our current western standard of development; if WE can do it, and there is no limit on renewable power, I don't see any reason why they couldn't. Remember that a mere 2%/yr growth insures a 8-fold increase in one century. So logically they should all have enough energy, and may be much more than necessary , to cope with any warming. So why bother about the quantity of FF we burn? let's burn all what we want, and develop renewables after that…

    Comment by Gilles — 9 Jun 2010 @ 5:30 PM

  375. If this site is moderated, then why does it allow personal attacks and name calling such as “idiot” and “stupid”?

    Personal attacks violate the rules of reasoned debate. To the agree that they are allowed on a moderated site, it would appear that this site is not in favor of reasoned debate. Isn’t reasoned debate the stuff of real science?

    [Response: I’ve edited most of them out. To all commenters, please refrain from personal attacks against other commenters. Argue the substance, or don’t bother. – gavin]

    Comment by ge0050 — 9 Jun 2010 @ 5:31 PM

  376. BPL (358), you’re saying I can not do different analyses for different regions and am probably limited in the timescale. O.K. That says the only valid scope is what the Horowitz (sp?) stated: global. Which means since the correlation between global temp and global GDP for any reasonable period (the question I’ve asked twice and which everyone just ignores the elephant) is clearly positive. Which says the claim/study that it is negatively correlated is 100% flat-ass wrong.

    No! Wait! In your very next post you say one HAS to do different analyses for different regions and boundries!

    You guys are really wrapping yourselves around the axle and making me dizzy.

    Comment by Rod B — 9 Jun 2010 @ 5:35 PM

  377. Off topic, but relevant to some of the discussion here on food crops (and the “CO2 is plant food” silliness) is a recent piece about research into the effects of higher CO2 level on plant growth on the ABC TV popular science show Catalyst. In summary – high CO2 tends to lower protein yield and higher levels of toxins. I guess anybody wanting to know more could contact the researchers interviewed in the piece.

    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/2891924.htm

    Comment by quokka — 9 Jun 2010 @ 7:10 PM

  378. 331 ccpo and Dr. Bone: I am open to new research on the issue of methane hydrates. We are all well aware that they are down there and potentially deadly. If I were in charge of NSF or whatever, there would be a lot of money going into methane hydrate research. There were 2 RC articles earlier this year. RC please keep us informed of any new developments.

    341 wili: Yes, a spark is required. Sparks are easy to come by. Lightning is clearly one, but methane in air needs only a very small spark. Turning on a light worked for friends of mine who were burned when the gas company failed add the warning odor. 2 cases. Any flame works. Walking on a carpet works. Etc.

    348 Frank Giger: You have never been a federal employee, have you? The EPA is being overseen by Congress. Congress makes the laws. The bureaucrats [federal employees other than politicians] just do what they are told.

    350 Bob (Sphaerica): Read “Six Degrees” by Mark Lynas. By the time we get to 6 degrees C, we are extinct.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 9 Jun 2010 @ 8:48 PM

  379. BPL @ 356:

    BPL: Then why are you babbling about how “there are entirely too many variables to say that temperature and GDP have =any= relationship” ??? They’ve measured a relationship. It may or may not be causal, but to say there’s too many variables to tell if there’s a relationship is a meaningless statement when we’ve already measured one. If you meant “to tell if there’s a CAUSAL relationship,” then say so. That way I won’t mistake you for a statistical illiterate.

    Because I thought it was implied that we were discussing causal relationships and not just “How to have fun with numbers.”

    Especially since I included what I felt were the CAUSAL relationships.

    You’re a science fiction writer. You may want to study real science, and even =do= some science. I realize this is an ad homme, but when a science fiction writer accuses me of being statistically illiterate, I really have to wonder if the person knows the difference between science and science fiction.

    Hint: One is =fiction=.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 9 Jun 2010 @ 9:15 PM

  380. Bob (Sphaerica) says:
    9 June 2010 at 3:21 PM

    A fantastic new post just appeared over at WUWT. Absolutely magnificent.

    It proves that there is a direct correlation between the temperature increase and CO2 increase, and uses this as evidence that (wait for it) increasing temperatures cause increased CO2.”
    That’s not unreasonable; in fact, it’s expected.

    What Lon Hocker’s graphs show is a possible correlation between the global temperature and rate of carbon dioxide rise. I could see this being possible from either a direct effect of the air temperature or because La Niña enhances the absorption rate and is associated with cooler temperatures. Whether the size of the effect he appears to observe is in agreement with current theory I don’t know.

    Now Lon’s conclusion, that “the rise in CO2 is a result of the temperature anomaly, not the other way around”, looks completely unjustified to me.

    Comment by NoPreview NoName — 9 Jun 2010 @ 9:50 PM

  381. Oh, I’ve been a Federal Employee, and am all too aware of the power of regulation versus law. Now, then, regulatory bodies have their place – I want us to have an OSHA, Fish and Game, etc. – but giving the EPA a broad brush to regulate CO2 emissions is handing them the keys to the nation’s treasury. They’ll be setting economic policy.

    Once the regulation is in place, Congress has to over-ride it in most cases with a law. Few regulations are simply terminated or reversed after a Congressional hearing, no matter how pointed.

    On GM crops: Wow, lots of noise in the signal. GM crops, by and large, are tweaks to our existing ones, not miraculous new strains. Some of them are really good – they came up with a variety of rice that can withstand being submerged for two weeks and survive. This is a boon for when the rainy season gets a bit too rainy (the “normal” rice can only live two or three days at most). Golden rice, OTOH, looked like a similar boon but was rejected. It’s flood and drought resistent, does well against insects and fungus, has a superior yield, and tastes like crap. If push comes to shove will people adopt it? Yeah, if it’s golden rice or nothing, but they’ll make it a distant option.

    There’s going to be some hits and misses in developing new varieties of crops, but it is definately worth pursuing.

    We know that people will adopt an inferior variety of a foodstuff if there is no alternative. The bannana we eat today would have been rejected in the 1950’s; nobody seriously cultivated them. But a worldwide fungus made the popular variety for all purposes extinct, so they went with the next best thing.

    For large portions of the globe there is a serious crop problem when it comes to varieties. You’re not going to grow rice or wheat in Indonesia, as an example. The soil just won’t support it, let alone the climate. Hell, potatoes won’t grow there.

    On the GDP discussion, perhaps a cut down the middle? Altering the climate is going to make things tougher, all things considered equally. However, the base line of potential GDP for a given area, particularly in Africa, is hard to establish. The GDP’s of African nations are so skewed by mismanagement of resources due to war, colonialism, dictatorships, ad nauseum, that “normal GDP” is anything but what should be normal.

    I’m glad somebody mentioned the SW USA and viability of cities. My crystal ball says that in the next 50 years cities are going to shrink considerably there. They’ve already outgrown their water resources today and it’s only going to get drier. However, the SE USA is projected in the short term to get wetter, so look for a continuation of migration to the South. We don’t mind it, as a Western drawl is easily converted to a Southern one. ;)

    Comment by Frank Giger — 9 Jun 2010 @ 11:20 PM

  382. NG:”Gilles, your bad faith is quite obvious to most people here. The fact that extracting and using fossil fuels is currently profitable does not imply that we cannot develop an industrial civilisation that does not depend on them; and you are clearly not stupid enough to be unable to see this.”

    I disagree, and this is not bad faith : the fact that NOWHERE , NEVER, an industrial civilization has been developed without FF makes VERY LIKELY that producing things without FF is much more expensive that with them, since if it weren’t true , it would be very unlikely that no country (including those deprived of them) wouldn’t have chosen another solution. Since exhaustion of its natural gas and coal, for instance, France has almost no domestic FF production. It has made a huge effort (the hugest in the world) to develop nuclear power – which has indeed a significative effect on his CO2 production, among one of the best in western Europe. And it has also a fair hydroelectric production. Significative, but very far from 100 % – still 70 % of its energu comes from fossil fuels (not including the thermal losses of nuclear plants, which represent an significant part of the total) . As far as I know, this ratio has not changed for 20 years. Why ? why do conservation if it were so easy to replace them ? why not impose to developing countries to use only renewables, since they are the main drivers of CO2 increase especially with coal ? why SOME fossil free technique are indeed used (hydropower) where we can , but NEVER at 100 % scale? this doesn’t make sense, if it were possible : we KNOW that fossil fuel will be soon exhausted, and that they may be poisoning our atmosphere – so why is it so difficult to go out of them? and if it is so difficult, how can you state so firmly that it will be done without harm ?

    Comment by Gilles — 10 Jun 2010 @ 12:38 AM

  383. FurryCatHerder says: 9 June 2010 at 9:15 PM

    You’re a science fiction writer. [blah-blah]

    I would not be surprised to hear that you occasionally or even regularly must clean your own toilets, FCH. What does that have to do with what you say here? Are your skills are limited to cleaning toilets?

    No.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Jun 2010 @ 2:04 AM

  384. “Oh, I’ve been a Federal Employee, and am all too aware of the power of regulation versus law.”

    Uh, their regulation IS law. There’s a law giving them the right. Look at the FCC who during Bush’s reign pushed phone companies into a non-regulated zone. Then when the ISPs were acting like abusive monopolies and the FCC wanted to regulate them, the Supreme Court said they couldn’t because the ISPs were not regulated under the statute they attempted and suggested either putting them back under the regulated regime or using a different regulatory framework.

    This is called “oversight”.

    [edit – just stop]

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Jun 2010 @ 3:00 AM

  385. PS Frank, tell me how they’d manage health and safety with laws rather than regulation. Do you know how many senators know about engineering and can therefore make a law themselves about such practices safely? None to few. So what do they do? They ask for lobby efforts or get specia lists in to draft laws for them.

    In what way is this different from a regulatory body?

    Except, of course, that the regulatory body HAS oversight whereas the lobby group or “expert” (the quotes holding there very strongly for the US Republicans getting Chris Monckton in as their “expert” on climate change science…) gets NONE.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Jun 2010 @ 3:03 AM

  386. “What Lon Hocker’s graphs show is a possible correlation between the global temperature and rate of carbon dioxide rise. I could see this being possible from either a direct effect of the air temperature or because La Niña enhances the absorption rate and is associated with cooler temperatures.”

    What Lon Hocker’s graph doesn’t show is where all our burnt fossil fuel CO2 is going.

    When someone dies, their brain dies. So the fact that I shot someone doesn’t mean I killed them: their brain dying killed them! ABSOLUTE CORRELATION!!!

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Jun 2010 @ 3:05 AM

  387. “Seems that you can’t argue without being rough.”

    Seems like you can’t argue.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Jun 2010 @ 3:08 AM

  388. “And it has also a fair hydroelectric production. Significative, but very far from 100 % – still 70 % of its energu comes from fossil fuels”

    How long did it take to move from steam powered locomotives (coal) to diesel (petroleum)?

    Was your granddaddy sitting around going “It’ll never take off, we’re still using mostly horses here, 20% of people are using cars, but still mostly horses. Significant, but very far from 100%”?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Jun 2010 @ 3:12 AM

  389. Frank Giger says: 9 June 2010 at 11:20 PM

    “You’re not going to grow rice or wheat in Indonesia…”

    That was surprising to me. Checking Wikipedia, I see Indonesia is currently the worlds fourth-largest producer of rice.

    Perhaps you meant corn?

    Comment by NoPreview NoName — 10 Jun 2010 @ 3:46 AM

  390. CFU :”How long did it take to move from steam powered locomotives (coal) to diesel (petroleum)?

    Was your granddaddy sitting around going “It’ll never take off, we’re still using mostly horses here, 20% of people are using cars, but still mostly horses. Significant, but very far from 100%”?”

    You miss the point. Once these devices have started to develop, there hasn’t been any stagnation in their growth rate.

    Comment by Gilles — 10 Jun 2010 @ 4:10 AM

  391. Any comments on this:

    A cross examination of global warming science conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Law and Economics has concluded that virtually every claim advanced by global warming proponents fail to stand up to scrutiny. It was carried out by Jason Scott Johnston, Professor and Director of the Program on Law, Environment and Economy and found that “on virtually every major issue in climate change science, the [reports of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] and other summarizing work by leading climate establishment scientists have adopted various rhetorical strategies that seem to systematically conceal or minimize what appear to be fundamental scientific uncertainties or even disagreements.”

    Read more: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2010/06/06/legal-verdict-manmade-global-warming-science-doesn%E2%80%99t-withstand-scrutiny/#ixzz0qN6gYmTj

    The actual “cross examination” is here:

    http://www.probeinternational.org/UPennCross.pdf

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 10 Jun 2010 @ 4:30 AM

  392. NG:”Gilles, your bad faith is quite obvious to most people here. The fact that extracting and using fossil fuels is currently profitable does not imply that we cannot develop an industrial civilisation that does not depend on them; and you are clearly not stupid enough to be unable to see this.”

    Gilles: I disagree, and this is not bad faith : the fact that NOWHERE , NEVER, an industrial civilization has been developed without FF makes VERY LIKELY that producing things without FF is much more expensive that with them, since if it weren’t true , it would be very unlikely that no country (including those deprived of them) wouldn’t have chosen another solution.

    You are goalpost-shifting. You claimed that the fact that fossil fuels are being used to power the growth of India and China showed that an industrial civilisation without them is impossible. It does nothing of the kind, as I pointed out. So you attempt to distract attention from your false claim by shifting to a different one.

    To deal with your shifted goalposts: whether energy sources other than fossil fuels can support an industrial society clearly depends on the technology and infrastructure available. Currently, such a society is not possible, because we do not have the infrastructure or (in some respects) the technology; that does not imply that it will remain so. Again, this is such an elementary point that it is impossible to believe you do not understand it. The fact that the development of industrial society (and there is, in fact, only one such society, global in scope) has depended on fossil fuels does not show that it will remain so: it also depended crucially at various stages on the horse, on whale oil, on charcoal, on canals dug by hand, on steam locomotives, on mechanical calculators – on a vast range of raw materials, products and skills that are now either completely obsolete or clearly inessential.

    You note that fossil fuels are finite. You claim that industrial society will necessarily collapse without them. Yet you oppose any attempt to reduce their use. One can only conclude that you want industrial society to collapse as soon as possible. As to why you want to see human misery on the scale that this would cause, I have no idea. Can you enlighten me?

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 10 Jun 2010 @ 6:11 AM

  393. “A cross examination of global warming science conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Law and Economics has concluded that virtually every claim advanced by global warming proponents fail to stand up to scrutiny.”

    Comment 1: It’s not global warming science
    Comment 2: Law and Economics have WHAT training in science?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Jun 2010 @ 7:04 AM

  394. “You miss the point. Once these devices have started to develop, there hasn’t been any stagnation in their growth rate.”

    Yes there was. 1920’s. 1950’s Europe.

    And there’s no stagnation in the growth rate of the renewables.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Jun 2010 @ 7:05 AM

  395. RE #331 and #378.

    Yes, it’s worth watching the methane/Arctic situation closely. However, I’m a bit concerned about some of the argumentation here. Edward, ccpo, you seem to be arguing:

    1. That even if we did *immediately* go to zero emissions it still wouldn’t stop the Arctic sea-ice melting.

    2. That with the Summer sea ice gone, that will set off so much in extra methane emissions that the world will still warm uncontrollably (i.e. back to PETM temperatures, or even worse create loads of methane fuel-air explosions).

    The problem is that if you push that line, the current climate skeptics can just change tack. They have three possible responses.

    – You’re being insanely alarmist. I’m just not listening any more.

    – Since you believe we’re all doomed anyway, why shouldn’t we use our remaining time on Earth to have one last party (and burn all the oil, coal, gas, trees etc. we need to in the process)?

    – Our only hope of survival is now some form of geo-engineering and/or an accelerated space travel program. We will need a strongly-growing economy for either of those, so again we should burn all the fossil fuels, trees etc. that we need to.

    Probably not the conclusions you were hoping for!

    It seems to me the right conclusions are:

    1. We are in a deep deep hole and making it deeper by the day.
    2. The hole is a very unpleasant place to be in but still livable. It gets less livable the deeper we go.
    3. We really need to stop digging. This means, stop emitting as soon as is *technically* possible. This is much much sooner than what is currently deemed *politically* possible.
    4. Having stopped digging, we will still need to find a way to get oursleves out of the hole (e.g. by CO2 extraction from the atmosphere).

    Comment by Dr Nick Bone — 10 Jun 2010 @ 7:13 AM

  396. Lynn #391,

    A really quick comment: This is hilarious!

    Prof. Jason Scott Johnston builds this tract around the conceit that he’s acting like a trial lawyer conducting a cross-examination of a hostile expert witness (viz., “the IPCC and other carriers of the establishment climate story”).

    Usually, in a “cross-examination”, there’s an actual expert witness who gets to take the stand and answer back. No such disturbing elements here.

    Here, there’s just Prof. Johnston. You have to picture him standing in an empty courtroom, delivering his monologue growing increasingly pleased with the sound of his own voice and with the obvious force of his arguments — as not a single word is raised in rebuttal, for Johnston is savaging the witness’s record in front of an empty witness stand.

    Since the author’s at U. Penn., his treatment of the “hockey-stick” is particularly interesting. There’s a good litmus test for seeing if a hockey-stick-toting debater has got a clue, and yes, he fails it:

    In the IPCC’s 2007 Assessment Report, there is no hockey stick graph. (…) Why would the IPCC (…) delete the famous (or infamous) hockey-stick graph (…)?

    *Ehem.* http://www.ipcc.ch/graphics/ar4-wg1/jpg/fig-6-10.jpg

    Incidentally, he also misquotes the IPCC 2001 TAR, omitting “likely” from its description of the 1990s/1998 as likely to have been the warmest in the NH for 1,000 years.

    And that’s just p. 15.

    And he talks about “rhetorical strategies”. Wow.

    Comment by CM — 10 Jun 2010 @ 7:37 AM

  397. Further to LLynne’s question, I’ve looked, but there’s no cross-examination there.

    It’s all cherry picks without any party there to cross examine.

    A trial with the accused in absentia is no fair trial.

    There’s absolutely no quantifying of their statements either. Where they say there are large uncertainties in some records, there’s nothing about whether the uncertainties cover areas that invalidate the position.

    After all, if a bomb under my ass could go off “any minute now” or in days, that’s a big error in when my hips pass my ears. This in no way means I can breathe a sigh of relief: no matter how wide the margin, there’s still a bomb under there.

    It’s actually a great example of projection: it proclaims the IPCC use rhetorical tricks and cherry picking but is actually entirely made from rhetorical devices and cherry picking.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Jun 2010 @ 7:51 AM

  398. They also state as if they were scientists that the troposphere is affected by solar UV changes and, more damningly, on the GCR proposition that has had no measurement made to discern any reliable effect.

    They are talking of the science as if they are scientists yet are not. They are writing something that states it is a legal cross examination of the IPCC yet it isn’t. They state errors without stating their actual effect, merely leaving it there to infer their message.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Jun 2010 @ 7:56 AM

  399. Rod 376: Which says the claim/study that it is negatively correlated is 100% flat-ass wrong.

    BPL: Either show they used the wrong data or show they did the math wrong, because the correlation is a simple mathematical function of the values.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Jun 2010 @ 8:43 AM

  400. Furry 379: You’re a science fiction writer. You may want to study real science, and even =do= some science. I realize this is an ad homme, but when a science fiction writer accuses me of being statistically illiterate, I really have to wonder if the person knows the difference between science and science fiction.

    BPL: “Ad hominem.” Please, Furry, don’t tell my old professors I don’t know anything about “real science.” They might take back my degree in physics. And don’t let the Tripoli Science Association know, either. I’m not the president any more, but it could be a black mark on my record.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Jun 2010 @ 8:47 AM

  401. FG 381: The bannana we eat today would have been rejected in the 1950’s; nobody seriously cultivated them.

    BPL: “I’m Chiquita Banana, and I’m here to say
    Bananas must be treated in a very strange way…
    For bananas love the climate of
    the very very tropical equator!
    So you must never put bananas
    In the refrigerator!”

    -Ad for Chiquita Bananas from the 1940s, parodying popular Brazilian-American singer Carmen Miranda.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Jun 2010 @ 9:41 AM

  402. Gilles 382: the fact that NOWHERE , NEVER, an industrial civilization has been developed without FF makes VERY LIKELY that producing things without FF is much more expensive that with them, since if it weren’t true , it would be very unlikely that no country (including those deprived of them) wouldn’t have chosen another solution.

    BPL: I doubt James Watt knew about the photoelectric effect, or how to make biodiesel, or test windmill designs in wind tunnels or computer simulation.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Jun 2010 @ 9:42 AM

  403. To Nick Bone at #395:

    You seem to be saying that you limit what conclusions you draw about the state of the world based, not on data, but on what denialists might make of your conclusions.

    I prefer to ascertain, as best I can, the truth of the matter based on the evidence, and not try to second guess what someone else will make of it, particularly denialists (who will just say whatever they plan to say, no matter what the data tells us.)

    Just for an example, other responses that might come from seeing clearly the high probability that we have already set off a chain reaction of feedbacks that will inevitably lead to runaway global warming, might include:

    –universal outrage at the corrupt institutions and individuals who have most fostered and profited by this catastrophe

    –a deep understanding of and remorse about our common role in the destruction of the only planet we have, leading to a profoundly penitential humility

    –a strong desire not to contribute further to her demise by living as simply as possible–even if you have been abusing your grandmother all your life, it is still a good and respectful thing to stop kicking her in the face when she is going into terminal decline…

    I can imagine many other responses people might have upon becoming aware that we have really and truly committed murder on the largest scale imaginable, depriving all future generations of a livable planet. Certainly, denial, despair, and abandon will be among them.

    Comment by wili — 10 Jun 2010 @ 10:12 AM

  404. Gee, BPL (399), it ain’t that hard. Take the global temps from, say, 1910 to 2010. Then compare them with the global GDP from 1910 to 2010. (Or use any reasonable convenient period between about 1880 and 2010.) Run a quick correlation. Is it negative or not?

    This is getting like a Chinese torture…

    Comment by Rod B — 10 Jun 2010 @ 10:17 AM

  405. It seems to me that the biggest problem with the “climate cross-examination” Lynn pointed to is its misuse (which it itself encourages, IMO.)

    What I mean by that is that a “cross-examination” is conducted *by an advocate.* This point is made pretty explicit by the writer himself when he likens the mainstream science to a “hostile witness.” Yet at other points in the introduction, the implication seems to be that the document is somehow “impartial,” and its [mis]use in blogspace seems to imply this understanding of it on the part of the posters presenting it. (Or, less charitably, to imply that they expect readers to receive it so.)

    Yet as you get into the body of the piece, it becomes evident that (as CFU says) it is nothing of the sort. The emphasis on the “hockey stick” is rather telling in itself. So is the distortion around that incident–see the comments upthread on that, and note, too, the weight given to the Academy report on the affair versus the Wegman report, which we now know–thanks to DeepClimate–had serious issues of its own.

    Another point was the treatment of the “tropical tropospheric trends” issue. The point/counter-point with Douglas, et al. vs. Santer et al. was acknowledged–though not, of course, the degree to which the Douglas paper was demolished–but Bengtsson & Hodges, 2009 was used to cast doubt on the mainstream science. The summary from the “cross”:

    [B & H 2009] “found that the observations did not confirm the model’s prediction
    of differential warming in the tropical troposphere (versus tropical sea surface
    temperatures).”

    But that seems to me to go beyond what the paper actually claims. Sometimes “abstractese” can be misleadingly cautious, though, so expert comment and/or correction is invited:

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/d4363685t8465n4q/

    What the abstract seems to actually say is that 1) UAH may be more nearly correct than RSS; and 2) possibly “the models have a minor systematic warm bias in the upper troposphere.” I suppose these formulations could be parsed in various ways, but I hardly think Johnston’s interpretation is self-evidently correct. Ideally, you’d want to go back to the paper and see what the actual numbers say. Of course, it’s paywalled, but perhaps some with access would care to comment further?

    It was around that point that I decided that debunking this piece was best left to folks better-equipped with mathematical tools, journal access, and free time than I am at present. I’d seen enough to convince me that evidence was being presented in a very selective manner, and being spun to support a clear denialist position.

    In short, as I said above: it’s advocacy, not honest inquiry. And it’s OK for Johnston to advocate, I suppose: I advocate myself. But let’s not pretend he’s acting like a judge–he’s a lawyer all the way on this one.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 10 Jun 2010 @ 10:19 AM

  406. NoPreview NoName says:
    9 June 2010 at 9:50 PM

    That’s not unreasonable; in fact, it’s expected.

    Apologies, I was being purposely obtuse, because I figured most people here would get it instantly, but to make it perfectly clear for lurkers…

    Yes, obviously CO2 correlates to temperature increase, that’s what we’ve been saying all along, that’s the main point, and WUWT, despite all other protestations, has found fit to publish “proof” of that exact correlation.

    What is comical is that, utterly without supporting evidence or even an attempt at evidence, they declare that cause and effect are definitively the inverse of current scientific opinion, and warming causes a proportional CO2 feedback response, not vice versa… and yet they explicitly state that they still have no idea what is causing the warming (it’s a real puzzler, that one).

    This is, of course, in addition to their constant braying that there is actually no warming at all (but if there were, which there’s not, it would be creating the extra CO2, not vice versa, but it’s not, so it isn’t, so go back to work and buy lots of plastic thingies and drive really big cars as much as you can and live your life in blissful peace and ignorance).

    The laughable irony is so thick, you could melt it with a green house gas.

    Gotta love it.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 10 Jun 2010 @ 10:32 AM

  407. Lynn Vincentnathan says:
    10 June 2010 at 4:30 AM

    Any comments on this: … UPennCross.pdf

    My own opinion is that it is a very clever marketing trick. Repackage every argument ever made about AGW into a long (82 pages), tiresome, lawyerly document and label it a “cross examination.” This gives the pleasing and easily swallowed illusion that it is fair, because it is part of our wonderful, revered, constitutional western-civilization style judicial system.

    Which, of course, is very far from the truth, since in a real trial events would be interactive, and you would have seen the other side actually present its own evidence prior to listening to the cross examination, and that could in turn be followed by counter arguments.

    But this is a written document, so it gets to present “the other side’s” evidence any way it wants, limiting it to what it wants you to see, and always with the tone of a cross examining, adversarial lawyer.

    This also all presumes that something as complex and involved as any branch of science could be “tried and judged in a court of law” using legal methods. Can you imagine how a trial of the theory of relativity would go? Certainly this is, in a way, piggy backing on the idea of the Scopes trial, although the subject there was not the truth of evolution, but rather a teacher’s right to teach it. And we all know how that went.

    Lastly, its very nature conveys the underlying connotation that those that believe in AGW have committed some crime, and must defend themselves.

    People don’t even need to actually read it, and it is very hard to get through. Just it’s existence and nature serve to cast doubt, and to give blog-deniers a document to wave and say “see, what about this? what’s your answer to this? Hah!”

    As I said, it’s a clever (and despicable) marketing trick, but why am I not surprised?

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 10 Jun 2010 @ 10:43 AM

  408. LOL, yes, I meant to write corn instead of rice for Indonesia. Good catch.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 10 Jun 2010 @ 10:44 AM

  409. On regulation (sorry for the double postings):

    Again, I’m not saying we shouldn’t have regulatory agencies.

    I am saying that when a regulatory agency is given sweeping powers to regulate the totality of the economy that’s a bad thing. With the EPA being given total control of all things CO2, they usurp the power of every other portion of the government. The Fed can print or shrink currency, monkey with interest rates, etc. as a nice side show, but the economy is being planned and directed by the EPA. And as pointed out, it can take Supreme Court intervention to undo regulation decisions – not a speedy process.

    It’s a power I don’t want to hand over to a regulatory agency under either a Democrat or Republican administration.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 10 Jun 2010 @ 10:53 AM

  410. NG : “You are goalpost-shifting. You claimed that the fact that fossil fuels are being used to power the growth of India and China showed that an industrial civilisation without them is impossible.”
    Wrong, I didn’t claim that, and I’m somewhat tired to correct indefinitely misquotations of what I said. I said that NO industrial growth, anywhere in the world, has been sustained without FF.

    NG : “Currently, such a society is not possible, because we do not have the infrastructure or (in some respects) the technology; that does not imply that it will remain so.”
    You can say that for every consequence of climate change : currently , it produces that and that, but that doesn’t imply it will remain so. If you start imagining another world, you can’t say anything on the possible consequences of GW. GW may kill the civilization exactly like disappearance of FF may kill the civilization.Current evidence is much stronger for the second case than for the first one.
    NG : “Yet you oppose any attempt to reduce their use”
    Wrong, I never opposed that. Why should I ? I’m just warning that reducing their use to almost zero (which is necessary for the “commitment” to keep below 450 ppm for instance) would kill the civilization probably more surely than the GW associated with 500 ppm. Now it’s up to you to choose what you want – I’m just observing the real choices made by real people in the real world, and I think they’re very clear. But I’m just an observer, not an advocate.

    “You miss the point. Once these devices have started to develop, there hasn’t been any stagnation in their growth rate.”

    Yes there was. 1920’s. 1950’s Europe.”
    Number of cars stagnated in the 50’s in Europe? didn’t know that.

    http://www.globaltrees.co.uk/dev/UserFiles/Image/cars_resized.jpg
    “And there’s no stagnation in the growth rate of the renewables.”
    Wrong, there is : hydropower has stagnated in most western countries, wind energy saturates around 20% of electricity, meaning less than 10% of total energy. And if renewables could replace all FF, it requires first that we should power all the society with electricity, except biomass that can hardly insure 10% of current needs. But tell me why France wouldn’t have achieved that with nuclear power , although people in the 60’s said exactly for the nuke what you’re saying for renewables?

    Comment by Gilles — 10 Jun 2010 @ 11:21 AM

  411. Michael Gratzel has been awarded 2010 millennium technology prize.

    “Gratzel’s (solar) cells, which promise electricity-generating windows and low-cost solar panels, have just made their debut in consumer products.”

    “Costs per watt generated could, if early promise is borne out, eventually fall well below those for conventional power generation…”

    http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com/view/10126/michael-gratzel-awarded-2010-millennium-technology-prize/

    Could this be the technology breakthrough that turns the tide? (dare I say, game changer?)

    Pete

    Comment by Pete Wirfs — 10 Jun 2010 @ 11:50 AM

  412. 372, Completely Fed Up: So why are we waiting 20 more years again?

    I took the figure of 20 years from your post that I cited. I think that it is reasonable for the point that you made.

    But, to address your question, “we” are not “waiting”, so the question has a counterfactual implied premise. If the current exponential growth in alternative energy supply continues for 20 more years, then humans will be generating about 1000 times as much energy from alternative sources as humans do now, i.e. about 10 doublings. The transition to a fossil-fuel-free economy won’t be cheap (or “magic” or “panacea”) — it will be capital and labor intensive, as it has been, and it will for a while entail higher energy costs, as it has done. But my reading to date does not support the idea that humans will have reached an upper limit to what energy can be harvested by the developing technologies. Before very much longer, alternatives will become cheaper than oil, and after much longer than that alternatives will become cheaper than coal (except insofar as people start bidding up the price.)

    There was no point to your linking me with Gilles. I wrote in support of your assertion, and in opposition to his. Mistakes like that reduce your rhetorical effectiveness.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 10 Jun 2010 @ 12:32 PM

  413. 370 Bob, from the WUWT blog: “Using the n+6 and n=6 values (CO2 levels six months before and six months after) cancels out the annual variations of CO2 levels that is seen in the Mauna Loa data, ”

    So he removes the long term CO2 rise and is left with the amount of CO2 rise caused by temperature. Seems fairly reasonable. His conclusion doesn’t follow, though. This reminds me of the Weather/Climate issue with Watts having found a nifty trick to determine weather, and jumping to the conclusion that climate is forced by weather.

    Comment by RichardC — 10 Jun 2010 @ 12:37 PM

  414. NASA: May was warmest ever globally both for land+sea (+0.63C http://bit.ly/GISlandoc), and for land only (+0.83C http://bit.ly/GISland)

    Comment by Kees van der Leun — 10 Jun 2010 @ 2:51 PM

  415. “Lynn Vincentnathan says:
    10 June 2010 at 4:30 AM

    Any comments on this: … UPennCross.pdf”

    It’s another wonderful example of how climate science denialism has adopted so many of the tactics employed by creationists in order to ‘debunk” modern evolutionary biology.

    In this case, it’s a case of “Darwin on Trial” being revamped for the climate science denialism community.

    Comment by dhogaza — 10 Jun 2010 @ 3:01 PM

  416. Bob, re: latest beach boy topping the WUWT charts,
    What RichardC (#413) said. Sounds like a remix of last year’s McLean, de Freitas, and Carter hit single, with CO2 added (see the RC Wiki McLean page for links). On interannual CO2 variation, where it comes from (not the ocean), and how long we’ve known it’s linked with the PDO, see AR4, 7.3.2.4.

    Comment by CM — 10 Jun 2010 @ 3:11 PM

  417. Prof. Jason Scott Johnston, a lawyer, reminds me a bit of Philip E. Johnson, also a lawyer, who decided to indict and Darwin and then find him guilty.

    Needless to say, legal argument is not designed to establish scientific truth, and any lawyer who decides to use it for that end, is overstepping the bounds of his competence.

    In courts, sensible judges pay attention to what scientists say as witnesses, not what lawyers try to characterize them as saying. That is what happened in the Dover, PA “intelligent design” case.

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 10 Jun 2010 @ 3:13 PM

  418. “412
    Septic Matthew says:
    10 June 2010 at 12:32 PM

    372, Completely Fed Up: So why are we waiting 20 more years again?

    I took the figure of 20 years from your post that I cited.”

    Sorry, SM, you’ve misread. That wasn’t why I was asking the question. I wasn’t insinuating you were seeking a 20 year wait.

    I was asking why wait 20 years before we start working on changing over to non-fossil fuel works.

    Gullible of course has the idea that this is impossible (though since all modern societies have had ME alive during them, this must mean on my death, modern society will crash).

    Waiting 20 years to prove it to him is pointless.

    [edit]

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Jun 2010 @ 3:15 PM

  419. “Number of cars stagnated in the 50’s in Europe? didn’t know that. ”

    So now we’re talking only about cars, not about production and economic growth?

    Where did them goalposts go???

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Jun 2010 @ 3:16 PM

  420. “I am saying that when a regulatory agency is given sweeping powers to regulate the totality of the economy that’s a bad thing.”

    STRAWMAN!!!!

    The EPA won’t.

    The EPA will be given powers to regulate pollution.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Jun 2010 @ 3:17 PM

  421. “Could this be the technology breakthrough that turns the tide?”

    Pete, wind is already cheaper than coal.

    However, there’s a huge monied lobby with a decided interest in avoiding people leaving their product.

    When PV becomes far cheaper, they will merely turn to other measures of cost or even outright lies to avoid it.

    And, being monied, they will be listened to.

    Being “green” technology, there are many bigots who will dismiss any proposal for using them, merely because they’re “green”.

    However, this is all like the little boy with his finger in the seawall. The tide changed years ago. But the little boy is still trying to kid on there’s nothing changing.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Jun 2010 @ 3:24 PM

  422. Completely Fed Up says: 10 June 2010 at 3:17 PM

    The EPA will be given powers to regulate pollution.

    And has done so, for a little under 40 years now. The economy continues to function in its own bizarre way.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Jun 2010 @ 3:57 PM

  423. And a world record for 2010 sofar as well: Jan-May 2010 was warmest ever globally both for land+sea (+0.72C http://bit.ly/GISlandoc), and for land only (+0.90C http://bit.ly/GISland)

    Comment by Kees van der Leun — 10 Jun 2010 @ 4:12 PM

  424. Wrong, I never opposed that. Why should I ? I’m just warning that reducing their use to almost zero (which is necessary for the “commitment” to keep below 450 ppm for instance) would kill the civilization probably more surely than the GW associated with 500 ppm. Now it’s up to you to choose what you want – I’m just observing the real choices made by real people in the real world, and I think they’re very clear. But I’m just an observer, not an advocate. – Gilles

    I’ll leave everyone else to judge whether this is an accurate account.

    But tell me why France wouldn’t have achieved that with nuclear power

    *sigh* Because fossil fuels have remained cheaper for many applications (partly due to the failure to price in externalities); and because the infrastructure to use them for road, sea and air transport already existed, while that for electricity-based alternatives did not (for air transport, of course, there are still no such alternatives at all). The French civil nuclear power programme, of course, was developed primarily for strategic and not economic reasons; it is and always has been intimately linked with the desire to possess nuclear weapons. There was no incentive to attempt to convert everything to electric power.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 10 Jun 2010 @ 4:25 PM

  425. 375, Gavin…. Well, I hope we will be not civil to outright liars, arm chair accredited or not pundits spewing nonsense. I dont hesitate in saying what I think of them, which usually is already greatly refrained from what I really want to write. Also I am concerned that gallantry does not resonate with the public in general, contrarians do not hesitate in using any word in the defamatory catalogue, I hope we can continue connecting without being like them, but worry about the effectiveness of blunt enunciations, left answered politely, with grace and candor is often not enough. Perhaps more formulations explained again and again in as many ways possible, this is the gallantry needed, unlimited patience in repeating the same correct science without popping a fuse. I disagree in being polite with liars, I rather them exposed very often until they recant and apologize…

    Comment by wayne davidson — 10 Jun 2010 @ 4:54 PM

  426. CFU :“Number of cars stagnated in the 50’s in Europe? didn’t know that. ”

    So now we’re talking only about cars, not about production and economic growth?

    Where did them goalposts go???”

    Seems that you got lost in the thread, CFU . I was answering #394, that was answering#390 :

    “Was your granddaddy sitting around going “It’ll never take off, we’re still using mostly horses here, 20% of people are using cars, but still mostly horses. Significant, but very far from 100%”?”

    You miss the point. Once these devices have started to develop, there hasn’t been any stagnation in their growth rate.”

    I was talking of cars, not GDP.

    424:”sigh* Because fossil fuels have remained cheaper for many applications (partly due to the failure to price in externalities);

    Oh yeeah here we agree ! so for you, replacing something cheaper by something more expensive has no implication on growth rate ?

    look at that :

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6542

    ” The French civil nuclear power programme, of course, was developed primarily for strategic and not economic reasons; it is and always has been intimately linked with the desire to possess nuclear weapons. There was no incentive to attempt to convert everything to electric power.”
    you’re totally wrong on several points; first nuclear reactors are useless to produce nuclear weapons : military grade plutonium must be produced in devoted small reactors with a short residence time to avoid poisoining by other actinides. second the nuclear program was really developped to get rid of the dependency on oil – only partly successful of course. And there were very strong incentive to convert all possible consumption to electricity ; from industrial uses to electrical heating. The remaining FF uses were simply not possible to replace easily. The same of course with countries with a lot of hydropower like Quebec or Norway, or geothermal power like Iceland – they are very far from using zero fossil, although they have plenty of renewable electricity.

    You’re just living in your dreams, I live in the reality.

    Comment by Gilles — 10 Jun 2010 @ 5:58 PM

  427. [edit – sorry but nuclear is permanently off topic]

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 10 Jun 2010 @ 6:36 PM

  428. I live in the reality
    Gilles, your “reality” is so French:
    The same of course with countries with a lot of hydropower like Quebec“. :)
    The province of Quebec is quite like British Columbia, virtually all of their energy consumption is electricity aside from transportation fuel, which is the major use for FF everywhere [likely including France]. FF use [especially coal] for electricity generation or space heating is so 19th century. And FF use for transportation should be history before long.

    Comment by flxible — 10 Jun 2010 @ 9:00 PM

  429. Frank Giger,
    At some level, I share your concern about EPA regulation, although I think it is a little extreme to claim they are being given the keys to the economy. Energy is actually a decreasing proportion of the economy, and there are promising technologies near viability for increasing energy efficiency dramatically.

    I think the EPA’s focus is rather narrow and technocratic for a regulatory role with such broad implications. However, we also need to realize that we have a threat here that we cannot bound given present knowledge. Risk avoidance is really the only appropriate mitigation strategy until we remedy that.

    Keep in mind that energy infrastructure is going to require a drastic overhaul regardless of climate. All EPA oversight will do is tip the balance in favor of renewable–and perhaps nuclear–alternatives.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Jun 2010 @ 10:56 PM

  430. Septic Matthew says ” If the current exponential growth in alternative energy supply continues for 20 more years…”

    then all of us should be investing in alternative energy! Seriously, what you are talking about is akin to the impact of scaling in semiconductors through the mid-80s! Unfortunately, up to the mid 90s, scaling was driven by a physical recipe for how to shrink CMOS, and there is no analogous recipe for alternative energy. Rather, the renewable energy situation is more analogous to the situation since ~’95, when Moore’s law became a recipe for economic and commercial survival rather than physics. This has required a global–and very expensive–effort by the industry to resolve technical problems. A similar effort would likely be required for renewables.

    There is already an organic exponential trend in energy efficiency–expressed by Rosenfeld’s law–but it operates on a much slower timescale. However, again, it might be possible to exploit the already existing trend and significantly accelerate it.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Jun 2010 @ 11:06 PM

  431. Wayne Davidson 425: “I disagree in being polite with liars.”

    There’s a difference between polite and deferential. One of the things I’ve learned from RC is a style of communication. Much can be gained, perhaps, from assuming the best intentions of ones intellectual antagonist. BPL here is moved to crystalline clarity sometimes when he’s politely explaining something to someone who probably doesn’t deserve such patience. Gavin can and often does cut someone a new orifice, all with impeccable manners. Perhaps it’s not so much a question of pulling one’s punches as placing them more skillfully.

    Comment by Daniel Goodwin — 10 Jun 2010 @ 11:17 PM

  432. 381 & 409 Frank Giger: “giving the EPA a broad brush to regulate CO2 emissions is handing them the keys to the nation’s treasury.”
    NONSENSE.
    “giving the EPA a broad brush to regulate CO2 emissions is handing them the keys to the nation’s treasury. They’ll be setting economic policy.”
    Top Nonsense. Unless you own coal company stock. Shutting down the coal industry is the general idea, General. WE want them to have the power to shut down the coal industry. The coal industry and then the other fossil fuels MUST get shut down ASAP to prevent the extinction of the human race. MORE POWER TO THE EPA!!!!!

    391 Lynn Vincentnathan: That is one of the reasons why every college student, regardless of major, should be required to take the Engineering and Science Core Curriculum. People with degrees in music and everything else are allowed into law school. That is how we get completely crazy lawyers and judges who are victims of momistic impairment syndrome, like Oedipus. They NEED some contact with reality. They also need a laboratory course in probability and statistics.

    395 Dr Nick Bone: I don’t know what would set off the methane hydrates. I’m not pushing a line. Methane hydrates scare me. Methane hydrates need to be researched.
    Everybody who reads RC is insanely alarmist according to a lot of climate skeptics. I can’t worry about that.

    424 Nick Gotts: nuclear is permanently off topic.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 11 Jun 2010 @ 12:11 AM

  433. “FF use [especially coal] for electricity generation or space heating is so 19th century. And FF use for transportation should be history before long.”

    Sorry for calling Quebec a country, I couldn’t use Canada as a whole whose some provinces like Alberta rely heavily on FF (oopps why again?). As far as I know, absolutely no country can avoid at least 10 % of fossil fuel for adjusting electricity generation, except the very few relying on hydro or geothermal power that I cited. Electric heating in France has revealed to have some inconvenience , producing strong peaks of demand during the winter in evening, where the only plants that can react are… thermal FF ones. And I know no industrial country where less that 95 % of transportation relies on oil. Again if this replacement could be done without damage with electricity, I see no reason why it hasn’t been done yet.

    Tell me again, if it were that easy, why do the developing countries like China and India, who are basically developing their infrastructure just now, are so heavily refusing to limit their FF consumption ? they know very well that they are finite and will be exhausted within a few decades anyway , and they know very well about GW. Kind of genetic stupidity ? and are you aware of any country having developed in the XXth century based on the old fashioned horses, mechanical wind- and watermills, and wood heating?

    Again, you’re mixing two different arguments in a quite illogical way : extrapolation of known facts without assumption of any change in adaption capacity to evaluate the consequences of GW. And imagination and wishful thinking to evaluate the consequences of suppressing FF consumption. You can’t reasonably use so different ways of thinking when comparing the two. That’s if as I said you : many studies have shown that eating a lot causes heart diseases, so suppress your food, I’m sure you will find a way to live without it – and it’s proven by the fact that many people live with much less food than you.

    Comment by Gilles — 11 Jun 2010 @ 12:48 AM

  434. 415
    dhogaza says:
    10 June 2010 at 3:01 PM

    “Lynn Vincentnathan says:
    10 June 2010 at 4:30 AM

    Any comments on this: … UPennCross.pdf”

    It’s another wonderful example of how climate science denialism has adopted so many of the tactics employed by creationists in order to ‘debunk” modern evolutionary biology.

    In this case, it’s a case of “Darwin on Trial” being revamped for the climate science denialism community.”

    What a load of rubbish. This merely a diversionary tactic to take the discussion away from informed scientific debate.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 11 Jun 2010 @ 12:57 AM

  435. #428 Flxible

    http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-621-m/2005023/t/4054264-eng.htm

    Between 1990 and 2003, British columbia has increased its natural gas consumption by 23 % in absolute value, and its share from 33 to 35 %. Not for electricity generation, nor for transportation I presume, but most probably for heating. I has increased its coal consumption by 159 % ( !) ,and doubled its share from 1 to 2%. OK it’s low, but many “renewable growths” are on the same level- and I assume that they buy many things made of steel produced somewhere else.

    Primary electricity share has DECREASED from 23 % to 20 %, and has contributed only to 1 % of the growth of energy needs.

    Please stick on facts.

    Comment by Gilles — 11 Jun 2010 @ 1:37 AM

  436. “But tell me why France wouldn’t have achieved that with nuclear power

    *sigh* Because fossil fuels have remained cheaper for many applications (partly due to the failure to price in externalities); ”

    And nuclear power is one of the most expensive energy generation techniques. Gas being generally top.

    ‘course wind is about the cheapest. Denmark’s use of it has allowed them to export energy.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Jun 2010 @ 2:32 AM

  437. “You’re just living in your dreams, I live in the reality.”

    You owe me a new keyboard.

    I guess it’s true, the mad one is usually the last one to know.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Jun 2010 @ 2:34 AM

  438. Re #403

    These seem reasonable comments, but we need to distinguish two issues.

    1. What conclusions should we draw about the world’s climate system.

    I fully agree these should be evidence-based, and have indeed strived to read, understand and use the various lines of evidence publicly available (on Charney sensitivity, persistent fraction of emitted CO2, long-term Earth System Sensitivity because of albedo feedbacks, response of CO2 and methane to increased temperature). Please see my previous posts.

    When I put those lines of evidence together, they are telling me that the world we are committed to (based on emissions so far) is going to be bad for us, but not unprecedented in Paleo-history, and not such as to destroy life on Earth. I’m open to other lines of evidence of course, and will keep watching them.

    2. What arguments we then make in public fora, how we frame them, and what we hope to achieve by them.

    In this regard, I think it is perfectly proper to consider how such arguments are likely to be received, and hence whether the arguments we make help to achieve the objectives we hope for. I don’t think concentrating on the (slight) possibility that we’re already doomed is very helpful. If that possibility does become a probability of a near certainty, I’ll reconsider.

    Personally my objectives have been:

    – To try and share my analysis, find out if anyone has been doing something similar, and find out if it has any big flaws, or inconsistencies with other lines of evidence, which could then be pointed out and corrected. I haven’t seen anyone trying to put all the pieces together like this. Apart from the discussions on Arctic methane, and the odd comment that maybe my analysis is a bit “optimistic”, I also haven’t see anyone pointing out big flaws. Still open to that though.

    – To highlight that if we want to recover any sort of decent world out of this mess, we need to both stop emitting (asap) *and* start finding ways to extract a lot of the CO2 we’ve already emitted (i.e. clean up our mess). I haven’t seen a lot of discussion about the latter point at all i.e. what options are feasible, how safe are they, how much they would cost, how fast they could work and so on. For instance:

    Is it enough to plant lots of trees, char them and bury the biochar? Will that be enough, or do we need to do something more active?

    Does it make sense to grow biofuel, then burn it with Carbon Capture and Storage? How much could that help us get CO2 down?

    Are there any clever technologies that we should consider (like artificial trees/air capture devices), or are they just so expensive that no-one will ever use them?

    Are there any sensible ways to extract dissolved CO2 from the oceans?

    Comment by Dr Nick Bone — 11 Jun 2010 @ 4:01 AM

  439. Rod B 404: Gee, BPL (399), it ain’t that hard. Take the global temps from, say, 1910 to 2010. Then compare them with the global GDP from 1910 to 2010. (Or use any reasonable convenient period between about 1880 and 2010.) Run a quick correlation. Is it negative or not?

    BPL: Ever heard of “the spurious regression problem?” Did you account for autocorrelation in the residuals?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Jun 2010 @ 4:21 AM

  440. Gilles 426: nuclear reactors are useless to produce nuclear weapons

    BPL: I’ve never heard a more ill-informed statement.

    To power nuclear reactors you need facilities to ENRICH FUEL. And French reactors includes breeders. Plate a breeder core with U-238 and you get Guess What? by adding a neutron? That’s right, folks! Plutonium-239!

    Do your homework, Gilles.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Jun 2010 @ 4:30 AM

  441. Leonard 50#

    Thank you for your response. Not sure I understand your comment:-

    ” . . .and then he states his personal opinion: . . .”

    “Based on what I have read today the basic science of increases in CO2 warming the earth is well understood. It is just the feedback mechanisms that are less well known?”

    I was not attempting to state a “personal opinion” and if this is what you understood from what I wrote then either I used a poor choice of phrase or you simply mis-misunderstood what I wrote?

    So lets just assume that it was the former rather than “word smith” the comments.

    What I was attempting to do was to give a summary of what the current concensus is in this area (if this is personal opinion then it would probably be productive if to simply correct the points I have made) based on the readings I have made into this matter. This is what I think this is N.B. These are rouch cut approximations:-
    A – Earth’s Temperature is affected by the nature and make of the gases in the atmosphere. This accounts for approximately a 30C increase in current temperatures.
    B – Although C02 exists in relatively small amounts it accounts for a disproportionate effect on Temperature due to the frequencies at which it absorbs radiation. I have heard 25% of the warming is due to C02?
    C – Man is “articially” increasing the levels of CO2 do to consumption of fossil fuels and the levels are now greater than those seen for millions of years.
    D – The crucial question is then what will happen to the Earth’s temperature due to these increases i.e. If the changes will not impact the Earth for a 1,000 years then to be quite frank – who cares? The practical reality is that we have many more import changes to deal with before then (such as population, hunger etc.). On the other hand if these changes will have a castrophic effect in the next 50 years then this is probably the joint number 1 issue we need to deal (don’t forget about population!).
    E – It seems that the debate focuses around what will be the effect of double CO2 from pre-industrial levels? I assume this is because this is likely to happen but do not know the specific reasons why this number is choosen.
    F – Increasing CO2 will have two effects, Namely a primary effect and the effects of feedback (be it positive or negative).
    G – Based on what I have read the number for the primary effect is a 1C rise in Temp? I have not calculated this personally but looking at the physics involved this seems “relatively” easy to calculate? Please correct if I am wrong?
    H – The rest and almost certainly the most import element is the feedback mechanisms? My understanding is that the overall effect of this is not particular well know? You contend this is? I base my assumption on the fact that all cilmate models give a range of temperatures due double of CO2 which is quite large (I think these range from anything from 1C to 6C+ – which suggests at least to me there is some uncertainty here)?

    Back to the main point of my original text. Why not simply show the effects separately as this will allow people to focus on the specific issues that they disagree upon? E.g. Consider we had to come up with an estimated cost of building a house? Why not split these into material costs, land costs, labour costs etc and state these. By doing so we may find close agreement on several on these points and could then focus the debate on the cruial differences? This (to me at least) is a perfectly reasonable approach and struggle to understand why people would choose not to do this? I will of course draw my own conclusions if people just not too?

    Regards

    Comment by Neil — 11 Jun 2010 @ 5:47 AM

  442. CFU @ 436:

    ‘course wind is about the cheapest. Denmark’s use of it has allowed them to export energy.

    Yes and no.

    “Allowed” is the wrong word. “Forced” is a lot more accurate. Making wind power work economically requires producing everything that can be produced, and finding a way to use the excess whenever production exceeds demand. Regions, such as West Texas, that have large amounts of wind power relative to demand must have a place to send that power.

    I’m (hopefully) heading out to the Hill Country today. I’ll see if I can bring back photos of what happens when there’s too much wind and not enough storage.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 11 Jun 2010 @ 7:52 AM

  443. Neil,
    Where are you getting your information? Feedback mechanisms are fairly well understood at least to first level. What is more, we know that the overall effect of a doubling of CO2 is roughly a 3 degree rise in average global temps. We know this because about a dozen independent lines of evidence all favor this range of sensitivities. BTW, the doubling is somewhat arbitrary, but is chosen because of the logarithmic dependence of CO2 forcing on CO2 concentration–each doubing results in roughly the same increase in temperature over a broad range. The Start Here page has plenty of resources to help you learn this stuff. And many of us students will be happy to help you with specific questions if we can.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Jun 2010 @ 8:06 AM

  444. Richard Steckis:

    What a load of rubbish. This merely a diversionary tactic to take the discussion away from informed scientific debate.

    I’m glad that you agree with my assessment of why lawyers attempt to “disprove” science!

    Comment by dhogaza — 11 Jun 2010 @ 8:28 AM

  445. And a world record for 2010 sofar as well: Jan-May 2010 was warmest ever globally both for land+sea (+0.72C http://bit.ly/GISlandoc), and for land only (+0.90C http://bit.ly/GISland)

    And this is another reason that I believe the sole purpose of the GIS temperature set is producing ever higher, and completely invalid, temperature records.

    After seeing this claim, I went and looked at HadCRUT and it showed no such record, not by large amounts.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 11 Jun 2010 @ 8:58 AM

  446. Sceptic Matthew @ 412:

    Before very much longer, alternatives will become cheaper than oil, and after much longer than that alternatives will become cheaper than coal (except insofar as people start bidding up the price.)

    Alternatives already =are= cheaper than oil. It’s the initial cost that is the major hurdle. For just a few years worth of “gasoline consumption equivalent cost” (newly invented term …) one can construct a solar power system that provides =decades= of “gasoline consumption equivalent power”.

    The difference? I have to pay all of that “gasoline consumption equivalent cost” today, rather than over the next 7 years or so.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 11 Jun 2010 @ 9:14 AM

  447. “What is more, we know that the overall effect of a doubling of CO2 is roughly a 3 degree rise in average global temps. We know this because about a dozen independent lines of evidence all favor this range of sensitivities.”

    could you please indicate a one-sigma confidence interval of the retroaction f (such as the global sensitivity is multiplied by 1/(1-f) ?)

    Comment by Gilles — 11 Jun 2010 @ 9:21 AM

  448. Gilles: That’s as if I said you: many studies have shown that eating a lot causes heart diseases, so suppress your food, I’m sure you will find a way to live without it – and it’s proven by the fact that many people live with much less food than you.
    Actually Gilles, that’s a good analogy, except that you misuse the word “suppress”. It IS known that excessive food consumption is unhealthy – and there IS research showing longer-lived folks generally are those who consume fewer calories [and from “lower on the food chain”]. Quit equating drastic reduction of excess with total abstinance.

    Yes, FF are vital for a variety of “modern” uses, so instead of snorting it all up as fast as possible for financial gain [of a few], let’s slim down, get healthy, and live long. Burning a non-renewable resource isn’t rational.

    As for your take on BC’s energy use, I believe you’d find that the increase in NatGas use is a result of a switch away from wood and oil for space heating, as a result of CO2 reduction policy, as well as increased “industrial” use as the logging industry switched from hog fuel [and incidentally, motor fuel in taxis and buses in some areas] – and the increase in coal is near 100% for export [to China mainly]. You need to check that table a little more thoughtfully.
    “Population” UP 26%
    “Real GDP” UP 40%
    “Per capita energy consumption” DOWN 8%
    “Consumption of energy per real GDP $” DOWN 17%
    Yes, it is possible to have gains in GDP and reductions in FF use.

    Comment by flxible — 11 Jun 2010 @ 9:28 AM

  449. ““Allowed” is the wrong word. “Forced” is a lot more accurate. Making wind power work economically requires producing everything that can be produced, and finding a way to use the excess whenever production exceeds demand.”

    Citation needed…

    ‘cos I don’t believe you here.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Jun 2010 @ 9:40 AM

  450. “When I put those lines of evidence together, they are telling me that the world we are committed to (based on emissions so far) is going to be bad for us, but not unprecedented in Paleo-history,”

    Where was New York and 8 million people in the paleo history?

    Where were humans, for that matter.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Jun 2010 @ 9:43 AM

  451. PS Denmark hasn’t been *forced* to export energy. How would you do that? “Hey, Denmark, give me some of your energy or we’ll shoot the puppy!”?

    Current power production from all sources overproduce. If that overproduction cannot be sold (even at a loss), then it is dumped over a null load and ALL costs of production is lost.

    “Forced”?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Jun 2010 @ 9:45 AM

  452. RS: “What a load of rubbish.”

    Indeed, that paper is a load of rubbish.

    RS: “This merely a diversionary tactic to take the discussion away from informed scientific debate.”

    Yup, that’s what that lawyer is trying to do. Doesn’t stop denialists trumpeting its existence as a smoking gun, though. Because neither denialists nor this solicitor are interested in there being an informed scientific debate.

    It is, after all, devastating to their case.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Jun 2010 @ 9:47 AM

  453. “Do your homework, Gilles.”

    Lost cause, BPL.

    He’s not listening.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Jun 2010 @ 9:48 AM

  454. “Because fossil fuels have remained cheaper for many applications (partly due to the failure to price in externalities);” – Me

    “Oh yeeah here we agree ! so for you, replacing something cheaper by something more expensive has no implication on growth rate ?” – Gilles

    Er, where did I say that? Unlike you, I don’t think maximising short-term GDP growth always trumps everything else. I think you missed my parenthesis: fossil fuels “cheapness” is heavily dependent on ignoring their pollution costs (and not only in regard to GHGs, as current events in the Gulf of Mexico should have shown even a dedicated oil-company-groupie such as you). Also, of course, the fact that x was cheaper than y at one point in time does not imply that it will remain so, does it? Aren’t you always stressing how we’re running low on cheap fossil fuels? There have, of course, been extensive studies on how much a serious attempt to mitigate AGW would cost in terms of GDP growth, most notably the Stern report. Answer: much, much less than not doing so.

    [edit – Nuclear is OT]

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 11 Jun 2010 @ 10:01 AM

  455. Frank Giger wrote: “I am saying that when a regulatory agency is given sweeping powers to regulate the totality of the economy that’s a bad thing.”

    Sure. Only ruthless, rapacious, reactionary fossil fuel corporations like ExxonMobil, BP, Koch Industries and Massey Energy should have such powers.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 11 Jun 2010 @ 10:41 AM

  456. Ever heard of “the spurious regression problem?” Did you account for autocorrelation in the residuals? — BPL

    Is that a yes or a no?

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Jun 2010 @ 11:50 AM

  457. “Shutting down the coal industry is the general idea, General. WE want them to have the power to shut down the coal industry. The coal industry and then the other fossil fuels MUST get shut down ASAP to prevent the extinction of the human race. MORE POWER TO THE EPA!!!!!”

    Thank you for establishing my point for me.

    I would think that would be the job of Congress and the President, not by fiat of regulation.

    So first it’s coal and then all fossil fuels. Just make a regulation stating that for reasons of environmental safety gasoline can only be sold in certain amounts per customer and restricted by hours and days of the week for sale.

    And none of it done with any accountability until after the fact with a lengthy court battle.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 11 Jun 2010 @ 1:01 PM

  458. 438 Dr Nick Bone: “Are there any clever technologies that we should consider (like artificial trees/air capture devices), or are they just so expensive that no-one will ever use them?”

    I am on your side. I want to fix the CO2 as much as you do. Fixing the problem, regardless of how, has the following problems. In short, people are the problem.

    The first problem is how to sell the product so that the process would finance itself. It isn’t the price as much as that the cost would be a target for right wing filibuster and electioneering. It might get Federal financing some of the time. If there IS a market for the product, they will not want to stop the process if the CO2 concentration goes below 250 ppm.

    The second problem is that so many people want to live in Illinois and have a Florida climate. Call it snow-phobia. They have not been trained to drive on snow, so they do everything exactly wrong and maximize the cost of accidents. [The cops in Illinois give the wrong advice. THEY haven’t had enough experience on snow either.] They think it is too cold just because it snows a little more. Many people wish for a warmer climate but won’t move.

    “Sensible” has too much “point of view” attached to it until Homo “Sapiens” evolves into an intelligent species. On the average, we are half a pound of brain short at this time. Thus my campaign to require that all college students, regardless of major, take the Engineering and Science Core curriculum.

    440 Barton Paul Levenson: nuclear is permanently off topic. Please don’t answer Gilles on nuclear so that I won’t have to answer you.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 11 Jun 2010 @ 1:13 PM

  459. Neil (441),
    I have seen this step-by-step bullet point list quite often and I’m not to sure it addresses key issues:

    Actually, most of what you say is correct. The central estimate of 3 C has an uncertainty of approximately 50% on either side of it, so indeed, addressing the question of sensitivity is a large issue. The 20th century doesn’t really place good constraints on this because there is also tremendous uncertainty in the net anthropogenic forcing (what you call the “primary effect”). The CO2 component of this forcing is well constrained but the unknown effect of aerosols (especially on clouds) precludes confident statements regarding the net forcing, other than that it is virtually certain to have been positive over the industrial era.

    Furthermore, many of the more “practical” effects, including regional temperature changes and precipitation all have their own inherent uncertainties. The general person is probably not very concerned with quantifying sensitivity as some temperature unit change per watts per square meter averaged over the globe. That has no meaning for ecosystem sensitivity, sensitivity for people’s personal lives (will they be able to go snowboarding, will they experience more droughts, will the fisheries near ENSO-influential regions be prone to changes, etc).

    For this reason, the question of impacts and politics requires substantial improvement in regional and decadal scale predictions. While we are very confident that the bulk of 20th century warming is human-induced, delineating the natural vs. anthropogenic components on changes to the cyrosphere, biosphere, costs of storm destruction, etc is a much more difficult problem.

    The uncertainty regarding sensitivity (whether in the traditional way of dividing the global temperature change by the radiative forcing and getting some number, or in a more broad sense as I’ve outlined here) in terms of “action” and “inaction” is ultimately a question of risk. There is no reason to suggest that the IPCC AR4 range is incorrect, and as Ray mentioned in (443), there are now many lines of evidence suggesting that it is correct. It is a fairly broad range but it is a finite range nonetheless and even the low end is worth worrying about, especially since it is very easy to surpass a doubling of CO2 under business-as-usual this century. Aside from this, the broad array of studies also indicate that the worst-case sensitivity and associated impacts are perhaps more likely to occur than a very low sensitivity (something not all supported by Earth’s climate history). And as some, such as Richard Alley at PSU,have repeatedly pointed out, there are often “surprises” lurking in the climate system which we can set off without a large push.

    Traditional economics is a poor way to address all of this. I am not an economics expert, or even have much background at all, yet I can state fairly confidently that there is no consensus on how to quantify human migration (Especially when poorer countries are most impacted), ecosystem loss, glacier melt, long-range impacts, etc. The Arctic melt is not a tremendous economic motivator for change because in some ways it is economically beneficial (opening ship passages, etc) with no regard for its ecosystems and climatic importance. I also disagree with your neglecting of long-range impacts. 1,000 years seems like a long way away, although presumably we would not be happy if the Vikings left us an environmental turmoil which was difficult to adapt to or simply left us without aesthetic pleasantries. And work has shown (see David Archer’s publication list) that our CO2 emissions will indeed have climatic repercussions for generations that far away.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 11 Jun 2010 @ 1:44 PM

  460. 418, CFU: I was asking why wait 20 years before we start working on changing over to non-fossil fuel works.

    Let me repeat: Humans (Chinese, Indians, Americans, Europeans, Japanese, Indonesians, and more) are not waiting.

    430, Ray Ladbury: A similar effort would likely be required for renewables.

    On this, and on most of the rest of that post, we agree. The effort is underway, will probably be reinforced, and may succeed — it will certainly make a huge difference. There is no perfect analogy with anything, but the primary motive is economic survival in a world with diminishing and increasingly more expensive oil. Look what has happened over the last 5 years and ask what limits there are: decreased cost of construction, decreased material per watt of power, increased skilled workforce for installation and maintenance, an increase by a factor of 8 in the US in production of power from renewables, dramatic improvements in storage (multiple types of batteries, capacitors, etc.), genetic engineering higher productivity from biofuel feedstocks. There isn’t a panacea, but collectively, across all energy sources, there has been tremendous growth, very closely approximated by exponential growth with different exponents of each kind (solar slower than wind, for example.)

    [edit – no nuclear]

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 11 Jun 2010 @ 2:34 PM

  461. There has been some discussion of stabilization wedges

    http://carbonsequestration.us/Papers-presentations/htm/Pacala-Socolow-ScienceMag-Aug2004.pdf

    In that reference 15 options are defined to reduce fossil carbon release to the atmosphere. The paper was published in 2004, and i am interested in followup studies that estimate how far we have proceeded in the last 6 years with each option. I have made some calculations of my own which are discouraging.

    Comment by sidd — 11 Jun 2010 @ 3:44 PM

  462. Completely Fed Up says: 11 June 2010 at 9:45 AM

    Current power production from all sources overproduce. If that overproduction cannot be sold (even at a loss), then it is dumped over a null load and ALL costs of production is lost.

    Pray tell, where are the giant resistors? Would it help to know it’s a friendly voice pointing out you’re wrong? In all kindness, you should be more protective of your good word.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 11 Jun 2010 @ 3:58 PM

  463. Frank Giger wrote: “I would think that would be the job of Congress and the President, not by fiat of regulation.”

    The job of Congress and the President?

    Do you understand that the EPA gets its power of “fiat of regulation” from laws passed by the Congress that gave it that power?

    Do you understand that the EPA is an Executive Branch agency?

    The Congress has done its job by creating the EPA and giving it the power to regulate.

    The President has done his job by appointing the head of the EPA.

    It is now the job of the EPA to regulate GHG emissions precisely because the Congress and the President have already done their jobs.

    It seems to me that what those who keep repeating this idiotic talking point that we mustn’t have “unaccountable bureaucrats” at the EPA doing their job by regulating harmful pollutants and the whole thing should be left to “the Congress” really want is for the whole thing to be left to particular members of the legislature like Senator Murkowski and Senator Inhofe who have made it abundantly clear that they serve the interests of the fossil fuel corporations against the public interest and will block any and all efforts to regulate GHG emissions.

    It is nothing but another obstruct-and-delay tactic to ensure that hundreds of millions of dollars in profit per day keep flowing into the pockets of the fossil fuel corporations at any cost to the human race.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 11 Jun 2010 @ 4:24 PM

  464. Neil,

    Your argument is that the basic direct effect of CO_2 doubling is well known, but because of uncertainties in how the feedbacks work, the IPCC suggests an range of from 1 deg K to 6 deg K. I thought the most frequently quoted range was somewhat narrower—2 to 5 deg K—but put that aside, and let’s accept your figures. That doesn’t mean that 1 deg is just as likely as 3 deg. More to the point, if you believe in that range, you should be very alarmed about waiting to deal with the problem. There is no reason to believe that the truth will lie at the low end rather than the high end. Of course, if we wait to act, and we find out the high end was closer to being accurate, it will be much too late to do anything about it. In fact even the low end entails some risks, and, moreover, switching to non-fossil fuels as quickly as possible makes snese for a variety of reasons having nothing to do with global warming. Developed nations rely on oil and gas supplies from unstable areas of the world, and so find their foreign policies severely constrained. In addition, the long term costs of the use of fossil fuels such as coal are not figured into their price. Those costs will come due.

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 11 Jun 2010 @ 4:30 PM

  465. Daniel, #431. “Gavin can and often does cut someone a new orifice, all with impeccable manners. Perhaps it’s not so much a question of pulling one’s punches as placing them more skillfully.”

    Indeed Gavin articulates like no other on Climate Change, but he and others of his fantastic like will not reach the vast majority of ordinary people by being polite. I am sorry, but its time to be blunt :

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.arctic.png

    we are heading towards dramatic climate change and its time to hit the nay sayers where it hurts, they were and are flat out wrong, enticing others in this world to think incorrectly, Such crimes against intelligence and wisdom almost always ends up in disaster,
    They recognize not their folly, So I have no hesitation to say that they should be exposed for being wrong wrong wrong, If TV broadcasters
    place them on their shows, respondents are obliged to expose them as incompetent on this subject. Not being wrong once but many many times,
    always they fail predicting the future, broadcasters be aware, ask them what they, the skeptics, have predicted right, what field work they have done on this subject recently? If they only rant
    against those who were nearly always right, at least have the decency to point out that they cant predict anything about a subject which requires some predictive skills as a bare minimum. They are misleading the world without knowing the consequences of their actions. We help them do so by not responding every time they utter contrarian garbage.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 11 Jun 2010 @ 5:34 PM

  466. We will always need fossil fuels in some amount and we also need to stress reliance upon more alternative biofuels and various cleaner energy sources. Wind and solar alone is not going to power the world no matter how much one might wish. And construction will not become 100% emission free,period.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 11 Jun 2010 @ 7:13 PM

  467. 457 Frank Giger: So you wanted more chances to go extinct, Frank Giger? I’ll say it again: Yes, we have to shut down the coal industry worldwide by the end of 2015. In this case, I don’t care about the niceties. I care about avoiding extinction. Congress and the court DID give EPA the authority and the requirement to write regulations. That IS the EPA’s job. There is no “Fiat” about it. EPA has been writing regulations ever since the EPA was created. For that matter, ALL departments of the government write regulations pursuant to the laws passed by Congress. Did you want the military to quit writing regulations as well? Or did you think a private in the army should be able to interpret the law for himself? I’ll give you a clue: He can’t. A private can’t follow a General’s orders either. He has to be told what to do by a corporal. That is the way the army works. Regulations are the detailed instructions that enable the next lower level to carry out the laws that Congress passes. Each level of management fills in more details for the level below. That is necessary. There is plenty of accountability. The regulations are what Congress ordered by writing the law that created the regulating body. Congress can’t get down to the detail of regulations. Without regulations, NOTHING would get done. I’m beginning top think that nothing is what you want to get done.

    “gasoline can only be sold in certain amounts per customer and restricted by hours and days of the week for sale.” is top nonsense. The EPA is not going to make a regulation like that.

    But I still care more about avoiding extinction. What good is Frank Giger’s theory of government if there are no people? Really, Frank, you need to learn more about how the government operates. And you should have noticed that the whole purpose of RC is to save us from climate catastrophe.

    Thank you, 463, SecularAnimist.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 11 Jun 2010 @ 8:46 PM

  468. Dr Nick Bone says:
    10 June 2010 at 7:13 AM

    RE #331 and #378.

    Yes, it’s worth watching the methane/Arctic situation closely. However, I’m a bit concerned about some of the argumentation here. Edward, ccpo, you seem to be arguing:

    1. That even if we did *immediately* go to zero emissions it still wouldn’t stop the Arctic sea-ice melting.

    At this stage, if it indeed is going to melt any time between now and, say, 2020 (or even much longer)? Then, no, we can’t stop it.

    2. That with the Summer sea ice gone, that will set off so much in extra methane emissions that the world will still warm uncontrollably (i.e. back to PETM temperatures, or even worse create loads of methane fuel-air explosions).

    Actually, I didn’t state a direct result, and definitely not a magnitude, but, yes, we seem to be heading that way. What I am definitely saying is things are happening a LOT faster than modeled and we seem to have hit a bifurcation/tipping point based on the graph of sea ice volume in one of the links I provided further up thread. There was a definite shift @1998.

    The problem is that if you push that line, the current climate skeptics can just change tack. They have three possible responses.

    – You’re being insanely alarmist. I’m just not listening any more.

    Who cares? They’re denialists. They will never be part of the solution, so bypass them.

    - Since you believe we’re all doomed anyway, why shouldn’t we use our remaining time on Earth to have one last party (and burn all the oil, coal, gas, trees etc. we need to in the process)?

    A legitimate question that we will almost certainly have to take a serious look at at some point. We cannot be afraid of legitimate responses. But my answers to that are:

    1. If you are a true believer in survival of the fittest, then your answer might well be the above. Indeed, what would be the point if you think there is no solution? It’s a legitimate stance given the context. However, I question the premise that nothing can be done, and I have not said nothing can be done. In fact, I know it is possible to sequester enough carbon via sustainable farming techniques to begin to reduce carbon accumulation in the air and seas within just a few years, particularly if paired with large reductions in use of FFs.

    2. Are you a Christian, or other deist, whose religion teaches anything like brotherly love and care or concern for others? Then you can’t just say screw it and throw up your hands.

    3. Do you have children? ‘Nuff said.

    4. Do you believe we are in any way at all our brother’s keepers? ‘Nuff said.

    5. Are you really one to give up so easily? As long as some part of the globe will remain habitable, humanity will survive. If we party it out, we’re probably condemning ourselves to extinction.

    - Our only hope of survival is now some form of geo-engineering and/or an accelerated space travel program. We will need a strongly-growing economy for either of those, so again we should burn all the fossil fuels, trees etc. that we need to.

    I’d say, “You do not understand complex systems. The work of Tainter, Catton, Diamond and the pages of history show us solving a collapse of civilization by adding complexity simply ensures the collapse comes. Complex structures are susceptible to cascading failure. Conservation and simplification are your best bets.”

    Probably not the conclusions you were hoping for!

    It seems to me the right conclusions are:

    3. We really need to stop digging. This means, stop emitting as soon as is *technically* possible. This is much much sooner than what is currently deemed *politically* possible.

    I’d say you don’t quite see the whole picture. We need no new technology to reduce carbon emissions. Conservation and sequestration via natural methods can do this.

    Don’t be afraid of the conversation we need to have, isolate those too selfish to speak the truth. Prosecute them. Take them to court. Be as aggressive as they are.

    Or just ignore them and hold the media to account for reporting lies as facts. Or whatever.

    Comment by ccpo — 11 Jun 2010 @ 10:52 PM

  469. SecularAnimist (463) et al, the only reasonable regulation is that which is very precise and very focused with very specific and explicit boundaries and objectives attached — as written by the legislature. Regulation that is broad and general is always a recipe for fascism heading for tyranny on its way to totalitarianism, which is why legislatures in democratic republics hardly ever (never?) do that — it would in effect turn over the legislative powers to the regulators. That’s why, e.g. traffic laws written by legislation are excruciatingly specific detail. Had they said simply ‘control transportation as you see fit’ we would have been a couple of decades away from a police state.

    That’s why the EPA’s charge under the clean air act(s) is also extremely specific, though usually with specific limits, not absolute numbers. It’s also why (by intent) there is a long specific list and description of pollutants the EPA is supposed to control. The only ostensible limits the EPA has in CO2 control is that their promulgated rulings have to follow their holding hearings, have something seemingly to do with human well being, and generally be reasonable — the latter being words with virtually no effect. The traffic law above could have also added ‘be reasonable’ and not changed the end result one iota. Though, IIRC, the court at least implied that they are allowed to control CO2 emissions from transportation, not e.g. from electricity generation. So they didn’t get a completely blank check — though didn’t miss it very far… and probably not forever.

    That’s why some folks are quite anxious over the EPA’s new-found powers and authority.

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Jun 2010 @ 11:17 PM

  470. “gasoline can only be sold in certain amounts per customer and restricted by hours and days of the week for sale.” is top nonsense. The EPA is not going to make a regulation like that. — Edward Greisch

    Did you get a secret message from EPA or something?

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Jun 2010 @ 11:29 PM

  471. #448 flxble
    “Yes, it is possible to have gains in GDP and reductions in FF use.”

    You won’t find any post of mine where I’m denying that. I never said that no gain was possible. What I said is
    “Gain is possible” is not at all equivalent to “we can live in the same way without them” (the analogy with food IS pertinent). And sorry, but to keep within 450 ppm, we need to reach an almost zero consumption before the end of the century.
    So I argue that IF the right quantity to optimize is the economic growth RATE, such as the correlation with temperature seems to imply, then it won’t be solved by suppressing FF, which is very likely to have a much worse effect as far as the economic growth is concerned.

    Second, conserving energy actually reduces the use of energy PER UNIT SERVICE (or GDP or any fancy index you want), as BC example shows. But it doesn’t insure
    * neither that the annual consumption shrinks : both because economic growth increases the amount of services (or GDP ) , and the demographic growth.

    * nor that the total amount of FF extracted diminishes, because of course nothing prevents to use them later if you have spared them now.

    So if the total consumption curve peaked within 100 years, which is an almost certitude for oil and natural gas, and verylikely for coal, conserving doesn’t change a lot the total amount of FF burnt, which is of course the only relevant parameter for CO2. It only flattens the curve at best. Basically, it increases the wealth we’ll produce with them (which is not bad of course), but it doesn’t help reducing the global amount.

    Comment by Gilles — 12 Jun 2010 @ 2:45 AM

  472. “And this is another reason that I believe the sole purpose of the GIS temperature set is producing ever higher, and completely invalid, temperature records.”

    Data hates to be anthropomorphised.

    And you should be able to find a number of people or documentary evidence as to this design goal of the GISS dataset to produce records.

    (ps what happened when it wasn’t producing records?)

    “After seeing this claim, I went and looked at HadCRUT and it showed no such record, not by large amounts.”

    Because HadCRUT doesn’t include the polar figures because of the sparse record.

    Please also note that this winter the cold weather experienced by temperate latitudes (included by both GISS and HadCRUT) was polar air dragged down to these lattitudes, which meant that warmer temperate air was being pulled up to the poles, making it much warmer. But this polar area isn’t included in HadCRUT.

    Do you see what the effect this would have on the two temperature records?

    Now, given we KNOW in this case what’s going on, isn’t this showing that *in this case* HadCRUT is underestimating the global temperature record?

    Now, the HadCRUT dataset leaves out the poles because it’s a much less reliable set of data, therefore its inclusion *in the general case* would make the record average more true, but make the errors of that average greater. Hence they leave it out.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 12 Jun 2010 @ 3:00 AM

  473. We will always need fossil fuels in some amount – Jacob Mack

    That’s a bit of a shame, since they are a finite resource.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 12 Jun 2010 @ 3:25 AM

  474. “And construction will not become 100% emission free,period.”

    Really? Why don’t you do some research on Earthships, straw bale buildings, cob, rammed earth…

    All of you who think we can just continue this lifestyle with a little greenwashing are in for a big surprise. Work takes energy. 2nd Law. Less energy means less work. The energy returned on energy invested (EROEI) for oil, for example, started out at around 100:1, but is now down to as low as 11:1 or less, and falling.

    Technology will not solve these problems. Also, the Euro/US-centric thinking has got to go. If every country lived like the US, all oil, of any kind, would be gone in about 7 years.

    Real change, or real problems.

    Comment by ccpo — 12 Jun 2010 @ 3:43 AM

  475. NB 438: the world we are committed to (based on emissions so far) is going to be bad for us, but not unprecedented in Paleo-history, and not such as to destroy life on Earth.

    BPL: Destroying life on Earth isn’t the threat. Destroying human civilization is.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 12 Jun 2010 @ 4:45 AM

  476. Furry 442: Making wind power work economically requires producing everything that can be produced, and finding a way to use the excess whenever production exceeds demand.

    BPL:

    A. Store it. Pump water uphill. Spin flywheels.
    B. Feather some of your turbines and disconnect the power feed.

    Duh.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 12 Jun 2010 @ 4:48 AM

  477. Furry 445: And this is another reason that I believe the sole purpose of the GIS temperature set is producing ever higher, and completely invalid, temperature records.

    BPL: Been reading Anthony Watts?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 12 Jun 2010 @ 4:49 AM

  478. BPL: Ever heard of “the spurious regression problem?” Did you account for autocorrelation in the residuals?

    Rod B 456: Is that a yes or a no?

    BPL: Let’s review, shall we? Ray cited peer-reviewed scientific studies showing that, when proper statistical analysis is done, the correlation between temperature and GDP growth is negative. You and several other statistical illiterates immediately jumped on that, saying, essentially, “We don’t know what the correlation is,” and “The correlation could be anything.” You’re wrong. Deal with it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 12 Jun 2010 @ 4:53 AM

  479. EG 460: 440 Barton Paul Levenson: nuclear is permanently off topic. Please don’t answer Gilles on nuclear so that I won’t have to answer you.

    BPL: What the cake said to Alice, Ed.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 12 Jun 2010 @ 4:55 AM

  480. re#465:Wayne ; Why dont you show the corresponding image links for Antartica and for Global Sea Ice, to better illustrate your point about impending disaster ?

    Comment by Bill — 12 Jun 2010 @ 4:57 AM

  481. JM 466: We will always need fossil fuels in some amount

    BPL: Always??? Are you sure about that?

    JM: Wind and solar alone is not going to power the world no matter how much one might wish.

    BPL: Ever? How would you know?

    JM: And construction will not become 100% emission free,period.

    BPL: Ever? How would you know?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 12 Jun 2010 @ 4:59 AM

  482. 466 “We will always need fossil fuels in some amount and we also need to stress reliance upon more alternative biofuels and various cleaner energy sources.”

    what do you mean by “always” ? can you give an estimate of the minimal amount of fossil fuels we are supposed to burn per year, and the timespan we can hope to keep this pace?

    Comment by Gilles — 12 Jun 2010 @ 5:49 AM

  483. #480–

    False equivalence.

    Growing Antarctic ice is not, AFAIK, much of a feedback under current conditions. This is partly because, in the Antarctic, the change–that is, the growth in extent–occurs during the winter season, when short hours of daylight minimize the effect of albedo change, while in the Arctic case the change occurs in summer, when much of the Arctic basin has extremely long days indeed. Partly it’s a result of the opposite topology: land surrounding water, versus water surrounding land.

    And partly, it’s a question of logical expectations: the Arctic case is going “with the grain” of rising temps, while the Antarctic bucks the trend and cannot be expected to continue to do so indefinitely.

    Disclaimer: foregoing points based on logic, not first-hand knowledge of specific empirical study.

    Pointers to same, anyone?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 12 Jun 2010 @ 8:14 AM

  484. Jacob Mack, congratulations on the “bifecta” of having a questioned in immediate succession by BPL and Gilles both! A rare achievement indeed. . .

    I think I’m more or less with BPL here; we’re a long way into speculative territory with this question.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean that the general direction in which our economy should be moving isn’t pretty clear to most of us. It’s become very common for denialists to include avowals of their concern for “real” pollution, and while some is surely concern trolling or propagandist tactical BS, I’m sure a fair percentage actually mean it. Hope so, anyway, as that would mean that some constructive changes at least might escape the full weight of the disinformation campaign.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 12 Jun 2010 @ 8:23 AM

  485. 465 Bill, its already a disaster Antarctic sea ice always melts completely during its summer. Your point is exactly what? Look at the latitudes and especially at ice Volume. Before pointing out the obvious understand the nature of the ice caps…

    Comment by wayne davidson — 12 Jun 2010 @ 8:41 AM

  486. Rod (#469),
    This is off-topic so I’ll be brief. But if you’re concerned about a police state you must watch the policing agencies (FBI, NSA and so forth), not the EPA. Such agencies often use their authority outside of the law. Please peruse the findings of the Church committee. The rationale for the establishment of police states is national security, not traffic or pollution regulation. [edit – too far OT]

    I don’t think an agency such as the EPA should control CO2 emissions either but, frankly, your proffessed concern about the EPA establishing a police state sounds mendacious.

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 12 Jun 2010 @ 11:29 AM

  487. Gilles #471,

    > …nothing prevents [using fossil fuels] later
    > if you have spared them now.
    > …conserving doesn’t change a lot the total amount of FF burnt…

    Conserving leaves our children the option to conserve. Not conserving leaves them nothing to conserve, nothing to burn, no option.

    You imagine all fossil fuels must eventually be burned, whether because we won’t be able to replace them or because we won’t be willing to forgo them.

    Conserving buys us and our children time to surpass the limits of your technical and moral imagination.

    Comment by CM — 12 Jun 2010 @ 12:00 PM

  488. So I argue that IF the right quantity to optimize is the economic growth RATE, such as the correlation with temperature seems to imply -Gilles

    No, it doesn’t imply that (where on earth did you pluck that from?), and no, it isn’t “the right quantity to optimise”: there is no such single quantity, and it’s astoundingly naive to think there is.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 12 Jun 2010 @ 1:25 PM

  489. BPL (478), you just can’t deal with the elephant in the room, can you? Evidently your “spurious regression” and “autocorrelation in the residuals” told you it’s not there!

    Comment by Rod B — 12 Jun 2010 @ 2:04 PM

  490. Anonymous Coward (486), the EPA has the power to cite (equivalent to arrest) and fine people/corporations — in some cases big bucks (at one time — maybe still — up to $25,000 just for carrying a tank of freon w/o a license). Essentially no different from the police. BTW, NSA can not do any of this.

    I, too, doubt the EPA would actually be so draconian in the control of CO2. But make no mistake, it’s possible. Under their current authority the EPA, after some hearings, could issue a ban on the use of internal combustion engines entirely, immediately. Could they make it stick? There would be a bunch of court cases and maybe some quick legislation that would surely estop them. But they could, without any prior restraint, if they chose, do that. I find this a little unsettling. I don’t trust government (or anyone else) unequivocally to not do stupid or tyrannical things.

    Comment by Rod B — 12 Jun 2010 @ 2:31 PM

  491. Completely Fed Up, Barton Paul Levenson & others — Please take power production, fossil fuels, and related matters to another blog where it comments will be appreciated. One possiblity is
    http://bravenewclimate.com/
    which runs an open thread. Over there I might clear up some misconceptions about poer production, none of which are related to climate change commitment.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 12 Jun 2010 @ 3:40 PM

  492. Rod B says, ” Regulation that is broad and general is always a recipe for fascism heading for tyranny on its way to totalitarianism…”

    Yup, it was over-regulation that brought Hitler to power… Oops! No, wait. He was democratically elected when UNREGULATED inflation destroyed the savings of the middle class…

    But Mussolini, now there was a case of over-regulation… Oh. No? Hmm. Again, letting things get out of hand in the young Italian republic, leading to democratic election of the Fascists. Hmm!

    The Bolsheviks. Yeah, now there was a case of Tsarist regulation! Oh, wait. That happened when the people were starving even as the Tsar waged a bitter war of attrition. Hmm. Things getting out of hand again.

    But Mao. Now, there’s a classic case of… Oh! Damn! The people demanding strong government to combat anarchy and address public ills again.

    Gee, Rod, I can’t seem to find much support for your hypothesis in actual, you know… history. Rather, it seems to me that people turn to totalitarianism when they fail to address threats to their well being before they become critical, cause panic and a triggering of the all to human desire for safety and stability at the expense of freedom. Maybe you want to revisit your thesis.

    And maybe the way to avoid draconian government and action is to try and address the threat of climate change before we are committed to conditions where it becomes critical. (Did ya see how I brought it back on topic there at the last? Huh? Did ya see that?)

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Jun 2010 @ 4:02 PM

  493. In the first link in this article, you refer to an earlier discussion in which you stated (relevant to the effect of ceasing all emissions): “CO2 concentrations would start to fall immediately since the ocean and terrestrial biosphere would continue to absorb more carbon than they release as long as the CO2 level in the atmosphere is higher than pre-industrial levels (approximately). And subsequent temperatures (depending slightly on the model you are using) would either be flat or slightly decreasing. With this definition then, there is no climate change commitment because of climate inertia. Instead, the reason for the likely continuation of the warming is that we can’t get to zero emissions any time soon because of societal, economic or technological inertia.”

    This doesn’t make sense to me. Anthropogenic greenhouse gases create a transient, not steady-state, heat transfer problem. If they are causing a situation where we currently have, say, about a half-watt per square meter more net solar radiation coming in than infrared radiation going out (I realize the exact number is uncertain due largely to uncertainty associated with aerosols), that energy imbalance will not immediately disappear the moment we cease all greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve an energy balance, the Earth will still continue to warm up somewhat to increase the outgoing infrared radiation and thus match the net incoming radiation. So I believe there is, indeed, “climate inertia,” and temperatures should continue to rise, even if we achieve the admittedly unrealistic feat of instantly ceasing all our greenhouse gas emissions. If I am missing something here, I would appreciate clarification.

    Comment by Chuck Kutscher — 12 Jun 2010 @ 6:50 PM

  494. I am still working on the theories behind AGW. I believe it is Barton Paul Levenson who worked out equations to show how CO2 Band saturation will not take place…more CO2 will continue to continue warming.

    I look at these charts of incoming Solar radiation and the radiation that is absorbed before reaching the ground. At the 1400 nanometer wavelength of incoming solar IR, nearly all the radiation is totally absorbed before it reaches the ground. Would more Water vapor and CO2 cause more absorption at this wavelength? Even though nearly all the radiation is absorbed? This is the part of AGW that really does not make much sense to me (does not mean it is incorrect, could just mean I am slow if not stupid..but I try my best). If nearly all the incoming radiation can be absrobed at the 1400 nm wavelength and adding more of either water vapor or CO2 will do little to change this, why will doubling CO2 have much effect when there is already enough CO2 in the air to absorb all the IR it can?

    Absorption of Incoming Solar Radiation by Water Vapor and CO2.

    Comment by Norman — 12 Jun 2010 @ 9:06 PM

  495. Chuck (#491),
    Yes, the Earth would keep warming in any case. But what you’re missing is that we’re mainly concerned about surface temperatures rather than about the total amount of heat.
    In the zero-emissions scenario, according to Matthews, the oceans would keep warming but the surface temperatures would basically remain stable for several centuries (if memory serves… better check for yourself). When checking Matthews’ papers, mind the small print and follow the cites. Don’t just buy the sometimes extraordinary claims of the abstract on authority.
    Also, note that the discussion your refer is to relevant to “ceasing all emissions” but just GHG or CO2 emissions (I don’t remember which). No one has claimed that ceasing aerosols emissions would not result in warming.

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 12 Jun 2010 @ 9:39 PM

  496. Ray Ladbury, all of your examples are that of extreme regulation instituted to control the people, El Duce being classic. It just had a different genesis and form.

    I didn’t say that extreme regulation is the only thing that leads to tyranny. Nor did I say that the people will never support that direction. Many, because of misconceptions and misplaced trust coupled with things that others are doing that are repulsive to them will strongly support it as you imply — at least in the beginning. Like the Chicago folks a while back that wanted the police to enter anyone’s apartment without a search or arrest warrant to look for drugs.

    Yes, and drastic climate change (or the fear of it) could trigger such a direction. I agree, good return.

    Comment by Rod B — 12 Jun 2010 @ 9:55 PM

  497. Rod (#490),
    Since the mods understandably frown upon discussion of the dynamics of totalitarian regimes, let me try another angle.
    You say you’re concerned about the EPA banning combustion engines. Obviously the EPA wouldn’t do this and couldn’t possibly make it stick in the real world… but, from the point of view of your hypothetical slippery slope to a police state, consider that your government has already banned a number of hugely popular narcotics, with exteremely severe associated penalties. Please take a moment to research the number of people incarcerated or on parole for offenses related to narcotics in your country. Please look also at the number of deaths caused by this prohibition and its enforcement. Yet the USA is not generally considered as a police state.
    A police state is not a state which fines, jails or even kills people who don’t heed laws and regulations but a state which fines, jails or kills political opponents of the government. Without political freedoms, you’ve got a potential dictatorship which is why people are concerned about political policing. But without the right to smoke weed or to drive SUVs, people can still organize to oust the government or influence policy (and possibly get back the right to smoke weed or drive SUVs).

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 12 Jun 2010 @ 10:12 PM

  498. Chuck@493

    Try this.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument/

    The absorption does not saturate because 1)warmer regions below will continue to radiate to cooler ones above and 2)the wings of the absorption line broaden as CO2 concentration increases.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Jun 2010 @ 10:30 PM

  499. Norman say:
    “I am still working on the theories behind AGW”, and goes on to say he doesn’t understand why saturation of the infrared bands by CO_2 doesn’t limit the greenhouse effect.

    Perhaps he should look at

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument-part-ii/

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 12 Jun 2010 @ 10:58 PM

  500. BPL @ 476:

    A. Store it. Pump water uphill. Spin flywheels.

    I do keep firmly fixed in my mind that you’re a science fiction writer when I respond to you.

    A. Where? Where? and … Where?

    Do you =actually= know how an =actual= electric grid works?

    This isn’t a science fiction novel, where you can make up non-existent and/or impossible technologies. “Store it” isn’t a plot device — it’s a technical problem that has a large number of other technical problems all waiting to be solved. It also has a capital cost — building all those flywheels (not that this would be a bad idea, except that there are already a lot of flywheels involved in most electric grids …).

    However, the easier solution at present is “produce it”. Electric grids already have the ability to adapt to changes in the production and consumption balance.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 12 Jun 2010 @ 11:09 PM

  501. 491 Chuck Kutscher: I wouldn’t mind another lecture on that subject either. Especially the part where there is a 1000 year delay and then more CO2 comes out of the ground or somewhere. The somewhere is unclear.
    What I do have is the ice cube in the glass of water thing. The oceans take a long time to heat up and then the polar ice including Greenland and Antarctica melt. After that, the temperature goes up because there is no more cold reservoir. So the whole thing takes how many years to get to 2 degrees C warming? Then it takes 100,000 years before it cools back off?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 13 Jun 2010 @ 12:22 AM

  502. Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 June 2010 @ 4:02 PM

    Thank you Ray. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s a great reason why the U.S. Constitution was such a very big step in the idea of governments. It wasn’t based on fear, and not on religion as so many were. It was based on individual rights, and the government being a caretaker so to speak for those individuals that couldn’t do that for themselves. I’m not for big government, but I couldn’t defend the country as an individual, so I like to have a military to do so. I can’t guard the Gulf of Mexico from oil spills, but I would like the government to do so. I was against the Patriot Act, but I find a majority against government intrusion seem to find that intrusion against individual rights okay. I can’t speak for anyone here, but why is that kind of intrusion, (and not to speak badly) when it was a few thousand people okay to give up liberty and freedom when there is possibly thousands more if not millions on the line just in this country. We lose more than 10 times that from automobile accidents each year, but I doubt anyone would be willing to give up individual freedoms to protect them (not to the degree of the Patriot Act).

    I know we cannot attribute single weather events to climate, but things are pretty consistent with what has been predicted by the science and models as of late.

    Comment by JRC — 13 Jun 2010 @ 12:48 AM

  503. Actually, Mr. Ladbury, it was onerous regulation, particularly in land useage, that led to the first Bolshevik revolts. The Tsar moved too slowly to undo them – by the time they started taking effect, the people had enough.

    When we look past the revolution and into the Soviet Union, over regulation stifled not only personal freedoms but the economy as well.

    Do we need to discuss the Cultural Revolution in China?

    The EPA has stated they will go after the largest emitters of GHG’s first, as the administrative system cannot handle the flood of permits that would be required on every industry and home, but starting in 2016 the paperwork hurdles should be solved and they can address every GHG emission source.

    http://www.epa.gov/NSR/documents/20100413final.pdf

    “A. Does this action apply to me?

    Entities affected by this action include sources in all sectors of the economy, including commercial and residential sources. Entities potentially affected by this action also include states, local permitting authorities, and tribal authorities.”

    (emphasis mine)

    Remember, the head of the EPA is appointed based on political merit. And every four years (if not sooner) there is a chance he will be changed, based solely on political expediency and agenda of the Executive.

    Do you really want to leave the problems of GHG emissions in the hands of a political appointee who can at will change climate policy for the nation with oversight after the fact? In all possibilities of Presidental election outcomes?

    Comment by Frank Giger — 13 Jun 2010 @ 1:37 AM

  504. Norman (494)

    1) You need to better carefully distinguish between the incoming solar energy and the outgoing terrestrial energy. Water vapor does absorb solar radiation, but its effect is about 5 to 10 times less as a feedback component than its longwave impact.

    2) Both water vapor and CO2 absorb over a wide range of wavelengths, not just at one particular wavelength (which would generate no greenhouse effect). Even as the centers are completely opaque, there’s always more absorption waiting out in the “wings” of the spectral bands.

    3) See A saturated Gassy Argument written a few years ago at RC for a discussion of saturation, as well as greater context into the role of the temperature structure of the atmosphere (also Part 2 linked inside, and I have a somewhat more detailed discussion here…anything much more and you’ll have to hunt down a good textbook on the subject). Even in the opaque case it is still possible to increase the temperature with more greenhouse gases by making the planet radiate primarily from colder layers.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 13 Jun 2010 @ 1:43 AM

  505. Norman #494, you have to look at the full spectrum. Yes, the centre of the band is saturated, but the flanks are not, and these will move outward when CO2 is added.
    Play with David Archer’s modtran simulator to see for yourself. Enlightening.
    http://forecast.uchicago.edu/Projects/modtran.doc.html

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 13 Jun 2010 @ 2:41 AM

  506. “nearly all the radiation is totally absorbed before it reaches the ground. Would more Water vapor and CO2 cause more absorption at this wavelength?”

    Yes. There would be more absorption at that wavelength because there is more of the absorbing gas at higher levels. This absorbs the wavelength and therefore there is more absorption taking place.

    Your other error is thinking that the main IR flux is coming down.

    It’s going out, not coming down.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Jun 2010 @ 3:31 AM

  507. “This doesn’t make sense to me. Anthropogenic greenhouse gases create a transient, not steady-state, heat transfer problem.”

    Well the non-steady-state is a transient feature, but what feature of the gas is caused by its production from anthropogenic causes makes the IR absorption effect of that gas transient?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Jun 2010 @ 3:33 AM

  508. “I, too, doubt the EPA would actually be so draconian in the control of CO2. But make no mistake, it’s possible”

    It’s also very unlikely, to the case of astronomically high probabilities against happening.

    It’s also possible that the EPA regulation is a NECESSARY element of avoiding catastrophe. Since the EPA are a part of the elected US government and the effects of CO2 are not reversed by a popular pole, this is an extremely likely proposition.

    Isn’t it far more possible that NOT allowing EPA to regulate would allow companies to continue to pollute?

    Isn’t that EXACTLY why the EPA were set up, and the examples of pollution without hooting is EXACTLY what happens even WITH regulation but no enforcement?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Jun 2010 @ 3:38 AM

  509. “can you give an estimate of the minimal amount of fossil fuels we are supposed to burn per year,”

    nil.

    Who said anything about BURNING it???

    You’re fixated like a pyromaniac.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Jun 2010 @ 3:40 AM

  510. 494 : Norman. The radiation is actually continuously absorbed and reemitted at the wavelengths where the atmosphere is optically thick. Rather than “absorbed’, you should think it as “thermalized” since the final result is to set the specific intensity of radiation at the local temperature of the absorbing medium (more precisely : at the excitation temperature of the relevant degree of freedom, i.e. here the vibration of GHG molecules).
    This is not exactly a “warming” but rather a slowing of the heat transfer, much like insulating the walls of your house. It produces an “absorption line” from outside because the last surface of emission is as a higher altitude and thus normally cooler (although an inversion of temperature profile could produce an emission line like in solar corona). But if you increase the concentration of GHG and wait for enough a long time until a new equilibrium value is reached, there is no net “absorption of heat” by the atmosphere – the temperature keeps steady and no net heat is absorbed, it is only transmitted more slowly. But, for a given effective temperature outside the atmosphere, the temperature gradient is higher and the ground temperature is also higher.

    Comment by Gilles — 13 Jun 2010 @ 3:40 AM

  511. #448 flxble
    “Yes, it is possible to have gains in GDP and reductions in FF use.”
    You won’t find any post of mine where I’m denying that.””

    Shit.

    I need *another* keyboard.

    Gullible, there are REAMS of posts where you state CATEGORICALLY that reducing Fossil Fuel use means reduction in GDP.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Jun 2010 @ 3:44 AM

  512. “The EPA is not going to make a regulation like that. — Edward Greisch

    Did you get a secret message from EPA or something?”

    Did YOU, Roddie?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Jun 2010 @ 3:45 AM

  513. “3. Do you have children? ‘Nuff said.”

    If you DO have children, why?

    The average length of a generational family is 5 generations, IIRC. Not everyone survives to bear children. Not everyone dies with children to carry on the name. And the average distance forward to the last child on the branch to reach that state is 5 generations.

    So why have children?

    Hope.

    But it seems that some people hope that they get all the wonga they can now, and screw the future.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Jun 2010 @ 3:50 AM

  514. Rod B 489: BPL (478), you just can’t deal with the elephant in the room, can you? Evidently your “spurious regression” and “autocorrelation in the residuals” told you it’s not there!

    BPL: In your dreams, Rod. Go read the articles Ray cited and see how they did it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Jun 2010 @ 4:53 AM

  515. Norman,

    Because IR absorption takes place at all levels, and it is not saturated the lower the pressure. Radiation from the ground gets stopped soon, yes. But of radiation from the level stopping it, a little gets through to the next level up–and more from that level gets through to the next level, and so on. Adding more CO2 always increases absorption somewhere, because the upper levels of the atmosphere are always at low pressure. Check it out:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Saturation.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Jun 2010 @ 4:57 AM

  516. 494
    Norman says:
    12 June 2010 at 9:06 PM

    “I am still working on the theories behind AGW. I believe it is Barton Paul Levenson who worked out equations to show how CO2 Band saturation will not take place…more CO2 will continue to continue warming.”

    BPL’s equations are not correct. And it is also incorrect to state that more CO2 will produce more warming at the same rate (it will not due to the logarithmic nature of infrared absorption at greater concentration).

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 13 Jun 2010 @ 5:21 AM

  517. BPL’s equations are not correct.

    Show us precisely where BPL’s equations are incorrect.

    Comment by dhogaza — 13 Jun 2010 @ 8:27 AM

  518. Chris Colose #504,

    I read through the RealClimate link you attached to your post. Not sure I am buying this argument yet (although I might). Mars has 30 times the CO2 as Earth but has no warming from it. The high thin layers are too thin to warm from the ground based radiation to warm them enough to emit radiation back down (I would think if this argument was valid then you should be able to use Mars as a example to show how much warming thin layers provide, my reading has shown Mars has no greenhouse warming from its atmopshere…these readings could be wrong).

    [Response: Not true. Mars has a greenhouse effect from CO2 but it is relatively small because of the low atmospheric pressure and the lack of any feedbacks via water vapour or clouds. – gavin]

    1)My point was that the empirical tested radiation is almost completely absorbed coming in from the sun. Outgoing radiation would work exactly in the same way. If there is evidence a band can be fully absorbed it does not matter the radiation direction.

    [Response: The frequencies of incoming radiation and outgoing radiation do not overlap to any relevant extent and so the complete absorption of high energy solar UV by ozone in the stratosphere has got absolutely nothing with absorption of 14 um upwelling long-wave by CO2. – gavin]

    2)How far can the wings spread? You can look at IR spectrum of 100% CO2 and the band is so wide and that is it. The wings would not expand past the 100% point unless there was higher pressure.

    Comment by Norman — 13 Jun 2010 @ 8:51 AM

  519. Martin Vermeer #505,

    Thanks for the link to the program. My problem with these is they are models. I am looking for solid empirical data (actual measurements) to prove or disprove the AGW hypothesis. I have read they are measuring downwelling Longwave radiation. But when I read through the articles they are actually just models. I am not against computer models and simulations but I am old school science. I need actual measurements to go with models. When I was taking Chemistry in College (many years ago), the textbooks would have graphs of the theoretical mathematical description of some interaction but then they would have the empirical actual tested interaction. The model theory would usually be fairly close but not exact. I am just trying to find some empirical data to support the claims and not more models (useful as they are). If the measurement shows near complete absorption of incoming IR (so that the addition of more water vapor or CO2 will have little impact) why would I believe a model or math calculations that show it does not do this?

    Comment by Norman — 13 Jun 2010 @ 9:00 AM

  520. Barton Paul Levenson #515,

    Thanks for the link to your calculations. I am going to really work on understanding what you have come up with. Thanks.

    Comment by Norman — 13 Jun 2010 @ 9:05 AM

  521. CFU :”Gullible, there are REAMS of posts where you state CATEGORICALLY that reducing Fossil Fuel use means reduction in GDP.”
    Again, CFU, my name is Gilles, and persistent provocation doesn’t help thinking you’re able to argue rationally. And probably causes more harm to the cause you pretend to defend than you think.
    There isn’t any post where I claimed that reducing FF intensity is impossible – I just said first that it was limited , and that above some rate of decline, keeping a GDP growth would be impossible (implying of course that a ZERO, or even very low, consumption would destroy the industrial civilization – NOT “the” civilization, nor mankind of course). And second that even if we knew how to reduce FF intensity, there is nothing that would prevent to allow more people to use them (more cars, more big houses, more travels..) , increasing more GDP, instead of reducing the net amount of FF. That is , it wouldn’t change the bell shape of FF consumption , it would just improve how we use them – but a CO2 molecule has of course no idea of how it was produced and which economic use we had with it.

    Comment by Gilles — 13 Jun 2010 @ 9:10 AM

  522. Richard Steckis #516,

    I have been finding the same thing in my research on the topic. What I am really looking for is some empirical data to prove or disprove the non saturation effect.

    I have an idea for a test (similar to the Angstrom one). Get the long tube and fill it with CO2 and other gases N2 and O2 and water vapor. Run a lot of tests with various concentrations and record the data. Put the whole thing in a radiation shielded testing device. Have a IR detector behind a shielded IR source and measure the backradiation. Get actual measurements to go with the model. Measure how much IR returns to the source of the emission with various gas concentrations. That is why I like science so much, it is not faith based. Empirical data collected in Newton’s day is as valid today as then. Does anyone have experimental data on this backradiation amount to prove the hypothesis?

    Comment by Norman — 13 Jun 2010 @ 9:12 AM

  523. Norman #519,
    Sorry, I missed that you were looking at incoming Solar radiation. This is the wrong place to look for understanding the greenhouse effect. You need to look at outgoing thermal infrared.

    About observations, they exist, I have seen them. From satellites looking down back in the 1970’s and recently. And from radiometers looking up at the sky. (And from Samuel Langley looking at the Moon!) Someone else may dig up the links for you…

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 13 Jun 2010 @ 10:20 AM

  524. Furry 500: I do keep firmly fixed in my mind that you’re a science fiction writer when I respond to you.

    BPL: Furry advances the argument, BPL is an SF writer, therefore his argument cannot be taken seriously. Since this is directed at the arguer rather than the argument, it is a classic example of the ad hominem fallacy. You cannot take what Obama says seriously because he is a Democrat. You cannot take McCain seriously because he is a Republican. This falls under the larger class of “fallacies of distraction.” Anything but engage on the actual argument–usually because the person providing the ad hominem is weak on the ability to legitimately refute the argument in question.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Jun 2010 @ 10:43 AM

  525. Gilles 510: if you increase the concentration of GHG and wait for enough a long time until a new equilibrium value is reached, there is no net “absorption of heat” by the atmosphere

    BPL: Wrong. Absorption by the atmosphere will be higher than previously.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Jun 2010 @ 10:47 AM

  526. RS 517: BPL’s equations are not correct.

    BPL: They’re not “my” equations. They’re basic radiation physics. Want references?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Jun 2010 @ 10:49 AM

  527. Norman wrote: “What I am really looking for is some empirical data to prove or disprove the non saturation effect.

    I have an idea for a test (similar to the Angstrom one). Get the long tube and fill it with CO2 and other gases N2 and O2 and water vapor. ”

    Hmm. So you think that this isn’t a model? Very strange. This is your model atmosphere and your model atmosphere will most likely result in saturation unless you use a very long tube. I gotta tell you, It sounds to me like saturation is the result that you’re trying to find since you’re describing an experiment that is rigged to yield saturation. I would suggest that if you want to try to disprove established science that step 1 is: understand the established science that you want to disprove. Otherwise you’re just one more wanking blog “scientist”.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 13 Jun 2010 @ 10:52 AM

  528. John E. Pearson #527,

    Not sure you understand what I am getting at. The empirical evidence (measured radtiation that does not make it to the surface, a chart I linked to) suggests that incoming radiation will be absrobed to near extinction and additions of either water vapor or CO2 will not change this. So why would outgoing radiation change it?

    I don’t think you understand what I mean by “model”. Model in the terminology I am using it is a computer simulation of real events. I think this is okay as a useful tool but it is not empirical data. Modeling the atmposphere to test it is not the same type, you are gathering actual measured values. I am not interested in determining saturation in the test I describe. I am interested in the back radiation flow. Not just a tube, maybe a series of tubes that can have various pressures (made of nonabsorbing material like certain plastics or halite).

    Would the far end of the configuration (tube with very low pressure and few molecules density) be able to absorb and emit enough radiation to make it to the source of emission? Could it be detected. In this set up you could double the CO2 in the far end and see what type of effect it has on back radiation.

    My problem is I can’t find the established science for the theory. I find computer models and simulations. No real experiment data or tests. I do understand the reported science, the upper fringes of the atmposphere will react to more CO2 by being more absorbive to IR radiation. I just would like some empirical measurements to go with it and I have a hard time finding any.

    Comment by Norman — 13 Jun 2010 @ 11:56 AM

  529. gavin,

    Thank you for taking time to respond to my questions above. My point on the absorption of incoming radiation is that there is enough water vapor and Carobn dioxide to prevent solar IR incoming radiation from making it to the surface. Around 1400 nm wavelength. Additions of water vapor or Carbon Dioxide will not change this. Why would outgoing radiation behave any different in the atmosphere? If the incoming is mostly absorbed where any addition would not have much effect, why would the outgoing behave different?

    [Response: But this nothing whatsoever to do with the greenhouse effect and actually has nothing much to do with CO2 either. 1400nm is a water vapour absorption line, not one for CO2. The absorption in bands relevant for emitted IR are not saturated. – gavin]

    Comment by Norman — 13 Jun 2010 @ 12:05 PM

  530. Re 522 Norman – Maybe not the kind of test you’re looking for, but you could consider what the satellite measured spectra of OLR (outgoing LW radiation (LW = infrared longer than ~ 4 microns, shorter wavelengths are included in SW radiation))) look like (graphed against black body radiation spectra for various temperatures). You can infer a saturation** taking place near 15 microns (CO2 band peak) and in some other places (water vapor), and maybe in some places (**the highest cloud tops), but you can also see that regions where the amount of radiation coming up could be further reduced. Very importantly, you can see that the OLR slopes downward from saturation into unsaturated parts of the spectrum. Knowing what contributes to the optical thickness both in the sloped regions (sloped relative to brightness temperature) and in broader unsaturated regions, it follows that increasing those things (at least if those things are well mixed, or otherwise, raising them up to higher colder levels, such as with clouds) must result in a decrease in OLR. (until temperature changes in response). The slope in brightness temperature on either side of the CO2 peak is also associated with CO2, and increasing the concentration of CO2 brings points on those sloped part of OLR graph closer to saturation, reducing the OLR in those places; it also lifts up (actually, depresses, if OLR brightness temperature is graphed upward positive – it may be thought of as ‘lifting up’ because the source of OLR is spatially lifted up from the surface and through the atmosphere)) more slope farther out from the center of the band as CO2 optical thickness starts to become significant there (based on the known shape of the CO2 absorption band)

    Of course, if I’m not mistaken, the changes in OLR have actually been measured (right? I keep forgetting…).

    ** OLR can start to increase again when the optical thickness increases so much that the OLR starts to come significantly from the upper stratosphere. (In order to understand the effect on climate, one must consider the changes in upward and downward LW radiation over vertical distances. The forcing at the tropopause level after stratospheric adjustment is a key value.) Because the source of OLR from gases distributed from the troposphere through the stratosphere (including water vapor, although the concentration as a fraction of air drops ‘precipitously’ (pun intended) with height, it is still present in the stratosphere) is never concentrated just in the coldest levels, the brightness temperature of OLR will not actually reach all the way down to the minimum temperature in the vertical column. However, at wavelengths where the stratosphere is essentially transparent, very high clouds could bring the OLR brightness temperature closer to that minimum (offhand, I don’t know how close this can be.)

    The application of mathematics to measurements of optical properties of materials to predict the effects of materials is really quite straightforward (there can be a lot of number crunching, but the principles are crystal clear).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 13 Jun 2010 @ 12:16 PM

  531. “BPL: Wrong. Absorption by the atmosphere will be higher than previously.

    Again, all absorbed photons are reemitted, since the line is saturated, and the amount of radiation contained in the absorption line doesn’t change when the radiation escapes the atmosphere. Only the radiative thermal conductivity decreases, so the temperature gradient is higher. It is much like the effective thickness of the atmosphere would have increased, since photons travel a longer distance (they are more often scattered) before escaping.

    Comment by Gilles — 13 Jun 2010 @ 12:25 PM

  532. Rod B wrote: “SecularAnimist (463) et al, the only reasonable regulation is that which is very precise and very focused with very specific and explicit boundaries and objectives attached — as written by the legislature. Regulation that is broad and general is always a recipe for fascism heading for tyranny on its way to totalitarianism, which is why legislatures in democratic republics hardly ever (never?) do that — it would in effect turn over the legislative powers to the regulators.”

    Rod, in the real world of the USA where I live, the legislature does not write precise and explicit regulations. That task is performed by the regulatory agencies pursuant to regulatory authority given to the agencies by legislation which establishes “broad and general” regulatory frameworks to be implemented with specific and detailed regulations by the agencies.

    There is a very specific, well-defined process by which an agency drafts regulations, makes them available for public comment and review, revises the regulations, and then eventually publishes the final regulations.

    And as is the case throughout the structure and function of the US government, the Executive branch power of the regulatory agencies is “checked and balanced” by the other two branches of government, since such regulations can be and often are challenged in court, and can be overturned by subsequent legislation.

    Your comment indicates you have no knowledge of how this actually works in reality. Instead, you toss out a bunch of ill-informed generalities and outlandish, cartoonish bumper-sticker stereotypes about “fascism” and “tyranny” and “totalitarianism”. Really, that has got to be one of the silliest comments you have ever posted here.

    At least you are not calling the EPA a “non-governmental agency” and claiming that limiting CO2 emissions will give the EPA the power to “regulate churches”, like Republican Senator Scott Brown, I’ll grant you that. But your comment is nearly that silly.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 13 Jun 2010 @ 12:31 PM

  533. Re Norman – the greenhouse effect refers to the effects of the optical properties of the atmosphere for LW radiation. Absorption of solar radiation by the atmosphere does have effects but they are not the same thing. Absorption above the tropopause will** have a cooling effect on the troposphere+surface (negative forcing at the tropopause level). Absorption below that level affects the surface energy budget but doesn’t** have an effect on the tropopause level forcing. **EXCEPT that any increase in absorption could decrease the albedo (atmospheric absorption can intercept photons before they would have been reflected/scattered back to space, or after they have been reflected/scattered, preventing their escape.)

    The Earth’s surface and atmosphere emit essentially no SW radiation (wavelengths dominated by solar radiation). In contrast, depending on optical properties, both the surface and the atmosphere and any layer thereof (except where absorption is nearly absent), can emit significant amounts of LW radiation. If the opacity is large, radiation emitted by the top layer of the atmosphere might not reach the surface, but radiation emitted by the lowest layer will reach the surface. Saturation is reached when farther compression of the ‘emission weighting function’ (a description of where radiation reaching some location is being emitted) can no longer significantly change the brightness temperature. This doesn’t happen everywhere at the same time; it depends on how temperature varies relative to optical thickness, and aside from lapse rate (temperature variation with height) changes over height, optical thickness per unit air mass path (much less geometric distance) is not constant – there is the matter of line broadenning and line strength changes, but also, very importantly for clouds and water vapor (and ozone), the concentration of the material that is absorbing and emitting radiation is highly variable. Water vapor in particular is much more abundant near the surface than in the upper troposphere or stratosphere. Thus, at least for wavelengths dominated by water vapor (and aside from clouds), LW flux aturation at the surface will tend to be reached long before saturation at the tropopause or at the top of the atmosphere. Furthermore, it is possible absorption by the whole atmosphere can approach 100 % without saturating the fluxes at some levels (consider the room for farther change in LW flux both at the surface, tropopause, and top of the atmosphere, when a mid-tropospheric cloud layer blocks nearly 100 % of radiation).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 13 Jun 2010 @ 1:32 PM

  534. 528: Norman, your comments indicate that do not you understand the basic science at all. I would suggest you learn the basic science that you are hoping to disprove. As far as your imaginary experiments not being “a model” how do you figure that they aren’t? You’d like to take the results of laboratory experiments and draw conclusions about planetary atmospheres. That is modeling.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 13 Jun 2010 @ 1:39 PM

  535. Norman #519 (cc: Martin #523, Patrick #530),

    On the first day of Christmas, BPL gave to us a nice reference list on the observed spectra of outgoing longwave radiation. Better than a partridge in a pear tree.

    Comment by CM — 13 Jun 2010 @ 1:57 PM

  536. Norman, I think others have set you off on a good starting path, so just a few more words. I also suggest David Archer’s MODTRAN model (accessible from the saturated gassy argument link) to play around with different CO2 concentrations and see the changes to the transmission curve on the screen.

    There is still a large difference between the IR energy coming in from the sun and outgoing IR energy from the Earth to space where CO2 strongly absorbs (this spectrum can be further decomposed into the near and far IR). Understanding the spectral selectivity is crucial to understanding the greenhouse effect. Greenhouse gases are not grey gases which make the atmosphere opaque throughout the whole spectrum. CO2 makes our current atmosphere opaque between 14 and 16 um and partially so some distance away from those edges. For now you can think of the outgoing energy from the Earth as all that is relevant to this picture. See the image http://www.sundogpublishing.com/fig7-6.pdf [PDF file] and note the individual contributions of CO2, CH4, H2O ,etc. The total transmission at the bottom is obtained by multiplying the individual transmittances for each constituent. If you play around with Archer’s model, you will see that at the 15 um band even the stratosphere is strongly absorbing (and thus virtually no transmittance since absorption = 1-transmittance, where transmittance = exp(- optical depth) in a non-scattering atmosphere). Near the edges the absorption is present but not as strong. As you add more CO2 you fill up more and more of the absorption that can place in the wings, continuing to decrease the area under the Planck curve and decreasing the planetary emissivity for a given temperature. Note that even on Venus which is some 90 bars of CO2 the whole atmosphere is not completely saturated, although here the “thinning and cooling” component of Ray Pierrehumbert’s post is relevant. Suppose you outgas some pulse of H2O (which does not condense on that planet). You can still make the temperature warmer in an optically thick atmosphere by adding more greenhouse effect to the upper layers which are thin and not well absorbing.

    A suite of models in the IPCC AR4 gives a radiative forcing due to a doubling of pre-industrial levels of CO2 between 3.39 and 4.06 W/m2 (Forster and Taylor, 2006) and LBL codes of ~3.7 W/m2 (Myhre et al 1998) which is valid across a wide range of doublings under Earth-like conditions. This all takes into account “saturation” effects and the log dependence between the reduction in outgoing radiation and concentration.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 13 Jun 2010 @ 1:59 PM

  537. Anonymous Coward (497),
    The banning of a number of hugely popular narcotics was done through constitutional legislation with very specific procedures and limits.

    Comment by Rod B — 13 Jun 2010 @ 2:05 PM

  538. Frank Giger (503),
    Looks like I was wrong. The EPA is not limiting itself to transportation (“mobile” sources) in its CO2 enforcement.

    Comment by Rod B — 13 Jun 2010 @ 2:26 PM

  539. CFU (508),
    Police states are always formed out of some perceived necessity. The EPA is not an elected body.

    [Response: OK, let’s veer this discussion back onto the relevant science. This is too far afield and has gone on too long–Jim]

    Comment by Rod B — 13 Jun 2010 @ 2:34 PM

  540. The police aren’t an elected body either.

    ~~~Scary~~~~!

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Jun 2010 @ 2:43 PM

  541. Gullible rewrites what he wrote earlier when he “re states” his position.

    “Oh, did I say that I never said that GHG emissions meant reduced GDP? I meant I never said something else. Oooh, look! Ponies!!!”.

    Gullible thinks we are all as gullible as he.

    One reason why I didn’t bother linking is that in his travels across his own mind he won’t read anything and won’t admit anything and change what he has to admit to if all else fails.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Jun 2010 @ 2:50 PM

  542. What about REAL necessities? World War 2, for example. Or Cholera epidemics. Or, indeed, the catastrophes that have hit San Francisco at the turn of last century and Florida more recently?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Jun 2010 @ 2:51 PM

  543. “A. Where? Where? and … Where?”

    A: Pump water uphill. Spin flywheels.
    A: Pump water uphill. Spin flywheels.
    A: Pump water uphill. Spin flywheels.

    These are not exhaustive suggestions.

    “…it’s a technical problem …”

    I think we already know how water retains energy when pumped up hills. There is not a lot in the way of technical problem facing us there.

    Don’t worry your pretty little head: engineers have answered your problem here.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Jun 2010 @ 2:55 PM

  544. BPL @ 524:

    BPL: Furry advances the argument, BPL is an SF writer, therefore his argument cannot be taken seriously. Since this is directed at the arguer rather than the argument, it is a classic example of the ad hominem fallacy. You cannot take what Obama says seriously because he is a Democrat. You cannot take McCain seriously because he is a Republican. This falls under the larger class of “fallacies of distraction.” Anything but engage on the actual argument–usually because the person providing the ad hominem is weak on the ability to legitimately refute the argument in question.

    I asked if you knew how an electric grid works, not if you know what an ad hominem fallacy is.

    I also acknowledged many posts prior that pointing out that you’re a SciFi writer =is= an ad hominem attack, however, I do it to point out that you’re … a science fiction writer and that you DO NOT have a clue how electric grids work.

    Where are these storage things? Where are the transmission lines between those non-existent storage things and grid? What is the rated capacity of these non-existent transmission lines? How does the capacity of these turbines compare to synchronous reserves? Non-synchronous reserves? What are the expected up and down wind ramps from the turbines? Have you heard of wind ramps before today? What is the nature of the wind and how predictable is it? How do demand-following generators work? How much demand-response load is available? Is that load capable of both up and down regulation?

    Answer those, then your assertion that being a science fiction writer qualifies you to make wild, inaccurate, and utterly useless statements might just be valid.

    And no secret, magic, non-existent, science fiction technologies in your responses. Just demonstrate that if you had to manage an electric grid, you could actually do so.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 13 Jun 2010 @ 2:57 PM

  545. SecularAnimist (532),
    I guess you read very little of the US Code or State Laws.

    I can’t recall from the cited EPA document if religious structures are explicitly listed. But residences are, so I would guess churches will be covered, too. There’s nothing Constitutional that says churches don’t have to obey the law (as a rule).

    Comment by Rod B — 13 Jun 2010 @ 3:01 PM

  546. I dunno if anyone read the recent National Geo Magazine about Water, but one of the topics was the third pole. I think everyone can agree that sea level rising and ice melting isn’t good for any of us, but lets consider people who would never use this website…people in thrid world countries that are walking hours just to find water. I have a feeling that climate change has a much more drastic effect on them, just a feeling though…
    Any thoughts?

    Mike
    http://www.gbb.org/doubleyourleads/

    Comment by Mike — 13 Jun 2010 @ 4:07 PM

  547. Norman, if you are referring to papers referenced here, and think this it is only “model”, then I think you need to read more closely. The methodology is use MODEL to calculate what spectrum filtered for water would look like given our understanding of GHG physics. Then you MEASURE the actual radiation spectrum, filter it for water and compare. That is using empirical data to verify a model result.

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 13 Jun 2010 @ 5:04 PM

  548. Furry 544 tries to dazzle ‘em with the excrement of the male bovine:

    ” you’re … a science fiction writer and that you DO NOT have a clue how electric grids work.

    Where are these storage things? Where are the transmission lines between those non-existent storage things and grid? What is the rated capacity of these non-existent transmission lines? How does the capacity of these turbines compare to synchronous reserves? Non-synchronous reserves? What are the expected up and down wind ramps from the turbines? Have you heard of wind ramps before today? What is the nature of the wind and how predictable is it? How do demand-following generators work? How much demand-response load is available? Is that load capable of both up and down regulation?”

    BPL: Right, Furry. No fossil or nuclear or solar plant ever stored energy. It’s just science fiction.

    Yet you’d have us believe you’re an expert on electrical utilities.

    You think pumped hydro is something I made up? You don’t think any real power plants already use it?

    Google is your friend, Furry.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Jun 2010 @ 5:34 PM

  549. Furry: “Where are these storage things

    They seem to be nearly everywhere, even Texass – shouldn’t be hard to pair some up with wind turbines.

    Comment by flxible — 13 Jun 2010 @ 6:38 PM

  550. Gilles says “Again, all absorbed photons are reemitted,…”

    BZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!

    Oh dear, Gilles, but thank you for playing. See the problem with this answer is that the absorption takes place mainly in portions of the atmosphere that are cooler than the regions of emission, so rather than emitting another photon, most of the excited CO2 relaxes collisionally. It’s called the greenhouse effect. Look it up.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Jun 2010 @ 7:31 PM

  551. Phil Scadden #547

    I have read material on this web site. Here is one I found. It seems to show CO2 responsible for <10% of the downwelling long wave radiation. I have also read that the total amount 100% CO2 could absorb from the entire IR spectrum (at the normal surface pressure and temp) is around 8% as it only will absorb in a few bands of the entire spectrum. This page (based upon measurements) could indicate that all the energy IR radiation CO2 can absorb is being absrobed and then what can return to Earth (via reemission, or being a radiator itself).

    Frame 10 has the contribution of CO2 to Downwelling Longwave Radiation.

    Comment by Norman — 13 Jun 2010 @ 7:35 PM

  552. John E. Pearson

    You post: “: Norman, your comments indicate that do not you understand the basic science at all. I would suggest you learn the basic science that you are hoping to disprove. As far as your imaginary experiments not being “a model” how do you figure that they aren’t? You’d like to take the results of laboratory experiments and draw conclusions about planetary atmospheres. That is modeling.”

    I am not here to disprove basic science (from all I have read it is not that basic, fairly complex, the underlying science is basic but when you add all the elements together for climate studies it gets vastly complex).

    I think there is enough empirial proof to demonstrate a “Greenhouse effect” is a reality. You can measure downwelling Longwave radiation. I did some calcualtions and am just having a hard time grasping how more CO2 will increase, by any significance, the downwelling IR that would keep the Earth warmer than if not happening. My calculations were indicating CO2 is a very IR absorber at its primary frequencies.

    I can also understand that IR will behave somewhat different than visible light. I work with a spectrometer on a daily basis. We measure quantities down in the ppb range and some in the PPM range. We use a 50mm sample cell. If the concentration goes above about 50 PPM the source light is completely absorbed and you can’t get a reading without some dilution. So in the world of my reality, it does not take much to absorb all the radiation. I can see the sample material will not gain enough energy to emit any visible light. That is where the difference is with IR, so I can see some of the points. But it would seem that at a point there is too little CO2 in the thin atmosphere above to absorb enough IR to warm that area to become an emission source to produce Downwelling Longwave radiation. That is the parts of the nonsaturation hypothesis that I am working on to understand or reject. But it will take me a bit of time to work on them. I posted because a lot of intelligent people are on this site and can answer questions or may know of source data to help me research this point.

    Comment by Norman — 13 Jun 2010 @ 7:50 PM

  553. This is the source material I was using to calculate what happens to transmission of IR with increased CO2.

    Hitran data for CO2 used in transmission equation.

    Equation 7.224 is what I used with the Hitran data.

    Nitrogen is 78.09% atmosphere (dry conditions)
    Oxygen is 20.95% and CO2 is 0.038%

    To recap: I (energy transmitted through medium) = Io (intensity of intitial radiation) e (natural log…Ln) ^ (to power) -S (line strength in cm-1/molecule cm-2) x g(v-vo) x N (molecules/cm^3) x l (path length in cm)

    Scientists have calculated that there are about 2.7 x 10^19 molecules/cubic centimeter

    Carbon Dioxide would be 1.03 x 10^16 molecules/cm^3

    Three times that amount (almost 1200 PPM) 3.09×10^16 molecules/cm^3

    I am not sure how to figure Line shape in the equation “g(v-vo)”. I used unity. The Hitran line looked fairly sharp and since it is the same material in both calculations if should not effect the differences.

    With the Hitran line strength of 3.5 x 10^-18

    400 PPM CO2 1 cm pathlength would transmit 96.5% of the IR radiation
    1200 PPM CO2 (same pathlength) would transmit 89.7%

    10 cm pathlength at the same concentrations:
    400 PPM CO2: 69.7% transmission of IR
    1200 PPM CO2: 33.9%

    100 cm pathlength (1 meter)
    400 PPM CO2: 2.7% radiation will get past this
    1200 PPM CO2: 0.002%

    10 Meters (1000 cm)
    400 PPM CO2: 0 (so small it is insignificant many places below 0)
    1200 PPM CO2: also 0

    I understand the argument that CO2 will warm by absorbing the Ground based IR and then start emission. But is will be a lower intensity than the ground since CO2 is only absrobing a fraction of the total IR emitted by the ground. So it will emit a lesser amount of IR to the next 10 meter region which will extinguish at 10 meters for both concentrations. That is why I am not getting the warming part of it. Both concentrations will absorb all the IR at their resonant frequency within 10 meters. Even with the idea that the layers above will warm and absorb and emit I can’t see a difference in the effect. Both concentrations should do the same thing.

    If you have 400 PPM or 1200 they will both absorb and reemit the same amount of IR all the way up the atmosphere until it leaves for the vacuum of space.

    Comment by Norman — 13 Jun 2010 @ 8:43 PM

  554. BPL @ 548:

    Yet you’d have us believe you’re an expert on electrical utilities.

    If the PTO would just publish faster …

    No, pumped hydro isn’t something you made up, any more than compressed air storage, molten salt, large scale battery banks, or anything else of the sort. However, conservation of angular moment =is= your friend, load-following generation, demand-response, DC interties — these things already exist, and they do a pretty good job of making all those secret magic technologies (what, you gonna just conjure up a hydropower reservoir wherever you need some pumped hydro? Salt domes on demand? The “Genesis Effect” thingy from Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan?) pretty much pointless.

    We have 9,000MW of wind installed here in Texas. The other day I was driving back from the Hill Country (client-turned-friend has wind =and= solar!) and saw a pair of blades — giant turbine blades — heading up US87. I see them on IH-35 all the time. What I don’t see is massive aqueducts being built in the Highland Lakes region to turn the LCRA hydropower back around. And yet, I keep on seeing turbine blades heading off somewhere. No flatbeds loaded up with batteries, or salt domes being converted for compressed air storage. And yet those turbines keep on turning …

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 13 Jun 2010 @ 10:02 PM

  555. RL :Gilles says “Again, all absorbed photons are reemitted,…”

    BZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!

    Oh dear, Gilles, but thank you for playing. See the problem with this answer is that the absorption takes place mainly in portions of the atmosphere that are cooler than the regions of emission, so rather than emitting another photon, most of the excited CO2 relaxes collisionally. It’s called the greenhouse effect. Look it up.”

    All process have a reverse process, so collisions can also excite vibrational levels that can also desexcite radiatively. The combination of all that gives a steady photon density that matches the Planck function at LTE. At the strict equilibrium , there is no net creation or absorption of photons – but of course the temperature gradient must vanish at the thermal equilibrium. What you says is correct, but for an optically thick medium , the photon comes from a close region , with a small temperature difference. So what you describe is exactly a heat transfer by diffusion of radiation, but as the difference is small, there is almost as many photons emitted than absorbed, the small difference reproducing exactly the variation of Planck function.

    This is only part of the GH effect : the other part is that the atmosphere is transparent in the main part of the incoming radiation, so diffusive transfer is not adapted here : the ground is basically heated directly by incident radiation. So the whole problem is a complex mixture of transport by direct radiation, diffusive transport, and convection (and of course it is not plane-parallel because of the latitude temperature gradient and Earth sphericity). I wouldn’t dare describe it by a couple of simple equations …

    Comment by Gilles — 14 Jun 2010 @ 12:11 AM

  556. Re 553 Norman – If you are finding that 0 % of IR is transmitted over 10 m with CO2 > 400 ppm, then you aren’t looking at enough of the wavelengths. The finer-scale texture aside, the CO2 band centered near 15 microns is shaped such that, letting OptCO2 = CO2 optical thickness per unit distance per unit CO2 concentration, to a first approximation, log(OptCO2) ~= peak value – B*abs(frequency-peak frequency). this means that a 10-fold increase in CO2 will result in CO2 absorbtion exceeding any set threshold over an additional 2*B frequency interval, provided that the peak has already exceeded that threshold. Now, maybe B is different on one side of the band verses the other, so it would be B1+B2 instead of 2*B … it’s an approximation, anyway, but this is why, once the center of the band is saturated, the forcing becomes logarithmically proportional to CO2 (there are some other details about how that works that I could go over, but that will have to wait). Note this relationship can only be extended to a certain point because CO2 has some other absorption bands that become important at very large concentrations (such as on Venus).

    In order for a net flux to occur, there has to be some temperature difference over the distances that photons go from emission to absorption (because they can just as easily go in the opposite direction between in two pairs of points, and be just as easily emitted (relative to blackbody intensities) as absorbed (relative to intensities present), at a given frequency). The distance that photons travel is on the order of a unit of optical thickness; optical thickness per unit distance is proportional to the concentration of a material that provides that optical thickness. The net flux depends on the temperature variation relative to distances measured in terms of optical thickness. A radiative forcing (or feedback) occurs when a change in optical thickness causes a change in net flux. An imbalance in fluxes results in some accumulation or depletion of heat somewhere, which tends to change the temperature distribution so as to reduce the imbalance (Planck response).

    The surface and troposphere together tend to respond to net forcing changes at the tropopause, because (generally) convection adjusts to radiative imbalances to keep a particular vertical variation in temperature; thus, forcing at the tropopause results in accumulation or depletion of heat somewhere within the troposphere+surface; this results in a temperature change that eventually tends to restore radiative balance at the tropopause level; convection tends to redistribute changes in heat so as to keep the temperature at the surface and various vertical levels shifting together. Changes in the radiative budget at the surface do have effects, but don’t generally have the same overall effect on surface temperature because of how convection tends to adjust in response.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 14 Jun 2010 @ 12:17 AM

  557. “The distance that photons travel is on the order of a unit of optical thickness”

    in average effect

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 14 Jun 2010 @ 12:19 AM

  558. flxible @ 549:

    Furry: “Where are these storage things”

    They seem to be nearly everywhere, even Texass – shouldn’t be hard to pair some up with wind turbines.

    I didn’t say they don’t exist, but look at the values. And while you’re at it, you might want to look at the total hydropower capacity of, say, the Lower Colorado River Authority. Here’s their web page — http://www.lcra.org/energy/power/renewable_energy/hydroelectric.html Now, compare the capacity of the LCRA to the amount of available wind power. Then tell me where all the magic pumped hydro is going to go.

    Sources of power tend to be complimentary in odd ways. For example, if the sun isn’t shining (when it should be), quite often the wind is blowing. And the wide open plains that are great for wind — lousy for hydro of any kind. Mountain regions with abundant rain? Too humid for solar.

    You can’t just wave your hands, mention a solution, and claim you’ve solved the problem.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 14 Jun 2010 @ 1:17 AM

  559. Gilles — 13 June 2010 @ 12:25 PM “Again, all absorbed photons are reemitted, since the line is saturated,…”
    Norman — 13 June 2010 @ 8:43 PM “If you have 400 PPM or 1200 they will both absorb and reemit the same amount of IR all the way up the atmosphere until it leaves for the vacuum of space.”

    Near the surface (1000 mb), the intramolecular distance is small and the average molecular velocity is high (warm and dense), so the mean time between collisions is small compared to the GHG radiative relaxation times; the energy from a photon absorbed by a CO2 molecule is most often transferred to (N2,02). The collisional processes transfer variable amounts of energy to translational, rotational, and vibrational modes. This (thermal) energy gets transferred to H20 and (back) to CO2, and eventually most gets reradiated isotropically, but not necessarily at the same wavelength or even by the same species. Some even gets transported to other parts of the system by non-radiative processes – cloud evaporation, convection. The same thing happens with photons absorbed by H20 and other GHG’s. The upward radiative component moves energy layer by layer up until some of the photons start escaping to space. The altitude at which this starts depends on the wavelength and the concentration of the particular GHG which is absorbing. The altitude at which CO2 starts to emit to space at a concentration of 1200ppmv is further up the atmospheric column than at 400 ppmv. The amount of energy stored in the vibrational states of CO2 is higher per unit volume at higher ppmv concentrations, so even with the same amount of IR radiation from the ground, the partitioning of energy through the atmosphere is different at different CO2 concentrations even when some absorption bands are saturated. At the top of the troposphere (~250 mb) the amount of CO2 above an emitting molecule is about 25% of that in the total atmospheric column, but the amount of H2O is less than 0.1 %, because the decrease in temperature (lapse rate) has caused the H20 to precipitate out. Without the CO2 above the troposphere keeping it warm enough to have an appreciable amount of water vapor at pressures of 300-400 mb, which contributes to maintaining higher temperatures and water vapor at levels of 400-500 mb, and so on to an average surface temperature of about 15 degrees C and a relative humidity of about 60% at the surface, the earth would be an iceball.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 14 Jun 2010 @ 1:29 AM

  560. Furrie, here’s a couple of links that may help you.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/greenman3610#p/u/3/llIbjC49Fjs
    http://www.youtube.com/user/greenman3610#p/a/u/2/WO3V2uXTM6k

    One highlight for you: the load characteristics follow wind and solar power more closely and therefore the need for as much relative storage to even out load is reduced.

    Now it’s a LOT cheaper for Americans especially (but most of the first world too) to reduce power use and it has zero delay: each watt you don’t use is not used RIGHT THEN. Building new power stations to replace coal and oil plants will reduce CO2 production over the time of the farm and that takes time.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Jun 2010 @ 2:48 AM

  561. Well said, Brian.

    It won’t help Gullible and I will bet you not Normal either, but others willing to learn will have done so.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Jun 2010 @ 2:49 AM

  562. Norman, are you taking into account the fact that satellites can look at the CO2 absorption band and actually see a finite signal? Are you taking into account that the “lines” actually have profile, with a thick tail that extends well away from the central maximum? Are you taking into account pressure broadening. All of this is at least mentioned it the Saturated Gassy Argument.

    Perhaps you would do well to try to understand the physics a bit better before jumping into the calculation.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Jun 2010 @ 4:10 AM

  563. Furry 554: You can’t just wave your hands, mention a solution, and claim you’ve solved the problem.

    BPL: Nobody claimed the problem was solved. Just that it wasn’t a very big problem. As you build the alternative energy sources, besides hooking them into wide-area smart grids (the primary leveling method), you build storage as well. The added cost might be 15% of the capital investment cost–which will still leave wind power cheaper than everything else.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 14 Jun 2010 @ 4:47 AM

  564. Brian Dodge #555

    I read what you say but then I look at data like this and it still would seem more of either water vapor or CO2 would not do much over what is already being done, enough warming to make life possilbe on the Planet and water liquid. Are web pages like this just wrong? It does create a sort of confusion. This is not a AGW denier site, it is an Infrared Astronomy page. Telling why you need to send IR telescopes above the atmosphere.

    I can’t see the danger presented by CO2 unless another gas is released that absorbs in the IR spectrum that is a window.

    IR spectrum most is already blocked at present conditions.

    Comment by Norman — 14 Jun 2010 @ 5:48 AM

  565. Norman, maybe if I ask a question it will gel the absorption wings issue for you:

    Where does the CO2 Absorption band go to absolutely zero? 0.0000 recurring.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Jun 2010 @ 6:53 AM

  566. #559 Brian”The energy from a photon absorbed by a CO2 molecule is most often transferred to (N2,02)”
    Brian, I mainly agree with what you said. You’re right that if the collisional rate is higher than the deexcitation rate, an individual molecule will more often transfer its energy by collision with another molecule than by reemitting a photon. However, by virtue of microreversibility, it is compensated by another phenomenon: that the same molecule will be much more frequently excited by a collision than by a photon, and the small part of these particles that desexcite by emitting a photon produce almost the same number of photons that the absorbed ones. I agree that my formulation wasn’t quite correct : instead of “all photons are reemitted”, I should have said “There are almost as many emitted photons as absorbed ones.” (although not by the same molecules).

    This is just to stress that there can be a misconception of “absorbed” radiation, that would predict, for instance, an exponential absorption of the emerging IR line (exp (-tau) ). This would give a ridiculously low level of emitted radiation, and actually it is not correct. The radiation is thermalized by multiple absorptions and reemissions, and the specific intensity is just locally determined by the temperature at the last diffusion surface – not the overall optical depth of the atmosphere. Do we agree?

    Comment by Gilles — 14 Jun 2010 @ 8:53 AM

  567. “All process have a reverse process,”

    So unscramble an egg.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Jun 2010 @ 9:05 AM

  568. flxible (549),
    I’ve just been a learning observer on this topic, but I’m now terribly confused. If I read the EIA stats correctly (am I??) I find pumped storage is 2.0% of total U.S. generating capacity and that actual generation in Feb10 was a negative 0.03%, with zero net generation in Texas, contrary to your statement. If I’m reading it right negative pumped storage generation means it generated less than its designated users required. Can you clarify?

    Comment by Rod B — 14 Jun 2010 @ 9:22 AM

  569. BPL @ 563:

    BPL: Nobody claimed the problem was solved. Just that it wasn’t a very big problem. As you build the alternative energy sources, besides hooking them into wide-area smart grids (the primary leveling method), you build storage as well. The added cost might be 15% of the capital investment cost–which will still leave wind power cheaper than everything else.

    As I said, you can’t just wave your hands, mention some technology, and claim the problem is “solved”. And that includes your newest magical incantation — “wide area smart grids”.

    You’re absolutely right that wind will be cheaper than everything else, but this isn’t a SciFi novel where you get to claim some magical solution. Most of the existing “smart grid” proposals don’t work, don’t scale, and are a ploy by electric utilities to maintain control over something they are rapidly losing control over. In the words of Malcolm X, “You’ve been hoodwinked. You’ve been had. You’ve been took. You’ve been led astray, led amok. You’ve been bamboozled.”

    When TXU Energy stopped paying me for electricity, I just stopped giving it to them (and I have a patent pending on how I did it …) — and that’s why they are wasting our time with the “smart grid” proposals that are floating around out there.

    One of the side effects of the growth in the renewable energy market is the ability of individual entities to provide balancing energy services. Bulk production is easy — just keep planting wind turbines, solar panels, micro-hydro, and so on. Balancing energy is the harder part, and it’s a revenue source, the same as bulk production.

    If you watch the videos CFU provided, pay attention towards the end of the first one — paying consumers to consume. What if consumers store that power locally, and use it later? Here they’d be paid (and I’ve seen negative pricing in the ERCOT reports — we already have the same problem as Germany from time to time) to consume, but since they’d use their =own= stored energy, they wouldn’t pay when they discharged that storage later. That’s what “balancing energy” is all about. Taking during periods of abundance, returning during slack times, and doing that 5,184,000 times a day (… in North America). This doesn’t require some kind of “wide-area smart grid” — all the information needed to do this is already present. And it scales. And it works. =Today=. All that’s needed is to remove the strangle-hold that the electric utilities have on people like me and my clients.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 14 Jun 2010 @ 9:33 AM

  570. CFU @ 560:

    One highlight for you: the load characteristics follow wind and solar power more closely and therefore the need for as much relative storage to even out load is reduced.

    Now it’s a LOT cheaper for Americans especially (but most of the first world too) to reduce power use and it has zero delay: each watt you don’t use is not used RIGHT THEN. Building new power stations to replace coal and oil plants will reduce CO2 production over the time of the farm and that takes time.

    I think you’re preaching to the choir. I’ve already consulted on three utility-scale solar projects where one issue was ignoring the conventional wisdom and tuning the project, not to maximize output, but to demand.

    There is no need to simply reduce power. What we need is to reduce waste, and to work in harmony with the existing grid. We need, as I mentioned to BPL, to remove the obstacles to smaller scale players providing the services that keep the grid running.

    Most of all, we need education, and we need people who can debunk the scams that are cropping up like weeds — “Vehicle-to-Grid” has got to be my favorite of all scams, followed by “wide area smart grids”, “turbines are ugly and noise and kill birds” and “solar panels are unsightly” (when a salesdude from Reliant Energy came knocking, I asked if he noticed the solar panels on the roof and he said ‘No’, and I told him that Reliant was evil because they won’t pay for my electricity. Then I invited him to watch a meter spin backwards).

    Texas has 9,000MW of nameplate installed wind power, and we got there without V2G and without some “wide area smart grid”. Colorado, as the second video points out, went to 10% of its portfolio 8 years ahead of schedule — no V2G, no “wide area smart grid”.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 14 Jun 2010 @ 10:04 AM

  571. Norman, It’s secondary to your main question, but I was curious about one piece from your link in #551. The LW downwelling seems to vary significantly over seasons (p5?). It’s not obvious why this would be (as opposed to SW/solar insolation). Can you explain this? (Or am I reading it wrong?)

    Comment by Rod B — 14 Jun 2010 @ 10:09 AM

  572. “by virtue of microreversibility”

    Which applies here, how?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Jun 2010 @ 10:32 AM

  573. Norman (553), I’m a very interested bystander (in this case) on your topic as I have similar questions in this specific area of the physics. One clarification point that doesn’t answer any of your questions but might give some insight As Ray (IIRC) maybe implied earlier (though I’m not sure if he fully agrees), the energy path is 1) earth surface emits IR blackbody radiation which cools (for the moment) the surface. 2) some of that radiation gets absorbed by CO2; this does not change the temperature of the CO2 gas. 3) this now intramolecular energy might re-emit IR radiation — either upward or downward, but is much more likely to de-exite by transferring the absorbed energy to another molecule through a collision; this transferred energy goes into the collidee’s translation and is where you get atmospheric temperature increase. 4) In either case the CO2 molecule is ready to absorb another IR photon.

    I don’t know if this is helpful, but that’s what I intend.

    Comment by Rod B — 14 Jun 2010 @ 10:34 AM

  574. “and the specific intensity is just locally determined by the temperature at the last diffusion surface ”

    Shorter and clearer: the intensity is determined by the temperature at the 1 optical depth layer of the atmosphere at that frequency.

    Just like here:

    http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Optical-depth

    http://www.astro.uu.nl/~rutten/rrweb/rjr-material/masters/rtsa/afy.pdf

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Jun 2010 @ 10:38 AM

  575. Gilles (555, et al), like with Norman I have a strong interest in your topic of discussion; you’re both at least playing in the same ballpark. I have a couple of inputs that might be helpful in your endeavor. One, the absorption of the IR radiation by a CO2 molecule is only slightly affected by Boltzmann distribution, but the transfer from another molecule’s translation energy to CO2 vibration energy is highly affected by Boltzmann distribution and is not as immediately likely since the temperature would indicate a very low likelihood of filling a vibrational energy level.

    Two, I don’t think photons emitted must necessarily equal photons absorbed, at least short-term.

    Three, it sounds like you are saying the earth’s absorbed incident radiation is all SW (solar). Absorbed downwelling LW (IR) radiation (in watts/m^2) is almost twice that of SW/solar absorption. Sorry if I misread what you said.

    Comment by Rod B — 14 Jun 2010 @ 11:02 AM

  576. “There is no need to simply reduce power. What we need is to reduce waste, and to work in harmony with the existing grid.”

    We need to do that so that we reduce power usage.

    Potayto, potahto.

    “We need, as I mentioned to BPL, to remove the obstacles to smaller scale players providing the services that keep the grid running.”

    That isn’t what you seem to be mentioning to BPL.

    You seem to be mentioning that he knows nothing about this because he’s a science fiction writer.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Jun 2010 @ 11:13 AM

  577. CFU @ 575:

    We need to do that so that we reduce power usage.

    Why? Most of my clients get to a point where they start to increase energy consumption. If my motorcycle would just get out of the shop, I’d be more than happy to add another 10 or 20KWh a week to my usage. I run my A/C at the coldest I’ve ever run the A/C in my life. I have giant TVes in every room that makes sense. What I reduced was =waste=. But making much of what I use means I get to increase productive consumption, and I may even increase it beyond what I used previously. What you’re doing is feeding the myth that the future of energy is scarcity. In reality, the future is one of plenty — but “plenty” used in an intelligent and creative manner.

    The =point= is that bulk power is =easy=. It’s balancing instantaneous production and consumption that’s hard. Solve that (it’s been solved …) and the “plenty” of cheap wind and solar means =more=, not =less=.

    “We need, as I mentioned to BPL, to remove the obstacles to smaller scale players providing the services that keep the grid running.”

    That isn’t what you seem to be mentioning to BPL.

    You seem to be mentioning that he knows nothing about this because he’s a science fiction writer.

    I mention that he’s a science fiction writer so people are aware that what he’s mentioning is science fiction, or regurgitated scams.

    Here’s some science fact — Texas has 9,000MW of nameplate capacity wind, and routinely produces in excess of 6,000MW from that wind, often exceeding 25% of demand. Please tell me when the super-secret “wide area smart grid” was installed, along with the rest of what he claimed was needed.

    Here’s something that’s being done today that improves the grid — run the A/C longer in the morning (it’s summer) and restart it later in the day when the temperature has risen to where it would have been otherwise. This causes the A/C to operate more efficiently (see the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics) and during lower periods of demand. If it improves overall grid efficiency (which it does), the total operating cost will be lower, even if more energy is consumed (which it may). And this can be done right now, no secret magic “wide area smart grid” required.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 14 Jun 2010 @ 11:55 AM

  578. “Why? Most of my clients get to a point where they start to increase energy consumption.”

    Word Smarter, Not Harder.

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

    Why waste more when you don’t have to?

    Because you can?

    Well, maybe that’s the problem with much of the neo-capitalist world.

    “Please tell me when the super-secret “wide area smart grid” was installed, along with the rest of what he claimed was needed.”

    Needed? Why do you bring this lump of shapen hay in front of us?

    As to the AC idea: again, why are we using energy that we don’t have to?

    How about this:

    Insulate.

    Then the heat from outside takes a day to get in, where you can merely run a fan to exchange the colder air outside for the too warm one inside.

    Best of all, it works even better in winter!

    Use less.

    It costs less in all measures of cost.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Jun 2010 @ 12:38 PM

  579. CFU: We need to do that so that we reduce power usage

    FCU: Why?

    Me: Because consumption comes at a cost–even consumption of renewables. Solar cells wear out, as do wind turbines. More consumption means more manufacturing, more resource depletion, more waste and more pollution. We will be supporting 9-10 billion people by 2050. 9-10 billion people cannot continue to consume ever more resources per person indefinitely.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Jun 2010 @ 12:45 PM

  580. Rod says “2) some of that radiation gets absorbed by CO2;”

    True

    Rod: “this does not change the temperature of the CO2 gas. ”

    Wrong. Rod, S=dE/dT, right? Therefore dT=dE/S, correct? Now S is finite. dE is nonzero. How do you make dT=0?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Jun 2010 @ 12:53 PM

  581. Gilles: “an individual molecule will more often transfer its energy by collision with another molecule than by reemitting a photon. However, by virtue of microreversibility, it is compensated by another phenomenon: that the same molecule will be much more frequently excited by a collision than by a photon,…”

    Absolute BS! The rate of absorptive excitation is determined by the number of photons and the number of molecules. The rate of collisional excitation is determined by the temperature and pressure of the gas. Notice that these parameters are pretty much independent? Your logic is an epic fail.
    [edit]

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Jun 2010 @ 12:57 PM

  582. Norman #564, that much of the IR spectrum is “blocked” for purposes of astronomy doesn’t matter to the greenhouse effect. Astronomers would like the actual photons emitted by stars or other faraway objects to hit their eyes/film/CCDs, and a single opaque layer of atmosphere will ruin those wavelengths for them; it doesn’t matter how many more layers you add. Greenhouse warming, on the other hand, goes on and on long after the photons exiting from the top of the atmosphere have ceased to be the same that were emitted from the ground. What matters is how high and cold is the layer of air from which, on average, the escaping photons are emitted; and the more GHGs you add, the higher that will be, and the more the whole atmosphere will need to warm up to restore radiative equilibrium.

    Comment by CM — 14 Jun 2010 @ 1:13 PM

  583. “9-10 billion people cannot continue to consume ever more resources per person indefinitely.”

    I would put it as “should not continue to consume”.

    Even if we could, we should not, without a greater need.

    We aren’t in competition against the Joneses, you know.

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

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Jun 2010 @ 1:47 PM

  584. “The =point= is that bulk power is =easy=. It’s balancing instantaneous production and consumption that’s hard.”

    cf your request to see all the load balancing of the larger Texas renewable sources of energy.

    How come here it’s easy if it’s bulk, but then it was hard BECAUSE it was bulk?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Jun 2010 @ 1:49 PM

  585. “Wrong. Rod, S=dE/dT, right? Therefore dT=dE/S, correct? Now S is finite. dE is nonzero. How do you make dT=0?”

    I would suggest that the point is that the entire atmosphere doesn’t change much if you dump energy into CO2 alone and that the shift in the residency of the CO2 excitation levels do not change much since these in LTE do not get modified a huge amount from the energy absorbed into the bulk.

    Therefore the residency of the CO2 excitation levels remains at a low level and can reabsorb more energy readily.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Jun 2010 @ 1:51 PM

  586. PS that may not have been what Rod meant to say, but it did seem to follow from it and it IS, broadly speaking, correct.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Jun 2010 @ 1:52 PM

  587. Gilles — 14 June 2010 @ 8:53 AM “…and the specific intensity is just locally determined by the temperature at the last diffusion surface – not the overall optical depth of the atmosphere. Do we agree?”

    Yes, bearing in mind that “surface” is a conceptual approximation that represents an arbitrary dividing line in a continuous process. A photon emitted at the bottom of the atmosphere has a finite but possibly very small probability of escaping to space. If it is small enough, it is indistinguishable from zero and treated as such, even though we know it has some finite value. This isn’t “wrong”, but only “inaccurate”, and we can calculate the likely range of errors.

    There is some “surface” which we can define as the height above which a photon emitted up (0 to 90 degrees) has probability equal too some arbitrary number of escaping( 1 percent, 10 percent, 1/e). Practically speaking, we can’t count photons, so we – measure – some quantity (e.g. photocurrent) which is a function of the number of photons, but has some inherent noise and uncertainty – measurement inaccuracy. Modeling individual photons and molecules is not practical either, so the atmosphere is approximated by multiple slabs (rather than “surfaces”).

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 14 Jun 2010 @ 3:22 PM

  588. Ray Landbury #562

    Your Point: “Norman, are you taking into account the fact that satellites can look at the CO2 absorption band and actually see a finite signal? Are you taking into account that the “lines” actually have profile, with a thick tail that extends well away from the central maximum? Are you taking into account pressure broadening. All of this is at least mentioned it the Saturated Gassy Argument.

    Perhaps you would do well to try to understand the physics a bit better before jumping into the calculation.”

    There are complications I was not calculating for as you indicate. I looked around a bit and found a person who has done the math and it shows what I am saying. The smearing of the band at higher concentrations is such a small effect that it would not do what is being reported, but I will agree that the effect is there. I am sending a link to the web page so you can look at the math yourself…he doubles CO2 from current levels and does a calculation on how much more IR can be absrobed at the wings of the band.

    Calculation of increased absroption by Doubling CO2 from current levels.

    [Response: The Hug paper is nonsense and never appeared in the peer-reviewed literature. The criticisms of that paper at the time are still valid. If you want actual science, instead of internet nonsense, read Myhre et al 1998 on the same topic. – gavin]

    Comment by Norman — 14 Jun 2010 @ 3:34 PM

  589. Ray (580),
    How do you explain varying specific heat for a gas?
    When Helium absorbs some 668nm radiation by changing electron energy levels, what is the temperature increase of the Helium? When a bunch of CO2 molecules all absorb 15um photons — 1.325×10^-20 joules per molecule — into their vibration energy, what is the CO2’s temperature increase? How do you handle the temperature of the gas using the basic formula: T = [mv^2](avg) / 3k ?
    Ignoring for the moment the practical limitations with using the entropy/energy/temp formula, I thought it was dS = dQ/T, not S = dE/dT per your post (E and Q being the same thing).

    Comment by Rod B — 14 Jun 2010 @ 4:19 PM

  590. Re 566 Gilles – “This is just to stress that there can be a misconception of “absorbed” radiation”

    I understand what you mean and I can see that your description is in totality of effect approximately what happens when a material is sufficiently opaque that the photon intensity at any location is almost equal to the blackbody intensity for the temperature at that location. However, using the terminology in that way can easily lead to confusion. When a photon is absorbed, it is absorbed; the energy goes into the non-photon matter; that there can be production of photons that might under some circumstances balance the absorption rate doesn’t change this; it is called emission. In between absorption and emission, energy is ‘shared’ among the local population of molecules and the various forms of energy they may have, via molecular collisions/interactions, maintaning a quasi-LTE (so that the population of molecules that absorb and emit radiation transfer their energy gains and losses to the whole local population, with molecules gaining energy so that they can emit photons at a rate according to the temperature of the whole local population). The photons that are emitted are not the same photons that are absorbed; they are new photons. The net effect can be zero net absorption when the intensity of photons present match the local blackbody value, but the distinction is important. When the photon intensity is not equal to the local blackbody value – that is, when the brightness temperature of the radiation is different from the temperature of the non-photons (for quasi-LTE conditions), there is some net absorption or emission (thus causing a spatial variation in the flux in some direction, and if the spatial variation of flux in one direction is not matched by the spatial variation of flux in the opposite direction, there will be some net flux convergence or divergence along that direction, which is equal to an accumulation or depletion of energy). There are wavelengths for which the brightness temperature can diverge significantly from the local temperature within the atmosphere.

    The misconception that the intensity of radiation just drops exponentially to approach zero is based on using Beer’s law when Schwarzchild’s Equation or some extension of that would apply (the former doesn’t include emission along a path; the later does).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 14 Jun 2010 @ 4:27 PM

  591. …(thus causing a spatial variation in the flux in some direction,…)
    Actually, that might not be the best and most general way to explain what happens, but, but it applies in the case of isotropic (or at least 2-fold rotational symmetry)optical properties, which generally applies to atmospheric conditions for LW radiation, at least for randomly oriented gas molecules and spherically-symmetric or randomly-oriented particles).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 14 Jun 2010 @ 4:34 PM

  592. … no, actually I think that should work even in more general cases …

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 14 Jun 2010 @ 4:35 PM

  593. … In so far as emission and absorption dominate, the radiant intensity’s brightness temperature is, over distance, tending to approach the temperature of the region it passes through (it does this more rapidly over distance when the material is more opaque). For LW radiation in the Earth’s atmosphere, that’s good enough for now, but there can be additional complexity when there is scattering and reflection (the spatial trend in brightness temperature can start to depend on variations between temperature all around the location considered. (My last two comments were made while considering scattering and reflection; and also the oddball case of particles that are absorbing on one side and reflective on the other, but that’s not a particularly common thing so far as I know and wouldn’t matter if they were randomly oriented anyway.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 14 Jun 2010 @ 4:50 PM

  594. R.L.”Absolute BS! The rate of absorptive excitation is determined by the number of photons and the number of molecules. The rate of collisional excitation is determined by the temperature and pressure of the gas. Notice that these parameters are pretty much independent?”

    of course they are – but IF the rate of collisional deexcitation is much larger that the rate of radiative deexcitation, then it means that the pressure must be high enough (since the latter is pressure independent), and it turns out to yield exactly the same condition for collisional excitation being larger that radiative excitation, if radiation is thermalized. Just because the rate of excitation to deexcitation rate must be equal, both for radiative and collisional processes, for a near LTE (quasi Boltzmann distribution).

    “Wrong. Rod, S=dE/dT, right? Therefore dT=dE/S, correct? Now S is finite. dE is nonzero. How do you make dT=0?”

    what is S? entropy? then your equation is wrong , it is T = dE/dS, and it has very little to do with the present discussion. This is a transport problem, and it has little to do with a “warming” of the atmosphere by absorbed radiation – as I said the net radiative budget of any volume is ZERO at steady state.Only the global solution including the boundary condition at the ground and at the upper last diffusion surface, gives a higher gradient, and thus a higher ground temperature if you increase the GHG concentration.

    Comment by Gilles — 14 Jun 2010 @ 5:30 PM

  595. Rod re pumped hydro storage

    I was just responding to the apparent assertion that the technology was science fiction, because I knew it’s not. From the footnotes: “Negative generation denotes that electric power consumed for plant use exceeds gross generation”
    It uses energy to pump to storage, you’re not going to generate that extra in return – as for Texas, I just noted it’s on the chart, meaning [I assume] the capacity is there but not much used.

    Comment by flxible — 14 Jun 2010 @ 5:37 PM

  596. Rod, when you place a population in inversion, you not only change the temperature, you make it negative! Adding energy changes temperature unless you make the system change follow a very particular path. Temperature has to do with much more than kinetic energy, I promise you.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Jun 2010 @ 5:53 PM

  597. Re 589 Rod B – the specific heat cv = Du/DT where u is internal energy per unit material; internal energy includes translational kinetic energy but also molecular potential energy and various forms of energy within molecules (vibration, rotation, electronic excitation when that happens, etc.). Molecules with more atoms tend to have higher cv because of the greater number of vibrational and rotational modes. Because these are quantized, they are not ‘available’ at all temperatures, so cv can be lower at lower temperatures. Dq (where q is Q per unit material) = Du + p*Dα, where α is the volume per unit material and α*Dp is work done by expansion (this relationship of course excluding (I think) any non-mechanical work – electrochemical stuff, etc. …)… cp is the specific (or molar, depending on how amount of material is measured) heat at constant pressure; cv is the specific (or molar) heat at constant volume. See http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/goddards-world/#comment-2415 – but don’t trust my derivation of cp – cv for non-(ideal gases); it disagrees with the wikipedia version. See also http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/Hbase/heacon.html#heacon

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 14 Jun 2010 @ 7:21 PM

  598. Correction: p*Dα is work done by expansion, not α*Dp

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 14 Jun 2010 @ 7:23 PM

  599. CFU @ 578:

    Needed? Why do you bring this lump of shapen hay in front of us?

    [edit]

    My patents pending require NO WIDE AREA SMART GRID!

    It was the true brilliance of them. Because the existing smart grid proposals don’t work anyway. We went through a ton of prior art and “does it scale?” was one of the big questions. For a lot of the ideas out there already, “No” is the answer. “What are the common failure modes, and does it survive them?” was another that elicited a lot of “No” answers.

    As to the AC idea: again, why are we using energy that we don’t have to?

    How about this:

    Insulate.

    Then the heat from outside takes a day to get in, where you can merely run a fan to exchange the colder air outside for the too warm one inside.

    Because I live in Texas where there is a very distinct possibility that there is no source of “colder air outside”. There are also issues of humidity control, which can’t be fixed by pumping all the hot air out and replacing it with cold air.

    The other problem — and this is a fun one — is that running appliances indoors produces heat. Oh, and people make a LOT of heat and give off a lot of moisture.

    It’s not just that pesky outdoor heat, it’s the indoor heat as well, plus the indoor respiring human beings and our damned soggy breath.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 14 Jun 2010 @ 7:58 PM

  600. Comment from one person on the “Hug” paper I linked to above.

    “Although the radiative calculations used by the IPCC might be basically correct, the modeler must have some view of the atmospheric water distribution and I don’t think anybody can model the complicated connections between evaporation, condensation,convective heat transfer, radiative heat transfer, clouds, water content a.s.o. They may not even know enough about the influence of the composition of the atmosphere on the radiative properties.

    What we can learn from this discussion, is that it may be a good idea to perform more laboratory experiments using modern spectroscopic equipment and realistic temperatures for the “black body” source and the temperature, pressure and chemical composition of the absorbing/emitting gas. We have seen too much of computer simulations, probably using garbage input…. ”

    Jarl R. Ahlbeck D.Sc.(Chem Eng.)
    Research Associate,
    Abo Akademi University, Finland

    The point he is making is similar to what I am asking. Maybe it is out there but hard to find. Where is some good lab testing for proof of some ot the AGW theories? How much more actual energy does a double of atmospheric CO2 send in downwelling IR. Although some may disagree with me, setting up a lab test to get as close as possible to an atmosphere (like individual sealed containers at various pressures that create a large column to beam the same IR spectrum the Earth gives off…can be varied to match different parts of the Earth at different seasons) is not the same as a computer simulation. Most the posts I am reading in response to my questions are theory and ideas but lack some solid data to back up the idea.

    Comment by Norman — 14 Jun 2010 @ 10:49 PM

  601. “How about this:

    Insulate.

    Then the heat from outside takes a day to get in, where you can merely run a fan to exchange the colder air outside for the too warm one inside.

    Best of all, it works even better in winter!

    Use less.

    It costs less in all measures of cost.”

    When it’s 95 degrees with 85% humidity outdoors, do you really want to pump that into your house in order to make it cooler?

    Silliness.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 14 Jun 2010 @ 10:56 PM

  602. Rod B says #571

    “Norman, It’s secondary to your main question, but I was curious about one piece from your link in #551. The LW downwelling seems to vary significantly over seasons (p5?). It’s not obvious why this would be (as opposed to SW/solar insolation). Can you explain this? (Or am I reading it”

    My understanding is that with less solar energy hitting the ground (in winter), the ground is not warmed as much and will emit less radiation. Less Longwave radiation going up, less coming back down from the greenhouse effect. That is why I think the variation is seasonal. I could certainly be wrong.

    Comment by Norman — 14 Jun 2010 @ 10:58 PM

  603. “The other problem — and this is a fun one — is that running appliances indoors produces heat. Oh, and people make a LOT of heat and give off a lot of moisture.”
    – advantage to winter efficiency, just when solar power would be at it’s minimum!

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 14 Jun 2010 @ 11:48 PM

  604. “My patents pending require NO WIDE AREA SMART GRID!”

    Oh dear.

    Everything’s become terribly clear to me.

    PS The energy system we have needs a smart grid. We don’t have one, so we have engineers watching the system and bringing sources on and off line to manage loads.

    I don’t think your system is going to manage either.

    “Because I live in Texas where there is a very distinct possibility that there is no source of “colder air outside”.”

    Yah, night time, remember?

    “The other problem — and this is a fun one — is that running appliances indoors produces heat”

    Here’s a tip: so does running AC.

    A lot more than running a fan.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Jun 2010 @ 2:09 AM

  605. “Rod, when you place a population in inversion, you not only change the temperature, you make it negative!”

    That was one of the most interesting things I learned in thermodynamics.

    How to create negative temperatures:

    1) Put a magnetic material in a magnetic field
    2) Cool it
    3) Swap the field around
    4) Negative temperatures
    5) (Bonus Step!) THIS IS HOTTER THAN INFINITE TEMPERATURE!!!

    Heh.

    Makes you realise that temperature really is a weird thing.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Jun 2010 @ 2:11 AM

  606. “589
    Rod B says:
    14 June 2010 at 4:19 PM

    Ray (580),
    How do you explain varying specific heat for a gas?”

    By using all the physics of temperature. Not just selected elements of it.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Jun 2010 @ 2:13 AM

  607. “When it’s 95 degrees with 85% humidity outdoors, do you really want to pump that into your house in order to make it cooler?”

    So in these places with 95 degrees and 85% humidity, what is the temperature in a cave?

    Oh, aye, cooler.

    How can that be?

    Thermal inertia.

    What is that?

    It’s insulation.

    What did I say to do?

    Insulate.

    What will this do?

    It will mean that by the time your home has heated up from daytime maxima, it’s well past daytime maxima and the outdoors is now cooler.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Jun 2010 @ 5:51 AM

  608. Gavin, Norman 588, 600, 602 (Also Patrick 027 590, 591, 592, 593; Giles 594; Ray 596)

    Gavin’s ($9.00) reference to Gunnar Mehr(1998)seems to me to be a very succinct (and I assume current) evaluation of LBL, NBM, and BBM model estimates for radiative forcing. At first I couldn’t find much physics back-referencing another $9.00, but then up popped a free PDF – Ramanathan (1976) “Radiative Transfer Within Earth’s Troposphere and Stratosphere:A Simplified Radiative-Convective Model” http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/1520-0469(1976)033%3C1330:RTWTET%3E2.0.CO;2
    which did seem (to me) to contain the physical reasoning for the radiative transfer calculations – at least for H2O, CO2 and O3. Also not only does Gunnar Mehre reference it but also 90+ others so maybe many of the radiative forcing calclations today employ Ram’s physics (Wouldn’t be the first time)

    I am quite interested in radiative transfer and GH effect (why else spend $18.00?), but trying to learn from a thread with soooo much discussion makes my eyes glaze over. Not meant to be a criticism of this thread, just a descript5ion of the reactions in my tiny brain.

    This post is meant as a public service to anyone interested in some good physics including approximations for radiative transfer calculations.

    Comment by John Peter — 15 Jun 2010 @ 6:04 AM

  609. Well, I live in the Atlanta metro area, and I don’t use my AC. Actually, it doesn’t work anymore; I’ll probably be forced to replace it in order to sell someday, but it’s not too bad and in the meantime we have other priorities for our money.

    We in fact do exactly what’s been discussed upthread: from about 8 PM to about AM, we run the attic fan, drawing cooler outside air into the house. At 8 AM we shut that down, as the outside air is warming up, and rely on ceiling fans in the room(s) where we actually are.

    This works as well as it does because we have a house which–fortuitously, I’m pretty sure–is physically configured to warm slowly during the day: major axis NW to SE, large unheated garage on the SE as a buffer, and most importantly it is very well tree-shaded.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 15 Jun 2010 @ 7:40 AM

  610. 556: Patrick 027 wrote: an excellent post.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 15 Jun 2010 @ 9:31 AM

  611. Patrick 027, it seems to me that if the polyatomic molecules have higher specific heats because some of the energy is added to (unfrozen) rotation and vibration, that added energy that goes into rotation and vibration does not raise the temperature.

    Actually we’ve been down this road before and it won’t be reconciled. It’s my opinion that Ray et al and I et al have a difference in semantics or convention rather than physics. But, thanks.

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Jun 2010 @ 10:46 AM

  612. FurryCatHerder, there is in the neighborhood of $12 billion ($4B by the feds) over a few years being spent to architect, make standards, develop and build prototypes for a national smart grid. What is this all about?

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Jun 2010 @ 10:54 AM

  613. Norman (602), I don’t know if the numbers would match up, but the logic makes sense. Thanks.

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Jun 2010 @ 11:00 AM

  614. “it seems to me that if the polyatomic molecules have higher specific heats because some of the energy is added to (unfrozen) rotation and vibration, that added energy that goes into rotation and vibration does not raise the temperature.”

    It seems to me you’ve forgotten that that energy can be imparted to another molecule that isn’t excited rotationally, which can express it kinetically in movement. Which is temperature.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Jun 2010 @ 11:05 AM

  615. Rod@611
    You are thinking of an equilibrium situation–and when you are adding energy, you are not at equilibrium. That is why the energy tends to flow into the kinetic degrees of freedom, so that the system can equilibrate.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Jun 2010 @ 11:26 AM

  616. CFU @ 604:

    “My patents pending require NO WIDE AREA SMART GRID!”

    Oh dear.

    Everything’s become terribly clear to me.

    PS The energy system we have needs a smart grid. We don’t have one, so we have engineers watching the system and bringing sources on and off line to manage loads.

    Actually, we don’t have a “smart grid”. We have a very dumb grid that’s based on scheduling large blocks of power, then having load-following generators balance the difference. Human beings do make some decisions, often times badly, and others are handled by computers. By and large, the system works by computing the existing frequency, and raising or lowering the output of a small number of generators in order to bring the frequency back to nominal and the time error back to zero. Historical data is used to calculate the rough amount of power that’s needed in the day ahead period, and weather forecasts are then applied to tweak things. From there, contingencies are planned for and managed, some by computers, some by humans.

    And that’s about it.

    I obviously can’t explain what I’ve done because I’m under a non-disclosure agreement until the PTO publishes the applications. But “there is no wide area smart grid” is an accurate statement. Indeed, during the several years I worked with other engineers (see, I’m an “engineer”), getting rid of the “wide area smart grid” was a key component in our work. How we did that is a secret :)

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 15 Jun 2010 @ 11:43 AM

  617. Rod B @ 612:

    FurryCatHerder, there is in the neighborhood of $12 billion ($4B by the feds) over a few years being spent to architect, make standards, develop and build prototypes for a national smart grid. What is this all about?

    Mostly it’s about the way that technology works. Go with what looks like a good idea until it’s obvious that it’s a bad idea.

    I don’t remember the order in which all the applications were filed, so I don’t know which ones will come out next (the first has published, but it’s a minor enabling invention). They should all be out by next summer, by which time I’ll be able to be a lot less vague.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 15 Jun 2010 @ 11:50 AM

  618. CFU @ 607:

    How can that be?

    Thermal inertia.

    Caves are cooler because the surrounding earth is a heat sink. The warmth of the air inside the cave (assuming the air is warmer …) is transferred to the earth, which happily takes it.

    A perfectly insulated home cannot transfer any of the heat from the interior to the non-existent exterior heat sink that is the outside air. For one thing, insulation prevents heat flow in both directions.

    You could get around this by pumping cooler outside air in, but we often don’t have enough of a temperature difference for that to work — I need 72F air to bring the temperature down to where I set the A/C (78F), and I need that for =hours=. Which we don’t get this time of year.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 15 Jun 2010 @ 11:58 AM

  619. “Caves are cooler because the surrounding earth is a heat sink.”

    Yes, otherwise known as “insulation”.

    “A perfectly insulated home cannot transfer any of the heat from the interior to the non-existent exterior heat sink that is the outside air.”

    No, but it can stop the heat getting in.

    And we have these things called “windows” and “fans” and so on for moving air between inside and outside.

    So we open the windows or turn on the fans and swap the warmer air inside for the colder air outside at night.

    Then we stop the fans and close the windows for the daytime.

    The heat outside doesn’t get in very fast and so the cold night air inside stays cooler than the daytime air outside.

    Then, when night falls again and the heat inside is higher than outside, open the windows and turn the fans on again.

    Simples.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Jun 2010 @ 12:11 PM

  620. Speaking of commitments or lack thereof, news from Bonn:

    Climate negotiators meeting over the past two weeks in Bonn, Germany, enjoyed a new spirit of bonhomie as they worked to heal the rifts created by the failure of UN talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, last December. At the close of talks on 11 June, they believed they were back on track to deliver a new climate agreement by the end of 2011.

    But diplomatic harmony has come at a price: sacrificing a cool future for planet Earth.

    Until Copenhagen, the aim was to set targets for major emitters of greenhouse gases that would limit warming to 2 °C. That required, as a first step, that by 2020 industrialised countries cut emissions by 25 to 40 per cent compared with 1990 levels.

    While that target remains an option in draft deals, most negotiators say they will have to accept whatever pledges industrialised countries are prepared to make. Right now those pledges add up to cuts of between 12 and 19 per cent, according to the UN climate secretariat. And there are loopholes that could mean even these pledges amount to virtually nothing.

    “As things stand now, we will not be able to halt the increase in global greenhouse gas emissions in the next 10 years,” UN chief negotiator Yvo de Boer said in Bonn. “The 2-degree world is in danger. The door to a 1.5-degree world is rapidly closing.”

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627650.401-is-it-time-to-say-goodbye-cool-world.html

    Words fail to describe how irritating it is watching us be humans.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 15 Jun 2010 @ 1:02 PM

  621. CFU, I was talking only of the energy that went into rotation or vibration, not what if you then moved that energy somewhere else.

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Jun 2010 @ 2:23 PM

  622. Ray (615), that sounds correct (if I’m reading you correctly). Like my response to CFU, I am talking only about the singular action of adding energy into rotation or vibration. Whether a microsecond or less later it equalizes into translation kinetic energy is highly probable but not part of my assertion.

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Jun 2010 @ 2:30 PM

  623. FurryCatHerder, but if you got something that could affect the mad rush at the National Institute of Standards to write the standards (1/3 already done) by this year, some way ought to be found…

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Jun 2010 @ 2:41 PM

  624. Wow, CFU, you actually know that my house is uninsulated, and that is why pumping hot, humid air inside is a great idea.

    Or, possibly you are completely clueless as to how well my house is actually insulated and are just making stuff up.

    We actually found the key is controlling the humidity – 80 degrees (where we set our AC) is actually rather comfortable if one brings the humdity down to fifty (45 is better) percent.

    So a high efficiency de-humidifier is the better choice than popping open a window or cranking up the AC.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 15 Jun 2010 @ 3:05 PM

  625. “Although some may disagree with me, setting up a lab test to get as close as possible to an atmosphere (like individual sealed containers at various pressures that create a large column to beam the same IR spectrum the Earth gives off…can be varied to match different parts of the Earth at different seasons) is not the same as a computer simulation.” Norman — 14 June 2010 @ 10:49 PM

    I agree; a realizable physical model can’t be as good as a computer simulation.

    Consider building an analog of the troposphere – 10 km thick, give or take a few km, depending on atmospheric pressure and surface temperature; for convenience, our initial design will be 100 meters long, 1 meter in diameter, and divided into 20 cells, with a linear pressure gradient (stepwise) from 1000 to 250 mbar. To get the equivalent absorption, we’ll just increase the CO2 concentration by 100 fold; this will increase the probability that an excited CO2 will transfer its energy to another CO2 instead of (N2,O2, H2O), but we can model that and apply a correction.

    We can’t increase the H2O above 100% – it just condenses out on the temperature controlled walls; we’ll just have to measure at a few intervals from 0 to 100% RH, and model and extrapolate to what the results would be if we could increase the H2O by 100 fold. Or we can crank the temperature up to raise the amount of water vapor, but that will increase the pressure broadening of CO2 and H2O absorption lines, and the amount of thermal radiation. Plus, we have to correct for the fact that pressure broadening is dependent on the particular species – an increase in CO2 pressure causes 1.3 times as much broadening of the CO2 lines at the same increase of N2 pressure. Either way, modeling is required.

    The real radiation in the atmosphere doesn’t just go straight up, but is emitted isotropically; the effective path length is root 2 time longer at 45 degrees, and so on. This means that there is a wavelength dependent anisotropy in the angular distribution of radiative transfer from parcels of air at various altitudes. We will gold plate the walls of our 100X1 meter cuvette to maximize the IR reflectivity – shouldn’t cost too much – so the parcels of air “see” reflected images of other parcels that look somewhat like the real atmosphere; we’ll measure the wavelength and angular dependence of the IR reflectivity of the gold plating, model how that differs from reality, and apply a correction to our measurements.

    The optically transparent, low thermal conductivity, multilayer dielectric broadband antireflective coated unobtanium windows between cells aren’t perfect, so we will measure the wavelength/angular/thermal dependent properties and model how this effects our system, so we can correct these effects too.

    So, even a giant, complicated (temperature, pressure, gas mixture controlled, multicell) gold plated experimental system can’t provide results without many mathematical corrections, and as soon as you start interpolating your corrections you are assuming some underlying physical process that can be described by a mathematical function (linear, logarithmic, exponential, polynomial, whatever), e.g., modeling.

    And we haven’t even considered clouds and wall effects.

    An enormous number of lab measurements on CO2 and H20 have been made since Tyndall first published his measurements in 1859, at a multitude of different pressures and temperatures, spanning beyond the limits in earth’s atmosphere. More importantly, these measurements have allowed scientists to elucidate the mathematical functions that describe its behavior, and the underlying physical processes that govern it. Because of this work, it is possible to calculate the IR spectrum of CO2 given only the masses of the atoms and the strength of the chemical bonds. Once you get the math, or even an approximation of the math that is accurate enough and computationally faster, there’s little reason to do more experiments; every time we build a AMSU satellite detector and it works, it provides another confirmation that the theory is correct and the math is accurate enough.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 15 Jun 2010 @ 3:07 PM

  626. CFU —

    IT IS NOT COOL ENOUGH OVERNIGHT, OR OF LOW ENOUGH RELATIVE HUMIDITY, FOR THAT TO WORK EVERYWHERE.

    Equilibrium at my house, which is profoundly energy efficient, this time of year is well above where I set the thermostat. It’s just freakin’ hot here, sometimes of Biblical proportions hot. If I were to let all that (not very) cool outdoor air in, I’d have horrible problems with mold and mildew due to the humidity.

    And no, a heat SINK is not called “Insulation”. Insulation is resistance to the flow of heat. A heat SINK absorbs heat. Insulation does not. This is why heat sinks work best when they conduct heat. Insulation works poorly when it conducts heat.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 15 Jun 2010 @ 3:34 PM

  627. #614 the comment is correct throughout, but the phrasing could be misunderstood:

    which can express it kinetically in movement. Which is temperature.

    Your point is that movement is not the same as temperature although it can be an example of it. You just gave a good counter-example in #605. No translational movement but both positive and negative absolute temperatures can occur.

    Just in case anyone might get the wrong idea from that example, scientists,unlike some deniers, are not saying that warming produces cooling. The negative absolute temperatures are actually physically hotter than the positive ones. The trouble is caused by the mathematical representation i.e. the scale.

    Most of that particular weirdness would disappear if we used a more physical temperature scale of coldness i.e. 1/T where T is the usual absolute temperature.

    Anyway this is unecessary for climate
    because negative absolute temperatures require a finite upper bound to the available energy levels. The climate has nothing in it like spins in a magnet.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 15 Jun 2010 @ 4:47 PM

  628. Furry 569: this isn’t a SciFi novel where you get to claim some magical solution…

    BPL: Okay, that’s about the third or fourth time you’ve mentioned my profession disparagingly, and I’m tired of it. You’re on filter, Furry. I’ve never done that to someone on RC before; you’re the first. Congratulations, and have a nice day.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 15 Jun 2010 @ 6:17 PM

  629. Norman 600: How much more actual energy does a double of atmospheric CO2 send in downwelling IR.

    BPL: 3.7 watts per square meter.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 15 Jun 2010 @ 6:23 PM

  630. Rod B @ 623:

    FurryCatHerder, but if you got something that could affect the mad rush at the National Institute of Standards to write the standards (1/3 already done) by this year, some way ought to be found…

    There’s nothing I can do. I’m bound by a non-disclosure agreement that I’m not going to break. I’m trying to build my own IP portfolio and I’m not going to give IBM any excuses for whacking me upside the head.

    The work that’s going on isn’t completely and totally pointless. Remember that there is a difference between measuring, monitoring and controlling. The problems with a “Wide Area Smart Grid” are — in my professional opinion — all in the “controlling” domain.

    There is still a need for measuring and real time monitoring, if only because statistical data is very handy. Right now there is no way to do that monitoring with any significant granularity and that part of the “Wide Area Smart Grid” work =will= be useful when it’s completed. But actually controlling the grid? Yipes!

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 15 Jun 2010 @ 6:36 PM

  631. Rod, my point is that temperature is a rather dodgy concept in a system far from equilibrium–like an optically excited molecule.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Jun 2010 @ 7:25 PM

  632. Re C.F.U,F.C.H,Frank Giger, others – A large thermal mass can be helpful to ‘insulate’ the temperature from higher-frequency heating cycles, but only via conduction and convection with that thermal mass, which itself is not insulation (perhaps this is what you (CFU) meant, but it wasn’t clear). The underground material is insulated (by thermal mass and by actual insulation – the finite thermal conductivity of the material) from the daily and seasonal cycles but one has to break that insulation to get to it (send a fluid through it). Obviously one can still insulate the interface between a building and outdoor air and yet bring heat in or out to selected thermal masses. Maybe such ambi-ent or other artifically-maintained thermal masses (thermal masses alternately exposed/absorbing and then insulated/reflective to the conditions/radiation at different times/wavelengths to maintain a temperature different than the annual or diurnal average) are not at the desired temperature; they could still be used to preheat or precool various fluids. Water intake is often quite cold because of the temperature of the underground rock/soil; this is a resource in summer. Air and water outflows can be a thermal resource all year; the moisture and heat from bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry can sometimes be a burden (dealt with by having air leave the building from those rooms) and sometimes be helpful if managed. In dry climates, cooling can be achieved by evaporation (perhaps using seawater, thus producing salt, which can then be used as a dessicant in humid climates? – maybe not the most practical trade, but just thought I’d mention it). It may be easier to have good energy efficiency in winter if insulation is sufficient; this can complement the availability of solar energy. Not all solutions work everywhere at all times; this doesn’t mean they don’t make sense in many places at many times.

    Re Rod B – Yes, I think I understood what you meant, and as heat capacity is the amount of heat per unit temperature change, and temperature is related to translational kinetic energy, the smaller that is as a fraction of internal energy, the larger the heat capacity per unit material.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 15 Jun 2010 @ 8:26 PM

  633. Re Rod B. – with respect to Ray Ladbury’s comments – I am refering to the relationship between heat and temperature for a sufficiently large population of molecules/atoms/etc. which are maintaining (quasi)LTE as heat is added or removed.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 15 Jun 2010 @ 8:29 PM

  634. 629 (Barton Paul Levenson),

    Your answer to Norman that a doubling of CO2 sends an extra 3.7 W/m2 extra in downwelling IR is not necessarily correct. This is the reduction in the OLR, not the increase in downwelling IR to the surface, which responds more to (sigmaT^4) as the atmosphere warms than the direct CO2 increase.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 15 Jun 2010 @ 9:15 PM

  635. #625–“The optically transparent, low thermal conductivity, multilayer dielectric broadband antireflective coated unobtanium windows between cells aren’t perfect. . .”

    Maybe not, but the independent clause quoted comes pretty damn close!

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 15 Jun 2010 @ 9:15 PM

  636. What I reduced was =waste=. But making much of what I use means I get to increase productive consumption, and I may even increase it beyond what I used previously.

    Jevon’s Paradox. One reason technology is certainly not *the* answer. Another reason has to do with fixing complexity with complexity; doesn’t work too well.

    Furry, you do know what Ol’ Al Bartlett has to say about yeast, right? Also, please extrapolate all scenarios planet-wide to equate your comments with reality.

    Comment by ccpo — 15 Jun 2010 @ 9:43 PM

  637. Barton Paul Levenson #629,

    I was reading through the link you sent me to your paper “The Irrevelance of Saturation: Why Carbon Dioxide Matters”.

    Brian Dodge prefers the computer model to the empirical, but your paper demonstrates why models can be flawed. It has to do with the intitial assumptions. With an empirical test, initial assumptions do not matter. Example: I make an initial assumption that CO2 is a very good IR asorber. I then run an empirical test (run the entire spectrum of IR into a CO2 sample and measure the energy on the other side). With an empirical test it does not matter what the initial assumption might be. The assumption will not alter the reality. In a model the assumption is crucial to the reality derived.

    Point: Barton Paul Levenson “The value of a for the ground and layer 1 is 1.0; they have been assumed all along to be perfect absorbers/ emitters.”

    Where does this assumption come from? The empirical tested reality does not support this assumption at all.

    IR atmpospheric absorption, not even close to a 1, lots of windows.

    Or this one: Barton Paul Levenson “Let’s assume layer 2’s absorptivity is 0.5 — it absorbs half the radiation from Layer 1; the rest goes through it and out to space.”

    Why would this assumption be made? The second layer is composed mostly of CO2. CO2 only absorbs about 8% of the total IR spectrum. You should use 0.08 for this layer and that is if it is entirely CO2. 92% will go on through since CO2 does not have the right resonant frequency in its bond-stretching to absorb it. In layer 2 if it was all CO2 it would abosorb about 8% of the IR coming up from layer 1.

    The site I posted earlier shows how much of a contribution CO2 has for downwelling longwave radiation. It is less than 10%.

    Anyway, Brian, that is what is also wrong with computer models. An assumption will not alter the results of an empirical test.

    Comment by Norman — 15 Jun 2010 @ 10:21 PM

  638. http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/A/atmospheric_window.html

    Comment by Norman — 15 Jun 2010 @ 10:26 PM

  639. Or

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Atmospheric_electromagnetic_opacity.svg

    Comment by Norman — 15 Jun 2010 @ 10:27 PM

  640. One question I hope you can answer for me Barton Paul Levenson,

    I am doing my best to research AGW hypothesis. The band saturation question still causes me some confusion. I look up various IR spectrometer graphs of CO2 absorption. They show the absorption go to 100% at certain frequencies (or wavelengths) or no transmission of energy.

    Wouldn’t the layer theory show up in IR runs? Why wouldn’t the CO2 in the sample cell that is absorbing the incoming IR radiation, heat up and emit radiation in all directions and then reach the detector? How can a detector ever read 100% absorption of CO2? It seems if I am to buy the theory of perpetual emission, wouldn’t the best absorption be 50%? 50% would make it to the detector (regardless of concentration) and 50% would be reflected back to the IR source.

    Comment by Norman — 15 Jun 2010 @ 11:22 PM

  641. Re 610 John E. Pearson “556: Patrick 027 wrote: an excellent post.”

    Thank You!

    But I must correct an error. I wrote that the effective width of the band increases by 2*B or B1+B2, but it’s 2/B or 1/B1 + 1/B2:

    Where: …log(OptCO2) ~= peak value – B*abs(frequency-peak frequency). this means that a 10-fold increase in CO2 will result in CO2 absorbtion exceeding any set threshold over an additional 2/B frequency interval, provided that the peak has already exceeded that threshold. Now, maybe B is different on one side of the band verses the other, so it would be 1/B1+1/B2 instead of 2/B … it’s an approximation, anyway

    Re 629 Barton Paul Levenson “3.7 watts per square meter.”

    Yes, the forcing at tropopause level with equilibrated stratosphere. I actually attempted to estimate this graphically using the spectrum of OLR from K&T, knowing about the spectra of the gases, I drew a line across the CO2 valley/hill (valley in OLR, hill in ‘effective emitting altitude’) to estimate what it would be in the complete absence of CO2, no temperature change or other feedbacks – same clouds and water vapor, etc. (let’s call that the ‘potential forcing’ for CO2 – I think it’s a useful concept). Noting the maximum effect of adding CO2 would be at wavelengths where optical thickness from CO2 would have some intermediate value, estimated the slopes B of log(optical thickness) over wavelength, take 1/B1 and 1/B2, each multiplied by the potential forcing at the wavelengths where the band expands by 1/B1 and 1/B2, respectively, and take the sum. That’s the change in OLR for a 10-fold increase – multiply by log(2) to get the amount per doubling. Note, graphically, this is the decrease in area under the OLR curve – the exact shape of the curve depends on the way temperature varies with height, but knowing that the same set of optical properties are just translated by some wavelength interval outward from the center of the band, the shape of the curve from where CO2 starts to make a significant difference to where OLR becomes saturated stays the same. Thus, the change in area is equal to the height (the potential forcing per wavelength interval) times the wavelength shift – this is done for both sides of the CO2 band. NOTE, this is an approximation – because potential forcing is not actually constant over wavelength (the approximate works if it doens’t vary much over a wavelength interval the size of the shift), and also, because the log(optical thickness from CO2) = peak value – B*abs(wavelength-peak wavelength) (where B may be a different value, B1 or B2, on either side of the peak) is an approximation that glosses over some bumps and finer-scale texture (though if the finer scale texture is sufficiently self-similar over short wavelength intervals, then it won’t necessarily cause much of an error (unless the finer details correlate with finer details in other absorption spectra that shape the potential forcing) – the interval exceeding any threshold of optical thickness has fuzzy edges but the fuzz shifts outward in the same way).

    Anyway, I don’t remember exactly offhand what numbers I got but I was able** to get something not far off from a 2.7 W/m2 reduction in OLR. But I did the same for tropopause level forcing – I didn’t have a graph of upward and downward LW fluxes to work with there, but the slope of the log(optical thickness) over the spectrum for CO2 would be the same for any layer of air for the same frequency – it’s just the total amount that changes (which means that there will be a shift in the frequency where the change in CO2 has greatest effect; the interval that is saturated will also be different (but with the same center), but I used an approximation of constant B1 and B2 over the relevant wavelengths). I know that at saturation within the atmosphere, the downward LW flux = the upward LW flux (because the photons are originating from such close locations that the intensities have the same brightness temperature as the temperature at that location for which the intensities and fluxes are calculated or measured). I also know that absent CO2, the stratosphere is essentially transparent at the relevant wavelengths. Thus the potential forcing is the difference between OLR without CO2 and zero. Using that, multiplied by the band-widenning, I was able to get something not too far from 4.7 W/m2.

    The difference between top-of-atmosphere (TOA) forcing and tropopause level forcing is the forcing on the layer in between. It is negative, indicating cooling. Allowing a temperature change to occur to balance that, the combination of decrease in OLR at TOA and decrease in downward LW flux at the tropopause must sum to the original (instantaneous) stratospheric forcing. Much of the radiation from the stratosphere is emitted from water vapor, which adds significant but not large optical thickness at the wavelengths where it is significant. At wavelengths where the stratosphere is optically very thick, the changes in OLR and downward LW flux at the tropopause could be quite different, even possibly of opposite sign. But I don’t think this dominates the effect for Earthly conditions, so to a first approximation, one could assume that the changes in TOA OLR and downward LW flux at the tropopause are the same. This would transfer half of the stratospheric forcing to the tropopause level forcing, thus bringing that value down to near 4.7 + (2.7-4.7)/2 = 3.7 W/m2. Actually, in my calculation, I assumed 5/11 of the stratospheric forcing got transfered to the tropopause level, because that is the fraction of LW flux leaving the stratosphere that is downward through the tropopause (Hartmann, “Global Physical Climatology”) – though the change in LW fluxes isn’t necessarily apportioned the same way.

    **I actually tried a few estimates of B1 and B2 and so got a range of values, but they were in the ballpark and some were not far off. It’s tricky because of the bumpiness of the CO2 spectrum. Well, this was just an approximation, after all. The actual scientific work has been done with more detailed information and calculation (and not just for global average/representative conditions – as I understand it, GCMs calculate radiative fluxes for different locations and times).

    (Also, I completely skipped over the effect of the increase in OLR at the center of the CO2 band and the expansion and heightenning(?) of that with increasing CO2.)

    The calculation of forcing at a particular wavelength depends on additional information. The shape of the CO2 spectrum (approximated as described above), when the central portion of the absorption band is saturated, happens to lend itself to such a straightforward approximation (but it IS an approximation, the way I did it).

    Presumably something similar could be done for backradiation at the surface, but I think the ‘potential forcing’ would be (in global average effect) signficantly smaller. There is generally a concentration of water vapor near the surface (at wavelengths where it would affect the potential forcing of CO2, having greater effect on backradiation than OLR or tropopause-level fluxes).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 15 Jun 2010 @ 11:29 PM

  642. Re 637 Norman – from the language you describe (let’s assume layer 2 has…), I assume BPL was trying to illustrate principles rather than calculate a particular real value. However, the surface emissivity truly is close to 1 over the LW part of the spectrum. Not exactly 1, but close. (That’s not refering to atmospheric absorption at all wavelengths)

    These optical properties have been measured. Here is where more empirical work is not so necessary – if you know that the optical thickness of a 1 m distance through air with some composition and pressure and temperature is Opt, then you know that 10 m over the same conditions has 10 times that optical thickness. You can calculate the effects; you don’t need to redo all the measurements for 1 km. It’s a bit like knowing that 1 rock weighs 10 pounds, another weighs 5, and knowing that you have 100 rocks just like the first and 40 more just like the second. You don’t need to put them altogether and weigh them to know how much they will weigh.

    But if you want confirmation, you can look at actual measurements of radiative spectra, from the Earth as seen from space, and looking up from the ground, etc.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 15 Jun 2010 @ 11:39 PM

  643. Norman, the point is not just how many W/m2 is due to directly to CO2, but also the amount is feedback W/m2 as result of increase in CO2. (Ie the water vapour especially). You cant vary water vapour independently of temperature so have to worry about the forcings instead (GHG, solar, albedo, aerosol).

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 15 Jun 2010 @ 11:51 PM

  644. “621
    Rod B says:
    15 June 2010 at 2:23 PM

    CFU, I was talking only of the energy that went into rotation or vibration,”

    So there are never any collisions in your gas, then, Rod?

    How strange.

    How do you manage to get the ideal gas laws from a gas that doesn’t collide?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 16 Jun 2010 @ 2:39 AM

  645. “The warmth of the air inside the cave (assuming the air is warmer …) is transferred to the earth, which happily takes it.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_conduction
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conduction_%28heat%29
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_contact_conductance

    I think you need to get into some actual science, FCH. You’re ignoring REALLY basic stuff.

    The thermal heat loss is reduced by

    a) increased resistance to thermal conduction
    b) increased thickness

    BOTH of which are involved equally.

    Even your best insulator happily accepts heat from a warmer source.

    Even your best conductor happily produces a heat gradient from inside to outside (therefore resists heat transfer).

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 16 Jun 2010 @ 2:45 AM

  646. “That is why the energy tends to flow into the kinetic degrees of freedom, so that the system can equilibrate.”

    Or, for the scientists (Rod, are you a scientist?)

    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/kinetic/eqpar.html

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 16 Jun 2010 @ 2:47 AM

  647. Chris 634 — oops! You’re right. I got the radiative forcing confused with the sea-level downward flux.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 16 Jun 2010 @ 4:23 AM

  648. Norman 637,

    You are mistaking illustrative examples for an actual model of the climate system. To get the correct numbers you need to put together, at the very least, a radiative-convective model of the atmospheric column. Please rest assured that I have done that as well and that the standard theory holds up very nicely.

    The point of the essay was that even if the lowest layer absorbs ALL the infrared from the ground, adding more greenhouse gases can still warm the ground.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 16 Jun 2010 @ 4:25 AM

  649. Norman,
    The main problem I see with your saturation argument is that satellites measure a nonzero radiation flux at the wavelengths in question. Thus, at some altitude, the atmosphere is no longer opaque. Adding CO2 pushes that level higher (and colder). It also broadens the absorption spectrum.

    Second, when you say “AGW hypothesis” it seems that you do not fully understand the way the science has played out. Warming due to anthropogenic CO2 is a prediction of the consensus model of Earth’s climate. Under this model, such warming is inevitable. There are uncertainties to the exact amount, but the observation of a sustained period of warming is evidence (a confirmed prediction) of the consensus model.

    AGW hypothesis implies that warming was observed, and anthropogenic causation was advanced to explain it. Not true.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Jun 2010 @ 5:04 AM

  650. Norman #637 said:
    > An assumption will not alter the results of an empirical test.

    Wrong assumptions can lead to a wrong experimental setup, to looking for the wrong results, or to the wrong interpretation of those results.

    Assumption: The Moon is made of green cheese.
    Hypothesis: Man has landed on the Moon.
    Empirical test: Oh yeah? Show me the cheese!
    Results (unaltered by assumption): Rocks. Dust. No cheese.
    Conclusion: NASA faked the moon landing.

    Comment by CM — 16 Jun 2010 @ 7:35 AM

  651. Re CFU – it seems we’ve all had reason to disagree with Rod in the past (the whole what emits blackbody radiation on the sun fiasco), but I think you might be reading into his comments something that isn’t intended. I interpreted his point to be that when heat is added to a material, not all the heat goes into the translational kinetic energy; some goes into other forms, which don’t directly contribute to the temperature (at least for an ideal gas; don’t know as much about condensed matter, plasmas offhand so much), thus increasing the heat capacity – but that is not to say that the energy can be sequestered away without affecting temperature, because the energy generally is always being exchanged between different forms including that is part of the molecular basis for temperature. Maintaining a LTE, a given addition of heat will be apportioned in some way among these forms (not the same as saying the energy is locked into each form without equal and opposite exchanges occuring continually – it is that exchange which tends to drive the proportions to equilibrium values); the proportions are different for different materials, thus the heat capacity per unit material is different for different materials.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 16 Jun 2010 @ 11:48 AM

  652. Re #651. I posited something similar earlier (post #585), but Rod B doesn’t actually seem to be intimating that. He seems to be thinking that because one molecule is excited rotationally, that the energy stays there and never gets expressed as kinetic (temperature) energy.

    Yet that energy is passed off to other molecules that may not have that excitation energy step available and therefore an inelastic collision would result in a greater energy content of the gas expressed in mobility.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 16 Jun 2010 @ 1:01 PM

  653. Further to #649, the only AGW hypothesis is that CO2 levels have increased due to human activities.

    THAT’S ALL.

    If you want to disprove an AGW hypothesis you need to disprove that our CO2 emissions are not causing the atmospheric concentrations of same to increase.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 16 Jun 2010 @ 1:03 PM

  654. CFU, it’s hard to grasp, I know, but I’m talking about non-equilibrium and unsatisfied equipartition (which is the normal situation). It could also be called transient conditions. You can ask any of your scientist (or even engineering) friends to explain that.

    Comment by Rod B — 16 Jun 2010 @ 1:36 PM

  655. Patrick 027, a set-to perhaps, but not a fiasco! ;-)

    Comment by Rod B — 16 Jun 2010 @ 1:42 PM

  656. “but I’m talking about non-equilibrium and unsatisfied equipartition ”

    Then you’re not talking about temperature.

    Except you’re using the word temperature to describe the thing that isn’t temperature.

    This would be why “it’s hard to grasp”.

    http://www.elizabethmapstone.co.uk/wow/argument.htm

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 16 Jun 2010 @ 3:40 PM

  657. CM #650,

    Your point on empirical testing would show that an incorrect assumption can lead to an incorrect conclusion, but the empirical data is still valid and was the same (rock and dust) regardless of the initial assumption or the final conclusion. Even if an experiment is poorly designed, the data collected from it is still valid.

    Many intelligent people have responded to my questions and offered lots of thinking material. I still wonder if an empirical test has been run to demonstrate the layer effect and the conclusion that saturation of IR bands does not apply. IR spectrums run on any absorbing material (and it would not matter the material, all should show the effect…absorb the IR energy, warm up and then begin to emit detectable IR) should show this effect. As one scans an IR absrobing material, stop the scan at the primary absorbing band and allow the material to heat up, then rather than transmittance going to zero it should start to pick up again and reach a stable point based upon the configuration of the sample cell (how much of the emission IR will reach the detector). After turning off the IR source the detector should still pick up IR energy until the absorbing material has cooled down enough that the sensor will no longer detect.

    This test has probably been run I just can’t find it. This is the type of information I would like to go along with the theories and ideas…an empirical test to demonstrate, yes indeed what we state is happening.

    In our atmosphere, if 10 meters is the extinction pathlength of IR for the concentration of CO2, you would have several of the layers. In the IR spectrometer setting, maybe 10 different sample cells. Each can absorb the energy from the others to see how much the final cell will receive from the first.

    Thanks!

    Comment by Norman — 16 Jun 2010 @ 4:37 PM

  658. “How can a detector ever read 100% absorption of CO2?” Norman — 15 June 2010 @ 11:22 PM
    Use a rotating mirror to shine the light through a reference cell, a sample cell, and to block the beam falling on a detector. Measure the amplified output of the detector. When the beam is being blocked, the output will be electronic noise, stray signals from IR from warm components, and DC offsets from the electronics. If the engineer(that would be me) did an excellent job of controlling the temperature of the detector and the rest of the instrument environment, and designing the amplifier chain from the detector to the A to D converter, you can average 100 measurements and find that the result fluctuates less than the 20th LSB on the 24 bit convertor. Call that “zero”. Average another 100 measurements while the light is shining through the reference cell, filled with dry nitrogen, and call that “100% transmission” . With a little luck, and a lot of design work involving hair pulling, cursing, and about 20 iterations of building new electronics, and better systems to flush the am@#$bient laboratory atmosphere which the PI keeps changing by smoking cigars from the instrument, that number will be 1 MSB, plus or minus less than one 20th LSB. Measure the light through the sample cell containing some concentration of CO2; if the number is the same as “zero” is the transmitted light actually zero(100% absorption), or just less than the resolution of your instrument? Now dilute the sample by 1000 fold, and remeasure – you will likely get a reading, and you can calculate, using Beer-Lambert Law, what the attenuation was at the original concentration, with some error depending on how accurate your dilution was. Getting a million fold(~2^20) dynamic range in a lab instrument is very difficult – your typical spectrophotometer will have a dynamic range of less than 10,000, so “100% absorption” = 99.99% absorption =99.999% absorption.
    Note that the Beer-Lambert Law equation, , implies that transmittance never can equal zero, but can be pretty damn close.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 16 Jun 2010 @ 5:09 PM

  659. Brian, you forgot the moment when you discover you’ve been trying to fix the problem of the scope probe being set to 1x for some unknown period of time by replacing components on the test article when normally the probe is always on 10x so you didn’t think to check it. Also, the stupid little set-screws coming loose on the banana plugs…

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 16 Jun 2010 @ 7:00 PM

  660. CFU @ 645:

    I think you need to get into some actual science, FCH. You’re ignoring REALLY basic stuff.

    The thermal heat loss is reduced by

    a) increased resistance to thermal conduction
    b) increased thickness

    BOTH of which are involved equally.

    Even your best insulator happily accepts heat from a warmer source.

    Even your best conductor happily produces a heat gradient from inside to outside (therefore resists heat transfer).

    Right, and insulation — what you suggested — is described here:

    The term thermal insulation can refer to materials used to reduce the rate of heat transfer, or the methods and processes used to reduce heat transfer. Heat energy can be transferred by conduction, convection, radiation or by actual movement of material from one location to another. For the purposes of this discussion only the first three mechanisms need to be considered. Thermal insulation is the method of preventing heat from escaping a container or from entering the container. In other words, thermal insulation can keep an enclosed area such as a building warm, or it can keep the inside of a container cold. Heat is transferred from one material to another by conduction, convection and/or radiation. Insulators are used to minimize that transfer of heat energy.

    A cave is cool because the temperature of the earth at the depths involved tends towards the mean temperature of the area. That thermal mass (earth) then acts as a heat sink which absorbs heat from the air in the cave, to the extent that it is warmer, or releases heat to the air in the cave, to the extent that it is cooler.

    In the case of cave temperatures, you can’t say that it’s “insulation” keeping the cave cool because you can’t replace the “insulation” of the earth with an arbitrary R-value insulator — say, a vacuum.

    Next time you mention “Insulation”, don’t respond with articles about heat conduction.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 16 Jun 2010 @ 8:55 PM

  661. CFU, are you saying there must be equilibrium (at least LTE) and equipartition before there can be any temperature at all??

    Comment by Rod B — 16 Jun 2010 @ 10:37 PM

  662. Re my 641 –
    “the exact shape of the curve depends on the way temperature varies with height, but knowing that the same set of optical properties are just translated by some wavelength interval outward from the center of the band, the shape of the curve from where CO2 starts to make a significant difference to where OLR becomes saturated stays the same.”

    That’s actually based on an additional assumption. First, the potential forcing is assumed to be approximately constant over intervals of the same width as the spectral shift (SHIFT) in optical properties, at the wavelengths where the flux changes are significant. This can be achieved if

    1. the Planck functions for the temperatures found within the relevant emission weighting functions are nearly constant over such an interval, for the wavelengths at which the changes in fluxes are significant. This will generally always be true for a sufficiently small shift, and it is a good first approximation for CO2 for the conditions being considered.

    2. the other contributions to optical thickness in the relevant parts of the spectrum (such as water vapor and clouds) don’t vary much over an interval of size SHIFT in those parts of the spectrum – both in total amount and in spatial distribution (at any given horizontal location and time, and thus in global average effect for a particularly climatic state).

    It might be possible to play around with those conditions and keep the potential CO2 forcing nearly constant over SHIFT intervals and yet have a change in the shape of the OLR curve at the effective band edges. But as I said, this is an approximate approach. The bumps in the CO2 spectrum will have an effect anyway.
    ——————
    Fig 1 of http://www.atmo.arizona.edu/students/courselinks/spring04/atmo451b/pdf/RadiationBudget.pdf

    is where I got the OLR graph. Note the smoother curve is a Planck function (in terms of flux per unit area – this is pi * Planck function in terms of intensity) for surface temperature. A similar graph and related graphs are found at http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/global-warming-mapsgraphs-2/ – but that is graphed over frequency instead of wavelength. You can work from either graph – just keep SHIFT in the same units (frequency or wavelength) as are used in the Planck function and OLR (per unit frequency or per unit wavelength), etc.

    You can overlay Planck functions (in flux/area) for different temperatures to see where **saturation occurs for OLR. Where a radiant flux/area is at the Planck function value for some temperature, the flux/area has that brightness temperature. As optical thickness from absorption is increased, Brightness temperature of OLR can only approach a nonzero minimum because the atmosphere’s temperature doesn’t go to absolute zero going upward. Knowing that optical thickness of CO2 has a sharper peak than the OLR dip for CO2, one can infer **saturation has occured at the bottom of the dip, and one can find the brightness temperature for that saturation OLR value by finding a Planck function that fits it.

    (PS if you don’t want to calculate new Planck functions, just take the one plotted, copy it and then stretch it or compress it. For a temperature change from T0 to T1, when graphed over wavelength, stretch over the wavelength axis by T0/T1 (if T1 > T0, that’s actually a compression), and then stretch along the flux/area axis by a factor (T1/T0)^5. Note the area under the curve changes by a factor (T1/T0)^4. If graphed over frequency, stretch along the frequency axis by a factor of T1/T0, and stretch along the flux/area axis by a factor of (T1/T0)^3 – note again the area changes by a factor (T1/T0)^4. In either case, keep the origin fixed, or else, shift the maximum of the curve in or out from the 0 of the spectrum by the same amount that the curve is stretched or compressed in that dimension (Wien’s displacement law).

    The potential forcing (per unit interval of the spectrum) is the difference between OLR without CO2 and the Planck function for saturation brightness temperature.

    The potential forcing at the tropopause level is between OLR absent CO2 and zero, because of the absence of any other optical thickness in the stratosphere at the relevant wavelengths.

    (Note that it is possible, depending on variations in optical thickness and distribution with height, to encounter situations where the saturation brightness temperature would vary over wavelength.)

    See absorption spectra of gases here (I presume this is in terms of optical thickness along a vertical path through the whole atmosphere. Note it is a logarithmic scale and over frequency).
    http://www.atm.ox.ac.uk/group/mipas/atlas/index.html

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 16 Jun 2010 @ 11:49 PM

  663. **saturation – saturation of OLR is reversed when optical thickness increases enough so that the warmer upper stratosphere becomes sufficiently optically thick (see the sharp peak in the middle of the OLR dip for CO2). This adds some additional amount to stratospheric cooling with increased CO2. if the stratosphere were isotherml, the saturation would not reverse.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 16 Jun 2010 @ 11:55 PM

  664. “Heat energy can be transferred by conduction, convection, radiation or by actual movement of material from one location to another.”

    Again, with the wrong basic ideas. Isn’t convection actual movement of material from one location to another?

    When you’re complaining of others not knowing science, it would be a good idea to at least read about science yourself, FCH.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 17 Jun 2010 @ 2:20 AM

  665. Rod B,
    Technically, yes, there does have to be equilibrium (which includes equipartition) before intensive thermodynamic quantities (e.g. temperature, pressure, chemical potential) can be defined. Nonequilibrium systems tend to yield absurd results–e.g. negative temperature for inverted populations, which are hotter than infinite temperature!

    LTE is an attempt to get around this for systems not too far from equilibrium or locally at equilibrium and quasi-isolated from the rest of the surroundings. Nonequilibrium thermodynamics/stat mech is still a frontier of physics.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 17 Jun 2010 @ 4:12 AM

  666. Rod 661,

    YES. LTE means, in effect, “you can measure the temperature.”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 17 Jun 2010 @ 4:52 AM

  667. It depends how rigorous you want to be. The concepts of temperature and entropy can easily be extended to conditions slightly away from local thermodynamic equilibrium. You have to be much more careful if you are far away from local equilbrium.
    The concept of entropy under conditions of non-equilibrium is of course essential, when thinking about transport problems and entropy production.

    Also you may be able to think about the system as divided into two two pieces of which one has a clearly defined temperature. Consider some ordinary gases inside a black body enclosure mixed with photons sharing a common temperature. Fine; but the temperature of the photon gas becomes a half useless concept in the case of radiation transfer, because different photons have been emitted by matter at different temperatures and are all mixed up. As pointed out by CFU et al the same difficulty applies to highly excited gases made of matter.

    Incidentally has anyone seen a good calculation of radiation transfer at very low pressures for which the LTE approx. might break down very badly?

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 17 Jun 2010 @ 5:19 AM

  668. “Incidentally has anyone seen a good calculation of radiation transfer at very low pressures for which the LTE approx. might break down very badly?”

    The Sun’s corona is a good example. A million degrees but very tenuous. So tenuous that many astrophysicists refute the million degrees because it’s not going to be an ideal gas.

    The exosphere of earth is another one.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 17 Jun 2010 @ 7:32 AM

  669. Rod B, you never answered my question: how do you get an ideal gas law out of a gas where molecules don’t collide?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 17 Jun 2010 @ 7:36 AM

  670. It seems like you (Ray and BPL) are getting lost in the forest for all of the trees.

    Since in any quantity of a gas you will always have a set of molecules (and in atmospheric temps, a very large set) that are not excited in say vibration because of Boltzmann equation, that quantity of gas is not and won’t be in equipartition. So, I can’t measure the temperature? — maybe because it has no temperature???!!!?

    Since LTE is a hypothetical convention one can say temperature can only be measured (which, BTW, was not CFU’s contention, that being temperature didn’t even exist — though he might have just misspoke) if you have LTE by simply defining LTE as small as one wants. If I have two cubic micrometers of gas, one um^3 at 20 degrees, the other at 21 degrees, I can’t measure the temperature because my 2 um^3 is not at LTV?? If this is correct then theoretically one can never measure the temperature of any gas. Any amount of gas is not in exact LTV due to Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution. Yet we take the temperature of a bunch of gas all the time… by simply taking a completely reasonable and accurate average of molecular energy — call it a LTE average. Ergo, taken to its natural extreme, LTV does not exist — ever — anywhere.

    The hypothetical convention of LTE was intended to be helpful. Getting extremely picky and exact doesn’t help things.

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Jun 2010 @ 10:22 AM

  671. CFU, “getting an ideal gas law out of a gas where molecules don’t collide” wasn’t answered because it has absolutely nothing to do with my comments, I never said/implied/hinted at such, and it’s inane.. Answering your question is a complete waste of time — as this post is.

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Jun 2010 @ 10:27 AM

  672. “Rod B, you never answered my question: how do you get an ideal gas law out of a gas where molecules don’t collide?”

    Actually it’s enough that they get thermalized with an external bath, they can only collide with the walls. The ideal gas law deals actually with particles WITHOUT interactions – any interaction potential will cause a small departure of this law by application of the virial theorem, even if they help thermalization.

    [Response: What nonsense. – gavin]

    Comment by Gilles — 17 Jun 2010 @ 10:59 AM

  673. Ideally, a scientist would know what an ideal gas is.

    Some call themselves scientists and do not.

    I think this shows the provenance of their training.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 17 Jun 2010 @ 11:32 AM

  674. “I never said/implied/hinted at such,”

    Yes you did.

    “621
    Rod B says:
    15 June 2010 at 2:23 PM

    CFU, I was talking only of the energy that went into rotation or vibration, not what if you then moved that energy somewhere else.”

    Which was in response to:

    #614:

    ““it seems to me that if the polyatomic molecules have higher specific heats because some of the energy is added to (unfrozen) rotation and vibration, that added energy that goes into rotation and vibration does not raise the temperature.”

    It seems to me you’ve forgotten that that energy can be imparted to another molecule that isn’t excited rotationally, which can express it kinetically in movement. Which is temperature.”

    Which means that for a gas where you are considering there’s no movement from rovibrational to translational expressions of energy retention, they cannot collide.

    ” and it’s inane.”

    At least we agree there.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 17 Jun 2010 @ 11:37 AM

  675. “Since in any quantity of a gas you will always have a set of molecules (and in atmospheric temps, a very large set) that are not excited in say vibration because of Boltzmann equation, that quantity of gas is not and won’t be in equipartition.”

    And this is not temperature. This is quantisation. The relative occupancies of various energetic states will accord to those proposed under Boltzman’s equations.

    But the fact of an occupancy is not an indicator of temperature.

    “So, I can’t measure the temperature? — maybe because it has no temperature???!!!?”

    Yes, any one molecule has no temperature. Any one energetic state being unoccupied is no indicator of temperature. You’re not measuring temperature but still calling it temperature.

    We’re not seeing the forest because you’re busy pointing to all the pins you’ve thrown on the floor, calling them “trees”.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 17 Jun 2010 @ 11:40 AM

  676. Re 664 –

    convection involves movement of material, but interestingly, one could consider differentiating between convection that redistributes heat with no net redistribution of mass or composition, verses that which redistributes mass and/or composition along with heat (ie convection of latent heat; or an extreme example, the movement of the Earth around the sun, ‘convecting’ the heat it has through space along with itself)… Just an interesting side-note. The later case can easily be from lower to higher temperature (evaporative cooling can make a wet surface colder than the air temperature if RH < 100 %; the increase in entropy of the redistribution of water molecules makes up for the decrease in entropy by the increased temperature difference).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 17 Jun 2010 @ 11:41 AM

  677. Re 670 Rod B –

    You can have LTE in approximation. You can also have an average temperature over heat capacity, or mass, or volume, or emission-weighting function, etc, where LTE is approximately satisfied for small pieces of the whole.

    The equipartition of energy doesn’t refer to all molecules having the same energy; it’s more about the way energy is distributed among different forms (translational kinetic, modes of vibration and rotation, etc.). The equilibrium distribution (at LTE) for translational kinetic energy is exponential – the mode is actually zero energy, the number of particles that have a given amount of energy decreases exponentially with increasing energy with an e-folding scale equal to the average energy per particle.

    Re 672 Gilles – perhaps you were thinking of the lack of certain kinds of interaction, such as attractive forces between molecules, and also, the nonzero volume that the molecules have.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 17 Jun 2010 @ 11:51 AM

  678. “interestingly, one could consider differentiating between convection that redistributes heat with no net redistribution of mass or composition verses that which redistributes mass and/or composition along with heat (ie convection of latent heat;”

    Isn’t that a false difference?

    If I take a hot kettle from one vacuum sealed unit to another vacuum sealed unit, no temperature has moved, so how can you say that heat has been transported: I’ve moved a kettle.

    This is not heat transfer.

    It’s only heat transfer when that extra energy is passed off to something else and then becomes unrecoverable (entropic).

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 17 Jun 2010 @ 12:44 PM

  679. Re Rod B, though not generally applicable to atmospheric radiation, an interesting example of quasi-LTE with a radiatively-important non-LTE aspect:

    First:

    A = 2*n^2 / (h^3 * c^2)

    βe = A*E^2 / ( exp[E/(kB*T)] – 1 )

    is a form of the Planck function, where it is in terms of photon number intensity per unit of the spectrum (spectrum in terms of photon energy)

    from “The physics of solar cells By Jenny Nelson” (the parts available via Google books):

    βe = A*E^2 / ( exp[(E-Δμ)/(kB*Ta)] – 1 )

    Which is equal to the Planck Function value for E and T0:
    βe = A*E^2 / ( exp[E/(kB*T0)] – 1 )

    Where E/T0 = (E-Δμ)/Ta
    T0 = Ta*E/(E-Δμ)
    (E-Δμ)*T0 = E*Ta

    βe (given in terms of Ta) is the photon intensity in equilibrium with two electronic bands in quasi-thermodynamic equilibrium with the material with temperature Ta (via phonons (not a spelling error), I think) so that each band has a population distribution fitting a Fermi distribution about a quasi-fermi level with a temperature Ta, but where the two bands are not in equilibrium with each other – their quasi-fermi levels are seperated by Δμ.

    I think this situation comes about when the electrons have been exited to one band from another, and are able to relax toward an LTE within each band by exchanging phonons (?) with the material they are in, which can happen rapidly – this brings the distribution within each band toward a fermi distribution with a temperature the same as the material – but because of the slower rate of interactions with photons, the total population is kept in one band or another, thus keeping the two bands out of equilibrium from each other (their fermi levels are different). (see book I referenced above.)

    I was able to determine from the fermi distribution that for the fraction of occupied states f1 and f2 at each of two energy levels E1 and E2 with the same fermi level and T = T0, f1 and f2 are the same if T = Ta and the quasi-fermi levels of the two bands are seperated by Δμ (see below).

    Thus, the brightness temperature (at a photon energy E) of radiation in equilibrium with two energy levels (seperated by E) in two bands (via electron-hole pair generation and recombination) is that for which a fermi distribution could describe the electron and hole populations in each energy level if the two energy levels were in thermodynamic equilibrium with each other at that temperature (a common fermi distribution with a common fermi level). This makes sense because the rate of photon emission and absorption should have some relationship to the populations of electrons and holes (For two energy levels E1 and E2 where E2 > E1, emission should be related to the number of electrons in E2 and the number of holes in E1, and absorption should be related to the number of electrons in E1 and holes in E2 – however, there are some things about that relationship that I don’t understand).

    ——–

    In a fermi distribution, where fx is the fraction f of states that are occupied at energy level Ex, and
    μy is the (quasi) fermi level when the fermi distribution is for a temperature Ty:

    Ex – μy must be proportional to Ty to keep constant fx.

    Thus, to keep constant f1 while shifting μy and Ty, from y = 0 to y = 1:
    (E1 – μ1)/(E1 – μ0) = T1/T0

    (E1 – μ1) = T1/T0 * (E1 – μ0)

    μ1 = E1*(1 – T1/T0) + μ0*T1/T0

    Now, where f1 = f of E1 at both μ1,T1 and μ0,T0
    and where f2 = f of E2 at both μ2,T2 and μ0,T0
    and
    Δμ = μ2-μ1
    E = E2 – E1

    μ1 = E1*(1 – T1/T0) + μ0*T1/T0
    μ2 = E2*(1 – T2/T0) + μ0*T2/T0

    Δμ
    = μ2-μ1
    = E2*(1 – T2/T0) – E1*(1 – T1/T0) + μ0*(T2-T1)/T0

    Δμ = E + (E1*T1 – E2*T2)/T0 + μ0*(T2-T1)/T0

    (E-Δμ)*T0 = E2*T2 – E1*T1 – μ0*(T2-T1)

    (E-Δμ)*T0 = (E2-μ0)*T2 – (E1-μ0)*T1

    (E-Δμ)*T0 = (E2-μ0)*T2 + (μ0-E1)*T1

    When T2 = T1 = Ta,

    (E-Δμ)*T0 = [(E2-μ0)+(μ0-E1)]*Ta = E*Ta

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 17 Jun 2010 @ 12:50 PM

  680. “f1 and f2 are the same ” not the same as each other, but each is held constant, if T0 and Ta are related by a function of E and Δμ.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 17 Jun 2010 @ 12:52 PM

  681. CFU (674, 675, etc.), I have no clue what you are talking about in the context of my posts. Then again you have no clue what I’m saying — or maybe you’re just ignoring it for the fun, I dunno. This, by definition, can go nowhere.

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Jun 2010 @ 1:46 PM

  682. Patrick 027 (677), you say, “…equipartition of energy… is… about the way energy is distributed among different forms (translational kinetic, modes of vibration and rotation, etc.)

    Absolutely. It also says with equipartition each mode’s degrees of freedom hold 1/2kT equal amounts of energy. But equipartition is an idealized state. In my example very few molecules (it’s possible to be none per Boltzmann’s equation) in a bunch of gas are actually in equipartition which means the bunch of gas is not in equipartition. None-the-less, there is a bona fide temperature of that gas. (Some treatises, while trying to be helpful, confusingly talk only of equipartition as among the three degrees of translation energy when discussing temperature/kinetic energy/M-B distribution. Might be good for explaining the basics but leaves much of the accurate detail out.)

    For a contained system, if my gas moves toward equipartition, translation energy will be transferred to rotation and/or vibration. Its (thermal) temperature will likewise decrease.

    I fully agree that you can have LTE in approximation and have an average temperature where LTE is approximately satisfied for small pieces of the whole. (In some cases “small pieces” might be pretty large.) I was responding to the comments: “there does have to be equilibrium (which includes equipartition) before… temperature… can be defined” (though Ray might not have meant it that strongly), and “LTE means, in effect, “you can measure the temperature.””

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Jun 2010 @ 2:36 PM

  683. Re 682 – well, that some modes are quantized may distort the equipartition pattern, but whatever the case is, if, allowing all the microscopic interactions to continue, equilibrium is reached, the energy distributions among particles and modes, etc, corresponds to what is characteristic of that material at that temperature under whatever conditions are there, so far as I know.

    You can have quasi-LTE, and for example, the LTE we refer to as requiring emissivity (into a particular direction at a particular frequency at a particular polarization) to be equal to absorptivity (from a particular direction at a particular frequency at a particular polarization) is actually a quasi-TE because it can occur without chemical (or nuclear) thermodynamic equilibrium. The chemical (and nuclear) reaction rates are small enough (generally) that the disequilibrium between products and reactants doesn’t prevent the molecules, etc, from attaining a local thermodynamic equilibrium where all the matter (except photons which are interacting over larger, non-isothermal distances) fits the conditions for a single temperature. In the prior two comments I gave an example where a quasi-LTE could be reached where two populations of particles reached a quasi-LTE with another population via rapid exchanges of energy in one particular form, and within each population, complete LTE, but with a disequilibrium between two populations that has an important radiative effect; regarding interaction with photons, the two populations as a whole do not have a single temperature, but pairs of subsets of the populations have various effective temperatures different from the temperature of each of the populations. If you have a statistically-sufficient population size, you may be able to assign a temperature to a subset of particles – for example, there is a single brightness temperature for the photons reaching a location at some time from a direction with some frequency and some polarization, which is only determined by how many there are (for the given refractive index). You could have two populations with different temperatures sharing the same volume – that may be difficult with gases (?) because collisions between populations could occur if collisions within populations are allowed, but picture instead two metallic wire meshes, which are interwoven through each other but only conduct heat within themselves…

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 17 Jun 2010 @ 4:37 PM

  684. 672 Gavin said “what nonsense”.

    There’s nothing wrong with Gille’s claim that ideal gases don’t require interparticle collisions. If you write down the partition function for a bunch of non-interacting particles in a finite volume you obtain the ideal gas equation of state. If you use a potential with a hard sphere repulsive core and weak long range attraction you get the van der waals equation of state.

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

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 17 Jun 2010 @ 6:56 PM

  685. Rod B., You are misinterpreting equipartition. If a mode is highly energetic, it will likely not be populated at low temperature (freeze-out). The just means that its occupation number is much less than one–as one would expect from the appropriate distribution (Fermi-Dirac, Bose-Einstein or Maxwell).

    Why do you think we go to all the trouble to define LTE if it is not because of the difficulties of defining intensive thermodynamic quantities for nonequilibrium systems? In the greenhouse effect, you start with a system in LTE. Then it is illuminated by and absorbs a quantity of IR photons, taking it out of thermal equilibrium (e.g. there is much more energy in the vibrational modes than at thermal equilibrium). The system relaxes by sharing some energy with kinetic degrees of freedom. It then reaches equilibrium at a new, higher temperature.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 17 Jun 2010 @ 7:12 PM

  686. Rod B, you have no clue about thermodynamics. This may be causing you some problems in comprehension.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 18 Jun 2010 @ 2:05 AM

  687. CFU @ 664:

    Again, with the wrong basic ideas. Isn’t convection actual movement of material from one location to another?

    When you’re complaining of others not knowing science, it would be a good idea to at least read about science yourself, FCH.

    Oh, please.

    You claimed that “insulation” is the solution to environmental control problems. Caves don’t stay cool because of “insulation”, nor can I cool my house by exchanging inside air at 78F and 40% RH with the current outside air at 78F and 84% RH. And as it cools overnight, that relative humidity is only going up. So, you’re simply wrong on two counts.

    Yes, insulation can maintain a thermal gradient, but at ever higher R-values (needed for winter), cooling demands rise during less-cool times of the year. There are roughly 40 mega-joules of heat added to the inside of my house, just from occupants and “basic conveniences”, each and every day, plus gallons of water from respiration and perspiration, to say nothing of cooking, bathing, leaving the lid up on the toilet, doing laundry, and so forth.

    What R-value would keep my house a comfortable 76 to 78F year round? The average temperature, based on the weather station I have, is about 72F (and confirmed by the temperature inside “Inner Space Caverns”, up the road in Georgetown). Winter average is about 45F, Summer average is about 89F, annual heat energy produced inside the house is 14.5 giga-joules. Use 4,000 square feet for the area of the walls and ceilings (assume no heat gain or loss through the slab).

    I get 460 watts for the average thermal energy (humans plus stuff), 420 square meters for the surface area, interior temperature is 25C, exterior temperature is 22C. Delta T is 3C. R comes out to be about 3 (in SI units) or R-15 in old money. That’s =way= below anyone’s recommendation for insulation.

    For “insulation” to work, the R-factor between the 72F average temperature somewhere in that gradient and the 77F interior has to remain constant, even though the distance between the points moves — which isn’t how insulation works.

    Reworking for winter heating demand, exterior temperature is 7C, delta T is 18C. R comes out to be about 16.4, or R-90 in old money, which is well above what anyone recommends for buildings.

    Using R-90 year ’round, well, it just doesn’t work — heat gain from outside is still present in the Summer, except I still have to remove all the internally produced heat. Easier with all that insulation? Oh, sure. But R-90? On top of the 40,000 BTUs that would have to be removed, I’m still gaining 15,000 BTUs per day from the environment — even with R-90 insulation.

    And what about Spring and Fall, when I currently don’t have to run the A/C or heat all that much? What do you think R-90 insulation is going to do then? Force me to run A/C, dehumidify the outdoor air I bring in, or all sorts of other things, all of which require energy.

    How about instead of being the Voice of Snarkyness, you try to actually contribute? Instead of making things up, or misunderstanding the science, how about you learn why massive amounts of insulation aren’t the correct solution?

    There are well-understood building techniques that can have very low solar gain during high temperature months, while not adding to environmental control costs during Spring and Fall, and still allowing for solar gain and passive solar heating during cool temperature months. Using interior thermal mass to regulate temperature works well, but you still have some internally generated heat and humidity (respiration and perspiration) that must be removed. The use of a large thermal mass can smooth out the energy demand over the course of a day, which benefits the grid, which makes reducing our energy demands easier.

    As I’ve proven here, real world solutions are far more complex than “insulation” or everyone going back to living in caves and running a dehumidifier 24/7.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 18 Jun 2010 @ 4:57 AM

  688. Gavin and CFU : there is absolutely no place where collisions are required to derive ideal gas law. The only assumption is thermodynamic equilibrium , or maximum entropy, and it can be achieved with interaction of an external bath (the walls practically). The Planck distribution IS an ideal gas, although a peculiar one (ideal gas of bosons with zero chemical potential, where quantum effects are important). And of course there is no collisions between photons.

    The trick is that the relaxation to thermodynamic equilibrium is usually insured by collisions , but it is not a requirement of statistical physics – and paradoxally the interactions giving raise to collisions cause DEPARTURES from ideal law.

    the point is raised by Patrick

    “Re 672 Gilles – perhaps you were thinking of the lack of certain kinds of interaction, such as attractive forces between molecules, and also, the nonzero volume that the molecules have.”

    true : the non ideal term of Van der Waals equation are caused by long range interactions (a/V^2 term) and finite volume (V-b term). So the ideal law limit applies actually for ZERO range interaction and ZERO volume. Now tell me : what can be the collision cross section of dimensionless particles with zero range interaction ? just by dimensional analysis, you’ll hardly find anything else than… zero.

    Comment by Gilles — 18 Jun 2010 @ 5:21 AM

  689. re :#679
    Thats a non-local example so the L in LTE is a bit misleading in that case.

    Its also conceptually rather different from a typical transport problem where the lack of thermodynamic equilibrium is brought about by the interaction between different regions.One way of defining a temperature and an entropy is to imagine a thought experiment in which this interaction is stopped by isolating a tiny region.

    That puts the L into it. It must not be too tiny, otherwise fluctuations will be significant. This thought experiment involves an approximation so
    why ‘double count’ by adding a prefix ‘quasi’ ?

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 18 Jun 2010 @ 5:54 AM

  690. “there is absolutely no place where collisions are required to derive ideal gas law”

    Go on, derive those laws without them.

    Then enjoy the Nobel Prize for outstanding new work in the world of Physics.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 18 Jun 2010 @ 8:19 AM

  691. “You claimed that “insulation” is the solution to environmental control problems.”

    No I didn’t.

    YOU have done so, just now.

    But not me.

    What I’ve claimed is that insulation is a simple and effective solution to the overuse of energy by many in the first world, USians especially.

    But if you want to make up completely new strawmen arguments, go ahead.

    TD;DR.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 18 Jun 2010 @ 8:21 AM

  692. Non equilbrium ‘temperatures’ in biology.
    [This is off topic so shall be brief.]

    Muscle contraction and photosynthesis are both interesting. For example muscle is a remarkable engine. Its efficiency is , at first, hard to reconcile with Kelvin’s version of Carnot’s theorem. Asserting that the theorem, which assumes reversibility (based on equilibrium), is inapplicable, is a cautious way out.

    An alternative is to estimate an effective temperature of the heat source i.e. excited products of reacting ATP whose effective temperature is perhaps 16 times higher than body temperature.

    [I’m not sure if there are any comparable artificial examples].

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 18 Jun 2010 @ 9:04 AM

  693. CFU @ 691:

    What I’ve claimed is that insulation is a simple and effective solution to the overuse of energy by many in the first world, USians especially.

    Moving the goalposts much?

    @ 604 — You suggested running a fan. The overnight low was 77F, the RH was in the 80’s. How is FAN an any amount of insulation going to solve that problem?

    @ 607 — You confused “thermal mass” for insulation. Insulation has no mass term, it’s surface area, watts, and a temperature differential. “Thermal mass” is specific heat times mass. You also seem to think that a 77F overnight low at 84% RH is “cool” enough to cool a house set for 78F at 45% RH.

    @ 619 — You again confuse “insulation” for “thermal mass”. Thermal mass is measured in Joules / Degree K (or C, take your pick :) ), from the specific heat and the mass of the object. “Insulation” is measured in Degrees K * Meters^2 / Watt. One has a mass term, the other doesn’t. Joules and watts are at least related by “time”. I’m thinking you can’t go from meters^2 to kilograms all that easily …

    Then, when night falls again and the heat inside is higher than outside, open the windows and turn the fans on again.

    Yeah, I want to refill my house with 77F air at 84% RH. What R-factor would keep inside air at 77F from being warmed by outside air with an average temperature of 86F, with an internal thermal load of 40,000 BTU per day? It’s IMPOSSIBLE. The gradient goes the wrong way for the amount of heat that has to get OUT.

    @ 645 — You talk about temperature gradients, but “insulation” restricts heat flow based on a temperature differential. The temperature within the insulation changes at any given point based on the difference between the two sides. Therefore, the ability to “absorb” this heat changes — BY DEFINITION. Again, you’ve confused “thermal mass” with “insulation”.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 18 Jun 2010 @ 9:19 AM

  694. Ray Ladbury, I don’t think I am misinterpreting equipartition. I’ve described it pretty much as your #685. Simply it is an idealistic theoretical construct that describes molecular tendencies but quite often is not realized in practice. I was merely asserting that one can measure the temperature of a volume of gas where most, and maybe even all, molecules are not in equipartition.

    Nor have I disagreed with your words on LTE in the same post. It certainly is a tool that helps physicists get through “the difficulties of defining intensive thermodynamic quantities for non equilibrium systems…” (Though it did not make those difficulties disappear from the physics.) Simply again I merely claimed a system that is not (maybe temporarily) in LTE has temperature, though I went a bit further. Using your example:
    Step 1: you start with a system in LTE me: it has a measurable thermal temperature;
    Step 2: it is illuminated by and absorbs a quantity of IR photons, taking it out of thermal equilibrium (e.g. there is much more energy in the vibrational modes than at thermal equilibrium) me: it still has a measurable thermal temperature; (and BTW — the bit further part — the temperature is the same as it was in Step 1.)
    Step 3: The system relaxes by sharing some energy with kinetic degrees of freedom. It then reaches equilibrium at a new, higher temperature. me: it still has a measurable thermal temperature; and as you say the temperature is higher than in Steps 1 and 2.

    Where was it we disagreed?

    Comment by Rod B — 18 Jun 2010 @ 1:01 PM

  695. Rod,
    What you need to remember is 1)thermo really only applies to systems at or very near equilibrium, 2)equilibrium implies equipartition, 3)thermo applies only to a system with a very large number of partcles.

    If you try to apply the definition of temperature to a nonequilibrium system you get fairly absurd results–e.g. that the system has a negative temperature which is greater than positive infinity (e.g. a system in inversion). So temperature during step-2 may be somewhat problematic.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 18 Jun 2010 @ 2:34 PM

  696. [edit – see this]

    Comment by Gilles — 18 Jun 2010 @ 5:15 PM

  697. 694 (Rod B),

    I’m not sure where you guys are trying to get to with this, but it’s been entertaining to read. Still, I think the basic flaw in your 1-2-3 is that chemistry/thermodynamics is never so neatly discrete, and pretty much, overall, any collection of molecules is constantly very close to equilibrium, so close that it’s not worth thinking about it any other way, at least not in the things being discussed here (i.e. not a chemical reaction with very different starting and ending compositions).

    There’s no “hold it, we have to wait for the absorbed energy to spread out” moment.

    Chemistry is based on unimaginable numbers of atoms. Avogradro’s number, of course, the number of atoms in only 12 grams of C12, is a paltry 6 x 10^23. One “chunk” of atmosphere dwarfs that. It is constantly bombarded with IR, and before a proton can blink at a photon, a collision has occurred to put things on the way to a proper equipartition of energy.

    Point: It’s just not valid to think in such discrete terms, unless it’s a mere thought experiment for trying to work something out.

    So, with that said… where exactly was this conversation going? Looking through the thread, I really couldn’t figure out what the premise and expected/contested conclusion were.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 18 Jun 2010 @ 5:55 PM

  698. #695 Ray
    I’m afraid that I have not had time to read your entire sub-thread, so the following just refers to the 2nd paragraph of your comment. On this occasion I must disagree, although it is partly subjective being about terminology.

    The inversion to which you and CFU refer, is metastable, and it is not absurd and makes very little difference to imagine that it is stable. Having an upper bound to the density of states (in energy) may be unfamiliar but is straightforward in magnetism ; it can only happen in quantum systems. There is thus a maximum amount of energy which can be dumped into such a system.

    What is wrong with dumping in more than ‘half’ (an approximate half) the maximum amount of energy? It is a perfectly well framed physical problem. The statistical physics will tell you how the energy levels are occupied in the inversion in just the same way as in non-inversion . If you wish to ban temperature in the former case you will have to ban it in the latter as well. And of course the former has a negative Kelvin temperature. Bad luck Kelvin; it was not the only ‘mistake’ he made.

    In some cases the results can probably be checked experimentally. Although I might be ignorant over this, I have not heard of any respect in which the results violate the physical interpretation of thermodynamics (even Kelvin’s)

    The is a problem with T= 0 but there was already; these problems with Kelvin’s scale are easily remedied.

    Please see the end of this comment:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/06/climate-change-commitment-ii/comment-page-13/#comment-177870

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 18 Jun 2010 @ 7:29 PM

  699. Re Rod B. – I’m not sure about this, but in the case that LTE is disrupted by such energy fluxes, a system might develop several temperatures (?). Anyway, and I’m not saying that you’re saying otherwise, but the vast majority of the mass of the atmosphere for the vast majority of the time is able to remain near LTE even as such energy fluxes are absorbed and emitted. (PS either emission or absorption by itself could disrupt LTE).

    Re FCH – Actually, underground temperature is less variable than surface temperature because of the combination of thermal mass (aka heat capacity) and insulation.

    Re 689 Geoff Wexler – okay.

    When I first became familiar with the concept of LTE, I knew it refered to an equilibrium distribution of energy among particles/molecules/atoms/electrons/lattice cells/etc. and the various forms it may take on a microscopic level. At some point it occured to me that LTE, if only sufficient for the purpose of assigning a single temperature, is not generally not really be TE completely, as that would entail chemical and nuclear reactions. Of course, TE and lack thereof, and entropy, etc, can be defined for a system where some forms of energy and entropy within the same volume may be excluded from the system (nuclear for example). Anyway, I wasn’t sure if the LTE sufficient for having a single (positive) temperature (?) should be considered LTE or quasi-LTE for that reason. But in this case, if it were quasi-LTE, the emissivity = absorptivity (to and from the same direction, respectively, for same frequency and polarization, location and time) would tend to hold.

    I forget now whether Nelson used the term quasi-TE or quasi-LTE, but it was local in the sense that the two populations of electrons were in the same volume, and each approximately fits a fermi-distribution (sounds like LTE) maintained by rapid phonon (I think) interactions with the crystal lattice, achieving a temperature that is the same as the crystal lattice (sounds like LTE) but with the electron transfer between populations occuring more slowly, so that a perturbation from LTE can persist; the combinations of electrons and holes between populations are not in equilibrium with radiation with the brightness temperature equal to the temperature of the electrons within each population. Hence quasi-___. In order to have emissivity = absorptivity, the temperature with respect to emitting photons has to be an effective temperatue relating the electron-hole populations.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 18 Jun 2010 @ 9:53 PM

  700. Re FCH
    Both heat capacity and insulation contribute to the limited temperature variation underground.
    (If CFU was thinking of this correctly, CFU wasn’t clear in his wording.)

    F(z) = downward heat flux per unit area at depth z (z positive downward in this case)
    T'(z) = perturbation from some constant temperature (constant over z and t).
    k = thermal conductivity
    C = heat capacity per unit volume

    F(z) = -k*∂T’/∂z (eq1)
    C*∂T’/∂t = -∂F/∂z = k*∂^2(T’)/∂z^2 (eq2)

    Let
    F = F0*sin(ω*t-s*z)*exp(-n*z)
    T’ = T0*sin(ω*t-r*z)*exp(-m*z) (where T’ is a deviation from some basic state constant temperature)

    ∂T’/∂z = -r * T0*cos(ω*t-r*z)*exp(-m*z) – m * T0*sin(ω*t-r*z)*exp(-m*z)

    ∂^2(T’)/∂z^2
    = -r^2 * T0*sin(ω*t-r*z)*exp(-m*z) + 2*r*m * T0*cos(ω*t-r*z)*exp(-m*z) + m^2 * T0*sin(ω*t-r*z)*exp(-m*z)
    = (m^2-r^2) * T0*sin(ω*t-r*z)*exp(-m*z) + 2*r*m * T0*cos(ω*t-r*z)*exp(-m*z)

    ∂T’/∂t = ω * T0*cos(ω*t-r*z)*exp(-m*z)

    (subs into eq2)
    C*ω/k * T0*cos(ω*t-r*z)*exp(-m*z) = (m^2-r^2) * T0*sin(ω*t-r*z)*exp(-m*z) + 2*r*m * T0*cos(ω*t-r*z)*exp(-m*z)
    first term on right-hand side must be zero (sine instead of cosine):
    therfore
    m^2 = r^2
    therefore
    C*ω/k * T0*cos(ω*t-m*z)*exp(-m*z) = 2*m^2 * T0*cos(ω*t-m*z)*exp(-m*z)
    C*ω/k = 2*m^2
    m = sqrt(C*ω/(2*k))

    (subs into eq1)
    F(z) = -k*∂T’/∂z
    F0/(m*k*T0) * sin(ω*t-s*z)*exp(-n*z) = [cos(ω*t-m*z)+sin(ω*t-m*z)]*exp(-m*z)
    m = n
    F0/(m*k*T0) * sin(ω*t-s*z) = [cos(ω*t-m*z)+sin(ω*t-m*z)] = sqrt(2) * sin(ω*t-m*z+π/4)
    F0/T0 = sqrt(2) * m*k = sqrt(C*k*ω)
    -s*z = -m*z+π/4
    —————
    T0/F0 = 1/sqrt(C*k*ω) = 1/[sqrt(2) * m*k]
    m = sqrt(C*ω/(2*k))

    F = F0*sin(ω*t-m*z+π/4)*exp(-m*z)
    T’ = T0*sin(ω*t-m*z)*exp(-m*z)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 19 Jun 2010 @ 12:16 AM

  701. … okay, m^2 = r^2 itself only means m = + or – r, so I didn’t completely solve that…

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 19 Jun 2010 @ 12:19 AM

  702. … But if m = -r, then m would be imaginary. So for real m, m = r.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 19 Jun 2010 @ 12:23 AM

  703. …(that’s for real r, etc, of course)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 19 Jun 2010 @ 12:29 AM

  704. Geoff,
    I’m not sure what portion of my rather short, vague musing you are taking issue with. In describing a population inversion, I’m merely pointing out that when you take a theory developed to describe equilibrium systems and apply it to a system far from equilibrium (and therefore unstable or metastable), you get some odd results (like negative temperatures being higher than positive infinite temperatures). It’s not that you can’t gain some insight from thermo applied to such systems.

    Nonequilibrium statistical mechanics remains one of the frontiers of physics–particularly the path through phase space a system far from equilibrium takes as it relaxes. LTE is one of the approaches for dealing with it. The atmosphere is in LTE because only a tiny minority of molecules will be excited by outgoing IR at any given time.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 19 Jun 2010 @ 6:22 AM

  705. Bob (Sphaerica) (697), you raise valid and natural questions. My interest here is that global warming (and in my specific area of skepticism, not warming per se but its differential — commonly referred to as saturation and/or broadening) is strongly related to molecular level energy transfers in their most precise and exact (within the bounds of quantum mechanics) fashion. I find a ton of disagreement and some uncertainty on what is actually going on at the molecular level in things like energy transfer, temperature change and equilibrium, internal energy level modification, spontaneous radiation, etc. When someone tells me that if a mole (say) of gas is not in LTE and the its molecular energy doesn’t satisfy (completely) equipartition, that you not only can’t measure its temperature, it doesn’t even have a temperature, then something is amiss.

    I tenaciously wish to resolve these questions though I can understand how it gets tiresome after a while here in RC. We’ve been done this debate before. I’m glad you at least find it interesting (amusing? ;-) ). BTW we’re dangerously close to resurrecting the old chestnut about a single molecule having temperature; you’ll probably find that a hoot (though I try to keep that buried for about a year at a time!)

    As I’ve said (as did Ray, almost) LTE is a convenient construct that allows one to plow ahead with an analysis that is clearly “close enough” even though not perfect. As you imply, technically and theoretically there is no volume of gas beyond a single molecule (2 or 3 by chance at the outside) that is in perfect thermal equilibrium. That comes straight out of the M-B distribution of molecular kinetic energies. And none that satisfies 100.000% equipartition. This from Boltzmann equation. But this has not stopped tremendously accurate analyses. We can even take the temperature! Hell, I did just this morning off my deck!

    Comment by Rod B — 19 Jun 2010 @ 1:08 PM

  706. Ray

    I’m not sure what portion of my rather short, vague musing you are taking issue with.

    I’ll try and say the same things in a slightly different way.

    if you take a theory developed to describe equilibrium systems and apply it to a system far from equilibrium ….., you get some odd results

    Yes

    (like negative temperatures

    No! negative temperatures are a perfectly respectable phenomonon in equilbrium thermodynamics.

    far from equilibrium (and therefore unstable or metastable

    But the converse is false, or highly misleading. Metastable does not imply far from equilibrium; at least not unless you wait for a time so long that it has no effect on the system under discussion which has had plenty of time to reach internal equilibrium (maximum entropy).

    odd results like negative temperatures being higher than positive infinite temperatures)

    No ; this is not odd. It is a consequence of Kelvin’s choice of the temperature scale which itself was caused by lack of knowledge in the 19th century. Many books use beta = 1/T which as I mentioned last time is a good measure of coldness. This time lets try -beta =-1/T as a measure of hotness.

    Benefits.
    1. Gone: that inaccessible T=0. That has got thrown off to infinity which is a better representation of something inaccessible.

    2.Gone: that topological monstrosity at T= 0 previously the bogus boundary between positive and negative temperatures.

    3. -beta=0 now appears to be accessible , at least mathematically. At first this looks bad, because it implies you can reach infinite Kelvin temperature. But thats just what we want! Infinite Kelvin temperatures are accessible if the energy levels have a maximum. So this is a benefit.

    4. The discontinuity between positive and negative temperatures at T =0 has now been replaced by smooth behaviour at -beta =0.

    5. There is no odd haviour.
    “T=-50K is hotter than T= +30K”
    that looks odd. But it now reads
    ” -beta = 1/50 is hotter than -beta=-1/30″

    “T= -70K is hotter than T=-100K”
    odd? but it also reads
    -beta=1/70 is hotter than -beta = 1/100

    and just to make sure
    “T=70K is hotter than T=40K”
    Becomes
    -beta =-1/70 is hotter than -beta=-1/40

    Odd behaviour fixed i.e.
    as -beta increases so does the hotness
    Energy travels from a hot body to a less hot one one still valid.

    Nonequilibrium statistical mechanics remains one of the frontiers of physics…

    Irrelevant.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 19 Jun 2010 @ 3:29 PM

  707. Correction to my last post:

    Please replace the second line in

    “T= -70K is hotter than T=-100K”
    odd? but it also reads

    with the word

    becomes

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 19 Jun 2010 @ 3:39 PM

  708. “that you not only can’t measure its temperature, it doesn’t even have a temperature, then something is amiss.”

    For some purposes a temperature could be assigned, based on the temperature that the parcel of material would have if adiabatically allowed to achieve LTE.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 19 Jun 2010 @ 7:31 PM

  709. Rod B. says, “When someone tells me that if a mole (say) of gas is not in LTE and the its molecular energy doesn’t satisfy (completely) equipartition, that you not only can’t measure its temperature, it doesn’t even have a temperature, then something is amiss.”

    Rod, what is amiss is your understanding that models are always approximate. Their purpose is to yield understanding, not “answers”. The value of the understanding will diminish as the model veers away from the reality, but it need not necessarily go to zero.

    Thermodynamics is really the study of systems at or very near equilibrium. As such, classical stat mech deals with similar systems. When you seek to extend the applicability of thermo/stat mech, it’s natural to start with a system at equilibrium and push it slightly away. Then you see what you can still use from the classical theory and what you have to modify and how. LTE is just such an extension. This model is more than adequate to tell us how the energy flows.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 19 Jun 2010 @ 8:43 PM

  710. 705 (Rod B),

    As you imply, technically and theoretically there is no volume of gas beyond a single molecule (2 or 3 by chance at the outside) that is in perfect thermal equilibrium.

    Actually, I was saying the opposite, that for all intents and purposes, in the real world, every discrete chunk of atmosphere is effectively in LTE at all times. The time it takes to “equalize” under the relatively small scale (in relation to the shear number of molecules involved) but constant bombardment of IR makes the need to use a concept like LTE immaterial. I’m not sure why things are so hung up on that.

    When someone tells me that if a mole (say) of gas is not in LTE and the its molecular energy doesn’t satisfy (completely) equipartition, that you not only can’t measure its temperature, it doesn’t even have a temperature, then something is amiss.

    I think you’re overreacting. First, for all intents and purposes, in science, if you can’t measure something (i.e. it’s imperceptible) then it effectively isn’t there (a la Schrodinger’s cat). This is the point I believe he was making (was it CFU?).

    And temperature is a concept, not an actual thing. Temperature in a gas is measure of the kinetic energy of the molecules, which, assuming equipartition of energy, is a proxy for the total energy of the system. Temperature in a solid is a measure of the vibrational energy of the molecules, which, again, assuming equipartition of energy (with fewer degrees of freedom) is a proxy for the total energy of the system.

    So temperature is nothing but a convenient and easy way of measuring the energy of a batch of molecules. When you can’t measure it, it’s not a meaningful concept.

    But in everything we’re discussing, you can measure temperature, because equipartition of energy for all intents and purposes re-balances instantaneously in the situations we’re describing.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 19 Jun 2010 @ 10:53 PM

  711. What’s the temperature of a bullet travelling at mach?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 20 Jun 2010 @ 3:28 AM

  712. 706 & 707 Geoff said about -beta .

    Interesting post. I need to think about your post more but I’m not convinced that
    -beta=0 isn’t still a pretty special place to be. How much energy is required to heat a gram of H2O from -beta=-10^(-google) to -beta = +10(-google) ?

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 20 Jun 2010 @ 10:02 AM

  713. #712 John Pearson.

    You are right, except that your question refers to a property of the energy level spectrum rather than to the scale of temperature which should be universal and independent of it.

    -beta =0 is a very hot place. If, as in water, there is no finite upper limit to the energy spectrum it will also be inaccessible i.e. it will require an infinite energy to reach. Since I introduced inaccessibility as a criticism of T=0K, I should have mentioned that.

    But the best way to think about the -beta scale is to consider a mixture of weakly interacting systems with positive and negative T (or beta). You will then be forced to have a common scale for all of them and -beta will be the sensible choice for avoidance of anomalies.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 20 Jun 2010 @ 12:06 PM

  714. Bob (Sphaerica), Ray Ladbury, I think we are still getting wrapped around the esoteric philosophical axle. Ray, I think I agree with your #709 with one diversion and while it implies a rebuttal, I can’t see how. Of course models are an approximation. Taken to the extreme everything is an approximation. You say models provide “understanding”, not “answers.” What does this mean? Is the actual final output of GCMs after entering all of the inputs a simple printout that says “something very bad might happen sometime”? That would certainly be understanding. Or does it provide answers with numbers and dates and stuff? And why wouldn’t that also be understanding?

    This is all very simple. It was asserted that a system not in thermal equilibrium (local if you like), including equipartition, does not have temperature and/or one at least can not measure it. I say that is wrong. One side is simply incorrect and it doesn’t have to morph into a silly dog chasing tail discussion like the old GW-GDP-negative correlation morass.

    In one part I’m guilty of what I accuse you folks of, being too esoteric. The “no LTE beyond 2-3 molecules” is physically correct but of no worth. If you have a mole of a gas, while molecules have a wide range of velocity and maybe mass and only a few would be in strict LTE, those molecules follow the M-B distribution and that mole is in LTE at a precise temperature almost by definition. So that was not helpful and I withdraw it.

    If you can’t measure something then it effectively isn’t there, says Bob. Might be true though effectively is the operative word. In many cases stuff can exist even though you can’t measure it — esoteric quantum cats aside. None-the-less I most certainly and quite accurately can measure the temperature of a mole of gas that is most probably not in thermal equilibrium. Equipartition of energy DOES NOT re-balance instantaneously. Most gases at atmospheric temperatures are predominately out of equipartition.

    And temperature is a concept, not an actual thing.” ??? What does that mean? Where does velocity, acceleration, radiation, etc. fall in that division? But you are 100% correct that “Temperature in a gas is measure of the kinetic energy of the molecules.” If you add average to that you have the definition of temperature of a gas. And assuming equipartition of energy, temperature (or kinetic energy) is a proxy for the total energy of the system. At the same time however the average translation kinetic energy and so the temperature will be what it is, without change, with or without equipartition.

    My head is starting to hurt! ;-)

    Comment by Rod B — 20 Jun 2010 @ 2:57 PM

  715. Re my 700
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/06/climate-change-commitment-ii/comment-page-14/#comment-178289

    So the temperature cycle amplitude, for a given flux cycle amplitude at z=0, is smaller for larger m (for same k), larger C*ω, larger z, but it is larger for larger k at (if I did the derivatives correctly) z > 1/m, and smaller for larger k at z < 1/m. (Somewhat analogous to the change in a weighting function as optical thickness per unit distance is changed). This makes sense – greater thermal conductivity increases the temperature cycling deep within a thermal mass but decreases it at the exterior where the cycling is forced, by increasing the 'access' to the heat capacity deeper inside.

    ———-
    PS Re quasi-equilibrium of semiconductors:
    Following the physics of photovoltaic energy conversion, it occurs to me that a semiconductor absorbing nearly monochromatic radiation with photon energy not too much larger than the band gap could cool the semiconductor (absorption produces charge carriers that are relatively cold within each band, crystal lattice loses heat to the charge carriers, recombination emits photons with more energy, but over a larger range of wavelengths (lower brightness temperature than the input radiation) – it would be a heat pump. I wonder if that would be practical?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 21 Jun 2010 @ 12:32 AM

  716. Patrick at end of #715

    If you really believe in your invention, then I suggest you start with an analysis of a complete heat pump with source and sink and repeat it for your semiconductor version. Please look out for sign errors.

    Now I must apologise but I won’t have more time to spend on this (off-topic) question, but since this is your invention perhaps you could complete or correct the following:

    1. Put the semi-conductor in contact with a heat bath.

    2. The temperatures of s.c. and heat bath equalise. There is just one temperature for heat bath, phonons, electrons and holes.

    3. Plot the number of electrons and holes as a function of this temperature.

    4. Take a few more electrons and excite them into the conduction band.

    5. Now you could have done this by raising the common temperature of sc and heat bath. The results can be predicted from step 3.

    6. But you are on an economy drive and claim to be able to get the same population increase with rather less energy, by using photons instead of phonons.

    7. Which is warmer now the heat bath or the sc? Preferably do the calculation for your own sake.

    If the moderator puts a stop to this discussion , you could try a more relevant forum.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 21 Jun 2010 @ 9:53 AM

  717. 690: Completely Fed Up said, qutoing someone:
    “there is absolutely no place where collisions are required to derive ideal gas law”
    and then
    “Go on, derive those laws without them.”

    Collisions with what? To derive the ideal gas law you need only consider particle-wall collisions but not particle-particle collisions. The standard derivation from statistical mechanics is to write down the hamiltonian for a bunch of identical noninteracting particles: H = m/2 sum_i v_i^2 and use that to evaluate the partition function and from there to the equation of state. I believe that if you confine an ideal gas between two walls at z=0 and z=L (and infinite in the x and y directions) with T(0)=T1 and T(L)=T2 that you will not see it approach a linear temperature gradient. Precisely what happens will depend on what you assume for the distributions that a particle obeys after colliding with the wall. If you make what I think is the most natural assumption, that after collision with the wall at T1 the particle velocity is drawn from a Boltzmann distribution with temperature T1 and similarly for the other wall you will always have two populations of particles. If you give the particles a finite size hard core repulsion they will no longer obey the idea gas law. I guess you could do a numerical experiment in which you start with zero particles and begin adding finite size particles. You should see the behavior transition from this weird very non-equilibirum state in which the particles are all in one of these two distributions to a non-equilibrium state that obeys the heat equation once the density is large enough that particle-particle collisions are about as common as particle-wall collisions.

    The simple kinetic theory arguments that lead to heat transfer in an ideal gas are based on the mean free path which will be infinite for a gas that is truly ideal.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 21 Jun 2010 @ 10:25 AM

  718. Re 716 – actually I half expected someone might tell me that it’s been known awhile and has a name like the ‘[scientist’s name here] effect’, but yes it was OT (but at least it’s not the same old OT), although it did follow from discussing LTE … so I’ll just ‘Google it’ or something.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 21 Jun 2010 @ 1:23 PM

  719. But just for the record here:
    5. Now you could have done this by raising the common temperature of sc and heat bath. The results can be predicted from step 3.

    6. But you are on an economy drive and claim to be able to get the same population increase with rather less energy, by using photons instead of phonons.

    Actually the key thing is that I don’t claim to expect the same change – I expect a different change. The absorbed photons (with high brightness temperature for their frequencies) would increase the populations of exited charge carriers, but if the incident photons are concentrated into a range of energies that are all only a little more than the band gap energy (relative to the temperature of the semiconductor crystal lattice) then the resulting excited charge carriers could be more concentrated towards the band edges than in a Fermi-Dirac distribution for the temperature of the semiconductor; they will tend to spread away from the band edges by aquiring energy from the lattice (a process that is considerably more rapid than recombination, at least if the band gap is big enough). In steady state, the same number of photons are emitted as are absorbed (in an ideal case – no other avenues for recombination are used) but the emitted photons have more energy on average – but also carry more entropy because they are spread out more over the spectrum (they have lower brightness temperatures then the absorbed photons).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quasi_Fermi_level

    I won’t say anything more about it here, I promise.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 21 Jun 2010 @ 4:47 PM

  720. Re: #719 Patrick

    It all depends on the calculations. According to Gunnar Moller * , the electron phonon relaxation time may turn out to be greater than the recombination time. This is because of the selection rules. Also the band gaps would provide a practical limit.
    ——–
    * Cavendish Lab.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 22 Jun 2010 @ 10:35 AM

  721. Re 720 – okay, thanks.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 22 Jun 2010 @ 4:33 PM

  722. “The simple kinetic theory arguments that lead to heat transfer in an ideal gas are based on the mean free path which will be infinite for a gas that is truly ideal.”

    Simple kinetic theory postulates that there is a finite MFP and short enough that there are many collisions, so your assertion there is false.

    Collisions with what?”

    With other molecules that constitute the gas under consideration.

    “To derive the ideal gas law you need only consider particle-wall collisions but not particle-particle collisions.”

    No, because you then need inelastic collisions with the container wall. This is not then a simple theory.

    “The standard derivation from statistical mechanics is to write down the hamiltonian for a bunch of identical noninteracting particles: H = m/2 sum_i v_i^2 and use that to evaluate the partition function and from there to the equation of state.”

    See what I mean? And isn’t this pre-supposing a statistical spread of energies? This is rather a post-hoc justification of the theory of thermodynamics. “We have a spread of energies among the particles and this causes a spread of energies among the particles”.

    “If you make what I think is the most natural assumption, that after collision with the wall at T1 the particle velocity is drawn from a Boltzmann distribution with temperature T1″

    See what I mean? You’re assuming a Boltzmann distribution after collision with the stationary wall. Are you surprised at getting a Boltzmann distribution of the gas from that? I’m not.

    But in any case, you need to prove why that assumption exists. WHY are the molecules leaving one bouncing wall given a Boltzmann distribution? You fail to show therefore you have given no proof.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 23 Jun 2010 @ 4:25 AM

  723. CFU, John is correct. Even if you do not assume a Boltzmann distribution, the gas will move toward said distribution as it interacts with the walls. This is precisely how one derives the blackbody distribution–although there the distribution is BE. Photons are noninteracting, but are assumed to either reflect from or be absorbed and re-emitted by the walls.

    [Response: This discussion is extremely tedious. No more please. – gavin]

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Jun 2010 @ 7:10 AM

  724. The equation of state for a hard sphere gas is:

    P = nRT/(V-n v)

    where V is the volume of the container and v is the excluded volume for a mol of the spheres. It is not ideal.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 23 Jun 2010 @ 7:43 AM

  725. 717 I totally agree with John and last Ray’s post. Van der Waals corrective terms are due to long range interaction potential (a/V^2) and finite volume (V-b) of molecules. This means that ideal law is valid only in the limit of zero range potential and zero volume molecule, in which case the scattering cross section is… zero. Collisions are useful indeed to insure the energy transfer between various degrees of freedom. They help establishing the local thermal equilibrium, but they’re by no ways a necessary ingredient of the ideal law- actually they cause departure from the ideal law. There is a confusion here between the establishment of thermodynamical equilibrium, which can occur with any system (and is helped by collisions) and ideal law , which describes a gas of non interacting particles.

    “WHY are the molecules leaving one bouncing wall given a Boltzmann distribution? You fail to show therefore you have given no proof.”
    Because of microreversibility; If the wall have a non-zero temperature, the molecules of the wall are themselves vibrating, and collisions with moving molecules will transfer energy in such a way that their distribution moves towards maximum entropy (H-theorem). Collisions between gas particles themselves are not required per se to establish equilibrium, any process insuring a transfer of energy can do it.

    And to answer an old question of CFU : not only I’ve got my first degree in physics a long time ago, but I’m actually teaching it now – and even higher. [edit]

    Comment by Gilles — 23 Jun 2010 @ 9:32 AM

  726. [edit – the one-a-day rule does not trump the basic rules on comment etiquette. Please calm down, or we’ll move to the ‘none-a-day’ rule]

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 24 Jun 2010 @ 3:08 PM

  727. Correction: earlier I breezed through the concept of an emission weighting function and the distribution of absorption for radiation in the opposite direction. One can construct an emission weighting function for the flux per unit area, but the equivalence between emission weighting function and absorption is only strictly true for radiant intensity for one direction (emission toward and absorption from that direction), along with the other qualifications (a particular frequency, polarization if that matters, location of course, and with conditions held constant over the travel time of photons (easily approximated as true for photons in the Earth’s atmosphere), and with LTE, … and setting aside (so far as I know) any doppler shifting during scattering, or Raman or Compton scattering and maybe some other things (stimulated emission?)). For the two distributions to be idential for opposing fluxes per unit area, the intensity must be isotropic within each hemisphere of directions – though the two distributions can/may be similar even with some anisotropy; they can/may be similarly compressed or expanded by changes in optical properties.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 25 Jun 2010 @ 7:19 PM

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Close this window.

1.309 Powered by WordPress