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  1. I’m hoping some real climate scientists take the Exxon funded Competitive Enterprise Institute up on its $10,000 offer for evidence disputing the conclusions of the IPCC WG1 FAR. What fun it would be to collect for laying out all the new information regarding melting glaciers and sea level change to point out that the IPCC is too conservative in its estimation of what seems to be sure to become dangerous climate change.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 5 Feb 2007 @ 12:52 AM

  2. Good to see a timely defense of the science.

    This could have been written as a fill in the blank form. Instead of “Frasier Institute” you could write “insert one of various individuals and organizations who don’t like the implications of the science in the regulatory arena” ;)

    This would save a great deal of time. You would not need to do new posts for what the other contrarians are saying about the SPM.

    Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 5 Feb 2007 @ 1:09 AM

  3. Mankind was not able to bring peace to the very local Near East region for some 60 years, Bush was not able to keep his fingers out of Iraq when he felt strong. Reading this dispute about science and i-science I come to the conclusion that mankind is unable to cope with problems of global scale. Please convince me from the opposite!

    Comment by Andreas Mueller — 5 Feb 2007 @ 1:38 AM

  4. Your link to “Fraser Institute” doesn’t go there!

    Comment by A Frend — 5 Feb 2007 @ 2:41 AM

  5. @ Andreas Mueller:
    “the uncertainty of our times is no reason to be certain about hopelessness” — Vandana Shiva

    Comment by Allan Haggett — 5 Feb 2007 @ 4:13 AM

  6. Thanks! It does now.

    Comment by A Frend — 5 Feb 2007 @ 4:20 AM

  7. I’m very disapointed concerning the very weak amount of Realclimate authors comments following the SPM publication.
    I believed, naïvely, that it was an important event.

    In this topic you speak about aerosols , but can you give us the “best estimate” of aerosols concentration and their global radiative effects between 1950 and 2006.

    And try to be as precise as possible, please.

    Comment by Pascal — 5 Feb 2007 @ 4:55 AM

  8. It is only to be expected but it seems to me that this is another big Oil/coal attempt to delay mandatory restrictions on their efforts to provide the USA with the energy it needs in the cheapest an most profitable manner and hence corrupt their power base on capital hill. No doubt the money will keep on flowing for these people and why an environmentalist like David Bellamy of all people would dispute climate change is beyond me but he always was a bit to enthusiastic for my liking and hence a TV personality.

    Expect another 5 years of the same until the next IPCC comes out.

    Comment by pete best — 5 Feb 2007 @ 5:38 AM

  9. The WSJ has produced a real eyeball roller in response to the FAR ExSum- Viscount Moncton as star witness, no less-
    http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110009625

    Comment by Russell Seitz — 5 Feb 2007 @ 5:47 AM

  10. I thought the leaked draft said “DO NOT CITE OR QUOTE”. I didn’t know they intended to publish it. These documents are very valuable to know, because they form the basis of what the denialists are going to refer to when they come forth with their misinformation. A common tactic in a live interview is for the denialist to draw the subject into a discussion about some nitpicking issue in which they can manufacture a dispute, and thus divert attention away from the main issue.

    If you can force the denier to concede that they obtained their particular factoid from a page of the Fraser Institute report or other briefing document, you ought to be able to assert the fact that all the points within it have already been discussed and sorted out at length by the scientific peer review process; a process they were free to submit their points to at the time of discussion — if they were actually interested in having scientists check them out.

    Comment by Julian Todd — 5 Feb 2007 @ 5:55 AM

  11. RE: #3 “Please convince me from the opposite!”

    Wish I could but I can’t, my basic reasoning leads me to the “monkeysphere” every time. Let’s hope we’re both wrong, perhaps we are witnessing a new phase in “The Enlightenment” but condsidering the monkeysphere theory I think extinction within the next 150yrs is more likely.

    Frasier institute: Ding dong the witch is dead, ignore them from now on. Replace the empty space that the deniers have become, perhaps with some articles by marine biolgists, agriculturalists, ect. I think one of the most dangerous ideas “out there” is that rising sea levels are the worst side effect (ie: wet feet as most people see it). If rainfall patterns change dramatically and drought becomes more permenant then there will be a global famine of trully “biblical” proportions, combined with mass migration due to rising water. Argiculture takes place where the ground is fertile and has adequate rainfall/irrigation, it does not work on semi-molten permafrost or flooded desert sand. The ground is fertile because the rivers have been there for millenia, because the rain falls there or the glacier feeds the river, ect, ect…

    We need to be aware of the effects on our agriculture and the food chain of the oceans, just finding figures on world/regional agricultural output is difficult for an educated layman. I know Australian figures have suffered over the last 10yrs for grain and I know many N. Atlantic fisheries have collapsed but getting a picture of how it’s all connected and what the net effects are on food supply (over say 50yrs) is beyond my spare time.

    BTW: I live in SE Australia, we were singled out by the head of the UN’s climate body as “drought-ravaged and water-challenged Australia entering an election year”. That pretty much sums it up, in the last year Australian attitudes have gone from Howard/Bush style arrogance to “what the hell have they been doing for the last 10yrs”?

    Comment by Alan — 5 Feb 2007 @ 6:13 AM

  12. Re #6: “I’m very disapointed concerning the very weak amount of Realclimate authors comments following the SPM publication.”

    As a computer scientists I have played my small bit part in building the internet over the past couple of decades, others have filled it with knowlage, art, and conspiracy theories (the spam filter won’t let me say ppoorrnn). I’m kinda proud of the bit I played in building a “machine” where one billion people can talk personally to a group who make (IMHO historic) news, your comment is just plain rude! BTW: You are welcome to use “my” machine to find out what is “known to science” and let the rest of us know how you fare with an easily digestable blog open to constructive critisim.

    Besides, scientists rarely oil a “squeeky wheel”, they normally rely on an engineer. ;-o

    Comment by Alan — 5 Feb 2007 @ 7:34 AM

  13. Fraser Institute is inline with the other right-wing think tanks like Cato, CEI, and Reason. All have taken money from Exxon-Mobil and deny the science of climate change, and all took money from Big Tobacco and denied the health threats of second-hand smoke.

    Here’s Fraser on second-hand smoke.

    http://www.fraserinstitute.ca/shared/readmore.asp?sNav=nr&id=386

    Comment by Benny — 5 Feb 2007 @ 8:03 AM

  14. “It’s true he’s “noted,” but what he’s noted for is his blatant fabrication of numbers purporting to show that the world’s glaciers are advancing rather retreating, as reported”

    My opinion is that Mr Bellamy is a noted botanist.

    I see no evidence in the link that you gave that he fabricated evidence. The report states he that probably mistyped whilst copying some figures that he believed to be correct. Am I wrong?

    [Response: Bellamy was a (non-notable) botanist some time ago; nowadays he is notable as a media person. We can test this, of course: what major contributions to botany do you think he has made? - William]

    Comment by English — 5 Feb 2007 @ 9:00 AM

  15. Strange behavior persists this morning.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 5 Feb 2007 @ 9:55 AM

  16. Re #1: The Competitive Enterprise Institute has nothing to do with the advances made by the American Enterprise Institute. Nor have we received any money from ExxonMobil since 2005.

    Comment by Iain Murray — 5 Feb 2007 @ 10:30 AM

  17. I’m a little surprised that they are still in the denial stage. I had thought that all of the belief tanks and climate contrarians would have moved on already to the “Well climate change is happening, but any attempts at mitigation will fail so let’s try and adapt.”

    That’s the fallback defensive position in denialist trench warfare.

    Comment by Thom — 5 Feb 2007 @ 10:41 AM

  18. This is of course the same McKitrick whose supposed global warming “bombshell” publication turned out to be an artifact of not knowing the difference between degrees and radians!

    Comment by mike — 5 Feb 2007 @ 11:00 AM

  19. RC, I don’t really understand why you devote time and space to such a worthless and insignificant document. It seems to me you are inadvertently conferring legitimacy to the Fraser institute’s tripe by posting on their ISPM.

    Comment by Sean D — 5 Feb 2007 @ 11:04 AM

  20. Gee Sean, “Know your enemy”, “Keep your enemies closer” etc etc. To laymen these guys are just believable enough to put the guilty mind at ease, you have to respond to challenges put up by denialists or they’ll walk all over ya.

    Reminds me of Mike Moore’s stupid white men. “While we’re all getting our first latte and still waking up for the day ahead, republicans have been working for hours finding new ways of ripping you off” Something like that anyway, just replace republicans with denialists.

    Comment by Matt — 5 Feb 2007 @ 11:25 AM

  21. Re 9
    I hope someone is busy writing a reply to the WSJ editorial. It’s not hard to spot the howlers. Guess I’m surprised that RC doesn’t have a kind of form letter for these instances, they seem to occur so often. Scientists cannot hold themselves aloof from reiterating the facts and correcting errors in the science when an influential broadsheet persists in publishing rubbish. If you want to influence policy, you have to go head to head with the papers that are read by the policy makers, and that means, in this case, the WSJ.

    BTW, letter from VP of ExxonMobil denying attempts to exert influence at the AEI: http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,2005907,00.html

    Comment by Serinde — 5 Feb 2007 @ 11:31 AM

  22. #7
    I share Pascal point of view. Are controversies about ISPM prose more important than a thorough explanation of IPCC AR4 ?

    I’m also interested by RC answer to his question. SPM explains us: it is very likely that most of the observed 1950-2005 warming is due to GHGs. “Most” and “very likely” are quite vague in my opinion (for “very likely”, I mean there is no quantitative estimate of likelihood here, I suppose it express the “elicitation of expert views” as precised in the IPCC Guidance notes for lead authors on adressing uncertainties). But more important than these rhetoric speculation, a transient temperature change 1950-2005 should be analysed in comparison with a transient forcing budget for the same period. Second Draft shows that aerosol direct and indirect forcing is still poorly understood or constrained, and aerosol emissions trends still poorly measured, even in present time, a fortiori in past decades. And all other forcings except GHGs have still a low scientific understanding. How do we have with this respect a 90-99% confidence about the recent warming trend, limited to 1977-2005 (for a statistically significant trend), and most pronounced in 1990-2005? How do we exclude (or simply evaluate) the aerosol-nebulosity-insolation part of recent trends?

    Comment by Charles Muller — 5 Feb 2007 @ 11:44 AM

  23. While you can find fault with the WSJ article, this is a point we must not lose sight of: “There are also other problems–AIDS, malaria and clean drinking water, for example–whose claims on scarce resources are at least as urgent as climate change.” As someone who recognises the debate is not over, I can’t help feeling that these ‘other’ issues currently get rather less attention in the Western press than climate change, because, although very real problems, they are not perceived to affect the West directly (we in the Developed world can be self-centred). And to answer one commentator here, I am certainly not a Republican. I commend this site for at least recognising alternative viewpoints exist.

    Comment by PHE — 5 Feb 2007 @ 12:05 PM

  24. RE#9, “For example, the Center for Science and Public Policy…” This is Pete du Pont’s conservative think tank in Dallas I believe. He’s a WSJ columnist, so the idea that the two agencies are equivalent is false on its face. Talk about incestuous.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 5 Feb 2007 @ 12:37 PM

  25. RC: Please keep debunking these kinds of things. I’m sure I’m far from the only regular reader of this site who needs all the help you can provide in arguing against the CC deniers. For example, just this morning I read the following letter in my local (Rochester, NY) newspaper. (Quoted in its entirety, including the writer’s credentials.)

    ——————————————-
    Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi and other proponents of the theory that global warming is man-made use the term “consensus” as a primary argument for their hypothesis. Inconveniently for them, truth is discovered from credible scientific finding, not consensus. Furthermore, as a former atmospheric physicist, I can vouch that there is nowhere near a consensus for this hypothesis among the community of credible scientists who study our planet.

    Repeated scientific verification supports the theories of relativity, the double-helix structure of DNA and even the theory of natural climate change, providing indisputable proof that these theories are in fact the truth. Nowhere in thousands of climate studies is there an instance of incontrovertible evidence that global warming is driven by the activities of humans. If there was even one, it would be widely cited and referenced. We would know the scientist’s name as we do Hubble, Einstein and Crick.

    A mere 10,000 years ago, the Rochester area was encased beneath thousands of feet of glacial ice. Global warming is a truth. The hypothesis that it is driven by human activity is false.

    JOEL WOJCIECHOWSKI
    HENRIETTA
    The writer has a master’s degree in atmospheric physics and a doctorate in biophysics.
    ——————————————-

    Comment by Lou Grinzo — 5 Feb 2007 @ 1:26 PM

  26. Re # 22:

    Life presents us with an enormous number of problems. The question is, how do we prioritize these problems, and budget resources? The line you are taking here is right out of the Bjorn Lomborg playbook, and it is exactly the kind of ‘divide and conquer’ rhetorical tactic you would expect to see pushed from certain socio-political quarters. I seem to recall that the earliest defenders of slavery used the same trick to pit the temperance movement against abolitionists (“Sure slavery is bad, but look what the demon rum is doing! We can’t fix both of these scourges at the same time.”)

    There is no reason we can’t address both global climate change and the other calls to conscience the WSJ editorial page has suddenly and conveniently discovered. The former requires changes in the way the developed (and developing) world allocates its energy investment dollars (away from hydrocarbon fuels) and the latter involves questions of international aid and third world infrastructure investment.

    We can do both at the same time. Both are important. False dichotomies like this are all about diluting the energies of those advocating change.

    Anyway – this is a political discussion, and not realy germaine to TFB (The Fine Blog).

    Comment by Paul G. Brown — 5 Feb 2007 @ 1:45 PM

  27. Just got a call off the Hill. Pielke Jr. is going to be testifying this Thursday for House Sience. Guess which party invited him…again!?

    Stay tuned.

    [Response: I wouldn't knock it. If RPJr is now the fair-haired favorite of certain political parties, that's certainly a big improvement over Michael Crichton. As a shift in the terms of the debate, it's a distinct move in the right direction. --raypierre]

    Comment by Thom — 5 Feb 2007 @ 1:45 PM

  28. Gavin et al

    Could you comment on a recent article in Science , January 26th, about jet streams? Jet Stream Conundrum by Baldwin states: Eath’s atmospheric jets have shifted poleward by about 1 degree since 1979. How does this impact AGW or the other way around?

    Also, in AGU Geophysical research letters an article about methane hydrates titled Origin of pingo-like features on the Beaufort Sea shelf and their possible relationship to decomposing methane gas hydrates, sheds new information about this menace.

    Finally, any comments on the recent controversy that the AR-4 may be too conservative especially with respect to sea level rise, particularly ignoring results from GLACE and meltwater pouring down moulins?

    thanks as always

    Tony

    [Response: I promise my next post will be pure science -- and the jet stream post is the very next I will do. Look for it as part of our review of what's in the full IPCC report. I won't be able to quote the report itself until it's issued, but the jet stream shift does make an appearance and I can certainly talk about the published literature, of which there is a good deal by now. The jet shift post will be the long-awaited "part 3" of the series Rasmus and I were doing on global warming and atmospheric circulations. (For those of you with a good memory, Part II dealt with the hydrological cycle in the tropics, discussing the Nature paper by Vecchi et al). --raypierre]

    Comment by Tony Noerpel — 5 Feb 2007 @ 1:45 PM

  29. re #25
    link to your post
    (February 5, 2007) â?? Proving that man causes warming
    JOEL WOJCIECHOWSKI
    HENRIETTA
    The writer has a master’s degree in atmospheric physics and a doctorate in biophysics.
    http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070205/OPINION03/702050303/1040/OPINION

    Comment by lars — 5 Feb 2007 @ 1:58 PM

  30. is it true?

    During most of the last 1 billion years the earth had no permanent ice.
    http://www.museum.state.il.us/exhibits/ice_ages/

    [Response: It is true. Watch out for the paleoclimate chapter when the full IPCC report is released, which discusses climate changes in Earth's history and their causes. Or if you can't wait, a good start is the paper by Royer et al.. -stefan]

    Comment by lars — 5 Feb 2007 @ 2:35 PM

  31. RE: 23 For people who think that disease, hunger, and hygiene are tough issues now, imagine how that picture would appear with the influence of fully-engaged AGW. In my view, not doing what we “can” to avert full-blown AGW would be equivalent to providing antibiotics (or maybe more apt, drinking cups) to users of dirty water rather than cleaning the water. The WSJ’s use of the scare phrase “scarce resources” is a red herring in at least one important way: energy conservation does not involve using scarce resources, other than the political spine to do it. THAT resource has been non-existent in the government(s) of the United States of Entertainment since at least 2000.

    “While you can find fault with the WSJ article, this is a point we must not lose sight of: “There are also other problems–AIDS, malaria and clean drinking water, for example–whose claims on scarce resources are at least as urgent as climate change.”

    Comment by ghost — 5 Feb 2007 @ 3:06 PM

  32. I was a bit curious about the panel of experts, so I semi-randomly pickes three of the names (Prof. Friedrich Schneider, Prof. Erwin Diewert, Prof. Ronald W. Jones) and checked their qualification. Now this is a small sample, but all three turned out to be economists. Diewert seems to have a reasonable qualification is statistics, but none of them is a climatologist or even a physical scientist…

    Comment by Stephan Schulz — 5 Feb 2007 @ 3:11 PM

  33. i have a basic question: what is the estimated TOTAL amount of CO2 pushed into the atmosphere yearly, from ALL sources? What is the amount from man’s activities? Oddly, I’ve never noticed these figures in a layman’s source.

    Comment by julio — 5 Feb 2007 @ 3:13 PM

  34. re #14 response

    The question was “am I wrong?”.

    I purposefully stated that it is my OPINION that Dr Bellamy is notable so I fail to see how I could be wrong on that point.

    The link given is a newspaper article that states that Dr Bellamy apparently made a mistake while copying figures that he believed to be correct and Dr Bellamy does not deny this. I see no evidence in the link that he purposefully (blatantly?) fabricated anything, or am I wrong?

    (The article is from The Guardian, the newspaper commonly known as The Grauniad because of its many typo’s.)

    Comment by English — 5 Feb 2007 @ 3:19 PM

  35. Re: http://www.desmogblog.com/slamming-the-climate-skeptic-scam

    Deblogsmog’s been giving the Fraser stuff a good beating and the above link is music to mine ears but the site seems to attract the denial brigade and hey presto the following turned up:-

    “”"I think you are missing the point: you still refer to RealClimate when two prestigious scientific committees have made clear that there are reasons to consider anything that comes from this site with suspicion. These people are in deep trouble, because although they use the word ‘science’ very very often…. “”"”

    What’s all that about? Were those “prestigious” outfits the usual clowns?

    Keep up the good work

    Mike

    [Response: Thanks Mike. Well, maybe they were referring to "Scientific American", "Nature", or "Science". Oh wait, no, they all actually gave us a hardy endorsement. So perhaps they are referring to the prestigious "Cranks of Science", er, I mean "Friends of Science". --mike]

    Comment by Mike — 5 Feb 2007 @ 3:27 PM

  36. …red-faced addition: The people I checked are from the editorial advisory board, not the actual author list. Still…

    Comment by Stephan Schulz — 5 Feb 2007 @ 3:29 PM

  37. “…red-faced addition: The people I checked are from the editorial advisory board, not the actual author list. Still…”

    Well, Kinnimouth and Karlen do have relevant backgrounds.

    Comment by No Longer a Urinated State of America — 5 Feb 2007 @ 3:45 PM

  38. Re #25 & the science journalist’s need for “repeated scientific verification” for acceptance of a fact.

    Well, let’s see, we could emit as much GHGs as possible & complete this global warming experiment on laboratory earth, & get the whole thing up to par with the law of universal gravity. Though there may not be people left (or at least educated, scientific types) to appreciate the experiment’s fine results. Guess that’s just the risk we must take in the name of scientific advancement.

    Or, we could use what data we do have, plus ingenious proxies, plus sophisticated computer models, and try & figure out whether a huge catastrophe is upon us, so as to give us a chance to avert it.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 5 Feb 2007 @ 4:24 PM

  39. Hi Juli; I’m just another amateur reader here, not a climate scientist. I answer questions if I think I can, with the hope they’ll correct me so I learn something (grin).

    > basic question: what is the estimated TOTAL amount of CO2 pushed
    > into the atmosphere yearly, from ALL sources?

    You’re asking about the sum resulting from natural biogeochemical cycling and the added amount from human sources.

    First, natural sources — the total annually is approximately zero.
    This may surprise you — you can look it up.
    That’s because “Push” and “pull” matched, averaged over each year, at least since the end of the last ice age — about eleven thousand years.

    That was true until the last few centuries.

    See the tables here for a start: http://www.plantphysiol.org/cgi/content/full/125/1/25

    > What is the amount from man’s activities?

    The excess, above what nature has been handling, because nature adjusts rather slowly; the ocean has absorbed about half what people have added.

    Here: http://www.globalwarmingart.com/images/thumb/d/d3/Carbon_Dioxide_400kyr_Rev.png/350px-Carbon_Dioxide_400kyr_Rev.png

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Feb 2007 @ 4:36 PM

  40. Those who frequent conference rooms may find this interesting:

    “At 1000 ppm, nearly all the occupants were
    affected. These effects were observed in humans with
    only a transient exposure to an atmosphere containing in-
    creased levels of carbon dioxide and not a lifetime expo-
    sure. At present, the conditions giving rise to these symptoms
    can be readily reversed by moving into the outdoor at-
    mosphere. In the event that the atmospheric concentration
    of carbon dioxide reaches 600 ppm, the planet will have a
    permanent outdoor atmosphere exactly like that of a
    stuffy room. The conditions indoors in buildings of the
    type now available will become even more unpleasant and
    could easily reach 1000 ppm permanently with the results
    outlined above. Office buildings exist which are described
    as `sick’, in which workers display symptoms of carbon
    dioxide poisoning. Office levels of carbon dioxide pres-
    ently reach 800 to 1200 ppm and in overcrowded conference
    rooms, the level can reach 2000 ppm. These conditions
    will be greatly elevated under conditions where the general
    atmosphere has reached a carbon dioxide concentration of
    600 ppm.”

    http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/jun252006/1607.pdf
    CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 90, NO. 12, 25 JUNE 2006

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Feb 2007 @ 4:41 PM

  41. Groan. I thought the Fraser would have rolled over by now, given that their political representatives in Ottawa (our ‘new’ conservative government) have suddenly become enthusiastic converts to global warming (including the human role in causing it). But you can never overestimate the stubborn head-burying-in-sand capabilities of a right-wing think tank. More seriously, I do expect the next phase will be all about how we can’t really do anything about GW, GW may not really be that bad, and, gee, why would you do anything at all that won’t benefit you for decades? (At that rate, we might as well just go on smoking, using asbestos in our houses, etc…)

    Comment by Bryson Brown — 5 Feb 2007 @ 4:48 PM

  42. re #38

    what huge catastrophe?
    let’s see, global warming sea level rise…

    ice age sea levee falling and most of the northern hemisphere covered by glaciers…
    now that would be a catastrophe…..

    Comment by lars — 5 Feb 2007 @ 4:51 PM

  43. Re #34: Anyone can make a mistake. The problem with Bellamy is that he failed to retract his claim after being confronted with the evidence that he was wrong. Note that the typo error only served to compound his original error in citing a figure that turned out to be fraudulent (and could have been esaily checked at the original source). If as you imply Bellamy ought to be given some degree of credit for his scientific expertise, why should he be cut any slack for the sort of elementary research error that a science undergrad would lose points for? But to repeat, all of the pales in contrast to his failure to retract the mistaken claim.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 5 Feb 2007 @ 5:37 PM

  44. In fact, the actual authors of the official SPM are virtually all scientists, and are publically acknowleged.

    Sounds like there are some exceptions. Can I ask who they are and what was the need to put non-scientist there? It seems to me that there is no shortage of better qualified authors.

    Comment by Sashka — 5 Feb 2007 @ 6:01 PM

  45. >38, 42
    > what huge catastrophe?

    Glad you asked. http://www.actionbioscience.org/newfrontiers/eldredge2.html

    Hope that helps.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Feb 2007 @ 6:15 PM

  46. re #45

    at last, a link that mentions over population….

    why is that not in the kyoto treaty or in any of the solutions to global warming? china, india, muslims all claiming over one billion people…..

    Comment by lars — 5 Feb 2007 @ 6:38 PM

  47. re 46.
    China & India might be fair enough, but there are muslims in many countries. This is not a similar situation. There are over two billion christians too.

    [Response: Comment 46 slipped through by mistake. Population policy is off-topic to the present discussion, but is certainly a relevant factor in determining future CO2 emissions. How that population is distributed amongst religions is irrelevant, and shouldn't have been brought up. Let's leave it at that. --raypierre]

    Comment by Ed G. — 5 Feb 2007 @ 7:17 PM

  48. Re Sashka’s query (44):

    I’ve appended the complete SPM author list below. Actually, I’m pretty sure that they’re all scientists, but there were two or three names whose work I wasn’t familiar with, so I wrote “virtually” just to be on the safe side. You can check out credentials for yourself, by looking on Google scholar.

    Drafting Authors:
    Richard Alley, Terje Berntsen, Nathaniel L. Bindoff, Zhenlin Chen, Amnat Chidthaisong, Pierre Friedlingstein, Jonathan
    Gregory, Gabriele Hegerl, Martin Heimann, Bruce Hewitson, Brian Hoskins, Fortunat Joos, Jean Jouzel, Vladimir Kattsov,
    Ulrike Lohmann, Martin Manning, Taroh Matsuno, Mario Molina, Neville Nicholls, Jonathan Overpeck, Dahe Qin, Graciela
    Raga, Venkatachalam Ramaswamy, Jiawen Ren, Matilde Rusticucci, Susan Solomon, Richard Somerville, Thomas F. Stocker,
    Peter Stott, Ronald J. Stouffer, Penny Whetton, Richard A. Wood, David Wratt

    Draft Contributing Authors:
    Julie Arblaster, Guy Brasseur, Jens Hesselbjerg Christensen, Kenneth Denman, David W. Fahey, Piers Forster, Eystein Jansen,
    Philip D. Jones, Reto Knutti, Hervé Le Treut, Peter Lemke, Gerald Meehl, Philip Mote, David Randall, Daíthí A. Stone, Kevin
    E. Trenberth, Jürgen Willebrand, Francis Zwiers

    Comment by raypierre — 5 Feb 2007 @ 8:12 PM

  49. Re #42: “ice age sea levee falling and most of the northern hemisphere covered by glaciers… now that would be a catastrophe…”

    Actually, that’s probably not the case. Suppose we could return to the conditions of the last Ice Age. Sure, we’d lose some productive land in the far north, but that would be more than compensated for by the new lands exposed by the lower sea level. Add in the now-arid lands (such as most of the western US) that were then much wetter, and the increased ocean productivity, and I do believe we’d see a considerable net benefit – except we’d have complaints about the illegal Canadian immigrants :-)

    Comment by James — 5 Feb 2007 @ 8:21 PM

  50. I’m no supporter of David Bellamy’s position of glaciers, and last I heard he announced he wasn’t going to say anything about global warming for a while (to avoid further embarassment presumably). But I agree with “English” that “blatant fabrication” is not fair. The 55% to 555 thing was surely inadvertent fabrication at worst (though I’m not aware that he’s ever admitted it publicly) and the 55% he got from someone else.

    Comment by Mark Hadfield — 5 Feb 2007 @ 8:31 PM

  51. What are the relative proportions of areosols from industry, land clearing, and bushfire? How are those numbers projected to change over that 21st century?

    Comment by C. W. Magee — 5 Feb 2007 @ 10:01 PM

  52. Re: Bellamy,

    I have no idea how credible he is on climate, but he is/was a well know science communicator. He went to jail in Tasmania while protesting the proposed Franklin dam, we still have the Tassie wilderness and for his part in that outcome I thank him.

    [Response: I like wilderness as much as the next guy. Whatever Bellamy did in the past, the confusion he spread about glaciers and global warming (and given the history it is difficult to see this as anything other than wilful) is hardly a good example of communicating science to the public. It's especially sad to see people who have done some good in the world give themselves over to leading others up a garden path. I won't presume to understand Bellamy's motivation or psychology, but you could hardly say he makes a good poster-child for accurate scientific communication and integrity when it comes to climate change. If the glacier incident were an aberration, it's hard to see why he'd lend credibility to the Fraser crowd by appearing at their little do in London. But I don't know, perhaps he backed out? Does anybody know if he actually put in an appearance? After all Prime Minister Harper backed out of a Fraser Institute event when he found they were using his name to raise money by selling high-priced tickets to the event. --raypierre]

    Comment by Alan — 5 Feb 2007 @ 10:27 PM

  53. http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/02373921169204-2719700.html
    More scepticism from Dr. Marohasy. She prefers denial and hoping for rain as the antidote for the IPCC who she thinks must be subverting their real findings for later. You know after the bill of goods is sold to the public. The plot in this really is diabolical as I portrayed it in Warm Front. The Kookaburra Consortiun lives.

    http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=281474976900570

    http://www.markyork.blogspot.com

    Comment by Mark A. York — 5 Feb 2007 @ 10:57 PM

  54. I like the snark. It is more than they deserve, but necessary.

    Best,

    D

    Comment by Dano — 6 Feb 2007 @ 12:46 AM

  55. …”The basic approach taken by the Fraser Institute Report is to fling a lot of mud at the models and hope that at least some of it sticks. Of course, if one looks at enough details one is bound to find some areas where there is a mismatch between models and reality. “….

    Somehow they do manage to make themselves come across as ignorant in their comprehension or understanding of the concept of models and modeling.

    What Models Can (and Can’t) Tell Us About Risk
    Tom McKone
    Science@Berkeley Lab, (Jan 2007)
    http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/sabl/2007/Jan/pollutant-models.html

    …”McKone sees models as descriptors of the physical and chemical processes that govern the behavior or chemicals in the environment. “You can build relationships between factors that you can’t otherwise do without a model,” he says, including chemical properties, transport within and among different media, and abundance in the environment. “…”But just understanding how the pieces fit together doesn’t guarantee correct results, McKone says. “You can still get results that don’t correlate to the real thing. So models are both potentially powerful, and potentially dangerous.” While a model can hint at what interventions have the best chance of reducing pollutant concentrations and exposures, “A lot of people think models provide predictions,” McKone says, “but they don’t do this. Models are not very useful if you don’t have something with which to anchor them. You need observations to confirm the model and move it closer to a representation of reality.This is a particular problem for policymakers, who “don’t like to make choices involving uncertainty,” McKone says. “A danger is that they may just use model results to tell them what to do. “Adding more detail into a model doesn’t necessarily get you a better result if you don’t understand the basic science,” says McKone. “Model development has to be paced with the science.”…”Says McKone, “The reliability of the calculation depends on the reliability of the least well known element. If you don’t know how uncertain this weak link is, then you are making the model results look more accurate then they really are.”"…”He stresses that “an important quality in a good model is called parsimony. This is defined as making the model as complicated as needed to solve a problem, but not more so. You don’t want to add details that make the model overly complicated.”"…

    Comment by BarbieDoll Moment — 6 Feb 2007 @ 3:26 AM

  56. #26 Paul : “Life presents us with an enormous number of problems. The question is, how do we prioritize these problems, and budget resources? The line you are taking here is right out of the Bjorn Lomborg playbook, and it is exactly the kind of ‘divide and conquer’ rhetorical tactic you would expect to see pushed from certain socio-political quarters.”

    Paul, you referred to my previous comment (#22), but I don’t understand your point. My question (and Pascal in #7) deals with a precise point, the way we estimate forcings in the past five decades (precisely local + global and direct + indirect effects of aerosols) and we can attribute with a reasonable “likelihood” a mean global warming of 0,65 K (mainly pronounced over NH lands and past 20 yrs). Political questions are of no interest for me. I’m skeptic on some points of SPM but anyway, I rather advocate a post-fossil ernergy mix for many reasons and, as a French, I’m lucky enough to already live in a much less oil-addict society than many others.

    Comment by Charles Muller — 6 Feb 2007 @ 4:55 AM

  57. Re: 52

    Yes, it is sad; I think there are mixed motives – Certainly Bellamy is/was agahast at the prospect of half of Britain’s uplands being covered in wind turbines and it was this prospect that (I think) made AGW-skepticism attractive.

    More generally, I often find that the more ‘skeptical’ scientists in any related field (geology especially) seem to be the over-50s. Witness the AAPG controvsy..

    Comment by Andrew Dodds — 6 Feb 2007 @ 5:52 AM

  58. I wondered if you’d be so kind as to answer a quick query for me please?
    In the UK we have just had data released saying that this January was the 2nd warmest January on record (The 1st warmest being January 1916). A letter denying the anthropogenic influence on climate change and trying to assert that climate scientists are somehow biased, published in my local paper yesterday, really annoyed me in light of the strong evidence of the new IPCC report.
    This letter refused to believe in anthropogenic climate change by asking “how come January 1916 was even warmer then”?
    I know there are other climate forcings and natural variations also at work, and that most models cannot explain the recent warming without including anthropogenic influence, but could not explain this eloquently enough to write a reply. Does anyone know, in the words of the letter “What then is the explanation for January 1916 which was warmer?”
    Much thanks,
    Peter

    Comment by Peter Kayle — 6 Feb 2007 @ 7:18 AM

  59. Raypierre

    Thanks in advance for the upcoming jet stream article.

    I know that RealClimate has covered the Younger Dryas and the Laurentide Ice sheet meltwater in past posts but there appears to be new research published in Paleoceanography, 21. Is that worth a new post?

    Thanks again

    Tony

    Comment by Tony Noerpel — 6 Feb 2007 @ 8:17 AM

  60. Neal Boortz is at it again….
    http://boortz.com/nuze/index.html

    However, he mentions a 15000+ scientist petition against global warming,
    http://oism.org/pproject/s33p37.htm

    what’s that about?

    Comment by Karan — 6 Feb 2007 @ 9:28 AM

  61. Re 58, any one off year can be warm, there is natural variation all of the time but its all about the trend or the average temperatures over decades times that matters. Average nightime and daytime temperatures are increasing over time although you will find some exceptions, the trend is warmer overall hence the term global warming or AGW.

    Comment by pete best — 6 Feb 2007 @ 9:36 AM

  62. beneficial effects ??? I find this really hard to believe

    Comment by Jokerwitht — 6 Feb 2007 @ 9:46 AM

  63. #60: That’s an old one: 1998, a letter from Dr Fred Seitz. Recycling, one might say. Following information is from exxonsecrets.org:

    Dr. Seitz is a former President of the National Academy of Sciences, but the Academy disassociated itself from Seitz in 1998 when Seitz headed up a report designed to look like an NAS journal article saying that carbon dioxide poses no threat to climate. The report, which was supposedly signed by 15,000 scientists, advocated the abandonment of the Kyoto Protocol. The NAS went to unusual lengths to publically distance itself from Seitz’ article. Seitz signed the 1995 Leipzig Declaration.

    On 21 April 1998, Fred Singer (SEPP) 21 April, 1998 released a statement that “More than 15,000 scientists, [8/4/98: now about 17,000] two-thirds with advanced academic degrees, have now signed a Petition against the climate accord concluded in Kyoto (Japan) in December 1997.” The petition said that “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.” Journalists and others investigating the petition, known as the Leipzig Declaration, had difficulty verifying the number and authenticity of the signatures.
    Source: SEPP website

    Comment by Ark — 6 Feb 2007 @ 10:14 AM

  64. #60 – Karan, see:

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Oregon_Institute_of_Science_and_Medicine

    Comment by Phil — 6 Feb 2007 @ 10:37 AM

  65. #60 (Karan)

    “a 15000+ scientist petition against global warming” Thats the Oregon Petiton, its old news to most of the regular readers of RealClimate. This petition is a sham. I knew about this for a while, but recently someone pointed out this, its funny:

    “environmental activists successfully added the names of several fictional characters and celebrities to the list, including John Grisham, Michael J. Fox, Drs. Frank Burns, B. J. Honeycutt, and Benjamin Pierce (from the TV show M*A*S*H), an individual by the name of “Dr. Red Wine,” and Geraldine Halliwell, formerly known as pop singer Ginger Spice of the Spice Girls. Halliwell’s field of scientific specialization was listed as “biology.”
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Oregon_Institute_of_Science_and_Medicine

    Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 6 Feb 2007 @ 10:45 AM

  66. Re #58: Peter: I think that the key point is in the word “global” in global warming. Go to the GISS website (http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt) to look at global average temperatures, and you will see that the global trend is much clearer than the trend for any one location (such as the UK).

    (comment #61 also addresses the issue of recognizing that there is temporal variability which should be corrected for: averaging over a year is better for discerning trends than averaging over a month, or a single day. And taking the average of several years gets you clearer trends yet)

    (I might guess that the anomalous UK 1916 January was due to a temporary shifting of the jet stream, for example, which would lead to a shifting of heat from one place to another rather than being any indication of a global temperature trend)

    [Response: The local vs. global comment explains part of the story, but the letter-writer's question about 1916 is a fair one in this sense: if we are emphasizing global patterns, why do we make a big thing of new regional extremes ("North America's hottest year" "Central England's Second Hottest"). Is it just misconceived to take regional extremes as an evidence that climate is changing? A few years ago the answer might have been "yes" but the magnitude and frequency of regional extremes is getting to the point where we can begin to say that the global warming signal is showing up even at the regional level. The thing to keep in mind is that the smaller region you deal with, the more chance there is to confuse a general trend with what you might call "climate noise," due to just moving a small bit of hot air an unusually long distance and letting it stagnate over one place. The point is that it takes a really unusual circulation event to hit the CET temperatures of 1916, or the Dust Bowl temperatures in Chicago. As the world generally gets warmer, it gets easier and easier for blips in the circulation to make the climate hit the extreme conditions. In Chicago our summers are already starting to look like the dustbowl years, but looking at the graph (see the Union of Concerned Scientists' Great Lakes Report), our local temperature trend is flat to up at a point where the dust bowl years were recovering toward normal. Already we have more over 97F days than in the dust bowl summers. The simple answer, then, is that there are always more fluctuations at the regional level than at the global level, but the global warming signal has gotten so strong that the climate change is starting to become clearly evident even at the regional level. Very extreme and rare circulation events in the past can nonetheless cause similar temperatures. The main point is that, as time goes on, what used to be considered a rare event in the past will become quite common. --raypierre]

    Comment by Marcus — 6 Feb 2007 @ 10:48 AM

  67. Re 58: the UK is a but a very small region of the planet, and the CET but a small region of the UK. In the same way that one warm January in central England can’t be used (on its own) as evidence for global warming, nor can an earlier one be used (on its own) as evidence against.

    The heat gets moved around and local temperature can be heavily influenced by the synoptics. What drives the synoptics is the question, and Raypierre’s upcoming article on the jet stream will help add one clue I think.

    Comment by Adam — 6 Feb 2007 @ 10:52 AM

  68. In reality, there are at most a dozen or two parameters that modellers touch, most of these are constrained to certain limits by data, and there are physical limitations to what one can do to the output by changing such parameters.

    In other words, the model runs where the observed global mean temperature variability is satisfatorily explained when all natural causes and all human emissions (CO2 and sulphides) are taken into account – these successful runs were achieved by tuning a dozen or two parameters. How do we know that accurate projections for year 2100 would not require a different set of parameters that would lead to perhaps dramatically different results? In statistics, this would be similar to fitting in-sample and using results out-of-sample – a technique that doesn’t enjoy a great reputation.

    [Response: Remember, there's physics involved here. This is not something like an ARIMA or box-jenkins statistical model. One does have a certain ability to tell, from the comparison to the past data, whether the model is getting the mechanism right. In large measure, the question of effect on the future of different parameter choices is dealt with by the ensemble runs (e.g. ClimatePrediction.net) or by the wide variation in parameterization schemes amongst the ensemble of different models. There is nothing in the physics at present that suggests that a model which has an awful performance for the 20th century would get the year 2100 better. If you have some reason for thinking that, write it up and submit it somewhere. Otherwise, your suggestion is little better than "space aliens moved the heat around." --raypierre]

    Comment by Sashka — 6 Feb 2007 @ 11:21 AM

  69. Re: 58

    Remember that the UK is, in terms of weather, a constant battleground between Maritime warm/wet/southwesterly weather and Continental cold/dry/easterly weather during the winter, the difference being quite drastic; so if the former persisted through January 1916 it could have been just as warm. It’s more the thing that (anecdotally) it just seems to happen every year now..

    Comment by Andrew Dodds — 6 Feb 2007 @ 11:26 AM

  70. [[How do we know that accurate projections for year 2100 would not require a different set of parameters that would lead to perhaps dramatically different results? ]]

    Yet again, you’re using the tactic of inferring that something exists because there’s no evidence for it either way. They must be flying saucers!

    Show that accurate predictions for 2100 would require a whole new set of parameters. If you can’t do that, you’ve raised a non-issue.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Feb 2007 @ 11:58 AM

  71. #32 – no wonder us lay sceptics are sceptical. You picked the editorial board of the institute, not the authors. The authors are (apologies just cut & pasted from google): Chief WSI/INTELLICAST Meteorologist; Consulting Meteorologist, Unionville, Canada. (Retd) Research Scientist, Environment Canada; senior administrator at the Bureau of Meteorology; professor of applied mathematics; Professor of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University; no idea, seems to work at Tartu Observatory Estonia (lucky guy) his name is all over various climate studies; an expert in meteorology and physical oceanography, who is an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth Sciences; Distinguished Professor, Meteorology & Oceanography; Professor, isotope hydrogeology and paleoclimatology. That’s all of them. Maybe the applied mathematics bloke doesn’t pass your criterion of having relevant climate knowledge. The report is littered with “not enough evidence” and “not fully understood” and “level of understanding low to very low” and so forth. We don’t understand why they have got it wrong and you have got it right; the qualifications look pretty good for all of you. They lack your certainty which surely is an attractive trait in a scientist.

    Comment by Big Al — 6 Feb 2007 @ 11:59 AM

  72. Now that you have had at the bovine dung from the Fraser Institute, perhaps you can move on to Christopher Monckton’s at the Center for Science and Public Policy?

    Comment by Don Thieme — 6 Feb 2007 @ 12:28 PM

  73. “Does anyone know, in the words of the letter “What then is the explanation for January 1916 which was warmer?”
    Much thanks, Peter

    If this were simply the question of the variations of a single month, he might have a point. But it’s not….

    The whole of Northern Europe was exceptionally warm, from the British Isles to Moscow, until the change in wind patterns restored more “normal” temperatures.
    Similarly for the North Eastern United States until quite recently.

    Nor is it a question of a single month. It follows a series of exceptionally warm months/seasons and years:-

    Summer ’06 and Autumn ’06 were record breaking seasons in the CET data.
    The July average of 19.7C was the warmest since 1659, so was September at 16.8C.
    2006 was the warmest year on record for min HadCET and mean HadCET.
    In terms of annual averages, try downloading the CET data from the Met office web site and then counting how many years the annual average is over 10C.
    It’s quite a clear marker.

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/CR_data/Daily/HadCET_act.txt

    Notice how much more frequent this is since 1975 compared to previous decades.

    Remember that this is the longest temperature record available ( even if some of the earlier data is reconstructed)

    When you look at the overall picture the evidence becomes quite convincing!

    MONTHLY MEAN CENTRAL ENGLAND TEMPERATURE (DEGREES C)
    1659-1973 MANLEY (Q.J.R.METEOROL.SOC., 1974)
    1974ON PARKER ET AL. (INT.J.CLIM., 1992)
    PARKER AND HORTON (INT.J.CLIM., 2005)

    [Response: Questions like "what was the cause of x event" can sometimes be answered, though it's often hard to pin down a single specific cause in a system like the atmosphere where everything globally affects everything else. Some very nice work along these lines has been done for N. American drought years, tracing the circulations back to sea surface temperature patterns in the tropical Pacific. The 1916 European event would be an interesting one to study in a similar vein. I myself am not aware of a study of that sort, but my knowlege of the literature on this subject is far from comprehensive. If any of the readers know of a dynamical treatment of the 1916 pattern I'd be very interested to hear about it. --raypierre]

    Comment by Alex Nichols — 6 Feb 2007 @ 12:29 PM

  74. “Does anyone know, in the words of the letter “What then is the explanation for January 1916 which was warmer?”
    Much thanks, Peter

    If this were simply the question of the variations of a single month, he might have a point. But it’s not….

    The whole of Northern Europe was exceptionally warm, from the British Isles to Moscow, until the change in wind patterns restored more “normal” temperatures.
    Similarly for the North Eastern United States until quite recently.

    Nor is it a question of a single month. It follows a series of exceptionally warm months/seasons and years:-

    Summer ’06 and Autumn ’06 were record breaking seasons in the CET data.
    The July average of 19.7C was the warmest since 1659, so was September at 16.8C.
    2006 was the warmest year on record for min HadCET and mean HadCET.
    In terms of annual averages, try downloading the CET data from the Met office web site and then counting how many years the annual average is over 10C.
    It’s quite a clear marker.

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/CR_data/Daily/HadCET_act.txt

    Notice how much more frequent this is since 1975 compared to previous decades.

    Remember that this is the longest temperature record available ( even if some of the earlier data is reconstructed)

    When you look at the overall picture the evidence becomes quite convincing!

    MONTHLY MEAN CENTRAL ENGLAND TEMPERATURE (DEGREES C)
    1659-1973 MANLEY (Q.J.R.METEOROL.SOC., 1974)
    1974ON PARKER ET AL. (INT.J.CLIM., 1992)
    PARKER AND HORTON (INT.J.CLIM., 2005)

    Comment by Alex Nichols — 6 Feb 2007 @ 12:31 PM

  75. #56 – Charles Muller –

    Sorry. My comment was addressed to #23, not to you. I’m not sure if it was a mistake on my part or mangling by the comments manager. Either way, my bad.

    Comment by Paul G. Brown — 6 Feb 2007 @ 12:38 PM

  76. Ray, one thought — by 2100, the biologists expect plankton populations to crash and new species to dominate in the Antarctic waters. So a model that has some constants assumed in the physics may need some (admittedly hugely scientifically unknown) change in rates of biological cycling of carbon. This is just speculation on my part, and I may not understand how this is handled now in the models, so please correct me.

    I would guess the biologists will tell you that the odds are extremely likely this will cause an excursion, but I don’t have a clue which direction or how long.

    Probably only a decade or two, given the rate at which planktonic organisms reproduce, before it settles down, and I’d _guess_ the total throughput of carbon will be about the same if we’re lucky (if dying non-shelled organisms sink to the sediment the way calcite- and aragonite-shelled organisms sink now, taking the carbon out of circulation).

    If on the other hand we get a huge bloom of salps, consuming whatever takes over at the bottom of the food chain primary productivity, and keeping that carbon in circulation in the upper ocean, I imagine all bets are going to be a bit skewed.
    And that has already been observed:

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?sourceid=Mozilla-search&q=jellyfish+clog+fishing+nets

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Feb 2007 @ 1:33 PM

  77. Perhaps you can clarify for me. My understanding is that the Fraser Institute has prepared a summary of the IPCC 4AR itself. They are not introducing any new or different information. Just summarising what is already there.

    Surely if this is so, can someone please explain in detail how the Fraser Institute summary seems to be so very diffferent from the SPM. Aren’t they summarising the same information?

    I would have thought that a professional approach would require that the two summaries be compared on a point by point basis by reference to the 4AR to establish which is correct. I have to say that I find your piece on the issue unconvincing.

    Comment by concerned of berkely — 6 Feb 2007 @ 1:49 PM

  78. Please ignore my comment (#50) about David Bellamy. When I submitted it I hadn’t noticed Steve Bloom’s comment (#43) which said it much better.

    Comment by Mark Hadfield — 6 Feb 2007 @ 1:54 PM

  79. Re: 68

    your suggestion is little better than “space aliens moved the heat around.”

    I wonder if it would be considered as ad hom if I said something like that …

    One does have a certain ability to tell, from the comparison to the past data, whether the model is getting the mechanism right.

    I though we were discussing science here. Now, if I’m getting the message right, we are down to abilities that some people have. I’m afraid this is a shaky ground, Ray. Some very able people are known to have been wrong – we discussed Linzen only recently, for example. I hope you will forgive me if I refuse to take anybody’s word for granted. BTW, I don’t doubt that the models are getting the mechanisms right. I don’t even doubt that they are getting the sign correctly: it will be warming, not cooling. But I do doubt the magnitude. And I don’t necessarily mean a particular sign of the (likely systematic) error.

    Re: ensemble runs. If you had to test a 12-dimensional parameter space then modestly trying 3 values for each would require 3^12=531,441 runs. I wonder whether we accomplished 1% of that? A propos if in reality it is two dozen parameters, then 3^24 ~ 282 billion.

    I’m curious whether GCMs still use bi-harmonic parameterization of lateral viscosity. If yes, is everybody happy about it?

    Comment by Sashka — 6 Feb 2007 @ 2:05 PM

  80. Apropos of that, here’s an actual number. 100,000,000 tons of carbon per day.

    Nature. 2006 Dec 7;444(7120):752-5.Click here to read Links
    Comment in: Nature. 2006 Dec 7;444(7120):695-6.
    Climate-driven trends in contemporary ocean productivity.

    Behrenfeld MJ, O’Malley RT, Siegel DA, McClain CR, Sarmiento JL, Feldman GC, Milligan AJ, Falkowski PG, Letelier RM, Boss ES.

    Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA. mjb@science.oregonstate.edu

    Contributing roughly half of the biosphere’s net primary production (NPP), photosynthesis by oceanic phytoplankton is a vital link in the cycling of carbon between living and inorganic stocks. Each day, more than a hundred million tons of carbon in the form of CO2 are fixed into organic material by these ubiquitous, microscopic plants of the upper ocean, and each day a similar amount of organic carbon is transferred into marine ecosystems by sinking and grazing.

    Here we describe global ocean NPP changes detected from space over the past decade. The period is dominated by an initial increase in NPP of 1,930 teragrams of carbon a year (Tg C yr(-1)), followed by a prolonged decrease averaging 190 Tg C yr(-1). These trends are driven by changes occurring in the expansive stratified low-latitude oceans and are tightly coupled to coincident climate variability.

    This link between the physical environment and ocean biology functions through changes in upper-ocean temperature and stratification, which influence the availability of nutrients for phytoplankton growth.

    The observed reductions in ocean productivity during the recent post-1999 warming period provide insight on how future climate change can alter marine food webs.

    PMID: 17151666

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Feb 2007 @ 2:09 PM

  81. These comments only reinforce my conclusion that the climate science debate is being dominated by left wing political advocates, who are using it to fight a proxy battle against their dreaded arc-enemy, big Oil.
    Not that any of you would ever admit it.
    Sad.

    Comment by tom — 6 Feb 2007 @ 2:13 PM

  82. re: 77. Failure to understand the science (which is unequivocable), the scientific method, or the overwhelming consensus around the world by climate scientists, major climate science professional organizations, and even corporations such as “arc-enemy” BP Oil about global climate change is no excuse whatsoever to blame “political advocates”. Especially when it is the overwhelmingly “right-wing” political advocates who are desparately out to attack science. The science is there for you to read and learn and not have someone else tell you what to think or say.

    Not that you would ever admit it.
    Quite sad indeed.

    Comment by Dan — 6 Feb 2007 @ 2:32 PM

  83. Re: 70

    Speaking of inferring things that don’t exist: it seems like you have nothing to report on your search of coal-power industry subsidies in the federal budget? And what was again your point about normal distributions?

    Show that accurate predictions for 2100 would require a whole new set of parameters.

    I do not have to show that. The burden of proof is not on me. If you had any background in science you’d understand it.

    [Response: For a prediction to be a sound basis for policy, one does not require that it be inconceivable that the prediction be wrong. If that were the case, we would never be able to make use of foresight at all. The predictions of global warming show very likely future consequences, and are far more certain than most predictions upon which governments have routinely based decisions with massive consequences. Your argument hasn't even gotten to the point of saying why, from a basis of physical plausibility, it is even conceivable that the forecasts are wrong in a major way, and so as far as I'm not concerned you're not to be taken seriously. --raypierre]

    Comment by Sashka — 6 Feb 2007 @ 2:42 PM

  84. > My understanding is that the Fraser Institute has prepared
    > a summary of the IPCC 4AR itself….
    > Comment by concerned of berkely

    Where did you get this understanding? Why do you believe your source?
    Are they saying the Fraser Institute somehow summarized a document that won’t be available for some months yet?

    And where is Berkely?

    [Response: Somewhere in Australia or the South Pacific based on an IP lookup. --mike]

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Feb 2007 @ 2:58 PM

  85. Sashka, dragging your text verbatim into the search box for Google Scholar:

    All articles … about 227 for
    coal-power industry subsidies in the federal budget?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Feb 2007 @ 3:01 PM

  86. Re #82: Err, thanks for your comment Dan. However, perhaps you are aware that the body of the 4th Assessment Report has not been released, and won’t be until May, so it is NOT POSSIBLE for me to read that information directly and form my own view.

    I therefore have no choice but to read the SPM and the Fraser Institute Independent SPM (I have read both) which both claim to be summarising for me the SAME body of science. I can’t help but notice that there are very different emphases in the two documents, and I am asking what I hope is a reasonable question for some guidance and explanation as to how two summaries summarising the SAME material can be so different.

    [Response: Well, one summary is prepared by the authors of the main text (who presumably know what they concluded), and another summary is prepared by an agenda-driven organisation who are cherry-picking sections and statements to support their pre-determined conclusions. You guess which is which. - gavin]

    Comment by concerned of berkely — 6 Feb 2007 @ 3:12 PM

  87. To all appearances the Fraser Institute event entirely died on the vine in terms of media coverage (other than a few anticipatory mentions). Google turns up nothing, and a survey of the usual British outlets turns up nothing. Even the Torygraph (publishers of Monckton)seems to be on board with the IPCC, although their related editorial on Sunday was heavily tilted toward carbon capture. I was still a bit surprised by the scope of the blackout, probably because it was so very recently that such an outcome could not be hoped for. The FI luncheon must have been a sad affair indeed. Unfortunately the entire event was closed to the public, so there may not be any witnesses who are willing to say anything in public. Even though the upshot seems clear in terms of coverage, morbid curiosity compels me to ask if anyone has details on the event.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 6 Feb 2007 @ 3:19 PM

  88. Re the American Enterprise Institute money offered to scientists to critique the IPCC, I just read their claim that it’s to address policy only, and not the science.

    I also saw on TV an AEI spokesman speak against the huge spending on the Iraqi war (or was it the CEI).

    Maybe these guys really are legitimately interested in economic issues, and if that’s so, then they should be interested in all the money-saving measures to fight global warming, and be against all the subsidies & tax-breaks to fossil fuels (but that might be pushing it too far, since they are funded by fossil fuels).

    RE #26 & the false dilemma about which serious world problems to address: Here’s the solution: Take all that money we save from reducing our GHGs and send it to the poor of the world who are suffering from malaria, AIDS, and other problems. I’ll do it if others do it (I wonder how much Bjorn Lomborg & his ilk are contributing to these pressing problems; maybe they should reduce their GHGs, so they’ll have some money to send). However, I’d have to convince my husband; he sort of likes seeing the savings accumulate in the bank, esp now that we’re nearing retirement age.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 6 Feb 2007 @ 3:20 PM

  89. Re “One of the strangest sections of the Fraser Institute report is the one in which the authors attempt to throw dirt on the general concept of radiative forcing. Radiative forcing is nothing more than an application of the principle of conservation of energy, looking at the way a greenhouse gas alters the energy balance of a planet.”

    Is this “conservation of energy” you refer to the first law of thermodynamics? Or something else? And if so, that really is whacky that they would dismiss or misunderstand such basics.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 6 Feb 2007 @ 3:29 PM

  90. Re: 83

    Your argument hasn’t even gotten to the point of saying why, from a basis of physical plausibility, it is even conceivable that the forecasts are wrong in a major way, and so as far as I’m not concerned you’re not to be taken seriously.

    From a basis of physical plausibility, for starters, the models are solving equations that cannot be derived from first principles. Bi-harmonic diffusion is a numerical trick invented by the modelers to insure that the energy cascade be more plausible. The application involves additional boundary conditions that cannot be justified.

    Back to the original point that I was making, the models are trained on historical data to reproduce the same data. I didn’t say that the set of parameters must change but it might. For instance, how do you know that the same quality of fit cannot be achieved by a completely different parameters set? If it can, why should it necessarily produce the same forecast?

    Comment by Sashka — 6 Feb 2007 @ 3:37 PM

  91. [[One does have a certain ability to tell, from the comparison to the past data, whether the model is getting the mechanism right.

    I though we were discussing science here. Now, if I'm getting the message right, we are down to abilities that some people have. I'm afraid this is a shaky ground, Ray.]]

    What he meant — obviously — is that a person, ANY person, can check against known data to see whether a parameter is realistic or not.

    You’re losin’ it, Sasha.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Feb 2007 @ 3:42 PM

  92. [[These comments only reinforce my conclusion that the climate science debate is being dominated by left wing political advocates, who are using it to fight a proxy battle against their dreaded arc-enemy, big Oil.
    Not that any of you would ever admit it.]]

    Well, no. Admitting something that isn’t true is called ‘lying,’ and is considered a negative action.

    I agree about the arc-enemies, though. I hide whenever a rainbow appears in the sky.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Feb 2007 @ 3:43 PM

  93. [[Speaking of inferring things that don't exist: it seems like you have nothing to report on your search of coal-power industry subsidies in the federal budget?]]

    You didn’t read the source I directed you to, did you?

    [[ And what was again your point about normal distributions?]]

    That estimates for climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 are probably normally distributed. If you google “normal distribution” you should pick up several little articles on it.

    [[Show that accurate predictions for 2100 would require a whole new set of parameters.
    I do not have to show that. The burden of proof is not on me. If you had any background in science you'd understand it.]]

    Gosh, you don’t know how hard it is for folks like me with no background in science. Ignoring, that is, my degree in physics…

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Feb 2007 @ 3:46 PM

  94. Hi guys

    I need your help. I have been debating on another site about value of climate models in assisting us to understand what is happening with the climate. With Realclimate’s and Tamino’s support (thanks guys) I have been doing pretty well. But some smarty has asked me this question which is beyond my lay understanding (I suspect BS).

    “Question: What is the mechanism that causes the transfer of energy from GHGs(which capture IR energy in certain bands) to non-GHGs(which are transparent to IR photons) in the atmosphere?
    Sunlight striking the earth causes it to re-radiate energy mostly in the IR band. This energy is absorbed by GHGs’ molecular bonds causing vibrations in the bonds. Temperature is solely caused by translational energy, not internal energy of molecules. The absorbed IR in the GHG is then re-radiated at the same frequency and either escapes earth or is re-absorbed by another GHG molecule. How does it become translational energy that can be measured by a thermometer?”

    I would appreciate any assistance on this matter.

    Cheers Doug

    Comment by Doug Clover — 6 Feb 2007 @ 3:53 PM

  95. Re: 90

    What he meant — obviously — is that a person, ANY person, can check against known data to see whether a parameter is realistic or not.

    ANY?! Including you, for example? Do me a favor then: please check whether 10^2 m^s/s is a realistic value for lateral diffusion? Is it more or less realistic than 2.10^2 m^s/s?

    Comment by Sashka — 6 Feb 2007 @ 3:56 PM

  96. Re #84:

    You ask where did I get my understanding that the Fraser Institute has prepared a summary of the IPCC 4AR itself?

    The first paragraph of the FI ISPM states: “The Independent Summary for Policymakers is a detailed and thorough overview of the state of climate change science as laid out in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) draft report. This independent summary has been reviewed by more than 50 scientists around the world and their views on its balance and reliability are tabulated for readers. It carefully connects summary paragraphs to the chapters and sections of the IPCC report from which they are drawn, allowing readers to refer directly to what is in the IPCC Report.”

    Comment by concerned of berkely — 6 Feb 2007 @ 4:11 PM

  97. RE#90, #95

    It’s true that you can train any model to reproduce any historical data trend, just as you can come up with an ‘curve-fitting’ equation for a set of points – and that curve may have no utility in prediction of what future data will look like.

    However, it is extremely disingenuous to claim that climate model specialists aren’t perfectly well aware of this fact. If you actually look at the recent IPCC report, you find that it is indeed addressed:

    Since IPCC’s first report in 1990, assessed projections have suggested global averaged temperature increases between about 0.15 and 0.3°C per decade for 1990 to 2005. This can now be compared with observed values of about 0.2°C per decade, strengthening confidence in near-term projections. {1.2, 3.2}

    Thus, if you go back and look at the predictions from 1990, you find that they fit the observed trends – and that’s good evidence that the models are indeed performing well. The observed trends of tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling also match decade-old model predictions.

    It seems the main concern now is that the models are underestimating future changes, which has certainly proved to be the case for the ice sheet models.

    This is why data collection in detail is so important – if oceanic remote sensor systems had been deployed on a widespread basis a decade ago, then the model predictions of changes in ocean circulation could have been compared to a comprehensive dataset, and the 2007 IPCC report might not include statements like:

    There is insufficient evidence to determine whether trends exist in the meridional overturning circulation of the global ocean.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 6 Feb 2007 @ 4:32 PM

  98. Re: 93

    You didn’t read the source I directed you to, did you?

    When? Where?

    That estimates for climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 are probably normally distributed.

    Really? How do you know that?

    Comment by Sashka — 6 Feb 2007 @ 4:35 PM

  99. Sashka, how come everyone else should do tasks for you just because you do not get it? Why not present your own work here, that others can evaluate your scientific skills? Show some effort, that’s the way the science goes. Just raising questions for the sake of the questions themselves is annoying.

    Comment by Petro — 6 Feb 2007 @ 4:37 PM

  100. Re: 95

    Sorry for the typo: the units are m^2/s, of course.

    Comment by Sashka — 6 Feb 2007 @ 4:40 PM

  101. Re: #94

    Moderators, anybody else, feel free to chime in with any corrections or improvements.

    “Question: What is the mechanism that causes the transfer of energy from GHGs(which capture IR energy in certain bands) to non-GHGs(which are transparent to IR photons) in the atmosphere?

    Collision. One of the principal ways for vibrationally and rotationally excited molecules to transfer energy to other molecules in a gas is through the exchange of energy during collisions.

    Sunlight striking the earth causes it to re-radiate energy mostly in the IR band.

    Not so. It’s the fact that earth is at a temperature above absolute zero that causes it to radiate. Earth’s surface continues to radiate (mostly IR) energy even at night.

    This energy is absorbed by GHGs’ molecular bonds causing vibrations in the bonds. Temperature is solely caused by translational energy, not internal energy of molecules.

    Not so. Temperature is the average energy per mode of the physical system. That includes all the modes; if you add energy to any of them (translational, rotational, vibrational, or even to the radiation field itself) you have raised the temperature. A vast array of energy transfer mechanisms will soon distribute the energy evenly among all the modes (as long as their energy levels are “within reach” of the available energy), raising the translational energy as well.

    The absorbed IR in the GHG is then re-radiated at the same frequency and either escapes earth or is re-absorbed by another GHG molecule.

    Not so, it can do other things as well. It can be transferred to other atmospheric molecules through collisions. It can also be re-radiated, and rather than being reabsorbed by other GHG molecules or escaping to space, it can be absorbed by earth itself, warming the surface.

    Comment by tamino — 6 Feb 2007 @ 4:41 PM

  102. > 84, 96
    > You ask where did I get my understanding that the Fraser
    > Institute has prepared a summary of the IPCC 4AR itself?
    >
    > The first paragraph of the FI ISPM states:.. draft report.

    Okay, so you know you were wrong about that. Now, you’re probably aware that to obtain a copy of one of the drafts, people agreed not to distribute it or discuss it, but to submit comments to the working group.

    Can you find out who claims to have broken that agreement, which of the old drafts they claim to be commenting on, and tell us why you trust them to be telling the truth?

    The notion of nitpicking their comments — based on their own word on a text claimed to be someone’s old draft — against the summary of the actual document, seems pointless.

    Where in Oceania is Berkley, by the way?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Feb 2007 @ 5:31 PM

  103. Sashka, homework help:

    Neff, S (2005) Review of the Energy Policy Act 2005 Columbia University, 2nd August. Available
    at: http://www.cemtpp.org/PDFs/EnergyBillHighlights.pdf
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?num=100&hl=en&lr=&newwindow=1&safe=off&c2coff=1&scoring=r&q=%22coal-power%22+%2Bsubsidies+%22federal+budget%22&as_ylo=2002&btnG=Search

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Feb 2007 @ 5:44 PM

  104. re #90, #97:

    models are trained on historical data to reproduce the same data

    This requires more specificity. Which models?

    GCMs are not, in fact trained at all. They are manually tuned to observations. Some people, myself among them, are working toward the goal of more formal objective tuning. This was until recently infeasible in the case of CGCMs because of computational cost. Even if we succeed, there is only a plan to tune to statistics, not to trends.

    If anyone were to train a system on a given result and then uses its reproduction of that result as a prediction or a validation, of course such a claim is invalid.

    Waving in this general direction proves nothing. Do you have any specific instances in mind? (Such an instance can have nothing to do with GCMs because they have not been trained this way.)

    From a basis of physical plausibility, for starters, the models are solving equations that cannot be derived from first principles. Bi-harmonic diffusion is a numerical trick invented by the modelers to insure that the energy cascade be more plausible. The application involves additional boundary conditions that cannot be justified.

    It is of course the case that every numerical model is a bag of tricks. In some cases of numerical modeling there is a theory that more or less constrains the model error with respect to the formal theory. We don’t have that luxury in environmental sciences, and probably never will. You could even argue that we will never have a formal theory of much utility. The system is just too messy.

    There is no formal mathematical justification of weather models any more than there is of climate models, yet we rely on weather models every day. The justification is only heuristic.

    Can the models be “trusted”? That is a misframed question. The question of “trust” is manipulative, both in its emotional baggage and in its binary answer.

    There are two questions that do make sense in this area. The first question is whether we should refrain from climate modeling at all. There seems to be little justification for that. The second question is, having built the models, how much weight we should put on their output in planning future actions. That replaces the yes/no question of “trust” with a more realistic question of weighing evidence.

    If the model output were wholly out of line with theoretical and observational evidence, the amount of weight to put on them would be relatively small. Given that this is not the case, given that the models have even revealed errors in the observations on occasion (most notably in the middle atmosphere temperature trend), given that the last fifteen years were prognosed reasonably well, it seems that the weight of modeling evidence should be considered nontrivial.

    What bothers me most is that those who have the least faith in the models are so often the same as those who advocate against vigorous greenhouse gas mitigation. This makes no sense without a claim that the models are explicitly biased.

    If the predictions are unbiased, an underestimate of the sensitivity of the system is as likely as an overestimate. The cost weighting of the more sensitive system would drive decision-making in the direction of more vigorous policy. If you don’t believe the science, you have no useful constraints on how bad things could get.

    Speaking of rigor, any claim that the models are intrinsically biased has always come form the vaguest, most handwaving and implausible arguments. As has been explained here regularly, there is no actual motivation in the climate science community to recommend more or less vigorous energy policy. Climate science will always be important and interesting. We don’t need to trump up a crisis to get funded. If anything the air of controversy harms our interests. The community has both socially and politically conservative roots. (The main customers of meteorology are military and agricultural, and the main customers of climatology are geologists and through them mineral interests.) The founders of the field would not have started a scare in the way that some people desperately want to believe. All of this sort of misses an important technical point. It’s never explained how one can embody one’s conscious or unconscious political bias in a system of primitive equations. I suggest you give it a try before glibly claiming that it is an easy trick.

    There is at present no substantive quantitative argument, whether based on a claim of investigator bias or otherwise, that claims to explain why all the models (and all the corroborating evidence) should overstate the greenhouse gas sensitivity.

    But, unless the models, and the rest of science, are biased toward high sensitivity because of systematic errors in math and physics, the less confidence in the science you have, the greater risk you face, and the more vigorous of a mitigation policy stance you should adopt on a risk/benefit basis. Claiming the models are “incorrect” is insufficient.

    Comment by Michael Tobis — 6 Feb 2007 @ 5:58 PM

  105. re: 86. To concerned of berkely:

    My sincerest apologies. My comment (82) was in direct response to comment *81* and not to yours. I do not know why I typed “re: 77″. Typo.

    Comment by Dan — 6 Feb 2007 @ 6:24 PM

  106. RE#104,
    Just to clarify, my comment #97 was addressed towards those climate contrarians who claim that model parameterizations that are used to address sub-grid scale phenomena (i.e. clouds, wind-sea surface interactions, etc.) are artificially adjusted to match historical datasets and thus have little future predictive ability – and the best response seems to be to go back and look at what the models were predicting some decades ago, and compare that to current observations – which is why having a comprehensive set of good observations is so important – which is why the low level of funding for satellite- and ocean-based sensors is such a travesty. (though the predictions seem to be on target so far)

    It seems more likely that the models will underestimate rather then overestimate the climate sensitivity over the long run, due to things that are not included in them. Again, the IPCC report gives hints of this problem: (from pg 11)

    Models used to date do not include uncertainties in climate-carbon cycle feedback nor do they include the full effects of changes in ice sheet flow, because a basis in published literature is lacking. The projections include a contribution due to increased ice flow from Greenland and Antarctica at the rates observed for 1993-2003, but these flow rates could increase or decrease in the future. For example, if this contribution were to grow linearly with global average temperature change, the upper ranges of sea level rise for SRES scenarios shown in Table SPM-2 would increase by 0.1 m to 0.2 m. Larger values cannot be excluded, but understanding of these effects is too limited to assess their likelihood or provide a best estimate or an upper bound for sea level rise.

    However, consider the recent acceleration of CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere. For news reports on this issue, see
    Why the news about warming is worse than we thought: feedback – Oceans, soil and trees will become worse at absorbing carbon dioxide as temperatures rise, Ian sample, Guardian Feb 3 2007

    The growth rate in CO2 for 2006 was 2.6ppm/year; previous growth rates reported in the IPCC were 1.4 and 1.9 ppm/year.
    Surge in carbon levels raises fears of runaway warming, David Adam, The Guardian, Jan 19, 2007

    Comment by Ike Solem — 6 Feb 2007 @ 7:19 PM

  107. Re: 94 Not to flog a fully tenderized horse filet, but if temperature were purely a “translational” phenomenon, then every substance would have a the same specific heat–3/2*k–so clearly there’s mort to it thay you are seeing. One must also consider translational and rotational degrees of freedom, and these can and do exchange energy with translational degrees of freedom. Don’t believe me? Consider the inverse process–can a moving molecule excite a vibrational or rotational mode in another molecule. Clearly yes.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Feb 2007 @ 7:56 PM

  108. re 101

    Thanks for that Tamino

    Love your site and I am looking forward to your blog on GCRs

    Cheers Doug

    Comment by Doug Clover — 6 Feb 2007 @ 8:01 PM

  109. RE#101,
    Thanks, tamino, for that clear explanation. I’d be interested to hear your take on water vapor and phase changes, i.e. when water evaporates at the warm tropical sea surface and is transported polewards by the atmospheric wind patterns in vapor form, and then condenses at high latitudes as rain, releasing heat to the surroundings.

    I suppose the question is what happens as the water molecule leaves the liquid phase for the vapor phase (meaning it acquires some energy) and then goes back to the liquid phase (releasing some energy) but I’ve never quite understood exactly what is going on there.

    See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070131204349.htm for some rather amazing pictures of the distribution of heavy and light water in the atmosphere and links to the tropospheric emission spectrometer at JPL.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 7 Feb 2007 @ 12:38 AM

  110. I just realized that I’m on the wrong site. Can someone direct me to a site that has information regarding long and short range future planning that will deal with the logistical nightmare of post-flood population dispersal due to lesser global land mass, clearing the flooded coastal lands of man-made structure and relocating all of the planets shipping and transportation ports?

    While some continue to banter about the causes, many others wish to get on with setting a path of rediness so your children and grandchildren will be able to adapt to what you say is coming. Remember the words to the song “So you better start swimming, or you’ll sink like a stone. For the times they are a changin’”

    For those of you who are against large multi-national corporations, they will be the ones that will be stepping up to the plate to do a lot of the reparations and re-construction on the planet in the coming years, and yes, it will come at a price that will stagger the imagination. Where do you relocate the people and jobs from all the major cities of the world that are the hubs of commerce and trade in most countries?

    Many of you in this forum are very well educated and can figure out the problems, now try and work out answers that will keep your family warm, fed and secure by means other than trying to find a foolhardy solution to keep the climate the way it was when you were growing up. “For the times they are a ……….”

    Comment by John D. — 7 Feb 2007 @ 1:51 AM

  111. Re #102: Thanks Hank for your comments. In fact, I am just a lay member of the public, and I have no idea what the answer is to your questions re the IPCC Drafts.

    I would note, however, that it is decidedly odd practice for the IPCC to release on 2 February an SPM of a document that won’t be released until 7 May. That means that those of us who are interested in such matters have no option but to rely on the interpretations provided to us by those preparing the summaries.

    Given the questions raised into the obvious differences in emphasis between the SPM of TAR and the body of that document, is it surprising that we the people are somewhat suspicious of the IPCC SPM? And especially when we are not given access to the body of the report.

    Under these circumstances, as a lay person, I find it very useful that I have access to an Independent Summary for Policy Makers that gives a somewhat different perspective on the SAME underlying scientific information.

    I would have thought that rather than conduct a witchhunt into how the Fraser Institute were able to access a draft, a better line of questioning would be to compare the two documents line by line, and seek explanations as to why they may differ, if they do.

    Alternatively, the IPCC should release the body of 4AR now, and let us do our own reading and draw our own conclusions.

    My real concern here is actually that I am concerned for the future of my grandchildren. And I want action taken. However, it must be appropriate action, commensurate with the real threats that my grandchildren will face. I am sadly disillusioned, as someone gravely concerned with AGW, at the very significant loss of credibility suffered by climate scientists through their well documented unwillingness to comply with sound scientific practice (NAS Panel, Wegman, P Jones’ refusal to disclose data etc). This loss of credibility is giving the sceptics a field day, and the policy makers a perfect excuse to delay taking any action.

    What we need is sound, objective, calm and rational science; to eliminate alarmism from the headlines of the newspapers; and to focus on the real issues of major concern.

    Claiming that we know how the earth’s climate works to an unlikely level of certainty is a major factor in the loss of credibility faced by climate scientists. The reality is that there is much that we don’t know. We would all be better off if we faced up to that fact.

    Comment by concerned of berkely — 7 Feb 2007 @ 3:14 AM

  112. [[What he meant -- obviously -- is that a person, ANY person, can check against known data to see whether a parameter is realistic or not.

    ANY?! Including you, for example? Do me a favor then: please check whether 10^2 m^s/s is a realistic value for lateral diffusion? Is it more or less realistic than 2.10^2 m^s/s? ]]

    What the hell does “m^s/s” mean? Meters to the seconds power over seconds?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Feb 2007 @ 8:02 AM

  113. #112

    Barton I assume s/he means a unit of acceleration i.e. metres per second per second

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

    Comment by Hugh — 7 Feb 2007 @ 8:15 AM

  114. Re #95, #112, #113

    m^2/s (= metres squared per second) is the unit of the diffusion constant in Fick’s Law.

    In principle it must be admitted that Sashka has a point: for an ordinary person it is very hard to check anything. There are some “constants of nature” I could determine myself (for example that g is approximately 10 m/s^2), but for most of them it is simply impossible to do such a thing without sophisticated equipment.

    However in reality this is not such a big problem, because most constants have been measured by many other people (and used by even more, errors would have shown up if values were off). Therefore I may safely rely on handbook values of -say- the viscosity of air, even though I never did the experiment myself.

    Things are a bit more difficult with numbers used in model parameterisations (these cannot be measured directly), but as has been remarked here before, this does not mean that you can use just any number you like to make your results fit reality, there are certain physical bounds.

    To avoid human bias in parameter values, in the ClimatePrediction experiment many different sets of 20 parameterisation constants are tested. In later simulations, a weighed average of these constant will be used, depending on how well each set reproduced measured atmospheric behaviour (somebody correct me if my understanding is wrong).

    In conclusion then, the objection that we cannot check things personally is mainly a theoretical one.

    Comment by Dick Veldkamp — 7 Feb 2007 @ 8:50 AM

  115. Re: 114

    However in reality this is not such a big problem, because most constants have been measured by many other people (and used by even more, errors would have shown up if values were off). Therefore I may safely rely on handbook values of -say- the viscosity of air, even though I never did the experiment myself.

    Not at all. You are confusing true physical constants (e.g. molecular viscosity of water) with parameterizations used in GCMs. The latter are no more than fudge factors that supposedly represent sub-grid processes. Therefore they cannot be measured in principle. They are certainly scale dependent and model-dependent as well.

    To avoid human bias in parameter values, in the ClimatePrediction experiment many different sets of 20 parameterisation constants are tested.

    As I pointed out above, the true size of the parameter space is so large that only small part of it can be realistically tested.

    the objection that we cannot check things personally is mainly a theoretical one

    That wasn’t an objection as such. It was merely a reply to an obviously misguided claim.

    Comment by Sashka — 7 Feb 2007 @ 10:16 AM

  116. Re: 103

    The paper that you linked doesn’t even contain the word subsidy. Why did you link it?

    Comment by Sashka — 7 Feb 2007 @ 10:27 AM

  117. Re: 99

    We are discussing science here. Ostensibly, this is the porpose of this forum. Scientific discourse naturally involves asking and answering questions. Those who present the research get the answering part. Those who have doubts are entitled to challenge the findings but are not required to present competing research. This is how it works, including peer-review process that many on this forum like so much.

    Comment by Sashka — 7 Feb 2007 @ 10:35 AM

  118. Re: 112

    I already corrected myself in 100 above. The units are m^2/s. Sorry about it.

    Comment by Sashka — 7 Feb 2007 @ 10:38 AM

  119. Re: 106

    Just to clarify, my comment #97 was addressed towards those climate contrarians who claim that model parameterizations that are used to address sub-grid scale phenomena (i.e. clouds, wind-sea surface interactions, etc.) are artificially adjusted to match historical datasets and thus have little future predictive ability – and the best response seems to be to go back and look at what the models were predicting some decades ago

    First of all, there is nothing artificial about it. Fitting to observations is a natural part of model development process. Second, you simply cannot go back some decades ago: most of the models didn’t exist even 20-25 years ago; those that did exist ran on much slower computers which necessitated much coarser resolution which, in turn, required different parameterizations (certainly, different coefficients); other parameterizations have been greatly refined over the years, etc.

    Comment by Sashka — 7 Feb 2007 @ 10:47 AM

  120. [[In principle it must be admitted that Sashka has a point: for an ordinary person it is very hard to check anything. There are some "constants of nature" I could determine myself (for example that g is approximately 10 m/s^2), but for most of them it is simply impossible to do such a thing without sophisticated equipment.]]

    All right, consider my statement amended — it is possible for anyone in the field to independently look up what measured values are available, and probably a lot of people outside the field. Sashka originally accused Ray of saying climate modelers had an innate “ability” to tell the parameters were right, which is not what he said at all. As usual, Sashka has managed to turn things around so that everybody else is the bad guy.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Feb 2007 @ 1:08 PM

  121. [[The paper that you linked doesn't even contain the word subsidy. Why did you link it? ]]

    No, Sashka, you know why I indicated that paper and I know. Your contention that fossil fuels receive no subsidies in the United States is egregiously wrong, I and others here proved it was wrong, but you just keep poking at people. [edit]

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Feb 2007 @ 1:11 PM

  122. Re: 104

    Michael, you spent a lot of effort arguing with an imaginary opponent. I stated explicitly that I don’t have a view on the sign of the model bias. I was saying that there is a possibility that the bias exists.

    GCMs are not, in fact trained at all. They are manually tuned to observations.

    What is the practical difference in the context of this conversation?

    Waving in this general direction proves nothing. Do you have any specific instances in mind?

    And what if I did? Quite recently, to back up my claim, I provided Gavin with the names of players in a certain unpleasant incident involving a GCM model. Was it acknowledged on these pages?

    It is of course the case that every numerical model is a bag of tricks.

    It goes without saying for you or me but not for everyone. Far from that. I’ve been screamed at in this blog for saying exactly the same thing. Then there are tricks and TRICKS. Changing the equations at will and imposing unphysical boundary conditions is a bad trick (in my book), especially if such a trick is used to predict something.

    given that the last fifteen years were prognosed reasonably well, it seems that the weight of modeling evidence should be considered nontrivial.

    You mean there’s a paper published in 1991 where the path of temperature changes is well predicted for 1991-2006?

    Speaking of rigor, any claim that the models are intrinsically biased has always come form the vaguest, most handwaving and implausible arguments

    OK: I’m saying there could be another set of parameters (plausible: the space of possible values is huge) that could do as good a job, or better, for the past and produce something different in the future. Is it vague?

    there is no actual motivation in the climate science community to recommend more or less vigorous energy policy

    There is no “material” motivation. The motivation is mainly ideological, IMHO.

    [Response:Hold on here. I did not mention the incident you pointed out to me because I haven't verified that it occured or what the exact circumstances were. I wasn't aware this was some sort of test (because if it was, forget it, I have better things to do with my time). On the substance of this discussion, GCMs are not tuned (manually or otherwise) to match the 20th Century variability. These hindcasts are true 'out-of-sample' tests. The 'tuning' that does occur is for control runs with fixed forcings and matches to climatological means, seasonal variations and intrinsic variability are done (See Schmidt et al , 2006 for instance). We only did one set of runs for the 20th Century and those were submitted to IPCC AR4 and written up in Hansen et al, 2007a+b. We certainaly did not go back a fix forcings in order to get better matches. However, as we stated in Hansen et al 2005, the best we can do is state that our simulations offer a consistent match to the observations, we cannot assess whether a differently tuned model with different (but still plausible) forincgs would have produced as good a match. Given that most inputs and tunings are independently arrived at (i.e. solar forcings come from Lean, volcanic from Sato, aerosols from Koch etc.) the chances that the good matches are a coincidence is very small. - gavin]

    Comment by Sashka — 7 Feb 2007 @ 1:22 PM

  123. Re: 121

    you know why I indicated that paper and I know

    No I don’t. Please quote specifically.

    But I’m confused. The link in 103 was published by Hank Roberts. Are you and him the same person? You two sure talk as if you were the same guy. But what’s the point of using multiple identities if you confess it?

    BTW, you never made it clear re normal distributions See 98 above.

    Comment by Sashka — 7 Feb 2007 @ 1:29 PM

  124. > 103, 116, 121
    Barton, in 116, Sashka was saying he or she didn’t read the paper and search list I suggested, that time, saying the one PDF I put at the top “doesn’t even contain the word subsidy” …

    Sashka, A Google search will get you a starting point, but we’re all at the same level here as readers; we can’t be expected to read everything and give you a complete summary ready to hand in. Work on your part is required to read and understand.

    Similarly, when you post assertions and beliefs without sources, you appear to expect us to find support for them for you. This fails as a tactic.*

    But, a bit more help:

    Consider — just as one example, not the best answer, so you can’t just copy and paste — this section of the paper. You have to read the documents the search takes you to, and understand them.

    —- snipped from the first PDF suggested, the Energy Act article —

    Coal � Title IV
    Clean Power Initiative: The bill establishes the parameters of a new clean coal technology program, co-funded by the government and industry. The bill authorizes $200 million annually for fiscal years 2006 through 2014 for the initiative. It specifically requires that 70% of the funds for any project be used for coal gasification or other advanced technologies that produce a concentrated stream of carbon dioxide. $125 million is authorized for an experimental cleancoal plant as well as loan guarantees for various demonstration projects. (Subtitles A and B)
    This program is subject to appropriation, but given the support for coal in the Congress and the Administration it will likely be well funded.

    Nuclear Energy and Related Issues (Title VI)
    Insurance: The Price Anderson Act limiting liability for nuclear power-plant accidents is reauthorized through 2025. The law requires nuclear plant operators to purchase insurance for up to $10 billion in damages with the federal government responsible for any additional
    damages. (Subtitle A)

    —— end of snippet —–

    OK? this is an _example_ from _one_ of the papers on the long list I found for you that (among other subjects) discuss governments’ subsidies to the energy industries.

    Read. Enjoy.
    ———
    *See also: How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
    Eric Steven Raymond. “… The second version of the question is smart. It allows an answer that suggests a tool better …”
    http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Feb 2007 @ 1:31 PM

  125. Re: 120

    Ray is more than able to defend and explain himself. He doesn’t need your help and he shows it often. For lack of comment from him I will consider my interpretation correct.

    Comment by Sashka — 7 Feb 2007 @ 1:33 PM

  126. Sashka,
    many here are discussing science. Your approach resembles sophistry. You raise doubts on issues in climate science, which you could get from the basic textbooks. Would you like to take some time to go through them? No amount of questioning here educates you, if you are not willing to do work to grasp basics.

    In science the one who challenges the consensus view has the burden of proof. Without any experimental evidence even the most clever theory bites dust. Here, the leading experts in the field produce and explain the experiments justifying the theory on the current and future state of the climate.

    Some of your questions has been explained painstakingly again and again here, it should not be a problem for a scientific educated person to get the picture. At least I get the impression, you still think that there is serious discussion going on the causes for the recent global warming within the domain of science. Have I got a wrong impression?

    Do you doubt similarly the results of other sciences like biology, medical sciences and chemistry? Or is your sceptical attitude restricted to climate science only?

    Comment by Petro — 7 Feb 2007 @ 2:23 PM

  127. Re: 124

    Yeah, I’ve read the coal paragraph. So? The gov-t wants to invest money to develop cleaner coal-burning technologies. Fair enough. It’s for the common good, not specifically in the interests of coal-burners. There’s no subsidy involved.

    Comment by Sashka — 7 Feb 2007 @ 2:28 PM

  128. Barton, I’m sure I’ve seen graphics showing how a lot of different people’s attempts to produce probability distribution functions for climate sensitivity look, when overlapped. Each of course is a curve, maybe a bell curve, usually a curve with a peak on the low end and a long tail on the high end, because nobody’s found anything in the physics to suggest adding excess CO2 by burning fossil fuels will cause cooling.

    The point you’re making is that most people’s estimates of climate sensitivity risk are in the same ballpark, with fewer and fewer toward the extremes — that’s speaking now of how the _estimates_ are distributed, not speaking about the curve from any given estimate.

    And how people’s estimates are distributed may be if not a ‘normal’ (bell) curve something close to one. As you said originally, you were saying what you thought was likely. I agree, a lot of different people come up with estimates, from a lot of different models — and all still come in around the same figure, depending on what’s in their models.

    But I can’t recall where I’ve seen the pictures for that. James Annan might be the one to ask or may have it on one of his pages already, since I think I recall the various estimates others have made cluster around his correct one, with a few outliers (tip o’ the hat to Dr. A)

    In other possibly related work I found this abstract; I don’t have the full article or graphics, just the online page here:

    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/103/35/13116

    “We quantify the risks of climate-induced changes in key ecosystem processes during the 21st century by forcing a dynamic global vegetation model with multiple scenarios from 16 climate models and mapping the proportions of model runs showing forest/nonforest shifts or exceedance of natural variability in wildfire frequency and freshwater supply. Our analysis does not assign probabilities to scenarios or weights to models. Instead, we consider distribution of outcomes within three sets of model runs grouped by the amount of global warming they simulate: <2°C (including simulations in which atmospheric composition is held constant, i.e., in which the only climate change is due to greenhouse gases already emitted), 2-3°C, and >3°C. …”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Feb 2007 @ 2:30 PM

  129. Re: 122

    Gavin – no, it wasn’t a test. But, if you remember, you told me that, essentially, my claim is worthless unless I can prove it. I gave you everything you need to verify what I said. You don’t have to go all the way and actually make phone calls: I realize that you are busy. However if say it publicly that you don’t trust me then I suppose simple courtesy requires that you at least acknowledge that I at least tried to prove myself right. In short, for me it’s a matter of honor, not a test for you. I don’t like it when my words are doubted.

    the best we can do is state that our simulations offer a consistent match to the observations, we cannot assess whether a differently tuned model with different (but still plausible) forincgs would have produced as good a match.

    Change “forincgs” to “parameterizations” and you would be making exactly the same point as mine.

    Comment by Sashka — 7 Feb 2007 @ 2:41 PM

  130. well, if you’re going to take them to task for accurcay, you should make sure you’re accurate.

    You said they said”..and that the Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) was written by politicians (no it wasn’t – the clue is in the name). ”

    That’s balatantly false. They said it was written by POLICY MAKERS.

    [Response: It was written FOR policy-makers. The authors were the scientists involved who recieved input and comments from the policy makers so that everyone was clear about what was being said and why. See our previous post for details. - gavin]

    Comment by tom — 7 Feb 2007 @ 2:41 PM

  131. re: No, it is not “balatantly” (sic) inaccurate or false. Policy makers are politicians in various forms and vice versa. But that point is a classic diversion from the issue. The summary was not written by policy makers/politicians; it was written by scientists. It is not difficult to do a Google Scholar search on various scientist’s names.

    Comment by Dan — 7 Feb 2007 @ 2:57 PM

  132. I asked:
    “At least I get the impression, you still think that there is serious discussion going on the causes for the recent global warming within the domain of science. Have I got a wrong impression?”

    Sashka:
    “Yes you have. I suggest that you try to read carefully before commenting. Otherwise you are wasting your time and mine.”

    Great, point taken. It is your sophistic style, which makes your arguments not too different for the climate change deniers. Since you worry about wasting time, with less arrogant approach you might produce less noise here.

    Regarding the models, their parameters and biases nothing prevents you to test them on your own and develop better ones. I am happy with the explanations presented here, but I do realize to fully understand them, it needs hours of reading and searching for the sources as well. That is the laborous part in science which is by no means compensated by asking dozens questions a day.

    Comment by Petro — 7 Feb 2007 @ 3:39 PM

  133. [[Yeah, I've read the coal paragraph. So? The gov-t wants to invest money to develop cleaner coal-burning technologies. Fair enough. It's for the common good, not specifically in the interests of coal-burners. There's no subsidy involved. ]]

    Oh, great. You redefine your way out of the problem. Reminds me of “that’s not really a transitional fossil.” The scraping sound in the background is the sound of goalposts being moved.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Feb 2007 @ 4:37 PM

  134. Hank — thanks for your comments on distribution, which I basically agree with. For what it’s worth, I’ve accumulated 61 estimates of the 2xCO2 climate sensitivity from the professional literature in the last couple of days. As long as it appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, I took it, so the sample includes some outrageous ones like those of Idso and Lindzen, and on the other end, Fritz Moller. But, aside from a gap in the middle, when I draw a histogram I get something very close to a bell curve. Considering the sample size, I suspect it can’t be considered statistically different from one. I intend to write all this stuff up and put it in a paper. :)

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Feb 2007 @ 4:41 PM

  135. RE: 137. And yet when numerous responses and links to various science journals, articles, and reports have been provided in response to your questions, you generally move on to another question with little acknowledgement of reading, learning or comprehension from the peer-reviewed information provided. Several people have pointed this out. If you do not take the time to research and comprehend the answers to questions from information provided here or through searches such as Google Scholar, how can you learn about the science? Being skeptical of any initial information is fine but when you one begins to question literally thousands of experts out of ones area of expertise, one has to wonder what the motive is. And clearly there is one and it does not appear to be learning about the science.

    Comment by Dan — 7 Feb 2007 @ 4:48 PM

  136. Re: 138

    Quite the opposite. I am using the common definition:

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

    In economics, a subsidy is a kind of financial government assistance, such as a grant, tax break, or trade barrier, in order to encourage the production or purchase of a good.

    In this case, the industry didn’t need any assistance. They could continue producing the “dirty” power the old way just fine. It’s the government that want’s to change the way coal-based power is generated.

    Comment by Sashka — 7 Feb 2007 @ 5:00 PM

  137. re: 144. I was not limiting my comment to this particular thread. However, just in this thread there are references to Google Scholar links where you can read peer-reviewed information specifically about the questions you ask.

    One simple example of your apparently moving on with no acknowledgment of the facts after you’ve been provided information in response to your query about the SPM authors: Did you check out the credentials of the SPM report authors listed in post 48 which specifically answers your post 44? If not, why did you ask the question? If you did, what did you learn?

    As pointed out in post 85, you can take many of your queries and put them in a Google or Google Scholar search and get the precise information you seemingly ask for.

    Comment by Dan — 7 Feb 2007 @ 6:02 PM

  138. Well, I am a lowly PhD in Meteorology and as an interested observer, I find Sashka very capable of defending himself on the Science. Some of the questions and comments to him have very little to do with Science however and are better left unsaid. I would suggest some of you who lack a scientific background to stay out of this discussion to avoid looking foolish

    Comment by Michael J — 7 Feb 2007 @ 6:03 PM

  139. I have deleted a bunch of comments and responses that did not add anything to the substantive discussion (the comment numbers might be a bit messed up near the end). You all therefore have another chance to talk civilly to each other. Either discuss real issues (preferably with references) or don’t bother.

    Comment by Gavin — 7 Feb 2007 @ 6:06 PM

  140. I try not to speak for Ray, but based on a hallway conversation with him just a few minutes ago I will venture that the interpretation in #125 is incorrect.

    As for me, I think there is some intrinsic value to my posting #104 that Sashka is avoiding or obfuscating in his #122.

    The only thing remotely relevant to the thrust of my argument is this exchange:


    me: given that the last fifteen years were prognosed reasonably well, it seems that the weight of modeling evidence should be considered nontrivial.

    S: You mean there’s a paper published in 1991 where the path of temperature changes is well predicted for 1991-2006?

    I refer you to the SPM:

    - Since IPCC’s first report in 1990, assessed projections have suggested global averaged temperature increases between about 0.15 and 0.3°C per decade for 1990 to 2005. This can now be compared with observed values
    of about 0.2°C per decade, strengthening confidence in near-term projections. {1.2, 3.2}

    The first order spatial patterns are also consistent with the predictions ca. 1990.

    Since I think what I am saying has more importance than just an argument with a naysayer, I summarize:

    1) If the science is inaccurate but unbiased, this should weigh in favor of stronger rather than milder mitigation efforts. I have been making this point for a long time and I think it is not generally recognized or addressed. It is necessary for an argument against vigorous mitigation to have a very strong argument that the science is biased toward excessive sensitivity.

    2) No such strong argument exists. If the scientific community is biased, it is unclear even in which direction the bias lies. This being the case, the less confidence you have in the science, the stronger should be your support for mitigation.

    3) If you think the scientific community is biased, it is unclear how this bias can express itself in a model. The system is too complicated to have a simple sensitivity knob. Furthermore, various streams of evidence seem to be converging on a value for gross sensitivity. This isn’t the sort of problem where experimenter bias can easily express itself. If you argue fairly against mitigation on the grounds science is weak, you actually need to identify a deep and fundamental pattern of errors in both physics and observation, whether bias is involved or not.

    4) There is at present no viable alternative candidate theory, and the chances of such an alternative emerging decline rapidly as the predictive value of the existing body of thought continues to be validated by experience.

    Finally, regarding the outrageous claim in #125:

    An individual investigator’s lack of reply to a particular point does not constitute a concession. Serious scientists, especially those as busy and productive as Ray, will lose the last word to a filibuster technique, but losing the last word does not constitute a concession. Claims to that effect are wrong in substance, wrong in method, and wrong as a matter of simple justice.

    Comment by Michael Tobis — 7 Feb 2007 @ 6:28 PM

  141. Interesting book recommendation (all I have is the pointer) here:
    The Finance of Climate Change
    A Guide for Governments, Corporations and Investors
    Edited by Kenny Tang
    Publisher’s page here:
    http://db.riskwaters.com/public/showPage.html?page=book_page&tempPageName=292262

    I found this book recommended on a “Quantitative Finance” (investment banker?) website, in what for their purposes is called an “Off Topic” section. Thread is titled:
    Global Warming – Impacts, Vulnerability, Adaptation
    http://www.wilmott.com/messageview.cfm?catid=15&threadid=29917&FTVAR_MSGDBTABLE=&STARTPAGE=6

    Overall it’s encouraging. Can’t be sure who’s who, of course, but arguments are familiar; they’ve rounded up the usual suspects.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Feb 2007 @ 7:03 PM

  142. Re: 140

    I may have misinterpreted what Ray meant by that. However, since he has voluntarily taken the role of moderator in this blog, I don’t think it’s totally unreasonable of me to expect that he clarify the issue.

    Back to 15 years forecast, I hope you’d agree that the shorter the time period the harder it is to separate the trend from noise. Just connecting the two end points and declaring the forecast successful doesn’t do the trick, as far as I’m concerned. Gavin published reconstructions where not only the “trend” but the actual path of global mean temp was more or less satisfactorily reproduced. The successful forecast should be doing the same for the future. For lack of such work I believe it’s fair to say that the jury is still out.

    You can call me a naysayer or what have you but I’m in general agreement with your points 3-4. Even though I think that the models are biased I don’t know which way and it is most likely not by intention. The sensitivity buttons, of course, exist, e.g. cloud or oceanic water albedo but I don’t suppose this is what you had in mind. I disagree with points 1-2 only because I believe a better economic analysis is needed to justify vigorous mitigation. Moreover, nothing that is on the table today remotely qualifies as vigorous.

    Comment by Sashka — 7 Feb 2007 @ 10:31 PM

  143. Re: 138

    Thanks, Michael!

    I’m not at all surprised by the vicious ad homs – I’m used to it and it doesn’t bother me. The fascinating part is that none of these people can discern that I actually know what I’m talking about.

    Comment by Sashka — 7 Feb 2007 @ 10:44 PM

  144. Sashka:

    To be specific, your style resembles that of the creationists use in scientifically oriented blogs like Panda’s Thumb. That type of argumentation is not constructive at all and leads to the flame wars rapidly. Little wonder you receive boatful of ad hominems. You claim you know what you are talking about. Maybe by tuning down your rhetoric that would become obvious for the rest of us thus reducing the noise you abhor.

    Comment by Petro — 8 Feb 2007 @ 12:25 AM

  145. Re #142: Sashka wrote “(…) I believe a better economic analysis is needed to justify vigorous mitigation. Moreover, nothing that is on the table today remotely qualifies as vigorous.” But of course the argument then becomes political rather than scientific. Please see my comment here.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 8 Feb 2007 @ 1:15 AM

  146. Hello Sashka,

    You aren’t making much sense. Let’s see – comment#79 : “I don’t doubt that the models are getting the mechanisms right. I don’t even doubt that they are getting the sign correctly: it will be warming, not cooling. But I do doubt the magnitude.”

    Well, since the models don’t include carbon-cycle climate feedbacks (warming land and oceans will likely absorb less carbon then the 1/2 of emissions they currently absorb) and since they don’t include ice-sheet dynamics, it’s likely they are underestimating the rate of warming and of sea level rise – by how much? Not sure, but it seems to point in that direction.

    But then you say in #90, “From a basis of physical plausibility, for starters, the models are solving equations that cannot be derived from first principles.”.

    Well, that’s clear evidence you don’t know what you’re talking about. Conservation of energy is an experimentally determined phenomenon, and is not ‘derived from first principles’. Looks like a rehash of the attack on the radiative-convective models we saw recently. In any case, you contradict your earlier statement in #79 about the mechanisms being right.

    Then you claim in #115 that the molecular viscosity of water is a physical constant. Perhaps you should look into this informative site on viscosity and temperature. Then you can look into the effect of salinity.

    Your use of jargon is disingenuous. From #79, “I’m curious whether GCMs still use bi-harmonic parameterization of lateral viscosity” – that’s easy to find out. In any case, for the general reader this is an issue in how ‘mesoscale eddies’ transport heat in the oceans – for example, the warm Gulf Stream mixes with the cold Labrador sea water of Newfoundland (the Grand Banks) via ‘eddy mixing’ – and since this is a small-scale phenomenon, the question is how to model it in the ocean. This is indeed studied in detail: see On the Mixing Coefficient in the Parameterization of Bolus Velocity, Kirk Bryana, John K. Dukowicz, and Richard D. Smith, (Princeton-Los Alamos) J. Physical Oceanography, Sept 1999.

    There’s one sentence from that paper that deserves a little emphasis: “The archived data have the disadvantage of being a rather short sample in time” – and why is it that I never, ever hear the contrarians calling for more funding for widespread data collection in the oceans? Dead silence on that particular issue, isn’t there?

    These attacks on parameterizations by contrarians also never include calls for funding for higher-resolution modeling studies either, do they?

    It’s also noticeable that in response to my comment #106, you cut off the end of the paragraph, where I said …which is why having a comprehensive set of good observations is so important – which is why the low level of funding for satellite- and ocean-based sensors is such a travesty. You also ignored the central point of my post, which was that once models incorporate ice dynamics and carbon cycle-climate feedbacks (melting permafrost, warming oceans, tropical forest drought, etc.) they’ll probably predict faster warming and sea level rise, though I have no idea what the actual magnitude would be.

    You can attack parameterizations until you are blue in the face, but the fact is they are not randomly chosen and fit based on historical datasets, but are instead developed through careful experiment and observation; for another example related to the atmospheric component, see Infrared Radiation Parameterizations for the Minor CO2 Bands and for Several CFC Bands in the Window Region, Kratz,Chou,Yan, Journal of Climate, 1993

    The lower-resolution models in the 1990s made good predictions of the current situation, according to the 2007 IPCC SPM: Since IPCC’s first report in 1990, assessed projections have suggested global averaged temperature increases between about 0.15 and 0.3°C per decade for 1990 to 2005. This can now be compared with observed values of about 0.2°C per decade, strengthening confidence in near-term projections.

    So, I think I’ve addressed all the scientific issues you raised, and I’ll discuss the issue of coal subsidies and coal technology in a separate post.

    However, I think I’ll pass on a discussion of your innuendos, slanders, and accusations of multiple identities, your failure to use your real name, your misrepresentations of the scientific process, your wounded ‘honor’, your claims that climate scientists are motivated by ‘ideology’, and the rest of it – let’s just stick to the science, shall we?

    In the interest of full disclosure, I do have a long-standing interest in various forms of solar energy research (preceded by an MS in ocean sciences), but I think the science supports that viewpoint on multiple levels.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 8 Feb 2007 @ 2:17 AM

  147. re:138. “I actually know what I’m talking about.” About climate science? That is your area of expertise as opposed to say, actual climate scientists/researchers? Hmmmm.

    Comment by Dan — 8 Feb 2007 @ 6:05 AM

  148. From time to time in the above discussion, the question has been raised about the nature of US federal subsidies to the coal industry. Of course, it is very easy to find out about the nature of this by looking at some easily accessible sources. For a full picture, one would need to look into indirect subsidies (such as transport infrastructure that allows coal trains to get from where the coal is mined to where it is burned) but it really isn’t hard to find some cold hard cash moving around, both in the mining and the power production end of things. A good summary of some current and proposed federal subsidies can be found at http://www.taxpayer.net/greenscissors/LearnMore/senatefossilfuelsubsidies.htm , with specific citations to proposed energy bills in 2003. There are tax breaks like the coal depletion allowance, in place since 1936, the Mining Reclamation Deduction, and Capital gains treatment for coal royalties (840 million over 10 years all by itself). Senate Bill S.597 and S. 14 had 9.9 billion of new coal subsidies in them. (I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to compare the proposed legislation with what came out of committee, ,and what eventually made it into law).

    At the state level, Illinois provides a good example. We may be a “blue state” but we’re also a “coal state.” Illinois has an active program of subsidy to the coal industry. This includes such things like the Coal Promotion program, an advertising and public relations campaign which is funded to the tune of about $20 million per year. That helps pay for things like the annual high school Coal Essay and Coal Calendar Art Contest (see http://www.commerce.state.il.us/dceo/Bureaus/Coal/Education/coal+calendar+contest.htm for information about latest winners). That’s small potatos, but Illinois also sells $2.7 billion of tax-exempt bonds (making it a federal subsidy, through the tax code) to subsidize the burning of high-sulfur Illinois coal. Illinois spends money directly through the Coal Competitiveness Program. You can read about some of this, and the involvement of government subsidies in the Prairie State so-called “clean coal” (it’s not — it’s just old style pulverized coal, really; maybe “less dirty” would be a better term) power plant at
    http://www.commerce.state.il.us/dceo/Bureaus/Coal/Education/coal+calendar+contest.htm

    It’s really trivially easy to get a fix on the nature of government involvement in the coal industry, as many have noted above. Anybody who keeps spinning their wheels with endless picayune objections to what information has been turned up is just trying to find excuses to avoid looking at looking at the substance of the matter. No need for people to take the bait and drag things on endlessly. Just discuss what’s actually interesting and important, and ignore what fails to advance the cause of understanding,

    Although it’s easy to find coal subsidies, I think direct subsidies and tax subsidies are beside the point with regard to coal. There should be a level playing field, but the main problem with coal is that it’s dirt cheap (in fact, cheaper than a lot of kinds of dirt). Even if you did strip away all the government market meddling, it would still be just about the cheapest way to make power. The reason is that the market mechanisms do not currently reflect the environmental damage of coal production and burning. Midwest Generation does not pay the emergency room bills for the asthma cases they cause in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods. Coal power companies don’t pay for the damages due to mercury pollution in the Great Lakes. They don’t have to pay for the privilege of turning West Virginia mountains into elevated parking lots, and filling in once pristine trout streams with what is euphemistically called “borrow” (as if they’re ever going to give it back!). And of course, there’s all that CO2 to consider. These are what economists call “externalities,” and for the market to work properly, they have to be brought to table at the market. Most economists think carbon taxes would be the most efficient way to do this.

    Comment by raypierre — 8 Feb 2007 @ 8:53 AM

  149. Re: 145

    But of course the argument then becomes political rather than scientific.

    No question about it. Assessing the risk level is a scientific matter. Deciding what to do about it is a political decision.

    Comment by Sashka — 8 Feb 2007 @ 9:47 AM

  150. Re: 146

    You aren’t making much sense.

    I am. You just don’t get it.

    since the models don’t include carbon-cycle climate feedbacks (warming land and oceans will likely absorb less carbon then the 1/2 of emissions they currently absorb)

    David has co-authored a paper on GCM with carbon cycle. There may be more.

    since they don’t include ice-sheet dynamics, it’s likely they are underestimating the rate of warming and of sea level rise – by how much?

    If you can make a plausible argument that the lack of ice-sheet dynamics leads to an underestimation of warming – go right ahead.

    Well, that’s clear evidence you don’t know what you’re talking about. Conservation of energy is an experimentally determined phenomenon, and is not ‘derived from first principles’.

    Oh, my. Conservation of energy is not explicitly used in climate models but, of course, conservation of kinetic + potential + thermal energy is strictly enforced. I’ll rephrase my previous statement:

    From a basis of physical plausibility, for starters, the models are solving equations that cannot be derived from first principles nor represent any observed any experimentally determined phenomena. If you find it agreeable, can we stay on the subject as opposed to nitpicking?

    Your use of jargon is disingenuous.

    Why? This is a commonly used expression in this area of science.

    In any case, for the general reader this is an issue in how ‘mesoscale eddies’ transport heat in the oceans

    Almost. Make it “heat and momentum”.

    This is indeed studied in detail

    True, in the sense that there’s a lot of published literature, including the excellent paper that you have linked. However there still much to learn, as the final sentence would suggest to an attentive reader. To my knowledge, the effects on long term forecasts are not studied.

    To avoid future misunderstanigs: if I don’t respond to something you (or somebody else) say, it may be for one of the two reasons: (i) the comment is so ill-conceived that it doesn’t deserve a reply; (ii) I agree with what you say.

    In the case of your continued calls for extra-funding for expanded data collection, I actually agree with you so you can save your breath. Much of the rest falls in the other category, unfortunately.

    Comment by Sashka — 8 Feb 2007 @ 10:49 AM

  151. RE#150,
    You say: “From a basis of physical plausibility, for starters, the models are solving equations that cannot be derived from first principles nor represent any observed any experimentally determined phenomena.”

    Well, here is a list of some of the ocean circulation models in use: http://stommel.tamu.edu/~baum/ocean_models.html

    Furthermore, you obviously don’t understand how the models work, or the difference between a short-term weather model and a long-term climate model, which are indeed based on things such as the physical equations of motion. For a brief introduction, see:

    http://www-das.uwyo.edu/~geerts/cwx/notes/chap12/nwp_gcm.html
    A general circulation model (also known as a global climate model, both labels are abbreviated as GCM) uses the same equations of motion as a numerical weather prediction (NWP) model, but the purpose is to numerically simulate changes in climate as a result of slow changes in some boundary conditions (such as the solar constant)or physical parameters (such as the greenhouse gas concentration). Numerical weather prediction (NWP) models are used to predict the weather in the short (1-3 days) and medium (4-10 days) range future. GCM’s are run much longer, for years on end, long enough to learn about the climate in a statistical sense (i.e. the means and variability). A good NWP model accurately predicts the movement and evolution of disturbances such as frontal systems and tropical cyclones. A GCM should do this as well, but all types of models err so much after some time (e.g. 2 weeks), that they become useless from a perspective of weather foresight. The quality of a GCM is judged, amongst others, by the quality of the statistics of tropical or extratropical disturbances.

    An error in the sea surface temperature by a few deg C, or a small but systematic bias in cloudiness throughout the model, matter little to a NWP model. For a GCM these factors are important, because they matter over a long term. GCMs ignore fluctuating conditions when considering long-term changes, whereas NWP models take no notice of very slow processes.

    Regarding the parameterization of mesoscale eddies, let me refer you back to On the Mixing Coefficient in the Parameterization of Bolus Velocity, JPO 1999
    From the abstract: “Mesoscale eddies in the ocean play an important role in the ocean circulation. In order to simulate the ocean circulation, mesoscale eddies must be included explicitly or parameterized. The issue you raised was of how to include such features in GCMs, but you only threw out a sentence of jargon: ” bi-harmonic parameterization of lateral viscosity” which sounds ‘scientific’ but is meaningless out of context.

    Thus, the only things you say (of a scientific nature) in your post are just wrong. The rest seems designed to create the appearance of scientific controversy.

    For those readers who are actually interested in the science, this paper provides a good estimate of the situation in the oceans in 2000:

    http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/papersonline/ganachwunschnature.pdf
    “Improved estimates of global ocean circulation, heat transport and mixing from hydrographic data,” Alexandre Ganachaud & Carl Wunsch, Nature 2000 v408 23 Nov.

    Again, they point out the need for more comprehensive observations in the oceans:
    …limitations now lie primarily in the uncertainty introduced by true oceanic variability from the daily to the interannual. Significant improvements in the present numbers will occur only through the use of data sets permitting true temporal averaging of the oceanic circulation. For instance, the present solution has large uncertainties due to undersampling of the highly variable Brazil current and Pacific- Indian throughflow. Additional observations there would greatly improve accuracy.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 8 Feb 2007 @ 12:15 PM

  152. Re: 148

    First of all, I’d like to thank Ray for taking time to answer. Second, I’d like to point out the sheer difference between the quality of his response and what preceded it. I hope it is abundantly obvious to any unprejudiced observer. Third, I’d like to state explicitly that I’m in full agreement with the last paragraph.

    I absolutely disagree with the claim in the second paragraph that states using muni bonds is tantamount to the tax break. Whatever they do, it’s just a choice of financing that was affected by existing tax laws. The laws, of course, were not designed to help any specific industry. In fact, this particular provision resulted from the Supreme Court decision on the constitutional grounds.

    I also disagree that investment in R&D necessarily constitutes a subsidy. But I do agree that depletion allowance is a subsidy – this is something I didn’t know about. I stand corrected, thank you very much.

    Comment by Sashka — 8 Feb 2007 @ 1:26 PM

  153. Re #149: I should add that an underlying assumption made by many is that the transition to a sustainable energy economy (necessary for a massive reduction in CO2 emissions) must have a high net cost. California, e.g., is now basing policy on a different assumption (based on a careful analysis). Today I see that Barclay’s Bank, that well-known hotbed of radical greens, has come up with a similar view.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 8 Feb 2007 @ 1:30 PM

  154. Re: 151

    [deliberate mis-interpretation deleted]

    For the rest of the readers, let me just point to GFDL web site

    http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/~lat/webpages/om/om_webpage.html

    where MOM description begins with the following:

    The Modular Ocean Model (MOM) is a three-dimensional, z-coordinate, B-grid, primitive equation ocean circulation model. It is designed primarily as a tool for studying the ocean climate system.

    To be sure, read the Wiki page on primitive equations

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

    One important quote from this page:

    When a statement of the conservation of water vapor substance is included, these six equations form the basis for any numerical weather prediction scheme.

    I hope we are clear on this now.

    Finally, let me quote from another climate paper “Formulation of an ocean model for global climate simulations” available on GFDL site:

    http://nomads.gfdl.noaa.gov/CM2.X/references/oceanscience_1_45.pdf

    Many modelers have traditionally taken a Prandtl number (ratio of viscosity to diffusivity) on the order 1-10. In OM3, we choose a depth independent background vertical viscosity of 10^4 m2 s^-1. The level of background viscosity can also affect the equatorial currents, as discussed in Large et al. (2001). There is no theoretical or observational justification for this value of the vertical viscosity.

    That was regarding suspicious parameterizations, of course.

    Comment by Sashka — 8 Feb 2007 @ 1:59 PM

  155. re #138: People claiming credentials ought to identify themselves.

    re #147: A doctorate in meteorology is as much a credential in climate science as is possible short of active participation in the field. Though we should be allowed to defend ourselves, we are not and should not be immune from criticism, especially from people with relevant backgrounds.

    There are few if any doctoral programs that are called “climatology” or “climate science” or such. Most applicable credentials would be in meteorology, oceanography or geophysics.

    Comment by Michael Tobis — 8 Feb 2007 @ 2:39 PM

  156. RE#154,
    “Sashka”, your argument isn’t very clear – as I understand it, you are saying that the parameterizations used in the ocean circulation components of global circulation models (as respects the mesoscale eddy effects) are ‘incorrect’ – but then you go on to say that ALL climate models are ‘incorrect’ because they don’t use equations of motion? You seem to misunderstand my comment that you quote – I was saying that BOTH climate and weather models rely on equations of motion.

    From the link, http://www-das.uwyo.edu/~geerts/cwx/notes/chap12/nwp_gcm.html ,
    Here’s what climate and weather models have in common:

    1) Physics: equations of motion (plus radiative transfer equations, water conservation equations, etc.)

    2) Computer methods: Finite difference expression of continuous equations, or spectral representation; run prognostically.

    3) Output: state variables and motion of the atmosphere in 3 dimensions.

    Now, one of the differences is that changes in the ocean are major factors in climate, and not in weather (because of the timescales) – so weather models use current ocean conditions as an ‘external forcing’ of the atmospheric system, whereas ocean circulation is itself an important ‘internal component’ of climate models, which responds slowly to external forcings – i.e. the radiative effects increases in atmospheric CO2.

    This is particularly important in the polar regions, and as an example of this issue (which is still apparently quite uncertain), see this paper: http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/div/ocp/pub/martinson/fulltext.pdf

    “RE-EVALUATING ANTARCTIC SEA-ICE VARIABILITY AND ITS TELECONNECTIONS IN A GISS GLOBAL CLIMATE MODEL WITH IMPROVED SEA ICE AND OCEAN PROCESSES – JIPING LIU, XIAOJUN YUAN, DOUGLAS G. MARTINSON and DAVID RIND, IJC 2004 vol24″

    However, that uncertainty should not be reassuring, particularly if you look at the warming trends in the Arctic over the past few years, based on the 1961-1990 baseline – even in the middle of the Arctic winter, there are strong temperature anomalies in the Arctic: http://www.bom.gov.au/bmrc/ocean/results/SST_anals/SSTA_20070128.gif

    These were even more pronounced last last summer.

    So, we are seeing accelerating global warming in the Arctic, as far as I can tell – do you disagree?

    By the way, what’s your opinion on the correct choice of baseline for anomaly calculations? 1951-1980, 1961-1990, 1971-2000, or 1980-1999?

    Comment by Ike Solem — 8 Feb 2007 @ 3:09 PM

  157. Look for patterns. Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, anything further is, well, suggestive (of course, lacking IP numbers, you can never be sure).
    +sashka +”climate change”

    Enough, already.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Feb 2007 @ 3:48 PM

  158. Re #154: Maybe you could explain the significance of that last GFDL quote. In particular, how does varying the vertical viscosity affect results?

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 8 Feb 2007 @ 4:27 PM

  159. I am going to try Gavin’s advice, just once. I do find Barton’s post #158 offensive, inflammatory and with no redeemeing value.

    [Response: Last chance people. I removed the latest deliberate confusion (both Sashka's provocation and Barton's response, but that's it. Either make an effort to communicate or this whole thread get's shut down. -gavin]

    Comment by Sashka — 8 Feb 2007 @ 5:00 PM

  160. From the original post, we have
    They say that radiative forcing “is computed by assuming a linear relationship between certain climatic forcing agents and particular averages of temperature data.” Nonsense. It is computed using detailed calculations of absorption and emission of infrared radiation, based on laboratory measurements carried out with exquisite accuracy, and meticulously checked against real atmospheric observations.

    I think that the attacks by Sashka on the ocean component of the coupled global circulation models are an attempt to extend that demonstrably false statement about the radiative forcing to the issue of ocean circulation, where data is much harder to come by.

    Even the IPCC report says that they can’t come to a consensus on the meridional overturning circulation effects due to a lack of data.

    Historically, this issue has been brought up (in that movie, the Day After Tommorow, for example) a a scenario in which the sinking of cold salty water in the North Atlantic ‘shuts down’ the conveyor system that brings warmth to the North Atlantic. However, as many have noted the Gulf Stream is physically driven and the atmospheric component of poleward heat transport seems to be increasing (yes?).

    The real issue may be that bottom water formation will slow. Ganachaud and Wunsch ( http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/papersonline/ganachwunschnature.pdf ) provide a description of the 2000 state of the oceans. If bottom water formation slows, that means that less oxygen will enter the deep ocean – and that just might account for the low-oxygen water bodies observed off the Oregon coast over the past five years. The huge increase in human nitrogen fixation over the past century might also play a role in the potential ‘eutrophication of the oceans’.

    I have no idea over how the reduced formation of bottom water would affect the ability of the oceans to absorb both heat and CO2, however – but it does seem that the failure to set up ocean data collection systems a decade ago was a monumental mistake (unless you are a denialist who thinks that the absence of evidence is evidence of absence).

    Comment by Ike Solem — 8 Feb 2007 @ 6:10 PM

  161. RE #157

    Oooh. direct hit mate! Follow the thread, and the purpose is clear.

    Respect for that, Hank. Excellent work.

    Comment by mark s — 8 Feb 2007 @ 9:17 PM

  162. Kudos to David Archer and the Group for making the effort to create an annotated version of the Fraser Institute report. It helps immensely to understand what the debate is about.

    Comment by TAC — 9 Feb 2007 @ 7:06 AM

  163. WSJ (Feb 9th)has an editorial that tries to discredit the press reports on the AEI letter. AEI is now claiming letter was an invite to a symposium on GW policies. Exxon claims no knowledge of the letter until the UK press reported on it.

    Has anyone actually posted a copy of this letter? Can Exxon’s denials and AEIs backpeddling be definitely debunked?

    Comment by Alex Tolley — 9 Feb 2007 @ 11:21 AM

  164. I’m an ExxMob shareholder. The link on their site is not working, but I believe this is what ExxMob had up:

    “ExxonMobil’s Response to Recent Media Articles Concerning the American Enterprise Institute

    February 5, 2007 — We wish to make it clear that ExxonMobil had no knowledge of allegations made concerning the American Enterprise Institute offering payments for articles critical of the IPCC 4th Assessment Report of Climate Science. We, and many other corporations, fund AEI for the purpose of promoting active policy debate but we do not control their views or actions. We believe that the release of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report of Climate Science is an important contribution to the issue of climate change. The IPCC report process is valuable in that it facilitates the sharing of global scientific knowledge and encourages further inquiry on the important issue of climate change. We are taking action on many fronts to address the risks of climate change. These include partnerships with vehicle manufacturers to reduce emissions; researching hydrogen-fuelled vehicles, energy efficiency in our own refineries and supporting Stanford University on groundbreaking research to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

    There is a difference between what ExxMob funds and what its shareholders and employees fund. There may also be a difference in what results they demand from the AEI. ExxMob is but one oil corporation, and I would suspect the above statement is largely true. The industry and its shareholders and employees are much larger players, and the oil culture leans heavily toward contributing to conservative thinkers with the expectation of friendly results.

    RC is an excellent website. I’ve learned a great deal. Not all of us are part of the denial culture, which, as of the last few weeks, is just as run aground as the Valdez. Congratulations, you’ve won.

    Comment by J.C.H — 9 Feb 2007 @ 12:12 PM

  165. Excellent work with the annotations, David! That must have taken a while!

    [Response:A few nice comments like this make it all worth while. Cheers! David]

    Comment by Stephen Berg — 9 Feb 2007 @ 5:20 PM

  166. Re: Bellamy

    I did a survey after the Earth Summit in 1992, which was sponsored by the Conservation Foundation (for which David Bellamy is the president), on what â??UK environmental decision-makersâ?? thought about the summit, and what should be done next. Respondents were from NGOs, government and business. The report â??The Road from Rioâ?? was published in 1993, and had a foreword by Jonathan Porritt. One of the findings was that environmental decision-makers were particularly concerned about â??protecting the atmosphereâ??. In discussing this once with David Bellamy in early 1993, he told me that, in his view, global warming was not happening and that we were heading for another ice age.

    At that time, I knew very little about global warming and, as he was such an eminent scientist, I took his word for it! Now, I tend to think it is all wrapped up in his dislike of wind farms.

    Comment by Peter Winters — 9 Feb 2007 @ 5:35 PM

  167. Very, very good.
    As a nudge generally for scientists writing.

    — consider the basic advice for business writers
    “Paragraph … Idea … Paragraph … Idea …”

    http://www.esc.edu/esconline/across_esc/WritingResources.nsf/frames/Ten+Commandments+of+Business+Writing?OpenDocument

    “esc.edu” — great name for a website, even before opening it

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Feb 2007 @ 5:48 PM

  168. re #164, try this path
    http://www.exxon.mobil.com/Corporate/Newsroom/NewsReleases/corp_nr_mr_climate_aei.asp

    Comment by Ed G. — 12 Feb 2007 @ 12:25 AM

  169. And another one: in the Times Online: “An experiment that hints we are wrong on climate change” by a former editor of the New Scientist http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1363818.ece

    [Response: RC archive on Solar Forcing. -mike]

    Comment by Ark — 12 Feb 2007 @ 12:54 AM

  170. experimental evidence…. not a hypothesis, not a theory….

    An experiment that hints we are wrong on climate change

    When politicians and journalists declare that the science of global warming is settled, they show a regrettable ignorance about how science works. We were treated to another dose of it recently when the experts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued the Summary for Policymakers that puts the political spin on an unfinished scientific dossier on climate change due for publication in a few months’ time. They declared that most of the rise in temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to man-made greenhouse gases.

    The small print explains “very likely” as meaning that the experts who made the judgment felt 90% sure about it. Older readers may recall a press conference at Harwell in 1958 when Sir John Cockcroft, Britain’s top nuclear physicist, said he was 90% certain that his lads had achieved controlled nuclear fusion. It turned out that he was wrong. More positively, a 10% uncertainty in any theory is a wide open breach for any latterday Galileo or Einstein to storm through with a better idea. That is how science really works.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1363818.ece

    Comment by lars — 12 Feb 2007 @ 12:49 PM

  171. Cosmic rays blamed for global warming
    Man-made climate change may be happening at a far slower rate than has been claimed, according to controversial new research.
    Scientists say that cosmic rays from outer space play a far greater role in changing the Earth’s climate than global warming experts previously thought.
    In a book, to be published this week, they claim that fluctuations in the number of cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere directly alter the amount of cloud covering the planet.
    High levels of cloud cover blankets the Earth and reflects radiated heat from the Sun back out into space, causing the planet to cool.

    Henrik Svensmark, a weather scientist at the Danish National Space Centre who led the team behind the research, believes that the planet is experiencing a natural period of low cloud cover due to fewer cosmic rays entering the atmosphere.

    This, he says, is responsible for much of the global warming we are experiencing.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/02/11/warm11.xml

    Comment by lars — 12 Feb 2007 @ 1:21 PM

  172. Lars is on the loose again. Who left the door open?

    Comment by John L. McCormick — 12 Feb 2007 @ 1:43 PM

  173. There is a typo in the first line of the post, Fraser is incorrectly spelled Frasier. Keep up the good work!

    [Response: Fixed, thanks. -gavin]

    Comment by Jon Beharry — 13 Feb 2007 @ 3:04 PM

  174. Just got to a computer where I had a chance to read a bit of the Fraser report with annotations. Great work, David.

    The bit about Arctic sea ice reducing more greatly before 1990, and not after, got me thinking that there should be a slow down in the amount of ice melting, since there is increasingly less ice to melt & less edge meters from which to melt — even if the ocean/atmosphere is getting warmer. I.e., if there were the same amount of ice to melt now, more of it would be melting.

    So these are the types of contrarian deceptions be expected in the future. I can see their headlines after all the ice is melted: “The ice has stopped melting, ergo GW is a hoax.”

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 16 Feb 2007 @ 4:27 PM

  175. I had a specific question about one point of the ISPM, for which the comment did not seem clear enough. I’m referring to:

    5.3b On average, models that assume strong greenhouse warming project the tropical troposphere to warm faster than the surface. Current data do not support these forecasts.

    to which the RealClimate critique was:

    The ground surface is where we live, where we know the temperature changes the best, and the forecast has been spot on so far.

    a) Does this answer imply that there is a discrepancy between expectation and measurements for the tropical tropospheric?
    b) If so, do you assume that there is some kind of instrument error?
    c) Or is there any other dimension of explanation?

    My perhaps naive impression is that this point seems to speak to the basic mechanism of the radiative forcing of the enhanced greenhouse effect.

    [Response: The trends in the tropical lapse rate are small and hard to detect, and the tropics is not as well observed as other places. The US Climate Assessment report thinks it is fairly likely that the supposed discrepancy is due to instrument error. Even if it is real, the implications are actuallly more rather than less scary. If the lower atmosphere warms without as much upper warming as expected, that actually constitutes an enhanced greenhouse effect, which alllows the surface to warm more than it otherwise might. Further. a situation like this allows more convective energy to build up, if it goes on for long. That has scary implications for hurricanes and tropical storms. Given the small trends in this quantity so far, it's possible that a modest change in the surface energy budget (e.g. through evaporation or a slight change in cloudiness) could take care of it. It's certainly not a global warming killer, at the level observed so far. --raypierre]

    Comment by Neal J. King — 20 Feb 2007 @ 10:31 PM

  176. re: 175

    Thanks, Raypierre.

    I think this is a point worth being a little bit more definite about in the text, because my first impression is that, since the EGE works by means of “frustrating” the cooling from the top of the troposphere, that the temperature increase at the troposphere should be driving/leading the temperature increase at the ground level. (And I recall Lindzen making a similar comment somewhere as well.) I would therefore suggest that the note in the annotated ISPM be modified to explain more clearly why this should not be considered a serious embarassment.

    It should not be necessary to go into implications about hurricanes or increased sensitivity: Merely to be clear as to why this apparent discrepancy doesn’t threaten the basic explanation for the EGE.

    Comment by Neal J. King — 21 Feb 2007 @ 7:25 AM

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