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  1. I agree that ‘sea level rise is ongoing and unstoppable and carries a real threat of acceleration’ – thus my response is that it is NOT sensible to subsidize insurance for people who wish to build in regions susceptible to coastal flooding. I believe that any subsidizing for people living near current ocean levels should go to moving them out of there.

    Comment by pat neuman — 12 Mar 2007 @ 8:55 AM

  2. Unless producers and broadcasters of this kind see some consequences for their actions, such manipulation and distortion seem likely to continue. There are a number of climate law suits in preparation. Could parties such as these be implicated on ground of negligence or worse — for example as accessories to acts that endanger lives?

    Comment by Caspar Henderson — 12 Mar 2007 @ 9:00 AM

  3. The programme is being aired again on More 4 this evening.

    Comment by Moira Kemp — 12 Mar 2007 @ 9:12 AM

  4. Personally I just think it gives carte blanche for the media to print whatever it wants and project things is truely meaningless and agenda driven ways. The whole climate change animal is a political minefield. Lets just hope we cut our Carbon output drastically over the coming decades.

    Comment by pete best — 12 Mar 2007 @ 9:29 AM

  5. “Could parties such as these be implicated on ground of negligence or worse — for example as accessories to acts that endanger lives?”

    Do you ever wonder why there are so many people openly critical of your world view? Please promote your position rather than advocating the criminal prosecution of the dissenters.

    Comment by Brian Verre — 12 Mar 2007 @ 9:35 AM

  6. It’s time for you guys at RealClimate to initiate a documentary. Such works as the “swindle” are denialist propaganda, but slickly done and very persuasive to the neophyte. Al Gore’s film, while excellent, is incomplete and treats the science in too simplified a fashion — leaving it open to obfuscation by clever propaganda. And let’s face it, Al is not a scientist (let alone a climate scientist) so his word carries far less weight — scientifically — than yours.

    You are not filmmakers, so you’d need the participation of an expert in that field. Maybe Michael Moore (whatever else you think of him, he’s a good filmmaker) would be willing, and his name would add a tremendous publicity boost. You also need a scientist with some real charisma to do most of the talking — someone on the level of Carl Sagan. There’s got to be someone who can handle it.

    And don’t give me some story about how your busy research schedules mean you don’t have time. We don’t have time to *wait* for such a work. This blog is outstanding, but only reaches the blogosphere. Written works and teaching schedules at Univ. reach an even more limited audience. Peer-reviewed research only reaches the public through far too many journalistic filters. If you can bring about the *right* documentary, it just might be the most important scientific accomplishment of your lives.

    We need to reach the mass of voters, especially in the U.S., and we need to do it NOW. Give it to me straight, doctor. I can take it.

    Comment by tamino — 12 Mar 2007 @ 9:48 AM

  7. Even simpler: provide the footnotes to Mr. Gore’s slideshow. Without a current version of that online _with_links_to_sources_ it’s just another opinion piece, even though the climate scientists say they agree with what he’s saying.

    I don’t know if his slideshow is being changed as the facts come in. I hope so; else it’s just a snapshot and a dated one by now. I assume it’s being updated.

    But I can’t find the footnotes. That, perhaps, scientists can as individuals press his staff to provide, and then evaluate and complete, so they can be put in public view.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Mar 2007 @ 10:01 AM

  8. Prof. Wunsch’s concern is fully understandable as he is one of those who since long has taken a comprehensive view on climate matters including particularly the seven seas. But the matter is difficult to discuss balanced as long as The UN Convention on Climate Change does not defines the term climate. An accumulation of weather data is a statistical means and remains statistics regardless how they are named, and how useful they might be in one or the other case. Why do we not listen to such statesman as the British Prime Minister S. Disraeli (1804-1881): There are lies, dammed lies, and then there are statistics. Statistics are an important tool, but CLIMATE defined, as statistics is nonsense! : http://www.oceanclimate.de/English/Sea_Law_1994.pdf Climate cannot be ‘fixed’ as weather over a longer period of time! In science such meaningless term prevents a reasonable debate.

    Comment by DonGri — 12 Mar 2007 @ 10:02 AM

  9. David Attenborough has a good two-part series on global warming and climate change called “Are We Changing Planet Earth” that aired on BBC; available at:

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4t7z_part-1-are-we-changing-planet-earth (Part 1)
    and
    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4tzq_part-2-are-we-changing-planet-earth (Part 2)

    Starts off with a discussion of the polar regions and the glacial effects, rising sea levels, etc. Certainly worth seeing.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 12 Mar 2007 @ 10:17 AM

  10. Re: 5.

    Here we have a problem.

    Freedom of speach means we shouldn’t prosecuete people for voicing their *opinions*, no matter how stupid/disagreeable/mad/whatever. A fine principle, which should be upheld to a stronger degree worldwide than it is now.

    But claiming *opinion* or, as in this case *fiction* to be fact.. is this really free speach? If I make a kid’s TV program claiming that it is perfectly safe to pour petrol on your parent’s carpet and set light to it, is that OK under free speach, and should I be immune from prosecution for doing it? How about a claim that vaccinations are harmful (again, fiction or opinion presented as fact) – leading to a disease resurgance and children dying – is that OK?

    Presenting fiction or opinion as fact is NOT the same as free speach. It falls under fraud, and it should be possible to prosecuete for fraud by anyone who is harmed by that fraud. There is going to be a grey area (and around the edges of AGW there no doubt are significant grey areas) – but thats what courts are for.

    Comment by Andrew Dodds — 12 Mar 2007 @ 10:36 AM

  11. RE # 6

    Tamino, I strongly support your suggestion that RC and legitimate AGW researchers and science spokespersons take on the challenge of doing an authoritative documentary for global distribution.

    But, [Michael Moore (whatever else you think of him, he’s a good filmmaker)] is not appropriate for this task. We need to reach right of center-types everywhere and he is their SATAN. Clint Eastwood is my first choice.

    Comment by John L. McCormick — 12 Mar 2007 @ 10:46 AM

  12. I believe a film by scientists is highly necessary. Although there are documentaries out there, we need something on the scale of “An Inconvenient Truth,” and not put out by politicians, but by scientists. Guys, I’m a youth really worried that we are seriously running out of time. I do think your time in doing this would be really valuable to young people who see global warming as a war or global crisis on the scale of a global depression. We need to see this as a war in order to begin mass production of wind turbines and other alternatives (without much regard to invalid arguments about costs). I bet the youth climate movement would be highly supportive of this. Just make sure you work with people who will make the film at a level good enough to receive lots of publicity. Thanks in advance! :)

    Comment by Carlos Rymer — 12 Mar 2007 @ 11:00 AM

  13. Transcript of TGGWS:

    Professor Wunsch:
    25:43 The ocean is the major reservoir into which carbon dioxide goes when it comes out of the atmosphere or to from which it is re-emitted to the the atmosphere. If you heat the surface of the ocean, it tends to emit carbon dioxide. Similarly, if you cool the ocean surface, the ocean can dissolve more carbon dioxide.

    Professor Wunsch:
    26:44 – The ocean has a memory of past events ugh running out as far as 10,000 years. So for example, if somebody says oh I’m seeing changes in the North Atlantic, this must mean that the climate system is changing, it may only mean that something happened in a remote part of the ocean decades or hundreds of years ago who’s effects are now beginning to show up in the North Atlantic.

    Professor Wunsch:
    49:22 – The models are so complicated, you can often adjust them is such a way that they do something very exciting.

    Professor Wunsch:
    50:46 – Even within the scientific community you see, it’s a problem.
    If I run a complicated model and I do something to it like ugh melt a lot of ice into the ocean and nothing happens, ugh it’s not likely to get printed. But if I run the same model, and I adjust it in such a way that something dramatic happens to the ocean circulation like the heat transport turns off, ugh it will be published. People will say this is very exciting. It will even get picked by the media. So there is a bias, there’s is a very powerful bias within the media, and within the science community itself, toward results which are ugh dramatizable. If Earth freezes over, that’s a much more interesting story than saying well you know it ugh fluctuates around, sometimes the mass flux goes up by 10%, sometimes it goes down by 20%, but eventually it comes back. Well you know, which would you do a story on? That’s what it’s about.

    Comment by Paul Biggs — 12 Mar 2007 @ 11:03 AM

  14. Re #7: The version of the slideshow provided to the Gore trainees of The Climate Project has footnotes and is kept up-to-date by the staff and in a large part the trainees as volunteers.

    Comment by mankoff — 12 Mar 2007 @ 11:21 AM

  15. Climate scientists participated in an excellent documentary in 2000 titled Warning from the Wild. The Weather Channel also did a good documentary with climate scientists in 2000 titled Hot Planet.

    Documentaries are watched mainly by people who already have interest and are reading about climate via the Internet. As I’ve said here since realclimate began, the National Weather Service should give training to their meteorologists on climate change who can help educate other meteorologists who enter people’s living room on a daily basis according to the professional climatologist at The Weather Channel.

    Comment by pat neuman — 12 Mar 2007 @ 11:23 AM

  16. Re 10

    We had exactly that problem with the scare over MMR vaccine in the UK. People are dying now as a result.

    John Gribbin

    Comment by John Gribbin — 12 Mar 2007 @ 11:29 AM

  17. Most documentaries are watched mainly by people who already have interest and are investigating through a number of pathways. But some documentaries — and An Inconvenient Truth is a prime example — go way beyond that. They garner major publicity worldwide, reach a vast audience which would not otherwise know, and have a real impact. So I still maintain that such an effort is not only valuable, it’s necessary.

    As for Michael Moore as producer, I just pulled a name out of the air because he’s one of the few well-known documentary filmmakers. If we can get Eastwood to do it, that’d be terrific.

    Comment by tamino — 12 Mar 2007 @ 11:34 AM

  18. Look again at comment 13 by Paul Biggs. These are Professor Wunsch’s own words and his only words. No one disagrees with them in any context.

    The problem is that Professor Wensch is unhappy with being quoted in a manner that gives weight to his proper and appropriate concern about the uncertainty of global climate “science” and the high potential for bias.

    The science is, indeed, uncertain and as many of the other comments above demonstrate, bias is not only alive and well, but seeking a new movie outlet.

    Comment by David Schnare — 12 Mar 2007 @ 11:38 AM

  19. Re 12:
    >…we need something on the scale of “An Inconvenient Truth,” and not put out by politicians, but by scientists. Guys, I’m a youth really worried that we are seriously running out of time. I do think your time in doing this would be really valuable to young people who see global warming as a war or global crisis on the scale of a global depression.

    If that is your starting point, how will your film be any more balanced than Swindle or Inconvenient Truth? They both seem to be propaganda to me.

    Also, a documentary that intends to influence policy should include economics as well as climate science. The part of Swindle that was most convincing was the potential effect on the developing world of limiting cheap energy.

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 12 Mar 2007 @ 12:29 PM

  20. > These are Professor Wunsch’s own words
    > and his only words.

    No, those are not his only words.

    Those are the cherrypicked quotes the biased producers put onscreen.

    Dr. Wunsch tells you that. Read his letter.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Mar 2007 @ 12:32 PM

  21. link above is broken…”The letter I sent them as soon as I heard about the actual program is below. [available here]”

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 12 Mar 2007 @ 12:36 PM

  22. Re: #18 (David Schnare)

    Look again at THE POST. These are Professor Wunsch’s own words, and they are not edited in order to take them out of context.

    Comment by tamino — 12 Mar 2007 @ 12:37 PM

  23. I’m reluctant to stick my head above the parapet here, because I read and respect this blog and don’t want to use it merely to promote the Beagle Project (building a replica of HMS Beagle for the Darwin 2009 celebrations and to make a circumnavigation following the 1831-36 voyage crewed by young scientists). If you want to do a documentary, producers will want the dreaded ‘angle’, and the combinatioon of climate change plus the Beagle could be it. I’m sure you’ll know that the Beagle’s Capt Robert FitzRoy was an enthusiastic meteorologist and founder of the UK Met Office, tried long-range weather forecasting in The Times, was ridiculed in the same paper for the inaccuracy of his forecasts and sacked. We’re keen that FitzRoy’s achievements don’t get lost in Darwinmania, and I think one of the big hooks for TV and scientific interest in our restaging of the voyage will be the climate science. We have FitzRoy’s meticulous records, his journals, the ship’s logs (which recorded wind speed, direction and pressure hourly), Darwin’s writings, letters, diaries. Could these be used to built up a picture of the climate at the time as the basis for a compare and contract programme? Both of the climate then and now and the state of the science at its birth then and our super computer forecasting now? The route of the voyage will also take in plenty of places where warming is being felt.

    Beagle Project site: http://www.thebeagleproject.com
    Blog: http://www.thebeagleproject.com/beagleblog.html

    I like it so much, I’m off to write up the proposal.

    Comment by Peter McGrath — 12 Mar 2007 @ 12:54 PM

  24. RE #168 (on previous thread, since I can’t get in) & hopp’s “most of our so called knowledge is about trusting others/authorities/sources. Who/what do you trust? And why?”

    I also have to rely on the experts, so I try to reason it this way (those who’ve read my 50+ similar RC writings, please excuse me):

    1. If the scientists are wrong, and there is no AGW, but we act as if they are right and mitigate it, the result will be that mitigation up to 3/4 reduction in GHGs will save us money and strengthen our economy, and solve other environmental, as well as non-environmental, problems (local pollution, acid rain, wars for oil, etc). See http://www.natcap.org for inspiration on this. It’s the classical win-win-win-win-win situation.

    2. If the scientists are right, and AGW is happening, but we think they’re wrong and we fail to mitigate it, the harms and loses will be tremendous, esp if you add in this positive feeback stuff and the warming spirals way out of our ability to mitigate GW. The classical lose-lose-lose-lose-BigLose situation.

    Now, I learned many decades ago in school about the natural greenhouse effect, and how it keeps our world just right for life to exist (without it we’d be total goners).

    So when in the late 1980s I learned about AGW, it immediately made sense to me. I did not need the scientists’ 95% certainty it was happening (the 1st studies to reach .05 level of significance or 95% certainty came out in 1995) to start mitigating. I’d say 20% certainty would have been enough for me (and 3% certainty on this positive feedback warming spiral, which only learned about some 4 years ago). In fact, I was even willing to sacrifice and spend to mitigate back in 1990. Saving the world is as good a cause as any charity. But over the years I’ve managed to save $$ while reducing 1/4, then 1/3, then 1/2 of my GHGs. That includes many many measures with GHG components, such as water conservation, as water requires energy to pump & heat it.

    Finally we moved to Texas where I got on Green Mountain Energy’s 100% wind-generated electricity (&, of course, we bought our home close to work), so even though I spend maybe $5 or $10 more a month for electricity in our all-electric home, the $hundreds in savings from my other measures, and our great reduction in KWHs over the years makes this more than feasible. And all this while actually increasing our living standard!

    So, tell me again, why mitigation is not a good idea, even when certainty has not reached the ulta-cautious, caveat-ladened scientific levels (and those very high bars have now been reached)? I understand and accept that scientists have to avoid false positives (making claims that are untrue) to protect their reputations — they cannot afford to be the boy who cries wolf; but you’d think people living in the world would want to avoid false negatives (failing to address a serious problem, when it is indeed happening).

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 12 Mar 2007 @ 1:18 PM

  25. From Dr. John Ray:
    http://antigreen.blogspot.com/2007/03/prof.html

    After viewing these comments by the professor only hours after watching the program, I was shocked. I decided to go back and analyze the scenes in which the good professor appeared, and see if I could possibly imagine a “context” in which the actual words uttered by Professor Wunsch would have had a significantly different meaning. I could not. Maybe you can. I have printed the Professor’s words as they appeared in the film, and the time at which they appeared. The film is currently available on Google Video but I don’t know how long it will be there.

    In this portion of the discussion, Professor Wunsch begins by explaining how the ocean’s surface temperature plays a role in the exchange of carbon dioxide. He later comments on the vastness of the oceans, and their extremely slow reaction to any changes in climate as a result of such vastness.

    Professor Wunsch:
    25:43 The ocean is the major reservoir into which carbon dioxide goes when it comes out of the atmosphere or to from which it is re-emitted to the the atmosphere. If you heat the surface of the ocean, it tends to emit carbon dioxide. Similarly, if you cool the ocean surface, the ocean can dissolve more carbon dioxide.

    Professor Wunsch:
    26:44 – The ocean has a memory of past events ugh running out as far as 10,000 years. So for example, if somebody says oh I’m seeing changes in the North Atlantic, this must mean that the climate system is changing, it may only mean that something happened in a remote part of the ocean decades or hundreds of years ago who’s effects are now beginning to show up in the North Atlantic.

    In this portion of the film, the professor is speaking about the complexity of climate models and how their results can be greatly influenced by the input data they are given.

    Professor Wunsch:
    49:22 – The models are so complicated, you can often adjust them is such a way that they do something very exciting.

    Professor Wunsch:
    50:46 – Even within the scientific community you see, it’s a problem.
    If I run a complicated model and I do something to it like ugh melt a lot of ice into the ocean and nothing happens, ugh it’s not likely to get printed. But if I run the same model, and I adjust it in such a way that something dramatic happens to the ocean circulation like the heat transport turns off, ugh it will be published. People will say this is very exciting. It will even get picked by the media. So there is a bias, there’s is a very powerful bias within the media, and within the science community itself, toward results which are ugh dramatizable. If Earth freezes over, that’s a much more interesting story than saying well you know it ugh fluctuates around, sometimes the mass flux goes up by 10%, sometimes it goes down by 20%, but eventually it comes back. Well you know, which would you do a story on? That’s what it’s about.

    I’ve watched this video several times now and I can’t believe the comments made in the film, and those in the above mentioned articles came from the same man. In my opinion, the Professor’s words speak for themselves. I don’t see how they could mean anything other than what they mean.

    Comment by Bruce Hall — 12 Mar 2007 @ 1:51 PM

  26. Governments are starting to take notice, here in the UK AGW is being argued over both the two main political parties as to who is the greener and i know that individual US states and the democrats especially if they win power might also take a look at the US situation and do something there. We have ethenol getting research, solar and wind expanding and alternative energies being talked about and funded and the EU promising 20% cuts by now and 2020 is fossil fuel use.

    Its not all doom and gloom, a lot of countries have already decided that the threat is present and needs tackling as a matter of urgency.

    There will probably be some downsides such as population increase making us use more fossil fuels and wars in the middle east due to transition times for changing energy sources but on the whole its a start.

    Comment by pete best — 12 Mar 2007 @ 1:55 PM

  27. Re #8: “Statistics are an important tool, but CLIMATE defined, as statistics is nonsense!”

    Statistics summarize the climate data we gather, statistical methods allow us to interpret this data. Without statistics there can be no data – surely you are not advocating science without data?

    “In science such meaningless term prevents a reasonable debate.”

    Do you mean a meaningless term like “global warming”?

    Comment by Tom Boucher — 12 Mar 2007 @ 2:34 PM

  28. I’ve watched this video several times now and I can’t believe the comments made in the film, and those in the above mentioned articles came from the same man. In my opinion, the Professor’s words speak for themselves. I don’t see how they could mean anything other than what they mean.

    In other words, the denialist spin machine is now saying the good professor’s lying when he says his views were misrepresented.

    This reminds me of creationist quote-mining of the likes of Stephen J Gould, where they snip a sentence here, a sentence there from his writings to “prove” that this prominent evolutionary biologist and paleontologist “didn’t really believe in evolution”.

    Comment by dhogaza — 12 Mar 2007 @ 2:47 PM

  29. Yes, sea rise will do great harm to property and reduction agri lands, but presumably people will at least have time to get out of the way. I think a greater harm will be the melting of glaciers on which vast populations depend for agricultural irrigation, hydro-power, and drinking water. Can the populations of South Asia, China, or Peru go elsewhere to find a good water supply?

    See: http://www.climateark.org/shared/reader/welcome.aspx?linkid=70806
    &
    http://www.climateark.org/shared/reader/welcome.aspx?linkid=70792

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 12 Mar 2007 @ 2:52 PM

  30. Ah yes it seems that back in the good old US of A some people are hell bent on killing the planet.

    http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/03/12/muckraker/?source=newsletter

    Good old James Hansen, trying to avert a climate disaster, however it would seem that the USA might have no other option but to build 169 new coal fire power plants over the next decade could spell disaster.

    Comment by pete best — 12 Mar 2007 @ 3:05 PM

  31. RE #8 & 27, “Statistics summarize the climate data we gather,” I think stats summarize the WEATHER data…so climate is statistics on weather. At least that’s the way I understand it.

    It’s like Emile Durkheim’s study of suicide (usually a very personal and private act, and due to many unique reasons); but Durkheim studied it at the statistical level and found that suicide rates were fairly constant. Obviously it’s not the same people committing suicide each year, or they don’t in Oct tell the people, “Okay we’ve met our quota for this year, no more suicides.” He also found it higher for certain types of countries or populations (men v. women, the rich v. the poor). And there are up and down trends. This calls for a different level of analysis — the macro sociocultural level…..I.e., there are other “forcings” aside from personal decision-making and psychological factors.

    Likewise climate (weather at the macro-stats level) has regularities and causes that individual weather events do not have – at least not in the same way. So, just because it’s getting cooler in the obscure location of Rovpasifgps, Rincisnob (or Mr. Codmenosdinks there does not commit suicide, but his wife does), that does not invalidate the average global warming or general findings re suicide, or the “forcings” that are causing the trends.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 12 Mar 2007 @ 3:11 PM

  32. Re:15

    I want to clarify with a couple of real case examples in my past experience with NOAA’s NWS.

    The first example is an excerpt from a letter to me by Attorney Tracy Biggs, U.S. Office of Special Counsel, January 16, 2001:


    Specifically, you allege that the NWS is not handling the issue of global warming in a way that best serves the interest of the public. You believe that NWS does not communicate the urgency of the problem and the potential dangers of global warming to the public. In particular, you contend that given NOAA’s February press release on the possible acceleration of global warming, it is important and appropriate for you to incorporate its effects into your work at NWS.



    Sincerely,
    Tracy L. Biggs
    Attorney

    The second example includes two e-mail messages from February of 2000 at the National Weather Service North Central River Forecast Center (NCRFC) office in Chanhassen, MN.

    The original E-mail was from me, when I was a Senior Hydrologist at NWS NCRFC, to my supervisor Mr. Dean Braatz, the Hydrologist in Charge of the NWS NCRFC office in Chanhassen, MN.

    1. Original message:

    Subject: Effects of global warming on spring flood outlook procedures

    Author: Pat Neuman at W-CR-MSR
    Date: 2/28/2000 09:29

    Scientists are convinced that global warming is occurring. There is a recent report by NOAA that global warming could be accelerating. The report was referenced by the presenter at the weather briefing this morning.

    Global warming has large implications regarding spring flood outlook procedures and the use of ESP. Can we get together and discuss this sometime?

    Perhaps there are others from NCRFC or the WFO that could take part in the discussion.

    Pat

    2. Reply:

    Subject: Re: Effects of global warming on spring flood outlook procedures
    Author: Dean Braatz at W-CR-MSR
    Date: 2/28/00 11:03 AM

    Pat…. Again, let me say we have to walk lightly on this issue.

    Its beyond the scope of our operational mission in this office.

    Dean


    http://npat1.newsvine.com/_news/2007/03/11/609004-spring-floods-on-the-upper-mississippi-river-how-will-daily-flows-in-2007-compare

    Again, NWS should give training to their 5,000 meteorologists in 120 NWS offices on climate change so they can help educate the public and other meteorologists who enter living rooms every evening in the U.S.

    Comment by pat neuman — 12 Mar 2007 @ 3:19 PM

  33. Re: #25 (Bruce Hall)

    In this portion of the film, the professor is speaking about the complexity of climate models and how their results can be greatly influenced by the input data they are given.

    Professor Wunsch:
    49:22 – The models are so complicated, you can often adjust them is such a way that they do something very exciting.

    Is he talking about climate models? Or is he talking about models of ocean circulation, and the filmmaker edited things to make it seem he’s talking about climate models?

    I don’t know. Neither do you.

    Comment by tamino — 12 Mar 2007 @ 3:20 PM

  34. Re # 27 (Comment by Tom Boucher) to #8. Weather statistics remain weather statistics, whether you call them â?? hulaâ??, or â??blahâ??, or â??climateâ??. Higher temperatures can be called â??warmingâ??, when all temperatures are rising, even â??global warmingâ??, which is at most a part of â??climate changeâ?? (when latter is defined as: average weather over a longer period of time). WMO and UNEP (and IPCC) did not know on how to â??writeâ?? for the UN Convention on Climate Change a definition: CLIMATE; they would not be able to do it today. Please try. The old fashion definition contradicts to include â??CHANGEâ??. But if you want to define â??climate changeâ?? you have to define â??climateâ?? first.

    Comment by DonGri — 12 Mar 2007 @ 3:29 PM

  35. I have recently finished studying MSc Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies. My focus is upon education and helping younger people prepare for an uncertain future. Upon seeing the Swindle-show, I dived into the scientific papers both for and against GW. I am not a climatologist, astro-physicist, etc; and although I can follow the science to a degree, in many ways it escapes me. Lindzen has counteracted each GW point in his testimonies. I would like to see the same from the GW forum. I don’t really care about saving face, saving careers, saving the American economy (shock & awe: many people outside the US don’t) and I don’t care what political leanings the scientists have. I want a solid foundation to base my own work in sustainability on…so please…anybody who has “the science”…anybody who can meet Lindzen’s claims that the IPCC models had huge flaws, that CO2 lags behind temperature, that CO2 is not as much of a climate forcer as we believe…will you please give us the low down. I am getting sick of rhetoric, assumptions and name calling. By the way, the poor Africans that were shown who had a minute solar panel tagged on to the roof, and consequently (surprise, surprise) didn’t have enough energy to power both the fridge and a lightbulb does not reflect on renewable energy sources as being inferior to the corporate alternatives. I might suggest a larger panel…duh. Renewables (particularly medium sized community based systems) also have the benefit of keeping the big-guys out of poor people’s pockets. They have caused huge problems with their clean water systems with the payment meters in Africa. People can afford clean water for a day and then have to walk miles for mudhole water. In some cases, the moste advanced piece of machinery in the village is the payment meter! Again…give us something real to look at…argue it back and forth if you must…and let us help the young prepare. Afterall, they are the ones that will inherit the earth, the future is theirs, not the ageing oil barons, the ageing professors or the ageing politicians. They are not the ones that will have to live with the decisions being made now.

    Comment by Beth — 12 Mar 2007 @ 3:42 PM

  36. Dealing with the media, especially for academics, can be very tricky and requires lots of experience and practice to do well. With that reality in mind let me suggest that those readers who find themselves needing to do so might find the following article I just published of some help.

    http://www.historians.org/Perspectives/issues/2007/0702/0702vie1.cfm

    Comment by Steven Leibo Ph.D. — 12 Mar 2007 @ 3:59 PM

  37. Prof. Wunsch says:The ocean is the major reservoir into which carbon dioxide goes when it comes out of the atmosphere or to from which it is re-emitted to the the atmosphere. If you heat the surface of the ocean, it tends to emit carbon dioxide. Similarly, if you cool the ocean surface, the ocean can dissolve more carbon dioxide.

    This is frankly a minor, technical point that is pretty much impossible to interpret out of context. Perhaps he said other brilliant things that ended up on the cutting room floor, but I don’t buy his complaints here. His other comments about the models speak for themselves, regardless of the context in which they were used.

    It looks to me like he’s trying to save himself from the abuse you good folks would have in store for him for fraternizing with the enemy.

    [Response: But for that sentence, context is everything. It was played in the middle of a discussion of why the current CO2 rise isn’t human-caused, and in appearing to support previous statements in that discussion, it misleadingly appears that Wunsch too thinks that the current rise is not human-caused. Which in anyones book is a a misleading impression. In any case, Wunsch responded to this program way before we started talking about it. – gavin]

    Comment by Kevin Jaeger — 12 Mar 2007 @ 4:04 PM

  38. RE #35, Beth, http://www.SunFrost.com DC refrigerators and freezers can work in Africa quite well on one pv panel, and in fact are shipped to Africa (last I heard) to areas where the electrical grid doesn’t reach, to keep vaccines cold or frozen. They are expensive, but that’s partly bec it’s a very small company, and they do pay for themselves in energy savings and less veggie spoilage (in about 10 or so years); apply economies of scale and the price could go down a lot.

    Step 1: reduce electric consumption with all efficiency/conservation measures possible.

    Step 2: consider going off-grid with alternative energy.

    Since I get http://www.GreenMountain.com 100% wind energy through the grid, I don’t have much incentive right now to go off grid, and the up-front costs are pretty high (I don’t think I’ll be living long enough for the payback). But I do understand that going off-grid is getting closer to being cost-effective, and small wind-turbines are getting quieter for suburban and urban applications. Still, it would be great if grid suppliers would add more wind and solar to their mix. Maybe offer it at a higher cost and the difference could be thought of as a “gift to the earth & an endowment to our progeny.”

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 12 Mar 2007 @ 4:11 PM

  39. #33

    Perhaps you might be interested in the comments by Dr. Lubos Motl of Harvard (physicist).

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2007/03/great-global-warming-swindle.html

    Comment by Bruce Hall — 12 Mar 2007 @ 4:26 PM

  40. “I want a solid foundation to base my own work in sustainability on…so please…anybody who has “the science”…anybody who can meet Lindzen’s claims that the IPCC models had huge flaws, that CO2 lags behind temperature, that CO2 is not as much of a climate forcer as we believe…will you please give us the low down. I am getting sick of rhetoric, assumptions and name calling.”

    As far as I know, Lindzen doesn’t really have any solid evidence to support his claim that climate models are flawed, or that CO2 is a weaker climate forcer than believed.

    As for the fact that CO2 has lagged behind temperature in the past.. well, that doesn’t mean that increased CO2 doesn’t cause changes in temperature. In an isolated farm, an increase in the number of chickens is always preceeded by an increase in the number of eggs. Of course, if you add more chickens to the “system”, you now have an increase in chickens leading to an increase in the number of eggs.

    Instead of asking everyone else to refute points for you, use a little bit of common sense to start off with.

    Comment by LogicallySpeaking — 12 Mar 2007 @ 4:32 PM

  41. CO2 atmospheric accumulation can lag behind temperature. As the atmosphere warms so do the oceans and permafrost regions which results in out gassing of CO2. Atmospheric warming and increasing CO2 concentrations pulses alternate and increase together.

    Comment by pat neuman — 12 Mar 2007 @ 5:00 PM

  42. re #35, Beth
    I don’t know which of Lindzen’s arguments you have been reading, but have you read:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/02/richard-lindzens-hol-testimony/

    Comment by Ed G. — 12 Mar 2007 @ 5:08 PM

  43. Does this blog require registration?

    Comment by clif — 12 Mar 2007 @ 5:23 PM

  44. > Lubos
    Chuckle. Ah, Lubos.

    He did explain clearly to me why climate sensitivity is, as he calculates it, one degree (here’s how: twin each CO2 molecule, two for one, with nothing else changing; assuming all else is held constant, he’s right; not in the real world, but in theory, correct).

    I’m hoping he can do that trick in reverse, cut CO2 by half, without changing anything else, perhaps by pulling in some extra loops of string. Hey, it could happen.

    But since you point to his website — Try putting this string into Google — see where you find it?
    “Canadian climatology PhD” “Dr Timothy Ball”
    Lubos, and Foxnews.

    Now — in the spirit of scientific inquiry — try this string into Google:
    “climatology PhD” “Dr Timothy Ball”

    See the difference? It always pays to check your sources, to find who’s fooling you.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Mar 2007 @ 5:38 PM

  45. Re #6, 11, 17: You have induced a nightmare – suppose Michael Moore is already preparing a “documentary” on global warming? To minimize the damage from such an event, it is vital that every scientist understand that they must not participate in any way in such a project, because Moore will manipulate your statements the same way Channel 4 did to Dr. Wunsch. You will be used to push Moore’s view that America is the source of all evil in the world, as well as the usual crazy alarmist scenarios (runaway greenhouse, etc). Is that the message you want to reach people with? The denialists will have a field day with it.

    Be warned.

    Comment by Blair Dowden — 12 Mar 2007 @ 6:15 PM

  46. #40 Thanks for your comments. I get the chicken-egg thing. It is not that I am failing to think logically, it is when people start talking about he compression of ice relative to air bubbles relative to the porosity of said ice and the amount of time it takes for that ice to seal when looking at the time scale of CO2 found in ice samples, I am pretty well lost. Maybe you aren’t. I don’t think that it is unreasonable to ask the experts in their fields to give us the information needed to refute the misinformation in the documentary. There are people on the MSc course at present who are delighted that “we are not at fault”. I would like to put forward some verifiable information on what is likely to become a hot topic. I appreciate that we are all responsible for our own research, but beleive me, I am doing mine. However, part of that research is asking experts in climatology, etc to fill in the blanks. Afterall, I do not want to be guilty of passing misinformation on to others. I may not be particularly logical in your estimation, but I trust that you will find me ethical.

    Comment by Beth — 12 Mar 2007 @ 6:26 PM

  47. Re: #45

    I don’t share your opinion of Michael Moore, but neither am I especially keen to have him produce such a documentary. What I do want is someone who is a first-rate filmmaker and can generate lots of publicity, so it doesn’t become “just another documentary” that people watch on PBS.

    Clint Eastwood sounds like a fine choice, and doesn’t carry any of the “baggage” associated with Michael Moore. He has certainly shown himself to be one of the world’s best filmmakers. So: Gavin, Raypierre, and the rest of the gang … it’s time for you guys to track down Eastwood and see whether he’d be willing to undertake such a project.

    Comment by tamino — 12 Mar 2007 @ 6:48 PM

  48. You might take note that the FX Channel in the U.S. is at this very moment showing The Day After Tomorrow.

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

    For those not familiar with the film, it’s about a NOAA scientist who can’t get the vice president to take global warming seriously. As a result, everyone has to move to Mexico. Pablo espanol senor Cheney?

    Comment by Alvia Gaskill — 12 Mar 2007 @ 6:51 PM

  49. I think there should have been more criticism of Al Gore’s movie if the concern is so high in getting the science right.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=299

    Even to the point of promoting it to be shown in all classrooms when it is full of so many errors in the basic science.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=392

    Comment by John Lang — 12 Mar 2007 @ 7:23 PM

  50. Re #48: The vice president would be quite right to ignore someone who claimed global warming would lead to an instant ice age. And if you want to convince people that climate change is about hysteria that violates every possible scientific principle (not to mention bad acting), recommend watching “The Day After Tomorrow.”

    Comment by Blair Dowden — 12 Mar 2007 @ 7:33 PM

  51. I found (yes through research LogicallySpeaking)a blogspot that might be useful for those who are not climate scientists, but who want to be able to respond to doubts that rise among colleagues and the general public as a result of the swindle-show.

    RealScience has been a great help, and has made any confusion much clearer. I have read Lindzen and Ian Clark’s take on climate change. The reason being, that it is necessary to look at a problem from all sides. There are some pretty plausible points in their arguements for those that don’t know the science terribly well. RealScience has been a Godsend and so has the site link below.

    http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/02/how-to-talk-to-global-warming-sceptic.html

    Comment by Beth — 12 Mar 2007 @ 7:35 PM

  52. Re. 19:

    Also, a documentary that intends to influence policy should include economics as well as climate science. The part of Swindle that was most convincing was the potential effect on the developing world of limiting cheap energy.

    It was also one of the most fraudulent. Durkin was angling for crocodile-tear sympathy by propagating numerous fallacies, myths and falsehoods.

    For one thing the people who will suffer (are already suffering) by far the most as a result of global warming are those who live in tropical regions. Admittedly one can’t say that the worldwide severe droughts that are currently in evidence in most tropical countries are definitely caused by global warming, in the same way you can’t prove that an individual smoker who dies of lung cancer wouldn’t have got lung cancer anyway; but you can say that statistically the two are linked in both cases. And in the most conservative projections, severe droughts and severe floods will both become far more frequent and far more severe in the tropics over the next few decades.

    Second, the villages it covered are a long way from any electric grid. Installing centralised national grids there would hardly be cheap electricity, it would be incredibly expensive. Kenya can’t afford a national grid. Durkin didn’t mention that.

    If a hospital in the tropics that is miles away from the nearest electricity grid and its existing solar generator isn’t powerful enough to supply the it with the electricity it needs, the cheapest solution by far is to provide it with a much larger solar generator. Plus then they don’t have to buy any fuel either. But Durkin forgot to mention that as well.

    Third, the reason the people they showed suffer from smoke exposure in those huts is because their huts don’t have chimneys or proper stoves! The solution to that is to install chimneys in their huts, with proper stoves, which is what the NGOs are doing. That costs thousands of times less that spending trillions on installing and trying to maintain electricity grids in remote and fairly sparsely populated parts of Kenya. But Durkin’s didn’t mention that either.

    Fourth, there is *no* target under Kyoto for developing countries to reduce their emissions, which is the main reason the US Government gave for not signing up to Kyoto. It was not the environmentalists who wanted developing countries to have targets, as Durkin claimed it was. it was the US government. Furthermore, under the Kyoto offsetting mechanism, countries in the West are funding measures to create efficiency savings in developing countries, for instance by modernising factories. So the idea it put forward that Kyoto is somehow a conspiracy to prevent developing countries from developing is fraudulent.

    Fifth, any requirement that ends up in “Kyoto Mark II” (or whatever it ends up being called) relating to developing countries, will be based on their achieving efficiency savings, with help from the West, not on stopping them from growing – see
    http://environment.newscientist.com/article/dn11199-world-leaders-find-agreement-on-climate-change.html
    which states: “On 14 and 15 February more than 100 legislators and officials from 13 countries met within the walls of the US Senate to discuss the future of international climate policy. At the close of the meeting they issued a statement setting out the components which they say will be essential for an international agreement on climate change when the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012, [which includes] emissions targets for all countries, according to historical responsibility and development needs. Developed countries must lead, with targets for developing country targets recognising their need for economic growth.”

    Comment by Dave Rado — 12 Mar 2007 @ 7:37 PM

  53. Re. #51 There’s a more up to date version at http://gristmill.grist.org/skeptics

    Comment by Dave Rado — 12 Mar 2007 @ 7:40 PM

  54. Re. 49, there are very few errors; they are minor; and they are errors rather deceptions.

    Comment by Dave Rado — 12 Mar 2007 @ 7:48 PM

  55. I sympathise with Wunsch, but wonder how he allowed himself to be swindled? All it takes is a cursory google search to realise that Durkin has form, and those who have followed the career of this Frank Furedi cultist know that the man is a brazen liar.

    And yet Channel 4 executives, despite knowing all about Durkin’s past, continue to commission him to make documentary films. The reason for this is that controversialism sells, and many people these days appear to have very short memories. It’s all about viewing figures and advertising revenue, stupid!

    Durkin and his comrades in the organisation formerly known as the Revolutionary Communist Party (which was neither revolutionary nor communist) are attempting to control the science outreach market in the UK, and have brought on-side some pretty senior figures within the research community. Thinktanks such as Sense about Science and the Science Media Centre are viewed as respectable media outfits by many jobbing scientists and media workers, and even the veritable old Royal Institution is falling prey to Furedi’s followers.

    Scientists dealing with the media really should know better, and not be so naive as to believe that they can express a “nuanced” view in a documentary film made by hacks as thoroughly amoral as Martin Durkin. The alternative is for scientists to cultivate working relationships with writers and broadcasters they can trust. And demand from their employers more media training workshops and suchlike. Scientists are creative people, quite capable of getting together to make their own films and sell them to the networks. They should work with journalists who are themselves scientists.

    If Wunsch is unhappy about the over-dramatisation of climate change science – as I believe he should be – then he needs to be a lot more proactive, and not merely give a few soundbites to experienced journalists with heavy-duty political agendas. There’s little room left for nuance and subtlety in public discourse, and we are left with no choice but to put up or shut up. So which is it to be?

    http://www.skysong.eu/2007/03/whos-swindling-whom/

    Comment by Francis Sedgemore — 12 Mar 2007 @ 7:53 PM

  56. To 35 Beth
    My suggestion, especially as you have just been studying, is to look at some university-level textbooks on the Earth system and on climate. They will give you a far more coherent presentation of how the theory fits together than you will get from reading a running argument (sorry discussion) between hundreds of participants on a blogsite. I find it very helpful to think in terms of the Earth as a self-regulating living system (James Lovelock 1972), made up of 4 main components: atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and lithosphere (top 100-200km of crust and mantle). There are constant exchanges between the different components, of which the carbon cycle is one we are particularly concerned with. The coming together of tectonic plate theory, pictures of the Earth from space, and Gaia theory/Earth system science has been a revolution for the earth sciences and our level of awareness of the world around us, just as humanity’s impact on the planet is accelerating. And loads of the satellite imagery is available on the internet. This surely is something exciting and accessible enough to appeal to children. For a first stop for children and the weather and atmosphere, how about http://www.isleofwightweather.co.uk/live_storm_data.htm
    (it’s a lightning detector)
    and for you :
    Stephen Marshak (2005) Earth:Portrait of a Planet (2nd ed). Norton, NYC.
    and
    O’Hare, Sweeney, Wilby (2005) Weather, Climate and Climate Change: Human perspectives. Pearson, Harlow, UK.

    Comment by Ed Sears — 12 Mar 2007 @ 7:58 PM

  57. Re: #46/47 – Michael Moore

    His role in this is to produce another Great Global Warming Swindle, using the same participants (expect, perhaps, for a rather chastened Prof Wunsch). I see him puffing around in the wake of Tim Ball, trying to nail down his CV. How many years were you a professor, Tim?

    Comment by Gareth — 12 Mar 2007 @ 8:07 PM

  58. RE #51:

    Beth, good choice of sites. One thing nice about Coby’s site (I use this site all the time when talking to…uh…global warming skeptics) and RealClimate.org is the wealth of sources that are cited. When one can go back to the original papers, it is always much better (and it always helps to check a reference of two – I have found examples of blatant cherry picking in an article on DDT written by Steven Milloy). I am in the life sciences field, so not anywhere near an expert on climate, but I can recognize good science when I see it, and a site like RealClimate, unlike Mr. Milloy’s site, passes with flying colors.

    I would also recommend the Pew Center for Climate Change (ironically, the Pew family made their fortune in oil – Sunoco). They have a brief blurb about the AR4 and a link to the report.

    Comment by Deech56 — 12 Mar 2007 @ 8:13 PM

  59. Michael Moore or Frontline or NOW could do a docu on how climate science and climate scientists have been suppressed and hoodwinked and intimidated, and how the American public has been misled by politicians and the media (as when the well-oiled media use the “balanced format” or the “silent treatment,” even after the science is pretty well settled for scientists and extremely well settled for policy-makers and the public). And all the oil and coal money behind much of this.

    That ought to open some eyes. Many people already know the basic ideas behind GW; they just thought it had been disproved, or not yet proven.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 12 Mar 2007 @ 8:46 PM

  60. Professor Wunsch, thank you for your commentary. You must be feeling pretty glum and possibly angry but I think you will find that your reputation has only been enhanced by the sorry fools at WAGTV and their cronies. No damage at all. Keep the faith, as a scientist. Leave politics to the politicians, and the slow dawning of reality to the masses.

    Unfortunately science cannot change human nature. It will eventually occur to most of them that it has four legs, it wags its tail, and it barks. Its probably a dog. Eventually.

    Go well!

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 12 Mar 2007 @ 9:17 PM

  61. Re #19:
    Also, a documentary that intends to influence policy should include economics as well as climate science. The part of Swindle that was most convincing was the potential effect on the developing world of limiting cheap energy.

    I think this is something we need to guard against. As soon as the hard science gets mixed with economics/politics/morality in the same program, those who disagree with the politics, etc will start to close their minds to the science. Keep the science separate and win that battle. Then others can do what’s needed in other areas.

    Comment by Bob Arning — 12 Mar 2007 @ 9:22 PM

  62. Re #59: [Michael Moore or Frontline or NOW could do a docu on how climate science and climate scientists have been suppressed and hoodwinked and intimidated…]

    Which I would think would be extremely counterproductive. If you want to make a factual documentary that will inform the general public, you don’t have it produced by people with a reputation that associates them, and thus your documentary, with a particular political viewpoint. Still less do you pick someone (Michael Moore) who has a well-deserved reputation for being… how can I say this politely? …more concerned with goals than factual accuracy? That’s exactly what the makers of “Swindle” did, except that their reputations are (apparently) nowhere near as large.

    I think a much more effective tactic would be to get several people, with different but moderate political views, to cooperate. The message has to be that it’s not a political issue – indeed, that it’s too important for political considerations.

    Likewise, you’d be better off leaving out e.g. rants about evil capitalist oil & coal interests, for after all (as I keep pointing out to friends whining about rising gas prices) if people didn’t buy their products, they wouldn’t be in business long :-)

    Comment by James — 12 Mar 2007 @ 10:04 PM

  63. Is Carl Wunsch a “non-skeptical heritic” as described by Roger Pielke Jr.? Or does he fit nicely into the consensus?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/01/consensus-as-the-new-heresy/

    Comment by Wang Dang — 12 Mar 2007 @ 10:42 PM

  64. Re #48
    Here is a review of “Day After Tomorrow”. They review the movie and the physics, in this case both are bad. They also do Inconvenient Truth and Who Killed the Electric Car as well as many others.

    http://www.intuitor.com/moviephysics/dayAft.htm

    Comment by Wang Dang — 12 Mar 2007 @ 11:01 PM

  65. Re 52:
    >…the reason the people they showed suffer from smoke exposure in those huts is because their huts don’t have chimneys or proper stoves! The solution to that is to install chimneys in their huts, with proper stoves, which is what the NGOs are doing.

    I’ll bet the people in China and India prefer the industrial jobs they are getting (and eventually homes with heating and air conditioning) to having NGOs help them add a chimney to their hut. Your ambitions for developing peoples seem rather low.

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 12 Mar 2007 @ 11:19 PM

  66. Re #30: Not only 159 planned coal fire power plants in US but who knows how many smaller ones starting up in varying applications, like the nursery greenhouse boiler highlighted in this Cleveland Ohio newspaper business section article (with nary a mention of CO2 emission): http://www.cleveland.com/search/index.ssf?/base/business/1172915254144500.xml?bxbiz&coll=2

    Prompting my published response as letter-to-editor: http://www.cleveland.com/search/index.ssf?/base/business/1173519020150840.xml?bxbiz&coll=2

    If these smaller units catch on nation/worldwide before gasification/sequestration/renewable alternatives beats them out, how much more of world’s vast coal resources’ C will be converted to atmospheric CO2?

    Thanks to RC contributors for helping this math teacher and father of two try to make sense of the competing dynamics and for providing helpful information in the push for legislation to level the playing field for development of truly clean coal and renewables.

    Comment by Scott Vinson — 12 Mar 2007 @ 11:21 PM

  67. 1.
    AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH was accessable on video google. Paramount decided to take it off!

    2.
    DISCOVERY CHANNEL GLOBAL WARMING. Been online on video google. They took it off.

    3.
    THIS BULLSHIT SWINDLE is accessable on video google — over 100.000 hits i urge every single beeing here to make the right decision and not misslead the public!

    Inform the public make the info avaiable for FREE!

    Comment by s.ball — 12 Mar 2007 @ 11:41 PM

  68. RE: 1)

    …”thus my response is that it is NOT sensible to subsidize insurance for people who wish to build in regions susceptible to coastal flooding”..

    The logic escapes me in your statement. MOST people live near the shoreline and if we should not subsidize insurance, which I am not sure
    where you are deriving that from as Florida does not subsidize insurance, then by the same logic that you apply, there should not be money spent on maintaining the shoreline, which
    is subject to wave erosion and other factors.

    What would be the point of spending money on maintaining the shoreline
    if people could not use it? And to legislate where a person could live
    is a form of governmental control used in communist countries.

    The government wastes money hand over fists to begin with, and to even state that people should not be helped with government money rather than some congressman’s pork barrel project in comparison makes zero sense in the overall scheme of how things work with money allocations in the government.

    Living inland does not assure that one escapes risk factors such
    as flooding because the groundwater can not handle a heavy rain in x amount of time or because the natural land shape has been changed to allow for human dwellings….

    There is a trade off for everything.

    Rising Sea Levels and Moving Shorelines
    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    November 16, 2004
    http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?id=2484

    …”Billions of tax dollars are being spent to restore and protect our wetlands, maintain our beaches and waterways, and rebuild coastal infrastructure. For example, the State of Louisiana is proposing to spend $14 billion over the next 40 years to restore coastal barriers along the Mississippi River delta.”….”More than 155 million people (53 percent of the population) reside in U.S. coastal counties comprising less than 11 percent of the land area of the lower 48 states.
    “…”Close to 350,000 homes and buildings are located within 150 meters of the ocean. Within 60 years, one out of every four of those structures will be destroyed.”

    Comment by BarbieDoll Moment — 13 Mar 2007 @ 12:28 AM

  69. I just hope that this is not true, however I feel that is could well be.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/03/11/ngreen211.xml

    Very worrying maybe but also a sign of defeat.

    Comment by pete best — 13 Mar 2007 @ 4:22 AM

  70. It is all very well Carl Wunsch having problems with the programme, on an issue I am as yet decided about. However, I would like to point out a few things:

    1)I would be very surpried if Channel 4 haven’t covered their backs during the research of the programme and any correspondence with Carl. Durkin has run into trouble in the past and the lawyers would have surely been involved from he begining.

    2)I am sure Carl would stand by the quotes he said. Yes the producer can cherry pick the best, but that is how TV works and also how the press and this website works.

    3) If he is convinced that he has been unfairly treated, he should persue legal action. By not doing so, we just have a letter on the internet, but no recourse for the production company, which in my view is as bad as choice editing.

    As mentioned, I am still undecided about the whole debate, but feel as I am sure many do, that attacking scientists is not the way. Instead it should be about debating the science. The debate at the moment seems to focus on sites like this one attacking anything that might disprove elements of the man-made global warming and essentially preaching to the converted and the on other side, just as bad, preaching to their converted. I’m afraid this does neither side any good.

    If global warming (man-made) is happening, everyone needs to be involved in the debate and convinced, at the moment shamefull libel from all sides is stopping any prospect of this.

    What a sad state of affairs.

    Comment by Ed Freer — 13 Mar 2007 @ 4:26 AM

  71. BBC News ran a chunk of TGGWS last night without much comment, (including the dodgy graphs) although they did interview an actual climate scientist afterwards. They also spoke with Paul Reiter, the Pasteur Institute guy who appears in it, who turns out to be a microbiologist.

    Comment by Alex — 13 Mar 2007 @ 5:35 AM

  72. The misrepresentation of scientists, and the misuse of their reputations to bolster dubious causes, is wrong. But this episode might also contain a lesson about how scientists in highly politicized areas, like this one, should realize how easily their words and their work can be twisted and distorted…
    http://scienceblogs.com/intersection/2007/03/carl_wunsch_and_global_warming.php

    Comment by Chris Mooney — 13 Mar 2007 @ 6:19 AM

  73. [[Prof. Wunsch says:The ocean is the major reservoir into which carbon dioxide goes when it comes out of the atmosphere or to from which it is re-emitted to the the atmosphere. If you heat the surface of the ocean, it tends to emit carbon dioxide. Similarly, if you cool the ocean surface, the ocean can dissolve more carbon dioxide.

    This is frankly a minor, technical point that is pretty much impossible to interpret out of context. Perhaps he said other brilliant things that ended up on the cutting room floor, but I don’t buy his complaints here.]]

    Professor Wunsch knows, and any climatologists know, that the oceans are presently a SINK for CO2, not a SOURCE. Wunsch was talking about how natural climate cycles like the ice ages go. The cherry-picked quote makes it look like he’s saying the CO2 is coming from the ocean. It’s fundamentally dishonest.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Mar 2007 @ 7:14 AM

  74. This all makes me laugh. If the Swindle is correct as is my personal belief then all that will happen is that the politions and such groups will all be patting thems selves on the backs saying “we saved the world, Global warming didn’t happened”

    If it isn’t correct surely we’re all donald ducked anyway?

    Comment by Kurre — 13 Mar 2007 @ 9:07 AM

  75. Re #7
    “Even simpler: provide the footnotes to Mr. Gore’s slideshow. Without a current version of that online _with_links_to_sources_ it’s just another opinion piece, even though the climate scientists say they agree with what he’s saying.”

    Yes, they agree even though Mr Gore misrepresented some of their forecasts and misunderstood some of the science.

    I know it’s not quite as bad as deliberately misrepresenting an individual’s actual words, as Channel Four seems to have done, but misrepresenting scientific predictions in order to generate urgency (as Gore did with his 20-foot sea-level rise) or to make a particular course of action look more sensible (as the Stern Report did with the economics of rapidly cutting carbon emissions) is still sharp practice and I have been surprised that reputable climate scientists have been willing to endorse it. Surely scientists should have nothing to do with hype and hyperbole, no matter how worried they are by the problem?

    Such partiality doesn’t excuse Channel Four’s actions but it does to some extent explain it. When the Establishment condones sharp practice, those who feel locked out of the debate are more likely to do a little book-cooking themselves – especially when, as is the case in Britain if not in America, everyone with any clout acts as if not just the science but the politics of climate change is done and dusted and all we ever hear is “Global warming is the greatest threat to mankind ever, we’re all doomed, we’re all guilty, only bicycles and wind farms can save us now.” As global warming certainly isn’t the greatest threat to mankind ever, and isn’t even the greatest peril we currently face (see poverty, water wars, the Return of the Nuke, etc.), it’s not surprising that people throw the baby out with the bath-water and come up with tosh like The Great Global Warming Swindle.

    (I hope Professor Wunsch sues Channel Four, by the way.)

    Comment by Vinny Burgoo — 13 Mar 2007 @ 9:20 AM

  76. In my opinion it’s obvious that, when the mankind continues producing CO2 on that level we are doing it now, the global temperature will raise and natural disasters will appear more often. So it must be the objective to reduce the CO2-pollution – and every nation in the world should take part in it.

    Comment by Michael — 13 Mar 2007 @ 10:03 AM

  77. Can’t take criticism, I see.

    Typical of the P. C. crowd.

    Comment by Diogenes — 13 Mar 2007 @ 10:09 AM

  78. I’ll try submitting this a second time.

    Global warming deniers are much more likely to have a background in the mathematical sciences than those warning about the dangers of global warming.

    Is that because it is much harder for those who understand the mathematics behind the data to misinterpret the facts in their favor?

    Comment by Diogenes — 13 Mar 2007 @ 10:11 AM

  79. re: 79. Simply false. For example, read the list of authors of the IPCC summary. Furthermore, the climate scientists are the ones who publish in peer-reviewed journals, as opposed to deniers who espouse their opinions (as opposed to facts) on web pages, newspaper od-ed pages, science-fiction novels, and other “grey” journals.

    Comment by Dan — 13 Mar 2007 @ 10:16 AM

  80. Absurd typo in my 79. I have no idea why I typed “espouse”. I meant “spew”.

    Comment by Dan — 13 Mar 2007 @ 10:44 AM

  81. [Furthermore, the climate scientists are the ones who publish in peer-reviewed journals, as opposed to deniers.]

    That line will only sway those who don’t know that most “peer-reviewed” journals, especially in heavily politicized academic fields, are a closed shop – they only publish those articles that fit the journal’s orthodoxy.

    Deniers are denied the chance to publish PRECISELY because they deny the politically correct orthodoxy.

    Comment by Diogenes — 13 Mar 2007 @ 10:45 AM

  82. Diogenes, care to provide even one iota of evidence for that calumny, or are you afraid to illuminate your own face with your lantern?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Mar 2007 @ 11:12 AM

  83. re: 81. Sorry, but there is absolutely no proof whatsoever to back up your highly political, unscientific opinion. That is simply not the way science is done. Read about the scientific method. Science is not a political field. And writing in capital letters does nothing to prove that it is either. Sorry if the data do not produce the results you want them to, apparently. Attacking the science and methods just because you think that is utterly wrong. Read the IPCC reports. They were written by scientists, not politicians or others with vested interests.

    Comment by Dan — 13 Mar 2007 @ 11:14 AM

  84. [Diogenes, care to provide even one iota of evidence for that calumny, or are you afraid to illuminate your own face with your lantern?]

    How can I convince you that a journal refuses to publish articles by “deniers” because they are deniers, if you want to believe they refuse to publish deniers because the deniers are incorrect?

    Actually, the deniers are incorrect. Politically incorrect.

    Comment by Diogenes — 13 Mar 2007 @ 11:26 AM

  85. Ray, if a journal refuses to publish articles by “deniers”, is it because they are deniers, or because they are incorrect? Does it even matter? You decide.

    Comment by Diogenes — 13 Mar 2007 @ 11:36 AM

  86. re: 85. You are hiding from the question. It is quite simple to answer. All you need to do is get one article from a “denier” that was denied. You made the accusation, you get it from them. Or you can’t prove it. Game, set, match, end of story.

    Comment by Dan — 13 Mar 2007 @ 11:50 AM

  87. The problem has been one of exaggeration on both sides of the debate. Exaggerating disaster from global warming on one side to exaggerating that nothing is happening on the other.

    Climate change is the only constant. The issue is the extent to which man can influence the climate… regionally and globally. A thorough, although mind-numbing examination, was done by the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate. I spent an entire Friday evening reading it and then re-read the parts that gave me a headache. “Nothing is ever as simple as it first seems.”

    http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309095069

    These are the scientists involved:
    http://dels.nas.edu/basc/members.shtml

    This is the problem in a nutshell:
    http://bp3.blogger.com/_b5jZxTCSlm0/RexTJ5aW9lI/AAAAAAAAAKE/zibgYSCzvA4/s1600-h/Climate+Forcings.jpg

    Comment by Bruce Hall — 13 Mar 2007 @ 12:06 PM

  88. Regarding the original topic, Carl Wunsch had this to say in a March 2006 piece for the Royal Society:

    Thus at bottom, it is very difficult to separate human induced change from natural change, certainly not with the confidence we all seek. In these circumstances, it is essential to remember that the inability to prove human-induced change is not the same thing as a demonstration of its absence. It is probably true that most scientists would assign a very high probability that human-induced change is already strongly present in the climate system, while at the same time agreeing that clear-cut proof is not now available and may not be available for a long-time to come, if ever. Public policy has to be made on the basis of probabilities, not firm proof.

    That’s not the view the film wanted to present, so it wasn’t included. I looked through Prof. Wunsch’s recent work on ocean heat (for example http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/papersonline/wunsch&heimbachjpo2006.pdf ) and the main issue still seems to be a lack of sufficiently comprehensive data from the oceans, which are the major long-term influence on climate. This is the central issue in funding climate science – the money doesn’t go into the pockets of climate scientists, but rather to fund the expensive satellite and ocean monitoring systems that are needed to collect data.

    This is the political situation that scientists have no excuse for not actively participating in – the need for funding data collection. It’s important to explain to the general public why their tax dollars should go into funding such research.

    There also seems to be a new tendency for climate contrarians to compare themselves to Galileo… but George Monbiot puts it well:

    “Were it not for dissent, science, like politics, would have stayed in the dark ages. All the great heroes of the discipline – Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Einstein – took tremendous risks in confronting mainstream opinion. Today’s crank has often proved to be tomorrow’s visionary.
    But the syllogism does not apply. Being a crank does not automatically make you a visionary. There is little prospect, for example, that Dr Mantombazana Tshabalala-Msimang, the South African health minister who has claimed Aids can be treated with garlic, lemon and beetroot, will be hailed as a genius. But the point is often confused. Professor David Bellamy, for example, while making the incorrect claim that wind farms do not have “any measurable effect” on total emissions of carbon dioxide, has compared himself to Galileo.”

    It’s also essential that scientist explain the basics of scientific reasoning to the general public (poor science education is a real problem) so that they have some chance of independently evaluating all manner of scientific claims, such as the basic notion of Lindzen, Pielke et. al that “adding CO2 to the atmosphere doesn’t warm the planet, or has a miniscule effect”.

    One way of getting this across that incorporates all the contrarian harping on solar influences is to explain that the climate is sensitive to a wide variety of influences, and that changes in any of those influences can have a large effect – volcanism, solar forcing, albedo, and, most significantly, large additions of CO2, CH4 and N2O to the atmosphere as a result of human activity.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 13 Mar 2007 @ 12:29 PM

  89. “In the long run, our credibility as scientists rests on being very careful of, and protective of, our authority and expertise.” Yes, if scientific credibility is to be reduced to rhetorical capacity. But in the longer and shorter run the credibility of scientists ought to shift toward the credibility of their efforts scientifically to verify and falsify particular hypotheses. That credibility doesn’t depend on their being protective of their authority or expertise, but on the contrary virtue of adopting a disinterested (even playful?) view of the hypotheses they advance.

    I trust that the Great Swindle documentary approached the anthropocentric climate change “hypotheses” with the kind of polemical fervour with which the they have been advanced. What a shame, and what a surprise. Having not yet seen the film, I cannot say how Carl Wunsch’s virtue has been compromised. But the examples he adduces to distinguish his views from their use in the film look fairly modest.

    Comment by W. M. Bourke — 13 Mar 2007 @ 2:42 PM

  90. [[How can I convince you that a journal refuses to publish articles by “deniers” because they are deniers, if you want to believe they refuse to publish deniers because the deniers are incorrect?

    Actually, the deniers are incorrect. Politically incorrect. ]]

    So you can’t name any actual instances, in other words?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Mar 2007 @ 3:39 PM

  91. I strongly support Tamino’s suggestion above. I believe that Real Climate and legitimate AGW researchers and scientists take on the challenge of doing an authoritative documentary for global distribution. I urge you to press forward with this as it’s very much needed.

    Comment by timethief — 13 Mar 2007 @ 4:31 PM

  92. Any reasons why my comment was not posted?

    Comment by Marco — 13 Mar 2007 @ 9:21 PM

  93. Re #85: [Ray, if a journal refuses to publish articles by “deniers”, is it because they are deniers, or because they are incorrect?]

    You know something? Anyone who wants to invest the necessary time and energy can start a scientific journal. Indeed, there are a number of on-line journals these days, so you don’t need to pay for printing & mailing. Just line up an editor & some people willing to do peer review, and solicit papers.

    So if there really are a bunch of “deniers” who can’t get published in the current journals, why don’t they start their own? I suspect it’s because they are so few that after the peer reviewer slots are filled, there won’t be anyone left to write the papers :-)

    Comment by James — 13 Mar 2007 @ 11:29 PM

  94. Top meteorologist pours scorn on TV’s debunking of global warming
    Mar 14 2007
    http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0200wales/tm_headline=top-meteorologist-pours-scorn-on-tv-s-debunking-of-global-warming&method=full&objectid=18749397&siteid=50082-name_page.html

    “THE world’s top climate change expert has dissected The Great Global Warming Swindle, calling it “bad science”.


    Sir John Houghton, who lives in Aberdovey, Gwynedd, said the television programme, directed by Martin Durkin on Channel 4, “discredited the science of global warming”.


    Sir John is the former head of the Met Office who chairs the Scientific Assessment Working Group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).


    He said, “Last Thursday’s programme purported to debunk the science of Global Warming describing it as ‘lies’ and an invention of hundreds of scientists around the world, who have conspired to mislead governments, and the general public. The material presented was a mixture of truth, half truth and falsehood put together with the sole purpose of discrediting the science of global warming as presented by the main world community of climate scientists and by the IPCC.”
    “…

    Comment by BarbieDoll Moment — 14 Mar 2007 @ 12:35 AM

  95. A nice analysis of the Channel 4 programme can be found at:

    http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/climate_change/article2355956.ece

    Comment by John Gribbin — 14 Mar 2007 @ 9:16 AM

  96. it is very difficult to separate human induced change from natural change, certainly not with the confidence we all seek. In these circumstances, it is essential to remember that the inability to prove human-induced change is not the same thing as a demonstration of its absence. It is probably true that most scientists would assign a very high probability that human-induced change is already strongly present in the climate system, while at the same time agreeing that clear-cut proof is not now available and may not be available for a long-time to come, if ever. Public policy has to be made on the basis of probabilities, not firm proof.

    Comment by Rob — 14 Mar 2007 @ 9:45 AM

  97. Professor Wunsch’s letter does not square with what he was clearly told in writing earlier by the producers at Wag TV, the producers of “The Great Global Warming Swindle,” as is evident from the following email letter sent to him originally. Needless to say, he makes no mention of this letter nor of its contents.

    From: Jo Locke
    Sent: 19 September 2006 16:22
    To: Carl Wunsch
    Cc: Eliya Arman
    Subject: Climate Change Documentary

    Dear Professor Wunsch,

    Many thanks for taking the time to talk to me this morning. I found it
    really useful and now have the issues much clearer in my mind.

    I wanted to email you to outline the approach we will be taking with our
    film to clarify our position. We are making a feature length documentary
    about global warming for Channel Four in the UK. The aim of the film is
    to examine critically the notion that recent global warming is primarily
    caused by industrial emissions of CO2. It explores the scientific
    evidence which jars with this hypothesis and explores alternative
    theories such as solar induced climate change. Given the seemingly
    inconclusive nature of the evidence, it examines the background to the
    apparent consensus on this issue, and highlights the dangers involved,
    especially to developing nations, of policies aimed at limiting
    industrial growth.

    We would like to do an interview with you to discuss the notion that
    there is a scientific consensus on the effects of global warming on the
    Great Ocean Conveyor Belt, the Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic Drift.
    It has been widely reported that Britain and Western Europe could soon
    be plunged into a mini ice age, and we would like to show that it is
    simply not true that they will shut down. We would like to talk to you
    about the numerical models and whether they give us a realistic
    perspective of the impact of climate change on the oceans. We would also
    like to talk to you about the ‘memory’ of oceans, and how it can take
    varying amounts of time for a disturbance to be readable in the North
    Atlantic. Fundamentally, we would like to ask you whether scientists
    have enough information about the complex nature of our climate system.
    Do the records go back far enough to identify climate trends, and can we
    conclusively separate human induced change from natural change?

    Our filming schedule is still relatively fluid at the moment, but we
    hope to be in Boston around the second week of November. Please don’t
    hesitate to contact me or my producer, Eliya Arman, if you have any
    further questions, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Yours sincerely,

    Jo Locke
    Assistant Producer
    WagTV
    2d Leroy House
    436 Essex Road
    London N1 3QP
    t 020 7688 5191 f 020 7688 1702
    http://www.wagtv.com

    Comment by David Theroux — 14 Mar 2007 @ 3:02 PM

  98. I’m not convinced that CO2 emissions are warming the planet, so consider me in the “deniers” camp. But I must admit also to being compelled by Dr. Wunsch’s scholarship. His testimony on the Channel 4 show was against sloppy science and rhetorical flourish, as opposed to hard science and simple objective truth, and he seems just as keen to skewer those who employ the former over the latter regardless of where they fall on the debate.

    My mind is not yet entirely made up on the issue, and I must say as a layman I’m very skeptical of environmentalists since the 80’s, but I’ll be watching carefully what Dr. Wunsch has to say on teh issue from now on, and give greater weight to his conclusions. And shame on the show’s producers for taking his comments out of context.

    Comment by Dr_Cruel — 14 Mar 2007 @ 3:08 PM

  99. Re #98: Dr_Cruel — I suggest you read

    W.F. Ruddiman
    Earth’s Climate: Past and Future
    W.H. Freeman & Co., 2002(?)

    Comment by David B. Benson — 14 Mar 2007 @ 3:28 PM

  100. > 97, David Theroux, claiming Dr. Wunsch “makes no mention of the letter or its contents”

    You’re flat wrong. You mislead people.

    — didn’t you read what he wrote? —

    In the opening post of this thread, he refers to (and a link is provided to) his letter, where he wrote and quoted:

    “… I am the one who was swindled—please read the email below
    that was sent to me (and re-sent by you). Based upon this email
    and subsequent telephone conversations, and discussions with
    the Director, Martin Durkin, I thought I was being asked
    to appear in a film that would discuss in a balanced way ….”

    —— You can look this stuff up ——-

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Mar 2007 @ 4:06 PM

  101. As a person who is *very* skeptical about (1) the utility of computer modeling (2) the trustworthiness of politically influenced science (3) that the problem is worse than the supposed cure (4) that the cure would even work… I nevertheless would very much welcome a documentary by real scientists. Especially, leave out the appeals to emotion (via stirring music, heartfelt prose), and leave in the error bars. Political predictions seem to demand one “most probable” analysis, but I’d be far more interested to know about the other scenarios too, and how likely they are in both relative and absolute terms.

    It doesn’t matter if it would be too erudite for mass media. Put it on Google video, where those who have a brain can come and watch it.

    Comment by Julian Morrison — 14 Mar 2007 @ 7:33 PM

  102. Re #101: Julian Morrison — The problem is worse, much worse IMHO, than what it seems based on most of what is written here on RealClimate. The reason is biological adaptation. With temperatures increasing some 10 to 30 times faster than during the warming from LGM to the Holocene, specialized organisms cannot mutate or migrate fast enough. Biodiversity will decrease. That will be bad for humans.

    For example, even during the transistion from LGM to Holocene, the near-shore marine animals (shellfish) had a tough go of it, not being fully re-established until the Holocene. The reason in that case may have been less the 6 K warming than the 120+ meter increase in sea stand.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 14 Mar 2007 @ 8:21 PM

  103. As a person who is *very* skeptical about (1) the utility of computer modeling…

    Gosh, then, I hope you don’t fly in modern airliners, drive modern cars, or even wear modern hi-tech shoes from the likes of Nike …

    Of course, the results of such models are empirically compared to the real world (wind tunnel testing, etc) but so are climate models …

    Comment by dhogaza — 14 Mar 2007 @ 8:35 PM

  104. Re 101: Julian, many of the scientists developing the climate computer models work for NASA. Please understand the NASA track record of excellence in computer modeling. Everything they have accomplished in aircraft design and in the space program has depended on computer modeling, including landing men on the moon nearly forty years ago. Sure, climate is even more complex, but the computers used are orders of magnitude more powerful. It is a great mistake to dismiss the power and utility of computer modeling.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 14 Mar 2007 @ 9:12 PM

  105. Re. #94
    Houghton is very distinguished but I wish press articles wouldn’t insist on calling everyone they are writing about “the world’s top climate expert”!

    Anyway Houghton’s full article is at:
    http://www.jri.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=137&Itemid=83

    Comment by Dave Rado — 14 Mar 2007 @ 9:38 PM

  106. I have read many articles by Dr. Wunsch prior to that video and nothing that he said in the video contradicts his views, other than the fact that the video is highly critical of the CO2 theory. Wunsch has clearly advocated hedging our bets against human caused change but is also a strong skeptic about the ability to predict the future, and warns of the lack of understanding of the oceans climte role. His comments about sea level are fascinating fascinanting because of all the places in the world that are experiencing warming, the Arctic, I would expect the greatest sea level rise. However according to the recent ERS-2 satellite data, the Arctic sea level has been falling by 2.17 mm per year since 1995. This certainly suggests that changing sea levels has other major contributors than melting ice.

    Comment by Jim Steele — 14 Mar 2007 @ 10:14 PM

  107. > ERS-2, arctic sea level
    Is this what you’re reading?
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5076322.stm

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Mar 2007 @ 10:58 PM

  108. Re #103, 104

    Computer modeling is very good at simulating the known (aircraft mechanics), but my skepticism leads from the fact that it’s being asked to simulate the unknown. Any such simulation is a guess, and a chaotic system confounds even close guesses.

    Comment by Julian Morrison — 15 Mar 2007 @ 3:00 AM

  109. [[Computer modeling is very good at simulating the known (aircraft mechanics), but my skepticism leads from the fact that it’s being asked to simulate the unknown. Any such simulation is a guess,]]

    No, it’s a simulation.

    [[ and a chaotic system confounds even close guesses. ]]

    Weather is chaotic, climate is not.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 15 Mar 2007 @ 7:10 AM

  110. Swindling the masses enough, but not too much, may be
    Essential in our present circumstances to the survival of
    Civilization; likely those masses are mostly doomed since
    Resistance to novel expertise conveyed with jargon and,
    Even more, to demands for mass behavior change is only
    Too human but will now spell drought, famine, fire, flood.

    Some soil moisture, aquifers, lakes and rivers disappear.
    Overfishing, acidification will eliminate much seafood.
    Carbon sinks will become outgassing feedback sources.
    Irrigated agricultural zones will be dust bowl deserts.
    Eocene starting climate is probably inevitable again.
    The speed at which oceans will rise remains unknown.
    Yet reducing hothouse gas emissions can still reduce harm.

    Not alarming people enough would mean that their
    Emissions would accelerate, feedback cycling viciously.
    Excessively alarming the masses would mean that false
    Doubt and debate would fail to do their job of preventing
    Spikes in poleward property values.

    We need arctic high ground for nuclear-powered retreats
    Enabling generations to gain from civilization, science.
    Agricultural and mechanical skills must be propagated.
    Languages, forests, nations, reefs: too many will die.
    The magnitude of loss must not be allowed to cripple us.
    High-density cities, railways, colleges must be built.

    Comment by sustainable retreat — 15 Mar 2007 @ 8:07 AM

  111. It is quite obvious that Professor Wunsch’s words have not been altered in any way & certainly not misquoted.

    What has happened is that he he has found his head considerably further above the parapet, in a debate where “deniers” are treated rather like medieval athiests, than he expected & is attempting to distance himself from the programme which is “damaging my career”. This action does not prove the programme in any way wrong it merely proves the hysteria pushing the “official” view.

    On the other side Paul Ehrlich’s career has never been damaged by the, very numerous, prophecies he has made which have turned out to be lunacy & the author of the Hockeystick has not been damaged by it being proven to depend on hertofore unknown mathematics which the author is keeping as secret as any alchemist ever did his secrets.

    Comment by Neil Craig — 15 Mar 2007 @ 1:37 PM

  112. What has happened is that he he has found his head considerably further above the parapet, in a debate where “deniers” are treated rather like medieval athiests, than he expected & is attempting to distance himself from the programme which is “damaging my career”.

    In other words, you’re calling him a liar.

    Nice.

    Comment by dhogaza — 15 Mar 2007 @ 2:40 PM

  113. Re #111: Neil, misquotation in the context of a recording means that it was cut (via deleting material and/or changing the order) to change Wunsch’s meaning. The nice thing about this is that they picked the wrong guy to abuse. Your “damaging my career” reference shows that you really don’t know who Carl is, but suffice to say that the scale of his reputation in physical oceanography will make for a more than adequate hammer, should the British regulators choose to exercise it, to put Durkin out of the British TV documentary business and ensure that Channel 4 ceases to be an outlet for this sort of thing. BTW, you’re sounding a little hysterical yourself. World view problems, by any chance?

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 15 Mar 2007 @ 3:18 PM

  114. Mr. Wunsch and others,

    How is the Channel 4 film “anti-educational” and “misleading” if it presents a set of relevant information that had been quite lost from Al Gore’s movie and all the other shrill headlines and alarmism on behalf of Global Warming?

    I think of “An Incovenient Truth” and “Swindle” as opposing briefs in a lawsuit. Of course they’re one-sided. I accept it. And two briefs is better than one, because two sides is better than one.

    Now one of Swindle’s errors, one must admit, is that it unfairly made no mention of the fact of Mr. Wunsch being a hostile witness. (i.e., not in favor of Swindle’s final viewpoint and argument structure)

    That aside, “Swindle” made a fair point with Mr. Wunsch’s lucid explanation of oceanic CO2 outgassing: that a mechanism existed to explain why, in the historical record, CO2 increases have always followed temperature increases, rather than caused them. A key point that “An Inconvenient Truth” got wrong.

    I must also point out that other elements of the Global Warming argument, which Mr. Wunsch judges to be “firmly based”, have quite logical and serious scientific questions attached to them – as “Swindle” has brought out.

    I would like to see a documentary made that balances the scientific claims and counter-claims, rather than acting as a brief for one side of the debate (or the other).

    Comment by HappyExDemocrat — 15 Mar 2007 @ 4:20 PM

  115. Re #114: HappyExDemocrat — Yes, in the ice core records, CO2 increases have mostly followed temperature increases. But this is not relvant to the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. For it is certainly the case that extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes temperature increases. The physics underlying this has been known for over a century now.

    Humans have put a lot of carbon dioxide into the air. The climate is warming up in response. The only remaining question is exactly how much per billion tons of carbon added…

    Comment by David B. Benson — 15 Mar 2007 @ 5:03 PM

  116. Re #114: [That aside, “Swindle” made a fair point with Mr. Wunsch’s lucid explanation of oceanic CO2 outgassing: that a mechanism existed to explain why, in the historical record, CO2 increases have always followed temperature increases, rather than caused them.]

    Which is how the producers of “Swindle” manage to lie by telling just a part of the truth. They show Wunsch giving an accurate (I assume, as I haven’t read a complete transcript) explanation of how CO2 behaves in paleoclimate, but they show it in a context where it will be taken as applying to the current human-caused CO2 spike.

    This appears to me to be deliberate fraud, pure and simple. It’s no different in principle than taking a person’s signature from one check and pasting it into another made out to you.

    Comment by James — 15 Mar 2007 @ 5:49 PM

  117. My first reply, please bear with me, and, be kind.
    I’m just a mid-30’s kid from Canada, sitting in what is usually a pretty neautral position in the world, eh?!

    But, I have set aside my maple syrop and back bacon, because I am angry.

    As an educated person, who does understand the scientific method, I applaud what this website (which I have only just discovered today) reports to stand for.

    Unaltered facts and science, without political or moral interpretation.

    But, after 4 hours of steady reading (no joke, I have such a headache now, and just took two advil for it)… I can find no clear message, nor summary of facts, for the person who is educated enough to seek facts, but has no PhD, nor the time to read 400 scientific journals.

    You guys seem to like blogs, and endless debate.
    I’m an IT guy, the source of the blog, and I have no use for them. They’re like a lot of people in a room, all shouting at once.
    Debate and discussion, requires moderation, if it’s ever going to produce anything worthwhile.

    But, anyhow, see? I’m off topic already.

    I am angry.

    You people, pure scientists, have the gift of knowledge and intellect, yet you seem to prefer to sit in your ivory towers and debate. (I’m trying to draw an obvious comparison, bear with me)

    I, on the outside, a person not without influence in the world, wish to do the right thing, in most areas of my life, and could possibly make a difference.
    But, I, no longer have a CLUE what that “right thing” is, when it comes to this climate change global warming heap of dung.

    Since my youth, I have always enjoyed the PBS channel documentaries. Later, my Discover magazine, TLC (before it sold out to home makeover shows), the Discovery channels, History Channel, you name it.
    Always seeking more wisdom, that I could fit into my real-world schedule. (see my comment earlier about reading scientific journals)

    I watched Al Gore’s movie, and truly thought here is a compelling summary, of some not half bad ideas.
    The USA is a leader in pollution, so if this leads to reductions in that area, more efficient cars, cheaper and cleaner power, etc, I’m all for it.
    The greenhouse gasses stuff, all came across as just a bit fluffy and glossy, for me to swallow it, just “as is presented” with no references.
    Then there’s the fact that this guy wants to be president again… so much for his claims on motivation… we know he’s going to need SOMETHING to cling to, if he’s going to beat out Hillary. :-)

    […edited. sorry, we can allow extremely lengthy comments, regardless of how interesting. Feel free to provide a hyperlink to extended offline content, if you wish]

    Maybe I just wasted an hour of typing… but at least I have given the advil time to work, and my head does feel better.

    Thanks, to anyone who is still reading.
    Andrew

    Comment by Andrew — 15 Mar 2007 @ 6:00 PM

  118. David, thank you for admitting (in effect) that “An Inconvenient Truth” got the historical cause-and-effect wrong.

    As for CO2: Why is it “certainly” the case that extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes temperature increases? It ought to vary as a function of the significance / proportion of increase, should it not? If you increase CO2 from 1% to 10%, and take nothing from your other atmospheric greenhouse gases (like water vapor or methane) – Then yes, temperatures will “certainly” go up. But if you only increase CO2 from 0.03% to 0.05%, making virtually no appreciable difference to your overall greenhouse gases – why should that matter “certainly”? It seems to me that it MIGHT matter – or might not. And that, if it did matter, tropospheric temperature increases should lead the way in accordance with greenhouse theory. (Which we on Earth have not really seen.) Finally, please note that greenhouse theory (or a greenhouse effect) is not required to adequately explain such limited temperature increases as we’ve seen in the last 100-200 years.

    Comment by HappyExDemocrat — 15 Mar 2007 @ 6:03 PM

  119. …and you edited out, the actual practical approach to getting to the bottom of the problem.

    That makes sense.

    Andrew

    Comment by Andrew — 15 Mar 2007 @ 6:28 PM

  120. Ok, rules are rules… in ref to #117, and #119… thank the gods I am an IT guy, and had a cached copy of what I was on about.

    if anyone actually wants to read why all of this endless scientific debate, just encourages the media hype, and a lack of practical action, please visit:

    http://www.bienhaus.org/comment.html

    I’d truly like to hear your thoughts on my idea, as to what RealClimate.org could do to help the rest of us come to grips with this.

    Thanks…
    Andrew

    Comment by Andrew — 15 Mar 2007 @ 6:36 PM

  121. Re #118: HappyExDemocrat — I didn’t bother to see the movie. However, there is a RealClimate review of it you may care to check. As for the other, the physics of so-called greenhouse gases is solidly understood. I don’t know what you might mean by matter, but any increasse in atmospheric carbon dioxide results in temperature increases. It just physics.

    Both you and

    Re #117: Andrew — would do well to read

    W.F. Ruddiman
    Earth’s Climate: Past and Future
    W.H. Freeman, 2001

    to obtain a beginning background in climatology. You will be better prepared to follow the rather technical points which often occur here on RealClimate. I don’t claim that this one book suffices, but it provides a start.

    As for the claim of limited temperature increases in the past two hundred years, do note that the IPCC AR4 report states that the global temperature is now warmer than at any time in the past 600,000 years. Does not sound limited to me…

    Comment by David B. Benson — 15 Mar 2007 @ 6:37 PM

  122. Sorry, offence not intended.
    Thought I had more than an hour’s worth of typing and thought, lost.

    Comment by Andrew — 15 Mar 2007 @ 7:01 PM

  123. Link to missing post.
    Hopefully some constructive feedback, will assist in an eventual practical solution.
    http://www.bienhaus.org/comment.html

    Comment by Andrew — 15 Mar 2007 @ 7:02 PM

  124. Re #121: David, you might want to check your numbers. AR4 states that CO2 levels are at their highest in 650,000 years. For temperature it says “the warmth of the last half century is unusual in at least the previous 1300 years”.

    If emissions and climate sensitivity are at the high end of the uncertainty range, we may in the century or two reach the highest temperature in 600,000 years, but we aren’t there yet.

    Comment by Marcus — 15 Mar 2007 @ 7:37 PM

  125. Re #124: Marcus — Thank you for the correction!

    Comment by David B. Benson — 15 Mar 2007 @ 7:40 PM

  126. Fox News needs to be persuaded to run the real science in its news and reports. At present it is promoting the Swindle film.

    Comment by ruckrover — 16 Mar 2007 @ 6:30 AM

  127. [[That aside, “Swindle” made a fair point with Mr. Wunsch’s lucid explanation of oceanic CO2 outgassing: that a mechanism existed to explain why, in the historical record, CO2 increases have always followed temperature increases, rather than caused them.]]

    So what? The present increase is not caused by a natural climate cycle, it’s from fossil fuels. We know because of the isotope signature. Wunsch knows that, that’s why he quite rightly said the program was taking him out of context and making him appear to say something he didn’t really say. It was a dishonest use of the quote.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 16 Mar 2007 @ 7:52 AM

  128. Recently several posts have taken RC to task for the strident tone of the debate in some cases. First, I would point out the subject of this post–to wit, the misrepresentation of the position of a scientist in a pure propaganda piece. This was a reprehensible breach of ethics in journalism, and it is bound to stir some intense emotions. Perhaps in this light, you can be a bit more understanding if some of the rhetoric–on both sides–has swung toward the dramatic.
    Second, this is first and foremost a matter of science, that should be debated by scientists and grounded in scientific evidence. This is so obvious that it shouldn’t need saying–yet it does need saying. Indeed, this is what has been done on this site for the most part. All of us as scientists have tacitly agreed to these rules when we took the profession of scientist as our own. Unfortunately, there are a few scientists who have decided to bypass the scientific process, where their claims have already been rejected as insufficiently grounded in evidence, and have gone directly to sympathetic media outlets to make their case–effectively a case against science. This is a betrayal of the scientific process–of science itself, and for those of us who value science it is a grave threat. It is made the more grave by the fact that the issues here are highly technical and lend themselves to obfuscation when the audience is not sufficiently trained in the science. Yes, by all means, as Earnest Rutherford said, science should be explainable to a bar maid, but that does not qualify the bar maid to make judgements that trump those of experts in the field who have devoted their lives to studying science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Mar 2007 @ 8:45 AM

  129. [[As for CO2: Why is it “certainly” the case that extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes temperature increases? It ought to vary as a function of the significance / proportion of increase, should it not? If you increase CO2 from 1% to 10%, and take nothing from your other atmospheric greenhouse gases (like water vapor or methane) – Then yes, temperatures will “certainly” go up. But if you only increase CO2 from 0.03% to 0.05%, making virtually no appreciable difference to your overall greenhouse gases – why should that matter “certainly”? ]]

    Because we can calculate the difference in radiative forcing and it’s significant. The fact that CO2 is a small fraction of the atmosphere means nothing. The fuse is a small part of a bomb. The trigger is a small part of a gun. You might weigh 200 pounds, but 200 milligrams of potassium cyanide will kill you.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 16 Mar 2007 @ 9:07 AM

  130. Perhaps a bit closer analogy, Barton — a thin sheet of mylar is transparent; the same sheet with a few atoms thick layer of aluminum on it is a sunshade.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Mar 2007 @ 10:43 AM

  131. Dhogaza 112 since your moral sensibilities require you to attack anybody who suggests (rvrn implicitly) that anybody else has strayed form the truth you will, of course, be on record as having attecked everybody who suggests Mr Durkin has in any way lied. That obviously includes an attack by you on Ptoffessor Wunsch. Not to have done so would obviously expose you as a hypocrite.

    Where did you post theses attacks.

    Steve 113 the “damaging my career” quote which you say proves I don’t know who Professor Wusnch is came from him. That means you think he doesn’t know who he is either. :-)

    Andrew 117 I appreciate your concern for the amount of smole & lack of actual fire in this debate. Perhaps, purely for comparison, you should check out the other side of the debate where, in my opinion, the ratio of words to facts is lower. Take a look at http://www.sepp.org/ purely for the sake of balance.

    Comment by Neil Craig — 16 Mar 2007 @ 10:49 AM

  132. An interesting excerpt from the Times of London:

    Two eminent British scientists who questioned the accuracy of a Channel 4 programme that claimed global warming was an unfounded conspiracy theory have received an expletive-filled tirade from the programme maker.

    In an e-mail exchange leaked to The Times, Martin Durkin, the executive producer of The Great Global Warming Swindle, responded to the concerns of Dr Armand Leroi, from Imperial College, and Simon Singh, the respected scientific author, by telling them to â??go and f*** yourselfâ??.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article1517515.ece

    Comment by k rutherford — 16 Mar 2007 @ 1:02 PM

  133. Anyone interested can download a lecture for Meteorology and Geography undergraduates here in Edinburgh looking critically at the GGWS documentary, from my home page http://www.geos.ed.ac.uk/homes/chris .

    You might find my attempts to reproduce the documentary’s graph of solar activity versus global temperature amusing (near the end).

    Comment by Chris Merchant — 16 Mar 2007 @ 3:53 PM

  134. Questions: Is the sun spot / solar wind idea of modulation of our temperature have any weight?

    Did anyone ever see the PBS program cross referencing two large studies, one identifying climate history via core samples from ancient lake and sea bed as well as the poles and the other demonstrating the cyclical variations in our wobbling orbit?

    This was a while ago so maybe it is all out dated, but at the time it seemed to clearly demonstrate a clear relationship and among other interesting bits showed how the Sahara Desert had gone from jungle to desert many times.

    At the end they said, now we know that this looks like man has an insignificant influence on our global weather, but still it is important to change our habits of contributing to the problem.

    I wish that there was this much focus on helping the world understand the impact of all of the toxification that we contribute which is much more tangible and much easier to understand how to make change.

    I keep telling people to look at the far reaching impact using our dollars to buy organic when ever possible: water table, farm workers, rivers, oceans, heath of all creatures etc. Each dollar is a vote communicating to the indiscriminate corporations of where they need to focus. Safeway just had a primetime ad promoting their organic label and yes it may be a more diluted version of organic, but it is much better then the alternative.

    The truth about global warming is most likely in the middle ground, rather then the endless pursuit of attack and defend (war). Extremism just seems to be a way to war no matter what subject matter it addresses. Appreciate any effort, find common ground and build support. Thank you one and all for your comments and good energy. – Sam

    Comment by Sam — 16 Mar 2007 @ 10:47 PM

  135. Something that’s just struck me: in paragraph 2 of Carl’s article, he seems to be implicitly blaming the scientist Peter Wadhams for the scare stories in the press about the “gulf stream slowdown”, whereas my understanding from
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/05/gulf-stream-slowdown/
    is that all that Wadhams said was “that convection in a normally active area of the Greenland Sea was much reduced last winter”, and that it was the press, and *not* Wadhams, which was guilty of “over-dramatization and unwarranted extrapolation of scientific facts”.

    So it seems to me that Carl is unfairly criticising Wadhams for the way the press used what Wadhams said. Am I wrong about that?

    Comment by Dave Rado — 17 Mar 2007 @ 8:28 AM

  136. Re. #133
    Chris, why don’t you use a tool such as Robodemo to convert it into a streaming online flash presentation that people can link directly to?

    Comment by Dave Rado — 17 Mar 2007 @ 8:34 AM

  137. re. #134
    I think this is the reference you are looking for:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles
    but as you’ll realise if you read the article carefully, it has no relevance to 20th century warming.

    Dave

    Comment by Dave Rado — 17 Mar 2007 @ 9:02 AM

  138. Re: 131 – thank you Craig, I am finding the reading on http://www.sepp.org to be much more concise and to the point.

    I shall keep reading more over there, and see what truth I can come to on my own.

    Thanks for your understanding… I just want to really know where the fire is.

    Comment by Andrew — 18 Mar 2007 @ 6:10 PM

  139. Andrew, I went over and read your full missive. I sympathise with your anger and sadness. I agree with you (‘cept about Gore wanting to be president). Then out of curiosity I went over to sepp.org and found – The Oregon Petiton! Mercies. I didn’t think anyone was still flogging that thing. Please check out this link:

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

    I have two kids and I’m documenting their development. Does that make me a sociologist? I can communicate with teenagers. Does that make me a linguist?

    Nah.

    There are much better sources than sepp.org. RealClimate is certainly several rungs up the ladder…I’m just sayin’, check the bonafides.

    Cheers!

    Comment by Arvella Oliver — 18 Mar 2007 @ 11:05 PM

  140. [[The truth about global warming is most likely in the middle ground, rather then the endless pursuit of attack and defend (war). Extremism just seems to be a way to war no matter what subject matter it addresses. Appreciate any effort, find common ground and build support. ]]

    No, truth does not always lie in the middle. There’s no reason to build bridges from Democrats or Republicans to Nazis, and archaeologists wouldn’t help the cause of truth by finding middle ground with Erich von Daniken. In the debate between theists and atheists, God either exists or he doesn’t exist. He can’t partially exist.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 19 Mar 2007 @ 10:03 AM

  141. Re: 139 – Petition. Why can’t I spell after 10 pm? Is it those stupid cosmic rays AGAIN? :)

    Comment by Arvella Oliver — 19 Mar 2007 @ 10:38 AM

  142. #117 OK Mr Neutral
    From today’s newspapers have a look at this

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/20/washington/20climate.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    and this

    http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/climate_change/article2374354.ece

    Now you’ve got something to be angry about.

    Cheers

    Mike

    Comment by Mike Donald — 20 Mar 2007 @ 3:32 AM

  143. As a person who is *very* skeptical about (1) the utility of computer modeling…

    Gosh, then, I hope you don’t fly in modern airliners, drive modern cars, or even wear modern hi-tech shoes from the likes of Nike …

    Or use a computer. I design semiconductors and we use computer models all the time. Many times our models are semi-empirical and are not as rigorously tied to physics first principles as climate models. That’s changing with the increase in the power of computer hardware. We don’t need to make as many simplifying assumptions, but then again the same is happening for climate models.

    Let’s say one of my colleagues challenges the accuracy of one of my models. I then challenge him to produce a model that fits the data better. I have never seen a critic do this for say that the current warming is more due to solar forcing. They should run the model and show that they can predict average temperature better than the current models for the 20th Century. They cannot even just show the temperature series correctly. That doesn’t even require a computer model, just decent 4th-Grade graphing skills. The show they should be on is Jeff Foxworthy’s “Are You Smarter than A Fifth Grader?” You will learn much higher quality science on that program.

    Comment by Rich Blinne — 20 Mar 2007 @ 6:45 PM

  144. Dear Pat, I live next to the Atlantic and have never once used disaster relief. Unlike your mid-western bretheren, 2 and 3 times over. God forbid someone would use their Constitutioal freedom to live were they wanted to.

    Comment by David Rio — 22 Mar 2007 @ 9:13 AM

  145. i am unclear as to why everyone thinks it an issue that historically, measured CO2 rises followed rising temperature. i thought that cooling and warming periods in geological history was driven mainly by such factors as the milankovitch effect, solar forcing and so on, whereas the CO2 released (e.g. from the ocean) is a result, and exacerbated it with its GHG effect. the last bit is important, because formerly, the only way CO2 gets released in significant quantities as to contribute to warming acceleration, is by natural processes, since we weren’t there yet. but the fact remains that once in the atmosphere, CO2 plays a forcing role in warming. today the scenario is different. CO2 addition by human activities means that for the first time CO2 is being artificially added in great quantities. there’s no reason to suppose that it cannot act as a primary forcing agent to warming, as far as i can see.

    calculations of how much effect incremental additions of CO2 has, give at least a pretty good ballpark figure that our contribution does not have a negligible effect, that is from the POV of what we need from nature to continue our comfy lives. coupled with the latest (emphasis: latest) solar records that don’t quite fit the warming trend observed, it is quite possible that this time, increased CO2 is causing the warming, and increased solar activity is a secondary contributor. so i don’t see, logically, honestly, why if CO2 lagged behind temperature rise in the past, it must be an issue *today*! it does not mean that CO2 *cannot* act as an initiator of warming, and it does not mean that GW theory says that *only* GHG has *ever* been the cause of warming periods!! the public has to move away from a simplistic mode of thought that sees only this-comes-after-that, so now this-must-come-after-that too. understanding *why* ‘this’ came after ‘that’, and applying the *knowledge*, instead of past *observation* alone, to anticipate the future, is a more sophisticated way of thinking, and is what science is about. and that’s why, when scientists make new observations but can’t explain why it happens, it bothers them, because it’s the *knowledge of why* that is the key to providing information of what to do, better than simple reactions.

    it’s like you, as a PC user, know to press Alt-Ctl-Del to reboot, that’s all you know and you don’t understand that it is just a set of keys programmed by somebody to do that. so you get a computer designed completely different, and expect Alt-Ctl-Del to do the same thing – but it may not. if you understood the concept of programming, even if you didn’t understand why those keys in particular, and what it does in the computer’s innards, at least you know to ask whether to do the same things will need a different command this time. so basically people who operate on simplistic thinking will keep pressing Alt-Ctl-Del over and over, wondering why the machine is not responding. so please don’t be taken in by simple comparisons. you must know why some comparisons are relevant and valid, in order to know when they aren’t.

    Comment by Kirana — 23 Mar 2007 @ 5:42 AM

  146. Re #131: Neil, if you were familiar with Wunsch’s career you would know that was hyperbole on his part. I take it as professor-speak for “it made me look like a fool,” or to put it another way, it damaged his personal reputation rather than his professional one.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 23 Mar 2007 @ 11:26 AM

  147. Re 145: I too am puzzled by the inability of seemingly intelligent, well-educated people to grasp the explanation of temperature/CO2 lead or lag. Someone here used a chicken and egg analogy. Put more eggs (fertilized!) in the nests in the henhouse and you will get more hens. Or put more hens in the henhouse and you will get more eggs.

    I think of it as two hockey pucks tied together by a spring. It does not matter which puck gets whacked by a hockey stick (external forcing), the other puck will follow, as is the inevitable nature of positively coupled variables in a dynamic system. We are currently whacking the heck out of the CO2 puck.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 23 Mar 2007 @ 12:11 PM

  148. Re. 117, 120, Andrew.

    Which things influence the climate, and to what degree?

    Wikipedia is your friend.
    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change

    Which are more important today, and what they are doing?

    See: http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Image:Climate_Change_Attribution_png

    So, for example, if you have 30 studies on sunspot activity effect on global warming, and 25 say yes, in effect, 5 say no… you can report on the numbers.
    Obviously, there is more than a yes or no, in EACH AND EVERY one of those studies, but, so, you come up with a scoring system. -5 for strongly disputes the fact, +5 for strongly supports the fact.

    See:
    http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2006/11/13/22399/297
    http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2006/11/14/1511/4868
    and http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2006/11/13/221250/49

    Comment by Dave Rado — 23 Mar 2007 @ 3:33 PM

  149. In criticising the Oregon Petition of 17,000 sceptical scientists Arvella’s link, while trying to show the Institute as a bunch of small town hicks shows that they contain 1 Nobel prize winner, the discoverer of radioactive carbon & a former partner of a nobel prizewinner (technically nobel & bar) who split with him on a point on which he is now almost universally agreed to have been right & Pauling wrong.

    I’m sure Cambridge could surpass that academic record. I’m not sure how many others, even with many thousands of employees, could come close.

    Comment by Neil Craig — 24 Mar 2007 @ 9:26 AM

  150. Neil, did you look this up or just read what OISM says?
    You _can_ check this stuff out if you take even a little time.
    Try this search, read half a dozen or a dozen documents discussing it:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=%22oregon+petition%22+%2Boism+%2Bnobel

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Mar 2007 @ 11:40 AM

  151. Re 104, wherein Ron Taylor wrote:

    “Julian, many of the scientists developing the climate computer models work for NASA. Please understand the NASA track record of excellence in computer modeling. Everything they have accomplished in aircraft design and in the space program has depended on computer modeling, including landing men on the moon nearly forty years ago. Sure, climate is even more complex, but the computers used are orders of magnitude more powerful. It is a great mistake to dismiss the power and utility of computer modeling.”

    Speaking of dismissed, is that why the name of Tennekes (Hendrik Tennekes) appears only once in a search of this site, and that only in passing, in response to Lindzen? A search doesn’t even produce a lone link — it just goes straight to that article. If you have anything to do with climate modelling, you undoubtedly know the name Tennekes, a strong proponent of modelling who once stated, “…no forecast is complete without a forecast of the forecast skill…”

    Invoking the name of NASA might be flattering to some at NASA, but it is an Appeal to Authority, and not valid as an argument. Besides that, your comparison of NASA’s lunar mission (et al) modelling with climate modelling is like comparing recent medical advances and breakthroughs to some kind of godhood.

    For as much as I am solidly behind anything that advances our state of the art in modelling, a little humble reality check might be in order here, because climate modelling is still very much in its infancy, and to compare NASA’s technology modelling with the modelling of an entire climate system, regardless how many “orders of magnitude” improvements have been made to date, or who is involved, is vastly overreaching of reality (also by orders of magnitude).

    Climate modelling is an attempt to artificially, virtually, replicate an entire climate system, with all its vast complexity. Just feeding in data, and validitating the model (by knowing where it’s supposed to rain or snow, or how the wind should blow and fluids should mix at a given points), may give you the simplest of running head starts; however, once you set the model loose, it’s eventually going to bear no resemblance to how the earth and its climate will act and react. The question is, how soon will the model take on a mind of its own, so to speak? Ten years? More? How many more?

    The advances made in modelling science are invaluable to the future, but I would liken the current forecasting capabilities to a big game of Sim Earth at this point. You can get a model to appear like the earth’s climate, just as you can animate a polar bear to look somewhat like a live polar bear; you can even get the model to behave somewhat like the earth’s present climate, once you’ve fed in fifty years of varied [and often quite limited] data; but once the model takes off into the future, how valid is that data, and for how many theoretical years?

    This is why, of course, we are presented with multiple forecasting scenarios, with different sets of underlying and governing assumptions, but this leads to another question: For every model scenario and validation paper in support of that scenario that is selected for publication and review, how many were not selected, and why. We will never know. That’s another problem with the artificial modelling universe. Unlike natural proxies and other data that can be examined on the whole by everyone (and later validated or discounted), only the scenarios generated that are actually presented that can be examined, verified and discounted.

    Without aid of a single model, I forecast that the future models will forecast something along the lines of what was assumed already, before the data was ever fed in, and that we will be handed another set of multiple choice possibilities from which to choose for ourselves.

    Comment by Steven Douglas — 26 Mar 2007 @ 8:48 AM

  152. [[because climate modelling is still very much in its infancy, and to compare NASA’s technology modelling with the modelling of an entire climate system, regardless how many “orders of magnitude” improvements have been made to date, or who is involved, is vastly overreaching of reality (also by orders of magnitude). ]]

    Let’s see, the first modern radiative-convective model was published by Manabe and Strickler in 1964 — if you don’t count Hulbert’s model of 1931, which, of course, could not use a computer. On the other hand, the Apollo program dates from… the mid-’60s. They sound about the same age to me.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 26 Mar 2007 @ 10:28 AM

  153. Excerpted from one of myriad papers on this very subject: (hundreds more upon request, or – you can just Google “climate modelling” + “its infancy” yourself)

    Numerical modelling of the fully coupled climate system is still in its infancy. This is primarily due to the immense complexity of the task and insufficient empirical knowledge of many aspects of climate related processes. This is not only the case for the oceans where the knowledge of the time-dependent deep ocean circulation is particularly poor, but also for example in the hydrological cycle where precipitation, evaporation and the three-dimensional distribution of water vapour and clouds are insufficiently known. We probably only know the global annual averaged precipitation within an accuracy of some 5-10%. Practically no reliable observations of precipitation exist over the oceans.”

    There is a universe of difference between a single radiative coupling model and a model of the fully coupled climate system, which is still in its infancy. Infancy is obviously a term relative to comprehensiveness of the state of the art and the certainty of its results, more than its literal age in years.

    With Apollo programs, the number of variables and uncertainties were vastly narrower and far more easily quantifiable than those considered in climate forecasting models that attempt to effectively model/reproduce the dynamics of an entire planetary climate system, and to such a precision that it will continue to behave as that system, and with reasonable reliability and certainty, as it leaves its known historical data and proceeds into the future.

    A fly comes out of its infancy within a day, while a human’s infancy is measured in months, or years. Likewise, the two programs (lunar exploration and climate modelling) are entirely different animals. I seriously doubt that any climate modeller worth his or her salt would even begin to argue otherwise.

    Comment by Steven Douglas — 26 Mar 2007 @ 8:09 PM

  154. Carl,
    I recently saw this film and was intrigued by the amount of data they used. Now if I understand your post here, you feel they misrepresented you and your opinion. I’m sorry if they did, but can you answer a question for me.
    The data they used on the correlation between Carbon Dioxide and the rising and falling temperatures, was that fairly accurate? Since it is next to impossible to see the actual raw data, I, as do many others, distrust people who use these types of “Facts” to make a point. Especially when it used with computer modeling.

    Thanks for your time
    Mike

    [Response:The temperature data they used was wonky – it appears to have been truncated. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Climate_Change_Attribution.png is a better picture. T and CO2 data is readily available – William]

    Comment by Mike Omalley — 26 Mar 2007 @ 11:04 PM

  155. [[Likewise, the two programs (lunar exploration and climate modelling) are entirely different animals. I seriously doubt that any climate modeller worth his or her salt would even begin to argue otherwise. ]]

    If you have an emotional need to believe that climate models are inaccurate, there’s not much I can do about it. But if you want to convince others, you’ll have to come up with some concrete evidence, or at least a logically coherent argument, other than “the field is in its infancy.” Manned lunar exploration is in its infancy, too, and probably will be for a long, long time. We’re still finding out things about the moon the Apollo astronauts never knew; e.g., the lunar rocks Apollo missions brought back were “bone dry,” but Clementine says there’s buried ice at the lunar poles.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Mar 2007 @ 7:55 AM

  156. Re #153: So your argument is that because models can’t predict future climate changes exactly, we should just ignore them entirely?

    I don’t think that attitude makes much sense. After all, when I’m out target shooting, my ballistic model is pretty inaccurate: I don’t hit the bullseye every time (or even the target :-(), but you’re still a lot better off standing behind me.

    The analogy may seem a bit strained, but it serves a point. In both cases, there is a very simple basic process, either increasing CO2 or speeding bullets, and even though we can’t exactly predict the effects, it seems really obvious that it’s a not a good idea to get in the way.

    Comment by James — 27 Mar 2007 @ 12:18 PM

  157. Barton Paul Levenson wrote:

    “If you have an emotional need to believe that climate models are inaccurate, there’s not much I can do about it.”

    Now where did that little piece of ad hominem come from? For me, belief is not at issue, and ‘accurate’ and ‘inaccurate’ are woefully inadequate descriptors in all of this. Capacity, computational power, resolution, confidence, trustfulness, skillfulness, capabilities, limitations, usefulness, etc., all these and more are far more useful (and somewhat less polarizing) than terms like ‘believe’ and ‘accurate’ or ‘inaccurate’. Models can be extremely ‘informative’, or ‘useful’ in some areas, and utterly lacking in others. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but don’t take my word for anything. Scientists assess levels of ‘confidence’ all the time, to wit:

    I am distrustful of prediction scenarios for details of the ocean circulation that rely on extremely complicated coupled models that run out for decades to thousands of years. The science is not sufficiently mature to say which of the many complex elements of such forecasts are skillful. Nonetheless…I firmly believe there is a great deal to be learned from models. With effort, all of this is explicable in terms the public can understand.

    Not my words. Carl Wunsch’s words (see article above). And since models (and especially models in relation to Carl Wunsch’s article, and not anyone’s emotional needs) are the topic, here’s another thing that he wrote, again, on this topic (emphasis mine):

    Many scientists therefore rely upon numerical models of the climate system to calculate (1) the nature of natural variability with no human interference, and compare it to (2) the variability seen when human effects are included. This approach is a very sensible one, but the ability to test (calibrate) the models, which can be extraordinarily complex, for realism in both categories (1) and (2) is limited by the same observational data base already describe. At bottom, it is very difficult to determine the realism by which the models deal with either (1) or (2). Thus at bottom, it is very difficult to separate human induced change from natural change, certainly not with the confidence we all seek. In these circumstances, it is essential to remember that the inability to prove human-induced change is not the same thing as a demonstration of its absence. It is probably true that most scientists would assign a very high probability that human-induced change is already strongly present in the climate system, while at the same time agreeing that clear-cut proof is not now available and may not be available for a long-time to come, if ever. Public policy has to be made on the basis of probabilities, not firm proof.

    So when it comes to separating anthropogenic contributions to climate change to natural variability, Professor Wunsch believes that clear-cut proof is not now available, and perhaps may never be. It is not the models, according to Professor Wunsch, whereby anthropogenic contributions are even attributed, but assignments of probability by “most scientists”. If that is true, I can accept that — if we call it that, and don’t imply something else.

    And one last:

    First, existing climate models, which are the main tool that have been used to study the hypothesis, do not have the resolution, either vertical or horizontal, to properly compute the behavior of fresh water and its interaction with the underlying ocean and overlying atmosphere. Models of the modern ocean contain special, high resolution subcomponents designed to calculate mixed layer behavior (e.g., Price et al., 1986; Large et al., 1994). Despite the great effort that has gone into them, systematic errors in calculating mixed layer properties remain. How these errors would accumulate in climate-scale models, with much less resolution is unknown. Second, some models also use a physically inappropriate surface boundary condition for salinity, leading to serious questions about the physical reality of the resulting flows (Huang, 1993). Third, the models have almost always been run with fixed diffusion coefficients. A series of papers (Munk and Wunsch, 1998; Huang, 1993; Nilsson et al., 2003; Wunsch and Ferrari, 2004) have noted that, (a) mixing coefficients have a profound influence on the circulation; (b) fixed mixing coefficients as the climate system shifts and/or as fresh water is added are very unlikely to be correct; (c) depending upon exactly how the mixing coefficients are modified, fresh water additions can actually increase the North Atlantic mass circulation (Nilsson et al., 2003).

    I didn’t write any of that, and I didn’t consider it disparaging of climate modelling in the least. They were honest assessments on the part of Professor Wunsch regarding capabilities, limitations, underlying assumptions, etc., all of which affect the confidence he has, or lacks, in certain parts of current models. I didn’t read anything else into it. I don’t have ‘an emotional need’ to believe (or not to believe) either way, and I’m not Channel 4, taking Professor Wunsch out of context (or putting him into one whereby he becomes politically involved in an unwelcome way, and thereby guilty somehow by association). Professor Wunsch’s words shouldn’t shake anyone’s faith, any more than they should add confidence where it does not belong at this point, because a large part of the scientific process is in honestly assessing the errors, limitations and challenges. Unfortunately, with the political climate that clouds this issue (ugh, I hate puns, sorry, none intended), merely making statements of simple fact can lead to controversy. It is a sad day for us all when a scientist like Professor Wunsch feels that he needs Miranda rights read to him before granting an interview, as anything he says can and will be used against him in courts of public opinion.

    As of now, there’s a simplistic (and highly polarizing) push, born of politics and shameless exploitation of lay ignorance, to view climate models in black and white terms. Either they’re exalted as ‘accurate’ (whatever that means), or ridiculed as the soothsaying crystal balls of climate change prophets (which I was guilty of myself, by comparing them to Sim Earth, which was overly simplistic and unfair). Hence, I fully agree with Professor Wunsch’s statement:

    “I firmly believe there is a great deal to be learned from models. With effort, all of this is explicable in terms the public can understand.”

    I think so as well, but it will take more than a little effort. It would take a concerted effort. It would take scientists like Hansen, Lindzen, et al, standing side by side, in a neutral, non-advocacy based documentary, article, paper or whatever, of their own, telling the world precisely what that they do agree upon — which is considerable, and vast, and could restore a great deal of public confidence in a process that [I believe] is perceived as corrupted, and polluted by special interests all the way around. Right now, to everyone’s shame, politicians and the media are the mouthpieces for the scientists, whose scientific views are almost always distorted, or misrepresented. I’m not talking about policy decisions. They’re actually presenting (and misrepresenting) the science itself. There are no peacemakers in this highly politicized process, and we now have lay people picking their favorite scientists as if they were horses in a race, which scientists are then being imputed as agreeing with every lay piece of unscientific nonsense that was ever spewed by either on the advocacy side of things – which should never be confused with the science side of things. And what was the result? HALF of the North American population believes one way, and a little less than half believes another. That is not the slightest bit surprising to me. Looks suspiciously like a coin flip to me, and we all deserve better.

    One thing I take comfort in: nobody’s getting away with anything, on either side. Not ultimately. The science will continue to sort and filter out all the nonsense, which will be discarded in time as so much dross.

    Comment by Steven Douglas — 27 Mar 2007 @ 2:00 PM

  158. You know, I have to say that as I am involved with AB 32 and California’s effort at Global Warming mitigation, I am not so sure that the efforts planned currently will amount to much.

    Where is the conversation about rideshare and carpooling in our efforts to combat global warming?

    And in Los Angeles, we don’t need Global Warming as a reason to clean the air … our brown sky should be motiviation alone.

    Click here to Follow Traffic Bulldog Public Comments on AB 32

    http://trafficbulldog.org is a commuter advocacy group committed to helping people form carpools, reduce the number of vehicles on the road, cleaning the air, fighting global warming, underfund terrorism, and getting us half way to Kyoto all at the same time.

    Please join the conversation.

    Comment by Traffic Bulldog.org — 27 Mar 2007 @ 7:24 PM

  159. I have two comments, one on past climate changes and the other on models.

    – First, the major temperature variations in the past 600K years were not just changes in the atmosphere – they were driven by ice sheet growth during ice ages. Scientists have some idea of how these ice ages started, but their meltdown remains almost a mystery. The highly hypothetical mechanisms used to explain the meltdown, are really just guesswork. I’m saying this to point out that neither temperature nor CO2 variations, whichever started first, were the cause – they followed the development of ice sheets.

    – Second, the climate models. With all due respect to their developers, it is plain common sense to think that any model used to forecast climate, must be validated by its ability to correctly describe past and present climate changes for which records of temperature, CO2 and other factors exist. As far as I know, no climate model has been capable of this so far. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Alex

    Comment by Alex Tarussov — 28 Mar 2007 @ 7:32 AM

  160. [[Barton Paul Levenson wrote:
    “If you have an emotional need to believe that climate models are inaccurate, there’s not much I can do about it.”
    Now where did that little piece of ad hominem come from?]]

    Because I don’t think there’s anything I or anybody else here could say which would change your mind. You’ve got your one point to make and you’re going to make it, and hold onto it, no matter what contrary evidence comes along.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 Mar 2007 @ 8:10 AM

  161. Re #159: Alex Tarussov — See the paper by Abe-Ouchi/Sagawa/Saito linked on the What triggers ice ages thread, down a few from here…

    Comment by David B. Benson — 28 Mar 2007 @ 3:18 PM

  162. Never Let the Facts Get in the Way of a Bad Story

    From the producers of “Swindled” comes “Libeled!,” the skeptics response to charges they misrepresented someone else’s views.

    http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/04/10/417/

    Comment by Alvia Gaskill — 11 Apr 2007 @ 7:20 AM

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