RealClimate

Comments

RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Thank you for this cogent analysis.

    Comment by llewelly — 7 Aug 2010 @ 9:31 AM

  2. As your figure 4 demonstrates, Monckton’s CO2 projections are almost exactly the same as the IPCC projections.

    So what, exactly, is the point you are trying to make?

    .

    Comment by Ralph — 7 Aug 2010 @ 9:51 AM

  3. I would like to have seen the point made that for Monckton to try to represent the the IPCC stated he’d have to include all scenarios from all GCMs used and plot against that. Instead, he uses the worst case scenario and misrepresents it as what the IPCC said.

    Anyone have a graph that shows all IPCC IV scenarios that real data could be plotted against? My guess is it would show reality as being at the upper bound of scenarios, completely obliterating the argument is overstating, and prove that, if anything, IV was quite conservative.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 7 Aug 2010 @ 10:30 AM

  4. He is incompetent, he fabricates, but he is also been extraordinarily successful. Monckton is a classic example of a demagogue preaching “doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots”. (to quote HL Mencken).

    Comment by Paul A — 7 Aug 2010 @ 10:32 AM

  5. Guess I should have had my coffee first. There were a number of mistakes in that last. Please delete and use this:

    I would like to have seen the point made directly that for Monckton to try to represent what the IPCC stated, he’d have had to include all scenarios from all GCMs used and plot against that. Instead, he uses a worst case scenario and misrepresents it as the totality of what the IPCC produced.

    Anyone have a graph that shows all IPCC IV scenarios that real data could be plotted against? My guess is it would show reality as being at the upper bound of scenarios, completely obliterating the argument is the IPCC is overstating the case, and prove that, if anything, the IPCC IV was quite conservative.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 7 Aug 2010 @ 10:34 AM

  6. He’s just making it up.

    And one suspects he knows that full well. See our discussion‘On Bullshit’.

    Comment by Roger Romney-Hughes — 7 Aug 2010 @ 10:47 AM

  7. I don’t think you’ll get much disagreement from intelligent sceptics that Monckton is not a reliable or dispassionate witness, more a polemicist. And he certainly suffers from the same disease as many – inability to admit fault, leading to consequent loss of credibility.

    Which is why I’m curious as to the purpose of this post – which readers of Realclimate need convincing that Monckton is not reliable?

    Comment by Hot Rod — 7 Aug 2010 @ 10:48 AM

  8. Monkton is succeeding because of an age old marketing principal. If you can’t sell your product as the best product, sell it as the alternative/opposite than the best product.

    Monkton doesn’t need to be right or present the facts, he just needs to be the opposite of realClimate. And there is a large population of people who disagree with global warming who are looking for someone to back up their feelings and opinions.

    Comment by Matt Camp — 7 Aug 2010 @ 11:06 AM

  9. If you want to get your head around the extent of Monckton’s tendency to fabricate, see “Lord Monckton’s Rap Sheet” here:

    http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/lord-moncktons-rap-sheet/

    Comment by Barry Bickmore — 7 Aug 2010 @ 11:12 AM

  10. Where is RomanM and CA to complain about the
    “appallingly commonplace misuse of statistical methodology in climate science “skeptics”/contrarians”? [quote from RomanM's blog]

    The double standard of certain self-proclaimed citizen “auditors” and their following is incredible.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 7 Aug 2010 @ 11:19 AM

  11. But if he has no training, why has he become so influential among climate change contrarians?

    Because no one competent was available to lie about climate science? Seems obvious.

    Monckton has since exploded into hysterics and is threatening to sue everyone who points out he’s lying, so I don’t think his act has much of its fifteen minutes left.

    Comment by JM — 7 Aug 2010 @ 11:44 AM

  12. Monckton is a fraud. He is not a \Lord\ and has never been a member of the House of Lords, which is required for the title of Lord in the U.K. He is not only a fraud, he is pandering to people who don’t know better and are so ignorant they don’t know they’re ignorant.

    Climate scientists and others knowledgeable about global climate should go after this guy to have him prosecuted for fraud.

    [Response: Your information on what constitutes Lordship and membership in the House of Lords is precisely backwards (look it up, please). However dishonest he may be about his claims about science, there is no evidence of any dishonesty about his title. In any case, it's quite irrelevant. Please stick to substance.--eric]

    Comment by G. Thomas Farmer — 7 Aug 2010 @ 11:51 AM

  13. Bickmore is grasping at straws here. Firstly he sets Monckton up as the authority for the anti-AGW camp. Monckton certainly is prominent and vocal but he is just one of many commentators, including a swath of well qualified and experienced scientists who do not accept the IPCC belief that the bulk of warming in recent years is due to man made CO2 emissions. Bickmore has a problem with Monckton’s prominence because he is not climate science qualified. The fact is, many scientists on both sides of the debate are not climate scientists, they are earth scientists, astrophysicists, palaeontologists, economists, statisticians, and here in Australia, one of the most vocal pro-AGW commentators is a professor of psychology. But I don’t hear the pro-AGW camp telling him he’s not qualified to talk on climate science. The pro-AGW camp didn’t seem to have a problem with the college drop-out unqualified Al Gore taking a prominent position on climate change, and accepting a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. In fact it is a real pity that Bickmore and his ilk didn’t critique Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ because that had more holes in it than a Swiss cheese. Had they done so, they may well have earned themselves some credibility. Instead, many pro-AGW scientists kept quiet simply because Al Gore was supporting ‘their side’ [edit]. Finally Bickmore wants to criticise Monckton for using the IPCC reports ‘hypothetical scenarios’ and calling them predictions. So where were Bickmore and all the other pro-AGW scientists when the media were clearly citing the IPCC’s upper end ‘hypothetical scenarios’ predictions? How many took time to correct the commentators pointing out that the extreme scenarios used to whip up support for draconian climate change policies were merely hypothetical, and at the upper end of hypothetical? Finally Bickmore gleaned some sense of satisfaction by claiming the IPCC projections are ‘still right in the ball park’. In fact HadCRUT3 global temperature anomalies are at the very low range of the IPCC scenarios, (had we been using a ball park it would have been called a foul having bounced outside the diamond), and shows little sign of moving anywhere near the upper range. The fact is if the lower range results are typical of future temperatures then not only do we have little to fear, but we may actually reap some benefits from a climate more conducive to higher world agricultural productivity. All Bickmore has done in trying to be ‘clever’ is prove Monckton more right than wrong, and the IPCC hypothetical scenarios more wrong than right.

    [Response:I agree with you that it is not relevant whether Monckton is 'qualified' (except insofar as the point has to do with the notable absence of people that *are* qualified who agree with him.) Nevertheless, you are really grasping at straws to suggest that he is right. And your are wrong about your claim of lack of balance. RealClimate has many posts pointing out where the media has hyped things, for example here.--eric]

    Comment by James — 7 Aug 2010 @ 11:58 AM

  14. Monckton’s 2002 – 2009 graph was a nonsense anyway, regardless of what slope it shows, since 7 years of data can’t possibly give us the trend in global temperatures. It can only show us the natural fluctuations due to the solar cycle, ocean circulation and so on. To see any real trend at all, we have to average over a long enough period to have some chance of reducing the ‘noise’ of natural fluctuations substantially below the ‘signal’ of a long-term warming trend, and that means at least two solar cycles – i.e. 22 years at a bare minimum, and preferably 30.

    So, rather than being challenged on how it was constructed, the 2002 – 2009 graph should have been just dismissed as completely worthless for its advertised purpose, which it is. There is no ‘global cooling’ at all, despite Monckton’s caption – the globe is warming at about 0.18°C per decade and has been for several decades, with no sign of even a slowdown in this warming, let alone a halt or reversal. That is what needs to be pointed out in response to Monckton’s arrant nonsense.

    Comment by Icarus — 7 Aug 2010 @ 12:01 PM

  15. I have offered to debate this charlatan four times now. No reply yet.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Aug 2010 @ 12:11 PM

  16. James (Comment #12),

    It wasn’t me who set up Monckton as an authority. I would say it was people like the members of the U.S. Congress who twice invited Monckton to testify about climate science. Even that would be fine with me if he didn’t fabricate his facts.

    Comment by Barry Bickmore — 7 Aug 2010 @ 12:18 PM

  17. Pink Portcullis in Peril:

    The House is currently taking steps with a view to ensuring that Lord Monckton does not in future either claim to be a member of the House or use the parliamentary emblem or any variant thereof.

    FOGT

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Aug 2010 @ 12:20 PM

  18. It’s my own belief that Monckton is successful because he is preaching to the choir, or rather, the denial choir. Anyone with any sense should look at him and shake their head, and yet there are any number of people who will eagerly believe what they want to hear, and they are the sheep that flock to his call. That this includes a member of the U.S. senate is simply embarrassing, but fortunately I am not from the state of Oklahoma and so can personally avoid any blame for that particular ignominy.

    At the same time, as far beneath mention as someone like Monckton should be, particularly on a site such as this, I think that properly debunking his and other ridiculously blatant lies is an important if tedious task. The more that the truly absurd, and easily and unarguably recognized, lies of the leaders of the denial movement can be exposed for what they are, the more ordinary people will recognize the difference between the skeptical claims of lies (such as “the hockey stick” or “hide the decline”) and actual, laughable fabrications… which invariably come from the denial camp, in droves.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 7 Aug 2010 @ 12:27 PM

  19. Re #12 Eric, from what Bickmore wrote Monckton is closer to being right in saying that the IPCC’s own temperature scenarios are not predictive, than the IPCC is in getting almost all of their temperature scenarios close to actual results. You also can’t claim balance by pointing to one or two articles on this site which attacked ridiculous claims. Where have you analysed ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and separated fact from fiction? Or attacked the many outrageous claims made regarding possible sea level rise, extreme weather events and the like? I stand by the points I made regarding the use of the extreme scenarios to drive policy without any clarification that they are both hypothetical and at the extreme end of the range. You only have to read any number of newspaper articles on Climate Change to see what I have said is true. If we try to panic policy makers into action by claiming hypothetical extremes then we risk having the baby thrown out with the bathwater when those extreme scenarios don’t appear to be eventuating. I agree with the new tack being taken by many environmental activists, lets deal with the facts we are sure of and make policy based on that. Protect forests, reafforestation projects, reduce particulate pollution, sulphates and methane emissions, maximise renewable energy and so on.

    Comment by James — 7 Aug 2010 @ 12:32 PM

  20. 12 (James),

    Bickmore is grasping at straws here. Firstly he sets Monckton up as the authority for the anti-AGW camp.

    I’m sorry, I would agree, if it weren’t for the fact that Monckton testified before Congress. That means that he established himself as “an authority for the anti_AGW camp.” It also makes him fair game for examination and dissection, and in fact makes it necessary that someone do so.

    That the U.S. Congress was foolish and ignorant enough to allow the testimony of such a character is another issue, and makes one stop to think (and sweat, and tremble).

    …one of the most vocal pro-AGW commentators is a professor of psychology. But I don’t hear the pro-AGW camp telling him he’s not qualified to talk on climate science…

    I don’t see anyone telling anyone that they aren’t qualified to talk about the issue, or should not do so. The topic of this post is not about his right to speak, but rather a clear and unarguable exposition of the lies that he has presented.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 7 Aug 2010 @ 12:39 PM

  21. All Bickmore has done in trying to be ‘clever’ is prove Monckton more right than wrong

    Except for the part where performing the test Monckton himself proposed shows that Monckton was wrong? You really ought to read before commenting.

    and the IPCC hypothetical scenarios more wrong than right.

    It seems you have failed to grasp the meaning of the word “scenario,” abusing it in precisely the way Monckton has while lying about climate science.

    Comment by JM — 7 Aug 2010 @ 12:43 PM

  22. I stand by the points I made regarding the use of the extreme scenarios to drive policy without any clarification that they are both hypothetical and at the extreme end of the range.

    Again the the scenarios thingy? Claiming that something is misleading because you insist on getting it wrong is really a new low.

    Comment by JM — 7 Aug 2010 @ 12:46 PM

  23. Where have you analysed [sic] ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and separated fact from fiction? Or attacked the many outrageous claims made regarding possible sea level rise, extreme weather events and the like?

    Okay, this is just downright silly. Your point amounts to two things:

    1) “Other people have been wrong, too, therefore it is wrong to point out that Monckton blatantly lies.”

    2) “If you are going to be fair, you have to argue the other sides case to an equal degree. If you don’t then you aren’t being fair in the debate.”

    Are you serious?

    [On a separate note, can you actually point to (link to) any of the "outrageous claims" that you claim to have heard? Nothing vague. Be specific. Deniers constantly say things like this and yet I myself never see any real evidence of it... and I myself don't live only in the sealed off echo chamber of the denial blog world.]

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 7 Aug 2010 @ 12:46 PM

  24. >These errors compound into a rather stunning display of complete incompetence. But since all, or at least nearly all, of this has been pointed out to Monckton in the past, there’s just no scientifically valid excuse for this. He’s just making it up.

    I think if he’s that bad why are you focusing a full post and energy on him? I say this as a part skeptic/denier but still I do have respect for RC and follow and enjoy the blog but Monkton is more a topic for ranting at Climate Progress or Watts up. This blog should avoid something if he is as you say “Just making it up” but why is he making it up, have you established a specific motive? Have a great day!

    Comment by grzejnik — 7 Aug 2010 @ 1:16 PM

  25. However dishonest he may be about his claims about science, there is no evidence of any dishonesty about his title. In any case, it’s quite irrelevant. Please stick to substance.–eric

    His title is irrelevant, however, his claim to be a member of the House of Lords and his use of its parliamentary emblem is. He has, for instance, introduced himself to the US Senate as being such, and in a way that would lead the casual observer to believe he was appearing in a quasi-official role. He trades on his supposed membership in the Lords in order to inflate his importance.

    This is, I believe, relevant. You may, of course, disagree.

    Or you may decide this is relevant, but off-topic, another kettle of fish entirely.

    From Barry Bickmore’s blog:

    From: House Of Lords Information Office
    Date: August 5, 2010 5:07:52 AM MDT
    To: Friends of Gin & Tonic
    Subject: RE: inquiry

    Dear Derek,

    Many thanks for your emails.

    Viscount Monckton of Brenchley is not and has never been a member of the House of Lords. However, allegations that he has claimed to be a member, and that he has used an emblem resembling the parliamentary emblem, have been drawn to our attention.

    The House is currently taking steps with a view to ensuring that Lord Monckton does not in future either claim to be a member of the House or use the parliamentary emblem or any variant thereof.

    Best wishes,

    Information Office
    House of Lords
    London SW1A 0PW
    020 7219 3107

    Comment by dhogaza — 7 Aug 2010 @ 1:18 PM

  26. Where have you analysed ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and separated fact from fiction?

    James apparently can’t be bothered to search the site for its critique of “An Inconvenient Truth”. Why not, James?

    Of course, if he does, he’ll realize that working climate scientists largely agree with most everything stated in the film or book, and that will be more proof for James that climate science is really climate fiction, because if James believes something is fiction, it *must* be fiction, right?

    Comment by dhogaza — 7 Aug 2010 @ 1:22 PM

  27. And your are wrong about your claim of lack of balance. RealClimate has many posts pointing out where the media has hyped things, for example here.

    The commenter’s demand for “balance” is actually a complex question fallacy, much like “have you stopped beating your wife?” In fact, there is no figure on the other side of this issue with the same reach, exposure, and systemic mendacity who could be compared to Mr. Monckton.

    The demand that you expose such a person is dishonest, and seems to be a desperate attempt to distract from yet another denialist meltdown.

    Comment by JM — 7 Aug 2010 @ 1:29 PM

  28. It is not surprising that Monckton is so popular in the States, first he is a “Lord”, and second he is a Marty Feldman look-a-like. Then of course the average American is so gullible they believe almost anything, anyone tells them, this could be the reason as to why so few Americans travel abroad, as they still believe that the world is flat, and that the capital of Europe is IKEA

    Comment by George Robinson — 7 Aug 2010 @ 1:45 PM

  29. The professed “real” upper and lower bounds in figure 5 are ridiculous. This range makes the graph effectively unfalsifiable for decades.

    Anybody can look at the graphic and state that the most recent CO2 data is not trending as expected in the predictions. This may change over the longer term, or may even require long term data. But stating everything is going as the predictions expected is equally false to saying it has been falsified at this point.

    I have the same problem with the global temperature simulations, the most recent measured data (12 years) is not trending as the models predicted. It is still technically within the error bars, but the error bars are so wide that a minimal rise in temperature over 30 years would still result in “success”.

    I comprehend the noisy data and the need for long term averaging. But defending that the models are “working” does not pass the smell test.

    This is a two way street folks, and it is fair. If the error margins are large, then we are going to have to wait 30 or more years to see if the model is really working, and to also have high confidence in the model. Because it may take that long for the model to fail. Big error margins indicate lack of confidence in the predictions, and that should be clearly stated.

    If small error margins are used (not that error margins can be set just anywhere), then the model will be falsifiable a lot earlier. However you can also claim success with higher confidence earlier.

    Tight margins and I’ll trust the models sooner, large margins and I’ll trust the models a lot later. Draw the margins wherever they belong, and I will judge results and confidence accordingly.

    [Response: You misunderstand the sources of prediction uncertainty. Some of it, related to chaotic weather dynamics are likely to be irreducible for any short time period, and so the best you can do is characterise that uncertainty (using ensemble forecasting for instance). Demanding unacheivable forecast spread before you take anything seriously sounds just a tad too convenient. - gavin]

    Comment by Tom Scharf — 7 Aug 2010 @ 1:59 PM

  30. For a classics major and journalist, Monckton is rather good with math. Not correct, but good enough to look like he is doing the same things that real scientists are doing. Since very few people have the mathematical talent and training required, he is able to fool a lot of people. That is what makes him dangerous, and that is why it is necessary for RC to point out the differences. Some of those differences may appear to be nit picking to most people.
    Where did Monckton learn his math?

    reCaptcha is getting difficult for humans sometimes. Could you get it to stick to correctly spelled words? My computer underlines “scarrate” indicating that it is misspelled.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 7 Aug 2010 @ 2:12 PM

  31. And one more thing that really bothers me about climate model predictions that is rarely discussed around here, and kind of swept into the closet, which is prediction skill.

    We all know that prediction skill is effectively a measure of the correctness of a model, but that is not the whole story, or even most of the story. Prediction skill is also based on how it compares to other models, and importantly, to basic mathematical predictions.

    The first step in skill here is “Can you beat a seventh grader?”. A seventh grader who knows nothing of the physics of the climate can lay down a ruler and draw an estimate (i.e. linear interpolation) based on the general trend.

    If the seventh grader has better results, it indicates that all the hard earned knowledge and super tech physical simulation models have bought you exactly zero. They are not (in the form they are implemented) providing anything useful what so ever.

    Think about that the next few times you analyze climate model performance. Right now the seventh grader is winning.

    [Response: Not true at all. Julie Hargreaves has a new paper out on this precise question and shows that the early model simulations had substantial skill compared to any naive model. - gavin]

    Comment by Tom Scharf — 7 Aug 2010 @ 2:18 PM

  32. While I agree with James that looking for evidence of mendacity from Monckton is like shooting fish in a barrel with a stinger missile, unfortunately, James has decided not to name names for his “swath of well qualified and experienced scientists”. Nor does he tell us how many scientists constitute a swath.

    He also doesn’t seem to understand that the criterion for admission to the rank of card-carrying climate scientists is publication on the subject of climate in peer-reviewed scientific journals that regularly carry articles on the subject. Monckton regretably does not meet this standard. However, looking at the pitiful output of scientists in the denialist camp, it’s kind of hard to argue that any of his “swath” meet it either. Oh dear, could it be that James is BSing in a manner similar to Monckton.

    Cue James post on climategate in 5…4…3…2…

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Aug 2010 @ 2:29 PM

  33. MapleLeaf,

    Some of us at CA have repeatedly criticized Monkton for his bad work. He should correct his mistakes.
    He should do so openly and without caveat. His misrepresentations and errors cannot be excused as mere ignorance going forward. No arm waving, no silent updates to his website. no claims that it doesn’t matter.
    He needs to correct the mistake. Period.

    How’s that.

    Comment by steven mosher — 7 Aug 2010 @ 2:31 PM

  34. James, you might have tried looking at the right hand sidebar. Hint: it’s the link titled “Al Gore’s Movie”.

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 7 Aug 2010 @ 2:34 PM

  35. Where have you analysed ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and separated fact from fiction?
    RealClimate’s ‘first impression’ is here, if you’re really interested. I’m not sure if Bickmore has personally critiqued it (Barry, it’d be nice if your blog had a search feature!), but this whole question brings up a side issue: Is Monckton doing the same thing Al Gore did? Apparently not, since Gore’s movie, book, and traveling road show are generally praised by scientists for accuracy with some nitpicking thrown in, while Monckton’s continuous output is generally panned by scientists for his willful and mendacious avoidance of accuracy. If you compare the bulk of scientists’ appraisals of their output then Gore comes out much, much better than Monckton. You may as well try to compare Bill Nye the Science Guy with Ken Ham. Sure, neither one is a scientist, but who deserves more criticism: someone who gets it mostly right, or someone who gets it mostly wrong?

    [Response: In fact, Bill Nye is a scientist (well, he was formally trained as a mechanical engineer at Cornell--but close enough: he's studied physics, math, etc.). He's also an all around good guy (I got a chance to hang out w/ him out at an event at google last week). Bill's site is here for anyone interested in seeing what he's up to these days. -mike]

    Comment by Wheels — 7 Aug 2010 @ 2:46 PM

  36. Hot Rod (#7)

    The reason this sort of post is necessary on RC is to give those of us who sometimes confront people who think that Monckton reaches NY by walking from London, a good solid debunking reference. Not that there are not others, but as most of us know, having to search for them, however little time it takes, is still time taken and the true deniers (unbelievable optimists) are many.

    Thank You RC.

    BJ

    Comment by BJ_Chippindale — 7 Aug 2010 @ 3:13 PM

  37. Let us not forget the outrageous and childish remarks by Monckton directed toward Dr. Abraham and his University after Abraham eviscerated Monckton’s presentation. Those remarks by Monckton along with threats of legal action preclude him from any further respect.

    Anybody who defends this man now should be embarrassed. If you are anti-AGW you need to pick a new horse to ride.

    Comment by Scott A Mandia — 7 Aug 2010 @ 3:53 PM

  38. Re Tom Scharf -

    1. Don’t forget about the ~100 years or so prior to the last 12 years. I don’t think the last 12 years in isolation could provide much evidence to confirm or falsify models (which do produce internal variability, hence the wide spread in short term trends), but taking those 12 years in comparison to the 12 before, and the last 24 years in comparison to the 24 before that, etc, and paleoclimatic evidence, etc, and model behavior is at least generally supported.

    2. Climate models generally are based on physics and specifically not ‘tuned’ to reproduce any trends, so a match to trends is a real test. This might not have much to do with your point except that you mentioned a seventh grader doing a linear interpolation, which sounds like you mean fitting a linear trend to the data, as opposed to prediction. Or did you mean linear extrapolation? – in which case, that’s a statistical model prediction, which, at least in this context, we shouldn’t rely on – if we actually know some things about how the climate works then it makes more sense to use that knowledge.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 7 Aug 2010 @ 3:57 PM

  39. Ray Ladbury said:

    > James has decided not to name names for his “swath of well qualified
    > and experienced scientists”

    Well, he wouldn’t want to draw up a blacklist, would he? [1] Henceforth skeptics are excused from ever naming all the great scientists they claim support their position, but who must operate in total secrecy to protect themselves from persecution by the climate science establishment that is the modern equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition. [2]

    [1] Baffled? See the previous thread on “Expert credibility”.
    [2] That is, they might be subjected to the Comfy Chair, or even (shudder) the Soft Pillow.

    :)

    Comment by CM — 7 Aug 2010 @ 4:50 PM

  40. You didn’t quote my favorite two Monckton snippets:

    Monckton:
    185: Would it not have been fairer if you had admitted that you simply have no idea how the IPCC actually calculates its temperature projections, and that – as will be evident from the above questions – I know enough about it to produce accurate and reliable graphs?
    186: Why did it not occur to you, as it did to me, that, since the IPCC’s projections of future exponential CO2 growth and logarithmic temperature response necessarily produce a straight line, the IPCC’s detuning of its own projections to reduce the projected temperature change to just 0.2 C°/decade over the first couple of decades of this century has no basis in scientific reality or method?

    Shorter Monckton:
    185: You don’t know how the IPCC calculates temperatures. I do.
    186: In fact, I know how to calculate IPCC’s temperatures _better_ than the IPCC!

    Shortest Monckton:
    185: I know IPCC.
    186: I have no clue about IPCC.

    Comment by M — 7 Aug 2010 @ 5:28 PM

  41. Finally, a persistently misinformed, anti-science performer is correctly rejected by science.

    But when his delusional exercises continue to be accepted by Congress, mass media and denialists as science – well then, somebody else is joining the show.

    It is never surprising to see that there is a confederacy of lunatics. But it is horribly disturbing to see that they are supported and nurtured by otherwise rational people. The stupid supporting the crazy.

    Comment by richard pauli — 7 Aug 2010 @ 5:50 PM

  42. I have no idea what his base period is.

    The index is the mean of a varying pool of temperature anomalies, which started out as HadCRUt3, NCDC, RSS, and UAH in January 2009 and was thinned down to the satellite data sets. In addition, the index is zeroed to the minimum value within the time period it is plotted, so the offset may change from plot to plot.

    I have compiled the details here:
    http://bluegrue.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/evolution-of-the-sppi-global-temperature-index/

    Comment by bluegrue — 7 Aug 2010 @ 6:23 PM

  43. #42 bluegrue:

    Thanks for sharing that with us. What are the SPPI going to do when they discern a problem with their last remaining source of temperature data? Will they… start making stuff up? Oh, wait.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 7 Aug 2010 @ 6:55 PM

  44. James, your criticisms of “An Inconvenient Truth” follow a pattern that I have observed over the years. Namely, generalizations with no specific information about what the problem is. Whenever specific quotes by Al Gore in the film have been criticized, it has turned out that the quotes simply were not there, but were mistaken impressions of what he had said. The film was accepted and respected by many because it was developed in consultation with climate scientists. He said nothing that had not been vetted with experts. He never claimed expertise, but presented himself simply as a communicator. Perhaps you can share with us the specific problems to which you refer.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 7 Aug 2010 @ 9:25 PM

  45. Wouldn’t it just be simpler if the IPCC was clear about what the predictions are. Almost everyone has different impression about what the models (together with the assumptions) are predicting – short and long-term. Credibility could be achieved by meeting a 2015 prediction for example.

    Having said that, it looks like the A1B scenario has been the best CO2 assumption to date but it looks like it might be a little high for 2100 taking into account the trends / acceleration to date. The Methane assumptions are also too high since it looks to reach a plateau soon.

    Comment by PaulW — 7 Aug 2010 @ 9:40 PM

  46. I need some help understanding the first point. IPCC makes some assumptions (aka creates a scenarios) about future emissions (in this case the A2 set of assumptions). It feeds those into a model to forecast the impact these assumptions might have on future CO2 concentrations (note the concentrations are forecasts based on assumptions about the emissions).

    As I read Chapter 10.4.1 of AR4 WG1 it is addressing the uncertainty introduced by carbon cycle feed backs into those predictions. It does this by comparing multiple model runs that give the range in Fig. 3 above. Correct?

    The actual uncertainty in the forecast (i.e. stepping from emissions to concentrations) is of course much much higher than the range shown by model runs for at least two reasons. The models don’t by any means capture the uncertainty in their forecasts, and their are a large number of other sources of uncertainty in the models used to forecast emissions from concentrations). Correct?

    Both proponent and critic seem to be missing the main point, namely that which was alluded to by Tom Scharf comment 31.

    I note in passing the Wiley site is currently down for maintenance so Hargreaves is not accessible – however from the diagram that can be seen it looks as though the null hypothesis was “no change in temperature” rather than showing it “had substantial skill compared to any naive model. – gavin”.

    [Response: They looked at "no change" and also linear trend extrapolation over various time periods. The "no change" model was the best predictor of changes in the historical data, and so would have been the best naive model in 1988. But the hansen simulation still has higher skill than any justifiable linear fit of the earlier data. -gavin]

    Comment by HAS — 7 Aug 2010 @ 10:22 PM

  47. re: Congress
    As absurd as it was to have the Viscount testify, lall it takes to invite someone to testify is for the relevant senior member of either party on some committee to ask them… Given Barton & Inhofe, one can guarantee that folks like Monckton, Happer, or Crichton get to testify now and then. That they ask Monckton indicates bottom-of-barrel-dom, akin toe the way he got offered the chance to write for the APS FPS 2 years ago. [The editors had a list of 5-6 names, but everyone else said no..]

    (but while I’m here, thinking about amazing speaking invitations, go look at What have Wegman and Said done … lately? @ Deep Climate and join the discussion there (not here). You might be surprised to find that a June Interface meeting (statistics & computer science, some sponsorship from 2 sections of American Statistical Society)had invited talks by Fred Singer, Jeff Kueter (George Marshall Institute) and Don Easterbrook … reprising talks from last 2 Heartland conferences. Yasmin Said discoursed on evils of Climategate.

    Comment by John Mashey — 7 Aug 2010 @ 11:26 PM

  48. RE # 13, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, 27, 32, 34, 35, 37 and 39. Sorry if I missed anyone.

    Those who pointed out I hadn’t responded to criticisms of my post as some sort of victory for them, or back down by me clearly aren’t clever enough to realise there is a great time difference ‘here in Australia’ compared to their local time and I do have to sleep! In any event, my life is not this blog, if I don’t respond, it may be because I have other things to do.

    Some people are clearly not aware that English, as taught in England and here in Australia varies in some areas to the English taught in the US. The differences are not particularly critical, but if you are going to draw attention to a supposed error with [sic], you need to know that many English words are actually spelt with an ‘s’ not a ‘z’, though I don’t get upset that Americans made some changes to the English language. In fact I think many of the changes to more phonetic spelling are sensible, but it doesn’t make my use of English wrong. So ‘analysed’, or ‘sceptic’ are quite correct where I come from.

    [Response: Please no spelling arguments. That is the definition of tedious. -gavin]

    My understanding of the scientific use for scenario is clear, my point is that while they are hypothetical, they are reported as predictions in the popular press. In fact all the scary hypothetical scenarios seem to be taken as absolute truths by The Greens Party here in Australia and many environmental activists groups around the world and the silence from the climate science community correcting this misinterpretation is deafening.

    In saying Monckton was more right than wrong, I was referring to the comparison of the IPCC scenarios for temperature anomalies compared to actual results over recent years. Bickmore’s own graph showing the temperature anomaly results had actually landed outside the ball park before dribbling back in demonstrates that the bulk of the IPCC scenarios are in the upper extreme and the modelling used should be reconsidered. Otherwise we could continue coming in at the ‘harmless’ scenario projections while making policy to fit the extreme unrealistic scenarios.

    Contrary to assumptions made by some, I did read this site’s review of the Gore movie when it was first posted and re-read it again recently. It is a generous, glossy review which missed critical areas and does not amount to a critique. You should all be aware of the critiques done since then.
    [edit - Al Gore it OT]

    [edit]

    While I accept the definition of a climate scientist being used on this site is someone who has published on the subject, I certainly do not accept that those who haven’t are not able to make a judgement about the state of the science. In my field of expertise I am well regarded and have acted in important roles for government committees and academic institutions. But I have never had a paper published in my area of expertise simply because I didn’t go down the academic and research track. It doesn’t mean I am incapable of analysing research done in my area of expertise. When concern was raised about the ozone layer and the harm being done by CFC’s, the world acted relatively quickly. The science was clear and demonstrable and scenario projections modelled matched actual results. The case for man made CO2 emissions being the primary cause of climate change is yet to be made to that level of clarity. It is not sufficient for scientists to then say well we have some hypothetical scenarios which indicate if we don’t drastically reduce CO2 emissions the world is going to end. More work needs to be done on the science and contrary scientific views need to be investigated too instead of trying to make everything fit the one suspect when there are still many suspects which could be acting individually or together. I’m sorry if that is too tiresome a task for climate scientists, but that requirement applies to any profession.

    I’ve been asked to list the outrageous claims I refer to.

    [edit - sorry, but please stay on topic. If every thread devolves into a list of every claim that has ever been made, no discussion is possible]

    For enthusiasts, I have provided a list of 94 ‘climate-gates’ here, (http://pgosselin.wordpress.com/2010/08/03/climate-scandals-list-of-94-climate-gates/). I actually thought this article’s approach a little childish, particularly the insistence on listing everything as a ‘gate’, but it has provided as good a list as any of some of the more outrageous climate claims made.

    I know some of these points are a stretch, but exaggeration clearly sits comfortably on both sides of the fence when it comes to debating climate change.

    I am not going to stand up and support every point made in those references, firstly because I don’t, secondly because I am not qualified and finally because the whole point of my initial post was to demonstrate that the side which claims to be on the side of the ‘science’ , is demonstrably uncritical of anything which supports their view. In addition, there is a great reluctance to admit there have been errors made. In the end, climate science has lost credibility because of this lack of scientific scrutiny and will continue to haemorrhage unless that changes.

    I apologise for not knowing how to embed hyper-links which makes the text a little clumsy.

    Comment by James — 7 Aug 2010 @ 11:27 PM

  49. I also apologise that one of the links I submitted above has not been hyper-linked because I missed a space. As I have commented before, such errors would be picked up if this site had a ‘preview’ button.

    #44 Ron Taylor – my response above should cover your assertions. I don’t think the UK Court made it’s finding on generalised statements which were not found in ‘An Inconvenient Truth’.

    reCAPTCHA sucks, I can’t even read some of the ‘words’ especially when punctuation symbols are used.

    [Response: The whole point of reCAPTCHA is for you to read words that can't be read by OCR and in so doing, improve the transcriptions of old documents. Plus it really cuts down on spam. Please be patient with it. - gavin]

    Comment by James — 7 Aug 2010 @ 11:34 PM

  50. $$$ is Monckton’s motivation. He is raking in millions in lecture fees as he spreads his lies through Conservative America.

    I can think of nothing more abhorrent than to seek to profit through the promotion of global scale biosphere destruction.

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 8 Aug 2010 @ 12:08 AM

  51. How do I get in touch with Eric? I have information on membership in the House of Lords that he should know. Mr. Monckton is not and never has been a member of the House of Lords, is not qualified to be a member, never will be a member, the House of Lords does not recognize him. Check he names of the 740 members of the House of Lords. You will find he is not listed.
    For the information of your readers:

    Membership in the House of Lords, U.K.

    For a brief description of:
    • the changing membership of the House of Lords
    • the different categories of Members
    • the routes by which Members are appointed to the House
    • the process of becoming a Member, Letters Patent and Writ of Summons
    See The Membership of the House of Lords ( PDF 543 KB) – a Lords Information Office briefing paper.
    Alphabetical and party membership lists are available in MPs, Lords and Offices.
    Information on the composition of the House of Lords is available in Lords by party and type of peerage.
    Information on changes to membership can be found on the list of new Members in the Lords and Lords who have died since 1 January 2010.
    Recent stories on House of Lords Members are available from Parliament News.
    Further information on Members of the House of Lords is available from the House of Lords Information Office.

    Two events have changed the way Members of the House of Lords are appointed: the 1999 House of Lords Act, which ended hereditary Peers’ right to pass membership down through family, and the introduction of the House of Lords Appointments Commission. There are now a number of routes to becoming a Member of the House of Lords.
    House of Lords Appointments Commission
    Set up in May 2000, this independent, public body recommends individuals for appointment as non-party-political life peers and vets nominations for life peers to ensure the highest standards of propriety.
    Dissolution Honours
    Takes place at the end of a Parliament, when peerages can be given to MPs – from all parties – who are leaving the House of Commons.
    Resignation Honours
    Resigning Prime Ministers can recommend peerages for fellow politicians, political advisors or others who have supported them.
    Political lists/’working Peers’
    Lords appointed to boost the strengths of the three main parties. Regular attendance in the House is expected, usually on the frontbench as a spokesman or whip. The media has dubbed these Members ‘working Peers’.
    Ad hoc announcements
    Used to announce someone appointed as a Minister who is not already a Lord.
    Archbishops and bishops
    The number of bishops in the House has been limited to 26 since the mid-nineteenth century. If a vacancy comes up the most senior serving bishop is appointed. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York usually get life peerages on retirement.
    Speakers
    Traditionally, peerages are awarded to former Speakers of the House of Commons.
    Life Peers
    Appointed for their lifetime only, these Lords’ titles are not passed on to their children. The Queen formally appoints life Peers on the advice and recommendation of the Prime Minister.
    Archbishops and bishops
    A limited number of 26 Church of England archbishops and bishops sit in the House, passing their membership on to the next most senior bishop when they retire. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York traditionally get life peerages on retirement.
    Elected hereditary Peers
    The right of hereditary Peers to sit and vote in the House of Lords was ended in 1999 by the House of Lords Act but 92 Members were elected internally to remain until the next stage of the Lords reform process.
    “Lord” Monckton is no Lord!

    Comment by G. Thomas Farmer — 8 Aug 2010 @ 12:09 AM

  52. re: James:
    “I agree with the new tack being taken by many environmental activists, lets deal with the facts we are sure of and make policy based on that. Protect forests, reafforestation projects, reduce particulate pollution, sulphates and methane emissions, maximise renewable energy and so on.”

    What new tack? Did I miss the memo? Has there been a public consensus that I overlooked while shooting pool? Who are these people? From your post(s), I have gathered that you are quick to make generalizations and unresponsive when asked to produce specifics. This particular pattern is off-putting when trying to have any dialogue; you make these verbal gestures that hint at large chunks of information, but I never get to actually see them in any form. It is not only frustrating, it is tiresome. I’d love to see you actually wade through some real data.
    As for ‘Lord’ Monckton, we seem to have a stiff-upper-lip version of a quasi-educated American talk show host. Why he, and others, are absolutely ok with ‘creative’ facts, when the reality is not only otherwise but very disquieting, still deeply puzzles me.
    I’m an American, but I admit it made me laugh to read about the flat-earthers and the IKEA capitol.

    Comment by Steve Missal — 8 Aug 2010 @ 12:33 AM

  53. If you want to understand people like Monckton and more importantly why he has so many devoted followers, then I would suggest reading the following:
    THE AUTHORITARIANS
    The Author is Bob Altemeyer PhD a psychologist at the Univ. of Manitoba.

    I used to think crackpots like Moncton were basically harmless. Altemeyer changed my mind. Altemeyer also seems to explain why some people become more convinced of their beliefs even when shown in black and white they are wrong.
    Google it and the book is a free pdf on his website.

    Comment by Dan Satterfield — 8 Aug 2010 @ 1:55 AM

  54. This is evidence that the left/right model does not always work in climate change:

    For the record I concur fully with Christopher Monckton and his conclusions

    Thats from an allegedly left wing person Peirs Corbyn here:

    http://www.weatheraction.com/pages/pv.asp?p=wact10&fsiz

    e=0

    who also likes to threaten his critics with legal action. Monckton is of course a right winger with much influence (at least until recently) with the right wing press. And to-day’s critique is from a conservative.

    Comment by deconvoluter — 8 Aug 2010 @ 5:35 AM

  55. More on Corbyn’s comment.

    Piers Corbyn’s theory is different from Monckton’s. The fact that Corbyn can nevertheless give Monckton unqualified support illustrates the ‘tribal’ (or party) mechanism at work on the contrarian side.

    Comment by deconvoluter — 8 Aug 2010 @ 7:02 AM

  56. My favorite Moncktonism is the “Earth is cooling, but other planets are warming at the same rate as Earth is” stuff:

    “. . .warming has recently been observed on Mars, on the surface of Jupiter, on the largest of Neptune’s moons and even on distant Pluto. All those SUVs in space, one supposes. Or could the guilty party, perhaps, be the Sun, which has been more active in the past 70 years than at almost any similar period in at least the past 11,400 years?”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 8 Aug 2010 @ 7:12 AM

  57. Hmm, I notice that in James LENGTHY justification of his previous comments, he still could not find room to list names from his “swath” of dissident climate scientists. Could it perhaps be because there are so few qualified scientists on the list? Could it be that the list contains the names of prominent wackaloons such as Ian Plimmer, G&T, Miskolczi…

    Yes, James, scientists who have not published in the climate realm are capable of reaching their own conclusions AFTER JUDICIOUS STUDY OF THE SCIENCE!!! I would note that not one professional or honorific scientific organization has dissented from the consensus. Sorry, James, you will find no buyers for your “sell the controversy” argument here. Among those who have actually studied the matter, the proposition that we are warming the planet is not controversial.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Aug 2010 @ 7:28 AM

  58. Oops! Almost forgot plug the Rabbet’s limerick contest on Monckton:

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/07/eli-rabetts-chris-monckton-limerick.html

    I believe voting is still open.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Aug 2010 @ 7:30 AM

  59. James said:

    Where have you analysed ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and separated fact from fiction? Or attacked the many outrageous claims made regarding possible sea level rise, extreme weather events and the like?

    No comment.

    Comment by Didactylos — 8 Aug 2010 @ 7:49 AM

  60. G. Thomas Farmer:

    We know Monckton isn’t a member of the House of Lords (although he himself is a little fuzzy on the concept). However, he does hold a hereditary peerage. The appellation “Lord” attaches to the peerage, not the membership of the House. However, you should feel free to refer to him however you please – but if you want to play his game of retro-pomp, then you can look up the correct form of address.

    Comment by Didactylos — 8 Aug 2010 @ 8:04 AM

  61. Kevin McKinney, Richard Lindzen has made exactly the same arguments when appearing in front of lay audiences–though never in a scientific forum. Lindzen knows better. Monckton, one is not quite so sure. In either case, that they make such arguments at all makes anything they say highly suspect.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Aug 2010 @ 8:21 AM

  62. Perhaps if the IPCC scenarios are just that, then the IPCC should remove the likelihoods of them coming true. I think that it creates confusion in the minds of the political classes, who are not so expert in the finer semantics of the science.

    Comment by ManicBeancounter — 8 Aug 2010 @ 8:47 AM

  63. In Dr. Powell’s video (available and discussed here) he summarizes observed warming by stating if increases in CO2 are not causing modern day global warming then two things must be true:

    1) Something unknown is suppressing the well-understood greenhouse effect and doing so during massive increases in GHGs.
    2) Something unknown is causing the warming that mirrors the GHE.

    So we can accept what we know to be true (AGW) or we accept two unknowns. A pretty simple and straightforward defense of the science.

    Comment by Scott A Mandia — 8 Aug 2010 @ 8:57 AM

  64. James,

    There are a few important things to note about the graph where I plotted the outer bounds of the model runs and the HadCRUT temperature anomaly.

    1) The caption to Fig. 7 in the IPCC report (Fig. 10.5 in the report itself) says that the curves were subjected to a 3-point smoothing routine. I couldn’t find anywhere where they said there was originally 1-point per year, or 1 per month, or whatever. But if it was 1 point per year, it is not significant that the temperature dribbled out of bounds for one year. It may just be an artifact of the smoothing.

    2) AOGCMs exhibit the kind of inter-annual temperature variability that we see in Nature, so it’s reasonable to say they are \realistic\ in that way. But they stink at predicting exactly which year the temperature is going to swing up or down. Therefore, the fact that the temperature trend popped out of the envelope for 1 year isn’t significant in any case. The important thing (in terms of testing the models with respect to what they’re actually supposed to be good for) is whether the prediction envelope basically follows the trend over multiple decades. Here’s a useful rule of thumb I use. Whenever I see someone making sweeping statements about what the \climate\ is doing based on a decade or less of data, I can usually dismiss that person as incompetent or worse.

    3) The predictions plotted were based on the A2 emissions scenario, which is close to, but not exactly the same as, the real CO2 evolution.

    4) Humans affect the climate in more ways than just emitting greenhouse gases. Aerosols also affect the climate, but I have no idea whether the aerosol emissions in the A2 scenario have been pretty close to reality, or not. (I don’t even know if the A2 scenario includes aerosol emissions at all, when it comes down to it.)

    Finally, I honestly have never watched Al Gore’s movie, and you may be surprised to find out that I didn’t vote for him.

    Comment by Barry Bickmore — 8 Aug 2010 @ 9:22 AM

  65. James 13: The pro-AGW camp didn’t seem to have a problem with the college drop-out unqualified Al Gore taking a prominent position on climate change

    BPL: Al Gore was one of Roger Revelle’s students in the ’60s, so he has taken at least one more climatology course than YOU have.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Aug 2010 @ 9:37 AM

  66. Barry’s point #2 (and Icarus’ comment #14) should be repeated.

    Here’s a useful rule of thumb I use. Whenever I see someone making sweeping statements about what the \climate\ is doing based on a decade or less of data, I can usually dismiss that person as incompetent or worse.

    P.S. I did not vote for Gore either (nor Bush).

    Comment by Scott A Mandia — 8 Aug 2010 @ 9:44 AM

  67. #65 – your assumption is not correct, and I passed all the courses I ever sat.

    Gavin, I am disappointed but not surprised that you chose to edit so much from my response. You talk about staying on topic, but I was merely responding to questions raised in this thread which you chose to let through. Therefore I deserved a right of reply. You deleted the links to the errors in “An Inconvenient Truth’ which were supported by the UK court and not appealed by Al Gore, the Dept of Ed or any climate scientist. You deleted a further link to additional errors raised about Gore’s movie. You deleted the link to a list of 800 peer reviewed papers sceptical of the AGW hypothesis in some way. You deleted my references to a range of outrages claims made by the pro-AGW camp. You can’t hide this stuff from your readers forever. I can’t help but wonder what else you have edited at this site to shield your readers from anything you don’t agree with.

    [Response: The links you gave are standard contrarian tripe (no offense intended). Every single thread that comes along somewhere links to these and we are all supposed to take them seriously again, and again, and again. If you want to have a substantive discussion about issue X, then stick to issue X. Making lists about stupid things that have been said somewhere by someone and thinking that is an argument is just a waste of everyone's time. I could do exactly the same for stupid statements made by Delingpole, Booker, Watts etc. Does that somehow trump any substantive discussion about issue X? No. So we have a choice, do we spend all the time pointing out that silly things have been said on every side of every issue under the sun? Or do we try and focus on specific issues that might actually be resolvable. Here, we are trying to focus. Please respect that. - gavin]

    Comment by James — 8 Aug 2010 @ 10:14 AM

  68. James @48 points to a list of 94 “gates,” then declares he’s not going to defend all of them while avoiding mentioning ANY of them that he would defend. This amounts to throwing buckets of turds at the wall hoping some of them stick, and pretending in the meantime that such hand waving amounts to a logically cogent argument.

    If you cannot name even a single specific fact that supposedly supports your case, then your entire stream of groundless assertions is legitimately dismissed as vacuous.

    Comment by Gary Herstein — 8 Aug 2010 @ 10:14 AM

  69. James @ 13

    “In fact it is a real pity that Bickmore and his ilk didn’t critique Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ because that had more holes in it than a Swiss cheese. Had they done so, they may well have earned themselves some credibility. Instead, many pro-AGW scientists kept quiet simply because Al Gore was supporting ‘their side”

    For analysis of Gore’s movie, see these links.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/10/convenient-untruths/

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/10/an_error_is_not_the_same_thing.php

    http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2007/3/12/233737/021

    http://climateprogress.org/2009/03/02/al-gore-no-exaggeration-roger-pielke-andy-revkin/

    http://climateprogress.org/2009/03/02/al-gore-no-exaggeration-roger-pielke-andy-revkin-2/

    http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2007/10/al-gores-inconvenient-truth.html

    Monckton was behind the effort to have Al Gore taken to court in Britain, to challenge the movie being shown in public schools, demanding that “The Great Global Warming Swindle” be shown in schools also, if Gore’s movie was allowed. The judge allowed the showing of “An Inconvenient Truth”, with the caveat that a few uncertainties about impacts were mentioned. He saw no reason to show “The Great Global Warming Swindle”. But skeptics go around claiming that a judge in England condemned Gore’s movie. More proof to them, that AGW isn’t real.

    And here’s the judge’s conclusion. “Al Gore’s presentation of the causes and likely effects of climate change in the film was broadly accurate” and “substantially founded upon scientific research and fact.”

    Or perhaps you would prefer to compare Gore to Lomborg, another non scientist and prominent skeptic voice.

    Ok, then lets compare them.

    Comparison of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and Lomborg’s work.

    Al Gore´s film: 2 errors, 8 flaws, 10 in total.
    Al Gore´s book: 2 errors, 11 flaws, 13 in total.
    Film and book together: 2 errors, 12 flaws, 14 in total.

    Chapter 24 on global warming in “The Skeptical Environmentalist”: 22 errors, 59 flaws, 81 in total.
    (This is more than one distortion per page).

    “The Skeptical Environmentalist” in total (up to now 12/9/09):
    117 errors, 219 flaws, 336 in total.

    “Cool it!”, British edition: 48 errors, 111 flaws, 159 in total (up to now, with about 40 % of the book investigated).
    (This is nearly two distortions per page)..

    http://www.lomborg-errors.dk/

    Comment by frflyer — 8 Aug 2010 @ 10:31 AM

  70. #57 “Hmm, I notice that in James LENGTHY justification of his previous comments, he still could not find room to list names from his “swath” of dissident climate scientists. Could it perhaps be because there are so few qualified scientists on the list?”

    No Ray, it is because Gavin chose to edit a great deal of my response!

    [Response: There was no list, swath or not. If you think that the '800' contrarian papers' link qualifies you are sorely mistaken. Please do not get sidetracked down this path. - gavin]

    Comment by James — 8 Aug 2010 @ 10:51 AM

  71. Anyone looking for a detailed refutation of Monckton can find ample evidence on the sites Barry Bickmore linked to in his article above, as well as many of the details in Art Smith’s comprehensive analysis at http://www.altenergyaction.org/Monckton.html

    One reason why I suspect his credibility has peaked and is in serious decline relates to his persistent claim that the Earth is cooling rather than warming since 1998. Two years ago, that claim might have resonated with audiences unfamiliar with the short term variations in climate. Today, one need only quote Monckton and then cite the recent MSU and surface data demonstrating that the climate has resumed a significant warming phase, and indicating the possibility that this year will either be the warmest since temperature recordings began, or very close to it.

    Needless to say, neither the current 1-2 years of warming nor the previous few years of cooling or level temperatures proves what the long term trend will be, but it undercuts the “cooling” argument that has been so central to the efforts of contrarians to sway the public.

    Comment by Fred Moolten — 8 Aug 2010 @ 10:53 AM

  72. Gavin I repeat I was responding to questions RC let through. If those questions were not ‘on focus’ then you should have censored them. I was asked to name scientists, I was asked to detail the errors in Gores film, I was asked to give examples of outrageous claims made by the pro-AGW camp. Clearly some of your readers are not aware they exist yet you edited my responses to these challenges out. At #68 you decided that all those links were worthy of printing, but you claim material I provided consists of ‘stupid lists’. So now I understand your approach is to simply list anything you disagree with or can’t respond to as ‘standard contrarian tripe’ and not print it.

    [Response: I don't do all the moderation, or I would have said that Al Gore was OT when you first raised it. It is, and remains so. My larger point that bringing up a silly statement by person A in response to a critique of a silly statement by person B is not any kind of logical argument regardless of the who the people are. Just stick to the point please. - gavin]

    Comment by James — 8 Aug 2010 @ 11:08 AM

  73. Quote: “Tamino actually applied Monckton’s test to the Mauna Loa observatory CO2 data since about 1968 and found that the 10-year slope in the data has been pretty continuously rising, including over the last several years.”

    With all due respect, note that anyone can see this for themselves, simply by holding a ruler up to the graph and noting the increasing slope. I really don’t understand why realclimate is bothering to engage a few rabid denialists in any kind of debate on these issues.

    However, projecting the behavior of the non-anthropogenic carbon cycle into the future is fraught with complications. As warming progresses, for example, Northern Hemisphere carbon reserves, from forests to permafrost zones to shallow marine sediments, will likely decrease in size. This effect is ecological in nature and is mediated by microbial activity, and is thus harder to model than simpler physical processes, like glacial melting or ocean warming. Clearly, water – drought in Russia, flooding in Pakistan – are going to be the most important issues for predicting regional ecosystem responses. Major agricultural impacts are already being seen, right? Russia banned all wheat exports, for example.

    The IPCC, by the way, neglected such carbon-cycle feedback processes in its estimates, correct? Hence, their emission scenarios are really nothing more than guesses – they need more comprehensive ecological modeling, and that means carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, and hydrology modeling. Of course, this still leaves future human behavior as the #1 variable in climate projections, by far.

    P.S. Readers might be interested in a discussion of this related Science article on Arctic methane.

    Aug 6th, 2010 ‘Arctic Armageddon’ Needs More Science, Less Hype
    Richard A. Kerr

    Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and the ongoing global warming driven by carbon dioxide will inevitably force it out of its frozen reservoirs and into the atmosphere to amplify the warming. Such an amplifying feedback may have operated in the past, with devastating effects. If the modern version is anything like past episodes, two scientists warned earlier this year, it could mean that “far from the Arctic, crops could fail and nations crumble.” Yet, with bubbles of methane streaming from the warming Arctic sea floor and deteriorating permafrost, many scientists are trying to send a more balanced message. The threat of global warming amplifying itself by triggering massive methane releases is real and may already be under way, providing plenty of fodder for scary headlines. But what researchers understand about the threat points to a less malevolent, more protracted process.

    Hype? Why not focus on the central questions: What’s the estimated size of the Arctic carbon reservoir that’s susceptible to warming, and what’s the maximum estimate rate of leakage to the atmosphere? What fraction will leak as methane, and what fraction will leak as carbon dioxide – and what about N2O? Notice that these carbon sources are also fossil, but of much younger age than petroleum, coal or natural gas – they were formed via photosynthesis tens of thousands of years ago, not tens of millions of years.

    If more people were aware of the specifics of the carbon cycle, they’d understand why the EPA effort to equate biofuel emissions to fossil fuel emissions is little more than a scam by fossil fuel interests:

    In a letter to U.S. House and Senate leaders last week, 114 of the nation’s leading environmental scientists express concern over the proposed U.S. EPA’s Tailoring Rule equating biogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with fossil fuel emissions. It’s “incorrect and will impede the development of renewable biomass energy sources,” the letter says. . . The EPA’s final Tailoring Rule defines what stationary sources will be subject to greenhouse gas emission controls and regulations during a phase-in process beginning Jan. 2, 2011.

    Why? If you take CO2 from the atmosphere to make biofuels one year, and then burn the fuel the next, atmospheric CO2 is unaffected. This is quite different from either ‘natural’ permafrost carbon or ‘anthropogenic’ fossil fuel carbon.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 8 Aug 2010 @ 11:18 AM

  74. 48, 67 70 (James),

    If I may, and please take this in the sincere, honest and helpful way that it is intended… I do wish that Gavin had not edited your response, but it seems that you got carried away with its length, and in any event in the end it wasn’t necessary, because you were “tilting at windmills” by arguing things that people here really don’t even blink at (such as outrageous claims by fools in the media which are mere misunderstandings or distortions of the actual science, which is what the people here know and pay attention to).

    When I asked you to list outrageous claims, it went unsaid but was assumed that you would reference the IPCC report or actual scientific studies, not any media nonsense. I live in America where I see very little such MSM distortions, except in the other direction from Fox News (oh, and apologies for the “sic”, it’s a professional/editorial habit merely meant to highlight the fact that the “error” wasn’t my own, but you’re right, with international participation it’s not accurate or appropriate).

    It would seem that you’ve studied and are invested in the issue, which is good, but you have been distracted and annoyed by the noise (such as Monckton, or outrageous claims of dangers). It has struck a nerve with you, which causes you to become emotional about the arguments from one side (but not the other? Why no such indignation at Monckton’s nonsense?).

    My advice… as much as you think you understand the science, and the issues, you probably don’t because you have been too distracted by the noise. You have to learn to ignore and dismiss the noise from both sides. If you read an article that says that all coastal cities will be underwater by 2040, don’t get angry and think “those evil climate scientists, they’re fools.” The scientists don’t think any such thing, and even if the words showed up somewhere, somehow, the reality was far more nuanced. Just roll your eyes and dismiss it, or better yet, trace it back to the actual scientific paper that inspired the absurd and distorted claim and find out what the scientists really think.

    It’s amazing how much real, important information is out there when you subtract the emotion from your reaction and always, always, always follow the thread back to its source.

    If you turn yourself into a true skeptic, if you say “wait a minute, maybe this is more complicated than it seems at first,” if you do that and you put your energy into learning instead of anger, you may be surprised at what you find.

    No one is going to convince you of the truth of ACC. You have to convince yourself. But right now you aren’t qualified to do so, because you are too angry, and too distracted by the nonsense.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 8 Aug 2010 @ 11:40 AM

  75. re: #53, Dan Satterfield wrote:

    “If you want to understand people like Monckton and more importantly why he has so many devoted followers, then I would suggest reading the following:

    THE AUTHORITARIANS

    The Author is Bob Altemeyer PhD a psychologist at the Univ. of Manitoba.

    I used to think crackpots like Moncton were basically harmless. Altemeyer changed my mind. Altemeyer also seems to explain why some people become more convinced of their beliefs even when shown in black and white they are wrong.

    Google it and the book is a free pdf on his website.”

    Bob Altemeyer’s free pdf book “The Authoritarians” is a must read for all.

    http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

    He first published the book online in 2006, and has updated it to cover the current situation.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 8 Aug 2010 @ 1:11 PM

  76. Amazing how often we hear of this court decision regarding “Inconvenient Truth” with various imaginative interpretations added, yet we so rarely are pointed to the court’s own summation and judgment on the case.

    That’s probably because the truth of what the court said is very inconvenient.

    Mr. Justice Burton tells us what actually happened.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 8 Aug 2010 @ 1:39 PM

  77. One more observation on Monckton’s graphs. When he plots RSS or UAH he also shifts them such that the minimum value of the plotted period is zero, the same way as he does with his “SPPI index”. So the data he plots are no longer the well defined anomalies with respect to the base period and in this sense can no longer be regarded as RSS or UAH temperature anomalies.

    Comment by bluegrue — 8 Aug 2010 @ 1:44 PM

  78. I think you left blood on the floor with this one. Good. It’s about time we lost patience with the amoral denialists.

    Comment by msc — 8 Aug 2010 @ 1:49 PM

  79. James — Please study “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html
    before coming back.

    Thank you.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 8 Aug 2010 @ 3:20 PM

  80. Mosher @33,

    “Some of us at CA have repeatedly criticized Monkton for his bad work.”

    Good to hear that you and at least a few (of the many) people posting at CA feel that way– I’ll let RomanM confirm whether or not he has openly condemned Monckton’s antics.

    That said, I’m sorry, a few people critiquing Monckton at CA and other “skeptical” blogs is simply not good enough for something this important. What counts is whether or not the self-proclaimed “citizen auditor” is going to make a public point of not only unequivocally condemning (and auditing) Monckton but also condemning those who insist on supporting and aiding Monckton (e.g., WUWT, Morano etc.). Fulfilling the latter point is especially important.

    WUWT (i.e., Watts) has been aggressively promoting and supporting Monckton. So, for your condemnation of Monckton here to be convincing, you would need to extend your condemnation to also include anyone who is openly supportive of Monckton.

    PS: My original comment was directed at RomanM and CA.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 8 Aug 2010 @ 4:23 PM

  81. As regards CO2 emissions in the 21st century Monckton may be right for the wrong reason. firstly the IPCC assumes that fossil fuel reserves are much more abundent than they really are. Oil is peaking and coal may be much less abundent than is commonly assumed. Secondly it auumed no tecnical innovation. By the later part of the 21st century regardless of fears about climate change fossil fuels will seem very primative and outdated.

    Comment by D. Price — 8 Aug 2010 @ 5:23 PM

  82. James — Please study “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html
    before coming back.

    How many here have suggested to deniers that they take this elementary step to enlightenment? How many have ever seen one of the benighted take this step?

    The ratio, I suspect, is depressingly high.

    Comment by Adam R. — 8 Aug 2010 @ 5:26 PM

  83. Back at #46 Gavin said in relationship to Hargreaves “Skill and Uncertainty in climate models” (and the Wiley site is now available):

    “They looked at ‘no change’ and also linear trend extrapolation over various time periods. The ‘no change’ model was the best predictor of changes in the historical data, and so would have been the best naive model in 1988. But the hansen simulation still has higher skill than any justifiable linear fit of the earlier data.”

    The interesting point is the criteria they use to decide what is acceptable/justifiable as a naive model. They limited this to two models. One where you simply use the latest observation to forecast, and the other where you use a recent trend (over some period). Regrettably we never see the test of the skill of the Hansen model against the latter (it clearly has greater skill than either Hansen or the prediction based on the latest observation) because in the past this model hasn’t been a good predictor of the future.

    [Response: Huh? The calculation of skill is specifically made to determine that. Perhaps you'd care to mention what linear trend you would have predicted in 1988 and why? And then we can calculate the skill (and no cheating!). - gavin]

    This does lead to a useful discussion about what we are doing here and what constitutes the naive counter factual (which I hope isn’t straying too far OT).

    The first point to make is that if asked to forecast the next twenty years observation from temperature anomaly time series most of us would do as Tom Scharf suggests – lay down a ruler over the recent past and extrapolate. Something instinctively tells us this trend is likely to continue in the short-term. If however we were asked to forecast the next century’s anomalies we might well be more circumspect and perhaps predict no trend. We do know that Tom would have more skill than Hansen in the short-term even if this isn’t really what interests us in climate models. Regrettably we can’t know about the long-term.

    The second point that follows is that in our naivety we do better than following the kind of mechanistic trend model Hargreaves requires, we instinctively recognize patterns and incorporate those into our assessment of the likely future trends. Analytically my understanding is that ARMA models provide the best naive (i.e. using no more than the data itself) fit to these time series. It would be interesting to see the skill test used to compare Hansen with these.

    Comment by HAS — 8 Aug 2010 @ 5:36 PM

  84. They do protest too much

    Extremist blogs unfairly criticize SPPI’s Monthly CO2 Reports

    by Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

    SPPI’s authoritative Monthly CO2 Reports have been providing hard, real-world data about changes in CO2 concentration, temperature, sea ice, hurricane activity, and many other climate indicators for two years. These regular reports, now widely cited on television, in universities, and in Congress, have proven highly embarrassing to climate extremists. Our graphs show that the climate is responding normally, and that neither CO2 concentration nor temperature is rising anything like as fast as the UN’s climate panel had predicted.

    [Response: They are embarrassing to anyone with a shred of scientific integrity. If you think that is 'extreme', I feel sorry for you. - gavin]

    Now the extremists are seeking to dismiss our CO2 concentration and temperature graphs as incorrect in various respects. This short note answers some of the inappropriate criticisms currently circulating on the extremist blogs.

    Allegation 1: The light-blue zones on the SPPI CO2 concentration graphs, which we say are a fair representation of the IPCC’s predicted path for CO2 concentration growth on the assumption that emissions continue to increase in accordance with the A2 emissions scenario, are said to be incorrect in that they do not match the IPCC’s prediction, which in any event ought to be called a “projection”.

    Answer: The zones of prediction on our graph and on that of the IPCC for the A2 scenario (excepting only differences in the aspect-ratio) are manifestly near-identical. We do not propose to engage in semantic quibbles about whether the word “projection” would be better than the word “prediction” when describing the IPCC’s predictions: the captions on our graphs make it sufficiently clear that the basis of our graphs is the IPCC’s A2 emissions scenario, which we reasonably use because it is closest to actual emissions over recent years.

    [Response: CO2 concentrations are going up almost exactly as predicted, and well within the bounds of the A2 set of projections - Your graph is fake. - gavin]

    Allegation 2: It is said that we unreasonably say that because CO2 concentration has been rising in a straight line for a decade it may continue to rise in a straight line for the rest of this century, and that over a period as short as a decade or less it is impossible to distinguish a linear trend from an exponential trend such as that predicted by the IPCC on the A2 scenario.

    Answer: Our detractors admit that on our CO2 concentration graph we correctly plot the least-squares linear-regression trend on the actual NOAA data, which we also correctly plot. However, they say we should not draw the conclusion that the data are trending towards mere linearity. In fact, we performed a simple but powerful statistical test before drawing that conclusion: we calculated the linear-regression trends over successively longer periods to see whether the slope of the trend progressively increased (as it must if the curve is genuinely exponential); but, in recent years, the trend has ceased to increase. It is suggested that we did the test incorrectly, because a climate-extremist performed a similar test on the Mauna Loa CO2 concentration dataset and came up with a different result. However, as our detractors ought to have realized, the Mauna Loa dataset, taken from a single location intermittently perturbed by regional volcanic activity, is not the same dataset as the NOAA global dataset that we used. Accordingly, we are unimpressed by their reliance upon an entirely different dataset.

    [Response: Whoosh, see those goal posts move.... - gavin]

    Allegation 3: It is said that we use graphs showing that global temperatures have been falling since 2001 to support what is called our “claim that the climate models are wildly inaccurate”, and that we have plotted predictions of equilibrium temperature change rather than of the lesser transient temperature change that the IPCC actually predicts.

    Answer: As any edition of the Monthly CO2 Report will show, we produce graphs starting not only in 2001, at the turn of the millennium (which have until recently shown temperatures on a falling trend) but also in 1980 (which show temperatures rising at about 1.5 K/century). Nor do our Monthly CO2 Reports usually draw any conclusions about whether “climate models are wildly inaccurate”: for the purpose of the reports is simply to present the data. Of course, there is considerable evidence in the literature that the models unwisely relied upon by the IPCC do tend heavily to over-predict future “global warming”. Furthermore, the notes accompanying our monthly graphs make it quite explicit that we are plotting predictions of equilibrium rather than transient temperature, so any reader of our reports can make allowance for that fact. We justify this decision by noting that, on the A2 scenario, by 2100 the transient warming predicted by the IPCC is 3.4 K, while the equilibrium warming generated by the IPCC’s own formula based on its central estimate of CO2 concentration growth on the same scenario is not a great deal higher, at 3.86 K. Also, it may or may not be true that any distinction between transient and equilibrium warming actually exists. A change to plotting the IPCC’s transient-warming predictions, which we make this month, will still show the long-run temperature trend since 1980 scraping along the bottom of the IPCC’s range of predictions.

    [Response: Perhaps you'll actually show what the IPCC actually predicted this time instead of making it up. We can but hope. - gavin]

    Finally, we do appreciate that climate-extremists find our graphs uncomfortable. Since we first began to produce the Monthly CO2 Reports, the extremists have not been able to get away with the suggestion, often made before, that “global warming is far worse than predicted”. As our graphs have compellingly and accurately demonstrated, warming is far less severe than predicted. That, whether the extremists like it or not, is the truth, and our graphs will unashamedly continue to demonstrate it, for as long as it remains true.

    [Response: Truth, meet Monckton. Monckton, please meet truth. We trust you will get along better in the future. In the meantime, please continue to use your powers of entertainment as widely as you possibly can. It livens up our otherwise dull days. - gavin]

    Comment by Monckton of Brenchley (a Lord, whether you like it or not) — 8 Aug 2010 @ 5:36 PM

  85. #45 PaulW: Wouldn’t it just be simpler if the IPCC was clear about what the predictions are.

    There are no IPCC predictions. I thought that was made abundantly clear.

    Almost everyone has different impression about what the models (together with the assumptions) are predicting – short and long-term.

    They aren’t predicting.

    Credibility could be achieved by meeting a 2015 prediction for example.

    Scientists have been seeing their scenarios proved correct for a hundred years now. And you are setting up a straw man: There are no predictions to have come true, only scenarios, the accuracy of which help to refine models further in the future.

    The Methane assumptions are also too high since it looks to reach a plateau soon.

    Oh? The clathrates in the sea bed and permafrost have stopped melting or something?

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 8 Aug 2010 @ 7:18 PM

  86. Several people have mentioned that they don’t think RC should be addressing commentators of Monckton’s (extremely low) caliber. I can’t speak for RC–I just told them I was working on a piece about this and asked if they wanted it. However, I agree with those who have pointed out that people do need easy-to-access critiques of Monckton’s material, if only because some very powerful people DO take him seriously.

    I think there’s one other point to consider, as well. This particular topic (Monckton’s graphs) wasn’t particularly high-brow, but that may be an advantage. That is, practically anyone, regardless of scientific training, is capable of understanding that 1) Monckton claimed the IPCC predicted X, but 2) the IPCC said they did no such thing. Furthermore, they can understand that 3) several scientists have already pointed this out to him, and he never corrects his mistakes. If the goal is to clear the way for a reasonable public discussion of climate change, somebody has to take the chances that come to offer concrete and easily understandable evidence that certain people are incapable of participating in such a thing.

    Comment by Barry Bickmore — 8 Aug 2010 @ 7:19 PM

  87. Fie on Monckton; the graphs in this article are very confusingly labeled. I don’t know who did what.

    Comment by Greg M. Johnson — 8 Aug 2010 @ 7:53 PM

  88. D. Price (#82),

    If we choose to extract it, we can still get quite a bit of oil from oil shales.

    In any case, this would still not make Monckton “right for the wrong reasons,” because A2 is on the high end of the scenarios the IPCC uses. How this translates into a “prediction” is beyond me.

    Comment by Barry Bickmore — 8 Aug 2010 @ 10:06 PM

  89. \How many here have suggested to deniers that they take this elementary step to enlightenment? How many have ever seen one of the benighted take this step?\ – 82

    I have been in this \business\ for 30 years, and have never seen a denialist change it’s spots.

    They are incapable of rational thought or argument. Their denial is based on conservative ideology alone, and they reject any fact that contradicts that ideology while embracing any Q.u.a.c.k.T.a.r.d theory – or lie – that lends any support to it.

    Scientists who are generally reasoned people and who are trained to accept evidence above all else, are typically incapable of comprehending the situation they are in.

    Scientist think that if they just explain things a little better that the denialists will respond to their reasoned, scientific arguments as rational men and women should.

    But these are not resonable men and women and these are not reasonable times with the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Faux news driving and enabling the underlying neo-dark era ideology.

    Victory will ultimately come to the scientists of course, but that is a half century away.

    In the mean time Americans in the next election cycle will elect a more extreme conservative government than ever before, and that will halt any movement on climate change for the next decade at least, not to mention increase the already untold damage they have already caused the American state.

    So…. As a Scientist… What are your plans? As a rational man… What are your plans?

    I do agree, the following link, links to an excellent expose.

    http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 8 Aug 2010 @ 10:16 PM

  90. “Oil is peaking and coal may be much less abundent than is commonly assumed.” – 81

    Oil has already peaked, but coal reserves are essentially infinite in the sense that the amount available can never be consumed without extinguishing the human species.

    From whence comes your misinformation regarding coal?

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 8 Aug 2010 @ 10:22 PM

  91. “Several people have mentioned that they don’t think RC should be addressing commentators of Monckton’s (extremely low) caliber.” – 83

    From a tactical standpoint the Monckton K.O.O.K.T.A.R.D should be destroyed in the public eye first, along with other low hanging fruits.

    But this must be done in a forum that is on the radar of the common man, and not limited to RealClimate.

    It is clear that well motivated and funded conservative groups have set up fast response spammer clubs to monitor for and post Conservative K.O.O.K.T.A.R.D. nonsense to any major forum in which the topic of Climate Change is reported.

    These minor players will continue to drive public discourse until they are exposed to the general public.

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 8 Aug 2010 @ 10:29 PM

  92. Re #84,

    Was that really Monckton? It is hard to distinguish between parody and the real thing….

    Anyhow, at least one error to correct right off the bat:

    “SPPI’s authoritative Monthly CO2 Reports have been providingfudging/fabricating hard, real-world data about changes in CO2 concentration, temperature, sea ice, hurricane activity, and many other climate indicators for two years.”

    There fixed. And wow, two whole years? I am impressed.

    Anyhow, so as to not spoil the fun for others I’ll stop there….

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 8 Aug 2010 @ 11:41 PM

  93. Regarding Vendicar’s remarks, Hank Roberts has alluded many times to the underlying psychology of denial, that is to say the formal notion of denial as it relates to cognitive dissonance. Folks interested in innovating communication methods not already shown to be completely ineffective (such as bashing people repeatedly over the head with facts when facts are not actually the real matter of concern to the unreceptive) might do well to spend time trawling Google scholar on cognitive+dissonance+climate+communications and variations thereof.

    Taking a look at the “Six Americas” reports of Leiserowitz, Maibach and Light will help to bring clarity of understanding to what is otherwise a frustrating situation leading to ill-founded conclusions such as that contrarians are necessarily “incapable of rational thought or argument.” In fact, these effects are confined only to certain topics. It’s all quite interesting.

    It’s hard to imagine there’s any way to effectively deal with the problem in venues such as RC. It’s probably reasonable to say that those contrarians sufficiently motivated to pursue counterfactual arguments on websites such as this one are likely the most difficult cases to deal with.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 8 Aug 2010 @ 11:43 PM

  94. Gavin response at #83

    “Huh? The calculation of skill is specifically made to determine that. Perhaps you’d care to mention what linear trend you would have predicted in 1988 and why? And then we can calculate the skill (and no cheating!)”

    I’m not sure I understand – the calculation of skill compares two models based on RMSE of their forecasts. In Hargreaves the skill test for Hansen is only reported against the forecast based on latest flat line observation, not for any other models.

    Let me take you through this.

    I’ve pulled down what I think is Hadcut3 anomalies, stuck a regression through the 20 years (as used by Hargreaves)from 1969 – 1988. Get Anomaly = 0.0151 * year – 29.9. Forecast that through 1989 – 2008 to match Hargreaves. Calculate the skill against what reading from figure 1 of Hargreaves seems to be the null hypothesis of 0.15 over the forecast period, and get a skill score of .53, not much shy of the .56 of Hansen. I don’t have the output from Hansen that Hargreaves used but skill as defined here is transitive and anyway able to be calculated from the skill score and the actual data.

    This is rough as guts and I’m sure a more sophisticated naive person could do better:) As to Gavin’s “and why?” my rationale for just picking the recent trend follows Gavin’s comment in my comment at #83.

    What I was questioning here initially was why models were being excluded that on quick glance one could see was going to do better than the null hypothesis actually used (and were a natural for a naive person to try e.g. exactly Tom Scharf’s suggestion).

    Having now spent 20 minutes looking in more detail I have a further question – why wasn’t the sensitivity of the result to the level of null hypothesis explored?

    [Response: But let's explore this further. Why did you choose a start date of 1969? Is there any evidence (that was available prior to 1988) that a trend based on the previous 20 years was a skillful null hypothesis? (note that I can't quite match your trend calculation - I used the HadCRUT3v data annual mean data and I get 0.12 deg C/dec for the 1969-1987 (inclusive) trend). The problem is that now you already know what the answer is, and so there is a possibility of looking through the data to find something that fits better. So to be fair, you have to either use a null hypothesis that was actually proposed at the time (no change certainly was), or come up with a scheme which you could justify using data available the time. Technically that would preclude HadCRUT3v, but that is a minor issue.

    Curiously, the earliest reference I have ever found to the linear extrapolation as a serious prediction in this issue was in 1992 by Bill Nierenberg, and he used the whole 20th Century to predict a trend of 0.1ºC/decade over the 21st Century. Even given the later date of this prediction, it still has less skill than the Hansen result. - gavin]

    Comment by HAS — 9 Aug 2010 @ 1:06 AM

  95. Monckton is a consumate salesman. His presentations are models of excellence in terms of technique, and anyone could learn from him.

    It is a pity that such skills are used to disseminate lies.

    I checked out James’ list of “climate-gates” (he is right – whoever christened the list was not encouraging discussion). The vast majority are not linked to cliamte science at all, but are just political talking points e.g. “Spain night-time solar energy gate”. My advice: don’t bother.

    Comment by Toby — 9 Aug 2010 @ 2:25 AM

  96. Re #62 i.e.

    Perhaps if the IPCC scenarios are just that, then the IPCC should remove the likelihoods of them coming true. I think that it creates confusion

    Likelihoods of a scenario coming true? Please provide the page number within the AR4 where you saw such estimates or data which depend on such likelihoods. It would not be climatology so I bet that its not in the working groups which matter (1 and 2).

    [Response: It's not in any IPCC report since they specifically state that you can't do that. Some people have subsequently tried to interpret them probabilistically (Wigley and Raper for instance), but that is a little controversial. - gavin]

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 9 Aug 2010 @ 4:11 AM

  97. Perhaps readers will have noticed the difference in style and tone between my commentary above and Gavin Schmidt’s attempts to undermine it, each of which I reproduce in parentheses and answer below. Note that most of his arguments are ad hominem rather than ad rem:

    [Schmidt Response: They are embarrassing to anyone with a shred of scientific integrity. If you think that is 'extreme', I feel sorry for you. - gavin]

    That response is mere yah-boo. Should there not be a rational and scientific rather than an ad-hominem approach at RealClimate?

    [Schmidt Response: CO2 concentrations are going up almost exactly as predicted, and well within the bounds of the A2 set of projections - Your graph is fake. - gavin]

    On the A2 scenario, which comes closest to today’s actual CO2 emissions, the IPCC predicts (or, if you prefer, “projects”) that CO2 concentration will rise exponentially. CO2 concentration, however, is no longer rising exponentially towards the IPCC’s central estimate of 836 ppmv by 2100, but linearly towards just 570 ppmv by 2100. It is not yet clear whether this linearity will continue: but, if it does, all of the IPCC’s predictions (or, if you prefer, “projections”) of future global warming will require substantial downward adjustment on this ground alone.

    [Schmidt Response: Whoosh, see those goal posts move.... - gavin]

    This, too, does not seem to be a scientific response. I had pointed out, surely reasonably, that a (non-peer-reviewed) attempt by a climate-extremist to refute my statistical analysis indicating the transition from exponentiality to linearity was unimpressive because the extremist had analyzed a CO2 concentration dataset other than that which I had used. A scientist genuinely interested in the truth would perhaps have analyzed the same dataset that I had analyzed. It was not I but the climate-extremist who analyzed the wrong dataset who had moved the goalposts.

    [Schmidt Response: Perhaps you'll actually show what the IPCC actually predicted this time instead of making it up. We can but hope. - gavin]

    Yah-boo again. A true scientist should surely approach these questions with an open mind, not an open mouth. It is surely not particularly difficult to understand that the IPCC’s temperature predictions, on the A2 scenario, depend first upon its predictions of future (exponential) growth in CO2 concentration, and secondly upon its estimates of the quantum of equilibrium warming to be expected in response to its predicted increase in CO2 concentration. Our graphs, whose accompanying notes plainly state that it is equilibrium warming we are displaying, follow these two steps accurately. It is additionally legitimate to add a third stage to the calculation, making an adjustment for the (actually small) difference between transient and equilibrium climate sensitivity, and we shall be applying this additional stage to the calculation of the IPCC’s prediction zones from this month onwards. We do not simply lift the IPCC’s time-series predictions and treat them as though they were holy writ: that would not be scientific. If our use of the IPCC’s own predictions of future CO2 growth on the A2 scenario, and its own equation for converting those predictions to equilibrium temperature, leads to predictions of temperature response that are different from those of the IPCC, then it may be that we are doing the sums wrong, in which case a true scientist would point out what we are doing wrong. It may also be that there are inconsistencies between the IPCC’s published methodology for determining time-series of temperature response and its published time-series.

    [Schmidt Response: Truth, meet Monckton. Monckton, please meet truth. We trust you will get along better in the future. In the meantime, please continue to use your powers of entertainment as widely as you possibly can. It livens up our otherwise dull days. - gavin]

    Yah-boo yet again: not very impressive. In fact, global temperatures since 1950 have been rising at well below half the transient warming rate that the use of the IPCC’s central estimates would predict. Take the half-dozen most influential greenhouse gases, look up their concentrations in 1950 and again today, determine the consequent radiative forcings using the functions provided in Myhre (1998) and cited with approval in the IPCC’s 2001 and 2007 reports, and go figure. That is how real science is done: not by pusillanimous name-calling.

    If anyone asks how he can tell whether I or the climate extremists are right, I refer him to any of RealClimate’s blog postings about me, and invite him to decide whether the tone of those postings indicates that an objective, rational, scientific approach is being taken. Most honest observers, seeing the bossy, shrieking, almost hysterical tone that is presented on this blog, are capable of drawing the correct conclusion.

    Tone it down, Gavin. Go through your blog and remove every yah-boo you have perpetrated, and see how much more authoritative it will begin to look. At present, the difference between us is this. You are taken seriously only by climate-extremists who share your own narrow and politicized viewpoint. Those of us who have none of your financial or political interests in this question and are merely trying to find out whether and to what extent there really is a “climate crisis” are taken seriously by everyone except the climate extremists, who are increasingly ignored precisely because they will not engage in calm, rational, and above all scientific argument. It’s your call.

    [Response: For anyone who would like to look up Monckton's idea of a calm rational argument, I would direct them here. Please carry on. - gavin]

    Comment by Monckton of Brenchley — 9 Aug 2010 @ 4:55 AM

  98. As always simply follow the money -
    http://www.desmogblog.com/christopher-monckton

    Comment by Jeanette — 9 Aug 2010 @ 7:26 AM

  99. Gavin Schmidt, as usual, directs his readers to out-of-context extracts from a speech by me rather than to the full speech, which will be found at http://www.heartland.org.

    [Response: You think the context makes it better? Ha. - gavin]

    [edit - for someone apparently studying libel laws, you really should know better]

    Comment by Monckton of Brenchley (a Lord, whether you like it or not) — 9 Aug 2010 @ 7:44 AM

  100. It does seem to me that the 3rd Viscount of Brecthley (or wherever) confuses eloquence with fact.

    Too bad. He may someday realize his error.

    Comment by Øystein — 9 Aug 2010 @ 7:55 AM

  101. Regarding the linear-vs-exponential increase of atmospheric CO2, Chris Monckton comments that

    It is suggested that we did the test incorrectly, because a climate-extremist performed a similar test on the Mauna Loa CO2 concentration dataset and came up with a different result. However, as our detractors ought to have realized, the Mauna Loa dataset, taken from a single location intermittently perturbed by regional volcanic activity, is not the same dataset as the NOAA global dataset that we used. Accordingly, we are unimpressed by their reliance upon an entirely different dataset.

    Gee, Chris. Did you really think I wasn’t going to analyze the NOAA global dataset?

    Oh but I did. It gives the same result as the Mauna Loa dataset. The data confirm that CO2 increase has been faster than linear, even using your own test. Deal with it.

    Comment by tamino — 9 Aug 2010 @ 8:24 AM

  102. P.S.

    For those who are actually more interested in the CO2 growth rate than in the ravings of lunatics — CO2 increase hasn’t just been faster than linear, it’s actually been faster than exponential.

    Comment by tamino — 9 Aug 2010 @ 8:31 AM

  103. Hello Mr. Monckton,
    I was wondering if you could clear up something for me. You see there are several papers and presentations which seem to empirically show an increasing greenhouse effect and measured CO2 radiative forcings similar to model predictions. Please clarify this for me?

    Nature 410, 355-357 (15 March 2001) | doi:10.1038/35066553; Received 17 May 2000; Accepted 15 January 2001
    “Increases in greenhouse forcing inferred from the outgoing longwave radiation spectra of the Earth in 1970 and 1997″
    John E. Harries, Helen E. Brindley, Pretty J. Sagoo & Richard J. Bantges

    “Comparison of spectrally resolved outgoing longwave data between 1970 and present”
    Proc. SPIE, Vol. 5543, 164 (2004); doi:10.1117/12.556803
    Online Publication Date: 9 November 2004
    Jennifer A. Griggs and John E. Harries

    “Measurements of the Radiative Surface Forcing of Climate”
    W.F.J. Evans, North West Research Associates, Bellevue, WA; and E. Puckrin
    18th Conference on Climate Variability and Change

    JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 114, D19101, 12 PP., 2009
    doi:10.1029/2009JD011800
    “Global atmospheric downward longwave radiation over land surface under all-sky conditions from 1973 to 2008″
    Kaicun Wang, Shunlin Liang

    I look forward to your response.

    Comment by Robert — 9 Aug 2010 @ 8:32 AM

  104. \It may also be that there are inconsistencies between the IPCC’s published methodology for determining time-series of temperature response and its published time-series.\

    Um. The IPCC’s published methodology is that it uses CLIMATE MODELS. See the CMIP archive. Have you used climate models? No. You’ve used a couple simple equations which the IPCC has included on climate sensitivity (in equilibrium) and forcing due to greenhouse gases (but not aerosols) and, apparently, assumed that those were the published methodology. That is WRONG.

    \depend first upon its predictions of future (exponential) growth in CO2 concentration\

    The IPCC does not predict exponential growth of CO2 emissions. The IPCC projects emissions into the future (under a number of scenarios) and uses carbon cycle models to determine how those emissions will translate into concentrations. There are a number of non-linear factors involved, and even if current concentrations were rising linearly, that would not, by itself, mean ANYTHING with regards to future concentration growth. (For example, we could pass climate legislation in 2 years that requires an 80% drop of emissions… and then concentration will not continue to increase linearly). But, also, CO2 concentrations in the past decade have risen at a higher rate than CO2 concentrations in the 1990s, which rose faster than in the 1980s…

    \using the functions provided in Myhre (1998) … go figure. That is how real science is done\

    Actually, that’s how back-of-the-envelope calculating with approximations is done. Real science occasionally uses back-of-the-envelope calculations to identify interesting questions or to double check answers, but the real results come from much more complex calculations that take into account many more factors… but apparently you have trouble realizing that your Excel-based chicken-scratchings aren’t the be-all and end-all of climate science.

    Comment by M — 9 Aug 2010 @ 8:38 AM

  105. 92 Doug Bostrom: Thanks Much. Reading it now. But it doesn’t tell us how to change the minds of the dismissive.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 9 Aug 2010 @ 8:43 AM

  106. Well, with denialists like Monckton going around preaching Hummer love, we’ll probably be exceeding the IPCC’s worst-case scenario. So eventually he should completely and utterly be disproved.

    Do the IPCC projection scenarios adequately account for releases from melting of permafrost and ocean clathrates?

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 9 Aug 2010 @ 8:55 AM

  107. RE: Edward Greisch @103: The idea is to influence lurkers and bystanders who may be attracted to the scientific argument.

    Comment by Deech56 — 9 Aug 2010 @ 9:01 AM

  108. I would say that I’m astonished by Lord Monckton’s response here, but that kind of reaction has long past. Here are some of my favorite comments.

    \Furthermore, the notes accompanying our monthly graphs make it quite explicit that we are plotting predictions of equilibrium rather than transient temperature, so any reader of our reports can make allowance for that fact. We justify this decision by noting that, on the A2 scenario, by 2100 the transient warming predicted by the IPCC is 3.4 K, while the equilibrium warming generated by the IPCC’s own formula based on its central estimate of CO2 concentration growth on the same scenario is not a great deal higher, at 3.86 K. Also, it may or may not be true that any distinction between transient and equilibrium warming actually exists. A change to plotting the IPCC’s transient-warming predictions, which we make this month, will still show the long-run temperature trend since 1980 scraping along the bottom of the IPCC’s range of predictions.\

    1. The key is that you are plotting equilibrium temperature values vs. TIME, which is inappropriate. You claim that it’s close enough because the transient projection for A2 isn’t that much lower than the equilibrium at the year 2100, but is the equilibrium value ALWAYS similar enough for EVERY purpose? I actually went to the trouble of digitizing the outer bounds of the IPCC’s plot of transient model output for A2, and plotting the global mean temperature along with it. It turns out that during the period of your graph in Fig. 6 above, the equilibrium calculation is NOT ‘close enough’. Your plot shows the IPCC projections as too high, when in fact the transient projections are right in the ballpark. So what’s the problem? Did I digitize the IPCC’s graph of transient projections incorrectly? If not, I cannot fathom why you can’t admit your method was inappropriate for the period 2002-2009, no matter what the case is in 2100.

    2. It is, of course, true that you note you are plotting equilibrium values in your CO2 report, though I don’t believe you did so when you perjured yourself before Congress. It strikes me that most of your readers would not appreciate the difference, however. (You certainly don’t seem to.) So I have given them a little help. ;-)

    It is additionally legitimate to add a third stage to the calculation, making an adjustment for the (actually small) difference between transient and equilibrium climate sensitivity, and we shall be applying this additional stage to the calculation of the IPCC’s prediction zones from this month onwards. We do not simply lift the IPCC’s time-series predictions and treat them as though they were holy writ: that would not be scientific. If our use of the IPCC’s own predictions of future CO2 growth on the A2 scenario, and its own equation for converting those predictions to equilibrium temperature, leads to predictions of temperature response that are different from those of the IPCC, then it may be that we are doing the sums wrong, in which case a true scientist would point out what we are doing wrong. It may also be that there are inconsistencies between the IPCC’s published methodology for determining time-series of temperature response and its published time-series.

    3. So it goes against your scientific scruples to simply lift the IPCC’s time-series projections for the purpose of plotting what the IPCC says are its… um… time-series projections? Of course, you want to calculate them yourself–so you can be ‘scientific’! But wait! There isn’t some simple equation to calculate time-series projections, like there is for equilibrium. For that, you have to actually run the AOGCMs on a computer with the appropriate scenario as input. Does this mean that Your Lordship will be running climate models, now? If so, please make sure to get the input scenario right, as I have shown that so far you have totally botched that (see Figs. 4 and 5 above.)

    \The zones of prediction on our graph and on that of the IPCC for the A2 scenario (excepting only differences in the aspect-ratio) are manifestly near-identical. We do not propose to engage in semantic quibbles about whether the word ‘projection’ would be better than the word ‘prediction’ when describing the IPCC’s predictions: the captions on our graphs make it sufficiently clear that the basis of our graphs is the IPCC’s A2 emissions scenario, which we reasonably use because it is closest to actual emissions over recent years.

    4. Ah, but the core of the issue is not just semantics, is it? I said that you a) ignored all the other emissions scenarios so you could use A2 as the IPCC’s sole ‘prediction’, and then b) plotted the A2 scenario incorrectly. Look at Fig. 5, for Pete’s sake. If your plot of A2 is ‘near-identical’ to your graph, why doesn’t the A2 model input (or ‘central tendency,’ if you like) appear within your envelope? If you want to make sure I haven’t fudged the graph, try this little exercise. Take your CO2 graph, and using a pencil and ruler, draw in the actual A2 values from the following table:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/531.htm

    Comment by Barry Bickmore — 9 Aug 2010 @ 9:27 AM

  109. Dear scientists:

    Please don’t allow Monckton to suck you into his vortex of time-wasting crazy. You won’t ever change his mind. Some commentators claim that he is deliberately mendacious; I don’t think he is. He genuinely believes he has cured HIV, and knows more than every other climate scientist combined, and that he is entitled to a seat in the House of Lords.

    Comment by Didactylos — 9 Aug 2010 @ 9:36 AM

  110. It might be worthwhile to take an equally close look at the IPCC reports. Of what use is a sentence like “Scenarios are images of the future, or alternative futures. They are neither predictions nor forecasts. Rather, each scenario is one alternative image of how the future might unfold.” As any science fiction write will tell, you science fiction, which this is, is nortoriously poor at predicting what actually happens. Any “image” fo the future that has not been prepared by rigourous forecasting principles has no place in a scentific compendium. The IPCC’s predictions are notoriously bad in this respect. Since they are clearly “images of the future” Lord Monckton’s interpretations of them are as useful and valid as anyone else’s. You can’t fault anyone for their own interpretation of an “image of the future” since they are all simply personal opinions. The IPCC is as guilty as anyone of “making it up”.

    The presentation at http://brneurosci.org/co2.html, particularly the section of Linear Climate Projection, shows the difficulties in reconciling any of the IPCC scenarios with the current temperatures. Back casting from estimated future temperatures gives some really nonsensical results for what the current temperatures would have to be. And, of course, none of these “images of the future” take any sort of notice of the fact that the earth has maintained temperatures in a very narrow range for multi millions of years despite ice ages and huge variations in solar activity and CO2.

    [Response: The IPCC scenarios are not just 'made up' - they are attempts to put together coherent storylines for what might happen in the future. You might not like their conclusions or their assumptions but they are what they are. You don't get to reinterpret what they were, make up some new climate theory, compare your fantasy climate theory output that used your fantasy scenario to the real world and conclude that IPCC is wrong. Well, not if you want to retain any intellectual credibility. As for the Nelson site, this is just nonsense. You can't extrapolate linearly to 0% greenhouse gases, and the fact the the planet has gone from Snowball Earth to Cretaceous Hot house should give no-one any comfort that climate sensitivity is negligible. - gavin]

    Comment by PhilC — 9 Aug 2010 @ 9:49 AM

  111. @97 “out-of-context extracts”?? Rather a distillation of the core message. Good lord!! [just a figure of speach] You [with much help obviously] really can make this stuff up – if I hadn’t read Mr ChrisMofB’s “full speech” [rant actually] I would have thought Gavin’s link to rankexploits a bizarre parody.

    Comment by flxible — 9 Aug 2010 @ 9:59 AM

  112. i think it is important to tackle Monckton. the abni-scientific plan of those with a wish to delay action against climate change, is based on the (well tested!) tactic/hope, that no real scientist will want to waste his spare time to dismiss the false claims.

    what happens then, can be seen by this (thankful mostly false) claim by Monckton:

    These regular reports, now widely cited on television, in universities, and in Congress, have proven highly embarrassing to climate extremists.

    so special thanks to Barry for another detailed reply. which of course will not make Monckton admit a single error, though. sad stuff.

    Comment by sod — 9 Aug 2010 @ 10:24 AM

  113. Comparing Monckton’s and Gavin’s writing, I get much more irked by Monckton’s use of the name “extremist” to label mainstream scientists than with Gavin’s sarcasm.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 9 Aug 2010 @ 10:26 AM

  114. MoB, The fallacy of your argument that CO2 is not rising exponentially is evident to anyone who has ever used the first term of a Taylor Series as an approximation. And just what is that first term in a Taylor series for an exponential? Why it’s linear in x. Thus, if the period involved is sufficiently short, an exponential will in fact look linear.

    As to the rest of your argument, might I suggest you learn the difference between weather and climate.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Aug 2010 @ 10:30 AM

  115. Edward Greisch @ 103

    “…how to change the minds of the dismissive.”

    Not merely dismissive, how about intractable? History is littered with the crusty remnants of people willing to die for dumb ideas. It’s a ridiculous problem.

    Tic toc.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 9 Aug 2010 @ 10:32 AM

  116. How many people are satisfied with the statement, “Scenarios are images of the future, or alternative futures. They are neither predictions nor forecasts. Rather, each scenario is one alternative image of how the future might unfold.”?

    A phrase such ‘alternative images’ does not strike me as being in anyway scientific. Codifying a choice in this way smacks of black and white morality.

    Comment by Mac — 9 Aug 2010 @ 10:41 AM

  117. 62

    I think that it creates confusion

    94 (Geoff)

    Likelihoods of a scenario coming true? Please provide the page number within the AR4 where you saw such estimates or data which depend on such likelihoods.

    Inline response (Gavin)

    [Response: It's not in any IPCC report since they specifically state that you can't do that.

    I’d like to propose that next time around, the IPCC produce two more sections, a Summary for Journalists and a Summary for the General Public, in an effort to alleviate the confusion that seems to arise, or be purposefully generated, by trying to extract the relevant details from a thousands plus page set of reports.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 9 Aug 2010 @ 10:44 AM

  118. A suggestion:

    Before we engage him futher here at RC, Monckton should apologize to Dr. Abraham and his University for his unprofessional and childish insults. Until he does so, he does not deserve the professional courtesy we are extending him here.

    Comment by Scott A Mandia — 9 Aug 2010 @ 10:48 AM

  119. Must be a slow day in Brenchley.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 9 Aug 2010 @ 10:58 AM

  120. So, after being nailed to the wall for lying (again), Mr. Monckton comes over to lie some more, and then objects to the tone of his dismissal?

    How tedious.

    Mr. Monckton has earned the treatment he’s receiving, and he regularly abuses actual scientists in a way he, a phony scientist, would never tolerate. For this reason, his appeals to propriety are just another kind of lie.

    Are there any denialists without such damaged personalities and low character? I certainly have never encountered any.

    Comment by JM — 9 Aug 2010 @ 10:59 AM

  121. Ray @112,

    Good point. The reason for cherry-picking short windows as shown in Figs. 2 and 6 above is clear (and ,as pointed out by others here and elsewhere, the cherry-picking is not the worst of the errors made in the offending graphs). Alas, it is not necessarily clear to his gullible audiences (which, alas, includes Senators).

    IMO, Monckton is here hunting for ammunition. See how he has twisted Gavin’s words already? It is a technique that I have seen contrarians use before on threads– barge in making ridiculous claims, then sane and rational people get frustrated and then you cut and paste their comments out of context and say– see how mean tow “extremists” are.

    What Christopher does not realize is that no scientist of repute would consider engaging him in a rational and scientific discussion. In fact, so absurd are his beliefs on AGW/ACC, that even the “skeptics” have started to distance themselves from him. So keep up the “excellent” performance Chris!

    Anyhow, let us not play this little game that Christopher wishes to play.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 9 Aug 2010 @ 11:02 AM

  122. Monckton’s fallacies have been adequately refuted by Barry Bickmore, Tamino (#99, #100, and link in the original post), as well as others. I would add one further thought to Tamino’s analysis showing that when CO2 concentration increases are evaluated on a longer timeframe than 7 years, so that linear and exponential increases can be distinguished, and when the proper analytic method (log transformation) is used to make the distinction, the rise is actually greater than exponential, much less linear.

    My point would be that it is theoretically possible that the later part of the 2002-2009 interval did in fact decline from the earlier rates of exponential increase due to a serious economic recession that started in the U.S. in late 2006 and had spread globally by 2008. The timeframe is too small for meaningful analysis, but it would reasonable to predict a reduction in the rate of increase of fossil fuel consumption due to reduced demand. Once the global economy improves, it would be equally reasonable to predict that the long term trend will continue.

    I also noticed an interesting comment on one of Tamino’s blogs. It made the point that if Monckton wanted to belittle the role of CO2 in mediating the observed warming, it would be to his interest to overstate rather than understate the rate of CO2 increase. However, my sense is that he is primarily interested in attempting to identify imperfections, real or imaginary, in some of the IPCC claims, most of which seem to be holding up quite well.

    Comment by Fred Moolten — 9 Aug 2010 @ 11:04 AM

  123. Here is more on the very recent decline in global fossil fuel consumption, due mainly to the economic recession but also perhaps to efforts in some nations toward climate change mitigation:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6581CR20100609

    Given the substantial growth of energy consumption in China, it seems likely that when the global economy improves, the rate of CO2 emissions may grow even faster than projected in some of the middle range scenarios.

    Comment by Fred Moolten — 9 Aug 2010 @ 11:13 AM

  124. The process makes clear the value of publishing something along the lines of a science paper — and why sniping from blogs is much safer to do.

    If the rest of the prominent skeptic bloggers would do the same, their claims could be examined in the same way.

    I wonder why they don’t take the chance?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Aug 2010 @ 11:23 AM

  125. 30: “where did Monckton learn his math”

    Certainly not engineering-oriented Churchill College Cambridge, where he shunned the science tripos , but starred as cricket captain.

    He seems to have been grounded well at Harrow, which improbably produced Lord Rayleigh, and to have sharpened his numeracy as a puzzle designer, and , wait for it,

    Sudoku Editor of the Daily Telegraph.
    which is run by his sister’s father in law, Lord Lawson.

    Since economist Lawson has written a comparatively sober book on climate policy, this must make for some interesting dinner table conversation. As Lord Lawson’s son used to edit The Spectator, it also explains that once admirable journal’s ongoing War on Republican Scientists , in alliance with the Discovery Institute loons who have taken over neoconservative op-ed pages in America.

    Comment by Russell Seitz — 9 Aug 2010 @ 11:36 AM

  126. Doug Bostrom: “Must be a slow day in Brenchley”

    Is there any other kind… Oh, you didn’t mean in an intellectual sense.

    Maple Leaf–I’m sure MoB will quotemine for all he’s worth. I’m sure he’ll be decrying the manners at RC and shedding real, true crocodile tears. It is a strategy for high-school debaters and not for those acutally interested in the truth.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Aug 2010 @ 11:41 AM

  127. Edward Greisch says: 9 August 2010 at 8:43 AM

    But it doesn’t tell us how to change the minds of the dismissive.

    Perhaps it’s better to think not of “changing minds” but of allowing facts to click together with values.

    This should not have to happen only as a result of personal experience with disaster. A tendency to refuse to fasten seatbelts because one does not like to think of having a car accident should not require being projected through a windshield for correction. Indeed it does not, seatbelt use in the U.S. climbed from ~15% in the early 1970s to >90% today. Relatively few of those wearing seatbelts have direct experience with the consequences of failure to fully integrate their cognition.

    Seatbelt use is not a perfect analogy with the present case but it may tell us how one kind of dissonance may combat another. Here in the U.S. unlike many other countries we went through a long exploration process of psychological methods to promote seatbelt use short of coercion. The result was failure and we eventually adopted mildly punitive incentives to wear seatbelts, leading to stunningly large increases in seatbelt use and the commensurate reductions in societal costs of refusal we enjoy today. It’s not unreasonable to hypothesize and indeed research suggests that given a conflict between not wanting to think about accidents versus being a scofflaw, people allow themselves to accept factual reasons to wear seatbelts as a way of justifying going along with coercion.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 9 Aug 2010 @ 11:46 AM

  128. Chris Monckton wants to use the NOAA global dataset to characterize atmospheric CO2 concentration, rather than the Mauna Loa data.

    Here you are.

    Comment by tamino — 9 Aug 2010 @ 11:47 AM

  129. JM wrote: “You really ought to read before commenting.”

    When someone intends to comment by posting rote regurgitation of generic, canned talking points, there is little purpose to reading the article first.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 9 Aug 2010 @ 11:51 AM

  130. Seems that a Lord, no less, can correct the work of 2000 scientists, by “re-arranging” their graphs, while he certainly couldn’t predict 2010, nor explain it, nor understand what it means. Perhaps a tour of Moscow would be in order? I wonder if a Baron or a Viscount could do better ?

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 9 Aug 2010 @ 12:01 PM

  131. Mac @ 114 wrote:

    How many people are satisfied with the statement, “Scenarios are images of the future, or alternative futures. They are neither predictions nor forecasts. Rather, each scenario is one alternative image of how the future might unfold.”?

    A phrase such ‘alternative images’ does not strike me as being in anyway scientific. Codifying a choice in this way smacks of black and white morality.

    Well, Mac, I am, for one. It seems a pretty clear thumbnail designator of internally consistent working assumptions developed to provide realistic bases for numerical modeling. And given that there were 40 different scenarios, the idea that the scenarios “smack of black and white morality” is just bizarre.

    (We might also want to note in passing this from the IPCC: “Each storyline [used to develop scenarios] represents different demographic, social, economic, technological, and environmental developments, which may be viewed positively by some people and negatively by others.”)

    For an official account of the process of developing the scenarios, see this:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/special-reports/spm/sres-en.pdf

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 9 Aug 2010 @ 12:17 PM

  132. You know, with everyone saying “My Lord!” everytime he opens his mouth, it’s easy to see how Monckton has developed some of his delusions!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Aug 2010 @ 12:20 PM

  133. #123–Ray, you anticipated me on the “slow day” quip. However, I disagree with your prediction vis a vis the crocodile tears–to shed them (much less admit to them) the MoB would have to shed his cloak of aristocratic superiority as well.

    And that ain’t happening.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 9 Aug 2010 @ 12:25 PM

  134. Bob #115,

    …and a Summary of What We Didn’t Say, for thusly impaired readers.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 9 Aug 2010 @ 12:27 PM

  135. 113 Radge Havers: Let me rephrase that: How do we get to 60 votes in the US senate for a law that actually does something? The paper from http://www.climatechangecommunication.org/
    does tell us things that politicians should be interested in. The dismissives are only 7% of the population, but they are the richest 7%. But if you look at http://environment.yale.edu/climate/
    you see different percentages.
    The Russian wheat embargo should be a “teachable moment” because the price of all grains has gone up. [AgDay on TV] Anybody who buys bread should notice the difference soon.

    Monckton: Since I don’t have one of Joe Romm’s head vices/head explosion preventers, I’m not reading what Monckton says.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 9 Aug 2010 @ 12:30 PM

  136. Since Lord Monckton is posting here, I thought I’d get a question in on the SPPI CO2 reports.
    Why are the land-based instrumental temperature records being discarded over the course of time as your reports are put out? You reference “Climate-gate,” but what specifically impugns the utility of the instrumental records? What qualifies them as “near-universally discredited as unreliable,” to use the reports’ wording?

    Also, “a Lord whether you like it or not?” Has anybody actually disputed your title? No? What did that poor straw man ever do to you?

    Comment by Wheels — 9 Aug 2010 @ 12:44 PM

  137. I highly recommend following Tamino’s link at #125, that includes you Christopher.

    Tamino’s post really does, once again, highlight the stupidity and vacuity of this particular argument being advanced by those in denial about AGW/ACC.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 9 Aug 2010 @ 12:51 PM

  138. On a point of probably minor interest but worth mentioning to avoid confusion, there is a disparity between the 2002-2009 CO2 data cited by Monckton (see Figure 2 reproduced by Barry Bickmore in his post above), which are consistent with a linear increase, and the data graphed by Tamino (#125), which show a \supra-exponential\ rise even within the past few years. The disparity refects Monckton’s plotting of actual CO2 concentrations as opposed to Tamino’s plotting of 10-year moving averages advanced one year at a time. Tamino’s method is appropriate for long term trends. Plotting the actual year-to-year data, as Monckton did, is not wrong, but simply inadequate for drawing conclusions about these trends. If he had plotted the data Tamino used covering multiple decades, the lack of linearity would have been apparent even if plotted on a year-to-year basis.

    Comment by Fred Moolten — 9 Aug 2010 @ 1:10 PM

  139. Mr. Monckton is something of a mystery to most Americans who follow climate. My comments were from a newbie’s point of view. Perhaps a more direct question for this gentleman would be apropos, since he has chosen to enter the discussion:
    I always ask this question of people facing potential life threatening situations (which I have faced myself and thus had to ask myself the same question), and that is this: given the sum of expert opinion on the condition at hand, and given the clear potential for disaster (dying, diminished life-span, crippled etc.) what would you rationally choose? No spinning or skipping out on this. I got second/third expert opinions on three desperate situations health-wise, and then acted to prevent/cure the situation at hand. All successfully I might add. We are in the same situation now…97% of those who actually qualify as experts think we are in trouble. Are they extremists as a result? Nope. They are like the oncologists who looked at my data and said, kiddo, you need an operation and radiation. Period. So, are you actually willing to dive into the future, dragging the whole of humanity and other living things with you, on the basis of the 3%? Are the 3% sufficient for you to take the risk? This is simple risk management for humans. I’d like a direct answer, something simple and easy to understand. Based upon your answer, I think all the other argumentation will be moot.
    I know this is semi-OT but perhaps not so much.

    Comment by Steve Missal — 9 Aug 2010 @ 1:13 PM

  140. 131 (Martin Vermeer),

    …and a Summary of What We Didn’t Say, for thusly impaired readers.

    Goodness, me, yes, why didn’t I think of that?

    In fact, we quite possibly and sadly need one of those tailored for each flavor of nut that wants to find fault where he can.

    But can you imagine the size of one such tome? The set of all knowledge not in the set of all knowledge represented by the IPCC report?

    And even then, they’d just say “see what they said in the IPCC report?” by presenting and misrepresenting quotes from the document of what explicitly wasn’t said.

    [Walks away, shaking head, mumbling, nearly driven to dementia...]

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 9 Aug 2010 @ 1:20 PM

  141. PhilC: The fact that reality has, so far, fallen neatly within the envelope of IPCC scenarios neatly illustrates that they are, in fact, doing a reasonable job of depicting future scenarios.

    Isn’t that the first thing you should check before talking nonsense about science fiction?

    Gavin: you may want to reconsider allowing PhilC’s link (now at #108). It is a truly scary bit of anti-science masquerading as the real thing. Where do you draw the line for linking to disinformation sites like this?

    Comment by Didactylos — 9 Aug 2010 @ 1:23 PM

  142. Re: #135 (Fred Moolton)

    I didn’t plot “10-year moving averages advanced one year at a time.” I plotted trend rates from linear regression over moving 10-year time frames, because that’s exactly the “test” which Monckton suggests. Nowhere did I plot, or use, moving averages.

    Later in the post I also plot annual averages (not 10-year moving averages) over the entire time span of the NOAA data.

    Perhaps Monckton used monthly data rather than annual, and perhaps he’ll reappear to claim that this is the reason my result contradicts his claim. If so — he’ll be wrong. Again.

    Comment by tamino — 9 Aug 2010 @ 1:54 PM

  143. Your system is misbehaving a bit. Combined with the extremely difficult ReCaptcha task, it makes for an extraordinarily unfriendly blog experience. But I’ll try one more time, anyway.

    [Response: Everyone please get in the habit of copying your post before attempting posting.]

    Re: #135 (Fred Moolton)

    I didn’t plot “10-year moving averages advanced one year at a time.” I plotted trend rates from linear regression over moving 10-year time frames, because that’s exactly the “test” which Monckton suggests. Nowhere did I plot, or use, moving averages.

    Later in the post I also plot annual averages (not 10-year moving averages) over the entire time span of the NOAA data.

    Perhaps Monckton used monthly data rather than annual, and perhaps he’ll reappear to claim that this is the reason my result contradicts his claim. If so — he’ll be wrong. Again.

    Comment by tamino — 9 Aug 2010 @ 1:58 PM

  144. RE #114 Mac, &

    “How many people are satisfied with the statement, “Scenarios are images of the future, or alternative futures. They are neither predictions nor forecasts. Rather, each scenario is one alternative image of how the future might unfold.”?

    A phrase such ‘alternative images’ does not strike me as being in anyway scientific. Codifying a choice in this way smacks of black and white morality.”

    See, the situation is this: scientists don’t have a good handle on one important feedback — people and human behavior. Even social scientists can’t help much in this.

    You’d think that given a brief summary of the possible AGW harms that could happen if we don’t mitigate, people surely would go all out and mitigate to their upmost abilities, esp since it can be done in rich countries down to even a 75% or more reduction without lowering productivity or living standards. Of course that is based on the assumption of the rational, maximizing, economic man (the foundation of economics), without taking into consideration the dark and twisted subconsious of irrationals fears and perverse motives, or the strength of irrational cultural traditions or hell-bent ideologies.

    Anyway, the point is, they just don’t know if and by how much people will reduce their GHGs in the future, or whether they will just continue emitting at higher and higher levels in exponential fashion, untill we run out of all fossil fuels.

    So they have solved that problem by figuring it could be anywhere from: Scenario One–PEOPLE ARE REALLY GOOD (and smart), and us drastically reducing (and saving vast sums, helping our economies); to Scenarios Two and Three–PEOPLE ARE SORT OF GOOD AND BAD; to Scenario 4–PEOPLE ARE REALLY PRETTY BAD AFTERALL, and us reckelessly increasing our GHG emissions through obstinate inefficiencies and proligacies, totally ignoring the problem, lacking any concern about life on planet earth(or even our own finances).

    ((There’s a good Indian saying, akin to a Mexican saying, “If you spit up into the sky, it will land in your face.” Unfortunately we in the developed world don’t have that saying.))

    So anyway, to cover the wide range of possible human behaviors on this issue, they have suggested the higher and lower possibilities or scenarios, if you will, and a few in the middle.

    So that’s it. Except the IPCC may have underestimated the how REALLY REALLY BAD PEOPLE ARE.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 9 Aug 2010 @ 2:03 PM

  145. Chris Monckton:

    Your religious faith that global warming is a lie and your consistent defense of an indefensible graph is rather disturbing.

    It has been unequivocally demonstrated that you have made up a fake graph and have used it to fool general audiences who do not know better. I knew it was a fake as soon as I seen it purely out of experience (although I never bothered to do the detective work on exactly how you constructed it, I’m glad someone did) and presumably anyone else paying attention would look at it as suspect as well. Your eloquence in speaking is quite convincing to the lay public, but it can’t penetrate scientific facts. The fact is that there is no inconsistently in observed CO2 rise or temperature that would threat to undermine our knowledge about future projections, climate sensitivity, etc. In fact the Mauna Loa or global CO2 rise is much faster than linear… the differences between the mauna loa/global are negligible for the purpose of radiative transfer, and the difference in average CO2 concentration between an ‘average global’ data-set and the Mauna Loa record since 1980 (for monthly values) is only 0.65 ppm (and with a correlation coefficient r greater than 0.99) indicating that the Mauna Loa record is representative of global-scale CO2 concentration as you’d expect with a well-mixed gas. The difference of half a ppm arises from an altitude effect which scientists are fully aware of, which is why Mauna Loa is not used as a station in say, the NOAA/GMD network.

    I’d also note that CO2 trending a bit behind a specific scenario does not affect sensitivity of climate to radiative forcing, only the sensitivity to a specific date.

    Finally, this graph is just one of many errors in your speeches, the most popular (while being recent) is the one which John Abraham responded to. You have not rebutted this work (you have a lengthy response, but not a rebuttal, only more seemingly eloquent dodges). It has been shown that you do not understand the literature on climate sensitivity, historical paleo-temperature reconstructions, and many others and none of this has stopped you from declaring the IPCC 2001 and beyond ‘hockey stick’ graphic a lie, misrepresenting Dr. Pinker, misrepresenting the science of deep-time paleoclimatology (notably the reference to the Ordovician), and many others. If you had any sense of shame you’d publicly retract all of these statements.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 9 Aug 2010 @ 2:12 PM

  146. Vendicar Decarian @89 — Please read Professor Rutledge’s essay on peak coal over on TheOilDrum.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 9 Aug 2010 @ 2:27 PM

  147. <i[Response: Everyone please get in the habit of copying your post before attempting posting.]

    Or don’t post from the popup comments window, use the “main” page instead and then simply use your browser back button to have another go if there’s a flub. Alternatively, pump the “reload” button on the captcha tool until something friendly or fun pops up.

    Captcha is a nice minimum hurdle to cut down on “drive-bys,” an alternative to YARP (Yet Another Registration and Password).

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 9 Aug 2010 @ 2:48 PM

  148. Lynn Vincentnathan says: 9 August 2010 at 2:03 PM

    ((There’s a good Indian saying, akin to a Mexican saying, “If you spit up into the sky, it will land in your face.” Unfortunately we in the developed world don’t have that saying.))

    We’ve got a handy version of our own. It’s called “pissing into the wind” and leads to the phenomenon of “blowback.”

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 9 Aug 2010 @ 3:18 PM

  149. C Colose @145
    “If you had any sense of shame you’d publicly retract all of these statements.”
    Actually if he had any sense of shame he’d crawl in the hole he’s dug for himself and pull the grass back over it. Publicly admitting such miscreancy would be quite unlikely for someone with such a pompous sense of entitlement.

    Comment by flxible — 9 Aug 2010 @ 3:43 PM

  150. Don’t ever forget the great British rhetorical institution behind Monckton’[s rhetoric of motives .

    One watches Question Time in the House Of Commons not in the expectation of hearing questions answered , but to applaud the Prime Minister’s magisterial evasion of the inconvenient truths flung against him.

    This mode of rhetoric is clearly Monckton’s metier, but while it may properly ornament the goings on in Westminister or the Oxford Union, it becomes an affront to the honor of the scientific profession when practiced out of bounds.

    Comment by Russell Seitz — 9 Aug 2010 @ 4:01 PM

  151. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing ..

    but it can be much more dangerous if mixed with garbage. Whereas almost every line in the Swindle TV programme was wrong, Nelson has a few bits of real physics. But the dodgy bits are placed strategically in places which matter.

    I think that it obtains its the main result by using a trick similar to that employed by Lindzen a few years ago in a non peer reviewed article. This estimated the climate sensitivity by dividing the observed warming by an excessively large estimate of the forcing. The latter is supposed to be uncertain because of the contribution of aerosols. His solution was to disregard them. In addition he and Nelson ignore all time delays.

    Nelson has numerous other flaws, not least of which is its theory of Venus and its sympathetic reference to Gerlach and Treuschner who have revised thermodynamics.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 9 Aug 2010 @ 4:33 PM

  152. I believe many thanks are due Barry Bickmore as well as others who commented for the essentially thankless task of refuting Monckton’s claims through an unsparing but dispassionate and detailed description of valid evidence. Monckton probably thrives on being called names, but he can’t escape facts, as rigorously aired here.

    To Tamino (currently 142, 143, but the numbers have been shifted from their original slots and may change again) – I think your contributions have been extraordinary. I’m sorry if my ambiguous use of the term “average” was deceptive, but Monckton was referring to slopes and I thought it would be obvious to anyone visiting your site that you too were referring to slopes (rates of increase in CO2 averaged over 10 year intervals by linear regression), and not to average increases during 10 year intervals. What concerned me was that a casual reader viewing his 2002-2009 data might notice that CO2 increased less from 2008 to 2009 than in the few previous years, or that the 2006-2009 increase was less than the 2002-2005 increase, and might conclude that the recent rate of increase was at best linear (or worse) as he claimed.

    As long as the long term trends you describe clearly show that the rates themselves have been increasing, readers can see these very short term variations as noise, but I thought the point deserved some attention, particularly because of prominence of Figure 2 in Barry Bickmore’s post, and tbe NOAA data for the past few years.

    To Gavin – Rather than have the numbers shift because of new comments interpolated into the thread, could those comments be given letter extensions – e.g. 100a, 100b, etc.?

    Comment by Fred Moolten — 9 Aug 2010 @ 4:34 PM

  153. re 90

    There was athread on Theoildrum about this. Recent reaeach has found coal reserves to be massively exagerated. Far from lasting 200 years as is commonly stated usable coal reserves will peak around 2025. Also the calorific content of coal is declining as high grade coal is used up and much lower grade coal is mined.

    Comment by D. Price — 9 Aug 2010 @ 6:16 PM

  154. In line response to #67

    stupid statements made by Delingpole,Booker, Watts etc…..

    James Delingpole is on BBC Radio 4 Any Questions again this Friday evening and Saturday lunch time.

    That will be the third time, he has appeared in a few months. So far, it looks as if there will not even be a pretence of balance,e.g.by having on the team a person with knowledge, who avoids using libellous attacks on his opponents. James D has things in common with Chris M but without the imagination.

    Comment by deconvoluter — 9 Aug 2010 @ 6:28 PM

  155. Monckton and the usual suspects:

    As my aerodynamacist and physicist friend pointed out to me: Wikipedia got the most important compressibility relation wrong when expplaining Theodore Von Karman and the Karman- Tsien relation. Von Karman is important to climate science, physics and aerodynamics, in the light of compressibility, so I urge all scientifically literate persons please steer clear of wiki > 95% of the time. It is bad enough misrepresent climate research and physics, and others just do not want to understand anything they comment on… we all make mistakes, clearly I have too, but come on, a little dignity when you reference and study please.A little physics and math (okay maybe not so little, but even 4 years is enough!) shows why Monckton,Spencer and Miskolczi are all wrong:)

    It is more than an HS explanation and more than wiki can adequately provide, believe it or not it takes some effort to wrap your head around this stuff unless you can accept the graphs on faith which obviously RC is not expecting people to do.

    Nor being a climate scientist I almost went that route before a career change, but I have been studying these works for quite a few years now, so either:

    1.) Accept the data.

    2.) Get a natural/phsyical science/math degree and wade deep into the water to understand what goes into the research and what the uncertainties are and how we know what we know at this time.

    I, myself have rushed a few posts and got it all wrong, so I am not exempt of errors… but reading sub-par material with a degree in the humanities does no service to anyone except those who would cloud the scientific findings, and since we are all here presumably to engage in thoughtful and honest discussion, the basics need to be thoroughly understood first. Now while us non-climare scientists are not sitting behind those computers we can with patience and background appreciate some the finer points of the methods used and the findings thereof.
    I noticed some serious AGW and P-chem errors in Wiki (major ones) as well… that is all.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 9 Aug 2010 @ 6:51 PM

  156. And no I am not bashing anyone who has a degree in the humanities either.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 9 Aug 2010 @ 6:55 PM

  157. Lord Monckton makes flawed analyses, true. But please, can we discuss real science again, instead ? I note the last three posts are about people talking about the science, rather than the science. When did realclimate go postmodern ?

    Comment by sidd — 9 Aug 2010 @ 7:02 PM

  158. Sidd # 157:

    Let’s start with Aa and Ed not being exactly equal… then equlibrium between the atmosphere and oceans.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 9 Aug 2010 @ 8:05 PM

  159. To Jacob Mack (#155) – I haven’t visited the Wikipedia Global Warming article for a while, but I recall that I found it largely accurate, and I’ve recommended it to some readers seeking a starting point for understanding climate change. Is that wrong? Can you cite examples of what you refer to as major errors in that article (or were you referring to errors elsewhere on Wikipedia in regard to AGW)?

    Comment by Fred Moolten — 9 Aug 2010 @ 8:09 PM

  160. This is well constructed:

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

    I take issue when readers want to understand more about the physics and chemistry in detail and in a meaningful manner. Again when wiki gets compressibility and fluid dynamics wrong, it is not good.

    There are some other articles related to AGW on wiki that are far too brief as well, but yes that one is decent for a start, although I see several instances where people may misinterpret it, but that may me being pedantic.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 9 Aug 2010 @ 8:16 PM

  161. The measurements taken in the 1800′s were acceptable but not as reliable and valid as the wiki article potrays, as evidenced by the still significantly off measurements and predictions made in the 1950′s, although these facts do not undo past measurements completely, I take issue with the brief and under stated remarks about the 1800′s and shying away from calibration issues. I see that more thorough and accurate references are provided, so I cannot be too hard on the article… then again it takes some study to get to what I am talking about precisely.

    RC Wiki is useful too, but it should not end there as to the truly inquisitive mind it will create more questions, but that is part of what science is about… at any rate let me slow my posts down for now so others can have their piece…

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 9 Aug 2010 @ 8:20 PM

  162. Jacob Mack – If you don’t find Wikipedia articles accurate, complete, or long enough, feel free to improve them, that’s what it’s all about …. and not to worry about messing things up, no doubt Stoat will be watching. :)

    Comment by flxible — 9 Aug 2010 @ 9:12 PM

  163. Edward Greisch @ 135

    “…how to change the minds of the dismissive.”

    That’s a good question. I wish I knew. It would be great if the issue of global warming could be pried apart from other issues when it comes to politics. As it is, I’m afraid it’s been bundled into (ahem, dare I say it?) an overall obstructionist strategy. The impetus behind the apparent dismissive attitude may be more aggressive and less nonchalant than the term implies.

    A while back we had a local radio station promoting a campaign to turn on all your lights and run all your engines, etc. to protest a push for sustainability awareness. Apparently doing things like using compact florescent lighting is an attack on Freedom ™

    Comment by Radge Havers — 9 Aug 2010 @ 9:58 PM

  164. # 162 good advice I will follow.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 9 Aug 2010 @ 11:32 PM

  165. I find it astonishing that someone like Mr. Monckton is treated with any iota of credibility. He has published nothing peer-reviewed that is even remotely related to climate change, he isn’t a scientist, he has little or no training in the sciences and, either deliberately or accidentally, he completely misrepresents the published literature. Is there any other field of science where people like this aren’t simply dismissed as cranks or ideologues?

    Speaking of cranks, here’s how the late Martin Gardner defined them (you can make your own comparisons):

    (1) “First and most important of these traits is that cranks work in almost total isolation from their colleagues.” Cranks typically do not understand how the scientific process operates—that they need to try out their ideas on colleagues, attend conferences and publish their hypotheses in peer-reviewed journals before announcing to the world their startling discovery. Of course, when you explain this to them they say that their ideas are too radical for the conservative scientific establishment to accept. (2) “A second characteristic of the pseudo-scientist, which greatly strengthens his isolation, is a tendency toward paranoia,” which manifests itself in several ways:

    (1) He considers himself a genius. (2) He regards his colleagues, without exception, as ignorant blockheads….(3) He believes himself unjustly persecuted and discriminated against. The recognized societies refuse to let him lecture. The journals reject his papers and either ignore his books or assign them to “enemies” for review. It is all part of a dastardly plot. It never occurs to the crank that this opposition may be due to error in his work….(4) He has strong compulsions to focus his attacks on the greatest scientists and the best-established theories. When Newton was the outstanding name in physics, eccentric works in that science were violently anti-Newton. Today, with Einstein the father-symbol of authority, a crank theory of physics is likely to attack Einstein….(5) He often has a tendency to write in a complex jargon, in many cases making use of terms and phrases he himself has coined.”

    Martin Gardner did leave out anything about threatening to sue scientists who disagree with him.

    Comment by Randy — 10 Aug 2010 @ 12:44 AM

  166. “There was athread on Theoildrum about this. Recent reaeach has found coal reserves to be massively exagerated. Far from lasting 200 years as is commonly stated usable coal reserves will peak around 2025.” – 153

    If by peak you mean consumption will outstrip the ability to mine the stuff, that conclusion is based not upon the amount of coal available, but estimates on the willingness of society to pay for the production.

    Vast quantities of coal – proven to exist – remain in the ground – but not included on the reserve tally because they are not economically recoverable at current prices – in part due to the availability of oil and natural gas.

    The availability of these choice fuels removes productive pressures and prevents the classification of known seams in the reserve category.

    Several thousand gigatonnes of coal are recoverable and global consumption is less than 10 gigatonnes per year.

    A few hundred years worth of coal are therefore available.

    They will never be burned of course, since atmospheric CO2 levels can not be allowed to be driven to the levels that such consumption would produce.

    Peak Oil has already been reached.

    Coal will reach it’s peak through environmental limits rather than economic limits or limits of availability.

    Neo-Classical economics of course runs on the assumption of limitless resource availability through resource substitution in blind and ignorant defiance of the real world.

    Comment by Veidicar Decarian — 10 Aug 2010 @ 2:01 AM

  167. Updated, problem-free emblem artwork now available for his Lordship:

    Revised and resubmitted

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Aug 2010 @ 2:04 AM

  168. Some years ago back at #90 I had been looking at “Skill and uncertainty in climate models” J Hargreaves, because I’d earlier made the general point that the errors terms in the forecasts used by IPCC were so wide that arguments about “what proved what” with Monckton was like angels on a pin head (I wasn’t that succinct in my earlier comments).

    Gavin had suggested that Hargreaves showed that Hansen’s 1988 “had substantial skill compared to any naive model”. In comment #90 I made the point that a quick analysis using the linear trend from 1969-1988 to predict 1989 – 2008 of Hadcut3 in fact has about as much skill as Hansen.

    Gavin responded by saying:

    “ Why did you choose a start date of 1969? Is there any evidence (that was available prior to 1988) that a trend based on the previous 20 years was a skillful null hypothesis? (note that I can’t quite match your trend calculation – I used the HadCRUT3v data annual mean data and I get 0.12 deg C/dec for the 1969-1987 (inclusive) trend). The problem is that now you already know what the answer is, and so there is a possibility of looking through the data to find something that fits better. So to be fair, you have to either use a null hypothesis that was actually proposed at the time (no change certainly was), or come up with a scheme which you could justify using data available the time. Technically that would preclude HadCRUT3v, but that is a minor issue.

    “Curiously, the earliest reference I have ever found to the linear extrapolation as a serious prediction in this issue was in 1992 by Bill Nierenberg, and he used the whole 20th Century to predict a trend of 0.1ºC/decade over the 21st Century. Even given the later date of this prediction, it still has less skill than the Hansen result.”

    I had explained in #90 that I had used 1969-1988 (20 years data) simply because that was what Hargreaves had used, and back at #83 gave a rationale for choosing a linear trend for a short-term forecast (and no trend for long-term forecast), but noted that since the time series is probably ARIMA, this would be the ultimate naive model (i.e. just using the time series data). I rather suspect that the ARIMA structure of the time series would validate the human instinct to follow the recent trend if you want a short-term forecast and go for the mean if you’re going long-term.

    But Gavin’s persistence here got me to have another think and another look.

    First I realised that Hargreaves deals with a very weak form of validation. It doesn’t test whether Hansen can skilfully forecast Hadcrut3 over 1989 – 2008, only if it can forecast the trend. The skill statistic reported in Hargreaves (0.56) compares Hansen’s trend with no trend (the null hypothesis model). [If this statistic is >0 then the model has greater skill than the null hypothesis model.] I can now reproduce this result, having previously been bemused as to how Fig 1 of Hargreaves showed the zero trend heading off at an anomaly of 0.15 rather than the 20 year average over 1969 – 1988.

    In the 20 year linear trend test I had done earlier that returned about the same skill as Hansen I had looked at the skill in actually forecasting Hadcrut3, not just the trend. If I limited the test to forecasting the trend only and use the linear trend from 1969 – 1988 (0.15 per decade) as the null hypothesis to compare with Hansen’s trend the skill of Hansen is –1.76 i.e. just sticking a line through the last 20 years is much more skillful. If I use Gavin’s result from HadCRUT3v (0.12 per decade) Hansen’s skill increases to -0.33 (still less skillful), and even if I use the Nierenberg figure Gavin quotes (0.1 per decade) Hansen only breaks even.

    From this point I got thinking about the process Hargreaves had used to narrow the null hypothesis down to the one with such limited skill. Rather than looking at the dataset available in 1998 and using standard time series analysis techniques (available in 1998) to establish its underlying structure and hence the null hypothesis, the choice in null hypothesis was limited to a couple of options (trend vs no-trend) that were particularly naive (probably more naive than human instinct) and a selection process was established that appears to use the skill criteria (exactly what was done is unclear from the text) and inappropriate multiple use of the dataset.

    If Hargreaves had been seeking the best naive null hypothesis from the dataset that assumed a linear trend with time (of which “no trend” is just a special case) why didn’t she just do the tests?

    Comment by HAS — 10 Aug 2010 @ 2:06 AM

  169. This encyclopedia clears up a lot:Encyclopedia of paleoclimatology and ancient environments. That book clears up many made up papers.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=yRMgYc-8mTIC&pg=PA181&dq=Michael+Mann+Climate&hl=en&ei=KwphTPukKI30swOLv8XzBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Michael%20Mann%20Climate&f=false

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 10 Aug 2010 @ 3:51 AM

  170. Jacob Mack – instead of complaining about Wikipedia, just create yourself an account and fix the errors already…

    Comment by Billy t — 10 Aug 2010 @ 4:52 AM

  171. [Schmidt Response: CO2 concentrations are going up almost exactly as predicted, and well within the bounds of the A2 set of projections - Your graph is fake. - gavin]

    On the A2 scenario, which comes closest to today’s actual CO2 emissions, the IPCC predicts (or, if you prefer, “projects”) that CO2 concentration will rise exponentially. CO2 concentration, however, is no longer rising exponentially towards the IPCC’s central estimate of 836 ppmv by 2100, but linearly towards just 570 ppmv by 2100. It is not yet clear whether this linearity will continue: but, if it does, all of the IPCC’s predictions (or, if you prefer, “projections”) of future global warming will require substantial downward adjustment on this ground alone.

    [Schmidt Response: Whoosh, see those goal posts move.... - gavin]

    This, too, does not seem to be a scientific response.

    Obviously, “you’re graph is a fake” is not scientific response. No wonder no-one can get through to him.

    Comment by Chris O'Neill — 10 Aug 2010 @ 5:33 AM

  172. PhilC 110: As any science fiction write will tell, you science fiction, which this is, is nortoriously poor at predicting what actually happens.

    BPL: They’re not predictions, they’re stories. Nonetheless, as any science fiction writer (like me) will tell you, SF has a pretty good record of predicting what actually happens. SF writers have predicted:

    The first manned flight to the Moon, from Florida, with a three-man crew (Verne, “De la Terre a la Lune,” a century before it happened)

    Tanks as combat vehicles (Verne, “The Steam Elephant;” Wells, “The Land Ironclads”)

    Bioengineering new plants and animals (Stapledon, “Last and First Men,” 1930)

    Nuclear reactor accidents at commercial power stations (Del Rey, “Nerves;” Heinlein, “Solution Unsatisfactory,” ’40s)

    Personal computers (Leinster, “A Logic Named Joe,” 1946)

    Pocket calculators, right down to the size, gray-plastic case, and red-glowing numbers (Asimov, “The Feeling of Power,” ’50s)

    The collapse of the Soviet Union (Sprague de Camp, “Brown’s Date,” ’50s)

    Professional female combat soldiers (Heinlein, “Tunnel in the Sky,” 1956)

    A larger US Muslim population (Heinlein, “Stranger in a Strange Land,” 1961)

    That Ronald Reagan would become president of the United States, at a time when he was thought to be a crazy-right, washed-up has-been (Firesign Theatre, “I Think We’re All Bozos on This Bus;” Brunner, “The Sheep Look Up,” early ’70s)

    Need I go on?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Aug 2010 @ 6:25 AM

  173. The best response to the likes of Monckton is to ask why the wealthiest industry in the world has to defend its interests using unqualified cranks and retired scientists. If climate science was really fatally flawed, the fossil fuel industry could easily afford to pay for a definitive study that would overturn the alleged fraud. Here in Australia, the mining industry threatened the government with an A$100-million advertising campaign just to reduce a proposed new tax on profits. They won. With that sort of money to throw around the fossil fuel industry (wealthier than general mining) could fund world-class science to defend their interests. Instead, at best, they are funding world-class clowns.

    The only logical explanation is that they have already done the world-class science, and found it didn’t help their case. Some evidence on my blog (see reference to 1995 NY Times article).

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 10 Aug 2010 @ 7:26 AM

  174. 163 (Radge), 135 (Edward),

    Some observations about “…how to change the minds of the dismissive.”:

    1) There is a certain arrogance in some people which requires that they be right. Those people can only convince themselves. Efforts by other people to do so trigger negative emotional rather than rational responses and have the opposite effect.

    Put another way, these types of people will always put their energy into winning the game (i.e. proving themselves right) rather than trying to determine the truth, so they will hear, but won’t listen.

    2) Many deniers have a good versus evil view of the debate, as well as the world as a whole (and debates on most other issues). People that disagree with them don’t simply hold a differing opinion, but instead are classified as evil and villainous. A perfect example of this is the way relatively private and out-of-the-limelight people like Jones and Mann are vilified in blogs, while caricatures who never stop shrieking hysterics like McIntyre and Monckton are applauded as heroes.

    Put another way, these types of people will casually dismiss the “proclamations” of the other side as they would the preachings of a foreign religion, so they won’t even hear, let alone listen.

    3) Many deniers begin with a completely different frame of reference as a foundation (and foundations cannot be easily changed). Their first thought is about security, as defined by a minimized world view (themselves, their family, their region, their job, their financial prospects, their immediate future). Emotionally, distant places, peoples and times do not enter into their thinking as a tangible factor, except as an afterthought. Verbally they may claim this is not true, but in fact it is.

    Put another way, the everyday and the present are too tangible to them, while the foreign and future are too abstract, so they’ll listen, but internally they’ll weight arguments with a wildly wrong imbalance.

    * * *

    It would be interesting to cross reference people’s stance on climate change with their Meyers-Briggs ratings.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 10 Aug 2010 @ 7:45 AM

  175. Monckton of Brenchley (a Lord, whether you like it or not) — 8 August 2010 @ 5:36 PM “Our detractors admit that on our CO2 concentration graph we correctly plot the least-squares linear-regression trend on the actual NOAA data,

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/globalview/co2/co2_intro.html “GLOBALVIEW-CO2 is derived from measurements but contains no actual data. To facilitate use with carbon cycle modeling studies, the measurements have been processed (smoothed, interpolated, and extrapolated) resulting in extended records that are evenly incremented in time. Be aware that information contained in the actual data may be lost in this process. Users are encouraged to review the actual data in the literature, in data archives (CDIAC, WDCGG), or by contacting the participating laboratories.”

    Perhaps Lord Monckton would like to graph the NOAA “data” and point out ” …a single location intermittently perturbed by regional volcanic activity”? I’ve plotted a few locations at http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/noaa_co2-u0BBn.jpg

    I wonder if yer Lordship picked a “processed (smoothed, interpolated, and extrapolated)” “dataset” which only goes back to 1979, instead of the data at http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2, which goes back to 1959, because that makes the curve look flatter.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 10 Aug 2010 @ 8:14 AM

  176. #168 and #83 (not #90)

    Linear extrapolation ‘model’. In my view, its only ‘naive’ if you can’t or won’t explain it (and the slope) in terms of the underlying science.

    Comment by Geoff wexler — 10 Aug 2010 @ 8:47 AM

  177. HAS, you seem not to understand that Hansen’s model is not a statistical model, but rather a physical model. He does not use temperature data to get a best-fit slope, but rather estimates a slope from the physics. Thus, getting the trend as close as he does demonstrates significant skill in the model.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Aug 2010 @ 9:00 AM

  178. re: 163. “1) There is a certain arrogance in some people which requires that they be right.”

    In addition, there have a very large amount of insecurity and an astounding inability to admit when they are flat out wrong. Even when the science does not support them. Thus, they can’t follow the scientific method and either lie or make things up. For example, Monckton.

    Comment by Dan — 10 Aug 2010 @ 9:11 AM

  179. #110 [Response: The IPCC scenarios are not just 'made up' - they are attempts to put together coherent storylines for what might happen in the future. You might not like their conclusions or their assumptions but they are what they are. You don't get to reinterpret what they were, make up some new climate theory, compare your fantasy climate theory output that used your fantasy scenario to the real world and conclude that IPCC is wrong. Well, not if you want to retain any intellectual credibility. As for the Nelson site, this is just nonsense. You can't extrapolate linearly to 0% greenhouse gases, and the fact the the planet has gone from Snowball Earth to Cretaceous Hot house should give no-one any comfort that climate sensitivity is negligible. - gavin]

    Nice debate technique Gavin- I have no likes or dislikes about the IPPC conclusions or assumptions. They are what they are: the opinions of small groups of people The point about the IPCC “images of the future” is that they are not scientific predictions. Putting together a coherent story line is making things up, by definition. The resulting science fiction stories have no place in a presentation about what may happen to the climate in the future. What is needed are sound forecasts based on the data.

    [Response: Please look up the process that the Integrated Assessment Groups use to develop these scenarios. There is plenty of data used. The problem with any of this is that somethings are just inherently unpredictable - technology development, societal development, wars, etc. and so you are never going to have 'predictions' of human societal development decades into the future. If you think otherwise, please point me to any that you find - along with your reasons to imagine that they will be correct. - gavin]

    :With apologies to Lewis Carroll:

    “Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
    That alone should encourage the crew.
    Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
    What I tell you three times is true.”

    If Monckton’s presentations are fantasy, so are those from the IPCC.

    [Response: You misunderstand completely. Monckton's fantasy is that he is talking about anything that is relevant to what the IPCC said. He is not. He is of course perfectly at liberty to construct his own scenarios, use his own climate 'models' to calculate the impact on climate, and then evaluate his projections against the actual data. But he is claiming that his scenarios are those of the IPCC - they are not. That his climate models are those used by the IPCC - they are not. And that his incorrect evaluation methods demonstrate something about the the IPCC scenarios and projections. They do not. This really isn't a very difficult point to grasp. - gavin]

    The fact that the earth appears to have gone through huge changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration over geologic eras, while the estimated temps went from 12degC to 22 deg C regardless of “Snowball Earth” or “Cretaceous Hot House” with both hot and cold periods occurring during both high and low CO2 regimes and both with and without ice caps argues very strongly that we do not understand the climate mechanism at all. I have never seen any climate modelling that even includes the fact that ice ages occur or that while they occur the earth doesn’t freeze down to -175 C. If the science can’t address that, its ability to estimate what will happen in 10, 20, or a 100 years is nonexistant.

    [Response: Odd comment, there are many simulations of ice age conditions and they show quite neatly that the configuration of large ice sheets, low GHGs, changes in vegetation and cooler overall temperatures are stable. - gavin]

    I highly recommend “The Hunting of the Snark” by Lewis Carroll (http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/carrol03.html) as a sterling example of irrational thought. I wish he were alive today to write some new tales.

    As far as Nelson’s site, apparently you didn’t read the graph. The temperature scale starts at Odeg temperature increase at 0% increase from the current level of CO2. That is patently correct. The temperature at the current level of CO2 is the same as the temperature at the current level of CO2 so the difference is zero. Once you realize that, the rest of it follows in a straightforward fashion. 5deg-9deg temp. rise for a doubling of CO2 are taken from the IPCC scenarios. Since neither one fits back to the current temp data, something has to be wrong in the 5-9deg. increase prediction.

    [Response: No. Something is wrong with a linear extrapolation in a very non-linear situation. - gavin]

    The obvious candidate is that the CO2 feedback is not positive as all the climate models assume, but negative as shown by the ERBE and CERES experiments. A negative feedback also neatly fits in with the fact that the earth’s temperature doesn’t fluctuate over wide ranges because the ocean and atmosphere act in concert to stabilize the temperature around a median level.

    [Response: Net negative feedback (i.e. climate sensitivity less than 1 deg C ) is completely inconsistent with the ice ages that you quoted above. Please be a little consistent. - gavin]

    Comment by PhilC — 10 Aug 2010 @ 9:46 AM

  180. I cannot help but feel that given the extreme and terrible effects of anthropogenic global warming that we can see going on all over the world at this very moment, that it is utterly appalling that good people are spending so much time focused on the absolute garbage that frauds, liars and cranks like Monckton are cranking out.

    What will it take? Canada burning from coast to coast like Russia is burning now, with hundreds of people dying every day in major US cities from the heat and toxic smoke like people are dying in Moscow now?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 10 Aug 2010 @ 9:47 AM

  181. BPL wrote: “Personal computers (Leinster, ‘A Logic Named Joe,’ 1946)”

    That was a particularly prophetic story. I heard a radio adaptation of it, on a recording of a 1940s program called “X Minus One”. It not only predicted personal computers; it predicted something like the Internet, and not only that, it predicted many of the Internet-era problems with privacy, and universal access to sensitive and potentially dangerous information, that we are dealing with today.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 10 Aug 2010 @ 9:52 AM

  182. HAS: You haven’t explained how a linear trend can be justified as a null hypothesis. In the short term, a positive linear trend is what we expect from global warming. So, using what you expect to see as your null hypothesis is kind of…. wrong. Utterly wrong.

    Once you have made the wrong decision to use a linear trend, you then have to decide which linear trend to use. And your results will be completely dependant on the choices you make at that point, making a mockery of the whole exercise.

    Note that choosing “no trend” as the null doesn’t (and shouldn’t) stop us from asking how closely the model trend matches the observed trend. But comparing the model trend from one time interval to the observed trend from an earlier time interval simply doesn’t make sense.

    Oh – and your “alternative model” of drawing a straight line through the last 20 years…. you may get lucky in the short term, but it looks like an uncomfortable future, since you are predicting an eternally warming world regardless of greenhouse gases or anything else. Even a naïve model needs justification.

    Comment by Didactylos — 10 Aug 2010 @ 10:15 AM

  183. RE: #173 and sciene fiction successes

    Sciece Fiction has also had many more bloopers”

    Asimov’s Psychohistory, the three laws of robotics,
    Alien invaders of many sorts- good, bad, and indifferent
    SETI equation
    The Dean Drive
    Faster than light drive
    Using wormholes
    Going through an event horizon
    You forgot the A bomb, predicted a couple years before the first one was used. At the time it was akin to predicting that cars wouild get bigger and faster.
    Laumer’s Bolo tank
    Nano machines that can do anything, including violating the laws of thermodynamics
    Time Travel
    Anti-gravity in many various forms
    Heinlein’s later stuff,like the 4 dimensional trunk of the car in “the Number of the Beast”
    Intelligent machines
    The Turing Test
    Vernor Vinge Technological Singularity vs David Weber’s Elizabethan navies in space

    piling missed prediction on missed prediction.

    Which brings us back to the point, why is the IPCCusing science fiction as a serious method for making predictions about global climate in the first place?

    Back to the article:
    “It should be noted that Lord Monckton faithfully reproduces the global mean sea surface CO2 concentration taken from NOAA, and the light blue trend line he draws through the data appears to be legitimate. “ So the good Lord is taken to task for accurately reproducing a graph of CO2 concentration increase and an accurate trend for the IPCC predictions. The point is the legitimate IPCC trendline is significantly different than the actual data. Why??? There is nothing at all dishonest about taking one of the IPCC’s non-predictions, noting that it fairly closely matches the data and drawing the conclusion that of all the non-predictions this one seems to be closest to the mark and the others are way off base.

    The whole argument that scenarios and “images of the future” and projections are not predictions is specious. When someone looks at some data, makes some assumptions and does some statistics, and draws a line past the end of the data, that is a PREDICTION- evaluating data, making some assumptions, and then predicting what is going to happen. It’s just that other disciplines seem to have much better data, a much better understanding of statistics, and much better understanding of the underlying processes that are assumed to be in play.

    Comment by PhilC — 10 Aug 2010 @ 10:25 AM

  184. Don’t get hung up on sci-fi. For every correct prediction, there have been dozens of wildly inaccurate predictions, from Jules Verne’s ballistic cannon to the moon, through all the many 20th century moonbases (and beyond), to the more wild speculations about all kinds of things. We still can’t do AI. Hover cars remain utterly impractical. We haven’t even got as far as Mars.

    I’m digressing just a little from the topic because it relates to a wider theme: confirmation bias. Just as you are conveniently remembering the large handful of correct sci-fi predictions and ignoring the rest, so Monckton remains firmly blinkered and oblivious to everything that contradicts him. Psychics rely on this phenomenon. Scientists should be wary of it.

    Of course, PhilC is also suffering from confirmation bias by conveniently forgetting those times when sci-fi got it right. Confirmation bias can always cut both ways.

    Comment by Didactylos — 10 Aug 2010 @ 10:27 AM

  185. “Obviously, “you’re graph is a fake” is not scientific response.”

    Real science:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/technical-papers/paper-IV-en.pdf “Implications of Proposed CO2 Emissions Limitations”
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/search?src=hw&site_area=sci&fulltext=co2+emissions&x=16&y=12 [17176 hits]

    Blog science:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/08/monckton-makes-it-up/
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/mo-better-monckey-business/

    blog nonsense:
    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/monthly_report/
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/05/global-warming-causing-carbon-dioxide-increases-a-simple-model/
    http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=3690#comment-170661

    Summary for Policymakers:
    Monckton’s graph is a fake.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 10 Aug 2010 @ 10:29 AM

  186. PhilC says, \I have never seen any climate modelling that even includes the fact that ice ages occur or that while they occur the earth doesn’t freeze down to -175 C.\

    Apparently you have not looked very hard. The glacial/interglacial cycle is one of the stronger constraints on climate sensitivity, and so on CO2 sensitivity.

    So the question must be asked: Since it is clear that you do not know the science, why do you persist in arguing against FICTIONAL straw men of your own (or others?) construction?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Aug 2010 @ 11:22 AM

  187. PhilC said: “The resulting science fiction stories have no place in a presentation about what may happen to the climate in the future. What is needed are sound forecasts based on the data.”

    Bwahahahahaha!! If the IPCC had been more specific, you would accuse them of wielding a crystal ball instead of doing science. And you would be right.

    But they didn’t. They used the available data to construct a range of futures that must almost certainly bound the actual future, and that can be compared meaningfully with the observed future as it happens.

    How can you “forecast” whether strict CO2 controls will be imposed and enforced? You can’t! So the IPCC studies both alternatives.

    This isn’t complicated. Climate science often gets very technical and nuanced, but the IPCC scenarios just aren’t. They are easy to understand, easy to interpret, and are explained in detail.

    So far as I can see, the only reason you don’t like them is because they do cover every eventuality so well. You would prefer the IPCC to have made one forecast, then you could have crowed about how they got it wrong when reality inevitably diverged. Perhaps it is time you considered the possibility that climate scientists actually know what they are doing?

    Comment by Didactylos — 10 Aug 2010 @ 11:22 AM

  188. PhilC shows an amazing lack of credibility when he says stuff like:

    I have never seen any climate modelling that even includes the fact that ice ages occur or that while they occur the earth doesn’t freeze down to -175 C.

    Um, PhilC baby, ya gotta LOOK if you expect to SEE. Your ignorance of the state of climate modeling does not prove that climate models suck. It only proves that you’re ignorant.

    The obvious candidate is that the CO2 feedback is not positive as all the climate models assume

    They don’t *assume*, PhilC, they *compute*. It’s an outcome, not an assumption.

    Again, your ignorance proves nothing other than the fact that you’re ignorant.

    Go do some studying and come back when you’ve learned something. If you think ignorant statements such as this are going to impress people around here, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

    Where did you learn about climate models? By attending a lecture by Monckton?

    For those of you having trouble with reCAPTCHA, I find that hitting the widget to give a new one (the circle-arrow widget) a few times eventually yields something legible.

    Comment by dhogaza — 10 Aug 2010 @ 11:25 AM

  189. Given what is happening in Russia and Pakistan at this very moment, and the highest temperatures ever recorded being observed all over the Earth, not to mention the recently observed ongoing die-off of oceanic phytoplankton, just to mention a few “current events”, arguments about “forecasts” seem surrealistic.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 10 Aug 2010 @ 11:47 AM

  190. PhilC says: 10 August 2010 at 9:46 AM

    Possibly because he’s preoccupied w/fear and confusion about anthropogenic climate change, Phil has apparently missed the fact that GCMs are employed to explore various “what ifs” quite apart from the unfolding case being dealt with by the IPCC etc. Stepping away from AGW and looking at GCM applications to other questions is a useful calming exercise.

    Phil has also apparently been infected by an article from American Thinker. Anybody following this thread and tempted to imagine Phil’s remarks on “negative feedback” are useful should read the following articles before forming any conclusions:

    American Thinker – the Difference between a Smoking Gun and a Science Paper

    and

    American Thinker Smoking Gun – Gary Thompson’s comments examined

    It’s notable that the term “smoking gun” itself implies the discovery of some sort of crime as opposed to an error, quite in keeping with Randy’s remarks on cranks earlier in this thread.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Aug 2010 @ 12:03 PM

  191. 179 (PhilC),

    If I may, Phil, intense emotion comes through in your post. You obviously intently believe what you are saying, but I think this is obscuring your judgment. Instead of trying to make a point, for a moment consider that the person with whom you are arguing has made a career of climate science, and pretty much risen to the pinnacle of his field. This does not by default make him right, but it does imply that you should maybe step back and consider what he says a little more thoroughly, and perhaps do more research (a lot more research).

    Your position is fraught with errors, with things that you think you understand because you’ve seemingly listened to the denialsphere echo chamber without bothering to skeptically say \wait, is that true?\

    [First hint: the IPCC conclusions or assumptions, and their Assessment Reports, are not remotely the \opinions of small groups of people.\]

    Suggestion… play devil’s advocate with yourself. Try as hard as you can to beat yourself at your own game. No one here can convince you, but if you are intelligent and you invest the time (which your level of emotion suggests you are motivated to do) then you should be able to persistently and ruthlessly try to prove yourself wrong.

    If you are honest with yourself, and in the end come off merely affirming your original position, so be it. If you are dishonest with yourself, and stop as soon as you can affirm your current position without too much discomfort, that is your choice. And if you are honest with yourself, and change your position, then you get to be a part of an effort to help do the right things.

    But please understand, everyone here is reading your posts and thinking \wow, this guy just doesn’t get it, does he?\ When you think you are scoring direct hits, the actual effect is quite the opposite.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 10 Aug 2010 @ 12:08 PM

  192. Monckton – quoted by Bickmore
    “One merely calculates the least-squares linear-regression trend over successively longer periods to see whether the slope of the trend progressively increases (as it must if the curve is genuinely exponential) or whether, instead, it progressively declines towards linearity (as it actually does).”
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/from:1980/trend/plot/esrl-co2/from:1990/trend/plot/esrl-co2/from:2000/trend

    “One can also calculate the trends over successive periods of, say, ten years, with start-points separated by one year.”
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/from:2000.6/to:2010.6/trend/plot/esrl-co2/from:1998.6/to:2008.6/trend/plot/esrl-co2/from:1996.6/to:2006.6/trend

    “On both these tests, the CO2 concentration change has been flattening out appreciably.”

    Summary for Policymakers:
    Monckton’s statements about the “flattening” increase in CO2 are self refuting, an error.[1]

    [1]*Spock: “Ah! Mr. Scott. I understand you’re having difficulty with the warp drive. How much time do you require for repair?”
    Scotty: “There’s nothing wrong with the bloody thing.”
    Spock: “Mr. Scott, if we return to Space Dock, the assassins will surely find a way to dispose of their incriminating footwear, and we will never see the Captain or Dr. McCoy alive again.”
    Scotty: “Could take weeks, sir.”
    Spock: “Thank you, Mr. Scott. Valeris, please inform Starfleet Command that our warp drive is inoperative.”
    Valeris: “A lie?”
    Spock: “An error.” tnmc.homestead.com/Q20StarTrek6.html

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 10 Aug 2010 @ 12:12 PM

  193. When people like Monckton reach into people’s brains and stir them:

    The theory of relativity is a mathematical system that allows no exceptions. It is heavily promoted by liberals who like its encouragement of relativism and its tendency to mislead people in how they view the world.[1] Here is a list of 24 counterexamples: any one of them shows that the theory is incorrect.

    Conservapedia: The theory of relativity is a liberal plot

    When somebody purposely infects our culture with intellectual rot the damage doesn’t stop where commercial interests end.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Aug 2010 @ 12:15 PM

  194. Bob (Sphaerica) @ 174

    Insightful and well said.

    This is apt:

    “…these types of people will always put their energy into winning the game…”

    Political strategy is part science, part art, part philosophy, and part crazy-pants.

    I think it’s in “The Art of War” somewhere that you want to avoid cornering your opponent when you can give them an avenue of retreat. In the current situation, it’s a little hard to communicate with people who purposely lead their followers into a corner for the sake of making them fight more viciously, and who see little reward in cooperating with the ‘enemy.’

    Part of that calculation certainly involves planners’ views of political gaming and risk management:
    http://www.jedreport.com/2008/07/po ker-pros-soun.html (close the spaces).

    Comment by Radge Havers — 10 Aug 2010 @ 12:51 PM

  195. Yeesh, Phil! You sure you want to bring the “predictions” of science fiction (SF) into this? Fiction is an imaginative tool humans use to model different social and physical situations that the writers feel might be possible. However, “what might be possible” in SF does not necessarily refer to the physical science and technology. For example, when Heinlein wrote The Puppet Masters, he wasn’t thinking about the probability that mind-melding extraterrestrial aliens might be a real and present danger. He was thinking about Commies invading the US and turning everyone into mindless robots (something like present day Wall Street). If you bring SF into this, you’re also bringing allegory into the mix. You might as well bring religion in at that point. It wouldn’t be outrageous to argue that most technological imaginings in SF are used merely to allow particular social experiments to take place (ala Le Guin, Delaney, even Kim Stanley Robinson, though KSR at least tries to get it right). Suggesting that the IPCC is a massive SF collective, given the volume and quality of the actual math and the measurements, >suggests< a lack of integrity on your part, or perhaps integrity toward an agenda that hasn't yet been disclosed.

    For Monckton, though, this seems to be all just a game that has nothing to do with climate science. I'd be interested to see a diagnosis from a psychologist, but, alas, it wouldn't be publishable (unless Monckton agreed to it . . . hrmmmm . . . Mr. Publicity might just be up to it. Quality entertainment: Dr. Phil talks with CM about his childhood).

    Comment by Dave L — 10 Aug 2010 @ 1:15 PM

  196. This doesn’t help us solve the uncertainties in the human factor that led to the various high and low emission scenario projections, but it might help with understanding other aspects of the AGW process (tho I don’t really know what they’re saying myself) —

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/08/02/1007009107.abstract?ct=ct

    Quantifying uncertainty in climate change science through empirical information theory
    Andrew J. Majda1 and Boris Gershgorin

    Abstract: Quantifying the uncertainty for the present climate and the predictions of climate change in the suite of imperfect Atmosphere Ocean Science (AOS) computer models is a central issue in climate change science. Here, a systematic approach to these issues with firm mathematical underpinning is developed through empirical information theory. An information metric to quantify AOS model errors in the climate is proposed here which incorporates both coarse-grained mean model errors as well as covariance ratios in a transformation invariant fashion. The subtle behavior of model errors with this information metric is quantified in an instructive statistically exactly solvable test model with direct relevance to climate change science including the prototype behavior of tracer gases such as CO2. Formulas for identifying the most sensitive climate change directions using statistics of the present climate or an AOS model approximation are developed here; these formulas just involve finding the eigenvector associated with the largest eigenvalue of a quadratic form computed through suitable unperturbed climate statistics. These climate change concepts are illustrated on a statistically exactly solvable one-dimensional stochastic model with relevance for low frequency variability of the atmosphere. Viable algorithms for implementation of these concepts are discussed throughout the paper.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 10 Aug 2010 @ 1:35 PM

  197. A bit OT but picking up on a comment by SecularAnimist at 189, I am hoping against hope that there is some basic flaw in the recent article about a 40% drop in phytoplankton over the last 50 years.

    If this were true, wouldn’t we expect a considerable drop in atmospheric O2 levels, rather than the tiny drop observed?

    Does this inconsistency alone refute the article? (I’m assuming not, or wouldn’t have gotten published in the first place–so where is the flaw in my argument?)

    Comment by wili — 10 Aug 2010 @ 1:37 PM

  198. Here’s a link to the phytoplankton article. Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v466/n7306/full/nature09268.html

    Comment by wili — 10 Aug 2010 @ 1:39 PM

  199. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v466/n7306/full/nature09268.html

    Here is the link to the recent phytoplankton paper. Why no great decrease in atmospheric levels of O2 if so much of the phytoplankton population has collapsed?

    Comment by wili — 10 Aug 2010 @ 1:42 PM

  200. When can we stop engaging in the phony, bogus, endless, repetitive “debate” with the deniers and their corporate-scripted, copied-and-pasted, boilerplate drivel, and start engaging with the real scientific debate as to whether or not it is already too late to prevent catastrophic warming even if we ended all anthropogenic GHG emissions tomorrow?

    A few weeks ago, I posted a comment here asking climate scientists what sort of event they might consider to be an “oh-my-god-the-sheet-has-really-hit-the-fan-now” sort of “Climate 9/11″ event.

    I am not a climate scientist of course, but it seems to me that we have seen several such events since then, with the situation in Russia being the most horrific.

    Given the effects we are already seeing from the warming that has already occurred due to the GHGs we have already emitted, at this point it is very difficult for me to imagine any plausible course of events which does NOT result in the collapse of human civilization under the onslaught of AGW within a few decades at most.

    To paraphrase the Cowardly Lion, the only thing I ask of you climate scientists is “talk me out of it”.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 10 Aug 2010 @ 1:44 PM

  201. I’d like to echo the sentiment that you all ignore the professional deniers.

    Monckton’s as sincere in his science as Andy Kaufman was as a wrestler. Think of the gaudy title. It’s like being a Kentucky Colonel or having the right to be an usher at a Fat Pigs agricultural show. And he knows it. It’s English theater like Screaming Lord Sutch. Monckton is laughing at you for responding since your response increases the attendance at his next show. That’s he’s worked up an elaborate presentation is just frou-frou. He’s a barker drawing in the rubes.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 10 Aug 2010 @ 2:28 PM

  202. SecularAnimist says: 10 August 2010 at 1:44 PM

    When can we stop engaging in the phony, bogus, endless, repetitive “debate” with the deniers and their corporate-scripted, copied-and-pasted, boilerplate drivel, and start engaging with the real scientific debate as to whether or not it is already too late to prevent catastrophic warming even if we ended all anthropogenic GHG emissions tomorrow?

    Until we (you and I and some other people) move enough people to overcome effects of such things such as the minority rule problem here with the U.S. Senate there’s no way to move ahead. This is a political problem, not a physical sciences problem. If there’s progress possible, it’s going to come from political solutions comporting with what we know of how people think, so look to social sciences for a way forward. Deconvolve “deniers” and “drivel” into what they really mean, figure out a way to move a few percent of those Leiserowitz identifies as “cautious” and “disengaged.”

    If we want other people to be in better tune with science we ourselves need to be more scientific. Use Leiserowitz’ list of relevant research papers as a springboard to learn more, chase down their citations.

    More of the same will not work, I think that’s been proven to our complete satisfaction.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Aug 2010 @ 2:44 PM

  203. in case no-one else hs made the obvious point, let me: Viscount Monckton would normlly be addressed as ‘Lord Monckton’, and the appellation ‘Lord’ would in no way imply membership of the House of Lords. Even before the 1999 reforms, the style ‘Lord’ was often nothing more than a courtesy title given to younger sons of peers of a certain rank, and did not imply that those Lords were members of the House of Lords. So, its quite normal for Viscount Monckton to be called Lord Monckton, its quite odd for him or anyone else to suggest that means he’s a member of the House of Lords.

    Comment by bill — 10 Aug 2010 @ 2:47 PM

  204. Wili, #197 & 8–

    This may get you started. I found it by Googling “o2 flux atmosphere.” I’m a layman, but this paper appears to say that:

    1) O2 fluxes occur from ocean to atmosphere and vice-versa;
    2) These fluxes are regionally dependent, with high latitudes mostly seeing O2 moving from atmosphere to ocean, and the tropics seeing the opposite pattern;
    3) Fluxes are driven by both thermal and biological processes;
    4) Globally, the atmosphere loses about 49 Tmol yr-1; this sounds large but is described by the authors as “relatively small.”

    http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/~gruber/publication/pdf_files/GGFS01_rev_pp.pdf

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 10 Aug 2010 @ 2:55 PM

  205. Billy 170: I will time permitting. My posts were more than just about wikipedia, they are also about Monckton (and others) making things up and why people fall for it. Whwn people get past a paragraph or two of the paleo encyclopedia or a climate physics textbook then they may start to see why the climate scientists warming us about possible future consequences know climate is complex and AGW so serious; that is my brief point. However, I will be doing that soon.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 10 Aug 2010 @ 2:57 PM

  206. Phil C — Please study “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html
    before returning to ask questions.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 10 Aug 2010 @ 2:58 PM

  207. Doug Bostrom wrote: “Until we (you and I and some other people) move enough people to overcome effects of such things such as the minority rule problem here with the U.S. Senate there’s no way to move ahead.”

    I’m not really talking about efforts to take action to phase out GHG emissions, which are of course beyond the scope of this blog.

    What I am talking about is, that it seems to me that with regard to climate science, this blog spends far too much time responding to the phony, trumped-up “debate” fueled by denialist drivel, and not enough time addressing the legitimate scientific question as to whether it is in fact too late to prevent global warming and climate change that will be catastrophic to human civilization, not to mention the entire Earth’s biosphere.

    How many articles have been published here addressing obtuse and/or dishonest “arguments” from the likes of Monckton, compared to those addressing the profoundly pessimistic views of James Lovelock, for example?

    In a way I suppose that it is fun and satisfying to “argue” with the denialists, because we KNOW that we are right and they are wrong.

    It is not so much fun to argue with the pessimists, because we suspect that they may be right.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 10 Aug 2010 @ 3:01 PM

  208. 202 Bill: “So, its quite normal for Viscount Monckton to be called Lord Monckton, its quite odd for him or anyone else to suggest that means he’s a member of the House of Lords.”

    In an open letter from Monckton to US Senators Snowe and Rockefeller:

    “Finally, you may wonder why it is that a member of the Upper House of the United Kingdom legislature, wholly unconnected with and unpaid by the corporation that is the victim of your lamentable letter, should take the unusual step of calling upon you as members of the Upper House of the United States legislature either to withdraw what you have written or resign your sinecures.”

    Comment by J Bowers — 10 Aug 2010 @ 3:08 PM

  209. Doug Bostrom @193 said: “When somebody purposely infects our culture with intellectual rot the damage doesn’t stop where commercial interests end.”

    Exactly so Doug, as Spencer and Pielke Snr. recently found out.
    And as we enter the second decade of the millennium which is on track to be hotter than the last, who will the shriekers turn to for solutions? Monckton? Watts? Pielke? Somehow, I think those self-styled “men of science” aren’t up to the demands of the future.

    That Monckton et al are financed and courted by self-seving interests is evidence of a nihilistic decadence our culture can no longer afford.

    p.s. Did anybody else find that exchange with Monckton that terminated with Gavin’s “You think the context makes it better? Ha.” worthy of the best of Groucho Marx? :)

    Comment by chek — 10 Aug 2010 @ 3:09 PM

  210. wili@197 – another look with some links. Makes you reconsider living in major cities.

    Comment by flxible — 10 Aug 2010 @ 3:15 PM

  211. SecularAnimist says: 10 August 2010 at 3:01 PM

    Ah, I get your point. Arguably things such as you speak of are addressed from a scientific perspective in the IPCC reports as well as more recent summaries such as the (very excellent) NAS set of reports. Putting those together with what appears to be a complete failure so far to set effective boundaries on emissions it seems quite clear that we’re headed for the upper range of scenarios described by those authorities. I’m not really sure what RC could add other than to highlight that fact?

    As well, it help to remember that people can synthesize rubbish a lot faster than researchers can reveal useful and new information, yet all the crap needs to be cleaned up by somebody with the intellectual means to do so properly. So for my part I’m not surprised about the general weighting of content here.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Aug 2010 @ 3:25 PM

  212. > flxible above points to “another look with some links” — a Guardian guy going on about decreasing oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere.

    Don’t miss this. It’s Marx Brothers quality writing from a Peter Tatchell who is “not a scientist” but relies on people who claim to be.

    Tatchell quotes a “Professor Ervin Laszlo, … UN advisor” as claiming that the “oxygen content of the Earth’s atmosphere dips to 19% over impacted areas, and it is down to 12 to 17% over the major cities ….”

    Tatchell says “Professor Ian Plimer of Adelaide University and Professor Jon Harrison of the University of Arizona concur. Like most other scientists they accept that oxygen … levels are even less in densely populated, polluted city centres and industrial complexes, perhaps only 15 % or lower.”

    About 15 percent oxygen is required to support combustion. Have you noticed candles going out? gas heaters failing? Nothing moving on the freeway except vehicles with turbocharged engines?

    Gasp!

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Aug 2010 @ 3:48 PM

  213. PS — Jon Harrison at Arizona is for real, and he doesn’t seem to have said anything like what’s attributed by the Guardian guy Tatchell.

    And Tatchell, though he attributes his story to an upcoming book, is recycling an old story that’s been circulating on blogs for years.

    I should’ve just posted this and dismissed the Tatchell nonsense:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=Professor+Jon+Harrison++University+of+Arizona+oxygen+levels

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Aug 2010 @ 3:54 PM

  214. PhilC,

    I have seen you have trouble grasping the concept of and reasons behind the IPCC scenarios.

    Your doctor will never say “There’s a good change you’re gonna die of lung cancer”. Instead he will say: “if you continue smoking two packets of cigarettes a day, there’s a good change you’re gonna die of lung cancer”. The if-part of that sentence is a ‘scenario’. Just like your doctor can’t predict whether you’ll give up smoking or not, the IPCC can’t predict whether strict CO2 legislation will be enforced or not.

    ‘Choice’ is the problem here.

    CO2 emissions are a matter of choice. The consequences aren’t.

    This world has chosen A2. The consequences are pretty much how the IPCC predicted them.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 10 Aug 2010 @ 4:15 PM

  215. SecularAnimist (#206) “…the legitimate scientific question as to whether it is in fact too late to prevent global warming and climate change that will be catastrophic to human civilization, not to mention the entire Earth’s biosphere.”

    I think you’re extending the science a bit with this statement. Most skeptics argue that the “catastrophic” shouldn’t be there, although I’d say it’s possible, but not a given. The last part of the sentence especially poor however, since it depends on how you define catastrophic with respect to the earth’s biosphere. If you define it as killing of all life on earth (in my opinion a reasonable definition to a loaded term such as catastrophic), then I would challenge everyone to find any study that suggests a that this is a possibility. In order for that to happen, the earth would almost have to move towards a climate much more similar to Venus (correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that is forseable in the next few centuries even under the worst scenarios).

    I don’t think we shouldn’t do anything, but answering false statements by Monckton with exagerated statements that the science doesn’t support will not help either.

    Comment by sambo — 10 Aug 2010 @ 4:26 PM

  216. Couple of follow up comments and a postscript to Hargreaves “Skill and uncertainty in climate models”.

    Ray Ladbury #177 said I didn’t understand Hansen saying it’s not a statistical model but a physical model; that Hansen does not use temperature data to get a best-fit slope, but rather estimates a slope from the physics; and therefore to get the slope as close as he does represents significant skill.

    Putting aside the fact that climate models are filled with parameter estimation, Gavin and Hargreaves were saying that the temperature slope forecasts from Hansen were of greater skill than that possible from a naïve model. I dispute that. Note all the claims are about relative skill, not whether Hansen had any skill.

    Didactylos #82 says using a linear trend to forecast is wrong because that is what we expect. In fact what is being done here is to compare the naïve forecast (i.e. exactly what we would expect) with the more sophisticated Hansen model. Beyond that point I get lost, although Didactylos does end repeating Gavin’s point that “even a naïve model needs justification”.

    So to the postscript.

    Despite being uncomfortable about the technique Hargreaves uses to select “no trend” as the model to compare Hansen’s skill against, and to reject one “with trend” as the comparator, I did have a quick look.

    What Hargreaves did isn’t completely specified. To quote: “These baseline methods [trend vs no trend] were evaluated over the historical record, by using a segment of the temperature record to establish the baseline for persistence or trend, and then evaluating the performance of this naive forecast against the subsequent 20 years of data. When the two alternatives are evaluated over the historical temperature record in this way, persistence [no trend] turns out to have the best performance. That is, over the historical record, it is generally better to use the mean of a 20-year period as a predictor of the subsequent 20 years than to extrapolate a trend forward.”

    There are 120 overlapping (NB not independent) sets of 40 year data from 1850 – 1988 in the HadCRUT3 annual anomalies. I calculated the least squares trend over the first 20 years in each set to forecast the subsequent 20 year trend and calculated the relative forecast skill of this approach against the assumption of no trend. In 74 cases out of the 120 the “with trend” out performed “no trend” on Hargreaves’ skill score.

    The average of the skill score was 0.0031 in favour of the “with trend” approach so not much in it perhaps. However you’d think both approaches should have been used and reported for the Hansen comparison, and this would have produced a result that showed Hansen had poor skill when compared with the “with trend” forecast.

    I actually think I know what has happened here. In what I did I tested the two approaches against exactly the criteria they were going to be used for in the subsequent run off with Hansen. How well they forecast the anomaly trend, not the actual values.

    I suspect Hargreaves tested the two methods against a different criteria, namely how well they forecast the actual anomalies (otherwise why mention the “mean of a 20-year period as a predictor” to describe the “no trend” option). This gave “no trend” the edge and eliminated the counter factual that would have done a better job.

    Comment by HAS — 10 Aug 2010 @ 4:34 PM

  217. Re PhilC – agreeing with 188 dhogaza, far more is understood than you know. I’d explain how a lot of CO2 can exist in a snowball Earth state but that’s been done before so many times… so just look it up (hint ‘runaway albedo feedback’). Ice ages, etc.

    (PS note ‘CO2 feedbacks’ could refer to the feedbacks (to climate change or to CO2 changes) to the C-cycle that alter amounts of CO2. You were refering more generally to ‘feedbacks’. Also bear in mind that the term feedback is generally used differently in climatology than in engineering, because an engineer would actually look at the models and evidence and, in agreement with IPCC, etc, would conclude that there is a net negative feedback. In climatology, the Planck response, a negative feedback, is included in theory and modelling, but when refering to ‘net feedback’, it is generally the net feedback of all feedbacks besides the Planck response. Hence the ‘net positive feedback’ increases the equilibrium climate sensitivity but can still allows the climate to be stable.)

    Regarding predictions/projections/scenarios, not being able to better predict how anthropogenic emissions will evolve in time is not really a problem for understanding climate change. Actually, with regards to policy, we should use our understanding of climate and the effects thereof to inform our decisions regarding which scenario we should follow. (If the future were ‘set in stone’, why would we want to tax emissions, etc.?)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 10 Aug 2010 @ 4:35 PM

  218. sambo wrote: “… it depends on how you define catastrophic with respect to the earth’s biosphere. If you define it as killing of all life on earth (in my opinion a reasonable definition to a loaded term such as catastrophic), then I would challenge everyone to find any study that suggests a that this is a possibility …”

    Read Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us About Our Future by paleontologist Peter Ward for a scenario that comes close to “killing of all life on earth”.

    And projections that AGW may cause the extinction of 30-50 percent, or more, of existing species, and the collapse of entire ecosystems, by the end of the century are quite mainstream. I would regard that as catastrophic.

    And what do you make of the recent study which found a 40 percent die-off of oceanic phytoplankton over the last 60 years? How long do you think that can go on, before it has catastrophic effects?

    sambo wrote: “… answering false statements by Monckton with exagerated statements that the science doesn’t support will not help either.”

    What I am asking of the maintainers of this blog, is precisely to help sort out what is “exaggerated” and what is not, what is supported by the science and what is not, with regard to potential catastrophic effects, and especially with regard to the question of whether there in fact remains any plausible scenario in which such effects can be prevented, given the effects that we are already seeing from the GHGs we have already emitted.

    I would submit that the views of those scientists who are genuinely alarmed about such possibilities, are worth at least as much discussion as the effluvium emanating from the likes of Monckton.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 10 Aug 2010 @ 4:47 PM

  219. Re 214 sambo –

    Anything sufficiently significant and sudden might be considered a catastrophe, even if it’s desired (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catastrophe_theory ), although that’s obviously not how either SecularAnimist or you meant it.

    Relative to the human experience, any mass extinction event, occuring sufficiently rapidly, would rise to the level of apocalyptic, in my view (I tend to think of a cataclysm as being between apocalypse and catastrophe (nested sets; an apocalypse would be a catastrophe but a catastrophe wouldn’t be an apocalypse); I’m not quite sure if that is the official ranking, though – but see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cataclysm ). Would you have agreed with SecularAnimist if he had said ‘disastrous’ instead of ‘catastrophic’?

    I disagree with the fatalism (which I percieved to be) expressed in that post by SecularAnimist; in that we may now have a nearly unavoidable disaster in the making, but we could still make it worse – or not.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 10 Aug 2010 @ 5:00 PM

  220. Hank@212 – Sorry, maybe I should have pointed to more specific info for wili, thought he might be able to investigate where his idea of “inconsistancy” came from.

    Comment by flxible — 10 Aug 2010 @ 5:01 PM

  221. replace ‘fatalism’ with ‘futility’ in my last comment

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 10 Aug 2010 @ 5:03 PM

  222. Patrick 027 wrote: “I disagree with the fatalism (which I percieved to be) expressed in that post by SecularAnimist; in that we may now have a nearly unavoidable disaster in the making, but we could still make it worse – or not.”

    Considering how little action to reduce GHG emissions has been prompted by the motivation that “we must drastically reduce our emissions, and fast, or AGW will massively disrupt if not end human civilization as we know it”, it seems hard to imagine that arguing “human civilization is toast, and so is most of life on Earth, but if we drastically reduce our GHG emissions in time, then it may only take thousands of years for the biosphere to recover rather than millions of years” will get much better results.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 10 Aug 2010 @ 5:15 PM

  223. Peter Tatchell’s article is from two years ago. Evidently he fell for a silly story that was doing the rounds at the time. That’s no reason to rake it up again – just let it die.

    Tatchell is an activist, not a scientist or journalist. I don’t think the Guardian would cite Plimer in any sort of article these days.

    Comment by Didactylos — 10 Aug 2010 @ 5:17 PM

  224. #re: 211. (oxygen scare)

    Hi Hank,

    I got the impression that Peter Tatchell accepted his error when he was informed … and I was one of several people to correct him. He is one of the more genuinely moral of UK politicians and stands up for human rights all over the world. Normally members of the Green party of the UK are better informed over such matters, but this lapse shows that interest in the environment does not always guarantee scientific knowledge.

    Comment by deconvoluter — 10 Aug 2010 @ 6:27 PM

  225. Bickmore said in the main article: “These errors compound into a rather stunning display of complete incompetence. ”

    I believe you are mistaken there. Scientifically Monkcton is a blithering idiot. But Mocnkton is not doing science nor is he attempting to make scientific arguments. He is doing politics and in that arena he appears quite competent. He understands full well that it doesn’t matter that he doesn’t have the foggiest idea about the science because the people he is talking to don’t either. Monckton’s blatant lies and techno-babble are simply smoke. He can’t simply chant over and over and over: “It is impossible for humanity to have any adverse effect on the environment. Therefore we can do whatever we want. Carry on. It is impossible for humanity to … ” He requires filler to be effective just like on television news when some disaster happens and there is no information forthcoming but the newscaster is there and he’s gotta say something so he just makes stuff up.

    Comment by John E Pearson — 10 Aug 2010 @ 7:21 PM

  226. Re 198 Wili – The CO2 fluxes into and out of the ocean, and into and out of land biomass/soil, are both near 100 Gt C /year (a bit less for the ocean, a bit more for the land biomass+soil).

    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2009/12/08/interactive-carbon-cycle-model/

    According to http://es.carboncycle.aos.wisc.edu/global-carbon-cycle/ (linked from above site), about 50 Gt C/year in the ocean is metabolized by marine organisms.

    However, the total amount of C in marine organisms is about 3 Gt (implying rapid ‘turnover’ – ie a short residence time, 0.06 year, or about 3 weeks) while the total amount of C in land biomass+soil was about 2300 Gt (implied residence time: about 19 years)

    Photosynthesis: H2O + CO2 = (CH2O)n + O2, so aside from oxidizing ferrous iron or…, moles of O2 would increase by the same amount that moles of organic C would increase. 100 Gt C is about 8.33 E3 Tmol of C. From Hartmann, “Global Physical Climatology”, the amount of O2 in the atmosphere is about 209500 ppm (molar ratio in dry air), or 1.185 million Gt, which is about 37030 E3 Tmol of O2, which is about 4450 times the moles of O2 that are produced by photosynthetic uptake of 100 Gt of C; photosynthetic uptake of 100 Gt of C would, if all O2 remained in the atmosphere, increase atmospheric O2 by about 0.0225 % (relative to the total O2).

    Setting aside oceanic O2 and other O2 sources and sinks (H escape to space, ferrous Fe, geologic organic (or elemental?) C (or methane hydrates/clathrates, in case that isn’t considered geologic)), Halting all marine photosynthesis and letting respiration/decay continue at the same rate (it would actually decay over time as less organic C would be available) would result in an O2 decrease at a rate of about 0.011 % per year, but it could only fall at that rate for about 3 weeks, with a total O2 decrease of about 0.000675 % (relative to total O2, and not counting organic C burial, which wouldn’t make a big difference); Halting all land photosynthesis and letting respirationd/decay proceed at the same rate would cause O2 to fall about 0.027 % per year for about 19 years, with a total drop of about 0.52 %.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 10 Aug 2010 @ 7:44 PM

  227. Photosynthesis: – I missed three n’s in the chemical reaction. Should be: nH2O + nCO2 = (CH2O)n + nO2

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 10 Aug 2010 @ 7:50 PM

  228. Re 222 Secular Animist – Democrats (counting independents) have 59 seats in the U.S. Senate. Only 21 more and we could really see some action (though I’d prefer replacing Republicans with Greens).

    (I wasn’t trying to predict human actions, but rather, consider the range of possible actions.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 10 Aug 2010 @ 8:00 PM

  229. Although I’m a little off topic, I came buy an interesting paper, and I’m curious what Gavin thinks about it.

    The first link:
    “Projection of world fossil fuel production with supply and demand interactions (paper excerpt)”
    http://ogma.newcastle.edu.au:8080/vital/access/services/Download/uon:6530/SOURCE4

    A summery of the paper can also be found here:
    http://www.energybulletin.net/node/53509

    If some of these papers have merit, I think it will change the global warming debate considerably.

    Comment by E.L. — 10 Aug 2010 @ 8:18 PM

  230. HAS,
    There is a helluva difference between determining parameters by best fit and determining them by best physics. Until you grasp that fact, you will not understand model “skill”. Climate science is NOT and exercise in curve fitting.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Aug 2010 @ 8:33 PM

  231. Sambo,
    Keep in mind that climate change is not occcurring in isolation. It is happening as the human population is cresting at about 10 billion, and as the carrying capacity of Earth has already been degraded due to a century of overtaxing it. And it is happening as the era of “easy energy” is ending. It is difficult to envision how all of these simultaneous crises will result in a “soft landing” for an overpopulated planet. From my point of view, the resulting chaos could well result in the destruction of human civilization, and I do consider that catastrophic. By century’s end, we could well be over 1000 ppmv of CO2 in the atmosphere, perhaps enough to raise global temperatures by 10 degrees. The last time temperatures were that high, we saw one of the largest mass extinctions the planet has witnessed. I would call that catastrophic as well.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Aug 2010 @ 8:40 PM

  232. Patrick 027 (#219 & #221) & SecularAnimist (#218 & #222)

    I would agree with the statements above if they were “potentially disastrous” instead of “catastrophic”. The problem with using catastrophic, IMHO, is that it is being used to communicate scientific results to the lay public in a political discussion in order to secure political action on the issue. To a lay reader, “catastrophic” can be interpreted many ways that the scientist doesn’t want to imply since it would be incorrect. These types of arguments have lead to many people (especially those politically opposed to the proposed policy) to think that scientists are pushing a political agenda disguised as science, even if by the strict scientific definitions (eg the wiki links, which I will be reading later since they look very interesting) all the statements are correct. Personally I liked Gavin’s statement over at CaS that the science should be more “policy prescriptive”. By stating what the consequences are specifically, you can drop loaded terms like catastrophic and let the science speak for itself.

    Another way I like to view it is, if the political arguments are not strong enough, it is not necessary to make the science seem more scary. It is necessary to formulate a better political argument!

    Comment by sambo — 10 Aug 2010 @ 8:52 PM

  233. Ray Ladbury (#231)

    I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said, with the exception of the word catastrophic for the reasons stated in my previous comment. All of these scenarios are certainly plausible and don’t need to be hyped in order to have the desired effect (although a better political argument is certainly needed).

    As my high school physics teacher once told me, someone who claims that we need to “save the planet” isn’t really trying to save the planet, they’re trying to save us. The planet will still be orbiting the sun without noticing our passing. I would even say that if we caused our destruction, while there might be a significant die off of species ~ 50 to 90%, there would still be life and it would likely return in greater number eventually. This may be catastrophic to us, but a minor blip to the earth.

    Comment by sambo — 10 Aug 2010 @ 9:07 PM

  234. This is very off topic, but I just saw this article about crowd sourcing meteor observations. There could be some lessons for “citizen science”.

    http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=13831&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-perseid-project-crowd-sourcing-the-meteor-stream

    BTW, I only pasted the link. If there is a better way, just let me know (html tags?).

    Comment by sambo — 10 Aug 2010 @ 9:20 PM

  235. I would even say that if we caused our destruction, while there might be a significant die off of species ~ 50 to 90%, there would still be life and it would likely return in greater number eventually. This may be catastrophic to us, but a minor blip to the earth.

    Funny thing, I’ve tried essentially those exact same words w/my 13 year old, staring at about age 9, and he just never seems to get it, the stubborn little guy.

    Kids these days, eh? Just won’t accept the wisdom of their elders, always thinking about the here and now, never prepared accept a mere 20 million years or so of delayed gratification…

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Aug 2010 @ 9:23 PM

  236. Ray Ladbury #230

    I think it would help you if you read a little physics and climate science so you understand better the place of uncertainty and parameter estimation in both. In the context of my comments about model skill have a look at Hargreaves and you will see there how some of these issues arise.

    Comment by HAS — 10 Aug 2010 @ 9:23 PM

  237. To E.L. (229) – I skimmed through the thesis linked to in your first link, focusing only on the most abundant fossil fuel – coal. It appears that the estimates of recoverable coal reserves differ widely, but a fairly conservative estimate comes out to about 1,000 gigatons. If 90 percent of this were combusted to CO2, it would add about 3.5 trillion tons of CO2 to the atmosphere. To date, we have added about 1.5 trillion tons of CO2 from fossil fuel use (this is my recollection from papers by Meinshausen and others), and so by my very rough calculations, coal alone would permit us to contribute much more to atmospheric CO2 than we have already done, with a warming effect substantially greater than what we have already observed – and that is without counting oil and gas reserves. It may well turn out that not all of the coal reserves are sufficiently extractable to be economically profitable, but to ensure that, we should try to make alternative energy sources as cost competitive as possible.

    Comment by Fred Moolten — 10 Aug 2010 @ 9:38 PM

  238. Wili, #197 & 198–

    The amount of oxygen in the atmosphere is so huge compared to what is produced each year by photosynthesis that even if all plants/phytoplankton suddenly died it would take a good many years for the atmosphere O2 to start decreasing.

    Remember the O2 in the atmosphere is the accumulation built up over countless millions of years. It’s about 22% of all gas in the atmosphere – compared to .04% for CO2. The annual turnover of CO2 and O2 by the biosphere is (off the top of my head) about .001%. So it’s going to take a long time to get even a few percent change in O2.

    Comment by Billy t — 10 Aug 2010 @ 9:51 PM

  239. I’m not sure why we’re fixating on the word “catastrophic” here, but IMO the suggested benchmark is way too stringent. The first definition I pulled up defined it as “extremely harmful; bringing physical or financial ruin.”

    In human terms, I’d say the HIV epidemic is now “catastrophic”-about 2 million a year die from HIV, with a total mortality to date of around 25 million. The demographic and social structures of the most-affected countries have been distorted quasi-permanently, to enormous economic and human cost.

    It’s pretty easy to imagine agricultural and economic challenges consequent to climate change causing comparable harm in the not-too-distant future. After all–to name but one hideous example–the Ukrainian famine of 1931-33 reached these levels of mortality in one SSR alone.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 10 Aug 2010 @ 9:54 PM

  240. There we go, a little storm band. Prepare for an absolute hurricane of parroted talking points. Too bad none of the distribution of noise will be centered on truth.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Aug 2010 @ 10:45 PM

  241. The problem with using catastrophic, IMHO, is that it is being used to communicate scientific results to the lay public in a political discussion in order to secure political action on the issue. To a lay reader, “catastrophic” can be interpreted many ways that the scientist doesn’t want

    This, of course, is why the denialist community harps on “CAGW” – catastrophic anthropogenic global warming – despite the fact that this is not a scientific term (i.e. commonly used by scientists).

    But your replacement “potentially disastrous” is no better, unfortunately. Anything stronger than “amusing and delightful” will be misapproriated by the denialist community …

    Comment by dhogaza — 10 Aug 2010 @ 10:52 PM

  242. sambo:

    As my high school physics teacher once told me, someone who claims that we need to “save the planet” isn’t really trying to save the planet, they’re trying to save us. The planet will still be orbiting the sun without noticing our passing. I would even say that if we caused our destruction, while there might be a significant die off of species ~ 50 to 90%, there would still be life and it would likely return in greater number eventually. This may be catastrophic to us, but a minor blip to the earth.

    Every grownup on the planet understands the difference. Not trying to belittle you, but anyone who tells you that “hey, it’s OK to intentionally cause the extinction of humans, maybe my [great]grandchildren because the rock will continue to orbit the sun!”, is probably not being entirely truthful.

    Comment by dhogaza — 10 Aug 2010 @ 10:55 PM

  243. HAS:

    I think it would help you if you read a little physics…

    It’s clear that Ray hasn’t read a little physics. He’s a PhD physicist, so he’s read a *lot* of physics.

    I presume, then, that you’re asking that he forget most of the physics he’s read?

    Comment by dhogaza — 10 Aug 2010 @ 10:58 PM

  244. Monckton’s S.P.P.I BIO has been updated and now claims that he is a Nobel Prize Winner and contributor to the IPCC.

    Here she is…

    His contribution to the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report in 2007 – the correction of a table inserted by IPCC bureaucrats that had overstated tenfold the observed contribution of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets to sea-level rise – earned him the status of Nobel Peace Laureate. His Nobel prize pin, made of gold recovered from a physics experiment, was presented to him by the Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester, New York, USA.

    Are we – the royal “we” of course – still opposed to using the legal system to combat this perpetual dishonesty produced by the Denialists?

    Comment by Veidicar Decarian — 10 Aug 2010 @ 10:59 PM

  245. dhogaza

    I do understand that Americans sometimes have difficulty with irony.

    So more directly to overcome the cultural divide: if he behaves like he doesn’t understand physics and climate science (for whatever reason) it seems appropriate to treat him as though he doesn’t.

    [Response: Please do not start down the road of commenting on commenters. Everyone, please try and stick to substantive issues. -gavin]

    Comment by HAS — 11 Aug 2010 @ 12:34 AM

  246. I second dhogaza. Even in my youthful arrogance Ray Ladbury’s physics is very good:) He is not just a physicist but a truthful one who is capable of explaining it in plain english. Unlike Monkton and the other authors I mentioned (cannot recall how to spell what’s his name) Ray Ladbury discusses the physics without pulling punches when necessary.

    Plus he is a fan of the economist, so he gets a third vote…

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 11 Aug 2010 @ 12:50 AM

  247. #215 Sambo

    Perhaps you are not a native English speaker but I think the word ‘Catastrophe’ is entirely appropriate as used by several posters here and in communicating with the general public in plain English.
    Dictionary.com has the following definitions for the word ‘Catastrophe’:-
    1. a sudden and widespread disaster: the catastrophe of war.
    2. any misfortune, mishap, or failure; fiasco: The play was so poor our whole evening was a catastrophe.
    3. a final event or conclusion, usually an unfortunate one; a disastrous end: the great catastrophe of the Old South at Appomattox.
    4. (in a drama) the point at which the circumstances overcome the central motive, introducing the close or conclusion; dénouement. Compare catastasis, epitasis, protasis.
    5. Geology . a sudden, violent disturbance, esp. of a part of the surface of the earth; cataclysm.

    The Shorter Oxford Dictionary has rather similar definitions. Surely climate change which accentuates extreme weather events which in turn result in even a few million deaths of people, or which causes large scale extinction of plant and animal species ranks right up there with a poor play which ruins your entire evening.

    Andrew

    Comment by Andrew Hobbs — 11 Aug 2010 @ 12:51 AM

  248. Patrick # 228 While Democrats tend to be more supportive if green initiatives most if not all of the politicians from what I have seen, read and listend to, are not scientifically literate and often do not pass legislation that truly makes an impact on the AGW problem. If I am wrong please post some links of those who do. While, I do not want this to become a full blown poltiical discussion and derail the thread, even though I have and will vote democrat, I do not see that much being done to date. I do see some postive efforts but not nearly enough between Clinton and the current administration, other than the pretty recent EPA appointment and some hybdrid cars and EV’s coming off the assembly line.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 11 Aug 2010 @ 12:56 AM

  249. (237) Fred Moolten – The part I find interesting about the paper is the time estimate on the peak of coal production. If peak coal production happens, there will likely be a serious push for renewable energy. Because world economies are so linked to energy, nations will have little choice but to develop renewable energy once peak production has been reached. They will either develop renewable energy or watch their economies decline with coal production.

    I think we are realistically looking at good 70-80% consumed no matter what happens at this point. But I think the feature of peak production may help reduce some percentage points.

    Comment by E.L. — 11 Aug 2010 @ 1:17 AM

  250. HAS, to get some clarification on the Hargreaves paper, you might want to head over to James Annan’s place, where he has a post devoted to that paper.

    And what dhogaza wrote 10 August 2010 at 10:52 PM. “Catestrophic” has become an undefined wiggle word for people who want to claim to accept the science, but not what they perceive to be alarmism. It’s best to turn the argument into one of climate sensitivity where real science can come into play.

    Comment by Deech56 — 11 Aug 2010 @ 4:21 AM

  251. Re. 244 Veidicar Decarian

    I can’t find Monckton anywhere in the list of Nobel Prize Laureates. I see Al Gore there. Is the SPPI bio comment more akin to a rock band winning a platinum disc and a fan saying he won it, too, because he read the lyrics before the release and corrected a spelling error, I wonder?

    Comment by J Bowers — 11 Aug 2010 @ 5:28 AM

  252. “A Day in the Life” a la Monckton:

    “He blew his cred, he’s such a bore,
    He didn’t notice that the climate’s changed,
    A crowd of people stood and groaned,
    They’d read his words before,
    All but Monck were really sure that he’s not from the House of Lords”

    With apologies to McCartney and Lennon (RIP)

    Comment by Gerry Beauregard — 11 Aug 2010 @ 5:57 AM

  253. Speaking of catastrophic…

    Dr. Aiguo Dai was kind enough to point me to his team’s collected drought database on line and explain to me how to use it. I have put together annual time series for what I’m calling F, the fraction of Earth’s land surface in “severe drought” by the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI <= 3), and P, the mean global PDSI.

    I've tentatively fit the first with a cubic [!] equation. Still have to correct for autocorrelation and so on, but given that human agriculture collapses when F hits 70%, my very preliminary estimate is that this happens in 2037 AD, give or take five years. The 70% number is of course debatable, as is my curve-fit (N = 136, R^2 = 0.55). I'm working on refining my statistical analysis in hopes of publishing a paper about this.

    For those who care, F was 5% in 1870, 12% in 1970, hit a temporary peak of 31% in 2003, and is currently at 21%. It's a very variable series, which is NOT good news. The reason why is left as an exercise for the student.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Aug 2010 @ 6:05 AM

  254. Veidicar, 10 August 2010 at 10:0 PM

    I can’t help but notice the pride of having contributed to the report that he tries to destroy with all the weapons at his disposal. The pride of being part of an organisation he so much wants to wipe of the face of this earth. The pride of earning a part of a prize that, according to his beliefs, should have never been awarded in the first place.

    How funny.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 11 Aug 2010 @ 6:28 AM

  255. Re Veidicar Decarian@244

    Found this about Moncktons claim. Interestingly the article appears to date to Feb 2010 judging by the comments. The word fraud is used to describe Monckton.

    http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/lord-monckton-nobel-prize/

    The Peace prize refers to the Gore one which is shared with anyone that participated in the IPPC process. I guess it is sort of humorous with prior knowledge. But I think that a lot of people wouldn’t be aware of the background info.

    [Response: The only official recipients of the IPCC Nobel Prize certificates were the coordinating and lead authors. It didn't go down to the contributing authors (sob ;-( ), nor the expert reviewers, nor to the proof readers. As to Monckton's specific claim, that was an typo that many people spotted immediately. - gavin]

    Comment by The Ville — 11 Aug 2010 @ 7:53 AM

  256. an typo?

    Please forward me my pin…. ;-)

    Comment by Phil Clarke — 11 Aug 2010 @ 8:59 AM

  257. HAS suggests: “I think it would help you if you read a little physics and climate science so you understand better the place of uncertainty and parameter estimation in both. In the context of my comments about model skill have a look at Hargreaves and you will see there how some of these issues arise.”

    Really? Do tell.

    [Nonchalantly sharpens claws.]

    Sweetie, I’ve been doing physica a VERY long time–certainly long enough to know the difference between a dynamical model and a statistical model. Both have parameters. All models do. What distinguishes them is how the values of the parameters are set. Climate models are dynamical models. Their parameters are set by the physics–or by independent data. As such, the fact that Hansen’s model reproduces late 20th century temperatures (and much else besides) illustrates that it is quite skilled. Certainly, the models can be improved. They are constantly being improved. However, if the physics were drastically off wrt climate sensitivity, say, they would not perform nearly as well. Now why don’t you extract that stick and actually bother to learn a little bit about the models.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Aug 2010 @ 9:16 AM

  258. Andrew Hobbs (#247) & dhogaza (#241 & 242)

    I think it is reasonable to make a statement using the word catastrophic (in the english sense). My argument is that it doesn’t make political sense, especially if it is coming from a scientific source (to the lay public, which as we know may not only be scientists sadly). By trying to win political arguments refering to catastrophic science, you are reinforcing the prior viewpoints of many right leaning people. Yes there are some who are already way over there on this issue, but that argument is only swelling their ranks. If the scientific advice is more policy neutral (or policy prescriptive) than this is not happening.

    This advice is purely political advice for how to communicate scientific advice to the maximum effect. This actually comes through in \The Art of War\ as well as \Strategy\ by B. Hart. Never try a direct approach since this only strenghtens an opponents resolve. The best method is an indirect approach in order to gently nudge an opponent in the desired direction.

    Barton Paul Levenson (#253)

    Can you post any links to the data regarding drought? I’m curious if there has been an analysis of an bias’s (eg more coverage in later periods, thus more information in database, higher F)? Also, what statistical technique are you considering using since, as you mention, the cubic doesn’t apply very well (espcially if it goes over 100% at some point)?

    Comment by sambo — 11 Aug 2010 @ 11:31 AM

  259. ‘Lords distance themselves from climate sceptic Christopher Monckton’ [Guardian Aug 11] is at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/aug/11/lords-climate-christopher-monckton

    ‘The House of Lords has stepped up its efforts to make Christopher Monckton – climate sceptic and deputy leader of the UK Independence party (Ukip) – desist in his repeated claims that he is a member of the upper house. The push comes as Buckingham palace has also been drawn into the affair over his use of a logo similar to parliament’s famous portcullis emblem . . ‘

    with a fine photo of the peer looking ridiculous.

    Comment by Chris Squire [UK] — 11 Aug 2010 @ 11:42 AM

  260. 257 (Ray), 250 (Deech56),

    Following the link from Deech56, I actually had a thought just eyeballing the graph. In that short time span, Hansen could never have predicted the timing or severity of the Pinatubo eruption. Over a hundred years he could have factored in occasional volcanoes, sure, and things would average out…

    But knowing that such an event lowered temperatures by blocking inbound radiation, it seems fair and proper (to me) to basically shift the actual temperatures over such that the observational record cuts out the Pinatubo event until the point where temperatures return to where they were when the eruption occurred.

    If you do this Hansen’s skill appears to be not merely good, but instead shockingly good. Of course, this only comes from eyeballing a teeny tiny image of a graph, and then futzing with it in Photoshop.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 11 Aug 2010 @ 11:53 AM


  261. Chris Squire [UK] says: 11 August 2010 at 11:42 AM

    Boiled down to its essence, the usual scenario: Monckton versus the world of facts:

    Monckton argues his use of the portcullis emblem, which has appeared on his letterheads and lecture presentations, does not breach any rules: “My logo is not a registered badge of parliament, and is plainly distinct from parliament’s badge in numerous material respects. The Lords do not use the portcullis at all on their notepaper: they use the Royal Arms within an elliptical cartouche.”

    A House of Lords spokeswoman said: “The emblem is property of the Queen, and Parliament has a Royal Licence granted for its use. Any misuse of the emblem by either members or non-members breaches this licence, and if a person refuses to stop using it the matter is drawn to the attention of the Lord Chamberlain, who is an Officer of the Royal Household. The Lord Chamberlain has been contacted regarding Lord Monckton’s use of the emblem, and it will fall to him to follow up on any misuse of the emblem.”

    There’s another way forward here, a middle ground.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 11 Aug 2010 @ 12:03 PM

  262. Reading the guardian article linked by Chris Squire:

    “It did, though, guide the Guardian towards a document on its website which says misuse of the emblem is prohibited by the Trade Marks Act 1994, meaning Monckton could potentially be liable for fines and a six-month prison term if the Palace pursued the matter and successfully prosecuted him.”

    Monckton threatens frivolous lawsuits against those who argue against him.

    The Crown may threaten Monckton with six months … pity the poor prisoners, though, if he were convicted and forced to serve! Being forced to listen to him prattle on for six months would be cruel and unusual punishment, without doubt.

    Comment by dhogaza — 11 Aug 2010 @ 12:04 PM

  263. Peter Tatchell is actually a good guy in many ways, but he should obviously steer clear of writing about science.

    Anyway, Lord Monckton has inspired me to go into the bookmaking business. When anyone has a supposedly winning bet I will explain to them that I have done my own calculations and when they said they predicted horse x to win the race they actually meant that horse y would win and so unfortunately they have lost, regardless of what they actually wrote on their betting slip.

    Comment by andrew adams — 11 Aug 2010 @ 12:20 PM

  264. Why is it that on all sides, sceptics and here the warmists, we see fighting about prominent figureheads (may it be the irresistable Mr. Gore, or the ever charming Mr. Monckton). Shouldn’t we discuss arguments that have more merit?

    Certainly the last years have shown that longer (time-wise) variability phenomens can prevail against an increase of CO2. There certainly is an influence by CO2, whoever denies that has never had a proper physics education. However, how large the effect is, if it is dangerous or not, is a totally different matter. Here, we have to look at sensitivities of different feedback effects and on this point I am not convinced on the actual state of science. I have done complex modelling and you never get usable solutions if your uncertainty of your coefficients and conditions is as big as those feedback effects (that why we have large deviations between models and real life year-to-year temperature calculations).

    And if I now read that there were even higher CO2 levels 400 million years ago, then I am well aware that there is a lot we don’t know yet about past climate (as much was already acknowledged by Mr. Mann on the NAS panel).

    Comment by Max — 11 Aug 2010 @ 12:21 PM

  265. re: 259

    “with a fine photo of the peer looking ridiculous.”

    The photo is evidence that, as I posted before, Monckton’s a comic act, a la Screaming Lord Sutch. He’s wearing something straight out of Three Men in a Boat, for heaven’s sake.

    Yes, he’s of bad intent, but for him and his elk, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Official responses just play into his hand.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 11 Aug 2010 @ 12:28 PM

  266. 259, Chris, by coincidence just read that. In here lies the not House of Lord character with respect to everything. He stands by his beliefs despite them being false, illegal and or ludicrous. A typical spokesperson for contrarians, many having a likewise philosophy. The substance has meaning only to those resonating anti AGW sentiments the same way, as with this Lords logo, swiped from the Queen’s inventory, so by habit and transference he takes IPCC data and transforms them to make his own graphs,heavily distorted, but slightly recognizable, similar enough to be used by even meteorologists at FOX “news” shows, meeting the no peer review presentation method often used with fellow contrarians just to spur further descent into nonsense arguments, discussions and a waste of time dearly clearly wanted by contrarians. Obfuscation has always been their weapon of choice, Gavin handled him best when he was here, there is no debating a leader of a political movement who understands science as much as his role in the house of Lords.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFfCL-JPYw4

    the sun “has been remarkably active” Monckton , who perhaps shows other questionable charts to a crowd on this video….

    should look at

    http://www.solen.info/solar/cyclcomp.html

    in context with 2010 first 6 months being the warmest in history……

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 11 Aug 2010 @ 12:33 PM

  267. @ E.L. says:
    10 August 2010 at 8:18 PM

    Although I’m a little off topic, I came buy an interesting paper, and I’m curious what Gavin thinks about it.

    The first link:
    “Projection of world fossil fuel production with supply and demand interactions (paper excerpt)”
    http://ogma.newcastle.edu.au:8080/vital/access/services/Download/uon:6530/SOURCE4

    A summery of the paper can also be found here:
    http://www.energybulletin.net/node/53509

    If some of these papers have merit, I think it will change the global warming debate considerably.

    No, they won’t. They’ve been seen before in the form of Rutledge’s work and others’. No new news here for anyone following energy issues closely. The relevance to PO discussions is only that the paper reinforces previous understandings. The relevance to climate is zero.

    First, big “if.” Because someone writes a paper, doesn’t mean it is accurate.

    Second, irrelevant. The changes we are seeing at 390 ppm were not expected until we hit even higher levels of CO2 and/or CO2e. More cannot be better. We have raised CO2 by 105 or so ppm. Burning the rest of the FFs we have, and we are at 50% used of each, or less, will raise that at least another 100 ppm, given a similar period of use. A recent paper indicated severe changes in climate and effects thereof at between 400 and 550 ppm. Taking them to 500ppm is gambling with the future at best, and suicide at worst.

    Third, using the rest of the FFs at the same rate we already have ignores a number of feedback systems. Methane from the seabed and permafrost has already been noted to be occurring. With the oceans warming, there is no reason to think this will stop any time soon. A paper on the methane venting from the sea floor also noted that a very small portion of methane held in the sea bed could trigger massive CO2 rises, thus temps. So, should a catastrophic failure or even a slow failure over decades occur, it would swamp the FF emissions. BTW, methane concentrations have gone from a steady .07 over the last hundreds of thousands of years to a current 1.7 (ppb, I believe.)

    Fourth, some carbon and heat sinks appear to be slowing their uptake, indicating saturation. This is the equivalent of raising emissions even higher.

    Fifth, it seems a degree or more of warming is already guaranteed, even if we ceased immediately.

    Sixth, as with K. Aleklett and others, they do not consider the chaotic nature of climate, or that it can change rapidly.

    The number is 350 or lower. Take no solace that we have achieved climate chaos burning only half of the FFs. As I posted on the non-peer reviewed paper by Rutledge, much-discussed on http://www.theoildrum.com, climate sensitivity, in the colloquial sense, at least, of the entire climate system, is higher than currently believed. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be seeing the changes we already are.

    These are non-linear (climate) and chaotic (everything else) systems working in tandem. Rapid changes can, and almost certainly will, occur.

    The real implications for FF reserves and climate come in the long term, as the planet should begin to cool at some point, and, in fact, likely already had prior to the Industrial Revolution, making those reserves valuable mitigation tools against cooling in the far future.

    Also, oil, in particular, is extremely fungible and cannot be 100% replaced by any other substance. This makes it an extremely valuable asset in maintaining technology and in technological advancement.

    Looking at single issues as proxies for complex system is a good way to mess things up very badly.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 11 Aug 2010 @ 12:34 PM

  268. Sambo, catastrophic is actually an adjective I use quite a lot in applied physics (specifically radiation effects in semiconductors). Systems do fail catastrophically–that is irreparably and irrecoverably. Looking at environmental threats, we have:
    1)potential catastrophic failure of aquifers
    2)potential catastrophic of sensitive ecologies ranging from oceans to mountain tops
    3)potential catastrophic failure of crops on a global scale

    and on and on. I do not think it is a good strategy to become so afraid of being called \alarmist\ that we cease to use the language as it was intended and as it has always been used. The fact is that many of the threats we face are alarming

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Aug 2010 @ 1:03 PM

  269. NASA global July temp not yet published, but thumbnail-map reveals 0.71C warmer than normal; would be hottest ever: http://bit.ly/Gisthom

    [Response: No. Please do not jump the gun on issues like this because misunderstandings (the little gif is for the met-station index, not the land-ocean index) will end up being blasted around the web as if they were official press releases. They are not, so please be patient while the data are checked. - gavin]

    Comment by Kees van der Leun — 11 Aug 2010 @ 1:26 PM

  270. Thx for that, Gavin! I seed the sea is grey indeed. Will be patient. Maybe you might advise them not to put little July gifs on their site while the data are checked? Kees

    Comment by Kees van der Leun — 11 Aug 2010 @ 1:52 PM

  271. Catastropic climate change.

    I am also on the side of those who prefer to concentrate on the middle of the range of main stream projections rather than the worst of them…..BUT…

    I am not sure that the Pakistanis will appreciate the delicate debate about the meaning * of the adjective ‘catastrophic’. They are just receiving a taste of what it is like , and that is just a meteorological event rather than a climatological trend.
    ————-
    * Not including Rene Thom’s version.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 11 Aug 2010 @ 1:55 PM

  272. Regarding #268 (potential catastrophic failure of aquifers)…I found this curious. Ray, I would think this requires an extremely substantial sea level rise in onder to qualify as a potential catastrophic environmental threat. Where are you getting your information on this?

    Comment by Doc Savage Fan — 11 Aug 2010 @ 2:07 PM

  273. #268 & #270

    I’m not disputing that catastrophic is applicable, I’m just noting the political consequences of using it too often, as I think it is being used at the moment. For an example of what I’m talking about see

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/08/11/ids-crazy/

    I don’t agree with what he say’s, but his impression is fed by seeing too many headlines that are “alarmist”, even if by the strict sense, they are entirely factual and correct.

    The end result is political action is much harder to secure and it takes longer, thus the consequences of the “catastrophic” events affect more people. I do realize that what I’m saying appears backwards, but I strongly believe it is correct.

    BTW, I’m an engineer and I do use the term catastrophic in failure analysis. It is valid, although I would argue the context and scope of “catastrophic semiconductor failure” is much clearer and less open to interpretation that “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming/climate change”. Just my opinion though.

    Comment by sambo — 11 Aug 2010 @ 2:35 PM

  274. #268

    BTW, isn’t there more threat to aquifers by sheer consumption and not so much climate change? I’m not informed about this at all but that was my impression.

    Comment by sambo — 11 Aug 2010 @ 2:36 PM

  275. Thanks all for the insights on O2. Differences if scale often makes things hard to understand until they are pointed out.

    One question for Patrick–

    You said, “Halting all marine photosynthesis and letting respiration/decay continue at the same rate (it would actually decay over time as less organic C would be available) would result in an O2 decrease at a rate of about 0.011 % per year, but it could only fall at that rate for about 3 weeks, with a total O2 decrease of about 0.000675 %”

    Why would it stop falling at that rate after 3 weeks?

    Comment by wili — 11 Aug 2010 @ 3:00 PM

  276. Ray Ladbury wrote: “And it is happening as the era of ‘easy energy’ is ending.”

    No, actually the era of “easy energy” is just beginning.

    Using advanced, elegant, low-environmental-impact technology to harvest abundant, ubiquitous, endless, clean, free solar and wind energy is in fact vastly easier than mining and burning fossil fuels.

    Yes, the transition from fossil fuels to clean renewable energy sources is a job of work to do.

    But once it’s done, it’s done, and maintaining a wind/solar energy infrastructure in perpetuity is pretty easy and extremely low-cost. And of course as the technology improves (which it is already doing rapidly), and that infrastructure gets periodically upgraded, it just keeps getting better and better.

    And the transition is a far easier job than most people imagine, technologically and economically. In fact it will have enormous, far-reaching economic benefits. Except of course for the fossil fuel corporations, who will see their hundreds of billions of dollars in profits shift to other sectors of the economy.

    The ongoing, extraordinary growth of renewable energy — both the rapid, widespread deployment of today’s mature wind and solar technologies, and the ongoing development of even better wind, solar, storage and distributed smart-grid technologies — is in itself a wonderful thing to behold. The solution to all of our fossil fuel problems is, in fact, at hand, with the technologies already in hand.

    Unfortunately, it’s a race against time, and at this point, global warming is winning.

    And what is slowing the phaseout of fossil fuels is not the lack of alternatives, or any technological or economic barriers to implementing them. The ONLY obstacle is the massive, entrenched wealth and power of the fossil fuel corporations.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 11 Aug 2010 @ 3:14 PM

  277. SecularAnimist… Very well said. I think you are exactly right. We are at the cusp of a major paradigm shift in energy. It’s extremely encouraging that car companies are stepping up to the plate with new EV’s.

    The future of humanity could be incredibly bright once we get past this difficult phase. Like you, I only hope it’s not too little too late.

    Comment by Rob Honeycutt — 11 Aug 2010 @ 3:51 PM

  278. Deech56 #250

    Thank you for pointing out the James Annan thread, but it doesn’t deal with the particular issue. I’ve note belatedly that both the Blackboard and Peilke jnr’s blogs also have threads discussing this, the former in some more detail around the particular issues I’d been looking at.

    Ray Ladbury #257

    I’m please we have now got to the point where you agree that climate models include parameter estimation. Now while I didn’t raise the issue of statistical models and dynamic models, you seem to be at great pains to prevent the corruption of the latter by the former.

    I’d just make two points you should perhaps think about.

    First, in dealing with skill you are comparing the forecast from the model in question with that of a naive model, which almost ipso facto will be a statistical model. I suspect it was you not understanding that it was the construction of naive models this was being discussed that got you rushing into print in the first place.

    Second, parameter estimation and the study of variability in any model comes down to studying statistical models. You can’t avoid it. They’re joined at the hips. Right down to measurement problems in the most supposedly deterministic ends of physics. And as a consequence any study of the utility of a model in terms of its fit with real world also comes down to studying statistical models.

    I’m not really sure where all this leaves us? Two reflections.

    First I think Hargreaves has made an error and there is strong argument to say that Hansen is less skillful than a naive model.

    Second I’ve had my view reinforced that a greater appreciation of statistics is needed not just in climate science but apparently even in physics (and I say that as a non-statistician).

    Comment by HAS — 11 Aug 2010 @ 3:58 PM

  279. And Gavin was of course right:
    NASA global temperature date just out: July 4th warmest ever (land only, http://bit.ly/GISland), 5th on land+ocean (http://bit.ly/Gislandoc)

    Comment by Kees van der Leun — 11 Aug 2010 @ 4:09 PM

  280. 275 (SecularAnimist),

    While I agree with your position in theory, I think it’s overstated. Transitioning to clean technologies is an extremely long term, investment-intensive effort. The world has converted infrastructures (telegraph and telephone lines, satellites, road surfaces, rail lines, airports) many, many times, but never on this scale. Every vehicle, motor, engine, tool, power plant, service station, transport line, utility machine, factory, etc., etc., in a now huge, massively interconnected world must be changed.

    Beyond this, the only way to convert will be by using fossil fuels. One can’t boot strap by using electric to convert to electric. We must use our FF tools to convert to clean technology tools.

    And then, there are still huge technological hurdles, not the least of which is the problem of fuel cells/power packs to be able to put energy into efficient, easily transportable forms, as well as the problem of how to efficiently store unused energy surplus.

    Added to this is human nature, and the nature of human society. Soviet communism failed because people cannot work together, or rather, they cannot work with the efficiency with which a human brain directs the attached human body. There are fits and starts, pushes and pulls, advances and setbacks. And that would be within one corporation, or industry, or nation. Across multiple nations and ethnic groups and economies and technologies and industries, it’s daunting and destined to be slowed by extreme friction.

    That’s a tough row to hoe. Yes, that makes it all that much more important to get started ASAP, but the lure of the rosy image at the end of the extensive labor will not make getting there that much easier, because it is still very, very far away.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 11 Aug 2010 @ 4:10 PM

  281. SecAni
    “advanced, elegant, low-environmental-impact technology” is a very narrow opinion. These words can also be used to describe fossil fuels because they are more “advanced, elegant, low-environmental-impact” than energy sources that are not. (whatever you could imaging those to be)

    Once the transition from fossil fuels is complete, there will likely be movements against solar and wind, because every energy source has its positives and negatives. I know you would like to downplay the negatives, but they are still there. You can never get something for nothing. These movements may be beneficial, as long as they don’t demonize the current energy consumers or producers.

    Comment by Michael W — 11 Aug 2010 @ 4:22 PM

  282. “I’d like to echo the sentiment that you all ignore the professional deniers” – 201

    And of course that will make the Voting public do so as well.

    Close your eyes and the problem goes away.

    Brilliant.

    Comment by Veidicar Decarian — 11 Aug 2010 @ 4:43 PM

  283. Organic based solar panels are just starting to reach viability. Nuclear is a poor choice to rely on and the transition to use biochar is slow and a bit expensive. I am not sure how anyone can believe this transition is easy, cheap or quick.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 11 Aug 2010 @ 4:47 PM

  284. “And Gavin was of course right” – 279

    Always best to wait for the data of course, but provided the rest of the year is not unusually cool, this years anomaly will come in at 80 or so.

    Preparations should be started to use that number to destroy the credibility of the denialists in the public eye.

    Start composing your editorial responses now, for easy submission to the Conservative Rags of your choice.

    Comment by Veidicar Decarian — 11 Aug 2010 @ 5:00 PM

  285. @284… And what will the dear Lord Monckton do with all those slides depicting global cooling?

    Comment by Rob Honeycutt — 11 Aug 2010 @ 5:12 PM

  286. Bob (Sphaerica) wrote: “Transitioning to clean technologies is an extremely long term, investment-intensive effort.”

    I believe that the difficulty of the renewable energy transition has been grossly exaggerated — indeed, the fossil fuel industry’s propaganda campaign to exaggerate the costs and “problems” of wind and solar and denigrate their potential, is on a par with the AGW denial campaign, and has in fact been going on longer. And of course they serve the same purpose: to perpetuate for as long as possible the fossil fuel industry’s billion-dollars-per-day profit stream.

    Of course “investment” will be needed — investments that will pay off handsomely and beneficially.

    Of course it will take time — although it need not be anywhere near as “long term” as some people think; well-thought-out plans for transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy within 10-20 years exist.

    Recommended reading: Renewables 2010 Global Status Report from WorldWatch Institute and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21).

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 11 Aug 2010 @ 5:18 PM

  287. So it’s OK for the IPCC to treat their hypothetical scenario as a hypothetical prediction, but it’s not OK for some one else to follow suit, and then report on the hypothetical prediction?

    [Response: Not if they say it comes from the IPCC when it doesn't. - gavin]

    Comment by don — 11 Aug 2010 @ 5:38 PM

  288. Bob (Sphaerica),

    > Over a hundred years [Hansen (1988)] could have factored in occasional
    > volcanoes, sure, and things would average out…

    He did; and as luck would have it, fairly close in time to the actual Pinatubo.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/hansens-1988-projections/

    (BTW, if I’ve correctly extended Gavin’s test in the above link through 2009, the Scenario B trend in Hansen 1988 has now drifted just outside the error estimate of the lower GISTEMP record. But nature seems to be playing a bit of catch-up lately, so we’ll see how it goes in a year or two…

    1984-2009:
    Hansen 1988 Scenario B trend: 0.26 ± 0.04 ºC/decade
    GISTEMP LOTI trend: 0.19 ± 0.05 ºC/decade.)

    [Response: I updated through 2009 in this post. - gavin]

    Comment by CM — 11 Aug 2010 @ 5:53 PM

  289. SA while I am encouraged by world watch and vital signs data and information, much of the claims are still filled with overgeneralized filler and at times, misleading numbers. That wind power and solar use is up in places in Germany, the Netherlands and China, along parts of the US is not a bad thing but wind mills are still terribly ineffecient and the battle against the initiative to place solar panels in the Mojave also slows down progress.

    http://e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2236

    And 10% aint nearly good enough:

    http://e360.yale.edu/content/digest.msp?id=2537

    Though this does lead me to be semi optimistic:

    http://www.awea.org/pubs/factsheets/050629_Myths_vs_Facts_Fact_Sheet.pdf

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 11 Aug 2010 @ 6:12 PM

  290. SA – A very interesting ‘outside the box’ project for “transitioning” we should all be aware of, including that furry cat herder with the “smart grid” ideas. Much info at the website about the smartest of all grids.

    Comment by flxible — 11 Aug 2010 @ 6:12 PM

  291. Probably everybody else knows about it but Tamino points out a really fun dynamic data visualization tool at NCDC I’d failed to notice:

    NCDC Climate Indicators.

    Tamino also asks some inconvenient questions regarding coherence of the data.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 11 Aug 2010 @ 6:21 PM

  292. And this SA takes most of that semi optimism away:

    http://www.ecolo.org/documents/documents_in_english/WindmillFormula.htm

    http://www.mnforsustain.org/windpower_schleede_costs_of_electricity.htm

    A little calculating and knowledge of electrical systems can show why windmills are so challenging, or as I did here a simple google search on the hurdles windmills still face.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 11 Aug 2010 @ 6:23 PM

  293. flxible, unfortunately this is still primarily fantasy:

    http://www.solarroadways.com/smart.shtml

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 11 Aug 2010 @ 6:51 PM

  294. HAS #278 – you could pose your query/comment in the comments section of James’ blog. Annan and Hargreaves have been known to collaborate from time to time and I am sure he can get an answer for you.

    Comment by Deech56 — 11 Aug 2010 @ 7:42 PM

  295. HAS,
    We have something in common: Neither of us has a clue what you are talking about.

    Yes, statistical inference is an element in a dynamical model. That does not make the model “statistical”. The dataset used to determine the parameters is different and distinct from the verification dataset. Indeed, the physical system may be different.

    Your assertion that Hansen-1988 is less skilled than a naive model is absolute BS. You have zero basis for this assertion. In the first place, there is no reason why a naive model would have predicted a 32 year warming trend. It is pretty much inevitable given the physics in Hansen’s model. Hansen’s model and its successors also predict stratospheric cooling and get it pretty much right.

    Now even more puzzling is why you are so desperate for the model to be “unskilled”. Do you think that if the models are wrong that you can simply call off the crisis and go on your merry way? Hardly. That the climate is warming is an established fact. That CO2 is a greenhouse gas is 100% certain. That CO2 sensitivity exceeds 2.1 degrees per doubling is a matter of 95% confidence. That implies a likely warming this century of more than 4 degrees C, and that without any fancy model. Without skilled models, we are flying blind, and have all the more reason to exercise extreme caution.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Aug 2010 @ 8:16 PM

  296. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100802101813.htm

    This show promise:)Stanford has some smart people.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 11 Aug 2010 @ 8:50 PM

  297. “but it’s not OK for some one else to follow suit,” – 287

    Particularly not when those denialists whom you claim are “following suit” claim to have been awarded a Nobel Prize when they haven’t. Claim that they have had a peer reviewed paper published in a scientific journal when in fact it was an un-reviewed editorial. Claim the earth is cooling when it isn’t. Claim that the sun is responsible for the observed warming when it’s output has diminished over the last several solar cycles. Claim that weather is climate, etc. etc. etc.

    You know, here on planet reality we call those things LIES.

    What do they call them on your home planet Conservadopia?

    Comment by Veidicar Decarian — 11 Aug 2010 @ 9:24 PM

  298. Last time I checked the thesaurus, a ‘scenario’ is a prediction based on a set of assumptions. So Monckton is absolutely correct to call it a IPCC prediction. IPCC may have made several different predictions based on several different set of assumptions, but they are still predictions. You are picking nits. I don’t see anything qualitatively wrong with Monckton’s graphs [edit to remove gratuitous insults]

    [Response: So let's say I take your comment and edit it some more to say "Monckton is absolutely ... wrong" and then claimed publicly that this was your opinion (when it clearly is not). Wouldn't you be bothered that someone was claiming you said something that you didn't say? That is what Monckton is doing to the IPCC report. A little consistency please. - gavin]

    Comment by Mike Lorrey — 11 Aug 2010 @ 9:59 PM

  299. JacobMack – “primarily fantasy”? You’re pretty hair triggered about something that has a working prototype paid for by a DOT “Small Business Innovation Research Award”. The more I consider it, the more I think ‘what took so long for this idea to appear’? The “fantasy” is in believing there’s enough political intelligence to realize the thousands of miles of asphalt we spread on the ground every year are made with petroleum that could be going to much more beneficial uses …. while it lasts.

    reCAPTCHA: subdivision exiter

    Comment by flxible — 11 Aug 2010 @ 10:02 PM

  300. 288 (CM),

    Thanks for the link. I didn’t realize that was there. More reading to do.

    But I think my statement still stands. While a smaller volcanic eruption was factored in in 1995, it was nothing near the size of the impact of Pinatubo, either in magnitude of negative forcing or duration. While its not entirely fair to remove a modeled event from the record, it’s also not at all fair to compare skill over such a short time frame, when volcanic and other effectively random events can skew either path (observational or modeled) so greatly.

    Given that we know, however, that no Pinatubo event was modeled in, and the impact of the modeled ‘El Chichon’ sized volcanic eruption was comparatively small… I’m just saying that if you are going to try to compare, given the short time frame, Hansen’s model to a naive linear model, then it’s also fair to compare an observed-minus-volcanic event period to Hansen-minus-volcanic-event period.

    Is it really correct to do? No, absolutely not, because a chain of events is interconnected, and you can’t just remove a period. But if we’re going to compare trends in a thread of blog comments to a “seventh grader” naive model, then yes, in this type of forum, it becomes valid… and Hansen’s skill becomes spot on. When compared to the Scharf/HAS/7th grader model (i.e. a simple straight line with a slope defined by the 1979-1988 trend), it beats it in predictive skill, and wallops it in hindcasting, wherein the naive model with a slope of 0.5C/30 years predicts that in 1700 the temperature of the planet was 5C cooler than 2000, and in 1400 the temperature of the planet was 10C cooler, and yes, keep on going.

    So much for naive models.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 11 Aug 2010 @ 10:11 PM

  301. 253 Barton Paul Levenson: 2037. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ Thanks, sort of. I’ll call my senators tomorrow. Recommend everyone else do the same.

    recaptcha: what is a grempraw?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 12 Aug 2010 @ 12:59 AM

  302. Gavin, Bob (Sphaerica), re: Hansen ’88, my #288

    Oops, I missed Gavin’s update. (And failed simple arithmetic: the error range on the Scenario B trend ’88-09 should indeed be ±0.05ºC, not 0.04.)

    Comment by CM — 12 Aug 2010 @ 1:00 AM

  303. from 295: “That CO2 sensitivity exceeds 2.1 degrees per doubling is a matter of 95% confidence. That implies a likely warming this century of more than 4 degrees C, and that without any fancy model.”

    Placing hotly contested educated guesses (read “approved consensus”) in the same paragraph as “proven facts” such as those which proceeded that quote, is why critics claim this site is propaganda and not science.

    Would you like me to provide a list of peer-reviewed papers which cast serious doubts on those supposed “facts”?

    I’m not just picking on you, I could have chosen a dozen other assertions from this thread alone that would fit the same pattern.

    [Response: These issues are only 'contested' because people do not want them to be true. Unfortunately the real world doesn't care anything for our wishes. - gavin]

    Comment by Conner63 — 12 Aug 2010 @ 1:20 AM

  304. I had a good go-around with the Viscount a few years ago.

    It was public years ago that he had endocrine problems, as many had suspected from appearance (the eyes). He has recently confirmed that he has Grave’s disease, as referenced in that Wikipedia article.

    Read the section “Neuropsychological manifestations”, especially the latter part of that section:

    “Reported symptoms vary from mild to severe aspects of anxiety or depression, and may include psychotic and behavioural disturbances:

    * Varying degrees of anxiety,[18] such as a very active mind,[3]irritability,[18] hyperactivity, agitation, restlessness, nervousness, distractible overactivity[28] and panic attacks.[29] In addition patients may experience vivid dreams and, occasionally, nightmares.
    * Depressive features of mental impairment, memory lapses,[18] diminished attention span,[18] fluctuating depression[28][30]
    * Emotional lability and in some patients, the emotional pattern is that of hypomania,[31] or pathologic well-being (euphoria) or the hyperactivity may produce a state of exhaustion, and profound fatigue or asthenia chiefly characterizes the picture.[3]
    * Erratic behaviour may include intermittent rage disorder, mild attention deficit disorder[32] and some patients become hyperirritable and combative, which can precipitate accidents or even assaultive behaviour.[3]
    * In more extreme cases features of psychosis,[33] with delusions of persecution or delusions of reference.[34] pressure of speech…”

    Combining some of those possibilities with being a hereditary Lord may not be a felicitous mixture.

    Of course, as an odd loose end, one does wonder about his endocrinologist Schulte’s odd excursion into climate anti-science with Monckton in 2007.

    Anyway, I would suggest that as much fun as it is, it may well be more appropriate to tell those who support Monckton that:

    1) He has stated that he has this disease, which is a nasty one, and deserves sympathy. So, there may be medical reason for some of this.

    2) But that in supporting his views, they may well be supporting those of someone whose known disease can include serious mental illness.

    Comment by John Mashey — 12 Aug 2010 @ 1:46 AM

  305. Deech56 #294

    Thanks, yes a gather they are partners.

    Ray Ladbury #295

    We now have reached the point where you agree that parameter estimation is part of climate models, and now statistical inference is too.

    Let’s see if we can move you another step along the way.

    You say: “The dataset used to determine the parameters is different and distinct from the verification dataset. Indeed, the physical system may be different.”

    I suspect what you are trying to assure me here is that the model verification procedures are independent of the input parameters, so there is no circularity in the model (if you pardon the pun). This is a difficult condition to demonstrate in a complex model; probably relies upon statistical models to do; but it is neither here no there in terms of whether the model itself might be statistical. It is simply a precondition for the model verification to be taken seriously.

    Putting that aside then, I suspect that the critical point you are not addressing is that a climate model itself produces outputs that are statistical in nature i.e. they contain uncertainty. Not just between runs, within them too. This is a straightforward consequence of the variability in the parameter estimation (not to mention measurement errors in the various observations). The statistical models that legitimate the estimations of the outputs are an integral part of the model. I think all this is trivial, but you seem at pains to avoid acknowledging this.

    Climate models are therefore deeply tainted by the statistical models within. Sorry.

    As to the rest of your post I’d just say that I do appreciate that belief is often easier to rely on than empiricism.

    [Response: This is a nonsense claim. You apparently think that since a model produces numbers, and numbers are statistical, and since statistics involve uncertainty, all models are 'tainted'. This 'logic' condemns every calculation everywhere (since they all involve numbers at some point). It's relevance to anything is zero. - gavin]

    Comment by HAS — 12 Aug 2010 @ 2:24 AM

  306. Sambo #273

    I read that piece you linked to. It starts

    I believe the IPCC was set up with intent to provide an exaggerated science for the unstated purpose of increased government control over the global economies, to repress capitalism, and promote social istic ideals under the guise of environmentalism.

    As I see it if anyone is actually crazy enough to actually believe that then a few “alarmist” headlines aren’t to blame, nor would it make any difference if the media started reporting climate change in a more “moderate” way – this kind of attitude comes from a deep rooted idealogical opposition to government action and environmentalism.

    The responsible thing to do is to report the dangers of honestly and accurately, which means noting the uncertainties where they exist but also being frank about the potential dangers. Yes, choice of language is important because people are naturaly skeptical about what they may percieve to be “scare stories” but the dangers of AGW are very real and possibly, yes, catastrophic and it would be irresponsible to play down this risk in order to make more palatable reading.

    You talk about the “political” considerations surrounding the use of such language, but don’t forget the political motivations of those who object to it – the writer you linked to being a prime example. In my view what we are seeing is a concerted attempt by the “skeptics” to portray themselves as the voice of moderate opinion instead of the fringe group they actually are by trying to persuade people that the use of strong language to describe the risks we face is de facto an indication of an extreme(ist) opinion. Admittedly they are helped by the tendency of some people in politics and the media (and in discussions on the internet of course) to use dramatic, alarmist even, language when faced with relatively mundane issues but I don’t see any realistic or responsible alternative to telling it how it is.

    Comment by andrew adams — 12 Aug 2010 @ 2:44 AM

  307. HAS, your post #305 is just flat ignorant. First, of course there are uncertainties. If you don’t have uncertainties, you aren’t doing science. However, the main source of uncertainty is the internal variability of the climate system itself, not the parametric estimation. I do not know where you are getting your information on climate models–or on scientific modeling in particular–but you are just plain wrong about how it is done, how it is validated and even what its purpose is.

    You seem to be saying that science is impossible in the face of uncertainty. NO! It is knowing the uncertainties that makes science possible! You have a choice. You can keep arguing against straw men of your own construction, or you can actually try to learn something about the subject. Right now, all your arguments do is demonstrate to anyone who has ever done scientific modeling that you are ignorant.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Aug 2010 @ 7:22 AM

  308. 286 (SecularAnimist),

    I believe that the difficulty of the renewable energy transition has been grossly exaggerated

    I agree, but the point I’m making doesn’t have to do with the technology, but rather the time that it will take to replace billions of cars and machines, all made of iron and plastic and intricate bits. Cars have a limited lifespan, so they must be “recycled”, and if replaced with more efficient vehicles, that’s great. Other things such as ships, planes, factory tools and such have longer lifetimes. This expense is vary, very far from minimal. You could have the perfect technology today, and it would still take more than three decades to deploy it.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 12 Aug 2010 @ 8:28 AM

  309. Let us not overlook the fact that Lord Monckton has effectively claimed (predicted and/or projected) that in spite of the evidence, the earth will enter an ice age within 200 years. I’m anxious to see his supporting evidence for his claim, but let’s take a look at his assertion (prediction):

    Notice his claim in Figure 6 (see above) that \The observed cooling trend is equivalent to 2 C/century\

    Of course in a previous version of his chart he only showed 1C/century of cooling, until of course he figured out that if you eliminate the previous years data you could show 2C/century cooling. Brilliant!


    Fee & Dividend: Our best chanceLearn the IssueSign the Petition
    A Climate Minute: The Natural CycleThe Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 12 Aug 2010 @ 8:56 AM

  310. SecularAnimist, along with quite a few others (but certainly not all) in the circle, sees the global energy conversion effort through deeply rose-colored glasses — always has, always will. It will obviously take some work, they say, but nothing very strenuous, and even the process will approach nirvana for all. IMO, they conflate their belief ‘must do’ with ‘therefore is easy to do,’ or their belief that not doing the effort will approach Armageddon, ergo doing the effort will be a snap (always leaving out the word “relative”).

    Comment by Rod B — 12 Aug 2010 @ 9:10 AM

  311. This is OT, but … from http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100812/ap_on_sc/us_sci_climate_breakdown

    Stott and NASA’s Gavin Schmidt at the Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York, said it’s better to think in terms of odds: Warming might double the chances for a heat wave, for example. “That is exactly what’s happening,” Schmidt said, “a lot more warm extremes and less cold extremes.”

    Hurray for Gavin for getting a quote in that so succinctly states something so important.

    Comment by msc — 12 Aug 2010 @ 9:15 AM

  312. re #295, Conner63 at 303, and Gavin’s response: not meaning to beat an OT horse (on this thread), but merely trying to keep the horse alive, Conner63′s opinion regarding Ray’s words is not simply wishful thinking. Forcing has not been irrefutably explained for the current future global environment. 95% confidence is in fact a gut feel by admittedly very smart people based on the belief that statistical projections can explain physics.

    BTW, this only applies to Ray’s words (295) on forcing and sensitivity, quoted in 303 by Conner63, and not to Ray’s other comments.

    Comment by Rod B — 12 Aug 2010 @ 9:36 AM

  313. HAS #305
    You seem to neglect the physical relationships already established. Climate models are not defined by only the statistical analysis but mainly based on the theoretical equations unlike the time series analysis in econometrics. Your comment seems to be the latter case.

    Even if uncertain factors such as undefined dynamics remain, so long as they are stationary, the long term prediction with certain uncertain range is different from unpredictable random series.

    I am a bit surprised that the difference between the “prediction” on the natural phenomena and the “projection” for the decision making is not well understood yet. The former talk about the single future (like the dynamics of planet) while the latter compares the multiple possible assumptions involving behaviour of others (like chess game). IPCC-SRES deals with the latter and then climate models do the former.

    By the way, SRES-A2 assumes 15 billion world population in 2100 with relatively weak economic globalization while those of SRES-A1 and B1 are around 8.5 billion with strong economic growth. All of scenarios have been developed to generate the long term anthropogenic GHG emissions mainly focusing on the second half of this century rather than the near term emissions influenced by the short term economic variability.

    Comment by MR SH — 12 Aug 2010 @ 9:51 AM

  314. Rod B., The 95% CL for climate sensitivity has been established in a large variety of ways–whether you understand them or not. But, hey, Rod, prove me wrong. Produce some peer-reviewed evidence for once rather than simple bold assertions.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Aug 2010 @ 9:54 AM

  315. How is it that drilling kilometers deep into the earth’s crust on some of the least hospitable places on Earth to extract oil, or levelling mountains simply to get at a coal seam presents no problem at all, yet installing a wind turbine or solar panel is fraught with “difficulty”?

    Of course Rod B’s arguments are silly. The only “difficulty” is the vested interests at play.

    My wish is that environmentalists, nuclear and renewable energy proponents stop crapping on each other’s technology in a vain effort to promote their own. We need them all. We need them yesterday.

    Treading on our own toes does not help matters.

    Humans can achieve amazing things when we try.

    Comment by Didactylos — 12 Aug 2010 @ 10:00 AM

  316. Rod B wrote: “SecularAnimist, along with quite a few others (but certainly not all) in the circle, sees the global energy conversion effort through deeply rose-colored glasses …”

    With all due respect, Rod, I see the ongoing transition to clean renewable energy sources through paying very close attention to what is actually going on in the real world, including for example the fact that for the last two years, in both the United States and Europe, more renewable power capacity was added than coal, gas and nuclear combined.

    Worldwide, solar and wind continue to be the fastest growing sources of new energy, both are growing at record-smashing double-digit rates every year, both set records for new generation capacity added in 2009. The technologies are advancing rapidly, deployment is skyrocketing, and costs are plummeting as the technologies scale up.

    I would suggest that you start paying attention to the real world as well, instead of engaging in laughable pop psychology and content-free bromides.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 12 Aug 2010 @ 11:05 AM

  317. Monckton is so obviously wrong, so obstinately wrong-headed, and such an embarrassment to his “cause,” that it’s no surprise even die-hard denialists are distancing themselves from him. What denialist would be so foolish as to support this guy?

    Why, Anthony Watts of course.

    Comment by tamino — 12 Aug 2010 @ 11:42 AM

  318. RE msc #311: The Charles Hanley article was good all around. The comparison between the predictions and the recent events was a nice touch.

    Comment by Deech56 — 12 Aug 2010 @ 11:52 AM

  319. Placing hotly contested educated guesses (read “approved consensus”) in the same paragraph as “proven facts” such as those which proceeded that quote, is why critics claim this site is propaganda and not science.

    Not only is the first part of this statement wrong, people claim this site is propaganda because they’ve already lost the debate.

    Comment by JM — 12 Aug 2010 @ 11:59 AM

  320. #317:

    WUWT has reached a new low with that post. Monckton’s claims are indefensible by any scientific or professional measure.

    Comment by Scott A Mandia — 12 Aug 2010 @ 12:17 PM

  321. 286, Secular Animist:

    [edit - another argument about renewable energy is OT. Thanks]

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 12 Aug 2010 @ 12:23 PM

  322. tamino… I think this is an excellent sign. What is that MLK quote? “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” Ultimately it will become obvious to everyone that Monckton, Watts and co are mucking up the science. Or I should say they’re “Moncking up the science.”

    Comment by Rob Honeycutt — 12 Aug 2010 @ 12:25 PM

  323. It sort of occurs to me that this whole dickering between Monckton and others re what the IPCC projected is a big fat moot point, a side show, a derailment.

    If one takes more recent discussions seriously — a conference, so not at the level of peer-review — then the IPCC has probably underestimated the worst case.

    You can virtually attend the conference, 4 Degrees & Beyond, Oxford, Sept 2009 at http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/4degrees/

    Of course, that conference was more focused on temp increase and harms that would cause than CO2 increase, but it sort of leaves the IPCC behind in the dust, and adds chili peppers to the denialist hooping and hollering against “climate alarmism.”

    But what kind of alarm clock will it take to wake up people zonked out on the opium of consumerism? Even Hansen’s end of all life on planet earth scenario falls on deaf, clogged ears (see STORMS or http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/AGUBjerknes_20081217.pdf ).

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 12 Aug 2010 @ 12:26 PM

  324. RE renewables, here’s something I just read re spray-on solar film, and how one day our homes may be able to generate all the energy they need: http://www.climateark.org/shared/reader/print.aspx?linkid=178316

    The enviro techies never weary, they never slumber nor sleep. Good job, fellows and gals.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 12 Aug 2010 @ 12:39 PM

  325. RB 312: 95% confidence is in fact a gut feel

    BPL: No. It is inherent in the data set, being derived by an equation from the standard error of estimate. It is, in fact, 97.5% likely that the Charney sensitivity is greater than 2.1 K, since the 95% confidence level is two-tailed.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 12 Aug 2010 @ 12:45 PM

  326. tamino says: 12 August 2010 at 11:42 AM

    Why, Anthony Watts of course.

    Of course, of course.

    Watts on Monckton:

    He is in constant contact with a vast network of leading scientists throughout the world.

    In the manner of invisible things on doorknobs.

    Commenter:

    So often I am ashamed of being British, our politicians, media and “scientists” are so often second rate. It is good to have someone to be proud of.

    Yeah, second-rate wannabes, like Churchill, or Maxwell, or Disraeli, or Darwin. The list of inferior climbers trying to reach the feet of Monckton is so depressing.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 12 Aug 2010 @ 1:28 PM

  327. WUWT has reached a new low with that post.

    The responses have brought it even lower …

    Comment by dhogaza — 12 Aug 2010 @ 1:40 PM

  328. Science fiction: CM Kornbluth.

    Reality: “That’s a good, smart conversation. I thank you for having it with our viewers.”

    SANCHEZ: Okay. Is there anything from your perspective — and I know you are one of many scientist experts out there — that would lead you to believe that because these three things are happening right now we’re more apt to be able to prove or somebody out there is able to prove that there is a consequential global warming caused by man? That’s the big part of this question.

    MYERS: Is it caused by man? Yes. Is it 100% caused by man? No. There are other things involved. We are now in the sun spot cycle. We are now in a very hot sun cycle. there are many other things going on. But, yes, a significant portion of this is caused by greenhouse gases keeping heat on the shore, on the land, in the atmosphere that could have escaped without those greenhouse gases, so, yes, it’s warmer.

    As seen at Climate Progress.

    A “scientist expert” incapable of discriminating between the importance or relevance of things he’s repeating spews an incoherent narrative containing substantial factual errors to an audience of millions of viewers unable to discern they’re wasting their time watching, arguably the most important information embedded in the presentation.

    Does CM Kornbluth’s imagination of the world of his future trump the null hypothesis?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 12 Aug 2010 @ 2:08 PM

  329. The current heat wave in Russia and flooding in Pakistan (mentioned above) do not seem to be support for AGW:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727730.101-frozen-jet-stream-leads-to-flood-fire-and-famine.html

    [edit - did you read the article? It in no way supports your statement above]

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 12 Aug 2010 @ 2:38 PM

  330. Gavin in response to my post at 305#

    I can see that being sardonic is something some Americans don’t get either.

    This all started when Ray Ladbury started telling me that climate models were not “statistical models but physical models” and that “Climate science is NOT and [sic} exercise in curve fitting".

    [edit - leave out the ad hom and inflammatory language if you want to comment here]

    Comment by HAS — 12 Aug 2010 @ 3:00 PM

  331. I am actually watching John Abraham’s presentation right now. Eye opener.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 12 Aug 2010 @ 3:20 PM

  332. And now Monckton has a series of videos ‘refuting’ Abraham, or so WUWT says.

    Time to get out the pooper scooper, I guess, and find out what he’s lying about this time.

    Comment by JM — 12 Aug 2010 @ 3:46 PM

  333. 200, Secular Animist: A few weeks ago, I posted a comment here asking climate scientists what sort of event they might consider to be an “oh-my-god-the-sheet-has-really-hit-the-fan-now” sort of “Climate 9/11″ event.
    new P
    I am not a climate scientist of course, but it seems to me that we have seen several such events since then, with the situation in Russia being the most horrific.
    new P
    Given the effects we are already seeing from the warming that has already occurred due to the GHGs we have already emitted, at this point it is very difficult for me to imagine any plausible course of events which does NOT result in the collapse of human civilization under the onslaught of AGW within a few decades at most.

    Civilization has survived many catastrophes already, the great flu pandemic of 1918 being among the worst, and the Great Plague being possibly the worst, at least in Europe. In Russia, civilization survived the sequence: WWI, Russian Revolution, Russian Civil War, Collectivization, World War II. Chinese civilization survived the Communist Revolution, though at first confined to Taiwan. Civilization has died sometimes (as among ancient Khmer), but it has survived many catastrophes. Why Bejing, Shanghai, Guandung, Buenos Aires, Sao Paolo, Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Istanbul and Bangalore should all disappear has never been explained, only why they should not all be expected to do well in worst-case scenarios.

    To your first point, catastrophes happen all the time. Right now HIV/AIDS and TB have acquired multiple drug resistance. I don’t know whether those processes count as “catastrophes”, but there are also tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, fires (every year in California and most of the American West), wars, malaria. AGW does not predict a small set of killers to wipe out everything at once, it predicts that the heat-related disasters like hurricanes will increase in frequency and intensity. Right now there are hundreds of forest fires burning in Washington State to accompany the fires in Russia; and there is great flooding in China to accompany the flooding in Pakistan. But you can’t say (as the “Left Behind” crowd wants to say) “This is it! These are the exact signs that were foretold!” All you can really say is that weather this bad (and worse, worse than the 30s) will become more frequent. Right now a bunch of the deniers are predicting that Aug 2010 to Aug 2011 will have much below average temperatures; if they are proved right, it will be incorrect to say “That shows AGW is not happening”; and it is not right to say now that this summer is definitive proof of AGW

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 12 Aug 2010 @ 4:16 PM

  334. 328 edit: [edit - did you read the article? It in no way supports your statement above]

    The scientist quoted says that there is no way to know whether AGW has predicted this jet stream “blocking event” or not. That’s why I wrote the following: The current heat wave in Russia and flooding in Pakistan (mentioned above) do not seem to be support for AGW:

    The jet stream blocking event does not contradict AGW either, but I didn’t say it did.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 12 Aug 2010 @ 4:19 PM

  335. re: 334

    I have no idea what you’re saying except that you like putting negative words and AGW in propinquity. “Does not seem” means nothing. It’s just a weasel phrase.

    AGW predicts an increase in extreme rains, extreme droughts, and heat waves.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 12 Aug 2010 @ 4:39 PM

  336. Septic Matthew (333) — As much as many in Washington State might wish it, British Columbia is, last I knew, still a Canadian province.

    And by the way, you really ought to read a book or two on societies which have collapsed, some surely with an assist from climate changes.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 12 Aug 2010 @ 4:43 PM

  337. andrew adams (#306)

    I think we agree on quite a bit, but I’d like to hightlight the areas that I’m genuinely in disagreement with you.

    First, being right wing politically does not mean you are opposed to all things environment. I’m canadian (I know, cue the canadian jokes) and a few years ago there was a dinner to praise the greenest prime minister. That prime minister was Brian Mulroney (a conservative) who was doing irish jig’s with Ronald Ragean.

    http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/QPeriod/20060420/mulroney_green_cp_060419/

    That being said, conservatives are more likely to be opposed to the policies being proposed (I would say tacitly supported by IPCC). That does not mean that they would be opposed to any and all actions, just the current Kyoto/Copenhagen style agreements. That is what is motivating their questioning the science. The argument that they see is “science proves that thus we must do “. This is the argument that I’m saying is not working and is instead swelling the ranks of those opposed to action on climate change. If you don’t believe me, well let me ask you if the US is making any progress on the issue (at least in congress)?

    What I would like to see is an argument in the form of what B. Hart called an indirect approach (military terms). By using the argument above, conservatives are more likely to become more and more entrenched in their ideas. This is the compression that Hart describes through many examples in his book. What is required is that the root of the opposition is dislocated from conservatives. As you correctly observe, that opposition stems (in many instances) from an opposition to the policies. That is why the policies should be targeted and not just following the argument structure above. That is also why it is important for the science to be policy prescriptive (ie if we don’t do anything this is what happens, if we reduce GHG by 70% here is what happens, with no “scary” scenarios). By using scary scenarios, you’ll only entrench conservative opposition. Think how Bush used scare tactics and that is a pretty good analogy here.

    Once the problem is acknoledged with a policy prescriptive type science, then it becomes a political problem of how to deal with it. FWIW, I’m a moderate conservative in canada (probably right in the middle if I was in the states). I sincerely think there are policy options that are palatable to conservatives that address climate change in a significant way, but I don’t find the Kyoto/Copenhagen options all that palatable and I’m very moderate. Imagine someone like Beck!

    Here is a link to Indirect approach, but the best way to understand it would be to ready his book “Strategy”

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

    Comment by sambo — 12 Aug 2010 @ 4:56 PM

  338. Sorry, the argument was “science proves that ~insert scary scenario here~ thus we must do ~insert Kyoto Copenhagen style policy here~”. I had it enclosed by < and I now realize that it thought it was html tags.

    Comment by sambo — 12 Aug 2010 @ 5:00 PM

  339. Septic Matthew says: 12 August 2010 at 4:16 PM

    [Argument to the effect that "some people survive head-on collisions, continue aiming for between the headlights and let's see what happens]

    Oops, the tape just reached the beginning again.

    Meanwhile, back in the land of circumspect reality, the people who actually know what they’re talking are not latching onto blind optimism.

    Current extreme weather events

    “This is it! These are the exact signs that were foretold!”

    Yes, that’s in effect what the WMO says. They don’t use the exclamation points, granted. So does NASA GISS: July 2010 — What Global Warming Looks Like

    History is leaving a lot of people behind on the platform, still reciting from their silly talking points.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 12 Aug 2010 @ 6:12 PM

  340. sambo 12 August 2010 at 4:56 PM,

    ie if we don’t do anything this is what happens, if we reduce GHG by 70% here is what happens, with no “scary” scenarios

    Some scenarios are scary and “scary” is not a synonym for “exaggerated” or “fabricated”.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 12 Aug 2010 @ 6:35 PM

  341. I think it would be a worthwhile effort to quickly create a series of response videos to Monckton’s new rebuttal to Dr Abraham videos. Watching the first video I estimate that he runs about one lie or misrepresentation per minute.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z00L2uNAFw8&playnext=1&videos=S3VrQQpkgRM

    Comment by Rob Honeycutt — 12 Aug 2010 @ 6:38 PM

  342. #317 Tamino

    Yes, and Watts is accompanied by that other weather-man in the UK (see #54).

    Comment by deconvoluter — 12 Aug 2010 @ 6:42 PM

  343. Moderator has snipped my post #330 on account of ad hom and inflammatory language. Readers can only imagine how vitriolic my comments must have been to get edited given the comments that have been allowed about me :)

    Seriously, apologies if my heavy handed attempts at humour cause offense. The edit did cut a point of substance which I’ll see if I can reframe:

    This all started when Ray Ladbury started telling me that climate models were not “statistical models but physical models” and that “Climate science is NOT and [sic] exercise in curve fitting”.

    However it is very pleasing to see that he has now shifted his position to the point where in #305 he’s stopped arguing about if there is uncertainty and moved to discussing the relative importance of the sources.

    Comment by HAS — 12 Aug 2010 @ 8:04 PM

  344. Interesting definition of dynamics from Monckton in one of his videos responding to John Abraham.

    Around 5:40: “…there may be certain, what they call, dynamical effects. That means very sudden and very dramatic losses of … sea ice…”.

    Would I be correct in saying that’s something of a whopper for someone claiming to know an awful lot about physics?

    Comment by J Bowers — 12 Aug 2010 @ 8:07 PM

  345. HAS, [edit - lets watch the ad hom] I in no way suggested that climate models were statistical models. The fact that you might have some parameters that are fit to OTHER DATASETS, distinct from the verification dataset. You might as well contend that charge transport models are statistical because Millikin determined electronic charge based on a best-fit to oil-drop data.

    [edit]

    The types of models under discussion here:

    1)statistical models–parameters are allowed to vary until a best-fit to the data is found
    2)dynamical model–parameters are fixed by the best available science (physics, etc.) regardless of how this makes the model fit the data.

    Statistical models and dynamical models have very different pitfalls. For instance, statistical models are prone to overfitting, leading to spurious agreement with the data, but poor predictive capability. This is virtually impossible with a dynamical model. [edit]

    Or as Recaptcha says much more succinctly: explains stoogery

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Aug 2010 @ 8:38 PM

  346. Can I just point out to the few confused posters on here (probably Americans) that being a ‘lord’ does not automatically constitute membership of the House of Lords. Someone can be a lord without being a member of the upper house.
    But I guess that once again you’ll refuse my comments in the good name of scientific rigor.

    Comment by samspade10 — 12 Aug 2010 @ 8:41 PM

  347. Sambo – as another Canadian I have to say your understanding of your conservative [minority] prime minister is sadly lacking. There is absolutely no policy acceptable to him that would have any appreciable impact on climate change. Alberta’s tar sands income is too vital to federal finances.

    Comment by flxible — 12 Aug 2010 @ 8:52 PM

  348. “How is it that drilling kilometers deep into the earth’s crust on some of the least hospitable places on Earth to extract oil, or levelling mountains simply to get at a coal seam presents no problem at all, yet installing a wind turbine or solar panel is fraught with “difficulty”? – 315

    Some people are hopelessly confused by spinning things.

    Comment by Veidicar Decarian — 12 Aug 2010 @ 9:15 PM

  349. “This all started when Ray Ladbury started telling me that climate models were not “statistical models but physical models” – 343

    He told you correctly. You don’t seem able to understand how a physical model can produce a statistical result.

    You might ponder the shape of a pile of ball bearings that are rolled down a slope fitted with an equally spaced series of pins.

    For research I suggest you watch reruns of “The Price is Right”.

    Comment by Veidicar Decarian — 12 Aug 2010 @ 9:20 PM

  350. RE #339 & the WMO link, I was wondering about their phrase, “While a longer time range is required to establish whether an individual event is attributable to climate change,…” (referring to the extreme weather events around the world today).

    I sort of thought that no extreme single event could be attributed to GW, bec GW is at a more macro statistical level, and I suppose there is a long tail in non-GW weather event possibilities in which such an event could have occurred under non-GW conditions. Though I suppose there might come some single events that have a .00000001 probability under the null hypothesis…once things really get bad in a century or so.

    Is this a correct understanding of it?

    I even told some skeptics on another blog, who were yammering about the cold spell this past winter or the supposed “pause” (decrease in the increase) disproving GW, that single or short term events or stats do not disprove AGW, nor does these terrible summer events prove AGW, but one has to look at the entire world global average temps over at least several decades (and at all the other factors that may be contributing, such as the solar minimum, aerosols, etc).

    I instead like to focus on mitigation strategies now that would hopefully reduce the probability of extreme events in the future. So when Katrina damaged a friend’s home, I wrote to him in 2005 that I’d been reducing my GHGs over the past 15 years with the hope that would in some way help reduce such risks (probabilities) of events as Katrina.

    Now if we ALL (including Monckton & co.) could think about reducing risks of future harms, r/t debating about how bad those risks/probabilities might be….

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 12 Aug 2010 @ 10:15 PM

  351. flxible (#347)

    I think Canadian politics might be slightly off topic, but I will reply (but only once out of respect for the comment policy).

    I think you are misreading why the prime minister is taking the stance he is. IMHO, he isn’t doing it to swell the federal coffers (although he’s certainly not turning it away). Ask yourself why is it only recently has the tar sands been exploited? The amount of oil there is one of the largest reserves in the world (possibly the largest although it’s hard to say since the Saudi’s refuse to say how big their reserve is). However, back in the 80′s only a small section was accessible since it required so much energy to extract it. Even this was essentially taken away from Alberta because of the National Energy Program. Alberta has invested a lot of time, energy and money into developing these resources in an efficient manner. Just when they succeed (partially due to oil prices as well) they are being told that all their work was dirty money and they are fossils.

    As a moderate conservative, I would support using the money generated from the oil sands in order to develop cleaner energy and industries in Alberta, but you cannot just tell them to shut down the oil sands (decimating only Alberta, essentially) and tell them on top of all that we are taking away all the money that you made from the oil sands since it is dirty money and give it to other countries (since they need it more). That argument doesn’t work with me and it won’t work with any conservative I imagine.

    The lesson that this can give to the rest of the world in how to secure action to climate change, is that any deal needs to recognize that each country is in a unique situation. Also, denigrating world leaders as fossils (however much you think they are) will not likely get them to change their mind. Reasoned discussion in order to find policies acceptable to all will. As Jon Stuart said “Why can’t we all be reasonable!” How apropos!

    BTW, flxible, if you want to know more about my position (I personally like hearing differing viewpoints), I have no trouble corresponding with you by email. Can one of the moderators pass my email along if needed (I actually don’t know)?

    Comment by sambo — 12 Aug 2010 @ 10:15 PM

  352. I’m going to miss Christopher, and told him I’ll drop by Hyde Park in about ten years to listen to his ravings from atop a cardboard box. McIntyre (“The hockey stick is broken!”) and Watts (temperature stations) have been equally discredited, just in the last year. They will also have special places in my heart.

    In response, Koch and Tillerson appear to have gone to the bullpen for actual scientists like Christy and Curry, albeit from the Bible Belt. They might as well have gone to the barnyard for all the good it did. On any factual analysis, this is over, and the facts may be finally creeping up on both journalists and the public.

    Comment by mike roddy — 12 Aug 2010 @ 11:16 PM

  353. No thanx Sambo, I understand your position – better than you understand why it took high petro prices to make the tar sands a profitable proposition. If you think “efficiency improvements” by the province is why it’s possible for the petro companies to make a profit there, and so pay a lot of royalties and taxes, you’re not paying attention. Comparing the tar sands to Saudi conventional deposits is obfuscation, about 10% of the extant deposits were considered “profitable” at 2006 market prices, the further past peak oil we get, the greater that percentage may get, but the environment is paying a very high price so Canada and the U.S. can proceed with business as usual. The lesson the rest of the world is learning is that N.Americans have little concern for the rest of the planet or future generations, and Canada has no regard for international agreements it signs.

    Comment by flxible — 12 Aug 2010 @ 11:21 PM

  354. 323 Lynn Vincentnathan: “what kind of alarm clock will it take to wake up people”
    It would take raising their intelligence and giving them degrees in physics. They see 2 people who are dressed alike and both are called “scientists.” One is a fake, but they have no idea which one. As I said before, Monckton is dangerous precisely because he appears to be doing science, just like the real scientists. Most people literally cannot figure out what is going on. It helps a lot if you tell them that the fossil fuel industry has a $1 TRillion/year cashflow and that is enough money to hire a lot of liars to pretend to be scientists. It helps to show them the book “Climate Cover-Up” or tell them what the book says. The problem is in getting the information to them in spite of the obvious bias of the media.

    333 Septic Matthew: “Civilization has survived many catastrophes already”
    But not catastrophes that killed 99.99% of the citizens.
    Please read: “The Long Summer” by Brian Fagan and “Collapse” by Jared Diamond.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 13 Aug 2010 @ 12:00 AM

  355. “As a moderate conservative, I would support using the money generated from the oil sands in order to develop cleaner energy and industries in Alberta, but you cannot just tell them to shut down the oil sands (decimating only Alberta, essentially) and tell them on top of all that we are taking away all the money that you made from the oil sands since it is dirty money and give it to other countries (since they need it more).” – 351

    So as a Conservative you argue that it isn’t the job of corporations and the free market to use oil profits to develop a sustainable energy industry in Alberta?

    It would seem that example of Corporations failing to see the writing on the wall is another example of the inability of corporations to act rationally and in their own long term best interest.

    How do you propose that they be prompted to act responsibly and in their own best interest? Regulation or Taxation? Or do you have some other magical means of influence?

    Comment by Veidicar Decarian — 13 Aug 2010 @ 2:01 AM

  356. @ #304 – I have Hashimoto’s, which is kind of the opposite of Grave’s, but shares some of the same symptoms, still being a malfunction of the immune system affecting the thyroid. For either one, once it is adequately treated, the major symptoms abate quickly, save for some lingering discomfort and annoyances. So, presuming that he has actually gotten adequate treatment, I’m afraid we can’t blame his rantings on his autoimmune condition. Alas, he therefore comes by it as part of his baseline personality.

    [Response: People's medical histories and personal issues are completely off topic. Let's please stick to the relevant climate science. Thanks. - gavin]

    Comment by msc — 13 Aug 2010 @ 9:12 AM

  357. RE #183 – The Turing test is science fiction? – Do you have any idea what the test is or who Turing was?

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 13 Aug 2010 @ 9:20 AM

  358. Who would take someone who actually uses the full title Lord Christopher Monckton, third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley seriously? What an absurd character.

    Comment by gc — 13 Aug 2010 @ 9:22 AM

  359. A site HTML problem:
    In Safari 4.1.1, the tan vertical side bar is placed about 5 spaces to the left and writes over the header. The word ‘index’ is obscured except for the ‘i’ and long link address also get truncated. Thought someone would want to know.
    catman306 at the gmail.com

    Comment by catman306 — 13 Aug 2010 @ 9:41 AM

  360. Sorry, Gavin, I only meant to point out that Monckton’s position on climate change is not likely due to a medical condition.

    Comment by msc — 13 Aug 2010 @ 9:43 AM

  361. Re #357 — the biggest puzzler for me in post 183 was listing the “Dean drive” as a prediction. The drive was a simple hoax, claiming to have invented a miracle reactionless drive. The last time I recall seeing this hoary old fraud was in the mid-1970s when it briefly resurfaced in the Analog sci-fi magazine.

    Comment by spilgard — 13 Aug 2010 @ 10:43 AM

  362. 358 gc asks: ‘Who would take someone who actually uses the full title Lord Christopher Monckton, third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley seriously?’

    This is not his full title, it is an incorrect version used by journalists and foreigners. He is correctly known as ‘Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley’, addressed as ‘Lord Monckton’ in person or as a salutation, and as ‘The Viscount Monckton’ on an envelope [though this is going out of use].

    The style ‘Lord Christopher Monckton’ is used only for the younger sons of a duke; the duke’s eldest son uses one of their father’s lesser titles as a ‘courtesy title’.

    There is a fuller explanation at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forms_of_address_in_the_United_Kingdom

    Comment by Chris Squire [UK] — 13 Aug 2010 @ 11:42 AM

  363. [edit - take the cherry-picking and denier talking points elsewhere]

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 14 Aug 2010 @ 12:21 PM

  364. Is it true that the models showing the effect of increasing co2 in the atmosphere have been scaled down to fit recent data as lord monckton says.If temperatures are going to be so much warmer in fifty years time than they are now. When are they going to start rising?

    [Response: Almost nothing that Monckton says is true, and this is no exception. The models have not been 'scaled in any way. And temperatures are rising. - gavin]

    Comment by donald penman — 14 Aug 2010 @ 1:30 PM

  365. PhilC saw fit to draw attention to Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark as somehow relevant to his comment thread, or this post. I must thank him, as I haven’t re-read The Snark in some time, and in so doing it occurred to me just how well it relates to the question at hand (as well as J. Curry’s recent use of the word “snark”).

    With apologies to Lewis Carroll, for my very slight modification of his words, and with apologies to the serious posters here, for my wholly inappropriate injection of levity, here are the first verses from that poem’s “Fit the Second, Lord Monckton’s Speech”:

    Lord Monckton himself they all praised to the skies—
    Such a carriage, such ease and such grace!
    Such solemnity, too! One could see he was wise,
    The moment one looked in his face!

    He had brought a large map representing the sea,
    Without the least vestige of land:
    And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
    A map they could all understand.

    “What’s the good of Mercator’s North Poles and Equators,
    Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?”
    So Lord Monckton would cry: and the crew would reply
    “They are merely conventional signs!

    “Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
    But we’ve got our brave Monckton to thank”
    (So the crew would protest) “that he’s bought us the best—
    A perfect and absolute blank!”

    This was charming, no doubt: but they shortly found out
    That the Lord that they trusted so well
    Had only one notion for crossing the ocean,
    And that was to tingle his bell.

    He was thoughtful and grave— but the orders he gave
    Were enough to bewilder a crew.
    When he cried “Steer to starboard, but keep her head larboard!”
    What on earth was the helmsman to do?

    Then the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes:
    A thing, as Lord Monckton remarked,
    That frequently happens in tropical climes,
    When a vessel is, so to speak, “snarked”.

    Comment by Sphaerica (Bob) — 14 Aug 2010 @ 2:01 PM

  366. Re 275 wili – Why would it stop falling at that rate after 3 weeks? – because, maintaining the same rate of respiration/decay, the organic C in marine biota (now about 3 Gt according to the website http://es.carboncycle.aos.wisc.edu/global-carbon-cycle/ ) would be completely oxidized at that point (but see below for some added wrinkles).

    (This is setting aside oxidation of organic C that has settled to the seafloor; there is a significant amount (about 50 times the marine biota) but the flux is very slow – the total C added to the sea floor each year is about 0.2 Gt, which is a tiny fraction of the 50 Gt cycled through marine biota; even if that were all organic C (I think it is actually mostly inorganic), the rate of oxydation of organic C in the ocean would still have to be almost equal to the rate of organic C production, which is the approximation I used before in calculating the rate of O2 uptake by that process.

    However, a double check of the diagram shows that it doesn’t distinguish between organic and inorganic C in the deep and intermediate ocean, so the total amount of organic C within the ocean that is available to be oxidized at that rate (using O2 at a rate of 0.011 % of atmospheric O2 per year) could be larger; however, oxygen depletion in the deeper ocean water wouldn’t pull O2 out of the atmosphere until that water resurfaced.) Almost 80 % of the flux of C out of marine biota is back to the upper ocean water; assuming it is inorganic, that implies that, of the 0.011 %/year oxydation rate (in terms of the amount of atmospheric O2), almost 0.0088 % is directly from organic C in the upper ocean and a bit more than 0.0022 % occurs in the deeper ocean. Halting the production of marine biota C and maintaining the same fluxes of C out of marine biota, the marine biota C would be used up in about 3 weeks, at which point a 0.0022 % / year ** drawdown of O2 could persist for some longer time (**the actual removal of O2 from the atmosphere via oxidation in the deeper ocean may occur over a timescale of 1000 years, but the oxydation of organic C in the ocean might be completed over a significantly shorter time, so the actual removal of O2 from the atmosphere may be slower than 0.0022 %/year) – but it still wouldn’t have much total effect on the amount of atmospheric O2. Of course, the actual rates of oxydation wouldn’t stay constant as organic C either in the upper or deeper ocean is used up; the rate would tend to slow down more gradually over time as organic C is used up.)

    (if 20 % of geologic burial of C (0.2 Gt/year) is organic C and if that is nearly balanced by oxidation of geologic organic C, that would be a C flux of 0.04 Gt/year, which is 0.08 % of 50 Gt/year, so the oxygen depletion, as a fraction of total atmospheric O2, would be 0.08 % * 0.011 %/year = 0.0000088 %/year – or 8.8 E-6 %/year; it would take a bit more than 10 million years to use up all atmospheric O2 by such a process. I don’t know how much geologic organic C there is offhand but there’s a lot (far more than in recoverable fossil fuels); of course, there’s also the ferrous Fe O2-sink, and the O2 source of H-escape to space that would continue to operate if biological processes ceased (although lack of atmospheric CH4 would slow the H-escape.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 14 Aug 2010 @ 4:44 PM

  367. Help, help. Anyone want to tell me what’s going on with this chart (which shows glaciers decreasing supposedly at the same rate before “hydrocarbon use”: http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/press_releases/goreerrors/15.gif

    I have to give a response to this

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 14 Aug 2010 @ 6:48 PM

  368. 363: [edit - take the cherry-picking and denier talking points elsewhere]

    ok

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 14 Aug 2010 @ 6:52 PM

  369. Lynn Vincentnathan @367 — Hydrocarbon burning is considered to have begun increasing around 1750 CE; see the emissions graph posted on website for Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centeer @ ORNL.

    Glaciers respond the local temperature and precipitation. Both have been changing (global temperature increasing, on average, from before 1750 CE according to some analyses). Glaciers world-wide haven’t been measured with any accuracy before quite recently; I presume the graph you link is based on the Swiss glaciers, only one (small) region.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 14 Aug 2010 @ 6:59 PM

  370. Lynn, as David B. implies, I would recommend requesting the source of SPPI’s data for that graph.

    It’s not like making sh*t up is beyond them.

    Comment by chek — 14 Aug 2010 @ 7:21 PM

  371. I downloaded the Mauna Loa CO2 monthly data from March 1958 through July 2010 and plotted it (Interpolated) using a common spreadsheet program that has trending analysis. There are 629 monthly data points.

    Results-

    Linear Trend
    Y=0.1201x+308.62
    R^2=0.9771

    Exponential Trend
    y=310.13e^0.003x
    R^2=0.9822

    The conclusion, based upon the data, is that the monthly level of CO2 increase at Mauna Loa can be accurate represented by either a Linear Trend or an Exponential Trend, with the Exponential trend having a slightly higher R^2 value.

    However, the plot for the month to month Delta PPM is hardly convincing that the rate of change is growing alarmingly.

    For the monthly rate of change in Delta PPM (Interpolated) results are as follows-

    Linear Trend
    y=0.0002x+0.0566
    R^2=0.0009

    Comment by Orkneygal — 14 Aug 2010 @ 8:17 PM

  372. Re Orkneygal (nice name!) – However, the plot for the month to month Delta PPM is hardly convincing that the rate of change is growing alarmingly.

    Have you tried subtracting the longer term trend from the data and then fitting the result with some sinusoidal functions?

    I think at this point just holding the rate of change steady is more than sufficient cause for concern.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 14 Aug 2010 @ 10:32 PM

  373. It seems that make believe does not stop in childhood…

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 15 Aug 2010 @ 12:26 AM

  374. Thanks David #369 and Chek #370. I also thought — knowing a tiny bit about history — that the industrial revolution began around 1800, and coal had been burned for centuries before that.

    Anyway, speaking of the devil. Guess who’s on the personnel list of that org that has that graph — the Lord himself almighty of “Monckton Makes It Up” fame… see http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/personnel.html

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 15 Aug 2010 @ 1:18 AM

  375. Patrick 27-

    The NOAA data set includes a column for seasonally adjusted values, which is generally agreed removes the cyclical patterns caused by the NH season changes (i.e. more growth during NH spring means more CO2 from bio-mass expiration.)

    With the slope of the rate of change effectively “0″, and the known seasonality adjustments already included in the NOAA data set, what additional information do you think your suggestion might offer?

    Comment by Orkneygal — 15 Aug 2010 @ 1:21 AM

  376. Would it be at all possible for you to create your interpretation or provide some “official interpretation”, in graph form, what the IPCC implies in their findings (I assume from your statement the IPCC makes no predictions, but they do lay down a framework of effect of GW that surely has measurable effects over time) so that we can compare it against what Lord Monckton has plotted? It would make all this much more clear for we lay people to see the graphical view of the IPCC’s perspective jotted down next to the Viscount’s plots.

    Comment by Sanford and Sun — 15 Aug 2010 @ 1:44 AM

  377. Ob 367, coal use started earlier than that chart implies. I also wonder, though, what role soot (from any source) may have played in darkening the surface of some glaciers and hence hastened their melt rate.

    Comment by wili — 15 Aug 2010 @ 2:10 AM

  378. Lynn,

    After some googling i found that the graph is taken from this article.
    http://www.oism.org/pproject/GWReview_OISM600.pdf

    They source it with this study that uses glacier length as temperature proxies.
    http://home.badc.rl.ac.uk/mjuckes/mitrie_files/docs/mitrie_glaciers.pdf

    I found the latter a very interesting read but it is not clear how they derived their graph from this study…It does not seem to support their hypothesis (glacier melt a linear trend since 1810) at all…

    hope this helps..

    (moderator, please delete my previous post and this sentence, the first link was wrong)

    Comment by Harmen — 15 Aug 2010 @ 2:21 AM

  379. Sanford and Sun: In my view, figure 5 above is the clearest summary of the situation.

    The argument is threefold:
    1) The actual observed CO2 is exceedingly close to the real IPCC A2 model input.
    2) The real IPCC range is much larger than “estimated” by Monckton.
    3) A2 is only a scenario, so projecting it forward and comparing it to projected CO2 is comparing one guess with another: spectacularly silly.

    Really, Monckton’s graphs are just plain confusing until you accept that he’s simply lying.

    Comment by Didactylos — 15 Aug 2010 @ 8:07 AM

  380. Thanks, David, Chek, Harmen, and Wili,

    Here is what I responded:

    Who said fossil fuel burning only started recently. The industrial revolution began in the late 1700s, and coal was burned even before that. The chart is very good evidence of the impact of CO2 on melting glaciers….better than I’d thought.

    See the graph on pg 25 of this file re CO2 emissions since 1860, and you’ll see what I mean….it looks very similar to your graph: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ftp/ndp006/ndp006.pdf

    Now there are many other things that can impact glaciers — such as precipitation, black soot, local conditions, etc. Apparently the website you cited (Science and Public Policy) is hosted by persons who just make stuff up, and may pose as climate scientists, but are not climate scientist, and have been roundly debunked by real climate scientists. See for instance, http://www.realclimate.org/index.php…n-makes-it-up/

    Thanks again for your time and efforts.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 15 Aug 2010 @ 10:13 AM

  381. On a related note to the Monckton article, I would like to switch gears and commend a very reliable expert on global warming, Gavin Schmidt, for appearing on a major news outlet source and reaching the “global public square”.

    More scientists with his rank and articulation skills are needed for major media appearances speaking on the science of global warming. This is the only way that everyday people will hear a clear message on where we are, where we are headed and what our options are. To all the reliable expert scientist out there, please keep up the wide exposure route of communications along with the excellent websites and blogs already available.

    Comment by Mary Ellen Cassidy — 15 Aug 2010 @ 10:21 AM

  382. Lynn Vincentnathan — 14 August 2010 @ 6:48 PM
    They deceptively create a breakpoint by using “hydrocarbon” as a proxy for CO2/temperature/glacier melt – CO2 emissions per gigajoule will decrease as oil and natural gas are substituted for coal. They also plot tons of fuel instead of the log of CO2 concentration.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 15 Aug 2010 @ 12:12 PM

  383. Re 375 Orkneygal – Okay; sorry I misunderstood your comment.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 15 Aug 2010 @ 4:07 PM

  384. Lynn Vincentnathan (367), as a skeptic I’m probably incented to read into the graph what you read and what the graph asserts. But, while I did not do any rigorous statistical graphical analysis, I can not see anything in the chart that points to hydrocarbon use not being a factor in glacial shortening. Even though the chart picks a somewhat late date for the start HOC use increase, and as much as I would prefer to believe them, to the unaided eye it sure looks like glacial shortening is right in lockstep with HOC use. Maybe it is not the whole answer (and I believe it is not), but how they got the negative answer is boggling.

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Aug 2010 @ 4:35 PM

  385. Orkneygal #371:

    I made that mistake initially too. The problem with trying to extrapolate the Mauna Loa data into the future as an exponential fit is that the sample period is too short. First, you need to look at the data in this format:

    Linear CO2 trends since 1960

    It’s obviously going up exponentially. Then, Rick Baartman has come up with an equation that shows if we keep to the current trend of CO2 emissions, we will ‘achieve’ doubling around the year 2050, at approximately 550ppm:

    CO2 = 275 + 2^((year-1780)/33.41)

    (based on the anthropogenic component of CO2 doubling about every 30 years since the start of the industrial revolution). But as with the IPCC projections, that is based on the current scenario where anthropogenic CO2 doubling occurs every ~30 years. It could well get worse than that :-\

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 15 Aug 2010 @ 5:01 PM

  386. Secular Animist, I agree. Quality blogs such as this one should be addressing catastrophe scenarios, whether we pause for a little fun with His Lordship or not. When a new study about methane comes out, the instinct at RC is a bit too much on the cautious side, even if the relevant data (Shakova, Walter) is solid.

    Comment by mike roddy — 16 Aug 2010 @ 12:04 AM

  387. Steve Metzler @385

    I’m not sure what supposed error you are referring to.

    I did not make any attempt to extrapolate the regression models into the future in my report above. I only reported what the two regression techniques calculate using a simple spreadsheet tool.

    As I noted, the two R^2 values (for linear and exponential fit) are very close to each other.

    Also, the slope of the monthly rate of change is nearly 0 and there are over 600 data points in the trend charts. Since CO2 is released continuously into the atmosphere by human activity, biomass activity and geologic activity, one would think that any exponential growth would be clearly visible and clearly differentiated in the statistical analysis of over 600 monthly measurements, in my opinion.

    Irrespective of my opinion, the dataset analysis gives a slight nod to exponential growth based upon R^2. Just as the IPCC AR4 suggests is possible. However, the growth rate is “just barely” exponential as the high R^2 value for a linear fit attest.

    Comment by Orkneygal — 16 Aug 2010 @ 12:13 AM

  388. orkneygal: “just barely exponential” you say. Actually,it is “just barely” second-order polynomal (even higher R^2 for that one, 0.999). Another problem is that the residuals are not randomly distributed for the linear fit, with at the start and end part of the curve up to 6 ppm deviation from the fitted value, and in the middle -3.5 ppm.
    For the exponential growth it is 5 and -3, respectively; the second-order polynomal the largest deviation in either direction is a mere 2 ppm (and that’s in the middle.

    If I extrapolate to 2050 (x=1116), you’ll see what the difference becomes:
    linear fit => 442.5 ppm
    exponential fit => 457.0 ppm
    second-order poly => 493.8 ppm

    Now, you may claim that 14.5 ppm doesn’t matter that much for the linear vs exponential fitting. But how about the 50 ppm difference for the second-order polynomal?

    Small differences matter…

    Comment by Marco — 16 Aug 2010 @ 3:44 AM

  389. Orkneygal: I don’t understand you at all. Why do you want the exponential coefficient to be so high that it is “clearly visible”? What is your problem with the low, low figure that is almost a straight line over a short period?

    You accept that it is a better fit, so why do you reject it? I don’t understand how you state your conclusion, then turn around and claim the opposite. It’s not consistent.

    Clearly, you are thinking ahead, and subconsciously saying “this curve isn’t going to keep going, so the linear model must be better”. But that’s not valid logic, which is why you haven’t thought about it openly. Over the data we have, the exponential fit works better. And if you look at historical data, an exponential fit has more justification than, say, a quadratic fit.

    And guessing about the future is pure speculation – so the IPCC have covered all the bases in their scenarios.

    Comment by Didactylos — 16 Aug 2010 @ 6:46 AM

  390. Orkneygal #387:

    I’m not sure what supposed error you are referring to.

    You’re not isolating the anthropogenic component from the total ppm in the atmosphere, so that’s why your R^2 value is “just barely” exponential. Try this instead as suggested in my previous post:

    CO2 = 275 + 2^((year-1780)/33.41)

    For the first year that Mauna Loa measurements began, 1959, you get this value:

    CO2 = 316 ppm (measured average for 1959 was: 315.98 ppm)

    And 2010:

    CO2 = 393.12 ppm (reading for June of this year was: 392.04 ppm)

    Little high, but we still have 6 months to go this year. Also, try somewhere in the middle, say 1990:

    CO2 = 353 ppm (measured average for 1990 was: 354.19 ppm)

    Seems like a pretty good fit. And now the scarier stuff:

    2030: 453.87 ppm
    2050: 545.86 ppm

    That’s just about a doubling from pre-industrial CO2 concentration by 2050. Yikes. But hey, I’m a ‘warmist’, so my assumptions must be wrong. Really, there’s nothing to worry about. Not at all. Pumping 28 billion metric tonnes of CO2, a known greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere every year couldn’t possibly have any undesirable effect on Earth’s fragile biosphere, could it? Nah.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 16 Aug 2010 @ 7:04 AM

  391. Steve Metzler-

    Thank you for your response to my simple calculations.

    However, I am not sure what “mistake” you are referring to.

    I simply ran the data through commonly available spreadshet functions.

    That simple data analysis clearly shows that CR^2O2 level increases at the Hawaii measuring site are slightly better described by an expontential, based upon R^2.

    I made no error.

    What error did you make?

    Comment by Orkneygal — 16 Aug 2010 @ 7:14 AM

  392. Orkneygal, to see the super-linear–indeed super-exponential–growth–you need to look at the rate of increase of the rate of increase. Use yearly figures, as you will have less noise. Look at:
    delta[CO2]ij/[CO2]i as a time series. This rate of increase exhibits a clear linear upward trend, showing that CO2 concentration is increasing faster than exponentially.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Aug 2010 @ 7:15 AM

  393. Didactylos

    Thank you for reading my post so carefully. I am honoured.

    Let me make my simplistic point again. Based upon the published data from the Hawaii CO2 Observatory it is clear that R^2 comparison shows that CO2 is better described by Exponential analysis I provided aboven than by a linear regression.

    Comment by Orkneygal — 16 Aug 2010 @ 7:27 AM

  394. NOAA is predicting (or forecasting, or modeling) a fairly dramatic cooling fairly soon:

    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/people/wwang/cfs_fcst/images2/glbT850Sea.gif

    (today, that image is dated August 16. I do not know how often they update it or how easy it will be to search archives later.)

    386 Mike Roddy: Secular Animist, I agree. Quality blogs such as this one should be addressing catastrophe scenarios, whether we pause for a little fun with His Lordship or not. When a new study about methane comes out, the instinct at RC is a bit too much on the cautious side, even if the relevant data (Shakova, Walter) is solid.

    For public relations purposes, I’d propose that you hold off on the heat-related disaster warnings until after we find out whether the prediction is accurate, and if it is accurate then wait for high temps to rebound, as they surely will.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 16 Aug 2010 @ 11:56 AM

  395. Orkneygal: see, you didn’t qualify it that time. That was my only complaint. Thank you.

    Comment by Didactylos — 16 Aug 2010 @ 12:13 PM

  396. Orkneygal, hi again,

    I made no error.

    As I said earlier:

    You’re not isolating the anthropogenic component from the total ppm in the atmosphere

    You see, this equation:

    CO2 = 275 + 2^((year-1780)/33.41)

    takes the pre-industrial (baseline) CO2 concentration of ~275 ppm and *adds* the anthropogenic (contributed by mankind) component to it. The 33.41 in the equation is the number of years it takes for us to double the anthropogenic component (so far it does, anyway. But this rate may be increasing as well).

    I believe that expressing it this way is more accurate than trying to curve fit the total ppm. Because, as Marcos points out, it’s not obvious what sort of polynomial you are trying to fit.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 16 Aug 2010 @ 12:25 PM

  397. In fairness to people who took me to task, I should point this out:

    http://m.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/08/antarctic-ice-future/

    Global warming increases Antarctic sea ice. One of the authors is Judith Curry

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 16 Aug 2010 @ 4:53 PM

  398. Orkneygal— Please consider
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/mo-better-monckey-business/
    regarding CO2 concentration rate studies.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 16 Aug 2010 @ 5:12 PM

  399. Septic Matthew wrote: “Global warming increases Antarctic sea ice.”

    Right.

    From the link you posted:

    A new study finds that global warming is responsible for snowfall that’s expanded the range of Southern Ocean sea ice, even as western Antarctic glaciers have disintegrated.

    That expansion contrasts with the common public perception of a uniformly melting Antarctic. But this fortunate balance between loss and gain likely won’t last. By the end of this century, continued warming will turn extra snow into rain.

    “With increased loading of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere through the 21st century, the models show an accelerated warming in the Southern Ocean,” writes Georgia Institute of Technology climatologists Jiping Liu and Judity Curry in an Aug. 16 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study. The ultimate result “is a projected decline of the Antarctic sea ice.”

    … as the Antarctic continues to warm, Curry and Liu’s models show snow becoming rain, even as total precipitation rises. By the century’s end, they predict snowfall retreating to the Antarctic continent’s edge. The Southern Ocean at large will be rainy. Sea ice will contract. Continental ice will continue to melt.

    The most obvious consequence of ice loss will be rising sea levels from glaciers sliding into the ocean, and increased global warming as ice-free waters absorb solar energy. How changes in regional climate patterns will be felt elsewhere is harder to predict. But as an apparent link between Asian monsoon rains and the Russian heat wave show, changes are rarely felt in isolation.

    The Wired magazine article notes that Fox News described the study thusly: “Ice is expanding in much of Antarctica, contrary to the widespread public belief that global warming is melting the continental ice cap.”

    Right.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 16 Aug 2010 @ 5:31 PM

  400. #399–Ah, yes, Fox–always “objective.”

    (If by “objective” one means “devoted to their object.”)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 16 Aug 2010 @ 6:20 PM

  401. objective
    Date: 1647
    1 b : of, relating to, or being an object, phenomenon, or condition in the realm of sensible experience independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers : having reality independent of the mind
    3 a : expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretation
    from
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/objective

    Comment by David B. Benson — 16 Aug 2010 @ 6:28 PM

  402. David B. Benson-

    Thank you for that link. I was familiar with that information and indeed, one of the reasons why I did the analysis of the Mauna Loa data myself was to satisfy my own curiosity.

    My professor encourages us to do the work ourselves where possible and not to simply rely upon what someone else, claiming to be an expert, states.

    In doing the work myself, I have come to a better understanding about what the real world data says about increasing CO2 levels, such as the shape of the curve and the rate of change.

    I also have some insight into why finer detail, such as that found in the monthly data, rather than annual data is so important.

    Again, thank you for the link.

    Comment by Orkneygal — 16 Aug 2010 @ 10:24 PM

  403. Re 402 Orkneygal – I see why you say you didn’t make a mistake, and – not having actually checked any math here, but there isn’t anything obvious to suggest you made a mistake. The point I believe Steve Metzler was making was that you may get a better fit to a relatively simple curve by first subtracting some value and then using the anomalies. Regarding monthly vs annual data, I’d just point out that not all of the annual cycle is necessarily from natural sources and sinks. I don’t know the relative importance of this, but there are some energy uses that are seasonal.

    Re 351 sambo – wouldn’t the proper libertarian attitude be – ‘well, Alberta should’ve known better; they had economic incentive to investigate issues; they should’ve realized that issues of climate change and pollution would eventually put a damper on the profits realizable from such a project; the government shouldn’t subsidize their mistake’? (it may seem hypocritical or illogical to suggest the government shouldn’t protect the private sector (PS glossing over whatever public money went into this, as I’m not familiar with those specifics, it’s not really important to the point I’m making) from government actions, but if a government action is sensible and justified, the private sector really should just deal with it. Of course, changing the rules in the middle of the game does have some unfair impacts and some compensation might be allowed, but preferably in the form of offering Alberta different opportunities and help getting there, rather than exempting them from, for example, the full force of a tax or cap/trade and some specific regulations pertaining to extraction, etc.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 16 Aug 2010 @ 11:56 PM

  404. Here is a peer-reviewed study of loss of snowmass in the Antarctic, based on gravimetry:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/311/5768/1754

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 17 Aug 2010 @ 12:07 AM

  405. Here is another:

    http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/364/1844/1637.abstract

    I have now read that Antarctic ice is accumulating, that it is disappearing; that it is predicted to accumulate, and that it is predicted to disappear. All in the peer-reviewed literature. Today’s 3 papers are a sample.

    Does anybody know what Antarctic ice is really doing (expanse seems to have increased recently) and what is really predicted according to AGW?

    [Response: Try reading the papers. There is a difference between sea ice (floating and made in situ in the ocean) and the ice sheet (created by accumulating snow on the continent). - gavin]

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 17 Aug 2010 @ 12:15 AM

  406. Patric 027 @403-

    Thank you for your comment.

    Even the linear regression has R^2=0.9771, or R=0.9885 for the Mauna Loa monthly CO2 data beginning in 1958 through July 2010.

    With values like these, it’s not clear to me why one would want to resort to modifying the raw data to then look at anomalies. Perhaps that might be useful with low R^2 values or where more sinusodial or random factors are at play. But in those cases I would suspect you would really want to use FFT, anyway.

    Again, thank you for your comments.

    Comment by Orkneygal — 17 Aug 2010 @ 6:39 AM

  407. http://friendsofginandtonic.org/files/867576d3dfe135ff8dcd26715bd86ac5-187.html

    Apparently this link shows that an inquiry to the information officer at the house of lords has resulted in the truth coming out that Monckton never was a Lord and that they are looking into his misuse of the title and emblem.

    Comment by Robert — 17 Aug 2010 @ 6:39 AM

  408. #404–unhelpful link (unless one is paid up, I presume)–it just takes you to a generic “pay for access” page. If you’d like to post the name of the study, Septic, so we can at least read the abstract–?

    #401–That’s my definition, too, DB, more or less–but appears not be that of Fox–IMO, at least. I suppose my sarcasm was unbecoming.

    By the way (and OT, strictly speaking) I’ve got a summary/review of Gwynne Dyer’s “Climate Wars” out as of yesterday. It’s an interesting take on CC impacts, focussing primarily on possible social and military consequences. Interested readers can find it here:

    http://hubpages.com/hub/Climate-Wars-A-Review

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 17 Aug 2010 @ 7:05 AM

  409. Re: Kevin McKinney @ 408 @ 17 August 2010 at 7:05 AM above:

    Try this:

    Originally published in Science Express on 2 March 2006
    Science 24 March 2006:
    Vol. 311. no. 5768, pp. 1754 – 1756
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1123785

    Prev | Table of Contents | Next
    Reports
    Measurements of Time-Variable Gravity Show Mass Loss in Antarctica
    Isabella Velicogna1,2* and John Wahr1*

    The Abstract can be found here.

    Hope this helps!

    The Yooper

    Comment by Daniel "The Yooper" Bailey — 17 Aug 2010 @ 8:00 AM

  410. Septic Matthew, Gavin (405), I’m confused. I read the abstract referenced by Septic, and with one minor exception it was clearly describing large loss of sheet/land-based ice. This seems contrary to Septic’s assertions, implications, and questions and opposite Gavin’s implication in 405. Am I just missing your points? Is Antarctic sheet ice, in total, increasing or decreasing? I seem to recall an RC thread that concluded it was increasing in total with a significant and opposing difference between large areas.

    [Response: huh? The GRACE data are the most useful here and they show a net loss of Antarctic ice sheet mass. This loss is predominantly from WAIS, with EAIS roughly stable (increased accumulation, balanced by increased coastal loss). Do you have a cite for where we indicated otherwise? - gavin]

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Aug 2010 @ 9:31 AM

  411. 410 re 404 and other fantasies by Matthew the septic, who has conflated the study “Measurements of Time-Variable Gravity Show Mass Loss in Antarctica” into “a study of loss of snowmass in the Antarctic, based on gravimetry”. Don’t let his please say it ain’t so blinders confuse you Rod B.

    Comment by flxible — 17 Aug 2010 @ 11:22 AM

  412. Patrick 027 (#403)

    I wouldn’t agree with you that they “should have known better” but I would probably agree with most of what you said there. As for my views, I’m a moderate conservative, which means I do think there is a role for government, although I don’t like when every solution for any problem is to reach for a new government program. I believe we need to be careful about how we implement policy because of the law of unintended consequences. I would support any plan that allows all regions to decarbonize their economy. I believe that we should reward hard work and not just transfer wealth because we think it should happen (which is how I see the current treaties being proposed).

    Don’t forget, this is all political advice that I’m giving (freely) to someone who want’s to secure action on climate change. I believe the current arguments are causing more debate and scepticism than are actually needed, and are actually delaying action by being much more “hardline” than they need to be. That’s all my opinion however so take it how you want to.

    I’d be happy to explain my position in more detail regarding Alberta, however not in this forum. Ask a moderator for my email and I’d be happy to talk to you about it. Suffice it to say, it’s not just climate change that has shaped my views.

    Comment by sambo — 17 Aug 2010 @ 12:29 PM

  413. 401, Gavin: [Response: huh? The GRACE data are the most useful here and they show a net loss of Antarctic ice sheet mass. This loss is predominantly from WAIS, with EAIS roughly stable (increased accumulation, balanced by increased coastal loss). Do you have a cite for where we indicated otherwise? - gavin]

    Also responding to your earlier response to me. With estimates of sea ice extent, ice shelf thickness, and ice mass, is there a consensus view of whether total Antarctic ice mass is increasing or decreasing, over decades or the past few years? Is it fair to say that total Antarctic ice mass is the most important quantity to measure?

    I apologize if I am repeating. I think I hit “Close this window” instead of “Say It!”

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 17 Aug 2010 @ 1:24 PM

  414. 408, Kevin McKinney:
    #404–unhelpful link (unless one is paid up, I presume)–it just takes you to a generic “pay for access” page. If you’d like to post the name of the study, Septic, so we can at least read the abstract–?

    Sorry about that, but Yooper fixed it — thanks Yooper.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 17 Aug 2010 @ 1:28 PM

  415. Re 412 sambo – I (moderate liberal/green) agree that we need to be careful (unintended consequences) and that every solution for every problem is not a (new) government program.

    While acknowledging the imperfections/troubles of a market economy (bubbles, negative sum games, possible concave PPCs…), for supporters of market economics, a tax on a public cost (externality) (or a cap-and-trade with 100 % auction) can be implemented without much worry of unintended consequences (caveat of assuming well-calculated tax and efficient policy design (apply the tax at points of large volume through a small number of channels, to reduce paperwork, etc.) – and enforcement mechanism that is hard to corrupt); for ideal (efficient) market behavior, whatever consequences there are are the consequences that should be (regarding efficiency); in particular, unintended consequences can be avoided if all relevant externalities are taxed at the proper rate (so that demand for non-fossil fuels doesn’t increase deforestation or cement production too much, or people don’t make the most efficient choice between reducing red meat and dairy consumption (or choosing different sources for those things) and conserving energy, etc.) – of course for the sake of not having too costly a bureaucracy involved, some approximations will have to be made for some types/sources of the externalities and thus the effect will be an approximately ideal response, but that’s always going to be the case to some extent. Of course, variations in policy across political boundaries would be a problem, but there are solutions to that issue. Non-ideal market behavior can be addressed, such as with targeted incentives and mandates for energy efficient buildings, maybe with solar roofs, and public funding for some R&D as well as projects to help new industries (selected on an objective basis as those likely to be winners – ie this is not the government simply ‘picking’ winners) scale up and gain experience to bring costs down faster. If the public costs were realized at the same time as they were produced, the most obvious (and fair) use of the tax revenue would be to compensate people’s losses; this shouldn’t be in the form of subsidizing an inefficient behavior (continuing to farm land that has turned to desert or continuing to live in a flood prone area with increasing insurance costs or public costs via FEMA etc – PS ideally FEMA should at least in part be payed for by a tax that would be like paying for insurance based on the actual risks), but could take other forms (investment in infrastructure that makes the best of the situation, compensation for loss when a property is sold at reduced value or must be abandoned). On the international level, ideally, there would be funds from emitting nations to compensate climate-change refugees and their new host-countries. Because much of the cost will be realized after the emissions occur, the funds would have to be invested in order to produce resources in the future to compensate or make the best of conditions then; this can be investment in infrastructure (aquaducts and flood water management planning) and such things as R&D for drought/flood resistant crops, efforts to save ecosystems (those parts that will survive the climate change, or otherwise planting trees, etc, where they will do well in the future, or otherwise reducing other stresses so that ecosystems will be more resilient to climate change) (remember that ecosystems provide us with ecosystem services), etc, and/or investment in the economy in general so that more resources will be available in the future to compensate for losses and pay for adaptation. PS some changes in agricultural policy (at least in the U.S., but maybe elsewhere too) would help both with climate change mitigation and with adaptation, as it would help with more efficient agriculture in general and more efficient responses to weather variability even without climate change (as it is, maladaptive behavior is subsidized).

    Of course, this could be done stupidly, but why settle for that? The problem I have with many complainers is that they are not interested in better ideas, rather, they just want to water-down whatever solutions are proposed (and ignore ethical considerations and pretend that the word ‘fair’ has nothing to do with international effects).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 17 Aug 2010 @ 1:42 PM

  416. Okay, I did a stupid thing. I told a denialist to name one climate scientist (publishing in top peer-review journals within the past 5 years) who disagreed that anthropogenic global warming was happening. I was thinking that there are some who think industrial emissions might not be the overarching factor, but I thought all agreed that GHGs do play some role in the warming (and that there is some warming).

    Then I also asked him to name just one climate scientist (whether peer-review publishing or not) who claims global warming (whatever the suggested cause — sun spots, cosmic rays) is not happening. I was thinking that even Monckton and some others admit to the warming, but just say it isn’t GHG or human caused.

    So he came up with this list below. If any of these in the peer lit claim GHGs have nothing to do with climate and there has been no evidence of warming, please let me know. Also which journals are not “highly respected” among climatologists.

    Computer Climate Models:
    A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions(International Journal of Climatology, 5 Dec 2007)- David H. Douglass, John R. Christy, Benjamin D. Pearson, S. Fred Singer — at http://icecap.us/images/uploads/DOUGLASPAPER.pdf

    Altitude dependence of atmospheric temperature trends: Climate models versus observation(Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 31, L13208, 2004)- David H. Douglass, Benjamin D. Pearson, S. Fred Singer, at http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2004/2004GL020103.shtml

    Effects of bias in solar radiative transfer codes on global climate model simulations(Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 32, L20717, 2005)- Albert Arking, at http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2005/2005GL023644.shtml

    Global Climate Models Violate Scaling of the Observed Atmospheric Variability(Physical Review Letters, Vol. 89, No. 2, July 8, 2002)- R. B. Govindan, Dmitry Vyushin, Armin Bunde, Stephen Brenner, Shlomo Havlin, Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber (I can’t believe these are denialists!), at http://www.atmosp.physics.utoronto.ca/people/vyushin/Papers/Govindan_Vyushin_PRL_2002.pdf

    Quantifying the influence of anthropogenic surface processes and inhomogeneities on gridded global climate data(Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 112, D24S09, 2007)- Ross R. McKitrick, Patrick J. Michaels, at http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2007/2007JD008465.shtml

    Seductive Simulations? Uncertainty Distribution Around Climate Models(Social Studies of Science, Vol. 35, No. 6, 895-922, 2005)- Myanna Lahsen, at http://sss.sagepub.com/content/35/6/895.abstract

    Greenhouse Theory:
    Are observed changes in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere really dangerous?(Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology,v. 50, no. 2, p. 297-327, June 2002)- C. R. de Freitas, at (link goes somewhere else)

    Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations over the Last Glacial Termination(Science, Vol. 291. no. 5501, 5 January 2001)- Eric Monnin, Andreas Indermühle, André Dällenbach, Jacqueline Flückiger, Bernhard Stauffer, Thomas F. Stocker, Dominique Raynaud, Jean-Marc Barnola, at http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/291/5501/112

    Atmospheric CO2 fluctuations during the last millennium reconstructed by stomatal frequency analysis of Tsuga heterophylla needles(Geology, v. 33; no. 1; p. 33-36, January 2005)- Lenny Kouwenberg, Rike Wagner, Wolfram Kürschner, Henk Visscher, at http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/33/1/33

    Can increasing carbon dioxide cause climate change?(Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 94, pp. 8335-8342, August 1997)- Richard S. Lindzen, (out of the timeframe I specified) at http://www.pnas.org/content/94/16/8335.abstract

    Cloud and radiation budget changes associated with tropical intraseasonal oscillations(Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 34, L15707, 2007)- Roy W. Spencer, William D. Braswell, John R. Christy, Justin Hnilo, at http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2007…/2007GL029698.shtml

    CO2-induced global warming: a skeptic’s view of potential climate change(Climate Research, Vol. 10: 69–82, 1998)- Sherwood B. Idso, at http://www.int-res.com/articles/cr/10//c010p069.pdf

    Does the Earth Have an Adaptive Infrared Iris?(Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Volume 82, Issue 3, pp. 417–432, March 2001)- Richard S. Lindzen, Ming-Dah Chou, and Arthur Y. Hou, at http://www-eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/adinfriris.pdf

    Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics(Physics, arXiv:0707.1161)- Gerhard Gerlich, Ralf D. Tscheuschner, at http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/0707.1161

    BTW, it only took them a few minutes to come up with this list….

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 17 Aug 2010 @ 3:06 PM

  417. Re. 416 Lynn Vincentnathan

    Looks like you have evidence for the meme claiming that dissenting climate scientists can’t get funded or published is a load of hooey. No doubt that one will raise its head in conversation with your deniamate. One to keep up your sleeve ;)

    Comment by J Bowers — 17 Aug 2010 @ 3:22 PM

  418. Lynn Vincentnathan @416 — The last papaer, by G&T, is absolutely chcok-a-block with erros. A rebuttal has been prepared (and I believe sent to the same journal). Details on Rabett Run.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 17 Aug 2010 @ 3:26 PM

  419. Lynn, look them up in Scholar, then click the “cited by” list — note the dates on most of those and the followups in the journals.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Aug 2010 @ 3:37 PM

  420. PS, Lynn, also look for the source. Could be Heartland’s list.
    … Scores_of_PeerReviewed_Studies_Contradict_Global_Warming_Alarmism.html

    And they may not say what the person claims they’re saying (if they’re from the CO2science list, look even harder). For example, the papers citing Monin are listed by Scholar here. Take a look what it’s cited for.
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=5814055319258450651&as_sdt=2005&sciodt=2000&hl=en

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Aug 2010 @ 3:43 PM

  421. Hmmm…Lynn, funny how your chappy failed to cite a later paper by Lahsen.

    LAHSEN, M. (2008). Experiences of modernity in the greenhouse: A cultural analysis of a physicist ‘‘trio’’ supporting the backlash against global warming. Global Environmental Change, 18, 204-219.

    It’s an Oreskes-style exposure of the George C. Marshall Institute gang’s tactics, which in my view more than balances out her earlier work.

    Comment by Hasis — 17 Aug 2010 @ 3:57 PM

  422. The later LAHSEN paper Hasis refers to – quite snippy about the Marshall Institute. :)

    Comment by flxible — 17 Aug 2010 @ 4:37 PM

  423. Re 416 Lynn Vincentnathan –

    Yes, that last one (the infamous G&T paper) has no new scientific results, it is just an attempt to use known physics to falsify known physics, and it fails miserably, because they don’t understand what they’re actually trying to talk about. It’s worth less than the paper it’s printed on.

    (On a related note, I think some people misinterpret those Energy budget diagrams showing upward and downward fluxes of radiation and convection, such as K&T and the later K,T&F (Trenberth et al 2009, first diagram here http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/global-warming-mapsgraphs-2/ ). Some people think that the backradiation violates the second law of thermodynamics and at least one person thinks that K,T&F forgot to apply vector math properly; they don’t realize that radiative fluxes are often given as fluxes in one direction and in another, rather than the net flux in one direction. Astonishingly, I encountered one person who insisted that energy is not conserved in such diagrams, which is obviously not the case.)

    See also: http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2010/05/08/stoat-taking-science-by-the-throat-latest-posts-archives-about-rss-contact-profile-me-my-family-and-me-more-make-sure-youre-familiar-with-the-comment-polic/

    Lindzen’s Iris effect has not been satisfactorally demonstrated, and global climate sensitivity can’t be constrained by measurements in just one region. (At least one of Lindzen’s studies appeared to have used cherry-picked data.)

    There are still issues with the tropical upper-tropospheric hot spot in the observations, but earlier mismatches between data and models were larger and it was found the observations had errors; plus, that hot spot is not a ‘fingerprint’ for AGW; it is a general to warming.

    I’ve seen some of Idso’s writing and it’s not good.

    As for the rest, I’d suggest you ask the denier to some work, and actually point out where in the article it states that global warming isn’t happenning or isn’t caused at least in large part by increasing greenhouse gas concentrations, and to be on the safe side (because things can be taken out of context), ask him/her to also quote the abstract and the conclusion.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 17 Aug 2010 @ 4:53 PM

  424. Lynn @ 416

    Ugh. Nice of them to spew on you. No quick answers for the list in its entirety.

    I see Lindzen on the list. That says something right there.

    C. R. de Freitas (Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology!)
    Quick Google, calling him a climate scientists may be a stretch.
    This C.V. has his area of expertise listed as Geography; Environmental Studies.
    Busy guy: Wikipedia

    Comment by Radge Havers — 17 Aug 2010 @ 5:13 PM

  425. @13 “In fact HadCRUT3 global temperature anomalies are at the very low range of the IPCC scenarios, (had we been using a ball park it would have been called a foul having bounced outside the diamond”

    In addition in many other mistakes, you are wrong about the rules of baseball; a ball is not made foul by bouncing outside the diamond, but only by its position as it crosses first or third base. It can bounce outside the diamond and still be fair, provided it bounces fair.

    [Response: Uh oh, baseball talk. To be even more precise, it's fairness or foulness relative to 1st or 3rd only applies if it first hits the ground before passing either bag; otherwise it's determined strictly by where it first touches either the ground (or a fielder if it has not yet touched the ground, regardless of whether it's passed the bag or not), relative to the foul lines/poles. Just to show that I can go OT with the best of 'em-- Jim]

    Much like the man you defend, you are sloppy and factually inaccurate both as to matters or substance and relative trivia.

    Comment by Robert — 17 Aug 2010 @ 5:41 PM

  426. Lynn @ 416

    “name one climate scientist (publishing in top peer-review journals within the past 5 years)”

    Or alternatively if you haven’t responded yet and you want to buy some time (and since deniers just love playing games with language) you could mention that you haven’t got all day and that “I said pick ONE that best represents your case.” Then uproot the non-climatologists, poor reading skills, and the purveyors of bad science one at a time.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 17 Aug 2010 @ 6:09 PM

  427. Lynn: Aren’t the cut’n'pasters hateful? All the usual suspects in one convenient list. Yet even then they failed to answer your question, since I see quite a few names there that have publicly stated that global warming is real (even if they can’t deal with the cause).

    Answering the actual question: Wikipedia provides a useful crib sheet, although I wouldn’t rely on it absolutely. It has three scientists claiming the “no warming” position, none of them climatologists, only one of them publishing (Carter).

    You may find the wiki article useful, since nearly all of the scientists in your list appear in other categories (with references to public statements of position).

    (Monckton is an oddball, since he sometimes claims warming is real, and sometimes that it is not. But then, we don’t expect consistency or logic from him.)

    Comment by Didactylos — 17 Aug 2010 @ 7:43 PM

  428. @416 Lynn. Hmm, almost sounds like “poptech”.

    He has a database of “lists” he uses to instantly spam thread discussions, in the classic “mine is bigger than yours” tactic used by many denialati over the years. It’s especially popular in climate debates (evolution too). As with most people who use such lists, the main body of their discussion is normally totally devoid of any verifiable scientific facts, statements, or explanations. They generally don’t know or understand what their list references actually say, and have almost certainly never read the papers themselves!

    I think you really asked the wrong question, as occasionally in all professions the odd awful paper slips through the imperfect peer-review process. What’s really important is how well it stands up to scrutiny after it has been published. You should’ve asked: Name one climate scientist who has published a peer-reviewed paper showing AGW is not the cause of the observed temperature rises in the industrial age, or not happening at all, or showing a likely alternative cause for those rises, and which has withstood all subsequent scientific scrutiny. This is the point at which their “list” dies out with nary a feeble whimper.

    A quick glance at those “sceptical scientists” names shows some fairly notorious ones. Not so much for being outright deceptive, but more for just not producing very good papers.

    Comment by Mike of Oz — 17 Aug 2010 @ 9:03 PM

  429. In 413 Septic asks:

    Also responding to your earlier response to me. With estimates of sea ice extent, ice shelf thickness, and ice mass, is there a consensus view of whether total Antarctic ice mass is increasing or decreasing, over decades or the past few years? Is it fair to say that total Antarctic ice mass is the most important quantity to measure?

    Septic, of what use is this number you’re looking for?

    I would definitely not agree that total ice mass is the most important quantity to measure.

    Adding the mass of ice that had accumulated over hundreds of thousands of years on the ice sheet to the mass of seawater that freezes on the surface seems pretty useless to me. Each are affected by different processes, and the loss or gain of either has different effects on the world around us.

    It *sounds* like someone wants to deny the changes occurring by being able to say that ice sheet losses are “offset” by sea ice gains, so the loss of the ice sheet “really doesn’t matter”.

    Comment by David Miller — 17 Aug 2010 @ 9:13 PM

  430. 428, David Miller: Adding the mass of ice that had accumulated over hundreds of thousands of years on the ice sheet to the mass of seawater that freezes on the surface seems pretty useless to me.

    And yet, significant resources are being devoted to appraise the losses and gains of ice. I think that the scientists in the field have decided that it is important. It is a part of appraising all of the heat flows relevant to climate change and climate oscillations.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 17 Aug 2010 @ 10:35 PM

  431. Over at WUWT, Monckton has explained more clearly how he gets his predicted CO2 graph for the A2 scenario and one of the commenters there has identified the problem ( http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/14/monckton-why-current-trends-are-not-alarming/#comment-459457 ): Monckton basically fit the CO2 concentration to an exponential function, using the actual value for concentration in 2000 and the “central value” for the A2 scenario of 836ppm in 2100.

    The problem with such a fit is it has neither empirical nor theoretical support. Empirically, it does a horrible job backcasting because you don’t have to go back very far before the concentrations it backcasts are well below the ~280ppm pre-industrial levels.

    And theoretically, if one were to (simplistically) expect exponential behavior, it would be only for the component of the CO2 concentration above the the pre-industrial baseline, not for the CO2 concentration as a whole. And, if one does the fit to a function of a constant baseline + and an exponential function in the same way Monckton did his fit simply for an exponential function (with a real data constraint in 2000 and the central A2 scenario value in 2100), one gets pretty good agreement between the predicted 2010 value of CO2 concentration and the actual value. In fact, the result is that the actual CO2 concentration is running a bit HIGH of the predicted value.

    So, it is not just that Monckton has chosen a simplistic model to produce his predicted CO2 curve. It is that the model is clearly not justifiable (even as a crude approximation) on a theoretical level and is empirically pathetic at backcasting. And, if one modifies the model to be more theoretically-justiable (albeit still simplistic), it does a much better job both backcasting and forecasting from the year 2000 data.

    Comment by Joel Shore — 18 Aug 2010 @ 12:37 AM

  432. Lynn Vincentnathan 17 August 2010 at 3:06 PM
    “I told a denialist to name one climate scientist (publishing in top peer-review journals within the past 5 years) who disagreed that anthropogenic global warming was happening.

    Douglass et all found that computer models and observations both show warming, but by differing amounts in different levels of the atmosphere – from the later paper – “What is new in this article is the determination of a very robust estimate of the magnitude of the model trends at each atmospheric layer. These are compared with several equally robust updated estimates of trends from observations which disagree (in size, not sign,) with trends from the models.” FAIL (Not to mention that they chose an earlier observation dataset that had larger differences with models instead of a later more accurate dataset which they had access to – can you say cherrypicking?)

    Arking found that the “Effects of bias in solar radiative transfer codes” to be “quite small and in most cases negligible.” They did find “the main impact is in the energy exchange terms between the surface and atmosphere and in the convective transport in the lower troposphere” which might explain some of the differences Douglass et all find between models and observations. FAIL

    Govindan, et al say “(i) In the (standard) fluctuation analysis (FA), we calculate the difference of the profile at both ends of each segment. The square of this difference represents the square of the fluctuations in each segment.” – by squaring the differences at the ends, they remove any trends – for example, suppose one has a linear trend from 28 to 32 degrees, with an average of 30 degrees; the difference at the first point is -2, and the last point is +2 and a difference of 4 degrees over the interval. The square of -2 is 4, and the square of +2 is 4, and the difference between the squares is zero

    “(ii) In the ‘first order detrended fluctuation analysis’ (DFA1), we determine in each segment the best linear fit of the profile.”
    “Note that FA (which does not remove trends) overestimates the fluctuation exponent as can be seen when comparing to DFA.”

    Basically all this paper shows is that if one removes the warming trends shown in the models and the warming trends shown in real data, “fluctuation analysis” “indicates loss of long-term correlations.” In other words, they have rediscovered (and maybe more rigorously quantified) the butterfly effect, but shows nothing about AGW trends. FAIL
    (according to Reuters Schellnhuber said “It would be wonderful if some mechanism that we haven’t yet been able to understand could still have an impact and manage to stabilize global warming at a high level for a while,” he said in an interview in his institute’s office outside Berlin.”I would be delighted if it turns out that we haven’t understood the system as well as we think we do and that we might get a 20- to 30-year ‘breathing period’ when global warming slows or is even halted,”)

    McKitrick and Michaels show “Using the regression model to filter the extraneous, nonclimatic effects reduces the estimated 1980–2002 global average temperature trend over land by about half.” In other words, they still see AGW, just not as much, and only over land. FAIL
    The nonclimatic effects they are talking about are Urban Heat island trends caused by “socioeconomic determinants of surface processes and data inhomogeneities.” Menne et al http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ushcn/v2/monthly/menne-etal2010.pdf, following the pioneering work done by Anthony Watts and his surfacestations.org volunteers, found “…no evidence that the CONUS average temperature trends are inflated due to poor station siting.” On the contrary, they found that the corrections made to the data resulted in “… bias in unadjusted maximum temperature data from poor exposure sites relative to good exposure sites is, on average, negative while the bias in minimum temperatures is positive (though smaller in magnitude than the negative bias in maximum temperatures).”

    Lahsen’s abstract says “Drawing on participant observation and interviews with climate modelers and the atmospheric scientists with whom they interact, the study discusses how modelers, and to some extent knowledge producers in general, are sometimes less able than some users to identify shortcomings of their models.” In other words, its is a study of scientists, and doesn’t address the science of AGW; even scientists may be subject to the Dunning Krueger effect, but the competition of peer review will minimize this. FAIL (Denialists often conflate “inaccurate”- doubling of CO2 will result in ~2-4.5 degrees C temperature rise- with “wrong” – the greenhouse effect violates the Second Law. Real science always recognizes and attempts to quantify inaccuracy, and to identify sources and reduce it.)

    Monnin et al opens – “The concentration of atmospheric CO2 has been increasing steadily since the beginning of industrialization, from ~280 parts per million by volume (ppmv) to its present value of ~368 ppmv (1-4). By investigating earlier, natural CO2 variations, we expect to obtain information about feedbacks between the carbon cycle and climate and also the possible impact of the anthropogenic CO2 on the climate system.” FAIL

    Kouwenberg et al using tree stomata as a proxy for CO2 concentration see “Alternating CO2 maxima of 300–320 ppmv are present at A.D. 1000, A.D. 1300, and ca. A.D. 1700…” which are at variance with multiple direct CO2 ice core measurements from Greenland and Antarctica, and there wasn’t significant anthropogenic industrial fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions at those dates. Diurnal and seasonal growth changes are well known to affect CO2 levels in forested areas – http://www.springerlink.com/content/0a5b32ljqb4wm7x4/, and water, sunlight, and temperature all have significant effects on ecosystem carbon exchange -treephys.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/28/4/509.pdf. Natural stomatal variations due to CO2, sunlight, precipitation, temperature, or other natural causes don’t address mechanisms of AGW. FAIL

    Lindzen states “In connection with this question we can go a bit further, and state that increasing CO2 is likely to cause some climate change, and that the resulting change will involve average warming of the earth.” FAIL
    He went on to say (in 1997) “The more serious question then is do we expect increasing CO2 to produce sufficiently large changes in climate so as to be clearly discernible and of consequence for the affairs of humans and the ecosystem of which we are part.”
    In 2002, the Larsen B ice shelf collapsed;
    in 2003, the World Glacial Monitoring Service reported that “The recent increase in the rates of ice loss over reduced glacier surface areas as compared with earlier losses related to larger surface areas (cf. the thorough revision of available data by Dyurgerov, 2002) becomes even more pronounced and leaves no doubt about the accelerating change in climatic conditions.” and the accelerating negative trend continues;
    in 2006 Rignot et al published satellite data which showed “Accelerated ice discharge in the west and particularly in the east doubled the ice sheet mass deficit in the last decade from 90 to 220 cubic kilometers per year.”
    in 2007, summer sea ice extent in the Arctic reached an historic low.
    in 2008, the Wilkins Ice shelf began collapsing; its ice bridge to Charcot Island failed in 2009, and it is continuing to lose area;
    in 2010 so far, the period from January to June is the warmest six months on record.
    AGW is clearly discernible.

    Spencer et al find some potential support for Lindzen’s “infrared iris” hypothesis of climate stabilization, which presupposes AGW,; it might hypothetically, potentially, be reduced but not eliminated. FAIL
    They are also extrapolating data from intraseasonal oscillations into longterm trends. Removing any trend from the data before looking for something that might affect the trend is not the most robust method of analysis.

    Idso’s calculations for climate sensitivity are greatly at odds with the paleoclimate data; if sensitivity were as small as he proposes, the Milankovic changes in solar forcing wouldn’t be enough to kickstart the climb out of an ice age, but this still presupposes AGW, that CO2 emissions will increase the temperature by some amount. He also says that natural variation in temperatures absent concurrent changes in CO2 “imply very little (and possibly nothing at all) about the potential for future CO2-induced climatic change.” – not a robust denial of AGW. FAIL
    He asserts “First, there is the demonstrated propensity for oceanic phytoplankton to increase their productivity in response to an increase in temperature…” producing dimethylsulfoniopropionate, which decomposes to produce DMS which acts to increase cloudiness and cooling albedo. Once again accepting that warming is occurring, but arguing that its magnitude will be less than mainstream science thinks. However, recent research has revealed a significant decrease in phytoplankton – http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100728/full/news.2010.379.html as the globe has warmed.
    Idso’s arguments for CO2 enhanced growth of plants fails to recognize that experiments have shown concurrent lower nutrition, and ignores warming which will come from the lower albedo of plant growth compared to soil.

    Gerlich and Tscheuschner, despite their apparent mastery of the mathematics of radiative transfer, don’t know the difference between gross and net radiative flux, and they are apparently unaware of the concept of causality in an Einsteinian framework – a molecule of CO2 emitting a photon in a random direction can’t know if there is a (cooler or warmer) surface in the direction of emission until time has elapsed for the photon to travel to the surface and back, and has no mechanism to remember from one photon to the next whether there was a source of photons in that direction, or what the apparent temperature of the emitter was.
    J.K. Galbraith said something to the effect that immortality could be assured by spectacular failure – I suspect that G&T will be “long remembered”. FAIL, (or perhaps “not even wrong”)

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 18 Aug 2010 @ 1:26 AM

  433. Dan 409,

    And don’t miss this one:

    Velicogna, I. 2009. “Increasing rates of ice mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets revealed by GRACE.” Geophys. Res. Lett. 36, L19503-L19506.

    “Conclusion. We showed that a detailed analysis of the GRACE time series over the time period 2002–2009 unambiguously
    reveals an increase in mass loss from both ice sheets. The combined contribution of Greenland and Antarctica to global
    sea level rise is accelerating at a rate of 56 ± 17 Gt/yr2 during April 2002–February 2009, which corresponds to an equivalent acceleration in sea level rise of 0.17 ± 0.05 mm/yr2 during this time. This large acceleration explains a large
    share of the different GRACE estimates of ice sheet mass loss published in recent years. It also illustrates that the two
    ice sheets play an important role in the total contribution to sea level at present, and that contribution is continuously and rapidly growing…” 4/2002-2/2009 period covered for Greenland and Antarctica.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 18 Aug 2010 @ 4:15 AM

  434. Joel Shore #430:

    Spot on. This is exactly what I have been saying in posts #385, #390, and #396, which seems to have blown right by Orkneygal (amongst others). Beeson does make the point more eloquently in that comment over at WUWT by explaining in great detail Monckton’s *error* in not separating the pre-industrial baseline CO2 from it’s exponentially rising anthropogenic component. But I *did* say that, albeit more tersely:

    You’re not isolating the anthropogenic component from the total ppm in the atmosphere

    For the record, the equation that both Beeson and I are using comes originally (I believe) from Rick Baartman, on a thread over at Tamino’s place:

    Monckey Business, comment #41412

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 18 Aug 2010 @ 7:11 AM

  435. ETA: the fact that Monckton’s fit backcasts so badly is enough to discredit it all by itself!

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 18 Aug 2010 @ 7:18 AM

  436. #405 Septic Matthew

    Try to think of things in order of occurrence and expectation simultaneously.

    - First we increase the greenhouse gases
    - then that causes warming in the atmosphere and oceans
    - as the oceans warm up, they evaporate more H2O
    - more moisture in the air means more precipitation (rain, snow)
    - the southern hemisphere is essentially lots of water and a really big ice cube in the middle called Antarctica
    - land ice is different than sea ice
    - climate models indicated that more snowfall would cause increases in the frozen H2O
    - climate models indicated that there would be initial increases in sea ice extent
    - observations confirm the indications and expectations that precipitation is increasing, calving rates are accelerating and sea ice extent is increasing.

    So for land ice, more snow falls on Antarctica, but the land ice mass is dropping due to increased calving rates.

    Pretty simple once you visualize it.

    #413 Septic Matthew

    Take a look at the data on ice mass loss for Antarctica

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/current-climate-conditions/antarctica


    Fee & Dividend: Our best chanceLearn the IssueSign the Petition
    A Climate Minute: The Natural CycleThe Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 18 Aug 2010 @ 9:30 AM

  437. #416 Lynn Vincentnathan

    To avoid such confusion and cut down on my digging time I always say peer reviewed and survived peer response.

    As tot he provided list, well, grab a shovel and start looking for facts out of context arguments and/or general errors.


    Fee & Dividend: Our best chanceLearn the IssueSign the Petition
    A Climate Minute: The Natural CycleThe Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 18 Aug 2010 @ 9:31 AM

  438. 433, Barton Paul Levenson

    Thanks for the reference.

    So where does that leave us? Antarctic ice mass is diminishing concomitantly with Antarctic ice extent increasing? And both effects are predicted by AGW, which also predicts increased Antarctic snow mass? These are not necessarily contradictory.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 18 Aug 2010 @ 9:34 AM

  439. In 430 Septic Matthew says:

    And yet, significant resources are being devoted to appraise the losses and gains of ice. I think that the scientists in the field have decided that it is important. It is a part of appraising all of the heat flows relevant to climate change and climate oscillations.

    I’m very certain that intense research is underway for what’s happening to both sea ice and sheet ice. No one questions that.

    But if you think that scientists are particularly interested the sum of sea + sheet ice because it’s an important number I’ll have to ask for a cite.

    It still sounds like a denialist meme to me to be able to say “sure, sheet ice is decreasing but it’s not a problem because sea ice is increasing”, and I’ve never heard the “total ice mass” used outside that context.

    Comment by David Miller — 18 Aug 2010 @ 9:38 AM

  440. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) says:
    18 August 2010 at 9:30 AM

    Think your first chart could do with a title alteration to “Antarctic Ice Mass Change” as else some Ain’t Truthospheric Inhabitant might interpret the minus and plus.

    Comment by Sekerob — 18 Aug 2010 @ 9:45 AM

  441. Septic Matthew’s problem is that “concern trolling” is something you can only do once. Teh Internets have long memories.

    As for the problem at hand: Antarctic sea ice is nearly all first year ice. That means it is very thin*. Thanks to GRACE, we now have a much better handle on the continent-wide mass changes. However, sea ice volume remains very poorly estimated. Zhang (2007) finds a discrepancy of a factor of 3 between models and observations. To me, that says: let’s wait until someone puts together the IceSat and Cryosat data and forms a complete picture. But that won’t happen for years.

    Critically, the change in sea ice extent is linear, but the loss of continental ice is accelerating.

    * Ironically, global warming seems to be causing more precipitation in the region, leading to thicker ice.

    Comment by Didactylos — 18 Aug 2010 @ 11:38 AM

  442. #338 Septic Matthew

    The increase in precip and ice loss as well as the ice extent increase are not contradictory, they are observations and logical in accord with the models and expectations.

    #440 Sekerob

    I used the source header “Antarctic Ice Mass Loss” from NASA/JPL. I am in agreement with their labels.


    Fee & Dividend: Our best chanceLearn the IssueSign the Petition
    A Climate Minute: The Natural CycleThe Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 18 Aug 2010 @ 11:49 AM

  443. Instead of putting up Figure 10.20a, I think the original poster should have linked to http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/531.htm: this clearly shows that the ISAM model predicted 2010 concentrations of 388 to 393, and the Bern model predicted 2010 concentrations of 385 to 390. Actual concentration looks like it will be a touch over 388 (http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/#global_data). That looks right on target to me, and is easier to explain that a graph that shows model predictions based on spinning up models from decades ago and therefore with very large uncertainty bounds on even year 2000 concentrations.

    -M

    Comment by M — 18 Aug 2010 @ 1:45 PM

  444. In case anyone is interested, Monckton has “responded” to my piece about his graphs here:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/14/monckton-why-current-trends-are-not-alarming/#comment-460664

    I have now posted a response to his non-response here:

    http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/the-monckton-files-a-bold-monckton-prediction/

    Comment by Barry Bickmore — 18 Aug 2010 @ 2:06 PM

  445. 442, John P. Reisman: The increase in precip and ice loss as well as the ice extent increase are not contradictory, they are observations and logical in accord with the models and expectations.

    Thank you. Is it fair to say that total ice mass is the most important quantity to know? Is there a “most important quantity”?

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 18 Aug 2010 @ 4:12 PM

  446. “Thank you. Is it fair to say that total ice mass is the most important quantity to know? Is there a “most important quantity”?”

    I’d suggest climate sensitivity would be the most important quantity to know. And we know it quite well.

    After that, I’d probably suggest that the impact of climate change on rainfall in a range of populated areas would be important to know.

    After that? Predicted glacier melt rates and their impact on drinking water and irrigation for people who depend on them.

    After that? What sea level rise will look like in 2050 and 2100.

    What happens in Antarctica, except where it impacts on the above, is not of as much interest to the majority of humans.

    Comment by Silk — 18 Aug 2010 @ 4:34 PM

  447. #445 Septic Matthew

    I’m pretty close to what Silk said. I was going to say Atmospheric CO2 and sensitivity. Gavin has been working with others on Earth System Sensitivity (ESS). It looks to be more sensitive than previously estimated and many have made qualitative arguments to that effect.

    The better we can calculate sensitivity, the more we will generally know about what to expect. ESS to a given amount of CO2 is very important.

    But then again, there are many important quantities, depending on the scope of the question. How much food we can successfully grow in a warmer world more prone to droughts and flood events? That’s pretty important too.

    How much strain can the fiat currencies of the world handle before inflation gets out of hand? Important quantities also.


    Fee & Dividend: Our best chanceLearn the IssueSign the Petition
    A Climate Minute: The Natural CycleThe Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 18 Aug 2010 @ 5:07 PM

  448. > Is there a “most important quantity”?”

    Level of comprehension; note this may be a negative number.

    When asked how much ice you have in your freezer, the answer depends: an estimate of ice cubes for cold drinks, or how frozen up the coils are and how much defrosting time may be needed.

    When asked how much ice there is in Antartctica, similar questions arise.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Aug 2010 @ 5:13 PM

  449. #445 Septic Matthew

    Actually, right now, Hanks answer might be the best.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 18 Aug 2010 @ 5:18 PM

  450. As I’m still under the influence of Dyer’s “Climate Wars,” I’d venture that the most important thing to know is where human responses to warming will fall on a continuum from cooperative to belligerent. When agricultural output drops, will we see rationing or raiding?

    Unfortunately, prospectively quantifying that wouldn’t be easy.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 18 Aug 2010 @ 5:24 PM

  451. Total ice pertains to latent heat uptake by melting

    Land ice pertains to sea level rise (but ice shelves affect glacial flow) (even if the ice is grounded below sea level, so long as some of it’s weight is supported by the crust, loss of that portion of the mass will contribute to sea level rise)

    Areal coverage and location and quality of snow/ice pertains to albedo (feedback) – the sea ice might be more important there, especially in the short term, particularly in terms of mass (of course, sea ice can lose mass without a corresponding loss of area, although thinner ice may reflect less solar radiation and also conduct more heat, keeping the surface warmer than otherwise if it is below freezing; snow cover on the ice would affect these things; however, there is only so much mass of ice that can be lost before there is no sea ice area, and it is much less mass than would generally have to be lost from a unit area of ice sheet to accomplish the same (and if grounded above sea level, the surface albedo after ice-removal will tend to be higher; of course, if there are more clouds over the ocean, then the relative importance of surface albedo is reduced there); of course, an ice sheet could lose mass even if some portions increase in thickness, which would bring about thinning at the edges sooner for the same mass loss (pattern associated with more rapid flow and greater snowfall in the interior)).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 18 Aug 2010 @ 6:29 PM

  452. Kevin McKinney @450 — You might care to read about the fall of the Akkadian Empire, the world’s first.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 18 Aug 2010 @ 6:36 PM

  453. 446, Silk: What happens in Antarctica, except where it impacts on the above, is not of as much interest to the majority of humans.

    I can’t disagree with that. I did mean a more narrowly focused question about Antarctic Ice: for the minority of humans whose interest in Antarctic Ice relates to how ice changes relate to AGW, is there a single most important quantity? I take it that the consensus is no: Warmer Earth can produce: more snowfall, more underwater melting, and shifting of ice mass large distances.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 18 Aug 2010 @ 7:21 PM

  454. “Areal coverage and location and quality of snow/ice pertains to albedo”. Seasonality also plays an important role – the albedo of winter ice formed around Antarctica when insolation is low or nonexistent plays a small role in planetary cooling, whereas the open water that replaces it in the summer will absorb a lot of solar radiation.

    The denialist “fair and balanced” comparison of the increase in winter ice in the Antarctic to the loss of perennial ice is an “error”. In order to accurately balance these disparate quantities, scaling factors need to be applied. The area, thickness, and age are all climatologically important; I will argue that the Antarctic increase in winter sea ice (1 year, 2 meters thick, ~ 1e6 km2), and the loss of the Larsen B ice shelf (~12000 years old, 220 meters thick, 3.2e3 km2) when properly scaled(age*area*thickness) show a net loss climatologically.
    Antarctic sea ice: 1.0 year * 2.0m * 1.00e12m2 = 2e12 y-m3
    Larsen B: 1.2e4y * 2.2e2m * 3.25e9m2 = 8.58e+15 y-m3
    Arctic sea ice: 1.0e2y * 3.0 m * 4.00e12m2 = 1.20e+15 y-m3 (assuming perennial ice has only been around 100 years, which is confirmed by exploration – Arctic sediment cores indicate that perennial ice has been a feature for much longer than that – and assuming a thickness of 3 meters.)
    One can see that the highly touted increase in Antarctic sea ice is mathematically insignificant.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 19 Aug 2010 @ 11:33 AM

  455. Brian Dodge (#454)

    The reason why lots of skeptics are talking alot about extent in antarctica is because it was made into a big story in 2007. For instance see,

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/north/story/2007/09/21/science-arctic-ice.html

    I can find many more, but I think that illustrates the type of reporting on the subject right after the 2007 summer minimum. Now, everyone is being much more nuanced talking about volume (which I will agree with). I don’t think your comparison makes much sense however, although I would agree that the age is important. I would say it’s more important in how it changes the physical properties (such as density) and using it as a parameter in this sort of comparison isn’t all that helpful. By adding an age factor (totally artificial) you’re changing a positive number in the antarctic to a negative number which seems more like changing the data to suit your argument. Considering the latest reasearch seems to suggest that this increase is consistent with GW than I would say it’s needless in any case.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/16/georgia-tech-on-resolving-the-paradox-of-the-antarctic-sea-ice/

    That’s the only link describing the paper I found and Watts has a follow up post (an opinion piece that I don’t think most here would want to read) that links directly to the paper for those interested.

    Comment by sambo — 19 Aug 2010 @ 3:43 PM

  456. sambo @ 455: You say “The reason why lots of skeptics are talking alot about extent in antarctica is because it was made into a big story in 2007.” And then provide a link to a CBC article about artic sea ice that doesn’t even include the word “antarctic.”

    Maybe you should try again.

    Comment by Rick Brown — 19 Aug 2010 @ 4:05 PM

  457. sambo, in your comment currently numbered 455 you seem to have the Arctic confused with the Antarctic.

    For example you begin by saying “extent in antarctica … was made into a big story in 2007″ and then you give a link to a 2007 CBC article about the melting of Arctic sea ice.

    What’s up with that?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 19 Aug 2010 @ 5:11 PM

  458. 453 Septic Matthew says,

    Look the most important thing to measure in Antarctica is the Land Ice status because it dictates Antarctica’s sea level contributions. Antarctica has very little multi-year SEA ICE therefore there are big differences between there and the Arctic which makes it a bit less important in the Antarctic. (When multi-year ice melts in the arctic, it results in more sunlight reaching the ocean during the summer, Antarctica generally loses most of its sea ice each summer anyways). Regardless, Antarctic LAND ICE is losing mass extensively and will continue to do so into the future because of widespread outlet glacier accelerations on the West Coast and in small parts of the Eastern Basins.

    Another thing,
    if you’re really interested in understanding these topics look at 3 posts I put together on the topic:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Part-One-Why-do-glaciers-lose-ice.html

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Part-2-How-do-we-measure-Antarctic-ice-changes.html

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Part-Three-Response-to-Goddard.html

    Note: these posts were originally caused by a dispute with steven goddard at WUWT. When the errors with his posts were pointed out to Goddard and he replied they were ad hominem and never answered them.

    Comment by Robert — 19 Aug 2010 @ 6:18 PM

  459. “I don’t think your comparison makes much sense however,”

    Me either &;>); I forgot the smiley emoticon to indicate that I was parodying the deceptive quantitative numerology of Monckton, in my second paragraph.

    The collapse of Larsen B taught science a lot about ice shelf dynamics, and how they constrain the flow of glacial ice off Antarctica, and was a stark reminder of how uncertainty and inaccuracy in the known science may underestimate AGW consequences. Quantitatively, the number of joules reflected by its 3e3km2 of perennial ice is insignificant, ~3 orders of magnitude less than the decline in perennial Arctic summer sea ice http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/nsidc-seaice-s/from:1990.07/mean:3/every:12/plot/nsidc-seaice-n/from:1988.5/mean:3/every:12. The accumulated energy difference over 10 k years has had some effect on the climate – the joules reflected didn’t melt ice, or increase evaporation and rainfall in the Sahel, or trigger cyclones, or warm SST and increase phytoplankton productivity – but sorting out how the accumulated energy difference was partitioned is lost in the “butterfly effect”.
    Larsen B’s age is qualitatively important as a refutation of skeptical claims about the 400 year Medieval Warm Period being as warm or warmer than today; Larsen B slept, along with Oetzi the Iceman in the Italian Alps, through that period, indicating that the MWP wasn’t as warm or as widespread as some would wish you to believe.
    The volume of ice that disappeared when Larsen B collapsed was ~715 km3. Greenland is quietly losing about 300km3 every year, and this number is increasing, and of greater consequence long term. Glacial surges are known, but poorly understood, and occasionally make the news http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/jakobshavn2010.html http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2011/aug/greenland080610.html. Science doesn’t know of mechanisms that would caused abrupt collapse of the Greenland Ice sheet, but until Larsen B collapsed, it’s mechanisms weren’t known either. Using Rignot’s numbers from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/02/0216_060216_warming_2.html, and projecting linearly to 2100, ice loss then will be ~1650 km3 per year, and the cumulative total will be 90900 km3. Using Zwally’s estimate of 0 loss in ’96 results in a cumulative loss of 136350 km3 by 2100. Does the spread in these values, and your confidence that the losses will remain linear inspire you to invest in seashore property?

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 19 Aug 2010 @ 6:31 PM

  460. 458, Robert.

    thank you.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 19 Aug 2010 @ 7:57 PM

  461. Rick Brown (#356) & SecularAnimist (#357)

    I realize what I posted, but I didn’t think I had to spell out what was meant, since I assumed everyone was familiar with the data. My point was that skeptics started tracking and reporting sea ice extent because of the big story in 2007 about the arctic ice extent (cbc story). Since they’ve been following the extent more closely, they’ve seen the arctic extent recover slightly from the low anomoly in 2007 and the antarctic has seen an increase in extent. While I agree that ice mass is the important factor in this case, the optics of when the emphasis was made on ice mass only (seemed) to occur when the data was showing recovery in the ice extent. BTW, you don’t have to point out that I should be looking at the long term trend in any case, I’m only trying to explain why this argument is being made. At the same time, I would say the headlines shouldn’t have been so dramatic in 2007.

    Brian Dodge (#459)

    I guess I didn’t understand the sarcasm in the comment (#454). Just curious, do we know how the Larsen B ice shelf evolved from the MWP to when it collapsed? If it grew significantly (became more unstable) then it would’t matter if it was warmer at the time, it still wouldn’t have collapsed.

    Comment by sambo — 20 Aug 2010 @ 12:27 PM

  462. #461–

    “At the same time, I would say the headlines shouldn’t have been so dramatic in 2007.”

    I don’t agree. It was an incredibly dramatic event, and was appropriately reflected in the headlines.

    “The optics” may be as described, but claims of Arctic sea ice recovery are disingenuous at best, IMO.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 20 Aug 2010 @ 3:16 PM

  463. Kevin (#462)

    I agree (re: recovery) which is why I also think it was disengenious to claim the 2007 event as important and then change story when it didn’t suit anymore. To be fair, I think much of this had to do with media hype before AR4 and Al Gore’s movie/book.

    Comment by sambo — 20 Aug 2010 @ 3:32 PM

  464. “. . . to claim the 2007 event as important and then change story when it didn’t suit anymore. . .”

    Who’s saying it wasn’t important?

    Some may, with the benefit of hindsight, decided it wasn’t so much “the beginning of the end” as “the end of the beginning.” But that’s about the greatest change I’ve noticed, and I don’t think that you can fault anyone for reinterpreting in the light of further developments. To do otherwise is–shall we say, “beyond stubborn?”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 20 Aug 2010 @ 5:40 PM

  465. sambo — 20 August 2010 @ 12:27 PM “do we know how the Larsen B ice shelf evolved from the MWP to when it collapsed? ”

    earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=2288 “Larsen B shelf was about 220 meters thick…”
    gef.nerc.ac.uk/documents/publications/824.pdf shows accumulation of about 118m/100years on the Antarctic Peninsula, accelerating over the last 100 years. This would mean that it would take about 200 years for the Ice to accumulate to the thickness of Larsen B. Theses measurements aren’t in the accumulation area for Larsen B, but 400km south; http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/met/momu/International_Antarctic_Weather_Forecasting_Handbook/update%20chnages%20in%20Antarctic%20snowfall.php, figure 1, shows higher rates of snowfall on the spine of the Peninsula north of the sample site and west of the Larsen shelf, so it may have taken less time for the ice to accululate.
    http://www.glaciologia.cl/textos/RignotetalGRLPeninsulaAccel.pdf in2000, shows that seaward motion of the Larsen B ice shelf was ~ 500 meters per year, and the width is about 60km, so the calving ice at the seaward edge is(oops, was) about 120 years older than the ice at the landward margin.
    The Larsen B ice shelf is a feature, like the Mississippi River. The ice in the shelf is like the water in the river, changing much faster than the feature.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch4s4-6-2-2.html “Thinning of about 1 m yr–1 (Shepherd et al., 2003; Zwally et al., 2006) preceded the fragmentation of almost all (3,300 km2) of the Larsen B Ice Shelf along the Antarctic Peninsula in fewer than five weeks in early 2002 (Scambos et al., 2003).”
    “Deformation rates depend on the gravitational stress (which increases with ice thickness and with the slope of the upper surface), temperature, impurities,…”
    “An ice shelf moves forward, spreading and thinning under its own weight, and fed by snowfall on its surface and ice input from the ice sheet.”
    The presence of seawater beneath the shelf (by definition) constrains the temperature to be between -2.5 and 0 degrees, between the freezing point of sea water and the melting point of the ice shelf. Regardless of the temperature of the glacier feeding the shelf , the seawater will add heat, raising the temperature toward the melting point, softening the ice and increasing the thinning due to gravitational forces from its own mass. The balance between seawater on the bottom, and colder average temperatures at the surface in the coldest parts of the Ross Ice Shelf, plus the effects of landward and upstream (into the feeding glaciers) dynamics support a thickness of roughly 750 meters. As it flows seaward, it thins from gravitational spreading and melt[1], reaching a thickness of ~240 meters at the calving front.[2] It appears to me that once an ice shelf thins to ~200-250 meters, it breaks up by calving. If the average surface temperature is significantly cooler than freezing, the shelf will be mechanically stable to annual warming and occasional meltwater ponds. The thickness will be determined by the rate of ice coming from feeder glaciers and snowfall; the bottom will be warmer, heat will flow up through the thickness, and as long as the ice input equals or exceeds bottom melting the shelf will be stable. Higher input flows will result in greater thickness, and mass balance will be maintained by outflow to the calving front. As the average temperature at the surface approaches the freezing point, the average temperature of the shelf will warm, and the ice will mechanically weaken. It will thin from faster gravitational spreading, bottom melting, and top melting seasonally. When the volume of water in seasonal ponds has a larger heat content than can be removed by the heat capacity of colder ice surrounding cracks, the hydrodynamic cracking extends through the entire thickness of the ice shelf and it collapses. Larger melt ponds and a warmer shelf through its thickness, driven by global warming, both contribute.

    Significant growth would require average surface temperatures cold enough so that snow could accumulate, and/or more input from glacial flow from higher colder altitudes. The asymmetry between snow accumulation dynamics and melt water runoff dynamics pushes the average temperature transition between accumulation and loss below zero. With surface ice temperature and air boundary layer at zero, the lapse rate in the troposphere means that the air temperature falls below zero, and no energy is available for melting from conduction and convection, but downwelling IR radiation from CO2 in the troposphere will provide energy for melting. Because most meltwater will run off (there is a downhill gradient towards the calving edge and the ice shelf surface is relatively flat) the wet surface will stay near zero degrees, with variations of energy input causing more or less melting but not temperature change. For snow to fall and accumulate, the surface temperature must be near zero, and the snow will start at altitudes where the lapse rate insures temperature well below zero. As it falls, and if it accumulates, it will cool the lower layers and boundary layer. This limit on temperature increase by melting as energy flows in, but no limit on fall as snow accumulates, plus the adiabatic lapse rate “pumps” the average temperature where accumulation occurs below zero. Accumulation and growth of the ice sheet requires energy dynamics that limit heat input from the bottom, and have a colder surface, with heat flow from the bottom – a situation that makes the ice shelf stable.

    [1]quakeinfo.ucsd.edu/~helen/GL11409W01.pdf
    “A significant fraction of the ice flowing from the interior of the Antarctic ice sheet is lost by melting under the deeper parts of ice shelves [Jacobs et al., 1992]. This melt cools and freshens seawater circulating in the sub-ice-shelf cavity, and can lead to accretion of \marine” ice elsewhere under the shelf [Jenkins and Doake, 1991].”

    [2]http://www.igsoc.org/journal/32/112/igs_journal_vol32_issue112_pg464-474.pdf
    “We have therefore used the simpler Figure 7a grid and contours to obtain a mean thickness of 240 m for the 20 km band nearest the ice front. That is slightly more than half the average Ross Ice Shelf thickness of 427 m…”

    Finally –
    http://www.asoc.org/Portals/0/pdfs/Domack-Larsen-Nature080405.pdf
    “All the evidence indicates that LIS-B has been a stable component of the northwestern Weddell Sea since the Late Pleistocene to Holocene transition, 11.5 kyr BP. In contrast, the northernmost portions of a much larger Larsen ice shelf system and small ice shelves on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula experienced periods of decay and open marine conditions during the Holocene[mangled footnotes]. Our observation, that the modern collapse of the LIS-B is a unique event within the Holocene, supports the hypothesis that the current warming trend in the northwestern Weddell Sea has exceeded past warm episodes in both its magnitude and duration.”

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 20 Aug 2010 @ 9:47 PM

  466. Is there any way to use html tags to put parody/sarcasm/jokes/intentional malapropisms (e.g.”ad hominid”)into a different font – say Chancery?

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 20 Aug 2010 @ 9:53 PM

  467. Is there any way to use html tags to put parody/sarcasm/jokes/intentional malapropisms (e.g.”ad hominid”)into a different font – say Chancery?

    Might as well have a go if for nothing but entertainment value, as this thread has devolved into a discussion of antarctic ice. Sort of interesting, but far from it’s original intent. The HTML code you would use looks like this:

    <font style=”font-family:Comic Sans MS”>text in different font</font>

    But certain blogs, and perhaps this is one of them, will only allow a subset of HTML to be used in reader comments, so the only way I can test is by actually posting since there is no preview option:

    Here is some text in default style, and we briefly switch to Comic Sans MS and then back again.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 21 Aug 2010 @ 6:12 AM

  468. Nope, didn’t work :-\ The tags were stripped out.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 21 Aug 2010 @ 6:14 AM

  469. Sambo, the 2007 collapse of Arctic sea ice was significant in precisely the same way a record temperature year is significant: It gives us a peek at the extremes of the distribution AND it gives us information about the overall distribution. Beyond that, it´s weather watching.
    The 2007 collapse could not have happened in a healthy Arctic. Ice has been thinning and retreating for nearly 40 years. Collapse happens in thin degraded ice.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 21 Aug 2010 @ 9:27 AM

  470. Just a general thought. So far rebutting Monckton, Lomborg, and others, is sort of like playing whack-a-mole with zombies that just want to eat more brains. Return of the living dead aside, I thought some might enjoy a fun little diddy I grew up with that my dad used to play on the old Victrola . . .

    I just found it on youtube: The Zombie Jamboree
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4k5XftdTMs


    Fee & Dividend: Our best chanceLearn the IssueSign the Petition
    A Climate Minute: The Natural CycleThe Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 22 Aug 2010 @ 6:15 AM

  471. Brian Dodge (#465)

    Thanks for the info. It took me a while but I was able to read through most of it, and I did find it interesting.

    Ray Ladbury (#469)

    The satellite record only goes back to 1979, and while you’re probably right that the 2007 event probably couldn’t have been as extreme without recent warming, we don’t know how it compares to (for instance) Arctic extent during the 30′s or even during the “MWP”. What’s more, Watts et al. love to showcase news stories they can find from all over the place that show in X year there was no ice in such and such location. They then compare it to today and either (lo and behold) there’s ice OR they pull up the latest story claiming that no ice in this location is a clear sign of climate change.

    If you want exhibit A, see

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/21/worlds-worst-heatwave-the-marble-bar-heatwave-1923-24/

    Using 2007 to “peek at the extremes of the distribution” AND give “information about the overall distribution”. I’m all for that. Using the weather watching to write “scare” stories. It’s only giving ammunition to Watts et al.

    BTW, regarding the sarcasm. I think it’s part of the medium that snark like that may not be understood as meant, especially by someone like me who is relatively new to the blog. While I’ve been lurking for some time, I may not know everyone’s snark signature yet ;).

    Comment by sambo — 22 Aug 2010 @ 9:09 PM

  472. “Snark signature”–subject to internal variability, I’m afraid.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 22 Aug 2010 @ 9:44 PM

  473. You might try a span with the appropriate font style. Something like [span style="font-family:comic-sans;"]text you want to be ironic[/style]. Replace with square brackets, of course.

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 22 Aug 2010 @ 11:10 PM

  474. 469, Ray Ladbury: Sambo, the 2007 collapse of Arctic sea ice was significant in precisely the same way a record temperature year is significant: It gives us a peek at the extremes of the distribution AND it gives us information about the overall distribution. Beyond that, it´s weather watching.
    The 2007 collapse could not have happened in a healthy Arctic.

    That’s well said. The Joint Statistical Meetings recently held in Vancouver had sessions on modeling extremes, one of them specifically devoted to modeling changes in the distribution of extreme values related to AGW.

    As noted by Sambo, we can not always be sure that recently identified “local extremes” are “global extremes” (local and global with respect to time), or even the “most extreme of the last 1,000 years.” For example, what if any was the most extreme Arctic Ice melt during the era of grape growing in Vinland, and was it evidence for a global warming or merely a local warming? (there I mean local and global in geographic extent.) Even the 3 decades long overall melting of Arctic ice is not known to be unprecedented.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 23 Aug 2010 @ 11:30 AM

  475. Even the 3 decades long overall melting of Arctic ice is not known to be unprecedented.

    Exactly when was this precedent set?

    Comment by dhogaza — 23 Aug 2010 @ 12:33 PM

  476. dhogaza: Septic Matthew is playing that silly old “you can’t prove it isn’t” game.

    Take CO2. We know that CO2 is higher than any time in the last 50 years from direct measurements. Ice core measurements show that it is very likely to be higher than any time in the last 400 thousand years. And proxy estimates show that it is probable that current levels are higher than any time in the last 20 million years.

    Can we “prove” this? No, but that’s not the point.

    Comment by Didactylos — 23 Aug 2010 @ 12:58 PM

  477. dhogaza: Septic Matthew is playing that silly old “you can’t prove it isn’t” game.

    Oh, it’s not like I’m expecting a verifiable answer …

    Comment by dhogaza — 23 Aug 2010 @ 2:26 PM

  478. SM, proof isn’t available in science.

    Correlation is, and the paleo folks are very aware this is needed.
    See for example:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/09/perspectives-from-china/

    where Gavin, back from a meeting, remarks on their awareness of

    “… the overwhelming focus on downcore records (the patterns of change at a single point through time) and the relative lack of integrated products that either show spatial patterns of change at a single time, or that try to extract common elements from multiple events in the past. There are of course numerous exceptions ….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Aug 2010 @ 2:56 PM

  479. Hank Roberts wrote: “… proof isn’t available in science.”

    With all due respect that is one of the WORST things that people say when arguing for the scientific reality of AGW.

    Of course proof is available in science.

    I suspect that when you say that, you mean that axiomatic “proofs” like those found in mathematics are not available in science.

    But that is only one sense of the word “proof”.

    As it happens I have sat in a jury in a criminal trial, and have been instructed in detail and at length by the presiding judge as to the various standards of “proof” that prosecutors must meet in order for the jury to return a guilty verdict — which in that particular trial could send the accused to prison for decades.

    In a civil case the standard of legal proof might be “the preponderance of the evidence”.

    In a criminal case, as most people who have ever watched TV know, the standard is “beyond a reasonable doubt”.

    The scientific reality of anthropogenic global warming — and many of the specific components of our understanding of that reality — have indeed been proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Keep in mind, that in some states of the USA, that standard is sufficient to sentence an accused person to death.

    I understand that many scientists are probably bigger fans of mathematics than they are of law, and they are enamored of the elegance and abstract truth of pure mathematical “proofs” in which premises and logic lead inexorably and irrefutably to a conclusion; and they perhaps tend to disdain the inherently subjective legal standard of “proved beyond a reasonable doubt”.

    But it is really the legal standards of “proof” that are relevant here — relevant to the central, crucial question of “what should we do about AGW?”

    And every time some scientist says “there are no proofs in science”, what the general listener hears is not the careful distinction between a mathematical, axiomatic “proof” and an empirical-evidence-based “proof” which it so pleases scientists to draw.

    What the general listener hears is “climate science cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt — and perhaps not even by the preponderance of the evidence — that AGW is either real or dangerous”, and the listener therefore finds the accused (fossil fuels) not guilty.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 23 Aug 2010 @ 3:48 PM

  480. BBC 2 Newsnight on the disastrous floods.

    [The Montford thread appears to be closed for comments so this appears to be the best alternative place for it]

    I cannot comment reliably on Susan Watts report, because I missed the beginning.

    But then we had a climatologist together with Andrew Montford being interviewed by Kirsty Walk. Every time Montford spoke he was acompanied by a subtitle describing him as the author of the book “…”. This must have been very pleasing to him and to Nigel Lawson.I do not remember John Haughton’s book being given such free advertising.

    Then Kirsty Walk repeated the usual BBC question i.e. whether the climatologists statement about the floods had been affected by Emailgate. The climatologist appeared to agree with her. Isn’t it about time that the BBC finds some new questions? and shouldn’t climatologists prepare a more robust answer? Did he know anything about Montford or his book?

    Bob Ward has a comment here:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/profile.shtml?userid=13870806

    which I think is slightly understated.

    Comment by deconvoluter — 23 Aug 2010 @ 6:06 PM

  481. 479 SecularAnimist – valuable points, to which I add:

    Consider the level of confidence required to print something in a (quality) college-level textbook or (reputable) encyclopedia…

    Consider how many people get into their cars and drive somewhere without having any philosphical or mathematical proof that they will come back alive and intact.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 23 Aug 2010 @ 6:21 PM

  482. … funny aside on reputable encyclopedias – I used to have a World Book encyclopedia (printed before I was born), which stated that the goose is one of the proudest birds of the animal kingdom, or something to that extent. I wonder which psychological studies they based that on… OT but funny! Not to cut down my last comment too much. I’ve looked at more recent World Book encyclopedias and don’t recall anything like that; and of course, there’s Britannica and McGraw-Hill.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 23 Aug 2010 @ 6:33 PM

  483. Sambo and SM,
    I would say that it is very unlikely that melting in the 30s and 40s reached the extremes of 2007 or even this year. The reason is because we did not have the same sort of long-term melting trend going on. It is the long-term trend that is important. Of course when you have a long-term trend that renders the distribution nonstationary, you are going to get more “extremes”. The 100-year event of today is the 1000 year event of 1780.

    It is utterly pointless to argue with microWatts and his denizens. As Mark Twain said, “Never teach a pig to sing. It doesn’t work and it annoys the pig.” The only purpose I’ve ever been able to find for folks with such amazing ability to deny reality is ridicule.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Aug 2010 @ 6:58 PM

  484. 483, Ladbury: I would say that it is very unlikely that melting in the 30s and 40s reached the extremes of 2007 or even this year. The reason is because we did not have the same sort of long-term melting trend going on.

    I don’t know whether you are wrong or right. We never before had a long term melting trend, or long-term stationarity, documented.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 23 Aug 2010 @ 7:16 PM

  485. Re 484 Septic Matthew

    It might not demonstrate that the sea ice has never had a summer/fall minimum as deep as 2007 in the last ~ 80,000 or ?0,000 years, but I think it says something that we have such a thing as polar bears. Takes at least some time to evolve. Perhaps there is a history of polar bear population written in the sediments on the shores of Canada and Alaska that might be used to infer some greater information. Perhaps there is sediment on the Arctic sea floor that could tell us something.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 23 Aug 2010 @ 7:27 PM

  486. Ray Ladbury (#483)

    I was able to find the following paper on historical arctic ice extent. It cites Kinnard et al. (2008) in support of an ice extent graph reconstructed from proxies since 1870 (at least what I understood was proxies). In this paper I couldn’t see what the uncertainties were, although I didn’t have access to Kinnard et al. I think the missing part of the equation is what the probabilities are associated with these extreme events. Is 2007 a once in 30 year event? or is more like once in 100? What about back in 1870, will it occur more frequently during 2010 – 2020? It seems likely that the probabilities are decreasing, however we don’t seem to know what those probabilities are doing relative to past climate (general trend is decreasing but how much and how fast). My guess is the uncertainties in the proxy reconstruction would likely temper any firm conclusions that we can make. Does anyone have access to Kinnard et al in order to enlighten me?

    History of sea ice in the Arctic
    by Polyak et al (2009)

    Comment by sambo — 23 Aug 2010 @ 8:14 PM

  487. There has been recent papers on using seaice biomarkers to estimate historical extents. Eg here and here.

    I think it is still early days for this method but I would love to data for when was the last time that the pole was ice-free in summer.

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 23 Aug 2010 @ 9:07 PM

  488. SecularAnimist, I think your comment #479 puts it all in pretty good perspective. Just don’t forget that many an innocent person has been found by judge or jury guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Comment by Rod B — 23 Aug 2010 @ 9:41 PM

  489. Patrick 027, true, people get into their cars and drive somewhere without having any philosphical or mathematical proof that they will come back alive and intact. And some don’t!

    Comment by Rod B — 23 Aug 2010 @ 9:46 PM

  490. SM:

    I don’t know whether you are wrong or right. We never before had a long term melting trend, or long-term stationarity, documented.

    Ahhh … so you DID beat your wife some years ago.

    Now I understand what proof means to you …

    Comment by dhogaza — 23 Aug 2010 @ 11:07 PM

  491. 485 Patrick says, “It might not demonstrate that the sea ice has never had a summer/fall minimum as deep as 2007 in the last ~ 80,000 or ?0,000 years, but I think it says something that we have such a thing as polar bears. ”

    Bears are very adaptable and the arctic was quite warm 8,000 years ago. I wonder if the Holocene climate optimum produced hybrid bears like we’re seeing now.

    Comment by RichardC — 23 Aug 2010 @ 11:21 PM

  492. Re 489 Rod B – yes, the weakness of using that analogy, but… Do you think it is in the best interest of the world for everyone to refuse to ever drive again? Now imagine if there were an almost 100 % change of coming back alive and intact, but there was a risk of getting stuck in an epic traffic jam along the way?

    Re 488 Rod B – there is an intense personal cost attached to being found guilty of a crime, or even being found responsible in a civil case, which is not generally found in general policies that address some type of widespread externality.

    When people make decisions they have to make decisions based on expectations, including a reasonable margin of error.

    Suppose a new species of large powerful animal with large teeth were found, and someone is planning to keep one as a pet, unfenced, near a school. Should the school not petition for some action preventing the keeping of this pet at least until more information is found/provided (even if this species has no known record of causing harm)? And if the species were not new, but say, a lion… and maybe we don’t know something, maybe it has a mutation, maybe it’s been trained really really really really well (but even then…)…

    And note that with a C-tax, it isn’t an all-or-nothing deal. We can always adjust the tax rate as new information becomes available. If something goes wrong, it’s probably going to be more like getting stuck in traffic (try a different route the next day), rather than getting into a serious accident.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 23 Aug 2010 @ 11:48 PM

  493. “The scientific reality of anthropogenic global warming — and many of the specific components of our understanding of that reality — have indeed been proved beyond a reasonable doubt.”

    What do you mean by “scientific reality of AGW” : the fact that the man have contributed to warm the climate ? the fact that GHG have warmed the climate ? or something stronger about the exact amount of this warming ? or even stronger about the influence of this warming on the human societies ? what is “proved beyond any reasonable doubt” in your mind ? (of course proving each further step requires stronger and stronger evidence)

    Comment by Gilles — 24 Aug 2010 @ 1:14 AM

  494. For example, what if any was the most extreme Arctic Ice melt during the era of grape growing in Vinland – Septic Matthew

    “Vinland” probably means “pasture land”, not “land of vines”, and there is no evidence grapes grew north of where they do today, in New Brunswick (which was probably included in the area referred to as Vinland).

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 24 Aug 2010 @ 4:21 AM

  495. There’s the Chapman and Walsh dataset covering Arctic sea ice from 1880 to 1998. The seasonal and annual plots of that dataset are in a number of publications and web pages: e.g. the TAR WG1 report and in Johannessen in Atm Ocean Sci Lett 1 (2008) 51.

    And Stroeve et al. plot September sea ice extent in Geophys Res Lett 34 (2007) L09501 (see p. 2) using various obs and models.

    Comment by P. Lewis — 24 Aug 2010 @ 4:30 AM

  496. Proof beyond reasonable doubt

    The legal useage is too weak. You always have some remaining doubts in science, because the observations might be revised as well as the theory. But huge and basic revisions are rare and unlikely in a mature science.

    The difference between consensus climate science and the contrarian version, is that the former may perhaps turn out to be partly wrong, the latter, has in most cases, been found to be wrong already

    If you want to approach certainty then consider the disproof of Gerlach and Treuschner at both theoretical and observational levels. That example should not be considered in the light of , the often misunderstood asymmetry principle of Popper, but by considering the
    actual case e.g. at Ely Rabett’s site.

    For other examples just read the lead articles here.

    As for a good approximate proof, consider the one of the greenhouse effect i.e. by pointing an infra-red spectrometer upwards and observing the carbon dioxide emission/absorption lines in the downward flux.

    You don’t have to stick to observations. If you add energy to a system it warms, thats an example of a good theoretical principle which can be part of an approximate proof.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 24 Aug 2010 @ 6:48 AM

  497. Gilles@493,

    I imagine SecularAnimist means what he says, which is quite clear.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 24 Aug 2010 @ 7:11 AM

  498. 490, dhogaza: Ahhh … so you DID beat your wife some years ago.

    An assertion for which there is no evidence. Perfect.

    494, Nick Gotts: “Vinland” probably means “pasture land”, not “land of vines”, and there is no evidence grapes grew north of where they do today, in New Brunswick (which was probably included in the area referred to as Vinland).

    OK. It would still be nice to have actual evidence of previous extremes of Arctic summer ice melt.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 24 Aug 2010 @ 12:02 PM

  499. #498 Matthew, Phil Scadden posted some links at #487.

    Hank Roberts also had a couple of nice references somewhere else – can you repost those, Hank?

    Or, Matthew, you could look for this stuff yourself…

    Comment by CTG — 24 Aug 2010 @ 2:25 PM

  500. > sea ice biomarkers
    Guessing you may recall one of these:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Arealclimate.org+sea+ice+biomarkers

    (I’ve forgotten how to limit searches to a particular person’s posts)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Aug 2010 @ 3:13 PM

  501. And there’s always more, e.g.

    http://www.awi.de/en/news/press_releases/detail/item/new_fossil_finds_as_witnesses_for_fluctuations_of_arctic_sea_ice_cover_during_the_past_30000_years/?cHash=fe838e2dae410129b466d627c712e308
    (nicely illustrated press release)

    ‘oogle and Scholar for: arctic sediment biomarker climate

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Aug 2010 @ 3:17 PM

  502. @ sambo

    http://www.geus.dk/publications/bull/nr10/nr10_p61-64.pdf “Planktonic foraminiferal assemblages are used as a key palaeoceanographic proxy, and a surprisingly large variability of these foraminifers was observed for an interior Arctic Ocean site. The discovery of abundant numbers of the small subpolar foraminifers Turborotalita quinqueloba in two core sections, corresponding to the last interglacial and a younger warm interstadial (Fig. 3), is an enigma, as this species indicates fairly strong subsurface Atlantic water advection and possibly a much reduced summer sea-ice cover in the area compared to present-day conditions. The youngest part of the retrieved sediment record is condensed, but samples taken from close to the surface, representing Holocene and Recent conditions, lack the subpolar foraminifer species and thus indicate a consistent thick perennial sea-ice cover in accordance with present-day conditions.”

    esp.cr.usgs.gov/research/alaska/PDF/KaufmanAger2004QSR.pdf This paper figure 5b – Bowhead whale bones – shows that the Northwest passage may have been open in the Roman Warm period & the MWP – but the resolution is low – data was grouped into 500 year and large geographci bins because of relative sparseness. Figure 5a and 5c don’t show the same pattern, but a more continuous decline since ~10k years ago.

    http://www.geographie.uottawa.ca/PDF/blauriol/Kinnard_et_al_(2008).pdf Is a paper related to the 2006 glacial sea salt/sea ice variability paper, but mostly about instrumental techniques. They do say “We propose that the varying influence of cyclonic conditions in Baffin Bay and associated steep lapse rates, as well as the intermittent opening and closing of the adjacent NOW polynya are the major control on the POW Icefield melt history.” Maybe this also contributes to the differences between the bowhead bone, mollusc, and some ice cap seasonal melt records.

    An interesting area to ponder is that Polyak mentions “Sewall and Slo_an (2004) found that reduced ice cover led to less rainfall in the American west.” and around the time of the MWP, the Anasazi civilization experienced a severe extended period of drought with soci_al consequences – mass migrations, especially to areas with more reliable water, and fragmentation into antecedents of modern cultures (Navaho, Hopi, Zuni, Pueblo).

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 24 Aug 2010 @ 6:33 PM

  503. Septic Matthew says: “I don’t know whether you are wrong or right. We never before had a long term melting trend, or long-term stationarity, documented.”

    OK, now I want you to read that back to yourself. Think about what it says. Now, ask yourself, if you were to be completely honest: Shouldn’t that tell you something?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Aug 2010 @ 6:51 PM

  504. Septic Matthew:

    490, dhogaza: Ahhh … so you DID beat your wife some years ago.

    An assertion for which there is no evidence. Perfect.

    Yes, that was my point, responding to your assertion for which there is no evidence:

    Even the 3 decades long overall melting of Arctic ice is not known to be unprecedented.

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Aug 2010 @ 11:05 PM

  505. Re examples of decisions made without mathematical/philosophical proof -

    Part of the reason of pointing out that people get into cars, thus taking some risks with their lives and health, is just to point out a case that many people in at least some parts of the world are familiar with.

    One of the contrasts between that and the example of a textbook is that with driving, people are (should be) actually aware of some real chance of being injured or killed, and in fact (though it will depend somewhat on individual driving skill and behavior, of course) there are statistics available, whereas you don’t introduce material to a textbook if you are aware of some particular possibility of it being erroneous (as opposed to the general awareness of not knowing much for certain) – of course, there is a way around this, wherein the error bars are included as part of the description of reality. Examples can be found in the way the IPCC describes their conclusions (they don’t say climate sensitivity is precisely 3.105532 K/doubling CO2). If a person has an opinion, it may be a matter of fact that that person has that opinion, for whatever it’s worth. To some extent, policies can be crafted in a similar way – with acknowledgement of uncertainties. Different actions may have different actionable levels of inteligence.

    Of course the precautionary principle could argue both for and against a number of actions if taken too far, but I think the point is that you don’t always need a prior established record of consequences in order to consider some policy. There is such a thing as considering expectations. With regard to legal cases – here I’m not sure – one might be under the impression that you can’t generally get court action to block somebody from doing something risky if that particular type of something has no established record of consequences, but I would think that some consideration of reasonable expectations should apply. If your equations tell you that some novel substance (that has never before been tested) is going to be explosive, then preparing that novel substance, you generally ought to be using a level of caution appropriate for work with something known to be explosive.

    Regarding climate policy, you have to consider both the possibility that a particular policy goes to far, as well as the possibility that it does not go far enough. In a more black-and-white framing of the issue, even if there’s a 5 % (supposing something can be quantified as such, for the sake of illustrating the concept) chance that we’re wrong, does it make more sense to bet the house on that, rather than on the 95 % chance that we’re right?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 24 Aug 2010 @ 11:32 PM

  506. … On a related note, while some particular aspect of AGW might not be proovable beyond any teensy-tiny shadow of a molecule of doubt, there are claims that have been made about AGW that can be proven false, or at least it can be shown that their is no justification for those claims. Lack of certainty in truth does not necessarily allow lack of certainty of all falsehoods.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 24 Aug 2010 @ 11:40 PM

  507. … just to be clear, when I said they don’t say climate sensitivity is precisely 3.105532 K/doubling CO2, I was not trying to imply some significance to that particular number (besides its falling within the expected range of values, nearer the center than the fringes).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 24 Aug 2010 @ 11:45 PM

  508. 497 Nick : Oh I’m sure he CAN say what he meant … but I’m not so gifted so I’m curious to know what is really proved concerning AGW.

    Other question : if the Arctic ice sea has experiences strong fluctuations in the past, how can we prove that the origin of the current one is mainly anthropogenic ?
    can the recent melting of northern sea ice be related with the recently measured acceleration of the Gulf stream, which I understood was not predicted by the current models ?

    Comment by Gilles — 25 Aug 2010 @ 1:38 AM

  509. 503, Ray Ladbury: OK, now I want you to read that back to yourself. Think about what it says. Now, ask yourself, if you were to be completely honest: Shouldn’t that tell you something?

    Hm. If I am being dishonest, can I imagine what I would read into that comment if I were completely honest? The topic was the Arctic ice melt of summer 2007, and as far as I can tell I was emphasizing the fact that the recorded history does not permit us to make inferences about when that last such extreme summer Arctic ice melt occurred. Your personal testimony was that it had to have been an extremely long time ago, which is fine as long as it is recognized as personal testimony.

    I expect that it will be one of the topics of review articles in Science or Nature, or both. If in Science, then I’ll read it on my own when it is hot off the presses.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 25 Aug 2010 @ 2:01 AM

  510. “if the Arctic ice sea has experiences strong fluctuations in the past, how can we prove that the origin of the current one is mainly anthropogenic ?”

    Gilles – Suggest you go and look at “Detection and attribution”. The IPCC AR4 (Working Group 1) had an entire Chapter on this, if I’m not wrong. The references cited therein would answer your question.

    Comment by Silk — 25 Aug 2010 @ 7:57 AM

  511. Silk, thx, but the paper I was referring to has been published in 2010, 3 years after the AR4 release
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2010/2010GL042372.shtml
    it suggests an increase of around 15 % in the AMOC flow since 1993, I was wondering if this could be a new element in the debate.

    Comment by Gilles — 25 Aug 2010 @ 9:25 AM

  512. Patrick 027, your comment #505 is the key question. The rub is that it boils down to a subjective judgement with one deciding on the downside to mitigation versus the downside of business as usual (and upsides, too). All while trying to assess the quantification of the downsides along side the probability of either (and maybe stuff in between). The latter is also, at least in the final analysis — it begins as an objective assessment — a subjective judgement based (as just one example) on the input of someone measuring the width of the Atlantic with a micrometer and declaring with 95% certainty that the width of the Pacific in the next decade will be X.

    Still, it is the key question. 100% certainty is not the metric. Assessing and making judgements on what the climate scientists say — trying to understand the science as best we can, which is short of competence and a way off perfection — along with some political/economic factors is the metric.

    Comment by Rod B — 25 Aug 2010 @ 11:11 AM

  513. Giles@508,
    Garbage. “The scientific reality of anthropogenic global warming — and many of the specific components of our understanding of that reality — have indeed been proved beyond a reasonable doubt.”, is entirely clear. You’re just playing your usual stupid games.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 25 Aug 2010 @ 3:34 PM

  514. Rod B. says: “The rub is that it boils down to a subjective judgement with one deciding on the downside to mitigation versus the downside of business as usual (and upsides, too).”

    WRONG!!! Probabilistic risk assessment is NOT subjective, and probabilistic is not synonymoous with subjective! We can bound the risk on the side of mitigation/avoidance. We can not bound it on the side of complacency and inaction. This is a clear and important distinction between the two sides. If you do not understand this, then you do not understand the most important lesson of risk management. LEARN IT!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Aug 2010 @ 5:10 PM

  515. Ray Ladbury (514), Probablistic risk assessment most certainly be subjective, at least in the final analysis, depending on the context and certainty of the future environment. Confidence levels from least square regression is pretty good stuff, but it was not bestowed by God and depends significantly on the context and scientific interpretation of the observations and projections.

    I do not agree that the risk on the side of mitigation/avoidance is [easily] bounded, but I would agree that it is closer to being bound than is the side of inaction, which, as you say, is most likely unbounded. (I omitted your “complacency ” as an irrelevant pejorative; but your point remains.) We can make rough estimates of the former but have no way of determining how bad (and fast) the latter might be. It might not be bad at all. However, the current climate science does not allow good risk calculations either way (though could likely make a solid case for worse than ‘not bad at all.’) The unbounded risk of inaction is not a sole game decider, but does carry significant weight in the judgement process.

    Comment by Rod B — 25 Aug 2010 @ 9:04 PM

  516. ps, that should be “can be subjective.

    Comment by Rod B — 25 Aug 2010 @ 9:07 PM

  517. Re Rod B 515 – nonetheless, it seems foolish to base our policies on only the unlikely outcomes and ignore the likely outcomes.

    Suppose for example our best calculation were that a $52/ton CO2eq is optimal. While concave PPCs can occur, would you argue that choosing a $10/ton CO2eq would be less wise than $0/ton CO2eq, not given any specific expectation of concavity within that range?

    I think (and therein may lie some subjectivity, though I could provide some rational for this) we’d see the worst of the undesired effects of a policy in the short term, so if we introduce a tax and gradually ramp it up toward some predicted optimal value, if the economic behavior were worse then expected, we could respond and adjust policy accordingly. We can also adjust policy as climate science and understanding of the effects of climate on ecosystems and economics are improved and clarified. So I don’t see any need to simply wait for any such policy for any additional information relative to what we know as of 1999.

    There are some actions that can’t be justified with the information available now (maybe some specifics about where to build aquaducts?), but there are some actions that can be justified with what we know now , even just knowing the climate sensivity seems to be around 2 to 4 K/doubling CO2, etc.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 25 Aug 2010 @ 10:49 PM

  518. I think (and therein may lie some subjectivity, though I could provide some rational for this)

    Of course it should be pointed out that a subjective opinion from one person might be substituted with the expertise of some other people – some subjectivity might remain but it may be more anchored to facts and reason, so the product is of better value.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 25 Aug 2010 @ 10:54 PM

  519. 513 : Nick : if it is entirely clear for you, why do you spend your time saying that it is clear, instead of simply answering my question about what had really been proved beyond any reasonable doubt ? even in AR4 the official sentence is : “It is likely that there has been significant anthropogenic warming over the past 50 years averaged over each continent except Antarctica (see Figure SPM.4).”. Following my knowledge of English language, “likely” can hardly been transcribed as “proved beyond any reasonable doubt”.

    517 Patrick : Suppose for example our best calculation were that a $52/ton CO2eq is optimal.

    Barring the problem of how a tax is supposed to modify the total amount of FF extracted from the ground (which is really a weird idea in my opinion), the computation of an optimal value requires to define a indicator to be optimized, but the choice of this indicator is itself subjective. Could you find an objective manner to compare the decrease of polar bear population with the amount of electricity per inhabitant in the Sichuan ? even the quantification by a “monetary value” seems difficult. I already mentioned that following the same criteria that are invoked to measure the damage of a possible GW to the populations, the cars should be simply totally banned since they produce a considerable amount of casualties, injuries, and physical destructions. And this is not a sophism.

    Comment by Gilles — 26 Aug 2010 @ 1:10 AM

  520. Rod, when you’re thinking about risk, this particular one or any other, put yourself in other shoes.

    What if you were not a scientist but an actuary. You have to advise your insurance company about the risks of something or other. How severe is the risk? Should we cover it at all? If we do, what premiums would we need to charge to cover this level of risk?

    The risks? Flood, crop damage, fire, running the Olympics in 8 or 12 years time, storm and wind damage. How do you assess? You look at the history of the location and the activity. You ask experts, meteorologists, agricultural scientists, climate scientists.

    Now, write your report.

    Comment by adelady — 26 Aug 2010 @ 2:42 AM

  521. Gilles – I can only see the abstract of the paper you reference at post #511, but it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Arctic Ice.

    You asked the question “if the Arctic ice sea has experiences strong fluctuations in the past, how can we prove that the origin of the current one is mainly anthropogenic ?”

    By reading the Chapter on detection and attribution in the AR4, you can understand the answer, irrespective of what has been published since. Have you read that Chapter? Do you understand the concept of detection and attribution? If so, you can answer your own question.

    Comment by Silk — 26 Aug 2010 @ 3:37 AM

  522. Patrick 027 wrote: “There are some actions that can’t be justified with the information available now … but there are some actions that can be justified with what we know now”

    The basic underlying position of the deniers is that nothing we know now or could possibly know can justify any action that even slightly reduces the fossil fuel corporations’ billion-dollar-per-day profits. All of their sophistry, pseudo-science and outright dishonesty boils down to that, always.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 26 Aug 2010 @ 6:24 AM

  523. Sorry, I just noticed I omitted a word at #520.

    The risks? …running the *WINTER* Olympics in 8 or 12 years time….

    Comment by adelady — 26 Aug 2010 @ 7:46 AM

  524. “even the quantification by a “monetary value” seems difficult”

    Of course it’s difficult. It’s not, by any stretch of the imagination, impossible. It’s been done by Stern, for example.

    There’s masses and masses of economic work on environmental issues.

    It’s difficult to quanitfy the monetary value of the ozone layer. Yet we managed to deal with the problem, at considerable cost.

    Finally, a $52 per ton carbon price would provide a very significant incentive for all sortsd of activities to reduce CO2 emissions, from renewables to energy efficiency to CCS.

    Comment by Silk — 26 Aug 2010 @ 7:54 AM

  525. Gilles,
    Nick : if it is entirely clear for you, why do you spend your time saying that it is clear, instead of simply answering my question about what had really been proved beyond any reasonable doubt ?

    Because I’m not going to play your stupid games. The sentence as written by SecularAnimist is entirely clear. Look at it again:

    The scientific reality of anthropogenic global warming — and many of the specific components of our understanding of that reality — have indeed been proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

    First, try cutting out the bit between the dashes. We then get:

    The scientific reality of anthropogenic global warming [has] indeed been proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Now, that says that it has been proved scientifically beyond reasonable doubt that human activities have warmed the global climate. It says nothing about how, or how much, or what proportion of recent warming, or what the effects would be, does it? So it is entirely clear. (It is also true: we know the climate has warmed, we know human activities have increased GHG concentrations, we understand the mechanisms involved, we see the pattern of warming and cooling we would expect if it is true, and we see that solar activity has not changed enough to account for the warming – but here I am only concerned with its clarity.)

    Now let’s take the part between the dashes:

    and many of the specific components of our understanding of that reality

    This is also entirely clear. SecularAnimist does not say, and need not say, in order for the statement to be both entirely clear, and true, which components of our understanding are proved beyond a reasonable doubt. To be entirely clear, and true, a statement does not have to be absolutely precise. If I say “I saw a tall man near the park”, that is entirely clear, and can be completely true, without me saying, or even being able to say, exactly how tall or how near. SecularAnimist is under no obligation to specify any further. Got it yet?

    even in AR4 the official sentence is : “It is likely that there has been significant anthropogenic warming over the past 50 years averaged over each continent except Antarctica (see Figure SPM.4).”. Following my knowledge of English language, “likely” can hardly been transcribed as “proved beyond any reasonable doubt”.

    Even if your understanding of English is not as good as you think, I do not quite see how you could have managed to misunderstand this, given the context of the figure that you yourself note. The statement “there has been significant anthropogenic warming over the past 50 years averaged over each continent except Antarctica” would be false if there had been such warming over, for example, Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and South America, but not Australia. The statement “there has been significant anthropogenic warming over the past 50 years averaged over each continent except Antarctica” could be false while the statement that “there has been significant anthropogenic global warming over the past 50 years” was true (and for that matter, the first could be true and the second false, if Antarctica had got much, much colder).

    This is all a very good illustration of what I mean by your “stupid games”: you persistently and perversely misinterpret the words of both commenters here, and climate scientists.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 26 Aug 2010 @ 8:50 AM

  526. Re :#520 Specifying risks.

    How about the standard argument for nuclear weapons in the UK? i.e. “we don’t know what the risks are, or what the world will be like when these systems are ready, so therefore we must spend billions of dollars on Trident” even though we must cut cut cut…. expenditure on most other items.

    If you don’t believe that these arguments are being used, come to the UK.

    Comment by deconvoluter — 26 Aug 2010 @ 8:57 AM

  527. Silk :”By reading the Chapter on detection and attribution in the AR4, you can understand the answer, irrespective of what has been published since. Have you read that Chapter? Do you understand the concept of detection and attribution? If so, you can answer your own question.’
    Yes, but I elaborate a little bit more : if new phenomena have been discovered since the writing of this report, could they influence the conclusion ? may be the acceleration of Gulf stream has absolutely nothing to do with Arctic sea ice melting… but is it true ?
    Nick “Now, that says that it has been proved scientifically beyond reasonable doubt that human activities have warmed the global climate.”
    That’s the kind of answer I was expecting from the beginning. Now if my understanding of English is good enough, it means that it is almost certain that anthropic activities have contributed to warm the climate … but not much more than that ?
    concerning the rest of your message, I was commenting the “likely”, not the warming of continents in itself. I understand that the warming is almost certain, but that the significance of the anthropogenic component is only likely. Meaning that
    * there has been a warming.
    * the contribution of anthropic activities to this warming is positive.
    * its exact amount is likely to be significant, but [implicitely] there is still some room for discussion;

    Is it a fair traduction of what lies in the AR4 summary?

    As the discussion goes on the cost/benefit calculation of mitigation, I don’t think that these remarks are quite immaterial. Of course if mitigation were absolutely cost-free, well the likelihood wouldn’t be that important. But if it had absolutely no cost, there wouldn’t be any discussion about it as well, since the finitude of the resource would be in itself enough to justify it, even not speaking of GW. Lord Monckton may do some mistakes, but I don’t think that the issues he raises are quite irrelevant.

    Comment by Gilles — 26 Aug 2010 @ 10:13 AM

  528. SecularAnimist (522), your characterization of so-called “deniers” is a cleaver sounding demonizing meme that has no connection to real stuff — though it’s probably not intended to. Now if you’re talking about skeptics, well, that would be unmitigated crap, too.

    Comment by Rod B — 26 Aug 2010 @ 11:16 AM

  529. “It is likely that there has been significant anthropogenic warming over the past 50 years averaged over each continent except Antarctica (see Figure SPM.4).”

    It is also likely that catastrophic floods like those of this summer in Pakistan and China (where they were less catastrophic because of China’s flood control system) will recur in the future as they have in the past, independently of any human additions or reductions of atmospheric CO2.

    Is the flooding more likely than the continued warming, or less likely than the continued warming? Since money at any time is not infinite, and its availability depends on donors and willing taxpayers, is it better to invest more money in flood control systems for Pakistan (and India and Bangladesh), or is it better to invest more money in reducing anthropogenic CO2?

    Pakistan is not the only place where natural disasters are “likely” to recur: earthquakes in Haiti; earthquakes and volcanoes all along the Pacific Rim from Chile through Alaska and down to Indonesia; earthquakes, tsunamis and tropical cyclones around the Bay of Bengal; tropical cyclones on the US East Coast and in the Caribbean Sea including all the islands, the peninsulas of Florida and Yucatan, and the entire coast between; floods and droughts in too many places to mention.

    The word “likely” implies a need for rigorous comparisons of likelihood, and the assessment of risks implies a need for rigorous comparisons of risks, and their alleviation. Catastrophic floods will recur in Pakistan (anyone doubt that), even if the entire industrial world replaces its entire energy economy with non-CO2-generating energy; it would be unconscionable to address energy only without building a flood control system in Pakistan at least as competent as the flood control system in China.

    Wouldn’t it?

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 26 Aug 2010 @ 11:29 AM

  530. Gilles,

    I see you are still determined to continue your stupid games.

    That’s the kind of answer I was expecting from the beginning. Now if my understanding of English is good enough, it means that it is almost certain that anthropic activities have contributed to warm the climate … but not much more than that ?

    No, of course it doesn’t; and you know it. First, because SecularAnimist said more than that. Second, because what SecularAnimist says does not (as I’m sure he would agree) define the current state of scientific knowledge in any case.

    concerning the rest of your message, I was commenting the “likely”, not the warming of continents in itself. I understand that the warming is almost certain, but that the significance of the anthropogenic component is only likely. Meaning that
    * there has been a warming.
    * the contribution of anthropic activities to this warming is positive.
    * its exact amount is likely to be significant, but [implicitely] there is still some room for discussion;

    Is it a fair traduction of what lies in the AR4 summary?

    You quoted the sentence in the AR4 summary with the implication that it threw doubt on what SecularAnimist said. It doesn’t, as I have already explained – because “there has been significant anthropogenic warming over the past 50 years averaged over each continent except Antarctica” does not have to have been proved beyond reasonable doubt, for the reality of anthropogenic global warming to have been proved beyond reasonable doubt. It doesn’t, in fact, even have to be likely, for the reality of anthropogenic global warming to have been proved beyond reasonable doubt.

    I’ve no doubt you will be able to keep up your stupid games longer than I have patience to answer. I’ve no doubt you think these stupid games prove how clever you are. On this point, however, you are mistaken.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 26 Aug 2010 @ 12:09 PM

  531. Gilles claims above that Josh Willis’s paper
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2010/2010GL042372.shtml
    “suggests an increase of around 15 % in the AMOC flow since 1993″
    and later refers to “the acceleration of Gulf stream” as though it were a fact, then asserts something about arctic sea ice not in the paper.

    The abstract discusses data from floating buoys and other data sources, and says “There is no significant trend in overturning …” and “substantial slowing of the AMOC did not occur …”

    Gilles isn’t reading what’s there, he’s seeing what he wants to claim.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Aug 2010 @ 12:10 PM

  532. I see the usual suspects are wasting everyone’s time again.

    I wanted to say something substantive, but there is absolutely nothing substantive to answer. The nice thing about scientific language is it is very specific, and, like legal language, aims to be unambiguous. So, the silly word games and wilful blindness are pure sophistry: the meaning of the IPCC reports is painfully clear, and terms are defined in exhausting detail. And then everything is repeated in language even politicians can understand.

    So, all you people struggling to understand: stop posting for two minutes and spend some quality time with the source material.

    And dear PTB: an open thread would be nice. It would allow commenters to start a fresh topic when current threads go stale, and you have no time to feed the beast with a new posting.

    Comment by Didactylos — 26 Aug 2010 @ 2:37 PM

  533. Rod B wrote: “… your characterization of so-called ‘deniers’ is a cleaver sounding demonizing meme …”

    Cleaver sounding?

    I like it.

    Whack whack! Le Maniac!

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 26 Aug 2010 @ 5:13 PM

  534. SecularAnimist, I wanted to correct the spelling but decided I liked it!

    BTW, it seems to have died, but your point in 479 about how the public could react to the internal debate of “proof” is quite accurate.

    Comment by Rod B — 26 Aug 2010 @ 8:02 PM

  535. Hank, the abstract says :”There is no significant trend in overturning strength between 2002 and 2009. Altimeter data, however, suggest an increase of 2.6 Sv since 1993″. So it may be just a question of signal to noise ratio, just like no significant warming has been observed between 2002 and 2009 ;). I didn’t make any assertion concerning a link with Arctic ice, I just asked a question whether it could be related.

    Another question : in the AR4 the attribution of the anthropogenic origin of the sea ice melting is based on the lack of enough variability in computer models, which is in my sense always a little bit doubtful

    (9.5.5.1)

    Gregory et al. (2002b) show that a four-member ensemble of HadCM3 integrations with all major anthropogenic and natural forcing factors simulates a decline in arctic sea ice extent of about 2.5% per decade over the period 1970 to 1999, which is close to the observed decline of 2.7% per decade over the satellite period 1978 to 2004. This decline is inconsistent with simulated internal climate variability and the response to natural forcings alone (Vinnikov et al., 1999; Gregory et al., 2002b; Johannssen et al., 2004), indicating that anthropogenic forcing has likely contributed to the trend in NH sea ice extent. ” (emphasis from myself).

    I understand that the only significant argument is the lack of enough natural variability IN COMPUTER SIMULATIONS. My question was more or less the following : since new data have been found after this release (increase in Guf stream overturning), did the models cited in AR4 predict this increase before it was observed, yes or no ? (the answer should be simple …) And if no, which credibility do they have and how reliable are their conclusions?

    Note that even in AR4, it is stated that :
    “Simulations of historical arctic ice thickness or volume (Goeberle and Gerdes, 2003; Rothrock et al., 2003) show a marked reduction in ice thickness starting in the late 1980s, but disagree somewhat with respect to trends and/or variations earlier in the century.” , so even the natural, preanthropogenic variability is not well reproduced.

    I do not contest anything written in AR4, I’m just asking a question : is the attribution really mainly based on this kind of computations , and is it what you really mean by “proved beyond any reasonable doubt ” ?

    Comment by Gilles — 27 Aug 2010 @ 1:21 AM

  536. “Silk :”By reading the Chapter on detection and attribution in the AR4, you can understand the answer, irrespective of what has been published since. Have you read that Chapter? Do you understand the concept of detection and attribution? If so, you can answer your own question.’
    Yes, but I elaborate a little bit more : if new phenomena have been discovered since the writing of this report, could they influence the conclusion ? may be the acceleration of Gulf stream has absolutely nothing to do with Arctic sea ice melting… but is it true ?”

    Gilles – As Hank has pointed out, the paper you reference does not suggest any new phenomena.

    Fundamentally, however, no single observation is likely to significantly impact on the conclusions of the AR4. There isn’t going to be a silver bullet that suddenly destroys climate change (however much people hope there will be).

    It is entirely possible that some observations will be made that suggest things are happening that models do not predict. In this case, a sensible first step is to re-check the observations (I recall something about satellite data disagreeing with models, and it turned out this was due to a calibration error in the data collection, rather than a problem with models)

    However, even if the new phenomena (if one were observed which is hasn’t been!) disagreed with models, this doesn’t immediately invalidate the models.

    I’m not clear as to whether you’ve actually read the AR4 Chapter on detection and attribution (you “yes” there was a little ambigous) but if you have that should explain why it’s a complex process, and it doesn’t rely on a single technique or approach)

    The AR4 is the summary of the work of thousands of scientists. A single paper is never going to significantly change the direction of that work.

    We KNOW that

    Climate sensitivity is 3 degrees plus or minus 1.5 degrees (models not needed to know this)
    GHG concentrations in the atmosphere are increasing, and will continue to increase, due to human activity

    Knowing those two things is sufficient to know we have a problem we need to deal with.

    ReCapatcha – “investigation mornanes”. Indeed.

    Comment by Silk — 27 Aug 2010 @ 4:14 AM

  537. septic matthew – Re #529

    The global effort to address climate change through the UNFCCC deals with BOTH mitgation AND adaptation.

    (One of the good reasons for a global carbon tax is that it could be used to fund adaptation efforts – “polluter pays”. Of course, there are arguments against but…)

    No one (I hope) on Realclimate would disagree with the fact that adaptation is important and should not be ignored.

    The challenge of mitigation is to do it in such a way as to keep the economies of the poorest countries growing so the poor become less poor (and the richest, too, because otherwise they won’t do it)

    The fact that this is a challenge does not mean it shouldn’t be done.

    And the surest way to destroy the economies, and lives, of the world’s poorest is to pretend climate change isn’t happening, push [CO2] past 550ppm and irreversibly (over the time period of human lifetimes) change the global, and hence local, climate.

    Comment by Silk — 27 Aug 2010 @ 4:33 AM

  538. 537, silk. I agree with most of that post. However, I have not read anything at RealClimate, other than my own posts, that says that more funds should be devoted to flood control in Pakistan (plus all the other things that I listed) than to CO2 reduction. Or even that the funds for such construction should be “in the same ballpark”, say at least 10% as much.

    And the surest way to destroy the economies, and lives, of the world’s poorest is to pretend climate change isn’t happening, push [CO2] past 550ppm and irreversibly (over the time period of human lifetimes) change the global, and hence local, climate.

    I believe the evidence is insufficient to conclude that is the “surest”. The “surest” might be to spend on CO2 reduction and discover that the other natural process are so large compared to the CO2 effect that global warming continues to happen anyway (or that significant cooling occurs), and there is insufficient reserve to adjust. What is really the most likely outcome of current attempts to curtail CO2 emissions? I doubt that can be known, but the last 20 years have seen the US and EU reduce total emissions (CO2 plus other stuff), and shift manufacturing and growth of material wealth to India, China, the Asian Tigers, Indonesia and Malaysia, etc. Just as western boycotts of western oil companies have facilitated the international growth of SINOPEC, the Chinese state oil monopoly. Consequently, another of the likely outcome of international attempts to curtail CO2 emissions is the continued subsidy of Chinese and Indian pollution by the EU (and perhaps the US).

    Of the “clear and present dangers” to Western Civilization (now flourishing in Eastern and Southern Asia), and to the world’s poor, CO2 induced global warming is not necessarily the surest, most costly, or most preventable.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 27 Aug 2010 @ 12:17 PM

  539. Septic Matthew (#538)

    From RC About page “The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science.”

    Based on the policy above, I don’t think you should technically ever see an argument about how funds should be distributed. While I’m sure there is some discussion of politics/economics in some posts (and certainly in the comments) I’m pretty sure that the focus keeps these discussions to a minimum.

    That being said, I think you are right that there are many “sure” ways to destroy to economies and lives of the poorest. I would suggest you could reduce the impact of many of these “sure” events (including AGW) in one swoop. For instance, improving hygiene and hospital conditions will likely reduce the effects of malaria for instance, which is forcast to become more widespread as the climate warms. Also, reducing the poverty of haiti (through economic development) would go a long way to helping that country in times of disaster such as earthquakes or hurricanes (stronger with AGW).

    Comment by sambo — 27 Aug 2010 @ 2:13 PM

  540. @538–”I believe the evidence is insufficient to conclude [AGW] is the “surest”. The “surest” might be to spend on CO2 reduction and discover that the other natural process are so large compared to the CO2 effect that global warming continues to happen anyway. . .”

    Just WHAT “other natural process?” Thirty years of research have failed to find a plausible candidate–barring of course the wild cards of supervolcano eruption or serious solar instability. (I’d say we as yet have no reason to try to hedge against those; too little capacity to respond, too low a probability of ever happening.)

    So your “surest” seems to me to be much lower probability–an odd qualification for “surest” indeed.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 27 Aug 2010 @ 3:22 PM

  541. Oh–I probably should’ve included the wild cards of nuclear conflict and sizable asteroid strike, too. My bad–but still no “surest” in sight.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 27 Aug 2010 @ 3:24 PM

  542. Really, Judith?

    Judith Curry: On Antarctic sea ice, Climategate and skeptics

    Yes, you’ve certainly been raked over pretty good by certain sites like Real Climate and Climate Progress.

    Oh yes. Those guys are directly involved in Climategate so that’s not a huge surprise. …

    Real Climate, I think they’ve damaged their brand. They started out doing something that people liked, but they’ve been too partisan in a scientific way. Their moderation hasn’t been good. There was a lot of rudeness toward me on one thread that was actually encouraged by the moderators. I don’t think that has served them well.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 27 Aug 2010 @ 4:11 PM

  543. “I believe the evidence is insufficient to conclude that is the “surest”.”

    Well, you’re wrong on that. As usual. Read the Stern Review.

    “The “surest” might be to spend on CO2 reduction and discover that the other natural process are so large compared to the CO2 effect that global warming continues to happen anyway (or that significant cooling occurs), and there is insufficient reserve to adjust.”

    Yeah. And it’s also possible we could spend the money on flood defences, and all turn into chickens due to a freak reality storm. But how likely is that.

    There is /zero/ evidence for any ‘natural processes’ that can drive rapid climate change over a decadal timescale. There is /ample/ evidence that human induced climate change will do just that.

    “What is really the most likely outcome of current attempts to curtail CO2 emissions?”

    That has nothing to do with the fact we need to reduce emissions. It’s hard. So what? It’s also known to be possible.

    “I doubt that can be known, but the last 20 years have seen the US and EU reduce total emissions (CO2 plus other stuff)”

    Wrong. The US has not reduced its emissions over the last 20 years.

    “and shift manufacturing and growth of material wealth to India, China, the Asian Tigers, Indonesia and Malaysia, etc.”

    Any evidence, whatsoever, that this is due to efforts to reduce emissions? No, thought not.

    “Just as western boycotts of western oil companies have facilitated the international growth of SINOPEC, the Chinese state oil monopoly.”

    Any evidence for this statement? Looks like nonsense to me.

    “Consequently, another of the likely outcome of international attempts to curtail CO2 emissions is the continued subsidy of Chinese and Indian pollution by the EU (and perhaps the US).”

    Really? Not only are you an expert in climate change science, but /also/ in the negotiations. Wow.

    Would you care to explain to me how the EU is ‘subsidising’ Chinese pollution?

    “Of the “clear and present dangers” to Western Civilization (now flourishing in Eastern and Southern Asia), and to the world’s poor, CO2 induced global warming is not necessarily the surest, most costly, or most preventable.”

    Would you care to present some other dangers?

    Comment by Silk — 27 Aug 2010 @ 4:47 PM

  544. 540, Kevin McKinney: serious solar instability

    Soon to be a denialist talking point, but not yet, to my knowledge:

    http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=117580&org=NSF&from=news

    [Response: Why? Surely they aren't as silly as to equate a solar effect 200 miles up in the atmosphere with climate change? Especially an effect attributed using computer models! What am I thinking, of course some of them will be that silly.... - gavin]

    I do not know what the surest way to end the economies of the world and devastate the world’s poor people is, as I wrote.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 27 Aug 2010 @ 5:12 PM

  545. Silk : “There is /zero/ evidence for any ‘natural processes’ that can drive rapid climate change over a decadal timescale.”

    do you mean that the warming during the 1900-1940 period wasn’t natural, or that it wasn’t rapid ?

    Comment by Gilles — 27 Aug 2010 @ 6:15 PM

  546. Re: Jim Galasyn @ 27 August 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Thanks, I think, for that link to the interview with JC. A painful and depressing read. Like when Old Yeller died…

    The train wreck continues.

    The Yooper

    Comment by Daniel "The Yooper" Bailey — 27 Aug 2010 @ 7:19 PM

  547. Rod B., The fact that you insist that probability is inherently subjective illustrates that you know JACK abut probability. Go crack a [edit] book. Google Akaike Information Criterion and start following links. This stuff is [edit] MATHEMATICS. It is part of the [edit] structure of the [edit] UNIVERSE. NOW [edit] LEARN IT!!!

    PS (I say this out of frustration, but really Rod, you would get so much more out of this discussion if you stopped pretending to understand and cracked a book to increase your understanding.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Aug 2010 @ 7:49 PM

  548. Re 529 Septic Matthew
    It is also likely that catastrophic floods like those of this summer in Pakistan and China (where they were less catastrophic because of China’s flood control system) will recur

    YES.

    in the future as they have in the past, independently of any human additions or reductions of atmospheric CO2.

    Not so fast! As weather patterns shift, some areas will get dryer and some will get wetter. With respect to the prior climate, this tends to lead toward more numerous or intense/prolonged droughts and floods. ‘Full’ adaptation to the new climate would eliminate that effect as the amounts of precipitation and evaporation, and such things as river and lack levels, etc, would just become a new normal – which doesn’t mean it’s just as well, of course, and there is the cost and time of adaptation.

    But on top of a shift in climatic averages, there are some expected changes to variability.

    is it better to invest more money in flood control systems for Pakistan (and India and Bangladesh), or is it better to invest more money in reducing anthropogenic CO2?

    Money should be invested in water management (flood and drought amelioration). There is some amount that would be justified without the issue of AGW. AGW changes that amount and AGW mitigation is one way to invest in water management.

    A sufficient AGW emissions tax would not require much sustained (as opposed to near-term investments to help some industries scale-up and grow towards being competitive, break some economic behaviors out of their ruts, etc., and aside from some R&D) public investment in emissions-efficiency; the funds would generally be appropriately directed towards paying for the portion of costs associated with adaptation to AGW effects. The portion of costs that would have been present without AGW are not what justifies the tax and thus not where the funds from the tax should go, at least in such a simple formulation. Of course, if we use a smaller emissions tax rate, than more of that revenue could be justifiably spent on mitigation investmensts…

    PS if we have no AGW policy, where would the funds for flood management, etc, come from?

    (PS good that you’re concerned for the welfare of people globally. Some opposition to AGW policies are rooted in either apathy for all but people in the U.S. or whatever country hosts the opposition (hence, for these people, raising the issue of such alternative use of funds is hypocrisy), or misunderstanding of how a fair system works.)

    ——–
    Re 538 Septic Matthew
    What is really the most likely outcome of current attempts to curtail CO2 emissions? I doubt that can be known, but the last 20 years have seen the US and EU reduce total emissions (CO2 plus other stuff), and shift manufacturing and growth of material wealth to India, China, the Asian Tigers, Indonesia and Malaysia, etc. Just as western boycotts of western oil companies have facilitated the international growth of SINOPEC, the Chinese state oil monopoly. Consequently, another of the likely outcome of international attempts to curtail CO2 emissions is the continued subsidy of Chinese and Indian pollution by the EU (and perhaps the US).

    Aside from the problems in your representation of what has thus far occured (though it is true that lax regulations (environmental, consumer safety, labor, etc.) in some countries will tend to pull some industries towards those countries and thus stricter regulations will tend to repel some industries), there is the problem that you are assuming that there is a large loophole in the policy that will be adopted without correction. The cynicism is understandable, but please realize that there are rather obvious solutions to such problems and many are aware of such issues.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 27 Aug 2010 @ 11:56 PM

  549. Ray Ladbury, first (and maybe all….) I NEVER said that probability is inherently subjective. The normal process is 1) draw, 2) aim, 3) shoot. Not usually helpful when #2 is left off.

    What I said was probabilistic risk assessment (not the same as “probability” period) CAN be (not “is”) subjective, at least IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS (not throughout the process), DEPENDING (not “is” period) on the context and certainty of the future environment.

    I was basically referring to the projections of forcing and sensitivity from the current situation into the future, which, while based heavily on science, none-the-less in the end requires a projection into an environment that is short of supporting scientific data. A statistical 95% confidence level IN THIS CASE is a purely mathematical construct and exists, in essence, through a purely mathematical extension of the historical temperature record. Adjusting that extension is a subjective surmise, albeit based on a personal assimilation of a lot of physics — but still, IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS, a subjective surmise.

    You might still disagree with my assertion. If so please rebut my assertion, not something I never said.

    Comment by Rod B — 28 Aug 2010 @ 12:19 AM

  550. 549, Patrick027: PS if we have no AGW policy, where would the funds for flood management, etc, come from?

    Nations as diverse as China, Tibet (a few hundred years ago), Cambodia (the Khmer hundreds of years ago), the Central American Societies, Indonesia, US, Brazil, Egypt, USSR, Turkey, Syria, Iraq have built substantial water control projects without any AGW policy. Not all have been without problems, but lack of AGW policy has not been a problem.

    I hate to blame the victims, but Pakistan’s negligence since the floods of the first half of the 20th century was not enforced on them by a lack of funds.

    You are correct that I expect any CO2 treaty to continue to exempt India, China, and other industrializing nations, or that attempts to include them will have negligible effects before about 2050, by which time most industrializing and industrialized nations will have boosted their non-fossil fuel energy industries to where they provide a majority of power. In light of recent history, I don’t see how you can call that “cynical”.

    To support the transition to a mostly non-fossil fuel energy industry, I support a CO2 tax.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 28 Aug 2010 @ 11:15 AM

  551. #544–

    Soon to be a denialist talking point, but not yet, to my knowledge:

    http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=117580&org=NSF&from=news

    [Response: Why? Surely they aren't as silly as to equate a solar effect 200 miles up in the atmosphere with climate change? Especially an effect attributed using computer models! What am I thinking, of course some of them will be that silly.... - gavin]

    Actually, it already has surfaced as a denialist talking point, at least in one interaction I had. A poor dweeb was going on and on about the shrinking thermosphere, alleging an imminent Ice Age (or at least Little Ice Age), and pointing to the UAH monthly values over the preceding few months, which happened to show a declining trend, which he described as “huge.” It wasn’t hard to find larger month-to-month variations in the same data, as it happened–which ended that particular conversation.

    However, it stuck in my mind as an odd interaction, and I wondered where it came from (as usual, no sources were cited.) Must have been from one of the previous stories cited in the current press realease, since this all happened a few weeks back now.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 28 Aug 2010 @ 11:16 AM

  552. Rod, if it´s subjective, then A)It isn´t PRA, or B)It is Bayesian, and therefore inherently subjective anyway. Rod, 95% confidence means something. The terms confidence and probability have very specific meanings. There are standard procedures for determining them. Those procedures have a mathematical basis, and a strong track record of success. I will take the work of Fisher, Kolmogorov, Akaike and others over an assertion you pulled out of an alternative orifice any day of the week.

    Frankly, if you disagree with the analysis then it is up to you to produce a better one. I would also note that no one has come even close.

    Now as to 95% CL, it can be demonstrated in many ways. None of them have had questions raised about them by serious researchers. Look, Rod, I do PRA for a living.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Aug 2010 @ 11:51 AM

  553. #542 Jim Galasyn

    I honestly think that many here tried to help her. I don’t recall anyone being rude to her. I did not read all the posts I’m sure. But my impressions was that there were a lot of people trying to help her understand contexts that she seemed to be missing.


    Fee & Dividend: Our best chanceLearn the IssueSign the Petition
    A Climate Minute: Natural CycleGreenhouse EffectClimate Science HistoryArctic Ice Melt

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Aug 2010 @ 12:39 PM

  554. Re 550 Septic Matthew
    have built substantial water control projects without any AGW policy.lack of AGW policy has not been a problem.

    Okay, but you missed my point. Absent AGW as an issue, there shouldn’t be an emissions tax (at least for climatic effects; ocean acification still a problem; of course there are other problems associated with mining coal, drilling for oil and gas, but those should be addressed by additional regulations – anyway…), but there is still the issue of water resources. Thus, some resources that come from somewhere besides an emissions tax should go toward water resource management, to the extent it is of net benifit absent AGW. Absent charity or perhaps various historical issues, it makes sense for the beneficiaries of such water resource management to pay for it.

    On top of that, there will be some additional water resource issues that come from AGW, and it would make sense to use funds from an emissions tax to address those water resource issues.

    (The one caveat is that there could be some places where AGW reduces the net required investment in water resource management, particularly if little investment has yet been made; for example, if there were a problem either with flooding or with drought that has not yet been addressed, and AGW reduced that without increasing the opposite, then less investment would be necessary. I’m guessing (not something I’ve read about in such detail) that this isn’t expected in the global average, at least to the extent that water management would include aquaducts to supply agriculture or migration of agriculture towards the water resource … Anyway, for well-mixed gases, the emissions tax generally has to be justified by a global average net public cost.)

    I hate to blame the victims, but Pakistan’s negligence since the floods of the first half of the 20th century was not enforced on them by a lack of funds.

    Not from AGW policy, but I suspect either more efficient/benificial government or greater wealth would have helped, as would have perhaps different colonial policies so as to not set the stage for the conflict with India, etc, or going back farther in time…(?)

    You are correct that I expect any CO2 treaty to continue to exempt India, China, and other industrializing nations, or that attempts to include them will have negligible effects before about 2050, by which time most industrializing and industrialized nations will have boosted their non-fossil fuel energy industries to where they provide a majority of power. In light of recent history, I don’t see how you can call that “cynical”.

    Well okay, but even a purely domestic policy can plug the holes in trade. In practice this may be hard to calculate (but a lot of things are and we attempt it anyway), but one could simply apply a tariff on imports and perhaps a subsidy on exports (being careful not to double count the effects) proportional to the the amount of CO2 involved and to the difference in policies among countries. (Tracing the lifecycle CO2eq through all nations for a given product, there is some tax rate – subsidy (zero or otherwise) applied; the tariff would be the difference between the importer’s tax rate and the tax rate already imposed on the product.)

    Even if two countries have the same tax rate, this could become necessary if the structure is different; for example, (aside from land use net CO2eq emisssions) if one country taxes fossil CO2eq at the point of extraction and another taxes it at the point of combustion at electric utilities or sale to users, then some adjustment would be necessary when fuel or electricity are traded.

    Because developing countries could escape some costs by building up infrastructure that is more CO2eq from the outset, it could be generally benificial to start ‘greener’ rather than start ‘brown’ and turn ‘green’. If developing countries have trouble doing so now, developed countries could help, and they could be incentivised to do so by earning CO2eq credit for it. Bottom line – it makes sense to reduce CO2eq in the most efficient way (as measured in total – not forgetting about safety, etc.), and if a developed country can reduce emissions from another place with less expense, that makes sense. (PS some have ridiculed CO2 offsets, but aside from perverse incentives (which can be fixed) or inaccurate calculation (can be corrected when found) or fraud (a risk in any endeavor), etc, it is a real effect that accomplishes what it is supposed to accomplish.)

    The ideal global policy absent multiple nations would be a global CO2eq tax. On the international level, one could have an AGW fund that nations contribute to on the basis of their emissions and recieve from on the basis of their AGW-costs or contributions to other nations for mitigation and adaptation. In order to include all nations,
    1. you have to agree to contribute in order to recieve
    2. In addition to payments for ongoing emissions, nations would contribute some amount to account for past emissions to level the field (in proportion to the same tax rate, but then discounted through time to be fair to ignorance of the issue pre-19?? and to be efficient given that we have to work with things as they are and can’t change the past; and with earlier emissions being paid for in proportion not to each nations’ contribution to emissions but rather to each nations’ accumulated wealth, because wealth can migrate relative to emissions sources and because of changes in governments/territories through time).

    To support the transition to a mostly non-fossil fuel energy industry, I support a CO2 tax.

    GREAT!

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 28 Aug 2010 @ 11:00 PM

  555. Gilles 25 August 2010 at 1:38 AM
    “can the recent melting of northern sea ice be related with the recently measured acceleration of the Gulf stream, which I understood was not predicted by the current models ?”

    If you look at the surface currents in the Arctic[1], there isn’t much penetration from warm Gulf Stream water – it’s already very salty, and as it cools it sinks. Most of the flow is down as part of the AMOC. Some does penetrate the Arctic, but mostly as deep spreading currents overlain by fresh water from Siberian rivers and melting Barents sea ice flowing into the Arctic, which isolates it from the ice[2].
    In addition, the bulk of loss has been north of Alaska and over the East Siberian Shelf; there has been some loss along the east coast of Greenland[3], but gains north of Svaalbard[4].

    [1] http://maps.grida.no/go/graphic/ocean_currents_and_sea_ice_extent
    [2] http://oceancurrents.rsmas.miami.edu/atlantic/spitsbergen.html
    [3] http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_daily_extent_hires.png
    [4] http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=08&fd=15&fy=2009&sm=08&sd=15&sy=1983

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 29 Aug 2010 @ 12:09 AM

  556. Ray , objective theory of probabilities is only a theory of measure and integration over subsets of events, whose measure is supposed to be known. There is no objective way of determining the measure itself if it isn’t known. You can’t objectively compute the probability that the superstring theory is right. Concerning the problem of climate, it is the correctness of theories that is at stake – and in this case, there is no objective evaluation of the probability they’re right. It’s all a matter of subjective evaluation of “experts” – whose definition is also subjective. Even the AR4 admits this : the terminology “likely”, “very likely” , and so on, relies only the consensus of experts, but there is no objective way of calculating them

    Comment by Gilles — 29 Aug 2010 @ 12:40 AM

  557. Gilles can find the Gulf Stream speeded up, from a paper that doesn’t make the claim, that’s discussing uncertainty in measurement; then a few days later, he can lecture Ray that nobody can know anything for sure. The guy just likes seeing his name in print. Blah blah blah Gilles blah blah ….

    Woof. Please send a better skeptic, this one’s not working out.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Aug 2010 @ 11:39 AM

  558. 554, Patrick 027: Bottom line – it makes sense to reduce CO2eq in the most efficient way (as measured in total – not forgetting about safety, etc.)

    On that we agree, subject to the caveat that “efficient” has many definitions. To me, the most efficient way forward has to include much more capital devoted to water: flood control and irrigation in the Indus Valley, and more nuclear powered (off topic, sorry) desalination along the coasts of India and the US. However, I think the majority opinion here is that it should be done as rapidly as possible, because costs of delay are considered catastrophic, and the fact that catastrophes will continue to occur even if global warming is prevented is given little cognizance.

    I don’t know how representative or effective James Hanson is, but he has never called for anything like a better flood control and irrigation system for the Indus Valley (and like places), nor has Paul Ehrlich or John Holdren. But the floods in Pakistan, like the fires in Russia and the US and earthquakes on the Pacific Rim will recur even if policies to reduce CO2 are implemented. Hanson’s call for an end to technology (granted, he calls it “Western Technology”, ignoring its universality) would condemn some future generation to what has just happened.

    [Response: The man's name is Jim Hansen, and I doubt quite seriously that he has ever advocated the end to technology that you claim. Do not misrepresent the statements or positions of others; such posts as do will be deleted. It would also help your cause if you didn't make ridiculous arguments--Jim]

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 29 Aug 2010 @ 11:54 AM

  559. Gilles, are the glaciers melting on your planet? Because they sure are on mine.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 29 Aug 2010 @ 12:29 PM

  560. Patrick 027

    “…We need to convince China that they don’t have to make a choice between prosperity and protecting the climate. We need to help them towards a low-carbon future…”

    80%+ Chinese citizens are dirt poor dirt farmers. Their government is trying to manage this population toward a better standard of living.

    Developed nations have had the advantage of inexpensive fossil fuel energy to develop a more prosperous middle class. It is “unfair” to try to remove this very important economic advantage from developing nations now that “their turn has come”.

    China is a leader in non-poluting technology R&D. They also commission two coal-fired power plants a week. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6769743.stm

    Is it possible to level set RC on China?

    Comment by John Peter — 29 Aug 2010 @ 1:38 PM

  561. Hank, I guess you don’t like Gilles’ comment # 556 and would prefer he just shut up. But can you scientifically refute the substance of what he said? What is the objective mathematical confidence level of the risk probability that string theory is wrong?

    [Response: Enough of this crap.--Jim]

    Comment by Rod B — 29 Aug 2010 @ 1:55 PM

  562. What is the objective mathematical confidence level of the risk probability that string theory is wrong?

    I think people are having a problem with his suggesting all climate-related science has the same problem that string theory has (which leads many to claim that string theory isn’t science at all, as you know).

    So what’s the objective mathematical confidence that CO2 absorbs LW IR, Rod? Is there “no objective evaluation of the probability that this is right”?

    Comment by dhogaza — 29 Aug 2010 @ 2:30 PM

  563. Last time I looked string theory had jack-sh*t to do with climate change…

    Comment by Joe Cushley — 29 Aug 2010 @ 3:18 PM

  564. #556 to the anonymous Gilles

    Actually there is a reasonable objective evaluation. It’s called science. The scientific method is designed to achieve the most objective view possible with the available methodology. The notion that we really don’t know much is actually not objective. In fact it is much further from objective than the science. So arguing we don’t know much is a pot meet kettle moment. It’s merely a hypocritical opinion that is guilty of that which it is accusing. That is what you are doing. Circular reasoning will get you nowhere by the way. As long as you keep chasing your own tail the dizzier you will get and the more it will cost you.

    Not to mention all the confirmation signals. Read the first para. of my note to Rod below.

    #560 Rod Black

    What does that have to do with glacier melt, temp. rise, sea level rise, ice mass loss and attribution? The basic science that indicates that without added GHG’s we would be relatively around thermal equilibrium on the radiative forcing. Instead we are above it?

    The giant red herring of what is the probability of string theory . . . has absolutely nothing to dow with human caused global warming. It’s just another distraction argument to say, Hey look we don’t know everything there is to know in order to get a fish to bite a special lure, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. SO how can we know that the current global warming is not natural?

    It’s just a really dumb argument to present and it sows a clear incapacity to understand the basic reality of the science and the observations.

    Arguing for the sake of arguing is just silly. Ever heard the saying ‘never try to teach a pig to sing, it wastes your time and annoys the pig. That’s what it feels like sometimes when one argues science against red herrings.


    Fee & Dividend: Our best chanceLearn the IssueSign the Petition
    A Climate Minute: Natural CycleGreenhouse EffectClimate Science HistoryArctic Ice Melt

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 29 Aug 2010 @ 3:24 PM

  565. Re 559 John Peter – Consider what happens with a global CO2eq tax, or something to that effect (international policy would incentive domestic policies). If a country A emits 10 % of the tons of country B and produces wealth at a rate of 10 % of what country B does, then the tax would be the same fraction of GDP (or GNP?). On the other hand, it is a lower fraction of GDP (or GNP?) if the economy is more CO2eq efficient.

    Regarding wealth already produced, see the last part of the last big paragraph of my comment 554. For recent past emissions, there would be a payment of backtaxes; for older emissions, a payment in proportion to built-up wealth. Hence, to some approximation, there would be some transfer of wealth from countries that have benifited from previous emissions to those which have not, thus leveling the field (in a fair way broadly consistent with ca pit ali sm; this isn’t so ci ali sm). With an international AGW-fund, So some poorer countries would owe the fund according to their emissions (which would tend not to be large, yet) and receive according to AGW-impacts, but also recieve some payment from richer countries. Richer countries (or any country that decides to do so) could get a tax credit by directly contributing to poorer countries via CDM or AGW-adaptation aid.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 Aug 2010 @ 4:33 PM

  566. Patrick 049 @550, 554, 565

    In 2008 total US metric tons of carbon emissions were less than 75% of Chindia. Since Cindia’s population is 6 or 7 times the US, the per capita rates are much smaller. As these nations develop their industrialization further, the ratios and the totals are expected to become even less favorable. For the numbers see: http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/science/graph-showing-each-countrys.html

    Princeton came up with a new “fair” allocation method just before Copenhagen. See: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090706171505.htm

    for a news item description. I do not know how their scheme faired at Coppenhagen.

    That said, your proposal looks interesting. I wonder:

    @550 Why exempt Chiindia? Won’t this seriously wound the program?

    @554 As I said, you method is quite interesting and unique. It’s not clear to me that it would offer any relief to Chindia – who, I believe, currently hold most of the world’s assets and thus the world’s wealth. It also might be difficult to get agreement on past emissions by region, the way emissions move around in the atmosphere and oceans.

    @565 One of the problems with developing nations is that they have few banks and fewer accounting systems. Their societies, outside of major cities is pretty much cash based. Their savings accounts are usually in a mattress. That’s part of the reason the developed nations tend view underdeveloped governments as untrustworthy and even corrupt. Every politician in a financial chain takes a cut.

    What do you think of the Princeton proposal? Do you know what happened to it?

    Comment by John Peter — 29 Aug 2010 @ 9:34 PM

  567. 558, Jim: The man’s name is Jim Hansen, and I doubt quite seriously that he has ever advocated the end to technology that you claim.

    Thank you for the correction, and I apologize for the misattribution. Hansen (got it that time) merely endorsed reading a book with an extreme recommendation, he did not endorse the recommendation. According to links on his web page, he supports a linear reduction in coal use, with a 50% reduction by 2020. He believes that, if properly negotiated, a treaty to tax coal use could be negotiated with China.

    With China building new coal-fired power plants faster than the US and EU are phasing them out (to say the least), I don’t see that happening, but it would be nice.

    Have prominent leaders in AGW actively promoted increased investment in irrigation and flood control projects? My impression is that there is a large overlap between the people who promote AGW (such as the Sierra Club) and the people who oppose all new dams (such as the Sierra Club.) Granted, Sierra Club is not large, but their influence is great compared to their numbers.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 29 Aug 2010 @ 9:42 PM

  568. Re 558 Septic Matthew – but do you understand my point that, in as far as there is some justifiable water resource management expense in the absence of AGW, funds for that component shouldn’t come from AGW policies. Funds from AGW policy would pay for additional costs due to AGW. And while anything of benifit should be done in a timely manner, the urgency of AGW tends to pertain to mitigation; mitigation prevents future climate change; adaptation to conditions as they evolve will always lag the emissions that caused that evolution. The exception is proactive adaptation, which is a good idea, of course, but I would guess it could have reduced efficiency (relative to mitigation) due to greater regional uncertainties in climate responses. Anyway, funds to pay for AGW-caused expenses should generally come from a CO2eq tax revenue **, which has the effect of mitigation, so this aspect of mitigation policy provides the resources for adaptation.

    **- because of the timing, the revenue might instead by used to boost the economy in general (tax cuts (justified by how AGW will affect the ability to earn, spend, and hold property) and equal-per capita payouts (justified by the ways in which AGW affects everyone, rich and poor), and of course some clean/green industry/infrastructure (and some temporary aid to locations/people more negatively affected by the policy – job retraining, clean power plants built at old coal mines, offshore oil switch to offshore wind, oil and gas switch to CO2 sequestration, etc.) with the return on investment allowing greater general tax revenue in the future to provide for AGW

    —-

    Of course, we have to be careful about how our water management affects ecology and erosion/sedimentation – not just for nature’s sake, but for sustainability and future people (likewise, not every sunny or windy place is a good place for a solar power plant or wind turbines, etc.). Aside from that, there are some things that people just won’t call for all that much because it’s a bit obvious.

    Anyway, absent charity and historical issues, and aside from cross-border physical connections, it would tend to be Pakistan’s job to worry about Pakistan’s floods and droughts, etc, which occur without AGW. Other countries might seek to help Pakistan as an investment that will pay back to themselves, of course, and some effective international insurance program could be helpful, though the benificiaries would tend to pay for it. In contrast, good international AGW policy must address the fact that actions by some incur costs to others; hence, international funds from emissions taxes may be owed to various countries.

    (Policies for AGW and in general constructed from ideal market concepts must be adjusted not only for real market behavior (ie an emissions tax might be accompanied by some targeted incentives and mandates), but also for migration issues, since an ideal market on the global level would include migration as a response, while immigration is often politically constrained.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 Aug 2010 @ 10:12 PM

  569. … PS just to be clear, re my last 2 comments:
    some transfer of wealth from countries that have benifited from previous emissions to those which have not, thus leveling the field (in a fair way broadly consistent with ca pit ali sm; this isn’t so ci ali sm

    absent charity it would tend to be Pakistan’s job to worry about Pakistan’s floods and droughts, etc,

    I was not trying to suggest that there should not be a (well-implemented) charitable aspect to the policy, but I’m not trying to push hard for it or justify my policy concepts primarily with it, because I suspect that will cause many more people to stop listenning, perhaps including some people who don’t want to address AGW because of their generosity (?).

    ——-

    PS as with domestic supply-demand relationships, there shouldn’t be a problem in charging some tax from countries according to their emissions (or emitting-causing activity (for fossil CO2eq, not necessarily at the point of combustion; possibly at the point of extraction – so long as it is consistent, it works)), because a country that is responsible for a rather large share of emissions due to CO2eq-intensity and volume of exports can pass along a share of the cost to the importers, which is exactly what we want to have happen.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 Aug 2010 @ 10:25 PM

  570. dhogaza, again with the strawman, a problem with his suggesting all climate-related science. As I said to Ray in 549, if you disagree with something I said, rebut what I said, not what I never said.

    Joe Cushley missed the entire point. But Jim said stop it. c’est la vie

    Comment by Rod B — 30 Aug 2010 @ 12:04 AM

  571. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) (564), ditto what I said to Ray and dhogaza.

    Comment by Rod B — 30 Aug 2010 @ 12:09 AM

  572. Patrick 027, Did you just recommend a carbon tax be applied IN ARREARS??? Who would be charged the tax due for all of the personal vehicle tailpipe emissions for the past hundred years or so?

    Comment by Rod B — 30 Aug 2010 @ 12:16 AM

  573. To all who dislike the idea that evaluation of probabilities without a known a priori distribution is subjective, you could first read things like that, as an introduction : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probability_interpretations.

    I repeat : the computation of an objective probability is only possible for a subset of events whose individual probability is exactly known. And to test the probability law, you have to rely on a large number of experiments to check that your evaluation is “probably” correct. But to my knowledge, there is no probability law on the set of physical theories ; there is no way of asserting objectively the criteria that could allow to compute this probability.

    Of course we are “almost certain” of the validity of some theories. But actually we are unable to QUANTIFY this confidence – nobody can say if the fact that CO2 absorbs IR radiation is 99,999 or 99,9999999 or 100 % certain ! (for instance you may want to keep a small room for the solipsist hypothesis that everything is an illusion created by your own mind (or mine in my case) : but which probability would you attribute to that ???). The only thing we can say is : “we are -subjectively- confident enough in the fact that it is true, to use it as it were true”. Period.
    This is VERY different from the “objective” probability that for instance, we won’t win the jackpot each time if we play 100 times – because the probability is extremely tiny.

    But there is absolutely no way of quantifying objectively the probability that some uncertain theory is true – because there is no known probability theory over the set of theories ! all “intermediate” probabilities like “likely” or “very likely” can ONLY be the result of a subjective poll among experts, or among computers models (which is not an objective set of course), not more. If it is NOT 100%, it can be anything following your mood or what you have eaten at lunch. Just think of a very simple idea : if you can program a computer to compute the probability that you win 100 times the jackpot, or the result of a dice throw, how could you program it to compute the probability that a given physical theory is true ? good luck !

    no algorithmic computation, no objectivity. As simple as that .

    Comment by Gilles — 30 Aug 2010 @ 1:11 AM

  574. John#564:, I’m afraid you didn’t understand me. It’s pointless to argue that science establishes almost certain facts (the fact that classical law of gravity is a very good approximation FAPP for instance), but that other are still not well understood (quantum gravity). Everybody will agree on that, and this is not a point of discussion. What I’m arguing is that there is nothing objectively quantitative below “certain enough to act as if it were true” (which is the only useful practical conclusion). Risk assessment can help you to take decisions if you postulate some risk probability, it cannot tell you if the postulate is true or not. You can at best validate it with a large set of different similar cases (for example to evaluate the solidity of a company, you can compare objective criteria among a large number of companies). Unfortunately we DON’T have a lot a similar earths to test statistically climate models !

    Comment by Gilles — 30 Aug 2010 @ 2:04 AM

  575. Gilles @493

    \… what is “proved beyond any reasonable doubt” in your mind …\

    For scientists, beyond a reasonable doubt can mean accepted, no serious counterexample, i.e. consensus. IPCC WG1 has carefully reviewed the CC literature and has pretty well established the scientific consensus for AGW.

    Consensus may not be enough however. Strong correlations can be perceived as \”guilt by association”\. More unanimity may be required for a \”beyond any reasonable doubt”\ fact.

    This can be a problem for a climate scientist trying to be effective in a more political environment such as IPCC WG2. Facts must be simplified. Logic must be direct. Any presentation, be it the two minute sound byte or an OP ED note, needs to be short and to the point; an “elevator speech”. (http://www.businessweek.com/careers/content/jun2007/ca20070618_134959.htm)

    Many scientists are not proficient at such over simplifications. Many deniers such as Monckton are very proficient. They exploit this to the detriment of the AGW message.

    Comment by John Peter — 30 Aug 2010 @ 7:19 AM

  576. John Peter:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Arealclimate.org+pacala+socolow
    or
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Arealclimate.org+stabilization+wedges

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Aug 2010 @ 7:32 AM

  577. John Peter:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site:realclimate.org+pacala+socolow
    or
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site:realclimate.org+stabilization+wedges

    (hmmm, server’s choking, this may duplicate the first lines; but
    see particularly

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/06/make-your-own-forecasts-of-future-energy-carbon-emissions-and-climate/
    and
    http://www.ecoequity.org/2009/07/one-billion-high-emitters/

    The latter says in part:

    \An important scientific paper (by Chakravarty et al.), called Sharing global CO2 emission reductions among one billion high emitters was just published in the Proceedings of the [US] National Academy of Sciences. And because, as _Greenwire_ notes, it \loosely builds on the idea of ‘greenhouse development rights,’\ we’ve decided to write, and prominently feature, this a friendly rejoinder to it….

    The key point about the \one billion high emitters\ paper is that it shares with the GDRs approach a central message, that _the right answer to the \Who pays\ question is, \The rich\ (or at least the \unpoor.\) This, certainly, is the point that’s getting the most attention. See [various reviews, see original page]

    In its essence, this effort by a noted team (that includes Princeton University’s Stephen Pacala and Rob Socolow of \stabilization wedges\ fame) helps to shift the North/South debate in favor a more compelling — and empirically substantiated — rich /poor analysis.

    Despite sharing this viewpoint, we do have differences, one of which is important. Our basic critique is that the Princeton group … ultimately provides for a rather large subsidy from the poor to the rich. This gives, in the final analysis, a burden sharing framework that is even less fair to the poor than an equal per capita allocation….\

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Aug 2010 @ 7:45 AM

  578. Rod B wrote: “Did you just recommend a carbon tax be applied IN ARREARS???”

    That would be called “reparations”.

    Rod B wrote: “Who would be charged the tax due for all of the personal vehicle tailpipe emissions for the past hundred years or so?”

    Those who profited from selling the fossil fuels that produced those emissions would be charged.

    International aid for the Pakistan flood disaster is currently around $150 million dollars pledged, with about one third of that actually committed.

    ExxonMobil alone rakes in over $150 million in profit every two days.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 30 Aug 2010 @ 10:08 AM

  579. Where you see a backslash in my posts and apparently some others’ as well — those are supposed to be double quote marks.

    Thus: ” ”
    (Mac, Firefox 4 beta 4)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Aug 2010 @ 10:13 AM

  580. 568, Patrick027: but do you understand my point that, in as far as there is some justifiable water resource management expense in the absence of AGW, funds for that component shouldn’t come from AGW policies. Funds from AGW policy would pay for additional costs due to AGW. And while anything of benifit should be done in a timely manner, the urgency of AGW tends to pertain to mitigation; mitigation prevents future climate change; adaptation to conditions as they evolve will always lag the emissions that caused that evolution. The exception is proactive adaptation, which is a good idea, of course, but I would guess it could have reduced efficiency (relative to mitigation) due to greater regional uncertainties in climate responses.

    Mitigation will not prevent future extreme events like the Pakistan and China torrents, though it may make them less extreme and less frequent.

    The regional distribution of the extreme events that will occur even if there is no climate warming is well known.

    Funds for building water control systems like China has been building and Pakistan has not been building probably will come out of the funds for AGW mitigation. If some one person could simply order the funds spent this-a-way or that-a-way, perhaps not, but that is not the way that monies are obtained and allocated. International aid agencies have complained that the EU rush to reduce its own CO2 emissions have led to reductions in aid for other purposes.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 30 Aug 2010 @ 11:35 AM

  581. HR@577

    Thanks for the refs, your usual excellent work.

    Thanks also for the background on “GDR” (Global Depository Receipts or German Democratic Republic ???)

    I like PNAS, their papers are current and interesting, might even pay their $190. GS found the paper for me, but your links are tricky; IE finds PNAS but not the paper, Firefox and Chrome can’t find a PNAS page either.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/106/29/11884.full works for me.

    Thank you again, I have some reading to do.

    Comment by John Peter — 30 Aug 2010 @ 1:48 PM

  582. Guys and gals:

    Correction

    PNAS on-line access to articles full text is free, once the article is six months or more old.

    PNAS $190 subscription fee is only required for on-line access to articles less than six months after they are published.

    Comment by John Peter — 30 Aug 2010 @ 3:47 PM

  583. Re Gilles – This is VERY different from the “objective” probability that for instance, we won’t win the jackpot each time if we play 100 times – because the probability is extremely tiny.
    But what about the possibility that the existence of the jackpot is an illusion?

    Anyway, within the context of science, governance, practical stuff… I think we can agree to use a common set of assumptions as a base for farther reasoning – or another way to put it, the ‘it could all be an illustion’ card should be played consistently or not at all, as opposed to one sides’ unfair advantage.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 30 Aug 2010 @ 3:57 PM

  584. SecularAnimist, you say, “Those who profited from selling the fossil fuels that produced those emissions would be charged.” Why not all of the people who benefited enormously by driving their vehicles and actually producing the CO2. The oil companies produce very little CO2.

    Comment by Rod B — 30 Aug 2010 @ 3:57 PM

  585. Re 572 Rod B, 578 SecularAnimist, 566 John Peter –

    Will have to get back to you on Princeton’s allocation

    @550 Why exempt Chiindia? Won’t this seriously wound the program?
    That was not my comment; one of my points was that, absent a comprehensive international policy, domestic policies could still do real good and be designed to plug the perverse incentives that would come about by trade between nations with differing policies.

    It also might be difficult to get agreement on past emissions by region, the way emissions move around in the atmosphere and oceans.
    The problem isn’t so much that the emissions move around, but that the responsibility for emissions moves around. My suggestion of, particularly in the more distant past, tying it to accumulated wealth, is meant as an approximation.

    Perhaps there could be some justification for a domestic backtax, but I’m not sure; my idea was to apply the backtax to nations. It’s a way to make up for some nations’ having being able to burn fossil fuels (and cut down forests, make cement) without paying for the emissions. But I also emphasize that I wouldn’t apply the same tax rate to past emissions as to emissions now; the rate would be discounted going farther back in time (with an increasing portion being assessed based on accumulated wealth). The reasons:
    1. part of the justification for an externality tax is that it incentivises increased efficiency with public costs and benifits included. But past behavior cannot be changed. The economies have developed as they have, and there may be some net loss in trying to redistribute wealth to recreate a condition that might have evolved had emissions been taxed all along. (However, it must also be kept in mind that there are political barriers to immigration (so a market response of increased migration to developed countries will not actually occur in response to reduced future growth elsewhere), and a psychological cost as well to emmigrants.)
    2. People didn’t know as much in the past.

    I also want to point out that I don’t envision such large sums of money actually going through an international agency; what would go through that agency would be net amounts – the differences between what a country owes and what the country is owed. A developing nation might recieve a net amount of money even as it emits; it will just recieve more if it emits less.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 30 Aug 2010 @ 4:29 PM

  586. Patrick @581

    Thanks for your response

    Hank Roberts (577) refs a PNAS paper which includes the Princeton authors. I found it at http://www.pnas.org/content/106/29/11884.full
    It is fairly complete, there are some comments and a rebuttal referenced in the paper. A comparison of your proposal to the PNAS paper (Chakravarty et al.) might be more productive. They would tie emissions to individual high emitters within a nation, a novel concept, at least in my experience. That might help to pin down responsibility for the emission. They give two examples for their overall scheme.

    The comment and rebuttal are also interesting.

    Comment by John Peter — 30 Aug 2010 @ 5:20 PM

  587. > GDR …?
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aecoequity.org+GDR
    “… The right to development in a climate constrained world.
    The Greenhouse Development Rights Framework … “

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Aug 2010 @ 6:55 PM

  588. Hank Roberts @577, Patrick 027 @585

    In their rebuttal to the Luxenburg/New Haven criticism, Chakravarty et al. state:
    “…We suggest a refocus on the emissions of individuals
    rather than national averages as a path to assignment of
    national responsibilities for mitigating climate change where
    every country participates. And we show that meeting basic
    energy needs can be accommodated via fossil-carbon sources,
    where convenient, with limited implications for the solution
    of the climate problem…”

    I am simple minded, unskilled and probably naive in this area. That said, I fail to understand why the Chakravarty scheme is any better than a tax on fossil fuel emitting nations based on some combination of their GDP and target reduction anomalies.

    Comment by John Peter — 30 Aug 2010 @ 7:48 PM

  589. #544 “I do not know what the surest way to end the economies of the world and devastate the world’s poor people is, as I wrote.”

    This is not an argument against action to mitigate climate change.

    As I understand your position, you oppose action to globally reduce GHG emissions. Perhaps I misunderstand your position.

    However, if your position is “We shouldn’t reduce emissions of GHGs because something else terrible might happen that harms more people than climate change will”, then that’s a very odd position

    #545 – I should have been more precise. Far more precise. What I meant was, there is no evidence to predict any ‘natural’ climate shocks on the horizon that could lead to very significant increases in global mean temperature (say an increase of 2-3 degrees by 2100, with further increases thereafter). There is ample evidence that human activity will cause such an shock, without emissions reductions strategies.

    #550 – “You are correct that I expect any CO2 treaty to continue to exempt India, China, and other industrializing nations”

    Matthew. I can assure you that without China, India and others taking emissions, there will be /no/ treaty. You may consider Copenhagen to be a success or a failure, but China is as bound by its outcomes as the US is.

    A replacement for Kyoto that doesn’t bind China in some what is not a political possibility.

    #567 “Have prominent leaders in AGW actively promoted increased investment in irrigation and flood control projects?”

    Matthew, I’m very sorry, but this is a staggeringly ignorant thing to say. A bit like coming into a cancer meeting and asking “Do you guys clean your tools before operations?”.

    If you really have such limited knowledge of how climate neogtations work, and what goes on at them, I /beg/ you to do some background reading before you start posting on the internet about them.

    For you information, Kyoto established an Adaptation fund.

    You seem to be under the impression that the UNFCCC spend their entire time trying to work out how to reduce emissions and nothing else. This impression /could not be further from the truth.

    There is no point continuing this discussion. Please go away and do some background research. http://www.unfccc.int would be a good place to start.

    Or, if you aren’t interested in the subject, fine. But don’t post about it.

    #580 “Funds for building water control systems like China has been building and Pakistan has not been building probably will come out of the funds for AGW mitigation.”

    This is a staggering niave thing to say. Governments spend money on all sorts of things. It is possible to address more than one issue at once.

    The vast majority (80%) of the cost of reducing emissions would be paid for by NOT building fossil fuel plant and the associated fuel costs. this number is from the IEA. And it doesn’t even include the avoided damage costs of having better air quality.

    “International aid agencies have complained that the EU rush to reduce its own CO2 emissions have led to reductions in aid for other purposes.”

    I’m calling you out here. Provide some evidence to back this statement up.

    John Peter, re : #566 “I do not know how their scheme faired at Coppenhagen.”

    It’s more fundamental than that, John Peter. The US, irrespective of what the President wants, can’t get any form of climate legislation through Congress. Do you believe that, even if the rest of the world took action, Congress would change its mind? Perhaps, but I am skeptical.

    Meanwhile, decision makers in China have not come to any conclusion about what level of climate change they can live with. At least, not publically.

    So you have the US unable to act, because of their lawmakers, and China unwilling to act, because they haven’t decided which way to jump on the issue, and the rest of the world is paralysed.

    Comment by Silk — 31 Aug 2010 @ 7:15 AM

  590. Silk (#589)

    In your response to #544, I don’t think you understood the logic of the argument. The argument seems to be (from my perspective) that if there is a cost effective way to spend money to solve a large problem (eg flood protection in pakistan) then we should spend the money there in order to fix that problem. If someone comes and says, but yes you can fix this problem, or you can spend the same money on upgrading all houses in the US to be white, which will slightly mitigate GW. Personally, I’d choose the former since even in a world with GW, it will help the people of pakistan, while the former might make the US feel better, but pakistan will still be vulnerable to floods, which will come with or without GW.

    Comment by sambo — 31 Aug 2010 @ 9:37 AM

  591. 589 Silk: As I understand your position, you oppose action to globally reduce GHG emissions. Perhaps I misunderstand your position.

    I support a tax on CO2 to help fund the transition to renewable energies — whether this can be imposed somehow on the whole WTO (without which it can’t work) I don’t know, but it doesn’t look likely soon. I support R&D on CO2 sequestration. I support development of more water projects: flood control and desalination powered by solar and every other process that produces excess heat and is constructed near the ocean. With projects already underway, I expect that this whole discussion will be much different by 2020, or (to pick an obvious political timeline) by the American presidential debates of 2012. I think that AGW proponents would be much more effective politically if they allied with all energy industries to develop all alternatives to fossil fuels, instead of being allied with organizations such as the WWF and Sierra Club who oppose most new construction.

    As for the others, I’ll get back to you later.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 31 Aug 2010 @ 9:40 AM

  592. “I think that AGW proponents would be much more effective politically if they allied with all energy industries to develop all alternatives to fossil fuels, instead of being allied with organizations such as the WWF and Sierra Club who oppose most new construction.”

    You seem to think “AGW proponents” (whatever or whoever those are) are a single entity.

    If you mean “I think people who want to reduce emissions should work with the energy industry to reduce emissions” then, guess what, a lot of them do. The people who introduced feed-in tariffs, or the EU ETS, for example.

    Comment by Silk — 31 Aug 2010 @ 11:39 AM

  593. Elevator speech from \Wired\ interview

    “…Wired: Do you think that this is part of a broader trend? Is science under assault?

    Simon Singh: What shocks me is people who have no expertise championing a view that runs counter to the mainstream scientific consensus. For example, we have a consensus amongst the best medical researchers in the world—the leading authorities and the World Health Organization—that vaccines are a good thing, and that MMR, the triple vaccine, is a really good thing. And yet there are people who are quite willing to challenge that consensus—film stars, celebrities, columnists—all of whom rely solely on the tiny little bit of science that seems to back up their view.

    Wired: Yet the celebrities sometimes seem to be winning.

    Simon Singh: Part of the problem is that if anybody has a gut reaction about an issue, they can go online and have it backed up. That said, they can also find support for their ideas in the mainstream media—because when the mainstream media gives a so-called balanced view, it’s often misleading. The media thinks that because one side says climate change is real and dangerous, the other view is that it’s not real and not dangerous. That doesn’t reflect the fact that something like 98 percent of climate scientists agree that global warming is real and dangerous. And this happens with everything from genetically modified foods to evolution. But, at the end of the day, all that this misinformation does is slow progress—it doesn’t stop it. Antiscientific and pseudoscientific attitudes will get corrected; it’s just a question of how painful that process is going to be.

    Wired: Should scientists do more to get real science out there?

    Simon Singh: Scientists aren’t necessarily good communicators, because they aren’t trained to be good communicators. A researcher could be doing really important work on global warming, and then somebody writes a column in a national newspaper that completely undermines what they’re saying. But the scientist doesn’t think the column is important—it’s just some nincompoop writing a column—so they don’t take that writer to task in the way they should. It’s a case of saying, “How do we make a difference?” We certainly don’t make a difference by just moaning over coffee the next day.

    Wired: What about nonscientists? How are we supposed to know what’s true?

    Simon Singh: Don’t come up with a view, find everybody who agrees with it, and then say, “Look at this, I must be right.” Start off by saying, “Who do I trust?” On global warming, for example, I happen to trust climate experts, world academies of science, Nobel laureates, and certain science journalists. You have to decide who you trust before you decide what to believe.

    Wired: Why is it so hard to convince people, even when the science is so clear?

    Simon Singh: Science has nothing to do with common sense. I believe it was Einstein who said that common sense is a set of prejudices we form by the age of 18. Inject somebody with some viruses and that’s going to keep you from getting sick? That’s not common sense. We evolved from single-cell organisms? That’s not common sense. By driving my car I’m going to cook Earth? None of this is common sense. The commonsense view is what we’re fighting against. So somehow you’ve got to move people away from that with these quite complicated scientific arguments based on even more complicated research. That’s why it’s such an uphill battle. People start off with a belief and a prejudice—we all do. And the job of science is to set that aside to get to the truth.”

    We are not alone

    Comment by John Peter — 31 Aug 2010 @ 1:02 PM

  594. A bit late to the thread with insufficient time to read back through all the comments, so please disregard if my comment misses so much context as to miss the point. With that said…

    Gilles at 573 seems to be making the point that, using a rigorous definition of ‘objective,’ objectivity cannot be claimed in any figuring of probability in which the probability distribution of one of the variables in play is not perfectly known.

    By such a rigorous definition, that may be true. But it also renders the word ‘objective’ utterly useless in any discussion of physical reality.

    The example of leaving some unquantifiable amount of probability for the possibility that solipsism is correct (or that the universe was sneezed out of a great green Arkleseizure, or whatever) proves his point and mine, I think.

    At the same time, I wonder if Gilles dismisses the calculations of, say, bridge engineers, regarding the probability of failure modes under certain circumstances, as “subjective.”

    This strikes me as another version of the conversation about evidence versus proof. There are those who are fond of pointing out that some accepted scientific theory is unproven. And they’re right as far as that goes, but if the listener/reader is then invited to infer that the theory is therefore unreliable, the speaker/writer is being deceptive.

    Proof is a feature of formal logic, not of physical reality. That doesn’t mean that EVIDENCE is lacking, for instance in the cases of biological evolution, or greenhouse warming as a result of human activity. So “proof,” being unattainable, is irrelevant. What matters is evaluating the evidence.

    Similarly, if “objective” probability estimates are rendered impossible by the remote possibility that Gilles’ entire existence is a dream I am having, then objectivity is a useless concept.

    I think it’s probably better, though, to think of objectivity as something that comes in degrees, rather than an all-or-nothing proposition. One can make a relatively more objective argument about the probable correctness of a quantitative theory about a set of physical processes, compared to a relatively more subjective argument about whether someone is being an internet troll by drawing people into silly arguments about semantics. For example.

    Comment by Kevin Stanley — 31 Aug 2010 @ 1:18 PM

  595. SM 591: I think that AGW proponents would be much more effective politically if they allied with all energy industries to develop all alternatives to fossil fuels, instead of being allied with organizations such as the WWF and Sierra Club who oppose most new construction.

    BPL: This is a staggeringly ignorant thing to say. The whole point about the fossil fuel industry is that they DO NOT WANT alternative energy to be developed. They don’t just fund global warming deniers so they can keep selling coal and oil, they send swarms of nuts to testify against any new wind or solar project. Wake up and smell the coffee! ExxonMobile and Koch Oil and Consolidated Coal have no intention of letting any alternatives make any progress. Working with them is like working with the Nazis to halt German aggression in the ’30s.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 31 Aug 2010 @ 1:30 PM

  596. Kevin Stanley: “But it also renders the word ‘objective’ utterly useless in any discussion of physical reality.”

    Not so. “Objective” simply means “that which is accessible to multiple observers”.

    Kevin Stanley: “Proof is a feature of formal logic, not of physical reality.”

    “Proof” is also a “feature” of law, as in “the anthropogenic causation of the objectively observable warming of the Earth has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt”.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 31 Aug 2010 @ 2:13 PM

  597. Silk, 593: You seem to think “AGW proponents” (whatever or whoever those are) are a single entity.

    It seems that way in my writing sometimes. I distinguish subgroups. There are AGW proponents who do not go along with the Sierra Club resistance to all new dams, and there are AGW proponents who support more development of nuclear power.

    Silk, 589: This is a staggering niave thing to say. Governments spend money on all sorts of things. It is possible to address more than one issue at once.

    Governments can not give equal weight to flood control and to CO2 elimination. China has in the past 30 years without doing much to reduce CO2 (it hasn’t done anything that will reduce CO2 in the next 30 years, though they are moving toward a less CO2 intensive economy, and their dams provide a lot of low CO2 electricity.) California in the last 10 years has devoted more resources to solar than to new improvements to its irrigation/flood control system. I doubt that you could persuade Californians now to fork over sufficient money for both alternative energy upgrades and water control upgrades necessary to meet the near-term needs.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 31 Aug 2010 @ 2:14 PM

  598. > why the Chakravarty scheme is any better than a tax on fossil
    > fuel emitting nations based on some combination of their GDP
    > and target reduction anomalies.

    Oligarchy.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 Aug 2010 @ 2:28 PM

  599. BPL, Re: 595 – “This is a staggeringly ignorant thing to say. The whole point about the fossil fuel industry is that they DO NOT WANT alternative energy to be developed. ”

    I have to disagree with you here. The reality is more complex than this.

    Exxon have a bad track record, I grant you. I do not disagree with the notion that Exxon’s strategy has been to sow doubt, to stave off any climate legislation.

    but BP (cursed though they be) and Shell, while still investing far more in fossil than renewables, would like to work within a world where GHGs are regulated (I think). Principally because they are made up of individuals who are not stupid, and realise the implications of BAU.

    It’s up to governments to put in place frameworks that force companies to reduce emissions.

    I’m not suggesting companies aren’t part of the problem. I’d say it’s more complex than that, they are part of the problem /and/ part of the solution.

    And to suggest all companies are the same, or indeed all people who care about climate change mitigation are the same (as Matthew casually does) is, IMHO, incorrect. At least in my experience.

    Comment by Silk — 31 Aug 2010 @ 2:39 PM

  600. Related to an earlier post, this article reports a loss of ice sheet mass in Anarctica:

    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v3/n9/full/ngeo946.html#B2

    Is this concordant with or discordant to AGW? I wrote that I had read of Antarctic ice loss. Is this not Antarctic ice loss? Are the “ice sheets” distinct from other Antarctic ice, such as sea ice?

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 31 Aug 2010 @ 2:46 PM

  601. Septic Matthew (#599)

    Sea ice is annual ice that forms on the surface of the ocean (usually thinner, I think around 3 ft, but dont’ quote me on that). The ice extent that is growing is related to more of this sea ice. Ice sheet on the other had is the thicker ice that is the tips of the glaciers flowing into the sea (does the technical term include the land ice as well?) This ice is usually several hundred feet thick or more. The article I had linked to earlier stated that around 200 or 250ft thick, the sheet becomes unstable a breaks off. The article you link to seems to be measuring the amount of ice sheet mass, including mass on land as well.

    Comment by sambo — 31 Aug 2010 @ 3:21 PM

  602. 596 S.A. : Yes, that’s how I usually use those words as well. I was just pointing out that using very narrow definitions of those words is part of a strategy of deception. When one defines “objectivity” (or “proof”) so narrowly, to say that something is not objective (or is “unproven”) is meaningless in a practical sense. If someone uses these words this way in a discussion about physical reality, but doesn’t acknowledge that it renders them meaningless, they’re either fooling themselves or trying to fool you.

    599 S.M. I’m no expert, but I believe “ice sheet” typically if not always refers to land ice. I believe that the prediction of warming + polar amplification generally predicts loss of ice mass in the antarctic. That would refer mostly to land ice I think. The total picture of antarctic ice is complicated somewhat by factors like the circumpolar vortex and stratification of ocean water, which do tings like buffering the antarctic interior from some of the warming and causing fresher (and therefore more easily frozen) water to float on top of denser but at times warmer saltier water, respectively. So in the short run, it would not be surprising to see less warming and ice loss in the Antarctic interior, and more sea ice particularly in winter (after all even after a lot of warming it still gets below the freezing point of fresh water in the antarctic winter!), but by and large one expects less total ice, particularly coming from land ice around the edges.

    People who have some expert knowledge, please correct my simplistic and probably somewhat wrong ideas about this.

    Comment by Kevin Stanley — 31 Aug 2010 @ 3:36 PM

  603. Silk @589

    It must be really frustrating to have to communicate with us newbies when we know so little. I appreciate your posts and reference links. I hope you will have the patience to continue to assist my learning about an area that you know quite so well.

    In the past climate scientists have attacked “denier’s” papers because “big oil” provided the funding. I was quite surprised to find that the Princeton work was supported by BP and Ford, just as you suggested in #592. You could add it as another specific example. BTW also, a big corporation must keep up with (and encourage) new technology research. They know their long term survival depends on doing so.

    One of the reasons I want to learn more about your area of expertise is that I view Copenhagen as a success in the following weird sort of way. Setting goals in terms of the results, less than 2C degree temperature rise, and leaving the mitigation up to the committing nations could be an improvement. Diversified investment is provably better. AGW control will have to be reframed for to better focus the climate scientist/denier debates. All the GHGs as well as all the geo-engineering will help (and count) instead of just CO2.

    The very real political problems you mention – achieving support in the US and other nation governments also are reframed. It is much easier to defeat attacks on temperature rise (it is called global warning, is it not?) on a case by case funding basis than the unilateral alternate energy alternates we now try to defend. The energy problems are going to be picked up by other groups for other reasons anyhow. Chindia might even sign up for 2degC cap and work on smog as well as black cloud with projects such as Surya http://www.projectsurya.org/storage/Surya-WhitePaper.pdf

    Of course, in order not to be left behind, climate scientists will have to get on board very quickly. View the Copenhagen accords as half full, rather than half empty.

    Again, thanks for all the help. Please keep it coming.

    Comment by John Peter — 31 Aug 2010 @ 3:39 PM

  604. S. Matthew wrote: “Are the “ice sheets” distinct from other Antarctic ice, such as sea ice?”

    In normal usage, yes. See:

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

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 31 Aug 2010 @ 3:55 PM

  605. John Peter, Re: #603 – We are way off piste here, so if the mods step in and ask us to take it else where we’ll have to accept that. But allowing for their indulgence

    “Setting goals in terms of the results, less than 2C degree temperature rise, and leaving the mitigation up to the committing nations could be an improvement.”

    Well, yes and no.

    Yes, 2 degrees is a major success story.

    2 degrees without some form of globally agreed emissions trajectory, shared out, isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. So that’s the next step.

    For all its flaws, Kyoto was not a bad first step. The idea was that developed countries would take the first set of emissions targets (which expire at the end of 2012) and, hopefully, others would come on board after that.

    Sadly the US didn’t stay signed up, and we haven’t been able to agree post-2012 commitments (or even the nature of those commitments)

    But we do have Copenhagen ‘pledges’ which, while not adding up to 2 degrees, are significant deviations from BAU (business as usual)

    “Diversified investment is provably better.”

    I think it flows from the pledges.

    “AGW control will have to be reframed for to better focus the climate scientist/denier debates. All the GHGs as well as all the geo-engineering will help (and count) instead of just CO2.”

    I don’t understand this. The Kyoto targets, and all other measures under consideration, were always all GHGs (not geoengineering though – too uncertain and controversial)

    “The very real political problems you mention – achieving support in the US and other nation governments also are reframed. It is much easier to defeat attacks on temperature rise (it is called global warning, is it not?) on a case by case funding basis than the unilateral alternate energy alternates we now try to defend.”

    I am not sure I agree with this analysis. I don’t see ‘case by case’ action as a solution if not within the context of an overall national goal, driven by an overall global goal.

    What I would say is that it is much easier to build action on the basis of alternative energy solutions, which are in the mutual interest of the parties involved, provide alternatives to fossil fuels, and have climate benefit.

    “The energy problems are going to be picked up by other groups for other reasons anyhow. ”

    Disagree. While some impressive progress is being made in solar, CCS /cannot/ be developed if one does not believe CO2 is damaging (and hence a cost associated with emission should be applied) and other technological changes will happen too slowly, or at least risk happening too slowly, because of continued investment in BAU (fossil) technology.

    “Chindia might even sign up for 2degC cap and work on smog as well as black cloud with projects such as Surya http://www.projectsurya.org/storage/Surya-WhitePaper.pdf

    It won’t, sadly. Not without US action of a stronger kind.

    “Of course, in order not to be left behind, climate scientists will have to get on board very quickly. View the Copenhagen accords as half full, rather than half empty. ”

    Nothing to do with climate scientists (who, of course, are not a homogeneous mass)

    Unlike politics, you can’t spin the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere. From a science perspective, the success or failure of all global efforts to mitigate emissions (which, as I’ve been saying to Matthew is only half the battle, the other half being adaptation) is whether or not we achieve a peak in forcing, and at what point we achieve that peak, and to some degree if we can move back down from it.

    The duty of climate scientists, as I see it, is to inform us of the consequences of our actions. For what we think of as ‘traditional’ climate science, that means “what is the physical impact (local and regional and global) of emissions of different amounts of GHGs this decade/century?”

    For the economist/impact modeler/social scientist/whatever, the question is then “what is the impact of said physical impacts on human wellbeing (and what can be done to reduce said impacts)”

    And for the policy person “what can we do to stop the above happening”

    Of course, climate scientists can, and will, have views on the success or otherwise of any particular meeting, or policy, as an individual.

    However, it was the politicians who agreed “we should not exceed 2 degrees”. All the climate scientist can do, in his role as a scientist, is say whether or not the actions at Copenhagen are sufficient to deliver that outcome.

    To which the answer is, “no”.

    This does not of course mean Copenhagen was a failure, but it is not the answer. Only a little stepping stone.

    Comment by Silk — 31 Aug 2010 @ 4:18 PM

  606. 599, Silk: Exxon have a bad track record, I grant you. I do not disagree with the notion that Exxon’s strategy has been to sow doubt, to stave off any climate legislation.

    Slight addition: ExxonMobil donated $600M to the J. Craig Venter Institute in San Diego to develop improved strains of plants for biofuels. I don’t dispute your basic thrust.

    Others, thanks for the notes about ice. I was wondering whether, over water, the satellite could distinguish, by gravity, between sea ice and water.

    Also off topic, the August 13 issue of Science has reviews on scaling up alternative energy sources.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 31 Aug 2010 @ 5:26 PM

  607. Silk 605

    In my naivety, I haven’t seen much global political progress since Kyoto, quite the opposite. OTOH, what about Suyra? Glacier Man? Aren’t regional projects easier and more successful?

    FWIW, global successes seem to me to be more achievable than local success (my generality, no facts). True, climate scientists are going to have to address regional climate and better relate it to global climate, weather forecasters would like that too. They might be more successful with regional climate science, that would seem more their talent and experience than handling global politics. Jim Hansen, in despiration, claims he wants to try non-violent protest. He despairs of the chances with a purely scientific approach.

    At least, that’s why I thought we might try a change of focus, especially since we can always put global back together again if we have to.

    Climate scientists are all over global regions and they communicate well with each other. They can advise their own governments of progress, local and global. Sovereign debt (CFU didn’t want to discuss it here but he seems to have disappeared) being what it is, why not try a shared temperature goal until, at least, the global debt problems are resolved (IMHO 5-10 years)?

    Comment by John Peter — 31 Aug 2010 @ 5:40 PM

  608. Silk @605

    Shouldn’t “no” be “the weight of evidence now says probably not”

    Comment by John Peter — 31 Aug 2010 @ 5:47 PM

  609. Something’s been lost in the discussion of water management and/or/verses AGW mitigation.

    1. The idea that we should do something to mitigate AGW is rooted in the expectation that there is a real public cost. Some of this will be more easily measured than other portions, but the world loses some value. In the concept of an efficient market (an ideal, but presumably works as a first approximation in at least some contexts), if the people who benifit from emitting activities pay for the public as well as private costs, then the total value increases (including any losses for anything else, such as building dams; caveat perhaps being how public money is spent, but the tax itself would tend to incentivise government decisions assuming the government is at least a little bit functional and good). Without adequate AGW mitigation policy, too much money could be spent on other things – not because there would not be benifit, but because the marginal returns would be less than what could be gained with mitigation.

    (Note that a tax applied anywhere (in proper proportion) along a chain of economic activity that emits will tend to be distributed among the benificiaries, so it should tend to work just as well to tax either at point of combustion/oxydation, or point of extraction, or point of sale (with corrections in the later cases for that portion of C that is not subsequently oxydized; I wrote this thinking of fossil fuels (extraction, sale, resale, etc, combustion) but of course deforestation, etc. should be included; in the case of fossil fuels, I suggest applying the tax where it requires the least effort to enforce and count (paperwork) – ie don’t tax the consumers of electricity or gasoline; tax the mine and well output, or tax the power plant and oil/gas distributors, etc. Either way, the supply to benificiaries increases in price, or the profit of the suppliers is reduced, or both; the reduced profit drives investment toward alternatives, the greater price drives demand toward alternatives, the prices change in response, etc.)

    2. One way to mitigate flood and drought impacts is to have reservoirs. (Wetlands or small holding ponds can mitigate flash flooding. I’m not completely sure but I wonder of glaciers work like reservoirs in that way – that’s the impression I’ve gotten and it makes sense.) Increased average precipitation with the same % variability would tend to require larger reservoirs in order to mitigate up to the same percentile of extreme events (I’m not saying this is what happens generally, but concievably it would approximately happen in some fraction of regions?). Increased variability with same average precipitation would tend to do the same. And if precipitation-evaporation in total decreases, you may need to import, conserve, or produce/recycle more fresh water, or relocate your water-usage activity. Speaking of relocation, another aspect of dealing with floods and droughts is getting out of their way. Don’t build too deep into the floodplains or too close to sea level (another issue with AGW, and note that if the floodplains shrink in some regions, you may want to relocate closer to the rivers?); don’t populate the desert too densly. (Ideally, the cost of insurance would work through market processes to encourage desert and floodplain usage at just the level and type where the benifit-cost is optimized.)

    AGW affects water issues. A lot.

    ——–

    And though a comprehensive world-wide policy is ideal, domestic policies can accomplish real good. Apply tariffs and subsidies to imports and exports to plug the perverse incentives resulting from trade between countries with different policies.

    Yes, there is the problem that one nation’s reduction in oil demand will tend to lead to increased usage elsewhere (except for the reduction in oil output from the nation with the AGW policy, but that doesn’t seem likely to be large), but there should tend to be a net reduction, because if the same total were used, it would tend to be at the same price, which means that the nations which now consume more are not consuming more because of a shift in price. The price has to be lower if consumption increases in the other nations, which tends to require that the total usage is still less.

    And yes, the reduced CO2eq tax in some nations will make it more profitable for other nations to reduce their taxes, but the nations with higher taxes could also tend to pull other nations towards having higher taxes (If I’m not mistaken; logic: the imports would cost the same then, with tariffs reduced and taxes increased, but the tax revenue would then go to the exporter.)

    Meanwhile, the innovations produced in a few nations will eventually be in demand elsewhere.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 31 Aug 2010 @ 8:13 PM

  610. Patrick 027 @609

    …I wonder if glaciers work like reservoirs in that way – that’s the impression I’ve gotten and it makes sense…

    I believe you’re right. Read glacier man interview:

    http://southasia.oneworld.net/opinioncomment/the-2018glacier-man2019-of-india

    Comment by John Peter — 31 Aug 2010 @ 10:17 PM

  611. Patrick @609 continued
    another ref:

    http://bluelivingideas.com/topics/saving-water/mimicking-nature-man-builds-imitation-glacier/

    Comment by John Peter — 31 Aug 2010 @ 10:26 PM

  612. 594 Kevin : “At the same time, I wonder if Gilles dismisses the calculations of, say, bridge engineers, regarding the probability of failure modes under certain circumstances, as “subjective.””

    I also said that probabilities could be justified, and in some way made more “objective”, by the comparison with a lot of similar experiments. The use of probabilities in your example is justified by the fact that there are numerous bridges and engineers, including a fair number of collapsed ones ( I mean, bridges , of course :) ).

    BPL :”The whole point about the fossil fuel industry is that they DO NOT WANT alternative energy to be developed. ”

    Rather strangely, they were rather inefficient to prevent hydroelectricity to be fairly developed, as much a nuclear industry, to produce electricity, everywhere when it was possible (including USA of course), and sometimes reaching 100 % of the produced power.

    Do you have a clear explanation why they would dislike motion of air and solar photons, much more than motion of water ??

    Comment by Gilles — 1 Sep 2010 @ 12:38 AM

  613. “He confused a hypothetical scenario with a prediction.”
    Nah- neither did the IPCC. They don’t recommend governments make policies over merely hypothetical scenarios.
    You don’t do essays over mere semantic quibbles.
    You know, every once in a while, you run into somebody smarter than you, who, like your mom, sees through the tricks you use to lie to yourself.

    Comment by Gnomish — 1 Sep 2010 @ 2:12 AM

  614. #610–Interesting link, John Peter. Thanks.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 1 Sep 2010 @ 7:03 AM

  615. BPL (595), how do you explain the investment, R&D, and actual installation and production of alternative fuels business by the oil companies? (BP is probably the 8th largest producer of wind power in the U.S. for just one example.)

    Comment by Rod B — 1 Sep 2010 @ 1:25 PM

  616. Kevin Stanley (594), I think you make a reasonable point, which is (I think) that it is not usually helpful to define terms with so much constraint that any practical meaning is impossible. Given that I could live with a little looser use of “objective.” Though, I think this also applies to “proof,” as a cogent case was made by SecularAnimist (IIRC — sorry if my attribution is wrong), and it is not clear if you agree with that.

    However there are two contrary points: one, objective ought to have some reasonably solid content made on actual numerical measurements or strongly supportable calculations (even if projections or based on proxies — which can be O.K.) — this is the sine qua non of “objective.” 2nd, and probably more apropos to the comments in the thread, is the tendency for people to make objective conclusions with looseness and with, in part, very meager numbers but then morph it into an “objective” chisled-in-stone irrefutable point.

    Comment by Rod B — 1 Sep 2010 @ 1:34 PM

  617. Giles

    If this probability debate is about real time series, tell the guys and gals about “black swans”, fractals, and chaos theory. Or perhaps they will tell us all about “tipping points”

    As an example – hopefully helpful:

    “…But Chaos Theory Tamed doesn’t stop with explanations of ‘strange attractors,’ ‘entropy,’ and ‘autocorrelation in time series.’ Garnett Williams’ book gives the best accessible explanation of power laws that I’ve encountered. Chaos Theory Tamed explains power law and scalability (scale free, scale invariant, etc.) in terms of ‘dimensions.’ Dimensions are essentially the kind of dimensions that we are all familiar with … three dimensions of space (four dimensions if you include time), two dimensions of a sheet of paper or a fictional ‘flatland,’ and the single dimension of a Platonic straight line. With power laws, the dimension of what is being measured is the exponent and is relatively invariant (within some range). When graphed on log-log axes, a power law is a straight line and the power law exponent (represented as ‘alpha’ in The Black Swan) is the slope (usually, negative) of this line.

    Garnett Williams uses the concepts of dimensions and scales in order to give a very clear-headed explanation of fractals. Chaos Theory Tamed doesn’t dwell on fractals as much as other books that are more specifically focused on fractals, but, when the book does deal with fractals, the explanations of what fractals are and how they relate to chaos theory are brilliant for its clarity. Basically, fractals are defined in this book as being “fractional dimensions” — i.e., instead of 1, 2, or 3 dimensions (integer dimensions), fractals are fractional (non-integer) dimensions (1.2, 1.4, 2.8, etc.). I actually find this sort of definition to be much more useful and interesting then the thousands of pretty pictures of fractals I have seen in other books, magazines, and on the web…”
    http://econophysics.blogspot.com/2007/05/book-review-chaos-theory-tamed.html

    ———–

    For the more serious scientist or engineer interested in reality, struggle with Mandelbrot, . A review of his “Fractal Geometry of Nature” follows:

    “Very few books have so many quotes as this one. I am not sure if there is much left to be said, but I know this. For those professionals who still think that fractals are “spurious solutions coming from the discretization of differential equations”, should take a closer look to this book. Not only won’t harm, but also will show many interesting features about the nature of fractals and the “fractality” of nature, besides the fact that many of them come from *difference* equations, which are not necessarily related to the discretization of a differential equation. This book is based on serious work from many well-reputed mathematicians before Mandelbrot, e.g., Haussdorff, Lyapunov and some others. Although the book does talk about the mathematics behind fractals (wouldn’t be so much a book of mathematics if it didn’t, but also a philosophical one) and the necessity of coining some new mathematical terms, it also contains so much about history of mathematics, the path that leads towards fractals. As I said, the book is many times quoted, but (without trying to point a firing, accusing finger), there is a difference in quoting a book because it is famous, and another actually reading it, and having enlightenment for our own sake. Certainly I think is a “must-have-it” for most mathematicians, for many physicists, philosophers of science and engineers, but also it wouldn’t be a bad guest in the library of any layman, provided the layman overcomes for some minutes the initial “classical” fear to mathematics. I would say this layman won’t regret it at all. Mandelbrot does explain most of the concepts practically “ab initio”, from the very scratch, including etymology and history as I previously said. One little thing against this book though: it doesn’t have so many color plates as some other books on the subject, but it does have all the needed graphics to grasp the concepts…” http://www.amazon.com/review/R2FTCD8GL3QB21/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt#R2FTCD8GL3QB21

    Comment by John Peter — 1 Sep 2010 @ 2:03 PM

  618. Gilles 612: Do you have a clear explanation why they would dislike motion of air and solar photons, much more than motion of water ??

    BPL: I’m inferring it from the fact that A) wind and solar would be competitors, B) they’ve spent at least $63 million on AGW deniers, and C) they send idiots to speak out against it at any hearing on building a new windmill or solar power plant.

    Duh.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 1 Sep 2010 @ 6:09 PM

  619. Rod 615: BPL (595), how do you explain the investment, R&D, and actual installation and production of alternative fuels business by the oil companies?

    BPL: To look good to stockholders, the public, and politicians. Compare the amount they spend on fossil fuels and try not to be a complete dupe.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 1 Sep 2010 @ 6:13 PM

  620. Here is a thermodynamics question: has anybody ever calculated (estimated, etc.) the total global entropy change effected by the bioshpere? Per year, say, or in different biomes?

    My reference for thermodynamics is the textbook by Kondepudi and Prigogine (for example, p. 88 which decomposes entropy change into two components, one of which is due to exchange of mass and energy, the other of which isn’t), but I can’t claim any mastery.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 1 Sep 2010 @ 7:52 PM

  621. BPL, oil companies spent $63 million on so-called “denier” support??!!? What is that, a couple of hours of revenue?? How does this compare with just one company’s $8 billion investment (over about four years) in alternative energy (wind, solar, bio)? Oh, I see. It’s just PR money that they’re basically throwing away to somehow impress investors. Right. Oh, I see. It’s not near as much as they invest in their primary business. Well, duh! I’m curious: did BP send their idiots to battle their own wind farm plans and construction in S. Dakota, Colo., California, etc?

    I think one is a dupe if they simply accept the party line and the old school cheer without regard to much facts.

    Comment by Rod B — 1 Sep 2010 @ 8:27 PM

  622. 620, SM

    Oddly, I came across this just now:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/329/5993/834

    An estimate of the global annual gross carbon dioxide uptake: 123 +/- 8 petagrams per year. It must be possible to compute the energy and entropy changes resulting from that storage.

    Kondepudi and Prigogine have relevant (seemingly, to a novice) equations in chapter 4, and they note that biological cells can in fact reduce entropy. WRT to Trenberth’s query of where is all the energy going, this might be one place to look.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 1 Sep 2010 @ 11:44 PM

  623. Re: #620

    What for?

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 2 Sep 2010 @ 4:47 AM

  624. RB 621: BPL, oil companies spent $63 million on so-called “denier” support??!!? What is that, a couple of hours of revenue??

    BPL: The people running the company DO NOT have access to most of the revenue. Most of it goes to wages. Most of the rest has to be reinvested. A lot goes to stockholders. They only have so much to play around with for political purposes.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 Sep 2010 @ 7:30 AM

  625. “BPL: I’m inferring it from the fact that A) wind and solar would be competitors”

    but why more than hydroelectricity ?????

    “Kondepudi and Prigogine have relevant (seemingly, to a novice) equations in chapter 4, and they note that biological cells can in fact reduce entropy”
    Of the matter, yes, but not of the Universe. The entropy is created by the fact that a single short-wavelength solar photon is ultimately transformed into many long-wavelength IR photons and reemitted in space, only a small part of its energy being stored in carbohydrates. The conversion of solar spectrum into IR thermal emission is by far the main source of entropy at the Earth surface, explaining why life can temporarily store some negentropy.

    Comment by Gilles — 2 Sep 2010 @ 8:42 AM

  626. Septic Matthew,
    Given that we haven’t even identified many of the species on Earth, let alone developed an understanding of the ecosystems in which they live, I think your question is probably a bit ill defined. What is more, realize that many of the processes that occur in living organisms are irreversible, so integral dQ/T is merely a lower bound. One could come up with an estimate, or even an upper bound, but I’m not sure how meaningful it would be.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Sep 2010 @ 8:51 AM

  627. Rod B., do you not draw a distinction between money spent on R&D and money spent on lies?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Sep 2010 @ 8:58 AM

  628. biological cells can in fact reduce entropy.

    Is it possible to provide a little more detail and context? Prigogine is usually right. One problem with cells is that their effective temperature may differ from that measured by a thermometer, but I don’t know whether that is relevant to your quote.

    You probably know what follows but just in case..

    Even in a simple heat engine, the entropy of the source is reduced, while the entropy of the sink increases and by a greater amount. Its a bit different for a heat pump.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/08/doing-it-yourselves/comment-page-3/#comment-185201

    As an aside:
    In the case of entropy production by metabolism and combustion, a significant term may be the entropy of mixing. This is created in the transition between concentrated CO2 or H20 at the top of the chimney (or tree) and the final well mixed greenhouse gas.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 2 Sep 2010 @ 9:20 AM

  629. 612 Gilles asked, “Do you have a clear explanation why they would dislike motion of air and solar photons, much more than motion of water ??”

    Scalability. Solar cells don’t scale well. Wind is a bit better, but it’s not industrialized energy production like a dam or nuclear reactor or coal burner.

    Comment by RichardC — 2 Sep 2010 @ 9:47 AM

  630. Septic Matthew (622), the info I have (from EIA via 1st IPCC report) shows about 780 petagrams of global annual absorption of CO2, not 123. This probably doesn’t affect the substance of your answer comment, but I’m curious.

    Comment by Rod B — 2 Sep 2010 @ 10:08 AM

  631. Gilles wrote: “Do you have a clear explanation why they would dislike motion of air and solar photons, much more than motion of water ?”

    RichardC replied: “Scalability. Solar cells don’t scale well. Wind is a bit better, but it’s not industrialized energy production like a dam or nuclear reactor or coal burner.”

    With all due respect, your reply to Gilles indicates that you are ill-informed as to the current state of both solar and wind energy technologies.

    Solar encompasses both photovoltaics (“solar cells”) and solar thermal. Both technologies “scale well” from very small, distributed applications (e.g. grid-connected urban and suburban rooftops in the USA, off-grid rural villages in India and Africa) to industrial, utility-scale installations (large scale PV and concentrating solar thermal power plants are being built now, including in the USA). The USA has vast solar energy resources — concentrating solar thermal power plants on five percent of the USA’s desert lands could generate more electricity than the entire country consumes, on top of the enormous potential for locally-generated solar power from rooftop PV on homes, warehouses, office parks, factories, shopping malls, parking lots, degraded lands (“brownfields”), etc.

    Wind energy is already being built at “industrialized” scales — more than 10 Gigawatts of new wind generation capacity was installed in the USA in 2009; US wind energy installations have grown at 39 percent annually for the last five years. According to the NREL the total exploitable wind energy potential of the USA is about nine times the total electricity generated annually in the USA.

    There is a very simple reason why the fossil fuel corporations are not interested in wind and solar — because wind and solar eliminate the need for fuel. The business model of the fossil fuel corporations is, of course, selling fuel. The business model of wind and solar is selling the technology for harvesting abundant, ubiquitous, endless, free energy. Which makes fuel — and the one billion dollar per day profits of the fossil fuel corporations — obsolete.

    There will be “giant energy corporations” in the wind and solar powered future. But they won’t be extractive industries. They will be technology industries. They will more closely resemble GE, Intel and Google than ExxonMobil and BP.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 2 Sep 2010 @ 10:24 AM

  632. SM, think about the carbon cycle, e.g.:
    http://library.thinkquest.org/C003763/images/planet/ccycle.gif
    (from http://library.thinkquest.org/C003763/index.php?page=planet03 )

    “gross carbon dioxide uptake” is part of the net carbon cycle.

    The Science article is pointing out that “biosphere models used for climate predictions” appear to be “missing processes or feedback mechanisms which attenuate the vegetation response to climate.” No surprise; they’re pointing out additional information that can be useful to improve the models.

    Or see it as the climate response to vegetation. Again, no surprise.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Sep 2010 @ 11:01 AM

  633. Ray Ladbury and Geoff Wexler, the really interesting chapters in Kondepudi and Prigogine are 18 (systems far from equilibrium) and 19 (dissipative system.) As with a few other topics, like non-stationary time series and vector autoregressive processes, it’s hard to summarize anything in bullets. The earth’s biomes receive energy and mass from the surround, and convert these into compact well defined structures with high energy content and low entropy. If primary productivity increases with increased CO2 (as shown in some studies), then the processes will increase, producing even more high energy structures with low entropy. It is probably worth while to find out how much, and how much more.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 2 Sep 2010 @ 11:03 AM

  634. Geoff”biological cells can in fact reduce entropy.

    Is it possible to provide a little more detail and context? Prigogine is usually right. One problem with cells is that their effective temperature may differ from that measured by a thermometer, but I don’t know whether that is relevant to your quote.”

    There is nothing wrong in saying that the entropy budget of chemical species is negative. It just doesn’t take into account the entropy of the photon gas, incoming with a low entropy state (small number of visible photons), and emitted in a high entropy state (IR thermal radiation). Solar radiation is “out of equilibrium” in the sense that its spectrum is that of 5800 blackbody, but its energy density is that of a 300 K blackbody – the irreversible transformation from the former to the latter produces much more entropy that what is created in living beings. the whole “mechanical” climate engine is actually powered by the same entropy generating mechanism.

    Comment by Gilles — 2 Sep 2010 @ 11:37 AM

  635. Re: #633

    it’s hard to summarize

    Agreed. that why I queried the previous summary

    biological cells can in fact reduce entropy.

    which can be misunderstood without context. Consider e.g. the title of their chapter 19. Dissipative systems are defined to be those with positive entropy production.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 2 Sep 2010 @ 11:44 AM

  636. 634 Geoff Wexler, I do not find where K&P define dissipative as producing positive entropy. The earth system, wrt heat transfer, is dissipative because it radiates energy to the surround (is that why it is positive entropy producing by definition?), and would cool without repeated energy input. Dissipative systems with input create spatially-temporally organized structures, but with more than a few dimensions they are so chaotic as not to be predictable very far in advance.

    Equation 18.3.13, which relates entropy change to concentration change, shows that excess entropy change can be negative when the energy input drives chemical reactions.

    I am grateful to the moderators for letting us stray off topic, but I come back to my original question, reformulated after the Science article. If we know that Gross Primary Production is 123 petagrams per year (or 780, from Rod B’s comment # 630), can we compute the associated entropy change? Isn’t it an important quantity to know?

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 2 Sep 2010 @ 12:44 PM

  637. Re: 619- Barton Paul Levenson. Another reason fossil fuel companies are keen on biofuels is that producing crop-based biofuels is a fossil fuel intensive process. The planting, harvesting, transport, purification steps all take energy, much of it fossil fuel based. Many studies show little or no net energy gain over just burning the oil used to get the biofuel. That is, you put in almost as much energy in the form of fossil fuels as you get out of biofuels. So the oil companies don’t lose significant revenue, and get to patent some new technology and get in some money to make up for any (probably small) shortfall. Biofuels mean you lose food production and croplands, and potentially get deforestation (CO2 released). Some of the newer biofules (algae) show more promise, but the overall production/refine/transport energy costs can still be significant (even stirring the soup takes energy).

    Re: 633, Septic Matthew- More biomass is not necessarily helpful if it is not in a form you need (e.g. toxic ocean algea blooms), not where you need it (toxic algae example), or unusable due to other factors (e.g. recent study in Australia shows increased cyanide and reduced protein levels in high CO2 grown plants).

    Comment by Indulis — 2 Sep 2010 @ 6:03 PM

  638. Septic Matthew @ 636 and previous:

    I keep hoping one of the more quantitative, physics-savvy regulars will chime in, but since they haven’t and since I’m tiring of your wasting your and our time on this tangent let me give it a try.

    Hank Roberts gave you a good hint by pointing you to a figure on the carbon cycle but it apparently zipped right by you.

    Here’s another hint: living things die sooner or later (usually sooner). Your attention to Gross Primary Productivity misses this point; what you ought to be interested in is NetPP. Actually if, as they say, you do the maths, I think you’ll find that even this is irrelevant in the context you are discussing. Think about it – perhaps 20% of the excess C in the atmosphere comes from land use change, primarily deforestation. And there are many reasons why the increased productivity that some project with increased CO2 will not materialize – look it up. Not only is the measurement you are interested in irrelevant, it’s headed in the opposite direction from what you think.

    Comment by Rick Brown — 2 Sep 2010 @ 7:22 PM

  639. Septic Matthew (622) asks if entropy changes resulting from carbon storage by biological processes might be a significant component of the Earth’s energy budget (my paraphrase).

    Without calculating the energy changes involved; we know that humans currently dig up and consume fossil carbon from biological sources at a far greater rate than they are being laid down. Ergo, energy released by consumption of fossil fuels is significantly greater than enery storage by the carbon cycle. As we know that the energy contribution to surface temperature from burning of fossil fuels is sufficiently small as to be irrelevant as a contributor to global warming, it follows that energy storage by biological carbon sequestration is also too small to have a measurable effect on energy balance equations.

    Comment by Tom Curtis — 2 Sep 2010 @ 8:24 PM

  640. > producing positive entropy

    Would that be a good thing, a bad thing, or make no difference?

    You’re having fun with words here; if our moderators get vacation, you can pursue it for days. But why bother?

    http://www.tim-thompson.com/entropy1.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Sep 2010 @ 9:00 PM

  641. Gilles 625: “BPL: I’m inferring it from the fact that A) wind and solar would be competitors”

    but why more than hydroelectricity ?????

    BPL: Because hydro is effectively tapped out while wind and solar are almost unlimited.

    Duh.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Sep 2010 @ 4:00 AM

  642. Re #636 and #640

    [This may look fussy but it is actually non-trivial]

    First Hank your link excludes the subject under consideration which is about entropy-production (my hyphen to discourage bad parsing); this is a topic created by Onsager and developed by Prigogine and others.

    Secondly Septic Mathew, I don’t have your book but it sounds very interesting, except that I am not sure that you need the full power of irreversible thermodynamics to answer your original question, for which I didn’t see the goal. Incidentally, by refering to ‘positive entropy’ (an incorrect parsing of the three words) you are in danger of getting some things wrong.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 3 Sep 2010 @ 5:17 AM

  643. Gilles,

    Regarding fossil fuel companies resisting renewable power, read this.

    In short, the author tells about a report by the Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States.

    The author points to various independent reports by the power companies themselves (who should know their stuff best I would think) that show the report is not based in reality. Nonetheless, they keep pushing the report, using their marketing and lobbying power.

    However, you are correct in stating that not all fossil fuel companies are resisting renewable energy. BP is an example.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 3 Sep 2010 @ 5:18 AM

  644. Semi-OT, but relevant in the larger picture (and we did get a mention of biofuels in there somewhere, didn’t we?):

    A new biofuels project, using “MSW”–municipal solid waste–as a feedstock, producing ethanol, and reducing landfill usage by 90%:

    http://biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2010/09/01/the-lowdown-on-enerkems-landmark-edmonton-advanced-biofuels-project/

    Existing biogas production from municipal organic waste:

    http://www.axpo-kompogas.ch/files/artikel/99/Axpo_%20Kompogas_%20Ltd_Company_Profile.pdf

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 3 Sep 2010 @ 6:41 AM

  645. #615 Rod Black

    Probably the easiest way to understand it is if you are the industry that is making the most money, you really want to remain the industry that makes the most money.

    Since regulation on carbon emissions would impinge on profits, you would want to do everything you could to delay regulation in that area while you ramped up R&D in areas that will make you money once that regulation becomes inevitable.

    This isn’t rocket science Rod, it’s just greed and power. Pretty simple really. The goal is to make as much money on everything you can. fossil or renewable makes no difference.


    Fee & Dividend: Our best chanceLearn the IssueSign the Petition
    A Climate Minute: Natural CycleGreenhouse EffectClimate Science HistoryArctic Ice Melt

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 3 Sep 2010 @ 7:56 AM

  646. 638, Rick Brown: Here’s another hint: living things die sooner or later (usually sooner). Your attention to Gross Primary Productivity misses this point; what you ought to be interested in is NetPP. Actually if, as they say, you do the maths, I think you’ll find that even this is irrelevant in the context you are discussing. Think about it – perhaps 20% of the excess C in the atmosphere comes from land use change, primarily deforestation.

    I am glad that you mentioned that because (a) I agree with you about the net, but the article is about the gross and you have to start somewhere; (b) land use changes are among the things that will not be changed by reducing CO2, hence one of the reasons why reducing CO2 is not guaranteed to reverse warming [i.e., why the money might be wasted]; and (c) reforestation and aforestation are among the actions that I support, for multiple reasons, including (in Indonesia, for example) planting salt-tolerant mangroves for protection against tsunamis.

    The pattern in some places of alternations of forest growth and forest fires has the net effect of storing energy and reducing entropy via the accumulation of char and other useful stuff in the soil. Marine organisms create dense, highly structured skeletons that sink to the ocean floor.

    Now more readings from my selected text. In chapter 17 the authors explain how “stationary states” can develop in non-equilibrium systems (earth is non-equilibrium for multiple reasons, including that the influx of energy from the sun is not constant), and the total entropy can oscillate up and down above the stationary value. Since the earth’s climate system has demonstrably oscillated up and down over the last 10 millenia and more, it would seem that it would be worthwhile to investigate the degree to which the earth system agrees quantitatively with the theory.

    642 Geoff Wexler: ‘positive entropy’

    Good catch. I intend to be writing about positive and negative entropy changes within defined regions of the climate system.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 3 Sep 2010 @ 11:31 AM

  647. At the risk of exceeding my quota, here is the widely cited article noting that not all the energy is accounted for:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/sci;328/5976/316?cookietest=yes&maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=trenberth&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT

    If the earth system is a net energy importer, then some of the energy might be stored in the biosphere; and the earth system might experience a net entropy reduction.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 3 Sep 2010 @ 4:19 PM

  648. #646

    earth is non-equilibrium for multiple reasons, including that the influx of energy from the sun is not constant

    Correction: ‘non-equilibrium’ should be ‘non-stationary’

    (a term which you have just introduced correctly and then immediately discarded).

    #647

    I take it that you are challenging this remark in the abstract:

    Existing observing systems can measure all the required quantities,

    Do you know what the existing method is for estimating the change in energy absorbed by the biosphere?

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 3 Sep 2010 @ 6:51 PM

  649. Septic M:

    I’m reminded of Ted Williams’ advice that “If you don’t think too good, don’t think too much.”

    I understand that my personal threshold for “too much” is regrettably low, so I try to figure things out by reading widely. On this topic at least, I think you would be well served to try thinking less and reading more. Tear your attention away from your “selected text” and read Tom Curtis’s comment @ 639 and then spend some time with, for instance,

    http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange1/current/lectures/kling/energyflow/energyflow.html
    and

    http://agwobserver.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/papers-on-primary-production-and-climate-change/

    You’re in desperate need of some context and some perspective. I’m done.

    Comment by Rick Brown — 3 Sep 2010 @ 7:08 PM

  650. 639, Tom Curtis: Without calculating the energy changes involved; we know that humans currently dig up and consume fossil carbon from biological sources at a far greater rate than they are being laid down. Ergo, energy released by consumption of fossil fuels is significantly greater than enery storage by the carbon cycle. As we know that the energy contribution to surface temperature from burning of fossil fuels is sufficiently small as to be irrelevant as a contributor to global warming, it follows that energy storage by biological carbon sequestration is also too small to have a measurable effect on energy balance equations.

    So far, no one has answered my questions.

    648 Geoff Wexler: Correction: ‘non-equilibrium’ should be ‘non-stationary’

    No. It is non-equilibrium. If it were in equilibrium, however, then AGW would not be happening, but the worry is that with AGW (even if CO2 were stabilized at the present value), temperature will continue to rise until a new higher equilibrium is reached. This is one of the topics that, now that I’ve been alerted to it, I shall follow more closely in the upcoming decades.

    As you may have noticed, when people tell me to read more, I read more.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 4 Sep 2010 @ 10:36 AM

  651. The August 13 issue of Science seems to be a gold mine:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/329/5993/838

    “The results may partly explain a less pronounced climate–carbon cycle feedback than suggested by current carbon cycle climate models.”

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 4 Sep 2010 @ 10:48 AM

  652. 649, Rick Brown, thanks for the links

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 4 Sep 2010 @ 1:33 PM

  653. #650

    No. It is non-equilibrium……..
    will continue to rise until a new higher equilibrium is reached.

    Authors vary in their terminology especially when writing in different subject areas. They can use any words they like provided that the meaning is clear from the context and provided that they avoid your pitfall of changing horses in mid-stream (sorry about that metaphor).

    Your sentence is OK but not for someone reporting from a thermodynamics book. The issue is no longer one of terminology but of understanding. According to you, the book implies that there are two different conditions (a) a stationary one (b) one with energy balance and no warming or cooling.

    If you really believe that, then please have another think, and please read up on thermal equilibrium , a very different condition, as discussed in most thermod. books.

    Ditto for dissipation.

    [Probably no more from me on this]

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 4 Sep 2010 @ 6:10 PM

  654. 653, Geoff Wexler, K&P say that the universe is not in equilibrium. AGW asserts that earth is accumulating energy and has not equilibrated to the higher CO2 obtained so far — indeed, CO2 continues to increase.

    Rick Brown’s links have lots of good information in them, including an estimate of the caloric input of global net primary production.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 4 Sep 2010 @ 11:01 PM

  655. SM: “no one has answered my questions.
    Rick Brown’s reply is worth re-reading

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Sep 2010 @ 7:10 AM

  656. 654, Hank Roberts, the links that Rick Brown supplied have lots of information. I have not finished reading them, but one has an estimate of the heat invested in primary productivity.

    Is everyone else in agreement with Geoff Wexler that the earth biosphere + atmosphere + land + ocean system is in thermal equilibrium?

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 5 Sep 2010 @ 10:08 AM

  657. http://www.mit.edu/~mkgray/head-explode.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Sep 2010 @ 5:00 PM

  658. SM #654 and #656

    Deviation,distortion and third consecutive misunderstanding of something. I don’t believe that my last few comments have been that opaque.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 5 Sep 2010 @ 5:33 PM

  659. Geoff Wexler #658

    Your comments have not been that opaque.
    Nor is SM is not that myopic.
    That leaves only two options:
    SM is either emulating Monckton, or mocking him.

    Comment by arch stanton — 5 Sep 2010 @ 7:43 PM

  660. from figure 5 in one of the references supplied by Rick Brown (http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange1/current/lectures/kling/energyflow/energyflow.html), I calculated about 8.4 E14 cal/yr energy flow into the biosphere (numbers had to be estimated from the graph); that’s net primary production.

    Beers et al in Science estimated 62 petagrams (carbon) per year, net primary production, or 6.2 E16 g/yr.

    My original question was about the entropy change, but this will do for now. Thanks again to Rick Brown.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 5 Sep 2010 @ 7:45 PM

  661. “Beers”?

    “Beer et al. (1) estimate total annual terrestrial gross primary production ….”
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/329/5993/774
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/sci;science.1184984/DC1l

    terrestrial: several senses, including tellurian, or planetary

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Sep 2010 @ 9:14 PM

  662. Re 660 Septic Matthew -

    Climatic, ecological equilibrium, homeostasis, steady-state flow – examples where conditions, either instantaneously or as part of some pattern (or texture) over a period of time, remain steady over a longer period of time. Energy in = Energy out, mass in = mass out (except E=mc2), entropy in + entropy produced = entropy out, etc.

    The Earth’s climate tends not to be in precise equilibrium in any one year but approximately so over some number of years if there is not a longer-term trend in forcing.

    Thermodynamic equilibrium: all reactions are occuring at the same rate in forward and reverse. Energy in = energy out through the same pathway, etc. Entropy is maximized (for a closed isolated system).

    (rough back of the envelope approximate calc. off top of head, rounded conversion factors):
    8.4 E14 cal/year ~= 34 E14 J/year ~= 1 E8 W ~= 2 E-7 W/m2. That actually seems too small to me (or maybe net is such a small fraction of gross PP?); fossil fuel combustion is five orders of magnitude larger, though still insignificant to climate (except locally).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 5 Sep 2010 @ 9:21 PM

  663. Septic Matthew

    I said I was done, but I guess I’ll step in it one more time.

    Off the top of my (pointy little) head:

    Of the Sun’s energy that reaches Earth, the portion:

    Converted to heat – 0.50

    Captured by photosynthesis (NPP) – 0.0005

    Net ecosystem production (NEP) – 0.00005

    Plausible range of anomaly (positive or negative) in global NEP over last decade or so – 0.000005

    I’ll guarantee you that some or maybe even all of these figures are wrong, but the conclusion that your posited mechanism for hiding heat through increased photosynthesis is inconsequential is highly certain.

    Your tasks, should you accept them, are to:
    1) Show where my figures are wrong
    2) Show that this makes a difference to my conclusion.

    Comment by Rick Brown — 5 Sep 2010 @ 11:57 PM

  664. #646 – “(b) land use changes are among the things that will not be changed by reducing CO2, hence one of the reasons why reducing CO2 is not guaranteed to reverse warming [i.e., why the money might be wasted]; ”

    Yet again Matthew, I’d IMPLORE YOU to go away and do some basic reading.

    You don’t seem to have even the flimsiest grasp on the subject of mitigation, whatsoever.

    Emissions from Land use change WOULD BE INCLUDED in any global climate deal as it is ALREADY INCLUDED in Kyoto.

    Google LULUCF.

    I fear I’m wasting my time hear. “ears refuned” indeed.

    Comment by Silk — 6 Sep 2010 @ 3:49 AM

  665. 661: Hank Roberts: “Beers”?
    “Beer et al. (1) estimate total annual terrestrial gross primary production

    Sorry about that, Dr Beer. Hank, thanks for the correction. Beer et al state that NPP is half of GPP.

    For the rest, if the earth is in thermal equilibrium then AGW is not a problem. It depends on what the meaning of equilibrium is.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 6 Sep 2010 @ 12:15 PM

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Close this window.

1.444 Powered by WordPress