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  1. Hi!

    It looks like the graphs aren’t showing. I suspect it’s because the link to them has an extraneous “.” at the end of the url.

    [fixed, sorry--had to do w/ the different ways images are referenced in preview and publish mode w/ the updated wordpress software. -mike]

    Comment by tamino — 16 Sep 2007 @ 10:15 AM

  2. It takes two to tango but I wonder how many of the readers of this blog genuinely understand the two contrasting arguments and are able to say anything at all about it that is meaningful. I, for one, cannot. Pretty soon, it seems, the “denialists” will be saying high CO2 levels are actually good for us. If human body lice studies are confirmed as indicating that not a single human wore clothing, not even animal skins, as recently as 169,000 years ago, then the average temperature globally must have been considerably warmer than it is now in African latitudes where most of us may have been located in those days. Humanity survived those high temperatures without technology of any kind, and without clothing. To that extent, surely we can adapt even better today if those high temperatures reoccur. Thus, though I do not fall into the denialist camp, nonetheless I would tend to be among those who are somewhat reassuring if the worst temperature rises do occur. But this is not an argument to do nothing. We do need clean energy. What we require is government to reward those who are willing to experiment with wind, solar, geothermal etc.so that those guys with hummers and their ilk actually pay much more to those of us willing to make the green enrgy investments. It’s time for government to get heavily involved in the process and not leave it up to the privatizers at all.

    Comment by Vern Johnson — 16 Sep 2007 @ 11:36 AM

  3. A sidebar: cherry-picking bits and pieces and declaring an “AHA! I TOLD YOU SO!” moment is not monopolized by the AGW antagonists; protagonists do their share.

    None-the-less, and coming from a skeptic (different from antagonist), while my initial gut response is dubious (though not yet backed up with any cogent analysis), it is a well-done admirable post. Much to think about.

    Comment by Rod B — 16 Sep 2007 @ 11:59 AM

  4. Thanks for posting this rebuttal!
    Perhaps Mr. Schwartz should have passed this by such a rigorous test as above before he let go with his findings.

    Seems to me the empirical evidence puts ALL the climate modeling into catch-up mode. IPCC rainfall projections are questionable. Now this.

    What’a really worrisome is that the CO2 induced temperature rise we have now has been sufficient to trigger enough climate feedbacks and rapid ice melting as to make AGHG plus aerosols forcing just a component of impending changes.

    With China’s rapid industrialization adding to the CO2/aerosol triggers I don’t think dangerous climate change can be stopped.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 16 Sep 2007 @ 12:12 PM

  5. The Schwartz paper refers to Levitus 2005, Warming of the world ocean, 1955–2003. It also seems to rely on a certain value for the ‘effective heat capacity of the oceans’:

    “The present analysis indicates that the effective heat capacity of the world ocean pertinent to climate change on this multidecadal scale may be taken as 14 +/- 6 W yr m-2 K-1. The effective heat capacity determined in this way is equivalent to the heat capacity of 106 m of ocean water or, for ocean fractional area 0.71, the top 150 m of the world ocean. This effective heat capacity is thus comparable to the heat capacity of the ocean mixed layer.” Other literature values are 35 +/- 16 W yr m-2 K-1 (Andrea 2005) and (3.2 – 65) W yr m-2 K-1, (Fram 2005).

    However, Levitus 2005 has much more to say on this matter:

    “There are three reasons one does not expect uniform heating of the ocean from the observed increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases. The first is that internal variability of the earth system (e.g., El Nino) may affect regional ocean heating rates in a non-uniform manner.”

    “The second is that the natural and anthropogenic aerosols are not well-mixed geographically and can have a substantial effect on regional warming rates. This has been documented for the northern Indian Ocean by Ramanathan et al. (2001a,b) who estimate a decrease of absorbed surface solar radiation exceeding 10Wm-2 over much of the Indian Ocean due to the presence of aerosols. The IPCC (2001) report also documents the geographical variability of various aerosols, ozone, black carbon, etc. that affect the amount of radiation available to enter the world ocean.”

    “The third reason is that any change in the earth’s radiative balance may induce global and regional changes in the circulation of the atmosphere and ocean which could in turn affect the net flux of heat across the air-sea interface on a regional basis.”

    What’s very unfortunate in the Schwartz paper is the following, however: “However in a subsequent publication a year later Lyman et al. [2006] reported a rapid net loss of ocean heat for 2003-2005 that led those investigators to estimate. . . a value much more consistent with the long-term record in the Levitus et al. [2005] data set.”

    That’s just sloppy. That estimate was based on an error in the measurement system (floats) and was retracted. Either the author or the referees should have known that. Thus, there seem to be a lot of assumptions about ocean heat uptake which lead to the unsupported conclusion that there is ‘rapid equilibration of the climate system to applied forcings’.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 16 Sep 2007 @ 12:22 PM

  6. To the non scientific eye it might appear, without further examination or considerations, this paper by Stephen Schwartz is a handy way to look at the science of global warming.

    Myself, not being an expert but of reasonably sound mind and body (sort of) looking at it with what might be considered common sense, see something else. So at the risk of oversimplifying this, I thought I would take a stab at it.

    Cause and effect relationships are hardly simple in complex systems with extensive dynamics that compile and interact with each other. Examining a simple view to return a simple result may have advantages for understanding aspects of a system, but hardly the overarching implications or affects in a system that has systems from which it derives energy and interactions, and subsystems that reach from macro to micro systems all interacting, at all levels, with ramifications extending in influence in relation to the magnitude and reach of their influence. These systems react upward into parent systems, and downward into sub-systems, as well as interacting with collateral systems. Climate is anything but simple.

    The old adage comes up: “You know why they call them weather men… they don’t know whether it’ll rain or not”.

    That in mind, reasonable conclusions in cause and effect, inertia and logic can give one a modicum of insight into possibility or even probability. So let’s take a look at what it looks like this study seems to represent within the scope of its limits and extent.

    If I were to roll a ball down a hill 10 feet and measure with precision the distance, speed direction and behavior of the ball in that span of time and distance, I could describe the observations fairly accurately. But if I don’t take into account that the hill is 10,000 feet long and steepens along the way, and has varying slopes and a multitude of obstacles; predictability on exact behavior dissipates into probabilities (so it is reasonably hard to see into the future) based on the complexity of ones understanding of the physics involved and any other predictable or potential factors, one might figure out that precise outcomes are hard to predict. However, one can reasonably predict the ball with go down hill, and likely speed up as it goes. Depending on the complexity or number of things it can bump into along the way one might see that it could cause an avalanche or some other cascade effect. The inertia of the ball will likely increase and there may even be some lag effects, like it bumps a little rock that might roll down another way and hit some other rocks that may or may not cause some really big rocks to go bump something else (and there are lots of opportunities for it to bump into things along the way).

    You might assume that the ball hits a tree or gets stuck between two rocks 20 feet down the hill… But then, it really depends on the size of the ball and any obstacles that might get in its way, doesn’t it? The thing you know though, is that it’s a hill, and it goes down from the top. You don’t have to me a rocket scientist to figure this out.

    So while I have drawn no conclusions, maybe I painted a picture that helps us understand the limited scope of a particular study, in this case, a ball rolling 10 feet down a 10,000 foot hill.

    P.S. It seems more that reasonable to believe that the global climate ball has been given some added weight in the form of added greenhouse gases. To assume that this is a little ball with little effect over time seems to be more neurotic than realistic in consideration of the preponderance of the evidence as understood in the aggregate earth system, and known influencing factors.

    Comment by John P. Reisman — 16 Sep 2007 @ 12:35 PM

  7. Thanks for a very clear post.

    At the last fall AGU meeting I saw the last few minutes of a presentation on this (OS11: Empirical Determination of the Time Constant, Heat Capacity, and Sensitivity of Earth’s Climate System, by Stephen E Schwartz). In the question period the presenter was asked why climate models showed different results. His response was that this was the responsibility of modellers, not his. – And now we know why.. – great post!

    Comment by Halldor — 16 Sep 2007 @ 1:24 PM

  8. Umm, this isn’t right:
    heat capacity is 16.7±7 deg C / (W/m^2), so climate sensitivity is 5/16.7 = 0.3 deg C/(W/m^2).

    [Response: thanks, yes we've fixed. -mike]

    Comment by mz — 16 Sep 2007 @ 1:27 PM

  9. Tamino,

    I suspect you got the units wrong on the heat capacity:

    16.7±7 deg C / (W/m^2)

    Shouldn’t that be

    16.7 +/- 7 Wa/(m^2 deg C)

    (i.e., energy content change per temperature change, for one square metre)?

    (So to be pedantic, this is “heat capacity surface density”)

    [Response: Correct, see above. -mike]

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 16 Sep 2007 @ 1:41 PM

  10. Funny how much authority denialists give to models when they cast doubt on the scientific consensus.

    No, I suppose it’s not funny at all…

    Comment by pianoguy — 16 Sep 2007 @ 1:45 PM

  11. Actually I see something good in this too: even if you over-simplify the
    modelling to the point of cruelty to animals, the data will
    still give you a sensitivity result that’s in the right ballpark…
    meaning that this sensitivity is a pretty robust property of the climate
    system.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 16 Sep 2007 @ 3:00 PM

  12. Good article.

    There’s a typo: “In such as case” should be “In such a case”.

    Also, it would be nice to know who Tamino really is.

    Dave

    Comment by Dave Rado — 16 Sep 2007 @ 3:43 PM

  13. Vern Johnson(2) — The paleoclimate 169,000 years ago was glacial, in the previous galcial maximum period. So it is extremely unlikely that Africa was anything but, on average, a few degrees cooler than now.

    During the previous intergacial, the Eemian, around 125,000 years ago, the sea stand rose to about 5 meters above today’s, suggesting that Africa might have been slightly warmer than now.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 16 Sep 2007 @ 3:59 PM

  14. Re. #2, I don’t follow your argument. The issue is not whether the human body can cope with higher temperatures, but whether today’s human civilisation (and ecosystems) can cope with the (probably unprecedently) rapid changes that are likely in the next 100 years. For instance, 169,000 years ago, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe there were millions of people living in huge built-up coastal cities. Many of these cities will be submerged ice melt continues at its current rate (which is already greatly outstripping the highest-end IPCC projections – e.g. see
    here
    .

    Comment by Dave Rado — 16 Sep 2007 @ 4:04 PM

  15. Is there a possibility we could get Schwartz’s comments on this on this site?

    Comment by Jim Cross — 16 Sep 2007 @ 4:36 PM

  16. Thanks for the review. Now any insights on how Schwartz came publish such a paper, and how it passed peer review? For example, did someone in a funding agency request this study?

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 16 Sep 2007 @ 5:10 PM

  17. It shows more about the stupidity of the scientific community and RealClimate scientists in particular, that they are more concerned about a paper containing the ramblings of an idiot who cannot see global warming is happening, than they are by the melting of the Arctic ice cap.

    The loss of the Arctic sea ice is bound to cause a warming of the whole Arctic region, and lead to the melting of the Greenland ice cap, and a 7 m rise in sea level.

    But the scientists are tying themselves in knots, because they are locked into a search for a mythical holy grail – climate sensitivity. Sensitivity is a meaningless average, because global warming will not be spread over the planet in an even fashion, any more that it will rise each year by a small increment.

    The temperature rise that matters is in the continental regions where we live. Not in the 7/10ths of the surface (majority) which is covered in ocean.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 16 Sep 2007 @ 5:50 PM

  18. Re #12: Tamino leads a humdrum existence doing non-climate-related time series analysis in his day job. I know who he is and can confirm his expertise. I’m sure Mike does and can as well.

    There is at least one other climate blogger in Tamino’s situation, i.e. not a climate scientist but with a substantial degree of relevant expertise, who maintains anonymity for the same reason: In this age of easy googling, they don’t want someone (e.g. an NSF grant manager) checking up on their professional activities only to find mostly just climate blog material, none of which is strictly relevant to their career and often gets a little, um, unprofessional in tone if not content. So please leave those masked persons to their anonymity.

    Re #15: To be fair to Schwartz, he threw in a huge caveat at the end of the paper, basically saying that his work amounts to an interesting idea that he would like the modelers to have a look at, but not expressing confidence that it would hold up under that examination. Be aware that journals do sometimes publish papers that are novel, provocative or otherwise amount to scientific outliers, which is a perfectly reasonable practice albeit a little confusing for us amateurs.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 16 Sep 2007 @ 6:37 PM

  19. Off-topic, but James Hansen was interviewed by the BBC World Service today in “The Interview” series; it lasts just under half an hour. You can download it as a 12MB mp3 file here; or for the next six days you can listen to it on streaming audio here.

    Comment by Dave Rado — 16 Sep 2007 @ 6:53 PM

  20. I seem to be the only person who read both of Schwartz’s pieces and thought he was setting up the argument others have tried to make incoherently or politically — seeing if he could give it a fair expression that a refereed journal would pass. Kind of fleshing it out, standing it up against the wall and asking if anyone saw a target there worth shooting at.

    But I didn’t find anything in what he wrote that suggested he wanted to believe in his numbers.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Sep 2007 @ 7:30 PM

  21. #17 Allastair, its rather academic infighting which seems to fuel contrarian smiles, it was part of their original cigarette denial mode, confusion is bliss, yet more than 30% of the ice cap has melted already. Refuting such a paper is necessary nevertheless, I must add that the CO2 X2 sensitivity is about to pass the +1 C mark. In light of present situation I agree that that there is incredible apathy though, notice no film showing this wide open Arctic Ocean body yet, by any media source, but lots of cameras on silly things which need not be mentionned…

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 16 Sep 2007 @ 8:05 PM

  22. #2: “It takes two to tango but I wonder how many of the readers of this blog genuinely understand the two contrasting arguments and are able to say anything at all about it that is meaningful”

    I can’t say I read this blog all the time, but I can say quite a bit about time series, and many years ago, was closely associated with climate scientists.

    A: Even 20 years ago there was work on time series modeling of recent and paleoclimate temperatures (Ghil and Vautard, etc.) The tools of (then current) large scale Kalman filtering were well understood by climate scientists from the dynamic meteorology side of the game (I think Eugene Isaacson brokered some of that deal). The multitaper spectral analysis was already in the toolkit (the Thomson style multitaper stuff was brought in to the fistfight over whether Milankovic was the explanation of ice ages). If the answer were a univariate AR(1) model we would not have had to wait until 2007 to find that out; tools quite capable of indicating that have been carefully applied to these problems for decades. It’s frankly astonishing that Schwartz considers such a model at all. I’m sort of stunned that JGR had no referees poke him on that.

    B: Playing around with low dimensional time series and getting “no evidence of further autocorrelation” happens all the time, but is not probative. It is an unfortunate gap in understanding even in many people who actually consider themselves well informed on time series that they misuse standard tests for coefficient significance as if they indicate validity of inference using a reduced model. That is completely untrue, as simple examples can readily demonstrate. (And in this case, the comment here in realclimate indeed exposes the lack of faithfulness of the AR(1) model so I won’t have to give these examples).

    Comment by Andrew — 16 Sep 2007 @ 8:42 PM

  23. If Hank is right (#20) Schwartz seems to be naive at best about the fodder he is giving to denialists, who are marketing both pieces very effectively and disingenuously. See also William’s blog post here and Inel’s response.

    Dave

    Comment by Dave Rado — 16 Sep 2007 @ 8:50 PM

  24. Thank you Tamino for the work you have put in to examining Shwartz’s paper. All of the science and maths was way above my head, but at the end of the day, I have been convinced that the Schwartz paper doesn’t yet overturn the consensus on climate change and sensitivity.

    It would appear that Schwartz has put out an article for discussion and thought, nothing wrong with this, but perhaps, knowing how such a paper would be seized on by global warming sceptics, deniers and contrarians, the caveats should have come at the beginning and in large print?

    But it all goes to prove that if you want to keep up to date with the latest information and arguments about global warming, this is the place to come.

    Thank you team and commentators for your insight and efforts.

    Comment by John Monro — 16 Sep 2007 @ 8:55 PM

  25. Perhaps this topic should have been titled: Schwartzs Insensitivity.

    For so astute a scientist to even to begin to offer the undecided vote the hope of a trivially simple zero-dimensioned climate model and to settle on a process that comes up with a climate sensitivity that is so far out of whack with recent more sound calculations shows a truly naive insensitivity to the critical state of the climate-change dialogue. Totally unhelpful. Poor show old chap.

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 16 Sep 2007 @ 9:34 PM

  26. “…knowing how such a paper would be seized on by global warming sceptics, deniers and contrarians, the caveats should have come at the beginning and in large print?…”

    Just musing: why should skeptic caveats be any different than protagonists’ caveats?

    Comment by Rod B — 16 Sep 2007 @ 10:11 PM

  27. Re # 17 Alistair McDonald: “It shows more about the stupidity of the scientific community and RealClimate scientists in particular, that they are more concerned about a paper containing the ramblings of an idiot … than they are by the melting of the Arctic ice cap.”

    On what basis can you conclude that the scientists in question are more concerned about the former than the latter? The RC moderators have stated time and time again (and a glance at their bios will confirm this) that they have day jobs, and run this site in their spare time. I’m sure most people think about hundreds, if not thousands, of different subjects during an average day. There is no reason climate scientists can’t interrupt their thinking about the melting of the Arctic ice cap (or whatever area their research focuses on) and start thinking about a peer-reviewed paper in a mainstream scientific journal by a well-established scientist dealing with global warming.

    Comment by Chuck Booth — 16 Sep 2007 @ 10:34 PM

  28. Re #2: [If human body lice studies are confirmed as indicating that not a single human wore clothing, not even animal skins, as recently as 169,000 years ago, then the average temperature globally must have been considerably warmer...]

    This does not follow. The human body is quite capable of adapting to, and even being fairly comfortable in, a much wider range of temperatures than the average “civilized” person might believe. See for instance Darwin’s accounts of the naked inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego…

    Comment by James — 16 Sep 2007 @ 11:00 PM

  29. Re 20. Whether Schwartz “believes” in his numbers or not – why should that be relevant? But strangely there seem to be many who think science is about belief and not about whose evidence is better.

    In a way, keeping Tamino’s identity secret may be good, so that his person may be kept out of the debate. Turning the whole scientific discourse into an anonymous or pseudonymous exchange could well be recommended: no more ad homs.

    Comment by Dodo — 17 Sep 2007 @ 1:00 AM

  30. Ref #21 “…In light of present situation I agree that that there is incredible apathy though, notice no film showing this wide open Arctic Ocean body yet, by any media source….”

    See: http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMYTC13J6F_index_0.html

    Comment by Tim Jones — 17 Sep 2007 @ 1:28 AM

  31. I’m curious about the effect it has on researchers that their papers can be sized and used for political propaganda in ways that totally misrepresent them or make a certainty out of a deliberately speculative result. Do you manage to ignore that background noise and only publish for other scientists as in most other fields, or are potentially interesting papers canceled because they may be abused? In normal science you are usually remembered for your good papers while the bad ones are quickly forgotten, but in climate science you risk having your worst paper become the most widely known.

    I too would be eager to hear a response from Schwartz both on the science and what he thinks about the way his paper is being used.

    Comment by Thomas Palm — 17 Sep 2007 @ 2:01 AM

  32. Re #2 Vern Johnson suggests that leck of clothing is evidence of warmer temperatures. Darwin give a great description of his encounter with the folk of Tierra del Fuego. The were completely naked, the sleet melting on a womans bosom as she suckled her infant.

    No, the weather hasn’t got colder, it’s we who have grown soft :)

    Comment by Biff Vernon — 17 Sep 2007 @ 5:15 AM

  33. Yes, yes, all well and good, but is the recent Artic data the first “tipping point”? – Sorry just listened to the Hansen audio link above and to be honest even though I have a BSc this story is not worth the effort of trying to understand, from my point of view the paper in question is just one amoungst many and will be shot down in a hail of negative cites, OTOH it would be fine for a “Friday roundup”.

    Anyway, looking forward to RC’s take on all the N.W Passage stories that are quoting some trully “alarming” data for ice coverage (if you read carefully and do some naive math).

    Comment by Alan — 17 Sep 2007 @ 7:49 AM

  34. Thanks for doing this debunking. I also have a three part series on this subject at ClimateProgress that begins here: http://climateprogress.org/2007/08/21/are-scientists-overestimating-or-underestimating-climate-change-part-i/

    [Response: thanks for the heads up Joe, very nice piece. Can you link parts 2 and 3 for our readers too? thanks! -mike]

    Comment by Joe Romm (ClimateProgress.org) — 17 Sep 2007 @ 7:52 AM

  35. Would it not be a good idea to apply Schwartz’s method to GCM results, for which we already know the climate sensitivity? I wonder if the method gives consistent results with the model climate sensitivities.

    [Response: Rasmus, indeed! James Annan has already taken a stab at this. And there is more in the pipeline (submitted to JGR), as Tamino alludes to in his piece. -mike]

    Comment by rasmus — 17 Sep 2007 @ 8:18 AM

  36. Re #34 James Annan did such a check against climate models:
    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2007/08/schwartz-sensitivity-estimate.html

    Comment by Thomas Palm — 17 Sep 2007 @ 8:36 AM

  37. This was helpful. Thank you. It raises the question why a reputable researcher would make simplified assumptions such a single heat capacity and a single time scale for all of Earth’s sphere’s when there are such large differences for land surface, atmosphere and ocean, and expect it to fly.
    We were alerted in a paper by Gavin “Learning From a Simple Model” http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/learning-from-a-simple-model/
    on April 10, about flim flam detectors – that when someone does a simplified calculation to prove everyone wrong we should subject it to more critical scrutiny. which Tamino has done.
    This is indeed the way science should work.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 17 Sep 2007 @ 9:44 AM

  38. re #2

    Pretty soon, it seems, the “denialists” will be saying high CO2 levels are actually good for us.
    ================

    They’ve been doing this for a while, actually.

    Comment by J.S. McIntyre — 17 Sep 2007 @ 9:51 AM

  39. Schwartz claims that their model is able to work with a time-varying changing in forcing. My understanding is that with an exponentially growing forcing, one cannot figure out the time constant from the temperature data alone, as there are an infinite number of valid solutions, some with longer time constants and higher heat capacities, and some with shorter time constants and lower heat capacities.

    Only once the forcing leaves the exponential track (which it has roughly followed for over a century) will one have any hope of getting the time constant from just the temperature series alone. Even then the model of the Earth as a giant capacitor is oversimplified and unlikely to be very accurate.

    Comment by Robert Edele — 17 Sep 2007 @ 11:30 AM

  40. A third alternative approach to looking at this. GHG forcing is a signal and the climate system is a filter. The fundamental question remains, what is the nature of the filter? We have some clues about it, but as yet, do not fully understand all of its characteristics. So called “denialists” are arguing that the characteristics of the filter are such that the GHG forcing transient is eithter being filtered out, or, is being overcome by negative feedback. So called “alarmists” are arguing that the transient has overexited the system into a state where it is out of the safe operating area. What is most likely? Probably an intermediate case. My own educated guess is that there is measurable sensitivity to GHG forcing. I also guess that had we continued on a global development path that followed to paradigm of say, the Western countries 100 years ago, we’d already be in seriously deep doo doo, right now – in a hellish world. As it turned out, we became more refined in our approach and have managed thus far to avoid such a horrid outcome. If the current sociolpolitical trends hold, there will be an ever tightening screw of reduced energy consumption in advanced Western democracies. My guess is, partial pressure CO2 will top out 50 – 150 years from now and will enter into a steep decline. Global cooling may actually be incited, assuming that other forcings have not already begun it. A lot can change between now and then, and, the world may go through a hellish phase along the way. Or not …

    Comment by SteveSadlov — 17 Sep 2007 @ 12:34 PM

  41. I read the James Annan criticism linked to above in and it pointed out that at the 2stdev level the calculated sensitivity from the Schwartz study was around 4.5C.

    In fact, the 16%-84% probability interval (the standard central 68% probability interval corresponding to +- 1sd of a gaussian, and the IPPC “likely”) of this quotient distribution is really 0.18-0.52K/W/m^2 (0.7-1.9C per doubling) and the 2sd limit of 2.5% to 97.5% is 0.12-1.3K/W/m^2 (0.4-4.8C per doubling). While this range still focuses mostly on lower values than most analyses support, it also reaches the upper range that I (and perhaps increasingly many others) consider credible anyway. His 68% estimate of 0.6-1.6C per doubling is wrong to start with, and doubly misleading in the way that it conceals the long tail that naturally arises from his analysis.

    That doesn’t sound like earthshaking heresy.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 17 Sep 2007 @ 1:16 PM

  42. We are dealing with a nonlinear problem which keeps changing as ice melts and greater area of water is exposed, raising the solar absorption. Also glaciers sliding on under-ice rivers and lakes don’t lend themselves to single time constants for the whole Earth.

    Comment by Richard LaRosa — 17 Sep 2007 @ 1:43 PM

  43. Tamino, just for grins try 72 to 84 months with your models and see how things move around.

    Comment by dallas tisdale — 17 Sep 2007 @ 2:50 PM

  44. Re #17

    This type of post is uncalled for.

    Comment by Jerry — 17 Sep 2007 @ 3:14 PM

  45. Jerry(43) — I agree. Tamino has performed a clear, useful, volunteer service.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 17 Sep 2007 @ 4:01 PM

  46. E.g. #16 – the question of whether it was right that Schwartz’s paper be published. Surely the important question now is how he responds to the criticisms? If he engages in a serious debate, he’ll almost certainly arrive at a position a long way from the one set out in the paper. That will cut the ground from under the feet of the sceptics – though we all know by now that they’ll just keep blathering on anyway.

    Comment by Hudson Pace — 17 Sep 2007 @ 4:09 PM

  47. 39 CO2 forcing is a LN function not exponential function, that is why this subject is being debated. If both poles were showing similar temperature trends, there would not be a debate. There is a debate, however misguided you feel the other side may be, because some parts of the complex system being modeled are behaving in a manner that is somewhat confusing.

    Many “skeptics” do not deny warming, only question the rate and impact of the various potential causes. A lot depends on your frame of reference.

    Comment by dallas tisdale — 17 Sep 2007 @ 4:21 PM

  48. In # 17 Alistair says in part “The temperature rise that matters is in the continental regions where we live. Not in the 7/10ths of the surface (majority) which is covered in ocean.”

    Have you forgotten that the warming of the oceans causes more water to evaporate into the atmosphere causing further warming? Or that the warming of the surface waters in the tropical Atlantic is suspected of giving us future hurricanes of greater intensity? The warming of the oceans past a certain threshold also has a detrimental effect on coral reefs and the biota that live in and around them.

    All of the Earth’s components are interrelated in one way or another.Think of it this way. None of us live on the ice in Greenland.So what do we care if it melts?

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 17 Sep 2007 @ 5:21 PM

  49. Re 18: “To be fair to Schwartz, he threw in a huge caveat at the end of the paper, basically saying that his work amounts to an interesting idea that he would like the modelers to have a look at, but not expressing confidence that it would hold up under that examination. Be aware that journals do sometimes publish papers that are novel, provocative or otherwise amount to scientific outliers, which is a perfectly reasonable practice albeit a little confusing for us amateurs.”

    What you say is true,Steve,yet some public figures,like Senator Imhofe, a modern day Lysenko,for all of me, glom on to these hypotheticals like a drowning man grabs for a rope. It’s important that short cuts that don’t simulate true values be thoroughly analyzed and if they don’t fit, nipped in the bud, mainly for this reason.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 17 Sep 2007 @ 5:55 PM

  50. Mike — thanks for the kind words at #34. In response to your request, I’ll give all three posts here. They examine

    (1) the evidence scientists are NOT overestimating climate sensitivity
    http://climateprogress.org/2007/08/21/are-scientists-overestimating-or-underestimating-climate-change-part-i/

    (2) the evidence scientists are seriously UNDERestimating climate sensitivity (because of unmodeled carbon cycle amplifying feedbacks)
    http://climateprogress.org/2007/08/22/are-scientists-overestimating-or-underestimating-climate-change-part-ii/

    (3) how these omissions suggest the climate has a “point of no return” that severely constrains the safe level of human-generated emissions.
    http://climateprogress.org/2007/08/23/are-scientists-overestimating-or-underestimating-climate-change-part-iii/

    Comment by Joe Romm (ClimateProgress.org) — 17 Sep 2007 @ 6:52 PM

  51. Re 49:
    Cutting every paper that presented alternative approaches would have a chilling effect on the science. You can’t just start treating scientific papers like op-ed pieces, even if some other people/senators/etc choose to.

    Comment by Goedel — 17 Sep 2007 @ 7:50 PM

  52. Re 50. Goedel, I take it you haven’t been to too many scientific conferences. Schwartz published a paper that was half-baked. He is being criticized for that–that’s science. No one has attacked his motives, his character or cast aspersions on his parentage. He will emerge from this burned but with his scientific reputation intact.
    Re #47. Dallas, I would be more charitable toward the “skeptics” if they didn’t throw themselves at every crackpot theory that came along, only to abandon it when it becomes clearly untenable and latch onto the next. Or abandon theories altogether and say that a warmer world will be good for us. Maybe I’d be more sympathetic if they published in peer-reviewed scientific journals (as Schwartz did–a lame paper, but at least peer reviewed) rather than the Wall Street Journal Op Ed page. Or maybe I’d be more sympathetic if they didn’t keep cycling through the same tiresome, thoroughly refuted arguments over and over–or hell, if they’d just learn some science.

    Comment by ray ladbury — 17 Sep 2007 @ 8:14 PM

  53. Gee, the near-frenzied reaction here to a serious scientist boring a couple of little test holes in the theory is a sight to behold. I can kinda understand the reaction to some of the skeptics also going ga-ga the other way, but, really! Why don’t you just quietly write him off as an outlier like Al Gore would?

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Sep 2007 @ 9:29 PM

  54. Goedel (#50) wrote:

    Re 49:
    Cutting every paper that presented alternative approaches would have a chilling effect on the science. You can’t just start treating scientific papers like op-ed pieces, even if some other people/senators/etc choose to.

    My own view comes in part just from observing what has taken place in evolutionary biology – particularly as it has been attacked by creationists of one stripe or another.

    Oftentimes the evidence for one thing or another will be tentative, and what may have been the dominant view at one time may give way to another. There will be a great many disagreements – and those disagreements can get misrepresented in such a way that it will sound like they are uncertain of whether or not evolution took place, or like there is no solid evidence, or perhaps it will just be a certain turn of phrase or provocative way of expressing an idea that when ripped out of context can make it sound like the entire foundation of evolutionary biology is crumbling or turned to dust long ago.

    Stephen J. Gould was often the object of these sorts of misrepresentations (the infamous “absence of transitionals” remark where he was arguing against gradualism and in favor of punctuated equilibria springs to mind) – as has been Richard Dawkins and a great many others. In fact an entire cottage industry was built out of this sort of thing in which entire books of misquotations were assembled for the purpose of smearing the science. Evolutionary biologists even have a term for this creationist practice: “quote-mining.”

    What do you do in the case of such ideologically-motivated misrepresentation? Never admit to any disagreements? Never admit to any uncertainties or reversal of views? Never try to express things in a paradoxical manner that illuminates one aspect or another in a thought-provoking manner?

    No.

    You go about your business just exactly as you would in the absence of such politicization. To do otherwise by trying to downplay disagreements, uncertainties or simply forgoing those shiny little turns of phrases would be to let the creationists distort the science. If you downplay the disagreements or uncertainties you will transform by imperceptible degrees the science into just the sort of dogma the creationists would raise in its place. And if you are constantly worrying about how you express your ideas so as to avoid misrepresentation then you will be less able to devote your attention to the ideas themselves and to communicating them most effectively.

    That has to be your focus.

    *

    Now in the current context, sure, the essay probably should have been caught by peer review. Better yet, the author should have floated the paper past some individuals more familiar than he himself was. But that isn’t censorship. That is just how science is done.

    Judging from what I have seen in terms of criticism, the paper wasn’t that well thought-out. There are plenty of papers which don’t get published – and like other authors, scientists have to get used to rejection. It comes with the territory. Peer review is intended to insure that those which do get published are those of higher quality. But sometimes it doesn’t work that well. This would appear to be one of those instances.

    However, with regard to the more innovative papers, it is quite possible that they will be turned away by one reviewer or journal, but there will be others. And just about any journal of caliber will want to publish the more cutting-edge papers that people will be refering to twenty years from now. Thats how they attract readers – and that is how they attract authors.

    *

    Anyway, I am not sure that I am disagreeing with either you or the individual that you were responding to. But I figured I would share my thoughts.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 17 Sep 2007 @ 9:44 PM

  55. Re. #46:

    Surely the important question now is how he responds to the criticisms?

    I agree. And I’m very disappointed with the way he responded to Forster et al’s reply to his misplaced criticisms of the IPCC projections – in his response he appears to have missed the point entirely.

    re. #53, he hasn’t bored any holes (read Tamino’s article), but the blogosphere and some sections of the media are full of misleading attempts to pretend that he has.

    Comment by Dave Rado — 18 Sep 2007 @ 1:06 AM

  56. I’ve weighed in here with a more detailed look at some other aspects of the analysis, if anyone is interested.

    Comment by James Annan — 18 Sep 2007 @ 1:46 AM

  57. I’m surprised that little attention has been paid to this Schwartz passage, starting at the bottom of p 13

    Has the detrending, by imposing a high-pass filter on the data, resulted in a value of τ that is artificially short? To examine this I carried out the same analysis on the non-detrended data as on the detrended data.As expected, this analysis resulted in estimates of the relaxation time constant that were substantially greater than the estimate obtained with the detrended data. However these estimates differed substantially for different subsets of the data: 15-17 yr for each of the data sets as a whole, 6 to 7 yr for the first half of the time series (1880-1942), and 8-10 yr for the second half of the data set (1943-2004).

    The answer to the first question is a big yes. And without detrending, he gets an answer consistent with other modelling! True, the subsets give inconsistent results, but that just shows Tamino’s point about the inadequacies of an AR1 model.

    Comment by Nick Stokes — 18 Sep 2007 @ 2:00 AM

  58. A couple of thoughts, Alastair predicted a rapid melting of the Arctic Ocean ice cap, and I share his frustration that very little attention is given to this apparent step up in a strong warming trend. #30, Tim, ESA did a splendid job in that piece, but it fails to connect, resonate with the lay. A film, a reporter or a scientist here on the edge and over of what is left of the last summer polar ocean ice sheet would carry a whole lot of interest. Its something that some scientists fail to understand, the process of communicating science must be done in terms of common denominators, in this case reach as many people as possible, especially reason with them in immediate totally sincere term (filming reality), in this case capturing nothing but sea water where ice use to be.

    More a propos, Schwartz idea of using heat capacity of the atmosphere has merits, but not in the formulations he proposed. Heat Capacity has a direct relation with Lapse rates, its not a surface thing. There are strange lapse rate trends up here which are related to Cp. I have not read a paper dealing with this yet.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 18 Sep 2007 @ 3:14 AM

  59. Seems to me that this paper says more about peer review and scientific journals than anything else. Considering that this paper cannot possibly hold water in the light of close scrutiny and hence it makes you wonder about some of the scientific process. As the paper pertained to climate change (which is a political hot potatoe) it may have been that the journal decided to publish it to generate some publicity and to be held up a a beacon of denialists science. Another storm in a tea cup.

    On another note, I cannot believe the amount of ordinary people who simply cannot accept climate change as real due to the political process using it as a means of generating revenue via taxation.

    What a problem.

    Comment by pete best — 18 Sep 2007 @ 4:09 AM

  60. Nick Stokes (#57) quotes Schwartz:

    Has the detrending, by imposing a high-pass filter on the data, resulted in a value of τ that is artificially short?…

    … then responds:

    The answer to the first question is a big yes. And without detrending, he gets an answer consistent with other modelling! True, the subsets give inconsistent results, but that just shows Tamino’s point about the inadequacies of an AR1 model.

    Nick, I believe you are going to like the post by James Annan which he points us to in #56. He approaches the same insight as Tamino, but from a complementary angle in which he looks at the distributions. He also suggests that Schwartz’s reaction so far to criticism has been less than exemplary.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 18 Sep 2007 @ 7:34 AM

  61. I’m a layman trying to understand this — would appreciate any comments or advice.

    My questions: is it correct that climate sensitivity is such that anthropogenic global warming started in the early 20th century (shortly after industrialization?). I often seen temperature graphs and atmospheric CO2 graphs showing that, e.g: http://www.aip.org/history/climate/20ctrend.htm#temp2002, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Global_Carbon_Emission_by_Type.png

    Is the general scientific consensus that anthropogenic global warming started in the early 20th century?

    If so this would imply an extreme climate sensitivity, as the anthropogenic CO2 emissions during that period were very small relative to today. Would appreciate any comments or direction on this.

    Comment by JoeMa — 18 Sep 2007 @ 7:55 AM

  62. JoeMa,
    I do not think it is correct to say that it “started” in the 20th century. Certainly Arrhenius et al. had anticipated the effect in the mid to late 19th century. However, keep in mind that we expect warming to follow fossil fuel consumption, and most of the fossil fuel was consumed in the 20th century–at an exponentially rising pace.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 18 Sep 2007 @ 8:40 AM

  63. What I am trying to say is that while Tamino, James Annan, Stephen Schwartz et al. are arguing about the gradient of a straight line drawn through the ups and downs of the global temperature record, the climate system itself is going over a tipping point!

    BTW. The reason that the SST has not shown a greater rise is because it has been cooled by the melting ice from the Arctic. Without that cold water flowing int them, not only will the warming of the oceans increase, the Arctic will also absorb more heat with an even greater rise in SST. The slow thinning of the Arctic sea ice over the last 20 year has masked the effects of global warming, just as it is supposed anthropogenic aerosols have.

    The problem is that the scientists get carried away with their fancy mathematics and forget that they are working with the real world which is fractal and defies simple approximations.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 18 Sep 2007 @ 9:29 AM

  64. JoeMa- no, the scientific consensus is not that AGW started in the early 20th century. The warming at that time can be explained by changes in solar output and other forcings.

    Comment by guthrie — 18 Sep 2007 @ 9:47 AM

  65. RE: 62 What tipping point? If you match the Arctic and Antarctic, less sea ice in the Arctic, more sea ice in the Antarctic. The north is getting warmer and the south is getting colder, which climate change theory predicts will happen.

    Comment by Vernon — 18 Sep 2007 @ 10:11 AM

  66. I’m also a layman trying to the understand global warming. I realize this question may be off topic for this thread but I don’t understand this site well enough to figure out where to ask it.

    I’ve been looking at the AR4 report and apparently don’t understand the pictures at Chapter 3 pg 675 which seem to show the modeled signature of CO2 driven warming vs latitude as a higher rate of warming in the troposphere near the equator. This seems to conflict with the picture in the FAQ on pg 104 where the measured troposphere warming is lower in a band at the equator and higher toward the poles.

    Am I misunderstanding the pictures or is there some other effect that I don’t know about? (I apologize for the newbieness of the question but I don’t know where else to ask.)

    Comment by John M — 18 Sep 2007 @ 11:20 AM

  67. guthrie (#64) wrote:

    JoeMa- no, the scientific consensus is not that AGW started in the early 20th century. The warming at that time can be explained by changes in solar output and other forcings.

    Actually, according to NASA’s best estimates, the forcings due to anthropogenic greenhouse gases have exceeded the positive forcings due to solar variability as far back as the 1880s – although they were almost neck-and-neck at that point.

    However, climate sensitivity is approximately 3 C per doubling of CO2. We know that much from the paleoclimate record. Perhaps the biggest question mark at this point (besides political inertia) is positive feedback through the carbon cycle – which means we don’t have to worry about just our emissions, but what comes from the permafrost in the decades ahead as the globe warms, methane hydrates, and the possibility of the ocean becoming a net emitter – with its ability to absorb our emissions already declining.

    Of course it doesn’t help that we are seeing so much of the cryosphere melting away. Black carbon from our pollution – which may be responsible for much of the melt occuring in both the arctic and with the glaciers (e.g., the Tibetean Plateau). Not something “we” had to deal with before we got here – so the paleoclimate record may not be as helpful a guide in that respect.

    The pollution could actually help to get the positive feedback from the carbon cycle to kick in sooner rather than later by warming the northern latitudes. 3 C sensitivity is at equilibrium – after all the various feebacks between rising temperatures and the carbon cycle have taken place. We are a considerable distance from that equilibrium at this point, and that distance is growing with continued high emissions.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 18 Sep 2007 @ 11:39 AM

  68. JoeMa — also have a look at the Index (click at top of each page).

    This thread for example discusses “The hypothesis (Ruddiman, 2003) that early agriculture caused large enough emissions of greenhouse gases millennia ago to offset a natural climatic cooling ….”

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/12/early-anthropocene-hyppothesis/langswitch_lang/in

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Sep 2007 @ 12:08 PM

  69. Can we make up our minds about the likely length(s) of any time lags. When Schwartz uses a relatively short lag to conclude a low sensitivity to forcing – that’s not right, but when Lockwood finds that any solar connection to climate change ended in 1987 (should be 1991 anyway) – it’s ok to assume no lag at all.

    Re #21 Wayne Davidson says

    I must add that the CO2 X2 sensitivity is about to pass the +1 C mark.

    I’m not exactly sure what this means or how the conclusion was reached. But we know it’s pretty much accepted that most (probably all) the warming before 1940 was solar driven and that ALL solar-related parameters (i.e. TSI, solar flux, cosmic rays etc) indicate that temperatures should be higher in the 1990s than in 1940. It seems a bit speculative, therefore, to make any assumptions with respect to CO2 sensitivity.

    Comment by John Finn — 18 Sep 2007 @ 1:01 PM

  70. I just googled this paper by Schwartz, and found this very informative article: http://gristmill.grist.org/print/2007/8/21/102318/112?show_comments=no

    The author, Joseph Romm, has given me much additional information to use in dealing with the deniers and skeptics that abound in my area. Once again, not the least of which are the radio talk show hosts, and their regular listeners and guests, who almost unanimously see AGW as being a hoax.

    Comment by Jack Roesler — 18 Sep 2007 @ 1:55 PM

  71. Alastair, #63, many of us are very frustrated that nothing seems to be getting done on what is the greatest problem facing mankind. First, recognize that scientists also do not want either the effects of global warming or the governmental actions that will be necessary to avoid it. It is both necessary to do the homework and the action of presenting the science and mathematics helps the scientists societally and mentally. Second, realize that extravagant fossil fuel use is being supported by the powers that be in the US and millions are being spent to maintain the energy status quo. Then go beyond these blogs and a lot is happening. Global warming is an everyday conversation now for millions of people. Much of the groundwork to accomplish some significant changes is being done quietly at this moment. Public opinion is also “fractal”. One big climatic event and massive change may be demanded by a populace now seemingly asleep at the controls.

    Will it come soon enough to avoid very bad things from happening? None of us know the answer to that. We can only hope and try not to be frustrated. I lecture on AGW when I can at the local high and middle schools to help both the students and myself. Good therapy. Highly recommended for all readers.

    Finally, good point on the Arctic SST rise and how it has been masked by the thinning of the sea ice.

    Comment by Mike T — 18 Sep 2007 @ 1:58 PM

  72. Re 65 Vernon: “What tipping point? If you match the Arctic and Antarctic, less sea ice in the Arctic, more sea ice in the Antarctic. The north is getting warmer and the south is getting colder, which climate change theory predicts will happen.”

    The north and south polar regions are quite dissimilar. Where the Arctic is mostly (two thirds?) ocean surrounded by large continental land masses, with only Greenland supporting a permanent ice cap, the Antarctic is almost entirely a single large ice-capped land mass entirely surrounded by ocean. It’s therefore no surprise that the climate of the two polar regions is behaving quite differently.

    The melting of the Arctic ice sheet is a tipping point because it is changing the albedo of the Arctic, and will lead to the rapid warming of both exposed Arctic Ocean waters and the adjacent land areas, allowing them to release sequestered CO2 and methane, leading in turn to even more warming and an accelerated destabilizing of the Greenland ice cap.

    The melting of Antarctic sea ice and the more gradual warming of the West Antarctic peninsula, on the other hand, simply can not have a similar effect on a similar time scale. The ice mass of Antarctica, being ~8 times as large in area as Greenland’s, has a vastly greater damping effect, plus the unimpeded water and air mass circulation around the Antarctic continent further insulates it from the more rapidly warming seas and atmosphere of more temperate southern hemisphere latitudes. Moreover, there are no tundra stores of CO2 and methane beneath the Antarctic ice sheet to be released.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 18 Sep 2007 @ 2:11 PM

  73. ‘All of the Earth’s components are interrelated in one way or another.’
    Comment by Lawrence Brown

    And the extremely complex interrelationships of the Earth’s components may not instantly reveal themselves. There are all kinds of time scales constantly interacting. So the effects of any change may not appear for hours, days, years, decades, centuries, millennia.

    I’d bet many skeptics concern themselves with the shorter time scales, quarterly or annual and don’t spend much time considering what may happen to their grandchildren’s world in a hundred years. Most people want to do the right thing, the correct action that will improve their lives and their family’s, but do they give much thought to the time horizon of their vision? That temporal dimension certainly effects what they judge to be ‘the right thing’. Doing the right thing now (like continuing to burn fossil fuel) may have disastrous effects years, decades or centuries from now. What an incredibly complex and dangerous experiment the Industrial Revolution has become for our species and environment. I fear that some of the most dramatic (to date) are just a few years away.

    Comment by catman306 — 18 Sep 2007 @ 2:22 PM

  74. Great discussion here, even if 95% of it is way above my pay grade.

    I do have to wonder, though, how water vapor plays into all this as a feedback. I just read a press release (link below) about a new paper on this:

    “Using 22 different computer models of the climate system and measurements from the satellite-based Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I), atmospheric scientists from LLNL and eight other international research centers have shown that the recent increase in moisture content over the bulk of the world’s oceans is not due to solar forcing or gradual recovery from the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo. The primary driver of this ‘atmospheric moistening’ is the increase in carbon dioxide caused by the burning of fossil fuels.”

    I notice that one part of the release says: “The atmosphere’s water vapor content has increased by about 0.41 kilograms per cubic meter (kg/m²) per decade since 1988, and natural variability in climate just can’t explain this moisture change.” There’s something wrong with those units–”cubic meters” vs. “m²”, isn’t there? Are they measuring a volume of atmosphere one square meter in area and stretching from the surface to the “top” of the atmosphere?

    http://www.llnl.gov/pao/news/news_releases/2007/NR-07-09-01.html

    Comment by Lou Grinzo — 18 Sep 2007 @ 2:36 PM

  75. RE: #47 – Further to that, it’s a damping coefficient problem. The coefficients themselves are likely a sum of lesser coefficients, some of them constants and some of them functions. An analogy might be a network of passive and active filters. The debate ought to be around what are the lesser coefficients, and, what is the type of damping. In other words, what is the system response to a transient in CO2 partial pressure that can be modeled as a step (although, in reality, a steep ramp with significantly broad frequency spectral content)

    Comment by SteveSadlov — 18 Sep 2007 @ 3:19 PM

  76. Re. 69, and attribution of forcings prior to 1940, see here. Solar forcings were certainly a major factor but to say “But we know it’s pretty much accepted that most (probably all) the warming before 1940 was solar driven” is simply wrong.

    Comment by Dave Rado — 18 Sep 2007 @ 4:20 PM

  77. dallas tisdale (#47) wrote:

    39 CO2 forcing is a LN function not exponential function, that is why this subject is being debated. If both poles were showing similar temperature trends, there would not be a debate. There is a debate, however misguided you feel the other side may be, because some parts of the complex system being modeled are behaving in a manner that is somewhat confusing.

    Dallas,

    Granted, CO2 forcing is logarithmic function of CO2 concentration. This is well-known and well-understood.

    However, there is nothing particularly inexplicable or confusing about the poles showing different temperature trends. The Southern ocean is part of the southern hemisphere, and as the southern hemisphere has more ocean to it, it has more thermal inertia. Land warms up more quickly than ocean. This too is well-known and well-understood.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 18 Sep 2007 @ 4:36 PM

  78. Not much time to read this, but had to say…..nobody reads caveats.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 18 Sep 2007 @ 5:11 PM

  79. A sense of urgency.

    I am impressed that the University of Kansas, is leading the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets with the development of the some of the best sensor systems yet for the analysis of the state of ice sheets.

    https://www.cresis.ku.edu/

    Yet, unfortunately, they are talking about deploying only one copy of their wonderful sensor on a yet-to-be build UAV and that may fly some time next year, or not.

    I note too that Professor Robert Correll has advised that parts of the Greenland ice sheet are exuding like toothpaste towards the sea at 15 kilometres per year.

    http://environment.independent.co.uk/climate_change/article2941866.ece

    and in the same article Finnish scientist Veli Albert Kallio points out that Predictions made by the Arctic Council, a working group of regional scientists, have been hopelessly overrun by the extent of the thaw.

    Five years ago we made models predicting how much ice would melt and when, said Mr Vallio. Five years later we are already at the levels predicted for 2040, in a year’s time we’ll be at 2050.

    Finally, I understand that, while there are some military hot-spots spluttering around the globe, most of the worlds airforces and navies are pottering about on a near-peace-time standing, but costing us the same, either way. Lots of boys and girls with nothing to do but salute it if it moves and paint it if it doesn’t.

    So on the one hand we have wonderful essential data-gathering sensors that are locked into an academic maze and underutilised resources to traverse air and sea, and in the other hand we have the sky falling around us.

    At the risk of being insensitive to the numerous very diplomatic and scientifically correct processes that are no doubt going on in the world to address the rapid changes that are occurring, as a citizen of this fragile planet I am bound to ask: Why are we messing about?!

    We haven’t got time to reinvent the wheel in the gathering of planet-critical climate-related data or to indulge some post-graduate project to create a single UAV – technically superb though it may be. We have to get these sensors in the air, on the ground and in the sea, and the data on the table at the UN and SOON! It doesn’t matter how efficient or otherwise the surveys are using manned aircraft or ships – they simply must be done; now, and again and again until the message is ringing through the halls of every government on this planet!

    If the Air forces and Navies of the world want to save the planet, then data gathering for climate change must be their primary missions.

    Hang numerous copies of University of Kansas’ CReSIS radar system under fighter-bombers and fly them supported by tankers for air-to-air refuelling. Send them to do 100km then 10km grids over Greenland and the Antarctic, and do it now!

    Add some Vietnam-type air-bourn sniffers to fly grids over the tundra with surface temperature and methane sensors as well. Why not?

    And in the oceans – how many data points do we have right now of salinity and temperature in the warming Arctic ocean? Do we know how deep the temperature anomaly is? Are we looking at the increased temperature penetrating the top 5mm, or is it the top 500m? What sort of mixing of the melt-water and the saline water is going on? Where is the boundary layer between fresh and saline? How much energy is stored there? To what extent is the temperature anomaly extending beneath the pack ice and frying it from the bottom up?? What impact is that having on algae and krill production?

    So do we have all the nuke subs of the US, UK, French and Russian navies doing transects along the meridians – Travel 10 NMiles, go deep, rise slowly to the surface recording temperature and salinity as they rise, punch data into spreadsheet, transmit data, submerge, repeat…??! Meet at the North Pole, shake hands, U-turn, repeat until they hit the coast of Antarctica, repeat…?? Why not – what else are doing that matters more?

    Come-on! Lets hit the deck a-running boys and turn this thing around!

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 18 Sep 2007 @ 6:43 PM

  80. RE #73 Catman says: “And the extremely complex interrelationships of the Earth’s components may not instantly reveal themselves. There are all kinds of time scales constantly interacting. So the effects of any change may not appear for hours, days, years, decades, centuries, millennia.”

    Very true. The carbon cycle alone operates on a number of time scales. The carbon reservoirs exchange carbon among the atmosphere,the biosphere,surface ocean waters and the land surface, and cycle on relatively short time scales. The exchanges between the deep ocean and deeper soil reservoirs are much longer. A quote from “Global Warming-The Complete Briefing” Third Edition by John Houghton(p.31) has this to say:”The large range of turnover times means that the time taken for a perturbation in the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration to relax back to an equilibrium CANNOT BE DESCRIBED BY A SINGLE TIME CONSTANT(emphasis mine).Although a lifetime of about a hundred years is often quoted for carbon dioxide so as to provide some guide, use of a single lifetime can be very misleading.”

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 18 Sep 2007 @ 6:53 PM

  81. Perhaps this will be helpful to everyone who had trouble following the math (I did to, but I also thought this was very well written and clear – just requires slow reading). This post by Tamino is a really great overview of statistics in modeling for those unfamiliar with the topic (like me).

    From the post, “First, assume that the climate system can be effectively modeled as a zero-dimensional energy balance model.”
    What is a zero-dimensional energy balance model? See this site:
    http://www.soes.soton.ac.uk/research/groups/ocean_climate/demos/ebm/

    Why would anyone attempt to model the Earth climate system with such a simple model and expect to get a realistic answer? Not sure. However, it’s a nice teaching tool.

    I’m assuming that noone who reviewed the paper prior to publication followed ocean science (or read realclimate regularly). Nitpicking about the use of the results of Lyman et al as justification might seem petty, but science is all about nitpicking. In fact, Lyman et al caught their own error (really, the instrument error) and immediately brought it to people’s attention. That’s good science. How did that estimate make it into a paper published in Sept 2007? Not sure. Should have been sent to an oceanographer for review, and likely wasn’t?

    See: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/ocean-cooling-not/

    As far as sea ice,
    thickness is at 1 m, 50% less than in 2001
    , which seems an odd comparison, as ice thickness records date back much farther. Here’s the sea ice extent record dating back to 1978. Why the recent lack of winter recovery? Increased poleward heat transport?

    The earlier record of sea ice extent is at http://psc.apl.washington.edu/thinning/Rothrock_Thinn.pdf (1999)

    “Comparison of sea-ice draft data acquired on submarine cruises between 1993 and 1997 with similar data acquired between 1958 and 1976 indicates that the mean ice draft at the end of the melt season has decreased by about 1.3 m in most of the deep water portion of the Arctic Ocean, from 3.1 m in 1958-1976 to 1.8 m in the 1990s.”

    Scientists predicted this back in 1980 – that’s about 25 year’s worth of deception and denial on the part of the fossil fuel lobby, I’d say. They’ll outdo the tobacco lobby at this rate.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 18 Sep 2007 @ 8:31 PM

  82. Just to satisfy my pure curiosity, can anyone tell me on what planet those people are living, who go into denial about the current, and unusually accelerated, warming trend? I’m quite sure that it isn’t the same planet I’m living on. I don’t have to be a scientist to observe changes in the growing and blossoming patterns of wildflowers, and changes in the behavior and habitation patterns of wild animals. Can anyone answer my question? Where ARE those people living?

    Comment by Smokeysmom — 18 Sep 2007 @ 8:33 PM

  83. Re #75. Steve Sadlov, Now wait just a dad-blamed minute. CO2 increase a step function? How about an exponentially increasing perturbation? Think maybe the response of the system might be a bit different to these two perturbations might be a bit different? Your “simplification” reminds me of a joke about a physicist who is asked to expound on milk production to a group of farmers and starts out, “Consider a spherical cow…”

    Comment by ray ladbury — 18 Sep 2007 @ 8:40 PM

  84. Timothy (77): Admittedly, this is a little out of left field, but, while I agree the CO2 forcing function being logarithmic is known, I’m not so convinced it’s understood. I do see that it is pretty much accepted prima facie, though they always leave off the LN of the CO2 concentration ratio to the 5th or 6th power part (that pesky exponent in the equation seeems to vary a bit.) Then there is that sometimes log, sometimes linear business (which I at least partially understand). I have not seen anything that explains it fully and clearly, though maybe it’s been in front of me and I just didn’t catch it. Do you know any references that might help?

    Comment by Rod B — 18 Sep 2007 @ 8:58 PM

  85. We can cool the ocean surface and overlying atmosphere with cold water that we pump up and spread carefully at the surface. The pumping power comes from a heat engine that uses the warm surface water as a heat source and the pumped-up cold water as a heat sink. Nutrients brought up in the cold water increase the biological productivity of the ocean. I have done some of the preliminary design. There’s lots of cold water down there, so this will buy us some time to work out additional partial solutions.

    Comment by Richard LaRosa — 18 Sep 2007 @ 9:25 PM

  86. John Finn (#69) wrote:

    Can we make up our minds about the likely length(s) of any time lags. When Schwartz uses a relatively short lag to conclude a low sensitivity to forcing – that’s not right, but when Lockwood finds that any solar connection to climate change ended in 1987 (should be 1991 anyway) – it’s ok to assume no lag at all.

    Lockwood acknowledges the possibility of a lag. However, any latent warming due to a given forcing will necessarily decelerate over time, not accelerate. And we are speaking of a forcing due to solar irradiance – not the build-up of greenhouse gases – assuming one is attempting to avoid the role of carbon dioxide.

    John Finn (#69) wrote:

    Re #21 Wayne Davidson says

    I must add that the CO2 X2 sensitivity is about to pass the +1 C mark.

    I’m not exactly sure what this means or how the conclusion was reached.

    I believe he was refering to the rise in the global average temperature due to anthropogenic carbon dioxide.

    John Finn (#69) wrote:

    But we know it’s pretty much accepted that most (probably all) the warming before 1940 was solar driven and that ALL solar-related parameters (i.e. TSI, solar flux, cosmic rays etc) indicate that temperatures should be higher in the 1990s than in 1940. It seems a bit speculative, therefore, to make any assumptions with respect to CO2 sensitivity.

    NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies (2007) would suggest that well-mixed anthropogenic greenhouse gases have had a forcing which exceeded that of solar variation relative to 1880 for every year since but 1881.

    Please see the chart on page 26 of the following…

    Climate simulations for 1880-2003 with GISS modelE
    Hansen, et al. (Climate Dynamics, 2007)
    http://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0610/0610109.pdf

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 18 Sep 2007 @ 9:35 PM

  87. Reading all comments on this site is amazing. The ammount of knowledge and insight I obtained just reading this topic is amazing and yet frightening at the same time. The earthqaukes in greenland and the article about them, is more interesting. It hasn’t dawned on me untill tonight how badly the artic AREA is melting. You hear about the Artic Ice Cap the most, but not much news has been coming in from Greenland on the media side, yet through cliamte sites and blogs the evidence is alarming. This is “alarming” in itself. Someone else brings up this point. My job has CNN playing in the lobby all the time. I haven’t seen one piece on the record low artic sea ice content. It IS though, on CNN.com.
    What interests me the most is the statement in that article about the earthqaukes in Greenland bring up a question in my mind. Last semester in Geology I could have sworn I learned that the Pacific Tectonic Plate is grinding “northword” which created the Aluetion islands and Indonesian islands are from the plate driving westard. North westard. I wonder if these recent shifts in ice on greenland and higher ammounts of Isotatic activity are trigging the numerous earthqaukes in Indonesia this year, and their strong intesnities, especially the aftershocks which are usually associated with isotatic adjustment correct? I wish I was a scientist allready so I could have the resources and knowledge to figure this kinda of stuff by myself.

    Comment by Chris S — 18 Sep 2007 @ 11:03 PM

  88. Rod B (#84) wrote:

    Timothy (77): Admittedly, this is a little out of left field, but, while I agree the CO2 forcing function being logarithmic is known, I’m not so convinced it’s understood. I do see that it is pretty much accepted prima facie, though they always leave off the LN of the CO2 concentration ratio to the 5th or 6th power part (that pesky exponent in the equation seeems to vary a bit.) Then there is that sometimes log, sometimes linear business (which I at least partially understand).

    I didn’t say that you or I understood it all that well… ;-)

    However, radiation transfer theory is able to explain the shape of the absorption curve in terms of the lorentzian. This is something which is derivable from quantum mechanics. Additionally, we have the empirical data from spectral analysis which closely corresponds to this and is part of the MODTRAN database. Given how saturation begins at the peak then spreads out into the wings of the lorentzian one is able to derive a near logarithmic relationship for forcing due to carbon dioxide concentration.

    As the lorentzian has a near exponential dropping off of the absorption strength in the tail, this is what results in the near logarithmic behavior. However, where the tails of close absorption lines overlap, this relationship breaks down as does the logarithmic relationship between forcing and concentration. Where the near logarithmic relationship between forcing and concentration applies, given the distance we are from absolute zero, this translates into a nearly logarithmic relationship to temperature, such that doubling the carbon dioxide concentration will directly raise the temperature by roughly 1.2 degrees. (All of this is prior to water vapor feedback – which brings it up roughly another 1.8 degrees Celsius – but thats another story. But fortunately we have the paleoclimate record of the past 450,000 years to fall back on there.)

    In any case, given the MODTRAN database, it is possible to calculate just how much the temperature must rise in order to achieve radiative equilibrium given a doubling of carbon dioxide.

    Anyway, I will see what I can find a little later…

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 18 Sep 2007 @ 11:20 PM

  89. #69, #86 January 2007 (preceding the ice melt) +1.68 C monthly temperature anomaly was already reached for the Northern Hemisphere, NASA GISS. Above +1 C world wide anomaly mark was equally exceeded, well before surpassing the infamous X2 CO2 concentration threshold. Schwartz calculations imply that we peaked temperature wise. Arctic anomalies alone sometimes exceed +10 degrees….

    Comment by wayne davidson — 19 Sep 2007 @ 1:24 AM

  90. …. +10 C in certain arctic regions…

    Comment by wayne davidson — 19 Sep 2007 @ 1:31 AM

  91. According to a preview of the IPCC implications of climate change report reported today in the Independent and Guardian newspapers here in the UK then 2 C is already “very likely” or in laymans terms almost ineviatable but why stop there. What gives anyone hope that 3 C will not be the stopping point or our greenhouse gas emissions. If climate sensitivity is following the dire predictions of the most pessemistic models then come 2030 we will be at around 420 ppmv of CO2 and come 2050 it will be around 480 ppmv. This could mean around a 3 degrees of temperature rise globally.

    Comment by pete best — 19 Sep 2007 @ 5:20 AM

  92. Chris S, #87, I asked the same question and Eric provided this response:

    “Just mentioning another possible environmental disaster linked to global warming and climate change: when the Greenland glaciers finally melt (either slowly or in a big whoosh) tectonic rebound will probably increase the frequency and magnitude of earthquakes around the world. The 30 foot rise in sea level will cause the Antarctic ice shelves to detach making it easier for the Antarctic glaciers to move more quickly into the ocean, causing still more sea level rise, tectonic rebound and earthquakes.

    Nice world we are leaving our grand children. And theirs.

    [Response: I am happy to be able to correct you that tectonic rebound from the Greenland ice sheet won’t have impacts on earthquakes around the world. Big earthquakes are due to processes much deeper in the earth’s crust, and much more localized. It is, on the other hand, rather likely that rising sea levels will help to destabilize the Antarctic ice sheet. On what timescale, however, remains quite uncertain. –eric]
    Comment by catman306 — 2 February 2007 ”

    I hope that the science is in on this and Eric is correct.

    Comment by catman306 — 19 Sep 2007 @ 6:48 AM

  93. Chris S. FYI Hansen et al’s recent paper Climate Change and Trace Gases (May 2007) makes sobering reading.

    http://www.planetwork.net/climate/Hansen2007.pdf

    Some quotes from the discussion in that paper:

    The imminent peril is initiation of dynamical and thermodynamical processes on the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets that produce a situation out of humanity’s control, such that devastating sea-level rise will inevitably occur.

    Attention has focused on Greenland, but the most recent gravity data indicate comparable mass loss from West Antarctica. We find it implausible that BAU [Business as Ususal] scenarios, with climate forcing and global warming exceeding those of the Pliocene, would permit a West Antarctic ice sheet of present size to survive even for a century.

    The best chance for averting ice sheet disintegration seems to be intense simultaneous efforts to reduce both CO2 emissions and non-CO2 climate forcings. As mentioned above, there are multiple benefits from such actions. However, even with such actions, it is probable that the dangerous level of atmospheric GHGs will be passed, at least temporarily. We have presented evidence (Hansen et al. 2006b) that the dangerous level of CO2 can be no more than approximately 450 ppm.

    So while Greenland is melting spectacularly the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is quietly matching the pace of its northern cousin, and no doubt other parts of the southern continent are likewise inclined.

    The trend in CO2 is brutally apparent from
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Mauna_Loa_Carbon_Dioxide.png
    (See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide )

    which shows CO2 increasing by 65ppm over the last 45 years to its present peak value of 385ppm. So even if CO2 increased linearly (and the chart has a distinct exponential look to it, when we remember the historic tail) in just another 45 years we will be breathing 450ppm. We will be at the Dangerous Level. With over 140 coal-fired power stations coming on line this year there does not seem much hope of a softening of the emission rate for a few years yet.

    Now, how do we explain all THAT to our kids?

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 19 Sep 2007 @ 7:03 AM

  94. Chris S (#87) wrote:

    What interests me the most is the statement in that article about the earthqaukes in Greenland bring up a question in my mind. Last semester in Geology I could have sworn I learned that the Pacific Tectonic Plate is grinding “northword” which created the Aluetion islands and Indonesian islands are from the plate driving westard. North westard. I wonder if these recent shifts in ice on greenland and higher ammounts of Isotatic activity are trigging the numerous earthqaukes in Indonesia this year, and their strong intesnities, especially the aftershocks which are usually associated with isotatic adjustment correct? I wish I was a scientist allready so I could have the resources and knowledge to figure this kinda of stuff by myself.

    Actually Greenland is experiencing more icequakes. I believe they have tripled in the past decade – and given the feedbacks I wouldn’t be surpised if they tripple again. But the earthquakes of Greenland are more or less constant. No trend.

    As for the melting of ice changing the pressures on the plates I know that this is something I wondered about. A geologist recently pointed out that this may in fact occur, but probably not something that we will have to worry about any time soon. With regard to the Northwesterly direction, that is going to be the result of the geometry of the plates and their current direction of motion. The melting of the ice won’t be able to change the geometry (slip faults and whatnot) or the direction of motion, although with the release of pressure it may influence the speed, somewhat.

    But this will probably be something that we will notice only after a great deal more melting. He was thinking on the order of thousands of years. With the rate of melting occuring on a shorter timescale than most have been expecting it may be sooner, centuries rather than millenia. But the fact that the earthquakes are remaining roughly uniform in Greenland (where much of the melting is taking place) would seem to indicate that it isn’t happening now – anywhere.

    Incidentally, in the Pacific Northwest we are supposed have sets of massive quakes, 9 on the Richter scale, like what you saw around Sumatra on Boxer Day 2005, three or four and occasionally five with each quake separated from the others in a set by roughly 300 years, then each set seperated from the others by more than 500. The geometry of the faults are even fairly similar to what exists around Sumatra, and they are on the same ring of fire.

    Last of these quakes was in January 1701 – resulted in a Tsunami three days later in Japan. We might have been due for another – but it would have been the fifth – so not that likely. We had a 6.8 around that time instead. A thousandth the power of a 9. There are patterns to the quakes. The Boxer Day was probably according to a similar lazy schedule.

    One other point: there aren’t supposed to be long-distance teleconnections between quakes. I sometimes wonder, but they are probably right. However, this would suggest that wherever the pressure is being released by melt is the rough neighborhood of where you may expect earthquakes to become more common. Not over great distances. Not much chance of the melting in Greenland or Antarctica affecting the region around Sumatra.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 19 Sep 2007 @ 7:15 AM

  95. RE 72: Jim, it would appear that a significant amount of the warming and melting in the Arctic is not due to global warming but pollution.
    McConnel et al (2007) href=”http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/rapidpdf/1144856v1.pdf”>20th-Century Industrial Black Carbon Emissions Altered Arctic Climate
    Forcing Monthly averaged surface forcing (i.e., BC-induced heating) during the peak early summer period (June and July) was 0.59 W m–2 after 1951.

    While enhanced radiative forcing from BC in snow results in warming and possibly summer melting on the permanently snow-covered Greenland ice sheet, potential impacts on seasonal snow covers are larger since additional warming leads to earlier exposure of underlying low albedo rock, soil, vegetation, and sea ice.

    So it would appear that if you want to reduce the melting in the Arctic, reducing CO2 is not the answer, it is cleaning up the pollution from Europe and Asia.

    Comment by Vernon — 19 Sep 2007 @ 7:31 AM

  96. “it is cleaning up the pollution from Europe and Asia.” Let me guess, you live in North America?

    GHG still have a warming effect, so to blame any (regional) warming on a single cause (black carbon) is to leave out other potentially important factors. Both GHG and BC (and probably other aerosols as well) contribute to the Arctic warming.

    Comment by Darrel — 19 Sep 2007 @ 8:43 AM

  97. Darrel, how about a study that backs up your position? Yes, I live in NA and well, the studies show that the most the BC is coming out of eastern Europe and Asia.

    Comment by Vernon — 19 Sep 2007 @ 8:47 AM

  98. Re 94: Tamino has a graph of the glacial quakes in “Graphic Evidence.” They are indeed increasing.

    Re 82: Smokeysmom, it appears that some denialists might be living on Neptune or Pluto, since they display tremendous confidence in their knowledge of these planets’ local climate. We also suspect that they might be extremely old (and grumpy), having been able to observe the plutonian climate through a significant number of Plutonian years. However, some denialists may not even be from our solar system, judging by their attachment to exotic climate forces such as galactic cosmic rays…

    Comment by Philippe Chantreau — 19 Sep 2007 @ 9:07 AM

  99. RE # 91

    Pete, you said

    [following the dire predictions of the most pessemistic models then come 2030 we will be at around 420 ppmv of CO2 and come 2050 it will be around 480 ppmv.]

    I agree on the CO2 component but where will the CO2equivalent number be in 2030?

    We focus on the CO2 side because emissons data are available and Mauna Loa does a great job of measuring and reporting the atmospheric content. But, the total mix of gases are what will bite us more than CO2.

    Comment by John L. McCormick — 19 Sep 2007 @ 9:09 AM

  100. Stohl et al (2006) Arctic smoke – record high air

    pollution levels in the European Arctic due to agricultural fires in Eastern Europe.

    The European sector of the Arctic saw unprecedented warmth during the first months of the year 2006. At NyAlesund on the island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago, the monthly mean temperatures from January to May were 10.7, 3.8, 1.4, 10.3, and 4.2◦ C above
    the corresponding values averaged over the period since 1969 (Meteorological Institute, 2006); the January, April and May values were the highest ever recorded. Figure 1, a comparison between the temperatures measured at NyAlesund in April and May 2006 with the corresponding climate mean, shows that the entire two months were warmer than normal. Due to the abnormal warmth, the seas surrounding the Svalbard archipelago were almost completely free of closed ice at the end of April, for the first time in history. In contrast to the Arctic, the European continent saw a delayed onset of spring in 2006. Snow melt in large parts of Europe occurred only in April; even as late as 1 May, snow covered much of Scandinavia.

    Related to the abnormal warmth in the Arctic, record-high levels of air pollution were measured at the Zeppelin station near NyAlesund on Spitsbergen. It will be shown in this paper that they were caused by transport of smoke from agricultural fires in Eastern Europe. These fires were started later than normal because of the late snow melt. The most severe air pollution episodes happened on 27 April and during the first days of May 2006 when the concentrations of most measured air pollutants (aerosols, O3, etc.) exceeded the previously recorded long-term maxima. Views from the Zeppelin station clearly showed the decrease in visibility from the pristine conditions on 26 April to when the smoke engulfed Svalbard on 2 May (Fig. 2). Iceland, where a new O3 record was set at the Storhofdi station, was also affected by the smoke plume.

    Maybe it is just me but we have the least sea ice in the Arctic coupled to Black Carbon and massive European pollution. It would appear that pollution is the bigger cause of Arctic melting than global warming.

    Comment by Vernon — 19 Sep 2007 @ 9:12 AM

  101. ref 77 Timothy,

    To a point I agree, there is a huge difference in thermal inertia between the poles. Polar trends would be at best similar. Still, I would expect to see at least some definable positive trend in both poles though the southern pole would be up to an order of magnitude (SWAG)lower.

    Comment by dallas tisdale — 19 Sep 2007 @ 10:07 AM

  102. RE 95 Vernon: “Jim, it would appear that a significant amount of the warming and melting in the Arctic is not due to global warming but pollution.”

    Yes, we’ve discussed the McConnel paper on black carbon here before, but consider the following:

    1) Any accumulated black carbon contained in the Arctic sea ice area that has melted is no longer in play, it went with the ice that melted.

    2) Not only has Arctic sea ice area reduced each succeeding year, so has ice thickness, and therefore total mass, which accelerates the following year’s melt.

    3) It takes 334 joules of heat energy to melt each gram of ice. That same amount of heat energy could raise a gram of liquid water by nearly 80ºC. As the total mass of Arctic sea ice is reduced in each succeeding year, more and more heat energy, whether from solar insolation or ocean current transport, is freed to heat liquid ocean water, permafrost, grounded ice and the atmosphere. Three of those impact directly on the Greeenland ice cap.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 19 Sep 2007 @ 10:17 AM

  103. #100, That sounds like arctic haze. Visually speaking, it varies from year to year, of late on the Canadian side of the Arctic its been mainly on its way down, leaving in its wake “molecular air”
    scenes of incredible beauty, ie Rayleigh scattering in its purest forms. Given that 2007 melt
    largely occurred on the Canadian-Alaskan-Russian side of the Pole as opposed to the European side,
    I take this “pollution” solution as an unlikely correct conclusion.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 19 Sep 2007 @ 10:26 AM

  104. Re 100: I think there is more to it than just that. A fairly large number of factors contributed in a kind of perfect storm; the weekly reports of the icebreaker Polarstern: http://www.awi.de/en/infrastructure/ships/polarstern/weekly_reports/ contain a wealth of interesting info in a very readable format (they also have data). They found ice thickness to be in average half of what they measured in 2001. A lot of warm humid air reach high latitudes and there was apparently an unusual amount of rain this year in the Arctic.

    Comment by Philippe Chantreau — 19 Sep 2007 @ 10:52 AM

  105. As a layman trying to get a grip on the basics, I erred in the references in my post #66. The problem I’ve run into is interpreting the model predictions vs actual observations as presented in AR4. So, I made a temporary web page and extracted the relevant pictures from AR4 to make it easy to see what I’m asking.

    See: http://webpages.charter.net/balplanman/GlobalWarming/GlobalWarming.html

    Any help in improving my understanding would be appreciated.

    Comment by John M — 19 Sep 2007 @ 11:16 AM

  106. dallas tisdale (101) wrote:

    ref 77 Timothy,

    To a point I agree, there is a huge difference in thermal inertia between the poles. Polar trends would be at best similar. Still, I would expect to see at least some definable positive trend in both poles though the southern pole would be up to an order of magnitude (SWAG)lower.

    The trend around Antarctica is largely in the same direction albeit not the same magnitude as the Arctic.

    Of course you will notice that the sea ice in the Southern Ocean is increasing over the past few years, but not by that much. We have nearly hit a new record in sea ice extent, but this is in the neighborhood of a percentage as opposed to the drastic reduction which has taken place in the Arctic. Likewise, there is a small segment of the Southern Ocean which has been cooling.

    But beyond this, most of the Southern Ocean has been warming. The Larsen A Ice Shelf disintegrated in January of 1995 and the Larsen B Ice Shelf disintegrated in February of 2002. The West Antarctic Peninsula has been warming quite considerably. We have over a hundred glaciers which are picking up speed and heading to the ocean. The a large part of the continental interior of Antarctica experienced an unexpected melt only 310 miles from the South Pole back in 2005. Likewise the mass balance of Antarctica has been declining – this was detected by Grace in 2006. Snow is adding to the ice mass of Antarctica (not surprising given that it receives so little precipitation, and warming temperatures will actually increase this precipitation), but this increased precipitation is more than outweighed by the melting which is occuring.

    So at this point both Greenland and Antarctica are losing mass and contributing to the rise in sea level. Granted, they are not yet contributing that much – most of the rise in sea level is due to thermal expansion of sea water, and the authors of one study seem to think that glaciers elsewhere will add more to sea level than either Greenland or Antarctica for the time being. But given the acceleration of melt in both Greenland and Antarctica (Greenland is experiencing three times as many ice quakes as it was a decade ago), this
    may be premature on his part. In fact I strongly suspect it is – but I would prefer the opinion of an unbiased climatologist over my own in this area.

    One other point: I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we see a great deal more sea ice at within a few years around Antarctica – but that won’t necessarily be a good sign. It depends upon where that sea ice is coming from. Glaciers? Another ice sheet? Of course, when this happens, we will know.

    Anyway, I probably should have mentioned all this in comment #77, but I didn’t think about it until a few minutes afterwards.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 19 Sep 2007 @ 11:31 AM

  107. Vernon stated:
    “Maybe it is just me but we have the least sea ice in the Arctic coupled to Black Carbon and massive European pollution.”

    It is just you.

    In addition of warming in the Northern region, another reason is that the ocean currents play a role for loss of sea ice.
    http://www.ametsoc.org/atmospolicy/documents/May032006_Dr.WieslawMaslowski.pdf

    Why that is happening, no one knows, but perhaps global warming has an effect to the ocean currents too?

    Comment by Petro — 19 Sep 2007 @ 11:33 AM

  108. RE: 102 Jim, your post suggest that black carbon is a one time event. Since the mean circulation in winter is characterized by low-level transport from northern Eurasia across the Arctic toward North America. The pollution from Eurasia is replenished annually.

    It was pointed out that while there is a definite impact on the Greenland ice cap, there is more the rest of the Arctic. The BC deposits cause melting which exposes both earth and water, not an issue on the ice cap, and acts a driver for further melting (warming).

    Far be it for me to point out that the ice is the lease right after the pollution in the Arctic is the worst.

    Since there is more sea ice and no warming in the Anarctic where there is no pollution, where is that pesky tipping point?

    Comment by Vernon — 19 Sep 2007 @ 11:42 AM

  109. > Since there is …. no warming in the Anarctic
    Cite please? This is a skeptic talking point, not a fact.
    What are you relying on for your beliefs?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Sep 2007 @ 12:14 PM

  110. RE: 108 Vernon: “Jim, your post suggest that black carbon is a one time event.”

    On the contrary, Vernon, I suggest that it is cumulative on permanent ice, such as Arctic sea ice that has not yet melted, but it is only annual on sea ice that has melted back. As for Greenland, BC in snow is cumulative, but BC in surface ice is at least partly carried away by surface melt s it drains into the interior of the ice cap.

    “Since there is more sea ice and no warming in the Anarctic where there is no pollution, where is that pesky tipping point?”

    I explained that previously, perhaps you missed it? First, as Timothy just pointed out, there most definitely is warming in the Antarctic, particularly on the West Antarctic Peninsula. The degree of Antarctic warming is simply not as great as that of the Arctic.

    The sober fact is that permafrost contains more sequestered carbon than the entire atmosphere does. One tipping point is the point at which the warming induces sufficient thawing of permafrost and shallow methane calthrates to emit more CO2 and methane than humans currently do. At that point there will be nothing we can do to even slow the increase in greenhouse gases. We are already seeing an increase in permafrost melt and CO2 and methane off-gassing.

    Another tipping point is that point when increasing fresh melt water begins to alter ocean circulation patterns. We are already seeing a change in influxes of warmer water into the Artcic.

    Yet another tipping point is the point at which the Greenland ice cap begins to lose mass faster than it gains it each winter. It seems were are are also already at that point, as well. So, pick one. Any one will do.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 19 Sep 2007 @ 12:33 PM

  111. Re: Pete’s #91
    Do not worry about 3C, melting ice will keep us cool. Of course, there may be some change in level as a result.

    Re Timothy Chase’s #94
    When I did risk management at a large engineering firm, I kept a list of all the “bad things” that could happen, their probability, and how many people the event would effect. For a long time, that list was over 5 single spaced pages and included earthquakes (I live in the Bay Area), volcanoes, asteroids, killer bees, traffic accidents, bird flu, war, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, cancers, and et cetera. Using my scoring system, it required that many possible events to accumulate 99 % of the possible risk. I decided that I was just not going to bother worrying about the last 1% of the risk.

    Today that list is pretty much limited to global warming and its follow-on effects. I give GW a risk score of 6 billion. Nothing else score’s even 0.1% as high. Not that I think that the other events will not happen or that I think they will not affect large numbers of people. It is just the global warming is so much worse and coming so much faster, with so much more certainty, and global warming will affect so many more people, that I am not going to worry about anything else.

    Here in the Bay Area, we will get an earthquake — soon. But Global warming is here! Look at the price and wheat and why it is so high. An asteroid would be bad, but so is an AGW driven drought in the American Southwest, and the drought is here now, and getting worse. (And with the warm water off-shore, we are more likely to get rain at intensities that will cause problems, rather than the snowpack that our infrasture is designed to acommodate.)

    I am not that worried about a 3C temperature change in the atmosphere. I have lived in Saudi Arabia, and
    California could learn to cope. I am worried about the temperature of the sea water at the ice-ocean interface below the WAIS. A fraction of a degree there makes a big difference.

    A couple of years ago, an ice field that I had played on for decades slid out from under my feet. It gave me a new appreciation for non-linear processes in ice. There was a difference between understanding the physics of the situation and SUDDENLY hanging from my ice ax with a lot of air under my feet because a piece of ice the size of a football field slid down the valley. The take away lesson was “big ice can move very fast.” It was not something I could learn from doing numbers.

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 19 Sep 2007 @ 12:41 PM

  112. Re #100 [Vernon] I notice that the high levels of pollution from agricultural fires in Eastern Europe refer to 2006. Does anyone have information about such fires in 2007, and indeed about trends in them over time, and how, if at all, they correlate with Arctic ice summer melt?

    Vernon doesn’t give an exact reference for Stohl 2006, but Google Scholar finds:
    Characteristics of atmospheric transport into the Arctic troposphere
    Stohl, A., Journal of Geophysical Research, Volume 111, Issue D11, CiteID D11306.
    Was that your reference, Vernon?

    This is from the abstract (I can’t access the full text):
    “Sensitivities of Arctic air masses to emissions of air pollutants, based on transport alone, were calculated for times of up to 30 days before the air masses reached the Arctic. They were highest over Siberia and Europe in winter and over the oceans in summer. Using an inventory for anthropogenic black carbon (BC) emissions, it was found that near the surface and for transport timescales of 5 and 10 days, BC source contributions from south Asia are only 1.6% and 10%, respectively, of the corresponding European values, despite much higher emissions in south Asia. Using an inventory for BC emissions from forest fires, BC source contributions to the Arctic, particularly from fires in Siberia, were larger than anthropogenic BC source contributions in summer in years of average burning.”

    The last sentence suggests to me that 2006 was exceptional, and normally Siberian forest fires (from the context, non-anthropogenic) are the main source of black carbon for the Arctic, but I admit it’s not that clear.

    None of the above means it wouldn’t be a good idea to discourage agricultural fires in Eastern Europe, but without clearer evidence that they have greatly increased over recent years it seems quite a stretch to pin the blame for the melting Arctic sea-ice chiefly on them. We know CO2 levels have increased, and if this is not warming the planet, that’s in itself a huge scientific mystery.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 19 Sep 2007 @ 1:34 PM

  113. JoeMA:

    My take is roughly Timothy Chase’s. I only have 2 things to add:

    1. Most of the time since the industrialization of the 19th c. a rise in GHGs was matched by a rise in particulate matter. We managed to curb the latter, but not the former. For a long time, our proportional net contribution to warming was less than it is now. On the other hand, we’ve become more efficient. We get much more GDP/GTon of C02 produced than the 19th and early 20th c. did.

    2. Even if you quibble with 1888 as being a time when solar forcings fell behind human forcings, that’s beside the point. Even at a time when solar forcings produce more of a change in temperature, for the most part, they are cyclic, and in any event, natural. Any time you have any net contribution in the direction of warming by humans, even if it’s dwarfed by other forcings, you have anthropogenic global warming. As an analogy, if your uncle is sick in bed with malaria and you start feeding him arsenic, you don’t mark the time when the coroner says the cumulative arsenic was doing more damage to him than the malaria was as the time you began poisoning him. And no serious person quibbles with the statement that you cannot model climate change over the last 100 years without including the effects of human activity – the numbers don’t add up.

    Comment by Marion Delgado — 19 Sep 2007 @ 1:45 PM

  114. Re #111 Aaron,

    That is what I was trying to say. All these numbers and arguments about whether global warming will give a 1.5 or 2.5 C is irrelevant when we know that the global temperature is already high enough to melt the Arctic ice, and that the Greenland ice is bound to follow.

    When are the scientists going to stop pussyfooting about, and tell the politicians we have a crisis on our hands?

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 19 Sep 2007 @ 2:22 PM

  115. Quotes from the IPCC 4th Report, Antarctic issues.

    Global sea ice extent:

    “Satellite data indicate a continuation of the 2.7 ± 0.6% per decade decline in annual mean arctic sea ice extent since 1978. The decline for summer extent is larger than for winter, with the summer minimum declining at a rate of 7.4 ± 2.4% per decade since 1979. Other data indicate that the summer decline began around 1970. Similar observations in the Antarctic reveal larger interannual variability but no consistent trends.”

    Antarctic surface temperatures:

    “In the Southern Hemisphere, SAM (southern annular mode of atmospheric circulation) increases from the 1960s to the present are associated with strong warming over the Antarctic Peninsula and, to a lesser extent, cooling over parts of continental Antarctica…”

    “Temperatures over mainland Antarctica (south of 65 S) have not warmed in recent decades (Turner et al., 2005), but it is virtually certain that there has been strong warming over the
    last 50 years in the Antarctic Peninsula region.”

    Complicating factors in Antarctic records: global ocean circulation and ozone depletion

    “In the Southern Hemisphere, there has been a strengthening tropospheric antarctic vortex during summer in association with the ozone hole, which has led to a cooling of the stratospheric polar vortex in late spring and to a two- to three-week delay in vortex breakdown.”

    “In the SH, SAM changes are related to contrasting trends of strong warming in the Antarctic Peninsula and a cooling over most of interior Antarctica. The increasing positive phase of the SAM has been linked to stratospheric ozone depletion and to greenhouse gas increases. Multi-decadal
    variability is also evident in the Atlantic, and appears to be related to the THC (thermohaline circulation).”

    The general concept predicted years ago was that global warming would result in increased polewards heat transport, which would cause temperatures in polar regions to increase at a faster rate than anywhere else. The Antarctic ice mass is a far stronger heat buffer than anything in the NH, so change there is at a slower pace.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 19 Sep 2007 @ 3:39 PM

  116. Alastair McDonald (114) — I rather think that Dr. James Hansen has been saying that for some time now.

    But politicians will be more likely to listen if all their constituents tell them that…

    Comment by David B. Benson — 19 Sep 2007 @ 3:39 PM

  117. Hi, Smokeysmom (#82 & “Where ARE those people living”).

    Unfortunately here on earth. I figure it this way, there’s this bell-shaped curve on the GW believer-denialist continuum, and the big glop in the center has been moving toward the believer side, with Katrina giving it an extra shove. However, that denialist tail goes out to infinity, so even when 99.9% of earth’s people believe GW is real and on the whole harmful, there will still be some that say it’s all fake.

    But I have a better idea, I think the denialists should be in the forefront of getting us to mitigate GW, and slowly slowly destroy all that evidence that it is happening. Then they can be right (no GW), and I’ll be quite happy to be found wrong. In fact I’ll be ecstatic, and they can be ecstatic that they are right. So it’ll be a win-win situation. And when you figure in all the other environmental and non-environmental problems mitigating GW will solve, well, it’s a win-win-win-win-win situation!

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 19 Sep 2007 @ 3:42 PM

  118. Re #100
    Vernon you are obviously clueless about the current climater changes in the arctic and subarctic. I live at the northern end of Sweden and here you do not need any indirect measurements to be able to tell that the climate is now warmer than it was 15 ears ago. We do not have a lot of glaciers here so any addition of black carbon does not make a big difference. Differences that we do notice is that the summer ends later, the growing season is longer and there are now plats growing here which you never saw 15 years ago.
    When I was young we stored food outdoors for several months, it was colder than a frezzers outside. We can’t do this anymore since we now get temperatures above freezing regulary even in january.

    These are not things that are some measurment problems or something related to snow melting a bit faster. These are real life everyday problems for us!

    Comment by Jonas — 19 Sep 2007 @ 5:02 PM

  119. Alastair 114, I think the scientists are doing the right thing by keeping their heads down and churning out the numbers. Its for *we the people* to take the information and shove it in front of our politicians, explain what it means to us as people (most of my food is grown on alluvial coastal soils within 3m of high tide!) and get action.

    These days, to keep the heat on our government, before I click the Submit Comment button here I make sure I send another email to someone on my Climate Email list who is in a position of influence.

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 19 Sep 2007 @ 5:08 PM

  120. Re 114
    You tell them! You are as smart as most scientists, and smarter than most journalists. You, at least, did your homework.

    I hope your letters to the Queen have more effect than my letters to POTUS. Still, I write to news media outlets and ask them why they are not devoting more coverage to AGW. I write to my elected represenatives.
    I try to tell them the story in language that they understand, and provide them references where they can check the facts.

    At this point, my real rage is against the quality of science education. I talk to computer programers and medical doctors,(and State Senators)that do not understand basic science.

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 19 Sep 2007 @ 5:24 PM

  121. [inappropriate language edited]

    The fact is that there is little to no warming south of the Antarctic circle. The warming is taking place north of the Antarctic circle on the Antarctic Pen. The net change in Ice Map per Sheppard et al (2007) is +25 Gton for East and -50 Gton for the West Antarctic. Total Antarctic change is -25 Gton. Add that with what is happening to Greenland and it add 0.35 mm per year to the sea level. Based on this melting, only another 3000 years to get to a meter.

    So while black carbon is leading to melting in the Arctic, there is not much melting in the Antarctic, actually, the Ice map away from the AP is increasing.

    Added to the fact that sea ice in the Antarctic is raising the albedo which means less heat is absorbed by the ocean and it gets cooler. This is also documented.

    If there is not warming at both poles (inside the Arctic and Antarctic circles) which is required for global warming, then why is that?

    Comment by Vernon — 19 Sep 2007 @ 5:41 PM

  122. Vernon, are you getting your beliefs from CO2science?
    Why don’t you try using Google Scholar, you can look up the articles for yourself, read the abstracts online and the actual articles at the library, and come to your own conclusions.

    You’ll be more credible than if you post ideas that don’t have facts behind them that are traceable to the bogus sources like co2science.

    Try this article for example:

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2007GeoRL..3414607Z

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Sep 2007 @ 5:55 PM

  123. Or this one:
    http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2FJCLI4236.1

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Sep 2007 @ 6:02 PM

  124. Ah Arron 120! Tis true that:-

    A man whose mind is made against his will
    Is of the same opinion still!

    I’m blowed if I know what carrot to dangle in front of their snouts to turn their silly heads around, but in the mean time I will keep hitting them with fact-sticks in the hope of at least attracting their attention for long enough for them to think that there may be something just a little odd going on with our world!

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 19 Sep 2007 @ 6:09 PM

  125. Why don’t you try using Google Scholar, you can look up the articles for yourself, read the abstracts online and the actual articles at the library, and come to your own conclusions.

    Well, Vernon has a history of reading articles, then claiming they conclude the direct opposite of what the authors say they conclude.

    He’s a troll. Probably best not to feed him.

    It’s funny that he’s posting here, given that over on Deltoid he insisted for a couple of weeks that he’d been banned here …

    Comment by dhogaza — 19 Sep 2007 @ 6:16 PM

  126. More for Vernon, as encouragement that you can look this stuff up for yourself instead of taking beliefs from the septic sites.
    (on temperature change in the Antarctic):

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/02/revenge_of_the_killer_cosmic_r.php#comment-349908

    and William there cites:
    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/Antarctic.paper.chapwalsh.2005.pdf

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Sep 2007 @ 6:57 PM

  127. Nigel Williams and many others — I recommend using visuals of arctic and Greenland ice melt, glaciers then and now in the Alps and elsewhere and also the following:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/TenWays/story?id=3602227&page=1

    which shows various U.S. coastal cities with different amounts of sea stand rise. Then point out that during the Eemian, when the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere rose to merely about 290 ppm, the temperature rose to a degree or two (Celcius) higher than today. The result was a sea stand about 5 meters higher than today. With just the current concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of 383 ppm, it does seem that the visuals in the link portend the near future. Unless we can somehow get the carbon back into the ground, that is.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 19 Sep 2007 @ 6:57 PM

  128. Re 121 Vernon: “The fact is that there is little to no warming south of the Antarctic circle. The warming is taking place north of the Antarctic circle on the Antarctic Pen.”

    Vernon, the fact is that well over three quarters of the West Antarctic Peninsula lies south of the Antarctic circle. Look it up.

    “Add that with what is happening to Greenland and it add 0.35 mm per year to the sea level. Based on this melting, only another 3000 years to get to a meter.”

    IF you assume that the rate of melting remains the same for the next 10-15 years, let alone for the next 3000. If you wish to wager that it will, I suspect that there are more than a few people far more knowledgeable than you about the stability of the Greenland ice cap and the West Antarctic ice shelf who would take that bet.

    “So while black carbon is leading to melting in the Arctic, there is not much melting in the Antarctic, actually, the Ice map away from the AP is increasing.”

    Again you assert that the primary cause of Arctic melting is BC without evidence to back up that statement, and you dismiss the significance of the destabilisation of the West Antarctic ice mass.

    “If there is not warming at both poles (inside the Arctic and Antarctic circles) which is required for global warming, then why is that?”

    The causes of the differential in the rate of warming of the Arctic and Antarctic have already been explained by several people here in this thread. You might try reading those explanations.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 19 Sep 2007 @ 7:22 PM

  129. Vernon, according to McConnell et al in last week’s Science; (Vol. 317. no. 5843, pp. 1381 – 1384). Black Carbon levels in the artic are almost down to pre industrial levels after peaking the first part of the 20th cent.

    Abstract: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/317/5843/1381

    From the paper:

    “… BC concentrations varied significantly during the past 215 years and were highly seasonal, particularly during the period before industrialization, beginning in the mid-1800s (Fig. 1A) (6). Average preindustrial annual BC concentration was 1.7 ng g–1, with generally consistent low winter (defined as December through May) concentrations averaging 1.3 ng g–1 and highly variable summer (defined as June through November) concentrations averaging 2.0 ng g–1. After 1850, annual BC concentrations began a gradual rise, followed by a rapid increase in 1888. Annual average concentrations reached a peak of >12.5 ng g–1 in 1908 before beginning a general, although erratic, decline through the late 1940s followed by a sharp drop in 1952. Maximum winter BC concentration peaked in 1908 at more than 20 ng g–1, with an average wintertime concentration of 13 ng g–1 during the highest 5-year period (1906 through 1910), which is about 10 times the mean winter concentration of 1.3 ng g–1 before 1850. During the period from 1851 to 1951, annual average concentrations were 4.0 ng g–1, with mean winter and summer concentrations of 4.1 and 3.9 ng g–1, respectively. From 1952 to 2002, average annual concentrations were 2.3 ng g–1 and were characterized by high year-to-year variability in summer and a gradual decline in winter BC concentrations through the end of the century (Fig. 1B)…”

    So Vernon, why is the artic melting so much faster now than it was 100 years ago?

    Comment by Dan — 19 Sep 2007 @ 7:32 PM

  130. Arctic with a c.

    Comment by Dan — 19 Sep 2007 @ 7:42 PM

  131. #88 HITRAN is the hi res spectroscopic data base. MODTRAN is a program for calculating radiative transfer using spectra at moderate resolution

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 19 Sep 2007 @ 8:24 PM

  132. In a post by Joseph Romm on 21 August,titled “Are scientists overestimating — or underestimating — climate change? Part I” http://gristmill.grist.org/print/2007/8/21/102318/112?show_comments=no
    He points out the following irony:”…the Deniers routinely attack the IPCC consensus for using elaborate computer models that they claim are still far too simplistic to model the real climate — claiming those models omit key variables and negative feedbacks that would reduce future climate change. But now they would have us embrace a self-acknowledged “simple model” — one far more simplistic than the climate models the Deniers repeatedly denounce as too simplistic. That’s chutzpah.”

    Thank you Mr. Romm! It also answers the question of what planet many deniers occupy- Planet Hypocrisy. Chutzpah for anyone who doesn’t speak Yinglish, is unabashed audacity, and is sometimes illustrated by the tale of the boy who kills his parents and throws himself on the mercy of the court because he’s an orphan.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 19 Sep 2007 @ 8:42 PM

  133. Eli (#131) wrote:

    #88 HITRAN is the hi res spectroscopic data base. MODTRAN is a program for calculating radiative transfer using spectra at moderate resolution.

    Sorry, Eli.

    It was the “TRAN” that got me confused. Hi and Mod. Should be easy enough to remember.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 19 Sep 2007 @ 8:47 PM

  134. I just want to point out that overexaggeration-based attacks on climate science (Alastair Macdonald’s comments) are just as misleading and detrimental as are deliberate efforts to understate the issue (Vernon’s comments).

    In fact, such overexaggeration is a main theme that ‘denialists’ like to use. It provides easily demolished ‘straw man’ arguments, such as the supposed deep freeze of Europe due to a slowing Gulf Stream – a theme that the likes of Richard Lindzen always target as evidence that global warming isn’t a real phenomenon.

    Statements like “As I see it, you are unwilling to accept that a catastrophe is possible. Once you do that, then you will see that a catastrophe is inevitable, unless there is a change of philosophy. -A.M.” really do more harm than good, and are incorrect as well. So do the endless attacks on the climate scientists who have spent decades carefully documenting the climate record, analyzing current data, and constructing and testing complex climate models. “Pussyfooting around” is a derogatory statement.

    Perhaps this is not the place to discuss PR techniques – leave that to
    http://www.desmogblog.com/slamming-the-climate-skeptic-scam

    However, I will say this: it is not uncommon for clever and well-financed PR operations to set up straw man arguments for public tarring and feathering by sites such as http://climatehysteria.com/

    I see no credentials behind Alastair McDonald’s name. I see no bio on her web site. I’ve made no secret of my background: UC Santa Cruz BS in biochemisty, MS in ocean sciences (2000), ongoing promoter of renewable energy R&D expansion.

    Let me quote desmogblog:
    “Few PR offences have been so obvious, so successful and so despicable as the attack on the scientific certainty of climate change. This is a triumph of disinformation. It is a living proof of the success of one of the boldest and most extensive PR campaigns in history, primarily financed by the energy industry and executed by some of the best PR talent in the world. As a public relations practitioner, it is a marvel – and a deep humiliation – and I want to see it stop…”

    “…But few PR offences have been so obvious, so successful and so despicable as the attack on the scientific certainty of climate change. Few have been so coldly calculating and few have been so well documented.”

    So, that’s my opinion of Alastair McDonald’s and Vernon’s posts. It may be a personal attack, but then those two have made quite a few personal attacks themselves.

    The truth of the matter is that global warming is a serious problem, but it is one that also has obvious solutions – it is not a doomsday scenario. Those solutions require transition from a global fossil fuel-based economy to a renewable energy-based economy, an end to deforestation, and stabilization of global human population. The real barriers to change are strictly political and economic in nature, not technical or scientific. There you have it. Good night, and good luck.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 19 Sep 2007 @ 9:11 PM

  135. Antarctica…

    Vernon,

    There is some cooling occuring in the interior Antarctica – and if you look really hard you might find a couple of tiny sections of the Southern Ocean which are cooling, but this isn’t entirely inexplicable. Part of it would appear to be related to ozone depletion in the stratosphere – which is far closer to the surface near the south pole than anywhere else.

    This much was suggested back here:

    Thompson and Solomon (2002) showed that the Southern Annular Mode (a pattern of variability that affects the westerly winds around Antarctica) had been in a more positive phase (stronger winds) in recent years, and that this acts as a barrier, preventing warmer air from reaching the continent. There are also some indications from models that this may have been caused by a combination of stratospheric ozone depletion and stratospheric cooling due to CO2 (Gillett and Thompson, 2002 ; Shindell and Schmidt, 2004). It is important to note, though, that there is evidence from tree-ring based climate reconstructions that the phase of the Southern Annular Mode has changed similarly in the past (Jones and Widman, 2004). We cannot, therefore, ascribe observed recent temperature changes to any one particular cause.

    3 December 2004
    Antarctic cooling, global warming?
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=18

    The view that it is related to ozone depletion has received considerable support recently – and it appears that the ozone depletion is partly due to global warming and results in positive feedback resulting in more global warming.

    “The researchers found that the Southern Ocean is becoming less efficient at absorbing carbon dioxide due to an increase in wind strength over the Ocean, resulting from human-induced climate change,” Dr Fraser says.

    “The increase in wind strength is due to a combination of higher levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and long-term ozone depletion in the stratosphere, which previous CSIRO research has shown intensifies storms over the Southern Ocean.”

    The increased winds influence the processes of mixing and upwelling in the ocean, which in turn cause an increased release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, reducing the net absorption of carbon dioxide into the ocean.

    Southern Ocean Carbon Sink Weakened
    Date: May 19, 2007
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070517142558.htm

    **

    Now that we have a better understanding of why some parts of Antarctica are cooling, lets look at your claim that all of the warming is taking place north of the Antarctic circle.

    Its latitude is 66 degrees 33 Minutes, 39 Seconds – and I am seeing plenty of glaciers on the move south of that…

    22 April 2005
    Retreating Glacier Fronts on the Antarctic Peninsula over the Past Half-Century
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=146
    Image:
    http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/met/wmc/summarymap2.png

    Nearly the whole George VI Ice Shelf is south of 70 degrees – and its shrinking:

    George VI Ice Shelf: past history, present behaviour and potential
    mechanisms for future collapse
    JAMES A. SMITH, et al.
    Antarctic Science 19 (1), 131–142 (2007)
    http://journals.cambridge.org/production/action/cjoGetFulltext?fulltextid=743656

    Looks like nearly the whole ocean down there is heating up…

    Climate of Antarctica
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Antarctica
    Image:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Antarctic_temps.AVH1982-2004.jpg

    Getting pretty warm at times as far south as 85 degrees – little more than 300 miles from the south pole…

    The observed melting occurred in multiple distinct regions, including far inland, at high latitudes and at high elevations, where melt had been considered unlikely. Evidence of melting was found up to 900 kilometers (560 miles) inland from the open ocean, farther than 85 degrees south (about 500 kilometers, or 310 miles, from the South Pole) and higher than 2,000 meters (6,600 feet) above sea level. Maximum air temperatures at the time of the melting were unusually high, reaching more than five degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit) in one of the affected areas. They remained above melting for approximately a week.

    NASA Finds Vast Regions of West Antarctica Melted in Recent Past
    05.15.07
    http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/arctic-20070515.html

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 19 Sep 2007 @ 9:45 PM

  136. Alastair, was that you at lunch at the EGU?
    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/04/egu_thursday_1.php

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Sep 2007 @ 9:58 PM

  137. John M (#105): You raise an important issue, one that has received a great deal of attention (you’re not the first to notice it!). The short answer is: the obs and models are different, and it’s not clear whether it’s the observations’ fault or the models’ fault, or both. For the long answer, see the Climate Change Science Program SAP 1.1.

    Comment by John N-G — 19 Sep 2007 @ 11:35 PM

  138. If the idea promoted by Vernon has anything to it, it is rather easy to verify.

    The pollution output from Europe diminished dramatically with the crash of East-European economies (including Russia) in the early 1990′s. Gradual growth since then has been based on improved, less wasteful processes.

    Western European output of particulate pollutants has declined radically since the 1950′s. Very few smokestacks remain, almost all of them equipped with filters.

    As to the melting on snow and ice, it is quite obvious from everyday experience that there is an impact of short duration. Dirty snow melts easily, and melting concentrates the soot in the surface layer. When meltwater pools form, the situation changes. Dirty water is not more efficient in absorbing solar energy than clear water.

    Agricultural burning is just grasping some straws in this context …

    Comment by Pekka J. Kostamo — 20 Sep 2007 @ 2:52 AM

  139. I believe he was refering to the rise in the global average temperature due to anthropogenic carbon dioxide.

    There is no way he can know what that is since 1. He doesn’t know what the solar contribution is (but would appear to be at least 50%) and 2. He has no idea what the aerosol contribution is.

    NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies (2007) would suggest that well-mixed anthropogenic greenhouse gases have had a forcing which exceeded that of solar variation relative to 1880 for every year since but 1881.

    Please see the chart on page 26 of the following…

    As I say no-one has any idea what the aerosol effect is and it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the 20th century solar effect has been underestimated.

    Comment by John Finn — 20 Sep 2007 @ 4:57 AM

  140. I see this site is back to not posting comments that has studies to support them. What, am I banned again?

    RE: 122 Hank, you make this too easy. Yes you are good at tossing ad homs, but no I am not a regular reader of the CO2science site. What I am is a reader of papers on topics which interest me.
    Shepherd et al (2007) Recent Sea-Level Contributions of the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets can be found at:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;315/5818/1529

    First, why GRACE does not agree:

    The method is new, and a consensus about the measurement errors has yet to emerge [e.g., (36)], the correction for postglacial rebound is uncertain [e.g., (37)], contamination from ocean and atmosphere mass changes is possible [e.g., (16)], and the results depend on the method used to reduce the data [compare, e.g., (20) and (16)]. The GRACE record is also short (3 years) and, as was the case with early altimeter time series [e.g., (7)], is particularly sensitive to the fluctuations in accumulation described above.

    I left the references in the quote so if you read the paper you can look them up.

    Hank, I would rather read the real works at AAAS’s site.

    Now as to what was found:

    It is reasonable to conclude that, today, the EAIS is gaining some 25 Gt year–1, the WAIS is losing about 50 Gt year–1, and the GIS is losing about 100 Gt year–1. These trends provide a sea-level contribution of about 0.35 mm year–1[.]

    RE: 118 Jonas, you my friend are clueless… climate is not about your local weather.

    RE: 128 Jim, I do not want to see postings that ‘explain’ things from anonymous sources. I want to see published, peer reviewed papers. The theory that the models use to predict warming says that both poles will show warming. Right now the surface temperature for Antarctic (south of the Antarctic circle) are not showing warming. Sea ice in the Antarctic is at the greatest level ever recorded. So while there is a lot of melting in the Arctic, both the UC Irvine (2006) study and Sheppard et al (2007) show that a major agent of that warming is BC.

    So, getting back on topic, the CO2 level has gone up from 280 to 390 which is a 40 percent increase. The temperature in the same period has gone up 0.6 degree C. Now if you take that out to doubling, there is only going to be ~1.3 degree C increase based on the current trend. The IPCC says that sensitivity is 1.5 – 4.5 degree C but it would appear that most modelers, the IPCC, and anonymous guest hosts here have gotten it wrong and Dr. Shaviv appears to have gotten it right. If the sensitivity is higher than the 1.3 degree C it appears to be now, where is all the warming hiding? Why has there been no warming since 1998? CO2 has gone up.

    RE: 135 Since we just started observing Antarctica, please present a study that indicates how we know that the conditions there are not normal? After all we have been observing the Antarctic for 60 years.

    RE: 129 Dan, nice misdirection but your post was very misleading. Why not post the important part, namely that:

    The median in estimated surface forcing in early summer throughout the Arctic was 0.42 W m–2 before 1850, 1.13 W m–2 during the period from 1850 to 1951, and 0.59 W m–2 after 1951.

    That is a ~41 percent increase in warming due to BC on average.

    Comment by Vernon — 20 Sep 2007 @ 5:42 AM

  141. Ike (134), you say “The real barriers to change are strictly political and economic in nature” (with which I totally agree). That to me sounds consistent with Alastair’s statement that “a change of philosophy” is needed. Alastair didn’t say that there is no solution to the problem, only that when we do not chose to work towards such a solution, that the problems will become very large. Perhaps your disagreement is with the term “catastrophic”, but besides that I don’t see why you find the quoted text incorrect and harmful. I think the two of you agree to a large extent.

    Comment by Darrel — 20 Sep 2007 @ 6:00 AM

  142. Re #135, http://www.nature.com/news/2007/070917/full/070917-3.html

    This article seems to be stating that Antartic sea ice is at record levels as opposed to the Arctic which is at record lows.

    The sea ice issue is complex and people are not even totally sure that the loss of sea ice in 2007 is due to climate change because for some reason the Arctic has been unusually cloud free this year and Russia was unusally warm at the start of the year.

    Comment by pete best — 20 Sep 2007 @ 6:22 AM

  143. Hi all

    Good post.
    Just want to know who Tamino is and what qualifications he has. Never too sure when someone puts a post/paper out there that they are genuine. I beleive the forcing affect of CO2 is 4 deg C, doubling from 1980 levels.

    Peter

    Comment by Peter Johns — 20 Sep 2007 @ 6:56 AM

  144. RE # 130

    Dan, you are correct. What the Arctic needs more than anything is some a.c.

    Comment by John L. McCormick — 20 Sep 2007 @ 7:59 AM

  145. Vernon, I think we have to distinguish two trends. First, the climate is warming globally. All of the sources you have cited support that. Second, the ice is melting much more rapidly than anticipated based on the considerations of climate models. As the climate models do a pretty good job or reproducing temperatures (note, I said pretty good, not perfect), it is reasonable to assume we are missing some physics in our understanding of the dynamics of melting ice sheets. Black carbon may well be a part of that, but if it is, it is a feedback that would likely not be as important if the climate near the poles were not warming. Moreover, it is unlikely to be the sole explanation. We don’t understand the dynamics of melting ice, nor of its flow. What is certain, is that as ice continues to melt, this, too is a feedback that will further exacerbate warming near the poles, and the magnitude of this feedback is also not included in the models. Likewise, the effects of bubbling methane from thawing permafrost, etc.
    So, while I think Alastair’s alarmism and deliberate and unprovoked attack may not have been the best strategy, it is probably a safe assumption that the situation is substantially more serious than we thought it was even 5 years ago. It may be an exaggeration to say that we are at a tipping point. However, societally, we are at a turning point.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 20 Sep 2007 @ 8:26 AM

  146. RE: 139 Vernon: “Jim, I do not want to see postings that ‘explain’ things from anonymous sources. I want to see published, peer reviewed papers.”

    Fair enough, Vernon. Others have provided several such references and sources, so here my published reference:

    To explain just the geographical reasons why the current warming is much less in the Antarctic than in the Arctic all I needed to consult was a lowly atlas, namely a very old copy of the Reader’s Digest Great World Atlas, which shows both the Arctic and Antarctic poles at the same scale.

    Go ahead, laugh if you will, but the differences in the geography of the poles easily explains much of the difference in their rate of warming. It is quite plain for anyone to see that the ocean and land mass distribution of the two poles is vastly different. That the area, and therefore the mass, of the Antarctic ice cap is at least eight times as large as that of Greenland, and thus has at least eight times the thermal inertia of Greenland. That the Southern Ocean allows clear, virtually unhindered circulation of both circumpolar ocean currents and air masses around the perimeter of Antarctica, while Greenland and the continental land masses of North America and Eurasia do exactly the opposite for the Arctic. That the typical depth of the Southern Ocean is 4000 to 5000 meters, while the much smaller Arctic Ocean averages a little over 1000 meters with two basins of 4000 to 4500 meters, again yielding a very large difference in thermal inertia. All other factors aside, geography alone clearly explains much of the warming difference.

    Vernon: “So while there is a lot of melting in the Arctic, both the UC Irvine (2006) study and Sheppard et al (2007) show that a major agent of that warming is BC.”

    Good to see that you are now saying that black carbon is a major agent of warming rather than the primary cause. That is progress. What say you about Pekka J. Kostamo’s post pointing out that:
    “the pollution output from Europe diminished dramatically with the crash of East-European economies (including Russia) in the early 1990’s. Gradual growth since then has been based on improved, less wasteful processes. Western European output of particulate pollutants has declined radically since the 1950’s.”

    Vernon: “So, getting back on topic, the CO2 level has gone up from 280 to 390 which is a 40 percent increase. The temperature in the same period has gone up 0.6 degree C. Now if you take that out to doubling, there is only going to be ~1.3 degree C increase based on the current trend.”

    You are ignoring inertia. You are also ignoring feedbacks from known carbon sinks that are already observed to be coming into play.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 20 Sep 2007 @ 8:45 AM

  147. #140
    Vernon, I know perfectly well that climate is the average of weather over a long time period, rather than just weather a particular year. With regard to where I am living I am talking about a long term trend of more than 15 years. That is a change in a long term average, not just the weather of one year. If I had wanted to talk about weather during single years I could have brought up that the northern coast her did not get proper snow until Christmas last year. That’s about two months too late, and that similar things have happened several times over the last few years now, but never before during my whole life. But that jut the last few years so than not a change in a long term average, yet!

    With regards to being just a local change that can be dismissed you are completely wrong. On Greenland they have the same problem as we do here, but even more. Their ice season has become too short to support their tradition hunting, they can not longer make transports over the ice as they used too. In Alaska and northern Canada whole communities now have to move since the permafrost is melting thereby causing land erosion. The same kind of metling is happening in Siberia. And permafrost peat bogs are dark by nature and do not thaw in the summer because of soot pollution.

    So if by “local” you mean all areas around the arctic you are correct. If you meant “just the north of sweden” you are indeed clueless.

    As I said before, unlike you some of us already live with the very real effects of climate change visible in everyday life.

    Comment by Jonas — 20 Sep 2007 @ 9:42 AM

  148. Tamino

    Please could you define your variables in your simple equation

    S = (time constant)/C

    and give the appropriate units for each variable?

    Comment by AEBanner — 20 Sep 2007 @ 10:07 AM

  149. Re: #148 (AEBanner)

    C is the heat capacity; choice of units is up to the user, but a decent choice is Watt-years per square meter per Kelvin = W yr/m^2/K.

    Time constant in years.

    S is the sensitivity, units Kelvins per (Watt per square meter) = K m^2 / W.

    Comment by tamino — 20 Sep 2007 @ 10:55 AM

  150. No warming since 1998 Vernon? This site has discussed it at length, Tamino has an excellent numerical analysis with all the graphs you could need and it has been shown again and again to be nonsense.
    What should we think about where one stands by respect to “facts” and “science” when we hear the no-warming-since-1998 tune?

    Comment by Philippe Chantreau — 20 Sep 2007 @ 11:47 AM

  151. Re #149

    Many thanks

    AEB

    Comment by AEBanner — 20 Sep 2007 @ 11:52 AM

  152. John N-G (#137) Thanks for the reference, I’m just starting to look at GW so I’m not familiar with the literature. The reference seems to confirm my newbie observation of the conflict between the models and observations as presented in AR4.

    I’m struggling with their notion that when observations don’t agree with a theory/model the observations are the likely problem, especially after they have already made adjustments to correct for observation errors. My expectation is the largest observation errors have been corrected now so the remaining differences between observation and theory will require adjustment of the theory.

    Comment by John M — 20 Sep 2007 @ 11:58 AM

  153. Sanity check on Antarctic temperature change some time back at Stoat, here:
    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/02/revenge_of_the_killer_cosmic_r.php#comment-349908

    “… there is only one time period available to “falsify” and that is the last 50y. Within that time the models (averaged) predict warming (over the year) but not all that much of it. Far less than the Arctic, for example -W] [And see-also http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/Antarctic.paper.chapwalsh.2005.pdf figure 8 -W]

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Sep 2007 @ 12:10 PM

  154. RE: #100 – just last week, the NWS issued an air quality alert for the Arctic Shore of Alaska. The reason? The smoke from fires in NE Europe was drifting that far an remaining sufficiently intact to warrant the alert. You can’t make this stuff up!

    Comment by SteveSadlov — 20 Sep 2007 @ 1:08 PM

  155. RE: #104 – Overall background temps raised by AGW + delayed impact of 1979 – 2006(?) PDO warm water turn over (reaching into the East Siberian and Chukchi Seas) + dark crud on ice + ?????

    Comment by SteveSadlov — 20 Sep 2007 @ 1:11 PM

  156. RE: #134 – Ike, well put. Many thanks!

    Comment by SteveSadlov — 20 Sep 2007 @ 1:15 PM

  157. RE: #155 – Warm water from positive PDO ….. “turn over” is not quite the right term. More like pressure wave, density wave or gravity wave. In any case, the concept being, the PDO flip in the Pacific to negative is resulting in “excess” warm water from the past 27 years of positive PDO to be “expunged” into adjacent basins.

    Comment by SteveSadlov — 20 Sep 2007 @ 2:51 PM

  158. Re 138
    A shallow pool of melt water lined with black carbon does absorb more radiation than the same depth of water sitting in clean ice.

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 20 Sep 2007 @ 3:44 PM

  159. Timothy (135) says, “…the ozone depletion is partly due to global warming… ”

    Really??!!? What happened to that torturous chemical reaction route? How does it work? (Or did you mean to say vice versa?)

    Comment by Rod B — 20 Sep 2007 @ 3:51 PM

  160. Re. post 143, Peter Johns, see post 18.

    Comment by Dave Rado — 20 Sep 2007 @ 5:13 PM

  161. Vernon (140) RE: “129 Dan, nice misdirection but your post was very misleading. Why not post the important part, namely that:

    The median in estimated surface forcing in early summer throughout the Arctic was 0.42 W m–2 before 1850, 1.13 W m–2 during the period from 1850 to 1951, and 0.59 W m–2 after 1951.

    That is a ~41 percent increase in warming due to BC on average.”

    You accuse me of being misleading…

    That 41% increase is equal to an incresed forcing of 0.17Wm^-2

    You chose to blame a regional forcing increase of 0.17Wm^-2 (that has decreased over the last 100 years) for the recently increased rate of arctic ice melting, rather than a global increase of 1.6Wm^-2 (that has increased over the last 100 years)? Yup, that fits the picture alright…

    Comment by Dan — 20 Sep 2007 @ 5:55 PM

  162. re 105:
    the altitude that the troposphere map is equal to 300 mb, 10km
    so check how real world data compares to that height
    also check
    http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ratpac/ratpac-b/RATPAC-B-annual-regions.txt
    and
    http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/temp/angell/angell.html
    for tropospheric temptures

    Comment by jacob l — 20 Sep 2007 @ 6:05 PM

  163. Rod B, it’s quite simple, really

    Ozone depletion gets worse when the stratosphere (where the ozone layer is), becomes colder. Because global warming traps heat in the troposphere, less heat reaches the stratosphere which will make it colder. Greenhouse gases act like a blanket for the troposphere and make the stratosphere colder.

    Taken from here.

    Comment by dhogaza — 20 Sep 2007 @ 6:08 PM

  164. Rod B — From the abstract of

    J. Hansen et al.,
    Climate change and trace gases,
    Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A (2007) 365, 1925–1954:

    “The most important of the non-CO_2 forcings is methane (CH_4), as it causes the second largest human-made GHG climate forcing and is the principle cause of increased tropospheric ozone (O_3), which is the third largest GHG forcing.”

    Comment by David B. Benson — 20 Sep 2007 @ 6:57 PM

  165. Antarctica:

    The antarctic continent is insulated to a large degree by two (semi)permanant circulations. The circumpolar Antarctic current, which is the ocean current that flows around the continent, and the cicumpolar vortex, an upper troposhpere circulation that, as descibed by Scientific American: “bottles up cold air over the pole and restricts warm air to the outer ring”.

    Both these circulations have the effect of insulating Antartica from the environment around it. Not completely, but heat and mass transfer with the rest of the global atomsphere and ocean is slowed significantly. These circulations go some way to explaining why Antartica has not warmed at the same rate as the atmosphere globally.

    See this paper for information on the response of the circumpolar vortex to warming:
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2003JGRD.108n.ACL7F

    Comment by ChrisC — 20 Sep 2007 @ 8:07 PM

  166. Rod B (#159) wrote:

    Timothy (135) says, “…the ozone depletion is partly due to global warming…”

    Really??!!? What happened to that torturous chemical reaction route? How does it work? (Or did you mean to say vice versa?)

    The CFCs are still important – as they resulted in the destruction of ozone by means of chemical reactions. However, global warming implies greater water vapor content in the atmosphere, which means that there is more water vapor that can be lofted into the stratosphere, and both methane and carbon dioxide appear to actually facilitate the transport of water vapor into the stratosphere (although apparently this is something which was not well-understood), chemical reactions involving methane will result in water vapor in the stratosphere, and the increased temperature differential between the stratosphere and troposphere will result in winds that loft water vapor into the stratosphere. Water vapor results in OH radicals which breakdown ozone.

    “Climate models show cooler stratospheric temperatures happen when there is more water vapor present, and water vapor also leads to the breakdown of ozone molecules,” Shindell said. According to satellite data, upper atmospheric temperatures around the world (20-35 miles high) have cooled between 5.4-10.8 degrees Fahrenheit over recent decades. The stratosphere is the typically dry layer of the atmosphere above the troposphere, where temperatures increase with height.

    When more water vapor works its way into the stratosphere, the water molecules can be broken down, releasing reactive molecules that can destroy ozone. Shindell noted that his global climate model agrees with satellite observations of the world’s stratospheric ozone levels when the water vapor factor is increased in the stratosphere over time. Shindell said, “If the trend of increasing stratospheric water vapor continues, it could increase future global warming and impede ozone stratospheric recovery.”

    Wetter Upper Atmosphere May Delay Global Ozone Recovery
    Apr. 17, 2001
    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20010417/

    As noted in the essay, there tends to be positive feedback between global warming and ozone depletion. But either can get started through separate processes. So its vice versa and versa vice.

    Incidentally, there is another way that global warming can lead to ozone depletion, one which involves a biological component, but probably best to leave that for another time.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 20 Sep 2007 @ 8:43 PM

  167. ChrisC (#165) wrote:

    Both these circulations have the effect of insulating Antartica from the environment around it. Not completely, but heat and mass transfer with the rest of the global atomsphere and ocean is slowed significantly. These circulations go some way to explaining why Antartica has not warmed at the same rate as the atmosphere globally.

    Antarctica used to be nearly tropical when a land bridge still existed between South America and the West Antarctic Peninsula as the Antarctic was warmed by the circulation of water around South America. Once that bridge was gone, ocean circulation reorganized resulting in the oceanic circumpolar circulation. No doubt the atmosphere followed suite. The circumpolar circulation greatly reduced heat exchange between Antarctica and the rest of the world, plunging it into the deep freeze that exists today.

    But with global warming, nearly all of the Southern Ocean is warming with the rest of the world, as are large parts of the interior continent, with melts even further south than 85 degrees latitude.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 20 Sep 2007 @ 8:57 PM

  168. dhogaza (163): It probably is just a minor point,… but the GW cause of ozone depletion is seemingly odd if not incredible. The ESS News post sounded like a full bowl of hyperbolic soup with all of the correct 2000 talking points, and so not very credible, at least in scientific detail. Even so, the average global tropospheric temperature went up how much in the last decade or even two (2-3 tenths max maybe), which made the average stratospheric temperature drop how much — to cause such an impact on ozone production?? Seems like quite a stretch to me.

    David (164), your post seems to imply that GHG (and presumably the follow-on GW), like methane tend to increase ozone. Or did I get confused?

    Comment by Rod B — 20 Sep 2007 @ 8:58 PM

  169. Timothy (88), my belated point/question is still mostly out of left field from the main topic here, but, to be brief, my biggest question on the forcing math is not so much the log relationship, but the clever raising of the CO2 concentration ratio to the 5th-6th+ power before taking the ln log.

    Comment by Rod B — 20 Sep 2007 @ 9:05 PM

  170. John M (#152): As a general rule, people who work with observations trust models more than observations, and people who work with models trust observations more than models! I too am not willing to grant that observations are the likely source of the discrepancy.
    But…keep the concepts of “theory” and “model” separate. Only the very simplest models are designed to correspond to a particular theory. Current GCM’s are better thought of as kitchen-sink models, where as many processes and interactions as possible are included (based on physics, measurements, or both) and the model is then run to see what it all does. Any agreement between theory and GCM’s is not by design.

    Comment by John N-G — 20 Sep 2007 @ 10:59 PM

  171. Let us talk about temperature and stratospheric ozone depletion. First, the ozone hole.

    The mechanism for forming an ozone hole starts with the formation of polar stratospheric clouds at very low temperatures. NOx species condense on frozen solid particles in these clouds and are removed from the stratosphere. In the natural stratosphere, ClO is sequestered as NO2ClO and cannot react with ozone (destroy it). If you remove the NO2 the ClO is freed to react with the ozone. The removal of NOx occurs during the polar winter. First light sets off a set of reactions of the ClO which destroys the ozone in the spring.

    The colder the stratosphere, the more likely Polar Stratospheric Clouds will form. The arctic stratosphere is warmer than the Antarctic. Thus pscs are more likely to form in the antarctic and we observe ozone holes more often (every damn year now) in the antarctic than the arctic (only in the spring after VERY COLD winters.

    As to destruction of ozone in the normal stratosphere. A colder stratosphere slows up a number of reactions which means that the Cl and Br freed from photodissociation of CFCs and halons lasts longer so we the problem continues for a longer time due to the cooling of the stratosphere by ghg increases. More detail here

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 20 Sep 2007 @ 11:06 PM

  172. > GW cause of ozone depletion is ….

    Polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) — increasing with more water vapor and other changes in the stratosphere — provide surfaces on on which the catalysis of ozone is a faster, favored reaction. Nothing “odd if not incredible” — predicted, and observed during the extra-cold winters. Right now the critical temperature for this to happen isn’t happening every year, but the stratosphere continues to cool and PSCs continue to increase.

    Note the USA is now campaigning with other countries to hasten the phase-out of the remaining ozone-destroying chemicals globally. This isn’t in doubt, it’s already scared every country except China, and China’s gaming the system
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=ozone+depletion+China+gaming+

    This isn’t news, the articles on PSCs and ozone loss go back at least a decade. Look them up, you’ll find many cites. Just one:

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/7/435/2007/acp-7-435-2007.pdf

    Atmos. Chem. Phys., 7, 435–441, 2007
    http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/7/435/2007

    “Rex et al. (2004) have shown a strong correlation between the vertically integrated ozone losses and the volume of air in which temperatures are below the NAT equilibrium point for the Arctic. Moreover, Knudsen et al. (2004) found a remarkable correlation between the total ozone mass depleted in the vortex and PSC area probability in the Arctic (correlation coefficient = 0.96) which
    can be extended to the Antarctic…..”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Sep 2007 @ 11:10 PM

  173. RF = 5.35 ln(CO2/CO2_orig)
    dear Rod B
    if this is the formula that you are talking about that is multiplication not raising to a power
    check it out at http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/222.htm
    hope this helps

    Comment by jacob l — 21 Sep 2007 @ 12:51 AM

  174. Rod B (#169) wrote:

    Timothy (88), my belated point/question is still mostly out of left field from the main topic here, but, to be brief, my biggest question on the forcing math is not so much the log relationship, but the clever raising of the CO2 concentration ratio to the 5th-6th+ power before taking the ln log.

    Well, someone more knowledgable than myself could undoubtedly do a better job, but here it goes…

    Leaving out some of the complexity, lets just look at the greenhouse effect due to carbon dioxide with no amplification by water vapor or the albedo effect. We are told that for every doubling of carbon dioxide – prior to amplification by various feedbacks, the temperature will rise by something in the neighborhood of 1.2 degrees Celsius – as opposed to the 3 degrees Celsius we get after all of the amplifications.

    Now if you look it up, what is actually roughly proportional to the logarithm of the concentration of carbon dioxide is the forcing as measured in watts per square meter. This is supposed to be about 4 watts per square meter for every doubling of carbon dioxide. So lets begin with the 4 watts and see if we can’t derive the 1.2 degrees Celsius – or something close to it – since we are given only a single digit after the decimal point.

    *

    The average temperature of the surface of the earth is about 15 degrees Celsius – where freezing would receive a zero. But if we are talking about total radiation being proportional to the fourth power of temperature, we need to be thinking in terms of Kelvin.

    Freezing is 273 degrees Kelvin. So the temperature of the surface is approximately 288 degrees Kelvin. Now prior to the doubling of CO2, the amount of radiation leaving the climate system is equal to the amount of radiation entering the climate system: 235 watts per square meter. Thats at 288 degrees.

    *

    A forcing will mean non-equilibrium in which the rate at which energy leaves the system is lower than the rate at which energy leaves the system. In essence, it is as if the doubling of carbon dioxide adds 4 more watts per square meter.

    So if prior to the doubling, we have 235 watts resulting in a temperature of 288 Kelvin, then with one doubling we are talking about 239 watts. Likewise, two doublings will result in 243 watts and three doublings in 247 watts.

    Since total thermal emissions are proportional to the fourth power of the temperature, if 235 watts results in a temperature of 288 degrees Kelvin, then 239 watts will result in a temperature of 289.22, 243 watts will result in a temperature of 290.42, and 247 watts will result in a temperature of 291.61. The rise in temperature from one doubling to the next is respectively 1.22, 1.20 and 1.19. But we typically just round to 1.2.

    *

    Such a round figure will work just fine – until the sixth doubling – since at that point we would be rounding to 1.1 given the same level of accuracy. But by the fifth doubling we are speaking of a rise in temperature due to simply the direct forcing of carbon dioxide of 5.94 degrees Celsius. Assuming that with all the feedbacks (primarily water vapor and albedo) gives you 3 degrees for every 1.2 degrees, we are looking at 14.85 degrees total.

    But long before that happens you are going to have positive feedback from the carbon cycle kicking in, so I most certainly wouldn’t be worrying about six doublings. In fact, after just two doublings (with the carbon cycle contributing to the second doubling), we are talking about an additional 6 degrees – and at that point I doubt you will have to worry about the world economy generating a lot of carbon emissions for very long.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 21 Sep 2007 @ 2:59 AM

  175. “Timothy (88), my belated point/question is still mostly out of left field from the main topic here, but, to be brief, my biggest question on the forcing math is not so much the log relationship, but the clever raising of the CO2 concentration ratio to the 5th-6th+ power before taking the ln log.”

    Try deriving the expression using Beer’s Law, start with the ratio of light absorbed at two different concentrations and you’ll get a function of that form.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 21 Sep 2007 @ 8:48 AM

  176. Tamino

    Well done! Unfortunately, the damage has already been done. Even if Schwartz were to resind his article, the Anti Global Warming camp will continue to reference it until the water rises up to their mouths.

    Though not trained in Climatology (Chemistry was my major), I try to keep current with the latest climate change research. It is apparent that political maneuvering caused the IPCC to water down its report.

    One thing confuses me though. Is there no provision for a “Phase Change” in Schwartz’s research?

    Several posters have correctly mentioned the earth reaching a “Tipping Point”, essentially the same thing.

    The way I explain the impending phase change in the Arctic to ordinary people is this:

    You are sitting in a hot conference room. There is a large punch bowl in the middle of the room where delegates can get a drink of water. The water is kept cool by a large block of ice. A small propeller keeps the water circulating. A thermometer keeps track of the temperature of the water.

    After two hours the block of ice is down to one-third its original size. From the delegates’ perspective, all is well; the drinking water has been kept cool and refreshing.

    Once the last of the ice has melted, the temperature of the water skyrockets. This is a simple phase change.

    The Arctic Ice Cap is like that block of ice. Once it’s gone, so is its moderating influence during the summertime. The cascading failure that follows is inevitable: Greenland ice cap melts (sea level rise), permafrost melts (releasing methane, inducing further warming), decreased albedo (further warming)…

    Comment by Van_Trump — 21 Sep 2007 @ 9:06 AM

  177. PS to 174

    Now it is quite possible that I got something wrong in this post. As I said, someone could probably do a better job than me. If so, then I hope that either Eli or one of the climatologists will correct me. However, the important point as far as this post was concerned is that given how far we are from absolute zero, for small changes in forcing, a linear increase in the forcing results in a near linear increase in the temperature as a direct effect of changes in the concentration of carbon dioxide. Thus the rule that for every doubling of the concentration of carbon dioxide there is a near constant increase in the forcing implies that for every doubling of the concentration of carbon dioxide, the direct effect (prior to the feedbacks) is a near constant increase in the temperature – for the first few doublings of carbon dioxide.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 21 Sep 2007 @ 11:40 AM

  178. RE: #176 – Phase change cuts in multiple ways. Albedo change on land surfaces does not result in the same side effects as albedo change on polar sea surfaces. This is not rocket science, it’s basic stuff. And then, there are the low and mid level clouds, the elephant in the room.

    Comment by SteveSadlov — 21 Sep 2007 @ 12:22 PM

  179. Van_Trump wrote:
    > The Arctic Ice Cap is like that block of ice. Once it’s gone,
    > so is its moderating influence during the summertime.

    Happy Equinox! Now it starts to come back, for six months. Yes, the total will be thinner next summer (areas of one-year instead of multi-year ice). But be aware of the cycle.

    “At the Autumn Equinox, approximately September 21, the sun sinks below the horizon, and the North Pole is in twilight until early October, after which it is in full darkness for the Winter.”
    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/gallery_np_seasons.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Sep 2007 @ 12:29 PM

  180. Note that you can’t rely on the NOAA “North Pole” webcams — the #1 and #2 cameras actually at the Pole haven’t worked for more than a month (I wonder if anyone is there besides that Russian ship and submersible?). The #3 and #4 cameras are on the Polarstern, and that ship got close to the Pole a while ago,but is now
    http://web-apps.awi.de/MET/Polarstern/psobse.pdf
    well south again. Originally they had said they planned to replace those new cameras on solid ice,
    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/gallery_np.html
    but the pictures from them the last few days show sunlight and open water. No update at NOAA about this yet. Perhaps they never found solid enough ice to leave the cameras behind? Just guessing.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Sep 2007 @ 12:35 PM

  181. Last tidbit: the Polarstern’s current update isn’t in English yet, but their previous one identified their closest approach to the Pole as sometime in the weekend of August 30-September 2.

    I love finding ‘accidental’ stereo pairs;
    From NOAA #4 webcam images — including the rain near the Pole, and open water and ice there then.

    If you can view stereo pairs, go to the NOAA gallery page, search camera #4 for 8/31 through 9/2

    These are accidental stereo pairs (and there are others as well):

    noaa4: 2007-08-31 08:33:39 and noaa4: 2007-08-31 08:39:38
    noaa4: 2007-08-31 11:33:23 and noaa4: 2007-08-31 11:39:24
    noaa4: 2007-09-02 23:30:19 and noaa4: 2007-09-02 23:36:18

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Sep 2007 @ 1:07 PM

  182. SteveSadlov (#178)

    RE: #176 – Phase change cuts in multiple ways. Albedo change on land surfaces does not result in the same side effects as albedo change on polar sea surfaces. This is not rocket science, it’s basic stuff. And then, there are the low and mid level clouds, the elephant in the room.

    As has been pointed out numerous times before, that so-called white elephant of albedo (which results in positive as well as negative feedback) did not stand in the way of a climate sensitivity of roughly 3 degrees Celsius over nearly the last half-million years. I doubt the laws of physics have changed all that much since the introduction of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions – and the positions of the continents would still appear to be roughly the same. So its time to get off of that white elephant, Steve. You really aren’t supposed to be riding them in the first place.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 21 Sep 2007 @ 1:38 PM

  183. #174 – i’m in no position to question whether one doubling does 1.2 degrees of warming or 3 degrees with feedbacks or if the climate might be more or less sensative than that, but i do have one question left over after reading your post: what is the best estimated time for one doubling of the concentration of co2 at current emmissions rates?

    The extent of my math knowledge is the quadratic equation and the extent of my climate knowledge is a handful of bad graphs on Wikipedia. But I’ll take a stab at answering my own question anyway, because the doubling of atmospheric co2 concentration hints at the excesses in our way of life regardless of how much of a temperature change it makes and also because of the off-chance that I might learn something from doing it. I’m sure someone will tell me all the places I screw this up.

    eyeballing the mauna loa emissions graph in the wikipedia article about carbon dioxide, i get the sense of a linear 60 ppmv / 50 years = 1.2 units per year rate of change. If I look only at the top of the graph, I see a 1.5 units per year rate. Starting at 380 units with an increase of 1.2 units/year, the doubling time I figure is in the neighborhood of 320 years. At 1.5 units per year, it’s more like 250 years. This is why if emissions plateau at current rates, rather than continuing to increase, the AGW problem seems relatively small to me (at least when I compare my opinion to Alastair’s assessment of our present situation).

    But if change in co2 concentration is accelerating by 0.2 units / 25 years (another eyeball estimate from the graph) doubling time is roughly 173 years (my best guess for what happens if our world-wide collective way of life doesn’t change). If change in co2 concentration ends up accelerating by 1 unit / 25 years, doubling time is ~81 years (my guess for what happens when two-thirds of the developing world–mostly living in india and china–catches up to our standard of living by 2030). Even though i strongly doubt these numbers reflect true doubling times, they’re the reason why AGW seems destined to become the biggest problem my generation (I’m 25) will have to deal with in our lifetime.

    Side note: sadly, the easiest way out of our global warming problem seems to be the maintainance rather than alleviation of poverty in the third world. Hence my opinion that our governments’ utter lack of interest in Africa’s plight is actually a policy geared around national security concerns rather than simple dispassion. So here’s hoping (and praying) that someone finds a carbon-neutral cure for poverty–not to mention a carbon-neutral cure for opulence–and soon.

    (left over bunny trail questions: does anyone happen to know whether or not manufacturing solar panels is a carbon-neutral enterprise? can someone point me to where i can find the records from the temperature station nearest to the mauna loa co2 station?)

    Comment by A.C. — 21 Sep 2007 @ 1:43 PM

  184. And then, there are the low and mid level clouds, the elephant in the room.

    What are you feeding that elephant?

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 21 Sep 2007 @ 2:00 PM

  185. When I look at the temperatures I see this. Ray Ladbury
    Prove me wrong. Call me a know nothing. Here is what I say.

    We see that in fact, all decades are in accord with the modern-era rate; every one of them gives an error range for the rate that includes the modern-era value. From this I conclude that there is no statistically significant evidence that temperature from 1975 to the present deviates from a linear trend plus red noise.

    I have in the past given the impression that global warming has recently accelerated. Under certain circumstances it has, but those are limited to consideration of special time intervals. For the modern global warming era (1975-present) I see no hard evidence of acceleration. Therefore I will retract the impression, if not the actual statement, that global warming is accelerating; to me it looks like steady warming at 0.018 +/- 0.004 deg.C/yr, plus red noise.

    This was before I could spell AR(1)

    Comment by steven mosher — 21 Sep 2007 @ 2:38 PM

  186. Rod B (168) — Yes, my reading of the abstract is that more makes more. You may be able to find a lengther treatment in the AIP Discovery of Global Warming website, linked in the Science Links section of the sidebar.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 21 Sep 2007 @ 3:29 PM

  187. Mosher seems to have poached his post from Tamino, without attribution …

    Comment by dhogaza — 21 Sep 2007 @ 3:39 PM

  188. Jacob (173): 5.35 ln(CO2/CO2_orig) = ln[(CO2/CO2_orig)]^5.35 or the ln of the concentration ratio raised to the 5.35th power.

    Comment by Rod B — 21 Sep 2007 @ 3:49 PM

  189. steven mosher (#185) wrote:

    I have in the past given the impression that global warming has recently accelerated. Under certain circumstances it has, but those are limited to consideration of special time intervals. For the modern global warming era (1975-present) I see no hard evidence of acceleration. Therefore I will retract the impression, if not the actual statement, that global warming is accelerating; to me it looks like steady warming at 0.018 +/- 0.004 deg.C/yr, plus red noise.

    This was before I could spell AR(1)

    Steven,

    This is an easy one: I goofed.

    There is no statistically significant acceleration in the rate of temperature increase for the United States.

    There is a statistically signficant acceleration in the rate of temperature increase for the world if one is looking at the monthly level. I believe, however, that it helps to include the data points for each month – rather than just doing the individual years. More data points, greater statistical significance. Tamino pointed all of this out earlier.

    When it comes to statistics, I would take anything I have to say with at least a grain of salt. I would recommend you do the same. When it comes to statistics, you can probably put a great deal more trust in Tamino. He knows his art.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 21 Sep 2007 @ 4:36 PM

  190. steven mosher Says:
    21 September 2007 at 2:38 PM

    > “…. Here is what I say.”

    Every word after that is plagiarized.

    The hosts can see if this is from the same IP used previously for posts under the name “steven mosher” — I trust they’ll check.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Sep 2007 @ 4:47 PM

  191. Timothy (174), I appreciate your efforts. Some questions/challenges (and bear with me — I’m questioning as I go, and have a few beers under my belt): The 235 watts leaving will always be the same whether CO2 doubles, halves, or stays the same. If it jumps to 239 watts, the earth’s climate system will cool, because the 235 watts incoming will stay the same I think this affects the rest of your calculations, though there may be some semblance of accuracy or insight in them. In any event, I haven’t got to the forcing going to temperature yet; I’m still pursuing concentration going to forcing.

    Comment by Rod B — 21 Sep 2007 @ 6:36 PM

  192. Van_Trump (176) , you say, “…It is apparent that political maneuvering caused the IPCC to water down its report….”

    Shirley your paranoia causes you to jest. Goodness! The IPCC kowtowing to the anti-AGW lobby?? Fact is historically it’s been just the opposite, though the latest reports seem to be more straight down the line.

    Comment by Rod B — 21 Sep 2007 @ 6:46 PM

  193. Timothy (177), this would imply (actually you state) a linear relationship between CO2 concentration and temperature. Are you sure this is correct??

    Comment by Rod B — 21 Sep 2007 @ 6:53 PM

  194. dhogaza (#187) wrote:

    Mosher (#185) seems to have poached his post from Tamino, without attribution …

    Huh.

    I am still not sure how one determines the degree of redness (are we talking only 15% or is this a cherry red?), but it makes more sense that the trend would be linear. That is what you would expect from an exponential growth rate I would presume, and up until the last few years the rate of anthropogenic CO2 growth has been fairly constant rate (as a percentage of the total – which means exponential growth). It was only recently that it started going up – the effects of which over the short-term will be negligible, but over the long-term will be cummulative.

    Anyway, something I am happy to be wrong about – if only that it means that the world makes more sense.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 21 Sep 2007 @ 7:05 PM

  195. I saw this and had to ask, which Tamino is right?

    Tamino, 16 September 2007 (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/09/climate-insensitivity/)

    The conclusion is inescapable, that global temperature cannot be adequately modeled as a linear trend plus AR(1) process.

    Tamino, 21 September 2007 (http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/09/21/cheaper-by-the-decade/)

    From this I conclude that there is no statistically significant evidence that temperature from 1975 to the present deviates from a linear trend plus red noise.

    So which is it?

    Comment by Vernon — 21 Sep 2007 @ 7:38 PM

  196. Re: #195 (Vernon)

    You give a fine example of quoting out of context. I think you got this from climateaudit.

    Speaking of global temperature from 1880 to 2007:

    The conclusion is inescapable, that global temperature cannot be adequately modeled as a linear trend plus AR(1) process

    Speaking of global temperature from 1975 to 2007:

    From this I conclude that there is no statistically significant evidence that temperature from 1975 to the present deviates from a linear trend plus red noise.

    I stand by both statements. The first quote denies the applicability of an AR(1) model. The second confirms the applicability of a red-noise model. They are not the same. The noise in temperature time series is red, but not AR(1). The temperature since 1975 conforms to a linear increase plus red (not AR(1)) noise; temperature since 1880 does not.

    Comment by tamino — 21 Sep 2007 @ 8:28 PM

  197. Rod B., Let’s make it clear:
    5.35*ln(C/Co)=ln[(C/Co)^5.35]. That is it is the ratio of the concentrations that is raised to the power, not the log thereof.

    Comment by ray ladbury — 21 Sep 2007 @ 8:48 PM

  198. Re 185. Steven Mosher, no offense, but why should I care what you think. You have no expertise in the field of climate change or data analysis. That much is clear in your implication that data in which there is noise cannot exhibit a trend. While I would certainly prefer that you educate yourself, if you refuse, there is nothing I can do about it. So, believe what you want

    Comment by ray ladbury — 21 Sep 2007 @ 8:58 PM

  199. Just read what he wrote, follow the math, that’s how opinions change.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Sep 2007 @ 10:06 PM

  200. Re #195

    Your first quote from Tamino states that the data are not well-represented as a linear trend + white noise (an AR(1) process).

    Your second quote from Tamino is from an entry noting that the data are best represented by a linear process + red noise, rather than as a linear trend + white noise (an AR(1) process).

    Given that the second quote provides additional detail to the first quote, what is the question?

    Comment by spilgard — 21 Sep 2007 @ 11:18 PM

  201. Vernon (#195) wrote:

    I saw this and had to ask, which Tamino is right?

    So which is it?

    Someone who is capable self-transcendance and rebirth: a living mind with the power of self-correction. Not much use in trying to explain this to you though, judging from your most recent remarks – and long well-established pattern of behavior.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 22 Sep 2007 @ 12:08 AM

  202. [[We see that in fact, all decades are in accord with the modern-era rate; every one of them gives an error range for the rate that includes the modern-era value. From this I conclude that there is no statistically significant evidence that temperature from 1975 to the present deviates from a linear trend plus red noise.]]

    Why don’t you try graphing all the points from 1880 onwards?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 22 Sep 2007 @ 6:25 AM

  203. Ray says, “Rod B., Let’s make it clear:
    5.35*ln(C/Co)=ln[(C/Co)^5.35]. That is it is the ratio of the concentrations that is raised to the power, not the log thereof.”

    Yes, I think that’s what I said; maybe my parens were not clear

    Comment by Rod B — 22 Sep 2007 @ 11:28 AM

  204. Rod B (#193) wrote:

    Timothy (#177), this would imply (actually you state) a linear relationship between CO2 concentration and temperature. Are you sure this is correct??

    Rod, I believe you may have misread me.

    I stated that given the large distance from absolute zero (nearly 300 Kelvin), a linear increase in the forcing implies a near linear increase in the temperature, at least over the range of a few degrees. One sentence later I state that the linear and near linear functions are with respect to the log of the ratio of the concentrations of carbon dioxide.

    Now what does a curve look like if it is gradual with respect to the scale upon which you zoom in on it? A straight line. We aren’t speaking of fractals, at least not at this point. So while the linear function of the log of the ratios is an approximation in the case of temperature, it is a fairly good approximation over any range of temperatures we might be dealing with. (See #177 which you were responding to.)

    But even in the case of forcing, the relationship starts to breakdown at higher pressures where the bands begin to overlap. Not really something we have to worry about here, though, not for a few doublings at least. The opacity of CO2 concentration is nearly logarithmic since (as the center of any given broadening line of absorption becomes saturated towards a widening center) absorption shifts to the wings where emissivity falls nearly as an exponential of the negative of the distance from saturation.

    But as I have said, the real-wold consequences will be quite serious after the first couple of doublings of CO2, anthropogenic emissions – plus the feedback from the carbon cycle. At that point we would be speaking of around 1000 ppm. That would be a little over two degrees due to the direct effects of CO2, but about six degrees Celsius once one takes into account all the feedbacks and the now well-established ~3 degrees per doubling of CO2 for the past half-million years – for which the positions of the continents have been roughly constant. (See #174.)

    *

    Rod B (#191) wrote:

    The 235 watts leaving will always be the same whether CO2 doubles, halves, or stays the same. If it jumps to 239 watts, the earth’s climate system will cool, because the 235 watts incoming will stay the same I think this affects the rest of your calculations, though there may be some semblance of accuracy or insight in them. In any event, I haven’t got to the forcing going to temperature yet; I’m still pursuing concentration going to forcing.

    The 235 watts per square meter rate at which energy (thermal radiation) will be lost at the new equilibrium will be where it is escaping the atmosphere – at the top. The 235 watts per square meter rate at which this energy enters the climate system – at the bottom (plus what little absorption occurs in the atmosphere such as the absorption of solar radiation by ozone, and where the per square meter is measured relative to the average atmospheric column which is a square meter at the base). Given the increasing opacity of the atmosphere and consequently the increase in the downwelling radiation from the atmosphere, the surface must radiate thermal energy at a higher rate for the rate at which thermal energy leaving the climate system to balance the rate at which it leaves the system.

    Until this new balance is achieved, the climate system will appear dimmer as viewed outside it than it was prior to the doubling of CO2 concentration. Once this balance is achieved the climate system will cease to become warmer. Nevertheless, the surface will be warmer at this new equilibrium.

    For that surface to cool off back to the temperature which it had at the old equilibrium, it would have to radiate thermal energy at an even higher rate – as some the thermal energy which it radiation will be absorbed by the more opaque atmosphere, and some of that will be radiated back to the surface. (Half of the radiation – if one does not take into account other effects, such as moist air convection.)

    Once the rate at which thermal energy is leaving the climate system equals the rate at which thermal energy is entering the climate system, it will already be at the new higher equilibrium – where by “higher” we are refering to the higher temperature at the surface. As such the rate at which the surface emits thermal radiation won’t climb any higher. As such, the surface will never radiate thermal energy at a rate that would be required for it to cool off to the original temperature.

    *

    Anyway, with the problem you posed in 191 it might help to look at Gavin’s Learning from a Simple Model as well as my spreadsheet analysis of the greenhouse effect for the simple model which I believe complements Gavin’s analysis.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 22 Sep 2007 @ 12:32 PM

  205. WRT 183. There is CO2 and there are all the greenhouse gases. When we count in methane, CFCs, nitrogen oxides and more, we are a considerable way to 2x. For just CO2 alone we have gone from about 280 ppm in the 19th century to about 380 ppm today. My forgettery says that with everything put together we are effectively at ~450 ppm (subject to correction on that one, but I don’t think a very large one).

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 22 Sep 2007 @ 4:05 PM

  206. Lots of other articles are springing up concerning the increased amounts of water vapour in the atmosphere which is a prediction of AGW is it not ?

    Comment by pete best — 22 Sep 2007 @ 5:49 PM

  207. re 204 (Timothy): I see your point on the linearity, though it is almost linear for almost just two doublings, then falls off the linear chart noticeably. Though this is not my real (initial) point, which was that saying that forcing is a logarithmic function of CO2 concentration is misleading, though maybe for simplifying things rather than being nefarious. There is a major difference between being log related and being 5 to 6 times log related. The forcing is 5 to 6 times greater with the latter and I don’t think that should be sugar-coated.

    I have yet to follow up on some earlier (and maybe later) posts, so I’m still in the analytical stage. Nor have I gotten to the temperature as a function of forcing question yet, and don’t know if I have a big (or any) problem here. Though I do raise my eyebrows with the “well established” mantra.

    My 235 watts in = 235 watts out was referring to steady state. I understand the transient process (and thanks for your explanation), (though I might have disagreements with the numbers), which says 1) greenhouse gases go up; 2) more surface radiation is absorbed and partially radiated back to the earth (though how that happens is still an unanswered question of mine in this or maybe an earlier thread); 3) since the top of the atmosphere is temporarily fed less infrared radiation, its 235 watts outgoing is temporarily reduced (and dims a bit to the outside observer with infrared glasses, as you say); 4) outgoing radiation is temporarily less than the absorbed incoming, and the earth system must start to heat up; 5) as the system heats up the surface radiation increases, eventually feeds more radiation to the top of the atmosphere, which can now get back to a stable 235 watts output — though now with the earth system a bit warmer.

    Yell if the above is stated incorrectly.

    Comment by Rod B — 22 Sep 2007 @ 11:20 PM

  208. I really do not think it helps that this fellow is polite or tosses out several caveats at the end of his paper. One wants to tell him to stop pissing about and start rowing.

    Of course science this and science that. Sure. But we do get to a point that it becomes necessary to say no private wars are permitted.

    Comment by garhane — 23 Sep 2007 @ 2:29 AM

  209. re 207 (and elsewhere) -
    Rod B, I think you may have lost sight of the fact that relative forcing is expressed in physical units, so the (5.35) in the formula is really (5.35 W/m^2). As such, it doesn’t make physical sense to try to move it inside the logarithm (there it would be an exponent, but with units attached, which doesn’t work.)

    Another way of looking at it – if we chose the units to be kilowatts per square meter, we’d have RF = 0.00535 ln(C/C0), which makes it look like the CO2 ratio should have a tiny exponent, but really describes exactly the same forcing effect.

    Comment by David Warkentin — 23 Sep 2007 @ 8:34 AM

  210. David (209), you make a good point, the units should match up. None-the-less, mathematically, of course, N times the log of X is equivalent to the log of X to the Nth power. So as I stated to Timothy et al saying “forcing is a function of the log of concentration ratio” is, in part, misleading. Numerically, forcing is a function of the log of: concentration ratio raised to some power.

    Comment by Rod B — 23 Sep 2007 @ 10:57 AM

  211. Rod, here’s a course dealing with your questions, just for an idea of the prerequisites required. It may be useful perspective:
    http://www.uio.no/studier/emner/matnat/fys/FYS9630/index.xml

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Sep 2007 @ 11:04 AM

  212. Rod B (#207) wrote:

    re 204 (Timothy): I see your point on the linearity, though it is almost linear for almost just two doublings, then falls off the linear chart noticeably. Though this is not my real (initial) point, which was that saying that forcing is a logarithmic function of CO2 concentration is misleading, though maybe for simplifying things rather than being nefarious. There is a major difference between being log related and being 5 to 6 times log related. The forcing is 5 to 6 times greater with the latter and I don’t think that should be sugar-coated.

    No, I am afraid you are still missing the point.

    Forcing is a linear function of the log. This is what is stated and the statement is good approximation. And while the formula relating concentration to temperature is a rougher approximation, for the accuracy with which concentration is related to temperature, the formula works for at least five doublings (that is 2 X 2 X 2 X 2 X 2 or alternatively 32 X – plus), not 5 X or 6 X.

    *

    A little over 3 doublings (our CO2 emissions plus an increasing degree of CO2 feedback from the carbon cycle) would put us within the same range as the Permian-Triassic extinction (also known as the Great Dying) – 250 million years ago. This is when it appears that fungus ruled the earth.

    At that point the fact that the function relating CO2-concentration to temperature is only an approximation will probably be the least of our worries. As it is, a little more than one doubling would probably be more than enough to cause an economic crisis deeper than the Great Depression that would last for several decades – and no doubt this would have severe political ramifications.

    *

    However, it worth keeping in mind that ultimately the logarithmic function with which forcing is related to the concentration must ultimately break down due to bands in the spectra of carbon dioxide beginning to overlap. But this is not something we have to worry about under earth-like conditions. Also I suspect the non-LTE which becomes increasingly important at higher altitudes will cause some deviation. Then there is the distribution of atmospheric constituents, etc..

    But it would be silly to expect the climate system to act in as straightforward a fashion as dropping a rock. Then again even Newton’s gravitational law (or for that matter, classical mechanics) is just approximation which breaks down at high speeds, in strong gravitational fields and at quantum and cosmological scales. I wouldn’t consider the fact that these are approximations a “sugar coating” or recommend abandoning them we erecting a building.

    *

    Rod B (#207) wrote:

    My 235 watts in = 235 watts out was referring to steady state. I understand the transient process (and thanks for your explanation), (though I might have disagreements with the numbers), which says 1) greenhouse gases go up; 2) more surface radiation is absorbed and partially radiated back to the earth (though how that happens is still an unanswered question of mine in this or maybe an earlier thread); 3) since the top of the atmosphere is temporarily fed less infrared radiation, its 235 watts outgoing is temporarily reduced (and dims a bit to the outside observer with infrared glasses, as you say); 4) outgoing radiation is temporarily less than the absorbed incoming, and the earth system must start to heat up; 5) as the system heats up the surface radiation increases, eventually feeds more radiation to the top of the atmosphere, which can now get back to a stable 235 watts output — though now with the earth system a bit warmer.

    Seems accurate.

    Above you state:

    2) more surface radiation is absorbed and partially radiated back to the earth (though how that happens is still an unanswered question of mine in this or maybe an earlier thread); …

    As I said, at higher greenhouse gas concentrations the atmosphere becomes increasingly opaque to thermal radiation.

    The more opaque the atmosphere the more back radiation there will be where the atmosphere reradiates thermal radiation towards the surface. We went through the details involving spectra, absorption and reemission in the Part II: What Ångström didn’t know. As far as the thermal absorption and reradiation between the atmosphere raising the surface temperature is concerned, in 204 I recommended Gavin’s Learning from a Simple Model and my spreadsheet analysis of the greenhouse effect for the simple model that is intended to complement Gavin’s analysis.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 23 Sep 2007 @ 1:31 PM

  213. Rod B (#210) wrote:

    David (209), you make a good point, the units should match up. None-the-less, mathematically, of course, N times the log of X is equivalent to the log of X to the Nth power. So as I stated to Timothy et al saying “forcing is a function of the log of concentration ratio” is, in part, misleading. Numerically, forcing is a function of the log of: concentration ratio raised to some power.

    If I state that five cars with four wheels each have 4 X 5 wheels total, would you consider this misleading and state that they have 5 X 4 wheels? In either case there is a total of 20 wheels.

    The same principle applies here:

    n X log(r) = log(rn)

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 23 Sep 2007 @ 2:13 PM

  214. There seems to be alot of talk about the atmospheric system being out of equillibrium due to AGW. This seems nonsensical to me considering that since the Earth has had an atmosphere it has never been in equillibrium. Of course, I may be wrong, and if so I would appreciate someone explaining the state of equillibrium that exsisted prior to the industrial revolution.

    Comment by Ellis — 23 Sep 2007 @ 2:34 PM

  215. Ellis (214) — More precisely, the climate was nearly in equilibrium, most of the time. Nearly, not exactly. Exceptions occured due to large meteorite impacts, super-volcano eruptions, etc. The pulse of additional carbon anthropogenically added to the active carbon cycle is such an exception.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 23 Sep 2007 @ 4:07 PM

  216. You may be puzzled because there are different meanings of the word “equilibrium” — for example “radiative equilibrium.” Try the AIP History (first link under Science at right) and the “Start Here” links (button at top of page) if you’re not clear on that sense.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Sep 2007 @ 4:38 PM

  217. Yes, nearly in equillibrium, which, of course, is the long way of saying not in equillibrium. And, this has nothing to do with large catastrophic events, but has everything to do with having an atmosphere. The greenhouse effect exsisted long before man, and will continue to exsist long after our extinction. My only point is that people here and elsewhere continue to believe in a mythical equillibrium that exsisted before man screwed it up, and that is not science, but faith.

    Comment by Ellis — 23 Sep 2007 @ 4:49 PM

  218. Hank thank you for your response, however, if you could be a little more specific as to where to look. I appreciate that my question seems a bit simple, however, I really do not see anything about the different meanings of equillibrium in the links provided. I’ll admit that I am a little to lazy to go through at least six hours of reading on every tidbit of the theory of global warming, but am more than willing to read anything that can clear up my confusion on the subject of the different scientific meanings of equillibrium.

    Comment by Ellis — 23 Sep 2007 @ 5:10 PM

  219. > My only point is

    Good.

    Bye.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Sep 2007 @ 5:13 PM

  220. Ellis (217) — Nearly in equilibrium implies that changes are slow, moving toward the equilibrium, but then the forcings slowly change so the slimate system is always changing toward a new target.

    That is vastly different than being a long way from equilibrium. A long way from equilibrium means changes towards a new equilibrium are rapid. Large catastropic events suddenly cause the climate system to be far from equilibrium. The anthropogenic carbon slug added over the last 250 years (and mostly in the last 50 years or so) is such a large catastrophic event.

    And that is science, not faith.

    (I second Hank Roberts suggest that you read the AIP Discovery of Global Warming site.)

    Comment by David B. Benson — 23 Sep 2007 @ 5:27 PM

  221. Re 214 Ellis: “There seems to be alot of talk about the atmospheric system being out of equillibrium due to AGW. This seems nonsensical to me considering that since the Earth has had an atmosphere it has never been in equillibrium.”

    Ellis, as Hank wrote, the equilibrium referred to is “radiative equilibrium”, i.e. the amount of incoming solar energy falling on Earth must equal the amount of outgoing energy reflected and reradiated by Earth. If the outgoing is not as great as the incoming then the atmosphere will warm until it is equal to the incoming (the state we are current in). If the outgoing is greater than the incoming than the atmosphere will cool until the outgoing is equal to the incoming (the state during an ice age).

    Comment by Jim Eager — 23 Sep 2007 @ 7:20 PM

  222. Perhaps, to make my point I should let Gavins’ words speak for me.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/08/the-co2-problem-in-6-easy-steps/#more-462

    “The fact that there is a natural greenhouse effect (that the atmosphere restricts the passage of long wave (LW) radiation from the Earth’s surface to space) is easily deducible from i) the mean temperature of the surface (around 15ºC) and ii) knowing that the planet is roughly in radiative equilibrium. This means that there is an upward surface flux of LW around (~390 W/m2), while the outward flux at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) is roughly equivalent to the net solar radiation coming in (1-a)S/4 (~240 W/m2). Thus there is a large amount of LW absorbed by the atmosphere (around 150 W/m2) – a number that would be zero in the absence of any greenhouse substances.”

    And, again my point, roughly equivalent means not equivalent, roughly in radiative equilibrium is not in equilibrium. But, if the scientist say it is close enough, then I ought to believe them.

    Comment by Ellis — 23 Sep 2007 @ 9:24 PM

  223. Timothy, No, your missing my point. My point, at its core has nothing directly to do with climate, greenhouse gases, geological periods, spectra bands, non-LTE, Newton, etc. It has to do with Algebra101.

    Technically, in a narrow sense, you might be correct saying that “forcing is a linear function of a log [of the concentration ratio]“, in that F(x) = a[ln(x)] might be classified as a linear log function, though some would say that’s a contradiction in terms. I’m just saying the phrase “forcing is a function of the log…..”, even with “linear” thrown in, common interpretation is that forcing would increase as the log of the concentration increases, or forcing increases much slower (by the log) than concentration, even though you might be technically correct. If I have F(x) = 1,000,000ln(x), blandly stating “F(x) is a linear function of the log of x” just doesn’t present the clear picture.

    Maybe you were getting ahead of me explaining where the particular exponent (5.35 as one) comes from. I’ll have to go back and re-read it.

    Later you say, “If I state that five cars with four wheels each have 4 X 5 wheels total, would you consider this misleading and state that they have 5 X 4 wheels? In either case there is a total of 20 wheels.” I say a[ln(x)] = ln[(x)^a]. Seems similar. I have no idea why this math rule upsets some people so… Other than when I say “forcing…. the the 5th power of concentration”, it sounds really bad and maybe they’d like it to sound better. Just musing.

    Comment by Rod B — 23 Sep 2007 @ 9:31 PM

  224. Ellis, read it again and look at the temperatures, eight different reconstructions here:

    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Image:Holocene_Temperature_Variations_Rev_png

    And look at the other time series.

    The planet’s in radiative equilibrium when the temperature doesn’t change.

    Read the caption:

    “…. eight records of local temperature variability on multi-centennial scales throughout the course of the Holocene, and an average of these (thick dark line). The records are plotted with respect to the mid 20th century average temperatures, and the global average temperature in 2004 is indicated. The inset plot compares the most recent two millennium of the average to other high resolution reconstructions of this period.

    At the far left of the main plot climate emerges from the last glacial period of the current ice age into the relative stability of the current interglacial. ….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Sep 2007 @ 10:27 PM

  225. Oh, and Ellis:
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/09/21/cheaper-by-the-decade/#more-376

    You remember those problems in math from high school, where there was a bucket with several different sized holes at different heights and a couple of different water sources adding water, and the task was to figure out if the level was rising, falling, or staying the same? Remember how you solved those?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Sep 2007 @ 10:29 PM

  226. Rod -

    The reason I’d object to pulling the 5.35 inside the logarithm is that, as I noted, its value is entirely dependent on the units you choose – it’s really (5.35 W/m^2) – so you’re trying to get ln[(C/C0)^(5.35 W/m^2)]. This is problematic, because in physics (at least in any application I can think of) exponents should have no units, arguments of logarithms should have no units, and logarithms themselves have no units.

    Really, I don’t think there’s any slight-of-hand or deprecation of the strength of the effect going on here. If we wanted it to sound better, we could change units to kW/m^2, and say it’s the log of the concentration ratio raised to the power of (0.00535 kW/m^2), but this would be objectionable for the same reasons. Saying that forcing is proportional to the log of the concentration ratio and that the constant of proportionality is (5.35 W/m^2) seems perfectly standard to me.

    Comment by David Warkentin — 23 Sep 2007 @ 10:56 PM

  227. Rod (#223) wrote:

    Maybe you were getting ahead of me explaining where the particular exponent (5.35 as one) comes from. I’ll have to go back and re-read it.

    Rod, if you want something to read, you might try:

    Climate Change 2001:
    Working Group I: The Scientific Basis
    6.3.5 Simplified Expressions
    http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/222.htm

    Someone recommended it earlier in this thread, and according to this the f = 5.35 X ln(C/Co) doesn’t work that well after all. I don’t know the reasons yet, though. Looks like I will have to do some digging.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 24 Sep 2007 @ 3:11 AM

  228. [[My only point is that people here and elsewhere continue to believe in a mythical equillibrium that exsisted before man screwed it up, and that is not science, but faith.]]

    The climate system in the absence of anthropogenic effects would not be the same as the one we are now experiencing. The fact that climate changed before man was around doesn’t mean man can’t change the climate, or that climate change is always beneficial. Global warming is real, human technology is causing it, and it’s a serious problem. That’s the fact. Deal with it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 24 Sep 2007 @ 6:37 AM

  229. Ellis, The concern is not that we are throwing the climate “out of equilibrium.” Rather, the reason to be concerned is because the past 10000 years have seen an especially stable climate by standards of geologic history. They also coincide with the period during which human civilization and all of its infrastructure developed. From the point of view of “Earth” or even of the biosphere, clomate change is nothing to worry about. It is only if you prefer a world with more biodiversity than rats, cockroaches, poison ivy and kudzu that you should be concerned. Since it is likely that only humans (and evidently only a few of them) have such a level of cognizance, this is a problem for humans, or at least, intelligent ones.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Sep 2007 @ 9:04 AM

  230. Re 222 Ellis: “And, again my point, roughly equivalent means not equivalent, roughly in radiative equilibrium is not in equilibrium. But, if the scientist say it is close enough, then I ought to believe them.”

    Ellis, you foremost need to keep in mind that “equilibrium” is a dynamic concept, not a static one. When ever a system is disturbed it seeks a new equilibrium, and complex systems like our atmosphere are continually being disturbed.

    For example, when the Milankovetch orbital and axial cycles reduce the amount of solar insolation, the atmosphere then cools until a new equilibrium is reached. When those same cycles then increase the amount of solar insolation, the atmosphere then warms until a new equilibrium is reached. When the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere is increased, either by that warming, or, as at present, by our own direct actions, then the atmosphere will warm until it reaches a new equilibrium. As the present warming continues natural carbon sink and albedo feedbacks are being triggered, which will further disturb the system and lead to yet a different equilibrium. Thanks to diurnal and seasonal cycles alone there is and never has been a magic point where all is in static balance, although there have been relatively long time spans of stability. As Ray pointed out, human civilization developed in just such an era of stability. We disturb that stability at our own peril.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 24 Sep 2007 @ 9:39 AM

  231. Dave (226), you say, “…Saying that forcing is proportional to the log of the concentration ratio and that the constant of proportionality is (5.35 W/m^2) seems perfectly standard to me….”

    I simply disagree from a clarity viewpoint, though you are technically correct.

    You also said, “…The reason I’d object to pulling the 5.35 inside the logarithm is….”

    Oddly, I agree the equation ought to show the 5.35 outside of the log; it’s easier to read — you don’t need all of those confusing parens and carets. But I still think the words are more accurately descriptive (though not exact) with the “…to the 5.35th power…” Just my opinion.

    Comment by Rod B — 24 Sep 2007 @ 9:44 AM

  232. Rod B, David Warkentin is right. Exponents must be dimensionless. The 5.35 is a coefficient of the log term.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Sep 2007 @ 10:19 AM

  233. > Ray (232)
    Yeh, but numerically the equation holds: …concentration ratio to the Nth power. I agree(d) the term should be shown as a coefficient — for clarity, and also for units I suppose, though, frankly, not absolutely necessary (though that too makes it clearer).

    Comment by Rod B — 24 Sep 2007 @ 5:51 PM

  234. Actually, Rod, I’m pretty sure it’s important for clarity not to treat the 5.35 as an exponent, precisely because its value depends on the units used. For instance: one Joule is 0.239 calories, so (5.35 W/m^2) is the same as (1.28 (cal/s)/m^2), and we could write the forcing as
    RF = (1.28 (cal/s)/m^2) ln(C/C0)
    just as well as the previous
    RF = (5.35 W/m^2) ln(C/C0)
    We’ve only changed the units of energy; we could have picked many others, each giving a different numerical value for the coefficient. But there’s no reason for a change in units to cause the functional relationship to change, as it would appear to if we treated the coefficient as an exponent inside the log. (Note the difference with the expression for kinetic energy, KE = (m v^2)/2; in this case, the exponent of 2 remains the same, whether we choose the units of velocity to be m/s or furlongs/fortnight.)

    Comment by David Warkentin — 24 Sep 2007 @ 9:03 PM

  235. I know your not posting anything that you cannot answer, so lets try again. Lets discuss the science.

    Now call me simple but if Hansen is right in his 2000 paper “Global warming in the twenty-first century: An alternative scenario” then how does anyone prove there is CO2 based warming by observing the climate?

    To quote from Hansen in the report:
    “Our estimates of global climate forcings indicate that it is the non-CO2 GHGs that have caused most observed global warming.”

    Further, Hansen went on to say:

    “Fossil fuel use is the main source of both CO2 and aerosols, with land conversion and biomass burning also contributing to both forcings. Although fossil fuels contribute to growth of some of the other GHGs, it follows that the net global climate forcing due to processes that produced CO2 in the past century probably is much less than 1.4 W/m2. ”

    Which reads as burning fossil fuels produces CO2 and aerosols which cancel either other out. That leaves only the other GHGs as the source of 20th century warming.

    The IPCC assumes a 4 W/m2 forcing but as the Hansen found “Most climate simulations, as summarized by the IPCC, do not include all of the negative forcings; indeed, if they did, and other forcings were unchanged, little global warming would be obtained.” In this study Hansen predicted that “Global warming at a rate 0.15 +/- 0.05 degrees C per decade will occur over the next several decades.” This works out to being 1.5 degrees +/- .5 C.

    Now as to AR1, the consensus from the IPCC is that AR1 plus the linear trend is good enough. This can be seen in IPCC AR4, where the caption to Table 3.2 says:

    Annual averages, with estimates of uncertainties for CRU and HadSST2, were used to estimate. Trends with 5 to 95% confidence intervals and levels of significance (bold: less than 1%; italic, 1 – 5 %) were estimated by Restricted Maximum Likelihood (REML; see Appendix 3.A), which allows for serial correlation (first order auto regression AR1) in the residuals of the data about the linear trend.

    The IPCC agrees that there are problems with the instrumented and proxy readings for the 20th century and it can be seen here

    In their large-scale reconstructions based on tree ring density data, Briffa et al. (2001) specifically excluded the post-1960 data in their calibration against instrumental records, to avoid biasing the estimation of the earlier reconstructions (hence they are not shown in Figure 6.10), implicitly assuming that the ‘divergence’ was a uniquely recent phenomenon, as has also been argued by Cook et al. (2004a). Others, however, argue for a breakdown in the assumed linear tree growth response to continued warming, invoking a possible threshold exceedance beyond which moisture stress now limits further growth (D’Arrigo et al., 2004). If true, this would imply a similar limit on the potential to reconstruct possible warm periods in earlier times at such sites. At this time there is no consensus on these issues (for further references see NRC, 2006) and the possibility of investigating them further is restricted by the lack of recent tree ring data at most of the sites from which tree ring data discussed in this chapter were acquired.

    So either the proxy readings are right and there is something wrong with the way we are doing the direct instrumented readings, or the proxy readings are wrong and we just lost the basis to say anything out of the ordinary is happening now.

    Warming in the Antarctic is mainly limited to the Antarctic Peninsula and even then manly in the portion that is outside the Antarctic Circle as can be clearly seen here. The interior of Antarctic is clearly cooling. This is not consistent with any of the GCMs. If the CO2 theory is correct with the sensitivity that is expected by the proponents, then warming should be happening at both poles.

    So, why is he wrong again? Do not seem to be able to get there from here.

    Comment by Vernon — 25 Sep 2007 @ 6:42 AM

  236. Vernon, The fact that the Arctic ice sheet is breaking up should be all the proof a rational person needs that something extraordinary is going on. If not, you also have the extinctions of amphibians in the cloud forests of Central America as they lose habitat, the shortening Winters and a raft of other evidence. It is beyond question that something unprecedented is occurring, and if the tools we have been using to estimate its severity are flawed, all that does is raise the level of risk.
    Re: Antarctic climate, see:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/08/antarctica-snowfall/
    and several other posts on this site. Climate models, proxy reconstructions are not required to establish that the climate is warming. That is an empirical fact. The fact that CO2 is playing a role–well, physics works pretty well there. And your characterization of Hansen’s work demonstrates that you have not understood his point–the negative forcers have a much shorter lifetime than does CO2. That means there’s a lot more warming in the pipeline. And if we don’t have tools to accurately guage how much, we must prepare for the worst–a much more expensive proposition than would arise if we could do reliable risk assessment.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Sep 2007 @ 7:23 AM

  237. RE # 235

    Vernon, you said [So, why is he wrong again? Do not seem to be able to get there from here]

    Answer your own question rather than making comments that are solely your opinion.

    Do the research. Publish your findings. Be sure of your sources and stop throwing down pronouncements without coughing up some peer-reviewed conclusions that agree with your opinions.

    Start with the stratospheric cooling in the Antarctic and continued presence of wide ozone hole. Get constructive.

    Maybe you have something to tell us but your opinion has to be verifiable to more than yourself.

    Comment by John L. McCormick — 25 Sep 2007 @ 7:52 AM

  238. People get confused when they run back and forth between climateaudit and realclimate, asking for help understanding something, taking each answer back to the other place as the basis for their next question.
    Eric Berne used to call the game “let’s you and him fight.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Sep 2007 @ 9:24 AM

  239. An optimist sees the glass as half full. The pessimist sees the glass as half empty. The denialist sees the half empty glass and says, “Wow, look at all the space I have to fill up again!”–implicitly assuming that there will be wine to do the job.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Sep 2007 @ 9:49 AM

  240. Vernon (#235) wrote:

    To quote from Hansen in the report:
    “Our estimates of global climate forcings indicate that it is the non-CO2 GHGs that have caused most observed global warming.”

    Further, Hansen went on to say:…”

    Why don’t we look at what Hansen actually goes on to say – in the same paragraph. In fact, let’s look at the entire paragraph.

    Hansen, et al wrote:

    We suggest equal emphasis on an alternative, more optimistic, scenario. This scenario focuses on reducing non-CO2 GHGs and black carbon during the next 50 years. Our estimates of global climate forcings indicate that it is the non-CO2 GHGs that have caused most observed global warming. This interpretation does not alter the desirability of limiting CO2 emissions, because the future balance of forcings is likely to shift toward dominance of CO2 over aerosols. However, we suggest that it is more practical to slow global warming than is sometimes assumed.

    Global warming in the twenty-first century: An alternative scenario
    PNAS | August 29, 2000 | vol. 97 | no. 18 | 9875-9880
    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/97/18/9875

    Now you (#235) go on to say:

    Further, Hansen went on to say:

    “Fossil fuel use is the main source of both CO2 and aerosols, with land conversion and biomass burning also contributing to both forcings. Although fossil fuels contribute to growth of some of the other GHGs, it follows that the net global climate forcing due to processes that produced CO2 in the past century probably is much less than 1.4 W/m2.”

    [Veron concludes:] Which reads as burning fossil fuels produces CO2 and aerosols which cancel either other out. That leaves only the other GHGs as the source of 20th century warming.

    First, he is not stating that CO2 and aerosols cancel each other out, but that the processes by which both CO2 and aerosols have tended to cancel each other out during the twentieth century. But this does not imply that they will continue to cancel each other out. And as a matter of fact, Hansen says so quite explicitly when he states, “This interpretation does not alter the desirability of limiting CO2 emssions, because the future balance of forcings is likely to shift toward dominance of CO2 over aerosols.” Second, he is not stating that “only the other GHGs are the source of 20th century warming,” but that one should include the other GHGs if one intends to explain the warming which occured in the last century. Third, he is not stating that the reduction in CO2 emissions would in any way be undesirable but that other GHGs and black carbon should also be reduced. In fact he states quite the opposite in the abstract itself.

    Hansen et al wrote:

    The growth rate of non-CO2 GHGs has declined in the past decade. If sources of CH4 and O3 precursors were reduced in the future, the change in climate forcing by non-CO2 GHGs in the next 50 years could be near zero. Combined with a reduction of black carbon emissions and plausible success in slowing CO2 emissions, this reduction of non-CO2 GHGs could lead to a decline in the rate of global warming, reducing the danger of dramatic climate change.

    However, your claim that carbon dioxide and aerosols cancel each other out would suggest quite the opposite. It is also worth noting that there has been a reduction in the production of aerosols as of 1970, and as such, the effects of carbon dioxide have been masked to a smaller degree since then. Likewise he believes that other GHGs are playing less of a role now as is indicated by the sentence “The growth rate of non-CO2 GHGs has declined in the past decade.”

    Furthermore the authors later write:

    Climate forcing by CO2 is the largest forcing, but it does not dwarf the others (Fig. 1). Forcing by CH4 (0.7 W/m2) is half as large as that of CO2, and the total forcing by non-CO2 GHGs (1.4 W/m2) equals that of CO2.

    Now you (#235) go on to state,

    The IPCC assumes a 4 W/m2 forcing but as the Hansen found “Most climate simulations, as summarized by the IPCC, do not include all of the negative forcings; indeed, if they did, and other forcings were unchanged, little global warming would be obtained.” In this study Hansen predicted that “Global warming at a rate 0.15 +/- 0.05 degrees C per decade will occur over the next several decades.” This works out to being 1.5 degrees +/- .5 C.

    As stated above, if one did not include the other GHGs and looked at only the effects of CO2 and the aerosols which get produced during the same processes, the processes themselves, including the effects of both CO2 and the aerosols would leave much of the twentieth century warming unexplained. But this does not deny the role of CO2 itself. Instead he is arguing for the inclusion of both aerosols and other GHGs in the analysis of 20th century warming – something which is quite explicitly done in AR4. Moreover, the estimate of the forcing due to carbon dioxide and that of AR4 are essentially the same – roughly 4 w/m2.

    You (#235) continue:

    Now as to AR1, the consensus from the IPCC is that AR1 plus the linear trend is good enough. This can be seen in IPCC AR4, where the caption to Table 3.2 says:

    “Annual averages, with estimates of uncertainties for CRU and HadSST2, were used to estimate. Trends with 5 to 95% confidence intervals and levels of significance (bold: less than 1%; italic, 1 – 5 %) were estimated by Restricted Maximum Likelihood (REML; see Appendix 3.A), which allows for serial correlation (first order auto regression AR1) in the residuals of the data about the linear trend.”

    The trends are roughly the same. However, in AR4, this does not involve the omission of the effects of other greenhouse gases. Namely, gases like methane, CFCs, tropospheric ozone as well as the effects of black carbon. Likewise, the estimates of forcing due to carbon dioxide are roughly the same. As such your criticism of AR4 is null and void.

    *

    You (#235) write:

    The IPCC agrees that there are problems with the instrumented and proxy readings for the 20th century and it can be seen here:

    So either the proxy readings are right and there is something wrong with the way we are doing the direct instrumented readings, or the proxy readings are wrong and we just lost the basis to say anything out of the ordinary is happening now.

    In the long passage that you quote (which I am omitting for the sake of brevity – but which I link to so that people can go back and read it for themselves), they are admitting that there are uncertainties with respect to using tree rings as proxies, not that one must throw out either instrumental readings or all proxies as such. Moreover, the total acceptance of the absolute reliability of instrumental readings would in no way render even tree rings worthless – but would simply limit to some extent their reliability as proxies where uncertainties regarding moisture become a major factor. But there are other proxies – ratios of different isotopes of oxygen, the sizes of various microscopic organisms, and tree rings are usually fairly reliable and are by no means worthless.

    You (#235) write:

    Warming in the Antarctic is mainly limited to the Antarctic Peninsula and even then mainly in the portion that is outside the Antarctic Circle as can be clearly seen here.

    The link is to:

    Antarctic Heating and Cooling Trends
    http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003100/a003188/index.html

    First Hansen and now Goddard – I am glad that you hold the views expressed by NASA in such high esteem! Actually judging from the images on that webpage, only a little more than half of the warming in the Southern ocean and Antarctica is happening outside of the Antartic Circle.

    You (#235) continue:

    The interior of Antarctic is clearly cooling. This is not consistent with any of the GCMs. If the CO2 theory is correct with the sensitivity that is expected by the proponents, then warming should be happening at both poles.

    Much of the interior of the Antarctic is cooling – but as the result of a lower stratosphere and the destruction of stratospheric ozone. This is well-understood – and it has been pointed out to you previously in this thread – and is incorporated into GCMs. Likewise, GCMs are not simply consistent with the Arctic and Antarctic showing differences (e.g., with some cooling occuring in the interior of Antarctica) but actually predict and explain it.

    You (#235) continue:

    The interior of Antarctic is clearly cooling. This is not consistent with any of the GCMs. If the CO2 theory is correct with the sensitivity that is expected by the proponents, then warming should be happening at both poles.

    Although I certainly don’t think that Hansen is infallible, I am not sure that I would disagree with any of the claims he makes in climatology. I personally think that he is one of the best the field has to offer.

    You (#235) began your post with the sentence:

    I know your not posting anything that you cannot answer, so lets try again. Lets discuss the science.

    After having analyzed your post in quite some detail, I will let the reader decide for himself just how much weight to assign to this – or for that matter any of the statements you make regarding climatology.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Sep 2007 @ 11:55 AM

  241. Vernon — You really should

    (1) Go to the ‘Start Here’ link at the top of the page and start reading;

    (2) Go to the ‘AIP Discovery of Global Warming’ link in the Science section of the sidebar to read, at least, the page entitled “Carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas”.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 25 Sep 2007 @ 1:46 PM

  242. Gavin,

    The links on the right to comments have a percentage sign that prevents the webpages from coming up. The links look like this:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/09/worth-a-look/langswitch_lang/%E#comment-55891

    It is the last bit:

    …/%E#comment-55891

    Anyway, welcome back!

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Sep 2007 @ 1:47 PM

  243. The glass at 50% of its capacity issue:

    If it started empty and got filled up halfway, it’s half full. If it started out full and was half taken out, it’s half empty.

    :D

    Comment by Raplh Smythe — 25 Sep 2007 @ 3:24 PM

  244. Ray (236), I’m neither agreeing or disagreeing with Vernon (235), but your claim that if there is a (partial) void of numerical analysis, using a few anecdotes with a wildly stretched inductive reasoning to fill the void, I submit, is faulty. Not terribly far off from, “Cherry blossoms arrived earlier this year! Batten down the hatches!” logic. Maybe, if they were truly unprecedented, but you have virtually no decent empirical rationale to claim, for example, the current altering of Arctic ice is unprecedented.

    Vernon’s assertion has far better empiricism (again, I am not verifying his claim) than your rebuttal.

    Just trying to keep things and the (pretty) straight and (kinda) narrow. No personal offense meant.

    Comment by Rod B — 25 Sep 2007 @ 6:07 PM

  245. Ray (239), then does the protagonist see a full glass and say, “Boy! We got to do something about that!” ??

    Comment by Rod B — 25 Sep 2007 @ 6:12 PM

  246. I’m neither agreeing or disagreeing with Vernon (235), but your claim that if there is a (partial) void of numerical analysis, using a few anecdotes with a wildly stretched inductive reasoning to fill the void, I submit, is faulty.

    The problem is that there’s a lot more than a “few anecdotes” available. We have good, solid records on all sorts of biological phenomena. Migration timing of birds. First spring hatch of various insects. First spring mowing of the garden in the UK, first date on which roses bloom in various parts of the UK, etc (apparently there are a lot of fanatical record-keepers in the UK, people did a study …).

    The list goes on and on and on.

    They all point to a warming planet.

    Comment by dhogaza — 25 Sep 2007 @ 6:45 PM

  247. T.J. Crowley
    Pliocene climate: the nature of the problem
    Mar. Micropaleontol. v. 27 (1996), 3–12

    seems to state that during the middle Pliocene the Arctic was ice free, when the temperature was about 2–3 degrees Celcius warmer than today and the sea stand was approximately 25 meters higher.

    (This is from the Hansen et al. 2007 paper ccited several times on the latest ‘Friday Roundup’ thread.)

    Comment by David B. Benson — 25 Sep 2007 @ 6:45 PM

  248. Rod B., If the cherry blossoms come early one year, it is not a trend. However, when Winters get shorter every year for decades, ome might think something is up. If one year a little more sea ice melts in the Arctic, it’s not a trend. When there is less ice pretty much every succeeding Summer, one might wonder what’s up. Or is it your contention that the globe is not warming?
    If the globe is warming, then it is natural to ask why. Energy is conserved, after all. Well, there’s one candidate explanation that deserves the name scientific.
    Rod, if the glass started out full of Arctic ice, it definitely ain’t full now.

    Comment by ray ladbury — 25 Sep 2007 @ 6:49 PM

  249. David Benson: from what I read, there is reason to believe that the closing of the Isthmus of Panama during the Pliocene played a significant role in initiating the glaciation cycles. In other words, those cycles and the presence of an arctic ice cap is most likely a normal feature for a relative state of equilibrium with the current land distribution.
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1997/96GL03950.shtml
    http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?id=2508
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1978Geo…..6..630K

    Comment by Philippe Chantreau — 25 Sep 2007 @ 11:43 PM

  250. I should have looked closer, it seems that this article is the most interesting that you can get in 10 min of basic googling:
    http://marine.rutgers.edu/faculty/rosentha/rosenthal_files/Lear_NADW_inpress.pdf

    Comment by Philippe Chantreau — 25 Sep 2007 @ 11:53 PM

  251. I see if your a proponent your free to post anything but your not allowing me to rebut Mr. Chase.

    RE: 240

    Yes lets look at what both you and he said:

    First, he is not stating that CO2 and aerosols cancel each other out, but that the processes by which both CO2 and aerosols have tended to cancel each other out during the twentieth century. But this does not imply that they will continue to cancel each other out. And as a matter of fact, Hansen says so quite explicitly when he states, “This interpretation does not alter the desirability of limiting CO2 emissions, because the future balance of forcings is likely to shift toward dominance of CO2 over aerosols.” Second, he is not stating that “only the other GHGs are the source of 20th century warming,” but that one should include the other GHGs if one intends to explain the warming which occured in the last century.

    Mr. Chase, this is a distinction without difference. You say he is not stating that CO2 and aerosols cancel each other out, but rather that the process of burning fossil fuels and burning biomass both produce CO2 and aerosols which cancel each other out and that means that means what? The difference is? CO2 and aerosols are not cancelling each other out? No, then what was wrong with the statement. On to point two! Lets really look at what was said, namely that in the future it is likelyto shift towards dominance of CO2. The key word is likely. He does not say it ‘will’ happen, just that it ‘may’ happen. What does he say that actually happening is the non-CO2 GHGs are the source of 20th century warming.

    I do not see what your third point has to do with what I posted. As of this point there is a theory that CO2 will cause temperature to rise but there has been none. Seems a pretty weak theory if CO2 has gone up 40 percent yet CO2 has caused no warming!

    Then you make the unsupported statement:

    “It is also worth noting that there has been a reduction in the production of aerosols as of 1970, and as such, the effects of carbon dioxide have been masked to a smaller degree since then.” What study do you have that contradicts Hansen in 2000? Please remember this is global not North America and Western Europe only.

    Now you state:

    As stated above, if one did not include the other GHGs and looked at only the effects of CO2 and the aerosols which get produced during the same processes, the processes themselves, including the effects of both CO2 and the aerosols would leave much of the twentieth century warming unexplained. But this does not deny the role of CO2 itself. Instead he is arguing for the inclusion of both aerosols and other GHGs in the analysis of 20th century warming – something which is quite explicitly done in AR4. Moreover, the estimate of the forcing due to carbon dioxide and that of AR4 are essentially the same – roughly 4 w/m2.

    But once again I refer to Hansen, who you are challenging who says that the IPCC is not looking at all forcings. Nothing you said all that you did nothing to address what Hansen said, which I have copied below again.

    The IPCC assumes a 4 W/m2 forcing but as the Hansen found “Most climate simulations, as summarized by the IPCC, do not include all of the negative forcings; indeed, if they did, and other forcings were unchanged, little global warming would be obtained.” In this study Hansen predicted that “Global warming at a rate 0.15 +/- 0.05 degrees C per decade will occur over the next several decades.” This works out to being 1.5 degrees +/- .5 C.

    Next you state:

    The trends are roughly the same. However, in AR4, this does not involve the omission of the effects of other greenhouse gases. Namely, gases like methane, CFCs, tropospheric ozone as well as the effects of black carbon. Likewise, the estimates of forcing due to carbon dioxide are roughly the same. As such your criticism of AR4 is null and void.

    This is very disingenuous yet again. Tamino says that AR1 is not right. The IPCC says it is valid and you try and turn it around to be that I am saying that AR4 is wrong. Please point out where I said that? I believe that I said that the IPCC indicates that AR1 plus the linear trend is valid.

    Next you state:

    [T]hey are admitting that there are uncertainties with respect to using tree rings as proxies, not that one must throw out either instrumental readings or all proxies as such. Moreover, the total acceptance of the absolute reliability of instrumental readings would in no way render even tree rings worthless – but would simply limit to some extent their reliability as proxies where uncertainties regarding moisture become a major factor. But there are other proxies – ratios of different isotopes of oxygen, the sizes of various microscopic organisms, and tree rings are usually fairly reliable and are by no means worthless.

    This is a weak attempt at misdirection. The fact is that the instrumented readings and the proxies do not match. The IPCC agrees with this. You are presenting opinion as to why they diverge without the facts to support your opinion.

    Next you state:

    First Hansen and now Goddard – I am glad that you hold the views expressed by NASA in such high esteem! Actually judging from the images on that webpage, only a little more than half of the warming in the Southern ocean and Antarctica is happening outside of the Antartic Circle.

    Which is misleading since the warming is not happening on out side of the Antarctic Pen and there is still is mainly north of the Antarctic Circle. Please note I did not reference the Southern ocean, I reference the land which is cooling. The continent of Antarctica is cooling which does not match the GCM predictions.

    You end with:

    After having analyzed your post in quite some detail, I will let the reader decide for himself just how much weight to assign to this – or for that matter any of the statements you make regarding climatology.

    Yes, let them look at what I am saying. I have facts from studies while you have opinion without the facts to support them. You try to say that warming is by CO2 is not cancelled out by aerosols even though the process that produces man made CO2 produces the same aerosols which negate the CO2.

    The fact is that Hansen says there has been no man made warming due to CO2. That it likely that there may be some in the future. If we quite producing CO2 by burning fossil fuels, the we also will stop the production of aerosols, and the net impact is none. If Tamino is right then the IPCC is wrong.

    [Response: Vernon, we try to be flexible here, but you have repeatedly violated virtually every condition spelled out in our comments policy. Here, you continue to egregiously misrepresent the findings and views of James Hansen and it is hard to believe that the distortion is not intentional. We'll post this, and allow other readers to comment on it, but this will be the last posting of yours that will go up until you choose to respect the ground rules. -mike]

    Comment by Vernon — 26 Sep 2007 @ 7:30 AM

  252. I would first begin by saying that my comments about the lack of equillibrium do not preclude the AGW argument, and were not stated to disprove any theories. Thank you Jim (230) for expressing my point that as the system moves toward equillibrium it is continually disturbed and never achieves equillibrium, however, the statement, ““equilibrium” is a dynamic concept” is incorrect. Equillibrium has a specific meaning, and is in fact a black and white issue, either you have equillibrium or you don’t.
    Hank (224), it would also seem that you agree with me. By stating,”The planet’s in radiative equilibrium when the temperature doesn’t change.” And then providing me with temperature reconstructions that show that temperature is always changing, are you not making my point?

    Lastly, could someone please point out the error in the following statement:

    The Stefan-Boltzmann law and constant apply only to black bodies.
    The Earth is not a black body.
    Therefore, the Stefan-Boltzmann law and constant do not apply to Earth.

    Comment by Ellis — 26 Sep 2007 @ 7:54 AM

  253. Sure.

    Natural “law” is not like human law.
    Under human laws, either it applies to you or it doesn’t.
    If you’re taxed, you’re taxed; if you’re not, you’re not.

    Natural “law” is a statement of confidence level in an explanation, and an approximation.

    Take black bodies. There aren’t any, in reality.

    Does that mean the Stefan-Boltzmann law is like passing a law requiring payment of income taxes by fairies and elves?

    No. It’s a reasonable description of what’s observed.
    ———–

    Ok, your turn. Tell us where you are reading the things that you believe, so we can look at the source you consider reliable. You may have an old physics textbook, or a religious source, or have stumbled on one of the fossil fuel lobby’s public relations pages that pretends to be a science source, or be doing your own science. Without some source and comment about why you believe what you believe and where you’re getting the ideas you hold up here for comment, we don’t have much idea how to help you think independently about what you’re learning and do the math where needed.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Sep 2007 @ 9:06 AM

  254. There’s a 3rd response to the glass half empty/half full question. It’s “Aieeeee! The Alien has escaped!!”

    (joke for the moderators. no need to post to the board.)

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 26 Sep 2007 @ 9:21 AM

  255. dhogaza, yeh, and all those things happening in the past few years because the global temperature went up a few hundredths of a degree??

    Comment by Rod B — 26 Sep 2007 @ 9:26 AM

  256. Ellis, First, equilibrium is most definitely a dynamic concept in most physical systems–it simply means that the net change–averaged over suitable spatial, numerical and temporal scales–is negligible (note that I do not say zero). Do you contend that when a chemical system reaches equilibrium that there are no further chemical reactions? I would think not.
    Second, there are ways of dealing with the fact that a body does not absorb/radiate as a true black body (e.g. emissivity), and modula these modifications, the same physics still applies. That is, Earth radiates (where it is quantum-mechanically able to) thermally, and in this portion of the spectrum the radiation looks roughly black body. There is a large body of work on these subjects. I recommend it to you.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Sep 2007 @ 9:30 AM

  257. dhogaza, to be fair, all those things might point to significant global warming. But the argument is not prima facie and, the point was, is mitigated somewhat with deterioration of other empirical data.

    Comment by Rod B — 26 Sep 2007 @ 9:30 AM

  258. Vernon, your elementary ‘mistakes’ are easy to point out but it hasn’t helped. You have to be able to add and subtract and multiply and divide — basic arithmentic — at least, to understand the mistakes you’re making.

    Take just one example (ignoring for now all the repeated misstatements you attribute to Hansen).

    Consider this quote from you:

    > You try to say that warming is by CO2 is not cancelled out
    > by aerosols even though the process that produces man made
    > CO2 produces the same aerosols which negate the CO2.

    You’re failing subtraction:

    (the Clean Air Act changed the ratio of sulfate to CO2 emitted from the then biggest polluters, coal power plants — the first half of the fossil fuels burned, up to about 1970, also produced lots of sulfates; the second half of the fossil fuels burned to date, since 1970, produced much less sulfate because it was scrubbed out;

    You’re failing multiplication:

    (sulfate added by burning coal falls out of the atmosphere in a few years; CO2 increases from burning coal stay higher for centuries because the chemical/biological processes that remove CO2 are overwhelmed by the rate of addition — so the ‘third half’ of the fossil fuels now being burned dirty in the Chinese and older US coal plants are again adding more sulfate, but all the earlier sulfate has fallen out already, while half of the earlier fossil CO2 is still in the atmosphere)

    And you’re failing to check what you read.

    Just ask, when you’re told something you like hearing (over at CA or wherever else): “how do you know that’s true, do you have a source?” — instead of grabbing that flag and rushing over here to wave it. Develop your skepticism. Please.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Sep 2007 @ 9:31 AM

  259. Vernon, allow me to introduce you to the concept of competing effects. When fossil fuel is burned, on the one hand we have CO2 emissions, which result in a positive forcing. On the other hand we have aerosols, which result in a negative forcing. These two forcings may initially be comensurate, and there may be no net observable warming or cooling. Should we then assume that they will always be equal and there will be no effect. The answer is not “no”, but rather “hell no”. CO2 persists for centuries in the atmosphere, while aerosols have a relatively short life. As long as new aerosols are streaming into the atmosphere you might not see a big effect, but aerosols have undesirable health and environmental effects. They are also technically easy to limit. Result, we will see fewer aerosols in the future. What happens now that aerosols are no longer there to mask the effect? CO2′s effects, formerly masked, now take off with a vengeance. You have to consider the temporal evolution of competing effects as well as their magnitude.
    Thus, Hansen’s work should raise the level of concern for anyone who has understood it. Hint: That does not include you.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Sep 2007 @ 11:51 AM

  260. RE 258: Hank, please point to the study that shows the global aerosols have decreased since 1970.

    You said:

    Blockquote>You’re failing subtraction:

    (the Clean Air Act changed the ratio of sulfate to CO2 emitted from the then biggest polluters, coal power plants — the first half of the fossil fuels burned, up to about 1970, also produced lots of sulfates; the second half of the fossil fuels burned to date, since 1970, produced much less sulfate because it was scrubbed out;

    You make the assumption that environmental changes made in the North America and Western Europe are global. There may have been regional changes but Hansen did not indicate that what happened in 1970 had any impact in 2000. Since there has been no global warming from 2001-2006 per GISS, where is the CO2 based warming taking place?

    You then went on to say:

    You’re failing multiplication:

    (sulfate added by burning coal falls out of the atmosphere in a few years; CO2 increases from burning coal stay higher for centuries because the chemical/biological processes that remove CO2 are overwhelmed by the rate of addition — so the ‘third half’ of the fossil fuels now being burned dirty in the Chinese and older US coal plants are again adding more sulfate, but all the earlier sulfate has fallen out already, while half of the earlier fossil CO2 is still in the atmosphere)

    Once again your presenting your opinion as fact. If what you say is so, then please present where Dr. Hansen was wrong in 2000? In the global context, aerosols and CO2 have been balanced for the last century. Now Dr. Hansen says that the process of burning fossil fuels and biomass produces both CO2 and aerosols and between them there is no impact on the climate’s temperature. That all current warming is due to other GHG’s.

    As to where I get my information, I am willing to read what anyone says, but then I go and read the citations. If there are no citations, I ask for them, if they are not provided I do my own searches. I have noticed a trend to say anyone that is a skeptic must be a denier. I am sorry that I actually research what I present here, it must be confusing to have someone actually present facts and not opinions.

    Comment by Vernon — 26 Sep 2007 @ 12:15 PM

  261. Re 252 Ellis: “Thank you Jim (230) for expressing my point that as the system moves toward equillibrium it is continually disturbed and never achieves equillibrium, however, the statement, ““equilibrium” is a dynamic concept” is incorrect. Equillibrium has a specific meaning, and is in fact a black and white issue, either you have equillibrium or you don’t.”

    Sorry, I don’t see it as a black and white issue at all, rather that what constitutes equilibrium keeps changing as the system keeps being disturbed. I reiterate: equilibrium is not a static state.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 26 Sep 2007 @ 12:27 PM

  262. Has or Is (all meanings of the word “is”) realclimate in any way (directly, indirectly, minorly, in theory, etc) funded by George Soros or his minions?

    [Response: No, in all it's meanings. - gavin]

    Comment by Killtherumor — 26 Sep 2007 @ 12:38 PM

  263. Re #260: “Since there has been no global warming from 2001-2006 per GISS

    Someone ought to notify GISS to remove that suspiciously-upwards 2001-2006 trend from their global temperature graphs, e.g.:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.lrg.gif

    Comment by spilgard — 26 Sep 2007 @ 12:54 PM

  264. Vernon — With all due respect, I encourage you to carefully study

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abstracts/2007/Hansen_etal_2.html

    Comment by David B. Benson — 26 Sep 2007 @ 1:11 PM

  265. Vernon, there’s no point talking to you when you keep reposting this kind of claim, you’re just misreading Hansen’s work over and over.

    You asked for help finding the sulfate info several previous times (remember you were searching for it, finding nothing, because you were misspelling it). The data is easy to find. Just another example:
    http://www.tva.gov/environment/reports/envreports/04update/images/emissions.gif

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Sep 2007 @ 1:13 PM

  266. Vernon, Por Deus! It’s not that hard to look this stuff up:
    From Wikipedia
    Examples of the atmospheric lifetime and GWP for several greenhouse gases include:

    CO2 has a variable atmospheric lifetime, and cannot be specified precisely[18]. Recent work indicates that recovery from a large input of atmospheric CO2 from burning fossil fuels will result in an effective lifetime of tens of thousands of years.[19][20] Carbon dioxide is defined to have a GWP of 1 over all time periods.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas

    And re: aerosol lifetimes:
    “Unlike the long-lived greenhouse gases (GHGs), which are distributed uniformly over the globe, aerosol lifetimes are only a week or less [(2, 3), see Web table 1 for representative lifetimes of aerosols (1)], resulting in substantial spatial and temporal variations with peak concentrations near the source ”
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/294/5549/2119

    As to the effect of the Clean Air Act on aerosols…well, what do you think it was intended to do? Note that Europe cleaned up its act about the same time, and the turning of Eastern Europe westward has resulted in incredible decreases in emissions of aerosols. Yes, China has increased its emissions, and that is having an effect, but the limited lifetime and localized source (compared to previously where the entire world was emitting this gunk) limits its effectiveness. So, while there is still an aerosol effect, the balance has shifted decidedly toward the warming effect of CO2. Competing effects, Vernon.
    Oh, and maybe when you present your facts, you could try to spin them a little less. They seem pretty dizzy after you get done with them.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Sep 2007 @ 1:20 PM

  267. Ellis, equilibrium is defined over a span of time.
    You’re defining it as forever, meaning it can’t ever happen.

    Look at this page, and do a ‘find’ for the word ‘equilibrium’ — that may help you. The definition of the word in physics is not the definition you are insisting on.

    http://www.pha.jhu.edu/dept/lecdemo/reese1.html

    http://www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/0959-5309/50/3/308

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Sep 2007 @ 1:20 PM

  268. Dear All,

    This is interesting data, and the calculation of time constant vs. lag maybe particularly so.

    The initial roughly linear relationship between the two might indicate that the mechanism involved is producing a constant phase delay for around the first ten years. This should not be a surprise as such a relationship is evident at short time-scales, i.e diurnal and seasonal. The delay of the response as a proportion of period being similar in both cases.

    Surely the result found in this paper is not very surprising, in crude terms it just indicates that penetration (effective depth) increases with period. The longer the period the bigger the effective thermal capacity.

    Systems that behave in such a way can always seem close to equilibrium and yet exhibit a very long tail.

    Here we may have an example of everybody being correct. It is simply a matter of time-scales. Unfortunately if that is correct then the use of simple time constants to describe climatic response is simply inadequate.

    Best Wishes

    Alexander Harvey

    Comment by Alexander Harvey — 26 Sep 2007 @ 1:29 PM

  269. RE # 260

    Another opinion by Vernon

    He said; [it must be confusing to have someone actually present facts and not opinions.]

    And, he said

    [Since there has been no global warming from 2001-2006 per GISS, where is the CO2 based warming taking place?]

    I offer this quote from GISS:

    [Global surface temperatures have increased about 0.6 degrees Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit) since the mid-1970s. That increase culminated in 2005 with the highest surface temperatures ever recorded, according to a report released this month by James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and colleagues.] at: http://tinyurl.com/2zt5qh

    Vernon, give us some citations, not abbreviations. Please.

    Comment by John L. McCormick — 26 Sep 2007 @ 1:31 PM

  270. It’s always useful to refer to the IPCC, here’s the chart for sulfate worldwide over the past century. Note the change:

    http://www.ccsm.ucar.edu/working_groups/Change/CCSM3_IPCC_AR4/images/20C3M_sulfate.gif
    ———–

    Comparing the USA before 1970 with CHina now, not only has the background level of fossil CO2 changed, the latitude at which sulfates are emitted matters — photochemistry differs with latitude and amount of total sunlight:

    “A commonality across future man-made emissions projections is a regional shift with decreases at NH midlatitudes and increases at the more photochemically active subtropical and tropical latitudes.”

    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/103/12/4377
    PNAS | March 21, 2006 | vol. 103 | no. 12 | 4377-4380

    Cross influences of ozone and sulfate
    precursor emissions changes on air quality and climate

    Unger, Shindell, Koch, and Streets

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Sep 2007 @ 2:16 PM

  271. Vernon,

    Here is one paragraph (the first paragraph) in your recent response (#260) to Hank (#258)…

    Vernon (#260) wrote:

    You make the assumption that environmental changes made in the North America and Western Europe are global. There may have been regional changes but Hansen did not indicate that what happened in 1970 had any impact in 2000. Since there has been no global warming from 2001-2006 per GISS, where is the CO2 based warming taking place?

    Now let’s look at it sentence by sentence…

    Vernon (#260) wrote:

    You make the assumption that environmental changes made in the North America and Western Europe are global.

    Not evenly distributed, but global…

    See:

    Hemispheres
    by Tamino at Open Mind
    August 17th, 2007
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/08/17/hemispheres/

    Vernon (#260) wrote:

    There may have been regional changes but Hansen did not indicate that what happened in 1970 had any impact in 2000.

    Maybe not there, but according to his 2006 paper, the forcing due to carbon dioxide had exceeded that of tropospheric aerosol late in the twentieth century. Reflective aerosols at -1.0 w/m2 about 1974 (chart on pg. 22) and sulfates at -0.6 at about the same time (chart on pg. 24). Since then the influence of sulfates relative to carbon dioxide has been falling – same charts.

    Climate simulations for 1880-2003 with GISS modelE
    Hansen, et al
    Clim. Dyn., doi:10.1007/s00382-007-0255-8, in press, 2007a.
    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/notyet/submitted_2006_Hansen_etal_2.pdf

    I can get you the data as well if you want.

    Vernon (#260) wrote:

    Since there has been no global warming from 2001-2006 per GISS, where is the CO2 based warming taking place?

    Actually, per GISS, there has been warming – essentially the same upward trend as before – after the brief 1998 spike due to an exceptionally strong El Nino…

    See the Image:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/USHCN.2005vs1999.lrg.gif
    From the Webpage:

    GISS Surface Temperature Analysis
    Analysis Graphs and Plots
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/

    With the main text at:

    GISS Surface Temperature Analysis
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/

    *

    Incidentally, here is some material on the residence times of different aerosols…

    Aerosol residence times…

    The residence time of aerosols depends on their size, chemistry and height in the atmosphere. Particle residence times range from minutes to hundreds of days. Aerosols between 0.1 – 1.0 µm (the accumulation mode) remain in the atmosphere longer than the other two size categories. Aerosols smaller than this (the nucleation mode) are subject to Brownian motion; higher rates of particle collision and coagulation increases the size of individual particles and removes them from the nucleation mode. The coarser particles (>1 µm radius) have higher sedimentation rates than the other two size ranges.

    Aerosols Definition
    http://www.newmediastudio.org/DataDiscovery/Aero_Ed_Center/Charact/A.what_are_aerosols.html

    3.3.2.1. Stratosphere

    Large increases in H2SO4 mass in the stratosphere often occur in periods following volcanic eruptions (Trepte et al., 1993). Increased H2SO4 increases the number and size of stratospheric aerosol particles (Wilson et al., 1993).

    3.3.2.2. Troposphere

    The effect of aircraft sulfur emissions on aerosol in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere is far larger than comparison of their amount with global sulfur sources suggests. The major surface sources of tropospheric sulfate aerosol include SO2 and dimethyl sulfide (DMS), both of which have tropospheric lifetimes of less than 1 week (Langner and Rodhe, 1991; Weisenstein et al., 1997).

    Aviation and the Global Atmosphere
    3.3. Regional and Global-Scale Impact of Aviation on Aerosols
    3.3.2. Sulfate Aerosol
    http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc/aviation/036.htm

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 26 Sep 2007 @ 3:09 PM

  272. If a chunk of energy is put straight into the atmosphere, what happens to it?

    Comment by AEBanner — 26 Sep 2007 @ 3:43 PM

  273. Ray (248), I agree with the way your post is stated. Given the observations — a little ice melting here, some goofy bird migrations there, a few early cherry blossoms the past few years over there — we should wonder about them. More than that we should analyze them with some depth and dispatch and diligence, because they could portend some really bad stuff. But ironclad proof they ain’t, by a long shot, especially when some of the attending data gets muddled or tainted.

    Comment by Rod B — 26 Sep 2007 @ 8:04 PM

  274. >little ice … goofy bird

    Now that’s insensitivity in action. You blow off some of the earliest and longest time series observations made. They called it “Natural History”

    http://cns.utexas.edu/communications/File/AnnRev_CCimpacts2006.pdf

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/tss/aboutus/staff/bonan/ecoclim/index.htm

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Sep 2007 @ 8:38 PM

  275. Hank (258) says, “Just ask, when you’re told something you like hearing (over at CA or wherever else): “how do you know that’s true, do you have a source?” — instead of grabbing that flag and rushing over here to wave it. Develop your skepticism. Please.”

    Hank, I assume you are including direct quotes from Hansen in there, aren’t you?

    Comment by Rod B — 26 Sep 2007 @ 9:05 PM

  276. Rod, exactly what data is getting muddled or tainted? Are there any data to suggest a cooling climate? ALL the data I know of suggest more energy going into the climate. So, as a physicist, I have to ask where that energy is coming from. To date there is only one candidate–anthropogenic CO2 emissions.
    Now one can question how serious will be the effects of climate change. However, that requires modeling, and to date the models–and indeed the observational evidence–do not encourage optimism. You can question the validity of the modeling, but if the models don’t work, then we’re flying blind, and that is worse.
    Think of it Rod–all the evidence points to warming AND to humans causing it. I just can’t understand how people can ignore ALL the evidence.

    Comment by ray ladbury — 26 Sep 2007 @ 9:11 PM

  277. re Ray (259) Might as well hit on everyone. Actually, Ray I agree pretty much with your rebuttal to Vernon (though the deneanor leaves something to be desired, if you don’t mind me saying)… until your last sentence. This would be wildly humerous if it weren’t so serious: your response to someone quoting Hansen directly and verbatim is, “The emperor is dressed just fine! Just Fine!”

    Comment by Rod B — 26 Sep 2007 @ 9:18 PM

  278. spilgard Says (263):
    “Re #260: “Since there has been no global warming from 2001-2006 per GISS”

    Someone ought to notify GISS to remove that suspiciously-upwards 2001-2006 trend from their global temperature graphs, e.g.:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.lrg.gif

    On the other hand if you plot the 2001-2006 points from your rebuttal reference, you get little to no (average) temperature increase. Someone ought to notify GISS to remove that suspiciously-flat 2001-2006 average from their global temperature graphs.

    Comment by Rod B — 26 Sep 2007 @ 10:00 PM

  279. [[The Stefan-Boltzmann law and constant apply only to black bodies.
    The Earth is not a black body.
    Therefore, the Stefan-Boltzmann law and constant do not apply to Earth.
    ]]

    Earth is not a black-body radiator, but it can be described by the Stefan-Boltzmann law if you include a term for emissivity, or better yet, if you break down the radiation into bands.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Sep 2007 @ 6:27 AM

  280. Vernon posts:

    [[In the global context, aerosols and CO2 have been balanced for the last century.]]

    Please cite a source and give the numbers involved. Aerosols dominated over CO2 from 1940 to 1970, causing a slight cooling; CO2 dominated over aerosols after that, causing warming. That’s my understanding. Where are you getting your numbers?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Sep 2007 @ 6:30 AM

  281. [[If a chunk of energy is put straight into the atmosphere, what happens to it?]]

    Well, it probably depends on what type of energy you’re talking about, but if it’s generalized random energy, the most probably immediate effect is to heat the atmosphere locally.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Sep 2007 @ 6:41 AM

  282. Rod B observed:
    “Given the observations — a little ice melting here, some goofy bird migrations there, a few early cherry blossoms the past few years over there — we should wonder about them. More than that we should analyze them with some depth and dispatch and diligence, because they could portend some really bad stuff.”

    So your opinion is that all the observations only hint at global climate warming? Your position is not even at the level of confidence main stream science had twenty year ago. Do you consider the tens of thousands of man years of research on the subject during past years in different diciplines a futile effort?

    “But ironclad proof they ain’t, by a long shot, especially when some of the attending data gets muddled or tainted.”

    It would be interesting to know, which is an ironclad scientific proof for you. Could you elaborate more, give an example? Also, as Ray above inquired, what data specifically is muddled or tainted? Can you list some data sets you consider junk?

    Comment by Petro — 27 Sep 2007 @ 8:06 AM

  283. RE 277: Mr. Levenson

    Hansen et al (2000) “Global warming in the twenty-first century: An alternative scenario” at Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences August 15, 2000, 10.1073/pnas.170278997

    To quote from Hansen in the report:
    “Our estimates of global climate forcings indicate that it is the non-CO2 GHGs that have caused most observed global warming.”

    Further, Hansen went on to say:

    “Fossil fuel use is the main source of both CO2 and aerosols, with land conversion and biomass burning also contributing to both forcings. Although fossil fuels contribute to growth of some of the other GHGs, it follows that the net global climate forcing due to processes that produced CO2 in the past century probably is much less than 1.4 W/m2. ”

    Further he repeats most of this in Hansen et al (2007) Climate simulations for 1880-2003 with GISS modelE. Clim. Dynam., in press, doi:10.1007/s00382-007-0255-8.

    Comment by Vernon — 27 Sep 2007 @ 8:31 AM

  284. Why am I not being allowed to the posts that are directed at me?

    RE: 271 Mr. Chase, lets look at what you said.

    First let us go beyond the pictures and graphs and look at the actual numbers. GISSTEMP has the following global temps for 2001-2006 (J-D): 57, 69, 67, 60, 76, and 65. Please, where is the warming, can you point out where the warming is hidden in there? Which could also be why the big news was warming was going to start again after 2009. Do not get me wrong, I believe that we have had warming since the LIA. But I do not see accelerated warming that the instrumented direct readings are indicating. The proxies are not showing this accelerated warming.

    Next take Hemispheres by Tamino at Open Mind August 17th, 2007. To quote the most often said phrase, where was it published and peer reviewed? Even for that matter, who is Tamino? What are his qualifications? I do not know so I can hardly accept him or his work as a basis for much of anything. Now much could be said about me, but I am not suggesting anything other than you read the published works.

    Now as to Hansen’s 2006 work with ModelE let’s look at more than the pretty charts and pictures and see what Hansen actually had to say:

    The sum of all these forcings is Fe ~ Fs ~ 1.90 W/m2 in 2003. However, it is more accurate to evaluate the net forcing from the ensemble of simulations carried out with all forcings present at the same time (Efficacy 2005), thus accounting for any non-linearity in the combination of forcings and minimizing the effect of noise (unforced variability) in the climate model runs. All forcings acting together yield Fe ~ 1.75 W/m2 in 2003.

    Uncertainty of the net forcing is dominated by the aerosol forcing, which we suggested above to be uncertain by 50%. In that case, the net forcing is uncertain by ~ 1 W/m2, implying uncertainty by about a factor of three for the net forcing. Reduction of this uncertainty requires better data on aerosol direct and indirect forcings.

    So Dr. Hansen says that the actual forcing is 1.9 Wm2 +/- 1.0 W/m2 which is pretty much the same thing found in his 2000 paper. It still comes out that Hansen believes that CO2 and aerosols cancel each other out.

    But let’s assume that you are right and Dr. Hansen is wrong. The CO2 lasts a long time and the aerosols only a few months a best. The question remains, where is the warming due to CO2 if Hansen is wrong and aerosols are not countering them? We are still left with a 40 percent increase in CO2, which should mean that 70 percent of CO2 doubling’s impact should have happened, so where is it?

    I see you pulled back from saying that IPCC was wrong about AR1. This brings us back to my starting point. There is no evidence of CO2 warming per Hansen in the 20th century so what is the evidence that climate sensitivity to CO2 is greater than what Dr. Schwartz suggests?

    [Response: We've frequently discussed why you can't use the 20th C alone as a constraint on sensitivity (aerosol uncertainty is too large). Thus the constraints come from combinations of different periods - the LGM, volcanic responses etc. ( http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/03/climate-sensitivity-plus-a-change/ ). For the 20th C, the only thing that matters is the net forcing and I discussed the attribution issue a while back (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/10/attribution-of-20th-century-climate-change-to-cosub2sub/ ). - gavin]

    Comment by Vernon — 27 Sep 2007 @ 8:33 AM

  285. > So your opinion is that all the observations only hint at global climate warming?

    No, I was/am taking aim at the recent short-term anecdotal observations. It might also apply to other observations, but I’d have to think about that — and it would likely be “indicate”, not “hint”.

    Comment by Rod B — 27 Sep 2007 @ 9:17 AM

  286. Look, there are nitwits on all spokes of the political wheel. If we are here to talk about science, look into what you read. Natural history began as anecdotes and observations, and people continue to observe the world and tell others what they see. You can do better than just dismissing any report you find inconvenient.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Sep 2007 @ 10:34 AM

  287. Re my #272 and the reply #278

    Yes, the atmosphere will be heated locally, but then what happens?

    I want to learn if any (what proportion) of this energy can escape into space, and if so, how?

    Comment by AEBanner — 27 Sep 2007 @ 11:24 AM

  288. We better find a way to quickly and efficiently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

    Mother Nature takes a LONG time.

    http://scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa003&articleID=000CC5E6-9AB7-153F-9AB783414B7F0000

    We’re not talking centuries, we’re talking hundreds of thousands of years.

    As long as the cost of emitting carbon is zero, we will continue to do so.
    Energy prices have got to increase to reflect their true cost to the world.

    This website has an interesting analysis (overly simplified at times though) of the problem and a possible solution: http://www.architecture2030.org/

    Comment by Van_Trump — 27 Sep 2007 @ 12:11 PM

  289. >AEBAnner
    Asked (repeatedly); answered (frequently)
    e.g. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument-part-ii/#comment-47031

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Sep 2007 @ 12:37 PM

  290. Re #289

    Thank you, but that’s a very long thread. Can you please be more specific. Is the matter dealt with in the initial essay, or in the following 600, or so, comments?

    Comment by AEBanner — 27 Sep 2007 @ 3:36 PM

  291. Jacob I (173) — Thanks for the link, which clarified the use of the approximate natural logarithm forcing for me.

    Please check to see if I have it now:

    Assume
    C0 = 288 ppm (1850 CE carbon dioxide contentration)
    C = 383 ppm (2007 CE carbon dioxide concentration)
    then
    RF = 5.35 ln(C/C0) W/m^2 = 1.485 W/m^2

    which I suppose means that CO_2 radiative forcing now is 148.5% of what is was in 1880 CE?

    Comment by David B. Benson — 27 Sep 2007 @ 4:41 PM

  292. So, Hank, you say Natural History has validated that anecdotal experiences put into inductive reasoning is valid scientific proof of the prognoses. Most scientists would not, with the exception of great amounts of anecdotal observations in a situation where that is all the evidence that can be mustered, could be considered a near or tentative (best we can do with what we have) proof. That, of course, becomes a judgement call — some say enough; others say we need more. And which of the disagreeing parties is the nitwit is also a judgement call.

    Comment by Rod B — 27 Sep 2007 @ 7:31 PM

  293. Re: Myself 268,

    I have found the time to have another look at the data and my suspicion that it says more about how the ocean cools itself than how the atmoshpere does so has increased.

    The rising time constant is indicative of a thick body with internal heat transport mechanisms quite different to the simpler model presented. Thick bodies lose heat in the way indicated by the data unlike the model proposed.

    Inspection of the data presented leads me to suspect that the time constants deduced are oceanic not atmospheric.

    Best Wishes

    Alexander Harvey

    Comment by Alexander Harvey — 27 Sep 2007 @ 7:56 PM

  294. Um, I’m sure I didn’t mean or say that word salad.
    I said read the science, don’t dismiss what you hear, look it up.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Sep 2007 @ 8:47 PM

  295. Hank, O.K.

    Comment by Rod B — 27 Sep 2007 @ 9:57 PM

  296. I recommend Naomi Oreskes’ book chapter:
    http://www.ametsoc.org/atmospolicy/documents/Chapter4.pdf
    It’s about 35 pages, but formatted with a lot of white space.
    The section, starting at page 80, on different models of science, falsification, consilience of evidence, etc is relevant to some of the discussions here.

    Comment by John Mashey — 27 Sep 2007 @ 10:47 PM

  297. David Benson posts:

    [[C0 = 288 ppm (1850 CE carbon dioxide contentration)
    C = 383 ppm (2007 CE carbon dioxide concentration)
    then
    RF = 5.35 ln(C/C0) W/m^2 = 1.485 W/m^2

    which I suppose means that CO_2 radiative forcing now is 148.5% of what is was in 1880 CE?]]

    You were doing all right until the last part. To contrast 2007 to 1850, feed in C = 383 for the first and C = 288 for the second. The forcing is 1.485 for the first case and 0.0 for the second case, not 1.0.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 Sep 2007 @ 6:32 AM

  298. If anything the publicized reduction in arctic sea ice extent may UNDERstate the trend.

    According to the Alfred Wegener Institute
    http://www.awi.de/en/research/research_divisions/climate_science/sea_ice_physics/subjects/ice_thickness_measurements/

    The ice is also thinning. Ice loss measurements based on extent only may be out by 50%.

    Comment by Van_Trump — 28 Sep 2007 @ 9:54 AM

  299. Re: Myself 293,

    The failure to find a single time constant reveals that the author’s model is far to simple for the task. The derivation of our climate’s sensitivity to forcing by this method is thereby flawed. That said the data should not be ignored. If the analysis is correct and the relationship between derived time constants and period is correct it could tell us something about how the oceans transport heat. The initial near linear relationship between time constants and period is indicative of an upper layer in which heat is transported by small scale mechanisms. The levelling off of the time constants with longer timescales could be indicative of the action of larger scale mechanisms at longer timescales.

    Thick materials do not approach thermal equilibrium in an exponential fashion. Current temperatures contain a memory of prior temperatures on all time scales with different time constants, hence the observed increase of time constants with increasing periods. The leveling off at decadal periods might indicate that the memory is being wiped out by some mechanism that is removing heat and erasing the memory by mixing surface water with much deeper waters at these sort of timescales.

    Best Wishes

    Alexander Harvey

    Comment by Alexander Harvey — 28 Sep 2007 @ 12:37 PM

  300. Barton Paul Levenson (297) — Thank you. I was misled by the term ‘Relative Forcing’. Should not this more acturately be termed ‘Additional Forcing’?

    For example, in 1850 CE the forcing is X W/m^2, while in 2007 CE it is

    X + 1.485 W/m^2.

    Or do I still misunderstand?

    Comment by David B. Benson — 28 Sep 2007 @ 12:44 PM

  301. David, if I understand the definition, we’re taking the period after the end of the last ice age until the 1800s or so as stable. The amount of CO2 going in and out of the atmosphere was stable, biogeochemical cycling was maintaining the level.

    Then people started burning fossil fuels:

    Climate Forcing
    By altering the global energy balance, such mechanisms “force” the climate to change. Consequently, scientists call them “climate forcing” mechanisms. …
    http://www.ace.mmu.ac.uk/eae/Climate_Change/Older/Climate_Forcing.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Sep 2007 @ 12:56 PM

  302. Er, duh, “use the Search box, Hank …”

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=186
    What is a first-order climate forcing?

    “… climate forcings (the changes that affect the energy balance of the planet) …”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Sep 2007 @ 1:03 PM

  303. Hank Roberts (301, 302) — Thanks for the link to the older Real Climate thread and especially your first (301) sentence. So I think I now have it right:

    Taking 1750 CE as the beginning of the industrial age, by 1850 CE the forcing was some X W/m^2 due to a modest increase in CO2 concentration. Then by 2007 CE it is X + 1.485 W/m^2 due to an immodest increase in CO2 concentration.

    My concern is whether I can just add these this way. (Upon some reflection, even that now appears to be wrong.) :(

    Comment by David B. Benson — 28 Sep 2007 @ 1:58 PM

  304. Aha! Just have to be careful about what is added:

    C0: base concentration
    C1: concentration later
    C2: concentration even later

    then

    ln(C1/C0) + ln(C2/C1) = ln(C2/C0)

    so the addition is ok, provided we remember that this is only an approximation to reality…

    Comment by David B. Benson — 28 Sep 2007 @ 2:15 PM

  305. Now I think you’re describing why people are writing coupled climate models, David. Lots of forcings, lots of feedbacks, all at once.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Sep 2007 @ 2:21 PM

  306. David, by mathematical definition the formula compares today’s forcing due to today’s CO2 concentration, to the forcing of the concentration whenever you choose — CO20. It’s a relative forcing, but since it’s a log function, relative to itself is zero, ’cause log1 = 0.

    Comment by Rod B — 28 Sep 2007 @ 2:53 PM

  307. Rod B (306) — I don’t think so, one several grounds. The most important is that the so-called relative forcing is in physical units, say W/m^2. Ratios are dimensionless so it is not a ratio comparison. (Which is why I find ‘Relative Forcing’ to be a poorly chosen term.)

    Comment by David B. Benson — 28 Sep 2007 @ 3:39 PM

  308. David, that’s an old chestnut that I got beat up badly over (though still think I’m correct [;-) The units are put in with the 5.35 (or whatever) multiplying factor. though it’s still mathematically equivalent to a unitless exponent of the concentration ratio…. Duck! Incoming!

    Comment by Rod B — 28 Sep 2007 @ 5:39 PM

  309. Rod B (308) — Consider yourself bashed once again. :)

    Comment by David B. Benson — 28 Sep 2007 @ 5:56 PM

  310. Well, in any case, I agree with Barton (297)….

    Comment by Rod B — 28 Sep 2007 @ 9:45 PM

  311. David B. Benson (#300) wrote:

    Barton Paul Levenson (297) — Thank you. I was misled by the term ‘Relative Forcing’. Should not this more accurately be termed ‘Additional Forcing’?

    “Additional Forcing” would work for me so long as one kept in mind the fact that “forcing” does not exist where the system is in equilibrium. I believe that what the climatologists assume as an approximation: the base year is in equilibrium (one is after all concerned with the evolution of the climate system as it evolves over time due to being disturbed), and as such there is no forcing in the base year. But another way of saying this would be that the forcing was zero in the base year.

    Incidentally, in the past I have viewed the “series” of absorptions and reemissions of thermal radiation between the atmosphere and the surface (where a given “packet” of energy may be absorbed by the atmosphere, undergo collisions, emission, absorption by the surface, emission, etc) as feedback. From a certain perspective it is, but not as climatology understands it. In climatology, “feedback” is always understood in relation to “forcing.”

    Given the near instantaneous nature of the amplification (that is, prior to amplification by means of such processes as water evaporation), this initial amplification is simply considered part of the initial forcing. The forcing itself is defined essentially as the deficit between radiation as the deficit between the thermal energy entering the system and the thermal energy which is leaving the system at the top of the atmosphere.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 29 Sep 2007 @ 9:42 AM

  312. Re forcings and so on: I wonder if it might not make more sense (to those of us without a major background in atmospheric science, anyway) to use a different concept. Anyone who has done much home remodeling is probably familiar with insulation R values. So what’s the R value of the atmosphere? And how much does adding X amount of CO2 increase the effective R value?

    Comment by James — 29 Sep 2007 @ 10:48 AM

  313. Aha! RF abbreviates ‘Radiative Forcing’. That is just fine. And as pointed out in comment #297, for any given C0,

    RF = 5.35 ln(C0/C0) = 0,

    appropriate for an equilibrium C0.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 29 Sep 2007 @ 11:32 AM

  314. With reference to Table 1 of the paper:

    Dividing the “rate of change of heat content with time” by the “rate to change of temperature with time” does give an instantaneous “rate of change of heat content with temperature” what it does not guarantee is to give a constant and generally it doesn’t as is the case here.

    Inspection of the data will show that the ocean is warming much more slowly than the surface temperature. The two are only weakly coupled. This is a bit of a problem if you are going to use the derived heat capacity as if it were tightly coupled to the surface as is done in this paper.

    This has more general significance for anyone seeking to use the ocean as a significant drag on surface temperature rise. The weak coupling means that the ocean is not absorbing a high proportion of the current forcing the largest value given being .205 W/m^2 this value is likely to rise with increasing disparity between surface and water temperatures at depth. In the same way it is likely that it was smaller in the past not just absolutely but as a proportion of the forcing.

    Appealing to a weakly coupled heatsink, no matter how big, is unlikely to produce a significant brake on, or delay in rising temperatures.

    Best Wishes

    Alexznader Harvey

    Comment by Alexander Harvey — 29 Sep 2007 @ 1:55 PM

  315. Suppose a steady stream of non-radiant heat energy is fed into the atmosphere. How is the proportion lost to space calculated?

    Comment by AEBanner — 4 Oct 2007 @ 3:53 PM

  316. [[Suppose a steady stream of non-radiant heat energy is fed into the atmosphere. How is the proportion lost to space calculated?]]

    What is “non-radiant heat energy?” And what direction is it going?

    I’ll assume that what you mean is that a region of the atmosphere is being spontaneously heated by some unknown mechanism. It would then radiate more than before since its temperature would be higher, according to the modified Stefan-Boltzmann law:

    F = ε σ T4

    where F is the flux density emitted (in watts per square meter in the SI), ε the emissivity of the body doing the radiating (a figure which must be between 0 and 1), σ the Stefan-Boltzmann constant (5.6704 x 10-8 W m-2 K-4 in the SI), and T the temperature (K in the SI).

    For a beam of light going straight up, the amount that gets through would be determined by the optical thickness of the medium in the way:

    F = F0 e

    The optical thickness τ is the product of the absorption coefficient k for the wavelength of the light in question (in m2 kg-1 in the SI), the density ρ of the absorbing medium (kg m-3) and dz the path length (m):

    τ = k ρ dz

    Complications are induced by the facts that emitted radiation is usually at many wavelengths, that absorption coefficients vary by wavelength, and that the density and composition of the medium change with altitude.

    For a broad order-of-magnitude example, consider that of the 390 watts per square meter emitted by the Earth’s surface on average, only about 40 W m-2 survive to get out to space. The Earth radiates about 240, the other 200 coming from the atmosphere.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Oct 2007 @ 6:28 AM

  317. Re #316

    Thank you for the reply, but by the steady input stream of energy to the atmosphere I meant heat energy such as sensible and latent heat, not infrared radiation.

    Comment by AEBanner — 5 Oct 2007 @ 10:42 AM

  318. Off-topic, but ought to be interest to climatologists, both professional and amateur:

    http://www.alternet.org/environment/64445/

    regarding controversy about hydropower and methane release.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 5 Oct 2007 @ 2:16 PM

  319. Barton and AEBanner, I’m trying an answer, but mostly as a question/test of my knowledge — correct or incorrect?

    There is about 559 watts/square meter entering the atmosphere: 390 from the surface (of which 40 goes straight out the top), 67 from incoming solar (none of which goes straight out the top — going the wrong direction), and 102 from latent/thermal heat from the surface, none of which can go straight out the top, by definition — only radiation can leave the atmosphere. All of that incoming gets bounced around, transferred, radiated and reabsorbed among the molecules (except for the 40 that get out directly), and eventually gets radiated out (~42% or 235, including the straight 40), or radiated down and “reabsorbed” by the earth’s surface (~58%). So the answer is that the non-radiative heat source (thermals and latent) get absorbed entirely by the atmosphere, then lose their identity as such and become part of the molecular atmospheric energy stew.

    Comment by Rod B — 6 Oct 2007 @ 9:53 AM

  320. A.E. Banner posts:

    [[Thank you for the reply, but by the steady input stream of energy to the atmosphere I meant heat energy such as sensible and latent heat, not infrared radiation.]]

    Well, neither conduction, convection, nor changes of state get outside the atmosphere. Earth’s only thermal connection with space is through radiation.

    What the mechanism was heating an area of atmosphere doesn’t matter. The radiation will still proceed as described.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Oct 2007 @ 2:01 PM

  321. I’m puzzled by Mr. Banner’s assumption that “sensible heat” and “latent heat” can be “input” — perhaps that means “added” or “created” or perhaps that means “rearranged” — is there an example of that in whatever you’re relying on as the basis for these questions?

    Ask the people there what they mean.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Oct 2007 @ 8:36 PM

  322. Rod —

    Yes, I think you have it right. The non-radiative fluxes (conduction, convection, latent heat) only transfer energy from surface to atmosphere and within the atmosphere. The only way the Earth system interacts with outer space is through radiation. (To a reasonable degree of accuracy, anyway.)

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Oct 2007 @ 6:28 AM

  323. Re #319 and #320

    Thank you, Rod B and Barton, for your replies.

    OK, agreed. Energy can escape to space from Earth only as electromagnetic radiation.

    So does this mean that the only way sensible and latent heat in the atmosphere can escape to space is through inter-molecular collisions exciting molecules into higher energy levels, with subsequent infrared photon emission? And does this apply only to the greenhouse gases, or does it include nitrogen and oxygen radiating as a “black body”?

    Comment by AEBanner — 7 Oct 2007 @ 9:16 AM

  324. Re #321 Hank

    Just trying to get some ideas sorted out. Please humour me for now.

    Comment by AEBanner — 7 Oct 2007 @ 10:51 AM

  325. Good question AEBanner. I’d like to 2nd it — can’t answer it but have had the same question. Why wouldn’t O2 and N2 radiate out with normal blackbody (Planck function) radiation? I contend they do, but there is much disagreement ala gases radiating Planck function E-M waves. It further seems that, if they do, the radiation would be very small/light/weak. First off, I’m not sure where one would pick the boundary for radiating into space. The top of the thermosphere where it is very hot — but hardly anything there? The top of the stratosphere or mesosphere where it is very cold (and would radiate little Planck stuff)? Plus radiating gases have a lower emissivity as the density decreases, don’t they?

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Oct 2007 @ 11:34 AM

  326. Rod B., There is a lot of misunderstanding of blackbody radiation–and a tendency to confuse it with “thermal radiation”. A blackbody spectrum is just the spectrum you get when a photon gas is in equilibrium. However, photons do not interact with each other, so the only way a gas of photons can come to equilibrium is by interacting with the materials around it–the walls of a container, gasses therein, etc. However, these materials themselves can only absorb and radiate at energies corresponding to differences between their energy levels. Now these energy “lines” can get broadened. In solids, nearby lines can even coalesce into “energy bands” (hence the conduction and valence bands). However, for any single molecule type, you will not have a continuum of energies as you do for a black-body spectrum. It is a grey body, instead of a black body.
    The things to remember:
    1)Where a molecule can’t absorb, it can’t radiate either. There have to be energy transitions that correspond to the energy of the radiation.
    2)Blackbody radiation is what you get for equilibrium in the radiation field–but it is via interactions with matter that the radiation field reaches equilibrium.

    WRT your other question–the level at which the planet radiates is that at which the probability of the upwelling LWIR photon being captured is significantly less than 1–that is at which its interaction length becomes long compared to the distance to space.

    Comment by ray ladbury — 7 Oct 2007 @ 2:11 PM

  327. Re #326 Ray Ladbury

    Very interesting, thank you.

    So oxygen and nitrogen cannot emit photons.

    But can photons be generated by collisions between O2 and/or N2 molecules, and then escape to space?

    If not, then it would seem that non-radiant heat energy put continuously into the atmosphere would be largely retained, since the only escape route is via the low concentrations of greenhouse gases.

    This would cause an increase in atmospheric temperature.

    Comment by AEBanner — 7 Oct 2007 @ 3:14 PM

  328. Ray Ladbury (#326) wrote:

    WRT your other question–the level at which the planet radiates is that at which the probability of the upwelling LWIR photon being captured is significantly less than 1–that is at which its interaction length becomes long compared to the distance to space.

    Quick clarification.

    Unless I am mistaken, while the above is undoubtedly true, what we are typically concerned with in terms of “where the planet radiates from” is the layer of the atmosphere which radiates at the effective temperature of the planet – the temperature that the earth appears to have at a distance given the thermal radiation which escapes the atmosphere. This is the so-called “effective radiating layer.” This is where as much energy will escape to space as is radiated back to the surface in the form of backradiation. The effective radiating layer is at roughly 6 km and rising, but well within the troposphere.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 7 Oct 2007 @ 3:56 PM

  329. #316, Barton, thanks for the very enjoyable writing as usual. It brings to mind: if there is so little radiation escaping to space, how are actual observations, measurements done in accounting for the true heat radiation book? Theory seems fine, but I believe that there is more heat energy in the tropsphere than estimated, this would explain the recent Polar ice great melt (not modelled to happen till about 2038). Is there a way for the theory to miss out on something still not formally observed?
    Or put this another way, is the heat radiation accounting always balanced to the satisfaction of our certified atmospheric accountants?

    Comment by wayne davidson — 7 Oct 2007 @ 4:48 PM

  330. Timothy Chase–it’s a little more complicated than that. At wavelengths where there is little absorption, the radiation is effectively coming directly from the surface, so the “temperature” of the radiation is the surface temperature. For LWIR, the radiation can’t escape until the optical free path is of order the remaining atmospheric thickness, so, there, the temperature will be characteristic of that level. If the atmosphere becomes thicker at a particular wavelength, then the temperature of the region where it effectively escapes must increase–along with the temperature of the atmospher and the planet as a whole.

    A. E. Banner, the symmetry of O2 and N2 can be broken by intermolecular interactions, resulting in some absorption and emission. But they would mostly lose energy by colliding with molecules that could radiate at roughly thermal energies.

    Comment by ray ladbury — 7 Oct 2007 @ 5:41 PM

  331. > AEBanner wrote: “… oxygen and nitrogen cannot emit photons”

    You need to state limited conditions for that to be correct.

    http://odin.gi.alaska.edu/FAQ/#color

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Oct 2007 @ 5:46 PM

  332. Ray, I really hate to disagree with you expertise, so I’ll just “reclarify”. What doesn’t add up in 326 is the sea of photons. They just didn’t arrive out of nowhere; they were generated by the same body that you say is now having trouble absorbing some of them. Secondly, I thought so-called blackbody radiation was in fact (prettin’ near) “thermal” radiation, both terms originating (mostly) from Planck figuring out what heated bodies do. (The formula for total radiated power has only T as an independent variable.) Blackbody radiation is those photons escaping through the little hole, not reabsorbing into the inside walls; and they display a continuous spectrum as shown in the jillions of graphs. Thirdly, I thought the convention is “greybody” is continuous (for all practical purposes) but with an emissivity less than 1.0, though it is also used to describe matter with variable (by wavelength) emisivity… and, it seems, to confuse people.

    Your last statement implies that the atmosphere (including O2 and N2) does not emit blackbody radiation (per my definition) but that the exitance is only from either 1) the temperature dependent blackbody-type radiation that makes it all the way from the earth’s surface, or 2) some (per your and Timothy’s calculus) of the discrete radiation ala translation and rotational energy levels (and not directly temperature dependent) in radiating (re-emitting) atmospheric molecules, which include only “greenhouse” gases. Is that what you contend?

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Oct 2007 @ 5:59 PM

  333. Ray Ladbury (#330) wrote:

    Timothy Chase–it’s a little more complicated than that.

    Glad to hear it — means I will learn something.

    At wavelengths where there is little absorption, the radiation is effectively coming directly from the surface, so the “temperature” of the radiation is the surface temperature. For LWIR, the radiation can’t escape until the optical free path is of order the remaining atmospheric thickness, so, there, the temperature will be characteristic of that level…

    Somewhat different problem from what I was considering, then. But this helps to explain how the infrared sounders work – and why it helps to have them looking at over 2000 different “channels” – and how this gives them the ability to peel away layers of the atmosphere, looking at the concentration of different greenhouse gases at different altitudes.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 7 Oct 2007 @ 11:09 PM

  334. A.E. Banner posts:

    [[If not, then it would seem that non-radiant heat energy put continuously into the atmosphere would be largely retained, since the only escape route is via the low concentrations of greenhouse gases.
    This would cause an increase in atmospheric temperature.
    ]]

    Right, but since latent and sensible heat transfer to the atmosphere is pretty much a continuous process, the atmosphere would have to heat up indefinitely.

    It doesn’t because the greenhouse gases radiate away the heat energy as infrared radiation, proportionate to the fourth power of the temperature.

    Wayne Davidson posts:

    [[ It brings to mind: if there is so little radiation escaping to space, how are actual observations, measurements done in accounting for the true heat radiation book?]]

    They have to write a model to account for where everything goes. Here’s an example:

    http://www.atmo.arizona.edu/students/courselinks/spring04/atmo451b/pdf/RadiationBudget.pdf

    Note that, although some of the figures can be checked by observation, there is some room for error and different studies come up with slightly different numbers.

    The contention that there is more heat energy in the troposphere than known is unlikely. We can calculate how much heat energy is present from the temperature:

    H = m cp T

    where m is the mass of the substance (say, a layer of air) in kg, cp the specific heat at constant pressure (Joules per Kelvin per kilogram), and T the temperature (K). H comes out in Joules. Vertical temperature profiles are easily measured with balloons. It’s unlikely that the troposphere heat content is substantially greater than estimated.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Oct 2007 @ 6:45 AM

  335. Rod, you write above “Your last statement implies … either 1) … or 2) …” — you seem to be trying to derive some kind of natural law by logic.

    Nature’s more complicated, between the extremes.

    Discrete emission lines from gases in the upper atmosphere where there’s less interaction between molecules.

    Emission bands where there’s more interaction in gases at ‘one atmosphere’ of pressure at the bottom of the atmosphere and the surface of the planet.

    Emissions from interaction with the enormous mass of other material _in_ the atmosphere, all the dust and soot and water as liquid and as vapor.

    That’s where this ‘photon cloud’ interacts. It’s not a nice simple either/or situation.

    The number and kind of interactions are enormous. You’re going to have a little of everything, statistically, in the result.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Oct 2007 @ 10:04 AM

  336. # 334 thanks Barton, The resolution coverage of radiosondes may be better at Southern lattitudes,
    but in the Polar regions they are few and far apart. If T is the weighted temperature of the entire troposphere, and average T needs to be calculated from all radiosonde profiles then, if this is the heat calculation which is monitored, there is plenty room for error as from the gaps between the great distances between Upper Air stations. But I have yet to meet an atmospheric heat budget “accountant” yet…

    Comment by wayne davidson — 8 Oct 2007 @ 11:57 AM

  337. Ron, you’re asking the same question in several different threads now, and getting attention from people in several places with the same question. Can you pick one place or ask our hosts to give you one place, rather than spread it around? It’d help focus, else we keep repeating the same answers over and over, recreational typing.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Oct 2007 @ 12:29 PM

  338. I want to try to get an estimate for the proportion of a continuous, steady supply of initially non-radiant heat energy put into the atmosphere which can subsequently escape to space as radiation following inter-molecular collisions in the atmosphere between greenhouse gases and the oxygen and nitrogen.

    Assume that the concentration of GHGs including water vapour is an average of 2%, then the GHGs would acquire about 2% of the energy if shared out equally, and this 2% would escape to space as infrared photons from the GHGs. The oxygen and nitrogen cannot radiate, so the remaining approx 98% of the steady input supply goes into heating the atmosphere.

    Correct, or perhaps not? But, if not, why not?

    Comment by AEBanner — 10 Oct 2007 @ 6:39 PM

  339. I still haven’t figured out what you mean by “non-radiant heat energy put into the atmosphere” — can you give an example?

    Something like a geyser? ignoring the fact that it too radiates heat, just considering it as emitting superheated water that immediately condenses into a cloud? That would release latent heat into the atmosphere. Or something like Chernobyl, ignoring the radiant energy from that and just considering the hot gases produced?

    But once you’ve added heat, of any form, it continues to change form. It doesn’t sort out one way or the other and rush away as photons or else stick around as kinetic energy, it’s going back and forth between all those forms all the time.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Oct 2007 @ 7:47 PM

  340. Here (aside from using ‘reradiate’ — ubiquitous but nitpickable),
    this may help:
    http://fsi.ucf.edu/Brandenburg/SS_22GlobalWarming.ppt

    Photons don’t just rush away from the planet, they’re not neutrinos.
    They interact; they interact more as CO2 increases; each interaction transfers that packet of energy into another form.

    “Thermal Photon Diffusivity”
    “Diffusivity is lowered by increased CO2″
    “20 cm mean free path at 15 microns”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Oct 2007 @ 9:54 PM

  341. Re #339 and #340

    Thank you, Mr Roberts.

    Yes, the two examples you provided will serve very well.
    The question remains, though. How is the proportion lost to space calculated, or what is the figure if known?

    Comment by AEBanner — 11 Oct 2007 @ 6:13 AM

  342. Re #339 and my reply

    No, sorry. Please cancel the example of Chernobyl, because this was not a continuous supply.

    The geyser is still OK.

    Comment by AEBanner — 11 Oct 2007 @ 6:54 AM

  343. [[Assume that the concentration of GHGs including water vapour is an average of 2%, then the GHGs would acquire about 2% of the energy if shared out equally, and this 2% would escape to space as infrared photons from the GHGs. The oxygen and nitrogen cannot radiate, so the remaining approx 98% of the steady input supply goes into heating the atmosphere.

    Correct, or perhaps not? But, if not, why not?]]

    Because the hotter the greenhouse gases get, the more they radiate, disproportionately (a fourth-power law).

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Oct 2007 @ 8:17 PM

  344. Re #338, AEB; and #343 Barton Paul Levenson

    The Stefan-Boltzmann Law to which you referred gives the output power from a black body. Infrared emission rate from GHGs also follows this law, but only if sufficient power is being supplied to the GHGs in the first place. These gases are not, of themselves, power generators.

    The power I am concerned with is that which might, perhaps, be transferred to the GHGs by increased atmospheric inter-molecular collisions resulting from extra energy from sensible or latent heat supplied continuously to the atmosphere.

    If this mechanism exits, it would be interesting to know the efficiency, since this could have an effect on the temperature of the atmosphere.

    Comment by AEBanner — 12 Oct 2007 @ 10:53 AM

  345. AEBanner,
    OK, let’s think about this in terms of what these different energies mean.
    First latent heat. This is just the energy that you have to supply to take the substance from an energetically favorable state to one that is less energetically favorable–e.g. solid to liquid or solid to gas or liquid to gas. The only way this energy does anything is by being liberated as the substance transforms to the energetically favorable state again. That is, it has to become thermal energy.
    Thermal energy can be transformed into latent heat, into vibrational energy/rotational energy, etc. as long as there are molecules energetic enough to cause such transitions. Since we are dealing with >10^30 molecules, you’ll certainly have a few that are. Sensible heat is just thermal energy (including kinetic, vibrational, rotational etc. degrees of freedom).
    Ultimately almost all of this energy comes from the Sun–whether it goes into latent heat of water vapor, thermal energy, green plants or whatever. So you have a pretty good idea of the energy input to the system if you know the incident solar energy and the planetary albedo. The only other substantial energy source that has much importance is the energy from within Earth (latent heat of condensation of liquid iron onto the solid iron core, radioactive decays, etc.) and this is negligible compared to solar inputs. The following link gives some discussion.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth's_energy_budget

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Oct 2007 @ 12:19 PM

  346. Re #345 Ray Ladbury

    Thank you for your reply, but I wanted to concentrate on non-radiant energy entering the atmosphere, eg your idea of condensation of liquid iron, or Hank Roberts’s geyser. These sources are clearly far less important than solar energy, but probably do deserve some consideration.

    Is there any method of calculating how much power can be transferred by molecular collisions from the atmosphere to the 2% GHG components, and which can then be re-emitted to space as infrared photons

    Comment by AEBanner — 12 Oct 2007 @ 2:40 PM

  347. Yes, Mr. Banner. That point’s been gone over repeatedly in multiple topics, each time you ask the question.

    All of it can be transferred.

    All of it will be, over several hundred years.

    That’s what’s meant by the planet reaching a new equilibrium temperature. That’s the reason it takes a long while for the effects of a given amount of CO2 increase to stabilize once CO2 stops being added.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Oct 2007 @ 3:38 PM

  348. Re #347 Hank Roberts

    You say the point has already been dealt with, but no real answer has been forthcoming, although much has been said. In your post, you imply all of the added energy will be lost to space, but no explanation for the mechanism is given. It is very easy to say that is dealing with the point, but it does not get us any further forward. Also, remember that I want to concentrate on initially non-radiant energy. Your last paragraph is dealing with standard GHG theory, and so is not on point.

    I repeat below a paragraph from my #338, and ask anyone to show why they think it’s wrong.

    [[Assume that the concentration of GHGs including water vapour is an average of 2%, then the GHGs would acquire about 2% of the energy if shared out equally, and this 2% would escape to space as infrared photons from the GHGs. The oxygen and nitrogen cannot radiate, so the remaining approx 98% of the steady input supply goes into heating the atmosphere.]]

    Comment by AEBanner — 12 Oct 2007 @ 5:44 PM

  349. AEB posts, again:

    [[I repeat below a paragraph from my #338, and ask anyone to show why they think it’s wrong.

    [[Assume that the concentration of GHGs including water vapour is an average of 2%, then the GHGs would acquire about 2% of the energy if shared out equally, and this 2% would escape to space as infrared photons from the GHGs. The oxygen and nitrogen cannot radiate, so the remaining approx 98% of the steady input supply goes into heating the atmosphere.]]]]

    Okay, you didn’t like my last explanation, try this one. The atmosphere is NOT steadily getting hotter and hotter to a noticeable degree, aside from the very slow creep due to global warming. If it’s not getting rapidly warmer, despite the fact that a tremendous amount of energy pours into it every day, then THERE MUST BE SOME WAY OF GETTING RID OF THE ENERGY. Okay? If it DIDN’T get rid of the energy, IT WOULD HEAT UP QUICKLY.

    The atmosphere gets rid of heat energy by radiating it to space.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Oct 2007 @ 10:21 AM

  350. RE #349 Barton Paul Levenson

    [[Okay, you didn’t like my last explanation, try this one. The atmosphere is NOT steadily getting hotter and hotter to a noticeable degree, aside from the very slow creep due to global warming. If it’s not getting rapidly warmer, despite the fact that a tremendous amount of energy pours into it every day, then THERE MUST BE SOME WAY OF GETTING RID OF THE ENERGY. Okay? If it DIDN’T get rid of the energy, IT WOULD HEAT UP QUICKLY.

    The atmosphere gets rid of heat energy by radiating it to space.]]

    I completely agree with your statement above. There is no question about how the enormous amount of solar energy received is radiated back to space.

    But, I am concerned with a different problem which I’ve tried to state on several occasions now, without being properly understood.
    This is the item in my #338. In no way does it raise the subject of solar energy.

    It’s not a question of “not liking your explanation”. In common with other replies, it simply did not address the problem I posed.

    Comment by AEBanner — 13 Oct 2007 @ 11:05 AM

  351. AEBanner (344) says, “The Stefan-Boltzmann Law to which you referred gives the output power from a black body. Infrared emission rate from GHGs also follows this law, but only if sufficient power is being supplied to the GHGs in the first place. These gases are not, of themselves, power generators.”

    Not exactly on your point, but it reopens the door for an old chestnut. Why do GHG need “sufficient power” to emit ala Stefan-Boltzmann? And why don’t all atmospheric gases emit as such? The cosmic backgrounds presumably radiates about 4.5 microwatts/m2. Aren’t the GHG (and others??) molecular and, to a lesser extent, atomic vibrations sufficient?

    On your point (which I too am interested in but haven’t fully followed…), two points: 1) the latent and sensible heat energy picked up by the GHGs can radiate either up and out, or back down (actually isotropic, but same-same); 2) after a GHG radiates away the energy that it picked up from molecular collision, can it not pick up some more? Do either of these points have an effect on your thinking?

    Comment by Rod B — 13 Oct 2007 @ 11:10 AM

  352. All of the added energy will eventually be lost to space.

    Here’s how. You have a thousand people on a sports field. They can all catch and hand off softballs.

    The softball is the energy being moved around, whether it’s a photon or a collision, it’s a transfer of energy.

    Twenty of these thousand people, besides handing off, also have the strength to throw a softball. They throw it hard enough that if it doesn’t get caught by someone else, it will go right over the fence, to get it completely out of play.

    The other 9,980 people can only hand the softball back and forth — they aren’t able to throw it. They just hand it to another person.

    There’s been a steady rain of softballs into the stadium, and the people who catch them get rid of them promptly. Those who can throw them do throw them; anyone who can’t throw will hand them off in any random direction immediately.

    There has been an equilibrium, for the last eight thousand years or so — the people with strong arms have been throwing softballs out of the stadium at about the same rate they’ve been raining into the stadium. They don’t always throw them, sometimes they just hand them off. When they do throw them, they don’t throw them out of the stadium, they just throw them randomly. Most of them get caught by someone else in the stadium.

    Now, you’ve begun to upset the balance.

    You’re inside the stadium with a big bag, and you’re tossing more softballs into play that were just in the bag up til now.

    You toss them at random, to any of the thousand people in the stadium.

    9,980 of those people just hand them on again to any other person at random.

    20 of those people, remember, have the strong arms and when they get a softball, they can throw it. Sometimes they do throw it. Sometimes when it’s thrown it goes right out of the stadium completely.

    All these people catch and hand off or throw all the time, so your adding a few more softballs to the total number in play speeds up the catching and handing off and throwing slightly. As you continue to add more softballs, the catching, handing off, and throwing speeds up.

    For a while, there are slightly more softballs being handed and thrown around inside the stadium. You’ve added only a very few to the total, so almost all of them are just going back and forth. The odds are pretty low that they’ll get handed to someone with a strong arm.

    And most of the people with strong arms are in the middle of the crowd anyhow, no clearance around them even if they throw, just more people in the way.

    But one or two of the strong-armed people are near the edge of the field where the people thin out.

    Sometimes one of those people is handed or catches a softball. They randomly pass or throw it. They’re near the edge. So every time one of the strong-armed people catches a softball and happens to throw it toward the outfield fence, it goes clear out of the park. It’s gone.

    Eventually, all the softballs you added are going to get into the hands of one of the strong-armed people. Eventually each of those people will happen to throw a softball over the fence. Not every time.

    Once your bag is empty (your geyser or volcano runs out of heat) you stop adding more softballs to play.

    But almost all of the softballs you added are still going from hand to hand. For a few hundred years or so.

    Eventually every one you added gets thrown out of the park.

    Analogy: a weak thrower can only “hand off” energy — like a nitrogen or oxygen molecule, it can only take energy and bounce it on to another molecule by physically banging into it (whatever that means at the scale of molecular interactions, these aren’t really softballs).

    A strong thrower is a molecule that — in addition to being able to absorb energy and pass it on by contact, can also emit photons — can throw.

    A player who can only hand off the ball can catch one of those throws, but all that does is make them spin around or bounce off another person in the crowd while passing on the softball.

    So the strong-arm throwers aren’t “Maxwell’s Demons” — they aren’t selectively getting rid of the extra softballs you put into play. But their throws are strong enough that they _can_ leave the stadium.

    Whew.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Oct 2007 @ 12:02 PM

  353. Re #351 Rod B

    Thank you for your interesting and encouraging comments.

    Greenhouse gases do not generate power, and so if they are to radiate they must first be provided with the power, either by absorbing infrared photons of the appropriate wavelength (energy), or by kinetic energy from inter-molecular collisions. The required energy is quantised, and must match the change of vibrational/rotational energy level in the GHG molecule.

    We then have the basic old rule: energy out = energy in

    As for the atmosphere, I, myself, should appreciate an explanation of why the emission follows the S.B. Law. But then, again, the supply stream of photons TO the GHGs comes from the Earth’s surface which is radiating as a black body and so obeys Stefan_Boltzmann. Since this is a fourth power Temperature law, this effect probably greatly outweighs any contribution from collisional contributions (?? first power??), and so the emission rate from the GHGs must also follow the S.B. equation. It cannot be greater.

    With regard to oxygen and nitrogen, their molecular structures do not permit absorption of photons. But, this brings us to my original question, which is whether inter-molecular collisions can induce appropriate energy absorption in these gases, and if so how much? Rather than repeat the whole thing in detail here, please go to #338.

    Yes, I have taken on board the isotropic nature of the emission, and this could affect results by a factor of 2, if we ever get that far.
    And yes, I see no reason why the collision/emission process should not be repeated continuously if it indeed happens at all.

    Comment by AEBanner — 13 Oct 2007 @ 2:45 PM

  354. Re #352 Hank Roberts

    Thank you, Mr Roberts. Nice analogy, I like it.

    So more softballs in play means a higher temperature, right?
    So before the supply bag gets empty, if the softballs are tossed into play at a high enough rate (numbers per second), greater than they are being thrown out of the field, then the total number in play keeps on getting larger. That is, the temperature keeps on increasing. OK so far?

    Until the supply bag is empty.

    Now suppose there is a continuous delivery of new, full supply bags to the centre of the field!

    Comment by AEBanner — 13 Oct 2007 @ 5:37 PM

  355. AEBanner, no, I contend the S-B (Planck function) radiation is sourced completely different from the infrared emission “powered by” the quantum vibration/rotational energy levels within the molecule. The latter is not a function of the 4th power of the “molecular temperature”. The fact that the same molecule can absorb radiation into those internal levels even if the source of that radiation is S-B emanating from the earth’s surface is not a contradiction. Once the radiation is “out there” the recipient can not tell one emission source from another, other than it might like certain wavelengths.

    I think you are making too much of the latent/sensible heat source. After the surface emission travels a few centimeters, gets its energy absorbed by a GHG into rotational/vibration internal energy, and, within probably less than a microsecond (some say picosecond), gets transferred to another molecule of any heritage as translation energy, it’s all part of the same stew. When some of that energy finally gets “bumped” into a high altitude GHG and then emitted out of the atmosphere, it is impossible (other than statistics) to determine the initial source of that energy packet.

    Hank, your description of the process is, well, descriptive. But I do think it misses the point. If the softballs represent heat and the stadium guys are throwing far more softballs into the mix than the edge throwers can toss out, wouldn’t the temperature of the field increase? And the possibility of catching up in a hundred years (though I can’t see how) not make any real difference?

    Comment by Rod B — 13 Oct 2007 @ 6:57 PM

  356. Re #353 AEB

    Sorry, mistake in penultimate paragraph.
    Instead of “these gases”, please read “the greenhouse gases”.

    Comment by AEBanner — 14 Oct 2007 @ 6:29 AM

  357. Re #355 Rod B

    Sorry, but you have mis-understood my thinking. The GHGs are clearly NOT powered by vibrational/rotational energy levels within the molecules!!! They can only emit energy previously absorbed either from Earth’s surface-emitted photons, or perhaps(???) from inter-molecular collisions.

    It is this last possible alternative I’m concerned with, and only then from additional collisions arising from extra non-radiant heat added within the bulk of the atmosphere.

    However, I think your last paragraph has hit the proverbial nail on the head. Hank’s excellent and poetic analogy seems to me to have shown very clearly that the temperature of the atmosphere would, indeed, increase. Moreover, this would go on as long as the supply of softballs continued.

    The temperature of the atmosphere will continue to increase while the (non-radiant) energy is still supplied.

    Comment by AEBanner — 14 Oct 2007 @ 9:38 AM

  358. AEBanner (357), I think I’m with you…, but still maybe fail to understand your question. The rotational/vibrational energy in a GHG starts at the “zero” level. (Doesn’t mean 0 energy, but at the lowest possible energy in each mode and incapable of emission). Energy is then added from either IR radiation or transfer from translation energy via collision. From other posts the latter is not “perhaps” but mostly (though the posts generally refer to losing energy by either emission or collision transfer), until at high altitudes the path length (between collisions) gets much longer, or it emits back to the earth(??). At the first low level it would seem it is (only) the sensible and latent heat raising the temp of the low atmosphere and creating the energy transferring collisions, though GHGs can pick up sensible heat directly, and I guess water vapor is the primary recipient of latent heat.

    I’m starting to get wrapped around the axle here, but the point is that the energy sources (latent, sensible, IR radiation, some solar radiation) all eventually look alike and would tend to raise the temperature of the atmosphere at low levels and taper off as the altitude increases (except for the small solar radiance). The temperature of the atmosphere then tends to decrease virtually only through IR radiation, some going into space (about 235 watts worth) and about 325 watts reabsorbed by the ground. The long-term balance determines the temperature profile of the atmosphere and the temperature of the surface.

    Am I being any help here, or have I missed your question entirely?

    Comment by Rod B — 14 Oct 2007 @ 11:06 AM

  359. Re #358 Rod B

    Thanks for that, but I think you are trying to look too deeply into this matter.

    What I am saying, and Hank’s post has illustrated brilliantly, is simply that a continuous supply of heat energy into the atmosphere will increase the temperature, because it cannot escape to space as quickly as it is supplied. This is because the energy can escape to space only through photon emission from the GHGs, which may be present only at the 2% concentration level, including water vapour, and so the GHGs can acquire only 2% of the additional heat input stream, if shared out equally.

    Therefore, the atmospheric temperature will continue to increase as long as the additional heat supply is maintained.

    I’m trying to prepare the ground in order to avoid an expected shower of mortar bombs in the near future.

    Comment by AEBanner — 14 Oct 2007 @ 3:14 PM

  360. re 359
    I understand your point, and it is a curiously interesting question. I think (and need second guessing) GHG can emit (up or down) far more than the energy percent equal to the concentration percentage, through the multiple photon emission from a single molecule mentioned above. In equilibrium conditions GHGs account for (have to) emitting out (again, up or down) virtually 100% of the non-reflective “heat” (radiance, latent, or sensible) added to the atmosphere — even though their concentration is 2% or less. The relative amount of heat added from each source (radiance, latent, sensible, etc.) has virtually no effect, since, in the general sense “heats is heats” (not really, but it sounds good and makes the point.) In your scenario adding a lot of GHGs seems like it ought to cool the atmosphere, even at the surface.

    Comment by Rod B — 14 Oct 2007 @ 8:10 PM

  361. AEB writes:

    [[What I am saying, and Hank’s post has illustrated brilliantly, is simply that a continuous supply of heat energy into the atmosphere will increase the temperature, because it cannot escape to space as quickly as it is supplied. This is because the energy can escape to space only through photon emission from the GHGs, which may be present only at the 2% concentration level, including water vapour, and so the GHGs can acquire only 2% of the additional heat input stream, if shared out equally. ]]

    What you are saying is wrong, and contradicts what science has learned about electromagnetic radiation and climatology for the past 200 years or so. There has always been a continuous supply of heat energy into the atmosphere, but the heating does not run away because radiation by the greenhouse gases increases as the fourth power of temperature. Your fixation on the 2% figure misleads you. The fact is, the Earth’s temperature, and the temperature of any given planet or moon we know of, does not rise continuously. Your argument says that they should.

    Specifically, your phrase “it cannot escape to space as quickly as it is supplied” is just wrong. Conservation of energy means it does just that. The energy from the sun is balanced by the energy emitted from the planet. That’s true of all planets at all times. You can have discrepancies while the temperature of a planet is changing, but over one day or one year they are negligible, and in the long run all such imbalances are corrected by the Stefan-Boltzmann mechanism.

    Let’s say there’s an input stream of energy added to the atmosphere from nowhere. It’s being teleported in by sinister aliens, probably either Grays or Reptoids. The temperature of the atmosphere goes up. The greenhouse gases only get 2%. They radiate it away. Then they pick up more energy from molecular collisions. They radiate that away. The heating only continues up to a given point at which the radiation out matches all the heat sources in. The 2% of the energy held by the greenhouse gases is not always the same 2% of the energy. That’s where your mistake lies. You’re mistaking a short-term snapshot for an overall process.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 15 Oct 2007 @ 7:00 AM

  362. Re #360 Rod B

    Thank you for helping to clarify my ideas.

    I think we have to distinguish between two different effects;
    1. heating due to solar radiation
    2. atmospheric temperature increase due to “hot air” being added to the body of the atmosphere.

    In the first case, the power involved is, of course, enormous. It is radiated from the Earth’s surface, and is handled by the huge numbers of GHG molecules in the atmosphere. It is important to understand that it is not the GHG concentration, per se, which matters. It is the very number of participating GHG molecules which enables this huge power to be absorbed and radiated again!! If you consider a closed gas jar full of air, the GHG concentration is the same as that in the outside atmosphere, but clearly the molecule numbers are very, very different!

    In the second case, a continuous stream of “hot air” is added into the bulk of the atmosphere, and rises in accordance with convection to higher altitudes, so heating the atmosphere generally, in line with Hank’s analogy. This extra energy does not come from the Earth’s surface, and so does not take part in the standard GHG effect.

    The extra “hot air” energy is shared out equally by inter-molecular collisions between the molecules in the atmosphere, so that the only ones capable of emitting electromagnetic radiation, namely the GHGs, receive only their fare share which does, indeed, depend upon their concentration of about 2%. However, it does not follow that even this 2% share of the extra energy is all absorbed into the molecular energy levels and so become capable of being re-radiated to some extent. The shared-out energy may simply become increased kinetic energy of the GHGs, with no extra photon emission possible. It would be interesting, but not vital, to know the factor involved in this process.

    Comment by AEBanner — 15 Oct 2007 @ 11:28 AM

  363. Re #361 Barton Paul Levenson

    Thank you for your comments, but I am unable to accept them. I think you have not fully understood the point I have been trying to get across. Hopefully, my reply to Rod B, #362, will have helped to make things more clear.

    In your first paragraph where you say that the radiation by the GHGs increases as the fourth power of the (Absolute) temperature, you are clearly referring to electromagnetic radiation emitted from the Earth’s surface. Of course, I do agree with that. Then you go on to say that the temperature of the Earth does not rise continuously but, I ask, what has been happening to it since the beginning of the industrial revolution??? I hope to be able to offer an explanation which could compliment the enhanced greenhouse theory.

    Your second paragraph is simply wrong. Conservation of Energy is satisfied if you take into account the extra energy stored in the atmosphere.

    The energy received from the Sun is certainly balanced by the usual energy emitted by the planet, no question, but you have not treated the additional supply of “hot air” which I am suggesting is being continuously added to the bulk of the atmosphere. Please refer to my reply to Rod B above.

    In your third paragraph, you seem to be neglecting the idea that more and more “hot air” is being continuously supplied to the bulk of the atmosphere, and that this will rise to higher altitudes without heating the Earth’s surface. The added heat is spread throughout the atmosphere, and the GHGs get their fair share according to their concentration, about 2%.
    Even if the whole of their share were converted by collisions into excited state energy within the GHG molecules, then their subsequent rate of photon energy emission would still be only 2% of the input power of the “hot air” being added to the atmosphere. Therefore, the temperature of the atmosphere will continue to rise.

    Comment by AEBanner — 15 Oct 2007 @ 6:14 PM

  364. re AEBanner’s 362

    Others are better at this since I’m partly parroting what I’ve picked up here.

    I think we have to distinguish between two different effects;
    1. heating due to solar radiation
    2. atmospheric temperature increase due to “hot air” being added to the body of the atmosphere.

    Well, maybe as the onion layers get peeled back. But within a microsecond after a GHG molecule’s initial absorption of surface radiation all energy is essentially the same.

    You’re correct that the preponderance of energy/heat added to the atmosphere comes from earth surface blackbody radiation, about 350 watts/m2. The other sources are not tiny however: about 100 watts from latent and sensible heat and about 65 watts from direct solar absorption. (And I suppose the latent heat, predominately from water vapor, is not realized as temperature affecting until the vapor condenses.) Also you’re correct that the absolute number, not the percent concentration that is the bigger effect in absorption, in addition to GHGs capability of “turning the energy over”.

    …a continuous stream of “hot air” is added into the bulk of the atmosphere, and rises in accordance with convection to higher altitudes, so heating the atmosphere generally, in line with Hank’s analogy. This extra energy does not come from the Earth’s surface, and so does not take part in the standard GHG effect.

    The extra “hot air” energy is shared out equally by inter-molecular collisions between the molecules in the atmosphere, so that the only ones capable of emitting electromagnetic radiation, namely the GHGs, receive only their fare share which does, indeed, depend upon their concentration of about 2%. However, it does not follow that even this 2% share of the extra energy is all absorbed into the molecular energy levels and so become capable of being re-radiated to some extent. …

    This is where it starts to fall apart. The “extra energy” does so take part (in some fashion) in the GH effect. It is initially realized as translation kinetic energy. Through collision it can transfer (some of) that energy to another molecule, including GHGs. That molecule, by virtue of its tendency to equipartion, can transfer the energy from its translation to its vibration or rotation energy. (Some say the energy can transfer directly from #1′s translation to #2′s rotation, e.g.). A GHG is the only molecule that can absorb the surface radiation, and always into either vibration or rotation energy. From there it can 1) emit the energy in the infrared spectrum — up or down, or 2), most likely at lower altitudes, transfer the absorbed energy to its own translation or, directly or indirectly, to another molecule’s (likely O2 or N2) translation. Now it can reabsorb more surface radiation or transfer in some translation energy. In any case the energy is basically all in one pot and gets pretty much distributed equally without regard to its initial source — with the minor limitation that vibration and rotation energy levels are discrete/quantized.

    Am I helping or hurting?

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Oct 2007 @ 6:22 PM

  365. Re #364

    Thank you for your helpful comments.

    I think that there is no significant difference between our ideas on this matter. I do accept that a GHG molecule, after absorbing kinetic energy and subsequently emitting a photon, is fully capable of receiving more electromagnetic energy from the Earth’s surface, and so continue to take part in the GH effect. No problem.

    Your comments are helpful in that they have given a clear picture of the energy transfer system within the atmosphere, but when you say that the energy is basically all in one pot, this simply serves to support my idea that added “hot air” tends to raise the temperature of the atmosphere. I am suggesting that it cannot escape to space as quickly as it is supplied because of the low concentration of GHGs and the fact that they can only get their fair share of the extra energy through molecular collisions.

    On this last point, it would be helpful to know more details about the collision/energy absorption process in a GHG molecule, and the “efficiency” with which it occurs, since this will affect the amount of energy emitted to space. But I can’t see how it can exceed the 2% share.

    Comment by AEBanner — 16 Oct 2007 @ 7:27 AM

  366. AEBanner (365):

    My understanding: a GHG can “accept” energy from either IR radiation or from molecular collision, not just IR alone. The IR radiation must go into the internal vibration or rotation energy states. Only these energy states can emit the quantized IR radiation energy. (To the picky I might be using “states” incorrectly, but bear with me.) The incoming collision (translation) energy can 1) go into the GHG translation, 2) go into translation and then to vibration/rotation as the GHG has a tendency to more or less equitably distribute its energy among its various states (stores?), 3) go directly into the GHG vibration/rotation energy stores. Which it actually does is known only statistically. The GHG inherently tries to return its vibration or rotation energies to their lowest level, all things being equal. It can release this energy through emission, collision, or, to a lesser degree, redistribution. Collisions predominate at low altitudes. It does not inherently want to decrease its translation energy.

    Now I will use a couple of constructs that will raise the ire of some, but can be helpful for discussion. (I believe them to be correct but don’t really want to resurrect the debate…) 1) Individual molecules have real temperature ala nkT = 1/2mv2. 2)Vibration and rotation internal energies do not affect the real temperature (though they can be assigned a characteristic temperature, like radiation); though this is not critical to my point.

    When a GHG molecule and a regular molecule, say N2, collide, energy is transferred to the N2 molecule if the GHG is hotter. N2 gets a little hotter; the GHG gets a little cooler, though this might now be mitigated by the GHG molecule redistributing some internal energy to its translation energy. If the N2 molecule is hotter (say form latent or sensible heat transfer) energy will transfer to the GHG. The N2 cools (and spreads the latent/sensible heat a bit) and the GHG heats, though this likewise is mitigated with maybe redistribution of some of its received translation energy to internal energy. The internal energy gets more antsy and increases slightly the probability to relax its internal energy through IR emission. BTW, it’s actually a little more complex ala the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, but this doesn’t alter the point.

    Quickly jumping form the ridiculous (micro) to the sublime (macro), the very small number of GHG molecules are more than sufficient to emit all the radiation energy, up or down, that all inputs, earth IR, solar, latent, and sensible, can give it. Mostly because of a GHG molecule’s capability to turn it’s internal energy over and over very fast, and convert translation energy to emittable internal energy. And even if it goes through a jillion collisions and exchanges before it finally emits some energy forever.

    BTW this is the area that causes a lot of my skepticism (me being a card-carrying skeptic, of course), but not in the particular process we’re discussing.

    Comment by Rod B — 16 Oct 2007 @ 4:18 PM

  367. Re #361 Barton Paul Levenson
    And #366 Rod B

    After consideration of your posts above, I accept the point you are both making concerning the capability of the GH gases to radiate to space all the energy they receive by collisions with oxygen and nitrogen molecules.

    As I have already indicated though, it would be very interesting to know the relevant data; eg the conversion rate from the kinetic energy of these collisions into increased energy levels within the water and CO2 molecules, respectively, and the maximum rate of photon emission from these GHGs.

    Any chance of references, please?

    Comment by AEBanner — 18 Oct 2007 @ 10:43 AM

  368. Re: #334 Tamino on Friday roundup #3 (closed, so posting here instead).
    I’ll respond to your comments one at a time.
    I get the impression you’re having fun exploring the surface temperature record, and reporting your findings here as you go along. That’s a good thing.
    Quite true.

    But bear in mind you’re not the first to do so. In a previous comment you expressed surprise that I had responded so quickly. I suspect you thought that I was overly eager to contradict your model. This is not so, the reason for the quickness of my response is that I had done the analysis already; I’ve been looking at these data for a long time. I had even explored the “jump” model (which I usually call a “step-change” model) myself. And this isn’t even my field of research; there are many others who have been looking at it longer than I have.
    Ah I see; in addition you may be a faster worker than me, or have more time available.

    I am not an ideological frequentist, in fact my work (which is unrelated to climate science) requires a lot of Bayesian analysis. In my opinion it’s a mistake to marry oneself to either approach.
    I agree with you, but I was thrown by your not appearing to understand the factor of 8.8 which I had produced.

    I do indeed know of ways to calculate the likely significance of the difference between two competing models, and my earlier calculations indicated that it was in fact not significant.
    As for my earlier claim of acceleration of global warming recently, that opinion was formed in response to a specific question (a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away) about the time interval 1970 to the present. But I regard 1975 to the present as the “modern global warming era,” and for that time frame I have lately reversed my opinion, as I expressed in tamino.wordpress.com.

    Yes, I have now read that article, and found it very interesting. So I have resiled from step changes (when outliers are deleted) and you have resiled from acceleration in the data. “Resile” was apparently one of Tony Blair’s favourite words; perhaps I’d better stop using it now that he’s out of fashion!

    Estimating error ranges based on the red-noise character of data doesn’t depend on assuming an AR(1) model, although that is a common approach. I use a different method, which takes into account the full autocorrelation structure of the available data. That’s what was done in the aforelinked post. It seems to me that the response to Schwartz’s analysis actually proves that the data do not follow an AR(1) model adequately to derive an accurate value for the time constant of the global climate, even if there is one (and it’s overwhelmingly likely that there is more than one applicable time constant).
    You did attract comments in your blog asking for details of the calculations. For standard regression without autocorrelation, you rightly pointed out that standard statistical texts explain this. However, I don’t think the same is true for your auto-correlation analysis (or you use different standard texts from me). So, if I might press you, please could you supply a reference or details of your procedure, so that I can attempt to analyze the monthly data too. Personally, I don’t think there is much extra “real” information in the monthlies over the yearlies, but applying a sound statistical analysis to them might change my mind.

    I think your assigning the monikers “co2 brigade” and “solar brigade” is misleading (but not an intentional deception). Those who agree that greenhouse gases are the primary cause of modern warming do not deny the solar influence. Those who argue that the primary cause is solar variations have to overcome the difficult fact that solar variations simply don’t fit the bill, and have yet to offer any explanation that I’ve heard, how greenhouse gases can fail to warm the planet significantly.
    These were the names that sprang to my mind when I first started reading the blogs on both sides of the argument. I preferred them to “warmers” and “denialists”; the latter has too close an association to Holocaust denialists, where the evidence is (in my humble opinion of course) far more incontrovertible. Anyway, since then I have seen, as you say, CO2 brigaders who certainly acknowledge solar influence, but likewise I have seen solar brigaders who ackowledge a CO2 influence, but they don’t agree with, or remain to be convinced by, the magnitude of the effect IPCC is claiming, mainly relating to the thorny question of climate sensitivity – which I am not yet ready to address myself.

    I have several objections to the “jump” model. First, it has no basis (that I’m aware of) in physics; given two models which are statistically indistinguishable, it seems logical to prefer the one which has a sound physical interpretation.
    I agree that a linear trend is more plausible a priori. But something close to a jump could occur from sudden heat exchange with the oceans. So a La Nina might flatten off a rising trend for a while, and then an El Nino gives a big bump. As for “statistically indistinguishable”, I believe that the correct calculation on yearly data would show 5% significance in favour of the smaller error squared from the jump model (but I cannot currently prove that). This is not so important given your next point.

    Second, in order to isolate the long-term signal it helps to remove the known short-term factors as much as possible, i.e., to remove the el Nino and Mt. Pinatubo (and el Chicon, etc.) signal; doing so seriously undercuts the jump model.
    I agree; with removal of these effects I have “resiled” from the jump model.

    Third (for me, most persuasive), even without removing the el Nino signal the period 1997-2007 shows a statistically significant (even within stringent red-noise limits) deviation from flatness, rejecting this hypothesis.
    I did not find that was true for the yearly data, and I have not been able to analyze the monthly data in the same way as you, so cannot comment on that.

    I encourage your continued exploration of the data.
    Thanks, we all need encouragement – it is certainly fascinating stuff.
    Rich.

    Comment by See - owe to Rich — 20 Oct 2007 @ 6:27 AM

  369. Hi there…Thanks for the nice read, keep up the interesting posts..what a nice Friday

    Comment by Marion Jones — 26 Oct 2007 @ 9:13 PM

  370. I’m late to the party, but then again, I wasn’t reading climate blogs back in October.

    Unless I totally screwed up, if you account for in-field measurement uncertainty and reprocess the annual data the result is a ~18 years.

    In terms of the language everyone seems to be using:

    * The earth’s climate is the AR(1) process and the model earth’s temperature, T, would follow this process.
    * Uncertainty in measurement due to imprecise thermometers, lack of station coverage etc. is white noise.

    Using this language, GISS temperature measurements, Tm, are Tm = T+ e, where e is “noise”.

    The analysis also provides a fiduciary check on itself by giving an estimate of the magnitude of ‘e’– the uncertainty of the in field measurements. I get the 1-sigma error in ‘e’~ 0.08K, which is a bit higher than the 0.05K attributed to current level uncertainty due to lack of station coverage. However, the real infield uncertainty since 1880 is likely higher than the 0.05K expected with more recent instrumentation.

    So, basically, if you account for uncertainty in the data, this really simple model doesn’t look quite so bad. However, the time constant is much higher– and nearer 18 years.

    Comment by lucia — 21 Dec 2007 @ 11:03 AM

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