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  1. The link to your’s wiki OISM page is not working. :-)

    [Response: fixed. – gavin]

    Comment by Alfio Puglisi — 10 Oct 2007 @ 8:17 AM

  2. Great idea. I registered at the wiki, intending to add Lomborg’s latest denial (as reported 10/7 in the Washington post: But I found the page locked for editing.

    I’m no more a climate scientist than Lomborg, but even I begin to recognize his creative use of statistics–for example, not mentioning well-established severe weather increases, or creating a false dilemma between spending to combat global warming and spending to combat malaria. Seems to me that this article is another candidate for the wiki. – Peter Buck

    [Response: We’ve decided to keep the RC-wiki editors restricted for the time being to prevent spam/vandalism etc., but we will transfer all information from these comments to the wiki page at regular intervals. Lomborgs piece may well be worth doing as well. So comment away! – gavin]

    Comment by Peter Buck — 10 Oct 2007 @ 8:55 AM

  3. I was wondering when you guys were going to comment on that. The thing is, some people may just sign it thinking it says we need to take action to mitigate the damage caused by global warming without reading it through (because we are all so pressed for time). It is really obscene that so called scientists, MD’s no less, can send this through the mail.

    Comment by Figen Mekik — 10 Oct 2007 @ 8:59 AM

  4. Perhaps you would be kind enough, in the interest of balance, to include in your Wiki item listed under my name a reference to the correction which The Guardian were obliged to print 24 hours after Monbiot’s scientifically-inaccurate article. Also in the interest of balance, please reference the rebuttal of the RealClimate item entitled “Cuckoo Science” which is published by the Science and Public Policy Instutte and available at If you are not willing to include these items, then I should be grateful if you would take down the page referencing me. – Monckton of Brenchley

    Comment by The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley — 10 Oct 2007 @ 11:15 AM

  5. MDs are not scientists, IMO. (Two of my children are MDs.)

    However, in this instance there may be some issue of ethics violations on the part of those authors which are MDs, and using that information in their blurb.

    Somebody might like to check that out.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 10 Oct 2007 @ 11:24 AM

  6. I’d suggest renaming it “Oregon Institute of Scientific Malarkey” so as not to imply they do actual science when not working on utter malarkey.

    Comment by Roger Smith — 10 Oct 2007 @ 12:08 PM

  7. Most of the graphs show amount of fuel burnt, rather than CO2 concentrations, or better still radiative forcing. Perhaps this is to allow them to state that “hydrocarbon use has increased 6-fold”.

    And then we have this nonsense:
    “the sources and amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere are of secondary importance … it is human burninig of coal, oil and natural gas that is at issue. CO2 is merely an intermediate”

    Comment by Richard T — 10 Oct 2007 @ 12:11 PM

  8. This isn’t the only thing at OISM:

    near the bottom left of the page, one finds a link to an article by Mary Tiffany Gilder “debunking” Al Gore.

    Why would anybody care?
    Who is Mary Tiffany Gilder?
    Well, she’s:
    a) George Gilder’s daughter.
    b) A medical student at Albany Medical College.
    c) Such an expert at climate science that Steve Forbes featured her “debunking” Al Gore in the Sept 3, 2007 main editorial in Forbes magazine:

    I of course wrote a letter complaining about this to a friend at Forbes … but Steve Forbes does own the magazine, which makes it hard.

    The original version of this was at the Discovery Institute, which surprised me at first (DI is most famous for Intelligent Design):

    But, then it turned out that George Gilder is involved in DI:

    Perhaps Forbes didn’t want to point at a DI site…

    At least Schulte (of the Monckton/Schulte/Morano v Oreskes flap) was already a published medical researcher, not just a medical student… but at least, editors of serious medical journals like The Lancet or BMJ actually understand.

    However, after the petition project wiki is done, maybe people want to go after this one…

    Comment by John Mashey — 10 Oct 2007 @ 12:39 PM

  9. Can somebody, anybody, explain figure three of this paper? Where did that data originate?

    Comment by FigureThree — 10 Oct 2007 @ 12:53 PM

  10. I am an engineer at Penn State who got the packet from GWPP and immediately discounted it as nonsense. However then I received an email from a colleague that let me to this website. My first reaction was to think that you would be more effective if you simply presented clearly data and arguments that prove that the Robinson et al. arguments are riddled with important errors and based on bias rather than scientific arguement, without blatantly ridiculing of the people who wrote the article.

    I have two questions about the packet that came from GWPP that I am wondering if someone could respond to:

    1/ I find that the “Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons” is within the Penn State Universitty library system. The journal web-page says that as of 2003 it is peer-reviewed. Clearly, this journal is not the right place for a what is claimed to be a technical review of CO2 emmisions and consequences on global warming, however I do not understand why the author of “Oregon Institute of Science and Malarkey” wrote that the paper was not peer reviewed if the journal is a peer reviewed journal. The supplied link did not help me answer that question.

    2/ The GWPP packet also included a note from “FredercK Seitz” who identifies himself as past president of the National Acadamy of Sciences and Rockefeller University. I looked him up on the web and it appears this is true. These are pretty serious credentials. I ask myself: why would a highly respected scientist put his name out as supporting a review that is such poor science? Regardless of his personal biases, a good scientist, we believe, does not support a paper that is scientifically erroneous. Do we conclude that Dr. Seitz has no scientific ethics? Do we conclude that a former NAS president has allowed personal biases to overcome scientific scrutiny? There was no mention of Dr. Seitz made in the commentary “Oregon Institute of Science and Malarky,” yet the inclusion of his letter urging support for the petition is probably much more important to the “anti Gobal Warming cause” than the article. Is Frederick Seitz a dishonest person and a poor scientist? How did he get to be president of the NAS? I really would like to understand this.

    Comment by Jim Brasseur — 10 Oct 2007 @ 1:17 PM

  11. Most objections to the US signing the Kyoto Protocols have little to do with science and everything to do with politics – and rightly so.

    Comment by Edward A. Barkley — 10 Oct 2007 @ 2:27 PM

  12. Oh come on John can’t a well-connected med student with Google offer up a counter theory? It seems they always come up with the same one!

    Comment by Mark A. York — 10 Oct 2007 @ 3:22 PM

  13. A couple of my colleagues received this as well. I found it interesting that several people in geology, engineering, and other people mentioned having gotten the package, but it wasn’t sent to anyone in the meteorology program.

    Comment by Raymond Arritt — 10 Oct 2007 @ 3:25 PM

  14. Were the Robinson Robinson Soon (RRS) team behind that “schoolgirl who debunked global warming” thing?

    The Sargasso Sea and the good ol’ US of A are not the whole of the world. And the theory is that the global energy balance is perturbed by enhanced greenhouse effect. So a real scientist would try to refute the theory by looking at the global level. Otherwise it’s like guessing the size of a sheet of paper using a 1cm square piece. So it seems RRS have totally given up all pretence of science by now.

    Aside from the starter RC give. RRS state “The average temperature of the Earth has varied within a range of about 3°C during the past 3,000 years.”
    That should read:
    “The average temperature of the SARGASSO SEA has varied within a range of about 3°C during the past 3,000 years.”
    A real scientific summary would use a range of peer work. Such as the studies used for this wiki page: RRS have obviously taken their 3 deg C from that graph – they have no alternate source.

    “It is currently increasing as the Earth recovers from a period that is known as the Little Ice Age, as shown in Figure 1.” Well again it’s not the Earth they’re talking about, it’s the Sargasso Sea.

    Here are the 3 main surface dataset graphs.

    RRS have an odd notion of “rebound”, in their world a rebound tends to wait for a couple of centuries before really setting in. I have never found a peer reviewed paper that proposes a theory of rebound (rather than just handwaving speculation).

    And anyway the LIA is associated with the Maunder Minimum and vulcanism.

    As a hobbyist reader of the science, the problem for me is highlighted by the reference to Neptune, I’ve not been able to get access to Hammel & Lockwood (refs 43 & 44) although Sromovsky et al “The nature of Neptune’s increasing brightness: evidence for a seasonal response” is here: And the title speaks for itself.

    If I had the time I could continue, I’ll see what others come up with and try to make time over the coming weekend.

    Based on this performance my impression is that Robinson, Robinson, and Soon should be working as lawyers. The problem that their approach poses both for them and for those who swallow this nonsense (not at insult – a supportable statement) is that physical processes are not amenable to persuasion by obfuscation.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 10 Oct 2007 @ 3:41 PM

  15. “ lord should have lordship save civilly..”

    Comment by Wat Tyler — 10 Oct 2007 @ 4:27 PM

  16. Interesting that Viscount Monckton wrote in. For those who want to see a debunking of his famous editorial, try:

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Oct 2007 @ 4:27 PM

  17. Re. #10, Jim Brasseur:

    Frederick Seitz is a condensed matter physicist, and has never been a climate scientist.

    Seitz is a former Chair of the George C. Marshall Institute; is Chairman of the Science and Environmental Policy Project; is on the Board of Academic and Scientific Advisors of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, and has been a Science Advisor to The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition. All four organisations actively lobby against any measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, all four are well known for publishing disinformation concerning science in order to achieve this objective; and all four are funded by sections of the fossil fuel industry.

    Seitz has also worked as a consultant to the tobacco industry, and was described in an internal memo by Phillip Morris Co. in 1989 as “quite elderly and not sufficiently rational to offer advice.”.

    Seitz was instrumental in organising the original “petition project” of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine or OISM: a petition that led the National Academy of Sciences to take unprecedented step of issuing a statement disassociating itself from the project and from its former president.

    The petition, despite being frequently cited by global warming critics as showing that thousands of scientists disagree with the consensus on global warming, contains almost no people with relevant expertise; and its vetting was so lax that it included fictional signatories such as Star Wars characters and a member of the Spice Girls.

    Seitz is also known for a highly disingenuous article that he published in the Wall Street journal in 1996, purporting to criticise the IPCC review process, and implying he was privy to this process, without revealing that he has never had any involvement with the IPCC and has never been a climate scientist (see also here).

    Comment by Dave Rado — 10 Oct 2007 @ 4:36 PM

  18. Re Seitz:

    By 1989, the CEO of R.J. Reynolds, William Hobbs, concluded that “Dr. Seitz is quite elderly and not sufficiently rational to offer advice.”

    However, he continued to, on toxins, the ozone hole, and climate change.

    A long time ago, a friend and I each checked 10+ names from a long list of scientists opposing the conventional thinking on climate change. She got some who had published, but a long time ago. I got some oil geologists, and one who listed his typing skills above his environmental credentials on his resume.

    Comment by Karen Street — 10 Oct 2007 @ 4:56 PM

  19. Re. #4, Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, I am aware that the Guardian published a response from you, under its right of reply policy; but that is not the same thing as publishing a correction. If they did indeed publish an actual correction rather than just an article written by you, can you provide a url where one can read it?

    Regarding the Science and Public Policy Institute, see here.

    Comment by Dave Rado — 10 Oct 2007 @ 5:02 PM

  20. Re the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons

    The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (JPandS), until 2003 named the Medical Sentinel, is the journal of the association [of American Physicians and Surgeons]. Its mission statement includes “… a commitment to publishing scholarly articles in defense of the practice of private medicine, the pursuit of integrity in medical research … Political correctness, dogmatism and orthodoxy will be challenged with logical reasoning, valid data and the scientific method.” Articles in the journal are subject to a double-blind peer-review process.

    Articles published in the journal have argued that the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are unconstitutional, that “humanists” have conspired to replace the “creation religion of Jehovah” with evolution, that HIV does not cause AIDS, and that the “gay male lifestyle” shortens life expectancy by 20 years. A series of articles by pro-life authors also claimed a link between abortion and breast cancer; such a link has been rejected by the National Cancer Institute.

    The journal is not listed in the major literature databases of MEDLINE/PubMed nor the Web of Science. Quackwatch lists JPandS as an untrustworthy, non-recommended periodical. The World Health Organization found that a 2003 article on vaccination published in the journal had “a number of limitations which undermine the conclusions drawn by the authors”, although it noted that the matters raised in the paper were of sufficient importance that “WHO and GACVS will continue to keep the issue under careful and ongoing review.”

    Perhaps the people studying contemporary society asked for this magazine to be put in your library.

    Comment by Karen Street — 10 Oct 2007 @ 5:02 PM

  21. For information purposes, it would be useful to check the IP of comment number 4 and see if it matches relevant IP’s of Monckton as mentioned by Monbiot and Tim Lambert:

    But as MOnckton has no grasp of climatology or physics, he hardly needs debunking, so no need to waste a page on him unless he continues to peddle his mistakes as being correct.

    Comment by guthrie — 10 Oct 2007 @ 5:08 PM

  22. In light of RealClimate’s endorsement of Al Gore’s film getting the science essentially right, I wonder what RC’s view of a court case in the UK finding 9 errors in it:

    Comment by AdrianJC — 10 Oct 2007 @ 5:15 PM

  23. Re: 10

    You must not have read the Wikipedia entry on Seitz.

    To summarize:
    -Seitz was a professor of physics at Illinois from 1949-1968 where he did seminal work on the nature of unit cells in crystalline solids
    -During much of this time (1962-1969) he was also president of the NAS
    -Seitz ended his active research role in 1968 to take on an administrative job as president of Rockefeller university
    -After retiring from academia altogether in 1979, he became a ‘permanent consultant’ for RJ Reynolds Tobacco
    -In 1989, CEO of RJ Reynolds let Seitz go because “Dr Seitz is quite elderly and not sufficiently rational to offer advice”
    -Seitz has continued to work for the Marshall Institute and other such think tanks
    -He is currently 96 years old

    So for the past 38 years, Seitz has been working for special interest groups. Despite his impressive credentials, the last time that he held an active research position was in 1968. Furthermore, his work involved solid state physics, not atmospheric dynamics. Based on this, I think that it is fair to question his motives.

    Comment by Invictus — 10 Oct 2007 @ 5:15 PM

  24. re: #10
    I must help out a fellow Penn Stater:

    Sometimes even great scientists sometimes later go off into strange things, and Seitz has made a second career of it.

    Karen Street’s link in #14 is worth examining.

    Comment by John Mashey — 10 Oct 2007 @ 6:34 PM

  25. Re/ Jim Brasseur at #10:

    The journal web-page says that as of 2003 it is peer-reviewed.

    I do not understand why the author of “Oregon Institute of Science and Malarkey” wrote that the paper was not peer reviewed if the journal is a peer reviewed journal.

    You’re joking, right? If not, then look me up. I’m gonna start my own peer-reviewed journal, and you will know it’s peer-reviewed because it’ll say so, right on the website. Don’t try looking for it, or JPANDS, on Medline — it would spoil the fun.

    Comment by jre — 10 Oct 2007 @ 6:45 PM

  26. re: #10, also has some pertinent information about Seitz.

    Also, re: whether Robinson, Robinson & Soon was “peer reviewed”, peers are people with whom the author shares a field of expertise. A doctor’s peers are doctors, a climate scientist’s peers are climate scientists. I am sure there are matters of method and data confirmation that will overlap, but the subtleties of a medical paper would be lost on a climate scientist, and the reverse is true. I doubt very much whether a peer review undertaken by The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons of a climate science paper really qualifies.

    Comment by F Mackenzie — 10 Oct 2007 @ 7:03 PM

  27. Note that for the journal that is apparently publishing this (Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons), it is not the first foray into publishing garbage of this sort. Here is a link to something that they published in regards to DDT a few years back:

    I guess that journal is trying to become a sort of multidisciplinary counterpart to “Energy and Environment”.

    Comment by Joel Shore — 10 Oct 2007 @ 7:10 PM

  28. Here is a blogger who has done a pretty thorough investigation of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons and the sort of junk that they publish:

    Comment by Joel Shore — 10 Oct 2007 @ 7:43 PM

  29. First, I would like to note that “An Inconvenient Truth” as been adjudged political by a British Court ( because of the errors in it. Under this ruling, a teacher that wants to show the movie in class must tell their students that it is political rather than scientific in nature. That is a ruling that I believe the Heartland will come to regret.

    As for the current Marlarkey, my favorite pair of sentences are:

    Glaciers regularly lengthen and shorten in delayed correlation with cooling and warming trends. Shortening lags temperature by about 20 years, so the current warming trend began in about 1800.

    1) This in only plausible when the temperature is near 0C. (I.e, if the temperature in 10C and it cools 2C, the glacier will continue to shorten. If the temperature is -40C, there is likely to be no response to either a cooling or warming trend.)
    2) In many scenarios, warming results in increased snowfall resulting in glacier lengthening as a direct result of climate warming.
    3) Response time is dependent on a variety of factors, and this is not a constant.

    Three serious mistakes in two sentences. Under the precedent of the British court ruling, this is a political tract, rather than a work of science.

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 10 Oct 2007 @ 7:51 PM

  30. Thank you for setting up the page for the new OISM paper. I hope some of the good points listed here by contributors will be compiled there quickly. I’m an engineering professor who works on global warming issues, so the stench of this article was apparent as soon as I opened the envelope. However, as noted by #10 above, it would be very helpful to have a concise, sober, and solid website to which I can direct my colleagues who also received the article and may not be as familiar with the confusion sowed by these science deniers.

    Comment by Ed M. — 10 Oct 2007 @ 8:12 PM

  31. Here is some more information about Seitz which shows how he signed on and how much he was paid by the Tobacco Institute.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 10 Oct 2007 @ 8:47 PM

  32. Oregon Institute of Silly Malarkey, and that is an insult to the Irish.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 10 Oct 2007 @ 8:48 PM

  33. Thanks for the wiki-debunking and for collecting the info in one place. I received the letter (I’m a geologist), and although it was clear that the article was nonsense, I didn’t know the history behind this group.

    Comment by Kim — 10 Oct 2007 @ 9:47 PM

  34. I noticed that Robinson’s Figure 1 is an incomplete reproduction of Keigwin’s figure. In the original, station “S” data are provided, showing that recent SST has been more than a half degree above the 23 C line on the plot. For some reason this data was removed by Robinson, and replaced with a single blue circle below the 23 degree line. The caption says that the SST rose by .25 degrees between 1975 and 2006, but no data are provided, and the data showing a larger increase at station “S” was stripped out of the original figure. The recent SST data were also taken off of the figure when it was reproduced in the Wall Street Journal. To actually remove data from a figure before reproducing it, without explaining why, seems like scientific fraud to me.

    Comment by mbeb — 11 Oct 2007 @ 12:06 AM

  35. OFF TOPIC:

    Didnt know where to put this. BUT… The IPCC AR4 FAQ link in the START HERE section seems to be dead.

    It was:

    but seems to be now:

    I often share the ‘start here’ page. Its a great page…but i hate dead links. Thats all. Thanks for a great resource.

    Comment by CraigM — 11 Oct 2007 @ 12:06 AM

  36. The IPCC did a comparison of different climate models. I can’t seem to find it. I am hoping that they have p values (or equivalent probability statistics). I would be interested in seeing which the top model is these days. Does anybody have a favorite? Thanks!

    Comment by petefontana — 11 Oct 2007 @ 12:45 AM

  37. I would like to make a request of the authors of this outstanding blog. I read a lot of the Scienceblogs and get really tired of their attempts to be personable and fill their pages with aggressive, colorful language (PZ Myers in particular). At first I thought it was cool, when there was just a little bit of it. But after a while, it just becomes another crappy voice. And I find myself appreciating Real Climate for the tone of professionalism you generally bring. I notice this post uses the word “malarky” — please try to avoid sliding down into the gutter of so many other blogs. This is a great blog in large part because it has a strong, clear and professional voice to it. As much as I used to want scientists to be “more like real people,” after a while, real people can kind of get tiresome. Please keep your great dignity. It really is appreciated.

    Comment by Cliff — 11 Oct 2007 @ 1:43 AM

  38. Re: #29 – I am an environmental lawyer in Australia and a presenter for Al Gore’s Climate Project so I read the UK decision criticising “An Inconvenient Truth” (AIT) with interest. This is one topic that I feel I can contribute to on RealClimate and this seems like an appropriate thread for the post (I am a regular reader but I normally just follow the scientific discussion without contributing).

    The decision, Dimmock v Secretary of State for Education & Skills [2007] EWHC 2288 (Admin), is available at

    The case arose from a decision of the UK government to distribute AIT to all UK state secondary schools. A father of two school children and a school governor claimed that the distribution of AIT infringed sections 406 and 497 of the Education Act 1996 (UK), which forbids “the promotion of partisan political views in the teaching of any subject in [UK schools].”

    There are a couple of preliminary points to note about how the case was conducted. First, the case was defended by the UK Government and Al Gore was not a party to it or called as a witness so he had no opportunity to respond to the criticisms of his film by the plaintiff. Second, the main witness for the plaintiff was an Australian climate skeptic, Bob Carter. See Deltoid’s profile of him at

    Turning to the decision, the judge accepted at paragraph 17 of his judgment that the following propositions are supported by a vast quantity of research published in peer-reviewed journals worldwide and by the great majority of the world’s climate scientists:

    “The Film advances four main scientific hypotheses, each of which is very well supported by research published in respected, peer-reviewed journals and accords with the latest conclusions of the IPCC:
    (1) global average temperatures have been rising significantly over the past half century and are likely to continue to rise (“climate change”);
    (2) climate change is mainly attributable to man-made emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide (“greenhouse gases”);
    (3) climate change will, if unchecked, have significant adverse effects on the world and its populations; and
    (4) there are measures which individuals and governments can take which will help to reduce climate change or mitigate its effects.”

    However, the judge then went on to find there are nine errors in AIT. The judge said that these errors “or departures from the mainstream, by Mr Gore in AIT in the course of his dynamic exposition, do arise in the context of alarmism and exaggeration in support of his political thesis.” The nine “errors” include, for example, that a sea-level rise of up to 20 feet would be caused by melting of either West Antarctica or Greenland “in the near future”. The judge found “This is distinctly alarmist and part of Mr Gore’s ”wake-up call“. It was common ground that if Greenland melted it would release this amount of water – “but only after, and over, millennia.”

    While skeptics will claim this decision “proves” Al Gore and AIT are alarmist and false and will use it to spread disinformation, in the context of the acceptance by the judge that climate change is real and happening, the nine alleged errors are relatively minor matters that do not challenge the major message in the film: that climate change is real and that individuals and governments need to take action to prevent it.

    Comment by Chris McGrath — 11 Oct 2007 @ 3:54 AM

  39. “Correlation does not prove causality, but non-correlation proves non-causality.” – Para 19 of Atmospheric and Surface Temperatures

    I suppose this is true, in the sense that if you had zero correlation it would be hard to justify causation. Although, I’m not sure it constitutes proof.

    However, there is some correlation between CO2 levels (and even annual fossil fuel use) and temperature. All it demonstrates is that there is more than one causal factor, as is well known, with aerosols (from fossil fuels and volcanoes), land-use changes (through affecting CH$ and CO2 levels and albedo) and solar irradiance all playing a role.

    Causality of CO2 influence on climate is, after all, proved by experiments of its effect on absorbing longwave radiation. The only question is the relative importance of CO2 (and human influence more generally) and other factors. Clearly this relative balance changes with time.

    Comment by Timothy — 11 Oct 2007 @ 3:59 AM

  40. The IPCC asks that people link “through the front door” here:

    They make that clear right at the top:

    “Please access the Summary for Policymakers (SPM), the Technical Summary (TS), chapters and other material from the following table of links. Links to the Supplementary Material pages are also provided.”

    Within that table, the links do change whenever docs get revised.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Oct 2007 @ 7:05 AM

  41. #22 Adrian JC

    In light of RealClimate’s endorsement of Al Gore’s film getting the science essentially right, I wonder what RC’s view of a court case in the UK finding 9 errors in it

    I suspect that the Realclimate contributors would point to this passage:

    “17. I turn to AIT, the film. The following is clear:
    i) It is substantially founded upon scientific research and fact, albeit that the science is used, in the hands of a talented politician and communicator, to make a political statement and to support a political programme.
    ii) As Mr Chamberlain persuasively sets out at paragraph 11 of his skeleton:

    “The Film advances four main scientific hypotheses, each of which is very well supported by research published in respected, peer-reviewed journals and accords with the latest conclusions of the IPCC:
    (1) global average temperatures have been rising significantly over the past half century and are likely to continue to rise (“climate change”);
    (2) climate change is mainly attributable to man-made emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide (“greenhouse gases”);
    (3) climate change will, if unchecked, have significant adverse effects on the world and its populations; and
    (4) there are measures which individuals and governments can take which will help to reduce climate change or mitigate its effects.”

    These propositions, Mr Chamberlain submits (and I accept), are supported by a vast quantity of research published in peer-reviewed journals worldwide and by the great majority of the world’s climate scientists.

    That is: the film is essentially scientifically correct.

    #29 Aaron Lewis:
    First, I would like to note that “An Inconvenient Truth” as been adjudged political by a British Court ( because of the errors in it.

    That’s not the case. That the film was political, and partisanly so, within the meaning of those words in the statute was pretty much common ground between the parties. On political:

    Paul Downes, using persuasive force almost equivalent to that of Mr Gore, has established his case that the views in the film are political by submitting that Mr Gore promotes an apocalyptic vision, which would be used to influence a vast array of political policies, which he illustrates in paragraph 30 of his skeleton argument

    and on partisan:

    Although there was some earlier suggestion on behalf of the Defendant that partisan might relate to ‘party political’, it soon became clear that it could not be and is not so limited. Mr Downes pointed to dictionary definitions suggesting the relevance of commitment, or adherence to a cause. In my judgment, the best simile for it might be “one sided”.

    (all quotes taken from the judgment).

    As to the errors in the film, they are all points at which the film departs from the mainstream consensus, defined by the IPCC reports. What the DoEaS was required to do was simply to point these out. The judge accepted the proposition that “…in any event, nothing in the 1996 Act (or elsewhere) obliged teachers to adopt a position of studied neutrality between, on the one hand, scientific views which reflect the great majority of world scientific opinion and, on the other, a minority view held by a few dissentient scientists.”

    Comment by Robin Levett — 11 Oct 2007 @ 7:57 AM

  42. Timothy,
    “Correlation does not prove causality, but non-correlation proves non-causality.” – Para 19 of Atmospheric and Surface Temperatures

    We’ve known since well before Hume that the notion of causality is understood intuitively much more easily than it is pinned down rigorously. Hume originated the association between correlation and causation, with its implication that causation can only be established by repeated trials, etc. I would contend that the scientific criterion for causation is correlation + a scientific model for how the cause brings about the effect. The model may be based all or in part on repeated trials, but I would contend that it is a more stringent criterion.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Oct 2007 @ 8:50 AM

  43. Well done on these posts, everyone, and good to see ‘nonsense’ being jumped on so quickly.

    That said, and regarding “AIT”, much as I admire Al Gore’s sentiment, I think the use of exaggeration and apocalyptic language actually works *against* the clarity of the climate science, such as it stands at present, rather than promoting clarity. Such language merely makes us sound like another voice in a clamour of competing, apocalyptic religions, each one warning in its own way of “the end of the world” and our need to repent, worship the true God/prophet/cause etc. Indeed, much of the criticism and hostility aimed against those of us who would wish to warn of the dangers of unrestrained CO2 emissions is that the proponents of CO2 warming hold their views ‘religiously’. I don’t think they do, actually, far from it in fact.

    What still bothers me greatly, though, is that the upper range (‘worse case’ rather than ‘worst case’?) scenarios occupy such a wide possible range of climate outcomes, mainly (as I understand it) because of the long upper tail of estimates of the climate sensitivity. That seems to me the point to hammer home, and keep hammering, presenting realistic outcomes over sensible time-frames. It’s boring and totally attritional compared with religious or political ways of influencing people, but I don’t see we have any alternative to it if we are to avoid ending up seeming like just another interest group.

    Comment by Nick Odoni — 11 Oct 2007 @ 9:20 AM

  44. Re 4 The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley “Perhaps you would be kind enough, in the interest of balance…”

    You are mistaken in assuming that science can be balanced by editorial opinion and non-science, sir.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 11 Oct 2007 @ 10:26 AM

  45. James Hansens seemingly subsequent work to the AIC stresses that sea level rises are unlikely to as the IPCC recent report states. I am unsre as to exactly how much sea leve lrise Mr Hansen is stating but WAIS and Greenland could be adding 10ft rathr than 80 cm’s.

    Something to do with non linear collpase (is that a tipping point).

    Comment by Pete Best — 11 Oct 2007 @ 10:59 AM

  46. The attempt to discredit Frederck Seitz is childish, and shouldn’t be considered in the wiki unless there is an effort to dig up dirt on all scientists discussed. What are Mann’s, Schmidt’s, Benestad’s shortcomings – political preferences, industry affiliations, age, negative quips from peers? And who cares? You tell me how their publish work stands up to peer review, the extent of contributions to their field, successes in challenging conventions – that is information I can use. This website has the chance to become something more than a useless spin machine. Don’t blow it.

    Comment by Michael — 11 Oct 2007 @ 11:14 AM

  47. Re # 39 Timothy (and # 42, Ray’s comment): Correlation does not prove causality, but non-correlation proves non-causality.”

    In biology, there are plenty of complex pathways (such as foodweb interactions, biochemical pathways, and neural responses) in which direct cause and effect relationships between two events may not be clearly correlated because of multiple branchpoints in the pathway, feeback loops, etc. So, a “signal” A may cause predicted response “B” in some cases, but not others; as a result, it can be difficult to see any correlation (the two events appear to occur randomly), though there is a well-understood cause and effect relationship between the two.

    Comment by Chuck Booth — 11 Oct 2007 @ 11:18 AM

  48. Just as a follow-up to my post in #43, it may interest people to see the response of the plaintiff (Mr Dimmock) after the UK court case against AIT, his words reported here from the BBC news website:

    “Mr Dimmock said: ‘I am elated with today’s result, but still disappointed that the film is able to be shown in schools. If it was not for the case brought by myself, our young people would still be being indoctrinated with this political spin.’

    So, as far as he is concerned, Gore’s film is indoctrination, not science, and presumably, by implication, those of us agreeing with the tone or drift of AIT are also no better than other indoctrinators, such as religious or political fanatics. And there will now be a lot of people tempted to follow the same view, or, perhaps worse, to say ” a plague on all your houses ..”, so that they have given up listening altogether.

    So much for the perils of exaggeration, even well-meaning exaggeration by someone like Mr Gore. Well, we can’t say now that we haven’t been warned.

    Comment by Nick Odoni — 11 Oct 2007 @ 11:38 AM

  49. Nick Odoni wrote: “I think the use of exaggeration and apocalyptic language actually works *against* the clarity of the climate science, such as it stands at present, rather than promoting clarity.”

    Someone once wrote that nothing produces clarity of mind like the knowledge that one will be hanged in the morning. “Apocalyptic language” about global warming and its likely consequences is entirely justified given the facts and is not “exaggeration”. Everyone needs to have great clarity about what is going to happen to the Earth’s biosphere and the human species if anthropogenic global warming continues, and clear language describing this will be, appropriately, apocalyptic.

    I think that some people automatically reject such justifiably apocalyptic language as “exaggerated” because they have an a priori bias that such consequences are “unthinkable” and simply cannot happen, which is an understandable bias because we are talking of changes that are entirely outside the realm of human experience throughout the history of our species. But that mental bias — that psychological denial — needs to be recognized for what it is, and set aside, so that we can contemplate with clarity the consequences of our action or inaction.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 11 Oct 2007 @ 11:41 AM


    DOOMED !!!!!!!!

    Comment by pete best — 11 Oct 2007 @ 12:18 PM

  51. Nick Odoni — The Wikipdidia page on PETM (Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum) contains no serious exaggerations. This period did indeed happen around 55 million years ago, so presumably something roughly similar could happen again. I fail to see how mentioning such a possiblity does not provide clear information.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Oct 2007 @ 12:25 PM

  52. So if we are all so committed to sound science, how come nobody from RC or related sites has yet provided a coherent, robust, scientifically demonstratable proof of the central proposition to the AGW argument? That is, that doubling CO2 levels in atmosphere will increase the global average temperature by 2.5 Degrees C.

    The lack of response to this clear and explicit question is damning.

    [Response: Been there, done that. And by the way, it’s probably 3 deg C, not 2.5. – gavin]

    Comment by shocked — 11 Oct 2007 @ 1:52 PM

  53. You can add physicists to your list of recipients. I got mine today. Don’t know how they found me, but I’m glad they did. I’ll add it to my collection of crackpot science, right next to the expanding contracting universe and the guy who found the 10th and 11th planets through the use of astrology.

    For what it is worth, the NAS has publicly and explicitly dissociated itself from Frederick Seitz due to his previous efforts with the Oregon Institute and in particular publishing a report that was deceptively designed to look like an official NAS journal article.

    Comment by Paul J. Camp — 11 Oct 2007 @ 2:07 PM

  54. Re: comments on perceived alarmism…

    I just had another look at AIT; I have to say, I see no evidence of alarmism. Alarmism involves the cherry-picking of individual bits of information, out of step with a larger body, and making unwarranted and frightening claims. Raising the alarm, on the other hand, involves taking conclusions from a broad body of evidence as a whole.

    In particular, regarding Greenland and sea levels, Gore points out that the signs are troubling (dramatically increasing extent of summertime surface melt), that the scientific community that studies the large ice sheets are not at all certain what will happen, though large-scale melt is becoming more likely, and the dramatic consequences should the Greenland ice sheet melt. He does not give a timeframe, and none was implied in the film.

    Furthermore, I think it’s important to recognize that, from a policy perspective, the name of the game is risk management. The IPCC has done an excellent job of cataloging potential impacts and their likelihood. In addition to effects we can project with high confidence, there also exists the potential for catastrophic surprises. Given that the stakes are so high, it is important to examine these surprises. This isn’t alarmism, it’s laying out the risks of twiddling these knobs. It’s risk management.

    Suppose that 2% of all commercial airline flights ended in catastrophic crashes; i.e., a 2% probability of death when climbing on an airplane. Would anyone ever put their child on an airplane? No, of course not! Because, relative to the cost, the risk is simply too high. Risk management.

    Comment by robert davies — 11 Oct 2007 @ 2:08 PM

  55. The mailing went out to a lot more than just “engineers, biologists, computer scientists and geologists.” As I reported in my blog, I (a Ph.D. sociologist) received the mailing, but it was addressed to me as a member of the “Communications/Humanities/Fine Arts” faculty, so they aren’t picky who they get to sign their petition.

    Comment by Sue — 11 Oct 2007 @ 2:13 PM

  56. Re 41
    Thanks! I had not seen the details when I posted.

    Nevertheless, the case sets a benchmark for accuracy in school materials. I hope that such a high of standard accuracy is applied to all school materials.

    I expect all science to be one sided. That is not partisan. The truth is one-sided.

    However, the IPCC findings reflect the rather narrow view of scientists. It may be good science, but planners and engineers treat uncertainty differently and therefore have other views of the data. Thus, the IPCC is not the only correct and useful view of the data. AIT is informed by these other views. A climate scientist offering a “conservative estimate of predicted storms” means something very different from a engineer calculating a “conservative estimate of predicted storms.” One means that they have confidence that such storms will occur, and the other that they have confidence that no larger storm will occur. Failure to have strict conformance with the IPCC does not make AIT incorrect, partisan, or political.

    Justice Burton is not a scientist, or an engineer, or a planner. He may not be aware that different forecasts are made for different purposes, and the different forecasts have different virtues. Just like King Canute on the seashore, Justice Burton is likely to see the sea rise much faster and farther than the court predicted.

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 11 Oct 2007 @ 2:13 PM

  57. I thought it was a petition for awareness .. and felt kind of sick when I realized it was just the opposite. Didnt take any time to trash it and start looking at Seitz bio on the web. How on earth a scientist ends up being like this?

    Comment by Aman Haque — 11 Oct 2007 @ 2:24 PM

  58. With regard to the court ruling on Al Gore’s film:
    I have read several times on this website (by posters, not by lead writers), the suggestion that climate change deniers should be tried and convicted in court. It is ironic, then, that the first court judgement on the climate change debate (that I am aware of) has ruled against over-zealous AGW-promotion. The judge has not ruled against the case for AGW, or the ‘scientific concensus’ of the IPCC. He is ruling against the unscientific sensationlism that ultimately will have the effect of crying wolf. Gore’s film was the first big cry, and the judgement the first cynical response. Take note. Unless the more zealous and non-factual claims are moderated, the next two cries will follow quite quickly and the public will soon lose confidence.

    Comment by PHE — 11 Oct 2007 @ 2:25 PM

  59. Figure 1: the unsourced datapoint for 2006 is incorrect. Hadley Centre data (HADISST1: for the Sargasso Sea (which I take to be the region 40-60 W, 25-35 N) for 2006 has a mean SST of 24.2 C, about where the “Medieval Optimum” peak is on the figure 1 graph.

    [Response: thanks. That’s useful, but one needs to be a bit careful since there can be offsets in the proxy-climate calibration which means direct comparisons with modern obs and inferred past temperatures can be tricky. But no prizes for why they didn’t do it your way! – gavin]

    Comment by Keith Pickering — 11 Oct 2007 @ 2:41 PM

  60. OISM, figure 2. The caption states that “the principal source of melt energy is solar radiation”, which incorrectly implies that the Sun is to blame for glacier shortening. OISM fails to consider the effect of particulate carbon falling on glaciers as a principal cause of glacial melt. If considered properly, the effect of coal usage would be approximately double that for other fossil fuels.

    Other quibbles: the y-axis of the graph is mislabeled “m x 10^-2” while it should be “m x 10^2”; and the glacier shortening line, in blue, taken from Oerlemans 2005 (not Oerlemanns 2005 as in the references), was copied from Oerlemans’ “Excluding Alps” line and not the “Global” line, as it should have been. The two lines are not hugely different, but one wonders why OISM excluded the Alps?

    Comment by Keith Pickering — 11 Oct 2007 @ 2:57 PM

  61. PHE writes “the first court judgement … (that I am aware of) …”

    Feed your head:

    The Supreme Court’s Climate Change Decision: Massachusetts v. EPA …
    On April 2, 2007, the Supreme Court handed down Massachusetts v. EPA, its first pronouncement on climate change. By 5-4, the Court held hat (1) Massachusetts had standing to sue, (2) Section 202 of the Clean Air Act authorizes EPA to regulate emissions from new motor vehicles on the basis of their possible climate change impacts, and (3) Section 202 does not authorize EPA to inject policy considerations into its decision whether to so regulate….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Oct 2007 @ 3:02 PM

  62. At one point in the article they say:”Total human industrial CO2 production, primarily from use of coal, oil, and natural gas and the production of cement, is currently about 8 Gt C per year (7,56,57). Humans also exhale about 0.6 Gt C per year, which has been sequestered by plants from atmospheric CO2. Office air concentrations often exceed 1,000 ppm CO2.
    To put these figures in perspective, it is estimated that the atmosphere contains 780 Gt C; the surface ocean contains 1,000 Gt C; vegetation, soils, and detritus contain 2,000 Gt C; and the intermediate and deep oceans contain 38,000 Gt C, as CO2 or CO2 hydration products. Each year, the surface ocean and atmosphere exchange an estimated 90 Gt C; vegetation and the atmosphere, 100 Gt C; marine biota and the surface ocean, 50 Gt C; and the surface ocean and the intermediate and deep oceans, 40 Gt C (56,57).”
    and further on they say: “Human production of 8 Gt C per year of CO2 is negligible as compared with the 40,000 Gt C residing in the oceans and biosphere. At ultimate equilibrium, human-produced CO2 will have an insignificant effect on the amounts in the various reservoirs. The rates of approach to equilibrium are, however, slow enough that human use creates a transient atmospheric increase.”

    The old human production of CO2 is negligible compared with the much greater exchanges between the atmosphere and oceans and atmosphere and land trick eh- as Agent Maxwell Smart might have said.

    This is answered very concisely and accurately at
    Under questions about climate change See answer No. 7, which says “2.7 As natural emissions of carbon dioxide are very much greater than those from human activities, surely the effect of man is insignificant?
    The exchange of ‘man-made’ carbon dioxide between man-made emissions, atmosphere, ocean and land, is about 7 GtC per year, which also shows much larger natural exchanges between atmosphere and ocean (about 90 GtC/yr) and atmosphere and land (about 60 GtC/yr). However, these natural exchanges have been in balance for many thousands of years, leading to the pre-industrial concentration of CO2 remaining steady at about 280 ppm. The effect of the additional man-made emissions is to unbalance the budget and lead to the rise in concentrations seen since about 1850.”

    So here’s to you Mr. Robinsons Heaven has a place for those whose half truths innuendo and outright falsehoods come into play- hey,hey,hey.
    Malarkey is the appropriate word for this canard.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 11 Oct 2007 @ 3:20 PM

  63. regarding UK, Gore, AIT:
    Hopefully the Royal Society will provide comments, ideally, to accompany the DVD. The RS already covered the news item at its website.
    Of course, it’s just a “mere left-leaning pressure group” according to Lord Monckton…

    Comment by John Mashey — 11 Oct 2007 @ 3:31 PM

  64. The first line of this non-peer-reviewed paper titled ‘Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide’ states: “ABSTRACT A review of the research literature”

    BOING. REJECTED. It is already rejected by Science, Nature, etc. This paper in question does not quantify or qualify what it means by “research literature” at the beginning…ie. “ninety five peer-reviewed studies, published literature from 1980 to 2005.” Is this an effort to mislead gullible readers????

    Their “research literature” might be non-checked, non-refereed literature from…oh let’s say the Oregon Institute, or a non-published report that failed peer-review from let’s say…oh…the Energy and Enviornment Journal.”

    Following is an actual peer-reviewed paragraph doing the same thing correctly from a *real* peer-reviewed journal (Science) quantifying and qualifying published studies (on global warming concensus!).

    “That hypothesis was tested by analyzing 928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and listed in the ISI database with the keywords “climate change” (9).”

    Science 3 December 2004:
    Vol. 306. no. 5702, p. 1686
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1103618

    The Oregon Institute paper gets rejected in the first line in the scientific peer-review system.

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 11 Oct 2007 @ 3:36 PM

  65. re: #14 CobblyWorlds
    If you mean Kristen Byrnes of ponderthemaunder (in)fame, I have found no trace of RRS involvement with that one, and I’ve looked pretty hard, so sorry, I think they’re innocent of that one.
    OISM is at 2251 Dick George Rd
    Cave Junction, OR 97523
    GoogleEarth does a little better job than GoogleMaps (satellite).

    According to Pipl, there’s an Arthur Robinson at 2252 Dick George Rd;
    there’s a Science and Medicine Rd right nearby, which may be the real location. I can’t quite tell which of several buildings matches the picture on their home page.

    If you visit their homepage,, you can see a picture of the barn-like structure where they work.

    Also, their home page offers a feature that is a first for me:
    of the people listed as faculty ….

    two are deceased.

    Comment by John Mashey — 11 Oct 2007 @ 3:36 PM

  66. Re; 61 (Hank R)
    Thank you for enlightening my head. As I read it, in that case the court does not pass judgement on the correctness of any claim, but allows Massachusents to test a claim or claims. The report goes onto say:

    “The Court’s decision leaves EPA with three options under the section: find that motor vehicle greenhouse gas emissions may “endanger public health or welfare” and issue emission standards, find that they do not satisfy that prerequisite, or decide that climate change science is so uncertain as to preclude making a finding either way.”

    Is there an update?

    Comment by PHE — 11 Oct 2007 @ 3:41 PM

  67. I’m an atmospheric scientist in an atmospheric sciences department, and I received the mailing. Perhaps they thought I’d be more likely to sign because I’m a State Climatologist. Since it came on Monday, and I was debating Patrick Michaels on Wednesday, I gave it a quick, close read. The close read was useless for the debate, as Michaels and I both stuck to positions that were actually defensible. But here I can put to good use the death of brain cells caused by carefully reading the article…

    Showing ‘world hydrocarbon use’ allows them to deny (p. 6) that the hydrocarbon increases are mostly anthropogenic. But no theory predicts a correlation between use and global temperatures. Putting aside the fact that a correlation (or absence) of one doesn’t prove anything, global temperatures are expected to be related to the time-lagged and smoothed integral of hydrocarbon use, not to the use itself.

    (page 2) The assertion that current Earth temperatures are 1C lower now than 1000 years ago requires rejecting a recent NAS panel report in favor of an article by one of the authors and another unpublished manuscript.

    The comparison of solar activity change over the past century (0.19%) and United States temperature change (0.21%) assumes that readers are sufficiently ignorant of basic blackbody radiation theory to think that the similarity of the numbers supports their thesis, rather than being convincing evidence against their thesis.

    Reference #19 is private communication from one of the authors!

    The first paragraph on page 8 argues that since past temperature variations were as large as they were and not considerably larger, CO2 increases cannot produce a water vapor feedback. (Yes, that is their complete argument.)

    Comment by John Nielsen-Gammon — 11 Oct 2007 @ 3:44 PM

  68. You can add physicists to that list. I’m a physics grad student at UCLA and I got one of those phony letters in my inbox today.

    Comment by BlackGriffen — 11 Oct 2007 @ 3:53 PM

  69. pete best (#50) wrote:

    DOOMED !!!!!!!!

    Oh for pete’s sake…

    I figure we are already pretty well destined for “dangerous climate change” by IPCC standards – whether the IPCC knows it or not.

    The big questions questions are:

    1. How dangerous?
    2. What will be the extent of the devastation in terms of human lives and the world economy?

    We have quite a ways to go before the existence of modern civilization itself (such as it is) will be at stake, but the important point is that the longer it takes us to curb our emissions, the more carbon dioxide will be in the atmosphere and the higher the temperatures will rise. For each degree that the global average temperature rises, things will get a great deal worse than the preceding degree. No matter what we put into the atmosphere, we have a really good reason for cutting our emissions in the future, and the sooner we do it the better.

    But we probably should focus on methane and black carbon to a greater extent for the time being — as this will buy us more time with regard to changing our ways — with regard to carbon dioxide. We should have an international Manhattan project for developing cheaper, less carbon intensive technologies, we should make these technologies widely available, particularly with the economic growth of China and India and other so-called third world countries, and we should try and raise the living standards of the globe as a whole more quickly so as to reduce population growth in all nations – as both carbon emissions per capita and population size will be large determinants of carbon emissions in the decades to come.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 11 Oct 2007 @ 4:35 PM

  70. Re the ‘warming’ on Neptune. It is summertime on the Southern Hemisphere of that planet.
    See here and here.

    Comment by Henk Lankamp — 11 Oct 2007 @ 5:46 PM

  71. re #13 and #68;
    My “package” came addressed with a generic dept. of “Sci/Tech” in the address. I would be curious to know who (e.g., publisher, professional society?) sold my work address and ultimately made it available to this group. Thanks for the open source debunking!

    Comment by Chris Williams — 11 Oct 2007 @ 6:31 PM

  72. The article that accompanies the packet is such a tired repetition of the same old lies that it reminds me of Mark Twain’s description of a certain religious text: “chloroform in print”,

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Oct 2007 @ 8:22 PM

  73. RE # 58 PHE “I have read several times on this website (by posters, not by lead writers), the suggestion that climate change deniers should be tried and convicted in court.

    Hmm….I can’t say that I have ever read such a post on RC. But, I don’t read every post of every thread. Can you provide a specific example, or two, of such a post (name of thread, # of the post that states something like this)? It should be quite easy to do with the RC search tool.

    Comment by Chuck Booth — 11 Oct 2007 @ 9:04 PM

  74. Re #72 – I would hope that eventually, as far as the court of public opinion is concerned,those deniers who willfully try to obfuscate the issue, be sentenced to live on low lying lands in the equatorial regions.
    #64 asks if this is an effort to mislead gullible readers. I can’t think of any other motivation, except perhaps self promotion.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 11 Oct 2007 @ 9:48 PM

  75. Re #63 and others on Gore vs UK, actually this sentence is a good thing, and should be attached as an errata sheet with the movie. Most of the errors are not errors of climatological fact, but misrepresentations of the current consensus*). Now the movie can even claim to be “reviewed” — and by a lay person, no less. A judge is a layman on climatology, but a professional on evidence and proving things, and he did one heck of a job.

    (Wished my dissertation contained only nine errors!)

    *) As an example, the Greenland/West Antarctic ice sheet melting. The consensus view is that this takes many centuries to happen, but some scientists (like Hansen) have voiced concern about a possible “albedo flip” making this happen much quicker. This mechanism isn’t well understood, and therefore not part of current climate models (you can only model what you understand :-) ) or IPCC AR4. The concern was prompted by the prehistorical observation of extremely steep terminations of ice ages. What Gore got wrong was failing to qualify “speculative and not well understood”.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 12 Oct 2007 @ 12:49 AM

  76. Anyone remember the standard form response to solutions for spam? Perhaps one would be useful here too. To start the ball rolling:
    Thank you for your thoughts on climate change.

    Your conclusion is wrong because
    ( ) You haven’t taken into account sulfate aerosols in the atmosphere
    ( ) That CO2 was extracted from the atmosphere and so is carbon-neutral
    ( ) The medieval warm period was not a global phenomenon
    ( ) The graph you refer to is designed to misrepresent the data
    ( ) Weather forecasting is not the same as climate prediction
    ( ) You cannot infer global conditions from local ones
    ( ) Other planet’s environments ar not a good model for Earth
    ( ) Correlation does not imply cause

    The authorities or papers you cite to support your argument
    ( ) do not say what you think they say
    ( ) are scientists, but not in the field of climate science
    ( ) are not scientists
    ( ) are not peer reviewed
    ( ) have since been corrected
    ( ) have been completely debunked
    ( ) are loons

    I would also like to point out that
    ( ) The IPCC conclusion is supported by the vast majority of
    climate scientists
    ( ) The mass media sometimes gets it wrong
    ( ) Politicians sometime get it wrong
    ( ) Global cooling was not a widely supported hypothesis
    ( ) Science corrects itself as new evidence comes available

    In conclusion
    ( ) Your points, while well made, are factually incorrect
    ( ) Some basic research on your part should have been done first
    ( ) Stop bothering the grown-ups

    Comment by Mike — 12 Oct 2007 @ 3:22 AM

  77. 42, Hume – noted for bedtime reading (thanks).

    63, The Met Office, have helped amend the guidance that goes with the DVD.

    69, No, we should concentrate on the longest-lived GHGs first, as those have the consequences that we would have to deal with the longest. Tackling CO2 first allows us to overshoot a stabilisation target (in CO2 equivalent) and bring it back down afterwards by reducing CH4, NOx, etc.

    With the situation as it is [Greenland on a knife-edge] the discussion is largely academic, because there is little sign of the determined action being taken such that it would make much difference either way.

    I completely agree though, that even if we commit to losing Greenland, we can still take action to avoid losing the Himalayan ice sheets, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, limit ocean thermal expansion, limit the carbon-cycle feedbacks, etc. We can always make things better by cutting emissions. The “We’re all doomed” language does not help. A friend of mine has likened that attitude to “climate pr0n”. It would help to grow up a little.

    Comment by Timothy — 12 Oct 2007 @ 4:40 AM

  78. by coincidence, I ran across OISM in a search yesterday…I was on a quest for cynically or misleadingly named NGO’s. Lobbying seems to bring out the most cynical sort of liars. This “institute” has a few superanuated old farts who seem at some point to have actually been interested in biochemistry but politics overtook their operation.

    BTW, Congrats to Gore and to all IPCC scientists! It would appear the Nobel Committee does NOT judge inconvenient truths to be too political.

    Comment by greensmile — 12 Oct 2007 @ 7:55 AM

  79. re 77

    “I completely agree though, that even if we commit to losing Greenland, we can still take action to avoid losing the Himalayan ice sheets, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, limit ocean thermal expansion, limit the carbon-cycle feedbacks, etc. ”

    Just curious…aren’t the Himalyas more “vulnerable” that the Greenland Ice Sheet?

    I ask as there’s been a lot of talk in recent years that the Chinese are facing serious water shortage problems due to glacier melting.

    Comment by J.S. McIntyre — 12 Oct 2007 @ 9:56 AM

  80. re #75

    I concur re judges often getting it right, even in areas outside their “expertise”. Kitzmiller v Dover illustrates this idea beautifully. Not just the discussion on the science…

    …but also in terms of the three ring circus that surrounded the issue and how the Judge, expected by some to rule politically, instead ruled on the evidence.

    On a related note, rode public transit past the hotel Al Gore is staying at here in San Francisco. It was swarming with media setting up in the rain wanting to ask him about his Nobel Prize.

    Way to go, Al!

    Comment by J.S. McIntyre — 12 Oct 2007 @ 10:04 AM

  81. Re #49, #51 and those in a similar vein, much as I sympathise with your views – I too share the sense of alarm and the need for urgent action, I assure you! – I have to stand by what I wrote earlier, and the other comments on this blog which take a broadly similar view (for example #58,#69,#75,#77).

    To repeat, I don’t think we clarify the science by using apocalyptic language or exaggerating our case. I think I understand why Gore felt the necessity to use rapid ice sheet melting and sea level change to ‘get home’ his message. However, the styles of presentation that can work in our favour will also be used against us, with ruthless zeal, by those who wish to deny that we are likely to have to confront very serious problems because of C02 and related warming effects in the atmosphere. My ‘hunch’ is that things are changing faster (mush faster?) in Greenland than we realise or are able to model/forecast, probably because of non-linear effects related to the basal conditions under the ice cap. But that doesn’t give me the excuse to present the hunch as ‘mainstream’ or anything else for that matter without some argument to back it up, and a warning that the ‘hunch’ is pretty speculative compared with the other science (see also #75).

    Now Mr Gore has been awarded the Nobel Prize for his film. Much as I think he is to be applauded for this and for his wider efforts, I still feel very uncomfortable about the situation more generally, and I don’t doubt that this weekend we will get a raft of articles in the press stating how the Nobel Prize has been ” … corrupted by the zealotry of those supporting the ‘unproven theory’ of global warning …” or words to that effect. It wouldn’t even surprise me if some people go so far as to say that they would be tempted to send their prizes back, because they disagree with Gore’s getting the award, on the basis that he does not qualify his stronger claims clearly enough, or highlight the uncertainties properly etc etc. Anyway, stand by everyone for the attacks to start on the Nobel Prize committee itself and the Nobel award process, as being yet another established body infected by ‘global warming hysteria blah blah blah …. ‘

    Comment by Nick O. — 12 Oct 2007 @ 11:05 AM

  82. We are in the process of inventing the language to convey urgent issues which are not evident through observation.

    This is a unique time in the history of man as well as the planet.

    It was always an impossible goal to expect Gore’s message to hit everybody the same way. It would be naive to think that the opponents of AGW reduction would suddenly see the errors of their ways and stop denying.

    On the other hand, the science keeps advancing. Soon AIT will be obsolete, its impressions and speculations replaced by knowledge. Some of what we learn will be good news – the Northern Atlantic will not stop receiving warmer waters after all. Some of it will be bad – the ice shelves and sheets are disintegrating far more quickly than we had previously believed they would. This will go on.

    AIT was a moment in time. It was meant to convey urgency. If it was strident in areas, the intent was to make people pay attention.

    The general message is 100% accurate. Anybody who stoops to pick at nits will just have to be expected to be left aside as the real thinking and planning go on.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Oct 2007 @ 12:30 PM

  83. Nick O., I do not hear Al Gore speaking in apocolyptic terms–certainly less so than the neocons preaching against the “islamofascists”. You have to realize that Science tends to be conservative in its assessment of consequences. Unfortunately, we are still neophytes in developing such assessments, and underselling the consequences has the potential to breed complacency among politicians. Gore does not even begin to discuss some of the most disturbing potential consequences of a warming world trying to support a population of 9-11 billion humans. The American right has at this point abandoned science in their efforts to cater to ideology. In doing so they have handed politicians like Al Gore a formidable weapon, an Oscar and now a Nobel prize. It remains to be seen whether they will wake up before handing him the Presidency.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Oct 2007 @ 12:41 PM

  84. I don’t think Al Gore is going to run for President. He’s no longer a politician. Among politicians, not one speaks loudly enough to be heard – maybe Inhofe’s last gasps.

    Comment by J.C.H. — 12 Oct 2007 @ 1:29 PM

  85. Very interesting discussion. Where did they get the money to do this mailing? And the 1999 one? What organizations support the Oregon Institute?

    Comment by Richard Mett — 12 Oct 2007 @ 3:49 PM

  86. PHE,

    Don’t you think the fact that the EPA tried to make its case on jurisdictional and other procedural grounds, notably refusing to make a judgment as to whether green house gases, “cause[s], or contribute[s] to, air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare,”, is pretty telling of the scientific evidence on hand on which to base such a judgment? To wit: if the EPA had ruled GHG’s were not an air pollutant according to the statute, the State of Massachusetts wouldn’t have had any case at all that EPA was required to regulate GHG emissions. No case, no embarrassment, no ticked off petroleum lobby- is it possible this didn’t occur to them? I should think this is a very calorie rich piece of food with which to feed your head.

    As regards Al Gore’s movie, it has done nothing to affect the science. It was always educational and even political in nature. For what it has achieved in terms of publicity for a problem moneyed interests have been trying to bury for decades with increasing degrees of fraudulence, it is a success, small controversy or no. Furthermore, of the 9 issues raised by this generally fair opinion, none save perhaps the claim about Lake Chad couldn’t be addressed with some very minor tweaks in language (and meaning)- indeed, some would argue that they were addressed properly in the movie. So it is very much fair to say that the movie had the science right, as it’s been pointed out in this thread was reiterated by the judge.

    Comment by Majorajam — 12 Oct 2007 @ 4:01 PM

  87. To wit: if the EPA had ruled GHG’s were not an air pollutant according to the statute, the State of Massachusetts wouldn’t have had any case at all that EPA was required to regulate GHG emissions. No case, no embarrassment, no ticked off petroleum lobby- is it possible this didn’t occur to them? I should think this is a very calorie rich piece of food with which to feed your head.

    To be a bit more blunt, considering that the EPA got kicked upside the head in the lawsuit as it was argued, if they’d tried arguing against the scientific consensus they would’ve been decapitated …

    Comment by dhogaza — 12 Oct 2007 @ 4:54 PM

  88. Re #76 by Mike (form letter to respond to warming deniers) — brilliant! Made me and my wife laugh out loud. Thanks.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Oct 2007 @ 9:59 AM

  89. In reading the comments on perceived “apocalyptic” language in AIT, I’m once again forced to beg distinction between alarmism and raising the alarm. And once again I’d ask people to stop falsely attributing comments to the film.

    Gore did not articulate a time frame on the Greenland melt. I repeat, did NOT. He made the point that the glaciaologists are quite uncertain; that there are substantial worrying signs; that other parts of the cryosphere are reacting faster than predicted; that the costs of getting this one wrong are enormous. Again, the film was not only about science, but about risk management.

    Comment by robert — 13 Oct 2007 @ 10:07 AM

  90. Re: #46

    In terms of discrediting Frederick Seitz, it is not over the top to point out that:

    When he was a “practicing” scientist his specialty was not only physics but a field of physics that has no possible bearing on climate science.
    That he has not been an active researcher for decades.
    That when he left academia he took up advocacy for politically conservative and industry causes.

    In addition an interview done for a PBS special titled Hot Politics with Seitz is particularly telling. Here is one example of his thinking.

    Why do you think, then, that so many scientists are putting their names on research that you think is so wrong?

    Most scientists are Democrats. I think, what is it, 93 percent? And there’s got to be a political issue. I think it’s simple as that.

    And you think they fake that science?

    The most strident ones would. This is a long story. I’ve met many environmentalists who said personally, in private, “I would take your side, but I would cease to be funded if I did.”

    And do you think that scientists who say that the jury is still out are also political?

    Some of them are, sure.

    Comment by Jim S — 13 Oct 2007 @ 11:41 AM

  91. An inconvenient Peace Prize

    By Bjorn Lomborg | October 13, 2007

    … Gore told the world in his Academy Award-winning movie to expect 20-foot sea-level rises over this century. He ignores the findings of his Nobel co-winners, who conclude that sea levels will rise between only a half-foot and two feet over this century, with their best expectation being about one foot. That’s similar to what the world experienced over the past 150 years. …

    Little lost North Sea boy with finger still searching for a dike.

    Comment by J.C.H. — 13 Oct 2007 @ 12:48 PM

  92. Re. #46, no-one has “attempted to discredit Frederck Seitz”, we have simply pointed out, accurately (and we gave many supporting citations proving its accuracy), that for the past 30 years or so he has been a full-time lobbyist – first on behalf of the tobacco industry, later on behalf of the fossil fuel industry – rather than a scientist, that when he was a scientist (and he was a very distinguished one in his field of condensed matter physics, up to 1968) he did not study climate, and that his lobbying activities have been extremely disingenuous. There is nothing controversial about those statements, they are strictly factual, and the evidence is all in the public domain, as you will see if you follow up the links several of us provided. If you really believe any of these statements not to be factual please provide some citations or evidence of your own to show the basis of your disagreement, instead of resorting to simply insulting people you disagree with.

    Comment by Dave Rado — 13 Oct 2007 @ 5:40 PM

  93. Michel,
    You say that Fred Seitz’s politics is irrelevant and that he should be judged by his published work. OK, let’s look at what Fred Seitz has published in peer-reviewed science journals on the subject of climate change…

    [crickets chirping]

    OK, that was easy. Next!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Oct 2007 @ 7:18 PM

  94. Re 91 JHC quoting Bjorn Lomborg in his Boston Globe article: “Gore told the world in his Academy Award-winning movie to expect 20-foot sea-level rises over this century.”

    Here’s what Gore actually says in An Inconvenient Truth:

    “If this [West Antarctica] were to go, sea level world-wide would go up twenty feet.”

    “Greenland would also raise sea level almost twenty feet if it went.”

    “If Greenland broke up and melted, or if half of Greenland and half of West Antarctica broke up and melted, this is what would happen to the sea level in Florida…”

    Note that no time frame what so ever was stated or even implied for the breakup and melting.

    Apparently Bjorn knows that If you’re going to tell a lie, tell a big one.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 13 Oct 2007 @ 8:00 PM

  95. re 27: “…it is not the first foray into publishing garbage of this sort. Here is a link to something that they published in regards to DDT a few years back:….”

    Hey! How did DDT get into this?? Actually the referenced article is predominately accurate except to a few zealots. I don’t think a good smear reference.

    Comment by Rod B — 13 Oct 2007 @ 9:20 PM

  96. Richard Mett (#85) wrote:

    Very interesting discussion. Where did they get the money to do this mailing? And the 1999 one? What organizations support the Oregon Institute?

    Don’t know about this mailing, but judging from their tax returns, their funding for 1999 expenditures consisted in large part of “contributions from unidentified sources.”

    Anyway, this will probably tell you more than you wanted to know:

    SourceWatch: Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine

    I would summarize some of it, but if I tried I would probably experience a serious (albeit temporary) decline in my typing skills….

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 13 Oct 2007 @ 11:58 PM

  97. Re OISM climate denial funding…?

    The original 1998 petition was authored by Arthur Robinson, Sallie L. Baliunas, Willie Soon and Zachary W. Robinson.

    Leaving out the Robinsons, a webtool by Greenpeace let’s us construct a diagram or “map” for Baliunas and Soon including most of the organizations they belong to, the amount to which those organizations are funded by Exxon, what their relationships to those organizations are – and which permits us to drill-down to find others who are associated with those organizations, etc.. Interestingly, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine isn’t in the database.

    I have gone ahead and included Patrick Michaels kind of at the center of it all because that is where he usually is and otherwise it might be rather disorienting. This wouldn’t be a very good “map” if it left people disoriented, now would it? So he’s in. But I have left out the organizations he belongs to except where either Baliunas or Soon are members as well.

    Sure enough, while Baliuanas and Soon belong to the American Petroleum Institute and the Climate Research Journal which Michaels does not belong to – two organizations, all three people belong to Tech Central Station, George C Marshall Institute, Heartland Institute and World Climate Report – four organizations. Michaels shares four more with just Baliunas and four more with just Soon. Thirteen of the nineteen Baliunas/Soon-organizations show funding by Exxon.

    Baliunas/Soon map

    However, I haven’t a clue as to where the funding for the OISM climate-denial activities are coming from – beyond what you see here.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 14 Oct 2007 @ 1:40 AM

  98. My own thoughts regarding this paper….

    Their paper (The rewrite of Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide) is poorly structured, highly repetitive and ungrammatical. It involves the selection of non-representative samples (e.g., an overemphasis upon the US trends), graphs by studies which do not represent the consensus. In addition to being the amateurish product of amateurs who lack any background in climatology. Two of the main authors have a history of being financed by Exxon, it would appear to be deliberately misleading with no effort to present any balance. It is propaganda.

    Thoughts regarding its analysis…

    Should at first be line-by-line, with the with the objective of having well referenced separate essays for separate sections. Currently I have gone through it up to but not including Figure 8.

    For the purpose of speed I have done this without references, but it can be sourced and split up into separate essays later. Just going for the general gist. I would also recommend having people pick certain themes such as sea-level rise, agriculture, etc. as writing essays which begin which what is stated (in multiple places) then provide a more well-rounded picture of the real world – possibly in addition to essays dealing with specific parts of the paper.



    A review of the research literature concerning the environmental consequences of increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide leads to the conclusion that increases during the 20th and early 21st centuries have produced no deleterious effects upon Earth’s weather and climate. Increased carbon dioxide has, however, markedly increased plant growth. Predictions of harmful climatic effects due to future increases in hydrocarbon use and minor greenhouse gases like CO2 do not conform to current experimental knowledge. The environmental effects of rapid expansion of the nuclear and hydrocarbon energy industries are discussed.

    Deleterious effects upon the Earth’s weather and climate have included:

    1. Increased drought, going from 20% of the world experiencing drought at any given time to 30% at present with a projected 50% experiencing drought at any given time later this century under Business As Usual;

    2. Increased flooding in some parts of the world;

    3. Increased heatwaves, with the likelihood of Europe experiencing heatwaves on the similar to that during 2005 doubling;

    4. Larger deadzones as the result of gigantic algae blooms;

    5. Food shortages in some parts of the world;

    6. Some wars are already being attributed to reduced to climate change;

    7. Larger hurricanes in the Atlantic;

    [with the number of hurricanes of strength 4 or 5 doubling in the past 30 years as the result of increased surface and subsurface temperatures resulting in larger reservoirs]

    8. Larger cyclones in the Pacific;

    9. Cyclones showing up where they have no history of doing so in the past;

    Katarina in 2004 in Brazil where none had formed in the Southern Atlantic and a hurricane near the Arabian Penninsula where no had formed in modern times according to any records;
    10. Forest fires which are more frequent and on a much larger scale than they have been in the past – partly due to earlier melts and drier summertime conditions;

    12. While plants do better under increased levels of carbon dioxide, on the whole, increased droughts would appear to already be negating the affects of this on the whole.

    Political leaders gathered in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997 to consider a world treaty restricting human production of “greenhouse gases,” chiefly carbon dioxide (CO2). They feared that CO2 would result in “human-caused global warming” – hypothetical severe increases in Earth’s temperatures, with disastrous environmental consequences. During the past 10 years, many political efforts have been made to force worldwide agreement to the Kyoto treaty.

    When we reviewed this subject in 1998 (1,2), existing satellite records were short and were centered on a period of changing intermediate temperature trends. Additional experimental data have now been obtained, so better answers to the questions raised by the hypothesis of “human-caused global warming” are now available.

    Data is bearing out predictions, particularly since the turn of the millenia. No actual data is cited regarding satellite records.

    Figure 1: Surface temperatures in the Sargasso Sea, a 2 million square mile region of the Atlantic Ocean, with time resolution of 50 to 100 years and ending in 1975, as determined by isotope ratios of marine organism remains in sediment at the bottom of the sea (3). The horizontal line is the average temperature for this 3,000-year period. The Little Ice Age and Medieval Climate Optimum were naturally occurring, extended intervals of climate departures from the mean. A value of 0.25 °C, which is the change in Sargasso Sea temperature between 1975 and 2006, has been added to the 1975 data in order to provide a 2006 temperature value.

    The Sargasso Sea is hardly representative of the paleoclimate record. Where periods may have been warmer in the past, the consensus is that this was a localized phenomena due to different climate patterns which may have been the result of different ocean circulation patterns.

    A great deal of data and numerous studies has borne out Mann’s original hockey stick diagram for the past 1000 years which showed that global average temperatures during the past century have been higher than in the previous nine centuries, and the the rate at which temperatures rose since roughly the turn of the 20th century has been unprecendented. The only “studies” showing otherwise relying upon the use of red noise which is 100% red being introduced into the the proxies where standard practice would normally be to employ red noise which at the highest only 15% red.

    The average temperature of the Earth has varied within a range of about 3°C during the past 3,000 years. It is currently increasing as the Earth recovers from a period that is known as the Little Ice Age, as shown in Figure 1. George Washington and his army were at Valley Forge during the coldest era in 1,500 years, but even then the temperature was only about 1° Centigrade below the 3,000-year average.

    Temperatures rougly 3000 years ago may have been higher.

    Figure 2: Average length of 169 glaciers from 1700 to 2000 (4). The principal source of melt energy is solar radiation. Variations in glacier mass and length are primarily due to temperature and precipitation (5,6). This melting trend lags the temperature increase by about 20 years, so it predates the 6-fold increase in hydrocarbon use (7) even more than shown in the figure. Hydrocarbon use could not have caused this shortening trend.

    Glacier mass and length are also in part a function of black carbon. Hydrocarbon use is not the only source of anthropogenic greenhouse gases. Levels of greenhouse gases due to human activities (particularly carbon dioxide and methane) would appear to have been rising as far back as 5000 years ago.

    Finally, it would appear that the glaciers chosen for this chart were not representative.

    Figure 3: Arctic surface air temperature compared with total solar irradiance as measured by sunspot cycle amplitude, sunspot cycle length, solar equatorial rotation rate, fraction of penumbral spots, and decay rate of the 11-year sunspot cycle (8,9). Solar irradiance correlates well with Arctic temperature, while hydrocarbon use (7) does not correlate.

    The arctic temperature trend given for the twentieth century looks suspiciously like the continental contiguous 48 and should be checked. The forcing given for solar activity does not look correct and would appear to be ascribing the result of anthropogenic aerosols from 1940 to 1970 to solar activity. Likewise, differences between the Northern hemisphere temperature trends and the Southern hemisphere temperature trends would suggest that the actual cause of an apparent dip in the temperature graph for the global average temperature was due to aerosol emissions in the Northern hemisphere as the Southern hemisphere experienced only one year of statistically significant cooling whereas the Northern hemisphere experienced five years of statistically significant cooling.

    Best estimates suggest that relative to 1880, it is only during the first year that forcing due to solar activity exceeded anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

    Atmospheric temperature is regulated by the sun, which fluctuates in activity as shown in Figure 3; by the greenhouse effect, largely caused by atmospheric water vapor (H2O); and by other phenomena that are more poorly understood. While major greenhouse gas H2O substantially warms the Earth, minor greenhouse gases such as CO2 have little effect, as shown in Figures 2 and 3. The 6-fold increase in hydrocarbon use since 1940 has had no noticeable effect on atmospheric temperature or on the trend in glacier length.

    The phenomena in which forcing due to carbon dioxide results in higher temperatures is well understood. The amplification of the effects of this forcing by water vapor feedback through increased partial pressure that increases exponentially as the result is well understood. Water vapor itself is generally incapable of resulting in forcing as any disequilibria which might result from fluctuations in atmospheric water vapor content falls out as precipitation before it could possibly raise temperatures on its own enough to maintain a higher absolute humidity.

    The 6-fold increase in CO2 would appear to have had a highly significant effect over the whole of the twentieth century, particularly since anthropogenic aerosols have diminished since 1970. It is however logarithmic. With respect to glacier mass balance (the standard measure of glaciers) we have seen a highly significant loss of global mass balance which has been accelerating over the latter half of the twentieth century. In some cases, particularly at higher altitudes mass balance has actually increased, but this is by no means the norm.

    While Figure 1 is illustrative of most geographical locations, there is great variability of temperature records with location and regional climate. Comprehensive surveys of published temperature records confirm the principal features of Figure 1, including the fact that the current Earth temperature is approximately 1 °C lower than that during the Medieval Climate Optimum 1,000 years ago (11,12).

    Figure 1 is not illustrative. The consensus is that the global average temperature during the Medieval Climate Optimum was significantly lower than temperatures in the latter half of this century.

    Figure 4: Annual mean surface temperatures in the contiguous United States between 1880 and 2006 (10). The slope of the least-squares trend line for this 127-year record is 0.5 ºC per century.

    The United States is by no means representative of the globe but consists of only 2% of its area and would appear to be strongly influenced by a long-period oscillation. the statistically significant period of cooling for the globe as a whole consisted of only 5 years.

    Between 1900 and 2000, on absolute scales of solar irradiance and degrees Kelvin, solar activity increased 0.19%, while a 0.5 °C temperature change is 0.21%. This is in good agreement with estimates that Earth’s temperature would be reduced by 0.6 °C through particulate blocking of the sun by 0.2% (18).

    This paragraph is not simply misleading but incoherent. A discussion of a rise in temperature is immediately followed by a sentence which begins, “This is in good agreement…” and a discussion of a downward trend in temperature. The paragraph is misleading inasmuch as temperature is proportional to radiance raised to the fourth power. This paragraph is also misleading inasmuch as it treates the effects of aerosols as well-understood whereas the effects of greenhouse gases other than water vapor were treated as poorly understood when the forcing due to greenhouse gases is far better understood than that of aerosols – partly due to the effects of aerosols being more localized and temporary – given the fact that they tend to be washed out by precipitation, at least in the troposphere.

    Figure 6: Comparison between the current U.S. temperature change per century, the 3,000-year temperature range in Figure 1, seasonal and diurnal range in Oregon, and seasonal and diurnal range throughout the Earth.

    Figure 6 is bizarre, particularly in comparing seasonal changes between winter and summer (presumably) and it would appear that this is not based upon any sort of average but a cherry-picking of extremes. Smaller changes over an extended period of time and globally are highly significant, particularly in terms of weather patterns – as noted previously.

    Figure 7: Annual precipitation in the contiguous 48 United States between 1895 and 2006. U.S. National Climatic Data Center, U.S. Department of Commerce 2006 Climate Review (20). The trend shows an increase in rainfall of 1.8 inches per century – approximately 6% per century.

    The fixation upon the US trend continues. Meanwhile it involves averaging over the US as a whole when precipitation is in some places increasing for only certain seasons and drought has become the norm in California. Forest fires have become larger and more frequent in the US, and according to at least one study which had taken out effects of local human population would appear to be the result of increased temperatures. (However, the study did not however rely upon data from the US.)

    During the current period of recovery from the Little Ice Age, the U.S. climate has improved somewhat, with more rainfall, fewer tornados, and no increase in hurricane activity, as illustrated in Figures 7 to 10.

    The increased rainfall has been the result of increased extreme weather events with a trend towards increased flooding – generally with the increase being during the winter. And as noted previously, droughts have become more common and more extended, particularly in Australia, California and parts of Africa. Then trend when viewed in terms of non-extreme weather has been towards either no change or reduced precipitation.

    It is difficult to say what the change in tornado activity in the United States has been – partly due to the localized nature of tornadoes. As previously noted, hurricanes are more likely to be of higher intensity.

    Sea level has trended upward for the past 150 years at a rate of 7 inches per century, with 3 intermediate uptrends and 2 periods of no increase as shown in Figure 11. These features are confirmed by the glacier record as shown in Figure 12. If this trend continues as did that prior to the Medieval Climate Optimum, sea level would be expected to rise about 1 foot during the next 200 years.

    The rate at which sea-level rises has been increasing and is expected to as the result of the clear nonlinear response of ice to hgiher temperatures. The response of ice has included the trippling of significant ice quakes in Greenland and the loss of major ice shelves along the West Antarctic Peninsula which buttressed glaciers that are now moving at substantially higher rates towards the sea. Likewise there would appear to exist the potential for considerable positive feedback between Greenland and the West Antarctic Peninsula. Moreover, paleoclimate records demonstrate that such nonlinear responses have occurred in the past.

    [Note: Current analysis ends just prior to figure 8, a chart presumably representing the ttrend in US tornadoes.]

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 14 Oct 2007 @ 8:14 AM

  99. Re: 91

    I wonder where the line is drawn between accepting an editorial piece laced with rhetorical fallacy, and one with falsehoods. I haven’t had a chance to go back and review AIT, but my recollection tends to follow Robert’s comments in 89. If this is the case, Lomborg is lying.

    Where should the line be drawn?

    Comment by J.S. McIntyre — 14 Oct 2007 @ 9:04 AM

  100. Re: 99 J.S. McIntyre: “I haven’t had a chance to go back and review AIT…”

    I did exactly that last night. See the pertinent transcript segments in my post no. 94.

    “If this is the case, Lomborg is lying.”

    Indeed, he is. I suggest everyone here write the Boston Globe to point this out.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 14 Oct 2007 @ 10:06 AM

  101. The OISM web site states “Zachary Robinson is coauthor of the research review Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide by A. B. Robinson, S. L. Baliunas, W. Soon, and Z. W. Robinson (1998) J. Am. Phys. Sur. 3, 171-178 and Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide by W. Soon, S. L. Baliunas, A. B. Robinson, and Z. W. Robinson (1999) Climate Research 13, 149-164, which were the most extensively cited articles in the world on this subject during the past nine years.” This is utter nonsense. The first paper has 0 citations and the second has 8 citations at present on ISI Web of Science, the standard citation source. Scopus, another citation source, has 0 citations for the first paper and 10 for the second. A well cited paper is one that has 50-100 citations, and

    Comment by Eric Essene — 14 Oct 2007 @ 10:10 AM

  102. Re. The Soon, et. al “paper”.

    To the uninitiated public, the following is a case study of how the peer-review process can work, why it is critical and why the “study” ‘Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide ARTHUR B. ROBINSON, NOAH E. ROBINSON, ANDWILLIE SOON’ is an excercise in non-science (dangerous in my opinion because of the needless and dare I say it deliberate confusion it gives to the gullible public and policy makers).

    I quote liberally from a review paper critiquing a “published report” (term sound familiar?) written by (Olsen and Buch, 2004)-Bjørn Lomborg’s “group”- on the risk of ocean circulation changes in the Atlantic, which coincided with the release of the Hollywood movie The Day after Tomorrow (which was roundly criticized for a lack of accuracy by the scientific community).

    The critique is done by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research -STEFAN RAHMSTORF and KIRSTEN ZICKFELD

    The critique starts:

    “Bjørn Lomborg’s “Environmental Assessment Institute” published a
    report (Olsen and Buch, 2004) on the risk of ocean circulation changes in the Atlantic…

    Nevertheless, the report is published and the copyright owned by Lomborg’s institute.

    Admittedly, the somewhat unusual process of gestation and launch for a scientific document made us approach it with some caution.” (Yeah, there’s a reason for that-RO).

    “…Several factual errors cast doubt on the authors’ familiarity with the cited literature and basic science; such errors could have been avoided had the report been subject to the usual independent peer review process.

    …To give two examples, the report claims a sensitivity study was performed with the CLIMBER model, even though the study in question was published years before this model existed.

    …And the authors fail to understand the basic oceanographic concept of steric height, claiming it “reflects the sea-surface height at a given location if the ocean were to be motionless” (to the contrary, the steric height field reflects the surface currents of the ocean – this is why oceanographers routinely determine steric height).

    …The usefulness of the report is hampered by a strangely selective choice of the literature. Many of the key studies that have considered the risk of ocean circulation changes in greenhouse warming scenarios are neither cited nor discussed.

    …Not mentioned are the classic papers by Manabe and Stouffer (1993, 1994), showing that the Atlantic thermohaline circulation breaks down in a scenario of quadrupling CO2, but weakens and recovers in a scenario of doubling CO2 in the GFDL…”

    …The omission of the last study is particularly surprising,
    as it shows a major cooling occurring over Scandinavia in the middle of this century. It is thus highly relevant to an assessment of the risks of future ocean circulation changes, especially for Scandinavian society.

    …What else is missing is a discussion of the uncertainties. One major uncertainty lies in the future meltwater runoff from Greenland

    … one is left asking oneself whether this report was intended to assess the risks, or rather to downplay them.”

    I think, and hope, that you get the point. If a member of the public, a “thinktank”, or God forbid a Congressman/Congresswoman, or President of the United States reads this report…they will believe its science is just as valid as an actual world-wide open peer-reviewed journal paper that has been vetted for accuracy…when in reality it is just propaganda masquerading as science.

    This non-peer-reviewed Bjorn Lomborg-issued report is non-scientific information that the world-wide open peer-review system would weed out due to its lack of scientific evidence…like the Soon et. al “published report.”

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 14 Oct 2007 @ 10:26 AM

  103. US Tornadoes

    Early research on tornadoes…

    Identifying trends in tornado frequency has been difficult as we can only include those tornadoes which get reported. Reports of tornadoes including severe tornadoes have on the whole increased. However, this is no doubt in part due to better reporting and analysis so far suggests that the trend in F3-F5 has been neutral to negative. Model analysis has been limited in part due to problems of scale: the resolution of climate models is typically too coarse. However, it has been suggested that thunderstorm activity may actually decrease due to lower continental interior relative humidity while extreme events may increase.

    The information used for their chart would appear to be coming from:

    Tornado Climatology
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Global Climate Monitoring
    Last updated: 17 August 2006

    The page itself suggests that there has been little change in trends.

    I might recommend checking the following:

    Daniel McCarthy and Joseph Schaefer

    Reports prior to the late 1970s would appear to be especially problematic:

    The number of tornadoes rated F2 have decreased since 1973. This may be attributed to research performed by the TDU of the NSSFC who rated tornadoes prior to the late 1970s by researching newspaper clippings and assign ratings according to the articles. Of course, for the tornado to be in the newspaper, it would have to cause appreciable damage.

    Tornado TrendsAcross the U.S.
    1950 – 2000
    Daniel McCarthy , comment to slide 5

    An article that looks interesting but which I have as of yet been unable to obtain a copy of as of yet is:

    Climatological analysis of tornado report counts using a hierarchical Bayesian spatiotemporal model
    Christopher K. Wikle, Christopher J. Anderson
    JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 108, NO. D24, 9005, doi:10.1029/2002JD002806, 2003

    With regard to what models project, an early result:

    Will moist convection be stronger in a warmer climate?
    Anthony D. Del Genio, Mao-Sung Yao, and Jeffrey Jonas
    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 34, L16703, doi:10.1029/2007GL030525, 2007

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 14 Oct 2007 @ 7:09 PM

  104. Re. 102. Just a follow-up to post #102 on how pseudo-science from “published reports” like this (Lomborg’s) can make their way to decision makers.

    Lomborg, of all people, testified to Congress about climate change risks… even though his work was rejected by the science community as being ignorant of basic science:

    “…Several factual errors cast doubt on the authors’ familiarity with the cited literature and basic science; such errors could have been avoided had the report been subject to the usual independent peer review process.”

    I’m glad to know that Congress is making decisions that are going to affect my children’s future (and yours too) based on sound science.

    Remember, there is about a fifty-plus year lag between CO2 levels reaching a point and the time for temps, ocean levels and effects to catch up.

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 14 Oct 2007 @ 8:30 PM

  105. At least the OISM paper “admits” glaciers are disappearing at alarming rates. Many deniers even deny that. The authors contend that glacier reduction preceded significant use of hydrocarbon fuels. However, they do not include wood in their list of HC fuels. I don’t have any data to prove this but common sense would tell you that there must have been heavy use of wood for fuel at that time and also contributing would have been massive burn off of forests and grasslands for agricultural use during the 1800’s. Maybe an explanation for early phase of glacier reduction.

    Comment by Bob — 15 Oct 2007 @ 7:20 AM

  106. #104

    Lomborg, of all people, testified to Congress about climate change risks… even though his work was rejected by the science community as being ignorant of basic science:

    “…Several factual errors cast doubt on the authors’ familiarity with the cited literature and basic science; such errors could have been avoided had the report been subject to the usual independent peer review process.”


    A few years back, when Lomborg published “The Skeptical Environmentalist” he took up Skeptic Magazine’s offer to defend his work against the criticism it was receiving in that publication. They gave him 20+ pages, as I recall. Then they proceeded to break his arguments down. It wasn’t pretty, and he didn’t come out of it looking very good. I note that American Scientist and Scientific American also chimed in (and probably others), alowing him to respond and then addressing the response. While the critiques were obviously NOT peer review, they were concise, to the point, and extremely specific at showing how Lomborg was essentially cherry picking is data.

    Given that, it is no wonder he would want to avoid legitimate peer review.

    That said, given Congress already allowed Crichton to expand on the grand AGW-“conspiracy”, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Lomborg was allowed to show up. My assumption is that even if they (Congress)understand a speaker’s expertise is, at best, dubious, they figure they’ll make certain special interests happy and it won’t affect their final decision. Of course, they ignore (and some likely embrace) the understanding that in the public eye, appearing before Congress adds legitimacy to a viewpoint, which is a valuable tool moving forward. Face it, to a certain degree, Crichton’s public legitimacy rests on his Congressional appearance.

    Comment by J.S. McIntyre — 15 Oct 2007 @ 10:05 AM

  107. Interesting article on the backers of Stewart Dimmock, who took out the case in the UK against AIT:,,2190996,00.html

    Comment by Philip Ward — 15 Oct 2007 @ 10:19 AM

  108. Below are the alleged “nine scientific errors” in AIT, as reported in the Guardian (UK) on 11th October. You’ve already dealt well with the one about sea-level rise. I suspect Gore is misrepresented in others too, and even the Pentagon has considered the possibility that Atlantic ocean currents could “shut down”. It seems that the judge’s view is that it is impossible to step outside the IPCC consensus, and talk about possibilities and worst-case scenarios, when it is well-known that this consensus is in fact a compromise and many IPCC scientists do think its projections are conservative. They are supported by the fact that these projections have generally got more serious (as well as more likely) with each IPCC report.

    The film claimed that low-lying inhabited Pacific atolls “are being inundated because of anthropogenic global warming” – but there was no evidence of any evacuation occurring

    · It spoke of global warming “shutting down the ocean conveyor” – the process by which the gulf stream is carried over the north Atlantic to western Europe. The judge said that, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it was “very unlikely” that the conveyor would shut down in the future, though it might slow down

    · Mr Gore had also claimed – by ridiculing the opposite view – that two graphs, one plotting a rise in C02 and the other the rise in temperature over a period of 650,000 years, showed “an exact fit”. The judge said although scientists agreed there was a connection, “the two graphs do not establish what Mr Gore asserts”

    · Mr Gore said the disappearance of snow on Mt Kilimanjaro was expressly attributable to human-induced climate change. The judge said the consensus was that that could not be established

    · The drying up of Lake Chad was used as an example of global warming. The judge said: “It is apparently considered to be more likely to result from … population increase, over-grazing and regional climate variability”

    · Mr Gore ascribed Hurricane Katrina to global warming, but there was “insufficient evidence to show that”

    · Mr Gore also referred to a study showing that polar bears were being found that had drowned “swimming long distances to find the ice”. The judge said: “The only scientific study that either side before me can find is one which indicates that four polar bears have recently been found drowned because of a storm”

    · The film said that coral reefs all over the world were bleaching because of global warming and other factors. The judge said separating the impacts of stresses due to climate change from other stresses, such as over-fishing, and pollution, was difficult

    · The film said a sea-level rise of up to 20ft would be caused by melting of either west Antarctica or Greenland in the near future; the judge ruled that this was “distinctly alarmist”

    Comment by Philip Ward — 15 Oct 2007 @ 11:29 AM

  109. Re. no. 83 – Ray Ladbury. Tks for the comments, with which I agree in part. However, they do not settle my main worry. Whether or not we (on this blog, for example) believe Mr Gore’s comments were apocalyptic or exaggerated is less important to how his comments are portrayed by those who are tendentiously skeptical, particularly after the Dimmock court case. I scanned some of the letters pages in the broadsheet press in the UK over the weekend, and it was a dismaying experience to say the least. In particular, we have people now writing in to say that, since Mr Gore’s film is ‘political’, for ‘balance’ in British schools and classrooms, teachers should be compelled to show “The Great Global Warming Swindle ” etc. etc., to give people access to the ‘other side of the argument’. This really is about as depressing as it gets, as I see little likelihood of this clarifying the science, rather than confusing it (and the school pupils as well). I can’t help but think that had there been no court case, then we wouldn’t be getting these demands; similarly, if Mr Gore had used more qualified language (as the judge commented he should have), then there wouldn’t have been a court case. Further comments about the Nobel Prize I think are likely to make people more suspicious rather than less so, and the scientific picture can hence be presented as less clear. The whole business is deeply frustrating.

    Comment by Nick O. — 15 Oct 2007 @ 12:01 PM

  110. more distortions –


    … During his speech to a crowd of about 300 that included meteorology students and a host of professional meteorologists, Dr Gray also said those who had linked global warming to the increased number of hurricanes in recent years were in error. …

    James Hansen:

    …Hansen took aim at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for failing to recognize clear evidence of the link between increasing ferocity of tropical storms and greenhouse gases.

    “We calculate an ocean surface warming in the region of hurricane formation, caused by human-made climate forcings,” Hansen said. “So the categorical contention of the NOAA National Hurricane Center that recent hurricane intensification is due to a natural cycle of Atlantic Ocean temperature, and has nothing to do with global warming, is irrational. How could a hurricane distinguish between natural and greenhouse-gas warming?” …

    Not a single word about the number of hurricanes – not a hint of it.

    Comment by J.C.H. — 15 Oct 2007 @ 12:08 PM

  111. Bob (#105) wrote:

    At least the OISM paper “admits” glaciers are disappearing at alarming rates. Many deniers even deny that. The authors contend that glacier reduction preceded significant use of hydrocarbon fuels. However, they do not include wood in their list of HC fuels. I don’t have any data to prove this but common sense would tell you that there must have been heavy use of wood for fuel at that time and also contributing would have been massive burn off of forests and grasslands for agricultural use during the 1800’s. Maybe an explanation for early phase of glacier reduction.

    In the West, coal use goes back to the Romans in the first and second centuries. Hopi indians were using it in the 1300s. In modern times, the use of coal goes back to the 1700s. Before coal (which clearly wasn’t used that much given the charts) we were using charcoal. And thats just coal and charcoal. The burning of wood undoubtedly goes back to before the dawn of civilization 10,000 years ago. Then you should also consider the sources of anthropogenic methane. The domestication of cattle and rice. These too have long histories. If you look at the trend for carbon dioxide and methane it would appear that we have been raising the level of both at least as far back as 5,000 years.

    For a quick source on the use of coal please see:

    DOE – Fossil Energy: A Brief History of Coal Use in the United States

    For the chart on the trends in atmospheric content of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide over the past 10,000 years, the IPCC has it, but here is a quick link:

    Green Facts: Figures and Tables
    FIGURE SPM-1. Changes in Greenhouse Gases from ice-Core and Modern Data


    Incidentally, they were selective in their choice of glaciers, too. But we can look that up later.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 15 Oct 2007 @ 12:33 PM

  112. Ref 109. You can also measure hurricane intensity by the ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy) value. In the North Atlantic in 2005, the ACE value was around 250(kt^2 x 10^4). In 2006, around 70. Year to date in 2007, around 60. Average value around 100. There are similar figures for the whole of the northern hemisphere. Unless hurricane activity picks up in the next few years, there is not much sign that Jim Hansen is correct in his criticism of NOAA.

    [Response: Hansen’s criticism of NOAA has nothing to do with hurricane statistics and everything to do with the ability of scientists at NOAA to talk to the media unencumbered by political appointees controlling what they can say. That is valid wherever the science goes. – gavin]

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 15 Oct 2007 @ 1:09 PM

  113. Re: Glaciers

    I just thought of something else: black soot.

    With regard to glaciers, I would say that anthropogenic black carbon goes back as far as carbon dioxide, and as we have been quite measurably increasing levels of carbon dioxide over the past 5000 years, undoubtedly we have been doing the same with black carbon. And I would keep in mind the fact that while carbon dioxide tends to be global in its effects, black soot tends not to be so evenly distributed – although the effects of black soot show up even in the Arctic today. In very large part, it has a disproportionate effect upon the cryosphere – due to the difference in albedo.

    Additionally, I would keep in mind the fact that cities will tend to form where there are rivers, and glaciers are a good source of rivers. Best estimates – globally black carbon is an order of magnitude lower in its effects when compared against carbon dioxide, but in terms of the cryosphere it is roughly as important as carbon dioxide, perhaps even more important with regard to the Arctic sea ice.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 15 Oct 2007 @ 1:17 PM

  114. I have received a copy of the paper from the OISM and read through many of the comments here.

    It is understandable with the projected costs involved in proposed global warming solutions that the subject has become highly political and, so we must now seek to deligitimize anyone who opposes our point of view which we so firmly believe to be correct. A fairly good job on Frederick Seitz suggesting that his point of view need not be based on conviction and then again he in not a climatologist.

    I ask for help here. The arguments and data supporting put forth in the OISM paper seem to me to compare closely to those in a book I read by Patrick Michaels who is a professor of Environmental Scoences at the University of Virginia. Meltdown, The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians and the Media. Evidently, Professor Michaels is also the state climatologist of Virginia.

    I’m sorry that I have only recently come to your site but I wonder if the participants here have been able to sufficiently discredit Professor Michaels and/or his work.

    Comment by David Blake — 15 Oct 2007 @ 1:54 PM

  115. Re. No. 109 – Trying to tailor everything that is said and done to avoid reprecussions from “the other side” is a loser’s game, unfortunately. We’ve seen that in American politics in recent years. The attacks on AGW are more of the same. I was reluctant to see AIT because I thought it was going to be a “downer”. However, other guests at a dinner party I attended insisted that it was not a negative film and it did not leave the viewer depressed and hopeless about global warming. So, I went to see it and discovered they were right. In an effort to not give anyone a hook for an attack on the film, how far would Gore have had to go? Perhaps a dry as dust listing of a few scientific facts would have done it–but it’s doubtful. As it is, it’s quite clear that the Lomborgs of the world will not hesitate to distort what was said if they cannot find any real issues. Another thing is that there is a successful spin job going on–what is getting all the coverage, in some quarters at least, is the finding of (maybe yes, maybe no) errors in the film. However, here is what the UK Met Office has posted at their web site (

    Director Climate Science John Mitchell said: “The Met Office is pleased that the evidence for climate change had been accepted in a British court of law in line with the IPCC findings that warming our planet is unequivocal, and that it is very likely that most of this warming is caused by man-made greenhouse gases.

    “We welcome the fact that such an accessible film is being shown to schools so that young people will be informed on climate change and encouraged to engage with the issues that will affect their future.”

    Ah-ha, that puts a rather different face on it all, doesn’t it? One can only wonder why so few of the commentaries on the judicial decision neglect to mention that, in fact, “the evidence for climate change had been accepted in a British court of law” instead of focusing on a few errors. The Met Office has it right.

    Further, the fact that the letters pages in the Britsh broadsheet press now show people writing in to criticize the film as political and to suggest the equal-time showing of “The Great Global Warming Swindle” not only shows that the judicial decision is being misrepresented, it tracks closely with online responses to Time magazine’s issue on global warming and to a poorly phrased comment Heidi Cullen made on The Weather Channel’s Forecast Earth. Reading through these responses is profoundly depressing–until one suddenly realizes that it is highly unlikley that a spontaneous reaction from members of the general public could have produced such an unbalanced response rate, not when polls show that approximately 3/4 of Americans believe that global warming is now a problem or will become one in the future. Meanwhile, the responses overwhelmingly deny the reality of global warming, deny that humans could have any influence on climate, attack those such as Time’s writers and Cullen as fascists and “kool-aid drinkers,” and insist that the entire issue is a political ploy. The “other side” must not be allowed to dictate the terms of how the issue is presented. No matter what is done, no matter how it is presented, they will manage to attack and distort the message. I can say that without hesitation because they are doing so already and have done so repeatedly in the past for a wide variety of issues.

    Comment by Mary C — 15 Oct 2007 @ 2:08 PM

  116. Jim Cripwell (#112) wrote:

    Ref 109. You can also measure hurricane intensity by the ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy) value. In the North Atlantic in 2005, the ACE value was around 250(kt^2 x 10^4). In 2006, around 70. Year to date in 2007, around 60. Average value around 100. There are similar figures for the whole of the northern hemisphere. Unless hurricane activity picks up in the next few years, there is not much sign that Jim Hansen is correct in his criticism of NOAA.

    If you mean to imply that the accumulated cyclone energy has not been rising, I would suggest checking the chart here:

    Accumulated cyclone energy

    It shows that accumulated cyclone energy has been rising roughly in step with global warming since about 1978 – when the effects of anthropogenic aerosols began to diminish relative to carbon dioxide and the global average temperature really began to rise. There is a fair amount of cyclic variability, but the trend would appear to be quite obvious and I believe you can see that detrending for the cycles would be fairly easy.

    This would seem to be the opposite of what you are implying.

    If you mean to claim that for example 2006 was a slow year, that’s true — for the Atlantic, but check out what was happening in the Pacific:

    21 Cat 4-5 Storms for 2006?
    Posted on: January 4, 2007 6:55 AM, by Chris C. Mooney

    I mention this because NOAA took an official position that global warming was not the cause of hurricane intensification, and as the public was glued to their television listening to reports from the Hurricane Center, that is the main message the public received. The topic is a complex one that the scientific community is working on, but it seems that the public, by fiat, received biased information. NOAA scientists were told not to dispute the Hurricane Center conclusion in public. I am not certain whether that is legal or not. Perhaps, by declaring the conclusion to be `policy’, NOAA scientists can be prohibited from questioning it in public.

    Jim Hansen quoted in …
    Jim Hansen: NOAA “by fiat” put out “biased information” on hurricanes
    Posted on Wednesday, February 15, 2006

    Anyway, for the Power Dissipation Index, offhand I would suggest two posts at Real Climate:

    September 2005
    Hurricanes and Global Warming – Is There a Connection?

    4 May 2005
    Storms and Climate Change

    You might want to read them.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 15 Oct 2007 @ 3:20 PM

  117. Re 112 Jim Cripwell: “You can also measure hurricane intensity by the ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy) value. In the North Atlantic in 2005, the ACE value was around 250(kt^2 x 10^4). In 2006, around 70. Year to date in 2007, around 60. Average value around 100. There are similar figures for the whole of the northern hemisphere. Unless hurricane activity picks up in the next few years, there is not much sign that Jim Hansen is correct in his criticism of NOAA.”

    Then please be so good as to provide them for the same time periods. Discussing hurricane intensity in terms of ACE value and then limiting the discussion to North Atlantic values is classic cherry picking.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 15 Oct 2007 @ 3:34 PM

  118. Comment by Jim Cripwell — 15 October 2007 @ 1:09 PM

    The point is he never said anything about the number of hurricanes.

    As for the ferocity and averages, tell me all about the averages if one of them should level Houston and the rest of them in that season could barely keep a kite aloft.

    Comment by J.C.H. — 15 Oct 2007 @ 3:45 PM

  119. PS to Re Hurricanes: 116

    Anyway, Jim, I want to thank you for bringing up accumulated cyclone energy. I wouldn’t have looked it up – and it is instructive. In terms of the number of Atlantic hurricanes, it would appear that there have been four regimes where the average has been constant with the most recent two have shown more tropical hurricanes.

    Please see:

    Open Mind: North Atlantic Storms (NATL TC)
    by Tamino, August 10th, 2007


    Re David Blake

    You wrote in 114:

    I ask for help here. The arguments and data supporting put forth in the OISM paper seem to me to compare closely to those in a book I read by Patrick Michaels who is a professor of Environmental Scoences at the University of Virginia. Meltdown, The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians and the Media. Evidently, Professor Michaels is also the state climatologist of Virginia.

    I’m sorry that I have only recently come to your site but I wonder if the participants here have been able to sufficiently discredit Professor Michaels and/or his work.

    I suspect that just about everything Michaels has written regarding climate change has been discredited. However, at this point the contributors are trying to see how much we have learned and how much we are able to find – for the purpose of responding to the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.

    Obviously if you are right and we do do a good job with OISM, it will go a long way to responding to and discrediting Patrick Michaels who is at the center of so much of this. Assuming we can research the book and show where it lines up with OISM’s essay.

    Anyway, the pointer helps. Thankyou!

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 15 Oct 2007 @ 3:57 PM

  120. Sorry…

    In response to David Blake, I had written in 117:

    Obviously if you are right and we do do a good job with OISM, it will go a long way to responding to and discrediting Patrick Michaels who is at the center of so much of this. Assuming we can research the book and show where it lines up with OISM’s essay.

    I gave the wrong link for Patrick Michaels.

    Here is the right one:

    The diagram shows Patrick Michaels contributing to 20 organizations.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 15 Oct 2007 @ 4:37 PM

  121. Re: 120
    I think the real “contributions” flow the other way, to Mr. Michaels from at least 20 organizations. He is well compensated for his contributions to public misunderstanding of the science.

    Comment by Roger Smith — 15 Oct 2007 @ 6:57 PM

  122. Hmm, looks like it might be news to some that Patrick Michaels no longer is/calls himself the State Climatologist of Virginia.

    Comment by Jason Patton — 15 Oct 2007 @ 9:58 PM

  123. For PHE (#66)

    The summary was way too short. What the court really said, but not explicitly, was the that the EPA has to regulate greenhouse gases. The court said that if air pollution was altering the climate, which all the evidence shows it is, then the the EPA under the Clean Air Act has to regulate the emission of greenhouse gases. Summaries of court decisions often are not detailed enough to portray the true message of the decision.

    Anyone who has done legal research knows that summaries, even by legal authorities like keycite can be wrong.

    Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 16 Oct 2007 @ 1:03 AM

  124. Nick O. re: 109, There is a reason why science insists on consensus rather than unanimity: Not everyone is reasonable. So, the way science handles this is to establish a consensus, but preserve the freedom of dissenters to express minority views. In effect, what happens is those who take extreme positions tend to marginalize themselves. Now if the scientific community considers itself free to disregard the opinions of experts who take extreme positions, are you going to tell me that we should care what some ignorant food tube with no understanding of the science thinks about the science? I am firmly in favor of involving everyone in the debate about what to do about climate change, but the science should be decided by experts.

    If we are to have people make educated decisions about proper mitigation of climate change, they need to understand the consequences–what CAN happen, not just what is certain to happen. We can always temper these predictions of disaster with best estimates of probability, but people need to be aware of all the potentialities.
    Compare how we have dealt with climate to how we have dealt with terrorism. Look at the emphasis that has been placed on the “dirty bomb” scenario–despite the fact that it is not a very effective strategy and would be hard to execute in practice. Instead, the only outcome that has been emphasized wrt climate is sea-level rise, which is a certainty. Hell we founded a whole new government Department to deal with the terrorist threat and we can’t even get the government to officially acknowledge the existence of climate change, which will ultimately have a much higher economic cost.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Oct 2007 @ 7:49 AM

  125. One reply mentioned Frederick Seitz’ “credentials”. Evidently the guy was a scientist for big tobacco, so president of NAS or not, that pretty much destroys his credibility with me. Here is a link to a little more information on him and his role in this mass mailing that many of us legitimate scientists seemed to receive.

    Comment by Jeff Abell — 16 Oct 2007 @ 6:00 PM

  126. In #39, RSS and Timothy wrote:

    ‘”Correlation does not prove causality, but non-correlation proves non-causality.” – Para 19 of Atmospheric and Surface Temperatures

    I suppose this is true, in the sense that if you had zero correlation it would be hard to justify causation. Although, I’m not sure it constitutes proof.”

    Well, not really. Let look at some data:

    x y

    0 0
    25 24
    50 46
    75 66
    100 84
    125 100
    150 114
    175 126
    200 136
    225 144
    250 150
    275 154
    300 156
    325 156
    350 154
    375 150
    400 144
    425 136
    450 126
    475 114
    500 100
    525 84
    550 66
    575 46
    600 24
    625 0

    If you compute the correlation of x and y, you find that it is zero. RSS would have us believe that this non-correlation implies non-causality and Tim is unsure.

    The x’s are the horizontal coordinates and the y’s the vertical coordinates of a ball launched at a 45 degree angle with a speed of 100*sqrt(2) feet per second (making the simplifying assumptions of acceleration of gravity = 32 ft/sec/sec and flight in a vacuum).

    What the non-correlation implies is that the data SAMPLE being analyzed does not have a LINEAR relationship that overrides the noise in the data. We can use that non-correlation to draw some conclusions about the underlying population, but non-causation is not one of the conclusions we can draw. RRS are simply wrong in their assertion.

    Best regards.

    Comment by Jim Dukelow — 17 Oct 2007 @ 12:02 PM

  127. RRW figure 2 is indeed referenced in their figure caption. It is their reference 4. The important question you need to address is, were they fair in fitting the average glacier length with a straight line from the year 1820? If so, then isn’t their basic claim correct, that the glacier melting is independent of recent increases in CO2?

    Comment by steveb — 18 Oct 2007 @ 1:13 PM

  128. If as you say above: “human breathing out of CO2 is … (Actually since that carbon comes directly and indirectly from recent plants taking it out of the air, our breathing is carbon neutral).”
    Then why isn’t production of methane by cattle and sheep carbon neutral since that also comes directly and indirectly from recent plants taking it out of the air – plants that the animals have just eaten – and yes, that goes for the gut bacteria too – just wondering?

    [Response: Because the ruminants have effectively taken CO2 out of the air, and replaced it with CH4 – a much more effective greenhouse gas at the per molecule level. – gavin]

    Comment by Jacqueline — 21 Oct 2007 @ 4:46 AM

  129. Jeff Abell, check your date, you link to the original OISM petition project, not to the current mass mailing. Same people, similar petition, but the first one happened quite a while ago. Note the different year.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Oct 2007 @ 10:14 AM

  130. Finally, a question even I could answer, and a contributer from the left-hand menu hogs it.

    I think it would be the case that if all cow methane could be captured and burned to generate electricity, as an example, the cycle would be carbon neutral.

    [Response: Sorry! – I’ll leave it up to you next time…. – gavin]

    Comment by J.C.H. — 21 Oct 2007 @ 12:44 PM

  131. RE #130 [I think it would be the case that if all cow methane could be captured and burned to generate electricity, as an example, the cycle would be carbon neutral.]

    Only if you’re talking about wild cattle, or processes not using fossil fuels or nitrogen fertilisers in the cattle farming itself, in feed production, and in food processing and related sectors.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 21 Oct 2007 @ 1:43 PM

  132. stop falsely attributing comments to the film

    I see critics of the film suggesting that the implications of the film were too focused on GW leading to global catastrophe rather than suggesting that specific statements made in the film were false.

    Obviously only a few of the explicit statements were false – how could this be otherwise – the film script was short and extensively reviewed. The beef is with how facts are couched within the clear implication of a looming catastrophe that the science does not suggest at all.

    It’s a *fact* that the earth will eventually be catastrophically destroyed by the sun millions of years in the future. It would be absurd to harp on that in a film addressing the perils of today. It is not absurd to discuss 20 foot sea level rises as a very small future possibility, but it is misleading to present the consequences of a 20 foot rise instead of focusing attention on the IPCC estimates of sea level rises of 18-59 centimeters over the next 100 years.

    The film was designed to prod people to action, and it has done so magnificently. I’d love to hear from those defending the alarmist tone of the film what exactly they see as the implication of the 20 foot sea level rise discussion and imagery and the Katrina discussion and imagery. It is *patently absurd and intellectually dishonest* to suggest that those points were presented in a way that would lead an uninformed viewer to conclude that science suggests 18-59cm of sea level rise over the next century. The transcript and many of the pix are online – read them!

    Comment by Joe Duck — 22 Oct 2007 @ 1:33 AM

  133. Re. #132, you’re in the wrong thread – this thread is about the second Oregon petition.

    Comment by Dave Rado — 22 Oct 2007 @ 6:01 AM

  134. Thank you Dave and sorry about that. Editor fine to delete my comment 132.

    Comment by Joe Duck — 24 Oct 2007 @ 3:28 PM

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  136. My package came yesterday, and I’ve switched sides!

    Comment by bigcitylib — 7 Nov 2007 @ 6:01 AM

  137. slide 19
    I looked at the oism petition and for the most part you have the paper pegged how ever there is one red herring that I’m not sure what to with thats slide 19 saying that the uncertainties are greater that the forcing of co2
    there bar looks like the standard 4 watts running the modtran4 model
    first at 375 ppm 1976 atm 0 degrees from the ground looking up I get
    258.673 watts. when I raise the co2 to 750 ppm and the ground offset to 3c I get 276.728, a difference of 18.055.
    I did this to get an idea of what the flux changes would be equilibrium to equilibrium, still less than the ocean sea flux.
    Could someone please shed some light on this.

    Comment by jacob l — 10 Nov 2007 @ 3:45 PM

  138. I think this has been mentioned a bit above, but it really bugs me so I’m going to mention it:

    “Hydrocarbon use could not have caused these trends.”
    “The experimental data do not prove that solar activity is the only phenomenon responsible for substantial Earth temperature fluctuations, but they do show the human hydrocarbon use is not among those phenomena.”
    “in all seven glacial and interglacial cycles, the reported changes in CO2 and CH4 lagged the temperature changes and could not, therefore, have caused them.”

    Hydrocarbon use could not have initiated the trends, but that does not rule it out as a contributing factor to the continuation of the trends (feedback effects). All forcing factors need to be taken into account before one can start looking for correlations.

    “Despite enormous tax subsidies over the past 30 years, green sources still provide only 0.3% of U.S. energy.”

    Apparently this only considers wind and solar energy to be “green” energy sources. Looking at Figure 25, wind and solar account for 0.33%. Hydroelectric and other account for 6.6%, and nuclear (can this be considered green? It does not emit carbon, which I think is the point that’s being made) is 8.2%. So non-carbon sources actually account for over 15% of U.S. energy.

    “This decrease in temperature occurred during a period in which hydrocarbon use increased 3-fold.”

    This ignores that there are other forcing factors that explain the decrease.

    Comment by abner — 21 Dec 2007 @ 4:49 PM

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