RealClimate

Comments

RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Thank you for this post and for the example of the route your paper took from blog to peer-reviewed literature. I think we can all see from recent events and comments around the climate blogs that there is a great deal of ignorance and misunderstanding — and misjudgement — on the part of the lay public about the whole peer review process.

    Comment by Susann — 13 Feb 2011 @ 10:46 AM

  2. I was just wondering if, maybe, it might not be a sound idea to consider the possibility that water vapor could move from the ‘feedback’ category, to a – New! Improved! All NOT Natural! – ‘forced feedback’ category; for is it not true that, as our Industrial Processes heat ever more water and release ever more water vapor, while our Agricultural Practices pump ever more fossil water to the surface, both of these sources of water vapor constitute an “anthropogenic source” that is in addition to the “natural” water vapor that you’re calling a “feedback” mechanism, because of it’s self-reinforcing nature, and that this will eventually, at least, begin to also have a kind of “anthro-forcing” effect that, I’d assume, could already be showing up in upon your equations?
    I know you’ve been taking into account the problem of increasing methane releases due to the melting of permafrost and the possibility of Methane Hydrites decomposing as the oceans warm, but you didn’t seem to mention this possibility; which amkes me wish I had a reference to one or more of the articles (might have even been in “peer-reviewed” Science or Nature) that I’ve read in which this possibility was addressed.
    I mean, isn’t it at least a concern that, as the Oceanic Surface Layers warm, that that’ll be a ‘new’ source of additional water vapor; agaiun, causing a ‘forcing’ which the ‘feedback-loop’ effect that increasing water vapor produces will then amplify.

    [Response: Surface emissions of water vapour are too small and the perturbation lifetime too short to have any significant climate effect. There are potentially a couple of exceptions - water vapour emissions into the upper troposphere (by aircraft) and stratosphere (via anthropogenic methane oxidation) are just about important enough to think about. And at the surface, increased irrigation in continental areas may affect local evaporation/latent heat transfers to affect local climate. However, the change in specific humidity as a function of changing temperature is a far bigger effect than any of these. - gavin]

    Comment by James Staples — 13 Feb 2011 @ 11:27 AM

  3. Just to clarify one point in this post: my own calculation of the proportion of greenhouse effect due to water vapor, in the chapter Gavin cites, was not one of the ones that used a fixed idealized profile. I love idealized profiles, and one learns a lot from them, but that particular calculation used 3D NCEP climatology, both for water vapor and temperature, and then re-did the radiative calculation with water vapor removed and water vapor re-set to saturation. It is true, though, that that calculation did not incorporate the effect of clouds (the whole question becomes a bit fuzzy once you bring clouds into the picture, because clouds affect both the greenhouse effect and the planet’s albedo). It is also true that I didn’t separately show results for water vapor alone with the CO2 taken out. There is, as Gavin says, a bit of information in doing the calculation both ways, because of overlap in the absorption features of CO2 and water vapor.

    Gavin’s post also makes the important point that many of us have faced review processes more arduous and protracted than what O’Donnell had to deal with in his J. Climate paper on Antarctica. That is never fun; sometimes the process definitely improves the paper, sometimes it is a matter of dealing with what may seem (and sometimes are, but often not) pointless criticisms. But it is something that all of us in science have learned to deal with because there is no known process that does better than peer review. And I’ll add that protracted reviews and publication difficulties are not peculiar to things that originated in “blog science.” My struggle to get my 1990′s “radiator fin” paper published comes to mind, though sometimes I wish it didn’t.

    Comment by raypierre — 13 Feb 2011 @ 11:34 AM

  4. Though sometime blog efforts really can help push the science forward, there are some big differences between blogging and science. Robert Grumbine describes the former as “having a beer”:

    http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/the-nature-of-blogging-having-a-beer-vs-the-nature-of-science/

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 13 Feb 2011 @ 12:12 PM

  5. The effective top of the atmosphere for a given fraction of IR to escape to space must be getting higher all the time and hence cooler, until it warms up enough to radiate enough to reestablish thermal equilibrium. This must he handled inside the model, but can you make it explicit?

    [Response: For a grey gas, you can write it down in a page or two of algebra and explanatory text (see the discussion of the "All Troposphere model" in Chapter 4 of Principles of Planetary Climate). For a real gas, it takes a few hundred lines of Fortran code do do it in a computationally efficient manner, or a few dozen lines of Python code to do it in a more straightforward but less efficient manner. The latter is available in the Chapter 4 scripts at http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/PrinciplesPlanetaryClimate (see MiniClimt.py). Is that explicit enough for you? --raypierre]

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 13 Feb 2011 @ 12:38 PM

  6. Would you say: “The peer review process forces the workaholics to work harder.”?

    Thanks very much for the links to downloadable papers.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 13 Feb 2011 @ 1:25 PM

  7. as someone who hasn’t published anything through peer review,
    do “open journals” like Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
    give a realistic view of how peer review should work?
    do you have any better examples?
    thanks for your time

    Comment by jacob l — 13 Feb 2011 @ 1:34 PM

  8. I certainly think that blogs can be of tremendous value in bringing up more context and dispelling the various mis-apprehensions that exist,

    Yet your narration contains an instance illustrating Mark Twain’s observation that a lie can travel half-way around the earth before the truth has even gotten started. Not that your blogged figures constituted a “lie”, or even a poor approximation, but that they became well-known before the truth even got a start. You made a good case that blogging a new result (as opposed to blogging published results) is of very little value. Not that you made a “mistake” by blogging first, but next time you might feel “once burned, twice shy”, and not repeat what you did. I know from many hours of reading, more than I want to admit, this and other blogs (especially Curry’s blog which has become an encyclopedia of misinformation), and from my own mistakes, that this is an inefficient method of distributing and acquiring information.

    I appreciate the time taken by you and other moderators and bloggers, but after your narration, and after the recent all-blog Steig/O’Donnell debate, you really might want to reconsider ever posting original work on a blog first. FWIW. I know I can’t sound humble, but this is humbly submitted.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 13 Feb 2011 @ 1:36 PM

  9. I find many blogs rather useful even for my science. I regularly visit Judy Curry, the Pielkes (Sr and Jr) and What’s Up with That, beside RealClimate. Regardless if I agree with the postings, I often find interesting references to follow (many of them actually peer-reviewed). I agree, that blog entries are not “reference-able” in the scientific sense and they should not replace traditional peer-reviewed publications.
    An interesting mold of the blogs and peer review is what a number of EGU publication tries to follow. “Hydrology and Earth Sciences” (HESS) or Geoscientific Model Development (GMD) just to name two that I am aware has an online review system, which allows anybody to comment besides the invited reviewers. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any ad hoc comments yet, but this is not the fault the publisher but the readers (including myself) who did not take advantage of the offered opportunity. I like particularly the ability to point to papers while they are in review. I see so many times papers cited as “in print” or “in review” in proposals or papers that I review, when I am actually clueless, what is the content of the cited paper. HESS and GDM also seems to be a good step in terms of revising the peer-review process, since the review comments themselves are entirely public.

    Comment by Balazs — 13 Feb 2011 @ 1:41 PM

  10. Thank you. Another interesting read. I think I spotted a couple of typo’s:
    1. the first sentence repeats the word “isn’t”.
    2. “…calculated the importance of CO2 is one of two ways…” should be “…in one of two…”

    Comment by One Anonymous Bloke — 13 Feb 2011 @ 1:49 PM

  11. Blog-derived publication is fine, but it obviously needs to conform to norms of scientific integrity. One of the elements of “peer-review” that is not often remarked on is the “self-peer-review”; i.e. most successful publishing scientists are strongly self-critical and submit work that meets personal standards of quality – these are often implicit, but widely shared in the research community – i.e. you generally know when a piece of work is good and is ready for publication.

    There are some good examples of blog-based publication that come to mind. I remember Martin Vermeer published a nice paper on analyzing sea level rise with Stefan Rahmstorf; the Rabett Run group published a critique of something or other (can’t remember sorry!), and the O’Donnell paper on Antarctic temperature trends was actually a decent attempt to expand the Steig et al analysis, if only the authors had seen it in that vein and not used it as an opportunity for an appalling display of (contrived?) neurosis.

    But this stuff does need to go through peer-review and publication. Blog science might work as (often cheap and nasty) politics, and in a better light as education, but it doesn’t really work as science until it’s properly packaged. One would hope O’Donnell et al might look back upon their paper at some time in the future and think “I’m quite proud of that”, and of course, as the post-publication peer-review process runs its course the paper will live or die according to its scientific value, while all the lemony-mouth hissy-fits associated with its blog existence will be long forgotten.

    Comment by chris — 13 Feb 2011 @ 1:49 PM

  12. In response to post#10 from Septic Mathew:

    “I know from many hours of reading, more than I want to admit, this and other blogs (especially Curry’s blog which has become an encyclopedia of misinformation), and from my own mistakes, that this is an inefficient method of distributing and acquiring information.”

    Unfortunately, that is the nature of the moder information age. No source can be fully trusted including peer reviewed publications and IPCC reports. One has to do his homework to go after each information and make educated guess about which source can be trusted.

    Comment by Balazs — 13 Feb 2011 @ 1:50 PM

  13. The bottom line was that CO2 was indeed an important contributor to the present day greenhouse effect, and depending on how you calculated the percentage, could account for between 9 and 26% of the effect.

    This has always struck me as answering the wrong question. A better question, I think, is how much outbound radiation is absorbed by CO2 as opposed to H2O or other gases or clouds in the present atmosphere, not in some hypothetical atmosphere. Averaged over the whole Earth this should yield a single number.

    Other questions are also interesting, but what the radiation change would be with no CO2 in the atmosphere, without adjusting the amount of water vapor (especially) and other greenhouse gases for the temperature change caused by that, is not so interesting.

    [Response: That number is about 20% - I should have put that in the post. - gavin]

    [Response: But, as I said in my Physics Today article, even this 20% number gives a misleading impression of the relative roles of CO2 and water vapor, implying (if you don't think about it) that climate might sort of only change by a fifth if you take out all the CO2. In fact, it's a critical 20%, because without that 20%, in the Earth's orbit most of the water vapor wouldn't be there either, because the atmosphere would be too cold. This point was brought home clearly in the work by Aiko Voigt (cited in the PT article) which showed that if you take out the CO2 the Earth falls into a Snowball. That central point was confirmed by Lacis et al (who were unaware of Voigt's earlier result), in their piece on water vapor vs. CO2 that appeared last year in Science (mentioned by Gavin). --raypierre]

    Comment by Greg Simpson — 13 Feb 2011 @ 1:56 PM

  14. Raypeirre, thanks for your help here and in Unforced Variations!

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 13 Feb 2011 @ 2:06 PM

  15. I walk on eggshells here, as I am not a scientist and often comment on various fora about all this stuff. First, I would say a hearty thank you for this post, which was enlightening and delighted one physicist I showed it to, especially the bit about not being able to publish because the original work was now common understanding and didn’t need proof.

    (However, despite WitsEnd’s contretemps here, I still think her observations are interesting. Don’t know why you and she got into such an argy-bargy. She became oddly enraged, which is not like what else I’ve seen of her.)

    The point that the situation is rapidly getting out of hand and science is not keeping up with its careful approach is of some value. Scientists can’t do all this stuff, and the public is deceived because the disinformationalists have no such scruples.

    Those of us without the technical expertise can still use logic and language to point out the shortcomings of propaganda. We can learn and observe. The worldwide floods and other large weather events and Arctic distortions are of interest to people who have not given their lives to science, and in many cases would not have qualified as a high degree of ability and dedication go into a scientific career. We can call out snark.

    A useful paraphrase I’ve used is “climate is weather over space and time” (Heidi Cullen) which I know understates some of the complexities but allows the latter to be mentioned in discussions of the former without getting tangled. Ordinary people are increasingly noticing that things are getting out of whack, and are more open to these ideas than the denial industry would have you believe – I’ve noticed a distinct improvement in Joe Public’s understanding lately.

    My friendship with Feynman and scientists didn’t and don’t require me to remain silent when I talk with or about them, only to know where the gaps in my knowledge lie, and not lie about what is real and what is not.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 13 Feb 2011 @ 2:56 PM

  16. Off topic but were continuing our community discussion on AGW and I was wondering if someone would send me to a link. I’ve made the point that the warming we’ve seen under the last 100 years is unprecedented. Our detractor just stated, “North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling project
    Annual ice layers formed over millennia in Greenland by compressed snow reveal information on past temperatures and precipitation levels, as well as the contents of ancient atmospheres, said White. Ice cores from previous drilling efforts revealed temperature spikes of more than 20 degrees Fahrenheit in just 50 years in the Northern Hemisphere.

    You are a global climate change religionist, a disciple. You spew dogma in the guise of science. Real Science says your claims above are balderdash.”

    I responded that I was led to understand these situations have occurred because of some extreme event but they go back to the normal trend quite soon in geological time.

    I won’t bring this up again.

    Comment by Dale — 13 Feb 2011 @ 4:16 PM

  17. One of the strongest advantages of peer review is that it weeds out the trolls.

    In particular, it imposes a minimum level of accuracy and logical consistency in order for results to be published. It doesn’t do so perfectly, some junk still gets through the cracks and some useful results are rejected — but the amount of just plain “noise” is so greatly reduced that at least it becomes possible to have a discussion which is not poisoned by the twin plagues of ideological propaganda, and plain stupidity.

    Blogs (at least the vast majority of them) have no such restraints on their comment threads. Hence even such an outstanding blog as RealClimate, rooted in rigorous scientific investigation and flush with genuine expertise, are constantly bombarded with rubbish. We see it all the time, and I don’t think I need to point to specific examples because they’re so damn obvious.

    That’s why I moderate my blog with such a heavy hand. I started with the “everything is welcome” attitude, but eventually I got sick of hearing the same old garbage again and again and again and again and again … you get the idea.

    Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a troll, and someone with a genuine question or lack of understanding but who is at least educable. It’s also sometimes difficult to know the difference between an irrelevant confusion, and something that might actually be insightful. But you have to draw the line somewhere. RC recently began to do so with the BoreHole, but frankly I think you guys are still too permissive in what you allow through. Then again, you might be right and I might be wrong.

    Regardless, I still suggest that misleading, misinformed, propagandist, and just plain stupid comments are one of the biggest problems for any blog that hopes to contribute to actual science. Everybody — even the village idiot — is entitled to his opinion. But my blog is my house, and freedom of speech does not entitle you to spew garbage in my house. Get your own damn blog; they’re free.

    So if you want to host a free-for-all on your blog, go right ahead. But if you want to do science, I suggest you institute at least a modicum of review. And an unavoidable aspect of review, is rejection.

    Comment by tamino — 13 Feb 2011 @ 4:17 PM

  18. It’s worth pondering why science isn’t done on blogs (much).

    My field (molecular biology and biophysics) doesn’t have blog science of note since it’s largely experimental. [*] You can’t drill ice cores, study fossilised pollen or mutate genes by blogging.

    So it’s mostly theoretical or forms of science involving data mining and data analysis that can develop from blogs. Since the growth of science (or “science”) blogging has happened alongside the phenomenal growth of accessible electronic data, we might expect more example of these forms of blog science (i.e. analysis/reanalysis of deposited data) progressing to real published science.

    And then the broad rules of science apply. A tractable problem needs to be properly framed and explored. In fact, blogging could be a useful means for developing scientific questions that can be addressed with the resources available to the blog participants. Most good ideas for scientific study come from robust discussion of observations and data, and so long as blog participants are genuinely interested in exploring the science (as opposed to bitching, point scoring and various forms of mischief-making!), this could happen more frequently via blogging.

    Will be interesting to see whether more creative use of the wealth of electronic data to give truly novel insights, might result from some progressions of blog science into published science. Maybe this is going to be (a little bit of) the future!

    [*] …and since it’s not particularly controversial nor perceived to be threatening of political or economic interests it doesn’t attract a virtual industry of blogospheric misinformation, happily!

    Comment by chris — 13 Feb 2011 @ 4:23 PM

  19. Peer review forces the scientist to try harder, to live up to a certain standard, and to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in order to be (or not to be).

    Blog science speaks to populism. It gets a rah rah crowd of followers, while simple comment moderation lets any dissent be pushed to the side.

    Which system seems like it would work better? Which would produce more accurate (rather than more popular) results? Do we really want a system that tells us what we want to hear, truth be damned?

    I actually think that journalism needs peer review. Right now, like blog science, it’s a populist endeavor. Once upon a time journalism held itself to a rigorous standard… report the facts, let the story tell itself, and let the people decide for themselves what to do with it. In today’s world, it’s report the desired opinions, and the facts that conveniently support the desired opinions, and let the people be swayed.

    Or, report whatever the people want to hear, so they’ll come back for more.

    In any event, it’s not working. To think that science will work better if it follows the same path that has destroyed journalism is just insane.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 13 Feb 2011 @ 4:55 PM

  20. Good post. The JGR article is very useful for clarifying the issue and for having improved numbers to refer to in a peer reviewed paper. Most publications do not allow you to reference a blog. Furthermore, in a debate there is a huge difference between saying, “you can check out this blog” or saying “you can read about it in JGR”/”Science”. Thus for those of us who occasionally have to argue the AGW case, it was both timely and relevant.

    I find it interesting that the JGR paper did not get published in BAMS. It clearly fits there given that they published (what used to be) the paper on this issue (Kiehl and Trenberth, 1997). That paper, however, was due for an update. BAMS fumbled.

    Comment by Halldór Björnsson — 13 Feb 2011 @ 5:08 PM

  21. Jacob @ comment #8

    I don’t know if ACP gives you a “realistic view of how peer review should work” (my emphasis). I can tell you that, based on my experience alone, browsing the ACP can give you a fairly realistic view of how the process actually does work. publishing in ACP is very much like publishing in an AGU or AMS journal. certainly (again, IMO) the reviewer comments are of equal quality and quantity.

    The articles listed at the ACP site will give you an understanding of what kind of papers get accepted. To get a partial feel for what gets rejected, search ACPD for the string “Publication in ACP not foreseen”. I say “partial” because not all papers submitted to ACP end up getting posted for comment on ACP.

    Comment by Xavier Onnasis — 13 Feb 2011 @ 6:13 PM

  22. Regarding the comment “What I didn’t find was any justification in the literature for the most widely quoted ‘contrarian’ view of the issue that CO2 was ‘only 2%’ of the effect. I traced this back to a book review that Lindzen wrote about the first IPCC report, but never found any actual reasoning in support of this.”

    I’m fairly sure the figure of 2% was related to anthropogenic additions to CO2 and not for all of CO2 itself. Compared your own stated low end of the range being 9%, then 2% being anthropogenic in nature at the tail end of a logarithmic process seems pretty reasonable to me.

    [Response: Numbers can't just be randomly assigned to different issues just because that is 'reasonable'. - gavin]

    [Response: And what's more, you can't just randomly pick a denominator to make whatever you're comparing to look small. If you're going to look only at the radiative forcing due to anthropogenic CO2, you need to compare that not to the TOTAL water vapor radiative forcing already there, but the ADDITIONAL "anthropogenic" water vapor forcing that comes from the extra water vapor that a warmer atmosphere contains. Based on standard estimates of water vapor feedback, you'd get a comparison that is more or less 50/50 water vapor and CO2 if you did the calculation this way. --raypierre]

    Comment by TimTheToolMan — 13 Feb 2011 @ 6:48 PM

  23. Gavin, this is superb. It gives a better demonstration than anything else I have read of why one can trust the integrity of peer reviewed science. That does not mean it is always pristine, but it is far, far better than any other approach to science that has been suggested. And while some criticisms are valid, they, in the end, come down to nit-picking.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 13 Feb 2011 @ 7:05 PM

  24. (Layman question, a bit off topic) How precisely do we know WV absorption-emission in far infrared OLW (wavenumbers less than 650 cm) and its relative contribution to Earth radiative budget ? I’ve read in the past some papers about incoming direct measures (eg FIRST), but I ignore if there are for now some results and comparison with estimation from line-by-line transfer models. By advance thanks.

    Comment by skept — 13 Feb 2011 @ 7:13 PM

  25. Probably relevant to Gail Z. as well as many others:

    Massimo Pigliucci
    Nonsense on Silts: How to Tell Science from Bunk
    Univ. Chicago Press, May 2010.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 13 Feb 2011 @ 7:23 PM

  26. Xavier Onnasis thankyou for your reply!
    I was looking for an example I could learn from.
    If I understood you correctly the stuff from the E.G.U. is such material. again thankyou

    Comment by jacob l — 13 Feb 2011 @ 7:44 PM

  27. skept (#30)

    This is a good question, and exploration of the far-IR water vapor domain and continuum absorption is not resolved. I attended a seminar last year in Wisconsin where Dr. David Turner gave a talk on this issue and the RHUBC campaign that deals with this (Turner was my professor for a class in Atmospheric radiation in Madison). I haven’t followed RHUBC aside from that seminar and a paper I looked at but you can find more information about this issue at
    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2010BAMS2904.1

    Hope that helps

    Comment by Chris Colose — 13 Feb 2011 @ 8:04 PM

  28. #33 Chris : great, thank you for the Turner and Mlawer paper!

    Comment by skept — 13 Feb 2011 @ 8:49 PM

  29. I’m curious about the psychological dimension of going from blog to scientific paper. Scientists often display a strong aversion to getting scooped. Does that interfere with openly discussing your ideas before they’re in a journal?

    [Response: There are a number of issues here: a) general themes in your research - these develop over a long time and end up being restated and evolve over many publications, so there is no scooping problem, b) specific analyses - this could be more problematic, but if you are either doing something quite novel, or are doing it with tools that you work with all the time (like a specific climate model), the danger of being scooped is small. A new set of simulations with the GCM to look at a specific question can't really be repeated by someone else before you get around to publishing for instance. A data analysis of a sample only your group has taken likewise. A specific data analysis of public domain data might be more of a problem, but once done, is done. I can clearly state I have never been scooped on an research idea, other people might have different experiences (and I've certainly heard of specific instances - though involving conference presentations rather than blogs). - gavin]

    Comment by Carl Zimmer — 13 Feb 2011 @ 9:03 PM

  30. TimTheToolMan: When you say, “fairly sure”, what do you mean? Because if you go to the source that Gavin linked, it states “It is hard to realize from this report that about 98% of the natural greenhouse effect is due to water vapour and stratiform clouds-CO2 contributing less than 2%.” That’s kind of hard to read any other way. Did you read it? If so, how did you interpret it differently? If not (and it is behind a paywall, so it is understandable that you might not have), how you can be “fairly sure” about the meaning of a statement that you haven’t read? Humility would suggest a phrasing more like “is it possible that Lindzen meant “.

    I grant you that Lindzen has been better about his 2% number this decade. 2009: “Even a doubling of CO2 would only upset the original balance between incoming and outgoing radiation by about 2%,” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703939404574567423917025400.html, and similarly here in 2005: http://www.ycsg.yale.edu/climate/forms/LindzenYaleMtg.pdf

    That “only” is a rather poorly justified modifier, of course – if some mad scientist were to threaten to turn the Sun up 2% (or down 2%) that would be cause for serious concern. Nor does it take into account feedbacks, which presumably can double the baseline effect or more…

    -M

    Comment by M — 13 Feb 2011 @ 9:04 PM

  31. Carl Zimmer,
    While I do know a couple of scientists who have been “scooped” as it were, it usually doesn’t keep them from talking at least in broad outlines about their research. In most research, about 98% of the effort gets summarized very succinctly in the methods section–and in even less detail in a blog post. It’s the technical details that take the most time. In most cases, by the time you are ready for a blog post, most of those details would have been worked out. The review process will then take up an additional 98% of the time you’d originally budget for publication.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Feb 2011 @ 9:32 PM

  32. Argh, I can’t find the reference, sorry. But a (I believe) sociologist gave a talk recently, and basically said that peer review is needed, because of our (human) tendency to not see our own shortcomings. It is in peer review, where your weaknesses are made known.

    Comment by DeNihilist — 13 Feb 2011 @ 9:34 PM

  33. Fifteen years ago I thought that peer-review was arcane and unnecessary. I thought that papers could simply be published in the xxx archives and that the important papers would simply float to the top. I no longer think that, primarily because of the attack on climate science. There are attacks on science from politically motivated people from the extremes of all political spectra. The attackers of climate science have the luxury of being well-funded and every idiotic word they utter gets repeated, repeated over and over and over and … by the far right echo chamber.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 13 Feb 2011 @ 9:37 PM

  34. raypierre writes ” If you’re going to look only at the radiative forcing due to anthropogenic CO2, you need to compare that not to the TOTAL water vapor radiative forcing already there, but the ADDITIONAL “anthropogenic” water vapor forcing that comes from the extra water vapor that a warmer atmosphere contains.”

    So are you saying that Lindzen’s figure was for CO2 + feedbacks? That appears to be argumentative considering its difficult enough to find the reference at all let alone know exactly how it was calculated and what its based on.

    Perhaps you could quote the original reference you’re using to criticise his assesment so we can all be sure Lindzen was making his statement with reference to feedbacks? Because if he’s not then his figure might well be reasonable and it might be better to NOT criticise him for making the statement afterall.

    [Response: No, I'm not making a statement here about what Lindzen might or might not have meant. Since he didn't write down any equations, you don't get to know, do you. The most straightforward construction on it is that he was making a statement about the net greenhouse effect of CO2 vs H2O, but pulling a number out of who knows where. My comment was directed instead to the apologists for Lindzen, who tried to justify his statement by comparing the incremental anthropogenic radiative forcing to a completely arbitrary number picked to make the result look small. Heck, why stop there? Why not compare the anthropogenic radiative forcing to the whole Solar output? That would give you a really small number, and it would make about as much sense. --raypierre]

    Comment by TimTheToolMan — 13 Feb 2011 @ 10:22 PM

  35. M writes : “It is hard to realize from this report that about 98% of the natural greenhouse effect is due to water vapour and stratiform clouds-CO2 contributing less than 2%”

    OK, I hadn’t seen the reference. What Lindzen writes there may well be literally correct. However the link to H2O feedback (if there is one at the “observed” levels) obviously isn’t figured into his statement.

    [Response: No it isn't correct (where is the justification?). H2O feedback has nothing to do with it. - gavin]

    Comment by TimTheToolMan — 13 Feb 2011 @ 10:26 PM

  36. During my studies someone said something like ‘Peer-review is the way scientists teach each other. That’s how different disciplines came to be, as experts on one specific subject examine each others work in a competitive environment.’

    Comment by jyyh — 13 Feb 2011 @ 10:42 PM

  37. One of the things blogs like this can do is point out where some teaching is necessary, which is what happened in Gavin’s case. He saw that not on the lay public, but many of his colleagues needed a better resource, and he provided it. Bob Grumine’s pub analogy is not bad.

    Well done Gavin

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 13 Feb 2011 @ 11:18 PM

  38. Gavin writes : “[Response: No it isn't correct (where is the justification?). H2O feedback has nothing to do with it. - gavin]”

    Where is the context? Is he talking about anthropogenic CO2 or all CO2?

    [Response: All CO2. His house testimony at about the same time makes the same, unsupported and incorrect, claims: "It is worth noting that the major greenhouse substance is water in the form of water vapor and layer clouds — which accounts for over 98% of the current greenhouse effect." and "(recall that CO2 contributes only about 1% to the greenhouse effect and
    model errors are far larger than this)" and "1. Water vapor and layer clouds account for over 98% of the greenhouse effect." There is no ambiguity about what he was claiming. And no ambiguity in saying it's wrong. - gavin]

    Comment by TimTheToolMan — 13 Feb 2011 @ 11:33 PM

  39. TimtheToolMan #40 Rubbish. Unless Lindzen has made the statement in a peer-reviewed journal, it carries no weight whatsoever. Why should anyone waste their time finding your references for you?

    [Response: Well, it's even worse than that. Even with some things that are posted on blogs, there are enough details of the calculation given that you can at least understand what the basis of the argument is. Lindzen doesn't even give that. -raypierre]

    Comment by One Anonymous Bloke — 13 Feb 2011 @ 11:38 PM

  40. Jacob 8, there are better journals in that deal with atmospheric physics and chemistry that are peer reviewed. Simply perform a quick google scholar search, or speak to a local librarian. Having said that, not all non-peer reviewed science is bad science, it may in many instances be harder to tell.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 14 Feb 2011 @ 12:17 AM

  41. “Why should anyone waste their time finding your references for you?”

    Because they make public claims about those statements. And there is no way for people like me who dont have access to those references to verify what’s being said.

    There have already been enough “out of context” and “without proper understanding” claims make in climate science recently.

    Comment by TimTheToolMan — 14 Feb 2011 @ 12:19 AM

  42. Just in case TimTheToolMan is not convinced we’re interpreting Lindzen properly, he quite clearly said in a testimony (to a subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee) that removing all the CO2 in the atmosphere would generate a cooling of just 2 C. This is a completely made-up number and ignored the Voigt and Marotzke work as well as the Lacis et al experiments which were published before the testimony.

    [Response: Wow, that's a spectacularly outrageously wrong statement even by Lindzen's standards. I'd like to include that in my Lindzen notes for some future post. Do you have a link to the testimony? I'd like to read it myself. --raypierre]

    It’s fine if he disagrees with published greenhouse attribution and sensitivity estimates, but in non-refereed circles and hearings he never even gives the impression of uncertainty, unless the uncertainty is against the ‘pro-AGW’ people. I have never heard him express any real doubt about his own low sensitivity or low-CO2 contribution ideas.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 14 Feb 2011 @ 2:25 AM

  43. Dr. Pierrehumbert. That’s what I like about Real Climate: you guys are Reggie Piranha: \He nailed my head to the floor, but he was always fair.\ I learned something then. Thank you.

    [Response: Not really meaning to nail anybody there, just being short and sweet. By the way, I forgot to mention that the non-calculus version of the radiating level climate calculation is in the introduction to the greenhouse effect in Chapter 3 of Principles of Planetary climate. A very similar discussion is in Archer's book, "Understanding the Forecast." --raypierre]

    Comment by One Anonymous Bloke — 14 Feb 2011 @ 4:32 AM

  44. Oh dear, they were actually called Doug and Dinsdale :\

    Comment by One Anonymous Bloke — 14 Feb 2011 @ 4:36 AM

  45. TimTheToolMan: Lindzen stopped worrying about “reasonable” a long, long time ago. Now he shoots for the straight-face test. That’s the only way I can rationalize some of his statements, such as those about putative warming on other planets being evidence against anthropogenic causation. Compounding the sin, these arguments were made in front of lay audiences in the closing arguments (no rebuttal) of a debate. If Dick Lindzen told me it was sunny outside, I’d take my umbrella.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Feb 2011 @ 5:07 AM

  46. TimTheToolMan,

    And there is no way for people like me who dont have access to those references to verify what’s being said.

    Please re-read what you wrote there, several times.

    Re-read your other comments. Not the responses, just your comments.

    This is the whole point. Lindzen (or a blogger) gets up and makes vague, unsupported statements, and you unquestioningly accept them. You even go beyond that, giving him the benefit of the doubt, defending his position, struggling to find ways to qualify what he said to make his position tenable.

    You are told that his statements are in contradiction with a vast body of knowledge accumulated by an array of scientists in multiple fields working over many, many decades, while his own statements are unsupported by observations, calculations, mathematical reasoning or data of any sort. In some cases his statements are even (heavily) contradicted by the published literature.

    His statements are made in speeches and presentations that are not subject to contest. The contrasting statements are made in the peer-reviewed literature for anyone to read, and if possible contradict and refute (and yet he has not succeeded in doing so, even though he has no difficulty himself in getting published in journals).

    And yet you demand references and citations for the refutations of Lindzen’s statements. At the same time you in no way demand the same level of backing from Lindzen himself… not even close.

    You really, really should stop and think about your own position and behavior. I’m not criticizing you. I honestly, truly want you to think about this with as objective and rational an approach as you can muster.

    When you see the statements “CO2 is causing dangerous warming” and “CO2 is less than 2% of natural greenhouse effect in the atmosphere,” do you have an emotional reaction to either one? Do they evoke different reactions? Are you completely rational in your responses?

    Please recognize exactly how un-skeptical, over-committed and invested in one outcome most “skeptics” truly are, to the point of internal contradiction (like giving Lindzen a free pass, then demanding explicit references to be able to accept that he is wrong). Recognize tendencies in your own thinking which will tend to draw you away from recognizing the truth, wherever it may lie, and fight those tendencies.

    This isn’t a sports event, or a patriotic war. This isn’t a good situation in which to pick sides, root for your team, and be a good, unwavering “fan” (or “patriot”), cheering on your team colors, win or lose. This isn’t an argument over beers about whose team can boast the most prolific scorer ever put on the field, with a reflexive need for you to loyally defend your team’s players in the face of any evidence to the contrary.

    Everyone who lives on this planet needs to get this right. Being wrong has consequences.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 14 Feb 2011 @ 8:22 AM

  47. Balazs #14 wrote: “No source can be fully trusted including peer reviewed publications and IPCC reports. One has to do his homework to go after each information and make educated guess about which source can be trusted.”

    That “homework” would require the expertise to evaluate the adequacy of the work of the world’s top experts in climate science. That is simply impossible, unless you are one of them. When they do that it is called peer review. That is why we should trust peer review. The people capable of doing the evaluation do it for us.

    The alternative is simply the Dunning-Kruger effect at work.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 14 Feb 2011 @ 10:24 AM

  48. 50, Ron Taylor,

    In the distorted words of Walt Kelly and Pogo:

    “We have met Dunning-Kruger, and he is us.”

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 14 Feb 2011 @ 10:43 AM

  49. jacob l:
    I agree with Xavier, peer review in ACP/ACPD is pretty much similar to peer review elsewhere, at least in the journals I’m familiar with (mainly within the field of physical chemistry / chemical physics / molecular physics / computational chemistry). The openness tends to make the reviews perhaps a little more formal and a bit more polite, both of which are IMHO good things. Out of the review systems I’ve seen, ACP’s is arguably the best. (The only “downside” is that if you submit there, and get rejected in the “discussion” stage, your paper is still available for everyone to see on ACPD – which may prevent publication elsewhere. This can also be a good thing, as it discourages authors from submitting low-quality stuff to ACP.) Jacob Mack, did I misunderstand your comment of do you think there is something wrong with ACP? If so, what?

    Comment by Theo Kurtén — 14 Feb 2011 @ 10:54 AM

  50. > Lindzen

    Gack. Even the ‘junkscience.com/Greenhouse’ detailed CO2 calculations page only sez:
    “Lindzen (5.3 °C clear sky, 3.53 °C with 40% cloud)”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Feb 2011 @ 11:08 AM

  51. Chris, Raymond #45, the statement is in this video at 47 min 50 sec and on. Lindzen says “approximately two and a half degrees cooler”, presumably Celsius.

    Good also to watch Cicerone’s takedown a bit further on… his BS detector is functional.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 14 Feb 2011 @ 11:08 AM

  52. Ron Taylor, Well, the smart alternative is for people to never place their trust in a single study. Any single study or any single scientist can be and probably will be wrong at some point. However, they will likely be corrected by the next scientist who comes along, or perhaps the one after that. Science is a collective enterprise that produces reliable understanding of the world around us..

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Feb 2011 @ 11:29 AM

  53. I can see Gavin’s arguments on peer review have some sense but would it not be easier if reviewers were not anonymous and we could see their comments more or less as they make them? Then the who said what when arguments could be sidelined.

    A further issue concerns the psychological dispositions of reviewed and reviewer. What Gavin calls Science is underpinned with cultural attitudes – this is particularly true in Climate Science. Seeing these hidden discussions will help to this uncover this underpinning (just a little).

    But my personal beef is that the brand name “peer review” is a weapon to shut out other views. It becomes a vehicle for what J.K Galbraith called conventional wisdom. I know several peer reviewed articles I distrust but there seems to be little opportunity for the outsider to criticise and have the criticisms answered.

    This may be embarrassingly self-centred but, as an outsider, I would like an answer to a question that some may have noticed me ask before: Is the Trillion Tonne Scenario of Allen et. al and Pierrehumbert et.al. seriously flawed because the computer simulations had missing feedbacks? Does this mean that climate change is rather more urgent that even you good guys think?

    (See. “Climate change underestimated?” http://www.ccq.org.uk/?p=266)

    Comment by Geoff Beacon — 14 Feb 2011 @ 12:00 PM

  54. Gavin,

    Thanks for a thoughtful and measured commentary. One thing that I think worth noting is the relatively long time delays in peer review (versus blog exchanges) usually (not always!) give people a chance to calm down before writing something influenced by anger or frustration. “Never write something when you are angry” is I think very prudent advice… but often difficult advice to follow in practice. Things written in anger usually lead to misunderstandings, recrimination, and worse.

    Comment by Steve Fitzpatrick — 14 Feb 2011 @ 12:21 PM

  55. “but in non-refereed circles and hearings he never even gives the impression of uncertainty,”

    Morgan & Keith published an expert elicitation of climate sensitivity estimates and uncertainty ranges in 1995: Lindzen was among the participants. While the various estimates are not labeled, it is pretty obvious which one is Lindzen’s: “expert 5″ had a best guess climate sensitivity of 0.3 with an uncertainty std dev of 0.2: the range of other experts for mean was 1.9 to 4.7, with std. devs of 0.86 to 5.4. So Lindzen, um, “expert 5″ had a best guess that was a factor of SIX less than the 2nd lowest estimate, and even worse, had a certainty about his guess a factor of FOUR more certain than the next most certain estimate. Lindzen is certain that he is right and everyone else is wrong to an extent that is (IMO) not appropriate for a scientist.

    (Note also that a follow-up study, http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/24/0908906107.full.pdf, found that the lowest central estimate in the new study was 2.8 degrees. Of the four experts included in both studies, including the former 1.9 that was the lowest of the 1995 estimates outside of expert 5, all increased their central estimate, but their uncertainty bounds largely stayed the same size)

    -M

    Comment by M — 14 Feb 2011 @ 12:40 PM

  56. Geoff Beacon,
    Science ain’t broke. Don’t try to fix it.

    Nobody is excluded. If you have something worth saying, investigate it, learn about it and submit it. If you cannot be bothered to put in the time to learn about it sufficiently to talk about it on equal terms with the professionals, then why should the professionals take you seriously?

    It stands to reason that the people who are most interested in a field will have the best understanding of it. Interest is guaged by publication.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Feb 2011 @ 12:51 PM

  57. > see their comments more or less as they make them?

    Because nothing facilitates clear, considered, reflective thinking like having anonymous critics looking over your shoulder blogging their complaints about your progress as you write every word.

    You go first. Get one of those virtual network applications and make your machine publicly available.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Feb 2011 @ 1:01 PM

  58. I can see Gavin’s arguments on peer review have some sense but would it not be easier if reviewers were not anonymous and we could see their comments more or less as they make them? Then the who said what when arguments could be sidelined.

    I don’t think so. Anonymous reviews allow the reviewer to be robust, and avoids the issue that is the defining feature of the O’Donnell nonsense (i.e. a circus of public mischief making). Best to keep the personalities out of the peer review process and allow considered scientific issues to play out, refereed by the editor. “Who said what arguments” are pretty boring, and it’s astonishing how many people feel the need to stick their noses into stuff that isn’t really their business. Imagine the chaos that would ensue if the O’Donnell fuss was multiplied 10,000-fold across the internet as reviewers, reviewees and their assorted cheerleaders engaged in serial hissy-fits. In fact, non-anonymous reviewing is likely to promote the “conventional wisdom” that you remark on.

    A further issue concerns the psychological dispositions of reviewed and reviewer. What Gavin calls Science is underpinned with cultural attitudes – this is particularly true in Climate Science. Seeing these hidden discussions will help to this uncover this underpinning (just a little).

    Since the aim is to promote and facilitate the dissemination and archiving of quality science, the psychological dispositions of the participants are not that interesting (from a scientific point of view, however fascinating from a phil/sci POV). The role of “cultural attitudes” is overestimated in my opinion. The aim is to get quality science into the scientific literature – that’s pretty much what happens, yes? It may not be easy, but why should it be?

    But my personal beef is that the brand name “peer review” is a weapon to shut out other views. It becomes a vehicle for what J.K Galbraith called conventional wisdom. I know several peer reviewed articles I distrust but there seems to be little opportunity for the outsider to criticise and have the criticisms answered.

    I just don’t agree with that. Anything publishable can be published somewhere. It would be easy to list a selection of truly dismal papers in climate science that made it into the peer-reviewed literature. If all else fails and one really feels the need to publish “other views” there are outlets for this (e.g. a journal called Energy and Environment is available for publishing scientifically-deficient “other views” in climate science). If you want to criticise a paper published in the peer-reviewed literature you can always send a critique to the editor. On the other hand if the paper is particularly bad you should check that no-one else has already critiqued it (Google for citations). And if you think it’s bad and no one has bothered to cite it, then it’s really not worth bothering with -you may be observing a sad example of a paper failing post-publication peer review, through scientific disinterest….

    Comment by chris — 14 Feb 2011 @ 1:32 PM

  59. For “seeing their comments more or less as they make them”, watch some of the climate related subjects on Wikipedia, including the revert histories and un-hidden “discussion” pages. ;)

    Comment by flxible — 14 Feb 2011 @ 1:36 PM

  60. Hi Geoff (#50), you bring up a good point that really has to do with the limits of the current state science & tech to do sciene, and the need for scientists to avoid the FALSE POSITIVE of making untrue claims. They cannot afford to be the boy who called wolf when there wasn’t any wolf (even though they know there are wolves out there in the forest); they need to protect their reputation & even the reputation of science itself (as has become so clear in recent years). Hansen has referred to this as “scientific reticence.”

    In other words, peer-review is pretty good for spelling out what scientists can quantify and be pretty sure of, but not the unquantifiable variables and their impacts — the known unknowns. We know there’s methane down there in the permafrost & ocean hydrates, which we know is a 23 times more powerful forcing then CO2, and scientists are making ever better estimates about how much there is, and I suppose they could tell how much warming would be entailed if all that methane and CO2 were to be released, even if they cannot easily quantify the varying rates at which it will be released over the next 50 years. Time is really important since CH4 is only in the atmosphere about 10 years — fast release (when the effect is grossly compounded) is much more dangerous than slow release — see http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/12/methane-hydrates-and-global-warming . The problem is this is all at a very local spatial frame re the warming in those places(we do know at least that heat melts ice :)) and has to do with time & amount of warming, and amount of release. I’m thinking this is just too difficult (if not impossible) to be quantified for the entire arctic, at least as science goes right now. And if it cannot be quantified & put into some equation in a multivariable dynamic way, it cannot be coupled into the other models that are fairly reliable (tested backwards against existing data).

    Another thing that might have to be considered, if and when science can quantify all these variables & put them into an equation, is how global warming might be making more frequent the negative arctic oscillations that bring killing frosts down to my subtropcial garden in S. Texas, while making some areas in the arctic a lot warming (see http://esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_30a.rnl.gif and http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/12/cold-winter-in-a-world-of-warming )

    I suppose a qualitative article about these known but unquantifiables would be okay, but it would leave too much room for speculation in one direction or the other — which is okay for anthropology (my field), bec who really cares about tribal peoples in some nearly inaccessible jungle. If we did care we wouldn’t be killing them off thru resources extraction, pollution, and global warming. But since some people have very strong stakes (monetary, political, personal, ????) in downplaying and disproving ACC, a qualitative article would be ripped to shreds, if not by legitimate reticent scientists, then by the denialists.

    That is why it is also good to read books written by respected scientists who have a long list of peer-reviewed publications, like Hansen and his STORMS OF MY GRANDCHILDREN. Books give a scientist more freedom to address these known unknowns. Hansen has a very good holistic grasp of the issue from a paleoclimatology, geological, current climatology, physics, etc perspective, plus he is an expert on Venus and its history & atmosphere.

    We as laypersons and grandparents would be striving to avoid the FALSE NEGATIVE of failing to mitigate a true problem. We don’t need high confidence in a problem to address it….we buy lots of insurance on the remote possibility our home will burn to a crisp. Peer-review seems a tedious and time-wasting process, sometimes taking even 5 years or more, with caveat-filled results that omit the known unknowns. Imagine waiting 5 years going through such a process to buy home insurance. And wouldn’t you know it, the hurricane demolishes the home in 4 years 11 months, a month just before the policy goes into effect.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnatnathan — 14 Feb 2011 @ 1:56 PM

  61. Ray @50

    Good to discuss things with you again.

    “Science ain’t broke. Don’t try to fix it.”

    Could you mean “The current scientific bureaucracy works very well”?

    I’m not discussing Science as such but it would be interesting to know your favourite author on scientific method: Karl Popper, Paul Feyerabend, Thomas Kuhn, RB Braithwaite, Imre Lakatos? You might even consider Ludwig Wittgenstein. I warm to the ideas of Lakatos but Feyerabend was much more fun.

    I’m actually interested in how we might have a rational basis for our decisions even if they are self destructive or self serving.

    Of course, I don’t know as much climate science as the professionals – although many have been kind enough to meet, talk and correspond with me. I think I know enough to ask the question of the proponents of the Trillion Tonne Scenario “Do you know how much the feedback effects that are missing from the climate models affect the results?” That seems a perfectly understandable question to me. If it can’t be answered we should know because, with the UK Government, it seems to be embedded in their policies.

    In what way would you say that my question is misinformed?

    Comment by Geoff Beacon — 14 Feb 2011 @ 3:10 PM

  62. Maybe Jim Bouldin should read this, about the alarming increases in tree mortality, written by Dr. Franklin of UW:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/323/5913/521.abstract

    Mortality increases are also verified by PNW. Causes are not known with precision, but logging and ozone could clearly be important factors. Foresters are not professionally or politically equipped to make those determinations.

    Gavin and Eric, forestry is not like other disciplines.

    [Response: Maybe Mike Roddy would realize, if he read the paper he refers to, and RC, that I wrote an RC article specifically about it two years ago when it came out, that the authors took real pains in their experimental design to exclude exactly the kinds of hand-waving causes that he mentions, and that Jerry Franklin is not the lead author of that paper. Maybe he should also not use the term "alarming" for the small percentage increases in background mortality that the authors detected over a relatively short period of time, disparage the knowledge of professional foresters in one fell swoop, and should realize that this entire subject is off topic and has been thus moved to the open thread.--Jim]

    Comment by Mike Roddy — 14 Feb 2011 @ 3:20 PM

  63. Gavin, thanks for the posting on this subject. With the talk of “post normal science” (or whatever it’s called) I think it doesn’t do any harm explaining more clearly the advantages of peer review.

    I wonder if it would be possible to give further examples of how original work has been made clearer or “improved” within the peer-review process. Or, this might be a bit cheeky, work that peer-review caused the author to withdraw the study? As other’s have put more eloquently, peer review seems to produce much higher signal-to-noise information than blogs tend to.

    [Response: Sure. I'd say 90% of my papers have been significantly improved by peer-review - there is almost always something that can be made clearer or more convincing or context that can usefully be added. I've also had perhaps 1 or 2 papers that got rejected and never got pursued (out of 80 or so published). Perhaps a dozen papers ended up in different journals than the one first submitted to. Examples of all these kinds of things can be seen at the open review journals (ACP, Climates of the Past, Geoscientific Model Development etc.) - papers that get rejected at the discussion stage, useful reviews that made a reasonable paper, a good one etc. - gavin]

    Comment by Alf Jones — 14 Feb 2011 @ 3:27 PM

  64. Dale, the first clue that an attacker is off-base is the use of ad hominem.

    A more general comment: Our public schools need to do a better job of teaching everyone, not just (future) scientists, how to evaluate what they see and read. I encounter people every day who accept propaganda at face value, and who are completely unable to distinguish specious arguments from real science.

    I’m indebted to a high school physics teacher who started out telling his physics classes, “Don’t believe anything you read, and only half of what you see.”

    Comment by Geno Canto del Halcon — 14 Feb 2011 @ 3:32 PM

  65. Chris @58

    allow considered scientific issues to play out, refereed by the editor.

    We haven’t got the time. Is the editor conservative or liberal? I’ve read research claiming conservatives change their minds too little and liberals too much. And there is more in the background than psychological profile.

    “Who said what arguments” are pretty boring,

    I’d like to know if Linzen or Hansen said it

    it’s astonishing how many people feel the need to stick their noses into stuff that isn’t really their business

    That could be a problem but isn’t the future of the world everybody’s business? There should be a way for me to ask my perfectly reasonable question. Can you or anyone tell me why it is not reasonable?

    the dissemination and archiving of quality science, the psychological dispositions of the participants are not that interesting

    Is it “quality science” if it cannot respond to simple questions? I have heard a top notch climate scientist categorise fellow scientists as “left” or “right” in their scientific attitude. I reckoned the descriptions were accurate.

    It would be easy to list a selection of truly dismal papers in climate science that made it into the peer-reviewed literature. If all else fails and one really feels the need to publish “other views” there are outlets for this..

    I don’t want to publish.

    I don’t want a Ph.D. in Climate Science.

    I just want a simple question answered.

    “Do the authors know how much the feedback effects that are missing from the climate models affect the results of the Trillion Tonne Scenario?”

    Comment by Geoff Beacon — 14 Feb 2011 @ 3:45 PM

  66. Hi Lynne (#60)

    Good post. I will read it carefully.

    Comment by Geoff Beacon — 14 Feb 2011 @ 3:49 PM

  67. M#55,
    I believe (not certain, but believe) that Lindzen has suggested a sensitivity of ~0.3 degrees per watt, or equivalent to ~1.15 C per doubling of CO2 concentration. Might there be some confusion about units?

    Comment by Steve Fitzpatrick — 14 Feb 2011 @ 4:00 PM

  68. raypierre–

    About Richard Lindzen’s quote, Martin Vermeer gave the link I was referring to in his comment #51 starting at about 47 min in.

    Lindzen never caveated his number so I’m going to assume he is including feedbacks, but even with just a straight Stefan-Boltzmann sensitivity it’s still a substantial underestimate. No one else really knew the answer though, and it would have been a good point to bring up triggering a snowball.

    In any event, for people interested in this stuff, it’s a good set of testimonies overall. Richard Alley gives the best talk and is a good example of how to communicate to different audiences.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 14 Feb 2011 @ 4:02 PM

  69. The philosophy of science (POS) questions on methodology are interesting. One might say that the side shows of attempted misinformation that accompany areas of science that potentially impact political and economic interests are Fayerabendian in the broad sense that we allow inclusion of that stuff into what we mean by the process of doing science (Fayerabend would probably say we should, and to the extent that the circus does influence a little how scientists in those particular research areas get on with their day jobs, perhaps it’s reasonable to do so).

    And there are Fayerabendian elements in the normal progression of scientific knowledge although science is rather structured these days and perhaps Fayerabend’s ideas are a little less useful than in the past.

    I like to think that science at the coalface has a strong Furykian element (that’s Jim Furyk)! The analogy equates the publication of a scientific paper with getting the golf club square and moving sweetly through the ball at impact. It doesn’t matter too much what goes before one gets the club there (see Jim Furyk’s golf swing!); likewise it doesn’t matter too much how one arrives at the set of data and its interpretations that constitute the basis of a paper….the bottom line is that the data is correct and the interpretations justifiable to the best abilities of the authors.

    In my opinion Kuhn isn’t that useful in considering the progression of contemporary science; if anything the erroneous application of his ideas on paradigms is too often used to attempt point scoring. One of the problems with Kuhn (but not really Kuhn’s problem if you see what I mean) is that one really needs to address Kuhnian POS with an historical perspective. Who’s to say whether at any particular time we are engaging in normal science or are in the process of overturning the prevailing paradigm?

    Perhaps Ecclesiastian POS should be brought into the equation too: “…all is vanity…

    Comment by chris — 14 Feb 2011 @ 4:11 PM

  70. “Since it is known ahead of time that there is an effort required to get past the peer-review hurdle, the resulting work is usually more reflective, more interesting, more concise and more of a serious contribution – even before it gets to the editor.”

    How true, and how under-appreciated by the promoters of ‘blog science’.

    In my view, the two main benefits of peer review are (1) it promotes scholarship, and (2) it provides an authoritative record of scientific effort. The latter is critically important for the working scientist.

    Comment by Pat Cassen — 14 Feb 2011 @ 4:12 PM

  71. So then…

    If, in the course of telling someone who disagrees with you to publish their arguments in the peer-review first, is it possible that you may actually find yourself in the position of being asked to review that same rebuttal that’s trying to be published? If so, is it possible that you can recommend the editor reject this same paper?

    [Response: Of course. And the editor is free to ignore anything I say - especially if it conflicts with the other reviewers. In dealing with comments on a few of my papers, it has been clear (to me at least) that the comment had nothing very much to add, or was greatly deficient in some way - in those cases, I've said so plainly. Some of those comments were published, others were not - but in every case it is the editor's decision, not the reviewer's. Editors are not stupid, and they know they need to balance multiple interests at once. On the whole they do it well, but there are clearly some occasions when they lose the ball (the Soon/Baliunas fiasco, a couple of comments James Annan was involved with, etc). - gavin]

    Comment by Salamano — 14 Feb 2011 @ 4:18 PM

  72. Mike Roddy @62 citing van Mantgem et al., suggests that logging and ozone may be important factors in increased tree mortality in the Western U.S. Actually, the authors of that paper observe that “the available evidence is inconsistent with major roles for two possible exogenous causes: forest fragmentation and air pollution.”

    [Response: Correct. Thanks for paying attention Rick.--Jim]

    Comment by Rick Brown — 14 Feb 2011 @ 4:28 PM

  73. Geoff Beacon @64

    We haven’t got the time. Is the editor conservative or liberal?

    Come on. We’ve got plenty of time for peer review. Mostly it takes between 3-9 months submission to final acceptance, occasionally there are a few horror stories. But what’s your rush!? The aim is to get good quality science published. The idea that we haven’t got time to “allow considered scientific issues to play out, refereed by the editor”, doesn’t make any sense. Papers are submitted and good stuff get’s published…it seems to work!
    The “consevastive”/”liberal” comment is astonishing to me. If an editor(who is usually a subeditor or associate editor) is perceived by a journal to allow political leanings affect his/her integrity then they’ll likely do something about it. The dreary deFreitas case comes to mind.

    Nevertheless, I contend that conservative, liberal, communist,7th day adventisit editors notwithstanding, a good paper will always find a good home in the scientific literature.

    There should be a way for me to ask my perfectly reasonable question. Can you or anyone tell me why it is not reasonable?

    Not sure what you mean there Geoff. It’s it’s the Trillion Tonne question in your post 53, then ask away. The point I rasied that you responded to doesn’t affect your ability to ask questions one little bit! My point is about people getting worked up about what reviewers and editors might have said during the peer review process. To my mind that doesn’t matter a jot to the outside world. The point is to get a good paper published.

    ?

    Is it “quality science” if it cannot respond to simple questions

    No idea what you mean by that – you’re completely drifting off the point in your responses to my statements. Can you clarify please…

    Comment by chris — 14 Feb 2011 @ 4:28 PM

  74. Bob Sphaerica @ 46 Excellent, excellent post. I almost dislike the deniers as much for their misappropriation of the term sceptic, as I do for their mangling of the scientific method…

    Comment by Joe Cushley — 14 Feb 2011 @ 5:19 PM

  75. Bob S at 46 Excellent, excellent post. I almost dislike the deniers as much for their misappropriation of the word ‘sceptic’, as I do for their mangling of the scientific method.

    Comment by Joe Cushley — 14 Feb 2011 @ 5:22 PM

  76. > know how much the feedback effects that are missing …?

    Geoff, I was a cave guide, long ago. We often got asked “How many miles of unexplored passages are there in this cave?”

    What can you tell someone who thinks that’s a perfectly reasonable question?

    [Response: Like the rafting customers who ask "who put all those rocks in the river?", just about anything will do.--Jim]

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Feb 2011 @ 5:27 PM

  77. Pat Cassen #70 I would add a third: peer review ensures that science remains a collaborative effort, and even provides a mechanism by which arch rivals, in the face of outright hostility, may contribute to one anothers work.

    Comment by One Anonymous Bloke — 14 Feb 2011 @ 6:00 PM

  78. “This is the whole point. Lindzen (or a blogger) gets up and makes vague, unsupported statements, and you unquestioningly accept them. You even go beyond that, giving him the benefit of the doubt, defending his position, struggling to find ways to qualify what he said to make his position tenable.”

    I am not accepting his unsupported statements. But I AM giving him the benefit of the doubt until such time as I can see he is wrong. If I can see how he *might* be right then until such time as I can see he is definitely wrong I wont write him off.

    You should be prepared to do the same. Maybe you’ve seen the quote in full within context and have a better understanding but if you haven’t maybe you need to reconsider your position on judging “blogged” arguments too.

    [Response: An observer might conclude that you are being extremely irrational. We have provided you with a whole paper of such calculations, references to half a dozen other works supporting the same conclusion (that CO2 is a significant part of the present day greenhouse effect). Lindzen has provided nothing but a claim (with no backup rationale or theory) and you think that we should give him the benefit of the doubt. Curious. Should he never say anything else on this topic (very likely), one presumes you would therefore support your 'oh it's all so uncertain' refrain forever, regardless of how much other work supports the claim made here. The only explanation of this is that you favor his conclusion for some non-scientific reason, no? At which point, one might ask why you are bothering to discuss this if no amount of actual science is going to convince you even of something as relatively uncontroversial as this. - gavin]

    Comment by TimTheToolMan — 14 Feb 2011 @ 7:21 PM

  79. Chris, Feyerabend is less than worthless. He didn’t understand science. He didn’t understand philosophy. He didn’t understand anthropology, and all he cared about was being controversial. I deplore book burning, but in the case of Feyerabend’s work, I’d make an exception.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Feb 2011 @ 8:40 PM

  80. Geoff Beacon,
    Feyerabend was an idiot, as I’ve noted above. Popper has some merit, but his ideas don’t apply in every situation. I think Ed Jaynes Bayesian ideas are quite interesting and useful. Kuhn’s work applies to only a very tiny portion of scientific history. I have no use for Wittgenstein.

    Basically, I think you learn the philosophy of science–if you are to learn it at all–by doing science. I think that without the experience of doing science, it can be very difficult for an outsider to fully grasp how the scientific method fits together and why the scientific community functions the way it does.

    [Response: Very much agreed--nearly impossible in fact. Lots more to it than meets the eye, and tough to explain.--Jim]

    Nobody likes bureaucracy. It’s what you put up with so that you can do science. However, there are very good reasons why science is inherently a conservative methodology. Science cares about being right, but it also cares about how it may be wrong. Some errors are more serious than others. One example is that science prefers to err on the side of the simpler model. If the simplification is seriously wrong, nature has a way of telling us.

    I think that the questions you are asking are not so much science as they are at the boundary between science and engineering/risk mitigation. Even the definitions of conservatism are different in these two fields. Don’t mix them up.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Feb 2011 @ 8:53 PM

  81. Ray Ladbury @79 — Even Wittgenstein had no use for Wittgenstein. He repudiated the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 14 Feb 2011 @ 9:06 PM

  82. “An observer might conclude that you are being extremely irrational. We have provided you with a whole paper of such calculations, references to half a dozen other works supporting the same conclusion (that CO2 is a significant part of the present day greenhouse effect). Lindzen has provided nothing but a claim (with no backup rationale or theory)”

    You see Gavin, this is the problem and its right on topic. What you have provided is precisely nothing. Another poster provided a one line quote to back up the article’s claim and others have provided clues as to what Lindzen might be thinking from related discussion. Noone has provided the context that the quote was made within.

    This is PRECISELY the lesson that MUST be learned here. When you dont have sufficient evidence to properly understand what someone says in a blog posting, then you can have an opinion one way or the other but thats all it is…a private opinion.

    If you’re not sure then you should then seek clarification and in this case none has been forthcoming. The result of going off half cocked has been made apparent recently.

    You want me to accept what you say at face value with regards the specific quote in question and I simply wont do it. Your assessment of what I believe is way off base and is yet another example of misjudgement but your reasoning for making that discrediting assessment is perfectly clear.

    [Response: Huh? I showed you his House testimony. Did you read it? Full context - and no support. The QJMRS reference is unfortunately not freely online but there is no more context in that either (it's in a book review!). Versus, Schmidt et al (2010), Ramanathan and Coakley (1987), Kiehl and Trenberth (1997), Pierrehumbert et al (2006). I can't make you read anything, but for you to claim that it's just my word against Lindzen is idiosyncratic in the extreme. There is no more to Lindzen's statement - so there is nothing more to show you. - gavin]

    Comment by TimTheToolMan — 14 Feb 2011 @ 9:23 PM

  83. > who put all those rocks in the river?

    Same answer as “where did all the salmon go” — first hydraulic mining raised the river bed by many feet; bank erosion tumbled boulders in; gravel mining is steadily removing the small stuff lowering the water level; thus the river bed is full of big rocks. Then they dammed the river, withdrew a lot of water, and lowered the flow ….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Feb 2011 @ 10:09 PM

  84. ” I showed you his House testimony. Did you read it?”

    Yes I did but its not the context of the quote in his book is it. FYI, I do agree that Lindzen *probably* meant 2% of warming is attributable to ALL the CO2 from the one liner quote but as I said, that’s just an opinion and until I see the context in which it was made I WONT be parading it around for all to see as a blog article.

    And if after finding all the facts supported my conclusion, I’d make sure I provided in the article both the quote AND context within which it was made to back up my claim.

    As it is Gavin, what you’ve done in your article is exactly why blog postings criticising others can go off the rails.

    There are much better examples than this but perhaps not for this thread at this time.

    Comment by TimTheToolMan — 14 Feb 2011 @ 10:10 PM

  85. TimTheToolMan @82 — Calm down and take the time to study “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    Comment by David B. Benson — 14 Feb 2011 @ 10:12 PM

  86. Oh…and NOW I see that you’ve gone back and added a comment to an earlier post that I hadn’t seen.

    So with this in mind, THAT is the quote you should have used (not as another poster suggested, the one from the book) and you should have quoted it in your article so there are no misunderstandings and nobody has to take your word at face value.

    Comment by TimTheToolMan — 14 Feb 2011 @ 10:33 PM

  87. Reference Enneagram of Personality/Psychology http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enneagram_of_Personality

    The university science departments favor type 6 Loyalist over type 5 Investigator scientists. As a 5 with a 4 wing, I want to find the truth, but I have a hard time caring to prove it to you.

    Reference Enneagram of Personality http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enneagram_of_Personality

    The university physics departments also favor theorists to the exclusion of experimentalists and inventors. [Inventors are not the same as engineers.] There are many experimentalists in universities because experimentalists outnumber theorists greatly.

    How much is the peer review system a personality test?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 14 Feb 2011 @ 11:32 PM

  88. A long way indeed.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/13/a-conversation-with-an-infrared-radiation-expert/#comment-599159

    The ole infrared thang by an expert without a physical science degree. hey, anyone can do it, and they do on blogs.

    [Response: I'm averse to polluting myself by wading into the sewer of pseudoscience over there, but perhaps somebody with more fortitude would do me the favor of going over there and posting a link to my Physics Today article on infrared radiation. (available at http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/papers/publist.html ) Maybe then they'd learn something (though I doubt it). --raypierre]

    Comment by Mark A. York — 14 Feb 2011 @ 11:48 PM

  89. What is a forcing and what is a feedback is a little confusing. There is some treatment of the subject also in 2005 in Hansen et al. (2005), Efficacy of climate forcings, J. Geophys. Res., 110, D18104

    I’ve been looking at it because I am still trying to figure out the meaning of fig. 30 in Hansen’s recent book, ‘Storms of my Grandchildren’ Fig. 30 there corresponds to fig. 25 in the paper but with a different scaling. In the paper efficacy is plotted normalized to the behavior of carbon dioxide at present. But, in the book the normalization of 0.453 C/W/m^2 is removed I think. This is what has been making me scratch my head the most. I understand 0.75 C/W/m^2 as a Charney value and I think I would understand say 0.15 C/W/m^2 as a carbon dioxide only value but I’m not getting where 0.463 really comes from. More reading to do.

    Since the unforced variations thread is closed, I’ll mention here that raypierre appeared to have given an incorrect answer in #254. The runaway concept was discussed in Hansen et al. (2005) where raypierre claims it was not in any paper. I’d already corrected raypierre in #259 on his misconception that Hansen was only concerned about burning coal. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/02/unforced-variations-feb-2011/comment-page-6/#comment-199705

    If anyone gets the 0.463 C/W/m^2 normalization for fig. 25 in Hansen et al. (2005) (Gavin was a co-author) in the context of the current discussion I’d appreciate a hint.

    [Response: To a great extent, what is a forcing and what is a feedback depends on the time scale involved, and what you are trying to model explicitly, vs. estimating from observations. Except perhaps for the stratosphere, water vapor and clouds would almost invariably be considered feedbacks, since they adjust so quickly to changes in temperature and winds introduced by various forcings. In other cases, it can go either way, depending on the problem. For example, when we run a GCM without a carbon cycle, and specify the CO2 concentration over the next 200 years (say), then CO2 is a forcing. If, instead, we run a model with a carbon cycle and specify emissions rather than concentrations, then the CO2 taken up or emitted by the land, or the changes in CO2 taken up by the ocean, are all feedbacks on the CO2 emitted by anthropogenic activity (which are the forcing in this case). If we are trying to understand the climate of the Last Glacial Maximum and specify ice sheets to be where geology tells us they actually were, then they are a forcing. If we specify other climate forcings but instead compute the ice sheets using an ice sheet model, then the ice sheets are a feedback. For that matter, in glacial-interglacial cycles, CO2 is a forcing if we specify it using the Vostok record, but it is a feedback on Milankovic forcing if we try to compute it using a carbon cycle model. --raypierre]

    [Response: Regarding the runaway, I will look at the 2005 paper and see what Hansen argues about the runaway there, but all the extensive arguments I already gave for a Venus Syndrome still apply so let's not start that argument over again. Anybody who wants to review that can go look at the Unforced Variations thread. The reference to Hansen's book in the comment you cite was mostly to address some other commenter's query about what statement by Hansen was under discussion. And before you get so fussed about correcting my "misconceptions," as I said before, it doesn't matter if Hansen is getting his carbon from burning coal, from clathrate releases, or terrestrial carbon cycle feedbacks; you still don't trigger a runaway greenhouse by increasing atmospheric CO2, so long as you are in an orbit that is getting less than the threshold solar radiation needed to sustain a runaway. --raypierre]

    [Response: OK, I had another look at the 2005 paper, which I hadn't re-read since Hansen started talking about the Venus Syndrome. There is some incidental mention of the runaway greenhouse phenomenon in general here, but Hansen does not demonstrate a runaway in the model. He only shows an increase in the efficacy of forcing (basically the climate sensitivity) at high temperatures, which is not something I have ever disputed. In particular, I do not find any place in the paper where he argues that the Earth could actually succumb to a Venus type runaway. The closest he comes is the statement, "... there is a hint of the runaway greenhouse at 8 XCO2." but I have no idea what he means by "hint" here. Having a "hint" of a runaway greenhouse would be like being just a little bit pregnant. In fact, the efficacy diagram shows a rather modest increase in climate sensitivity at the high CO2 end, so I don't even see a "hint" here myself. He mentions that there are numerical problems in the model that prevent exploration of the very warm regime. (That's strange, because NCAR and FOAM do fine up to 20% CO2 in the atmosphere and show no indication of running away). --raypierre]

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 15 Feb 2011 @ 12:28 AM

  90. > and NOW I see that you’ve gone back and added a comment

    TTTMan: right sidebar, under “…With Inline Responses” — that’s how it works.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Feb 2011 @ 12:51 AM

  91. Ray Ladbury #80 “Basically, I think you learn the philosophy of science–if you are to learn it at all–by doing science. I think that without the experience of doing science, it can be very difficult for an outsider to fully grasp how the scientific method fits together and why the scientific community functions the way it does.

    [Response: Very much agreed--nearly impossible in fact. Lots more to it than meets the eye, and tough to explain.--Jim]

    “It has to be experienced to be understood” is true of many disciplines, that is why we have teachers. However, isn’t the scientific method a matter of ethics, not experience? Perhaps you could expand on your statements a bit more, Ray or Jim.

    [Response: You phrase that very interestingly, in a way that I have strong agreement with, but which I'm not quite sure you meant to imply (or maybe you did, I don't know). My first response though, is that there is no such thing as "the" scientific method. Scientific approaches/methods vary widely (very widely!) depending on the exact nature of the question at hand--and the exact nature of the question at hand...varies widely! The idea that there is one single method--or even a small set of methods--is a great misunderstanding. I think even Platt in his famous paper ("Strong Inference" ;1964) may have made that mistake--his points are valid but he seems to have little awareness that a huge chunk of science is non-experimental in nature, which creates all kinds of havoc. This is not to say that there are not definite procedures and strategies to follow in order to acquire discriminating information most efficiently--there are. But those vary with the nature of the problem being addressed. To answer your question: anything goes; do whatever it takes to help you get some additional insight into the nature of the question at hand. It may be acquiring additional (or higher quality) observations, it may be the use of better analytical techniques borrowed from another discipline, it may be getting an entirely new perspective on the problem by reading or talking to others. There are in fact very few set rules. It's not cookbook--it's creativity. As for the issue of ethics, if that's what you really meant, Einstein had a bunch of quotes along those lines. It basically boils down, IMO, to caring and honesty. If you don't have those two things, forget it.--Jim]

    Comment by One Anonymous Bloke — 15 Feb 2011 @ 12:57 AM

  92. OAB, I am convinced that morality has much less to do with it than does methodology or even curiosity. In science, the closest we have to a moral stricture is an agreement to be bound by the evidence. However, this isn’t really much of a restriction. You don’t become a scientist without being passionate about understanding your object of study. And since any deviation from the evidence will decrease our understanding rather than increase it, falsifying or denying evidence is actually a mortal sin to a scientist. And of course, there is the 100% certainty that if you falsify data–especially data with any importance, YOU WILL GET CAUGHT. Nature won’t cover for you. She always gives the same answers when you ask the same questions (properly phrased).

    There are some scientists who are right bastards, and pretty much all of us have our moments. In real life, I wouldn’t trust them further than I could throw the. If they said it was sunny, I’d take an umbrella. However, if they are good researchers, I’ll pay attention to what they say in their papers.

    The most remarkable thing about the scientific method is not that it somehow makes us better people, but it works with people as they are, with all their flaws to yield reliable understanding of the world around us.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Feb 2011 @ 5:14 AM

  93. Chris @73

    We’ve got plenty of time for peer review.

    “Had we but time enough and time, dear Chris, were no crime We would sit down, and think which way To Kurl and pass our long love’s day.” Have you seen today’s Arctic sea-ice extent?

    The “consevastive”/”liberal” comment is astonishing to me.

    Even Bing found me this: Liberal & Conservative Brain Differences?.

    It’s it’s the Trillion Tonne question in your post 53, then ask away.

    But not get an answer.

    No idea what you mean by [Is it “quality science” if it cannot respond to simple questions]

    Here may be learning what each of us means by “quality science” but it’s clearly a valuable brand worth fighting over.

    Comment by Geoff Beacon — 15 Feb 2011 @ 5:29 AM

  94. Hank (#76)

    “How many miles of unexplored passages are there in this cave?”

    Very interesting, exploring caves – but we’re in a dark cave and need the breeze on the candle to show us the way out. We don’t know there is a way out for certain but we must make a good guess. I like what Lynn (#60) said

    … the need for scientists to avoid the FALSE POSITIVE of making untrue claims. They cannot afford to be the boy who called wolf when there wasn’t any wolf (even though they know there are wolves out there in the forest); they need to protect their reputation & even the reputation of science itself (as has become so clear in recent years). Hansen has referred to this as “scientific reticence.”

    Somehow “scientific reticence” must be overcome. Answering my question would be a start.

    just about anything will do [Jim's comment]

    No it won’t. If you can’t make your best guess then you are failing us. If I had my way you would be paid half your salary in Intrade contracts on climate change. You could choose the contracts. Then we might know.

    Comment by Geoff Beacon — 15 Feb 2011 @ 6:17 AM

  95. Ray Ladbury @80

    I think that without the experience of doing science, it can be very difficult for an outsider to fully grasp how the scientific method fits together and why the scientific community functions the way it does.

    I don’t think Feyerabend would have objected to the gist of that but I only attended a couple of his lectures. I bought “Against Method” but didn’t complete it. I find it boring to read people with whom I am in agreement.

    “outsider”! What makes an outsider. Have you seen “Never let me go?” yet.

    Science cares about being right, but it also cares about how it may be wrong

    Should we say “Scientists care about how they may be wrong.”? Then we don’t have to ask the question “What is this thing called Science?” (The title of a nice little book by Alan Chalmers.)

    Given the current political/intellectual climate, I can sympathise with scientists who are under pressure but if the deniers get answered why can’t I?

    Oh yes – “outsider”.

    Comment by Geoff Beacon — 15 Feb 2011 @ 6:45 AM

  96. “. . . huge chunk of science is non-experimental in nature. . .”

    Yes, this becomes part of the denialist canon in some cases, where the model of experimental physics (laboratory subset) becomes reified as the sum total of ‘true science.’ Thus, the vast body of observational data of what the atmosphere actually does can be, well, denied, since what happens in the lab is [all of] science.

    This seldom seems to stop this subspecies of denier from objecting at other times that while lab measurements do show that GHGs act as GHGs, that may not be the case in the atmosphere. . . go figure.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 15 Feb 2011 @ 7:03 AM

  97. “Had we but time enough and time, dear Chris, were no crime We would sit down, and think which way To Kurl and pass our long love’s day.”

    Very nice Geoff, but peer-review progresses with a robust steady beat and quality research pings its way steadily into the scientific literature. Everyone does do their job pretty well (and who would ask for perfection when good enough is fit for purpose.)

    Even Bing found me this: Liberal & Conservative Brain Differences?.

    Yes, that’s interesting. Does it significantly impact the peer review process in the physical sciences? I doubt it (there are a tiny number of examples where political points of view have affected peer-review (e.g. google DeFreitas/Baliunas/Soon). Ultimately it’s all about the evidence, nd good evidence is difficult to argue against (outside of blogs) (One might imagine that some fields may be more susceptible to reviewers political leanings – e.g. papers on racial differences in cognitive abilities or relationships between societal wealth disparities and adverse social outcomes – that sort of thing!)

    Of course one could argue about this at tedious length but the proof is in the pudding – good papers do get published, and even mediocre papers (and sometimes downright dismal papers) find their way into the scientific literature – it works!

    But not get an answer.

    Sounds like you’re not trying hard enough then. One can’t expect to call out and expect some kind expert to drop the answer into your lap (an image of an imploring baby bird in its nest with it’s mouth wide open comes to mind!). I don’t know the particular answer to your question…why not email it to someone you think might know…or do a scientific literature search. It depends one one’s level of interest the effort one takes to seek answers to questions-No?

    Here may be learning what each of us means by “quality science” but it’s clearly a valuable brand worth fighting over.

    Well you’re certainly learning what I mean by it since I’ve given some insight on that in my posts. It’s not clear in your case.

    In fact I think we can make fairly objective assessment of what is and isn’t “quality science”. That’s something we could discuss…

    Comment by chris — 15 Feb 2011 @ 8:09 AM

  98. Geoff,
    No. Had I meant that scientists care, I would have said so. The scientific method is structured so as to produce more false negatives than false positives. That is, a statement may be true, but science will wait until the evidence is pretty well incontrovertible before accepting it as true. There is a whole vocabulary scientists use in cases like this–words like suggestive, indicative, and the all-purpose perhaps. This isn’t being wishy-washy. It is as far as the evidence will let you go. Your questions on the trillion-tonne scenario are interesting and they are no doubt the subject of active inquiry, but we don’t have any definitive answers just yet. This is one of the things Feyerabend was just flat-assed wrong about: It’s all about method.

    That does not change the situation for policy, though. A climate sensitivity of 3 degrees per doubling–the favored value–certainly poses significant enough concerns to warrant immediate, effective action. Even the lower 90% CL bound of 2 degrees per doubling is a concern. It is only on the question of what would be effective that the exact value of sensitivity becomes important. This is where the engineering comes in to ask questions like: “How bad can it be?” “What actions must we take to mitigate the threats if they are that bad?” I hope you can see that this is related to, but different from the science.

    The other thing we have to realize is that climate change is merely one of many interrelated and intertwined threats we face–all of which we must resolve if we are to reach the ultimate goal of sustainability. We must reduce population. Key to that is the raising of living standards and promotion of education, especially of women. Key to that is support of international development. We must negotiate the upcoming cresting of global population without irreversibly damaging the carrying capacity of the planet–and that includes its climate. We must develop sustainable energy resources. We must develop an economy that extracts and uses resources more sustainably. And ultimately, we must develop an economy that remains stable despite a declining and so inevitably aging population. If we fail on any of these tasks, human civilization may be at risk, and perhaps ultimately even human survival.

    So, Geoff, the only thing that identifies you as an outsider is the fact that you seem to think the lack of an answer relates to something other than the inherent uncertainty of that answer.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Feb 2011 @ 9:14 AM

  99. raypierre (#89),

    Thanks for the response. I think your use of the term runaway and Hansen’s use differ. There are a couple of numbers in Kasting’s abstract: 1.4 and 1.1 times the current solar constant. The first gives a runaway in your sense where the oceans evaporate and remain as the atmosphere for 100 million years. The second leads to a somewhat higher partial pressure of water vapor than at present and a sufficiently damp stratosphere that the oceans would be lost withing 4 billion years. Hansen accepts this later value as a runaway. It is not clear that Venus ever ran away in your sense. If it ever had oceans perhaps it did not and rather followed the path Hansen had in mind. I think you should grant Hansen his use of the term or at least grant him the use of the term Venus Syndrome and meet him on his ground. He may be confusing the two a little, but he has stated what ‘threshold’ he is discussing in his book.

    After you left the discussion on Unforced Variations I was able to inventory enough organic carbon to make his argument that the equivalent 1.1 times the current solar constant could be attained through fossil fuel burnings and feedbacks plausible (#307). So, he can get to the point where the Earth’s water is vulnerable to loss. And, that is what he means by runaway so far as I can tell from his book.

    That is why I proposed here a couple of years ago and again more recently in the Friday Roundup, that is comes down to a matter of a race between hydrogen loss to space and removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by weathering of silicate rock. Most likely, weathering wins that race. But, you have to follow Hansen a fair distance, I think, before this flaw in his argument becomes apparent. It would be incorrect to dismiss him on semantics alone, or limit organic carbon inventories to coal only. And, it would be good to nail down weathering behavior with more sophisticated models.

    [Response: We've been through most of this before, but I'm tired of arguing the point with you. You're still confused about the situation for Earth and AGW, but the quality of your confusion is at least improving. The remarks below, pertaining to the broader questions of true "dry" runaway and planetary evolution, are more pertinent. The question hinges on the time evolution of extreme ultraviolet flux, but also on whether you can get rid of the oxygen produced by photolyzing water vapor. But the broader planetary issues are rather off-topic for the present discussion. What would be on-topic would be the way water vapor tends to increase the climate sensitivity as you go to warmer conditions (e.g. at very high CO2). That is definitely something worth thinking about, even if we leave aside the question of water loss in warm climates. Even for fixed relative humidity, and even without taking clouds into account, the OLR vs temperature slope (reciprocal of climate sensitivity) weakens as you go to higher temperatures, and that is indeed related to the fact that there is a runaway threshold "out there," even if we don't have enough solar flux to trigger it. That is essentially what Hansen was saying in the 2005 paper, in a somewhat confusing way, and that remark is essentially correct. But to make full sense of what is going on, you'd need to look at the shape of the OLR vs. T curve at high CO2; in the part of the temperature range where CO2 is competitive with water vapor, the presence of CO2 helps maintain high temperatures with the same solar flux we have now, but it can also increase the slope of the curve. People are certainly tired of hearing about my book but, dare I say, there is an illuminating graph of this sort in the real gas section of Chapter 4. --raypierre]

    One interesting outcome of this discussion might be the statement that for stars like the Sun and planets with Earth-like gravity and water endowment, a runaway in the sense you mean is nearly impossible. If Venus was formed very close the KI limit, heat from accretion would have kept water in vapor form and oceans would never have existed. Nothing to runaway from with no condensed reservoir. If oceans did exist, then they could escape through a moist stratosphere long before the Sun brightened enough to cause a ‘true’ runaway. Earth will never see a ‘true’ runaway because Hansen’s path to Venus-like conditions will be followed when the Sun brightens by 10% with oceans present throughout almost all of the period of loss of hydrogen to space.

    It would be an interesting question to address to know if there are any stars with sufficiently low UV emission (needed to dissociate water vapor) that escape of hydrogen could be delayed long enough for a ‘true’ runaway to occur ever for an Earth-like planet recalling that main sequence evolution is slower at lower luminosity so that reaching 1.4 times the current solar constant would take longer. It may be that water runaway is only relevant to more massive or more water rich plants. Answering this question may be relevant to choices of instrumentation that will be used to study exo-planets.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 15 Feb 2011 @ 9:31 AM

  100. Ray (raypierre) — on the charts in your paper, can you relate “wavenumber” to something more familiar in a simple way? I’d asked an astronomer a question about some quite old info on the web and got a reply recommending your paper with the warning that students have had trouble with “wavenumber” reading it.

    Geoff, again, see the uncertainties in the IPCC work and watch for more.

    You are insisting you want more, and you don’t know how to get more, so someone else has to do it. If you’d work on understanding and explaining what we do know to the politicians, they’d be in a position to ask for more — by funding the work.

    See Donella Meadows who’s written on sustainability leverage points. People _most_often_ push the wrong way when they identify a leverage point. You’re at one here now. Think and consider please; you are trying to push the scientists. It’s the wrong direction to push, to get the result you want.

    [Response: I use wavenumber in units of 1/cm because it's what infrared spectroscopists most commonly use. The wavenumber is the reciprocal of the wavelength, and if the wavenumber is being measured in 1/cm, then the reciprocal of the wavenumber is the wavelength in cm. Multiply by 10000, then, to get the wavelength in microns. Thus, a wavenumber of 1000/cm is 10 microns wavelength. Because of the dispersion relation for light wavenumber is really just frequency measured in funny units. The frequency in Hz (cycles per second) is c times the wavenumber, where c is the speed of light measured in cm/s . The spectroscopists use of the term "wavenumber" for this entity is indeed confusing, since the more common mathematical use of the term " wavenumber" would be 2pi divided by wavelength. --raypierre]

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Feb 2011 @ 9:40 AM

  101. The trouble with Feyerabend’s work is that it’s chiefly a reductio of what’s been called the ‘received view’ of how scientific evidence works, and his history of science (e.g. his treatment of Galileo) is sloppy. The point is purely negative, and he offers no richer epistemological framework in which to understand the success of science. That the received view was mistaken is generally accepted. That this implies ‘method’ in science is unimportant and/or that any methodological constraints must be too constraining for good science is not.

    Epistemology of science is tough sledding, but the Galileo stuff is nicely answered by, inter alia, Philip Kitcher, in The Advancement of Science: reliable independent agreement on the results of telescopic observations was quickly established as the use of telescopes spread and the technology improved. Feyerabend’s account is essentially a rhetorical defense of the deniers of that age– clever, and instructive in how it presses for a more careful account of why Galileo’s side deserved to win the debate, but wrong in the (all too familiar) claim of epistemic equivalence between the two sides.

    The key question is, do we have the means to arrive at (always pro-tem) independent agreement on some questions? Science has developed a wide range of methods, in different areas of inquiry, for achieving such agreement– refined methods of observation (look at the history of astronomical observations), development of reliable principles of inference connecting different observations (look at Cuvier’s inferences from partial skeletons to whole organisms and their taxonomic relations) and the identification of the limits of such inferences (from theoretical to simple empirical grounds– and the ongoing interaction between identified failures and other inferences (consider Darwin and Wallace’s inference from the failure of exponential population increase to the existence of selective presssure).

    In climate science there are lots of constraints on what is tenable, from present observations to paleoclimatology to basic atmospheric physics. The science progresses as the constraints are tightened and the range of tenable views narrows. But, for this outsider at least, the explanatory coherence of the current state of the art is strong enough that only dubious speculations about unidentified negative feedbacks provide any hope that the consequences of ongoing GHG emissions will not be unacceptably severe– and that’s in purely climatological terms, setting aside ocean acidification and other risks altogether. Could anyone really want to bet our children’s futures on such speculations?

    Comment by Bryson Brown — 15 Feb 2011 @ 11:51 AM

  102. TimTheToolMan: even if someone doesn’t supply all the context for something, if they tell you where to look then actually going to look is the very least you can do.

    What is it about blogs and the desire to copy all information everywhere inline? There are limits beyond which it becomes ridiculous. Some sites do it to the point of copyright violation. Excerpts are nice, but not a god-given right. A citation is sufficient.

    And the really amusing thing about this is that I read back through the comments, and TimTheToolMan’s original complaint was simply that he didn’t like or believe the 2% figure. The subsequent twisting and squirming is purely a result of an inability to face the facts.

    Tim, if no reference were given, you would have grounds to complain. But it’s right there! Then M at #30 quoted from it because you seem disinclined to get yourself to a library. And you still aren’t happy!

    I’m going to go out on a limb here, and suggest that nothing will make you happy, since fitting denial and reality together results in a painful dichotomy.

    But in the larger picture, this is a severe limitation of blog science: the need or tendency to limit everything to what is not only freely available, but which is available instantly online. It’s nice that in these connected days, so much is available online. But ignoring the rest or going on petty rants about it – that’s just tiresome.

    Comment by Didactylos — 15 Feb 2011 @ 12:02 PM

  103. 91 jim: Ethics: 92 Ray Ladbury is correct: \falsifying or denying evidence is actually a mortal sin to a scientist. And of course, there is the 100% certainty that if you falsify data–especially data with any importance, YOU WILL GET CAUGHT.\
    Particular methods are details. The scientific method is that evidence is experimental. That means we don’t rely on ancient texts or human witnesses. It doesn’t matter who legend says wrote it, an old book is not evidence. \Scientific experiment\ is defined. It has to be \public\ and \replicable.\ Revelations that happen inside one person’s head are called hallucinations. Hallucinations are not public and replicable.

    [Response: Edward, no offense, but what are you talking about?--Jim]

    That is how science differs from all previous methods of deciding. Science split away from religion by dismissing ancient texts in favor of repeatable experiments and measurements that everybody could see and do. You DO science. That is the democratizing effect of science.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 15 Feb 2011 @ 12:07 PM

  104. 99, raypierrre, in comment: People are certainly tired of hearing about my book

    Not I. I rush or amble to your book and read the sections that you alert me to in these dialogues.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 15 Feb 2011 @ 12:21 PM

  105. 102, Didactylos: nothing will make you happy

    That is true of me, though not aimed at me. I expect the next 10 years to be excruciatingly suspenseful as I watch the unfolding of new developments in energy supplies, reduction in coal use, new developments in flood control and irrigation, the ebb and flow (so to speak) of the arctic ice cap, and as I gradually accumulate evidence about which forecasts of the future are more accurate. I do not expect that my views of AGW will lead me to happiness at all.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 15 Feb 2011 @ 12:57 PM

  106. Thanks, Ray. Done.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 15 Feb 2011 @ 1:23 PM

  107. 99, raypierrre,

    People are certainly tired of hearing about my book…

    Actually, I’m eager to buy it, and every time you mention it I guiltily remember that I haven’t yet (and who am I to contribute much of an opinion until I have?).

    Maybe in a month or two the swamp of life/work/distractions will give me the time I need (anyone know what this week’s winning lottery numbers will be?).

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 15 Feb 2011 @ 1:38 PM

  108. Bryson Brown #101

    The trouble with Feyerabend’s work is that it’s chiefly a reductio of what’s been called the ‘received view’ of how scientific evidence works…. The point is purely negative, and he offers no richer epistemological framework in which to understand the success of science.

    Would you say that Gödel’s point was “purely negative”?

    The key question is, do we have the means to arrive at (always pro-tem) independent agreement on some questions?

    Who’s the “we”?

    I don’t think the current peer-review methodology, which some seem to equate with scientific method, answers the questions we need answering now.

    only dubious speculations about unidentified negative feedbacks provide any hope that the consequences of ongoing GHG emissions will not be unacceptably severe

    But we can engineer negative feedbacks – that’s called geo-engineering. But until that gets going we need to slow global warming as much as possible. That means taking short term forcing agents seriously and reducing black carbon and methane emissions (as well as CO2 emissions). Remember the positive feedbacks are temperature driven and only indirectly CO2 driven.

    Could anyone really want to bet our children’s futures on such speculations?

    Like the Trillion Tonne Speculation? This seems to assume the “safe” level of a 2º C rise in global temperatures will occur only after a trillion tonnes of carbon are emitted. If its climate models underestimated or omitted positive feedbacks that are possible it is wishful thinking … unless there are unidentified negative feedbacks.

    P.S. Are these feedbacks missing from the Trillion Tonne Speculation?

    Spielhagen et al. “Enhanced Modern Heat Transfer to the Arctic by Warm Atlantic Water

    Zaehle et al. “Terrestrial nitrogen feedbacks may accelerate future climate change

    Flanner et al. “Radiative forcing and albedo feedback from the Northern Hemisphere cryosphere between 1979 and 2008

    BBC report “Amazon drought ‘severe’ in 2010, raising warming fear

    [Response: Geoff, can you please drop this? We have discussed uncertainties in sensitivity a dozen times, we have discussed Earth System Sensitivity and we have discussed what the 2 deg guardrail is based on (and that is not a binary safe/dangerous limit). We will no doubt discuss all of these things again. But just not here. Thanks. - gavin]

    Comment by Geoff Beacon — 15 Feb 2011 @ 1:41 PM

  109. Gavin. OK.

    Comment by Geoff Beacon — 15 Feb 2011 @ 2:18 PM

  110. “Edward, no offense, but what are you talking about?–Jim”

    References:

    “Science and Immortality” by Charles B. Paul 1980 University of California Press. In this book on the Eloges of the Paris Academy of Sciences (1699-1791) page 99 says: “Science is not so much a natural as a moral philosophy”. [That means drylabbing [fudging data] will get you fired.]
    Page 106 says: “Nature isn’t just the final authority, Nature is the Only authority.”

    Nature isn’t just the final authority on truth, Nature is the Only authority. There are zero human authorities. Scientists do not vote on what is the truth. There is only one vote and Nature owns it. We find out what Nature’s vote is by doing Scientific [public and replicable] experiments. Scientific [public and replicable] experiments are the only source of truth. [To be public, it has to be visible to other people in the room. What goes on inside one person's head isn't public unless it can be seen on an X-ray or with another instrument.]
    Science is a simple faith in Scientific experiments and a simple absolute lack of faith in everything else.

    In the book: “Revolutionary Wealth” by Alvin & Heidi Toffler 2006 Chapter 19, FILTERING TRUTH, page 123 lists six commonly used filters people use to find the “truth”. They are:
    1. Consensus
    2. Consistency
    3. Authority
    4. Mystical revelation or religion
    5. Durability
    6. Science

    Science is the ultimate Protestant Reformation. We went from believing whatever the priest said to reading the bible for ourselves to doing our own experiments. Doing our own experiments actually works. There is another implicit step here. The implicit step is realizing that ancient [stone age to bronze age] people did not have some source of knowledge that we do not.

    I am talking about science in very general terms. Now you have a clue as to why so many people are against science in general. Former beliefs are left out.

    [Response: The original question was just requesting some elaboration on Ray L's idea that the methods of science are not easily described. Ray and I both did that. You are taking it way off the rails and firing random shots into the air. Please don't--Jim]

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 15 Feb 2011 @ 2:21 PM

  111. raypierre (#99),

    In his book, Hansen is coming from the direction of the habitability zone. That pretty much means that what he is considering is the loss of oceans when the solar constant is 1.1 times greater than now. And, that ‘threshold’ is based on losing the oceans before the Sun expires in Kasting’s paper. That is different from producing a dry hot surface with all the water from the oceans in the atmosphere.

    Hansen does think he is seeing an increased sensitivity as the Earth warms in the 2005 paper and he considers this important in his book (fig. 30 there) to getting to a pre-Venus configuration using available organic carbon.

    I’m not too sure I see the importance of getting rid of the oxygen leftover from the oceans. It happened on Venus somehow. And, oxygen is not a greenhouse gas. More carbon dioxide will accumulate from volcanoes over time and produce a hot surface with or without the oxygen.

    [Response: If you don't get rid of oxygen, it recombines with hydrogen and chokes off escape. That in itself further limits the chance of water loss on an oxygenated planet like Earth. On Venus, the slow trickle of oxygen produced by photolysis is hypothesized to have combine with oxidizable minerals in the surface rocks. But Chris, why are you so obsessed with Hansen's claims regarding the Venus Syndrome. Can't you find something more plausible to worry about? --raypierre]

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 15 Feb 2011 @ 2:31 PM

  112. Ray #52, I could not agree more. My point was to stick to the peer reviewed science track. That is where the most reliable studies will be found and where needed correctives will surface. It is a process, not a point in time. That is why I trust RC. It generally sticks to the peer reviewed material and is very clear when it goes beyond it.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 15 Feb 2011 @ 2:34 PM

  113. re: Jim’s inline response at #91. That clarifies things enormously.

    Re Ray Ladbury #92. Nitpicking, but there’s a distinction between an ethic and a moral: the moral of the story is that we adopt these ethics.

    The previous discussion between the two of you, #80 had left me with an impression of the opacity of science to the casual observer, but your subsequent explanations reveal something a lot more transparent – caring and honesty are things that we can all understand – in a way they are “the scientific method”.

    Thank you both for your responses.

    Comment by One Anonymous Bloke — 15 Feb 2011 @ 3:24 PM

  114. I don’t think the current peer-review methodology, which some seem to equate with scientific method, answers the questions we need answering now.

    Geoff, I can’t imagine anyone “equating” “the current peer-review methodology” with “the scientific method”, nor believing that peer review has very much to say about what we know of the natural world. The peer review method doesn’t “answer questions” (about the physical environment). It provides a check that science which is disseminated via the scientific literature has a good chance of according to standards of quality.

    Surely it’s the role of science (the collective effort of scientists and perhaps the wider society that decides which issues should be subject to particular scientific focus) to “answer questions”. One might question whether the state of our scientific knowledge is sufficient to answer “questions we need answering now”, but we can’t really say unless you are more specific about which questions (you consider) need answering now.

    Of course science can’t answer questions like “..are there unidentified negative feedbacks?”. That’s a question mired in illogic. That’s not to say that science might not identify as yet unidentified negative feedbacks at some time in the future. On the other hand scientific knowledge (analysis of past temperature responses to enhanced radiaive forcing) indicates that that’s likely to be wishful thinking (a low probability likelyhood). Science can be quite helpful when questions are well framed.

    [Response: While one cannot strictly rule out that some climate entirely different from any studied in the past might have unidentified negative feedbacks, the study of paleoclimate very strongly argues against such feedbacks. Uncertainties in paleoclimate reconstructions somewhat limit ones confidence in that statement, but there is no question that science, through improved reconstructions, can address the question of unidentified negative feedbacks. --raypierre]

    Comment by chris — 15 Feb 2011 @ 3:54 PM

  115. raypierre (#99),

    Concerning weathering in a warm climate, I notice that you in 2002 wrote this in Nature:

    “A distinct change in regime occurs when the evaporation exceeds
    the absorbed solar radiation (Fig. 4), by which point the surface has
    become colder than the overlying air. Past this point (about 302 K in
    the high-CO2 case), precipitation increases more slowly with
    temperature. Without the destabilizing effects of water vapour
    buoyancy, evaporation is limited to a value only slightly in excess of
    the absorbed solar radiation. In this case the silicate–carbonate
    weathering thermostat breaks down, as increases in temperature fail
    to increase precipitation (for a fixed solar brightness) and so cannot
    halt accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere.”

    I had earlier discussed the air being dry up to about 25 km in one of Kasting’s models as an impediment to weathering. You later invoked ‘weathering’ within the oceans themselves as a new thermostat. I would like to know more about this idea. Essentially, any chemical process is going to leave a layer of silica that might impede further processing. There should be a layer of limestone as well. Can this new mechanism handle the required quantity of carbon dioxide without being shut down by its own success? Normally, weathering involves vastly increasing the surface area available to react with atmospheric carbon dioxide through the freeze-thaw cycle and water erosion. This would not be the case below the surface of the ocean.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 15 Feb 2011 @ 4:02 PM

  116. “Calm down and take the time to study “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:”

    Calm down? I think I have the right to question claims made about what other people say to discredit them. And I’d expect them to be able to back up those claims.

    At the moment, we have Gavin using the Lindzen quote of “about 2.5C” atmospheric warming attributable to CO2 and expecting that to somehow justify the 2% mentioned in the article.

    However 2.5C out of the 33C that is frequently accepted as the amount GHGs warm our atmosphere is closer to 7.5% and not so far from Gavin’s own calculated value at the low end of his range of 9%

    So how does the 2% relate? Well without the context within which it was made we’ll never know for sure whether it was with respect to anthropogenic CO2 or not. If it was, then Lindzen is in the ballpark his statement and misquoting or more accurately misinterpreting him would be wrong.

    [Response: There are two different numbers here. The first is the '2%' (or even '1%' in the House testimony). Under no circumstance is this close to '9%' (which in any case got revised in Schmidt et al (2010) to 14% because of the re-calibration of the radiation code). There remains no justification for the 2% number in any published source that I have been able to find. As for the '2.5deg C cooling' from zero CO2, this is not even a written statement, it being an off-the-cuff answer to a question. Given the radiative forcing from zero CO2 with respect to present-day of something like -28W/m2, this implies a climate sensitivity of 0.33 deg C for a doubling of CO2! - a number so low that not even Lindzen has suggested it explicitly. Yet you want us to take seriously unsupported, and frankly impossible, claims and put them on the same footing as real research. Oh please. - gavin]

    Comment by TimTheToolMan — 15 Feb 2011 @ 4:26 PM

  117. > we’ll never know for sure
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignoramus_et_ignorabimus
    ‘We must know — we will know!’

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Feb 2011 @ 5:02 PM

  118. You are taking it way off the rails and firing random shots into the air. Please don’t–Jim]

    No I’m not. I’m getting back to basics. I understand that you see a sensitive subject. OK. No more sensitive subject.

    [Response: Not so much sensitive, but way too deep into philosophy for the present thread. I did get into some of these issues way back in my Darwin post, where the question of how to distinguish science from non-science arises, but this does push the limits of expertise of any of us here at RealClimate -- except in the sense that any practicing scientist develops a sense of what is and is not science. --raypierre]

    [Response: No Edward, it's not an issue of sensitivity in the least. The topic/question we were discussing was about methods scientists use in doing their jobs--not all the things you started bringing up.--Jim]

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 15 Feb 2011 @ 5:06 PM

  119. Gavin – TtTM doesn’t want you to take anything seriously. He just wants you to waste your time. Every time he comes back here, it’s the same game; obfuscate, confuse, and consume precious resources.

    Bore hole.

    Comment by Dave — 15 Feb 2011 @ 5:21 PM

  120. Preindustrial CO2 = 280ppm
    Current CO2 = 390ppm
    Therefore, Manmade = 110ppm, Natural = 280ppm
    Of Low estimate of CO2 contribution = 9%, Manmade = 3%, Natural = 6%.

    This is an interesting discussion, because the 6% could be a slow feedback due to some other aspect of the system, such as the hydrosphere.

    There is the possibility that water vapour AND the natural CO2 are both in fact dependant on some other planetary imbalance.

    As far as I know, Lindzen’s argument is that the planet’s climate is never in balance (not a bad assumption given that there is very strong evidence that climate changes in the absence of humans).

    On the other hand there is Gavin’s argument, that water vapour is a feedback most likely due to CO2…(but that would suggest a minor role for internal variability, leading to debate over the magnitude of past changes, external forcing, Holocene stability, hockey sticks, etc..

    [Response: Despite the fact you appear to be agreeing with me on something, this isn't right. The climate can be close enough to being in quasi-equilibrium for concepts like equilibrium sensitivity to hold. That means that for quite long time periods the planet can stay very close to radiative equilibrium - i.e. the Holocene (until recently), or the last glacial maximum. If this was not the case, the resulting TOA heat fluxes would have caused dramatic temperature and sea level changes - thus have observed periods without either, one can conclude that equilibrium can be a reasonable working assumption. This has nothing much to do the degree of internal variability (which is multiple in the presence of strong feedbacks in any case). - gavin]

    Comment by Isotopious — 15 Feb 2011 @ 5:48 PM

  121. Chris Dudley, my understanding of the weathering thermostat has nothing to do with rocks reacting with air. CO2 dissolved in water weathers the rock releasing cations esp Ca++. Once washed into seawater, Ca++ changes the chemical equilibrium so CaCO3 is precipitated out. Limestone layers only form where this process happens in places with low sediment flux.

    [Response: Not quite. The silicate/CO2 reaction is indeed an aqueous one that takes place primarily when rain containing dissolved CO2 (from the air!) washes over silicate rocks. But it is the the exchange of carbon and silicon, leading to formation of the carbonate, that ultimately takes CO2 out of the air. Where the carbonate (loosely speaking, limestone) ends up in the end is fairly immaterial. The ocean plays no significant role in the silicate weathering thermostat, except as a source of rainfall. --raypierre]

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 15 Feb 2011 @ 5:48 PM

  122. TimTheToolMan,

    Think of it this way. Suppose we ignore all feedbacks and just let the climate system come to equilibrium after some perturbation. The climate sensitivity in this circumstance is 1/(4*sigma*T^3)=0.27 K/(W/m2). Most model estimates estimate the Planck feedback to be roughly this value, or a tiny bit higher ~0.3 K/(W/m2) due to atmospheric absorption. See Table 1 here http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/bibliography/related_files/bjs0601.pdf and raise the numbers to the “-1″ power to be consistent with the notation I’m using to verify.

    From Myhre et al (1998), and following from the IPCC AR4 and TAR reports and others, the radiative forcing for CO2 change is ~5.35 ln(C/C_o) where C and C_o are the final and initial concentrations. If we use this equation to say, 20 ppm from pre-industrial conditions of 280 ppm, then RF= -5.35*ln(14)~-14.2 W/m2

    Multiplying this forcing by 0.3 K/(W/m2) gives us around 4-4.5 C decrease in temperature, roughly a factor of two away from Lindzen’s estimate. This is even with 20 ppm of CO2 providing a greenhouse effect, and I only stopped there since the logarithmic approximation breaks down at low concentrations as the center of the ~15 micron feature is not yet opaque as you move into the high atmosphere. Even methane is more in a linear to square root regime forcing-wise, so removing all the CO2 can easily double this back of the envelope calculation.

    Now we throw in a water vapor feedback and ice-albedo feedback. In the Schmidt and Lacis et al, Pierrehumbert, Voigt, etc work the temperature plummets considerably, forcing snowball type scenarios (Lacis didn’t really run the model long enough to see a real snowball equilibrium, but the temperature drops by some 30 C). At 250 K the saturation vapor pressure (with respect to ice) is ~0.8 mb, compared to over 30 mb closer to 300 K, and in a snowball-like regime there’s very little of a water vapor feedback. Of course, when you throw in the albedo feedback, the “33 K” enhancement that the atmosphere maintains is an underestimate. Clouds could conceivably help the situation, especially if they are sitting over a reflective surface, but Lindzen’s “2.5 degrees” is to be blunt, just lying in a testimony.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 15 Feb 2011 @ 6:25 PM

  123. Raypierre,

    While we’re still (somewhat) on the subject, I was wondering if anyone has attempted to calculate runaway greenhouse thresholds or HZ limits for different solar types, even in a simplified no-cloud response setting? For M-stars at least (assuming tidal locking can easily be rectified as Joshi showed), since the stars emit less UV flux and are generally redder, it would make an atmosphere prone to a lower albedo, but would also seem to make photo-dissociation slower (though I think M-types are a bit more chaotic and periodically emit pulses of high energy, especially in the early stages).

    [Response: See Selsis et al, in ApJ. There is a lot more to be done on this, but they make a very credible start of it. --raypierre]

    Comment by Chris Colose — 15 Feb 2011 @ 6:52 PM

  124. The estimates of climate sensitivity are on the record, and they are all over the place. The difference in the estimates is in some cases greater than the estimates themselves.

    Re Lindzen:

    “…this implies a climate sensitivity of 0.33 deg C for a doubling of CO2! – a number so low that not even Lindzen has suggested it explicitly.”

    Give him some credit, .5 deg C is in the ball park, and although LC10 has not been published, he does have some interesting data to support low sensitivity (even you though it was interesting, Gavin).

    To be frank, I think Lindzen is wrong on this one (his estimates are too high).

    Comment by Isotopious — 15 Feb 2011 @ 6:55 PM

  125. So far, despite TimTheToolMan’s protestations, nobody has misquoted Lindzen. Unless he is just trolling, it’s hard to see what there is to get excited about. Isn’t a more germane question “Why is Lindzen dropping various different numbers without providing any context”? He doesn’t appear to provide enough context to even distinguish the figures. Are they supposed to represent the same quantity? Is he just sloppy? Is he making the numbers up as he goes? Where are the numbers from?

    Where’s TimTheToolMan’s outrage? Oh, right. Pointed at his foot.

    Comment by Didactylos — 15 Feb 2011 @ 7:16 PM

  126. > all over the place.
    > in the ball park
    > (his estimates are too high)

    Where is your ball park? What game do they play there?

    http://agwobserver.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/papers-on-climate-sensitivity-estimates/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Feb 2011 @ 7:19 PM

  127. “which in any case got revised in Schmidt et al (2010) to 14% because of the re-calibration of the radiation code”

    As far as I can tell from your paper “The attribution of the present-day total greenhouse e ffect”, this is an equilibrium figure for the CO2 component and not an instantaneous effect. Basically the 14% figure uses the assumed feedbacks built into the model to arrive at its result.

    [Response: No. There are no feedbacks considered - it is just the change in GHE from removing CO2 with no other change at all. It is assuming equilibrium though. - gavin]

    For argument’s sake, when you do that simulation, where does the temperature start to reduce towards its equilibrium figure from? Is it anywhere near 98%?

    [Response: Temperature is fixed, so I don't really understand your question. - gavin]

    And…Dave, understanding where people are coming from requires discussion not out of hand dismissal. We could simply ask Lindzen if he frequented this blog…but he doesn’t appear to do so. I’m sure Gavin would simply ignore me if he thought I was simply trolling.

    Comment by TimTheToolMan — 15 Feb 2011 @ 7:20 PM

  128. “Temperature is fixed, so I don’t really understand your question. – gavin”

    Well given its an equilibrium figure, I’m interested in the temperature change at the start of the run rather than at equilibrium. The instantaneous effect.

    Perhaps this is where a 1 or 2% figure can come from.

    [Response: But this isn't a transient run. Lacis et al (2010) did do perhaps something like you are referring to - removing all CO2 and seeing what happened - and temperatures dropped more than 30 deg C. - gavin]

    Comment by TimTheToolMan — 15 Feb 2011 @ 7:49 PM

  129. TtTM #128 “Perhaps this is where a 1 or 2% figure can come from.”

    Perhaps so, but given the wealth of evidence presented so far, of the various figures Lindzen has come up with, off the cuff remarks, unsupported statements to Congress, etc. etc. it seems far more likely that he plucked it out of his ear. None of which explains why you aren’t asking him.

    http://eapsweb.mit.edu/people/person.asp?position=Faculty&who=lindzen here you go, here’s your first step.

    Comment by One Anonymous Bloke — 15 Feb 2011 @ 8:13 PM

  130. Isotopious,
    Huh? The climate sensitivity estimates within the past decade have largely been between 2 (or near) and 5 degrees per doubling. Methinks you are talking out of an alternative orifice.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Feb 2011 @ 8:28 PM

  131. ” Lacis et al (2010) did do perhaps something like you are referring to – removing all CO2 and seeing what happened”

    Yes, an interesting result.

    From your paper : “Indeed, a model simulation performed with zero CO2 gives a global mean temperature changes of about -35C and produces an ice covered planet (A. Lacis, pers. communication).”

    So given the prevailing view is that GHGs increase the temperature by around 33C they’re saying without CO2, the temperatures decrease to below this value. Snowball earth presumably. My understanding was that Snowball earth might have happened in the past with considerable CO2 present and I do wonder how parameterisation is handled when the climate is so far from what is thought to be understood.

    But back at your paper and trying to work out Linden’s rationale for making his statement, You say “while holding the climate (spatial and temporal distributions of temperature, surface properties etc.) Fixed”

    So what did vary? Clouds? Atmospheric temperature gradients? water vapour within the assumption of a presumably unchanged SST? Stuff like that?

    [Response: Regarding the Snowball, you ought to read some real science and not take your cues from Monkton. There's a bifurcation in the system. To get into a Snowball, you need to draw down CO2 to very low values. Once you are in, however, the CO2 has to be increased to very high values to get out, because snow/ice reflects 60% or more of the incoming radiation, and so the Earth can remain very cold even with high CO2. The energy budget has two parts you know -- absorbed solar radiation and outgoing infrared. As for Lindzen, you're wasting your time and ours trying to find some justification for his statement. There is no scientific justification for his statement. It's bunk, and is simply made up in order to mislead people who don't know better. I find this sad. I've known Dick for 30 years, and there was a time when he was still a credible scientist. He's abandoned that, at least when he thinks he can get away with it. --raypierre]

    Comment by TimTheToolMan — 15 Feb 2011 @ 8:45 PM

  132. In the January 2011 issue of the Notices of the American Mathematical Society there is a relevant book review and an article which properly ought to be commented upon in an open Unforced Variations thread, but unfortunately there isn’t one just now.

    (1) In 1904 Henri Poincare announced a question which came to be known as the Poincare conjecture on which progress on questions related to this very famous problem happened finally in 1960 and 1982. The conjecture was resolved, in the positive, 99 years after the anouncement by Gregory Perelman in a post to the internet which he subsequently refused to publish in a standard refereed journal. There is more; he turned down the Cray Research Institute’s million dollar prize and rejected his Fields Medal, this being much more prestigous than a mere Nobel Prize despite significantly less media attention. This story indicates the, up to now, extreme rarity of scientific advancement via blog/internet; I opine we’ll see more of it, a form of returning to the communication of science rather more akin to that used in the days before journals. [The book, by the way, is not recommended but the book review itself is of interest.]

    (2) The cover article is entitled Vortices and Two-Dimensional Fluid Motion. To a good approximation the atmosphere and even better the oceans are well approximated via only 2 dimensions. Under quite realistic conditions, a system of many small “random” vortices evolves into a system of a few large ones. Seeing this, well described, helped me to understand how energy can flow from the seemingly more disorganized small scale QPOs in the Pacific, say, to the larger QPOs, such as the PDO for example.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 15 Feb 2011 @ 8:51 PM

  133. “[Response: But this isn't a transient run. Lacis et al (2010) did do perhaps something like you are referring to - removing all CO2 and seeing what happened - and temperatures dropped more than 30 deg C. - gavin]”

    I wonder if I should be getting a new textbook for the meteorology classes I teach. Even when I was in school we’ve been going off the idea that if the Earth’s atmosphere was a vapid emptiness that did nothing but served as a conduit to balance the Earth’s energy budget between itself and the Sun, that the average surface temperature would be 0F (-18C) … From what you’re saying, simply removing just the 380ppm of CO2 will be near the same as removing everything else in the atmosphere as well? Are all the other parts-per million in the atmosphere really that insignificant?

    Comment by Salamano — 15 Feb 2011 @ 10:19 PM

  134. [Response: But this isn't a transient run. Lacis et al (2010) did do perhaps something like you are referring to - removing all CO2 and seeing what happened - and temperatures dropped more than 30 deg C. - gavin]

    I might have to get a new textbook for the meteorology classes I teach. Even when I was in school we were going off the idea that if all the atmospheric contents vanished, and we were left simply with a conduit that allowed radiant energy from the Earth and Sun to balance (heat-energy budget stuff), we’d be left with a planet of an avg. surface temperature of 0F (-18C). From what you’re saying, just taking away the 380ppm of CO2 creates the same effect as removing everything else in the atmosphere along with it. Are all the other components in the atmosphere really that insignificantly negligible?

    [Response: No, we are saying that your calculation of a temperature of -18C without an atmosphere leaves out an important feedback. That calculation is done taking out the greenhouse effect and keeping the albedo constant. Now guess what -- the Earth has OCEANS, which FREEZE and get WHITE. So, if you take out the CO2, in fact the albedo increases, you wind up in a Snowball, and it's even colder. You have multiple levels of confusion here, actually, since taking out the N2 and O2 left when you take out the greenhouse gases has essentially no effect on the infrared opacity of the Earth, though they do have an effect on climate by moving heat around in the atmosphere. The calculation in Lacis et al, described by Gavin, was actually done first by Aiko Voigt (Voigt A, Marotzke J. 2010. The transition from the present-day climate to a modern Snowball Earth. Clim. Dyn. 35:887–905) but given sensitivity to clouds and such, it's nice to see it reproduced in a separate model. --raypierre]

    Comment by Salamano — 15 Feb 2011 @ 10:22 PM

  135. Y’know, you can read it yourself. Go to your public library.
    Ask them for this: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6002/356.short

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Feb 2011 @ 11:34 PM

  136. TtTM: “so far from what is thought to be understood.”

    Um, spot the nonsense. “Understood” by whom, precisely? While you’re at it, who’s doing the thinking of which you speak?

    Comment by One Anonymous Bloke — 15 Feb 2011 @ 11:43 PM

  137. 131 Timthetoolman said quoting Gavin’s paper, sort of,

    while holding the climate (spatial and temporal distributions of temperature, surface properties etc.) Fixed

    so what did vary?

    Here’s the actual quote: We use the IPCC AR4 version of GISS ModelE [Schmidt et al., 2006] to calculate the instantaneous changes in radiative fluxes to changes in individual LW absorbers, while holding the climate (spatial and temporal distributions of temperature, surface properties etc.) fixed .

    I’m no climate scientist but I’d hazard a guess that they calculated the instantaneous variation of the radiative fluxes in response to changes in the individual long wave absorbers.

    sheesh.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 15 Feb 2011 @ 11:48 PM

  138. Salamano,

    I’ll try to amplify on raypierre’s statement, only because I think it’s important, and hopefully it doesn’t come off as me being in a bad mood. I’ve been “taught” about the greenhouse effect in multiple courses over the last few years, and you won’t find a better version than in Ray’s Principles of Planetary Climate. There are some more complete “radiation” books, but I don’t think any rival its application to climate, and it’s very helpful as well to learn about this stuff from someone whose perspective is more on the lines of planetary atmospheres rather than just confining to Earth. It allows generalizations to other situations (such as infrared scattering, antigreenhouse effects, runaways, etc) which aren’t really important in the modern climate but still lend insight into the physics. I’ve actually had several discussions (some debates) and got to play instructor once in a great while just because there’s a lot of subtle details in the greenhouse effect and feedbacks, which for some reason, no one but the experts seem to know (and sometimes they don’t know it, I was recently taught in an upper level climate class that CO2′s absorption at 15 microns was unimportant, it was the 4 micron band that mattered most, though the professor did it right later in the course). It’s especially annoying when you just throw pictures with yellow and red arrows bouncing off an “atmosphere” and a “surface” on powerpoint and say, “here is the greenhouse effect!!” because the explanations are usually wrong on a lot of fundamental levels. Anyway, that’s my rant…

    I don’t know at what level you teach meteorology. If it’s at a basic level with no math, then the canonical explanation of the greenhouse effect goes like “If Earth had no greenhouse effect, it would be 33 C (59 F) colder. N2 and O2 doesn’t contribute, but some of it is CO2, methane, and the trick question to the students…water vapor is actually the most important”

    If you teach at an algebraic level, then you probably balance energy equations such as S(1-alpha)/4=sigmaTe^4, then you solve for Te and say it’s 33 K lower than it should be. Maybe you start adding a bunch of slabs to the air and say the new temperature is (n+1)^1/4 * Te = Ts, where n is the number of slabs (which you can also assign a non-unity absorptivity-emissivity to, and it’s still easy to work out on paper quickly if n is small). (If you actually teach at this level or higher I’d recommend Ray’s book, or even David Archer’s). A lot of people use the slab model, even Archer, and also Hartmann, Marshall and Plumb, etc but I find it physically uninsightful and does not justice to the TOA budget/lapse rate effects critical to the greenhouse effect.

    Here’s the issue…first of all, N2 and O2 DO contribute to the greenhouse effect, even if they don’t absorb infrared radiation, because they broaden the spectral features associated with the GHG’s through collisions. It’s also through these collisions that one can maintain LTE and really define (easily) a local temperature, and one that heats upon when you absorb a photon. Look at Mars, with more than 90% CO2, yet it’s atmosphere is thin enough to make a rather small contribution to actually enhancing the surface temperature above Te.

    Second, Te is just a number you get when you figure out what the solar constant is, and you’re given the albedo. The albedo is not a stagnant quantity; it’s nice to hold it constant for back-of-envelope calculations, but when you actually say the greenhouse effect keeps things 33 K warmer, if you don’t think removing that is going to significantly expand ice cover/snow and change clouds you’re just providing students with a baseline number and something to compare it to that has little practical meaning. The “effective” temperature would certainly not be 255 K if you removed the greenhouse effect.

    Third, unless you’re just teaching this for half of a lecture and never returning to it again, properly diagnosing forcing and feedback factors is absolutely essential to any meaningful discussion of climate. The fact is water vapor is only the most important in the sense that it represents the largest fraction of infrared opacity in our atmosphere, but how the water vapor greenhouse effect is allowed to exist in the first place (because it’s a condensable gas sitting over a reservoir of ocean) is absolutely dependent on the sunlight and the other non-condensing GHG’s. CO2 builds up the framework for the terrestrial greenhouse effect, because removing it allows you to cool down enough to collapse most of the water vapor effect as well.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 16 Feb 2011 @ 12:55 AM

  139. Re: Ray Pierrehumbert’s response to #131. I’ve been wanting to know more about this (the snowball earth/high Co2 josmiwap) for weeks, and I figured eventually something would come up if I just kept my eyes open. Thanks again. I delight in curious monkeys.

    [Response: Well, if you want to know more about Snowball Earth, your dreams are about to come true. I just got the final page proofs back for my Neoproterozoic review article, due to appear at Annual Reviews of Earth and Planetary Science. The article will be up on the AREPS site in April, and a preprint ought to be up on my own publication site within a week or so. --raypierre]

    Comment by One Anonymous Bloke — 16 Feb 2011 @ 1:18 AM

  140. “Regarding the Snowball, you ought to read some real science and not take your cues from Monkton.”

    I took my clues from Gavin who had interpreted and possibly quoted from Lacis actually. I even quoted it above. He said…

    “Indeed, a model simulation performed with zero CO2 gives a global mean temperature changes of about -35oC and produces an ice covered planet”

    An “ice covered planet” is Snowball earth isn’t it?

    Also CO2 levels (according to the Wiki FWIW) have our current levels as low as they’ve ever been so I’m not sure where you’re coming from with your comment.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/76/Phanerozoic_Carbon_Dioxide.png

    But regarding Lindzen, whichever way you look at it, he’s still a clever man and has his own views on things. I agree that without papers to back him, he’s on thin ice so to speak and certainly AGWers have parted ways with his beliefs on climate drivers but that shouldn’t stop us from understanding what those beliefs are and where he’s coming from with them.

    Outright attacking them because your models say otherwise is going to be counterproductive to any cause you may have on “convincing people” and not good blogging etiquette at any rate.

    [Response: Well Timtt, some of your comments are so obtuse it's hard to know what you are getting at, but in the comment I was responding to, you appeared to be raising the same spurious point as Monkton, namely that at some times in the past CO2 was thousands of times higher yet we were in a Snowball Earth (implying that CO2 must not have much to do with temperature). What else was I to make of your statement that "My understanding was that Snowball earth might have happened in the past with considerable CO2 present ..." If that was a misunderstanding, and you don't want to be misunderstood, you ought to try being clearer about what you mean. Even after your "clarification" I really have no idea what you're trying to get at here. Regarding Lindzen, it doesn't matter a whit how clever he may be if he makes up numbers for climate sensitivity and provides no physical argument to back them up. It's not just a matter of "models" disagreeing, except in the trivial sense that every calculation is in some sense a model. And it's not a matter of our physical argument vs. his since we have a physical argument based largely on the basic physics of radiative transfer, and he has no argument whatever. I think it's fair game to attack somebody who just makes up numbers and throws them in front of Congress. His views don't matter a whit if he can't back them up with physics. For all I know, his views may be based on the idea that the Great Green Spaghetti Monster keeps climate from changing no matter what humans put in the atmosphere. And Tim, I smell some concern trollism coming in there at the end. Your main purpose in life seems to be to not be convinced by anybody about anything nowhere nohow. --raypierre]

    Comment by TimTheToolMan — 16 Feb 2011 @ 1:57 AM

  141. re: #138 Dr.Pierrehumbert. I gooScholar searched for “Neoproterozoic” and found some more reading. If I get up to speed I’ll be astonished. Thank you.

    [Response: A terrific place to start is Paul Hoffman's magnificent Snowball Earth site here. --raypierre]

    Comment by One Anonymous Bloke — 16 Feb 2011 @ 2:05 AM

  142. “I’m no climate scientist but I’d hazard a guess that they calculated the instantaneous variation of the radiative fluxes in response to changes in the individual long wave absorbers.”

    That seems reasonable but in what sense in a model? Its very unclear from the paper what’s actually happening.

    The paper goes on to say “The climatology is derived from a year-long simulation using ca. 1980 conditions”

    If its instantaneous and nothing is allowed to change (apart from the LW absorbers) then why let it come to equilibrium over a year?

    [Response: It may seem unclear to you, but that's only because you don't know how to read, or at least are putting up a good simulation of it. Standard practice would be to run the model, take the state at any given time (temperature. water vapor and cloud fields) then using that, run the radiation model on the field with one constitutent changed (e.g. water vapor taken out, or CO2 taken out, or either one changed in some prescribed way). Standard practice, but you still need a climatological field on which to base the perturbed radiation calculation. Ever hear of partial derivatives? Like where you compute changes varying one thing while holding everything else fixed? --raypierre]

    Comment by TimTheToolMan — 16 Feb 2011 @ 2:13 AM

  143. ” It may seem unclear to you, but that’s only because you don’t know how to read, or at least are putting up a good simulation of it.”

    Read what? I’ve read the paper…I’ve even started on the reference to Schmidt 2006. Maybe its “standard practice” to you but it certainly isn’t to 99.9% of your readers.

    Having said that, thanks for the explanation. So if I understand you correctly you pick a year (and 1980 would seem “nondescript” in that regard, hopefully eliminating biases) where you supply some unspecified conditions for that year (SST and regional temperatures probably, cloud cover maybe? Other things too presumably) and run the simulation using those conditions as input, stopping it every so often and calculating the radiative flux as a result of removing the LW absorbers in turn at that point in time.

    Do that for enough times during the simulation period and hopefully you average out all the effects to come to some sort of useful set of figures for each LW absorber.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong and please reinstate my boreholed post. There seems little reason for it to be there.

    Comment by TimTheToolMan — 16 Feb 2011 @ 5:55 AM

  144. Raymond Pierrehumbert: I love your page http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/papers/publist.html
    I read “A palette of climates for Gliese 581g” yesterday. Thanks much.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 16 Feb 2011 @ 6:23 AM

  145. ” If that was a misunderstanding, and you don’t want to be misunderstood, you ought to try being clearer about what you mean.”

    I see you’re about to release a paper on snowball earth. So for clarification and since if anyone knows its presumably you at this point, do we even have CO2 reconstructions back that far? Or is your paper entirely model based?

    Anyway this has gone way off topic and probably far enough for the moment.

    Comment by TimTheToolMan — 16 Feb 2011 @ 6:40 AM

  146. @David B. Benson: Following you off topic a little, re: Perelman and Poincare — first, a little typo: it’s the Clay Research Foundation, not \Cray.\ Second, I think the main lesson to draw from this (aside from it being an interesting story) is that very brilliant people are also sometimes eccentric, and this seems to be true in Perelman’s case. In particular, his research didn’t rely on the internet in any meaningful way — in an earlier era, he would have mailed copies of his paper to the community to announce his result instead of posting it on the internet, whence it would have been distributed further, with exactly the same effect. (In fact, it’s important to note that the paper was not accepted as correct until it underwent a peer review process of a sort, just not one housed in a standard journal.)

    Comment by JBL — 16 Feb 2011 @ 9:08 AM

  147. I’m back, for the moment. Thanks to Bob Sphaerica who was apparently the only one here who even noticed I had left.

    My paper for J. Clim. was turned down. Point to you, dhogaza.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 16 Feb 2011 @ 10:22 AM

  148. TtTM asks if there are paleo records for the snowball earth period?
    TtTM can find this by clicking on the link posted previously, it’s here

    TtTM, one answer to your question is right there–on the front page.

    Further for TtTM: watch “… with inline responses” links — right hand side.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Feb 2011 @ 10:54 AM

  149. Addendum to David B. Benson: but, probably, you didn’t need me to tell you any of that :)

    Comment by JBL — 16 Feb 2011 @ 11:40 AM

  150. Phil (#121),

    Yes, I left out the rain part. I was distinguishing in my mind ocean carbon dioxide and atmospheric carbon dioxide. Thus the adjective.

    This is part of a somewhat esoteric discussion of a moist greenhouse where continental weathering slows or stops owing to lack of precipitation but ocean weathering picks up owing to faster reaction rates at higher ocean temperature (and presumably higher acidity rapierre?). Raypierre gave an AGU talk on this that I have not been able to find yet. My question is does not sedimentation put an end to ocean weathering?

    Perhaps it would help to look at this from the perspective of silica. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Oceanic_Silicon_Cycle_Budget.svg

    In this figure from this paper: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/268/5209/375.abstract

    units are teramoles of silicon per year. As you can see, aeolian and riverine inputs dwarf ocean weathering inputs. As a rough mirror to the metal ion budget needed for the limestone sequestration thermostat, we would require ocean weathering to increase by a factor of 14 or so to keep up with volcanic inputs of carbon dioxide and more to mop up the oxidation of all available organic carbon (on the order of 30 teratonne of carbon http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/02/unforced-variations-feb-2011/comment-page-7/#comment-199914 )

    That the continents provide much more silica to this budget than the oceans despite the oceans covering more of the Earth’s surface is partly understandable in terms of the continents exposing much more fresh surface area to chemical weathering than the oceans. Much of the ocean floor is covered with sediment that is the end product of weathering. Currently silica becomes sediment through the sinking of diatoms but before these evolved, it precipitated out as an amorphous gel just in the regions where new surface is exposed to chemical weathering. Either way though, sediment or gel, the need to soak up much more carbon might well bury the very source rocks needed to provide metal ions in a precipitation constrained world regardless of accelerated reaction rates.

    In that case, the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere would grow rather than get cleaned up and the loss of the oceans to space through a damp stratosphere would become inevitable (modulo raypierre’s worry about clingy oxygen though we know there is quite a bit of oxidizable manganese, nickle and copper in the deep oceans to give a little relief).

    Raypierre (#111),

    Since Hansen has provided a detailed argument in support of his claim, I’d like to dig into it and see how robust it is. If it turns out to be robust, my experience with how we persuaded Senator Mitchell to support nuclear arms control suggests a path to persuading current politicians about controlling carbon dioxide emissions. At that time, church groups (which devote a portion of their thinking to the end of things) became persuaded that support of the arms race would lead inevitably to nuclear war owing to eventual error in the handling of the weapons or use of the warning systems etc…. That made it urgent to turn things around as a moral issue. It did not matter much when the accidental start of a nuclear war might occur, only that it must occur with a continued arms race. When a Senator has to attend meeting after meeting after meeting with all the church groups in his state, it wears him down. It has actually been good for him since he has gone on to bring peace to Ireland and is working on the Mideast now.

    If Hansen’s claim of a dead certainty is correct, then the same kind of urgency applies. It is not a matter of weighing mitigation against adaptation, it is a matter of changing direction. That is something that moral people are called to do now, not later. Once persuaded, churches are capable of changing the sign of the derivative, not just its magnitude. We’ve seen that with abolition, civil rights and nuclear freeze.

    So, it is both a matter of curiosity to try to follow Hansen’s arguments though in detail because the claim seems extraordinary and matter of long vocation to bring about positive change and the experience associated with that effort.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 16 Feb 2011 @ 11:41 AM

  151. TimTheToolMan: In science, there are right answers and wrong answers. There are no essay questions. There is no partial credit. So go to school.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 16 Feb 2011 @ 11:55 AM

  152. BPL, I noticed your absence. I posted a couple of links about the droughts in China and the Amazon that I thought might interest you in particular.

    It’s looking like things might get worse even faster than you expect.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 16 Feb 2011 @ 11:58 AM

  153. 147, Barton Paul Levenson: Thanks to Bob Sphaerica who was apparently the only one here who even noticed I had left.

    I didn’t want to pry: I was afraid that you might be sick or demoralized. Too bad about the paper, but you know what they say: Revise and resubmit.

    I for one am glad you are back.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 16 Feb 2011 @ 12:02 PM

  154. BPL: “My paper for J. Clim. was turned down.”

    So what now? Your paper is important. It needs to be quoted to Congress. It is hard to not be able to give them a copy. We need you as a witness. Is there anything I/we can do?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 16 Feb 2011 @ 12:02 PM

  155. TTTM:

    But regarding Lindzen, whichever way you look at it, he’s still a clever man and has his own views on things. I agree that without papers to back him, he’s on thin ice so to speak and certainly AGWers have parted ways with his beliefs on climate drivers but that shouldn’t stop us from understanding what those beliefs are and where he’s coming from with them.

    AGWers have parted ways? Ummm … you can forget about those who study the “A” in “AGW”. You can forget those who study the “GW” in “AGW’. You can forget about those who study any human impacts on the atmosphere whatsoever.

    You can simply concentrate on those who study nothing but snowball earth and other aspects of paleoclimate before humans and find an entire field of scientists who have “parted ways with Lindzen”.

    In other words, what Lindzen says makes no sense unless everything known about how atmospheric physics and climate *while imagining people have never existed or fossil fuels have been burned* is wrong.

    AGW doesn’t come into play … except perhaps denying its reality being the *motivation* behind Lindzen’s unsupportable claims of extremely low sensitivity of climate to CO2 changes.

    Comment by dhogaza — 16 Feb 2011 @ 12:09 PM

  156. BPL:

    I’m back, for the moment. Thanks to Bob Sphaerica who was apparently the only one here who even noticed I had left.

    My paper for J. Clim. was turned down. Point to you, dhogaza.

    Not sure what you mean by that, BPL, but I’ve been rooting for you to get your paper published by the best journal you can find that will accept it.

    Comment by dhogaza — 16 Feb 2011 @ 12:11 PM

  157. 140, raypierre, in comment: And Tim, I smell some concern trollism coming in there at the end.

    What is meant by “concern troll” and related phrases? I seem to be the last to know.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 16 Feb 2011 @ 12:17 PM

  158. BPL,

    of course we noticed your absence, but after Bob mentioned it there was little left to say.

    On a general note, after hanging out here for a few years and coming to appreciate many of the regulars (quirky, cranky lot that you are), I find it creepy when a familiar signature goes silent. One never knows: Walked away in a huff? Found true romance? In hospital? Or heaven forbid, pining for the fjords? Speculating about people’s absences in their absence is bad etiquette, aside from being off topic. So I shall not list the others I’m missing . I’m glad when you do show up again, though!

    Should I go silent myself, you may take it as good news I’m getting on top of my internet addiction.
    :)

    Comment by CM — 16 Feb 2011 @ 12:43 PM

  159. I agree with almost everything written in this article, BUT, this is not to say that the peer review process have OTHER limitations:

    The control systems developed by journals and university departments alike exert a confining if well-meaning hold on the jugular of scholarship, which threatens to strangle the development of new possibilities. (Morgan 1990:29)

    Morgan, G. (1990) Paradigm Diversity in Organizational Research, in Hassard, J. and Pym D. (eds) The Theory and Philosophy of Organizations, London: Routledge 13-29

    and this great article by Daft and Lewin

    Building theory on the basis of in-depth understanding of a few cases is different from the traditional theory-testing goal of statistical rigor, parsimony and generalizability. However, this type of research can provide the genesis for new theory that may spawn further research that uses traditional methods (Daft and Lewin 1990:6)

    Daft, R.L. and Lewin, A. (1990) Can Organization Studies Begin to Break Out of the Normal Science Straitjacket? An Editorial Essay, Organization Science 1, 1-9

    http://mitigatingapathy.blogspot.com/

    Comment by paul haynes — 16 Feb 2011 @ 12:51 PM

  160. 120, gavin in comment:The climate can be close enough to being in quasi-equilibrium for concepts like equilibrium sensitivity to hold. That means that for quite long time periods the planet can stay very close to radiative equilibrium – i.e. the Holocene (until recently), or the last glacial maximum.

    How is it known that the climate is in fact close enough to being in quasi-equilibrium for concepts like equilibrium sensitivity [to be useful]? I hope you don’t mind my paraphrase there. The Greenland ice core data make it appear that the Holocene has not been close to radiative equilibrium — pending a specification of “close”. The equilibrium effect of doubling CO2 concentration is estimated to be “close” to 1% of the recent mean global temperature, though estimates as low as below 0% and above 2.5% can’t be ruled out (per a previous comment by raypierre). How is it known that the assumption of quasi-equilibrium (or quasi-stationary or quasi-steady state) is accurate enough to support the claim of a 1% change in equilibrium temperature?

    This is a sceptical question, not a denialist question: I am not claiming that the assertion is false, I am questioning whether there is evidence to support it.

    [Response: There is variability in the Holocene, but it is very small compared to glacial times (Stage 3). Greenland is not the world and most of the other proxies for this time period are pretty static and often out of phase with greenland (see Wanner et al (2008)). But imagine that for 10,000 years there was a radiative imbalance of 0.1 W/m2 - that would correspond to a warming of the whole ocean by ~0.1*10000*365*24*3600/(3700*1000*4200)= 2 deg C - I think we would have noticed. So that constrains the net global imbalance to be in the hundredths of W/m2 range - easily small enough to not matter for the present-day forcing. - gavin]

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 16 Feb 2011 @ 12:58 PM

  161. Matthew – A Concern Troll is exactly as TTTm appears. Concerned that a contrarian isn’t getting a “fair hearing”.

    BPL – as CM indicates, the sudden disappearance of a dedicated frequent contributor can be unsettling, especially for others “of a certain age”. ;)

    Comment by flxible — 16 Feb 2011 @ 1:05 PM

  162. Dr. Pierrehumbert #141, thank you for the link. Fascinating.

    Comment by One Anonymous Bloke — 16 Feb 2011 @ 1:35 PM

  163. BPL. Your twitter feed was active – I figured you were busy.

    Comment by One Anonymous Bloke — 16 Feb 2011 @ 1:39 PM

  164. BPL: FWIW I noticed. Don’t give up

    SM @ 157

    “A concern troll is a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose actual point of view is opposed to the one that the user claims to hold. The concern troll posts in web forums devoted to its declared point of view and attempts to sway the group’s actions or opinions while claiming to share their goals, but with professed “concerns”. The goal is to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt within the group.”
    from Wikipedia

    Like Hank says, Google is your friend.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 16 Feb 2011 @ 1:56 PM

  165. Septic Matthew,
    A concern troll is one who poses as a likeminded soul on a blog, expressing sympathy, but then saying, “I’m concerned…”

    Tim the Tool Man is also tone trolling–criticizing the tone of a sentiment while ignoring the validity of the criticism.

    Given that Lindzen has made deliberately misleading arguments to lay audiences, I think we can simply say to Tim: Your concern is noted…

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Feb 2011 @ 2:23 PM

  166. Septic Matthew,
    Gavin’s empirical answer is pretty convincing. However, in thermo, the argument for assuming near equilibrium behavior is based on the law of large numbers–most of the phase space is near equilibrium. LTE is a very reasonable assumption.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Feb 2011 @ 2:42 PM

  167. 160, gavin

    Thank you.

    Matt

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 16 Feb 2011 @ 2:59 PM

  168. 165, Ray Ladbury: A concern troll is one who poses as a likeminded soul on a blog, expressing sympathy, but then saying, “I’m concerned…”

    This makes me about half of a concern troll. I am likeminded with a majority of posters about the potential seriousness of AGW, and the desirability of promoting alternative energies and reducing coal, but not all ideas; at the same time I am “concerned” (almost persuaded, actually) that your tone makes you your own worst enemies; that and the fact that your political allies seem to be mostly anti-development in general (John Holdren in his earlier writings?)

    I appreciate your impatience with some repeat posters (maybe including me), whom I mostly skip unless there is an illuminating comment in green. But I do think you’d help your case if you would skip comments about other people’s motives, honesty, and true natures. Even if someone becomes a pest (even if you think someone has become a serial liar), it’s best to simply address the technical points in dull language. At least, that’s what I think. You don’t have the luxury of skipping them, perhaps, but a simple “We addressed this already in #nnn above” is better than a speculation.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 16 Feb 2011 @ 3:23 PM

  169. @168 Septic Matthew…

    “Even if someone becomes a pest (even if you think someone has become a serial liar), it’s best to simply address the technical points in dull language.”

    I think one of the problems that all these scientists run into regarding that above suggestion (and the net that I’m going to cast must suredly catches me and a lot of other folks)…Is that they doubtless want to say “We’ve been over this” or “We just talked about this last week”, etc. etc.

    Given they all have ‘day jobs’ that involve a whole ton of other things than herding cats by way of blog posts and responses, they (and feel free to completely refute this if I’m not characterizing it properly) get tired of have having to repeat themselves, and combatting the same lines of arguments.

    But there’s always going to be more people that haven’t heard, more who are interested, and even more who haven’t been following along as closely (just like there will be folks who sieze a point made on one blog and rush to this one to get the retort–and back for the next volley).

    To create an analogy out of your words…Maintaining RC is going to end up being a lot like a trip through the coal mines…Obviously they do get to post new and interesting story topics at their discretion, but most of the time it’s the ‘manual labor’ of continuing to respond and educate and correct. In that confounding environment, it is probably tough to stay sane (and polite) all the time. But as for me, whenever I happen to come around to the site to see what’s going on, I’m glad that they’re often tackling some hot-button topic that has popped up in the blogosphere/media– even if it, to them, is for the thousandth time.

    Comment by Salamano — 16 Feb 2011 @ 3:52 PM

  170. Like Salamano says.

    Folks like me who try to respond to some of the boring stuff often will sound tedious or supercilious. At best we end up repeating pointers, reviewing how to use Google, suggesting searches, pointing to the FAQs, trying to get a clearer question or pull up an unvoiced assumption.

    If we guess someone’s level or background wrong they can feel insulted or belittled or talked down to. Or they can say aha-I’m-a-PhD/engineer-and-you’re-oversimplifying.

    There’s no way to know who’s asking– a gradeschooler who’s never thought about this stuff, or a practiced rebunker knowing the question’s been answered over and over, can read the same in ASCII.

    (Sometimes, we look and see the same userid did the same long chain of questions or assertions at other climate blogs and point that out)

    For nonscientists like me, who want this stuff understood, we have to rein in our impatience. Answering briefly from memory without cites is always a mistake. People can then go on “why” or “but what if” digressions. That kills discussion of the real science.

    The real scientists — names/links in the right sidebar — can give short answers because they know the material, and you know that their work is available to read, click the links.

    I do jump on some of the vehement ‘defenders’ here and in email. When the real climate scientists get irritated, it’s appropriate for them to draw lines. Notice how rarely they do. The rest of us should be so patient.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Feb 2011 @ 4:50 PM

  171. JBL @146 & @149 — Its good to have the matters explicitly stated.

    According to the book review, the name of the organization is Clay Mathematical Institute.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 16 Feb 2011 @ 5:53 PM

  172. paul Haynes: re peer review

    ”The control systems developed by journals and university departments alike exert a confining if well-meaning hold on the jugular of scholarship, which threatens to strangle the development of new possibilities. (Morgan 1990:29)”

    I don’t really believe that, at least in relation to evidence-based science. It’s an empty assertion without some evidence (what “control systems”?..the “development” of which “new possibilities” are being “strangled”?…etc.).

    And the article by Daft and Lewin (1990) is about Organization Science, and its focus isn’t that relevant to the physical sciences for which evidence is the bottom line.

    I’d like to see a clearer exposition with some evidence for the assertion that publishing practices are limiting the scope of developments in science. At least in the evidence-based physical science, any decently-written study whose interpretations are supported by methodologically-sound evidence will find a home in the scientific literature, and thus get its chance to make a mark. The bar is actually quite low, although most good scientists have standards of what they consider worth publishing, and tend to send goodish papers to goodish journals. I simply don’t believe that good ideas and analyses are not given an airing because of “control systems developed by journals…”. (I’m not discussing the “university departments” part of the assertion you pasted, since we’re talking about peer-review here).

    Are there any factors in contemporary science that actually or potentially limit the development and propagation of novel ideas and analyses? I think the following is more relevant:

    1. The growth of “big science”. There are lots of positives in “big science” (“the grand-scale application of technologies”). There’s no question that the human genome project is already having a huge influence on molecular medicine, evolutionary science, protein science, genomics, bioinformatics etc., and many advances in particle physics, and the testing of relevant theories depend on big science efforts like the large Hadron collider.

    But this does have the effect of assigning large proportions of research budgets down proscribed paths. Even outside of conventional big science, science in general has become much more collaborative (compare author and institute lists on papers published in the 1960-1970’s with papers published nowadays). Is there evidence that this has an adverse effect on the development of new ideas…I’m not sure, it might be argued that cross-fertilization of ideas through collaboration fosters novel approaches. There are ceertainly fewer examples of breakthroughs by lone scientists beavering away relatively unnoticed nowadays.

    2. The expansion of the scientific enterprise. In the situation where grant funding levels hover in the 10-20% (UK research councils at present) lots and lots of ideas don’t find their consummation in the lab! One would like to think it’s the truly novel and potentially ground-breaking work that reaches the top, but one feels that “safe science” is disproportionaly funded, and outside the schemes to promote the efforts of young scientists, the “Peter principle” is prevelant.

    Actually, one might argue that in climate science the field is sufficiently mature that truly novel ideas are of lesser importance for greater and more useful understanding than solid “grunt” expansion of the sets of empirical data. Some of this might arise from novel methodological insights, but I would suggest (from an outsider’s point of view) that what paleoclimatology needs, for example, is more highish resolution temperature proxy time series, extending further back in time and better representing the S hemisphere. We’d like satellites to accurately measure incoming and outgoing radiation to better determine TOA radiative imbalance, better sampling of ocean heat and so on. It’s great to develop novel approaches to measure very sparse Antarctic time-series temperature data, but what we’d really like is much more empirical data!

    Comment by chris — 16 Feb 2011 @ 6:07 PM

  173. @David B. Benson, well, isn’t it a well-known law of physics that anyone correcting someone else’s spelling on the internet will always make worse errors of their own? :)

    Comment by JBL — 16 Feb 2011 @ 6:16 PM

  174. Perhaps something like: http://arxiv.org/ ???

    After all, whats good enough for the Poincaré conjecture is good enough for climate science. =P

    http://arxiv.org/abs/math.DG/0211159

    Comment by E.L. — 16 Feb 2011 @ 6:45 PM

  175. ANYONE correcting someone else’s spelling on the internet will always make worse errors of HIS own.

    Comment by Snapple — 16 Feb 2011 @ 7:05 PM

  176. JBL @173 & Snapple @175 —

    :-)

    Comment by David B. Benson — 16 Feb 2011 @ 7:22 PM

  177. Tin Man,

    here are 61 estimates of climate sensitivity with full citations:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/ClimateSensitivity.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 16 Feb 2011 @ 7:27 PM

  178. 169, Salamano: I think one of the problems that all these scientists run into regarding that above suggestion (and the net that I’m going to cast must suredly catches me and a lot of other folks)…Is that they doubtless want to say “We’ve been over this” or “We just talked about this last week”, etc. etc

    I am very sympathetic to our moderators. That is why from time to time I try to remember to thank them for the time and energy that they invest here.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 16 Feb 2011 @ 7:33 PM

  179. Iso: Give him some credit, .5 deg C is in the ball park

    BPL: No, it is not. There’s no way it can be that low. With no feedbacks whatsoever, doubling CO2 gives you +1.2K. There’s no way on God’s green Earth it could be less than that. Literally.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 16 Feb 2011 @ 7:43 PM

  180. Salamano 133,

    Google “Clausius-Clapeyron relation” and play with the output at different levels of temperature. The majority of Earth’s greenhouse effect comes from water vapor and carbon dioxide. Nitrogen, oxygen and argon are irrelevant because they don’t react much with infrared light.

    When the temperature drops because you remove CO2, there’s less water vapor in the air as well. Remove the CO2 altogether, and you also lose the water vapor. And the glaciers advance to the equator.

    [Response: Bart, great to see you back! Illegitmum non carborundum. --raypierre]

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 16 Feb 2011 @ 7:48 PM

  181. Tin 140: Also CO2 levels (according to the Wiki FWIW) have our current levels as low as they’ve ever been

    BPL:
    Our current levels: 390 ppmv
    Preindustrial: 280 ppmv
    Depth of an ice age: 180 ppmv

    Your statement is wrong, and if you got it from Wiki, Wiki is wrong.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 16 Feb 2011 @ 7:54 PM

  182. dhogaza 156,

    I’m sorry, I may have had you confused with Didactylos. It’s been a while.

    Thanks for the support, guys, I appreciate it. For the record, I am both sick AND demoralized at the moment. We have the science right, but the bad guys are going to win. Actually, they pretty much won in 2010.

    [Response: Making the most noise and spewing the most nonsense and stupidity does not constitute winning anything. Never has and never will. Demoralization is sometimes the painful price of caring--Jim]

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 16 Feb 2011 @ 7:58 PM

  183. Septic Matthew says, “…at the same time I am “concerned” (almost persuaded, actually) that your tone makes you your own worst enemies; that and the fact that your political allies seem to be mostly anti-development in general (John Holdren in his earlier writings?)”

    Well, technically, that makes you a tone troll–one who pays more attention to the “tone” of the message than to its content. And I am sorry, but anyone who thinks that they can, with 30 minutes study, understand the planet’s climate better than professionals who have been studying climate for 30 years is an fool. If your reason for disregarding the truth is ideological, then you are an ideologically blinkered fool. And if you reject the truth because the person who spoke it to you is a big meanie, then you are a pathetic fool.

    And if the majority of humans are pathetic fools, then our species doesn’t have or deserve much of a future.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Feb 2011 @ 9:03 PM

  184. I’ve searched high and low on the internet for background information and CV’s on the major players in the O’Donnell/Steig debate and can’t find any information on Ryan O’Donnell other than he lives in Mattawan! I find plenty on other Ryan O’Donnells including a computer scientist who I thought initially was the man.
    Does anyone have his CV or can point to a site? I’m just always curious about people’s backgrounds, educational experience, other publications, etc. and I’m completely flummoxed at the lack of data I’m experiencing!
    Much obliged.

    Comment by RandomM — 16 Feb 2011 @ 9:31 PM

  185. Demoralization is sometimes the painful price of caring–Jim]

    Oh, great, so the choices are immorality and demoralization?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Feb 2011 @ 9:45 PM

  186. > I’ve searched high and low on the internet …
    > he lives in Mattawan!

    Picking up the telephone and asking him, or asking him in one of the blogs where he often posts, would be straightforward. First hand is often best.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Feb 2011 @ 10:35 PM

  187. “Even if someone becomes a pest (even if you think someone has become a serial liar), it’s best to simply address the technical points in dull language.” And bludgeon them to death with links to some reasonably authoritative source other than blogs – which is where I come in. (My wife and I were once publicly accused of “lobbying the Town Board with facts” in a letter to the local paper. Facts!? Can you believe it? Actual FACTS!?)

    “My question is does not sedimentation put an end to ocean weathering? ” Chris Dudley — 16 Feb 2011 @ 11:41 AM

    Not as long as we have ocean ridge spreading centers erupting fresh hot metal silicates (in Mid Ocean Ridge basalt)

    “It is estimated that a volume of sea water equivalent to that contained within the entire global ocean is circulated through the upper oceanic crust on a timescale of ∼10^5 years [1]. This seawater slowly percolates through the crust (average residence time is 2700 years), reacts with the basaltic rock, transports nutrients and heat, and eventually discharges back into the deep ocean—primarily at low-temperature (less than 20 ◦C) vents and hydrothermal seeps…”
    http://www.nwra.com/resumes/pruis/pruis_dissertation_2004.pdf

    “Pervasive hydrothermal alteration, mainly in an open circulation regime (D’Antonio and Kristensen, 2004), has affected both the pillow and sheet lavas and the hyaloclastite breccia cored at Site 1201, although with decreasing intensity downhole”
    “The phenocrysts and microphenocrysts mainly consist of altered plagioclase,” [~ 40-80% anorthite, the calcium endmember of plagioclase feldspar.]
    http://www.earth-prints.org/bitstream/2122/615/1/DAntonio%20Ma.pdf “DATA REPORT: ELECTRON MICROPROBE INVESTIGATION OF PRIMARY MINERALS IN BASALTS FROM THE WEST PHILIPPINE SEA BASIN (OCEAN DRILLING PROGRAM LEG 195, SITE 1201)”

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 16 Feb 2011 @ 10:57 PM

  188. Ray Ladbury #185 Despair’s only reward: http://ken_ashford.typepad.com/.a/6a00d834515b2069e201053605c23c970c-800wi

    After denial comes anger, the world is going to be sorely tested. If we give in to fatalism we will only fuel the anger. Pull yourself together man!

    Comment by One Anonymous Bloke — 16 Feb 2011 @ 11:08 PM

  189. 183, Ray Ladbury: And I am sorry, but anyone who thinks that they can, with 30 minutes study, understand the planet’s climate better than professionals who have been studying climate for 30 years is an fool.

    Luckily, someone who thinks he can, with 30 minutes study, understand the planet’s climate better than professionals who have been studying climate for 30 years (paraphrase) does not refer to anyone we know.

    But I came across another statistical reference you might like (to go with the others I provided on stationary time series [for the equivalence of autoregressive representations and Fourier representations] and non-stationary, non-linear vector autoregressive processes): S. G. Coles, (author) An Introduction to the Statistical Modeling of Extreme Values , 2001, Springer. Paraphrasing the quote above, if you are going to make computations based on extreme values, you might want to study the subject for a while. Bayesian inference is all well and good, but nothing is more important than providing and assessing accurate likelihood functions, and showing that they are accurate.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 16 Feb 2011 @ 11:37 PM

  190. Ryan O’Donnell’s potted CV is at dotearth, just above the comments.

    Comment by P. Lewis — 17 Feb 2011 @ 5:38 AM

  191. dhogaza 156,

    I’m sorry, I may have had you confused with Didactylos. It’s been a while.

    Thanks for the support, guys, I appreciate it. For the record, I am both sick AND demoralized at the moment. We have the science right, but the bad guys are going to win. Actually, they pretty much won in 2010.

    [Response: Making the most noise and spewing the most nonsense and stupidity does not constitute winning anything. Never has and never will. Demoralization is sometimes the painful price of caring--Jim]

    ______________________________________________

    Good vs. bad? Caring vs. not? Evil vs. good science? Are people supposed to feel bad for you?

    I think a first step towards winning would be to face actual criticisms of uncertainties and modelling methods. Not by ad hominems or ridicule, but in a respectful manner. If people, the public, are skeptical of your work, calling them idiots who are anti-science just alienates the public further. By doing this you are not being “good” or “caring”, but arrogant, rude and stupid.

    Other branches of science does not have an IPCC who divides science into good and bad. Max Weber is turning over in his grave over this. The public does not care if “you care” or are such “good people”. People want the facts and the truth and that always takes grappeling with uncertainties and criticisms.

    [Response: Sure, but it's still not easy to have something you put a lot of work into, like BPL has, get rejected. We're not robots you know.--Jim]

    To prove my point further, I’ll probably be boreholed for this even if I’m not a “denier”.

    Comment by Magnus — 17 Feb 2011 @ 5:41 AM

  192. The moronic is upon us in Australia, too; Cory Benardi, a senator from South Australia, has placed a “request” for audit of the BOM (Bureau of Meteorology) and CSIRO (Commonwealth Science, Industry, and Research Organisation). What about? Well, something to do with adjustments and exaggerations (Benardi et al) of Australia’s land temperature data, etc. Naturally they are just concerned citizens. The term “witchhunt” comes readily to mind.

    More to the point, this is part of a well coordinated campaign to keep the lid on the climate science conclusions, and where that isn’t possible, to whiteant the science by placing question marks upon the the input data from which the conclusions are derived.

    The saddest part is that a few of the cosignatories/authors of the petition to the ANAO (Australian National Audit Office) are directly using the various fictiods that they have popularised, indeed created, in the past. If they don’t get BOM, they hope to get CSIRO. If they get BOM, they can then use that as a plank for attacking CSIRO work by claiming that the BOM data is essential input data to the CSIRO conclusions.

    The situation is dire when science can be assailed by senators with an ideological axe to grind. This makes me very cross.

    Comment by Donald Oats — 17 Feb 2011 @ 6:51 AM

  193. 175, Snapple,

    ANYONE correcting someone else’s spelling on the internet will always make worse errors of HIS own.

    Ummm…

    Anyone correcting someone else’s grammar on the Internet will aways make worse errors of his (or just as properly “their“, or if you want to be very formal “his or her“) own.

    Wikipedia on Their versus His
    WSU on Their/His
    And another reference
    And yet another reference

    Do I win the prize for most OT comment of the month? Please don’t Bore Hole me!!!! No, wait, stop… aaaaaargh!!!

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 17 Feb 2011 @ 7:55 AM

  194. 177, BPL,

    Could you add a column to that page you supplied on climate sensitivity studies and estimates, identifying the general type of study (“Historical Proxy”, “Current Physical Observation”, “Modeled Result”, etc.) and maybe another for another column for the next level of basic detail (“Ice Cores”, “Lake Sediments”, “GCM”, “CGCM”, “Current Cloud Observations”, etc.).

    This is coming up more and more, and a page like that would be great one-stop-shopping as a reference answer. The denial argument is “the models are wrong and untrustworthy and rigged” and the response (as you’ve pointed out) is “yeah, but there are a lot of them, and lots of other arguments, and they almost all point to 3C or higher… are they all coincidentally wrong in the same direction by the same degree?”

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 17 Feb 2011 @ 8:05 AM

  195. “Other branches of science does not have an IPCC who divides science into good and bad”

    What nonsense.. The IPCC presents a summary of the scientific information during the period of perusal and puts this in the context of theoretical and empirical knowledge. It doesn’t “divide science into good and bad”.

    That’s not to say that there isn’t a small amount of “bad science” in the climate science literature. We (scientists and competent “laypersons”) would be derelict in our duty to scientific standards and honest dissemination of information if we didn’t robustly highlight scientifically-deficient analyses.

    We could make a (short) list of the rubbish papers since these can be rather objectively identified as “bad science”. I’m sure you could come up with one or two of these..

    Comment by chris — 17 Feb 2011 @ 8:31 AM

  196. BPL: I’m 100% sure you took some of my earlier criticisms the wrong way. It is perhaps my fear that you may be close to right that makes me want to examine your claims in depth, and push hard against the weak spots.

    The recent discussion of peer review should give you hope. Science isn’t easy. Keep at it; start right from the beginning again if you have to. Starting with a preconceived answer is fatal.

    Comment by Didactylos — 17 Feb 2011 @ 9:07 AM

  197. Some insightful “blog science” by Nick Stokes is up at his website. He ran an emulation of the Steig’09 algorithm, and presents an image of Antarctica’s warming with 3 principal components retained. This largely matches Steig’09′s finding. He then repeats the analysis with 4 through 7 PCs retained.

    This is a nice “bridge” between Steig’09 and O’Donnell’10.

    Comment by AMac — 17 Feb 2011 @ 9:14 AM

  198. Brian (#197),

    Thanks for those links. I suppose that would correspond to the 0.2 teramole per year of silicon from hydrothermal vent activity in the figure I linked http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Oceanic_Silicon_Cycle_Budget.svg Presumably that vent activity contributes little to the limestone thermostat presently.

    One would not expect that to change or be terribly sensitive to the ocean temperature which I think is what raypierre was getting at.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 17 Feb 2011 @ 10:44 AM

  199. [edit - too far]

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 17 Feb 2011 @ 11:07 AM

  200. May I try again?

    BPL wrote: \… the bad guys are going to win. Actually, they pretty much won in 2010.\

    Jim replied: \Making the most noise and spewing the most nonsense and stupidity does not constitute winning anything.\

    Electing numerous members of Congress who will seek to oppose and obstruct any legislative or regulatory action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and will seek to undermine climate research with budget cuts, and will seek to harass climate scientists with unwarranted investigations, is certainly viewed as \winning\ by some.

    [Response: Yeah no kidding Animist. Do you think I'm not aware of that reality? I was just trying to encourage Barton a bit when he's down. IS THAT OK WITH YOU? SHOULD I ASK YOUR PERMISSION NEXT TIME?--Jim]

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 17 Feb 2011 @ 12:08 PM

  201. 160, gavin in comment: There is variability in the Holocene, but it is very small compared to glacial times (Stage 3). Greenland is not the world and most of the other proxies for this time period are pretty static and often out of phase with greenland (see Wanner et al (2008)).

    What you have provided is evidence for spatio-temporal structure in the oscillations, of the sort commonly found in dissipative non-linear systems; for reference, Kondepudi and Prigogine, chapters 18 and (esp.) 19. That is not evidence for staionarity. The Greenland ice core data show peaks and troughs, with interpeak intervals of about 1,000 years; equally importantly, the peaks show a declining trend, indicative (if not evidence) of a slight imbalance in insolation with a sign opposite what you hypothesized. With the number of cycles observed in the Holocene, it’s impossible to judge the issue of stationarity with confidence (unless you have a large prior for stationarity), but the evidence to date makes it look more non-stationary than stationary.

    Should the hypothesis of stationarity have a high prior probability? I learned of the Digital Orrery in a book by Ruelle. According to some accurate simulations, the revolutions of the planets (including Earth) about the sun are never periodic. The effect on Earth climate of the evolution of the revolutions (sorry, couldn’t resist) could be slight, but the result discredits the assumption of stationarity.

    Of the extant models, which do you think is likely, on present evidence, to make the most accurate predictions for the future? If I had to bet, which as a voter I pretty much have to, I’d bet on the average (you have heard of Bayesian model averaging, probably) of the models of Latif and Tsonis. I might bet on the average of 5 models (including Hansen, 1988 or a recent update if there is one that Hansen likes best), with most probability assigned to the models of Latif and Tsonis.

    [Response: Tsonis doesn't have a model in the GCM sense. The analysis he and Swanson did used the standard IPCC AR4 simulations. The Latif model is, I presume, what they published in Keenlyside et al? But here you are confusing a configuration (initiallised decadal predictions vs. free-running coupled models) with the model itself (which can be run in multiple different ways). The Keenlyside et al predictions have been way off so far, and are likely to stay so, therefore I'm not clear why you would want to weight them heavily. - gavin]

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 17 Feb 2011 @ 12:25 PM

  202. 201, gavin in comment: The Keenlyside et al predictions have been way off so far, and are likely to stay so, therefore I’m not clear why you would want to weight them heavily

    Thank you for the reply. You are right. I got a little ahead of myself; I need to examine their predictions more closely, on an annual basis. I mean to weight them proportionally to the inverse of the accumulated mean square error, by year, beginning with the the year 2011 for model predictions made before 2010. As time goes by, the most accurate models should dominate the predictions.

    The alternative is to start with some priors on the models, and to compute the posterior probabilities annually from the observed likelihoods, and then to make the prediction from a weighted mean with the posterior probabilities of the models. Bayesian model averaging is seldom accompanied by a really convincing exposition of how to select the prior weights.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 17 Feb 2011 @ 2:22 PM

  203. Bob (Sphaerica) @193 —

    :-)

    Comment by David B. Benson — 17 Feb 2011 @ 6:35 PM

  204. “…the bad guys are going to win.”

    They may think they’re winning, and may indeed win a few political battles, but they are fighting the wrong foe – science.

    Reality will win the war. The main question is who, and how many, are casualties along the way.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 17 Feb 2011 @ 6:50 PM

  205. Bob 194,

    That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll see what I can do, but it might take me a while.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 17 Feb 2011 @ 7:39 PM

  206. Two blogs diverged in a warming world
    And sorry I could not reconcile both
    And be one blogger, with Italian flag unfurled,
    I looked down one to where it quarreled
    With the gravity of warming and CO2 growth…

    The Blog Not Taken

    Comment by Horatio Algeranon — 22 Feb 2011 @ 9:09 AM

  207. Horatio,

    I just read the whole thing–ROFLMAO!!! I love it. My English-major wife got it at the first line. Good show.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 22 Feb 2011 @ 5:25 PM

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Close this window.

0.673 Powered by WordPress