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  1. Thanks for this discussion. Full text of the letter can be found here:

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/resource-2592-2008.07.pdf

    1. IPCC already showed a very similar comparison as Pielke does, but including uncertainty ranges.

    RESPONSE: Indeed, and including the uncertainty ranges would not change my conclusion that:

    “Temperature observations fall at
    the low end of the 1990 IPCC forecast range
    and the high end of the 2001 range. Similarly,
    the 1990 best estimate sea level rise projection
    overstated the resulting increase, whereas the
    2001 projection understated that rise.”

    2. If a model-data comparison is done, it has to account for the uncertainty ranges – both in the data (that was Lesson 1 re noisy data) and in the model (that’s Lesson 2).

    RESPONSE: I did not do a “model-data comparison”. One should be done, though, I agree.

    3. One should not mix up a scenario with a forecast – I cannot easily compare a scenario for the effects of greenhouse gases alone with observed data, because I cannot easily isolate the effect of the greenhouse gases in these data, given that other forcings are also at play in the real world.

    RESPONSE: Indeed. However, I made no claims about attribution, so this is not really relevant to my letter.

    Thanks again, and I’ll be happy to follow the discussion.

    Comment by Roger Pielke, Jr. — 10 Apr 2008 @ 1:08 PM

  2. I’m glad to see someone write about these points. There appears to be – this is not a comment on Pielke’s letter specifically – some real misunderstanding about how the modelling part of the IPCC assessments happens. Many critiques of the IPCC results read as if there is either one or one set of climate models that are run by the lead authors of the IPCC. The letter to Geosciences, though written by someone very familiar with the IPCC process, is troubling because it employs language as well as analysis that which suggests, intentionally or not, that the IPCC only created one future projection. Again, intentional or not, the language diminishes the IPCC effort from a broad, comprehensive international review and assessment to a singular piece of research conducted by an individual body of scientists.

    Comment by Simon D — 10 Apr 2008 @ 1:22 PM

  3. Some observations.

    Isn’t this a case of the more scenarios you have, the more likely you are to get one that is correct, purely by chance?

    Doing a quick count on the number of points within each prediction and the error bounds, compared to the number of points outside the error bounds, and none of the predictions have been particularly good.

    Comment by Nick — 10 Apr 2008 @ 1:39 PM

  4. So the little black dots on the IPCC are the points that Pielke connects, but Pielke leaves out the trend line?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Apr 2008 @ 1:44 PM

  5. It seems like the data from 2008 is not included in the observed data – how comes?

    [Response: That's easy. This is annual data, and 2008 isn't done yet. - gavin]

    Comment by Knut Witberg — 10 Apr 2008 @ 2:10 PM

  6. I thought meterorite showers would add to the warming.

    Comment by Dave Blair — 10 Apr 2008 @ 2:40 PM

  7. The only reason that I can imagine why the Nature editors would have published this is that they simply didn’t know that IPCC had published virtually the same analysis (well, better) a year earlier. There is nothing new at all in this letter. Are these letters peer-reviewed at Nature Geoscience? How could this have slipped through?

    Comment by Matthew Brunker — 10 Apr 2008 @ 2:57 PM

  8. I wonder what is going on at Nature? First the embarrassing Pielke-flop at the start of their new climate blog last year, now this right at the start of their new geoscience journal. Are they doing this deliberately, to get PR through RealClimate?

    Comment by Vera Gyles — 10 Apr 2008 @ 3:31 PM

  9. Perish the though that anyone should question you great gurus.

    Seriously though – I am not a climate scientist, I have an electrical engineering degree and have worked in the IT industry for over 20 years, including in a university environment.

    Given the arrogance I have seen over the years coming from Universities, and which I am afraid I see regularly on this blog only tends to confirm the mild, but increasing scepticism I have developed towards Climate Change – aka global warming.

    I say this particularly in reference to (7) above.

    Comment by joc — 10 Apr 2008 @ 3:55 PM

  10. Chuckle. And Scientific American’s blog just published Milloy’s fear-the-fluorescent press release debunked by Pharyngula long ago, as news. It’s an election year. Support your local coal company ….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Apr 2008 @ 4:37 PM

  11. Re #3: Some observations.

    Isn’t this a case of the more scenarios you have, the more likely you are to get one that is correct, purely by chance?

    Doing a quick count on the number of points within each prediction and the error bounds, compared to the number of points outside the error bounds, and none of the predictions have been particularly good.

    To some extent, that’s true. But it depends on the directions of the trend lines as to whether or not the result is purely chance or, well, better guessing than purely chance ;)

    What bothers me about people who rebut IPCC projections / models / forecasts / educated guesses (pick one, depending on your own personal ideology …) is that they do not provide charts / graphs / projections from their own pet theories. Reading articles such as this do not make me feel particularly warm and fuzzy about climate trends, but gee, it would be nice if people who are inclined towards such things at least provided solar aa-index data on top of their latest kvetching about the IPCC. How hard can be it to drop this graph on top of the recent global temperature trend and see which fits better — the “the more scenarios you have, the more likely you are to get one that is correct, purely by chance?” collection of scenarios (etc) or ones own pet theory?

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 10 Apr 2008 @ 4:44 PM

  12. Just wondering, does anyone know if in that Hansen 2006 paper where he compares his 1988 projections to observations, is uncertainty displayed or refered to? I can’t seem to find the paper anywhere in pubs.giss.nasa.gov but do recall a graph showing Scenarios A, B, C but no uncertainty range.

    Comment by John Cook — 10 Apr 2008 @ 6:05 PM

  13. Joc #9, I suggest that the primary source of your skepticism is the fact that you are ignorant of the science. No shame in that. You were never trained as a scientist, just as I am not trained in IT (and so would not presume to question you on a matter of IT). Ignorance is 100% curable. Willful ignorance is mortal.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Apr 2008 @ 8:04 PM

  14. Re 9

    Well, as another engineer, I am embarrassed that you have decided to be skeptical about global warming because you do not like the attitude of climate scientists. Good grief! Where on earth did you get your engineering training?

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 10 Apr 2008 @ 8:57 PM

  15. In my (sigular) experience, a Correspondence is sent to the authors whose work is commented on to see if any differences can be resolved and if not, and Nature wants to publish, the affected authors can respond. It is important to recognize that these are not Letters and are less formal. Roger, was this your experience? I recall a post saying that model runs are being collected in a database now. I would think that this covers Roger’s point 1) and I would think that the place for comparision with other work would be directly in the peer reviewed literature rather than in the IPCC report which surveys what is available. There are different scenarios (projections) from assessment to assessment because different liturature is surveyed as time progresses. So, Roger’s point 2) is really up to the diligence of the student. The latest report certainly highlights areas where work has advanced.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 10 Apr 2008 @ 9:09 PM

  16. Through observation, electrical engineers seem to have the highest sceptical element of any discipline I’ve seen to date, to the point of militancy. I don’t understand it.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 10 Apr 2008 @ 9:17 PM

  17. I’m an electrical engineer and have accepted the reality of AGW for many many years. Our trade magazine, IEEE Spectrum, published an extensive article about AGW around 1999 (although they certainly caught a bit of flak over it).

    Recognize that many electrical engineers populate the power companies and some may have a built-in bias. One of my professors in school also worked for the local Edison and announced to our class, that PCBs were “no more dangerous than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” On a related note, the Atlantic Monthly just ran an article of why so many suicidal terrorists are also educated as engineers.

    Anyway, I’m just thankful that I work in a multi-disciplinary environment with scientists, engineers, and others, where everyone is expected to contribute and work together. I also happen believe the health threat of PCB contamination is real, and am decidedly not a terrorist.

    Comment by The Wonderer — 10 Apr 2008 @ 10:17 PM

  18. Be careful,

    “However, a model predicting g = 9.84+-0.01 would be falsified by the observation.”

    Assuming the error distribution in the model would be gaussian, what you mean is that there would be roughly only 1 chance in 300 that the model would be right. Now if your model had predicted the gravity in let’s say 3000 points, then it would necessarily have found such errors in 10 of those points. If not, there would be something wrong with your error estimates.

    In fact, one way to check if researchers have not “massaged” their data is to check for this kind of stuff. For example, when a straight line fit is presented only about 68% of the points should have error bars touching the best fit.

    Comment by Filipe — 10 Apr 2008 @ 11:04 PM

  19. Can we please not go into the engineer thing again – I am extremely unimpressed by anecdotes that seem no better than “we had a cold winter here, so AGW is false.”

    If someone has actually done a proper survey of AGW-scepticism by highest degree, current jobs, ages, etc, and controlled for population sizes, ages, etc … then please point at it.

    [Not an EE].

    Comment by John Mashey — 10 Apr 2008 @ 11:20 PM

  20. Re 3:

    Doing a quick count on the number of points within each prediction and the error bounds, compared to the number of points outside the error bounds, and none of the predictions have been particularly good.

    It seems to me that the ‘predictions’, even with error bounds, must be represent a smoothed trend line– the noise, year to year, is pretty substantial; the error bounds seem to represent, not year to year variability, but a range of underlying trends that a smoothed trend line, over some reasonable period of time, would be expected to follow. But then I’m just a philosopher…corrections/explanations would be welcome.

    [Response: Correct. The spread of the data points is interannual variability (see our Lesson 1 for more); it has nothing to do with the uncertainty range of the future scenarios (which applies to the long-term trend, not individual years). -stefan]

    Comment by Bryson Brown — 11 Apr 2008 @ 12:28 AM

  21. Last night I prepared my next Nature publication! I took one of my favorite graphs from the IPCC report, simplified it a bit for the Nature readership, and off we go. I will let you know how it fares.

    Comment by Frank — 11 Apr 2008 @ 12:43 AM

  22. joc said in #9:

    Given the arrogance I have seen over the years coming from Universities, and which I am afraid I see regularly on this blog only tends to confirm the mild, but increasing scepticism I have developed towards Climate Change – aka global warming.

    How does arrogance or any other personal attitudinal trait on anyone’s part affect the scientific evidence for global warming due to increasing atmospheric concentrations of IR-excitable gases like CO2? Or the evidence tying that increase to fossil fuel use, production of cement and other human activities?

    Dismissing real evidence as a reaction to real or perceived arrogance is not worthy of the name skepticism.

    Comment by Meltwater — 11 Apr 2008 @ 6:09 AM

  23. joc says:

    I am not a climate scientist, I have an electrical engineering degree

    I saw that coming.

    and have worked in the IT industry for over 20 years, including in a university environment.

    Given the arrogance I have seen over the years coming from Universities, and which I am afraid I see regularly on this blog only tends to confirm the mild, but increasing scepticism I have developed towards Climate Change – aka global warming.

    So you decide whether scientific theories are true or not based on the demeanor or conduct of those holding the theory, rather than based on whether the evidence points that way or not?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Apr 2008 @ 7:44 AM

  24. #22 – It might not be the scientific ideal, but judging what people say on the basis of how they act is a well-established part of “human nature”.

    If you want to do anything other than occupy the moral high ground you have to accept and work with this knowledge by treating people with respect and the benefit of the doubt. One of the things that happens a bit too much on the internet is that the extremes of each debate shout past each other and the people in the middle just ignore it.

    Comment by Timothy — 11 Apr 2008 @ 7:45 AM

  25. Re. #20, good point. I wonder if we could apply bootstrap or similar methods to the ensemble forecasts, and thereby put some uncertainty bounds/confidence intervals in the graphs to distinguish between the confidence in the mean trend lines, and confidence in the noise affecting the trends from one year to the next. Probably seems a bit counter-intuitive, but you can have a confidence interval around a confidence interval (hope that makes sense).

    Comment by Nick O. — 11 Apr 2008 @ 8:13 AM

  26. Re:22 Meltwater’s comment:
    “How does arrogance or any other personal attitudinal trait on anyone’s part affect the scientific evidence for global warming due to increasing atmospheric concentrations of IR-excitable gases like CO2? Or the evidence tying that increase to fossil fuel use, production of cement and other human activities?

    “Dismissing real evidence as a reaction to real or perceived arrogance is not worthy of the name skepticism.”

    Amen. Attitudes won’t change the fact that the Earth has already warmed about 0.7C over the past century and mostly in the last few decades, and the warming has been accelerating. Attitudes won’t change the fact that glaciers and sea ice have been diminishing and that Greenland glaciers and Arctic sea ice in particular are losing ice more rapidly than predicted only a few years ago. It’s about data and evidence, not attitude.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 11 Apr 2008 @ 9:26 AM

  27. I am also an electrical engineer. I recognize “skeptism” as always healthy where scientific conclusions are concerned, just as they are in engineering. What is clearly not healthy are the nuts who conclude, based on a few years data, that global warming is fictional (careful – your political agenda might be showing). Clearly, if one only looked at temperature data from 1998 until 2007, one could be easily misled into thinking that the world’s climate is not getting warmer. Even 1990 to 2007 is a very short time frame on which to base conclusions. One could go back to the 1930s warm period and also decide that global warming is fictional. However, they ignore much other data than year-to-year temperature readings, and they ignore basic physics (carbon dioxide affects solar radiation how?). Glaciers recede, and atmospheric carbon dioxide and sea level continue their long upward trend. Biological observations continue to suggest changing climate. We can argue over the extent to which human activity is the cause of all this – we don’t actually know with a high level of accuracy how much human activity is affecting climate. However, simple logic says that we do affect climate – how could we not? This, also, is basic physics, and basic logic. Skeptism is healthy, drawing conclusions based on political ideology is not.

    Comment by Gene Hawkridge — 11 Apr 2008 @ 10:38 AM

  28. “A scenario only illustrates the climatic effect of the specified forcing – this is why it is called a scenario, not a forecast.”

    I think this is the crux of the matter for me. Even dealing soley with climate change and all its ramifications, we’re missing the holistic picture. There are all the other environmental problems, including, those caused by the very actions that cause GW (e.g. burning fossil fuels). And there are non-environmental problems, as well. Many of these are interrelated or interactive.

    To be fair there are also good things happening (innovations, new determinations followed by effective actions to “do good,” etc), but it seems with all the negative consequences (for humans and other living things), an honest forecast bringining in everything conceivalbe would probably be much much worse than a climate change scenario…..

    Many of the various impacts might not be additive (or substractive), but multiplicative. For example, if smoking increases lung cancer risk, say, 5 times, and work exposure to asbestos, say, 10 times, then a smoker exposed to asbestos might have not a 15 times greater risk, but a 50 times greater risk.

    So if we can imagine a total earth-human system (including solar input and other extra terrestial impacts), then climate change itself might be considered a “forcing” on a very sensitive system that wreaks extreme havoc, whereas CC alone would have only caused considerable harm.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 11 Apr 2008 @ 11:19 AM

  29. I agree that uncertainty must be stated.

    However if the uncertainty is of the same order as the signal in the forecast (scenario if you will) then the meaning of the forecast is pretty much nil. Which is unfortunately the case with double CO2 scenario/forecast.

    Comment by Sashka — 11 Apr 2008 @ 12:06 PM

  30. Dear RC,

    I can’t seem to get into the body of this article, but I can get to see the comments. Would this be a problem your end or mine?

    Many thanks.

    Regards

    Abi

    [Response: Click on the title of the post, or on the "(more...)" link. - gavin]

    Comment by Abi — 11 Apr 2008 @ 12:52 PM

  31. I can’t stop thinking about the question of whether Pielke would have known that IPCC had published the same kind of analysis already. If he did – would he really have tried to sell this to Nature as new information? But if he didn’t – how could he have overlooked the very first graph in the IPCC report? It beats me.

    Comment by Matthew Brunker — 11 Apr 2008 @ 1:22 PM

  32. re #3 and #11
    “Isn’t this a case of the more scenarios you have, the more likely you are to get one that is correct, purely by chance?”

    No. Each scenario starts with a set of assumptions and results in an outcome. When evaluating scenarios for accuracy you pick the one where the assumptions match what happened and then see if the outcome matches. You don’t find a scenario where the outcome matches observations and say “we were right”. You find the scenario where the assumptions are closest to observations, and then see if the outcome matches.

    For example, Scenarios may start with assumptions on how much CO2 man will dump in the environment each year, how many volcanoes will blow up, etc…. To verify the model, you take the scenario where the amount of CO2 dumped, volcanic activity, etc… is closest to observations.

    Comment by kevin — 11 Apr 2008 @ 2:00 PM

  33. Thanks, Gavin. I already tried both your suggestions, with no luck. I’m a regular visitor to your site and I’ve never had this problem. The links in the post work, but not the “more…” or the title ones. I’ll assume the problem is with my equipment.

    Thanks
    Abi

    Comment by Abi — 11 Apr 2008 @ 2:02 PM

  34. Climate Science has published a weblog “Real Climate’s Agreement That The IPCC Multi-Decadal Projections Are Actually Sensitivity Model Runs” [http://climatesci.org/2008/04/11/real-climates-agreement-that-the-ipcc-multi-decadal-projections-are-actually-sensitivity-model-runs/] on one aspect of this posting from Real Climate.

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 11 Apr 2008 @ 2:48 PM

  35. Regarding the “arrogance” discussion – Laypeople don’t have the time or education to evaluate scientific claims based on the scientific data, especially in a field as complex as climate science. We have to rely on the judgment and expertise of scientists who attempt to explain complex analyses in simplified ways we can understand. Therefore it is essential for laypeople to judge the character and motivations of a scientist making a claim, in order to establish in their mind whether this person is a trustworthy authority. When someone making a claim displays arrogance, or an unwillingness to objectively consider or respond to criticism (especially by other scientists), a layperson might reasonably consider this as an indication that the scientist is not being objective, whether or not other consider that to be true.

    If a goal of realclimate is to inform laypeople of issues in climate science, then arrogance in this forum will only appeal to its most unquestioning adherents while driving away those who prefer to keep an open mind about a complex and dynamic field. Skepticism is a requirement of scientific thought, and should be applied to claims made by both sides.

    Comment by Tim B — 11 Apr 2008 @ 3:44 PM

  36. Incidentally, Roger Pielke Jr. was lead author of a recent Nature (Nature period, not Nature Geoscience) article on IPCC underestimation of technological challenges. It seems like a good piece of work from what I’m able to read about it in Science Daily.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080402131140.htm

    I’d be very interested if the RC crew had any thoughts about this one. I haven’t heard of anyone else focusing on imminent technical problems in this manner.

    Comment by Daniel C. Goodwin — 11 Apr 2008 @ 3:52 PM

  37. RE the IPCC, my sense is that even with various scenarios and confidence intervals it might be underestimating CC. That’s just a gut feeling, plus I heard some scientist who contributed to the IPCC and was aware of the process and politics make that claim (but I can’t remember where I heard or read that). The point made was something to the effect that the underlying science was good, but that government officials ratcheted the reports down and diluted them (perhaps he was only talking about the summaries).

    But there are 2 other points. The one I made above, about all the other problems. While the IPCC’s purview is only climate change and all its specific ramifications, and cannot be held at fault for not addressing ALL problems besetting us, the problem is that people looking at the report might forget or not keep in mind all those other problems. (It’s the same criticism I give future planners who fail to take climate change and its effects into consideration.)

    The other point is that so far, it seems to me that the progression of assessment reports and climate science studies in general seems to keep indicating “it’s worse than we thought.” That’s not only from better, more sophisticated models, but from new evidence and data, new variables (or the new ability to include them in calculations), new approaches, and new theoretical insights coming in. I know we aren’t going into a permanent runaway scenario, but I’m wondering when (ten years, 100, 1000, 100,000 years from now?) we’ll start getting reports indicating “it’s better than we thought.”

    So maybe Pielke is correct — scientists might not be giving us accurate scenarios. They might be underestimating the problem. Maybe the actuality lies above the confidence intervals or error bars. I suppose we could wait and find out…..Or here’s an idea, why don’t we reduce our GHGs down to nearly nil and just call it quits on this experiment (assuming we haven’t already pushed it past the tipping point).

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 11 Apr 2008 @ 3:52 PM

  38. Re Abi @ 33: Try deleting your cookies.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 11 Apr 2008 @ 4:00 PM

  39. RE: 37 “I’m wondering when we’ll start getting reports indicating “it’s better than we thought.”

    I haven’t seen it, but I heard a director of “The 11th Hour” reiterating the theme of the film: In nature, there is no waste. Throughout natural systems, what’s waste for one creature is nourishment for another… with the obvious exception of Homo sapiens.

    To reply to your question, I would expect things to start improving some decades or centuries after the point where we acknowledge that the underlying assumptions of industrial civilization are deeply flawed. We haven’t yet suffered enough to grasp the necessity of such a fundamental turnaround in consciousness, most probably.

    Comment by Daniel C. Goodwin — 11 Apr 2008 @ 4:42 PM

  40. Here is another new study that the current CO2 based models don’t fit historical temperatures.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080410140531.htm

    [Response: i) GCMs are not 'CO2 based' - hypotheses for climate change might or might not be, ii) the Eocene is not historical (it is pre-historical), iii) this is an interesting paper since it uses a little more imagination than usual. - gavin]

    Comment by Dave Blair — 11 Apr 2008 @ 5:01 PM

  41. Daniel C. Goodwin (36) — See Climate Progress, linked under the Other Opinions section of the sidebar, for critically negative commentary on that Nature article by the blog owner, Dr. Joseph Romm.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Apr 2008 @ 5:08 PM

  42. There’s also a new effort by Roger Pielke Jr. to claim that there is “opposition to adaptation to climate change.” In this case, if “adaptation” means “governments should do nothing”, then yes, there is opposition. If we define “Adaptation to climate change” as ending the use of fossil fuels and quickly building renewable energy infrastructure, then yes, there is opposition – from established fossil fuel interests, mostly. Thus, regardless of how you define “adaptation”, Roger Pielke Jr. is correct on that one.

    As far as his letter goes, any realistic examination of predictions and observations made by climate scientists would have to consider a far longer time period – for predictions, a good beginning would be the period shown here: 1990-2100. For observations, the choice would be the period from 1860-present.

    There are some valid criticisms of the IPCC process, however. It would be more useful if they projected atmospheric composition scenarios directly, rather than use such fuzzy concepts as “high technology adaptation” or “low population growth” in their scenarios. Also, the future doesn’t end 100 years from now, does it? How about a 250-year forecast, instead? Finally, they’re only now starting to try and make carbon-cycle forecasts.

    I don’t know why Nature would publish such a letter, but then I don’t know why Nature would so openly promote a bogus concept like “clean coal”:
    Putting the carbon back: The hundred billion tonne challenge, Aug 2006

    Coal-to-gas: part of a low-emissions future? Feb 2008, Nature

    Liquid fuel synthesis: Making it up as you go along, Dec 2006

    Coal-fired power plant to bury issue of emissions, Mar 2003, Nature

    Carbon storage deep down under, July 2007

    All those stories promote the idea that sequestration of all the carbon produced by the combustion of coal is a plausible notion. They use qualifiers, but if you read them they all have the same rosy tone about what is an extremely implausible plan, on both scientific and economic grounds.

    To their credit, Nature has covered the fact that the current funding for renewable energy is miserably low, and is being sabotaged by a push to fund clean coal technology: Nature Jobs: Renewable-energy funds threatened, 2001.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 11 Apr 2008 @ 5:26 PM

  43. > maybe Pielke is correct — scientists might not be giving us
    > accurate scenarios

    Scenarios aren’t, by definition, “accurate” — definition:

    “A plausible description of how the future may develop, based on a coherent and internally consistent set of assumptions about key relationships and driving forces (eg, rate of technology changes, prices). Note that scenarios are neither predictions nor forecasts.”

    http://www.gcrio.org/ipcc/techrepI/appendixe.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Apr 2008 @ 5:52 PM

  44. Matthew Brunker, I agree that scepticism is essential to science, but skepticism does not consist of rejecting the evidence. To simply reject evidence and clothe it in the guise of scienctific objectivity is affront to the scientific method and all those who care about it.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Apr 2008 @ 5:53 PM

  45. John Cook,
    Here is the 2006 paper, and
    here is the updated graph, which you can find at gistemp bottom of the page.
    And, of course, here is the original 1988 paper.

    Comment by Ellis — 11 Apr 2008 @ 6:09 PM

  46. Re #32:

    My comment about whether or not the scenarios was “pure chance” was not to say that they are “pure chance”, but that when someone presents a number of forecasts it becomes more difficult to determine if the forecast was “correct” or a “lucky guess”.

    While my position on climate change is based on the economics of creating the environmental disaster needed to reach some value, such as 450ppm, I must confess that the climate changes in response to SC24 and the trend in the solar aa-index may (or may not) change my thoughts about AGW. Which is to say, I fall into the camp called “We better stop emitted CO2 or we else all go broke.” If that prevents global warming, great. But CO2 sequestration is, in my opinion, a long term economic disaster, even if it somehow saves the whales in the process.

    Comment by FurryCatherder — 11 Apr 2008 @ 7:03 PM

  47. The temperature data over the past several decades look to most people like an upward trend leavened by statistical fluctuation. Not everyone is convinced of course, but I wonder if graphing dew point temperatures would show something more definite? It seems that humidity should rise with more evaporation in a warming world. I don’t see much about that in casual perusal of presentation and argument about GW. I wish I could find charts showing dew points over the years, does anyone have data or links or references to same?

    Comment by Neil B. — 11 Apr 2008 @ 8:27 PM

  48. So if I understand things correctly, the IPCC “scenarios” show a range of global temperature values due to the uncertainties of future forcings. And then Pielke treated these uncertainties as model uncertainties; i.e. the variance one would expect in multiple runs of a model that employed some stochastic equations. Is this correct? If so, then Pielke is seeing trends (older models predicted temps that were too high and newer models predicted temps that were too low) where they don’t exist. Am I totally out to lunch? Or are Nature’s editors?

    Comment by Andrew — 11 Apr 2008 @ 10:29 PM

  49. On my blog, I published a fairly lengthy rebuttal of a piece in The Australian and had several fairly robust, impolite responses from anonymous denialist (or several of similar attitude). For those who don’t like the attitude they think they are seeing here, look at the responses to my article.

    One of the allegations in comments on the article was that none of the models have any predictive power, and all the “refinements” are at best attempts at retrofitting as new data is available. To test this claim, I took a few examples from Hansen’s 1988 paper, and found that while the fit was not exact the temperature trend was within the error bars of subsequent measurement and the temperature distribution map while out a fair amount was not totally wrong. In other words, if you had used the 1988 paper to predict the next 20 years, you would not have been far out on the temperature trend, though you would not have done so well if e.g. you had based long-term agriculture policy or anything else where you needed to know the exact location of the warming on the paper. Not bad, I thought for an early study with some significant simplifications.

    I didn’t think this piece of work was particularly innovative or complete, but found it useful to do it myself rather than rely on someone else, who may have had vested interests to protect. In view of the revelations here, should I reformat it in Nature‘s style and offer it for publication? :)

    PS: I sent the following letter to The Australian and they didn’t publish it:

    Your new form of journalistic parody in which you get a person to read a web site in an area in which they are not qualified, then pose as an expert, is very amusing.

    However, you have pretty much exhausted the options in climate science, and the articles are starting to get repetitious. May I suggest a few new areas to try? An economist could write an excellent piece on gravitation waves. A political science graduate’s undertstanding of the physics of quantum computing would be exciting. I’m also keen to see a sports reporter’s take on junk DNA.

    I hope these ideas will be of use; I look forward to further examples of the genre.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 11 Apr 2008 @ 11:59 PM

  50. With regard to post #35, I am a lay person who comes to RealClimate looking for an understanding of the issues, not authoritative pronouncements from experts. It may be true that I will never understand the science in all its intricacies. But since this is something that may have profound effects on my later years and particularly on the lives of my children, reading RealClimate represents my decision to make the effort to understand as far as I am able. I sympathize with the feeling that we just don’t have time to learn everything that we need to know in order to make wise choices at the polls and in our communities. Our difficulty is not helped by the committed shallowness of our media. I have found the information presented on this site to be of sufficient value to overlook the human foibles of the people presenting it. (In fairness to the authors of the site, I think they do a very good job.) Those who feel abraded by personalities or unsympathetic discourse and as a consequence cannot absorb the lessons available here, are the poorer for it. A polite request for moderation in tone is never amiss. On the other hand, we who seek bear the greater responsibility both for remaining polite and for making the effort to extract the information which the site’s owners have no obligation to provide.

    Comment by Jamie — 12 Apr 2008 @ 12:31 AM

  51. Re #37 where Lynn Vincentnathan Says:

    “RE the IPCC, my sense is that even with various scenarios and confidence intervals it might be underestimating CC. That’s just a gut feeling, …”

    Your gut feeling was confirmed only three posts later in #40 where Dave Blair Says:

    “Here is another new study that the current CO2 based models don’t fit historical temperatures.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080410140531.htm

    The study by Lee Kump and David Pollard is into why the models are under estimating the warmth during the Eocene and the Cretaceous. It follows that they will underestimate the warming caused by anthropogenic CO2 as well.

    Lynn, you also wrote “I know we aren’t going into a permanent runaway scenario, …”

    But there is not such thing as a permanent runaway in a finite universe. Eventually the runaway will end. It is generally believed than on Venus the runaway ended when all the carbon had been converted to CO2. An alternative proposal is that it ended when the surface became so hot that it melted, producing clouds of sulphur dioxide which reflect much of the sunlight away.

    If the later is the case, then on Earth a runaway would end when the oceans become warm enough to produce enough water clouds to reflect away the sunlight arriving here, and so re-establish a global energy balance. That is what happens during abrupt climate change. The energy balance is disrupted by the sudden loss of the albedo from sea ice. The temperature then runs away until the climate system produces enough clouds to compensate for that loss of albedo.

    So, you are correct. We don’t need to worry about the Earth becoming as hot as Venus, only as hot as during the PETM when there was a minor mass extinction http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleocene-Eocene_Thermal_Maximum

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 12 Apr 2008 @ 6:00 AM

  52. Re #42, Adapting to climate change or mitigating it will change over as the world warms and timelines become more and more constrained to fend off its impact.

    At the moment we have no post kyoto agreement, no laws in place and not real global mandate for everyone who releases significant amounts of GHG to do there bit to the levels necessary to impact AGW. If you look around you will seee various opinions from both engineers, scientists, environmental groups, politicians and esteemed agents of doom as to what to do about it.

    No single technology for each sector, transport, electricity and heating/cooling is currently in the frame to replace fossil fuels burning as at present they do not exist and are in the R&D/Prototyping stage and time to market is not known and hence mass consumption/uptae of a magnitide to impacr GHG emissions is not known at the present time. If something really concrete does not appear and has not started to impact GH emissions then we are looking more and more at adaption rather than mitigation.

    At the present time we hear of several conflicting technologies that will worsen GHG emissions that are already in production due to the power that fossil fuels have over us. These include, GTL/CTL, Heavy oils, Super critical gas/IGCC coal and the like. These technologies worsen GHG emissions and are either in production or will be soon.

    Technologies working to mitigate GHG emissions are all over the place at the present time and the ones that have been backed smell of desperation including Biofuel from corn and destroying rain forest to plant up palm oil etc. This is a bad idea. Therefore we await second generation algae or switch grass biofuels to assist in mitigating high oil prices on the existing infrastructure but only aglae based fuels can actually yield the amounts of oil necessary to grow th global economy whilst at the same time preserving global food stocks.

    Nuclear power, CCS coal, Wind, wave, solar, solar thermal, photo voltaic, we are going to need them all but no one knows quite sure just how. Can our current infrastructure cope with it all for one.

    Its a bit of a mess to be fair. Coherence is required and it aint coming until 2012 is it and not guarantees even then.

    Comment by pete best — 12 Apr 2008 @ 6:06 AM

  53. Somehow the “arrogance” discussion strand was triggered by my comment #7 (see #9 referring to it), so I should better come clean that I am not a climatologist, I work in a completely different field of science – before you blame the wrong group. But what actually did you find arrogant about my comment? I just know how hard it is to get into Nature, you usually have to have something really new and interesting. Given that Pielke’s letter contains apparently nothing that was not already said in the IPCC report, I was wondering why Nature published it, and the best explanation I can see so far is that they just didn’t know about the IPCC graph and accompanying text.

    Comment by Matthew Brunker — 12 Apr 2008 @ 6:15 AM

  54. Given the arrogance I have seen over the years coming from Universities, and which I am afraid I see regularly on this blog only tends to confirm the mild, but increasing scepticism I have developed towards Climate Change – aka global warming.#9

    This comment reminds me of a great presentation at the AGU 2006 fall meeting regarding communicating about GW. One part of the presentation (I forgot the name of the author, apologies to him ;-) ) was illustrating the ‘bad way’ to present the case. It was illustrated by a video regarding the evolution vs intelligent design ‘debate’. The video was a fictitious debate between a proponent of each ‘side’. The pro-ID proponent was exposing calmly and kindly his arguments. The more he was using pseudo-scientific evidences, the more the pro-evolution scientist was getting agitated, trying to rectify the inaccuracies, getting more and more upset, he was boiling to the point of explosion. He ended up insulting his opponent. Needless to say who ‘won’ the debate with a test panel who watched the video, and this totally independently of the quality and scientific accuracy of the various arguments exposed. Then a video of a real debate was shown … though the attitude of the two proponents was not as extreme as in the act, similarities were striking.

    Coming back to the post to which you reacted to: where do you see arrogance in the statement that a study that has already been done, moreover with a more exhaustive analysis, probably should have not been published by Nature?

    Comment by Manu D — 12 Apr 2008 @ 8:31 AM

  55. I found the link to this page on http://climatedebatedaily.com/ It’s currently at the top of the pro, I also read latest con. I found it rather amusing.

    I am an EE with 4 decades of work about how electromagnetic radiation and matter interact. I have spent thousands of hours trying to understand how CO2 has some property that allows for the storage of the trillions and trillions of BTU required to globally warm the earth. I have concluded that if e=MC^2, then CO2 driving climate temperatures is a hoax.

    This goes a some way in confirming I am correct.
    http://www.nbr.co.nz/home/column_article.asp?id=21153&cid=39&cname=NBR

    Has the lead author of the IPCC chapter on feedback has written to Spencer agreeing that he is right as written…..

    From the con at climate debate daily….

    ” This has struck the alarmists like a thunderbolt, especially as the lead author of the IPCC chapter on feedback has written to Spencer agreeing that he is right!”

    Comment by tom watson — 12 Apr 2008 @ 9:04 AM

  56. Roger has posted again though not to respond to questions. Again, I reiterate that this a Correspondence, not a Letter and thus may not have been peer reviewed. The guide for authors which shows the difference is here: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/pdf/guide_to_authors.pdf

    If the IPCC feels that their work has been misrepresented they can reply. Given the discrepencies in the figures shown here, this may well be the case. Should the reply not be (automatically) accepted, then critisism of the editors would seem to be well founded.

    The original Real Climate article should be corrected to use the proper term: Correspondence not Letter. This is the basis for critisism of the lack of originality of Roger’s work, but originality is not a requirement for a Correspondence.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 12 Apr 2008 @ 9:55 AM

  57. Stefan’s article, Tamino’s web site and #26

    According to Lawrence Brown (#26) “the warming has been accelerating”

    But, according to Tamino’s* later articles (but not his comment here on an earlier thread) there is a substantial correlation between successive yearly residuals (difference between the data and the least squares linear fit to it). The effect is to widen the error bars considerably and make it very hard to detect any non-linearity in the observations. This leads me to the following questions:

    1. Is there and significant evidence from the temperature data (on its own) that global warming is accelerating? If I understand Tamino (after a brief glance ), you might as well assume a zero value. That would also rule out all the recent suggestions about global warming having slowed or ceased (which crept into BBC2′s Newsnight last week).

    2. If that is the case , could some of the discussion be simplified, the observed results since 1975 could be summarised by a single number i.e the rate of warming say + error estimates representing the noise. Likewise the trend in the observational evidence would consist of only three parallel straight lines (as displayed by Tamino). The smoothed black line in Stefan’s fig.1.1, which is not straight, would therefore still contain too much insignificant noise to be very useful.

    3. What does the theory (i.e. the models) have to say about estimates of the acceleration?

    4. Tamino estimates that we may have to wait till 2015 before being able to detect that “global warming since 2000 has stopped” . Is it agreed that positively accelerated warming might not show up until then ? or is this long wait unecessary if we start with 1975 instead of 2000?

    (Tamino is a statistician).

    [Response: Answering all this properly would need a scientific paper, but here is what I can say in five minutes. As we argued in "Lesson 1", you need something around 15-year averaging to determine a robust trend given the interannual "noise" in the data. If you want to see whether the trend is changing (accelerating), you'd need to look at a much longer interval still. IPCC has done something like that in Figure TS6 on page 37 of the technical summary. This graph shows that warming has progressively accelerated, i.e. over the last 25 years warming was faster than over the past 50 years, etc.. Trend over the past:
    25 years = 0.18
    50 years = 0.13
    100 years = 0.07
    150 years = 0.05
    (all in degrees C per decade, more digits and error bars are given in the link). -stefan]

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 12 Apr 2008 @ 10:37 AM

  58. Re # 55 tom watson

    So, despite your education and work experience in your field, you rely on The National Business Review for scientific information? I hope you had higher standards when seeking information related to your job.

    Comment by Chuck Booth — 12 Apr 2008 @ 10:59 AM

  59. Tom Watson #55:

    I am an EE with 4 decades of work about how
    electromagnetic radiation and matter interact. I
    have spent thousands of hours trying to understand
    how CO2 has some property that allows for the
    storage of the trillions and trillions of BTU
    required to globally warm the earth.

    It would have been better use of your time to first figure out that CO2 has a property affecting the transport of heat rather than its storage :-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 12 Apr 2008 @ 11:41 AM

  60. > the lead author of the IPCC chapter

    Says who?
    Which author?
    Which chapter?
    Which IPCC report?

    Show me a more recent source than this one for that statement:

    Publication Date: June 1, 2001
    Publisher: The Heartland Institute

    The Third Assessment Report (TAR) of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), expected to be released sometime in 2001, is already coming under heavy criticism from various directions. But none has been more devastating than the one delivered on March 1 by one of the report’s lead authors.
    [Lindzen]
    ———————

    Please check your calendar.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Apr 2008 @ 11:59 AM

  61. > Correspondence …. not a Letter

    Good point. Has anyone asked the Editors there how they reviewed this? Quoting from the link Chris provides:

    “Correspondence provides readers with a forum for comment on papers published in a previous issue of the journal or to discuss issues relevant to the geosciences. … Titles for correspondence are supplied by the editors.
    In cases where a correspondence is critical of a previous research paper, the authors of the criticized paper are given the opportunity to publish a brief reply. Criticism of opinions or other secondary matter does not involve an automatic right of reply.
    Refutations are always peer reviewed. Other types of Correspondence may be peer-reviewed at the editors’ discretion.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Apr 2008 @ 12:16 PM

  62. Jamie (50) wrote “It may be true that I will never understand the science in all its intricacies.” Probably not. Nobody understands earth’s climate in all its intricacies.

    tom watson (55) — A better use of your time is to explaore and read the following links:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    Comment by David B. Benson — 12 Apr 2008 @ 1:10 PM

  63. #9 Joc

    “but increasing scepticism I have developed towards Climate Change – aka global warming.”

    Well Joc, you’re in good company! Only 130 countries out of 130 agreed unanimously and signed on paper in 2007-2008 that “it is unambigious that the Earth is warming” and that it is “highly likely that humans are causing it.”

    Included are the oil countries of Saudi Arabia and Venuzuela (that stand to lose big time) as well as Australia, the USA, europe, Russia, China, etc, etc, etc.

    Further, “With the July 2007 release of the revised statement by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, no remaining scientific body of national or international standing is known to reject the basic findings of human influence on recent climate.”
    Wikipedia 2008

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

    So I am impressed Joc, that you disagree! I am talking to a real expert here!

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 12 Apr 2008 @ 1:24 PM

  64. [not sure if this posted correctly the first time - if so please ignore this copy]

    I have decided to post under my full name rather than just joc.

    My apologies for the delay in responding to some of the comments on my possibly intemperate remark #9 earlier. Thank you to those who responded considerately to it and particularly Matthew Brunker (#53) in detailing exactly what he meant in #7. The sarcasm in #63 is best ignored – 130 out 130 countries agree – by that do you mean political leaders signing a document. There are many things leaders do that don’t have the full backing of their countries……

    Right now I have a fairly busy day job + family and other commitments, hence the delay in replying. I am unable to peruse and comment while at work for various reasons (not least that I am paid to work at IT, not browse).

    I should clarify first – my scepticism is more to the alarmism that is raised regarding the potential effects of climate change rather than climate change itself. It is obvious that the climate is changing, and always has. I don’t have a huge problem either with the proposition that man has a significant effect.

    However, I do have issues with the magnitude of the effect, and also how we deal with it – preferring to concentrate on adaption and wise development etc., rather than an outright drive to reduce carbon emissions. That is not to say pollution reduction is important – that itself is crucial to make our environment liveable in. It also makes a lot sense to reduce our energy consumption for a lot of other reasons. For example, we have changed some our energy practices at home (e.g. use of low-energy light-bulbs at key locations in the house) to reduce our electricity bill – simply because our energy bill was way too high.

    However (and I think this is one of Lomborg’s main views), I think it makes far more sense to invest wisely and strategically in our future by trying to avoid catastrophes and loss of life. This to me, means not building in flood plains and also taking note of why the loss of life in countries in Bangladesh is so much greater in the face of floods rather than in say New Orleans. It is facile to simply blame this on global warming and not to look into the development and infrastructure issues. Likewise, there was a lot of silly hysteria in England last year over the floods – maybe it was due to climate change (though a recent report seems to deny this). What was obvious though (and has been for some time) was that floods do occur from time to time there, and it is plain daft to continue building on flood plains and covering the run-off areas with concrete and ashphalt.

    I also have issues those to try and label everyone who is sceptical as being either a denialist, or somehow or other connected with “Big Oil”. This does not help your argument, or any campaign related to it. I’m not connected and never have been connected with big oil or power companies. In fact the company I work for stands has bought into carbon trading in a big way and possibly stands to make a lot of money out of it.

    Although I trained in EE, I haven’t actually worked for it, though I retain a strong interest in it (e.g. I am an IEEE member, and would agree that “Spectrum” does give a very good case for AGW and various mitigating technologies). There have incidentally being some very interesting essays on the effectiveness of the whole peer review process in it’s sister publication “Computer” in the last year or two, that would go against Gavin’s apparent “faith” in it.

    I agree to a point with Ray Ladbury (#13) regarding ignorance, but I would also note that sometimes you (RC and other “scientists”) have a habit of making “science” sound like a High Priesthood, that unless you are admitted to it, you don’t have a clue, and therefore, your argument can’t be taken seriously. Ok – as I noted earlier – my initial comment was a bit inflammatory too – I hope it won’t be taken as simply trolling.

    Meltwater (#22) and BPL (#23) are correct – scepticism based on a reaction to people isn’t very logical. However, I do have a problem with L Brown (#26), and the whole “acceleration” of warming. The reality here is that we have been doing “real” temperature measurements over a relatively short period of time – an astonishingly short period of time. The remainder of the measurements are by using proxies (e.g. ice cores). Even Gavin has admitted recently that the proxy analysis keeps throwing up surprises. I have no doubt that the calibration of the proxy data in comparison to the “real” current measurements are improving, but I still have my doubts about it.

    I also have a lot of doubts about how much we should depend and believe in computer models to help us evaluate future climates. This is based on the practical realities of the complexity of programming. My specialty is Release and Configuration Management – a constant battle to ensure that very bright and able developers actually deliver reliable software to a demanding production environment. It is also based on the little matter of the actual stability of the atmosphere and the daily demonstrated inability of the current Met Office systems to predict the actual weather beyond 3-5 days. OK – I know that this is weather, not climate, as RC, but “climate” is an equally complex and chaotic system.

    Finally, as regards “arrogance in Universities” – it has been my personal experience that while there have been some wonderful academics – I was privileged to study under two in particular – there is also a lot of self-serving arrogance. Unfortunately this also does come across sometimes in some of the articles here and some of the put-downs. It is always worthwhile to remember that a little courtesy can go a very long way in convincing someone. Manu D (#54) makes this point very well.

    I could write a lot more, and would like to, but other work beckons.

    Comment by John OConnor (aka joc) — 12 Apr 2008 @ 3:55 PM

  65. John OConnor (aka joc) (64) — Here are two links to explore and read as time allows:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    and here is a graph of global temperatures since 1850 CE:

    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/t3v.jpg

    While reading (and noticing the temperature has risen noticably for the past 50 years or so), keep in mind that agriculture depends upon the remarkably steady climate of the Holocene. Since we are rapidly headed out of that optimum temperature and precipitation pattern range, there is quite a serious danger that we will leave agriculture behind…

    Comment by David B. Benson — 12 Apr 2008 @ 5:19 PM

  66. In comment #42, Ike Solem refers to the term “clean coal”. Sounds like the PR people in the coal industry are earning their keep. Coal contains sulfur,and mercury,can contaminate surface and groundwater resources through acid mine drainage, and can cause black lung disease to name a few of its drawbacks. The term clean coal is an oxymoron(no offense to anyone :) ).No matter how you slice it(or sequester its burned biproducts) coal is very dirty.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 12 Apr 2008 @ 5:55 PM

  67. Re: #57 (Geoff Wexler)

    The temperature time series since 1975 don’t support acceleration of global warming. They’re consistent with a constant warming rate plus “red noise” (bearing in mind that “noise” can include physical processes which are essentially unpredictable, like volcanic eruptions and el Nino).

    But while there’s no statistical reason to deny a strictly linear warming, the physical likelihood of a strictly linear progression is vanishingly small. The true signal is almost certainly nonlinear, but the data so far don’t enable us to confirm or quantify its nonliner behavior. A straight line is perfectly consistent with the data, but the thick black “smoothed” line shown by Stefan is also perfectly consistent with the data. We simply don’t yet have enough data to discriminate between these plausible alternatives.

    On my website I addressed a comparison between the alternative hypotheses of “continued warming at an unchanged rate” and “global warming stopped in 2001″ (which seems to have superceded its predecessor, “global warming stopped in 1998″). There’s no reason to believe that global warming stopped in 2001, any more than there’s valid reason to believe that global warming stopped last Thursday. But the data since 2001 are so sparse, and the time span so short, that of course it can’t be disproved statistically. In my opinion, it’s foolish of the statistically ignorant, and unethical of the statistically savvy, to exploit the naivete of the common person with such a claim. It’s rooted in the fact that most people have no real idea of the unavoidability of noise, or its likely effect. I also posted about what conditions would disprove this claim statistically; by 2015 that will probably have happened, but it depends on the data.

    Comment by tamino — 12 Apr 2008 @ 6:14 PM

  68. re #64

    I think it is both important to try to be both rigorous and non-rigorous on different occasions and to know the difference.

    We should thank our lucky stars that the most alarming papers are rather controversial, otherwise we might become too depressed especially as there is political paralysis.
    But there is a difference between arguing that the climate sensitivity (GW caused by doubling of CO2) is unlikely to be as high as 6 degs.C and to ignoring that possibility altogether. I think that the debate about this kind of issue is one of the most important of all. The stronger the argument against this kind of estimate the better provided the arguments are valid. In so far as 6 degs. remains a reasonable but unlikely possibility I think it should certainly not be ignored. Would an engineer be allowed to design a bridge or a nuclear reactor on the basis of a complete disregard of low probability outcomes? (The USSR did it with their nuclear reactors and according to a colleague of Gorbachov it may have contributed to the downfall of communism).

    Finally I note that you raised a similar topic to that of my previous comment i.e. the acceleration of warming. But my views are quite different from yours in the following ways:

    1. I don’t agree about the need to invoke ice cores. That may be an academic problem of interest to the professionals but it involves much longer time scales and no human influence. The question I asked has nothing to do with the physics and just refers to the statistical analysis of the recent data. It may well be possible to isolate the acceleration, if not yet, then soon because of the accumulation of more data.

    2. Even if the observed acceleration turned out to be effectively zero ‘now’, it may well rise later depending on the emissions scenario or the onset of new positive feedbacks.

    3. The only good result would be the onset of negative acceleration. A continuation of the linear trend of about 2 degs/century would still be of extreme concern.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 12 Apr 2008 @ 7:05 PM

  69. I am an electrical engineer too !
    I work in research on solar thermal energy systems.

    The control systems knowledge that being an electrical engineer gives me, makes me very worried about GW.

    We have a control system with seemingly slow responses (governmental, society, mob psychology), being asked to control the worlds climate system which apparently has nonlinearities, and quite a fast response in comparison to that of the control system.
    Add to that a delay of the order of 10 years between observed consequences (melting warming etc) and emissions, and you have yourself a system that any student of control systems will tell you is most likely to go unstable.

    Given this basic information I am surprised that electrical engineers (the field most associated with control systems) aren’t jumping up and down about GW more than anybody else.

    Alex

    Comment by Alex Burton — 12 Apr 2008 @ 7:19 PM

  70. I know that some work has been done modeling changes in oceanic acidity as carbon emissions increase. I’ve never seen a comparison of these models with those of temperature changes. Presumably they are simpler or have much more ‘certainty’ associated with them. I imagine that changes in acidity would be relatively monotonic (if that term can be applied) in it’s relationship to atmospheric CO2.

    I mention this for two reasons. First, with relevance to the current thread, I’m curious to learn about how tight the relation is (over time) between atmospheric CO2 measures and ocean acidity. Second, since the negative effect on the oceans of increasing acidity is (?) uncontroversial, why does there seem to be so much more focus on temperature? Is it because it’s so obvious or bland that the media don’t pick up on it and nobody (of any occupation) denies it? Or is it because the science of this issue is relatively young?

    Comment by Steve Latham — 12 Apr 2008 @ 7:54 PM

  71. Re Tom Watson @ 55

    Tom, as others have pointed out, CO2 does not absorb heat and store it, very quickly it either radiates that energy back out in any direction as new IR photons, and those photons in turn strike and excite other greenhouse gas molecules, or it transfers the energy to other gas molecules–IR inert gas or greenhouse gas–as kinetic energy through collision. Either way, the energy remains active in the atmosphere for longer than it otherwise would before reaching space, thus warming the entire atmosphere, not just CO2.

    In addition, it’s not just CO2 that is at work here. Ordinary water vapour is also a greenhouse gas, as is methane, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and a number of lesser trace gasses. Water vapour is many times more abundant than CO2 and thus has a much greater capacity to intercept IR photons, but unlike with CO2, human activity does not add more water vapour to the atmosphere because of relative humidity–it will just condense and precipitate out. The only way to add more water vapour is to increase temperature, which will happen as increasing CO2 continues to add more warmth to the atmosphere. In fact, this is already happening at the poles, where the current warming is highest, and polar air is now able to hold more water vapour, thus acting as a feedback adding even more warming.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 12 Apr 2008 @ 9:35 PM

  72. # Chuck Booth Says:
    12 April 2008 at 10:59 AM

    Re # 55 tom watson

    So, despite your education and work experience in your field, you rely on The National Business Review for scientific information? I hope you had higher standards when seeking information related to your job.

    tom watson replies; Well Chuck, One’s standards are simply a function of one’s methods. I read first, I think about it. I determine if the writer is using logic and sense. I don’t assume any person because of their education or background is to be disregarded because of some phony idea of my own self genius. I also reported how I came to read that article. I also asked, is this true. http://climatedebatedaily.com

    # Martin Vermeer Says: 12 April 2008 at 11:41 AM

    to Tom Watson #55:

    It would have been better use of your time to first figure out that CO2 has a property affecting the transport of heat rather than its storage :-)

    tom watson replies: I find it interesting that you made that statement. I believe it is a silly miss-interpretation of the point of my original post.
    And in that you don’t seem to know how to be specific. I will point out that even CO2 has a property called it’s specific heat and plants by the way fix hydrogen to CO2 to create hydrocarbons, the O2 from the water is what goes back into the air. So you say CO2 has a property affecting the transport of heat rather than its storage :-)

    I am working on my what the hell is air page, but this is very very rough and not peer reviewed.
    http://toms.homeip.net/global_warming/what-the-hell-is-air.html

    Comment by tom watson — 12 Apr 2008 @ 9:41 PM

  73. Excellent, a rarified gas does not store energy, it transports it. Thanks for the clarification.

    Comment by Ken Coffman — 12 Apr 2008 @ 9:49 PM

  74. #69 Alex Burton’s comment on control systems is fascinating because it’s from an unfamiliar professional viewpoint yet clear enough for me (nonengineer, nonscientist with some understanding of ecosystems) to understand what he means (I think!)

    Maybe someone should make a blog or a wiki on how to explain the likely effects of global warming to various professionals in terms that they will understand. How to explain AGW to an electrical engineer, an economist, a city planner, etc.

    Comment by Holly Stick — 12 Apr 2008 @ 9:49 PM

  75. Off-Topic…

    Al Gore has a new slide-show:

    Al Gore: New thinking on the climate crisis
    http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/243

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Apr 2008 @ 9:57 PM

  76. In response to comment 66, I think you’re splitting hairs a bit, Mr. Brown: “clean coal” is a term that simply refers to a specific method of refining — via chemicals, steam, and gasification — so as to better rid coal of its sulfur dioxide. I actually grew up in the mining industry, soft rock and hard, and even worked for a time in the coal industry; indeed “clean coal” is cleaner — at least in the sense that the carbon dioxide and the flue are recouped.

    About coal, however, and the widespread use thereof, your point is well taken. And it’s the anti-nuclear groups we have to thank for that preponderating use. In fact, uranium generates gigantic amounts of energy in a very small space, which wind and solar combined cannot come close to, and yet those who say otherwise — those who are anti-nuclear, in other words — have brought the world 400 million more tons of coal used per year, because for thirty years now, since 1979, following the Three Mile Island accident, we’ve been using more and ever more coal. In fact, the meltdown of the uranium core in 1979 at Three Mile Island was so overblown by anti-nuclear groups that it went virtually unnoticed how the containment vessel at Three Mile Island had done its job and prevented any significant release of radioactivity.

    To the good Mr. Daniel Goodwin in comment 39 above, your hostility toward industrialization — echoed and answered, incidentally, here: http://blog.askmisspriss.com/?p=64 — is something you would do well to reconsider. As Thomas Hobbes famously noted, life before industrialization was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

    Comment by Miss Priss — 13 Apr 2008 @ 1:02 AM

  77. All scientists should immediately halt whatever they are doing and regard these two charts:

    Global Average Temperature vs Number of Pirates
    http://www.venganza.org/about/open-letter/

    All Theories Proven With One Graph by Don Grace of Florence, Alabama.
    http://www.jir.com/graph_contest/index.html#OneGraph

    Comment by Richard Pauli — 13 Apr 2008 @ 1:14 AM

  78. re: #64 John O’Connor

    “I also have a lot of doubts about how much we should depend and believe in computer models to help us evaluate future climates. This is based on the practical realities of the complexity of programming. My specialty is Release and Configuration Management”

    1) You are almost certainly over-generalizing from the kind of software with which you are familiar, a common problem. [I'm familiar with it also: many current R&CM tools are remote descendants of work we did 30-35 years ago at Bell Labs to help manage software to meet telephone-company reliability standards. Some of these were 200-300-person projects. Most were smaller, thank goodness.]

    2) We had a similar case in:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/11/bbc-contrarian-top-10/

    wherein a well-educated scientist was convinced that climate models couldn’t be useful, because he was used to models (protein-folding) where even a slight mismodel of the real world at one step caused final results to diverge wildly … just as a one-byte wrong change in source code can produce broken results.

    See #197 where I explained this to him, and #233 where light dawned, and if you’re a glutton for detail: #66, #75,l #89, #1230, #132, #145, $151, #166 for a sample.

    Climate models aren’t the same as weather models.

    Comment by John Mashey — 13 Apr 2008 @ 2:08 AM

  79. Re #67 (Tamino):

    I take your point that there’s no reason to believe that global warming stopped in 2001, any more than there’s valid reason to believe that global stopped last Thursday. But, by the same line of argument, doesn’t it follow that there’s no valid reason to assert, as the IPCC did in Chapter 9 of the WGI contribution to AR4, that ‘Six additional years of observations since the TAR … SHOW that temperatures ARE CONTINUING to warm near the surface of the planet” (p. 683, EMPHASES added)? If six years is too short a period from which to conclude that warming has stopped, how can it be a long enough period from which to show conclusively that warming is continuing?

    Comment by Ian Castles — 13 Apr 2008 @ 2:50 AM

  80. re: #67

    Thanks for discussing my comment. First a correction. I quoted your starting point as 2000 instead of 2001. This mistake of mine was provoked by Jeremy Paxman on BBC 2′s Newsnight who asked his interviewees whether it was true that there had been no global warming this century (i.e. since 2000)? Leading UK contrarian Nigel Lawson said yes and ex-climatologist Chris Rapley (ex BAS, now Science Museum) also said yes, but then added that there were always short term fluctuations. This suggested that the whole period of eight years was being dismissed as a fluctuation. I thought that Rapley’s answer might have been slightly stronger, and so I checked out your site. I then decided that it was a pity that you had not been on Newsnight to repeat that (a) the least square fit this century was positive in contradiction to Lawson’s suggestion and (b) that it was insignificant anyway as Rapley had argued but rather vaguely.

    I agree about the physics, except that I think that it makes for more clarity to talk about one thing at a time, which is why I liked your approach.

    “unethical of the statistically savvy”

    I wonder how you would classify Nigel Lawson? He was the UK’s chancellor for several years. He and his colleague Nigel Calder (also from Channel 4′s Swindle programme) have been busy writing popular books. Perhaps Realclimate might consider reviewing them?

    [Response: I reviewed Calder's book here, and we discussed Lawson's arguments a while ago. If there is something new in his latest book, we might revisit it... - gavin]

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 13 Apr 2008 @ 5:08 AM

  81. Re Tom Watson @ 72: Tom, right away I see one problem with your ‘what the hell is air’ page. It appears that you are assuming that water vapour is equally mixed throughout the atmosphere when it is not. As you go higher in the atmosphere, and as temperature drops, the atmosphere holds less and less water vapour as it condenses out. There is relatively little in the upper troposphere and almost none in the stratosphere. CO2, on the other hand is well mixed throughout the entire troposphere and into the stratosphere. In fact, above the mid-troposphere CO2 dominates water vapour as a greenhouse gas.

    It appears that your basic premise is the “there is too little CO2 in the atmosphere to make a difference” argument. If so, you need to do some more homework before you page is ready for prime time.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 13 Apr 2008 @ 9:04 AM

  82. Please excuse an off topic item. I have just found the following: http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/index.html, which is the 2008 news from NSIDC on this year’s Arctic ice melt. I believe NSIDC may put out a forecast for the expected amount of ice in the Arctic in September 2008, in the near future.

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 13 Apr 2008 @ 9:10 AM

  83. Re: #79 (Ian Castles)

    Whether or not the six additional years indicate further warming, depends on exactly what years they’re talking about. Six years is a very short time, but if the trend *and* the noise both go up, then it’s possible to get statistical significance in spite of the brevity of the time span.

    If they’re referring to 1999.0 to 2005.0, or 2000.0 to 2006.0, then the numbers support their claim; if they’re referring to 2001.0 to 2007.0 then the numbers don’t support the claim. This is true using either GISS or HadCRU data.

    Despite passing or failing significance tests, in a broader sense drawing conclusions from a mere six years of data, given the noise level, is at best “dicey.” There’s also the nontrivial issue of the statistical impact of choosing from a number of *possible* starting and ending points; in this case, passing significance for a mere six years depends on the strong warming observed from 1999 to 2001. In my opinion, whether it’s defensible or not their statement is ill-advised.

    Comment by tamino — 13 Apr 2008 @ 9:34 AM

  84. Referring to comments #57 by Geoff Wexler and #64 by John O’ about my comment re that global warming is accelerating, I was referring to a comment in the 2007 IPCC report(IPCC ,2007 Summary for Policy Makers,The Physical Science Basis) It states under the heading Direct Observations of Recent Climate Change: “The linear warming trend over the last 50 years(0.13C[0.10C to 0.16C]per decade) is nearly twice that for the last 100 years.”
    The rate of increase over a longer term than that discussed in the correspondence by Roger Pielke Jr. is increasing.At least according to the latest IPCC report.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 13 Apr 2008 @ 10:03 AM

  85. Miss Priss (79) wrote “As Thomas Hobbes famously noted, life before industrialization was ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.’” I believe he was referring to life before govenments. If not, then he was certainly wrong about life during high medieval times; life was communial, wealthy enough to be able to support extensive religious holidays, and the ‘nasty, brutish and short’ bit was reserved for common soldiers.

    Industrialization has not been an un-mixed blessing; somehow there are more poor people in the world with an increasing number of who’s lives have become ‘nasty, brutish and short’.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 13 Apr 2008 @ 11:07 AM

  86. Lawrence Brown (84) — Yes. You can see it yourself here:

    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/t3v.jpg

    entitled “temperatures since 1850″, although I believe the graph to show 5-year running averages.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 13 Apr 2008 @ 11:10 AM

  87. tom watson writes:

    I am an EE

    Saw it coming.

    with 4 decades of work about how electromagnetic radiation and matter interact. I have spent thousands of hours trying to understand how CO2 has some property that allows for the storage of the trillions and trillions of BTU required to globally warm the earth. I have concluded that if e=MC^2, then CO2 driving climate temperatures is a hoax.

    You have concluded wrong. CO2 doesn’t “store” energy other than in the conventional way of having a non-zero Kelvin temperature. It absorbs infrared light, heats up a bit, and radiates, like any hot object, whereupon some of the radiation goes back to the ground, heating the ground up. If you want to understand the process, I recommend reading through a book like John T. Houghton’s The Physics of Atmospheres (3rd ed. 2002), or Grant W. Petty’s A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation (2006), and, of course, working all the problems. Or for a quick precis, try here:

    Greenhouse 101

    It is easy to demonstrate that the radiative equilibrium temperature of the Earth is well below freezing. Earth is habitable at 288 K mean global annual surface temperature instead of 255 K because of the greenhouse effect. If it didn’t exist, we wouldn’t exist either.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Apr 2008 @ 12:06 PM

  88. Ref 83. I agree basically with everything Tamino says. However, it seems to me that there are two legitimate questions that can be asked about what is happening to global temperature anomalies. The first question is:- Have temperatures risen in recent history, e.g. over the last 40 years? I think pretty well everyone agrees that the answer to that question is Yes! It is quite legitimate to put a straight line fit through the data points, and measure the average rate of rise of temperature. The second question is:- What is happening to temperatures now, whenever now happens to be? As of this time, now is April 2008. Or in other words, what is the slope of the temperature/time graph as of now? Is it positive or negative? It seems to me that there ought to be statistical methods to answer this question, and they probably only use data for a few recent years. I cannot see why temperatures taken 10 years or more ago tell us very much about what the slope of the temperature/time graph is as of now. My own, very limited analysis convinces me that the current slope of the temperature/time graph is negative.

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 13 Apr 2008 @ 12:09 PM

  89. Ian Castles #79:

    If six years is too short a period from which to conclude that
    warming has stopped, how can it be a long enough period from which to
    show conclusively that warming is continuing?

    By looking at the big picture and applying Occam’s razor. If a single trend line fits, in a statistically valid way, the whole data from 1975 (say) to today, then don’t use two of them :-)

    Empirical results are always preliminary (though sometimes very strong), never conclusive. They hold up until refuted, which hasn’t happened here. IPCC claims no conclusiveness from what I see.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 13 Apr 2008 @ 1:26 PM

  90. Jim, intentionally limited analysis is cherrypicking.
    Do a comprehensive analysis, use all the available data.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Apr 2008 @ 3:03 PM

  91. Jim Cripwell says: ” The first question is:- Have temperatures risen in recent history, e.g. over the last 40 years? I think pretty well everyone agrees that the answer to that question is Yes! It is quite legitimate to put a straight line fit through the data points, and measure the average rate of rise of temperature. The second question is:- What is happening to temperatures now, whenever now happens to be?”

    Congratulations: You have managed to ask two questions that distinguish between climate and weather. Now bonus round: Can you tell us which question pertains to which?
    Hint It does not make sense to talk about climate on any less than a multidecadal scale.

    He then says “My own, very limited analysis convinces me that the current slope of the temperature/time graph is negative.”

    Buzzzz! Oh, sorry, but thanks for playing. It appears that even the most advanced analysis techniques of wishful thinking are up to the job.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Apr 2008 @ 3:22 PM

  92. Re: #86 (David B. Benson)

    The graph you link to isn’t 5-year averages, it’s 1-year averages. For a graph of 5-year averages (from GISS), see this.

    Re: #88 (Jim Cripwell)

    The fact that linear regression (or other trend analyses) for very brief time spans gives a negative rate, doesn’t mean the trend is negative. One has to estimate the uncertainty in such values. If you analyze data since only 2001, the estimate from GISS data is +0.0024 +/- 0.033 deg.C/yr (2-sigma), while that from HadCRU data is -0.0102 +/- 0.0302 deg.C/yr. Note that the 2-sigma possible errors are much larger than the values themselves, and for both data sets the range includes the rate since 1975. There’s really no evidence at all that the rate today is any different than it has been for 30 years. As for the rate temporarily seeming negative, it’s not just possible for noise to make that happen, it’s inevitable.

    Comment by tamino — 13 Apr 2008 @ 4:43 PM

  93. Re: 88 Jim Cripwell
    The reason you can not easily determine the current slope is that you do not know the current size of the noise. The exact noise will never be known but by using data over a period of years we can approximately cancel the noise and find the average slope during that period.

    Without knowing the exact noise in a system no statistical method can give an accurate estimate of the behaviour right now. If the noise is small we can take averages over short time periods, but there is always a minimum time period where the expected size of the noise dominates over the actual value we want to estimate.

    This is a basic limitation to all statistical methods.

    Comment by Jonas — 13 Apr 2008 @ 4:47 PM

  94. Re #83 (Tamino):
    Thank you. I agree that the IPCC’s statement was ill-advised. The First Order Draft referred to ‘five more years’ and the final report referred to ‘six additional years’ of observations since the TAR – and Chapter 3 refers to temperatures in calendar 2006 as ‘similar to the average of the past 5 years’. So it’s reasonable to interpret the ‘six additional years of observations’ as referring to 2001 to 2006.

    Re #89 (Martin Vermeer):
    The IPCC authors were not attempting to look at the big picture, or to apply Occam’s razor, or to fit a trend line to the ‘whole data’ beginning from some past period. They made a specific assertion that six additional years of observations ‘show’ that temperatures have continued to warm. They don’t ‘show’ that at all, and this is true irrespective of what happened in 2007.

    Comment by Ian Castles — 13 Apr 2008 @ 4:53 PM

  95. Re 57
    Global warming includes the accumulation of heat in deep oceans, ice sheets, and the melting of ice.
    Much of the data so artfully addressed by Tamino are various measures of air temperature. As long as areas of solid ice remain as a heat sink, absorbing large amounts of heat at 0C, air temperatures may not fully reflect the rate or impacts of global warming.

    The area of Greenland Ice Sheet melt has been increasing in a noisy but linear function since 1979. However, as the melt area includes thicker and thicker ice, the volume of ice with melt water above it has increased exponentially. Moreover, the number of melt days has increased. Together, these factors make it likely that heat transfer to the GIS is increasing exponentially.

    Given the highly nonlinear behaviors of ice near its melting point, we can expect that the expressed impacts of AGW (sea level rise) will be non-linear in the extreme, and may occur prior to our being able to statistically detect nonlinear effects of global warming from air temperatures.

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 13 Apr 2008 @ 4:56 PM

  96. Re: 81 Jim Eager

    Jim, let’s put H20 in the same units as CO2.
    There is nothing wrong with the what the hell is air page. It is not complete and does not argue any points. Now H20 has concentrations in the air up to and even higher than 30,000 or 30 thousand PPM. Does one have to be in the arctic on a very cold dry day to get anywhere near 1000 ppm.

    What I believe is that H20 that has a higher specific heat than CO2, has a several hundred times heat transporting heat of fusion and the ability to make air lighter as it PPM increase all cause more convention of ground based heat skyward where the hundreds of molecules that are not water or CO2 emit a percentage of black body radiation that is not adsorbed and in less than a blink of the eye is gone from the earth forever.

    More CO2 in the air means a small percent surface emitted black body radiation gets absorbed even closer?? 40 ft vs 45 ft and that would make for an increase in convection properties of the air.

    The suggestion that the current decades increase of several tens of PPM of CO2 slows the rate of radiation cooling makes no sense to me in the current mix of the earth’s atmosphere.

    And to me all the data I’ve seen reported from satellites suggests all supposition of some property or interaction of CO2 to cause some huge global warming is silly.
    I wrote some scripts to capture various sats higher pixel images so I could create longer term HD like movies or animations. Think about what are we looking at when we see large areas of -70C.
    You can see the deserts heat and cool daily. Mexico..
    http://toms.homeip.net/global_warming/test3/

    [Response: The argument from personal incredulity is not a very useful one in scientific discussions. - gavin]

    Comment by tom watson — 13 Apr 2008 @ 4:57 PM

  97. Since there seems to be much “to do” about the uncertainty ranges, can some one explain how the ranges are derived for the models?

    Comment by Jim Cross — 13 Apr 2008 @ 5:47 PM

  98. Re 86:Thank you for the graph David. It starkly shows that a picture can be worth 1000 words. I should visit Tamino’s Open Mind site more often.

    On Miss Priss’s comments in #76, I didn’t think I was nit picking about the processes used to refine coal, though I do succumb to it at times.
    Nuclear power,of course, is a Faustian bargain. Frankly I’m on the fence as far as fission use for power is concerned. Sure it’s nearly free of greenhouse gas emissions and its energy is concentrated, meaning,for one thing, that amounts of uranium many orders of magnitude less than fossil fuels can be used to provide the same amount of energy. Waste disposal is definitely a problem. But where the aforementioned bargain comes in, is in it’s possible use for nuclear weapons profiferation.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 13 Apr 2008 @ 6:20 PM

  99. Ian Castles #79: You can look at whether the additional 6 years confirm the trend, i.e., the moving average is still trending up as you add points. If you take a few years in isolation, you can’t get a better fit than random. Since a few in the denialosphere are alleging no warming since 2001, I fetched the HadCRUT3 data and tried to find a trend from 2001 to now. With linear regression, I found the sort of downward “trend” some like Monckton claimed (though I could not match the exact number he gives) to have found (without specifying his methodology), but couldn’t get an r2 much better than 0.05, which is pretty much random.

    Try it yourself. Get the data and do a correlation. Then do correlations on random data a few times (or better still, look up a stats text to see how to interpret data). You’ll find the 2001-present data doesn’t behave much differently than rand().

    Monckton’s “cooling trend” story appears in various places including here with discussion at another site of how his “trend” can’t easily be replicated on the information he supplied.

    I don’t know how much faith I can put in any of Monckton’s claims if he makes statements like “Given the stability of the climate over the past half billion years” when discussing a graph showing a temperature variance of over 10°C over that period.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 13 Apr 2008 @ 6:41 PM

  100. Re Tom @ 96: I’m sorry, Tom, but I’ve read your last post three times and I just can not understand what you are trying to say. The only thing I got clearly is that it is your opinion that CO2 caused global warming is silly, and we already got something like that in your very first post. The physics of greenhouse gases has nothing what so ever to do with specific heat or heat of fusion, so I can only assume that you don’t understand the radiative physics of greenhouse gases and how they work, be it H2O or CO2. Fortunately there are several physicists among the regular posters here who can help you to figure it out if you want, myself not among them, I’m afraid. But you might want to slow down, think about what you want to say–might be better to ask questions, though–and how to say it clearly, and then type slower. I’m not trying to be rude or snarky, I just can’t understand what you wrote, and I’m probably not alone.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 13 Apr 2008 @ 6:49 PM

  101. Tom Watson, you say that haven’t heard anything that convinces you that CO2 is behind the warming. Yet, from your discussion, it is clear that you haven’t the vaguest idea of what the science is. You talk about heat transport, and specific heat as if you think convection is behind the greenhouse effect. This is not the case. All convection does is move energy from one part of the atmosphere to another. The only way energy leaves the climate system is via outgoing IR radiation–and it is here that increasing greenhouse gases has its effect. I would think that the revelation that your understanding of the physics is flat wrong might cause you to reevaluate your skepticism a bit.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Apr 2008 @ 7:26 PM

  102. Tom, try here and the predecessor thread. A lot of us struggled through this as completely amateur readers and it took quite a while.
    You’ll probably follow the thread without getting lost in sidetracks as we often did. It did make sense, after a while.
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument-part-ii/langswitch_lang/in

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Apr 2008 @ 8:45 PM

  103. Re: 76, 85 (Hobbes on life before industrialization)

    Nobody’s talking about turning back the clock. The flawed premise I am referring to is the old idea (rendered much stronger by the temporal illusions of industrial society) that mankind is somehow exempt from the laws of conservation which we observe in all natural systems – that we can always build another quick fix to renew our exemption: standing apart from nature. This extremely powerful false dogma might be the most potent force blocking immediate implementation of the relatively modest suggestions of people like James Hansen.

    It would not be easy to discontinue the production of power from coal (except where emissions are captured at the source) by 2030 – but compared to other challenges mankind has faced from lesser threats, it’s a modest suggestion. Hansen calls this one the sine qua non – there’s no point in discussing other measures if we can’t shut down king coal.

    But I wouldn’t want a world in which the works of David Bohm, Paul Erdos and Stephen Wolfram are unavailable; and you can take my TI scientific calculator when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers!

    Comment by Daniel C. Goodwin — 13 Apr 2008 @ 9:51 PM

  104. I am do not do climate science (nor am I funded by Exxon-Mobil) but I have been running dispersion models for over 20 years (ISC, AERMOD, etc.) In that context, where these relatively simple, proven models are at best +/- 1% accurate, I have been baffled how IPCC scientists have made predictions based on infinitely more complex models that require even greater accuracy.

    I also note that Spencer analyzed Aqua satellite data and concluded that there is no evidence for feedback – in fact the data shows quite the opposite. Some previously hardcore IPCC scientists have even said that Spencer is right. (Huzzah!) Perhaps I missed it, but I am surprised to find no discussion of the Aqua data on this site. Does this fall into the general category of “tell your statistics to shut up”?

    Comment by Rich T — 13 Apr 2008 @ 11:22 PM

  105. Re #99 (Philip Mechanick):

    I don’t know why you think you’re disagreeing with my #79. Your failure to find a trend in the HadCRUT3 data between 2001 and now adds weight to my point that there was no valid reason for the authors of the IPCC’s Chapter 9 to assert that the data for those years ‘show’ that global warming is ‘continuing’. So far as I can see, you’re agreeing with Tamino and me that the Panel’s statement was ill-advised.

    Comment by Ian Castles — 13 Apr 2008 @ 11:27 PM

  106. I think this is an important point, worth repeating and building on a little:

    #95 Aaron Lewis Says: Global warming includes the accumulation of heat in deep oceans, ice sheets, and the melting of ice. Much of the data so artfully addressed by Tamino are various measures of air temperature. As long as areas of solid ice remain as a heat sink, absorbing large amounts of heat at 0C, air temperatures may not fully reflect the rate or impacts of global warming. . . Given the highly nonlinear behaviors of ice near its melting point, we can expect that the expressed impacts of AGW (sea level rise) will be non-linear in the extreme, and may occur prior to our being able to statistically detect nonlinear effects of global warming from air temperatures.

    The same goes for the oceans. When people say that there is 0.5C of warming “in the pipeline”, they’re talking about an 0.5C increase in the average surface temperature, which has increased as follows (from IPCC 4th Chapter 3):

    Global mean surface temperatures have risen by 0.74°C ± 0.18°C when estimated by a linear trend over the last 100 years (1906–2005). The rate of warming over the last 50 years is almost double that over the last 100 years (0.13°C ± 0.03°C vs. 0.07°C ± 0.02°C per decade).

    Some controversy has surrounded those observations, regarding issues such as the urban heat island and similar effects and the satellite temperature records, but that has been dismissed, see RC urban heat island 2007 and RC satellite temperature observations

    Another distorting issue in the surface temperature records is the role of irrigation in keeping surface temperature data collection sites artificially cool. Thus, expansion of agriculture has masked global warming in California’s Central Valley. The complete paper is Bonfils & Lobell, PNAS, Aug 14 2007.

    Based on observations of temperature and irrigation trends throughout the state, the authors demonstrated a clear irrigation-induced cooling in agricultural areas, and showed that this effect has recently slowed down.

    A confirming feature of this is that irrigation has little effect on nighttime temperatures, since the cooling is due to the latent heat of evaporation of water in direct sunlight. This is not a feature that has been emphasized by skeptics other than to claim that irrigation plays a large role in the “water vapor feedback” estimation used in climate models, i.e. that models are overestimating that factor.

    However, that’s just the surface temperature record. The oceans play a huge role in controlling the surface temperature over both the oceans and the continents, because of the rapid mixing of the atmosphere. In response to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, a positive temperature anomaly first appears in the upper well-mixed layer of the ocean, and that signal gradually spreads into the deeper ocean layers – this is seen in both models and the global sea surface temperature record. Even if emissions are halted today, estimates are that surface temperatures would continue to rise by 1 deg C due to ocean thermal inertia (Wigley 2005 Science).

    There’s large uncertainty in ocean measurements, due to poor coverage, especially of the deep ocean. Estimates are that the ocean has absorbed about ten times as much heat as the atmosphere has due to global warming. Thus, there’s a need for a complete ocean temperature monitoring network – certainly a more important goal than going to Mars. This is also why any temperature analysis that ignores the oceans and ice sheets is not going to be of much use alone in checking on climate models – but an extension of that analysis (i.e. Tamino’s) to oceans would be nice to see.

    The IPCC does have an illuminating chapter on ocean observations, and the key conclusion appears to be that there is large inter-decadal variability in ocean heat content. Thus, changes in surface temperature cannot be used to infer that global warming has “paused”.

    Another problem is getting accurate measurements of the exact amount of sunlight reflected by the earth, as well as the amount incident on the top of the atmosphere, since one can argue that the observed warming is all due to changes in albedo. The way around that problem was seen years ago, and it was to place a satellite at a point where it get a direct and constant view of the Earth’s surface, thereby directly measuring the top-of-the-atmosphere radiation budget. The satellite was built, and then NASA cancelled the mission under still-obscure circumstances.

    Even without the climate satellite’s direct confirmation of the situation, the conclusion of Hansen et. al. 2005 hasn’t been rebutted:

    Our climate model, driven mainly by increasing human-made greenhouse gases and aerosols, among other forcings, calculates that Earth is now absorbing 0.85 T 0.15 watts per square meter more energy from the Sun than it is emitting to space. This imbalance is confirmed by precise measurements of increasing ocean heat content over the past 10 years. Implications include (1) the expectation of additional global warming of about 0.6-C without further change of atmospheric composition; (2) the confirmation of the climate system’s lag in responding to forcings, implying the need for anticipatory actions to avoid any specified level of climate change; and (3) the likelihood of acceleration of ice sheet disintegration and sea level rise.

    We can argue about what the eventual effect on human civilization will be, and what the cost of ending all carbon emissions and building renewable energy infrastructure will be, but the basic underlying issue is settled: we’re warming the planet.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 13 Apr 2008 @ 11:40 PM

  107. Re #92:

    There’s really no evidence at all that the rate today is any different than it has been for 30 years.

    Precisely.

    Re #94 Ian Castles:

    They made a specific assertion that six additional years of observations ’show’ that temperatures have continued to warm.

    What is there in ‘additional’ you don’t understand? What is there in ‘continued’ you don’t understand? Big picture. The null hypothesis stands.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 14 Apr 2008 @ 1:15 AM

  108. Ref 91. Am I mistaken in thinking that “weather” represents noise, and “climate” represents signal? If I am not mistaken, then presumably a signal can have change in the slope of the temperature/time graph over time. There is no reason why the effect of climate cannot be that temperatures go through a very shallow maximum, and eventually decrease.

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 14 Apr 2008 @ 6:07 AM

  109. Ref 93. Agreed. In statistics, it is inevitable that it is hard to find the signal in the presence of noise. But standard statistical tests tell you whether you have, indeed, detected a signal. My point is that the question “What is the current slope of the temperature/time graph?” is a proper scientific question. Whether the data allows us to answer the question, because there is too much noise, is another issue entirely. But there is no reason why we cannot try.

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 14 Apr 2008 @ 6:16 AM

  110. Ref 92. Tamino writes “There’s really no evidence at all that the rate today is any different than it has been for 30 years. As for the rate temporarily seeming negative, it’s not just possible for noise to make that happen, it’s inevitable.” On this, I think we can agree to disagree. I think there is evidence that the rate today is different than it has been for 30 years. But the noise is so great that it will be some time before we will know, for sure, which of us is correct.

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 14 Apr 2008 @ 6:25 AM

  111. Jim Cripwell, still not getting it, posts:

    What is happening to temperatures now, whenever now happens to be? As of this time, now is April 2008. Or in other words, what is the slope of the temperature/time graph as of now? Is it positive or negative? It seems to me that there ought to be statistical methods to answer this question, and they probably only use data for a few recent years. I cannot see why temperatures taken 10 years or more ago tell us very much about what the slope of the temperature/time graph is as of now. My own, very limited analysis convinces me that the current slope of the temperature/time graph is negative.

    Not enough information yet to say. You can’t generalize from a few months or even a few years. Sample size matters, sample size matters, sample size matters.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 14 Apr 2008 @ 7:01 AM

  112. tom watson writes:

    More CO2 in the air means a small percent surface emitted black body radiation gets absorbed even closer??

    It’s not just radiation from the ground that matters. Radiation from every level of atmosphere matters as well. That’s why the carbon dioxide fraction is so important. Water vapor is more important near the ground; it has a very shallow scale height compared to the rest of the atmosphere.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 14 Apr 2008 @ 7:05 AM

  113. Ref 111. Is there enough information to say, definitely, that the slope of the (climate, signal) temperature/time graph, as of now (April 2008), is positive? If so, where is it?

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 14 Apr 2008 @ 9:28 AM

  114. Re #76

    “As Thomas Hobbes famously noted, life before industrialization was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.””

    Miss Priss I suggest you reread ‘Leviathan’, Hobbes was writing about life before government, indeed in the 1650s industrialisation could hardly have been said to have started.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 14 Apr 2008 @ 9:29 AM

  115. Re: 96 [Response: The argument from personal incredulity is not a very useful one in scientific discussions. - gavin]

    When in your personal incredulity did Einstien’s theory of relativity become science and not his personal incredulity. I see no argument presented in my post that is not both science and personal incredulity. Personal incredulity is a personal incredulity in the minds eye.

    To me personal incredulity is the believe that what was written in post 96 can be dictated as certain science or certain personal incredulity. I attempt to always speak with as much logic as certain science and honesty and common sense dictates. That to me leads to the most honest science.

    And to all you who count your finger and toes of temperature measurements as some form of science. The Earth is forever cooling, How CO2 slows that cooling in any process that yields an integration of stored energy over decades in the context of this earth is a fanciful personal incredulity that time and satellite measurements will demonstrate as the decades pass.

    Comment by tom watson — 14 Apr 2008 @ 10:32 AM

  116. Ray #101
    You say “All convection does is move energy from one part of the atmosphere to another. The only way energy leaves the climate system is via outgoing IR radiation–and it is here that increasing greenhouse gases has its effect.” True, but when water evaporates from the ocean surface the ocean cools. This heat is released high in the troposphere when the water condenses. Does this convection process not largely bypass the greenhouse gases in the troposphere and allow relatively more IR to go out to space?

    Comment by B Buckner — 14 Apr 2008 @ 10:41 AM

  117. Jim Cripwell, you’re illustrating exactly what students go through in trying to understand statistics, re:
    > the slope of the (climate, signal) temperature/time
    > graph, as of now (April 2008)

    Yes, there is evidence that will let us say what that slope is as of April 2008. It will be available.

    But it isn’t available now.
    You can’t get “now” from statistics.

    Urge your congresspeople to put the Triana satellite up, so we can at least have contemporary data for the planet. Put an end to teaching the “controversy” by collecting actual information to inform choices.

    And read, at least, the simplest textbook on statistics:
    http://www.amazon.com/Cartoon-Guide-Statistics-Larry-Gonick/dp/0062731025/ref=si3_rdr_bb_product

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Apr 2008 @ 10:55 AM

  118. Re: 112# Barton Paul Levenson Says

    It’s not just radiation from the ground that matters. Radiation from every level of atmosphere matters as well. That’s why the carbon dioxide fraction is so important. Water vapor is more important near the ground; it has a very shallow scale height compared to the rest of the atmosphere.

    Tom’s reply: I do not believe any science shows “vapor is more important near the ground; it has a very shallow scale height compared to the rest of the atmosphere.” as a complete and overriding law that governs.

    convection transport may slightly increase as CO2 increases because initial absorptions is more intense. In the design of a heat exchanger the most effective way to transport the most heat is to have the hottest meet the coldest first. In effect Adsorption in a shorter distance create a mini change in temp and density for the initial start of convection.

    And in cold dry places or any dry places the Earth cools by degrees per hour when the sun goes down. Any heat that gets to a cool dry place in the atmosphere is gone very very quickly. And infrared heat that’s up cannot get back down as it’s blocked by CO2 and water vapor below.

    My Personal incredulity says the CO2 does not effect the altitude at which heat that is above can get below it and will be lost to space. CO2 increasing may have some minor effect in getting heat above that altitude in some tiny tine amount. Or maybe on balance is slows it some tiny tine tiny amount. But whatever will not create any real difference in what ever is defined as the global temperature.

    And I read your stuff on Greenhouse 101: Science looks OK but makes no case for any CO2 suppositions.

    Comment by tom watson — 14 Apr 2008 @ 11:31 AM

  119. Ref 117. Hank. I dont agree with you, but let us assume you are correct and “Yes, there is evidence that will let us say what that slope is as of April 2008. It will be available. But it isn’t available now.
    You can’t get “now” from statistics”. (As an aside, I am Canadian, and we dont have Congressmen.) But if we dont have any “now” statistics, then I have trouble with the latest magazine from National Geographic, a Special Report on Changing Climate. On page 25, it is stated “Here’s another indisputable fact: Earth’s temperature is going up too”. Surely this statement is just plain wrong, if you are right. How can it be “indisputable”, if there are no “now” statistics? Obviously, if you are correct, we have no idea whether the earth’s temperature is still going up, despite the fact that CO2 concentrations are going up at an unprecedented rate.

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 14 Apr 2008 @ 11:51 AM

  120. tamino (92) — Thank you for the correction. For the record, the graph

    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/t3v.jpg

    is of yearly, global, average temperatures.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 14 Apr 2008 @ 12:29 PM

  121. Re #107 (Martin Vermeer):

    The six years of data used by the IPCC don’t rule out continued warming, but neither do they show it. Please refer to the post ‘Rahmstorf et al 2007 IPCC Error?’ at the Niche Modeling blog, and the ensuing discussion.

    Comment by Ian Castles — 14 Apr 2008 @ 1:12 PM

  122. Re #116 B Buckner: yes, convection plays a very important role for outward heat transport. Both wet convection in the lower troposphere, and dry convection higher up. But the question to ask is how this affects the response of the system to a change in greenhouse gas concentration.

    Convection interacts with the greenhouse effect in the following way: a convecting atmosphere establishes an adiabatic lapse rate of some 5-6 degs per km of height. At some level in the troposphere — on average 6 km but dependent on wavelength — the air changes from opaque to transparent for the heat radiation, and from that level, the heat escapes to space.

    As I like to depict it to myself, if you increase the CO2 content of the air, the air’s opaqueness for IR increases, and this “radiating surface” will creep up. (It’s a bit like the “wall” of fog coming closer when the fog thickens.) This means that the temperature of the radiating surface will drop, because of the lapse rate. According to Stefan-Boltzmann, the radiating effectiveness drops, and the whole Earth-ocean-atmosphere system has to warm up to compensate.

    In reality it’s more complicated of course; the CO2 in the air throttles only a part of the outgoing heat in this way, much also leaves from the top of the “wet layer” or even from the surface. And also the profiles of the spectral lines get broader, which contributes its own effect. Etcetera :-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 14 Apr 2008 @ 1:20 PM

  123. Jim, Tamino’s 92 answers your 119. I’m not going to dispute the question of “undisputable” — email National Geographic’s editors for that argument. Tamino makes the point much better than the N.G. stuff you set up to knock down there. You can find bad writing everywhere.

    Look for the good writing instead.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Apr 2008 @ 1:23 PM

  124. Stephan,

    I would be grateful if you would clarify for me a puzzling aspect of the your Rahmstorf et al. ’07 Science paper. You state in the figure caption that the ‘minimum roughness criterion’ was used to get the temperature trend line. Use of this method of data padding as described in Mann 2004 should ‘pin’ the trend line to the 2006 temperature value. However, while the 2006 value lies in the center of the IPCC range, the trend line shown on the figure lies above the 2006 value, in the upper IPCC range.

    I would like to clarify this apparent inconsistency. This is an important paper for the case that ‘the climate system may be responding more quickly than climate models indicate’ and it is important to verify its technical correctness. More details and graphs can be found here:

    http://landshape.org/enm/rahmstorf-et-al-2007-ipcc-error/

    [Response: Thanks David. I have responded to your query also on your website, as follows:

    1. The smoothing algorithm we used is the SSA algorithm (c) by Aslak Grinsted (2004), distributed in the matlab file ssatrend.m. This has two alternatives for the boundary condition: (1) minimum roughness (which is what we used in our paper) and (2) minimum slope. This is described in the Moore et al. paper. If you have questions about the details of this algorithm please contact its authors. I think the confusion that arises is that you equate “minimum roughness” with “padding with reflected values”. Indeed such padding would mean that the trend line runs into the last point, which it does not in our graph, and hence you (wrongly) conclude that we did not use minimum roughness. The correct conclusion is that we did not use padding. Note that Moore et al. call their minimum roughness “a variation” on the minimum roughness criterion described by Mann (2004). This already makes clear it is not the same.

    2. None of the conclusions of our paper depend on the use of this particular boundary condition at the end, which only affects the last five years of the trend line. As you can see, the temperatures 2002-2006 lie in the upper half of the IPCC range.

    (Btw. - my name is Stefan Rahmstorf. You get my first name wrong here and my last name wrong on your site, just like Pielke consistently mis-spells my name in his Nature Geoscience correspondence - this is also an indication of the care someone takes in getting things right.) - stefan]

    Comment by David Stockwell — 14 Apr 2008 @ 2:09 PM

  125. Ref 122. Hank, you are missing the point of my discussion. I explained many months ago, that the reason I post on RC is because people here challenge my ideas, and as a result, I understand better what I am talking about. This does not happen on CS. This idea started with Tamino’s #67, in which he discussed the idea that warming ceased in 2001. The point I started off with is that I do not question that global temperatures have risen. However, what I see in the media particularly, but in many different other places, is the idea that temperatures are still rising. This is not, as Ray Ladbury thinks, a question of the difference between weather and climate. If we consider what I will call “climate temperature”, what, I think, needs to be established is whether climate temperature is rising, staying stable, or falling, again going back to Tamino’s #67. From the discussion on this blog, there seem to be two possibilities. Either there is not enough evidence to say what is currently happening to climate temperatures, as you seem to believe. In which case no-one knows that climate temperatures are rising. Or there is enough data, which I believe, and I believe climate temperatures are falling. I am trying to find someone who will dispute this, and show me a scientific, hopefully peer reviewed, paper which establishes that climate temperatures are, indeed, still rising. However, no such paper seems to exist.

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 14 Apr 2008 @ 3:19 PM

  126. Re Jim @ 100 Let us assume most understand radiative physics. Now the reiteration of blackbody radiation over time as it applies to higher altitudes is not well explained anywhere. As warm air and the heat it contains rises, there is a point where there is more CO2 and H20 below it than above it. All radiation that is emitted up and not adsorbed is gone in less than the blink of an eye. All that is adsorbed by CO2 or H20 is instantly conducted to the 97 to 99+ percent of non CO2/H20 air molecules. For whatever temperature works out, the warmed air re radiates a spectrum and all of that spectrum that is not adsorbed and pointed up is also gone in less than a blink of an eye.
    That which is emitted in a downward direction will be adsorbed and maybe reflected back up if it hits clouds.

    Where air is dry it cools by degrees per hour when the sun is not shining.

    My gut or my experience has my personal credulity suggesting there is an inclination or the sum of all factors gets the radiative energy out to space and CO2 has no property in the context of it’s rare content the Earth’s atmosphere to move temperatures up or down more than a tiny tiny tiny amount.

    What does this show? What do the temperatures shown really mean?
    http://toms.homeip.net/global_warming/movie/test3/goes_enam-2008_01_22_17_18_IR_Large.jpg
    Where there are clearer skies do we see surface temperatures. Where there are clouds or a less clear sky we see what? The temperature of some altitude above the surface???

    FYI An animation of this sat image will show daily rising and falling temps in desserts.

    Comment by tom watson — 14 Apr 2008 @ 3:53 PM

  127. Re: #123 (Jim Cripwell)

    Noise exists in the global climate system; you can call it “weather” if you like. But because noise exists, it will never be possible to determine the instantaneous long-term rate of change; that implies letting the time span over which a determination is made shrink to zero.

    You also propose a false dichotomy when you say “I believe climate temperatures are falling,” then ask someone to dispute it by showing a “paper which establishes that climate temperatures are, indeed, still rising.” I dispute that temperatures are falling, not because I can prove they were rising over the last six or seven years, or six or seven days, or six or seven minutes, but because there’s zero evidence for your claim. I’d never get this published by a reputable journal because it’s so obvious that noisy data over a very short time span don’t support *any* conclusion at all.

    Both physics, and the long record of temperatures, support the “still rising” hypothesis, but you seem to think that because you can find a time span which is short enough to give an inclusive result, that justifies a conclusion of cooling. You don’t seem to realize that noise making the short-term trend *seem* negative even though it’s still positive, isn’t just a possibility, it’s an inevitability. If the temperature record did not contain episodes like we’ve seen recently, brief time periods with negative-but-not-statistically-significant trend rates, then I’d know that the data are invalid.

    It’s really like flipping a coin to test whether it’s fair. Even if it is, if you flip it enough times eventually you’ll see 10 heads in a row. In fact, if you flip it enough times and don’t see 10 heads in a row somewhere, then you have proof that the coin is not fair.

    Your entire premise really is no different than the claim that “global warming stopped last Thursday.” Of course the data don’t disprove that idea. But it sound ridiculous, because it is.

    Comment by tamino — 14 Apr 2008 @ 4:27 PM

  128. Jim Cripwell (123) — I’ll say that a ‘climate temperature’ is a 50 year linear trend line. Since you are interesteed in ‘now’, use the data from 1958 CE through 2007 CE. Fit the data linked in comment #120 to discover an upward trend line. By this definition of ‘climate temperature’, it is rising.

    Indeed, notice the strong correlation with the Keeling curve:

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/co2_data_mlo.html

    and then apply some fairly straightforward atmospheric physics to discover that the Keeling curve explains the ‘climate temperature’.

    There. I have supplied you with enough that you can write the paper yourself.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 14 Apr 2008 @ 4:44 PM

  129. #123 Jim Cripwell: another thing to contemplate. Can you see your toenails growing? No? Look back in a week. Not yet? Have your toenails stopped growing? Or is the growth too small to measure?

    However, if you last clipped them 6 months ago, you should have have evidence that some time between then and now, they have grown enough to tell the difference.

    If despite this evidence you are still convinced that because you can’t actually see them growing, they must have stopped, measure their exact length to the best accuracy you can, and report back here in 6 months (with no clipping before then obviously).

    Why is this relevant? Aside from the noise issue, the rate at which temperatures are growing is pretty slow. If for example we have a rate of increase of 3°C over a century, that’s 0.3°C per decade. If you just look at a few years, the change will be within the error bars (and very likely dwarfed by natural variability aka “noise” — do toenails shrink and expand depending on the tightness of your shoes?).

    Should anyone be saying temperatures are still rising given this? It would be more accurate to say something like you can’t judge anything by looking at a few years in isolation, but there’s no evidence of a change in the trend because we are still well above the pre-AGW level — but how, I wonder, would that have been spun by the denialosphere?

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 14 Apr 2008 @ 6:01 PM

  130. Re #118

    “What does this show? What do the temperatures shown really mean?
    http://toms.homeip.net/global_warming/movie/test3/goes_enam-2008_01_22_17_18_IR_Large.jpg
    Where there are clearer skies do we see surface temperatures. Where there are clouds or a less clear sky we see what? The temperature of some altitude above the surface???”

    The temperature of the top of the clouds.

    Goes-12 has 4 IR channels: the shortwave infrared channel (3.8-4.0 um) and two longwave infrared (10.2-12.5 um) channels have a resolution of 4 km, while the water vapor channel (6.7-7.0 um) has an 8.0 km resolution.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 14 Apr 2008 @ 6:12 PM

  131. climate science is quite new and would need quite a few years before it establishes any reputation. A “Reputable journal” as mentioned above should be judged in this context.

    Comment by Vincent — 15 Apr 2008 @ 3:18 AM

  132. Tim B said in #35:

    Regarding the “arrogance” discussion – Laypeople don’t have the time or education to evaluate scientific claims based on the scientific data, especially in a field as complex as climate science. We have to rely on the judgment and expertise of scientists who attempt to explain complex analyses in simplified ways we can understand. Therefore it is essential for laypeople to judge the character and motivations of a scientist making a claim, in order to establish in their mind whether this person is a trustworthy authority.

    As a layperson, I suggest that scientific claims and scientific authorities cannot be reliably evaluated by any means except how consistent they are with evidence.

    Also, some facts about climate, in spite of its complexity, are simple. One such fact is that, since IR-excitable gases like CO2 warm the atmosphere, increasing their concentration forces the temperature to increase. No matter what guesses you make about the “character and motivations” of people who mention that fact, it remains true. Personal considerations do not affect arithmetic.

    Please make the time to look at the evidence. The lives of our children may depend on it.

    If a goal of realclimate is to inform laypeople of issues in climate science, then arrogance in this forum will only appeal to its most unquestioning adherents while driving away those who prefer to keep an open mind about a complex and dynamic field.

    That is good advice. Many of us who are aware of the evidence that our emissions warm the globe tend to say things that doubters and newbies perceive as arrogant.

    In my case, however, and probably that of others, these apparently arrogant comments really reflect great despair at the peril ahead and the stubborn gullibility displayed by many who refuse to face it. Denialism has won every round of this debate so far, no matter what debating tactics have been tried against it. Precious years have been squandered. Far from being curtailed, emissions are rising. The likely cost is painful to imagine and could be much more painful to experience.

    Comment by Meltwater — 15 Apr 2008 @ 6:12 AM

  133. climate science is quite new and would need quite a few years before it establishes any reputation. A “Reputable journal” as mentioned above should be judged in this context.

    Any journal that has existed longer than the claimed ‘stop’ in global warming will do :-)

    BTW Spencer Weart’s “Discovery of Global Warming” under Science Links above right was written for you.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 15 Apr 2008 @ 6:30 AM

  134. tom watson posts:

    The Earth is forever cooling, How CO2 slows that cooling in any process that yields an integration of stored energy over decades in the context of this earth is a fanciful personal incredulity that time and satellite measurements will demonstrate as the decades pass.

    To which I have no answer, because I can’t for the life of me figure out what you’re trying to say here.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 15 Apr 2008 @ 7:03 AM

  135. tom watson writes:

    Tom’s reply: I do not believe any science shows “vapor is more important near the ground; it has a very shallow scale height compared to the rest of the atmosphere.” as a complete and overriding law that governs.

    It’s an empirical observation, and it’s theoretically backed by considerations such as the Clausius-Clapeyron law. The scale height for the atmosphere in general is about 8 kilometers. For water vapor it’s closer to 2 km.

    convection transport may slightly increase as CO2 increases because initial absorptions is more intense.

    In the design of a heat exchanger the most effective way to transport the most heat is to have the hottest meet the coldest first. In effect Adsorption in a shorter distance create a mini change in temp and density for the initial start of convection.

    Huh? What? Come again?

    And in cold dry places or any dry places the Earth cools by degrees per hour when the sun goes down. Any heat that gets to a cool dry place in the atmosphere is gone very very quickly. And infrared heat that’s up cannot get back down as it’s blocked by CO2 and water vapor below.

    It doesn’t have to get all the way down. It just has to get to the next layer below it and heat it up a bit. Then that layer will radiate a bit more both up and down. Every layer affects every other layer, but not always by a direct connection.

    My Personal incredulity

    Your personal incredulity is meaningless for convincing anybody else of anything. “Personal incredulity” means “what this person can’t believe.” And what you believe doesn’t matter; what you can prove or demonstrate does.

    says the CO2 does not effect the altitude at which heat that is above can get below it and will be lost to space. CO2 increasing may have some minor effect in getting heat above that altitude in some tiny tine amount. Or maybe on balance is slows it some tiny tine tiny amount. But whatever will not create any real difference in what ever is defined as the global temperature.

    But it does.

    And I read your stuff on Greenhouse 101: Science looks OK but makes no case for any CO2 suppositions.

    CO2 largely allows visible light to pass but absorbs infrared light. Thus more of it in the atmosphere will heat the atmosphere, which will heat the ground. There’s really no way around it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 15 Apr 2008 @ 7:11 AM

  136. Vincent writes:

    climate science is quite new and would need quite a few years before it establishes any reputation. A “Reputable journal” as mentioned above should be judged in this context.

    Evangelista Torricelli invented the barometer in the 1600s. Jean Joseph Fourier posited the existence of the greenhouse effect in 1824. John Tyndal showed that it was mostly due to water vapor and carbon dioxide in 1859. In the 1860s, Louis Agassiz established that there had been ice ages. The first prediction of warming under doubled carbon dioxide was published by Svante Arrhenius in 1896.

    Climatology is not a new field. Newer than physics, yes. But much older than, say, computer science, or quantum mechanics.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 15 Apr 2008 @ 7:18 AM

  137. John Mashey re 78

    Given your response to some comments referring back to our previous discussion comparing protein modelling vs climate modelling I thought I’d give you an update on progress here. It might amuse you. Or not.

    Well basically, I threw the debate open to the modellers here and to be honest all hell broke loose. With a 5-1 margin (not including myself) the tv chemists here came back with “well they would say that; it’s all rubbish if you ask me” etc etc. In effect the conclusion was that protein folding was not a fair comparison (my mistake then eh!) and that “docking scores” was a more appropriate comparison. If you are interested in what that is then just google it. Personally, it quickly went past my head but the end result was that a major pharma company now has climate model code running on its cluster (disguised as something else of course). I’ve stopped asking about it since it is only more fuel to the fire.

    For my part, I’ve done a bit more reading and whilst I am comfortable with the differences, I am plauged by nagging doubts about the fidelity of the prediction which is kinda what’s be discussed again on this post. I think that’s driven by the fact that many of the discussions are heavily focussed around physical methods (or a physics perspective if you like) and I worry that the problem has much larger chemical and biological components than is being suggested. And from brutal experience I know that once you start working a multiple discipline boundaries things get complicated and just a little bit messy. On the plus side that means it’s a fabulously interesting area to work in. I’m almost jealous! And you’ve got a bunch of comp chemists running code on a big pharma cluster. I’ll let you know if they actually get a conclusion…

    Comment by Keith — 15 Apr 2008 @ 7:21 AM

  138. Re: 127 tamino Says:

    Also, some facts about climate, in spite of its complexity, are simple. One such fact is that, since IR-excitable gases like CO2 warm the atmosphere, increasing their concentration forces the temperature to increase. No matter what guesses you make about the “character and motivations” of people who mention that fact, it remains true. Personal considerations do not affect arithmetic.

    Well CO2 in isolation does what you say. But CO2 competes for blackbody spectrums with H20. This is a link to a copy of the original http://toms.homeip.net/global_warming/Global_Warming_Not_From_CO2_20080124.pdf
    This is pdf as a html http://toms.homeip.net/global_warming/Global_Warming_Not_From_CO2_20080124.txt.html

    On this earth where there is dry air, temperatures plunge by degrees per hour when the sun goes down. This image is a quite revealing summary.
    http://e6.ath.cx/gw/Global_Warming_Not_From_CO2_20080124.fig02.jpg

    [Response: Your paper is wrong, wrong, wrong. All of these effects are included in all the standard methodology and when you do the full calculation - using all the spectral lines, using full atmospheric profiles, using all the spatial information you end up with the the standard number - i.e. 2xCO2 gives ~4 W/m2 forcing. You can continue to point to special cases that don't use all the lines, that don't use full profiles and that don't integrate over the surface of the planet, but they won't change the numbers you'd get if you did. There are real uncertainties in climate science - the role of aerosols, clouds, ice sheet response etc., I would advise focussing on them, and not on physics that has been known and properly calculated for decades. - gavin]

    Comment by tom watson — 15 Apr 2008 @ 8:13 AM

  139. I would like to sincerely thank all those who repsonded to my idea. It has helped me enormously.

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 15 Apr 2008 @ 8:29 AM

  140. re: 135 Barton Paul Levenson says ……There’s really no way around it.

    All your interpretations rely on your interpretations. What evidence is there that any heat has gotten a little to some lower level?

    Comment by tom watson — 15 Apr 2008 @ 8:31 AM

  141. Re: #138 (tom watson)

    You didn’t even get the identity of the person you were responding to correct. That’s not my comment, it’s Meltwater’s (#132).

    Comment by tamino — 15 Apr 2008 @ 8:42 AM

  142. Stefan, I’ve never found where the IPCC FAR has included any model uncertainty, in their ranges, such as those in the figure you reproduce. Those ranges are based on uncertainties in forcings and scenerios, and not model uncertainty. If using multiple models are intended to be a proxy for some analysis of model uncertainty, I haven’t found where the FAR explicitly discusses and justifies it. I also don’t see how such a proxy would account for the correlated errors among the models that was brought to Working Group I’s attention.

    Maybe there is not enough good data yet to validate the models to a small enough uncertainty to attribute and project the less than 1W/m^2 of globally and annually averaged energy imbalance responsible for the recent warming. The wide variation in model sensitivities that can “match” the 20th century climate despite correlated errors and poor reproduction of the signature of the solar cycle indicates that we are not there yet.

    Comment by Martin Lewitt — 15 Apr 2008 @ 8:52 AM

  143. Re Tom @ 126:

    Let us assume most understand radiative physics.

    Let’s reserve judgement on that for the time being, shall we?

    As warm air and the heat it contains rises, there is a point where there is more CO2 and H20 below it than above it.

    Those are actually two different points, since despite your disbelief, H2O does indeed have a much lower scale height than CO2. But, let’s combine them for the moment and agree that there is such a point, knowing that it will have to be somewhere below the scale height of H2O.

    All radiation that is emitted up and not adsorbed is gone in less than the blink of an eye.

    Yes, self-evident. You can dispense with the ‘blink of an eye’ phrase. Where time comes in to it is how long the energy is resident in the atmosphere before it is not absorbed and escapes to space. Because that’s what greenhouse gasses do, they increase the time it takes for heat energy emitted by the surface to reach space. The atmosphere then warms until the outgoing rate equals the rate solar energy reaches the surface.

    All that is adsorbed by CO2 or H20 is instantly conducted to the 97 to 99+ percent of non CO2/H20 air molecules.

    No, it is not. Only a portion of it is conducted to the 97 percent of non-greenhouse gas molecules through collision, the rest is spontaneously emitted and then absorbed by other CO2 or H2O (or CH4 or NOx, or CFC, etc) molecules, and then emitted again. And so on. Any single emission can go up, down or sideways. Down keeps the energy in the system. Depending on the altitude, sideways also is likely to keep it in the system. Only up has a chance of making it to space without further absorption, but even up has a chance of absorption, and then subsequent downward emission.

    My gut or my experience has my personal credulity suggesting there is an inclination or the sum of all factors gets the radiative energy out to space and CO2 has no property in the context of it’s rare content the Earth’s atmosphere to move temperatures up or down more than a tiny tiny tiny amount.

    Yes, the radiative energy DOES eventually get out to space, and that’s a very good thing, but increasing CO2 in the atmosphere does in fact raise the point at which more energy is emitted to space then is emitted back down. Why? because H2O is not increasing, or hasn’t been, but CO2 (and CH4, NOx, CFCs, etc) has been, and adding more CO2 raises your point where there is more CO2 and H20 below it than above it.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 15 Apr 2008 @ 9:26 AM

  144. Re #138

    In addition to gavin’s response about the line-by-line calculations your paper appears to have a major error in the modelling of clouds. You say:
    “Clouds are different than water vapor. They form when water vapor condenses into its liquid or ice state. Being virtually opaque to infrared, they are a much stronger absorber and radiator of heat than water vapor or any other gas in the atmosphere and this occurs basically over the full wavelength spectrum of interest. Furthermore, because they are opaque, all of their radiation (based on their temperature) goes back to Earth, while for greenhouse gas radiation only half up goes down and the rest up. ”

    This is incorrect, the tops of the clouds will radiate upwards with a black body signature appropriate to their temperature, satellite images showing the IR radiation from the tops of clouds can be seen everyday on the Weather Channel, for example.

    Below is the calculation using MODTRAN of the condition used in your Fig 2:

    http://forecast.uchicago.edu/tmp/rad.15092427.gif

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 15 Apr 2008 @ 9:29 AM

  145. Re 138 – Tom, if you feel you have an analysis that overthrows the current understanding of climate science, then by all means you should submit your paper to a peer-reviewed journal, such as Science. That is how such issues get resolved. Making bold assertions here, then referencing your own unpublished paper is an effort to circumvent the way science is done. (I was unable to access your site to see the paper – apparently you are in server overload.)

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 15 Apr 2008 @ 9:31 AM

  146. re: #137 Keith

    Thanks for the update! If a pharma company is running “climate code” that is amusing.

    I’m not quite sure I understand the feedback from your chemists.

    “In effect the conclusion was that protein folding was not a fair comparison (my mistake then eh!) and that “docking scores” was a more appropriate comparison. If you are interested in what that is then just google it.”

    My discussion was intended to illustrate the fact that models had a wide range of characteristics, and that protein folding was almost as far away from climate modeling as you could get. [EDA logic simulations are probably even further.]

    Hence, when they say: “not a fair comparison”, do they mean, they are agreeing they are very different, or disagreeing with comparing them? I assume they mean that docking scores are more like climate models, and I’ll have to think about that. I’d forgotten those, although they were explained to me ~10 years ago by pharma chemists, or maybe one of our SGI computational-chemistry gurus.

    Surely someone has done a good taxonomy of simulation models, but I can’t point to one offhand. I do know that lots of people assume that their kinds of models they do are representative, which may or may not be true.

    Finally, maybe the owners of this blog might care to say more about chemistry and biology effects in the models, or bounds thereon.

    Comment by John Mashey — 15 Apr 2008 @ 11:41 AM

  147. The paper Tom refers to is this one:

    Carbon Heat Trapping: Merely A Bit Player in Global Warming
    Richard J. Petschauer, Senior Member IEEE

    No publication info specified, only four references cites are listed, no footnotes.

    The original pdf came from junkscience.comm here:
    http://www.junkscience.com/jan08/Global_Warming_Not_From_CO2_20080124.pdf

    Comment by Jim Eager — 15 Apr 2008 @ 12:00 PM

  148. Tom, you’re repeating issues well worked over in the “What Avogadro Didn’t Know” threads earlier. Many of us didn’t know them either. You can benefit from that prior discussion. Q.v.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Apr 2008 @ 12:45 PM

  149. Re #148

    Hank,

    I think you meant was Part II: What Ångström didn’t know.

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 15 Apr 2008 @ 1:49 PM

  150. I never cease to be amazed by the people who, despite having no knowledge of climate science in general or of the science of anthropogenic global warming in particular, appear sincerely convinced that they, and they alone, have discovered the Simple And Obvious Reason why global warming due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions is physically impossible — a Simple And Obvious Reason which has been missed by all of the hundreds and hundreds of climate scientists who have studied these matters for decades.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 15 Apr 2008 @ 1:54 PM

  151. Stefan,

    Thank you for your reply in #124 and for clarifying the source of the methodology used in your paper. It is still not clear how the ‘minimum roughness criterion’ (MRC) was implemented in Matlab. I will contact Grinsted as you suggest.

    Re 1: Moore (2004) states in the text “Here, the series is padded so the local trend is preserved (cf. minimum roughness criterion [Mann, 2004])” pointing to Mann’s method. The word ‘variation’ appears only in the caption of Fig. 2 in reference (I thought) to a specific construction. Still, you have clarified that you did not use Mann 2004 data padding and the confusion arises from reading of Moore 2004.

    Re 2: You state:

    None of the conclusions of our paper depend on the use of this particular boundary condition at the end, which only affects the last five years of the trend line.

    Doesn’t this statement contradict the fact that another boundary condition would not support your conclusions, as you acknowledge in point 1?

    Indeed such (MRC) padding would mean that the trend line runs into the last point,

    Such a trend line passes through and terminates near the center of the IPCC range, not in the upper half of the range.

    The general point here is that there is additional uncertainty in the trend at the end points not only due to the shortage of data, but also due to the choice of methodology. These do not appear to have been accounted for in your paper.

    3. Thank you for any errors you might care to identify on my website.

    Thanks again for the opportunity to clarify this issue.

    [Response: Dear David,
    since we use an 11-year embedding period, the uncertainty in the trend determination and the boundary condition only affect the last 5 years, agreed? (I double-checked this with the two boundary condition options of the ssatrend routine.) That is the years 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 in our paper. For 2001, I have a full 11-year embedding period, namely 1996-2006. Now the temperature values of 2002-2006 are all without exception in the upper half of the IPCC range, no matter whether you use the Hadley or the NASA data. So you have to choose a strange boundary condition to come up with a trend line that is not in the upper half here.

    Your update post http://landshape.org/enm/rahmstorf-et-al-2007-update/ does show a graph with such a strange trend line, the one you label "SSA+MRC". This line runs below all the data 2002-2006. It also deviates from your other lines well before 2002, at times which should not be affected by a boundary condition. You better double-check what you did there.

    I maintain that in our paper, the choice of boundary condition does not affect any of the conclusions. We might also just have left out the last 5 years of the trend line - it would have made no difference to our paper whatsoever. -stefan]

    Comment by David Stockwell — 15 Apr 2008 @ 3:44 PM

  152. Re: SecularAnimist #150,

    It is not that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are a physically impossible explanation for the recent warming, it is just that the model evidence that is dismissive of a reasonable size solar contribution strains credulity. Even if the poorly understood level of solar activity were to fall back from one of the highest levels in the last 8000 years, to the still elevated levels reached in the earliest part of the 20th century, they will still be responsible for some of the current energy imbalance. Climate commitment studies and physical reasoning about the thermal capacity of the oceans tell us that the climate system takes centuries to adjust to a new level of forcing. A short intervening period of higher forcing won’t magically accelerate the adjustment of the deep levels of the ocean, and a mid-century aerosol cooling would only delay the adjustment.

    The question is still open. The current models don’t have the credibility to reject the hypothesis that a significant part and perhaps even most of the recent warming can be explained by the plateau in poorly understood solar activity. Both the AGW and solar hypotheses require a signficant mid to late 20th century variation in aerosol forcing to explain the temperature signal. AGW may eventually explain most of the recent warming, but the coincidence of an unusually high plateau in solar activity, that is unlikely to continue, and a climate that is arguably within the range of natural variability, justifies some skepticism and humility.

    Comment by Martin Lewitt — 15 Apr 2008 @ 4:43 PM

  153. I think we can all stop being amazed at the number of people who log onto realclimate discussion forums to post long-since-discredited notions about global warming. I’m surprised that people still bother to respond to such posts with anything more than a simple link to previous RC articles. For tom watson, you could try

    Learning from a simple model 2007

    The CO2 problem in 6 easy steps

    Past Climate Reconstructions

    A Saturated Gassy Argument

    Those cover the three basics of climate science – the computer-based climate models, the real-time and recent observations, and the paleo-reconstructions of past climates, all of which point to an unprecedented warming of the Earth’s climate due to fossil fuel use and deforestation. People who are genuinely interested in the subject will be happy to read those introductory materials, while the typical global warming denialist corps will just continue to repeat their talking points ad naseum. Arguing with them only serves their purpose.

    More to the point of this thread, i.e. model-data comparison, let’s look at the latest new projections of sea level rise (BBC and Reuters):

    “For the past 2,000 years, the sea level was very stable,” she told journalists on the margins of the Vienna meeting.

    But the pace at which sea levels are rising is accelerating, and they will be 0.8-1.5 metres higher by next century, researchers including Jevrejeva said in a statement.

    Sea levels rose 2 cm in the 18th century, 6 cm in the 19th century and 19 cm last century, she said, adding: “It seems that rapid rise in the 20th century is from melting ice sheets”.

    Scientists fiercely debate how much sea levels will rise, with the IPCC predicting increases of between 18 cm and 59 cm.

    “The IPCC numbers are underestimates,” said Simon Holgate, also of the Proudman Laboratory.

    The researchers said the IPCC had not accounted for ice dynamics — the more rapid movement of ice sheets due to melt water which could markedly speed up their disappearance and boost sea levels.

    But this effect is set to generate around one-third of the future rise in sea levels, according to Steve Nerem from the University of Colorado in the United States.

    “There is a lot of evidence out there that we will see around one metre in 2100,” said Nerem, adding the rise would not be uniform around the globe, and that more research was needed to determine the effects on single regions.

    Scientists might debate the levels, but they agree on who will be hardest hit — developing nations in Africa and Asia who lack the infrastructural means to build up flood defences. They include countries like Bangladesh, almost of all of whose land surface is a within a metre of the current sea level.

    “If (the sea level) rises by one metre, 72 million Chinese people will be displaced, and 10 percent of the Vietnamese population,” said Jevrejeva.

    What happens to the ice as it melts? It absorbs some warmth from the atmosphere. How much? That’s another reason why using short-term trends in surface air temperatures to gauge global warming “pausing” or “accelerating” is not plausible. The atmosphere is primarily warmed by the emission from the oceans, ice sheets and land masses, which are themselves heated by sunlight, and which exchange heat among themselves – so surface temps can vary up or down while the planet as a whole continues to warm at a steady rate.

    How do you get that top down view? NPR ran a story on “The missing heat mystery” in which they referenced the ongoing discussion over the accuracy of the Argo Float system, another data-model discrepancy issue:

    But if the aquatic robots are actually telling the right story, that raises a new question: Where is the extra heat all going?

    Kevin Trenberth at the National Center for Atmospheric Research says it’s probably going back out into space. The Earth has a number of natural thermostats, including clouds, which can either trap heat and turn up the temperature, or reflect sunlight and help cool the planet.

    That can’t be directly measured at the moment, however.

    “Unfortunately, we don’t have adequate tracking of clouds to determine exactly what role they’ve been playing during this period,” Trenberth says.

    I somehow feel that the actual discussion between the NPR reporter and the professor was rather longer and more complex than what was reported. What NPR should have said is that due to the fact that the Triana/DSCOVR climate satellite was mothballed by the Bush Administration, that variable can’t be directly measured at the moment, which leaves global warming denialists with some wiggle room to continue their campaign against regulations on carbon emissions.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 15 Apr 2008 @ 4:53 PM

  154. Skeptics would do well to refer to some facts and a myth from the Hadley Center of the British Met Office. This is a respected source for climate change information:
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/myths/
    In light of recent comments about solar activity,particular attention should be paid to Fact 4 which explains why the recent warming can’t be attributed to the Sun or natural factors alone.
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/myths/4.html

    This latter site shows a graph of solar activity over the last 150+ years. It states among other things, that “Changes in solar activity DO affect global temperatures,but research shows that over the last 50 years,increased gas concentrations have a much greater effect than changes in the Sun’s energy.”

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 15 Apr 2008 @ 6:35 PM

  155. 150 SecularAnimist: good point, but this may be a good time to remind everyone of what ad hominem means. “You are an idiot, therefore I reject your argument” is an example.

    On the other hand, “For the following logical and supportable reasons, your argument makes no sense yet you persist with it, therefore you are an idiot” is not.

    In either case, it’s probably best not to tell someone they are an idiot, but if anyone insists on wandering into a site full of experts and claiming to be cleverer than them all, someones patience is bound to snap sooner or later.

    Tom: even though in my field, computer science, I like to think of myself as an “expert”, every now and then I have an inspiration that seems like a really good idea, but when I work through the detail, it falls apart. That doesn’t stop me trying to look for other good ideas. It is however preferable to get past the reality check phase before telling everyone else about a great advance.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 15 Apr 2008 @ 6:57 PM

  156. re: #154 Phil

    But perhaps more useful is to say: “You are wrong for these reasons, yet remain totally convinced you are right and thousands of professionals are wrong. You may wish to look up the definition of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which is fortunately curable if one wishes.”

    Comment by John Mashey — 15 Apr 2008 @ 8:23 PM

  157. Thanks for catching my mistake, Alastair.
    “Er, sorry, wrong number …”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Apr 2008 @ 9:41 PM

  158. re #126 Tom Watson

    “FYI An animation of this sat image will show daily rising and falling temps in desserts.”

    Which desserts are we talking about, baked Alaska or bananas Hawaiian? :-)

    Comment by Jim Eaton — 16 Apr 2008 @ 12:51 AM

  159. Re #132 Meltwater:

    In my case, however, and probably that of others, these apparently arrogant comments really reflect great despair at the peril ahead and the stubborn gullibility displayed by many who refuse to face it. Denialism has won every round of this debate so far, no matter what debating tactics have been tried against it.

    It is easy to despair, but also too easy to blame it on ourselves. Heck, half of Americans reject evolution; how did we even expect to succeed better? Much of the accusation of ‘arrogance’ is just concern trolling. We do pretty much as good a job as anybody under the circumstances.

    Human reality is that non-scientists will believe what they want to believe, rather than what they need to know. The critical faculties that a science training affords won’t be available to the great majority of mankind. Why do you think the U.S. insists on having a Vietnam experience every second generation?

    Debate isn’t helpful, and gives a false respectability to the denialist side. What happens here on RC is education/popularization/science review, not debate, and while valuable, doesn’t convince anyone that doesn’t want to be convinced — and anyway doesn’t reach the population at large.

    What might work is to get non-scientific authorities — clergy, business, celebrities, even respected politicians if there are any left, from all parties — to sign up to AGW. Statesmanship. That seems to be Al Gore’s line.

    Humanity at large will not come around by itself until the stuff hits the fan in a way that is obvious without analysis, probably a generation from now. Then the younger people here may enjoy an ‘I told you so’ experience, though it will be bittersweet.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 16 Apr 2008 @ 3:10 AM

  160. tom watson writes:

    All your interpretations rely on your interpretations. What evidence is there that any heat has gotten a little to some lower level?

    We can measure back-radiation from the sky with instruments.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 16 Apr 2008 @ 6:47 AM

  161. Martin Lewitt writes:

    The current models don’t have the credibility to reject the hypothesis that a significant part and perhaps even most of the recent warming can be explained by the plateau in poorly understood solar activity.

    The recent warming turned up sharply in the last 30 years. The sun’s output has been flat for the past 50 years, as have cosmic rays. What’s so hard to understand here?

    Yes, the sun affects the Earth, and yes, if the sun gets hotter the Earth will get hotter as well. But the sun hasn’t gotten hotter. We can measure it from satellites, you know.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 16 Apr 2008 @ 6:52 AM

  162. Ref 161. Barton writes “Yes, the sun affects the Earth, and yes, if the sun gets hotter the Earth will get hotter as well. But the sun hasn’t gotten hotter. We can measure it from satellites, you know.” All of which is true. If Chapter 2.7 of IPCC AR4 to WG1 (Extraterrestrial Effects) is correct, then you are also correct. The question is, is Chapter 2.7 to AR4 to WG1 correct when it claims to show that the ONLY effect the sun has on the earth’s climate is when it gets “hotter”; i.e. (presumably) the solar constant increases? That is the 64 trillion dollar question.

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 16 Apr 2008 @ 8:30 AM

  163. Re Jim’s 64 trillion dollar question, I have a better one: Why would we prefer a mysterious solar influence, in the complete absence of a correlation, over a strong correlation that is explained by well-known physics?

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 16 Apr 2008 @ 10:08 AM

  164. A belated admittedly minor clarification: I do not understand the problem with using a person’s demeanor and attitude to help assess their assertion.. For stuff that is less than physically unassailable (most things, including AGW), taking into account slobbering, blubbering, and haughtiness is not unreasonable. Maybe not very accurate, to be sure, but none-the-less not unreasonable.

    Comment by Rod B — 16 Apr 2008 @ 10:46 AM

  165. As I read, Tim B (no relation) in 35 expressed my thought above much better than I did.

    Comment by Rod B — 16 Apr 2008 @ 10:59 AM

  166. Rod, the assessment of something like AGW should consider two basic issues: (1) Is the analysis consistent with the known laws of physics? and (2) Does the analysis yield results that are consistent with the evidence? Granted, the answers to these questions will have some uncertaintly for an problem as complex as AGW, but as both the analysis and the evidence are refined, the uncertainties will continue to shrink. There is absolutely no place for the attitude of whomever in this.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 16 Apr 2008 @ 11:19 AM

  167. Re: Barton Paul Levinson #161

    The Sun has gotten hotter. The fact that it did so prior to 1940, and then just pretty much just remained so, does not alter its ability to explain warming, even to this day. GHG gasses also have difficulty explaining the shape and timing of the 20th century temperature statistics without significant aerosol contributions.

    No matter how suggestive the GHG concentration curves are to the naked eye relative to the plateau in solar activity, without positive feedbacks, anthropogenic GHGs can only account for less than a third of the recent warming. Credible attribution of the rest of the less than 1W/m^2 energy imbalance requires models that can reproduce the observed solar response, and have a much better “match” to the climate than current models.

    Read the climate commitment studies of Wigley, et al, and Meehl, et al, to understand how the argument that recent solar activity has not increased is simplistic and wrong. If the level of solar forcing reached prior to 1940 continues (which is unlikely per Solanki), then there will be a solar contribution to the energy imblance resulting in sea level rise for several more centuries. Presumably most of the temperature response occurs in the first few decades, although arguably, that response was delayed by the causes of the midcentury cooling.

    Comment by Martin Lewitt — 16 Apr 2008 @ 12:07 PM

  168. Re 167:

    GHG gasses also have difficulty explaining the shape and timing of the 20th century temperature statistics without significant aerosol contributions.

    Well yes, because climate models are incomplete without the contribution from aerosols.

    The larger question for Martin: How is the climate system so exquisitely sensitive to tiny TSI fluctuations, yet remarkably insensitive to the release of hundreds of billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere?

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 16 Apr 2008 @ 12:40 PM

  169. Re #164 Rod B:

    I do not understand the problem with
    using a person’s demeanor and attitude
    to help assess their assertion.

    That’s good to hear, Rod… not too long ago when I suggested you do just that re: Singer, Lindzen et al., you didn’t warm to the idea. Demonstrable mendacity falls under ‘demeanor and attitude’, don’t you think?

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 16 Apr 2008 @ 1:06 PM

  170. I understand and respect that comments can’t be fully moderated (nor should they), but something as untrue as this, “The recent warming turned up sharply in the last 30 years. The sun’s output has been flat for the past 50 years, as have cosmic rays. What’s so hard to understand here?” does at least deserve a clarification.

    [Response: This is not untrue. No recent assessment of solar forcing supports a rise over the last 50 years. - gavin]

    The sun’s output did significantly increase over the past century as Peter Stott notes in this analysis of climate models.

    The solar and volcanic forcings we use are derived from reconstructions based on proxy data and are therefore also subject to considerable uncertainties, although recent explosive volcanic eruptions are likely to have cooled climate, and independent records of solar activity levels inferred from the cosmogenic isotope 10Be (43) and geomagnetic records (44) provide support to reconstructions (22, 45) that show generally increasing solar activity during the 20th century (12).

    Solar output varies significantly over 11-14 year cycles, has generally increased over the past century (the increase stopping about 30 years ago) and has declined since about mid 1990s. While the output peaked about 30 years, the minimum of the cycle was still higher than the previous one. It is also important to note, during that 30 years solar output was still higher than the previous century (and first half this one). Shortly after there is a significant decline in CRF in the 90s, warming did, in fact, stop.

    Also of interest, the high energy cosmic rays that are known to affect low cloud cover are less affected solar activity, and when looked at independently rather lumped together with all cosmic ray flux (see Nir Shaviv’s sciencebits.com website), the relationship is quite striking. There are lags and feedbacks that dampen temperature signal too. The theory is entirely consistent with recent observations.

    [Response: No, it is not. The focus on high energy GCR is a post-hoc justification for the lack of any evidence that geomagnetic modulation affects climate and that the 'theory' needs low clouds to vary but not other kinds of clouds. Any mechanistic theory however must start from the role of ionization in creating aerosols and this is not restricted to low levels nor high energy GCR. Instead, it is dominated by lower energy GCR and occurs higher in the atmosphere, it is also there that ionization is able to compete more favorably with other nucleation processes. There has not been one single attempt by the proponents of this mechanism to physically model the effects of this for the last few decades or over longer time periods when we know other processes are occuring as well (for instance, a GCR-cloud mechanism does not invalidate the radiative forcing of CO2). No quantified estimates of this theory are available, no attribution has been attempted, let alone proven, and so statements like 'The theory is entirely consistent with recent observations' are devoid of any substance. - gavin]

    Roger Pielke Sr. recently posted some references on effects of cloud nucleation particle concentration on precipitation. These papers further support lags and dampening effects. The CRF/cloud effects should be fairly limited geographically, since cloud nucleation particles are already in high concentration over and near most land. Since the CRF/cloud effect on climate mainly happens through increased incidence in water, there are significant lags.

    Ilya Usoskin notes: “S&W studied either global or longitudinally averaged data. On the other hand, the effect of CR on clouds is shown to exist not everywhere but only in regions with favorable conditions. This is mostly limited to a few climate-defining regions, e.g., North Atlantic/Europe, South Atlantic, Far East. See, e.g., Usoskin et al. (2004), Palle et al. (2004), Marsh & Svensmark (2003), Voiculescu et al. (2006).”

    The signal in the atmosphere should be further masked by the slowing of the water cycle during high CRF periods due to the effect described by the Freud paper Roger linked, though I have no idea the extent of that effect. [ Increased cloud nucleation particle concentrations decrease precipitation, this would increase atmospheric temperature while the oceans would be warm less than normal].

    [Response: The indirect effects of aerosols on clouds are important, imperfectly understood and much research is ongoing on their effects. However, the change in aerosols due to human emissions dwarfs any trend in aerosols associated with solar changes on multi-decadal timescales - remember global dimming? that is inconsistent with any solar-modulated trend in GCR nucleation. - gavin]

    Comment by aaron — 16 Apr 2008 @ 1:35 PM

  171. Jim,

    Solar and GHGs are coupled to different parts of the climate system with different vertical, geographical, diurnal and seasonal distributions. Solar variation is poorly understood, UV variation and tropical convection influences on the stratosphere are becoming better appreciated. Most model independent estimates of climate sensitivity are based on solar and aerosols, and those few that aren’t are far larger error bars. In a complex nonlinear system where the forcings are coupled differently, the sensitivities should not be assumed to be the same. The AGW may well ultimately explain more of the warming than this unusually high level of solar activity, but there is little evidence for reaching that conclusion yet, or even that the AGW explanation is more likely. Just because the complexity of the climate system requires models to resolve this issue, doesn’t mean we are entitled to assume they are capable of that yet. There is plenty of evidence that they aren’t.

    Hopefully the models will be capable in another couple generations, although I suspect it might take another couple decades of high quality data to validate and tune the models to project this small energy imbalance. Unfortunately, there may not ever be good enough data from the past to attribute the recent warming, but the models may be able to use this era of better data to demonstrate they have the required skill understanding the current climate and for projection.

    Comment by Martin Lewitt — 16 Apr 2008 @ 2:04 PM

  172. Ref 163. You are missing the point. IPCC AR4 to WG1 either explicity or implicity states that the only extraterrestrail effect which affects the earth’s climate, is a change in solar constant. Does AR4 establish this, beyond reasonable doubt, in Chapter 2.7? I have noted many times that there is clear evidence that the sun, or something else that is extraterrestrial, affects climate. The trouble is that this is only a hypothesis, as no-one can show conclusively what the linkage is. But this does not mean that a linkage does not exist. The evidence presented in Chapter 2.7 of AR4 is, to me, woefully inadequate. The idea I have seen postulated is that the historical changes in the earth’s climate are due to a change in the solar constant. It is a lovely hypothesis, for which there is not one single solitary scrap of evidence.

    [Response: Why is it people make so many incorrect statements? There is an *explicit* discussion of the potential for GCR/cloud effects in Chapter 2, and there is no implicit conclusion that there are no solar (direct or indirect) impacts on climate. Instead, there are quantifications of the direct TSI effect (relatively simple in concept and easy to quantify), the amplified effects of the UV on ozone (still simple and only a little harder to quantify) , but no quantification of the more speculative mechanisms because these mechanisms have *never* been properly quantified. How is IPCC supposed to assess work that has not even been attempted, let alone accepted by the wider community? - gavin ]

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 16 Apr 2008 @ 2:05 PM

  173. Oops. Another important mistake in my comment:

    “Shortly after there is a significant decline in CRF in the 90s, warming did, in fact, stop”

    There was an increase in CRF, not a decline. A decline in solar activity.

    Comment by aaron — 16 Apr 2008 @ 2:32 PM

  174. RE 155 Philip Machanick, I followed the link with your name and in fact we do think or approach finding truth is honest ways. My engineering work in the art and science of measuring many things has me biased to regard that what modern satellites see as far more honest, OK metrology sound data than all the past inferred indexes of temperature based upon humans writing it down or judging proxies.

    If CO2 is delaying the departure of heat energy, It must be stored somewhere and It should be measurable. If said heat cannot be found, then all science

    PS In general, I never, well seldom give any notice to those who post attacks behind the courage of an anonymous handle.

    Comment by tom watson — 16 Apr 2008 @ 2:39 PM

  175. re 160 Barton Paul Levenson Says:

    “We can measure back-radiation from the sky with instruments.”

    Where does one buy an instrument that measures back-radiation from the sky?
    One that provide some meaningful data on What CO2 is doing.

    But the way the paper I linked too and that is called by some here as wrong wrong wrong came to pass because an EE like me said, this does not make sense.

    From http://www.junkscience.com/jan08/Global_Warming_Not_From_CO2_20080124.pdf
    Recently he had trouble understanding how a rise of carbon dioxide, or any substance, in the atmosphere from such low values as 0.035 percent could have such an overly large influence on the Earth’s future temperature as some predict. So he decided to read and learn about this from the perspective of an individual with a technical background, but not in the field of climate. After a few infrared measurements on summer nights showed that the amount of heat being radiated from the atmosphere was much less than some climate models predicted, he began an intensive study resulting in his own computer simulations based on available atmospheric data and well- known laws of infrared physics. While weather predictions and long-term climate and very complex and beyond the author’s expertise, he feels the single issue of heat absorption and radiation due to carbon dioxide is much simpler, well understood, and better modeled and measured as proposed here. For reasons explained in the report, he went from being unknowledgeable to skeptical to now very doubtful about a harmful future temperature rise due to increased carbon dioxide levels.

    None of the work done by the author related to this report was funded by any organization, company or person, besides the author who paid personally for the infrared measuring device and the fees for the carbon dioxide and water vapor spectral transmittance computer calculations.

    Richard J. Petschauer

    Comment by tom watson — 16 Apr 2008 @ 2:54 PM

  176. Whew, glad junkscience.com solved this issue! I was becoming concerned about the long term impacts of adding gigatons of GHGs to the atmosphere and what that might mean to my 10 and 8 year olds. Glad this issue is solved……

    Comment by Adam — 16 Apr 2008 @ 4:16 PM

  177. tom watson quoted: “While weather predictions and long-term climate and very complex and beyond the author’s expertise, he feels the single issue of heat absorption and radiation due to carbon dioxide is much simpler, well understood, and better modeled and measured as proposed here.”

    This is the paradigmatic example of what I referred to earlier: an individual with neither knowledge nor understanding of climate science, who somehow comes to believe that he has found the “simple” and obvious reason why global warming due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions is impossible — a simple and obvious reason that has somehow eluded the careful study of many hundreds of climate scientists over decades.

    Jim Galasyn ponders a Jim Cripwell comment: “Why would we prefer a mysterious solar influence, in the complete absence of a correlation, over a strong correlation that is explained by well-known physics?”

    For the simple reason that a strong correlation of global warming with CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels implies that we need to phase out the use of fossil fuels, whereas a “mysterious solar influence” does not. Therefore, the anthropogenic hypothesis must be false, and the “mysterious solar influence” hypothesis must be true.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 16 Apr 2008 @ 4:31 PM

  178. Martin (169) says, “…Demonstrable mendacity falls under ‘demeanor and attitude’, don’t you think?”

    In a word, NO, not really. (O.K., three words)

    Comment by Rod B — 16 Apr 2008 @ 4:41 PM

  179. Re Martin’s claims in 171, please read the excellent Weart history of global warming to understand why solar forcing is ruled out.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 16 Apr 2008 @ 4:46 PM

  180. Re #159 “Humanity at large will not come around by itself until the stuff hits the fan in a way that is obvious without analysis, probably a generation from now.”

    See:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/25_09_07climatepoll.pdf

    Extract:
    “Large majorities around the world believe that human activity causes global warming and that strong action must be taken, sooner rather than later, in developing as well as developed countries, according to a BBC World Service poll of 22,000 people in 21 countries.
    An average of eight in ten (79%) say that “human activity, including industry and transportation, is a significant cause of climate change.”
    Nine out of ten say that action is necessary to address global warming. A substantial majority (65%) choose the strongest position, saying that “it is necessary to take major steps starting very soon.””

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 16 Apr 2008 @ 5:01 PM

  181. Let me clarify, that my hope for the models intended model “generations”, not human “generations”. I had in mind a couple model generations i.e., 6 to 10 years. I am more concerned about the length of the data record that might be needed to validate them, although more “interesting” solar behavior might help crystalize some of the issues sooner.

    Comment by Martin Lewitt — 16 Apr 2008 @ 5:21 PM

  182. As far as solar variations go, see the following recent paper:

    http://publishing.royalsociety.org/media/proceedings_a/rspa20071880.pdf

    Lockwood & Frohlich (2007) Recent oppositely directed trends in solar climate forcings and the global mean surface air temperature. Proc. Roy. Soc.

    There is considerable evidence for solar influence on the Earth’s pre-industrial climate and the Sun may well have been a factor in post-industrial climate change in the first half of the last century. Here we show that over the past 20 years, all the trends in the Sun that could have had an influence on the Earth’s climate have been in the opposite direction to that required to explain the observed rise in global mean temperatures.

    Take a look at Figure 1, which plots (a) The international sunspot number, R (b) The open solar flux FS (c) The neutron count rate C due to cosmic rays (d) The Total Solar Irradiance composite (e) The GISS analysis of the global mean surface air temperature anomaly DT (with respect to the mean for 1951–1980).

    Nature has a subscription-only news article on this paper: No solar hiding place for greenhouse skeptics, Jul 4 2007

    Thus, solar variation explanations just don’t work.

    Martin Lewitt cites the work of Meehl et. al as evidence that solar forcing explains everything, but that’s completely nonsensical. See Meehl et al (2005) Climate change projections for the 21st century and climate change commitment in the CCSM3 (climate model) J. Climate Those are all scientists from NCAR in Boulder and Lawrence Livermore.

    Their work does raise some real issues about model predictions vs. observations when it comes to Arctic sea ice, however:

    Here’s the model prediction:

    Future decreases in sea ice with global warming are proportional to the temperature response from the forcing scenarios, with the high forcing scenario, A2, producing an ice-free Arctic in summer by the year 2100.

    Compare that to some of the current estimates:An ice-free Artic within a decade? (2008) That’s an interview with Dr Wieslaw Maslowski of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, on the loss of 7 million square km of sea ice lost from 1979-present:

    Dr Wieslaw Maslowski: . . . So, our contribution to this overall studies of the Arctic sea ice decrease is that we are arguing that the oceanic forcing indirectly receiving heat and the momentum, or the motion, from the atmosphere actually pretty much changes the time and space scale exchanges and interactions and ice response and then eventually provides, pretty much, a separate forcing to the sea ice condition.

    There are some model simulations, single model simulations, that are suggesting that it could possibly occur as early as 2050 or maybe even as early as 2030. Comparing those models simulations predictions with the satellite observations of the Arctic sea ice extent actually shows that most of those models are too conservative predicting the current and the past ice extent changes in the Arctic as has been observed. So the idea is that the climate models – they’re underestimating, they are too conservative in their prediction.

    What our contribution, our study contribution to this overall topic is that we’re saying that the satellite are only observing the 2-dimensional changes in the sea ice in the Arctic in terms of this ice extent. However, we do not have the observations of ice thickness – the third dimension, the vertical dimension – are very limited of the Arctic sea ice. And having those models that we used, we are able to look at the changes associated, not only with the ice extent, but also ice thickness and this way we can eventually calculate and try to understand the changes in the total ice volume in the Arctic.

    And our studies are suggesting that actually the volume and the thickness is decreasing even faster than the aerial observations from satellites. And this way we’re saying that actually if we already have lost probably about 40% volume in the Arctic so far, if we project this trend ongoing for the last 10 – 15 years, we probably will reach zero in summer some time mid next decade.

    The Navy was actually one of the first government institutions to accept the reality of global warming, because they had access to the nuclear submarine records of thinning Arctic sea ice. In 1999, the Navy released data showing that over the period from 1960-2000, ice thickness had declined by close to 40%. That trend was already obvious in the data in 1990, but was kept secret for another decade.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 16 Apr 2008 @ 7:21 PM

  183. > in 1999, the Navy released data

    Worth a cite and long quote. Here:

    nsf.gov – News – Newly Declassified Submarine Data Will Help Study …
    The area is known as the “Gore Box” for Vice President Al Gore’s initiative to declassify Arctic military data for scientific use. …
    http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=102863

    http://www.nsf.gov/news/mmg/media/images/pr986_f.jpg

    Map of Arctic Ocean where formerly classified submarine data are now being released for study.

    Larger: http://www.nsf.gov/news/mmg/media/images/pr986_h.jpg

    January 28, 1998

    A treasure-trove of formerly classified data on the thickness of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, gathered by U.S. Navy submarines over several decades, is now being opened. Data from the first of approximately 20 cruise tracks — an April, 1992 trans-Arctic Ocean track — has just been released, and information from the rest of these tracks, or maps of a submarine’s route, will be analyzed and released over the next year-and-a-half.

    “The data opens up a magnificent resource for global change studies,” said Mike Ledbetter, National Science Foundation (NSF) program director for Arctic system science.

    Climate modellers differ over the fate of the great expanse of Arctic sea ice, which is about the size of the United States. More than half the ice melts and refreezes each year.

    “The Navy has collected data for decades on ice thickness in the Arctic, which was important to know for navigation and defense,” said Ledbetter. “But this information is also extremely important to science, now giving us a history of sea ice that we could not collect any other way.”

    “The data is essential to building a baseline of sea-ice thickness in the Arctic basin to examine how global change affects ice cover,” explained Walter Tucker of the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory. Tucker is supported by NSF to process and analyze all digital ice-draft data collected by Navy submarines in the Arctic since 1986. The National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder is handling the actual data release.

    The Arctic Submarine Laboratory, on behalf of the Chief of Naval Operations, approved declassifying the sea-ice data within a specific swath of the Arctic Ocean, roughly between Alaska and the North Pole. The area is known as the “Gore Box” for Vice President Al Gore’s initiative to declassify Arctic military data for scientific use.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Apr 2008 @ 10:08 PM

  184. Re #180 Nick: I know, I know. But “major” is a weasel word, and no price tag :-)

    I hope you’re right, but believe it when people have been shown a concrete proposal, price tag and all. Expect gnashing of teeth and “why us and not them” rhetoric, even for perfectly affordable proposals. We see it already inside the EU.

    This is going to take statesmanship.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 17 Apr 2008 @ 2:51 AM

  185. Martin (169) says, “…Demonstrable mendacity falls under ‘demeanor and attitude’, don’t you think?”

    In a word, NO, not really. (O.K., three words)

    Let’s agree to disagree then… I would call habitual lying an attitude problem.

    I suppose the good news is that you didn’t challenge that those gentlemen have been lying… or was that an oversight? No, don’t shatter my illusions Rod :-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 17 Apr 2008 @ 2:59 AM

  186. In the concluding parenthetical sentence of his initial response to David Stockwell’s criticism of Rahmstorf et al (2007) at #124, Stefan Rahmstorf chides Stockwell and Roger Pielke Jr for having misspelled his name, and says that this is ‘an indication of the care someone takes in getting things right.’

    Is it? In Dr. Rahmstorf’s contribution “Anthropogenic Climate Change: Revisiting the Facts” to Ernesto Zedillo, eds., “Global Warming: Looking Beyond Kyoto” (Brookings Institution Press and Yale Centre for the Study of Globalization, 2008), Caspar Amman (sic) is cited as one of the authors of Wahl et al (’Comment on “Reconstructing Climate from Noisy Data”‘, ‘Science’, 312, no. 5733:529). However, according to the cited source (and the list of contributors to this website), the correct spelling is ‘Ammann’.

    Dr. Rahmstorf includes the chapter in the Brookings/Yale book in his list of publications, and it is published on the website of the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research with which he is affiliated.

    Despite this error, Rahmstorf (2008) should be considered on its merits, as should Rahmstorf et al (2007) and the recent contributions of Dr Stockwell and Professor Pielke.

    [Response: Thank you for pointing out this oversight. -stefan]

    Comment by Ian Castles — 17 Apr 2008 @ 3:35 AM

  187. Re #182, Ike, Great post there but it won’t convince some regardless of what you say. The biggest fear for me was always that the models were too conservative in their findings. The sensitivity to initial conditions that the science of complexity tells us about applies to the earths thermostat mechanism. It one thing to know the forcings and hence the temperature ranges, its another to know the implications of these changes. The IPCC 2007 report will not be updated until 2011/2012 and hence has itself seemingly in its 2007 assessment been too conservative in its estimates of the implications of 0.2C per decade warming and how sensitive earths systems are in influencing and responding to atmospheric warming via GHG.

    I think that James Hansens telling remark was whe nhe said that we have another 1F (0.6C) rise in the existing infrastructure along with the 1F (0.6) in the oceans already. 1.2C/2F is enough to get us to 2C. The implications of this are staggering if at 0.8C we are already getting seriously worried. If you live long enough you are going to see that 1.2C rise which is efectively guaranteed turn Earth into a different planet.

    Comment by pete best — 17 Apr 2008 @ 5:40 AM

  188. Ref 172, Gavin’s reply. I refer to IPCC AR4 to WG1 and the SPM. I have read Chapter 2.7 and studied Figure SPM 2. My interpretation of these, is that it is claimed that the only extraterrestrial effect that affects the earth’s climate, is a small change in the solar constant. There is no possibility of any other extraterrestrial factor affecting the earth’s climate. All this has been established scientifically. Am I correct?

    [Response: Not even close. Read section 2.7.1.3, 3rd paragraph on. - gavin]

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 17 Apr 2008 @ 5:46 AM

  189. Ike,

    You should look at figure 4 of that Lockwood and Frohlich paper. It shows that even while trends in the last 20 years are in the opposite direction to that required to explain the recent warming, that the magnitude of the recent trend is small, and leaves levels of solar forcing at higher levels than early in the century. If levels of solar activity are maintained at high levels, there will be a positive energy imbalance resulting in heat storage into the ocean that Meehl, et al, and Wigley, et al demonstrate takes centuries. Of course, these high levels of solar activity are unlikely to be maintained for centuries. Think of it this way, if you put a pot of water on the stove with the burner set at 9, a “recent trend” that turns it down to 8, doesn’t rule out the burner as the cause of a continuing rise in the water temeperature.

    The mid-century cooling in the temperature record is not consistent with either the solar or the GHG forcing “trends”. Presumably, reductions in aerosol negative forcings or whatever caused the midcentury cooling, explains the shape of the temperature curve.

    Both solar and GHG warming can be making a contribution to the Arctic melting. We need models good enough to properly attribute the warming and with the skill to project the climate based on future GHG scenerios. Since the case for AGW contribution of more than one third of the recent warming is dependent on the showing of positive feedback, that case is not helped by model failures in representing the melting, no matter how rapid and alarming that melting is. Stroeve, et al, document the model problems in this issue. Skill and credibility in projection, will require better models.

    Stroeve, J.C.; M. M. Holland, W. Meier, T. Scambos, and M. Serreze (2007). “Arctic sea ice decline: Faster than forecast”. Geophys. Res. Lett 34. doi:10.1029/2007GL029703. Retrieved on 2007-05-26. “All models participating in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC AR4) show declining Arctic ice cover over this period. However, depending on the time window for analysis, none or very few individual model simulations show trends comparable to observations.” Co-author Scambos from press release: “Because of this disparity, the shrinking of summertime ice is about thirty years ahead of the climate model projections.”

    Comment by Martin Lewitt — 17 Apr 2008 @ 6:07 AM

  190. Martin Lewitt writes:

    The Sun has gotten hotter. The fact that it did so prior to 1940, and then just pretty much just remained so, does not alter its ability to explain warming, even to this day.

    Yes it does.

    GHG gasses also have difficulty explaining the shape and timing of the 20th century temperature statistics without significant aerosol contributions.

    So does any other cause of the warming.

    No matter how suggestive the GHG concentration curves are to the naked eye relative to the plateau in solar activity, without positive feedbacks, anthropogenic GHGs can only account for less than a third of the recent warming.

    If you’re talking variance accounted for, when I regress temperature anomalies on CO2 concentrations for 1880-2007, I get 78% of variance accounted for, not one third.

    Credible attribution of the rest of the less than 1W/m^2 energy imbalance requires models that can reproduce the observed solar response, and have a much better “match” to the climate than current models.

    The current models take the sun into account.

    Read the climate commitment studies of Wigley, et al, and Meehl, et al, to understand how the argument that recent solar activity has not increased is simplistic and wrong. If the level of solar forcing reached prior to 1940 continues (which is unlikely per Solanki), then there will be a solar contribution to the energy imblance resulting in sea level rise for several more centuries. Presumably most of the temperature response occurs in the first few decades, although arguably, that response was delayed by the causes of the midcentury cooling.

    Doesn’t work that way. If the climate were responding to a big impulse with a delay, the response would be greatest right away and then gradually damp with time. It wouldn’t first be flat and then suddenly ramp up.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 17 Apr 2008 @ 6:44 AM

  191. tom watson writes:

    Where does one buy an instrument that measures back-radiation from the sky?

    bucksci.com and hitachi-hat.com spring to mind, also Edmund scientific. The instrument you want is an “infrared photometer.”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 17 Apr 2008 @ 6:49 AM

  192. Barton Paul Levinson,

    Most of the temperature response to the impulse of solar activity probably would have been greatest “right away”, if not for the midcentury cooling event. BTW, “right away” according to the climate commitment studies would be within the first few decades. While the current plateau in solar activity might eventually look like an “impulse” when viewed on geologic time scales, on our time scale, we are still within the high part of the impulse, although it may be starting to tale off.

    My less than one-third was based upon the direct warming of the CO2, not any accounting for variance, which presumably would incorporate some positive feedbacks. Until solar variation and coupling is better understood and modeled, we won’t know how much of the variation should really be attributed to GHGs.

    It is not enough for the models to “take the sun into account”, they must do a good enough job to attribute and project the climate. You may have missed the discussion of the Camp and Tung results in this thread:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/04/blogs-and-peer-review#comment-84547

    Comment by Martin Lewitt — 17 Apr 2008 @ 8:06 AM

  193. re 190, Dear Barton Paul Levenson, do have such an instrument? How does it work and what does it tell you about how CO2 is causing back radiation?
    What wavelengths do they operate at and can you direct me to the calibration methodology used in manufacture and recommended for users?

    I already have a Craftsman Non-contact Infrared Thermometer with Laser Pointer 82288 and it is of little use in making any meaningful measurements with regards to any specific gas, especially a trace gas like CO2. A sling psychrometer is far more useful in knowing how the real greenhouse gas will impact the atmospheric temperature over several future hours. Has any of your past life experience had you ever dealing with instrumentation to make an actual measurement of any physical property of matter? I built my first weather instruments, optical instruments and electronic amps, strobes, readiation detectors, camera, qblow furnish in the sixties. my first solar how water heating system in the senventies. http://toms.homeip.net/2002.10.05_to_newport/320×240/DSC04651.jpg

    Comment by tom watson — 17 Apr 2008 @ 8:51 AM

  194. > the real greenhouse gas

    So you know the truth, and you’re here witnessing for your faith?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Apr 2008 @ 10:22 AM

  195. Re Tom’s home measurement of back radiation, isn’t the device you want called a Pyranometer?

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 17 Apr 2008 @ 11:19 AM

  196. Re 193 hank, In engineering it is common practice to simply ignore contributors to a process that may contribute less than a small fraction of 1%.

    H20 has concentrations of 20 to thousands of times that of CO2. H20 adsorbs serveral times the wavelenghts of CO2 if in equal concentrations with CO2. It’s specific heat is similar, but H20 has a heat of fusion plus vaporization that is 600 times that of CO2.

    There is more H20 than CO2 by orders of magnitude. It’s heat storage is a few orders of magnitude greater than CO2. And H20 adsorbs an order of magnitude of more wavelengths than CO2.

    CO2 can be declared a trace green house gas and not a real green house. Especially when having fun. All the stuff that we use every day and works as well as it does was created by engineers who figured out what was not contributing.

    [Response: CO2 contributes about 20% to the total greenhouse effect (once you deal with overlaps etc.), water vapour contributes about 50%. Seems to me that engineers would think that a worthwhile contribution to investigate. - gavin]

    Comment by tom watson — 17 Apr 2008 @ 1:20 PM

  197. Re 175. Tom, get real. The paper as you describe it is amateurish nonsense of the most embarrassing kind – simplistic work by people with enough background that they should know better. I scanned the paper, but would not waste my time reading something that had appeared only on junkscience. If he really thinks he is on to something, let him submit it to a peer-reviewed scientific publication.

    This site provides an opportunity to be educated through interaction with top climate scientists who generously donate their time. When amateurs wade in with bold claims that they know more about climate science than the climate scientists, it frankly comes across as silly.

    The people who run this site, as well as some of the highly knowledgeable contributors, are amazingly patient in answering almost any relevant question and pointing you in the right direction. See if you can pose a proper scientic question.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 17 Apr 2008 @ 1:21 PM

  198. I’ve never understood this thing that people have about magical effects of changes in the Sun, mystical lag times, etc.

    Last night, when the Sun set, temperatures dropped fairly quickly, and this morning, they went back up, fairly quickly.

    Comment by John Mashey — 17 Apr 2008 @ 1:45 PM

  199. “Jet Streams Are Shifting And May Alter Paths Of Storms And Hurricanes”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080416153558.htm

    “… These changes fit the predictions of global warming models …”

    Comment by David B. Benson — 17 Apr 2008 @ 1:46 PM

  200. Re #151 Stefan
    #18 Stefan,
    You state:

    Since we use an 11-year embedding period, the uncertainty in the trend determination and the boundary condition only affect the last 5 years, agreed?

    To test this I have shown three different methods with variations and graphs here http://landshape.org/enm/examples-of-simple-smoothers/.
    The results are as follows:

    1. Singular spectrum analysis (SSA used in your paper Rahmstorf et al. 2007), 11 year embedding period, comparing ‘minimum roughness criterion’ end padding with no padding. The trend lines flex about the 8th point, deviating every other point in the trend line, particularly the last 7.

    2. Smooth spline, 11df, end-padding from top and bottom of trend channel (95%CL of a single value). The trend lines flex about the 11th point.

    3. Moving average with final point varied to top and bottom of trend channel (95%CL of a single value). The last point in the trend changes, but the it stops 5 points short of the end, of course.

    In general, the causal filters do not localize variations, while the acausal moving average does. Perhaps you were thinking of a moving average when you said it only affects the last five points?

    Now I don’t know what happens in the Matlab implementation you used. Unfortunately, estimates of uncertainty are not included in Rahmstorf et al. 2007, which is most of my concern.

    So you have to choose a strange boundary condition to come up with a trend line that is not in the upper half here.

    The green line in first SSA figure in my post is the simple linear regression of the 34 years data. This trend line is virtually in the middle of the IPCC trends, is not in the upper half, and is not ‘strange’.

    I maintain that in our paper, the choice of boundary condition does not affect any of the conclusions.

    The simple regression line is almost the same as the SSA with the MRC, and is an example where choice of boundary conditions affects the conclusions of your paper. As a point of interest, what was the result of the other choice of boundary condition in matlab that you mention? Did it shift the end of the trend line above or below the one you used?

    the temperature values of 2002-2006 are all without exception in the upper half of the IPCC range, no matter whether you use the Hadley or the NASA data.

    You suggest that 5 points above the line is significant. However, you do not know unless you test it, and in series with high serial correlation, such runs are probably not unusual. That’s a kind of non-parametric runs test and I forget what it is called.

    Stepping back from this analysis, the whole point of statistical testing is to ensure your conclusions are not overturned by subsequent data. The final figure in the post above shows a smooth spline of monthly temperatures from Hadley and GISS. If an orthodox statistical test had been performed in 2006 in Rahmstorf et al. 2007 it would have given a different conclusion, borne out by the subsequent data, i.e. random fluctuations about a long term trend.

    [Response: If you really think you’d come to a different conclusion with a different analysis method, I suggest you submit it to a journal, like we did. I am unconvinced, though. -stefan]

    Comment by David Stockwell — 17 Apr 2008 @ 2:54 PM

  201. Alright,first of all id like to say im not a scientist,meteorlogist,or any of the above.But i have questions that i would like to ask the professionals.I say professionals because its obvious that the views on this sight are clearly stated by top notch scientists and people who know what they are discussing.To begin with,I’ll start with the Co2 issue.Everyone says that the increase in Co2 is causing a a blanket in our atmosphere and trapping in the heat,is it safe to say that,that would be a true
    statement? Secondly,why is there so much argument about if we are really going through a large increase
    in our planet heating. The IPCC is the leading candidate for this hype but are their findings accurate?
    Is there true data and not computer models to verify this is happening on a global scale? Is it possible that erupting volcanoes could cause the rise in Co2 in our atmosphere? Now understandably,its been
    proven that HCFC’s and other types of chemicals is not good for the enviroment.But is it not safe to
    say,that increased Co2 levels is good for plant life and other types of vegatation? Now,considering that Water Vapor is 95% of greenhouse gases,would it not be safe to say that the increase in water vapor
    could be a cause of increased heating.Would the increase in water vapor trap in more heat? And lastly,
    what about the HOLE in the atmosphere.If a hole would exsist and would allow more radiation to enter,
    why would it not allow for things to escape it?I know that this a very complex subject and i thank you
    for listening to me.I’m also aware that sometimes there is no clearcut answer to certain questions,Im
    really concerned about the truths of this issue.Ive done quite a bit of research on this topic and
    seem to be getting alot of arguments on both sides by very compatent scientist.Is Global Warming really
    rapidly changing our planet because of fossil fuels or is something else happening that we are not being
    told about? thank you

    [Response: If you are genuinely concerned about these issues, please go to the material linked on the 'Start Here' page (at the top of this page). Much of your confusion will be clarified with a little background reading. - gavin]

    Comment by stephen clarke — 17 Apr 2008 @ 3:03 PM

  202. Re #195. This recalls an old argument put forward to disprove the theory of sound waves. On a quiet night, a cricket’s chirp can be heard from a mile away. If the ridiculous pressure-wave theory is correct, it means that this tiny insect is capable of keeping several cubic miles of air in a state of constant agitation. Nice try, silly scientists!

    Comment by spilgard — 17 Apr 2008 @ 3:19 PM

  203. So according to gavin, C02 contributes 20%. Well one wonders at the imagination of definition that comes up with 20%. And I do wonder at how the overlap works when there is at a minimum 20 times as much H20 as C02 by PPM. If the amounts of mass as I have described are correct and my specifications of specific heat and heats of fusion and vaporization is correct. I do wonder at what magic science give CO2 some green gas property that is orders of magnitude larger than it’s known physical properties.

    And then the objective observation of satellites shows no warming. All that CO2 with 20% magic warming green house gas property and it cannot be found.

    And rod taylor says amateurish. OK you cannot explain the magic of your science and anything that question the magic 20% must be amateurish.
    Rod I have read all kinds of crap and giberish all over realclimate.org.
    I am also a professional and I am give freely of my wisdom and time. And that article you call amateur, I find greatly informative and insightful. I did not scan it, I read it, I read again and I thought about it. It is a very rational application of deductive and inductive reasoning in how to simplify understanding the effects of doubling the amount of the trace gas CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere. I believe scientists are not engineers because they think differently and vice versa. that is not good or bad, it’s different. All three of my children are engineers. We have conversations that no one other than engineers would have a clue about what we are talking about.
    Click on my name and you will find a small sample of my PASTWORK.

    If you cannot comprehend what is presented in that paper, if is is only amatuerish to you, well maybe climate science is the refuse of the amateur.

    It quite simple, If it has no heat it is cold. It has cooled, the heat was not trapped. the heat went away. All that which says it should have and it will have is wrong as it does not have.

    All all the expert who claim otherwise are in denial. Maybe my minds eyes can visualize the fluid mechanics of the atmosphere better or maybe not. But all forces, all properties, do not give CO2 any ability to be some 20% green house gas by any rational definition of the meaning of green house gas.

    Or maybe one can come up with some specific definition where it could be sane to say CO2 is the 20% gas. OK then the measurements show that green house gas effects compared with generic insulation effects and convection effects are 20 times smaller than currently modeled.

    [Response: Much as I find your desire to continually demonstrate your confusion, brave, even noble, its connection to the actual physical world is zero. Please go away and read something relevant - Kiehl and Trenberth 1997 would be a good start, and don't come back until you have a coherent argument as to why they, and everyone else, are wrong. Enough is enough. - gavin]

    Comment by tom watson — 17 Apr 2008 @ 4:17 PM

  204. Tom, it is hard to take you seriously when confuse simple processes such as absorption and adsorption. I can understand a misspelling here and there, but you have used this term seven times in your comments to this thread. Radiation cannot be adsorbed because a) it is not molecular and b) it does not form a thin film.

    Comment by Jeff — 17 Apr 2008 @ 4:19 PM

  205. Nick (180), the implication in “Humanity at large will not come around by itself until the stuff hits the fan in a way that is obvious without analysis…” is that you’re talking to the people in the context that ‘do you believe this and think we should do something about it’, is going to cause them a lot of grief and work. For instance asking “would you do this if Uncle Sam or his relatives gave you a whole lot of stuff?” is sure to get positive replies — even if the person has no idea what you’re asking about. It was also curious that far more people positively agreed with AGW than the number who had heard a lot about it.

    None-the-less, I was impressed with the thoroughness and openness of the poll. Hardly any pollsters publish the actual questions asked, to avoid being attacked for built-in bias (which far too many polls have). It did raise some thought questions in my mind. I think the hypothesis above is still valid. The somewhat surprising poll results remind me that any time one is dealing with mass psychology and predicting what the mass will do/support/resist is pretty much a crap shoot. I would hazard a guess that the preponderance of the pollees (??) who said they support AGW mitigation and have heard about GW still don’t have a clue of which they speak. But…, interesting.

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Apr 2008 @ 4:43 PM

  206. re Ike’s 182: a clarification: the US Navy does not have or take an official opinion on global warming; in fact there are mixed opinions within the meterology and oceanography branch, and within Naval Research. In any case they defer to NOAA and the Commerce Dept. for official pronouncements.

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Apr 2008 @ 4:51 PM

  207. ps not withstanding Gore’s declassifying naval measurements, which they view as military secret, for his own (and, granted, other scientist’s) use.

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Apr 2008 @ 4:55 PM

  208. No, Martin (185), I would and recently have challenged those mendacity examples here in RC. But, IMHO, it kinda ends with semantics, and I felt no benefit would accrue from re-running the debate

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Apr 2008 @ 5:04 PM

  209. David (198), do GW models predict jet stream shifts????

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Apr 2008 @ 5:15 PM

  210. Rod B (207) — I’m the wrong person to ask; I only reported what the article states.

    That said, I see know reason why a good general circulation model could not do so.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 17 Apr 2008 @ 5:37 PM

  211. Are you claiming Al Gore, all on his little lonesome and without the approval of the Navy, declassified something the United States Navy wanted to remain classified?

    Comment by JCH — 17 Apr 2008 @ 6:06 PM

  212. Re #207 where Rod B says do GW models predict jet stream shifts???

    That is what is says here!

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 17 Apr 2008 @ 6:35 PM

  213. re 202 Jeff, well jeff, my typing sucks. And the only thing I check is when the spell checker in my firefox browser underlines a spelling or typo error. And to an EE, well db always goes together with 3. Currently jeff, firefox and EE are underlined. Jeff would not be. Firefox considers itself a proper name also. And EE well…. Maybe CO2 has some magical adsorption properties. It seems no observations find it’s 20% absorption of photons.

    Comment by tom watson — 17 Apr 2008 @ 6:42 PM

  214. Re #203 Rod, certainly if you asked people “Will you give up flying / your car / eating meat / your plasma TV to stop climate change, even if people in other countries didn’t”, you’d surely get a different answer. However, this is the most comprehensive poll I’m aware of, it’s recent, and the order of the questions has been chosen carefully – for example the question about whether developing countries should cut their emissions came before the question which posed this as part of a deal whereby they got aid and technology, so we can see how much difference that made. I think there is a good chance that if political leaders, in the next few years, were to negotiate seriously for an international deal, people could be convinced to go along even with measures that would be economically painful, provided they were convinced the deal as a whole was more or less fair. At any rate, I think the poll shows that dismissing this possibility is too pessimistic.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 17 Apr 2008 @ 7:57 PM

  215. Re Stephen Clarke @ 199

    Everyone says that the increase in Co2 is causing a blanket in our atmosphere and trapping in the heat,is it safe to say that,that would be a true
    statement?

    A blanket is not a perfect analogy for the greenhouse effect, which is of course much more complicated. What CO2 and other greenhouse gases do is absorb heat energy in the form of infrared light radiated by Earth’s surface, blocking it from reaching space, much like a blanket would. But that energy doesn’t stay absorbed. Instead it is quickly released, either by being transmitted as sensible heat to other gas molecules through collision, or it is emitted right back into the atmosphere as infrared light, where it can be absorbed again, and emitted again, and so on. Eventually that energy does make it to space, but in the process it warms the atmosphere.

    Secondly,why is there so much argument about if we are really going through a large increase
    in our planet heating.

    Hardly anyone now asserts that there has been no warming since the actual measurements quite plainly show a clear and sustained warming trend over the past century, although some do still dispute the extent and cause of the warming. Recently the rate of warming has appeared to slow or stall, but it is not yet known if the this is because of year-to-year variation, or if the long term trend has actually changed.

    The IPCC is the leading candidate for this hype but are their findings accurate?

    Hype? The IPCC examined and summarised the current science on the state of the climate and the observed effects and potential effects of climate change. If anything, their summary is more conservative than many scientists. For example, last summer’s melt of Arctic sea ice outstripped the projections in the IPCC report. So has the rate at which the Greenland ice cap is melting.

    Is there true data and not computer models to verify this is happening on a global scale?

    Yes, mountains of it. Libraries full of it. Warehouses full of it. Walk-in freezers full of it. All of what is currently observed and measured about past and current climate change is from the real world, not computer model projections. What models are used for is analysing and understanding the real-world observations and measurements and making projections about the possible future extent and impact of climate change.

    Is it possible that erupting volcanoes could cause the rise in Co2 in our atmosphere?

    This one is a simple and clear-cut no. In modern times world-wide volcanic activity emits between 145 and 255 million metric tonnes of CO2 each year, depending on how many eruptions there are and how large they are, even in a year with a big eruption like Mt. Pinatubo in 1991. That is less that 1 percent as much as human activity emits each year, which is currently around 29 billion tonnes per year. The eruption of a megavolcano, such as the Yellowstone caldera, would be a different story, but in that case volcanic CO2 would be the least of your worries. In fact, if you live in North America you’d likely have no more worries at all.
    See: http://www.bgs.ac.uk/programmes/landres/segs/downloads/VolcanicContributions.pdf

    But is it not safe to say,that increased Co2 levels is good for plant life and other types of vegatation?

    It’s not as simple as that. Some plant species do thrive in CO2-rich conditions, all other conditions being equal, such as poison ivy and kudzu, but not all do, including many of our important cereal grains. Also, CO2 is only one plant nutrient, and plant growth is limited by the nutrient that is in shortest supply, not the one in most abundant supply. In any case, all other conditions will not likely be equal in a warmer, CO2-richer atmosphere. In a warmer world some agricultural areas will see less precipitation, or the rains will come at the wrong time in the growing season, so some crops may not be able to grow where they do now. Most of our crops are also sensitive to heat, again, including most of our grain crops, so they may not be able to grow where they do now even if water is available. As I said, it’s not as simple as CO2 is good for growing plants.

    Now,considering that Water Vapor is 95% of greenhouse gases,would it not be safe to say that the increase in water vapor
    could be a cause of increased heating.Would the increase in water vapor trap in more heat?

    It would, if the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere could be increased. But the amount of water vapour that the atmosphere can hold, or its relative humidity, is limited by temperature and pressure, so the only way to get more water vapour in the atmosphere is to first increase the temperature or the pressure of the atmosphere. You see the problem? Add more water vapour and it will just condense out and precipitate to the ground as rain or snow. This doesn’t happen with CO2, and we know it is accumulating in the atmosphere because we are emitting it faster than the ocean and biosphere can take it up.
    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humidity

    And lastly, what about the HOLE in the atmosphere.If a hole would exsist and would allow more radiation to enter,
    why would it not allow for things to escape it?

    I would think that it might since ozone is a greenhouse gas, and it might perhaps be a contributing reason why the Antarctic is so cold despite the prediction that it should be the poles that warm the most. Then again, the Antarctic ice cap is also very high, and therefore colder than the Arctic, and the continent is insulated from warmer air and water by circumpolar winds and currents, and the depth of the atmosphere at the poles is much less than elsewhere, so I don’t really know how much more radiant heat there is to lose due to the ozone hole. Maybe someone else can help with this question.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 17 Apr 2008 @ 9:09 PM

  216. Re Rod B #205

    The submarine Arctic ice data was very carefully sanitized to protect detailed submarine track and mission information. The operational side (submariners) were supportive of this effort. It happened because Mr. Gore pressed for it. The only opposition came from some within the intelligence community. This information was of great value to the Arctic research community. I’m not sure what you are trying to imply with the “for his own use” throw away line.

    I think there is a lot more submarine derived oceanographic data of great potential value that should be declassified and released to the scientific community.

    Comment by Paul Middents — 17 Apr 2008 @ 10:37 PM

  217. JCH, given Gore’s current status the Navy would have certainly had to agree to declassify the information. And though I’m sure their default preference would be to not declassify (always the case in DOD or any other) I’m sure they decided they could give up the measurements in the narrow strip of Arctic and ‘help science’ without losing very much military value. I have no idea if they fought hard against it or not. And I have no disagreement with it — though neither am I the one responsible to assure our subs can outmaneuver the Ruskies in the Arctic Ocean. My only point was to clarify that the Navy is not/was not publicly or officially jumping on the AGW cause.

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Apr 2008 @ 11:14 PM

  218. Alastair, Well, they didn’t actually say jet stream shifts are one of the outputs of GW models, though they surely try to leave that impression with phrases like “consistent with” and “these shifts fit the predictions..” I find it hard to believe that jet stream patterns are outputs of GW models, but would like to know if they are. Not a real important question; but seems it should be easy, simple and straightforward.?.?

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Apr 2008 @ 11:27 PM

  219. Nick (212), I still don’t go as far as your conclusions. But, as I said earlier, too, I was surprisingly impressed with the poll and its methodology, as you recite. There is a new little question mark in my brain’s garage.

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Apr 2008 @ 11:35 PM

  220. Paul (214), I appreciate the insight. “For his own use” was a well-deserved (IMO) cheap shot!

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Apr 2008 @ 11:44 PM

  221. Jim Eager (#213) wrote:

    I would think that it might since ozone is a greenhouse gas, and it might perhaps be a contributing reason why the Antarctic is so cold despite the prediction that it should be the poles that warm the most. Then again, the Antarctic ice cap is also very high, and therefore colder than the Arctic, and the continent is insulated from warmer air and water by circumpolar winds and currents, and the depth of the atmosphere at the poles is much less than elsewhere, so I don’t really know how much more radiant heat there is to lose due to the ozone hole. Maybe someone else can help with this question.

    Ozone is a greenhouse gas. However, it operates primarily in the lower stratosphere. But this is not the main difference between it and other greenhouse gases. Ozone absorbs radiation principally in the UV band. As such it is able to absorb energy directly from sunlight. And thus if you increase the amount of ozone, in the lower stratosphere, you increase the warming in the stratosphere, and this will have the effect of reducing the warming that takes place at the surface — as some of that ultraviolet will be radiated back into space without ever reaching the surface. However, this isn’t something that receives a great deal of focus undoubtedly since the effects are minor.

    But in any case, ozone depletion is responsible for the majority of the cooling trend in the lower stratosphere. Given the fact that thermal radiation is radiated by the surface primarily in the infrared band and is quite negligible in the ultraviolet band, ozone depletion will have a negligible effect on the ability of the surface to radiate its thermal radiation.

    However, given the fact that it increases the temperature differential between the surface and the stratosphere, it increases the strength of the polar vortex and thus its cooling effect upon the surface — as is suggested by the cooling pattern around the south pole.

    For the image, please see:

    Antarctic Heating and Cooling Trends
    http://rst.gsfc.nasa.gov/Sect16/antarctic_temp-AVH1982-2004.jpg

    Other greenhouse gases are transparent to both ultraviolet radiation and visible radiation. They can neither absorb nor emit in those parts of the spectrum. As such, they rely upon the sunlight being absorbed by the surface and re-emitted as infrared thermal radiation for their effect as they are opaque to certain bands of infrared radiation.

    Methane operates primarily in the troposphere and carbon dioxide operates principally in the mid to upper troposphere — where the atmosphere becomes especially dry. Now as much of the infrared radiation that gets absorbed by greenhouse gases gets reradiated towards the surface, it will warm the surface. But more importantly, it lowers the rate at which radiation reaches the top of the atmosphere. Likewise, it lowers the rate at which thermal radiation reaches the middle and upper stratosphere — and thus the rise in tropospheric carbon dioxide is the dominant cause of a cooling trend found at those altitudes.

    In fact, this is what pictures such as the following rely upon for measuring concentrations of greenhouse gases at various altitudes:

    NASA AIRS Mid-Tropospheric (8km) Carbon Dioxide
    http://www-airs.jpl.nasa.gov/Products/CarbonDioxide/

    The image is carbon dioxide at 8 km. You will notice the plumes rising off the heavily populated east and west coast of the United States. What is being measured is the infrared radiation being absorbed and then reemitted by carbon dioxide. The thicker the carbon dioxide, the more opaque the atmosphere becomes to the infrared radiation in that channel. So in essence, you are seeing the enhanced greenhouse effect in action when you look at that photo. And we are able to do the same thing with water vapor and methane – a few of the videos found here deal with those:

    Multimedia Animations
    http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/Multimedia/Animations/

    *

    Since solar radiation is relatively constant, this means that raising the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere results in an imbalance between the rate at which energy enters the climate system and the rate at which energy leaves the climate system. Since energy is conserved, the heat content of the climate system must rise — and it will continue to rise until the temperature is sufficiently high for the rate at which energy is emitted at the surface to compensate for the increased opacity of the atmosphere to thermal radiation — and for the rate at which energy enters the climate system to equal the rate at which energy leaves the climate system.

    *

    One small correction for Jim: while the absorption of thermal radiation by greenhouse gases will warm the atmosphere, the radiation of thermal radiation by greenhouse gases will cool the atmosphere, and as energy enters the atmosphere through moist air convection and thermals, this has the effect of shifting the balance between the warming due to the absorption of thermal radiation and cooling due to the radiating of thermal radiation in favor of cooling — such that the net direct effect of greenhouse gases is primarily that of cooling the atmosphere while warming the surface. However, this isn’t uniformly the case throughout the atmosphere — as carbon dioxide (for example) will result in net direct warming of the atmosphere over a certain range of wavelengths over a certain range of atmospheric pressure.

    The following shows calculated degrees of cooling per day*wavelength as a function of pressure (which decreases exponentially with altitude) and wavelength for co2, ozone and water vapor.

    Radiation & Climate: Major Projects
    Line-by-line calculation of atmospheric fluxes and cooling rates 2
    http://www.aer.com/scienceResearch/rc/m-proj/abstracts/rc.clrt2.html

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 18 Apr 2008 @ 12:41 AM

  222. Re #216

    Rod,

    I don’t think that the models output the latitude of the jet stream, but they do produce a simulation of the global climate in action which would have jet streams in it. By the Law of Averages some of the models will have the jet stream moving polewards :-)

    I went to a conference at the Royal Society a few weeks ago and tried to convince an expert there that I had found out where the models were going wrong. I was told that it was impossible that I was correct because the professor had 30 years experience with climate models. Moerover, if looked at the output from the models I would see their outputs were exactly the same as seen in the satellite photographs. But… In the next session of the meeting it was stated that the models produce a double Intertropical Convergence zone (ITCZ.)

    Isn’t that true Gavin? You were there.

    For those who do not know, the ITCZ is the main (single) cloud formation that wraps around the equator in the tropics produced by the meeting of the Hadley Cells, and can be seen on satellite images such as this this one or this one. One wonders, if the modellers cannot get that right how much reliance to place on their predictions for the jet stream. One also wonders how an expert with 30 years experience in climate modeling did not know that one and one makes two!

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 18 Apr 2008 @ 5:09 AM

  223. Martin Lewitt writes:

    You may have missed the discussion of the Camp and Tung results in this thread:

    No, I didn’t. I became suspicious of their results when I realized they weren’t accounting for the Earth’s albedo when they made their preliminary flux calculations, which introduces a 31% error right there. If their approach is that sloppy, they probably made plenty of other mistakes as well.

    [Response: I would recommend a more wait and see attitude, KK Tung has a very good track record and so I am doubtful about your claim. I'll try and have a look at it when I get some time. - gavin]

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 18 Apr 2008 @ 6:46 AM

  224. tom watson writes:

    Dear Barton Paul Levenson, do have such an instrument? How does it work and what does it tell you about how CO2 is causing back radiation?

    No, my climatology is all on the theoretical side. To attribute the back-radiation to CO2, I assume they checked which wavelengths the energy was coming in on. The wavelengths at which CO2 absorbs infrared energy are the same wavelengths at which it emits infrared energy, e.g. the very strong bands around 14.99 microns.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 18 Apr 2008 @ 6:48 AM

  225. tom watson writes:

    H20 has concentrations of 20 to thousands of times that of CO2.

    Water vapor averages about 3870 ppmv and carbon dioxide about 385 ppmv, so it’s about ten to one. It’s less than that by mass, since the carbon dioxide molecule weighs twice as much as a molecule of water vapor (44 AMU versus 18).

    H20 adsorbs serveral times the wavelenghts of CO2 if in equal concentrations with CO2.

    Don’t you mean “absorbs?” Adsorption refers to stuff collecting on a grain, I believe, like glass beads cooling off and adsorbing water. I could be wrong but that was the impression I had.

    It’s specific heat is similar, but H20 has a heat of fusion plus vaporization that is 600 times that of CO2.

    The latent heat of vaporization of carbon dioxide is about 571,300 Joules per kilogram, compared to 2,260,000 for water vapor — about four times as high, not 600 times as high. And since carbon dioxide is almost always a gas at Earth climate temperatures, its latent heat doesn’t really affect anything. Water vapor is the major substance with a phase-change cycle in the Earth system.

    There is more H20 than CO2 by orders of magnitude.

    See above.

    It’s heat storage is a few orders of magnitude greater than CO2.

    The heat capacity or specific heat of water vapor is around 1870 J/K/kg, compared to 850 or so for carbon dioxide — about three to one.

    And H20 adsorbs an order of magnitude of more wavelengths than CO2.

    Again, I think you probably mean “absorbs” here.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 18 Apr 2008 @ 6:59 AM

  226. JCH writes:

    Are you claiming Al Gore, all on his little lonesome and without the approval of the Navy, declassified something the United States Navy wanted to remain classified?

    As Vice President, Al Gore managed to get the information on thinning Arctic ice declassified, yes.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 18 Apr 2008 @ 7:08 AM

  227. Gavin writes (understandably):

    Response: I would recommend a more wait and see attitude, KK Tung has a very good track record and so I am doubtful about your claim. I’ll try and have a look at it when I get some time. – gavin

    I don’t mean to slander a colleague, and you’re right that they might be vindicated. But reading the preprint at

    http://www.amath.washington.edu/research/articles/Tung/journals/solar-jgr.pdf

    I find the text in the introduction (not the abstract, my bad):

    The factor of 4 is to account for the difference between a unit area on the spherical earth and the circular disk on which the solar constant is measured, while 0.85 is to account for the 15% of the TSI variability that lies in the UV wavelength and is absorbed by ozone in the stratosphere with the remaining reaching the lower troposphere, the surface and the upper ocean [Lean, et al., 2005; White, et al., 1997].

    Note that they’re talking about surface warming, which is the only reason I can figure out for why they’d ignore heating of the atmosphere. And I don’t see the albedo mentioned anywhere in there, or in the text surrounding it. It looks awfully like they just forgot about it.

    Plus, the amount of UV absorbed should be about 7%, shouldn’t it? Rather than 15%? All the solar energy absorbed in the atmosphere is only 19-20% of incoming according to K&T ’97, so it’s hard to believe that most of that is ultraviolet.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 18 Apr 2008 @ 7:19 AM

  228. Timothy, thanks for addressing the role of ozone and it’s south polar hole, and for expanding on the greenhouse mechanism. I was trying to give Stephen a explanation that was better than the simple blanket analogy without getting too technical, but I oversimplified. And in my haste I somehow got ozone mixed up. I do know that it is excited by UV, not IR. Shouldn’t post late in the evening.
    Regards,

    Comment by Jim Eager — 18 Apr 2008 @ 9:16 AM

  229. Those sunspots/cosmic rays/phlogiston particles are certainly working their magic:

    March the warmest on record over world land surfaces
    By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer
    Thursday, April 17, 2008

    (04-17) 17:41 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) — Planet Earth continues to run a fever. Last month was the warmest March on record over land surfaces of the world and the second warmest overall worldwide. For the United States, however, it was just an average March, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Thursday.

    NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center said high temperatures over much of Asia pulled the worldwide land temperature up to an average of 40.8 degrees Fahrenheit (4.9 degrees Celsius), 3.2 degrees (1.8 C) warmer than the average in the 20th century.

    While Asia had its greatest January snow cover this year, warm March readings caused a rapid melt and March snow cover on the continent was a record low.

    Global ocean temperatures were the 13th warmest on record, with a weakening of the La Nina conditions that cool the tropical Pacific Ocean.

    Overall land and sea surface temperatures for the world were second highest in 129 years of record keeping, trailing only 2002, the agency said.

    Complete analysis: NCDC: Climate of 2008

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 18 Apr 2008 @ 9:48 AM

  230. Dear Barton Paul Levenson re 223: I expressed the numbers in what I feel are the most reasonable based upon what exists.

    Now 20 to thousands, my ratio of water to H20 can actually be 1 to thousands. But 1 to 30 covers only the vapor phase of H20 and 5 to 20 covers what I guess to be the majority, And in the tropics, 15 to 25 would be most common.

    In comparing heat of fusion, specific heat and heat of vaporization I count none fof CO2 as on Earth in the range of normal Earth temperatures and pressures CO2 does not undergo any phase change. Ingornance of such considerations may be considered a far greater ignorance than the possible mistaken use of adsorb.

    Now specific heats are .85 and 1 for C02 and H20, molar weight is 40 and 18.
    molecule specific heat is thus 1.888. We can say twice. But heat of fussion and heat of vaporization are added. They are 0 and 600.

    So even using your twice with your 10 times as many. you muliply 5 by 600. which gives 3000. In the tropics where solar energy is double and quadruple that of higher latitudes, where the heat of advective warming come from, the effects of water do reach impacts of thousands over that of CO2.

    I have more detailed explanations of CO2 and H20 at http://toms.homeip.net/global_warming/what-the-hell-is-air.html

    And last night I added a new annotated dew-point-PPM-Relative_Humidity.jpg
    http://toms.homeip.net/global_warming/dew-point-PPM-Relative_Humidity.jpg

    And forgive me Barton Paul Levenson, I find unless one seeds some glaring error or exaggeration, one gets a less serious consideration. It is funny how human nature is that way.

    So Barton Paul Levenson, do you know where one finds the explanation, the math and the hand waving that shows how CO2 is the 20% green house gas as pontificated by “the gavin” who has the power of the green text.

    [Response: I told you to read Kiehl and Trenberth, then try Clough and Iaconno (1995), or Ramanathan and Coakley (1979), or even read my post on the topic -it's not perfect, but it's close enough. None of this has anything to do with specific or latent heats. - the gavin]

    Comment by tom watson — 18 Apr 2008 @ 9:52 AM

  231. Re Jim Eager 213: That was a very good post. I personally do not like every using the term blocking, I think consistently in terms of delay. If every fall there is a new frost on some day here in Monroe CT. The delay of the hear of summer is ended. Other than that it was every good.

    You also said:
    Hardly anyone now asserts that there has been no warming since the actual measurements quite plainly show a clear and sustained warming trend over the past century, although some do still dispute the extent and cause of the warming. Recently the rate of warming has appeared to slow or stall, but it is not yet known if the this is because of year-to-year variation, or if the long term trend has actually changed.

    If heat is delayed, a day, a month, a year, a decade, that heat must be somewhere. When there is a globally cold year, has not all heat stored from the past been dissipated. If it has not, where is it?

    A warmer year only suggests there has been heating, It is a sum of integration of all past non dissipated heat and pressent heating. A colder year shows that nothing has delayed the dissipation of the past heat.

    All I’ve read says the ocean is not warmer and the atmosphere is not warmer.
    Yet CO2 has had it 20% supposed green house gas effect (according to the gavin) augmented by how much in the last 5, 10, 20 years.

    Comment by tom watson — 18 Apr 2008 @ 10:18 AM

  232. Well, it’s pretty clear that the models underestimated the rate at which Arctic ice is melting – apparently due to oceanic heat transport and dynamic mixing in the atmosphere. RodB says that this is not the “official position” of the Navy.

    However, that’s not quite true: Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us, 2004

    The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

    Many scientists have looked at the issue of why the Arctic is melting so fast, and this comment from the interview is worth looking at to understand how interdisciplinary climate science works:

    Dr Wieslaw Maslowski: Well, personally I have my own perspective on all the carbon emission and global warming. However, I wanted to make very clear that the tools that we have used so far for our studies are not involving or allowing us to discriminate between greenhouse gases effect or other climate variability. So, what we see is what we see but there is no direct cause, there is no possibility for us to link direct cause of ice melt to something like greenhouse gases. My personal perspective is that we definitely should be cutting on the emission rates worldwide and it may not stop whatever the changes that are happening right now but we are still not very certain what kind of changes we can expect not only within the next 10 years but within 20 – 50 years into the future. So, if we sit and do nothing then definitely it will be much worse than if we try to actually reduce our pollution and emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for the long term.

    Other scientists have looked closely at at the possible forcings for climate, however – carbon dioxide emissions, methane emissions, N2O emissions, the water vapor feedback (which links to precipitation and cloudiness changes, indirectly), changes in solar irradiance, reflective aerosols in the atmosphere, black carbon aerosols over snow, changes in land and ocean albedo, and so on – so we can use that work to show that fossil fuel combustion is the main cause of the observed warming.

    Take solar forcing. Some claim that the present warming is due to “early 20th century increases in solar intensity” by referencing fig 4 in Lockwood & Frohlich (2007) (Recent oppositely directed trends in solar climate forcings and the global mean surface air temperature.)

    Well, we know that changes in solar intensity have a response time of a few years, not five decades, because when Pinatubo injected all those aerosols into the atmosphere, the reflection of sunlight led to a cooling and drying of the global atmosphere within a few years. Increases in solar radiation don’t require a fifty-year lag time to see a response. So, if solar irradiance has been flat and even slightly decreasing recently, there is no way that could be the main factor.

    On the other hand, people who look at atmospheric CO2 and methane all agree that these gases are warming the planet based on complicated physical calculations and detailed observations of the present and of ice cores, very well discussed here at RC. What people don’t have a good understanding of is how fast this will happen – but when models predict a ice-free Arctic in 2100, and observations indicate an ice free Arctic in a decade or so. . .

    It makes you wonder if we are also going to soon hear that “models have underestimated the rate of warming and melting around Antarctica.”

    Comment by Ike Solem — 18 Apr 2008 @ 10:23 AM

  233. I think it was actually Bush and Gates who declassified the Arctic information for Senator Ozone Man. Not the current versions of Bush and Gates, but the old versions of Bush and Gates.

    [Response: Nope. It was Gore. - gavin]

    Comment by JCH — 18 Apr 2008 @ 10:52 AM

  234. Barton Paul Levenson (223) — I agree. He should have written ‘absorbs’ and your understanding of ‘adsorbtion’ is essentially correct.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 18 Apr 2008 @ 11:50 AM

  235. “The push for scientific access to this secretive realm began some two years ago in Congress, with Senator Al Gore gaining a preliminary release of data. Momentum built slowly in private groups like the Council on Foreign Relations and recently gathered speed in the Bush Administration as criticism of its environmental record mounted.

    On May 28, President Bush, a former Director of Central Intelligence with a special interest in spy satellites, signed a directive that cleared the way for environmentalists to use the nation’s spy gear and records. Already, three teams of scientists and intelligence officials are being formed to explore this new frontier. …” – NYT, 1992

    Comment by JCH — 18 Apr 2008 @ 11:57 AM

  236. Re #228

    Given your misunderstanding of the mechanism of GHG you might try reading:

    Chemistry of Atmospheres: An Introduction to the Chemistry of the Atmospheres of Earth, the Planets and Their Satellites
    By Richard P. Wayne

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 18 Apr 2008 @ 12:25 PM

  237. JCH, that refers to the use of satellites to get data on things like the extent of deforestation in the Amazon and Indonesia, the rate of desertification in Africa’s sub-Saharan Sahel, and so on, as reported in the Wall Street Journal. Any scientist who wants access to that data has to go through a fairly extensive background check in a very controlled process, and that’s why we now have good estimates of Arctic sea ice extent. Obviously, who gets to use look at such satellite information is a sensitive matter.

    Until now, only a handful of federal civilian agencies, such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey, have had access to the most basic spy-satellite imagery, and only for the purpose of scientific and environmental study.

    What these records are, however, are nuclear submarine records for a limited region of the planet, the Arctic, beginning when nuclear submarines first began taking long voyages under the Arctic ice, beginning in 1958, during which temperature and ice thickness data were taken.

    There are many still-classified records of submarine voyages that would likely give a far better picture of the history of global ocean temperatures over the past fifty years or so. It is possible that if all that data was released, it would show what submarines had been where when, but it is of course possible to filter the data to hide all that information, somewhat reducing the accuracy maybe, but still better than no release of data at all.

    The first paper written using the submarine records was

    Thinning of the Arctic Sea-Ice Cover
    D.A. Rothrock, Y. Yu, and G.A. Maykut
    University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 26, NO. 23, PAGES 3469-3472, DECEMBER 1, 1999

    Comparison of sea-ice draft data acquired on submarine cruises between 1993 and 1997 with similar data acquired between 1958 and 1976 indicates that the mean ice draft at the end of the melt season has decreased by about 1.3 m in most of the deep water portion of the Arctic Ocean, from 3.1 m in 1958 – 1976 to 1.8 m in the 1990s. The decrease is greater in the central and eastern Arctic than in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. Preliminary evidence is that the ice cover has continued to become thinner in some regions during the 1990s.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 18 Apr 2008 @ 1:26 PM

  238. Dear “the gavin” re: [Response: I told you to read Kiehl and Trenberth, then try Clough and Iaconno (1995), or Ramanathan and Coakley (1979), or even read my post on the topic -it’s not perfect, but it’s close enough. None of this has anything to do with specific or latent heats. - the gavin]

    I expect Clough and Iaconno or Ramanathan and Coakley would only say what is written in your fine post. 2005/04/water-vapour-feedback-or-forcing/
    I do appreciate your link. feedback or forcing, I don’t comprehend in that description or over-simplification. I do not argue your description is wrong, but very incomplete.
    Do I have the skills to express with words what is clear in my minds eye?

    Where do I, how do I construct the common reference of understanding.
    What you speak about may be true for the conditions at zero altitude. But as one goes higher into the altitude, the blocking of CO2 and H20 to heat returning to the earth gets greater and greater over that free path of escape to space.

    As you point out, H20 fills any vacuum, any sub dew point atmosphere very quickly. That H20 is also a convection forcing agent. Convection I see as short circuiting the ability of all parts of the atmosphere to delay the eventual escape of heat to space. And the convective short circuits increase as one approaches lower altitude to the ground.

    The temperature of the earth is
    1. the Current imput of the Sun
    2. plus the heat delayed by GHG
    4. plus the heat delayed longer stored in oceans.
    5. plus other??? (to cover but you did not mention and I skipped 3)
    minus the heat escaping via radiation.

    CO2 doom advocates see CO2 increasing 2 and 3, and 2 effects increasing 4.
    I believe, my life wisdom sees h20 driven convection makes all the suppositions on CO2 doom scenario extremely unlikely.

    All current measurements cannot find the required delayed heat from the supposed CO2 GHG properties. There is always the ivory tower of suppose and the real world of what satellites see. Satellite vision over the last couple of decades does reveal truths with implications that confirm and deny ivory tower suppositions.

    Comment by tom watson — 18 Apr 2008 @ 1:28 PM

  239. I’m curious, following Pinatubo how much did humidity fall, how much did percipitation change, and how much did evaporation decrease, and how much water remained in the air as increased clouds?

    Anyone know of some good reading?

    Also, how can I figure out how much a lack of sunlight would change humidity, keeping temp equal, for various temps?

    Comment by aaron — 18 Apr 2008 @ 1:41 PM

  240. It’s interesting to watch the “he did / no she did” comments about the declassification of data for environmental purposes. As one who participated in some aspects of the pre-ETF events, I can tell you that Bush/Clinton/Gore/Bush/”whichever politician you want” was just the visible link in a long chain of scientists who, with feet in both worlds, pushed hard for the use of remarkable synoptic data sets with, at the time, remarkable technical quality. As I commented to one of my (planetary scientist) colleagues in early 1992, the period of arm-chair geological field trips (of Earth) was about to start (this was pre-Google Earth which is much better!). But, the declassification process is a long one spanning many years. So whether Senator Gore encouraged it (as a spokesman for the scientists who knew what they wanted and why), President Bush who authorized it through the EFT and other acts, or President Clinton signed off on specific data sets, none was the scientific driving force. Of all of these politcos Senator (and VP) Gore best understood the implications of these data sets and became a vocal advocate. But that matters little. The role of the President in signing or authorizing declassification into law or action is deciding how best to protect the vital interests of the US, a decision based on the collective wisdom of advisors and the President. So, what difference does it make who claims “first” in this issue? Just be glad there were scientists in the know, political advocates with a smidgeon of understanding and Presidents who wisely listened to advisors. It could have turned out different.

    For reference, so we can include President Clinton in the fray: http://www.nro.gov/PressReleases/prs_rel.html . There are many more documents of historical interest that explain the real background of it all – it is never what it seems – but unlikely to be published anywhere.

    Great blog site. Brave and patient souls on all sides of the issue. Keep posting!

    Comment by JG — 18 Apr 2008 @ 1:47 PM

  241. Actually, the New York Times article referred specifically to various measurements taken by vessels of the United States Navy, and that included measurements of the thickness of Arctic ice.

    Comment by JCH — 18 Apr 2008 @ 2:40 PM

  242. Jim Eager (#228) wrote:

    Timothy, thanks for addressing the role of ozone and it’s south polar hole, and for expanding on the greenhouse mechanism. I was trying to give Stephen a explanation that was better than the simple blanket analogy without getting too technical, but I oversimplified. And in my haste I somehow got ozone mixed up. I do know that it is excited by UV, not IR. Shouldn’t post late in the evening.

    Honestly I thought you had done a good job and was somewhat envious of the patience you were showing the person you were responding to. But then I saw a point or two I thought I could touch on but was rushed enough that my ability to hit just the points that needed it was pretty much shot, so what you got was almost stream-of-consciousness. I had to get up in six hours, have been dealing with a heck of a commute and not getting enough sleep — and weekends have been downtime — to the extent that they weren’t swallowed up by work. My apologies.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 19 Apr 2008 @ 12:13 AM

  243. This discourse over my minor clarification is curious. Fortunately it’s being taken over by the “he did; no, she did” (JG), which also matters not a twit in the scheme of things as JG points out. But, to keep Ike (232) et al on tract, the US Navy takes no official position, pro or con, on AGW. Would they admit (if they had to) that Arctic ice is melting due to “oceanic heat transport and dynamic mixing in the atmosphere” the answer has to be yes: what the hell else is there? Secondly, DOD is taking no official position on the prediction for or against AGW — the editorial license taken by the Observer not withstanding. Are they contemplating the effects, threats, and possible responses if it occurs? I certainly hope so! Just because they have invasion plans for nearly every place on earth (and they do, at some level or another) doesn’t mean they predict or expect their use.

    Comment by Rod B — 19 Apr 2008 @ 12:20 AM

  244. tom watson –

    The figures for relative contribution to the greenhouse effect come from radiative-convective models of Earth’s atmosphere, and removing the components one by one to see what the effect is. This model, which gets quoted a lot, finds that 26% of the clear-sky greenhouse effect is accounted for by carbon dioxide:

    K&T97

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 19 Apr 2008 @ 4:13 AM

  245. Re: #190

    Martin Lewitt writes:

    The Sun has gotten hotter. The fact that it did so prior to 1940, and then just pretty much just remained so, does not alter its ability to explain warming, even to this day .

    BPL responds : Yes it does.

    OK, BPL, assuming all other factors had remained the same, when do you think the warming from the increase in solar activity would have leveled off – bearing in mind that the solar peak was actually in the late 1950s (rather than 1940). And do you think that the warming would have continued at the pre-1940 rate.

    Comment by John Finn — 19 Apr 2008 @ 7:42 AM

  246. Re: Ike Solem #232,

    I don’t make a blanket claim that the recent warming is due to the solar activity that has been maintained since the early 20th century although it strains credulity to suggest that these unusually high activity levels are a mere unrelated coincidence. Your Pinatubo argument doesn’t hold water. That is an example of negative aerosol forcing, not solar forcing. While aerosols act through modulating solar energy, the variation in distribution of that energy that they cause is a different coupling to the climate than results from variation in external solar forcing. If we want to know how much of the recent warming should be attributed to solar, we need better models, just as we do for GHGs.

    The climate commitment studies show that the climate system response to new levels of forcing takes decades and centuries. Just as the level of solar forcing did not disappear during the Pinatubo event, it also persisted through the midcentury cooling event. The longer duration of the midcentury cooling does not make a qualitative difference, although subjectively, one may want to attribute the recent temperature rise to global brightening, rather than solar or GHG forcing, since global brightening is more directly responsible for the dramatic shape of the temperature curve, the ultimate source of the warming that makes the temperatures achieved more unusual in the historical and paleo record context is the unusual levels of solar activity and GHG forcing.

    I suspect that we don’t really understand the mid century cooling event. It was a time of significant aerosol and particulate pollution, three major conflicts WWII, Korea and Vietnam, open air nuclear testing, leaded gasoline, etc. I suspect that each of these contributed unique elements that we haven’t really been able to assess with the latest instrumentation. For instance, the short period of open air nuclear testing injected levels of tritium into the stratosphere, that did not drop to normal levels through precipitation and decay until the 1980s. I haven’t seen a lot of analysis of the radiative forcing of lead particulates, and the peak usage and eventual phase out of leaded gasoline rather neatly overlaps with this time period. The cleanup of sulfates contributing to acid rain, and the fall in communist block economic activity all coincided with the end of the cooling period. So, in a very real sense the recent warming probably is anthropogenic, but in a temporary way that doesn’t project into the future beyond the climate commitment that was masked or unveiled by this one period.

    Comment by Martin Lewitt — 19 Apr 2008 @ 7:58 AM

  247. RodB,

    It is true that the Bush Administration has censored many reports from government agencies on global warming, but that doesn’t change the reliability of the science, does it? Are you going to argue that the warming and melting in the Arctic has NOT outstripped all the predictions of the climate models?

    Generally speaking, if a computer model fails to predict something accurately, people then start looking for what the model missed – that’s true in any area of science and engineering – airplane wing design, say. Actually, models are more useful when they fail because they show you what it is you’re missing.

    There is a long record of this administration censoring government scientists and reports, which was the subject of a House hearing – see here.

    Another, more recent example is the gross editing of a CDC report on global warming: Full Version of White House “Edited” CDC Climate Report – with highlights!

    These were not minor edits the White House PR spin machine would like us to believe. The word-count for the CDC Director’s Senate testimony went from 3,107 to 1,500 after the White House got through with it.

    Whole sections on health related effects to extreme weather, air pollution-related health effect, allergic diseases, water and food-borne infectious diseases, food and water scarcity and the long term impacts of chronic diseases and other health effects were completely wiped out of the testimony.

    There are many examples:
    Bush Aide Softened Greenhouse Gas Links to Global Warming

    A White House official who once led the oil industry’s fight against limits on greenhouse gases has repeatedly edited government climate reports in ways that play down links between such emissions and global warming, according to internal documents.

    Thus, it’s not too surprising that the White House also censored the Pentagon report on global warming, is it? That allows people such as yourself to claim “these government branches have no official position on global warming”, which is probably why it’s done.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 19 Apr 2008 @ 8:44 AM

  248. No question many of the scientists in the Navy may have wanted the research to be publicly available. The Navy has published much more climate work; I’ve been finding and pointing to links to thesis publications for example for some years.

    That particular NSF Press Release that Gavin links to is not available any longer. Pity. I’m sure I cited it recently as well.

    Google still has the text in its cache, here:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:VOVB9J0dpq8J:www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp%3Fcntn_id%3D102863+%22gore+box%22+%22vice+president%22+%22press+release%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3&gl=us&lr=lang_en&client=firefox-a

    NOTE — I argue against hiding links to references behind hilighted words. Sure, it’s shorter. But IF you hide the actual citation behind a hilighted word, then later — when the ref. disappears — most people won’t know how to search for that reference.

    Lest it be lost, if our hosts don’t mind — here’s the full text:

    ——begin——-

    Press Release 98-006
    Newly Declassified Submarine Data Will Help Study of Arctic Ice
    Map of Gore Box

    http://www.nsf.gov/news/mmg/media/images/pr986_f.jpg

    Map of Arctic Ocean where formerly classified submarine data are now being released for study.
    Credit and Larger Version should be clickable download from http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_images.jsp?cntn_id=102863&org=NSF

    January 28, 1998

    This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

    A treasure-trove of formerly classified data on the thickness of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, gathered by U.S. Navy submarines over several decades, is now being opened. Data from the first of approximately 20 cruise tracks — an April, 1992 trans-Arctic Ocean track — has just been released, and information from the rest of these tracks, or maps of a submarine’s route, will be analyzed and released over the next year-and-a-half.

    “The data opens up a magnificent resource for global change studies,” said Mike Ledbetter, National Science Foundation (NSF) program director for Arctic system science.

    Climate modellers differ over the fate of the great expanse of Arctic sea ice, which is about the size of the United States. More than half the ice melts and refreezes each year.

    “The Navy has collected data for decades on ice thickness in the Arctic, which was important to know for navigation and defense,” said Ledbetter. “But this information is also extremely important to science, now giving us a history of sea ice that we could not collect any other way.”

    “The data is essential to building a baseline of sea-ice thickness in the Arctic basin to examine how global change affects ice cover,” explained Walter Tucker of the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory. Tucker is supported by NSF to process and analyze all digital ice-draft data collected by Navy submarines in the Arctic since 1986. The National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder is handling the actual data release.

    The Arctic Submarine Laboratory, on behalf of the Chief of Naval Operations, approved declassifying the sea-ice data within a specific swath of the Arctic Ocean, roughly between Alaska and the North Pole. The area is known as the “Gore Box” for Vice President Al Gore’s initiative to declassify Arctic military data for scientific use.

    The data will provide a historical context for current, more intensive studies of Arctic ice by the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) project, in which NSF has frozen a ship into the ice to serve as a floating science platform for 13 months. SHEBA’s aim is to chart the fate of the pack ice, ultimately improving predictions of global change.

    ——-end——–

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Apr 2008 @ 9:40 AM

  249. I must express my admiration for the patience of those who have worked to improve Tom Watson’s understanding.

    Comment by Mr Henderson — 19 Apr 2008 @ 10:07 AM

  250. No apologies needed, Tim. Rereading my first paragraph simplifying the greenhouse effect, the confusing wording is all too glaring now.
    As for my patience, Stephen was polite in his post and his desire for answers to his questions seemed sincere, and I’m inclined to give that kind of post the benefit of the doubt. I’m way out of my league here in many discussions, but it’s thanks to those of you who are so willing to share your expertise and add to the reading list that I’ve acquired a much better grasp of the basics.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 19 Apr 2008 @ 10:23 AM

  251. Tom, “the gavin” is Dr. Gavin Schmidt, one of the regular contributors and moderators of RealClimate and a research scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
    See: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=46
    and: http://www.giss.nasa.gov/~gavin/

    Comment by Jim Eager — 19 Apr 2008 @ 10:43 AM

  252. John Finn, In order to attribute warming in the ’90s to increased insolation prior to 1940, you would have to explain how that energy could be stored in some heat reservoir that had no contact with the atmosphere from 1940-1980 and then suddenly dumped its heat contents into the atmosphere from 1980 to the present. Do you have a candidate for such a mechanism? Didn’t think so.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 19 Apr 2008 @ 11:25 AM

  253. Ike, #247 sounds very paranoid to me, though much of it could be true. (Paranoids can have people after them, too, you know.) Though I think GW per se, in many but maybe not all of your examples, is not the primary genesis for administration “censorship”. They don’t publicize the Pentagon’s military assessment on how to respond to GW for the same reason they don’t publicize our invasion of France plans. I can’t believe the Pentagon even wanted to — except maybe (and this is pure intuitive conjecture) they thought they might have latched onto something that would cause Congress to pony up lots more money.

    Comment by Rod B — 19 Apr 2008 @ 1:28 PM

  254. Re: #190, #245, #252:

    In #252, Ray Ladbury wrote:
    John Finn, In order to attribute warming in the ’90s to increased insolation prior to 1940, you would have to explain how that energy could be stored in some heat reservoir that had no contact with the atmosphere from 1940-1980 and then suddenly dumped its heat contents into the atmosphere from 1980 to the present. Do you have a candidate for such a mechanism?

    John Finn and Barton Paul Levinson (BPL), I believe climatologists do have a decent idea of the Earth’s thermal response delay from a change in energy from the Sun, and it is way shorter than 50 years: Volcanic eruptions have caused sudden drops in received solar radiation, and the Earth’s thermal response has been measured.

    Perhaps some climatologists will correct me if I’m wrong. (I’m only a scientific research methodologist from another discipline. Who knew that climatology would become so exciting?)

    Comment by Tom Dayton — 19 Apr 2008 @ 8:40 PM

  255. Re: Ray Ladbury #252,

    No energy storage would be required to explain the recent warming, by an increased insolation prior to 1940. I think you are misunderstanding, it is not the insolation prior to 1940 that could explain some of the recent warming, it is the fact that the increased level of insolation that was achieved prior to 1940 is continuing. There was an intervening cooling period. The recent response to that insolation level after the cooling event, is the response that would have occurred decades earlier had the cooling event not occurred. In fact the slope of the response may be greater than what would have occurred earlier, because some of the response that had already occurred prior to the cooling event may have been partially reversed. In other words the cooling event may have resulted in some loss of heat from the oceans.

    There are several time frames over which the weather responds to changes in solar forcing. Presumably some of the response over land is nearly instantaneous, as can be witnessed during large changes in total insolation such as during total eclipses, the night/day transition, and in the seasons at high lattitudes. But if the climate itself is to become warmer from the smaller variations in solar activity we observe, more than just the land must be brought along, since the thermal inertia of the oceans results in a moderating of the temperature responses. Most of the land temperature response occurs within the first few decades (unless that response is delayed by other cooling influences). This initial land response takes decades because the upper/mixing layer of the ocean has a couple orders of magnitude more thermal inertia than the atmosphere. The total response, and eventual elimination of the energy imbalance takes centuries to millenia because the deep ocean contains several times the thermal mass of even the mixing layer, and takes time to bring into equilibrium. In reality the climate is never in equilibrium, because something always changes, even orbital paramters change in less time than required to reach equilibrium. See the climate commitment studies of Meehl, et al, and Wigley, et al.

    The confusion caused by the increase in solar insolation prior to 1940 is really a canard. Because of the intervening cooling period, it might as well be as if the increase in insolation had just occurred in the 1980s. There is no heat storage required, although the heat stored in the oceans prior to 1940 might have delayed or moderated the start of the cooling. The continuing pleateau in 1940 level insolation might also have made the cooling less than it would otherwise have been. It is also possible that there was some level of global dimming in the climate system prior to 1940, and that the recent clearing of the atmosphere has resulted in a solar insolation/clear atmosphere combination that is higher than could possibly have occurred with the initial rise in solar activity.

    Comment by Martin Lewitt — 20 Apr 2008 @ 1:53 AM

  256. John Finn asks:

    OK, BPL, assuming all other factors had remained the same, when do you think the warming from the increase in solar activity would have leveled off – bearing in mind that the solar peak was actually in the late 1950s (rather than 1940). And do you think that the warming would have continued at the pre-1940 rate.

    The point is, the warming would have started out rapid and gradually declined. It would not have done what it actually did, which is to grow slowly for 20 years and then accelerate sharply for the last 30.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 20 Apr 2008 @ 6:23 AM

  257. Martin Lewitt, I have never seen a physical system with a delayed response of this type. Think about it. It implies that warming is delayed for >40 years and then suddenly accelerates. Can you suggest a differential equation with this behavior–let alone a physical mechanism?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 20 Apr 2008 @ 7:40 AM

  258. The point is, the warming would have started out rapid and gradually declined. It would not have done what it actually did, which is to grow slowly for 20 years and then accelerate sharply for the last 30.

    It would if some other factor was damping the warming in the first 20 years. Try plotting PDO data over the last 70 years or so and note the timing of both the cool and warm phases (Hint: they’re in the 1940s and 1970s respectively)

    Comment by John Finn — 20 Apr 2008 @ 8:52 AM

  259. Re: #256

    The point is, the warming would have started out rapid and gradually declined. It would not have done what it actually did, which is to grow slowly for 20 years and then accelerate sharply for the last 30.

    It would if some other factor was damping the warming in the first 20 years. Try plotting PDO data over the last 70 years or so and note the timing of both the cool and warm phases (Hint: they’re in the 1940s and 1970s respectively)

    Re: #257

    You plot it as well, Ray.

    Comment by John Finn — 20 Apr 2008 @ 8:55 AM

  260. Re: #257

    Can you suggest a differential equation with this behavior–let alone a physical mechanism?

    Pacific cooling? See my response to BPL.

    Comment by John Finn — 20 Apr 2008 @ 8:57 AM

  261. I suspect that we don’t really understand the mid century cooling event. It was a time of significant aerosol and particulate pollution, three major conflicts WWII, Korea and Vietnam, open air nuclear testing, leaded gasoline, etc.

    So rather than a greenhouse effect with reasonably well-understood physics, you propose an increase in solar output, which to account for the degree of warming must be unprecedented over the period of history for which we have good temperature records (Do you have any actual evidence for this?). Moreover, to match the temperature record, the warming effect must have been largely masked by a transient cooling effect of unknown origin, fortuitously providing kinetics that just happen to match that predicted by physical models that incorporate greenhouse warming? Do I have your hypothesis right?

    Comment by trrll — 20 Apr 2008 @ 9:05 AM

  262. Re: Ray Ladbury #256,

    A differential equation is not needed, “a” delay in the response to the new level of solar forcing that would ordinarily have resulted in some warming, could be caused by an intervening period of negative aerosol forcing. Just because solar activity is at a high level does not mean that aerosols cannot cause cooling or at lower levels a moderation of the warming. When the aerosols are reduced, the response to the warming can now occur that would have occurred earlier, if not for the aerosols.

    For a more physical example of how a period of negative forcing can result in a period of cooling, consider room temperature water in a container, placed upon a burner. The burner is set to a new level of forcing say 9, but before much temperature response, a negative forcing of a bunch of ice cubes is added, enough so that the temperature actually cools, even though the new level of burner forcing continues unabated. Hopefully, differential equations are not needed to see that there will eventually be a delayed response to the new level of burner forcing, in fact a response will occur even if that new level of forcing is only maintained above the original level of forcing that the water was subjected to, i.e., say the burner forcing drops to 8. See, no storage of the heat from the burner is required.

    Having considered “a” delay, now lets consider “the” delay of interest. It is probably more complicated, but yes, aerosols may well be the source of some, most or nearly all of the negative forcing. If pollution was the cause, undoubtedly there was also some positive forcing from some of the particulates, but the net forcing was negative. As I stated, I am also curious about the particular characteristics of the particulates from this period of leaded gasoline use. I am also curious about the posssible cloud feedback effects from the radioactive tritium from the open air nuclear testing. The solar forcing itself may have also taken a slight dip in that periord. In any event, the full response to the new level of solar forcing could not take place until the intervening aerosol plus whatever event had taken its course. It may well be the negative aerosol forcing is lower in the 1990s and now than it was in the early 20th century when the new level of solar forcing was being achieved. The dirty phase of the industrial revolution was already well underway.

    Comment by Martin Lewitt — 20 Apr 2008 @ 3:43 PM

  263. Martin Lewitt,

    You seem very certain. Do you know what the reduction in solar irradiance (the sum of changes in diffuse + direct radiation) was following Pinatubo? Just a percentage?

    Comment by Ike Solem — 20 Apr 2008 @ 5:21 PM

  264. Martin, the level of solar forcing you are assuming is precluded by a variety of data, including (as Ike implied) data for Mt. Pinatubo. Solanki has visited this in detail. Solar forcing could account for at-most 50% of warming post 1900, and that is at the outer extreme.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 20 Apr 2008 @ 8:13 PM

  265. Re: Ike Solem #263,

    I don’t know what the reduction in solar irradiance reaching the surface from the Pinatubo was, but it would have to be a small percentage, since the total irradiance from the Sun is large enough to raise the surface temperature of the earth above the cosmic backgroud temperature, which is, about 3 degrees K or so, if I recall correctly. If you know the percentage, it might be helpful to translate it into a percentage of that portion of the solar radiation that is in excess of that required to raise the global temperature above the freezing point of water. That might help give it more familiar perspective since we live in the regime of liquid water. Lets be wary of getting too linear in our thinking however.

    I am pretty certain, certain that we don’t know as much as we’d hope, and that more has passed peer review, than perhaps should have. We don’t know whether most of the recent warming is due to AGW. We’d like to know, and the statement might be true, but the current uncertainty in solar forcing and coupling, and in the models is such, that most of the warming might instead of be due to solar activity. It is a hypothesis made plausible by the usually high level of solar activity. It would seem physically impossible for it not to be a significant contributer, but whether that is as small as 20 or 30%, or is much larger, we must await better models, and the data with which to validate them.

    Comment by Martin Lewitt — 20 Apr 2008 @ 9:16 PM

  266. Re: Ray Ladbury #264,

    If you are referring to Solanki’s 2003 paper “Can solar variability explain global warming since 1970?”. It tries to explain the possible contribution of solar variation since 1970 to warming since 1970, based on the assumption that the warming prior to 1970 was due to solar variation since the maunder minimum.

    I can agree that solar variation since 1970 explains only a small part of the warming since 1970, and his maximum estimates for this are probably too high as he would hope given his conservative assumptions. He was trying to assess the maximum possible contribution.

    That said, he is ignoring climate commitment, the time lag due to the thermal inertia of the oceans, and his assumption that solar variation is responsible for all the variation before 1970 is less favorable to solar than it might have been. By 1970 the midcentury cooling event was well underway, and probably reflects a strong aerosol and other negative forcing. He might have obtained a better sensitivity to solar by using explaining the temperature increase prior to 1940 instead, and using a solar forcing series that ended 10 or 20 years earlier. Even that correlation/sensitivity would only explain a small part of the post 1970 warming as due to solar variation since 1970. If one only considers variation since 1970, to explain the temperature record since 1970, then most of the recent warming would have to be attributed to AGW, and a reduction in negative aerosol and other forcings. The contribution of one of the highest levels of solar forcing in the last 8000 years to one of the warmest climates in the last 8000 years, would be mostly revealed within the reversal of that negative forcing, since arguably much of this warming would have been achieved 45 to 50 years earlier if not for the cooling event.

    Since the cooling event is over, there is an energy imbalance that will be reduced ( perhaps even eliminated, or reversed) when solar activity returns from this statistically unusually high level. It is in that sense that some unknown amount of the recent warming should be attributed to solar. If solar activity were at an average or low level the argument that it is responsible for some of the energy imbalance would not be nearly as strong, and would probably not be made. This energy imbalance represents the climate commitment to further warming, even absent any further increase in external forcings. We need to know the relative contributions because GHGs are likely to increase and solar activity is likely to decrease.

    Comment by Martin Lewitt — 20 Apr 2008 @ 10:25 PM

  267. Martin, you will want to look first at Figure 9.3, Chapter 9 (attribution and detection) of the 2007 IPCC report:

    “Comparison of outgoing shortwave radiation flux anomalies (in W m–2) after Pinatubo”

    As well as Changes in solar radiation fluxes after the Pinatubo eruption (1994)

    “Measurements at a high mountain station on cloudless days showed significant changes in solar radiation from summer 1991 to summer 1992 as a consequence of the Pinatubo eruption. An increase in diffuse sky total radiation and a concomitant decrease in global total radiation (sun and sky) of 4% were observed. The optical aerosol depth at 427nm, obtained from sun photometric measurements, showed a significant increase.”

    So that is a change in solar radiation received at the surface. Changes in solar radiation result in immediate cooling of the land and the ocean surface layer. For a good science article on this and Pinatubo cooling, see New Scientist: Pinatubo cooling will test greenhouse models, 11 January 1992

    For a discussion of how quickly ocean temperature responds to changes in solar forcing, see Church et al (2005) Significant decadal-scale impact of volcanic eruptions on sea level and ocean heat content, nature (pdf)

    However, you are saying that early twentieth century increases in solar forcing are only being seen now, right? Even though such increases were fairly minimal? In any case, if you look at Figure 1 of Lockwood & Frohlich, you see that the recent solar forcing is at the very minimum of the 11 year cycle – according to Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon in the late 1990s, who seem to be where you get your material from (http://oldfraser.lexi.net/publications/books/g_warming/solar.html), we are supposed to be cooling off right now as a result – but that’s not the case, either. To quote L&F’s conclusion:

    There are many interesting palaeoclimate studies that suggest that solar variability had an influence on pre-industrial climate. There are also some detection–attribution studies using global climate models that suggest there was a detectable influence of solar variability in the first half of the twentieth century and that the solar radiative forcing variations were amplified by some mechanism that is, as yet, unknown.

    However, these findings are not relevant to any debates about modern climate change. Our results show that the observed rapid rise in global mean temperatures seen after 1985 cannot be ascribed to solar variability, whichever of the mechanisms is invoked and no matter how much the solar variation is amplified.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 20 Apr 2008 @ 10:56 PM

  268. tom watson #174: you asked me and others where the extra energy has gone. Read some of the other comments on this page. You are keen on bringing latent heat into the picture. Find some numbers on the quantity of ice that’s been melting in recent years and work out how much energy that has taken. Also, there are exchanges between ocean and atmosphere: El Niño and La Niña are larger-scale phenomena, but this is happening to some extent all the time.

    As for ocean temperature, here‘s an interesting article to contemplate.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 21 Apr 2008 @ 12:09 AM

  269. #221 Timothy Chase

    It looks like addition of greenhouse gases are playing a larger role in strat. cooling than ozone depletion. Eli has a good post at http://rabett.blogspot.com/2006/11/stratospheric-cooling-rears-its-ugly.html

    Comment by Chris Colose — 21 Apr 2008 @ 5:42 AM

  270. Martin Lewitt writes:

    the current uncertainty in solar forcing and coupling, and in the models is such, that most of the warming might instead of be due to solar activity.

    This may be what you want to believe, but there’s no objective evidence for it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 21 Apr 2008 @ 7:07 AM

  271. Has there been any work done with regard to processing the temperature records in order to reduce the “noise” in the resulting average temperature records? An example of the process that I am asking about, is this:
    Identify periods of equal (or very close to) sea surface temperature for the major Oceans. Then, choosing the oldest period as the baseline, determine the temperature anomolies in the affected land areas for each of the subsequent periods of equivalent sea surface temperture. It would be interesting to see the results of this sort of work.

    Comment by Lawrence McLean — 21 Apr 2008 @ 8:33 AM

  272. Re Jim Eager @ 143:

    I missed this comment earlier and was reading again and came to it. I don’t know how one adds the bar indent to highlight and earlier comment. So I do my best.

    Jim Eager claims “H2O does indeed have a much lower scale height than CO2.”
    I don’t have any idea what this refers too. I could speculate on something about altitude, but that seeds silly to me.

    I used the term blink of an eye, well one could also use nanoseconds. The point is that from every emission and re-emmission some percent of the black body radiation is gone in a nano second. Yes CO2 and H20 absorb a subset of wavelengths, and converts the energy into the heating of all the billions of air molecules including the very few CO2. On clear night in a dessert the air cools quickly, It generally cools by degrees per hour. It generally keeps cooling until the due point is reached and then the vast heat stored in H20 vapor is released as H20 vapor condenses to water or directly to ice.

    From such cooling delay as seen in the dessert, I do not see how C02 will delay cooling for a century or decades. I don’t see heat being stored for day after day. It seems those who thing CO2 is the 20% GHG as that is it’s effect if no H20 was present cannot explain why does the dry desserts with the lowest H20 cool the fastest over night.

    Jim, this is my belief, my theory, my minds eye visualization of what is happening.

    There is the solid earth, It emits a flux of black body distribution(bbd) photons. The direction is in some random or semi random half sphere that is normal to the local surface. I use the idea of a sphere as they are not all emitted up through the least amount of atmosphere.

    For common termperature.
    The flux of the earth per unit area x by x is far far greater than any volume of air x by x by x. The flux of a volume of air or a point in the air sends photons in a full sphere of directions. What is the surface to volume ratio? Also remember the surface is not flat except at near atomic scales. What is the true atomic surface area of a cm^2

    For certain wavelength photons, H20 CO2 and molecules other are like radia antenna and are tuned to that photons wavelength such that under some conditions of there paths crossing, the ergs of the photons is adsorbed by the molecule and it vibration or temperature is increased. This temperature vibration is transferred or averaged to the several hundred molecules that surround each CO2 or H20 molecule.

    If a photon is, then it’s energy is not heat and until is gets adsorbed it is just nano seconds away from space and out of any possible contribution to the temperature of the earth.

    I have read articles and there is proposed that for CO2 concentrations the wavelengths where CO2 could adsorb would occur within 10 meters. One can argue, 10 or 20 or 100. But even that I believe does not consider the random direction of emission that would greatly reduce the amount of progress photons make in reaching space and freedom.

    Now for every altitude as it increases photons are emitted in all directions. But as we go higher in altitude there are fewer molecules above and more molecules below. For every photon there is a direction and a wavelength and based upon those factors there is a probability of a nano second escape or absorption atmosphere or absorption earth.

    As one goes higher the number of directions that I would describe as a cone increases, different amounts for each wavelength that have a 99% probability of nano second escape. The same is occurring for a cone that describes the probability of a photon hitting the earth. That cone is decreasing as we go higher in altitude.

    The convection stream, All heat that is in matter on the earth and in the atmosphere is in the convection stream. Gravity drives the convection stream and it move heat by currents toward altitudes where 99% of photons will get nano escape. The convection stream and the radiation stream are working in series and in parallel. Energy is constantly moving between them. But if CO2 were delaying heat, it would be stored somewhere in the convection stream and the recent very cold few years show no stored energy. Somewhere I read of some robot subs sampling ocean temps and no heat is found.

    CO2 warming science says C02 somehow increases the delay of heat transfer to the altitude where 99% of photons will get nano escape.

    The current ratio of CO2 to the far more numerous H20 and the properties of HO2 in heat transport in the convection stream simply makes the CO2 global warming suppositions to be nonsense.

    Now as to where is the heat waldo.. http://toms.homeip.net/global_warming/2008icecap.us-MonthlyCO2vsTemps.jpg

    Comment by tom watson — 21 Apr 2008 @ 10:37 AM

  273. Tom, I wonder if you really want to learn anything, but try this:

    If you are out on a cold, still night and you wrap up in a cold blanket, why do you feel warmer? What would you look like to someone watching you through an infrared viewer as you put on the blanket? You would feel warmer, but to the external observer your body temperature would have suddenly decreased as you wrapped the blanket around you.

    That’s the Earth at night when no solar energy is incident. That’s also why it stays warmer along coasts at night than in the desert – there’s more water vapor in the air along the coast, and water vapor like CO2 absorbs infrared heat and reradiates it in all directions, including back to the surface.

    Now, think of the earth as you, the blanket as the heat-trapping infrared-absorbing gases, and the external observer as the scrapped Triana/DSCVR satellite that should have been placed at L1 (a stable gravitational point directly between the sun and the earth), but wasn’t because of lobbying efforts by people who didn’t want data on global warming collected… and there you are.

    It’s called insulation. By increasing the atmosphere’s content of long-lived greenhouse gases (mainly CO2, then methane, then N2O – 10 to 100+ year lifetimes), we warm everything a little – and this helps more water vapor into the atmosphere (1-2 week lifetime) – and that all results in a net thickening of our atmospheric blanket.

    Hope that helps.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 21 Apr 2008 @ 11:19 AM

  274. Tom, #272 has to be the vaguest mass of gobbledygook masquerading as science I have ever read. On the one hand, you seem to be arguing that CO2 can’t possibly absorb very much energy because there isn’t enough of it. On the other hand, you seem to be arguing that all of the radiation that can be absorbed is absorbed within 10 meters of ground level–i.e. that CO2′s effect is saturated. Which is it? Here’s a hint. CO2 molecules can both radiate and absorb IR. Think of it in terms of equilibrium between radiant energy and kinetic energy. If you have equilibrium, energy radiated = energy absorbed. But initially, you have more radiant energy than kinetic, so some of that energy must be absorbed and converted to kinetic energy (i.e. it stays in the climate system). OK, but each of those CO2 molecules can also radiate, and the energy that propagates upward is rising into an ever colder sky–again, more photons than can be sustained at equilibrium, so you get more absorption, and so on, and so on. More CO2 means more absorption at ever higher and colder altitudes, so less and less energy in the critical band escapes. In addition, the line broadens as CO2 concentrations increase.

    Don’t think that there’s enough energy to warm Earth in that line? Sit down and do the math–it’s not that hard. Start with a blackbody spectrum from Earth’s surface and look at how much energy is in that absorption line. It ain’t chicken feed.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 21 Apr 2008 @ 12:01 PM

  275. Re: Solar + PDO amplification/damping

    Has anyone plotted the PDO record yet?

    Comment by John Finn — 21 Apr 2008 @ 12:53 PM

  276. re; 273 ike solem, Well what you say is true in terms of the observations. But also one could measure the heat that was mechanically delayed from conduction and convection and radiation. Also the time constants of seconds or hours and the observations do not dictate a connection with time scales of millions of seconds and tens of thousands of hours.

    All opinions on the effect of more or less CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere comes down to supposition on how all the complex interactions result in a manifestation of a warmer of colder global temperature(s).

    I have spent thousands of hours looking for real science or reason that explains what I see, or experience and together with what is measured show a clear relationship of cause and effect. On this real climate.org site the discussions of past 650,000 years of proxy estimated CO2 concentration and proxy estimated global temperatures don’t show and or don’t mention CO2 lags temperature by several centuries and when they do mention it they speculate pontificate that CO2 with it lagging increase somehow spurred increased temperatures. I wonder is that cause and effect science or wishful thinking or?

    I believe now and in the past the escape of heat from the earth has aways been dominated by convection streams. And some stream are involved in cycles that for years, sometimes centuries change the sum of daily, monthly and annual cycles and in the convection stream H20 is the 99.9% energy storage and transporter. (OK maybe H2O is not 99.9, but CO2 is some micro or nano or pico part in an absolute or relative part) I see no evidence that CO2 is other than a bit player having no consequence in the scale of h20. This because of the respective masses of each, the 300 time specific heat tranfer of h20 over CO2. and the fact that h20 also has the property of creating lighter air with humidity that carries heat up and then releasing heat in fusion h20 in effect vanishes in volume or partial presure reducing further the density of air.

    If CO2 is constantly heating all a little, where is the little heat from last year and the year before …. etc…
    Again this is a summation record.
    http://toms.homeip.net/global_warming/2008icecap.us-MonthlyCO2vsTemps.jpg
    This show what IPCC says is WHAT MODELS predict as a signature of CO2′s heating. Also is a shot of what a satellites have really seen.
    (please excuse the whimsical editorial comments within this image. I am certain the author means no disrespect or insult to all learned posters at realclimate.org )
    http://toms.homeip.net/global_warming/IPCC-sciencbyidiots.jpg

    Comment by tom watson — 21 Apr 2008 @ 1:07 PM

  277. > CO2 lags temperature
    #8
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature.htm

    > heat from last year and the year before

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    The equilibrium of Earth in absorbing and emitting radiation is explained …

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Apr 2008 @ 3:10 PM

  278. > I believe …. the escape of heat has aways
    > been dominated by convection streams.

    ——————
    Objects in a vacuum can only get rid of heat through radiative heat transfer….

    … An object at a constant temperature is receiving heat just as fast as it is getting rid of it. This is called “thermal equilibrium”.

    An object at equilibrium can still have a thermal gradient. Shine a bright light on an object. The side facing the light will be heated by radiative heat transfer. The shaded side will still be cooler.
    ———-
    http://www.clavius.org/heatxfer.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Apr 2008 @ 3:15 PM

  279. tom:
    “I believe now and in the past the escape of heat from the earth has aways been dominated by convection streams.”

    Okay, you need to go back and read 19th century science, I’m afraid. Try starting with Maxwell’s “Theory of Heat” where you will find an accessible but stilted explanation of convection, radiation and convection. Wikipedia has a good overview at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_heat – but the entire book is in the public domain and is also online.

    “If CO2 is constantly heating all a little, where is the little heat from last year and the year before?”

    Well, it warms the oceans – but slowly – but we do see the oceans steadily warming (they take up ~9/10ths of the total energy imbalance, and the the rest goes to warm the atmosphere, mostly, as well as to evaporate water – thus the secondary increase of atmospheric water vapor). As the ocean warms, many other things will change, such as ocean circulation patterns – but exactly how is an issue that is still poorly understood.

    Some of it also escapes to space – via radiation, not convection.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 21 Apr 2008 @ 3:15 PM

  280. tom watson (276) — From the analysis of the Vostok ice core by Petit et al., it is easy to see that at the climatic opitmum of the Eem (Eemian interglacial), CO2 concentration and temperature went hand-in-hand, within a one hundred years or thereabouts.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 21 Apr 2008 @ 3:40 PM

  281. … the model uncertainty is larger than the uncertainty coming from the choice of emission scenario …

    OK, but at what time frame does the model under scrutiny become subject to a reasonable degree of falsifiability? What Pielke seems to be suggesting in many of his critiques is that modellers are very reluctant to set up criteria that would allow a reasonable observer to reject the the model.

    I’ve read dozens of RealClimate posts but find no discussion of what observations would make various modelling assumptions break down. What warming/cooling data should lead one to reject the AGW hypothesis? If the answer is “nothing observable would do that”, then Houston, we’ve got a problem.

    [Response: There isn't a fixed time. It depends on the signal to noise ratio which will be different for each metric. For instance, for the mean global temperature the expected signal comes out of the noise in around 10 to 15 years, in the tropics it's probably longer (bigger noise, smaller signal). But you have a basic mis-conception at the heart of your question - there is no single 'AGW' hypothesis. GHGs are undoubtedly increasing because of human activity, the fact that they are greenhouse gases is known from laboratory experiments, and it is indisputable that increasing GHGs will warm the planet all else being equal. So what you are left with is uncertainty in the magnitude of the response and the strength of the various feedbacks and their impacts. But that isn't one thing - and it's a lot harder to distinguish between a 2 deg climate sensitivity and a 4 deg climate sensitivity. We have already been able to dismiss the hypothesis that it is much smaller than that, though the upper limit isn't as well constrained. That is the problem, Houston. - gavin]

    Comment by Joe Hunkins — 21 Apr 2008 @ 5:18 PM

  282. Tom Watson says, “I have spent thousands of hours looking for real science or reason that explains what I see, or experience and together with what is measured show a clear relationship of cause and effect.”

    Uh,… right. Tom, it is clear from your posts that you haven’t devoted 30 seconds to thinking about the real science. Look, Tom, the science that nearly all the experts have developed is summarized very nicely here and in the pages linked under “Start Here”. Why not devote a week–just one week of your life–to learning that science. I’m not promising that it will convert you, but at least you will have a vague idea how to frame your arguments against it. Because right now, when you argue that convection is the dominant mechanism for heat to escape Earth–an isolated system surrounded by at least 375000 km of vacuum–well, it doesn’t exactly do much for your credibility.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 21 Apr 2008 @ 7:01 PM

  283. Dear Ike Solem re 279, I suggest you reread my entire posts, I suggest you do not quote a single sentence out of it’s context and then make a suggestion someone go and read history. Maybe that’s too harsh. I wrote two posts and in the first I gave explanations. the ideas of both were connected in my mind, but that does follow in the context of two separate messages.

    I believe now and in the past the escape of heat from the earth has aways been dominated by convection streams.” Yes the final escape of heat from the earth is from radiation. But how that heat get’s absorbed and transported by instant radiation or radiation then absorption from surface to some point where it radiates and escapes is about the times delays of storage of that heat is heat. heat being stored and transported in convection streams. All around earth heat radiates and escapes or is adsorbed and enters the convection stream. There are daily radiation and convection streams, annual and longer.

    One can spend all kinds of time attempting to explain, but CO2 warming is only a supposition that some believe as their computer models have said when it’s all added up, this is what happens. But now with the cheapness of computers, gigaflop home computers and anyone having the availability of great visualization, even the scientific lesser strings can take data tools and create a picture of what the models project. It is not rocket science at all.
    And this figure shows what all the science experts who created the models predict for the signature of CO2 based global warming. And does the figer print agree with reality of measurements. You be the judge.
    http://toms.homeip.net/global_warming/IPCC-sciencbyidiots.jpg

    Comment by tom watson — 21 Apr 2008 @ 7:52 PM

  284. Tom Watson–so you think that the climate models run by the IPCC are run by amateurs with a political agenda? All I can say is “Wow!” Would you even recognize reality if it passed you on the other side of the street?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 21 Apr 2008 @ 8:25 PM

  285. Dear Hank, re 277 278,

    about convection being a dominate player is heating or cooling, read my other posts.

    The links you pointed to. http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature.htm samo samo hand waving nonsense. no science, just speculation presented as God speaks.
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html when will the cliff notes be available.

    But Hank, consider this visualization from the IPCC latest climate report.
    http://toms.homeip.net/global_warming/IPCC-predicted-whatgreenhouse_4.jpg

    Now from what I have read of all the experts on mighty CO2 and how it will destroy civilization by thermal runaway, this visualization of what models predict does make sense. Oh well my annotated version has the temp scale, better use that..
    http://toms.homeip.net/global_warming/IPCC-sciencbyidiots.jpg
    The predicted almost 1 to 1+ degree heating over 60 degrees of latitude at 12 kilometers altitude would very likely cause more heat to be re-radiated back into tropical oceans and that would lead to the advection of more and more heat to temperate latitudes and make for some real global warming.

    But boohoo, no model predicted heating can be found. So what is the theory on how CO2 somehow is a mega player in slowing heat loss by radiation.

    Comment by tom watson — 21 Apr 2008 @ 8:27 PM

  286. Tom, see the “Start Here” link at the top of the page, and the first link under Science at the right hand side.

    Also you’ll find using the Search box at the top of the page, to search this site, helpful to save asking questions already answered.

    Anyone up for recreational typing can repeat at greater length.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Apr 2008 @ 9:39 PM

  287. Re #276

    “I believe now and in the past the escape of heat from the earth has aways been dominated by convection streams.”

    No it hasn’t, without the GHGs the convection in the atmosphere does nothing for the heat loss.
    Increasing GHGs will change heat loss without there being any change in convection.

    “(OK maybe H2O is not 99.9, but CO2 is some micro or nano or pico part in an absolute or relative part) I see no evidence that CO2 is other than a bit player having no consequence in the scale of h20.”

    Since the key properties of CO2 as far as GHE is concerned is its absorption and emission of a particular range of IR radiation, its relative concentration with respect to another component of the atmosphere which doesn’t absorb in that part of the spectra isn’t germane!
    Very small quantities of absorbers can have quite dramatic effects, for example

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 21 Apr 2008 @ 9:39 PM

  288. Dear David B. Benson re:280,

    I don’t pay much attention to the meanings of ice cores. I believe I followed links to the actual data and the cores are sampled in century length times. So the the correlations have by definition huge century errors and as all data associations of thousands of inferred assumptions, the meaning can well be in the eyes of the beholder with a colorful Synesthesia.

    Comment by tom watson — 21 Apr 2008 @ 10:12 PM

  289. Chris Colose (#269) wrote:

    #221 Timothy Chase

    It looks like addition of greenhouse gases are playing a larger role in strat. cooling than ozone depletion. Eli has a good post at http://rabett.blogspot.com/2006/11/stratospheric-cooling-rears-its-ugly.html

    As I said, above the lower stratosphere, yes.

    Please see:

    Uncertainty, noise and the art of model-data comparison, Comment #384

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 21 Apr 2008 @ 10:43 PM

  290. Of 285 posts so far, 45 (1/6 of the total):

    22 are by Tom Watson
    25 are by others replying to Tom Watson

    Those patient folks in the latter category might consider reviewing that sequence so far as a *whole*, and see if any ideas occur.

    Comment by John Mashey — 21 Apr 2008 @ 11:18 PM

  291. John Mashey, I am afraid you are correct. I see no evidence that the learning curve has a positive slope.
    I believe that Tom’s comment asking when the cliff notes of the AIP History of Climate change might be available is particularly revealing. It shows he is not willing to invest any of his time to learn the real science. He is more interested in promoting his own silly-assed blog. Diagnosis: terminal trollism.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Apr 2008 @ 7:27 AM

  292. re 261: Ray Ladbury, well ray if I have posted 22 times, how many of those 22 times have I taken time to attempt to explain as best I can what I believe and why I believe it. This is the first time I have decided to attempt posting at realclimate.org. Now if you pass your mouse over my name, it has a link that I provided and that gives a small part of my technology background. I have also posted links to http://e6.ath.cx/gw http://toms.homeip.net/global_warming that is an open directory containing dozens of images, pdf and some html that I have acquired over the years. I run my own web server that is part of a compute and quad display linux cluster. I work on about a dozen task at a time. this is the basic 1994 design. http://acute.ath.cx/stuff/index.html
    this is 4 eyes, but sw1600 replaced now with samsumg 1600×1200 flats.
    http://acute.ath.cx/4eyes/mvc-016.jpg

    For the record, I have no personal blog. I am looking for honest men of all seasons who are smart enough to explain without handwaving and God pontification or reference to sites they have never really understood themselves. Yes I troll for honest men of all seasons.

    Some only have the ability to count posts and make comments on others supposed inability. Such a fruitful use of one’s time. But they have not time and maybe no comprehension of science, so they express no scientific analysis or suppositions, just personal opinions on the lack of intelligence of others.

    When I read such, I smile. And wonder where does one find the heat stored as predicted by the models of the climate experts.

    [edit - enough repetition]

    [Response: With all due respect, you have been pointed to multiple sources of primary source material about subjects upon which you have incorrectly claimed knowledge. You have shown no interest in reading or comprehending them, and you insist on reposting over and again the same cherry-picked and misleading graphics. That is not the way to a fruitful dialog. If that is really what you want, get to the point! I have yet to discern any coherent criticism or question in your reams of comments. If you want to look at where the heat is stored, go to the latest ocean data. - gavin]

    Comment by tom watson — 22 Apr 2008 @ 10:40 AM

  293. Tom Watson, since I’m not interested in incoherent, pseudoscientific ramblings, I don’t think we have much to talk about until you actually bite the bullet and learn some of the actual science. People have vectored you to good sources. Should you have relevant questions, I’ll be happy to try to answer them.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Apr 2008 @ 11:56 AM

  294. Dear gavin, I call the image I cobbled together a good summary. A picture is worth a thousands words they say. It is not cherry picked, it was published by the IPCC and I explained what I thought it meant and implied. You say it is misleading. Well I would like to know why or what is misleading.

    I also followed your link. I have followed all links given to me. Where I have been spending some recent free times is http://www.fas.org/irp/imint/docs/rst/Front/tofc.html
    At this link I followed http://climatesci.org/2008/04/09/josh-willis-comments-on-ocean-heat-content-trends/
    I read a conversation and I believe it says no heat has been found. There also is a chart showing ocean heat content doing the hockey stick. But so little is explained about the charts meaning and it shows data point in the future. So I would guess it’s just another supposition of what if. But in the dialog I find it repeated there has been no heat found.

    # The recent (last 4 years) upper ocean observations show no warming.
    # If heat is entering the deep ocean, it is, therefore, not contributing to an increase in sea surface temperature. This necessarily reduces the amount of water vapor evaporated into the atmosphere from what would occur if the heat were in the upper ocean.

    Also, if I were running any common forum of idea interchange, [edit - you aren't, and please do not include personal comments]

    [Response: Please read the links again, specifically: "it does seem very likely to me that the 50-year trend in ocean heat content is part of the climate’s ongoing response to greenhouse forcing" - and "there are several multi-year periods when OHCA is flat". Thus plenty of heat has 'been found' and interannual variability in its accumulation is to be expected. And who has ever claimed that heat storage in the deep ocean increases water vapour amounts? Feedbacks follow surface temperature, not heat storage. Strawman argument. - gavin]

    Comment by tom watson — 22 Apr 2008 @ 12:19 PM

  295. Re #292

    “I taken time to attempt to explain as best I can what I believe and why I believe it.”

    And showed that your belief is based on a flawed understanding of the physical chemistry involved and that you resist any attempts to rectify your lack of understanding!

    “I am looking for honest men of all seasons who are smart enough to explain without handwaving and God pontification or reference to sites they have never really understood themselves.”

    Yet you don’t listen to them when they try to help you!

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 22 Apr 2008 @ 12:21 PM

  296. The immediate conclusion is that tom watson is best understood as yet another example of a phenomenon well-described over at http://www.desmogblog.com/

    There is an interesting background here related to this post – because in the early 1990s, claims were that the models were overestimating the warming, and this led to a massive attack on modeling by the fossil fuel PR lobby, led by the likes of Patrick Michaels and Richard Lindzen.

    Now, the data is outstripping the model’s prediction in some areas – and all of a sudden the models are the things that the skeptics are clinging to! Thus, the lower bound of IPCC model results for sea level rise is now what the fossil fuel lobby are pointing to – not the data showing the rapid changes in the Arctic.

    It’s no secret that part of the fossil fuel PR effort involves hiring bloggers and internet commentators to push their talking points, or simply to disrupt discussions. Thus, it’s best to respond to such people by always including examples of the original topic of the post – model-data comparisons – in your reply.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 22 Apr 2008 @ 12:23 PM

  297. tom watson (88) — Wrong again. Here is the climatic optimum of the Eem from the Petit et al. analysis of Vostok ice core (date in years ago, ignore data with minus sign, then the temperature above the reference) (interpolated is the CO2 concentration data, with CO2 ranging from 274.1 ppm to 287.1 ppm):

    128259 -421.2 2.50
    128300 274.1
    128309 -419.4 2.78
    128357 -416.6 3.23
    128399 287.1
    128405 -416.9 3.16
    128453 -417.2 3.08
    128501 -417.2 3.06
    128549 -419.1 2.71
    128599 -421 2.37
    128650 -422.4 2.11
    128652 286.8
    128702 -423.7 1.87

    Comment by David B. Benson — 22 Apr 2008 @ 1:40 PM

  298. re gavin, Strawman argument. I have no idea what you claim is any Strawman argument I have proffered. If CO2 changes the balance of heat loss, by all laws of physics I know, that heat must be somewhere. Oceans are the only thing I can think of that have the mass with the specific heat, to hold said heat. The cherry pick of the IPCC supposed fingerprint of CO2 warming, the visualization of the models that have CO2 causing that heat to be stored are like the murder weapons and bullets linked to a victim. You say I’ve claimed knowledge of things I don’t really understand. I saw the IPCC visualization.
    I interpreted it’s possible implications. If what I saw existed I can fathom how CO2 could be radiating back heat into the oceans. But real world measurements found nothing like what models predicted. Or what a visualization of what models predicted.

    All comment, all the links provided me have statement of the form “it does seem very likely to me that the 50-year trend in ocean heat content is part of the They are opinions, they are not science fact and they do not explain the science.

    The predicted heating of the 12K altitude has not been found. Makes sense that one would also not find heat in the ocean for the last few years that have been depicted as colder by the data plotted in this chart. http://e6.ath.cx/gw/2008icecap.us-MonthlyCO2vsTemps.jpg

    Now in the links I have provided, any interested person could find a lot about my work experience and interests. Assuming they are not fabrications, they would imply or suggest I have some knowledge and understanding or science, engineering and the use of such knowledge in creating solutions to problems.
    And the wise know, you cannot solve problems that you do not understand.

    It turns out that in my previous work history, I have done real genuine nuts and bolts rocket science. I was no expert at the start, but I provided the complete software design and implementation so NASA could be certain that solid rocket boosters used on the Space shuttle were bolted together with a very balanced loading to prevent nasty leaks. What does that have to do with global warming? As much as CO2.

    My personal comment was to you and in that you have the power to edit, I saw no problem. In every response on all matters, one learns about whomever speaks.

    [Response: Well, learn then: The icecap graph is a cherry-picked time period and misleadingly scaled to boot - yet you have posted the link multiple times; The vertical profile of tropospheric heating particularly in the tropics is quite noisy and has many issues in the data - yet you think that the analysis is being done by 'idiots'. Try instead reading some of the latest literature on the subject - I think you'll be surprised: Lanzante and Free (2008), Sherwood et al (2008), Haimberger et al (2008)... On the long term trends in ocean heating look at Ishii (2008) or here. - gavin]

    Comment by tom watson — 22 Apr 2008 @ 1:52 PM

  299. Dear Phil, re: 295, Ok you opine I don’t understand, that’s nice. I have a flawed understanding of physical chemistry. But I know, it’s just to complicated to explain. When I was young I never took a Chemistry achievement test. I took the physics one as a junior. I was only in the low 700 range, but I did not take physics until my senior year and although I understood all about currents and magnetic fields and their relationship, there were all these questions using the right hand rule. I did not learn the right hand rule until my senior year. Oh well I had a flawed understanding or what tests really test.

    re Ike Solem 296, Is your post in fact nothing but and attempt to attack my personal ethics and motives. Mr Gavin edited out my comments of a personal nature.

    Now as to my best attempt for honest science, I argue or present what I think is the strongest scientific to the heart of the matter issue. As to my being an agent of PR, well I never thought of you as an agent of marketing buzz for carbon credits. I make no judgments of whose life is based on funding for research on catastrophe and thus have an interest in crisis, in ignorance and fear uncertainty and doubt.

    Comment by tom watson — 22 Apr 2008 @ 2:13 PM

  300. Tom Watson, you claim to have some background in physics. OK. Great. Learn some. I don’t understand why you insist on pontificating on a subject you clearly don’t understand on a website dedicated to experts providing understanding of that very subject. Doesn’t that strike you as a wee bit odd…or a wee bit trollish?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Apr 2008 @ 8:13 PM

  301. re Gavin’s comment on tom w.’s #298: I’ve been following this little set-to but don’t wish to enter the fray. I do have a 101 question that you can help me with. Are you saying that Tom’s “icecap” graph was cherry-picked because it starts at the off-the-wall 1998 high temperature point? One other (same graph): I’m curious why the lower trop MSU satellite measurements swing much more violently than HadleyCRUT3v. A simpleton answer will suffice. O.K. — three! Did CO2 concentration really go from 366ppm to 386ppm in ten years?

    These are not leading/trick questions…

    [Response: 1) Yes - but don't forget the implicit scaling of the CO2 to temperature (implying about a 12 deg C climate sensitivity). 2) In the tropics, LT varies by 20 to 40% more than the surface changes due to variations in the moist adiabat. This is true on all time scales (monthly, yearly decadally) in the RSS data and the models (but only on short time scales in the UAH data). 3) Yes. Average growth rate is now above 2ppm/year. - gavin]

    Comment by Rod B — 22 Apr 2008 @ 10:24 PM

  302. re gavin’s answer to 301, so the graph I presented http://acute.ath.cx/BULK/global_warming/2008icecap.us-MonthlyCO2vsTemps.jpg is cherry picked. Fascinating, I chose it because it is one of most recent I’ve found and at the source it came from, the data used to create it is also linked. But the fact the data shows the most current decade and it is showing the impact of the last ten years and all preceding decades of the current cusp of doom levels of CO2 doing their year after year heat trapping, it should have no meaning as it is cherry picked.

    Such astounding scientific analysis

    And for one more funny observation. A cherry picked observation. In general when there is the annual mona loa CO2 peak, there is opposite low in the satellite data.

    Clearly CO2 is causing global warming by the law of all data to the contrary is cherry picked and should be ignored.

    [edit for tediousness]

    Comment by tom watson — 22 Apr 2008 @ 11:29 PM

  303. Dear Ray Ladbury re 300, Could you give me an example of what you consider pontification. I thought I only posted logic and reason using the laws of physics as I understand them. Did I use them wrong? I do express my opinions on what I interpret data to mean. And when I believe my interpretation is correct, I make that clear. But I am willing to listen to anyone explain how my interpretation is not certain or wrong. The concept of cherry picking to me is alien. And like most who have decades of researching, I find I often using my tacit abilities know when I have been pointed too samo samo hand waving explanations that some may believe are science. I have no doubt that all over the internet one can find CO2 skeptic analysis that is lame and bogus. But I have found all kinds of lame and bogus CO2 gloom and doom analysis at realclimate.org and many others.

    hoping one will find the informed who are willing to take time and explain may be quite foolish of me. You see if one really understands clearly, it is quite simple to explain. I know what I see clearly, I explain it as clearly as I can and all the brilliant informed tell me is that I am blind, I am a troll, I am paid agent to make trouble.

    I’m a boyscout, OK a seascout. OK I’m a past skipper of a Seascout Ship and a current mate voluteer with that ship. Not By Bread Alone
    http://acute.ath.cx/SHIP110/

    Does anyone care about finding truth. Does anyone care that if policy drives food to become fuel, Food will become more expensive and in places where food is always short, the carbon footprint of hundreds of thousands if not millions will be eliminated by malnutrition and the pestilence that goes with such malnutrition.

    Comment by tom watson — 23 Apr 2008 @ 12:02 AM

  304. tom watson — let me explain a bit about radiation physics, and then please answer a question for me.

    The flux absorbed by the climate system is

    F = (S / 4) (1 – A)

    where S is the solar constant, the amount of sunlight falling through a unit area at Earth’s mean distance from the sun. S has been measured by satellites at about 1,366 watts per square meter.

    A is the bolometric Bond albedo, the amount of sunlight the Earth reflects away from itself in all directions. A is about 0.306 according to NASA.

    The factor of 1/4 is because Earth receives sunlight on its cross-sectional area (π R2), but radiates heat from its total area (4 π R2).

    The flux absorbed by the climate system then works out to be about 237 watts per square meter on average. We can find out what “radiative equilibrium temperature” this corresponds to by inverting the Stefan-Boltzmann law for radiative intensity:

    F = σ T4

    where F is the flux emitted by a blackbody radiator, σ is the Stefan-Boltzmann constant (about 5.6704 x 10-8 in the SI), and T the absolute temperature. Solved for T, this becomes:

    T = (F / σ)0.25

    So Earth’s radiative equilibrium temperature works out to about 254 K.

    Water freezes at 273 K. If the Earth’s surface temperature were 254 K, the Earth would be frozen solid. But the Earth’s surface temperature averages 288 K, 34 K higher than the equilibrium temperature.

    If this is not due to the greenhouse effect, where is the higher temperature coming from? Where does the energy come from that keeps Earth at habitable temperatures? Sunlight by itself isn’t enough to do it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 23 Apr 2008 @ 6:20 AM

  305. Tom Watson, Your post is disingenuous. You have been directed to several resources that detail the physics. Yet you persist in your odd straw-man theories, showing no evidence that you have even perused any of these references. Examples of your incorrect science:
    1)assertion that CO2 does not have sufficient heat capacity to warm Earth (heat capacity is irrelevant to the radiative physics involved)
    2)your assertion that heat loss of Earth–an isolated system surrounded by vacuum–is dominated by convectiuon
    3)You have taken data out of context–e.g. using the 1998 El Nino as a peak of warming
    and on and on.
    Worst of all, Tom, there’s no evidence your learning curve has a positive slope. Until you make an effort to learn the real science so that you can talk apples with apples, you are wasting our time and yours.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Apr 2008 @ 8:18 AM

  306. Dear Barton Paul Levenson 304.

    I fully understand and do agree with the equations and your explanations of radiation physics.
    And they are a very simple explanation of, what I would call “a” driver of the long term average temperatures of the Earth.
    Now in a loose sense you use the term greenhouse effect. Or maybe you imply greenhouse effect is only the effect of radiation physics in the termperature of the Earth.
    Other effects are not considered part of the greenhouse effect. In this I don’t fully comprehend the intention of your post.

    From this one could the define CO2 greenhouse radiation effect as the effect of CO2 absent all other gasses.
    From this one can define CO2 it a 20% effect and H20 is a 80% effect. This is the only explanation I have found at realclimate.org.
    And maybe I missed it, but all other links I have been given have not expanded on this explanation.

    Now all of the above is true, but I comprehend or consider as meaningless and misleading in any search for what real or actual effect CO2 has
    at 380 or even 720 PPM. This 1 to 5 relationship ignores the reality of 10 to 50 fold more H20 molecules and that H20 is a
    total and partial absorber of far more wavelengths than CO2, and also H20 is a partial absorber of the far fewer CO2 wavelengths that are
    in the black body radiation spectrums of the earth’s temperatures.
    I have spent much time looking for and when possible annotating images to emphasize what seems obvious to me.
    http://e6.ath.cx/gw/Atmospheric_Transmission-sm.jpg
    http://e6.ath.cx/gw/Global_Warming_Not_From_CO2-fig1-n-2.jpg

    Are all the equations of the models that compute CO2 driving temperature using the above weightings?
    Then I may know why the models predict manifestations that cannot be found.

    The atmosphere is a moving, sometimes violently moving fluid, that is also why I also opine the equations that are really about static
    homogenized static fluids have little reality in suggesting some rules of actual reality.

    A good representation of the simple average of all is this. This is how I consider and what I consider the greenhouse effect.
    What part is radiation physics and what part Newtonian physics. Can one separate them.
    http://e6.ath.cx/gw/2007.nasa.gov.energyballance.gif

    Comment by tom watson — 23 Apr 2008 @ 1:05 PM

  307. Ray, a quicky out of left field (well…actually right field, I guess…): Is heat capacity really irrelevant to the radiation physics? Doesn’t radiation energy go to the same molecular place that latent heat (energy) goes, and doesn’t that have some effect or relevance?

    Comment by Rod B — 23 Apr 2008 @ 1:06 PM

  308. Rod B, Radiation excites those modes for which it has the appropriate energy–independent of temperature (to first order, anyway). Heat capacity depends on temperature, because it depends on which modes of the molecule are thermally excited. For a very cold gas, the vibrational modes are pretty much irrelevant to the heat capacity. As you raise the temperature, there are more modes into which energy can go, so the heat capacity (amt of energy needed to raise temperature) rises. Remember that temperature is a measure of the average energy per degree of freedom of the gas.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Apr 2008 @ 1:48 PM

  309. Tom Watson, if you devoted 10% of the effort to doing the physics and math that you do to handwaving and weasling, you would understand the science. Why do you think you have that huge hole at ~15 microns in the transmission spectrum of it’s not from CO2?

    Remember it’s climate CHANGE. Yes, there’s more H2O than CO2, but it’s the CO2 that is increasing. H2O is changing only as we’d expect it to based on the rising temperature.

    DO THE FRICKING MATH!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Apr 2008 @ 1:51 PM

  310. Dear Ray Ladbury RE: 305.
    Thank you for that very thought provoking post.
    I will bold your comment for visual clarity. Do not know the accepted convention.

    1)assertion that CO2 does not have sufficient heat capacity to warm Earth (heat capacity is irrelevant to the radiative physics involved)
    As I have come to understand radiative physics and said definition by realclimate.org convention or experts, your observation is true.
    And it is also quite obvious that CO2 must have some other property than radiative physics that causes it to drive global temperatures.

    2)your assertion that heat loss of Earth an isolated system surrounded by vacuum is dominated by convection
    My assertion is that heat loss from the Earth comes from radiation. But the delay of the heat captured, the overall rate of cooling
    involves convection in transporting said heat to an altitude where it escapes by radiation. And if you read my posts, I think I have explained
    this several times. But as a picture is worth a thousand words. Nasa did a nice job creating an extremely simple view of the
    mind boggling complex Earth greenhouse effect. So I repeat the link. http://e6.ath.cx/gw/2007.nasa.gov.energyballance.gif

    3)You have taken data out of context e.g. using the 1998 El Nino as a peak of warming
    and on and on.
    Worst of all, Tom, theres no evidence your learning curve has a positive slope. Until you make an effort to learn the real science so that you can talk apples with apples, you are wasting our time and yours.

    I don’t know what context I’ve taken any data out of. And I may have no idea what an apple is in your world.
    I can only guess what data you are referring. I am guessing this is the bad apple. http://acute.ath.cx/BULK/global_warming/2008icecap.us-MonthlyCO2vsTemps.jpg
    If I have guessed correctly, could you explain why it is out of context. Well out of what context.

    There is a context of a real world following the laws of physics. In that world this is how I view chart above.

    What do I see when I see this chart and read the explanation in the article where I found it.
    The data graphed represents a total in some manner of the “temperature of the Earth” The temperature reflects the rms value of
    the heat energy of the Earth. Is my supposition correct? When the rms value of the heat energy of the Earth goes up, the global temperature goes up.

    The context for that chart is this. http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog/correlation_last_decade_and_this_century_between_co2_and_global_temperature/

    The key point or context is that clearly for the last decade there is not a build up of stored energy. And nobodies CO2 radiation physics predicts this.

    Comment by tom watson — 23 Apr 2008 @ 2:09 PM

  311. Tom, what molecules radiate the infrared photons that are most likely to actually leave the planet, and why?

    Spencer Weart’s website explains this clearly.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Apr 2008 @ 2:11 PM

  312. One last try.
    Tom: Yes, H2O and CO2 overlap in the lower troposphere, and thus H2O overwhelms CO2 in the lower troposphere, but H2O drops off sharply as you approach the mid-troposphere, while CO2 remains well-mixed to the top of the troposphere, and into the lower stratosphere. Thus it is here, above the point where H20 dominates, above the point where H2O drops off, that CO2 is free to absorb in the wavelengths that overlap with H2O lower down. And it is here that adding more CO2 to the atmosphere will make a difference.

    As Ray wrote, we aren’t adding more H2O to the atmosphere, we couldn’t even if we wanted to, but we are adding more CO2. And CH4. And NOx. And CFCs, etc.

    Think about it.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 23 Apr 2008 @ 3:42 PM

  313. Dear Hank Roberts re: 311. A google of Spencer Weart’s website finds a person interested in the the history of physics. So do you have a link to a page you feel actually deals with scientific explanations and not history.
    I believe just because a guy into history, he may have some thought or idea that makes me see differently or more clearly what I know.

    But this google hit, #4, that also mentions Global Warming, does not recommend.
    This was written as an evaluation of one or Spencer Weart’s books.

    Weart’s presentation changes from a dispassionate history of science into a polemic, arguing that global warming is a human-caused reality, and implying that everybody who says otherwise is a shill of the coal and oil industries.
    http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/Articles%202004/Spring2004/global.html

    [Response: or part of a LaRouchite cult. Take your pick. - gavin]

    Comment by tom watson — 23 Apr 2008 @ 11:40 PM

  314. Ray (308), thanks. One clarification (that brings back memories of an earlier excited discussion): I thought temperature (as we know, love and measure it) derives from only the three degrees of freedom in the translation (whole molecular velocity) energy pool. And not from the intramolecular energy pools of rotation and vibration degrees of freedom — in the first order. True? Or not?

    Comment by Rod B — 23 Apr 2008 @ 11:58 PM

  315. Ray, tom: I’m surprised the NASA energy balance graph that tom referenced glosses over the gross upward IR radiation leaving the surface (114% per IPCC, e.g.) and the returning IR back radiation. Any thoughts?

    Comment by Rod B — 24 Apr 2008 @ 12:07 AM

  316. Dear Jim Eager re; 312, Terms like lower troposphere do have meaning, but I like using altitudes. Anyway I will use this chart as my definition of altitude zones.
    http://e6.ath.cx/gw/temp_vert-climateaudit.org.gif
    Mid troposphere is 5 Km Temperature is -20C and pressure is about 1/2 an atmosphere. I believe, I interpret that the laws of physics mean that CO2 will not trap any serious amount of heat. I can only offer these intuative arguments. All black body radiation goes in a random direction. But all that go up and are of a wavelength that can be adsorbed go further than those that go down. Air is less dense going up and thus extinction distance is further. All going down also must pass through lots more absorbing molecules. The cooling of a dry desert at night is in degrees per hour. The dryer less dense air at 5K would likely cool at even quicker rates as that air has even lesser density thus lesser specific heat capacity.

    Now also, If what you say is true then one would see the heating of that area. And by the way, http://e6.ath.cx/gw/IPCC-predicted-v-measured.jpg the IPCC in the last report published this figure showing exactly what you have described.
    http://e6.ath.cx/gw/IPCC-predicted-v-measured.jpg

    Now this is not gospel, but I don’t see how one can reconcile CO2 heating the mid to upper troposphere. And there is a mystery -70C spot in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico that is a fountain of cold.
    Another interpretation of images I collected and studied. 2 weeks of GOES-East, Eastern North America IR(infra-red: 10.7 µm): Satelite a tcsh script build-global-IR-movie.com was run for a two week period and collected the images updated on the half hour. 688 images were collected. http://e6.ath.cx/gw/movie/test3/
    This is a link to one image and there large areas of temperature above the clouds at far below the -20 reported as the 5KW temperature.
    http://e6.ath.cx/gw/movie/test3/640×480/goes_enam-2008_01_28_12_09_IR_Large.jpg

    Comment by tom watson — 24 Apr 2008 @ 12:34 AM

  317. Dear Ray Ladbury RE: 309
    I guess I don’t know where to find the physics and math you are referring too. Is the absorption hole in a spectrum a clear indication of the idea of an extinction distance. That a wavelength is absorbed, the energy redistributed to surrounding molecules and even when they re-radiate their small amount of that wavelength, it gets absorbed immediately over and over?? With each re-radiation some goes to space and over time air cools as heat is escaping???
    I would love to find the math and physics that shows this is not the case.

    Ray in engineering there is an idea that when two things are in play and one is varying by orders of magnitude on numerous time scales and one is increasing by a fraction of a fraction, All thing being equal, a fraction of a fraction adds zero.

    Comment by tom watson — 24 Apr 2008 @ 12:58 AM

  318. Tom,
    Spencer Weart is also a physicist as well as a historian of physics. I know him personally and can assure you he is well conversant with the physics. Besides, the historical perspective is important, as it illustrates the blind alleys of climate research in the past (and down which you are stumbling at present). For something more technical, might I suggest raypierre’s text on atmospheric physics–a good starting point. There is also a workbook of problems–don’t skip them or you won’t truly understand the material.
    Tom, one indication that you don’t know what you are talking about is the fact that you jump around from cause to cause to problem to problem and then start cycling through again. You have to look at things systematically. And you will have to unlearn the incorrect interpretation you have amassed through lack of systematic study.

    As Mark Twain said: “What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”

    A case in point is your vague reference to extinction. If you bothered to read the realclimate article “A Saturated Gassy Argument,” you would know that the effect of CO2 doesn’t saturate–in merely increases logarithmically. As the concentration of CO2 increases you start to get more absorption into the tails of the absorption band–and the tails of the band are lorentzianm, and so, thick.
    BTW, although I am a physicist, the physics of my day job is very applied–making sure microelectronics will work in a high-radiation environment. One thing you should have learned is that when you have competing effects, a small change in one can drastically tip the balance of the entire system.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Apr 2008 @ 7:51 AM

  319. Rod,
    Temperature is the partial derivative of energy wrt entropy. Now remember back to thermo in the dark and distant past. As you heat a gas, initially, the only degrees of freedom are those associated with kinetic energy of the molecule as a whole, so E~1.5*kT. However as you heat things up more, you start to excite vibrational, rotational and other internal degrees of freedom, and for each new mode, the proportionality between E and kt increases by 0.5. So if you have 2 rotational degrees of freedom, E~2.5*kT. Throw in a vibrational mode and you get 3kT. In other words, it takes more energy to increase the temperature as the temperature gets higher. The Wikipedia articles below aren’t bad references:

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

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

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Apr 2008 @ 8:01 AM

  320. Re #306

    “This 1 to 5 relationship ignores the reality of 10 to 50 fold more H20 molecules and that H20 is a
    total and partial absorber of far more wavelengths than CO2, and also H20 is a partial absorber of the far fewer CO2 wavelengths that are
    in the black body radiation spectrums of the earth’s temperatures.
    I have spent much time looking for and when possible annotating images to emphasize what seems obvious to me.
    http://e6.ath.cx/gw/Atmospheric_Transmission-sm.jpg
    http://e6.ath.cx/gw/Global_Warming_Not_From_CO2-fig1-n-2.jpg

    Are all the equations of the models that compute CO2 driving temperature using the above weightings?”

    In short, no.
    You’re relying on inaccurate cartoons for your spectroscopic data which give a totally false picture. Water does not overlap with CO2 to the degree shown, neither spectrum is a continuum as shown but clusters of discrete lines which when viewed at high resolution do not directly overlap. Consequently in order to determine the actual absorption a detailed line-by-line calculation must be done, you can find the data used for this in Hitran: http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/hitran/

    To get a better picture you can run calculations on-line using Modtran: http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~archer/cgimodels/radiation.html
    This will give you a much more realistic picture of the atmosphere than the nonsense you have in those links above.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 24 Apr 2008 @ 8:34 AM

  321. Tom, Larouche. Look it up.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Apr 2008 @ 9:13 AM

  322. Re #319

    Ray just a minor correction, each vibrational mode gives two degrees of freedom so it adds kT not 0.5kT.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 24 Apr 2008 @ 9:35 AM

  323. Dear Ray Ladbury re: 318 It is nice to hear you know Spencer Weart personally, And your being so familiar, I understand why you do not provide a link to a page of Spencer that shows his clear explanations so I can undo all my bad.
    As you have proffered. you will have to unlearn the incorrect interpretation you have amassed through lack of systematic study.

    I must unlearn, if no heat energy can be found, it is still there waiting to raise the temperature.

    Comment by tom watson — 24 Apr 2008 @ 9:44 AM

  324. Dear Phil. Felton re: 320

    As I read your comment, I smiled and asked, it the man hockey stick figure a cartoon. I have searched long and wide for cartoons that plot the absorption of CO2 and H20. Most are very cartoon like. They have no info really speaking to the metrology of how to quantify what is plotted.

    Even NIST does not really do it. I do wonder why it is so hard. And I would be thankfull for any url pointers to accurate cartoons, of graphs or figures. Especially those the also list the complete math behind the figure, the assumptions etc.
    This is a composite of NIST plots of CO2 and H20. I do not see the non overlap you are claiming. Also if one takes the NIST to have
    some unit correlation. Yes I know it is not stated. Anyway, in that at and in the first hundred feet of atmosphere there are 10 to 50 molecules of H20 to CO2, A 5% H20 absorption is the same as a 50% to 100% CO2 absorption.
    http://e6.ath.cx/gw/nist.gov-H20-n-CO2-trans.gif The NIST chemistry WebBook allow plotting with different scaling and units.
    If you look at my raw directory http://e6.ath.cx/gw the separate frames used to make my cartoon are there. They are files the begin with nist-

    Then I use http://www.spectralcalc.com/spectralcalc.php there black body calculator to create graphs of different temps.
    Then one matches the scaling and one can apply them together making what you call inaccurate cartoons

    In engineering, the use of graphical or cartoon methods is quite normal and regulars. So what rule of mathematics says using graphical methods to join cartoons is not the same as doing a detailed line-by-line calculation

    Comment by tom watson — 24 Apr 2008 @ 10:16 AM

  325. Tom, would a language other than English be easier? Do you have a local library where you can get some of the references suggested? The footnotes in the AIP History would be easy for a library reference desk to locate for you and would be helpful to read.

    Your website’s in .CX — Christmas Island. What sort of local help do you have available? Any science library or college nearby?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Apr 2008 @ 10:24 AM

  326. This seems as good a place to put this as any. Looks like an interesting upcoming PRL:

    http://www.aip.org/pnu/2008/split/862-1.html

    Tom Watson, Just what the hell do you think IR radiation is if it is not heat energy? I am afraid I don’t have much sympathy if you are unwilling to read the resources provided. I am afraid I don’t know how to surgically install understanding. Certainly you will not arrive at it solely by posting on a website. In my case, understanding is the product of concentrated effort. Why do you think it should be easy for you?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Apr 2008 @ 10:59 AM

  327. Ray (319), here’s my point, which one has to set aside for the moment the quantum mechanics which determines the probability of what energy goes to which degree of freedom, but what I think is instructionally accurate. Say E1 is applied at a low enough temperature that all of this energy (or less) goes into translation (1/2mv^2) so that the temp is (2)(E1/3k, and the temp changes linearly as E1 decreases. (I’ve picked E1 as a discrete shift point.) Now add a bunch of energy E2 = deltaE + E1 so that all of deltaE goes into, say, rotation, so that E2 = 5kT/2. You now end up with 66% more energy in the molecule with zero change in the temperature.

    Being a little more realistic, say that E1 still is all translation but deltaE gets distributed between translation and rotation according to an approximation of quantum distribution and equipartition. I contend that the portion of deltaE that goes to translation increases the measurable temperature, that going to rotational does NOT. Likewise when radiation is absorbed (always either rotation or vibration) the temperature, in the first order, does not change Correct or not?

    Comment by Rod B — 24 Apr 2008 @ 11:36 AM

  328. Dear Hank, thank you, I did not know .CX was associated with Christmas Island.
    But a whois ath.cx is more informative.
    …Registrant:
    DynDNS Hostmaster
    Dynamic Network Services, Inc.
    1230 Elm St.
    5th Floor
    Manchester, NH 03103

    And [ 247 ] > host e6.ath.cx
    e6.ath.cx has address 76.254.193.1
    and [ 248 ] > host 76.254.193.1
    1.193.254.76.in-addr.arpa domain name pointer adsl-76-254-193-1.dsl.mrdnct.sbcglobal.net.

    I have a dyndns account, but it was free for 5 domain as I recall. dyndns and several other services allow for a domain behind a dhcp gated router to have a constant URL.

    And I would welcome any suggestions to references you can provide. What you show me, you show the world of your expertise and knowledge. Do you prefer paper or the internet as a library? And I have a photo gallery for all who enjoy a pig out on reading…. http://toms.homeip.net/2003.07.08_pig_out_on_reading/

    Comment by tom watson — 24 Apr 2008 @ 11:50 AM

  329. As embarrassing as this is to admit, I’ve scanned all four 4th assessments and can’t find the IPCC Figure 1.1 above. Can somebody tell me where it is to be found? I need it for an ongoing [sigh] debate about AGW with an energy industry engineer. (BTW, you guy’s efforts have been INVALUABLE!)

    [Response: Chapter 1, page 98 in WG1 report. - gavin]

    Comment by david — 24 Apr 2008 @ 12:44 PM

  330. Here’s another unhappy effect to model:

    Pine beetle outbreaks turn forests into carbon source
    By CATHERINE TSAI
    Associated Press Writer

    DENVER — An outbreak of mountain pine beetles in British Columbia is doing more than destroying millions of trees: By 2020, the beetles will have done so much damage that the forest is expected to release more carbon dioxide than it absorbs, according to new research.

    The study, led by Werner Kurz of the Canadian Forest Service, estimates that over 21 years trees killed by the beetle outbreak could release 990 megatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – roughly equivalent to five years of emissions from Canada’s transportation sector.

    The outbreak has affected about 33 million acres, or about 51,562 square miles, of lodgepole pines. Bark beetles also have killed huge swaths of pines in the western United States, including about 2,300 square miles of trees in Colorado.

    “When trees are killed, they no longer are able to take carbon from the atmosphere. Then when dead trees start to decompose, that releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere,” Kurz said.

    That could exacerbate global warming that contributed to the outbreaks in the first place. Warmer temperatures have allowed beetles to survive farther north and at higher elevations.

    “This is the kind of feedback we’re all very worried about in the carbon cycle – a warming planet leading to, in this case, an insect outbreak that increases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which can increase warming,” said Andy Jacobson, a carbon cycle scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colo.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 24 Apr 2008 @ 2:19 PM

  331. Rod,
    It’s not quite as simple as that. Temperature is not defined for a single molecule, really, so what you will have is a distribution. At low temperature, a very few molecules will have high enough energy that they can excite rotational and vibrational modes in themselves and other molecules via collision. However, the vast majority will only respond via changes in translation. Now raise the temperature–more and more molecules will have high enough kinetic energies to respond rotationally or vibrationally. Now suddenly, you will have a much greater proportion of the energy going into these modes, so the specific heat will rise (i.e. it will take more energy to cause the same delta T).

    You will just drive yourself crazy if you try to think of temperature as being a property of a single molecule. Temperature is what they call an intensive property, as opposed to extensive properties like energy.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Apr 2008 @ 2:38 PM

  332. Ray (331), you say, “…Now suddenly, you will have a much greater proportion of the energy going into these modes [rotation or vibration], so the specific heat will rise (i.e. it will take more energy to cause the same delta T). This means the energy raising the specific heat by parking in rotation and/or vibration modes, prima facie, does not raise the temperature. Correct.

    We all went round and round on the following. I don’t want to restir the pot, but, for the record, I have no discomfort at all with the concept of a single molecule having temperature. You say it takes a bunch. I say how many? You say 100,000 at least. I say, O.K., how about 50,000? ….ad nauseum until I say, how about 4? …. You know how this works: you can not support eventually saying NO at any discrete number. While it is true that their is an energy distyribution within a gas such that there is an average 1/2mv^2 that determines the [average..] temp. None-the-less each individual molecule in the gas is zipping around at some discrete velocity with a discrete energy level (though probably none exactly on the average) and experiencing a discrete temperature in Kelvin — even if we can not measure its temp. I recognize temperature defined by change in entropy presents big problems here, but this is not the only dichotomy in physics we have to live with (wave-particle anyone?); besides I think the formula is defining entropy in term of temperature (as one ind. variable), not vice versa.

    Comment by Rod B — 24 Apr 2008 @ 5:43 PM

  333. ps I said I didn’t want to stir the pot, …then went and did! Plus my proofreading was atrocious. Sorry

    Comment by Rod B — 24 Apr 2008 @ 5:47 PM

  334. http://www.aip.org/history/climate/Radmath.htm
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/links.htm

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Apr 2008 @ 8:29 PM

  335. Guys, I think we should stop responding to Tom Watson. For whatever reason, he is either not reading the stuff we refer him to or is not understanding what he does read, and there’s nothing we can do about that. Trying to educate someone who either cannot be educated or, more likely, doesn’t want to make the effort, is a waste of time.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Apr 2008 @ 6:41 AM

  336. [Response: Chapter 1, page 98 in WG1 report. - gavin]

    I knew it was going to be embarrassing. Thanks.

    Comment by david — 25 Apr 2008 @ 7:41 AM

  337. [edit]

    Dear Barton Paul Levenson re 335: What links do you proffer I have been given and not read and not understood. What links have you given that you claim I have not read and not understood.

    Do you think it took no time to compose all the posts I have made on this forum.
    Do you think it took no time to compile all the info on my open web directory and to link to specific figure located there. Do you think it took no time, not effort no understanding to edit and annotate and try to combine information so it makes more sense.

    I have posted here with honest questions. My questions about things that don’t add up. is there any point in saying more about you post???

    Comment by tom watson — 25 Apr 2008 @ 8:30 AM

  338. Dear Ray Ladbury RE 326
    I have started looking at http://www.aip.org/pnu/2008/split/862-1.html, I posted a reply just before this to BPL.
    The nature of how this forum loads in my browser is such I see the last posts before I see the time continuation of where I left off
    reading some previous time. So when I wrote the last post, I had not read 326. I confess, after spending time at
    wiki.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer-Lambert_law to
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absorbance to
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absorption_spectrum

    I do not really know what IR radiation is? smiling here… yes IR radiation is energy, how it’s absorbed, I hope to better understand.

    I know what I think IR radiation is. But I am searching to find out if what I think is correct or hogwash.

    Now I have spent time composing this reply, not reading the link you provided and the links it refers too. I now post this and start looking at the link provided.
    And thank you for that link.

    By the way, I was at wiki attempting to make heads out of your earlier posts on molecular vibration. This is not a knock. Different folks speak with different jargon. I could only guess as what you were saying.

    Comment by tom watson — 25 Apr 2008 @ 8:56 AM

  339. Tom Watson, If you have specific questions about what I’ve said about vibrational modes or anything else, I’ll try to clarify them. IR radiation is simply electromagnetic radiation (photons) with wavelengths longer than visible light and shorter than microwaves. We feel it as heat, when it is incident on us, because it excites vibrational and rotational modes in the molecules in our skin (think heat lamp).

    Tom, a suggestion. A comment forum like this does not lend itself to a thorough education. It works best for you to find some good resources–e.g. raypierre’s climate book–read them on your own and if you have specific questions, ask them. Provided they don’t hijack the discussion and aren’t grossly off-topic, you’ll usually get a courteous response. Look, climate science is an interdisciplinary study. It involves lots of different material and takes time to learn.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Apr 2008 @ 9:56 AM

  340. Rod,
    Remember that in the expression E=1.5kT, the E is actually E-bar, the average energy of the ensemble. You will always have energies much higher and much lower, and the distribution will be roughly Maxwellian. Thus even at cold temperatures high in the atmosphere, there will be some collisions that excite CO2 atoms into their excited vibrational state. As to the answer of how many molecules one must have to have an ensemble, the answer is how large an error can you deal with on your temperature, pressure,… With as few as 100 molecules, average errors will be ~10%, so nanoclusters do have a temperature.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Apr 2008 @ 10:10 AM

  341. Dear Ray Ladbury RE 326
    I have now looked at http://www.aip.org/pnu/2008/split/862-1.html, Overall it reveal little to nothing new to me.
    It says A new joint study by French and Russian scientists shows in detail how carbon dioxide molecules absorb and sometimes scatter light energy not only singly but also during inter-molecular collisions but reveal no netails.
    It does reference http://www.aip.org/png/2008/300.htm as this have now derived the first exact mathematical formulas that can be used to calculate how collisions between molecules modify the absorption spectra for those molecules (see figure at
    But looking at …300.htm is a statement of what most may believe, but nothing about anything in formulas.

    I do believe, but will not claim with certainty that I have read previously various pages at aip.org. It general the pages seem not very definitive.
    I do have an undisciplined method of saving links I encounter in a file http://e6.ath.cx/gw/aaa-goodlinks I also now more regularly use
    an open source program, the simple xpaint to annotate figures I download with the original link for future reference.

    Now back to the discussion of absorption, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absorption_spectrum There is a claim, or explanation and it does note a cite is needed. But this explanation uses an example where we have parallel traveling photons from the emission source.

    in both the atomic and molecular cases, the excited states do not persist: after some random amount of time, the atoms and molecules revert back to their original, lower energy state. In atoms, the excited electron returns to a lower orbital, emitting a photon. In molecules, the vibrational or rotational mode decays, also emitting a photon.

    When this decay occurs, the photon produced is not necessarily emitted in the same direction as the original photon. The most common angle of this has been shown to be about 45 degrees of the original photon[citation needed]. This applies to any situation where gases lie between a light source and an observer: the observer will see gaps in the spectrum of the light corresponding to the wavelengths of the photons which were absorbed. These gaps occur despite the re-emission of photons because the re-emitted photons are equally likely to travel in all directions, and it is statistically unlikely to travel along the original path to the observer. These gaps appear as black lines in an image of the spectrum.

    But width of the earth emitting (let’s says by hundreds of square miles) and the thinness of the atmosphere. (choose some altitude) has the IR wavelength being emitted at all angles with respect to an observer at some altitude.

    If one sees absorption lines of a specific band at some altitude, the wiki 45 degree and re-emission explanation seems incorrect to me. It seems absorption with conversion to heat and then re-emission of full spectrum where same absorbed band but less energy gets re-absorbed and band shifted component of energy now or will recursively contain all energy in the original absorbed band.

    That part of the energy that is not absorbed leaves the system. That energy that is absorbed remains and is constantly part of the heat within the earths system.

    But I still have found no explanation of how C02 has any unique property the accounts the supposed change of some PPM.

    Comment by tom watson — 25 Apr 2008 @ 11:07 AM

  342. Tom, First, the cite I gave from physics update was not intended to be tutorial. It is a result that will be published soon in Physical Review Letters. It is probably beyond your current understanding, but even if it were not I would not expect you to understand it based solely on a news release.

    One thing from the article should give you a hint though–it said at sea level a CO2 molecule undergoes ~10^10 collisions per second. Add to that the fact that the excited vibrational state of CO2 lasts of order microseconds, and it should become clear that relaxation via collision is much more likely than relaxation via photon emission. The energy is thus shared mainly with N2 and O2 which (except in extreme conditions) do not emit in the infrared. The whole atmosphere heats up–it’s not just that the CO2 slows down the escape of the IR.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Apr 2008 @ 1:59 PM

  343. Dear Ray Ladbury RE: 339,
    I had not read 339 yet when I posted my reply #341. I don’t know that I need mention that for others, but I need to note it to have the dialog make sense to me if I refer back to it in he future.

    Your observations about the forum are valid. As to vibrational modes, I have read many different renditions of word descriptions to create a minds eye visualization of the interaction of photons with matter and in particular what absorption is like.

    I have reveiewed many text books, The specifics of the vibration modes are interesting, but have not addressed a quantification of probabilities of what happens when those photons that are tuned to be adsorbed by a specific molecule or molecules in general do intercept.
    The state of wisdom is as the link you referenced in #326 http://www.aip.org/pnu/2008/split/862-1.html The state of knowledge seems to be this.

    and its ability to absorb and trap infrared radiation is thought to be instrumental in producing greenhouse effects. CO2 molecules one at a time can absorb light. But molecules can also absorb light when they collide with other molecules. This collision-induced absorption, occurring at wavelengths different from those for single molecules and accounting for about 10% of overall IR absorption, is insufficiently understood.

    So if this belief of mine is correct, across realclimate.org there is an attempt to lower the “overall IR absorption, is insufficiently understood.” I jumped in and asked what I judged to be questions that go to the center of ambiguity in understanding.

    I have no wish to hijack a forum, But one can say my posts have. But I do provide links to web resources I control and from them who I am and where I live and how to contact me can be found, even by non rocket scientists. I am open to any suggestions on how to follow my curiosity on how it works.

    So thank you again for taking the time to post responses to my concerns, questions and ramblings.

    How many of those who post, can you look in the eye???? http://acute.ath.cx/watson/pooter/ this is dated 04/06/99 so the eyes are older now.

    PS as I posted the preview this time I checked an saw 342. So Re 342, I would not assume you would not understand an explanation of anything by someone who actually understood it. I find that rule is useful in general.
    I find I ofter understand better for having explained to others who did not understand. I have also witnessed arguments between folks saying the same thing.

    As to the 10^10 of collision and usec atomic level heat conduction times, I would guess photon time of flight is sub picosecods. Does this suggest the more CO2 more heat faster transfered to air, Does this agree with the idea of a shorter adsorption distance. More molecules, sooner intercept. Does that imply a more concentrated initial heating near surface that means sooner of faster start of convection of warmer less dense air upward.

    But H20 is still 10 to 50 times CO2 in molecule population.

    Comment by tom watson — 25 Apr 2008 @ 3:30 PM

  344. > photon time of flight is sub picoseconds

    “mean free path”

    > adsorption

    Wrong word, wrong concept

    > But H20 …. molecule population

    Altitude: “Water is down to CO2 levels by 6km”
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2008/01/if-you-dont-remember-past-you-will.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Apr 2008 @ 4:44 PM

  345. First, H20 isn’t increasing except as a function of increasing tempeature–remember it’s climate CHANGE. Look for what’s changing. I meant no offense when I said you probably would not understand the research linked at APS. It’s state of the art research, and you don’t have the PRL paper to reference.
    IR absorption–in band–is quite well understood. It is a question of how that absorption gets enhanced as a result of intermolecular collisions. This is one of the reasons why CO2 absorption doesn’t saturate.

    The speed of a photon is irrelevant. What matters is how many CO2 molecules it will encounter on its way out of the atmosphere. Each CO2 molecule increases the probability of absorption and the energy trapped. And keep in mind that excited CO2 can radiate at any level of the atmosphere and can be absorbed by CO2 at any level into the stratosphere. Really, check out Raypierre’s book. It will help.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Apr 2008 @ 5:33 PM

  346. Ray, your implication will come as a surprise to most 101 textbooks,… and to my buddy Feynman, which use a single molecule to start the development of the 1/2mv^2 = 1.5kT stuff.

    It’s E-bar because that’s what we choose — as the only useful quantity to work with. But you’ll have a long row to hoe to convince me a lonely singular molecule has no kinetic energy. Possibly our disagreement stems from the fact that my single molecule with K.E. and a Temp is interesting in concept but does no physicist any practical good, other than theory: One can not (accurately?) measure either its temp or its velocity. Measurement can have 100% error. But that does not mean its velocity and temp does not exist.

    Isn’t IR absorbed one molecule at a time (granted with teensy succession times)?

    Comment by Rod B — 26 Apr 2008 @ 12:02 AM

  347. I was reviewing the forum. I found, I spent so much time addressing less than flatering replies to my posts and considering how to reply in way both informative and civil. that I missed other posts and posters that I believe I share very common state of thought.

    I continue to post as I am still attempting to expand my understanding. It may be a waste my time if no one reads or no one replies, but my efforts of attempting to write down what I believe and explain it helps me better understand what I believe and often furthers my own understanding.

    Dear Gene Hawkridge RE 27 and a general comment to all.

    Your said “That is clearly not healthy are the nuts who conclude, based on a few years data, that global warming is fictional ”

    My skeptism is that any link between a variation of PPM of C02 and an ability to drive climate anywhere near the current IPCC supposed levels has ever been explained beyond a supposition and nothing near proven or even likely. It is all suppositions, and theories.

    I posted on this tread hoping those who freely volunteer the time to create such an extensive site and state

    RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists. We aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary. The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/about/

    would be a place where I could ask questions or explain why I am confused about C02 suppositions of massive impact.

    I hoped that such learned and expert folks would be able to explain in laymans terms the nature of exactly how CO2 is supposed to drive temperature. But Laymans terms using some quantification that explains how mass in part per million has some effect in parts per ten or hundred or even a thousands.

    I have extensive experience in using all manner of sensors and instruments to measure physical properties and then using various engineering math to process, create simple visualizations. Visualization that greatly assist any laymen in grasping the complexity in a real world system.

    I attempt to express in an EE jargon.
    In electronic systems there is signal and noise and a signal to noise ratio. How does the signal of ppm of CO2 drive the signal of Temperature when H20 is so much higher a signal in PPM, Multiplied by higher absorber of power of the spectrum of interest.

    In the Earth system
    The water signal has always been present, the water signal is orders of magnitude larger and varying in amplitude by orders of magnitude over the current small PPM increase signal of CO2.

    Also heat by conduction and convection and radiation get to a place where it escapes via radiation. The massive for all time present signal of H20 also can also tranport via convection about 300 time the heat of CO2, O2, and N2, per unit mass. 02 and N2 make up 96 to 98%. Water makes up 1% to 3%. So does this mean that in a cubic foot of air that H20 by convection can transport 3 to 9 times the heat in its 1 to 3% as much as the entire 97 to 99% of the rest of the air that includes some PPM of CO2.

    300 tims per unit mass.(specific heat, heat of fusion, heat of vaporization and only h20 is going through phase changes in atmospheric convection.)

    I always attempt to parse what a skeptic is skeptical about. I don’t get how one can add the H20 and CO2 signals and support the CO2 impact suppositions.

    For my efforts and questions, this is a summary of what has
    The collective argument is that one must read more to understand and those who cannot are just of too limited an intellect to comprehend.

    Comment by tom watson — 26 Apr 2008 @ 1:51 PM

  348. Dear Hank Roberts Re: 344.

    I would suggest “photon time of flight is sub picoseconds” is good layman terminology for the technical “mean free path” I often use the best layman terminology I can think of, even if I did know the appropriate technical jargon. But such corrections are welcome as then all may learn appropriate technical jargon.

    adsorption vs absorption is a db typo. My typing sucks. I also often put you instead of your and the where this and that should be. I omit the letter s often and may include it wrongly. That is a handicap I have.

    But on adsorption vs absorption, I wonder if as I think constantly in pictures and mixed concepts, is the electric field of electrons in obit that is selective about which photons may enter functioning like a membrane. Does my many levels mental processing somehow impact what signal gets to what finger to execute a particular character.

    I know my minds eye is beyond the speed of my thought to finger communications.

    I can only say sorry for pain it causes. It is more work to listen to garbled speech. I have tried many schemes and still my mind in review does not catch all my garbles.

    Comment by tom watson — 26 Apr 2008 @ 3:20 PM

  349. Beware “word salad” — picking terms from other areas and tossing them into postings about climate make it harder to find relevant research.

    E.g., “photon time of flight” — this is from biomedical laser work and will find articles on seeing through flesh not through atmosphere.

    Problem between chair and keyboard is common enough; drafting offline is always useful to allow time to edit til comprehensible by others.

    Else people just skip when they expect to be baffled. Enough said.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Apr 2008 @ 7:25 PM

  350. Re #347

    “In electronic systems there is signal and noise and a signal to noise ratio. How does the signal of ppm of CO2 drive the signal of Temperature when H20 is so much higher a signal in PPM, Multiplied by higher absorber of power of the spectrum of interest.”

    Firstly, the concentration isn’t the signal and secondly haven’t you ever heard of gain?

    Did you ever take a look at MODTRAN as I suggested?

    Re #324

    “This is a composite of NIST plots of CO2 and H20. I do not see the non overlap you are claiming.”

    Several reasons for that, firstly you superimposed graphs of a known concentration of CO2 with an unknown (but high) concentration of H2O, secondly you plotted the graph over too large a range of cm-1 (no point in anything over 2000 cm-1), thirdly in order to see the overlap you have to plot at higher resolution closer to the line-widths.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 26 Apr 2008 @ 8:38 PM

  351. Tom Watson, Remember: it is climate CHANGE. Look what is changing–and it ain’t water. Anthropogenic causation HAS BEEN proven. You just haven’t bothered to read the papers. Please do so.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Apr 2008 @ 9:19 PM

  352. Dear Hank Roberts Re: 349

    First, I literally draft on and off line simultaneously. http://toms.homeip.net/global_warming/what-the-hell-is-air.html#349.

    After creating a post, I cut and paste into the forum and preview. Often seeing the new preview format makes some of my error appear.

    As to the word salad, I had no knowledge of the possible laser biomedical term uses. I also still consider my description a reasonable universal laymen terms visualization.

    To me it is self explicit. But all have there own opinion that is, I say with a friendly smile, inferior to mine.

    Comment by tom watson — 27 Apr 2008 @ 1:07 PM

  353. Dear Phil. Felton Re 350

    I agree concentration is not the signal. I believe or I am not aware of any contradiction of the idea that CO2 and H20 absorb photon in any different way. The only difference is the wavelength of the particular photons absorbed. Also CO2 and H20 do have the ability to absorb photons of the same wavelength. I do not know how to express the metrics of what angles of orientation an interception of a particular wavelength photon must possess to assure absorption some other redirection or no interaction. I guess or proffer that for some wavelengths the width or “scope of interception” are larger and thus absorption is more likely.

    From the properties as I have described above I proffer that the sum of number of absorbing targets weighted by it’s “scope of interception” is proportional to the probability of absorbing a particular photon.

    For a specific photon wavelength H2O and CO2 can be assigned a probability number from it’s NIST or other transmission graph.

    From this the possibility of absorption is the sum of the number of CO2 molecules times it’s NIST probability This is also true for H20.

    From this it seems to me that in the path of a photon the probability of meeting CO2 or H20 is a function of the number in PPM.

    From this the probability of a being absorbed is a function of sum of probabilities for each for that path.

    All photons will likely intercept 10, 20, 50, H20 (the variation of humidity) for every CO2 at 260 or 460 PPM

    This addresses the CO2 only or mostly photons. This does not even consider that H20 can absorb a far greater percentage of all photon in the black body spectrum of earth temperatures.

    The H20 signal is the sum of all it alone absorbs and all it absorbs that CO2 might absorb if it every sees it.

    To me the amplitude of the signal is a function of the total population C02 + H20 vs the ppm population change of CO2.

    Gain has been mentioned. I do not see in my understanding of what absorption is to introduce a gain function.

    Now I do not claim I have a perfect or totally correct understanding of absorption. But I have not seen any convincing explanations that contradict or confirm with certainty I have the correct understanding.

    MODTRAN… I am looking now, but a specific pointer through all the weeds of the internet would be helpful.

    .. superimposed graphs of a known concentration of CO2 with an unknown (but high) concentration of H2O, secondly you plotted the graph over too large a range of cm-1 (no point in anything over 2000 cm-1)…

    Do you know the concentration of CO2 and H20? Even relative, high is not quantitative. And h20 at 2% or 20,000 PPM is high compared to CO2 386 PPM, but realistic.

    I used the graphs that NIST makes available.
    I also believe the the NIST graphs I used do take into account the black body radiation spectrum of earth’s temperature.
    I have collected all kinds of plots of absorption at http://e6.ath.cx/gw/
    http://e6.ath.cx/gw/absorbspec.jpg
    http://e6.ath.cx/gw/Atmospheric_Transmission-sm.jpg
    http://e6.ath.cx/gw/AtmosphericAbsorption-n-Transmission.jpg
    http://e6.ath.cx/gw/chriscolose.h20.co2.absorption.gif
    http://e6.ath.cx/gw/earth-emisson-spectrum.jpg
    http://e6.ath.cx/gw/IR-SPEC.GIF
    http://e6.ath.cx/gw/TerrestrialRadiation-energy_wavelength.gif

    [Response: Watson, just give up. You're going around in circles and not scoring any points. The absorption data you're showing in the graphs is just the same stuff GCM radiation codes are based on. These codes explicitly model the degree of overlap between water vapor and CO2, taking into account the fact that water vapor decreases with height whereas CO2 does not (to a radiatively significant extent). The radiation codes still give a strong radiative forcing from doubling of CO2, and when embedded in a model that simulates the full hydrological cycle, gives a substantial warming. If you really want to learn something about CO2 vs. water vapor radiative effects, look at (a) Gavin's RC article on "Water vapor: Feedback or Forcing?"; my chapter in the Princeton University Press general circulation volume (Schneider and Sobel, eds); Chapter 4 of my planetary climate textbook (available online through my web site). You are not allowing yourself to be educated by the astute remarks of the various commenters who have set you straight. You are just trying to re-invent radiative transfere modelling, but doing it in words without mathematics, and you are making a dog's breakfast of it. If you want to argue about water vapor feedback, that's one thing, but to argue against AGW on the basis of CO2/H2O overlap is just alchemy and I won't let this go on forever. --raypierre]

    Comment by tom watson — 27 Apr 2008 @ 2:21 PM

  354. I heartily endorse Raypierre’s remarks, while you profess to want to learn all you’re doing is arguing with the experts who’re trying to help you, at the same time revealing your lack of knowledge!

    Some examples:
    “The only difference is the wavelength of the particular photons absorbed. Also CO2 and H20 do have the ability to absorb photons of the same wavelength.”

    Not true, linewidths and absorption cross-sections for example.

    “Do you know the concentration of CO2 and H20?”

    I read the data on the NIST pages that you took the graphs from!
    Depending on which of the CO2 graphs you used the concentration is either:
    ‘Notice: Concentration information is not available for this spectrum and, therefore, molar absorptivity values cannot be derived.’
    or:
    ‘GAS (200 mmHg DILUTED TO A TOTAL PRESSURE OF 600 mmHg WITH N2)’
    And for the H2O graph you used:
    ‘Notice: Concentration information is not available for this spectrum and, therefore, molar absorptivity values cannot be derived.’

    Which render the comparison you attempt to make with your graph totally meaningless.

    “To me the amplitude of the signal is a function of the total population C02 + H20 vs the ppm population change of CO2.”

    Figure 11 in this page of yours illustrates the error of your statements if you had the wit to see it!
    http://e6.ath.cx/gw/IR-SPEC.GIF

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 27 Apr 2008 @ 6:56 PM

  355. As a public service, I have extended the research in #290, as this thread may become a classic for students of blogging behavior:

    Of 354 posts so far, 94 (27% of the total):
    43 are by Tom Watson
    51 are by others replying to Tom Watson

    Of the *last* 65 posts 47 (72%):
    21 by Tom Watson
    26 by others replying to Tom Watson

    I suspect the word percentages are higher. I may have missed a few.

    Comment by John Mashey — 28 Apr 2008 @ 1:05 AM

  356. So, back to the topic then?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Apr 2008 @ 10:39 AM

  357. Re #355 John Mashey:

    I am tempted to refer to the history of operations research, like described in

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

    especially the part about Blackett and armouring RAF bombers. There are a few other examples (cannot find the links now) of such counter-intuitive results: What you see is not all there is!

    That the Tom Watsons of the world are immune to learning doesn’t establish that those reading over his shoulders are :-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 28 Apr 2008 @ 11:31 AM

  358. Tom,

    I also find your arguments unconvincing and circular, but don’t ‘give up’ altogether. Every brilliant scientist is first and foremost a skeptic. Having said that, the first rule of skepticisim is to question your own ideas more rigoursly than you question the ideas of others.

    I highly recommend Carl Sagan’s book The Demon Haunted World, it expands on the notion of skepticism in science and everyday life in far more eloquent prose than I am capable of.

    Comment by Alan — 30 Apr 2008 @ 9:56 AM

  359. Just eyeballing fig 1.1, it seems like Pielke is right that forecast reliability has not improved since 1990. I see that 7 of the 16 data points fall in the FAR error range while only 2 and 1 are in the ranges of the TAR and SAR forecasts resp. Assuming the error bars are 1 std dev, SAR/TAR should be rejected with very, very high confidence. Taking FAR as the hypothesis, there’s only a ~4% chance 7 or fewer would fall in range so it too is very suspect.

    Comment by Ed — 4 May 2008 @ 11:05 PM

  360. Ed, I would be careful assuming that things are distributed normally. When it comes to noise on global mean temperature, I’d guess that’s a lousy assumption. What I take away from the chart is that FAR is a reasonable bounding estimate, while the other two projections are conservative–not surprising given that the models probably do not have all the positive feedbacks included.
    And in any case, since the data are not a fit to the temperature, the right thing to do is put in the forcings at their best constrained values and look for the missing feedbacks. I don’t think Pielke’s way of looking at the problem is particularly fruitful.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 May 2008 @ 8:52 AM

  361. (Y+e)=m*(x+e1)+m2*x2+m3*x3 ….*mq*xq +e2
    Where e, e1, and e2 are probably not independent and m2…mq artificially restricted to zero being estimated be least squares is a little silly. Even if your estimator had any statistical properties (which it does not), you are using the wrong approach. There are direct methods to test the change in slope. Which, in this case, does flatten out significantly 2001-2007.

    Coefficients:
    Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)
    (Intercept) -2.674e+01 8.215e+00 -3.255 0.00324 **
    year 1.361e-02 4.128e-03 3.296 0.00293 **
    yearswitch 7.201e-05 3.843e-05 1.874 0.07268 .

    Signif. codes: 0 ‘***’ 0.001 ‘**’ 0.01 ‘*’ 0.05 ‘.’ 0.1 ‘ ‘ 1

    Residual standard error: 0.1166 on 25 degrees of freedom
    Multiple R-Squared: 0.6842, Adjusted R-squared: 0.6589
    F-statistic: 27.08 on 2 and 25 DF, p-value: 5.527e-07

    Hypothesis:
    year – yearswtich = 0

    Model 1: anom ~ year + yearswtich
    Model 2: restricted model

    Res.Df RSS Df Sum of Sq F Pr(>F)
    1 25 0.33977
    2 26 0.48383 -1 -0.14406 10.600 0.003241 **

    Signif. codes: 0 ‘***’ 0.001 ‘**’ 0.01 ‘*’ 0.05 ‘.’ 0.1 ‘ ‘ 1

    I do not under any circumstances place any confidence the above results because all of the variables have unsubstantial measurement error. If you cannot figure out why year is measured with error in a climate model immediately, just have a beer and think on it.

    Comment by Neil Pelkey — 8 May 2008 @ 8:37 AM

  362. Maybe someone can answer this and it will help with people deciding WHY 7 years (or whatever) is too short for climate.

    Globally (well, hemipsherically, really), how many years does it take to work out when summer arrives and leaves.

    you’d have to say something like “summer is when the maximum daily temperature rises above 25degrees” to define your beginning of summer. Then work out how many years it would take to get a “summer” date to the nearest day.

    My thought is that it would take at least 10 days to figure it out with a one-day error bar based on historical records. Maybe longer if the weather is for some years very unstable.

    But does anyone have a better answer, based on historical records.

    The point of this is that if you can’t tell when *summer* is, how can you tell whether summer is getting hotter/colder or longer/shorter (which is the change in climate)?

    Comment by Mark — 12 May 2008 @ 9:15 AM

  363. Mark, just look up the definition that is being used in the particular study; keep it consistent to study a trend.

    Just one example:
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/109062129/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

    —–
    On the models-and-observations issue, this from the end of 2007 in the IEEE journal is interesting:

    http://csdl2.computer.org/persagen/DLAbsToc.jsp?resourcePath=/dl/mags/cs/&toc=comp/mags/cs/2007/06/mcs06toc.xml&DOI=10.1109/MCSE.2007.125

    DOI Bookmark: http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/MCSE.2007.125

    Abstract
    Models help researchers understand past and present states as well as predict scenarios of environmental change in the Arctic. The authors analyze results on melting sea ice from a regional coupled ice-ocean model and demonstrate their robustness independent of timescales for surface temperature and salinity relaxation.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 May 2008 @ 5:41 PM

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