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  1. this is the second report from the conference-circuit front-lines that I can remember here recently, all very well I guess … if only it were as simple as having smoking banned in restaurants

    I was coming through Rio today in a taxi, the air in Rio is about as bad as it gets, maybe Beijing is worse, can’t say, haven’t been there, there is no taxi smoking-law in Rio yet but there are restaurant smoking-laws, one has to wonder though, the driver and I talked it over, yes, maybe better priorities could be established eh?

    the up-side of these reports is that they are open and forthright, good on y’all.

    Comment by David Wilson — 22 Apr 2008 @ 6:36 AM

  2. Rasmus, Thanks for the update. I was at a meeting last week as well–one featuring lots of electrical engineers who don’t seem quite able to understand climate change. Thus, I envy your island of sanity.
    On the subject of courtesy, I enthusiastically agree that professional courtesy is essential to progress in science. However, scientific progress also requires sincerity of the participants, and when it comes to all the wannabe scientists, trolls and shills, I’m not sure how much civility is humanly possible. It is sad that politics have so poisoned the debate that people refuse to look at the evidence.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Apr 2008 @ 7:45 AM

  3. Thanks for the summary.

    Re: setting the GCMs initial state to describe the current climate, was this essentially what was done in that recent paper by the Hadley group and how does the current prediction compare with what they were predicting? (As I recall, they were forecasting little warming for a few years but then considerable warming again after 2009?)

    Also, is there good enough data on the ocean state going back 10 or 20 years so that the question about whether this approach is sensible can be studied by seeing how well it would have forecast past decades?

    Comment by Joel Shore — 22 Apr 2008 @ 8:07 AM

  4. Please kick whoever said blogs like RealClimate were ‘entertainment’. RC gives someone like myself access a well-informed explanation of what’s going on in climate science rather than relying on the media. It’s a valuable service.

    Comment by Peter McGrath — 22 Apr 2008 @ 9:35 AM

  5. Blogs like RealClimate might be ‘good entertainment’ for scientists, for the public it is almost the only way to get good and recent information about scientific issues. The importance of directly informing the public should not be underestimated.

    Comment by walter — 22 Apr 2008 @ 9:47 AM

  6. Great summary, thanks.
    about “powerpointerism”, there also seemed to be a problem with the laser pointer: nobody seemed able to make it through their presentation without mistaking at least once the laser button with the “next slide” button …

    Comment by ICE — 22 Apr 2008 @ 9:47 AM

  7. Re #5

    I agree, realclimate is almost the only way one to get good and recent information about climate science issues and that it’s important to directly inform the public.

    Some other ways to make that are environmental groups, other blogs and through weather-water-climate agency offices who deal with local media and the public (124 local National Weather Service offices in the U.S.). The new administration next year should revamp NWS staffs to make them do what should be doing – informing the public about weather-water-climate.

    Comment by Pat N — 22 Apr 2008 @ 11:16 AM

  8. Well, as for PowerPoint, how many words and such really depends on the audience, and I’ll take good graphs over words any time, as marketing-rules Powerpoint has incredibly low information density. Edward Tufte is not fond of such, and his book “Beautiful Evidence” has a great chapter “The Congnitive Style of Powerpoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within”.

    It is always cautionary to read the classic Gettysburg Address in Powerpoint.

    [Response: That's hilarious. Thanks! - gavin]

    Comment by John Mashey — 22 Apr 2008 @ 12:42 PM

  9. You probably meant the “sheer scale?” The “shear scale” has to do with wind behavior.

    [Response: You are right! Corrected. Thanks! -rasmus]

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 22 Apr 2008 @ 12:46 PM

  10. Re: 3 I think that if you go back further than about 10 years there are lots of problems with the ocean temperature data at depth, due to issues with the data from XBTs (Expendable bathy thermographs), and false trends introduced due to changes in the way that the data was collected from those instruments.

    It’s true that there would be some extent of the model drifting from an analysis to its preferred state, but such a problem is surely one that weather forecasters have had to deal with using atmosphere models, and the Met Office produces ocean forecasts, at depth, too, so would have some experience of that issue in an ocean context.

    I suppose the main issue is whether the biases in your model are so large that the drift would overwhelm the extra information you gain by having an accurate initialisation. I assume they have tested this by looking at the hindcast results.

    Comment by Timothy — 22 Apr 2008 @ 1:05 PM

  11. > Re: setting the GCMs initial state to describe
    > the current climate

    I’d guess people have also tried setting a GCM initial state to describe the climate as it was a decade ago, or two decades ago — is there the same distortion on the first decade after any such point in time?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Apr 2008 @ 1:51 PM

  12. “Another presentation discussed the possibility for slow climatic variations to be predicted 10 years in advance (potential decadal predictability), and concluded that there is a potential for over the North Atlantic regions – associated with the THC.”

    Is there a word missing after “there is a potential”?

    Comment by Jim — 22 Apr 2008 @ 2:39 PM

  13. ” The best quote that i heard on this conference was: ‘A trend is a trend is a trend’”

    Is it possible to expand on this please? Tamino’s web site discusses autocorrelation and linear trends and considers insignificant linear fits of about a decade. I am wondering whether your version amounts to something different from Tamino’s?

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 22 Apr 2008 @ 5:44 PM

  14. Another little typo: “radio signals refractive index” should be “radio signals’ refractive index” (missing apostrophe).

    Nice article. PowerPoint has its weaknesses but I have yet to see the equivalent of the speaker who brings a pile of 100 or so transparencies to a talk and shuffles his way through them in a random order (which I saw more than once in the overhead projector era).

    The GPS thing is pretty interesting because there has to be good science in interpreting distortions in positioning arising from a variety of causes, to get the sort of positioning accuracy you can get in a device costing a few dollars. This is a relatively venerable area (if not as old as climate science) and it’s nice to see a new application.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 22 Apr 2008 @ 6:30 PM

  15. RE “low latitude zonal means involve higher degrees of freedom than at high latitudes”

    Is that because there’s less distance around the world at higher latitudes and more at lower latitudes?

    Or because there’s less distance around the world at higher latitudes, the higher latitudes are moving slower than the lower latitudes?

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 22 Apr 2008 @ 10:06 PM

  16. RE PowerPoint, I read somewhere that a space shuttle disaster may have been due to PowerPoint — it was a news article (perhaps in NYT)….the gist was that putting very complex technical info into a simplistic form loses something.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 22 Apr 2008 @ 10:11 PM

  17. “Actually, it was refreshing arriving at the harbor of sanity in the EGU meeting, after the the insane climate-change debate circus in Norway at the moment – lead by a number of academics who start to look more and more like crack pots, and a right-wing populist political party taking after Inhofe.”

    Wow, such stunning rebuttal of the skeptics arguments. Oh wait, you didn’t even bother to address them. Its no wonder you folks can’t win the argument over global warming, if this were a Jr. High playground you might stand a chance with that type of argument.

    [Response: Not rebuttal - but an expression of frustration over the rhetorics and slick debating-tricks used ( a political party now sets the framing, so you can imagine). I have dealt with all the rebuttals elsewhere, but most are also covered in RC over the time. -rasmus]

    Comment by cbone — 22 Apr 2008 @ 10:36 PM

  18. re #16 Lynn

    Tufte covers that in pp 162-168 of the afore-mentioned book, referring indeed to NY Times story. In any case, you can read the essay itself, “Powerpoint does rocket science”, an even more cautionary tale.

    BTW, Tufte’s one-day course, at $380 (but including all 4 lovely books) is well worth it. he does about a week/month of talks spread around the US.

    Comment by John Mashey — 22 Apr 2008 @ 10:57 PM

  19. Re #16 Lynn: yes, that was work by Edward Tufte, referenced by John Mashey above. Find it on http://www.edwardtufte.com. It really is worth a read.

    IMHO (but I’m biased) PowerPoint exemplifies everything that’s wrong with the world — in relation to science, that is. But then I fundamentally distrust any science not published in (La)TeX :-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 22 Apr 2008 @ 11:30 PM

  20. Re #15 Lynn: I think the former. There’s just more space around the equator to put in “stuff” that may vary, and needs to be described by variables.

    E.g., the zone between 5S and 5N may contain twice the number of individual weather systems of a given size, compared to the zone between 55N and 65N. So when averaging, you do so over more “items” in the former case.

    That’s how I understand it.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 22 Apr 2008 @ 11:39 PM

  21. On the subject of EGU, there is this abstract
    http://www.cosis.net/abstracts/EGU2008/11414/EGU2008-A-11414-1.pdf?PHPSESSID=c0ae24c54d concerning the discrepancy in the last 4-years sea-level trends.
    What do you think about this?
    And, for you, “Is there a missing heat mystery” or not?

    Comment by Pascal — 23 Apr 2008 @ 3:11 AM

  22. Sunspots and AGW: All i am hearing at the moment is the recent temperature drop in the last 12 months being linked to Sunspot activity (well the lack of it in fact) and hence the coming Ice Age. I knows that Svensmark has done some work in this area and that RC did a peice on it and showed it to be unlikely to be correct and even though astronomers and the GCR record shows no increase in cosmic rays over 50 years peopel talk about the magnetic field between the earth and the sun and the UV light. Can’t we ever lay this one to rest. I thought that the unusually cold 2007/2007 NH winter was due to el nina / la nino cycle?

    Comment by pete best — 23 Apr 2008 @ 5:07 AM

  23. Re cbone @ 17:

    A large number of specific in-depth rebuttals to ‘skeptic’ pet arguments can be found in numerous other posts here. Your post is a truly classic example of the shallow drive-by throw-away worthy of the schoolyard.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 23 Apr 2008 @ 9:24 AM

  24. “Apparently, if the global climate model is initialized with the current state, then the global mean temperature may not rise much over the next decade or so, and then suddenly bounce up and converge with the current scenarios.”

    Is that a possible explanation for why temps aren’t currently rising? What’s the leading theory on this past cool winter (Southern Hemisphere especially), where did the atmospheric heat go? The oceans? Space? Was it possibly transferred to the oceans by melting the Arctic ice last summer? Obviously it had to go somewhere. Where?

    By the way, I love Real Climate, it’s more informative than you could imagine.

    Comment by Nathan Stone — 23 Apr 2008 @ 12:34 PM

  25. “the insane climate-change debate circus in Norway at the moment – lead by a number of academics who start to look more and more like crack pots”

    Reference please?

    [Response: Reference: Rasmus Benestad. This is an observation and an assessment that I've made. In the recent weeks, a professor in welding - Fred Goldberg - has been presented as a 'climate expert' (there is a curious deSmogBlog entry about him), there is a biologists who thinks it's the surface air pressure that is responsible for the greenhouse gas (and certainly not CO2), and we have a geochemist who thinks the ocean is a bottle of fizzy drink and talks about the 'gas of life'... The second largest political party (populist right) has implied that the IPCC is a fraud, and that they cannot believe 'scientists' but only 'experts'. The list goes on... If you can read Norwegian, then it's just to look it up on the online news on the Internet -rasmus]

    Comment by Red Etin — 23 Apr 2008 @ 12:56 PM

  26. Nathan Stone wrote: “Is that a possible explanation for why temps aren’t currently rising?”

    Who says that temperatures aren’t currently rising?

    Last month was the warmest March on record over land surfaces of the world and the second warmest overall worldwide … 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. Global ocean temperatures were the 13th warmest on record … Overall land and sea surface temperatures for the world were second highest in 129 years of record keeping, trailing only 2002, the agency said.

    Sounds pretty warm to me.

    Then there’s this:

    Major greenhouse gases in the air are accumulating faster than in the past, despite efforts to curtail their growth. Carbon dioxide concentration in the air increased by 2.4 parts per million last year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Wednesday, and methane concentrations also rose rapidly … Since 2000, annual increases of two parts per million or more have been common, compared with 1.5 ppm per year in the 1980s and less than one ppm per year during the 1960s, NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory said … Methane in the atmosphere rose by 27 million tons last year after nearly a decade with little or no increase …

    And about that methane:

    Researchers have found alarming evidence that the frozen Arctic floor has started to thaw and release long-stored methane gas … Russian polar scientists have strong evidence that the first stages of melting are underway. They’ve studied largest shelf sea in the world, off the coast of Siberia … The scientists are presenting their data from this remote, thinly-investigated region at the annual conference of the European Geosciences Union this week in Vienna.

    In the permafrost bottom of the 200-meter-deep sea, enormous stores of gas hydrates lie dormant in mighty frozen layers of sediment. The carbon content of the ice-and-methane mixture here is estimated at 540 billion tons. “This submarine hydrate was considered stable until now,” says the Russian biogeochemist Natalia Shakhova, currently a guest scientist at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks who is also a member of the Pacific Institute of Geography at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Vladivostok.

    The permafrost has grown porous, says Shakhova, and already the shelf sea has become “a source of methane passing into the atmosphere.” The Russian scientists have estimated what might happen when this Siberian permafrost-seal thaws completely and all the stored gas escapes. They believe the methane content of the planet’s atmosphere would increase twelvefold. “The result would be catastrophic global warming,” say the scientists. The greenhouse-gas potential of methane is 20 times that of carbon dioxide, as measured by the effects of a single molecule.

    Shakhova and her colleagues gathered evidence for the loss of rigor in the frozen sea floor in a measuring campaign during the Siberian summer. The seawater proved to be “highly oversaturated with solute methane,” reports Shakhova. In the air over the sea, greenhouse-gas content was measured in some places at five times normal values. “In helicopter flights over the delta of the Lena River, higher methane concentrations have been measured at altitudes as high as 1,800 meters,” she says.

    Data from offshore drilling in the region, studied by experts at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), also suggest that the situation has grown critical. AWI’s results show that permafrost in the flat shelf is perilously close to thawing. Three to 12 kilometers from the coast, the temperature of sea sediment was -1 to -1.5 degrees Celsius, just below freezing. Permafrost on land, though, was as cold as -12.4 degrees Celsius. “That’s a drastic difference and the best proof of a critical thermal status of the submarine permafrost,” said Shakhova.

    Paul Overduin, a geophysicist at AWI, agreed. “She’s right,” he said. “Changes are far more likely to occur on the sea shelf than on land.”

    Climate change could give an additional push to these trends. “If the Arctic Sea ice continues to recede and the shelf becomes ice-free for extended periods, then the water in these flat areas will get much warmer,” said Overduin. That could lead to a situation in which the temperature of the sea sediment rises above freezing, which would thaw the permafrost.

    “We don’t have any data on that – those are just suspicions,” the Canadian scientist said. Natalia Shakhova also passed on the question of whether to expect a gradual gas emission or an abrupt burst of large quantities of methane. “No one can say right now whether that will take years, decades or hundreds of years,” she said. But one cannot rule out sudden methane emissions. They could happen at “any time.”

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 23 Apr 2008 @ 6:06 PM

  27. SecularAnimist> Who says that temperatures aren’t currently rising?

    >Last month was the warmest March on record over land surfaces of the world and the second warmest overall worldwide …

    Since ten years is not a long enough record for a trend, how does that work for one month?

    Your sources do not seem to be showing much credibility…

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 23 Apr 2008 @ 6:57 PM

  28. an ice age cometh?

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23583376-7583,00.html

    My guess is this is pretty unlikely, but given consequences likely much worse than warming, how much concern should there be?

    I’m interested in the opinion of the professionals here on the chances (assuming there is a significant change) of relative likelihood of cooling vs. warming.

    10% to 90%?

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 23 Apr 2008 @ 7:09 PM

  29. http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/04/the_australians_war_on_science_11.php#more
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/04/23/nasa-ice-age.png

    “… It must be noted that if the warming trend of 2008 continues for another 20 years, the oceans will boil….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Apr 2008 @ 7:47 PM

  30. re: 27. “Since ten years is not a long enough record for a trend, how does that work for one month?”

    It certainly doesn’t. But funny, that’s not what all the skeptics were saying about the supposed average drop in January’s temperature just a few short weeks ago. They were all clamoring over the one month drop in temperature, claiming it was proof that global warming had ceased. Ah, but as soon as a warm month (March) comes along, they are quickly back on the “one month does not make a trend” theme. Looks like we have a new definition of hypocrisy from the anti-science skeptics, twisting the data as they see fit. Not surprising of course.

    Comment by Dan — 23 Apr 2008 @ 7:50 PM

  31. Secularanimist,

    Since the oceans hold far more heat energy than the atmosphere, I’m not sure how the fact that the ocean temp was the 13 warmest on record can indicate a warming trend. When something is cooler than it once was, we say it went through a cooling trend, not awarming trend, correct? For any warming to take place there must be an increase in the contained energy of the entire earth system. An ocean which is cooler than it once was has lost energy my friend. Pretty basic thermodynamics. Obviously the Earth is not currently warming.

    Comment by Nathan Stone — 23 Apr 2008 @ 9:26 PM

  32. SecularAnimist (26), “current” as in current temperature, is a pretty loose term. What you say about temperature trends rising (in the context you say it) is true. But the fact remains that this past decade (only) has cooled including a humongous drop over 2007. I understand the assertion that this is just a noise/anomaly in the continuing variation in temperature and likely (my word) to be smoothed out in the future while the upward trend continues. All well and good. But I do not think it ought to be completely discarded as a nothing event. It’s not a nothing event! Even if not majorly (??) significant, the global warming theory ought to have/get some explanation for it, even if loose. And in any case not be oblivious to it.

    Comment by Rod B — 24 Apr 2008 @ 12:32 AM

  33. Dan (30) you just have it backwards — and wrong. The skeptics have been (over-…. maybe) ballyhooing the decade long cooling trend and the one year (2007) super drop to which you protagonists pooh-pooh as meaningless. Then you guys (you, Hank (29) and SecularAnimist, e.g. — in this very thread) are the ones sounding the trumpets for a one month rise.

    Comment by Rod B — 24 Apr 2008 @ 12:45 AM

  34. Nathan Stone writes:

    Obviously the Earth is not currently warming.

    All the international bodies measuring temperature records seem to disagree with you.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 24 Apr 2008 @ 6:39 AM

  35. Off topic, but can anyone direct me to a good rebuttal of this list.

    http://www.businessandmedia.org/specialreports/2007/globalwarming/SkepticalScientists.asp

    I know its bogus, but I ain’t got the time to take it apart.

    Thanks.

    [Response: It seems to tell us that ther eare some scholars who are not convinced about AGW. Not a surprise. What matters are the observations, scientific arguments, and logic. -rasmus]

    Comment by Abandalast — 24 Apr 2008 @ 8:24 AM

  36. Mr. Levenson,

    I think atmospheric temps are a poor indicator of warming/cooling. The oceans hold the vast majority of the heat, so if the ocean isn’t steadily warming (for example, if last year the ocean was the thirteenth warmest on record, instead of THE warmest on record) then there was no warming in the recent past. I’m not saying there has been no warming in the last 20 years, or the last 100 years, I’m simply saying that if the ocean is cooler at the present time than at some prior time, then there is no warming, but in fact a cooling, between those specific times. Now it may be that the heat was transferred in melting the arctic ice over the past few years, I don’t know. Since there was a state change in massive amounts of ice from solid to liquid, some of the heat energy was used in this state change which would not cause a proportional increase in water temps, such as would occur if the equivalent energy were added to liquid water. That leads me back to my original question, what is the prevailing theory on where the heat went?

    I am not a climate scientist, but I am an engineer well versed in thermodynamics and heat transfer, so please don’t take the position that I’m unable to understand because of the complexity of the situation.

    Comment by Nathan Stone — 24 Apr 2008 @ 9:01 AM

  37. re: 33. Wrong Rod. My reference was to the January average temperature drop, as discussed as length here at RC and elsewhere. That one-month “drop” was taken completely out of context by skeptics/denialists when they tried to compare that with the long-term trend. In fact, some skeptics actually referred to the UN news story and turned it around to say that it had “wiped out” long-term warming, even though the story specifically warned about short-term variation. It was not in reference to the tired mantra of the anti-science skeptics that warming had ceased since 1998 (cherry-picking the data and completely ignoring the very strong El Nino that year). I don’t speak for others here (I suggest you follow suit)and I never sounded any “trumpet” for a one-month rise. Quite the contrary. Please do not attribute things to me that I did not say or attempt to twist my words. Let me quote what I wrote regarding how if “ten years is not a long enough record for a trend, how does that work for one month?”: “It certainly doesn’t.” Anyone who has taken a basic statistics class would know that a one-month rise or fall is not likely to be significant in the long-term.

    You missed my entire point. It is hypocritical of those that (erroneously of course, whether on purpose or not) used that one-month drop in January to cry out that long-term warming had ceased but then, to them, when there was a warming in March, a one-month rise was not as noteworthy. The fact is both months were short-term variations that do not mean much in the long-term. But the skeptics just looked at January’s cooling to fit their pre-conceived, unscientific notions. They could not even be consistent in how they erroneously applied their interpretation of data and statistics. Thus the hypocrisy. They used one-month (January) and “pooh-poohed” (to use your term) another (March). Yet both are incorrect usage. Skeptics seem to be great at abusing statistics.

    BTW, I am not a “protagonist” re: AGW. I do look at the science. And the data and the peer-reviewed analyses and studies to interpret the trends. They speak out loud and clear.

    Comment by Dan — 24 Apr 2008 @ 11:04 AM

  38. That leads me back to my original question, what is the prevailing theory on where the heat went?

    Think it through, you can do it. It either has to be radiated away into space, or absorbed into the cold deep ocean, where we have very few actual thermometers, and lots of cold water to buffer our obvious heat gain, along with all that ice at the poles, of course.

    I see we’ve just turned the corner on arctic ice :

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 24 Apr 2008 @ 11:29 AM

  39. Nathan, I’m not sure what you mean when you say that the oceans “hold” the majority of “heat”. The temperature of the deep oceans is remarkably stable below the mixing layer, and the timescale for mixing is quite long compared to timescales of atmospheric circulation. Yes, the oceans can serve as a heat reservoir–that’s one of the causes of short-term variability. However, as the oceans warm, they lose their ability to hold CO2, and that feeds back to climate.
    I’m afraid I really do not understand the mix of hysteria and celebration among the denialists over a couple of years being cooler than, say, a very warm 2005 or 1998. We are still losing ice. We are still a whole lot warmer than 2 decades ago, and there’s certianly no compelling evidence that the physics has changed fundamentally.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Apr 2008 @ 11:30 AM

  40. Abandalast,
    Upon a quick perusal, the list rebuts itself. How many of these guys are actual climate scientists? Of those, how many of them have actually published a paper on climate science in a refereed science journal within the past 5 years? That brings the number down to a quite-manageable level.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Apr 2008 @ 11:33 AM

  41. Then you guys (you, Hank (29) and SecularAnimist, e.g. — in this very thread) are the ones sounding the trumpets for a one month rise.

    It’s satire, making fun of a particular article. The article says, “it must be noted that the cooling in 2007 was even faster than in typical glacial transitions. If it continued for 20 years, the temperature would be 14C cooler in 2027.” So the response (which actually includes more than one month) is a mocking “it must be noted that if the warming trend of 2008 continues for another 20 years, the oceans will boil.”

    I personally think it’s foolish to look for trends in anything less than 15 years of data – maybe more, like 30. Anything less than that gets dominated by noise, particularly ENSO. What do you think?

    Comment by pough — 24 Apr 2008 @ 12:18 PM

  42. Abandonlast (35)

    The short answer is many of them are not scientists, most of them have little to do with climatology, and some of them don’t know how they got on the list and don’t want to be there.

    See Eli’s and associated links for a good time.

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2007/12/ethon-visits-400-club-eli-sent-ethon.html

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2007/12/dessler-20-eli-spent-some-time-going.html

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2007/12/makin-list-checkin-it-twice-here-is.html

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2008/01/join-400-club-eli-has-started-linking.html

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2008/01/400-399-club-our-local-wallpaper-hanger.html

    Arch Stanton

    Comment by Arch Stanton — 24 Apr 2008 @ 1:02 PM

  43. #26 SecularAnimist,

    Thanks for the Siberian Methane story, in the context of current ice conditions in the Arctic, that’s disturbing. I’m now at the stage where

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 24 Apr 2008 @ 1:17 PM

  44. Nathan, you’re confusing surface with volume; it’s the surface of the ocean that changes temperature so rapidly with ENSO, not “the ocean” that’s cooler.

    Compare the total mass of the floating sea ice with the total ocean volume.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Apr 2008 @ 1:24 PM

  45. Nathan, also, #36
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/cooling-oceans.htm

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Apr 2008 @ 1:26 PM

  46. Abandalast — type the word
    businessandmedia

    into the Search box at the top of the page to find what you’re asking for.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Apr 2008 @ 2:05 PM

  47. Re 22 Pete Best. >

    We are and have been in a “cool” La Nina ENSO cycle for a while…
    http://global-warming.accuweather.com/2008/03/recent_cooling_trend_was_due_t_1.html

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 24 Apr 2008 @ 2:33 PM

  48. pough (41) — Even using 30 years the various oscillations may peek through. I’m currently using 60 years.

    Disclaimer: I’m an amateur at this.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 24 Apr 2008 @ 3:07 PM

  49. Re 47 Has anyone taken a look at the comments on the link Richard gives? The attacks on Hansen are really vicious, many of them presenting data that I cannot adequately evaluate. What is going on here?

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 24 Apr 2008 @ 8:08 PM

  50. What? Forty-nine responses and nobody has taken up this?

    “… and so nicely executed that it can only be done on a Mac.”

    I’m no fan of Microsoft, or PowerPoint, and I know there are may be more important issues than this that still haven’t been resolved, but please — just what does this mean?

    Comment by Duane — 24 Apr 2008 @ 9:44 PM

  51. Dan (37), the comments, all relating to the March 2008 increase, I was referring to are, e.g., Hank’s (quoting others) “… It must be noted that if the warming trend of 2008 continues for another 20 years, the oceans will boil….” And from his source’s source – the March anomaly was a staggering +0.67°C……. At this rate I’m afraid, we have only a couple of decades before the Earth becomes another Venus.”, quoting a “NASA scientist” [emphasis theirs]. Others predicting massive increases in violent storms and tornadoes (again derived from 3/08). SecularAnimist says, “…Who says that temperatures aren’t currently rising?…. Last month was the warmest March on record over land surfaces… Sounds pretty warm to me… ”

    Sounds like trumpeting one month to me. Though in a closer reading of your post, you didn’t as I first perceived. I was wrong. Sorry. BTW, I cite Hank and SecularA- only because they are right next door in this thread, not to single them out — both are respected posters here.

    I don’t recall special skeptic clamoring over the Jan08 drop, but then I wasn’t paying much attention either. There was a bunch of questioning of the entire year of 2007 (now including Jan08), which I think is proper and valid. And all those trumpeting Mar08, such as above and numerous others (though not you) were the ones flipping 2007 questions off with a fast wave , pooh-poohing as it were.

    I’m not sticking up for anyone abusing statistics. I am pointing out that the skeptics have nowhere near a monopoly on it, as you imply.

    Comment by Rod B — 25 Apr 2008 @ 12:09 AM

  52. pough (41), so you are saying, “they was just joshin’ “??

    I agree with you that 15 yrs. is probably the bare minimum for looking for trends in climate science. I don’t support anyone making earth shattering pronouncements with less. But, given the uncertainties, it’s also appropriate and even imperative to look at, question, be concerned about, and analyze annual and even monthly deviations. It is certainly inappropriate to simply wave them out of existence — seemingly because they might be going the “wrong way”.

    Comment by Rod B — 25 Apr 2008 @ 12:23 AM

  53. Nathan Stone writes:

    I think atmospheric temps are a poor indicator of warming/cooling.

    We live in the atmosphere, as it happens.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Apr 2008 @ 6:02 AM

  54. Ladbury 39
    “Nathan, I’m not sure what you mean when you say that the oceans “hold” the majority of “heat”.”

    What I mean is that the mass of the oceans is far, far greater than the mass of the atmosphere. The solid earth, the oceans, and the atmosphere obviously hold heat energy, else the dark side of the earth would plummet to near zero kelvin each night. The oceans hold much more of this heat energy than does the atmosphere. Pretty well accepted, I believe. Atmospheric temps fluctuate much more than ocean temps, which is an indication of the great amount of heat contained in the oceans. You go on to say

    “The temperature of the deep oceans is remarkably stable below the mixing layer, and the timescale for mixing is quite long compared to timescales of atmospheric circulation.”

    Which would lead one to believe that short term warming (say 100 years worth) would not show up readily in the deep oceans. Since the deep layers don’t easily mix, and heat doesn’t transfer well thru water except by convection, then any recent heat gains by the ocean should still be contained in the upper layers. In other words, the top layers would warm dramatically before the lower layers started to respond.

    Mr. Elifritz 38

    “Think it through, you can do it. It either has to be radiated away into space, or absorbed into the cold deep ocean,”

    Actually there are other options, a proportion of it could have been converted into mechanical energy thru increased winds or ocean currents.

    Mr. Roberts 44

    “Nathan, you’re confusing surface with volume; it’s the surface of the ocean that changes temperature so rapidly with ENSO, not “the ocean” that’s cooler.”

    No, no confusion here. A “surface” cannot hold heat energy, only a volume, which has a mass. The “surface” as you describe it, is actually a surface layer, which has a definite, easily calculated volume. This layer should show warming if it exists. See my response to Ladbury 39 above.

    Mr. Levenson 53

    I’m not sure what your comment means sir, please elaborate.

    Thanks for all your comments gentlemen.

    Comment by Nathan Stone — 25 Apr 2008 @ 10:35 AM

  55. To clarify one of my statements above, when I said heat doesn’t transfer well thru water, I should have said “heat doesn’t conduct well thru water”. And when I say convection, I mean convection or transfer which occurs during mixing.

    Comment by Nathan Stone — 25 Apr 2008 @ 11:51 AM

  56. Actually there are other options, a proportion of it could have been converted into mechanical energy thru increased winds or ocean currents.

    Didn’t they teach you fundamental thermodynamics in your so called engineering school? Energy is conserved.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 25 Apr 2008 @ 12:24 PM

  57. This might interest some readers. Recently a third peer-reviewed study in three years has been published concerning the poleward expansion of the tropics, jet stream, storm tracks, Hadley cells, desert areas, etc.

    Archer, C. L., and K. Caldeira 2008,
    Historical trends in the jet streams,
    Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L08803,
    doi:10.1029/2008GL033614
    18 April 2008

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008GL033614.shtml

    Seidel, Fu, Nature Geoscience. 2007
    Nature Geoscience 1, 21 – 24 (2008) Published online: 2 December
    doi:10.1038/ngeo.2007.38
    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v1/n1/abs/ngeo.2007.38.html

    Fu, et al,May 26 Journal Science. 2006
    Science 26 May 2006:
    Vol. 312. no. 5777, p. 1179
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1125566
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/312/5777/1179

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 25 Apr 2008 @ 12:58 PM

  58. Mr. Elifritz 56,

    Sir, just because energy changes form, doesn’t mean it isn’t conserved, it has simply changed from a thermal form to a mechanical form. It is indeed thermal energy which initiates and feeds such things as wind and currents. Typically a heat difference between two regions causes them.

    If coal is burned in a powerplant to make electricity which is then transmitted to an elevator motor somewhere which lifts people to an upper floor, then I’ve used energy which went through five changes. Chemical-heat-mechanical-electrical-mechanical-potential mechanical. The energy changed like this, potential-kinetic-kenetic-kinetic-kinetic-potential. And if you could go thru every process, every transfer, and gather up and quantify every loss no matter how trivial, then you would see that energy is conserved all the way through. Energy is irretrievably lost yes, but it is conserved.

    Comment by Nathan Stone — 25 Apr 2008 @ 1:18 PM

  59. Energy is irretrievably lost yes, but it is conserved.

    Think it through, you can do it. They must at least attempted to train you in critical thinking at your engineering school. What is heat and how is it measured?

    Energy flows are numerous on the planet Earth, but there is only one place for the excess heat to go, to a colder reservoir, or radiated out to space. All everything else is encompassed in average temperature, everything that happens on Earth, stays on Earth, until it leaves Earth, either lost to gravity, on a rocket, or radiated out to space in the infrared. Your comment of mechanical work betrays a weak understanding of the physics involved. We absorb light, do some work, create heat, some but not all of which is radiated out to space on a nightly basis.

    Our colder reservoirs here are Earth are our polar ice caps, and the deep ocean. Everything else is a mish mash of energy flows, included in the concept of temperature.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 25 Apr 2008 @ 2:28 PM

  60. 58.

    Well, let’s work the carbon [dioxide] (CO2) energy cycle through. A medium-sized star (Sun) released energy millions of years ago through nuclear fusion reactions. Plants on a small planet took this energy for photosynthesis and stored it (absorbed it) as carbon (mainly in the carbon 12 isotope form, I believe). Mainly coal, but oil and gas too, were made as this carbon was buried, compressed, and heated to store the carbon.

    Coal, oil and gas were turned from mainly carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide as it was burned by a species- humans. Carbon dioxide gas now remains in the atmosphere of about 25% for 500 years and some for thousands of years until the oceans, land or plants aborb it.

    The CO2 now initiates a chemical/physical reaction that retains an extra ~ 1watt/meter2 in the Earth’s atmosphere that changes the Earth’s energy budget and helps to initiate an unnatural warming trend.

    Hmmm, and all because of an initial atomic-reaction from a medium-sized star of which the energy was already there from the time of the big bang.

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 25 Apr 2008 @ 3:22 PM

  61. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v451/n7176/full/nature06590.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Apr 2008 @ 4:33 PM

  62. Re Duane @ #50 here

    I think the reference may be to the use of Apple’s Keynote presentation software, which does all the things Powerpoint does, but with a little more style

    Comment by The Tuatara — 25 Apr 2008 @ 4:40 PM

  63. Nathan, the mixing layer of the ocean has a mass of the same order of magnitude as the atmosphere, and the mixing time for the oceans (if you can narrow it to one time) is much longer than characteristic times of the atmosphere. If we start to warm the deep oceans we are in deep kimchee.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Apr 2008 @ 5:45 PM

  64. Re 51 – From Rod B – “SecularAnimist says, ‘…Who says that temperatures aren’t currently rising?…. Last month was the warmest March on record over land surfaces… Sounds pretty warm to me…

    Sounds like trumpeting one month to me.” ‘

    Well, why not? A data point that is consistent with a well-established trend is very different from a data point that is not and cannot be related to any established trend. About the latter, one can only say that it could possibly indicate a change in the established trend, but we will not know until we have many more data points. The former requires no such qualification, since it fits with the trend of preceeding data points, and is thus reinforced by its antecedents.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 25 Apr 2008 @ 8:59 PM

  65. Nathan Stone writes:

    The solid earth, the oceans, and the atmosphere obviously hold heat energy, else the dark side of the earth would plummet to near zero kelvin each night.

    The major thing preventing that is the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, as first pointed out by John Tyndal c. 1860. The heat capacity of the oceans doesn’t have all that much to do with it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 26 Apr 2008 @ 6:22 AM

  66. Being familier with refractive index as a matter of bending light thru a particular (clear) substance, as used with a microspcope (and the old analogy of shooting an arrow at a fish as the light bends thru the water)….

    I had never heard of the term used with repspect to sound / radio waves.

    The GPS signals are line of sight, but not light.

    It’s interesting the distinction of bending / altering the communications signal by way of temperature and humidity property of air vs simply blocking it, for example via clouds and general overcast conditions.

    Comment by SteamGeek — 28 Apr 2008 @ 8:12 AM

  67. > A data point that is consistent with a well-established trend is
    > very different from a data point that is not and cannot be …

    But all of the data points are consistent. There’s no difference between any of the one month data points in this regard, remember.

    Don’t forget the Deltoid post I quoted was mocking, not supporting , the notion that a month’s change meant something about boiling or freezing a few years later. The only appropriate response was to laugh, not take it seriously.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Apr 2008 @ 9:32 AM

  68. I can regularly and accurately predict weather fronts and conditions by monitoring a variety of over the horizon VHF-FM transmissions from the states from the Bahamas.

    I’m not exactly sure what the propagation mode is myself.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 28 Apr 2008 @ 9:50 AM

  69. Barton Paul Levenson Says:
    26 April 2008 at 6:22 AM
    Nathan Stone writes:

    The solid earth, the oceans, and the atmosphere obviously hold heat energy, else the dark side of the earth would plummet to near zero kelvin each night.

    The major thing preventing that is the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, as first pointed out by John Tyndal c. 1860. The heat capacity of the oceans doesn’t have all that much to do with it.

    Have you ever heard something about the difference of maritime and continental climat?

    Comment by John Ludovicy — 29 Apr 2008 @ 9:07 AM

  70. Abandalast (35),

    I hope you are still reading.

    Concerning the ethics of the folks at The Heartland Institute, Marc Moran, etc:

    “…DeSmogBlog manager Kevin Grandia emailed 122 of the scientists yesterday afternoon, calling their attention to the list. So far – in less than 24 hours – three dozen of those scientists had responded in outrage, denying that their research supports Avery’s conclusions and demanding that their names be removed…”

    http://www.desmogblog.com/500-scientists-with-documented-doubts-about-the-heartland-institute

    Sorry I misspelled your name last time.

    Comment by Arch Stanton — 1 May 2008 @ 12:49 PM

  71. Has anyone done an analysis on Ferenc Miskolczi’s new maths on Co2 increase in the atmosphere. Miklos Zagoni (physicist) one of Hungary’s most vocal supporters of Kyoto, has changed his opinions and believes that Miskolczi ( an atmospheric physicist) who was a former researcher at N.A.S.A has come up with a more accurate theory on the ” Greenhouse” equations done by Arthur Milne in 1922. Miskolczi has used a “finite” atmosphere instead of the “infinite” atmosphere used by Milne. The new theory points to an initial spike in warming followed by a long slow period of cooling. Given that this research has been out for about two years I am surprised that very little debate has taken place on it. I should point out that Miskolczi left N.A.S.A because they refused to publish his research. I would be interested in any unbiased scientific analysis of his equations that you have, regards Bruce Albert

    [Response: "New maths", indeed. He appears to have made at least two fundamental mistakes. First he assumes that Kirchoff's Law implies that absorbed radiation is equal to emitted radiation in the atmosphere (it is not - absorptivity and emittance are the same, but not the fluxes), he uses the virial theorem to calculate the KE of the atmosphere without any demonstration that it is valid (it is not), and has some obviously incorrect algebra (i.e. he equates E_u (the upward LW from the atmosphere, a flux) with the total internal energy of atmosphere (not a flux)). There have been a few people who've looked at this in more detail (google Miskolczi+Nick Stokes for instance), but no-one is impressed. - gavin]

    Comment by bruce albert — 17 May 2008 @ 11:19 PM

  72. I still hope the Bowdoin undergraduate class will follow through with the Mislolczi rebuttal that Dr. Pierrehumbert said might be coming. :-)

    There are some other mistakes as well, like the idea that water vapor should decline with more CO2, without any justification. Interestingly, the paper is already falsified before it came out if you take a look next door to the planet that DID have a runaway greenhouse effect. Apparently Venus contradicts energy balance equations.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 18 May 2008 @ 8:41 AM

  73. This is to ‘gavin’ :

    Just slow down…one by one. You say:

    ‘First he assumes that Kirchoff’s Law implies that absorbed radiation is
    equal to emitted radiation in the atmosphere (it is not – absorptivity
    and emittance are the same, but not the fluxes’…

    I am almost sure that you are unable to compute the involved fluxes
    (very few LBL code can do, even NASA have problems with that), but I will
    appriciate if you comment the figure (where the related fluxes are shown)
    at this link:

    http://www.globalwarmingskeptics.info/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=331

    Perhaps you may question the accuracy of my computations. In this case you must
    come up with some numbers…On the other hand, it is not my responsibility to
    teach Nick Stokes to the atmospheric Kirchhoff’s law. He will understand if he wants to.

    Comment by Miskolczi — 22 May 2008 @ 4:38 AM

  74. This is to Chris Colose:

    You say:

    ‘There are some other mistakes as well, like the idea that water vapor
    should decline with more CO2, without any justification’….

    I wrote (page 23, last paragraph):

    ‘For example, in case the increased CO2 is compensated by reduced H2O,
    then the general circulation has to re-adjust itself to maintain the
    meridional energy flow with less water vapor available.’

    So you think what you wrote I stated is the same what I wrote in
    the paper? They look different. If the system has to maintain an
    equilibrium optical depth, it can do in many different ways, not the
    h2o is the only GHG, but it is the most efficient one…

    About Venus you wrote:

    …’the paper is already falsified before it came out if you take
    a look next door to the planet that DID have a runaway greenhouse
    effect’…

    I wrote on page 28:

    ‘At this time the Venusian atmosphere is not included in our study.
    The major problem with the Venusian atmosphere is the complete cloud
    cover and the lack of knowledge of the accurate surface SW and LW
    fluxes.’…

    Once I answered to such ‘falsication’ of the theory. I copy here
    my answer:

    —-
    I was surprised that people discussing the paper bring
    in Venus as an argument against the new theory.

    I did not say anything about Venus, although the new theory
    clearly explains it. In my original paper I dealt with the
    Venusian high surface temperature. Obviously the source
    of the high temperature is the Po term and the greenhouse
    effect is trivial above the cloud layer, where the atmosphere
    is in radiative equilibrium (controlled by Sc=olr/f, where Sc
    is the cloud top temperature).

    But I already have rejected papers from top journals,
    saying that the Kirchhoff law does not exist and the Po
    term is negligible on the Earth, on the Mars, and because
    of this, on the Venus it should also be negligible.

    I could not argue with the reviewers, I know nothing on
    the planetary evolution, and they taking the Kirchhoff’s
    law as a matter of religion.

    What I can do is to simulate realistic Venusian atmospheric
    fluxes based on observations (I use the profiles
    from the Magellan mission). An LBL (HARTCODE) simulation
    has to compute St,Eu,OLR,Ed,and Aa above the cloud layer
    and the similar fluxes below the cloud layer. These are
    the flux components you absolutely need in order to say
    something quantitative about Su. I am not ready with this yet.

    And there are many problems – for example, to get
    reliable information on laboratory measurements on CO2
    transmittances under extreme conditions. Also, no fully
    developed and tested line-mixing theory exists for the
    the hot, high pressure CO2. Especially for the weak bands
    which are becoming important in a thick purely CO2
    atmosphere.

    Without this, even with an accurate LBL code
    you can not tell anything realistic about how much
    radiation is transmitted toward the cloud layer from
    the hot Venusian surface.

    That much about Venus. I shall let you know when I am
    done with the related computations..

    Comment by Miskolczi — 22 May 2008 @ 5:39 AM

  75. To bruce albert, 17 May:

    You wrote:

    “The new theory points to an initial spike in warming followed by a long slow period of cooling.”
    Thanks for your comment, but this is not the case. The new theory says that there is no runaway greenhouse effect (no positive water vapor —> temperature feedback on global scale — while on local scales this feedback is apparent), and I just wanted to show a historical example.

    To Chris Colose:

    I think you can have any undergraduate class to dismantle the relativity theory,
    but this is not the kid’s problem; this is the teacher’s problem…

    To gavin:

    I hope you want to understand the theory; if this is the case, you may find useful the compendium on the link below.

    (I suggest to jump over the textual interpretations at the first time, just follow the logic of the equations and puzzle out the graphs… Imagine what would one understand from the ‘expalantions’ of quantum mechanics without the formulas …):

    http://hps.elte.hu/~zagoni/Proofs_of_the_Miskolczi_theory.htm

    [Response: Unfortunately, pretty graphs do not a theory make. We will have a full post on this at some point in the future - in the meanwhile it is pointless to bury discussions at the bottom of irrelevant threads. All further posts on this are OT. - gavin]

    Comment by Miklos ZAGONI — 22 May 2008 @ 9:49 AM

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