# RealClimate

1. Especially like the cartoon commentary

Comment by Richard Pauli — 12 Jul 2008 @ 12:52 PM

2. The last paragraph of this post describes the Newsbusters article exactly.

Newsbusters has in the past tried to smear Dr James Hanson.
http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2007/10/2/115733/134

Newsbusters from sourcewatch
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=NewsBusters

In particular editor Noel Sheppard, “Sheppard has used his NewsBusters posts in particular to attack the idea that global warming is caused by humans”
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Noel_Sheppard

Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 12 Jul 2008 @ 2:02 PM

3. My wife has always claimed that my temperature-sensitive biogenic emissions are a serious health hazard, but I guess I’ll have to start listening to her now that gavin has confirmed it.

Comment by S. Molnar — 12 Jul 2008 @ 2:35 PM

4. Thanks Gavin.

The saddest part is the comments to Noel’s post. So many people only accept what they want to. So many people think they know more than everyone else.

Patience is difficult when sarcasm is so much more satisfying in the short term.

Comment by Arch Stanton — 12 Jul 2008 @ 3:08 PM

5. Thanks Gavin,

I have seen a few of their garbage pieces. The upside of freedom of speech and the press is you get to hear a lot of opinions. The downside of freedom of speech is you get to hear a lot of opinions.

Separating the wheat form the chaff is the challenge we all face.

Here are some of the articles I have done on the issue, for those that care to examine what might be called a more reasoned perspective (and of course everything on RC :)

“We are under attack!” – A Primer on Political Spin
http://www.uscentrist.org/news/2006/under-attack-political-spin/

Does hot air from politicians contribute to global warming?
http://www.uscentrist.org/news/2006/hot-air-politicians/

Hot Air in the Media Contributes to Global Warming!
http://www.uscentrist.org/news/2007/hot-air-in-media/

Oh, and lest we forget the wonderful work by GISS, NASA, NOAA, NCDC, NSIDC, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera

Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 12 Jul 2008 @ 4:35 PM

6. Re #2: re-read the (old) Hansen piece on the purported 720k from Soros, and it still gets my blood pressure up that a scientist in his position would have to shop around for pro bono legal advice for situations related to his proper activities as a civil servant.

720k would not be too much for a legal fund to take on some of the more prominent libelers. Those tobacco lawyers are good but pricey in their mercedeses ;-) [Response: In case someone reading is confused; Hansen got no 720K, or any Soros funding, and the sum total of the connection was a letter offering legal help which was not accepted. – gavin] Comment by Martin Vermeer — 13 Jul 2008 @ 6:59 AM 7. If you’d seen the segment of C-SPAN’s Washington Journal the other day with a UCS member, you might say that it is not so much incorrect articles such as this which is the major problem, but the people who called in to accuse the UCS member of “lying;” parroting Sen. Al Gore Jr. (who is as wrong now as when he claimed to invent the internet;, et cetera. It’s similar to the women who didn’t believe Hon. Sen. Obama when he claimed not to be a muslim. What can one say to someone who insists on being ignorant? No amount of evidence will suffice, or even credited. Comment by jhm — 13 Jul 2008 @ 7:46 AM 8. I used to go to the Newbusters website but got banned, but that is a whole diferent story. The people at the website are very narrow minded. It is no surprise that Noel Sheepard wrote this post. HE usually only blogs about global warming or some liberal Hollywood actor in the news. I stopped responding to his post because of one interaction I had with him. HE had a post how someone was trying to blame McCain’s economic adviser for problems with the economy. I posed that he was responsible for slipping into a bill the Enron Rule, which deregulated speculation in regards to energy commodities and companies. HE said there he wanted me to provide proof from a government website. I sent him a link from Motherjones.com written by David Corn that spelled it all out. He simply wrote back saying it was a opinion piece and brushed me off. I would send you the link, but like I said, I got blocked from the website, which is shocking because they always are crying about how the democrats want to intact the fairness Doctrine. Actually, it’s not surprising. Comment by webby — 13 Jul 2008 @ 2:24 PM 9. jhm writes, repeatedly (+gore +invent +internet +jhm — about 66 hits) > What can one say to someone who insists on being ignorant? One can say “look it up” but jhm posts the same nonsense repeatedly (Google finds about 66 hits for (+gore +invent +internet +jhm ) making him/herself an example: > No amount of evidence will suffice, or even credited. http://www.google.com/search?q=%2Bgore+%2Binvent+%2Binternet+%2BCerf&btnG=Search Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Jul 2008 @ 3:02 PM 10. Yes; Aerosols of Deceit created by a Chemistry of Greed suspended in a Climate of Fear. So to quote from this gentle voice from the wilderness: http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/TwentyYearsLater_20080623.pdf Global Warming Twenty Years Later: Tipping Points Near James Hansen1 My presentation today is exactly 20 years after my 23 June 1988 testimony to Congress, which alerted the public that global warming was underway. There are striking similarities between then and now, but one big difference. Again a wide gap has developed between what is understood about global warming by the relevant scientific community and what is known by policymakers and the public. Now, as then, frank assessment of scientific data yields conclusions that are shocking to the body politic. Now, as then, I can assert that these conclusions have a certainty exceeding 99 percent. The difference is that now we have used up all slack in the schedule for actions needed to defuse the global warming time bomb… And …. In my opinion, if emissions follow a business-as-usual scenario, sea level rise of at least two meters is likely this century. Hundreds of millions of people would become refugees. No stable shoreline would be reestablished in any time frame that humanity can conceive. And …The disturbing conclusion, documented in a paper I have written with several of the world’s leading climate experts, is that the safe level of atmospheric carbon dioxide is no more than 350 ppm (parts per million) and it may be less. Carbon dioxide amount is already 385 ppm and rising about 2 ppm per year. Stunning corollary: the oft-stated goal to keep global warming less than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) is a recipe for global disaster, not salvation. Keep up the good work sir! Comment by Nigel Williams — 13 Jul 2008 @ 3:56 PM 11. I know this is OT, but jhm embarassed himself by saying … Sen. Al Gore Jr. (who is as wrong now as when he claimed to invent the internet This is another one of those things that everybody knows that just isn’t so. Vice President Gore did not claim to have invented the internet. He claimed to have been important in its development. And I have heard Vint Cerf, one of the folks who did invent the internet, defend Gore as a vital supporter of the technology involved. See Snopes.com Comment by Tim McDermott — 13 Jul 2008 @ 4:25 PM 12. Re: #7 Sen. Al Gore Jr. (who is as wrong now as when he claimed to invent the internet) Speaking of “parroting”, you should really stop repeating this piece of dittohead gibberish. Vince Cerf seems to think that Gore was instrumental in creating the internet: and he was actually there. Where were you? Comment by Richard Wesley — 13 Jul 2008 @ 4:37 PM 13. Sorry, my cite was removed for some reason. Comment by Richard Wesley — 13 Jul 2008 @ 4:38 PM 14. In an interesting bit of information the AP is reporting that a Rutgers University yellow submarine named “Scarlet Knight” is collecting raw data on the temperature and salinity of the seawater. A comment on Al Gore. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s Al Gore was promoting the internet heavily. This was a time when I was using the predecessor of the internet. At that time I thought he was a person of vision and influence concerning the potential of the internet. It was unfortunate that he misspoke about inventing the internet. But he did see its potential before many others. His vision about the internet then and his vision about the climate now are to be commended. Comment by Al Crawford — 13 Jul 2008 @ 5:21 PM 15. Al Crawford writes, ignoring all the help checking the story: > It was unfortunate that he misspoke about inventing You misspeak, since that’s not what the man said. Check your sources. If you believe what you write is true, where are you getting it, why do you consider your source reliable on this? Who’s your authority? Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Jul 2008 @ 6:33 PM 16. Re: Al Gore and the invention of the Internet Perhaps we can put this to rest once and for all and get back on topic: In March 1999, Gore told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he “took the initiative in creating the Internet.” According to Stephen Wolff of Cisco Systems, who oversaw the National Science Foundation’s NSFnet (the Internet’s immediate precursor), in 1986 then-senator Gore pushed through legislation requiring a White House study on whether telephone companies could create a national network. “It’s what the Internet is now,” said Wolff. Ref: Science, Vol. 283 (March 1999), page 1975. Comment by Chuck Booth — 13 Jul 2008 @ 9:11 PM 17. “If you believe what you write is true, where are you getting it, why do you consider your source reliable on this? Who’s your authority?” My source is my memory. I remember when he said it and it gained wide coverage in the press and on TV. So I do consider my source reliable. Now, he did not really mean to say he invented the internet but rather that he played a part in its development — which he did from a political standpoint. And he quickly put out corrections. But what he actually said certainly came out that he was claiming the invention of the internet. He misspoke. If you can find a source that contradicts my memory then so be it. But that is what I remember. Comment by Al Crawford — 13 Jul 2008 @ 9:42 PM 18. Al Crawford wrote in 17: But what he actually said certainly came out that he was claiming the invention of the internet. He misspoke. If you can find a source that contradicts my memory then so be it. But that is what I remember. Here is a recording — with sound effects added by someone who clearly doesn’t like Gore — where Gore says “I took the initiative in creating the internet.” You can listen to it yourself: “During my service in the United States congress, I took the initiative in creating the internet.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpxtKcLSFWw Here is the context that it is ripped from: But it will emerge from my dialogue with the American people. I’ve traveled to every part of this country during the last six years. During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system. Al Gore “invented the Internet” – resources by Seth Finkelstein http://www.sethf.com/gore/ He is clearly claiming credit not for “inventing” the internet, but for leading the legislative action necessary to make it a reality. The word “invent” first appeared in a mailing-list message headline by a reporter for a Republican press release. There is a link to the message in the analysis by Seth Finkelstein which I linked to above. Incidentally, I didn’t have to rely upon memory — which is a good thing as my memory isn’t that great. Instead I just looked it up on the internet. First at YouTube (using “Gore internet” as the search terms to get the recording) then in Google (using the words in the recording) to get the context. Took maybe thirty seconds total. Comment by Timothy Chase — 13 Jul 2008 @ 10:28 PM 19. I, too, was involved with what became the internet in the mid-80s, and (truth in lending) I am not an Al Gore supporter or admirer. He did state that he invented the internet. As I recall it was an inadvertent overstatement and a misspeak (No, Hank, I’m not going to round up all the peer reviewed papers on it.), I think in the run up to the 2000 campaign. However, as Senator (if memory serves) Gore he was tremendously influential with the White House’s Office of Telecommunication Policy (OTP) and NSF (and Congress) to get funding and support for transforming the “internet” from the then network — a very small, restricted to a few Universities, National Labs, and the like, and to be used only for academic research (and funded mostly by NSF) — into the precursor of what it is today with ubiquitous and widespread (including commercial (“.com”) access and use. Invent it? No. Damn important to its growing up? Yes. Is this deja vu?? Comment by Rod B — 13 Jul 2008 @ 11:03 PM 20. There is a full moon out tonight — no, I do not have a reference — and it is cloudy where I am at so I can’t really see — but I know there is a full moon out tonight. Why do I know — because of all of the silly stuff in this thread since I made my comment about Al Gore (#14). I made a post about a cute yellow sub that is zipping along in the Atlantic using only the power of the currents. And it is collecting a bunch of raw data about the ocean. Then, as a side note, I made what I thought was a complement to Al. But I didn’t give a reference. And all hades broke loose. And I am completely confused about how all of this is related to the climate. I think I will go to bed and sleep on it. Maybe when I wake in the morning all the werewolves will be gone! P.S. Check out “We Can Solve It” and join Al’s effort at saving the world. And you might also like to go to http://www.climatecrisis.net/ also in honor of Al. Comment by Al Crawford — 14 Jul 2008 @ 12:11 AM 21. Al Gore’s exact words were, “… I took the initiative in creating the internet.” I’ll leave it to the semantics experts to decide whether “creating” and “inventing” are the same thing. Actually, ARPANET had been in operation before Gore joined the Senate, so the “internet” as we know it today was more of a release for public and corporate consumption of an entity which had previously been the exclusive domain of a few universities and their government funding agencies. Actually, Big Business pushed harder for public participation than private individuals, who generally didn’t have a clue. I don’t like Al Gore for many reasons, but if he took a leadership role in prying it away from the Ivory Tower crowd and their funding sources, then I’m forced to tip my hat to him as a man with an exceptionally accurate long range vision for it’s possibilities. Comment by Jim Peden — 14 Jul 2008 @ 12:38 AM 22. Rod B & Al Crawford: You want to believe something that simply DID NOT happen. Gore chose his words rather carefully, and the Finkelstein reference in #18 is useful in understanding the real sequence. I got a copy of the Vint Cerf/Bob Kahn letter when it came out. [One of Dave Farber’s friends forwarded it to me.] It was accurate then, and that hasn’t changed. Comment by John Mashey — 14 Jul 2008 @ 12:50 AM 23. For those of you who trust Snopes.com to sniff out urban legends, you can check out: http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp Snopes agrees with Richard, Hank, Chuck, and Timothy that “invent” is pure fiction. Comment by Jim Eaton — 14 Jul 2008 @ 1:00 AM 24. He did state that he invented the internet. No one has EVER come up with a source that shows he actually said that. The quote’s well-known, and is as has been given above, he claimed credit for taking the INITIATIVE in creating it, through funding. As I recall it was an inadvertent overstatement and a misspeak (No, Hank, I’m not going to round up all the peer reviewed papers on it.), Because, of course, he never actually said it. You want to BELIEVE he said it, nothing more. Comment by dhogaza — 14 Jul 2008 @ 2:06 AM 25. Well, always please consider what we don’t know, e.g.: Fuzzi, S., M.O. Andreae, B.J. Huebert, M. Kulmala, T.C. Bond, M. Boy, S.J. Doherty, A. Guenther, M. Kanakidou, K. Kawamura, V.-M. Kerminen, U. Lohmann, L.M. Russell and U. Pöschl, 2006. Critical assessment of the current state of scientific knowledge, terminology, and research needs concerning the role of organic aerosols in the atmosphere, climate, and global change. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Vol. 6, pp. 2017-2038, June 9, 2006, online http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/6/2017/2006/acp-6-2017-2006.pdf “In spite of impressive advances in recent years, our present understanding of organic aerosol (OA) composition, physical and chemical properties, sources and transformation characteristics is still rather limited, and their environmental effects remain highly uncertain….” Comment by Timo Hämeranta — 14 Jul 2008 @ 2:21 AM 26. > misspeak is a misnomer… no, Gore’s “error” was to provide a single, easy soundbite, ready to be ripped out of context. As everybody knows the proper thing to do is place parts of the sound bite far apart on the audio track (as he did in the NPR interview recently) so the swiftboaters have to get competent in audio editing :-) Comment by Martin Vermeer — 14 Jul 2008 @ 6:32 AM 27. Al Gore’s exact words were, “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” Factually true, correct English and not even ambiguous. Take the Red Pill folks. Figure this one out for yourselves, and reality will never be the same again. Comment by Martin Vermeer — 14 Jul 2008 @ 8:51 AM 28. Re:#7 One doesn’t have to remain ignorant. Read one or more of the books recommended listed in the post “All Paper Salutes To The Environment” or a book of your choosing that explains the science behind global warming. Don’t shoot the messenger. Al Gore is a well informed non-scientist, not the one who uncovered this phenomena. Attend lectures and conferences where available. One doesn’t have to remain ignorant except by their own choosing. Comment by Lawrence Brown — 14 Jul 2008 @ 9:12 AM 29. Newsbusters is not just a denialist site, they actively promote the idea that AGW is a fraud: “Results 1 – 10 of about 5,730 from newsbusters.org for “global warming” fraud. (0.36 seconds)” Simply put, they are conspiracy theorists of the most irrational stripe. Comment by Boris — 14 Jul 2008 @ 9:57 AM 30. Rod, don’t trust your memory about things you wish were true. If you can’t grok this you can’t do or read science. Yes, perhaps there’s a huge conspiracy out there altering all the records — people on all spokes of the political wheel do have this suspicion about what they think they remember seeing that they deeply believe but have never been able to document. But go with the odds. If you can’t find it, you probably were fooled the first time and have been fooling yourself ever since — recalling that Republican press release cited above. Read Doonesbury instead, you’ll get a clearer picture of how the world works. Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Jul 2008 @ 10:20 AM 31. All of you “took the initiative” proponents [edited] [that’s enough! No more comments from anyone on this please. -moderator] Comment by Rod B — 14 Jul 2008 @ 10:49 AM 32. Please. Al Gore and the internet, however thrilling to some (yawn), has nothing to do with climatology. Drop it, ok? Comment by David B. Benson — 14 Jul 2008 @ 11:47 AM 33. To get back to the subject: If part of the recent European warming (past 25 years or so) is due to the decrease in aerosol loading, then the rate of warming may decrease when the aerosol loading starts to stabilize. That was the bottom line of an interesting presentation at the EGU this year (not published yet). It’s bound to raise a lot of questions, and the results are prone to be abused, but the analysis seems sound (if somewhat speculative and with large error bars). Comment by Bart Verheggen — 14 Jul 2008 @ 12:23 PM 34. I think in your attempt to clarify the issues you have confused things a bit by over-simplifying. Your statement that “aerosols are not smog” is not correct. Aerosols are an important component of photochemical smog, forming through similar reactions involving hydroxyl radicals, nitric oxides, ozone, VOCs, and sunlight that also produce the gaseous component of smog. These secondary aerosols have important impacts on visibility, health, and regional climate. Also, stating that aerosols are “dominated by sulphate emissions from coal burning power plants” is overly simplistic and inaccurate. Yes, coal power plants are major sources of primary combustion aerosols (i.e. soot, coal fly ash) and also sulphur dioxide which can produce secondary sulphate aerosols. But sulphate aerosols are not the major aerosol component by particle mass or number. The lagest sources of aerosol mass are from sea salt and mineral dust. By number, it is typically a mix of sulphate, nitrate, ammonium, and a wide spectrum of carbonaceous (elemental and organic carbon) compounds. Most tropospheric aerosols are internal mixtures of these components, as opposed to pure single-component aerosols, which is how climate models frequently inaccurately represent them. This mis-representation and can have significant ramifications for estimating the direct and indirect effects of aerosols on climate. Sorry to be nit-picky but I was surprised to see such inaccurate and simplistic statements made on this blog which typically goes to great lengths to be both detailed and accurate. These misconceptions regarding aerosols are commonly stated not just in the media but also in the atmospheric sciences community and are very troubling. [Response: Always happy to have nitpicks – to be clear, I was talking about anthropogenic aerosols – for which sulphates are the biggest contribution. The EPA report was focused on ozone and that was the contrast I was highlighting. – gavin] Comment by Ryan Sullivan — 14 Jul 2008 @ 1:43 PM 35. European mean ground ozone levels are declining, not rising as could be expected from a possible warming trend. See here for my measurements in a semi-urban region (Diekirch, Luxembourg), and here for the US 8 hour air quality. BTW, I am not sure if the ozone health issue is not overstated. I spoke to several medicals (also lung experts) who never had a patient unwell of too high ozone levels. Usually the discomfort was a result of excessive heat and “bad air”, where O3 is only one of many factors. Comment by Francis Massen — 14 Jul 2008 @ 3:05 PM 36. Hank, I was half-way with you — philosophically at least — until you wrapped your arms around Doonesbury!!! :-P Comment by Rod B — 14 Jul 2008 @ 3:32 PM 37. Rod, Doonesbury Sunday: 600? 600,000? Beware the press, look to the original source in the science journals Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Jul 2008 @ 5:42 PM 38. Thanks for your reply Gavin, I understand what you wanted to contrast with. Sulphate is not typically the dominant anthropogenic aerosol component however, though many climate models treat it as such. The carbonaceous aerosol component typically dominants PM1 aerosol mass, see for example: Zhang, Q. et al., Ubiquity and dominance of oxygenated species in organic aerosols in anthropogenically-influenced Northern Hemisphere midlatitudes, Geophysical Research Letters, 34 (13), doi:10.1029/2007GL029979, 2007. This is a nice summary of many measurements of PM1 aerosol chemical composition. Though note that the instrument used cannot measure non-volatile aerosol components that don’t evaporate > 600 C or so. Thus they cannot measure soot, mineral dust, or some refractory organic carbon compounds. Comment by Ryan Sullivan — 14 Jul 2008 @ 6:41 PM 39. Hank, Yeah, but is it peer reviewed?? Comment by Rod B — 14 Jul 2008 @ 9:36 PM 40. Rod B Says: Hank, Yeah, but is it peer reviewed?? Doonesbury is peer reviewed by the millions of readers who follow the strip. Can millions of readers possibly be wrong? Comment by Jim Eaton — 15 Jul 2008 @ 3:29 AM 41. Re #10, a very sobering account given by Dr James Hansen there, one which is undoubtably true and yet very people know it to be so. Ask any normal mortal about global warming and you get a whole host of opinions from its a left wing scam perpetrated by the left wing media and politicians who do not like capatalism to its a tax revenue raiser to its real but we can’t do a lot about it as we are heading for a recession. It just seems to me that politicians and other vested interests want their cake and eat it to. I see no impact on fossil fuel production and use even if we do take up renewables and even go on a energy efficiency drive. The east id here and hungry for energy, if we reduce they will consume. Comment by pete best — 15 Jul 2008 @ 5:59 AM 42. Ryan, the Zhang et. al paper is at http://cires.colorado.edu/jimenez/Papers/GRL_Global_OA_Published.pdf It is about developing better methods of analyzing the organic aerosol fraction (hydrocarbons, etc.) which doesn’t say anything about the sulphate fraction. Their main point is that a large (dominant) fraction of the organic aerosols are partially oxidized. They didn’t measure anything but the organic species. What is known is that many aerosol components have a highly variable spatial and temporal distribution, due to their low residence time in the atmosphere. For a very interesting look using airborne mass spec sampling, see here Figure 2 there shows how variable aerosols can be, but sulphate is always a major component. The two graphs on the right show a city region in the morning and in the afternoon – there is quite a difference. In the morning, sulphate aerosols dominate; in the afternoon it is nitrate (probably from NOx production by automobiles). This high variability means that the effects of aerosols on climate are not easy to work out. The general notion is that reflective aerosols at high levels tend to cool the atmosphere, while other light-absorbing aerosols at low tropospheric levels tend to warm the atmosphere. Sorting out the net effect is thus complex, and will vary from region to region. Take the infamous “Asian Brown Cloud”, for example (2007), which appears to have a net warming effect: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v448/n7153/abs/nature06019.html The strategy used is pretty remarkable: “Here we use three lightweight unmanned aerial vehicles that were vertically stacked between 0.5 and 3 km over the polluted Indian Ocean. These unmanned aerial vehicles deployed miniaturized instruments measuring aerosol concentrations, soot amount and solar fluxes. During 18 flight missions the three unmanned aerial vehicles were flown with a horizontal separation of tens of metres or less and a temporal separation of less than ten seconds, which made it possible to measure the atmospheric solar heating rates directly. We found that atmospheric brown clouds enhanced lower atmospheric solar heating by about 50 per cent. Our general circulation model simulations, which take into account the recently observed widespread occurrence of vertically extended atmospheric brown clouds over the Indian Ocean and Asia3, suggest that atmospheric brown clouds contribute as much as the recent increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gases to regional lower atmospheric warming trends. We propose that the combined warming trend of 0.25 K per decade may be sufficient to account for the observed retreat of the Himalayan glaciers” This just goes to show the complex nature of this area of climate science. What has been clearly shown is that when volcanoes inject aerosols into the upper troposphere, it cools the climate for a few years. The net effect of human-generated aerosols is more complicated and regionally variable – for example, in contrast to the local warming effect of the Asian Brown Cloud, global shipping produces large amounts of cooling reflective sulphate aerosols: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990820022710.htm The study also shows that the effect of ship emissions is most evident in the Northern Hemisphere oceans, where greater than 60 percent of sulfur dioxide concentration in the atmosphere and 30 percent of all sulfates can be attributed to ships. Except for the area encompassing Australia, the Southern Hemisphere oceans are almost unaffected. This is because of the heavier shipping that occurs in the north. Thus, sulfur emissions from ship boiler fuel and and coal are why sulphates are thought to be the main anthropogenic aerosol. Comment by Ike Solem — 15 Jul 2008 @ 9:08 AM 43. The east id [sic] here and hungry for energy, if we reduce they will consume. Here’s what governor Schwarzeneger had to say about that last Sunday: … they did not believe that they should do anything about it since China is not doing anything about it and since India is not willing to do the same thing, so why should we do the same thing. But that’s not how we put a man on the moon. We did not say let everyone else do the same thing, then we will do it. We said we want to be the pioneers, we want to be out there in front. … I think we have a good opportunity to do the same thing, also, with fighting global warming. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Comment by tamino — 15 Jul 2008 @ 10:01 AM 44. @ #42. You make some interesting points, though my research involves single-particle mass spectrometry of atmospheric aerosols to study their chemical composition and mixing state as a function of particle size, so I’m well aware of these issues and they are important. I am at UCSD and well aware of Ramanathan’s work with UAVs, they are definitely providing important unique insights. Here is a recent paper of mine to give you an idea of what I do: Sullivan, R. C., and Prather, K. A.: Investigations of the diurnal cycle and mixing state of oxalic acid in individual particles in Asian aerosol outflow, Environ. Sci. Technol., 41 (23), 8062-8069, 2007. And a review article from a few years back: Sullivan, R. C., and Prather, K. A.: Recent advances in our understanding of atmospheric chemistry and climate made possible by on-line aerosol analysis instrumentation, Anal. Chem., 77 (12), 3861-3885, 2005. Your interpretation of the Zhang et al. paper is incorrect. In Figure 1 they show the fraction of non-refractory PM1 aerosol mass that was organics, nitrate, sulphate, chloride, or ammonium. The organic mass fraction dominates. There are many other studies that show that organics are a major fraction of submicron aerosol mass, using filter measurements, the AMS, and also single-particle mass spectrometry and electron microscopy. This one was just to easiest way to show the chemical composition for a wide range of locations. While sulphate is an important aerosol component, it is typically NOT the dominant anthropogenic aerosol component. More importantly, pure (ammonium) sulphate particles are rarely found to exist in the lower troposphere via single-particle analysis. They are typically found to be internally mixed with other particles types including soot, organics, mineral dust, biomass smoke, etc. Yes, ships emit a lot of sulphate and its precursors, but they also produce a lot of soot and some organics as well. It depends on the type of fuel they are burning. Military ships usually burn very low-sulphur fuel so that their emissions do not produce ship tracks. Comment by Ryan Sullivan — 15 Jul 2008 @ 11:53 AM 45. #41 Pete Best. Re. Hansen. I think it is interesting to read his strong stance about coal plants…ie. To paraphrase him, close all of them down unless they do carbon sequestering (storing CO2). Comment by Richard Ordway — 15 Jul 2008 @ 12:30 PM 46. Re 42 & 44 I think it is reasonably well established that organics often dominate the aerosol composition by mass, but what is less known is what proportion of that organic aerosol is anthropogenic, and thus what is the dominant *anthropogenic* component. The anthropogenic fraction of sulfate is bound to be larger (at least over the continents) than that of organic aerosol. For climate models what matters is the anthopogenic enhancement. It is clear that any single species approximation has severe shortcomings. Comment by Bart Verheggen — 15 Jul 2008 @ 12:50 PM 47. Re #45, ah yes coal, 1000 new stations almost certain to be build globally within 5 to 10 years. The US ones will be carried through by CCS sequestration ready logos assgigned to them. G8 etc will ush it through and CTL and more tar sands etc. Comment by pete best — 15 Jul 2008 @ 6:01 PM 48. Re: coal This to me seams a more real wildcard on the negative (vs. current projections) side than most other worries. If we don’t start really spinning up rational energy plans, then more, not less, coal will be burned. Conservation, renewables, nukes and even more oil drilling would all be better than falling back on coal. PS., a meta comment on the Gore debate. This is a simple example of how well media based progranda can win over reason. I think the OP really did believe he heard him say it. Comment by Dave — 15 Jul 2008 @ 8:05 PM 49. If the logic dictated by scientific insights, as outlined regularly here, were to be followed,then one might expect very substantial spending on research and development of alternative energy technologies. However, as many will know, forty percent of US taxes go on the military. A relatively tiny amount on science. http://www.nationalpriorities.org/taxchart2008 which leads me to ponder why so, what’s the thinking ? I don’t know, but perhaps this piece suggests what the reasoning is, or was. http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/cgi-bin/blogs/voices.php/2008/07/02/the_end_of_civilization Taken from a selection of opinions as to what the future has in store for us, here : http://www.reddit.com/r/collapse/ Comment by CL — 16 Jul 2008 @ 10:27 AM 50. Ryan uses the word “component” and Gavin uses the word “contribution” for sulfates. I’m guessing: Does “component” refer to a total fraction of what’s in the air — weight, volume, length of hang time in the air? And does “contribution” refer to known radiative forcing effect? Or do the other components have unknown forcings? Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Jul 2008 @ 1:14 PM 51. Re#44 &#46, The IPCC 4th report has a very detailed section on aerosols and their effects, from both modeling and measurement perspectives (2.4.4): “…the results summarised in Table 2.6 and Figure 2.13, together with the estimates of nitrate and mineral dust RF combined with the measurement-based estimates, provide an estimate for the combined aerosol direct RF of –0.50 ± 0.40 W m–2. The progress in both global modelling and measurements of the direct RF of aerosol leads to a medium-low level of scientific understanding.” For sulphate aerosols, the IPCC (2.4.4) reports that the main sources of sulphate aerosol are via SO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning (72%), biomass burning (2%), marine plankton (19%), and volcanic emissions (7%). They also describe organic carbon aerosols, black carbon aerosols, biomass burning aerosols, mineral and nitrate aerosols, and mixtures thereof – all backed up by detailed discussion and piles of studies and references. Regarding the fact that aerosols are usually combinations of sub-types see also (2.4.4.)- “The role of nonlinear processes of aerosol dynamics in RF has been recently studied in global aerosol models that account for the internally mixed nature of aerosol particles.” The Asian brown clouds seem to show these effects nicely – see http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/102/15/5326.pdf (Ramanthan et al 2005, modeling atmospheric brown clouds). There, the organic carbon aerosol content plays a major role. It also shows aerosol influence via both direct radiative forcing and indirect cloud-precipitation effects. Regarding Zhang et al – their methods section is what I was looking at. What I was getting at was that they were not attempting to measure global distributions of aerosols and their compositions – their datasets and previous work focus on the fate of hydrocarbon-rich industrial aerosols after emission (see http://www.asrc.cestm.albany.edu/qz/Pittsburgh_HOAOOA.pdf for example). Their results seem to have some implications for how models treat aerosols, but they don’t change the overall picture or the IPCC summation. Regional variation matters – aerosols over California now are of the biomass burning variety, for example (is that anthropogenic or not?) – but the basic conclusions seem reliable. How does all this affect the “clean coal” discussion? “Clean coal” is an oxymoron that means that the only emission products are carbon dioxide and water – all the mercury, arsenic, nitrogen and sulfur components of coal have been removed (to your local rivers and groundwater via coal slurry effluent runoff) either before or after combustion (and also the combustion is more complete – less partially oxidized hydrocarbons and particulates) – but not the CO2. With “clean coal” we’ll continue to reduce anthropogenic aerosol emissions while also increasing atmospheric CO2 – meaning that spending billions to retrofit coal plants with “clean coal technology” will do nothing to slow the rate of global warming. To do that, you’d want to replace coal plants with wind and solar generation systems. Shipping is another major problem. Sulfur content of boiler fuel is at 4.5% (the proposed global cap) and some regions want lower 1.5% content. Cleaning up shipping along the “clean coal” lines will result in much higher tranportation costs, and no CO2 emission reduction – but figuring out how to do global transport of goods without access to fossil fuels? That’s a tough one. Wind-powered ships and camel caravans? Comment by Ike Solem — 16 Jul 2008 @ 2:49 PM 52. Ike Solem wrote: “… figuring out how to do global transport of goods without access to fossil fuels? That’s a tough one. Wind-powered ships and camel caravans?” Global transport of goods is dependent not only on access to fossil fuels, but on access to cheap, abundant fossil fuels. And the era of cheap, abundant fossil fuels is coming to its inevitable end, whether or not we voluntarily reduce fossil fuel use to address global warming. And the era of large-scale global transport of goods will end with it. In the future most material goods will be produced locally and regionally, for local and regional use. In my view, this new era of local and regional self-reliance — in which human societies will adapt living within the carrying capacity of the bioregion within which they exist — will be a good thing. Comment by SecularAnimist — 16 Jul 2008 @ 3:42 PM 53. One of the many things that impresses me about Hansen is his ability to maintain a publicly optimistic view that we will be able to divert from Business as Usual in time to avoid dangerous climate change. This is I think the key to his effectiveness. But. But as he notes, with CO2 already at 386ppm and the safe level now identified as below 350ppm (probably 300) most countries will I believe simply join the stampede to build as much infrastructure as fast as they can to lever themselves up on the other guy’s shoulders so that when it all falls over they have an edge – their nose above water – so to speak. BAU was more of the same, while I see exponential growth of emissions until we hit the wall. Simple things point this way – like Texas crude takes about 1.5 barrels of oil to yield a barrel of petrol, while shale oil takes almost 6. To produce petrol from coal China is building gassification plants – but they have to build another coal-fired power plant to provide the energy for the gasification plant. Goodness knows with the CO2 multiplier is on that deal! So even with a steady-state BAU we are seeing constant ramp up of emissions. Compound that with the development of the less-developed world – with giving every Indian and Chinese family a car and I’m sure that the only way CO2 is ever going to get back to below 350ppm will be by weathering of rocks in a post-human world. The times of the Holocene were truly halcyon days, the Anthropocene will be short and brutal. Comment by Nigel Williams — 16 Jul 2008 @ 4:05 PM 54. how to do global transport of goods without access to fossil fuels? That’s a tough one. Wind-powered ships and camel caravans? Learn from the example of Greenpeace researchers Lonnie Dupre and Eric Larsen. Comment by G.R.L. Cowan, hydrogen-to-boron convert — 16 Jul 2008 @ 5:01 PM 55. Can the rate of melt of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) be obtained? Can this be used to extrapolate what the temperature rise rate is for the NH? And possible infer from it, what the expected accelerated temperature rise will be? Comment by paulm — 16 Jul 2008 @ 6:06 PM 56. RE: Shipping. I know its somewhat counter-intuitive but ship transport is actually ridiculously energy efficient per mile per kilogram of good. Followed by rail. Then truck. The “last mile” of the suburban consumer driving to the store typically costs more energy per kilogram of good than the entire ocean transport. The problem of globalization is that America has exported its lifestyle to the rest of the world. Oops. Robin Comment by Robin Johnson — 16 Jul 2008 @ 10:50 PM 57. Paulm, I doubt it and don’t see why you’d try. Why would one try to figure out a global temperature number from one local measurement of the current Greenland melt rate? The models (you can read at the Start Here link, top of page) are trying to work out these answers using an enormous variety of different pieces of information. There are hints — look at the paleo work, read about past climate change. I noted one science newsletter comment about this kind of question a while back, here: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-06/uoca-gic061808.php Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Jul 2008 @ 12:42 AM 58. NOAA: Warm June for U.S. with Wet and Dry Extremes, Eighth Warmest June on Record for Globe Can we expect extreme weather events to help moderate temperature rise due to dissipation of energy? Comment by paulm — 17 Jul 2008 @ 12:58 AM 59. SecularAnimist (52), No more international or intranational trade, very little intrastate exchange, folks in upper midwest and lower Canada are the only ones in the western hemisphere that can make and eat bread, e.g: how you visually this as a good thing per se is mind boggling. Robin (56), interesting observation (efficiency of marine shipping) but it doesn’t answer the question. With diesel gone, would it still be efficient if every ship needs tons of batteries? Or is it conceivable (and still efficient) to refurbish all (large, at least??) ships with nuclear engines? Anyone: is the two-word spam gate case sensitive? Comment by Rod B — 17 Jul 2008 @ 8:23 AM 60. That cartoon is perfect… I would like to use it on my site! Comment by Masood — 17 Jul 2008 @ 11:00 AM 61. Perhaps its time for refresher on “scientific facts”: http://www.acme.com/jef/singing_science/scientific_fact-160.mp3 From: Singing Science Records: http://www.acme.com/jef/singing_science/ Comment by Chuck Booth — 17 Jul 2008 @ 11:41 AM 62. Rob B (59) Well. Diesel engines don’t have to run on petroleum diesel – so obviously “biologically-derived” diesel fuel would certainly work. Modern sailing ships which can go faster than most rust-bucket freighters might be an interesting alternative for certain goods – particularly those with high value to weigh ratios. It would require a specialized port for automated loading and unloading (perfectly feasible). Comment by Robin Johnson — 17 Jul 2008 @ 12:04 PM 63. Read about Beluga Shipping for wind assisted diesel ships. About 10% from wind. Comment by David B. Benson — 17 Jul 2008 @ 1:41 PM 64. Paulm: Locally, obviously yes. A nice thunderstorm can break up a heat wave for a while. Globally, I doubt it. Can you think of an extreme weather event that would transfer of heat energy away from the planet? Weather doesn’t reach that high. Are you basing your question on something you read, or do you have a theory? Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Jul 2008 @ 2:33 PM 65. http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/200807/upload/july08.pdf Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered Conclusion Even if temperature had risen above natural variability, the recent solar Grand Maximum may have been chiefly responsible. Even if the sun were not chiefly to blame for the past half-century’s warming, the IPCC has not demonstrated that, since CO2 occupies only one-ten-thousandth part more of the atmosphere that it did in 1750, it has contributed more than a small fraction of the warming. Even if carbon dioxide were chiefly responsible for the warming that ceased in 1998 and may not resume until 2015, the distinctive, projected fingerprint of anthropogenic “greenhouse-gas” warming is entirely absent from the observed record. Even if the fingerprint were present, computer models are long proven to be inherently incapable of providing projections of the future state of the climate that are sound enough for policymaking. Even if per impossibile the models could ever become reliable, the present paper demonstrates that it is not at all likely that the world will warm as much as the IPCC imagines. Even if the world were to warm that much, the overwhelming majority of the scientific, peer-reviewed literature does not predict that catastrophe would ensue. Even if catastrophe might ensue, even the most drastic proposals to mitigate future climate change by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide would make very little difference to the climate. Even if mitigation were likely to be effective, it would do more harm than good: already millions face starvation as the dash for biofuels takes agricultural land out of essential food production: a warning that taking precautions, “just in case”, can do untold harm unless there is a sound, scientific basis for them. Finally, even if mitigation might do more good than harm, adaptation as (and if) necessary would be far more cost-effective and less likely to be harmful. In short, we must get the science right, or we shall get the policy wrong. If the concluding equation in this analysis (Eqn. 30) is correct, the IPCC’s estimates of climate sensitivity must have been very much exaggerated. There may, therefore, be a good reason why, contrary to the projections of the models on which the IPCC relies, temperatures have not risen for a decade and have been falling since the phase-transition in global temperature trends that occurred in late 2001. Perhaps real-world climate sensitivity is very much below the IPCC’s estimates. Perhaps, therefore, there is no “climate crisis” at all. At present, then, in policy terms there is no case for doing anything. The correct policy approach to a non-problem is to have the courage to do nothing. Comment by Richard Wakefield — 17 Jul 2008 @ 4:48 PM 66. Hank Roberts: Can you think of an extreme weather event that would transfer of heat energy away from the planet? Weather doesn’t reach that high. If snow falls on dark ground, and covers it, the albedo of that part of the Earth greatly increases. Until the snow melts, the snow will be reflecting energy, thus transferring it away from the planet. Similar thinking applies to the formation of sea ice. This is in part why some people are concerned about shrinking snow cover, shrinking sea ice, and so forth. So there are weather events that transfer heat energy way from the planet. But they become either less common or less effective, or both, as the Earth gets warmer. Comment by llewelly — 17 Jul 2008 @ 10:49 PM 67. Hank Roberts, Ok, NH temperature rise. If the rate of melt occurring across the whole of green land can be estimated then then we have much more than a local measurement. This could give us more idea on the inertia of the temperature rise in the NH. It could be one more approach in the variety used in the models. It is also a very direct indication of the rate of average temperature rise, like the melting of the permafrost. Seasonal and yearly temp variations don’t influence it to any extent. Comment by paulm — 18 Jul 2008 @ 12:13 AM 68. Hank Roberts: Are you basing your question on something you read, or do you have a theory? No theory. Just brain storming. We are having more than average strong storms and extreme precipitation across the globe. Presumably more clouds and dust too. I am just wondering about the energy dynamics and the effect on temperatures. Comment by paulm — 18 Jul 2008 @ 12:21 AM 69. Shorter Monckton: Even IF the science is right, the policy is right, everything is right, right on down the line… YOU ARE STILL WRONG. Comment by dhogaza — 18 Jul 2008 @ 2:51 AM 70. Richard Wakefield posts: Even if temperature had risen above natural variability, the recent solar Grand Maximum may have been chiefly responsible. The Solar constant has not gone appreciably up or down for 50 years. A flat level of illumination can’t account for the sharp upturn in global warming of the past 30 years. Even if the sun were not chiefly to blame for the past half-century’s warming, It isn’t. the IPCC has not demonstrated that, since CO2 occupies only one-ten-thousandth part more of the atmosphere that it did in 1750, it has contributed more than a small fraction of the warming. That much extra carbon dioxide represents 1600 grams for every square meter of Earth’s surface, more than enough to make a difference. 100 ppm may not seem like much to you, but 0.1 ppm of fluorine will kill you. Small proportions aren’t always relevant, and certainly they aren’t in this case. Even if carbon dioxide were chiefly responsible for the warming that ceased in 1998 It didn’t: Why Tim Ball is Wrong Why Tilo Reber is Wrong The rest of your screed being based on the above mistakes, your conclusions do not follow. Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 18 Jul 2008 @ 5:38 AM 71. Re: 65. In other words, Monckton doesn’t want us to do anything. Clearly he doesn’t understand risk management! I’m also intrigued to know why he doesn’t publish this in the peer-reviewed literature if he thinks he’s right. Comment by san quintin — 18 Jul 2008 @ 6:17 AM 72. Re 65: Wow! Monckton manages to cycle through the standard loop without skipping a beat: It’s not happening. And if it is, it’s the sun doing it. And if it isn’t the sun, it’s not CO2. And if it is CO2, it’s not happening anyway. And if it is happening, computer models are stupid. And if they’re not stupid, it doesn’t matter because it’s not happening. And if it is happening, it’s not a big deal. And if it is a big deal, there’s nothing can be done. And if anything can be done, it will destroy civilization. And if it won’t destroy civilization, it still doesn’t matter. And besides, it’s not happening. (repeat) Comment by spilgard — 18 Jul 2008 @ 8:00 AM 73. Gavin: I think that since APS has decided to give airtime to Monckton, and since this is getting a lot of play in the denialosphere, it would be well worth the effort to compose a proper reply. And by “proper,” I mean a complete expose not only of how Monckton is dead wrong, but how utterly infantile his analysis is and how utterly foolish it was to allow it on APS in the first place. His “paper” should be squashed — Bambi meets Godzilla. In fact, the right response will put an end to this malarkey from APS once and for all. And the right person to do it is: you. I know it’s work, I know you’re busy — but your planet needs you. Comment by tamino — 18 Jul 2008 @ 10:22 AM 74. http://www.aps.org/ APS Climate Change Statement APS Position Remains Unchanged The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007: “Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate.” An article at odds with this statement recently appeared in an online newsletter of the APS Forum on Physics and Society, one of 39 units of APS. The header of this newsletter carries the statement that “Opinions expressed are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the APS or of the Forum.” This newsletter is not a journal of the APS and it is not peer reviewed. Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Jul 2008 @ 11:15 AM 75. The Monckton paper is hysterical. On the first page he states, “The models heavily relied upon by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had not projected this multidecadal stasis in “global warming”; Then, he shows figure 2, which shows scenario B from Dr. Hansen’s 1988 model runs. It clearly shows a 7 year period from 2010 to 2017 with stable and even declinging temperatures! The bozo contradicts himself in one page. Go to the denialist websites and they’re hyping this paper as the end of the global warming consensus. The lack of scientific understanding and the ability to read critically is their biggest problem. Comment by Ken Feldman — 18 Jul 2008 @ 12:21 PM 76. Magically, this has appeared as a preface to Monckton’s paper: The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review. Its conclusions are in disagreement with the overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community. The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article’s conclusions. I’d guess that the editor, who invited Monckton and two physicists to post opposing viewpoints, while coyly stating “we need to stick to the science”, has been informed by the APS leadership that Monckton’s crap doesn’t quite fit that ground rule … Editor gone wild! Embarrassing the APS. I’d say that’s the best read on it, at the moment. Comment by dhogaza — 18 Jul 2008 @ 5:07 PM 77. mr sheppard has generated quite a scathing rebuttal to this article. http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2008/07/17/nasa-climate-alarmist-attacks-newsbusters-sheppard#comment-664086 my apologies for not using my real name on this comment. i disagree with the writers at NEWSBUSTERS.ORG on a regular basis, i am bullied regularly and have been threatened in the past by its users. (they can be a nasty lot.) you will be able to identify my comments by my pseudonym: a beautiful person. [Response: Thanks for stepping in. If you go back you might want to point out the irony of a journalist not actually recognising what the source material for his original post was. A little fact checking might go a long way. – gavin] Comment by a beautiful person — 18 Jul 2008 @ 6:28 PM 78. regarding “fossil fuels”. Everyone here needs to take a freshmen chemistry class over again. It has been proven that you can take inorganic materials and make organic alkanes other than methane using heat and pressure. A thorough analysis of phase diagrams would be in order. Sandia National Labs has a method to generate methane using inorganic materials and a solar concentrator. Changing conditons yields other products. All from INORGANIC MATERIALS. This confirms previous experiments and theory (backed by the laws of physics and thermodynamics)and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Belief that fossil fuels derive from plants and dinosaurs is for stupid people. The only thing you can generate from decaying plant matter, even under anerobic conditions within 200 feet of the earths surface is…Methane. Wise up, folks. Comment by Rob Zerona — 18 Jul 2008 @ 9:06 PM 79. Hi a beautiful person, I tried to join Newsbusters last week and they have not let me in. I suspect they do not accept folks from here in order to maintain the illusion of an honest debate over there. Comment by Arch Stanton — 18 Jul 2008 @ 9:15 PM 80. Follow-up to the post above… I am a long time member of News Busters and can assure you that ‘a beautiful person’ has never been threatened. The problem is that whenever abp is asked a question, we only get insults as a reply. But I will admit, once a person like abp starts with the insults we are sure to do likewise. It’s only natural that people will defend themself and we are no different than you in that regard. Anyone willing to debate the science of, or the media response to AGW is welcomed, but keep in mind that NB’s focus is bias in the media. As an aside, NB has a wonderful archive, and if you really want to question Noel Sheppards arguments I suggest you review the archives because he has written a mountains worth of info. The only reason people don’t like his findings is they go against the present day alarmism that is AGW, Climate Crisis, or whatever the heck it’s called nowadays. Thanks for listening. [Response: Umm…as the target for the latest smear, I’ll withhold comment on your site’s penchant for character assassination in lieu of fact-based argument. But on the off chance you are serious, stick around here and see how discussions can actually evolve without people resorting to ad homs. – gavin] Comment by Clear Thinker — 18 Jul 2008 @ 10:27 PM 81. Clear thinker, the entire tone of that article is to bash Gavin and play semantical games when science says “smog” and “aerosols” mean different things. Given that we have to scroll half way down the page to find any semblance of a scientific point, you should reconsider who is dedicated to truth, and who to ad homs. Comment by Chris Colose — 19 Jul 2008 @ 12:57 AM 82. re: #76 This stuff didn’t just start with the July 2008 issue, as mixed in with quite reasonable articles are others: The April issue has an article by Gerald Marsh (retired Argonne (nuclear?) physicist: Climate Stability and Policy , which says: “In this essay, however, I will argue that humanity faces a much greater danger from the glaciation associated with the next Ice Age, and that the carbon dioxide increases that we have seen during the past two hundred years are not sufficient to avert such glaciation and its associated disruptions to the biosphere and civilization as we know it.” “Thus, while an enduring temperature rise of similar magnitude over the next century would cause humanity to face some changes that would undoubtedly be within our spectrum of adaptability (we have done so in the past), entering a new ice age would be catastrophic for the preservation of modern civilization.” ==== It will be interesting to see what happens to that Forum, as it is certainly clear that the APS powers-that-be are well aware of the issue. Comment by John Mashey — 19 Jul 2008 @ 1:33 AM 83. #78 You must be reading the most incredibly selective selection of papers to be still going with this model. You are implying you have more than freshman chemistry? Then I suggest you try modern papers on oil generation – google for Braun and Burnham for instance. I build computer models for oil and gas generation from organic source rock, based solidly on laboratory experiments for kerogen kinetics kilometers down in the earth’s crust. Also make use of biomarkers for sorting out the types of source – eg various coal type versus planktonic ooze. While an inorganic source is possible for methane, so far it appears to be very very small. Comment by Phil Scadden — 19 Jul 2008 @ 2:28 AM 84. Newsbusters is an atrocious site. How does calling people names or an “if you insult me, Ill insult you back” attitude further any understanding of global warming or bias in the media about it? Comment by Figen Mekik — 19 Jul 2008 @ 5:07 AM 85. Does multidecadel not mean “spanning more than one decade”. Am I wrong or is 10, 20, 30 yeras etc not more than 7? Check my math on this but I am prety sure that 7 years is not “multidecadel” Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, er, insult, er … well read before you post [Response: Yes. But that is the term used by Monckton – gavin] Comment by Kris — 19 Jul 2008 @ 5:42 AM 86. Sorry for off-topic question. And sorry for bringing up a topic that should be dead and buried by now.. Regarding the correlation between atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and air temperature determined from the Vostok Antarctica ice core, Caillon et al. 2003 stated that: “the radiative forcing due to CO2 may serve as an amplifier of initial orbital forcing, which is then further amplified by fast atmospheric feedbacks that are also at work for the present day and future climate” The data shows that CO2 did not cause the first 800 years of warming, out of the 5000 year trend (the infamous lag). The data are tightly correlated together. In other words, one on top of the other, horizontally and vertically, they fit nicely, with max r value after 800 year shift. So where is the initial warming without CO2? There’s no difference in the vertical (between CO2 and temp) The feedback mechanism best explains my question, however, I was expecting at least some difference in the vertical. Comment by David — 19 Jul 2008 @ 8:22 AM 87. “But I will admit, once a person like abp starts with the insults we are sure to do likewise.” The latest Newsbusters thread is filled with insults and juvenile comments about people’s appearence. The commenters remind me of junior high school children both in their demeanor and in their understanding of science and the scientific method. One key difference: I have hope that the junior high schoolers will one day grow up. Comment by Boris — 19 Jul 2008 @ 8:50 AM 88. Gavin, can you show me where Noel used the word ‘Photochemical’ in his post. [Response: I, unlike, Mr. Sheppard read the EPA report that the media piece was based on (linked above). It is a report about about ozone and photochemical smog. I would advise you and Mr. Sheppard to check your sources before pontificating. – gavin] Comment by Poptech — 19 Jul 2008 @ 9:06 AM 89. Mr. News Buster believes ‘any publicity is good publicity’ and is claiming that he was cited by RC and Dot Earth so he’s now serious news. Eschew! http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=NewsBusters Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Jul 2008 @ 9:12 AM 90. David, “orbital forcing” +Vostok +”ice core” are the search terms you might find useful. Try a few of these and see if it helps: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=%22orbital+forcing%22+%2BVostok+%2B%22ice+core%22&hl=en&lr=&scoring=r&as_ylo=2003 Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Jul 2008 @ 9:19 AM 91. Everyone here needs to take a freshmen chemistry class over again. It has been proven that you can take inorganic materials and make organic alkanes other than methane using heat and pressure. So you think that carbon bearing materials can be synthesized from non carbon bearing materials, outside of stellar nucleosynthesis. That would be a neat trick. The renaissance era awaits you! Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 19 Jul 2008 @ 10:46 AM 92. David (#86) The initial warming is from orbital changes which bring the earth a bit closer to the sun and/or change the tilt. These are called Milankovich cycles Comment by Eli Rabett — 19 Jul 2008 @ 11:27 AM 93. Rob (#78) you would be hard pressed to explain the generation of methane in garbage dumps and from mulch piles. People are actually using this for heating and transportation fuel. Comment by Eli Rabett — 19 Jul 2008 @ 11:29 AM 94. Hansen mentioned in Soros Foundation 2006 Annual Report http://www.soros.org/resources/articles_publications/publications/annual_20070731/a_complete.pdf Scientist Protests NASA’s Censorship Attempts James E. Hansen, the director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, protested attempts to silence him after officials at NASA ordered him to refer press inquiries to the public affairs office and required the presence of a public affairs representative at any interview. The Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower protection organization and OSI grantee, came to Hansen’s defense by providing legal and media advice. The campaign on Hansen’s behalf resulted in a decision by NASA to revisit its media policy. [Response: Your point? If you want more details about Jim Hansen, see here, but I fail to see how relevant this is to Noel Sheppard’s inability to tell the troposphere from the stratosphere or my pointing out of the fact. – gavin] Comment by zap123 — 19 Jul 2008 @ 11:58 AM 95. I too am a member of NewsBusters. My principal goal in belonging is to probe conservative thought processes and come to understand why people on the far right—and that’s what NewsBusters represents—work so hard to deny global warming. One observation: Anything that suggests that humans may be having an adverse impact on the environment threatens the extreme free-market worship that these people engage in. After all, free markets are supposed to lead to POSITIVE outcomes, so suggesting that market choices can sometimes do otherwise is a sacrilege. A second observation: these people lack self awareness. Commentators there self-righteously bash liberal sites for nasty comments, but they can be incredibly nasty themselves. As for Noel Sheppard, he is an extreme idealogue who is determined to hold onto his preconceptions no matter what. Having determined in his own mind that global warming is just a bunch of hooey cooked up by Al Gore and other leftists, he’ll go to ridiculous lengths to highlight some quote or factoid that seems to call the whole thing into question. He reminds me a cult member in serious need of deprogramming. Comment by johninoregon — 19 Jul 2008 @ 12:42 PM 96. David (86) — In somewhat more detail, marine cores from the Pacific Warm Pool show that the temperature rise from LGM to HCO, ending the last ‘ice age’, was initiated by temperature increases in the deep ocean. Later the surface waters warmed and then the CO2 concentration began to rise. The warming of the deep ocean is not yet fully understood, but is hypothesised to be from orbital forcing in Antarctica. Comment by David B. Benson — 19 Jul 2008 @ 2:18 PM 97. In his July 18 rebuttal to this topic, Noel Sheppard places himself in the company of George Will,a pundit, James Inhofe, a Senator, Michael Crichton, a sci fi writer, and Fox News, a news orgaization,among others Noble professions all, but are they in the sciences? He quotes Roger Pielke Jr. as follows: “The site’s(RealClimate) focus has been exclusively on attacking those who invoke science as the basis for their opposition to action on climate change, folks such as George Will, Senator James Inhofe, Michael Crichton, McIntyre and McKitrick, Fox News, and Myron Ebell. Whether intended or not, the site has clearly aligned itself squarely with one political position on climate change.” He then goes on to say that that puts him in good company. What can one say.Birds of a feather deny together. Comment by Lawrence Brown — 19 Jul 2008 @ 3:22 PM 98. I’ve learnt a huge amount from rc and I can feel your frustration with the nonsense/misinformation spouted by the likes of monckton and sheppard. But I think most right-headed individuals that are likely to look at rc and listen will already have made their own judgements about a site with a tagline ‘exposing & combating the liberal media bias’ (for a start I don’t see much in the mainstream US media I would call liberal….libertarian maybe). I’ve just read the predictable response from sheppard and engaging with them only seems to force them to the next level of nonsense and mendacity. Comment by Roly — 19 Jul 2008 @ 4:48 PM 99. Gavin, you seem to be confused with the multiple definitions of some words. By admitting aerosols are pollution then you are admitting that when aerosols are present in the air and restrict light they can be defined as smog as defined by NOAA: Smog: “Originally smog meant a mixture of smoke and fog. Now, it means air that has restricted visibility due to pollution” – NOAA. Thus your statement that “Aerosols are not smog” is not truthful. [Response: I’m sure you are holding NB to as high a definitional standard. But literally you are confused. Aerosols are any atmospheric particle – sulphates, nitrates, dust, pollen, organics, sea salt etc. – they are not exclusive to anthropogenic sources and for the most part are not pollution (sea salt in the southern ocean? dust in the Atlantic?), though of course they can be (especially in Beijing now, Pittsburgh in the 1950s etc). Smog, as all the definitions state, is an amorphous mix but it isn’t specifically aerosols and in the context of the original press report referred specifically to ozone. The confusion is not mine but Sheppard’s who took a paper about sulphate reductions in Europe and a report about ozone in the US and thought they were the same thing. My statement is literally true – Sheppard’s very confused. How about acknowledging that before accusing me of lying? – gavin] Comment by Poptech — 19 Jul 2008 @ 6:41 PM 100. Re #80 Clear Thinker First, what is your real name? Do you work for NB in any way shape or form? If so at least have the integrity of honor and use your real name. Even if you don’t work for them, I’d like to know who you are. I am a long time member of News Busters and can assure you that ‘a beautiful person’ has never been threatened. The problem is that whenever abp is asked a question, we only get insults as a reply. But I will admit, once a person like abp starts with the insults we are sure to do likewise. It’s only natural that people will defend themself and we are no different than you in that regard. I watched news buster a couple of times and the overall tone is designed to be comedy while degrading something someone said or in the case of AGW a scientifically sound point. This is done by saying the point is wrong and typically in an insulting manner. Sort of Rodney Dangerfield like I suppose, but to represent it in any way shape or form as a news site is an insult to truth. Anyone willing to debate the science of, or the media response to AGW is welcomed, but keep in mind that NB’s focus is bias in the media. Newsbusters is the last place anyone should go to debate science. It is obviously not interested in science. It is a specific type of media that targets a particular type of base to espouse pontificated malarky in the name of truth. Rush Limbaugh and many others do this. You market to your base and you get to make money, the more specifically targeted, the more you solidify the audience. Truth has nothing to do with such efforts, it’s about the money and the malarky generally speaking. NB is a political attack site on liberals and while I don’t agree with many policies born of political inbred policy formation that come from either side of the aisle that cater to special interests, I disagree with the method of attack NB uses which is derogatory. “We are under attack!” – A Primer on Political Spin http://www.uscentrist.org/news/2006/under-attack-political-spin/ Does hot air from politicians contribute to global warming? http://www.uscentrist.org/news/2006/hot-air-politicians/ Hot Air in the Media Contributes to Global Warming! http://www.uscentrist.org/news/2007/hot-air-in-media/ If someone actually believes things that you have not fact checked, well, that’s just naivete or ignorance, meaning to ignore the relevant context and data. The best defense NB can use is to just say hey we’re not news, were comedy. That’s supposed to get them off the hook for not representing the science in context. No, this is serious stuff and they are part of a the disinformation campaign now, probably by their own choosing. Misleading the public on the science of global warming is easily understood as unethical when all ramifications are considered. I would add that it is also immoral. Conservatives have long claimed to have the moral high ground, and while that is arguable, they have no moral ground whatsoever on the science of global warming. I say this as a conservative. And when I say conservative I mean the kind of conservative my father was in that he raised us all to always shut of the water, close the door, to not waste energy etc. He was a die hard republican all the way. I am a centrist, but that does not mean I am not a conservative. it’s not a political word to me, it’s an ideal. If you want to debate science you have to have some science first to debate. The news busters site pertaining to the AGW argument simply doesn’t have any science. No surprise though. You are stating that NB’s focus in bias in the media. That is funny, you are not a news site and you are using bias to make your points. It is not possible to be more obtuse or contradictory in your statement. The very first sentence in the NB about page is “Welcome to NewsBusters, a project of the Media Research Center (MRC), the leader in documenting, exposing and neutralizing liberal media bias.” So the NB focus is not ‘bias in the media’, it is bias against liberal media. If you are unable to differentiate that then you are likely overly biased in the sense that you are conservative and don’t like liberal bias ,but prefer conservative bias. That is a silly argument. As an aside, NB has a wonderful archive, and if you really want to question Noel Sheppards arguments I suggest you review the archives because he has written a mountains worth of info. The only reason people don’t like his findings is they go against the present day alarmism that is AGW, Climate Crisis, or whatever the heck it’s called nowadays. Your idea of a wonderful archive is a subjective claim. If you are saying there is a wonderful archive of attempts to be comedic while espousing disinformation without fact checking that is biased against liberals or liberal thinking, that is a different argument. Or, if you don’t think it is disinformation, then espousing incorrect information and representing it as truth; then I may very well agree with you that NB has a wonderful archive of incorrect information and are representing it as truth. If you are saying that the archive is full of relevant contextual well founded stories that have been fact checked and are accurate and fair in their presentation… Well, if you believe that… I’ve got some lovely stable ice sheets in the Arctic I’d like to sell you. Wonderful ice flow views and they will be there for a long, long time so you don’t have to worry about any house you might build up there falling into the ocean. Taking little shards of truth and purposefully spinning them out of context or claiming that what is scientifically known and well understood about global warming is ‘not the truth of the matter’…, especially while catering to a specific base or supporting political bias over truth is dishonest. It does not matter if you call it entertainment or not. Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 19 Jul 2008 @ 8:29 PM 101. Re. #95 johninoregon You bring up an interesting point that I will try to shed some context on. Current conservatives are not really conservatives. They are ideologues that believe profit is more important than value. This also exposes the misnomer that profit is money. There are many ways to understand this though. I believe in objective value which supposedly has a component of reason. What people like, Larry Kudlow, on MSNBC talk about, is free market. Free markets rule! They are all missing one critical point. We don’t exist in a free market. [edit – I’m not going to go down the gold standard road – please stay approximately on topic] We exist in a mixed market that is subject not only to regulation to ensure stability by the world banking system and the Basel conventions, but one that is also, courtesy of Buckley v. Valeo and other laws and legislation, to special interest influence over our political system. That is the reason to be religiously conservative in the modern definition. One must protect ones profits. But real profit is something tangible. something you can hang on to. So temporary profits that will go away as the economic system is strained by global warming and the overuse of fossil fuels and other resources is not profit at all. It is a fallacy even an temporal illusion to think that that is profit. Because it is degrading the entire system. People live in illusions because they are convenient and take little thought. No one wants to think. no one wants to work to earn money. Entitlement has taken over the republican party and while it has they are claiming that the democrats are the ones that are pushing the entitlement agenda. In truth, both parties are committing the same heinous crime of supporting entitlement over work and value. It didn’t happen overnight, it snuck up on us. But it did happen and now we need to fix overwhelming problems. In the mean time, people like ‘Clear Thinker’ above try to get us to believe they know how to think clearly while selling us their own particular brand of snake oil. Don’t buy it, the markets are not free and at this point in time it is not possible for them to be free. This is actually, and arguably the reason that while we are supposed to be cooler on the planet, and be heading in to our next ice age, it is no longer possible. We have abused value to such an extent through entitlement, that we have altered our climate system, and all those pretend dollars that people think they are earning in this regulated system will come under the influence of factors that will soon be difficult, if not impossible to control. What a tangled web we weave. Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 19 Jul 2008 @ 8:48 PM 102. Does smoke from increased wildfires due to drier conditions in some areas because of global warming have a similar cooling effect as volcanoes? Is there any kind of feedback loop there? Or is it marginal? Does the soot and CO2 output from a wildfire overbalance any cooling effect in the long run? Comment by Dave Baker — 19 Jul 2008 @ 10:11 PM 103. Gavin, you seem to be contradicting yourself: First they confuse aerosols with photochemical smog. Both are pollutants Aerosols are any atmospheric particle – sulphates, nitrates, dust, pollen, organics, sea salt etc. – they are not exclusive to anthropogenic sources and for the most part are not pollution First you define them as pollution and then for the most part not. So which is it? It is clear from the many and varying definitions of smog, it can be composed of Aerosols. Smog, as all the definitions state, is an amorphous mix… Actually all the definitions do not state this… Smog – “a mixture of fog and smoke or other airborne pollutants such as exhaust fumes” (Encarta) Smog – “fog or haze intensified by smoke or other atmospheric pollutants.” – Compact Oxford English Dictionary Smog – “air pollution, especially in cities, that is caused by a mixture of smoke, gases and chemicals” – Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary Smog – “a haze caused by the effect of sunlight on foggy air that has been polluted by vehicle exhaust gases and industrial smoke” – Wordsmyth Smog – “Mixture of particulate matter and chemical pollutants in the lower atmosphere, usually over urban areas.” – American Geography Glossary Smog – “Originally smog meant a mixture of smoke and fog. Now, it means air that has restricted visibility due to pollution.” – NOAA. You are correct your post is confusing because it states that Aerosols are not smog but are a pollutant, yet the definition of the word smog allows for it to be defined as composed of Aerosols and you then change your mind and claim it is not really pollution. This sort of inaccurate information coupled with links to an unreliable source such as Wikipedia makes one question the scientific integrity of this site. Someone reading you post would come to believe that smog cannot be composed of Aerosols which is not true. [Response: You seem to be under the impression that all words must define single things that must either be exactly equal to or exactly orthogonal to all other words. Aerosols can be pollutants, they can be part of smog, they can also be natural. However they are not the same as smog – you cannot use the two words interchangeably. The two studies that were being discussed were related to sulphates (mainly) in Europe and tropospheric ozone in the US. Ozone is not an aerosol, though it does create photochemical smog and is also a pollutant. I’m sorry if this is confusing to you, but keep reading around and maybe it will get clearer. Meanwhile, I am still waiting for your acknowledgment that the equating of aerosols and smog was incorrect in the NB piece. – gavin] Comment by Poptech — 19 Jul 2008 @ 10:33 PM 104. Wow, where to start. So much love from so many people makes a guy tear up. Let me first address the non-scientific stuff. Someone asked me my real name, which I thought was a little odd because I see other people here using their net nicks without question…. Anyway, I am retired now so the only name I answer to is Pa-Paw by my lovely Granddaughter. You can just call me Clear for short. And no, I do not work for NB, but I am a long time poster and a long time advocate for the site. One of you seems confused about News Busters because you have only seen the once a week posting of what’s called News Busted which is our version of political satire and comedy. News Busters as a site covers bias in the media on a daily basis. I hope that clears up the confusion. One last note on News Busters… we* are a loving, humble group of people that love the opportunity to debate others, and can be the most genteel and polite folks you ever want to converse with. Unless you start attacking people, then at least in my case, I grow fangs. *The ‘we’ I speak of are the posters and I am in no way trying to speak for the management of News Busters. The other issue that I take issue with, is someone (actually more than one someone) trying to express what they think Conservatism is. I can clear this up very easily. A Conservative is someone that belives in the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. Now when it comes to AGW, or Climate Change, or whatever it’s called, most Conservatives do not believe that the end of the world is here. Most of us are still waiting for science to step in and settle the argument once and for all. Presently, all we have is some consensus by some experts, and some non-consensus by lot’s of other experts. So in the meantime, we see no reason to scare the hell out of people, and we see no need to bankrupt this nation just to satisfy some experts consensus. Besides, the last five years have shown a cooling cycle not a warming one. Before you go off on my last sentence I would like to ask a question of Mr. Schmidt. I have been following some of your arguments and it has raised a few Q’s… Could you reply to Sheppard’s contention that your arithmetic was flawed concerning temperatures rising in Europe due to cleaner air not having an impact on global warming? Since average temperatures are a collection of data-points from around the world, if one continent’s temperatures are rising, doesn’t this impact the average? Isn’t this basic arithmetic? I truly hope we can continue our little conversation over many polite and civil postings. Once again, thank you for your time. Comment by Clear Thinker — 19 Jul 2008 @ 11:27 PM 105. OFF TOPIC – TGGWS, Offcom ruling. Its just another unbelieveable ruling by humanities students who understand nowt about science but lots about the media. Comment by pete best — 20 Jul 2008 @ 5:18 AM 106. Gavin, In response to #6 you state “the sum total of the connection was a letter offering legal help which was not accepted. – gavin]” With all due respects; Is this letter from Mr Hansen? http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/20070927_Lawlessness.pdf In it it states “I received a call from the President of the Government Accountability Project (GAP) telling me that I had won the Ridenaur Award’ … “and offering pro bono legal advice. I agreed to accept the latter (temporarily), signing something to let them represent me (which had an escape clause that I later exercised).” There is also a letter from Thomas Devine of the Government Accountability Project to Dr Michael Griffin, stating “The Governmental Accountability Project represents Dr James Hansen. I would like to know if this is actually Mr Hansen’s letter. [Response: yes. – gavin] Comment by Danbo — 20 Jul 2008 @ 6:22 AM 107. Re#73 (tamino) “I think that since APS has decided to give airtime to Monckton, and since this is getting a lot of play in the denialosphere, it would be well worth the effort to compose a proper reply.” That is probably not the best idea as it will merely serve to elevate another nonsensical issue. Rather than debunking drivel, the authors of this site should do what they do best – explain complex scientific topics related to climate change to the public. In any case, the APS already published this statement on their website regarding the “paper”: APS Climate Change Statement APS Position Remains Unchanged The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007: “Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate.” An article at odds with this statement recently appeared in an online newsletter of the APS Forum on Physics and Society, one of 39 units of APS. The header of this newsletter carries the statement that “Opinions expressed are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the APS or of the Forum.” This newsletter is not a journal of the APS and it is not peer reviewed. It’s a mistake to give the likes of Christopher Monckton and Michael Crichton any air time. They’re not interested in honest debate, just in manipulating public opinion – and to do that, they need to put themselves in the spotlight, which is what their silly “papers” are intended to accomplish. Climate Science (the Roger Pielke Sr. website) has been doing their part to promote Monckton as a climate scientist – see their April 08 “guest scientist post”. They state that “Other climate scientists are encouraged to submit guest weblogs which support or seek to refute the analysis presented below.” Monckton is of course a newspaper editor who worked in the Thatcher administration. This is actually good news – it means that the supply of Richard Lindzens has dried up, and that the holdouts in the fossil fuel lobby are now having to turn to third rate hacks to cook up their “scientific arguments against global warming” for them. If you want to discuss how Monckton got his “paper” published in a offshoot of the APS, the people to ask are the chairs of that offshoot, the APS Forum on Physics and Society: Chair: Andrew Post-Zwicker (04/08 – 03/09) Princeton Plasma Phys Lab Chair-Elect: Donald Prosnitz (04/08 – 03/09) Rand Corp Vice Chair: Charles Ferguson (04/08 – 03/09) Univ of Maryland-College Park Co-Editors: Al Saperstein and Jeffrey Marque. Obviously, the paper couldn’t stand up to peer review – so the thing to do would be to call these folks up and ask them what kind of review process they put the “paper” through, and if they didn’t, why they chose to publish it. Now that would be an interesting discussion. Comment by Ike Solem — 20 Jul 2008 @ 10:19 AM 108. Re # 91 Thomas Lee Elifritz’ response to # 78: Maybe he thinks that with sufficiently hight heat and pressure you can remove the ‘a’ from Ca, leaving behind the C? Comment by Chuck Booth — 20 Jul 2008 @ 10:24 AM 109. (Off main topic but relevant to #104) Should regulation replace peer review by scientists? The Guardian and Times on Line are carrying leaks from the report of the regulator (OFCOM) concerning the Great Global warming Swindle, due tomorrow, 21st July 08 after 15 months. The subtitle of the Times report is “Scientists’ complaint on accuracy is rejected” is consistent with the Guardian’s version. So what does this mean? That OFCOM has decided that the programme is beyond criticism? Not quite; Channel 4 will be reprimanded for confusing David King with Jim Lovelock and for not warning Carl Wunsch that the programme was going to be a polemic although they add “… his views were accurately represented”. There is an obvious danger that some people will rely on OFCOM instead of peer review to decide on the state of scientific research. But is OFCOM reliable? were they right for example in claiming that Wunsch was accurately represented? When he referred to CO2 coming out of the oceans he was referring to the distant past, and warning about the future (if it warms too much) but the narrator changed this to mean that he was arguing that the observed rise in CO2 was not man made (in the face of lots of deleted evidence such as the ocean acid effect). When he referred to his doubts about the shutting down of the thermohaline circulation the framing made it appear that he was doubting man made global warming. But that is not all… This programme shows that artificially created CO2 is not the cause of global warming. This is a remarkable achievement considering that so much research on the attribution problem points to CO2 as being the main cause of the last thirty years global warming. It had looked as if the alternative explanation based on sunspots was not doing at all well during the last few years because the sunspots had leveled off whereas the temperature had just kept rising. So what was wrong? The idea behind the new approach is quite revolutionary , it involves overthrowing the calendar, the evidence and the physics. No, it is not 2007 now as you have been told. The date is now 1975 or 1988 depending on which source you use. Applying these corrections has the effect of removing most of the contentious warming from the data. What’s left correlates quite well with the length of the sunspot cycle especially if you start with an obscure set of temperature data , pull it about a bit and attribute it to NASA for the sake of familiarity. Going back in time there was a shortage of sunspot data, so it is convenient for educational reasons to make it up. After all, it makes it easier to see the relationship between the two curves if they coincide completely. It is stated that “man made CO2 is the main cause of global warming” is the fundamental assumption made by researchers. This is very helpful to the viewers who do not have to bother with all of the research which was designed to arrive at this conclusion after years of work. The strongest evidence for man made global warming (MMGW) depends on the period between 1975 and 2007. But luckily this has not yet arrived; it is now 1975 and since that research does not exist, the programme has to consider some alternative evidence from the ice cores from way back. Discussion of the causes of the ice ages and of feedbacks obviously have to be omitted on grounds of balance. The other side were given an opportunity earlier and they used it to talk about carbon footprints. This much fairer account of the ice core evidence makes nonsense of the CO2 theory. In order to test the CO2 theory and the climate models it is usual to consider the spatial distribution of the warming. The trouble is that this tends to corroborate the CO2 theory. This is unfair and biased and in the new fairer revolutionary account it never happened. To provide balance, the programme reports just one example where the evidence was anomalous for a while. The removal of this anomaly in 2005 never happened because (as you will recall) it is now 1975 or 1988. The evidence that the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is caused by the burning of fossil fuel is based (amongst other things) on the ratios of the three different isotopes of carbon. This can’t be right because most of it comes from natural causes. Ban physics! ban isotopes! ban chemistry! These silly scientists have their S’s and C’s confused. That is why they think that volcanoes emit SO2 ; this programme has discovered that volcanoes emit huge quantitities of CO2. The date is now 15,000 years BC and the oceans are also liberating lots of CO2 . Measurements in the twentieth century which show the opposite i.e that the oceans are net absorbers of CO2 thus making the oceans more acid ( a very bad effect) have never occurred. According to researchers the levels of CO2 in the middle of the century were still so low that they were being masked by global dimming due to aerosols. This effect has to be censored on the grounds of balance. For the sake of fairness it must not be mentioned that the researchers do include solar changes anyway. It is much easier if the viewer is given a simple choice between all CO2 , no aerosols and all sunspots, no aerosols. Any discussion about the difference between weather and climate is out. Since weather forecasts now (about 1975) are so poor, it follows that all calculations concerning the climate must be equally unreliable. Apart from corporate campaigners and lobbyists there is at least one respected climatologist amongst the interviewees. That looks good. The trouble is that he is under the misapprehension that it is 2007. The solution is to leave that bit out and chop up his remarks and frame them so as to make them mean the opposite of what he intends. Control of the calendar has meant that the years before 1970 can also be abolished. The theory of MMGW dates back to a paper by Arrhenius in 1895 or even to Tyndall in about 1851. This would be too confusing for viewers. It is better that they do not know about that work or any of the numerous papers between 1895 and 1970. A strange new idea originated in Sweden in the 1970’s. That is Channel 4’s version of the history of the subject. (The commented transcript is here: Comment by Geoff Wexler — 20 Jul 2008 @ 10:39 AM 110. Re. # 103 Poptech Add this one as well http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/smog You have illustrated a near perfect example of a complete lack of critical thinking capability. I am assuming that you are educated in America which, unlike Europe (where they teach critical thinking in elementary school) does very little in the area of critical thinking (which is why we need a complete overhaul of the educational system, id est, critical thinking should be taught more effectively at all grade levels). The word smog clearly originated from human caused pollutants. While NOAA may have a reason for having it’s own definition, and language morphs due to aggregated understanding and usage, on small and large scales, such as the word community, which means something different to a small town church that it does to the Mayor of Los Angeles due to perspective and connotative usage, that does not negate reason or common sense in such usage or understanding of usage. By your implication, it seems you are attempting to say that smog, or more specifically aerosols, represent ‘all’ airborne pollutants. To summarize the general definition from the examples you gave it is mainly from exhaust fumes and around cities. Plus you are reading the short definitions and not the multiples and derivatives, slang usage and so forth. but in general smog comes from exhaust and is found around cities by the definitions. It might behoove you to pick up a real dictionary and read the definitions their. definitions also largely rely on usage, context and relevance, just like science. This is an area you night like to brush up on though as you don’t seem to have a handle on critical thinking just yet. Open mindedness is more important than intelligence. You can have all the intelligence in the world but if one refuses to see the forest through the trees, then one is blind as well as foolish. Merely claiming the trees are not their whilst standing at the edge of the forest is even worse, it is ignorance; and it it is done with purpose then it is dishonest and likely dishonorable. To be clear, aerosols can be naturally occurring, or a pollutant. It’s not that hard to understand. Pollution, as generally understood, is from man made sources. Gavin did not say aerosols can not be smog, you need to read his words more carefully and try to exercise critical thinking when doing so. Let’s replace our ‘community’ example above with ‘dust’ and change the context. Dust is normally not pollution, but if a dust storm is caused by human interference such as poor land use practices, then the dust jumps from aerosol particulate matter in a naturally occurring perturbance to a pollutant. http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/cook_01/ http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pollution Lastly, you are saying wikipedia is an unreliable source? While it is not perfect, you might want to check the authors of the items that RC might refer to in wikipedia. They are typically scientists that have more experience in critical thinking than yourself for example. Mind you, I don’t know you, maybe you are great at critical thinking and are merely being deceptive in your posts on purpose, but that would just mean that you are dishonest. Now if you are comparing wikipedia to say newsbusters as a reliable source. That is just laughable. You have literally no solid ground to stand on. Even the mere insinuation is ludicrous. Gavin is correct, if newsbusters does not retract their statement about aerosols and smog, then in order for newsbusters to have any semblance of integrity they should state that they are not a news site and do not represent science in any way, shape or form; and in fact ,should also state clearly at the beginning of all pieces, that they are a form of disinformation that is catering to a less knowledgeable base that is willing to remain ignorant by virtue of wallowing in limited vision because money is more important that truth. There is an old saying though that also applies here, there are no bad students, only bad teachers. So if you have an audience that can not see the forest through the trees because you are generating fog to obscure vision, then newsbusters is guilty, whether they realize it or not, of the highest form of treason I can think of, ‘purposeful academic dishonesty’. But I would never expect such a site to have any integrity or honor that abides holistic reasoning, common sense; they have a stated agenda that is biased to their own definition of what is ‘right’. That in and of itself is the proof of their guilt in bias. Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 20 Jul 2008 @ 11:27 AM 111. Looking at that APS newsletter, their named editors don’t edit or proofread much. I doubt anyone’s paid them much attention til now. From April 2008: “More than two hundred people, including myself, had the great privelege of attending a two-day conference, called the Physics of Sustainable Energy …. our conference was superior to the “other Woodstock physics meeting”, i.e., the APS March meeting of 1987 in Manhatten: I was there in 1987, and I therefore know that nobody at the March 1987 meeting handed out delicious box lunches to all the attendees …” Looks on a quick glance like a gossip and industry-PR blog. I’d guess they put stupid out hoping to attract lightning bolts to energize their creation, as Mr. Buster did earlier. Eschew! Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Jul 2008 @ 11:34 AM 112. Poptech (#103): A cow is an animal, but an animal is not (necessarily) a cow. Comment by Bart Verheggen — 20 Jul 2008 @ 12:38 PM 113. Re: 96 I made no point, but it seems to me that a “campaign” is quite something different than a mere “letter.” note: The Strategic Opportunities Fund includes grants related to Hurricane Katrina (1,652,841); media policy ($1,060,000); and politicization of science ($720,000).

“The campaign on Hansen’s behalf resulted in a decision by NASA to revisit its media policy.”

[Response: NASA did revisit it’s media policy and it is now much clearer than it was. Whether SOF had anything to do with that is debatable – I’d wager front page coverage in the New York Times, combined with embarrassment at the cack-handed media supression (see the Inspector Generals report) was more effective. But I still don’t see the relevance of your queries. Please explain why you posted comments on this in this thread. Do you perhaps think that I am Jim Hansen in disguise? – gavin]

Comment by zap123 — 20 Jul 2008 @ 1:19 PM

http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200204/backpage.cfm

https://publicaffairs.llnl.gov/news/news_releases/2005/NR-05-11-08.html

https://publicaffairs.llnl.gov/news/news_releases/2003/NR-03-01-05.html

Ah … that Donald Prosnitz. Plenty more of that.

Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 20 Jul 2008 @ 3:10 PM

115. The subject article from NewsBusters seems to be both confusing and confused about aerosols and tropospheric ozone. For my own edification I went back to basic definitions on the subject and found that:

(1) aerosols are suspensions of particles with a diameter of 10 micrometers or less. They can exist as solids or formed in the atmosphere when gases like SO2 condense into liquid particles as sulfates. Human sources are created principally by the combustion of fossil fuels and biomass. Natural sources come from wind blown dust,evaporation of sea salt droplets and volcanic eruptions.

(2)Ozone in the troposphere is formed by photochemical processes involving short lived precursor gases which include nitrogen oxides, non methane hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide as stated by Gavin in NO. 1 in his original post.It’s the principal gas in photochemical smog.

Aerosols can effect the energy by either reflecting incoming solar radiation back into space, by providing cloud condensation also increasing albedo, or carbon particles such as soot can increase the absorption of incoming solar radiation.
Hope I’ve got it straight again as regards my own understanding. My main source is “Introduction To Environmental Engineering and Science” Second Ed. by Gilbert Masters, Chapter 8.

Comment by Lawrence Brown — 20 Jul 2008 @ 3:40 PM

116. re: #106 Ike On the APS – Monckton mess – there’s another player 1) It appears that Saperstein did the “review”, which can be seen on page 2 of: Monckton’s letter. As can be seen, Saperstein expresses his lack of understanding of topics like “forcings” and “feedback”. 2) BUT, how did all this happen? Does it seem odd to anyone that FPS, which normally publishes comments by and for physicists, seeks out Monckton? What is that connection? 3) I conjecture that the answer lies with a Physics Professor at the University of Hartford named Laurence (Larry) Gould. (H/T to Ian Forrester). His views of climate can easily be ascertained just by looking at his home page. His background can be found in his C.V.. Dr Gould: – is the co-editor of the newsletter of the New England Section of the APS, and during 2004, was the Chairman of the NES. [He is often labeled as Chairman, 2004 having been omitted.] – has been studying climate science for about 4 years, although as far as I can tell, has never published any climate research in peer-reviewed journals. It looks like that interest dates from a APS-NES meeting in 2004 with Christy, Lindzen, Rock, and Weart. – Wrote an editorial in Fall APS-NES Newsletter, which could serve as a useful catalog of denialist writings, although references to peer-reviewed material are … scarce… – About that same time, appears to have signed on for the OISM Petition Project. At least, “Laurence Gould PhD” appears in the Connecticut list. THEN: – As it happens, Viscount Monckton spoke at the University of Hartford on March 5, 2008. This is labeled as by invitation from UHA President Walter Harrison … but one wonders where the impetus came to do this, and who hosted him. [Monckton was in NYC for the Heartland March 2-4 conference.] SPPI says: “Apocalypse? NO! been described by Professor Larry Gould of the University of Hartford, Connecticut, as the best film ever made on climate change.” BUT FINALLY: – one wonders if there was any contact between Gould and the editors of FPS – is that how Monckton got hooked into FPS? Larry Gould is quoted widely as supporting Monckton’s work. Google: larry gould monckton aps In SPPI July 15 we find: ‘Larry Gould, Professor of Physics at the University of Hartford and Chair (2004) of the New England Section of the American Physical Society (APS), has been studying climate-change science for four years. He said: “I was impressed by an hour-long academic lecture which criticized claims about ‘global warming’ and explained the implications of the physics of radiative transfer for climate change. I was pleased that the audience responded to the informative presentation with a prolonged, standing ovation. That is what happened when, at the invitation of the President of our University, Christopher Monckton lectured here in Hartford this spring. I am delighted that Physics and Society, an APS journal, has published his detailed paper refining and reporting his important and revealing results.‘ “To me the value of this paper lies in its dispassionate but ruthlessly clear exposition – or, rather, exposé – of the IPCC’s method of evaluating climate sensitivity. The detailed arguments in this paper, and, indeed, in a large number of other scientific papers, point up extensive errors, including numerous projection errors of climate models, as well as misleading statements by the IPCC. Consequently, there are no rational grounds for believing either the IPCC or any other claims of dangerous anthropogenic ‘global warming’.’ Note that this appeared on the SPPI website on July 15, in the *first* mention of it by SPPI, and the FPS article appeared either on the 14th or the 15th. From past watchings of SPPI, Ferguson tends to be “ready-to-go”, so one would expect that Gould had seen this material earlier. From his C.V., it’s not clear whether he would count as a “Distinguished Physics Professor” or not, but he certainly would not count as a climate scientist. Comment by John Mashey — 20 Jul 2008 @ 5:36 PM 117. Poptech, zap, ClearThinker, maybe even Danbo…, It looks to me that there may be since few days a group of people working for NB posting opinions instead of sincere questions or relevant science. I read their web site mission statement in “About NewsBusters.org”: “Welcome to NewsBusters, a project of the Media Research Center (MRC), the leader in documenting, exposing and neutralizing liberal media bias.” And about it’s founder NB states: “Working with the Media Research Center, he created NewsBusters in 2005 as the first-ever collaboration between a major Washington policy group and the blogosphere.” I am from Switzerland and I still am not accustomed yet with the fact that in the US opinions are presented as “News” and that a court ruling decided that it is not against the law to present “News” that are knowingly not true (a lie). What is the NB web site? NB states: “Matthew is also executive producer of the fake news vlog, “NewsBusted,” ” It certainly doesn’t have the standard of News, but “fake news” packaged professionally as “News”, a communication tool misrepresenting facts on a high level of professional public relations efforts – representing the “Washington policy group”. RC is not about politics, but science, please respect. Comment by Monika — 20 Jul 2008 @ 6:24 PM 118. John Mashey, excellent sleuthing. I am not as scientist, but the “scientific review” looks more like a meticulous proof reading to me. I am looking foreword to reading whatever letters the APS Forum on Physics and Society publishes in response to Monckton’s paper. Comment by Arch Stanton — 20 Jul 2008 @ 6:56 PM 119. Dear Monika, You wrote…”RC is not about politics, but science, please respect.” In the spirit of understanding the science behind what some term as a Climate Crisis, I would respectfully ask if the question I posted above could be answered. It was originally meant for Mr. Schmidt because he was the one that questioned Mr. Sheppards piece. Since Mr. Schmidt has yet to respond, I now leave the question open for others to answer. Q….. “Could you reply to Mr. Sheppard’s contention that your arithmetic was flawed concerning temperatures rising in Europe due to cleaner air not having an impact on global warming? Since average temperatures are a collection of data-points from around the world, if one continent’s temperatures are rising, doesn’t this impact the average? Isn’t this basic arithmetic?” I look forward to any and all answers to my very basic Q. Also, it’s unfortunate, but even people here at RC have to admit that the AGW issue has become political. If anyone is interested, I would be happy to explain why. One last note concerning civility. I have been very pleasant and respectful to everyone here during my short time here. I hope to recieve the same treatment. Thank you for your valuable time. Comment by Clear Thinker — 20 Jul 2008 @ 7:25 PM 120. Re #118 I am a scientist and I agree with you, a very superficial review which didn’t address any of the science, as you say just proof-reading. Comment by Phil. Felton — 20 Jul 2008 @ 8:56 PM 121. Mr. Clear, try the link at the top of the page, “Start Here” — and also try the first link under Science in the sidebar. You’ll find most of the frequently asked questions are answered there, including the one asked by Mr. Sheppard. It’s an intermediate-type question, that will be understood after reading some of the basic ‘Start Here’ FAQ answers. Most of us here are like me ordinary readers; we try to point new readers to the basics to avoid retyping the answers where they’re digressions. Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Jul 2008 @ 9:08 PM 122. In addition to the statement from the APS Executive Committee noted above, the following statement from the FPS Executive Committee now appears on the July newsletter index page: ‘The Forum on Physics and Society is a place for discussion and disagreement on scientific and policy matters. Our newsletter publishes a combination of non- peer-reviewed technical articles, policy analyses, and opinion. All articles and editorials published in the newsletter solely represent the views of their authors and the Editors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Forum Executive Committee nor those of the American Physical Society. ‘The executive committee of the Forum on Physics and Society, however, believes that the statement in the July 2008 edition of our newsletter, Physics and Society, that “There is considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution,” exaggerates the number of scientists who disagree with the IPCC conclusion on anthropogenic CO2 and global warming. That statement does not represent the views of APS or the Executive Committee of the Forum on Physics and Society. The FPS Executive Committee strongly endorses the position of the APS Council that “Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate.’ That seems clear enough. Comment by Steve Bloom — 20 Jul 2008 @ 9:56 PM 123. Re #112 Bart Verheggen I am compelled to compliment you on your beautifully succinct point made well. Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 20 Jul 2008 @ 10:47 PM 124. Re #104 Clear Thinker The someone was me. I don’t understand why you would not just say, John P. Reisman said? Most people here post with their real names although in this thread I notice that the ones that are not using their real names are probably NB posters. I can’t imagine why you would be worried about using your real name though, especially since you are retired. Thank you for trying to clear up the misunderstanding about the difference between news busters and news busted. But I have to say that since both efforts come from the same people that claim: Welcome to NewsBusters, a project of the Media Research Center (MRC), the leader in documenting, exposing and neutralizing liberal media bias. Then there really is no point in trying to differentiate the two other than stylistically. They are both cut from the same cloth of bias against liberal media. It is sad that we are not more like Europe where the report news plain and simple, like we used to here in the old days. Now it’s all about fanfare and marketing. I (in general) agree with your definition of conservatism http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conservatism and so would my father, so I don’t see why you are taking issue with what I wrote earlier as it is a generally accepted component of conservative thinking, and that includes conservation historically. The aspect I now disagree with is complex but quickly, it is the free enterprise part. Since we are not on any objective base like the gold standard, free enterprise and free markets are no longer possible. So espousing it as a value is purely academic and has no relevance anymore. To get a very good lesson in value, I always recommend Atlas Shrugged. Unfortunately, many misinterpret Rands theme to say that profit is most important, and that has led to some pretty egregious abuses of the legislative body and value itself… enough of that. “Now when it comes to AGW, or Climate Change, or whatever it’s called, most Conservatives do not believe that the end of the world is here.” As one who was raised traditional conservative, I have to point out that your statement is quite incorrect simply because I am conservative and I disagree with it. “Most of us are still waiting for science to step in and settle the argument once and for all.” Unfortunately due to myopic vision in the realm of conservatives (don’t feel bad, the democrats have similar problems with myopia but that is the nature of group psychology and is evident in general sub-cultural group tendencies) they have not noticed that the science is settled amongst the relevant scientists. I won’t go in to detail but if you read enough on this site and take a look at the arguments and scientific references on NASA, NOAA, EPA, NCDC, NSIDC etc. you will come to the same conclusion. This global warming event is human caused currently the climate forcing is 1.9 W/m2 and Co2 hangs in the atmosphere for a good long time so even without any more sunspots we will continue to warm for a long, long time. I would also suggest taking a look at the following to get some context in the arguments. http://www.uscentrist.org/about/issues/environment/john_coleman “So in the meantime, we see no reason to scare the hell out of people, and we see no need to bankrupt this nation just to satisfy some experts consensus. Besides, the last five years have shown a cooling cycle not a warming one.” You obviously have not reviewed all the relevant evidence in context, so statements like the above are completely out of touch with reality. the last 8 years have shown cooling but that is only because the data is taken out of context. Climate is long term trend, 30 years or more (ref IPCC). The unusual spike in temp was due to an unusually strong El Nino event which set up a different short term trend. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/07/global-trends-and-enso/langswitch_lang/bg It is important to differentiate weather and climate http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/noaa-n/climate/climate_weather.html We also are in the cool phase of the solar Schwabe cycle and 2007 was a la Nina year. The temperature is rising. The thing that should give you pause in your argument is that we were in a cool phase in 2007 and it still tied as second warmest year on record in modern history. http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2008/earth_temp.html People tend to act in a herd mentality and stay pretty close to their base. You are apparently no different than people in general at this point in your argument. If you really believe in individuality, then stop following the crowd and venture off on your own into the science. You seem to have bought into the idea that the sciences is somehow flawed likely because you exist in a world where everyone agrees with you and you generally with them. I can tell you right now that what people think does not change the science one iota. On your question regarding Gavin’s “arithmetic was flawed concerning temperatures rising in Europe due to cleaner air not having an impact on global warming?” Everything is inter-dynamic, and every scientist knows it. It’s a silly question so it does not deserve much time. Re #119 Clear Thinker Monika is right, this site is about the science. You and I and everyone else know that there are political ramifications as well as societal. But that does not change the purpose of this site. I doubt anyone needs any more information on the political reality, etc. I touch on it only when I see that it helps understand the scientific arguments in context with the disinformation campaign. Relevant comments and criticisms welcome, John Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 20 Jul 2008 @ 10:51 PM 125. In #119 Clear Thinker inquires: “Could you reply to Mr. Sheppard’s contention that your arithmetic was flawed concerning temperatures rising in Europe due to cleaner air not having an impact on global warming? Since average temperatures are a collection of data-points from around the world, if one continent’s temperatures are rising, doesn’t this impact the average? Isn’t this basic arithmetic?” A starting point in answering this is observing that the surface area of Europe is only 2% of that of the world — 5% max, if you generously include surrounding sea areas. In science, as opposed to arithmetic, numbers include uncertainties. It is rather flattering of you to imply that global warming is known to a precision where a correction of at most 5% makes a difference :-) Comment by Martin Vermeer — 21 Jul 2008 @ 4:18 AM 126. OFF TOPIC but another contrarian scientific letter to the head of the IPCC. Can anyone here at RC refute the scientific content of this letter? http://www.tech-know.eu/uploads/Letter_UN_Sec_Gen_Ban_Ki-moon.pdf I’d be interested in seeing the Guardian investigate who the experts signing this letter are and what their angle is: Piers Corbyn Astrophysicist & forecaster, WeatherAction, UK Vincent Gray IPCC Expert Reviewer, Climate Consultant, NZ Richard Courtney IPCC Exp. Rev., Energy & Envir. Consultant, UK Hans Labohm IPCC Expert Reviewer, Economist & Author, Holland Will Alexander Prof. Em. Dept. Civil & Biosystems, South Africa Don Parkes Prof. Human Ecology (Ret.) Australia & Japan Joseph D’Aleo Certified Consultant Meteorologist, Fellow AMS, USA Svend Hendriksen Nobel Peace Prize 1988 (shared), Greenland Alan Siddons Climate Researcher, USA Bob Ashworth Chem. Eng. (Energy & Environment), USA Norm Kalmanovitch Geophysicist, Canada, Jim Peden Atmospheric Physicist (Ret.), USA Hans Schreuder Analytical Chemist (Ret.), UK Comment by Pete Best — 21 Jul 2008 @ 4:24 AM 127. “Clear Thinker” posts: Now when it comes to AGW, or Climate Change, or whatever it’s called, most Conservatives do not believe that the end of the world is here. And that’s exactly what’s wrong with American conservatism — they conclude that, if AGW were true, government policies they dislike might need to be implemented, and conclude from that that it’s not true. That kind of separation from reality disgusts and frightens me. Most of us are still waiting for science to step in and settle the argument once and for all. It’s settled. Presently, all we have is some consensus by some experts, and some non-consensus by lot’s of other experts. At this point, 90-99% of climatologists agree that global warming is happening, that human technology is causing it, and that it’s an extremely serious problem. So in the meantime, we see no reason to scare the hell out of people, People should be scared. We’re on the verge of seriously disrupting our agriculture and our economy. and we see no need to bankrupt this nation just to satisfy some experts consensus. Bankrupting the nation has nothing to do with it. Nobody is calling for bankrupting the nation. Measures to deal with AGW will not bankrupt the nation. Besides, the last five years have shown a cooling cycle not a warming one. It’s not a cycle, and five years isn’t long enough to prove anything. The World Meteorological Organization defines climate as mean regional or global temperature over a period of thirty years or more. That’s how long you need to smooth out the noise. Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 21 Jul 2008 @ 6:30 AM 128. Also, it’s unfortunate, but even people here at RC have to admit that the AGW issue has become political. If anyone is interested, I would be happy to explain why. We know why. Some people find that scientific truth interferes with their personal political and/or economic beliefs, and therefore find it necessary to try to undermine science by whatever means necessary. No different than creationists and biology. Comment by dhogaza — 21 Jul 2008 @ 6:34 AM 129. Comment # 119 by Clear Thinker states:“Could you reply to Mr. Sheppard’s contention that your arithmetic was flawed concerning temperatures rising in Europe due to cleaner air not having an impact on global warming?….” Temperatures may not necessarily rise due to ridding the atmosphere of impurities. The physics are more complex than that. Some impurities such as carbonaceous particles like soot from fossil fuel combustion can increase the absorption of incoming solar energy. Clearing the atmosphere of them will take away this warming effect. As far as the cleaner air over Europe is concerned, there is a statement in the latest Ipcc report that says: ” Eleven of the last twelve years (1995-2006)rank among the warmest years in the instrumental record of global surface temperaturre(since 1850)”. From IPPC 2007 ‘Summary For Policy Makers’ The Physical Science Basis. I think that a clearer atmosphere over Europe would have a negligible effect on this overall observed global warming. Comment by Lawrence Brown — 21 Jul 2008 @ 8:47 AM 130. Pete Best: I’d be interested in seeing the Guardian investigate who the experts signing this letter are and what their angle is… Vincent Gray’s a well-known crank (even by typical denialist standards). D’Aleo is the founder of The Weather Channel, who has some fundamental misunderstandings regarding climate science. Note some call themselves “Expert Reviewer IPCC…”. Want to put that after YOUR name? Just write some comments during the next IPCC round. There are absolutely no requirements, any one can do so and put that after their name. There’s one atmospheric physicist there, none of the rest have anything much to do with climate science. Nobel Peace prize winner? Human ecologist? Engineer? Comment by dhogaza — 21 Jul 2008 @ 9:32 AM 131. Re #126 Pete Best Re. the letter you refer to: (i) The chart in our letter of 14 April (page 3) which shows, using official data, that for the last decade World Temperatures have been falling whilst CO2 keeps rising, and Natural variability causes fluctuations in the general uptrend. One decade of measurement does not override the 30 year uptrend. The notion they are claiming that we are now cooling is incorrect because they are not looking at the forcing levels above equilibrium, therefore the assume that we are cooling based on limited data and myopic analysis. (ii) A geological (Greenland ice core) chart of polar climate covering the last 10,000 years (Ref B) which shows that while CO2 levels have been rising, temperatures have been falling since the Bronze Age around 4,000 years ago (see page 2). The Greenland Ice core does not represent global temps. That would be like saying the temp in the Sahara desert represents the temp in Antarctica, it just doesn’t make any sense. The pictures on page 2 (pdf) are not put in context of relevance and therefore misrepresented and irrelevant. Page 3 (pdf) assumptions are again based on limited data stating that a single data set from a single region/sector, not modeled with other measurements and without error potentials, represents the global temp. The MSU Joe is showing is a data set that has been corrected by NASA, they just don’t want to use the corrected data because it does not support their agenda. How to cook a graph in three easy lessons http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/05/how-to-cook-a-graph-in-three-easy-lessons/langswitch_lang/bg How to cook a graph in three easy lessons http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/05/how-to-cook-a-graph-in-three-easy-lessons/langswitch_lang/bg Page 4 (pdf) (letter page 2) They are making the same mistake they make in page 1 of ignoring long term trends and forcing and making assumptions not supported by trend evidence. Again 10 years does not override the long term trend. Uncertainty, noise and the art of model-data comparison http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/01/uncertainty-noise-and-the-art-of-model-data-comparison/langswitch_lang/bg I can’t comment on the Co2 upper troposphere Co2 levels, but the Mauna Loa which is the longest term measurement of atmospheric Co2 is still showing increase in the trend. Tropical tropospheric trends http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/tropical-troposphere-trends/langswitch_lang/bg Tropical tropospheric trends again http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/05/tropical-tropopshere-ii/langswitch_lang/bg Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 21 Jul 2008 @ 10:01 AM 132. re: 130. Minor correction: D’Aleo was the supposed “Director of Meteorology” at The Weather Channel. John Coleman, another denier with fundamental misunderstandings about climate science, was the founder of The Weather Channel. Comment by Dan — 21 Jul 2008 @ 10:03 AM 133. John P.R., et al (anyone): This is a long-standing basic question that I’ve generally just accepted but with a seed of not understanding hiding in the back of my mind (and it may have been addressed before; sorry if I missed it). I do not understand the significant lag of temperature increases following CO2 increases. I kind of understand why, in times past e.g., there are physical and geophysical scenarios when it happens in reverse (CO2 lags temperature). But, all else being equal, why doesn’t the temperature increase immediately after a CO2 molecule is added? Why is not that molecule, probably less than a meter off the ground, immediately capable of absorbing IR radiation that otherwise might not have been absorbed, and immediately likely to turn it into heat and a temperature increase with a collision? (I’m using a “one” molecule example just to keep the picture simple.) Minutes, hours, days, maybe even months I might not think much of. But years and decades?? Or is the devil in my “all else being equal”? I’m aware how short-term weather patterns can overwhelm long-term climatic patterns for a while, but they don’t seem (to me) to fully answer the question. Comment by Rod B — 21 Jul 2008 @ 10:10 AM 134. With regard to Monckton’s paper in the APS P&S forum newsletter; I have attempted a bit of analysis of the maths, since I had serendipitously been reading some of the papers (Bony, Colman, Soden, etc) on feedbacks, which Monckton mangles. The result is at The APS and global warming: What were they thinking?. I’m a comparative novice myself; and it is likely I have made a few mistakes of my own. I’d be very grateful if some of the folks here with a good understanding of subject matter would cast an eye over it and let me know of any errors. As an aside, I’m also interested (and say so) to know if there is a credible way for a meaningful yet simple calculation to get into the right ball park for the non-feedback climate sensitivity term; given as 3.2 K W^-1 m^2 in many references. The simplistic calculation (assuming uniform temperature change, fixed lapse rate and emission height) gives 3.7 or so. I’ve tried a simple integration over latitudes and that didn’t seem to help. Treating Earth as a grey body with emissivity of 0.61 or so works, but is that even sensible? BTW… thanks very much for this site! I am a regular reader, and it has helped me a lot in recent months learning more about the topic. Comment by Duae Quartunciae — 21 Jul 2008 @ 10:41 AM 135. BPL, dhogaza, et al: I think you are overstating the case that skeptics are the way they are because it doesn’t fit with their political or economic beliefs. There may be some of that (there has been in the past — AIDS in America comes to mind where in the 80’s we tried desperately to put it off on Haitians, then homosexuals, then a few dentists, etc while it was generically rampant and heterosexual in Africa; plus I agree, as dhogaza et al point out, that creationism, while not politically nor economically based, is probably mostly religious and not science based.) but I think the vast majority is not driven by our politics. Politics and economics might cause us to scrutinize the science with more focus (true in my case), but it’s the science, not the politics, that we question. We just question it with more vigor because the political and economic ramifications, tons of very sanguine guesses and predictions by most AGWers aside, are potentially society shattering, and I think warrant extraordinary scrutiny, even by (especially by) folks outside the climate science field. I’ve said before, I’m perplexed over the conservative/liberal right/left split over the issue. I find no rationale for that — though I admit it seems to be the case in many instances… Comment by Rod B — 21 Jul 2008 @ 10:43 AM 136. There are so many items I would like to respond to, but am finding time short today. I will tackle them later when I do have more of the precious commodity we call ‘time’. Remarks for you to ponder…. It seems that most scientists and non-scientists here at RC claim that only their science is true. What do you say to the other large group of scientists and non-scientists that say theirs is true? They can’t both be right. This should lead people to the only conclusion possible… the debate is NOT over! Thanks for listening. [Response: Well, that’s not very clear thinking. Since science doesn’t deal in truth, but only likelihood, you assert that everything is therefore debatable. In some sense that’s true, but I don’t see you querying gravity, the heliocentric model, the big bang etc. and I doubt very much whether your concerns are over the ultimate truth value of science as a whole. You will notice if you spend any time with scientists (I recommend it to everyone), that they are very particular what they debate over – they don’t bother with the things (like the radiative impact of CO2, heliocentricity, the roundness of the Earth) where the evidence is already overwhelming, or on questions for which there is no evidence (what’s the point). Coming here with meaningless talking point cliches like ‘the debate is not over’ is not however useful. Do at least try to be constructive. – gavin] Comment by Clear Thinker — 21 Jul 2008 @ 10:53 AM 137. You know, I read all these blogs with a degree of skepticism – both the AGW and the so called denialist’. Granted many of the denialist web sites and reporting are on a par with Kennedy assassination or 9-11 inside job conspiracy theorists but not all. In particular since this blog’s authors and many others who support the idea that our current warming trend is almost entirely man made hold that credentials in climate science or physics is necessary to make informed comment on the issue, I always look for scientists who rebut those ideas. Increasingly what I find is that more and more of them are coming out of the closet to point out the weaknesses in the AGW argument. The latest is Dr. David Evans, who wrote the carbon accounting model that measures Australia’s compliance with Kyoto and was definitely a big believer in AGW early on. Now he raises serious questions: [Response: No they aren’t – they are just the same old nonsense. Just to prove it, each one has been discussed on this blog way before this ‘new’ op-ed piece. To whit… ] 1. No greenhouse signature – no hot spot [Response: Confused. Tropical tropospheric warming is because of the moist adiabat – it has nothing specific to do with GHGs. See here and here.] 2. No evidence to support the idea that carbon emissions cause significant global warming. None. [Response: Nonsense. Try 150 years of radiative transfer theory, evidence of significant climate sensitivity from the paleo record and incontrovertible evidence that anthro emissions are responsible for the rise in CO2, CH4, N2O, CFCs etc. ] 3. Satellites that measure the world’s temperature all say that the warming trend ended in 2001, and that the temperature has dropped about 0.6C in the past year (to the temperature of 1980). Land-based temperature readings are corrupted by the “urban heat island” effect: urban areas encroaching on thermometer stations warm the micro-climate around the thermometer, due to vegetation changes, concrete, cars, houses. Satellite data is the only temperature data we can trust, but it only goes back to 1979. NASA reports only land-based data, and reports a modest warming trend and recent cooling. The other three global temperature records use a mix of satellite and land measurements, or satellite only, and they all show no warming since 2001 and a recent cooling. [Response: Factually wrong. NASA reports a land ocean index, the presence of natural variability makes nonsense of attempts to detect trends in short time periods, and the satellite datasets have larger differences in the long term trend among them than they have differences with the surface record. ] 4. New ice cores show that in the past six global warmings over the past half a million years, the temperature rises occurred on average 800 years before the accompanying rise in atmospheric carbon. Which says something important about which was cause and which was effect. [Response: Yes. Orbital forcing is the cause, glacial-interglacial CO2 levels are an amplifying feedback due to the impact of climate on the carbon cycle. Why does the existence of a natural positive feedback mean that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas? This just makes our perturbation even more serious. ] The point being none of this is settled. There is no consensus among top scientists and nobody is really sure what the hell is going on. [Response: BS. Evans’ might like to think that nobody knows anything, but he is absolutely and fundamentally wrong. ] Everyone I talk to about this says the Peer Reviewed literature points absolutely to AGW. Yet peer review must be taken with some degree of skepticism itself. Is it not to make sure that articles and research reports adhere to the current orthodoxy with the review made by those who already adhere to the current models and theories? I see the same thing happening in Cosmology where any work that might shake the foundation of Big Bang Cosmology is barred from publishing even as more and more evidence is emerging that the BB just doesn’t work, much like what is going on in climate science now. [Response: Peer review is necessary, but not sufficient. It’s only the first level of scrutiny. The next level is seen in assessment reports like the National Academies, or IPCC. ] I’m concerned that: 1. Science on which major public policy is being or projected to be made is not settled and is in fact hotly disputed – by other highly qualified scientists. 2. The peer review process is in serious doubt especially when the issues surrounding the science have become so politicized. 3. A relatively small and underfunded science community in the past has now become well funded and patronized by the government and media to the point that many many careers and much funding at universities are at stake if it is found that the science is indeed flawed or incomplete and different conclusions are warranted. I hope someone can respond to my questions and concerns in a civil and professional manner. – A concerned citizen who did not sleep through freshman calculus and physics. [Response: If we were in it for the money we’d be pushing uncertainty all the time. We don’t and we aren’t. Asserting that peer-review is fundamentally flawed because the papers that get published don’t agree with a certain political agenda is simply the last refuge of the contrarian scoundrel. All sorts of things get published – the bad stuff gets heavily criticised and is then largely ignored. In the meantime the illusion of dissent is maintained by frequent op-eds like this. The fact of the matter is that there is a very wide consensus on this, a few individuals notwithstanding. Go to any scientific meeting and scan the abstracts. – gavin] Comment by Jesse Brown — 21 Jul 2008 @ 11:21 AM 138. re: #126 (OFF TOPIC but relevant to Pete Best’s comment) The letter discussed in the above comment contains a new stick with which to beat the CO2 theory of global warming i.e. that it is accused of leading to starvation because of the rise in biofuels. But what we are seing is the divergence of the two crises i.e that of peak oil and CO2 accumulation. Converting waste material such as used chip fat is one thing,R but fermenting maize is quite another. This has all been discussed in recent peer reviewed papers such as that of Searchinger (Abstract here: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1151861) which concludes that most biofuels produce no net benefit from the CO2 standpoint. This is consistent with the fact that the drive for their introduction has often come from people who have no interest in the CO2 problem but are most concerned that people should be allowed to continue with their existing lifestyles. Most environmentalists on the other hand oppose the introduction of biofuels. As for the climatological side of the letter, most of it has been answered before on Realclimate e.g. its reliance on one decade of temperature data starting with an El Nino. It would also be more convincing if they examined the evidence in favour of the CO2 theory instead of pretending that it does not exist. Comment by Geoff Wexler — 21 Jul 2008 @ 11:21 AM 139. Re #133 Rob B I can give you the general answer, someone else might go into detail for you. The Milankovitch cycles are the main regulator of the natural cycles, they include eccentricity, obliquity and precession with long time scale variation. The eccentricity has to do with the ellipse of the orbit and is altered by the gravitational pull of other planets in our solar system. The obliquity is a tilt cycle that changes the planets angle to the sun, and the precession is a wobble cycle that alters exposure of the surface to the sun as well. Each of these have different time scales and therefore the forcing influence is cycling with the magnitude of forcing imposed and the timing of the alignments of the forcing imposed. In the natural cycle, Co2 lags behind temperature change. My current understanding is that when the obliquity angles the earth to heat up the northern hemisphere along with perihelion of the eccentricity cycle we tend to pop out of an ice age rather quickly. When that occurs it puts in motion other cycles such as Co2 release form oceans and more biomass is able to grow and accentuate the cycle. I’m confident this is a gross oversimplification, maybe someone else will jump in and fill more holes. The forcing coming out of an ice age in around .2 W/m2 average for the past 10 cycles (last 1 million years). Ice ages tend to be around -3.4 W/m2. To say this more generally, the forcing is around -3.5 W/m2 in an ice age and around 0 W/m2 in an interglacial. That is the natural cycle. We are currently around 1.9 W/m2 and that is a massive number above the natural cycle. The anthropogenic influence is clearly the culprit as the Co2 has an isotopic signature and is there for identifiable. Of course we also know we are adding methane and nitrous oxide. In summary, the Co2 behind temperature in the natural cycle, but now Co2 and other GHG’s are causing an un-natural climate forcing and Co2 leads instead of lags. It’s all about the forcing imposed on the climate system. Once you get your head wrapped around that, it starts to make betters sense. Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 21 Jul 2008 @ 11:47 AM 140. # 134 Duae Climate Sensitivity is roughly 0.75 K/W/m^2. Non-feedback sensitivity is 0.3 K/W/m^2 Comment by Chris Colose — 21 Jul 2008 @ 1:22 PM 141. Further to JPR’s post #193, as an astrophysicist I can tell you that the warming levels we would see by the orbital changes and other variabilities that make up these cycles is NOT ENOUGH to cause the warming or cooling necessary and seen in the records. The 800 year lag is how long it takes natural processes that increase atmospheric CO2 to feedback and increase the small changes the orbital change produces. The CO2 feedback has itself as a feedback other things that increase its’ effect and so increases the effect of these natural CO2 increasing processes. 800 years. That’s how long it takes for nature to produce too much CO2 to be stable in the glacial mode. We’ve done more change and haven’t taken 800 years to do it. Comment by Mark — 21 Jul 2008 @ 1:36 PM 142. Re: #139 (John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party)) I don’t think Rod B. is referring to CO2 lagging temperature during deglaciations, but to the lag of warming behind CO2 increase in modern times. Re: #133 (Rod B.) Bear in mind that CO2 is not a heat source, it’s “extra insulation” for the planet, obstructing infrared radiation to space. So consider an analogy: it’s chilly in the house when you get into bed (because you’re saving money and reducing carbon emissions by turning down the thermostat), so you add an extra blanket. Does your body warm *instantly*? No, it takes time for the reduced rate of heat loss (due to the extra blanket) to enable the extra heat to build up and bring you to a nice warm temperature. The dynamics are complicated by the fact that there are many distinct components to the climate system, each of which responds on a different time scale. The atmosphere reacts quickly (relatively speaking), exhibiting “prompt” response (time scale on the order of a few years); we see this in the response to a large volcanic eruption. The deep ocean has so much “thermal inertia” that it takes much longer to respond. Model simulations indicate that for the climate system as a whole to equilibrate to a new sustained forcing takes several decades (somewhere around 30 years). It has also been suggested that there are even slower components of the climate system that take even longer fully to equilibrate (e.g., the cryosphere). Comment by tamino — 21 Jul 2008 @ 1:42 PM 143. Clear Thinker claims that there is another “large group of scientists and non-scientists” who dispute the climate consensus. Really? So where are they? Why don’t they publish except in obscure Hungarian Meteorological journals or newsletters that are not peer reviewed? Why don’t they come up with models of their own that can explain the observed trends? Why do those few contrarian papers that do get published always seem to be published (often self-published) by professors emeriti with no actual climate expertise. Tell ya what. Why don’t you actually provide us with some names, along with their qualifications and their publication record? No one is saying that we know everything there is to know about climate. Yes, there are many uncertainties–but the role of CO2 is not among them. Comment by Ray Ladbury — 21 Jul 2008 @ 2:03 PM 144. Rod B. (#133): Isn’t the short answer to your question “thermal inertia”? Basically, adding more CO2 turns the burner up, but it takes a while for the pot to warm. And the biggest component of the earth system’s thermal inertia is, of course, the oceans. The upper layers of the ocean will heat somewhat quickly, but the deeper layers will take a very long time (centuries at least). So basically, we add CO2, it causes a radiative imbalance, and then the rest of the system (oceans, atmosphere, and upper layers of the soil) slowly warm up until the increase in their radiation balances out the original imbalance. Comment by Marcus — 21 Jul 2008 @ 2:21 PM 145. Thanks Gavin, I’ll keep and open mind and keep reading and studying. Hopefully you won’t mind a pointed question from time to time. [Response: Pointed is fine. – gavin] Comment by Jesse Brown — 21 Jul 2008 @ 2:25 PM 146. Re. #145 Jesse Brown I’ve made the same mistake in the past of saying something before searching, reading, verifying, it’s a lot of learning… luckily, I love learning :) I try not to jump ahead of myself to far these days. Pretty much every question you will have has likely already been discussed here. Just do a quick search for the subject keywords on this site or google and include ‘realclimate’ as a keyword as they have a good indexing system. The articles are well linked to source material and sometimes event data sets from relevant government and related institutions. RC is great on real science as opposed to other sites that reference cherry picked political perspectives and displayed basic ignorance of the fundamentals. When they do get their hands on a real piece of data they tend to use it out of context. Probably because they just don’t understand the context (because they have not looked) and sometimes because they are being purposefully deceptive. Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 21 Jul 2008 @ 3:29 PM 147. John P.R. (139). Thanks for all of that. I pretty much understand the basics of the “natural cycle” though you did fill in some blanks. But my question remains while I continue to digest — what is the physics hypothesis of the extensive lag of the “unnatural” temperature lagging the CO2. More than the deductive logic, which I understand btw, that says it’s doing something odd and the only difference is all of that human inserted carbon, therefore…… What is the physics behind the additional absorption of IR by the increased concentration of CO2 which get converted to atmospheric heating through collision, often within a nanosecond, then bounced around up or down untill it radiates a new photon out, a new photon down to heat the surface, or just keeps the atmosphere a little warmer — not the process per se, but why does it not go to completion within seconds, minutes, hours, even days? Why years and decades? Comment by Rod B — 21 Jul 2008 @ 4:18 PM 148. To bring back the whole “ice core data” argument discussed a bit above, the “800 year number” often quoted is very loose and varies by glacial-interglacial cycle. This is complicated since the age of the air is younger than the age of surrounding ice (and results are somewhat model dependent), but the “lag” has varied between around 300 years to over 2000 years depending on which “termination” you are looking at, CO2 actually leading a bit around 550,000 years ago. Comment by Chris Colose — 21 Jul 2008 @ 5:28 PM 149. Rod, short amateur answer: The whole climate system (air, atmosphere, and upper surface of the planet) is what warms up. The effect of slightly increasing CO2 is to slightly decrease the outgoing infrared from the top of the atmosphere. But remember it’s not the incoming infrared that’s heating the planet, it’s almost entirely the visible range.* What heats up? The ground, the surface of the ocean, where the light hits something and energy is absorbed. You’re looking for terms including “committed warming” and “climate-system response time” I think. One full text article from the first handful I scanned: http://www.pnas.org/content/102/31/10832.full I suggest finding the statements in this article that they simply footnote — reading the footnote itself for the basis — then follow that cited source forward in time. For example the question you’re asking is just mentioned here — cited to footnote 12: “It is well known that the time scale of commitment depends not only on the climate-system response time but also on the atmospheric lifetime of the radiative forcing agent in question (gas or aerosol) (e.g., see ref. 12). … And ref. 12 is — surprise? 12/ Rawaswamy V, Boucher, O., Haigh, J., Hauglustaine, D., Haywood, J., Myhre, G., Nakajima, T., Shi, G. Y. & Solomon, S. (2001) in Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis: Contributions of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, pp. 349-416. (I’d suggest finding the corresponding pages in the Fourth Assessment report if that’s not sufficient.) Experiment: Your house is cold at night, your bed is cold, and you get in and you’re cold. You throw on another blanket. How fast does the bed warm up? Instead of adding a blanket, you add another layer of insulation at the top of the house (like you get 18 inches of nice fluffy snow, which serves as insulation). How fast does the bed warm up? Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Jul 2008 @ 5:55 PM 150. Rod B (147) — I’m not sure I understand your question, but inserting extra CO2 into the air causes some extra plant growth, which takes some time; causes some to go into the ground (microbes?), which takes some time; causes some to go into the oceans, which takes some time. Maybe also result in some ice melting, whcih takes some time. Comment by David B. Benson — 21 Jul 2008 @ 5:59 PM 151. #104 Clear Thinker I made the mistake of correcting what you said from “five years”, to 8 years (meaning the 9th data point backwards), http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.lrg.gif so that it made at least a little sense. But let’s take you at your word for the sake of argument. Besides, the last five years have shown a cooling cycle not a warming one. Before you go off on my last sentence I would like to ask a question of Mr. Schmidt. To illustrate how wrong he is, I should have taken him at his words “the last five years have shown a cooling cycle not a warming one” I realize it means nothing, since five years does not amount to a hill of beans in this argument, but it does illustrate the arrogance associated with his lack of knowledge. I’m not confident he is as humble as he claims, though I hope he proves me wrong. 5 data points shows a slight warming trend, statistically insignificant but warming nonetheless 6 data points shows more warming 7 data points shows more warming 8 data points shows slightly more warming Again, insignificant, but illustrative of the fallacy of the argument. Mr. Clear Thinker, you may be great at critical thinking but that just means that you are ignoring relevant information or dishonest. Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 21 Jul 2008 @ 6:09 PM 152. Dear Mr. Schmidt, You wrote: 1. “…Since science doesn’t deal in truth, but only likelihood, you assert that everything is therefore debatable.” Why on earth would you want to get into semantics when you very well knew what I meant? When I write something I do my very best to write it in a manner so that anyone can understand. No semantics and no cognitive existentialism. Let’s just keep it real and down to earth. And I don’t understand the arrogance you showed in the very first line of your response. Have I been rude to you? 2. “…but I don’t see you querying gravity, the heliocentric model, the big bang etc. and I doubt very much whether your concerns are over the ultimate truth value of science as a whole.” Again, why would I want to query gravity, the heliocentric model,or the big bang theory on this particular thread? Although there are some that are starting to question big bang… Anyway, I am most certainly interested in the ultimate truth value as a whole as it applies to the subject at hand, AGW, Climate Crisis, etc. If either side of this debate is wrong and we as a civilization accept one side over the other we could see disastrous effects. Just like alcohol, food, sex, etc… everything in moderation (sex may be open for debate as to how much is too much) should rule the day. For now. 3. “You will notice if you spend any time with scientists (I recommend it to everyone), that they are very particular what they debate over – they don’t bother with the things (like the radiative impact of CO2, heliocentricity, the roundness of the Earth) where the evidence is already overwhelming, or on questions for which there is no evidence (what’s the point).” This I find almost dishonest. Would you be willing to accept, that when these theories were first suggested that there was no debate by contemporaries of the day? I doubt you would, and I’m hoping I’m right. 4. “Coming here with meaningless talking point cliches like ‘the debate is not over’ is not however useful. Do at least try to be constructive. – gavin]” Are you unwilling to debate the subject? There are many credentialed naysayers out there that would love to disagree with you and they have their facts to back-up their findings. One of the posters at RC has asked who these people are, and wants to know “where’s the beef?”. To your suggestion that I at least be constructive, I will post a list with follow-up info, and I hope you will appreciate my effort. Please let this debate continue by allowing my list to be posted when I have it ready. As always, I appreciate your time and effort. [Response: Don’t bother posting lists – it never serves any purpose since there is always more nonsense than can possibly be addressed. However, if you want to pick one or two of what you consider the best arguments or most credible positions I’d be happy to engage. I apologise if you didn’t care for my previous tone, but unless you have been living under a rock, you will realise that we are daily assaulted by those who wish in debate, not resolution, but noise. I’ll suspend judgement for the time being. – gavin] Comment by Clear Thinker — 21 Jul 2008 @ 6:31 PM 153. Re #147 Rob B Ok, I reread your post #133 Rob B again. Let me know if I’m on the right track? When CO2, CH4 or N2O and GWP’s including H20 (all GHG’s) increase there is an absorption lag. The forcing is there for example we are at 1.9 W/m2 mean estimate. That forcing does not heat the planet right away though. It is regulated by multiple factors positive and negative and oceanic thermal inertia is probably the biggest thermal regulator on the planet. Marcus #144 mentioned the ocean before, in that he said: Isn’t the short answer to your question “thermal inertia”? Basically, adding more CO2 turns the burner up, but it takes a while for the pot to warm. The ocean acts like a speed break, so while the forcing is there, it needs to attain equilibrium with all other factors and the main one is the ocean. In other words, the ocean absorbs heat, or releases heat, more slowly than land and air. This can take some time and that causes a lag in temperature increase. We should all be thankful, if it were not for all that water we would be warming even faster. of course there is still the Arctic Amplification Effect which causes the Northern hemisphere to warm more than the southern. That is caused by the fact that northern hemisphere has a lot more land which radiates and absorbs heat faster than water. Southern hemisphere is mostly water, which keeps the region cooler, for now at least. #142 Tamino I like that blanket analogy. Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 21 Jul 2008 @ 6:33 PM 154. Re #147 Rob B On your second point, I’m not up on IR absorption and transfer, I just saw Hank Roberts is on it though, so I hope that helps. Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 21 Jul 2008 @ 6:39 PM 155. Rod B., I’ll take a stab at this. First, remember that the only way energy gets out of the climate system is via outgoing IR. Also, we only have equilibrium when outgoing IR = absorbed solar energy (mainly visible). Now if we add CO2, less IR escapes to space, and this will warm the planet until the temperature is high enough that the IR energy emitted by and escaping from the planet again equals incoming solar energy. In other words–the old “blackbody” curve gets bites taken out of it, and evolves into a new blackbody curve with similar bites, but having the same area under it as the old curve (without bites). It takes time to heat up the atmosphere this much. Does this help? Comment by Ray Ladbury — 21 Jul 2008 @ 8:10 PM 156. Newsbusters have no credibility on climate science matters. A recent article posted July 18th on their site referred to Gavin as a “climate alarmist” and the realclimate site as the premier site on climate “hysteria”. Nowhere in Sheppard’s article are any references to science papers. Such attempts to disparage a legitimate site for understanding climate science shows that both NB and Sheppard are unqualified to speak on climate science matters. Comment by David klar — 21 Jul 2008 @ 9:47 PM 157. @Rob B. I have another amateur’s perspective to chip in, although it seems like Tamino, Hank, and JPR have covered it pretty well–but I get the sense that you, like me, can sort of feel your level of understanding…and until you “grok” it, so to speak, there’s always that slightly unsettled feeling…so here’s how I “grok” the issue I believe you’re asking about: The keys to my understanding are the signal to noise ratio, and thermal inertia in different parts of the system. In this case, I’m labeling as “noise” all processes other than heating by the greenhouse effect or direct feedbacks of that heating. It is my understanding that most of these processes are pretty much like noise in that over the long term they are expected to average to a zero net effect (approximately); for the most part they don’t affect the total energy budget of the planet, they just represent a lot of energy moving around within the planet system. One form of noise is simple weather. Think about the temperature change you can get at a given location when a storm front rolls through. The noise also happens at other time scales, like ENSO and whatever the hell happens in the deep oceans as huge masses of water slowly swirl around. The amplitude of the temperature changes in these processes can be titanic compared to the amplitude of the temperature changes from a day’s, or decade’s, or even century’s worth of accumulated CO2. But they average out. So I think the instant heating you’re talking about does happen, and it gets swirled up into this big cauldron of stew–different processes in heterogeneous environments happening on much bigger amplitudes than the signal, and various timelines, sometimes quite long ones. A slow “noise” process can easily pull temperatures down–in the areas where we’re able to make direct measurements–enough to cancel(and then some) an immediate greenhouse process. In reality, this is just the noise of energy moving around inside the system swamping–again, in the locations of our thermometers (and sattelites, etc.)–the tiny signal of energy being added to the system through greenhouse warming. Our current monitoring is limited to a collection of points in certain strata of the total system. If you had an omniscient monitoring apparatus, I believe you would find that the total energy content of the planet does increase instantly. In practice, though, our tiny instantaneous warming signal gets stirred into the stew, and even that bit of warming is buffered by some of the colder stuff like the cryosphere or deep oceans, where its small impact builds up over time, and as these reservoirs of coldness warm enough to absorb less heat from their surroundings, the warming propagates, slowly, through the system. This is the thermal inertia that other folks have mentioned. So, much like an ion drive, the greenhouse effect slowly overcomes the thermal inertia of a big, chaotic system–an eensy weensy bit at a time, relative to the amplitude of the noise. As inertia is overcome, the tiny constant push creates a more and more noticeable effect (until the system reaches equilibrium, so the ion drive metaphor breaks down if you try to extend it too far, but hopefully you see what I mean). Comment by kevin — 21 Jul 2008 @ 9:55 PM 158. Responding to Chris Colose, #140; Chris was answering my #134 I know the numbers. I also know different ways to get an approximate calculation. What I don’t have a good handle upon is why one approximation is better than another as a way of getting a ball park figure for the non-feedback sensitivity. Assuming Ts = 288, and Te = 255, corresponding to 390 W/m^2 at the surface, and 240 W/m^2 at the TOA: I hold the lapse rate fixed and the mean emission height fixed, so that the temperature difference is fixed at 33K. In that case, one more degree at the surface is one more degree at the TOA, and thermal emission from TOA becomes about 244. This gives around 0.27 K/(W/m^2); a commonly cited number for the simple blackbody calculation. Or, I treat the atmosphere as fixed layers of a certain emissivity. If there are n slabs of atmosphere all with emissivity e, then the upwards longwave below n slabs is Q(2+n.e – e)/(2 – e), where Q is the shortwave input. (Usually people do one layer with a certain emissivity, or else n layers with unit emissivity; I put it together just to help nut it out for myself a bit.) In any case, the surface emission becomes some fixed fraction of Q, and in this case an increase of 1 degree at the surface gives about 396 W/m^2 at the surface; and so about (396/390)*240 = 243 W/m^2 at the TOA. The method gives about 0.3 K/(W/m^2) base sensitivity; much closer to what is used by Soden and Bony and other such references. I appreciate that Soden and Bony and others don’t use my simple zero-dimensional approximations. As it turns out, I have also done some simple integration across latitudes with available lapse rate and temperature data, and the difference seems to be minor by comparison with the difference in choice of method. I think I’m on the right track here with the second method; but it just niggles at me a bit that there is (implicitly?) a change in the mean emission height or lapse rate involved in the non-feedback case. I’m just hoping for a pointer from the experts on the best intuitions or approximations for the zero-order estimates; or if zero-order estimates like this are okay Thanks for any free tutorials! [Response: The original Hansen calculation was with a radiative-convective model and delta T was the surface temperature change combined with a corresponding shift in the atmospheric T profile (based on the adiabat) that was required to balance the tropospheric flux. Therefore the ‘formula’ you want is a weighted integral of SB over height, weighted by their contribution to the tropospheric flux. The ‘uniform temperature’ approximation is similar and is a uniform delta T applied over the troposphere. – gavin] Comment by Duae Quartunciae — 22 Jul 2008 @ 12:02 AM 159. Dear Mr. Schmidt, Thank you. I would like to take a very recent event of what you call “most credible positions” and ask you and your readers to explain the findings here… http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24036736-7583,00.html You will notice that this Dr. is no hack, so I take him very seriously. Do you? Again, I thank you. [Response: No. If this recycled nonsense is the best you can do, we are not going to get very far. – gavin] Comment by Clear Thinker — 22 Jul 2008 @ 1:24 AM 160. Re #152 Dear Clear Thinker, You are playing an interesting game being so polite. It reminds me of family arguments when kids pretend not to be upset and try to out-polite the other to get them upset so they get in trouble with the parents rather than the instigator that is standing there smiling with a cheshire grin. In case you are wondering why it takes so long for Gavin to answer you, this may help you understand: “Next week will be a little quiet – it is mid-summer after all – so apologies in advance if the moderation is a somewhat slow.” http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/07/weekend-round-up/langswitch_lang/bg And I don’t understand the arrogance you showed in the very first line of your response. Have I been rude to you? I think you are rude to ask Gavin to engage you when you have clearly not read up on the relevant science. That is of course clear because you have not posed an intelligent question as yet. Again, why would I want to query gravity, the heliocentric model,or the big bang theory on this particular thread? While it’s possible you don’t understand what Gavin is saying I hope not. What Gavin is saying is that if you question Co2 as an anthropogenic climate driver then you might as well question gravity, the heliocentric model and the big bang, because it’s the same thing. The science on the GHG’s and their forcing is settled. The rest of your argument here is merely diversionary noise. This I find almost dishonest. Would you be willing to accept, that when these theories were first suggested that there was no debate by contemporaries of the day? I doubt you would, and I’m hoping I’m right. How obtuse. Again merely diversionary noise; no science argument. Are you unwilling to debate the subject? Noise. Gavin made the point quite clearly. The debate on the main parts of the AGW are over. The evidence is clear. The results are quantifiable. The isotopic signature of the Co2 is from fossil fuel. It is not possible to have originated from the natural sink. CH4, N2o and high GWP’s are quantified. The GCM’s have differentiated the signal to noise. TSI remains rangebound. GCR’s and SI do not correlate with T increase. The GMT is rising outside of natural variability. If you really want to debate the subject, before you do, read and study the relevant material and at least make an attempt to comprehend it in context. Then bring your questions. The credentialed naysayers you are referring to have nothing contextually relevant. You choose to indulge in pop science from people who for the most part cherry pick their data and misrepresent significance by presenting outside of the accepted GCM’s. Meteorology has little to do with climatology; Mckintyre Mckitrick were examined and found irrelevant because their argument only altered the data by a few hundredths of a degree; Singer lobbied for the tobacco industry and also wrote papers saying CFC’s are not a problem. The UAH satellite data has been corrected for errors by NASA… et cetera. I’m going to say this one more time and please understand, I am not attacking your character but the substance of your understanding. You are ignorant of the context and relevance of the various arguments surrounding the subject of anthropogenic global warming. It’s as simple as that. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ignorant Bring some science arguments not diversions and noise. If your going to argue at least bring some meat to the discussion. Context and relevance are key. Gavin, I’d love to see him bring a real substantial argument in here. That would be refreshing. Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 22 Jul 2008 @ 2:26 AM 161. Another day, yet another denial: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24036736-7583,00.html Dr David Evans was a consultant to the Australian Greenhouse Office from 1999 to 2005. Comment by chrispydog — 22 Jul 2008 @ 6:44 AM 162. Rod B writes: I’ve said before, I’m perplexed over the conservative/liberal right/left split over the issue. I find no rationale for that — though I admit it seems to be the case in many instances… It has become a left-right issue because measures to deal with AGW threaten the profits of fossil fuel companies, and the GOP exists largely to represent large corporate interests. People like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter have made it their mission in life to fight against any environmental regulation whatsoever — hell, Limbaugh wants to repeal the Clean Air Act. And Limbaugh is the protege of Roger Ailes. He may claim to be a disinterested conservative, but he is a creation of the GOP. Dealing with AGW will cut heavily into the profits of oil, coal, natural gas, and automobile companies. Those profits amount to30 billion a year for Exxon-Mobile alone. It’s not surprising that they’re trying to delay dealing with AGW as long as possible. That’s why E-M subsidizes denier think tanks like the Heartland Institute.

Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 22 Jul 2008 @ 7:07 AM

163. Jesse Brown writes:

I see the same thing happening in Cosmology where any work that might shake the foundation of Big Bang Cosmology is barred from publishing even as more and more evidence is emerging that the BB just doesn’t work

I can remember just offhand a paper in Physical Review A which tried to explain the cosmological red shift in terms of photon tidal interaction with curved space. Your assertion that papers challenging the Big Bang are kept out of cosmology journals is simply wrong. There aren’t many such papers because the evidence for the Big Bang is so overwhelming, not because anyone is being suppressed.

If you’re talking about the specific case of Halton Arp, the journals in the US stopped publishing him because he stopped submitting anything new. All his papers for years have been ones showing juxtapositions of celestial objects with different red shifts, an argument against the cosmological red shift which works only if you completely ignore perspective. Papers in peer-reviewed journals have to contain significant new information. Arp’s do not. He was a respected astronomer once, but because of his obsession with overturning the Big Bang, he has become a crackpot.

Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 22 Jul 2008 @ 7:13 AM

164. Clear thinker,

you should read my post on The Scientific Basis for Anthropogenic Climate Change.

Then, you might want to read scientific documents, but if you feel the need to go through these random websites, anytime you hear the following arguments, the article is not worth it:

AGW is wrong because,
– CO2 lags temperature in Vostok
– it ended in 1998 (or January 2008, or whatever the newest fad is)
– Anyone challenging the basic radiative physics of greenhouse gases and their impact on planetary temperature
– There was 1940-70 cooling when carbon emissions were high
– Specfic sites (like the Antarctic interior) are growing/cooling, so global warming is wrong.
– “it always happens”
– water vapor swamps the effect of CO2
– Climate sensitivity is too low to matter

Comment by Chris Colose — 22 Jul 2008 @ 9:21 AM

165. http://www.globalwarminghype.com/D-Evans2007.pdf

A ‘consultant’ you say, eh?

Here’s an interesting one :

BIO’s
Viscount Christopher Monckton of Brenchley is a Nobel Prize winning contributor to IPCC reports. Viscount Monckton has been an outspoken critic of the Kyoto Treaty and the IPCC scientific process. He was science advisor to Margaret Thatcher, his articles have been published in many prominent papers worldwide, and he is presently a member of the House of Lords.

Dr David Evans has six degrees in Maths, Stats, and Electrical Engineering, including three from Stanford.

Contact
Christopher Monckton +44 7980 634 784, monckton@mail.com

Others include ‘Carbon Emissions Don’t Cause Global Warming’ and an article for the ‘Ludwig von Mises Institute’.

I think we can safely disregard his ‘maths’.

[Response: It’s worth pointing out that Monckton is not a member of the House of Lords (he stood for election among his peers and got zero votes) and is not a ‘Nobel Prize winner’ – the only people who are acknowledged as such are the lead authors of IPCC chapters. – gavin]

Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 22 Jul 2008 @ 9:30 AM

166. Re: 79 (update)

For the record, I received my membership to NB yesterday. It took 7 days.

I don’t see much point in going over there and taking on Godzilla hiding behind secondary sources and technicalities.

Gesundheit Hank.

Comment by Arch Stanton — 22 Jul 2008 @ 10:32 AM

167. #166:

I for one would enjoy the prospect of several science-minded individuals joining the Newsbusters site.

While I understand there’s no reason for a legitimate science site, such as real climate, to wallow in the mud with blatant propagandists, unfortunately, in the age of the blog, it’s unavoidable. The Denier Clan has espoused it’s insanity for long enough.

I’ve read the Newsbusters site for years and am consistently amazed at the viewpoints embraced there. I am still learning the fundamentals of AGW so I never felt fully comfortable engaging in technical AGW debates at Newsbusters. As such, I always looked forward to the time when real scientists would finally pick up on the propaganda and simply dismantle it.

Noel Sheppard has gone unchallenged for too long. Like it or not, the MRC does reach a sizable audience, so it would be in the better interest of humanity to expose him for the hack that he truly is.

Arch, give it a shot. So long as you argue with the facts, what can they say?

Comment by LEON — 22 Jul 2008 @ 11:29 AM

168. http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/09/moncktons_fantasy_world.php#comment-667467

Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Jul 2008 @ 11:31 AM

169. In reply to my #158, Gavin says: [Response: The original Hansen calculation was with a radiative-convective model and delta T was the surface temperature change combined with a corresponding shift in the atmospheric T profile (based on the adiabat) that was required to balance the tropospheric flux. Therefore the ‘formula’ you want is a weighted integral of SB over height, weighted by their contribution to the tropospheric flux. The ‘uniform temperature’ approximation is similar and is a uniform delta T applied over the troposphere. – gavin]

Thanks; but I’m still a bit unclear. Sorry to be a pest…

I have read Hansen et al. (1984); and his method seems to be what gives a 3.76 W/m^2/K response. Take the fixed lapse rate (same adiabat moved sideways?) and the same mean emission height, and you get 33K less at the TOS. Hence the zero order approximation dR/dT = d/dT (σ(T – 33)^4) = 4R/(T-33) = 4*240/255 ~ 3.76

[Response: This is roughly correct, but the effective integral is over the whole troposphere – weighted by the efficiency of the emitters over the column (in particular, more water vapour lower down). – gavin]

This also has the same ΔT all the way up the atmosphere. I can follow that. My problem is that these days, papers like Bony et al or Soden et al (both 2006, Jour. C. vol 19) use numbers around 3.2, based on inferences from climate models. The GISS models, for example, which are what you work on I believe, have values given by Soden et al as 3.24 to 3.26 (table 1).

[Response: Yes. That takes into account the spatial variation of forcing, temperatures, clouds and water vapour. – gavin]

A footnote in Bony et al (2006) says: Note that in GCM calculations, the Planck feedback parameter is usually estimated by perturbing in each grid box the tropospheric temperature at each level by the surface temperature change predicted under climate warming. Therefore this estimate does not correspond exactly to a vertically and horizontally uniform temperature change.

So they DON’T have a uniform temperature change, if I’m reading this right; and hence (I guess) neither do your models?

[Response: It’s uniform vertically in the troposphere – not horizontally. – gavin]

I’m guessing that corresponds crudely to my “multiple slabs of atmosphere method” of comment #158, based on SB for each slab, which ends up in approximation as dR/dT = d/dT (0.61 * σ T^4) = 4R/T = 3.33 It also means that ΔT at the surface is a bit larger than ΔT at the top of the atmosphere, which corresponds to a slightly different lapse rate. The difference between 3.33 and 3.25 is small enough that it might be accounted for by integrating over the surface of the Earth.

But I’m not yet confident I’ve got it right. If there was a reference which actually works through a zero dimensional one line approximation it would be great. I’ve been explaining the basics of forcings and feedback in some discussions; and in my analysis at my blog of some errors in Monckton’s recent paper. But I tread lightly around the 3.2 value, because I don’t feel confident to explain it as yet.

Comment by Duae Quartunciae — 22 Jul 2008 @ 11:37 AM

170. Chris Colose@164 – I’ve bookmarked and downloaded the post – thanks very much.

Comment by Nick Gotts — 22 Jul 2008 @ 11:57 AM

171. Something a little more on-topic:

Smoke From Wildfires May Block Warming of Arctic, Study Says

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=email_en&refer=home&sid=alYnovfZgjk0

Comment by Peter Backes — 22 Jul 2008 @ 12:04 PM

172. Leon, Baby, if you think there are no credentialed, scientific skeptics, your reading is in real need of expansion.

Comment by William N Mitchell — 22 Jul 2008 @ 12:29 PM

173. Thanks to all for your assistance. But here’s what still troubles me, which admittedly is basic Freshman Physics level, and I haven’t done the math… because I don’t know the physics… which is way I’m asking. I understand the blanket analogy but adding a cover on a cold night and waiting , what, 10-20 minutes to warm up? My impression is that putting the CO2 blanket on takes weeks, months, years to warm up the bed, and so not very useful.

There is much discussion/assertion here and elsewhere of the delayed heat storage of oceans. A quote from the abstract that Hank referenced is typical. “…The thermal inertia of ocean and ice is thus among the key factors that cause lags between increases in concentrations of greenhouse gases and observed atmospheric temperature changes. Such lags have been variously referred to as unrealized warming, residual warming, or committed warming…”

This seems backwards. The very first thing in the process is CO2 is added, then absorbs some (earth-cooling) terrestrial or oceanic infrared radiation, then transfers that absorbed energy to heat (temperature increase) via a collision with likely an N2 or O2 molecule. (Bear with me — the single molecule is just a simplified example; it’s easy to visualize even though the numbers are ridiculous and it is not practical). (The net temperature exchange, gram for gram, is close to the same between ground and air, but air is about four times the ocean.) The atmosphere’s temperature has increased within a few microseconds and probably within meters of the surface, the accurate numbers depending somewhat on the previous concentration. All of this before the ocean can put its pants on.

Next the air molecule transfers its increased energy back to an emitting molecule, but in any case radiates directly or indirectly after a jillion bounces back to the earth surface where its reabsorbed and reheats the surface, or radiates out of the system with both atmosphere and surface ending with a net cooling, or hangs around as a hotter atmosphere. Eventually another option is possible and that is a conduction/convection exchange between the air molecule and either an earth or a water molecule. The water would remove temperature from the air faster than it “absorbs” and would now store this supposedly for a relatively long time — with an ocean temperature increase that’s only 1/4 of the air’s temperature loss. But, it seems to me, this process is highly problematic and slow, which tells me that the low altitude air and to a smaller degree the ground experience a direct, almost immediate, and somewhat long lasting increase in temperature after the added CO2. It might not be linear because, with some lapse, the ocean will pick up a little of the energy/temperature.

None of this explains the charts which show: 1. increase in CO2; 2. wait a few years or decades; 3. get temperature increase.

Maybe there is something in my “all other things being equal” as Kevin implied, and the temperature increase gets masked by temporal climate or even weather variations (which by themselves average out to zero over the long term). But (gut reaction) this ought to work both ways — hiding (delaying) temperature increases sometimes, enhancing them other times.

I have the impression that this all just might be “the way it is”, and stem from deductive logic: 1. temperature rise has been kinda unnaturally lagging CO2 increases the past 150 years; 2. the only thing different from the “natural” process is human induced CO2 (and it seems significant, not just a wobble); 3. therefore the anthropogenic nature must be [somehow] causing the lagging temperature increase. This could be correct, I suppose, but I’m looking for a little physics to back up the statistical correlation.

Sorry for belaboring this. Thanks again for your help anyway.

Comment by Rod B — 22 Jul 2008 @ 1:16 PM

174. BPL@70 – Thanks for your links also – clear and succinct.

Comment by Nick Gotts — 22 Jul 2008 @ 1:16 PM

175. Kinda OT, but interesting:

Nutrients carried by the Amazon River help create a carbon sink deep in the Atlantic Ocean, a study released Monday has found.
The key ingredients transported by the river are iron and phosphorus.

These elements are all that an organism called a diazotroph needs to capture nitrogen and carbon from the air and transform them into organic solids that then sink to the ocean floor.

Researchers from the United States, Greece and England found that the Amazon carries these elements hundreds of kilometers into the ocean and has an impact on the carbon and nitrogen cycles much farther afield than previously thought.

It is likely that other rivers also help seed carbon sequestering in the world’s oceans, wrote senior author Doug Capone of the University of Southern California.

The findings may help scientists find the best places to test seeding the ocean with iron, a controversial practice that some biologists believe could help mitigate climate change.

Comment by Jim Galasyn — 22 Jul 2008 @ 1:43 PM

176. RE 167, Thanks for the encouragement LEON, but I have already wasted too much of my life arguing with people that are as adept at the classic techniques of propaganda as Joel is (he can now claim that I love Wikipedia LOL). It doesn’t matter how many facts you have there is always some come-back that gets your supporters cheering.

And then is his fan base…It’s kind of like fighting an octopus with one hand tied behind your back. One liners are the bane of intelligent discussions on the internet. Notice how now that they have discovered that you can’t ask the same question over here over and over after it has been addressed, they are giddy with glee at uncovering some great weakness of RC? With all respect to Andy and his open policy (God Bless you Andy) I am thankful we don’t have to wade thorough the same tripe from the same people over and over here like one does at Dot Earth. As it is, the same questions do get answered repeatedly here, but that’s okay, this place is about climate science education. I don’t believe that is the goal at NB.

Comment by Arch Stanton — 22 Jul 2008 @ 2:01 PM

177. Rod B,
It is interesting that you come up with this question. I try to answer a related question for a while, but didn’t find an answer yet.
I found that in the literature it is assumed that local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) holds in the earth’s atmosphere up to a height of about 60 km or 75km.
However, LTE to my understanding requires that the energy levels in the medium are occupied according to the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution. This assumption is usually justified since at 1013hPa, the mean free path is about 70 nm, which in turn means that a excited state will be thermalized very fast due to collisions, which in turn guarantees occupation of the energy states according to the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution.
Moreover the lifetime of a vibrational state is about 0.001 s. The rate of collision at 1013 hPa and 288K is approximately 109-1010 collisions per second. Indeed, LTE is justified.
At about 300K this means per example for the CO2 bending mode at 15 µm that the population of this state in LTE is only about 4%.
BPL calculated on his excellent homepage the optical path length for CO2 to about 0.18/m.
This in turn should mean that the radiative heat transfer by absorption between ground and the first atmospheric layer takes place within the first 10 to 20 meters, considering CO2 only.
In texts about radiative transfer in the atmosphere I usually find the following line of reasoning:
1. LTE holds
2. Therefore you can apply Kirchhoff’s law
3. Which in turn means the emission coefficient is equal to the absorption coefficient
This means then in turn that a slab of atmosphere under steady state conditions radiates a significant portion of the absorbed energy isotropically and establishes the lapse rate via radiative transfer
However, I think that under LTE I have to multiply the absorption coefficient with the Boltzmann factor (0.04 for the CO2 bending mode to get the emission coefficient), meaning that only 4% of the absorbed Photons get emitted from the vibrational state.
All the others transfer their energy to translational modes of other molecules, including Oxygen and Nitrogen. This will of course warm the layer of atmosphere and provide an explanation for global warming.
But for global warming, which is your question, I concluded that it does not matter how you establish the steady state lapse rate, by radiation or collision or a combination of both.
The steady state lapse rate together with the feedback mechanism will drive the earth to the new steady state. The time constant for the whole process should be different from the microscopic time constants for absorption, collision and emission.
However, as a scientist I would be curious why under LTE, the emission coefficient for a CO2 band can be estimated using Kirchhoff’s law, while the energy transfer is collision dominated.

Comment by Guenter Hess — 22 Jul 2008 @ 2:07 PM

178. Oops my hyperlink for “classic techniques of propaganda” didn’t work:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda#Techniques

Comment by Arch Stanton — 22 Jul 2008 @ 2:19 PM

179. http://www.firedetect.noaa.gov/viewer.htm

Smoke plumes from wildfires mapped.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Jul 2008 @ 2:33 PM

180. For Rod B #173.

To keep it simple, think of a planet covered in one large ocean. Imagine everything is nicely balanced, with energy coming in equal to energy going out, at every point. The ocean is at 15 C, and the atmosphere is absorbing some of the warmth radiated from the surface, which makes it warm as well, though as you go up higher in altitude, the temperatures fall. Because the atmosphere has a temperature, it also radiates heat; some back down to the surface, and some on out into space. Being in balance, the atmosphere radiates the same amount of energy as it absorbs. The ocean is receiving energy from sunlight, and also from heat coming down out of the atmosphere; and radiates all of the received energy back up into the atmosphere. Everything is at just the right temperature to keep all the energy flows balanced; there’s no accumulation of energy anywhere and temperatures remain constant.

Now consider a series of steps. Step 1. We add a lot of some gas, which is good at absorbing warmth radiated from the surface.

Step 2. The atmosphere starts to absorb more of the energy from the surface. This heats up the atmosphere a bit. This occurs pretty quickly, because the atmosphere is thin, and does not hold a lot of heat.

Step 3. Because the atmosphere has increased in temperature, it starts to radiate more heat of its own. Some of that goes on out into space; some goes back down to the surface again. The atmosphere is now in balance again, radiating out the same amount of energy as it absorbs. Its a bit warmer than before.

Step 4. The ocean is now receiving more energy from the atmosphere. This means it starts to heat up also. But a watched pot never boils. An ocean has a huge hear capacity; it takes a LOT of energy to raise the temperature. So for now, the ocean is NOT in balance. Its temperature is (at first) unchanged, and it merely absorbs the extra radiation.

At this point, the atmosphere has warmed up, but the surface has not. It takes a long long time for the ocean to warm up. As it does so, over the next few years, it starts to radiate more energy also, which heats up the atmosphere even more. The atmosphere heats up almost at once; but the ocean takes a long time to heat up.

After ten years, the ocean has finally warmed up so much that everything is back in balance again, as far as we can measure.

—-

Now Earth is actually a bit more complicated than that. The surface of the ocean may warm up faster than the depths; but the surface is still kept a bit cooler by being in contact with the depths, until balance is eventually restored. Also, we have land. The land heats up almost at once, like the atmosphere…. but the ocean is slow to heat up. This means that the ocean will (initially) be cooler than the land, and winds and currents will transfer some heat from the land to the ocean… cooling the land a bit, and helping heat the ocean a bit more quickly… until it is all in balance again.

That’s really all there is too it. It takes a bit of time to warm up a large body of water.

Comment by Duae Quartunciae — 22 Jul 2008 @ 2:48 PM

181. Re #159

(repost, I think the other one glitched out)

#172 William N Mitchell

There are many credentialed people in the world, the question is relevance of the credential and experience in the relevant field and scope of knowledge and experience. Just because someone has a credential does not make him/her relevant pertaining to the argument at hand. Likewise, a non scientists can still have a relevant point of view if it is considerate enough to consider the relevant data, perspectives and understanding, i.e. context.

Those I consider highly relevant are those that work in the field every day and are involved in the larger scope of understanding the inter-dynamics, that do not cherry pick data or limit their view to a few data points that when tied together still can’t compete with the overarching understanding of the complexities involved in this global warming event.

#173 Rod B

I’m not a physicist by any stretch so I am trying to interpret the question and give the simplest answer. Also, I’m not sure I fully understand the question. I don’t understand IR in relation to N2, O2 (not GHG’s either) because I’m not well read in that area at this time. There are all sorts of photochemical processes that I’d like to learn more about as time allows.

So at risk of having missed your point on the lag, will give it one more try. I think what you are asking is why, with all the GHG’s in the atmosphere are we not warmer, faster; because the GHG’s are there and they should be warming us more?

I think the answer you may be seeking may be explained by the feedbacks. They are positive and negative. The positives are winning though. So the GHG’s are there and they raise the atmospheric temp a bit. That needs to be absorbed into the ocean, then the ocean responds by releasing more H2O, which is a GHG which causes additional positive and negative feedbacks. The aerosols are helping to cool things but not enough to counter the positive, so the future heating from the current GHG levels will be realized through the positive feedbacks.

Here is what I understand at this time: Air heats and cools rapidly. Land heats and cools less rapidly and oceans heat and cool very slowly. So there is an order of precedence.

The oceans warm slowly and then the feedback increases. It’s not all GHG though. It’s also aerosols, and albedo changes such as losing the summer ice in the Arctic. That’s a positive feedback, then the darker Arctic ocean absorbing more heat energy, also positive… those are only a couple examples, there are lots of links in the chain.

I’m trying to look at the big picture here and hope that helps a bit, but I’m not sure I have the question right.

Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 22 Jul 2008 @ 2:50 PM

182. Correction to my #177:
I meant 10^9-10^10 collisons per second

Comment by Guenter Hess — 22 Jul 2008 @ 3:07 PM

183. #176:

Arch, understand completely. I’ve been reading scienceblog for a while, but I’m new to Real Climate. Hoping to learn as much as possible so I can finally join in the AGW discussion with a bit more confidence in my understanding (I have a science background but not in anything related to climate or weather). I’m certain this website will be extremely helpful in that regard. The FAQ section has been great for me. Still trucking through, but it’s arguably one of the most succint and efficient introductions to climate change that I’ve found.

You are correct, there is no need to waste your time with one liners. I suppose my suggestion was mildly selfish in that a part of me takes great pleasure in the public dismantling of an arrogant blowhard.

Regardless, looking forward to spending some more time at Real Climate. So far, it’s been informative.

Comment by LEON — 22 Jul 2008 @ 3:08 PM

184. Dear RC enthusiasts,

Ok, let me ask a question so we can ‘maybe’ get a little daylight towards resolution. Question to follow after a few remarks.

I have made myself perfectly clear that I do not believe the AGW theories that are promoted on RC. I think we can all agree on this one, right? However, I also want you to know that I do not dispute some of the science featured on this site. It’s the conclusions that I disagree with. In order for me to understand what you consider good reliable science, I would like to know the following…

If a person, or persons were to debate the science either for, or against, the AGW argument, in what fields of science should these persons be educated and proficient in?

This is a serious inquiry that may help seperate the wheat from the chaff. I am trying my best to piece together the science from both sides to see who is more likely correct with their conclusions.

I look forward to reading serious responses.

Comment by Clear Thinker — 22 Jul 2008 @ 3:14 PM

185. Thanks, Nick. :)

Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 22 Jul 2008 @ 3:15 PM

186. Clear thinker #184; IMO to start with you need physics. Especially thermodynamics.

Comment by Duae Quartunciae — 22 Jul 2008 @ 3:36 PM

187. guenter says, “…Correction … I meant 10^9-10^10 collisons per second.”

Whew! That saved a large flame :-)

Comment by Rod B — 22 Jul 2008 @ 3:57 PM

188. Clear Thinker (184) — I recommend reading “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:

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

Review of above:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F04E7DF153DF936A35753C1A9659C8B63

Comment by David B. Benson — 22 Jul 2008 @ 4:03 PM

189. Clear Thinker (184), ask Rod B, or Erik (skeptic), I believe both of them fall into your catagory (?).

Comment by Arch Stanton — 22 Jul 2008 @ 4:06 PM

190. JPR, to oversimplify the basic absorption physics to maybe clear the stage: 1. the earth radiates infrared based on its surface temperature, and this by itself cools the earth. 2. Some of this radiation can be absorbed by certain gases (not including N2 or O2). 3. The IR radiation gets absorbed into internal molecular energy stores, vibration and/or rotation; this does not increase the temperature of the absorbing molecules. [NB! some might disagree with this…] 4. the absorbing molecules relax by either A] a collision transfer to N2 or O2 translation energy, which does increase gas temperature (Guenter (177) (and others…) says this accounts for 96% of the relaxation), or B] emits the energy (a new photon) directly, up or down (4% of the cases) 5. repeat. Is this what you were looking for?

I’m not at this juncture (but without prejudice) questioning increasing CO2 causing increasing temp. I’m questioning (actually wondering about) why temp lags CO2 by decades sometimes? Why not just a few minutes, say?

A quicky minor response to JPR, Guenter, and duae while I continue to digest: Isn’t the exact boundary between surface and atmosphere the exact same temperature? (Though this might be an insignificant distinction — 2mm up it might be a lot different…???) Aren’t the temperature readings for all of those graphs since 1860 or so, that show the lagging behind CO2, overwhelmingly (at least until the past few decades) of the atmosphere, around 1-2 meters above the ground?

Comment by Rod B — 22 Jul 2008 @ 4:37 PM

191. Clear Thinker, I’d like to reiterate David’s suggestion: please do read Spencer Weart’s excellent history of climate science. It will answer all your questions.

Comment by Jim Galasyn — 22 Jul 2008 @ 4:38 PM

192. Re: #190 (Rod B)

Take a liter of water which is presently at equilibrium with its surroundings, so the energy coming in equals the energy going out. Now add 1 watt to the energy going in. How long will it take the temperature to rise by 1 degree? “Why not just a few minutes, say?”

Do the same thing, but replace that one liter of water with one million liters of water. Now how long will it take the temperature to rise by 1 degree in response to the extra 1 watt of energy input?

Comment by tamino — 22 Jul 2008 @ 5:18 PM

193. David B. Benson Says:
22 July 2008 at 4:03 PM
Clear Thinker (184) — I recommend reading “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:

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

Thank you Mr. Benson for the above link. I found this statement from Mr. Weart interesting…

“We don’t know exactly which geophysical forces are most important for climate change, nor which scientific approaches point toward the best explanations. Some controversies have remained unresolved for decades. Matters now considered minor (as carbon dioxide once was) may eventually loom large, and vice-versa.”

And he did mention some of the areas of study that are involved.

Once again, thank you.

Comment by Clear Thinker — 22 Jul 2008 @ 5:35 PM

194. Clear Thinker (193) — You are welcome. Kindly encourage others to read that fine presentation of the history.

Comment by David B. Benson — 22 Jul 2008 @ 5:47 PM

195. Re #184 Clear Thinker

If a person, or persons were to debate the science either for, or against, the AGW argument, in what fields of science should these persons be educated and proficient in?

I would say it’s less about the origins of the “educated” part and more about the resultant education from experience, meaning more about the “proficient” part. Experience counts for a lot in something this complex.

So my vote would be for those that work in the field of climatology as opposed to those that work in the field of meteorology for example, generally speaking.

The actual field of science one was educated in may have less relevance than the experience in the field. So in that respect, I vote for “proficiency” in the field by virtue of experience in the field.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/noaa-n/climate/climate_weather.html

There are so many components to the study of climatology though, so one can not limit strictly. Many scientists contribute to the data set and modeling from multiple fields. Context and relevance is key.

Re #190 Rod B

Thanks, I need to do a lot more reading in this area. I’m open to recommendations links, books.

Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 22 Jul 2008 @ 6:03 PM

196. Re #173/#190

Rod

While the temperature starts to rise soon in response to the enhanced forcing, the new equilibrium temperature takes a while to be achieved due to the heat capacity of the system being forced.

Why not do an experiment….you need a room….a thermostat..and a thermometer…

Turn the thermostat from 15 oC to 20 oC…measure the temperature at the back of the room. It will start to rise quite soon after raising the temperature of the thermostat, but it will take a while for the room temperature to re-equilibrate to 20 oC.

Now fill the room half full of water (sorry!). Stir the water a bit to represent ocean currents. Repeat the experiment. Again the thermometer will respond quite quickly to the enhanced forcing driving the temperature from 15 oC to 20 oC….however it will take substantialy longer for the new equilibrium temperature to be achieved.

For added reality, light a bunsen burner for a few minutes occasionally to represent El Nino’s……switch on an air conditioner set at 17 oC to represent atmospheric aerosols, and switch this to 18 oC mid way through the experiment to represent various “Clean Air Acts” and the demise of the Soviet Union…..but switch it back up towards the end to represent Asian brown clouds..

…and so on….

..the lag relates not so much to the temperature rise, as to the new equilibrium temperature, and the progression to the new equilibrium temperature will be modulated by various stochastic (and not so stochastic) elements intrinsic and extrinsic to the climate system.

Comment by Chris — 22 Jul 2008 @ 6:10 PM

197. Ocean temps. I see suggested experiments that try to show how the oceans
temp changes. Do these experiments take into account any heat added to the water by underwater volcanic activity or fumeroles or even fresh water runoff?

I will get back to my first question later.

Thank you.

Comment by Clear Thinker — 22 Jul 2008 @ 6:35 PM

198. Re #190 Rod

3. The IR radiation gets absorbed into internal molecular energy stores, vibration and/or rotation; this does not increase the temperature of the absorbing molecules. [NB! some might disagree with this…]

Everybody should agree with that, since a molecule doesn’t have “a temperature”. Temperature is a property of a collection of molecules (their average kinetic energy).

In ay case molecule don’t really have “internal molecular energy stores”. Molecules aren’t chipmunks! Molecules have molecular energy levels (electronic, vibrational, rotational) transitions between which can be stimulated by absorption of EM radiation of appropriate energy.

Comment by Chris — 22 Jul 2008 @ 6:50 PM

199. Clear thinker, you ask whether people have considered the impact of underwater volcanic activity on ocean temperatures. This type of question illustrates a common problem in discussing science (or public policy for that matter) : people commonly greatly overestimate their own intelligence and underestimate the intelligence of others. As a result, they commonly believe that with a few minutes consideration they can come up with an idea which has for years escaped the attention of experts in the field.
If you really investigate any field of science you will invariably find that there is both a great deal more known AND a great deal more unknown than you could possibly have imagined initially.

Comment by David — 22 Jul 2008 @ 7:22 PM

200. > I see suggested experiments ….

Where do you see suggested experiments? Source please?

These are difficult without a control planet. This is why measurements and models are used, we don’t have spare planets to do proper controlled experiments.

Try looking the question up. For example,
http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/01/whats-up-with-volcanoes-under-arctic-sea-ice/
tells us, with citations to his sources”

1) The heat has already been measured as part of overall work done on sea water temperature at depths

“… volcano input is comparable to the background geothermal flux, which in turn is much less than the fluxes through the pycnocline from the warm Atlantic water, and to a lesser extent, the Pacific inflow.”

2) If there were more it’d become obvious quickly:

“we have primary evidence that heat from the bottom is not reaching the ice. Temperature profiles from virtually everywhere in the Arctic Ocean display a maximum temperature at a depth from 200-400 [meters]. This is associated with the Atlantic Water entering the basin from the Norwegian Sea. Fundamental laws of physics require that below the depth of this maximum, the heat flux is downward. Very near the bottom temperatures have been found to increase with depth indicating a small upward heat flux from geothermal sources, which help to heat only the very deepest water.”

and 3) You can do the math, even approximately, and look up numbers for yourself:

“… the average heat added from volcanoes to the ocean is of order 0.1 Watt per square meter. But the heat added (or removed) to the ocean from the sun and atmosphere is of order 100 Watt per square meter. So it is very hard for volcanoes to compete. Someone probably has much better estimates than these.”

Click the link for the context and sources.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Jul 2008 @ 7:31 PM

201. Rod B., If you want to warm up under your blanket on a cold night, do you place it loosely over you so that you have lots of air between the blanket and you or do you fit it snugly to minimize the air? So, as with the blanket with the air layer, the thermal inertia plays a role. However, as I tried to say earlier, there is also the fact that the atmosphere has to warm up to a specific temperature–that where the energy under the blackbody curve minus the bites taken out of it by the greenhouse gasses equals energy in. The fact that you have to achieve a finite degree of warming before equilibrium returns means that it will take time to return to equilibrium.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Jul 2008 @ 7:41 PM

202. Clear Thinker, I think that at a minimum an understanding of the basic physics and chemistry of atmospheres is essential–including thermodynamics, physics of fluids, etc.. Beyond this, one has to make an effort to understand the science that specifically applies to the Earth’s climate. I know of very few who have made such an effort and come away with significant doubts that humans are behind the current epoch of climate change. Climate science is complicated. The evidence that humans are behind the current warming is straightforward and pretty difficult to argue with.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Jul 2008 @ 7:49 PM

203. > We don’t know exactly which geophysical forces
> are most important for climate change

Mr. Clear — note the context — you’re quoting his discussion of the history of this science, of events that moved at a geologically slow pace.

Don’t confuse yourself — what you quote is not about current events. There he was writing about how we understand paleoclimate, the deep past, including all natural causes moving at natural rates of change.

Dr. Weart also writes:

“… well-meaning errors can promote confusion about whether humanity is truly causing global warming by adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere….

… These issues were satisfactorily addressed by physicists 50 years ago, and the necessary physics is included in all climate models.”

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument/

Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Jul 2008 @ 8:23 PM

204. Re:184 by Clear Thinker.
Another helpful discipline in understanding climate change would be a short coursee in electromagnetic radiation, with particular attention to Stefan’s law which quantitatively relates temperature with it’s total radiant energy.

Comment by Lawrence Brown — 22 Jul 2008 @ 9:09 PM

205. Rod B:

“JPR, to oversimplify the basic absorption physics to maybe clear the stage: …”

You then proceed to make a MORE COMPLICATED explanation of the physics, not a simplified one. And proceed to make mistakes.

This works with “the man in the street” but unfortunately scientists know where you make mistakes.

The specific heat capacity is how much energy you have to put in to make it “move faster”. Even if they are the same weight, a molecule has a higher specific heat capacity because it has more modes to spread the energy over than an atomic gas. So pointing out that the energy intercepted goes to non-velocity energy stores is irrelevant: it’s already taken care of by the specific heat capacity.

It makes even less difference when it is in a mixed atmosphere or near a surface: a collision with either will or could transfer this energy in rotational movement into the other material.

Clear thinker is just trying to “out nice” but is really just trolling.

Comment by Mark — 23 Jul 2008 @ 3:18 AM

206. Clear Thinker posts:

Ocean temps. I see suggested experiments that try to show how the oceans
temp changes. Do these experiments take into account any heat added to the water by underwater volcanic activity or fumeroles or even fresh water runoff?

I doubt it. They would be trivial in magnitude compared to the heat the oceans absorb from the sun and the atmosphere.

Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 23 Jul 2008 @ 6:19 AM

207. Mark, Actually, the equation E=CpT only holds for a gas at equilibrium, and when the gas is not in equilibrium with the photon field (e.g. outgoing IR), then it really isn’t quite in equilibrium. What stat mech tells us is that the gas will quickly transition in a direction toward equilibrium (most likely via collisional relaxation), but to do this it must warm up to the point where outgoing IR is again equal to incoming absorbed sunlight.
In physics, “nonequilibrium” thermodynamics is really “near-equilibrium” thermodynamics, since we really don’t know how to treat systems that are far from equilibrium. Fortunately, the climate system remains near enough to equilibrium (though not quite at equilibrium) that standard methods apply.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Jul 2008 @ 10:32 AM

208. Clear Thinker asks what background one should have to debate climate science.

Wait a minute. Shouldn’t the answer to this be obvious. I mean if you aren’t publishing on the subject regularly in peer-reviewed journals, your opinion counts for bupkis, because that is where the only scientific debate worthy of the name occurs.

If a scientist knows all the basic physics and chemistry but is ignorant of the history and development or the most recent developments in the field, he is certainly not qualified to debate with the subject matter experts.

OTOH, even if one is a “climate expert,” it means little if they are not publishing, since that means:
1)they aren’t actively following and contributing to the field
2)that they may be ignorant of recent developments
3)that their approaches may be infertile or unproductive (i.e. they could be cranks).

Sorry, Clear Thinker, but the rest of us are not contributing to the debate. We’re only here to learn. And judging by the relative numbers of publications consistent with and questioning the consensus view, the science is certainly settled. What remains unclear is what to do about the implications of the science–and that is politics. We can certainly contribute there, but our contributions are relevant only to the extent that we understand the accepted science.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Jul 2008 @ 11:06 AM

209. Barton, I think it’s important to make clear that the heat from within the planet is not ignored. It’s taken into account — it’s a constant over the time spans we’re talking about, part of the background that doesn’t change.

Aside from events like the Deccan Traps of course, which we’d notice* if such started to happen again and affected surface temperatures.

Andy Revkin’s sources at dot.earth I linked to above are good on clearing up this “undersea volcano” notion current in the blogs.
______________________
* understatement

Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Jul 2008 @ 11:09 AM

210. #177 Guenter Hess

However, as a scientist I would be curious why under LTE, the emission coefficient for a CO2 band can be estimated using Kirchhoff’s law, while the energy transfer is collision dominated.

At the risk of misreading you, I think you’re making the same mistake as Rod: not seeing the gas for the molecules :-)

Yes, the energy transfer is collision dominated, but that works both ways. Energy from N2, O2 collisions also excites CO2 molecules into the 15um bending state. The 4% occupation is what you see if you take a snapshot at any given moment. You don’t need to know the details of all the reactions to get this percentage, just temperature and energy level (and the knowledge that it has two degrees of freedom), thanks LTE.

Emissivity is equal to absorbtivity. The latter is what you see if you send a 15um beam into the gas — it gets fully absorbed after only a few tens of metres — it is opaque at these wavelengths. Such a layer is also a black body for this radiation, it emits according to the Planck curve for its temperature: emissivity is also 100%. The 4% occupancy rate has dropped out by the LTE magic :-)

Hope this was what you were wondering.

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 23 Jul 2008 @ 12:12 PM

211. Ray, #207.

Yeah, I know. Though this is mostly ignored in astrophysics because you have to assume an isostatic balance in radiation or your maths on what’s happening a trillion miles away gets very confusing…

Of course, they may have made some shortcuts available since last I did any study.

Comment by Mark — 23 Jul 2008 @ 1:05 PM

212. I really appreciate everybody’s responses and help ala my concern with why temp lags CO2. Boiling the responses down to the temperature inertia displayed especially by oceans but also to some extent by ground and even the atmosphere itself still leaves some troubling questions in my mind — the process still doesn’t fully explain the actual timing of the delay, nor explain how the temperatures being measured for the graph are overwhelming of lower atmosphere. However, my remaining questions are not as noisy as my observation of “years, decade, decades” of delay. My observation (looking at graphs) can’t really be that precise (I’ve been chastised before for eyeballing instead of doing linear regressions :-) ), especially when the affecting temporal weather-like anamolies are added in. Bottom line, my assertion is more noisy than yourall’s explanation, so I’ll go with what you all say.

Cleaning up some of the pieces:
Mark, I’m not sure what got stuck in your craw but energy (radiation) absorption into vibration vs. specific heat is a distinction without a difference. That radiation is absorbed by “(true) internal degrees of freedom”, not translation I think is relevant to JPR’s question. Why you think explaining the reverse molecular energy transfer would make it less complicated totally escapes me. ps. besides, Martin (210) evidently filled in those blanks

Chris, there are folks that maintain that energy in vibration affects/effects classic thermo temperature. 2nd, Ray is the official poster here to beat me up over my belief that a single molecule manifests temperature. Go find your own battles with me! :-P Finally, complaining over the use of “energy stores” seems a colossal nit-pick (oxymoron??) for an oversimplified description.

Thanks all.

Comment by Rod B — 23 Jul 2008 @ 1:15 PM

213. Barton Paul Levenson Says:
23 July 2008 at 6:19 AM
Clear Thinker posts:

“I doubt it. They would be trivial in magnitude compared to the heat the oceans absorb from the sun and the atmosphere.”

Mr. Levenson,

Thank you for the civil response, it’s much more than I’m getting from others. It really is appreciated.

Here’s why I was asking about the experiment that Chris had suggested on post #196. It seems as if his experiment was only including atmospheric temps and water. Would his experiment not be more conclusive if he had added another heat source/s into the water?

Do we really know every volcanic action that takes place on any given day? Do we really know how many fumeroles there are and at what rates are they all pumping out heat? Do we take into account all the Nuke plants, or even mulch paper plants, and other industries around the world that are pumping heated water into the Oceans? Do we know how fresh water runoff effects the Oceans temps? Do we know how rain effects the Oceans temps? Do we know how much rain falls into the Oceans? Ditto for land?

I totally understand that the heat from the Sun and atmosphere are the largest contributors, but there are other sources of heat not accounted for.

All I was suggesting was, shouldn’t Chris have added more variables to his experiment?

Once again, thank you for being civil.

Comment by Clear Thinker — 23 Jul 2008 @ 3:26 PM

214. #210 Mark,
Actually you describe what I am wondering about.
I read your argument before, and I understand the reasoning via the Einstein coefficients, assuming thermodynamic equiilibrium and calculating finally the source function as being equal to the Planck function from a mathematical point of view. The same can be done including collisions.
My problem is that I feel that this line of reasoning is contradicted by the LTE assumption itself.
Lets for example compare two identical slabs of air containing CO2, one is heated by an hypothetical infrared laser at the CO2 bending mode and the other one via collisions by a hypothetical reservoir containing Oxygen and Nitrogen.
Both slabs are finally brought to the same LTE state characterized by the same temperature and Maxwell Boltzmann distribution via collision. Pursuing the argument above, both states should have the same emission characteristics. But this in turn should mean that a LTE state emits in any case out of the 4% concentration of the vibrationally excited molecules.
However the average kinetic energy of a nitrogen or oxygen molecule does not allow the excitation of a CO2 bending mode beyond Maxwell Boltzmann distribution, otherwise I think you would violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

Comment by Guenter Hess — 23 Jul 2008 @ 3:45 PM

215. Mr. Clear, you miss the point

You’re listing things that — in the last century or two — haven’t changed so the difference they make in the year to year temperature hasn’t changed.

Spencer Weart, as quoted before:
————-
“… well-meaning errors can promote confusion about whether humanity is truly causing global warming by adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere….”
————-

I’m sure you mean well, because you’re so polite.

But you’re not thinking. You say there’s an effect so there might be some hidden cause.

Nope, you need _two_ hidden causes, one to counteract the known forcings that do work in the models, then another hidden one to make up the difference so the models still work. You need a hidden cold source and a hidden hot source, neither detectable by scientific work so far.

To explain a change, you need to observe a change.

If there were more heat than usual being added at the bottom of the ocean, it would show up in the deep ocean temperatures.

If there were a source of hot water running off from a nuclear power plant big enough to explain the sea surface temperature, it would show up as a hot spot on the sea surface.

There might be some incredibly powerful forcing hidden somewhere in some corner of the globe contributing enough to make the global average change but not showing up as a point or small source? Nope.

Nature has gone on as it did before; human activity is what’s changed dramatically and far faster than natural rates of change

Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Jul 2008 @ 4:14 PM

216. Guenter (214), I’m not sure if my tentative answer is even close to what you’re asking… I’ll try and you or others can correct me. The 4% population of the vibration energy level is a quantum mechanical Boltzmann factor probability that is based on LTE and is just dividing up all the energy in the molecules accordingly based mostly on the background (spam filter doesn’t like “amb***nt”) temperature — roughly the vibration energy level over kT as a power of e. Radiation is absorbed into the 15um vibration band separate, over and above, and irrespective of the 4%. Vibration-rotation are the only internal energies that can absorb radiation. They will absorb, based on somewhat different quantum mechanic parameters, even if the 4% is the current nominal population. Absorbing the radiation will put the molecules temporarily out of LTE. Then, to use precise physics terminology, they’ll get very antsy and want to unload their off-balance situation. Eventually the absorbed energy gets distributed via collisions amongst the molecules (or emitted) and they’ll be back in LTE.

I think if LTE and the 4% exists there is still a quantum mechanical probability that a CO2 will spontaneously emit. Also, I think a N2/O2 collision with CO2 can transfer energy from translation to CO2’s vibration — not as likely if LTE exists, but a long ways from impossible or prohibited. I’m not 100% certain of these, however, so others ought to comment.

Comment by Rod B — 23 Jul 2008 @ 5:28 PM

217. Clear Thinker, your query about volcanic eruptions is telling of the differences between scientific and nonscientific educations. A scientist would look at the energy of a typical eruption and compared it to other energy sources in the problem. When you do, you find that volcanism is trivial compared to insolation. The thing is that a layman looks at a volcano and sees a “big” event. However, that event is short-lived and localized, so it does not contribute nearly as much energy as a global source like insolation or the greenhouse effect.
Likewise, if one hasn’t been paying attention to the latest research in climate science (or any other field), one is prone to rehash settled arguments, reinvent wheels and make other elementary blunders that a true expert would avoid. There is no substitute for long experience coupled with concerted, prolonged effort in science.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Jul 2008 @ 5:31 PM

218. Mr. Roberts,

You wrote: “You say there’s an effect so there might be some hidden cause.”

No, no, not at all, I was merely asking if all the info pertinent for Chris’s experiment was being included. When a scientist performs an experiment, or even a laymen, it always seems to come down to what may have been missed. I don’t need to tell anyone here that modeling climate is a daunting task.

There are things we are missing. For instance… Can anyone here tell me how much precipitation falls on the Earth and how that affects global temperatures? And how do clouds affect global temps?

Nothing “hidden” just not included for whatever reason.

Thanks you for being so reasonable.

[Response: Precip ~ 3mm/day globally w/ about -1 W/m2 surface energy flux, cloud radiative forcing ~ -48 (W/m2 Short wave), 31 (W/m2) long wave) (globally). Both effects ‘included’. – gavin ]

Comment by Clear Thinker — 23 Jul 2008 @ 5:33 PM

219. Hank (215, so far), just a quick curiosity question. Even if there were those ocean heat sources, wouldn’t the cooling from the heat of fusion through evaporation overwhelm them?

Comment by Rod B — 23 Jul 2008 @ 5:34 PM

220. PS, this is worth reading. Note, not while drinking coffee: http://timlambert.org/2004/12/hissink/

Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Jul 2008 @ 5:40 PM

221. decidedly OT, but perhaps noteworthy:
http://junkraft.blogspot.com/

tells the story of Dr. Marcus Eriksen and Joel Paschal, sailing across the ocean on what amounts to a pile of (recyclable) trash.

Comment by A.C. — 23 Jul 2008 @ 5:55 PM

222. #213, #215: Just an observation to add because of the comments of “nuke plants and other industries adding heat to the system”: there was a recent edition of EOS (the AGU journal) that had a paper looking at the heat released by theoretical increases in human activity. The paper assumed: a) that we switched to zero-GHG power. b) that the zero-GHG power was in large part nuclear, coal with CCS, solar beamed from satellites, etc., and c) that energy use continued to increase at 1% or 2% per year.

Eventually (2300 or so) the direct heat produced by energy use is sufficient to increase global temperatures by a couple degrees C, even without GHGs. But that’s quite a number of doublings away.

So, yeah, at the moment heat from human activity is at least two orders of magnitude less than the heat that is caused by GHG release from that activity (I’ve done a back-of-the-envelope calculation that shows that 1 MMBtu of coal burned leads to about 280 times as much lifetime total atmospheric warming directly due to radiative effects of the released carbon dioxide). So we can safely ignore human heat sources on the global scale.

Similarly, my understanding is that average global heat flow from all geothermal sources is more than an order of magnitude less than the direct heat flow caused by anthropogenic GHGs, and presumably the fluctuations in that source are smaller yet, so we can mostly ignore geothermal too (at least for global scale analysis. If we care about the heat in one specific spot that happens to be near a fumerole, then we need to add it in).

Comment by Marcus — 23 Jul 2008 @ 6:24 PM

223. Guenter Hess Says #214 I think you meant Martin.

Remember that the energy is the average. So some will collide with enough energy compared to the thing it’s hitting to move it out of any vibrational, torsional or rotational mode. It could extract the vibrational, torsional or rotational energy in the other collision (think putting spin on the cue ball putting spin on the coloured ball). If the energy quotient of the average molecule in the atmosphere is not enough to keep these states filled according to the relevant laws, then these over-excited (by laser or whatever) states will release their energy into the medium.

The only places it won’t is when you are in an optically (at the relevant frequencies) translucent medium. In which case, the IR excitation energy is as likely to go out without being absorbed as it is to not thermalise.

So speculations on a medium only a few optical depths deep isn’t really applicable: you aren’t holding on to much of the energy being pumped in anyway, so your query doesn’t hold.

When it comes to the parameterization of transmission and absorption, there are spec ialists (without the space, this is a spam word!) who work at the quantum level. Not so much to parameterize the fluxes but to actually work out what the space satellites are telling you. After all, all you get from a satellite is not a temperature profile, but the IR intensity of a bandpass receiver of varying effectiveness along a small solid angle at one specific time. Working out what THAT means wrt temperatures is NOT for the faint hearted.

I wouldn’t even try.

But you could try finding one of them and asking them.

Comment by Mark — 23 Jul 2008 @ 6:30 PM

224. This site has been infiltrated by a number of conservative NewsBusters poster/trolls- ClearThinker, PopTech, and Danbo. They were dispatched to this site by the Associate Editor of Newsbusters, Noel Sheppard. Their primary mission was to engage the honest climatologists of this site into a twisted discussion in order to get banned or deleted. In doing so, they copy what comments are deleted and post them on the NB site to show how scientists censor a “true” debate. My suggestion is to ignore and disengage from any discussion with these three individuals. They are quote miners and will try to use your words against others. It’s infantile and to be expected by a radical right wing group who’s primary mission is to expose and combat liberal media bias. The Associate Editor of NewsBusters will not engage in a scientific debate on Global warming since he lacks the intelligence and intellect to discuss and understand basic chemistry and physics. He’s an economist with no scientific background. I must commend all of you on your eloquent and articulate discussions with these trolls.

[Response: I am aware of such things. But the bottom line is that we are happy to answer questions that, while they may be disingenuous, might be of interest to others. As long as posters are polite and not too far off topic or repetitive, they are welcome to stay. Who knows, maybe they’ll learn something… – gavin]

Comment by Tank Dobermann — 23 Jul 2008 @ 6:31 PM

225. We can only hope, Gavin. Thanks for the response. This site is one of the best I’ve seen. Good work! Looking forward to learning more everyday!

Comment by Tank Dobermann — 23 Jul 2008 @ 6:50 PM

226. There are definitely ‘professional’ posters planted by whoever everywhere. They especially like to lurk in popular sites, like accuWeather.com, where they pounce on any topics which are on the edge like :
http://global-warming.accuweather.com/2008/07/gore_offers_a_challenge_1.html

They flood the first entries and then the last ones in a manipulative manner.

Comment by paulm — 23 Jul 2008 @ 7:08 PM

227. Why are you afraid of my questions Gavin? You are the “expert”.

[Response: Repeating myself over and again when it’s clear you haven’t the foggiest (smoggiest?) idea about what you are talking about is quite dull. You need to come up with something a little more challenging. Now run along and tell the other children how mean I am. – gavin]

Comment by Poptech — 23 Jul 2008 @ 7:33 PM

228. Rod, sorry, I haven’t a clue what you mean in 23 July 2008 at 5:34 PM — do you mean volcanic events change aerosols by turning water into water vapor that condenses out later? Sure.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Jul 2008 @ 7:34 PM

229. Clear Thinker, an anecdote to illustrate a bit about the education of a scientist. When I was but a wee graduate student in physics, we were all required to take written and oral exams to be admitted to candidacy for the PhD. The written exams were (mostly) material we had had in classes, but the oral exams could cover ANY topic. Once a grad student was facing 3 hostile faculty members, and one of the faculty picked up a phonebook and began perusing it as he was fumbling with a problem. Once the student finished, the prof asked: “OK, how many piano tuners are listed in the phone directory for the greater metro area…and you’d better be right within 10 %?” Scientists have to KNOW things. They have to KNOW how things fit in with everything else. And if they don’t know, they have to figure out ways of learning/measuring it. And they’ve been learning and measuring things related to climate for over 150 years. So, as you can see, we amateurs (and yes, despite a PhD in physics, I am an amateur here) have a lot to learn here.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Jul 2008 @ 7:43 PM

230. Mr. Roberts,

Thank you for that link in #220. I may or may not agree with the conclusions but it’s just another example of why I think the debate rages on. Which I think is the prudent thing.

I got sidetracked from my original question concerning what fields of Science would someone need to be proficient in, in order to debate AGW. The feedback was some of what I expected and some I did not. But I do appreciate those that took my question seriously. I have been upfront and very honest about where I stand on this issue so hopefully you understand by now that I have nothing up my sleeve. May we all learn from each other.

Back to why I asked the question of education level. I have been interested in the AGW argument for a very long time and have read many facts, opinions, articles, reviews, journals, etc, from people in the following fields… Physical Chemistry, Geophysical Science, Agricultural Biology, Hydrogeology and Engineering Geology, Geology, M.Eng., P.Eng, Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science, Advanced Physics, Chemistry, Molecular GeneticsPhysics, Theoretical Chemistry, American Association of State Climatologists, Sedimentology,vBioChemistry, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, Environmental Science, Applied Mathematics, Agronomy, Mathematical Ecology, Wildlife Biology, Animal Ecology in Arctic and Subarctic Regions, Mathematical Logic, Meteorology, Climatology, Chemical Engineering, Solar Physicist and Climatologist, Mathematical Statistics, Earth Sciences, Geophysics, Marine Biology, Microbiology, Micropalentologist, Paleoclimatologist, Isotope and Planetary Geology, Analytical Chemist, Particle Physicist, Organic Chemistry, Botany, Nuclear Physics, Zoology, Astrophysicist,
Biomolecular Engineering, Palegeophysics, Medical Entomology, Forest Biology, and Aeronautics.

The only sure thing I have found to date by reading and/or listening to these experts is that there are still those that question if AGW is caused by “A”. Don’t be alarmed, I know there are others in the very same fields as those above that say different. One odd point of contention for me is the notion that unless your papers are peer reviewed that your papers should be ignored. Don’t get me wrong, I know how important the process is and why it’s done, but many a Scientist in the past that were reviewed and subsequently scoffed at by their peers turned out to be on target.

With this in mind, should a person, Scientist or not, really ignore an expert when they use 30 different equations to disprove a model (yes, I know you know whom I’m refering to)?

[Response: Please. He’s no expert, and he used one equation (rewritten 30 times) (incorrectly to boot). I’ll post some more on that later. – gavin]

I know this was long and arduous, but so is the AGW issue. Thank you for your patience.

Comment by Clear Thinker — 23 Jul 2008 @ 7:51 PM

231. Gavin, you have yet to prove where Mr. Sheppard equated Aerosols with Smog by quoting what he said. You stating this as such without the quote does not prove anything and it appears you are making this up.

Just an FYI fog can also be a part of smog by definition.

[Response: Hmmm…. so let’s see. Perhaps Sheppard’s use of the term “chicken and egg conundrum” is unfamiliar to you? It refers to something (X) causing something else (Y) which goes on to cause X over again. What are the somethings to which Sheppard refers?

In an interesting chicken and the egg conundrum, scientists in America claimed Thursday that global warming causes smog.
So, cleaning the air causes global warming — which ends up leading to higher levels of smog?

It’s pretty clear from this sentence that Y=”global warming”. X is first “clearing the air” (referring to the reports on the GRL aerosols paper), and yet at the end, X is clearly ‘smog’ (referring to the press about the EPA ozone report). So if Sheppard is not equating the two, perhaps you would care to explain what is chicken and what is egg? It can’t be aerosols, because the EPA report does not suggest the warming increases aerosols. And it can’t be ozone because ozone is a greenhouse gas and clearing it from the air would lead to a cooling not a warming. Do please enlighten me. – gavin]

Comment by Poptech — 23 Jul 2008 @ 7:57 PM

232. You might want to check your other references first.

Peer review doesn’t assure that a paper will be paid attention. It’s the first step, only.

Recall you were quoting earlier from Spencer Weart? You read the answer to your question right there, on the web page you quoted from.

“The scientific literature. … the thousands of scientific papers scattered like seeds in the past, we are naturally most interested in those that have borne fruit.”

You might also find this helpful — I certainly have, face to face, since before the old Usenet days, on websites, any place I might ask scientists amateur questions. It really helps to follow his advice. Show you’ve read something and understood some of it and then ask a question that shows you can learn. It really encourages good answers:

How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
Eric Steven Raymond.
http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

But I digress, sorry. The topic deserves better focus.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Jul 2008 @ 8:26 PM

233. Re. #224 Tank Dobermann

They may be reposting what is getting deleted over on the NB site, but they can’t claim that RC is censoring the scientific debate. They are censoring the irrelevant noise that is out of context and also repetitive points and the argumentum ad hominem.

Example: Gavin edited two of my posts in this thread:

#101 and #181

My fault of course. I went to far away from the relevant points.

But NB can’t claim bias in the scientific realm. I support Gavin and the RC team entirely in their moderation in order to keep the conversation relevant.

Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 23 Jul 2008 @ 8:37 PM

234. Clear Thinker, I’ve said this before. Your “experts” count for nothing unless they are actively publishing in climate science. It is a one thing to be able to learn from and assimilate the research of others. It is a very different thing to actively contribute to a field of study. The latter are the people who count. The rest are welcome to come here and LEARN from those experts. Or do you think that you can do intellectual battle with Stephen Hawking just because you’ve read his “A Brief History of Time”?

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Jul 2008 @ 8:54 PM

235. #230 Clear Thinker

Peer review is only part of the process. There is also peer response. Those that survive peer response become accepted or argued further to refine the understanding. Those that don’t become less relevant or irrelevant.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/peer-review-a-necessary-but-not-sufficient-condition/

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

Then there is relevance and context.

For example: If you look at certain charts and graphs that are used to prove global warming is not human caused and compare them to actual nasa data, you can spot the obvious errors.

If you search the page for “Historically we can clearly see that hydrocarbon use does not correlate with temperature changes.” you will find the chart I am referring to.

This chart has more than one problem. I will only illuminate one of them and compare it to NASA for you.

The chart displayed shows that TSI is around 1372 W/m2 from the satellite data outside of the atmosphere. Whomever made the chart made a fairly major mistake. If the maker of the chart is referring to any actual satellite data it is likely the Nimbus7/ERB data, not the current corrected modeled data that NASA accepts as the best representation.

Now here is NASA’s satellite data for TSI graphed:

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Study/VariableSun/variable2.html

If you look at the second chart on the page that shows all the different satellite measurements you can see that the only one that is close to 1372 W/m2 is the Nimbus7/ERB

Now scroll back up on the NASA page and you can see the corrected data set from the composite readings.

That is the accepted data based on the corrections. That indicates the TSI is around 1366.5 to 1367 W/m2

The point is, some people are using incorrect data and representing it as actual. To believe the other chart, which is based on limited data, uncorrected; we have to accept that NASA is wrong. You merely have to decide if you ‘believe’ the incorrect data is true, or the updated corrected data from NASA.

In other words, it’s not about belief. It’s about the real data, the relevant data, the relevant context and the relevant understanding.

Comment by John P. Reisman (The Centrist Party) — 23 Jul 2008 @ 9:33 PM

236. What is pretty clear is that no where did Mr. Sheppard substitute the word ‘Aerosols’ for the word ‘Smog’ as your implication. In that sentence he uses the word ‘smog’ not ‘photochemical smog’. The definition of smog allows for it’s usage in that sentence and in that context, even in reference to aerosols and smog. You added in the word ‘photochemical’.

[Response: Ozone is the prime constituent of photochemical smog. The EPA report (which Sheppard did not read) was about ozone. Therefore the use of the word ‘smog’ by Reuters when discussing the EPA report referred to photochemical smog. If Sheppard knew what he was talking about, then his confusion would not have arisen. Like I said before – it always pays to read the real sources – not just the media reports. Bored now. – gavin]

Comment by Poptech — 23 Jul 2008 @ 9:36 PM

237. I’m surprised that none of the regular contributors here mentioned to Mr. Clearthinker that experts in statistics should also be consulted. Or did I miss that?

Comment by Joel Black — 23 Jul 2008 @ 9:46 PM

238. Okay people, this issue needs to be looked at here: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,24036736-17803,00.html

[Response: See above – gavin]

Comment by One Salient Oversight — 23 Jul 2008 @ 9:58 PM

239. Taking (or attempting) to take the thread back to the topic — aerosols chemistry and climate — might help clarify that there’s not just one species of chicken and one sort of egg involved. That’s a common error, oversimplifying.

Kinds of aerosols
How they are produced
What they’re like at first
How they change over
over time
depending on what else is around
in different parts of the atmosphere
with different amounts of sunlight
with different amounts of ultraviolet.

Coal isn’t pure carbon, so you don’t even start with one ancestral dinosaur form — there’s a flock of different stuff in the fuel.
Burn those, with changes during and after combustion.

Result? Not simple.

One surprise I recall from a few years ago — think about Dickens and Conan Doyle’s descriptions of coal smoke fogs, then look at the writing Google Scholar turns up:

Compare this to more recent descriptions — very different behavior.
I recall the latitude makes an important difference in the photochemistry.

I don’t want to sidetrack the thread from discussing current science (it’s hard not to be distracted by, well, tasty distractions, but let’s not).

So to try to ask a useful question — has anyone a good cite to any compilation or review article comparing the first great historical era of coal burning to the current one? The bits I link above got me started but if someone knows where it’s been pulled together I’d love to understand better why the two times were so different on the ground.

(Not asking for an immediate answer or attention, just putting the question out here for whenever someone happens in with a pointer.)

Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Jul 2008 @ 10:02 PM

240. One Salient Oversight Says:
23 July 2008 at 9:58 PM

On sites where I am not well known, I normally address people with either Mrs. or Mr. because it’s the civil thing to do. The name you use makes it difficult to use either so is it ok to address you as OSO?

To your link… I brought this up I think yesterday and it was immediately dismissed by Mr. Schmidt. Think what you want about it but it has caused quite a buzz. Some of which is very ugly.

Thank you for posting it again. Any and all relevant info should be considered if we are to get to the truth. Whether we like it or not.

Comment by Clear Thinker — 23 Jul 2008 @ 10:25 PM

241. Re # 240 Clear Thinker:

I normally address people with either Mrs. or Mr. because it’s the civil thing to do.

The respectful way to address a scientist with a Ph.D. who occupies a position of authority, as do the RC moderators, would be “Dr.”, as in Dr. Schmidt.

Comment by Chuck Booth — 23 Jul 2008 @ 11:05 PM

242. #216 RodB,
Yes, I agree to all you said.
My question really is:
1. about the magnitude of the emission coefficient for a slab of atmosphere containing CO2 under LTE conditions (which is valid below 75 km) compared to a non-LTE situation (which holds above 75 km).
2. about the calculation of the source functions for radiative transfer under LTE conditions.

I think that the detailed answer will not change anything about average warming, however it would fill my curiosity. Also I think the correct answer will cover some skeptical arguments distributed within the Internet. I tried to ask some of the experts mentioned on Realclimate directly, but didn’t get an answer yet.

Comment by Guenter Hess — 23 Jul 2008 @ 11:19 PM

243. #223 Mark

Comment by Guenter Hess — 23 Jul 2008 @ 11:23 PM

244. Chuckle.
Sal (may I call you Sal?), I think you nailed that one on your own page.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Jul 2008 @ 11:31 PM

245. To your link… I brought this up I think yesterday and it was immediately dismissed by Mr. Schmidt. Think what you want about it but it has caused quite a buzz. Some of which is very ugly.

Yes, very ugly. Monckton’s claiming to have published a “major peer-reviewed paper in an APS Journal”, for instance, is a very, very ugly lie. One which I suspect Clear Thinker and friends happily embrace.

Comment by dhogaza — 24 Jul 2008 @ 12:44 AM

246. Chuck,

I was biting my tongue not to say what you brought up about Mr. vs. Dr. Schmidt. I am glad you said it so eloquently. Even PhD bearing scientists call each other Dr. So-and-So if they do not know each other well or one wants to show deference to the other for his/her extensive contributions to the field (like the RC moderators). Or they go by first name, like the RC moderators like to do here. But somehow Mr. or Mrs. just doesn’t sound so good :) I don’t mind when my students (undergraduates) call me by my first name (I encourage it) but Ms. Mekik kills me, especially since male professors tend to be addressed by the students as Dr. or Prof more frequently. But that’s another story, but female profs get the Ms. or worse Mrs. :)

Comment by Figen Mekik — 24 Jul 2008 @ 1:27 AM

247. Qualifications and prejudice.

Several people have discussed what qualifications you need to have a useful opinion about a branch of science. Having set up a set of imaginary guidelines there will always be people who will slip through the net. That is because of prejudice, which is a common human quality. Imagine a good scientist who reads a paper early on in his career which relies on computer simulations and he can see that it has some weaknesses. As a result of this experience he generalises. To save time, he stops reading all such papers. He fails to see the progress in the subject, becomes out of touch but does not realise it. Is such a scientist well qualified? This is of course a hypothetical example and I admit that I myself have a similar prejudice when it comes to economic models. But I would not expect anybody to pay much attention to what I have to say on that topic.

This process of generalisation also applies to the work of individuals. Although I am not a climatologist I have enough understanding to read the ‘very simple’ so called papers of the amateur mentioned in another thread. It involved some time, because of the deliberate mystification which it used to veil unjustified assumptions or inconsistencies. I have therefore decided not to plough through the detail of any more such papers. Perhaps one day this person will make a breakthrough and I will miss it? Generalising about a person involves a slight risk, but doing the same thing about a whole subject is only justifiable if you are prepared to keep quiet.

Comment by Geoff Wexler — 24 Jul 2008 @ 4:22 AM

248. Rod B #216: yes Rod, good summary. You’re getting there.

I think if LTE and the 4% exists there is still a quantum mechanical probability that a CO2 will spontaneously emit. Also, I think a N2/O2 collision with CO2 can transfer energy from translation to CO2’s vibration — not as likely if LTE exists, but a long ways from impossible or prohibited. I’m not 100% certain of these, however, so others ought to comment.

Those probabilities not only exist, but are substantial. E.g., the transfer between vibrational and translational energy has the same probability in either direction (but finding an N2 with the necessary high translational energy may be a bit harder depending on temperature, courtesy Maxwell-Bolzmann). Also the probability of emission by CO2 is related to that of absorption, but here, the Planck function is in-between because the reaction involves photons.

Without these relationships (which are based on time reversion symmetry) thermodynamics wouldn’t be what it is :-)

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 24 Jul 2008 @ 4:53 AM

249. Mr Clear Thinking

If you want to debate the science the critical thing is to understand what science is and how it works. The level or area of education is not nearly as important. Science is a process that investigates the physical world to learn about the physical world around us. The community of scientists has an established process to do this.

The most important aspects of this process:
Physical data is the basis for everything
Its very thorough and detail oriented
The standard of proof is high

If an idea goes through this process and withstands the harsh spotlight of the scientific community it meets the basic test for reliability. The essential part of this process is peer-reviewed scientific publication. If an idea does not go through this process there is no guarantee that it is based on physical facts. If an idea is not based on physical facts it is not science.

If someone wants to question the science they should do it with science. If people clearly think the implications of the science are inconvenient, they should make it clear that is what they are thinking. Anything else is an end-run around the processes that make science reliable. Trying to compare data, analysis and experimentation with op-eds, hand-waving and using quotes in a misleading way is dishonesty Mr Clear Thinking.

An analogy I have heard that applies is people can endlessly debate if a glass is half-full or half-empty, but scientists would never. Scientists would tell you that there is a 500ml container and in it is 250ml of liquid H2O with trace amounts of minerals and atmospheric gases mixed in. If that is good or bad is not a question scientists can answer.

Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 24 Jul 2008 @ 6:11 AM

250. Clear Thinker posts:

Do we really know every volcanic action that takes place on any given day?

Probably not, but we have good estimates for the total over a given period of time.

Do we really know how many fumeroles there are and at what rates are they all pumping out heat?

Do we take into account all the Nuke plants, or even mulch paper plants, and other industries around the world that are pumping heated water into the Oceans?

I assume we do. If you’re really interested in the answer, why not find some estimates and work out the magnitude of the effect yourself?

Do we know how fresh water runoff effects the Oceans temps?

I think it would be trivial, but feel free to prove me wrong by doing the calculation.

Do we know how rain effects the Oceans temps?

See above. If it helps, the amount of water vapor in the air at any given time is about 1.27 x 1016 kilograms. The mass of the oceans is about 1.39 x 1024 kilograms. What does the ratio tell you?

Do we know how much rain falls into the Oceans? Ditto for land?

Yes, good estimates for those figures have been available for a long time. If you can find a copy of the paper by Walker, Hays and Kasting (1981) on the silicate-carbonate feedback, it puts a lot of those figures together. It used to be available on the web for free but is now behind a paywall. But you may be able to find it at a university library somewhere.

I totally understand that the heat from the Sun and atmosphere are the largest contributors, but there are other sources of heat not accounted for.

All I was suggesting was, shouldn’t Chris have added more variables to his experiment?

If the relative magnitude of the other sources is small enough, they can be ignored without much changing the results.

Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 24 Jul 2008 @ 7:06 AM

251. The title of the Reuters story clearly states:

“Study links global warming to more smog

And includes this statement:

“U.S. environmental regulators quietly published a draft study on Thursday that linked global warming to higher levels of smog that could harm human health.”

This is the story Mr. Sheppard links to. It is the fault of the editor of Reuters for not using the word “Photochemical Smog” if this is what the EPA report states. The word usage of smog, as I have proven, can easily be defined in different ways, including the context in which Mr. Sheppard used the word.

Your claims of him equating the word Aerosols for Smog are unfounded. No where does he use these words interchangeably. At best he implied that Smog can be composed of Aerosols which fits under the definition of the word Smog as I have proven.

Your claims of him equating Aerosols to ‘Photochemical’ Smog are ridiculous. His usage was based on the unclear context of how the word Smog was used in the Reuters piece. Anyone reading his piece can clearly see he never used or implied ‘Photochemical’.

You may find semantics boring but misdefining an authors context (even if it was based on a poorly worded Reuters piece) is disingenous.

[Response: My point in the above piece was that Sheppard didn’t know what he was talking about, and yet saw fit to pontificate at great length on the perfidy of scientists. Your responses here underlines that in spades. I suggest that when Sheppard reads a word that he doesn’t understand in a press report, he look up the underlying study to see what they are talking about (has he even read the EPA report yet?). I think this is part of that new-fangled concept called ‘journalism’ (he might want to look that up too). – gavin]

[Response: One further point, how could you read even the part of the Reuters article he quoted and not know that it was talking about ozone? – please, your efforts to dig Sheppard out of a hole are getting embarrassing. – gavin]

Comment by Poptech — 24 Jul 2008 @ 8:53 AM

252. Guenter, Mark’s 223 answer is better than mine…

Comment by Rod B — 24 Jul 2008 @ 10:10 AM

253. Clear Thinker,
From a geothermal point of view the earth is cooling down. 700 million years ago the earths volcanism was far more active than now. In spite of that, changes in the atmosphere resulted in the snow ball earth. It was volcanic releases of CO2 that caused the thawing, not the direct heat.

In addition to clear thinking, a person should also observe clearly. That means observing objective reality without filtering it through your preconceptions and prejudices.

Here in rural Australia, among the farming community you will not find many people who dismiss Global Warming. It is absolutely in your face. I have noticed many denialists making out that global warming has slowed down these last 10 years. Rubbish! Check out: http://www.snowyhydro.com.au/snowDepth.asp?pageID=46&parentID=6&mode=submitted

Have you heard the expression regarding telling your grandmother to suck eggs? Your questions to Gavin Schmidt fall deep into that territory.

The credibility and honesty of the climate scientists as represented by the contributors to this site are rock solid.

I had a brief look at the newsbusters site. The level of arrogance and ignorance is at extreme levels. It is full of people who think that all the knowledge that they know, is all the knowledge that there is. In other words smartasses!

Comment by Lawrence McLean — 24 Jul 2008 @ 10:14 AM

254. Hank (228), no, I was making a simple comparison of the miniscle undersea and other heat sources that was asked about.

Comment by Rod B — 24 Jul 2008 @ 10:14 AM

255. Martin (248), thanks for the info. I had seen in an article that I was just skimming that the probability of translation to vibration transfer is less than the other way, not the same. It now occurs to me (and I’m asking for reaffirmation of your point) it might not have been referring to the mathematical thermodynamic probabilities, but to them looking different because of the lower population of higher translation energy molecules.

Comment by Rod B — 24 Jul 2008 @ 10:29 AM

256. Thanks Rod.

On the two articles being discussed in the first post, Gavin’s right to remind us to, well, read them first. It’s hard to be confused about the content after reading them even once, seems to me.

Y’all notice the title of the file at the bottom of the ‘Assessment’ draft page? “… Impacts on O3″

Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Jul 2008 @ 10:41 AM

257. Dear Poptech,

Dr. Schmidt has been incredibly patient with you, but it is quite clear to any reasonable reader who is confused and who is not. Please stop quibbling and putting up bogus “debater’s points.” Do you realize how bad you are making “your side” of the debate look?

Comment by Kevin McKinney — 24 Jul 2008 @ 11:33 AM

258. Poptech, The fact is that you were incontrovertibly WRONG in your assessment of the research. Now given that fact, the question is what is the slope of your learning curve. To contend that you were not wrong is simply indefensible. Sheppard made some ignorant assumptions and drew absurd conclusions–and then projected that absurdity to the climate science community. YOU accepted Sheppard’s conclusions carte blanche. To contend that it was not your fault that you were wrong is irresponsible and does not benefit you (learning slope zero). Rather perhaps you should look at why you were wrong–lack of background knowledge, blind acceptance of conclusions from unreliable sources, failure to check those conclusions via trusted sources (original research, independent experts, etc.). These all suggest ways you can avoid being wrong in the future. Finally, if you really want your learning curve to steepen, ask yourself whether these same failures might also lead you astray in other areas (e.g. climate science). Live and learn or just live–the choice is yours.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Jul 2008 @ 12:10 PM

259. Rod #255: precisely so.

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 24 Jul 2008 @ 12:29 PM

260. Martin, Mark, Rod and Ray,
Thanks for the discussion. I would like to keep on going because I learn from you and this is good.
I have still problems with the assumption used because of the following topics:
1. The quantum yield for infrared spectroscopy at atmospheric pressure is usually well below one and quantum yield is defined as number of emitted photons divided by number of absorbed photons. This is caused by deexcitation due to collisions. This in turn suggests that the relation between emission and absorption is also well below 1 and not 1 as Kirchhoff’s law suggests.
2. If you consider a model or system containing 3 subsystems that are in steady state condition, a solid body at 300 K, a slab of atmosphere on top with 295K and another slab of atmosphere on top with 290 K. The three subsystems are of course not in thermal or thermodynamic equilibrium, but at most only in local thermodynamic equilibrium. Therefore the principle of detailed balance is not strictly required.
3. The average translation energy of a molecule at 300K is about 5E-21 Joule. The vibrational energy of the CO2 bending mode at 15 µm is 1.3E-20 joule. Therefore the excitation of the vibrational mode of CO2 by collision with a nitrogen molecule in the ground state has at best a low probability.

Comment by Guenter Hess — 24 Jul 2008 @ 12:32 PM

261. > It is the fault of the editor of Reuters

And we are shocked, _shocked_ to find we can’t rely on what we read in the newspapers eh?

We all have to face this sometime in our lives, usually the first time we read in a newspaper about something we actually know first hand and realize:

“Wow, they got that wrong; gee, what about everything else I read? Maybe I better check for myself.”

Remember:
“.. fool me once, shame on — shame on you.
Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Jul 2008 @ 2:02 PM

262. Guenter Hess writes #260:

1. The quantum yield for infrared spectroscopy at atmospheric pressure is usually well below one and quantum yield is defined as number of emitted photons divided by number of absorbed photons. This is caused by deexcitation due to collisions. This in turn suggests that the relation between emission and absorption is also well below 1 and not 1 as Kirchhoff’s law suggests.

Don’t know IR spectroscopy at all… but don’t you use a laser? They have huge brightness temperatures, thousands of degs, way more than your sample. Then the absorbtivity relates to the laser brightness, and emissivity to the sample’s Planck brightness. Apples and oranges.

If it’s a pulsed laser (is it?) you don’t even have necessarily LTE.

2. If you consider a model or system containing 3 subsystems that are in steady state condition, a solid body at 300 K, a slab of atmosphere on top with 295K and another slab of atmosphere on top with 290 K. The three subsystems are of course not in thermal or thermodynamic equilibrium, but at most only in local thermodynamic equilibrium. Therefore the principle of detailed balance is not strictly required.

Hmmm.

3. The average translation energy of a molecule at 300K is about 5E-21 Joule. The vibrational energy of the CO2 bending mode at 15 µm is 1.3E-20 joule. Therefore the excitation of the vibrational mode of CO2 by collision with a nitrogen molecule in the ground state has at best a low probability.

Yes. Compute it as follows: the population is reduced by a factor

(2/3)*exp(13/5) = 0.049 (look familiar?),

where 13/5 is the energy level relative to mean energy kT for that temperature, 2 the vibrational, 3 the translational degs of freedom.

I may misremember the details though, physics class was long ago ;-)

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 24 Jul 2008 @ 2:05 PM

263. It’s funny how just as I was about to ask a question, someone provides an answer. I wish I could patent that ability.

When Mr. Schmidt gave me the following answer “Precip ~ 3mm/day globally w/ about -1 W/m2 surface energy flux” I immediately copied and put into the Google search bar. For the most part Google laughed at it, but I did learn from the experience. Thanks to Mr. Levenson in #250 my suspicions were confirmed. It’s not that I was looking for Mr. Schmidts answer in my search, I was looking for the info that backs up his answer. More precisely I was looking for how the measurements were collected so he could make his suggestion that about 3mm of precip / day over the entire surface of the earth. Lo and behold, I could not find them. My thanks goes to Mr. Levenson for admitting that these came from ‘estimates’.

I do not have a lifetime left to me in order to research every single detail that comes up in arguments between the science believers and science non-believers and I am not steeped in the mathematics involved that both sides are using. With this in mind, when I ask a question, could some understanding soul please send some Cliffs Notes to giovanni.faga@yahoo.com concerning the subject of discussion. I will continue to consider any and all answers here for education’s sake, but the Notes would be helpful.

Thanks to all.

[Response: Everything is an ‘estimate’, but global precipitation has been reasonably ‘estimated’ by satellites and stations blends for years. Google ‘CMAP’ or ‘GPCP’ instead. Their global totals are slightly on the low side since they don’t detect snow very well and come in at just under 3mm/day. Don’t think that just because *you* can’t google something it means it doesn’t exist. – gavin]

Comment by Clear Thinker — 24 Jul 2008 @ 2:06 PM

264. Mr. Clear, you can learn to search. (Note in “Questions The Smart Way” the advice about asking for help by email. I do recommend Eric Raymond’s advice.)

1) expand (spell out) the abbreviations
2) Google uses a minus sign to mean ‘ignore this’
3) use Scholar
4) note which words (hilighted) got hits

I worked out the above by:
pasting your exact quote into Scholar;
fiddling with the search string.
First tries got nothing, nothing, nothing.

Then it worked. Then I limited to ‘Recent’
searching:
Precipitation 3mm day globally surface energy flux

Here it is. You can improve on this from here:

If this isn’t making sense, your public library’s reference desk is a very good place to ask. Most of the really boring library work is offloaded to computers now and they can really go deep into helping people use the library, and are eager to. Try!

Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Jul 2008 @ 2:33 PM

265. Guenter:
“1. The quantum yield for infrared spectroscopy at atmospheric pressure is usually well below one and quantum yield is defined as number of emitted photons divided by number of absorbed photons. This is caused by deexcitation due to collisions. This in turn suggests that the relation between emission and absorption is also well below 1 and not 1 as Kirchhoff’s law suggests.”

When you apply kirchoff’s law, you apply it when it’s in equilibrium. And in a medium with a spread of energies, the figure cannot mean anything anyway: you can get 10 photons out for 1 photon in if the 10 are at 10% of the energy.

Rather like a laser, if your CO2 is in a higher excited state it will emit more than 1 photon per photon being absorbed (and remember, these are average figures: you get this because an excited CO2 molecule may give off IR radiation without absorbing photon first).

What you will get is a spectrum of output photons that doesn’t necessarily match the absorption lines your IR is being captured at. The total energy in and the total energy out are the same. The number of photons making it up isn’t 1:1.

(this is a little confused because the input window is kind of small and I’ve just finished dinner and the brain is being put on standby why the digestion system takes over).

Comment by Mark — 24 Jul 2008 @ 3:27 PM

266. PS Guenter, we don’t have a laser on the earth re-radiating. Your concentration on that is somewhat silly. The earth radiates a broad spectrum and the 15um wavelength isn’t a big part of the power losses of the warm earth.

Comment by Mark — 24 Jul 2008 @ 3:30 PM

267. Mark,
I just tried to find measurements or quantitative correlations about the relation between absorption coefficient and emission coefficient in the frequency region of the CO2 absorption lines at atmospheric pressure to test the assumption that both are equal.
And the notion about quantum yield for infrared emission spectroscopy is what I found in my spectroscopy book by Wolfgang Demtroeder. Infrared emission spectroscopy is also part of remote sensing in atmospheric sciences. I might miss something and it might be wrong , but I don’t think it is somewhat silly.

Comment by Guenter Hess — 24 Jul 2008 @ 3:53 PM

268. Mark,
I think I found in the literature (Radiative Transfer in the Atmosphere and Ocean by Thomas and stamens) an important difference that slipped past my attention. There is a difference between the relation of absorption and emission for surfaces and for volume emission.
1. For surfaces : absorptance equals emittance
2. For volume emission of planetary media: volume emittance is proportional to the absorption coefficient
So I think I am somewhat reconciled. Thanks for your input.

Comment by Guenter Hess — 24 Jul 2008 @ 4:51 PM

269. Wait a minute Mr. Schmidt, one of the first things I looked at was satellites. In fact, I found at one of the NASA sites that there are no satellites that at the present time can measure precip. And if I understood correctly, especially over Oceans. We seem to be almost 5 years from being able to use sats for these measurements.

[Response: Not so. http://precip.gsfc.nasa.gov/gpcp_v2_comb.html – gavin]

Are the stations you speak of all land based?

On the surface the comment about ‘everything is an estimate’ seems benign, but your other comment “but I don’t see you querying gravity, the heliocentric model, the big bang etc.” suggests that you consider these issue are absolutes and no longer beyond question. But you don’t hear science saying “we estimate them to be absolutes”. My point is, we still do not have all the, dare I say, ‘solid data’, to say that mankind is responsible for the cooling or the warming of the earth. And there are ten’s of thousands of scientists that agree.

Here’s a question I was asked one time… If earth as we know it is destroyed by mankind due to AGW and mankind as a species is eliminated, will the earth recover without us?

[Response: Sure – it took about 5 miilion years to recover the biodiversity lost after the KT impact. I imagine the Earth is still that resilient. Not quite sure who cares though. – gavin]

My thanks goes out to Mr. Roberts for honestly trying to help without disparaging remarks involved. FYI… I use scholar all the time and your suggestion is a good one. Starting there and drilling down usually works well. My comment about Google was mostly tongue in cheek.

Thank you for your continued patience.

Comment by Clear Thinker — 24 Jul 2008 @ 5:18 PM

270. Guenter (260), I make a stab and trust the others will keep me honest. Kirchoff’s Law says the absorptivity equals emissivity. It does not say that absorption (always) equals emission. It would only do that over time in a perfect LTE environment. For example the sun’s actual emitted energy far exceeds its absorbed energy.

I have the same head scratching over the translation to vibration transfer given the different energy levels. Though the difference would not make the transfer impossible, just “unlikely” But unlikely applied to 10^26 or so molecules, e.g., is still a pile of molecules.

Comment by Rod B — 24 Jul 2008 @ 6:30 PM

271. Clear Thinker: #269: No, climate change isn’t “perfectly” understood, and neither are gravity, the big bang, or any other scientific theory. But the point is not whether we understand it perfectly, but whether we understand it sufficiently well to begin to make policy based on the science.

And I think the answer to that is a resounding yes. Decisions are made under uncertainty all the time, in a multitude of cases where there is a lot more uncertainty than in AGW. But in this one specific area, the Sheppards of the world seem to require an absolute certainty before any action is taken.

And the vast majority of the scientific experts in the area are in general agreement that the understanding of climate change is sufficient such that policymakers can move ahead and do their thing. Yes, there are some dissenters, as there are in any field: heck, I remember this one scientist who would show up at chemistry and physics lectures at Caltech, and would walk up to the lecturer afterwards to ask them “and given that my recent research has showed that quantum theory is ungrounded, how would your interpretations of these results change?” The difference being that there isn’t a giant movement to take the occasional wacko PhD who disbelieves quantum and spread their every poorly researched thought piece across the internet…

Comment by Marcus — 24 Jul 2008 @ 6:50 PM

272. I am sorry Gavin my posts are to explain the context in which Mr. Sheppard used the words you accuses him of misusing based on simply reading his piece. You have failed to prove Mr. Sheppard does not understand the meaning of any words since the words you accuse him of not understanding do not appear in his piece ie: ‘Photochemical’. The context in which he used the word Smog fits in with the defined definition.

The Reuters piece used the word Smog twice in a general context, those are the facts. If the EPA piece spoke of only Photochemical Smog then Reuters should of never used the word smog in a general context. That Reuters later start talking about Ozone Smog does not change the fact that it is not clear the EPA piece is only speaking of Ozone smog from that news release.

Kevin, the only ones confused are Gavin and some of the commentators here. I have proven the what the definition of the word Smog means, and defended it’s context based on the general wording of the Reuters piece.

Ray, I was not wrong in any assessment of any research because I never assessed these pieces. The only failures I see is in Reuters poorly wording a news release. It seems that lying about what others say is a common with the commentators here. It is clear that the administration here has no problem allowing personal attacks on others but censors any defense of these accusations. My learning curve is fine, it is your reading comprehension which is not. In Gavin’s quest to attack all those who disagree with him he fabricated words and invented contexts which were not used by Mr. Sheppard and implied a direct ignorance on Mr. Sheppard of what ‘Photochemical’ means. These sort of allegations are childish and do not speak well of the supposed scientific community here. No where in Mr. Sheppard’s piece does he use or imply that the word Aerosols is the same as the word Smog or that he does not understand what Photochemical Smog is. That is the reality.

Defending against fabricated word usage hardly makes me or anyone look bad.

[Response: Now you are making things up. I have never insinuated that Sheppard didn’t know what photochemical means. I have merely pointed out that he doesn’t understand the differences between ozone and aerosols, or tropospheric and stratospheric ozone. And now you are blaming Reuters for you and Sheppard’s inability to read more than two lines in to an article…. You don’t appear to realise that this is no excuse at all. Try taking some responsibility here – you and Noel messed up because you didn’t read the slightly-smaller print. Next time, try doing some research. – gavin]

Comment by Poptech — 24 Jul 2008 @ 7:08 PM

273. Marcus (271) — Back then there wasn’t an internet for the wackops to use to disinform…

Comment by David B. Benson — 24 Jul 2008 @ 7:18 PM

274. Mr. Schmidt,
At many points in this thread there are recitations of what is known about AGW and CO2 forcings. In order to avoid belaboring issues that have been sufficiently discussed, could you please point out to me areas of your research into these issues where the understanding is not sufficiently complete in the climatological community. I’m interested in following the latest research, not re-hashes of settled issues. As you can imagine, it is hard for a layman to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Thank you.

[Response: There’s lots of stuff that people worry about – and there is some overlap with the what gets attention in the media. The difference is that most scientists realise that some new knowledge about aerosols or clouds or paleoclimate or ocean variability doesn’t automatically mean that global warming is a scam. Each of those fields have huge and relevant issues – how predictable are the statistics of ENSO, what is the impact of forcing on regional rainfall, can we ever get a handle on cloud-aerosol interactions etc. Personally, I’ve been focusing on how to bring paleo-climate studies into the orbit of the models so that we can use them to test models ‘out-of-sample’ – lots still to do there. – gavin]

Comment by Joel Black — 24 Jul 2008 @ 8:01 PM

275. Mr. Clear Thinker(#269), with all due respect, it has become apparent your civility is a ruse, has it not? Please refer back to comments #241 & #246 in referring to Dr. Schmidt. This is not site for political debate. It’s a scientific site to gain an understanding of and appreciation for the scientists who work to inform the world on Climatology. What have you learned in the brief time you’ve been here? Will you be able to help correct the inaccuracies in Noel Sheppard’s reporting? Why is Noel Sheppard personally unable to defend his position on this site? Quite possibly, his enlightenment could start here and progress to a better overall understanding and education of Climatology.

Comment by Tank Dobermann — 24 Jul 2008 @ 8:12 PM

276. Where did Mr. Sheppard state an improper usage of the word ozone? Did he give an inaccurate explanation of this somewhere in his piece that I missed? Yet you continue to fabricate this.

How come you keep fabricating that I messed up? How did I mess up? I made no correlation between ozone and aerosols and neither did Mr. Sheppard. Why are you being dishonest?

Mr. Sheppard admits he did not link to the EPA report and only the Reuters article. That is a separate issue and not what I am addressing. So instead of merely pointing this out you state fabrications about his understanding of ozone and photochemical smog and fabricate things he never said. Based on the Reuter article’s general usage of the word smog allows for what Mr. Sheppard said and based on the widely defined word Smog it allows for his usage. Your argument stops at the actual EPA report says… since Mr. Sheppard never linked to this. That is the reality whether you want to admit it or not.

I take responsibility for what I actually said and meant (I am sure Mr. Sheppard does the same) not for what you fabricated was said.

[Response: Now you are getting hysterical. Why not just admit that Sheppard got it all wrong? – gavin]

Comment by Poptech — 24 Jul 2008 @ 9:00 PM

277. “Hank Roberts Says:
20 July 2008 at 9:08 PM
Mr. Clear, try the link at the top of the page, “Start Here” — and also try the first link under Science in the sidebar. You’ll find most of the frequently asked questions are answered there, including the one asked by Mr. Sheppard. It’s an intermediate-type question, that will be understood after reading some of the basic ‘Start Here’ FAQ answers.
Most of us here are like me ordinary readers; we try to point new readers to the basics to avoid retyping the answers where they’re digressions.”

I have no dog in this show and the hubris shown on both sides or the argument is to say the least entertaining, but if you’re going to send people to read a start here or FAQ, someone should at least update the information (some links don’t work anymore and some are just not accurate anymore) provided so that a “laymen” can actually learn something rather than be force fed the AGW propaganda. I’m sorry but when you go to a link that has the Sierra Clubs’ 10 Ten Things You Can Do To Stop Global Warming and the Pew Centers’ Top 10 Things You Can Do To Fight Global Warming, the site looks less and less like the bastion of pure science that it purports.

[Response: I checked all the links on the sidebar and on the Start Here page and all seem to be fine. The Sierra Club is not listed. The Pew Center is, but that is because they do a good job. If I missed something, please let me know. – gavin]

Now I’ve been a lurker and I just haven’t had the necessary energy to read everything and respond but after stumbling along this discussion (and delving into your start here link) I figured it was about time to bite.

FAQ 1.1, Figure 1. Estimate of the Earth’s annual and global mean energy balance.
http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Print_FAQs.pdf

The picture was taken from the following paper should anyone like to read it.

So my questions are:

Is the Solar Radiation actually a constant? As far as I know, all climate models assume it to be so. Now what if it isn’t? How much change is required to change the models output? Can the change reflect the noticed warming of the last century, if not why not?

[Response: No. Incorrect. Quite a lot. No. Not large enough and too flat over the last 50 years. – gavin]

Is the narrowband Malkmus model which was used to represent the longwave radiation transfer still correct? Is the model applicable to non-homogenous gases?

[Response: Some answers here and references therein. -gavin]

Comment by Jerry S — 24 Jul 2008 @ 9:09 PM

278. Certain posters have arrived recently, apparently with the goal of stirring up trouble. The result of their efforts is probably best characterized by Gavin’s last line in the “Once more unto the bray” post: The obvious ineptitude of this contribution underlines quite effectively how little debate there is on the fundamentals if this is the best counter-argument that can be offered.

Comment by tamino — 24 Jul 2008 @ 9:45 PM

279. Mr. Dobermann,

Have I not been civil?

Have I debated politics?

Is this site strictly for scientists?

Have I been defending Mr. Sheppard?

Sir, you seem to have me confused with someone else.

Comment by Clear Thinker — 24 Jul 2008 @ 10:08 PM

280. Poptech: I think the point is that anyone with even a mediocre understanding of the science of climate change would know that a) tropospheric ozone is a pollutant and a GHG, and b) sulfate aerosols are a pollutant and a cooling influence. Once one understands those two facts, then no confusion arises from one study noting warming caused by aerosol reductions, and another study showing increased ozone from global warming.

Now, Mr. Sheppard is presenting himself publicly as someone who has an understanding of climate change sufficient to determine that the majority of the experts in the field are wrong. However, his post seems to indicate confusion about how the two are related. Now either this demonstrates that Mr. Sheppard does not understand basic elements of climate science (and therefore should perhaps wait until he reads and understands more basic textbooks before making public posts about the subject), or it indicates that Mr. Sheppard is trying to deliberately obfuscate the issue in order to confuse his readers who very well might not have (and should not necessarily be expected to have) a reasonable understanding of climate science.

And while the Reuters piece does not use the word “photochemical” it does use the term “ozone smog” and “ozone” over and over again. Which should make things pretty clear to both you and Mr. Sheppard, but apparently it does not.

Comment by Marcus — 24 Jul 2008 @ 10:41 PM

+realclimate +”Sierra Club” “Ten Things You Can Do To Stop Global Warming” – did not match any documents.

I’d guess you clicked out of RC’s page, your focus moved into other sites, and you found links there that didn’t work or led to the Sierra Club. That happens.

Er, Tank? Eschew. See Gavin’s responses earlier, he’s keeping an admirably high standard of patience in moderation here.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Jul 2008 @ 10:49 PM

282. > honestly trying to help without disparaging remarks

Like the man said: “[… stick around here and see how discussions can actually evolve without people resorting to ad homs. – gavin]”

Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Jul 2008 @ 11:29 PM

283. Poptech,

I asked you nicely to give it a rest–“please” not once but twice.

You ask, “where did you mess up?” and claim to have proven something about the definition of smog. I am going to offer a few small instances of “mess ups,” including your masterpiece on the definition of smog, in one last burst of optimism that you do indeed have a nonzero learning curve. After that, I intend to skip every post you write because they are not teaching me anything and have become quite tedious.

GS: “Smog, as all the definitions state, is an amorphous mix…”

You: Actually all the definitions do not state this…

Definitions follow; asterisks give my emphasis:

Smog – “a *mixture* of fog and smoke or other airborne pollutants such as exhaust fumes” (Encarta)

Smog – “fog or haze intensified by smoke or other atmospheric pollutants.” – Compact Oxford English Dictionary
(I.e., fog or haze *mixed* with pollutants.)

Smog – “air pollution, especially in cities, that is caused by a *mixture* of smoke, gases and chemicals” – Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary

Smog – “a haze caused by the effect of sunlight on foggy air that has been polluted by vehicle exhaust gases and industrial smoke” – Wordsmyth
(Again, fog *mixed* with pollutants.)

Smog – “*Mixture* of particulate matter and chemical pollutants in the lower atmosphere, usually over urban areas.” – American Geography Glossary

Smog – “Originally smog meant a *mixture* of smoke and fog. Now, it means air that has restricted visibility due to pollution.” – NOAA.

(So, *every* definition does indeed include the idea of mixture, either implicitly or explicitly. As for “amorphous”, that word is defined as “lacking a definite shape or structure,” which accords well with all of the definitional scenarios above. Why do you think, then, that the definitions differ substantially from the “amorphous mixture” description given? My guess is that it is because you are too busy debating to actually try to understand–but that’s only my guess, of course.)

You: You are correct your post is confusing because it states that Aerosols are not smog but are a pollutant, yet the definition of the word smog allows for it to be defined as composed of Aerosols
(Stop, this sentence has already outrun its own punctuation.)

and you then change your mind and claim it is not really pollution.
(To what does “it” refer? Gavin’s mind? Smog? The definition of the word smog? I can’t really argue with this sentence because it is so badly written that its meaning is quite unclear.)

This sort of inaccurate information coupled with links to an unreliable source such as Wikipedia makes one question the scientific integrity of this site.
(Hey, at least the Wiki people can write sentences that make sense, and can even understand dictionary definitions.)

Someone reading you post would come to believe that smog cannot be composed of Aerosols which is not true.
(Actually, they wouldn’t–or at least i didn’t and I don’t see why anyone else would, either. The GS post was clear, unlike your efforts.)

And, by the way, I note you never did answer Gavin’s challenge directly.

Comment by Kevin McKinney — 24 Jul 2008 @ 11:32 PM

284. > Based on the Reuter article’s general usage …
> based on the widely defined word …

See, there’s the mistake. Newspapers aren’t always reliably correct in the details. You have to learn to check for yourself what they claim to be telling you about. On any subject you know, you realize this immediately. When it’s a subject you don’t know, you can get fooled.

Remember: “fool me once, shame on me …. don’t be fooled again.”

Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Jul 2008 @ 12:28 AM

285. Gavin,

I’ve said for months on this site that optical brightening is the cause of a significant amount of warming since the 1980’s. Of course, the proposal was attacked to no end by your regular contributors. I thought this was clear from looking at the divergence of NH and SH anomalies (since the 1980’s) in the satellite-based dataset (note that 80% of sulfates are generated in the NH). Again, my conclusion seemed pretty logical to me, but apparently most of your readers couldn’t grasp it for one reason or another. I’m glad there is a paper that backs up my hypothesis.

Also, I thought I told you to take care of yourself (i.e., global temps are likely heading down for the next 10-20 years, thus expect stronger attacks from deniers). Having hissyfits (even if warranted) is not going to do your health any favors. It’s going to be a long 20 years of cooling, so pace yourself.

Comment by Chris N — 25 Jul 2008 @ 12:39 AM

286. #267/268

Guenter, you’re welcome. The “silly” comment was the concentration on a specific wavelength as the be-all and end-all of absorption in the atmosphere. It makes thinking about things easier, but it’s only the start of knowing.

Comment by Mark — 25 Jul 2008 @ 3:05 AM

287. Poptech..

Seems to me you have two choices if you decide to press on.

1) Admit Mr. Sheppards article is inaccurate (we screwed up sorry will endeavor to do own homework next time).

or..

2) Continue to stick by your guns and insist that that the article’s authors knew precisely what they were talking about.

To my mind, choosing 2 directly implies that the authors were deliberately writing a misleading inaccurate article.

So….It seems to me, that the authors need to admit to either having screwed up or to being liars.

Comment by David Donovan — 25 Jul 2008 @ 4:02 AM

288. Poptech, #272, Whatever, dude. Learning slope=0.0 with high precision.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Jul 2008 @ 5:47 AM

289. Chris N, your prediction that scattering from sulphates will dominate global climate is being tested in the Sulphur Cycle Experiment. Why don’t you install the BOINC client and use your spare computer cycles to help support your case.

Comment by Jim Galasyn — 25 Jul 2008 @ 10:16 AM

290. Tempted to wale away at unresponsive irritations? Eschew.

‘I’m gwine ter larn you how ter talk ter ‘spectubble folks ef hit’s de las’ ack,’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. ….
Tar-Baby stay still, en Brer Fox, he lay low.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Jul 2008 @ 1:41 PM

291. I actually don’t really have an issue with this blog post other than your claim that atmospheric chemistry is “complex”. I assure you, atmospheric chemistry is by no means “complex” as compared to issues that a chemical engineers must deal with. Try refracting sour crude, then we will talk.

And honestly, as this was first time at the blog, I am impressed with the overall level of knowledge of chemistry. Granted, none of you are chemists or chem. engineers, but you have the basics correct.

[Response: I can’t speak for other chemical systems, but I would point out that the number of possible reaction paths for the formation, say, of secondary organic aerosols from pinenes and turpenes are enormous and, I think I’m correct in saying, most have not be measured in the lab. My (limited) experience of chemistry/aerosol interactions (surface oxidation, mixing states, hydrolysis, deliquesence, accretion, growth etc.) have left me in no doubt that this is complex. But maybe it’s all relative. – gavin]

Comment by Malcolm Kass — 25 Jul 2008 @ 5:59 PM

292. Chris N,

Sir, could you point me to the following quote you referenced on post #285… “(i.e., global temps are likely heading down for the next 10-20 years, thus expect stronger attacks from deniers).”

You don’t hear this much so I’m interested in it.

Thank you.

Comment by Clear Thinker — 26 Jul 2008 @ 12:03 AM

293. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/tropical-troposphere-trends/#comment-85774

Clear, you can find Chris N at that other site; Google may be your friend.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Jul 2008 @ 5:35 AM

294. Classic “Clear Thinker” …

You don’t hear this much so I’m interested in it.

The claim’s not made by a climate science researcher so Clear Thinker *immediately* jumps to the conclusion that there must be something in it …

Comment by dhogaza — 26 Jul 2008 @ 8:57 AM

295. Kevin,

I said ‘state’ as in explicit not implicit. This is the luxury of choosing my own definitions for my words since I wrote them.

Anyone reading this conversation can clearly see the conflict with Gavin labeling aerosols pollution and then not really.

Was your comment about the writers of Wikipedia being able to write a correct sentence and define words properly supposed to make me spit my drink onto my desk? If not then your naive understanding of Wikipedia is impressive.

So please tell me why Gavin stated “Aerosols are not Smog” if not to imply that someone confused these words? He might as well have said any other comparison like “Al Gore is not a Prophet”.

I have clearly explained the context of the words used by Mr. Sheppards. He has already explained the satrical nature of it, yet I feel no one here understands sarcasm. I am not surprised.

[Response: Now NewsBusters is sarcasm? Which is supposed to justify any manner of nonsensical statements? Ah…. Sheppard did confuse smog (in this case very clearly referring to ozone) with aerosols, but he was just trying to be funny? Funny peculiar maybe, funny ha-ha? Not so much. – gavin]

Comment by Poptech — 26 Jul 2008 @ 10:13 AM

296. Contemporary:

http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/ngeo262.html
20 July 2008 | doi:10.1038/ngeo262

Increase in hourly precipitation extremes beyond expectations from temperature changes
Geert Lenderink & Erik van Meijgaard
_________________
Paleo:

Geology, March 2007; v. 35; no. 3; p. 215–218; doi: 10.1130/G23261A.1; 3 figures; Data Repository item 2007048

Abrupt increase in seasonal extreme precipitation at the
Paleocene-Eocene boundary
_________________
Coincidence?

Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Jul 2008 @ 10:51 AM

297. I get it now, NewsBusters is a parody site! Soon we’ll see Stephen Colbert explaining why global warming is mass hysteria propagated by bears

Comment by Jim Galasyn — 26 Jul 2008 @ 11:53 AM

298. > I said ’state’ as in explicit not implicit. This is the luxury of
> choosing my own definitions for my words since I wrote them.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

LEWIS CARROLL (Charles L. Dodgson), Through the Looking-Glass, chapter 6, p. 205 (1934). http://www.bartleby.com/73/2019.html

[Response: I do like that quote. – gavin]

Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Jul 2008 @ 1:09 PM

299. Clear Thinker (292) — Chris N just MSU (Makes Stuff Up).

Comment by David B. Benson — 26 Jul 2008 @ 2:41 PM

300. Gavin, no NewsBusters can be very sarcastic but not always. In this case Mr. Sheppard was making a joke about clean air and smog both “causing” global warming. Anyone who understands sarcasm would see the humor in this. It helps to have a sense of humor.

Hank, yes multiple definitions exist for words. I take it they do not teach this in Europe?

Oh and David, Mr. Sheppard knew exactly what he was being sarcastic about despite what invented contexts are presented here.

Comment by Populartech — 26 Jul 2008 @ 6:54 PM

301. > knew exactly
Sock puppet, mind reader, or humorist? Yawn. Don’t care.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Jul 2008 @ 7:30 PM

302. Hank, sorry to ruin your fantasies but I am no socket puppet. Though I will take any checks \big oil\ wants to send me.

Comment by Poptech — 26 Jul 2008 @ 11:05 PM

303. Re 300:
Granted, as a kid I recall proclaiming — after repeatedly shooting myself in the foot — that it was all really just a joke, but even then I knew enough to let it go. Why am I reminded of Good Morning, Vietnam?:

“Lieutenant, you don’t know if you’re shot, screwed, powder-burnt or snake-bit”.

Comment by spilgard — 27 Jul 2008 @ 12:20 AM

304. We seem to be enduring a period of what Roy Schwitters referred to as “The Revenge of the C Students,” though in some cases on here, that would amount to grade inflation. While the annoyances are obvious, there is also an upside. Occasionally, one of the more intelligent denizens of the giggle factories like Newsbusters will respond to the call to come over to “show them scientists a thing er two,” and notice that what we have here is a congenial atmosphere for learning and exchange of ideas, and where warming is not attributed to some evil UN heat ray. notice that it never happens the other way. What I saw of Newsbusters on a short perusal was more than sufficient for a lifetime.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Jul 2008 @ 6:41 AM

305. Poptech (300),

Sarcasm and seriousness are not mutually exclusive. Obviously there is also sarcasm here. The difference in this regard IMHO in the 2 sites is that RC does not bait serious folk and then revel with remarks like “this is delicious” when they respond.

We don’t expect you to defend NB. Come here if you have questions about the science of climate change. Go there if you want to make jokes about it – but don’t be surprised when someone calls you on them.

Why don’t we go over there? You might ask: Because it is obviously not a place for a serious discussion about climate change. The funny (peculiar) thing is that so many folks seem to think that it is…

Comment by Arch Stanton — 27 Jul 2008 @ 10:14 AM

306. Yup. Enthuse, but with focus.
http://www.amazon.com/review/R1FPCOU91OQ0BV

Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Jul 2008 @ 12:05 PM

307. Why don’t we go over to NB?

Okay, I finally visited NB. Searched on “RealClimate” to find the comments for the Gavin hit-piece. Clear Thinker appends the following link to each of his posts:

Communist Goals for American Takeover, apparently from the 1963 Congressional Record.

How fun is that? I wonder why he doesn’t append this to his RC posts?

Comment by Jim Galasyn — 27 Jul 2008 @ 12:30 PM

308. How fun is that? I wonder why he doesn’t append this to his RC posts?

The Communist Goals for taking over the United States probably involved a fair amount of science denialism, given Stalin’s history in the USSR …

Comment by dhogaza — 27 Jul 2008 @ 1:45 PM

309. Jim, I toooold yooouuu! Not for the faint of heart.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Jul 2008 @ 2:21 PM

310. #286 Mark,
Don’t worry I enjoy the energizing discussion.
I agree that this might be only a simple model. I concentrated on one line for clarity, but the principle should work for each wavelength.
Line by Line techniques to my understanding compute one wavenumber at a time and sum over all lines throughout the spectrum to calculate the absorption coefficient. The model takes the line strength and line width from databases like HITRAN and use Voigt or Lorentz-profiles as beam shapes. You would do the same thing in infrared spectroscopy. Usually the line profiles are adjusted to agree better with laboratory measurements.
Therefore using infrared spectroscopy as analogy seemed to me at least on equal footing with the single layer model that is used in my textbook about global warming to calculate the greenhouse effect of 33°C.
Of course modern computers might enable more sophisticated techniques to calculate absorption and emission throughout the simulation. But also to my experience in spectroscopy, if you have broad bands with overlapping lines, the gain from sophisticated calculations or fancy line profiles is limited.

Comment by Guenter Hess — 27 Jul 2008 @ 4:30 PM

311. Now you sound like you’re wanting to continue the digression. Sure?

I swear there’s an oracle in there somewhere.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Jul 2008 @ 4:30 PM

312. Re 307:
I suspect it’s something required by the NB site to establish street credibility, similar to fantasy RPG sites where it’s obligatory that your sig line include a banner featuring a dragon or a buxom elven-lass. If RealClimate ever adds a sig-line feature, I’d like to display Maxwell’s equations but I’m torn between the mathematically-tractable differential form and the integral form which more clearly illustrates physical meaning.

Comment by spilgard — 27 Jul 2008 @ 5:09 PM

313. Mr. Galasyn,

Every site that I post to has the very same sig line, so what? I do not include it here because I understood that this thread was not about politics, so out of respect I did not include. Something wrong with that?

And that leads me to another question…. what’s wrong with what I link too? It’s important, so why not?

I totally, and absolutely do not understand your consternation with my link. In fact, most people would be concerned about what’s in the link and the lessons to be learned by it.

Comment by Clear Thinker — 27 Jul 2008 @ 6:13 PM

314. Great words from Peter Huber.

“So does the climate computer have a real audience, or is it really just another bag lady muttering away to herself in a lonely corner of the intellectual park? That the computer is heard in Hollywood, Stockholm, Brussels and even some parts of Washington is quite beside the point–they have far less global power and influence than they vainly imagine. Vinod Dar is right: “Contingency planning should entail strategic responses to a warming globe, a cooling globe and a globe whose climate reverberates with laughter at human hubris.”

Comment by Ray — 27 Jul 2008 @ 6:26 PM

315. Poptech..

I read the article myself…The context seemed very clear to me. Also,r,call me humorless but I am afraid I missed the “intended” sarcastic bent of Mr. Sheppards writing. As a matter of fact I find it downright knee slapping hilarious that you seem to be defending the piece now as a work of sarcasm !

Comment by David Donovan — 27 Jul 2008 @ 6:52 PM

316. Hmmmm. Sometimes it’s hard to know who’s who without an IP lookup.

http://blog.matthewmiller.net/2007/09/revisiting-firefox-myths-part-2-tangent.html?showComment=1190271180000#c4130730304092334427

Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Jul 2008 @ 7:17 PM

317. Clear Thinker: Purity of Essence, baby.

Comment by Jim Galasyn — 27 Jul 2008 @ 10:43 PM

318. Every site that I post to has the very same sig line, so what? I do not include it here…

Weird. It’s included in every site that you post to, except for the the site that’s not included in every site that you post to?

In fact, most people would be concerned about what’s in the link and the lessons to be learned by it.

I doubt that we’re thinking of the same thing, but I’m inclined to agree with you.

Comment by spilgard — 27 Jul 2008 @ 11:36 PM

319. Inhabitants of the denialsphere like clearthinker and poptech have no interest in learning about climate science. They are trying to attack legitimate climate scientists like Dr. Schmidt using rhetorical tricks. They have not presented a single scientific idea that refutes or even brings AGW into question. Dr. Schmidt has been dishonestly smeared by both them and Noel Sheppard on NB, using smear tactics, innuendo, and unsupported claims. Sheppard is a climate hack, who states that he has written many climate science articles but doesn’t come to Realclimate with all his knowledge. It’s pretty obvious that any real contrarian science ideas could simply be presented here for critique. Sheppard’s real purpose is to slander legitimate climate scientists, calling them “alarmists.” He has implied that Dr Schmidt may have been dishonest with some climate science data, a really disgusting and despicable tactic. He Never brings his claims to realclimate.

Comment by David Klar — 28 Jul 2008 @ 12:11 AM

320. Guenter, # 310. Two things.

1) Most of the energy is NOT at 15um. So why do you keep on about it?

2) kinetic energy you posted was 2.5 times lower than the 15um energy but you’ve forgotten that the velocity is an average, so some are going faster and that there are TWO CO2 molecules involved, so the energy is doubled. Getting pretty close to allowing motion to excite the absorbtion band, isn’t it. Now add on that it isn’t a 1um wide band….

If you want to keep with the spectroscopy, do the integral over the entire emission spectrum.

Comment by Mark — 28 Jul 2008 @ 2:54 AM

321. Phew. Just finished reading the comments, which are at least as enlightening as the article. Thanks to all who contributed science to the discussion.

Clear Thinker, your forced politeness appears disingenuous. If someone signs with their first name, they do so for a reason. Use it.

If you really have some notion that formal salutation is required, use the correct one, which for Gavin is ‘Doctor’, not ‘Mister’ – as has already been pointed out to you. 

[Response: Just to make it clear, I perfectly happy with ‘Gavin’ and use of ‘Dr’ (and certainly ‘Mr’) is discouraged. – gavin]

Comment by DavidONE — 28 Jul 2008 @ 11:33 AM

322. I thought the part about discrediting the american founding fathers was particularly disturbing, and it seems that those damned Reds have their tentacles wrapped all around the internet, too….

“As the first of every thing, in our situation will serve to establish a Precedent,” he wrote James Madison, “it is devoutly wished on my part, that these precedents may be fixed on true principles.”

….

He pursued two intertwined interests: military arts and western expansion.

Comment by a.c. — 28 Jul 2008 @ 1:06 PM

323. Mark (320), I initially raised my eyebrows at your description, but maybe…. See if I pass the test (assuming I understand the question :-) ). Two molecules (only one need be CO2…???) are tooling around at just a bit over the gases’ kinetic energy rms average — 1.25 times, in the example. These two molecules collide head on, both come to a complete halt with now zero kinetic energy, and must transfer the 2.5 times the average energy — exactly what the CO2’s vibration accepts. The N2 (say) transfers its 1.25E to CO2 vibration while simultaneously CO2 is transferring its own kinetic energy (again at 1.25E) to its own vibration. Is this how vibration of a molecule, whose vibrationally excited energy level is much greater than the average kinetic energy of any molecule in the neighborhood, gets excited via collision (versus absorption)? Does this “tendency” differ with different collider molecules (N2, O2, CO2, etc.)? I assume the 1.25 times is the minimum; anything above that would also work though the colliding molecules would retain some kinetic energy. Correct?

Is the probability or incidence of such a collision then reduced by somehow adjusting the mean free path based on the population of the molecules at 1.25 times or greater the average rms kinetic energy of the gas ala Boltzmann’s distribution (or something similar)?

Comment by Rod B — 28 Jul 2008 @ 4:42 PM

324. Mark, #320
I keep on going with spectroscopy, because I want to understand the question I posed. But you can choose not to answer.
The question is:
If I integrate the infrared emission spectrum from CO2 in air at atmospheric pressure and divide it by the integrated absorption spectrum I get a number well below 1 (the quantum yield at atmospheric pressure is well below one across the whole range), whereas in radiative transfer models the number is usually set to 1 via the assumption of Kirchhoff’s law.
This means that most likely as you pointed out the emission spectrum does not represent the emitted energy in the atmosphere. However, I did not understand so far and want to know why. Neither did the answers I got so far convince me.
Moreover, if the emission spectrum is not representative, why can the absorption spectra be used to “tune” the radiative transfer models.

Comment by Guenter Hess — 28 Jul 2008 @ 4:49 PM

325. Rod B., Careful with language. The phrase: “…whose vibrationally excited energy level is much greater than the average kinetic energy of any molecule in the neighborhood…” doesn’t make sense. Individual molecules do not have an average energy. However, essentially, you are correct–roughly 4% of molecules have enough energy to excite the vibrational band.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Jul 2008 @ 7:12 PM

326. Guenter, are you having problems because you’re using “atmospheric pressure” numbers? Have you gone through the published work, and Weart’s history of how this point has been reached?

Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Jul 2008 @ 7:15 PM

327. Re #324

Guenter, you can consider a CO2 molecule as being surrounded by a ‘bath’ of N2 and O2 molecules which are continually colliding with each other and exchanging energy, the kinetic energy distribution of these molecules will be a Boltzmann distribution. The Boltzmann distribution at room temperature will have about 5% that have an energy greater than the first vibrational energy level of CO2.

Regarding the quantum yield you would expect it to be considerably less than 1 because most of the molecules activated by the IR will be collisionally deactivated by the surrounding molecules (average collision time less than 1 nanosec whereas emission time of the order of millisec).

Comment by Phil. Felton — 28 Jul 2008 @ 8:56 PM

328. Guenter Hess wrote in 324:

If I integrate the infrared emission spectrum from CO2 in air at atmospheric pressure and divide it by the integrated absorption spectrum I get a number well below 1 (the quantum yield at atmospheric pressure is well below one across the whole range), whereas in radiative transfer models the number is usually set to 1 via the assumption of Kirchhoff’s law.

With the integration you are speaking of, it sounds like you are interpretting Kirchoff’s law as stating that the total emission is equal to the total absorption. But it isn’t stating this. Kirchoff’s law is expressed in terms of emissivity and absorptivity, which under both thermodynamic equilibrium and local thermodynamic equilibrium conditions are equal. And the emissivity of a body is determined by comparison of its material with a black body at the same temperature.

The emissivity of a material (usually written η) is the ratio of energy radiated by a particular material to energy radiated by a black body at the same temperature. It is a measure of a material’s ability to radiate absorbed energy. A true black body would have an η = 1 while any real object would have η < 1. Emissivity is a dimensionless quantity (does not have units).

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

Now here is a technical derivation of Kirchoff’s law demonstrating that spectral emissivity (emissivity at a given wavelength) and spectral absorptivity are equal under thermodynamic equilibrium conditions — that is then generalized to local thermodynamic equilibrium conditions:

… and as noted in the above text:

…most of the Earth’s atmosphere is in LTE . It has a well-defined gas temperature T~300 K) measureable with an ordinary thermometer, but it is in a nonequilibrium radiation field (T~5800 K sunlight during the day, the cold dark sky at night, plus anisotropic emission from the ground) distinctly different from a black body at the gas temperature.

*

But where exactly does Kirchoff’s law break down?

Basically where the atmospheric pressure drops below 20 mb. We are at approximately 1000 mb at sea level. At 20 mb, collisions are too infrequent, and for example, different quantized states of molecular excitation (bending, rotating, vibrating and rovibrational states) will begin to assume different brightness temperatures, and in the extreme, stimulated emission may occur. And at that point you need to drag out your Einstein coefficients. But above 20 mb, molecules undergo roughly a million or more collisions over the half-life of any of the relevant states of molecular excitation.

Oh, and incidentally, the general circulation models are taking into account non-local thermodynamic equilibria where Kirchoff’s law no longer applies. There is still a fair amount of work to be done with aerosols and ocean circulation, but radiation? Not so much.

Comment by Timothy Chase — 28 Jul 2008 @ 9:32 PM

329. Re:#327 Phil. Felton
Yes, you are right, that is why I thought that most of the energy that is absorbed by a slab of atmosphere (that is under LTE) is transferred to the next layer via collisions. This should be valid up to about 75 km.
But
#328 Timothy Chase and Mark #320: thanks for the discussion and the interesting references
have stated that under LTE conditions the spectral emissivity and spectral absorptivity are equal.
This means that most of the energy is transferred to the next layer by radiation.
I seem to be alone with my headaches and have of course to reconsider.

Comment by Guenter Hess — 28 Jul 2008 @ 11:37 PM

330. PS to 328

The eta η should have been an epsilon ε… Should have previewed.

Comment by Timothy Chase — 29 Jul 2008 @ 12:22 AM

331. Rod B, #323, why do they have to collide with EXACTLY the right velocity? If they hit, they can transfer more energy, if one is in an excited state then it can be an inelastic collision, they can connect with enough energy to move the excitation UP another level, they can collide with no change.

Also note: a 5% chance is a virtual certainty when attempted millions of times.

Tim in #328 has given a lot better response than I have, even including links. I notice neither you nor Guenter have provided links to what make you think these are important and unmodelled (and also, incorrectly parameterised, else not modelling doesn’t change the result if your parameterisations are good).

Comment by Mark — 29 Jul 2008 @ 2:53 AM

332. “However, global mean surface temperature has not risen since 1998 and may have fallen since late 2001.”

This statement at the very begining of the paper would tend to cast doubt on the credibility.

Comment by Adam — 29 Jul 2008 @ 11:06 AM

333. Mark (#331),
Mark, I actually agree that Timothy has given an excellent comprehension with links about how radiative transfer is modeled and parameterized. I do not question that this is done correctly.
My source for this is the book “Radiative transfer in the atmosphere and the ocean” by Gary E. Thomas and Knut Stammnes. They state:”Radiative emittance is governed by Kirchhoff’s law, according to which the directional emittance equals the directional absorbance in the case of surfaces; and in the case of extended media the emission coefficient is proportional to the absorption coefficient.” I might have confused emissivity and emittance in my texts, but I do not question this either.
However, Phil. Felton (#327) has described the situation I was referring to in his contribution #327. And that is also my headache. Following the assumptions and derivations of Thomas and Stamnes the radiative transfer models imply that the main part of the absorbed energy is transferred on by radiation respectively via emission.
However, my spectroscopy book by Wolfgang Demtroeder clearly states that the quantum yield for infrared emission at atmospheric pressure (the condition described by Phil. Felton) is very low, meaning that the main part of the absorbed energy is transferred to translational modes of nitrogen or oxygen molecules. Of course there is a finite probability to transfer the energy back to CO2. But all in all this argument implies that the energy transfer is also dominated by collisions and not by radiation. I just can’t bring the two things together. I feel that I miss an argument beyond the simple statement that the spectroscopy case cannot be applied. That was my small plight, find the missing argument that radiation is the main energy transfer mode compared to collisions.

Comment by Guenter Hess — 29 Jul 2008 @ 4:16 PM

334. Guenter,
You have to consider several things here. First, the excited vibrational state of the CO2 molecule involved is very long-lived. Second, the pressure assures that the cross section for collisional relaxation is not negligible. Third, the gas is not really in equilibrium with the photon field of the IR radiation around it. What you have here is a competing set of reactions–CO2 + photon–>CO2* and CO2*+N2–>CO2 +N2(fast). Because there are many more photons than would be the case for the gas at equilibrium, you have more excited CO2 molecules (CO2*). Because you have a high density of N2, you favor relaxation via collision. Or have I misunderstood your predicament.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Jul 2008 @ 4:48 PM

335. > at atmospheric pressure

Seriously, I think this may well be your problem.

Only sea level is at “atmospheric pressure” (one standard atmosphere). Everything higher is at lower pressure.

Have you read Spencer Weart’s history yet?

Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Jul 2008 @ 4:51 PM

336. Re #333
Guenter your problem is that you are confusing ‘emittance’ and ‘absorbance’ (which are both coefficients and have a value between 0 and 1) and the total emission and absorption.
Consider a perfect black body ( emittance = absorbance = 1) in a vacuum with constant radiation incident on it, it will achieve a temperature at which emission = absorption. Replace the vacuum with a gas at high pressure and in addition to emission the black body will lose heat via conduction and convection so the temperature will be lower, the emittance & absorbance will be unchanged however.
HTH

Comment by Phil. Felton — 29 Jul 2008 @ 7:26 PM

337. #334 Ray,
Yes, you misunderstand me. Your three statements are correct.
But my question is: what is the dominant energy transfer mechanism at pressures where LTE holds, usually pressures up to a height of 60-75km. First: Absorptionby CO2/Emission by CO2 or Second: Absorption by CO2/Deexcitation via collision and transfer of energy to a translational mode of a groundstate molecule
Hank Robert (#335),
Yes I read Spencer Weart. Yes it is my problem, because I like to understand it. Sorry for my bad communication. With atmospheric pressure, I meant a pressure range where LTE holds, usually pressures up to height of 60-75km.

Phil. Felton (#336):
But at steady state at lower temperature, emittance & absorbance would be lower or not?

Comment by Guenter Hess — 30 Jul 2008 @ 12:08 AM

338. Guenter, you can also answer my query to Rob B: How does your queries resolve to errors in GCMs?

NOTE: Absorbtion==Emmission cannot be true when the system is out of equilibrium so your continued demand that this be true is incongruent.

Comment by Mark — 30 Jul 2008 @ 3:10 AM

339. Guenter Hess,

I think I may see the source of your confusion. You’re saying — correct me if I’m wrong — that the incoming radiation, say 10 watts per square meter in a given narrow wavelength range, excites the CO2 in a layer of atmosphere, but since only 4% of the CO2 is excited, the outgoing radiation should be only 0.4 watts per square meter, and Kirchhoff’s Law should fail. Do I have it right?

Yes, the incoming energy gets distributed to all the non-greenhouse gases by collision. But in order to get out again it all has to go through the greenhouse gases, since nitrogen and oxygen don’t radiate significantly. The collisions transfer the energy back to the CO2, which radiates it all out again. Collisions explain mainly why all the gases in a layer, not just the greenhouse gases, are heated by incoming radiation. The energy bounces around a lot before it gets out again. But the income and outgo balance.

Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 30 Jul 2008 @ 8:34 AM

340. Guenter, Absorption by CO2 followed by collisional relaxation is the dominant transfer mechanism in the troposphere. Again, however, remember that the gas is not in equilibrium with the radiation field, which comes from warmer regions below. The difference from eqilibrium is not sufficiently large that you have to use nonequilibrium thermodynamics.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 Jul 2008 @ 9:48 AM

341. Guenter Hess wrote in 337:

But my question is: what is the dominant energy transfer mechanism at pressures where LTE holds, usually pressures up to a height of 60-75km. First: Absorptionby CO2/Emission by CO2 or Second: Absorption by CO2/Deexcitation via collision and transfer of energy to a translational mode of a groundstate molecule
Hank Robert (#335).

Well, it depends upon scale, really.

If you are speaking at the molecular level, then the dominant energy transfer mechanism would certainly be collisions rather than photonic emission. Afterall, Kirchoff’s law depends on this — as this is what results in the radiation which is being emitted by matter being in local thermodynamic equilibrium with the matter that is emitting it. However, if you are speaking at the level where energy finally escapes the atmosphere, then photonic emission isn’t simply the dominant energy transfer mechanism — it is effectively the only energy transfer mechanism. And it is worth pointing out that this mechanism operates primarily under LTE conditions.

The atmosphere at a given altitude will be optically thick to some wavelengths of radiation, meaning that most photons of that wavelength which are emitted at that height will be absorbed before they have the chance to escape to space, but it will be optically thin to other wavelengths, meaning that most at that wavelength do escape to space without being absorbed. And in fact there is a height at which most thermal radiation that is emitted escapes without being absorbed. It is the effective radiating height, at 5-6 km, well below the 75 km where non-LTE conditions gradually become appreciable, and in fact well below the 50 km altitude where non-LTE conditions become significant at any wavelength.

User’s Manual for SAMM2, SHARC-4 and MODTRAN4 Merged
AFRL-VS-HA-TR-2004-1145
Environmental Research Papers, No 1145
Spectral Sciences / Air Force Research Laboratory
http://www.dodsbir.net/sitis/view_pdf.asp?id=DothH04.pdf

For any wavelength that the atmosphere is optically thick to at sea level, there will be a height at which the atmosphere goes from being optically thick to optically thin. This is the principle that underlies our ability to perform infrared imaging of the atmosphere and its constituents at various altitudes. For example, here is carbon dioxide (a wavelength of 15 μm, I believe) at an altitude of 8 km:

NASA AIRS Mid-Tropospheric (8km) Carbon Dioxide
http://www-airs.jpl.nasa.gov/Products/CarbonDioxide/

You will notice the plumes rising off the heavily populated east and west coast of the United States. We are able to image things at that altitude for that wavelength because most of the photons of that wavelength are absorbed below that altitude, but at that altitude or higher, once they are emitted, they will generally escape to space without further absorption.

Comment by Timothy Chase — 30 Jul 2008 @ 10:47 AM

342. Timothy (341) a clarification, please. Are you sure that at ~5-6km an emitted photon from a CO2 molecule most likely will escape rather than be absorbed by another CO2, say? At this height (CO2 density) is the escape just barely more than 50%? and get progressively more likely as altitude increases? At this level is relaxation still predominately by collision?

Is this the altitude where the atmosphere changes (by convention, I assume) from optically thick to thin? Does this altitude differ for different gases or concentration (density)?

Is there any explicit reason why the 8 km CO2 concentration looks a tad odd, like why does it pile up over the western Atlantic e.g?

Thanks for the info.

Comment by Rod B — 30 Jul 2008 @ 1:52 PM

343. Rod B wrote in 342:

Timothy (341) a clarification, please. Are you sure that at ~5-6km an emitted photon from a CO2 molecule most likely will escape rather than be absorbed by another CO2, say? At this height (CO2 density) is the escape just barely more than 50%? and get progressively more likely as altitude increases? At this level is relaxation still predominately by collision?

Is this the altitude where the atmosphere changes (by convention, I assume) from optically thick to thin? Does this altitude differ for different gases or concentration (density)?

The effective radiating height isn’t defined with respect to carbon dioxide only, but with respect to the climate system as a whole. As such this includes other greenhouse gases (methane, water vapor, ozone, etc.), clouds and even the surface of the planet itself. It is a “mean.” And I tried to suggest as much using the example of CO2 at 15 μm at 8 km:

For any wavelength that the atmosphere is optically thick to at sea level, there will be a height at which the atmosphere goes from being optically thick to optically thin. This is the principle that underlies our ability to perform infrared imaging of the atmosphere and its constituents at various altitudes. For example, here is carbon dioxide (a wavelength of 15 μm, I believe) at an altitude of 8 km:

NASA AIRS Mid-Tropospheric (8km) Carbon Dioxide
http://www-airs.jpl.nasa.gov/Products/CarbonDioxide/

For photons of that wavelength, the altitude at which they tend to escape is 8 km, not 5.5 km. As I have said, 5.5 km is a mean value — for the climate system as a whole. And typically it wouldn’t make sense to break it out according to a specific gas as there will be different bands that overlap, and what gets emitted by one band will often be absorbed by another.

Rod B wrote in 342:

Is there any explicit reason why the 8 km CO2 concentration looks a tad odd, like why does it pile up over the western Atlantic e.g?

East coast traffic.

Seriously. Carbon dioxide emissions are rising up from the heavily-populated east coast and being carried over the Atlantic. Consequently the concentration of carbon dioxide is thicker there, making the atmosphere optically thicker to 15 μm at that height — meaning that light at that wavelength tends to escape at a somewhat higher altitude.

AIRS – Multimedia: Animations
http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/Multimedia/Animations/

2. Meteorological sensor systems on GOES I-M
http://goes.gsfc.nasa.gov/ams/meteor.html

Visualization of the global distribution of greenhouse gases using satellite measurements, by Michael Buchwitz. The Encyclopedia of Earth. Posted July 31, 2007
http://www.eoearth.org/article/Visualization_of_the_global_distribution_of_greenhouse_gases_using_satellite_measurements

… and its commercial use in mining and topography, for example, here:

Figure 20. The 2-μm CO2 absorption strength (A) can be converted to topographic elevation (B). The derived elevations matches the USGS Digital Elevation Model (DEM) (C). The CO2 absorption strength image (A) is brighter for increasing strength. Because the atmospheric path length is smaller with increasing elevation, the absorption strength decreases, becoming darker in the image. The DEMs (B, C) are brighter for increasing elevation, thus are inversely correlated with the CO2 strength in (A).
http://speclab.cr.usgs.gov/PAPERS/tetracorder/FIGURES/fig20.dem.abc.gif

Figure 21. The 2-μm CO2 absorption strength versus USGS DEM elevation shows a linear trend with an excellent least squares correlation coefficient.
http://speclab.cr.usgs.gov/PAPERS/tetracorder/FIGURES/fig21.co2_graph.gif

Imaging Spectroscopy:
Earth and Planetary Remote Sensing with the USGS Tetracorder and Expert Systems
Roger N. Clark, et al
Journal of Geophysical Research, 2003.
http://speclab.cr.usgs.gov/PAPERS/tetracorder/

Comment by Timothy Chase — 30 Jul 2008 @ 5:58 PM

344. Thanks, Timothy

Comment by Rod B — 30 Jul 2008 @ 9:05 PM

345. Barton Paul Levenson(#339),
I had the impression that the emission spectrum for an atmospheric layer within the Line by Line models is calculated just by setting absorbance equals emittance.
I realized with the help of Timothy’s references and reading again through the Book by Thomas and Stamnes about Radiative Transfer that in case of atmospheric layers the emission spectrum is obtained by weighing the absorption spectrum with the Planck function. I had overlooked this important difference.

Comment by Guenter Hess — 31 Jul 2008 @ 3:24 PM

346. Timothy Chase (#341),
Timothy just to get it right for me:
1. On a microscopic level:
Do I understand you correctly that within the atmosphere up to the height up to where LTE holds, collisions are the dominant processes for energy transfer compared to absorption/reemission. The lower the pressure the higher is the percentage of absorption/emission processes.
However, at the escape height which is below the height up to where LTE holds, reemitted photons start to have a significant probability to escape to space.
2. On a macroscopic level:
Averaged across the Sphere of the escape height Kirchhoff’s law for extended media holds

Comment by Guenter Hess — 31 Jul 2008 @ 4:02 PM

347. Guenter Hess wrote in 345:

I realized with the help of Timothy’s references and reading again through the Book by Thomas and Stamnes about Radiative Transfer that in case of atmospheric layers the emission spectrum is obtained by weighing the absorption spectrum with the Planck function.

Under LTE, the emission spectrum would simply be the spectral absorptivity times the Planck function – where assuming a spectral absorptivity of 1 the Planck function would give the black body spectrum at temperature T — if I am not mistaken. Incidentally, you helped me out when you brought up volumes earlier.

Comment by Timothy Chase — 31 Jul 2008 @ 4:28 PM

suggests that 420 ppm CO2 will have human health consequences.

Comment by David B. Benson — 31 Jul 2008 @ 7:31 PM

349. David (#348),

I had run across that article before, but for some reason I seemed to have put it out of my mind. A bit unusual for me. The good news is that we probably won’t have to worry about hydrogen sulfide — at least not for our own species, anyway.

Acidosis, headaches, difficulty breathing, developmental abnormalities, … this is beginning to sound like a pollutant by any medical definition of the term. Regulation of carbon dioxide as a pollutant due to its greenhouse effects seems a bit of a stretch under the EPA’s current mandate. But regulation of carbon dioxide as a pollutant due to direct health effects of high levels of exposure where those levels will otherwise be attained later in this century seems well within the EPA’s jurisdiction.

Comment by Timothy Chase — 31 Jul 2008 @ 11:58 PM

350. I have a rather basic question regarding energetics: To what extent do the relatively short-term year-to-year temperature variations reflect variation in the input-output energy balance of the earth, and to what extent do they reflect variation in how that energy is partitioned here on earth?

Comment by trrll — 1 Aug 2008 @ 12:32 AM

351. Guenter Hess wrote in 346:

1. On a microscopic level:
Do I understand you correctly that within the atmosphere up to the height up to where LTE holds, collisions are the dominant processes for energy transfer compared to absorption/reemission. The lower the pressure the higher is the percentage of absorption/emission processes.

Under earth-like conditions, I don’t think that we have to worry about stimulated emission except where LTE has already broken down — and rarely even then. So at this point we can separate emission and absorption, looking at the roles that each plays. But yes, the lower the pressure, the greater the percentage of energy transfer which would be performed by each of the two processes — and of course locally the spectral emissivity will be the same for the same gas at the same wavelength. Emission acts as the source of photons which are emitted by the atmosphere, absorption as one of the two sinks — with space being the other sink.

Now lets look at emission. Under LTE conditions, collisions have to be occurring at a high enough frequency that molecules which absorb photons rarely have the chance to spontaneously emit before exchanging energy with other molecules. It is the temperature and consequent Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of kinetic energy of the molecules that determines how many will be in an excited state at any given time. This holds since spontaneous emission is a form of quantum decay that has no memory of how long a molecule has been in an excited state and thus the rate is simply dependent upon the size of population, not the turn-over in this population which will result from some molecules losing energy due to collisions while others gain energy.

Now lets turn to absorption. What we are concerned with in determining a photon’s chances of making it to space, unlike emission, isn’t simply the local properties of the atmosphere but the path to space. To make it to space, a photon will be passing through different layers of atmosphere where the atmospheric density, temperature and make-up will vary over its path. So what we need to consider is optical depth. According to the Beer-Lambert-Bouguet law, light traveling through a uniform medium will experience exponential decay along its path, such that if it is cut in half over a given distance, it will be cut in half again when it travels twice that distance and so on. Now of course since we are dealing with the earth’s atmosphere in this case, the medium will not be uniform. Nevertheless, it is possible to define a dimensionless optical depth between any two points for any given wavelength — assuming light travels in a straight line between those two points — where the optical depth will be proportional to the logarithm of the probability that a given photon will make it from end-point to end-point, or alternatively, as the logarithm of the fraction of photons of that wavelength that will complete the path. But then of course one also needs to take into account the fact that the photons may leave the atmosphere at an oblique angle — which would mean that the path they take would have a greater optical depth than if they simply travelled perpendicular to the earth’s surface.

Guenter Hess wrote in 346:

However, at the escape height which is below the height up to where LTE holds, reemitted photons start to have a significant probability to escape to space.

The effective radiating height (or altitude) would be the mean height from which photons escape when emitted. This would be a function of where they are emitted, the path of transmission (including the constitution of the atmosphere along that path), the spectral absorptivity of the medium through which they travel, but it would be a function of the energy of the photons themselves — as you would need to weight the wavelength not simply by the number of photons but by the energy of the photons at that wavelength — as you are trying to determine the average height from which thermal energy (in the form of quantized thermal radiation) escapes.

Needless to say, that is all rather complicated. And actually that isn’t the way that it is normally done.

*

The average temperature of the earth is about 14 C. However, given the luminosity of the sun and the earth’s albedo, it is possible to calculate another average temperature — something called the “effective temperature,” or alternatively the “effective radiating temperature.” This is the temperature that the earth would attain — if one were to calculate it simply on the basis of solar irradiance, the earth’s distance from the sun, the earth’s albedo (whatever light is reflected will not contribute to its thermal radiation field) and shape (or cross-section). Or alternatively, the effective temperature is the brightness temperature of the earth, measuring only the thermal radiation emitted by the earth — averaged over the entire spectra. (Brightness temperature itself is normally applied to individual frequencies or wavelengths, but in the case of a black body would remain constant over the entire spectra.) This temperature is approximately -18 C, approximately 33 C below the earth’s actual temperature — with 33 C being essentially a measure of the strength of the earth’s greenhouse effect.

Now under an (admittedly unrealistic) assumption of equal temperature throughout each equidistant layer of atmosphere one other feature of the atmosphere — a linear falling-off of temperature in the troposphere, one can calculate an effective radiating height.

Within the troposphere, we have a roughly constant lapse rate where the temperature decreases at a constant rate as a function of altitude, which averaged over the entire globe is roughly 6.5 C / km. Given this, we calculate the effective radiating height (or altitude) as approximately 5.5 km, which is the average height at which the real temperature of the atmosphere is equal to that which it would be in the absence of any greenhouse effect, i.e., the effective radiating temperature. And as adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere increases the optical thickness or depth of the medium, it raises the height from which photons escape, and assuming a roughly constant lapse rate this will imply a warmer surface. For more on that, please see Tamino’s essay Lapse Rate.

*

Guenter Hess wrote in 346:

2. On a macroscopic level:
Averaged across the Sphere of the escape height Kirchhoff’s law for extended media holds

I wouldn’t put it that way. Kirchoff’s law applies locally under local conditions. What are the atmospheric constituents? What are their absorptivities and emissivities, etc.? It isn’t dependent upon the structure of the atmosphere except insofar as LTE conditions obtain locally. All I wished to underscore with the mention of scale is that all of the thermal energy which leaves the earth’s climate system leaves by means of emission (unless you wish to include the minute leakage of hydrogen or the rare bolloid collisions), and the good majority of the energy which the earth radiates comes from photons that were emitted within the LTE region and escaped the atmosphere without absorption.

Emission is important at that scale for that reason. It makes it possible for the energy entering the system to be balanced by the energy leaving the climate system — once thermal (quasi-)equilibrium is established. But that balance between incoming and outgoing radiation is not a law, but the achievement of an equilibrium due to the temperature of the earth rising or falling until incoming and outgoing radiation balance one-another as a matter of the conservation of energy.

Anyway, I have to get up in four hours — so I hope you don’t mind if I call it a night.

Comment by Timothy Chase — 1 Aug 2008 @ 2:28 AM

352. I was referred to this calculation website (http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~archer/cgimodels/radiation.html) , but as I can’t see the programming behind it I am a little dubious. Has anyone seen it before and is it reasonably accurate (I was told it was a USAF program)

Comment by Gavin Donehue — 3 Aug 2008 @ 7:10 PM

353. Gavin Donehue wrote in 352:

I was referred to this calculation website (http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~archer/cgimodels/radiation.html) , but as I can’t see the programming behind it I am a little dubious. Has anyone seen it before and is it reasonably accurate (I was told it was a USAF program)

It isn’t HiTran (note the prefix of “Mod”), but I believe it is fairly accurate — and certainly better than the LoTran — given its moderate resolution. Moreover, I believe it is along the same lines as what is described here:

Kirtland Airforce Base: ModTran 4 Software
http://www.kirtland.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=7915

In fact, I suspect it is the same program — and you are simply looking at a web interface. However, I believe David Archer (one of the official contributors to this blog) may be in a better position to say.

Comment by Timothy Chase — 4 Aug 2008 @ 12:25 AM

354. CO2 — reading the footnotes, I wonder.

Footnote 8 of the article says:
“Office buildings exist which are described
as ‘sick’, in which workers display symptoms of carbon
dioxide poisoning8.”

But reading foonote 8, that’s not what it actually says.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Aug 2008 @ 2:42 PM

355. Richard Wakefield posts:

Even if the sun were not chiefly to blame for the past half-century’s warming,

Solar output has been essentially flat for the last 50 years, so it can’t have caused the sharp upturn in global warming of the last 30 years:

http://members.aol.com/bpl1960/LeanTSI.html

the IPCC has not demonstrated that, since CO2 occupies only one-ten-thousandth part more of the atmosphere that it did in 1750, it has contributed more than a small fraction of the warming.

This is a complete non sequitur. The fact that carbon dioxide is a minor component of the atmosphere does not in any way, shape or form mean that it is a minor component of the Earth’s radiative balance. This is just stupid.

Carbon dioxide is 386 parts per million by volume (ppmv). 0.1 ppmv of fluorine in your air will kill you. Small quantities are not necessarily insignificant quantities.

Even if carbon dioxide were chiefly responsible for the warming that ceased in 1998

It didn’t:

http://members.aol.com/bpl1960/Ball.html

http://members.aol.com/bpl1960/Reber.html

and may not resume until 2015, the distinctive, projected fingerprint of anthropogenic “greenhouse-gas” warming is entirely absent from the observed record.

The stratosphere is cooling as the troposphere warms, showing that the warming is primarily caused by carbon dioxide. Let me know if you want me to explain why.

The rest of the denialism snipped for brevity.

Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Aug 2008 @ 9:39 AM

356. Sorry about that last post — I got my dates mixed up and thought RW’s post was recent. So I’ve answered it twice. My bad.

Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Aug 2008 @ 9:42 AM

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