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  1. According to the APS (here) it is not correct to say that Physics and Society is un-peer reviewed:

    “It presents letters, commentary, book reviews, and reviewed articles on the relations of physics and the physics community to government and society.”

    That doesn’t mean that the Monckton article WAS peer-reviewed, but strongly suggests it should have been if it wasn’t.

    Comment by Beaker — 24 Jul 2008 @ 2:51 AM

  2. It’s worth noting that the Science and Society page where Monckton’s abstract appears states very explicitly that the paper was NOT peer reviewed….. It may have been edited but that’s not the same thing.

    And anyway, peer review is a bit of a red herring. There’s plenty of papers out there that have been peer reviewed and are full of holes. It’s whether or not you can build on the papers over time which determined their ultimate worth. So peer review, done properly, is a crucial filter, but it isn’t an ironclad guarantee.

    And getting lots of citations isn’t an indication of fidelity either – just look at Jacques Benveniste’s Nature paper on the memory of water.

    What I don’t understand is why the APS would publish this, together with a statement to disown it? It’s not a ploy to attract readers by being “controversial, is it?

    Comment by bikesaddle — 24 Jul 2008 @ 3:45 AM

  3. ooops. I’ve now realized that that the statement disowning the article was put in place AFTER they published it.

    [edit]

    But my question still stands. Why publish it in the first place?

    Comment by bikesaddle — 24 Jul 2008 @ 3:52 AM

  4. Unfortunately, even ==more== than all the submarines cruising in 1987 through balmy waters at the N. Pole with decks full of happy sailors sipping drinks w/little umbrellas in ‘em that “skeptics” are encouraged to perceive despite what’s in plain view, Monckton’s paper will provide all the superficial falsework and pancake cosmetics needed to keep “The Debate” alive. See “The Register” for how greedily Monckton’s travesty is being gobbled up.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 24 Jul 2008 @ 3:54 AM

  5. “Once More Unto The Bray”. Most apposite.

    Comment by Interested Observer — 24 Jul 2008 @ 5:22 AM

  6. We must all express our greatest appreciation for the Fourth and Final Discount Monk of the Bench at Tiffany’s for raising these important point, points too important to be censored by some “scientists” and their “peer reviewing” squelching out revolutionary views just because of “math” and “facts” and “good arguments”.

    Yours, sincerely, the 5th Annual Viceroy Sir El Whoop Whoop En Buenora P’tang P’tang.

    Comment by El Cid — 24 Jul 2008 @ 6:36 AM

  7. I was pointing out that Monckton is a crackpot long before it was fashionable:

    http://members.aol.com/bpl1960/Monckton.html

    Note my one major error in the essay; I conflate the Wegman report with the NAS report.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 24 Jul 2008 @ 6:52 AM

  8. Gavin,

    Thanks for the analysis of Monckton’s paper. Unfortunately, despite the errors in it being so glaring, many skeptics are asserting its veracity based on the testimony of Spencer before Congress two days ago; they claim (using logic that is stunningly flawed) that because Spencer and Monckton both claim a reduced climate sensitivity to CO2, both of them must be correct – despite one claim being patently incorrect. I can’t even think of the name this logical fallacy!

    Is there any chance in the future that we may hear a comment on Spencer’s testimony?

    Comment by counters — 24 Jul 2008 @ 7:23 AM

  9. According to the APS (here) it is not correct to say that Physics and Society is un-peer reviewed:

    “It presents letters, commentary, book reviews, and reviewed articles on the relations of physics and the physics community to government and society.”

    Articles, reviewed or not, on “the relations of physics and the physics community to government and society”, aren’t peer-reviewed articles on science, and it’ s not a journal, it’s a newsletter.

    I think the APS probably has a reasonably clear view as to what their publications are, and are not.

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Jul 2008 @ 7:39 AM

  10. What is the accurate figure for the change in C per W/m2 increase?

    I have now heard figures from 0.260C / W/m2 from Moncton to as high as 1.0C / W/m2.

    [Response: You are confusing different numbers with the same units. What are you looking for? Overall climate sensitivity is around 0.7 C/W/m2 (range from 0.5 to 1); the no-feedback change (which is just a theoretical estimate) is around 0.3 C/W/m2. Different things. - gavin]

    Comment by Lowell — 24 Jul 2008 @ 8:42 AM

  11. Here is another vote that you you respond to Spencer’s most recent stuff…as this is a bit harder for us non-climate-scientists to spot the errors in than Monckton.

    Also, I was wondering about your take on the Compo and Sardeshmukh paper ( http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/people/gilbert.p.compo/CompoSardeshmukh2007a.pdf ). My initial take on it was that I don’t really see why I should be surprised that if the historically-seen temperatures over 70% of the globe are essentially prescribed (by prescribing the ocean SSTs) then the rest of the 30%, the land areas, will largely come along for the ride…And, it doesn’t really reveal anything about the mechanism causing the warming. Is this a reasonable way to look at it?

    [Response: Yes. This method of running models (AMIP-style) is very common and useful for many purposes. However, all of the trend comes from the increases in SST, which have been affected by GHGs and natural variability - thus this kind of model simulation is no good for attribution studies at the global scale (you need a coupled model for that). They are quite useful at determining tele-connections - how ENSO affects rainfall for instance, but you will see errors in, for instance, land-ocean temperature contrasts or stratospheric dynamics, which are more closely tied to the physics of GHGs rather than the overall level of warming. - gavin]

    Comment by Joel Shore — 24 Jul 2008 @ 8:46 AM

  12. From the Editor’s Comments:
    “With this issue of Physics & Society, we kick off a debate concerning one of the main conclusions of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)…”

    I look foreword to reading the debate in future issues. Since the publication is available to the public the correspondences will not be obscured behind a pay wall they will be available to those of us that take these discussions to the internet. Because the stated points of publishing the papers was to “kick off a debate”, and the newsletter is now going to a fully electronic version (pg.2), they hopefully will print more of correspondences than is customary.

    So many skeptics’ blogs swallowed the hook, line and sinker.

    Comment by Arch Stanton — 24 Jul 2008 @ 9:11 AM

  13. Re: 10 ;

    Is the forcing then

    - 3.7-4.0 W/m2 for CO2 alone; and then,

    - roughly 9.0 W/m2 including all feedbacks?

    [Response: No. The forcing is what drives the temperature changes, which drive the feedbacks. The multipliers generally apply to the temperature change. - gavin]

    Comment by Lowell — 24 Jul 2008 @ 9:17 AM

  14. Your technical debunking of Monckton is all well and good, but what are you saying by your analysis?

    *Do you agree or disagree that the current climate models predict a specific AGW signature, specifically ‘hot spots’ as describe in Monckton’s junk science paper, that is different from the signatures of other/natural causes of GW?

    [Response: There are signatures - particularly in the stratosphere - that distinguish CO2 effects from other causes of warming. The 'hot spot' is not a signature of GHGs, it is the expected signature of any warming (whether solar, or natural, or black carbon or whatever) (see the first figure here). - gavin]

    *If you agree, what is your explaination for why this ‘signature’ has not been observed as yet in the real world?

    [Response: The stratosphere changes have very clearly been seen (which is one of the reasons why solar forcing of the trends doesn't work), and the tropospheric hot spot is likely coming out of the noise too - note however that this is a test of the tropical surface warming (for which there is a lot of evidence), not increasing GHGs per se. - gavin]

    Thank you in advance for a response.

    Comment by Phil Gerst — 24 Jul 2008 @ 10:12 AM

  15. People will be arguing back forth for ages. And getting nowhere.
    Here’s a view of the future, maybe: [location of the US Congress in year 2500]:
    http://northwardho.blogspot.com/2008/07/polar-cities-relocation-of-us-congress.html

    Comment by Danny Bloom — 24 Jul 2008 @ 10:21 AM

  16. @2 ‘What I don’t understand is why the APS would publish this, together with a statement to disown it? It’s not a ploy to attract readers by being “controversial, is it?”

    The editor of the newsletter in question (Jeffrey Marque) has been publishing a number of articles on AGW in recent issues, mostly sensible but including another nutty one by a guy named Gerald E. Marsh. He probably didn’t know who Monckton was, and was I suppose you could say pranked.

    John Mashey has the best detailed explanation, which I’ve wrote about and which can also be found in comments at Deltoid and elsewhere.

    http://bigcitylib.blogspot.com/2008/07/how-aps-was-infiltrated-by-deniers.html#links

    And on Gerald E Marsh:

    http://bigcitylib.blogspot.com/2008/07/lonely-denier-meet-gerald-e-king.html#links

    Comment by bigcitylib — 24 Jul 2008 @ 10:37 AM

  17. 14:

    It should be pointed out that the tropical tropospheric hotspot as GHG fingerprint likely originates with Monckton. He has apparently misread figure 9.1 of the IPCC report as a description of fingerprints for different forcings when it actually illustartes the 20th century warming contribution of different forcings. He’s even gone so far as to give the figure a new title (“Temperature Fingerprints of Five Forcings”) based on his misconceptions.

    Other skeptics have spread this wrong information, as happens so often.

    [Response: I doubt it is original with him - tropospheric trends have been an 'issue' for at least a decade, and while they now line up easily with expectations on a global basis, the tropical changes have been more problematic (as we discussed previously). You are correct of course about the spreading of wrong information which Monckton (and Douglass, and Singer, and Evans etc.) all add to. - gavin]

    Comment by Boris — 24 Jul 2008 @ 10:53 AM

  18. Re #14: Just to add a little more to Gavin’s response in order to address why Monckton mistakenly states that the “hot spot” only appears for GHG forcing: Basically, Monckton does not understand contour plots and their limitations. The IPCC plots that he uses to look for a “hot spot” (which can be seen in best detail by looking at the original source, which is Fig. 9.1 in Chapter 9 the IPCC 4th assessment report [Working Group 1] at http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/ar4-wg1.htm ) show the structure of the temperature change for the contributions from various different forcings over the period 1890 to 1999. Since they want to preserve the relative magnitudes, the interval between contours is the same in all the graphs. However, the downside of this choice is a lack of resolution for the forcings that contribute less. Take for example the solar forcing: It may look at a glance that there is not a significant “hot spot” in the mid troposphere as there is for GHGs but this conclusion is incorrect. In fact, if you look at the scale, what you found for the solar forcing is that the warming at the surface is in the contour range of 0 to 0.2 C while that in the mid-troposphere is in the contour range of 0.2 to 0.4 C. So, in fact, this plot is not at all incompatible with Monckton’s stated amplification factor of 2 to 3 in the case of GHGs. It is also not incompatible with an amplification of barely above 1 or an amplification of 20! Basically, the plot just doesn’t give enough resolution in the contours to tell us much. However, the figure that Gavin refers you to, where the solar forcing has been hypothetically increased in the model by an amount that produces a surface temperature change similar to that for GHGs, confirms that the structure of the warming is extremely similar throughout the troposphere for both forcings. (In the stratosphere, the predictions are very different…and the observational data of cooling there agrees with the forcing being due to GHGs not solar.)

    Comment by Joel Shore — 24 Jul 2008 @ 11:09 AM

  19. #14, Phil

    There are various “signatures” of greenhouse changes that you do not get with other forcing mechanisms such as increased solar or cosmic rays, decreased albedo (if we can do that as its own forcing mechanism), etc. I have outlined some of these pieces of evidence here.

    There is a good amount of evidence to suggest the tropical troposphere is indeed warming, but this issue has been hindered by many problems with the instruments, as well as looking for trends in a noisy record. But as gavin mentions, enhanced tropospheric warming is not unique to GHG’s, but arises from the idea that the tropics will stay close to a moist adiabat, which requires the upper atmosphere to warm more than the surface.

    However, if it turns out that the tropical atmosphere warms less than predicted, this means a less negative lapse rate feedback effect, which means a more pronounced warming at the surface. This is not something we see in models, but it isn’t something I’d like…since it means feedbacks would be a bit more positive. What’s more, enhancing the temperature gradient between sea surface’s and the upper levels is also one way to get more intense hurricanes in models.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 24 Jul 2008 @ 11:20 AM

  20. APS: as to how this happened, I explained some of the extra background in comment #2 at Deltoid, i.e., I conjecture a Larry Gould impetus for this and you can see the documentation there. There are lessons to be learned from all this, and the FPS editors and APS have clearly learned some of them and are thinking hard about repair. Monckton was a new kind of experience for them, and certain exposed some weaknesses.

    See discussion over at APS News Associate Editor Jennifer Ouellette’s Cocktail Party Physics. Anyone who is an APS FPS member might want to think about a Forum *really* ought to be doing in a Web / blog era, as opposed to a quarterly paper distribution.

    Comment by John Mashey — 24 Jul 2008 @ 11:36 AM

  21. Gavin, please not too simplified explanations about solar-statosphere-troposphere coupling, instead e.g.:

    Kuroda, Yuhji, M. Deushi, and K. Shibata, 2007. Role of solar activity in the troposphere-stratosphere coupling in the Southern Hemisphere winter. Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L21704, doi:10.1029/2007GL030983, November 2, 2007

    Abstract

    The effect of the 11-year solar cycle on the troposphere-stratosphere (TS) coupling in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) late winter/spring is examined through the analysis of observations and simulations with a chemistry-climate model. It is found that the TS coupling in the SH late winter/spring is significantly modified according to the solar cycle; the dynamical coupling between the troposphere and stratosphere becomes stronger with the increasing solar activity. Such modulation of the strength of the TS coupling is found to be the source of the solar-cycle modulation of the annular mode in late winter/spring. A possible mechanism of the solar-cycle-TS-coupling relationship is also discussed.

    Cohen, Judah, Mathew Barlow, Paul J. Kushner, and Kazuyuki Saito, 2007. Stratosphere–Troposphere Coupling and Links with Eurasian Land Surface Variability. Journal of Climate Vol. 20, No 21, pp. 5335–5343, November 2007

    Abstract

    A diagnostic of Northern Hemisphere winter extratropical stratosphere–troposphere interactions is presented to facilitate the study of stratosphere–troposphere coupling and to examine what might influence these interactions. The diagnostic is a multivariate EOF combining lower-stratospheric planetary wave activity flux in December with sea level pressure in January. This EOF analysis captures a strong linkage between the vertical component of lower-stratospheric wave activity over Eurasia and the subsequent development of hemisphere-wide surface circulation anomalies, which are strongly related to the Arctic Oscillation. Wintertime stratosphere–troposphere events picked out by this diagnostic often have a precursor in autumn: years with large October snow extent over Eurasia feature strong wintertime upward-propagating planetary wave pulses, a weaker wintertime polar vortex, and high geopotential heights in the wintertime polar troposphere. This provides further evidence for predictability of wintertime circulation based on autumnal snow extent over Eurasia. These results also raise the question of how the atmosphere will respond to a modified snow cover in a changing climate.

    Sigmond, Michael, John F. Scinocca, and Paul J. Kushner, 2008. Impact of the stratosphere on tropospheric climate change. Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L12706, doi:10.1029/2008GL033573, June 24, 2008

    Abstract

    The atmospheric circulation response to CO2 doubling in various versions of an atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) without a well-resolved stratosphere (“low-top” model), is compared to the response in a version of the same AGCM with a well-resolved stratosphere (“high-top” model). The doubled CO2 response of the “best-tuned” (i.e. operational) low-top model version is significantly different from that in the best-tuned high-top model version. Additional experiments show that this difference is not caused by the model lid height, but instead can be mainly attributed to differences in the settings of parameterized orographic gravity-wave drag which control the strength of the zonal wind in the mid- to high-latitude lower stratosphere and the mean sea-level pressure distribution. These findings suggest a link between the strength of the winds in the mid- to high-latitude lower stratosphere and tropospheric annular mode responses, and have implications for how to proceed with high-top low-top model intercomparisons.

    [Response: Thanks for helping complicate a very simple issue! Stratospheric cooling is predicted from increasing CO2 (and was so predicted decades ago), this is the opposite behaviour than with solar forcing. It's basic radiative physics - and while there is a lot of interesting research on dynamical couplings between the stratosphere and troposphere, the radiative effects are completely uncontroversial. (And, in case you hadn't noticed, the stratosphere is indeed cooling). - gavin]

    Comment by Timo Hämeranta — 24 Jul 2008 @ 12:21 PM

  22. It is good to see a thorough and comprehensible rebuttal of this piece, though I fear that the overall effect of its original emergence will be to maintain the fiction of deep scientific disagreement in the minds of many members of the public. This situation reveals, once again, how media looking for conflict and those with anti-regulation agendas are adept at conjuring the appearance of discord out of the presence of mere error.

    Comment by Milan — 24 Jul 2008 @ 12:47 PM

  23. Deja Vu…

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/01/calculating-the-greenhouse-effect/

    …But you will never find a peer-reviewed rebuttal of such a bizarre line of reasoning as we are dealing with here – basically because such a line of reasoning is highly unlikely to make it past peer-review itself.

    Monckton seems to have leaned heavily on Douglas & Knox’s “Climate forcing by the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo”, which was refuted by Wigley et. al 2005 ( http://www.osti.gov/energycitations/servlets/purl/877849-e8Yv2Q/877849.PDF ) and Robock 2005 ( http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/pdf/DouglassKnoxComment2005GL023287.pdf). The same problem exists there:

    “In the description of their analysis, DK make a fundamental mistake in describing the problem. They claim to use “standard linear response theory,” but they confuse the response with the forcing. They say, “The LW [long- wave] effect is by definition the forcing function DF for the climate, represented by the measured surface temperature anomaly DT.” LW radiation changes, however, are produced by both the presence of a forcing agent, in this case stratospheric aerosols, and the response of the climate system. It is the instantaneous net radiation change with no response that is the forcing. The temperature anomaly is the response to forcing, and not the forcing itself, and the LW changes reflect both the true forcing and the effects of the temperature response.”

    That’s the same basic error with respect to forcings (for CO2, instead of for aerosols) in Monckton’s justification for the 66% reduction. He conveniently points out his sources, at least: “I am particularly grateful to Professors David Douglass and Robert Knox for having patiently answered many questions over several weeks”. Thus, this is really just regurgitation of previously refuted work, done in a non-peer reviewed journal outside the field of expertise.

    For real discussions of climate sensitivity and feedbacks, which are also good examples of explanation, unlike Monckton’s obfuscations, see

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/03/climate-sensitivity-plus-a-change/

    and

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/08/climate-feedbacks/

    It’s unclear why the APS would publish something like this. It’s the equivalent of opening an AMA journal and finding a debate over whether or not tobacco use was associated with lung cancer, or if the HIV virus was really responsible for clinical AIDS or not – with the “dissenting viewpoint” being provided by associates of the tobacco or medical blood product industries.

    In the case of Lord Christopher Monckton:

    His primary reputable foundation is the “Science and Public Policy Institute”( http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Science_and_Public_Policy_Institute ):

    Greenpeace’s ExxonSecrets website states that “Ferguson set up the Center for Science and Public Policy in early 2003, after a $100,000 grant from ExxonMobil in 2002 – specifically tagged for the center. Exxon has continued to fund the Center each year since then, to the tune of at least $50,000 a year.”

    Exxon recently made a public claim that they were defunding climate skeptic groups, but this one (currently the most “productive” from the public relations viewpoint) is not on the list: http://www.desmogblog.com/is-exxon-backing-away-from-climate-change-deniers

    Craig Idso is the chairman of SPPI, and has a long record with Exxon – http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Craig_Idso

    Craig Idso (also referred to as Craig D. Idso) is the Chairman of the Board, founder and former President of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, an Arizona-based global warming skeptics group that has been funded in part by Exxon.

    Some of the other “successes” of the SPPI group members include their promotion of the UK Channel 4′s Global Warming Swindle and the Kent Dimmock-Robert Durward lawsuit that was aimed at giving the film “equal time” in British schools, at which Monckton testified. ( http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/news/display.var.1761918.0.0.php?act=complaint&cid=679767 ) As a result, they’ve produced many “media mentions”, which is how successful PR campaigns are identified.

    All that Exxon appears to have done is to have shut off funding for some think tanks, moved that funding to different think tanks, and kept their most productive denialists on the payroll – all while loudly using the opportunity to claim social responsibility and good corporate citizenship.

    What other services do groups like SPPI provide for the fossil fuel lobby? One example is provided by Kentucky’s coal Rep. Jim Gooch (when not a politician, a supplier to Peabody Coal), who recently brought Monckton to be a lead speaker before their legislature on the issue of global warming: http://pageonekentucky.com/2007/11/19/jim-gooch-the-nut-that-keeps-on-giving/

    Thus, if the coal industry needs experts to come speak to legislatures in order to head off regulations limiting coal use, then they turn to the SPPI, who finds a public speaker to make an appearance – but that speaker needs legitimacy, which means a publication record, scientific credentials, etc – and that’s what the APS has provided in this case.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 24 Jul 2008 @ 12:56 PM

  24. I’m still having difficulty with the 0.7C / W/m2 figure for the overall climate sensitivity.

    The total greenhouse effect is variably stated at 33C. Are we saying the total greehouse effect is only 47 W / m2.

    I understood the total greenhouse effect to be approximately 324 W/m2.

    324 W/m2 * 0.7C / W/m2 = 226C (which is obviously too high)

    I also assume that the total greenhouse effect includes all the forcings and all the feedbacks by definition.

    [Response: You can't linearise over the whole effect. The total greenhouse effect can be defined as the difference between the upward LW at the surface and at the top of the atmosphere and it is about 155 W/m2. If you remove all CO2 you'd get a forcing of about -28 W/m2, compared to 4 W/m2 for a doubling. This should indicate that it isn't going to be linear. The climate sensitivity that we are talking about is only useful for 'near' present day conditions. - gavin]

    Comment by Lowell — 24 Jul 2008 @ 1:07 PM

  25. Beaker, there is a difference between “review” and peer review. The latter requires review by experts in the field–and the editor of the Physics and Society Forum certainly does not qualify wrt climate. While Napoleon once said, “Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity,” it absolutely strains credulity that the editor could be so mind bogglingly naive to fall for this.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Jul 2008 @ 1:40 PM

  26. The question “Why would the APS publish this” keeps coming up.

    One more time: The volunteer-staffed, non-peer-reviewed FPS newsletter is *not* isomorphic to the APS. The APS President responded very quickly when this was reported to him.

    The Monckton/SPPI/blogosphere tactics are fairly similar to those used in last year’s attacks on Naomi Oreskes last year, which I documented in excruciating detail here … in anticipation of the idea that it wouldn’t be the last time. The main difference is that Naomi was already quite familiar with the people and tactics, while those are new to APS and FPS. (Of course, it’s slightly weird for this to be in APS anyway. )

    Again, as to how this happened, I really suggest looking at Larry Gould, co-editor of the APS New England Section Newsletter.

    Comment by John Mashey — 24 Jul 2008 @ 1:52 PM

  27. For those of you asking about Spencer’s recent testimony, it was mostly a rehashing of the arguments that RayPierre lambasted awhile back: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/05/how-to-cook-a-graph-in-three-easy-lessons/#more-567

    Comment by Zeke Hausfather — 24 Jul 2008 @ 2:06 PM

  28. @26 The newsletter has also published several articles on the Darwin/Creationism debate over the years, sometimes (if I am remembering correctly) entertaining the Creationist side. I imagine the editors have been as much interested in providing a “lively read” as ironclad science. In this case, it backfired.

    Comment by bigcitylib — 24 Jul 2008 @ 2:28 PM

  29. …but that speaker needs legitimacy, which means a publication record, scientific credentials, etc – and that’s what the APS has provided in this case.

    Hence, the flaming response in relation to the ‘red-inking’ of what would otherwise be a very convenient resource, to which the otherwise unsuspecting could have been ‘authoritatively’ directed!

    Lovely work Ike, thank you

    Comment by Hugh — 24 Jul 2008 @ 3:03 PM

  30. http://scienceblogs.com/tfk/2008/07/peer_review.php

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Jul 2008 @ 3:27 PM

  31. When did the stratosphere start cooling? Also, how far back do our stratospheric records go? And if there are problems with mid-tropospheric data, how do we know the stratospheric data is completely accurate?

    I would appreciate any answers to these questions.

    [Response: Signal versus noise. The trends in the stratosphere are larger and the noise smaller, so the uncertainties don't play as much of a role. Look up 'SSU' data. - gavin]

    Comment by Ringo — 24 Jul 2008 @ 3:46 PM

  32. Oh my
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/07/chilinger_if_you_assume_that_c.php#more

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Jul 2008 @ 4:23 PM

  33. Re #27 (Zeke Hausfather): I agree that the particular RealClimate piece that you linked to is a good place to start. However, it only addresses one piece of what Spencer has been putting forward. So, I am looking forward to a more thorough discussion (which in the second paragraph in that piece, Ray did imply they did have on their “to do” list to undertake). Of course, I understand that the contributors here at RealClimate have other (and better!!) things to do with their time besides spending it rebutting the skeptics…But, I just wanted to let them know that we are eagerly awaiting this!

    Comment by Joel Shore — 24 Jul 2008 @ 5:24 PM

  34. I have to agree with bikesaddle when they say “And anyway, peer review is a bit of a red herring. There’s plenty of papers out there that have been peer reviewed and are full of holes.”

    But it’s even worse than that. There are plenty of peer reviewed papers that were falsified by the authors, and were only caught after peer review had given them a hearty thumbs up.

    One side says they are right, the other swears the same thing. The public has reason to be confused, don’t you agree?

    [Response: No. Peer review is necessary but not sufficient - it really isn't that complicated. - gavin]

    Comment by Clear Thinker — 24 Jul 2008 @ 5:36 PM

  35. In a sense, peer review is itself peer-reviewed. The most egregious cases of peer review failure get a journal flagged as unreliable, unless the editors endeavor to correct their mistakes.

    Comment by _Arthur — 24 Jul 2008 @ 6:05 PM

  36. Clear Thinker, Hmm, let’s see. On one side you have NEARLY ALL the researchers who regularly contribute to the field of climate science. On the other side we have a few grumblers/cranks, a couple of [edit] freaks and various professors emeriti in fields not precisely related to climate science. On one side you have models based on accepted physics that largely reproduce the observed trends (that is, CLIMATE trends). On the other side you have maybe some half-baked ideas about cosmic rays and volcanoes and space aliens with deadly heat rays. Hmm, which to choose? Which to choose?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Jul 2008 @ 6:44 PM

  37. re: #16 BigCityLib on Marsh

    I’ve researched Marsh a little more, over at BigCityLib,

    Details over there, but I’d summarize:
    retired nuclear physicist, for last few years has been writing anti-AGW pieces for OpEds, USA Today (?), conservative thinktank newsletters, etc.

    Comment by John Mashey — 24 Jul 2008 @ 7:35 PM

  38. Chuckle. the science and medical journals clearly attract writers who do make the effort to watch the publication process, work to filter it of scum, light up scum when it slips by, and clean it out.

    On point:

    doi:10.1016/S1369-7021(06)71370-0
    Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Ltd
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1369-7021(06)71370-0

    Editorial
    Referees and foul play With scientific fraud in the news, peer review is once again under attack for missing falsified data — Materials Today

    ______excerpt_follows_________

    “… the inevitable question arises: how did the journal editors and referees miss it?

    That is to confuse the purpose of peer review somewhat. Peer review cannot be expected to detect every case of fraud, particularly if it is carefully done. Its purpose is to review a paper’s originality, that an appropriate approach has been used, the conclusions are fair, and that it is worth publishing. It’s when other groups try to repeat work that fraud is more likely to become apparent.

    In my view, peer review is under pressure from very different and less publicized sources. The burden on referees is reaching breaking point, with more papers being published and increasing pressure to speed up the review process. Instead, some method of successfully recognizing the valuable contribution of referees is needed that does not jeopardize impartiality.”

    ——–end_excerpt——–

    Yes, you’ll also find some people blogging pay careful attention to and correct one another’s errors. Many of those bloggers are also scientists.

    It’s a skill and a habit much to be applauded.
    How many people do you know who give time to doing it?
    Thank one today.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Jul 2008 @ 7:44 PM

  39. OK; for the radiation-transfer-obsessed among us, that’s Myhre (not Myrhe) et al. 2001 (abstract only) and Collins et al. 2006.

    [start grumble]
    C’mon, Gavin — if you can’t give us links to the articles themselves, can you at least give us proper cites?
    [end grumble]

    [Response: My bad. Sorry. I'll include the links (and fix the spelling) above. - gavin]

    Comment by jre — 24 Jul 2008 @ 8:37 PM

  40. Mr. Ladbury,

    Those scientists you call names would not appreciate your irreverence. They number in the tens of thousands, so I’m sure you could find a couple of crackpots in the bunch. Interestingly enough they say the same about the alarmist scientists.

    Both pro and con use science, and papers, and studies, and point fingers at the other, and on and on it goes.

    Just out of curiosity, would you be willing to debate Mr. Monckton?

    Comment by Clear Thinker — 24 Jul 2008 @ 9:42 PM

  41. Here is the most up to date series of SSU statosphere measurements that I could find. These cover altitudes most relevent to GHG cooling. Cooling has flattened since the mid ’90s when CFCs were banned. Also, the increasing concentration of CO2 in the stratosphere is beginning to affect the temperature measurements themselves, which will require a correction. For SSU47x you can see the solar cycle easily in recent years, which is more pronounced in the stratosphere.

    http://cce.890m.com/attribution/images/upper-stratosphere-temp.jpg

    Comment by cce — 24 Jul 2008 @ 10:28 PM

  42. Gavin,
    It is a very nice map of global forcings that you refer to,
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/efficacy/Fa.1.06.html

    Obviously, for smaller (current level) increase in CO2 the spatial distribution should not change, only the amplitude will be smaller, right? Also, since climatic zones did not change much over the course of last century, this map pattern must be equally valid for the last 100 years, right? So, what do we have? Low forcing in central Africa, noticeable dip of forcing in Mongolia. Then, very high forcing in Middle East and India, and strong forcing in Australia and Argentina.

    Wouldn’t it be very reasonable to guess that higher radiative forcing would put higher radiative pressure on local land? Then lets go you to your site again, and pull out a map of warmings, map of temperature “anomaly” for the last 100 years.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/maps/

    Make it annual, from 1908 to 2007. What do we see there? Central Africa and Mongolia both show warming. Middle East, India, and Argentina have no change, and Australia has cooled. To me it looks completely opposite to what your map of radiative forcing would cause to Earth land. So, either the temperature reconstruction is wrong, or the CO2 forcing theory is wrong. Or both. What do you think?
    Cheers,
    Al Tekhasski

    [Response: Third possibility. Local differences in forcings don't make automatic local differences in responses once the atmosphere and ocean have done their thing. The models don't give you any reason to think otherwise. - gavin]

    Comment by Al Tekhasski — 24 Jul 2008 @ 10:47 PM

  43. Now I know why Tamino grumbled about the spamthing. My laptop has an excellent screen, and I can’t tell what I am looking at.

    But, what I wanted to say was that I just finished watching the entire 2.5 hours of the Boxer hearing, and Spencer was a strange surprise. What on earth is this Holy Grail that he was talking about?
    (The surprise was that his manner exuded petulance.)

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 24 Jul 2008 @ 10:53 PM

  44. Clear Thinker said:

    Just out of curiosity, would you be willing to debate Mr. Monckton?

    The real question is, can Monckton debate? Scientific debate is not a test of rhetoric for the entertainment of an audience. Scientific debate takes place though papers published in peer reviewed journals. Monckton doesn’t seem to be able to make it into Nature or Science.

    Consider the real gold standard in the scientific world is not publication, but replication. There are some two dozen GCMs in the world that all confirm that the anthropogenic greenhouse gases are heating the world, and that current warming cannot be explained without AGW.

    It is telling that the fossil carbon industry is not able to produce an alternate hypothesis that can make it through to publication. Lord knows they have the money to support alternate research. For one day of ExMob’s profit (~75 million $) I could build the best climate model in the world. If there were another possible explanation of what is happening to the climate, I could demonstrate it. Since ExMob has not produced an alternative hypothesis (and doesn’t even appear to be working on one), I conclude that they know that AGW is real.

    Comment by Tim McDermott — 24 Jul 2008 @ 11:29 PM

  45. APS should have expected to take a vicious beating for opening the debate on GW and AGW, and especially for allowing Monckton to publish his paper in “the Physics & Society” newsletter. All over the blogosphere, I’m finding GW/AGW bed-wetters declaring that the APS are hypocrites and have changed their mind on GW/AGW. They nearly had me fooled until I bothered to check the APS web site. Neither the Monckton article nor the article “A Tutorial o the Basic Physics of Climate Change” by David Hafemeister and Peter Schwarz have been peer reviewed. I have no problem with the APS opening a debate on GW and they did so at some risk to their credibility; my problem is that the GW “skeptics” are overstating (lying about) what actually happened, and many people are buying into these lies. How did the debate get so vicious?

    Comment by Peter Goodman — 24 Jul 2008 @ 11:38 PM

  46. > Those scientists you call names would not appreciate your irreverence. They number in the tens of thousands, so I’m sure you could find a couple of crackpots in the bunch.

    You must be referring to:

    “In an unprecedented action, representatives for more than 10,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scientists are calling on Congress to take immediate action against global warming”

    http://watthead.blogspot.com/2006/11/epa-employees-file-mass-petition.html

    Oops! I see you were referring to the “Oregon Petition”. For debunking of this “petition”, see:

    http://www.desmogblog.com/node/1067

    Comment by John Hollenberg — 24 Jul 2008 @ 11:50 PM

  47. Just out of curiosity, would you be willing to debate Mr. Monckton?

    What a bizarre question. Considering climate science is something pursued by thousands of nerds over decades in probably billions of lines of text, you think hashing it out in an hour with a wrinkled old crackpot using methods most often employed by such truth-seekers as lawyers and politicians is a good idea?

    Anyone who is excited about debating science to arrive at some final truth that can’t be solved within the field is either a liar, a fool, or both. Why not make it a double bill with Eric Hovind versus Someone Smart?

    [Response: It's worth reading John Ziman's "Are debatable scientific questions debatable?" on this topic. - gavin]

    Comment by pough — 24 Jul 2008 @ 11:51 PM

  48. Clean Thinker stated:

    “Those scientists you call names would not appreciate your irreverence. They number in the tens of thousands, so I’m sure you could find a couple of crackpots in the bunch. Interestingly enough they say the same about the alarmist scientists.”

    Where is this your fantasy army of tens of thousands of scientists sceptical to AGW? How come they never publish is climate science journals? Why only crackpot denialists get all the attention?

    At the same time, solid studies are published in thousands each year supporting human-induced climate change.

    Comment by Petro — 24 Jul 2008 @ 11:57 PM

  49. Tenney, the middle of the three buttons (speaker icon):
    “click the audio button to hear a set of digits that can be entered instead of the visual challenge.”

    A “magnifying glass” function — a way to enlarge that part of the screen temporarily — would help. Or, mmhmm, a real magnifier. Hm.

    Clicking the top button usually gets a readable image eventually.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Jul 2008 @ 12:33 AM

  50. Okay, at some point even the sincere valid scientists clinging to the phlogiston are no longer going to be respected by their colleagues. So, no, they are not 100% people who are whores, liars, cranks, crackpots, out of their disciplines, over the hill, etc. etc.

    But it’s definitely approaching 99% of them, and since their numbers are approaching 1% of the relevant scientists, not sure why anyone should consider the 1% of the 1% that’s sincere, qualified, and actually doubts AGW to a strong degree. They’re a tiny and aging handful, and when they pass on, honest and skilled denialism on AGW will die with them.

    Moreover, science is not settled by the three-ring-circus that is a debate with glib charlatans like Monckton or Crichton. The climate denialism faithful are too lacking in education and fundamental scientific understanding to understand climate change themselves, so they turn to authorities, but unfortunately, they don’t even have the level of competence or discernment to pick real authorities, choosing science fiction writers, bored useless british royalty, and TV weathermen over atmospheric scientists; and they have fixed, obsessive delusions, for instance that (mostly “capitalist” but to a bizarre extreme) economics should determine science, or politics actually determines science. But whenever those things happen, that’s a failure of science.

    So the underlying problem is a lack of understanding of science coupled with a very bad Dunning-Kruger effect.

    Comment by Marion Delgado — 25 Jul 2008 @ 2:23 AM

  51. Clear Thinker posts:

    Those scientists you call names would not appreciate your irreverence. They number in the tens of thousands, so I’m sure you could find a couple of crackpots in the bunch.

    Those tens of thousands of “scientists” who oppose AGW theory include almost no climatologists. It’s a situation analogous to having tens of thousands of physicists sign statements against evolution. They are no more competent to critique that than biologists are competent to critique theories in physics.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Jul 2008 @ 5:54 AM

  52. Clear Thinker,
    I was intentionally glib, but the point stands: there are very few experts left who dispute anthropogenic causation of the current warming epoch. In fact these experts all admit that the CO2 we’ve been spewing into the air is causing warming. They just posit that negative feedbacks will keep it within reasonable bounds or they argue for a small value for CO2 sensitivity. Nobody has yet succeeded in constructing a climate model subject to these constraints.
    As to the rest of the so-called scientists who oppose the consensus, most are not scientists at all. Some are scientists who are arguing far outside their field of expertise and who haven’t done the work of even understanding what they’re arguing against (Svensmark et al. fall into this category, as they don’t seen to comprehend that merely finding an alternative mechanism for warming does not by itself invalidate the known mechanism of CO2 greenhouse forcing.).
    At least Spencer and Lindzen comprehend that the only way out of this dilemma is to posit that somehow the physics changes at around 280 ppmv–a contention that doesn’t pass the straight-face test, but is at least in the realm of physical possibility. Where Spencer and Lindzen leave the fold of scientists is where they accuse their peers of being politically motivated ex cathedra (e.g. in the Wall Street Urinal editorial pages).

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Jul 2008 @ 7:10 AM

  53. Re 52. Ray, hopefully you admit at least that new findings replace old ones, e.g.

    Compo,Gilbert P., and Prashant D. Sardeshmukh, 2008. Oceanic influences on recent continental warming. Climate Dynamics, in press 2008, preprint online http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/people/gilbert.p.compo/CompoSardeshmukh2007a.pdf

    “…Perhaps the most important conclusion to be drawn from our analysis is that the recent acceleration of global warming may not be occurring in quite the manner one might have imagined…”

    [Response: Are you under the impression that running AGCMs with SST forcing is somehow new? (Try Gates, 1992). - gavin]

    Comment by Timo Hämeranta — 25 Jul 2008 @ 8:23 AM

  54. I will attempt to say this politely and respectfully. The commenter “Clear Thinker” is very obviously a “troll”, who is repetitively posting fake, phony, scripted, long-ago and many-times-over debunked, Exxon-Mobil sponsored, global warming denialist drivel. The Oregon Petition? Debate with Monckton? Please, spare me. These silly Rush Limbaugh talking points are interspersed with transparently disingenuous pretensions that he is “asking questions” in order to “learn”, and puerile rhetorical gambits (“Those scientists you call names would not appreciate your irreverence”) that were old when USENET was young.

    The patience of the moderators and knowledgeable commenters in responding politely and factually to Clear Thinker as though he were genuinely seeking to learn about the science of climate change is admirable, but there comes a time to recognize when you are being “had” by someone whose only purpose is to spread disinformation and maliciously waste your time. I call this troll “Rumplestiltskin” and wish he may disappear at the sound of his name.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 25 Jul 2008 @ 9:29 AM

  55. Re: #49

    Dear Hank,

    Thanks. I have been using these damned computers for 25 years, and yet my daughter would have picked that out in a flash, while I didn’t even notice the possibility.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 25 Jul 2008 @ 10:19 AM

  56. Gavin, regarding your comment to #42:
    First, we are trying to be accurate here, at least in numbering of cases. Your case would be #4.
    Second, your explanation does not look satisfactory. When you construct the forcing map, you use a collection of appropriate local atmospheric profiles, from MODTRAN/HITRAN database or else. One would think that the local Australia-size atmospheric profile is already defined by environment, including influence of ocean and atmospheric circulation pattern. Therefore, the factors you mention are already incorporated in the picture. Is there any better explanation of the glaring discrepancy between the theory of “radiative forcing” and experimentally observed ground effects?
    Cheers,
    – Alexi

    [Response: Look a little deeper grasshopper. That map is calculated from the model, and the response in the model can be seen on the same set of pages. The patterns are not similar. That is in a perfectly controlled environment. So why would you expect that the real world would suddenly exhibit a similarity that is not even seen in (simpler) model? Show me one prediction made that has the spatial response pattern equal to the spatial forcing pattern. You appear to be disproving a theory that doesn't exist. - gavin]

    Comment by Al Tekhasski — 25 Jul 2008 @ 10:25 AM

  57. there comes a time to recognize when you are being “had” by someone whose only purpose is to spread disinformation and maliciously waste your time.

    Worse, even, as they’re selectively cutting-and-pasting commentary from here in an effort to make Gavin appear clueless, etc …

    There’s no real reason to feed that process.

    Comment by dhogaza — 25 Jul 2008 @ 10:45 AM

  58. There’s no real reason to feed that process.

    I try to pitch a short and polite answer that has educational value for lurkers. Can’t be quoted out of context and might actually wring a little light from the situation.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 25 Jul 2008 @ 11:00 AM

  59. Mr. Clear, you could be much more skeptical of the ideas people give you to bring here.

    Beware being used. There’s an old game called ‘Global Warming Bingo’ you should be aware of.

    There are also from time to time blogs that try copying material out of RC and creating their own comment threads — I think as a way of trying to capture Google pagerank and get more hits from searches. This doesn’t work very long.

    People learn what’s not worth paying attention to, no matter how fresh the bait trolled through the site here. Don’t let people send you in here to be bait.

    Skepticism — it’s evenhanded, or it’s nothing. Ask a librarian the basic questions, look them up for yourself, don’t trust people who send you in here to be your friends. Come in with some knowledge you’ve developed on your own, ask useful questions showing that.

    Seriously. It doesn’t matter what you start off believing, if you develop basic research skills and evenhanded curiosity and stay focused on asking good questions for your own benefit.

    Don’t let yourself be trolled as bait. No old bait is fresh enough to hold people’s attention for long.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Jul 2008 @ 11:47 AM

  60. I took some time to go over and read the commentary by the brain trust over at Newsbusters. Oh dear. Let me warn you, this is not for the faint of heart. If you think that humor cannot possibly progress beyond the fart joke, this is the site for you! Wanna see a whole other side to Clear Stinker or Pop Tart, go on over. It will be an education–proof that as Dave Barry says, “You’re only young once, but you can always be immature.”

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Jul 2008 @ 11:48 AM

  61. About those “thousands of scientists” on the oregon petition. This was a subsample of 60 names (though I specifically hunted down the phD’s on the list to help them out a bit), but I coudn’t find anyone in a climate-related field, or with a publication record relating to climate (change).

    Comment by Chris Colose — 25 Jul 2008 @ 12:19 PM

  62. While it is clear to me that SecularAnimist is correct in his/her characterization of “Clear Thinker,” and while I am sympathetic to SA’s and dhogaza’s positions re: “CT,” I think it is possible that casual/occasional lurkers gain a valuable education by seeing these disinformation campaigns presented and dismantled. I realize that it is tedious for people who have been around a while to go through it again and again. But when I began lurking here (late 2005, I think) and didn’t already know about all the strawmen, red herrings, false dichotomies, cherry-picking, etc., etc., etc. used by denialists, it was tremendously informative to me to see these arguments presented and knocked down, only to resurface as though the refutation had not taken place. As I came to learn, the refutations had usually taken place initially years before, and repeatedly ever since. Seeing this process play out taught me a lot about both the science and about anti-science propaganda.

    Comment by kevin — 25 Jul 2008 @ 12:22 PM

  63. Gavin, thanks for the pointer to Ziman’s article.
    That’s by far the best description I’ve ever seen.

    I grew up as a ‘faculty brat’ and heard such hard-argued science informally and sometimes at formal seminars from the back row seats, much of my childhood. There’s no sport as exciting as a hard argument in science; as one learns it, more layers are revealed of what’s actually being argued and how it’s done.

    Ziman’s article is really, really good.

    “… The contest for credibility between claimants and their critics — in practise, all members of the same community, but adopting di¶erent roles according to the circumstances ….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Jul 2008 @ 12:36 PM

  64. Ray Ladbury: They just posit that negative feedbacks will keep it within reasonable bounds or they argue for a small value for CO2 sensitivity. Nobody has yet succeeded in constructing a climate model subject to these constraints.

    Ray, you keep saying that and I keep challenging it. Where is your evidence that such a climate model does not exist?

    [Response: Surely if it existed, someone would have published results from it? Or are we supposed to just have faith that it does? - gavin]

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 25 Jul 2008 @ 2:35 PM

  65. Al Tekhasski: You seem to have skipped right past some basic climate change theory (stuff I learned in high school) in your eagerness to get to complex HITRAN/MODTRAN databases (something I hadn’t even heard of until grad school).

    General knowledge: coastal areas warm more slowly than inland areas because of ocean inertia. This explains most of the warming pattern. The remainder can be explained by googling the term “polar amplification” which involves the speed of warming of the Arctic circle as ice retreats in a positive feedback loop. Of course, note that Antarctica behaves differently in the short term because of the ozone hole, the circumpolar vortex, and because the conditions are such that ice retreat won’t happen for a while.

    Comment by Marcus — 25 Jul 2008 @ 3:35 PM

  66. gavin: Surely if it existed, someone would have published results from it?

    But gavin, you have published sensitivity results from your own models as low as 2.4C. I’ve seen comments by knowledgeable people (James Annan for one) that cloud feedback could be negative rather than positive. Many other parameters are very uncertain. Are you saying that you could not construct a model using parameters that do not violate _well known_ limits that has a sensitivity less than 1.5C?

    You might not want to publish it, but that does not mean it could not exist.

    [Response: I publish what the models give, and you’ll find most other modellers do the same. But if you want to see how much you can tweak them and what happens read Sanderson et al, 2008. You get much worse results with models with low (or high) sensitivity.

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 25 Jul 2008 @ 4:15 PM

  67. When “The Register” reported Monckton’s, ahem, “article”, it understandably ignored his junk science entirely, but focused on the claim that some of the numbers you guys use in your models come from one paper only.

    Is there any truth in that – and even if so, does it matter?

    [Response: Not really. Climate sensitivity is the key number and that comes from dozens of papers. - gavin]

    Comment by Amanda Stone — 25 Jul 2008 @ 5:48 PM

  68. re: #37 [MAYBE THIS BELONGS IN NEW THREAD FOR MARSH?]

    Via Deltoid, we find Catherine Brahic at New Scientist:

    “The editors put out a request for articles arguing “both sides of the debate.” They also asked Gerald Marsh to recommend authors who might contribute a piece arguing against the IPCC.

    Marsh gave five names, and the editors contacted all five. Monckton was the only one to respond.”

    Anyway, my conjecture that Larry Gould was the Monckton-FPS direct connection proved wrong, although he was clearly eager to help out later.

    BigCityLib had noticed Marsh on July 21, and I’d added some notes.
    Dr Marsh appears moderately often in FPS, often on nuclear topics.

    Here’s a list of pointers to his climate-related writings that I could find. I printed some a day or two ago, but am out of bandwidth for serious study right now, so maybe others may care to look closely and post technical analyses. As far as I can tell, none of these are peer-reviewed pieces, although some may have been editorial-reviewed.

    G. E. Marsh website is here.

    April 2008:
    1. “Climate Stability and Policy, FPS Newsletter, April 2008.

    Jan 2008:
    Climate Stability and Policy: A Synthesis :

    2. 19-page PDF, longer version of what’s in FPS

    3. “The Coming of a New Ice Age” – OpEd.
    I think this appeared in Winning Green, but in any case, there are some other references:
    Google: gerald marsh coming new ice age chicago

    Jan 2008:
    4. “Goracle Gushings on Faith-Based Science”, in USA Today (Society for the Advancement of Education(?) I’m not sure what that is…

    Jul 2007:

    5. “Climate Change: The Sun’s Role”, arXiv:0706.3621v1 [physics.ao-ph]. [PDF.]

    As per BigCityLib, this was already discussed by Atmoz.

    Jan 2003:
    6. Climate Change 2001: A Critique. [PDF]

    June 2002:
    7. “A Global Warming Primer” PDF]

    Aug 2001:

    8. “Climate Change Science? National Academy of Sciences Global Warming Report fails to Live up to its Billing” at National Center for Public Policy Research (whose page title says “A Conservative Think Tank”).”

    There may be reviews of some of these, I just haven’t yet looked hard.

    Summary: I’m reminded of certain other physicists, of whom 3 are deceased.

    Comment by John Mashey — 25 Jul 2008 @ 7:05 PM

  69. The Viscount of Benchley, in his latest attempt at obfuscation states in part:
    “Since the great majority of the incoming solar radiation incident upon the Earth strikes the tropics, any reduction in tropical radiative forcing has a disproportionate effect on mean global forcings. On the basis of Lindzen (2007), the anthropogenic-ear radiative forcing as established in Eqn. (3) are divided by 3 to take account of the observed failure of the tropical mid-troposphere to warm as projected by the models –
    ΔF2x≈ 3.405 / 3 ≈ 1.135 W m–2. (17)”

    Well then’ suppose all of the matter in a reaction, nuclear or otherwise, into energy isn’t converted into energy due to losses in the process then should the equation E=Mc^2 be divided by 3 to read E=Mc^2/3? Am I on to something here?

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 25 Jul 2008 @ 8:12 PM

  70. Gavin at #24:

    [Response: You can’t linearise over the whole effect. The total greenhouse effect can be defined as the difference between the upward LW at the surface and at the top of the atmosphere and it is about 155 W/m2. If you remove all CO2 you’d get a forcing of about -28 W/m2, compared to 4 W/m2 for a doubling...]

    So 28/155 = 18% could be said to be the total CO2 contribution to the greenhouse effect (as defined)? That’s a fair way from the 9% (91% remaining) figure you had back in 2005. What’s the difference?

    Comment by GlenFergus — 25 Jul 2008 @ 9:16 PM

  71. GlenFergus #70 is merely misrepresenting what was written back in 2005. From that link:

    Water vapour: feedback or forcing?The overlaps complicate things, but it’s clear that water vapour is the single most important absorber (between 36% and 66% of the greenhouse effect), and together with clouds makes up between 66% and 85%. CO2 alone makes up between 9 and 26%, while the O3 and the other minor GHG absorbers consist of up to 7 and 8% of the effect, respectively.

    It is through same all the way through the article. A sensible reader couldn’t possibly miss the lesson: you cannot break up the effect into a simple sum of parts, or do simple linearizations. The 18% is right in the middle of the 9% to 26% range mentioned in 2005; and GlenFergus has cherry picked the lowest number for reasons it would be unkind to speculate upon.

    Just to underline what should be plain as a pikestaff in the original article. This range of numbers 9% to 26% is not an indication of uncertainty. It does not mean that the real number is uncertain. It means that the notion of a simple proportionate contribution is meaningless. The various parts work together and interact in reasonably well understood nonlinear ways; and that nonlinear combination works out to CO2 having about around 9% to 26% of the total greenhouse effect; depending only on how you decide to make the linear oversimplication.

    Comment by Duae Quartunciae — 25 Jul 2008 @ 10:17 PM

  72. This may be slightly off topic, but as y’all are discussing disinformation campaigns, I am unhappy to report that Big Oil is bringing the same down here to Brazil (where I have been living the past 11 years). It feeds the Brazilian sense of natural pride that they are self-sufficient in oil via the national oil company Petrobras.

    To my utter dismay, the Brazilian weekly magazine, Veja (similar to Time), published a prominent three-page interview with Patrick Michaels of the University of Virginia (and also associated with the infamous Cato Institute), wherein he proclaimed global warming would not cause any catastrophes and hauled out all the usual denialist junk science arguments that sound perfectly reasonable to the uninitiate. Worse, there were no counterarguments published.

    What makes this particularly egregious is that Veja magazine is just about the only Brazilian news outlet that is not owned by Globo, and as such one generally expects Veja to publish the real nitty-gritty, unlike the Globo news outlets. That is to say, readers usually believe in what Veja publishes.

    This is the link to the interview, in Portuguese:

    http://arquivoetc.blogspot.com/2008/06/veja-entrevista-patrick-michaels.html

    If anyone would like to see an English translation, just say so. It wouldn’t be very difficult for me to translate because I have seen these same junk science “arguments” in English, over and over again.

    The worst thing about the interview is Michaels’ tone of absolute confidence in what he says, as if what he says is irrefutable.

    It is distressing to see that Exxon’s tactics are being bought wholesale by Petrobras, and Veja fell for it. And, here in Brazil, there has really been no denialism showing up in the media before this present instance, and the Brazilian public largely agrees with the concept of global warming.

    I am sure we can expect to see more of this sort of thing down here.

    The problem of CO2 emissions by Brazil is only going to get worse. At least 4 million new cars were sold here last year, and investment in public transportation infrastructure has been minimal. Daily traffic jams in São Paulo are in the hundreds of kilometers. Huge numbers of drivers spend 3 to 4 hours going to work and the same going home because of inadequate public transportation. There has been a phenomenal growth in the middle class, and they are mostly all driving to work.

    This guy, Patrick Michaels, was asked about the fact that he receives funding from energy companies, and unbelievably he stated that this means that his work is even more reliable because it is so thoroughly scrutinized by the vast number of scientists who disagree with him.

    Do you guys have any opinions on this?

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 25 Jul 2008 @ 10:18 PM

  73. Actually there is a recent paper in GRL that argues for a climate sensitivity at the low end (or lower) of the IPCC projections; see http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2007GL032759.shtml . This is making use of paleoclimatic data, rather than full-blown GCM’s, where authors equate the sum of greenhouse gas forcing, aerosol forcing, and surface albedo forcing…assume a fixed climate sensitivity between the LGM and 42 KYBP…and estimate the climate sensitivity. It’s an interesting technique, though it seems very dicey to me. Dust is not a globally-mixed tracer and Antarctic dust records differ from northern ones. You also need to be careful about high-frequency vs. low-frequency changes (Vostok may correlate fairly well with global temperatures for slow things, but there is a high-frequency overprint seesawed with the north that should be filtered out), and they have picked a low temperature change globally that lowers the sensitivity. Also need to correct the dust for changing dilution by accumulation rates which are not very well known, or changing source conditions.

    Perhaps someone else has further insight here.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 25 Jul 2008 @ 10:27 PM

  74. re: Monckton

    “Did Lord Monckton fabricate a claim on his Wikipedia page?”

    George Monbiot has posted his email thread with Monckton regarding this issue. Oct 2007

    http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2007/10/03/did-lord-monckton-fabricate-a-claim-on-his-wikipedia-page/

    Comment by RPauli — 25 Jul 2008 @ 10:29 PM

  75. Re 66 about climate sensitivity and models’ performance Gavin refers to

    Sanderson, Benjamin M., R. Knutti, T. Aina, C. Christensen, N. Faull, D. J. Frame, W. J. Ingram, C. Piani, D. A. Stainforth, D. A. Stone, and M. R. Allen, 2008. Constraints on Model Response to Greenhouse Gas Forcing and the Role of Subgrid-Scale Processes. Journal of Climate Vol. 21, No 11, pp. 2384-2400, June 2008, online http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/sanderson08jc.pdf

    The study is about climatepredition.net which was loudly introduced but crashed. The layman readers of this blog need to know only the following extracts of this study:

    “…Rougier (2007) described the difference between
    models and the climate itself to be a sum of two parts:
    a reducible and an irreducible part. The reducible
    part may be lessened by a better choice of model
    parameters, while the irreducible part is a “systematic
    error”—a result of model imperfections that cannot be
    removed by “tuning” parameters….

    5. Conclusions

    …We have found that the perfect model state may be unattainable
    through parameter perturbations alone…”

    The list what modellers still need is well, long…

    Comment by Timo Hämeranta — 26 Jul 2008 @ 3:24 AM

  76. Let me reiterate a point I feel compelled to make a few times a year:

    There was a period when the climate denialists were bad-mouthing peer review? Remember? Saying it was overrated and didn’t function as claimed, etc. etc.

    Then they were saying the money climate researchers wanted for data was some sort of pork barrel and their motivation for pushing “mythical” AGW.

    Throughout the process they’ve attacked the idea of a consensus on what data means – “science is not done by consensus” was their battle cry.

    Throughout the process, they’ve attacked the idea of global circulation models and global climate models. “models don’t prove anything, you just tamper with parameters to make your theory look good.”

    But here’s the thing. You cannot do science without data, peer review, some sort of model, or an attempt to get other scientists to agree with you. Those are the 4 pillars of anything that can be called science.

    There really is no scientific stone left unturned. This is why I am so disrespectful of, e.g., Akasofu. Moreso, now, even than the ID/creationist people, the climate denialists are engaged in a full-out assault – not on climate science, not on scientists like Hansen or Mann – but on SCIENCE. All science.

    This is why, in a much more repressive environment than ours in the US, Britain, Australia, etc., Soviet biologists, especially geneticists, resisted Lysenkoism, in certain peril of their careers and in some cases their lives or freedom. Not because of the ill effects of neo-Lamarckianism – I think – because historical accounts overstate the problems with agriculture, etc. But because if you say in evolutionary biology someone’s connections or ideological purity trump science, science is gone. And you won’t confine it to biology, because the same rationale – play it safe, who cares about one area of the subject, just research somewhere else, and maybe a dozen or so people are going to have to drop out academically, so what? – is going to potentially repeat itself.

    Comment by Marion Delgado — 26 Jul 2008 @ 3:29 AM

  77. Glen, are you referring to the number at the beginning of that thread?

    Where it says:

    “… of the greenhouse effect … CO2 alone makes up between 9 and 26%” in the first post of that thread?

    Where it says “One way to quantify this is to take a radiation model and remove each long-wave absorber …. This gives the minimum effect …. The complementary calculation, using only each particular absorber in turn, gives the maximum effect. … This isn’t a perfect calculation but it’s quick and easy and is close enough to the right answer for our purposes.”?

    That’s the thread you link to — same one where in the early part of the responses, you see:

    “[Response: This was intended as a very rough “back-of-envelope”.... All I wanted to say is: this quick-and-dirty estimate already shows that a 2% increase in greenhouse effect is not a negligible effect, so people who are telling the public “don’t worry, it is only 2%” are making a bogus argument. -Stefan]

    Did I miss a more precise number somewhere you’re asking about?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Jul 2008 @ 4:33 AM

  78. You lot are SO suffering from group think whatever the deficiencies of Monckton’s rather over worked article. Has the history of science taught you nothing? The ice sheet over the UK in the last ice age reached to Finchley Road, yet hippos like animal fossils were also unearthed at Trafalgar square (that’s just a few miles away). Whatever you say about ‘triggers’ the fact is that the Earth will do this periodically anyway and that is irrefutable evidence based fact, not some model based theory. I suspect the world will find, canute like, that decreasing CO2 flattens a small hill in advance of an advancing and entirely natural mountain.

    Comment by PJ Smith — 26 Jul 2008 @ 6:21 AM

  79. Clear Thinker,

    I would be glad to debate Lord Monckton. It might be difficult to arrange physically as I have been unemployed since February and have no source of income. But if some third party will buy tickets and hall space, I’ll be there.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 26 Jul 2008 @ 6:51 AM

  80. Hi guys

    Just a simple post (hopefully). I am fairly scientifically and technically literate, but hopelessly lost in the detail of global climate models.

    I got started on this from a link in Ray Kurzweils web site. The paper by Monckton had me starting to think that maybe there was reason to doubt all the certainty on global warming (along with some brief discussions with a friend who is a prof of electrical engineering).

    Now after skimming this site, I am probably more confused, but fairly confident on the status quo – mainly because there are many people here who seem to know what they are talking about who support the ‘consensus’ view on GW.

    I then find another link

    http://www.skeptic.com/the_magazine/featured_articles/v14n01_climate_of_belief.html

    that gives me pause for thought.

    I know many of you are too busy to spend too much time on this, but it seems to me it would be helpful for a clear and simple rebuttal of these kinds of ideas to be published both here (in a kind of ‘sticky’ post) and elsehwhere. It really needs to be on the level of a media article rather than a tech paper (maybe I’m asking the wrong people here).

    It should cover point for point some of the doubts raised, such as – ice levels decreasing?, global temp now cooling?, too many assumptions in models?, vital factors left out of models?, chaotic processes inherently upredictable? Too much uncertainty in predictions to make them useful?

    There was something like this by New Scienist a while ago, but needs updating.

    Could I (folornly) make a plea for calm rational debate. So many sites like this seem to attract vituperous and ranting comments, along with the honest and sensible ones.

    Glad to say the weather here (Gloucestershire) is now getting warm and sunny, after a miserable summer. See – global cooling :)

    Comment by Joe Atiyah — 26 Jul 2008 @ 7:16 AM

  81. Gavin, many thanks for the reply to #67, greatly appreciated, but forgive me spelling it out in a bit more detail: while you understandably trash his attempt to rewrite the equation himself, and in delightful detail, could you also rebut those of Monckton’s statements where he tries to show weaknesses in *your* calculations? Like -

    > It is of no little significance that the IPCC’s value for the coefficient in the CO2 forcing equation depends on only one paper in the literature

    [Response: This is nonsense. All line-by-line models give the same answers, and there are dozens of descriptions of this in the literature (Collins et al, 2006 is just one (more) example). Monckton confuses citation practice (i.e. people tend to cite the first paper that described a concept) with actual practice. - gavin]

    > its values for the feedbacks that it believes account for two-thirds of humankind’s effect on global temperatures are likewise taken from only one paper

    [Response: Again, completely wrong. Any paper that has estimates climate sensitivity implies a value for the feedbacks and there have been tons of such papers (see our climate sensitivity section in the Index). - gavin]

    > The IPCC has not drawn on thousands of published, peer-reviewed papers to support its central estimates for the variables from which climate sensitivity is calculated, but on a handful.

    [Response: This demonstrates quite clearly how poor Monckton's understanding of the process is. The IPCC does draw on thousands of papers (look at the bibliography), but in condensing down any one section to something readable, one always looks for the most typical paper to cite. This is not going to be an outlier result that no-one agrees with, but either a pioneering description or overview paper that encapsulates the concept at hand. IPCC doesn't cite Hansen et al 1984 because that was the only paper on the subject, but because it was a defining paper, and one whose results (in this specific topic) really haven't been superseded. An analogy would be someone citing Principia Mathematica for the derivation of Newton's Laws, and a reader concluding that no-one has been able to duplicate his work because there is no cite from the 20th Century. - gavin]

    Apologies for copying his words in here, but what does he mean by those statements (in as layman terms as possible) and why are those statements wrong or irrelevant?

    I feel embarrassed to ask, since if the scientific community is indeed standing behind the IPCC’s conclusions, then clearly such claims must be wrong (or irrelevant) — but as a lay believer it’d be nice to know why.

    Comment by Amanda Stone — 26 Jul 2008 @ 7:22 AM

  82. Hi PJ Smith. I’m always intrigued when sceptics (I’m assuming this is what you are)start spouting nonsense about Quaternary science. How do you know that the UK was once covered by an ice sheet? I’m assuming you have never done research on contemporary or past ice sheets. You know this because Quaternary scientists (like me) did the research. Well, Quaternary scientists are now pointing out that the palaeoclimate record shows that the climate can be rather unstable….and not necessarily conducive to the maintenance of stable civilisations. So, why do you accept our arguments about past ice sheets, but not our warnings about experimenting with the climate system?

    By the way, hippos weren’t around in the UK at the time of the maximum of the Anglian ice sheet.

    Comment by san quintin — 26 Jul 2008 @ 7:32 AM

  83. Re #76–I’ve noticed that Roy Spencer, to take one denialist better-credentialed than the average, is also an advocate for Intelligent Design. I’ve speculated that the two ideologies may be linked, for either intrinsic or extrinsic reasons. Is there a pattern of such linkage, or is the case of Spencer a fluke?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 26 Jul 2008 @ 7:49 AM

  84. SecularAnimist (54) I admire the attempt. It’s pretty hard to call someone “…a “troll”, who is repetitively posting fake, phony, scripted, long-ago and many-times-over debunked, Exxon-Mobil sponsored, global warming denialist drivel. …” with respect and politeness.

    Comment by Rod B — 26 Jul 2008 @ 9:46 AM

  85. Re # 78 PJ Smith:

    the fact is that the Earth will do this periodically anyway

    Every effect must have a cause- climate doesn’t just change for the sake of change,with no driving force. So, what caused the climate to change in the past? And what is causing it to change right now?

    Believe it or not, many, many scientists have put a lot of time and energy into answering those questions. And they have a pretty good understanding of the major factors that influence climate currently and in the past.

    Comment by Chuck Booth — 26 Jul 2008 @ 10:13 AM

  86. Thanks gavin, for the Sanderson link in 66.

    However, I think it does support my point in challenging Ray, that it is possible to construct a model using parameters that do not violate _well known_ limits that has a sensitivity less than 1.5 K.

    Sanderson: “Each parameter is perturbed discretely and may assume one of two or three possible values, which represent estimates of the extremes of the range of current uncertainty in the value of that parameter (which were established).
    through expert solicitation).

    Figure 4 in Sanderson shows several models produced this way with sensitivity (labeled ‘Actual Climate Sensitivity’ in the figure) less than 1.5 K.

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 26 Jul 2008 @ 10:31 AM

  87. Re #81 Amanda Stone:

    I feel embarrassed to ask, since if the scientific community is indeed standing behind the IPCC’s conclusions, then clearly such claims must be wrong (or irrelevant) — but as a lay believer it’d be nice to know why.

    Perhaps because, as some would put it, Monckton is a ‘piece of work’?

    Perhaps the one who ought to feel embarrassed is not you?

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 26 Jul 2008 @ 10:39 AM

  88. #80 Joe Atiyah,

    Re the Sceptics article by Pat Frank. I’ve not read it…

    But search for “Frank” on this page that article is addressed in the comments.

    To save my time I employ a simple rule: “If it’s not published in a reputable peer reviewed journal I don’t bother reading it.” If it is of worth it will persuade the professionals and eventually be accepted. That rule is also vital for an amateur like me who doesn’t always know enough to see why something is wrong.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 26 Jul 2008 @ 11:27 AM

  89. PJ Smith wrote: “… the Earth will do this periodically anyway and that is irrefutable evidence based fact, not some model based theory …”

    It is “irrefutable evidence based fact” that (1) human activities, principally the burning of fossil fuels, are releasing large amounts of CO2 and other “greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere, that (2) the resulting increased concentration of these gases in the atmosphere is causing the Earth system to retain more of the sun’s heat, that (3) the Earth is getting hotter as a result, and that (4) this anthropogenic warming is causing rapid changes in the Earth’s climate, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere. These statements are all based on direct empirical observation. None of them depend on any “model based theory”. They are facts.

    Moreover, there is nothing that the Earth system, the sun, orbital cycles, etc. are known to do “periodically anyway”, or are observed to be doing now, that can account for the observed rapid heating of the Earth system. That idea is not even a “model based theory” — it is pure speculation unsupported by any model, theory or observation.

    Really, what is it that makes you think that you have found the simple, obvious reason why anthropogenic global warming is not happening and cannot be happening — the simple and obvious reason that has somehow eluded the diligent attention of thousands of climate scientists who have studied this issue over decades?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 26 Jul 2008 @ 11:42 AM

  90. Steve Reynolds, reading Sanderson — did you get to the Conclusions section? You’re noticing that it’s possible to fiddle _one_ parameter and get what you’d like to see, but read on to where they describe the limits when trying to match more than one.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Jul 2008 @ 11:47 AM

  91. Welcome to RealClimate, Joe!

    One of the cool things about this site is that you can search on citations and retrieve in-depth discussions.

    For example, the Patrick Frank story in Skeptic cites Baliunas (2001) up front. You can stick “Baliunas” into the search engine at the top of this page, and you’ll see several threads that thoroughly dismantle this paper. Skeptic should know better.

    With this tool, you can quickly separate the wheat from the chaff. Have fun!

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 26 Jul 2008 @ 12:14 PM

  92. Tenney Naumer (72) — Read comment #87 and apply to your instance.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 26 Jul 2008 @ 2:36 PM

  93. Joe #80,

    Could I (folornly) make a plea for calm rational debate. So many sites like this seem to attract vituperous and ranting comments, along with the honest and sensible ones.

    Mea culpa… you see, you are in a vulnerable position if you are defending something you dearly believe in.

    Sometimes denialists try do depict the awareness of the human influence on climate as a ‘religion’. That is insulting to both scientists and (presumably) religious people, but there is a grain of truth in it: we scientists do devoutly believe in some things, such as that finding out how the Universe really works is a worthwhile, even noble, endeavour that serves mankind. This belief is science, not global warming. There is a professional code of ethics, of honour, that comes with it.

    Imagine yourself black, and someone shouting “you filthy [degrading refernce to dark-skinned person]“. It hurts. Everybody has these buttons, this is our button. (Remember the French soccer player who lashed out during his goodbye match? TV showed the blow but not the insult.) You have to brace yourself before formulating a lawyerly polite answer. The opposition doesn’t have this problem — they are lawyers already, and will never be scientists.

    Your job will be fairly easy if you realise that there is a judgement-of-character element to it in addition to the science. Once you catch someone on a blatant lie in a readily checkable matter of fact, that will save you some further footwork where that person is concerned ;-)

    BTW Welcome to RC!

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 26 Jul 2008 @ 2:56 PM

  94. Steve Reynolds, If your goal is to construct a model that has no correspondence with Earth’s climate, I am willing to concede that one can construct a model with sensitivity less than 1.5 degrees per doubling. That, is after all, the takeaway from figure 7. What is particularly interesting to me is how much more forgiving the models are on the high end of sensitivity than they are on the low end. I really wouldn’t take this study as yielding any comfort to denialists.

    Gavin, thanks for this paper.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Jul 2008 @ 3:07 PM

  95. Secular Animist, everyobody agrees we affect our environment. The question is how much? There is still a wide range of projections within the pro-AGW community. For instance there is disagreement about feedback unknowns, some due to human behavior unknowns. Is the outlook ok, bad, or dismal? The season for skepticism is not over.

    Comment by Michael — 26 Jul 2008 @ 3:29 PM

  96. Ray: “What is particularly interesting to me is how much more forgiving the models are on the high end of sensitivity than they are on the low end.”

    That is a very selective read of the results. For observations we know most accurately (such as seasonal temperature variations), I reach the opposite conclusion.

    Hank: “…it’s possible to fiddle _one_ parameter and get what you’d like to see, but read on to where they describe the limits when trying to match more than one.”

    Yes, none of the models appear to be very good. I assume the NASA model is much better. I wonder how it would look with similar perturbations.

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 26 Jul 2008 @ 3:31 PM

  97. http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008GL034071.shtml

    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 35, L14703, doi:10.1029/2008GL034071, 2008

    When can we expect extremely high surface temperatures?

    “… values in excess of 50°C in Australia, India, the Middle East, North Africa, the Sahel and equatorial and subtropical South America at the end of the century.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Jul 2008 @ 4:24 PM

  98. I am so sad to continue to hear the herd mentallity of anthropogenic causes for global warming. You have so much to learn. There are so many sources that diagree, where do I start.

    First look at this webiste that show no correlation between CO2 and temperature for thae last 700m years. look at chart 2

    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html

    For those who are interested in facts, not emotion:

    Here is another fact based website that establishes man’s non-contribution to green house gases. Supporting that 95% of green house gases are from water vapor. Including CO2 (0.28%) and H2O, we contribtue no more that 5.5%. Do you know that in the other referenced website I gave that CO2 was as high as 7000ppm during the last 700M years. We are now at 380ppm or CO2. If we contribute only 0.28% of CO2 that would add only 10ppm for a total of 390, far from 8000ppm that natural forces conrtibutes. Please read.

    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html

    enjoy your education

    Steve

    [Response: Education! You know, you should try it. The paleo-climate picture is a terrible cartoon of what happened. You are much better off with the more up-to-date fig 6.1 in AR4 (p441). And the nonsense at your second link has been dealt with here. Please try to do better next time (and PS. don't submit the same comment to multiple threads). - gavin]

    Comment by Steve — 26 Jul 2008 @ 5:06 PM

  99. Steve,

    You go to an anonymous web site that makes a bunch of claims about global warming not being real–obviously must be the truth. You iggnore the IPCC and Realclimate web sites, with documents/references from climate scientists–what would they know about this subject?

    Using this reasoning, if you had cancer you would go get Laetrile instead of seeing an oncologist. Makes about as much sense.

    I note that the web site you referenced quotes an articel by Dr. Fred Singer. It may be useful to educate yourself on who Dr. Singer is:

    http://www.desmogblog.com/node/1478

    That really tells me all I need to know.

    Comment by John Hollenberg — 26 Jul 2008 @ 7:38 PM

  100. #75 Timo writes, from the magical world of zero-residual modeling:

    The list what modellers still need is well, long…..

    Not really… infinite-power computing would do just fine for starters. Gets rid of those pesky discretization effects. And then, error free forcings. (And you wouldn’t believe zero-residual modelling results anyway… neither would I.)

    Why don’t you come up with an original fallacy next time. This is the tired old (or should I say classic) “If you don’t know everything, you know nothing”.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 26 Jul 2008 @ 8:41 PM

  101. Re 98:

    Oh gawds, not that hilarious website! Something worth noting — the page for the first link was last updated in 2006, the page for the second link was last updated in 2003. You’d think they’d at least make an effort to present some fresh nonsense.

    Comment by spilgard — 26 Jul 2008 @ 8:42 PM

  102. It is interesting to me that some here want to claim that if a researcher does not have expertise in a particular field than his or her opinion does not have worth. One thing that all scientist share is a scientific intuition. I am not a climate scientist, but I do science research for a living. This means that I would not be able to have a detailed discussion on the current research in the field, but I would be able to spot something that didn’t quite add up with my physical intuition. I attend seminars and talks on a weekly basis and the research I hear about is rarely on the topic I study, but I know what parts of the research are worth-while and what parts are rife with problems. I am expected to be able to do this. Science as a social endeavor is built on this fact.

    I am skeptical of AGW, but it is because I have yet to see a true smoking gun on this issue. This does not make me a denier because I don’t think there is smoking gun either way. Someone else posted, I apologize for not citing exactly who the writer was, that skepticism should be even-handed and I think this is true. True skepticism means that you have not made your mind up on an issue, and I think that it is a bit unfortunate that so many people have made up their minds on something that is under the scrutiny of on-going research. Its troubling to me that as science becomes more and more specialize, along with basically everything else in society, that we are forgetting how similar all of our work is, maybe not in scope, but in practice and that these similarities give all scientists, independent of discipline, a better view of how to interpret what other fields are doing if these projects have some level of merit. I’m sure that I could give a talk on my research to a group of climatologists and there would be some questions as to what is feasible and what types of systematic errors can be introduced by the way I ask my research questions. Why would I not able to see theirs?

    Comment by maxwell — 26 Jul 2008 @ 9:02 PM

  103. Steve Reynolds, I agree that for annual + seasonal temperatue, the distribution is symmetric–but look where it is centered (>5)! If your goal is low sensitivity–that’s not the one you want to upweight.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Jul 2008 @ 10:17 PM

  104. So, Maxwell, I am curious what branch of “science” you may be in that gives you such expertise in areas you’ve never cracked a book in. I myself had to devote months of study before I understood just some of the more subtle points about climate.
    Just curious, how do you explain simultaneous tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling if not by a greenhouse mechanism?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Jul 2008 @ 10:26 PM

  105. > some here want to claim … value
    > true skepticism means … an issue

    For very small local values of “issue” yes.
    Did you check Monckton’s math in the posting at the top of the page?
    Did it add up for you?

    Skepticism means being able to handle uncertainty, too.

    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/global_warming.png

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Jul 2008 @ 10:30 PM

  106. As a response to maxwell (102),

    I agree that people who are not experts can still be conversant in a particular area. I do find it strange that some would claim otherwise. At the same time, it does take a fair degree of arrogance to claim that the mainstream scientific community is all wrong when you yourself have not been sufficiently educated in a particular area. Asking questions or “conversing” or putting out ideas is something else entirely.

    All scientists should be trained skeptics. When new ideas come out there should be sufficient evidence, scientists should examine them very closely, be able to reproduce them, etc. At the time Wegener proposed that continents were slowly drifting around the Earth, the scientific community was right in not jumping onto the idea quickly (even though Wegener turned out to be right)…it wasn’t because they were all ignorant, but there was not yet sufficient evidence or mechanisms to warrant a paradigm shift. Some like Shaviv or Svensmark would have the whole scientific community jump onto the idea that every deep-time climate problem, as well as modern day global warming, can all be explained by cosmic rays when such an effect has not yet been sufficiently quantified. Qualitatively they cannot even tell you the sign of what more cosmic rays should do since they cannot explain why high clouds should not respond just as much (or more) than low clouds (or even if cosmic rays even have a significant impacts on clouds). Most of the time such proposals are at least reasonable, but generally there are a few deviant people who put far too much confidence in their idea and claim very dogmatically that everyone else is wrong…generally they contain what Damon and Laut call “patterns of strange errors” (which was about the nicest way to put it!).

    The reason the whole scientific community has not jumped on to the cosmic ray bandwagon is not because they’d lose funding, they are all liberals, they’re all “bias,” or what have you…it’s because the evidence is not yet there, and in fact there is sufficient counter-evidence to the idea cosmic rays are not causing modern warming. Similarily, the usuals like Bob Carter, Roy Spencer, Lindzen, Pat Michaels, Tim Ball, Anthony Watts, etc have all put out counter-arguments against AGW and not one of them has shown to be a real rebuttal to the idea. What’s more, most of the time the ideas are not even reasonable, but demonstrate such ignorance of the basics that motives need to be considered; and when you cry wolf too many times, then if you actually have a good idea the 100th time around, people are less likely to listen. The fact these scientists are still publishng their ideas in the primary literature and having lots of time devoted to addressing them shows me that the mainstream community is tolerent of ideas, and definitely not bias.

    Here we come to skepticism vs. denialism. Skepticism does not mean that we should reject every idea out there, or even that we need 100% proof of an idea (it doesn’t exist in science). There should be explanatory and predictive power, be a consistent explanation of collected data sets, and spawn a range of tests that can be borne out. For AGW, an ideal experiment would be to have a “duplicate planet” where all conditions are held constant, and we increase CO2 on one, and hold conditions constant on the other…and see the changes after decades to centuries. Obviously this is not possible. We can use our GCM’s to simulate changes with/without anthropogenic interference (See Meehl et al 2004), we can look at the paleoclimate record, climate on other planets, examine the underlying physics, examine the observed changes in the atmosphere, among other things.

    The fact is that CO2 plays as fundamental a role in planetary climate as evolution does in biology– and is probably the largest reason for climate variation over geologic timescales. From hothouses to snowballs, climate on Venus, modern change, etc there is really no plausible reason to believe that doubling CO2 in the atmosphere will not change climate. From a purely theoretical perspective, reducing the rate of energy loss to space should warm the planet. Observationally, many “fingerprints” such as stratospheric cooling, lack of trends on solar activity, decreases in the diurnal and seasonal temperature gradients, heat going on the ocean, etc allow us to say now with high confidence that humans are causing at least most of the observed rise over the 20th century.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 26 Jul 2008 @ 11:41 PM

  107. maxwell:
    So, what have you studied so far about climate science?
    START HERE? IPCC AR4′s SPM & TS?
    What else? and what sources do you trust?

    It is *quite* plausible for a classic skeptic to approach a new domain by saying:

    “I don’t know, but I haven’t studied it yet, so I have yet to form a clear opinion. What should I study to get more informed?”

    If a classic skeptic knows that there is a powerful consensus (not unanimity, since that’s rare) among the real practitioners of a field about some (not all) aspects of a problem, then they might say:

    “I don’t yet understand this, but it’s a good bet that the practioners’ consensus is as good an approximation as we have, and if I care enough to express an opinion, either I’ll go with the consensus by default, or:

    a) I’ll study hard.
    b) I’ll keep a list of issues that worry me about the consensus, or that I know I don’t understand, study them, watch for new data, or errors, and see how the list evolves.

    Any reasonable skeptic who actually studies problems should have such a list. Can you provide yours? Say, the top 5-10 issues?

    [When there is a real scientific controversy, the list in b) tends to jiggle around. As a consensus evolves, the list shrinks, or the error bounds shrink, or both. For instance, it was once a rational concern to wonder why satellites and surface temperatures didn't agree as much as expected. one could figure that 1) the ground stations were wrong, 2) the satellites were wrong, or 3) some of each. Satellite computation errors got fixed, issue came off the list.]

    and
    c) I’ll give a fair look at those disagreeing with the consensus, and I’ll watch them over time, and see if their arguments hold up.

    BUT, if someone maintains skepticism of the consensus without seriously studying the science, another classic skeptic might just wonder why.

    Comment by John Mashey — 27 Jul 2008 @ 12:42 AM

  108. Well, have at it, Maxwell. Tell us all that’s wrong with climate science, based on your “physical intuition”, rather than analysis. One thing science teaches us is, of course, that “physical intuition” is often flat-out wrong, which kinda makes me dismiss your hand-waving effort here, particular the part that states “as a scientist…”

    Comment by dhogaza — 27 Jul 2008 @ 1:47 AM

  109. George Monbiot wisdom:

    “…the problem is not that people aren’t hearing about climate change, but that they don’t want to know. The professional classes have the most freedom to lose and the least to gain from an attempt to restrain it. Those who are most responsible for carbon pollution are – being insulated by their money – the least likely to suffer its effects.

    …we all have our self-justifying myths. We tell ourselves a story of our lives in which we almost always appear as the heroes. These myths prevent us from engaging with climate change…

    …The most powerful story of all, endlessly narrated by the hired hands of the fossil fuel industry, just as it was once told by the sugar slavers, is that we are both all-important and utterly insignificant. We are too important to be denied any of the delights we crave, but too insignificant to exert any impact on planetary processes. We fill the whole frame of the story when it suits us and shrink to a dot when that scale is more convenient. We are capable of occupying both niches simultaneously.

    It is not just because The Great Global Warming Swindle is at odds with the entire body of scientific knowledge on this subject that I have bothered to contest it. It is also because it is consonant with the entire body of human self-deception. We want to be misled, we crave it; and we will bend our minds into whatever shape they need to take in order not to face our brutal truths…
    http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2008/07/21/the-self-justifying-myth/
    – George Monbiot 7-22-08

    Comment by RPauli — 27 Jul 2008 @ 2:10 AM

  110. Re 100. Martin, please notice that I have never argued “If you don’t know everything, you know nothing”.

    Instead I have stated we don’t have an all-inclusive Theory of Climate, yet, and probably not in decades to come.

    Instead of this endless and pointless ‘mainstream’ vs. denialist debates I see the real differences between real scientists as follows:

    - certain scientists are (more) interested in probabilities, and
    - certain scientists are (more) interested in prevailing (huge) uncertainties.

    If you are interested in details please do read the over 7.000 scientific studies I have in recent years, and new ones pop up every week, e.g.

    White, Jeffrey R., R. D. Shannon, J. F. Weltzin, J. Pastor, and S. D. Bridgham, 2008. Effects of soil warming and drying on methane cycling in a northern peatland mesocosm study. J. Geophys. Res. – Biogeosciences, 113, G00A06, doi:10.1029/2007JG000609, July 26, 2008

    “…Our results illustrate the need for a more robust understanding of the multiple feedbacks between climate forcing and plant and microbial feedbacks in the response of northern peatlands to climate change.”

    Comment by Timo Hämeranta — 27 Jul 2008 @ 2:21 AM

  111. #102 maxwell says “I am skeptical of AGW, but it is because I have yet to see a true smoking gun on this issue.”

    We hear comments about this all the time – no smoking gun, no proof, no evidence, blah blah blah.

    Hundreds of peer-reviewed papers, mountains of data, climate models, statistical analysis, even basic logic – none of it stacks up, apparently.

    But none of the so-called skeptics ever seem to say just what standard of proof hasn’t been satisfied.

    So, maxwell, now’s your opportunity. Just what would constitute a smoking gun for you?

    Precisely what would appeal to your “physical intuition”?

    Comment by Garry S-J — 27 Jul 2008 @ 3:41 AM

  112. Re #102, What smoking gun are you needing to see. Surely the theory of GHG is good enough ti know that regardless of a warming world or melting summer Arctic sea ice levels etc that a theory is sound scientifically.

    What makes you skeptical? Is it the medias take on the subject or the real science as explained here at RC?

    Is the IPCC lying to you, is James Hansen, Is Gavin Schmidt ? What reason would they have to mess with science in such a manner. I am sure that they would be found out quite quickly as science has a habit of doing that. Scienctists are conservative and intelligent enough to check other peoples work post peer review. It is simply absurd to even state that a scientist would be a skeptic without having read around the evidence available before ocommenting surely ?

    Comment by pete best — 27 Jul 2008 @ 5:03 AM

  113. #71 Duae Quartunciae:

    Mate, sometimes it pays to assume good faith. Try it. The figures we’re talking here have nought to do with the 26% number from 2005, which is LWR absorption remaining if all GHGs except CO2 are removed. So saying that the 18% here (just CO2 removed) falls midway between 9% reduction (just CO2 removed!) and 26% remaining (all but CO2 removed) is to completely miss the point.

    #77 Hank:

    No, I mean the 91% for “Fraction LW absorbed” in Gavin’s table, against “Removed absorbers” – “CO2″. That is, of course, where the 9% you refer to comes from.

    The forcing quoted in the 2005 table against “CO2 removed” is -23 W/m2, but that is at tropopause level, not top of atmosphere. 23/140 (total LWR absorption used there) would still be 16% not 9%, so it seems the level at which radiative forcing is defined makes a large difference. Or am I just missing something? I’m guessing the -28 W/m2 here must also be at tropopause level, hence the discrepancy.

    [This one is a denosphere favorite. I beat up of it in the national media here only last week. It would be nice to have the story completely clear and unambiguous.]

    G.

    [Response: There is a confusion here. The forcing is defined as the net change in at the tropopause, while the percentage numbers discussed are the change in LW_SURF-LW_TOA - they aren't the same, and there is no contradiction if the percentages don't match. The differences are related to the stratospheric response and a (small) term related to LW reflection from the surface. On the original page, the 9% change in the absence of CO2 is associated with a forcing of -23 W/m2. The number I gave earlier is a more up-to-date calculation that does a better job than the blog post, but still, forcing is not simply equal to the 'greenhouse effect % change'. I don't have all the numbers in front of me, but I'll take a closer look later. - gavin]

    Comment by GlenFergus — 27 Jul 2008 @ 5:39 AM

  114. Michael #95

    How do you know how many unknowns are there? How do you KNOW that these unknowns will ALWAYS cause a mitigation to our CO2 production?

    Your list of unknowns is gigantic. Reduce your list and then come back.

    maxwell #102

    You aren’t, however, skeptical of the anti-AGW position. And, since a gun is a complex piece of machinery, stochastic processes in the earths atmosphere will never create one spontaneously, never mind ensure smoke comes out of it. Ergo, unless you tell us what constitutes a “smoking gun” we are left without any ability to converse (this is one reason why you are feeling excluded: you really don’t know enough to know how little you know).

    So why are these not smoking guns?

    a) CO2 up 50% and most of this of a atomic signature irreconcilable with natural processes but easily reconciled with fossil fuel burning.

    b) volume of ice reducing globally.

    c) temperatures now significantly (in a rigorous statistical sense) higher than it has ever been when the earth has been in this particular state (orbital positions et al).

    If these are not “smoking guns” then you really do seem to need a device of high-quality steel to be spontaneously created. Or a big Voice From The Sky saying “yup, you did it”.

    Any proposition you have would have to explain AT LEAST two things and do so better than the current AGW theories:

    1) how the effects of humans on the atomsphere and biosphere are not having as big effect as simple deduction would indicate

    2) what new effect is causing the changes seen

    At the moment all you have is “you could be wrong”. And? So? The Sun could be taken out by an interstellar construction fleet looking to run a Tau Ceti bypass superhighway through our system. Show me it’s *impossible*.

    Yet we don’t argue about the possible appearance of the Vogon fleet, do we? Why’s that? Because it’s damn unlikely to be true.

    Heck, we put people to death for things we can’t PROVE 100% (because we weren’t there). Why is it that we must be 100% proven on all points here?

    That isn’t skepticism. That’s denial.

    Comment by Mark — 27 Jul 2008 @ 5:57 AM

  115. Stratospheric cooling appears to be strongly correlated with significant Volcanic events rather than CO2 or global warming.

    El Chichon in spring 1982 and Pinatubo in June 1991 both increased Stratospheric temperatures by 1.0C to 1.5C which then led to cooling of 1.25C to 1.75C.

    Both events appear to have permanently adjusted the Stratospheric temperatures down by 0.25C but other than these two volcanic influences, Stratospheric temperatures show almost no trend at all.

    http://www.remss.com/msu/msu_data_description.html#msu_amsu_time_series

    [Response: This is the lower stratosphere and trends there are due principally to ozone depletion (with only a small contribution from CO2). The upper stratosphere trends (even the mesosphere trends) are both larger and more tied to CO2. - gavin]

    Comment by Lowell — 27 Jul 2008 @ 8:56 AM

  116. Ray Ladbury: “I agree that for annual + seasonal temperatue, the distribution is symmetric–but look where it is centered (>5)! If your goal is low sensitivity–that’s not the one you want to upweight.”

    Yes, and the seasonal only is centered at about 2K.
    This appears to me to be a fairly poor model (it is rather old).

    The NASA model has sensitivity numbers from 2.4 to 2.8K.

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 27 Jul 2008 @ 8:57 AM

  117. It’s too bad that TVMOB’s denialist opinions weight so heavily on Catholic TV here in the U.S. and in the Vatican. Last Oct he was interviewed as an expert “climate scientist” on EWTN’s “Rome Reports” program. Here’s part of the transcript:

    “Is Pope Benedict the First Eco-Pope?”
    ROME REPORTS
    October 10, 2007
    http://www.romereports.com/index.php?lnk=750&id=461

    Some Catholic scholars question the theory that climate change is manmade. Nor do they believe that the Pope accepts this theory. Instead they think he agrees with the conclusions of a recent Vatican conference, that the climate is changing, but the reasons for it are unknown.

    VISCOUNT CHRISTOPHER MONCKTON (scientist and participant, Vatican Climate Change Conference, 2007): It has been noticed that on the surface of Mars warming has been going on at a rate that is very much parallel to that of what’s happening on Earth. Likewise on the surface of Jupiter. All of these planetary surfaces are exhibiting warming at the same time. Well now, is it SUVs out there in outer space or is it that large, bright, hot object bang in the center of our solar system and for which our solar system get its name. You tell me.

    I had recently started getting cable TV a couple of months earlier, partly so I could see EWTN, and thought about cancelling cable. I’m still thinking about cancelling. The program and by extention the network which aired it is quite demoralizing. We might expect the Exxon folks and those with vested interests to deny AGW and sow seeds of doubt, thereby jeopardizing human and non-human life sustainability into the far future, but why would those responsible for teaching us morals and ethics do so?

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 27 Jul 2008 @ 9:36 AM

  118. GlenFergus #113 — my sincere apologies.

    Comment by Duae Quartunciae — 27 Jul 2008 @ 10:32 AM

  119. Steve Reynolds, Sensitivity as determined by seasonal temperature does indeed favor a lower “best-fit”, but the errors at about 2 degrees become a brick wall. I’ve seen a lot of behavior like that in doing maximum likelihood fits–when you start seeing the errors pick up like that, you know you’ve pretty much reached a bound.
    Regardless of whether the models used are the best, the exercise illustrates what happens if you try to force sensitivity too low–the model becomes unphysical. A model with low sensitivity, but otherwise physically reasonable would be quite an interesting beast scientifically, not to mention its importance politically. As such, you know modellers are trying continually. The fact that nothing has been published speaks volumes about how difficult such a model would be to develop.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Jul 2008 @ 10:48 AM

  120. maxwell wrote: “I am not a climate scientist, but I do science research for a living. This means that I would not be able to have a detailed discussion on the current research in the field, but I would be able to spot something that didn’t quite add up with my physical intuition.”

    I have observed that some people who have genuine expertise in a particular field of knowledge imagine that this somehow bestows upon them expertise and insight regarding other fields of knowledge of which they actually know little. In some cases they imagine that they are somehow endowed with expertise and insight superior to that of others who have studied these other fields of knowledge diligently and in-depth. They seem to think a so highly of their own intelligence as to believe that they can discern the truth about other fields of knowledge simply by applying their formidable and superior powers of pure reason and intuition, unconstrained by actual knowledge of the facts. Oddly enough, more often than not, their ill-informed yet confident pronouncements regarding these other fields of knowledge are spectacularly wrong.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 27 Jul 2008 @ 11:55 AM

  121. Re: #117

    This stuff about warming on Mars and Jupiter has been circulating, of course, and I haven’t, as a complete amateur, given it much credence or concern, because:

    a) It is very tough to measure climate trends on Earth (as denialists always stress) despite many thousands of land- and sea-borne data collections annually, plus the sondes & satellites, yet we are supposed to believe that we know to comparable precision what Mars (with a couple of devices on the ground and one orbiter) and Jupiter (with only telesensing) are doing climatically.

    b) TSI measurements reveal no solar signal helpful to the Monckton case.

    But it does make me wonder: what is the state of actual data on extra-Terrestrial planetary temps? Anybody?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 27 Jul 2008 @ 12:26 PM

  122. Ray: “Sensitivity as determined by seasonal temperature does indeed favor a lower “best-fit”, but the errors at about 2 degrees become a brick wall. I’ve seen a lot of behavior like that in doing maximum likelihood fits–when you start seeing the errors pick up like that, you know you’ve pretty much reached a bound.”

    But you can only draw conclusions like that if you know the model is accurate. That model seems to ‘like’ a 5K sensitivity. With the NASA model that seems to ‘like’ a 2.5K sensitivity, maybe your brick wall would occur at 1K.

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 27 Jul 2008 @ 1:00 PM

  123. On “scientific intuition”: Consistently good scientific intuition is rarer than one might suppose. In those that I think have it, it consists more in knowing what is the right question, rather than in knowing what is the right answer. A belief in one’s own intuition might be responsible for more dogged adherence to wrong ideas than for new, useful ideas. (My own “scientific intuition” has been buffeted sufficiently that I’ve learned when to suspend it!)

    Comment by Pat Cassen — 27 Jul 2008 @ 1:04 PM

  124. Kevin, try these (search limited to 2008 articles):

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?num=20&hl=en&lr=&newwindow=1&scoring=r&q=temperature+Venus+Mars+Jupiter+Saturn+Uranus&as_ylo=2008

    Several of those will lead to answers to date.

    From those hits, this is one to watch for new data:
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/j7l1637kj6151652/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Jul 2008 @ 1:10 PM

  125. SecularAnimist: “I have observed that some people who have genuine expertise in a particular field of knowledge imagine that this somehow bestows upon them expertise and insight regarding other fields of knowledge of which they actually know little…”

    Kind of like some climate experts imagine they understand all the economic consequences of the mitigation requirements they propose?

    [Response: Who might they be? You should surely have noticed that RC does not stray very often into the economics or policy making arena precisely because we are not economists or policy wonks. Therefore your insinuation falls completely flat here. - gavin]

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 27 Jul 2008 @ 1:13 PM

  126. Glen, Duae, Gavin, thanks — picking up on areas where confusion is widely spread is a good thing, albeit exhausting.

    Locating the sources from which confusing numbers are being picked and pulled — citing them when summing up (so people find the new summary when searching on the confused claims) is as always very helpful.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Jul 2008 @ 1:17 PM

  127. @110 Timo Hämeräntä:

    Re 100. Martin, please notice that I have never argued “If you don’t know everything, you know nothing”.

    Actually you did implicitly, not having the belly to flat-out say so.

    The article referred attempts to put meaningful constraints on S in the acknowledged presence of modelling imperfections, i.e., in spite of them… and it’s not good enough for you. What else were we to think?

    …and no, 7000 cherry picked articles ripped out of context like you do with this one do not an argument make. We know about the uncertainties… science isn’t science without them.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 27 Jul 2008 @ 1:53 PM

  128. gavin: “Who might they be? You should surely have noticed that RC does not stray very often into the economics or policy making arena…”

    Just because I made the comment on RC does not mean it was intended to apply to the RC professionals (although some commenters here…).

    One professional it might apply to would be James Hansen.

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 27 Jul 2008 @ 2:55 PM

  129. maxwell #102:

    If you really are a practicing research scientist, reserving judgment on the matter of anhropogenic climate change is simply not good enough. Not doing your homework is acceptable for general citizens not properly backgrounded in physical science — and comes with a moral duty to keep the glove compartment shut in the presence of the innocent mistaking you for knowledgable — but for someone like you, having all the background needed to get up to snuff in half a year max… that’s downright irresponsible!

    …and consider: this is great physics, is one of the great issues affecting mankind this century, and science and scientific understanding is central in it. Science is more than just a job, it’s a calling. Folks look up to us, value our insights (ah well, some people do. Or did, once. Don’t shatter my illusions). Noblesse oblige.

    And, if you really are a scientist, where is your curiosity man! Don’t you want to know?

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 27 Jul 2008 @ 2:57 PM

  130. re 117 & 124:

    Thank you, Hank, for the references. Helpful, if at times heavy going (for me.) Also, I seem as a non-subscriber to be limited to abstracts only. However, the main source seems to be Hammel and Lockwood 2007–I’m sure this will be familiar to many here!

    For those who have missed it, it’s a breathtaking example of how brazen the denialist camp can often be. This summary:

    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2007/05/08/neptune-news/

    would certainly convince the unwary layman. Yet their TSI graph bears no resemblance to that given here:

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

    (It also seems suspiciously weak in that famous 11-year cycle.)

    Without access to the body of HL200, I was stumped by the discrepancy, till I found a blog comment explaining that HL2007 had, strangely, chosen a reconstruction 15 years old as of their publication date.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 27 Jul 2008 @ 4:00 PM

  131. Steve Reynolds–You have to compare apples to apples (or seasonal temperature fit to seasonal temperature fit). You know as well as I do how these things typically go. An initial estimate will have a certain mean or best-fit and a rather large range of errors. Adding more data typically narrows the errors, but doesn’t shift the best fit all that much. This is due to the fact that errors on parameter estimates tend to converge pretty well (Central Limit Theorem), while the extremes of the confidence limits are more sensitive to new data.
    So, yes, you’d get a different value with another model, but you’d likely see the same behavior. Moreover, the fact that we haven’t seen such a low sensitivity despite the intense interest such a model would generate tends to make me think it’s hard to make a model work with such a low sensitivity.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Jul 2008 @ 4:07 PM

  132. Ray Ladbury (130) — SOmewhere I picked up the supposition that the Maunder Minimum makes a good test of GCMs with low (1.9 K) sensitivity; such don’t make the temperature go down enough. Ones with high sensitivity (6.1 K?) make the temperature go down too much.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 27 Jul 2008 @ 5:30 PM

  133. Gavin – the report you wonderfully pick to bits was also being cited by one of Australia’s most popular bloggers and eco-skeptics as another reason why we’re all fine and there’s no need to worry.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/column_seven_graphs_to_end_the_warming_hype/

    I had a bit of a go back on my blog too but if there were cigars on offer, you’d get them.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/couriermail/greenblog/

    Cheers

    Comment by Graham Readfearn — 27 Jul 2008 @ 7:52 PM

  134. Ray: “… it’s hard to make a model work with such a low sensitivity.”

    I can agree that is probably true.

    The IPCC lower limit of 1.5K seems reasonable enough, I just do not yet see it proven by models.

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 27 Jul 2008 @ 9:46 PM

  135. Re 127. Martin, I’m a bit disappointed with you when you had not the belly to flat-out say that Climatology today is still about probabilities.

    Well, not unusual in these contexts…

    I have stated that everyone, whether neutral, ‘mainstream’, alternative, critical, sceptical or denialist, who proclaims certainty only proves limited knowledge and false confidence on models, especially when you try to foresee near or far future climates.

    Comment by Timo Hämeranta — 28 Jul 2008 @ 1:49 AM

  136. Steve #125, that’s a hilarious argument you’re developing there… “Sensitivity must be as low as 1.5 degs because we cannot afford anything higher…” I’m sure you didn’t mean that :-)

    Seriously, this intentionally cultivated misconception that mitigation is unaffordable is behind much denial in circles that never got the difference between ‘is’ and ‘oughtta’ clearly laid out in sunday school. There are affordable solutions by knowledgable people, and there is nothing wrong in pointing this out.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 28 Jul 2008 @ 5:39 AM

  137. Steve writes:

    Supporting that 95% of green house gases are from water vapor. Including CO2 (0.28%) and H2O, we contribtue no more that 5.5%.

    There are two fallacies here.

    1) Water vapor is not “95% of greenhouse gases,” even going by mass (1.27 x 1016 kg for water vapor versus e.g. 3.01 x 1015 kg for carbon dioxide). The clear-sky greenhouse effect can be attributed about 60% to water vapor and 26% to carbon dioxide.

    2) The amount humans are adding each year is small compared to the total, but it isn’t just one year we have to worry about — it’s been going on since the industrial revolution started. 27% of the carbon dioxide now in the air is artificial.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 Jul 2008 @ 6:34 AM

  138. mzxwell posts:

    It is interesting to me that some here want to claim that if a researcher does not have expertise in a particular field than his or her opinion does not have worth.

    That’s because if a researcher does not have expertise in a particular field, th[e]n his or her opinion does not have worth.

    The opinion of a physicist or a biologist on climatology is worth no more than the opinion of a plumber or a career armed robber. If you haven’t studied a field, you can’t speak authoritatively about it.

    On the other hand, if the physicist, biologist, plumber, or robber has taken the time and effort to study and try to understand climatology, then their opinion about that field does have worth.

    But merely being a researcher gives you no authority at all.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 Jul 2008 @ 6:39 AM

  139. In #73, Chris Colose writes: “Actually there is a recent paper in GRL that argues for a climate sensitivity at the low end (or lower) of the IPCC projections; see http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2007GL032759.shtml . [...] It’s an interesting technique, though it seems very dicey to me. [...] Perhaps someone else has further insight here.”

    You’re right to be skeptical (ha!) about the Chylek & Lohmann paper, Chris. See this commentary by James Annan:
    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2008/03/more-chylek-on-sensitivity.html

    Basically, it’s the most extreme example of cherry-picking I’ve seen in years. They basically looked at noisy paleoclimate data and picked the single points in each time period that would yield the lowest estimate of climate sensitivity. Annan points out that if you do the honest thing and look at longer-term averages, “the need for a strong dust forcing simply melts away, and the resulting climate sensitivity estimate of 2-3.9C is entirely unremarkable (and completely consistent with what we already know).”

    Cheers,
    J.

    Comment by J — 28 Jul 2008 @ 7:22 AM

  140. Clear Thinker: I’m sure there are many people who could debate Monckton though I am not sure about the fairness of engaging in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent. This is the same Monckton who would have us believe that forcings are expressed in “watts per square metre per second”. In his detailed paper (now off the Telegraph’s site, even they are capable of embarrassment?) we read “E is radiant energy in watts per square metre per second (wm-2.s-1: hereafter “wm-2”). Yikes. This is like saying we are measuring acceleration, hereafter called speed. If you are going to challenge physics PhDs, you should at least get the high-school level stuff right.

    The anti-AGW astroturfing exercise is an outgrowth of the similar movement to discredit medical science that was uncomfortable to organized tobacco. See Monbiot’s book, Heat. I have links to some of his references on my blog.

    Then there’s a thing put on 5 August by Engineers Australia as part of Australian Engineering week billed as a “Climate Change Seminar” featuring one William Kininmonth who is barely more credible than Monckton and has some loopy theories. It seems that not only the APS is willing to run trolls to get public attention. When I pointed this out to EA via the organizers (sydelecseminar@engineersaustralia.org.au) their response was to try to encourage me to get involved with their future events. No thanks, not until they operate on a professional basis. The invitation to the talk says, “Attendance may be credited towards Engineers Australia’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points”, which is a bit sad for an event that is unlikely to contain anything scientifically valid. And if EA is going to venture into politics, perhaps they should be up front about it.

    Here are the abstracts to save you the bother of downloading the PDF:

    William Kininmonth will describe how the current warmth is not unusual and we are enjoying one of the few equable climate periods of the past several millions years. Climate varies naturally and there is no compelling evidence that industrial carbon dioxide increase has had any significant impact. Predictions of ‘dangerous global warming’ by the IPCC are based on computer models that inadequately represent important processes, especially convection and surface evaporation. As a consequence, the models exaggerate the Earth’s temperature response to carbon dioxide increase.

    George Fox will discuss how proposed national policies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will deleteriously impact on energy security. Proposals to replace fossil-fired power stations, mainly with wind turbines, are not proven on a large scale and would be extremely expensive to implement. Major renewable energy projects, in combination with Carbon Emission Trading Schemes, would likely lead to conventional power station closures, less robust and more expensive electricity supplies, and a shift of industries and employment offshore.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 28 Jul 2008 @ 8:51 AM

  141. Martin, your quotes do not represent anything I wrote.

    Martin: “Seriously, this intentionally cultivated misconception that mitigation is unaffordable is behind much denial…”

    That is the kind of economic denial I was talking about in 125. Solar energy may be the solution eventually, but good luck getting China, India, and Brazil to stop building coal plants now.

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 28 Jul 2008 @ 9:05 AM

  142. Steve Reynolds wrote: “… some climate experts imagine they understand all the economic consequences of the mitigation requirements they propose … One professional it might apply to would be James Hansen.”

    I suggest a better example would be James Lovelock, with regard to his view that nuclear power is “the answer” to global warming. Dr. Lovelock is, in my opinion, one of the great geniuses of our time, and his deep insight into the holistic nature of the Earth’s biosphere makes his views on the consequences of unmitigated anthropogenic global warming and climate change very compelling. However, he is not an expert on energy technologies, and his views on the potential of nuclear power relative to other non-fossil-fuel energy sources such as wind and solar energy, not to mention conservation and efficiency improvements, are ill-informed and misguided. Yet, because he is perceived as an authority on climate change and has spoken out so strongly about the danger it presents, his views on nuclear power — a field where he lacks any expertise — are often cited by proponents of nuclear power as a means to combat climate change.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 28 Jul 2008 @ 9:33 AM

  143. Steve Reynolds wrote: “That is the kind of economic denial I was talking about in 125. Solar energy may be the solution eventually, but good luck getting China, India, and Brazil to stop building coal plants now.”

    You are confused. The people who are building coal-fired power plants are the ones in economic denial, not the people who oppose building such plants. The most egregious form of economic denial is to imagine or pretend that the destructive effects of burning coal have no costs. The entire argument for continuing to burn fossil fuels for even one more day is based on economic denial.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 28 Jul 2008 @ 9:37 AM

  144. Re #143, that may well be true but without a political or economic framework to work to in regard to carbon emissions on a global scale the people who are financing and constructing these power plants will continue to build them. Each plant last around 50 years and hence that guarantees 50 more years of signiifcant and continues carbon emissions. Whatever we build today resonates into the future hence James Hansens comment to not build any more coal fired power stations until CCS is tested and deployed in one working plant.

    Comment by pete best — 28 Jul 2008 @ 10:56 AM

  145. BPL (138), et al; First a clarification: Steve states that questioning from science researchers outside the field has worth, which is different from authority — a subtle but significant distinction. “Authority” implies a different and more precise, though still highly subjective, criteria. By the accepted definition, e.g., you can (and do) claim some within the field have little authority. While questioning from inside the field is probably more credible, at least on the surface, your total rejection of worth coming from outside the field of study completely ignores scientific history and sounds more like a defensive protection of an exclusive fraternity than a scientific process. Also, some outsider fields you say can’t help is just incorrect. Are you claiming for example that a trained physicist can not question or offer help in, say, how, why and how much, and which molecules absorb, store, transfer energy, heat up, or cool down, etc?

    Comment by Rod B — 28 Jul 2008 @ 12:15 PM

  146. #145 [Rod B].
    Rod, can you give examples, preferably from the last century or so, of criticism from outside a specific field overthrowing a scientific consensus in that field, or even making an important difference to a technical argument within it? I’m not saying there aren’t such examples, but for me none spring to mind.

    So far as the contribution of the “trained physicist” is concerned, well “physicist” is a pretty wide term; but as I understand it the physics of the greenhouse effect itself is fairly elementary, and at least a large proportion of climate scientists would know what is necessary well. The difficult science lies in areas such as calculating feedback effects, assessing the effect of complicating factors such as aerosols, and finding and integrating sources of information about past climates – and this is all fairly specific to climate science.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 28 Jul 2008 @ 12:49 PM

  147. Re # 110 Timo Hämeranta:
    27 July 2008 at 2:21 AM

    “…Our results illustrate the need for a more robust understanding of the multiple feedbacks between climate forcing and plant and microbial feedbacks in the response of northern peatlands to climate change.”

    What exactly is your point here? It appears to me the authors are acknowledging the reality of global warming and noting that its effects on a specific ecosystem are not yet clear (and probably very complex). Highlighting some important unanswered questions is a pretty standard (and heuristically valuable) way to conclude a research paper.
    Are you suggesting this statement about boglands somehow raises uncertainties about the existence of global warming?

    Comment by Chuck Booth — 28 Jul 2008 @ 12:49 PM

  148. > value
    > authority

    I think it’s a nitpick.

    The definition of the words won’t affect whether someone can write up work that will go through peer review, be published in a science journal, and be found useful by other researchers.

    Remember a paper need not be _right_ to be productive of useful research. But as long as it doesn’t suggest anything anyone wants to look into, it hasn’t been valued.

    Value = leads to useful and interesting research.

    Spencer Weart comments about how many papers there are that don’t lead to anything — but that scientists look back at older work when they have a new notion to see if anything previously published has value for them going forward.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Jul 2008 @ 12:53 PM

  149. #138 BPL
    I think it is the other way around. In a complex field like climatology no single person alone can cover the necessary physics or chemistry. This can be clearly seen in the fallacies you often find in the basic textbooks. Moreover, many experienced researchers like Maxwell are needed with their expertise in their respective field. A experienced researcher in one field might not see the big picture, but is able to point out where a complex model explains the data, but violates the underlying physics or even the “consensus” in physics.

    Comment by Guenter Hess — 28 Jul 2008 @ 2:17 PM

  150. #135 Timo:

    Re 127. Martin, I’m a bit disappointed with you when you had not
    the belly to flat-out say that Climatology today is still about
    probabilities.

    No, I didn’t use the word ‘probability’, and that is for a reason. Not all uncertainty can be described probabilistically — of some things we just plain don’t know the odds. Think nonlinear ice sheet behaviour.
    Then there are few things again that are simply not uncertain. You have two essentially different kinds of uncertainty: (1) uncertainty that antropogenic climate change is real, and (2) uncertainty on how serious it is. You endlessly go on about the second kind of uncertainty (which is very real, and works both ways), speculating readers will take away the first kind, on which in reality, as you well know, the train left the station long ago. This is a common denialist deceit, and you seem to have the ‘belly’ for it too.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 28 Jul 2008 @ 3:49 PM

  151. Steve Reynolds (134) — IPCC AR4 states, in effect, that the concensus view is that the climate sensitivity is at least 2 K with 95% confidence.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 28 Jul 2008 @ 4:01 PM

  152. #146 [Nick Gotts]
    Otto Hahn as a chemist discovering nuclear fission made a significant contribution outside his field because he was very proficient in his area of expertise.

    Comment by Guenter Hess — 28 Jul 2008 @ 4:27 PM

  153. SecularAnimist: “The entire argument for continuing to burn fossil fuels for even one more day is based on economic denial.”

    You are entitled to your opinion, but if we define climate denial as refusing to accept the overwhelming consensus of climate experts, and economic denial as refusing to accept the overwhelming consensus of economic experts, then your statement above clearly shows economic denial.

    [Response: Either talk specifics or don't bother. Just calling people names is pointless. If you want a start, try discussing the tragedy of the commons and Stern's statement about the current economic framework for fossil fuels being a "colossal market failure". Given that climate change has an impact on the global economy, how should those costs be allocated to produce a equitable outcome? - gavin]

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 28 Jul 2008 @ 7:00 PM

  154. David B. Benson: “IPCC AR4 states, in effect, that the concensus view is that the climate sensitivity is at least 2 K with 95% confidence.”

    I remember that being 1.5K. Do you have a page number?

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 28 Jul 2008 @ 7:27 PM

  155. Rod B., On the subject of outsiders contributing to a field. Certainly outsiders can bring fresh insight to a field. Several physicists contributed to biology after becoming disillusioned with physics in the post-Trinity world. The key is that they did so after an extended effort to educate themselves to understand the current state of the science. Climate science has been examined repeatedly by panels of outside experts–physicists, mathematicians, etc. from the National Academies, from professional societies and so on. Without exception, these exercises have been beneficial, and increased confidence in the state of the research.
    Unfortunately, there are some outsiders who assume that everything should make sense to them without their ever having cracked a book on their new field of endeavor. And for some reason, climate science tends to attract its share of these arrogant nutjobs.
    In the dark and distant past, I used to write for a popularized physics trade publication of the American Institute for Physics. About once a month, I’d get called to the front lobby or get a phone call from somebody who was absolutely convinced they’d disproved Einstein’s relativity. I guess they’d call on me because I’ve got a quiet, soothing voice and I can usually hide the fact that I think I’m dealing with a crazy person.
    Usually, the effort was rather sad–lots of simple math errors if there were any equations at all, clumsy, ill-informed arguments, or simple assertions that it must be wrong because “it didn’t make sense”. Sometimes it would take me awhile to spot the error, and sometimes when I spotted it, the guy (and it was always a guy) would nearly get violent.
    I never understood this phenomenon. I’ve brought it up multiple times to psychologists, because it really is a type of delusion. I never saw it in conjunction with any other physicist or subject in physics , though I think a lot of opposition to Darwin has similar roots. One theory I’ve had is that people hold in their mind the equation Einstein=genius, so if they’re smarter than Einstein, they must really be smart.
    I’ve seen the same sort of mania in the opposition of many laymen to climate science–perhaps because of its prominence in the news these days. I really think this sort of delusion–and many scientists/engineers from outside fields share it–may be as important for understanding opposition to climate science as the political aspects are.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Jul 2008 @ 7:48 PM

  156. Re: Steve, #153:

    “The equilibrium climate sensitivity is a measure of the
    climate system response to sustained radiative forcing.
    It is not a projection but is defi ned as the global average
    surface warming following a doubling of carbon
    dioxide concentrations. It is likely to be in the range
    2°C to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C, and is
    very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C.”

    Link: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-spm.pdf

    Page 12.

    PS It took all of 2 minutes to find this information. Please check
    facts before you post.

    Comment by John Hollenberg — 28 Jul 2008 @ 8:07 PM

  157. Steve, you want to talk “overwhelming consensus of economic experts”? Let’s hear what the global re-insurance industry has to say:

    Munich Re signs declaration issued by Global Roundtable on Climate Change

    …In the long term, global warming will lead to a further increase in weather-related natural catastrophes, the financial impact of which will have to be borne by insurers and the public. Rapid international action is called for…

    Tell me again, Steve: who’s in economic denial?

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 28 Jul 2008 @ 8:35 PM

  158. SecularAnimist: “The entire argument for continuing to burn fossil fuels for even one more day is based on economic denial.”

    Specific point for discussion: What fraction of the human race would die of starvation if the above advice was followed?

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 28 Jul 2008 @ 8:46 PM

  159. John Hollenberg: “It is likely to be in the range 2°C to 4.5°C…”

    Does the IPCC define ‘likely’ as 95% confidence?

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 28 Jul 2008 @ 8:53 PM

  160. Steve #159:

    “Does the IPCC define ‘likely’ as 95% confidence?”

    You can read the report for yourself to see the definitions. I have already pointed you to the proper link.

    Comment by John Hollenberg — 28 Jul 2008 @ 9:03 PM

  161. Re Steve Reynolds @158: “What fraction of the human race would die of starvation if the above advice was followed?”

    Fair enough. What fraction of the human race would die of starvation if the above advice was not followed?

    You folks need new talking points, the ones you keep using are long past worn out.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 28 Jul 2008 @ 11:08 PM

  162. RE: #117, 124, 130, Mars, Jupiter, etc.:

    Kevin, the paper about Jupiter’s climate change that started the recent hubbub is available on the author’s web site: http://www.me.berkeley.edu/cfd/

    Note that it’s not about global Jupiter warming, it’s about changes in the distribution of cold and warm. Also note that it’s 70 year cycles, not any time change in synchrony with Earth’s warming.

    More on Mars is here on RealClimate, but a bit as well in the reference list of cce’s site.

    Comment by Tom Dayton — 28 Jul 2008 @ 11:25 PM

  163. Ray 155: you also get nutters who’ve overturned the laws of thermodynamics or conservation of energy (water4gas, overunity power). These people will not listen if you just explain laws of physics, you sometimes have to let them do the “experiment” and have it fail. Another classic: the assertion that someone has discovered a perfect compression algorithm, that will reduce the size of any file. Including one it has compressed itself. Spot the experiment to test that theory.

    But the problem in climate science is hard-core self delusion. Consider someone like Bob Carter who unless he has gone prematurely senile should have the scientific nous to know that talk of warming ending in 1998 (or 2002, the date shifts as new data comes in) is nonsense. This is not hard-core climate science, it’s elementary data analysis. Even I can do this with only a PhD in computer science, no climate science, very little data analysis background. I saw the same thing with the HIV doesn’t cause AIDS thing: people with the research credentials to know what they were talking about who nonetheless made claims that I as a nonspecial[stupid spam check]ist could easily debunk.

    Maybe the right strategy here rather than focusing on these people’s lack of appropriate credentials is to take apart the things they get wrong despite their credentials.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 29 Jul 2008 @ 1:14 AM

  164. On carbon emissions: As far as I can tell everyone is waiting the for the market to come up with the solutions in the form of technology as no one seems willing to change their lifestyles accordingly in order to mitigate their so called carbon footprints.

    On the one hand the powers that be talk biofuel, CCS, and renewables etc whilst the market (which everyone seems to believe in as some kind of God) is postulating digging up the Arctic, deep water, GTL/CTL, and everywhere else to keep the oil flowing.

    I see not global strategy on AGW mitigation, I see not less planes in the air, no less airports or runways, more nuclear power which is not going to reduce CO2 emissions significantly enough and the clean up costs might even stop renewables from taking hold. Ok we have some talk of CSP technology in the new mexico and sahara deserts and shipping it around the first world via HVDC cables. Nice idea and it might work but on the car front we have competing technologies rather than working on one and we await the outcome of that come 10 years time.

    Can we really leave it to the market to resolve AGW, after all, wasn’t it the market that is causing the problem?

    Comment by pete best — 29 Jul 2008 @ 4:34 AM

  165. Guenter Hess writes:

    Moreover, many experienced researchers like Maxwell are needed with their expertise in their respective field.

    Guenter, my innocent and trusting friend, what makes you think “maxwell” has any expertise at all? Because he says he does? He doesn’t say what field he has expertise in, and he doesn’t even give his full name. A lot of people come onto climate blogs or message boards and say “as a scientist, I feel…” or “as a physicist, I know…” and their messages show they are very unlikely to be any kind of scientist or physicist at all. Let maxwell state his full name, his field, and where he is employed, and I might take him seriously as a “researcher.”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Jul 2008 @ 7:01 AM

  166. Ray, climate science and Einstein are big attractions for cranks, but there are plenty of them in lots of other areas. In past few years I have seen
    (1) someone who was certain that if we just separated the electrons from the protons, nuclear fusion reactors would work
    (2) someone who thought that by arranging the coils in an electric motor slightly differently, the efficiency of the motor could be doubled
    (3) a proposal for a spinning disc which will convert amb-ient heat into electrical energy in violation of the second law.

    All these people have been absolutely convinced that they are right, in spite of obviously being entirely ignorant of the huge bodies of knowledge in their chosen field.

    Comment by David — 29 Jul 2008 @ 7:26 AM

  167. perhaps this is a bit late for you Ray, but one way of dealing with Einstein cranks is to politely take down their details. When the next person comes in, say “Actually, I know an expert in that field that would love to discuss this with you…”. I have heard of someone actually doing this.
    Unfortunately, this is unlikely to work in climate science because the cranks have a common agenda.

    Comment by David — 29 Jul 2008 @ 7:54 AM

  168. More… one Vincent Gray (from memory — I didn’t have anything to write with at the time, but definitely someone from New Zealand) has appeared on talk radio in South Africa with some of the usual claims (as discussed elsewhere on this site) like that he’s an “expert reviewer for IPCC” and that it stopped warming 10 years ago. But here are some that are new on me: climate models all assume a flat earth, and that there is no difference between night and day.

    I mailed the presenter, Chris Gibbons Chrisgib@capetalk.co.za — but if anyone else who is a real climate scientist would be willing to mail him and demand right of reply, that would be interesting.

    Unfortunately I did not catch the whole thing but heard enough to wonder how they screen their interviewees (Talk Radio 702 is actually one of the better radio stations in South Africa so this was rather disappointing).

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 29 Jul 2008 @ 8:28 AM

  169. Regarding #78 and #98 suggesting that there is group think or a herd mentality shows a lack of understanding
    of why proponents of global warming believe the way they do.

    There has been a fairly steep rise in average temperature in the last 3 to 4 decades. The heat content of the ocean’s upper
    layers has increased over this same time period. Mountain glaciers, nearly everywhere have been shrinking at increasing rates,and arctic sea ice is melting, also at an accelerating pace. Greenland’s ice cap is doing the same. The diurnal temperature range is decreasing due to a quicker increase in night time over day time temperatures. Hurricane intensity is increasing( see http:wind.mit.edu/~emanuel/papers_data_graphics.htm). Flora and fauna have been migrating to higher latitudes and to higher elevations. The average temperature of the globe has increased about 0.7C over the last century or so. These phenomena are based on observations.

    A well established principle of physics states that climate results in a balance between incoming solar energy and the amountof heat that planet radiates away to space. An atmosphere can absorb some of that outgoing energy, altering the energy balance which would keep that planet warmer than it would otherwise be- the greenhouse effect. These gases, primarily H2Oand CO2 makes Earth about 33C warmer than if these gases weren’t present. Changes in the amounts of these gases will change this number, and carefully measured values of CO2 show that this gas has increased significantly since the dawnof
    the industrial age.

    For the last 250 years or so we’ve been burning fossil fuels which releases carbon into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide,
    CO2. About half of that carbon remains in the atmosphere resulting in an increase of about 115 ppmv of C02 since the
    start of the industrial revolution(from 270 to 385). From an examination of ice core data, this number is higher than it has
    been in at least the last half million years.Deforestation and land use practices also affect climate. These factors have to
    be taken into account to explain the recent changes in climate, described above.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 29 Jul 2008 @ 8:57 AM

  170. Philip M.–you got the name right.
    Vincent Gray
    more on Vincent Gray

    Comment by kevin — 29 Jul 2008 @ 9:30 AM

  171. Jim Eager: “What fraction of the human race would die of starvation if the above advice [ending all fossil fuel use in one day] was not followed?”

    I think I am in agreement with economic experts that a moderate mitigation (and adaptation) policy will minimize economic disruption from AGW. Things like a small carbon tax now (that increases with time if temperatures continue to increase rapidly) will reduce the least efficient uses of carbon and encourage investment in alternative energy. Assistance to poor people will help them adapt to higher sea levels or changing rainfall patterns.

    There is likely no need for anyone to starve.

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 29 Jul 2008 @ 9:40 AM

  172. > flat Earth

    That’s flat as in billiard ball, not flat as in Discworld.

    Careful not to exaggerate what’s already a misleading statement.

    Yes, early work didn’t take terrain into account.
    No, that’s not true any longer. Models describe how the Rocky Mountains affect European climate, how the Himalayas affect the planetary circulation, how closing the Panama and Gibraltar gaps changed ocean circulation.

    In other devastating critiques of science, it’s been reported that Benjamin Franklin didn’t know all that much about lightning, and George Washington’s dentists were not all that competent at crafting false teeth.

    Captcha oracle says: as elegance

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Jul 2008 @ 10:10 AM

  173. David and Philip, good points. I had always thought of the anti-thermo types as just scam artists. Still, when I was in the Peace Corps, one of the first conversations I had in French with a local was explaining to him why his perpetual motion machine wouldn’t work. He accepted it with some grace, though.
    Maybe the thing relativity, thermo and climate science all have in common is they are all telling people that there are some things they just can’t do (e.g. faster than light travel, energy from nothing and endlessly spew CO2 into the air with no consequence). And I guess evolution is telling creationists: Give it up–you’re always going to be as stupid as your father.

    Wow, the CAPTCHA code on this was MARKETS Jr. Maybe Hank’s on to something with his attribution of oracular powers.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Jul 2008 @ 10:33 AM

  174. Steve Reynolds wrote: “What fraction of the human race would die of starvation if the above advice was followed?”

    The excess CO2 that we have already put into the atmosphere has already ensured that hundreds of millions of people will die from starvation and/or dehydration during this century, as a direct result of the warming that has already occurred and the additional warming that is now unavoidable. The Himalayan glaciers will melt, and hundreds of millions of people in Asia will lose their supplies of fresh water for drinking and irrigation. Major agricultural regions of the world will become permanently arid. Ocean acidification will destroy the oceanic food web and with it a primary source of protein for millions of people. Many millions of people will be forced to evacuate densely populated coastal regions and will become starving, homeless refugees with nowhere to go. Every day that we continue burning fossil fuels increases this inevitable global warming death toll, and pushes the planet towards global ecological collapse and the extinction of the rich, diverse, robust biosphere of the Holocene.

    Failure to recognize these realities is what I refer to as “economic denial”. (Of course, there are those who think it a small price to pay for the trillion dollar profits of the fossil fuel industry.)

    On another level, “economic denial” means the failure to recognize that within a few years, wind and solar generated electricity will be cheaper than coal generated electricity, and much cheaper than the dwindling supplies of high-quality oil or prodigiously expensive, low-grade fossil fuels like tar sands and oil shale. Those who advocate continued investment in coal or nuclear generated electricity, or who advocate expanded drilling and mining for more fossil fuels to burn, are in a state of denial about the New Industrial Revolution of the 21st century, and the transition that is already underway to an energy economy that is no longer based on limited supplies of expensive fuels, but on an unlimited supply of free, abundant solar and wind energy.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 29 Jul 2008 @ 11:46 AM

  175. “This American Life” on NPR had a show (July 22) devoted to people with a little bit of knowlege. One segment featured an electrician who disproved Einstein and Newton. The persistance of his delusions reminded me of some of the climate cranks. You can listen to the episode here. It’s the segment titiled “Sucker MC-squared”.

    http://www.thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=1251

    Comment by Paul Middents — 29 Jul 2008 @ 12:10 PM

  176. Just a thought. Secular and Steve, you two could go back and forth endlessly, tag-team style, with worst-case speculation about what-if-this and what-if-that.

    I really wish you wouldn’t do that here. There are plenty of places where it’s encouraged — even organized, by people who do it as partners for fun.

    Doing that here doesn’t help us amateurs understand the science. All we understand is your ping-pong matchup.

    Elsewhere, please? Pick a spot and invite everyone …

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Jul 2008 @ 12:22 PM

  177. Gavin (in 153), I was taken aback by what sounds like a blatantly one-sided and biased response to Steve. It seems the criteria for anyone who deviates a tad from the accepted word is more stringent by magnitudes (I would not be troubled by “some” — I accept (and agree with) that you’re not in this business simply to be fair and balanced.) from what is applied to the supporters. [...though perhaps I somehow misread your response, in which case: never mind...]

    Comment by Rod B — 29 Jul 2008 @ 12:28 PM

  178. I am increasingly of the opinion, based on repeated observations, that a lot of denialists are shadow scientists occupying a realm of expertise that works for the common man in bar room conversations, but one that does not require the effort of having to actually study the universe or have your observations reviewed by your peers. That is, they sound like they know something (rumor) and can present their facts (opinions) with enough authority (ego) to fool those who don’t know any real scientists enough to have a benchmark for comparison or validation. Further, while they are passing themselves off as “smart guys” with their buddies, they probably envy anyone who is actually doing real science and as we can all attest envy can easily become hatred, and I suppose it often does in this case. This is compounded when real scientists come up with observations and theories about the universe that don’t suit the masses nor the media, and the “smart guys” who have nothing invested in the scientific process anyway are happy to take on those “egg-headed, near-sighted girly-men who read too much and who just want to sound important” and who are the ones really stirring the pot here, because everyone knows that all it takes is a little horse sense to see how the world works, you know, and all those degrees just cloud one’s reasoning and lead one to embrace communism.

    Maybe some University should offer a degree in Bar Room Physical Sciences to get these jarheads back into the system, as it were. Perhaps they’d be a little less confrontational if they felt they had a degree and a reputation on the line.

    cb

    Comment by cat black — 29 Jul 2008 @ 12:35 PM

  179. Can we really leave it to the market to resolve AGW, after all, wasn’t it the market that is causing the problem?

    Comment by pete best

    Of course the market will work. At least until the second last human dies from the advanced effects of global climate change.

    Comment by catman 306 — 29 Jul 2008 @ 1:25 PM

  180. Ray (155), I tend to agree with all you say here. I’ve never claimed that either all of the outsider’s suggestions will be valid, or that there are not crackpots out there. I’m just saying the allowing (if not welcoming) scientists from outside the climatology field is probably beneficial to the study, and that building up a mouth-foaming lather that NO (that’s zero) WORTH HERE! to avoid the crackpots or to avoid hearing suggestions that differ from the beliefs is detremental to the study. (Avoiding crackpots might not be detremental, but there’s no practical way to identify them a priori.)

    I just don’t understand the overreaction to many things like the above. Overreactions always imply insecure defensiveness, which in turn hurts credibility. Philip (168) gets upset because Gray accuses the models of using a flat earth and no difference between night and day. Problem is, for the most part, at the base level GCMs use exactly that, which is very sensible with virtually no adverse mathematical effect (as far as I know), except in some unusual regional assessments, when those assumptions are modified. Maybe Gray made his accusation in a misleading demeanor, I don’t know. That would be worthy of refutation, but not a major war. [sidebar: Philip's post is really not a very good example of my point. But it's in the ballpark and it's timely and handy.]

    [Response: Where are you getting this stuff? You've been here long enough that you could hazard a question or two and be reasonably sure of a good response. The GCMs do not posit a flat earth, and do not have 'no difference' between night and day. If people get annoyed at that kind of characterisation, it is because it's complete garbage. It's on a par with people claiming that models have 1 year timesteps because all they saw were annual numbers plotted on a graph (and that's happened...). - gavin]

    Comment by Rod B — 29 Jul 2008 @ 1:35 PM

  181. SecularAnimist, I’m curious how you see any consistency in your definitions of denial:

    Apparently someone who disagrees with you and climate experts on climate science is a climate denialist, and someone who disagrees with you (but agrees with economic experts) on economic issues is an economic denialist.

    The only consistency I see there is whether or not they agree with you.

    Hank, this will be my last response to SA.

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 29 Jul 2008 @ 1:55 PM

  182. re: #80

    “it seems to me it would be helpful for a clear and simple rebuttal of these kinds of ideas to be published”

    One place to get a quick overview of some of the common “skeptical” claims is “Global Warming: Questions and Answers” on the NASA Earth Observatory (a site I help develop):
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Study/GlobalWarmingQandA/

    Comment by R Simmon — 29 Jul 2008 @ 2:35 PM

  183. Barton Paul Levenson (#165),
    Barton Paul, I try to be positive and listen to everyone’s opinion. There is always value. From his wording, I think Maxwell is a researcher.
    For my experience research, development or engineering needs three things: knowledge, methods and social competence. Usually specific knowledge and specific methods might only get contributions from the experts in the field; however general scientific methods or general knowledge can and should be contributed by experts from other knowledge areas. Moreover, scientific methods in problem solving, how to carry out an experiment, statistics or programming, solving differential equations … can get contributions from a lot of different fields. That is especially true for applied sciences. Social competence can and should be contributed by everybody.

    Comment by Guenter Hess — 29 Jul 2008 @ 3:29 PM

  184. Hank Roberts wrote: “Doing that here doesn’t help us amateurs understand the science.”

    Point taken and my apologies. I suppose I have become impatient with the seemingly endless “debates” about the science with denialists who have no intention of “understanding” it, while the reality is that the science is already sufficiently well understood so as to justify urgent action to phase out all fossil fuel use, and other activities that generate global warming pollution, as rapidly as possible. (And it could be done quite rapidly, along the lines of Al Gore’s recent proposal, without causing mass starvation, given the will.)

    I would humbly suggest that you consider the assertions in the first paragraph of my comment posted at 11:46AM today (currently #174), and ask yourself whether or not you think they are correct. If on balance you think they are likely to be correct, in light of current “understanding of the science”, then how much more “understanding of the science” is really needed, in order to get us to do what is necessary?

    Having said that, I do realize that this is a forum for discussing climate science per se, rather than for discussing technological and/or economic solutions to the global warming crisis, and will comment accordingly henceforth.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 29 Jul 2008 @ 3:39 PM

  185. Rod,
    Knowledgeable input (critical or laudatory) is always welcome. Input from an ignorant food tube too lazy to crack a book and learn something about the subject before spouting off is not welcome–and that does not change because said ignorant food tube has a PhD. Scientific method varies slightly from discipline to discipline. Bacon and Hume stressed repeatability to establish causality. So because we cannot repeat the conditions of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) exactly, should we conclude that we can never understand it? Science has grown to be able to accommodate such subjects because its methods have grown, and it is not fruitful to have those who have never used or even heard of such methods–who don’t know the difference between a dynamical and a statistical model–declare good science invalid or to cast aspersions on the folks doing it.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Jul 2008 @ 5:07 PM

  186. Well, Monckton stays in form:

    At SPPI, see “Chuck it, Smith” (to Arthur Smith).

    and
    Chuck it Again, Schmidt”. Gavin’s efforts in “FalseClimate” are refuted, although of course no ad hominems are used. I only get a quick mention.

    [Response: That's hilarious. Just his definition of what is ad hom kept me amused for minutes. Here are the terms he thought were unprintable: A link to Deltoid, "amusingly", "his main error", "So he makes another dodgy claim", "There are many more errors in his piece", "Umm… ", "bizarrely", "Needless to say, the multiple errors completely undermine the conclusions regarding climate sensitivity.". In toto, three adjectives, a vocal affect, a hyperlink, and 3 statements declaring His Vicountness to be in error. Am I alone in finding find him rather over-sensitive to crticism of his ideas on climate sensitivity? - gavin]

    Comment by John Mashey — 29 Jul 2008 @ 6:47 PM

  187. R. Simmon, thanks for the pointer to the Earthobservatory site. One question, that site
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Study/GlobalWarmingQandA/#08
    says:

    “… there is just as much chance that the models are underestimating the severity of future warming as they are overestimating warming.”

    That puzzled me because it sounds like a bell curve.

    Compare that to this:

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/29/economics-of-catastrophe/
    July 29, 2008, 8:22 am

    He begins:
    _____________
    Away from the headlines, there’s a really important discussion going on about how to think about the economics of climate change. The key player is Marty Weitzman, who has made a simple point (albeit using very, very difficult math) that’s nicely summarized at Env-Econ:

    “Climate change is fundamentally a problem about uncertainty. We are conducting an experiment with our planet by doubling CO2 levels in the atmosphere from pre-industrial levels. Concentrations have not been this high in hundreds of thousands of years. By and large, we don’t know much about the implications. Tackling this uncertainty is crucial. Extreme outcomes — fat tails — matter and should be at the heart of much of research.”

    ——–end of excerpt———
    (There are links on the original page to the source of the Weitzmann quote)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Jul 2008 @ 7:01 PM

  188. Hank Roberts (187) — As best we currently understand the uncertainty, the Earthobservatory site has it wrong: the heavy tail is on the side of underestimation.

    [Captcha syas "limited bounties". Make out of that what you will.]

    Comment by David B. Benson — 29 Jul 2008 @ 7:41 PM

  189. In re: 162

    On carbon emissions: As far as I can tell everyone is waiting the for the market to come up with the solutions in the form of technology as no one seems willing to change their lifestyles accordingly in order to mitigate their so called carbon footprints.

    And we’re already there, but there’s so much noise, including “we aren’t there yet”, that people just aren’t listening.

    All of this exists now, just go out and buy some.

    In response to the claim that we have to stop coal fired power tomorrow, I must agree with the “and how many people would die if we did that?” What we should do is stop building the stuff and insist on conservation measures to increase capacity reserve.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 29 Jul 2008 @ 7:53 PM

  190. Mr. Monckton was kind enough to reply to my inquiry about his statement that there is no warming and in fact a cooling trend since 2001. Odd that he mentions the fact that one should not cherry pick, but still “cherry picks” 2001???

    “One should not cherry-pick one’s years: the correct approach is to calculate the trend over a period of several years by linear regression. Linear regressions on the temperature record since late 2001 for four major datasets – GISS, UAH, RSS, and Hadley – all show a pronounced downtrend. This is uncontroversial, but not at all well known because the media find it very hard to believe that during the years of hype about “global warming” the globe has in fact been cooling. The cooling between January 2007 and January 2008 was the greatest since records began in 1880. All of this is clearly set out, with the four linear regression graphs, in my paper Clinate Sensitivity Reconsidered, published this month in Physics and Society. The year 2005, which you mention, was a more than averagely intense El Nino year, though not of the same magnitude as 1998. We are now nearing the end of a la Nina, which has a cooling effect on global temperatures; and of an unusually prolonged solar minimum (ditto); and the Pacific decadal oscillation has now moved to its cooling phase. These natural signals, between them, have proven more than enough to overcome the comparatively weak forcing from increases in anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The cooling does not prove that CO2 cannot cause warming – it is reasonably well settled science that it does. The central question (addressed in some detail in my paper) is how much warming will a given increase in CO2 concentration cause? Based on the current literature, the warming effect is likely to be small: and the significance of the seven-year cooling trend is that it points toward a far lower climate sensitivity than that imagined (on no good evidence) by the IPCC. – M of B”

    Comment by Adam — 29 Jul 2008 @ 7:58 PM

  191. re: #186
    Monckton introduces a fascinating concept:

    a) If a piece contains numerous errors and outright silliness

    b) And someone picks a few to refute

    c) Anything not mentioned must be *true* and irrefutable!

    This is in the section called
    “The Schmidt who did not bark in the night-time”.

    “The Schmidt” did not refute the idea that computer models failed to predict “global warming on Mars”, hence models clearly don’t work :-)

    [Response: And did you note that we are on a 'lavishly funded blog'? (I hope everyone is appropriately appreciative of the gold trim and luxury facilities - the sidebar came from Harrods you know....). :-) - gavin ]

    Comment by John Mashey — 29 Jul 2008 @ 8:10 PM

  192. Is Monckton correct in claiming that the GCMs sum forcings and feedbacks as in Control Systems Theory (he refers to Bode)?

    [Response: Not really. The feedback analysis is just a way to diagnose what the GCMs are doing - what they actually do is governed by the physics they contain. - gavin]

    Do Modelers believe feedbacks can cause the Earth’s climate to be unstable or to “run away”?

    [Response: Not under present conditions, no. Though it is likely that some hundreds of millions of years ago, we did enter into a 'Snowball Earth' condition. And in hundreds of millions of years hence, the sun will become a red giant and boil away the oceans (at which point you might get a runaway effect). But right now? Not a chance. - gavin]

    Thanks for any guidance,

    Comment by Buck Smith — 29 Jul 2008 @ 8:28 PM

  193. Re: #190 (Adam)

    Monckton says:

    Linear regressions on the temperature record since late 2001 for four major datasets – GISS, UAH, RSS, and Hadley – all show a pronounced downtrend.

    Wrong. NONE of them even shows a statistically significant downtrend. For GISS and UAH, the trend isn’t even statistically significant if you model the errors as white noise — so Monckton can’t even excuse this ludicrous falsehood by claiming statistical naivete.

    Monckton says:

    The cooling between January 2007 and January 2008 was the greatest since records began in 1880.

    Only for GISS data. For HadCRU, it’s Feb. 1973 to 1974, for both UAH and RSS it’s April 1998 to 1999. I guess when Monckton said “One should not cherry-pick” he was excluding himself from that prohibition. And of course, it’s typical of the most ignorant of denialists to focus on temperature change for a single year.

    Monckton says:

    Pacific decadal oscillation has now moved to its cooling phase…

    Wrong. It’s entered it’s *cool* phase, not its *cooling* phase. This is one of the favorite memes of denialists.

    Monckton says:

    … the significance of the seven-year cooling trend is that it points toward a far lower climate sensitivity than that imagined (on no good evidence) by the IPCC.

    Wrong. The significance of the seven-year “cooling trend” is that it reveals how denialists focus on propaganda points rather than valid statistical analysis. I guess that’s all Monckton is capable of.

    Comment by tamino — 29 Jul 2008 @ 9:19 PM

  194. gavin: “Am I alone in finding find him rather over-sensitive to crticism of his ideas on climate sensitivity?”

    Oversensitive? Probably, but what seems inappropriate may depend on which side you are on. I have had a number of comments rejected here that seemed to me to be pretty mild. And I see many comments that appear to me to viciously attack ‘enemies of the cause’ that are allowed to be posted.

    [Response: The issue is content. Stating the same thing again is dull if you don't back it up with substance. Don't get drawn into snappy back and forths (and this goes for others too). The level of conversation here is somewhat higher than elsewhere and we'd like to keep it that way. - gavin]

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 29 Jul 2008 @ 9:27 PM

  195. Gavin, as to the cliche-spouting about flat earth models, the deliberate confusion of 1-D models and GCM’s in the popular imagination goes back to the selling of the TTAPS ‘Nuclear Winter’ model as the macguffin in the Cold War film “Threads”

    Unlike GCM’s with nifty map animations of parameters like optical depth it only drew static XY plots of time-temperature curves , so to get ‘nuclear winter ”s optical depth 20 apocalypse ready for prime time ,the ,pardon the expression, Freeze Movement, retained the Creative Department of Porter Novelli to air-brush some 70′s Whole Earth images flat blackfrompoletoequator.

    These were bandied about in the pages of Parade, C. Sagan,Science Editor, and shown time and again on the evening news and The Tonight Show, becoming utterly famous in the process.

    None of the 3-D GCM refinements which cut the effect from the global deep freeze merchandised in 1984-6, to the pale and thoroughly defosted shadow of the effect Robock is still trying to flog benefited from adequate advertising , so the only collective memory of the meltdown relates to complaints that a flat out 1-D radiative transfer model was used to sell 40 days and 40 nights of biblical catastrophe as a policy concept without mentioning that the model had dispensed with sunrise and sunset along with the thermal mass of the ocean.

    Many in DC were not amused and said so, Al Gore included , and the bipartisan huff lives on as the critique of nuclear winter as an imposed urban myth of the cold war spills over into the current generation.

    Now as then, it isn’t enough to get the sign right. In the face of persistent hype folks will eventually get testy and start asking for two significant digits. Some may even question the authority of those unable to provide them.

    Comment by Russell Seitz — 29 Jul 2008 @ 10:04 PM

  196. Gavin (180), all the analyses I’ve seen, at least at the basic level, show incoming insolation at about 340watts/square meter, not the ~1360 that it actually is. That’s because… (I can’t believe I’m explaining this) it makes no difference over long climatic periods and is easier to handle and to relate to outgoing IR radiation if one flattens the sphere (and equivalently quartering the insolation), making it, well, flat instead of spherical, and eliminating the difference between night and day. What am I missing here?

    [Response: That's fine for back of the envelope calculations - but it's useless for the Arctic, for diurnal temperature ranges, for tropical precipitation patterns etc. etc. GCMs need to calculate the weather otherwise their statistics for storm tracks, rainfall, winds etc would all be way off. It's true that most GCM papers don't show sub-monthly output, but that's not because they don't produce it. Quite a number of the AR4 analyses used it for instance to look for MJO patterns and the like. - gavin]

    Comment by Rod B — 29 Jul 2008 @ 10:32 PM

  197. Ray (185), I agree. But you gave me a good example. There are, in fact a whole lot of scientists and mathematicians outside the field of climatology who understand models forward and backward and the difference between dynamic and statistical modelling. I think they could very well question/ask about GCMs beneficially. And, as I said, if you only knew who the real crackpots are up front, it would be easy — but you don’t.

    Comment by Rod B — 29 Jul 2008 @ 10:44 PM

  198. Re:#193 (tamino)

    Yes, the skeptics are always WRONG. So what type of scenario would make climate science WRONG on the global temperature issue?

    Comment by David — 29 Jul 2008 @ 10:56 PM

  199. And in hundreds of millions of years hence, the sun will become a red giant and boil away the oceans (at which point you might get a runaway effect).

    I dont think that is runaway effect from feedbacks. ;) That is more like what we call servo control. I intend to be chillin’ out a safe distance past pluto when that happens ;)

    Comment by Buck Smith — 29 Jul 2008 @ 10:58 PM

  200. Adam (190), et al, is Monckton incorrect in his temperature analysis? I’m not asking if it is inappropriate, but incorrect. Nor am I asking about his opinions and assertions re interpretations or his other seemingly goofy comments — just his mathematical assessment of the temperature since 2000-1.

    Comment by Rod B — 29 Jul 2008 @ 11:02 PM

  201. Congrats on such a well debated site, keep up the good work.

    I am an engineer (not a climate scientist) but I have some exopertise in the handling of risk and the analysis of wind, earthquake risk for design of buildings.
    It is clear to me that the argument of the last 5 years indicating a down turn is not supportable. You only have to look at the graph to see that the trend is up with no indication of a turn yet. If the graph was a share price, I do not think any share trader would be thinking of selling their shares.
    The trend is up and has been substantially for the last 100 years (approx. 1 degree of rise). The last 5 years is simply a pause like many other pauses over the last 100 years. The reverse during the 40′s was much larger, but it soon turned upwards again in the 50′s.
    The graph is clear – we are going up (and accelerating) and we won’t be going down until we stop polluting our atmosphere. We are currently heading for 550 CO2e ppm and on towards 700 ppm by 2100. So we better get our act together!

    Comment by Ricki — 29 Jul 2008 @ 11:18 PM

  202. Re: #198

    > So what type of scenario would make climate science WRONG on the global temperature issue?

    I think a negative trend in global temperature over a period of > 15 years would do it, assuming no major volcanic eruptions.

    Not that I think that is the least bit likely, but if it did occur I would certainly wonder if something was being missed.

    Comment by John Hollenberg — 29 Jul 2008 @ 11:19 PM

  203. Just as an aside, it’s always interesting to look up the current year’s information when anyone mentions some old science as being bogus, just to see what’s new. As I mentioned in the recent thread on journalists, it really doesn’t take hardly any time at all to get a new clue when someone brings up an idea the journalist doesn’t know whether to rely on or not.

    E.g.:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?&q=nuclear+winter&as_ylo=2008&btnG=Search

    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/105/14/5307
    From the Cover: Massive global ozone loss predicted following regional nuclear conflict
    MJ Mills, OB Toon, RP Turco, DE Kinnison, RR, 2008 – National Acad Sciences
    … The ozone losses predicted here are significantly greater than previous “nuclear winter/UV spring” calculations, which did not adequately represent …

    Old work, even when wrong, sometimes leads to interesting new work. Easy, now, to find.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Jul 2008 @ 11:39 PM

  204. The drop that would break the trend would have to be more than say 0.2 degrees over 10 years, or say 0.3 deg over 15 years, or say 0.5 deg over 25 years. the fact is that the trend reversal has to overcome the 100 year established trend we have already had. Given that the acceleration of emissions has been mostly in the last 30 years, we have a lot of momentum built up in the atmosphere and we havn’t yet seen the effect of it (do yo agree Gavin).

    Comment by Ricki — 30 Jul 2008 @ 12:36 AM

  205. Gavin

    is it true that recent work by James Hansens team looked at the drop in temperature from a known epoch of time and compared that to CO2 drops during this time. I have found an explanation for it here.

    ====================================================================
    This is what James Hansen is talking about : the Carbon Dioxide levels in the atmosphere were very high before about 50 million years ago, and then they started to decrease, and the effect of decreasing Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere was Global Cooling of such an intense nature that it kicked off glaciation. (formation of Antarctica I believe)

    But it would not have ended there. The Global Cooling was an overshoot. If the CO2 levels had remained the same after their fast reduction to 450 (give or take) ppm, then after the necessary time lags, the Earth would have readjusted from that violent cooling swing to the relevant average heat for that CO2 level. And that would have been high. Higher than today.

    James Hansen is saying that if you look at the change in the levels of CO2 roughly 50 million years ago, and looking at the temperature swing that the sharp dip in CO2 caused, then you can use that to work out the the temperature swing out for the sharp rise in CO2 we are now experiencing.

    He says that this historical data can be used to calculate what happens at the end of the swing, as well.

    Here’s what he says (with his colleagues) :-

    “Equilibrium sensitivity, including slower [...] feedbacks, is [of the order of] 6 degrees C for doubled CO2…”

    Equilibrium, that point at which the time lags are over and the swing is finished and come back to a balanced point, appropriate to the level of CO2 in the sky.

    Sensitivity, that total change of global temperature in response to the CO2 signal.
    ===============================================================

    Or in other words we know climate sensitivity on the earth with some good accuracy (ok we have cooling agents to which we need to take into account and they are uncertainly known – hence the error bars) and hence it is scientifically sound to argue that raising atmospheric CO2 by any amount is unsafe but to 450 ppmv and above as we are currently looking to do will cause humanity a lot of issues as the temperature rise is relartive to where we live globally and what we do on this earth, ie grow crops and irrigate water.

    I cannot see how Mr Monckton can fail to appreciate this and why he continues to write such seeming nonsense. surely he must be funded.

    [Response: No - he's a freelance purveyor of nonsense. - gavin]

    The whole article can be found here:http://portal.campaigncc.org/node/2096

    Once again the detractors to the science of climate change are just being obtuse and silly.

    I even read recently an exchange between an UK climate scientist and Martin Durkin (TGGWS) who were having an exchange about the programs errors or inaccurate graphs etc and found papers written that tried to show that the MWP and LIA were global in origin and not solely European. They were localised phenomena weren’t they?

    [Response: Our best understanding is that there was a global pattern of climate anomalies (i.e. that there was a global pattern of shifting atmospheric circulation, altered patterns of precipitation, drought, etc). This isn't really a matter of dispute. However, in terms of surface temperature changes over the earth it was probably largely a zero-sum game. We now understand (see e.g. the latest IPCC report, chapters 6 and 9 here) that the modest changes in solar and volcanic radiative forcing which led to a very modest (0.1 to 0.2C at most) warming of the globe, also led to substantial shifts in the so-called "North Atlantic Oscillation" and El Nino/Southern Oscillation, phenomena. This lead to very large regional changes, including alternating patterns of substantial cooling (e.g. tropical Pacific) and warming (e.g. Europe), sitting on top of very modest anomalies in global mean temperature. All reconstructions shown in the IPCC report indicate peak medieval warmth that at hemispheric scales was significantly below the warm of the past one to two decades. -mike]

    Comment by pete best — 30 Jul 2008 @ 5:25 AM

  206. Heads Up! Monckton Strikes Back!

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/monckton/chuck_it_again_schmidt.html

    Comment by bigcitylib — 30 Jul 2008 @ 5:52 AM

  207. Re #206, he is not striking back, he is being daft.

    Comment by pete best — 30 Jul 2008 @ 7:13 AM

  208. Viscount Monckton writes:

    Linear regressions on the temperature record since late 2001 for four major datasets – GISS, UAH, RSS, and Hadley – all show a pronounced downtrend.

    But not a significant one since the sample size is too small. Monckton probably inflates the number of points by using monthly data instead of annual (for a phenomenon where the characteristic time scale for statistical significance is 30 years). It’s kind of like me saying temperature rose sharply here between 6:15 AM and 9:15 AM, dividing that into 181 minutely temperature readings so that the regression tests as significant, and concluding that the oceans will boil in a few days.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 30 Jul 2008 @ 8:16 AM

  209. Rod B., The good Viscount would have difficulty locating his posterior with both hands and a flashlight even if given a GPS programmed to their coordinates. WRT his assertions (and they are nothing but) on temperature, see:
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/08/31/garbage-is-forever/

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 Jul 2008 @ 8:19 AM

  210. Russell Seitz posts:

    the bipartisan huff lives on as the critique of nuclear winter as an imposed urban myth of the cold war spills over into the current generation.

    Except that it’s not a myth. The major study held to “refute” it, Schneider’s 1984 “nuclear autumn” paper, made a mistake in plume height simulation such that it was off by a factor of three. If your plume heights are too short, the soot doesn’t enter the stratosphere in sufficient amounts, and the cooling is temporary and mild. If your plume heights are correct, it does enter the stratosphere, and the cooling is for two or three years and severe — quite enough to destroy human agriculture and with it, human civilization. Much as right-wingers might be unhappy with it, nuclear war is still a bad idea.

    Mr. Seitz appears to feel that radiative-convective models can’t tell us anything of interest, since they conflate night and day and have no surface relief. Do any climate scientists here agree?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 30 Jul 2008 @ 8:23 AM

  211. Re Monckton strikes back, it’s a pretty glancing blow: “the FalseClimate propaganda blog…has launched a malevolent, scientifically-illiterate, and unscientifically-ad-hominem attack on a publication by me”?

    Wow. He should guest on Colbert.

    reCAPTCHA: Champlain Won

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 30 Jul 2008 @ 10:06 AM

  212. Rod B (196):
    I may be misinterpreting your question regarding the factor of four in solar intensity (the “flat Earth”). If you already know this explanation then I apologize, but it may be useful for other readers. It doesn’t matter if you have an electric field, a magnetic field or an electromagnetic field (sunlight) hitting a curved surface, you have the same problem. To calculate the total flux, you need to perform an area integral of the dot product of the field vector and the normal vector for each surface area element. Since the Sun’s rays are parallel to each other, they will be directly perpendicular to the surface (or parallel to the normal vector) at the Equator (on the Equinox), and will hit at glancing angles (perpendicular to the normal vector) at the poles. This makes for a nasty integration, where it is easiest to convert to spherical coordinates, etc. Luckily, Gauss comes to the rescue. (That precocious little bugger!)
    Gauss came up with the following thought experiment. Imagine a weird object with contorted surfaces. Suppose you have a field vector, e.g. sunlight, passing through this volume. Since no sunlight is created within the volume, the flux passing through one surface must be the same as the flux passing through the opposite side. The surface area can be HUGE on one side (imagine a steep-sided conical hat), but the flux must be the same. Now imagine if one side happens to have an easy integration . . .
    When I explain this concept to my high school AP students, I bring in a colander, with one hemispherical surface and one circular surface. Since this is for an Electricity & Magnetism class, I use magnetic field as an example, but the same principle works for sunlight. Imagine that you turn the colander upside down an a flat surface. You then pass a magnetic field straight down through the curved surface. The magnetic field will then be parallel to the normal vector at the highest point on the colander, and will be perpendicular to the normal vector around the rim. The angle between the two vectors will vary continuously between these points. As for the bottom surface, the normal vector always points down (away from the surface). Remember that the flux through the hemispherical region always is the same as the flux through the circular region. While the curved surface has a nasty integration, the circular area has a simple one: the normal vector is always parallel with the field vector. That means that you can replace the dot product with a product, or simply multiply the solar intensity by the area of a circle. Note that the area of a circle is one-fourth the surface area of a sphere. That may be the origin of the “flat Earth” conundrum. Or maybe I have horribly misread things . . .

    Comment by Jeff — 30 Jul 2008 @ 10:12 AM

  213. I do recall what Dr. S. is referring to above, I think. For a story on nuclear winter, an illustration of the globe was excessively darkened to near complete blackness and published in some magazine (Time?) to make the idea more scary. (Rather like a more recent cover where they did the same thing to a picture of wossname during his murder trial.) No cite, sorry.

    The current nuclear winter idea is being belabored here with Dr. S. with appropriate illustrations. It’s a better place to engage in it.
    http://www.defensetech.org/archives/003108.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Jul 2008 @ 10:22 AM

  214. Barton Paul Levenson wrote: “Much as right-wingers might be unhappy with it, nuclear war is still a bad idea.”

    During the cold war there were policy makers who advanced the notion that a global thermonuclear war with the USSR and China would be “winnable”. In the 1980s, one US government official stated that following a nuclear war, “if there are enough shovels to go around we’ll be OK.”

    It appears that some in the current US government and corporate elites have a similarly cavalier attitude towards the consequences of global warming: it will be “winnable” — for a small number of extremely wealthy and powerful people who will be able to command the resources needed to survive it.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 30 Jul 2008 @ 10:23 AM

  215. Re#, Re# 205, Thanks Mike for the response. So the global 0.8C we have experienced in the 20th Century and the 0.6C latent in the Oceans is going to be quite significant then as it will be truely global but also localised such as in the Arctic?

    [Response: Yes--that's fair to say. The thing that makes the late 20th century temperature increases unique is really the globally-synchronous nature of the warming, which contrasts with the typical pattern of natural variation. Relevant to this also is our previous post on the Osborn and Briffa (2006) Science article that addresses this issue by looking at how the homogeneity of trends has changed over the past 1000 years using various climate proxy records. -mike]

    Comment by pete best — 30 Jul 2008 @ 11:04 AM

  216. Monckton has no shame. He accuses the APS of “crumbling” and in effect lying to the effect that his paper wasn’t peer-reviewed. His evidence? Nothing. Why doesn’t he just publish the reviews? To save you reading the whole thing:

    Trying to duck the usual process of scientific discourse by arguments about peer-review procedures is an ad-hominem approach which is not worthy of the name of science. What has happened is that the usual suspects, instead of ploughing through the (not particularly difficult) math and saying what I got wrong and why (which is what Popper calls the EE or “error-elimination” step in the scientific-method algorithm), decided it would be easier simply to lobby the president of the APS, who – instead of consulting me first – instantly and shamefully crumbled.

    Chris, you’ve been debunked here. Why not be a decent chap and actually answer the criticisms at a site where people have the qualifications debate you, rather than indulge in an “ad-hominem approach” like “For the second time, the FalseClimate propaganda blog, founded by two co-authors of the now-discredited “hockey-stick” graph by which”…? Or is Gavin’s plough a tad sharp for you?

    I’m sure Gavin will be kind enough to indulge a detailed debate.

    One more thing: the scientific method is not an algorithm.

    [Response: He did publish the 'review' (it's included in his letter to the APS linked above). Read it and you will realise why the 'no peer review' case is unanswerable. Plus the author of that review, Saperstein, very clearly states on the New Scientist piece that it wasn't a 'peer review' - just a review of a peer. :) - gavin]

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 30 Jul 2008 @ 11:09 AM

  217. Ray, et al, I see your and Tamino’s point (saw his post here after I posted mine). BPL seems to agree with me (my inference within my highly constrained question) and you and Tamino don’t seem to really answer that Monckton’s mathematical analysis is incorrect. It was a curiosity question, might not have any significant (or any…) relevance, and asked simply if his regression analysis from 2001 through 2008 was mathematically accurate. I understand that such an analysis likely has no relevance to any long-term temperature trend, or anything else, and might be entirely mathematically inappropriate — which isn’t the same as “mathematically inaccurate”. I probably should not have used “incorrect” — it could be interpreted as inappropriate, which is not what I meant.

    Comment by Rod B — 30 Jul 2008 @ 11:11 AM

  218. Jeff (212), thanks. Your description is mathematically more complete and informative. I think it is also what I was simplifying: the total energy/power flux from the sun striking half of the earth as a hemisphere (area of 2(pi)r^2 using dot products, integration and all), turns out to be mathematically equal to the flux striking head on the equivalent cross-section circle of area (pi)r^2. This is also mathematically equal to flattening the sphere to a flat area of 4(pi)r^2 and dividing the actual flux by four. This is what I said, agreeing with Monckton, is like using a flat earth with no day-night distinction. Though Monckton seemed to be trying to confuse, mislead, and imply something beyond my very simple comparison.

    Comment by Rod B — 30 Jul 2008 @ 11:28 AM

  219. Rod,
    Tamino’s analysis is quite clear–there is no downward trend. Monckton is simply flat-assed wrong.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 Jul 2008 @ 12:12 PM

  220. Re: #217 (Rod B)

    Let’s make an analogy: suppose we want to monitor the height of men who walk into a coffee shop in order to determine whether there’s a trend over time. The first person through the door is Shaquille O’Neal, I’m the next person. You may already have guessed that I’m not as tall as Shaq.

    Along comes Chris Monckton and says, “the height of men walking through that door shows a pronounced downtrend.” This conclusion is based on two people.

    Is this mathematical analysis incorrect?

    Comment by tamino — 30 Jul 2008 @ 12:22 PM

  221. (Re #220) and of course the answer is “depends on what you mean by ‘correct’”.

    :-)

    Same with Monkton despite Roy’s attempts to narrow down the query to a state where no answer that can be given in less than dissertation length would be immune to him twisting to make him “right”.

    thinking hats is the captcha. Looks like the Oracle of Captcha has scored another one!

    PS we shouldn’t mouth the Oracle’s words too often, in case we expose a pattern. People with nefarious aims seldom care whether the effort is worth it…

    Comment by Mark — 30 Jul 2008 @ 1:22 PM

  222. Ray, O.K…., I think. But, Tamino, if you follow Shaquille O’Neal through the door, then saying the height of men walking through the door is in a downward trend is mathematically accurate. Maybe meaningless; maybe inappropriate; but accurate. Ray, Tamino am I correct (accurate) here?

    Comment by Rod B — 30 Jul 2008 @ 2:05 PM

  223. 1) Nothing about Viscount Monckton’s a behavior is a surprise. Of course, his characterization of “the usual suspects” is likely to be rather far off the mark as an accurate description of the APS President’s actions.

    2) But still, I once again invite people to examine the articles listed in #68 by Dr Gerald Marsh, to which I add:

    9. June 2005 “No consensus on prime cause of global warming”
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/10ea480e-dba7-11d9-913a-00000e2511c8.html

    10. Dec 2004, “CO2 cannot be called a pollutant”, letter to Financial Times
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/72a811d4-593e-11d9-89a5-00000e2511c8.html?nclick_check=1

    I think one can make the case that Monckton would never have gotten an invite without Marsh. It would be truly fascinating to know the whole list of five names.

    Has Marsh published any peer-reviewed articles on climate change?

    3) And again, although he appears not to have started this, Dr. Larry Gould certainly helped out later, and one might examine his home page.

    4) I observe a pattern that has been seen before…

    Needless to say, free speech is fine, but maybe colleagues might want to ask such people why they want to damage their reputations, by opining on topics outside their expertise, and via OpEd, letters to editors, whitepapers on thinktank websites, etc, etc … but not in peer-reviewed credible publications. The Web has a long memory….

    Comment by John Mashey — 30 Jul 2008 @ 2:15 PM

  224. No, Rod. Basic statistics 101 is where you learn how many data points, over how much time, you need to state with a given level of likelihood of being right that a trend can be inferred from the data.

    You’re confusing bullshit with statistics. This isn’t your fault, but it is why taking Stat 101 changes people’s lives and the way they view the world.

    Recommended.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Jul 2008 @ 2:24 PM

  225. Rod B. #222,

    Yes, correct, meaningless and inappropriate.

    Comment by tidal — 30 Jul 2008 @ 2:43 PM

  226. Gavin responds under #216:

    … that it wasn’t a ‘peer review’ – just a review of a peer. :)

    …and a review by a “peer”, i.e., someone just as, eh, competent on the subject matter :-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 30 Jul 2008 @ 2:59 PM

  227. Re: #222 (Rod B)

    Rod, no you’re not correct. If you said the 1st person through the door was taller than the 2nd, then that’s correct. But to use the word “trend” without being mathematically mistaken, you have to test statistical significance. The 2-person “trend” fails.

    So does the “trend” in global temperature for *every* data set mentioned by Monckton. In the context of mathematics, trend means more than just “today isn’t as warm as yesterday.”

    Comment by tamino — 30 Jul 2008 @ 3:03 PM

  228. Rod B #222: yes, I would agree that Monckton’s statement may be construed by a lawyer as not factually false (why am I thinking of Bill Clinton?) :-)

    “Downtrend” true for a suitable definition of “trend” — not the one used by scientists though, who would insist that in order to exist a trend must be statistically significant.

    “Pronounced”, matter of taste… british lords are known for their weird tastes :-)

    Counterquestion: do you see intent to deceive? I know I do.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 30 Jul 2008 @ 3:23 PM

  229. Re #206
    Monckton must move in some pretty sheltered circles. It can be deduced from his SPPI document in response to this posting, that he thinks the following were Ad-Hominem attacks…

    “He amusingly…”
    
”But back to his main error”
    “So he makes another dodgy claim.”
    
”There are many more errors in his piece”
    “He bizarrely…” 

    and my favorite!
    “Umm…”

    Blimey, no wonder Monckton is so peeved, with such cutting attacks!

    Comment by Alf Jones — 30 Jul 2008 @ 3:55 PM

  230. Hank, Tamino, Ray, Martin, et al. I’ll have to agree that the two man example is bad and can’t indicate a trend. However, three maybe, theoretically, might if you are willing to accept a humongous error. Still,. mathematically, Monckton’s 2001-2008 regression ought to have sufficient points for a mathematically accurate trend. Though I recognize climate stuff requires many more points over time to get to a reasonable margin of error, compared to other things. You all keep replying that his analysis is inappropriate (meaning an unacceptable margin of error) or cherry-picked. I don’t disagree or question that. I’m just wondering how someone can make a numerical error in the calculation of a linear regression, or, e.g., calculating an average; the mathematical algorithm is not complicated, pretty straight forward, and requires little advanced math. You are saying he did; but I suspect (though it’s my question) you are saying it was inappropriate and insignificant. Regarding my question, this is not the same thing.

    Yes, my impression is that he was trying to mislead. But just because he may be acting like a dork doesn’t mean he can’t accurately calculate the average of squares.

    Comment by Rod B — 30 Jul 2008 @ 5:05 PM

  231. Rod:
    http://atmoz.org/blog/2008/01/29/on-the-insignificance-of-a-5-year-temperature-trend/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Jul 2008 @ 5:14 PM

  232. Re #229

    “Monckton must move in some pretty sheltered circles. It can be deduced from his SPPI document in response to this posting, that he thinks the following were Ad-Hominem attacks…

    “He amusingly…”
    
”But back to his main error”
    “So he makes another dodgy claim.”
    
”There are many more errors in his piece”
    “He bizarrely…” 

    and my favorite!
    “Umm…”

    Blimey, no wonder Monckton is so peeved, with such cutting attacks!

    I agree for a classicist to not understand what ‘ad hominem’ means is surprising!
    However it get worse, he claims to take the ‘high ground’ when he declares: “I shall refrain from any ad-hominem remarks of my own,”, and then proceeds to pile ad hom on top of ad hom!
    The last three pages are nothing but
    ad hom, I didn’t attend Harrow but at my school we were taught to play the ball, not the man, (a non-classicist’s definition of ad hominem). I do agree with Monckton in one respect though, Monckton’s liberal use of ad hominem remarks does serve to indicate that his remarks are politically and not scientifically motivated.
    A rather poor translation of Occam’s razor too!
    I read the ‘peer review’ of his paper and as I posted elsewhere I found it extremely superficial, a proof reading rather than a review which didn’t address any of the science.
    Monckton’s pretentious use of foreign phrases is rather annoying, however it is amusing when he gets it wrong such as when he uses per impossibile

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 30 Jul 2008 @ 5:46 PM

  233. Rod B #230:

    “Still,. mathematically, Monckton’s 2001-2008 regression ought to have sufficient points for a mathematically accurate trend.”

    So show us. If it ought, and statistics isn’t rocket science ;-) , so show us the results.

    Comment by Mark — 30 Jul 2008 @ 5:49 PM

  234. Rod 230, Tamino’s post is also quite convincing.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 30 Jul 2008 @ 6:38 PM

  235. Rod, In order to establish a trend, we must do a statistical analysis on some quantity. Since you cannot even really define a meaningful standard deviation on a sample size of 2, I think we can safely conclude that there is no trend.

    Any fool can lie with statistics. Using them to bring out the truth–that takes skill.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 Jul 2008 @ 7:44 PM

  236. # 222 Rod B Says:

    “But, Tamino, if you follow Shaquille O’Neal through the door, then saying the height of men walking through the door is in a downward trend is mathematically accurate.”

    No it is NOT mathematically accurate.

    Statistical analysis of time series is all about estimating how likely it is that some pattern occurred by chance. If it is highly unlikely it occurred by chance, then we can say it’s a trend.

    To do that, you need a big enough number of observations. In general, the more observations, the more certain you can be. Only when you have sufficient observations can you say there is a trend, and there are standard statistical tests for this. In the same way, a horse that has won 20 out of 20 races is a safer bet than a horse that’s won only one from one.

    In your case, everyone coming through the door will be a different height than the previous person, even if there is no trend at all. So measuring only Shaq and Tamino tell us nothing whatsoever about the existence or otherwise of a trend.

    You also need to specify your “model”. Your example assumes, implicitly, that people are coming through the door at random. Is there something else affecting your observations that might not be related to an underlying trend?

    You might need, for example to allow for the fact that Shaq’s team predictably only comes to town once every few years or that a family of pygmies is passing through town on their annual vacation today, or that every Tuesday the coffee shop has a “shortass hour” between 10 and 11, free coffee for midgets.

    The effects of these known events, which have occurred in the past, can be estimated.

    In the same way, climate models make allowances for, say, el Nino and la Nina events and volcanic eruptions.

    There may also be random unobserved events whose effects are unknown. For example, the Secret Tall People’s Coffee Drinking Team may have been kidnapped by aliens.

    So your sample needs to cover a long enough time frame so such things will not affect your conclusions.

    If you don’t take acocunt of these (and other) things, then the results of your trend analysis are likely to be misleading.

    That’s why this talk of a downward trend since 1998 is misleading.

    You could take a look at the wikipedia entry on “trend estimation” as a starting point, or get a book about introductory econometrics from your library.

    The statistical methods used in econometrics are generally applicable to discussions like these and the texts are mostly accessable – they have to be, because we economists aren’t as smart as real scientists.

    Comment by Garry S-J — 30 Jul 2008 @ 8:25 PM

  237. Well, we’re beating hell out of a near dead horse. I went back and checked. The “trend” from 2002 thru mid-2008 is down as shown in Moncton’s paper. However, eyeballing other graphs (with all apologies :-) ), had he started in 2001, not so much; 2000? not a chance. Monckton also talks of downward trend since 1998. That too is accurate. However starting in 1997 or 1996 it’s not, depending on how the linear regression would handle 2008. Starting any other year back to 1860 it is not. This is all that I was asking about/questioning. You guys keep answering, in essence, ‘..but he’s a dork’, or ‘it’s meaningless’, or ‘it’s statistically insignificant or misleading’. I knows dat; wasn’t what I was asking.

    But, I know, I’ve taken this thing beyond any worth. So I won’t belabor it further.

    Comment by Rod B — 30 Jul 2008 @ 9:56 PM

  238. Re # 197 Rod B:

    There are, in fact a whole lot of scientists and mathematicians outside the field of climatology who understand models forward and backward and the difference between dynamic and statistical modelling. I think they could very well question/ask about GCMs beneficially.

    Why do you (apparently) assume those scientists and mathematicians haven’t had input into global climate modelling from the very beginning, or that the climate scientists (and graduate students learning the ins and outs of climate modeling) don’t consulted with mathematicians and computer scientists and other modelling experts?
    More importantly, I suspect the real limitation of global climate models comes not from deficiencies in an understanding of the requisite mathematics, statistics, writing of computer code, etc, but rather from gaps in “our” knowledge of the complex dynamics of atmospheric and oceanic physics that has to be incorporated into those models – that knowledge is likely to come from climatologists and oceanographers, not from outsiders.

    Comment by Chuck Booth — 30 Jul 2008 @ 10:09 PM

  239. > why do you (apparently) assume

    Er, because we’re fun to watch? Boring.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 Jul 2008 @ 12:12 AM

  240. ou guys keep answering, in essence, ‘..but he’s a dork’, or ‘it’s meaningless’, or ‘it’s statistically insignificant or misleading’. I knows dat; wasn’t what I was asking.

    Unfortunately, as long as you keep using the word “trend”, it IS what you are asking. And without the word “trend”, it is a meaningless question anyway.

    So what’s your point? Are you hair-splitting over exactly *what* Monckton is lying about? He’s clearly lying, so I suppose classifying his lie might be an interesting exercise to some, but not to me.

    Comment by dhogaza — 31 Jul 2008 @ 2:04 AM

  241. Rod #237, point taken.

    Note that the Viscount’s use of “trend”, as apparently borrowed by you, is not too different from your use of “temperature” for single molecules :-) Yes, we scientists may forget when folks are struggling for understanding rather than terminological precision — which is so central in science.

    And he is a dork.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 31 Jul 2008 @ 3:56 AM

  242. Rod B,

    Please show us your raw data and your calculations.

    Please also ensure you have included the noise level and significance calculations. We need to see your raw data and since this is only 5 years data, should be easy to produce.

    Basically, I’m skeptical of your results.

    Comment by Mark — 31 Jul 2008 @ 4:10 AM

  243. Re #197, classic denialist rhetoric as per usual. Another flawed attempt to undermine GHG theory.

    Comment by pete best — 31 Jul 2008 @ 4:37 AM

  244. Rod B posts:

    The “trend” from 2002 thru mid-2008 is down as shown in Moncton’s paper. However, eyeballing other graphs (with all apologies :-) ), had he started in 2001, not so much; 2000? not a chance. Monckton also talks of downward trend since 1998. That too is accurate.

    No, it is NOT accurate. You have a fundamental misunderstanding here. You can’t just calculate a linear regression to find a trend. A linear regression isn’t just a line, it’s the significance of the slope as well. A trend that isn’t significant is not a trend.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 31 Jul 2008 @ 6:34 AM

  245. Gavin, under the heading “Schmidt’s errors”, Monckton accuses you of making I think 13 errors.

    Could you please do all of us a service and rebut his accusations so that we can clearly see you are right and he is wrong?

    [Response: I leave it as an exercise to the reader (or I would if I were writing a textbook). But it could be an interesting exercise in any case. Which of these claims seem credible to you and why? I might add an addendum at the weekend. - gavin]

    Comment by Peter Groth — 31 Jul 2008 @ 6:49 AM

  246. Re: #237 (Rod B)

    Rod, you’re the one who’s beating a dead horse because for some reason you refuse to admit that Monckton isn’t just being stupid and/or misleading, he’s actually wrong. The word “trend” has a meaning. It does not mean “the slope of a linear regression is non-zero.” That will always happen, even if you analyze a series of random numbers. If that slope is statistically indistinguishable from zero, then you have no evidence for a trend. But Monckton says “pronounced downtrend,” not only making him wrong, but a propagandist as well.

    Nobody said he can’t add. But his statement is not mathematically correct.

    Comment by tamino — 31 Jul 2008 @ 7:27 AM

  247. RE: Rod @237
    “The “trend” from 2002 thru mid-2008 is down as shown in Moncton’s paper.”
    “You guys keep answering…‘it’s statistically insignificant or misleading’. I knows dat; wasn’t what I was asking.”

    I think the point here is that if you use the term trend (without the scare quotes you used in the line I quoted) in a paper on science, directed at scientists, it should be safe to assume you intend a technical, scientific meaning of the term. In this usage, I believe that a pattern of observations is definitively NOT a trend if it does not reach statistical significance.

    Comment by kevin — 31 Jul 2008 @ 8:34 AM

  248. Let’s see if we can discern a “trend” from two data points:

    1. As reported by Associated Press, yesterday “Exxon Mobil reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion … the biggest quarterly profit ever by any U.S. corporation … Setting U.S. profit records has become commonplace for Irving-based Exxon Mobil. The $11.68 billion topped its own U.S. record of $11.66 billion, posted in the fourth quarter of last year. Right behind that was the $10.9 billion it reported to start 2008. Exxon Mobil owns the record for at least the top six most-profitable quarters for a U.S. company, as well as the largest annual profit.”

    2. As reported by The Wilderness Society, on Tuesday of this week “allies of Big Oil in the Senate” blocked passage of legislation that would have renewed the investment and production tax credits for wind and solar energy and provided tax incentives for high-efficiency automobile technology.

    The problem of anthropogenic global warming is real, and extremely serious — and Exxon-Mobil and other fossil fuel corporations fund a campaign of deceitful propaganda to prevent the public from realizing this.

    The solutions — clean, renewable energy technologies that would enable a rapid phase-out of fossil fuels — are at hand, and Exxon-Mobil and other fossil fuel corporations bribe legislators to prevent even meager tax incentives to spur the development of these new energy industries.

    Does anyone detect a “trend”?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 31 Jul 2008 @ 9:52 AM

  249. Oh! Boy!

    I meant that I was beating the horse; so you can get off yours, tamino.

    My data is Monckton’s linked article and various graphs I have coming from GISS, HadCrut3, et al sources. They’re not secret or unknown or difficult to look at.

    You guys will go to no end to avoid saying Monckton once in a while maybe by chance can add and subtract. His data from 2002 to 2008 is sufficient to establish a mathematical trend. The mathematical accuracy depends simply on the error and standard deviation. But I was (maybe wrongly) using the term “trend” loosely (which is why I put it in quotes, not to scare (???) people). You all keep saying that, numbers or not, a presumed trend is meaningless unless it logically fits the context, and a 5-6 year analysis is meaningless within the context of climate. I keep saying I know that and agree with it. But you all keep pounding away. So, I’ll ask, no more, no less, does the smoothed out global temperature measurements decrease between 2002 and 2008? (regardless of Monckton’s terminology, which I have admitted ad nauseam that I think is misleading.)

    Comment by Rod B — 31 Jul 2008 @ 9:54 AM

  250. Chuck (238), so you claim the writers of , if not the most, one of the top half-dozen complex complicated mathematical models could whip it out like eating Cheerios in the morning, and could get absolutely no benefit what-so-ever from folks, who designed models for something other than climate, checking out a few instructions, algorithms, etc. from time to time. Boggles the mind.

    Even more mind boggling and downright astonishing is how my thought here, as pete best says (243), meets the standard for, “classic denialist rhetoric as per usual. [and] Another flawed attempt to undermine GHG theory.” Wow! — suggesting that the climate model developer/architect might find some improvement by asking Jeanie down the hall in the astrophysics model shop????

    [Response: I've never had much useful input from astrophysicist modellers, but I'm still young. But climate modelling is a very open field, and we certainly get input from mathematicians (I started out as one), oceanographers, meteorologists, dynamicists, sea ice specialists, biologists, geologists, atmospheric chemists, remote sensing experts etc. Some of them are in the same building, but mostly they are scattered across the world. The biggest issues in bringing so many people together, is that they often do not appreciate the constraints that GCMs impose on more detailed models - overall conservations, consistency and appropriate levels of approximation. - gavin]

    Comment by Rod B — 31 Jul 2008 @ 10:14 AM

  251. Rod, the answer is you can’t tell, if you want an answer about the planet.

    Do you just want an answer about the numbers? Just the integers?
    Everyone here will agree that 10 is larger than 9, 9 is larger than 8 and so forth.

    But while you’re attaching the numbers you’re reading to the notion that they tell you something definite about the planet, people will go on telling you you haven’t understood this yet.

    They don’t go out and read one thermometer one day a year.

    You need to understand where the numbers Monckton is using come from.

    You’re ignoring the range of error, because you don’t understand the concept.

    Statistics 101 will change your life, if you understand the material.

    Now, are you going to tell us you know this already?

    If so, you’re just taking up all this time and attention although you _know_ these numbers have nothing to tell us about the planet, and you’re just trying to get everyone here to admit that some integers are more equal than others.

    If so, why bother?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 Jul 2008 @ 10:55 AM

  252. Rod B., Two things. First, let’s look at what people in the past have said about statistics:
    Disraeli–”There are three types of lies: lies, damnable lies and statistics.”
    Andrew Lang–”He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lampposts – for support rather than illumination.”
    And so on. Now given that people have this impression of statistical analysis, it is not surprising that people who understand statistics insist on precision of both analysis and terminology. It is very easy to misuse statistics. One can use an analysis that is inappropriate to the problem. One can use a statistical measure that gives misleading or biased estimation. One can cherry-pick starting and end points. One can keep looking at different analyses until one finds one that supports one’s contention. All of these things can be done–and more important, experienced statisticians can spot them, where laymen are likely to be taken in.

    Now as to your contention that someone from, say, astrophysics can step right in and help out Gavin et al…. Remember, scientists study their discipline for a decade or more before they get their PhD. They then do a post-doc for about 5 years more. Several years as asistant professor, and on and on. Experience counts. Every field has its own history and techniques. If you are ignorant of that history, you will make old mistakes and reinvent wheels. The experienced researcher you are trying to help will probably spend more time explaining to you that your ideas have been tried before than you will actually producing anything of substance.
    When I’m having a particularly bad day, juggling 3 different telecons at the same time, I sometimes fantasize about switching to medical physics. After all, I do radiation effects in semiconductors and medical physicists look at radiation effects in bags of water called human beings. Pretty much the same physic, right? Yet, I know it would take me at least three years before I could say anything meaningful about my new field. Don’t discount the value of experience.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 31 Jul 2008 @ 12:23 PM

  253. Re: #250 Rod B

    Rod,
    If you re-read my post (# 238) you’ll see that I claimed no such thing. Rather, I suggested (in my question to you) that climate modelers do use input from those non-climatologist scientists and mathematicians with relevant expertise, and Gavin confirmed this point.

    It boggles the mind that you could misinterpret my comments so badly.

    Comment by Chuck Booth — 31 Jul 2008 @ 2:43 PM

  254. Gavin, I’m on board with everything you say (250).

    I don’t think it refutes my contention (which has expanded a lot during the discourse), which was, roughly, arbitrarily and completely excluding everyone from outside climatology from commenting on the discipline, especially my example of computer modelers, is stupid, silly, and not helpful. I did not contend that letting all the outsiders talk would solve all (or even many, or even some) of the problems, or that they would even show up! Ray, neither do I contend that these outside questioners are the nirvana. No way are they as versed as the guy with 10-11 years of post secondary education followed by a bunch of actual work. Maybe only once in a great while they might maybe mention something that has been over-looked. That’s not the point at all. My point is as above, literally, nothing more, nothing less.

    Ray and Hank re my #249: I’ll turn up the volume. Please listen carefully with some discrimination. I’M NOT IGNORING RANGE OF ERROR. I ACCEPT RANGE OF ERROR; REALLY BAD. I AGREE WITH THE MEANINGLESS NATURE OF 5-6 YEARS ANALYSIS IN THE CONTEXT OF CLIMATE. NOT WHAT I ASKED. I didn’t ask about “the planet”! My question, literally, nothing more, is, “does the smoothed out global temperature measurements decrease between (1Q)2002 and (2Q)2008? The answer is a simple YES or NO, and does not imply anything else.

    Comment by Rod B — 31 Jul 2008 @ 4:44 PM

  255. Chuck, well, your last paragraph of 238 sounded like it at the time. If I misread that, I apologize.

    Comment by Rod B — 31 Jul 2008 @ 4:50 PM

  256. Rod B., would you please let a lay person help you? I am an engineer, but even I recognize that Monckton is making a famous error in statistics, one that was first defined 80 years ago.

    He is saying that there is a trend in the data, when in fact the data could easily have been caused by random variation. In fact, it is far more likely that the data is caused by random system behavior than a causal factor.

    Let me quote a bit of W.Edwards Deming, one of the most famous statisticians ever (although his degree was in physics), “the numbers mean nothing, until you know by what system they were measured” further, “until you know the system’s variation, you cannot predict the system’s response”. Deming of course, made his name teaching the Japanese how to build better quality cars back in the 1950s (his picture, along with the emperor of Japan, and the founder, is in the front lobby of Toyota).

    Monckton is looking at annual global temperatures. Since 1975, the annual global temperatures have a standard variation of over 0.1 deg C. So to get a result that is 95% certain, the uncertainty bands have to be drawn +/- 0.2 deg C just to account for the natural variation in the Earth’s system.

    But Monckton is saying (paraphrased): But there is an obvious downward trend!
    Well, there is a statistical test for that, used in statistical process control (SPC), and that is seven consecutive steadily rising (or falling) trend. Does your data show that? Is 2001 cooler than 2000, AND 2002 cooler than 2001, AND 2003 cooler yet, AND 2004 cooler yet, AND 2005 cooler yet, AND so forth. Now that is for 3 sigma certainty, and 2 sigma is less, so perhaps 5 consecutive data points will do the trick. Does your data show five consecutive cooling years? If so, there could be a special cause, so lets go looking for the volcanic eruption and solar activity and so forth.

    Another statistical test sometimes used, is seven consecutive data points above or below the mean. Does your data show seven consecutive years of temperature anomaly below the mean of the years since 1975? How about five consecutive years below the mean?

    If none of these tests are met, then perhaps you don’t have statistically valid conclusion to draw. Monckton doesn’t seem to know any statistics, or perhaps he is ignoring this completely.

    Here is a link to this famous statistical error:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_I_and_type_II_errors

    If you want to try your hand at this, here are some statistical patterns you can look for to determine statistical significance:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Electric_rules

    Remember when applying these “dumb rules” (meaning that you don’t need to know about the system beyond the standard deviation to apply them), that you need the standard deviation to set the two sigma and three sigma levels, but the guys here provided that.

    Final word, it seems that climatologists are letting you off easy… they are only asking for two sigma significance. Be thankful you aren’t supply the auto makers, who demand three sigma to establish statistical significance.

    Comment by Paul Klemencic — 31 Jul 2008 @ 8:38 PM

  257. gavin,you state that “I’ve never had much useful input from astrophysicist modellers”. Just to remind you,your friend James Hansen,famous for his high profile,is an astrophysicist modeller.

    [Response: Valid point - but he hasn't worked on planetary atmospheres (other than the Earth) since at least the 1980s, so this pre-dates my connection to GCMs by almost 20 years. - gavin]

    Comment by IAN HILLIAR — 31 Jul 2008 @ 9:21 PM

  258. Re – 186 – just read the “chuck it….” PDF.

    I loved this bit:

    “Al Gore took care to ensure that Hansen’s testimony to Congress in the hot summer of 1988 was staged
    on a particularly hot day, for maximum political effect.”

    I’d love to know how he does that in advance. When I arrange field trips for people, I spend three months praying for sunshine and it usually tips it down!

    Cheers – John

    Comment by John Mason — 1 Aug 2008 @ 8:02 AM

  259. #254 Rod B NOT WHAT I ASKED. [...] My question, literally, nothing more, is, “does the smoothed out global temperature measurements decrease between (1Q)2002 and (2Q)2008? The answer is a simple YES or NO, and does not imply anything else.

    Oh for crying it loud, dude! That is NOT how you put it in any other comment. You kept saying “trend”. People kept correcting you. Say this and we can all move on:

    “I now realise I used the wrong word, and gave you a misleading impression of my intention. I apologise for the confusion, it was unintentional. To clarify, I meant that the smoothed out figures decrease for the period concerned. I understand that this is not a statistical trend, and that Monckton was in error if he claimed it was.”

    Regardless of your intention, by using a technical word out of context without clear elaboration, you said something different to what you (clearly, now) meant. This was a small slip, but no-one who called you on it can be faulted for assuming you meant what you said.

    Comment by Owen Phelps — 1 Aug 2008 @ 8:50 AM

  260. @RodB, and the “ZOMG!!!IT’S JUST A SIMPLE YES/NO QUESTION!!!” question:

    I, for one, don’t know. But given that, as you have repeatedly point out, you have acknowledged that the answer is meaningless in practical terms, why do you care?

    And I would guess that the reasons people haven’t answered you with that simple yes or no you’re looking for include things like the following:

    1) Having also recognized that the answer would be meaningless in practical terms, they DON’T CARE and so haven’t bothered to look for an answer.

    2) Although the answer is not practically useful in terms of climate science, if the answer is “yes,” it could be put to use in constructing misleading rhetoric. I can easily imagine someone copying a yes response to your question, and pasting it out of context somewhere else, while proclaiming “see?!? Even those RC people are admitting Monckton was right!!!1!”

    See what I mean?

    Comment by kevin — 1 Aug 2008 @ 9:06 AM

  261. Rod B: You ask: “does the smoothed out global temperature measurements decrease between (1Q)2002 and (2Q)2008? The answer is a simple YES or NO, and does not imply anything else.”

    Er. You’d have to define what you mean by “smoothed”. I like 5 year moving averages myself. But a five year moving average for 2002 to 2008 gets you all of 2 points (2004 and 2005), and the 2nd point is warmer than the first point because 2007 is warmer than 2002. (the 5 year average around 2005 is significantly warmer than the 5 year average around 2002, if you care).

    Or are you talking about just sticking 3 month averages from GISS into STATA and doing a linear regression? Well, then, fine, the “best fit” for the 3 month quarters between 2002 and present is temperature = quarter*-0.15 + constant, so yes, negative, but a 95% bound of -0.75 to plus 0.45, so it is pretty clear that that tells us nothing. (95% bounds on regressing monthly temperature vs. time are not significant either).

    So, regardless of the fact that EVEN IF there was an actually significant trend from 2002 to 2008 it would be meaningless because of how we understand the climate system, at least according to GISS there is NO statistically significant trend during that time period. Satisfied?

    Comment by Marcus — 1 Aug 2008 @ 9:56 AM

  262. Rod, don’t shout. Read.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Aug 2008 @ 11:06 AM

  263. Re: 254, Rod B. You are asking a statistical question, and statistical questions do not ever under any circumstances have yes or no answers. If I flip a coin 100 times and it comes up heads 100 times and then I am asked is this an honest coin, I go not give a yes or no question. I give a probability and a confidence level or best guess and error. I’m telling you that I don’t lie with statistics. You are asking me to tell you what the liar’s statistical answer is. See the problem?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Aug 2008 @ 11:24 AM

  264. Viscount C. M of B: “Al Gore took care to ensure that Hansen’s testimony to Congress in the hot summer of 1988 was staged
    on a particularly hot day, for maximum political effect.”

    John Mason:”I’d love to know how he does that in advance. When I arrange field trips for people, I spend three months praying for sunshine and it usually tips it down!”

    Why, of course, he used the UN death ray they’ve been using to warm up the planet and enslave us under one-world government and socialized medicine and stuff. Not only can it vaporize opponents from a typical UN black helicopter, it is the real cause of global warming! And I hear it makes real good barbecue, too!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Aug 2008 @ 11:29 AM

  265. A brief conversation yesterday gave rise to a thought about “skepticism”.

    The science of climate change is rare among fields of scientific inquiry in having an organized opposition of self-described “skeptics” who are quite devoted to challenging it at every level, with some going so far as to question whether it is even science at all, as opposed to guesswork, a “religion” or some sort of ideological agenda. As I have often commented here, much of this organized opposition results from the deliberate campaign of deceit and disinformation by those who profit from the continued use of fossil fuels, whose desire to undermine public confidence in the conclusions and implications of climate science is readily understandable, if reprehensible. But not all of the vehement “skepticism” is driven by the profit motive. Why then are some “skeptics” who have no such ulterior motive so strongly committed to rejecting climate science?

    While climate science is rare in having to contend with organized opposition, it is not unique. As most readers of this site will be aware, the science of biological evolution is also confronted by an organized opposition who claim to be “skeptics”, who work very hard to challenge evolution at every level from its foundations to its details.

    And, as I was reminded yesterday, parapsychology is another field of scientific inquiry that has to deal with an organized opposition of so-called “skeptics” who vociferously argue that it is not legitimate science, and have gone so far as to campaign to revoke the affiliation of the Parapsychological Association with the AAAS. (Parapsychology is a particular interest of mine, so I have followed this “controversy” fairly closely for years.)

    What I see in common here is a so-called “skepticism” that is, in reality, an a priori refusal to accept the conclusions of a particular field of inquiry, a refusal that can never be overcome by evidence or reason, for this reason: in each case, the results of scientific inquiry challenge the fundamental basis of someone’s world view, their deepest sense of what the world is and what they are within it.

    If the phenomena studied by parapsychology are “real”, then the view that the world is entirely mechanistic and “physical” in nature is called into question, and to some people this is totally unacceptable. Therefore, the phenomena cannot be real no matter what the evidence may show.

    [edit - no religion or ID discussion]

    If human activities are warming the earth and altering the climate, biosphere and hydrosphere in ways that threaten the viability of human civilization and perhaps the viability of the rich, diverse Holocene biosphere, then the continuation of “life as we know it” and as we have known it throughout human history is at grave risk, sooner rather than later — and to some people this very idea is totally unacceptable, because it threatens their world view that life will continue indefinitely much as it always has and that there is no way that ordinary human activities could alter this. Therefore, the theory of climate change must be wrong no matter what the evidence may show.

    A priori refusal to accept evidence, and the implications of that evidence, because those implications threaten one’s world view is not “skepticism”. It is merely obstinate denial. It is understandable — no one likes having the rug pulled out from under their most basic sense of reality and their place in it. In the cases of evolution and parapsychology, such obstinate denial has little practical import. In the case of climate science, however, it is a very real danger to all of us.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 1 Aug 2008 @ 12:43 PM

  266. Ah – thanks Ray – you have saved me the (possibly impossible) task of asking the man himself!

    Back to more serious stuff, as someone who works in science, and therefore accepts the way science works, and sadly the way nonscience works too, this sort of thing is so typical. Most folk (i.e. your proverbial Man On The Street)won’t understand the details of the “recalculations” presented in the RPS article. However, once the game is at least partially, if not wholly up, absurd comments like the one I quoted start to be found, and as a non-climatologist, but a geologist and keen amateur weather/climate type, even I can spot that! In fact I suspect over 50% of “Men On The Street” might!

    Cheers – John

    Comment by John Mason — 1 Aug 2008 @ 12:44 PM

  267. Paul K., I appreciate your learned and patient response. But I think you’re still not getting my question. For Owen P., kevin, Marcus, et al, it turns out maybe there still could be some value (maybe not a lot, though…) continuing this a bit longer, so let me review the bidding.

    I was initially just curious if, and only if, Monckton did the math calculations correctly. I said (200) that is all I was curious about, not whether his analysis was appropriate or about any thing else he said — which I termed goofy-looking in the post. This was all I wanted. I had no hidden agenda; just was curious, presuming his conclusions and words were “goofy”, if he could at least add and subtract (actually do linear regression math) correctly

    The initial responses all addressed what I did not ask. I responded (217) with a thanks for their good information and that I recognized that, “such an [his] analysis likely has no relevance to any long-term temperature trend, or anything else, and might be entirely mathematically inappropriate“, but I was really just interested in the basic math operations. Still didn’t use the “scare” term “trend” [loved that scare thing ;-) ]

    The following responses basically repeated the initial responses. Not important, but interesting, Ray was the first to use “trend” in this discourse. tamino also presented the two man scenario, the 1st being The Shack, to which I said a downward trend was mathematically accurate (tamino used the term “trend”). I later agreed to the correction and retracted that response on the basis that three is probably the minimum data set with any mathematical validity. (Though tidal later agreed with me, as did Martin though with the clear caveat that I was not using an accepted use of “trend”.) I suggested (230) that the number of data points of temperature between 2000 and 2008 ought to be mathematically sufficient. I again reiterated that I was not asking about appropriateness or Monckton’s assessment, which I admitted (again) looked wrong, sounded misleading, and [he] was acting like a dork.

    I then did my own eyeball analysis of Monckton’s graph and some graphs I have archived and asserted (237) that I thought it obvious the “”trend”" (first time I used the term on my own, and it was in quotes — scarry to some) from 2001-2008 was down. I also observed that 1999-2008 was not down, etc.

    Etc., etc., etc. This continues with no deviation.

    The insight is that you guys can not, seemingly mentally impossible to, look at a graph of global temps which unquestionably and unequivocally shows the “smoothed out global temperature measurements decreasing” between 2002 and 2008 and admit to it. (Smoothed out meaning linear regression, averages, end-to-end line, whatever.) I would guess because you fear I would take that answer out of context and try to beat you up over it like Monckton is trying to do — despite my incessant discounting and refutation of anything Monckton had to say on this topic. This, friends, while maybe not terribly important, is, interestingly and possibly sadly, nothing short of defensive religion. Sadly because it, frankly, diminishes credibility.

    I must go duck now.

    (anticlimactic) ps. yes, Ray, but if I asked you “did heads come up more the 50 times?”, the answer is yes, pure and simple.

    Comment by Rod B — 1 Aug 2008 @ 1:30 PM

  268. Rod asks, “Does the smoothed out global temperature measurements decrease between (1Q)2002 and (2Q)2008? The answer is a simple YES or NO, and does not imply anything else.”

    For a brief six years — who knows? But if you had read tamino’s post you would know that the answer is NO for 1998 to 2008:

    It turns out that even if we start at the 1998 peak, the trend is still warming. This is true for both GISTEMP and HadCRU data, and both results are statistically significant. There’s no getting around it: the planet has continued warming overall, since the 1998 el Nino event. The fact that one of two data sets indicates we haven’t broken the 1998 record, doesn’t alter the fact that the trend is still hotter.

    So the oft-repeated “cooling since 1998″ claim is flatly wrong. Why would you have greater confidence in an analysis with 40% fewer samples?

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 1 Aug 2008 @ 1:46 PM

  269. I’d like to offer agreement with Secular Animist’s analysis.

    My impression is that we (in the cultures I’m familiar with, USA, UK, Europe) build up a worldview during childhood and adolescence which is not really consciously perceived. It’s just the taken-for-granted backdrop to our ‘reality’.

    I think that the contemporary Western worldview is built from a number of strands which are mingled together. Close inspection would reveal incompatibilities, but few people are that self-aware. Some examples might be, from the Christian tradition, the idea in Genesis that humans have a ‘God-given’ right to dominate the Earth and all it’s creatures. Another would be from materialist science of the Enlightenment, that the ‘world’ is mechanistic, all just inert physical ‘stuff’ to be manipulated as we please. Another would be from free-market capitalism and economic models of infinite expansion. Another might be the American doctrine of ‘Manifest Destiny’…and so on and on. These cultural constructs are illustrated on a daily basis in ordinary conversations, and in the media, as sub-textual assumptions which are so broadly distributed that, largely, they pass unquestioned, and anyone who challenges them is assigned a label to neutralise the challenge, perhaps politely, as ‘eccentric’ or ‘maverick’ (James Lovelock ?) or more nastily, as crank, crackpot, extremist, lunatic, etc.

    My conclusion, having pondered these matters, as a philosophical quest, is that the reality is, that nobody knows why we exist, or why anything exists. Faced with that rather awesome and terrifying ‘void’, we tell ourselves stories to try and make our situation tolerable.

    However, not all stories are equal. Science (and also the Law) are distinctly different from all other categories of story, insofar as empirical evidence is required to support the propositions. So, IMHO, science is superior in that respect.

    But there’s a down side. We are social animals. We *need* gossip, myth, poetry, fantasy, music, play, etc, for our well-being. Science doesn’t provide much sustenance (although those deeply absorbed in science might disagree)for the soul, for the spirit, partly because science (like economics) can’t accept any dimension that cannot be measured.

    For many millions of humans, the ‘stuff that can’t be measured’ is vitally important to their daily lives. Their Faith is a core belief. (Hence,e.g. the statements that God wouldn’t allow the planet to heat up, because He gave us the coal and oil, etc.

    On the other side, there are the futurist optimistic technophiles, who fantasize about colonising the Universe, starting with Mars…when we can’t even take care of the beautiful world that produced us.

    I do think that the psychological mechanisms involved are comparable to denial by alcoholics. People get angry and upset, if they are told they have to change. Changing your fundamental picture of what the world is like, and your expectations, is stressful.

    There are many more examples that spring to mind, but this is already too long.

    Comment by CL — 1 Aug 2008 @ 1:58 PM

  270. > guys can not, seemingly mentally impossible to, look at a graph of
    > global temps which unquestionably and unequivocally shows …

    No one who’s taken and passed Statistics 101 can do this, Rod.

    If you take and pass the class, you won’t see the illusion either.

    It’s one of those things you see until you understand it’s not there.

    Boo!

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Aug 2008 @ 2:02 PM

  271. I was initially just curious if, and only if, Monckton did the math calculations correctly

    Monckton called it a *trend*, and describes the piece in which he wrote it “a major scientific paper in a peer-reviewed journal”.

    So, by the standards he’s holding himself to, he did not do the math correctly because he claims significance but made no effort to show significance, undoubtably because it’s not significant (and therefore NOT A TREND).

    That’s what, the 20th time you’ve been told this?

    Comment by dhogaza — 1 Aug 2008 @ 2:07 PM

  272. re: 267. “nothing short of defensive religion.”

    There you go again. When pushed into a corner several times before on details, you’ve come back with the grossly insulting “religion” line. Peer-reviewed science does not work that way. It is clear that even after all this time you still have not learned what peer-review and the scientific method are all about. Perhaps you should not duck so much.

    Comment by Dan — 1 Aug 2008 @ 2:13 PM

  273. RodB
    It looks like you got what you wanted…evidence

    “that you guys can not, seemingly mentally impossible to, look at a graph of global temps which unquestionably and unequivocally shows the “smoothed out global temperature measurements decreasing” between 2002 and 2008 and admit to it.”

    But I think you’re neglecting some important stuff that people have said along the way. As Hank pointed out, if you’re just basically asking if integer A is bigger than integer B, what’s the point? You can damn well see for yourself whether integer A is bigger than integer B, so you appear to be playing a game–and people here resist playing into it. That really should not come as a surprise.

    If your intended question concerned anything more mathematically involved than a greater than/less than comparison, then it’s not clear that there even IS a yes or no answer–for example, what do you mean by “smoothed out,” as marcus asked? But you won’t accept the nuanced answers, saying “no really, I’m just trying to get you to say ‘decreasing temperature.’ Seriously, we all agree it won’t mean anything, but just say it. C’mon, say it. Whaddaya, some kinda religious nut or something?”

    So what are you, reliving the sixth grade? “HAHA, MADE YOU SAY IT!!”

    Please stop it. It’s trollish.

    PS when I wrote about someone copying and pasting and using people’s answers to nefarious purposes, I wasn’t saying that YOU would be the one to do it…but can you see that SOMEONE very easily might?

    Comment by kevin — 1 Aug 2008 @ 2:50 PM

  274. Re Dan @272: “There you go again. When pushed into a corner several times before on details, you’ve come back with the grossly insulting “religion” line.”

    Yes, and it is always the last line of defense of those who do not have a real argument.

    Come on Rod, we know you are smarter than that.
    We also know that you are capable of admitting it when you are shown to be wrong.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 1 Aug 2008 @ 2:51 PM

  275. Rod B., Get serious. This is not some silly number game like Soduku. This is statistics, and there are only 2 reasons to do statistics–to bring out the truth or to lie. What you asked was whether the Viscount was correct in his analysis. It was Monckton who used the word trend, and you have been shown unequivocally that Monckton’s analysis is not just wrong, but laughably so. You did not ask “Is 2008 cooler than 2007 on average.” That can be answered in the affirmative. You asked about an analysis, and that depends not just on the value of the answer, but on the validity of of how you got your answer. You asked your question. You got the same answer from everybody you asked. Now either accept the answer or come up with a meaningful argument of why it is valid to cherrypick two dates, calculate a slope, report the value with no error bars and draw a conclusion based on that travesty of an analysis.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Aug 2008 @ 4:36 PM

  276. Rod, assuming your not trolling here and are really sincere–although that is becoming a harder notion to maintain–you need to understand that the answer to your question would have no validity. Validity in science is a VERY BIG DEAL, and you need to know that what you are asking for (a meaningful trend between 2002 and 2008, a mere six years) would have no validity (especially in the context of climate science)–it would be a meaningless–as Ray and others have been endlessly patient in trying to explain to you.

    As Ray just pointed out to you, you need to: “come up with a meaningful argument of why it is valid to cherrypick two dates, calculate a slope, report the value with no error bars and draw a conclusion based on that travesty of an analysis.”

    What Ray and others (and consider the expertise here; tamino, for example is a professional statistician, and others are scientists with Ph.D.s) have been trying to tell you is you can’t come up with such a valid argument–and an introductory statistics course will make this abundantly clear to you.

    You write: “This, friends, while maybe not terribly important, is, interestingly and possibly sadly, nothing short of defensive religion. Sadly because it, frankly, diminishes credibility.”

    Au contraire! Had they given you an answer either way, that answer would have decreased their credibility. That is because a yes or no answer would be wrong: those data can’t be used to give you a meaningful and credible answer! This is something that you and Monckton don’t seem to understand. Bottom line: what Monckton reported about a trend from 2002 to 2008 is meaningless because it has no statistical validity. If you’re still unclear about this, read Ray’s explanation again. And read and re-read tamino’s “garbage is forever” posting on his blog.

    Comment by Charles — 2 Aug 2008 @ 12:04 AM

  277. For those who are interested, I did a lengthy analysis of Monckton’s 2000-2008 graph here. So far, I haven’t gotten around to answering all the replies there (some of which are quite hostile). Feel free to answer them if you have the time…

    Comment by Jürgen Hubert — 2 Aug 2008 @ 4:44 AM

  278. SecularAnimist writes:

    f the phenomena studied by parapsychology are “real”, then the view that the world is entirely mechanistic and “physical” in nature is called into question, and to some people this is totally unacceptable. Therefore, the phenomena cannot be real no matter what the evidence may show.

    Except that the evidence doesn’t show anything. Whenever a parapsychology experiment seems to produce significant results, tightening the controls eliminates the effect. When parapsychologists learn to run an experiment that doesn’t allow systematic errors, scientists will start listening to them. Until then, they won’t.

    [edit - no religion]

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 Aug 2008 @ 6:34 AM

  279. CL writes:

    Some examples might be, from the Christian tradition, the idea in Genesis that humans have a ‘God-given’ right to dominate the Earth and all it’s creatures.

    Except that that isn’t what the Christian tradition actually says. What it says is that “the Earth is the LORD’s, and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1). Genesis describes Adam and Eve’s task in the Garden of Eden as being to steward it on God’s behalf. The meme that the Bible somehow says to exploit the Earth is not backed up by actually reading the Bible.

    [Response: enough - please drop religious discussion here. ]

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 Aug 2008 @ 6:39 AM

  280. In re @ 265:

    What I see in common here is a so-called “skepticism” that is, in reality, an a priori refusal to accept the conclusions of a particular field of inquiry, a refusal that can never be overcome by evidence or reason, for this reason: in each case, the results of scientific inquiry challenge the fundamental basis of someone’s world view, their deepest sense of what the world is and what they are within it.

    Whoa! Hold the phone!

    There’s a lot more to the IPCC papers, and the arguments advanced here, than the pure science.

    The science can tell you things like watts per meter squared, degrees per doubling, and so forth. It cannot tell you how people are going to respond to climbing oil prices or other forms of energy. And yet, the IPCC has charts that people reference with projections, and some of those projections are absurd. Chinese’s increased use of fossil fuels has come with a pretty hefty price, and while they aren’t showing too many signs of changing their path of self-destruction, at some point being self-destructive is self-correcting.

    So, I think there is a lot of room for skepticism, provided one understands and can support their arguments.

    (ReCaptcha sez: rental Hanna. With or without the wigs?)

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 2 Aug 2008 @ 8:39 AM

  281. Re: #277 (Jurgen Hubert)

    I already knew Monckton’s argument was invalid, but I had no idea how much he’d manipulated — especially his “extreme cherry-picking” (and he does go to the extreme!) — to misinform.

    Thanks for the link to an excellent expose’.

    Comment by tamino — 2 Aug 2008 @ 10:06 AM

  282. reading back through the comments, it’s amazing how much energy is wasted over divisive issues that cannot be advanced by internet debate. to continue in this waste of energy is both a tactical and strategic error on our part, and is a failure of our leadership.

    scientists and journalists and most ordinary people have (at least at rock bottom) one common interest that threatens the wealthy elite that dominate this planet. our common interest is in the telling of that thin slice of truth that is objectively observable, and telling the truth threatens all who attain power through coercion and deception. the mantra of that elite has been “divide and conquer” since practically the beginning of time, and the elite have worked (consciously and unconsciously…..cf. Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States) to set everyone –nations, tribes and ordinary individuals– against each other. the energy we waste in petty conflict with each other is only a fraction of the energy we need to tap in order to hold our own against those who commit every last unit of their energy to the acquisition of property and power.

    perhaps it would be productive for us to reprioritize some of the energy we’ve been dedicating to ongoing defense of our individual core values to the task of organizing a defense of one (the only?) little interest we all have in common: maintaining the continuing habitability of the earth.

    Comment by a.c. — 2 Aug 2008 @ 10:24 AM

  283. Re parapsychology, I’ve been following this for some time:

    Global Consciousness Project

    We have been collecting data from a global network of random event generators since August, 1998. The network has grown to about 65 host sites around the world running custom software that reads the output of physical random number generators and records a 200-bit trial sum once every second, continuously over months and years. The data are transmitted GCP data via BrainPaint over the internet to a server in Princeton, NJ, USA, where they are archived for later analysis. Statistical results are complemented by visualizations. Individual data create a random tapestry. The dot color shows their global coherence. Global brain paintings display their complexity.

    Our purpose is to examine subtle correlations that reflect the presence and activity of consciousness in the world. We have learned that when millions of us share intentions and emotions the GCP/EGG network shows correlations. We can interpret this as evidence for a growing global consciousness. It suggests we are capable of conscious evolution.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 2 Aug 2008 @ 11:23 AM

  284. # 277, Tamino

    and still so much more to see.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 2 Aug 2008 @ 11:43 AM

  285. tamino, I followed a link in this comment on jhubert’s blog post that may have been the source for Monckton’s cherry picking:

    To Tell the Truth: Will the Real Global Average Temperature Trend Please Rise? Part 2

    The author uses the “Chow test”:

    …The Chow test is used to test for “structural breaks” in time series data…The Chow test involves fitting a regression to the sub parts, and comparing the sum of the mean square error (MSE) of the sub parts to the mean square error of a regression fitted to the entire time period.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 2 Aug 2008 @ 12:08 PM

  286. I should have used religious, as in religion-like, not religion. “Religion” connotes an all-encompasing institution that dominates the thinking, and that’s not what I meant or mean. What I do mean, validated by most of the recent repetitive response posts, is this. Looking at a simple object, process, idea and insisting with no reservations or arriere pensee that it does not exist, despite it being plainly visible and obvious, is irrational and usually stems from the fear (valid or not) that admitting such would create a crack, no matter how miniscule, in strongly held beliefs. This is religious, not scientific.

    “Is this wagon red?”
    “In what context do you mean?”
    “In the context of, is this wagon red?”
    “You have to look at the handle and wheels.”
    “Just the body; is it red?”
    “What’s it being used for?”
    “Is it red?”
    “It’s a stupid question; why do you ask?”
    “Want to know if the painter knew what he was doing. Is it red?”
    “If I don’t have others to compare, it’s statistically meaningless.”
    “Is it red?”
    “blah, blah, blah…….”

    That’s characteristic of a liturgy, not a scientific method (nor a “religion”).

    Here’s the problem, which I mean as a helpful criticism along with the straight criticism. (Which, to validate, I have done much of here: as a skeptic none-the-less offering helpful suggestions (not on the science, but) how AGWers can best present or argue their case for effect.) Man #2 now goes to a bystander who observed the above and says, “Let me explain the truth and facts of AGW.” The bystander replies — (fill in the blank with whatever repulsive phrase you like). Note that I don’t suffer the same negativism. I have been around all of you long enough that I can get past these periodic religious infirmities because, by experience, I know you have real science in your mind, and I’m able to separate the stuff and benefit from it. But to expect a newbie to accept anything you have to say (given the above kind of scenario) is futile.

    A few specific responses:
    Jim G., so 2002-2008 is completely bogus but 1998-2008 is perfectly good. Valid to invalid seems to have a really steep almost step function. If you start with 1998 (depending on when in 1998) the temperature direction is down. I think you really meant if you start looking at 1998 in a chart that started in 1975….. Not the same thing.

    dhogaza, Ray, et al, et al: for the umpteenth time I did not ask about (nor do I agree with) Monckton’s analysis. Most of you imply that I did (Ray asserts it directly), yet you will find no evidence of that. I know it’s what you all wished that I had asked, but as the man says, wish in one hand, crap in the other and see what fills up first.

    kevin, I have been properly chastised for eyeballing graphs, so I wanted only to simply ask if Monckton seemed to know how to calculate a least squares (or similar) linear regression.

    Let me pose a question. You are all taking the GRE and one question asks, “there are 60 data points for something happening between 1995 and 2000; calculate and graph a least squares linear regression.” Would you all, I would guess, just write on the answer sheet, “Meaningless.”? Would you expect or get full credit?

    Dan, what on earth does this discourse have to do with “peer-reviewed science”? Your wrath is making you flail.

    Jim says, “[religion] is always the last line of defense of those who do not have a real argument.” Are you referring to me or you all??

    And then, out of the blue comes Jürgen Hubert (277), seemingly properly credentialed, with a direct, no fuss no muss answer to my question! Boggles the mind! His answer basically said the temperature between 2002 and 2008, as calculated with linear regression, has been decreasing. His downward rate was different from Monckton’s and casts a question on (probably) Monckton’s calculation ability. He then proceeds to destroy Monckton’s analysis and logic. Check it out. See how easy it is!

    Comment by Rod B — 2 Aug 2008 @ 12:49 PM

  287. SecularAnimist (265), Like Furry, I think you took your logic beyond reasonable and made some assertions that were a bit too complete and inflexible. Short of that, I thought the post was erudite, informative, and offered some worthwhile stuff to consider.

    Comment by Rod B — 2 Aug 2008 @ 1:05 PM

  288. Rod, you get it backwards. Again.

    You claim:
    “His answer basically said the temperature … has been decreasing.”

    This is what you’re paraphrasing:

    —–excerpt follows——-

    “The linear fit produced a warming of 0.0349044 °C for the entire decade”

    _______________end excerpt____________________

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Aug 2008 @ 1:13 PM

  289. First Rod B:

    Adam (190), et al, is Monckton incorrect in his temperature analysis?

    Last Rod B:

    dhogaza, Ray, et al, et al: for the umpteenth time I did not ask about (nor do I agree with) Monckton’s analysis.

    I do believe I get to call “bullshit” at this point.

    Most of you imply that I did (Ray asserts it directly),

    Gee, I wonder why …

    yet you will find no evidence of that.

    Sort of like the missing empirical evidence that supports the AGW hyptothesis, I imagine …

    I report, you decide …

    Comment by dhogaza — 2 Aug 2008 @ 1:40 PM

  290. And then, out of the blue comes Jürgen Hubert (277), seemingly properly credentialed, with a direct, no fuss no muss answer to my question! Boggles the mind! His answer basically said the temperature between 2002 and 2008, as calculated with linear regression, has been decreasing.

    In other words, Monckton was flat out wrong, because he claimed 2001 to 2008 …

    That’s even worse than an algebraic sign error, I do believe …

    Comment by dhogaza — 2 Aug 2008 @ 1:56 PM

  291. Rod B., I’m going to try one last time, and then if you want to continue to make a fool of yourself, you are welcome to do so without my assistance.

    First, you did not ask about an intrinsic property (e.g. red color) of a physical object. You asked if an analysis was correct. It was an analysis involving a physical quantity–slope of a temperature trend. An analysis to be correct must have not just a numerical value, but errors on that numerical value and some way of interpreting both. Without that, it is not correct–regardless of whether the arithmetic is done correctly.
    I am sorry if you interpret this as religious fervor. In reality, there is no more emotion in this than I would have in grading the test of a student. If it’s wrong, I’ll tell you about it. You can fix it, or you can get it wrong on the final, too. Your choice.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Aug 2008 @ 2:38 PM

  292. Barton Paul Levenson wrote: “Whenever a parapsychology experiment seems to produce significant results, tightening the controls eliminates the effect.”

    An extended discussion of parapsychology would be wildly off-topic and inappropriate for this forum, but if the moderator will indulge I would like to respond in order to elaborate on my point about skepticism.

    With all due respect, Mr. Levenson’s statement is simply incorrect. An open-minded examination of modern day parapsychological research will find that it is conducted according to the highest standards that apply to any field of scientific inquiry, and has obtained robust, replicable results that demonstrate the existence of certain types of psi phenomena.

    Jessica Utts, who is professor of statistics at the University of Californa, chair of the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies, and a member of the board of directors of the Parapsychological Association (an affiliate of the AAAS) wrote in a 1995 review of US government-sponsored parapsychology research:

    Research on psychic functioning, conducted over a two decade period, is examined to determine whether or not the phenomenon has been scientifically established … Using the standards applied to any other area of science, it is concluded that psychic functioning has been well established. The statistical results of the studies examined are far beyond what is expected by chance. Arguments that these results could be due to methodological flaws in the experiments are soundly refuted. Effects of similar magnitude to those found in government-sponsored research … have been replicated at a number of laboratories across the world. Such consistency cannot be readily explained by claims of flaws or fraud … it is reliable enough to be replicated in properly conducted experiments, with sufficient trials to achieve the long-run statistical results needed for replicability … It is recommended that future experiments focus on understanding how this phenomenon works … There is little benefit to continuing experiments designed to offer proof, since there is little more to be offered to anyone who does not accept the current collection of data. [Emphasis added]

    Now, clearly parapsychology and climate science differ in their subject matter; moreover climate science is widely known and understood by a large community of scientists whereas parapsychology is a relatively small and obscure field of research. The conclusions of climate science with regard to the “reality” of anthropogenic warming are widely known and almost universally accepted by scientists both within and outside the field; the conclusions of parapsychology about the “reality” of psi phenomena are little known and not widely accepted by scientists outside the field. And the conclusions of parapsychology, while they suggest tantalizing new horizons for scientific exploration and our understanding of the world, do not bear urgently upon the survival of human civilization and the well-being of the Earth’s biosphere as do those of climate science.

    And yet, it is not hard for me to find in the contrast between Mr. Levenson’s view and that of Professor Utts, a parallel with a certain sort of conversation that has occurred numerous times on this site:

    Skeptic: “Climate science hasn’t proved that the warming is real or that humans are causing it. There is no good data to support this, it’s just the ‘religion’ of ‘environmentalists’ and a ‘belief’ that falls apart under scrutiny. The warming trend you claim to find is an artifact of flawed methodology or sloppy statistics and disappears when the data is more tightly controlled. At best, you need to do more research to prove that AGW exists, before I will accept it.”

    Climate Scientist: “No, the research is robust, and has established that the warming is real and human activities are causing it. The focus of research should now be on understanding how this phenomenon works in more detail. There is little more ‘proof’ to offer anyone who does not accept the current collection of data.

    It is easy to judge harshly — as I often do — those obstinate climate change deniers, who misname themselves “skeptics”, who approach the subject with an a priori certainty that anthropogenic global warming is not, and cannot be, must not be, real, who seem driven by a refusal to accept something that profoundly challenges their sense of the world, who thus reject science that they have not studied, and will not study and will never accept no matter what, because they already know that it must be wrong, and the work of frauds or incompetents or ideologically-motivated environmental radicals or Al Gore or whatever.

    And yet, I would not be surprised if the majority of the scientists and science-minded laypersons who participate in this site, would react to the mention of parapsychology much as Mr. Levenson has with his quite incorrect characterization of the state of that science — with an a priori rejection of the reality of phenomena that challenge their world view, an inclination to reject the results of decades of scientific research with which they are actually unfamiliar, and a suspicion that the whole subject is the work of frauds or incompetents or “spiritualists” or Uri Geller or the “X-Files” or whatever. If this is your reaction, you might ask yourself honestly whether you would be easily able to undertake a dispassionate, impartial, open-minded examination of the subject.

    I think it behooves all of us when we engage with obstinate climate change deniers, to recognize that all of us are capable of “denial” to some degree, when our most basic sense of the world and our place in it is challenged, and to extend compassion to those who may be so disturbed by what climate science has to tell us, that they have great difficulty in approaching the subject with an open mind.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 2 Aug 2008 @ 2:56 PM

  293. Hank (288), you’ve taken this otherwise contentious (not to mention getting boring) topic beyond the pale. I’m really losing my patience treating these responses with the seriousness they’re fast not deserving. Calling it as I see it, you are both wrong and stupid. Stupid because you deliberately misread the site page, hoping no one would notice, when the shenanigans are as clear as a 100-foot billboard. You didn’t think anyone beyond a 3rd grade education would notice??? For the record the very first upfront and prominent commented result of Jürgen’s analysis is, and I quote,

    “…the author provided a source for his data – the HadCRUT3 data set. So I sat out to recreate the graph, and managed to do so. …First of all, while the used data did show a cooling trend, my linear fit (done with GNUPlot) produced a cooling of
    -0.00156427 °C/month.

    Extrapolated for an entire decade, like the author has done, this would translate into:
    -0.00156427*12*10 °C/decade = -0.1877124 °C/decade”

    This is not even half as much as the 0.4 °C/decade the author claimed….

    Your quote was a couple of pages and graphs down. If you have trouble seeing the above negative numbers or reading the graphs, go ask tamino or someone for help. I can’t do it.

    Jürgen then went into debunking Monckton’s thing, which I have never questioned.

    Sorry for the flame. Maybe I’m losing it.

    dhogaza (289), you try to refute my contention that I was not asking about “analysis”, just mathematical calculations, with the quote from my very first (and what I thought was pretty simple) post on this subject (#200), “Adam (190), et al, is Monckton incorrect in his temperature analysis?”

    Boy! Sounds bad. Wonder why you tried to slide the whole post under the rug. It was:

    Adam (190), et al, is Monckton incorrect in his temperature analysis? I’m not asking if it is inappropriate, but incorrect. Nor am I asking about his opinions and assertions re interpretations or his other seemingly goofy comments — just his mathematical assessment of the temperature since 2000-1.

    You’re resting your religious tenants on a general use of one common word, which was immediately explained? Pretty chancy!

    I’m done.

    Comment by Rod B — 2 Aug 2008 @ 3:00 PM

  294. ps. that of course should have been tenets, not tenants. I care not who pays you rent ;-)

    Comment by Rod B — 2 Aug 2008 @ 4:46 PM

  295. Rod B (203 . . . “I’m done.”

    One can only hope.

    Comment by Rick Brown — 2 Aug 2008 @ 5:35 PM

  296. Re: #186 ad homs

    Gavin, I think you left out “rigorous arithmetic.”

    (Captcha fortune cookie: announce analyzed)

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 2 Aug 2008 @ 5:41 PM

  297. New question: can a solitary person posting on a blog have a temperature, or is a temperature only possible with interactions?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Aug 2008 @ 6:19 PM

  298. > #276 Rod, assuming your not trolling here and are really sincere–although that is becoming a harder notion to maintain–you need to understand that the answer to your question would have no validity. Validity in science is a VERY BIG DEAL, and you need to know that what you are asking for (a meaningful trend between 2002 and 2008, a mere six years) would have no validity (especially in the context of climate science)–it would be a meaningless–as Ray and others have been endlessly patient in trying to explain to you.

    This is so funny. 6 or 8 or 11 years is all totally insignificant but when Hansen went to congress in 1988 he had only 9 years of data to support his theory of AGW. He got a lucky move in 1998 when the El Nino came along making his scenarios actually look plausible. So, we’ve gotten 20 years of rising temperatures (preceeded by 30+ years of falling temperatures which was preceeded by 30 years of rising temperatures apparently caused by something else again.) We are down to 0.15 degrees / decade or 1.5K / century sensitivity for the last 30 years. For the temperature to get to Gavin and Hansens 3.0K / century (or doubling of CO2 I should say) we would have to have 0.4-0.6K/decade for the rest of this century.

    [Response: Try doing that with actual arithmetic (clue - it's 0.32K/dec) - gavin]

    That is unprecedented and it would mean the NAO/AMO, PDO phenomenon would magically just disappear, that we would have no more unexplained pauses in temperature for the next 90 years as temperatures soared unlike ever before in recorded history.

    [Response: There's no reason to think natural variability disappears - but yes, such a temperature change would clearly be unprecedented. Possibly that's why people want to avoid it? - gavin]

    Excuse me if I don’t BELIEVE but need more than models which are unbelievable and which have failed every effort to validate them.

    I want to make clear that the models are completely unproven and thus Monckton is perfectly right in questioning their results. The models have zero validity against past data because they were FITTED to that data. [edit]

    [Response: No they are not. If they were, they'd do a better job. Show me anywhere in (for instance) Schmidt et al (2006) and Hansen et al (2007) which describe the GISS modelE development and simulations where there is a piece of physics that is tuned to the changes in the 20th Century. Or the mid-Holocene, or the 8.2 kyr event, etc. - gavin]

    Monckton is simply pointing out that the best that can be concluded from the data is that feedbacks are probably mostly negative, not positive.

    [Response: This is neither what Monckton is doing, nor is it true. - gavin]

    This seems confirmed by the fact that so many pieces of data are not conforming to the models. I.e.

    1) lack of warming in the antarctic
    2) lack of ocean warming
    3) lack of tropospheric warming
    4) increased rain beyond model predictions
    5) lack of land temperature increases for 10 years
    6) ozone depletion not predicted

    [Response: Ah, and your analysis of the the models on short time periods demonstrating this can be found in which publication? And how is ozone depletion relevent? This was predicted ahead of time, but ended up being much worse than expected in Antarctica - how does this help your case? - gavin]

    The models also fail to model NAO and PDO phenomenon. They fail to predict as shown in a recent hydrology paper.

    So, the confidence in these models is very suspect. The feedback components are clearly in question as the chief of the IPCC AR4 has indicated he no longer believes cloud cover is related to temperatures as was modeled. He now speculates the connection between cloud cover and temperature is either non-existant or inverse. If the connection is broken then Moncktons analysis is exactly right.

    I want to re-iterate. Trying to defend these models of climate is a pointless exercise not worthy of any scientist. They clearly must be riddled with errors. It would be shocking if they weren’t so it is not surprising at all that 2 peer-reviewed studies published in the last 7 months have shown the models fail miserably at predicting short term or longer term temperatures.

    There is no basis to say science has proved anything more than a 0.6C/doubling of CO2 temperature sensitivity to CO2 forcing. This is why the APS did not bring a paper that even tried to scientifically justify the 0.6C figure let alone 2 or 3 degrees. It’s impossible to justify anything more than 0.6C through physics, Watts/cm2. That’s why they couldn’t produce such a paper. As Smith admitted the lack of such justification in essence is more of an attack on the significant AGW hypothesis than Moncktons paper!!!

    [Response: Monckton's paper is not significant in the slightest. But we have all of paleo-climate history to demonstrate that the climate is sensitivity to perturbations - gavin]

    [edit]
    The argument by Smith to justify a 2C/doubling of CO2 using a curve fitting algorithm is just as bogus as any analysis I’ve seen. Reducing the complexity of climate to CO2 alone and ascribing all heating since 1750 to CO2 is more absurd than any other asssumption one could come up with. It is just as likely that walnut production worldwide is related to temperature in the same way and may be more efficient and predictive than a 2C/doubling curve fitting. The Vostok data alone would invalidate such an analysis on the face of it. With Smiths assumoption the planet should all have burned up 300 million years ago.

    The fact is that there is no scientific way to justify >0.6C / doubling of CO2 and therefore all this argumentation is pointless. If there was such a defense of the Hansen/IPCC theory of large feedbacks then APS could have found an author who could scientifically defend that hypothesis [edit]

    [Response: The FPS (not the APS) could have certainly found such people - or they could have just read the IPCC report. I recommend you do too. - gavin]

    Comment by John Mathon — 2 Aug 2008 @ 7:34 PM

  299. This is giving me such a deja vu, taking me back almost 30 to the time my brand new colleagues at Elsevier Science Publishers handed me the newly arrived issue of the Journal of Irreproducible Results for my perusal.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 2 Aug 2008 @ 8:53 PM

  300. I’m sorry, I forgot to mention that this odd experience has included a trip to SPPI’s site, which is something out of the Twilight Zone.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 2 Aug 2008 @ 8:57 PM

  301. Hank (297), that is good!

    Comment by Rod B — 2 Aug 2008 @ 10:59 PM

  302. This is a simple yes/no question: has Rod B. posted more than 20 responses trying to beat to death a question the answer to which is meaningless?

    Bonus question (also yes/no): has he managed to waste an inordinate amount of time of people who have a lot to contribute on the actual topic of this web site, climate change?

    PLEASE do not give a reason why this question is or is not relevant. I just want a simple yes or no!

    Comment by John Hollenberg — 2 Aug 2008 @ 11:11 PM

  303. SecularAnimist wrote in 292:

    An extended discussion of parapsychology would be wildy off-topic and inappropriate for this forum…

    I certainly think so. However, a demonstration would be handsomely rewarded here:

    One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
    James Randi Educational Foundation
    http://www.randi.org/joom/challenge-info.html

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 2 Aug 2008 @ 11:52 PM

  304. I just did what I do whenever there’s a good opportunity — watching Alpha / Zarya / the ISS cross my nighttime sky.

    http://www.n2yo.com/ pick your location, check ’5 day prediction’

    Can’t miss recognizing the Station, if you can see even the brightest few stars behind the skyglow. Any pass showing a local magnitude near 0 or negative — basically any more than 20 or 25 degrees above your local horizon — will be unmistakable.

    Don’t miss seeing it. It’s the only one we’ve got.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Aug 2008 @ 12:10 AM

  305. Rob B.’s question about recent temperature trends is a valid one. I realize that some here are apprehensive about his motives – understandable, given how many “skeptics” bend and misquote the facts – but if we are to retain the scientific high ground here, we must look at the facts themselves and build our argument on them. How else can we convince others that we are right (well, through propaganda, but I prefer not to go down that road…)?

    According to the data I crunched, there has been a downward trend in recent years. We must acknowledge that before we present our larger arguments – that this isn’t sufficient to represent a reversal of the trend – because climate skeptics are using that to present the whole theories surrounding global warming as wrong. I’ve seen it numerous times on their website, and those who buy into their propaganda frequently link to them. This is the “hottest” issue among global warming skeptics right now (if you forgive the pun).

    I would like to see a post by RealClimate on the recent short-term cooling, and its significance on Global Warming (or rather, it’s lack of it), since that would allow me to have something I could link to in return.

    [Response: We've addressed this previously here and here. - mike]

    Comment by Jürgen Hubert — 3 Aug 2008 @ 3:51 AM

  306. #302 John Hollenberg:

    This is a simple yes/no question: has Rod B. posted more than 20 responses trying to beat to death a question the answer to which is meaningless?

    Yes.

    Bonus question (also yes/no): has he managed to waste an inordinate amount of time of people who have a lot to contribute on the actual topic of this web site, climate change?

    No. [Hint: waste != expend. Many, many readers honestly don't "get" statistical significance. But I would agree that the explanations could have been tailored for those readers, rather than for the intentionally dense original questioner. Heck, now I answered more than 1/0 -- no apology forthcoming :-) ]

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 3 Aug 2008 @ 5:06 AM

  307. SecularAnimist #292, very true, very observant, and very necessary — in spite of being nominally OT.

    Thank you, and thanks to the moderators!

    Timothy (#303): it all depends on the rules, doesn’t it?

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 3 Aug 2008 @ 5:39 AM

  308. John Mathon, With your post, I believe we have very nearly completed the map of the Denialist Memome. In your single, we have one-stop shopping for ignorant denialist talking points
    1)the warming is insignificant and short-term (wrong–it is part of a trend thatgoes back to the onset of the industrial age)
    2)It has stopped warming (wrong)
    3)models are unreliable and tuned (wrong–why don’t you learn the difference between a statistical and a dynamical model)
    4)It’s all natural
    5)CO2 is only a minor greenhouse gas
    6)all the feedbacks are negative

    If you’d only thrown in cosmic rays, and the meme about CO2 and a warmer world being good for us, you’d have exhausted them all. I suggest that you contact the denialist mother ship for information on these.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Aug 2008 @ 7:29 AM

  309. But Juergen (305), you use the term “trend” contrary to the usage by the rest of the scientific community… surely a fruitful debate requires use of accepted terminology? Please use “regression coefficient” or whatever. It doesn’t become a trend until it reaches significance.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 3 Aug 2008 @ 8:04 AM

  310. We must acknowledge that before we present our larger arguments – that this isn’t sufficient to represent a reversal of the trend – because climate skeptics are using that to present the whole theories surrounding global warming as wrong. I’ve seen it numerous times on their website, and those who buy into their propaganda frequently link to them. This is the “hottest” issue among global warming skeptics right now (if you forgive the pun).

    Let them dig that hole as deep as they want (but as martin say, please don’t misuse the word “trend”).

    Because when the next El Niño hits, this whole line of argument’s going to bite them in the ass, and there’s been so much posted so widely over the “significance” of short-term variation that they’ll never be able to disown it.

    Comment by dhogaza — 3 Aug 2008 @ 8:21 AM

  311. Johann Hari of The Independent (U.K.), who spent a month travelling on the delta of Bangladesh, wrote an extensive, poignant and very graphic article on the effects of the sea level rise that has already occurred there:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/bangladesh-is-set-to-disappear-under-the-waves-by-the-end-of-the-century–a-special-report-by-johann-hari-850938.html

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 3 Aug 2008 @ 8:45 AM

  312. Re: #309

    OK, “regression coefficient” – sorry about that. English is not my native language, and while I do work in a scientific field, I don’t use all that much statistics in it and so wasn’t sure of the precise word.

    But this raises another important point: How to explain scientific jargon to laypeople. I understand why my use of “trend” in that instance was wrong, but how can you explain that to someone without scientific training? To give another example, I still wince when I remember the numerous times I read someone posting on other forums: “Evolution hasn’t been proved, it’s just a theory.” Having to explain what a “theory” means in the sciences over and over again is extremely frustrating – and that’s part of the dilemma.

    Kurt Vonnegut once wrote: “Any scientist who can’t explain to an eight-year-old what he is doing is a charlatan.” While our target audience is not eight-year-olds, the average member of the public still only has a limited amount of attention to spare. And if we need to explain the jargon before we start explaining the facts while the “skeptics” can immediately start their easily digestible propaganda, we will have already lost.

    Comment by Jürgen Hubert — 3 Aug 2008 @ 10:09 AM

  313. > OK, “regression coefficient” … “trend” in that instance was wrong,

    This is where editing the thread is about the only answer. It’d mean getting you, and Rod, both to agree where to go back and strike out one word, insert the other in square brackets, and add a footnote marker to the explanation.

    I think if the two of you could, it would show where early on in the exchange the misunderstanding occurred and why it lasted til now.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Aug 2008 @ 11:49 AM

  314. SecularAnimist writes:

    And yet, I would not be surprised if the majority of the scientists and science-minded laypersons who participate in this site, would react to the mention of parapsychology much as Mr. Levenson has with his quite incorrect characterization of the state of that science — with an a priori rejection of the reality of phenomena that challenge their world view, an inclination to reject the results of decades of scientific research with which they are actually unfamiliar, and a suspicion that the whole subject is the work of frauds or incompetents or “spiritualists” or Uri Geller or the “X-Files” or whatever. If this is your reaction, you might ask yourself honestly whether you would be easily able to undertake a dispassionate, impartial, open-minded examination of the subject.

    I can, but you apparently can’t. Your whole approach has been one big ad hominem argument — scientists reject ESP because it threatens their worldview. You know what? That’s especially untrue for me, because I happen to believe in ESP! I’ve had psychic experiences myself.

    What I do NOT have is reproducible evidence that such experiences exist. Nor do you. Nor does Jessica Utts. All the statements that ESP has been “scientifically proved” comes from ESP researchers with an axe to grind. Any other scientist examining the field seems to disagree. There was a reason the parapsychologists got kicked out of the AAAS, and it wasn’t closed-mindedness on the part of the other scientists.

    I haven’t mischaracterized the state of the science at all. You have. There simply isn’t any good evidence of ESP. There are tons of anecdotal evidence and lots of experiments with crummy controls, like Rhine’s stuff from the ’30s that so impressed Robert Heinlein and others. And as I said, every time controls are tightened, the effect disappears.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Aug 2008 @ 12:32 PM

  315. Martin Vermeer wrote in 306:

    Timothy (#303): it all depends on the rules, doesn’t it?

    Let’s see…

    From the James (and truly “Amazing”) Randi challenge for demonstrating the existence of psychic ability:

    1. This is the primary and most important of these rules: Applicant must state clearly in advance, and applicant and JREF will agree upon, what powers and/or abilities will be demonstrated, the limits of the proposed demonstration (so far as time, location and other variables are concerned) and what will constitute both a positive and a negative result.

    2. Only an actual performance of the stated nature and scope, within the agreed-upon limits, will be accepted. Anecdotal accounts or records of previous events are not accepted nor considered.

    Application for Status of Claimant
    The Sixteen Official Rules Governming the JREF Challenge
    http://www.randi.org/joom/challenge-application.html

    From the Junk Science challenge for demonstrating the existence global warming:

    2. Entrants acknowledge that the concepts and terms mentioned and referred to in the UGWC hypotheses are inherently and necessarily vague, and involve subjective judgment. JunkScience.com reserves the exclusive right to determine the meaning and application of such concepts and terms in order to facilitate the purpose of the contest.

    3. JunkScience.com, in its sole discretion, will determine the winner, if any, from UGWC entries. All determinations made by JunkScience.com are final.

    http : //ww w.ultimateglobalwarmingchallenge.com/

    Yes, I believe it does.

    The challenge given by the James Randi Educational Foundation is one of objectivity and testability, whereas the Junk Science challenge is involking rules defined by means of concepts and terms which are self-admittedly “inherently and necessarily vague, and involve subjective judgment” and where Junk Science “reserves the exclusive right to determine the meaning and application of such concepts and terms.”

    *

    SecularAnimist appealed to the authority of statician Jessica Utts who argued for the existence of small to medium remote viewing ability during the Stargate Project funded by the CIA and DIA. Her findings were opposed by fellow evaluator Dr. Ray Hyman. Funding for the project was discontinued after both findings were issued.

    *

    Our understanding of global warming is supported by a wealth of data. Climatology is roughly on par with evolutionary biology. Both are well-integrated with our scientific understanding of the world. No such claim can be made of psychic phenomena. Now if someone is ignorant of the science — your regular off-the-street Joe Blow — his dismissal of global warming may be roughly comparable to his dismissal of psychic phenomena, and may perhaps be partly reinforced by his politics — with some vague “us vs. them” view of the world that influences his take on some issues in science.

    Likewise, for a while, prior to looking into the science, I had ideological reasons for dismissing global warming as an Objectivist, “despite” the fact that I hadn’t really looked into it. Objectivists “pride” themselves on their “objectivity,” but they tend to dismiss science which think incompatible with their philosophy (usually their a prioristically understood metaphysics), e.g., quantum mechanics, special relativity and general relativity. But I accepted all three — and had actually picked up and read textbooks on these subjects prior to becoming interested in Objectivism.

    However, there are many Joe Blow Objectivists who don’t take the time to learn any of the science and they end up supporting to some extent psuedo-scientists who argue for some alternative to mainstream science in those areas. At this point we are talking about ideological blinders similar to what SecularAnimist was proposing.

    *

    But I would argue that in the give-and-take of internet debate where people are repeatedly exposed to a vast array of evidence, particularly in the the context of climatology and evolutionary biology, mere ignorance soon gives way to willful ignorance. We’ve seen the fallacies, the repetition of failed arguments, the willingness to buy into anything which might seem to support their views and the willingness to dismiss everything else.

    We have seen that those who are active in the debate for a while become invested in the denial of the science. The creationists who actively debate and are invested in the denial of evolutionary biology, the denialists who deny the connection between AIDS and HIV, and even those who were active in denying the connection between secondhand smoking and its health effects. And there is also the overlap between these different categories. An individual who is inclined to deny well-established science in one area is often inclined to deny it in others.

    For example, Phil(l)ip E. Johnson – an old earth creationist who fathered the intelligent design movement – is also an HIV causes AIDS denier who apparently entertains quasi-conspiratorial notions as to why mainstream medicine (“the medical establishment”) embraces the view that HIV causes AIDS. He has signed his name to a list that now includes over 11,000 signatories denying the well-established scientific link between HIV and AIDS.

    Roy Spencer is an AGW denialist, but he is also a proponent of Philip E. Johnson’s intelligent design — and thus an evolutionary biology denialist. The Heartland Institute is a “secondhand smoke” denialist organization that later became AGW-denialist as well.

    Such individuals give their allegiance to some value, tribe, authority or rebellion against an authority precedence over their adherence to reality. Once they have done this, they find it far easier to subvert their objectivity in other areas by placing evaluation before identification.

    Now you may ask whether I am entirely closed to the possibility that some sort of psychic phenomena might exist. No, I am not. But currently I believe there is no scientific support for the phenomena. And if it existed, there would have to be a causal, scientific explanation for its existence, integrable with the rest of our scientific understanding. Science is a unity because reality is a unity. As I see things at present, it is not the belief in anthropogenic global warming which is equivalent to the belief in psychic phenomena, but the belief in an alternative to anthropogenic global warming which is equivalent to the belief in psychic phenomena, e.g., the sun is doing it — even though evidence and even the principles of physics points to the contrary.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 3 Aug 2008 @ 1:18 PM

  316. PS to my post 315 above

    A quick aside regarding objectivity and psychic phenomena. I obviously do not believe in the existence of psychic phenomena. However, I believe that even given the current state of science, on the basis of one’s own personal experience, one could believe in the existence of psychic phenomena and still be objective.

    Objectivity consists first and foremost of the relationship between the individual and reality where the individual chooses to place nothing above their adherence to reality, that is, the process of identification itself. The objectivity institutionalized by science is a derivative, social application of this.

    Of course, if someone fingering the sun as culprit for late twentieth century warming chose to do so on the basis of their psychic ability, I don’t think they should expect anyone else to take their claims seriously.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 3 Aug 2008 @ 2:09 PM

  317. Could we take ESP elsewhere?

    Save this site for climatology?

    Thank you.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 3 Aug 2008 @ 2:15 PM

  318. Rod B, I’ve taken daily average temp from 2002 and another from 2008 and the 2008 temperature is about 8 degrees higher.

    I will leave it to you to prove it wrong. Hint: find out which day I used in 2002.

    Jurgen, #312: Well, how do you explain the atomic excitation of lasers to someone who doesn’t know even junior school physics?

    Monkton isn’t a neophyte at statistics. RodB says he did the work so must not be ignorant of statistics. And your Kurt quote is irrelevant: we don’t HAVE 8 year olds to explain to: we have completely grown up adults. Telling kids what we do is REALLY simple:

    1) We burn the oil
    2) The oil when burned makes a blanket around the earth
    3) The earth warms up
    4) People will die or have to move

    Telling people like RobB and Monkton is more difficult because they demand more detail. Detail an 8-year-old would not know how to ask.

    In short, the GW arguments are very easy to explain to kids. The denialists arguments are all on elements far too complicated to explain to a kid.

    Who do you think is the charlatan?

    Comment by Mark — 3 Aug 2008 @ 2:25 PM

  319. David B. Benson wrote in 317:

    Could we take ESP elsewhere?

    Save this site for climatology?

    Thank you.

    Works for me…

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 3 Aug 2008 @ 2:32 PM

  320. Who do you think is the charlatan?

    Monckton, of course. As I have shown.

    But that’s beside the point – I think the scientific jargon hinders us in the debate to some degree. After all, our goal is not to convince Monckton, who is likely beyond convincing. Our goal is to convince the public that Monckton is wrong – but to do this, we first have to explain all sorts of basic information about statistics in general. And how can we do that without either boring or overwhelming them with technical details – and thus losing them to the other side?

    That’s what I am wondering about…

    Comment by Jürgen Hubert — 3 Aug 2008 @ 2:36 PM

  321. Rod, want to be our test pilot for this effort? We’re sincere.
    Both those who really understand statistics, and bystanders like me.
    Aiming for interaction, not mere collision and rebound.
    This likely isn’t the place. Someone will offer to host the effort.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Aug 2008 @ 3:59 PM

  322. 315. Surely science is not a unity. If one goes to the heart of current physics, for example, one finds that the basic orders implied in relativity theory and in quantum theory are qualitatively in complete contradiction. Relativity requires strict continuity, strict causality and strict locality in the order of the movement of particles and fields. In essence, quantum mechanics implies the opposite. However, what they have in common is an unbroken wholeness. According to Bohm (in the Undivided Universe), for example, the principal difficulty in the attempt to make theoretical physics coherent is the mathematical notion of a point in space-time without extension or duration. This notion has reached its limits of usefulness and validity.

    Given the inherent pathology at the heart of what some may regard as one of the more rigorous sciences, and the impasse currently being faced in taking that particular discipline forward, is it not premature to suggest a broader unity across science?

    Comment by Captcha — 3 Aug 2008 @ 5:04 PM

  323. “Captcha” wrote in 322:

    315. Surely science is not a unity. If one goes to the heart of current physics, for example, one finds that the basic orders implied in relativity theory and in quantum theory are qualitatively in complete contradiction.

    What then is relativistic quantum mechanics?

    “Captcha” wrote in 322:

    Relativity requires strict continuity, strict causality and strict locality in the order of the movement of particles and fields. In essence, quantum mechanics implies the opposite.

    As it was formulated as a semi-classical theory, yes, it required continuity and determinism. Relativistic quantum mechanics and relativistic quantum field theory do not. Quantum mechanics demonstrated the complementarity of particle and wave interpretations of both energy and matter, but this required bringing in a probablistic understanding of causality.

    Now with regard to strict localism, quantum mechanics does not violate the causal relationship in which a cause must precede its effect. It does however appear to introduce non-local coherences that cannot be explained by means of a hidden variable theory — as suggested by Bell’s Theorem. But such coherences do not permit useful information to travel faster than the speed of light — as would be required for the creation of a grandfather paradox. They would simply demonstrate that a metaphysics based upon strict localism do not apply to our universe. Counterintuitive? Undoubtedly.

    Please see:

    Bell showed that under quantum mechanics, which lacks local hidden variables, the inequalities (the correlation limit) may be violated. Instead, properties of a particle are not clear to verify in quantum mechanics but may be correlated with those of another particle due to quantum entanglement, allowing their state to be well defined only after a measurement is made on either particle. That restriction agrees with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, a fundamental and inescapable concept in quantum mechanics….

    Bell test experiments to date overwhelmingly show that Bell inequalities are violated. These results provide empirical evidence against local realism and in favor of QM. The no-communication theorem proves that the observers cannot use the inequality violations to communicate information to each other faster than the speed of light.

    Wikipedia: Bell’s Theorem

    *

    With respect to the advanced theories of physics, e.g., general relativity and quantum mechanics, it is worthwhile keeping in mind that while they are certainly represent advances in our scientific knowledge, their ascendance does not mean the complete invalidation of the theories which came before them. The body of knowledge represented by newton’s gravitational theory is still knowledge, but as an approximation of general relativity which holds for smaller masses over larger distances. In fact, in the construction of general relativity (for example, Schwartzchild’s solution — the simplest solution to Einstein’s field equations), one must appeal to a correspondence principle in order to solve for one last constant. In this sense, the “replacement” of newton’s gravitational theory by general relativity did not mean that everything we once knew is no longer true, but only that it is an approximation which is applicable within certain domains but not in others. General relativity is an advance and involves the accumulation of more knowledge, not the invalidation of everything we claimed to know by means of newton’s gravitational theory. Moreover, similar principles of correspondence exist between quantum mechanics and classical mechanics and between special relativity and classical mechanics.

    Scientific theories are a form of knowledge, but they are a form of corrigible knowledge — and science itself is a falliblistic, self-correcting endeavor — in which progress is real, and knowledge is cummulative despite the errors which may be made along the way.

    So as not to repeat myself, I will refer you back to an earlier comment of mine here regarding the argument that scientific theories receive justification and are consequently a form of knowledge:

    Do Scientific Theories Ever Receive Justification?
    A Critique of the Principle of Falsifiability
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/11/bbc-contrarian-top-10/#comment-68052

    *

    One of the points which is also worth keeping in mind at this point that properly there is a distinction which needs to be made between the form and the material of knowledge. For example, the language in which Newton’s gravitational theory was expressed was that of a flat space with absolute time – and gravitational forces. However, it is possible to express the theory in terms of a curved spacetime – in which the curvature exists only between the the dimensions of space and the dimension of time, but not between different dimensions of space where gravitational forces are no longer necessary. Similarly, I understand that general relativity may be expressed in terms of a flat spacetime with gravitational forces. Shifting between these two languages is much like a shift between polar and Cartesian coordinate systems.

    But why do we use one language in the case of one theory and a different one in case of the other? Because the equations would become unwieldy and calculations would become extremely difficult – that is, for the same reason that one might use Cartesian coordinates for one problem, but polar coordinates for another. The language in which each theory is expressed is the language which is appropriate to that theory. Moreover, given the language in which general relativity is expressed, it is the simplest theory which fits all of the available, relevant evidence.

    When a given theory (such as Newton’s gravitational theory or classical mechanics) has stood test of a great deal of time and a great many experiments, it qualifies as a form of knowledge. Moreover, we have every reason to believe that if and when it is superseded by some later theory, much of the content of the original theory will be preserved in the more advanced one, although the form in which it is expressed may be quite different. Such is the meaning of the correspondence principles relating special relativity to classical mechanics, general relativity to Newton’s gravitational theory, and quantum mechanics to classical mechanics.

    *

    Captcha wrote in 322:

    According to Bohm (in the Undivided Universe), for example, the principal difficulty in the attempt to make theoretical physics coherent is the mathematical notion of a point in space-time without extension or duration. This notion has reached its limits of usefulness and validity.

    Perhaps at some level of description (e.g., the Planck-Wheeler scale) it will be necessary for a theory to abandon it — strictly speaking. But if so, the theory will have to such that the classical description of our world is nevertheless recoverable by means of a correspondence principle, otherwise there will be no meaningful way in which such a theory can be related to our world where we perform science, and build and use instruments to discover what it is that that theory describes.

    *

    Captcha wrote in 322:

    Given the inherent pathology at the heart of what some may regard as one of the more rigorous sciences, and the impasse currently being faced in taking that particular discipline forward, is it not premature to suggest a broader unity across science?

    Just because we do not know everything does not mean that we know nothing. Just because we may be in error sometimes does not mean that we may be in error all the time. All science is related inasmuch as it is knowledge concerning the world in which we live and which we must be able relate back to our level of existence if it is to be regarded as meaningful. To suggest otherwise is indicative of either a self-referentially incoherent pathology known as radical skepticism, or what is more likely, sophistry.

    *

    Captcha fortune cookie: Deakin Special

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 3 Aug 2008 @ 9:10 PM

  324. Hank (321), I don’t know what effort you mean…

    Comment by Rod B — 3 Aug 2008 @ 10:12 PM

  325. John Mathon: That is unprecedented and it would mean the NAO/AMO, PDO phenomenon would magically just disappear, that we would have no more unexplained pauses in temperature for the next 90 years as temperatures soared unlike ever before in recorded history.

    Gavin: [Response: There’s no reason to think natural variability disappears - but yes, such a temperature change would clearly be unprecedented. Possibly that’s why people want to avoid it? - gavin]

    Gavin, the reason people don’t believe such apocalyptic predictions and bizarre changes in behavior is partly because such predictions in the past have been so wrong. Malthus, Ehrlich, Club of Rome, anti-nuclear power wackos, pop up in my mind. These people and many others in history have predicted doom time and time again. Even religious leaders saying the world was going to end in 2000 or 2012 or whatever. We’ve had so much of this doomsaying and it is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS WRONG. Amazingly wrong. Every 10 or so years Ehrlich predicts 50% of the worlds species will be extinct and every 10 years he reissues the threat only to find that there is no apparent decrease in species every time. The anti-nuclear power folks told us that nuclear power was dangerous and yet its proven to be the safest form of energy ever invented. The club of rome told us we’d be out of oil by now or dead from pollution or living in poverty. None of that happened even though they were from MIT and used the most sophisticated computer models of the time. These people are ALWAYS WRONG. Instead of apocalypse the world is better off than ever. I know there is a large segment of the population (not a majority but a significant number of people) who want to believe in apocalypse and that everything is going to a handbasket but the FACT is that it isn’t. The world is demonstrably richer in every conceivable way. A recent satellite survey showed that life on the planet earth has increased 20% in the last 40 years. An astonishing result considering all we hear from the environmental extremists and our press is that life is dying everywhere. The disconnect of reality and these predictions of doom is just mind boggling. Many people are just obsessed with thinking things are going to H***. However, every statistic and fact belies that this is false. We are richer, fewer starving people, more food, more everything. Something like 20 million people have been coming out of poverty yearly for decades. The death rate from natural disasters has fallen 99+% in the last 100 years. If you ask most people they think natural disasters are worse and more deadly. The fact is exactly the opposite in a phenomenal way. The facts are that deaths from natural disasters are the single thing we as humans have been best as solving more than ANYTHING else and yet this is the thing eco-wackos tell us is going to kill us. The very thing we are best at and that we are most capable of reducing is the thing that is claimed is going to kill us and the amazing thing is people believe it!

    The world isn’t dying and the temperatures aren’t soaring out of control, they are actually declining for the last 10 years! CO2 is a plant nutrient and everything we look at says that the increasing CO2 in the atmosphere has been a net positive for life on the planet earth. The moderate and more or less continuous temperature increases since 1750 been good for humanity and every living thing on the planet.

    I am sorry Gavin but these apocalyptic visions are false just as Malthus and just as Club of Rome and just as Ehrlich. Stopping building nuclear reactors because people told us it was too dangerous is ironic because it is the same people who are telling us that the resultant CO2 (from not building nuclear reactors) is going to kill us. They were wrong then and they are wrong now. We have now started burning our food supply to prevent global warming only to erase 30 years of poverty improvement. People told us preventing global warming would save lives but the very first thing we do to stop global warming puts 1 BILLION people’s lives at risk for starvation and plunges millions of people into poverty! Yet we are told by people who project unmitigated and unprecedented temperature increases for 90 years that we need to reduce CO2 (a plant food) to save the planet from starvation. The irony couldn’t be more extreme. Also, Ironically it is the people who were trying to save us from nuclear power that put us in this situation where we had to burn so much fossil fuel.

    I want to make clear I have absolutely NO objection to the theory of global warming. I am perfectly happy to accept AGW or any warming if it is proved. It obviously can’t be proved or you or somebody from the pro-AGW position would have put a paper in the newsletter of the APS demonstrating such a proof. The mere fact that such a paper has not been produced and can’t be produced is irrefutable evidence that such a proof is impossible therefore the science of AGW and sensitivity of 2-4C/doubling of CO2 is simply a theory. It is a theory in trouble because the data is all going in the opposite direction. Temperatures are spiking downward on the land, in the ocean, in the troposphere. Heat is escaping the system somehow or being stored someplace we don’t know about. Phenomenon like the PDO and NAO cannot be explained by the theory even though they are clearly real phenomenon. The GCMs have been unable to explain the lack of heat in the antarctic for 50 years, the destruction of ozone which seems to be related to the destruction of methane and other GHGs. The recent article in a Hydrology publication shows the models are less efficient at predicting than a simple arithmetic average.

    I’m saying you people are in denial. It is NOT 8 years of static temperatures that is the problem. If that were the only thing people (including me) might still be believing this theory of massive positive feedbacks. The problem is much more severe for the AGW crowd.

    1) lack of warming in the antarctic
    50 years of lack of heating even though every model predicts the poles will heat equally. Instead what we’ve gotten is lots of heating at the north pole which conforms much more to the NAO phenomenons predictions than any GCM.

    2) lack of ocean warming
    Unexplained ocean temperatures are impossible to understand and unpredicted. They caused a German science team to publish a peer-reviewed article in Nature magazine predicting 10 more years of flat temperatures.

    3) lack of tropospheric warming
    30 years of balloon and satellite measurements showing insufficient heat in the troposphere. Recent papers showing “implied” heat in the troposphere not completely convincing leaving grave doubts if GHGs were causing much if any of the warming we saw in the 1977-1997 period.

    4) increased rain beyond model predictions
    Raising severe doubts about the supposed linkage between clouds, rain and temperature and therefore making the feedback assumptions in the GCMs destroyed.

    5) lack of land temperature increases for 10 years
    The problem here is less that we have 10 years of lack of temperature increase than it is unexplained. During the 90s there were several much shorter down periods but these were explained sufficiently with volcanoes. We haven’t had any volcanoes of merit in the last 10 years therefore this recent cooling is unexplained.

    6) ozone depletion not predicted
    This means there was a negative feedback not anticipated which also seems to be related to destruction of methane and other GHGs in the pacific ocean. Is this the reason for 5)?

    7) GCM model prediction failures.
    2 studies in the last 7 months published and peer-reviewed have concluded that GCM models are lousy at predicting temperatures, rainfall at any level of the atmosphere or for any time period tested.

    The reason that I and many people have become skeptics and that you are getting flak in the press and now even in scientific publications is not that dweebs from the enemy are outflanking you politically or something. It is that the data is contradicting the theory and there are no convincing arguments to explain any of these phenomenon.

    Since the lack of warming in almost all of the world has become apparent severe AGW enthusiasts have turned to the arctic as the last place that there is evidence their theories are working but at least 2 papers have come out in the last 6 months which demolish this argument.

    1) The NAO phenomenon explains at least 50-80% of the arctic warming over the last 30 years and also explains better than GCMs the recent cooling.

    2) Black carbon pollution from diesel vehicles primarily but also from all carbon sources is causing another 20%-50% of the warming in the arctic.

    This is therefore another reason that the feedback sensitivity of 2-4 degrees is unsustainable.

    Lastly Ray Ladbury Says:
    3 August 2008 at 7:29 AM
    > John Mathon, With your post, I believe we have very nearly completed the map of the Denialist > Memome. In your single, we have one-stop shopping for ignorant denialist talking points
    > 1)the warming is insignificant and short-term (wrong–it is part of a trend thatgoes back to the onset of the industrial age)

    Coincidentally also happens to go back to the last ice age ending (the little ice age). Were you expecting the little ice age to go on forever? Why did the little ice age happen and do the models predict it? What stopped it? Some CO2 from coal stopped the little ice age? What stopped or started other weather phenomenon over the last 20,000 years?

    > 2)It has stopped warming (wrong)

    Yes it has. I say this because the oceans have 300 times the heat capacity of the entire atmosphere and the ocean has cooled over the last 5 years. That means that the heat is gone.

    > 3)models are unreliable and tuned (wrong–why don’t you learn the difference between a statistical and a dynamical model)

    I know a lot about models and you don’t want to defend these models. It would be astonishing if these models didn’t have hundreds of wrong assumptions, wrong physics, missing or incomplete descriptions and even bad coding. Admit it, it would be astounding if the models worked. They don’t. I am not taken in by these “oh and these are our sophisticated computer models” trying to impress me with big words and complicated math. They did models at the Club of Rome and they failed just as spectacularly.

    > 4)It’s all natural

    I never said that. I believe in GHG warming. I just don’t believe it is 2-4K/doubling of CO2. I have no reason not to believe 2-4K/doubling except that I don’t see any proof or evidence of such a number. If the data or science was there I have no reason to argue against it. I actually did believe there was going to be significant warming. I have been converted by evidence and by looking at the science.

    > 5)CO2 is only a minor greenhouse gas

    It is minor. H2O is the major GHG and we don’t understand the physics of all these chemicals operating in a chaotic system and the inputs which drive their interactions. We may eventually understand more of it and be able to prove the interactions but we are not there yet so I believe that it is “theory” in need of verification not proven fact. The only thing that is proven is that GHGs do create some forcing, however the sensitivity of the temperature to such forcing is unknown especially the feedback component.

    If you could prove the sensitivity such a paper would be produced and delivered to the APS. The fact that the APS could not procure such a paper is the strongest proof that such an argument doesn’t exist. The sensitivity of 2-4K/doubling is theory not scientific fact. Stop saying it is fact and arguing it is fact and you will get a more responsive audience.

    > 6)all the feedbacks are negative

    I have no idea what the feedbacks are but I suspect that the failures of the models are largely due to massive overstatement of the positive feedbacks.

    Comment by John Mathon — 4 Aug 2008 @ 2:24 AM

  326. Jurgen, #320.

    Epic miss.

    How can we be expected to explain ourselves in a way that the public understands when we are having to counter arguments either irrelevant or so obscure the public doesn’t understand either?

    Irrelevant: “Science is not consensus”. How CAN that be countered in a way the public will understand? It’s true, but not a lot of help and countering it either requires us to answer with a half-truth which is picked up or by telling them about the thousands of scientific reports which they’ll NEVER find or understand. On a hiding to nothing here.

    Obscure: “Middle Ages warming”. Apart from saying “that was cooler” which isn’t being taken as a rebuttal, what can be said here? You need to show the raw data and how the data shows this wasn’t a globally warmer period than today. Lots of maths, physics and so on.

    We can counter these sufficient for “the public” but the denialists will use the necessary simplifications to make more noise and confuse the public.

    Comment by Mark — 4 Aug 2008 @ 2:37 AM

  327. Timothy Chase #315:

    The Sixteen Official Rules Governming the JREF Challenge
    http://www.randi.org/joom/challenge-application.html

    Did you read as far as this?

    12. This offer is not open to any and all persons. [and the rest]

    This challenge is designed for Uri Geller and his ilk, not for the reality of parapsychological research (what little there is left in the world). Good luck trying to shoehorn the ganzfeld experiments — the most successful quantitative experiments of the modern era — into this (I know there has been some Internet discussion on this).

    But I have outstayed my welcome.

    BTW I had forgotten how slimey the Milloy challenge really is… the main difference between Milloy and Randi is not in the rules ;-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 4 Aug 2008 @ 3:57 AM

  328. Timothy Chase #323:

    quantum mechanics does not violate the causal relationship in which a cause must precede its effect.

    Hmmm, as I understand it, quantum mechanics is invariant for time inversion (perhaps together with parity and matter-antimatter conjugation, CPT). The “arrow of time” comes from thermodynamics (entropy).

    Both quantum theory and thermodynamics involve probability, but in subtly different ways.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 4 Aug 2008 @ 4:20 AM

  329. 323. ‘Perhaps at some level of description (e.g. the Planck-Wheeler scale) it will be necessary to abandon it’. That is all that post 322 was pointing to.

    Comment by Captcha — 4 Aug 2008 @ 4:30 AM

  330. Timothy, I think that what Captcha is referring to is the nonlocality of quantum theory vs the locality of general relativity. Indeed, this is a funcamental issue. However, there are various movements to bridge the gap–string theory among them. None of this has any relevance to climate science, economics, paleoclimate or the intersection thereof. As you pointed out, relativistic quantum mechanics (really an application of special relativity to quantum theory) shows that there is fruitful ground even when there are deep divides at the fundamental level. General relativity is a very different beast than the special theory.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Aug 2008 @ 7:07 AM

  331. Mark, Communicating science to the public is difficult. Sometimes anecdotes help. In explaining the importance of consensus, I’ve found that the story of the N-ray affair is illustrative:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N-ray

    And of course, there is Einstein’s rejection of quantum mechanics, which went ahead and progressed around him despite his opposition. I find that this episode is particularly important, as it shows that despite the tremendous respect physicists had for Einstein, ultimately they opted for the approach that maintained maximum progress. Einstein had valid grounds for concern about quantum mechanics, but he offerd no fruitful alternatives, so his attempts to undermine the foundations of quantum mechanics were stillborn. This is very like the situation in climate science (or for that matter wrt evolution), where so-called skeptics offer blistering critiques of the research, but no positive alternatives.

    As to the MWP and other obscurities, that’s more difficult. The stories of “Greenland” and vineyards in Britain are more compelling than paleoclimatic reconstructions. Here, I think it is relevant to point out that much of Europe’s heat comes from the Gulf Stream (Rome is at the same latitude as Denver, after all), and that the best science says we are warming VERY rapidly.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Aug 2008 @ 7:33 AM

  332. Martin and Tim,
    We’re verging on digression here, but if the moderators will permit, a bit on quantum mechanics, thermo, causality and the arrow of time. First, quantum entanglement, as exemplified for the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen experiment does pose some significant challenges for conventional ideas of causality, physical reality and even free will. If you veiw measurement by observer A as the cause of the wave function collapse of the entangled distant object, it would seem that this requires a spacelike signal, although it can be shown that this signal carries no actual information.
    As to the arror of time, there is indeed a thermodynamic arrow of time, which is generally equated with the direction in which Entropy increases. Note, however, that this only applies to macroscopic ensembles of particles, since reversibility applies at the level of the fundamental interactions.
    There is also a comsomological arrow of time–the direction in which the Universe expands.
    Finally there is an arrow of time associated with the Weak Nuclear force and the decasys of K and B mesons, where both CP and T invariance are violated, but CPT is preserved. This is, to my knowledge the only place we know of where an arrow of time exists on a point-like scale.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Aug 2008 @ 7:44 AM

  333. Martin Vermeer wrote in 326:

    Hmmm, as I understand it, quantum mechanics is invariant for time inversion (perhaps together with parity and matter-antimatter conjugation, CPT). The “arrow of time” comes from thermodynamics (entropy).

    Classical mechanics is also invaraint with respect to time inversion. Not quite the same thing as being able to introduce a grandfather paradox — which presumably you could do if you could travel faster than the speed of light, or alternatively send a message that you received before you sent it telling you not to send the the message.

    However, there is another level besides thermodynamics where time symmetry is evidently broken:

    Experiment sees the arrow of time – at last!

    The classical laws of physics cannot distinguish between the past and the future, but now experiments at CERN have confirmed that time-reversal symmetry is broken in neutral kaons.

    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/print/1327

    Martin Vermeer wrote in 326:

    Both quantum theory and thermodynamics involve probability, but in subtly different ways.

    I will grant you that.

    Interestingly, one can interpret the values of the probability density matrix as complex number truth values of statements, then treat the operators which act on the probability density operator as logical operations which transform one set of statements (e.g., involving position) into another set (e.g., involving momentum), in which case the whole of quantum mechanics could be viewed as a form of alternate logic.

    Anyway, I got to get to work.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 4 Aug 2008 @ 7:58 AM

  334. John Mathon repeats one oh-so-common science denialist claim that always raises my “iiar!” red flag …

    I actually did believe there was going to be significant warming. I have been converted by evidence and by looking at the science.

    “I used to believe in Evolution but then I looked at the evidence and the science”

    “I used to believe that HIV causes AIDS but then I looked at the evidence and the science”

    “I used to believe that second-hand cigarette smoke might be harmful but then I looked at the evidence and the science”

    “I used to believe that DDT caused raptor population declines, but then I looked at the evidence and the science”.

    It doesn’t matter which genre of science denialism is being discussed, they always come out with a variation on this theme. Which is meant to imply, of course, that the only reason the rest of us haven’t changed our minds is because we don’t study the evidence or the science, or aren’t bright enough to see how the Evil Science Conspiracy is fraudulently misleading the rest of us.

    Comment by dhogaza — 4 Aug 2008 @ 8:05 AM

  335. Timothy, thanks for the link!

    Yes, weak interactions do that — CPT is conserved but the individual T may be broken. Or P, which got Lee and Yang their 1957 Nobel…

    . Not quite the same thing as being able to introduce a grandfather paradox — which presumably you could do if you could travel faster than the speed of light, …

    Well, that is again a slightly different issue, that of not being able to Lorentz transform the arrow of time into a retrograde direction, i.e., it lies inside the light cone.

    Is that (non-existence of information carrying tachyons) quantum theory or relativity? Is it even theoretically proven? Clearly it is a requirement for a well defined information/entropy arrow of time to even exist.

    Way over my head :-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 4 Aug 2008 @ 8:56 AM

  336. Yes it has. I say this because the oceans have 300 times the heat capacity of the entire atmosphere and the ocean has cooled over the last 5 years. That means that the heat is gone.

    Actually, I’m curious about one thing, though:

    Where did it go? Please, John, please tell us … where did it go?

    reCaptcha says “literature in”, which I guess is a hint as to where John wants to find an answer that will impress us.

    Comment by dhogaza — 4 Aug 2008 @ 8:57 AM

  337. 331

    As I understand, atmospheric circulation is primarily what causes the warmer temperatures in Europe, as opposed to say, North America. The THC keeping the North Atlantic warmer than the northern pacific. A shutdown of the THC should cool Europe but also cool on the western side of the Atlantic.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 4 Aug 2008 @ 9:27 AM

  338. Is there any relationship between the new userid “Captcha” and the many quotations we’ve been making to Captcha words in the past few weeks? Or is this just coincidental?

    ReCaptcha: “ach standard”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Aug 2008 @ 9:48 AM

  339. John Mathon, 325, wrote :

    “A recent satellite survey showed that life on the planet earth has increased 20% in the last 40 years.”

    Um, would you care to provide a cite or source for that strange statement ?

    Comment by CL — 4 Aug 2008 @ 9:50 AM

  340. @ John Mathon:
    You say “the ocean has cooled over the last 5 years. That means that the heat is gone.”

    Leaving aside the whole issue of generalizing about climate with 5 years of data–what exactly are you looking at that leads you to believe that the ocean has cooled over the last five years? And, for extra clarity, are you contending that the **heat content of the oceans as a whole** has declined over the past five years?

    Comment by kevin — 4 Aug 2008 @ 10:12 AM

  341. @ Rod B: FWIW I see what you’re saying. But I still think you generated the resistance you cheekily observe by the way you phrased things. For example, I believe this was your first instance of asking:

    “is Monckton incorrect in his temperature analysis? I’m not asking if it is inappropriate, but incorrect. Nor am I asking about his opinions and assertions re interpretations or his other seemingly goofy comments — just his mathematical assessment of the temperature since 2000-1.”

    And this is from your recent response, the part directed at me:

    “I wanted only to simply ask if Monckton seemed to know how to calculate a least squares (or similar) linear regression.”

    I think if you had started with the latter phrasing you would have had a different set of responses. I can see how you maybe meant the same thing both times, but “is Monckton incorrect in his temperature analysis?” generates a “no” response for standard RC usage of the words “temperature analysis.” Also, in “his mathematical assessment of the temperature since 2000-1,” I think it was predictable that “mathematical assessment” would be read by posters here to be inclusive of valid statistical practice and whatnot. By contrast, something like “given the numbers he used, did he do the regression equation right?” is a much more specific, well-constrained question. I imagine you probably still would have gotten some resistance, and most people (like me) would not have bothered to try to check the math, but I think it’s fairly likely that someone would have said “it looks like it, but that’s not the point” or something.

    Of course you could have further boosted the odds of getting the obvious (per you)response by phrasing it as “given the stupid, silly numbers he used, did he *EVEN* do the regression equation right, the jackass?” (“well, he’s stupid alright, but it looks like he may have gotten lucky and got THAT much right, heh heh”)

    But then I suppose I’m straying back into your point :)

    Comment by kevin — 4 Aug 2008 @ 10:26 AM

  342. Ray Ladbury, 332, wrote :

    “it would seem that this requires a spacelike signal”

    Well, for me, (no physicist), that’s the most interesting area in the whole of science. My wild hunch, it might explain much that is presently inexplicable, (re the earlier ESP comments), possibly via Penrose-Hameroff microtubules. I may easily be wrong, but I have read that quantum effects may be expected up to (almost) macroscopic scale, e.g. amoeba size, just on the boundary of human vision…
    (Sorry, this is off topic, but my enthusiasm is hungry for info…)

    Comment by CL — 4 Aug 2008 @ 10:28 AM

  343. John Mathon makes the following extraordinary claim:

    …there is no apparent decrease in species…A recent satellite survey showed that life on the planet earth has increased 20% in the last 40 years. An astonishing result considering all we hear from the environmental extremists and our press is that life is dying everywhere.

    This claim is false; you are not following the science. Please see the following graphs. They shows alarming declines in populations of various ocean species.

    Biomass Decline at the Southern Grand Bank

    North Atlantic Biomass Trends

    North Carolina Shark Population Extinction

    Sequential Collapse of Pacific Marine Mammal Populations

    I’ve collected these and more data, with full citations, in a handy slide deck:

    State of the World’s Oceans (12MB pptx)

    John, you may tell yourself that there’s no human-caused mass extinction occurring, but you’re whistling past the graveyard.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 4 Aug 2008 @ 10:42 AM

  344. John Mathon, Should you ever tire of demolishing straw men of your own construction, this site would be an excellent place for you to START learning about Earth’s climate. There are several posts on this site that demonstrate the fallacy your argument. I can direct you should you care to read them. Otherwise, you are welcome to your ignorance. If you don’t mind, the rest of us are going to learn about the climate and the crisis we face.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Aug 2008 @ 10:44 AM

  345. #325 John Mathon:

    Here are the graphs of the original 1972 “Limits of Growth” report to the Club of Rome. Ugly lineprinter graphics. Study them. What you should especially do, is cover with your right hand the part past 2008. First graph, 1972 known resources; second, doubled resources (more realistic).

    You see what I see? I know you do. The report hasn’t even had the opportunity yet to be wrong. Even for 1972-known resources, everything looks hunky-dory, all the good curves going up. The collapse is still in the future.

    The club of rome told us we’d be out of oil by now or dead from pollution or living in poverty. None of that happened even though they were from MIT and used the most sophisticated computer models of the time. These people are ALWAYS WRONG. Instead of apocalypse the world is better off than ever. I know there is a large segment of the population (not a majority but a significant number of people) who want to believe in apocalypse and that everything is going to a handbasket but the FACT is that it isn’t. The world is demonstrably richer in every conceivable way.

    Yes… that’s called “overshoot”.

    You know the corny joke about the guy falling from a skyscraper, who was overheard saying when passing the third floor: “So far so good…”?

    That guy is you.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 4 Aug 2008 @ 10:49 AM

  346. I think the satellite must be recording the average obesity of the US populace, not “life” per se.

    Comment by dhogaza — 4 Aug 2008 @ 11:21 AM

  347. I differ with Barton Paul Levenson and Timothy Chase on the state of the evidence for the existence of so-called “psychic” phenomena that has been produced by modern parapsychological research. But my point is not to engage in an off-topic discussion about psi research. Rather I am trying to make a point about skepticism.

    Consider how you would react to a self-described AGW “skeptic” who denies that any warming exists, who exhibits an a priori hostility to the very idea, and who gets all of his information about climate research from organized “skeptical” sources, e.g. various “think tanks”, so-called “conservative” media, and people like Monckton and Singer who are not climate scientists but are making a career of discouraging public acceptance of the idea of anthropogenic warming — but who is unfamiliar with the actual research itself, particularly the most recent research, and who is dismissive of the value of studying the actual science because he already knows that it doesn’t amount to anything.

    Now, if you count yourself as a “skeptic” of psi research, ask yourself to what extent your views are based on a a priori hostility to the very idea of psychic phenomena, on information that you receive from organized “skeptical” sources such as CSICOP, stage “magician” James Randi’s group, and others who are not parapsychologists but have made a career of discouraging public acceptance of and scientific research into the reality of “pyschic” phenomena, vs. how familiar you are with the actual research itself, particularly the most recent research, and whether you are inclined to be dismissive of the value of studying the actual science because you already know that it doesn’t amount to anything.

    As a final comment, I offer this excerpt from the “lost chapter” of Alice In Wonderland:

    “You are a strange creature,” said The Skeptic to Alice. “Where did you come from?”

    “I fell down a rabbit hole and found myself here,” replied Alice.

    “That’s not possible,” replied The Skeptic, raising his eyebrows. “Only rabbits come here through rabbit holes, not creatures like yourself.”

    “Well,” replied Alice, “nevertheless that’s the truth.”

    “Hmph,” said The Skeptic, rolling his eyes. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.”

    “And what exactly,” asked Alice, “makes a claim extraordinary?”

    The Skeptic replied, “A claim is extraordinary if I say it is.”

    “I see,” said Alice. “And what would constitute extraordinary proof?”

    The Skeptic shook his head and smiled condescendingly. “No proof is sufficiently extraordinary as to prove what we already know to be impossible.”

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 4 Aug 2008 @ 11:39 AM

  348. In re: 331

    As to the MWP and other obscurities, that’s more difficult. The stories of “Greenland” and vineyards in Britain are more compelling than paleoclimatic reconstructions. Here, I think it is relevant to point out that much of Europe’s heat comes from the Gulf Stream (Rome is at the same latitude as Denver, after all), and that the best science says we are warming VERY rapidly.

    I think a large part of why “Greenland” and “vineyards in Great Britain” get so much press, along with “But it was an ice age in the 1970′s” is the way “we are warming VERY rapidly” is presented. Because people do look at global temperature charts and the “we are warming VERY rapidly” stops, and now “we are going sideways”, and if the last time “we are going sideways” goes the same way, it’ll be “we are going down.” Right? Forget the science for a moment — that’s what the charts did the last time. Global temps went up, then sideways, then down, then “The Ice Age Is Coming!”, then up.

    So, in an effort to call attention to the problem, there’s a lot of ignoring what people know to be the truth. I really did read about that “coming Ice Age” when it was in the popular press.

    Other aspects of the science — how GCMs actually work, for example — make the science suspect to the lay reader. The first GCM I ran, after I downloaded one courtesy of reading this blog, raised red flags. If we can’t predict the weather a week in advance, how the heck is “weather” a useful part of a GCM? We don’t know where Eduordo is going to go, but someone has a GCM that says rainfall in the American Southeast is going to below average? It only takes a few hurricanes spinning up out of the Straights of Florida for the American Southeast to get a TON more rain.

    So the science has to be presented in a way that people can look at what’s out there for the lay public and understand how that doesn’t invalidate the big messages being given. If you told me “we are warming VERY rapidly”, and I look at 8 years of temperature data, I’m going to disagree. And if you tell me “lots more hurricanes”, and I look at the cyclical nature of Atlantic basin tropical storms, I’m going to disagree. There’s a lot of information being presented that’s not being presented in a way that’s consistent with what the public is seeing, and that has to be fixed, and “we are warming VERY rapidly” needs to be stated in terms that are more consistent with whatever “pause” we’ve been taking for the past few years.

    (reCaptcha — “Al impassable”. Who is this Al person?)

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 4 Aug 2008 @ 11:52 AM

  349. I would just like to correct one error of fact:

    Barton Paul Levenson wrote: “There was a reason the parapsychologists got kicked out of the AAAS”

    “The parapsychologists” have not been “kicked out” of the AAAS, in spite of the efforts of “skeptics” who campaign to discredit and discourage research in the field. As of today, the AAAS website still lists the Parapsychological Association as an affiliated organization.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 4 Aug 2008 @ 12:46 PM

  350. He’s probably misunderstanding:
    wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/06/08/surprise-earths-biosphere-is-booming-co2-the-cause/
    which misstates Solomon,
    who misunderstands NASA’s press release
    which didn’t explain why more pond scum isn’t better.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Aug 2008 @ 12:52 PM

  351. It is hard for me to find any humor in the global warming situation, but The Onion made me laugh out loud with this headline:

    “Al Gore Places Infant Son In Rocket To Escape Dying Planet”

    Former vice president Al Gore—who for the past three decades has unsuccessfully attempted to warn humanity of the coming destruction of our planet, only to be mocked and derided by the very people he has tried to save—launched his infant son into space Monday in the faint hope that his only child would reach the safety of another world.

    “I tried to warn them, but the Elders of this planet would not listen,” said Gore, who in 2000 was nearly banished to a featureless realm of nonexistence for promoting his unpopular message. “They called me foolish and laughed at my predictions. Yet even now, the Midwest is flooded, the ice caps are melting, and the cities are rocked with tremors, just as I foretold. Fools! Why didn’t they heed me before it was too late?”

    Al Gore—or, as he is known in his own language, Gore-Al—placed his son, Kal-Al, gently in the one-passenger rocket ship, his brow furrowed by the great weight he carried in preserving the sole survivor of humanity’s hubristic folly.

    “There is nothing left now but to ensure that my infant son does not meet the same fate as the rest of my doomed race,” Gore said. “I will send him to a new planet, where he will, I hope, be raised by simple but kindly country folk and grow up to be a hero and protector to his adopted home.”

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 4 Aug 2008 @ 2:21 PM

  352. Not that anyone probably cares, but I noticed a typo in my earlier comment–

    “is Monckton incorrect in his temperature analysis?” generates a “no” response for standard RC usage of the words “temperature analysis.”

    Should have been:

    “is Monckton incorrect in his temperature analysis?” generates a “yes” response for standard RC usage of the words “temperature analysis.”

    I hate it when I do that.

    Comment by kevin — 4 Aug 2008 @ 3:32 PM

  353. Here is one way to answer the question of whether Mockton’s conclusions are based on cherry-picked data. Suppose you define a temperature increase function that depends on two parameters, the starting date the the ending date, F(s,e). Each F(s,e) would be the slope of the least-squares fit of the temperature data between dates e and s. You could then produce a 2D contour plot of F(s,e) with s along the y axis and e along the x axis and with the plot being in the triangular region s.lt.e. This would not be a constant function, it would reveal the cooling trends in the 1950′s, the major volcano eruptions, the El Nino and La Nina periods, and so on. If the time resolution where fine enough, it would reveal seasonal fluctuations. Suppose the negative areas of this plot were colored various shades of blue, and the positive areas of the plot were colored various shades of red. The question then is whether this graph would be a vast ocean of red with isolated islands of blue, or a vast ocean of blue with isolated areas of red, or some 50/50 mixture of each. If it were mostly red with isolated islands of blue, then Mockton’s conclusions would clearly require cherry-picking one of those blue islands to make his cooling claim. Statistically, the most reliable areas of this graph would be near the x axis, and the least reliable areas would be up near the s=e line (because of the statistical 1/sqrt(e-s) uncertainty).

    Is there anyone with access to all the relevant data that could produce such a graph?

    Comment by Ron Shepard — 4 Aug 2008 @ 3:41 PM

  354. kevin (341), I’ll briefly come out of retirement (on this discourse) because you asked/commented so civilly.

    It quickly became evident and I agree that the choice of words (“temperature analysis”) was not good, even with my attempt to clarify what I meant even in that very first post (#200), which you accurately referenced. As time and posts went on I tried very hard, with some success in my view, to be very precise as to what I was asking; IMHO it was then not at all hard to understand. Recheck #23 and my shouting #254 as a couple of examples. But no one, save one, would let me off the hook with my original too-general use of wording despite my incessant elucidation and protestations. Everyone kept saying (paraphrasing), “No, Rod. I know it’s what you said you asked; but it’s not!”. Take the second phrase you quote in your post. Then go read the following responses. It’s completely obvious they had some interest in answering a question I didn’t ask, and no desire to answer instead the one I did, which I clarified until I was blue (red?? sorry about that…) in the face. I think it is instructive that Jürgen had no difficulty what-so-ever.

    I wish not to pursue this further, but for the record, this is where the religiosity comes in. They absolutely refused to see my (eventually) obvious question because, it seems, they would have to mutter some words that there might be some relatively short recent periods when the average global temperatures declined. I think only religious inclinations make people that adamant and (I shouldn’t use this word) a strict denier. It’s like a fundamentalist watching tsetse flies or bacteria mutate in front of their very eyes and say, “Not happening!!”

    I probably should not psychoanalyze so much. It’s just how I see it.

    Comment by Rod B — 4 Aug 2008 @ 3:57 PM

  355. Jim (343) you species response to John is right on, but the thousands of species that go out of existence all the time is not necessarily “alarming”.

    Comment by Rod B — 4 Aug 2008 @ 4:01 PM

  356. I’m not sure why we’re still arguing about parapsychology, but since it’s still going on:

    SecularAnimist seems to think that there are:

    1) Believers in parapsychology.
    2) Close-minded skeptics of it.

    but not:
    3) Skeptics (in classical sense)who:

    - have at least a little background/experience in experimental psychology

    - have had discussions with psychologists about common ways in which experiments go wrong and people fool themselves

    - have followed a lot of efforts to *find* PSI phenomena, with very weak results [i.e., the serious research efforts, not the obvious hoaxes], so that a massive amount of negative results have accumulated.

    - worry about the lack of plausible physical mechanisms for most of the supposed effects

    - worry about tiny effects that disappear with better controls.

    - have watched things like PEAR go away, or Susan Blackmore switch from belief to skepticism.

    - might even *wish* that PSI effects were real, if only so some of their favorite stories could be science-fiction rather than fantasy

    - and yes, have read CSICOP, Randi, etc.

    - and tend to have listened harder to Martin Gardner, Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov than to Puthoff and Targ, for example…

    - and simply come to believe there is nothing useful there…

    How many decades of negative results does it take before a PSI-skeptic isn’t close-minded, but just accepting of the evidence?

    4) In any case, here are a few of my favorite books on rational open-mindedness, skepticism, and evidence:

    Martin Gardner
    a) Science – Good, Bad, and Bogus, 1981.
    (There are newer editions.)
    b) “Did Adam and Eve have Navels?”, 2000

    James Randi
    c) Flim-Flam! 1986

    Robert Ehrlich (Physic Prof at George Mason)
    d) Nine Crazy Ideas in Science (A few might even be true), 2001
    e) Eight Preposterous Propositions, 2003.

    On this specific topic, here’s a long-time parapsychologist-turned-skeptic:

    Susan Blackmore
    f) The Elusive Open Mind: Ten Years of Negative Research in Parapsychology. 1987.
    g) Why I have given up 2001.

    5) Finally, to bring this back to climate, it is a strange fact that some people who are ardent skeptics of much pseudoscience are simultaneously convinced that AGW is a hoax…

    Last Summer, CSI’s Skeptical Inquirer published a straightforward article on AGW by NASA GSFC physicist Stuart Jordan .. that elicited a firestorm of “cancel my subsciption”-style letters, stunning editor Kendrick Frazier. Here are Stuart’s responses.

    This is a good reminder that good classical skepticism is humanly difficult to apply uniformly. However, masses of evidence favor:

    - existence of AGW
    - nonexistence of psi

    Comment by John Mashey — 4 Aug 2008 @ 4:09 PM

  357. Spencer Response.

    Several posts in this thread have requested a response to the recent Dr Roy Spencer submission to a Senate committee. My suggestion is that the RealClimate team, saintly though they are in their patience and forbearance, should remain silent in this case. The Spencer submission is in two parts: an actual peer-reviewed journal article to be published shortly, and the written submission itself. I have only read an abstract of the article, which concerns a simple climate model that shows previous estimates of climate sensitivity to be too high due to neglect of natural cloud variability. The written report to the Senate concerns ‘exciting new discoveries in recent weeks’, about which he has exchanged emails with IPCC climate scientists. The peer-review and IPCC emails are cleverly woven into the narrative to give the submission credibility.

    So far as I can tell Spencer’s new theory, that climate sensitivity to GHG forcing is so low as to be trivial, falls into Pauli’s ‘not even wrong’ category. On that basis there should be no response from RealClimate, but this assertion of mine needs to be qualified in that I am not a climate scientist. For anyone needing to rebut Spencer, I suggest using extracts from his submission; namely that the IPPC scientist email points out that the effect Spencer claims to have discovered is small, and that Spencer’s own report states that he does not yet know if his assertion is true.

    From Spencer’s career it appears he was a weather guy who was displaced by the incoming wave of climate scientists and funding. Events like this, and the resulting sulks, are familiar to anyone who has worked in a large organization of any type; the losers in this game tend to hold a contrarian view no matter what the facts on the ground may be. The archetype was the British geologist who famously refused to believe the 19th century reports that snow-capped mountains existed in the heat of equatorial Africa and went to his grave convinced that Kilimanjaro was capped not by an ice-sheet but by marble.

    Spencer has a new twist on this, as his career is now being presented as if it were a chapter from Joseph Campbell’s ‘Hero with a Thousand Faces’. Spurned by the king’s court (the Clinton administration) he retreats to the groves of academe where he contemplates alone for seven whole years. Then he makes a wondrous discovery, described in his own words as ‘the Holy Grail of climate science’. Triumphantly he returns to court and presents his discovery to the new rulers in the capitol, and so saves a grateful world from the scourge of global warming.

    A theory like anthropogenic global warming needs its doubters and detractors to ensure its robustness and completeness. Dr Spencer will no doubt continue to attack AGW for the rest of his life, and doing it through peer-reviewed articles is in a way admirable, but this submission to a Senate committee has crossed a moral line and is to be regretted. While we must hope that a new dawn of knowledge will in due course illuminate his dark night, so that he does not go marble-headed into retirement, for now the best response from his scientific peers is an icy silence.

    Comment by Pat McLean — 4 Aug 2008 @ 4:29 PM

  358. John Mashey wrote: “SecularAnimist seems to think that there are: 1) Believers in parapsychology. 2) Close-minded skeptics of it.”

    I do think there are those two classes of people. I don’t think, nor did I say, that those two categories exhaust the possible attitudes towards the subject.

    Again, my point was to note what strike me as common features of “close-minded skepticism” of both climate science and parapsychology — the sort of pseudo-skepticism that arises from an a priori conviction about a subject. A genuinely open-minded skeptic might examine the scientific evidence relating to the existence of psi phenomena and conclude either that its existence has been demonstrated, or that it has not. A close-minded pseudo-skeptic will be unlikely to examine the evidence for something that he already knows is bunk. Such a person is more likely to comfort himself with the pronouncements of “organized skeptic” groups who are hostile towards the subject and actively seek to discourage interest and research in the field.

    When a commenter here falsely asserts that the Parapsychology Association has been “kicked out” of the AAAS, and then sweepingly claims that “All the statements that ESP has been ‘scientifically proved’ comes from ESP researchers with an axe to grind”, I cannot help hearing an echo of the many “AGW skeptics” who have commented on these pages that “all the evidence for global warming comes from climate researchers with an axe to grind who are just trying to get more grant money”. When someone comes to a subject with such a predisposition, can they honestly claim to approach it with open-minded skepticism?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 4 Aug 2008 @ 5:04 PM

  359. Pat McLean (357) — Tamino has done in one of Spencer’s presentations:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/07/28/spencers-folly/
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/07/30/spencers-folly-2/
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/08/01/spencers-folly-3/

    Comment by David B. Benson — 4 Aug 2008 @ 5:07 PM

  360. SecularAnimist, maybe you would accept that any signal of PSI is overwhelmed by the noise. And, since we have no idea what’s doing it, we have no way of working out how to improve the signal or build up from earlier works.

    I suppose you could genetically meld people who score highly to see if you can get more PSI rated people, but genetic fiddling like that isn’t really going to happen, is it?

    Me? I’m pretty certain that all of what is considered in PSI to be bunk. Some of the rest of it could be because our understanding of the reality is not good enough to explain what’s happening and the rest of it is so vastly underexplained by proponents that any scientific modelling is impossible.

    Mostly I figure PSI to be so ineffectual even where true to be a fruitless search for something.

    Comment by Mark — 4 Aug 2008 @ 6:23 PM

  361. Rod, I don’t know what you find in those graphs that’s not alarming. They’re terrifying. Those aren’t just single species going extinct; they represent entire ecosystems that are vanishing. These extinction rates are vastly above the background rate.

    Surely you don’t maintain that it’s natural for whole ecosystems to decline simultaneously around the globe. What about the phrase “human-caused mass extinction” is ambiguous?

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 4 Aug 2008 @ 6:32 PM

  362. Re 358, I think it’s a good point, Secular Animist, and both interesting and important to better understand how we arrive at the positions we hold.

    There’s another facet to the ESP question. How does one weigh personal direct first hand experience against an opposing consensus view ?

    It’s easy for me to chose re AGW, because even though I’m not equipped to grasp the mathematics involved, I have confidence in those who can, and having closely followed the story of CFCs and similar controversies over several decades, I know who I trust and who I don’t.

    On the other hand, I have followed zen buddhism for at least as long as Susan Blackmore, and IMHO, she has her zen back to front and upside down, so to speak. I have not read her 2001 book, so I don’t know whether my view of her buddhism would effect my estimation of her view on parapsychology. However,it wouldn’t matter how many authoritative voices denied certain ESP experiences, because they are all outweighed by my own personal experiences. It would be like people telling me I can’t run or jump or swim, when I know I can. The problem arises when science is applied, and, in a sense, the fact that ESP is so elusive, and despite all the anecdotal evidence, seems to evaporate when scrutinised just make it even more fascinating and intriguing.

    Comment by CL — 4 Aug 2008 @ 6:55 PM

  363. Incidentally, IMO, the most interesting scientific research presently re psychology and parapsychology is being done by Allan Wallace

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2381164272554857228&hl=en

    Comment by CL — 4 Aug 2008 @ 7:07 PM

  364. CL, regarding the weirdness of the quantum world. While the weirdness is undeniable, I don’t think we’re talking about sending telegrams to the past–or even spacelike telegrams to the present. It is difficult to think how you’d extract any information from an entangled system. The existence of entanglement tells us something profound about physical reality–indeed, it casts doubt on the entire proposition for some philosophers, though not for physicists. You can certainly see why Einstein found it disturbing, but as Bohr said anyone who is not disturbed by quantum theory hasn’t understood it.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Aug 2008 @ 8:41 PM

  365. Captcha wrote in 329:

    323. ‘Perhaps at some level of description (e.g. the Planck-Wheeler scale) it will be necessary to abandon it’. That is all that post 322 was pointing to.

    I am sorry if I misinterpretted your intent.

    I think part the difference in how we viewed things lay in how each of interpreted the phrase “The unity of science.” I am thinking in terms of the subject (reality) and the endeavor to understand it. You appear to have been thinking in terms of the product — the individual theories. And I will grant you that there are tensions between different theories, that some theories may have to be abandoned, others modified and so on. But the ultimate subject and the endeavor are the same. Of course different sciences are specialized in different subjects, but nevertheless, there will oftentimes be overlap, and the more we engage in the scientific endeavor, the more overlap we should expect as they are merely studying different aspects of a unified reality.

    But I would also stress that science is cummulative — particularly in terms of the correspondence principles between earlier and more advanced theories, and I would also stress the fact that one generally cannot test more advanced theories except by recourse to more basic theories. And likewise, I would stress that for a theory to be meaningful, it must be possible to relate it back to our level of awareness, e.g., in terms of human-readable instruments. And once they are related to our level, they are also related to one-another, however indirectly.

    *

    In any case, with respect to the Planck-Wheeler level, the thought is that fluctuations in vacuum energy at a scale of roughly 1.6 x 10^-35 meters and 5.43 x 10^-44 seconds should be sufficient to produce black holes which exist momentarily, prior to giving back the energy which they borrowed by means of the indeterminacy involving energy and time. If this is the case, then one should expect the geometry of space and time to take on a less definite, more probablistic nature as one approaches that level. But even as the geometry becomes less definite, no doubt we would continue to employ well-defined geometric concepts to describe it — like a wavefunction.

    And incidentally, while it had been thought that the Planck-Wheeler level might forever lie beyond the reaches of our instruments, things have changed. Tests have already been performed which eliminate some quantum gravitational theories on the basis of effects which the Planck-Wheeler level would have upon the spectra of distant quasars. The idea is that over sufficiently large cosmological distances the foamy-ness of spacetime would lead to a cummulative difference in the lengths that photons traveling nearly identical paths would take, and as such this would blur the spectra of distant objects.

    Here are a couple of articles describing the experiments before the fact:

    Gravity-wave interferometers as quantum-gravity detectors
    Giovanni Amelino-Camelia
    Nature 398, 216-218 (18 March 1999)
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v398/n6724/full/398216a0.html

    Phenomenological description of space-time foam
    April 2001
    Giovanni AMELINO-CAMELIA
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/gr-qc/0104005

    … and the results as described in a more recent article:

    Presto! Space-Time Blurriness Vanishes
    published online January 2, 2004
    http://discovermagazine.com/2004/jan/astronomy/article_view?b_start:int=1&-C=

    With current measurements we are unable to pick up the effect — and it would appear that we will need instruments at least a trillion times more sensative to the effect in order to detect it. Could it be forever beyond our reach? Perhaps. But then again we have essentially photographed the universe during its first trillionth of a second — and given this extraordinary accomplishment I am hopeful.

    *

    Here are a couple more related stories…

    Here is a story on how Lozentz invariance may break down — which higher energy photons being slowed relative to their lower energy brethern by the foamy-ness of space. But Lorentz invariance has held up so far.

    Einstein Makes Extra Dimensions Toe The Line
    ScienceDaily (Dec. 24, 2003)
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031219074416.htm

    This is one about how we are placing limits on the size of the rolled up dimensions required to account for the other forces. Once they are no longer of a negligible size, the force of gravity should vary inversely to higher power of distance than two, meaning that it will be stronger than we would otherwise predict. But so far the effect has not been seen.

    University Of Washington Physicists Find That Extra Dimensions Must Be Smaller Than 0.2 Millimeter
    ScienceDaily (Feb. 13, 2001)
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010213070804.htm

    However, if these dimensions are of a sufficient diameter, the increased strength at lower energies/mass may be sufficient to place miniature black holes within the range of the Large Hadron Collider — which will be brought online on the eleventh of this month. I have been waiting for that device to come for years — but given the shear volume of data it should take some time before they will be announcing any major discoveries.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 4 Aug 2008 @ 10:01 PM

  366. #358 SA:
    you introduced the parapsychology topic in #265 (to which I was primarily reacting), saying:

    “And, as I was reminded yesterday, parapsychology is another field of scientific inquiry that has to deal with an organized opposition of so-called “skeptics” who vociferously argue that it is not legitimate science, and have gone so far as to campaign to revoke the affiliation of the Parapsychological Association with the AAAS.”

    In context where, you have set two categories:
    A: real scientists, open-minded, doing real science, getting results
    B: close-minded

    A1: almost all climate scientists on AGW
    B1: organized anti-AGW folks

    A2: Almost all bioscientists on evolution
    B2: Discovery Institute, etc. on evolution

    A3: Parapsychologists, i.e., Parapsychological Association, which has existed for 50 years, on existence of PSI phenomena
    B3: AAAS members who don’t think PA belongs there, Randi, Martin, CSICOP, etc.

    ===
    Can you compare the strength of each case, i.e., assume A+B = 1, and assign values to A1, A2, A3?

    If you offer a high value for A3, then I’d suggest that folks in B1 would like you: Many folks in B1 claim that they are really A, and the bulk of the climate scientists are really B- the latter claim to see an effect (AGW) that doesn’t really exist, due to measurement error, wrong computer programs, or unwillingness to believe GW is entirely natural due to cosmic rays, sunspots, 1500-year cycles, etc, etc.

    Do you really mean to do that?

    Comment by John Mashey — 4 Aug 2008 @ 10:33 PM

  367. CL wrote in 362:

    There’s another facet to the ESP question. How does one weigh personal direct first hand experience against an opposing consensus view ?

    Personally, I would argue that one needs to take a quasi-Bayesian approach — at the level of the individual. And this is something which I would likewise apply in terms of the innovative thinkers who are in fact on the cutting-edge of science — and opposing the “consensus” view — because they believe they see something which others haven’t as of yet — and which they themselves haven’t had the time to communicate. The background thoughts for the ideas that they put into the foreground in their written work, perhaps. And perhaps they truly have — or perhaps they have not. But objectivity itself cannot simply collapse into some social version, otherwise this leaves no room for the individual exploration and innovation which moves us forward.

    *

    captcha fortune cookie: 1888 churches

    That year does not have a pleasant association with it for me. Not sure what churches have to do with it, though.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 4 Aug 2008 @ 10:54 PM

  368. Chuckle. Let’s not start _believing_ the web has achieved sentience and is choosing our Captchas consciously.

    Or maybe that’s how may sects Bayesians will split into (grin)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Aug 2008 @ 11:21 PM

  369. Ray Ladbury wrote in 364:

    CL, regarding the weirdness of the quantum world. While the weirdness is undeniable, I don’t think we’re talking about sending telegrams to the past–or even spacelike telegrams to the present. It is difficult to think how you’d extract any information from an entangled system. The existence of entanglement tells us something profound about physical reality–indeed, it casts doubt on the entire proposition for some philosophers, though not for physicists. You can certainly see why Einstein found it disturbing, but as Bohr said anyone who is not disturbed by quantum theory hasn’t understood it.

    The “bunch” I was with drew the line at probabilistic causation — where the probabilistic nature of the phenomena was inherent in the object. And this is of course the same bunch that took the existence of volition to be a “corollary” to an axiom.

    Thesis, antithesis, synthesis… I was always attracted by the concept of complementarity. And I would apply this in the case of causality. We had to grasp necessitated causation first, but the grasping of it would not be possible without the existence of probabilistic causation.

    As a “realist” (albeit not one who has any problem with entanglement / the Einstein Podolsky Rosen Paradox / Bell’s Theorem) I believe that the collapse of the wave function is not brought about by the act of observation — but rather the physics of observation, the amplification of a microscopic fluctuation to the macroscopic level by a macroscopic system which is itself unstable. Essentially something along the lines of Illya Prigogine’s microscopic theory of irreversible processes as expressed in “From Being to Becoming.” However, I understand that Prigogine (a contemporary and associate of John Archibald Wheeler, incidentally, who drew him away from his “participatory universe” view) never actually finished his “theory.” At this point I am skeptical that he ever could.

    However, it is clear that instability is an essential ingredient in measurement of the microscopic realm — and in consciousness itself. Likewise, dissipative structures clearly exist — as does self-organization. But the attempt to mathematically formulate a law governing the production of entropy under far from equilibrium conditions is at best problematic.

    For a critique of Prigogine, one might try:

    About some common slipups in applying Prigogine’s minimum entropy production principle to living systems
    James J. Kay
    http://www.nesh.ca/jameskay/www.jameskay.ca/musings/mep.pdf

    *

    For better or worse, entropy production principles have made their way into (perhaps overly) theoretical climatology.

    See for example:

    Maximum Entropy Production and the Earth’s Climate
    By ÉUGENIE CRÉMER, MATTHIAS CUNTZ, GRAHAM D. FARQUHAR, and GARTH W.
    PALTRIDGE
    http://www.rsbs.anu.edu.au/ResearchGroups/EBG/documents/TechnicalReport_MEP.pdf

    Maximum entropy production as a constraint on the climate system
    Supervisors: Jonathan Gregory, R´emi Tailleux, Maarten Ambaum
    http://www.met.rdg.ac.uk/phd/topics/descriptions/jg.pdf

    *

    For a critique of entropy production principles, I would recommend — for whatever my recommendation is worth:

    Classification and discussion of macroscopic entropy production principles
    Stijn Bruers
    (Submitted on 20 Apr 2006 (v1), revised 5 Sep 2006 (this version, v2), latest version 2 May 2007 (v3))
    http://arxiv.org/abs/cond-mat/0604482v2

    Personally, I tend towards a kind of minimalist metaphysics — one that consists of nothing more nor less than an analysis of the subject-object relationship for a being possessing volitional awareness — in which one begins with the object that the subject is aware of and not the subject who is aware. This gives me a certain flexibility when it comes to the discoveries of science.

    *

    One thought, though, we have discovered a form of microscopic irreversibility — an arrow to time — in subatomic particle decay. Illya Prigogine had suggested that there would be a slight violation of the law of exponential decay. This isn’t it. But it is an arrow to time.

    And now it is time for me to call it a night.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 5 Aug 2008 @ 12:22 AM

  370. Ray Ladbury, 364, and quantum weirdness. Thanks for the response.

    I’m well out of my depth, and not qualified to opine, but seems to me, we have organs which can perceive photons. We didn’t know that, until physics and biology explained the mechanism. Might be that consciousness is in some respect a quantum phenomenon, or has quantum aspects, and microtubules might suggest a plausible mechanism. If that was somewhere near the case, then one might well expect for weird ESP stuff to occur, via entanglement or whatever. It’s all vague hand waves on my part. I’ve read the several different possible interpretations available and am in no position to say which, if any, is correct. But I am personally convinced that the mind has powers which can be trained and developed which most people would regard as ‘impossible’, and just as for visual seeing, there must be some physical explanation. But science is good at this stuff. The little chinks that open up new vistas. Strange anomalies, like friction causing static electricity so a comb can pick up fragments of paper were once equally bizarre and mysterious. I’m curious. I want to know. How ? Why ? What does it mean ? I enjoy having my mind boggled. Richard Feynman’s lectures explaining quantum physics for ordinary folks are one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen, as great as a Shakespeare play :-)

    Comment by CL — 5 Aug 2008 @ 3:34 AM

  371. Timothy Chase, 367, Thanks for the suggestion. There’s something deeply poignant, the moment when a human being knows that he or she knows something new, something nobody else knows or has ever known. And then comes the hard struggle of trying to explain it to others. ‘After nirvana, washing the dishes’.

    Comment by CL — 5 Aug 2008 @ 3:50 AM

  372. Like most readers here, I’m highly skeptical of claims about paranormal phenomena. But I suspect I also share this with most readers: I have only a passing familiarity with the available research. My personal opinion is that it’s bunk — but I haven’t got the data or knowledge of the literature to back that up.

    One thing I’m sure of: it’s off topic for this blog. I’ll bet those who wish to debate the subject can find a blog for which it’s relevant.

    Comment by tamino — 5 Aug 2008 @ 6:10 AM

  373. John Mathon posts:

    The anti-nuclear power folks told us that nuclear power was dangerous and yet its proven to be the safest form of energy ever invented.

    Tell it to the Ukrainians.

    A recent satellite survey showed that life on the planet earth has increased 20% in the last 40 years.

    WHAT “satellite survey?” Cite a source. And up 20% measured how? Not in biomass, that’s for sure. It sounds awfully like you just made this up.

    The death rate from natural disasters has fallen 99+% in the last 100 years.

    Cite a source. I don’t believe you.

    The world isn’t dying and the temperatures aren’t soaring out of control, they are actually declining for the last 10 years!

    You never took a statistics course, did you?

    Tim Ball’s errors

    Tilo Reber’s errors

    CO2 is a plant nutrient and everything we look at says that the increasing CO2 in the atmosphere has been a net positive for life on the planet earth.

    Cite a source. I don’t believe you.

    People told us preventing global warming would save lives but the very first thing we do to stop global warming puts 1 BILLION people’s lives at risk for starvation and plunges millions of people into poverty!

    Cite a source.

    I am perfectly happy to accept AGW or any warming if it is proved.

    Science doesn’t deal in proof. Mathematics or formal logic does. Science deals in empirical evidence.

    Temperatures are spiking downward on the land, in the ocean, in the troposphere.

    No, they are not.

    the destruction of ozone which seems to be related to the destruction of methane and other GHGs.

    No, it isn’t. You don’t know what you’re talking about. At best, you have increased CFCs confused with decreased GHGs (and none of them are decreased in real life).

    1) lack of warming in the antarctic
    50 years of lack of heating even though every model predicts the poles will heat equally.

    The models don’t predict any such thing. Who told you they did?

    I know a lot about models and you don’t want to defend these models. It would be astonishing if these models didn’t have hundreds of wrong assumptions, wrong physics, missing or incomplete descriptions and even bad coding. Admit it, it would be astounding if the models worked. They don’t.

    You obviously don’t know anything about climate models, or you wouldn’t post such ignorant falsehoods. The GCMs correctly predicted the magnitude of global warming, the cooling of the stratosphere, polar amplification, decreased diurnal temperature variation, increased droughts in continental interiors (ask the Australians), and the duration and magnitude of the cooling from the eruption of Mount Pinatubo.

    If you could prove the sensitivity such a paper would be produced and delivered to the APS.

    Been reading Monckton?

    Papers in climatology are normally published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, Geophysical Research Letters, Atmospheric Science, or if of enough interdisciplinary interest, Science or Nature. The newsletter Monckton published in isn’t even peer-reviewed.

    The rest of the repetitive arguments snipped for brevity.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Aug 2008 @ 6:32 AM

  374. SecularAnimist writes:

    Now, if you count yourself as a “skeptic” of psi research, ask yourself to what extent your views are based on a a priori hostility to the very idea of psychic phenomena

    I’ve already told you I believe in psi, yet you continue to post the same ad hominem argument. Insulting the people who disagree with you does nothing to prove your case. Want to convince me there’s objective evidence for psi? Show me a double-blind study in a peer-reviewed journal — and not a parapsychology journal. And by “double blind” I am implying adequate controls, not the sort of controls that let the experiment produce positive results when the experimenters are believers but negative or inconsistent results when they aren’t.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Aug 2008 @ 6:40 AM

  375. Secular Animist,
    I am rather an agnostic on matters of the paranormal. However, I would be more receptive to it if someone could posit a credible mechanism that did not violate the known laws of physics. Telekenesis has some pretty serious problems with energy conservation. Precognition is a little difficult to rationalize in a Universe where time (and information) flows in only one direction. Telepathy seems the most plausible, but again, since many practitioners suggest the effect doesn’t decrease with distance, energy conservation again becomes an issue. I am not being flippant or dismissive. I have trouble being receptive to paranormal studies for the same reason I tend to beleive climate science–that position is consistent with both the physics and the evidence.
    Now if you posit a cause outside the physical realm, well and good. But somehow that cause must interact with the physical realm, and that too, causes difficulties. It seems to preclude scientific study. I mean no offense. This is just my thinking on the matter.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Aug 2008 @ 7:38 AM

  376. John Mashey #366:

    Do you really mean to do that?

    Argument from consequences (“Do you really want to be an atheist, knowing that it undermines morality?”). There is a fancy Latin name for this fallacy…

    I have no problem granting that A3 < A1 ~ A2. My problem is that even A1 >> what in any other science would already have been considered highly convincing evidence (as prof Eysenck put it “[t]o the hilt” already in the 1960′s). I don’t think that the folks in B3 are nearly as intellectually or actually dishonest as the leadership in B1 and B2. Just a blind spot, mostly. And yes, that even happens to scientists :-)

    As to the argument that psi “doesn’t fit in”, yes, it seems that way, doesn’t it. Doesn’t that tickle your curiosity? Occam was never meant to exclude fields of investigation, and this one is very small already.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 5 Aug 2008 @ 7:49 AM

  377. BPL FYI re:373

    The death rate from ‘natural’ disasters has fallen 99+% in the last 100 years

    This data from the EMDAT database would seem to contradict John’s statement somewhat (notwithstanding the complex issues regarding the recording of such fatalities). Particularly as the noughties have got a couple of years to run. Whilst I agree, fatalities have certainly reduced in recent decades, the suggestion that they have fallen 99+% is clearly a misrepresentation of the Global record

    Sorry I can’t do a table but the following series represents the recorded deaths attributed to natural disasters for the period 1900 – 2008, by decade (e.g. 1900-1910, 1911-1920 …) and as a percentage of all recorded deaths (i.e. 28,516,773)

    16.29; 22.38; 19.39; 4.06; 13.52; 7.57; 7.36; 2.18; 2.89; 1.71; 2.64

    http://www.emdat.be/Database/AdvanceSearch/advsearch.php

    Comment by Hugh — 5 Aug 2008 @ 8:27 AM

  378. Rod B:
    I’d call it a variation on groupthink, rather than religiosity, but at some level we’re probably talking about the same thing. High-consensus groups are extremely susceptible to groupthink, in-group and out-group bias effects, dogmatism, etc. Which is something we would all do well to bear in mind.

    Comment by kevin — 5 Aug 2008 @ 8:50 AM

  379. Even if it was true that the death rate had diminished, etc, it’s fairly easily restored

    http://www.newstatesman.com/books/2008/07/nuclear-weapons-atomic-war

    Comment by CL — 5 Aug 2008 @ 8:57 AM

  380. Jim (361), yes, losing entire ecosystems would be a problem.

    Comment by Rod B — 5 Aug 2008 @ 9:20 AM

  381. Rod, 9:20 AM
    > losing entire ecosystems would be a problem

    Is.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=%22losing+entire+ecosystems%22

    Confronting a biome crisis: global disparities of habitat loss and protection
    Ecology Letters
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118669233/abstract
    VL: 8, NO: 1, PG: 23-29, YR: 2005
    US: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2004.00686.x

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Aug 2008 @ 9:45 AM

  382. To Barton Paul Levenson:

    First of all, I am not arguing here for the existence of so-called “psychic” or psi phenomena. I am trying to make a point about skepticism vs. pseudo-skepticism.

    I reference parapsychology for several reasons, among them: (1) I have studied it for some time and know quite a bit about it; (2) I also am quite familiar with the varieties of “skepticism” towards parapsychology, ranging from what I would call genuine open-minded skepticism (which I have acknowledged might lead someone who actually studies the subject to either agree or disagree that the occurrence of psi phenomena has been scientifically established), to what I would call close-minded pseudo-skepticism, including organized groups who are hostile to and actively seek to discourage and discredit research in the field); (3) I see some parallels between the varieties of “skepticism” that address parapsychology and those that address global warming research; and (4) I find those parallels particularly illuminating precisely because the actual subject matter and the state of scientific knowledge of parapsychology and climate science are so different (though there are occasional parallels such as the challenges of distinguishing signal from noise in results).

    I have not engaged in any “ad hominem“. In the sentence you quote, I asked readers to “ask yourself to what extent your views are based on an a priori hostility to the very idea of psychic phenomena”. I asked that question because I think it is valuable to recognize that the faults we find in others — such as the a priori hostility to the conclusions of climate science that seems to drive so many “AGW skeptics” — can reside in ourselves as well.

    You have evidently already asked yourself that question, and answered that your views are not based on any such hostility. Fine. I believe you. I think that’s entirely legitimate. As I have now said repeatedly, I agree that genuinely open-minded skeptics might very well examine the state of psi research today and come to differing conclusions about what it has and has not established.

    On the other hand, based on my own knowledge of the field, I think that what seems to me to be your harshly negative view of parapsychology and parapsychologists is unfair and unfounded. Even Ray Hyman, who is a founding member of CSICOP, and in my view not skeptical but antagonistic to the field, has stated that the practicing parapsychologists whose facilities he visited and whose work he evaluated (in the course of a study commissioned by the US Army) were serious scientists conducting their research with integrity, according to the best standards of science, even as he concluded that they had not proved that such phenomena exist.

    BPL wrote: “Show me a double-blind study in a peer-reviewed journal — and not a parapsychology journal.”

    That seems an odd request. Would you require that climate scientists publish their results in the peer-reviewed journals of some other unrelated field, before you would consider their work credible? It is certainly true that parapsychologists have encountered disinterest and even hostility towards publishing their work in scientific journals outside the field. As the New York Times reported on the occasion of the closing of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) Lab, which for nearly 30 years studied mind-matter interactions and remote perception (as described in the book The Margins Of Reality):

    Prominent research journals declined to accept papers from PEAR. One editor famously told Dr. Jahn that he would consider a paper “if you can telepathically communicate it to me.”

    Brenda Dunne, a developmental psychologist, has managed the laboratory since it opened and has been a co-author of many of its study papers. “We submitted our data for review to very good journals,” Ms. Dunne said, “but no one would review it. We have been very open with our data. But how do you get peer review when you don’t have peers?”

    Several expert panels examined PEAR’s methods over the years, looking for irregularities, but did not find sufficient reasons to interrupt the work. In the 1980s and 1990s, PEAR published more than 60 research reports, most appearing in the journal of the Society for Scientific Exploration, a group devoted to the study of topics outside the scientific mainstream.

    I appreciate that the moderators have indulged this discussion and I want to again emphasize that I am not trying to engage in an off-topic discussion of parapsychology, but rather to reference parapsychology in order to make a point about the varieties of “skepticism”. But at this point I think I have either made that point, or failed to make it — that’s up to other readers to decide — and I will not test the patience of the moderators with any further comments on the subject.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 5 Aug 2008 @ 9:58 AM

  383. #377… More:

    Because then I thought “Oh he just means natural disaster deaths have reduced by 99+% in just the US and Canada”

    Nope!

    Same thing, decade to decade deaths (1900 – 2008) as a percentage of total N. American deaths (92,915)

    10.04; 57.12; 3.51; 4.25; 1.86; 3.53; 3.86; 4.25; 3.53; 3.93; 4.13

    PS. I assume I’m correct in attributing the incredibly high 1920 total to Spanish Flu (EMDAT classes a total 50,000 loss in that period as being ‘Epidemic’ related

    Comment by Hugh — 5 Aug 2008 @ 10:00 AM

  384. Nice work, Hugh! Thank you.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Aug 2008 @ 10:25 AM

  385. Ray Ladbury wrote: “I am rather an agnostic on matters of the paranormal. However, I would be more receptive to it if someone could posit a credible mechanism that did not violate the known laws of physics.”

    I would be more than happy to share my own thoughts on that matter, but it would be way, way off-topic and I fear I have strained the hospitality of the moderators already. Perhaps some other time, in some other forum. Suffice it to say that I regard the term “nature” to be synonymous with “all that is”, and therefore all phenomena are natural phenomena, and are accessible to study and understanding through the methods of natural science. In my view the term “supernatural” has no referent; if something exists, then it is part of nature. If pyschokinesis, precognition, remote perception and even something resembling reincarnation do in fact occur then they are natural phenomena, and they can be studied and understood by science. That’s the entire premise of parapsychology. Whether such phenomena can be understood in the context of current scientific knowledge, or whether they represent aspects of nature that are beyond our current knowledge and understanding, is in my view an open question. I would commend to your attention Dean Radin’s book Entangled Minds if you are interested in pursuing this subject further.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 5 Aug 2008 @ 10:51 AM

  386. Rod B, kevin:

    It’s not really about groupthink. I’ve just re-read Rod B’s early comments, and his intent, in hindsight is fairly clear. But he kept using the wrong terms. And his attempts at clarification also included the wrong terms (or rather, terms used incorrectly in a technical sense).

    He was corrected, by tamino amongst others, and even accepted that correction. But then went on to say things like:

    “Monckton also talks of downward trend since 1998. That too is accurate. [...] You guys keep answering, in essence, ‘..but he’s a dork’, or ‘it’s meaningless’, or ‘it’s statistically insignificant or misleading’. I knows dat; wasn’t what I was asking.”

    AFTER his use of trend was corrected, he went on to use it the wrong way. Saying “I knows dat; wasn’t what I was asking” doesn’t help, because, like it or not, what he MEANT isn’t what he SAID. It’s an unfortunate situation, but you can’t fault people for responding to what was said, when the same error was repeated several times in followup comments.

    Comment by Owen Phelps — 5 Aug 2008 @ 11:16 AM

  387. Ray #375: yes, those are important constraints on what makes psi ‘tick’.

    …and you forgot the most important one: if there are folks out there who can influence or foresee the turn of the roul-ette wheel or the roll of the die, how come ca-sin-os the world over are all in all pretty sound business operations?

    :-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 5 Aug 2008 @ 11:17 AM

  388. Reduction of deaths due to natural disasters.

    If true this is completely unsurprising.

    Just 2 examples.

    1) Canvey Island Floods UK 1953.
    e.g. http://canveyisland.org.uk/06-floods/5-clippings/intro_clippings.htm
    The death toll was higher than any comparable recent UK flood event (like 2007) due to lack of warning – the storm surge had gone down the whole east coast in the hours preceding but there was no organised system to pass warnings on. Furthermore as seen in last year’s UK floods the military and civil authorities were able to bring to bear a comprehensive command and control system backed up by assets such as helicopters, even inshore rescue teams from RNLI were bought in to assist.

    As an aside; this event lead to the formation of RAYNET, British Radio Ham organisation dedicated to assisting in emergencies. http://www.norfolkraynet.org.uk/page5a.html

    2) The Boxing Day Asian Tsunami,
    As an example of an overwhelming catastrophe affecting “undeveloped” societies (i.e. not high tech and well resourced like the UK). Unlike the smaller catastrophe of Krakatoa, massive international aid was rapidly bought to bear, saving many lives that may otherwise have been lost in the aftermath. As a result of the media many more people now know not to stand and gawp if the sea rapidly recedes (if you didn’t know; you should run for high ground – assuming there is high ground if you ever see such a thing, you’re now in a position to contribute to the reduction in casualties). Furthermore the Pacific Tsunami warning system model is being rolled out in the Indian Ocean, which should further reduce casualties if the same thing happens again.

    I don’t want to open old wounds or start a pointless spat, but I consider this a crucial point: The American presence in the Asian Tsunami effort and aftermath was/is commendable, and typical of the US. That is interesting to note in view of New Orleans – capability is a pre-requisite, but organisation is critical. Both AGW and Peak Oil have the capability to damage our capability.

    None of this should be construed as support in any way for John Mathon’s post #325 which I personally consider facile.

    Cobbly Out.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 5 Aug 2008 @ 2:06 PM

  389. Re John Mathon, just google his name+global warming or climate change.

    ‘Nough said.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 5 Aug 2008 @ 3:32 PM

  390. Can there be any better journal to learn about psi powers than the Journal of Scientific Exploration, an all around source for denialists and denial. As they themselves say

    “While one organization may cover parapsychology, another consciousness, a third exotic energy sources, and a fourth UFO inquires, the SSE cover the gamut…”

    They also do climate change denial. The best is the attempt to measure the weight of sheep’s souls (see comments)To quote William the Sane

    “This guy weighed sheep while he was suffocating them with a plastic bag. He concluded…there’s no way to tell what he concluded.”

    which kind of reminds Eli of the paper under discussion and some other recent chaff

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 5 Aug 2008 @ 4:15 PM

  391. #373 BPL

    Ahhh…Indur Golanky is the source of the 95-99% figure

    http://www.csccc.info/reports/report_23.pdf

    Well, I guess that serves me right for dashing off a quick response. When I started playing with the ‘Natural Disaster Deaths’ (which JM incorrectly guided us toward, as he really meant ‘Extreme Weather Deaths’), and adjusted them against global population by decade, a very nice negative ‘trend’ jumped out at me. I think I can see what Golanky means, but I’m not statistically proficient enough to identify any howlers.

    As you say Cobbly, Forecast, Warning and Response Systems are infinitely better than they were even a few years ago and, thank goodness, hazard education programmes such as ‘UNISDR Disaster Reduction Begins at School’ are having a real effect

    http://www.preventionweb.net/english/professional/publications/v.php?id=761

    What I would say, however, is that I really wouldn’t crow around claiming how brilliant a 99% reduction in deaths is when, according to Emdat, in the period 2000-2008 721,167 people still lost their lives to weather events. There’s a great deal of ‘adaptation’ to do yet

    Comment by Hugh — 5 Aug 2008 @ 5:18 PM

  392. 388: Both AGW and Peak Oil have the capability to damage our capability.

    The earths temperature has been rising since at least 1725 or so. During that time the extra heat has been beneficial. It is neccessary for you to prove that we;ve hit the optimal temperature and further increases are damaging.

    It is also neccessary for you to show that the continuing amazing improvements in human responses to natural disasters would in any way be harmed by the things you mentioned.

    [edit - either discuss calmly or don't bother]

    Comment by John Mathon — 5 Aug 2008 @ 7:33 PM

  393. Eli Rabett wrote in 390:

    Journal of Scientific Exploration … They also do climate change denial. The best is the attempt to measure the weight of sheep’s souls (see comments)To quote William the Sane

    “This guy weighed sheep while he was suffocating them with a plastic bag. He concluded…there’s no way to tell what he concluded.”

    I thought I remembered you writing about how global warming “skeptics” were having articles published in that journal, but I wasn’t sure that I had remembered the title correctly. Thank you for the confirmation. Maybe my mind isn’t going quite yet. Not so sure about that sheep fellow though…

    *

    Captcha fortune cookie: 10,301,000 opium

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 5 Aug 2008 @ 9:11 PM

  394. re: #68, #223 back to Monckton and APS

    So far, in APS, besides Gerald Marsh and Larry Gould helping Monckton, we find:
    APS Fellow Roger W. Cohen in a blog that features folks like Dennis Avery, Steve Milloy.

    Anybody know Dr. Cohen?

    Comment by John Mashey — 5 Aug 2008 @ 11:59 PM

  395. Eli Rabett wrote: “… the Journal of Scientific Exploration, an all around source for denialists and denial.”

    I subscribed to the Journal of Scientific Exploration, which is published by the Society for Scientific Exploration, for years. As you note, it publishes a range of articles on various subjects outside the mainstream of scientific inquiry. The articles by Robert Jahn and Brenda Dunne of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) Lab were of consistently high quality. The quality of other articles varied. In addition to reviewed scientific articles JSE also publishes essays, book reviews, etc.

    However, I recently canceled my subscription in response to the JSE’s publication of a series of (not peer-reviewed) book reviews and articles about the so-called “global warming controversy” that were, to put it bluntly, nothing but rote regurgitation of the most pathetic, long-discredited climate change denialist pseudo-science and ideologically-driven right-wing baloney.

    I exchanged a series of emails with the JSE’s editor in which I complained about this development and the serious lapse of judgement it represented. I expressed my disappointment that JSE was apparently being co-opted into becoming an outlet for fossil-fuel industry propaganda, and documented in detail the fossil fuel industry funding of some of the sources (e.g. Fred Singer and various other right-wing “think tank” types) that the JSE’s articles relied upon. Ultimately he insisted that there was indeed a “controversy” about the reality of anthropogenic global warming at which point I felt it necessary to cancel my subscription in protest, much as I regret losing access to articles on subjects such as psi research that can be found in few other sources.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 6 Aug 2008 @ 10:22 AM

  396. John Mathon, it seems odd that you’d choose to respond to Cobbly tangentially, when there are so many questions to you upthread. Are you conceding that your post has been thoroughly refuted?

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 6 Aug 2008 @ 11:19 AM

  397. The earths temperature has been rising since at least 1725 or so. During that time the extra heat has been beneficial. It is neccessary for you to prove that we;ve hit the optimal temperature and further increases are damaging.

    Well, no, first you have to demonstrate that your hand-waving claim that warming from 1725 until August, 2008 has been beneficial is correct. Bald assertion is insufficient.

    Comment by dhogaza — 6 Aug 2008 @ 11:23 AM

  398. Well, note what Dr. Cohen says:

    I retired four years ago, and at the time of my retirement I was well convinced, as were most technically trained people, that the IPCC’s case for Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is very tight. However, upon taking the time to get into the details of the science, I was appalled at how flimsy the case really is.

    See the classic science denialist pattern?

    “I used to believe in (modern biology, HIV/AIDS causation, global warming …) until I studed the science and found out the evidence disproves …”

    Invariably it’s a lie…

    Comment by dhogaza — 6 Aug 2008 @ 11:28 AM

  399. Found this:
    “Dr. Roger Cohen, Ph.D. is the former Director of Strategic Planning and Programs and of Physical Sciences for ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co., the worldwide research arm of ExxonMobil. Dr. Cohen, a physicist by training, is an expert in basic and alternative energy processes including fuel cells and solar applications and catalysis. Dr. Cohen has long been involved in nanotechnology and its applications as part of ExxonMobil research. He brings this experience and knowledge to NanoClarity. Dr. Cohen is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the holder of 4 fundamental patents and has published over 40 technical and strategic papers. He holds a B.S. from MIT, and both an MS and Ph.D. from Rutgers, all in physics.”

    Retired in 2003. Issued a $5000 bet that 2017 would be cooler than 2007.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Aug 2008 @ 12:10 PM

  400. >Jim Galasyn Says: John Mathon, it seems odd that you’d choose to respond to Cobbly tangentially, when there are so many questions to you upthread. Are you conceding that your post has been thoroughly refuted?

    I posted 2 replies which don’t seem to have been released. Although I didn’t respond precisely to Gavins comments I will do some of the research that he suggested on models. All I had before were the public comments in the IPCC AR4 and 2001 reports to read and the published scientific papers on their failures.

    I maintain that it is not neccessary for me to prove that AGW is false. That is manifest in the data that is coming out. In order to prove the theory of high sensitivity to CO2 it is neccessary for Gavin or someone to produce a paper deliver it to the APS and show how one can show without doubt that we will get 2-4C / doubling of CO2. I believe there is a “theory” that this could happen but currently this “theory” is just a theory and is not proved. I therefore consider it unscientific and demeaning for Gavin or other pseudo-political-scientific people to claim that high sensitivity is “proved.” It clearly is not.

    While Gavin and others may argue the data doesn’t preclude the theory from being correct YET it certainly doesn’t validate the theory. The current haitus in temperature requires explanation not from me but from the AGW high sensitivity enthusiasts such as Gavin who need to explain how it is remotely possible to get 0.32 or 0.4 or whatever continuous decade after decade heating of the atmosphere when it is apparent that all heat in the system accumulated over the last 30 years is slipping away as fast as it is. In particular I would like to know how he’s going to get the oceans warming again since apparently pouring an unbeliavably large amount of CO2 into the atmosphere over the last 10 years has led to no heating of the ocean, troposphere or land.

    I grant part of Gavins point on the models not being “fitted” in the traditional sense that the physics were designed from the scratch to represent the data but I am quite sure that these models were not created in a vaccuum and they were tested against past data over and over again, parameters were adjusted and the physics modified to some extent based on how well they worked against the real world data from the last 100 years or so. Even if the process was as simple as rejecting models that didn’t fit the historical record this would invalidate using past data as a “verification” of the theory. This is part of the neccessary process of scientific refinement. I’m not criticisizing the need to fit the data. That is a pre-requisite that the models at least work against the past data. What I’m saying is that you cannot then use that past data to prove your models. Even if the models were only tangentially or slightly modified based on the data or if the parameters were adjusted to fit the past data it is a corruption of the scientific process to suggest that you can go back and use that data to back up your models.

    Therefore the only thing that really would “prove” the models would be for new data, data that has never before been seen by the models to match. 2 scientific publications have released documents that have subjected the models to extensive testing against current data as well as e more specific past data and found them to be flawed in everyway. Obviously as I stated the models are failing to account for a large number of currently observed phenomenon such as the ARGO buoy data which seem like quite irrefutable data. We have a 50 year failure of the models to account for temperatures in the antarctic.

    I’m not a model designer although it is tempting to join such a group and try to figure out what looks to be an endlessly interesting problem but it is up to them to fix these things and refine them. I do envy them in that it is quite an intellectual challenge but I don’t envy them in that I find it hard to believe we understand enough to actually build models which would be reliable. Maybe in 20 or 30 years we will be better at this.

    I think the principle weakness at this point in the high sensitiivty thesis is that H2O in the atmosphere is not experiencing the kind of feedback put into all the models. It appears that somehow H2O is “raining out” of the sky faster than is expected. Either there are things making this happen or there is simply no connection between clouds/rain and temperature in the way envisioned. I think the feedback authors are working on this but in any case they are likely to reduce dramatically this important feedback and that will drastically reduce the total temperature sensitivity to CO2.

    I think it is deceptive of the scientists who proclaim that the science is “proven” when actually very little is proved. It is deceptive that scientists don’t tell people that feedbacks which are 2/3 of the expected heating by 2100 are not proved and in quite a lot of trouble. If the sensitivity falls below 2-4 C it is important because of course then it becomes politically irrelevant.

    Comment by John Mathon — 6 Aug 2008 @ 12:49 PM

  401. Could you provide cites for any of those claims?
    I can probably cite sources to the contrary, but I’d really like to know where you’re getting your beliefs.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Aug 2008 @ 1:07 PM

  402. Oh, for the record, award Mr. Mathon:

    10 points for arguing that a current well-established theory is “only a theory”, as if this were somehow a point against it.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Aug 2008 @ 1:27 PM

  403. John Mathon wrote: “I maintain that it is not neccessary for me to prove that AGW is false. That is manifest in the data that is coming out.”

    That is simply false, no matter how many times you repeat it. There is no such “data that is coming out”. When you say it is “not necessary for me to prove that AGW is false” what you really mean is that you can’t prove it, and you know you can’t prove it, so you are not even going to try. That’s why you have not responded to numerous requests from other commenters to cite your sources. With all due respect you are insulting everyone’s intelligence with this nonsense.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 6 Aug 2008 @ 1:37 PM

  404. I maintain that it is not neccessary for me to prove that AGW is false. That is manifest in the data that is coming out.

    Uh, Mr. Mathon does not appear to live on planet earth, and it’s probably not worth bothering to answer him in detail.

    Comment by dhogaza — 6 Aug 2008 @ 1:46 PM

  405. John Mathon, It is apparent that you have a lot of misunderstandings not only of the physics, but of how it is done. Rather than argue against straw men of your own devising, perhaps it would profit you more to spend a little time perusing through past posts and learning a bit about climate science as it really is–not as you imagine it. See, here’s the funny thing about feedbacks–they’re the same regardless of the warming mechanism. This makes it really, really hard to reproduce the sensitivities we see in paleoclimate, in responses to volcanic eruptions, etc. if the feedbacks are too feeble. It’s even hard to explain why we wouldn’t have a snowball Earth if you claim the feedbacks are too low.
    Climate models are dynamical models–the parameters are fixed to the greatest degree possible with independent data, and then the model is validated with additional independent data. Because the climate is noisy, the climate signal emerges better as the time series get longer. You are obviously not an idiot. Why not at least learn what you are arguing against so that you don’t appear to be one.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Aug 2008 @ 1:53 PM

  406. Re #394 and #399:

    This the bio note on an editorial in the Durango Herald:

    “Roger W. Cohen holds a Ph.D. in physics and is the former manager of strategic planning and programs for ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co. He retired in 2003 and lives in Durango with his wife, Lorraine.”

    The editorial (not recommended but will give you a pretty good idea of Dr. Cohen’s point of view)

    http://www.durangoherald.com/asp-bin/article_generation.asp?article_type=opin&article_path=/opinion/opin061119_3.htm

    Comment by Paul Middents — 6 Aug 2008 @ 2:01 PM

  407. Re: #400

    John: I maintain that it is not neccessary for me to prove that AGW is false. That is manifest in the data that is coming out.

    Me: I maintain that it IS necessary for you to prove AGW is false. This is manifest both in your lack of data and in the vast amount of correct data coming out of climate models.

    John: I believe there is a “theory” that this could happen but currently this “theory” is just a theory and is not proved.

    Me: There is a “theory” that I am mortal but currently this “theory” is just a theory and is not proved.

    John: The current haitus in temperature requires explanation not from me but from the AGW high sensitivity enthusiasts such as Gavin who need to explain how it is remotely possible to get 0.32 or 0.4 or whatever continuous decade after decade heating of the atmosphere when it is apparent that all heat in the system accumulated over the last 30 years is slipping away as fast as it is.

    Me: The current haitus is not yet statistically proven and so requires no explanation. Whereas you need to explain where all the heat the system has accumulated over the last 30 years has slipped off to.

    John: What I’m saying is that you cannot then use that past data to prove your models.

    Me: And I fail to see where it is maintained that using past data proves the models. What is used is past data from one point and continuing along to see if the model exhibits the same sort of emergent effect as it really does. And then some years later, the forecasts are compared to new data that was never used to prove the models.

    John: Therefore the only thing that really would “prove” the models would be for new data, data that has never before been seen by the models to match.

    Me: Which would be the last fifteen years record when compared with the fifteen year old models results on forcasting the future of that fifteen-year-old model run. This does not seem to have proven it for you, however, so this statement is evidently wrong.

    John: I think the principle weakness at this point in the high sensitiivty thesis is that H2O in the atmosphere is not experiencing the kind of feedback put into all the models.

    Me: I refer the right horrible gentleman to his previous words: “I’m not a model designer”.

    John: think it is deceptive of the scientists who proclaim that the science is “proven” when actually very little is proved

    Me: see my response two and three earlier.

    Comment by Mark — 6 Aug 2008 @ 2:02 PM

  408. Okay, John Mathon, I’ll admit that I was hoping you’d answer my question to you: Do you still maintain that there is no biodiversity crisis? Do you still assert, against all the evidence, that we are not in the midst of a human-caused mass extinction?

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 6 Aug 2008 @ 4:09 PM

  409. #392, John Mathon,

    The damage to capability lies not in the destination and the equilibrium human accomodation to that destination state, e.g. the global pattern of climate implied by a global average temperature 3degC greater than present.

    It lies in the environmental changes and the human response (strategic, economic, humanitarian) to those changes, as we proceed to that climate state.

    I suggest it is best to rephrase your question:

    Is it reasonable to suggest that Climate Change will not impact our capability?

    I consider that the answer to that is a robust “No”.

    If you disagree with that answer then I am sorry but I do not think you are thinking clearly. To spare my time I refer you to the 2007 report from “Center for Strategic and International Studies”: “The Age of Consequences.” And the words of Air Chief Marshall Sir Jock Stirrup, Chief of the Defence Staff, at a 2007 conference hosted by The Royal Institute of International Affairs about Climate Change in the current strategic context who said (with regard Climate Change): “It seems to me rather like pouring petrol onto a burning fire.”

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 6 Aug 2008 @ 5:18 PM

  410. In re: 400

    I maintain that it is not neccessary for me to prove that AGW is false. That is manifest in the data that is coming out. In order to prove the theory of high sensitivity to CO2 it is neccessary for Gavin or someone to produce a paper deliver it to the APS and show how one can show without doubt that we will get 2-4C / doubling of CO2. I believe there is a “theory” that this could happen but currently this “theory” is just a theory and is not proved. I therefore consider it unscientific and demeaning for Gavin or other pseudo-political-scientific people to claim that high sensitivity is “proved.” It clearly is not.

    Yes, and in science “theory” is pretty close to meaning “fact”. It might not mean that in the lay universe, but in the scientific universe a “theory” is actually, well, it’s a fact.

    Here some stuff from Wikipedia on what a scientific theory is –

    In science a theory is a testable model of the manner of interaction of a set of natural phenomena, capable of predicting future occurrences or observations of the same kind, and capable of being tested through experiment or otherwise verified through empirical observation. For the scientist, “theory” is not in any way an antonym of “fact”. For example, it is a fact that an apple dropped on earth has been observed to fall towards the center of the planet, and the theories commonly used to describe and explain this behavior are Newton’s theory of universal gravitation (see also gravitation), and the general theory of relativity.

    So, being a “theory” isn’t a bad thing — it puts it in the same category as Gravity and General Relativity. And Evolution, but I have a hunch you don’t believe in Evolution either.

    (reCaptch sez: mis BOOMER. Uh, talkin’ bout my age ain’t funny.)

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 6 Aug 2008 @ 6:58 PM

  411. Consider the real gold standard in the scientific world is not publication, but replication. There are some two dozen GCMs in the world that all confirm that the anthropogenic greenhouse gases are heating the world, and that current warming cannot be explained without AGW.

    You are kidding me right? Simulations that agree with each other as scientific replication? Suppose you have the IV&V documents handy.

    [Response: If independent groups with independent methodologies with models that range from the 1-layer energy balance, to line-by-line radiative transfer to full blown GCMs all agree on something, then yes, that counts as scientific replication. There is zero chance that this result is not a consequence of the physics being built into the models, therefore all the IV&V documents in the world aren't going to make the blindest bit of difference except for those people who want to delay recognition of the situation. - gavin]

    Comment by Jaye — 6 Aug 2008 @ 10:00 PM

  412. The following article which indicates an important change here in the UK is from http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/aug/06/climatechange.scienceofclimatechange

    Climate change: Prepare for global temperature rise of 4C, warns top scientist. Defra’s chief adviser says we need strategy to adapt to potential catastrophic increase.

    The UK should take active steps to prepare for dangerous climate change of perhaps 4C according to one of the government’s chief scientific advisers.

    In policy areas such as flood protection, agriculture and coastal erosion Professor Bob Watson said the country should plan for the effects of a 4C global average rise on pre-industrial levels. The EU is committed to limiting emissions globally so that temperatures do not rise more than 2C.

    “There is no doubt that we should aim to limit changes in the global mean surface temperature to 2C above pre-industrial,” Watson, the chief scientific adviser to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, told the Guardian. “But given this is an ambitious target, and we don’t know in detail how to limit greenhouse gas emissions to realise a 2 degree target, we should be prepared to adapt to 4C.”
    Globally, a 4C temperature rise would have a catastrophic impact.

    According to the government’s 2006 Stern review on the economics of climate change, between 7 million and 300 million more people would be affected by coastal flooding each year, there would be a 30-50% reduction in water availability in Southern Africa and the Mediterranean, agricultural yields would decline 15 to 35% in Africa and 20 to 50% of animal and plant species would face extinction.

    In the UK, the most significant impact would be rising sea levels and inland flooding. Climate modellers also predict there would be an increase in heavy rainfall events in winter and drier summers.

    Watson’s plea to prepare for the worst was backed up by the government’s former chief scientific adviser, Sir David King. He said that even with a comprehensive global deal to keep carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere at below 450 parts per million there is a 50% probability that temperatures would exceed 2C and a 20% probability they would exceed 3.5C.

    “So even if we get the best possible global agreement to reduce greenhouse gasses on any rational basis you should be preparing for a 20% risk so I think Bob Watson is quite right to put up the figure of 4 degrees,” he said.

    One big unknown is the stage at which dangerous tipping points would be reached that lead to further warming – for example the release of methane hydrate deposits in the Arctic. “My own feeling is that if we get to a 4 degree rise it is quite possible that we would begin to see a runaway increase,” said King.

    He said a two-and-half-year analysis by the government’s Foresight programme on the implications for coastal defences had more impact in the corridors of power than any other research on the effects of climate change that he presented.

    “No other single factor focussed the minds of the cabinet more than the analysis that I produced through that … We begin to have to talk about ordered retreat from some areas of Britain because it becomes impossible to defend,” he said. “There’s no choice here between adaptation and mitigation, we have to do both.”

    Other experts were concerned that Watson’s comments might be seen as defeatist and an admission that emissions reductions were impossible to achieve.

    “At 4 degrees we are basically into a different climate regime,” said Prof Neil Adger, an expert on adaptation to climate change at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in Norwich.

    “I think that is a dangerous mindset to be in. Thinking through the implications of 4 degrees of warming shows that the impacts are so significant that the only real adaptation strategy is to avoid that at all cost because of the pain and suffering that is going to cost.

    “There is no science on how we are going to adapt to 4 degrees warming. It is actually pretty alarming,” he added.

    Speaking to the Guardian, Watson, who is a former science adviser to President Clinton and ex-chief scientist at the World Bank, said the UK should take a lead in research on carbon capture and storage (CCS).

    Alluding to the US effort in the 1960s to put a man on the moon he advocated an “Apollo-type programme” to introduce 10 to 20 CCS pilot projects – which work by burying carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels underground – among OECD countries to develop the technology.

    “This would allow coal-fired power plants that are currently being built to be modular and capable of having carbon capture retrofitted, and would show the world that we take the issue of climate change seriously, thus demonstrating real leadership. Without this technology we have a real problem.”

    He also said as coal burning is cleaned up to remove harmful sulphur pollution climate change would actually get worse. The sulphur aerosols are actually preventing some warming from taking place currently.

    “This offsetting effect, which is equivalent to about 100 parts per million of carbon dioxide, will largely disappear if China and India follow the lead of the US and Europe in limiting sulphur emissions, the cause of acid deposition,” he said

    Comment by 4 Degrees — 7 Aug 2008 @ 3:50 AM

  413. #400, John Mathon:

    I’m just a layman, so my questions may be silly.

    1. What is your figure for climate sensitivity?

    2. According to your post the AGW community claims a climate sensitivity of 2-4 K per doubling. To me this is just a number, the result of a bunch of calculations. You attach an emotional qualification to it, saying it is ‘high’. Where is your analysis to support the notion 2-4 K can be labeled as ‘high’?

    3. This issue at hand is some figure, called climate sensitivity. The IPCC says this number is between 2 and 4.5, you say (I’m speculating here) it is below 1. I say both parties have the same obligation to back their numbers with proof. You say this obligation lies only with the IPCC, not with you. Why?

    4. You state that the data overwhelmingly shows that there is no AGW, suggesting that it is – so to speak – apparent to anyone who is not blind. It is my standpoint that there is such a vast amount of data, complicated by the fact we are trying to analyze chaotic behaviour (in the scientific sense) of a very complex system, you need some sort of analysis to make any claim about the data. What is your standpoint on this: is it obvious to any laymen or do the data need analysis? And in case of the 2nd option, how much analysis? Can you show me an example of what you would consider sufficient to back your assertion?

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 7 Aug 2008 @ 5:00 AM

  414. John Mathon posts:

    I think the principle weakness at this point in the high sensitiivty thesis is that H2O in the atmosphere is not experiencing the kind of feedback put into all the models. It appears that somehow H2O is “raining out” of the sky faster than is expected.

    This is wrong from beginning to end. Water vapor is up, not down. Here’s one of the most recent empirical studies, which confirms that precipitable water has risen at about 0.9 millimeters per decade for the past several decades — about what we’d expect from the Clausius-Clapeyron law:

    Brown, S., S. Desai, S. Keihm, and C. Ruf (2007), Ocean water vapor and cloud burden trends derived from the topex microwave radiometer. Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium 2007, Barcelona, Spain, IGARSS 2007, IEEE International, 886-889.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Aug 2008 @ 6:09 AM

  415. It is probably necessary to explain again and again to people new to this discussion what the term “theory” means in the context of science, because the term actually does have different meanings in different contexts. It is understandable that ordinary, non-scientist laypersons might misunderstand what it means in the context of “global warming theory.”

    As a musician, I would point out to them that “music theory” does not mean a conjecture that such a thing as “music” might exist.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 7 Aug 2008 @ 9:26 AM

  416. Note: check the web search tools for frequent repetition of beliefs, absence of response, and lack of citation, before wasting time.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Aug 2008 @ 9:57 AM

  417. Mark, +326:

    How can we be expected to explain ourselves in a way that the public understands when we are having to counter arguments either irrelevant or so obscure the public doesn’t understand either?

    Trying to communicate our story clearer. I tried that in my blog entry about Monckton by showing precisely how he selected the data, complete with graphs that should make it possible even for people with no background in statistics to understand.

    The only alternative I can see is to give up and stick to our ivory towers – not the solution I’d prefer.

    Maybe at least some scientists – those likely to interact with the public at large, at the very least – should consider taking up classes in non- scientific writing (or speaking, for that matter), so that they are able to communicate their knowledge better. Typical scientific papers are so filled with jargon that the average layperson has no hope of understanding most sentences. Necessary for scientists, perhaps – but if scientists don’t have any experience with any other kinds of texts, then they will be be unable to write information that the public can understand, and thus will loose the attention of the public.

    Comment by Jürgen Hubert — 7 Aug 2008 @ 11:07 AM

  418. [Response: If independent groups with independent methodologies with models that range from the 1-layer energy balance, to line-by-line radiative transfer to full blown GCMs all agree on something, then yes, that counts as scientific replication. There is zero chance that this result is not a consequence of the physics being built into the models, therefore all the IV&V documents in the world aren’t going to make the blindest bit of difference except for those people who want to delay recognition of the situation. - gavin]

    Surely, you aren’t serious. At least one of the models has to be shown to actually predict something physical in a repeatable way (IV&V) or its all just a closed system of assumptions, that may or may not be true. Comparing results to a validated sim (with an occasional field test) is one thing, I do it frequently, but trusting N sims all based on different representations of the same physical system is a gigantic gamble. What is the success criterion for the predicted metric? N-2 sims all agree. Since, you’ve said IV&V doesn’t matter maybe only 2 of the sims (the two that don’t agree) actually match the data. How would be able to detect this situation? Based on your comments and the previous comments I originally responded to, I claim that you can detect nothing of the sort.

    [Response: But of course the models are compared to data - your question above was very specific - are increased anthropogenic GHGs warming the climate - this has been replicated til we are blue in the face with dozens of different and independent approaches and with matches to observed radiation measurements etc. - gavin]

    Comment by Jaye — 7 Aug 2008 @ 11:53 AM

  419. Jaye’s beating horseburger, frequently posted elsewhere. No learning curve detectable, seems to me. Misdirection, adding confusion.

    You can look this stuff up.

    NASA’s IV&V program has a task:

    “… we established the Fairmont IV&V Facility to bring
    focused assurance to NASA’s flight software efforts – over this decade, the utility of the operation is evident every day. While the complexity of software and avionics have increased dramatically since the inception of the IV&V Facility, we continue to fly successful missions with robust software.”
    [2004 Annual Report]

    Example:

    “… Problems with the Russian computers during
    the recent ISS visit by the shuttle in mid-June [2007]
    served as a reminder to us all of the critical nature
    of what we do here at IV&V. All three strings of
    computers (2 computers per string) on the Russian
    side failed …. worst case scenarios included
    abandoning the station …. The root cause of the event has not been determined, but a number of efforts have begun to ensure that alternatives exist should similar
    events occur in the future, including software-intensive / only solutions on which ISS IV&V personnel will perform assurance …
    [April-June 2007 IVView v3n2]

    =========

    Go out and wave to the ISS as it crosses your night sky — tell your neighbors what it is.

    http://www.n2yo.com/passes/?s=25544
    It’s the only one we’ve got.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Aug 2008 @ 12:41 PM

  420. Jurgen #417
    “Trying to communicate our story clearer. I tried that in my blog entry about Monckton by showing precisely how he selected the data, complete with graphs that should make it possible even for people with no background in statistics to understand”

    However, our clear story has necessarily a lot of “lies-to-children” in it to make it understandable without years of research. And then the denialosphere use these simplifications to continue to say AGW is wrong. And this ends up confusing the people we’re trying to educate: “Well, there seems to be some brushing over of the facts in the case and a lot of debate. Best wait until they sort the answer out”.

    A simple message IS available. However, denialists just rely on the confusion of a contrarian position rather than make THEIR counter proposals apprehensive to the common man.

    Comment by Mark — 7 Aug 2008 @ 1:18 PM

  421. I know his Lairdship has challenged Al Gore to a televised debate, but has someone from the scientific community challenged him back? Actually getting a climatologist to rebut him in a forum other than the Internet, I think, would be pretty devastating….

    Comment by TB — 7 Aug 2008 @ 1:28 PM

  422. Jurgen. We already HAVE a very simple and essentially trivially provable explanation:

    The carbon we emit as CO2 blankets the earth in an atmosphere that traps the sun’s heat, slowing its ability to get away and, just like when you put on a blanket that stops you losing heat so quickly, and despite producing no heat of its own, the earth is warming in response.

    That story, or ones very like it, have been doing the rounds for nearly 200 years. And yet still it isn’t believed.

    So what is wrong with the situation?

    a) Your demands for a simple explantion is already proven wrong
    b) A simple explanation won’t help
    c) Nobody is listening
    d) Nobody understands even that simple explanation
    e) Those who don’t WANT to know the trouble being caused won’t be persuaded
    f) Denialists abuse the simple explanation to add confusion to engender a “wait and see” approach which is, really, exactly what they want
    g) A mix of all the above

    Comment by Mark — 7 Aug 2008 @ 1:35 PM

  423. 418, Jaye

    These GCM’s have shown very good ability at simulating the 20th century changes in temperature, past climates (LGM 8.2k event, etc), stratosphere cooling, polar amplification, ocean heat content, and many other things. Temperature wise, they do a great job up until mid-century with natural forcings only…terrible after that. Put anthropogenic + natural forcings in the same model, and it does much better. But you don’t need models to tell you adding CO2 will cause warming, that’s just radiative physics. The paleoclimate record provides evidence of this, and constraints on climate sensitivity. There is absolutely no line of evidence to suggest adding CO2 will not create a long-term trend, and lots of different people are coming to this same conclusion.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 7 Aug 2008 @ 3:10 PM

  424. Professional contrarian at it again?

    so what does Singer’s new research report actually say?

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/resources/forum/viewtopic.php?p=18529&sid=1062c627f0d868d3b01449d61ce96c84

    [Response: Look at the date. This is nothing new (and turned out to be rubbish as usual). - gavin]

    Comment by veritas36 — 7 Aug 2008 @ 5:55 PM

  425. In the endeavor to figure out how to address the public with AGW, I suggest you all pay close attention to Jürgen’s post 417. I deviate a little in his recommendations in that, as I’ve said before, training dyed-in-the-wool scientists in the skills necessary is much easier said than done, and not very efficient. But his main point, while not perfect as Mark points out (420, 422), has some golden nuggets for you all, IMO, Mark’s caveats not withstanding. I would suggest, however, that Mark’s (and others; he’s far from alone) implication that the ones needing convincing are stupid and trouble makers not be the opening line.

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Aug 2008 @ 11:11 AM

  426. CL (164), there is a jillion miles of a roughly linear progression between (completely) free market enterprise and soc_ial_ism. You seem to see it as bimodal, mostly it seems because you have “a thing” against private enterprise, economics being irrelevant. Pure or near soc_ism is not desirable because it does not work except in some special situations. This assumes economic success a wide distribution (beyond the government) of economic well-being and growth. Another odd problem with soc_ism is that many soc_ial_ists (and I was one and a member of the Fabian Society once) have little knowledge or interest in economics — they’re simply out to save the masses from devils and make everyone equal(ly poor, I might add).

    btw, no one knowledgeable would suggest a completely free private enterprise economy. Pure laissez-faire in models have shown virtually zero usable output, which increases quickly with just a bit of regulation and rules for the game, reaches a peak, then deteriorates, eventually back to near zero, as the economy becomes more and more centrally controlled.

    Comment by Rod B — 9 Aug 2008 @ 11:18 AM

  427. I think John Mahon’s comment (400) may have some merit, “I think it is deceptive of the scientists who proclaim that the science is “proven” when actually very little is proved. It is deceptive that scientists don’t tell people that feedbacks which are 2/3 of the expected heating by 2100 are not proved and in quite a lot of trouble.”

    Fortunately science is never “settled” and we learn new things every day. Some of these things can even make 1,000-page IPCC reports out-of-date before the ink dries.

    IPCC AR4 WG1 Chapter 8 (p.633) states that the (2xCO2) climate sensitivity including all feedbacks except clouds is 1.9°C. Including feedback from clouds the GCM estimates for climate sensitivity are 3.2°C.

    It goes on to say, “The mean and standard deviation of climate sensitivity estimates derived from current GCMs are larger (3.2°C ± 0.7°C) essentially because the GCMs all predict a positive cloud feedback (Figure 8.14) but strongly disagree on its magnitude.”

    IPCC SPM 2007 concedes (p.12): “Cloud feedbacks remain the greatest source of uncertainty.”

    In other words, all models assume a positive feedback from clouds, which has the effect of raising the climate sensitivity from 1.9°C to 3.2°C, but there is disagreement on the magnitude (a large portion of the ± 0.7°C) and there is a concession that “cloud feedbacks remain the greatest source of uncertainty.”

    Some of this “uncertainty” may have gotten cleared up since IPCC issued its report. Subsequent to the ICC report a study by Spencer et al. shows, based on physical observations, that the feedback from clouds is negative rather than positive, and that it is strong. “Our measured sensitivity of total (SW + LW) cloud radiative forcing to tropospheric temperature is –6.1 W/m^2°K.”
    http://www.weatherquestions.com/Spencer_07GRL.pdf

    These physical observations raise serious questions regarding the validity of the climate model assumptions regarding cloud feedback and, indeed, on the validity of a climate sensitivity of 3°C. Correcting for the impact of clouds, this should now be around 0.8°C instead.

    Max

    [Response: Nonsense. Spencer has proved nothing of the sort (since the MJO on monthly timescales is not the same as greenhouse forcing on decadal timescales), and you (and he) neglect all of the evidence for climate sensitivity not derived from models. A sensitivity below 1 deg C is just not compatible with paleo climate history. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 9 Aug 2008 @ 12:15 PM

  428. A comment to the lead article

    The lead article corrects Monckton’s assumptions with, “it’s 4.0 W/m2 for 2xCO2 (p135), not 4.8 W/m2), and the no-feedback temperature change is 1.2 (Hansen et al. 1988, p9360).”

    Monckton may be off, but it looks like Hansen may need a new computer as well, since the one he is now using seems to be giving him fishy results.

    To start off, IPCC has a slightly different take on this. The radiative forcing from CO2 without feedbacks (from a pre-industrial CO2 concentration of 280 ppmv in 1750 to the 379 ppmv in 2005) is stated to be 1.66 W/m^2. Using Myhre et al. of 5.35 * (ln 379 / 280) one would arrive at 1.62 W/m^2. (But this is only a minor discrepancy of 2.5%.)

    Using this value one arrives at a forcing of 3.708 W/m^2 (instead of 4.0) for a doubling of CO2 concentration from 280 to 560 ppmv. (A slightly larger discrepancy here, but still below 10%.)

    Last time I checked, the Stefan-Boltzmann constant (sigma) was 5.6705E-08, thus 4 * 5.6705E-08 * (288.16^3) = 5.427, and dividing 3.71 by 5.427 gives me a 2xCO2 temperature increase of 0.68°C (not 1.2°C). (We now have a major discrepancy of 75%.)

    So the 2xCO2 climate sensitivity without feedbacks is really around 0.7°C instead of Hansen’s 1.2°C.

    Just to clear this point up.

    Max

    [Response: You clear nothing up because you don't understand what is being talked about. The 'no-feedback' change is not the SB response to the global mean forcing, but the the change in surface temperatures required to rebalance a radiative-convective model after a change in CO2. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 9 Aug 2008 @ 1:34 PM

  429. Rod B. You appear to be responding to something I wrote in reply to someone else in a different thread. Bimodal ? Not at all. Thing against private enterprise ? Not at all. Soc-ial-ism doesn’t work ? Nonsense. (I gave the example of Sweden. Works very well.) The person I replied to did want a complete free market (as I understood him).

    Comment by CL — 9 Aug 2008 @ 8:21 PM

  430. Rod B #425

    “would suggest, however, that Mark’s (and others; he’s far from alone) implication that the ones needing convincing are stupid and trouble makers not be the opening line.”

    Well you misunderstood what I said, either because you’re

    a) stupid
    b) making trouble
    c) reading what you want to read

    The ones “needing convincing” requires that you specify “convincing of *what*”. The general public already HAVE a really good explanation. However, they are told by troublemakers (not the public, and not, in “explaining to the public” the people who need to be convinced) that this is complete rubbish and then trot out explanations that require a lot MORE knowledge to understand than Jurgen is on about.

    a) MWP: Where was it warmer, how did we find out, how does it compare to now

    b) Climate always changes: Well, what changed them last time? Could they be doing it now? Why does that preclude changing by our actions now?

    and so on.

    If you mean skeptics, then they are already conversant with the required maths and science. They can go to the papers and Jurgen’s point is not valid.

    If you mean denialists, then we don’t need to convince them because

    a) there’s none so blind as will not see
    b) they aren’t looking for enligtenment

    Take your recent rants about Monkton’s assertion being “correct” when people pointed out where you and he were wrong, you changed what you said you were asking. Were you convinced by the arguments? Well, given you didn’t shut up about it, it’s either “no” or “you merely fought another argument” (which is no improvement). The denailists really don’t care because they just trot out anything and say “well, you can’t really tell which of us is right, so we need more data and hold off on changing anything until this is sorted”. Conveniently “forgetting” that “hold off on changing” is what they are looking for, so by being “balanced” and “waiting to be convinved” you are in effect agreeing with the denialists’ agenda.

    Troublemakers WON’T be convinced and we already HAVE simple explanations. That the denialosphere comes along with either irrelevancies (Climate Has Always Changed, Always Will) or with rebuttals that to see if they are valid require a FAR GREATER education (MWP) that the denialists DO NOT PROVIDE either (so where are you two going to go to ask them to “make an argument people can understand”?) leaving it to climatologists to explain why the rebuttal doesn’t work. Which doing so then leaves Jurgen saying “You are using too much science, we need some explanation that tells the ordinary person what’s going on and not this ‘science stuff’ that’s confusing them”.

    And so we have the circular argument:

    a) AGW: Simple explanation
    b) A-AGW: Rebuttal by incorrect (and unspecified) example
    c) AGW: Explanation of why example is incorrect
    d) Definitely not A-AGW: Stop it with the complex explanation
    e) AGW: Go to (a)

    Meanwhile, guess what? Nothing changes. Which is EXACTLY what Anti-AGW want. And why they don’t have to actually explain ANYTHING: all they need is enough confusion.

    It’s a lot easier to confuse than educate.

    Comment by Mark — 10 Aug 2008 @ 6:46 AM

  431. Hi Gavin,

    You point out that Spencer must be wrong, since any “sensitivity below 1 deg C is just not compatible with paleo climate history”.

    Paleo? Wow! Here we have actual physical observations of today that must be incorrect because some paleoclimate proxy studies (“bristlecone pines”?) say so.

    Think you have to admit that this is fuzzy logic.

    Regards,

    Max

    [Response: Try the last glacial maximum - and try not to be such an ass. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 10 Aug 2008 @ 1:00 PM

  432. CL, my 426 was accidently posted on this thread, and correctly posted on the other thread (Bridging). I tried to get it deleted here to no avail, though they did not post my follow-on “OOPS” apology :-)

    Comment by Rod B — 10 Aug 2008 @ 1:13 PM

  433. SecularAnimist Says:It is “irrefutable evidence based fact” that (1) human activities, principally the burning of fossil fuels, are releasing large amounts of CO2 and other “greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere, that (2) the resulting increased concentration of these gases in the atmosphere is causing the Earth system to retain more of the sun’s heat, that (3) the Earth is getting hotter as a result, and that (4) this anthropogenic warming is causing rapid changes in the Earth’s climate, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere. These statements are all based on direct empirical observation.

    Point 1 is not disputed. The rest is disputed. [edit] You are discrediting yourselves as scientists (if you are) by making statements that cannot be defended. The only thing we know for sure is that the earth since the last ice age is getting warmer. We have some theories WHY it is getting warmer but we don’t KNOW why. Some people believe it is CO2 in the last 30 years that is responsible and that temperatures are higher than in millions of years and other people believe that we are simply going through another warm period not much different than the 300-400 year long “midievel warm period”. CO2 SHOULD add heat to the system but assuming it does the heat it adds is minimal, something like 1 degree. The majority of the “predicted” and according to the writer above that is “proven” (but which is not proven by any means) temperature increase of 3 degrees comes from models that have no proven nature whatsoever. These models depend on assumptions and physics and interactions that are unproven. The current data and all past data disagree in large part with the models. Study after study has come out showing the models have no predictive power in any respect regardless of the time frame or area of the world or even on the variable being predicted.

    Simply stating over and over again that something is proved is stupid.

    [Response: Contrarian heal thyself.... - gavin]

    [repetitive unsourced declarations deleted]

    Comment by John Mathon — 10 Aug 2008 @ 1:57 PM

  434. Mark (430), after re-reading your posts I might have been confused when suggesting a way not to convince people — public implied. It seems you think the problem and people needing convincing is not necessarily the public, but instead the rabble rousers that keep messing with the public’s minds. But I’m not sure. You say “the public HAVE an good explanation” and the simple story is clear. Though you also say “nobody listens” and “nobody understands even the clear simple story”. I now have no idea who you think needs educating and why and how. (You do imply “deniers” might need the education but that it is futile by definition.) Given that, I should not have suggested otherwise (and especially should not have singled you out) and apologize. My remarks were related to educating the public at large and other key non-scientist people.

    One minor point: if you understood perception and, it seems (??), the science there is no way you could call the AGW story clear and simple.

    In the just can’t let it pass department, your example is ridiculous. I was not wrong in my questions and observations re Monckton (ignoring the retort like ‘it all depends on what the definition of wrong is’ — to most it’s clear and obvious) despite your all’s incessant ranting to the contrary.

    Comment by Rod B — 10 Aug 2008 @ 2:04 PM

  435. Manacker #428: for Bolzmann you should use 255 rather than 288 degrees, as that is the temperature at which the radiation leaves to space. Then you get 1 degree, close enough to Hansen’s value.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 10 Aug 2008 @ 2:53 PM

  436. Re #431 and other comments by manacker

    manacker was very active at gristmill. I can guarantee that he will not follow Gavin’s suggestion and try not to be such an ass.

    Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 10 Aug 2008 @ 4:06 PM

  437. re: 433. No, simply failing to read and understand the peer-reviewed science and thinking that you know something that literally thousands of climate science researchers and every major climate science scientific society (including the National Academy of Science) don’t is profoundly “stupid” (using your term).

    And how many times must you be told that “proof” is a *mathematical* concept, not a scientific one? Your failure to try to understand how basic science is done is simply nothing less than astounding.

    Comment by Dan — 10 Aug 2008 @ 4:14 PM

  438. Yes, Rod B, it isn’t the public that needs a simple answer. They need less lying to from the denialists.

    I’ve had another look and I didn’t say (even as a misquote) “nobody listens” and “nobody understands even the clear simple story”.” (Ah, I see, this wasn’t me saying nobody understands but giving several likely options why the simple explanations aren’t working and asking which one is most likely to Jurgen. You like to drop the context of lots of things, don’t you?)

    I said that the general public understand the simple story but some don’t believe and the denialists help them justify it.

    A little aside: the “hockey stick” was, when first brought up, actually acceptable “skepticism”. There really was a lot less utility in the hockey stick than could drive policy. But those shortcomings were addressed and sorted. But the denialists haven’t let go. It would be worthwhile if the real skeptics were going on to new unknowns (even better, checking whether they themselves are right in calling in a shortfoll, but that’s just being naive, maybe).

    The denialists putting up the hockey stick or things that have already been sorted out (like MWP) are brought up YET AGAIN as “proof it’s all a lie” but not explained WHY these “prove” it a lie.

    You were wrong in your query: you were asking whether Monkton was telling the truth and when people said “no” you turned round and said “the maths is completely easy: the figures are going down” and people pointed out that this wasn’t significant because the noise too big to say *anything* about the measurement, you changed what you meant by “was he telling the truth” to “was the maths right” and when that was pointed out to be wrong, you then changed AGAIN to something like “are the numbers going down”? And when people said “the numbers aren’t telling us anything meaningful” you kept harping on about it.

    You made statements and when these were explained as “wrong” and you couldn’t get out of it, you changed your query.

    you were wrong with your original query and your changed queries were

    a) disingenuous
    b) still wrong

    or in the last case

    c) technically right but useless

    as in “although those numbers DO go down if you pick the right start and end, this doesn’t tell you anything, any more than taking the average of people’s guess as to the size of the emperor’s nose tells you anything about how big his nose is”.

    Comment by Mark — 10 Aug 2008 @ 4:27 PM

  439. Message to Nick Gotts

    In an earlier blog you asked RonC, “can you give examples, preferably from the last century or so, of criticism from outside a specific field overthrowing a scientific consensus in that field, or even making an important difference to a technical argument within it?”

    There are many, Nick.

    Thomas Kuhn observed that most scientific paradigms are broken from the “outside”, rather than the “inside” of a specific scientific discipline, where the “herd instinct” often makes scientists blind to any data that lie outside the accepted paradigm.

    Two such “paradigm shifts” that came from the outside:

    The now prevailing theory of the root cause of the K-T extinction is the impact of a giant asteroid. Based on supporting physical evidence this theory was proposed by a physicist, a geologist and two chemists, and hotly disputed at first by the paleontologists, who had their own theory.

    The age and origin of human ancestors has experienced a similar paradigm shift when molecular genetics challenged previous knowledge gleaned by the “insiders” (the archeologists, paleontologists and geochronologists) from their fossil carbon dating.

    As Thomas Kuhn observed, the insiders often have a hard time “thinking outside the box” and even when evidence that lies outside the prevailing paradigm is presented it is often ignored, thrown out as an “outlier” or often not even physically seen.

    For a real good treatise on why this is so and why the “experts” are often more wrong than the “non-experts”, I can recommend “The Black Swan”, by Hassim Taleb.

    Regards,

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 10 Aug 2008 @ 9:35 PM

  440. Mark (438), well I’m getting to not caring, but to support my thought of what I said you said — What I said (434) was, “…Though you [Mark] also say “nobody listens” and “nobody understands even the clear simple story”.” You say I got that all wrong. To waste space, this is what you wrote (422) that I was referencing (emphasis mine):

    “So what is wrong with the situation?

    a) Your demands for a simple explantion is already proven wrong
    b) A simple explanation won’t help
    c) Nobody is listening
    d) Nobody understands even that simple explanation
    …….”

    If I got that wrong, I can’t see how, but do apologize.

    I will not continue to repeat, explain, clarify, interpret what I asked (but never changed) re Monckton. I’ve done that ad nauseam and you just repeat the liturgy that, ‘No, that’s not what I asked or said’ and then proceed to tell me what it was really that I asked. (It does seem like I ought to know…) Your continued chanting simply moves the debate from the ridiculous to the pathetic. Any further explanation would be quite similar to the process of educating the “deniers” that you describe.

    On the main point, I was simply offering suggestions how AGWers might best present their case to the public. If you don’t think that is necessary or don’t want to, that’s perfectly all right. I suspect you’re in the minority, but that doesn’t matter. Just don’t pay any attention to my thoughts.

    Comment by Rod B — 10 Aug 2008 @ 11:46 PM

  441. Gavin, you are a saint for continuing to respond to certain posters who seem determined to mislead and deny what is right under their noses.

    On the more positive side, thanks 4 Degrees for post #412. Quite good that the scientists of the UK see the danger of the carbonization of the atmosphere due to fossil fuel use but isn’t the government still pushing several new large coal burning power plants. It will be interesting to see if any of those proposed plants get cancelled.

    There was some discussion here about why the stratosphere was cooling while global warming was occurring. Would it be too simplistic to say that we expect global warming to cause statospheric cooling because more of the heat that would be heating the stratosphere is getting trapped below in the troposphere by the increases in greenhouse gas levels there? Any heat trapped by the troposphere is not available to heat the stratosphere and only some of the additional trapped heat would be radiated to the stratosphere with the rest going to the surface including the biosphere. Hence the stratosphere would cool. Too simplistic?

    Mike Tabony

    Comment by MikeTabony — 11 Aug 2008 @ 8:43 AM

  442. Mark (To Rod B): You made statements and when these were explained as “wrong” and you couldn’t get out of it, you changed your query.

    I don’t agree. His latter statements were what he intended all along, more or less. And at one point in the chain of clarifications, he even said pretty much exactly that it was “technically right but useless”.

    I don’t believe he was changing his position much as he went along (there was probably some refinement though). But I also don’t believe he appreciates how wrong his original questions sounded, and how even reasonable people could have been misled.

    Comment by Owen Phelps — 11 Aug 2008 @ 10:22 AM

  443. But I also don’t believe he appreciates how wrong his original questions sounded, and how even reasonable people could have been misled.

    Well, given that what he wrote was in plain english, has a standard meaning which doesn’t match what he claims he WANTED to say, you’d have to be an unreasonable person to not be misled.

    Rod B could improve his reputation a bit by simply saying “I misspoke, and should’ve admitted it rather than insisting people should’ve undertood ‘white’ where I said ‘black’”.

    Comment by dhogaza — 11 Aug 2008 @ 11:15 AM

  444. The conversatiom with Rod illustrates very nice way typical denialist’s behaviour. Even when revealed in detail how his statements are not true – and this can verified from the above coversatiom by anyone who has the slightest comprehension – Rod still maintains the position that he didn’t said anything untrue.

    Contrary to other denialists Rod keeps sprouting his views again and again. More often denialists just disappear when revealed. Maybe it is useful to keep him as pet denialist or this blog as a specimen.

    Comment by Petro — 11 Aug 2008 @ 12:27 PM

  445. manacker Says:
    > now prevailing theory of the K-T

    Cite please? you’re referring to an ongoing area, not a paradigm overthrow, as I read the literature. Examples:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/307/5710/706
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/data/1104323/DC1/1

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/307/5710/709
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/data/1107068/DC1/1

    Where do you find the idea that it was a revolutionary change? In the relevant science journals? Or from bloggers or outside commenters? Beware oversimplification, especially to make a point.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Aug 2008 @ 1:03 PM

  446. Here’s a bit more.
    http://www.21school.ox.ac.uk/news_and_events/events/200801_Seminars.cfm
    Note the spelling for reference: Nassim Nicholas Taleb

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Aug 2008 @ 1:11 PM

  447. Owen, #442

    Rod B admitted that the paper was useless HALF WAY THROUGH his continuing queries about “is it true?”.

    If he’d really meant it and understood it, why ask if something that is irrelevant is true? Whether it is true it is still irrelevant. If it is false. Guess what? Irrelevant.

    So why did he continue to ASK about what he’d already said was irrelevant.

    a) he wanted a canned quote from here from someone saying “yes, he’s right” and then nipping just that bit off.
    b) he didn’t believe it really WAS irrelevant but was saying so so that people would answer him and then the waverers wouldn’t backtrack to see that it was irrelevant.

    Comment by Mark — 11 Aug 2008 @ 1:22 PM

  448. Owen (442). Thanks. I was kind of aware that my choice of words might not have been correct, even in my 1st post on the subject, though my caveat in that post was not very good either. As my posts went on I was indeed aware of my poor terminology as it was saliently pointed out, and struggled strongly to overtly come up with the correct meaningful words. [Eventually coming up with, "...So, I’ll ask, no more, no less, does the smoothed out global temperature measurements decrease between 2002 and 2008? (regardless of Monckton’s terminology, which I have admitted ad nauseam that I think is misleading.)", to which I got beat up over "smoothed out".] But, nobody, with maybe one exception as I recall, would have any part of that, and most don’t to this day — and I guess never will — though all but a couple have long since given up on it, appropriately bored out of their mind I would guess.

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Aug 2008 @ 1:47 PM

  449. Mike Tabony at 441

    There is a lot of activity here in the UK against the proposed new coal-fired power stations, eg see http://portal.campaigncc.org/tracker

    I have tried to ascertain what is UK government policy in terms of the temperature that the UK is trying to achieve. No-one seems to know.

    It would seem prudent to have a target and it seem even more prudent to make that target no more than 2 degree C.

    Comment by 4 Degrees — 11 Aug 2008 @ 2:18 PM

  450. Rod B, #448 “…So, I’ll ask, no more, no less, does the smoothed out global temperature measurements decrease between 2002 and 2008? (regardless of Monckton’s terminology, which I have admitted ad nauseam that I think is misleading.)“,

    Nope, you got bashed because answering that question was irrelevant. If you smooth it out, you chuck out THE MOST IMPORTANT element of statistics: the errors.

    And you still forget to say “yeah, I know the answer is irrelevant”.

    Comment by Mark — 11 Aug 2008 @ 2:19 PM

  451. Quick reply to Hank Roberts (445)

    “Where do you find the idea that it was a revolutionary change?”

    It represented a shift in the prevailing paradigm, and it came from scientists outside the normal scientific discipline (paleontology), just as molecular genetics shed new light on theories about the origin of human ancestors, again coming from outside the normal scientific disciplines studying this topic, that’s all.

    Sorry about typo in Nassim Taleb’s first name. “The Black Swan” is worth reading. Describes many of the pitfalls of long range predicting.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 11 Aug 2008 @ 2:32 PM

  452. More for Hank Roberts (445)

    Thanks for link

    The James Martin “Risk in the 21st Century” series of lectures sounds interesting. Did you attend any? Here are two I am sorry I missed, that many posters on this site might also have found interesting (in particular the second one):

    Didier Sornette, Professor on the Chair of Entrepreneurial Risks, ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)

    Endogenous versus Exogenous Origins of Crises: catastrophic “kings” and predictability
    Are large biological extinctions such as the Cretaceous/Tertiary KT boundary due to a meteorite, extreme volcanic activity or self-organized critical extinction cascades? Are commercial successes due to a progressive reputation cascade or the result of a well orchestrated advertisement? Are financial crashes due to external shocks or to self-organized instabilities? Etc.

    Leonard A. Smith, Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford; Research Professor in Statistics, London School of Economics, and Director – Centre for the Analysis of Time Series

    Model Error, Real World Risk: Probabilistic Pathways but Probably not Probabilities
    Modelling climate risk today involves extrapolation with models that are known not to be empirically adequate given past observations. Can we constructively contribute to policy making and decision support, while acknowledging the limitations of our current ability to usefully simulate?

    Or should we consciously oversell model output which we expect to have no empirical relevance as “best available information” and offer to “climate-proof” those who fund our research, or purchase commercial products based upon it? The shifting focus of climate science, from the broad brush questions of establishing that anthropogenic climate change was a reality to detailed questions of policy and decisions support, suggests the need for a frank and honest discussion of the current limits of the science in these new goals. All climate is local: What are the space and time scales on which we believe our current models have decision-relevant information? And how is that information best expressed?

    This talk will touch on questions of real decision support (cables under the streets of london and new york; the kitchen in The George), ambiguity in existing models (the uncertainty of local change given global temperature change), the quality of the connection at the model/reality interface in the absence of empirical adequacy, and relevant foundational questions on the mathematics of complicated nonlinear dynamical systems.

    While attempts to attack the problems discussed may prove rather technical, this talk will aim to pose the central difficulties in an intuitive, nontechnical way, without masking the fundamental difficulties involved.”

    Interesting stuff.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 11 Aug 2008 @ 2:49 PM

  453. Manacker, point, don’t copy the whole thing here, eh?
    People can find it. The “All climate is local” idea is peculiar to economics and dubious there. Sornette is interesting but has been predicting market crashes for years yet missed the current one. Just pointed to this to say the thread here is on point about a major issue needing attention and beginning to get it many places.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Aug 2008 @ 3:05 PM

  454. # 4 degrees 449

    Hi 4, I would suggest that although the Climate Change Bill final impact assessment only seems to mention ‘Dangerous Climate Change’ rather than any specified threshold, then as we are part of the EU then this Communication from the Commission will be our guide. Not forgetting of course that the 2 degree figure was agreed in Exeter

    Climate change is happening. Urgent action is required to limit it to a manageable level. The EU must adopt the necessary domestic measures and take the lead internationally to ensure that global average temperature increases do not exceed pre-industrial levels by more than 2°C.

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/en/com/2007/com2007_0002en01.pdf

    Comment by Hugh — 11 Aug 2008 @ 3:51 PM

  455. From gristmill:
    “For any fan of his work (or detractor, or curious passerby), Island Press offers a FREE download of our 1988 title, “The Challenge of Global Warming,” to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Dr. Hansen’s Congressional testimony introducing the issue to the Senate Energy and National Resources Committee.”

    You can find out more about this download, and links to related articles, at:
    http://www.islandpress.org/challengeofglobalwarming

    You can download the entire book or just Jim Hansen’s chapter.

    Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 11 Aug 2008 @ 4:40 PM

  456. Manacker said “The age and origin of human ancestors has experienced a similar paradigm shift when molecular genetics challenged previous knowledge gleaned by the “insiders” (the archeologists, paleontologists and geochronologists) from their fossil carbon dating” and “just as molecular genetics shed new light on theories about the origin of human ancestors”.

    Both of these statements are wrong. The first is wrong because “fossil carbon dating” (I assume you mean C14 dating) doesn’t go far enough back to tell us anything about the origin of human ancestors. C14 dating can only give us information about recent activities of man, not man’s ancestors.

    Your second statement is also wrong. Biochemists have studied protein sequences as a measure of evolution and dating of species divergence for over 40 years which predates the molecular biologists DNA sequence studies by at least 30 years.

    Comment by Ian Forrester — 11 Aug 2008 @ 5:59 PM

  457. Hugh (at 454)

    The EU Communication linked is useful in that it does illustrate the awareness of the EU of the need for limitation (at 2 degrees C) and serves to propose some mechanisms for carbon reduction. However, there remains a legislative gap in that there are no statutory instruments operative either on or within the EU States. It is because of this gap that the proposed Climate Change Bill within the UK remains unearthed with targets that are floating. The legislative gap, both at EU and national levels, needs to be addressed for there is otherwise the potential for numerous breaches of duty of care, particularly as government bodies at EU and national levels are aware of the potential for dangerous climate change and the overiding necessity to avoid it and to avoid putting their citizens at risk of harm.

    Comment by 4 Degrees — 11 Aug 2008 @ 6:19 PM

  458. I’m all in favor of archiving this blog (thread) for posterity and historical reference… assuming it can be studied outside the glee club.

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Aug 2008 @ 9:51 PM

  459. Mark (450), if you thought it irrelevant, why didn’t you and everybody else just quietly ignore it? (I know why.) The (one) answer to my question was not irrelevant. Neither, btw, were your alls answers to my non-question. Both just got tiring. News Flash: using linear regression to find trends is one form of “smoothing out”, which btw is done precisely to compromise the errors. Or, if I’m wrong, quickly go tell tamino, dhogaza, Hank Ray, et al.

    (That loud thudding is my head banging the brick wall…)

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Aug 2008 @ 10:11 PM

  460. Message to Ian Forrester

    Sorry, Ian, your post does not change the fact that “outsiders” to the specific scientific discipline involved in establishing the prevailing paradigm, have sometimes been exactly those that have challenged and eventually have broken the prevailing paradigm, thereby causing a “paradigm shift”.

    Will Svensmark be such an “outsider” that challenges (and eventually breaks) the prevailing paradigm of AGW (due primarily to CO2)?

    Who knows? You do not. I do not. Gavin Schmidt does not. Svensmark does not. We’ll all have to wait and see what comes out of CERN plus what happens to global temperatures now that the 11,000-year record period of high solar activity in the late 20th century has stopped and the sun has entered a very inactive phase, at the same time that global temperatures have plummeted.

    It is an interesting time, Ian, and we will all learn a lot of new things as our knowledge of the Earth’s climate improves beyond the very primitive level where it stands today.

    Reports like the latest IPCC AR4 WG1 and 2007 SPM can well be out-of-date before the ink dries, due to new discoveries, such as (just as an example) the discovery by Roy Spencer et al. based on physical observations, that cloud feedbacks with increased temperature are strongly negative instaed of strongly positive, as assumed in all the models cited by IPCC AR4.

    And, Ian, be prepared for new information from outside the current “climatology herd” to break and replace the currrently prevailing paradigms of the herd.

    It will happen, just as it has happened in many scientific fields before.

    That’s the way that science works, Ian.

    Regards,

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 11 Aug 2008 @ 10:15 PM

  461. Quickie to Hank Roberts

    No need to copy the whole preamble by Sornette.

    What I copied tells the story, particularly the Leonard A. Smith dissertation on the limitations of climate models, as expressed in the quotation, “Can we constructively contribute to policy making and decision support, while acknowledging the limitations of our current ability to usefully simulate? Or should we consciously oversell model output which we expect to have no empirical relevance as ‘best available information’ and offer to ‘climate-proof’ those who fund our research, or purchase commercial products based upon it?”

    Smith has a valid point: These are basic questions that should be asked and answered before discussing any significant changes in policy, such as carbon taxes or cap and trade schemes to force a reduction of CO2 emissions.

    Regards,

    Max

    [Response: Smith is making a far more subtle argument concerning short term decadal predictions than you appear to appreciate. It has very little to do with long term mitigation. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 11 Aug 2008 @ 10:27 PM

  462. I believe John Mathon in his post #325 of 4 August did an excellent job of explaining why “rational skeptics” reject much of the hysteria surrounding the current scientific debate on climate change.

    Add to this the recent evidence (from two completely different reports, both based on physical observations rather than climate model outputs) that the net SW and LW feedback from clouds is strongly negative, rather than positive (as assumed in all climate models) and you have a serious reason to doubt IPCC predictions of 2-4K 2xCO2 climate sensitivity, as John has pointed out.

    Just taking the figures from IPCC AR4 of 1.9K including all feedbacks except clouds and 3.2K including all feedbacks including clouds, shows that the models have been programmed with an assumed strong positive feedback from clouds.

    Now that we have physical observations that the net feedback from clouds is strongly negative, rather than strongly positive, we can conclude that the overall 2xCO2 climate sensitivity is probably below 1K.

    As we have already experienced (at 380 ppmv CO2 today) around 45% of the 2xCO2 warming experienced from pre-industrial 1750 (280 ppmv CO2) to far-in-the-future 2100 (560 ppmv CO2), this means there is about 0.5K to 0.6K warming to be expected from CO2 from today to the year 2100.

    John Mathon is right. As Shakespeare would say, all the current hysteria is really “Much Ado About Nothing”.

    Max

    [Response: This is an interesting comment - not in content, but in approach. True science is all about the uncertainty - quantifying it, reducing it, worrying about it. Yet, this comment takes a single apparently favorable result as gospel, ignores all other evidence for significant sensitivity and encourages us all to pack up are things and go home. No uncertainty there. Instead a dogmatic certainty that everything the scientific community has been worried about can be dismissed with a stroke of Roy Spencer's pen. It must be a comforting philosophy - though not one that is likely to survive more frequent brushes with reality. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 11 Aug 2008 @ 10:52 PM

  463. Mike Tabony writes:

    Would it be too simplistic to say that we expect global warming to cause statospheric cooling because more of the heat that would be heating the stratosphere is getting trapped below in the troposphere by the increases in greenhouse gas levels there? Any heat trapped by the troposphere is not available to heat the stratosphere and only some of the additional trapped heat would be radiated to the stratosphere with the rest going to the surface including the biosphere. Hence the stratosphere would cool. Too simplistic?

    Well, the troposphere blocking more infrared is certainly part of it. The other part is that temperatures in the stratosphere are the result of a balance between absorption of sunlight by ozone and radiation of infrared by carbon dioxide. The more carbon dioxide in the stratosphere, the quicker it loses heat, so more CO2 means, all else being equal, a colder stratosphere. There’s also an effect from ozone depletion, but it doesn’t account for all the data.

    [Response: It's only the tropospheric blocking of the IR at the CO2 bands that makes the absorption in the stratosphere lower (while at the same time emission increases due to higher CO2 there as well). Thus there is a net cooling from CO2 everywhere above the tropopause. - gavin]

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 12 Aug 2008 @ 6:47 AM

  464. manaker wrote: “Will Svensmark be such an ‘outsider’ that challenges (and eventually breaks) the prevailing paradigm of AGW (due primarily to CO2)?”

    No, because global warming caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions is not a “paradigm”, it is an empirically observed reality.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 12 Aug 2008 @ 9:06 AM

  465. Adding to Secular’s point in post 464 about AGW being an empirically observed reality, it is worth noting that a sceptical administration set up a body in 2002 to review the validity of climate science before making any policy decisions. That body has recently reported:

    http://environment.newscientist.com/article/mg19926683.300-humans-cause-climate-change-us-body-accepts.html?DCMP=ILC-hmts&nsref=news3_head_mg19926683.300

    According to the article: “AS THE Bush administration enters its final months, the US Climate Change Science Program has issued a report concluding that computer models do effectively simulate climate. It also accepts that the models show human activity was responsible for the rapid warming of the 20th century.

    The report is the 10th of 21 due to be issued by the body, which the sceptical Bush administration set up late in 2002 to review the validity of climate-change science before making policy decisions.

    “The evidence is pretty convincing that the models give a good simulation of climate,” lead author David Bader of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California told reporters last week.

    Seems we may be on the verge of sort of mutation as AGW skeptics morph into …

    Comment by 4 Degrees — 12 Aug 2008 @ 10:10 AM

  466. manacker,

    despite your assertions, no one has shown there to be a substantial negative feedback from clouds yet. Even if you don’t trust the quantitative analysis from paleoclimate reconstructions, just thinking intuitively about the large changes between glacial-interglacial cycles, the snowballs, the hothouses, etc (you know, the idea that “climate is always changing” we here from skeptics so much), it makes no sense to argue for a low sensitivity.

    As for Spencer, he’s inferring what he calls a “feedback” from a specific form of variability that’s controlled by other things. It has nothing to do with the long-term climate feedback. All he’s seeing is the MJO (in the winter, it starts in the warm Indian Ocean or West Pacific with clouds, convection, and rain; it extends eastward past the date line to cooler regions where the clouds and rain diminish). The large-scale temperature anomaly reaches its peak as the effect of the original heating anomaly over warmer water is felt elsewhere. By calling this the peak of the MJO he’s going to associate drying with warming, but he’s just seeing a propagating wave move to a drier area of the world, and he excludes the land from his analysis where the convection is by the time the atmsophere has warmed.

    Which was the second paper?

    There are a lot of people working on this subject, and while the numbers for sensitivity may change slightly, the estimates in the IPCC AR4 report are in line with the best scholarship.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 12 Aug 2008 @ 11:11 AM

  467. Rod says, News Flash: using linear regression to find trends is one form of “smoothing out”, which btw is done precisely to compromise the errors.

    What?

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 12 Aug 2008 @ 12:49 PM

  468. Rod B, #459.

    I think the question you need to answer first is why did you continue to ask the question several times more after even you admitted it was irrelevant?

    After all, if *I* think it irrelevant, I could be wrong. But if you’re not going to believe yourself, what are you doing here?

    PS “smoothing out” removes the noise. Why is it important? Without them, you have no clue what the numbers MEAN.

    Rolling a 1d6:

    3
    1
    4
    6
    5
    4

    Was that dice kosher or not?

    You take the numbers, see what the average is and if it’s not 3.5 it must be crooked?

    3.83333

    Crooked.

    Oh, hang on, take the NOISE and find out what the standard deviation is.

    1.7

    So no way to tell.

    If I’d smoothed it out, I would have something like:

    3
    2
    3
    4
    4
    4

    Smoothed more:

    3
    3
    3
    4
    4
    4

    Hey, look, my dice throws higher and higher numbers!!! IT MUST BE CROOKED!!!

    To everyone else, I apologise for this junior-school level of statistics primer but Rod B seems to have skipped classes when younger.

    Comment by Mark — 12 Aug 2008 @ 2:28 PM

  469. Hi Chris Colose,

    Thanks for your input (466). It’s nice to have your opinion on the meaning of Spencer’s study, but I guess I have to give a bit more credence to Spencer’s opinion than yours, if you’ll pardon me.

    He observes a strong negative feedback from clouds (rather than a strong positive feedback as assumed in all the GCMs cited by IPCC).

    He explains why this is so: The physical observations show that warming cirroform clouds decrease with increased tropospheric warmth rather than increase as assumed in all GCMs. In his study he concedes that the time scales observed are relatively short (15 cycles measured over a 5-year period), but states that all climate fluctuations involving moist convection adjustment are short (water vapor, clouds, precipitation) and that their long-term behavior should be considered when testing cloud parameterization in GCMs used to project global warming.

    In a fairly easy to understand later presentation, Spencer explains how natural variability causes errors in feedback estimates, how Lindzen’s “infrared iris” hypothesis works in nature and how his physical observations validated the negative feedback from clouds as hypothesized by Lindzen.
    http://www.weatherquestions.com/Recent-Evidence-Reduced-Sensitivity-NYC-3-4-08.pps

    The other paper that showed a long-term cooling feedback from clouds is
    http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/presentations/Caltechweb.pdf

    Ramanathan et al. concluded “the magnitude as well as the sign of the cloud feedback is uncertain”.
    http://www-ramanathan.ucsd.ed/FCMTheRadiativeForcingDuetoCloudsandWaterVapor.pdf

    IPCC 2007 SPM conceded: “Clouds remain the greatest source of uncertainty”.

    There is no physical evidence for a positive (warming) feedback effect from clouds as postulated by IPCC, and there are physical observations that actually validate the hypothesis of strong negative (cooling) feedback.

    Enough said.

    Regards,

    Max

    [Response: Not enough understood unfortunately. Take timescales - what is the timescale for Spencer's correlations? What is the timescale for climate equilibration? Try mechanisms - what are the dynamics of Spencer's oscillations (clue - look up MJO) and what do they have to do with ocean driven SST changes (another clue - nothing). There is a ton of evidence for significant climate sensitivity - which you have continued to ignore in each of your missives. Yet you are certain Spencer is correct - hmmm... I wonder why. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 12 Aug 2008 @ 2:50 PM

  470. Hi Gavin,

    Thanks for your interpretation of Smith’s argument (461).

    “Smith is making a far more subtle argument concerning short term decadal predictions than you appear to appreciate. It has very little to do with long term mitigation. – gavin”

    Guess I can say that I just do not buy your interpretation of his argument.

    Let me requote Smith here, to make it easier for you to grasp his message, rather than getting wrapped around the axle of illogic by debating “short term decadal” versus “long term” simulations, which has absolutely nothing to do with the issue being discussed.

    “Can we constructively contribute to policy making and decision support, while acknowledging the limitations of our current ability to usefully simulate? Or should we consciously oversell model output which we expect to have no empirical relevance as ‘best available information’ and offer to ‘climate-proof’ those who fund our research, or purchase commercial products based upon it?”

    It is the “limitations of our current ability to usefully simulate” (i.e. the weakness of GCMs cited by IPCC to make robust and realistic projections) that begs the question, “can these be used to constructively contribute to policy making and decision support?”
    Or (as he puts it) “should we consciously oversell model output which we expect to have no empirical relevance as ‘best available information’ (as IPCC is now doing) and offer to ‘climate-proof’ those who fund our research”?

    Much deeper question than you seemed to realize, Gavin.

    Regards,

    Max

    [Response: Ah, I see. If you just repeat the same thing over again, that imbues it with more context. Right. Perhaps you'd care to point me to the IPCC statement where the offer to 'climate-proof' funders is made? Perhaps you could link to the presentation that Smith actually made where he answers his questions? (my answers are "yes" and "no" for what it's worth). Or is simply asking rhetorical questions your definition of a proof? - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 12 Aug 2008 @ 3:06 PM

  471. Message to SecularAnimist

    To my question, “Will Svensmark be such an ‘outsider’ that challenges (and eventually breaks) the prevailing paradigm of AGW (due primarily to CO2)?”

    You replied (464), “No, because global warming caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions is not a “paradigm”, it is an empirically observed reality.”

    Let’s analyze that.

    Greenhouse warming is an accepted hypothesis, as is the assertion that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. It is the accepted “paradigm” today.

    The causation of 20th century warming from increased human CO2 emissions has not been directly validated by physical observations, but a viable correlation exists for the period since 1976, at least up until 2001, since which time temperature has cooled off slightly (rather than warm), despite all-time record CO2 emissions.

    The period 1944-1976 also saw a slight cooling trend, despite rapidly increasing CO2 emissions, and the period 1910-1944 saw a larger linear temperature increase than the period following 1976 (the IPCC “poster-period”), despite much lower human CO2 emissions.

    Svensmark has pointed out a similar correlation between solar activity and global climate, going back much further than the observed record. It has been pointed out that since around 1980 this correlation no longer seems to hold. This has even been referred to (by AGW proponents) as the “fatal flaw” in his hypothesis, which is now being tested on a large scale at CERN.

    One could just as well cite the periods 1944-1976 or 2001-2007 as the “fatal flaw” of the AGW theory. Neither proves anything about either hypothesis.

    So far we have only discussed greenhouse warming as defined by the hypothesis.

    This can be readily accepted by most rational skeptics. More suspect are all the positive feedbacks which have been programmed into the climate models cited by IPCC to increase the 2xCO2 climate sensitivity without feedbacks (as specified by IPCC) of under 1°C to an inflated figure of 3.2°C.

    This has nothing to do with greenhouse theory per se, but it has become part of the currently accepted “consensus” or “paradigm” on AGW. Recent studies have shown that some of these feedbacks (clouds) are not strongly positive (as assumed in IPCC models) but strongly negative, in effect canceling out all of the positive feedback warming effect and putting 2xCO2 climate sensitivity below 1°C rather than 3.2°C as assumed by IPCC.

    Based on these recent observations of a negative cloud feedback and, more importantly, if CERN does, indeed, validate Svensmark’s hypothesis that changes in solar activity affect cosmic rays which, in turn, affect cloud formation in our troposphere, we have a whole new ballgame, and the current “paradigm” of predominantly human influence on climate resulting from CO2 emissions may be broken and replaced by a new “paradigm”.

    Regards,

    Max

    [Response: No it won't, for the obvious reason that the absorption of infra-red radiation by CO2 is an experimentally determined fact that has been known for over 100 years. No experimental result from CERN will change that. I have discussed Svensmark's chutzpah in asserting otherwise many times. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 12 Aug 2008 @ 3:48 PM

  472. Max says “Smith has a valid point: These are basic questions that should be asked and answered before discussing any significant changes in policy, such as carbon taxes or cap and trade schemes to force a reduction of CO2 emissions.”

    Smith says “The shifting focus of climate science, from the broad brush questions of establishing that anthropogenic climate change was a reality to detailed questions of policy and decisions support, suggests the need for a frank and honest discussion of the current limits of the science in these new goals.”

    Hmm. I think it is pretty clear that Smith believes that anthropogenic climate change is a reality, and that the problem is not overselling _local_ predictions of temperature change for adaptation purposes, rather than _global_ predictions of temperature change for mitigation purposes.

    Note that Smith has also said “Therefore, we must incorporate insights from our models as the best guide for the future.” And phrases like “Given only one planet, this option is not available to us.” suggest that Smith may in fact be quite worried about the consequences of our global climate change experiment.

    Finally, I would argue that quotes such as “While I agree strongly with Gavin on the need to improve the communication of science” indicate that Smith and Gavin are already on the same wavelength (and are familiar with each other as colleagues), and therefore Gavin is much more likely to be able to interpret Smith’s writings correctly than you are.

    Finally, on the cloud feedback issue: if cloud feedback was really as strongly negative as you claim, how do you explain past temperature changes such as the glacial-interglacial cycle?

    Comment by Marcus — 12 Aug 2008 @ 3:53 PM

  473. Manacker is just fondling, er, fond of the words at that announcement page. Manacker, you should try using the reference library, or your search engine.

    Can we trust you to actually go get the journal articles, read them, think about them, and only then claim they are relevant? If not you’re just wasting our time and asking us to help you do your homework.

    One more try. Let’s see if there’s a bit of a delay in the response to allow reading and comprehension (and checking footnotes and subsequent citations). If we get a comment that shows he’s actually gotten up to date on the science, well then.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&lr=&safe=off&scoring=r&q=%2BSmith+%2B%22Centre+for+the+Analysis+of+Time+Series&as_ylo=2007

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Aug 2008 @ 4:01 PM

  474. manaker #470

    Is our inability to know 100% of everything an impediment to deciding? After all, we don’t even know if we exist or are just a construct of a hyper-dimensional being’s simulation.

    your continued posting here of strange and unusual queries in the guise of asking for illumination begs the question of why you keep asking questions when you don’t want the answers. Is this because the simulation of this universe has a coding error? Is it because stray thoughts hit the wrong processing node in your noggin? Or is it that there’s no point talking to you because the only answer you’re looking for is confirmation that you are right?

    Since you are unable to categorically answer these questions to my satisfaction, are you wasting our time? If so, where are you being paid to waste it from?

    Of course, to answer that question we will need to see your bank statements, shopping bills and all other earnings and outgoings (including presents/gifts/training and anything else we can think of plus a few more). After all, if we don’t have the raw data, how can we know we have the truth?

    Comment by Mark — 12 Aug 2008 @ 4:16 PM

  475. manacker wrote: “Greenhouse warming is an accepted hypothesis, as is the assertion that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.”

    Wrong. “Greenhouse warming” and the “greenhouse effect” of CO2 specifically, are empirically observed realities. They are not “hypotheses”.

    It is evident that you don’t know what “paradigm” means. It is also evident that you don’t know what “hypothesis” means.

    manacker wrote: “The causation of 20th century warming from increased human CO2 emissions has not been directly validated by physical observations …”

    Wrong.

    manacker wrote: “… up until 2001, since which time temperature has cooled off slightly (rather than warm) …”

    Wrong again.

    It is increasingly evident that you don’t really know what you are talking about, period. You are making a lot of noise that makes no sense, throwing around words like “paradigm” that you clearly don’t understand but which sound impressive, you are making plainly false assertions, and you are hand-waving at “cosmic rays”. It’s the usual load of pretentious denialist rubbish.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 12 Aug 2008 @ 4:29 PM

  476. Sorry Gavin, you are (purposely?) missing the point again.

    It is not whether or not the greenhouse warming hypothesis is valid, or whether or not CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it is whether AGW from human CO2 has been the predominant driver of climate, or whether it shares its driver role with a major contribution from the sun which has so far not yet been validated, which, if validated at CERN, would add more evidence for the exaggeration of the assumed positive feedbacks that multiply the impact of 2xCO2 as postulated by greenhouse theory by a factor 3 to 4. That was the point of the discussion, which you missed. [edit]

    Max

    [Response: Unfortunately, it is again you who doesn't understand. Feedbacks are a function of the climate system, not of the specific forcing. They occur in very similar ways to solar forcing, volcanic forcing (though in reverse), greenhouse gas forcing, and they would even with cosmic ray forcing should it be shown to be relevant. They have been determined empirically for LGM - which was not solely GHG driven, from volcanoes (no GHGs at all), from ENSO etc. The discovery of a new forcing doesn't change any of that. In plain terms, climate sensitivity doesn't depend on CO2. Maybe you missed that. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 12 Aug 2008 @ 4:35 PM

  477. Hi Gavin,

    To your assertion “There is a ton of evidence for significant climate sensitivity – which you have continued to ignore in each of your missives. Yet you are certain Spencer is correct – hmmm… I wonder why. – gavin”

    I have seen no studies that prove that Spencer is not correct, have you?

    Don’t refer me to AR4 WG1 – have already gone through that (groan!), but please provide links to “a ton of evidence” based on physical observations (not model studies) that validate the assumption of a strong net positive feedback from clouds, which raise the climate sebsitivity of 2xCO2 from i.9K to 3.3K, as asserted by IPCC.

    Thanks.

    Regards,

    Max

    [Response: By that logic every study that came out last week must be accepted as true because no papers have come out yet refuting them. That, as you well know is not how things work. There are no papers supporting him either. Instead, each new paper is judged on how it fits it to the existing literature - which is replete with studies showing that short term variations are not a good surrogate for long term sensitivity and plenty of papers showing that small values of the sensitivity are completely incompatible with the interglacial cycles, or the Pliocene or the Eocene or the 20th Century. So what is more likely: Spencer actually finding that short term perturbations due to the MJO etc. are surprisingly relevant and that all of that paleo data and previous work is wrong, or that Spencer is just overselling an irrelevant study? You don't need to answer. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 12 Aug 2008 @ 4:59 PM

  478. Mark (468). more News Flashes: 1) I never said my question was irrelevant. 2) The Sun rises in the East.

    Here’s a high school level definition that you (and possibly Jim G??) might find new and interesting: (btw, you could google a jillion similar examples.)

    A Linear Regression (LR) line is a trend line that is drawn mathematically so that is represents the ‘best fit’ for the data points it passes through. The formulas use the least squares method to determine the line’s placement. This minimizes the distances between the data points and the trend line.

    The algebraic expression for a straight line is: y = b * x + a where b is the slope of the line and a is the y-intercept. The linear regression formula calculate both the b and the a values.

    Another idea. Try looking at a graph of a linear regression analysis. Check out the trend line. Then compare it to the data points. And here is where it gets fascinating, the trend line is kinda smooth! (Smooth — having a surface free from roughness or bumps or ridges or irregularities.)

    Comment by Rod B — 12 Aug 2008 @ 5:16 PM

  479. Manacker said: “Sorry, Ian, your post does not change the fact that “outsiders” to the specific scientific discipline involved in establishing the prevailing paradigm, have sometimes been exactly those that have challenged and eventually have broken the prevailing paradigm, thereby causing a “paradigm shift”.

    I was responding to some utter nonsense that you posted. Your comments do not support your view about “paradigm shift”. One is complete garbage and the other just shows that as technology and scientific knowledge improves research from one area naturally migrates into another. Nothing earth shattering about that, it happens all the time.

    For your information, since you do not seem to understand how science works, science rarely, if ever, makes a “paradigm shift”. This is a bogus term used by the mass media and scientists with over inflated egos. Which are you?

    Thomas Huxley had it correct when he stated “So far as I can venture to offer an opinion on such a matter, the purpose of our being in existence, the highest object that human beings can set before themselves, is not the pursuit of any such chimera as the annihilation of the unknown; but it is simply the unwearied endeavour to remove its boundaries a little further from our little sphere of action”.

    That is how science really works, just like a jigsaw puzzle, a little piece at a time.

    Comment by Ian Forrester — 12 Aug 2008 @ 5:30 PM

  480. Hank Roberts (473), Mark (474) & Gavin (469, 470, 471) — Max Manacker is here, IMO, to waste your time. He continues here his practice from other fora of saying the same ol’ stuff. He never seems to learn anything.

    Just so you know. I don’t bother to his his manifestos anymore (but I always read patient Gavin’s replys).

    [Capcha correctly states "99%o stung'.]

    [Response: There's definitely something to the delphic captcha thing.... - gavin]

    Comment by David B. Benson — 12 Aug 2008 @ 5:35 PM

  481. Hi Gavin,

    To your point about the relative importance of Svensmak’s cosmic ray/cloud hypothesis as a major driver of our planet’s climate and whether or not a validation of this hypothesis at CERN could cause a “paradigm shift” in current climate science, you wrote:: “No it won’t, for the obvious reason that the absorption of infra-red radiation by CO2 is an experimentally determined fact that has been known for over 100 years. No experimental result from CERN will change that. I have discussed Svensmark’s chutzpah in asserting otherwise many times – gavin.”

    Yep. I’ve read some of your blurbs on this. Interesting, but not very convincing.

    I have not seen anywhere that Svensmark raises any doubt about the validity of the greenhouse hypothesis, or about the fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, have you?

    On the other hand, most AGW proponents reject Svensmark’s hypothesis “a priori”.

    I believe most AGW proponents fear that a validation of the Svensmark theory could, in effect, cause a shift in the current paradigm on the relative importance of CO2 (with all assumed feedbacks) on global climate, i.e. the current “consensus” view.

    If you can find any reference where Svensmark raises a question about the validity of the greenhouse hypothesis or about CO2 as an infra-red absorbing greenhouse gas, I would appreciate if you could provide me the link.

    Thanks, Gavin.

    Regards,

    Max

    [Response: I have never rejected the GCR-climate link 'a priori' - it remains a theoretical possibility as was recognised by Bob Dickinson decades before Svensmark got on board. However, the evidence presented so far for it has been singularly feeble and often times manipulated. As a self-declared sceptic, I'm surprised you take the wild claims made in the Chilling Stars and various press releases without investigating their credibility. You (and he) appear to think of GCR and CO2 as opposed - but this is an opposition that exists purely in your imagination. Given a clear mechanism we would happily run both in a climate model and we'd see how big an effect they had separately and jointly. Only by incorrectly thinking that climate science has not progressed past the correlation function in excel would anyone think that evidence for one mechanism is evidence against another. It just doesn't work that way. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 12 Aug 2008 @ 5:43 PM

  482. manacker,

    since you have already made up your mind, I won’t persuade you that I am right.

    It is strange that despite all the uncertainty, you are quite convinced that Spencer has found the gospel truth, and apparently you have not read and/or understood his paper.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 12 Aug 2008 @ 5:44 PM

  483. More to Hank Roberts (473)

    Checked your cited reference in more detail. Believe this quote summarizes it pretty well:

    “Climate models are large nonlinear dynamic systems which insightfully but imperfectly reflect the evolving weather patterns of the Earth. Their use in policy making and decision support assumes both that they contain sufficient information regarding reality to inform the decision, and that this information can be effectively communicated to the decision makers. There is nothing unique about climate modeling and these constraints, they apply in all cases where scientific modeling is applied to real-word actions (other than, perhaps, the action of improving our models). Starting with the issue of communication, figures from the 2007 IPCC Summary for Policy Makers will be constructively criticized from the perspective of decision makers, specifically those of the energy sector and the insurance/reinsurance sector. More information on basic questions of reliability and robustness would be of significant value when determining how heavily to weight climate model output in the decision process; one obvious example is the question of over what spatial and time averages modelers expect information in current climate distributions to be robust. The IPCC itself suggests continental/seasonal, while distributions over 10′s of kilometers/hourly is on offer. Our aim here is not to resolve this discrepancy, but to develop methods with which it can be addressed. This is illustrated in the context of using another physically based, imperfect model setting: using Newton’s laws in an actual case of NASA hazard evaluation. Our aim is to develop transparent standards of good practice managing expectations, which will allow model improvements over the next decades to be seen as progress by the users of climate science.”

    Sounds good to me. Bring it on. “Transparent standards of good practice managing expectations” and “model improvements” are really needed here. Transparency is always a good thing. So are standards of good practice.

    It will be interesting how this longer-term study works out “over the next decades”, and what final conclusions are reached concerning the climate models suitability for use in policy making and decision. Will the assumption be validated or refuted that they “contain sufficient information regarding reality to inform the decision”?

    Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

    Regards,

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 12 Aug 2008 @ 6:10 PM

  484. Hi Marcus,

    You wrote (472), “if cloud feedback was really as strongly negative as you claim, how do you explain past temperature changes such as the glacial-interglacial cycle?”

    First, I do not “claim” anything. Spencer has suggested a strongly negative feedback from clouds based on physical observations over a 5-year period, which tend to validate Lindzen’s earlier “infrared iris” hypothesis of a natural negative feedback cycle.

    Another independent study for which I provided the link also came up with a net cooling from clouds, based on satellite observations as well as surface observations of cloud types and altitudes.

    As to “past temperature changes such as the glacial-interglacial cycle”, I find these proxy studies interesting, but far less convincing to me than today’s physical observations of the impact of cloud feedbacks on today’s climate.

    Regards,

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 12 Aug 2008 @ 7:49 PM

  485. Ps, as you leaf through the citing articles, don’t neglect to actually read this one. Don’t just leap to the conclusion it’s on your side because of the title.
    http://www.ams.org/notices/200804/tx080400481p.pdf

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Aug 2008 @ 8:33 PM

  486. Your wasting your time with Max. I have spent several hours searching the “tubes” and the below is a very brief summary of his droppings (Sorry Rabett).
    My added bolds

    http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2006/12/13/221054/33
    Regards,
    Max Anacker

    by manacker at 9:42 AM on 04 May 2007
    [[So manacker is Max Anacker]]

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article1615356.ece
    … Letting the UN Security Council discuss and debate the “security implications of a changing climate” will just generate more hot air.

    Max Anacker, Maienfeld, Switzerland
    [[And he is associated with Maienfeld, Switzerland.]]

    http://www.slashlegal.com/archive/index.php/t-104930.html
    It’s pretty obvious to me that the IPCC Feb 2007 report is a lot of hot air,
    fueled by the billions of dollars of research funds that go to the
    scientists and activist groups behind the report writers.

    The arrogance of saying man is causing climate change is only exceeded by
    the stupidity of saying we can – and must – do something to stop it. This
    whole hoax just goes to show how money makes the world go around..

    max anacker, maienfeld, switzerland
    [[And further confirmation plus an example of his Eric Hoffer The True Believer mentality. Which he will, of course, claim is the case for RC, Tamino, Rabett, Climate Progress, etc. and not CA and Watts.]]

    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.moneyhouse.ch/u/p/von%2520Anacker_Max_2013167.htm&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=2&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3DTehag%2BEngineering%2BAG%2Banacker%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG
    Registered persons
    Company:
    Tehag Engineering AG
    First name / last name: Max von Anacker
    Residence: Maienfeld

    [[And where he apparently works. What he does I know not. Well, yet at least.]]

    http://209.85.171.104/translate_c?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.tehag.com/de/index.php%3Fnav%3D1&prev=/search%3Fq%3DTehag%2BEngineering%2BAG%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN&usg=ALkJrhhHMrGb19upInuoJ1PmXb0WkuUa7A
    Welcome to the Tehag
    Diesel emissions Management – Our core competence

    [[And what Tehag Engineering AG does.]]

    Comment by ChuckG — 12 Aug 2008 @ 9:57 PM

  487. Since Svensmark and co. have not actually quantified this cosmic ray effect, nor is it based on any actual calculations of cloud microphysics, nor can they even tell you the sign of the effect…me thinks it very ironic that “skeptics” (this is an insult to the word) would suggest CO2 plays little or no part in modern warming, but changes in cosmic rays do…even with no explanatory or predictive power, and with no trend in cosmic rays.

    And as Gavin says, you need to actually add the forcings together, not pick what you don’t like and “replace” that with what you do like. Read the first few paragraphs in raypierre’s it’s the physics stupid

    Comment by Chris Colose — 12 Aug 2008 @ 11:01 PM

  488. Rod B #478

    Yes, yes you did say “I know this is irrelevant”. In a parenthesis. Go back and pick out your comments. You’ll see it.

    Oh, and pick up a book on fifth-year maths. Your statistics education will start there.

    Comment by Mark — 13 Aug 2008 @ 3:07 AM

  489. PS: Rod B, please forget “maths” and look at “statistics”. It is a branch of maths. You can’t use plain old maths and linear regression to find out if you’re on a dodgy game of chance (every frigging thing about an actual game of chance is flagged as spam, FFS Gavin). You can use statistics.

    Likewise, you don’t use linear regression to find out if something is happening. You use statistics.

    Read up on your statistics. It will be required.

    Comment by Mark — 13 Aug 2008 @ 3:14 AM

  490. Quotes from Rob B:

    “This is all that I was asking about/questioning. You guys keep answering, in essence, ‘..but he’s a dork’, or ‘it’s meaningless’, or ‘it’s statistically insignificant or misleading’. I knows dat;”

    “You all keep replying that his analysis is inappropriate (meaning an unacceptable margin of error) or cherry-picked. I don’t disagree or question that.”

    “Maybe meaningless; maybe inappropriate; but accurate. Ray, Tamino am I correct (accurate) here?”

    “It was a curiosity question, might not have any significant (or any…) relevance, and asked simply if his regression analysis from 2001 through 2008 was mathematically accurate.”

    But from #178

    “1) I never said my question was irrelevant.”

    Comment by Mark — 13 Aug 2008 @ 3:30 AM

  491. Rod B: “I never said my question was irrelevant.”

    Perhaps you didn’t actually say “irrelevant”, but you did say it “might not have (any) relevance”, referring to it as a “curiosity question”. And you also kept calling the original analysis you were asking about “meaningless”. Intended or otherwise, you certainly gave the impression your question didn’t really matter much.

    Taken from three different comments of yours:

    It was a curiosity question, might not have any significant (or any…) relevance,

    a 5-6 year analysis is meaningless within the context of climate. I keep saying I know that and agree with it.

    I AGREE WITH THE MEANINGLESS NATURE OF 5-6 YEARS ANALYSIS IN THE CONTEXT OF CLIMATE.

    To answer explicitly (based on responses here, I haven’t confirmed it myself): yes, the original 5-6 year linear regression was calculated correctly. But no, it doesn’t mean anything, anymore than if he’d calculated the square root of the cosine for each year.

    While curiosity is a perfectly fine reason in itself, I’m not sure what other relevance your question could have had. (Happy to be told otherwise, though).

    Comment by Owen Phelps — 13 Aug 2008 @ 4:49 AM

  492. Ian Forrester quotes Manacker:

    “Sorry, Ian, your post does not change the fact that “outsiders” to the specific scientific discipline involved in establishing the prevailing paradigm, have sometimes been exactly those that have challenged and eventually have broken the prevailing paradigm, thereby causing a “paradigm shift”.

    You know, I can’t think of a single example offhand. Copernicus and Galileo had gone through the trivium and quadrivium of medieval and Renaissance higher learning curricula, including astronomy. Edward Jenner was a professional physician who understood the scientific method and experimented in order to find his smallpox vaccine. Darwin was thoroughly familiar with the biology of his time and was, in fact, a Fellow of the Royal Society years before Origin of Species was published. Einstein had taken and passed the college exams in the schools in Germany and Switzerland that he attended and knew what the vital issues of the day in physics were. J Harlan Bretz was a professional geologist, Stephen Jay Gould a professional evolutionary biologist. Who were these outsiders who changed a field?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Aug 2008 @ 6:51 AM

  493. manacker writes:

    Spencer has suggested a strongly negative feedback from clouds based on physical observations over a 5-year period, which tend to validate Lindzen’s earlier “infrared iris” hypothesis of a natural negative feedback cycle.

    Except that satellite observations shot down the iris years ago.

    Note, too, that the World Meteorological Organization defines climate as mean regional or global weather over a period of 30 years or more.

    You can prove anything if you cherry-pick just five years that seem to suit your hypothesis. But it won’t mean anything.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Aug 2008 @ 6:55 AM

  494. manacker writes:

    As to “past temperature changes such as the glacial-interglacial cycle”, I find these proxy studies interesting, but far less convincing to me than today’s physical observations of the impact of cloud feedbacks on today’s climate.

    Wow. You don’t believe there were ice ages? I think Louis Agassiz proved pretty conclusively back in the 19th century that there were.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Aug 2008 @ 6:57 AM

  495. Has anyone directed Max Anacker of Tehag Diesel Emissions Management to Tamino’s takedown of Spencer yet?

    Comment by thingsbreak — 13 Aug 2008 @ 8:18 AM

  496. I have seen a lot of self-described “skeptics” of anthropogenic global warming who are in fact obstinate denialists, but rarely have I seen such relentless, uncompromising determination to remain ignorant, combined with pretentious, haughty condescension towards those who actually know something about the issue, as is exhibited by this manacker person. He ought to win some kind of prize.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 13 Aug 2008 @ 9:10 AM

  497. Mark, I wasted my time to search this entire thread a second time. Within this discourse you will not fine the word “irrelevant” in any of my posts until #459 where I was responding to your use, of nearly a dozen times, of the word. This is interesting only because typically you guys have spent most of this discourse desperately trying to convince yourselves that I said/asked something that I didn’t say/ask. My wild guess is you’re glomming on my agreement with your all’s assertion(s) that “[a trend line from 2002-2008 is statistically] meaningless”. If I’m correct, I’ll let you go to the dictionary yourself this time.

    Whatdaknow. Should have read your (and Owen’s) later posts. Guess I am correct. “Irrelevant” does not mean any of those other words either. I did say once that it might not be relevant, which is still not “irrelevant”, and which, even so, was simply part of my trying and futile efforts to get you guys off your dogmatic obsession with ignoring my actual question. Owen, my question is eminently understandable to anyone who reads with their eyes open. Oddly, Jürgen didn’t bat an eye.

    re the Monckton graph discourse: you get the last word. I’ve retired from it before (twice I think) and I can retire again. Other than for maybe something astoundingly egregious, I’m done with it. (I can almost hear the standing ovation ;-) ) I am willing (but not too enthusiastic) to continue for a bit on the subset of linear regression.

    I’m not getting your linear regression assertion through all of the smoke. I assert simply that linear regression develops a mathematical trend line that by design and purpose is a smoother (actually straight!) line than the lines that connect the points being analyzed. Do you refute that? (I’d be interested in your answer to my question, not any question you might have wished I asked.) #2, what does your 5th grade textbook actually say about it? #3, then, one uses linear regression for what, exactly, if not for seeing past or future (mathematical) trends??

    Comment by Rod B — 13 Aug 2008 @ 11:28 AM

  498. Rod, are you aware of how wattsup at his blog has been beating on what sounds very much like this same drum? If not it’s worth a look. You know how to find it.
    One example, among others:

    To Tell The Truth: Will the Real Global Average Temperature Trend … Mar 15, 2008 … If they can use linear regression to claim that global warming is proceeding apace …. but anywhere in the past or future? If not, why not? …

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Aug 2008 @ 12:37 PM

  499. Barton’s reply about heroic outsiders reminds me of a reckless post I made in my youth, when I Knew Everything. On Usenet, I casually made the assertion that “outsiders” were the ones responsible for scientific advances. That was my first real experience with being slapped down by the facts. Humility ensued.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 13 Aug 2008 @ 1:07 PM

  500. Rod B #497.

    1) I have given cuts of your comments saying you did say it
    2) Owen has given cuts of your comments saying you did say it
    3) Owen in 442 said you did and, when you thanked him for defending you, you did not correct him on it

    “None so blind as those who will not see” seems to be the phrase of the decade for you.

    You have the words you read the words. If you need to find the numbers of the posts, use the page search option on your web browser.

    You did.

    Comment by Mark — 13 Aug 2008 @ 2:10 PM

  501. ChuckG (486) — Thank you.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 13 Aug 2008 @ 4:33 PM

  502. Message to Barton Paul Levenson,

    Re ur 494: Duh! Sure there were ice ages. Just like there was a LIA preceded by a MWP.

    Got nothing to do with the validity of Spencer’s physical observations showing a strong negative cloud feedback in today’s climate system.

    [edit - either be constructive, or don't bother]

    Regards,

    Max

    [Response: You are wrong though. If the climate system is so stable, how did it ever go into or come out of an ice age? Feedbacks during the last-interglacial were likely the same as today - so why was it so much more sensitive then? - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 13 Aug 2008 @ 4:43 PM

  503. Mark (500), I read Owen’s 442 post 17.5 times (e.g.). I can’t find “irrelevant” anywhere. But thanks anyway for proving my point.

    (…. I just can’t shake this tar-baby….damn… like a bad recurring dream…)

    Comment by Rod B — 13 Aug 2008 @ 5:02 PM

  504. Hank (498), you post seems interesting, but it’s a bit to cryptic for me. What are you asking or saying?

    Comment by Rod B — 13 Aug 2008 @ 5:06 PM

  505. Hm. Spencer says Held reviewed his article.

    Held is publishing a method he says will:

    “… enable a climate feedback to be decomposed into two factors – one that depends on the radiative transfer algorithm and the unperturbed climate state and a second that arises from the climate response of the feedback variables. This factorization isolates the components of the feedback which are intrinsic to the
    radiative physics from those which arise from a particular pattern of climate response….The separation of the radiative and climate response components of the feedbacks enables a better understanding of the underlying physical processes which give rise to the feedbacks. This is readily apparent for water vapor and temperature feedbacks, whose vertical response patterns are tightly coupled …”
    http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/~ih/papers/kernel_final.pdf

    Spencer says his article describes two methods (excerpt taken from the wattsupwithat blog description, which cites to Spencer’s speech) here: http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=e12b56cb-4c7b-4c21-bd4a-7afbc4ee72f3

    “… The first method separates the true signature of feedback, wherein radiative flux variations are highly correlated to the temperature changes which cause them, from internally-generated radiative forcings, which are uncorrelated to the temperature variations which result from them….

    Similar descriptions. No idea if the actual methods are similar. Held’s paper is at the link given. Spencer’s is just mentioned as soon to be published.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Aug 2008 @ 6:51 PM

  506. Gavin’s last response to manacker raises an interesting question. It is not exactly intuitive to me that climate sensitivity should be the same given different boundary conditions. For example, once ice is gone, the ice-albedo feedback is zero if you turn up the temperature even further. I’d see no reason the ice-albedo feedback should be the same going from the LGM to the Holocene as it is going from Holocene into the future, given the same radiative forcing. Same with clouds.

    This is not an argument to support a low sensitivity of course!! Given the fact that paleo-hothouses were probably warmer than they would be with just the best estimates of CO2 rise and a 0.75 K/W/m**2 sensitivity one could argue the opposite– some other things going on probably. Using the 20th century as a tool for assessing climate sensitivity is hard due to the uncertainty in aerosols, and the fact we’re looking at transient effects and not equilibrium ones. The LGM is very useful, but has little resemblance to the Holocene.

    [Response: Let me rephrase your concern. Is climate sensitivity for negative forcing (i.e. a cooling) the same as the sensitivity to a positive forcing? Now for small enough changes, the answer will be yes (since you can always linearise), but what is small enough? Obvious as well is that this will break down at some point (on the way to Snowball Earth or Venus). As far as we can tell, the LGM fits with our notions of climate sensitivity for today's climate, but there is some evidence that things change as it gets warmer - some very long GCM runs have a long term effective sensitivity larger than they started with (i.e. as it warms the sensitivity increases). But there is no obvious evidence that sensitivity to the LGM is very different from current climate. There are some subtleties - the efficacies of the LGM forcings (ice sheets, dust as well as GHGs) might well be different from CO2, and that could make a small difference. - gavin]

    Comment by Chris Colose — 13 Aug 2008 @ 9:44 PM

  507. Rod B #503.

    I see you still have problems with maths.

    You can’t read something 17.5 times. 17 times and halfway through again before giving up, yes. 17.5 no.

    I’ve rolled a dice. It got 5. This his higher than the average dice roll on a d6, so this dice is loaded.

    Is this accurate?

    Well, average for a d6 is 3.5, this is 5, so since we know 5!=3.5 this is true.

    However, the statement is not innacurate.

    And you know this in your question because from your post in #386

    ‘it’s meaningless’, or ‘it’s statistically insignificant or misleading’. I knows dat;

    insignificant

    i know that

    your words.

    Comment by Mark — 14 Aug 2008 @ 2:56 AM

  508. “However the statement is not inaccurate” => “However the statement is innacurate”

    Comment by Mark — 14 Aug 2008 @ 2:57 AM

  509. Rod B: “Owen, my question is eminently understandable to anyone who reads with their eyes open.”

    Oh play fair, sir. I’ve not been having a go, and I asked my question in good faith. That response just isn’t helpful, and is practically designed to raise one’s hackles.

    I’ve read and re-read many of your comments and their replies, with a view to becoming better informed. I don’t have a particular axe to grind. With that in mind, you look like you’re asking: “out of curiosity, are we saying that Monckton applied the techniques of linear regression without making a simple calculation error?”. The answer to that appears to be “yes, he managed to not make a simple calculation error”. But the question doesn’t appear to be particularly relevant, as applying a technique without making a calculation error is not particularly useful when you’ve either chosen the wrong technique or the wrong data to use it on. Which is what seems to be the case here.

    So, with no maliciousness intended, or any motive other than to become better informed, I would like to ask explicitly: what other point did your question have, if not simply to satisfy your curiosity? I freely accept I may have missed it, perhaps even by letting other commenters colour my view. If you could set me straight, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Rod B: “Oddly, Jürgen didn’t bat an eye.”

    That’s true. But did you miss his follow up when he was questioned on it?

    Jurgen: “OK, ‘regression coefficient’ – sorry about that. English is not my native language, and while I do work in a scientific field, I don’t use all that much statistics in it and so wasn’t sure of the precise word.”

    He had made essentially the same mistake you had, mixing up informal and formal meanings.

    Comment by Owen Phelps — 14 Aug 2008 @ 4:35 AM

  510. Mark @500: 2) Owen has given cuts of your comments saying you did say it

    I don’t think my comment supports that statement, Mark.

    There’s a difference between:

    a) Rod B said X, and
    b) Rod B said things that imply X.

    I argue that Rod implied X, or at least, left that conclusion easily inferable. But he didn’t actually say X. Granted, that sounds like pedantic hair-splitting — and in informal discussions it probably wouldn’t matter — but since that’s exactly what we’re doing on the whole “trend” thing, it’s incumbent on us to play by the same rules here.

    Comment by Owen Phelps — 14 Aug 2008 @ 5:20 AM

  511. Owen (509), Hooray! That is EXACTLY what I asked. Jürgen, during the storm, gave me the answer with no fuss, muss, or embellishment. As I recall he actually calculated, using the same data, a slightly different linear regression trend line from Monckton (in addition to his refutation of Monckton’s analysis) — I’m not sure what that means and didn’t think it worthwhile to pursue further.

    This entire discourse required four to six posts at best, not the forty-eleven that occurred. I think it was relevant, though not earth shaking. Given that Monckton analysis certainly seemed misleading, and was attacked here as such, I was simply curious if, while maybe wrong in his analysis, he can none-the-less at least do the math correctly. (I’m not very good at it, my degree in Mathematics aside.) It got out of control, IMO, because of a trait shown by many (most? certainly not all) AGW proponents: that is if a person attacks any part of AGW, that person is presumed 100% wrong in every thing he does or says in his life. Somehow, it seems to me, if they agree that the antagonist knows how to tie his shoes, that will somehow dilute their AGW position, and (seems like) they will fight it at all costs and reason, including sinking their teeth like a pit bull into a blind, precise, and exclusionary definition of words.

    But I digress. Your 491 post was fair; you just happened to get in the crossfire of Mark’s and my p**sin’ contest. Sorry.

    This really, really, really ought to conclude it. It’s way over age, and there’s barely any interest anymore.

    Comment by Rod B — 14 Aug 2008 @ 9:56 AM

  512. But Rod, we only have your best interest at heart! You’re such a lousy judge of character — trusting Singer, Lindzen, GWB — you’re just asking to be suckered again.

    You were obviously fishing for an excuse to trust the good viscount; friends don’t let friends do that.

    So, yes, Monckton can tie his own shoelaces. Probably. Or perhaps Anthony Watts ties them for him.

    Forget I ever spoke.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 14 Aug 2008 @ 11:06 AM

  513. It got out of control, IMO, because of a trait shown by many (most? certainly not all) AGW proponents: that is if a person attacks any part of AGW, that person is presumed 100% wrong in every thing he does or says in his life.

    it got out of control because – being as charitable as I can – you misspoke when you asked the question in the first place.

    We answered the question you asked. Not the question you claim that you meant to ask. Responsibility lies in your court. Our sin is to take you at face value, a sin few of us are likely to repeat given your insistence that our doing so is evidence of this unpleasant trait you describe above. Which is bullshit, pure and simple.

    Comment by dhogaza — 14 Aug 2008 @ 11:11 AM

  514. Roc B #511. Maybe we ought to name you after Ives’ “The unanswered question”.

    Do you disagree that the average throw of a six-sided dice is 3.5?

    So therefore all dice are crooked because NONE OF THEM will throw 3.5.

    You never answered that.

    You never answered Owen’s query either.

    You missed your own quote which I supplied you where you said you knew that it was statistically insignificant and misleading.

    If you take a linear regression, you have one value. The line with the lowest error.

    You want to make “lowest error” equal to “no error”. Therefore, even mathematically speaking, the answer was wrong. Since linear regression is the line with the LEAST error. So the result of a linear regression is something like:

    A gradient of -0.003 +/- 0.04.

    If you ask “does that mean the gradient is negative”, the answer is no. It is nearly as likely the gradient is positive. Therefore the answer to “is the gradient negative” is “no”. There can be no conclusion about the sign of the gradient.

    You, however, didn’t believe that PURELY because you didn’t want to work out your error bars and you want Monkton to be right because he gives the answers you want.

    [edit - this conversation is getting extremely tiresome - please move on]

    Comment by Mark — 14 Aug 2008 @ 11:48 AM

  515. dhogaza (513), a close overt real-time example from #260:

    “….if the answer is “yes,” it could be put to use in constructing misleading rhetoric. I can easily imagine someone copying a yes response to your question, and pasting it out of context somewhere else, while proclaiming “see?!?….”

    Owen, see what I mean?

    Martin, if you recall, I said the good viscount was misleading, seemed dishonest, and looked goofy. Not to worry much. Though, like your other examples, he does have some good bona fides. But, hmmmm, maybe he really can’t tie his own shoes! Shoots that theory… ;-)

    Comment by Rod B — 14 Aug 2008 @ 12:11 PM

  516. Rod B. et al., I don’t think that further fileting this horse is particularly profitable. For what it is worth, I do not attribute any ulterior motives to you. I do think that your language was imprecise and that you did not fully appreciate the imprecision of your language or the potential consequences of that imprecision. I think that perhaps you do not appreciate them even now.

    What you meant to ask was whether his numerical result was correct. Perhaps you didn’t understand that when you use terms like “trend” there is a reasoning that goes along with the numerical analysis. Even if you get the right numerical answer for the wrong reasons, you are still wrong.

    What people here need to understand is that you do not share our gloomy assessment of the morals of those committed denialists like Monckton. What you need to understand is that denialists do take quotations out of context–just ask Carl Wunsch. As a result, scientists are rather sensitive to precision in language and are rather reluctant to relaxing that precision even when it would seem to be “irrelevant” to do so.

    The oracle of ReCAPTCHA: resent Quality

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Aug 2008 @ 1:30 PM

  517. Owen, #510.

    you’re not a politician, are you?

    Sorry :-)

    However, they do use words like “the right honorable gentleman is in error” rather than actually SAY “you lying little bugger!” and hence get around the rules against calling someone a liar in the houses of parliament.

    Comment by Mark — 14 Aug 2008 @ 1:39 PM

  518. Hey hey hey. That quote from 260 did not illustrate that “that person is presumed 100% wrong in every thing he does or says in his life.” That quote from #260 was about people ripping innocuous things out of context and using them to tell lies. I was pointing out that people in this forum probably wanted to avoid making that type of maneuver easy for those who use such dirty tricks. I was *not* saying that I presumed you or Monckton to be “100% wrong in every thing he does or says in his life.” Not even close.

    Comment by kevin — 14 Aug 2008 @ 3:35 PM

  519. Heh. I don’t think Rod’s a troll, but any troll would be glowing with pride over a thread like this :)

    Comment by kevin — 14 Aug 2008 @ 3:41 PM

  520. Ray (516), the profitability of this discourse went negative eons ago :-) ! Gavin, with clearly the patience of Job, is himself now putting an end to it.

    I firmly believe my own assessment of the process here, but I would not at all attribute it to “ulterior motives”. None-the-less, I probably should be more restrained in my psychoanalyzing

    Comment by Rod B — 14 Aug 2008 @ 4:25 PM

  521. kevin (518, 519), I knew your example was not perfect; why I fudged a bit by calling it a near example. It wasn’t worth digging out a better example — though they can be found in RC — and dragging out a long post..

    “Glowing with pride” is not exactly my current situation. (In case my irony is missed — not anywhere near it! I’m almost as tired of it as Gavin and all but a couple of posters.)

    Comment by Rod B — 14 Aug 2008 @ 4:41 PM

  522. I firmly believe my own assessment of the process here…

    And your own assessment of climate science, and of evolutaionary biology …

    Sorry, I don’t have much faith in your own assessment.

    Comment by dhogaza — 14 Aug 2008 @ 5:02 PM

  523. Mark @517: Owen, you’re not a politician, are you?

    Ha! No, far from it :-). Since you don’t know how much effort it takes for me to stay civil (I’ve got a quick temper, and I tend to overreact), I’m going to take your comment as an unqualified compliment :-).

    Comment by Owen Phelps — 14 Aug 2008 @ 6:28 PM

  524. It helps, when talking about “the” climate sensitivity”, to incude latitudinal and regional (i.e. ocean, coast, or continental interior) information. The climate sensitivity in Alaska, for example, is different from the climate sensitivity in Hawaii. The response to the main forcing (anthropogenic infrared-absorbing gases in the troposphere) is location-dependent. Also, keep in mind that the transient climate response (TCR) is the well defined estimate here.

    The TCR is the expected change in surface temperature at the time CO2 doubles relative to pre-industrial levels, assuming a 1% steady increase per year in CO2 emissions.

    The equilibrium climate sensitivity is highly theoretical, as it does not include carbon-cycle feedback estimates. The equilibrium situation (for 2X CO2) appears to be something similar to the period 3.5+ million years ago, when there were no glacial cycles and sea levels were tens of meters higher than now, but it will take centuries to reach such an equilibrium.

    As far as manacker – whoever that is is just recycling the same tired garbage that was promoted by Douglas et al – their “low climate sensitivity” nonsense that was regurgitated by Monckton, mostly verbatim – direct plagiarism, picked up and repeated by Roger Pielke Sr. and Steve McIntyre. What they do is take one or two pieces of information that are uncertain, focus all their attention on that, ignore everything else, and call it science – which it isn’t.

    You can try to repackage this till you are blue in the face, but the bottom line is that Douglas et al claim that the oceans are not warming, and that the surface temperature increase is the only climate response to the CO2 forcing. Essentially, that’s their argument, which they dress up in a long-winded equation-sprinkled garment. That’s what manacker is recycling, that’s what Monckton is recycling, that’s why Pielke Sr. went hog-wild over the Lyman et al report on cooling of the surface ocean, and so on.

    If Triana, the Deep Space Climate Observatory, has been launched in the 90s, you’d have a decade long-record of the exact Earth energy balance. If there is a difference between energy emitted and energy absorbed, then the Earth as a whole is either cooling or warming. Since the data for surface temperatures are pretty extensive (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least), and the ocean temperature data are pretty limited (especially in the Southern Hemisphere), you can point to the ocean and claim that the uncertainty means there could be a low climate sensitivity.

    The argument is complete B.S., but that doesn’t keep the broken records from repeating themselves endlessly.

    That’s the case with every single “scientific issue” raised on threads by denialists. Let’s see – “CO2 is already saturated with respect to absorption” – refuted in the 1950s, but that didn’t keep fossil fuel PR types from posting hundreds of comments about it.

    The whole episode with Douglass et al is similar to that of Idso et al in the 1980s, Lindzen et al in the 1990s – bad science promoted by public relations firms in order to influence public opinion and government policy. This should not really surprise anyone – look how much time and money the tobacco industry spent on fighting the link between cancer and smoking – and fossil fuels are a much bigger industry than tobacco products are. There are many examples – S. Fred Singer is a “scientist” who worked for both the tobacco and fossil fuel PR industry, and there are many like him.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 18 Aug 2008 @ 12:04 PM

  525. > The TCR is the expected change in surface temperature
    > at the time CO2 doubles relative to pre-industrial
    > levels, assuming

    _at__the_time_? No committed warming included at all in the TCR?

    ______________
    ReCaptcha: “Binge department”

    [Response: Well there is committed warming (which is why TCR is less than the equilibrium sensitivity). But TCR is just the realised warming at a specific time. It's slightly less uncertain in the models than the full equilibrium value - not least because most of the coupled models have not been run out to full equilibrium. - gavin]

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Aug 2008 @ 12:13 PM

  526. In reply to:

    “[Response: Thanks for helping complicate a very simple issue! Stratospheric cooling is predicted from increasing CO2 (and was so predicted decades ago), this is the opposite behaviour than with solar forcing. It’s basic radiative physics - and while there is a lot of interesting research on dynamical couplings between the stratosphere and troposphere, the radiative effects are completely uncontroversial. (And, in case you hadn’t noticed, the stratosphere is indeed cooling)"

    Stratospheric cooling is the opposite behaviour that would be expected from an increase in TSI (Solar forcing.) - Yes. I agree, however:

    Stratospheric cooling is what would be expected if there was a reduction in planetary cloud cover in response to solar initiated electroscavenging which removes cloud forming ions. (Electroscavenging is the name for a process where sharp changes in the solar flux at the earth, creates space charge in the ionosphere which is hypothesized to remove cloud forming ions.)

    Based on the data and research I have seen, the two mechanisms by which solar magnetic cycle changes are hypothesized to modulate planetary cloud cover are still valid.

    Comment:
    TSI has very recently been dropping, it is assumed due the recent slow down in the solar magnetic cycle. There are still sharp increases in the solar wind, however, so the temperature effect on the earth of a reduction in the TSI is mitigated by hypothesized electroscavenging effect.

    [Response: And there I was thinking that the GCR-climate hypothesis was the least supported idea out there.... Might you have even one study that supports any one of these ideas? - gavin]

    Comment by William Astley — 23 Sep 2008 @ 1:41 PM

  527. This is a climate change question unrelated to recent posts.

    Some of the cold water in the Arctic sinks and flows Southward into the Atlantic, and is replaced by warmer surface water. The Gulf stream helps to warm the Northward-flowing surface water.

    I have come across the hypothesis that if the Arctic warms enough to prevent or significantly reduce the sinking of cold water, the result could be that the Gulf Stream would be stopped.

    Are there numbers to support this hypothesis? Surely the Gulf stream is driven primarily by the rotation of the Earth (the Coriolis effect, which causes the overall clockwise circulation of the North Atlantic)? My intuition is that the circulation of water to and from the Arctic fits into the Coriolis-driven circulation rather than driving or even significantly enhancing it.

    Comment by David Rogers — 27 Sep 2008 @ 11:21 AM

  528. David, where did you come across that hypothesis?
    Pointer to your source would help answer your question.
    The first link under Science (right side of page) is to a history of the research; you’ll find the early models of circulation (literally physical models — rotating spheres with fluid) correspond to your intuition.

    The “Start Here” link at the top of the page is a good place to begin.
    That will lead you in a few clicks to this FAQ that should help.

    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/FAQ/wg1_faq-10.2.html

    The Gulf Stream is only part of the process, described more in the FAQ.
    From that you can pull search terms like this to look for research.

    Just as an example:

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?num=50&hl=en&lr=&newwindow=1&safe=off&scoring=r&q=meridional+overturning+circulation+&as_ylo=2005

    Vary the starting year; note which papers have been often cited by subsequent papers.

    You can follow the development of the ideas. You’ll find good summary papers in the recent years.

    I’m an amateur reader here; I try to give pointers as I’m the kind of person who reads the fine manual, the readme file, and the FAQs and that’s the extent of the help I can offer. Better answers will follow from people who really know something.

    Oh, using the Search box at the top of each page here will also turn up many previous threads appropriate to your question.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Sep 2008 @ 1:56 PM

  529. In reply to: #98 [Response: "… The paleo-climate picture is a terrible cartoon of what happened. You are much better off with the more up-to-date fig 6.1 in AR4 (p441)… "

    Hardly "much" better off: it's only three years. AR4's cut-off date for new papers was the end of 2005; Geocraft's CO2 reference is 2001; temperature is 2002—not too shabby. IPCC reference Royer, 2006, for CO2 data references. I wish I could see his paper (I can't locate it online), but Dana Royer was analysing previous data, they weren't brand new; was there some revelation in those three years? IPCC reference even earlier papers for the temperature data: 1991 and '92. Geocraft's are more recent than that.

    Anyway, the Geocraft graph compared atmospheric CO2 with "average global temperature"; in other words, air temperature. Figure 6.1 in AR4 compares atmospheric CO2 with deep ocean temperature—and shows, to my eye, a fairly good correlation.

    But atmospheric and deep ocean temperatures are not at first sight comparable, the one changing hourly, the other on centennial or longer scales and there's no fast thermal path between them, that's for sure. How would the atmosphere heat the ocean more than the sun? Why do you say Steve would be "much better off" looking at deep ocean temperatures? After all, the discussion concerns the effect of CO2 on atmospheric temperature at decadal scales or less. If CO2 affects the deep ocean, surely it is with some enormous lag, which is probably invisible in Figure 6.1, since the time resolution is only ±1 Myr. What would be the mechanism? How do deep ocean temps help our understanding of the AGW theory/process?

    AR4 does mention atmospheric temperature reconstructions without reservation, but are the proxies in fact doubtful, or at least less certain than the deep ocean reconstructions? Is that why you reference no graph of ancient atmospheric temperature? Or is there another reason?

    Cheers,
    Richard Treadgold,
    Convenor,
    Climate Conversation Group.

    [Response: There are no clean proxies for global surface air temperature over these timescales. But the fact that it is impossible to say where that reconstruction came from or what information was used should immediately raise your suspicions that it is either based on some heuristic qualitative feelings or that instead it is using an implicit connection between ocean temperatures and surface air temperature instead. Either way, the connection to reality is tenuous. IPCC did a much better job of tracking these factors back in time - with the attendant uncertainties and with actual references (!) - why bother trying to defend some hand-drawn graph which obviously doesn't have either? - gavin]

    Comment by Richard Treadgold — 5 Oct 2008 @ 7:33 PM

  530. why bother trying to defend some hand-drawn graph which obviously doesn’t have either [uncertainties or references]?

    Defend?! That was unexpected—you are certainly mistaken. Actually, you recommended to Steve more recent data and I questioned your reference to the AR4, since that isn’t much more recent. I defended nothing.

    But the fact that it is impossible to say where that reconstruction came from or what information was used should immediately raise your suspicions that it is either based on some heuristic qualitative feelings or that instead it is using an implicit connection between ocean temperatures and surface air temperature instead.

    What?! The graph doesn’t show ocean temperature, it shows atmospheric CO2 levels and air temperature! Still, I agree with you on the lack of uncertainty and references. Hence my interest in your response to Steve. I wanted to know what best to replace it with.

    IPCC did a much better job of tracking these factors back in time—with the attendant uncertainties and with actual references

    No, they did not—not here, anyway. That is to say, they might have done a good job, but not on surface air temperatures; these are deep ocean temperatures. I’m surprised to be pointing this out—it’s your reference.

    Indeed, how could they track air temperatures, since you say “there are no clean proxies for global surface air temperatures over these timescales?”

    I’m interested to know, as my questions reflect, about the correlation between CO2 and deep ocean temperatures (not, surprisingly, air temps) and what that might tell us about AGW.

    Gavin, you’ve mistaken me on one trivial point, misread the two graphs we are discussing and neither answered any of my questions nor responded to any substantive remarks. Would you care to start again? I still want to know why you made that reply to Steve and how on earth deep ocean temperatures respond to CO2—apparently.

    Cheers,
    Richard.

    Comment by Richard Treadgold — 6 Oct 2008 @ 2:59 AM

  531. Richard:

    1: “not too shabby” was what you said about Geocraft’s references. And you seemed to be trying to claim that AR4 Figure 6.1 was “hardly ‘much’ better” than the Geocraft hand-drawn figure. That sounds like defending the Geocraft hand-drawn figure to me.

    2: Gavin stated that either a) Geocraft was hand drawing their figures based on qualitative feelings, or b) that they were using an implicit ocean-air temp connection. That “b” option does not state that the Geocraft figure is using ocean temperatures, it is stating that, assuming charitably that their temperatures are not just pulled out of their rears, that they are assuming global temperatures are correlated with something we have proxies for, such as ocean temperatures.

    3: Since there are no good air surface temp proxies on the time scales of the graphs, therefore ocean temps are the best way to track global temperatures on the million year scale. So, therefore yes, the IPCC did do a much better job.

    Other notes: on a decadal timescale, it is possible for ocean and air surface temps to diverge, but on a several thousand year time scale the ocean _does_ mix, and therefore the energy imbalance at the top of the atmosphere does propagate through the system, and therefore ocean temps _do_ give you some idea of what is happening with surface temperatures. (also, given that the original post is citing a Geocraft figure showing a 600 million year timescale, why do you claim that the discussion is about “decadal time scales”?)

    And, unlike Gavin, you do indeed misread graphs, as well as responses: the IPCC references the 1991 and 1992 papers about ice volume. The temperature references are the 2001 to 2004 papers. And AR4 references to atmospheric temperature reconstructions are likely for the past 600,000 years, not the past tens of millions.

    Would you care to start again?

    [Response: Let's slow down a bit. I went back to the Scotese site to see if I could find a real reference for the temperature curve. I couldn't (but maybe someone else can have a look). However, it does appear that he is trying to reconstruct temperatures on a qualitative basis (using the kinds of soils and rocks and whether glacial ice is present) rather than any quantitative geochemical proxy. This means that any curve he draws (by hand) is fundamentally schematic and of very poor resolution - basically one or two data points per geologic era. It is wholly inadequate therefore for trying to quantify CO2/temperature relationships (as in the geocraft picture). The results highlighted in the IPCC report are completely different - they are based on geochemical proxies (chiefly oxygen isotope ratios in deep ocean carbonate) which have known relationships to both temperature and global ice volume, have much higher resolution and can detect events like the PETM which you will note is absent on the Scotese curve. Now the PETM has been known about since the early 1990s, and it's absence on a curve that Richard claims is up-to-date is a little troubling, no? - gavin]

    Comment by Marcus — 6 Oct 2008 @ 9:08 AM

  532. > Scotese site
    I tried email to the info contact address there, pointing to this thread
    –after recent discussion of the general idea, addressed here: http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/09/17/open-thread-6/#comment-22617

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Oct 2008 @ 10:30 AM

  533. In reply to #531:

    1. Three years is little better, but it wasn’t about more recent data. Gavin wanted to recommend a different graph; he just gave the wrong reason. His main point was what he called the “terrible cartoon”. I was nit-picking. Let it go.

    2. Ah, now I understand, thank you. However, “their temperatures are not just pulled out of their rears” is disgusting. ‘Not just invented’ would have been sufficient. Wash your filthy mouth out.

    3. I agree.

    why do you claim that the discussion is about “decadal time scales”? Because the main thread, commenting on Lord Monckton’s work, concerns AGW in this day and age.

    Yes, I misread the references to ice volume as temperature; thank you for pointing that out.

    Gavin:

    Your suggestions about the source of the Scotese data are far better informed than mine could be; still, without a reference we’re just guessing. If the graph was drawn by hand, it wouldn’t be the first time a good scientist did that. You point out the absence of the PETM; that invites suspicion. But thanks for trying; let’s hope there’s a response to the email from Hank (and well done, him).

    You say the data in the AR4 “have much higher resolution”. Yet it’s only ±1 My; is the resolution better elsewhere? I’m wondering how such coarse resolution can help us understand AGW. At least, in time for it to matter; otherwise we’re waiting generations for equilibrium—hardly a practical course.

    The Geocraft graph was presented by Steve to show lack of correlation between CO2 and temperature over a long time scale. You discount that graph because it lacks references (though it might yet contain goodness?) and prefer to replace it with the IPCC effort.

    Now we have a longer period and a larger temporal granularity and by equilibrium, correlation might be evident. It’s difficult to tell, since I wonder how to read those huge ranges of CO2. But all hint of causation is surely lost. Now the question is: what causes atmospheric temperature to change? I have in mind that temperature, rising, can cause outgassing of oceanic CO2. Yet CO2 can cause temp to rise, and there are other influences on temperature. Figure 6.1 doesn’t seem to help us with this. So, what’s the evidence?

    Cheers,
    Richard.

    Comment by Richard Treadgold — 6 Oct 2008 @ 5:16 PM

  534. Hmmm, a week now without response. Are you all on holiday? Was it something I said?

    Comment by Richard Treadgold — 12 Oct 2008 @ 3:10 PM

  535. Richard Treadgold,
    Ever heard of physics?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Oct 2008 @ 6:54 PM

  536. Ah, sorry, what’s your point?

    Comment by Richard Treadgold — 15 Oct 2008 @ 3:31 AM

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