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  1. pecked to death by ducks

    Comment by rpauli — 28 Nov 2008 @ 2:22 PM

  2. Very nice work, and that wiki well, it can get bigger and bigger and out of control !!! LOLL .Only I think that there are not enough arguments in the universe to stop climate skeptic from repeating over ‘d over again the same old sound bites.

    Comment by Viriato — 28 Nov 2008 @ 3:03 PM

  3. In the Singer Heartland report, one particularly egregious out of context citation is the quoting of Kevin Trenberth on pages 14-15, where it is implied that Trenberth concludes that climate computer models are in no way useful to predict future climate–very much contrary to his actual and publicly stated views.

    In this instance, Trenberth is actually articulating the difference between a scenario and prediction (i.e., since future climate will resolve as a function of anthropogenic emissions yet to be determined, in strict terms, a prediction of future climate is not possible, but in the context of stated numeric future greenhouse scenarios, A,B, or C, useful and revealing climate estimations can be made).

    For Singer to quote this out of context reveals his intent to distort and avoid the truth. This kind of courtroom style hooey that flies in the face of truth seeking is frustrating in the least…if there is a Hell, Singer has surely paved his way to it…

    Comment by Jim Redden — 28 Nov 2008 @ 3:20 PM

  4. There are a few lines from the Arthur C. Clarke’s 1965 book of essays, \Voices from the Sky\ that say a lot about Singer. Clarke was writing about his experiences in the 1950’s trying to generate enthusiasm for space flight, and he wrote a few paragraphs about\…Fred Singer, then a science attache with the U.S. Office of Naval Research. He had already done notable work with rocket probes in the upper atmosphere, but was somewhat skeptical about space flight. However after a few brainwashing sessions, he became wildly enthusiastic, and we soon had to hold him down lest he start galloping all over the solar system.\ Ever a malleable skeptic?

    Comment by Steve Pranulis — 28 Nov 2008 @ 3:27 PM

  5. Viriato @2
    Nothing will stop repetition of soundbites, forever.

    But good information helps those who are either uncertain, or need scientific information to counter those soundbites.

    ==
    Michael: I was up at PSU late October, but email kept bouncing, so I guess you were away. I was over at IST & stopped by Walker, but no luck. Maybe next time…

    Comment by John Mashey — 28 Nov 2008 @ 3:39 PM

  6. Can you build on the work already done over at Grist, with their “how to talk to a skeptic” series? No need to invent the wheel. However, I think that their series could do with beefier references into the literature, raising the level of scholarship. Perhaps that’s what realclimate folks could add?

    [Response: In our main posts, we do try and do that, but as you correctly state there is a lot of material out there and no need to re-invent the wheel. Thus the RC Wiki is mainly an indexing that sends you to where these things have been discussed in more depth already. It should help identify where more technical work is needed though… – gavin]

    Comment by Steve Easterbrook — 28 Nov 2008 @ 3:41 PM

  7. Although bothersome, this should not be ignored. This is more dreck from a renown denier/agitator S. Fred Singer who seems too be drawn to contentious fights. He has a long history with the tobacco industry.

    Wikipedia has his bio, but their back discussion offers a far more interesting and extensive discussion than their front bio entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Fred_Singer
    Perhaps this latest NIPCC gambit will be added. Wikipedia has some struggles in this area – it may be appropriate to put effort into a RealClimate Wiki.

    Elsewhere are other well referenced history of Singer’s misdeeds:
    http://www.ecosyn.us/adti/Singer-Seitz.html
    http://www.ecosyn.us/adti/Singer-Nightline.html
    http://www.ecosyn.us/adti/Singer-1993-1994.html
    http://www.ecosyn.us/adti/Stohrer-Singer.html
    http://www.ecosyn.us/adti/Hazeltine-Singer.html

    Comment by rpauli — 28 Nov 2008 @ 3:49 PM

  8. Michael & Gavin,

    This is one of your best efforts yet for challenging the misinformation campaigns.

    I’d like to offer one minor suggestion that may improve clarity of your otherwise well-written {even entertaining :-) } post.

    It took me a minute to parse the following sentence:

    “Chapter 2 ‘How much of modern warming is anthropogenic’ throws out the standard, itself now discredited, ‘the hockey stick is discredited’ claim, and adds … ”

    It was the “itself now discredited” phrase used as an adjective that tripped me up. I get it after rereading a couple of times, but it seems cumbersome & could probably be smoothed out a bit.

    Suggestion: add hyphens to the adjective phrases, & include both in quotation marks for consitency: “How much of modern warming is anthropogenic” throws out the standard “itself-now-discredited”, “the-hockey-stick-is-discredited” claim, and adds …”

    Further, I’ll confess that I must not have been paying attention, because up ’til now, I’ve missed your RC Wiki. Wow. What a great resource. I hope to participate in that in coming months.

    Thank you very much for your fantastic efforts. I am engaged as an educator about climate change in the context of systems sciences (at Euglena Academy), & actively challenging obfuscators & deniers in my community.

    The two web sites that I use most(& recommend to students & clients) are Spencer Weart’s website, The Discovery of Global Warming, & Real Climate. Dr. Weart lays out the relatively linear, narrative history, you folks address the current issues in substantive fashion.

    Add Fred Pearce’s book With Speed & Violence – and another one I’ll mention another time – and one has a great symbiotic combination.

    Comment by Alder Fuller — 28 Nov 2008 @ 5:51 PM

  9. NIPCC. Nobel Prize for Fictitious Humor.

    Comment by Ron Crouch — 28 Nov 2008 @ 6:12 PM

  10. “No Grasshopper!” ? ? ?

    Could we have a poll to see how many of we readers recognize that
    Obscure non-Literary Reference?

    The series *ended* within a year of the founding of the venerable
    Costeau Society ~ ~ wayback! lol

    Awwe never mind. If you wanna know it is @
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kung_Fu_(TV_series)
    or
    http://tinyurl.com/yu6zo9

    Anyway I think my cousin has it right, GHG deniers are actually aliens
    who need a desert planet before they can move in, hence the constant
    denial of observed data. Of course she is also almost convinced that
    Henry Kissinger, who has not aged in forty years, must be a vampire and
    points out that at least her models fit the data while others’
    explanations require assumptions of insanity or miracle.

    Have a nice Holocene,

    J

    [Response: I’m pretty sure that this phraseology has passed into the canon by now… – gavin]

    [Response: The term is defined in the online urban dictionary, which seems adequate justification for this sort of useage :) -mike]

    Comment by jaynicks — 28 Nov 2008 @ 6:40 PM

  11. Your choice of topic is timely.

    Sadly here in Australia, the national rag “The Australian” continues to promote the so-called debate on whether climate change is human caused or not. The editors have perfected the art of specious framing of the scientific question, which is not about climate change, but is about anthropogenic global warming as a (major) contributor to current and recent climate change.

    The usual suspects of Carter, Pilmer, Evans, Bellamy, Kinnimonth etc, are publishing articles in the Australian in what seems to be a coordinated effort to keep the ridiculous dross in the public’s face. They also get free rein in the letters-to-editor section of the newspaper as well. Unfortunately I suspect their attempts to change the public opinion on AGW are working – real working scientists can only respond so often to these opinion pieces. The more often these guys get their debating points in print, the weaker the scientific blow-by-blow rebuttal of their points seems.

    On a different note: keep up the good work with this site; it’s a great resource and a needed one. I have a request though – could more of your posts be on the science and the progress being made?

    Comment by Donald Oats — 28 Nov 2008 @ 6:51 PM

  12. could more of your posts be on the science and the progress being made?

    Personally, that’s what I’d prefer. But the need to counter the spread of fear, uncertainty, and doubt is too great.

    So I say, keep debunking. Not only does it get the truth on the record, it helps the rest of us fight the good fight.

    [Response: Having said that, there are interesting new developments which need contextualising as well. Unfortunately, that takes more time to prepare – we’d be happy to get suggestions for guest posts on such topics though… – gavin]

    Comment by tamino — 28 Nov 2008 @ 7:31 PM

  13. Good work.

    Barry Brook over at BraveNewClimate came to much the same conclusion as you guys and set up a series (currently 5 parts) called ‘Spot the Recycled Denial’, which attempts the same refutation-by-link approach (with some parenthetical comments):

    http://bravenewclimate.com/spot-the-recycled-denial-series/

    Comment by Esteban Siadora — 28 Nov 2008 @ 7:40 PM

  14. I forwarded your email to Alternet.org tips. I hope that they will reprint your web page this time instead of Singer’s.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 28 Nov 2008 @ 7:59 PM

  15. “Some of us thought that the “NIPCC” report was so self-evidently nonsense that we shouldn’t even give it the benefit of any publicity.

    I for one am glad you went ahead. Yesterday I replied to someone on slashdot and mentioned that I thought Singer had been consigned to the dustbin of dishonest scientists since I had not heard much of him lately, I also recommended your site and linked to the front page. At the time I linked the top story was “Mind the gap”, I checked the site today and low and behold there’s Fred!

    Comment by Alan — 28 Nov 2008 @ 9:26 PM

  16. Climate Trek: The Idiot Generation

    Episode 1: Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate

    [Voice over by Captain Twerp] “Climate change… the strict limits. These are the stalling voices of the contrarian bandwagon Indolence. Its continuing mission: to not explore the real science, to seek out incredibly contorted explanations, to selectively quote where no contrarians have gone before”

    [Direction: Run title sequence; selective quote, p. i]

    Nothing in this report should be construed as reflecting the views of the Science

    [Direction: proceed to the Introduction, selective quote, p. 1] The Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate report says:

    …it is far from being a reliable reference work on some of the most important aspects of climate change science and policy. It is marred by errors and misstatements, ignores scientific data that were available but were inconsistent with the authors’ pre-conceived conclusions, and has already been contradicted in important parts by research published…

    [Direction: proceed to the Conclusion, selective quote, p. 27]

    …the reported warming (since 1979) is very likely caused by the human emission of greenhouse gases

    [Roll credits]

    *******
    There we have it then, selective out-of-context quotes to “prove” … what? We all know!

    Comment by P. Lewis — 28 Nov 2008 @ 10:47 PM

  17. Even well intentioned non-partisan groups do not seem to be able to properly read the IPCC. Consider the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). In a recent report on California’s water situation (http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/report/R_1108JLR.pdf ) they state:

    “Many of California’s water managers are now working with projections of a one foot rise by mid-century and a three to four foot rise by 2100, slightly above the levels projected in the higher emissions scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). . .”

    What the IPCC really says is that such estimates exclude “future rapid dynamical changes in ice flow ”
    See: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr.pdf section 3.2 &
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter4.pdf page 367.

    Thus, the IPCC numbers set a range for the minimum sea level rise rather than bracketing total sea level rise. The difference is important for policy and engineering purposes.

    The PPIC report was passed to me from a senior manager in a large federal agency with large inputs to all water policy, so apparently the PPIC report is being read by policy makers, who apparently did not read the full text of the IPCC reports.

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 28 Nov 2008 @ 10:52 PM

  18. #12 , Completely agree with Tamino. I have so many suggestions, but my #1 idea is MSU troposphere temperature vs Radiosonde DWT’s. Today 247 K troposphere in the High Arctic is +7 K above last years average for November (warmest year in History for the NH), yet I keep on reading MSU’s data being much colder.. something is just not quite right.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 28 Nov 2008 @ 10:54 PM

  19. Re #11 Donald Oats,
    It is not just the Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald is also promoting the works of local denialists: Carter and Pilmer via the opinion piece by Miranda Devine. Ironically, Devine presents the likes of Pilmer and Carter as true open minded scientists and every one else (such as the contributors to this site) that are not “skeptical” like them as followers of “climate alarm dogma”! I cannot believe that that it is co-incidental that all of these denial articles are appearing at the same time.

    Comment by Lawrence McLean — 28 Nov 2008 @ 11:31 PM

  20. The statement in the NIPCC that ‘observations and model predictions don’t match’, indicates that some people will remain anti AGW no matter what the evidence shows to the contrary. A good example, among many, showing a close match between model projections and data since the date of the model’s projections is summarized in a May 2007 post by Gavin on Hansen’s 1988 projections. This clearly demonstrates that model forecasts can come pretty close to observed data.
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/hansens-1988-projections/

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 28 Nov 2008 @ 11:41 PM

  21. Re 11,12,18 –

    One thing that might be helpful (at least to me) is a post explaining about multidecadal trends in AO/NAM.

    I was in a discussion on another website and the topic came up; I started educated myself more about Rossby waves and how they propagate, but I don’t really know where to go with that yet – one idea I came across was that the changing temperature distribution in the y,z plane would change the zonal wind shear, etc, ?? and that would reduce planetary wave propagation into the stratosphere and thus lead to stronger stratospheric polar vortex which could then feed back into the tropospheric circulation (by regulation of planetary wave propagation?). But I also saw another paper (sorry I don’t have time to post references just now) which suggests that the theory that planetary wave propagation would be so altered is wrong and also that the evidence suggests the EP flux hasn’t changed. I think it pointed the finger at direct radiative forcing within the stratosphere causing changes in the polar vortex. But without circulation feedbacks, I don’t get how AGW cools the winter polar (lower) stratosphere more than the rest of the (lower) stratosphere – it’s easier to understand how ozone depletion and solar forcing (lack of recent trends aside) would do that, although this paper chose a time of year such as to rule out spring-time polar ozone depletion contributions … Anyway, I was wondering if it might just be the same Brewer Dobson circulation acting on changed zonal winds – bringing in greater momentum from lower latitudes – or, if it might just be that enhanced low-level polar warming produces a climatological thermal low and that is what is going on – I don’t know???????? – or is part of the answer in gravity wave drag?

    [Response: There are some good discussions of this in Miller et al (2006) and Shindell et al (2003, JGR) – both downloadable from the GISS website. – gavin]

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 Nov 2008 @ 12:24 AM

  22. ..”evidence suggests the EP flux hasn’t changed”…
    well, at least that the EP flux divergence from planetary waves doesn’t seem to have changed significantly…

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 Nov 2008 @ 12:27 AM

  23. … or is any AO/NAM trend driven partly by changes in storm track positions themselves being forced by other changes besides specifically AO/NAM (reduced static stability at higher latitudes, reduced lower tropospheric temp gradient, increased gradient in upper troposphere and lower stratosphere, increased humidity, variations in all those with latitude and longitude…) ??

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 Nov 2008 @ 12:31 AM

  24. Finally the news it out:

    Friday, November 28, 2008

    REUTERS: US$1 billion lawsuit against world leaders for global warming

    http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/2008/11/28/sue-world-leaders-1-billion-for-global-warming/

    Aaron Gray-Block reports from Reuters today:

    Tags: Environment, climate treaty, crimes against humanity, global warming, greenhouse emissions, international criminal court…James Lovelock, James Hansen, Mark Lynas, Fred Pearce, Tim Flannery, Sharon Astyk, James Howard Kunstler

    AMSTERDAM — In a global stunt, a U.S. environmental activist is poised to lodge a $1 billion damages class action lawsuit at the International Criminal Court (ICC) against all world leaders for failing to prevent global warming.

    Activist and blogger Dan Bloom says he will sue world leaders for “intent to commit manslaughter against future generations of human beings by allowing murderous amounts of fossil fuels to be harvested, burned and sent into the atmosphere as CO2″.

    He intends to lodge the lawsuit in the week starting Sunday, Dec. 6.

    The prosecutor’s office at the ICC, the world’s first permanent court (pictured below right) for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, says it is allowed to receive information on crimes that may fall within the court’s jurisdiction from any source.

    “Such information does not per se trigger a judicial proceeding,” the prosecutor’s office hastened to add.

    The question is: will or should the prosecutor take on the case?

    One might argue in defence that world leaders are in fact trying to impose climate-saving measures. In Vienna last year, almost all rich nations agreed to consider cuts in greenhouse emissions of 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Talks on a new climate treaty will be held in Poznan, Poland, from Dec. 1-12.

    Rajendra Pachauri, head of the U.N. Climate Panel, says the cuts are needed to limit temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius, an amount seen by the EU, some other nations and many environmentalists as a threshold for “dangerous” climate change.

    Granted then that there is growing consensus that climate change poses a real threat, is it not only world leaders who are failing to prevent global warming?

    Perhaps the global collective of individuals, governments and industry is to blame and the ICC lawsuit a valid publicity stunt in the constant battle to raise awareness and prompt action?

    Because it’s action we need — and now, right?

    Comment by Danny Bloom — 29 Nov 2008 @ 12:32 AM

  25. … and of course changes in zonal wind distributions and thermal effects affecting excitation of quasistationary planetary waves, and all the feedbacks with stormtracks, etc… ??

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 Nov 2008 @ 12:33 AM

  26. #18 “…my #1 idea is MSU troposphere temperature vs Radiosonde DWT’s…..I keep on reading MSU’s data being much colder…something is just not quite right…”

    I don’t see it, at least for 2008. Global LT radiosonde and MSU (UAH/RSS) data appear to have converged at just under +0.1C anomaly wrt 1981-90 (while it is the surface anomaly that has diverged at more than +0.2C anomaly wrt 1981-90)

    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadat/images/update_images/global_upper_air.png

    My personal opinion (for what it’s worth) is that SH SST anomalies (2008 so far coldest since 1996 and certain to finish that way) are one of the best early indicators of how the global temperature trends will turn out for the second half of this decade

    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadsst2/diagnostics/hemispheric/southern/

    I predict that 2009 will be an even busier year for debunking :)

    Comment by Chris — 29 Nov 2008 @ 6:01 AM

  27. Love the new wiki! Very nicely laid out.

    One small change I’d like to see, though, is to make the rebuttals for the newspaper articles appear on the page for the newspaper. I know, that probably doesn’t parse – let me use an example: on the Wall Street Journal page, the first article listed is “Global Warming as Mass Neurosis Bret Stephens Wall Street Journal, July 1, 2008″. In order to find the rebuttal to that, I have to click on the author’s name. Now don’t get me wrong, that’s perfectly fine, but for the other citations I see, the rebuttal link is right there; you don’t have to click through the author’s name. So, it seems like the rebuttal link should also be here on the Wall Street Journal page, as well as on the author page.

    Keep up the great work!

    Comment by Maya — 29 Nov 2008 @ 6:31 AM

  28. I would also suggest that now the extra latent heat of this autumn’s fast Arctic ice recovery to ~normal has started to fade (i.e. mostly radiating away to space), Wayne won’t be able to claim many more “warmests in history” for a long time. I say this because here in Central England at 52N, the surface trend is not lagging too far behind the SH SST anomalies I referred to in my last post. The cooling trend didn’t start to bite properly until well into this year, but the cooler anomalies have become a permanent fixture since the start of summmer. Summer/autumn combined for 2008 CET are due to come out at ~12.75C, which is the coolest since 1993 (coolest since 1988 if you don’t include post-Pinatubo 1992 and 1993). The 120-year snowfall event at the end of last month was of course a tangible sign of this (see e.g. http://www.thisissurreytoday.co.uk/news/Surrey-enjoys-October-snowfall-121-years/article-435799-detail/article.html )
    I would suggest that if “something is just not quite right” in Resolute, and for that matter Moscow, it’s that these are in key regions where extra warmth is being siphoned off – so to speak – as the globe cools.
    What goes around, comes around, in terms of atmospheric circulation, and the cooler anomalies will get to Resolute and the high Arctic sooner or later – sooner IMO.

    Comment by Chris — 29 Nov 2008 @ 7:13 AM

  29. Chris, Thank You for the weather report. Given your interests, might I suggest you check out weather.com. This site deals with climate issues–and there the trend in the Arctic continues toward decreasing ice.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Nov 2008 @ 8:27 AM

  30. #29

    Time series filters are great: you can take the prior moving average, call it *the* trend and spin increasing ice out of existence!

    Not taking the bait is also great, because it allows me to spend my time more usefully while both the weather and climate will speak for themselves in any event.

    Comment by Chris — 29 Nov 2008 @ 10:37 AM

  31. Danny, one way companies can and do establish a legal precedent to protect the ability to go on doing something is to arrange a court case that they can win, that will set the precedent they want, making subsequent challenges harder. It’s not a “valid publicity stunt” if you establish a precedent by having your attempt rejected or, worse, accepted then losing the case by failing to have all the arguments well formed. You have to pick these battles very carefully or you help the side you think you’re attacking by giving them precedent in their favor.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Nov 2008 @ 10:45 AM

  32. Thanks for the continued work guys.

    Let me echo some of the other posts here re the energy the denialists (I won’t apologise for using this descriptor) deploy in rubbishing the science on climate change (particularly in my very conservative country Australia). I find this worrying and feel climate scientists and policy makers can’t be complacent in thinking that the argument has been won over global warming. Don’t forget for denialists they fight for their worldview, they believe their core beliefs are being challenged and they will not stop fighting for such beliefs. This is far far different from debating an analysis of primary data.

    I remember the upsurge of confidence and boldness amongst the denialists after their conference in New York Last year organised by the Heartland Institute and as we know another one is coming up for March 2009 (perhaps it would useful for a number of us to attend). Here in Australia last years conference resulted in a whole spate of articles across the press denying climate change, though mostly in the Australian (which is funny because its owner, one R. Murdoch, has believed for a while that climate change is happening). I worry they could win, not just in Australia but across the world because the science and policy communities generally do not engage with belief related matters head on in mass media and denialists handle the media very well (look at the ex journalist Lord Nigel Lawson). Don’t get me wrong websites like Realclimate et al are invaluable weapons but we have to deploy these weapons and the battleground has shifted back to the mass media and I think we could be on the backfoot.

    Comment by JeremyC — 29 Nov 2008 @ 11:00 AM

  33. Re Chris @30: “Time series filters are great: you can take the prior moving average, call it *the* trend and spin increasing ice out of existence!”

    While you insist on predicting a ‘trend’ based only on recent events.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 29 Nov 2008 @ 11:48 AM

  34. Take a look at Heartland’s roster of “global warming experts” at http://www.heartland.org/about/globalwarmingexperts.html

    It includes such luminaries as:

    AIDS “skeptic” Bruce Ames
    Sallie Baliunas
    “Resume polisher” Tim Ball
    E&E editor Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen
    John Christie
    San Diego tv weatherman John Coleman
    Freeman Dyson
    CEI’s own Myron Ebell
    IPCC expert reviewer William Gray
    Craig Idso
    Czech Republic president Vaclav Klaus
    Richard Lindzen
    Bjorn Lomborg
    Hockey-stick smasher Ross McKitrick
    Mr “Junk Science” himself: Steve Milloy
    Aspiring British Royalty member Chris Monckton
    Naomi Oreskes’ most feared critic Benny Peiser
    Fred Singer (of course!)
    Willie Soon (of course, again!)
    Roy Spencer
    Mr. Surfacestations himself: Anthony Watts

    All in all, quite an impressive list!

    Comment by caerbannog — 29 Nov 2008 @ 12:16 PM

  35. #33 And events of ~60 years ago (amongst others)

    If it was now 1945, would you predict there to be more or less summer ice in the Arctic in 1985? (Given 40 years of increasing CO2 and CH4?)

    In the Russian Arctic the 10-year mean appears to have been 0.25 million km2 higher in 1985 – see fig 2 of:
    http://instaar.colorado.edu/meetings/AW2008/abstract_detail.php?abstract_id=51

    It was almost certainly higher in the rest of the Arctic too, given what we know about the history of the Northwest Passage and temperatures in Greenland and Iceland.

    However, the “consensus” says otherwise, as represented by the following graph which I hesitate to voice my opinion of:
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seasonal.extent.1900-2007.jpg

    In simple terms, it seems to me that the -ve PDO shift of ~1945 marked the end of a decline in Arctic ice, and the -ve AMO shift of ~1960 marked the start of an increase up to the 1980s.

    Fast forward 60 odd years from the mid-1940s to the next -ve PDO shift, and another decline in ice appears to be coming to an end. (Coincidental with SH SST anomalies showing their biggest drop since….well….the mid-1940s)

    Comment by Chris — 29 Nov 2008 @ 1:23 PM

  36. > If it was now 1945, would you predict there to be
    > more or less summer ice in the Arctic in 1985?

    Yes.

    If you want to get into betting, there are several climate bloggers currently inviting this sort of bet. You know how to find them.

    > It was almost certainly higher …
    > However, the “consensus” says otherwise

    You’re claiming support for your almost certainty but you can’t cite any because … why?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Nov 2008 @ 1:49 PM

  37. Re: #35 (Chris)

    You left out the best part of the linked article:

    Our results clearly show that the Russian Arctic sea ice cover experienced a general retreat over the chart record and that the current sea ice extent in the Russian Arctic is unprecedented in at least 74 years. However, the retreat has not been constant and the record shows that the retreat in the early part of the record stopped around the 1950s when a partial recovery took place, which continued until the 1970s-80s. Furthermore, when we examine individual seas and seasons (Figure 3) we see that the early period of retreat was only evident in summer and autumn and only in some seas. By contrast the retreat in recent decades can be observed in all seas in summer and autumn and also in winter and spring in the Barents and Laptev Seas.

    I would suggest that “something is just not quite right” with your entire point of view.

    As for “time series filters,” I suggest you leave discussion of them to those who know something about the subject.

    Comment by tamino — 29 Nov 2008 @ 1:50 PM

  38. #26, Chris, you barely understand what a DWT is, it is thousands of measurements averaged into one. Its not limited to one location, can be done anywhere… MSU is a mix of temperatures similar to DWT. Instead of arguing with your lack of understanding…. skip all that…. present me an MSU measurement of a troposphere at a given time and location anywhere in the world, and let see if your confidence in MSU still holds.

    There is a disparity between warm High Arctic upper air proven by a great melt of 2008 during mostly cloudy period, something you easily forget, the convenience of grasping at straws, and a continuance of reports showing a cool troposphere.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 29 Nov 2008 @ 2:06 PM

  39. And just what is happening over the Antarctic region anyway? RSS had Oct 08 as being the coldest Oct in the satellite era for its -60 to -70S zone (anomaly -0.696C) but judging from NOAA, Nov appears to be dropping off the bottom of the graph:
    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/fnl/sfctmpmer_07a.fnl.anim.html
    ftp://ftp.ssmi.com/msu/monthly_time_series/rss_monthly_msu_amsu_channel_tlt_anomalies_land_and_ocean_v03_2.txt

    I don’t see SH SST anomalies recovering anytime soon; quite the reverse.

    As for the Arctic, I can’t argue with the pretty orange colours (given I’ve emphasised the deep blues over Antarctica); however, let’s see what happens to something tangible i.e. the ice and snow over the coming year(s).
    In any event, I suspect there would have been a lot of pretty oranges in the 40s as well. As suggested perhaps by:
    http://tinyurl.com/5vevz4

    #36 ……because……it’s obvious?

    #37 A block quote, which does not clash in any way with my point of view (unsurprising as we’re quoting from/referencing the same article), no explanation of how it is supposed to do so, and a put-down. Cheers.

    #38 You’re right, I barely understand a lot of what you say.

    Comment by Chris — 29 Nov 2008 @ 2:39 PM

  40. Re: #39 (Chris)

    … another decline in ice appears to be coming to an end …

    That is where your “point of view” clashes with the linked article. You have no evidence to back up this claim.

    … and a put-down…

    How about an apology for your snide put-down of the very field of time series analysis, just because it contradicts your desired belief — even though you don’t understand the subject. That field happens to be my specialty.

    Now you have the unmitigated gall to become indignant at a putdown? You’re a hypocrite.

    Comment by tamino — 29 Nov 2008 @ 3:05 PM

  41. #37 Re: this part of the quote: “Furthermore, when we examine individual seas and seasons (Figure 3) we see that the early period of retreat was only evident in summer and autumn and only in some seas.”

    Remember fig 3 only goes back to the late 1930s which had a couple of the warmest years in the Arctic in the past century.
    See e.g.
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/ZonAnn.Ts+dSST.txt
    – at 64-90N the GISS land-ocean temperature index for 1937-8 reached an average anomaly of +1.29C, which was not surpassed again for a 2-year period until 2002-3 (+1.33C)

    In other words, the early period of retreat would have been evident more universally from an earlier date.

    Comment by Chris — 29 Nov 2008 @ 3:09 PM

  42. Chris, reread Tamino again.

    The bit you left out — that he supplied — is the context, the longterm trend, from which you cherrypicked a shorter period, ignorant of statistics, and claim as “obvious” your fragment of the picture, that isn’t supported by the published science.

    Focusing on short spans in a variable system is an easy way to fool yourself (or fool anyone who doesn’t understand how this works).

    The furry science bloggers are particularly good at explaining this:

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/05/the_significance_of_5_year_tre.php#

    Another example of the same statistical issue:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_0HiXKAFhRJ4/SS9sQ-FB3xI/AAAAAAAAAos/ALAAc9nxWmU/s400/Tuvalu.JPG
    from:
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2008/11/lying-figures-eli-recently-wondered.html

    as is Tamino:
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/08/31/garbage-is-forever/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Nov 2008 @ 3:13 PM

  43. #40 “put-down of the very field of time series analysis”
    ???
    Do I really need to explain how my original comment did not do this at all? If I were to say “you can do amazing things with statistics” would that be a snide put-down of the very field of statistics?
    So much for not taking the bait…….anyway…..

    “Now you have the unmitigated gall to become indignant at a putdown? You’re a hypocrite.”
    I feel like I’ve entered a parallel universe…..

    Comment by Chris — 29 Nov 2008 @ 3:20 PM

  44. #42 With the greatest respect, and forgive me for my brevity, but the following is simply a false characterisation:
    “The bit you left out — that he supplied — is the context, the longterm trend, from which you cherrypicked a shorter period, ignorant of statistics, and claim as “obvious” your fragment of the picture, that isn’t supported by the published science.”
    Also see #41.

    Comment by Chris — 29 Nov 2008 @ 3:29 PM

  45. Actually, Singer is right about the IPCC report. It is not correct about climate science…… but in the opposite direction of Singer’s claims.

    It was based on science up to mid 2006, and since then there have been many studies which show acceleration of all indicators. All of its predictions are far too conservative.

    Here is a list of reports from scientists around the world of just the past two years (with links to each article at the bottom):

    http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/05/06/18497440.php

    Please note that NONE of these articles were ever published by a US corporate news service!

    Comment by d. beck — 29 Nov 2008 @ 3:35 PM

  46. Chris, rather than get your panties in a bunch, what are your error bars?

    Bigger than your signal over the selected period (self selection period at that)? Then you’re lying by omission. Omitting the statistics of statistical error yet stating you’re USING statistics is lying too.

    Comment by Mark — 29 Nov 2008 @ 3:56 PM

  47. > It was almost certainly higher …
    > However, the “consensus” says otherwise

    Explanation lacking, please try again.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Nov 2008 @ 4:55 PM

  48. Perhaps environmentalists and those concerned about life on planet earth now and into the distant future should have their own NIPCC on the other side — like “the IPCC is underestimating the problem of anthropogenic global warming.”

    Here’s a story for starters — re even a less than 2 degree rise might mean the meltdown of the greenland ice sheet & big rise in sea level — http://news.theage.com.au/world/two-degree-rise-could-spark-greenland-ice-sheet-meltdown-wwf-20081128-6k6j.html [I am aware the IPCC had a caveat re not including some important variables in their estimations.]

    Okay environmentalists, rattle your chains & tin cups. Don’t let the debate stay between scientists (who need 90 to 95% confidence AGW is happening before making claims) and denialists (who need 99% to 101% confidence AGW is happening before conceding it is).

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 29 Nov 2008 @ 5:01 PM

  49. Good post, the RC Wiki should be very useful to many bloggers and readers.

    Comment by jcbmack — 29 Nov 2008 @ 5:58 PM

  50. #43 “I feel like I’ve entered a parallel universe…”

    Ah, that explains it. Apparently you are from the parallel universe where global warming -doesn’t- exist. Welcome, then, to our reality, and hope you packed a cooler.

    Comment by Cat ^..^ — 29 Nov 2008 @ 6:09 PM

  51. I feel like I’ve entered a parallel universe…..

    Yes, you’ve entered Bizarro World, where 1 = 1 and 2+2 = 4. I know these bizarre concepts are causing a conflict with your 2+2 = 3.141 world view, but it can’t be helped, and won’t be cured until you leave our Bizarro World where reality and rationality combine in useful ways.

    Comment by dhogaza — 29 Nov 2008 @ 6:22 PM

  52. Thank you for your excellent Wiki website. You have Michael Duffy and Frank Devine but Miranda Devine is missing! In her latest Sydney Morning Herald effort dated 27 November 2008 titled “Beware the church of climate alarm” she runs with Czech President Vaclav Klaus and Ian Plimer: http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/miranda-devine/beware-the-church-of-climate-alarm/2008/11/26/1227491635989.html
    Curiously enough, the SMH didn’t publish any letters to the editor about this article.
    Can you please add her to your Wiki site?
    John Ransley

    Comment by John Ransley — 29 Nov 2008 @ 6:33 PM

  53. The latest Singer propaganda vehicle just premiered in Amsterdam…The ultimate spin docter strikes back..

    Better be warned…A lot of garbage coming your way..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHMOEVRysWE

    Thanks for building this knowledge base for the connected but never underestimate the power of the Public Relations and media…

    A media battle for the hearts and minds is going on..

    I think science must and will prevail in the end..
    But then it might be to late…

    Keep debunking!

    Comment by Harmen — 29 Nov 2008 @ 6:50 PM

  54. Went down the RC Wiki list “by author” and searched their names over on http://exxonsecrets.org . You’d be suprised how many showed up either on their “factsheets” (which usually means they have received money from Exxon, or their organization has), or Inhofe’s infamous list of 400 “climate” scientists. No telling how much they may have received from other interests — other oil companies, then there’s coal, etc.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 29 Nov 2008 @ 8:51 PM

  55. Page 5 of NIPCC report by Fred Singer and the Heartland Institute claims that all climate models predict a unique finger print for global warming from greenhouse gases. In particular, they claim that there should be a warming trend increasing with altitude in the tropical troposphere, the region of the atmosphere up to about 15 kilometers. Furthermore, it is stated that solar variability or other known natural factors will not yield this characteristic pattern.

    Personally, climate science is just a hobby for myself. However, this statement strikes me as being very wrong in more than one way. First since greenhouse gases (GHG) warm the earth thru their insulation properties as opposed to greater heat input, then the most distinguishing feature would probably have to be the relative rise of nighttime and wintertime temperatures as opposed to daytime or summer temperature. As I understand it, this has been well established, documented and verified.

    Furthermore, if there is any truth at all to Singers claim, then it is also surprising that he points to the tropics. While it is understandable that GHG should result a warming trend up to the tropopause, it would probably be wrong to look for it initially in the tropics. The tropopause in the tropics is at extremely high altitudes and driven to those heights by strong convective currents with lots of water vapor. Rising GHG should have relatively little affect on the strength of convective currents. On the other hand, GHG should have a greater affect near the polar regions where convection is minimal. As I understand it this has been found to be true in the northern hemisphere. At the south pole, this has not been found due to the loss of ozone canceling out the impact of rising CO2 levels.

    I can imagine that climate models probably do predict some warming of the tropical troposphere. I suspect that Singer is cherry picking and exaggerating as opposed to providing meaningful criticism.

    Lastly, if the warming was from increased solar input, then it would seem to me that there would be more convection in the atmosphere and the tropical tropopause would trend towards higher altitudes more so than the polar regions.

    Appreciate any corrections or suggestions.

    Comment by Andrew — 29 Nov 2008 @ 9:36 PM

  56. Andrew (55)

    You’re mostly correct. The amplification of the tropical troposphere relative to the surface is in fact expected with rising greenhouse gases, but it’s also expected with other forcings as well (such as changes in solar insolation); any implication that the ‘fingerprint’ is unique to humans is wrong. The reason has to do with the fact that the troposphere roughly stays on a moist adiabat (which is indeed set by convection) rather than anything specific with GHG’s. In fact, because climate models produce a lapse rate feedback that is negative due to the enhanced tropospheric warming, any lack of such a trend would likely translate into a heightened surface warming. That would mean a higher climate sensitivity, although it probably wouldn’t be that big.

    Again, with all forcings, the climate response is greatest at higher latitudes (i.e., there is a reduction in the pole-to-equator temperature gradient). The ice-albedo feedback is one mechanism that works as long as you change the ratio of light to dark surface (the cause is mostly irrelevant). The climate response in the vertical is similar with all forcings until you get to the stratosphere, which cools with GHG’s and warms with increased solar trends. You are also correct that GHG’s should decrease the diurnal and seasonal temperature gradients.

    A recent interesting paper that RC might comment on is Lean and Rind (2008) who state a mismatch between models and observation in terms of the latitudal response to anthropogenic forcings (i.e, anomalies increase steadily from from 30 N to 70 N in simulations)

    Comment by Chris Colose — 30 Nov 2008 @ 12:11 AM

  57. Re: Arctic ice in ~1945 vs ~1985

    Here’s Arctic temperatures for the 10 years up to 1945:
    http://tinyurl.com/636s4o

    And here’s Arctic temperatures for the 10 years up to 1985:
    http://tinyurl.com/5g3ykq

    Just as in the Russian Arctic, temperatures were obviously lower in the second period across the rest of the Arctic, from Alaska through the Canadian Archipelago to Greenland, Iceland and Svalbard. Thus it seems a very reasonable assumption that there was more ice there as well, towards the end of the second period, than towards the end of the first.

    Considering summer minimum ice extent in particular, if we compare September for each period (the normal month of minimum extent), the cooling on all sides of the Arctic is just as clear.

    http://tinyurl.com/638mma
    http://tinyurl.com/697l3p

    In my non-“Bizarro” [ref. #51] World, cooler x water = more ice.

    Apparently, in “Bizarro” World, cooler x water = ~2 million km2 less summer ice across the Arctic, even while in the Russian half it increased by ~0.25 million km2 and both halves got cooler.

    As for recent history, I note that in the non-Russian half of the Arctic, the western side had ~normal ice coverage from 2000 to 2006, and 1998 remains the year of minimum ice coverage. A return to ~normal in 2009 seems absolutely plausible.
    http://tinyurl.com/585jmc
    On the eastern side I note that it is only 2006 which has significantly eclipsed the most ice-free years of the 70s and 80s. Again, a return to (close to) ~normal in 2009 seems absolutely plausible.
    http://tinyurl.com/55sx3u
    It’s a shame those graphs don’t go back to the 1930s and beyond of course.

    Comment by Chris — 30 Nov 2008 @ 5:17 AM

  58. Chris writes:

    Time series filters are great: you can take the prior moving average, call it *the* trend and spin increasing ice out of existence!

    The World Meteorological Organization defines climate as the average regional or global weather over a period of 30 years or more. If you don’t understand the difference between one point and thirty points, you need to take a class in basic statistics.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 30 Nov 2008 @ 5:43 AM

  59. Rod B — I followed your advice and explained the units in my gas database. Thanks.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 30 Nov 2008 @ 5:48 AM

  60. Andrew #55,

    You’re on the right track. The matter you are referring to (and apparently slightly misunderstanding) is discussed here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/10/tropical-tropopshere-iii/

    and links therein.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 30 Nov 2008 @ 6:34 AM

  61. WRT “It’s the Sun Stupid”:

    The notion that increasing Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) significantly contributed to circa 1900 to 1940 global temperature is based on obsolete data. More resent TSI reconstructions do not show significant variation in TSI over the past century. The Lean 2000 study was a good first effort, unfortunately it over estimated variability.

    FWIW

    Comment by captdallas2 — 30 Nov 2008 @ 7:36 AM

  62. #58

    Well in the fig 2 I linked to –
    http://instaar.colorado.edu/meetings/AW2008/abstract_detail.php?abstract_id=51
    – the 30-year prior moving average would have continued to fall until ~1975.

    However, was the Russian ice decreasing in reality between 1955 and 1975?

    A 30-year centred moving average would be more appropriate (this would have turned around ~just before 1960). I’d be happier to call this *the* trend.

    And until we get data for the next 10 to 20 years, we can’t be sure what this trend is currently doing for the Arctic as a whole. To omit to specify/quantify these uncertainties when talking about Arctic ice trends could even be described be lying (see Mark and error bars….) Especially in relation to descriptions such as “accelerating downward trend”.

    “…you need to take a class in basic statistics…” Shame yours clashed with the class in basic politeness?

    Comment by Chris — 30 Nov 2008 @ 10:48 AM

  63. Chris, you seem to be working up an argument against the existence of the Arctic oscillation without mentioning the evidence for it.

    Try reading and citing some of the comprehensive reviews that have been published, instead of picking pictures to argue from — that way you can check the references; you can use Google Scholar to see which papers are most often cited, forward and back in time, and get an idea which information is reliable. Any reference librarian can give you far more help with this than people blogging. The result could be a decent school paper and a start at understanding the area, and could lead you to go deeper.

    If you are working through references you’re not mentioning — it will help your credibility to say what you’re relying on. Right now, looking at what you point to, I don’t see that kind of review and reference.

    Try this search (vanilla Google; Scholar’s server is hiccuping this morning, though the results there would likely be better)

    http://www.google.com/search?q=arctic+temperature+eastern+western+cycle

    That will get you, on the first page, this EOS article (Google’s link is unparseable, so I’m not going to paste it in). It’s one good summary of the back-and-forth changes across the Arctic. EOS is a weekly newspaper (comes with a $25 annual AGU subscription, well worth the money); the references in the articles there are a good place to start.

    Natural Variability of Arctic Sea Ice Over the Holocene
    Eos, Vol. 87, No. 28, 11 July 2006

    “… Results from the eastern and western Arctic indicate opposite trends in sea ice cover: increasing in the east while decreasing in the west (Figure 2b).Both regions experienced
    successions of warm and cold intervals. Changes in regional fresh water input in conjunction with millennial-scale extraterrestrial cycles (e.g.,the 1800-year lunar cycle) may explain such trends. Long sediment cores collected in 2004 and 2005 in the Beaufort Sea, the Northwest Passage, and Chukchi-Siberian seas will better define the regionalism of Holocene sea ice history.

    … The history of sea ice shows strong regionalism. Marine animals that depend on sea ice survived the early Holocene by adapting and migrating.At the height of the warmth,which was but three degrees warmer than now, the Pacific and Atlantic bowhead whales could visit each other through the Northwest Passage. Future Arctic warming is expected to be considerably warmer than this,and the free passage of biota and ships is certain. More open water in summer means more area for freezing winter sea ice. Hence, less summer ice can increase the rate of winter brine expulsion. North Atlantic bottom-water formation rates feed back into the climate system. Since climate feedbacks are often not linear, one could expect surprises.”

    If instead you are interested in making bets about the 2009 ice, there are several scientists taking such bets if well stated. You know how to find them.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Nov 2008 @ 10:58 AM

  64. Chris:

    Here’s the northern hemisphere sea ice extent data from NSIDC:

    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/nhext.jpg

    Here’s the ice extent anomaly:

    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/nextanom.jpg

    Here’s the ice extent for September:

    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/sepext.jpg

    Study them carefully, then tell us whether you still maintain “until we get data for the next 10 to 20 years, we can’t be sure what this trend is currently doing for the Arctic as a whole.”

    Comment by tamino — 30 Nov 2008 @ 2:39 PM

  65. Re#64: I suggest Tamino should have shown this up to date AMSRE Sea Ice extent, which gives not overwelming cause for concern…

    [Response: Only if you don’t look at the trends. (NB, I filled in the site I think you were trying to link to). – gavin]

    Comment by Francis Massen — 30 Nov 2008 @ 3:49 PM

  66. Gavin,

    Singer in his “NIPCC” report used data in Chapter 2, Figure 3, which was the source of a long discussion last December. I’m sure you recall the fallout from the critique of Loehle’s 2007 paper, including unkind comments on McIntyre’s site.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/past-reconstructions/#more-506

    Also, Singer’s Chapter 2, Figure 2 has a caption which begins with “Temperature values from the GRIP ice-core borehole”, which is false. The figure is lifted from a paper in SCIENCE and is the output of a model. Singer later goes on to disparage the use of models. Singer’s a funny guy…

    E. S.

    [Response: To be fair, the borehole temperature plot is a very simple model fit to the measurements, it’s not from a GCM. – gavin]

    Comment by Eric Swanson — 30 Nov 2008 @ 4:40 PM

  67. Francis, it was just awaiting to happen after Tamino posted just September monthly extent. Try visiting Cryosphere Today (CT). They’ve got a seasonal up. NSIDC also publishes seasonal data (calendar). Plot them out and discover. Personally extent is nice, but I much prefer area and volume and a ratio of area/extent which could be a vague indication on how well the ice holds together. Novembers ratio looks interesting… extent lacking and area.

    And when done, compare CT and NSIDC…CT seems to show a somewhat more acute drop.

    Links:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/SEAICE/timeseries.1870-2008
    ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02135/

    Hank Roberts noted “… can increase rate of winter brine expulsion”. Maybe he could explain that. New ice, higher salt content, bigger chance of it melting next summer season I understand. Brine I take as pre freeze. Where is it expelled to… Atlantic?

    Comment by Sekerob — 30 Nov 2008 @ 4:46 PM

  68. #64: Of course that’s what I maintain. I am familiar with the various graphs (and how much/little they can tell us – or perhaps “scare” us depending on scale, context etc). I would have been extremely surprised if the warming in the Arctic since the 80s hadn’t produced a significant dip in ice extents. But your assumption that the past trend will continue is just that – an assumption. A similar assumption could easily have been made in 1944, the year Larsen sailed straight through the Parry’s Channel (i.e. deeper northern route) of the NW Passage – but as you will know, it would be 63 years before the ice extent in that major segment of the Arctic would reach the same low anomaly (i.e. 2007; the Parry’s Channel did not quite open in 2008).
    What makes you so sure that this time, not only will the previous decline fail to turn around, stop, or even slow down, but will continue relentlessly and even accelerate?
    Even the strongest cases can be overstated……..

    Comment by Chris — 30 Nov 2008 @ 4:57 PM

  69. > brine
    That’s quoted from Google’s html cache version of this paper:
    http://www.geotop.uqam.ca/downloads/adv/Fisher_et_al-EOS-2006.pdf

    As sea ice freezes it is at first porous and the gaps contain brine; as the ice gets older the brine is pressed out and the surrounding water is thus denser — so freezing of sea ice is a factor in thermohaline circulation, as I read the article.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Nov 2008 @ 6:31 PM

  70. Re: #63 (Chris)

    So you still maintain that “we can’t be sure what this trend is currently doing for the Arctic as a whole.” The numbers make a liar out of you.

    And I have to wonder if you’ve looked at any of the available data for sea ice in those past time spans you obsess over. I have.

    Comment by tamino — 30 Nov 2008 @ 6:32 PM

  71. Sekerob, try this:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=sea+ice+freeze+porous+void+brine

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Nov 2008 @ 6:33 PM

  72. “What makes you so sure that this time, not only will the previous decline fail to turn around, stop, or even slow down, but will continue relentlessly and even accelerate?”

    A) Nobody made that claim, and B) radiative physics gives good reason to expect the current trend to continue in the same general fashion, subject to the usual “noise.”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 30 Nov 2008 @ 6:34 PM

  73. Here’s the link I meant to supply in the previous comment.

    Comment by tamino — 30 Nov 2008 @ 6:35 PM

  74. #70 Go back to #62 and remind us what I was referring to when I said “this trend”. Then retract the word “liar”.

    “And I have to wonder if you’ve looked at any of the available data for sea ice in those past time spans you obsess over. I have.”
    And have you explained how the summer ice can have decreased by 2 million km2 between the 1940s and the 1980s while ALL SIDES of the Arctic got cooler?
    (c.f. my earlier post #57)

    #70 and #72 combined:
    So I’m a liar for saying we can’t be sure of the trend of the 30-year centred moving average, yet no one is making a claim they are sure of?

    Have any of you guys considered how ridiculous and frankly astounding this kind of one-sided hostility seems to someone like myself? It might make sense if “skeptics” (for want of a better word) were some kind of sub-human demons, but speaking for myself if you met me in any other context I’d venture to say you’d find me a nice, reasonable sort of person who you wouldn’t accuse of being a “liar” etc if I disagreed with you on something topical.

    I’m not claiming the moral high ground, or claiming to always be “right”. But I do know that I make some valid points which add to the debate.

    Anyway, let the debate go on……sorry to distract :)

    Comment by Chris — 30 Nov 2008 @ 7:33 PM

  75. #67 Sekerob,

    The rejected brine can sink, especially over the relatively shallow coastal shelves. Then, the salty water will follow the terrain to lower depths in either the Arctic Ocean or the Norwegian Sea. It’s part of the THC, as near as I can figure, as the sinking water displaces water above in the Arctic Mediterranean, thus increasing flows over the sills along the Greenland-Iceland-Scotland Ridge. There is a flow of waters at mid-depth from the Arctic Ocean into the Greenland Sea via the Fram Strait, which has a sill depth around 2600m. The flows thru the Fram Strait appear to be rather complex, with surface currents both entering and exiting the Arctic in addition to the deeper current.

    I think that the decline in Arctic Sea-ice at the end of the melt season will result in more sinking from this mechanism, since there can still be a large maximum extent. The result may be a shift in the location of some of the THC from the Nordic Seas into the Arctic Ocean.

    E. S.

    Comment by Eric Swanson — 30 Nov 2008 @ 7:52 PM

  76. Re: #74 (Chris)

    You said (and I quote) “we can’t be sure what this trend is currently doing for the Arctic as a whole.” Now you want to hide behind the fact that you will only accept what a trend is “currently doing” if it’s based on a 30-year centered moving average for “currently.” In other words, you will only accept a “trend” if it’s based on future data. What a wonderful recipe for denial!

    And when the data for NH sea ice extent from decades ago contradict your claims, you ask for an “explanation” in what can only be interpreted as a refusal to accept the data.

    So you won’t accept a trend without future data, and you won’t accept the data that exists. That’s not “making a valid point” or even trying. You’re so deep in denial you’ve abandoned all connection with rationality; you hardly deserve the name “skeptic.”

    Comment by tamino — 30 Nov 2008 @ 8:03 PM

  77. RE #$73

    Tamino,

    The article you cite which is self-referral is from 2007.

    The NH sea ice is subject to a lot of variation other than that caused by AGW so I am not clear what your point is by focusing so much on sea ice. Currently the sea extent is up and approaching the 1979-2000 mean.

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.365.jpg

    Comment by Jim Cross — 30 Nov 2008 @ 8:09 PM

  78. #76

    Sophistry: “subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation”
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sophistry

    I respect the quality of the statistical analysis in your blog, but your last post is dead wrong and your attitude….. leaves a lot to be desired (I had to stop myself using stronger language there)

    Comment by Chris — 30 Nov 2008 @ 8:26 PM

  79. > approaching the 1979-2000 mean

    O rly?

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/sea.ice.anomaly.timeseries.jpg

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Nov 2008 @ 8:40 PM

  80. Chris, you’d think you make a good point with Larsen in 44??? Again like others have cited, you only quote what fits your antagonistic contrarian “know it all” stance.

    “As a result, Larsen decided to try to complete the passage without having to winter in the Arctic. Traveling west along the coast of Alaska, the St. Roch found itself in a battle against the ice as it tried to reach Bering Strait ”

    Note ice North of Alaska, right near the coast in September:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/ARCHIVE/20070918.jpg

    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=09&fd=19&fy=2008&sm=11&sd=29&sy=2008

    See any ice next to Alaska? Hey? A gentleman as you pretend to be, fears not the facts.

    #77, Jim, yes it is, but as with the link you gave so it was in 2007. Even with no ice in the summer extent will be quite large, as large as the long night, for many years following, until it gets too warm. Ice Thickness…. Volume is prime… Your point is meaningless without volume being identical to all time average.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 30 Nov 2008 @ 9:07 PM

  81. Re: #77 (Jim Cross)

    The article you cite which is self-referral is from 2007.

    The NH sea ice is subject to a lot of variation other than that caused by AGW so I am not clear what your point is by focusing so much on sea ice. Currently the sea extent is up and approaching the 1979-2000 mean.

    The link to examination of pre-satellite sea ice data is from 2007, but I don’t think the pre-satellite data has changed since then. The graphs I linked to in an earlier comment are complete through October 2008, the most current monthly data available. The most recent monthly value is three quarters of a million km^2 below the 1979-2000 mean.

    Re: #78 (Chris)

    Sophistry: “subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation”

    When Ray Ladbury mentioned that “the trend in the Arctic continues toward decreasing ice,” you replied “Time series filters are great: you can take the prior moving average, call it *the* trend and spin increasing ice out of existence!” This is an incredibly snide, insulting, arrogant remark; you insulted time series analysis even though you have no idea how Ray reached his conclusion (which I very much doubt had anything to do with the “prior moving average”), and you personally insulted Ray with the implication that he’s just “spinning” the result. You didn’t even ask his basis for that statement — you just shot from the hip.

    Shame on you! But clearly you’re shameless because rather than have the guts and the honesty to take responsibility for your own statement, you have tried to claim the “moral high ground” while showing us the epitome of a condescending attitude. All you’ve shown is that Hamlet was right: one may smile, and smile, and be a villain still.

    Newsflash: time series filters, and time series analysis in general, are outstanding tools to help us get closer to the truth. They’re far from infallible and they’re not a “crystal ball,” but they’re a whole heckuva lot better than any “analysis” I’ve seen come from any of your comments.

    You combine outright denial of the real trend, which is abundantly clear and undeniably statistically significant, with refusal to accept what the actual data show prior to the satellite era. You’ve also repudiated trends that aren’t based on a centered 30-year moving average — which would necessarily require 15 years of future data. I suppose if you were a physician, you’d insist that we can’t conclude the patient is really ill until 15 years after he’s dead. God save us from sophistry like that.

    Comment by tamino — 30 Nov 2008 @ 9:50 PM

  82. “approaching the 1979-2000 mean”

    Oh really?

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png

    Comment by Jim Eager — 30 Nov 2008 @ 10:05 PM

  83. #78 Chris:

    Please don’t give skeptics a bad name, dude.

    Based on your lack of statistical knowledge thus far, and continued insistence that you are right, despite all evidence to the contrary; combined with your snarky and deceptive comments claiming a supposed “high ground”…I have to ask you. Are you Roger Pielke Jr. in disguise?

    Comment by Former Skeptic — 30 Nov 2008 @ 11:39 PM

  84. THANKS!

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 1 Dec 2008 @ 12:17 AM

  85. #80 “This is an incredibly snide, insulting, arrogant remark”
    No it’s not, it’s a reasonable comment that happens not to suit your agenda, which is why you’re using such hyperbole to try and discredit me. Your absolute certainty about your righteousness destroys your sense of perspective (and sense of humour). You’re reading way too much into things, then working yourself up into a mock-offence frenzy.

    “…time series filters, and time series analysis in general, are outstanding tools to help us get closer to the truth…”
    Yes, I have not claimed otherwise. On a proper use of any kind of analysis, you can’t claim with certainty that the *current* trend in Arctic ice is down. Using the prior average then calling it *the* trend IS deceptive, and to pick people up on this is absolutely reasonable.

    “refusal to accept what the actual data show prior to the satellite era.”
    I have pointed to convincing reasons to question data which are in any event very sketchy with huge uncertainties i.e. in particular, the 10-year mean temperature cooled significantly on all sides of the Arctic between 1935-45 and 1975-85 yet the data shows the summer ice extent as dropping by 2 million km2!
    Look carefully at the purple line on the graph before 1950 –
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seasonal.extent.1900-2007.jpg
    – and tell me how accurate you think the dataset really is.
    Damn right I refuse to accept it as definitive, and that does take guts because it makes me an easy target for your simplistic character attacks. I would bet any money that 2 million km2 figure is an exaggeration. But that’s just my point of view. You can disagree with it vehemently and explain why; launching into an absolute attempt to discredit me is not a proportionate response.

    #79 “O rly?” Yes ~0.5 million km2 seems pretty close to me.

    Comment by Chris — 1 Dec 2008 @ 3:57 AM

  86. @everyone who is against Chris

    While my position currently is that I accept AGW is happening, I do think we ALL have to try and retain our objectivity and open-mindedness. And common decency.

    I have to say that I don’t feel the responses that Chris has been getting to his generally very reasonably-phrased points fits with that set of attitude objectives. The terms that come to mind to describe the reponses include arrogant, offensive, patronising, dismissive, angry and so on.

    Surely true scientists, possibly above all others, should be able to remain relatively dispassionate in exchanges of views? Otherwise what has happened to the concept of scientific debate? It becomes impossible if people start to aggressively defend their positions.

    I have to say that this type of response does more than anything else to cause me to question how truly scientific the position of the AGW-propounding community is. If you feel so aggressively defensive this just could be hiding some doubts about the position you have created in propounding AGW.

    I still accept the arguments for AGW, but my doubts are increased. Since I doubt whether this is what you want to achieve I urge you to collectively reconsider the tenor of the way that you respond to people like Chris.

    Comment by Nick — 1 Dec 2008 @ 5:05 AM

  87. captdallas — I’ve been using the Lean 2000 results as more or less canonical, which I know is always a careless thing to do in science. I even have a web page listing the whole table. I think Wang and Lean published a revised table in 2004; do you know if there’s a later one? If not I really ought to replace my web page with the 2004 data.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 1 Dec 2008 @ 6:56 AM

  88. Chris writes:

    “…you need to take a class in basic statistics…” Shame yours clashed with the class in basic politeness?

    What was impolite about telling you you needed to take a course in basic statistics? You obviously do or you wouldn’t dismiss a well-vetted collection of methods like time series filters. What’s a polite way of saying you don’t know what you’re talking about? It would have been impolite if I had said something like, “You’re a babbling fool talking about something you’ve never studied and clearly don’t understand.” See the difference? Or, to use another example, it would be impolite to accuse perfect strangers of “spinning” data out of existence simply because you didn’t understand what they were doing.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 1 Dec 2008 @ 7:00 AM

  89. Chris writes:

    What makes you so sure that this time, not only will the previous decline fail to turn around, stop, or even slow down, but will continue relentlessly and even accelerate?

    The fact that the globe is rapidly warming? I.e., that we have a physical mechanism to explain what’s going on?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 1 Dec 2008 @ 7:04 AM

  90. Chris writes:

    Have any of you guys considered how ridiculous and frankly astounding this kind of one-sided hostility seems to someone like myself? It might make sense if “skeptics” (for want of a better word) were some kind of sub-human demons, but speaking for myself if you met me in any other context I’d venture to say you’d find me a nice, reasonable sort of person who you wouldn’t accuse of being a “liar” etc if I disagreed with you on something topical.

    You know, some of the responses to you have been a little intemperate. But you seem to think this is completely out of the blue. Are you not aware of how your introductory posts here sounded? The obvious implications of either incompetence or lying? Why do you see hostility on the part of others while apparently being blind to it when you do it? The people here aren’t mindlessly hostile to outsiders, I have seen a lot of polite and considerate responses to people with legitimate questions even when they came in supporting the deniers. The difference is, their posts were polite.

    Captcha words: “sizes histrionism”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 1 Dec 2008 @ 7:08 AM

  91. re NIPCC

    When I saw your post, I thought (hoped) that it was going to discuss an attempt to summarise developments in climate science since AR4. I was at a conference in Tokyo in the summer when Jim Hansen said that such an exercise was planned for publication at Poznan. Anyone know if anything came of that?

    Comment by David Steven — 1 Dec 2008 @ 8:12 AM

  92. Chris, seriously, there’s a way to approach this that works.
    It’s spelled out. You could use it. You haven’t been. Try the best guide out there for asking serious people beginner questions:

    http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html#intro

    —–excerpt——
    …. “Good question!” is a strong and sincere compliment.

    Despite this, hackers have a reputation for meeting simple questions with what looks like hostility or arrogance. It sometimes looks like we’re reflexively rude ….

    What we are, unapologetically, is hostile to people who seem to be unwilling to think or to do their own homework before asking questions. People like that are time sinks — they take without giving back, and they waste time ….

    … our style of answering questions is tuned for people who do take such an interest and are willing to be active participants in problem-solving. … we filter ruthlessly….

    —–end excerpt—–

    You’re getting offers mostly from regular readers, much more tolerant, who are trying to help. You’re being offered help. If you don’t want it, you just waste people’s time.

    Yes, some people come here and to Tamino’s and other climate forums with that goal. Let’s go waste some AGW-believers’ time again today, that kind of thing. Some of us ordinary readers try answering so that wastes our time, not that of the working scientists.

    We learn ourselves — we look stuff up, we get corrections of our own errors, and sometimes a “Good question!” response from Gavin or another of the climatologists.

    You can do it. You need to want to do it. Think, man.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Dec 2008 @ 9:37 AM

  93. Barton Paul Levenson #87-#89:

    “Are you not aware of how your introductory posts here sounded?”

    My introductory posts were #26 and #28. These were polite.

    Then Ray posted the following at #29:

    “Chris, Thank You for the weather report. Given your interests, might I suggest you check out weather.com.”

    As well as being more impolite than anything I had said, this was particularly unfair given that I had been in part responding to Wayne at #18 in particular “Today 247 K troposphere in the High Arctic is +7 K above last years average for November”.

    My riposte to Ray about what can be done with time series filters matched his tone.

    And I didn’t dismiss time series filters. You’re buying into another poster’s spin. I referred to how a selective use of them can be misleading. If, for example, the ice extents of 2009, 2010 and 2011 were to mirror exactly those of 2006, 2005 and 2004 i.e. increasing ice over the next 3 year period, the prior moving average would continue downwards. This is where the certainty of statements such as “the trend in the Arctic continues toward decreasing ice” comes from. But that trend refers to the past – it does not guarantee decreasing ice in the future [the second part of the phrase], and the certainty of the implication is misleading. Only subtly misleading, but misleading nonetheless.

    However, thanks for acknowledging “You know, some of the responses to you have been a little intemperate.” – I acknowledge that there is some truth in “Why do you see hostility on the part of others while apparently being blind to it when you do it”.

    Comment by Chris — 1 Dec 2008 @ 9:48 AM

  94. #91 Hank.

    I agree with your emphasis on the word “Think”. I would also add “for yourself”. I learned the importance of this very quickly when debating Arctic ice this summer. Remember the grief I got for saying things such as:

    [North Pole Notes Continued #347 – 3 Sep] “….I’ve consistently argued that an earlier and stronger re-freeze than last year is very plausible…..No one has agreed with me, or even recognised that I might have a point. Well, let’s wait and see what happens….”

    Was I right to think for myself then? You bet

    I strongly resent being patronised, even if you are doing it in good faith.

    Comment by Chris — 1 Dec 2008 @ 10:08 AM

  95. Hank and others, thanks for the Brine info and links. Filled in some gaps and refreshed my aging memory (lame excuse) :D

    As for Sea Ice, please tell me I’m not on hallucinogens. Whoever concocts Whatever out of 2 year on year seasons of ice regrowth, my global view is that we are still in the bottomless tube that NOAA data tells me we are.

    September monthly mean: http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q210/Sekerob/GlobalSIASIESeptember.png

    October monthly mean: http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q210/Sekerob/GlobalSIASIEOctober.gif

    Note that I’ve labelled the differential from Area to Extent as Water. Can’t make more out of it. Maybe the saline levels could be used to predict the regrowth potential… think to have read it was up to cause a lowered freezing point of -1.77C

    November looks very very strange on the prelims I’ve cooked up… Extent Down, Area Up… not suited for unguided publication ;>)

    Poznan just starting.

    recaptcha: Foreign Texas… who knows is Texas foreign and sure it was to me when working there for a short stint ;>)

    Comment by Sekerob — 1 Dec 2008 @ 10:18 AM

  96. Barton, Chris doesn’t understand what 247 K means, but he does understand how to create a stir
    not a debate. Besides he can’t explain:

    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_30b.rnl.html

    why its so warm now, but he can hide facts to create a fiction fit for a contrarian meeting, he reads the Telegraph too much…

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 1 Dec 2008 @ 10:18 AM

  97. A group of medieval philosophers were arguing over how many angels could stand on the head of a needle when one of the angels fell off. Half the philosophers immediately said to the others “See – your number was too high”. The angel then flapped its wings and landed on the needle again. The second half now said “See –we were right all along.” That is the level of much of this debate.

    The facts are that since accurate satellite measurements of sea ice became available in 1979 Arctic sea ice has been declining at an average rate of 60000 km2 a year. Often there have been years when ice increased (82, 86, 92 and 96). Whether the 2008 increase is another isolated year or the start of an increasing trend is impossible to say. Similarly Antarctic sea ice has been increasing at about 25000 km2 per year. Given the smaller increase many more years have bucked the trend. The total average area of the polar ice caps is around 40 million km2 (24 sea ice and 16 ice above land). The loss therefore is equivalent to just under 0.1% per year.

    Comment by Julius St Swithin — 1 Dec 2008 @ 10:35 AM

  98. > Whether the 2008 increase is another isolated year or the
    > start of an increasing trend is impossible to say.

    You want certainty? Math or religion offer certainty. Science doesn’t.

    But science and statistics are the tools available to help you assign a probability to the trend statistically — you have to use the same facts and the same numbers as everyone else has.

    This makes it entirely possible to say what’s likely.

    Science. Good for you. Try some today.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Dec 2008 @ 10:43 AM

  99. #93, Chris at work again, “I’ve consistently argued that an earlier and stronger re-freeze than last year is very plausible”

    That didn’t happen, it still refreezing firstly, secondly, it refroze from a more scattered ice pack to start with. It wasn’t technically a stronger refreeze, but something like a quicker extent consolidation. Facts are so elusive!

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 1 Dec 2008 @ 10:43 AM

  100. #98 Hank.

    I’m relatively new to this forum and my posting (#97) was an attempt to move on from the futile argument about whether the Artic sea ice trend has reversed. From your “tone” my posting seems however to rankled, to help me avoid problems in the future, could you perhaps explain why?

    Comment by Julius St Swithin — 1 Dec 2008 @ 10:57 AM

  101. Chris, you refer to
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/08/north-pole-notes-continued/#comment-97284

    You _still_think_ you were all alone in your opinion?

    But later in that thread you said you’d go look at Stoat — haven’t you done that yet? Look at the sea ice bets.

    It’s not that you’re alone in thinking — you just aren’t getting support because you make clear that you’re not reading what people suggest you read.

    Here, make it easy: Google for “arctic sea ice” +bet +Stoat

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Dec 2008 @ 11:06 AM

  102. Chris, Under the “about” section on the front page you will find:
    “RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists. We aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary.”

    Climate has to do with long-term trends, not month-to-month changes. Most of us are here to learn, not to pontificate. That is, after all the stated purpose of the site. So, when you come on here pontificating about short-term trends and claiming on the basis of extremely weak evidence a reversal of trends, or that there is no trend at all, you should not be too surprised if your efforts are not well received. It is not your dissent from mainstream climate science that is the source of this, it is the flaws in your logic and the irrelevance of your post to climate issues that is to blame.
    Dismissing long-term trends as a “moving average” while trying to draw conclusions based on a couple of months doesn’t really strike me as an approach likely to catch on in climate science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Dec 2008 @ 11:22 AM

  103. Re: #93 (Chris)

    If, for example, the ice extents of 2009, 2010 and 2011 were to mirror exactly those of 2006, 2005 and 2004 i.e. increasing ice over the next 3 year period, the prior moving average would continue downwards. This is where the certainty of statements such as “the trend in the Arctic continues toward decreasing ice” comes from.

    Why are you fixated on the “prior moving average”?

    This is not my basis for any statements about trend, and I’ll bet it’s not anybody’s. I never use the “prior moving average” and I rarely use moving averages because there are far better smoothing filters.

    For trend analysis, I don’t use smoothing filters at all.

    If increasing ice over 2009/10/11 mirrored 2006/5/4, I would analyze whether their data could or could not plausibly be due to noise superimposed on the existing trend (note: existing). If not, I would conclude that the data had departed from that trend with statistical significance, so the trend must have changed. The fact that the “prior moving average” continued to decline is irrelevant. If the trend does change next year, that doesn’t negate its existence this year — despite your claim to the contrary.

    Claiming that it’s our basis for trend statements is nothing but a straw man. It’s especially reprehensible since your statements give every indication that you’re woefully ignorant of the subject. You really have no idea what the basis is — but you continue to pontificate on the topic even though you haven’t even bothered to ask.

    Comment by tamino — 1 Dec 2008 @ 11:37 AM

  104. #95 c.f. http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg

    #99 “That didn’t happen…” Yes it did I’m afraid, for area as well as extent.
    Compare the area line to the mean line for 2007 and 2008 at:
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/iphone/iphone.currentarea.series.html
    (It appears to be down at the moment, but I would also link to http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/ice-area-and-extent-in-arctic )

    “….it refroze from a more scattered ice pack to start with. It wasn’t technically a stronger refreeze, but something like a quicker extent consolidation…”
    There was an element of this in early-to-mid September which made the earlier refreeze than in 2007 seem even earlier re: extent. From mid-to-late Sep both area and extent appear to have been consistently 1 to 2 weeks ahead this year.

    And my original argument was implicitly in relation to the autumn re-freeze, which means it is already fair to conclude it has been decisively vindicated. (If the fleeting peripheral ice of late winter fails to extend as far out into the Pacific, for example, early next year, resulting in a lower maximum, re-freeze will still have been early and strong in the context of the original discussion.)

    Comment by Chris — 1 Dec 2008 @ 11:55 AM

  105. #86 Nick – thanks, sincerely. I only just spotted your post. I’ve got enough faith in humanity that a part of me hoped someone would say something along the lines of what you said. I accept much of AGW theory too, for what it’s worth.

    Comment by Chris — 1 Dec 2008 @ 12:21 PM

  106. OK I’ve got serious amounts of study to do. Need to take a longer break from posting. Meanwhile, I’m feeling inspired by the striking alignment of the crescent moon, Venus and Jupiter – which I’ve now got a great view of through my window. Keep an open mind guys.

    Comment by Chris — 1 Dec 2008 @ 12:42 PM

  107. Oh I forgot to deal with this one:

    #80 Wayne. Yes the St Roch had reached the Bering Strait by 27th Sep 1944. (Having left Pond Inlet http://tinyurl.com/6n3bee
    no earlier than Aug 12th)
    http://www.ucalgary.ca/arcticexpedition/larsenexpeditions

    And what was my original point – that 2007 did not surpass 1944 in terms of overall ice extent? Not at all: summer 2007 clearly had significantly higher Arctic temperatures, and significantly less ice in the Arctic as a whole than summer 1944 – that’s not in dispute. (Though the size of the differences may be)

    My original point was that cooler temperatures on all sides of the Arctic in 1975-1985 as compared with 1935-1945 seem inconsistent with graphs showing a 2 million km2 reduction in summer ice between the 2 periods. So to dismiss my point in the style you attempted, you would need to have produced maps showing that *in the mid-1980s*, the St. Roch would not have “…found itself in a battle against the ice as it tried to reach Bering Strait…”

    Captain, do you think you would have won a similar battle against the ice in 1984 or 1985?
    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=09&fd=15&fy=1984&sm=09&sd=15&sy=1985
    (bearing in mind these maps don’t even show concentrations of less than 30 per cent, and that “Compared to the powerful icebreakers which ply Northern waters today, the St. Roch was a frail and underpowered little ship.”!)

    Comment by Chris — 1 Dec 2008 @ 1:26 PM

  108. I see that Chris #68 is following in the footsteps of the Heartland Institute and has been trained well.

    I “Know” that the first time the entire parry channel has been open to navigation from ships other than Icebreakers was in 2007. So I looked up the statement about Larsen.

    Let me relate what one article I found states

    “On its westward passage, Larsen took the St. Roch on a different route. Through the Parry Channel to Banks Island, the ship turned south through the Prince of Wales Strait and out into the Beaufort Sea.”

    Now I’m not Arctic navigator but I can read a map. Larsen did not pass Banks Island on the Parry Channel but on the Prince of Wales Strait.

    Yet more disinformation passed in a very sly way which will pass a very cursory inspection.

    If you dig further you will find that it took Larsen 2 years to make the Eastern journey through very heavy ice and was forced completely out of the water on more than one occasion.

    If you dare to look a little further you will find that in the 1944 trip he got into severe difficulty after making the NW passage run and the ship was nearly destroyed in the storms and ice.

    During the worst of the Ice melt in 2006, Both Moscow and Istanbul were experiencing their worst weather in living memory. Note “Weather”.

    As was stated earlier, if Chris cannot differentiate between weather variability and Climate trends, then he should desist. In fact IPCC has predicted severe weather events, both cooling and warming, driven by Climate Change. Clearly Chris does not read IPCC reports well.

    There are much more interesting links like this one

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.365.jpg

    Which show clearly that far from running away in cooling mode, in fact the ice regrowth is slowing down and coming much closer to 2007

    or the trend chart

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/sea.ice.anomaly.timeseries.jpg

    Which does not actually match the figures reported for 2008 area but Even with that anomaly is still WAY below anything we can call normal since detailed records began.

    or even the Global Sea Ice area

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg

    Which shows a similar drop below the average.

    All this melt last year in a year of Solar reduction

    http://www.solarcycle24.com/

    But come on now guys, it’s cooling right??????

    Chris, you sound much too like Kim from Dot Earth to be taken seriously. Every conversation starts and ends the same way.

    “You are wrong, see my analysis”
    “[snipped reams of evidence to the contrary], you should educate yourself”
    “You are wrong because I think you are”

    End of rational debate or conversation.

    Comment by NeilT — 1 Dec 2008 @ 2:33 PM

  109. Julius, I didn’t mean to snark at you; you’ll find from the other comments and pointers that it’s not just arguing about angels on pinheads.

    Chris, well said above:
    > serious amounts of study to do.
    > Need to take a longer break

    People’s replies to earlier posts will likely keep rolling in; you deserve time off to read and think, I hope you won’t be tempted to answer everything, it’ll simmer down as people realize you’re taking time to study.

    Enjoy the conjunction; don’t miss that, everyone. I hope you have clear sky for the view tonight. And don’t miss seeing the ISS when you have the chance, it’s a lovely sight too when it passes overhead shortly after sunset.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Dec 2008 @ 3:01 PM

  110. The full title of this piece is “Summary for Policymakers of the Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change”

    Oddly enough there doesn’t seem to exist any report to which this is a summary.

    Comment by Thomas — 1 Dec 2008 @ 3:19 PM

  111. David Steven at #91: There is an exercise being conducted to “update” the AR4 picture prior to next year’s Copenhagen COP meeting in December. It’s being organised by the University of Copenhagen at the behest of the Danish government, and is scheduled for 10-12 March next year. There’s more about the background to the meeting in this interview at Scientific American.

    Comment by Gareth — 1 Dec 2008 @ 5:26 PM

  112. Meanwhile, I’m feeling inspired by the striking alignment of the crescent moon, Venus and Jupiter – which I’ve now got a great view of through my window. Keep an open mind guys.

    Hopefully not inspired in any astrological sense, though I’ve got to wonder …

    Comment by dhogaza — 1 Dec 2008 @ 5:35 PM

  113. Gareth at #111 – thanks so much for the info.

    Comment by David Steven — 2 Dec 2008 @ 4:25 AM

  114. The denialist list is a useful reference point. Do your contributors, I wonder, ever read any of this material? This, for example, from G and T (Physics professors):
    Global climatologists claim that the Earth’s natural greenhouse effect keeps the Earth 33 C warmer than it would be without the trace gases in the atmosphere. 80 percent of this warming is attributed to water vapor and 20 percent to the 0.03 volume percent CO2. If such an extreme effect existed, it would show up even in a laboratory experiment involving concentrated CO2 as a heat conductivity anomaly. It would manifest itself as a new kind of `super insulation’ violating the conventional heat conduction equation. However, for CO2 such anomalous heat transport properties never have been observed.
    They could have gone further. Angstroms experiment, specifically designed to look for this effect, failed to find it.

    The combination of the lapse rate (gravity) and thermal conductivity (sensible heat transfer) would generate a substantial temperature differential above the “bare rock” case in an ideal gas or N2/02 atmosphere. Anyone can demonstrate this for themselves by driving up a hill (lapse rate) and putting on a coat on a cold day (thermal conductivity).

    How much additional temperature difference does the trace gas radiatiation absorption effect produce? Not much, mainly from the water vapour, and limited to the first few hundred ppm before saturation is reached (Angstrom, again).

    In conventional greenhouse experiments (RG Woods) glass absorbs infra-red radiation and rock salt does not. There is no measurable difference in the interior temperatures.

    So, G and T would not expect surface temperatures to increase as the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere rises. In so far as these temperatures can be measured sufficiently accurately, they are currently falling.

    With 50% of US and 75% of Chinese power generated from coal-fired stations the next 5 to 10 years will be interesting for AGW proponents. (The next 14 months will be interesting for Tamino’s prediction of a 0.5 degree C uptick in the Central England Temperature record this decade).

    [Response: Do at least try to say something sensible. ‘G&T’ is complete garbage. – gavin]

    Comment by Fred Staples — 2 Dec 2008 @ 9:03 AM

  115. –#114:

    Fred, you are still hopelessly confused. It’s nice to know that some things don’t change.

    (Though, since you bring up the Angstrom experiments, I’ll add that there is a lot of info available on them, here and also particularly at Spencer Weart’s site. Just in case you’d like to catch up a bit.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 2 Dec 2008 @ 9:18 AM

  116. G&T are completely are clueless as to how the greenhouse effect works. Their paper represents onw of the most pathetic misunderstandings around–notice that it still hasn’t found a publication willing to take it. To call them physicists is to insult physics.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Dec 2008 @ 9:52 AM

  117. Re: #114 (Fred Staples)

    Tamino’s prediction of a 0.5 degree C uptick in the Central England Temperature record this decade

    [edit]

    I never made any such prediction, nor would I, because I have time and time again tried to educate people that the noise level of temperature data makes trends on such short time scales extremely uncertain.

    You just made this up, and have repeated it numerous times in numerous places, because it’s a convenient “straw man” you can invent in an attempt to embarrass me. You’re just an outright liar.

    Here’s what I actually said in my post on Central England Temperature:

    The rate of warming in CET since 1980 is 0.05 +/- 0.02 deg.C/yr, or half a degree C per decade. If this trend continues, then by mid-century CET will have increased by a substantial amount, another 2 deg.C. This will bring CET to heights unknown for at least 350 years, probably several thousand years, and in all likelihood warmth not seen since humans inhabited the British Isles.

    There’s no way for an honest person to interpret this as a “prediction of a 0.5 degree C uptick in the Central England Temperature record this decade.”

    You’re the one who (in comments to that post) tried to use far-too-short time spans to characterize the trend in CET:

    If we use the monthly data relative to their own averages, as you have done, the trend falls to 0.26 degrees per decade (2008 has been cold, so far), with a 38% probability that so high a trend has arisen by chance.
    So is your 0.5 degree trend there in the data, Tamino, short as the period is? There is a suggestion of about half the trend you quote, not significantly different from zero.

    [Response: Congratulations on your membership in the “I can always pick a short enough time period that the trend isn’t significant” club. But — why not start the trend analysis in January 2008?

    Try linear regression on the last 30 yr of data.]

    If we use the last 10 years of CET data (which is cherry-picking, starting with the 1998 el Nino year), the trend rate is only 0.05 deg.C/decade plus or minus 0.9 deg.C/decade.

    It’s bad enough that you want to ignore proper statistics and gigantic error ranges to make ludicrous claims. But your continued lies about what I did or didn’t “predict” are slanderous.

    You owe me an apology. You should also apologize to every reader here.

    [Response: Seconded. (and sorry for not catching that in moderation). – gavin]

    Comment by tamino — 2 Dec 2008 @ 10:16 AM

  118. Tamino, I can think of a scenario in which Fred might not owe you an explanation–and that is if he truly doesn not understand the difference between a trend and a prediction. In this case, we all owe Fred a great deal of pity.

    On another subject: So, Fred, interested in playing po–ker,some time?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Dec 2008 @ 11:32 AM

  119. Fred #114

    If such an extreme effect existed, it would show up even in a laboratory experiment involving concentrated CO2 as a heat conductivity anomaly.

    http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/general/history/JTyndall_biog_doc.pdf

    …and it’s called radiative transport, not conduction.

    This happened in 1859. Try to keep up with the literature ;-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 2 Dec 2008 @ 12:00 PM

  120. Hi everyone

    I am new to this site so please help me out. There are a few thing I cant seem to grasp in the climate debate. But then again I am no rocket scientist (still a scientist though).

    I know that the following things cannot possibly be challenged.

    1) There exists no historical data that suggest that CO2 drives the climate. On the contrary data suggest (not prove though) that temp drives CO2

    2) We are concerned with the warming that has occurred in the last century. However more than 50% of this warming occurred before 1940. At this time the anthropogenic sources of CO2 cannot possibly have been large enough to change climate.

    So what are we left with??

    Please help me out

    [Response: On the off chance you are serious and not just playing the faux naif, you completely miss the real issues. First, CO2 is a greenhouse gas as has been measured in laboratories and in the atmosphere for over a century. And second, we aren’t particularly concerned with the warming so far – that is just for testing that we know what we are doing. The worry is what it means for the future…. – gavin]

    Comment by Christian Holm — 2 Dec 2008 @ 1:43 PM

  121. Dear Gavin

    Tank you for your response. I am not playing. I am dead serious. I am aware that CO2 has been measured in the atmosphere, and also that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. That is trivial knowledge. But do we have any data that suggest that CO2 drives climate?? I know that CO2 and temp are somewhat correlated, but that is not enough..is it??

    If CO2 has not driven climate in the past, then how can we imagine to change the future climate changes by limiting CO2 emission.

    I do not write on this site to play pranks. I try to get a fair discussion going and maybe learn a thing or two in the process….

    [Response: These are all very basic strawman questions and answers have appeared on this site and elsewhere many, many times. But just to clear, yes, there is evidence that changes in CO2 and other GHGs have driven climate change in the past (the PETM is the biggest, the temperatures at the LGM can’t be explained without a significant role for CO2, the long term cooling over the Cenozoic appears to be related to decreasing CO2, basic radiative physics, detection and attribution over the 20th Century etc.). Your second question, pre-assumes a negative response to the first and is therefore moot. If you want to have a fair discussion, read up on some background first (‘Start Here’ button at the top of the page). – gavin]

    Comment by Christian Holm — 2 Dec 2008 @ 2:17 PM

  122. Re: #120 (Christian Holm)

    What is your source for the claim “However more than 50% of this warming occurred before 1940.”?

    Comment by tamino — 2 Dec 2008 @ 2:52 PM

  123. Christian #121.

    Uh, YES. There is data that suggests CO2 drives climate. CO2 is a greenhouse gas as you admit. And what is the only energy source for weather (and so therefore, in the long term, climate)?

    The Energy From The Sun.

    So if we hold on to that energy, the effect the Sun’s Energy has on the climate and weather will be driven with a different energetic forcing.

    The data is therefore: CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

    Comment by Mark — 2 Dec 2008 @ 3:33 PM

  124. PS Christian.

    Do we have any data from the mesozoic era about deaths of animals by automobile collision? No??? So how do we know that cars cause deaths????

    That is the strawman being alluded to in your response. The dinosaurs didn’t burn oil. Therefore this current gargantuan burning of fossil fuels is unprecedented. Expecting data to show that in previous times the unprecedented actions did the same thing as it is being attributed to doing now is a ridiculous query: if it had happened before, it would not be unprecedented.

    Comment by Mark — 2 Dec 2008 @ 3:37 PM

  125. @122 (tamino)

    That claim has been made by Baliunas at the Marshall Institute [wwwDOTmarshallDOTorg/article.php?id=79], the Hoover Institution [wwwDOThooverDOTorg/publications/digest/3532016.html], Steve Milloy at Fox News [wwwDOTfoxnewsDOTcom/story/0,2933,93466,00.html], the WSJ Editorial pages [wwwDOTopinionjournalDOTcom/columnists/pdupont/?id=110009693], etc.

    You know, reputable sources for scientific information.

    (ReCaptcha: heat dealings)

    Comment by thingsbreak — 2 Dec 2008 @ 3:40 PM

  126. Christian Holm,

    You need to read this page or this one which addresses common skeptical arguments– the ones you bring up are many years old and have been addressed many years ago. The usage of them has gradually faded in more academic forums, so take that into account when people show little patience for addressing them in detail.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 2 Dec 2008 @ 3:44 PM

  127. Re Christian @120: “1) “There exists no historical data that suggest that CO2 drives the climate. On the contrary data suggest (not prove though) that temp drives CO2″

    You’ve already been set straight on your questioning of CO2 as an historical climate driver, but you will find it helpful if you grasp that CO2 can be both a feedback and a forcing, or driver as you put it, depending on the circumstances, and that in either case it will add warming.

    When CO2 lags temperature, such as at the end of the last ice age, it is clearly not the initial forcing, or driver. That was increased solar insolation due to Earth’s orbital and rotational geometry (Milankovic cycles). As the surface, ocean and atmosphere warmed more CO2 then entered the atmosphere, where it added still more warming. Thus it was a positive feedback in that situation, reinforcing the initial forcing.

    Today, absent any initial increase in solar insolation or other direct energy input, but with a measured, continuing, and accelerating increase in CO2 from the burning of fossil carbon fuels, CO2 is acting as the direct initial forcing.

    It really should not be hard to grasp, especially for a scientist, although as we’ve seen so often, that’s no guarantee.

    Captcha predicts: ft snowdrifts

    Comment by Jim Eager — 2 Dec 2008 @ 4:45 PM

  128. #127–

    Very well put, Jim.

    I would only add that this point is the one thing I regret about “An Inconvenient Truth.” The correlation between CO2 and temperature was stressed so strongly that the distinction you draw so clearly (and Mark so colorfully above!)was rather lost, to the confusion of many.

    CO2: feedback then, forcing now.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 2 Dec 2008 @ 5:03 PM

  129. Thanks, Kevin, but there are a few other regrettable moments in AIT, including illustrating, quite accurately, mind you, the consequence of the melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice caps and subsequent sea level rise but without providing some kind of realistic time scale range, or the outright gaffe that we’re already seeing climate refugees emigrating from Tuvalu, although discussions to that end are indeed ongoing. Still, Gore got far more right than he got mixed up or wrong.

    Captcha provides an alternate to “deniers”: Blockheads

    Comment by Jim Eager — 2 Dec 2008 @ 5:58 PM

  130. Any number of things, but the first is that you don’t win with the denialists by showing how wrong they are, you only win by showing how incoherent and silly they are. The hallmark of the NPCC report is that every paragraph blows away the paragraph before.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 2 Dec 2008 @ 7:10 PM

  131. Dear all

    Thank you very much for your patience. I will read up on the articles and study the contents of the homepages that you have generously linked to.

    I have just a few comments to Mark.
    1) In #123 I wrote “I am aware that CO2 has been measured in the atmosphere, and also that CO2 is a greenhouse gas”. So why do you try to convince me that CO2 is a greenhouse gas???

    2) Your arguments using dinosaurs are not logical. You are right that anthropogenic emissions of CO2 are unprecedented. But there are plenty of phenomenons that could (and might have) emitted at least the same amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere in the past (Volcanos etc..). So we dont know if this rise in CO2 is unprecedented.

    3) Your “car accident” example is so below anything I have ever heard I think it qualifies to ban you from this site.

    Later

    Later

    Comment by Christian Holm — 3 Dec 2008 @ 3:29 AM

  132. I look forward to the update from ISC on climate change (111) although it mentions May 2009 on the web site. Thats the best news I’ve heard in some time.

    We realy should have an update once a year given the current urgency of the subject. I fear we are playing a catch up game here and will be changing our targets into the coming decades as more info becomes available.

    reCapture is quite appropriate for this strings topic: “long forgery”

    Comment by Ricki (Australia) — 3 Dec 2008 @ 6:36 AM

  133. Re: #122 Tamino Re: #120 (Christian Holm)

    “What is your source for the claim “However more than 50% of this warming occurred before 1940.”?

    Christian did not reply but his claim would be substantially correct if he replaced “more than 50%” by “about 50%”.

    Using the HadCRUTv3 data set with 60-month central moving average the main trends were:
    – 1911 to 1942; a rise of 0.59 C at a rate of 0.02 C/y.
    – 1942 to 1980; fluctuating temperatures with an overall fall of 0.13 C
    – 1980 to 2004; a rise of 0.59 C at a rate of 0.025 C /y.

    Different smoothing, interpretation and data bases would give slightly different answers. For example, it could argued that rising temperatures started in 1948. In this case the late 20th century warming was 0.69 C, higher than the early century warming, but at the slower rate of 0.013 C/y.

    Comment by Julius St Swithin — 3 Dec 2008 @ 6:57 AM

  134. I am back. It is daytime here….thus the delay in replies

    The links were very helpful. This is what I got from reading them:

    It seems that although solar activity has driven climate in the past, this might not be true for the last three decades.

    Yes lab work has shown that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that it contributes to keeping the globe warm (we can only calculate and speculate on how much, not measure this).

    Although there might (not consensus all the way around) not be cooling of the earth in the last decade, it does seem like the heating has slowed down, in spite of CO2 continueing to rise.

    Together, I think that the basic premise, that anthropogenic CO2 is the primary driver of recent climate warming (later than 1975, since there is agreement that solar activity drove climate), is still based only on three things. Speculations, assumptions and computations.

    Comment by Christian Holm — 3 Dec 2008 @ 7:02 AM

  135. Christian Holm, You forgot one very important leg to the stool: evidence. No other mechanism simultaneously explains both tropospheric warming AND stratospheric cooling. No other mechanism explains as conveniently the pattern of warming–the degree of polar amplification, the warmer overnight lows, later first frosts, earlier thaws. Add to this the fact that no other forcer is currently increasing in intensity. The evidence is quite cogent. Keep reading.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Dec 2008 @ 8:36 AM

  136. #134 Christian

    First, if there were no greenhouse gases, the earths temperature would
    follow the Stefan–Boltzmann law for black body radiation.
    This works out to around 0F or about 55F cooler than what it is.
    It’s simple physics. Not much speculation.

    Second, the National Climate Data Center maintains a record of
    global temperatures. By their records, the warmest year was 2005.
    The warmest 3 year average is the last 3 years.

    2007 probably would have been the warmest year on record, but for
    La Nina conditions that started in Sept 2007.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/anomalies/anomalies.html

    There has been a lot of work to determine how much of the recent warming
    is from Natural vs Human causes and the probability that it is
    natural or radom is very slight. On the other hand, I suspect you will
    find that there are significant political and economic concerns that
    would rather not accept such a conclusion.

    There is science and there is opinion.

    Not everybody can tell the differance!

    Comment by Andrew — 3 Dec 2008 @ 9:06 AM

  137. Christian’s position seems similar to that of other scientifically literate sceptics that I meet. Unlike many deniers: they do not dispute the evidence of the temperature record; they accept that the increase in CO2 is anthropogenic; they accept that CO2 is a greenhouse gas; they accept that while solar forcing plus CO2 and other amplification might have been the primary mechanism in the past it is possible for CO2 to be a forcing mechanism in the future. But, they also realise, as does Christian, that the early and late 20th century warming periods were similar in duration and magnitude and were separated by a cooling period. Until there is a unified theory that explains both of the warming periods and the cooling period they will also remain sceptical.

    [Response: The ‘unified theory’ is what goes into the models. All of the forcings need to be included and you want the natural variability needs to be realistic. As you can tell from fig 9.5 in IPCC AR4, the long term 20th C trends are well captured, and the 1940’s excursion is well within the spread of the models internal variability. So what needs to be explained? It is not the long term trend (driven in part by ghgs, but also trends in solar+volcanic), but really just the excursions around it. The 1940s are clearly a positive excursion over the expected (forced) trend. But it is possible that the forcings used in AR4 are incomplete or wrong – in which case the 1940’s might be part of a forced change (but there is no evidence of that to date), or, as I would judge more likely, the 1940s were an expression of internal variability – possibly related to the ocean overturning. But this idea that everything pre-1940 can’t be explained is bogus. – gavin]

    Comment by Julius St Swithin — 3 Dec 2008 @ 10:52 AM

  138. Christian, #131

    1) You must have a very weak personality if you found that so objectionable you would ban me.

    2) You don’t have the power to ban me.

    3) What more do you need than “CO2 will trap heat”? Do you have ANYTHING that would make that ineffective in the atmosphere? If not, why do you need data other than the data showing that CO2 is a greenhouse gas?

    Comment by Mark — 3 Dec 2008 @ 1:17 PM

  139. Christian
    > we dont know if this rise in CO2 is unprecedented.

    Rate of change is what makes the airborne fraction increase — a rate of increase in CO2 faster than natural biogeochemical cycling can remove it.

    E.g.:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?sourceid=Mozilla-search&q=%22Deccan+traps%22+%2Bco2

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Dec 2008 @ 3:03 PM

  140. #131 claims that “You are right that anthropogenic emissions of CO2 are unprecedented. But there are plenty of phenomenons that could (and might have) emitted at least the same amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere in the past (Volcanos etc..). So we dont know if this rise in CO2 is unprecedented.”

    Is somewhere between an argument from personal ignorance, a troll and a red herring. The short answer is that we have a reasonable idea of what CO2 concentrations have been over the past half million years from ice cores, and 380 ppm is about 100 ppm higher than it has been. If you go back a few million years, proxies say that this is still the case, it is only tens to hundreds of millions years ago that the CO2 concentration was much higher, and of course, a couple of billion years ago we had a nitrogen CO2 atmosphere, but that was then on a very different planet.

    These changes did not happen over a century either. What is shocking about the current situation is that it has happened so quickly. Moreover there is excellent evidence that it is the result of fossil fuel combustion.

    So we now get to look at Chris’ magesterial wave of the hand as he pulls out the bunny. Sorry Chris, you have to show some evidence for your claims before they are taken seriously.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 3 Dec 2008 @ 4:44 PM

  141. Re #137: Prior to about 1950, natural changes dominated the climate.
    It has only been since that time that man made changes have become
    dominate. It’s not that man made changes were not a factor prior to
    that time or that natural processes no longer influence the climate.
    Rather, it just that since about 1950 human activities have overcome
    natural changes.

    For example, total solar irradiance is currently at it’s lowest level
    in over 50 years, and yet we are looking at the warmest 3 year period since
    the instrumented record began. Furthermore, we are likely to establish
    a new yearly record average temperture as soon as ENSO returns to a
    positive phase. In fact, we could even establish a new record with
    neutral ENSO conditions as was the case in 2005.

    Lastly, the cooling of the 1970’s that some are so fond of pointing
    out is only in relation to the 1940’s. The 70’s were actually warmer
    than every other previous decade and every decade since the 1950’s has
    been progressively warmer. The 80’s and 90’s were both warmer than
    the 40’s and the current decade is on track to be the warmest yet.

    There was a lot of solar activity in the late 30’s and early 40’s, which
    can explain why that decade was so warm, but current solar activity is
    down from those levels and yet we are still witnessing warming. Also, the
    warming that we are seeing isn’t from elevated daytime highs as much as it is
    from elevated night time lows. So, clearly something is going on with
    the insulation properties of the atmosphere and since it’s mostly in the arctic
    we know that it’s not urban heat islands.

    Comment by Andrew — 3 Dec 2008 @ 5:31 PM

  142. Why anyone would seriously argue with Eli about his knowledge on climate is beyond me.

    Comment by jcbmack — 3 Dec 2008 @ 10:39 PM

  143. ‘No grasshopper! The greenhouse gases are ‘gases’. They heat the atmosphere and surface and a warmer atmosphere transfers some of that heat to the ocean below. You still have much to learn.’

    Hrmm.. a little ironic that this cheeky answer is also wrong… I mean, greenhouse gasses aren’t a heat source – they just capture and store heat from other sources – namely the sun.

    Not that that detracts anything from the validity of the response.

    Comment by naught101 — 3 Dec 2008 @ 11:05 PM

  144. A minor aside: You call the global cooling of the 70s thing the “granddaddy of all contrarian talking points”. I use it myself occasionally to support my skeptical position, but it is decidedly 2nd or even 3rd tier and not particularly important. Is “granddaddy” kinda tongue-in-cheek or do many of my fellow skeptics actually rely heavily on it?

    Comment by Rod B — 3 Dec 2008 @ 11:23 PM

  145. #140 -Eli

    Please explain to me why the laws of physics change as you go back in time. And why our globe was a different planet then.

    Comment by Christian Holm — 4 Dec 2008 @ 2:25 AM

  146. naught101, #143.

    When a gas is hot, it is a heat source.

    How else can the heat get out?

    Comment by Mark — 4 Dec 2008 @ 3:44 AM

  147. #134 Christian Holm:

    It seems that although solar activity has driven climate in the past, this might not be true for the last three decades.

    Why do you use the word ‘might’? This indicates you think it is very likely that the sun has in fact been responsible for the increasing temperatures over the past decades. You are the one basing your conviction on speculation here because there is no plausible evidence to support this assertion. Based on the available evidence, you should have said: “It seems that although solar activity has driven climate in the past, this is very likely not true for the last three decades”

    We can not measure the warming effect of CO2 in the way you would like to see it: as an experiment conducted on various clones of the Earth. Believe me, every scientist would like to be able to do that. But we can’t. We are therefore forced to use the second best option: calculations (climate models). That doesn’t mean this second best option can’t produce useful results. Not 100% certain. Not 100% accurate. But: useful, good enough.

    Yes lab work has shown that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that it contributes to keeping the globe warm (we can only calculate and speculate on how much, not measure this).

    The scientific word for ‘speculation’ is ‘uncertainty’. The uncertainty in the calculation of the warming effect of CO2 has been determined. Guessing from your posts, you seem to think that science has to be 100% complete and accurate to be ‘right’. Science is never 100% complete and accurate. Never was, never will be. The correct question regarding AGW is not: “Do we know for certain that CO2 is causing climate change and do we know exactly how much?” The correct question is: “is the uncertainty small enough to warrant action?”

    Although there might (not consensus all the way around) not be cooling of the earth in the last decade, it does seem like the heating has slowed down, in spite of CO2 continueing to rise.

    The power of positive thinking helps you to be successful in life. It has however no effect on the climate.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 4 Dec 2008 @ 6:12 AM

  148. #87 Barton Paul Levisencaptdallas — I’ve been using the Lean 2000 results as more or less canonical, which I know is always a careless thing to do in science. I even have a web page listing the whole table. I think Wang and Lean published a revised table in 2004; do you know if there’s a later one? If not I really ought to replace my web page with the 2004 data.

    Wang 2005, Foster 2004, Svalgaard 2007, There are a few more. It is frustrating to me that so many use Lean 2000 to prove points when there are more current reconstructions.

    Comment by captdallas2 — 4 Dec 2008 @ 7:09 AM

  149. #142–jcb, they have to be able to recognize “knowledge” reliably first, in order to be intimidated by it. There has been a concerted attack upon this capability going on for some time–see today’s posts on the NIPCC thread. (Where, inexplicably, no-one had yet mentioned Gore’s “Assault On Reason,” which is also much to the point.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 4 Dec 2008 @ 8:18 AM

  150. Gavin’s reply to my #137.

    I think you are referring to figure 9.5 in Chapter 9 “Understanding and Attributing Climate Change” (the file ar4-wg1-chapter9.pdf ). If you are, it does not really confirm your statement that the idea “that everything pre-1940 can’t be explained is bogus”.

    The 20th century had two similar 30 year periods with generally increasing temperatures with a flattish but cooling 30 year period between. In the graph as presented the observed record had an increase of 0.75 C for the first period, a fall of -.45 C for the second and an increase of 0.8 C for the third. The modelled sequence has 0.3 C for the first period, -0.2 C for the second and 0.75 C for the third. In other words the early century warming and the mid-century cooling are both underestimated by a factor of more than 2.

    During mid-century cooling the model shows a generally rising trend and only falls following the Mount Agung volcanic eruption – with a VEI of 5. The chart shows two much larger VEI 6 eruptions (Pinatubo and Santa Maria) which were included but another VEI 6 eruption, Novarupta in 1912, appears to have been ignored. Two other VEI 5 eruptions (Cerra Hudson in 1991 and St Helens in 1980) do not appear. I have not yet had time to read the supplementary appendix and it may be that the reasons for including some eruptions and not others are covered there.

    [Response: VEI is not a sufficient index for the importance of a volcano to climate. You need two other things – first, it helps a lot if it is a tropical volcano, and second, there has to be significant SO2/sulphate injection into the stratosphere. The first is necessary in order to get a global distribution of aerosols, and the second is necessary to ensure a significantly long lifetime of the those aerosols. SO2 in the lower atmosphere rains out very quickly (weeks) compared to years for stratospheric aerosols. Mt. St. Helens for example, fits none of these criteria. Look up Sato et al, 1993 for a discussion of the forcing dataset construction. – gavin]

    Comment by Julius St Swithin — 4 Dec 2008 @ 8:30 AM

  151. Re: #147 (captdallas2)

    Svalgaard has provides a comparative table at his site, here.

    The Lean et al. reconstruction has been around longer than the more recent reconstructions, so it’s been used more (and referenced more). It’s certainly a plausible one, but so are others, more recent, far less often referenced.

    There’s a similar situation for lower-troposphere temperature estimates based on satellite data. Everyone talks about RSS and UAH, but I almost never hear of the analyses from the U. of Maryland or U. of Washington.

    Comment by tamino — 4 Dec 2008 @ 8:39 AM

  152. Anne #146,”Although there might (not consensus all the way around) not be cooling of the earth in the last decade, it does seem like the heating has slowed down, in spite of CO2 continueing to rise.”

    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_30b.rnl.html

    Does it look like cooling to you? Surface temperatures vary given clouds, clouds reflect heat from the Upper atmosphere downwards, clear skies make the surface cooler. Given that its warmer in darkness, the key word, warmer, during the long night, suggests that the lower Upper Air is warmer. Upon observations it is. No sun, warmer air during total darkness… There is no other explanation matching observations then a lower troposphere warming the surface. Fitting what was know since the 19th Century, the green house effect theory.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 4 Dec 2008 @ 9:12 AM

  153. Re naught101 @143: “Hrmm.. a little ironic that this cheeky answer is also wrong… I mean, greenhouse gasses aren’t a heat source – they just capture and store heat from other sources – namely the sun.”

    No, greenhouse gasses do not “store” heat, they absorb energy and emit energy. Some of that energy warms other gases through collision, some makes it back down to the surface, warming it. Thus they redirect heat.

    You were saying?

    Comment by Jim Eager — 4 Dec 2008 @ 9:46 AM

  154. #146 Anne’s reply to Christian

    First, I may be telling Christian something he already knows – if so I am sorry. Some photographers use an ultra-violet filter which lets through all light frequencies except ultra-violet. CO2 acts a bit like that. It blocks outgoing long-wave radiation from the earth for a particular frequency band; its effectiveness as a filter depends on its concentration. Other GHGs and water block different bands. The earth cools by radiating heat to space. By reducing this loss of heat warming occurs.

    Whilst Anne is correct, we can’t experiment with different levels of CO2 and measure the effect, we do have satellite measurements which clearly show the blocking of long-wave radiation in the band expected for CO2.

    Comment by Julius St Swithin — 4 Dec 2008 @ 9:54 AM

  155. The Sun set in the high arctic over a month ago.
    It is in total darkness and yet that is where temperature
    anomalies are the highest. It is difficult to see how any
    reasonable person could suggest that such warming is from the Sun.

    The North Pacific and Atlantic have warm areas as well, but not
    to the same extent as the Arctic. So, again how can anyone
    suggest that some type of periodic oscillation is responsible
    for warming the Arctic?

    That said, the Antarctic does not show the same extent of warming.
    However, we know very well that the Southern Hemisphere does not
    have as extensive of a seasonal snow pack. So, it appears that
    the warming is from elevated CO2 levels that in turn have reduced
    the seasonal snow pack sufficiently to allow significantly
    more water vapor (another greenhouse gas) into the arctic.

    Comment by Andrew — 4 Dec 2008 @ 10:29 AM

  156. Off topic, but I couldn’t find a suitable one. In theoildrum there have been pieces saying the IPCC is far to liberal in it’s estimation of future fossil fuel reserves, including coal. They think it unlikely that atmosheric Co2 concentrations could ever get above 460ppm. What are your views on this?

    Comment by dp — 4 Dec 2008 @ 11:49 AM

  157. Re dp @156, they are not factoring in natural carbon sinks’ diminishing ability to absorb CO2 (a warming ocean) and even becoming carbon emitters (CO2 and methane from thawing permafrost and methane clathrates). There is more carbon in those sinks than is currently in the atmosphere.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 4 Dec 2008 @ 12:45 PM

  158. dp, check out the op-ed thread, starting with post #65. This was discussed there. Basically, anyone who thinks we’ll just stop burning stuff when we run out of easily extractable oil and coal underestimates the ingenuity of humans as well as their shortsightedness.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Dec 2008 @ 12:54 PM

  159. Rod B (144) — No global cooling n the 1970s. Here are the decadal averages from the HadCRUTv3 global surface temperature product:

    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/10yave.jpg

    Christian Holm (145) — Of course the laws of physics don’t change, but the position of the continents does. Modern climate began with the closure of the
    Isthmus of Panama about 4 +- 1 million years oago:

    http://www.geologytimes.com/Research/Isthmus_of_Panama_formed_as_result_of_plate_tectonics.asp

    dp (156) — There are also unconventional sources of fossil fuels. And also David Rutledge may be wrong in his re-estimate of coal reserves.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 4 Dec 2008 @ 1:54 PM

  160. The Mauna Loa data for CO2 levels is available here:

    ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/co2_annmean_mlo.txt

    Put it into an Excel spreadsheet and it becomes clear that
    the rise in CO2 is accelerating. Until it shows signs of
    slowing down, there is no reason to suspect that we are near
    peak CO2 emissions.

    460 ppm is expected in about 40 years.

    Comment by Andrew — 4 Dec 2008 @ 2:11 PM

  161. #152 Wayne Davidson:

    I didn’t say that. That was a quote from Christian Holm #134 I was reacting to.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 4 Dec 2008 @ 2:27 PM

  162. A little more about CO2 levels…

    The best fit 2nd order curve projects 460 ppm in the year 2039.

    If data from 2006 and 2007 is excluded, then the best fit
    curve projects 3 months later 2039.

    In other words, there is a significant acceleration in CO2 levels.
    Maybe this years global economic slow down will show a slowing of the
    acceleration, but would need a few more years of data to be sure about that.

    Comment by Andrew — 4 Dec 2008 @ 4:24 PM

  163. Julius # 137. Thats precisely what I mean. Thank you for putting it into a clear language. I usually prefer to discuss in my own language.

    Anne #147
    I agree with in most you say. However, climatology is different from most other sciences because you cannot interfere with the system to test different theories. Therefore we are limited to either looking into what has happened in the past. By looking at the past we can build theories on how the climate works in respect to changes in different factors. Correlations between events in the past tells us that these might be connected. When two events are correlated there is a possibility that theses are related to each other. Lets call the events A and B. If A and B are related this relationship can have ONLY three possible caracters. (this is before complicated feedback mechanisms might become relevant)

    1: A causes B, 2: B causes A, or 3: A and B are both caused by a third event.

    Since in the past the CO2 rise event is preceded temp rise event there are no signs of CO2 starting temp rise in the past. If you look at the past there is nothing that suggests that CO2 has had a powerful feedback effect on temp either.

    This means that if CO2 is driving the temp change now. This is properly unpreceded. That also means that we cannot use the past to compute and make models of how powerful this effect might be.

    We know that CO2 traps heat and has an effect on temp. But does the anthropogenic increasein CO2 we see now have a significant effect on temp rise??? We dont know. As with all science you can compute uncertanties. However, the uncertanties that we compute in climate forecasts depend on assumptions you make by opinion NOT by measurements. Moreover for uncertanties to be of any value you need to know all the forcing factors. I do not believe (not by a long shot) that we know all the important factors that drive temp here on earth. AND, the factors we have identified to impact temp are so insufficiently researched that to talk of uncertanties here is ludicruz(dont know if thats a word).

    Therefore I think that leaving out the word “might” in any conclusive sentence on climate predictions shows ignorance. As in most areas: those that know the least are often those who think they know it all.

    Comment by Christian Holm — 4 Dec 2008 @ 5:00 PM

  164. #163–

    “If you look at the past there is nothing that suggests that CO2 has had a powerful feedback effect on temp either.”

    Not a correct statement; see information on this site (I’d look under “paleoclimate.”)

    The general understanding here is that past warming episodes have been initiated by orbital cycle forcings, but amplified by natural GHG emissions; this understanding is based upon careful study of the paleoclimate record, including computational studies.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 4 Dec 2008 @ 5:13 PM

  165. Re: #163 (Christian Holm)

    You omit the 4th possibility: 4. A causes B and B causes A. That’s the essence of “feedback” phenomena. It’s quite clear than when it comes to CO2 and temperature, this is the case.

    Comment by tamino — 4 Dec 2008 @ 5:30 PM

  166. Christian Holm (163) — All the historical sciences have the ‘no experiment’ problem; geology and its related sciences, asronomy and its related sciences. Climatology is not so unusual in this regard.

    However, considerable work has been done. A historical account is found in “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:

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

    Review of above:

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

    As for equilibrium (Charney) climate sensitivity, additional information, beyond that in IPCC AR4 WG1 (linked in the Science section of the sidebar) is in

    http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10787&page=1

    and is discussed in at least one previous thread here on RealClimate. I particularly recommend the one about the Annan & Hargreaves paper and certainly do recommend thorough study of that paper.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 4 Dec 2008 @ 5:32 PM

  167. # 149, Kevin,
    good point! As an educator who has rsearch experience I strive to impart atlesast basic knowledge,whether they are my students, or bloggers on a site like this; most of my colleagues say it is a waste of time, but I cannot help but keep coming back to realcimate and even closing threads on Watts on occasion, but all it becomes is some sort of competition, now it is fine and fun with other experts in a given area(s) within science, but the non scientists or ill informed ones cannot even be reasoned with and they refuse to open their minds nor can they do so in this particular regard, not many people take the necessary courses and then go on to read books they have a background to understand and hence learn more.

    Comment by jcbmack — 4 Dec 2008 @ 5:40 PM

  168. Christian Holm, Where on Earth are you getting your ideas from? Certainly not refereed scientific journals. Why not spend some time and actually learn about the science, so that your posts at least have a reference. This is the best site there is to learn about climate science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Dec 2008 @ 6:10 PM

  169. Re Christian @163: “Since in the past the CO2 rise event is preceded temp rise event there are no signs of CO2 starting temp rise in the past. If you look at the past there is nothing that suggests that CO2 has had a powerful feedback effect on temp either.”

    Christian, you are mistaken on both counts. On the first, there is considerable evidence that massive injections of CO2 and/or methane played a role in the End-Permian and Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum extinctions, and in the ending of Snowball Earth. On the second, calculations of the Milankovic-induced increase in insolation show that it is insufficient on its own to bring an end to a glacial staid, it has to be amplified by feedbacks, rising CO2 and methane being only two of them, others being increasing albedo and higher levels of water vapour.

    I urge you at least read Spencer Weart’s The Discovery of Global Warming, first link under Science on the right hand side of the RealClimate home page, or just click on http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    Comment by Jim Eager — 4 Dec 2008 @ 8:00 PM

  170. #147 Anne, my Browser Safari did not show italics as of my copy and paste of

    “Although there might (not consensus all the way around) not be cooling of the earth in the last decade, it does seem like the heating has slowed down, in spite of CO2 continueing to rise.”

    Looked like part of your text. Placing quotation marks would make your citations more obvious for all Browsers. Its the only problem I’ve noted with Safari. I am delighted that you have not written
    Holm’s remarks. They are obviously erroneous, and have nothing to do with the present serious situation, we stand to act from solid information or we fall with misinformation as our guide.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 4 Dec 2008 @ 9:03 PM

  171. “# Christian Holm Says: 140 -Eli

    Please explain to me why the laws of physics change as you go back in time. And why our globe was a different planet then.”

    Amusingly, if you go back far enough, it was the sun that was different, cooler. Please Christian, take everyone’s advise and do some reading.

    BTW, it was warmer in the far past when CO2 levels were higher, but that is way far back (millions of years ago)

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 4 Dec 2008 @ 11:11 PM

  172. #150 Gavin

    Thanks for getting back to me. I’ll look up the reference but as it stands the simulation of the first 70 years of the last century is not encouraging.

    Comment by Julius St Swithin — 5 Dec 2008 @ 1:58 AM

  173. Anne: “it does seem like the heating has slowed down, in spite of CO2 continueing to rise.”

    Does it? What about in the 90’s when it seemed that there was heating? EVERYONE in power and all over the public phyche was “Yeah, but it could just be a glitch, a figment of our imagination. We MUST wait”.

    So why is it we don’t wait to see if there really is a lower heating trend before starting along the idea that there is?

    That was what had to be done before when temperature trends were statistically vague.

    Comment by Mark — 5 Dec 2008 @ 3:50 AM

  174. Well said Wayne (170)

    By the way, I have not been able to find the numbers to relate emissions (such as plotted in the IPCC scenarios) to the ppm concentrations. I want to be able to demonstrate that emissions are tracking above the highest predicted IPCC scenariio and to show this in terms of ppm CO2 and ppm CO2e.

    Does anyone know where I can find the data?

    captcha very relevant…”wrong thority”

    Comment by Ricki (Australia) — 5 Dec 2008 @ 3:50 AM

  175. Hey Gavin,
    Here’s another document you might like to deconstruct!

    You can download it from the ABC website.
    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2433911.htm

    or directly from

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/documents/not_scared_anymore_mr_gore.pdf

    Comment by concerned — 5 Dec 2008 @ 5:08 AM

  176. Dear Mr. Ladbury

    I agree that I am not fully trained in climate. But it seems that the majority of people here are not either. However, it seems the need for refs is more demanded from sceptics than from true believers.

    This particular true for you mr. Ladbury. Although you have posted 9 replies here, you have listed a total of zero refs yourself……!!!

    That being said:

    How on earth can I ref these key points of my last reply???

    “If A and B are related this relationship can have ONLY three possible caracters. (this is before complicated feedback mechanisms might become relevant)

    1: A causes B, 2: B causes A, or 3: A and B are both caused by a third event.” ?????

    “Moreover for uncertanties to be of any value you need to know all the forcing factors. I do not believe (not by a long shot) that we know all the important factors that drive temp here on earth.””

    I also have to admit that I make the same mistake.

    But since I realize that I do not have much experience in climate science please link me up to primary articles (no book and no IPCC charts) that could show me that

    1) CO2 has forced temp in the past

    2) We have discovered all major forcings of the globe climate and know these to an extend that we can determine the uncertanties they bring to climate. models

    I cant find them

    Comment by Christian Holm — 5 Dec 2008 @ 7:20 AM

  177. Christian Holm, What is your educational background? Why are you resistant to learning the physics of climate? That would certainly help place any journal articles you encounter in context.

    http://www.cspg.org/conventions/Gussow2008/abstracts/006.pdf

    http://www.geosc.psu.edu/people/faculty/personalpages/tbralower/Bowenetal2006.pdf

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/sci;302/5650/1551

    Keep in mind that the PETM is not a direct analog to today’s warming, but it does show greenhouse gas injection can drive climate.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Dec 2008 @ 8:11 AM

  178. concerned, This is just more noise from the denialist echo chamber. The guy’s a friggin’ geologist. What the hell does he know about climate? If people are too stupid to go the the best sources for information, they deserve to be fooled. They can shout to each other all they want. In the mean time, society has work to do in trying to preserve itself.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Dec 2008 @ 8:16 AM

  179. “If people are too stupid to go the the best sources for information, they deserve to be fooled. They can shout to each other all they want. In the mean time, society has work to do in trying to preserve itself.”

    Ray, if only they *were* separate from society. I hope you are right that serious folk have largely moved on to the “what do we do” questions; sometimes I think myself that I see signs of this. But I also think that it remains important to keep asserting the truth in public fora, matter-of-factly and with the clearest and most succinct supporting references appropriate to the particular forum. That’s what I try to do on the general blogsites that I frequent; I think it’s a useful role for the layperson.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 5 Dec 2008 @ 10:22 AM

  180. Christian Holm,

    At the top of the page is a rectangle with the words “Start Here” in it.
    Click on that with your mouse.
    It will lead you to the basic references.

    You say “no book and no IPCC chart” gives your (1) and (2) above.
    Both are in the IPCC Report and the charts therein.

    Where are you looking?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Dec 2008 @ 10:40 AM

  181. Riki, try cdiac
    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 5 Dec 2008 @ 11:12 AM

  182. Christian sez

    “1) CO2 has forced temp in the past

    2) We have discovered all major forcings of the globe climate and know these to an extend that we can determine the uncertanties they bring to climate. models

    I cant find them”

    Poor dear

    2a is easy, if your mystery unknown forcing existed and was significant we would know about it and it would not be unknown. 2b is epistimological, if they don’t exist they don’t bring uncertainties to climate models.

    There are lots of poorly known knows in climate science, but you are verging on astrology here with the mysterious major forcings from outer space.

    1 has a trivial answer, we have seen CO2 act as an external forcing in the last 100-150 years. That is the past bucky. On the other hand we have good estimates of its feedback effects from proxy data so the climate sensitivity to CO2 increase is bounded, which is what is needed

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 5 Dec 2008 @ 11:24 AM

  183. Dear All,

    Excuse me as I pick out a single aspect that amuses me.

    CO2 leads/lags Temperature.

    If anyone else has pointed the following out, I apologise for not having read all of this thread.

    Lead vs. Lag is not the issue to me but the following is and it is an own goal for some.

    Does CO2 tend to cause temperatures to rise? Yes!

    Do rising temperatures tend to cause (enhance) rising CO2 records? Yes!

    This is not confined to discussion of ice ages and core data.

    This is in the Morna Loa data.

    Years with larger than average temperature increases have larger than expected CO2 levels.

    This was noted very early on (1960s I think).

    This is normally correlated to ENSO data but I think is true in general.

    Looked at in this way it is the worst of all scenarios, and poses a trap.

    If you claim that rising temperature levels cause CO2 to rise then unless you fail to accept that CO2 has an IR spectrum then the ability of temperature and CO2 levels to track together whether leading or lagging as appropriate to the contemporary conditions spells more warming, not less.

    Best Wishes

    Alexander Harvey

    Comment by Alexander Harvey — 5 Dec 2008 @ 12:25 PM

  184. Christian.

    Why do you need past data of forcing? What about “CO2 is a greenhouse gas and will retain heat” doesn’t work for you? The only way CO2 could not drive climate change is if there was an equal retardation that acts inversely but proportional to CO2 and therefore increases as CO2 increases.

    Do you have anything? If you don’t then why do you need data confirming it? You don’t need data to prove that you falling 10 stories would kill you, do you. You assume that you would be hurt as much as any other human. But they could have fallen badly. There ARE cases where people have fallen 2 MILES down and survived. So maybe there’s hope for your survival there. Yet you don’t decide to jump because you don’t know any reason why you would survive.

    Now, depending on what you consider “data”, have a look at Venus. Hot enough to boil a monkey’s bum as the Monty Python team put it.

    How hot would it be without CO2?

    If you’re going to whinge “we don’t know that it went first” then look at the ice core data. Without increasing CO2 driving temperature rises, how much warmer would a warm interglacial be compared to what increase in warmth there is from the CO2 present in this, our atmosphere? All of that not inconsiderable warming is forced by CO2.

    Comment by Mark — 5 Dec 2008 @ 1:15 PM

  185. I think Christian in #176 is saying he *won’t* accept “books or IPCC” charts, not (or not only) that he can’t find them.

    Why not, I don’t know–the summaries offered here are *much* more easily digestible than the originals. Perhaps he has succumbed to the propaganda that the IPCC is a sinister conspiratorial exercise, rather than an open group going about the business of reviewing and summarizing the scientific literature. (BTW, one of the funniest of incoherent contrarian spectacles, for the sardonically-minded, is Monckton flaunting “his share” of the IPCC’s Nobel on his resume.) Or perhaps Christian just feels strongly about going to original sources.

    Either way, Christian seems to be the sort of person for whom the bibliographic FAQ I suggested a while back would be interesting. In the meantime, as Hank always reminds us, there is Google scholar. (Christian, if you’re reading, just Google “Google scholar;” it limits searches to academic papers.)

    For example, using the following search turned up “about 2,280 [!] papers”:

    CO2+forcing+Permian+temperature

    The very first citation brings up this abstract:

    “The late Paleozoic deglaciation is the vegetated Earth’s only recorded icehouse-to-greenhouse transition, yet the climate dynamics remain enigmatic. By using the stable isotopic compositions of soil-formed minerals, fossil-plant matter, and shallow-water brachiopods, we estimated atmospheric partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) and tropical marine surface temperatures during this climate transition. Comparison to southern Gondwanan glacial records documents covariance between inferred shifts in pCO2, temperature, and ice volume consistent with greenhouse gas forcing of climate. Major restructuring of paleotropical flora in western Euramerica occurred in step with climate and pCO2 shifts, illustrating the biotic impact associated with past CO2-forced turnover to a permanent ice-free world.”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 5 Dec 2008 @ 1:59 PM

  186. Christian Holm,

    several of us here are trained and work in fields relating tp branches of physics, chemistry and biology. Ray Ladbury most certainly has expertise, as do Eli Rabbett, Mark, and myself. The moserators are working in climate related fields and have education/training in physics, mathematics, chemisty and they each have some interdisciplinary training and additional readings in other fields of interest and relation to climate and climate change. Ray is in physics, he does not need to reference every equation and point, it comes from his head due to years of training and real world experience. The fact remains, that most people have no way of accesssing such specific details (how many people have atcually taken multi variable calculus, modern physics, and can determine when to use eigen and non-eigen functions?) If you pick up a modern physics textbook, a physical chemistry textbook, and a handful of peer reviewed journals (if you have the background) and a good graduate statistics textbook, (atcually some of the undergraduate are just fine) in light of NASA GISS charts and publications, you can really get a sense of things and understand many details even if you do not work in climate science, even though some information is proprietary or atleast not easily accesible, many answers can be found if you focus and be patient. (or not patient and just study day and night, assuming you have a basic background)

    Now, each one of us in science has one or two fields of absolute expertisem this is tio be sure (I know alot about stars, but I do not personally have experience in the field studying them, and some physicists misunderstand thermodynamics, the chemists stay out of the nitty gritty philosophical controversies that pure physicists seem to love) while many biologists only grasp the basics of radiation trapping, while physical chemists understands the basics of any subject they study because so much of physics, advanced math and lots of algebra and qualitative analysis goes into just being able to pass the courses and do the the senior project and get the internships.

    Jim,

    I myself, have worked with Mass Spec both in lab and senior project (on a side not TEM, SEM, and several laser applications as well) and I have seen data from CO2 as well. I am intriuged by Jim because he wants to know more, learn, and he is reading and trying figure these things out, whether he does or not depends largely upon his background, his willingness to learn new concepts and so forth. I like what Eli had to say and the citations he posted and Ray as well showing what heisenberg can be used for, but I also see that Jim is looking everywhere he can and has found (as I have) legitmate data showing the limitations of Kirchoff’s laws, but I also see some misinterpretation on Jim’s part regarding the differences in an oppen system and closed system, and here is where his and my discussions will proceed, he questions boundary conditions, now CO2 chemisty is well established, we know this, but to show how it appies in an open system, in dynamic equilibrium is an important task when someone is requesting how and why.

    First of all themrodynamics laws are NEVER violated and any moderator here will tell you that, any physical chemistry textbook and physics textbook will also tell you that. Second,the environment is not static, but the global climate system tends back to equilibrium, though the ratios return, the amounts in total can be quite different. Third, water vapor greatly amplifies the efefects of CO2 and as such, we may say either water vapor or CO2 are the major greenhouse gases, but it is truly water vapor (most textbooks and journals make mention of water vapor even if CO2 is the primary concern in a specific publication) that applifies. Fourth, in P chem we draw phase diagrams and we plot different transition states, Jim you said you have Atkins, start looking there and at the mass spec experiments. CO2 most certainly will produce line emissions in an open system and LTE is a factor or connector between how much and what and why in the atmosphere. In the emails, Jim we will use excessive details.

    Certainly look at what Eli and Ray posted and cited as these are excellent beginnings to our converstaions.

    Comment by jcbmack — 5 Dec 2008 @ 3:02 PM

  187. On that note, I need to take a break from real climate for a few days (perish the thought!)Work and so forth calls… Jim I will get back to your emails ASAP.

    Comment by jcbmack — 5 Dec 2008 @ 5:03 PM

  188. Hello

    Only second time I post here. Something that still preoccupies my scientifically somewhat illiterate, sceptical mind is the relationship between Arctic Sea ice extent (seemingly stable) in the early 20th centuray versus temperature during the same period (unstable). I just can’t put the two together in the light of the (unprecedented, accelerated Sea ice decline 2005-2007).
    Question: Does the link here at “junk science” give “honor” to its name or is the link showing the old (discontinued) HadCRUT2(v) time series “Arctic 75-90N” correct?

    [Response: It’s probably correct though a little out of date, but how meaningful is probably questionable. North of 75N there are very few stations and so the accuracy of such an average is questionable. The ACIA used 60N onwards to include more data series and that shows less variability. You can see the latitude time plots from GISTEMP from this page. As for the sea ice changes, there are syntheses of different ice charts that are ongoing (see here for instance), but the level of info is much less than in the satellite period. I think there is evidence for reduced ice in the North Atlantic then, but it might not be visible in the whole-Arctic data (but I’m not an expert on this). – gavin]

    Comment by climatepatrol — 5 Dec 2008 @ 6:06 PM

  189. @climatepatrol (#188): When it’s very cold, variations in temperature don’t affect the sea ice area, but when temperatures get near to zero (Celsius), variations matter a lot. It’s this effect that in recent years causes the summer ice area to change dramatically, while the winter ice area is still relatively stable.
    Isn’t the fact that the amount of sea ice didn’t respond to temperature variations 100 years ago caused by the fact that it was still much colder then?
    On top of that there would have been much more multi-year, very thick ice, which is much more resistant to a few years of higher temperature than the present huge areas of one-winter ice.

    Comment by Ark — 6 Dec 2008 @ 1:32 AM

  190. Dear all

    Thank you for establishing the fact that I am ignorant.
    To answer a recurring answer I am a Ph.d. in Medicine and Cand. Scient. in Biology
    I have not interdiciplinary experience with climate scinces (physics, geology etc.)

    I dont consider myself a climate sceptic. I am willing to go either way. But I am undecided until I feel that one side is convincing enough.

    Mr. Ladbury. Thank you for providing me with quality links and not (as was the most popular responses) calling me an ignorant for daring to ask a well established science guru for refs.

    In the first link (which I must understand in order to move on) They have analysed 13C isotopes, and abundancy of foraminiferas and compared these to temp records (SST).

    AFter the last and key figure the is the following text.
    Please excuse my ignorance and help me to understand this better.

    Leads and lags and mechanisms of carbon input
    One prominent example of biotic change associated with the onset of the CIE is recorded along continental margins, where sediment sequences from all latitudes contain high abundances of dinoflagellate cysts belonging to the subtropical genus Apectodinium (Crouch et al., 2001; Sluijs et al., 2007-a). In part, this must be associated to the PETM warming. However, in stratigraphically expanded marginal marine sections from the New Jersey Shelf and the North Sea, as well as a section in New Zealand, the onset of the Apectodinium acme started some 5 kyr prior to the CIE (Sluijs et al., 2007-b) (Fig. 3). Additionally, the onset of the PETM SST warming at New Jersey appears to have led the CIE by several thousands of years (but lagged the onset of the Apectodinium acme) (Sluijs et al., 2007-b). This indicates that warm SST was not the only environmental control on Apectodinium abundances. Moreover, it suggests that the carbon burp that caused the CIE was a result of initial climate change and acted as a positive feedback. This scenario fits the model of CH4 release from submarine hydrates causing the CIE (Dickens et al., 1995). If this pre-CIE warming was global, it was likely induced by greenhouse forcing, suggesting that the PETM warming and ocean acidification were caused by at least two sources of carbon (Sluijs et al., 2007- b).

    I conclude from the text. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    1) Again temp leads carbon burst

    2) The authours try to explain this (otherwise they would have presented evidence against CO2 as a driver of temp, which we cannot tolerate) by saying that there must have been a preceding CH4 burst. Where is the data that supports this?

    3) They claim that the SST must have been caused by increased greenhouse effect. Where are the data that support this

    4) They claim that the released carbon burst acted as a positive feedback. Where are the temp data that support this (and please dont tell me that this is not needed because we already know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.)

    I look forward to your reply.

    Comment by Christian Holm — 6 Dec 2008 @ 2:59 AM

  191. Re: Christian Holm

    During the first half of the 20th century, a distinct lull in climate-forcing volcanic activity and increase in solar output are obvious, non-anthropogenic causes of global warming. Since 1950, solar output has been stable while volcanic forcing has been considerably greater than early in the century, which forces cooling. Yet of the global warming observed since 1900, about two thirds occurred after 1950 In fact, more than half occurred after 1975. How do you explain this?

    I’d very much like to know how you think it’s possible for increased atmospheric CO2 not to warm the climate?

    If you want your doubts about anthropogenic global warming to be taken seriously, answer the questions. I look forward to your reply.

    Comment by tamino — 6 Dec 2008 @ 9:13 AM

  192. Christian,
    It sounds very much as if you are asking for an exact historical analog for what we are seeing today. If that is the only standard of proof you will accept, I’m afraid you are destined for disappointment. Then again, if that is th only type of scientific evidence you accept, I’d imagine you would reject much of modern science–HIV as the cause of AIDS, evolution, plate tectonics, much of cosmology… Hell, until the advent of atomic force microscopy, you would have had to side with Mach and reject atoms!
    The proximate cause of the PETM is not 100% known. However, we do know that it was quite short compared to the warming that followed. Without greenhouse forcing, it simply is not plausible that the event would have been as intense or as long as it was. The references I found took about 5 minutes with Google. They’d take even less with Google scholar. Now it might take you a little longer, since I’ve done this before and have an idea what to look for, but Google is your friend, and it’s a valuable skill.
    Now to the issue of scientific evidence. There is a book called “The Nature of Scientific Evidence”:
    http://www.amazon.com/Nature-Scientific-Evidence-Philosophical-Considerations/dp/0226789578/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1228578813&sr=8-1

    I strongly recommend this. It discusses frequentist, Bayesian, likelihood and other interpretations of evidence. The emphasis is actually biological and environmental sciences, but I am a physicist, and I found it interesting. If you are going to be productive medical, you really need to understand scientific evidence.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Dec 2008 @ 12:22 PM

  193. Re 188:
    My understanding is that there is a mode change because of the Arctic geography. Arctic Ocean coastline has essentially a circular pattern. In earlier times the Ocean remained esentially frozen shore-to-shore even during summertime. Annual ice cover cycle was mainly due to a relatively narrow sector facing the Atlantic and then some limited outside seas (Bering Sea, Baltic, Hudson Bay).

    Due to a gradual warming, the Arctic Ocean proper started to de-freeze and the reduction of ice area became proportional to summertime energy input – which obviously is also weather dependent in several ways. The result is obvious as a high amplitude signal in the anomaly record, i.e.
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/sea.ice.anomaly.timeseries.jpg

    How stable this new mode is, we shall see in the future.

    It is a good example of the many tipping points. There are probaly some analogous situations, i.e. the long east-west coastlines of Western Africa and South America. Latitude shifts of basic climate patterns meet such boundaries and there are (perhaps major) impacts on weather and regional climate.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 6 Dec 2008 @ 12:41 PM

  194. Christian, you wrote:

    > … there must have been a preceding CH4 burst. Where is the data that supports this?

    look again at that first link Ray gave you, the one you’ve already started reading.
    You’ll find pointers to an answer to your question just a bit further on in the paper than you’ve read, where they discuss earlier less pronounced temperature excursions leading up to the big one.

    “… additional hyperthermals are also associated with massive injection of 13C-depleted carbon, ocean acidification and perturbations of the hydrological cycle, though less pronounced than during the PETM. Orbital tuning of the complete late Paleocene and early Eocene record at Walvis Ridge (South Atlantic) has indicated a link between the timing of the hyperthermals and eccentricity maxima (Lourens et al., 2005; Westerhold et al., 2007), which would have implications for the mechanisms that caused global change during the hyperthermals.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Dec 2008 @ 1:14 PM

  195. This article accuses skeptics of running an argument based on a false dichotomy. Yet, it runs a false dichotomy argument itself.

    Trying to divide the scientific community into believers and deniers is a false dichotomy. There is a diverse range of opinion on this subject with extreme views on both sides of the camp. To suggest that scientific opinion divides neatly into two clear-cut positions is indeed a false dichotomy. Do better please.

    [Response: I make no such distinction. There are indeed plenty of voices with diverse opinions about many aspects of the problem. But there is a very clear rump of nonsense-peddlers who are being talked about here. That they exist says nothing about the range of opinions held by others. – gavin]

    Comment by Tony Norriss — 6 Dec 2008 @ 1:27 PM

  196. Dear tamino #191

    I am especially glad you asked me that particular question. Your view, that because we currently do not have any stronger candidate for the post 1975 warmings, CO2 must without doubt be the number one forcer of the rise in temp we have seen since 1975.

    Your view on climate is coloured by the erroneous assumption that our knowledge of climate is close to complete. This is as far from the truth as anything.

    On the other hand I am not convinced that CO2 is NOT the cause for the rise in temp since 1975; I am undecided. I can only say that, even including the links supplied by Ladbury there are no signs that indicate that CO2 has had this effect in the past.

    Therefore, in order for me to be convinced that we should focus all our world wide attention to reducing CO2 emissions and leave other present problems such as 3rd world poverty, HIV i Africa, Malaria and major sources of pollution in the dark(remember that CO2 is not a pollutant) I need more evidence.

    As I see it, we have to gamble here. If CO2 causes temp to rise in our time, then what are the consequences (remember that the world has been free of ice ap 6000 years ago without collapse of humanity and without polar bear extinction)? We have to compare these consequences to the exceptional chance we have to correct inequalities in the world we live in today.

    As I see it. There is much hysteria in the media on CO2 and I believe it steals attention from far more serious and present issues. What do you guys think.

    Comment by Christian Holm — 7 Dec 2008 @ 7:25 AM

  197. An apology, Tamino, 117?

    Here is the comment from your blog, CET temperatures, from which I ventured to demur.

    “I also plotted moving averages on a 5-year, and a 10-year time scale. What do those graphs show? Oh my! An upward movement at the end of the data record!!!”

    Your charts, 5 year, 10 year, and 30 year moving averages all show a sharp upward movement this decade of at least 0.5 degrees, without any comment as to their significance.

    Time, Tamino, moves on. We now have 11 months of the 2008 record, with a 12 month moving average of 10.07 degrees,marginally warmer than 1911, the 35th warmest year in the record. Including these months, and starting from year 2000, the trend falls virtually to zero. (The annual data has an upward trend of 0.175 degrees per decade, not significantly different from zero).

    So can your extrapolation of a 0.5 degree per decade over the next 50 years to “in all likelihood warmth not seen since humans inhabited the British Isles” be justified? Statistics, you must know, is silent about the future, as anyone charting economic data this year will tell you.

    Comment by Fred Staples — 7 Dec 2008 @ 7:35 AM

  198. Re: #196 (Christian Holm)

    You didn’t answer the questions.

    You’ve essentially argued the mistaken “we don’t know everything, so we don’t know anything” position.

    You have propagated the lie that addressing the global warming problem requires that we abandon fixing all other problems, like “3rd world poverty, HIV i Africa, Malaria and major sources of pollution.” This is dishonest of you.

    And your claim that “the world has been free of ice ap 6000 years ago” is absolutely wrong.

    I don’t see how it’s possible to take your questions seriously when you can’t even get basic facts right.

    Re: #197 (Fred Staples)

    You have repeatedly claimed that I made a prediction of a 0.5 deg.C increase in CET this decade. Everybody can plainly see that I made no such prediction; your claim was a lie.

    You do owe me an apology, but you’re not honest enough even to acknowledge it to yourself. Instead you try to change the subject. How cowardly.

    Comment by tamino — 7 Dec 2008 @ 9:53 AM

  199. #196 Holm’s…. In order to be convinced of CO2 as the cause, you must reason or come up with a plausible explanation as to what else is causing recent temperatures to rise, especially in darkness.
    It is a matter of considering all modern instrumental records, all not finding any other causation.
    Your reasoning falls short of being complete. Besides you are convinced that recent temperatures are cooling, therefore your reasoning is tempered by a lack of correct perspective. Other important issues ,AIDS etc, have nothing to do with figuring out whether CO2 is responsible for recent rising temperatures. Keep focused on the subject and you will come up with the same correct conclusion.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 7 Dec 2008 @ 10:01 AM

  200. > your extrapolation … per decade

    Fred does not understand error bars and so ignores them. He keeps reposting a fragment, falsely claiming it as complete. Fred is lying to himself with statistics — by ignoring the part he doesn’t understand — and lying to others each time he reposts this.

    See above.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/11/not-the-ipcc-nipcc-report/langswitch_lang/ja#comment-104942

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Dec 2008 @ 10:11 AM

  201. FWIW, I wrote a rebuttal (published as a column in a Dutch environmental newsletter) to a Dutch article this past summer, in which Fred Singer was quoted with several of his standard one-liners. English translation is on my blog at http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2008/07/22/climate-skeptics-out-of-touch-with-reality/

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 7 Dec 2008 @ 10:30 AM

  202. Christian Holm, So you want to reduce poverty in developing countries. Laudable. What steps have YOU taken in this direction so far. If you cannot provide concrete examples, why should we take your protestations seriously. Even if you are sincere, have you considered how development will be affected when seas rise, inundating cities and farmland, when insects don’t die off in the winter, when temperatures don’t fall low enough that crops germinate…? You’ve been at this a week now. In that time you could have learned enough of the physics to see that we do not need an exact analog of the current release of CO2 to be confident that it will result in warming. You are like the creationists and AIDS contrarians–all you care about is preserving sufficient doubt that you don’t feel the need to change.
    It is simple, Christian: the era of cheap petroleum that fueled growth in the industrial world is over. Developing countries can develop with clean, renewable technologies or with coal and other dirty fossil fuels. If we lead the way with development of renewable energy sources, developing nations will follow. If not, they will also follow our lead. It is not a matter of development OR climate mitigation. They are both facets to the same ultimate problem–sustainability. If we don’t solve that one in all its aspects soon, our descendents won’t have a civilization left to save.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Dec 2008 @ 11:28 AM

  203. Therefore, in order for me to be convinced that we should focus all our world wide attention to reducing CO2 emissions and leave other present problems such as 3rd world poverty, HIV i Africa, Malaria and major sources of pollution in the dark(remember that CO2 is not a pollutant) I need more evidence.

    Does anyone need more evidence that Christian Holms is anything other than a denialist troll? No one claims we should do nothing about other problems while concentrating solely on reducing CO2 emissions, and anyone who’s serious about the issue knows this.

    Comment by dhogaza — 7 Dec 2008 @ 11:39 AM

  204. Part of comment #163 says:
    “Since in the past the CO2 rise event is preceded temp rise event there are no signs of CO2 starting temp rise in the past. If you look at the past there is nothing that suggests that CO2 has had a powerful feedback effect on temp either.
    This means that if CO2 is driving the temp change now. This is properly unpreceded.”

    Not true, reread Gavin’s reponse to your comment #121
    “But just to clear, yes, there is evidence that changes in CO2 and other GHGs have driven climate change in the past (the PETM is the biggest, the temperatures at the LGM can’t be explained without a significant role for CO2, the long term cooling over the Cenozoic appears to be related to decreasing CO2, basic radiative physics, detection and attribution over the 20th Century etc.).”

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 7 Dec 2008 @ 12:07 PM

  205. Dear all

    This will be my last reply.

    Dear mr. Ladbury…..
    1) Oh my god what a cheap argument. I could reverse it. You have done nothing about 3rd world poverty either. If you have, it is almost certainty not to a degree, which has altered you lifestile considerably. So convincing people that we should be concerned about CO2 is just a way for you to avoid having to face these problems. Since it got personal please answer these questions: How do you heat your house. Do you use a car. Do you have electricity. Do you wear clothes. What about your wife does she live a normal life for your contry. If you can answer yes to any of these questions you are so obviously a subject to double standards. You are denying Africans the same goods as you use everyday because you think that there is a chance that climate warming will kill them off in the future. Well they are dying right now. Why dont you do something about that now…!!!!! Finally you found a reason not to do anything. Even in your own contry poor people die or are ruined because they cannot afford health care insurerance….. But you are so caught up with yourself and your precious climate models, which lets face might or might not be true.

    2) I am not alone in my disbeliefs. You might call them heretics. That is a good term as I would call you guys religious.

    3) I am very much offended by saying I parallel creationists and AIDS deniers. If you really mean that. You have lost all of my respect and I can therefore not believe a single thing you post.

    Not for mr. ladbury

    1) #203 I realize that you guys do not mean to take away the focus from other and serious problems. I am just saying that this is what is happening.

    2) The technologies for 3rd world to develop without fossil fuels simply does not exist. However I agree the development of such should be a major focus as fossil fuels are finite.

    Comment by Christian Holm — 7 Dec 2008 @ 12:40 PM

  206. I agree dhogaza (203), Christian has made little effort to understand radiative physics or climate science, and every effort to question it, despite having no training in the subjects. Instead he trots out the same old tired denialist horse plop. His arguments have been exactly like those arguing that there is insufficient direct causal evidence that tobacco smoke, or CFCs, or tetraethyl lead, or MTBE, or bisphenol A–take your pick–is harmful to human health or the environment, therefore it is not harmful, never mind the cautionary principal.

    Now we get the dishonest false dichotomy argument that we can address either global warming/climate change or poverty, HIV, malaria, or generic pollution, with his “CO2 is not a pollutant” line as the final kicker. How many times have we heard each and every one of these canards before?

    It’s quite clear that Christian has been disingenuous from the outset, since his language and arguments make it more than clear that he made up his mind what he believes long before he made his first post at RealClimate.

    Captcha’s advice: to proceeding

    Comment by Jim Eager — 7 Dec 2008 @ 12:45 PM

  207. 3rd-world poverty and disease are the tired refrains of Lomborg’s side-step waltz.

    Comment by JCH — 7 Dec 2008 @ 1:20 PM

  208. dhgoza, #203. Isn’t that pretty much obvious from his response (or rather lack of) to my #124?

    Ray (#192), I pretty much nailed that by telling christian in #124 that there was no Dinosaur Dallas, so we have no equivalent past to show the present because the capability to extract and burn oil on the gigatons level just wasn’t available.

    Just pointing people back to that to show that sometimes, sarcasm and a silly example really IS needed, even if it belittles the intelligence of the reader.

    Comment by Mark — 7 Dec 2008 @ 2:34 PM

  209. Lawrence, #204. I think it is unprecedented in that the PETM is calculated from very different measures and assumptions. Therefore, for any sufficiently motivated denialist or contrarian, such evidence from the past is ignorable because of the errors, method of attribution or whatever.

    That this would be taken is evident by the fact that Christian doesn’t even want to discuss the measurement of CO2 as a GHG as proving it warms the earth because he wants to see enough CO2 emitted and a *following* temperature increase. Even though the initial increase was not CO2, some of the rest of the increase was partly CO2 and much of the last warming was CO2.

    Why? Because unless we present him with something that has only one driver he will consider the other factors to be destructive of the role of CO2 in the scenario.

    And it would be the same with PETM.

    Comment by Mark — 7 Dec 2008 @ 4:32 PM

  210. Christian, I must say, I am impressed with your ignorance. It seems to span all fields.
    First, your assertion that there are no clean technologies appropriate for developing countries is absurd. Photovoltaics are already competitive for rural villages because they obviate the need for building a grid. Passive solar technology works well, too.
    Second, do you have any idea how amusing it is that you think I should give a tinker’s dam what you think of me. Dude, you’re the one asking for help here, and when we try to give it, you accuse anyone concerned about climate change of wanting to keep developing countries poor. You want to stay ignorant? Fine. Enjoy your irrelevance.
    Third, I put my career on hold for 2 years to work in international development in West Africa. I’ve worked to educate people about Africa and development since I came back. I have consistently argued that both climate and development have to be addressed. So, Punkin’, I think I’ve walked the walk a wee bit more than you.

    Have a good life.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Dec 2008 @ 7:51 PM

  211. It is sad to see the debate de-railed as this one has been. ending up with invective is of no use to anyone.

    Comment by Ricki (Australia) — 8 Dec 2008 @ 3:53 AM

  212. Isn’t that pretty much obvious from his response (or rather lack of) to my #124?

    Well, I dunno, the troll get fed for another 99 posts afterwards, before I asked my question :)

    I’m sure he’ll keep things going for another 100 or more posts, too, never fear!

    Comment by dhogaza — 8 Dec 2008 @ 4:21 AM

  213. Christian Holm writes:

    Your view, that because we currently do not have any stronger candidate for the post 1975 warmings, CO2 must without doubt be the number one forcer of the rise in temp we have seen since 1975.

    No. Nobody believes that. We believe it’s the major forcer of climate since 1975 becauase we know a priori that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and that it’s been rising. In the absence of other factors, therefore, the logical conclusion is that it’s CO2 that’s doing it. It wasn’t a process of elimination.

    Your view on climate is coloured by the erroneous assumption that our knowledge of climate is close to complete. This is as far from the truth as anything.

    No one believes it’s complete. But it’s complete enough to be able to see what’s going on. Perfect knowledge isn’t necessary; adequate knowledge does just fine.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Dec 2008 @ 8:22 AM

  214. Christian Holms writes:

    How do you heat your house. Do you use a car. Do you have electricity. Do you wear clothes. What about your wife does she live a normal life for your contry. If you can answer yes to any of these questions you are so obviously a subject to double standards.

    Nobody ever said mitigating climate change would require anyone to stop heating their house, owning a car, using electricity, wearing clothes, or being married. Until you drop these silly straw man arguments, there’s no one who’s going to take you seriously. The “fixing global warming means we’ll all have to live in mud huts!” line is a lie and always has been.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Dec 2008 @ 8:27 AM

  215. The bottom line,Mark, is how the rest of the scientific community rates the validity of PETM.

    A press release of the National Foundation claims that:
    “According to Wing , the PETM was caused by a massive release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and ocean, making it an analog for the global warming that is expected as humans add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, primarily by burning fossil fuels.”

    Scott Wing,is a paleobiologist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., who led the research team.
    http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=104601&org=NSF&from=news

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 8 Dec 2008 @ 10:24 AM

  216. 215, you’re right. But Christian isn’t running by those rules. You’re right, but off topic.

    Comment by Mark — 8 Dec 2008 @ 1:52 PM

  217. I will agree, Hank, that I do have a problem with error bars on temperature measurements, as they are used in this context, and I will tell you why.

    First, let me say that I do not have a problem with the probable error on trends. Excel will take a series of measurements, calculate the trend line which minimises the variance about the trend, and assess significance from the variance about the mean which the trend line explains.

    In the process the programme will calculate the range of trend lines inside which there is a 95% probability that the true tend lies. In other words, we can calculate the probability that a given trend has arisen by chance from the scatter of the data and the size of the trend. (This is what makes the oft repeated comment that “we need 30 years of data to establish a trend” so silly – 100 years of data with a low trend and massive scatter may not be significant, and 10 years of data with a substantial trend and little scatter may be highly significant).

    When we measure an individual temperature and assign an error range, we would conventionally mean that our instrument (thermometer) cannot measure exactly. There is a true temperature, but we can’t know what it is. If we know the accuracy of our thermometer, by measuring the standard deviation of its results against a fixed temperature, we can assign an error range outside of which there is less than a 5% probability that the true temperature lies.

    That is not what climate scientists mean by error bars.

    Nor, using sampling theory, do they mean that they have taken a large number of different measurements of (nominally) the same temperature, calculated the average, and used the variance to calculate a standard error, and hence an error bar.

    So what do they mean? That is my problem.

    I would add that I have seen, (and alas failed to note the source) a comment that if error bars overlap between the model calculated troposphere temperatures (what can that possibly mean) and measured temperatures there is no significant difference between the two. Sadly, not true.

    Comment by Fred Staples — 9 Dec 2008 @ 7:43 AM

  218. So, Tamino, (198) if you did not mean that you predicted an upward movement of 0.5 degrees in the CET temperatures this decade, can I ask what you did mean?

    Your charts show smoothed data closely following the 5, 10, and 30 year moving averages, and rising towards the end of this decade to 1.5 degrees above the base line.

    The overall average for the record is 9.21 degrees C, which means that you have forecast something this decade to be 10.71 degrees. The average this decade so far is 10.41 degrees C. The range will be between 10.0something and 10.83 degrees C.

    You quote a trend rate since 1980 of 0.5 degrees per decade and your charts show accelerating temperatures since 1980. Can I ask what you expect for the next decade?

    Comment by Fred Staples — 9 Dec 2008 @ 8:44 AM

  219. Fred, it’s not “30 years” for any trend of any kind. Nobody said that.

    30 years or so, given climate’s known variability, is the range expected to detect a trend predicted from the known change in greenhouse gases. It’s a small effect in a noisy background, with one observation per year. If a trend is there in those conditions it starts to emerge from the amount of noise in about that much time.

    Sometimes you need less. Look at 5, 10, and 15-year trends. Duh:
    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/upload/2007/05/5-year-trends.png
    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/05/the_significance_of_5_year_tre.php#

    You keep lopping off important modifying words and then stating sentence fragments as though they were what the researchers wrote, then claiming you’re correcting the researchers by putting back the words you lopped off to misstate them. This is just pointless, Fred.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Dec 2008 @ 11:34 AM

  220. Fred’s somehow missing seeing both the prior responses to his prior posts, and the inline responses with them added by Gavin.

    See above:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/11/not-the-ipcc-nipcc-report/#comment-104942

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Dec 2008 @ 1:20 PM

  221. I agree, Hank, 219, that it is impossible to falsify or justify AGW theory with short term temperature trends – all the data fluctuates sharply in both directions. But when we talk about signal emerging from noise, that is exactly what we have to do. We can’t possibly be certain, either way, and it is the certainty expressed on this site that I object to.

    A theory, which is what radiative AGW is, must stand or fall on its ability to predict something which can be verified. Otherwise it is meaningless and any actions (such as they are – 50% of the US energy generation is coal-fired) to control CO2 emmisions would be unjustifiable.

    Take, for example, the satellite data from 1979 to 1997 – 19 years. The trend (not significantly different from zero), was 0.38 degrees C per century.

    The odds (calculated from the variations above and below the trend) are even that the trend above zero arose by chance. But the period is short in climate terms. So we can ask another question. Given the period, the trend, and the variations, what are the bounds within which the true trend probably lies. By probably we mean that there is only 1 chance in 20 that the true trend lies outside the calculated bounds.

    These boundaries are -0.7 degrees per century (a cooling) and +1.5 degrees per century. (Coincidentally, the upper limit is about the same as the overall trend to date – 30 years across the El Nino peak in 1998, the 0.6 degree step from 1999 to 2001, and the subsequent fall back to 1980 temperatures).

    Now bear in mind that 1979 was the temperature low point following the 1945 peak – itself a peak after the long climb from the little ice age.

    As a fair-minded man, Hank, can you really be 90% certain (the IPCC figure – what does that mean, I wonder?) that there has been is a permanent AGW forcing of 2 degrees C per century since 1979?

    Would a fair-minded Chinese citizen give up his Industrial Revolution on that evidence?

    Comment by Fred Staples — 10 Dec 2008 @ 7:22 AM

  222. The “N” stands for nongovernmental. It’s a crass attempt to stoke the prejudices of classical-liberals (“libertarians”) and appeal to the feeling that some have that climatology could be a “hoax” put together by people seeking an excuse for the expansion of government power.

    As a classical liberal and a working scientist, I find that rather offensive.

    Comment by Ben Kalafut — 10 Dec 2008 @ 7:35 PM

  223. Fred Staples (221) — The 1970s were not the ‘low’. Here are the decadal averages from the HadCRUTv3 global surface temperature product:

    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/10yave.jpg

    Comment by David B. Benson — 10 Dec 2008 @ 8:27 PM

  224. > a permanent AGW forcing of 2 degrees C per
    > century since 1979?

    Fred, have you stopped beating your horse?

    Your tactic seems to be to make up absurd certainties, attribute them to others, then ask them to help you out by saying yes or no.

    Horseburger.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Dec 2008 @ 8:31 PM

  225. Can someone give me a link debunking “a newly updated U.S. Senate Minority Report features the dissenting voices of over 650 international scientists, many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN.”

    It’s referenced here…http://www.moonbattery.com/archives/2008/12/among_scientist.html

    [Response: Same old thing, very reminiscent of claims that there is a list of 57 communists in the State Department. The idea is simply to come up with an ever bigger list (never mind the quality or relevance) to demonstrate a ‘growing’ movement (see the Nexus6 link in the main article). I confidently predict another 100 or so additions next year too. – gavin]

    Comment by SaltyDawg — 11 Dec 2008 @ 1:40 PM

  226. SaltyDawg, have a look at Deltoid’s new post – all about the \list\: http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/12/650_international_scientists_e.php

    Comment by Ian — 11 Dec 2008 @ 4:23 PM

  227. Salty, another problem is that the quotes on the report are not trustworthy. The quote from Dr. Joanne Simpson has been edited from a letter she wrote to create a distorted result. See the original text here:

    http://climatesci.org/2008/02/27/trmm-tropical-rainfall-measuring-mission-data-set-potential-in-climate-controversy-by-joanne-simpson-private-citizen/

    Amazingly, the edited versions circulating omit this:

    “What should we as a nation do? Decisions have to be made on incomplete information. In this case, we must act on the recommendations of Gore and the IPCC because if we do not reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and the climate models are right, the planet as we know it will in this century become unsustainable.”

    In Inhofe’s version, there is no indication that edits have been made, much less references to the whole. For me, that means that I can’t trust any of the quotes because I can’t evaluate their completeness or verify their correctness, and the editor(s) have shown willingness to distort.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 12 Dec 2008 @ 6:53 AM

  228. Hi folks
    Im involved in a rather lively ( ahem ) debate with a few skeptics and having a great time of it. Been killing em frankly and have managed to call them out over both misuse of terminology and use of Exxon provided data allong with countless misrepresentations of the data. presently Im curious about how to get that final nail in there arguments over water vapor I drilled it into them about its being an feedback not a forcing agent and its short life span in the atmosphere. I also used a table showing the instantaneous change in long-wave aborption that Im pretty sure I got from your site
    ( thanks by the way). I think a simple graph of water vapor as a percentage both in mass and then in effect as a greenhouse gas would just about send em crawling back to there oil platforms if you have one handy.

    Another little tid bit I takled em on lately was the issue of evidence for tropical tropispheric warming. Ive read through your info and it was most helpfull.
    I grabbed one of your graphs on that as well.

    they came back with
    http://www.ssmi.com/papers/msu/A_Reanalysis_of_the_MSU_Channel_2_Tropospheric_Temperature_Record.pdf
    and
    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/attachments/open-discussion/27686d1229470190-what-do-we-think-about-climate-change-msu_monthly_mean.gif

    I have to admit I dont know spit about collating satelite data corections
    I think it woudl be a real stumper for em if one of you folks could send em a responce to that at
    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/open-discussion/what-do-we-think-about-climate-change-21390-new-post.html
    its post # 1642 and # 1645

    if you dont have the time thats ok
    thanks for your attention
    B

    Comment by Boston — 17 Dec 2008 @ 1:44 AM

  229. I consider myself to be an average human being, of average intelligence with no background in climate science – typical, I suspect of the millions who are being continually bombarded with information about global warming and climate change. I therefore read the ‘NIPCC’ report with some interest – rational, calm and well reasoned, I thought. What then of the reply from the people who know about global warming?

    At first sight I thought the response on this site is petty and childish – one would hope for a more dispassionate response from eminent scientists. But they may have had a bad day and so I went on to review the sites mentioned by them as rebuttals. Four essential arguments need explanation for me:

    1. The CO2 lag behind temperature rise – surely Occam’s razor applies to this – no matter what convoluted arguments one tries to make in support of a beloved hypothesis?
    2. The troposphere warming thing – how can we spend so much money on this subject and then have so many mistakes in interpretation of the data? To the uninitiated it looks like either incompetence calling into question the rest of the stuff or else post facto justification of a strongly held belief.
    3. Sea level rise – the graphs from the ‘sceptics’ come from equally reliable sources and show a completely different set of data – we need to be told why – not simply that ‘so and so is an idiot’
    4. The current cooling period – if record high temperatures, arctic ice melts and other warming episodes are taken as evidence of global warming, why is the current cool period and record snow and low temperatures not given equal billing?

    The most worrying thing about the lack of rational argument in this debate is the damage that will be done to the liberal side of the argument when, as seems inevitable, the global warming thing is seen to have been an alarmist propaganda exercise for political ends.

    The best thing for everyone, it seems to me, is for the debate to be opened up in a professional and scientific way as soon as possible so that the damage is limited.

    Comment by Stuart — 20 Dec 2008 @ 5:26 PM

  230. Stuart, try the “Start Here” link at the top of the page.
    You’re pasting in stuff that’s used to try to convince people the scientists can’t be telling us anything useful. It’s PR. Look instead at the papers, not at the comments about them, and you’ll figure it out.

    Remember most people posting here aren’t eminent or scientists, we’re readers like you. Except maybe been reading longer and recognize the stock stuff when it’s reposted by new people, which happens repeatedly.

    Each of the four points you list can be found here. If after you’re looked you don’t understand the answers from the “Start Here” links, post what you have read and where you’ve been looking so we can help you.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Dec 2008 @ 5:48 PM

  231. Stuart, seeing you add below the PR copypaste stuff “when, as seems inevitable” — this may also help:
    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2008/12/20/will-the-real-skeptics-please-stand-up/#more-350

    Looking at the website linked to your name, are you an architect doing sea level development around the Pacific? is that right? If so Upton Sinclair suggested weighing our disbelief:

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Dec 2008 @ 6:05 PM

  232. Re: #229 (Stuart)

    Your comment shows how easily someone “with no background in climate science” can be fooled by denialist arguments. I’ll give you two examples.

    #1: “CO2 lag behind temperature rise”: This does not imply that CO2 change fails to cause temperature change. It’s due to the fact that CO2 and temperature are both cause and both effect. More CO2 raises temperature and higher temperature raises CO2 (by reducing the solubility of CO2 in the oceans).

    And by the way, the “CO2 lag behind temperature rise” argument isn’t some momentous revelation from the NIPCC report. It was predicted, before it was observed in ice core data, by Claude Lorius, James Hansen, and others. Yes, James Hansen — NASA’s chief climate scientist, that guy who keeps telling us that global warming is real, is man-made, and is very dangerous.

    #2: “current cool period and record snow”: we’re certainly not in a “current cool period.” 2008 is in the top 10 hottest years on record, and there’s no cooling trend either. As for “record snow,” that’s a prime example of ignoring almost all of the existing data, instead focusing on the shortest possible time span to give a false impression of what snow data actually tell us about global warming. Read this.

    I’ll add that the ridiculous statement about global warming being an “alarmist propaganda exercise for political ends” can indicate one of two things: either you have a bias which makes you believe this, or you got the idea from NPICC and other denialists and were totally suckered by their propaganda.

    Comment by tamino — 20 Dec 2008 @ 6:15 PM

  233. Stuart,
    Others will doubtless address your points 1-4 better than I could – although really all you need to do is read around this site for your explanations. Why should eminent scientists be “dispassionate” when they see dishonest rubbish like the NIPCC report peddled in order to delay vital action?

    “The most worrying thing about the lack of rational argument in this debate is the damage that will be done to the liberal side of the argument when, as seems inevitable, the global warming thing is seen to have been an alarmist propaganda exercise for political ends.”

    I think you are what is known as a “concern troll”. I don’t for one moment believe you are either a liberal, or an honest seeker after the truth.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 20 Dec 2008 @ 6:57 PM

  234. 229 Stuart “1. The CO2 lag behind temperature rise”

    is an incredibly dangerous issue. CO2 in the natural world is a persistent feedback. Temps rise and then CO2 increases by melting of permafrost and increase of rot, and then the CO2 sticks around and warms stuff further. Adding 40% more CO2 to the system artificially is simply a way to bypass the initial forcing. Thus, folks who think that humans can decide on a final level of CO2 and emit until that amount is reached are fooling themselves. Targeting 600 and reaching 600 is a sure-fire way of reaching far higher concentrations, specifically because of the lag you asked about.

    “2. The troposphere warming thing – how can we spend so much money on this subject and then have so many mistakes in interpretation of the data”

    developing and adjusting a theory takes time. The television era of instantaneous 100% perfect solutions to any and all things in a single 20 minute episode warps expectations. In real life, as stuff is found that doesn’t fit, the theory adjusts, or if it can’t fit the new data, is discarded or held in serious jeopardy.

    “3. Sea level rise – the graphs from the ‘sceptics’ come from equally reliable sources and show a completely different set of data”

    Sea level is an extremely noisy signal and the data can be “adjusted” to suit someone’s fancy. I find it hard to believe your equally reliable source claim. The guys with the instruments and the satellites say sea level is rising and rising faster.

    “4. The current cooling period – if record high temperatures, arctic ice melts and other warming episodes are taken as evidence of global warming, why is the current cool period and record snow and low temperatures not given equal billing?”

    Compared to the long-term average, 2008 is very hot, as in just about the hottest on record. There is no current cool period, let alone record low temperatures. Increased snow is a warming signal in much of the world. We’re in the warmest decade in history. Are you talking about individual years and expecting a new record set each and every year? You’ll never get that. Sorry.

    Comment by RichardC — 20 Dec 2008 @ 7:02 PM

  235. Stuart (229) — For your point 1, read “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:

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

    Review of above:

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

    to begin to understand some of the science, with actual measurements extending at least as far back in time as John Tyndall in 1859 CE. For point 2, understand that analysis of that satellite data is quite difficult, but RSS seems to be doing fairly well, much better than UAH. Tamino has a recent thread about this on

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/

    Determining sea level rise just now, in the face of continued isostatic rebound, glacier and ice sheet melt, groundwater depletion and thermal expansion looks to me to be quite, quite difficult. But there is an earlier thread about a recent paper in a thread here on RealClimate. A quite confirmatory talk was just delivered at the Fall AGU meeting — I think I saw a thread about it on

    http://climateprogress.org/

    There is no statistically significant ‘current cooling period’, no matter how cold it is outside in your neighborhood today. Tamino makes the point here:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/12/17/2008-temperature-summaries-and-spin/

    There is a thread with the same title here on RealClimate.

    [reCAPTCHA discusses the deniers by entoning “ob- MADMAN”.]

    Comment by David B. Benson — 20 Dec 2008 @ 7:10 PM

  236. “The best thing for everyone, it seems to me, is for the debate to be opened up in a professional and scientific way as soon as possible so that the damage is limited.”

    Oh brother. Scientific debate is (and always has been) done through peer-reviewed journals and conferences. It is one of the foundations of science. You will be hard-pressed to find any scientific analysis that has undergone greater scientific debate than global warming. Look at the IPCC reports. The science behind global warming is exceptionally strong. And global warming trends are unequivocal. The debate is long over. The consensus is strong.

    Comment by Dan — 20 Dec 2008 @ 8:27 PM

  237. Thank you for your help people. No, I am not a troll but I am an architect working in the Pacific and yes, we do have many coastal projects and we have yet to see evidence of sea level rise in them – but we do have to worry about storm surge, tsunami etc. You are correct, Dan, Peer reviewed documentation is the best way to go – it just happens differently in our profession!

    Comment by Stuart — 21 Dec 2008 @ 12:00 AM

  238. Stuart, I have to wonder where you are getting your information. The scientific evidence that humans are behind the current warming is pretty much overwhelming. One way you can tell: The denialists cannot stick to a single argument, but keep trotting out the same tired, discredited arguments in the hopes of duping the unwary. The reason for the outrage you see here is because fraud is outrageous and fraud against science even moreso.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 21 Dec 2008 @ 10:18 AM

  239. > we have yet to see evidence of sea level rise

    You do understand that, like the warming signal in almost all other data sets, it’s a small signal in a noisy background that takes a large data set, three decades or so, and competent statistical analysis to detect?

    And you do understand that by the time it would become blatantly obvious it would be decades too late to moderate the outcome, because committed warming already in the system is irreversible on the human time scale?

    If either of these isn’t basic to your planning, do click the ‘Start Here’ links.

    It wouldn’t surprise me. I’ve worked for a lot of people who are still happily buying advice from seemingly competent planning firms on which to make their commercial decisions — which far has always reassured tmen falsely that excess CO2 from fossil fuel will persist no more than a century in the atmosphere.

    With that basic falsehood, all the advice about how to do business without worrying seems reasonable.

    It’s a lot like the m-o-r-t-g-a-ge meltdown. Nobody listens who’s making money by not listening.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Dec 2008 @ 11:43 AM

  240. Actually newly published work from NASA strengthens the link between water vapor and CO2 and the current warming trend. I will get the citations and post them later.

    Comment by jcbmack — 21 Dec 2008 @ 1:27 PM

  241. Newer than a month ago? Mongabay and many others reported one in last month’s news along those lines. Finding it just for the exercise

    Search: http://www.google.com/search?q=NASA+co2+warming

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/vapor_warming.html
    “published recently in … Geophysical Research Letters …”

    Search: http://www.agu.org/journals/gl/ for Dessler 2008
    finds:

    Dessler A. E., Z. Zhang, P. Yang (2008), Water-vapor climate feedback inferred from climate fluctuations, 2003–2008, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L20704, doi:10.1029/2008GL035333.

    Either click the link there for “Abstract +Article” which gets:
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008GL035333.shtml

    Or search DOI: http://www.doi.org/index.html for the reference, which leads to the same page.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Dec 2008 @ 3:04 PM

  242. PS, for those who find the library-type searches tiresome, for climate science recent news, this is always a good place to look:

    http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com

    Just reading the index for November, here it is:

    http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/2008/11/andrew-dessler-et-al-water-vapor.html has additional quotes and links beyond those I found with a few minutes’ searching.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Dec 2008 @ 3:22 PM

  243. Hank there is research reported on from a few days ago.

    Comment by jcbmack — 21 Dec 2008 @ 4:16 PM

  244. hmmm, nope, copying the HTML from the source didn’t work, oddly it got the response numbers but not the thread name correct, so it seems..

    Here’s the topic where I think this recent news was discussed:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/12/2008-temperature-summaries-and-spin#comment-106985

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/12/2008-temperature-summaries-and-spin#comment-107140

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Dec 2008 @ 7:09 PM

  245. Hank, thanks for the water-vapor article reference! Another interesting one is:

    Brown, S., Desai, S., Keihm, S., and C. Ruf, 2007. “Ocean water vapor and cloud burden trends derived from the topex microwave radiometer.” Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium. Barcelona, Spain: IGARSS 2007, pp. 886-889.

    Which also concludes, I think with a longer time series, that water vapor rises with temperature.

    Clausius-Clapeyron law. Duh.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 22 Dec 2008 @ 8:24 AM

  246. > Duh

    But (to state the obvious here), studying the results from a variety of different instruments on various satellites looking down, to establish that they _can_ do this, is useful information, for sure! Not proving something already known, but evaluating global measurements with new tools.
    __________________
    “centric vanished”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Dec 2008 @ 12:56 PM

  247. The heat in sunlight barely gets through the massive amount of atmosphere it must travel through at such a low angle so it contributes next to nothing in terms of warming. The claim that ice cover reflects sunlight and dark open water absorbs sunlight is nonsense in polar regions. It is just the opposite! Given very little solar influx, the predominant heat flow is for open water to radiate heat and ice cover to contain heat in the water. Polar ice is a giant thermostat, a negative feedback that, in conjunction with ocean currents bringing heat to the poles, acts to help keep the rest of planet warmer. This would be easy to prove with a simple lab experiment – has anyone ever done it?

    [Response: This is very confused. Look at any of the data sets from SHEBA, solar radiation during the summer is a really big term and changes in albedo (whether through surface melt ponds or ice melting completely) make a big difference to the heat budget. – gavin]

    Comment by Mike M — 23 Dec 2008 @ 10:11 AM

  248. Mike M., Where on Earth are you getting your information? I think some of your confusion may be due to your equating “heat” with IR. There isn’t much energy in the IR in sunlight. However, there is plenty in the visible and into the UV. This most certainly gets through to Earth’s surface, and a cursory glance at satellite photos of polar regions will reveal that open water is darker (lower albedo) than snow/ice.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Dec 2008 @ 10:34 AM

  249. The activities of the denialist movement in Canada were documented in a CBC news magazine the Fifth Estate:

    http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/denialmachine/
    http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/denialmachine/video.html

    Interestingly, Singer was previously employed by tobacco companies to deny that cigarette smoke causes cancer. I suppose one could refer to him as a professional denier.

    Comment by Werner Wintels — 7 Jan 2009 @ 2:41 PM

  250. If the NIPCC report is filled with inaccuracies and is being pushed by people who are not in the know about climate science, why wouldn’t you then want to rebut the arguments raised by the paper with the actual science? After all, it’s cut and dry. The best way to silence the opposition is to soundly prove them wrong.

    [Response: Try actually looking up the links. It’s been done over and again. – gavin]

    Comment by Phelan Kell — 8 Jan 2009 @ 12:00 PM

  251. Mike, photons carry energy whether they’re infrared, visible, ultraviolet. When a photon is absorbed by a molecule — earth or water, mostly — that energy changes form, causing the molecule to vibrate in many different ways. A vibrating molecule with others near it bangs on nearby molecules, making those vibrate and move. “Brownian motion” is those molecules banging on one another, and you can see that in a microscope or video. In a solid or dense gas or liquid the energy averages out _really_fast_ (and the average of that energy is the temperature we notice). Some of those vibrating molecules emit photons too — at the temperature of the surface of the planet.

    That’s how solar energy becomes warmth on Earth.

    I should have just given you a pointer to a better explanation instead of trying to retype one from memory, this is the “long answer because I didn’t have time to give you a brief answer” problem with blogs; perhaps someone else will do that.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Jan 2009 @ 1:29 PM

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