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  1. Links to Doran and Zimmerman’s article in Eos, as well as Zimmerman’s thesis, can be found at Doran’s website: http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/home.htm

    Comment by Rick Brown — 29 Mar 2009 @ 1:45 PM

  2. Very nice review! One minor point: it should be Planck’s law.

    Comment by Prof. Bleen — 29 Mar 2009 @ 2:19 PM

  3. I guess that one point is knowing how to access real science and the other is trusting “experts.” As a scientist, I feel comfortable relying on experts for information on topics outside my own specialty. For example, when I read about something related to viruses in a newspaper or hear a news report, I feel quite confortable going down the hall and asking my friend and colleague who is a virologist about it. In turn, he might ask me a question if an issue about ecology comes up. I would generally trust news articles in Science and Nature and articles in Discover magazine but usually find that news magazines, like Time and Newsweek get stories mostly right but also leave some wrong impressions.

    Americans don’t seem to trust experts. This has some good points and can also create some problems. Our tendency to question authority, even our own teachers, is a stength for American scientists–we are less reticent than Japanese or Germans, for example, to go against the consensus or are academic mentors. However, we seem to see an extreme mistrust in some quarters in the US and, perhaps other English speaking counties. In large parts of Europe and Asia, my impression is that people assume that experts, such as scientists, professors etc. are both competent and honest and can generally be trusted in their areas of expertise.

    The question arises whether this is something in the American character, or is it just due to scientific illiteracy?

    Comment by Bill DeMott — 29 Mar 2009 @ 3:17 PM

  4. It seems to me that the numbers probably reflect politics rather than a lack of information. Evolution is all around us and the subject of zero legitimate scientific dispute, yet a lot of folks reject it. Another case where religious/political views trump reason. Almost all the well informed AGW critics don’t object to AGW and have not done so for *decades*, they object to alarmism.

    Comment by Joe Hunkins — 29 Mar 2009 @ 3:27 PM

  5. “(and almost sole) ”

    A statement often made by denialists. I wonder where they get all the straw from and how the poor horses and cows manage without their winter feed.

    Comment by Mark — 29 Mar 2009 @ 3:59 PM

  6. i (almost) hate to bring it up, but i think it has something to do with religion…
    an embarassingly large (40%?) portion of americans feel compelled to dismiss geology, biology, astronomy and just about every other science to preserve the literal accuracy of the ancient mesopotamian cosmology. to do this they are taught to distrust “secular” scientists in favor of the cadre of biblical scientists who have developed an entire alternate reality (e.g. “flood geology”). these crazy rationalizations aside, the best thing for them is not to learn anything “scientific” because it always seems to bump up against one or another of these alternate realities. for example the notion of us arguing about the historical temperature record going back millions of years is just nonsense to them.

    Comment by walter crain — 29 Mar 2009 @ 4:08 PM

  7. One thing that is NOT going to help science literacy is this constant highlighting of inconsequential contrarians, which has become a staple of the man bites dog journalism over at the New York Times.

    It’s nice to see the scientists here at Real Climate filling the role of science reporting.

    [Response: We appreciate the sentiment, but we are not journalists and don't pretend to be. Science reporters are an essential part of this - we are just trying to help them out. - gavin]

    Comment by Paul — 29 Mar 2009 @ 4:11 PM

  8. Nuclear the ‘ethanol of 2017′, investment bank says
    13 March 2007
    Chris Rogers, utilities analyst at JP Morgan, believes that nuclear energy will be key to a zero-greenhouse gas hydrogen economy and that, if they want to be part of it, oil companies will have few options other than embracing nuclear power.

    JP Morgan’s report, Trading Climate Change, suggests that within the next decade nuclear energy will be at the top of the world’s agenda, with the resurgence of nuclear a key element both in the drive to reduce carbon emissions from power generation and to develop zero-emission hydrogen-fuelled transport. In fact, the report envisages nuclear energy’s contribution to vehicle fuel services in 10 years’ time to be as important as ethanol is today.

    Describing nuclear as the “renewable energy that dare not speak its name,” Rogers said that he believes that oil giants BP and Shell may already be looking at nuclear in their strategic plans, although both those companies played down any nuclear interest in press reports. However French oil company Total has already spoken up for future involvement in nuclear, with incoming CEO Christophe de Margerie declaring that the company will one day have to be part of the nuclear industry. Total chairman Thierry Desmarest has also confirmed that the company would be interested in moving into nuclear if a suitable opportunity arose.

    Future visions of a so-called hydrogen economy, in which hydrogen replaces hydrocarbons for transport, will require the production of hydrogen without associated carbon dioxide emissions. However the production of hydrogen is energy intensive, and nuclear power would provide an economic means of providing that energy without producing carbon dioxide. The JP Morgan report notes that nuclear-hydrogen offers a good value source of fuel to replace existing hydrocarbon sources, at a US Department of Energy cost estimate of $2.5 per gallon of gasoline equivalent compared to current traditional gasoline production costs are $1.5-2.0 per gallon ($5.68-7.57 per liter). On the downside, it notes that new nuclear build faces is not without challenges on the environmental, economic and planning fronts.

    Further information

    Comment by dennis baker — 29 Mar 2009 @ 4:21 PM

  9. And there’s a beautiful example of the problem — incomprehension by bobz (misunderstanding “significant” and not clear on the verb tense of “is” either). One poll question for him confirms his faith that everything published is wrong.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Mar 2009 @ 4:21 PM

  10. Sadly, I believe people who are currently uninformed about climate change & the multitude of causes behind it will not be reading this book either. I think it’s fantastic to make a book that tries to simplify very complicated & hard-to-understand scientific issues. However, for the most part, the general public is not going to be interested in reading a book about it. It will most likely only be read by people who are already, in some way, shape, or form, interested in the scientific field. People, unfortunately, seem to get most of their science education from movies and/or TV these days.

    Comment by Cassie — 29 Mar 2009 @ 4:25 PM

  11. Impressive. Doran shows that more than 95% of the climatologists who are active publishers agree with anthropogenic causes of warming.

    Comment by sidd — 29 Mar 2009 @ 4:30 PM

  12. i would be curious to know whether that “58% of the general public” that attribute GW to humans is increasing or decreasing. anybody know? it seems to me (anecdotal evidence only) that it is decreasing?!

    Comment by walter crain — 29 Mar 2009 @ 5:40 PM

  13. The reasons for the disconnect are many, and complex. The fact that American students are not in the top 20 countries, in Math and Science, and have been sinking lower for decades, is part of it. This means that many of the reporters covering Science, have little knowledge about how Science works.

    I would guess that well over 25% of reporters do not have more than a superficial understanding what peer review is. (I have worked in television for 29 years).

    Many also have an attitude of “an interesting story is more important than some minor issues about science that no one will understand anyway”

    The post on Real Climate about Bud Ward’s book (12 January 2009
    Communicating the Science of Climate Change) is worth a re-read, and both journalists, and Scientists would get much from the book.

    Dan

    Comment by Dan Satterfield — 29 Mar 2009 @ 6:39 PM

  14. The main post and comment #1. refer to the re-emission of energy under Planck’s Law(E=hf). Shouldn’t this be Stefan’s Law, or am I laboring under a misaprehension?
    In any case, thank you for calling this book to my attention. It should make for enlightening reading, whether it meets its promise or not.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 29 Mar 2009 @ 8:08 PM

  15. I look forward to reading this.

    re: 3 Bill

    Many Americans trust experts in their own turf, but several topics are subject to well-organized agnotology i.e., attempts to produce ignorance or at least doubt.

    The Proctor/Schiebinger book referenced there is useful. Chapter 3 is by Naomi Oresekes and Erik Conway, “Challenging Knowledge: How climate science became a victim of the cold war.” That is ~ written version of Naomi’s American Denial of Global Warming.

    Comment by John Mashey — 29 Mar 2009 @ 8:18 PM

  16. Not directly answering Walter Crain’s question but some related polls from Gallup

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/116590/Increased-Number-Think-Global-Warming-Exaggerated.aspx

    There are links on the r. side to more. For instance under Global Warming Worries,

    “There has also been an uptick in the percentage of Americans who say global warming will pose a serious threat to them in their lifetimes, from 25% in 1997 to 40% today.”

    Comment by JayNicks — 29 Mar 2009 @ 8:33 PM

  17. I have been reading this site for a long time and not participated in the discussion because I did not have anything to say to further the conversation, but I have enjoyed reading even when the math and science go beyond me. I like music, gardening, and I used to work with people in crisis, of almost any kind, so I have learned how to interact with others, and they tell me things. There are a lot of people that work drilling for natural gas, there is coal, and oil shale. The opinion that there is not AGW is expressed openly in public forums, as well as the alternative view. Lots of people listen to conservative talk radio, I hear it at repair shops and other places. People drive a lot here, there is a fledgling public transportation, but I am sure that the airport is used more than the train station for humans, but the train station has two or three coal trains pass through each day. There has been a reduction in energy drilling jobs and many say that environmental rules are to blame. It was cold this past winter, not as cold as any record breaking cold temperatures, but people watch the news and see another storm making life miserable for others, lots of people watch FOX news around here. It is a snapshot of a part of America.
    I finished a Master Gardener’s course with about seventy people, trying to understand the agricultural dynamics, the biological requirements of plants in this region, the bugs, and what doesn’t grow here. Some people see changes while others do not.
    My theory is that people are mostly conscious through emotion, in that what is on their mind is usually what is happening, or has happened, or maybe what might happen, filtered through the daily grind of work, food, relationships, sleep, water, air, and entertainment; and it is filtered by what we believe to be true. It you believe it to be true, then it must be true.
    And living in a moment where I am cooking dinner and trying to keep my mind on the current topic, it is easy to see why you light up the bar-b-que in a wind storm, or don’t think about science, in any form, except to say, “It sure is cold.” “Blame that global warning.”
    It is expedient to believe something so there is no challenge to your own conventional wisdom That is what I see around here. People don’t notice that we are in a different plant zone. A young lady drives her children to school in a Hummer. Our food comes from everywhere. Life is convenient, why change?
    At the moment, economics mean more than science, but technology is certainly a driving force, although it is often fantasy-driven. As a 10 yr. old, I had heard so such about the peaceful atom, I thought we would be driving nuclear powered air cars. A drilling company wanted to drill for the natural gas that was exposed to the Project Rulison atomic blast. How would you like heating your home with that? Peer review is someone talking about how you cooked on the grill.
    I think it is everywhere in America, small town, urban, or rural, having it so good that nobody wants to give it up, any of it. Shop at Walmart, give Bernie your dough for a good investment, and ignore science, except when it impacts your job. What do you think will convince all those people on the freeway, the tall buildings, sitting at home, watching T.V.

    Comment by Dan M — 29 Mar 2009 @ 8:53 PM

  18. > agnotology

    That’d be the study of, but what’s the word for the active production and feeding of ignoramuses?
    The plural of “ignoramus” is “ignoramuses” … never a noun in Latin, only a verb, meaning “we do not know”.
    entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article2317202.ece

    http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2008/08/fact-checking-john-tierney

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Mar 2009 @ 9:00 PM

  19. Bringing to attention the issue of dis-proportioned views is a major step in the right direction, I agree that science literacy among the public is quite low considering what we as humans are capable of. I think a major flaw in the science and public ‘ex-communication’ issue is that many journals with current findings are not freely available to the public. Should knowledge not be free, and would it have a greater impact if it were?

    Comment by Natalie C — 29 Mar 2009 @ 9:05 PM

  20. What is the quote? A man’s ability to understand/accept something is directly proportional to the extent to which his livelihood depends on him not understanding/accepting it? Not only have those highlighted in Oreske’s work proven this completely true, it’s also true for the public at large. Dealing with Climate Change – let alone energy and food issues, etc. – means changing our lives to a rather large extent. It’s not surprising the general public is amenable to lies, deceptions and distortions: their current lifestyle depends on them being true. Anything else means the world we know now is something our children, grandchildren and beyond will only know from stories.

    It *should* be instructive to the average American that the “greatest” nation on Earth is the least able among the “advanced” nations to accept and accommodate reality.

    I am, and have been, of the opinion that the greatest evil (I use the term non-religiously) has been done by the ability of the denialists/propagandists (there’s no way the people originating this carp actually believe it, is there?) to employ false equivalencies. As we have long known, it was/is simply the sowing of doubt that has paralyzed the public discussion of climate and energy policy. The reason THAT was possible is largely due to too many non-denialists not standing and speaking, not just clearly, but forcefully.

    (It may also be enlightening to ponder that the legal system in the US is based upon “a reasonable doubt,” so Americans are literally trained to consider anything this side of near absolute certainty as reason to reject an argument.)

    Two points come to mind with regard to denialists and false equivalencies: 1. You beat a bully by standing up to them. 2. Political Correctness, a.k.a. false politeness, is the exact opposite of honest and open debate.

    We have not been able to label liars as liars, trolls as trolls, shills as shills, propagandists as propagandists and criminals as criminals without being labeled “extremists” and “alarmists.” Allowing false equivalencies to exist without stronger reaction allows the impression that lies have merit.

    Real Climate is among the few sites that address any of this, but I’d encourage even stronger action from RC. That Watt’s site got voted the best science blog is an affront to intelligence, e.g., and should not just be ignored. That Inhofe’s office is a center of propaganda should be made clear. Etc. The “science” produced by the denialists needs to be eviscerated in very public ways, not just on blogs.

    We don’t just need climate conferences, we need a climate propaganda Public Service Announcement. A Climate Change State of the Union (World), if you will, where Obama gets on TV, tells the nation what is what in no uncertain terms and calls out the lies and liars before ceding the floor to a series of scientists to make this all very unambiguous to the nation.

    But, since such a thing is unlikely, those of us who are speaking up need to not only speak up, but do so in such a manner as to leave no doubt where the lies and damned lies about Climate Science come from and what the results of listening to them might be.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 29 Mar 2009 @ 9:24 PM

  21. The divide stems from the media’s misunderstanding, and thus misrepresenting, scientific discourse. Out of the thousands of peer-reviewed journal articles that are published every year only a handful are covered in the mainstream media, and the ones that are usually completely miss the point the scientists were trying to make. It’s as if they take the first 3 sentences of an abstract and run with it. The public is then so distanced from what is actually occurring in the scientific community that they are making up their minds with little to no true understanding of the issues. In order to bridge the gap between the scientific community and the mainstream media the media needs to no longer be controlled by advertiser-driven corporate conglomerates.

    Comment by Andrew Bernhardt — 29 Mar 2009 @ 10:19 PM

  22. though you weren’t “directly answering” me, that is exactly the kind of info i was wondering about. and, boy, it is discouraging. first, given all the talk on that “michael’s graph” thread, i have to laugh at the fact that all those trend lines are drawn starting at 1998… [do we have any "proxy data" from which to infer attitudes going back to the little ice age? :-)]

    but seriously, all those trends show how layman’s opinions on global warming have almost nothing to do with the science. it has to do with PR. “skeptics” have a formidable PR machine. we have al gore and jim hanson – both admirable men who make sound rational appeals to our intellect. this doesn’t work with most people. “skeptics” appeal to emotions and exploit ignorance (pretty easy marks).

    question for scientists here: do you think people like pat michaels and brian valentine are honest, but wrong? or are they intentionally being deceptive?

    Comment by walter crain — 29 Mar 2009 @ 10:31 PM

  23. Natalie, look up the abstract and TOC, which are almost always online these days. If one of the authors is listed as the ‘corresponding author’ that means she will mail you a reprint, if you request one.

    Often you’ll find copies on the authors’ personal web pages, even if the journal won’t let you read the whole issue online free. Use Google Scholar, look for the various available forms and versions.

    Copyright law is its own can of worms and changing but authors are not always free to give away their work once it’s published.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Mar 2009 @ 10:33 PM

  24. natalie c,
    i WISH that were the problem… those journals are way over even my head, and i would consider myself a scientifically literate layman. in my humble opinion, the literacy problem is with elementary, middle and high school science education and society’s valuing “cool” over intellect (e.g. considering a “nerd” uncool), and valuing faith/emotion over reason.

    Comment by walter crain — 29 Mar 2009 @ 10:49 PM

  25. question for scientists here: do you think people like pat michaels and brian valentine are honest, but wrong? or are they intentionally being deceptive?

    Not a working scientist, but technically trained. Michaels is lying. I don’t know enough about Valentine to have an opinion.

    Comment by dhogaza — 30 Mar 2009 @ 12:08 AM

  26. Natalie C wrote in 19:

    I think a major flaw in the science and public ‘ex-communication’ issue is that many journals with current findings are not freely available to the public. Should knowledge not be free, and would it have a greater impact if it were?

    Well, there is the argument for instance that the tax payer pays for much of the science which is done in this country — and that the articles which result from research funded in this manner should be open to the public. NASA makes much of its research available with this thought in mind.

    Alternatively, the journals need to be funded somehow, and they typically have a fairly limited audience — which increases the per unit cost — and as such they need to charge more to pay for the journals.

    Then again, while it is still somewhat experimental, there are open access journals. I managed to get a great many articles in evolutionary biology (e.g., retroelements, ribozymes, phages) that way with the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    For example, here is an article that made a fairly big splash when it came out:

    Molecular origins of rapid and continuous morphological evolution
    John W. Fondon III and Harold R. Garner
    PNAS December 28, 2004 vol. 101 no. 52 18058-18063
    http://www.pnas.org/content/101/52/18058.full

    Six months after publication the articles become open access. That is what happened to the above article. Other journals do it somewhat differently.

    But PNAS isn’t just biology. Doing a quick search on climate oscillations using the internal search engine at PNAS I found the following:

    Contingent Pacific–Atlantic Ocean influence on multicentury wildfire synchrony over western North America
    Thomas Kitzberger, Peter M. Brown, Emily K. Heyerdahl, Thomas W. Swetnam, and Thomas T. Veblen
    PNAS January 9, 2007 vol. 104 no. 2 543-548
    http://www.pnas.org/content/104/2/543.full

    Rapid shifts in plant distribution with recent climate change
    Anne E. Kelly and Michael L. Goulden
    PNAS August 19, 2008 vol. 105 no. 33 11823-11826
    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/33/11823.full

    Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric and global surface temperature variations over the past two millennia
    Michael E. Mann, Zhihua Zhang, Malcolm K. Hughes, Raymond S. Bradley, Sonya K. Miller, Scott Rutherford, and Fenbiao Ni
    PNAS September 9, 2008 vol. 105 no. 36 13252-13257
    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/36/13252.full

    The first two became open access after six months. The last of these was open access from the outset.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 30 Mar 2009 @ 12:21 AM

  27. Perhaps the most important education for a journalist would be to: 1. read one primary literature article (probably in a field that does not emphsize higher math) withh discussion and feedback from a scientist, 2)read a submitted manuscipt and the associated set of peer reviews, the author’s letter of responses to the reviews and the revised manuscript, and 3) read an NSF grant that was rejected with encouragement for resubmitting and the set of 6-10 accompanying reviews, as well as the review committee’s overview.

    I guess that my point is that no one outside of science seems to know how articles get published and how scientists get money to do their research. (Or how critical scientists are of their own research and that of their colleagues.)

    Comment by Bill DeMott — 30 Mar 2009 @ 12:40 AM

  28. A big promise.

    Personal anecdote: I dropped out of HS in ’76, did night school and a three year BSc starting in ’88. I can’t recall anyone discussing the philosophy of science, I first “got it” in ’81 simply by reading a small book written by a magician. It absolutely demolished paranormal claims in general and Uri Geller in particular.

    This was quite a shock to me since I had spent a couple of years reading nothing but paranormal books and magazines from the science sections of newsagents, bookstores and libraries. A lot of these books had large bibliographys chock full of important looking references.

    All the while becoming more convinced Uri was the real deal, after all he had FULLY wound up my watch when I was 16, through the TV! Well that’s what I though at the time, years later my Dad confesed to winding the watch with a pair of tweezers when I wasn’t looking.

    I picked up the book because it was cheap and even though he was a “non-scientist” he looked reasonably intelligent. I expected to find poo but found pearls, personally it’s the most important book I have ever read. I’m not sure if it was luck or the fact that dad was a senior engineer that made me consider looking at poo in the first place.

    I’m 50 now and still know nothing. Sadly as Randi, Sagan, Dawkins, etc, have all pointed out; that’s more than most.

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 30 Mar 2009 @ 2:29 AM

  29. Re #19 Patience…

    I agree that anything that comes from the public purse should be public domain but in practice projects also draw funds from corporations and individuals. Labs make money from selling IP that would other wise have to come from somewhere else.

    I’ve been hooking computers together since the mid 80′s, in the last decade the content of the web has gone from, usefull to criminals and computer geeks, to a gazzillion papers on climate change alone and from more journals that anyone knew existed.

    The web will keep improving in leaps and bounds because we humans have a strange complusion to “fill it up” with stuff. That stuff costs money, serious money, not the pitance they spend on the IPCC…anyway….my point is there will always be “user pays” vs “public pays” arguments but if no one pays it gets dropped in the bit bucket.

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 30 Mar 2009 @ 3:06 AM

  30. off topic.
    Can anyone explain me who is this guy :Nils-Axel Mörner? He claims there is no sea level rise, but it crystal clear if I look here (f.e.) http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_hist_last_15.html
    So that I cannot understand how it is possible to deny this data.
    Please , help, this people is driving me crazy :S

    [Response: People are free to say anything they like. Whether they have any credibility is up to the listener to decide. -gavin]

    Comment by viriato — 30 Mar 2009 @ 5:45 AM

  31. Natalie C. says:

    I think a major flaw in the science and public ‘ex-communication’ issue is that many journals with current findings are not freely available to the public. Should knowledge not be free, and would it have a greater impact if it were?

    I cannot agree with you enough on this point! Everything is behind a paywall, not only contemporary articles, but old articles. I can’t see a copy of Hart’s 1978 Earth model paper, even though its conclusions have been refuted again and again. Everything requires $26 or $31 or $36, and if you aren’t a professor with an institution ready to fork over the dough, you’re screwed. This is a very bad situation. It’s ameliorated just a bit because a lot of researchers are willing to put up PDFs of their papers, and some teachers do so for classes, but aside from that, most of the public is left out.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 30 Mar 2009 @ 5:52 AM

  32. Perhaps this scientifically illiterate public is using its senses?
    We’ve been bombarded with horror stories about the disasterous effects of “Global Warming”, “Climate Change” or whatever it’s name is today.
    Then we, the public, compare reality to the computer models.

    [Response: Ah, 'you' the public. Well, I'm part of the public too, and your tiresome list of red-herrings, cherry-picks and outright untruths does not accord in any way to what this member of the public sees. I'm sure the other members of the public would appreciate you not speaking for them either. But since you put it all down in a list, it's easy enough to critique. - gavin]

    We’ve been told that AGW will lead to more frequent & destructive hurricanes.

    [Response: It may well do. The magnitude of such an effect is still difficult to discern. - gavin]

    We see such storms have dropped to an historic low, lower than at least the past 30 years, possibly the last 50, as measurements aren’t as good in the pre-satellite era.

    [Response: Physical understanding is not based on time-series correlations of noisy data. ]

    Speaking of measurements, we’re told that (insert year you like) is amongst the “warmest on record”.

    [Response: Well, yes. It was. ]

    We find that these records have been adjusted, possibly for good reason, but such adjustments do seem to favour reducing temperatures a bit before the 1930s, raising them a little post 1950s.

    [Response: So you would rather leave in obvious errors that reduce the overall trend? Hmm... Many adjustments also reduce the trends (such as correcting for UHI and the bucket corrections on the SST). I suppose those are ok? ]

    We see that the surface stations are poorly positioned to return accurate measurements, the ones in the USA demonstrably so, ones elsewhere are unlikely to be better.

    [Response: You fail to see that ocean temperatures, satellite measurements, glacier melting, Arctic ice retreat, changes in phenology are all consistent with a warming planet. Or that all the independent analyses actually agree, or that the GISTEMP analysis is very similar to what you get only if you use the 'good' stations? ]

    We question whether measurements from what was the USSR are trustworthy, when how cold things were in the back end of Siberia would be taken into account when fuel was allocated via a government office in Moscow, a few thousand miles away.

    [Response: Changes in vegetation as a response to warming as seen by satellites over the same areas are obviously caused by former-USSR apparatchiks painting the ground green. ]

    We’re told that anyone who questions the veracity of AGW, is a paid lackey of some big energy company.

    [Response: No. You appear to be doing it for free. You realise that you are undermining the market for professionals in this field though?]

    We note that it’s a government that’s sticking a tax on a tax with fuel duty added to the pump price, then VAT (Sales Tax) is stuck ontop of the gross sum; we note that our vehicle tax is linked to its CO2 output, so who’s making the most money from this?

    [Response: Oh my god! The UK government taxes food - they must want us all to starve! When you stop using services that the government pays for (err... like roads), I'll take you more seriously. ]

    We’re told that the North Pole is melting, more and more is going each year, with 2007′s melt meaning some 2m sq miles less than 2003

    [Response: You dispute this? Long term trends in all seasons are towards less Arctic sea ice. You truly have to be blind not to see this one. ]

    We see that the arctic sea ice extent has increased since then, currently up around the 2004 levels, so we’re told that it’s not actually the area, it’s the thickness and what birthday it’s celebrated.

    [Response: Ah, the old short term noise trick again. Don't you get tired of always using the same crutch? ]

    We see intrepid men, paddling their way to the pole, to demonstrate how much the ice has melted.
    We see them getting picked up by the ship that’s followed them and then find out that an expedition got 60 miles further north in 1922.
    We see another intrepid group, walking to the pole, “Tweeting” as they go, telling us they’re measuring the thickness of the ice, whuic has never been done before.
    We find out that the weather’s so cold, that it certainly isn’t the air temperature that’s melting any ice and that the USN has had automated bouys measuring the ice thickness, bobbing away for years.

    [Response: The reason why there is ice there in the first place is because it's cold. And the reason why we don't have great in situ measurements is because working there is tough. Pretending to rediscover these facts is no surprise to any potential explorers or to any readers. And if you looked at what the Arctic buoys are showing with respect to ice thickness, it is clear there is a long term decline. Probably just because former-USSR apparatchiks keep moving them though....]

    We’re told that the sea level’s rising, flooding Pacific Islands.

    [Response: Sea levels are rising. Or are you in complete denial of this also? ]

    We haven’t seen any being evacuated, we see that Venice is actually doing what it has been doing, ever since some bright Italian decided to build a city on a swamp.

    [Response: Actually Venice is built on islands in a lagoon, not a swamp. And they are spending billions of dollars building a barrage system to reduce their risk of flooding - which is increasing due both to rising sea levels and subsidence. I'm sure the good people of Bangladesh would appreciate your support for a similar construction across the entire Bay of Bengal. ]

    We’re told that a warmer climate is a worse climate.

    [Response: No, it's just a different climate and one we have not spent the last 200 years adapting to. ]

    We remember what our grandparents told us and old news reels show of the winter of 1947-8, where snow lay on the ground for months, livestock starved in the fields if a helicopter couldn’t get hay to them and we think “Thank (insert name of diety) that hasn’t happened this year”.

    [Response: And we remember the summer of 2003 where 30,000 excess deaths occurred during a summer heat wave. What is your point? ]

    We’re told that non-climatologists aren’t “qualified” to voice opinion on this matter.

    [Response: When it comes to the science, you are right. Expertise does matter. Your contributions for instance are pretty much worthless, other than as an indication of how people behave irrationally when it comes to dealing with complex issues. Your opinion on what society should do about scientific discoveries however is worth exactly the same as mine since that is part of the democratic give and take. ]

    We see a failed politician making films & globe trotting on a private jet; a highly intelligent man with a PhD in Engineering chairing the IPCC.

    [Response: And we see underemployed peers of the realm pretending to know something about climate give testimony on capitol hill. Or retired TV presenters complaining about conspiracy theories. Or science fiction authors briefing the president.]

    But seriously, all those trends show how layman’s opinions on global warming have almost nothing to do with the science. it has to do with PR. “warmists” have a formidable PR machine. we have Andrew Watts and Steve McIntytre – both admirable men who make sound rational appeals to our intellect. this doesn’t work with most people. “Warmists” appeal to emotions and exploit ignorance (pretty easy marks).

    [Response: Oh yes, the IPCC reports, or the National Academies are full of hyperbole and appeals to emotion. Not like anything that comes from Monckton or Art Robinson of course. ]

    I wonder if this will make it passed the censor’s red pen here?

    [Response: This is the most tedious complaint of all. Your contributions add nothing to any conversation. They simply regurgitate trivial and easily dismissed talking points you pick up from the flotsam of the blogosphere. Your freedom to contribute in your own house, on your own blog and indeed anywhere else that will have you is unabridged. That we choose to try and keep conversations on topic, civil and free of the seemingly inevitable tedium of your style of 'argument' is our choice. You do not have to read. Think of the blog like a dinner party - interesting discussion and disagreement is welcome, but boorish abuse of the hosts is not. You fall well into the latter category and we act accordingly. Now run off and complain about how mean we are. - gavin]

    Comment by Adam Gallon — 30 Mar 2009 @ 7:35 AM

  33. For all those going on about Freeman Dyson. Here is a physicist (Tim Palmer) who graduated with a PhD and was offered work with Stephen Hawking on supergravity which he refused. He went to to become an internationally renowned climate science modeller who I belive invented (or helped to) invent the technique called ensemble modelling which seems to incorporate some of chaos theory into this complex system.

    This article now suggests that he wants to use fractal mathematics in an attempt to demonstrate the inadequacy of quantum physics from the old philosophy of it all.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20127011.600-can-fractals-make-sense-of-the-quantum-world.html?page=1

    Now he is not in laymans terms as famous as Dyson but I wonder if people would prefer to listen to dyson or Tim on the subject of climate science and modelling. I would imagine that RC know him and could ask him to post an article (not that he has the time to do I would imagine) on the subject as he seems as great a mind as anyone on this subject (maybe even as intelligent as Gavin).

    Comment by pete best — 30 Mar 2009 @ 8:23 AM

  34. The reason so many people are dubious about AGW is not to do with religion or ignorance. Most people are ignorant of astronomy or advanced physics, but if you asked them if black holes exist, you’d get a higher proportion agreeing than do with man-made global warming.

    People don’t believe because they don’t see it as a scientific issue, but as a political one. Once the politicians started making grandiose claims and issuing apocalyptic scenarios, climate change became – in the minds of the public – a political excuse for social engineering and taxation.

    Those minds won’t be changed now until there is water lapping at their doorsteps.

    Comment by Mr Potarto — 30 Mar 2009 @ 8:51 AM

  35. gavin is generally correct when he talks, but after that demolition of Adam’s comments he gets extra bonus points.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 30 Mar 2009 @ 9:05 AM

  36. Viriato [30]
    That CSIRO link said,[ speaking of the rise over the last two decades]—- ‘Whether or not this represents a further increase in the rate of sea level rise is not yet certain’.
    Not quite crystal clear, I would think.
    And this from a senior researcher in the Netherlands, where sea levels are a preoccupation and subject of research that has more urgency than for many in the rest of the world.
    ‘ In an op-ed piece in the December 11 issue of NRC/Handelsblad, Wilco Hazeleger, a senior scientist in the global climate research group at KNMI, writes:
    “In the past century the sea level has risen twenty centimeters. There is no evidence for accelerated sea-level rise. It is my opinion that there is no need for drastic measures. It is wise to adopt a flexible, step-by-step adaptation strategy. By all means, let us not respond precipitously.”’
    http://climatesci.org/2008/12/page/2/

    Comment by truth — 30 Mar 2009 @ 9:14 AM

  37. I don’t think it helps climate modeling when NOAA predicts a warmer then usual winter in the East & Midwest. Well we are still freezing our tails off, and heating bills are going through the roof. It also doesn’t help when you can go to climate4you.com and see a 350 year chart from central England showing a long slight warming trend, with no significant deviations, over the time span. There are a number of very good graphs of temperature and polar ice, at climate4you, to be skeptical of “tipping point” claims.

    Comment by J. Bob — 30 Mar 2009 @ 9:42 AM

  38. Re 32:
    You forgot to include the Vikings frolicking across a lush Greenland and pasty-faced scientists getting rich by sucking the lifeblood of hard-working real folks. Now I must be off to my Monday morning conference call wherein all of the world’s scientists gather to coordinate the global coverup and discuss our fund-grubbing plans for the coming week.

    Comment by spilgard — 30 Mar 2009 @ 9:47 AM

  39. Re #32 Extra credit for that dismantling but a shame you have to waste such time. There is no convincing people who are dug into denial. I guarantee none of those links will be clicked through.
    The book sounds very interesting and I look forward to reading it. I think we, as scientists sometimes fail in good communication especially when an issue is as complex as climate change and human effects.
    I recently taught an undergrad elective introduction to meteorology class at a school outside of Pittsburgh. We spent 3 weeks on climate change/global warming. Before we started I polled the class about who believed we were warming and whether or not we caused it. Out of 30 students only 3 thought we weren’t responsible. I found that very surprising but also reassuring.

    Comment by Scott Robertson — 30 Mar 2009 @ 9:50 AM

  40. “I don’t think it helps climate modeling when NOAA predicts a warmer then usual winter in the East & Midwest.”

    But which do you remember: the incident that happened as expected or the one that wasn’t expected?

    Most people remember the unexpected.

    It’s why “you wait HOURS for a bus and then three turn up all at once” remains a common meme. When you didn’t wait three hours and one bus turned up on time, you don’t remember it.

    Comment by Mark — 30 Mar 2009 @ 10:10 AM

  41. I don’t think it helps climate modeling when NOAA predicts a warmer then usual winter in the East & Midwest.

    But this is only a regional seasonal weather forecast …

    And when they predicted a warmer than usual winter, what were they referring to as “usual”? Are you certain it’s been colder than their reference for “usual”? “Warmer than usual” and “cold (which is typical of winter)” aren’t necessarily contradictory.

    [Response: In fact, NOAA now uses a baseline climatology (i.e., what defines 'normal') of 1971-2000. This climatology absorbs much of warming of the past few decades. So 'normal' by this standard, is actually 'anomalous' by average 20th century standards. And 'cold' by this standard, would probably just mean 'normal' by average 20th century standards. -mike]

    Comment by dhogaza — 30 Mar 2009 @ 10:12 AM

  42. “People don’t believe because they don’t see it as a scientific issue, but as a political one. Once the politicians started making grandiose claims and issuing apocalyptic scenarios,”

    Uh, it was the PR puff pieces from the petrochem industry that turned it political.

    And if someone had said “Stop your methods of farming or there’ll be famine and desolation!” in the 1920′s US they would have been accused of issuing an apocalyptic scenario.

    Would they have been wrong to issue such a scenario?

    Comment by Mark — 30 Mar 2009 @ 10:13 AM

  43. we have Andrew Watts and Steve McIntytre – both admirable men who make sound rational appeals to our intellect.

    This being the same Andrew Watts who recently soundly appealed to Adam’s rational by posting excerpts from a paper that outlines what the researcher (Lu) believes is the major mechanism by which CFCs diminish the ozone layer over Antarctica.

    Why did Watts post it? “New peer-reviewed paper indicates that maybe cosmic rays, not CFCs, cause the ozone hole!”. Totally misunderstanding the paper, an absolute miss.

    And the chorus? An near-endless stream of “see, this proves science is a fraud! there was no reason to ban CFC production!”.

    Watts, who frequently doesn’t even understand the papers he references, is overturning the work of thousands of scientists?

    Laughable.

    Comment by dhogaza — 30 Mar 2009 @ 10:16 AM

  44. Re: 31 and Natalie C.

    How would you suggest scientific journals make money? Would you be willing to nationlize publishers and put some tax dollars up against that? Think of the uproar that would cause, even if it is cheeper than a CO2-machine producer bail-out. I notice your own work (BPL) “Ella the Vampire” is not available for free. But seriously, if you’re really interested in reading highly technical language then dig a little deeper (see 23 and 26 above). If the abstract make no sense to you, then you can skip the rest and come to places like RC that might help to explain it.

    Comment by Bocco — 30 Mar 2009 @ 10:44 AM

  45. ha! dhogaza (43), i hadn’t noticed that adam gallon (32) had taken my paragraph about “admirable men” from post #22 and reworded it. he was being clever… im honored, i think.

    Comment by walter crain — 30 Mar 2009 @ 10:48 AM

  46. “…about 58% of the general public in the US thinks that human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing the mean global temperature, as opposed to 97% of specia lists surveyed.”

    I get a bit skeptic when I read this. The definition of, and the data presentation of, the two populations is certainly problematic, especially the definition of a “specia list”. The construction of the instrument (the set of questions) that ought to make it possible to determine the outcome, is also important.

    What is a “significant contributing factor”?

    The responsible statistician has also made it a easy for himself by formulating the result of his survey “…of specia lists surveyed.” This only states a quality of the “specia lists” that the statistician came upon (regardless of the method used to achieve the sample) and actually where surveyed. If they all were friends of James Hansen, the result is not surprising.

    Then there is the question of the circumstances under which the survey was made. Was it an anonymous survey? The possibility that a skeptical scientist will face repercussions is well known.

    The survey does not state what “human activity” that the statistician have in mind. The burning of fossil fuels because of CO2 emissions? The release of carbon soot in the atmosphere? The methane emissions from the one billion cows we have on earth. The use of water for irrigation? May be all of them?

    I also find it more than a bit odd that a site that wants to be seen as solemn refers a survey like this without even mentioning the doubtful core quality of such a survey. It reminds me of Albert Einstein’s reply when he was confronted with a list of 200 Nazi scientists that had signed a letter stating that Einstein’s findings were faulty: “Why 200? It takes only one to prove me wrong”.

    Comment by Knut Witberg — 30 Mar 2009 @ 10:50 AM

  47. Re 30:
    About Mörner and credibility
    http://www.randi.org/hotline/1998/0012.html
    Dowsing…

    Comment by Magnus Westerstrand — 30 Mar 2009 @ 10:54 AM

  48. re: 37.
    a. You are only looking at regional temperatures (England, the Eastern US, etc.) as opposed to *global* averages.
    b. Actually, everywhere south of about 40 degree N latitude in the eastern US and midwestern US was *above* normal this past winter with the exception of Florida.

    Comment by Dan — 30 Mar 2009 @ 10:57 AM

  49. 44 Bocco, it’s about value-added. The information was manufactured with public funds. Pasting it into a server takes little extra effort. I’d suggest CHARGING the scientific journals a small amount to publish the papers, and then using the funds to maintain an archive. Bandwidth, storage, and search capability are cheap. $30 for a paper? You’re talking what? $0.10 for cost and $29.90 in profit? It’s a rip-off.

    Comment by RichardC — 30 Mar 2009 @ 11:33 AM

  50. “# J. Bob Says:
    30 March 2009 at 9:42 AM

    There are a number of very good graphs of temperature and polar ice, at climate4you, to be skeptical of “tipping point” claims.”

    You don’t seem to understand what a tipping point is. Another word for it is a bifurcation. It’s a point where turbulence enters a previously (to a layman) non-chaotic process. A good example comes from “Chaos: The Making of a New Science.” Think of a stream of water flowing out of a faucet. Imagine increasing the flow of water till it goes from a smooth-looking single stream to a chaotic, air-filled messy flow. That’s your bifurcation.

    Now imagine being able to perfectly predict when that bifurcation will happen without knowing what exactly causes it nor the speed at which changes prior to the bifurcation will be happening.

    That’s the mess we are in now.

    If you think looking at historical graphs is going to tell you when a bifurcation is about to hit, I wish you luck.

    It is the nature of tipping points that has people like me and scientists like Hansen scare to death. We can see massive climate shifts in periods of less than a decade in the historical record. Given we are pushing the climate faster and harder than at any time in the past, shouldn’t we be concerned about a bifurcation? More so, is it worth the risk?

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 30 Mar 2009 @ 12:15 PM

  51. Just to add to Gavin’s points on #32: “We see a failed politician making films…”

    Humm… Getting elected to the US Senate & Vice Presidency equates to failure? Wonder what that makes my (long-ago) loss for the state legislature?

    And please do let us know when YOU make a film, write a book, or get a Nobel Prize :-)

    Comment by James — 30 Mar 2009 @ 12:30 PM

  52. re. 33:

    http://climatesci.org/2008/06/25/comments-on-the-article-by-palmer-et-al-2008-toward-seamless-prediction-calibration-of-climate-change-projections-using-seasonal-forecasts/

    (A view of Palmer’s seamless forecasting paper for those curious.)

    Comment by wmanny — 30 Mar 2009 @ 12:35 PM

  53. “The disproportion between these numbers is a concern, and one possible explanation may be that the science literacy among the general public is low. ”

    That’s one explanation, but I’m not sure if it’s the best one. No doubt if everyone had a strong background in hard sciences and studied climate science in detail, the percentage among the general public would increase. D & Z make this point. There wouldn’t be arguments like “global warming is bunk because it’s cold this week”, for instance.

    But I think most of the skeptism and so-called “controversy” is political and based on ideology. If global warming didn’t have policy implications that leads those of certain political persuasions to fear government action and claim the sky will fall on the economy, there wouldn’t be so much vehement denial of the science. There is probably even greater denial of evolution than global warming, and that’s certainly based on ideology. Some are too hard-headed to read anything about the subject.

    My optimistic side says that scientific literacy is the silver bullet, but realistically there’s always going to be a certain part of society that disagrees with any scientific topic with policy implications.

    Comment by MarkB — 30 Mar 2009 @ 12:52 PM

  54. While browsing for the subject book at a local bookstore,I didn’t find this particular book but I come across a book titled “Climate Change-Picturing the Science” edited by somebody by the name of Gavin Schmidt and a co author Joshua Wolfe(Pub. W.W. Norton & Co.) . It contains a collection of interesting essays, several written or co-authored by Gavin. Each chapter is headed by an appropriate quote from a famous author.
    In the same spirit:
    “The play seems out for an almost infinite run.
    Don’t mind a little thing like the actors fighting.
    The only thing I worry about is the Sun.
    We’ll be alright if nothing goes wrong with the lighting.” Robert Frost.

    BTW in response to my query in comment #14, Planck’s law as given by E(sub lambda)=C1/Lambda^5(e^C2/LambdaT)-1).
    Where: EsubL = emissive power of a black body(W/m^2-
    mu.m)
    T=absolute temp. of the body(K)
    Lambda =wavelength(mu.m)
    C1=3.74×10^8 W-mu.m^4/m^2
    C2=1.44×10^4 mu.m-K
    A radiation equation easier to manipulate is given by the Stefan Boltzmann law of radiation,which gives the total radiant energy emitted by a blackbody with surface area A and absolute temperature T. :
    E=sigma x A x T^4
    E is the total blackbody emission rate(W)
    sigma= the Stefan Boltzmann constant
    T= absolute Temp (K)
    A= Suface area(m^2)
    Source: “Introduction to Environmental Engineering and Science” Second Edition – Gilbert M. Masters

    [Response: I can't help but admire your taste in authors.... ;) (for anyone else who's interested, there is a book description and links on the Books page). - gavin]

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 30 Mar 2009 @ 1:41 PM

  55. Re: #32

    Adam Gallon writes:

    “Andrew Watts and Steve McIntytre – both admirable men who make sound rational appeals to our intellect.”

    My impression of their sites is quite the opposite. Watts (Anthony), who has little scientific expertise, makes arguments that have a certain populist or political appeal but little scientific basis, and uncritically and unobjectively pushes any odd material he thinks might challenge global warming. Since I strongly believe that assertions should be supported (take note, contrarians), I’ll give you some examples. In this post, he tries to discredit NASA data by comparing temperature anomaly data side by side, without adjusting for the different baselines. He confuses many of his misinformed readers. Instead of admitting a ridiculous error, he criticizes NASA for having a different baseline.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/02/28/a-look-at-4-globaltemperature-anomalies/

    Another tactic of his is to confuse short-term local weather with global climate, citing examples of snowfall or cold weather. This has a strong emotional appeal. Examples (of many):

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/10/12/boise-gets-earliest-snow-on-record/
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/07/27/anchorages-record-setting-cold-summer/

    As a side-note, I’m not sure how anyone can claim a summer is record-setting when it’s only a month old. Anchorage actually had a normal August, but it’s doubtful Watts issued a correction.

    Here Watts implies CO2 concentrations are levelling off:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/04/06/co2-monthly-mean-at-mauna-loa-leveling-off/

    The data reveals how silly this claim was:

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

    Almost all of his posts have a political slant to them, some more obvious than others. In this post, he claimed that the APS reversed their position on global warming.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/07/17/aps-edito-reverses-position-on-global-warming-cites-considerable-presence-of-skeptics/

    This myth, perpetuated in part by Watts, got enough traction in the blogosphere for APS to re-affirm their position. After being repeatedly informed that it was only the work of one member and editor of one of dozens of un-peer-reviewed newsletters who decided to post a Monckton argument, Watts finally modified the header to say “APS Editor” with no apologies, while complaining of the “elites” at the APS (goes well with the conspiracy theory).

    I’ve focused on Watts’ site, but McIntyre’s site isn’t much better. We get the same conspiracy theories, slander, emotional appeal, and same weird obsession with Al Gore and James Hansen. Objective science-minded folks aren’t served well on these sites.

    Comment by MarkB — 30 Mar 2009 @ 1:47 PM

  56. Bocco, there was a time, in my lifetime, when research papers were freely available to all as long as you could get to a university library. Many journals are now available ONLY electronically and ONLY with a subscription, with individual articles behind a paywall. That is a reduction in the amount of available information any way you look at it. Are costs so much greater for an electronic journal than one requiring paper, cloth, and trucking? I find that hard to believe.

    Scott — I’m in Pittsburgh! I’d love to sit in on your class some time, assuming our schedules meet and the cost isn’t too great.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 30 Mar 2009 @ 1:50 PM

  57. OT, but I want to announce here that I’ve finally written an RCM that follows all the physics and gives reasonable answers. It’s got 20 layers plus ground, a 10-gas model atmosphere, 54 bands for four greenhouse gases and two types of cloud, 3 levels of clouds, and a cool console interface where you see the values change as the simulated days tick off. I get 293 K for the surface temperature — compare the canonical 287 or 288 K. The stratosphere is colder than I would like, with a minimum T of 199 K. Absorbed flux is 238 watts per square meter (albedo is 0.302), and emitted flux is 220 — not exactly conserving energy, but close, and the discrepancy is probably somewhere in the way I treat reflection.

    I used Salford Fortran-95. The “Personal Edition” of F95 is free to download, for anyone who’s interested.

    If I can refine this little bugger a little better, next I’m going to try Mars and Venus.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 30 Mar 2009 @ 1:57 PM

  58. markb and other scientists,
    do you think watts and mcintyre (and p.michaels and brian valentine and/or others) are honestly mistaken? or deliberately misleading (i.e. lying)?

    Comment by walter crain — 30 Mar 2009 @ 3:22 PM

  59. [Response: I can’t help but admire your taste in authors…. (for anyone else who’s interested, there is a book description and links on the Books page). - gavin]
    Yes,well,my taste in authors is exceeded only by the quality of the content of this publication. :).

    Seriously, it’s attractively packaged,and includes some familiar favorite names(Oreskes,Kolbert) and a quote from my favorite modern day philosopher-one Lawrence Peter Berra(aka Yogi). Not least, the photography enables a friendly introduction to reading some of the text to young children or grand-children,while pointing out the meaning of the related photos.

    What a refreshing change of pace after plowing through some of the hogwash in the profile in this Sunday’s magazine section of the NY Times on Freeman Dyson. Another brilliant mind goes off the deep end.

    “Water,water everywhere
    And all the boards did shrink,
    Water,water everywhere
    Nor any drop to drink.” Coleridge

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 30 Mar 2009 @ 3:54 PM

  60. > honestly mistaken? or deliberately misleading….?

    It doesn’t matter. What matters is whether their work is reliable for others who want to build on it; perhaps whether it’s publishable.

    You have to take that kind of black-and-white question and give it a context: According to whose ethical rules?

    How do you judge that? You need a context that depends on many things including what you know about the audience.

    Consider just one variety of mistaken-or-misleading:

    omitting information necessary to fully understand a statement.

    What do you call that? In some ethical systems that’s a “sin of omission” and in others it’s market savvy (“caveat emptor”) and in yet others it’s a securities law violation.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Mar 2009 @ 3:57 PM

  61. # 48
    You forgot CA, MS, etc. They were average- NOAA Dec. 08-Feb.09 State Wide Ranking.

    ccpo
    You comments about flow transition brought back old memories to Cloudcroft NM, above the White Sands Missile Range. Over a few beers, a colleague and I were going over equations implementation in the range computers. This was for real-time trajectory and impact points, of missiles incoming to the range at re-entry rates. These were also used to direct the electro-optical instrumentation. In passing, my colleague mentioned that he received an award for developing a ultra low noise propeller for under sea vessels. The rest of the evening was spent discussing flow separation and pressure gradients at the surface of the propeller, and effects on turbulence and noise.

    So in designing systems that work in fluidic enviornments, several methods of analysis are used. In order to reduce uncertainty, hydrological models, wind tunnels, ship tanks, etc., are used along with Weber, Mach and Grashoff numbers to get a higher level of confidence, and understanding of the process. Computer models are nice, but unless they reflect reality, they are not only worthless to the project, but dangerous to economic and human life. Fluid flow is extremely complex, and is driven home if you ever watch shock waves go across a wing surface at 35K, in a random or chaotic “dance“.

    As for looking at historical records, how else do you reconcile models to reality, if you are talking long term (>30 years)? Granted that place in England is only one point, but do you have anything more accurate and long term? Besides if this is “global warming”, shouldn’t that be reflected in good old England?

    Oh there is another classic book “How to Lie with Statistics”

    Comment by J. Bob — 30 Mar 2009 @ 3:57 PM

  62. Knut (#46), if you’re feeling skeptical about the poll in the Eos
    article after reading a one-line summary of it on a blog, your first
    move should be to go read the actual article. (There’s a link in the
    first reply above.) There’s little point in asking those questions
    without knowing if the authors have answered them. Most but not all are briefly covered in the article: Sampling, survey administration and response rate, as well as data on the participants’ (self-reported) education, area of expertise, and publishing activity. You will also see how they define specia-lists (“those who listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change”). Participants’ names are withheld but whether the survey guaranteed full anonymity is not clear; for such details I guess you’ll have to pay to download the full study. But on the face of it this survey tries to give a serious answer to the consensus question, unlike some petitions one could mention that sometimes masquerade as opinion surveys.

    Comment by CM — 30 Mar 2009 @ 4:16 PM

  63. 62. No, MS was above normal. See http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/waob/weather_weekly//2000s/2009/weather_weekly-03-18-2009.pdf
    Pages 13-14. Clearly from page 13, every state south of 40 N in the east and midwest was above normal. Three MS stations listed on page 14 were 1, 1, and 3 above. Not sure how CA comes into play here since we are talking about the east and midwest.

    Comment by Dan — 30 Mar 2009 @ 4:33 PM

  64. “Computer models are nice, but unless they reflect reality, they are not only worthless to the project”

    And what leads you to think that GCM’s do not reflect reality???

    “Besides if this is “global warming”, shouldn’t that be reflected in good old England?”

    Why? After Queen Victoria’s reign, the world was not England. How do you know it isn’t reflected in the UK? There were chicks clamouring for food early February here, the snow in the south in the last 30 years is now nearly a memory (hence the panic about the itty bitty bit of snow in the SE: it hadn’t happened for so long, they’d gotten rid of all the kit to deal with it).

    But where do you get it isn’t reflected in blighty?

    PS JBob, what the heck is a fluidic environment? Is not “fluid environment” neu speek enough for you?

    Comment by Mark — 30 Mar 2009 @ 4:57 PM

  65. hank,
    i guess in your example of “ommission” the line i am asking about is is it intentional? i would differentiate btwn a wrong statement and a lie.

    Comment by walter crain — 30 Mar 2009 @ 5:13 PM

  66. Re: #58, #65

    Walter Crain,

    I think Hank’s point is that it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the sources have a poor track record and are highly unreliable.

    Determining intent can be difficult and I don’t think it’s always one or the other, nor is it always all that productive. I think many have a strong desire to believe that human-induced greenhouse gases don’t have a significant impact on global warming. This probably explains a good deal of why facts are manipulated or selectively presented or omitted, analysis is careless, and dubious claims are constantly perpetuated. Whether the resulting mistakes and poor analysis is done in good faith or not is open to interpretation. In my view, the observed reliability (or lack thereof) is more important. A bad source is a bad source, regardless of intent.

    I suppose intent could matter with regards to whether or not someone can change their mind. Someone acting in good faith and making honest mistakes is more likely to admit errors and be open-minded to the large body of evidence on a topic. How many contrarians do that in practice? Someone dishonest might be more likely to stubbornly continue to cling to the same debunked ideas and repeat the same myths after being constantly corrected. Then again, I don’t think most creationists are deceptively dishonest people just because evolution goes against strict religious interpretations. Are global warming contrarians dishonest or blinded by ideology?

    Comment by MarkB — 30 Mar 2009 @ 6:57 PM

  67. Re: Comment #50 ccpo says:
    “You don’t seem to understand what a tipping point is. Another word for it is a bifurcation. It’s a point where turbulence enters a previously (to a layman) non-chaotic process. A good example comes from “Chaos: The Making of a New Science.””

    That may well be, though my understanding of a tipping point is some component of a system that goes from a linear to a non linear change. Perhaps an ice floe is melting at some constant annual rate and suddenly begins to melt at an exponential rate,or sea level rise changes from a linear rise to rise at an accelerating pace.

    “Nineteen of the warmest years on record have occurred within the last 25 years.The warmest years globally have been 1998 and 2005, with 2002,2007,and 2003 close behind.The warmest decade has been the last 10 years.The warming is substantially more widespread than in any previous decade(such as the 1930′s) and the rise seems to be exceptional on even longer timescales. The odds of this sort of clustering,if it occurred only by chance, would be less than one in a billion……….”
    Peter deMenocal,Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University.Winner of the Lenfest Columbia Distinguished Faculty Award in 2008.Editor in Chief of the scientific journal of “Earth and Planetary Science Letters”

    “On top of Old Smokey, all covered with dirt,
    We lost our snow cover, for not being alert.”
    Larry Brown, BS in Civil Engineering- UCONN – (Go Huskies!)

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 30 Mar 2009 @ 7:05 PM

  68. J. Bob forgets that just about all the subsonic wind tunnels are closing. It’s a lot cheaper to buy some of that fluidic software and let it run. While turbulence is not a solved problem, it is a lot better understood.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 30 Mar 2009 @ 7:19 PM

  69. lawrence brown,
    so you’re saying there’s still a chance (less than 1/1,000,000,000) this warming is just coincidence. and i thought the science was largely settled…

    markb and hank,
    thanks for the replies.

    i understand that in terms of substance the scientists’ intentions don’t matter. the things i find out here about them (the denialists) are just so horrible-sounding. i’m trying to leave open just the slightest possibility that they’re not all completely evil. to markb’s point in his third paragraph: have you ever, say in the last 5-10 years (since the science has really, really come into focus), heard of a “skeptic” say something like, “gee, you know, i have become convinced by the evidence that global warming is a real, man-made problem”?

    Comment by walter crain — 30 Mar 2009 @ 7:57 PM

  70. Walter, I recommend sticking with reading and discussing the science, particularly here.

    It’s really pointless to try to argue over how much of a probability “largely settled” means.

    Those words are undefined, just argumentative.

    Stick with the IPCC’s definitions and cite them. It’s the best we’ve got right now.
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=IPCC+definition+probabilities&as_ylo=2007

    There are plenty of sites where people can spent a lot of time arguing over who’s evil or who can change.

    Focus on the research, cite sources, be convincing in the ability to read and quote — that’s credibility.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Mar 2009 @ 8:31 PM

  71. I have read this blog but have only commented once.
    If I could add that I have seen the meaning of ‘science’ change over the years. My science master (1950′s 60′s) said it was all to do with theories and they were only a framework of what we know at any one time. He denounced any belief and taught us always to have an open mind. And he always emphasized the ‘always’. He said that this was how great discoveries and step changes in understanding worked.
    I’m seeing a lot of belief here and not a lot of questioning. My two cents worth and if you feel like replying please be gentle as I have had to pluck up courage to write this.

    [Response: There should always be a caveat with that: "Be sure to always have an open mind, but not so open that your brain drops out". - gavin]

    Comment by TimJ — 30 Mar 2009 @ 8:42 PM

  72. Re:69 walter crain says:
    “lawrence brown,
    so you’re saying there’s still a chance (less than 1/1,000,000,000) this warming is just coincidence. and i thought the science was largely settled…”

    Good one Walter.
    Apparently not – since there exists infinitesimably small odds of recent events happening by chance, the diehards will cling to their beliefs. Science by definition is never settled,e.g. Newton’s gravitational laws were “settled” until Einstein came along.But when the probabilities are overwhelming,it’s time to pay attention and this case start acting.
    I know you’re saying this tongue in cheek.Yet there are those out there who won’t or can’t admit to a trend when it’s staring them squarely in the face, even a supposed genius like Freeman Dyson.Though there are some, who, because they’re authorities in some given field, may come to believe over time that they are authorities in whatever they happen to come upon.

    “Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue……” VP Richard Cheney

    Contrast this to what Aldo Leopold says in “A Sand County Almanac” “Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.”

    Is there any doubt about which one is talking damn lies and which is talking good sense,if not exactly science?

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 30 Mar 2009 @ 8:47 PM

  73. Re: #69

    Walter Crain,

    Despite the evidence growing considerably stronger over the past couple of decades, very few of the hard-headed contrarians we see in the blogosphere have budged. When one hypothesis is refuted, some either cling to it or come up with something else to explain all climate change. As long as it doesn’t involve any significant influence from human activities, it’s fair game. Ironically, this is the same crowd that uses such terms as “global warming religion” to compensate the for strong consensus that happens to exist within the scientific community. In contast, among normal skeptics (most scientists), we’ve seen confidence levels grow (for instance, the IPCC 2,3,4 progression from “more likely than not”, to “likely” to “very likely” to describe the strong human impact on climate) not due to “faith” but due to a growing body of strong evidence.

    You write:

    “so you’re saying there’s still a chance (less than 1/1,000,000,000) this warming is just coincidence. and i thought the science was largely settled…”

    Reminds me of this study:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090109115047.htm

    It also reminds me of this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qULSszbA-Ek

    Comment by MarkB — 30 Mar 2009 @ 9:01 PM

  74. re one of gavin’s responses to #32

    [Response: Physical understanding is not based on time-series correlations of noisy data.]

    Wow! How many climate change papers did you just throw under the bus?

    [Response: None. Explain to me how correlating two time series provides physical understanding. Perhaps you are under the incorrect impression that concern about global warming is because of people go around correlating CO2 levels to things? It is not. - gavin]

    Comment by John Norris — 30 Mar 2009 @ 9:19 PM

  75. thanks again guys for indulging me. great replies and excellent links (educational and funny – what could be better that that combo?) in that “dumb and dumber” thing i knew he would end up saying something like, “so i still have a chance!”, but i still laughed when he did…. and hank, i didn’t mean to get all imprecise by saying “largely settled” – i guess i meant “very likely”.

    Comment by walter crain — 30 Mar 2009 @ 10:57 PM

  76. Gavin, you’re on top form (#32, #71). Keep it entertaining as well as informative.

    Walter Crain (#58, #65): there’s a thing called confirmation bias, where people tend to filter facts according to preconception. I doubt most of the people misinforming the public are deliberately lying though there is strong evidence that the “climate change is a hoax” story was seeded by the tobacco industry as part of their general attempt at discrediting science.

    More here http://opinion-nation.blogspot.com/2009/03/everything-you-know-is-wrong.html and here http://opinion-nation.blogspot.com/2008/06/sound-science-and-climate-change-or.html

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 30 Mar 2009 @ 11:01 PM

  77. Frequent lurker to the blog here; just thought I’d post a comment tonight. First off, I wanted to tell the contributors here that I appreciate reading their posts.

    As to the issue at hand, I think it’s indicative of a more society-wide aversion towards science. Some people can’t accept that objective truths can exist even regarding statements of facts. And this is why the pseudo-skeptics have been able to amass a rather large following. I call them pseudo-skeptics because they operate under the guise of scientific skepticism, but in reality they only hold side of the argument (namely the one that disagrees with their worldview) to any scrutiny. For instance, Dennis Avery published an article that claimed the atmospheric concentration of CO2 was declining. I didn’t see any pseudo-skeptic outrage (feigned or otherwise) about this obviously counterfactual statement.

    Comment by Dave — 30 Mar 2009 @ 11:09 PM

  78. Economics of academic publishing. There are two main kinds of journal publications: those published by academic societies and those published by for-profit publishers. Often the society publications are the most prestigious for many fields. The academic societies support their publications by charging members something like $200/yr membership which might be reduced if one does not subscribe to the joural(s) or takes an on-line version. These costs are potentially tax deductable, but on only as expenses above the 2% cutoff. This is a $500/yr unreimbursed cost for me. Authors who have grants are expected to pay “page changes” on the order of $100/page. The largest number of scientific journals are commercial ventures that charge libraries on the order of 1,000-$5,000 per year for subscriptions. They don’t charge authors. I don’t see any way of making current issues available to the public without cost.

    JSTOR.org makes available PDFs of many of the most important journals, starting with issues a few years old. Most colleges and univesities in the US have access and it’s geat for students as well as professionals. Perhaps JSTor.org could be partially funded by public libraries and another public source.

    Reading on WUWT, one often comes accross statements such as “why doesn’t someone estimate CO2 uptake by plants” or why isn’t water vapor included.” These people and the general public often assume that an obvious factor as not been considered by scientists, when the factor has already been the subject of hundreds of publications. At least, we now have Google Scholar to look at titles and abstracts, rather than less accessible computer searches and data bases by subscription. If we could teach young students in high schools and colleges to check with Google Scholar, this would be a big step.

    Comment by Bill DeMott — 31 Mar 2009 @ 12:57 AM

  79. I propose that henceforth comment #32 be preserved in each story for broadcasting real world examples of RC’s moderation policy. :)

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 31 Mar 2009 @ 4:11 AM

  80. “Are global warming contrarians dishonest or blinded by ideology?”

    There’s more than one person so there’s more than one answer.

    Some are blinded by ideology. Some by greed (this would put it in the dishonest category) and some want fame at any price.

    There’s a LOT of money in the contrarian speech circuit, telling all the movers and shakers that they are safe. They WANT to hear that and will pay to listen to someone tell them that nothing needs to change and their fortunes are safe.

    These are blinded by a mix of ideology and greed/dishonesty.

    To an extent, you could say they are ALL dishonest, in as much as they are not honest with themselves and checking to see if they *could* be wrong. Though that’s a different level of meaning than generally used, which is more actively dishonest (in that they would be trying to lie to someone to change their view).

    Then again, you see this false dichotomy a lot when someone doesn’t really have an argument. See slashdot with it’s “Huh, the slashdot crowd are hypocrites: you all want to steal music but want GPL enforced!”.

    Comment by Mark — 31 Mar 2009 @ 4:39 AM

  81. I think this topic is of the highest importance. It seems to me that a major issue in the obvious void that exists between mainstream science and the general public is simply that non-scientists do not tend to understand how the scientific process works.

    From junior school onwards, pupils learn the basic laws of physics, chemistry and biology, and that’s no bad thing of course; however, what should be introduced at an appropriate point in the curriculum is HOW such laws gain the support required to make them generally accepted (as opposed to proven, of course!). OK, students learn how to experiment, observe and deduce, but the rest of the process – such as peer-review – gets little if any airing.

    In the specific case of AGW theory, this leads to incorrect comments like “It’s only a theory and not proven” – a non-scientist readily finds analogy with a Court of Law and that’s the end of the story, nothing to worry about then, whereas on the other hand a scientist would correctly say, “yes, it’s a theory that has overwhelming and increasing support in its favour”, in the way that Plate Tectonics has, for example.

    Proper schooling in the scientific process alongside physics, chemistry and biology might go a long way to remove this misunderstanding.

    cheers – John

    Comment by John Mason — 31 Mar 2009 @ 4:41 AM

  82. The question arises whether this is something in the American character, or is it just due to scientific illiteracy?

    I wonder if it relates to how the most common way the general populace encounter a scientific/expert opinion is as part of an advertisement trying to sell them something?

    [Response: This has nothing to do with national character. Countries do differ on what they fall for in terms of bad science, but pretty much any society can be pushed in that direction if it suits some people's agendas to push it and if it resonates with something more fundamental than scientific methodology. (MMR in the UK, GMO in France, etc.). - gavin]

    Comment by Stuart — 31 Mar 2009 @ 5:52 AM

  83. Off topic:
    If possible, I would be very interested in reading some comment on this stuff by Lindzen (I don’t know any other forum where ask for it, sorry for the off topic):
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/03/30/lindzen-on-negative-climate-feedback/

    A simple comment giving some context would be very welcomed.

    Thanks again.

    [Response: A good sign of someone who is acting as an advocate is that they instantly take any unexplained anomaly and declare that it fits their prefered theory without doing any actual analysis or without any consideration of the alternatives. First off, the graph he shows was substantially corrected by the authors to remove some spurious aliasing in response to a comment. Secondly, there may still be issues with the data (since there is a clear jump in 1993) - something in any other circumstance, WUWT would have been all over. Third, the models may well be wrong (though it's unclear these were the experiments to compare with since they didn't have any forcings), but there is no analysis to indicate that fixing whatever the issue is would give a lower sensitivity - note that the NET fluxes are still all around zero, so the positive feedback in SW is matching the supposed negative feedback in LW. My take on it is very much a wait and see - wait to see if the CERES data seems to support those earlier results, wait to see whether more appropriate model-data comparisons change the picture etc. It may be surprising to some, but ambiguities abound in science and jumping to conclusions is very rarely sensible. - gavin]

    Comment by Curious — 31 Mar 2009 @ 7:08 AM

  84. Barton,

    The class was a one-shot deal at Penn State Allegheny Campus. If I teach it again I’ll let you know.

    Comment by Scott Robertson — 31 Mar 2009 @ 7:20 AM

  85. phillip,
    thanks for the links – and cool website. i’ll have to poke around there a bit. i understand the psychology of confirmation bias and can clearly see it in action in AGW (and evolution) denialists. also, i try not to be guilty of it myself, but i guess the nature of it makes that difficult. anyway, i think being aware of the phenomenon makes one slightly less susceptible to it…

    mark,
    of course we can’t paint them all with one broad stroke. i only asked because i thought you guys could name a few denialists that you thought were dishonest and a few that were just truly deluded. i guess it’s awfully hard to discern motives…

    Comment by walter crain — 31 Mar 2009 @ 7:42 AM

  86. Well , the problem about the Sun connection is this: as far as I can see, and I’ii say I understand enough statistical analysis to make my mind on this case, from 1985-86 onwards there is a negative correlation between the sun activity and combined earth sea temperature.
    Nevertheless , studies come back from time to time, trying to prove something quite difficult and for me note comprehensible: that this negative correlation is somehow positive!!!or that there is a under layer pattern in long term solar trend that is driving the climate.
    Are all these papers biased, trying to make a smoke screen , are these papers honest tries to prove a different point o view ? is the sun completely out of the causes of global warming ?
    Sorry to ask as I’ve read some articles in RealClimate about the sun, but I could never get the feeling that this is complete K.O. for the “sun connection” 

    Thnks for you time, sorry for my English

    Comment by viriato — 31 Mar 2009 @ 8:05 AM

  87. “what should be introduced at an appropriate point in the curriculum is HOW such laws gain the support required to make them generally accepted”

    Which isn’t until you become an undergraduate.

    But science is hard, pay very poor and places limited, so most don’t go.

    Comment by Mark — 31 Mar 2009 @ 8:26 AM

  88. “i only asked because i thought you guys could name a few denialists that you thought were dishonest and a few that were just truly deluded. i guess it’s awfully hard to discern motives…”

    Yup, the only ones I know that I know well enough to say what the motives are are my sister and my dad. Though my dad is at least considering that he’s just not wanting to believe it and recognises that he doesn’t WANT to know. My sister is very devout christian and God Would Not Let That Happen. By arguing about it being real, I’m attacking her religion. She Will Not Listen.

    As far as I know, neither are the dark side of dishonest: they aren’t proselytizing but they ARE deluded in that they won’t change and dishonest in themselves (though as I said, Dad is somewhat honest about his denial and he’s not really said much about it since I got that honesty from him).

    The rest?

    One or two I can make a guess: one is a meteorologst and loves weather. And Computers Get It Wrong. He jumps STRAIGHT from that point to the conclusion AGW is not a problem. How he knows it’s wrong to the side of “no worries” and not “ohshitohshit we’regonnadie” is where he’s being either dishonest or deluded. But I don’t know him well enough to work out WHY (or even which).

    Our Resident Body Thetan could be batshit insane, rabid zealot, or paid shill, but how on earth are we supposed to be able to tell? Only his family can. And, if paid, his boss.

    Comment by Mark — 31 Mar 2009 @ 8:34 AM

  89. Good post and discussion on a hugely important issue.

    I can’t help but wonder if part of the reason people in the West are critical of science is that the alleged rationality and objectivity of science seems unemotional, cold, and in many cases downright untrue.

    People look around and see ‘objective’ science and technology at work in Gaza, Iraq, Chenobyl, Hiroshima et al and come away feeling understandably sceptical as to whether science is indeed objective and neutral, or at least partially a pawn which is selectively channeled by powerful and wealthy groups within society.

    When they then hear that global warming is just another lie designed to rob them via green taxes they jump at the opportunity to avoid taking action that would mean cutting back on consumption.

    Unfortunately while science is subjective, partial and hugely influenced by the organisations who pay for research, this does not mean that ACC is all a hoax. However for the public to really engage with the issue an admission by scientists that ‘science’ in general is not objective and has been utilised by certain factors to enable many of the worst humanitarian and environmental disasters of the 20th century might be a good place to start. Only once this has been agreed can we start thinking about the positive ways in which we seek to use science today to combat problems such as ACC.

    Comment by Sy — 31 Mar 2009 @ 9:35 AM

  90. In the comment by Trenberth (pointer to the Science link in Gavin’s inline reply a few responses back), Trenberth ends with:

    “The results presented by Wielicki et al. and Chen et al. reveal the shortcomings in the current climate observing system and the need for a new approach to making stable homogeneous climate observations.”

    I’d welcome more discussion of the need for that new approach, or pointers to wherever it’s happening if it’s public.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 Mar 2009 @ 10:20 AM

  91. Curious (#83), gavin,

    I’ve just gone through some e-mail correspondence with Bruce Wielicki, who apparently also feels the 2002 Science paper has been misinterpreted. There is another paper and updated ERBS data that Lindzen is ignoring, see

    Wong et al (2006): Reexamination of the Observed Decadal Variability of the Earth Radiation Budget Using Altitude-Corrected ERBE/ERBS Nonscanner WFOV Data, Journal of Climate, 19, 4028-4040

    I’ll try to do a post on this soon on my blog. Just want to gather some material…

    Comment by Chris Colose — 31 Mar 2009 @ 10:23 AM

  92. Gavin #71: Not sure if this is the way to respond here. You added a response to my comment (thanks for attention):
    “[Response: There should always be a caveat with that: “Be sure to always have an open mind, but not so open that your brain drops out”. - gavin]”
    I actual disagree with you although I understand your sentiment. The best way I can think anew is to empty my brain before I start. I believe that this is a common view by some expounders of thought processes.
    Thanks again for taking notice.

    Comment by TimJ — 31 Mar 2009 @ 10:24 AM

  93. 33. pete best

    Thanks for the lead to Tim Palmer’s invariant set stuff. I am not qualified to judge whether it is right; but it certainly gives me that “Why the hell haven’t we looked at the question from that perspective?” feeling.

    I am a great admirer of Freeman Dyson, and it looks like I am going to become a great admirer of Tim Palmer. However, it really does not matter what general stance either of them takes on climate change. What matters is the mass of the evidence. Betting agaist that evidence is like reading an official notice that a stream is going to be diverted next summer and then reserving a place for fishing in that stream the following spring. You just may be right; nothing is absolutely certain about the future. But quite few people will, and should, ask if you are in your right mind.

    Comment by D iversity — 31 Mar 2009 @ 10:32 AM

  94. I am one of the 42% of Americans who does not believe that human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing the mean global temperature. I have a degree in physical science and I have worked in the computer field for 30 years, so I have a reasonable understanding of both earth science and computer modeling. I do not work for the government or academia, nor do I work in a fossil fuel related industry. I have looked at the evidence on both sides of the “debate” and I find the “skeptics” arguments more convincing than the “experts” who tout AGW and insist that the science is settled. It appears to me that CO2 impact on climate is real, but marginal, and much more important drivers are the sun, multi-decadal ocean current cycles, and volcanism. The first two factors, the quiet sun and the cool phase of the PDO, are strong proven signals for a cooler climate for the next 30 years. CO2, on the other hand, appears to be a very minor player. Those who are demonizing this trace gas are going to look very foolish in 15 or 20 years, in my opinion.

    Comment by Jim Bob — 31 Mar 2009 @ 11:04 AM

  95. Gavin (#83) and Chris Colose (#90),

    thank you for your comments!

    *A link to the paper you mentioned, Chris:
    http://asd-www.larc.nasa.gov/~tak/wong/f20.pdf
    There are some differences indeed, I’ll stay tuned to your blog ;-)

    Comment by Curious — 31 Mar 2009 @ 11:06 AM

  96. So, Jim Bob, with your degree in “physical science” and computer-programming skills, perhaps you could enlighten us on exactly what evidence the “skeptical” side has presented. ‘Cause try as I might, I can’t find jack in the published literature that is at all convincing. Maybe you could start with a model of Earth’s climate that has a CO2 sensitivity less than 2 degrees per doubling? No? How about an explanation of how “solar effects” explain the past 30 years of warming when solar luminosity has been pretty much constant over that period? No? How about a learned treatise on how either a solar or PDO mechanism can warm the troposphere while cooling the stratosphere? Nope? Or how about how a local “oscillation” gives rise to a sustained warming lasting decades? No, huh?

    It would seem the “explanations” you are proposing don’t have much explanatory power, do they?

    But wait. How could someone with a “degree in physical science” and experience in the “computing field” be wrong? Ever occur to you that you might be suffering from delusions of adequacy?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 31 Mar 2009 @ 11:26 AM

  97. Sy says, “People look around and see ‘objective’ science and technology at work in Gaza, Iraq, Chenobyl, Hiroshima et al…”

    OK, maybe you can enlighten me here, but what does science have to do with any of these disasters? I just see humans doing what they do best: using available tools to kill each other. The Hutus in Rwanda did a rather remarkable job of that with some pretty low-tech tools. And Chernobyl? The moral there is not to let morons drive the reactor. I’m afraid I don’t have much sympathy for this sort of “science has known sin” crap.

    And your other characterizations of science… well, let’s just say that I’ve been doing physics for more than 20 years and I don’t recognize your description. Individual scientists debate passionately. They have agendas, grudges and in some cases pretty severe personality disorders. The product, though, comes as close to objective truth as humans are capable. Science succeeds not because it demands superhuman objectivity of scientists, but rather because its subject matter is a persistently objective reality that doesn’t succumb to spin. Reality is that which doesn’t go away when you ignore it. Let’s start with that, and maybe we as humans can become a little wiser in how we use the power science gives us.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 31 Mar 2009 @ 11:52 AM

  98. Help!
    I am at my wit’s end and need help. A close relative sent me a copy of William Happer’s recent testimony before Boxer’s committee (Feb 25, 2009). Without going into all the details I’d like to focus on this statement he made: “The IPCC has made no serious attempt to model the natural variations of the earth’s temperature in the past.”

    Is this true? If not, can someone point me to where the IPCC actually did this? Thanks in advance ….

    [Response: Try Chapter 6. - gavin]

    Comment by shredder — 31 Mar 2009 @ 12:18 PM

  99. I’m surprised at the high level of consensus among specia1ists. Given the current level of understanding of important factors (e.g., cloud feedbacks), is that high level of consensus justified?

    [Response: On what? CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it has increased significantly from pre-industrial levels, climate sensitivity is not low enough to make this irrelevant (details here). Did you have something else in mind? - gavin]

    Comment by JPetersen — 31 Mar 2009 @ 12:27 PM

  100. # 64, #68
    Like the word “fluidic”, so did the patent office. As far as fewer wind tunnels, I would like to think computer models have improved. Also there are fewer aircraft companies. Would also hate to back to “naper’s bones” (slide rules), always had to worry about that decimal point.

    So getting back to that pesky 300+ year record from England. Seems to me it is the longest and most accurate temperature record available, so why not use it. That should give reasonable results, an maybe some insight on long term weather (i.e. climate). Yes, it is only one point. But if there is this alarming global warming, would it not show up? Besides England was about the first country to experience the “industrial revolution”. With all that Welsh coal, smoke and soot, central England would be a good place for CO2 effects to show up. In my formative years I lived 500 yards away coal fired electric plant, and the good mothers of the apartment building cursed the soot in their clean wash. But they liked the electric power.

    A simple check is to simply download the data from http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcet/, or climate4you,com, and put it in a spread sheet. The data includes monthly and averaged yearly data. I used the yearly average. Add another column for estimated based on a linear. T_est = b + m(year – 1659), starting with an initial values 9 deg. and slope of zero. Generating an error column, and plotting the error, allows a person to adjust b & m. Summing up the error also helps convergence of b & m. I came up with b=8.85 and a slope of 0.002 ( 0.2 deg./century).

    From my point of view, the data stays pretty close to the trend line. The plot from the 1980’s to now does not look much different from the other bumps along the way. What was interesting is that the temperature in central England seemed to go down for a while after 1850. I would have expected it to go up with all the BTU’s spewed out. So if there is “global warming” due to CO2, I would think we would have seen it along the way, especially starting by mid 1800’s. Certainly England should reflect some warming, if present. So one could conclude on this data, we are just going through a natural earth cycle, whose cause has yet to be defined.

    [Response: Marvellous. A complete attribution without any reference to any actual physics, time-series of potential forcing agents or assessment of signal-to-noise ratio. If only all science was this easy! - gavin]

    Comment by J. Bob — 31 Mar 2009 @ 12:36 PM

  101. ray,
    while i think you are “very likely” right, i would love to hear some of jim bob’s criticisms. from my well-educated scientifically literate layman’s perspective jim bob’s credentials as a “physical scientist” mean something. presumably it means he can’t be bowled over by fancy charts and abbreviations (oh, the abbreviations you guys use – i understand why you do it, but man it’s hard to follow) and hyper-complex equations. i would find very interesting jim bob’s reaction to “your science” and your reaction to “his”. (i understand that there’s no such thing as “your” and “his” science, but hopefully you know what mean.)

    who knows, maybe he could enlighten us, or maybe you could make him another “jim” for our list!

    Comment by walter crain — 31 Mar 2009 @ 1:01 PM

  102. #56 BPL, I just spent 30 minutes looking on the Elsevier site to see if I could find an electronic-only journal, and I couldn’t. What I could find was 2318 products listed as a journal, and as far as I could tell they all had paper versions. Where should I be looking for these electronic-only versions? They must exist I’m sure. And for sure, $30 is a steep price to pay to get behind the paywall, and if you order ten from the same journal, it was probably worth taking a subscription for a year. It costs me about $30 and 2 hours to get to a library with more journals than I can shake a stick at. The only time in my life that this hasn’t been so is when I’ve lived on a campus. I really don’t see this as being less information than 10,20 or 30 years ago. Am I just lucky?

    Comment by Bocco — 31 Mar 2009 @ 1:10 PM

  103. jim bob’s credentials as a “physical scientist” mean something. presumably it means he can’t be bowled over by fancy charts and abbreviations

    If he beliefs that skeptic pseudo-science triumphs over the real thing, then he’s been bowled over by *something*, though I can’t say for sure if it’s been fancy charts or abbreviations :)

    If we were talking in a bar, I’d lay $10 on his being libertarian, though …

    Comment by dhogaza — 31 Mar 2009 @ 1:26 PM

  104. Re Jim Bob @94: That you find the skeptics’ arguments, as opposed to their near total lack of actual scientific research, more convincing suggests that you do not have as reasonable an understanding of earth science as you think you do.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 31 Mar 2009 @ 1:29 PM

  105. Walter Crain if you can find any “science” in Jim-Bob’s post just above yours (#100), I’d be happy to comment on it. I couldn’t find any. And as to his analysis of English temperature data, let’s just say that smarter people have done it better:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/04/28/central-england-temperature/

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 31 Mar 2009 @ 1:49 PM

  106. “A close relative sent me a copy of William Happer’s recent testimony before Boxer’s committee (Feb 25, 2009). Without going into all the details I’d like to focus on this statement he made: “The IPCC has made no serious attempt to model the natural variations of the earth’s temperature in the past.””

    You know what’s REALLY dumb about that?

    It’s a complete and utter lie. As shown in the response.

    Now how can someone say that?

    THAT is deceit.

    Comment by Mark — 31 Mar 2009 @ 2:04 PM

  107. Jim Bob: with what kinds of simulations do you have experience?
    It is all too easy for people to think their experience with some type generalizes to others.

    We’ve been over this before here at RC last Fall, which among other things, describes likely errors attached to different disciplines.

    Comment by John Mashey — 31 Mar 2009 @ 2:51 PM

  108. Comment by Bocco — 31 March 2009 @
    Bocco–try this to access a good deal of primary literature. Go to Google Scholar, type some key word or words and PDF. I did this for climate change, ocean currents and PDF and got over 200,000 hits. Many are available for download as PDF files. I may be seeing some because my computer is the network of a scientific institute. However, you should be able to get enough good reading material for 10 years of full time reading, although if you want access to specific, just off-the-press articles, you may be frustrated. Good luck!

    Comment by Bill DeMott — 31 Mar 2009 @ 3:09 PM

  109. Pertaining to several comments scattered above relating to the role of religion and ideology in people’s beliefs about AGW, I am convinced that the US has an epistemological crisis on its hands. [edit -apologies]

    I wrote an article in Eos some time ago in which I commented on this relationship between science and religion, which I think is relevant to this discussion — you can get the article here.

    [edit]

    I guess all I am trying to say with this post is that we, in the US at least, have way more than a scientific illiteracy problem going on (not to belittle that problem). As I suggest in my Eos article, we have a very deep-seated issue with the basis of knowledge. I think to a large degree, this is a false dichotomy, that is, the science vs. religion thing, but nevertheless it is rearing its ugly head here in the public’s understanding (or lack thereof) of AGW.

    I think that science has a long, slow slog ahead of itself in (re-)establishing its credibility, especially since the rise of the Religious Right in the US. I hate to mix religion in here, but I think we need to face this one square on in order to understand why such a large fraction of the US general public still doesn’t accept anthropogenic causes of global warming. On a positive note, though, some conservative religious groups are beginning to “get it” regarding protecting the environment (people who previously dismissed such concerns as worshipping Nature rather than God), so they are beginning to accept the fact that we need to do something to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    Keep up the good work at RealClimate. I have cited you many times to my climate skeptic colleagues, and I don’t think anybody can dismiss you as not being authoritative.

    [Response: David, thanks for your contribution. However, before it gets out of hand, let me make clear that the discussion of religion and science is strictly OT on this forum (sorry for the edits). There are plenty of other places on the web to discuss this issue ad nauseum, but here it neither constructive nor useful. There are many religious people who pay attention to the science on this issue, and of course some who don't. The same is true for secularists. While discussions of the reasons why any of these sets intersect is worthy of study, it tends to lead to an unnecessary distraction to discussions of climate science. To other commenters, responses to this will be deemed OT as well. Sorry, but that conversation needs to happen somewhere else. - gavin]

    Comment by David Garen — 31 Mar 2009 @ 3:14 PM

  110. 1) Central England temperature record is a local record. However, it agrees with the consensus picture in that the warming signature of anthropogenic fossil fuel derived carbon loading of the atmosphere clearly emerged above the noise of natural variability only after anthropogenic aerosol cooling subsided in the 1970s. One sees the same in the global record ensembles, only more clearly.

    I should point out that the original link posted to the Hadley center is broken. the correct link is
    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcet/

    2)Open access journals: for physics, arxiv.org
    medicine, pubmed.org

    pnas.org has some articles available. The authors often have a copy on their web sites, and are always willing, in my experience, to send copies in email.
    Search engines fed with appropriate fractions of the title will often produce open access presentations or related articles by the same author.

    Older articles on the journal web sites are also often available. Begging on this and other blogs for a particularly obscure article may produce results.

    Comment by sidd — 31 Mar 2009 @ 3:15 PM

  111. #83, 91, 95 (Lindzen – OLR – satellite-model mismatch – negative feedback…)

    Glad to see this came up here — I have been trying to make sense of a Lindzen interview that just appeared in my local language here after the Heartland Institute conf… uh… photo-op.

    A minor, but I think telling, point: In the Watt’s Up post, the graph is taken from Wielicki et al. 2002 and Clement and Soden 2005 are cited to show how many other people have noticed this discrepancy between satellite data and models. But Clement and Soden were careful to show a revised version of the same graph after Wong et al. 2004 corrected for altitude drift. The rising LW anomaly and discrepancy with the models were still there but noticeably smaller. Even if Lindzen had overlooked the Wong et al. 2006 paper mentioned before (thanks, Chris and Curious #91, #95), having read and cited the earlier paper he surely should have taken this into account?

    [Response: One would have thought so. - gavin]

    Comment by CM — 31 Mar 2009 @ 3:23 PM

  112. Like many AGW \skeptics\, Jim Bob evinces the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 31 Mar 2009 @ 3:52 PM

  113. Jim Bob, assuming you want to examine the evidence, have a look at http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/04/28/central-england-temperature/
    where the record is analysed in some detail by a time-series statistician. Though a temperature record by itself isnt much use without the number-crunching of the physics to weigh the attributions of what is going on at the time.

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 31 Mar 2009 @ 4:03 PM

  114. viriato — There has been no change in the sun’s behavior to speak of in the last 50+ years; the solar cycles have just kept cranking along, up and down. But the surface has noticably warmed in the past 50+ years, keeping up with the increases in trace global warming (so-called greenhouse) gases.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 31 Mar 2009 @ 4:42 PM

  115. In addition to Bill’s comment above, if you don’t have access to subscription-only journals and want a specific article:

    1) Find the authors’ affiliations (given with the abstract). If any of them is an employee of the US government, the article will be available for free at their agency website (actually I’m not quite sure if this is true all the time, but it usually is).

    2) If the article is older than a prescribed time (usually 6 to 12 months), it can be made freely available on one or more authors’ websites.

    3) If not available via the above, email the corresponding author and request an electronic reprint. If no response, contact secondary authors, but you will have to search for their email addresses.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 31 Mar 2009 @ 4:58 PM

  116. Gavin, your pithy comments have made you my favorite contributor to RC. Thanks so much; I was surprised to see you take the time to so thoroughly rebut the rehashed comments made in #32 above.

    Some time ago you dismissed a paper found at rocketscientistsjournal.com with a single line ‘that seems pretty confused’; well RSJ is back with a new criticism of the IPCC, I wonder if you could apply the same red pen technique to this new entry that you provided to #32.

    Cheers.

    [Response: I can't really better my first judgment: That seems pretty confused. - gavin]

    Comment by KSW — 31 Mar 2009 @ 6:31 PM

  117. i first looked at the post from “j.bob” and wondered if that was a different poster than “jim bob” the physical scientist. upon second review i saw the scientific criticism.

    roughly: “the english temp. record doesn’t show global warming.”

    the first thing i noticed is that’s a new one on me. and it’s not even on that sceptical science list of 53 standard skeptic arguements – better contact that guy to add it to his list. ray saw it too. that was a great link to tamino. i learned a lot there. BUT, i can easily see how a “skeptic” – especially one who in his heart doesn’t trust fancy-pants scientists, would say tamino “tricked” that hockey-stick-looking graph out of the data. (i understand that the famous hockey stick graph covers a longer period of time.) i understand what tamino did to get that line graph out of that mess of dots. i don’t understand what jim bob did.

    jim bob,
    i don’t understand “Generating an error column, and plotting the error, allows a person to adjust b & m. Summing up the error also helps convergence of b & m.”

    can you better explain how you came up with, “b=8.85 and a slope of 0.002 ( 0.2 deg./century)”? if i were to just draw a straight line across what i thought looked like the middle of that graph i would say it sloped up a bit to the right – and with more slope than .002.

    mal adapted,
    that “dunning-kruger” effect is hilarious.

    Comment by walter crain — 31 Mar 2009 @ 6:59 PM

  118. oh, sorry, and first of all, EVEN IF the english temp record didn’t show warming, england is not the globe, so it wouldn’t “disprove” global warming theory, imho.

    Comment by walter crain — 31 Mar 2009 @ 7:36 PM

  119. We can add Rep. John Shimkus’s(R.IL) comments to the list of lies and damned lies and as far from science as you can get. How do these retards get so high in government?! Never mind, don’t answer. This is a country that elected Richard Nixon TWICE! and put Bush Jr. BACK in Office!
    Shimkus claims among other things that only the almighty is responsible for the fate of the Earth. I got news for him. It wasn’t God who dropped those atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. To make matters worse, he’s formed an alliance with the Viscount of Benchley!
    http://www.growingedge.com/rep-john-shimkus-r-il-claims-capping-carbon-dioxide-emissions-will-take-away-plant-food

    There was a woman from Cape Cod
    Who thought that all things came from God.
    But twas not the almighty who lifted her nightie
    It was Roger the lodger by God.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 31 Mar 2009 @ 8:28 PM

  120. My post on Lindzen is up now. It’s already generated a lot of skeptical anger….apparently the later, updated data was made up in an effort to make observations fit better.

    I just don’t get it…

    Comment by Chris Colose — 31 Mar 2009 @ 8:48 PM

  121. #100 J Bob

    Like any good sceptic I thought I better check your figures so I returned to the data and spreadsheet, and did a few linear regressions.

    The calculated slope of the average yearly values from 1659 to 2008 was in fact 0.26 C per century. However, of course, we are more interested in more recent times, in which case the slope for 1850 to 2008 is 0.90 C per century, 1950 to 2008 is 1.97 C per century, and more recently 1980 to 2008 is 4.37 C per century or 0.43 C per decade. As expected the slope for 1659 to 1900 is quite low at 0.13 C per century.

    The relevance to global climate of this result obtained for data from a single small geographical region is open to debate of course, but clearly the data do fit quite nicely with a recent strong warming trend.

    Comment by Andrew — 31 Mar 2009 @ 10:57 PM

  122. wow! no kidding andrew? great job. that was perfect. it looked to me, a layman (architect whose pretty good at seeing patterns…) i thought the “overall” slope of that crazy (cool) pattern of dots sloped more than .02 per century. .26 looks MUCH more like it. i confess, just looking at those dots, i can’t resolve it into that line graph tamino made… but i understand his process, conceptually, so i guess it’s in there.

    jim bob,
    do you think andrew did something wrong?

    Comment by walter crain — 31 Mar 2009 @ 11:20 PM

  123. lawrence,
    i had seen the mockton one, but omg, that shimkus sermon IN CONGRESS! and HE’s making decisions about our future… jefferson and madison are rolling over in their graves. reminds me of general “my god’s bigger” boykin.

    Comment by walter crain — 31 Mar 2009 @ 11:38 PM

  124. I can say for a certainty that my teaching peers are, for the absolute most part, ignorant of even simplest current science. I doubt that any except a handful could accurately give the basic scientific method, or talk about the difference between climate and weather. My students (college age) fare no better. In the local media, bad science, good science and no science follow one another in stories mostly concocted to sell, not inform.
    In my workroom area, you will hear, more likely, an anecdote about an exorcism recently witnessed than you will anything about the IPCC, or the Mars rovers, or a host of other current topics. To have a book like this available is a godsend. If nothing else, we can now turn some heads towards a consolidated source for information. Keep up the great work at RealClimate. We try to promote you whenever and wherever we can in the Southwest (Phoenix metro area).

    Comment by Steve Missal — 31 Mar 2009 @ 11:44 PM

  125. Let’s see if that can be made more usable yet still mangled enough:

    http://www.tompainesghost.com/2009/03/taking-earths-temperature_31.html

    “… Researchers at the University of Arizona at Tucson recently published a paper brilliantly exhibiting an alternate method for measuring global temperature trends in the journal Nature Geoscience.

    By using a freshwater lake on an island in the Galápagos as a natural laboratory these researchers where able to use the paleogeologic record to measure sea surface temperature trends….”

    That’s an example of “blogging peer-reviewed science” — worth encouraging. More links there.

    Just put the gh ost back together and the link will work.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Apr 2009 @ 12:06 AM

  126. We all need to keep chipping away at improving public understanding and perceptions. Here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-horton/gwc_b_181555.html is an attempt to out-Luntz Luntz

    Comment by David Horton — 1 Apr 2009 @ 12:31 AM

  127. Chris Colose wrote in 120:

    My post on Lindzen is up now. It’s already generated a lot of skeptical anger…apparently the later, updated data was made up in an effort to make observations fit better.

    I just don’t get it…

    Don’t you remember that poster that Fox Mulder had next to his desk?

    So much for being “skeptics.”

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 1 Apr 2009 @ 12:54 AM

  128. A little PS…

    You won’t see this until tomorrow, but my wife and I just celebrated the 16th anniversary of our marriage — and 17th anniversary of our first date. Nothing big — but we still had fun. She is asleep right now. I will soon be joining her.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 1 Apr 2009 @ 1:08 AM

  129. Mark #5
    A statement often made by denialists. I wonder where they get all the straw from and how the poor horses and cows manage without their winter feed.

    The poor horses and cows (particularly the horses) would be a sorry bunch of critters if straw were what they were fed for the winter. Being virtually devoid of nutrient, straw is used as bedding, not feed. Not all of us can subsist on chaff.

    Comment by Oliver — 1 Apr 2009 @ 2:04 AM

  130. Re #88 – “My sister is very devout christian and God Would Not Let That Happen. By arguing about it being real, I’m attacking her religion. She Will Not Listen.”

    Far be it from me to tell you how to handle your sister but have you asked her why god let WW2 happen? I’m not a believer but if I were I would say god is giving us a gardening lesson, so she better pay attention. (note only the first few minutes of the video is about saving apes)

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 1 Apr 2009 @ 2:27 AM

  131. Re #93. I cannot but admire someone who decided to put their not inconsiderable talents in math to use that may be of more use to humanity than theorising about quantum physics, black holes and the reason why since Plancks time physics has been discussing the meaning if quantum physics. Fractals and perhaps more importantly dynamic systems and the edge of chaos (the border between order and chaos where fitness is maximised) might indeed have a bearing on so many things including perhaps implications for AGW and the earth system as we push it from equilibrium and its starts to change its nominal behaviour and more dynamic behaviour sets in.

    The key terms in this discipline is the sensitivity to initial conditions and the non linearity of the system in question with its positive (amplifying) and negative (dampening) feedbacks which can cause chaos to set in. This is why with all of the wrangling that goes on in these forums I cannot help but feel that these climate models capture the essence of the science of what is going on here and in mathematical terms they are right and demonstrate that the main dynamics of the earth system are captured.

    Ok so we do not know evrything about the earth system but maybe that is not as important as capturing the main essence of it all which I feel they have done.

    As for the man who decided to put his talents to modelling climate but never stopped thinking about them issues that plagued his youth and PhD seems somewhat noble to me scientifically and again makes scientists what they are, deep thinkers.

    Comment by pete best — 1 Apr 2009 @ 3:38 AM

  132. This may help both with the agnostic and the theist when talking about religion and science.

    The problem is NOT that religion stops thinking. It’s that propounding it can cause discomfort. But that discomfort can just as well come from personal responsibility (“It’s not *my* fault *again*?”) secular ideology (“Econazis again!!!!!” or “Government power should NEVER be used!”) wealth (“I’m doing well, so if things change, for me things can only get worse”) or any number of other reasons.

    Religion is merely one. And, like all the others, is overcome by the majority who feel the discomfort. But like everything else, the one shouting gets noticed.

    Comment by Mark — 1 Apr 2009 @ 3:53 AM

  133. Oliver #129 “The poor horses and cows (particularly the horses) would be a sorry bunch of critters if straw were what they were fed for the winter. Being virtually devoid of nutrient, straw is used as bedding, not feed. Not all of us can subsist on chaff.”

    But you will notice that there is no actual STRAW in a strawman. There’s not even a man produced (of straw or any other material).

    Since this is all “virtual straw” and not “real straw” the properties of this virtual version does not have to accede to the limitations of the real kind.

    And work on your reaction times. They’re atrocious.

    Comment by Mark — 1 Apr 2009 @ 5:34 AM

  134. Alan #130. Why? All it would do is upset her. The message #132 illustrates why that doesn’t help. Doing so would make her uncomfortable. Therefore she’ll not listen. Change is uncomfortable. Being wrong is uncomfortable. And when something is not prone to proof or disproof (there was a message here about how Free Market Libertarians would ascribe ANY good to the Free Market and ANY bad to government intervention, since there’s always a mix of both in ANY commercial activity) then any uncomfortable queries will be ignored or, worse, seen as a personal attack.

    And for every action there is an opposite and at least equal reaction (we’re talking about non-conservationist human interactions, not physical ones) that act on different bodies.

    So then instead of learning, they entrench.

    So my sister goes “well, you’re too smart and could convince me of what you want, but there are others who are smart and can show me convincing arguments otherwise. So I’ll believe neither of you” and still say AGW isn’t happening. Which is where the dishonest with self comes in.

    Similarly if there ARE any genuine people who really DO think “neither side are behaving well, so I’ll do nothing to punish them” (as opposed to denialists who want to ***appear*** non-partisan (“I complained about BOTH sides, didn’t I???”)) they likewise are dishonest by not considering how this is punishment to the side that is arguing to do nothing different.

    Comment by Mark — 1 Apr 2009 @ 6:19 AM

  135. I must admit I find it rather tedious constantly reading posts about how those skeptical of the dangers of co2 must have some reason other then the science itself. There are perfectly good scientists on the other side of this argument providing perfectly good objections. You may disagree with them. You may think them delusional. It doesn’t matter what you think of them it is their arguments you need to address. From my experience, and I do see a considerable number of people on a yearly basis, the people you are losing the argument to are not the factory workers. You are losing the school teachers, the engineers, the biologists. And from my life long experience placing tags on the people that do not see things your way does nothing but move those people further from your views.

    [Response: "Perfectly good scientists" with "perfectly good objections"? Really? - gavin]

    Comment by steve — 1 Apr 2009 @ 6:39 AM

  136. No 36 says “In an op-ed piece in the December 11 issue of NRC/Handelsblad, Wilco Hazeleger, a senior scientist in the global climate research group at KNMI, writes:
    “In the past century the sea level has risen twenty centimeters. There is no evidence for accelerated sea-level rise.”
    The KNMI web says”De zeespiegel stijgt de laatste jaren sneller: satellietmetingen laten een zeespiegelstijging van ruim 3 millimeter per jaar zien voor de periode 1993-2005.” Rough translation: “The sea level has risen faster in the last years: satellite measurements reveal a rise of about 3mm/year for the period 1993-2005.”

    Earlier they say that the average for the whole of the 20th Century was 1.8 mm/year.

    Hazeleger has published the following papers recently…
    Haarsma, R.J., F.M. Selten, B.J.J.M. van den Hurk, W. Hazeleger and X. Wang, Drier Mediterranean Soils due to Greenhouse Warming bring easterly Winds over Summertime Central Europe Geophys. Res. Lett., 2009, 36, L04705, doi:10.1029/2008GL036617.
    and
    Oldenborgh, G.J. van, S.S. Drijfhout, A. van Ulden, R. Haarsma, A. Sterl, C. Severijns, W. Hazeleger and H. Dijkstra, Western Europe is warming much faster than expected
    Climate of the Past, 2009, 5, 1, 1-12.

    This paper is also worth looking at Katsman, C.A., W. Hazeleger, S.S. Drijfhout, G.J. van Oldenborgh and G.J.H. Burgers, Climate scenarios of sea level rise for the northeast Atlantic Ocean: a study including the effects of ocean dynamics and gravity changes induced by ice melt
    Climatic Change, 2008 http://www.knmi.nl/publications/fulltexts/climatescenario.pdf

    There’s more interesting stuff on the KNMI web site, a lot being in English: http://www.knmi.nl

    Even though he appears to believe in AGW, what’s the betting that he appears in a certain Senator’s list next year?

    Comment by Turbobloke — 1 Apr 2009 @ 6:54 AM

  137. RE Timothy Chase 1 avril 2009 at 1:08 AM:

    Happy Anniversary Tim and Mrs. Tim.

    Comment by Deech56 — 1 Apr 2009 @ 7:10 AM

  138. RE Mark (#88) 31 mars 2009 at 8:34 AM

    My sister is very devout christian and God Would Not Let That Happen. By arguing about it being real, I’m attacking her religion. She Will Not Listen.

    Mark, I have the perspective of being a Christian and a scientist/bureaucrat (but not a Christian Scientist), so maybe I can shed some light. (I’m even teaching a class about AGW in my church this summer.) From a Christian standpoint, we are supposed to be stewards of God’s creation – the world does not belong to us and we while resources can be used, we are supposed to take care of this world. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) wrote in 2006:

    It is the consensus of the scientific community that human activity is rapidly changing the natural environment in measurable ways through the destructive effects of climate change (commonly called global warming).

    Global climate change is predominantly caused by our burning of fossil fuels, like coal, oil, and natural gas, which emit greenhouse gases, and accelerating faster then predicted just a few years ago.

    Global climate change is directly causing or contributing to harmful changes…

    Previous General Assemblies (1981, 1998, 1999, and 2003) passed overtures, resolutions, and policies addressing our unjust energy practices, calling us to develop frugal lifestyles reducing our energy consumption; and urging the United States to sign the Kyoto Treaty and to lead in reducing carbon emissions to combat global warming.

    For your sister: in theological terms, we have been given free will and have the capacity to do good or harm. We can even do harm subconsciously. As Christians, we have to grapple with the existence of evil and selfishness and the fact that bad things (like WWII, genocide) are allowed to happen. From a believer’s standpoint, we are the agents of God’s will. We can choose, out of our own free will, to do something about CO2.

    Mods, I know that this may be pushing the envelope of what is allowed, but I wanted to provide something for Mark.

    [Response: Ok. But that's it. No more religion please. - gavin]

    Comment by Deech56 — 1 Apr 2009 @ 7:34 AM

  139. My point is that it is the discomfort that is the problem, not the reason for it.

    Being hugely wealthy, the recording industry are TERRIFIED of a change in the system of music delivery. Why? Because it’s a change. And, being at the top of the CURRENT method of music delivery, the only option is to AT BEST remain where they are. There are very many more ways they could end up losing out.

    That they may still make a living wage (in fact, even if they fall far, they would still have a lot of money for their work) is not something they want to contemplate. It would be a change and they don’t want to consider it.

    So they have done the best they can to remove the competition of a new method of music delivery, even if it hurts their revenue. Because if their actions make a smaller pie, they are still getting the biggest slice.

    And for many, this is the same problem with AGW. It’s a change. It’s a recognition of past bad actions (without knowing they were bad). It’s pronounced by people who they already believe have it wrong before they even speak.

    And that discomfort is the problem. Not why they feel it.

    Comment by Mark — 1 Apr 2009 @ 8:01 AM

  140. Jim Bob writes:

    I am one of the 42% of Americans who does not believe that human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing the mean global temperature. I have a degree in physical science

    WHICH physical science? From which institution? What year?

    and I have worked in the computer field for 30 years, so I have a reasonable understanding of both earth science and computer modeling.

    As someone with a computer science degree and many years of programming experience myself, I can tell you that knowing computers does not make you a scientist.

    I do not work for the government or academia, nor do I work in a fossil fuel related industry. I have looked at the evidence on both sides of the “debate” and I find the “skeptics” arguments more convincing than the “experts” who tout AGW and insist that the science is settled. It appears to me that CO2 impact on climate is real, but marginal, and much more important drivers are the sun, multi-decadal ocean current cycles, and volcanism.

    Well, you’re wrong. A simple regression of temperature anomaly on those factors for 1880-2007 reveals that ln CO2 accounts for 76% of the variance, volcanoes account for 2%, and the sun has no effect at all. How do you quantify “ocean current cycles?” What’s your source? Where are you getting your data?

    The first two factors, the quiet sun and the cool phase of the PDO, are strong proven signals for a cooler climate for the next 30 years.

    No real scientist would say a physical effect is “proven,” especially not when discussing an effect “for the next 30 years.” You might do that with orbital mechanics, but I can’t think of much else. And how about citing a source for your assertions–like a real scientist would do?

    CO2, on the other hand, appears to be a very minor player. Those who are demonizing this trace gas are going to look very foolish in 15 or 20 years, in my opinion.

    See above under “regression.”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 1 Apr 2009 @ 8:06 AM

  141. Bocco,

    Icarus, the premier planetology journal in the world, is now only available in an electronic version. If you see stacks in libraries, they date from before it went all electronic. Want other examples?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 1 Apr 2009 @ 8:20 AM

  142. Bill, I tried typing in keywords and PDF into Google Scholar, and got a lot of Science Direct sites which cite a PDF which you have to pay for to actually see. Look more carefully.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 1 Apr 2009 @ 8:22 AM

  143. Timothy,

    Happy Anniversary!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 1 Apr 2009 @ 8:29 AM

  144. jim bob,
    please see my posts: 117,118 and especially 122.
    can you answer my questions? please. i really sincerely want to know. your qualifications as a physical scientist make you more interesting to me than my layman buddies who are “skeptics”.

    Comment by walter crain — 1 Apr 2009 @ 8:48 AM

  145. The idea that “multi-decadal ocean current cycles” can possibly be “important drivers” of climate seems to me to be utterly unphysical, what with conservation of energy–at least, if by “climate” we mean anything long-term & global. How can the distribution of energy within the system possibly have a major impact on the energy content of the system, absent the equivalent of a Maxwell demon? (Which, in a way, I suppose GHGs are.)

    And if possible in principle, is it possible in any practical way–given that “ocean current cycles” of whatever timescale are presumably emergent phenomena, not magically independent actors that can somehow “decide” anything?

    Am I way off base about this, or is the idea just magical thinking, as it seems to me to be?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 1 Apr 2009 @ 9:01 AM

  146. Deech56 wrote in 137:

    RE Timothy Chase 1 avril 2009 at 1:08 AM:

    Happy Anniversary Tim and Mrs. Tim.

    It was pretty good. Normally things go south pretty quickly whenever we “should” be able to celebrate. Christmas, New Years, birthdays, whatever. Like when someone dies on your birthday. Or you planned on going out for a special dinner only to suddenly discover that your bank account is overdrawn. But always something truly dreadful. I figure that its the universe’s way of getting even with me for not believing in luck.

    But it appears to have let us off the hook this time. Do you suppose it might be saving up?

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 1 Apr 2009 @ 9:38 AM

  147. re: 145

    Regardless of the existence of ocean current cycles, the physics demonstrates a certain amount of energy, day in and day out, hitting the Earth’s surface due to an increase in GHGs. If the ocean currents are warming our climate, fine. That just means that we have to identify the mechanism which vamooses the extra energy due to the increase in GHGs. That mechanism has to have a curious property: it operates when there’s an increase in energy due to GHGs, but doesn’t operate when the Earth warms due to a change Milankovich forcings.

    If it’s there, it’s going to be a very odd mechanism. Welcome, of course, but very odd.

    reCaptcha: leader asylum

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 1 Apr 2009 @ 10:08 AM

  148. Re: Deech56 and Barton Paul Levenson

    Thank you both!

    Incidentally, I had gotten a message from the cash machine, saying that it was unable to let me withdraw $20 in the morning, before my wife got up — and then I avoided looking at the bank balance until this morning, not wanting to spoil the day and afraid of what I might find. But the bank account is quite healthy, relatively speaking.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 1 Apr 2009 @ 10:12 AM

  149. A great example of how some people will rush at ANYTHING to deny AGW. Here’s a quote about how “CO2 is a greenhouse gas” is completely wrong:

    “The atmosphere is not a greenhouse. A greenhouse works by having a physical barrier such as glass, to prevent convection, whilst the atmosphere helps convection.”

    Pathetic, isn’t it.

    The poster is militantly against AGW being real.

    Comment by Mark — 1 Apr 2009 @ 10:43 AM

  150. Re steve @135: “There are perfectly good scientists on the other side of this argument providing perfectly good objections.”

    But that’s just it, their objections are not perfectly good, they are incomplete, seriously flawed, flat out wrong, and in some cases deliberately fabricated to mislead the uneducated and gullible, and when it comes to the nitty gritty details of climate science ‘uneducated and gullible’ can unfortunately include not only factory workers, teachers and engineers, but even a few scientists who should know better, or should at least know that they should not jump to conclusions about something that is outside their field of expertise.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 1 Apr 2009 @ 10:50 AM

  151. Mark #133

    “Since this is all “virtual straw” and not “real straw” the properties of this virtual version does not have to accede to the limitations of the real kind. ”

    That’s a fine example of a strawman but it suggests that, just as you confused straw with hay, you confused ‘virtual’ with ‘figurative’.

    Comment by Oliver — 1 Apr 2009 @ 10:58 AM

  152. Look, if Steve knew any he’d point them out. He’s just copypasting talking points without being able to cite sources. Familiar, eh?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Apr 2009 @ 11:15 AM

  153. “That’s a fine example of a strawman but it suggests that, just as you confused straw with hay, you confused ‘virtual’ with ‘figurative’.”

    Nope, a virtual strawman is still constructed. Just not in reality.

    Think “VR” enironments.

    Figurative straw can’t feed anything, since it’s just figurative. No matter how many times someone says “you’ll eat your words”. That being a figure of speech. Virtual straw can act like whatever the person who wrote the VR world wants it to. Which can include feeding cows etc.

    Comment by Mark — 1 Apr 2009 @ 11:21 AM

  154. Steve says, “There are perfectly good scientists on the other side of this argument providing perfectly good objections.”

    Care to name them?

    [crickets chirping]

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Apr 2009 @ 11:46 AM

  155. On biased polling and scientific education…

    Did anyone actually read the Gallup poll questions? Commissioned just in time for the Copenhagen conference, too – but when I mention that to people, they accuse me of conspiracy theory… but first, read the actual questions:

    1) Thinking about what is said in the news, in your view is the seriousness of global warming

    a) generally exaggerated
    b) generally correct
    c) generally underestimated

    This is a very strange question – what is “the news”, after all? Are we talking about Fox News and the Examiner, which routinely deny all global warming facts? Are we talking about certain elements of the British press, who vastly over-exaggerated the “shutdown of the conveyor belt to freeze Europe” notion, which is not going to happen? Or are we talking about the weak coverage by large newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post, who still insist on giving “equal time” to organizations like the Heritage Institution and the handful of denialists still willing to repeat dishonest talking points? Are we talking about the “progressive media”, say Alexander Cockburn’s Counterpunch, which claims that global warming is a fraud designed by the nuclear and biofuel industries to overthrow “populist fossil fuels”? Are we talking about journals like Science and Nature, who provide accurate coverage of climate science, but who routinely bias their coverage of energy and pharmaceutical issues in favor of established industrial interests (for example, the generally uncritical support for nonsensical carbon capture schemes – Nature being rather flagrant on the issue). Did you see the big puff piece on Team Pielke in Nature, as well? No industry bias there, I suppose. I imagine most of you don’t know that Science had a similar issue with pharmaceutical and medical research in the 1990s – it took a lot of canceled subscriptions for them to rethink their pro-pharma industry biases, which they eventually did.

    2) I’m going to read you a list of environmental problems. As I read each one, please tell me if you personally worry about this problem: Global warming.

    a) a great deal
    b) a fair amount
    c) only a little
    d) not at all

    Now, it wasn’t just global warming – that was the last in a string of issues:

    1 Pollution of drinking water.
    2 Water pollution.
    3 Toxic contamination of soil/water.
    4 Supply of fresh water for households.
    5 Air pollution.
    6 Loss of rain forests.
    7 Extinction of plants and animals.
    8 Global warming.

    These questions are asked sequentially, and there is an interesting pattern of responses, in percentages:

    March 2008: 81 84 80 79 78 69 68 66
    March 2009: 84 83 80 80 76 68 65 60

    Notice the declining trend? That’s a standard pattern of responses. Hit the worry button once, you get a response – but keep on hitting it, and people get tired of it – and there is nothing to make people’s eyes glaze over like rattling off a long string of environmental problems – and then you just put species extinction and global warming at the end.

    Take a look at the first four questions, as well. Water pollution features prominently, doesn’t it? This is characteristic of push polling strategies, which involves the repetition of a specific question in different guises – in other words, anyone who wanted to raise awareness of water pollution would ask multiple questions on it.

    Global warming only gets one question.

    It really is as simple as that – reverse the order and give global warming four questions, and I think you would get a very different result, and many social studies bear that out.

    For example, here are the questions I would ask:

    1) Do you agree with predictions of a roughly 3C rise in surface temperature, due to fossil fuel combustion and deforestation?

    2) Do you agree with predictions of widespread drought across the subtropical regions as global warming progresses?

    3) Do you think that the observed melting of mountain glaciers, the collapse of Antarctic ice shelves, and the reduction in summer Arctic ice are evidence of current global warming?

    4) Do you believe that the basic science behind global warming is very well understood, moderately understood, poorly understood, or a complete mystery?

    That’s not an area of science that climate people know much about – but for the inside scoop, just read the outstanding desmogblog.com:

    http://www.desmogblog.com/

    It’s really disturbing to see otherwise intelligent people treating these poll results as an accurate reflection of American public opinion, in any case – but that’s life for you. People think that being an expert in one field makes them an expert in others, but if you haven’t done the hard work – reading the primary literature and the reviews, or getting hands-on experience – then you really don’t know any more about it than your average 19-year old college undergraduate does. Look up cognitive science on Google Scholar. Anyway, next question:

    3) Which of the following statements reflects your view of when the effects of global warming will begin to happen?

    a) they have already begun to happen
    b) they will start to happen within a few years
    c) they will start happening within your lifetime
    d) they will not happen within your lifetime, but they will affect future generations
    e) they will never happen

    4) Do you think that global warming will pose a serious threat to you or your way of life in your lifetime?

    a) yes
    b) no

    These two questions have a very limited spectrum of responses and are very vague – what exactly are the effects of global warming? I can list many effects that are current (ice shelves, glaciers, surface temps, ocean temps) and many that may not happen at all or that may happen later (superhurricanes, ocean anoxia, permafrost CO2 feedbacks, shallow methane hydrate CO2 feedbacks). Which one are you talking about? Second, what is a “serious threat”?

    Personally, I think that nuclear and biological warfare remain greater “serious threats” to human civilization than does global warming. This is because we have the technological capacity to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy and also to adapt to the inevitable 50-100 years warming that we face – and we can even preserve biological diversity as we go along, if we make it a priority. On the other hand, there is no technological defense against large-scale nuclear and biowarfare attacks, regardless of what government contractors in the missile defense and bioshield programs would like you to believe.

    Anyone who takes that poll seriously is not thinking clearly.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 1 Apr 2009 @ 11:59 AM

  156. [Response: “Perfectly good scientists” with “perfectly good objections”? Really? - gavin]

    Yes I think so. Do you mean to tell me that not one single scientist has one single objection to what you have concluded thus far that isn’t making you think things through one more time? Not even one?

    [Response: What "things"? That CO2 is greenhouse gas? That it is increasing due to human activity? that climate sensitivity is large enough for that to be problem? No, there have been no credible objections to those things. But if you want to include the impacts of aerosols on clouds, or the importance of ocean eddies in deep ocean mixing, or the difficulty in modelling tropical convection, I'm all ears. The former things are why this is a problem, the latter why we don't know exactly what is going to happen. Our ignorance is not comforting. - gavin]

    #136 This seems like a basic violation of science to attach one form of measurement to another and make conclusions from it without first calibrating the two. Has the rate of sea level increases as measured by tide gauges also increased and if not you should be considering that you are in all actuality measuring two different things.

    #145 If you change the albedo of the earth you are changing the energy budget. When you change weather patterns you change the earth’s albedo. Ocean currents change weather patterns thus they change the albedo thus they change the energy budget. I have been trying to find a study that would indicate how much this would amount to but haven’t had much luck with that so far.

    Comment by steve — 1 Apr 2009 @ 12:03 PM

  157. I’ll start out by saying that I am a climate change denier. Although I am not a climate scientist I am well educated with a post graduate degree in chemical engineering and have published papers in scientific journals. I’m not claiming myself to be an expert in the field of climate, however as a scientific person, it is my job to be critical because science is all about being critical. The whole basis of climate change science I find to be highly over presumptuous and uncritical with too much trust placed in so-called “experts” or anyone who claims to be a “scientist”. As scientists, we must ask ourselves the question, “what would it take for the consensus on climate science to be prooved wrong”, if the answer to this question is “nothing”, then it’s not science but religion. I have done extensive reading in this area and have become a skeptic, my main arguments are as follows.

    1. The ice core data shown in Al Gores film shows that CO2 lagged behind temperature by about 800 years. This fact is agreed by scientists on both sides. Therefore CO2 must not have been the cause but the effect of the temperature changes. The counter claim to this by “consensus” scientists is that CO2 and temperature are shown to rise together with the CO2 having an amplifying effect on the temperature. While this may be a theoretically possible, there is no “proof” from the ice core data that CO2 has a significant amplifying effect on temperature, the amplifying effect may well be totally insignificant. You just can’t tell from the ice core data alone. Yet most “consensus” scientists present this “amplifying effect” as fact without robust scientific evidence to back it up.

    [Response: As always, correlation does not imply causation. Who said it did? However, if you at glacial climate and you try and work out why it was as cold as it was, our knowledge that CO2 and CH4 and N2O are greenhouse gases (derived from a hundred years of laboratory and field measurements) indicates that their decrease causes about 40% of the cooling during an ice age. They are therefore positive feedbacks to the cooling caused by Milankovitch forcing on the ice sheets. Gore was absolutely correct on this: it is more complicated than simple correlation, but without the (known) impact of the GHG changes you cannot explain the ice age cycles. - gavin]

    2. Mis-placed trust of unvalidated computer models. I say unvalidated because proper validation of any scientific model requires experimentation with the system that is being modelled. The problem with modelling the climate is that for obvious reasons, the climate cannot be experimented with. Eg, you cannot instantaneously release a trillion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere and see what happens. In scientific terms it’s called having a control. Ie, to know for sure what effect CO2 has on the climate would require two identical earths, on one earth you would release a large amount of CO2 and see what happens while on the other earth (the control) there would be no change in CO2. By comparing the two results you could determine scientifically whether CO2 is going to overheat the earth. This is the kind of due diligence that is required in science but for obvious reasons you cannot experiment with the climate in this way. This kind of due diligence and proper scientific method is required even for modelling very simple systems. As an engineer, I can tell you that without such due diligence, no scientific paper would get past the peer review stage and most certainly wouldn’t get published in any respectable journal. The fact that these papers are being published without the proper due diligence, makes a mockery of the quality control and peer review process in the climate science community. Just remember that the climate is probably the most complex system known to science with literally thousands of variables, without being able to do any experiments on the system that is being modelled, confidence in those models is pretty much zero. I should also mention that the “peer review” process is worthless without proper scientific method. Another reason not to trust the models is that they all predict there to be substantual warming in the atmosphere several kilometers above the earth’s surface. Since this warming has not been observed, this adds weight to those that say the climate models are worthless.

    [Response: You are out to lunch on this one. There are many sciences whose object of study does not fit in a laboratory. Cosmologists, astronomers, solar physicists etc. are these all non-sciences too? Of course not. The techniques to evaluate theories are however different. You need to find analogs either in space or in time - such as looking at other sunlike stars, or making predictions about data that hasn't yet been gathered (even if the event happened billions of years ago). The same is true for climate science. There are plenty of instances of climate change in the past, and many aspects of climate that have not yet been measured. Theories of climate change should be able to predict and explain what will be found in these out of sample cases. And indeed they do. ]

    3. Data that shows “global warming” comes largely from ground based thermometers spread unevenly across the globe. We all know of the effects of the urban heat island effect. It is claimed that this effect has been accounted and corrected for but I am skeptical. The more you try to “correct” bad data the more uncertainty there is. You can’t correct for thousands of miscalibrated thermometers. You can’t correct for data contaminated because the thermometer was located near a heater. You can’t correct for the thermometer that was reading 5 degrees too high or 2 degrees too low. You can’t correct for that naughty man that made up six months of data because he was too lazy to take any readings. There are just too many unknowns to have any confidence in these ground based readings.

    [Response: Then ignore them and look at the satellite data instead, or the accounting of glacial retreat, or the ocean temperature records, or the changes in phenology. No data are perfect, but when all the data from independent sources and methods agree that the planet is warming, that's a tough one to deny. - gavin]

    4. Satellite data has shown there to be no significant temperature rise in the last decade. See link:
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/02/a_tale_of_two_thermometers/.

    [Response: You are a scientist and you condone this kind of cherry picking? Oh please. - gavin]

    5. There is significant bias when it comes to extreme whether events. Europe has just had it’s coldest winter in many years but this is dismissed as an anomoly to the general warming trend. However, those same scientists will use the bushfires in Australia as “proof” of global warming. Even though the real reason for the fires was arson.

    [Response: Sigh, see here for a much more sensible discussion of the fires in Australia. - gavin]

    I expect that my opinions will generate a lot of abuse directed at me. But please try to have an open mind and accept that criticism is essential in science. Any scientific theory must stand up to criticism, climate change is no different.

    Comment by Alastair — 1 Apr 2009 @ 12:26 PM

  158. Thanks, Jeff–I suppose your response counts basically as a “no, you are not wildly off base,” even if your main thrust is that the question is irrelevant-to-absurd in the larger scheme.

    Unfortunately, the guy proposing the “ocean current cycle” idea seemed unwilling to accept the GHG physics as anything more than “a minor driver” of climate.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 1 Apr 2009 @ 12:45 PM

  159. On the question of open access scientific publications, I’ll recommend _Nature Reports: Climate Change_ hosted by the august journal _Nature_. This is a web-based publication, including climate-related news headlines, science reporting, and highlighted scientific results:

    http://www.nature.com/climate

    When I went back to get caught up there just now, I saw one headline story that will be of particular interest to RC readers:

    http://www.nature.com/climate/2009/0904/full/climate.2009.25.html

    Quote:
    With a mission of updating the existing knowledge on climate change, the world’s top climate experts will come together at the International Scientific Congress on Climate Change held 10 to 12 March in Copenhagen. Marine scientist Katherine Richardson, from the University of Copenhagen, is chairing the congress.
    End quote

    I see this took place a few weeks ago – I’ve been away so maybe I missed if there was some discussion of this event already. The session was intended to produce an up-to-the-minute review of the most recent science, even if pre-publication, and to package that up for the information of the Copenhagen round. That sounds like a very timely effort.

    - Jim

    Comment by Jim Prall — 1 Apr 2009 @ 1:01 PM

  160. Gavin: “that climate sensitivity is large enough for that to be problem?”

    yes, this would be the one I would be a little suprised to find you had no doubts on

    [Response: Sorry no. I have seen not one single paper that has convincingly argued for a climate sensitivity below about 2 deg C for a doubling, and plenty that do have convincing arguments for more. Explain the ice ages away with a low sensitivity and I'll look again, but no 'perfectly good' scientists have. - gavin]

    I saw the title of your next post. Sorry to see you guys go since I often rely on you to see what the current argument is all about, even if I don’t always think you have the more compelling argument. haha, I assume it is a joke post :)

    Comment by steve — 1 Apr 2009 @ 1:06 PM

  161. #152 Hank Roberts Says:
    1 April 2009 at 11:15 AM
    Look, if Steve knew any he’d point them out

    ok Hank, then perhaps you can tell me why Pielke isn’t a good scientist and the fundamental flaw in his complaint that the ocean is not showing the heat retention required by a dangerous level of AGW? But you are correct in your assumption that I don’t know him although I doubt this is was you meant literally.

    [Response: Pielke has denied none of the things I stated. And the long term trends in ocean heat content are all up. - gavin]

    Comment by steve — 1 Apr 2009 @ 1:14 PM

  162. Returning to an old topic, albeit one somewhat compatible with the current one, a while back I suggested a bibliographic FAQ somewhere on RC.

    It appears that something of the sort already exists:

    http://wiki.nsdl.org/index.php/PALE:ClassicArticles

    You can access Tyndall, Arrhenius–I sampled a bit of Plass just now–and on to Santer et al., 1995. Very cool–Check it out.

    Gavin, maybe this could go into the links sidebar?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 1 Apr 2009 @ 2:10 PM

  163. Oops.

    I was so excited, I gave the link one level too high (although, who knows? Some of you guys might be into magnetoresistance, too.)

    Correct one:

    http://wiki.nsdl.org/index.php/PALE:ClassicArticles/GlobalWarming

    (Captcha says, “is fixed.”)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 1 Apr 2009 @ 2:14 PM

  164. Walter
    To recap, this exercise was to do a “cold start” look at GW, in a unbiased manner, and one a person like my neighbor (a ham who talks to people in Australia on fires) with minimal tech background could understand. A check on available data resulted in using the 350 year old English data. This was downloaded from http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcet/, or climate4you,com, and put it in a spread sheet, EXCEL. The data includes monthly and averaged yearly data. I used a short cut with the yearly average, but checked to verify the numbers. Add another column for estimated based on a linear. T_est = b + m(year – 1659). Unfortunately the least squares function LINEST choked up, probably on the number of data points. So I went to manual starting with an initial values 9 deg. and slope of zero. Generating an error column, and plotting the error, allows a person to manually adjust b & m. Summing up the error also helped in the convergence on b & m. I came up with b=8.85 and a slope of 0.002 ( 0.2 deg./century), with summed error of 5.33 deg.

    This looked pretty good, and allowed a closer look at the error and how it deviates from the trend. With a little experience a person can read a lot out of, what looks like noise to some, (i.e. a neurologist and a EEG). A “hook shape” or bow would indicate a linear trend line would not be the best. However this error pretty much followed the trend line, at least in my humble estimation. Since I gave away my analysis programs, like MATLAB, some time ago, I have to resurrect some of my old analysis programs in BASIC (slow but readable) and EXCEL has VB embedded in. I did add a simple recursive 1st order filter, with a 8 month (8 sample periods) time constant [Test_n = Test_n-1 + 0.125*( Er_n) ]. That smoothed the data for a little more info. Didn’t see anything much different, since late 1980’s, from other “bumps” before the 1980’s. But that may be in the eye of the beholder.

    So my observations, to date, based on this relatively simple analysis are:
    1- I would not bet the farm on Carbon warming
    2- My neighbor will be madder then ever on possible increased taxes
    3- I have more work to do in evaluating this and other temp and polar ice data

    Right now my grandson and two black kitties are demanding time. Hope this will be of help.

    I’ll be back ( heavy on the Austrian accent) God willing and the creek doesn’t rise, again.

    Comment by J. Bob — 1 Apr 2009 @ 2:22 PM

  165. jim bob,
    thanks so much for the reply. sorry, i still don’t understand this part:

    “Generating an error column, and plotting the error, allows a person to manually adjust b & m. Summing up the error also helped in the convergence on b & m. I came up with b=8.85 and a slope of 0.002 ( 0.2 deg./century)”

    i’m not quite sure how the error “level” is figured. can you possibly send/post a picture of the graph you get? i saw the tamino version of it, i’d like to see yours. i’m imagining you’re describing a straight line, sloping up to the right at a slope of .02. then i think you “influenced” that line into some kind of curve using the error range? pardon if my jargon is wrong.

    Comment by walter crain — 1 Apr 2009 @ 3:10 PM

  166. Quote: “As always, correlation does not imply causation. Who said it did?”

    Actually Al Gore said it did in the movie. Remember the quote “did they ever fit together”. Al Gore said nothing about cause and effect we were just asked to assume that the perfect fit meant that CO2 was the cause and temperature was the effect. As an engineer myself, I wasn’t convinced. Yet thousands of non-scientists watching the movie were mislead yet Gore received little criticism from “consensus” scientists.

    [Response: The transcript is here. He said: " Did they ever fit together? ....But they did of course. The relationship is very complicated. But there is one relationship that is more powerful than all the others and it is this. When there is more carbon dioxide, the temperature gets warmer, because it traps more heat from the sun inside.". There is nothing incorrect in that statement. They fit together like cycles of chickens and eggs fit together. Changes in T and climate lead to changes in CO2 which leads to changes in T and climate. Without both parts of that cycle, you would not see such large swings. CO2 is *both* cause and effect. Just like chickens. - gavin]

    Quote: “You are out to lunch on this one. There are many sciences whose object of study does not fit in a laboratory. Cosmologists, astronomers, solar physicists etc. are these all non-sciences too? Of course not.”

    Just because there are other sciences where the study does not fit in the laboratory does not make my argument any less relevent. The planet is effectively a laboratory that cannot be experimented, any real scientist would agree that rigorous science requires experimentation with the system being modelled and the use of a control. Interesting that you used cosmology as an example, just the other day I was reading an article which brought doubt on the current understanding on how stars work. One star has been observed exploding into a supernova millions of years earlier than it should according to current scientific understanding.

    Quote: “You are a scientist and you condone this kind of cherry picking? Oh please.”

    Actually the data you have here agrees with mine in that in the last 10 years (since 1998) there has been no significant warming. You data shows an overall warming trend over 30 years, however 20 years of warming followed by 10 years of cooling is nothing to get excited about. To be fair, perhaps the warming trend may continue in the years to come. But the answer is simply we don’t know, 30 years of satellite data is simply too short a time to draw any kind of conclusion from.

    Quote: “or the accounting of glacial retreat, or the ocean temperature records”

    Since the climate is always changing, there is a 50% chance that at any time in the earths history we will be in a warming period and a 50% chance of a cooling period. In a warming period we can expect glacial retreat and in a cooling period, glacial advance. Therefore the glacial retreat is nothing to get excited about. Equally, if the glaciers were advancing, should we be worried about runaway global cooling? In a nutshell, to take a short term trend (in earth terms 100 years is a short time) and extrapolate this forever into the future is normally a bad idea.

    Regarding ocean temperature records, what about time delay. The oceans are so huge and water is such a large specific heat capacity that it takes literally centuries to heat up and cool down. If the ocean temperatures are increasing today it’s unlikely to be due to anything that’s happened in the recent past, but far more likely due to changes that have occured over many centuries or even millenia.

    Please understand that I realise that there is “evidence” of climate change. Just like I’m sure that there’s plenty of “evidence” that god created the earth 6000 years ago. I’m not religious, but my point is that rigorous science must stand up to criticism to be taken seriously (it must take the good with the bad). I believe that I have raised very valid points that bring serious doubt on the “consencus” view.

    [Response: The rest of this stuff is standard-issue nonsense. Shame, I thought you were going to be interesting. - gavin]

    Comment by Alastair — 1 Apr 2009 @ 3:26 PM

  167. Have you thought, JBob, that

    1) your analysis is TOO simple?
    2) maybe someone would have spotted it before you if it was so simple and shown their working out to success
    3) you still haven’t said what your qualifications are, so we don’t know you from Bob The Builder.

    Comment by Mark — 1 Apr 2009 @ 3:28 PM

  168. Some obvious errors made by others using that data are worth reviewing, e.g.:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/04/28/central-england-temperature/
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/perjury/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Apr 2009 @ 3:39 PM

  169. Since the climate is always changing, there is a 50% chance that at any time in the earths history we will be in a warming period and a 50% chance of a cooling period.

    Are we sure it ain’t another April Fool’s Day post?

    Comment by dhogaza — 1 Apr 2009 @ 4:01 PM

  170. Quote: “There is nothing incorrect in that statement. They fit together like cycles of chickens and eggs fit together. Changes in T and climate lead to changes in CO2 which leads to changes in T and climate. Without both parts of that cycle, you would not see such large swings. CO2 is *both* cause and effect. Just like chickens.”

    The implication from the movie was clearly that CO2 was the cause and temperature the effect. I don’t remember the exact words, but I remember Gore also saying something to the effect of:

    “If this is New York with a mile of ice over your head (pointing to the low point of temperature and CO2), and this is today (pointing to today), imagine what this will be (pointing to a point in the future with double or triple the CO2 of today)”. Anyway, the meaning was load and clear that for any non-scientist watching, that he mentally extrapolate the CO2 and temperature into the future, meaning a very hot world with CO2 as the cause and temperature the effect. He then showed a shot of G.W. Bush showing his non-reaction to this dire prediction. This was then accompanied by laughs from the audience. Anyway it is very clear that we were supposed to assume that this trend would continue without regard to cause and effect.

    [Response: Possibly these two thoughts can't co-exist in your mind, but in the real world CO2 and T are both cause and effect. If you observe the number of chickens following the number of eggs over many cycles, and then you throw in a lot more chickens, don't you think it sensible to expect a lot more eggs in the future? - gavin]

    [edit - stay constructive or don't bother]

    Comment by Alastair — 1 Apr 2009 @ 4:15 PM

  171. “Ray Ladbury Says:
    1 April 2009 at 11:46 AM
    Steve says, “There are perfectly good scientists on the other side of this argument providing perfectly good objections.”

    Care to name them?”

    Ray let’s start out by determining if anyone that disagrees with you is a good scientist. Are there any?

    Response: Pielke has denied none of the things I stated. And the long term trends in ocean heat content are all up. – gavin]

    I don’t know Gavin perhaps he doesn’t disagree with you and I am reading too much into what he says on his website referencing both ocean temperatures and the recent letter from CATO to the president. I can only read and interpret to the best of my ability.

    Anyway, let me apologize to everyone for even starting this conversation. I now understand it was just horrible of me to even suggest that there may be intelligent life forms on the other side of the argument.

    [Response: Not horrible, just over-optimistic. Quite frankly, I'd love it if there was more intelligent discussion 'over there'. Endlessly debunking the same cherry-picks, misrepresentations, red-herrings and strawman arguments gets a little boring. Lindzen for instance is a smart cookie, so why he wastes his time defaming his colleagues at the National Academy and drawing trivially debunkable conclusions from imperfect and already corrected data is beyond me. - gavin]

    Comment by steve — 1 Apr 2009 @ 4:16 PM

  172. Well, I learned something today: CO2 is just like chickens. :-)

    Chris Colose — Could you provide a link to your recent thread regarding Lintzen?

    [reCAPTHCA entones "Grand ethical".]

    Comment by David B. Benson — 1 Apr 2009 @ 4:45 PM

  173. “Regarding ocean temperature records, what about time delay. The oceans are so huge and water is such a large specific heat capacity that it takes literally centuries to heat up and cool down.”

    Oddly enough, didn’t we begin pumping fossil carbon into the atmosphere oh…say…150-200 years ago…

    Naa…that couldn’t be it.

    Comment by sidd — 1 Apr 2009 @ 5:02 PM

  174. Quote: “Oddly enough, didn’t we begin pumping fossil carbon into the atmosphere oh…say…150-200 years ago…

    Naa…that couldn’t be it.”

    By far the majority of CO2 emissions have ocurred in the last 60 years. This is not enough time to effect ocean temperatures, they are far too vast.

    [Response: And so the warming that is to come based on that time lag doesn't bother you in the slightest? - gavin]

    Gavin. You admitted yourself that correlation doesn’t imply causation. I think you’ve just answered your own question regarding the chickens and eggs.

    [Response: It isn't 'just' correlation if you know that chickens produce eggs, and you've been measuring the exact process for a hundred years in the lab. - gavin]

    Comment by Alastair — 1 Apr 2009 @ 5:28 PM

  175. Quote: “And so the warming that is to come based on that time lag doesn’t bother you in the slightest?”

    I think that the future is very important. But we only need to be concerned if AGW is real. If the warming of the oceans is not caused by CO2 but other natural causes, why do we need to be concerned.

    Quote: “It isn’t ‘just’ correlation if you know that chickens produce eggs, and you’ve been measuring the exact process for a hundred years in the lab”

    There is no doubt that CO2 absorbs infra red radiation and should in theory cause global warming. Even Lindzen and other skeptics agree with that. But the climate is far too complex a system to assume that more CO2 will cause dangerous global warming. There are many means by which the planet can cancel out the extra heat that the CO2 “wants” to add. For example, as the planet heats up we might expect more water to evaporate from the oceans, this would result in more clouds. There is some debate about whether clouds are a negative or positive feedback on temperature but personally I think that more clouds would block out more sunlight and thereby cancel out the CO2 warming. That is just one example, I’m sure there are many other mechanisms that would act as a temperature thermostat. The poles also act as a temperature buffer, especially land ice such as Antarctica. There is no danger of Antarctica melting because it’s far too cold. Even if Antarctica were to heat up 10 or 20 degress celcius, it would still not melt because unless the temperature increases to 0 degrees celcius (melting point of water) it will never melt.

    Unstable systems are rarely encountered in nature and the planet is no different. If the planet were as unstable as we are led to believe there is no way that we (or any life for that matter) could have survived.

    [Response: ??? The incoherence in your arguments is breathtaking. You started off discussing the ice age cycle - roughly 5 deg C amplitude changes in the global mean temperature, 120 meters difference in sea level rise, and now you claim that global climate sensitivity to CO2 can't be anything like 3 deg C (the mainstream value) because that would imply the planet was too unstable to exist. Huh? Additionally, you seem to think that ice is impervious to warmth - yet even within the ice age cycles we started with, the last time it was as warm as we anticipate for the end of this century, sea level was 4 to 6 meters higher than today. Where do you think that water came from if 'ice can't melt'? And if ice can't melt how do we get the ice age cycles in the first place? Oh dear. - gavin]

    Comment by Alastair — 1 Apr 2009 @ 5:52 PM

  176. David Benson, it is
    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/lindzen-on-climate-feedback/

    The earlier data that Lindzen used at WUWT had a correction for changing satellite altitude in the code, but a flag to turn this correction on/off was found to inadvertently leave the correction off. This is all explained in the updated paper from Wong et al. and ERBE summary provided in my post.

    Comment by chris colose — 1 Apr 2009 @ 5:57 PM

  177. Quote: “Where do you think that water came from if ‘ice can’t melt’? And if ice can’t melt how do we get the ice age cycles in the first place? Oh dear.”

    I am talking about antarctica in the southern hemisphere. The “ice age” you speak of is only in the northern hemisphere. The southern hemisphere (ie antarctica) is in permanent ice age, it will never melt unless the temperature rises above zero, which it won’t. Tell me Gavin, how can ice melt if the temperature is below freezing?

    The northern hemisphere is different. The ice builds up in NON POLAR regions during the ice age. Since much of this ice is in non polar regions, it’s much easier for the temperature to rise above melting point. That is why this ice melts. Only the polar (arctic) ice remains cold enough to sustain ice cover.

    [Response: Wrong, wrong, wrong. We know that more ice can melt than has melted so far (4-6 meters worth at the Eemian, maybe 20 meters worth at the Pliocene) and we know that can't have all come from Greenland (since there was still ice at GRIP and NGRIP and maybe Dye3 at the Eemian). That leaves... Antarctica. Bits of it are undoubtedly very stable (having existed since the Oligocene), but some bits aren't - and they're the ones we might be more concerned with. - gavin]

    Comment by Alastair — 1 Apr 2009 @ 6:10 PM

  178. Bzzzt! Alastair, Antarctica melts from the bottom up.
    Each time.
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v458/n7236/fig_tab/458295a_F1.html#figure-title

    http://www.andrill.org/

    http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1656672/climatologists_gain_insight_from_massive_west_antarctic_melt/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Apr 2009 @ 6:24 PM

  179. Quote: “Wrong, wrong, wrong. We know that more ice can melt than has melted so far (4-6 meters worth at the Eemian, maybe 20 meters worth at the Pliocene) and we know that can’t have all come from Greenland (since there was still ice at GRIP and NGRIP and maybe Dye3 at the Eemian). That leaves… Antarctica. Bits of it are undoubtedly very stable (having existed since the Oligocene), but some bits aren’t – and they’re the ones we might be more concerned with”

    Ice can only melt if the temperature rises above freezing. There may be small amounts of antarctica that can but the vast mass of the continent stays permanently sub zero. You cannot defy the laws of physics, therefore anything that is 20 or 10 degrees below freezing can’t melt unless there is substantial global warming. I can’t see that ever happening because we all know that ice reflects sunlight and keeps the world cool. It’s kind of a catch 22 situation, you need substantial global warming to melt antarctica, but since antarctica can’t melt you don’t get the warming because the ice reflects the sunlight.

    [Response: But to get sea level rise you don't need to melt it from the top. All you need to is make it fall into the sea faster. Take Larsen-B - when that collapsed the glaciers feeding it, sped up 400 to 500%. Look at the GRACE data, WAIS is likely losing net mass with no surface melting at all. You might think that your reasoning is all obvious, but the real world is changing regardless of whether you think it should be or not. Don't theorize, learn. - gavin]

    Comment by Alastair — 1 Apr 2009 @ 6:42 PM

  180. chris colose (176) — Thank you!

    Comment by David B. Benson — 1 Apr 2009 @ 6:46 PM

  181. There is some debate about whether clouds are a negative or positive feedback on temperature but personally I think that more clouds would block out more sunlight and thereby cancel out the CO2 warming.

    Alastair, something that’s always puzzled me, maybe you can help me out …

    Why do temperatures in arid, cloudless deserts plummet at night while cloudy portland oregon tends to only cool a few degrees at night if the only effect of clouds is to block out sunlight, thereby canceling out the CO2 warming?

    Comment by dhogaza — 1 Apr 2009 @ 6:53 PM

  182. Alastair wrote in 174:

    Gavin. You admitted yourself that correlation doesn’t imply causation. I think you’ve just answered your own question regarding the chickens and eggs.

    Lead vs. lag — in a system subject to positive feedback, the central questions are: “What is the forcing?” and “What is the feedback?” Orbital forcing causes increased solar insulation (absorption of solar radiation), gradually raising the temperature of the ocean, resulting in a reduction in its capacity to retain gases — including carbon dioxide. This raises the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, making the atmosphere more opaque to thermal radiation.

    There are infrared images of it doing exactly this over western and eastern seaboards of the US due to higher population density, traffic and carbon dioxide emissions. In fact you can see it in this image:

    Aqua/AIRS Global Carbon Dioxide
    http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003400/a003440/index.html

    The dark orange off the east and west coasts of the United States? That is carbon dioxide at 8 km altitude — infrared at 15 μm in wavelength has been absorbed and emitted at lower levels of the atmosphere, but this is where it gets emitted for the last time before escaping to space — and as such the brightness temperature at that wavelength reflects the cooler temperature at that altitude.

    *

    More carbon dioxide reduces the rate with which radiation will carries energy out of the climate system. Given that energy continues to enter the system at the same rate but escapes the atmosphere at a reduced rate, the temperature of the climate system must rise until the temperature to the power of four (thermal emission of radiation in accordance with Planck’s law) rises enough to compensate for the increased opacity of the atmosphere to infrared radiation, and the rate at which energy leaves the system is equal to the rate at which energy enters the system. This basically follows from the conservation of energy. So in this case — what we predominantly see in the paleoclimate record — the increased solar insulation is the forcing, carbon dioxide the feedback — and we would not be able to explain the extent to which the temperature rose simply by means of the increased solar insulation alone.

    Alastair wrote in 175:

    There is no doubt that CO2 absorbs infra red radiation and should in theory cause global warming. Even Lindzen and other skeptics agree with that. But the climate is far too complex a system to assume that more CO2 will cause dangerous global warming. There are many means by which the planet can cancel out the extra heat that the CO2 “wants” to add.

    There are other points in the paleoclimate record where carbon dioxide or methane rose first, before temperature, and temperature followed carbon dioxide — and it wasn’t harmless. Good case in point: the Permian/Triassic extinction. A supervolcano in Siberia erupted for over a million years, with lava releasing methane from shallow water methane hydrate deposits. The opacity of the atmosphere climbed first, then temperature. So it is false to say that carbon dioxide (or methane) always follows temperature. We see both. Temperatures may increase first or greenhouse gases may increase first. For the most part the climate system doesn’t really care where the forcing comes from — whatever the forcing that initially results in an imbalance in radiation going out vs. radiation coming in, the results will largely be the same.

    But not entirely the same… Initially, increases in solar insolation will tend to raise the temperature of both the troposphere and stratosphere as visible light gets absorbed at the surface and ultraviolet by ozone in the stratosphere. In contrast, increased opacity of the atmosphere due to greenhouse gases will lower the amount of thermal radiation that is able to reach the stratosphere, cooling the stratosphere while the troposphere warms due to the reduction in the rate at which thermal radiation is able to escape it. Thus you have a signature of global warming due to greenhouse gases. It has been observed. There are others. For example, increased solar insulation would tend warm days more than nights, but an increase in the opacity of the atmosphere due to greenhouse gases would tend to warm nights more than days. This has also been observed.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 1 Apr 2009 @ 7:59 PM

  183. Alastair says: “Although I am not a climate scientist I am well educated with a post graduate degree in chemical engineering and have published papers in scientific journals.”

    Great, if you have come here to learn, the above credentials entitle you to the title of “student”. If you have come here to pontificate on things where you aren’t an expert, ignoramus will suffice as a description. Ray Ladbury, PhD physicist and student of climate science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Apr 2009 @ 8:00 PM

  184. Ok Walter here goes, hope this all comes through. Graphs do not seem to, nor numbers.

    A B C D E G G

    b 8.85
    m 0.002 0.25 0.125
    5.33
    YEAR Yearly Linear Error Filtered
    Average Fit Err
    1659 0 8.83 8.85 -0.02 -0.02
    1660 1 9.08 8.85 0.23 0.05
    1661 2 9.75 8.85 0.90 0.15
    1662 3 9.5 8.86 0.64 0.21
    1663 4 8.58 8.86 -0.28 0.15

    1996 337 9.2 9.52 -0.32 0.24
    1997 338 10.53 9.53 1.00 0.34
    1998 339 10.34 9.53 0.81 0.39
    1999 340 10.63 9.53 1.10 0.48
    2000 341 10.3 9.53 0.77 0.52
    2001 342 9.93 9.53 0.40 0.50
    2002 343 10.6 9.54 1.06 0.57
    2003 344 10.5 9.54 0.96 0.62
    2004 345 10.48 9.54 0.94 0.66
    2005 346 10.44 9.54 0.90 0.69
    2006 347 10.82 9.54 1.28 0.76
    2007 348 10.48 9.55 0.93 0.79
    2008 349 9.96 9.55 0.41 0.74

    A, B & C data from Hadcet

    D col – T_est = b + m(T_act – T_est) = $D$3 + $D$4*(A8 – 1659)
    F col – Er F8 = C8 – D8
    G col Filtered error G9= G8 + $G$4*(F9 – G8) – Zero hold 1st order filter
    Initial seed G8 was = to F8
    These were all replicated to the end of the data
    Error sum = E 5= Sum(F8:F357)
    The F & G col. Were plotted against col A

    I started with a b= D3 = 9 & m =D4= 0 and adjusted b & m observing the
    Plot and summed err E5, in this case 5.33 deg. Not the best, but pretty close.

    I don’t know how this will turn out, but will give it a shot.

    #167 A comment made by a fellow band member of my math instructor, goes something like “Things should be as simple as possible, but not simpler”

    Comment by J. Bob — 1 Apr 2009 @ 8:43 PM

  185. “I think that more clouds would block out more sunlight and thereby cancel out the CO2 warming.”

    This is Lindzen’s argument ? I believe this has been refuted.

    “There is no danger of Antarctica melting because it’s far too cold.”

    Tell that to West Antarctica, which is losing mass despite your opinions. Ice moves. All the ice loss in West Antarctica is due to ice export to the ocean, accelerating as the ice shelves dissolve in warmer seas.

    Comment by sidd — 1 Apr 2009 @ 8:47 PM

  186. Alastair wrote in 176:

    I am talking about antarctica in the southern hemisphere. The “ice age” you speak of is only in the northern hemisphere. The southern hemisphere (ie antarctica) is in permanent ice age, it will never melt unless the temperature rises above zero, which it won’t. Tell me Gavin, how can ice melt if the temperature is below freezing?

    Too cold to melt?

    It’s not entirely true that we haven’t observed melting in Antarctica. As a matter of fact, we have observed it within 310 miles of the South Pole.

    Please see:

    The observed melting occurred in multiple distinct regions, including far inland, at high latitudes and at high elevations, where melt had been considered unlikely. Evidence of melting was found up to 900 kilometers (560 miles) inland from the open ocean, farther than 85 degrees south (about 500 kilometers, or 310 miles, from the South Pole) and higher than 2,000 meters (6,600 feet) above sea level. Maximum air temperatures at the time of the melting were unusually high, reaching more than five degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit) in one of the affected areas. They remained above melting for approximately a week.

    NASA Finds Vast Regions of West Antarctica Melted in Recent Past
    05.15.07
    http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/arctic-20070515.html

    However, nearly all the glacier loss in Antarctica is due to slippage.

    Please see:

    “In Greenland, we estimate that two-thirds of the cause of the glaciers’ disappearance is accelerated ice slide, while the remaining third of the cause is ice melting. In the Antarctic, the cause is 100 percent ice slide, and the speed-up there is exponential.”

    Researchers: Sea Levels May Rise Faster Than Expected
    By JEAN-MARIE MACABREY, ClimateWire
    Published: March 11, 2009
    http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2009/03/11/11climatewire-researchers-warn-that-sea-levels-will-rise-m-10080.html

    This article goes into an analysis of glacier loss along the West Antarctic Peninsula:

    Analysis of the data reveals that 87% of glaciers have retreated (click on the image for a more detailed figure) and that the change from advance to retreat has occurred progressively with latitude. In 1950s only the most northerly glaciers appeared to be retreating, but a transition from advance to retreat appeared to move down the Antarctic Peninsula over a period of about 10 to 20 years, broadly in line with what we would expect if this was a consequence of the warming that has been measured in this area. However, there are features of the pattern of change that we find difficult to explain by atmospheric warming alone. In particular, there was a period in the late-1980s and early-1990s when retreat slowed down along most of the coast, and we don’t see any cause for this in the temperature records – so there may be some other factors at work, perhaps ocean temperature.

    22 April 2005
    Retreating Glacier Fronts on the Antarctic Peninsula over the Past Half-Century
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=146

    Much of this is occurring south of the Antarctic circle.

    Here you can see that nearly the whole ocean down there is heating up…

    Climate of Antarctica
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Antarctica
    Image:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Antarctic_temps.AVH1982-2004.jpg

    How might the ocean be affecting the ice glaciers? Well, we know that winds are picking up at the surface. This is causing an upwelling of water from below which is balanced by warmer water from above circulating to greater depths. We also know that there are rivers that run underneath much of the ice of the West Antarctic Peninsula. So warmer water may be “attacking” them from underneath. And it doesn’t even have to melt them — structurally weakening them is more than enough.

    There are also the ice shelves. These act like corks which bottle up the glaciers behind them. Nearly the whole George VI Ice Shelf is south of 70 degrees – and its shrinking:

    George VI Ice Shelf: past history, present behaviour and potential
    mechanisms for future collapse
    JAMES A. SMITH, et al.
    Antarctic Science 19 (1), 131–142 (2007)
    http://journals.cambridge.org/production/action/cjoGetFulltext?fulltextid=743656

    But some of the ice shelves are even collapsing. When they do the glaciers behind them accelerate towards the ocean.

    Larsen B collapsed in 2002. It looks like the Wilkins Ice Shelf will go this year or possibly next.

    Here is an essay that goes into some detail on that:

    12 June 2008
    Ice Shelf Instability
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/06/ice-shelf-instability

    The Wilkins Ice Shelf is 5 ° latitude south of the Larsen B. 5 ° south of the Wilkins Ice Shelf is ice sheet of mainland West Antarctica.

    *

    Overall we know that Antarctica is losing mass:

    NASA Mission Detects Significant Antarctic Ice Mass Loss
    March 2, 2006
    http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2006/mar/HQ_06085_arctic_ice.html

    We also know that it has sped up and is now roughly equal to that of Greenland:

    Antarctic Ice Loss Speeds Up, Nearly Matches Greenland Loss
    ScienceDaily (Jan. 24, 2008)
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123181952.htm

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 1 Apr 2009 @ 8:51 PM

  187. Mark:
    Virtual straw can act like whatever the person who wrote the VR world wants it to. Which can include feeding cows etc.

    I’m sure that virtual cows could thrive on virtual straw, but you’re claiming that you can feed cows on virtual straw. That is further evidence that your view on reality is quite blurred.

    Comment by Oliver — 2 Apr 2009 @ 1:01 AM

  188. One of the claims made by Anthony Watts and his followers, is that he tolerates opinions contrary to his own, while other sites such as RealClimate delete inconvenient truths. Here’s an exchange from the thread…

    ME: Either Prof Lindzen is unaware of the correction, which I find impossibly unlikely, or he has knowingly circulated incorrect information to support his case, an act that one might normally expect would attract severe opprobrium from the posters of an objective science blog such as this. Neither possibility does much for the pursuasiveness of his argument, in my view. Certainly if the Professor were to submit this article for publication, it would be rejected on these grounds alone.

    REPLY: There is a third option, perhapss he doesn’t trust the “correction”. I know that many of us here don’t trust “corrections” applied to data.

    ME: The correction was largely the result of step in the computer code that caters for satellite altitude being effectively ‘switched off’. Details were published in the Journal of Climate and also by the Data Product provider. All other researchers who use this dataset use the revised version. The onus is therefore on anyone citing the 2002 version to at least mention that the originators of the dataset have revised it and explain why they prefer the ‘uncorrected’ dataset, especially if the corrected version removes a central plank of their argument. From Prof Lindzen, not even a footnote. Does this qualify as the good and transparent science quite rightly promoted by WUWT?

    REPLY: John I have deleted your response, and I resent the smear you made against me for publishing this informal essay from Dr. Lindzen. You get a 24 hour timeout. If you wish to continue, lose the ad homs. Otherwise off to the troll bin permanently for you. – Anthony

    Draw your own conclusions.

    Comment by John Philip — 2 Apr 2009 @ 2:42 AM

  189. If there’s a ball at the top of a hill and I kick the ball gently so it rolls over the edge down the slope, it will accelerate downhill.

    Does that mean that the acceleration the ball takes is because of my foot (since my foot kicking the ball made it accelerate to begin with)?

    NO.

    So why is the past temperature record, which is “kicked off” by Milankovich cycles and THEN accelerated by GG/albedo/… feedback proving that GG doesn’t increase temperature, just because the increase in solar radiation is needed to start things rolling???

    (PS Gavin, as well as chicken and eggs, how about foxes and rabits: everyone has done that at shcool, so which one starts the whole process off when you look part way through the cycle? Foxes or Rabbits?)

    Comment by Mark — 2 Apr 2009 @ 3:06 AM

  190. Quote: “Why do temperatures in arid, cloudless deserts plummet at night while cloudy portland oregon tends to only cool a few degrees at night if the only effect of clouds is to block out sunlight, thereby canceling out the CO2 warming?”

    Clouds keep the heat in at night and keep the heat out during the day, the question is which one is the more important. The net overall effect of more cloud is probably negative because they reflect the sunlight back into space in the first place.

    Quote: “But to get sea level rise you don’t need to melt it from the top. All you need to is make it fall into the sea faster.”

    True. But we are talking about the effects of “global warming” on Antarctica. How much falls into the sea depends on how much snow fall there has been, this has nothing to do with temperature. If the temperature increases to -5C or -1C or -0.1C the ice cannot melt. Only when the temperature rises to 0C will any ice melt.

    Quote: “Take Larsen-B – when that collapsed the glaciers feeding it, sped up 400 to 500%. Look at the GRACE data, WAIS is likely losing net mass with no surface melting at all. You might think that your reasoning is all obvious, but the real world is changing regardless of whether you think it should be or not. Don’t theorize, learn”

    This may be all true, but “global warming” can only be the “cause” of this if the reason is that ice is melting. Therefore changes to Larson-B cannot be related to CO2 emmissions.

    [Response: I think that you will find that all of the ice that was in Larsen-B has, in fact, melted. Think about where that happened. - gavin]

    Quote: “Great, if you have come here to learn, the above credentials entitle you to the title of “student”. If you have come here to pontificate on things where you aren’t an expert, ignoramus will suffice as a description. Ray Ladbury, PhD physicist and student of climate science.”

    It’s the ideas that matter not the person. If you are an expert, as you claim please tell me this:

    The climate is a very complex system and climate models contain hundreds or thousands of assumptions. How can you expect to have any confidence in climate models when you cannot do experiments with the climate? Normal scientific practice and due diligence requires that proper scientific method is followed, even for simple processes. Without this, your credentials as a climate scientist, the peer review process, prestigeous academic institutions and journals mean nothing, these models are were doomed to fail before they even started. This is a fact that applies across all science, the fact that “I’m not a qualified climate scientist” doesn’t make my point any less relevent.

    Comment by Alastair — 2 Apr 2009 @ 3:50 AM

  191. re #141

    Sorry BPL, you will have to give me another example, icarus is not an electronic only journal according to elsevier who publish it. Volume 200, issue 2 was dispatched on 25th of March 2009, only 2 weeks ago.

    It simply not true that information is harder to get at than 20 years ago, exactly the opposite is true. This does not mean that that I think access to information is good enough, access to disinformation has increased even more.

    #re 108

    Bill yes google scholar is a good place to start as is ScienceDirect. Of course full access to the type of information on ScienceDirect, Scopus, CurrentContents etc cost the type of money university libraries have. If you review an article for an Elsevier journal, you get access to Scopus for a month, which is a pretty sweet deal. However, abstracts of almost all journals are available online for free, some journals even give the first page of an article. To get more, deeping digging is required, and most authors will send a copy of their work to you if you request it.

    Comment by Bocco — 2 Apr 2009 @ 4:07 AM

  192. Alastair,

    CO2 follows temperature in a natural deglaciation because the slight increase in temperature decreases the solubility of CO2 in salt water, and CO2 bubbles out of the oceans. The CO2 in turn raises the temperature more.

    That is not what is happening now. The new CO2 is not coming from the oceans, it is coming primarily from fossil fuel burning. We know from the radioisotope signature. CO2 from the biosphere (e.g. the ocean) would have a normal content of 14C, but CO2 from fossil fuels would have no 14C–and the new CO2 doesn’t. There are also clues from the 13C/12C ratio.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 Apr 2009 @ 6:03 AM

  193. There are a few more books on how science works (and sometimes doesn’t):
    “The Golem: What you should know about science” by Harry Collins and Trevor Pinch
    “The Undergrowth of Science” by Walter Gratzer
    “Voodoo Science” by Robert Park

    I’ve read and enjoyed all three. Despite the failings of the scientific method, its still the best way of understanding the world because it explicitly recognizes the weaknesses of the human intellect and tries to overcome them.

    [Response: Don't forget Sagan's "The Demon Haunted World". - gavin]

    Comment by Dan — 2 Apr 2009 @ 6:46 AM

  194. Alistair asks: “How can you expect to have any confidence in climate models when you cannot do experiments with the climate?”

    Here’s a news bulletin, Alastair, Science works even for complicated systems. We can’t do experiments with supernovae or the geomagnetic field of main-sequence stars, and yet we have a pretty good idea how they work. We can’t do controlled, repeatable experiments in ecology, and yet we gather data and formulate theories about very complicated systems. You really need to get beyond the 18th century and see how science works now.

    In the case of climate science, we can indeed do laboratory experiments to look at the detailed radiative properties of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses, among other things. We can make measurements of temperature, humidity, pressure, etc. in the environment. We can model the atmosphere, ocean, biosphere, etc. and look at the interactions between them, and validate the models with our observations. This has been done, and that is why we have more than 90% confidence in the proposition that we are changing Earth’s climate.

    You will note that I said I am a “student of climate science”. I do not publish in the field, and so am not an expert. I am simply one of the thousands of scientists in related fields who have bothered to learn the science and found it to be quite cogent. Your background suggests that you could do the same. Or you can remain ignorant. Your choice.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Apr 2009 @ 6:57 AM

  195. “Clouds keep the heat in at night and keep the heat out during the day, the question is which one is the more important. The net overall effect of more cloud is probably negative because they reflect the sunlight back into space in the first place.”

    Hmm. So in 12 hours of daylight the sun will have its energy reflected. In 12 hours of night, the earth will have its energy reflected.

    Since the earth has to remove ALL the energy that comes in from the sun and cannot do so until the sun has put the energy in FIRST, would this not indicate to you that the warm retention at night would be the same as the warm reflection during the day?

    Or is that impossible because you KNOW through some unguessable channel that clouds will reduce GW this time (when it never managed it before)?

    Comment by Mark — 2 Apr 2009 @ 7:08 AM

  196. jim bob,
    thanks so much for your efforts in responding to me. it’s a shame there’s no place for you to post that darn graph. i’m a very “visual” person, so that would have helped immensely. i guess the upshot is your graph showed less warming and more gradual warming than tamino’s graph. maybe it shows temps going from 8.83 in 1659 up to around 10 today? thanks again for your efforts.

    Comment by walter crain — 2 Apr 2009 @ 7:18 AM

  197. very interesting comversation with alister, guys. his criticisms all seem to be covered in john cook’s list of 53 standard skeptic arguments at “skeptical science”.

    john phillip,
    that exchange you had with anthony (#188) is SO classic. the idea that he doesn’t “trust” the correction resonates with deniers. viewed through the denier’s prism: alarmists found some data that didn’t fit expectations so alarmists “fixed” the data. that’s all anthony’s congregation needs to hear. they don’t need to hear the perfectly rational “reasons” why the data was wrong. they see the corrections as further proof of the scientific conspiracy designed to fool right-minded regular people…

    Comment by walter crain — 2 Apr 2009 @ 7:54 AM

  198. Turbobloke [136]
    In that first link you gave me, the authors mention those sea level rises you noted, but they also say, speaking of the observations:
    ‘Along the coast of the Netherlands, such an acceleration has not
    been observed over the last decades. There, sea level rose at a steady
    rate of about 2.5 ± 0.6 mm/yr (data by RWS National Institute for
    Coastal and Marine Management, the Netherlands). This observed lo-
    cal rate of sea level rise is applied in the climate scenarios, yielding a
    contribution of 4 ± 1 cm for the period 1990-2005 (Table IV).’
    Their projections to 2050 and 2100 are based on the IPCC modeling, so once again are dependent on that being absolutely correct—and it’s admitted that there are many unknowns and uncertainties in important fields of climate science—so given all that, why would you discount the comment that was put out by KNMI and Hazeleger last December?
    In other KNMI scenarios, the authors specifically state:
    ‘Climate models show large differences among themselves with regard to the sensitivity of sea level rise to increased air temperatures.’

    Comment by truth — 2 Apr 2009 @ 8:52 AM

  199. “How much falls into the sea depends on how much snow fall there has been”

    Not entirely. The largest short term (year scale and shorter) control on the speed of glaciers in West Antarctica seems to be the buttressing effect of ice shelves at their mouths. Ice velocities tens and hundreds of kilometers upstream correlate very well with the events at the grounding line. Collapses of ice shelves can and do trigger acceleration of ice streams far inland. Some glaciers exhibit daily variations of velocity as the tides lift and loosen the ice shelf.

    There has been some beautiful work by the British Antarctic Survey and a host of others relating to the West Antarctic ice streams and shelves. My thanks to all those who created that research.

    Comment by sidd — 2 Apr 2009 @ 9:08 AM

  200. Re Alastair’s 190

    Gavin wrote inline to 179:

    But to get sea level rise you don’t need to melt it from the top. All you need to is make it fall into the sea faster.

    Alastair wrote in 190:

    True. But we are talking about the effects of “global warming” on Antarctica. How much falls into the sea depends on how much snow fall there has been, this has nothing to do with temperature. If the temperature increases to -5C or -1C or -0.1C the ice cannot melt. Only when the temperature rises to 0C will any ice melt.

    I’m sorry, but at this point I do not know how to put this politely: Do you actually read before responding? Are you familiar with what are called hyperlinks?

    I stated in my very first paragraph that melting has in fact taken place 310 miles from the South Pole.

    Antarctica is losing ice — and it is now losing ice at roughly the same rate as Greenland.

    Now of course much of that ice loss is taking place due to slippage. However, do you know what happens to ice when you apply pressure?

    If you apply enough pressure it melts. Even when the ice is below freezing. Pressure lowers the temperature at which ice melts — and it does so for the same reason that ice floats — because ice takes up a larger volume than water. If pressure sufficiently compresses ice, the ice will turn to water even if the ice is below freezing.

    So you do not need to raise the temperature of ice to 0 °C for it to melt if it is under sufficient pressure. At the bottom of a glacier there is a great deal of pressure. Raising the temperature just a little may be more than enough for it to melt even if it is only a thin layer. Then it can slip, slippage produces friction, friction creates additional heat like in ice skating, there is more melt and the glacier moves further.

    In the case of ice shelves, temperature does not have to be raised even so far as the melting point of ice under pressure. All it needs to do is be raised sufficiently in order to weaken the ice. Weaken the ice and you structurally weaken an ice shelf. Then ocean waves may very well do the rest. Moreover, with climate change there is a shifting of storm tracks which results in more wind at the surface of the ocean, resulting in upwelling of water from below. But water from below has to be replaced since nature abhors a vacuum. Water from above which tends to be warmer than water from below circulates to greater depths.

    As I said above in 185:

    How might the ocean be affecting the ice glaciers? Well, we know that winds are picking up at the surface. This is causing an upwelling of water from below which is balanced by warmer water from above circulating to greater depths. We also know that there are rivers that run underneath much of the ice of the West Antarctic Peninsula. So warmer water may be “attacking” them from underneath. And it doesn’t even have to melt them — structurally weakening them is more than enough.

    Now what is the ocean if not liquid water? Raising the temperature of the ocean will raise the temperature of the ice that it comes into contact with, and this may either melt the ice from below or structurally weaken it.

    Now it is true that the ocean is salt water and that salt water has a lower freezing point than ice, but during the Arctic summers the ocean will be largely ice free at the surface of the ocean — without the pressure, forces and loads that ice is subject to at the bottom of glaciers or in ice shelves. And as I stated above in 186, ice shelves act as corks in the bottle for the glaciers behind them. Remove the corks and what is behind them tends to move. In fact the glaciers accelerate by as much 500%. I believe Gavin mentioned this inline to 179.

    Now think about this: if the ice of Antarctica prior to the Industrial Revolution was roughly in equilibrium with its environment, the reason is that it was gaining ice at roughly the same rate as it was losing ice. However, raising the temperature of ice will shift that balance. What was marginal ice will become submarginal and either melt in place (due to the combination of pressure and temperature), weakens and breaks, or slips into the ocean.
    *
    Alastair wrote in 190:

    How much falls into the sea depends on how much snow fall there has been, this has nothing to do with temperature.

    Wrong!

    Snow would be falling inland as well as at the coasts — and inland has a great deal more surface area than the coastline. More snow would result in Antarctica gaining mass. But as I pointed out above, both in this post and in 186, Antarctica is losing mass, and in fact it is now losing mass at roughly the same rate as Greenland. We know this both from satellite measurements (mentioned in the links) and laser altimetry.

    This is not a game. You should not treat it as if it were a game. Roughly a tenth of humanity lives in coastal areas less than ten meters above the ocean, and much of that land is oddly enough in low-lying areas. Moreover, to force them to move, you do not have to put their land under water. You need only make them more vulnerable to storms by raising the water level, contaminate the aquifers with sea water or algae which often produces a toxin, flood subways or sewage systems. Then the have to abandon whatever infrastructure they are unable to move, and they may become refugees.

    Now think about this: the bottom ice sheet of mainland West Antarctica is actually below sea level. Once due to melting this becomes vulnerable to the ocean there will be more melting. And as I have pointed out above in 186, the warming which results in the destruction of ice shelves has moved from where it destroyed the Larsen B in 2002 to where it is now currently destroying the Wilkins Ice Shelf. That is five degrees of latitude. South. Another five degrees and you are at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

    And at this point we are still just talking about sea level. We haven’t gotten into the droughts or loss of glaciers that currently provide much of humanity with a reliable source of water for drinking and for agriculture. Nor are we talking about what happens politically when resource become scarce or when refugees aren’t wanted by neighboring countries. We haven’t talked about the shallow water methane hydrates which may become vulnerable to warmer oceans or the permafrost which is currently releasing more methane into the atmosphere.

    Moreover, what we do now, even if we were to stop using all fossil fuels today, this will not have any appreciable effect upon the climate system until after 2040. There will be a lag between our actions and the results of those actions. And prior to our current economic crisis the rate at which we put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere actually increased.

    Now if you do not have the time to read people’s responses or the material that they link to, then stop wasting our time.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 2 Apr 2009 @ 9:17 AM

  201. Walter, it sounds like you give up to easily!
    The fact that the EXCEL data came through was something. All that might be needed is to “pad” the blank spots in EXCEL with a character (i.e.) 0’s or periods. Then paste it to the site, where it can then be picked up, pasted in your spread sheet and plotted. I could generate a plots we used to send over the teletype (pre-fax). But a spread sheet could be put together in adjacent column blocks and sent. This would cut down the scroll length, and not clutter up the web site (thinking of you Gavin). I think it’s worthwhile to pursue that thread. It would allow some limited data transfer between the bloggers, and reduce some of this “he said she said”. Arguing over a plot that can be shared I think is more productive. You may disagree with me, as many others have, but at least we would have a clear ides what we are disagreeing about. Post what you think.

    Now Mark, I have put you off too long, for which I apologize. My purpose in this thread was to present a argument, or view, that is transparent that even my cranky neighbor could understand. As such, it is that the facts laid out that are important, not so much the person’s background. Let me say that I have graduate and post graduate degrees in science/engineering. As far as being “TO SIMPLE”, might I refer to one of Sherlock Holmes cases. Here a “Purloined Letter”, could not be found. The reason was that it was “hide” in plain sight, where no one though to look. It shows how it is all to easy to overlook the simple and obvious. I personally have seen “simple” computer operators point out programming errors, that PhD computer science majors could not see.

    Comment by J. Bob — 2 Apr 2009 @ 9:20 AM

  202. “truth” #198:

    Their projections to 2050 and 2100 are based on the IPCC modeling, so once again are dependent on that being absolutely correct—and it’s admitted that there are many unknowns and uncertainties in important fields of climate science—so given all that, why would you discount the comment that was put out by KNMI and Hazeleger last December?

    Why do you want so badly to believe that uncertainty helps your case? Hey, it’s risk. Responsible decision makers prepare for risk by preparing for all of it, including the worst case. Imagine this to be a case where there’s a 90% probability — or why not a 10% probability — of a foreign power attacking your country. Would you seriously argue against preparedness, because of the “uncertainty” and the costs? We’re talking serious bucks there too.

    Uncertainty is not your friend.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 2 Apr 2009 @ 9:25 AM

  203. jim bob,
    i “gave up” because i figured it probably took you a lot of work to create that column(s) of numbers you posted. i could kind of see some patterns in there, but a picture of the graph would be sooo much better. i realized that you just don’t have the ability/capacity to post a picture somewhere on the web, so i did “give up” hope of ever seeing that graph from you. i wanted to see a “picture” of your line graph and compare it to that dot-graph we started with (and tamino’s graph). i would still like to see it, but i don’t use excel, so for me do anything in excel using your data would just be too huge an undertaking for me.

    timothy chase,
    wow…an awesome series of posts (and links). thanks.

    Comment by walter crain — 2 Apr 2009 @ 9:57 AM

  204. since we’re talking chicken, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” The egg. An animal which was *almost* a chicken laid an egg with a mutation, resulting in the first chicken.

    Or then there’s the other correct answer.. neither, it was the rooster.

    Comment by RichardC — 2 Apr 2009 @ 10:32 AM

  205. “As far as being “TO SIMPLE”, might I refer to one of Sherlock Holmes cases. Here a “Purloined Letter”, could not be found.”

    But in the purloined letter, nobody looked on the mantelpiece.

    People HAVE run statistical significance tests on the data and found it supported the warming trend in a manner commensurate with CO2 increases from human generation.

    They’ve “looked on the mantelpiece”. It wasn’t there.

    Comment by Mark — 2 Apr 2009 @ 10:37 AM

  206. Alastair …

    Clouds keep the heat in at night and keep the heat out during the day, the question is which one is the more important. The net overall effect of more cloud is probably negative because they reflect the sunlight back into space in the first place.

    This is nothing but a statement of faith, not a hint of empirical data to back it up, not a hint of analysis. As a scientist you should know better, and you should know that this important issue is the subject of real-live scientific investigation. Rather than pontificate and engage in appendage-waving, do some research in the literature or someplace that summarizes the literature. I’ve heard rumors that the IPCC does that from time to time …

    And, by the way, we *are* experimenting with climate – by dumping large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere. It would be preferable to run that experiment elsewhere, but apparently we’re committed to running it here at home. Indefinitely, if folks like you get their way.

    Comment by dhogaza — 2 Apr 2009 @ 10:55 AM

  207. J. Bob … why not take your questions about Tamino’s calculations over to his blog? He’s a professional statistician, and apparently you’re not, so it sounds like a good learning opportunity for you. And if you’ve caught him out in a blunder he’ll admit it. So go for it!

    Comment by dhogaza — 2 Apr 2009 @ 10:56 AM

  208. All the deniers are quoting WUWT and climateprogress these days as if it was gospel and slate relaclimate in the same way. For some reason the arguments on postings at the Guardian newspaper etc outside of the scientific sphere are just quoting these three web sites these days in a believer, non believer style.

    Its a good job that governments are listening to the IPCC and the scientific evidence and not the other places. Phew !

    Comment by pete best — 2 Apr 2009 @ 11:19 AM

  209. Quote: “I’m sorry, but at this point I do not know how to put this politely: Do you actually read before responding? Are you familiar with what are called hyperlinks?

    I stated in my very first paragraph that melting has in fact taken place 310 miles from the South Pole.”

    Firstly, could could make a point without being so aggressive. On reading that article, yes in this case there were temperatures that were above freezing and therefore some degree of menting is possible. However, the bulk of the antarctic continent (land ice) remains far too cold to melt. The only areas that were shown to have melted were near the sea.

    Quote: “If you apply enough pressure it melts. Even when the ice is below freezing. Pressure lowers the temperature at which ice melts — and it does so for the same reason that ice floats — because ice takes up a larger volume than water. If pressure sufficiently compresses ice, the ice will turn to water even if the ice is below freezing.”

    How much pressure is enough pressure? You need extreme pressures for any significant decrease in the melting point to occur. According to this diagram, at least several MPa before any decrease occurs. Such pressures may occur under several kilometers of ice, but at these depths I doubt you would see any effects of surface warming.

    http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/phase.html

    Comment by Alastair — 2 Apr 2009 @ 11:35 AM

  210. Alastair, ever hear of ice skating? The weight of a 40 kg child standing on an ice scate blade is sufficient to cause water to melt locally. Amazing stuff, water.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Apr 2009 @ 12:19 PM

  211. #207, I never make a comment about Tamino

    #205, What data? From where? It would help if you would be more specific. As I said, I’ve used the Central English temp data 1659-2009 as a start. One step at a time.

    Comment by J. Bob — 2 Apr 2009 @ 12:31 PM

  212. “Firstly, could could make a point without being so aggressive.”

    cf

    “If you are an expert, as you claim please tell me this:”

    Firstly, can YOU try not attacking the integrity of scientists. If you refrain from that you may get more respect. Well, that may be too much to expect given your inability to think clearly, but you will get less aggressive responses.

    NOTE: I wouldn’t have brought this up if you hadn’t gone all Rita Hayworth over the responses to you first.

    Comment by Mark — 2 Apr 2009 @ 12:37 PM

  213. Quote: “Alastair, ever hear of ice skating? The weight of a 40 kg child standing on an ice scate blade is sufficient to cause water to melt locally. Amazing stuff, water.”

    Wrong. Take a look at the wiki article:

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

    Wiki Quote: “Although high pressure can cause ice to melt, by lowering its melting point, the pressure required is far greater than that actually produced by ice skates. Frictional heating does lead to an increase in the thickness of the naturally occurring film of liquid, but measurements with an atomic force microscope have found the boundary layer to be too thin to supply the observed reduction in friction”

    Comment by Alastair — 2 Apr 2009 @ 1:23 PM

  214. re J Bob. #207 was about how you’ve managed to discover that there is no evidence in the temperature history to show warming. You’ve already said you’re not a statistician. Tamino is. You’ve already said that it was simplistic. Maybe Tamino can show you where you’ve gone wrong.

    Comment by Mark — 2 Apr 2009 @ 1:24 PM

  215. Quote: “Firstly, can YOU try not attacking the integrity of scientists. If you refrain from that you may get more respect. Well, that may be too much to expect given your inability to think clearly, but you will get less aggressive responses.”

    Like it or not, my comments regarding the inability to experiment with the climate system are a major point of weakness in climate models. It’s not the scientists I am attacking. Scientists are not demi gods and neither am I, we are all humble human beings. Without this kind of due diligence, these models wouldn’t meet the quality control requirements to be published in respectable chemical engineering journals (I’m a chemical engineer).

    Other sciences such as astronomy also are beyond experimentation, however this is a bit different from climate models. Climate models “predict the future”, the future cannot be observed like space can be observed.

    [Response:Yep. That's the problem with the future. I think you'll find it's a generic issue across a whole swathe of sciences. - gavin]

    Comment by Alastair — 2 Apr 2009 @ 1:33 PM

  216. Alastair wrote in 209:

    Firstly, could could make a point without being so aggressive. On reading that article, yes in this case there were temperatures that were above freezing and therefore some degree of menting is possible. However, the bulk of the antarctic continent (land ice) remains far too cold to melt. The only areas that were shown to have melted were near the sea.

    Lenny Flank at DebunkCreation got a great deal more aggressive with young earth creationists when they refused to pay him any attention — or were generally somewhat more responsive than you — and I must say that there was a great deal less at stake with that issue than there is with climate change — which I go into in some detail at the end of 200. Additionally, the opposition to science wasn’t quite so well-funded. That adds to the difficulties we face — although you probably don’t bear any responsibility for that.

    What annoyed me the most was not the fact that you were claiming that Antarctica never got warm enough for ice to melt, but that you continued to claim it could only happen at 0 °C and that otherwise warming was irrelevant. That melting did not take place only at 0 °C, only at the surface, or for that matter was required before temperature structurally weakened ice had been pointed out by me and others. Regardless, you continued in your claims as if you hadn’t even seen words to the contrary or explored any of the links.

    And if someone is walking through life in that much of a daze, then yes, for their sake and for the sake of others I may very well get a little aggressive, particularly if the alternative in the short-run and long-run are so unappealing.
    *
    Alastair wrote in 209:

    Quote: “If you apply enough pressure it melts. Even when the ice is below freezing. Pressure lowers the temperature at which ice melts — and it does so for the same reason that ice floats — because ice takes up a larger volume than water. If pressure sufficiently compresses ice, the ice will turn to water even if the ice is below freezing.”

    How much pressure is enough pressure? You need extreme pressures for any significant decrease in the melting point to occur. According to this diagram, at least several MPa before any decrease occurs. Such pressures may occur under several kilometers of ice, but at these depths I doubt you would see any effects of surface warming.

    http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/phase.html

    “I doubt you would see any effect of surface warming”?

    Alastair, here are numerous points which that statement suggests you have never encountered before, even though though most of which have been repeatedly made before in one form or another in responses to you:
    * Ice does not have to melt in order to be structurally weakened;
    * Ice can be structurally weakened by a rise in temperature without actually melting;
    * Ice does not have to melt at the surface in order to melt;
    * Ice could melt at the base because of a combination of temperature and pressure;
    * In fact ice must melt at the base of glacier (to some degree) in order for that glacier to move in the first place;
    * For global warming to be an issue for glaciers, it merely needs to be able to speed up the rate at which they move towards the ocean;
    * Ice could melt because it is in contact with a warmer ocean; and,
    * Ice could be structurally weakened due to warmer temperatures such that it no longer is able to withstand the forces and stresses that it is normally subject to — including the waves of the ocean.
    *
    Alastair asks, “How much pressure is enough pressure? You need extreme pressures for any significant decrease in the melting point to occur.”

    You might also ask, “How might this be related to glaciers?” for example. But in any case it would help if you were to ask

    There are scientists who are studying these issues. Much of their material is made available on the web. They are performing empirical studies of one form or another in the fields and in the laboratories so that they can model the behavior of glaciers. Of ice shelves. Of ice sheets. Of sea ice. Ocean flow. The atmosphere. Radiation transfer within the atmosphere. Then these things get incorporated into numerical models and run in computers so that we can come the behavior of those models against physical reality. And if the process if thought important enough, it will get incorporated into a climate model.

    In fact, Gavin could give you a link to where you could get the model they used with the most recent IPCC — if that were of any interest to you. Not that you would be able to run it any more I would. But it is available for those willing to invest in the appropriate computer and who are able to invest the time.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 2 Apr 2009 @ 1:58 PM

  217. Alastair, your belief that the icecap can’t be liquid water at the bottom is refuted by the people who’ve drilled holes and looked at it. Look it up:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?sourceid=Mozilla-search&q=SN%3A++Glacier+and+Ice+Sheet+Hydrology

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Apr 2009 @ 1:58 PM

  218. Alastair made a couple of comments that I’d like to respond to from personal experience as a native of “Snow” Ste. Marie, Canada.

    First, it isn’t true that “You need extreme pressures for any significant decrease in the melting point to occur.” You don’t even need Ray’s 40-kg child on ice skates, though that is a dandy example. All you need to do is take ordinary snow into your well-mittened hands and squeeze it into a snowball. It’s partial melt and refreeze that makes it cohere; really cold snow won’t do it.

    Second, it isn’t true that snowfall is independent of temperature. Cold air is dry air; dry air doesn’t snow. Snowfall tends to be greatest just below the freezing point. (I can’t help but wonder whether this is part of the contemporary inland ice dynamics in Greenland.)

    Oh, and FWIW, a literary corrigendum relative to another subthread: “The Purloined Letter” featured Arsene Dupin (Poe’s French detective), not the redoubtable Sherlock.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 2 Apr 2009 @ 2:00 PM

  219. Alistair, Mighty selective in our quotes:

    The full quote is here: “When the blade of an ice skate passes over the ice, the ice undergoes two kinds of changes in its physical state: an increase in pressure, and a change in temperature due to kinetic friction and the heat of melting. Direct measurements[2] show that the heating due to friction is greater than the cooling due to the heat of melting. Although high pressure can cause ice to melt, by lowering its melting point, the pressure required is far greater than that actually produced by ice skates. Frictional heating does lead to an increase in the thickness of the naturally occurring film of liquid, but measurements with an atomic force microscope have found the boundary layer to be too thin to supply the observed reduction in friction[3].”

    Pressure also increases the plasticity of the ice, making movement, and therefore friction and heating more likely.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Apr 2009 @ 2:18 PM

  220. regarding Antarctic melting:

    “Although some ice sheet experts believe that the ice sheets are more stable, I believe that their view is partly based on the faulty assumption that the Earth has been as much as 2 °C warmer in previous interglacial periods, when the sea level was at most a few metres higher than at present. There is strong evidence that the Earth now is within 1 °C of its highest temperature in the past million years. Oxygen isotopes in the deep-ocean fossil plankton known as foraminifera reveal that the Earth was last 2 °C to 3 °C warmer around 3 million years ago, with carbon dioxide levels of perhaps 350 to 450 parts per million. It was a dramatically different planet then, with no Arctic sea ice in the warm seasons and sea level about 25 metres higher, give or take 10 metres.”

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19526141.600-huge-sea-level-rises-are-coming–unless-we-act-now.html?page=2

    So, we have someone arguing that it can’t, and an historical record that says it can.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 2 Apr 2009 @ 2:28 PM

  221. Alastair (190) — From the latter part of the 20th century onwards, scientists in many fields have increasingly turned to computational experimentation to advance their part of science. Many scientists can only observe as well. Astronomers and astrophysicists come to mind. Do you doubt thier beautiful explanations of stellar evolution and planetarty formation?

    On the sidebar, first link under Science you’ll find some important history: “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart.

    Horse. Water. Drink.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 2 Apr 2009 @ 2:43 PM

  222. Alastair, the way the Antarctic icecap has melted is current news; the drill core work and the models agree:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v458/n7236/edsumm/e090319-07.html

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v458/n7236/full/458295a.html

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v458/n7236/fig_tab/458295a_ft.html

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v458/n7236/suppinfo/nature07809.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Apr 2009 @ 2:47 PM

  223. Ray Ladbury wrote in 210:

    Alastair, ever hear of ice skating? The weight of a 40 kg child standing on an ice scate blade is sufficient to cause water to melt locally. Amazing stuff, water.

    Alastair wrote in 213:

    Wrong. Take a look at the wiki article:

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

    Wiki Quote: “Although high pressure can cause ice to melt, by lowering its melting point, the pressure required is far greater than that actually produced by ice skates….”

    The same section, How it works, also states:

    Experiments show that ice has a minimum kinetic friction at −7°C (19°F), and many indoor skating rinks set their system to a similar temperature. The low amount of friction actually observed has been difficult for physicists to explain, especially at lower temperatures. On the surface of any body of ice at a temperature above about −20°C (−4°F), there is always a thin film of liquid water, ranging in thickness from only a few molecules to thousands of molecules. This is because an abrupt end to the crystalline structure is not the most entropically favorable possibility. The thickness of this liquid layer depends almost entirely on the temperature of the surface of the ice, with higher temperatures giving a thicker layer. However, skating is possible at temperatures much lower than −20°C, at which temperature there is no naturally occurring film of liquid.

    Glaciers can slip at lower temperatures than 0 °C and increasing either the temperature (as with climate change) or pressure (such as at the bottom of a glacier) can increase the rate at which ice slips — such as when a glacier slips towards the ocean.

    Please see:

    The sheer weight of a thick layer of ice and the fact that it deforms as a “plastic” material, combined with gravity’s influence, causes glaciers to flow very slowly. Ice may flow down mountain valleys, fan across plains, or in some locations, spread out to the sea. Movement along the underside of a glacier is slower than movement at the top due to the friction created as it slides along the ground’s surface.

    NSIDC: Why Do glaciers move?
    http://nsidc.org/glaciers/questions/move.html

    But you may find a little more detail in class notes:

    Glaciers move in three ways: internal deformation, basal slip, and deformation of the substratum. Below the shallow surface zone of crevasses, ice behaves in a plastic manner, flowing in response to the pressure gradient. The rate of flow depends on several factors, of which temperature and pressure are most important. Warmer ice generally flows more readily than colder ice, and ice under greater pressure is softer than ice at lower pressure. Because of this, most movement by plastic flow takes place near the base (lowest 100 m) of glaciers. This explains how “cold” glaciers that are frozen to the substratum are able to move, and why many glaciers move faster in the summer than in the winter.

    ES 331/767 Lecture 2
    MODERN GLACIERS AND ICE SHEETS
    James S. Aber
    http://academic.emporia.edu/aberjame/ice/lec02/lec2.htm

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 2 Apr 2009 @ 2:49 PM

  224. The whole point of the ice skating argument is the question of whether the ice melts due to the pressure exerted by the skater. It states clearly that the pressure exerted by the skater is far too low for this to happen. This is in agreement with the phase diagram that I posted earlier.

    Comment by Alastair — 2 Apr 2009 @ 3:07 PM

  225. Ok, point to Alastair for persistent illustration of exactly the kind of argument the book describes.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Apr 2009 @ 3:23 PM

  226. Bocco writes:

    Sorry BPL, you will have to give me another example, icarus is not an electronic only journal according to elsevier who publish it. Volume 200, issue 2 was dispatched on 25th of March 2009, only 2 weeks ago.

    It simply not true that information is harder to get at than 20 years ago, exactly the opposite is true. This does not mean that that I think access to information is good enough, access to disinformation has increased even more.

    You’re right, Icarus is still printed.

    It doesn’t go to Universities that have decided to provide only the electronic version, though, which includes the University of Pittsburgh.

    My experience has been that it’s harder to obtain data than it used to be twenty years ago. You can tell me I’m wrong, but I’m the one actually experiencing the data shortage. Understand, please, that I am someone who frequents the science libraries of the University of Pittsburgh, CMU, and Carnegie Library on a frequent basis. I’m not finding as much information as I used to be able to find. Stuff that used to be available as free PDFs on the web are now only available behind a paywall. If you haven’t got a ton of money or an institutional affiliation, you’re screwed. Period.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 Apr 2009 @ 3:40 PM

  227. I’m reading this exchange over Antarctica melting and I feel like banging my head against a wall. Does our “scientist” not understand the primacy of evidence over argument? The GRACE satellite says the Antarctic ice cap is losing mass. If it’s not melting, where is it going?

    Robert Heinlein said, “When you see a rainbow, you don’t stop to argue the laws of optics. There it is, in the sky.”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 Apr 2009 @ 3:54 PM

  228. Alastair wrote in 223:

    The whole point of the ice skating argument is the question of whether the ice melts due to the pressure exerted by the skater. It states clearly that the pressure exerted by the skater is far too low for this to happen. This is in agreement with the phase diagram that I posted earlier.

    Perhaps. However, the whole point of our discussion of ice in Antarctica is whether temperature has anything to do with ice loss even when the temperature is below 0 °C. You seem to have lost sight of that while pursuing your ice skater on a blog devoted to climatology instead of an ice rink.

    You wrote in 190:

    But we are talking about the effects of “global warming” on Antarctica. How much falls into the sea depends on how much snow fall there has been, this has nothing to do with temperature. If the temperature increases to -5C or -1C or -0.1C the ice cannot melt. Only when the temperature rises to 0C will any ice melt.

    Then there was the related issue of whether ice loss due to increased temperature could take place only if ice melted at the surface:

    You wrote in 209:

    How much pressure is enough pressure? You need extreme pressures for any significant decrease in the melting point to occur. According to this diagram, at least several MPa before any decrease occurs. Such pressures may occur under several kilometers of ice, but at these depths I doubt you would see any effects of surface warming.

    Then there were a long list of other issues which you appear to have simply chosen to ignore. Pressures, stresses, plasticities, the circulation of warmer water, the collapse of ice shelves which had been bottling up glaciers, mass loss, under ice rivers and so on. But not much reason to expect you to start paying them any attention now, is there?
    *
    Captcha fortune cookie: counting 889
    Seems like it might possibly be relevant at this point…

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 2 Apr 2009 @ 4:48 PM

  229. Re #204 >>.. neither, it was the rooster.

    Wrong, it was the dinosaur.

    Comment by Brian Brademeyer — 2 Apr 2009 @ 5:10 PM

  230. Alastair says, “Climate models “predict the future”, the future cannot be observed like space can be observed.”

    Um, actually, it can. You just have to wait. And wait we did–30 years and warming all the time. Prediction. And simultaneously, the stratosphere cooled. Prediction. Ice melted. Prediction. Winters (first to last frost) got shorter. Prediction.

    In real science, Alastair, you get points for predictions. You get no points for saying things can’t be figured out. You sure you’re a scientist?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Apr 2009 @ 5:40 PM

  231. #227 Barton Paul Levenson

    Thank you. I was thinking the same thing.

    A general point: WUWT and so many others are arguing about models and measurement accuracy and it seems they are ignoring the clear manifest signals.

    - Antarctica is losing ice mass.
    - Arctic is losing ice mass.
    - Jet-stream is shifting latitudinally.
    - Long-term trend is warmer.
    - Glacier retreat all over the planet.
    - All the things one would expect from a warmer world are happening.

    I’ve mentioned this before. Models are not needed to see what is in our face, but they are certainly handy for peering into possible, or even probable, futures based on the well reasoned science.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 2 Apr 2009 @ 8:23 PM

  232. Alastair (in #215) said:
    “these models wouldn’t meet the quality control requirements to be published in respectable chemical engineering journals (I’m a chemical engineer).”

    Alastair, have a look at Cambridge’s Chem Engineering Computational Modelling group: http://como.cheng.cam.ac.uk/index.php . They have a decent list of publications in chemical engineering, covering method, theory, and applications. A bit of poking around there might change your mind about the merits of current climate modelling.

    Comment by Ian — 2 Apr 2009 @ 9:31 PM

  233. Quote: “Um, actually, it can. You just have to wait. And wait we did–30 years and warming all the time. Prediction. And simultaneously, the stratosphere cooled. Prediction. Ice melted. Prediction. Winters (first to last frost) got shorter. Prediction.

    In real science, Alastair, you get points for predictions. You get no points for saying things can’t be figured out. You sure you’re a scientist?”

    If you take at look at the climate model predictions, they can’t even agree with each other.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Global_Warming_Predictions.png

    If the different model predictions are all so vastly different, how can we trust any of them?

    Asking a model to predict the future is a vastly more difficult task than correctly “predicting” the past. Models can be “tweaked” to agree with history but anyone knows that that doesn’t mean that it can correctly predict the future.

    [Response: Truly you are beyond hope. - gavin]

    Comment by Alastair — 3 Apr 2009 @ 1:38 AM

  234. Quote: “Truly you are beyond hope”

    Absolutely. Science has absolutely nothing to do with hope and everything to do with fact. To have blind trust in these climate models and not to question their validity is just that, faith, blind hope.

    [Response: The hope I had was that you would start to apply a little logic to your arguments. That has been dashed. - gavin]

    Comment by Alastair — 3 Apr 2009 @ 3:23 AM

  235. Alastair, what’s happening here is that you are coming to a site in which you have the ear of some important climatologists and some very knowledgeable “students” (as Ray put it) of climate, yet despite your skill in the engineering field, you make some basic assumptions about models that are just not true.

    Like the rest of us (some of whom are also skilled in other scientific fields) it would be good to go to the “Start Here” button and check out some of the resources. Among them will be Spencer Weart’s opus on the history of climate science and the latest IPCC report, focusing on the sections on modeling.

    Please pay particular attention to the bases of climate models and the various predictions of the models (hint: Hansen 2006, stratospheric cooling, Mt. Pinatubo). The models do have their limitations based on physical uncertainties and computing power. What’s the saying? All models are wrong; some models are useful.

    You seem to have some experience with engineering models and standards. Think about how one would test climate models based on the limitations of observations and time. Predictions and verification are all part and parcel of science, which is hypothesis-driven. If you have some specific questions, you will find answers here.

    Good luck, and cheers.

    Comment by Deech56 — 3 Apr 2009 @ 5:03 AM

  236. “Asking a model to predict the future is a vastly more difficult task than correctly “predicting” the past.”

    a) The model doesn’t know if its the past or the future.
    b) Build a model that uses the physics of motion and gravity to model a pendulum. Now start it off and predict what it is going to do “in the future”
    c) 30 years ago, today was 30 years in the future. The models predicted pretty much what we see today 30 years ago

    Comment by Mark — 3 Apr 2009 @ 6:21 AM

  237. “If the different model predictions are all so vastly different, how can we trust any of them?”

    ask 20 people what the next number you roll on the dice will be.

    about 1 in 6 will get it right and you’ll see all six possibilities used.

    So why can we say that the average roll of a dice is 3.5, if all the predictions are so different???

    Comment by Mark — 3 Apr 2009 @ 6:24 AM

  238. Alastair says: “If the different model predictions are all so vastly different, how can we trust any of them?”

    Gee, Alastair, on the one hand, you say climate is so complex we can’t understand it. On the other hand, you say that disagreement by a factor of 2, invalidates all model predictions. Maybe you need to take some time and figure out what it is that you actually believe. Once you, yourself, have a coherent position, maybe we can help you refine it.

    Meanwhile, the adults here have learning to do.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Apr 2009 @ 7:05 AM

  239. OK, I’ll explain again. We know that over the last century, CO2 emmissions have increased. We also know that temperature has increased, at least in the latter part of the 20th century. Therefore, it’s no surprise that climate models have so far got this right, was CO2 the cause of the temperature increase? Possibly, but it’s difficult to proove, you can theorise but concreate proof is much more difficult.

    But here’s wehere the models change, now all the models “predict” that we are on the verge of a “tipping point” and that global temperatures will get out of control unless we take drastic action to curb emmissions “now”.

    [Response: Where do you get this stuff? Read the IPCC report to see what the models show. And surprisingly enough there is no model going around offering policy advice. - gavin]

    Now my concern is this, how do we know that this “tipping point” will occur and if so, how do we know how long we have before these drastic temperature increases will occur? You see, we can observe a gradual temperature rise over the last few decades, but we CANNOT observe that this “tipping point” exists. Now I’ve already explained that we can’t do experiments with the climate, therefore this “tipping point” is not something that can be shown to exist either by experiment or by histotical observation. Can you show me an example either in the past or on another planet where a step change in CO2 has caused abrupt temperature changes, ice cap melting and sea level rises. I’m not talking about change that’s occured over thousands of years, I’m talking about abrupt changes over short periods due to CO2 or greenhouse gas emmissions. How do we really know that the world is on the verge of acting in this way? And if this “tipping point” is true, how do we really know what concentration of CO2 is needed? Even if we were to burn all the coal and oil reserves on the planet how do we really know that this will cause a tipping point of runaway warming.

    In a nutshell, the models may be good at predicting recent gradual warming but for future tipping points, wait a minute.

    I really don’t know why people have to resort to personal attacks against myself, science should not be about being on a certain side of an argument. We should be able to consider all possibilities in an honest way.

    [Response: Including the possibility that you have absolutely no clue. - gavin]

    Anyway that’s it from me for a few days, a have a busy weekend ahead.

    Comment by Alastair — 3 Apr 2009 @ 9:54 AM

  240. P. S. – What is Tamino.s site?

    [Response: http://tamino.wordpress.com/ - gavin]

    Comment by J. Bob — 3 Apr 2009 @ 10:34 AM

  241. Alistair @239: Where in the hell are you getting this stuff? It bears no resemblance to anything I’ve read in the published or popularized literature. The models do not predict tipping points, because tipping points involve a change in the physics. An example of a tipping point would be the outgassing of significant amounts of greenhouse gasses from thawing permafrost or the oceans, or the loss of polar sea ice in the Arctic.

    Alistair, it is not a personal attack to say you are ignorant. Ignorance is the diagnosis. The cure is going to the “Start Here” button and starting to read. Learn the REAL science, not some straw man you’ve constructed for yourself or read somewhere else. THAT is the purpose of this site. You will find people here very happy to help you learn. That is why we are here, ourselves. The key to improving your reception on this site is to use it for the purpose it was intended: LEARN.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Apr 2009 @ 10:59 AM

  242. > chemical engineering
    A field much concerned with climate change recently. Perhaps some time spent reading journals within the field would help this Alastair catch up? Alastair could start anywhere in any library with the journals, for instance here, and work forward reading the citing papers.
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6TFK-4HR76NM-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=96244944aaf085c8c5d3a52338cb9389

    But it’s also good to look beyond just catching up on what’s happened in the last couple of decades in one’s own former specialty.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?num=50&hl=en&lr=&newwindow=1&safe=off&cites=16187231149630165062

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Apr 2009 @ 11:02 AM

  243. But here’s wehere the models change, now all the models “predict” that we are on the verge of a “tipping point” and that global temperatures will get out of control unless we take drastic action to curb emmissions “now”.

    It is no longer April Fool’s Day. Hint: go read and learn first, then come back and join in the fun. Displays of ignorance aren’t going to enhance your reputation ’round these parts.

    Comment by dhogaza — 3 Apr 2009 @ 11:06 AM

  244. I really don’t know why people have to resort to personal attacks against myself…

    You arrived here displaying a certain level of intellectual arrogance … coupled with mind-boggling ignorance.

    At this point, you’re probably going to receive fewer personal attacks, but a lot more laughter. People took you seriously at first, but you’ve worn that out.

    Comment by dhogaza — 3 Apr 2009 @ 11:09 AM

  245. Alastair wrote: “Can you show me an example either in the past or on another planet where a steep change in CO2 has caused abrupt temperature changes, ice cap melting and sea level rises. I’m not talking about change that’s occurred over thousands of years, I’m talking about abrupt changes over short periods due to CO2 or greenhouse gas emissions.”

    No, I can’t show you such an example — because the rapid and extreme anthropogenic increase in CO2 concentrations over the last century is unprecedented.

    However, large non-anthropogenic changes in CO2 concentrations that occurred much more slowly — over thousands of years — did indeed lead to “abrupt” (in geological terms) temperature increases, ice cap melting and sea level rises, as well as mass extinctions.

    Human activities are resulting in comparably large increases in CO2 concentrations, but over a period of decades, rather than centuries or millennia.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 3 Apr 2009 @ 11:26 AM

  246. Don’t know last post took, so I’ll try again.

    #203 Walter-TO NOT GIVE UP. If you do I might never post here again. Wonder if I’d be missed? Try copying the data postings off this web site and pasting in what ever spreadsheet you have, and go from there. I checked your linear coefficients, and they were better then my initial ones. One of the things my old stat teacher insisted on is that we VISUALLY look at the data. Does it make sense, and if not why. You do not always need complex computer programs to think for you, trust your self and common sense. I worked for a while in one field where stats are a big thing in the protocol. A number of desks had a “How to Lie with Statistics” book. Does that tell you something? Again, try what you have done this last temp graph, and start looking at other long term graphs to get a perspective. Then make up your own mind, as you now have a basis to start from. Again, climat4you.com has some very good plots & data comparisons. This has been stimulating, and a challenge to try and condense knowledge and experience, and present it in a way that someone with less experience can understand it.

    #205,207,214 – Now I’ve not made any claims to statistics, up to now, but since you brought it up, you will make my long suffering wife happy. I am getting my head out of the blogasphere, and dusting my old statistical process references. I will be putting my head in some books, FOR A WHILE. Now I have to go digging up Wiener and Kalman and seeing if I still do have copy of MATLAB.
    I really think it’s a plot here, to get me to clean out the attic.

    Comment by J. Bob — 3 Apr 2009 @ 11:47 AM

  247. Quote: “You arrived here displaying a certain level of intellectual arrogance … coupled with mind-boggling ignorance.”

    It’s not arrogant to ask critical questions. By contrast it is very arrogant to attack personally someone for having an opposing view or the general attidude that “we are the experts and you are nobody”. There are many climate scientists who are skeptics, don’t you think it’s arrogant to dismiss their arguments.

    Quote: “No, I can’t show you such an example — because the rapid and extreme anthropogenic increase in CO2 concentrations over the last century is unprecedented.”

    Then how can you be so sure that the models are correct if this is unprecedented, they all show rapid temperature increases over a short period. To be fair, maybe the models will proove to be correct, I’m not an expert but that doesn’t mean that I can ask questions of the models.

    [Response: Possibly you don't realise that there is a difference between asking questions and presupposing the answers? - gavin]

    There is no need for personal attacks, there is no place for it in science and as such I won’t be posting any more comments here.

    Comment by Alastair — 3 Apr 2009 @ 12:06 PM

  248. Alastair wrote: “Then how can you be so sure that the models are correct if this is unprecedented, they all show rapid temperature increases over a short period.”

    I didn’t say anything about models. Rapid temperature increases over a short period are already being observed.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 3 Apr 2009 @ 1:27 PM

  249. jim bob,
    well, don’t worry about me giving up. i’ll keep bugging you about it until i see a “picture” of your graph. i was too specific i suppose when i said i don’t use excel – i don’t use spreadsheets… i have no need to for my work (or pleasure…). there’s got to be a way you can “post” a picture of your graph somewhere, but i can’t offer instructions on that or a place to do it.

    Comment by walter crain — 3 Apr 2009 @ 2:01 PM

  250. Alastair —

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/11/faq-on-climate-models/
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/01/faq-on-climate-models-part-ii/

    Horse. Water. Drink.

    [reCAPTCHA agrees: "Reade the".]

    Comment by David B. Benson — 3 Apr 2009 @ 2:10 PM

  251. I am getting my head out of the blogasphere, and dusting my old statistical process references. I will be putting my head in some books, FOR A WHILE.

    You’ve just shown yourself to be smarter than 99% of the people who come by here questioning some aspects of climate science.

    Now, if you or someone else could just teach Alastair to have the same attitude …

    Comment by dhogaza — 3 Apr 2009 @ 2:11 PM

  252. RE #226

    Then BPL, I feel you are unlucky, I don’t recognise this lack of access to information that you find. I’m surprised that the libraries you mention have been – what’s an appropriate word – Bushed (?). If this is what you experience then I take your word for it. An outsider might accuse both of us of having cherry picked our data, but what else could we do?

    Comment by Bocco — 3 Apr 2009 @ 2:12 PM

  253. Alastair Says:
    “3 April 2009 at 12:06 PM There is no need for personal attacks, there is no place for it in science and as such I won’t be posting any more comments here.”

    Alastair, in all fairness to the Real Climate regulars they appear to be more tolerant of differing points of view then many of the skeptic blogs.

    Comment by steve — 3 Apr 2009 @ 3:26 PM

  254. Walter – I think it would be good to get a spreadsheet, in that it is a simple way to manipulate & plot data. I think there are some “freebes” out there. Maybe the web master might come up with a method to post a jpg, or image file, of limited size. Look back at my post, I can see why I got C’s in punctuation, and proofing.

    Comment by J. Bob — 3 Apr 2009 @ 3:47 PM

  255. Concerning tipping points and computer models… Let me first of all acknowledge my not having a clue. This increases my appreciation of you taking the time to provide this blog. I also had gotten the idea that computer models predicted a tipping point. I’d read somewhere (I know that isn’t helpful but I really don’t remember where I picked this up) that 450 ppm of CO2 was the level at which CO2 induced warming would be irreversible, the tipping point. I’d thought that computer models were instrumental in coming to this conclusion. I have read further and found that the term tipping point in the realm of climate science can refer to many things such as ancient ice melting to the point of releasing additional greenhouse gases. With that long winded setup, I’ll ask my questions now.

    Is 450ppm CO2 a tipping point and is this what VP Al Gore is referring to when he says we’ll reach the tipping point in 10 years (not sure I’m quoting him precisely).

    If so, were computer models instrumental in determining this?

    Is 10 years the time frame we are expected to reach 450ppm CO2 if we continue with business as usual?

    I feel I’m coming late to the climate change issue. My grandparents were my greatest influence on how to live life. Living through the great depression they taught me to conserve (waste not, want not). Recycling, composting and conserving energy have been things I’ve always done but I have to admit, though I grew up re-using clothes from the salvation army, I’m not doing that with my children though we do donate. I now have a daughter taking AP Environmental science in high school. In addition to this class, they are covering climate change in world cultures and English/Literature. That is half of her school day. She’s asked her world cultures teacher why multiple classes are covering the same thing (though AP environmental is in much more detail). Basically the reply was it’s a very important topic and most freshmen are not taking AP science classes. This topic gets discussed a lot in our household now. It’s also given my oldest daughter another reason to chastise us for having brought into the world our youngest daughter (child number 3); because we are putting an undue burden on the planet by having had more than 2 children. (Though she complained about this long before being aware of CO2 induced climate change.)

    Thank you for your time,

    Tad

    [Response: Try here for a start. - gavin]

    Comment by Tad Boyd — 4 Apr 2009 @ 4:36 AM

  256. J Bob,

    You’re right about that–go to openoffice.org and you can download a complete office suite that includes an Excel-quality (or better) spreadsheet program.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Apr 2009 @ 4:56 AM

  257. #256 Thank You. There you go Walter. If you can use the spreadsheet to pull the info off of these posting, you can then plot the it and we have established a method of sharing data. I am now using the Visual Basic option in EXCEL to re-activate my old analysis programs, so we might find some interesting stuff. Will watch for you postings on this thread.
    Take care.

    Comment by J. Bob — 4 Apr 2009 @ 8:26 AM

  258. jbob,
    here’s the specific “tamino” link that has his interpretation of the data.
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/04/28/central-england-temperature/

    i’ll see about learning how to use a spreadsheet to produce a graph. would i have to enter in all those thousands(?) of data points?

    regarding spelling etc… i say it’s content that counts. as you can see, it appears the shift key for capital letters on my typewriter is broken.

    Comment by walter crain — 4 Apr 2009 @ 9:10 AM

  259. How to post a picture here:
    1) put the picture on a web site that hosts pictures.*
    2) post the URL here.
    ________
    * Google

    [Response: You can use <img src="http://..." > html as well. - gavin]

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Apr 2009 @ 9:24 AM

  260. 258- How about a demo?

    Comment by J. Bob — 4 Apr 2009 @ 9:29 AM

  261. I meant 259 for a demo. Walter, you normally can cut and past data to a spreadsheet, just like moving text in a word processor.

    Comment by J. Bob — 4 Apr 2009 @ 9:48 AM

  262. > demo

    Sure. Open the Advocacy thread: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/04/advocacy-vs-science/

    Use ‘View Page Source’ (Firefox)/whatever it’s called in your browser.

    Use ‘find’ for this string: 3 April 2009 at 1:17 PM

    Scroll down to the following line after you find that.

    You’ll see where Gavin put the tags on the link I posted, so it displays the picture inline.

    It can’t be pasted in here or you won’t see the code. You have to view the page source to see the HTML code before and after the URL for the picture.

    Or use View Source in this thread and look at what follows:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Apr 2009 @ 10:15 AM

  263. Forgot to close the html tag. IF you use a left angle bracket it has to be followed eventually by a slash right angle bracket; Preview won’t show it so you just types your best guess and tries it out. Maybe:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Apr 2009 @ 10:20 AM

  264. Nope. What if we actually type in exactly the same code?
    Flickr wants it to be called this, so we mention their name a lot, but it disappears when used at RC:

    See? What followed the colon just disappeared.

    That might work this way, still using the direct link Flickr wants; at least the following line does show up in Preview here:

    That’s hand typing in exactly the same HTML Gavin described, and links to a screenshot of the HTML

    [Response: fixed. You need to link directly to the img file (i.e. the jpg), not the flickr www address, and you need to use the angle brackets and quotes rather than the html rendering of them. - gavin]

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Apr 2009 @ 10:36 AM

  265. When you start working with spreadsheets — make sure you read about the research _about_ spreadsheets. The study of the kinds of errors people make in spreadsheets is extensive, and humbling.

    A few places to start:
    http://www.eusprig.org/
    and http://panko.shidler.hawaii.edu/SSR/Mypapers/whatknow.htm

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Apr 2009 @ 10:59 PM

  266. Hank and Gavin,

    I am not able to get the “img src” tag to work, either. However, that may be a good thing. Imagine people linking to images on slow servers. Perhaps deliberately doing so. The blog would load much more slowly if at all. Imagine people linking to large images, say five megabytes in size. Some people still have rinky-dink computers or connections to the web. Just providing a link to the image should probably be enough for the commenters. Then its “Let the clicker beware.”

    Sincerely yours,
    Cautious

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 4 Apr 2009 @ 11:36 PM

  267. Alistair says “It’s not arrogant to ask critical questions.”

    Nope, it ain’t. However, if you will go back to your initial post in this thread, can you find a single question mark in anything you typed? I couldn’t. Not one. Rather, I find a whole bunch of ignorant assertions, which, given that you are addressing them to scientists who have been studying climate for decades, was pretty arrogant. What is more, you evidently realized that your approach was aggressive, as you said you expected abuse.

    So if your purpose was to increase your understanding, you chose an odd manner to go about it. Even in your current post, you assert:
    “There are many climate scientists who are skeptics,…”

    Really? Care to name them? I’ll help. Here’s a list of the most cited authors on climate change. So… where are they?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Apr 2009 @ 7:25 AM

  268. “Barton Paul Levenson Says:
    2 April 2009 at 3:54 PM
    I’m reading this exchange over Antarctica melting and I feel like banging my head against a wall. Does our “scientist” not understand the primacy of evidence over argument? The GRACE satellite says the Antarctic ice cap is losing mass. If it’s not melting, where is it going?”

    I found this question to be very interesting and have two possible alternatives to an increased rate of melting. The first is that the models depicting the rate of land mass rising in the antarctic are mistaken. The second is that precipitation is lessening.

    Comment by steve — 5 Apr 2009 @ 8:27 AM

  269. Now that you have a hypothesis, steve (#268) go see if either is correct. The second one should be easy to check.

    This is called “science”.

    Comment by Mark — 5 Apr 2009 @ 10:11 AM

  270. Steve, using your approach, it’s also possible the fish are drinking more water, or the Earth is expanding. That’d explain it too.

    But you need more than just a notion. You need some credible mechanism — some way your notion could be happening; you need some observation that supports what you think is happening; and you need some way to explain away the observations that support the ideas other people have. The GRACE satellite isn’t a model and the observations aren’t models.

    You have to go beyond models, else it’s just turtles all the way down.
    I’m not going to bother suggesting you look up the science yet.
    But there’s a very good section on fairy tales in the children’s library.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Apr 2009 @ 10:31 AM

  271. #255 – Thank you for the link Gavin. To make sure I’ve understood your 2006 article correctly, Dr. Hansen’s 10 years to a tipping point is an educated (very educated) estimate of how long we have to stop increasing CO2 ppm (to prevent it going over the dangerous 400ppm level) as opposed to the result of calculations from a computer model.

    Also, I suspect from what I’ve read here now that VP Al Gore’s recent mention of us having 10 years until we reach the tipping point was probably a re-iteration Dr’ Hansen’s statement made in 2006.

    As just a member of the general public, I’m trying sort out what is real and what is not in the body of information I’m getting from my daughter’s high school classes and elsewhere. Our local tv news and newspaper often have reports on how climate change is, or could affect our lives here in Washington state.

    Thank you for being available to help fill in the missing pieces of information.

    Tad

    Comment by Tad Boyd — 5 Apr 2009 @ 11:31 AM

  272. Barton Paul Levenson wrote in 227 three days ago back on 2 April 2009:

    I’m reading this exchange over Antarctica melting and I feel like banging my head against a wall. Does our “scientist” not understand the primacy of evidence over argument? The GRACE satellite says the Antarctic ice cap is losing mass. If it’s not melting, where is it going?

    steve wrote in 268:

    I found this question to be very interesting and have two possible alternatives to an increased rate of melting. The first is that the models depicting the rate of land mass rising in the antarctic are mistaken.

    Land rising will be a fairly gradual effect, taking millenia, not decades — to result from ice loss. Therefore I strongly doubt that the “rising” of the land has any appreciable bearing upon our estimates of ice loss in Antarctica, whether they are based upon gravity measurements via satellites or laser altimetry.

    steve wrote in 268:

    The second is that precipitation is lessening.

    Actually global warming is supposed to increase precipitation in Antarctica, not decrease it — as raising the temperature puts more moisture in the air for precipitation. Moreover, in terms of precipitation, for all intents and purposes, Antarctica is already a desert. Difficult for precipitation to go down from there.

    Besides — we know that it has been losing mass by means of melting by tracking the flow of glaciers — which is happening well inland.

    Please see:

    To infer the ice sheet’s mass, the team measured ice flowing out of Antarctica’s drainage basins over 85 percent of its coastline. They used 15 years of satellite radar data from the European Earth Remote Sensing-1 and -2, Canada’s Radarsat-1 and Japan’s Advanced Land Observing satellites to reveal the pattern of ice sheet motion toward the sea. These results were compared with estimates of snowfall accumulation in Antarctica’s interior derived from a regional atmospheric climate model spanning the past quarter century.

    Antarctic Ice Loss Speeds Up, Nearly Matches Greenland Loss
    ScienceDaily (Jan. 24, 2008)
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123181952.htm

    I submit that when the ice flows out into the ocean most it melts sooner or later. And I submit that when it flows into the ocean that is mass loss. Moreover, we know that it is of roughly the same magnitude as is required to explain the mass loss as measured from space.

    When a conclusion receives justification from multiple, largely independent lines of investigation, the conclusion generally acquires far more justification than it would receive from any single line of investigation considered in isolation from the rest.
    *
    The scare marks “” around “scientist” were there for a reason. When I was “debating” evolution vs. creationism in DebunkCreation with creationists, every few weeks we would have a creationist come by with only a first name claiming to be a scientist but would refuse to even mention what his speciality was — and it soon became quite clear that the “scientist” knew very little about the scientific method or any area of science he chose to discuss, and as such was clearly not a scientist.

    As such, Barton’s question was rhetorical.

    And I am afraid that you have been chasing unicorns.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 5 Apr 2009 @ 1:37 PM

  273. hank!
    “the earth is expanding…” gosh that is SO funny! but, seriously it COULD be. get gavin to check out the satellite measurements. of course, those COULD be off too, i mean you never know. and look into that fish-drinking theory too…

    and thanks for your (and gavin’s) efforts in facilitating jbob’s posting that graph. i can’t wait to see it.

    Comment by walter crain — 5 Apr 2009 @ 3:03 PM

  274. Timothy Chase Says:
    “Land rising will be a fairly gradual effect, taking millenia, not decades — to result from ice loss. Therefore I strongly doubt that the “rising” of the land has any appreciable bearing upon our estimates of ice loss in Antarctica, whether they are based upon gravity measurements via satellites or laser altimetry”

    Timothy I’m not a scientist but I do find certain things interesting for the strangest of reasons and one of those things was the idea that Scandinavia was rising rather quickly due to having lost the ice from the last ice age. From Donald Blanchard’s the ABC’s of Plate Tectonics I see that Scandinavia is currently rising at 90cm per century and the average it has risen over the last 8000 years is 68mm per year. The surface area of antarctica is about 14.2 million km. Unless I have made the unfortunate error of misplacing a decimal point I find this comes out to 14km squared for each mm of rising. Based on what is possible, it is certainly possible that the mass of antarctica can be affected by the rate of the rising land mass.

    Comment by steve — 5 Apr 2009 @ 4:49 PM

  275. Hank Roberts Says:
    5 April 2009 at 10:31 AM “The GRACE satellite isn’t a model”

    But it does rely on a model to determine the rate of land rise. Correct?

    Timothy Chase Says “And I am afraid that you have been chasing unicorns.”

    I don’t mind chasing unicorns. You learn a lot during the chase.

    Comment by steve — 5 Apr 2009 @ 5:06 PM

  276. Steve, the reason that Scandinavia is rising rapidly is because the glaciers melted relatively recently and the crust, abruptly relieved of a large burden, is rebounding. The same is true in Northern Canada.

    By contrast, the Antarctic ice is still (mostly) there.

    You ask if GRACE “uses a model” to determine the rate of land rise. Based on this source, I would say, “not in the sense you mean it.” But read for yourself.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 5 Apr 2009 @ 7:53 PM

  277. steve wrote in 274:

    Timothy I’m not a scientist but I do find certain things interesting for the strangest of reasons and one of those things was the idea that Scandinavia was rising rather quickly due to having lost the ice from the last ice age. From Donald Blanchard’s the ABC’s of Plate Tectonics I see that Scandinavia is currently rising at 90cm per century and the average it has risen over the last 8000 years is 68mm per year.

    Well, let’s see:

    NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

    During the last ice age the whole Fennoscandia was covered with ice. In the area of Gulf of Bothnia the thickness of the ice cover was about three kilometres. The weight of the ice cover compressed land that now is tending to rise to the earlier level. This causes land uplift that has changed the sea bottom into dry soil since the end of the ice age. In Oulu as well as in the whole coast of the Bothnian Gulf the land still rises at the rate of one metre per century.

    OULU AS A CONGRESS CITY
    http://www.congressoulu.fi/english/congresscity.html

    Yes, I suppose when you lose 3 km of ice (see above) at the end of an ice age (10,000 – 15,000 years ago) there will be some rebound. However, the last occurred primarily in the northern hemisphere, and to a much lesser extent in the southern. Some parts of Chile were affected, and so were some parts of New Zealand. (See Wikipedia’s Last glacial period.)

    However, with ice core samples we appear to have a fairly good idea of what was going on in Antarctica. Its been pretty much a deep freeze. No kilometers of ice shaved off to cause rebound, although there does appear to have been a fair amount of sea ice loss earlier in the twentieth century, principally prior to 1975.

    Sure there is going to be rebound — after a great deal of ice has melted. However, we are only at the beginning of the melt in Antarctica — with temperatures now rising along the West Antarctic Ice Peninsula more rapidly that just about anywhere else on this earth, and warming throughout nearly all of the surrounding Southern Ocean.
    *
    Now you have an argument regarding the area of Antarctica and whether the rise of this area might be sufficient to serve your needs without presumably having been already observed…

    steve wrote in 274:

    The surface area of antarctica is about 14.2 million km. Unless I have made the unfortunate error of misplacing a decimal point I find this comes out to 14km squared for each mm of rising.

    You also have an argument involving possibility…

    steve wrote in 274:

    Based on what is possible, it is certainly possible that the mass of antarctica can be affected by the rate of the rising land mass.

    *
    Let me elucidate the nature of your argument involving possibility with a counterexample prior to turning to the question of surface area:

    It is possible for humans to become pregnant. I am human, therefore I may become pregnant.

    However, I am a male and therefore cannot become pregnant.

    Now I ask: do you have any evidence that what you are claiming is “possible” is actually the case — given what we know regarding Antarctica?
    *
    Turning to the content of your argument, I am not exactly sure how you are doing your calculations, or for that matter entirely sure of what you mean by the mass of Antarctica being affected by the rate at which land rises. Are you suggesting that the land rises and then goes poof? Like a magic trick?

    In both Newtonian and Einsteinian theories of gravity, internal to a thin, spherical shell of uniformly distributed matter there is no gravitational field, but external to that shell the gravitational field behaves the same as it would if its source were a mass point of no extension.

    If Antarctica were to rise this would not lessen the gravitational field as measured from space — by means of the differential influence of the gravitational field on two satellites separated by some distance as in the Grace Experiment — except insofar as the rising of the land mass pushed water away from Antarctica’s coasts — but then the loss of mass would be in the waters surrounding Antarctica, not Antarctica itself. So I really don’t see why you are going on about the area of the entire Antarctic continent.
    *
    But setting all this aside — we have seen glaciers accelerating towards the coasts. We have detailed maps of glacier flow towards the ocean. We know that the glaciers are not piling up along the coastline, but that they are instead falling over it into the ocean.

    Please see and acknowledge what I included and quoted previously but now emphasize:

    To infer the ice sheet’s mass, the team measured ice flowing out of Antarctica’s drainage basins over 85 percent of its coastline. They used 15 years of satellite radar data from the European Earth Remote Sensing-1 and -2, Canada’s Radarsat-1 and Japan’s Advanced Land Observing satellites to reveal the pattern of ice sheet motion toward the sea.

    Antarctic Ice Loss Speeds Up, Nearly Matches Greenland Loss
    ScienceDaily (Jan. 24, 2008)
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123181952.htm

    Grace says that Antarctica is losing mass. Measured ice flow along the coastlines shows that Antarctica is losing mass roughly equal to what Grace measured.

    Precipitation could have trended down as you suggest, but this would not in any way affect the fact that ice has been flowing out along the coastlines — and that this has been the cause of a loss of mass roughly equal to what the Grace Experiment shows. It would not eliminate observed and measured ice flow as a form of mass loss — roughly equal to what Grace measured. It would not be an alternative, but something in addition to what was lost by ice flow.

    And then you would be left with the problem of why we didn’t detect this additional mass loss.
    *
    A few weeks ago, I wrote somewhat humorously in response to something I liked:

    I suppose you think that the likelihood that a given scientific conclusion is wrong decreases as an exponential function of the number of lines of evidence.

    That only works for members of the reality-based community. For denialists its the other way around. Knock out any one line of evidence and you’ve knocked out the conclusion — at least until someone else brings up the other lines of evidence. But then you can ignore them, go home, come back tomorrow and start afresh.

    18 March 2009 at 2:19 PM
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=657#comment-115227

    I would like to think that you are not simply trying to knock out a given line of evidence for a given conclusion simply by casting (unreasonable) doubt on that line of evidence — then ignoring the other lines of evidence (however strong they may be) which point to the same conclusion.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 5 Apr 2009 @ 9:47 PM

  278. ref # 276 Thanks Kevin but although I may not have been making myself very clear I have little reason to doubt that I had the idea clear in my head. I have found a study recently published called Glacial Isostatic Adjustment over Antarctica from combined GRACE and ICESat satellite data which seems to me to agree with the basics of what I was saying. They say they have now determined that the GIA impact on GRACE-derived estimates of mass balance to be about 80GT/year. It’s from Geophysical Research Abstracts vol.11 2009. From reading this abstract one would conclude that it was a problem at least until 2009.

    Comment by steve — 5 Apr 2009 @ 9:49 PM

  279. ref #277 No Timothy, actually I’m not arguing about anything other then if land masses rising at varying rates can mess up GRACE data. It seems that people are putting a considerable amount of effort into quantifying just how much it does.

    Speaking of GRACE, which was my topic I thought, I have found several references to the deglaciation model and that is what I had read before. Unfortunately the best description of it I can’t find again but it basically models the earths crust and tries to provide a reasonable assumption of how much the crust would rise and this is used with the GRACE measurements to determine how much mass is ice and how much is land.

    Comment by steve — 5 Apr 2009 @ 10:44 PM

  280. Timothy Chase Says:
    5 April 2009 at 9:47 PM “Please see and acknowledge what I included and quoted previously but now emphasize”

    I’m sorry Timothy, yes I have glanced at it. I really haven’t had time to try to digest it yet, I have been busy trying to prove that the rate of land rising was important to how GRACE functions. I am not ignoring it and will sit down and examine it at length some time.

    Comment by steve — 5 Apr 2009 @ 10:52 PM

  281. Steve, 80 GT out of a total of how much?
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=%22Glacial+Isostatic+Adjustment+over+Antarctica+from+combined+GRACE+and+ICESat+satellite+data%22

    The first of the 2 hits seems to be the paper you’re talking about; do you have the full text? The abstract ends:

    “… The inferred GIA signal over the complete Antarctic continent supports Late-Pleistocene ice models derived from glacio-geologic studies, with important differences over the two main ice-shelves. The contribution of GIA mass change remains limited to less than 100 Gt/yr, which is considerably smaller than previously thought.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Apr 2009 @ 11:00 PM

  282. steve wrote in 278:

    ref # 276 Thanks Kevin but although I may not have been making myself very clear I have little reason to doubt that I had the idea clear in my head. I have found a study recently published called Glacial Isostatic Adjustment over Antarctica from combined GRACE and ICESat satellite data which seems to me to agree with the basics of what I was saying. They say they have now determined that the GIA impact on GRACE-derived estimates of mass balance to be about 80GT/year. It’s from Geophysical Research Abstracts vol.11 2009. From reading this abstract one would conclude that it was a problem at least until 2009.

    More or less. Yes — with rebound there would have been displacement of water. It may also result in the flow of rock beneath the rebound where rock is denser than the ice the volume of which it was replacing. And you are right about Antarctica having suffered some glacial isolatic rebound since the last glacial period.

    The following…

    Last glacial period
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisconsin_glaciation

    … does not in any way indicate that Antarctica was strongly affected by isostatic rebound. However…

    Post-glacial rebound
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-glacial_rebound

    … indicates that Antarctica was affected.

    But as you have just pointed out, the signal of glacial isostatic adjustment is now smaller than the signal derived from GRACE. And in either case it would not have affected the measure of ice flow along the coastline.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 5 Apr 2009 @ 11:38 PM

  283. Steve,

    My apologies. I misunderstood your intentions — which sounded like someone arguing that we can’t really say for sure that Antarctica is experiencing a negative mass balance — even with all the evidence.

    However, I might have to give you a link some time to my “Welcome to DebunkCreation.” My first post was a tongue-in-cheek Omphalosian argument — and people took it seriously for the next several hours.

    Anyway, our interaction tells me I need to be a little more careful on a number of fronts — including keeping my “facts” straight.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 6 Apr 2009 @ 12:29 AM

  284. ref # 281 no Hank I don’t have the full paper. I found the topic interesting but I believe they wanted to charge me for it and I didn’t find it that interesting.

    ref # 283 No apology needed Timothy. If my comment would have been taken as intended I would have missed out an engaging conversation.

    Comment by steve — 6 Apr 2009 @ 7:28 AM

  285. I almost dread saying this but can’t seem to stop myself, so let me prefix it with the comment: I don’t have any reason to doubt the antarctic is melting nor do I find if it wasn’t to be particularily strong evidence towards anything

    wouldn’t the GIA mass being smaller then previously thought indicate the ice mass is greater then was previously thought

    Comment by steve — 6 Apr 2009 @ 7:55 AM

  286. steve wrote in 285:

    I almost dread saying this but can’t seem to stop myself, so let me prefix it with the comment: I don’t have any reason to doubt the antarctic is melting nor do I find if it wasn’t to be particularily strong evidence towards anything.

    It is what it is, and identification precedes evaluation. The important thing is to figure out what is going on then go from there.

    However, that said, there appear to be several studies coming out that are making use of similar sets of data but attempting to answer related questions.

    One such study states in the abstract:

    Furthermore, the sea level budget approach presented in this study allows us to constrain independent estimates of the Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) correction applied to GRACE-based ocean and ice sheet mass changes, as well as of glaciers melting. Values for the GIA correction and glacier contribution needed to close the sea level budget and explain GRACE-based mass estimates over the recent years agree well with totally independent determinations.

    Sea level budget over 2003–2008: A reevaluation from GRACE space gravimetry, satellite altimetry and Argo
    A. Cazenave, K. Dominh, S. Guinehut b, E. Berthier, W. Llovel, G. Ramillien, M. Ablain, G. Larnicol
    Global and Planetary Change 65 (2009) 83–88

    Digging deeper into the paper I found the following:

    It is worth to note that our GRACE-based estimate for Antarctica over the past 5 yr is in good agreement with Rignot et al. (2008) estimate. These results suggest that recent years ice sheet contribution to sea level has increased compared to the 1990s (Lemke et al., 2007). In the following we consider for the total ice sheet contribution, the average of the two methods presented in Section 3, i.e., ∼1.0+/−0.15 mm/yr for 2003-2008.

    ibid.

    Eric Rignot most recent work in 2008 supported a larger, accelerating contribution of Antarctica’s ice mass balance to the rise in sea level. Which would mean that the results of this study are consistent with what we are observing in terms of ice flow along the coastline.

    Hurray for us! Hey, wait a second… This isn’t good.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 6 Apr 2009 @ 9:30 AM

  287. PS to the above

    The results I had been referring us to in terms of ice loss and glacier flow:

    To infer the ice sheet’s mass, the team measured ice flowing out of Antarctica’s drainage basins over 85 percent of its coastline. They used 15 years of satellite radar data from the European Earth Remote Sensing-1 and -2, Canada’s Radarsat-1 and Japan’s Advanced Land Observing satellites to reveal the pattern of ice sheet motion toward the sea.

    Antarctic Ice Loss Speeds Up, Nearly Matches Greenland Loss
    ScienceDaily (Jan. 24, 2008)
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123181952.htm

    … was a product of Eric Rignot’s 2008 work:

    In a first-of-its-kind study, an international team led by Eric Rignot of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and the University of California, Irvine, estimated changes in Antarctica’s ice mass between 1996 and 2006 and mapped patterns of ice loss on a glacier-by-glacier basis. They detected a sharp jump in Antarctica’s ice loss, from enough ice to raise global sea level by 0.3 millimeters (.01 inches) a year in 1996, to 0.5 millimeters (.02 inches) a year in 2006.

    ibid.

    I had the paper but lost everything due to hard drive failure earlier this year.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 6 Apr 2009 @ 9:39 AM

  288. Walter I think I got the images up. I checked the links and they look OK. http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/temp_est_1-1v0Pu.gif and http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/temp_est_2-AyTtN.gif
    The first one gives a general view on how well the linear estimation looks. They were your base & slope numbers I believe. The actual flops around the trend line, but stays pretty close to it. Summed error from the line and actual data was less then a degree.
    The second line is the error between the estimate and actual. One reason to plot the error is to get a unbiased look at the error. You are not influenced by the slope. I also filtered the error with a 1st order filter (Time constant of 8 mo. From the filtered error, one might get the impression there could be a downward trend. More work to do.

    Comment by J. Bob — 6 Apr 2009 @ 10:15 AM

  289. From Eric Rignot’s letter:

    Our results provide a nearly complete assessment of the spatial pattern in mass flux and mass change along the coast of Antarctica, glacier by glacier, with lower error bounds than in previous incomplete surveys, and a delineation of areas of changes versus areas of near stability. Over the time period of our survey, the ice sheet as a whole was certainly losing mass, and the mass loss increased by 75% in 10 years. Most of the mass loss is from Pine Island Bay sector of West Antarctica and the northern tip of the Peninsula where it is driven by ongoing, pronounced glacier acceleration.

    Rignot et al., Recent Antarctic ice mass loss from radar interferometry and regional climate modelling, Nature Geoscience 1, 106 – 110 (2008)

    *
    Captcha fortune cookie: letter bear

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 6 Apr 2009 @ 10:22 AM

  290. P.S – Thanks for all the help, in getting the graphs posted.

    Comment by J. Bob — 6 Apr 2009 @ 10:28 AM

  291. J. Bob, Congratulations, you seem to have reconstructed the hockey stick–your analysis shows that there is definitely something going on in the latter quarter of the 20th century that is inconsistent with the previous linear trend.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Apr 2009 @ 11:08 AM

  292. jim!
    those are fantastic! great job. thanks so much. i can “see” (i’m visual…) how on both graphs about half the blue lines (temp) fall above and below the pink line (linear fit and filtered error) – like that pink line WOULD represent a good “averaging out” or “noise reduction” in the data. it looks very much like this one from tamino: http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/cet1yrbig.jpg (i bet volcanos erupted around 1740 and 1880)

    then he started doing some fancy statistical wizardry (taking 5, 10, 30 year averages http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/04/28/central-england-temperature/) and the graph became more “severe” looking – like more warming has happened recently. i can’t exactly check his math…but does what he did make sense to you? i mean, does it look like he did it right? and is it a valid approach?

    btw, i hope we both understand that central england’s climate trends are not necessarily reflective of the globe’s climate. in fact, i believe one of the long range things that’s “supposed” to happen is england may get COLDER eventually.

    Comment by walter crain — 6 Apr 2009 @ 11:24 AM

  293. Walter Crain wrote in 292:

    (i bet volcanos erupted around 1740 and 1880)

    Fuego in Guatemala 1737 Aug 27 – 1737 Sep 24
    Volcanic Explosivity Index: 4(?)

    Krakatau in Krakatau Island, 1883 May 20 – 1883 Oct 21
    Volcanic Explosivity Index: 6
    (The island no longer exists)

    from…

    Global Volcanism Program: Large Holocene Eruptions
    http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/largeeruptions.cfm

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 6 Apr 2009 @ 12:06 PM

  294. > img tag
    OK, Gavin explains the problem at
    4 April 2009 at 10:36 AM
    Noting for the record, though I doubt they’ll complain, Flickr wants their URL used, not the direct link to the image — so I’d recommend people use some other image hosting service, not Flickr. I’ll consider the one attempt above fair use testing out what works and showing that Flickr’s terms of service render it useless for Realclimate purposes. I’ll find myself another image provider to use here.

    But I agree with others too, that posting images is generally not a good idea, and pointing to them somewhere else is kinder.

    Why? Because displaying images inline _really_ slows down people on dialup or with slow computers, not to mention anyone still using text (Lynx?) or anyone with vision problems using a text-to-speech converter.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Apr 2009 @ 12:45 PM

  295. “in fact, i believe one of the long range things that’s “supposed” to happen is england may get COLDER eventually.” – walter crain

    Unlikely: this idea was based on the hypothesis that the Atlantic thermohaline circulation, which carries warm surface water to northern Europe, could be halted by the influx of fresh water from melting Arctic ice. This is now considered very unlikely – it may slow, reducing the warming of maritime Europe that would otherwise occur, but cooling does not seem to be on the cards.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 6 Apr 2009 @ 12:52 PM

  296. thanks timothy,
    so pinatubo was really ALL THAT, huh? i only saw 2 or 3 given a higher explosivity rating.

    Comment by walter crain — 6 Apr 2009 @ 12:56 PM

  297. nick gotts,
    oh, so that thermohaline theory’s “out” now. too bad…i secretly hoped to move to england if things got really bad snow-wise here in the virginia.

    here’s what i do when it snows (speaking of flicker images): http://www.flickr.com/photos/58171957@N00/

    Comment by walter crain — 6 Apr 2009 @ 2:03 PM

  298. Walter Crain wrote in 296

    thanks timothy,
    so pinatubo was really ALL THAT, huh? i only saw 2 or 3 given a higher explosivity rating.

    Pinatubo in 1991 was big, but Krakatau in 1883 was about twice the size.

    Looking at:

    Largest Explosive Eruptions Since 1400 AD
    VEI Greater Than or Equal to 5
    http://volcano.oregonstate.edu/education/facts/largest_erups.html

    … there have been 33 eruptions at a V(olcanic)E(xplosivity)I(ndex) of 5 or greater since 1400 CA, including (?) and (+).
    24 at a VEI of 5, 8 eruptions at a VEI of 6, and 1 eruption at a VEI of 7 — which was Tambora in Indonesia that began on 1815 Apr 5.

    VEI is a base 10 logarithmic scale for measuring explosivity in terms of the “volume of erupted tephra” with a VEI of 0 corresponding to 10-5km3.

    Please see:
    Volcanic Explosivity Index
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcanic_Explosivity_Index

    Pinatubo from 1991 Apr 2 to 1991 Sep 2 was a VEI of 6 with tephra volume of 1.1×101km3.
    Krakatau in 1883 was also a VEI of 6, but had roughly twice the tephra volume at 2.0×101km3.

    Please see:
    Global Volcanism Program: Large Holocene Eruptions
    http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/largeeruptions.cfm

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 6 Apr 2009 @ 3:32 PM

  299. Hi Walter – Glad you got the graphs. They came through pretty good. You asked I believe what I thought. The first items again, is that it is from a single source, and we don’t know how accurate the thermometers were at recording realistic temperatures. That being said, it does provide a relatively long period of reasonable good thermal data. It may not be perfect but it’s a start.
    Comparing the yearly and estimated temperature, gives us a long term temperature trend upward of about 0.3 deg./century, and that seems to be holding, looking at the way the data is bunched about the line. The more interesting chart is the 2nd one, showing the error between the estimated and actual temperature. It looks that the data is still clumped around the trend line, within a couple of degrees. Otherwise I think we would have seen more “bowing”. That is, if the middle of the line were 2-3 deg. below the estimate, while the ends would be 2-3 degrees above the line. If the “bow” was present, that would be a sure sign that something was going on. But for 350 years, with the extremes shown, I think it follows the trend line quite good, pretty much within 1.5 degree bounds. What happened before 1659, is very fuzzy. Along the way we see “bumps” (i.e. 1700-1750). Again 1815-1835, and a longer one from 1890-1950, and now the last, beginning about 1900 to about now. But a closer look comparing the raw data and filtered, seems to indicate a leveling off has taken place. I would be hard pressed to say the last 50 years would show a “hockey stick’. But 3 items did stick:
    1-I didn’t see any sustained temperature increase in central England, during their industrial revolution.
    2- Maybe a blip when Krakatora blew, and maybe a blip in 1737, when it was already on a run up.
    3- Why do we see, wrt our current discussion on CO2, is what appears to be a leveling off in the raw temp since 2000? This is when CO2 levels are increasing. This is one of those cases you sometimes have to look at the raw and filtered data, to try and make sense as to what is going on.

    So taking this one sample of data, I will have to repeat my original opinion, that I would not yet bet the farm on CO2 and temperature increases being strongly linked. That’s how I read the data, what do you think Walter?

    However there is more information I think I can get out of those graphs. That will take a little more time, and there is more temps to go through. I think if we take this one step at a time, looking at the pros and cons, a clearer picture might emerge.

    Comment by J. Bob — 6 Apr 2009 @ 10:02 PM

  300. J. Bob writes,

    Why do we see, wrt our current discussion on CO2, is what appears to be a leveling off in the raw temp since 2000? This is when CO2 levels are increasing.

    CO2 isn’t the only thing that affects temperature. It is also affected by other greenhouse gases, changes in sunlight, aerosols both natural and artificial, albedo changes due to differences in land use, and vagaries of the ocean-atmosphere interchange. That’s why the definition of climate requires 30 years or more of data to find trends. “Since 2000″ is meaningless.

    So taking this one sample of data, I will have to repeat my original opinion, that I would not yet bet the farm on CO2 and temperature increases being strongly linked. That’s how I read the data,

    Extrapolating to the world from central England data is a fallacy of composition. Global warming is talking about the mean global annual surface temperature. For that, ln CO2 accounts for 76% of the variance in temperature anomaly for 1880-2008.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Apr 2009 @ 7:01 AM

  301. jbob,
    thanks again for your efforts. like i said, your graph looks very similar to tamino’s annual graph. then, tamino graphed it using 5,10,30 year averages (or something like that) and came up with those “hockey stick” graphs. you didn’t answer my questions about 1)whether you understand what tamino did, 2)whether he “did the math” right and 3)whether you think his approach is valid.

    i’m also eager, but will wait as long as it takes, to see what other information you can “get out of these graphs.”

    even in the annual graph you and tamino did, i DO see a big jump at the end. but i also see a similar “jump” around 1700.

    as far as “leveling off” in the last few years, well, that may be true, but it only looks that way because 1997 was such a crazy unbelievably hot year that it skews the data. many of the years since then have been hotter than many of the years leading up to 1997.

    Comment by walter crain — 7 Apr 2009 @ 8:25 AM

  302. J. Bob writes a frequently asked question:

    > Why do we see, wrt our current discussion on CO2, is
    > what appears to be a leveling off in the raw temp since 2000?

    Because we are primed to think we see patterns in randomness.

    Once you read Tamino you know picking 9 years isn’t sufficient to tell anything about a trend in this particular measure; it’s noisy.
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/01/15/what-if/

    We fool ourselves all the time. Science is very new in the world:
    http://calteches.library.caltech.edu/51/2/CargoCult.htm
    ________
    “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.

    I would like to add something that’s not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the layman when you’re talking as a scientist. I’m not trying to tell you what to do about cheating on your wife, or fooling your girlfriend, or something like that, when you’re not trying to be a scientist, but just trying to be an ordinary human being. We’ll leave those problems up to you and your rabbi. I’m talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you’re maybe wrong, that you ought to do when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen.”
    ———-

    Our ancestors as youngsters saw tigers lurking in the leaves and dappled sunlight — and screeched and climbed trees — perhaps hundreds of times when there was no tiger there. They detected every tiger. The penalty for mistakenly thinking they saw what appeared to be a tiger was a little extra exercise.

    Those of their young sibs who, once, missed seeing a tiger did not have children.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=human+pattern+detection

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Apr 2009 @ 10:00 AM

  303. “but it only looks that way because 1997 was such a crazy unbelievably hot year that it skews the data.”

    And goes away if you include it in your last average. Which is why it went from “this century” (in 2001) to “the last 10 years” (in 2008).

    Pretty transparent cherry-picking there.

    And note that now there have been several more very hot years, they’ve gone from “it’s cooling” to “it’s flattening or cooling”.

    Comment by Mark — 7 Apr 2009 @ 10:14 AM

  304. mark,
    this one (recent cooling) is probably about to blow up in their face…

    Comment by walter crain — 7 Apr 2009 @ 12:13 PM

  305. unfortunately, walter, they’ll just ignore any query about it if they’re professional. They don’t have, want, or need their own theory, they just need to tear down the AGW theory.

    For those who don’t care about a response, they will continue to use “it’s cooling” in the same way as “the hockey stick is wrong” arguments. They won’t listen or retract, they’ll just repeat the same old story because it lets them think it’s all A-OK. Any evidence to the contrary is not listened to. After all, anyone for AGW just wants to kill the Western economy and have us all living in caves. Just so we can get climate work that pays so handsomely compared to a CEO of an oil company or a geologist working for that company…

    Comment by Mark — 7 Apr 2009 @ 1:26 PM

  306. mark,
    it’s funny (sad) that invariably when you scratch the scientific surface you find ideology and big gubmint conspiracy theory below..

    Comment by walter crain — 7 Apr 2009 @ 2:50 PM

  307. Walter
    Check out the posting at
    http://www.imagenerd/uploads/yemp_est_3-NmQP2.gif
    This shows the “raw” (1 yr ave) data on top, and a “scrubbed” temp plot below. I don’t have to much time right now, but will get back to you later with a more detail explanation of what I did to highlight more of the “signal” ( the lower frequency wave). It looks like about three low frequency waves in the plot. The first is about 10 years long. Will try to tease more info out.
    Have fun!! Let me know what you think.

    Comment by J. Bob — 7 Apr 2009 @ 9:31 PM

  308. Walter
    correction to graph

    http://www.imagenerd/uploads/temp_est_3-NmQP2.gif

    Comment by J. Bob — 7 Apr 2009 @ 10:45 PM

  309. jbob,
    darn it! the link didn’t work. it sends me to a verizon “page not found” kind of page… please try again. i like the idea of underlying “waves” in the record. sounds like music. do you know if central emgland was “sooty” in the late 1800s? wonder if that would suppress temps then?

    Comment by walter crain — 7 Apr 2009 @ 11:25 PM

  310. JBob, first you have a typo temp not yemp. Secondly, what is that graph supposed to show? What physical presence is being teased out by filtering on frequency domain?

    I posit that there is NO physical presence being teased out.

    Noise is, if it is truly random, white noise in the frequency domain. So all you’ve done is select just as much noise in comparison to the signal as if you didn’t do the filtering.

    That is, there will be a certain amount of noise at each frequency, approximately equally distributed over all frequencies. Taking out high frequencies takes out as much signal as noise, leaving you no better off than before. Except your graph has less information in it.

    So your work is going to be wasted: it isn’t going to be able to show anything significant S/N ratio is going to be unchanged.

    What you COULD try is add up all the same months together for 10 years then see how the September temperatures have changed. Then try 30 years addition.

    And, as someone else pointed out, there’s proof that you can’t tell a lot from a 10-year mean, so it’s hardly going to be proof of anything, merely a hint.

    Comment by Mark — 8 Apr 2009 @ 5:49 AM

  311. jbob…sorry…link still doesn’t work for me.

    Comment by walter crain — 8 Apr 2009 @ 6:41 AM

  312. hank,
    great “cargo cult” link.

    Comment by walter crain — 8 Apr 2009 @ 6:44 AM

  313. “it’s funny (sad) that invariably when you scratch the scientific surface you find ideology and big gubmint conspiracy theory below..”

    What I found astoundingly blinkered was The Register was completely 100% behind the idea that AGW is a great multi-government conspiracy. Lots of bluster and bollocks about it.

    But 11/9 being a single-government conspiracy was laughed at each time.

    If governments around the world, thousands of scientists and the entire scientific journalistic integrity can make up AGW so that one small segment of science can get more grant money, whilst the government get more powers to ban cars, why can’t one single government with a few (couple of score) people in the know crash airplanes into buildings and deliberately kill a few thousand USians so that they can pass the PATRIOT act, start a war to remove a country that had abandoned the dollar for the euro, and give trillions of dollars to companies that employ US government officials (unofficially) manage to keep it as secret? Why would they not even try?

    Comment by Mark — 8 Apr 2009 @ 7:11 AM

  314. walter Try typing
    the link in from your browser. That worked for me this morning. http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/temp_est_3-NmQP2.gif

    Will watch for your post.

    Comment by J.Bob — 8 Apr 2009 @ 7:38 AM

  315. jbob,
    it worked! why would typing it in manually make a difference? anyway… i can see how that second graph, nicely placed below the first one for easy visual comparison, is a “muted” version of the first one. it only seems to show current warming equivalent to one that happened in the 1700s. (what happened in central england in the early 1700s?!) not much “hockey stick” in your graph. i think tamino did something different than just “smooth it out”. he changed the intervals from years to decades – presumably more in line with a climatologist’s long scale view. i’m not sure why/how his results seemed to “mute” the early part of the graph and “amplify” the later temp rise.

    anybody know why that would happen with this set of numbers?

    Comment by walter crain — 8 Apr 2009 @ 8:55 AM

  316. Walter – Glad you finally got it. Don’t know what happened. Anyway, after getting rid of the high freq “noise”, some lower frequency trends seem to appear. Are the 8-10 year cycles related to the solar cycles? Don’t know yet, but that will come out of the wash. The interesting thing was the downward hook the temp had recently. This was not expected, and it should provide some interesting discussions.

    The method used has been around for many decades, early on in communication, and later in image processing. It involves transforming time domain information into the frequency domain, via the Fourier transform, manipulating the frequency data and transforming it back to the time domain. In image processing, space instead of time is used, and is called spatial filtering. I’m surprised I have seen little if any relating to the global warming thing, but I could be looking in the wrong places. Illustrate of the power in this method, is given in Blackman & Tukey (Tukey was co-discover of the Fast Fourier Transform FFT) in their book “Measurement of Power Spectra”. “We were able to discover in the general wave record, a very weak low-freq peak which would have surely have escaped our attention without spectral analysis. This peak, it turns out is almost certainly due to a swell from the Indian Ocean, 10,000 miles distant. Physical dimensions are: 1mm high, a kilometer long”.

    Since this week is special to us, will not be broadcasting much, but will watch for you. You may look if solar activity is related to the 8-10 year peaks that show up in the lower plot.

    Comment by J. Bob — 8 Apr 2009 @ 10:19 AM

  317. jbob, you’re right that it is old hat: Dolby noise reduction, for example.

    But it does rely on high frequency noise to be prevalent. Dolby B and C pre-amplify the higher frequencies so that the reduction is more effective.

    We can’t pre-amplify high frequency noise in the climate.

    Again, you haven’t seemed to have described why getting rid of high frequency noise (and high frequency signal) is appropriate to remove the noise of weather from climate.

    Fine when your tape noise is mostly high frequency, but even annual is, from a climate point of view) is high frequency.

    Comment by Mark — 8 Apr 2009 @ 10:57 AM

  318. jbob,
    i believe there is generally roughly an 11-yr solar cycle. most scientists attribute the “downward hook” at the end to the fact that 98 was such a “crazy hot” year. compared to that record year, the would-have-been record years in the 2000s have been called a “cooling trend”. (2005, i believe was by one set of instrument’s account hotter than 98.) anyway, if you “mute” or “average out” that record year, the hook probably goes away.

    Comment by walter crain — 8 Apr 2009 @ 11:14 AM

  319. Walter – That last down hook also puzzles me. I reran the data using the last 256 years so as to get a sharp end. The FFT uses fixed blocks of data (2,4,8,…128,256,512,etc.) and I got the same downward hook. If it was just “noise”, it would have been filtered out, as you can see how smooth the curves are. The question is: is this downward hook part of the ~10 year cycle, a longer cycle, or a combination of both? What I have to do is look at some of the other lower frequencies to see what they are doing. So I’ll be down over the Easter week, but will take a look after Mon. What I would also like to do is superimpose the solar cycle data on top of the filtered data, and see what it looks like. It would also interesting to superimpose the PDO on it, what would show up.

    I have to apologize at the slowness of this, but having to build this up from scratch takes some time. But it also gets you back to building things up from the simple, and forces you to think what you are doing. So far the Visual Basic coding in EXCEL took about 2 pages.

    The problem with the image link was the period at the end of the URL address.

    Comment by J. Bob — 9 Apr 2009 @ 8:42 AM

  320. “downward hook”
    “last hook”
    Sorry, guys, you’re trying to explain a familiar illusion. Excel encourages this kind of thing. You can’t trust Clippy that much:

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/upload/2007/05/5-year-trends.png
    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/05/the_significance_of_5_year_tre.php#mor
    http://atmoz.org/blog/2008/01/29/on-the-insignificance-of-a-5-year-temperature-trend/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Apr 2009 @ 9:28 AM

  321. Dear Hank – The methods I have used are standard signal analysis procedures. You might want to visit
    http://www.dspguide.com
    where I got some of the code for the FFT. I would trust dspguide as they are pros, and publish in that area.

    Comment by J. Bob — 9 Apr 2009 @ 11:50 AM

  322. jbob,
    i was not really “puzzled” by that “hook”. like i said it’s an artifact of an extremely hot 98. i think it would “go away” if longer time-periods were analyzed. curious to see you start “layering” cycles onto the graph.

    hank,
    great links – especially that “atmoz” one.

    Comment by walter crain — 9 Apr 2009 @ 1:51 PM

  323. “Dear Hank – The methods I have used are standard signal analysis procedures. You might want to visit
    http://www.dspguide.com
    where I got some of the code for the FFT. I would trust dspguide as they are pros, and publish in that area.”

    Yes and everyone knows that digital signal processing is eminently suitable for ascertaining a trend in temperature data…

    Oh, no. We don’t.

    Please prove that DSP and filtering of some frequencies is applicable to ascertaining a TREND in noisy data.

    Comment by Mark — 9 Apr 2009 @ 2:16 PM

  324. #323 – If you listen to a radio, or watch a TV, there is you proof. How do you think the noise was removed from the signal?

    Comment by J. Bob — 9 Apr 2009 @ 10:45 PM

  325. jbob,
    earlier i was wondering what would happen to that “hook” at the end if we took out, or “muted” 98. on another thread, chris colose pointed me to this:

    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/decadal-scale-coolings-not-all-that-unusual/

    it’s interesting because he analyzed the data for the last decade or so and experimented with taking out the extremely warm 98 data point.

    Comment by walter crain — 13 Apr 2009 @ 10:08 AM

  326. “#323 – If you listen to a radio, or watch a TV, there is you proof. How do you think the noise was removed from the signal?”

    Only because the noise on that scheme is not white noise. It is prevalent on the higher frequencies.

    The weather is NOT the weather channel on TV.

    Comment by Mark — 13 Apr 2009 @ 10:58 AM

  327. #323- Do you know of any real physical process that has true “white” noise? Generally we used “pink” or “colored” noise (noise not flat over the frequency spectrum), that was measured for the particular process.

    Walter – I have spent a little time looking at that down hook at the end. Checking to see if any errors were present. But after cutting off freq. higher then 5 years it keeps showing up. It seems that’s what the math says. More later.

    Comment by J. Bob — 14 Apr 2009 @ 9:19 AM

  328. J. Bob, you really should take this discussion over to Tamino’s blog, since he is a professional statistician specializing in time series analysis. If you’ve really stumbled upon a huge hole in how statisticians analyze trends in time series, don’t you think you should work to inform them of this fact? Informing Tamino would be a start.

    Of course, doing so would expose you to the possibility that you’re simply wrong but that’s life, eh?

    He’s keeps an open thread alive there at all times for posts that aren’t related to his latest ramblings, there’d be no problem at all with you posting your use of DSP techniques on temperature data.

    Comment by dhogaza — 14 Apr 2009 @ 11:01 AM

  329. Hi Walter We talked about solar cycles and effects on the weather/climate, etc. Using the
    analysis methods we have discussed, here is a summary of what I was trying to come
    up with, along with some graphs. A re-cap of getting a least error, linear
    estimate of the Hadcet data from 1659-2008, as show in the top illustration of
    temp_est_10
    http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/temp_est_10-k214I.gif

    The middle illustration shows the error between the actual and estimated temp. This error
    Labeled, Input, is used to feed into a wave analyzer to determine what frequencies are present. The curve label Output is a reconstruction of the Input to check the computational procedure. The bottom illustration is the energy (amplitude) present in the frequencies. Like the spectrum visualizer in WinAmp. From the spectral graph, one can see that there is more energy in the lower then at the higher freq. The higher freq are more flat, generally indicating “noise. NOTE:
    The spectral frequencies are in years, NOT seconds, for this analysis.

    The second figure temp_est_11
    http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/temp_est_11-Ncu6K.gif

    shows what happens to the error signal if the high freq. are “cut off” above 0.12 years. This is
    shown in the spectral graph, as the line is zero. At this point you can start to make out periodic oscillations, especially in the 0.1 year area. The bottom illustration shows this added to the linear estimation to get a more realistic view of the temp.
    Note it still shows a downward trend at the end.

    The next figure temp_est_12
    http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/temp_est_12-GOpNo.gif

    shows freq. above 0.02 cycles/year cut off, and 50 year wave show up. Also at the end, these
    low freq. waves seem to be peaking out and beginning a down trend.

    Figure temp_est_13
    http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/temp_est_13-vyhH0.gif

    is one of the more interesting. What I did was cut off the freq. above 0.12 cycle/yr, and
    the freq. just below 0.06 yr/yr, as shown in the spectral graph. In addition, below the
    output line, I plotted the sunspot activity (from http://www.climate4you.com). I think you can see the strong correlation between the activity and the temperature. To me that indicates there is something going on between the sun and our temp. in Central England.

    The last plot was interesting, temp_est_14
    http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/temp_est_14-RbvN4.gif

    Here I looked at the very long wave that seem to be present., almost like a wave 600 years
    long of small amplitude, but still present. This might be related to the ~1000 year cycles, but more data points would have to be taken.

    Any way to sum it up, from this small analysis, I would come to a VERY preliminary conclusion that the warm period we have may be ending. This conclusion is based on looking at the downward trend at the end of figs. _11, & _12. This is based on ONLY ONE sample data base, but it’s a start. It would be interesting to expand the sunspot-temp. However that will have to wait. Spring seems to have arrived here, so the outdoor work begins. Will have to put this work on hold until fall.

    I hope these graphs are helpful, and I must apologize for not having them in a better form. Hopefully they will convey the analysis idea. Will look into your comments above when I get more time. You comments?

    #328 Good idea, but will wait for fall.

    Comment by J. Bob — 15 Apr 2009 @ 9:16 AM

  330. Why 0.12 years, Bob?

    If climate is a multi-decade issue (to void out and average PDO cycles), surely it should be removing any frequencies quicker than 10-30 years.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Apr 2009 @ 10:32 AM

  331. Any way to sum it up, from this small analysis, I would come to a VERY preliminary conclusion that the warm period we have may be ending

    #328 Good idea, but will wait for fall.

    Claims victory. Disappears. No surprise.

    Comment by dhogaza — 15 Apr 2009 @ 11:02 AM

  332. J. Bob, I hope you are not under the illusion that what you are doing is science. At best, you are engaged in numerology until you 1)assess the statistical significance of your conclusions; 2)have some sort of mechanism that at least makes them plausible. You have neither.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Apr 2009 @ 12:44 PM

  333. well, jbob, i really appreciate your efforts. i have to agree with mark (#330) that you need to look at time chunks of 10 to 30 years. no apologies nec. for the format – it’s great you were able to work out a way to post anything. thanks.

    Comment by walter crain — 15 Apr 2009 @ 2:25 PM

  334. #330 Sorry, the cut off freq was above 0.14 c/yr (7 yr period). Again the reason being, the spectrum looked flat with no breaks, or “groupings”. A little experience helps. The fist “grouping“ shows up at about 0.14 c/yr. Also it’s close to, and includes the solar cycles. As a result from temp_est_11, you can see a cleaner signal, with various harmonics, or waves present. What drives these harmonics ( below 0.14 c/yr), I think is the real question. I picked the 50 year cutoff (0.02 c/yr) to see what showed up. Which will take some time to evaluate. But what seemed to be important was the 60 yr cycle shown at the end, from 1940 to 2000+. To me, this looks like a downturn in the making.

    I would also like to see what the Atlantic cycle as a comparison to what I did on the solar cycle figure temp_est_13, as well as the PDO. So there is still some work to do. As such, I never claimed victory, just gave and justified an opinion.

    Now getting back to another comment about using science instead of “numerology”. So the mathematician Fourier and his analysis was “numerology”? I wouldn’t say that to loud in a stats class. Let me refer you to the book used by astronomers ( I believe there is a person at Goddard with an astronomy science background), Handbook of Astronomical Image Processing by Berry and Burnell, starting at p. 453.

    Comment by J. Bob — 17 Apr 2009 @ 11:03 AM

  335. J. Bob,

    Your frequency analysis is interesting and all. What it doesn’t explain is the global shift in amplitude.

    Comment by luminous beauty — 25 Apr 2009 @ 10:42 AM

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