# RealClimate

## Comments

RSS feed for comments on this post.

1. This is off-topic, but there is good news too. See:
EPA Says Global Warming a Public Danger
http://www.truthout.org/032409O
“The White House is reviewing a proposed finding by the Environmental Protection Agency that global warming is a threat to public health and welfare. Such a declaration would be the first step to regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. It also would likely spur action by Congress to address climate change more broadly.”

Best regards, Will

[Response: Actually this is much more significant than the rearguard action from a few think-tank diehards. Though note that there are a few hurdles left before this is approved. – gavin]

Comment by Will Denayer — 24 Mar 2009 @ 11:49 AM

2. Doubters and deniers are always with us, but it is the indifferent who are the problem, which is to say just about every progressive organization and movement in the country. Every day we are witness to new groups forming to promote the very same CAUSE of global warming: DEVELOPEMENT, i.e. overconsumption of energy and resources, in the USA and the industrial world.
Now we have a much heralded stimulus package that comes wrapped in desperate exhortations to the public to stop saving their money and go out and spend it in order to rescue the economy. Inside the package, what do we have? Profligacy. Do we have conditions or hedges to insure that the money being given to the states will be spent on projects that will REDUCE energy consumption? Not one bit. Houston, Texas is planning new superhighways to deliberately open up undeveloped exurbs to new housing developments and shopping malls. Chicago wants to build a third airport to help not airlines but the taxis, truckers, and other air travel support networks, as a way of stimulating more jobs and better incomes. New roads have preempted public transportation networks, including badly needed high speed intercity rail and local light rail.
The notion that these public works projects should even consider climate change or energy use is absent. On top of it all emphasis remains on developing new renewable energy technologies willynilly, with no thought give to energy efficiency and how it can REDUCE the need for new renewable energy projects. I am amazed that hundreds of wind turbines and wind turbine farms are being discussed before any serious studies have been done on how electricity demand could be reduced, which in turn of course would reduce the number of wind turbines needed! This country is indeed the Blind Leading the Blind.

Comment by Lorna Salzman — 24 Mar 2009 @ 11:55 AM

3. I can’t read the first part of their statement very well – is that “We, the utdenigned scientists,”…?

[Response: Click for the full pdf version. (“undersigned”) – gavin]

Comment by Patrick 027 — 24 Mar 2009 @ 11:55 AM

4. If I recall correctly, CATO has been running a very similar (same format, \With all due respect, Mr. President, that is not true\ wording) ad regarding deficit spending to stimulate the economy.

[Response: Yes. They seem to like the theme. – gavin]

Comment by Todd Mooring — 24 Mar 2009 @ 12:08 PM

5. What’s disconcerting, however, is that this steady drumbeat of agitprop from the likes of Cato and the Heartland Institute is hitting its mark. The latest Gallup survey from a week ago reveals that 41% of the U.S. public (including increasing number of independents) believe that the media is exaggerating the climate change story, and the number of folks who believe this is a serious issue has been declining in the past few years. This is a particularly distressing time for the salience of this issue to be declining given impending efforts in Congress to pass a comprehensive cap and trade bill.

Comment by Dr. Wil Burns — 24 Mar 2009 @ 12:08 PM

6. Cato used a very similar full-page ad (down to the “With all due respect, Mr. President, that is not true” formulation) in January to question the unanimity of support for a stimulus bill. (See, for example, here).

Comment by Don Monroe — 24 Mar 2009 @ 12:15 PM

7. Usage fumble/typo: \to whit\ is wrong. A whit is a little bit, an iota, as in \not a whit\ meaning not at all. \To wit\ means namely, from older words meaning to know. Compare \witness\.

[Response: Huh… fixed. Thanks – gavin]

Comment by Ric Merritt — 24 Mar 2009 @ 12:22 PM

8. On top of it all emphasis remains on developing new renewable energy technologies willynilly, with no thought give to energy efficiency and how it can REDUCE the need for new renewable energy projects.

Not true. For instance:

“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has increased the previous tax credit for home improvements from 10 percent to 30 percent of the cost and increased the maximum amount of the credit from $500 to$1,500. This commitment to the promotion of energy efficiency presents a substantial financial incentive to consumers who are interested in weatherizing their homes.”

The administration has made clear its commitment to promoting energy efficiency, as well as pushing for renewable energy sources.

Comment by dhogaza — 24 Mar 2009 @ 12:30 PM

9. I don’t know how it is in the USA but in Britain people generally rely on our Met Office for their info and opinions. Despite your remarks above about medium-term forecasts and cherry-picking of start dates, the Met has issued a number of such forecasts during the past decade which have been spectacularly wrong.

They also say that their medium-term forecasting uses essentially the same computer models as those employed in predicting longer-term climate change. In these circumstances, is it surprising that ordinary people, not having the knowledge and brain of Gavin and your other experts, are wondering if the models might be defective so that the estimated warming might be less serious than at first thought?

This has been exacerbated by recent statements, particularly by our Prince of Wales, that warming is in fact much more serious and that catastrophe will strike us within about eight years. Do you have any comments and advice on the position here?

[Response: Short term seasonal forecasting is very much an experimental endeavour and relies not on the predictability due to changes in forcings, but the persistence of ocean temperature anomalies. It is a very different beast. However, the annual mean predictions for the global temperature that they issue every year does have some skill – being based mainly on the state of ENSO at the start of the year. As for the Prince of Wales, I found the text of his remarks here. Your paraphrase is not accurate.

He actually said “The best projections tell us that we have less than one hundred months to alter our behaviour before we risk catastrophic climate change, and the unimaginable horrors that this would bring.”. This is a statement that acknowledges that there are long timescales in this problem, and that decisions we are making now will go on to affect concentrations and emissions for decades. Thus he isn’t saying that something bad will happen in exactly 100 months, but that if we stick to business-as-usual for the next 8 years, we won’t be able to change things fast enough subsequently to make much of a difference. We will committed to a very serious amount of climate change. While I’m not sure where ‘100 months’ comes from, the sentiment is correct and another decade of 3% growth of CO2 emissions will make stabilisation at any ‘reasonable’ value (and that is a whole other debate) by 2050 or 2100 almost impossible to achieve. – gavin]

Comment by Derek Smith — 24 Mar 2009 @ 12:52 PM

10. “There was a great comedy piece…”

Sounds like something from “Yes (Prime) Minister”, but as I can’t recall the piece in question, I’m guessing.

Comment by Adam — 24 Mar 2009 @ 12:53 PM

11. Dr. Wil Burns, I think it is probably the economy more than the propaganda. It does show, however, that the equation of green=jobs has not yet made it into the public psyche.
I think that people do not yet really understand that abandoning “business as usual” means abandoning the consumer economy for the time being. That is what really scares Cato et al., but it is unavoidable if we are to switch from wasteful consumption to sustainable consumption.

Lorna, Economic stimulus need not entail excessive consumption. Joining a gym is consumption. Improving a climate model or developing new energy resources is economic activity. By all means we need stimulus, but we need smart stimulus that brings us closer to where we want to wind up.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Mar 2009 @ 12:54 PM

12. Re: Dr Burns (#5) But of course – in the presence of fear, uncertainty and doubt, people will naturally be reluctant to take any action (or decide that they’re sick of the whole debate, which is the same thing). Since no action is the default and also the goal of these guys, nothing gets done and they win.

Comment by drgenetics — 24 Mar 2009 @ 12:59 PM

13. looks like it’s time for the climate scientists to take a hint from the evolutionary biologists and fight stupid-petition-syndrome with something akin to Project Steve: http://ncseweb.org/taking-action/project-steve

they recently hit a kilosteve: http://ncseweb.org/news/2009/02/project-steve-n-1000-004625

[Response: Agreed. There has been some discussion of such a thing…. – gavin]

Comment by curious — 24 Mar 2009 @ 1:00 PM

14. Slightly off topic, I suppose, but should be of interest to many:

Lomborg vs Rahmstorf – are the IPCC estimates fundementally flawed?
http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=1262

Comment by Chuck Booth — 24 Mar 2009 @ 1:08 PM

15. Dr. Wil Burns wrote: “This is a particularly distressing time for the salience of this issue to be declining given impending efforts in Congress to pass a comprehensive cap and trade bill.”

It’s no accident. Now that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are no longer around to run the Executive Branch as a wholly-owned subsidiary of ExxonMobil, Chevron, et al, and the Obama administration and the Congress are moving to take action — however inadequate — to reduce emissions, the fossil fuel industry’s campaign of denial and deceit will kick into overdrive, with the goal of undermining public support for the necessary action.

It’s clear this is already happening and we can expect more op-eds in major newspapers from the likes of George Will, more full-page adverts from industry-funded propaganda mills masquerading as “conservative” think tanks, and more comments posted on every blog where global warming is discussed, denouncing the “vast liberal hoax” of anthropogenic global warming, because, you know, it’s been proved that the earth isn’t warming, and if it is, it has nothing to do with fossil fuels.

Comment by SecularAnimist — 24 Mar 2009 @ 1:22 PM

16. They must immediately add these names to the list:

Dr Ben Dover, Dept of Procto-Climatology “Flatulence and low pressure weather systems”

Emma Miopia PhD, Researcher at the University of Freelandia “Ocular facial perception of micro climatology”

Prof Raineth Just, Univ of Brella “Precipitation equanimity in matters of jurisprudence”

Comment by Richard Pauli — 24 Mar 2009 @ 1:22 PM

17. Gavin,

Off-topic: are you aware that this site is lacking the meta description tag? It’s a very important component for search engine ranking. Without it you’re receiving a fraction of the traffic you might otherwise.

Also, it’s less likely people will click on the RC link in search listings because it says nothing other than ‘Real Climate’, e.g. http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=climate+site%3Arealclimate.org

Email me if you’d like more info or assistance.

[Response: I added one. Let me know if there’s more that could be done. – gavin]

Comment by DavidCOG — 24 Mar 2009 @ 1:24 PM

18. They should have pinned global warming on human induced friction… they would have had a better chance of success.

Comment by larrydalooza — 24 Mar 2009 @ 1:30 PM

19. SecularAnimist (#15): ‘“vast liberal hoax” of anthropogenic global warming’

Actually, it is the gigantic global conspiracy of grant-seeking scientists that amazes me. As a layman, I’ve been meaning to congratulate the climate science community on this. It’s a remarkable feat. Two people, one of whom was the President of the United States, were unable to keep secret a sex act in the Oval Office; yet we ordinary citizens have only vague rumors of this conspiracy, the members of which must number in the many thousands. There is no paper trail, no leaked meeting minutes, no undercover cell phone videos. How do you do it?

Seriously, it’s all quite disappointing. I followed the comments to Chris Mooney’s recent George Will rebuttal on the Washington Post site, and it was not good. I and a few others did our best, but the conspiracy theorists, pseudoscience backers, and just plain uninformed mostly held the field. They just won’t stop, even when you confront them with IRS documentation of exactly who paid their “climate experts” (most of whom turn out to be mining engineers or some such) for their opinions.

I don’t get it, and it’s damned depressing.

Comment by Chris Dunford — 24 Mar 2009 @ 2:12 PM

20. Re. 9 The first mention I could find for 100 months was in November 2007, so it seems we have only 85 months left!

Comment by Mike Atkinson — 24 Mar 2009 @ 2:21 PM

21. I was always a bit irritated when I came across the Pielke research on weather-related damages. If I understand it correctly, Pielke takes the development of material damage figures over some decades, tries to quantify the amount of infrastructure that has been added to a certain spot during the same period, and then looks if the rise in damages equals the rise in infrastructure value. Is that it in a nutshell?

Assuming it is, the results lead to some startling conclusions. Pielke’s result is: The increase in infrastructure value equals the increase in weather-related damages, hence there’s no detectable climate trend. However, one of the conclusions of this would also be: There is exactly zero effect of storm warnings or any other meteorological advances in the past decades, at least not in terms of material damage (though there probably is some effect in human losses). Quite a blow to meteorology being pretty useless, isn’t it?

There’s a few other points, but they are rather technical, and I would definitely have to have a closer look at the paper to state them.

Comment by Nils Simon — 24 Mar 2009 @ 3:18 PM

22. “[Michaels] is on record as agreeing that the IPCC climate sensitivity range is likely to be correct”

and

“He and his colleagues have even done analyses that show that after correcting for ENSO effects, there is no sign of a slowdown in global warming at all.”

This is interesting. Could anyone please give me a link or reference on this?

[Response: Perhaps Chip will be along shortly… – gavin]

Comment by Alexandre — 24 Mar 2009 @ 3:43 PM

23. You say that no one expects the real world to follow the mean forced trend at all times. Yet, we now have \around\ a decade of data that is causing observed temperatures and CO2 concentration levels to fall further and further below the IPCC model. How is this not evidence that the model is wrong? Something else is overwhelming the predicted effect of rising GHG levels on temps. What is it? When we find out, I submit it should be incorporated into the climate models to increase our understanding of climate change.

[Response: We are adding new features to the models all the time as these factors become better understood, but this idea that there is a progressively worse match to the data is bogus. 2008 was a strong outlier (due to the persistent La Nina) and has a disproportionate influence on trends that end then. Basing any conclusion about long term trends on one years data is foolish. Your statement about CO2 trends is simply wrong – they have exceeded projections (though CH4 growth is below expectations). – gavin]

Comment by fred ohr — 24 Mar 2009 @ 4:24 PM

24. fred ohr wrote: “Yet, we now have \around\ a decade of data that is causing observed temperatures and CO2 concentration levels to fall further and further below the IPCC model.”

Gavin has already noted that the statement about CO2 trends is wrong. In reality, CO2 emissions have been accelerating in recent years, exceeding the worst-case scenarios of the IPCC, and CO2 concentrations are increasing.

It would certainly be interesting to know where you heard that there is “around a decade of data” showing that “CO2 concentration levels” have been falling “further and further below the IPCC model”.

Were you skeptical of that claim when you encountered it? Did you check to see whether it was true? Will you trust that source in the future?

Comment by SecularAnimist — 24 Mar 2009 @ 6:04 PM

25. Why does this fine site stoop to dignify entities like the Cato Institue ( and people like George Will for that matter) by even giving them mention, let alone making this gang the subject matter of a post.
“The Cato Institute, heavily funded by tobacco companies, hired Levy and Marimont to denounce statistics about smoking related deaths. This article refutes their key arguments, finding them unscientific and inflammatory.” quoted from http://world.std.com/~mhuben/cato.html
This bunch of bananas are somewhere to the right of Mussolini. I think it was Barnum who said “Never give a sucker an even break,but make an exception and give me a break!

To expand on # 1. by Will Denayer,President Obama took action back in January to reduce global warming pollution from passenger vehicles by 1. instructing the EPA to reconsider its denial of a waver for California to allow it and 13 other states to limit heat trapping emissions from vehicles,and 2. directed the Dept. of Transpotation to set the maximum feasible fuel economy standards passed by the Congress in 2007. The past,inept, administration failed to finalize these standards and Obama is taking steps to do so,as he should.  thank God, and things are looking up.

Comment by Lawrence Brown — 24 Mar 2009 @ 6:24 PM

26. Lawrence #25:

I feel your pain but I, for one, hope that Gavin & the crew don’t stop posting about Cato and its friends. RC is the first place I look when an AGW critic says something that doesn’t smell right (which, to be honest, is pretty much every time an AGW critic says anything). It’s an invaluable resource.

Comment by Chris Dunford — 24 Mar 2009 @ 6:37 PM

27. Yes, but ….

I’m instinctively on you folks side in this, but I have a problem.

Cato say “[…] and there has been no net global warming for over a decade now.”

How long should I (or anyone else for that matter) have to wait until the measurments show a continuing rise? I was challenged recently as to how many years of mostly flat or falling measurments I (= the public) should wait for this “upturn”. Five years? Ten years? If after year ten from now, temperatures have not shown an upturn, then can I say “… for whatever reason, even though CO2 is increasing, perhaps AWG is not happening”? Clearly if I have to wait a hundred years, I will have lost faith in Real Climate.So five? Ten? Twenty?

(Or am I asking the wrong question?)

Theo H

Comment by Theo Hopkins — 24 Mar 2009 @ 7:10 PM

28. Re #22 (Alexandre), “[Michaels] is on record as agreeing that the IPCC climate sensitivity range is likely to be correct,” I come to a related but different conclusion from reading what Pat has written, including his book The Satanic Gases. The difference between Pat and the IPCC is that he seems convinced the real world’s climate sensitivity is exactly at the bottom end of the IPCC’s range. I have never figured out how anyone can be so precise, whatever their best estimate may be. The same remark applies to Dick Lindzen, who favors 1/10th the IPCC’s low-end sensitivity.

Comment by Curt Covey — 24 Mar 2009 @ 8:06 PM

29. This bunch of bananas are somewhere to the right of Mussolini
Right, did you read the part of the website where they argued for legalizing drugs? It’s a “libertarian” think tank. On the topics of the day, they comment with a liberal perspective, always emphasizing the destructive role government plays in individuals’ lives. Any proposed policies are analyzed from a cost-benefit perspective, putting the added burden of proof of said benefits on those who seek to expand state power. It’s in the mind of a liberal free thinker to do so.

And so, when a guy with a seriously misleading set of Keynote slides tells us it’s absolutely imperative that we restrict economic activity to avert a coming global catastrophe, the wise among us say “we’ve heard that one before.” If you say the chance of something is 90%, and I look at your data and analysis and say, “Well that’s not good enough, considering the actions you wish to take,” is my position not defensible?

Comment by mark — 24 Mar 2009 @ 8:28 PM

30. Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Mar 2009 @ 8:29 PM

31. Gavin – start the list! start the list! i wrote you recently about PROJECT JIM. its time has come. i have written to a number of people suggesting it, and several have told me to get gavin on the case.

[Response: Patience…. – gavin]

Comment by walter — 24 Mar 2009 @ 9:33 PM

32. Re 26 Chris-
On thinking things over after I vented. I realized that it’s necessary for realclimate to rebut arguments refuting the AGW crowd, in order to remain the leading site ( in my opinion), on attribution. This can’t be done, of course, without detailing the rantings of contrarians like Sen Imhofe, pundit Will and their ilk.

Re:29 Mark,
I don’t quite follow- you say in part: “It’s a “libertarian” think tank. On the topics of the day, they comment with a liberal perspective, always emphasizing the destructive role government plays in individuals’ lives. Any proposed policies are analyzed from a cost-benefit perspective, putting the added burden of proof of said benefits on those who seek to expand state power. It’s in the mind of a liberal free thinker to do so.”

Are you equating Libertarian with Liberal? They’re two diffferent breeds of cat. I think of FDR and policies expanding government’s role,during the depression of the 1930’s, to benefit the nation econimically, socially and culturally.This is my idea of liberalism. Libertarians,on the other hand in the extreme would abolish government agencies wholesale. We all might wind up as printing our own money after they eliminate the U.S. Mint! I’m exagerating on this,obviously, to make a point about what I feel is the distinction between the two.

Comment by Lawrence Brown — 24 Mar 2009 @ 9:36 PM

33. I second Mr. Brown. The Cato Institute deserves no reply. I would rather read discussions of the science.

Perhaps, refuting the Cato Institute will lead to fruitful discussions of the science. I am pessimistic, because, in my experience, when I deal with monkeys, I get feces thrown at me.

To reply to Mr. Mark, who wrote at 8:28 pm on the 24th of March, 2009:
“…when a guy with a seriously misleading set of Keynote slides tells us …”

Perhaps one ought to get science from publications in peer reviewed journals ?

I plaintively repeat my request that we discuss the actual literature. More often than we seem to.

Comment by sidd — 24 Mar 2009 @ 9:40 PM

34. Mark #29

“Libertarian” and “liberal” describe rather different world-views.

“Libertarians” are, for example, tend not to recognize the existence (even hypothetically) of negative externatilities and other forms of market failure.

Hence when the facts of global warming collide with the ideology of unfettered economic activity, the facts are routinely denied simply because they imply the need for state intervention.

In much the same way, los CATO boys denied the facts concerning tobacco – both its addictive quality and the diseases it causes – because they implied the need for state intervention to prevent the intentional addiction of smokers (incuding children) by tobacco companies. (I’m ignoring any financial incentives here, of course, just focusing on the ideology.)

On the other hand, a “liberal” is more likely to suscribe to the idea, a la John Stuart Mill, that people should be free to act as long as it doesn’t harm to others. They also are typically comfortable with the idea that unrestrained markets don’t always produce optimal outcomes.

This contrasts with the “libertarian” position which typically appears to take as axiomatic that actions can have no adverse consequences to others, resulting in an almost comical dance of sophistry when libertarians are confronted with facts showing that the opposite is true.

Speaking of facts, perhaps you’d like to let us know which guy, which set of keynote slides, and what was “seriously misleading” about them?

Comment by Garry S-J — 24 Mar 2009 @ 9:51 PM

35. the gall of that advert.

http://northwardho.blogspot.com/2009/03/how-i-became-james-lovelocks-accidental.html

Comment by Danny Bloom — 24 Mar 2009 @ 9:54 PM

36. Mark wrote in 29:

This bunch of bananas are somewhere to the right of Mussolini
Right, did you read the part of the website where they argued for legalizing drugs? It’s a “libertarian” think tank. On the topics of the day, they comment with a liberal perspective, always emphasizing the destructive role government plays in individuals’ lives.

Well, at least now we have a better idea what their smokin.
*
Captcha fortune cookie:
Knight there

Comment by Timothy Chase — 24 Mar 2009 @ 9:59 PM

37. http://www.prwatch.org/search/node/Cato+Institute

No need to argue it here. Look it up, do some reading.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Mar 2009 @ 10:34 PM

38. Re: 22

I am not sure of a reference for Pat’s thinking that the climate sensitivity is within the IPCC range. I agree with Curt (#28) that Pat probably thinks it lies near the low end of the range (but not precisely at the lowest end). Usually, he refers to the temperature change by 2100 (for instance), rather than the climate sensitivity.

As far as a reference for our work that ENSO (primarily) could explain the recent slowdown in the rate of global temperature rise…we were rejected from Eos, GRL, Climate Research, and several other journals. Apparently our analysis was too simplistic.

A more appropriate reference for the “The computer models forecasting rapid temperature change abjectly fail to explain recent climate behavior.4” statement would be the science that underlies Pat’s recent House testimony, but we don’t have that ready for publication yet (thus no appropriate reference). It answers Gavin’s concerns about short-term trend behavior and removes the “start date” issue.

-Chip

[Response: So… Michaels writes a paper stating that ENSO variability is the big driver of short term trends and yet still asks people to sign on to a statement claiming that those same trends indicate that models are abject failures? There is a word for this, I’m sure. – gavin]

Comment by Chip Knappenberger — 24 Mar 2009 @ 10:55 PM

39. Lawrence Brown, I don’t believe that you’re exagerating. A slight exageration would be to say that Libertarianism is the nearest thing to complete intellectual bankruptcy agremented with a conspiracy theory sauce.

Comment by Philippe Chantreau — 24 Mar 2009 @ 11:15 PM

40. Who wanted a petition signed by real scientists?
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/12/05/tech/main3579900.shtml
http://www.ccrc.unsw.edu.au/news/2007/Bali.html

Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Mar 2009 @ 11:45 PM

41. As to taking words too literally, consider a newspaper article headlined “Global Warming Fears Up Down Under.” This article would likely be heavily cited by denialists like Cato as evidence of a *lack* of public concern about AGW (by 2 to 1, since the Up and Down cancel, leaving Under as a net negative connotation).

“Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest. … Lie-la-lie…” — P.Simon

Comment by Brian Brademeyer — 25 Mar 2009 @ 12:43 AM

42. So who’s going to sponsor a full-page ad stating the mainstream scientific position/correcting those misleading statements, signed by hundreds of ACTUAL CLIMATOLOGISTS? After all, this could be part of the battle for a relatively uninformed public mind. A mind that may have an influence over how easily carbon accumulation legislation is enacted.

Comment by Alex J — 25 Mar 2009 @ 2:45 AM

43. due to co2 we are already living in a greenhouse.Whatever one does in that greenhouse will remain in the greenhouse.INDUSTRIOUS HEAT will remain in the greenhouse instead of escaping into outer space;this is a far greater contributor to global warming than other factors and far more difficult to reduce without reducing economic activity.Like warm moist air from your mouth on cold mornings so melting antarctic ice will turn into cloud as it meets warm moist air from tropics the seas will not rise as antarctica is a huge cloud generator.A thick band of cloud around the earth will produce even temps accross the whole earth causing the wind to moderate even stop.WE should be preparing for this possible scenario’

Comment by donald moore — 25 Mar 2009 @ 3:47 AM

44. Re N° 19. Is it the same George Will who used to write speeches for a right wing American President a few years ago?

Comment by François Marchand — 25 Mar 2009 @ 4:27 AM

45. 19 – Who is George Will.

Captcha : Dl:6 rolled (?)

Comment by François Marchand — 25 Mar 2009 @ 4:33 AM

46. Theo Hopkins, The generally accepted definition of climate is 30 years. However, only the statistically naive or the mendacious are contending that warming has stopped. See

http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/12/31/stupid-is-as-stupid-does/

I will leave it to Cato et al. to decide whether mendacity or gullibility is the lesser charge.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Mar 2009 @ 5:00 AM

47. “there has been no net global warming for over a decade now”
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/media/Don_Easterbrook2.033.jpg
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/media/Dennis_Avery4.005.jpg
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/media/Don_Easterbrook1.017.jpg

[edit – OT]

Comment by Adam Gallon — 25 Mar 2009 @ 5:13 AM

48. Theo #27:

I asked a similar question not long ago. It’s all about signal-to-noise ratio; the time period doesn’t matter as long as you account for the noise.

E.g., we know that noise—the effect of randomness—for a decade is <0.1°C, which means that, in the absence of climate change, the avg temp for any two decades should be within 0.1°C of each other. So we can look at the average temperature for a decade and say that it does or doesn’t match a trend (or a different decade) depending on whether or not the difference is within ±0.1°C. You can do the same thing for any other time period, just use a different noise factor. The shorter the time period, the bigger the noise factor [can anyone point me to a table?].

If I have any of this wrong, I hope the professionals will correct me. I’ve been planning to do a little blog post on this, just haven’t gotten a round tuit yet.

Incidentally, your post implies, maybe unintentionally, that there has been some recent cooling trend, which isn’t the case. Temps continue to rise pretty much on schedule. I did blog about this, here.

Comment by Chris Dunford — 25 Mar 2009 @ 5:16 AM

49. RE 27 (Theo Hopkins)

If I understood correctly, a period of 30 years is generally regarded as the boundary between weather events and climate. For example, see here:

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/averages/

Comment by Vincent van der Goes — 25 Mar 2009 @ 5:35 AM

50. As an ex-Libertarian Party member, I am perhaps in a better position than Mark to evaluate what’s wrong with Libertarianism. Besides the isolationist stand of the Party (I quit in 1990 when they came out against Desert Storm), they don’t recognize that externalities even exist — and that takes them firmly into the realm of pseudoscience. It was only confirmed when Reason magazine came out against global warming being true. They are truly people for whom ideology trumps reality. Me, I respect science and believe evidence that something is true always trumps arguments that it’s not true, however finely-spun the argument.

Robert Heinlein said, “When you see a rainbow, you don’t stop to argue the laws of optics. There it is, in the sky.” The Libertarian Party, and the Cato Institute, are arguing the laws of optics in the face of the rainbow.

Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Mar 2009 @ 6:17 AM

51. The paper by Pielke is an interesting one. He has represented WGIII on at least one occasion in Congress.

His work addresses the climatic extremes / global warming links, while appealing to scientists to focus on the firmer knowledge of rising temperature and sea level with the potential for climate extremes, rather than such and such event can be (directly) linked to climate change.

Comment by Liam — 25 Mar 2009 @ 7:15 AM

52. Gavin,

It is bit more complicated than one-liners can capture.

ENSO variability does better at explaining the recent temperature than does the”global warming has stopped” theory. But ENSO is not perfect. The temperatures are too warm when ENSO is combined with the pre-1998 (1979-1998) trend. In other words, something else is acting to slow the trend over the past decade or so–perhaps it is something like PDO, or perhaps the models are too sensitive to the forcing increases, or perhaps it is something else. But, as Pat’s testimony shows, recent temperature trends are pushing to lower limits of model expectations.

-Chip

[Response: So are you going to sign the ad? As for the recent testimony, you know as well as I that the new graph you made is just as affected by end point effects as the standard ‘global warming has stopped’ nonsense. While purporting to show 15 independent points, they are not independent at all and will move up and down as a whole depending on the last point. Plot it for 2007, or using the GISTEMP data for instance. If a conclusion depends on one point and one specific data set then it’s still a cherry-pick and one would be foolish to draw conclusions. – gavin]

Comment by Chip Knappenberger — 25 Mar 2009 @ 8:04 AM

53. Chris, #48 “E.g., we know that noise—the effect of randomness—for a decade is

Comment by Mark — 25 Mar 2009 @ 8:08 AM

54. re #47.

You’re mixing metaphors there too. Your third link doesn’t say what the headline says.

You need to take the difference between the red line and the black line *on both graphs*. And when you do that, your wonderful correlation on the sun disappears.

Oopsie.

Comment by Mark — 25 Mar 2009 @ 8:11 AM

55. gavin, with all due respect…if you do that silly list, it should be named after a famous climate scientist – i suggested “jim” for james hanson. but it could be “bob” (to include robert etc…and roberta (to include female scientists), or “chris” – which is a common name that really “goes both ways” easily… do you know famous climate scientsts named bob or chris?
walter

[Response: James works. – gavin]

Comment by walter — 25 Mar 2009 @ 8:14 AM

56. wow – james IS good. one more thing, then i’ll be quiet for a while. in my humble opinion, the statement doesn’t have to have any political content or any make any policy recommendations or CO2 emission targets. it just has to say something like “global warming is happening now and is caused by anthropogenic emission of CO2.” thanks.

Comment by walter — 25 Mar 2009 @ 8:40 AM

57. Cato and Heartland are simply think tanks set up to give third party credibility to various viewpoints promoted by whoever set them up. If you want to find out who set them up, a good place to start looking is in the financing of political campaigns. These relationships are detailed here, in convenient graphical format:

http://oilmoney.priceofoil.org/federalRaceGraph.php?type=congress

That’s just oil, not coal, but you can see that the largest donors are Koch Industries (private), Valero, Exxon, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips. Donations from employees of Koch Industries are twice as big as any other firms.

Going one step further, we make the connection to the Cato Institute:

Koch Industries, (pronounced “coke”), is the largest privately-held company in the United States, with annual sales of $90 billion. (Cargill comes in second for privately-held companies with sales of$75 billion.) Koch’s owners, brothers Charles and David H. Koch, are leading contributors to the Koch Family Foundations, which supports a network of conservative organizations and think tanks, including Citizens for a Sound Economy, the libertarian Cato Institute, Reason Magazine, the Manhattan Institute, the Heartland Institute, and the Democratic Leadership Council…

Fred’s son, Charles G. Koch, founded the Cato Institute and has championed a strategy of ‘market-based management’ (MBM) in the business. Son David H. Koch ran for president on the Libertarian Party ticket in 1980. Koch money flows thorugh Triad Management Services, an advisory service to conservative donors ongroups and candidates to support.

Notice that Cato is a rather politically conservative/libertarian organization that lobbies on a wide variety of issues. They hold their views very strongly – for example, did you know that the current economic crisis is due to over-regulation of Wall Street, of health care, and of energy markets? Hammer the talking points, in the morning, in the evening, hammer all day long…

However, at least with Cato, their agenda is clearly spelled out – unlike many of the new public relations initiatives being put out by large energy corporations, all of which use the newly coined PR phrase, “Clean Energy”. When politicians talk about the future, it is always “clean energy” – not solar and wind and biofuels, not renewable energy, but instead “clean energy” – as in “clean coal” and “clean diesel” and “clean natural gas”, and we are going to use cap-and-trade to “clean up” our fuel supply – but notice that the other word, “dirty”, has been banned from all press releases – “dirty tar sand oil”, or “dirty, sulfide & selenium contaminated natural gas sources”, or “dirty sulfur- and mercury-laden coal”. Coal is not dirty, it’s clean – stay on message, please.

At this end of the think tank spectrum is the Breakthrough Institute, which hosts Roger Pielke Jr. as a senior fellow. Their spin is definitely not conservative, but rather progressive-liberal… but it looks like greenwashing: a false facade hiding other intentions. That is, they accept the need to “confront global warming” but they propose solutions which are ineffective and allow business as usual to continue. You can see this approach in Chevron’s new billboard ads, featuring a worried man pledging to “use less energy”. Odd – Chevron is asking its customers to stop purchasing gasoline? Really…

The Breakthrough Institute was set up with the help of two “bad boys of the environmental movement” (No, I’m not making that up), namely Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger. http://www.thebreakthrough.org/about.shtml

The actual agenda is not to hard to see:

In the cover story of the June 2008 issue of Democracy Journal, “Scrap Kyoto,” Nordhaus and Shellenberger made the case for abandoning the Kyoto focus on pollution limits.

The Breakthrough Institute is a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers, Inc., which is a spinoff of Rockefeller Financial Services. The top investments of that well-diversified firm include Exxon and Chevron as well as banks like Citigroup that are heavily dependent on oil trading and coal-fired power. The backers may have different politics (or may be indifferent), but they share the same overall agenda as Cato. As compared to the “conservative-libertarian” Cato Institute, you might call this the “liberal-progressive” Breakthrough Institute.

They do both share the same agenda – get rid of Kyoto agreements and halt the implementation of binding regulations that would reduce fossil fuel use and lead to a transition to a renewable-energy based economy.

But wait, you say – the Breakthrough Institute is very proud of its $150 billion clean energy initiative, and it takes part of the credit for Obama’s “clean energy” pushes. However, having seen the budget so far, one really has to wonder – take the following facts: 1) Why the$2 billion grant for a solitary coal-fired power plant, FutureGen, but no similar project for wind or solar?

2) Why the silence on Canadian tar sand development, even while more pipelines are being built to increase tar sand exports to the U.S.? For example, Project Keystone made headlines for shipping “made in India” steel through a town of unemployed steelworkers – the pipeline is to for Canadian tar sand syncrude. The pipeline is a 2,148-mile venture between ConocoPhillips and Alberta’s TransCanada.

3) Why the silence on NAFTA? There’s a good case for banning the import of Canadian tar sand oil to the U.S., based on the damage the production process does to the global atmosphere – but under NAFTA provisions, environmental laws cannot be used to limit trade – there’s no democratic oversight.

Notice that due to ConocoPhillip’s relationships with the major U.S. banks, this also means that taxpayer bailout dollars are being used to finance the expansion of tar sand oil production, right at a time when quite a few renewable energy companies have gone out of business – not due to lack of demand, but due to lack of credit. Wasn’t the bailout supposed to restart “normal lending”?

It also means that some of that taxpayer money is probably paying the salaries of the folks at the Cato and Breakthrough Institutes, as well.

In larger terms, this looks like an effort to frame the global warming issue as a debate between the Breakthrough Institute and the Cato Institute – with one pole consisting of those who deny climate science and observations any validity (Cato, George Will, etc.) and the other of those who accept the scientific conclusions on global warming, but think we should deal with it via “voluntary market-based solutions” such as cap and trade, widely promoted by other newspapers. What this second group carefully ignores is any science-based discussion of renewable energy’s ability to replace fossil fuels.

In either case, the result is the same: business-as-usual.

The fact of the matter is that if we want to increase wind and solar production to the scale of U.S. nuclear production, we will need a government program on the same scale as the program run by the Atomic Energy Commission in the 1950s – and despite all the flavors of hype, the fact today is that U.S. government spending on fossil fuel development outstrips renewable energy development by a factor of about 1000 to 1.

Comment by Ike Solem — 25 Mar 2009 @ 8:42 AM

58. Anyone read the current BBC “Green Room”?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7929174.stm

“1998 remains the warmest year on record, and since then there has been no discernable upward trend.”

Comments?

Comment by Geoff Beacon — 25 Mar 2009 @ 8:46 AM

59. Mark #53:

Was there more to this?

If you’re questioning the 0.1°C noise for a decade, talk to Gavin. <g> I got it from him.

Comment by Chris Dunford — 25 Mar 2009 @ 8:52 AM

60. If 30 years is the gold standard, when in the last 40 to 50 years (I graduated from HS in ’75, when our Earth Day observance included a nod to the then-trendy global cooling mini-scare) is the definitive 30-year trend?

Is it unreasonable to ask how much longer the relative flatness can continue before the models come into question? Surely there is a point when temp. anomalies must rise significantly to re-confirm the AGW theory — what is that point?

Further, assuming temperatures get back on the upswing, how will you note that without being accused of referring to the weather, as those who look at current short-term trends are accused of doing now?

Comment by wmanny — 25 Mar 2009 @ 8:56 AM

61. Gavin (re:52),

I understand your concerns. Like I said, we are working on this project now and will have something soon that we’ll submit for peer-review somewhere. There are more results than that single graphic displays–although it is a good summary (after all, the models should capture the full behavior of reality–especially at large-scales). But, like I said, there is more to come…

-Chip

Comment by Chip Knappenberger — 25 Mar 2009 @ 8:58 AM

62. Thank You sidd And Philippe-

Mark in #29 you say: “If you say the chance of something is 90%, and I look at your data and analysis and say, “Well that’s not good enough, considering the actions you wish to take,” is my position not defensible?”
Comment by mark — 24 March 2009 @ 8:28 PM

I don’t know if I can give a short answer to this. I once did some hydrologic studies for the Corps of Engineers and,if memory serves, we used the following as a criteria for the reliability of analytical frequency determinations: this was accomplished by establishing error limit curves .05 above the frequency curve and .95 below.There were then nine chances in 10 that the true value lay between the .05 and .95 curves. Howrver, there was a one chance in 20 that the true value for any given frequency would be greater than indicated by the .05 curve and one chance in 20 that it would be smaller than the .95 curve.

Comment by Lawrence Brown — 25 Mar 2009 @ 9:08 AM

63. #58
Simply that the claim is not true. See for example http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/12/31/stupid-is-as-stupid-does/, already referenced once in this thread.

Comment by Nick Gotts — 25 Mar 2009 @ 9:56 AM

64. “Further, assuming temperatures get back on the upswing, how will you note that without being accused of referring to the weather, as those who look at current short-term trends are accused of doing now?”

If anybody tries to argue the rate from the short time span when it does increase rapidly, by all means remind them that the rate more properly should depend on 30 years of data.

[Response: It’s worth pointing out how easy it is to mislead with short term stats. For instance, the warming from Jan 08 to Jan 09 was 1.3 deg C/decade! Over 6 times what GCMs predict! But who would base a statement about climate change on such a short period of time? – gavin]

Comment by t_p_hamilton — 25 Mar 2009 @ 10:05 AM

65. Theo, I do think you are, in part, asking the wrong question. (With indirect help from the denialsphere, who are working their tails off to ensure that everyone frames the question in just this way.)

Accepting the cherry-pick of 1998, what does it say that global temperatures since 1998 have (let’s say) “failed to fall back significantly following the El Nino event?” When we contemplate the fact that every year from 2001 on has been warmer than any year prior to 1998, do we think it is warming or cooling?

Global temperatures, regardless of short-term trends, are at historic highs. (And let’s not forget that in GISS and SR05, the warmest year so far was not 1998, but 2005.)

(Captcha suggests a longer time-line, with the oracular pronouncement, “Graeco-Roman Spain.”)

Comment by Kevin McKinney — 25 Mar 2009 @ 10:08 AM

66. mark wrote: “… a guy with a seriously misleading set of Keynote slides tells us it’s absolutely imperative that we restrict economic activity to avert a coming global catastrophe …”

You are obviously referring to Al Gore and his presentation that was the basis of An Inconvenient Truth.

There is nothing whatever “seriously misleading” about Gore’s presentation. Those who claim there is are usually engaged in seriously misrepresenting what Gore said (in some cases they don’t even know what Gore actually said but are slavishly repeating what Rush Limbaugh told them Gore said).

Nor has Gore called for “restricting economic activity to avert a coming global catastrophe”. He has called for restricting CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

Do you even realize that you are equating the fossil fuel corporations with “economic activity”?

Comment by SecularAnimist — 25 Mar 2009 @ 10:12 AM

67. Jeff #58:

Beware of any “no warming since …” quote where the stated period begins with 1998. It’s a red flag second only to any mention of Al Gore. 1998 was a major anomaly due to El Nino effects. Look at the global HadCRU graph here; 1998 sticks out like a sore thumb. If you mentally remove that data point or look at the trend line, you’ll see that the temps continue to climb. The last few years cool a little bit (2008 was a La Nina year), but we should be looking at longer term trends, not what happened in any particular year.

Thsi is not the first time the Beeb has said this. One of its articles appears to have been a source for some of George Will’s silliness: “This would mean that temperatures have not risen globally since 1998 when El Nino warmed the world.”

Comment by Chris Dunford — 25 Mar 2009 @ 10:19 AM

68. > Donald Moore 25 March 2009 at 3:47 AM
> INDUSTRIOUS HEAT … cloud … sea rise …

You’re wrong about, well, everything. Do you need help looking it up?

Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Mar 2009 @ 10:38 AM

69. Re Theo @27, others have already addressed the falseness of the ‘ten years of flat or cooling’ meme and pointed to the 30 year definition of a climate trend. Here’s another point:

At times the global warming signal will simply be overpowered by natural variability or by other anthropogenic factors, even for an extended period of time.

For example note the slip and subsequent roughly 30 year flat period in the temperature trend of the 20th century between the mid 1940s and late 1970s:
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.lrg.gif

SInce this was the post-war period of intense industrial activity and growth, CO2 increase hardly abated, yet the prior 35 year run of warming faltered, slipped, and then sputtered along with no clear trend for the next 30 years. So what happened?

What did not happen was CO2 did not stop warming the atmosphere and surface, since the additional CO2 was not only still in the atmosphere, but was still increasing. And the radiative physics of greenhouse gases was definitely not suspended.

What did happen was some other factor or combination of factors acted as a negative forcing large enough to counter, or mask the added greenhouse warming of rising CO2 over a sustained period. It is widely thought that a dramatic increase in industrial aerosols was that factor, or at least the main one.

A huge surge in industrial activity began in 1938 as Europe prepared for a looming war, and that surge was sustained not only for the war’s duration, but continued through the post war period as Europe was rebuilt and the US economy expanded. Remember, coal was still the main fuel of industry and rail and sea transport until being displaced by oil in the mid-late 1950s, and remaines so for electrical power generation, which expanded greatly as population and economic activity grew. But there were then no scrubbers on smokestacks to remove fly ash and sulfate aerosols, so rising atmospheric particulates and aerosols blocked and reflected incoming sunlight back to space, thereby cooling the surface and atmosphere, and thus reducing the outgoing IR radiation that greenhouse gases absorb, reducing the warming caused by increasing CO2.

But CO2 was still increasing in the atmosphere, and still making it warmer than it otherwise would have been. Eventually industrial particulates and aerosols were recognized as being harmful to human health and to the ecosystem, so in the 1970s Clean Air legislation was enacted to reduce them in the US and Europe. Since particulates and aerosols are washed out of the atmosphere relatively quickly, their levels fell rapidly, unmasking the CO2 warming that was there all along, only now there was even more of it. The result was a steep, near steady rise in temperature for the rest of the century.

Except for two notable dips in 1982 and 1991, which just happen to follow two massive injections of particlates and sulfate aerosols into the atmosphere from the eruptions of El Chichon and Mt. Pinatubo, thus substantiating the industrial aerosol hypothesis.

So what’s happening today to make that steep, steady temperature rise appear to falter right now? One known factor is we are at the bottom of the nominal 11 year sun spot cycle, and the sun remains quite, meaning there is slightly less solar insolation. Another is we are just coming out of a relatively strong La Nina cycle. Still another is the ABC, or Asian Brown Cloud of particulates and sulfates generated by the rapidly growing Asian economies, particularly China and India, where there are no regulations requiring the use of pollution controls. The combination of these three factors may well be enough to temporarily mask the greenhouse warming.

So, to answer your question of how long will we have to wait until the warming returns: it’s still there and it never left, it’s just temporarily being overpowered by a confluence of negative forcings. When the sun returns to ‘normal’, when the next El Nino begins, as the ABC thins because of reduced global economic activity, the warming will once again become apparent, because the radiative physics of greenhouse gases has definitely not been suspended.

Comment by Jim Eager — 25 Mar 2009 @ 10:56 AM

70. Mark in #29 says “If you say the chance of something is 90%, and I look at your data and analysis and say, “Well that’s not good enough, considering the actions you wish to take,” is my position not defensible?”

Well, except that’s not what we are saying. We are saying that we have at least 90% confidence in the results–that in only 10% of possible Universes–could the conclusion be significantly flawed. 90% confidence is enough to fly an airplane, open a bridge–or, in short, take to the bank. I’ll put it this way, let’s say we have an opaque jar of marbles that we are told are either black or white. I shake the jar, reach in without looking and pull out a white marble. I return it, shake the jar and repeat, 21 more times, and all the marbles are white. Based on this and binomial statistics, I now offer you 10:1 odds: If the next marble I pull out is white, I win; if black, you win. Do you take the bet?

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Mar 2009 @ 10:59 AM

71. Ray Ladbury says (in reply to post 27)

“”Theo Hopkins, The generally accepted definition of climate is 30 years. However, only the statistically naive or the mendacious are contending that warming has stopped.””

Most of us – in the real world – are “statistically naive” ;-). There’s lots of things I am not naive about, but stats is not one of them.

Comment by Theo Hopkins — 25 Mar 2009 @ 11:04 AM

72. Theo and wmanny (27 and 60):

There are several arguments that could be made, one of the most important of which (“statistics of short periods”) was mentioned in the post. Read that. You could also do the same kind of analyses on GHG-forced model runs.

Another is that the emphasis on air temps by the Cato petition is not the whole story. You have to look at the total thermal energy absorbed by the earth system. So, for example, the upper 700m of the ocean shows strong increases over the last decade:

The rise since ’04 has been much less than in the decade preceding it, but nevertheless, the claim by Cato that there has been no warming “over the last decade” is flat wrong if you include the upper ocean data.

Could not find deeper ocean temps, if anyone can please provide a reference.

Comment by Jim Bouldin — 25 Mar 2009 @ 11:10 AM

73. Re: No. 25.

It is imperative that the debunking of Will and the Heartland Institute and all the “sceptic” positions should continue. Indeed, the fault I find with RC is that there is not enough done.

As one of thousands of non scientists who use RC as their primary source for information and argument, I need this in my daily efforts to push the need for urgent action. I do have relatives who are quite prominent in science but am, myself, scientifically illiterate.

However, I have been badgering our politicians for some time and will shortly be meeting with a Member of our Parliament when I gleefully expect to rout him based on the information I have accumulated from RC mostly.

How can we put down the deniers if we do not have easy access to argument, not just information.

Comment by John — 25 Mar 2009 @ 11:11 AM

74. wmanny @60

The red line is a five year centered rolling average, so roughly speaking, we can judge the validity of global warming using the 30 year definition of climate by comparing points on the red line that are 25 years apart. If you do that, you see we’ve been warming all the time since about 1960 (1985 is higher than 1960, 1986 is higher than 1961, 1987 is higher than 1962 … all the way to the present.)

Heck, from 1980, even just the 5 year average is a very clear signal with only occasional downward wiggles. Looking at that, I sure wouldn’t bet on the 5 year average centered on 2010 being lower than the one centered on 2000, let alone 1985.

So, there’s no real question of when “temperatures get back on the upswing”. They’re still on the upswing, and you can’t say they aren’t until the red line drops over 25 years (say if the 2020 5yr average was lower than the 1995 5ry average. Good luck with that.

Finally, everyone will notice that temps really did fall – a little – from WWII to about 1975. This is well known to be caused by reflective aerosol pollution (like the stuff that caused acid rain). We cleaned up our aerosol emissions because the acid rain was killing lakes and forests, while our CO2 emissions grew unchecked. So now the CO2 warming is the dominant long-term effect, with noticible shorter-term effects from ENSO and volcanoes.

Comment by GFW — 25 Mar 2009 @ 11:20 AM

75. BTW, I’m not statistician. I just realized my statement “we’ve been warming all the time since about 1960″ should really be “we’ve been warming all the time since the average of 1960 and 1985 – e.g. about 1973″.

Comment by GFW — 25 Mar 2009 @ 11:27 AM

76. Ray Ladbury at #46 replied to me at #27.

“”Theo Hopkins, The generally accepted definition of climate is 30 years. However, only the statistically naive or the mendacious are contending that warming has stopped.””

Problem is, is that most of us are “statistically naive”, unfortunately. That’s life.

Thanks for your link, Ray.

Comment by Theo Hopkins — 25 Mar 2009 @ 11:35 AM

77. #58 Geoff:

“1998 remains the warmest year on record, and since then there has been no discernable upward trend.”

Not so! I have filmed and catalogued a steady drift of sunsets towards the South (meaning its getting warmer) in the Canadian Arctic especially since 2005! The warmest year in history. Also:
Polar ice has shrunken and thinned a whole lot more since 1998!

So for those comfortable (not you Geoff) making snarky pseudo matter of fact statements, please
like Mr Roberts implores, get informed! Climate science is extremely sound, even when judged from a different newer optical perspective. Will post soon on my website the most compelling results of the spring of 2009, suffices to say, the warming trend continues, despite La-Nina bumps. What is lacking is stopping ignorance from going rampant so long, thank goodness for RC!

Comment by wayne davidson — 25 Mar 2009 @ 11:41 AM

78. Manny asks: “If 30 years is the gold standard, when in the last 40 to 50 years (I graduated from HS in ‘75, when our Earth Day observance included a nod to the then-trendy global cooling mini-scare) is the definitive 30-year trend?”

Uh, the answer is “never”.

There never was a *scientific* global cooling mini-scare. There was a *media* global cooling mini-scare. Then again, there’s a *media* “pen ile erec tion function al scare”. That is, according to all the spam, all blokes are limp.

Do you believe that? No? Then why do you keep trotting out global cooling as if it was “the scientists” who were saying that. Read the paper that the media picked up on, rather than the media headline you hark back to.

Or, if you are going to ignore the fact that this was media and therefore these scientists were wrong, why not transplant that theory to the CATO line? They are wrong. They have made headlines saying there is not warming. And, like that 70’s global cooling scare, they are wrong.

Comment by Mark — 25 Mar 2009 @ 11:50 AM

79. With all due respect, you people here are a little too polite.

When my relatives, newcomers to the U.S. from India, responded to my talk of climate change with, “they [the Americans they know] are saying there’s no global warming,” my immediate thoughtless and exasperated response was, “Americans are a bunch of stupid idiots.”

Then I felt guilty of sin, and gave it more thought. But the most I could come up with is that perhaps they (the Americans they spoke of) are not stupid, but insidiously evil. So actually, “stupid idiots” was giving them the benefit of the doubt, being kind actually.

So I just left it at that.

Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 25 Mar 2009 @ 12:01 PM

80. Mr. Bouldin,

For the deep ocean, I recall a paper by Antonov and Boyer, GRL 2005. (I cannot easily do a search right now). The is probably work by Ishii on this also…

sidd

Comment by sidd — 25 Mar 2009 @ 12:06 PM

81. Michael’s Cato ad takes Obama to task for asserting that “

The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear.”

But what about his own definitive pronouncement :

“Chill out. The science is settled. The “skeptics”… have won.”

— ‘ Meltdown for Global Warming Science’ by Patrick J. Michaels, S. Fred Singer and David H. Douglass
http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=2789

Comment by Russell Seitz — 25 Mar 2009 @ 12:16 PM

82. Thanks for the replies on the BBC Green Room stuff. Last year I ran out of energy trying to complain to the BBC about their climate change coverage – initially to various “environment correspondents”.

My note in the BBC complaints box read “This box is too small for an in-depth complaint. How can I contact the BBC Tust?”

I received

If you would like to get in touch with us regarding your
concerns please do so using the following link:

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.

Has anyone more energy than I have to follow this up? The answers given above are very focused. The BBC should be confronted with them.

How do you contact the BBC Trust?

Comment by Geoff Beacon — 25 Mar 2009 @ 12:23 PM

83. Note that El Nino didn’t warm the world, it just redistributed energy between the oceans and the atmosphere – and keep in mind that most of the warming goes into the oceans, even though ocean temperatures change very slowly as heat content rises, unlike the atmosphere, which has a much lower heat capacity.

Consider the equatorial ocean heat content in the Pacific – warm water is flowing northwards up towards Japan, and cold water is flowing south down the North American continent, forming the boundaries of the large North Pacific gyre (where a very large amount of plastic trash tends to accumulate). At the same time, deep old water is steadily creeping into the Pacific, ultimately driven by two things: A) the sinking of cold water in the North Atlantic and around Antarctica, and B) wind driven upwelling, especially at continental margins.

At the same time, there is a normal east-west variation across the Pacific equator, which plays a large role in the development of an El Nino. For more details:

http://faculty.washington.edu/kessler/occasionally-asked-questions.html#q27

Very roughly the theories fall into two categories: that the Pacific ocean-atmosphere system has a natural frequency of oscillation which is perturbed by chaotic processes (weather) to be irregular; or that the system is stable until an event is triggered by some kind of outside forcing. Since we have only very short records relative to the timescale of the events (say we have observed only about 5 of them with decent resolution), it is not possible to make a statistical distinction…

…During El Niño the equatorial Pacific releases a large amount of heat (and mass) to the subtropics. This occurs as the warm water of the far west sloshes eastward and then poleward along the shores of the Americas. Before the event, the trade winds have “built up” a large thick warm pool in the west. If that build-up has not happened, then there is nothing to release. So now maybe you can understand why one can interpret this two ways. If you focus on the buildup, then that takes several years and produces the natural timescale. But the buildup by itself is not sufficient (in my opinion). The trigger is necessary, too. Which one is the “cause”?

There is another factor at play as well, which is that observations in the California Current(1950-2005) show a warming in upper ocean temperatures of 1.3°C and a deepening of 18 m in the average thermocline depth. This current returns surface water to the equatorial Pacific region. Thus, global warming is altering the background conditions – but slowly.

At the same time, global warming simulations show the Kuroshio current, the Pacific’s Gulf Stream, increasing in velocity under a 1% CO2 growth scenario. Taken together, that is a complicated picture, especially in the transient situation (the one we are in), but everyone seems to agree that the spin-up of the North Pacific gyre recirculation under global warming is a robust prediction. This brings warm wet air farther north, and could play a role in Alaska’s recent record snowfalls.

It’s hard to predict what effect that will have on El Nino/La Nina, but the answer must be related to the total heat & momentum budget for the upper equatorial Pacific ocean. However, at the same time we see that the rising influence of global warming is starting to swamp natural cycles – as in headlines like “Much of Australia still in drought despite La Nina, 2008″. El Nino is supposed to bring drought to the Australia-Indonesia region, not La Nina. Global warming, on the other hand, is expected to bring permanent drought regimes to many subtropical regions.

So, that’s where the current science is on the El Nino – global warming debate – lots of legitimate uncertainty – but instead of covering the legitimate science, reporters still cater to the fossil fuel lobby, for example:

http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE52N0UN2009032
“Study of 1918 El Nino challenges warming intensity link”

El Nino causes global climate chaos such as droughts and floods. The events of 1982/83 and 1997/98 were the strongest of the 20th Century, causing loss of life and economic havoc through lost crops and damage to infrastructure.

But Ben Giese of Texas A&M University said complex computer modeling showed the 1918 El Nino event was almost as strong and occurred before there was much global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels or widespread deforestation.

Let’s be clear – nothing here is based on any measurements – instead, the researchers seem to have plugged the output of an atmospheric model into an ocean model and pulled out a strong El Nino in 1918, thereby disproving the notion of stronger El Ninos in a warmer world. No data, just a model… anyone see any problems with this approach?

Giese said his team ran a complex ocean computer model that, for the first time, used the results of a separate atmospheric model produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The result was a simulation of ocean temperatures, currents and other measures from 1908 to 1958. For 1918, the simulation produced a strong abnormal surface warming in the central Pacific and weaker warming nearer the South American coast. – By David Fogarty, Climate Change Correspondent, Asia, Reuters

I do wonder what the simulation produces when run from 1958-2008, over the period when data for comparison actually exists… but never mind, this research (unpublished, unreviewed) is to be presented at “a major international climate change conference in Perth, Australia” – yes, that’s Australia’s coal lobby in action. Their last one was set to coincide with the IPCC FAR – see any patterns here?

The uncritical and naive reporting is what is most problematic. Modern climate models do produce El Ninos, but the timing is not accurate – there may be some kind of background indicator, but the trigger? Seems somewhat random, like snow building up on a roof and then sliding off. Yet, here we have one of the world’s leading wire agencies reporting this research as gospel truth – that’s just painful.

Comment by Ike Solem — 25 Mar 2009 @ 12:26 PM

84. I do understand that 10 years (of cooling or non-warming or sub-IPCC warming) from a particular, possibly atypical, peak global temperature (in 1998) could be very misleading in drawing long-term conclusions about trends. Several bloggers have asked “Then what would be a meaningful period?” and one answer, for some reason, seems to be “30 years”.

But large changes in sensor technology and rigour of temperature measurement can occur over such a period, particularly since in the 1970s many scientists were eagerly postulating catastrophic cooling and presenting convincing “measurements” in support of this.

Are we really sure that even today we have the quality of data necessary to support the models upon which long-term predictions of the extent of warming are based? Are there still improvements to be made? Please could the next IPCC Report incorporate all the improvements in modelling hinted at, but not fully explained, on this site?

Comment by Derek Smith — 25 Mar 2009 @ 12:39 PM

85. MV Octopussy
Port Royal Jamaica
25 March

Dear Doctor Michaels

My secretary, Fraulein Andress, has been rudely interrupted in her massage duties by an E-mail soliciting me to add my name to a petition addressed to the President of the United States.

As I still await his predecessor’s signature on an enormous cheque for sparing NASA CO2 monitoring satellites from my carbon-neutral nuclear death ray, I am not amused by the impudent forgery of my signature on your draft, and am therefore indisposed to humor your request.

Yours offhandedly

Doctor N

Comment by Russell Seitz — 25 Mar 2009 @ 1:10 PM

86. It might be useful for any wishing to understand where the primary denialist propaganda started to watch the following presentation: The American Denial of Global Warming http://www.uctv.tv/search-details.asp?showID=13459

The Union of Concerned Scientists still have their statement/Letter on the subject linkable from their site, also.

Cheers

reCAPTCHA gets kinky: 13)Let’s Whippany

Comment by ccpo — 25 Mar 2009 @ 2:26 PM

87. Derek Smith asks “Are we really sure that even today we have the quality of data necessary to support the models upon which long-term predictions of the extent of warming are based?”

Yes. Next question

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Mar 2009 @ 2:26 PM

88. Derek Smith:
> “Then what would be a meaningful period?”
> one answer, for some reason, seems to be “30 years”.

How much math have you studied? In Statistics 101, you learned/will learn to look at the data, and how much whatever you’re observing varies, to figure out how long you need to observe it to have a good chance of saying whether it has a trend (change over time) as well as variability.

But consider this:
http://climate.jpl.nasa.gov/images/normPage-2.jpg

To understand enough to ask better questions, read the first link under Science (right hand sidebar) and the links under the words “Start Here” (top of page).

Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Mar 2009 @ 2:58 PM

89. @ Geoff Beacon #82

The BBC is getting a lot of stick right now from the “no warming” bunch for being too accepting of AGW.

Probably worth checking out their discussion groups. I think “Have your say” will locate them.

Theo H

Devon, UK

Comment by Theo Hopkins — 25 Mar 2009 @ 3:04 PM

90. wmanny 25 March 2009 at 8:56 AM

Further, assuming temperatures get back on the upswing, how will you note that without being accused of referring to the weather, as those who look at current short-term trends are accused of doing now?

I don’t understand your worries. I can note that this year is warmer than last year, can’t I? Noting something is different from claiming it is conclusive proof. That is what many are doing now: they say the short term trend is conclusive proof that global warming is not happening. They ignore long term trends, shrinking glaciers, decreasing sea ice, etc.

When your ‘upswing’ occurs, you will not see any scientist claim it is conclusive proof of global warming. Those temperature measurements will simply become part of the body of evidence, which contains more than just the last 10 years of surface temperatures.

Comment by Anne van der Bom — 25 Mar 2009 @ 3:09 PM

91. Re Derick Smith @84,
For why 30 years see here:
http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/01/results-on-deciding-trends.html

As for many scientists were eagerly postulating catastrophic cooling, see here:
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/the-global-cooling-myth/

Comment by Jim Eager — 25 Mar 2009 @ 3:17 PM

92. Derek Smith 25 March 2009 at 12:39 PM

…in the 1970s many scientists were eagerly postulating catastrophic cooling…

Try finding evidence of that. Especially the ‘many’ part of your belief. Good luck.

Comment by Anne van der Bom — 25 Mar 2009 @ 3:27 PM

93. For the record the phrase “with all due respect” is a polite way to disagree and should only rarely be interpreted reasonably as a sign of disrespect or insult.

On the contrary using it maintains civility during heated debates as it acknowledges the qualifications of the person with whom you are disagreeing.

[Response: But this is the joy of English. The listener presumably thinks of themselves as worthy of respect, and thus assumes that the ‘due respect’ is substantial. The speaker however has not indicated in any way what they consider the level of ‘due respect’ to be. Thus it could well be zero. So while it might calm a heated debate, I wouldn’t confuse it with a true expression of actual respect. – gavin ]

Comment by Joe Hunkins — 25 Mar 2009 @ 3:32 PM

94. Gavin: “I added one [meta description]. Let me know if there’s more that could be done.”

Apologies – I didn’t think before I typed that earlier comment. Here’s what I should have typed:

1. you need a dynamic, unique tag – ideally set to the article title (content of ‘With all due respect…’. That will provide a relevant description for search engine listing

2. ideally you will have a dynamic, unique value in the meta description – not sure what’s available in the version of WordPress that you’re using.

3. if it were my install, I’d upgrade to latest version of WordPress and then install http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/ (although I think it’s compatible with the version you appear to be running)

If you want more info, please email. This isn’t a sales pitch ;) – happy to offer advice pro bono – no strings.

[Response: With all due respect ;-) I have no idea what this plug-in actually does or why we need it. Sorry to be a bit dense, but none of the features mean anything to me. Feel free to educate me by email (contrib -at- realclimate.org) – gavin]

Comment by DavidCOG — 25 Mar 2009 @ 4:05 PM

95. gavin wrote: “The speaker however has not indicated in any way what they consider the level of ‘due respect’ to be. Thus it could well be zero.”

For the record, I have begun some comments posted to this blog with the phrase “With all due respect” … before going on to flame someone that I thought was an idiot or a liar. In my case, I use that phrase in the hope that it will suggest a respectful tone to the moderator of the site so that my comment won’t be deleted for being too nasty.

Comment by SecularAnimist — 25 Mar 2009 @ 4:07 PM

96. Having read the article above it does appear that the main point is
being rather poorly asserted. Of course the observed temperature increase
is not linear and will vary on it’s upward trend. However, if we notice
a deviation from the prediction then I suppose this needs some explaining
as well. Gavin, as you suggest, the longer term trend is still positive.

However, my thoughts here are that the recent flattening is caused by the
PDO shifting to it’s cool phase. This cool phase could persist for another
20 years meaning we would see cooling rather than warming. SST temperatures
are already showing a cool anomoly trend continuing. This extended cooling
is expected, and is superimposed on the general warming trend. So, we can
expect some tough times ahead in maintaining public support of CO2 induced
warming against short term data which suggest otherwise.

I expect this letter will be the first of many to come. Proper explanation
of the cause of decadal variation is needed !

Comment by Jonas — 25 Mar 2009 @ 4:59 PM

97. Once again, if they put half as much effort into fighting for the changes that we need to make, as they do fighting against them…..
I don’t mean to offend my European and/or other ‘not American’ Comrades in Fight to Stop Global Warming; but we used to say that, if we – or anybody, if you believe the Movies of the 1930’s – had some kind of a problem, then “Yankee Ingenuity would surely be able to fix it.”
I swear, it’s as if us Yankees lost that little old Civil War thing – and the Eloi-to-be, sitting around drinking Mint Julips and making Daisy chains for their hair, have taken over!
Sorry if that’s a little bitter – but those American Southern Boy Hillbilly Types (sorry Bill & Al, I’m not pointing fingers at you) are both the ones who need to wake up the most seriously, and the ones who are the least likely to do so without a solid kick in the arse!
Talking to me about their 4 x 4 having “two tanks”…….BAH!!!
Well written and concise – I just wish that the ‘enemy’ had learnt to read something other than the labels on their ’40 ouncers’ of Cheap-as-piss ‘Ice Beer’!

Comment by James Staples — 25 Mar 2009 @ 5:43 PM

98. Jonas, Given that most of the excess heat is going into the oceans, and that we don’t have a great handle on exactly what “most” means, deviations from scenarios (note that they are not called predictions) are not unexpected. We may have considerable warming in the pipeline.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Mar 2009 @ 6:48 PM

99. This is a bit off topic but i have to raise it because i do not agree with the authors views about ‘environmentalists’.

Andrew Weaver has made comments on the Vancouver Sun web site that implies environmentalists oppose wind and hydro electric schemes in Canada.

http://www.vancouversun.com/story_print.html?id=1421670&sponsor=

I don’t know what the situation is in Canada, but from a UK perspective climate change environmentalists are largely very supportive of wind and hydro electric and it is conservationists (and others with vested interests) that oppose turbines, hydro etc.

Typically the RSPB and other organisations are interested in conservation and this often conflicts with the need to use technology to help tackle environmental (climate change) issues.

Comment by Paul — 25 Mar 2009 @ 7:02 PM

100. “Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis (95-46 B.C.), known as Cato the Younger, was a Roman political figure whose opposition to Pompey and Caesar helped hasten the collapse of the Roman Republic.” From
http://www.answers.com/topic/cato-the-elder

Helped hasten the colapse of the Roman Empire, did he?! Beware the modern day Catos!

Comment by Lawrence Brown — 25 Mar 2009 @ 8:04 PM

101. Jonas at #96.

The recent flattening could be nothing more than random noise. Take a look at the example Tamino cites at http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/04/07/how-not-to-analyze-data-part-4-lies-damned-lies-and-anthony-watts/. He takes a known increasing function, adds some random noise, then finds a section where there’s a decreasing trend. Since he started with a known curve and just hid it in noise, it’s a pretty convincing demonstration of how you can fool yourself by looking at a short period (or worse at a cherry picked period).

One has to be careful about taking meaning from short periods. That’s one of the reasons climatologists look at 30 year time frames.

Comment by Wayne — 25 Mar 2009 @ 8:13 PM

102. Re 99.

“Helped hasten the colapse of the Roman Empire, did he?! Beware the modern day Catos”

No. You just quoted “[he] helped hasten the collapse of the Roman Republic.” In other words he helped bring the Roman Empire into being.

Comment by James Killen — 25 Mar 2009 @ 8:44 PM

103. gavin,

perhaps it’s worthwhile to do a post on what the PDO is not. This ridiculous meme continues to surface in every thread and it’s kind of irritating.

Comment by Chris Colose — 25 Mar 2009 @ 8:51 PM

104. A lot of very good and intelligent people here seem to have fallen into a bit of a trap in regards to the main issue at hand in regards to Global Climate Change…

You see, being good and well trained scientists you tend to think that this issue is about the science, or at least the facts at hand, when it is instead a war of “hearts and minds”.

Facts are useful right now, but only in regards to getting data points (Talking points, blurbs etc.) to the public. Yes, the science must go on, but we will lose this war if all the people in the know, the scientists doing the actual research, keep muttering to one another instead of challenging the paid Oil and Coal company employees that get most of the real press.

This will require doing some things that good people, especially good scientists, have been trained to avoid however. People will have to be loud, controversial and in short phrases without reservation say “This is the truth, these are the facts…. This man over here saying differently? He’s lying to you for this specific industry!”

You can’t win a debate with someone that is playing by schoolyard rules (even if you are too as most of us have learned over time) and unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately as their side has fewer scruples and more money to spend) we can’t just have large men go to their houses and help them learn the prudence of silence.

It’s sad, yes. We would all like to stand above pettiness and propaganda and show how real science works, true…

But that road cannot be followed in our current world, because no one will hear and understand the message! Facts only win the day if people hear them enough and right now what the average person is hearing amounts to “These rich Climatologists want to keep hoaxing us into a money grabbing carbon tax.”

We can undo this, if we all pull together, but a real plan of action has to be put in place and fast. Otherwise we may as well go off and just start having fun until things get too bad to ignore any more.

Comment by Dale Power — 25 Mar 2009 @ 9:05 PM

105. Interesting thread again.
As someone else said already, Al Gore did not advocate cutting back on economic growth (but only of CO2). To say that we have to cut back on growth is like Satanism, esp. in the US (I think). However, I am for it. Personally, I do not believe that we – whoever that is – are going to be able to tackle GW without slowing down on growth. It’s time that people start to understand that there is value in this position. Subsequently, they can start seeing that this might be good for many things. We produce a lot of stuff we do not need. Please, don’t start now about living in the stone age. I am not for it either. Don’t tell me that we need capitalism for our employment as appr one and half billion people do not have anything close to what we call a job. This is not due to ‘not enough’ development, but to a completely wrong way of development. Don’t tell me that medicine would suffer, for ex. – I just read an article on it, it is not true. Also, economic growth does not equal or correlates with welfare, human happiness and quality of life. Indeed – and I am absolutely not saying this to bash at American people (I’m married to an American btw), the USA, which is still the richest country on earth in terms of GDP, does bad or even very bad on practically all parameters of human happiness/quality of life: illiteracy, drugs, divorce, health care, illness, equality, life span, pollution, community life, teenage pregnancy and others, while it is no secret that you use/misuse the most resources on the face of the planet. For ex., a country like Greece, of which the GDP per capita is only half of that of the US has a higher quality of life than the US. Therefore, we need to rethink what we are doing. Economic growth is our holy cow, but it is a false cow. We need to reform this system in order to tackle GW, to stop people dying from hunger and from nonsense diseases with cost 50 cents to cure, etc. Cutting CO2 is just not good enough. There is no technocratic solution to this. We need political reform. This happened before. During the 19th century, children worked for 15 hours a day in a factory. People said it was necessary for the system to survive. Now, no children work in factories anymore, not in the US or in Europe anyway. We can do this worldwide. The economy has to serve the needs of people and not vice versa.

Comment by Will Denayer — 25 Mar 2009 @ 10:39 PM

106. Wayne at #101

Thanks Wayne,

I’ve read some of the posts at WUWT and I think that your comments are very relevent. Cherry picking of
data can achieve any result desired by the author, and almost always not in line with reality. I think
that data of 30 years can even be misleading, especially when you consider that the PDO can run in 30
year cycles. In my opinion the petition article above is based on the PDO shift into the cool phase
which seemed to start after the year 2000. This has given rise to the quote “No global warming for the
past decade”.

As far as warming in the pipline goes I think we need to be careful here….
Yes, you can say that the excess heat has been moved into deeper waters and cooler waters from below
have upwelled causing the current cool anomoly. However, the earth is in a constant dynamic state. Heat stored in the pipeline will be released at varying rates over a long time scale. Remember that the oceans can store >1000x of heat compared to the atmosphere. This heat could remain in the pipeline for
centuries. You could even summise that recent global warming is older pipeline heat.

What worries me is the flattening of the usual downward trend of the PDO. In 2030 when the PDO switches
back to the +ve phase we can expect very rapid temperature rise based on the current slight cool trend
when compared to past sharp negative trends associated with previous PDO cycles.

Comment by Jonas — 26 Mar 2009 @ 12:04 AM

107. Lots of truth in what you say Will.
And reCAPTCHA gives me $5 Devine :-) Comment by Philippe Chantreau — 26 Mar 2009 @ 12:13 AM 108. To Theo and all those others exasperated at their own lack of statistics literacy, there is an invaluable learning/teaching resource: http://www.woodfortrees.org/ As an example what you can do: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/mean:12/plot/uah/trend/plot/uah/from:2003/trend/plot/uah/from:1997.5/trend/plot/uah/from:1992/to:1999/trend No thick math textbooks required… just play around to find the effects of cherry picking starting and ending points, length of time series, smoothing… whatever. And demonstrate the points that need to be made to your “skeptic” friends. Comment by Martin Vermeer — 26 Mar 2009 @ 1:46 AM 109. Re: 99 Paul Says: “Andrew Weaver has made comments on the Vancouver Sun web site that implies environmentalists oppose wind and hydro electric schemes in Canada… I do not agree with the authors views about ‘environmentalists.’” There are three major problems that environmentalists see with the land rush for wind, solar, and hydro projects. 1. Important habitats for animals and plants need to be identified first, not after the fact. 2. Transmission lines are needed, and this has the same issues as #1. 3. Many current solar technologies require vast amounts of water. And we’re talking about building them in our deserts. Some environmental activists want no new developments at all. They argue that photovoltaics on homes and buildings, as well as reduction in our use of energy, should be done instead. But if we are to get off fossil fuels, we need photovoltaics and large renewable projects as well. How about converting the coal plants in the American Southwest to renewables — on already disturbed lands. The best we can do is steer projects on to disturbed lands and to run transmission lines on existing corridors or freeways (I’ve always thought the term “scenic highway” is an oxymoron). The best suggestion I read recently (on Climate Progress) is that since Las Vegas clearly is an unsustainable city, we should tear it down and do many of our our renewable projects there. Not a bad idea! Comment by Jim Eaton — 26 Mar 2009 @ 2:04 AM 110. Chris Colose wrote in 103: gavin, perhaps it’s worthwhile to do a post on what the PDO is not. This ridiculous meme continues to surface in every thread and it’s kind of irritating. In the meantime it might help people to know that there are posts elsewhere that deal with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. One post people might want to look at is over at Tamino’s: PDO: the Pacific Decadal Oscillation May 27, 2008 http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/05/27/pdo-the-pacific-decadal-oscillation/ However, I would also strongly recommend a post at Skeptical Science which deals specifically with the question of whether the Pacific Decadal Oscillation might explain 20th Century warming: The second lesson of PDOs is that while we talk about warm phases and cool phases these are more names than physical descriptions. As seen in Figure 2, a cool phase PDO is associated with cool sea surface temperatures along the Pacific coast of North America, but the center of the North Pacific ocean is still quite warm. Consequently it would appear that there is nothing fundamental about a PDO that would cause significant changes to global temperatures. It’s the Pacific Decadal Oscillation http://www.skepticalscience.com/Pacific-Decadal-Oscillation.htm For yet another approach dealing with the question of the correlation between PDO and global temperature: On the Relationship between the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the Global Average Mean Temperature 3 Aug 2008 http://atmoz.org/…/pdo… There is also the claim that PDO forces ENSO, but the following seems to suggest that ENSO leads PDO rather than the reverse if one looks at the left-bottom diagram on slide 10 of… ENSO-forced variability of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation Matt Newman, NOAA-CIRES CDC http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/outreach/proceedings/cdw28_proceedings/mnewman_2003.ppt And then here is a passage which I like to bring up regarding climate modes (oscillations) in general and their relationship to global warming: A crucial question in the global-warming debate concerns the extent to which recent climate change is caused by anthropogenic forcing or is a manifestation of natural climate variability. It is commonly thought that the climate response to anthropogenic forcing should be distinct from the patterns of natural climate variability. But, on the basis of studies of nonlinear chaotic models with preferred states or ‘regimes’, it has been argued, that the spatial patterns of the response to anthropogenic forcing may in fact project principally onto modes of natural climate variability. Here we use atmospheric circulation data from the Northern Hemisphere to show that recent climate change can be interpreted in terms of changes in the frequency of occurrence of natural atmospheric circulation regimes. We conclude that recent Northern Hemisphere warming may be more directly related to the thermal structure of these circulation regimes than to any anthropogenic forcing pattern itself. Conversely, the fact that observed climate change projects onto natural patterns cannot be used as evidence of no anthropogenic effect on climate. These results may help explain possible differences between trends in surface temperature and satellite-based temperature in the free atmosphere. Signature of recent climate change in frequencies of natural atmospheric circulation regimes S. Corti, F. Molteni, and T. N. Palmer Nature 398, 799-802 (29 April 1999) http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v398/n6730/abs/398799a0.html One can easily argue that to a first approximation, forcing is forcing, whether it is solar or anthropogenic, and climate modes can be expected to respond to forcings in roughly the same manner regardless of the nature of those forcings. Comment by Timothy Chase — 26 Mar 2009 @ 2:08 AM 111. re: 99: “Typically the RSPB and other organisations are interested in conservation ” However, the RSPB are now saying that we can put a lot more wind power up in the UK. The death rate from the new turbines are no longer an issue. Comment by Mark — 26 Mar 2009 @ 3:59 AM 112. Re 45. With all due respect, could you please enlighten us non-Americans about your Mr. George Will? I don’t feel like googling him, there must be thousands of them. Comment by François Marchand — 26 Mar 2009 @ 4:11 AM 113. Paul, I see this on CBC pretty frequently; perhaps it’s the denialist flavor of the month for Canada. Lists of topics for which “AGW alarmism” is allegedly impeding action now includes apparently mercury pollution, plastic waste in the Pacific, control of malaria, and welfare of the Third World in general, in addition to action on any form of alternate energy. I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few. No idea is too crazy for these folks; much of it looks to me at least like pure Orwellian inversion: “War is peace!” I’m resigned to typing a lot more iterations of “That’s not true, here’s why, and you can find out more at ________.” That said, I do see an interesting pattern on the threads. CBC has an agree/disagree vote widget. The early posts get the most views, and hence enough votes to give some statistical significance. The denialists generally lose the agree/disagree battle for such posts by a factor of about 2 to 1. Comment by Kevin McKinney — 26 Mar 2009 @ 4:14 AM 114. Something wrong with Captcha, I am afraid. 44 UNDERSKIRT? Comment by François Marchand — 26 Mar 2009 @ 4:17 AM 115. This sort of nonsense calls for a climate change version of Project Steve: http://ncseweb.org/taking-action/project-steve Comment by Derek — 26 Mar 2009 @ 4:37 AM 116. No. 105 To say that we have to cut back on growth is like Satanism, esp. in the US (I think). However, I am for it. Personally, I do not believe that we – whoever that is – are going to be able to tackle GW without slowing down on growth. It’s time that people start to understand that there is value in this position. Subsequently, they can start seeing that this might be good for many things. We produce a lot of stuff we do not need. Someone has already been advocating this position. Just google for “steady state economy”. Comment by alemaco — 26 Mar 2009 @ 6:13 AM 117. francois, george will is an intelligent but misguided conservative columnist who recently published an article (and has published many others also appearing in nearly all major US papers’ editorial sections) poo-pooing the reality of AGW. Comment by walter — 26 Mar 2009 @ 6:24 AM 118. bit off topic but… @ Lawrwnce Brown [Cato]Helped hasten the colapse of the Roman Empire, did he?! Beware the modern day Catos! All empires fall. (I’m a Brit – 60 years ago when I was a kid 1/4 of the map of the world was red (= our empire)). The US empire will be gone by 2109. I’ll take a$1000 bet on that.

Point is,long term, to solve this AGW crisis will be something in the gift of others than the USA.

Comment by Theo Hopkins — 26 Mar 2009 @ 7:03 AM

119. Will Denayer,
I do not think that “growth” per se is the problem. One can have economic growth without greatly intensifying consumption by increasing the value of goods produced via that consumption. Technology is the key both to maintaining growth and to ensuring that it takes less resources to do so.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Mar 2009 @ 7:23 AM

120. Dale Power,

I couldn’t disagree with you more. There are 1000’s of sites where this battle of the hearts and minds rages.

realclimate.org is a very, very welcome exception where you can go to read about and discuss the facts behind the heated debate.

What you say plays exactly in the hands of the denialists. They want a war of words, decoupled from the facts. They want to reduce it to a topic in the age old left vs right battle. A battle they hope to drag on endlessly.

Comment by Anne van der Bom — 26 Mar 2009 @ 7:29 AM

121. Jim Eaton 26 March 2009 at 2:04 AM,

You say:
“3. Many current solar technologies require vast amounts of water.”

What are those technologies and how much water do they use?

You say:
“How about converting the coal plants in the American Southwest to renewables — on already disturbed lands.”

Did you do the math? Suppose a 1 GW coal plant occupies 1 hectare. That is 100 kW / m². Solar power delivers how much on average? 50 W/m²? 100 W/m²? That is three orders of magnitude less. So tearing down a 1 GW coal plant would give you enough space for a 1 MW solar plant.

Comment by Anne van der Bom — 26 Mar 2009 @ 7:47 AM

122. Anne, #121, a hectare is pretty small for GW coal station.

And how about this: covered parking spaces with solar panels.

And maybe rather than tear the idea up, consider reformulating it: consider replacing closed coal fired power stations with solar panels (and wind turbines: they can co-exist).

Comment by Mark — 26 Mar 2009 @ 9:12 AM

123. Sounds exactly as misleading as their “stimulus” ad. They cherry picked an Obama quote from way back when, in which the topic was whether or not the government should do something about the crisis, and used it make appear as if Obama was speaking of the particular stimulus bill in Congress at the time.

Cato lied then, and they’ll be sure to lie now as well.

Comment by MarkusR — 26 Mar 2009 @ 9:48 AM

124. Dale (104): I can empathize with your frustrations, but…

There are more and more scientists speaking up; this site is prima facie evidence #1 for that. And there have been others as well, Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Jim Hansen, Paul Ehrlich etc. More would sure be welcome but expecting that is misguided IMO. Scientists have enough on their plates with their day jobs. Don’t expect them to be media outlets and/or activists as well. What’s been lacking are high caliber science writers who can “translate” complex science into a form understandable to Joe and Jane Public. But this too is improving with the a number of high quality blogs springing up, most of which are linked to here. Be thankful that sites like this one and the others exist at all.

Comment by Jim Bouldin — 26 Mar 2009 @ 10:03 AM

125. 74 GFW

http://sites.google.com/site/cosmologyquest/_/rsrc/1235495096944/files/UAH_LT5.bmp

Here’s a relatively recent graph. What’s your take on this one?

[Response: Why not use the current version? – gavin]

Comment by wmanny — 26 Mar 2009 @ 10:50 AM

126. The current energy debate is in many ways similar to the debate between IBM, Dell and Apple over the future of the computer – mainframes or laptops? As we can see, the laptop won for the vast majority of applications. Laptops are modular (meaning you can buy as few or as many as you need, rather than one mega-machine), convenient, and have low energy consumption.

For solar and many biofuel and water applications, small and modular is vastly preferable to the IBM approach. Rooftop solar, solar-coated electric vehicles, and solar-powered water purification and biofuel distillation systems are all very plausible. It’s not hard to imagine a future in which most homes have integrated solar roofs – in the future, that might be a part of the building code, just as hot water heaters are included in building codes today.

Financing such a program is where the difficulty arises – it presupposes a high rate of home ownership and available credit for those who want to convert their homes and businesses into solar power stations. Landlords are unlikely to invest in such systems, as they do not have to pay the power bills, and without credit – well, who would buy a new car if no credit was available for cars?

For wind, the large-scale industrial approach is definitely superior – bigger is better when it comes to wind, at least for turbines and wind farms. There is also the issue of grid-integrated energy storage and distribution (critical for wind and solar) – any facilities for doing that will likely by fairly large, along the lines of modern power utilities.

Comment by Ike Solem — 26 Mar 2009 @ 11:17 AM

127. Wmanny, when you link to outdated information posted as a static picture on the Electric Cosmology Thunderbolts guy’s site, you don’t add to your own credibility. Take Gavin’s pointer, ‘add series’ and pick the same data but adding the processing step (linear trend) and you’ll see both charted together.

http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:1979/to:2009/plot/uah/from:1979/to:2009/trend

Or chop off the last year like the Electric Thunderbolt guy did, and see how much difference it makes in the trend. Just change “2009” to “2008” there.

See how little difference one year makes?

(I can’t speak for the Woodfortrees site — does it update the data from the sources live to include the inevitable corrections and updates?

Do check that before relying on the results — same principle as with the Electric Thunderbolt guy, it’s always best to make sure you’re looking at original, not copy.)

Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Mar 2009 @ 12:43 PM

128. Timothy Chase: “One can easily argue that to a first approximation, forcing is forcing, whether it is solar or anthropogenic, and climate modes can be expected to respond to forcings in roughly the same manner regardless of the nature of those forcings.”

Well, not really. Increases in solar forcing show up in the stratosphere as warming due to increased absorption by ozone, for example, while CO2 forcing results in a cooling stratosphere. Volcanic forcing dumps aerosols into the stratosphere, resulting in stratospheric warming but also in surface cooling due to reflection of sunlight back to space; thus Pinatubo had net cooling effect of roughly -4 Watts/m^2 (Robock et al. estimate -100 W/m^2 for a full scale nuclear war, as well).

El Nino/La Nina and the other proposed multi-decade cycles are probably responses to forcings. That’s also true for mid-latitude and polar seasonal cycles, the main forcing there being the change in solar radiation due to the tilt of the Earth’s axis relative to the sun. The driving forces behind El Nino are more mysterious.

For example, what kind of oscillation bounces down twice without going up? It would be strange indeed to see a pendulum behave that way – if it paused at one end, wiggled around, and then shot back the other way, as ENSO often does? You would have to conclude that there were external forces that were driving (as well as damping) the pendulum’s swing. This complexity is reflected in model difficulty in simulating El Nino cycles in the tropical Pacific.

The issues with the (hypothetical) “pacific decadal oscillation” are that there is no mechanism, and very poor evidence for a long-term oscillation – there is good evidence for marine regime shifts in the North Atlantic, but the claims about oscillations are misplaced.

I think that what happened is that Fourier-based time series analysis tools were discovered by a lot of people in paleoclimatology around the same time, and in the rush to apply the new method, which involves picking out harmonic patterns from noisy data, people got a bit over-excited. It’s also difficult to assign a degree of statistical uncertainty to such a time-series analysis – one can find “proof” that random noise is made up of interacting harmonics, if one is not careful. On the other hand, it works great for things like planetary orbits, analysis of electronic circuits – but for fluid dynamics, the underlying assumptions themselves are off-base.

The same goes for the Indian Ocean Dipole, which is thought to be responsible for bring rain to Australia. El Nino is known to bring drought to Australia, but La Nina is supposed to bring rain – unlike the past two years. A new proposal is that it is the Indian Ocean which brings rain to Australia during La Nina years, and that changes in the Indian Ocean Dipole (which doesn’t oscillate between poles, either – more like a Lorentz butterfly).

If you google (news) “indian ocean dipole” you’ll turn up many recent articles that claim that this is what is responsible for Australia’s drought and wildfires, much as the case with drought and wildfires in California and “La Nina”. The basic PR theme is obvious: natural cycles, not human actions, are responsible for the observed temperature & precipitation changes.

The most comprehensive coverage was from Reuters, who said this:

“The Indian Ocean Dipole is the key factor for driving major southeast Australian droughts over the past 120 years.” The researchers said more study was needed to pinpoint the cause of IODs, with half linked to La Nina events in the Pacific and the other half dependent purely on the Indian Ocean.

“There are some indications that positive Indian Ocean Dipole are becoming more frequent and negative events less frequent. However, this needs to further investigation.” (Editing by David Fogarty)

No mention of global warming at all – but what might be causing the Indian Ocean Dipole to change? Perhaps the heating caused by the regional atmospheric brown cloud of south Asia is playing a role, and perhaps the global effect of adding fossil CO2 to the atmosphere is playing a role – and perhaps the IOD explanation is just PR tossed out by Australia’s coal lobby and disseminated by the media in order to confuse the public – but those are not fit topics of discussion, especially explanation #3.

It is a complicated issue – try this, for example:

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2008/12/05/0710860105.full.pdf

The conclusion is that we don’t know what is going on with El Nino and global warming. There may be a transient response, as different parts of the ocean warm at different rates. There is an extremely complicated ocean-atmosphere interaction and thus improvements in models and in data observations are needed – that would be the scientific perspective on the issue – we don’t know how El Nino wil respond to global warming, but we know the globe is warming.

The PDO is certainly weaker than ENSO, and claims that the world will cool due to the PDO (i.e. Don Easterbrook) are bogus. Don Easterbrook has no background in ocean modeling, ocean data collection, or anything similar – he’s just latched onto something he doesn’t understand, and since the argument make a nice denialist talking point, he gets a plane ticket to the Heritage conference and a lot of unquestioning press coverage, even from science journalists who should know better – for example:

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/11/no-doubt-about-energy-gap/

If reporters repeat what scientists say without checking the facts for themselves, are they really doing their jobs? The job is not stenography, it is journalism – meaning that background research is required.

Comment by Ike Solem — 26 Mar 2009 @ 12:44 PM

129. Ah, from Woodfortrees Notes page: “It is updated from the master sources at 3am GMT/BST each night.”

Good.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Mar 2009 @ 12:44 PM

130. I see that demolition experts had to blow up an ice jam in the Missouri to alleviate flooding in parts of Bismarck.

Sounds like another bullet point for a highly scientific Cato white paper:

“In 2009, demolition teams had to blow up an ice jam in the Missouri River in order to save Bismarck, ND. What do you have to say about that, global warming alarmists?”

Comment by Chris Dunford — 26 Mar 2009 @ 12:56 PM

131. …Addressing the hearing on the “balanced Biblical view” for environment and development issues, Pastor Calvin Beisner — national spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance, a coalition of clergy, theologians and religious leaders — questioned proposed efforts to combat climate change.

“I am convinced that policies meant to reduce alleged carbon dioxide-induced global warming will be destructive,” he said.

“The Biblical world view sees Earth and its ecosystems as the effect of a wise God’s creation and … therefore robust, resilient, and self regulating, like the product of any good engineer.” …

Comment by Jim Galasyn — 26 Mar 2009 @ 1:18 PM

132. A friend of mine has sent me several “facts” which I would like comments on, if possible. I THINK I know what rebuttals to each of them would be, but I am still unsure of myself on this issue.

1. For at least the last five years, global temperatures have been falling, according to tracking performed by Roy Spencer, the climatologist formerly of NASA.

2. Two more studies – one by the Leibniz Institute of Marine Science and the Max Planck Institute of Meteorology in Germany and another by the University of Wisconsin – predict a slowing, or even a reversal of warming, for at least the next 10 to 20 years.

3. The Arctic sea ice has grown more on a percentage basis this winter than it has since 1979.

4. “The most recent global warming that began in 1977 is over, and the Earth has entered a new phase of global cooling,” says Don Easterbrook, professor of geology at Western Washington University in Bellingham, confidently. He maintains a switch in Pacific Ocean currents “assures about three decades of global cooling. New solar data showing unusual absence of sun spots and changes in the sun’s magnetic field suggest … the present episode of global cooling may be more severe than the cooling of 1945 to 1977.”

5. Climatologist Joe D’Aleo of the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project, says new data “show that in five of the last seven decades since World War II, including this one, global temperatures have cooled while carbon dioxide has continued to rise.” “The data suggest cooling not warming in Earth’s future,” he says.

Thanks.

Burgy

Comment by John Burgeson — 26 Mar 2009 @ 1:22 PM

133. Climatologist Joe D’Aleo

Being the kind of person I am, I’d respond with a question of my own:

“Why has your source lied about Joe D’Aleo being a climatologist, and why should I pay attention to anything said by people who lie about credentials in an effort to make their argument appear to be authoritative?”

Comment by dhogaza — 26 Mar 2009 @ 1:49 PM

134. You’re right, a coal plant with all ancillary buildings, coal storage, etc occupies more space than 1 hectare, but my message remains the same. The reason I reacted is that people should realize that renewables take up a lot of space, much more than conventional power plants.

The true challenge is in finding new space (offshore wind) or making good use of land already occupied (rooftop pv). Simply taking down a powerplant and replacing the same area with a solar plant leaves you with the problem “Now how do I replace the other 950 MW”. Simply ignoring that problem isn’t very compelling to me and sidesteps the true challenges.

Comment by Anne van der Bom — 26 Mar 2009 @ 2:10 PM

135. 1) Wrong.
2) How can that be squared with someone saying it’s going down in the last 5 years? It it’s been going down in at least the last 5 years, then reversing that means the temperature is going up again.
3) And when one person has the only copy of something, a single copy created is a 100% increase!!!
4) Don Esterbrook says that? Well, 100 other equally estimable scientists say otherwise. Why are you taking only Don’s word for it?
5) Irrelevant. The reasons for these events are known and do not mean that there’s no CO2 based global temperature increase.

Comment by Mark — 26 Mar 2009 @ 2:25 PM

136. John, you write

> I THINK I know what rebuttals
> to each of them would be

Suggestion:

Post the best refutation you’ve found — just the link, no need to retype anything.

If there’s a better source than you found someone can comment; if you found the best, you’ll get validated.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Mar 2009 @ 2:29 PM

137. Jim Eaton wrote: “How about converting the coal plants in the American Southwest to renewables — on already disturbed lands.”

Anne van der Bom replied: “Did you do the math? Suppose a 1 GW coal plant occupies 1 hectare. That is 100 kW / m². Solar power delivers how much on average? 50 W/m²? 100 W/m²? That is three orders of magnitude less. So tearing down a 1 GW coal plant would give you enough space for a 1 MW solar plant.”

Regarding this discussion of land use requirements for solar electricity generation, here is a “data point”.

Solyndra is a company that manufactures photovoltaic panels consisting of cylindrical modules, which they say “capture sunlight across a 360-degree photovoltaic surface capable of converting direct, diffuse and reflected sunlight into electricity. Solyndra’s panels perform optimally when mounted horizontally and packed closely together, thereby covering significantly more of the typically available roof area and producing more electricity per rooftop on an annual basis than a conventional panel installation. The result is significantly more solar electricity per rooftop per year.”

Solyndra’s target market is “large, low-slope commerc-ial rooftops. The Solyndra system is designed to optimize PV performance on commerc-ial rooftops by converting more of the sunlight that strikes the total rooftop area into electricity.” Their PV panels have been shipping since July 2008.

Solyndra says that “in the U.S. alone, approximately 30 billion square feet of commerc-ial rooftop surface is available for PV systems and could be utilized to create in excess of 150 gigawatts of electricity. Globally, this number could be two to three times higher. Tapping even a small fraction of this potential would make a significant impact on the world’s energy needs.”

That’s the equivalent of 150 of the 1GW coal plants that Anne van der Bom mentioned — using existing rooftop space, with no need to disturb any land.

By the way, Solyndra has just announced that it is “the first company to receive an offer for a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) lo-an guarantee under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005″, which it will use to open a second manufacturing facility with a capacity of 500 MW per year — the equivalent of building a new 1 GW coal-fired power plant every two years.

According to Solyndra, construction of the factory “will employ approximately 3,000 people, the operation of the facility will create over 1,000 jobs, and hundreds of additional jobs will be created for the installation of Solyndra PV systems in the U.S.”

This is a good example of what can be done with solar technology, both to replace existing (and proposed) coal-fired power plants, and to create the basis for a sustainable “green” economy.

(Note: hyphens inserted in some words are to avoid provoking the spam filter.)

Comment by SecularAnimist — 26 Mar 2009 @ 2:29 PM

138. Oh, as a postscript, John — if you’ll ask your friend for _his_ sources for these frequently asserted claims, that will help. Most likely he’s just copypasting out of one of the dozens of echo sites hosted by people who don’t understand the stuff but simply post it and soak up people’s time. If you can track the source back to wherever they originate, it simplifies responding.

Think “decoys” when you see this stuff without citation.

They’re there to fool you and waste your time replying to the copies.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Mar 2009 @ 2:31 PM

139. Chris Dunford, I’m not sure if you were serious or not, but ice dams do occur in winter… on the other hand they have started to break up in winter.

From BBC News

“A huge ice dam on Argentina’s Perito Moreno glacier is about to break apart for the first time during the southern hemisphere winter.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7494686.stm

But enough with the anecdotal stuff already.

Comment by Jaydee — 26 Mar 2009 @ 2:36 PM

140. With “all due respect”, I’m fed up with this hooey.

The Michaels graph shows recent “observed trends” ranging from -0.05 (5 years) to barely 0 (12 years).

Let’s get real. The IPCC projection of 0.2 deg/decade is for the
period 2011-2030 relative to a baseline of 1980-1999 (AR4 WG1, Chapter 10 Executive Summary). In other words, the 20-year moving average of surface temperature is projected to rise at a rate of 0.2 deg/decade over the 31 year period.

We are now 9 years along. By my calculation, the 20 year average has risen by just under 0.17 deg/decade in all three surface tempertaure data sets (NOAA, NASA and HadCrut). More sophisticated smoothing shows even higher trends, but at least this trend calculation shows the necessity of using the proper baseline and trend calculation method, instead of just cherrypicking a start date or end date.

According to Michaels, the 95% confidence interval for the 9-year trend projection is -0.03 to 0.43 deg/decade. So, comparatively speaking, 0.17 is pretty close to the 0.2 mid-point. Obviously, the climate models do not “abjectly fail”. Quite the opposite … um, with all due respect.

BTW, the Michaels testimony is here (the other link didn’t work):

http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2009/02/13/committee-on-energy-and-environment-testimony/

Comment by Deep Climate — 26 Mar 2009 @ 2:42 PM

141. With all due respect, Deep Climate, you’re making up hooey.

Comment by Mark — 26 Mar 2009 @ 3:17 PM

142. Re: Anne van der Bom Says:

“What are those technologies and how much water do they use?”

Just a quick glance at the California Energy Commission’s staff report for the proposed Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, a solar concentrating thermal power plant, shows annual water use at 76.4 acre feet of water (nearly 25,000,000 gallons or about 95,000 cubic meters). Most of the water would be used nightly to wash the mirrors.

At full buildout, the three plants are expected to generate 400 MW. The project would cover 3,678 acres (just under 1,500 hectares) of land.

Captcha: “Goldwater didn’t”

Comment by Jim Eaton — 26 Mar 2009 @ 3:18 PM

143. And how much water does a power station from conventional techniques use. E.g. lost steam turbine water (can’t have the pipes furring up!), washing the windows, drinking water for the staff, etc.

And the water used for washing the surfaces sounds either over-profligate or necessitated by some rather strange operational procedure. The water should be easily recyclable.

Power costs.

Reducing power is the best, quickest and simplest short term solution.

Comment by Mark — 26 Mar 2009 @ 3:33 PM

144. Now, this is what I call a “balanced Biblical view” of climate science:

God will not intervene to prevent humanity from wreaking disastrous damage to the environment, the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned. …And God would not guarantee a “happy ending”, he warned. …

Speaking on Wednesday he said just as God gave humans free will to do “immeasurable damage” to themselves as individuals it seemed “clear” they had the same “terrible freedom” as a human race. …

Without a change of heart, Dr Williams warned, the world faced a number of “doomsday scenarios” including the “ultimate tragedy” of humanity gradually “choked, drowned, or starved by its own stupidity.” …

Testify!

reCaptcha: Grp Emanuel

Comment by Jim Galasyn — 26 Mar 2009 @ 3:39 PM

145. Temperatures since 1850, done as 5 year averages, except the last point is just the average of 2005, 2006 & 2007, from HadCRUTv3 global surface temperatures product:

http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2007/12/5yrave.jpg

Eyeball a straightline trend through the data; this is the centennial scale secular trend; it is due (primarily) to global warming trace gases in the atmosphere. Clearly there are various wobbles above and below this trend line; some is due to the solar cycle, some to ocean oscillations and other internal climate variations on the decadal scale; some is thought to be due to aerosols.

Note the last two data points: the last is above the second to last, but this is fairly meaningless in the face of all the decadal scale variations going on.

With regard to global surface temperatures for 2008, there was la Nina and also we are experiencing a protracted solar minimum. Despite that, it was the tenth warmest year out of 159 (GISTEMP).

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.lrg.gif

Given that it was a solar near-minimum year, the expectation, without global warming, would be that it ought to be in the lowest half of the record, less than about 65th warmest, not near the top.

Lastly, looking again at the graphs, one ought to be able to understand why 30+ years is used to establish statistically significant trends in global surface temperatures.

Comment by David B. Benson — 26 Mar 2009 @ 4:28 PM

146. Burgy:

From the third paragraph of the Max Plank Institute for Metereology’s press release on this study, which was published in Nature May ’08

“Just to make things clear: we are not stating that anthropogenic climate change won’t be as bad as previously thought”, explains Prof. Mojib Latif from IFM-GEOMAR. “What we are saying is that on top of the warming trend there is a long-periodic oscillation that will probably lead to a to a lower temperature increase than we would expect from the current trend during the next years”, adds Latif. “That is like driving from the coast to a mountainous area and crossing some hills and valleys before you reach the top”, explains Dr. Johann Jungclaus from the MPI-M. “In some years trends of the two phenomena, the anthropogenic climate change and the natural decadal variation will add leading to a much stronger temperature rise.”

The old superposition principal. This is a good example of the deniers twisting things to try to score points.

For those who have been following along, this is the Keenlyside paper that got reviewed here last year.

Comment by Tim McDeottrm — 26 Mar 2009 @ 4:37 PM

147. Now I will make my own comments on that article, xxxx. No — I don’t think RealClimate has had any replies yet. My replies in CAPS.

————————————————————
HEAT OF THE MOMENT
Shocker: ‘Global warming’ simply no longer happening
Temperatures dropping, fewer hurricanes, arctic ice growing, polar bear population up

————————————————————–
Posted: March 22, 2009 9:56 pm Eastern © 2009 WorldNetDaily

WASHINGTON – This may come as bad news for Al Gore.
The modest global warming trend has stopped – maybe even reversed itself. And it’s not just the record low temperatures experienced in much of the world this winter.

THREE CLAIMS HERE. NO CITATIONS. TYPICAL OF WHAT I SEE ELSEWHERE.

For at least the last five years, global temperatures have been falling, according to tracking performed by Roy Spencer, the climatologist formerly of NASA.

NO CITATION

“Global warming” was going to bring more and more horrific hurricanes, climate change scientists and the politicians who subscribed to their theories said. But since 2005, only one major hurricane has struck North America.

MORE STORMS WAS ONE “POSSIBLE” EFFECT OF GW. NOT ALL AGW ADVOCATES SUPPORTED IT, THEN OR NOW.

No need to get overheated. Read “Global Warming or Global Governance? What the media refuse to tell you about so-called climate change” for just $4.95 today! WHAT “THE MEDIA REFUSE TO TELL YOU” IS A RED HERRING PHRASE. IT IS USED MOSTLY BY RUSH LIMBAUGH DITTOHEADS. IT IS MEANINGLESS. A new study by Florida State University researcher Ryan Maue shows worldwide cyclone activity – typhoons, as well as hurricanes – has reached at least a 30-year low. SEE COMMENT ABOVE. AGAIN, NO CITATION. Two more studies – one by the Leibniz Institute of Marine Science and the Max Planck Institute of Meteorology in Germany and another by the University of Wisconsin – predict a slowing, or even a reversal of warming, for at least the next 10 to 20 years. I QUIT LOOKING FOR CITATIONS AFTER COMING UP DRY ON THE FIRST THREE. LIFE IS TOO SHORT. The Arctic sea ice has grown more on a percentage basis this winter than it has since 1979. BUT WHAT IS THE TREND OVER THE YEARS. IS “WINTER” THE BEST TIME TO MEASURE THIS? I SUSPECT NOT. The number of polar bears has risen 25 percent in the past decade. There are 15,000 of them in the Arctic now, where 10 years ago there were 12,000. I KNOW GORE MADE A POLAR BEAR ARGUMENT. HE MAY WELL HAVE BEEN WRONG — AT BEST HE WAS AHEAD OF WHAT THE SCIENCE WAS SAYING. AFAIK, THE IPCC HAS NOT ADDRESSED THAT ISSUE. “The most recent global warming that began in 1977 is over, and the Earth has entered a new phase of global cooling,” says Don Easterbrook, professor of geology at Western Washington University in Bellingham, confidently. He maintains a switch in Pacific Ocean currents “assures about three decades of global cooling. New solar data showing unusual absence of sun spots and changes in the sun’s magnetic field suggest … the present episode of global cooling may be more severe than the cooling of 1945 to 1977.” PROFESSORS MAY SAY ANYTHING. CERTAINLY, A NUMBER HAVE ARGUED AGAINST AGW. IS THIS A PEER-REVIEWED PAPER? DOES IT HAVE ANY CREDIBILITY? Climatologist Joe D’Aleo of the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project, says new data “show that in five of the last seven decades since World War II, including this one, global temperatures have cooled while carbon dioxide has continued to rise.” “The data suggest cooling not warming in Earth’s future,” he says. NO CITATION AGAIN. WHY SHOULD I TAKE IT SERIOUSLY? ——————————————————– Once again, I ask you and others to take your arguments to RealClimate.org. Or find another venue where the guys who do this stuff for a living hang out. Do your homework first; at least look for a citation. Comment by John Burgeson — 26 Mar 2009 @ 4:44 PM 148. 95,000 m³ sounds like a lot until you calculate the water use of the 100,000 or so households that this solar plant is going to provide for. That will be well over 10 million m³ Comment by Anne van der Bom — 26 Mar 2009 @ 5:25 PM 149. Hank Roberts Oh, as a postscript, John — if you’ll ask your friend for _his_ sources for these frequently asserted claims, that will help. Most likely he’s just copypasting out of one of the dozens of echo sites hosted by people who don’t understand the stuff but simply post it and soak up people’s time. If you can track the source back to wherever they originate, it simplifies responding. A little googling shows that #3 and #4 appeared verbatim at World Net Daily (I found it quoted, complete with “copyright world net daily”, elsewhere). Comment by dhogaza — 26 Mar 2009 @ 5:28 PM 150. Oh, I didn’t look hard enough – #1 and #2 also came from the same World Nut Daily article, all four listed in that precise order. So now we know that Burgy’s friend either reads World Nut Daily, or the blog of someone who’s a devotee of this authoritative source. Burgy … for many of us, “published in World Nut Daily” is a near-ironclad rebuttal in itself. Comment by dhogaza — 26 Mar 2009 @ 5:31 PM 151. Polar bear populations (#147) are indeed up as compared to the 1970s (I don’t know about “in the past decade”), but it has do do with controls on polar bear harvests, not climate. Most think it is a temporary reversal at best. Info here and here. Comment by Chris Dunford — 26 Mar 2009 @ 6:42 PM 152. Aw gee, Burgy, don’t send them here with that load of stuff. Teach them to look things up for themselves wherever you’re talking to them, will you? Note you can do what dhog did — just take chunks of whatever they’re unloading where you find it, paste it into Google, and find the origin. Useful also: search for the name of the place they found it along with the word “sourcewatch” and again with the word “conwebwatch” — it’ll turn up the people funding the PR sites. Then take the key terms and use Google Scholar, click on ‘recent’ and try to give them better information. Don’t send them here with their wagon load, eager for us to find their pony for them, until you’ve taught them a few basic critical thinking skills, eh? Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Mar 2009 @ 7:03 PM 153. #141 Mark, Which part are you claiming is made up? Here is the relevant excerpt from IPCC AR4 WG1 (p. 750): There is close agreement of globally averaged SAT multi-model mean warming for the early 21st century for concentrations derived from the three non-mitigated IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES: B1, A1B and A2) scenarios (including only anthropogenic forcing) run by the AOGCMs (warming averaged for 2011 to 2030 compared to 1980 to 1999 is between +0.64°C and +0.69°C, with a range of only 0.05°C). Comment by Deep Climate — 26 Mar 2009 @ 7:20 PM 154. “Two more studies – one by the Leibniz Institute of Marine Science and the Max Planck Institute of Meteorology in Germany and another by the University of Wisconsin – predict a slowing, or even a reversal of warming, for at least the next 10 to 20 years.” The studies are not that hard to find. But the real problem is that the findings have been misrepresented. Neither study projects significant “reversal of warming” (a.k.a. cooling), and in both cases the authors have been adamant that their longer term projections match those of the IPCC. See my critique of a recent screed by Lorne Gunter of the National Post for a detailed debunking on this and other typical distortions. http://deepclimate.org/2009/03/10/fact-checking-national-post-style-lorne-gunter-on-global-cooling-part-2/ http://deepclimate.org/2009/03/05/lorne-gunter-on-global-cooling-part-1/ Comment by Deep Climate — 26 Mar 2009 @ 7:36 PM 155. The Arctic sea ice has grown more on a percentage basis this winter than it has since 1979. Let’s think about this one a bit. As summer arctic ice disappears, the ratio of winter ice to summer ice grows, leading to a greater percentage growth, even though the overall trend is down. Now take this idea to its logical extreme. The first time summer arctic sea ice disappears, the following winter will see the ice “grow” on an infinite “percentage basis”. And this is supposed to be an argument in support of cooling? Tough captcha: Kircher 52 1/2 Comment by Deep Climate — 26 Mar 2009 @ 7:43 PM 156. Anne Van Der Born… A few points, and first, let me thank you for bothering to notice what I wrote! There are 1,000 of good sites that are pro-environment out there. And most people never go to them. The message then must be carried to them. I am not talking about the die-hards, or those paid to give a specific message, I mean the real citizens of the world that don’t have the time or desire to change easily. So the effort needed is different than what you seem to have taken it as. *RealClimate should not change. Sorry if you though I was suggesting that! What I am suggesting is that a few Climatologists and other real climate scientists get together and put in a few hours of work each week, be willing to face the other side and call them out dramatically, rather than quietly firing e-mails to other climate scientists which seems to be the current tactic. What Joe and Jane Public don’t see right in front of them will NOT change their minds. As for decoupling from the facts… I can see your concern there actually. The science deserves more than a sound bit, but what television, radio and the printed word allows now is a sound bit! BUT, the other side does not want a large group of real scientists doing this! They fear it. It is the only thing that actually effects the mindset of large groups, the repeated, simple message. Coming from authority figures, it will have tremendous power. As for these people trying to make it into the old “left versus right” debate… Well, in that you are just correct without reservation! The only way to win that game is to let them waste time calling names while stealing all of their power out from under them. This is very different than what has been being done, true… But right now the trend is one of significant and increasing loses, just when we need to be pulling together and acting. This means that the other side is wining, just because they are not being challenged in the arena of public opinion nearly enough! I hope you don’t take offence at any of this and will fire back with your own ideas, or even keep challenging mine. I’d rather real debate than nothing right now. Thanks. Comment by Dale Power — 26 Mar 2009 @ 7:54 PM 157. to 127: Hank, I’m not trying to add to my credibility, I am just asking layman questions. With respect, the graph I found was not badly out of date, was it, in the context of the original question? Was the graph inaccurate in your opinion? In any event, I very much appreciate Gavin’s reference to the Woodfortrees site, which appears to be a terrific resource, so I’m glad I did ask. I don’t even remember any more what I googled to get to “Thunderbolt” — I was only interested in the graph. As to the difference a year makes, I has thought the point was that a year should make no difference at all, up or down. In any event, it’s a good site to play with, as you note. Here’s another interesting look: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1850/to:2009 Walter Comment by wmanny — 26 Mar 2009 @ 8:41 PM 158. Manny, you pointed to the chart on the Thunderbolt guy’s site, asking: “Here’s a relatively recent graph. What’s your take on this one?” Test yourself. Did you fool yourself by imagining you could see a trend in the chart? I don’t know if you’ve taken a statistics class or not — care to tell us? Assess your take on it: What did _you_ think of it? Did your opinion change after you saw it overlaid with the trend line? Would you have been aware of the trend, if you’d just looked at the Thunderbolt guy’s picture? Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Mar 2009 @ 9:45 PM 159. Hank, I don’t see what the big problem is with exploring these graphs. I’m not a climate scientist, but rather a skeptical calculus teacher. The relative flatness over the last ten years or so is self-evident, and no amount of trend-line fitting, nor cherry-picking in either direction, can make that observation go away. It neither proves that AGW is hogwash nor that it is rock-solid. I note a reluctance, though, to answer the question I posed in #60: how much more flatness before questions arise? I can infer that 20 more years would suffice, but what about 5 or 10? What is the current theory, if any, that explains the momentary pause? Walter Comment by wmanny — 26 Mar 2009 @ 10:27 PM 160. As to the difference a year makes, I has thought the point was that a year should make no difference at all, up or down. You’re right. So when a year (in this context, in the context of other time series it might be “a microsecond”) makes a big difference, this is a huge red “oh darn!” flag that the trend vs. noise signal is being overwhelmed by noise. In other words, when you can show that a one year difference makes a difference on this scale, that’s evidence that the period of time being analyzed is too short for a statistically significant trend to express itself. Which denialists don’t tell you, of course. Comment by dhogaza — 27 Mar 2009 @ 12:23 AM 161. Re “annual water use at 76.4 acre feet” for the proposed Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System- According to “POWER PLANT WATER USAGE AND LOSS STUDY August 2005 The United States Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory” pulverized coal power plants use 1000-1200 gal/MWh, based on an analysis of 500MW power plants, so at least 400,000 gallons per hour for 400MW. At 2000hrs/year, that would be 800 million gallons, or approximately 2455 acre feet (at 325851 gallons/acre foot) Comment by Brian Dodge — 27 Mar 2009 @ 1:04 AM 162. My impression is that the global warming skeptics think the instrumental record is crap; when did they suddenly get religion, and come to believe that it showing “no warming over the last decade” is now reliable? Between 1998 and 2007 with “no warming”, Arctic summer sea ice declined from ~8.5 million km2 to ~6 million km2 (http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seasonal.extent.1900-2007.jpg); glacial mass balance went from ~6000mm eq water loss to ~12000mm loss (http://www.nichols.edu/departments/glacier/cum%20bn.jpg). Even if warming had stopped (It hasn’t, as other have pointed out), we’ve already got enough warming to cause severe climate change – Australian drought, ecosystem changes(van Mantgem et al,www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/sci;323/5913/521.pdf ), arctic methane releases (Anomalies of methane in the atmosphere over the East Siberian shelf: Is there any sign of methane leakage from shallow shelf hydrates?. Shakhova et al “…anomalously high concentrations of dissolved methane in the water column up to 560 nM, or 12000% of super saturation…”,www.cosis.net/abstracts/EGU2008/01526/EGU2008-A-01526.pdf ),ocean acidification, etc, etc. “The data suggest cooling not warming in Earth’s future,” Aleo says. With all due respect, we should be so lucky. Comment by Brian Dodge — 27 Mar 2009 @ 2:49 AM 163. #157 wmanny “As to the difference a year makes, I has thought the point was that a year should make no difference at all, up or down.” The three graphs below demonstrate what a difference one year can make. (I know, I’m changing the start date not the end date but I think the point is still the same) Comment by Chris S — 27 Mar 2009 @ 3:37 AM 164. wmanny pleads: “With respect, the graph I found was not badly out of date, was it?” Yes, yes it was. Because you can’t use the graph and take one point at one end and one point on the other and say “this is what’s going on”. If it were that simple, statisticians wouldn’t need degrees. You can tell that because the graph ONE YEAR LATER shows a VERY different picture. If a miniscule change in your window of investigation produces a vastly different account, your methodology is wrong. But you don’t care as long as it says what you want to say, isn’t it. How about returning the question: now that another graph has been shown to you showing there IS significant increase in temperature, will you now believe that there is AGW? Comment by Mark — 27 Mar 2009 @ 3:53 AM 165. Deep Climate, if you mean “0.69 C per decade” then you should say so. It reads like you say “0.69 C over the period”.  [Response: You are getting confused – read DC’s pieces again. – gavin] Comment by Mark — 27 Mar 2009 @ 3:55 AM 166. John Burgeson, The World Meteorological Organization defines climate as mean regional or global weather over a period of 30 years or more. When temperatures have been falling for 30 years, I’ll listen to the deniers you quote. Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Mar 2009 @ 5:59 AM 167. Yes, I worked out there was confusion. Took three or four readings to work out what the heck he was talking about. Comment by Mark — 27 Mar 2009 @ 7:20 AM 168. Walter Manny, You ask how long temperatures would have to stay flat before questions arose. The reason no one has answered it is that it is an ill posed question. Temperatures are still rising: http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/12/31/stupid-is-as-stupid-does/ The current decade is warmer than the last and the one before that. More fundamentally, though, you are operating under the misapprehension that anthropogenic causation is a hypothesis to explain the observed warming. I isn’t. Rather, it is a consequence of the theory that explains Earth’s climate. This theory explains a whole helluva lot more than the current warming epoch, and if we stopped seeing warming, the question would be what needed to be added to the theory to explain the new results. Pretty much the only solution would have to be some negative feedback that magically kicked in at current temperatures. Put your powers of “skepticism” to good use and ask yourself how likely you think that is. Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Mar 2009 @ 7:53 AM 169. I really appreciate all the responses here on my friend’s questions. Offline, I have had several exchanges with him and others on the use of sources such as Heartland and World Press. They have said that sometimes they do get things right. I reply that even a blind pig sometimes turns up an acorn. Thanks again. Burgy [Response: I prefer “Even a broken clock is right twice a day” (since I know nothing about animal husbandry). – gavin] Comment by John Burgeson — 27 Mar 2009 @ 8:57 AM 170. Ray, thanks for the response, and first things first. I mean this in a friendly way: you needn’t refer to my skepticism in quotations. It’s real enough even if it’s misinformed in your opinion, and the mockery is unnecessary, I think. To the flatness, when I look at a graph such as: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1850/to:2010 I see a flat decade. Once again I would point out that as far as future trends are concerned, I don’t see that the recent flatness of the graph itself proves anything, nor am I saying the decade is anything but warmer than the previous ones. Warmer, though, does not mean warming. Since you believe my question is ill-posed, though, let me ask it again in your terms: how much longer would you need to see a cessation in warming before you would want to see an adjustment to current theory? It is a hypothetical question, to be sure, but I find it interesting that I can’t get an answer to it. As to my misapprehension that anthropogenic causation is a hypothesis rather than a consequence, I admit I don’t understand the point you are trying to make as written and would appreciate a rephrasing if you are willing. Thanks, Walter Comment by wmanny — 27 Mar 2009 @ 10:26 AM 171. Re :# 103. What has happened to the statistical police? Case 1. Contrarians summon paleoclimatologists to appear at a sub-committee of the Senate with all their working procedures and accompany it with an insinuation of fraud or incompetence. Chief policeman (statistician) hypes his preference for a slightly different methodology but conceals the fact that it makes essentially no difference. Final report is used as a basis from which to launch personal attacks and is invoked again by House of Lords investigation in the UK. Case 2. Prominent deniers examine the modern data and deduce that the upward trend is now zero or negative. In contrast to the previous example there are usually no error bars provided on these estimated trends. On this occasion the different methodology makes a huge difference and the statistics involved is much more elementary. Isn’t it time to recall the committee with e.g. Tamino as chairman, interview the trend busters, bring out a report on the conclusions to be up-dated once a year (it is a matter of importance)? If Congress doesn’t do it perhaps the AIP might. Comment by Geoff Wexler — 27 Mar 2009 @ 10:34 AM 172. Walter/wmanny, the “how much longer” is another of those questions that people bring in here over and over. Maybe you thought of it by yourself just now. But did you read it somewhere on a blog? You say you’re a calculus teacher, yet you talk about being able to tell something just looking at a chart. How do you do that? Do you teach high school? Do you teach students about human pattern recognition and how we regularly fool ourselves because we’re so biased toward finding patterns in visual information? You know this stuff? Understand that your ancestors were all good at picking out predators from vegetation, probably fled from a lot of imaginary predators, but never failed to detect even one predator in time to escape before reproducing? You say you’re a calculus teacher, yet you ask > #60: how much more flatness What do you know about detecting a small trend in a noisy signal? Do you understand that you’re asking a question that requires far more assumptions? How about specifying the variability of the noise for the time span you’re interested in (you know how to do this?) Tamino’s covered this well. Have you read that thread linked above? What else do you teach besides calculus? At what level? How long? Have you taken statistics? Could you teach this unit to your students with understanding? http://www.ucar.edu/learn/1_2_2_9t.htm “Climate Variability In this activity students will simulate climate variability and come to understand that long-term climate averages are the result of significant annual climate variability. Students will be able to express the fact that random climate variability makes detecting climate change more difficult.” Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Mar 2009 @ 10:45 AM 173. Walter/wmanny, you also asked about variability. Use Google Scholar, you’ll find the original sources easily with a quick search. Try for example looking into the cites and citing papers starting with http://www.nature.com/climate/2008/0806/full/453043a.html http://www.nature.com/climate/2008/0806/fig_tab/453043a_F1.html “… over the coming decade, natural climate variability may counteract the underlying warming trend in some regions around the North Atlantic. (Figure courtesy of A. Pardaens, Met Office Hadley Centre).” On being able to see things on charts without doing the statistical work, I worry about what you might be teaching students. You, and they, should read these, written for high school level: Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Mar 2009 @ 11:03 AM 174. Hank and Ray, I believe our Mr. Manny has been at this before. He inspired John Mashey’s excellent post on how to engage with an educated skeptic. http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/08/john_mashey_on_how_to_learn_ab.php Paul Comment by Paul Middents — 27 Mar 2009 @ 11:08 AM 175. “how much longer would you need to see a cessation in warming before you would want to see an adjustment to current theory? It is a hypothetical question, to be sure, but I find it interesting that I can’t get an answer to it.” When the graph shows statistically significant trend to flatness. Mind you, there’s no cessation at the moment. Comment by Mark — 27 Mar 2009 @ 11:24 AM 176. One last link for Walter: read through this one issue for the climate and modeling articles, there’s a lot here worth knowing: http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/367/1890.toc This relates to the prediction much discussed: http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/367/1890/913.full Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Mar 2009 @ 11:25 AM 177. Paul Middents, thanks, our posts crossed. You’re absolutely right, John Mashey’s already addressed Mr. Manny comprehensively. No sense going back over the very same stuff here. Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Mar 2009 @ 11:41 AM 178. #170, #172 The “how much longer” (than a flat decade) question may well not be original, but does that matter? If it’s worthless, why? If it’s not, what’s your answer? Comment by BFJ Cricklewood — 27 Mar 2009 @ 11:43 AM 179. Walter @170, Personally, I don’t see how you can claim to be a skeptic based solely on what you “see”. Wouldn’t a minimum of due diligence require doing some analysis on the data to see if there is even sufficient significance to be dubbed a trend? Did you look at the analysis Tamino did? It not only demonstrates that temperatures are still rising, but also shows how the eyes can be fooled by an endpoint. Do me a favor: Try varying your endpoint. Take 1985, 1997. That 1998 El Nino is a pretty dominant feature–hard for the eye to ignore. As to the “theory of anthropogenic warming,” it doesn’t exist. What we have is a theory of Earth’s climate. A lot of factors contribute to this theory. One very important factor is greenhouse warming, without which we wouldn’t be having this little tete a tete. In addition to explain 33 degrees C of warmth we wouldn’t otherwise have, greenhouse warming–especially due to CO2–explains a whole bunch of features in paleoclimate, especially those related to the onset, duration and intensity of glacial-interglacial cycles, the PETM, etc. This one small but important aspect of the theory also implies that our addition of CO2 to the atmosphere should warm the planet. So, we are not really very likely to give up all that explanatory power if we see a discrepancy between what theory predicts and observation. Rather, we will likely look to see if there is not some additional process that affects current warming but has limited effects for past epochs of warming. Since most feedbacks are temperature related and don’t care about where a photon comes from, the implication would have to be that the current temperature regime was anomalously stable, and that is not too likely. Monitoring every little change in the temperature doesn’t make you a skeptic. It makes you a weather watcher. And if you are a weather watcher who wasn’t panicking in the 1998 or 2002 El Ninos, it would make you a denialist. Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Mar 2009 @ 11:58 AM 180. 172 on: Or… you could simply answer the question. If you are uncomfortable making the assumption that there’s not much going on on the last ten years, then perhaps one of you would be willing to take on the question as a hypothetical all the way through: let’s say for the sake of argument that it is eventually determined that the last ten years were more or less insignificant up or down. How many more years would it take before the theory needed to be adjusted? I must say the more this question is treated with such wriggling and attempts to change the topic, the more I think I’m actually on to something more than I think I’m asking! I am who I am, by the way – a run-of-the-mill BSEE teaching high school BC and regular calc. – I do not hide behind a pseudonym, there’s no need to treat me as some sort of mysterious character, and there’s even less of a need to get upset about anything so I hope that’s not happening. If you don’t want to answer the question, then don’t. I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind here. [Response: The question has been addressed dozens of times. It is a function of how much interannual and longer variability there is in any particular metric. There are many previous discussions of exactly this same issue (though I can’t quickly find the exact thread, anyone?). – gavin] Comment by wmanny — 27 Mar 2009 @ 12:13 PM 181. > may well not be original, but does that matter? It’s helpful to know the source. If someone came up with it on their own, then finding out their assumptions can lead to some learning for all of us readers here. That particular question has assumptions not stated; it’s right out of Statistics 101. No need to retype that. Sometimes people simply post the same question repeatedly, in many forums, without ever changing. Sometimes people have read a question in some other site, think it sounds like a good one, come here and post it, but don’t understand either the question, the assumptions behind the question, or the answers posted to it. Often ordinary readers like me find ourselves answering the same question posted by many different people in different places, and all it does is waste our time and annoy the people on the other blog because they are just copypasting stuff. When someone new (not a repeater) arrives with a question that’s so recognizable, it’s often useful to find out where it came from, if it’s from another site. I mistook Walter for someone who hadn’t been responded to elsewhere at length — my bad, I just hadn’t recalled that he’s a regular. So the answer is, “it depends, see the links provided where it has been answered well previously.” Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Mar 2009 @ 12:55 PM 182. hello there. this is walter the architect, member of the reality-based community, and advocate of PROJECT JIM. just to be clear – i am NOT walter the skeptic and calculus teacher of the recent posts. i guess henceforth, i’ll be walter crain. dale, ann and others have been talking about whether scientists need to educate the public and/or engage the skeptics. to that, as a layman, i say ABSOLUTELY! there is only confusion out here because of how poor of a job scientists have done with PR. i understand how it’s distasteful to “lower” yourselves to the level of the denialists, but you’ve got to do it. the crap that cato, heartland, green earth, etc… (like that cato thing with all the footnotes) WORKS on most people because of cleverly it’s done . whether they fully believe it or simply think, “well, there must be some truth to it” the denialists have “won.” that’s all they want – uncertainty. you have to admit they have been extremely clever about it. if the american petroleum institute can convince people there’s uncertainty among scientists, that’s all they need to do. walter-the-calculus-teacher is a perfect example: he’s obviously reasonably intelligent, and he’s not sure where the preponderance of evidence lies. people will be MUCH less likely to tackle the problem if they can convince themselves there’s no problem. Comment by walter crain — 27 Mar 2009 @ 1:42 PM 183. 180: “…the more I think I’m actually on to something more…” Oh brother, we are back to the “I think I may know something that literally thousands of climate scientists who do this for a living for decades and publish in peer-reviewed journals do not!” blather. What arrogance and what an insult to science and scientists world-wide that sort of thought is. Comment by Dan — 27 Mar 2009 @ 1:43 PM 184. “Those who point to 10-year “trends,” or 7-year “trends,” to claim that global warming has come to a halt, or even slowed, are fooling themselves. Statistics doesn’t support such a claim, and as this example shows, it’s really easy for noise to create such a false impression even when we know, without doubt, that the underlying trend hasn’t changed. This is a theme I’ve emphasized often, but it bears repeating. Such claims come only from those who are fooling themselves. Don’t let ‘em fool you.” and a bit later, as an inline response: “… in this example I “know” because the data are artificial, and are constructed in very precise fashion. But if these were observed data we wouldn’t know. … those who claim to know that the “flatline” in the last decade of HadCRU data, or the “almost flatline” in the last decade of GISS data, is indicative of a demonstrable change in the global warming pattern, do so outside the bounds of sound statistics.] Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Mar 2009 @ 2:07 PM 185. Re #58 Geoff Beacon Says: “Anyone read the current BBC “Green Room”? http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7929174.stm “1998 remains the warmest year on record, and since then there has been no discernable upward trend.” Comments?” I hope you are kidding. This is even addressed by Gavin in this thread. GW is averages, averages, averages over 30+ years from all Earth’s locations we have. The number of years from 1998 to today is *less* than 30+ years. Additionally, when were the last ten warmest years on record. Just read, Dude!!!!! Comment by Richard Ordway — 27 Mar 2009 @ 2:28 PM 186. Re Ike Solem, Timothy Chase – regarding XOs (ENSO, PDO, AO/NAM, SAM, QBO…): Coming into this midstream, but: My understanding of XOs in general is that they are patterns in some variability – that is, some significant component of variabiltiy overall can be described by a single number that is the amplitude of a particular spatial (and maybe temporal?) pattern. This doesn’t mean that they are (to the extent of being internal variability) actually oscillations, in the sense of cycles, like a pendulum. Although one example comes rather close to that: the QBO. QBO conditions shape the vertical flux of westerly momentum transport by some equatorial waves (in particular, at least Kelvin and Rossby-gravity waves) in such a way as to produce westerly accelerations in westerly shear and easterly accelerations in easterly shear, resulting in new wind ‘regimes’ starting at some height and propagating downward over time, with some regularity. I don’t know a lot about ENSO except that the trade winds are shaped partly by SSTs and latent heating, and latent heating and SSTs are shaped partly by trade winds, and … maybe when there is a long-enough east-west distance (so that zonal currents stay in the tropics longer), the difference in temperature between the western warm pool and eastern upwelling and cold current regions might be sufficient to allow some multiple quasi-equilibrium states … or maybe not, I’m not sure; I have been told that climate models can reproduce some ENSO like phenomenon in the Atlantic if the Atlantic is made wide-enough. Varyiations in latent heating caused by SST anomalies can produce anomalous patterns in quasi-stationary Rossby waves (also excited by wind blowing over large-scale topography – Rockies and Himalayas). Quasi-stationary Rossby waves help shape the distribution of midlatitude storm track activity. Vertical momentum transport by waves into the stratosphere and mesosphere and resulting wave-mean interactions drive the slow large-scale meridional overturning of the upper atmosphere (while tending to slow down stratospheric winter mid-high latitude westerlies), which at least in the stratosphere is called the Brewer Dobson circulation. Changes in omentum transport of verically-propagating quasi-stationary Rossby waves into the stratosphere (either due to their tropospheric sources/shapers and/or stratospheric conditions, like zonal mean wind patterns) can allow stronger stratospheric mid-high latitude westerlies or slow them down. Sometimes this happens in bursts called sudden stratospheric warmings. A very simple model (I think by Charney and _______ ) produces multiple equilibria (two stable and one unstable) in the quasi-stationary Rossby wave pattern in the Northern midlatitudes. I have also read (though not fully) that patterns in winds and temperatures can favor anticyclonic or cyclonic wave-breaking in the transient waves (midlatitude storm-track activity), causing the polar jet to shift poleward or equatorward, and I’m not sure on this point but that may favor more of the same type of wave-breaking. And this also might be related to the strength of stratospheric winter mid-to-high latitude westerlies. All combined, this may be related to NAM and SAM, though I still couldn’t claim to know the lion’s share of what is known about these things. Global warming or any externally-forced climate change in general might affect the amplitudes and mean-states of any of these patterns and also perhaps change their shape… to be cont. Comment by Patrick 027 — 27 Mar 2009 @ 3:10 PM 187. Is there a list of all the various anti-GW theories anywhere, a tabulated list. It seems to me there are vast internal contradictions between anti-GW people, Some say there has been no warming – it’s either all to do with urban heat islands or that the satellite temperature measurements as wrong. Thus the two views here are at odd with each other. Then some ay GW has peaked. Such a person would be at odds with someone above who says GW hasn’t happened. If GW has not happen, then it can’t peak. There are some who say temps have risen, but are now heading south, Thus at odds with the level off folks. I noted that at the Heartland Institute conference (“conference”?) one paper suggested that the global climate was about of go seriously cool, and IIRC, the speaker talked about a cooling of 2C-5C in the next thirty years or so. So this chap is at odds with all the above. Then some accept the temperature rises, but say it is due to 1. Solar activity 2. tectonic plates 3. other that I can’t recall but Real Climate might know of. Thus 1, 2 and 3 conflict with each other. Now, here in the UK, some say it is a scam dreamed up by the bureaucrats of the European Union, in conjunction with eco-fascists and other closet reds to allow the EU to control our every action by raising taxes. This is obviously at odds with the Yanks, as we (rather you) know it is a plan by pinko-liberals and eco-terrorists to destroy the Great American Way Of Life. Comment by Theo Hopkins — 27 Mar 2009 @ 3:31 PM 188. Re Richard Ordway @185: Not to mention that 1998 was exceeded by 2005 and tied by 2007. http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt But hey, why update your citation when the old one better suites your argument, right? Comment by Jim Eager — 27 Mar 2009 @ 3:34 PM 189. 24 Secular said, “[fred 23’s] statement about CO2 trends is wrong” Fred’s intent was to note that the deviation between CO2 forcing and expected temperature rise has widened. That CO2 has gone up faster than predicted strengthens his (weak) case. Comment by RichardC — 27 Mar 2009 @ 3:40 PM 190. “1998 remains the warmest year on record, and since then there has been no discernable upward trend.” is true. 10 years may not be a significant trend in terms of Global Warming, but it is a trend. While a 10 year trend is not enough to say anything conclusive about GW, it does seem as though it could be meaningful. “Additionally, when were the last ten warmest years on record.” This would also be expected if the last 10 years were on either side of a peak. It doesn’t say anything about a trend. Those who point to 10-year “trends,” or 7-year “trends,” to claim that global warming has come to a halt, or even slowed, are fooling themselves. True. But those that claim that global warming MAY have come to a halt may have a point. BTW, how long of a warming trend did Hansen have in 1988 when he spoke before congress? [Response: How many times does it have to be stated that concern about CO2 is not based on linear extrapolation? Once more I suppose. – gavin] Comment by BillBodell — 27 Mar 2009 @ 3:52 PM 191. 118 Theo proposes, “The US empire will be gone by 2109. I’ll take a$1000 bet on that.”

But if you win, you (or your heirs) will get paid off in then-worthless US dollars. ;-)

Comment by RichardC — 27 Mar 2009 @ 4:33 PM

192. theo, here’s a good list of 53 standard claims: http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

i heard a new one from brian valentine of the heartland institute the other day over on capitalweather: cruatal movement!

“The asymmetric heating of the Earth that occurred over the period 1985-1998 say was the result of a number of influences I believe. Arctic ice loss could certainly be attributed to slower North Atlantic currents arising from the MOC; extended heating of slower Arctic Ocean currents occurring in summer; the MOC influenced by the extraordinary El Nino event of 1987 et seq. 1995. Subsea volcanism off the coast of Greenland may or may not have been a factor; another factor was almost certainly a notation of the Earth’s rotation about the polar axis, arising from the CRUSTAL MOVEMENT precipitating in the earthquake in the South Indian Ocean in 2005; the nutation identified by the resolution of a Northern component of rotation angles measured with a rotating Earth over the stated time period (B Valentine, paper subm to Geophys Res Lett)” (emphasis mine)

Comment by walter crain — 27 Mar 2009 @ 4:52 PM

193. 10 years may not be a significant trend in terms of Global Warming, but it is a trend.

10 years is 1999-2008, not 1998-2008. 1999-2008 shows a rising trend.

While a 10 year trend is not enough to say anything conclusive about GW, it does seem as though it could be meaningful.

So now you’re solidly in the AGW camp, right? Or are you just going to replace “10” with “11” and blather on about 1998?

(The nice thing about the diffuse nature of information on the web is that they’ll *never* manage to track down *all* the misinformation sources and replace “last decade” with “since 1998″, etc)

Comment by dhogaza — 27 Mar 2009 @ 4:58 PM

194. 126 Ike says, ” It’s not hard to imagine a future in which most homes have integrated solar roofs – in the future, that might be a part of the building code, just as hot water heaters are included in building codes today.

Financing such a program is where the difficulty arises”

Not really. as long as energy costs are included in the mor tgage calculat ion, solar houses will become easier to qualify for than traditional houses. Just takes one small change in banking regulations. It works for cars, too.

Comment by RichardC — 27 Mar 2009 @ 4:59 PM

195. BillBodell (190) — Carbon dioxide is a global warming (so-called greenhouse) gas. With increased concentrations of it, temperatures will, in the long run rise. There are decadal scale variations to the trend, both up and down, due to the solar cycle and internal climate variability.

Understand that climate takes a long time, around a decade tells one nothing of significance.

“Sound and fury, signifying nothing”, hmmm?

Comment by David B. Benson — 27 Mar 2009 @ 6:19 PM

196. #58 and #82 Geoff Beacon

“Last year I ran out of energy trying to complain to the BBC”

Pity because the Swindle team from Channel 4 appear to be moving in on them. Martin Durkin, its author, appeared on BBC 2 Newsnight last week to discuss Franny Armstrong’s new film “Age of Stupid”. This discussion preceded the normal review by the non technical Arts team which made no attempt to challenge global warming. So the earlier discussion might have conveyed the impression that Durkin was the technical expert. He proceeded to trash the film and describe it as pure prejudice. I have no idea what the film is like yet but I’m sure that interview will have discouraged some viewers.

Of course Martin Livermore who wrote the article for the Green Room (see #58) was Martin Durkin’s ‘scientific’ advisor for the Swindle progamme. I see that he has undergone a transition between the “solar changes caused it” state to the “it does not exist” state.

Comment by Geoff Wexler — 27 Mar 2009 @ 7:27 PM

197. In regards to 180 wmanny:

I always have to laugh when I see this tired old tactic being used.

1) Ask a “friendly question”.
2) Ignore the answer.
3) Ask the same “friendly question” as if the answer had never been provided.
4) Ignore the longer more exasperated answer.
5) Ask the same “friendly question” ignore all previous answers.
6) Act surprised that the answer is now presented in more annoyed tones.
7) Say “if you don’t want to answer, I must be on to something!” and declare victory.

Not a very successful tactic, because anyone with half a brain can see the answer being given several times, but the odd one or two will be fooled into thinking that there is no answer and thus, job done!

Comment by Karmakaze — 27 Mar 2009 @ 8:25 PM

198. ‘Martin Durkin, its author, appeared on BBC 2 Newsnight last week to discuss Franny Armstrong’s new film “Age of Stupid”.’

Did you see this movie already? Three weeks or so ago, I saw an interview on Irish television with an Irish guy who made a movie about ‘GW and other myths (sic)’, mostly propagated by the left, such as Rachel Carson and DDT. The movie deals in part with GW and in part with DDT. That guy – I do not remember his name – struck me as completely stupid and pretentious and had absolutely nothing worthwhile to say. It was disgusting, but hey, he made a movie.

Comment by Will Denayer — 27 Mar 2009 @ 10:11 PM

199. Re Ike Solem: Well, I found your comment 83 regarding ENSO – very interesting. I wish there were such a succinct description of how NAM and SAM work. As best I can infer thus far, since horizontal wind shear can distort waves in such a way as to cause them to transport momentum up gradient, strengthenning the basic-state wind shear, then a barotropic (invariant in height) shift in the westerlies could be self-reinforcing or self-strengthenning in how it shapes the life-cycles of transient waves and also how it may interact with more persistent waves (like the quasi-stationary ones). The transient wave activity (mid-latitude storm track activity) is also partly arranged by the time-averaged flow patterns, including quasistationary waves, and those will be affected by thermal and momentum fluxes. … and there are some other articles I’ve found that I have yet to go through…

What has puzzled me about anthropogenic warming driving NAM and SAM index increases including in the stratosphere, is that this would be the case if the mid-high latitude thermal gradient increased in the stratosphere, but the connection of stratospheric and tropospheric NAM/SAM is mainly in the colder seasons, and I would expect the direct radiative effect of CO2 in the stratosphere would be to cause the greatest cooling of the warmest parts (lower winter midlatitudes, summer high-latitudes), and so reduce the upper-stratospheric westerlies in winter (unless sufficient compensating changes in wind occur at lower levels) – whereas it is easy to understand how solar warming and volcanic cooling (in terms of tropopause level forcing) would warm the lower-latitude stratosphere more than the higher-latitude winter stratosphere and thus cause increases in NAM/SAM. And there’s the ozone hole.

But it did occur to me that if tropospheric warming is by itself able to shift the storm-tracks poleward (including in winter), then maybe the cloud feedbacks might contribute to an increased temperature gradient in the stratosphere even in winter (by increasing outgoing LW radiation at the tropopause in the subtropics and decreasing it at subpolar latitudes) – but is that in the right latitude belt? Of course, the latitude-height distribution of tropospheric warming would have the same effect in so far as upper levels contribute more to upward LW radiation at the tropopause…

And of course, the reduced temperature gradient (in the zonal time average) at mid-high latitudes in colder seasons, the increased temperature gradient in the mid-to-upper troposphere, changes in tropopause height, water vapor, and the lapse rate can/will affect mid-latitude storm track behavior.

Gavin Schmidt had recommended a couple articles to me, … and it occurs to me that I may not have finished one of them, so I’ll get back to that, but if you have any thoughts…

Regarding your response to Timothy Chase (128), I couldn’t find which comment you were responding to, but here’s my take:

After stratospheric equilibration, one could espect similar additional changes in both the stratosphere and troposphere in response to similar tropopause-level forcing (warming the troposphere will tend to warm the stratosphere, but adding this to the changes during initial stratospheric equilibration, one of course has warming from solar forcing, cooling from greenhouse forcing, etc.). Differences in the spatial and temporal distribution of forcings will cause different efficacies of forcing (black carbon on snow/ice (that is not too cold) is very effective because it has a maximum warming effect where there is a large positive feedback; perhaps Milankovitch cycles could have negative efficacies because an initial effect of redirecting more sunlight onto snow and ice could be global cooling from increased effective albedo while over time, this could melt/decay the snow and ice and reduce albedo and cause global warming) and different spatial and temporal variations in effects (direct radiative heating of the upper troposphere would tend to reduce the rate of deep convection, for example) – HOWEVER, when the variations in direct forcing are not too large compared to the variations in effects due to feedbacks that act similarly to any global average change (polar cold-season low-level and tropical mid-upper tropospheric amplifications; radiative effects of increased water vapor and resulting effects on convective heat transport), then the total results will tend to look more similar.

Comment by Patrick 027 — 27 Mar 2009 @ 11:18 PM

200. A little more on solar thermal. This information was gleaned from a staff person who works for the California Energy Commission. The discussion occurred during our neighborhood Friday happy hour, where our dogs played on the green while the parents sipped wine and kumquat daiquiris, so I hope I have this straight.

And let me say up front that this is not putting down concentrated solar power, but it points out that many of the initial proposals are far less than perfect.

The Ivanpah project in the eastern Mojave Desert will use most the water required to wash the mirrors each night. This will be done by slowly driving diesel trucks through the complex spraying water on the mirrors. There is no reclamation of water planned; the water is expected to be evaporated during the next day.

It was determined that the CO2 emissions from the nightly forays of the trucks would be about the same as if the power plants were burning natural gas instead of capturing the energy of the sun. So there is not a lot of benefit in reducing greenhouse gasses from this particular project.

And since there is no surface water anywhere near Ivanpah Valley, all of the water would be pumped from whatever aquifer exists below the plant — with uncertainties regarding the dependability of the water supply or the impact on the natural environment.

Another project being proposed as a “solar” plant near Victorville actually would be powered by natural gas 90 percent of the time, with only 10 percent of the energy coming from the sun.

Clearly there are concentrated solar technologies that do not use as much fossil fuel or groundwater. But they are not among the proposals being rushed forward at this time. We really need to push for projects that really capture the energy from the sun without the problems outlined above. The best proposals with the best technology should be advanced to show that concentrated solar energy truly is a good source of “clean” energy.

Comment by Jim Eaton — 28 Mar 2009 @ 2:12 AM

201. #197 Karmakaze
Re: wmanny’s question – how much longer would you need to see a cessation in warming before you would want to see an adjustment to current theory?

A straight answer would would need to be of the form “X years”.
To date no such response has been forthcoming.

[Response: Not true. “Over a twenty year period, you would be on stronger ground in arguing that a negative trend would be outside the 95% confidence limits of the expected trend (the one model run in the above ensemble suggests that would only happen ~2% of the time”. – gavin]

Comment by BFJ Cricklewood — 28 Mar 2009 @ 2:18 AM

202. wmanny, if not convinced yet, here is a place I attempted to dumb down the stats to the level where a non-expert could see why a period of say 10 years of apparent non-increases or even temperature drops could occur despite a long-term upwards trend: http://opinion-nation.blogspot.com/2008/04/why-doesnt-it-get-hotter-every-year.html

Comment by Philip Machanick — 28 Mar 2009 @ 7:32 AM

203. pardon my ignorance here, but i remember studying a project as a high school student in the 70s where the idea was to have solar collectors in space and “beam” (?) the energy down to receptors on earth. is this even theoretically possible?

(btw, in the 70s the projections were that by now we were supposed to have all kinds of alternate energy sources and 100mpg cars feasibly available – but we underestimated the cleverness of the established energy companies’ disinformation campaign…so here we are 30 years later with these alternate energy technologies still in their infancy… this is why scientists and others in the reality-based community have to ramp up our PR campaign.)

Comment by walter crain — 28 Mar 2009 @ 8:26 AM

204. BFJ Cricklewood: “A straight answer would would need to be of the form “X years”.
To date no such response has been forthcoming.”

Horse puckey. It is impossible to make such a statement unless you specify a desired confidence level. You are either disingenuous or ignorant of statistics.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Mar 2009 @ 8:34 AM

205. “the age of stupid” and bfjcrickelwood’s comments are more examples of why scientists need better PR.

in the case of that movie: the movie’s out there – people are watching it and it’s reinforcing their belief that a few “free-thinking” real reputable scientists are “skeptical” of AGW. they also get to exercise their regular-guy distain for those egg-head smarty-pants alarmists who first predicted an ice age, then predicted we’d all be fried by now. the “its cooled since ’98” meme ties it all together. to them, mainstream scientists, who can’t even make up their own minds about what the “problem” is, are being exposed by clever “skeptics”.

on bfjcrickelwood’s “simple” request for a straight answer: scientists are just trying to be precise when they answer that question with a complex list of ranges/probabilties/uncertainties. to the layman out here, again, it sounds like the scientist is equivocating or just can’t give a straight answer for fear of exposing the the lie that is AGW theory.

[Response: That the world in general is hostile to nuance and much happier with Yes/No, Black/White, True/False dichotomies is not news. The fact that science in any complex field can’t be sensibly parsed into such binary distinctions undoubtedly makes it difficult to portray the state of scientific knowledge effectively. But this is not a PR issue, it is instead fundamental to the dilemma that scientists have dealt with for decades and it isn’t going to go away if suddenly I come up with a number for Mr. Cricklewood – for instance 17.3 yrs. Does that change anything? – gavin]

Comment by walter crain — 28 Mar 2009 @ 9:50 AM

206. Ray, a more charitable interpretation of Mr. Cricklewood’s post is that he found the claim somewhere else, thought it looked like it made sense, or found someone saying it made sense, and carried it here.

Almost everyone is ignorant of statistics to some extent.
And it’s easy to be fooled by people making claims like that, saying flat out that a straight answer would be of the form X years.

It sounds true, doesn’t it? And if it were said about a situation where there isn’t a lot of up and down variation, it’d probably be true.

Say he wanted to know whether a kid had finished growing in height.
That’s simple enough, and it’d be true to say that if the kid’s height hadn’t increased in X years, the kid was probably as tall as she’s going to get.

But if he wanted to know if his own waistline had quit changing in circumference — well, now, that’s a different situation because the number can go up and down, maybe several inches several times in a year. Any trouser or belt manufacturer can probably give you statistics on this kind of thing.

When will you know your belt size has quit increasing? A proper answer would be in the form of “a week or so after you quit eating and drinking” — it depends on the variatio

Mr. Cricklewood, care to say where you got the idea?
Or the encouragement to post it here as a flat assertion?
Why you believe whoever put you up to it?

I’m pretty sure it’s from somewhere else, because we keep seeing people come in with the same belief, stated as a certainty, in almost the same words.

I try to be patient myself seeing this kind of repetition. But when I see it yet another time, I’m sure inclined to expostulate something like “WTF? Lucia? You got some ‘splainin’ to do ….”

Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Mar 2009 @ 10:49 AM

207. Mark # 165
March 2009 at 3:55 AM

I think you may have misunderstood my starting point. When I said I was tired of “this hooey”, I was of course referring to the Cato ad and Michaels’s characterization of climate models as an “abject” failure.

To clarify, the IPCC AR4 projection for surface temperature was expressed as an increase of the moving 20-year average over a 31-year period of about 0.65 deg., or about 0.2 deg per decade.

My point is that, after nine years, the moving average stands at almost 0.17 deg/decade which is reasonably close to the IPCC projection. Thus graphs or statements that purport to show a much lower trend over the last few years are highly misleading.

I apologize if I wasn’t clear enough before, and I hope this removes any remaining confusion.

Comment by Deep Climate — 28 Mar 2009 @ 11:20 AM

208. #32, #34

Re: libertarian,liberal,neo-liberal and Liberal

Only the first of these is unique.
Liberal (UK) = centrist (the most green UK party apart from the little Green party)
Liberal (Australian)= right wing (tendency towards global warming denialism)
liberal (economic)= neo-liberal = Thatcher/Friedmann (hard right)
liberal (political, religious) = pluralist tolerant enlightened (e.g. Isaiah Berlin).
liberal (populist US) = left
liberal (social) = libertarian (approximately)

Comment by Geoff Wexler — 28 Mar 2009 @ 11:20 AM

209. Hank, I might be rather more charitable to Mr. Cricklewood’s contention if I and several others had not spent several posts trying to explain the subject. As it is, he appears to be able to write, but not to read.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Mar 2009 @ 12:56 PM

210. Ray (179) sorry for the delay. (I tried posting this earlier but I must have made some error.) I am not saying I didn’t notice 1998. I have tried to be careful to use language such as “relative flatness” and “mini-trend” but if I strayed from that, I apologize. Again (and again and again), I am not saying global warming has ended or that AGW theory is disproved. I am asking the question: how much flatness, relative to the upward trends leading up to 1998, say, would there need to be before theorists began to scratch their heads?

Thanks for clarifying the distinction between “AGW theory” and climate theory. I could quibble that it’s a minor distinction given that human contributions to “the greenhouse” are just about all that folks are concerned with these days, but I take your point, and I appreciate as well your willingness to discuss a hypothetical future discrepancy between theory and observation, however unlikely. What are the leading candidates in your mind for processes other than CO2 that could end up being bigger contributors than originally thought? I know that’s essentially asking the question, “What are the unknown unknowns” (as Gavin refers to it on his modeling site re. ozone), but I wonder if you have thoughts about it, and, no, I am not trying to trick you. I hate to add that last bit, but I know sensitivities run high on this topic. To wit, I’ll leave the labeling stuff alone, if that’s OK.

Comment by wmanny — 28 Mar 2009 @ 1:04 PM

211. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uf25tkuxOW4

the fact that this exchange can happen for real in the US congress (not in some twilight zone episode) illustrates how far scientists have to go in educating the public. “it’s plant food”!!! aaarrrrggghhh!!!this testimony should have been greeted with the same reaction as if he had said, “smoking cigarettes is good for you.”

Comment by walter crain — 28 Mar 2009 @ 1:11 PM

212. #204 Ray Ladbury
You simply push the question out to : What do you regard as a sensible confidence level? Once you decide that for yourself, you’ll be able to give the requested straight answer.

Gavin’s take seems to be 20 years; ie, he would want to see another flat 10 year period before he would want to see an adjustment to current theory. Do others here agree with him or not?

Comment by BFJ Cricklewood — 28 Mar 2009 @ 1:14 PM

213. BFJ Cricklewood wrote in 212:

Gavin’s take seems to be 20 years; ie, he would want to see another flat 10 year period before he would want to see an adjustment to current theory. Do others here agree with him or not?

You might want to check this out…

You Bet!
January 31, 2008
http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/01/31/you-bet/

… it is based upon 95% confidence and settles things between “warming” and “flat” by 2015.

Oh, and it also shows that currently (at least as of 1/31/2008) there is no basis whatsoever for claiming that global warming has stopped or for that matter that the rate has changed since 1998. Besides, 1998 was a record during an unusually strong El Nino, and it was statistically tied (but beaten according to NASA GIS Temp) by 2005, and then tied again with 2007 — where both 2005 and 2007 had La Ninas — resulting in cooler temperatures than what would have otherwise occurred.

Comment by Timothy Chase — 28 Mar 2009 @ 2:12 PM

214. You guys (sigh)

wmanny: “… human contributions to “the greenhouse” are just about all that folks are concerned with these days …”

Cricklewood: “… another flat 10 year period before he would want to see an adjustment to current theory. ….”

Each of you is asking questions with unvoiced assumptions.
Some of those are contradictory assumptions. Some are just wrong.

If you would make the effort to read some of the science you’d be able to ask better questions, and cite your sources for the assumptions you’re making. Seriously.

Look, I’m not saying this is the best reference, it was easy to find.

You can then at least say what you are assuming to be true to ask your question, and give a basis for what you’re assuming. Otherwise your questions are too simple to be answered.

Radiative Forcing of Climate Change: Expanding the Concept and Addressing Uncertainties (2005) National Academies Press
Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC)

Chapter 5 begins:
“Uncertainties Associated with Future Climate Forcings

Climate forcings are bound to evolve over the coming decades due to anthropogenic emissions as well as land-use changes. Scientists have developed methods for projecting future emissions and land-use changes, but limitations in these approaches lead to uncertainties in projections of future climate. … In this chapter, current capabilities for projecting future forcings are discussed and critical uncertainties associated with these forcings and their effect on climate are identified…..”

http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11175&page=100

Give it a try.

Otherwise this is just recreational typing.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Mar 2009 @ 2:32 PM

215. Climatology is not so easy, I find. Many, even scientists and engineers, do not know enough statistics. (I could name certain blogs, but I won’t.) So lets all try to be gentle with those commenting here who appear to be trying, hmmm?

Thank you.

[reCHAPTCHA entones “commitments overlook”. Seems appropriate.]

Comment by David B. Benson — 28 Mar 2009 @ 4:46 PM

216. Hank,

“You guys (sigh)”

It is to blush, assuming that was a sigh of admiration, and you are too kind.

It is true that we are asking questions. It is also true that you won’t answer them, for reasons I will assume are sound — you are certainly under no obligation to do so. Why not just leave it at that?

Walter

Comment by wmanny — 28 Mar 2009 @ 5:01 PM

217. Re: How much more of a cessation in warming would warrant an adjustment to current theory?

So far then, we have these best guesses
– Gavin : ~10 years (response to #201)
Tamino : ~6 years (ie by 2015) (cited in #213)
Anyone else have, or know of, other estimates, either similar or different?

( In simple terms, these figures I take it relate to how long would be needed for the believed trend to overcome worst-case countervailing noise ).

Comment by BFJ Cricklewood — 28 Mar 2009 @ 5:49 PM

218. ha! gavin, that’s funny! i think 17.3 years IS the kind of answer “skeptics”/laymen want. it’s because most of us are so scientifically illiterate that we “can’t handle” all the qualifiers necessary for complete accuracy.

i only call it a “PR” thing because in our culture of “image is everything”, the “skeptics” are winning the image battle. of course ALL the substance is with the scientists, but due their exceptionally disciplined PR machine, “skeptics” come off as clear-thinking rationalists trying to save the world from confused ideology-driven scientists (who are cast as out of touch and only interested in preserving their global warming research grants….). mind you, this IS NOT reality, in fact it is exactly the opposite of reality, but it is the public perception. scientists are battling:

1)the common man’s distrust of smart people (how many times have we whatever politition criticized for being “elitist”? – i mean, really, a rational person should WANT elites in charge, don’t you think?)

2)”skeptics” get to play the skeptic. this is usually a scientist’s default position, and a position ALL scientists should initially adopt – until evidence leads to a consensus. the “skeptic” PR machine has now framed the discussion such that the denialist/obfuscationists get to play the romantic part of the skeptic railing against the recieved wisdom of the establishment. and americans love the little guy.

3)the “skeptics” get to defend the position we all “want” to be true. i think even the most rational reality-based scientist wishes he were wrong about global warming. i mean, it would be much nicer for us all if we didn’t have to worry about carbon emissions and carbon taxes and saving energy and all that. “skeptics” get to let the public harbor that faint glimmer of hope that maybe there’s not really a problem.

4)scientists suffer from the assumption that truth will prevail. they know they are “right” about the science and assume laymen will be able to sort out all the deceptive tactics, half-truths, selective citations. in this area scientists WAY overestimate our ability to see through the denialist’s smoke screens. laymen are not capable of dissecting that CATO statement at the top of this post – and all those footnotes, though they are totally bogus, make it seem real “sciency”.

i know all these points seem really stupid and shallow to scientists, but, well, most of us laymen wouldn’t know a keeling curve if it bit us in the, uh, arse…

Comment by walter crain — 28 Mar 2009 @ 6:35 PM

219. Walter (wmanny), they are not answering you because your questions aren’t sound. If you ask someone are you still beating your wife, answer yes or no, don’t expect most people to answer.

That temperatures have not increased significantly above 1998 levels does not mean the increase has stopped. It means that we are in a short patch when natural influences on weather are all pointing down. We have just hit the bottom of the 11-year solar cycle, and been through an extended La Niña. The correct question to ask therefore is why last year was not close to a 100-year record low, rather than close to a 100-year record high.

Captcha says: Battle Historical. I concur.

Comment by Philip Machanick — 28 Mar 2009 @ 6:44 PM

220. wmanny and bfj crickelwood,
just curious, have any of the explanations by the scientists here convinced you that scientists have good reasons for “believing in” global warming?

Comment by walter crain — 28 Mar 2009 @ 6:52 PM

221. You’re oversimplifying again, Mr. Cricklewood.
Tamino’s on break doing real work, so don’t expect him to give you a prompt review.

You realize there are stretches in the record where even 30-year trends are look like this picture?

This is the time series from 1880, showing 30-year trends:
http://atmoz.org/img/avg_length30.jpg
“The years 1880 to 1910 still show a negative trend, as do the years in the 1940s.”
http://atmoz.org/blog/2008/01/29/on-the-insignificance-of-a-5-year-temperature-trend/

This is time series from 1970:
http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/upload/2007/05/5-year-trends.png
“Compute 5, 10 and 15 year trends running along the data since 1970 and get (black lines data, thicker black same but smoothed, thin straight lines non-sig trends; thick straight blue lines sig trends)”
http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/05/the_significance_of_5_year_tre.php#more

See how you can always find stretches with negative trends? Which of those intervals with negative trends that you see in those pictures would you have found impressive at the time?

You realize that what you lump as “current theory” is a wide variety of possibilities and estimations of how things work and how strong they are and how they interact — all that are being investigated?

Another such stretch will support some of the assumptions in some of the models — those that have indicated another such stretch is likely — Hadley a few years ago, I think, was the first one.

You don’t get proof _or_ disproof. Probability is all you get.

And you probably know all this, I’m belaboring the obvious because some kid writing a term paper will be able to use the background.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Mar 2009 @ 7:12 PM

222. BFJ Cricklewood wrote in 217:

Re: How much more of a cessation in warming would warrant an adjustment to current theory?

Global warming has ceased? Since when?

If I were you, I would check the following:
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.lrg.gif
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/

2005 appears to have been the global record.

Oh, and as I indicated in 213, I would keep in mind the fact that 1998 had a particularly strong El Nino (which made that year warmer than the trend) whereas both 2005 and 2007 had La Ninas (making them cooler than the trend) and that otherwise the trend doesn’t look like it has changed at all.

Comment by Timothy Chase — 28 Mar 2009 @ 7:34 PM

223. Walter, Understanding the distinction between a “theory of climate change” and a theory of climate that implies anthropogenic causation is important. With a theory of climate change, all you would have to do is find a theory that explained the observed data fo climate change better than anthropogenic causation. When you view climate change as a prediction based on a theory of Earth’s climate, any changes you make must be at least as successful as the current consensus model with respect to paleoclimate, response of the climate to perturbations like volcanic eruptions, the aerosol-induced hiatus mid last century, etc.
Any change we make to account for some yet-to-be-observed hiatus in warming would have to be fairly minor to preserve the successes of the consensus model. A negative feedback pretty much has to indicate that for some reason, the current temperature range is particularly stable, and there’s no evidence for that. It could be that recent development in China and India were again producing enough aerosols to slow warming. If so, this would imply a brief hiatus as in 1945-75. Aerosols are one place where there is still considerable uncertainty. Clouds are another. The thing is, you can’t have a Charney sensitivity much less than 2 degrees per doubling, or you have a really hard time producing an Earthlike climate. As yet, however, it’s a purely hypothetical question.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Mar 2009 @ 8:17 PM

224. BFJ Cricklewood Says:

Re: How much more of a cessation in warming would warrant an adjustment to current theory?

So far then, we have these best guesses
– Gavin : ~10 years (response to #201)
– Tamino : ~6 years (ie by 2015) (cited in #213)

Note, however, that the adjustment to current theory would NOT result in what denialists claim.

Funky happenings over the next decade would NOT disprove the physics that shows that CO2 is a GHG, for instance, and that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will heat the planet. That physics isn’t based on observed climatic trends, not in the least.

In absence of any observed phenomena – the sun going out, huge volcanos erupted, etc – the first question that would be asked would be “where’s the heat hiding?”, not “oh, CO2 isn’t a GHG after all”.

Comment by dhogaza — 28 Mar 2009 @ 8:47 PM

225. Philip Machanick (219) — Well stated.

Comment by David B. Benson — 28 Mar 2009 @ 9:48 PM

226. dhogaza,

I don’t see anywhere that wmanny, BFJ Cricklewood or I say that we do not believe CO2 to be a greenhouse gas. I accept that an increase in CO2 will cause warming. I know of no skeptic that thinks that an increase in CO2 will not cause warming (I suspect that there are a few, but they are a minority). Even Pat Micheals believes that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

So why to you keep telling us that CO2 is a greenhouse gas?

Also, I don’t know that any of us have claimed that the decline in the rate of increase over the last ten years (1999! to 2008) is proof of anything.

It seems impossible to have simple conversations.

Comment by BillBodell — 28 Mar 2009 @ 10:33 PM

227. [Response: Not true. “Over a twenty year period”
This is what the consensus is saying.
Starting point is under review.
Tim

Comment by Tim L — 28 Mar 2009 @ 10:50 PM

228. Philip Machanick #219

That temperatures have not increased significantly above 1998 levels does not mean the increase has stopped. It means that we are in a short patch when natural influences on weather are all pointing down … The correct question to ask therefore is why last year was not close to a 100-year record low, rather than close to a 100-year record high.

Unless you don’t take the models as gospel, esp as regards the amount of warming they attribute to anthropogenic CO2.

Comment by BFJ Cricklewood — 29 Mar 2009 @ 3:11 AM

229. Re: How much more of a cessation in warming would warrant an adjustment to current theory?
So far then, we have these best guesses
– Gavin : ~10 years (response to #201)
– Tamino : ~6 years (ie by 2015 he says) (cited in #213)

Hank Roberts #221

You realize there are stretches in the record where even 30-year trends are look like this picture?

Yes, as have Gavin and Tamino I’m sure.
Are you then saying you would want to see ~30 years (ie another 20) ?

Timothy Chase #222

Global warming has ceased? Since when?

About a decade, as per those Giss graphs you cited. Do you deny this recent temperature plateau?

Comment by BFJ Cricklewood — 29 Mar 2009 @ 4:03 AM

230. BillB, snorbert believes that CO2 won;t cause warming. He cited a paper that said that CO2 will act differently in a closed vessel for experimentaton than it does in an atmosphere and that the radiative models are incorrect. Read earlier on.

The reason to continue to tell ou that CO2 is a GG is that if our CO2 emissions are not a cause of temperature increase, you MUST provide two things:

1) What stops our CO2 warming the atmosphere
2) What else is adding more temperature so it LOOKS like our CO2 is causing the warming

You can’t just go “It’s not us” because you have to explain why our CO2 doesn’t make a contribution. Why? Because (as you have admitted) you KNOW CO2 is a GG. So why isn’t it doing so when we pump it out?

Comment by Mark — 29 Mar 2009 @ 5:23 AM

231. just my own thought on the how many years of cooling for AGW to be over arguments – firstly average global temps aren’t a direct measure of the Earth’s net energy balance, I don’t know how variable that is but cooler SAT’s than last year isn’t less global warming than last year – the energy just goes elsewhere and will contribute to overall climate change in other ways like warming the oceans and melting ice rather than directly changing temps at the surface. Secondly, the preferred 30 year mean is still arbitrary and a trend only has meaning in relation to understandings of what climate processes are doing during the period. A bit of a plateau in average global surface temps ( when every year of this century is amongst the warmest on record and we’ve seen greater ‘cooling’ previously only to be followed by record breaking ‘warming’ I can’t see how the last decade can seriously be considered a cooling trend) is cause for looking for climate processes, natural and AGW effected, to explain the variations, not firm declarations of the ongoing climatic effects of GHG’s being over. Even a downward 30 year or longer trend isn’t sufficient by itself to declare AGW over – it’s about how well understood the underlying processes and conditions that give that trend are.

Comment by Ken — 29 Mar 2009 @ 7:29 AM

232. BJF, 229, but those graphs do NOT show that there has been no warming over the last 10 years.

Comment by Mark — 29 Mar 2009 @ 7:33 AM

233. bfj cricklewood,
i think phillip mackanick said it best with,
“That temperatures have not increased significantly above 1998 levels does not mean the increase has stopped. It means that we are in a short patch when natural influences on weather are all pointing down. We have just hit the bottom of the 11-year solar cycle, and been through an extended La Niña. THE CORRECT QUESTION TO ASK THEREFORE IS WHY LAST YEAR WAS NOT CLOSE TO A 100-YEAR RECORD LOW, RATHER THAN CLOSE TO A 100-YEAR RECORD HIGH.”

all the other cyclical pressures are in a down cycle, and the 2000s have been as hot as any comparable period. 1998 was an anomaly – it was a record year. of course if you start with record high the “trend” will be down from there. as gavin and countless others here have shown the downward “trend” is a statistical trick based on starting with a record high year. try starting the graph in 1999 and see what the “trend” looks like.

ignoring for a moment the false premise of your question (see phillip #219, re: wife beating), as a layman, i will give you a layman’s answer to your question of “how much longer”?

tamino says 6 yrs – that’s pretty good. you could begin to be somewhat confident of the “trend” if it continues for 6 more years, but it wouldn’t “prove” anything. gavin says 10 more years – that’s a little better. your confidence should begin to grow if it lasts 10 more years. others have said on the order of 20 more years – that’s even better. you could have more confidence in a “trend” that lasts 20 more years. i think you can see the pattern here: the longer the “trend” the higher the confidence (it’s not rocket engineering). it’s kind of an unsatisfying answer because you have to hold these varying degrees of uncertainty in your head.

Comment by walter crain — 29 Mar 2009 @ 7:35 AM

234. #230 Mark

snorbert believes that CO2 won;t cause warming. He cited a paper that said that CO2 will act differently in a closed vessel for experimentaton than it does in an atmosphere and that the radiative models are incorrect. Read earlier on.

I can find no reference to ‘snorbert’ or the abovementioned issue above. ‘Earlier on’ in a different thread perhaps?

The reason to continue to tell you that CO2 is a GG, is that if our CO2 emissions are not a cause of temperature increase, you MUST provide two things:
1) What stops our CO2 warming the atmosphere
2) What else is adding more temperature so it LOOKS like our CO2 is causing the warming”

1) Nothing; the basic physics in not in question here. What is in question, is how much is it warming the atmosphere? Does anybody really know? 

[Response: Climate sensitivity – gavin]

Comment by BFJ Cricklewood — 29 Mar 2009 @ 7:41 AM

235. Philip (219)

The wife-beating analogy is a bit facile, I believe, though others have noted it. In any event, we are talking about temperatures, and I agree with you that the increase has not stopped just because your short patch (my mini-trend) has arrived. As you point out, there are some natural influences getting in the way of a constant derivative, and you at least seem willing to inch closer to answering the unsound question, which can now be re-phrased: How much longer can natural influences be used to explain things before they rather than CO2 become the focus of things? I don’t think you’re going to find much support here at RC for your solar influence, though, as that is routinely dismissed as miniscule.

Walter

Comment by wmanny — 29 Mar 2009 @ 7:52 AM

236. Thanks, Ray, for the further clarifications in 223. Given there are so many models and modelers, though, what do you believe the “current consensus model” is, or are you of the opinion they are all more or less the same?

As to aerosols (I admit I am fearful someone has already raised the issue and been hammered for asking) is there any research being done on the prospect of introducing “safe aerosols”, if such things could be contrived, into the atmosphere? Given the difficulty this and other governments are sure to encounter trying to increase prosperity and lower CO2 emissions at the same time, has there been much thought given to other, less politicized avenues?

Comment by wmanny — 29 Mar 2009 @ 8:18 AM

237. #231 Ken

Yes, surface temps alone do not provide the whole picture of GW. It may well be the case that GW is continuing, and the heat is simply going elsewhere (equally though, melting ice may just be heat coming from elsewhere). But it’s also possible that GW may not be continuing. The proof of this pudding would be in how well ocean temperatures etc can be tracked; the evidence here is not too clear, as far as I can tell.

Even a downward 30 year or longer trend isn’t sufficient by itself to declare AGW over – it’s about how well understood the underlying processes and conditions that give that trend are.

I don’t think anyone here is saying this plateau means the 100+ -year GW trend is definitively over. Rather they are saying it raises questions about just how well the underlying processes are understood, and how valid it is to call it AGW rather than just GW. The longer the lack of warming continues, the more force the questioning acquires (and vice-versa). There must surely be some point – 10, 20, 30, 50…. years – at which the AGW hypothesis must be deemed to be failing.

Comment by BFJ Cricklewood — 29 Mar 2009 @ 8:33 AM

238. pardon me if this is off-topic…and maybe it should or has been discussed elsewhere, but…
when wmanny mentioned “safe aerosols” it reminded me of some “outside the box” thinking on global warming i read a few months ago. the idea was to limit incoming sunlight by having 1,000,000 (?) little mirror/reflector/shades stationed, i think, at the L1 point btwn the sun and earth. they could be placed closer to earth i suppose. i understand, in theory, the kinds of problems (moral and technical) associated with controlling the weather, and also understand that this would not solve other “problems” (e.g. ocean acidification, other?) associated with “excess” CO2, but can you think of any negative unintended consequenses of this mirror idea? do you have any idea what percentage of sunlight you’d have to block to “fix” things?

the problem with introducing chemicals into the system is we don’t know of unintended consequences, and it’s almost impossible to “undo” if it turns out badly. this idea would be easy to abandon if it didn’t work.

Comment by walter crain — 29 Mar 2009 @ 8:54 AM

239. Walter, There are areas where the models disagree, and there are areas where they agree. The consensus is reflected in the latter. You will notice that not one model has a climate sensitivity for CO2 doubling of less than 2 degrees. You can be certain that this is not simply a coincidence. A low-sensitivity, earth-like climate model would be quite an interesting beast in its own right, quite independent of its significance to climate policy. So I would estimate that the IPCC contention of >90% confidence of 2

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Mar 2009 @ 9:12 AM

240. Oops!, forgot about that ol’ less than sign. Full post here:

Walter, There are areas where the models disagree, and there are areas where they agree. The consensus is reflected in the latter. You will notice that not one model has a climate sensitivity for CO2 doubling of less than 2 degrees. You can be certain that this is not simply a coincidence. A low-sensitivity, earth-like climate model would be quite an interesting beast in its own right, quite independent of its significance to climate policy. So I would estimate that the IPCC contention of >90% confidence of sensitivity between 2 and 4.5 degrees is conservative.

Now if there are no negative feedbacks that are specific to the current temperature range, it’s kind of hard to see how you avoid a conclusion that we’re behind the current warming. I note that there is no evidence favoring such a specific negative feedback.

Beyond that, models may quibble about how the forcings get divided up between aerosols and clouds, but these do not affect the consensus that humans are behind the current warming. This is because no matter how you slice and dice these forcings, they don’t mimic CO2’s signature as a well mixed, long-lived greenhouse gas. That signature stands out like a sore thumb in the climate record, and only another well mixed, long-loved ghg could fill the role.

The thing is, Walter, the climate models work for a broad range of phenomena. Where they fall short, you can’t make them do better by reducing climate sensitivity, but rather they always perform worse. Climate is a difficult subject, but some parts of it are easier than others.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Mar 2009 @ 9:14 AM

241. … whereas both 2005 and 2007 had La Ninas (making them cooler than the trend) …

2005 did not have a La Nina according to the ONI , NOAA’s official metric. (There was a La Nina in 2007 – 2008.)

Warm (red) and cold (blue) episodes based on a threshold of +/- 0.5 C for the Oceanic Nino Index (ONI) [3 month running mean of ERSST.v3b SST anomalies in the Nino 3.4 region (5 N-5 S, 120-170W)], based on the 1971-2000 base period. For historical purposes cold and warm episodes (blue and red colored numbers) are defined when the threshold is met for a minimum of 5 consecutive over-lapping seasons.

The threshold for La Nina is ONI < -0.5. The minimum duration is 5 months. The data:

2005 || 0.7 || 0.5 || 0.4 || 0.4 || 0.4 || 0.4 || 0.4 || 0.3 || 0.2 | -0.1 | -0.4 | -0.7
2006 | -0.7 | -0.6 | -0.4 | -0.1 || 0.1 || 0.2 || 0.3 || 0.5 || 0.6 || 0.9 || 1.1 || 1.1

For NDJ 2005, DJF 2006, and JFM 2006 – only 3 overlapping 3 month periods – the ONI was over the threshold. Since it didn’t stay over the threshold for five overlapping 3 month periods, it wasn’t a La Nina by the ONI metric.

You can look up other metrics like the SOI or the MEI, but you’ll find that the event at the end of 2005 and beginning of 2006 was at best a very short-lived, borderline La Nina. (Since ONI is the one ENSO metric defined entirely in terms of temperature, it may be more relevant than the others.)

By contrast, if you check out the ONI numbers for the end of 2004 and the beginning of 2005, there was a weak El Nino at that time. In particular – the ONI was above the El Nino threshold for more months of 2005 than it was below the La Nina threshold. The idea that 2005 was a La Nina was bandied about a lot in the US press, but as far as I can tell that was originally a fumbling attempt to explain the extraordinary Atlantic hurricane activity of that year. ONI values may explain a minority of the post season Atlantic hurricane activity (not your point), but La Nina can’t explain the perceived inability of 2005 global temperature anomaly estimates to substantially exceed 1998 temperature anomaly estimates. (1998, of course, had large ONI values for much of the year, and ENSO was a substantial influence on its global temperature anomaly.)

Global average surface temperature anomaly estimates, do not, of course measure the temperature of the whole climate system – with 5 miles of atmosphere above the surface, and 2 miles of ocean below it, it is at best only the average of a cross-section. So it’s quite reasonable to suggest that changing distributions of heat in the climate system explains year-to-year variations in the GISSTEMP and Hadley estimates. Since ENSO is essentially a redistribution of heat in the climate system, it explains some of the variations. But not all of them.

Comment by llewelly — 29 Mar 2009 @ 10:16 AM

242. Wmanny, you give a reasonable question. The answer is to look at a dataset and approximate the noise. Looking at GISSTEMP, I’ll ballpark 0.5C. Then take the theory’s increase per decade. I’ll take 0.2C. Divide, and we get 25 years. After 25 years of flat temperatures from an obvious high outlier (1998) (assuming no change in BAU), the theory is seriously suspect.

Comment by RichardC — 29 Mar 2009 @ 10:59 AM

243. llewelly wrote in 241:

For NDJ 2005, DJF 2006, and JFM 2006 – only 3 overlapping 3 month periods – the ONI was over the threshold. Since it didn’t stay over the threshold for five overlapping 3 month periods, it wasn’t a La Nina by the ONI metric…

I stand corrected — by someone who is clearly more familiar with this than I am.

llewelly continues in 241:

Global average surface temperature anomaly estimates, do not, of course measure the temperature of the whole climate system – with 5 miles of atmosphere above the surface, and 2 miles of ocean below it, it is at best only the average of a cross-section. So it’s quite reasonable to suggest that changing distributions of heat in the climate system explains year-to-year variations in the GISSTEMP and Hadley estimates. Since ENSO is essentially a redistribution of heat in the climate system, it explains some of the variations. But not all of them.

Given my awareness of all the different climate modes/oscillations I wouldn’t argue otherwise. However, thank you very much for driving home the point the “cross-section.”
*
Captcha fortune cookie:
Jury rises

Comment by Timothy Chase — 29 Mar 2009 @ 12:36 PM

244. Back to the ‘petition':

Anyone willing to bet that the Cato Institute won’t add a few unwilling names to their list of ‘signatories’, and then later try to ‘explain’ the presence of those names with a ton of idiotic conspiracy theories?

bi

Comment by bi -- IJI — 29 Mar 2009 @ 1:05 PM

245. Mr. Cricklewood writes at 8:33 am on the 29th of March, 2009:

“The proof of this pudding would be in how well ocean temperatures etc can be tracked;”

Here is a a paper by Levitus et al.
ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/PUBLICATIONS/grlheat08.pdf
with the latest corrections.

I like figure S9. Ocean Heat Content (OHC) continues to increase. The figures are for the top 700m. This upper layer of the ocean has absorbed heat over the last 40 years at the rate of 0.364 Watt/m^2 (Table T1)

Comment by sidd — 29 Mar 2009 @ 4:17 PM

246. bi–IJI,
the big question about that CATO petition is how many scientists named JIM will they have?!

Comment by walter crain — 29 Mar 2009 @ 4:53 PM

247. Bill Bodell writes:

10 years may not be a significant trend in terms of Global Warming, but it is a trend.

No, it is not. A “trend” has to be statistically significant.

Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 30 Mar 2009 @ 7:09 AM

248. ah, well, the answer is 5. that ad was published in today washington post. i counted 5 scientists named “james” (and one named “j. scott armstrong” – don’t know if he’s a james…) c’mon gavin, we can do better than 5!

Comment by walter crain — 30 Mar 2009 @ 7:13 AM

249. walter crain,

The concept was called SPSS, for “Solar Power Satellite Stations,” and yes, it is theoretically possible. NASA made a major bid for increased funding in the 1970s on that basis. They were going to build a gigantic, orbiting “space colony” at Earth’s trailing “L5″ trojan point, which would manufacture solar power stations from lunar material and use them to beam microwave power down to “rectennas” on the Earth. Congress never even came close to treating the proposal seriously.

I suspect that, if done, it would be more expensive than simply building solar power stations on Earth.

Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 30 Mar 2009 @ 7:14 AM

250. BFJC writes:

That temperatures have not increased significantly above 1998 levels does not mean the increase has stopped. It means that we are in a short patch when natural influences on weather are all pointing down … The correct question to ask therefore is why last year was not close to a 100-year record low, rather than close to a 100-year record high.

Unless you don’t take the models as gospel, esp as regards the amount of warming they attribute to anthropogenic CO2.

He said NOTHING about the MODELS. He was talking solely about observed temperatures. 2008 was close to a record high. For God’s sake, read what you’re quoting before responding to it.

Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 30 Mar 2009 @ 7:23 AM

251. wmanny and Cricklewood: no one has ever said that natural influences are not part of the overall picture. That’s your argument, not that of any serious climate scientist. There are two short-term variables that influence temperatures: the solar cycle and energy transfers between the ocean and atmosphere. The first over around 3 decades is a zero-sum effect (highs cancel lows) and the second does not change the net energy balance of the system.

What we are looking at is changes in the long-term net energy balance that ultimately will result in higher average temperatures. This is not a trivial process, otherwise we could just do the radiative physics, write one paper and have all the answers. Nonetheless the radiative physics side is rigorously quantifiable. No amount of wriggle or nitpicking will make it go away. If we increase the greenhouse effect by X, temperatures will go up by Y + delta where delta depends on feedbacks. The time it will take depends on feedbacks and interaction with the natural effects (solar variation, ocean-air energy transfers). But those things are second-order effects. They change the exact timing of the increase, and make the exact magnitude of the increase a little fuzzy.

We have energy entering from the sun at a certain rate. Unless it leaves on average at exactly the same rate, the earth warms up until it does (if the net energy flow is positive; otherwise it cools down until things are in balance). Increasing the greenhouse effect reduces the rate at which energy is leaving the system. If you do not want increased the greenhouse effect to increase temperatures, you need to explain where else the increased energy in the system ends up.

Comment by Philip Machanick — 30 Mar 2009 @ 7:51 AM

252. barton,
thanks. yes this was an idea from the 70s – back when the “energy crisis” was going to spur all sorts of innovation. then the crisis “went away” and here we are having the same discussions again. it’s deja vu. we’ve wasted the last 30 years. we “should” have had 100 mpg cars by now, but we’re stuck being pleased with 30 mpg…

Comment by walter crain — 30 Mar 2009 @ 8:03 AM

253. barton, others?
you answered my question about solar collectors in space, and thanks. does anyone have input/criticisms on the mirror/shade idea in post #238?

Comment by walter crain — 30 Mar 2009 @ 8:46 AM

254. > mirror/shade

There’s been a huge amount written about the idea you can look up.
Off the cuff from memory (which I don’t recommend relying on):

It’s a metastable location, so anything there has to be actively positioned with equipment we don’t have or know how to build. It won’t help ocean pH. It will take resources. If we lose the launch and capacity to reach that site and manage such equipment because the oceans collapse then we’ll have even more problems we can’t fix.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Mar 2009 @ 9:40 AM

255. The letter was published today in the Chicago Tribune (and all of the major daily newspapers, I’m sure). I assume that most of the signatories are “the usual suspects,” but I’d like to see an analysis – how many are/were financially connected to the energy business, how many have relevant credentials, etc. Is any organization or consortium going to issue a formal rebuttal?

Comment by M. Kavanaugh — 30 Mar 2009 @ 10:02 AM

256. mirror/shade will also only help in delaying when “business as usual” will end up in catastrophe.

So after all that effort, we’ll STILL have to stop pumping out so much CO2.

Comment by Mark — 30 Mar 2009 @ 10:06 AM

257. walter crain:

Which brings me to… how many Steves do they have? I can remember 3 climate inactivist Steves off the top of my head: Steve Milloy, Steve McIntyre, and Steven Goddard.

And again, any unwilling names in the ‘signatory’ list? :)

bi

Comment by bi -- IJI — 30 Mar 2009 @ 10:25 AM

258. Hat tip to the CBC news article for this:

link to the researcher’s page:

http://www.science.uwaterloo.ca/~qblu/
PDFs of recent paper, a FAQ, and some other information and opinions.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Mar 2009 @ 11:01 AM

259. Well, let’s see, one signatory of the Cato ad is listed as:

“Bob Breck Ams, Broadcaster Of The Year 2008″

I guess they didn’t quite reach the “100 scientists” goal … seems to be about 10 non-PhDs.

Some of the usual suspects: the Idsos, Bob Carter, D’Aleo, Lindzen, Spencer, Marahosy, McKitrick, Pat Michaels, Bill Gray,

Here is an HTML version of the ad, if anyone wants to run down the list and do an complete analysis of who is on it.

[Response: Appears to be a little bit of CV padding as well: Courtney (PhD!) and at least three “reviewers” of the IPCC report. – gavin]

Comment by dhogaza — 30 Mar 2009 @ 11:18 AM

260. Earlier, Gavin asked Chip:

So are you going to sign the ad?

Apparently he didn’t.

Comment by dhogaza — 30 Mar 2009 @ 11:25 AM

261. bi–IJI
ha! thanks for that! well, i only see ONE steve (and one “sten”). i noticed 5 (maybe 6) named “james” out of 115 names – which kind of surprised me. i guess james is much more common than steve? james might be too easy for our list.

Comment by walter crain — 30 Mar 2009 @ 11:38 AM

262. walter crain:

What… no Steve Milloy? No Steven Goddard? No Steve McIntyre? This is totally wrong! :)

Let me see… the “Sue Us” Petition which I started — probably more correctly called the ‘please, please, please sue Al Gore and James Hansen like you inactivists have been screaming about doing’ petition — has zero Steves and 5 Jims. It currently has 65 (virtual) signatures, so it just needs a few more signatures to reach Cato’s 116. :-B

bi

Comment by bi -- IJI — 30 Mar 2009 @ 1:16 PM

263. Re 236,238,252,253,etc. mirrors and aerosols

(Part of the problem is that cooling the climate system by means other than reducing GHGs is that even if the average surface temperature is brought back to preindustrial levels, there could be some overall change in other aspects of climate. Although there are some robust patterns that tend to follow with global average surface temperature changes. – Another problem for stratospheric aerosols is their effect on ozone. )

Using CaSiO3 (or some similar silicate mineral) aerosols should help with ocean pH and I would guess help sequester CO2 into the oceans, perhaps with less uncertainty and less ecological disturbance than Fe-fertilization (??) (and some of the rock from which CaSiO3 is derived might also be mined for solar cell materials). Not that I am advocating this idea, at least not as a stand-alone solution.

What if we took all our used candy wrappers and potato chip bags, etc, and put them shiny-side up wherever snow and ice are vanishing(not quite serious about this one)?

Maybe the solar mirror idea could also serve as an asteroid shield (millions of small mirrors could be turned to concentrate sunlight on an asteroid – the momentum of the radiation itself and also of any evaporated molecules would then change its course).

The mirror idea might be employed 100s of millions of years from now to counter the brightenning sun. Or plants genetically engineered to use TiO2 instead of chlorophyll? Anyway…

Comment by Patrick 027 — 30 Mar 2009 @ 1:34 PM

264. ha! climate change methadone – that’s funny! thanks patrick, i’ll have to read through that. somehow i suspected gavin et. al. had already covered this…

Comment by walter crain — 30 Mar 2009 @ 3:38 PM

265. bi–IJI,
what are the qualifications for being on your list?

Comment by walter crain — 30 Mar 2009 @ 3:41 PM

266. “concentrate sunlight on an asteroid – the momentum of the radiation itself and also of any evaporated molecules would then change its course).”

If I recall correctly, the radiation pressure at 1AU from the sun is about 1.2Kg over a 1km square.

Even if it’s over a 1m square, it isn’t going to do a lot of pushing.

Similarly, how much energy will the mirror collect (directly proportional to the area of the mirror) and how much silicate will it boil per unit time?

And it will only work on asteroids coming from the sun side. And fairly close to the sun at that, else it will have to have a very long focal length and be hard to aim.

No, I don’t think that’s a good use of our time and energy.

Comment by Mark — 30 Mar 2009 @ 4:45 PM

267. Re 266 – yep, the aiming would be very tricky. (I had pictured slightly concave mirrors attached to gyroscopes (solar-powered) so they could be aimed. But the concentration would mainly come from many small mirrors being turned at somewhat different angles so that their reflected beams would overlap (even if each individual beam spreads out).)

Comment by Patrick 027 — 30 Mar 2009 @ 5:23 PM

268. Well, as long as I mentioned it:
radiation pressure = Force/area = acceleration*mass/area = momentum/time per unit area = power per unit area /speed of light (for 100 % absorption, not including thermally emitted radiation upon heating) = ~ (1367 W/m2) / (300 million m/s) ~= 4.5 millionths N/m2 .

A spherical km diameter asteroid of density ~ 4 kg/L,
cross section area ~ 0.75 km2,
mass ~ 4/3 * 1/8 * pi km^3 * 4 trillion kg/km3 ~= 2 trillion kg
mass/area ~= 2.7 million kg/m2

Acceleration at 1000 W/m2 radiation pressure
~= 4.5 millionths N / 2.7 million kg = 13.5/8 ~= 1.7 trillionths m/s2

displacement at time t = 1/2 * acceleration * t^2
Let t = 1 year ~= 31.5 Ms, t^2 ~= 1000 trillion s2, displacment ~ 500 m.

Well that’s not good! It would take continuous illumination at one additional sun (at 1 AU from sun, the mirrors would have to be, in total projected area, large enough to appear as the same size of the sun from the point of view of the asteroid) for a bit over 100 years to budge off course by almost one Earth radius, or the collision would have to be predicted 6,371 years in advance for one year of acceleration to cause the same displacement (assuming gravitational interactions, etc, with other planets, etc, allow the displacement to continue to increase at nearly the same rate or greater (butterfly effect?), rather than remaining in a new fixed orbit as in the Newtonian 2-body problem) – this just being an order-of-magnitude analysis, not taking into account how the direction of acceleration over time and displacement over the course of multiple orbits would actually add up.

Evaporating atoms off the surface might be much more effective?; won’t bother figuring that out here because very OT.

Comment by Patrick 027 — 30 Mar 2009 @ 7:27 PM

269. One of the signers, Edward F. Blick, appears to be a Young Earth Creationist

http://www.valleyhighlands.com/Blogger/page/Bible-Frequently-Asked-Questions.aspx

Comment by CL — 30 Mar 2009 @ 8:34 PM

270. Here is one of Dr. Blick’s arguments against a very old earth:

“Evolutionists believe that continents have existed for at least one billion years. However, the continents are being eroded at a rate that would level them in a relatively short fourteen million years.”

And here’s an article he wrote proving that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamcs.

Yeah, if I were setting policy, I’d ask this guy for scientific advice!

A little more digging has led to the discovery that he’s a professor of engineering at the university of oklahoma. Not working in any climate-related field.

Comment by dhogaza — 30 Mar 2009 @ 9:18 PM

271. walter crain:

what are the qualifications for being on your list?

The only obligatory ‘qualification’ needed is a willlingness to see Coleman and others try to sue. (Having qualifications related to climatology isn’t that necessary in this case, since the petition text doesn’t purport to lay out statements of fact about the science of climate. Even sworn inactivists can get behind it!)

bi

Comment by bi -- IJI — 30 Mar 2009 @ 10:34 PM

272. dhogaza,

That second law of thermodynamics gets around. It’s the centerpiece of Gerlich and Tscheuschner’s anti-greenhouse-effect article, too–you can’t have back-radiation from the atmosphere because the 2LOT says heat can’t go from a cooler object to a warmer one.

CAPTCHA: “IDEqual ruled”

I swear that software has a sense of humor.

Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 31 Mar 2009 @ 5:34 AM

273. bi–IJI,
well, count me in – i have no qualifications!

dhogaza,
a creationist! ridiculous, but not surprising. i am much more familiar with the creation/ID(should be “UD” – for unintelligent design)/evolution “debate” than the global warming debate. from what i’m learning here, AGW denialists use almost the exact same kind of (false) arguments: nit-picking, cherry-picking, appeals to incredulity, appeals to ignorance, misdirection, obfuscation, straw men, misquotes, quote-mining, quotes out-of-context and so forth as evolution denialists. infact, they even (mis)use the 2LOT barton referenced above… (living things “violate” the 2LOT by being “too complex” to have evolved “by themselves” and/or “everything tends toward entropy.” they’ll point out how a child’s bedroom doesn’t just “organize itself”…”you can’t go from disorder to order” blah, blah blah…) anyway, my point is if blick is a YEC, he has a PhD in denialism.

Comment by walter crain — 31 Mar 2009 @ 7:19 AM

274. The second law of thermo is one of the most difficult aspects of the subject, especially in terms of statistical mechanics. The task becomes even more daunting when the system under study is not a closed one. Even so, I say show me a man who says the existence of intelligent life violates the second law and I’ll show you:
1) a man who has never changed a diaper
2) a man who even by his own criteria would not constitute such a violation.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 31 Mar 2009 @ 7:36 AM

275. BPL, #272 what’s even worse is that his methodology of proving that point that heat cannot go to a colder object has a first-year-student obvious wrong statement. His mathematics has the radiation of the two layers going only from one layer to another. Where’s the problem? Each layer radiates throughout the entire solid sphere 4pi steradians. Not the hemisphere.

He has other O-level mistakes when he says why glass stops heat when CO2 won’t: he says glass reflects IR and so it keeps the IR in.

Yet earlier he showed how each layer reflected radiation back to the source. He doesn’t even read his own proofs if they don’t prove him right.

He also doesn’t consider HOW glass reflects IR. This is because you’d consider each thin layer reradiating to the next. That there is a surface where one side has an impediment to radiation and the other doesn’t is HOW glass reflects. He doesn’t consider it because that’s EXACTLY how CO2 traps IR too. It’s just the layer is physically thicker to produce the same result.

It took me five minutes to find about 20 problems with the paper. I hadn’t even finished reading.

I’m not a PhD. It’s been 20 years since I did any serious science work.

Still took me 5 minutes.

And the person who was lauding it as a brave new work dismissed the problems by saying “if you only took five minutes, you must be wrong”.

I don’t have to eat an entire dogshit sandwich to know it’s dogshit.

Worse, the barnpot probably didn’t do more than five minutes looking at the paper to see if it was right, but still considered it true and accurate.

Denialists. They aren’t skeptical, they aren’t pseudo-skeptical. They are selectively credulous and where they are credulous they are so to an astounding degree.

Comment by Mark — 31 Mar 2009 @ 8:21 AM

276. Has anyone systematically checked out the backgrounds and qualifications of the “scientists” listed in the CATO Ad? It might be a good way to respond. Links would be welcome!

[Response: rabett run (see sidebar) has made a start… Including Sweden’s leading dowser and an expert ok “Orgone” energy….. – gavin]

Comment by Karl — 31 Mar 2009 @ 9:08 AM

277. walter crain:

Gratias. :)

* * *

The mindless meme propagation shop known as the International Climate ‘Science’ Coalition is now claiming that the petition was signed by “100 climate scientists”.

And so, the storm of bollocks beginneth…

bi

Comment by bi -- IJI — 31 Mar 2009 @ 10:11 AM

278. mark,
“selectively credulous” – nice…

bi–IJI,
…only a piddly little 5 “jims” though…
i noticed the third artcle down on that site you linked to was about another denialist list. 700+ entered in the congressional record. sheesh.

anybody know anything about japanese scientist maruyama, and the “japanese geoscience union”? mayuyama claims a poll or something at their symposium last year showed 90% of it’s members don’t “believe” the IPCC report.

Comment by walter crain — 31 Mar 2009 @ 11:12 AM

279. “The “global warming stopped” meme is particularly lame since it relies on both a feigned ignorance of the statistics of short periods and being careful about which data set you use. It also requires cherry-picking the start year, had the period been “exactly a decade” or 12 years then all the trends are positive.”

Both satellite data sets show no warming trend since 1997, and strong cooling trend since 2001 (“good” RSS cooling being larger than “bad” UAH cooling, how inconvinient:)), so you don’t have to cherry-pick start date to obtain that results.

[Response: You just did. (is there an emoticon for an irony meter explosion?) – gavin]

At the contrary, you must cherry-pick start year in order to obtain a warming, because only starting year after 1997 which gives statistically significant warming in period up to 2009 is 1999 (pretty cold year, btw). if you object that picking 2008 as end year distorts results, picking very warm 2007 gives no warming since 2001, and trend 2001-2010 almost certainly will be flat or negative.

Of course, you can say that 10 or 12 years are not enough to take validity of the models in question (although Gavin Schmidt did exactly that on this blog), but you cannot reject the data only because you don’t like them. Petition is quite correct in emphasizing that we had a decade without the warming, and your critisism is without the merit.

[Response: Here’s a novel idea. Why not look at all the data? – gavin]

Comment by Nickolas — 31 Mar 2009 @ 12:06 PM

280. No matter how many times it is pointed out that short term temperature trends tell us absolutely nothing about an underlying climate trend we will still get posts that state with total blind (and deaf) confidence that we have had a decade without warming from those who have no idea what ‘warming’ means.

Some people are merely ill informed.
Some are rock-hard stupid.

Comment by Jim Eager — 31 Mar 2009 @ 1:55 PM

281. walter crain:

No idea about the Japan Geoscience Union, alas.

But I’ve been working on a response to the Cato Institute’s petition. If you ask me, I don’t think the petition even deserves a serious response. (No, there’s no contradiction here. You’ll see. :) )

bi

Comment by bi -- IJI — 31 Mar 2009 @ 2:47 PM

282. Timothy Chase #222: “I would keep in mind the fact that 1998 had a particularly strong El Nino (which made that year warmer than the trend) whereas both 2005 and 2007 had La Ninas”
And where were did La Nina store the excess energy while waiting for her brother to pick it up again? Are we talking about global temps or local temps?

Comment by cogito — 31 Mar 2009 @ 3:02 PM

283. “where were did La Nina store the excess energy while waiting for her brother to pick it up again?”

West Pacific Warm Pool ?

Comment by sidd — 31 Mar 2009 @ 3:49 PM

284. What distresses me is that people are asking if the apparent recent cooling disproves the models. Before any output from the models can be trusted, those models must have made some successful predictions. Those things you’ve done to verify the model before trusting the output is what you point to when people question whether your models are correct or not. What sorts of accurate predictions have a particular model made in the past? What sorts of tests have been done to help verify the models? Why should I believe that your models are correct? Getting accurate results out of complicated models even when all the physics is understood is very hard, and that is certainly not the case here.

[Response: I’m confused. First you ask about what kinds of evaluation is done with the models, and then you claim that they “certainly” haven’t been evaluated. For more info on what the models are and how they are tested, read these two posts. – gavin]

Comment by louis — 31 Mar 2009 @ 3:56 PM

285. from 284:
I claimed the physics is ‘certainly’ not completely understood, not that the models haven’t been evaluated in some manner. That the physics is not completely understood makes it a massive challenge to simply verify the model, and that’s what I’m curious about. I know the models have been evaluated in some manner, but I’m not clear as to how, and how rigorously the evaluation has been done. I read those two posts and they do talk a little about what has been done, but it’s very short on specifics, plots and graphs; is there somewhere else I should look for these? It’s very important to know what free parameters are fit to what data, and how well motivated that particular fit is physically. It’s also quite important to completely understand what successful predictions the models have made, and what failed predictions the models have made.

[Response: Try here for a more technical effort on one model. Successes for models in general… amount of pinatubo cooling (before it happened), LGM sea surface temperatures (models said the early estimates were not consistent with other evidence, better data vindicated the models), UAH satellite temperatures (models said that a cooling trend in MSU-LT was not consistent with the surface measurements, and then a bug was found in the satellite data), the green sahara occurring as a function of orbital forcing changes, water vapour feedback in response to ENSO, volcanos, trends, the 8.2 kyr event, response of the southern ocean winds to the ozone hole etc. etc. Problems? The double ITCZ in coupled models, ENSO variability, insufficiently sensitive sea ice, diurnal cycles of moist convection… – gavin]

Comment by louis — 31 Mar 2009 @ 4:28 PM

286. “Problems? The double ITCZ in coupled models, ENSO variability, insufficiently sensitive sea ice, diurnal cycles of moist convection… – gavin”

Each of these, i suspect would take a review article. But may I ask, in regard to the ITCZ, is there any robust prediction in the models that it will migrate North ?

[Response: No. See figure 10.9 in IPCC AR4. – gavin]

[Response: …but the descending limb of the Hadley atmospheric circulation cell (the ITCZ represents the location of the ascending limb) is projected to migrate poleward, from it current location in the subtropics up into the mid-latitude regions in summer. This is partly responsible for the AR4 projections of summer aridification in many mid-latitude regions (though increased evaporation due to warmer ground also plays a role in the summer mid-latitude drying). – mike]

Comment by sidd — 31 Mar 2009 @ 5:36 PM

287. bi-IJI,
omg. that thing is too funny. an economist, a petroleum expert and a preacher! it’s going to take a long time to read all those links. thanks…i think.

jim eager,
at least this “last ten years” meme has a limited lifespan.

Comment by walter crain — 31 Mar 2009 @ 7:48 PM

288. Thanx, gavin, mike. Does the descending limb of the Hadley cell move south in th Southern Hemisphere as well ? I am looking through the reference to Fig 10.9 in AR4 which I assume is
http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/suppl/Ch10/Ch10_indiv-maps.html

but i don’t see the signature clearly. Perhaps I ought to be looking elsewhere.

[Response: The simplest diagnostic for this is the sea level pressure (SLP) projections (right-most panels of Figure 10.9). Where you see alternating latitudinal bands of increasing and decreasing SLP in the mid-latitudes and subtropics respectively, its generally telling you that the subtropical high pressure belt (the descending limb of the Hadley Cell) is migrating poleward. In the Northern Hemisphere, the picture is more seasonal, owing to the greater seasonal contrast in heating of the continents. The poleward shift of the subtropical high pressure belt is most clearly seen in the summer (JJA). In the Southern Hemisphere, the picture is similar in summer (DJF) and winter (JJA), with again a clear increase in SLP in the mid-latitudes, indicative of a poleward (southward) shift of the high-pressure belt. There are other factors that are also important in the projections of atmospheric circulation changes, such as changes in the Walker Circulation associated with ENSO, and possible changes in e.g. the Asian Monsoon (something I’m particularly interested in from a research perspective). -mike]

Comment by sidd — 31 Mar 2009 @ 10:06 PM

289. Doesn’t this issue stem from Obama’s statement?

“Few challenges facing America and
the world are more urgent than combating
climate change. The science is beyond
dispute and the facts are clear.”

The first sentence I am in total agreement with, but second is flawed. How ever much evidence there may be, science is never beyond dispute and as a scientist I know that there is no such thing as a scientific fact. There is clearly enough evidence to act on climate change, which is what Obama is calling for, but in the process he is falling into a trap by not recognising the scientific principle.

Comment by Toby Ferenczi — 1 Apr 2009 @ 8:23 AM

290. toby,
tchnically, you’re right – he shouldn’t say “beyond dispute.” but, he’s talking to laymen. i think he can say “the facts are clear.”

Comment by walter crain — 1 Apr 2009 @ 8:52 AM

291. Toby Ferenczi wrote: “… science is never beyond dispute and as a scientist I know that there is no such thing as a scientific fact …”

So you think there is still dispute about whether the Earth orbits the Sun or the Sun orbits the Earth? As a scientist you know that there is no such thing as the fact that the Earth orbits the Sun?

The science relevant to Obama’s statement — the fact that human activities, principally the burning of fossil fuels, are releasing large quantities of previously sequestered carbon into the atmosphere, the fact that this has dramatically increased the atmospheric concentration of CO2, the fact that this anthropogenic increase in CO2 is causing the Earth system to retain more of the Sun’s energy, the fact that this is causing the Earth to heat up, the fact that this anthropogenic warming is already causing rapid and extreme changes to the Earth’s climate, hydrosphere and biosphere — all of this science is beyond dispute.

If you don’t accept these basic facts, then what “evidence” are you possibly referring to when you say there is “enough evidence to act on climate change”?

If you really “know that there is no such thing as a scientific fact” then how can you ever believe there is any evidence for anything?

Comment by SecularAnimist — 1 Apr 2009 @ 9:41 AM

292. “100 climate scientist”
Eduardo Ferreyra (Argentinian Foundation for a scientific ecology)
isn’t a scientist. He only publishes all the denialist’s stuff in spanish.

Comment by Aye — 1 Apr 2009 @ 9:03 PM

293. Re 289-290
“science is never beyond dispute”
“tchnically, you’re right ”
“but, he’s talking to laymen. i think he can say “the facts are clear.””
“So you think there is still dispute about whether the Earth orbits the Sun ”

Technically, I do not know for a fact that I existed five seconds ago.

(What is fact? If there is uncertainty, there is still fact. (We know for a fact that the models suggest this range of results and based on that plus paleoclimatic evidence, it makes sense given certain logical guidelines and probalistic definitions (along with assumptions which are consistent with practical assumptions many people make in day-to-day tasks: I do exist, everyone is not hallucinating all of the time…), that one can expect this, cannot yet sure about that…)) It can be a fact that someone has an opinion…)

When I was in grade school (K-5, to be specific), we were learning about clouds one day and how cirrus were ‘high in the sky’ – etc. Having previously taken an interest in the subject matter, I knew what was meant, but apparently the teacher and some portion of the class were confused by it, because they later figured, after some discussion, that – what was obviously cirrus to me – was stratus, because it was near the horizon. Wish I’d spoken up.

Meanwhile, not knowing any better, I got the false impression (as many have) that the curved upper surface of a wing creates lift by creating a longer path that requires the wind speed (relative to the wing) to faster above in order to ‘keep up’ with the air below, and by Bernouli’s principle, pressure different, hence lift. Of course the reason why the air flow is faster above than below is because it accelerates downward around the wing (if the streamlines do not detach too early) above as well as below the wing; in order for the air to be deflected as such, vertical pressure gradients are required; these vertical pressure gradients are not constant horizontally, so horizontal pressure gradients are also required. The wing thus deflects the air by, when steady state is achieved, ‘pulling’ air down above it and pushing down against air below it; action = reaction; the air pushes up on the wing, which of course requires the pressure variations that are responsible for the deflection of the air, including it’s speeding up and slowing down as in Bernouli’s principle. But I can see why they didn’t go into all that when we were ~ how old? I can’t help but wonder, though, might we have understood it? Might we have even enjoyed knowing all that? Might I be smarter today?

‘CO2 traps heat, warms climate, feedbacks occur, ice melts weather patterns change – we don’t know in every way how yet…, if rapid and large, ecosystems are stressed, species go extinct, economic and political issues arise – ; solutions to reduce problems exist’ – obviously simplified, although at least this is accurate (if you know what is meant? – we don’t mean CO2 traps heat exactly like a blanket does it, although analogies can be drawn).

Comment by Patrick 027 — 1 Apr 2009 @ 9:41 PM

294. PS speaking of the double ITCZ:

I was looking at … I think Ch.8 of IPCC AR4 WGI, and broadly speaking, the double ITCZ looked okay (I guess the southern branch is too elongated east-west in the model ensemble results, if I remember correctly).

A question occured to me though (which I couldn’t find in Ch.8 supplemental material – though I haven’t read all of the Ch.8 material) – is the double ITCZ something that exists in most seasons, or a result of annual averaging wherein the seasonal cycle involves some rapid shift of a single ITCZ from north to south and back without much time in the middle, or a combination of the two cases?

(I’d like to see more season-specific graphs – including the latitude-height cross sections).

Comment by Patrick 027 — 1 Apr 2009 @ 9:48 PM

295. As one who previously actively supported the Cato Institute, I’m very saddened to see them try to put the cart before the horse. In other words, if you don’t like how expensive it will be to combat climate change, then you must conclude (non sequitur) that the climate scientists are wrong! Cato’s expertise is in economics, not climate science. They could be offering the good market solutions to the problem, instead of trying to wade into waters that are drowning them in their own scientific incompetence, and then, perhaps, we’d have a better chance of getting policies that don’t involve massive government intervention that ultimately won’t work.

Comment by Geno Canto del Halcon — 4 Apr 2009 @ 8:24 PM

296. As one who previously actively supported the Cato Institute, I’m very saddened to see them try to put the cart before the horse.

Comment by dhogaza — 5 Apr 2009 @ 12:37 AM

297. Cato’s expertise is in economics, not climate science.

Oh, and they show little evidence of that, too. They’re beholden to a pre-ordained poltical, phisophical, and economic world view.

*real* expertise in economics would indicate a *real* willingness to explore and analyze a wide variety of views.

But they don’t. The organization is a simplistic exercise in assuming their conclusion, i.e.:

Promoting public policy based on individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peaceful international relations

Obviously they will bend any straw, stick, or tree trunk rooted in objectivity in an effort to make it bend to their pre-ordained view of the world.

They’re totally anti-science (which includes economics, and if you don’t believe economics is science, just say “totally anti-science and economics”.

Comment by dhogaza — 5 Apr 2009 @ 12:43 AM

298. In response to 100 and 102 above, as is stated on Cato’s website, they are named for Cato’s letters, which in turn were named for Cato the Younger, *not* Cato the Elder. Cato the Younger was a strong supporter of the republic.

To dhogaza at 297: You’re quite right, Cato does hold to a certain philosophical worldview. This view compels them to argue against expansions of executive power, illegal wiretapping, torture, xenophobia, police raids, foreign adventurism and war-mongering. I suspect I’m not the only one here who holds that torture is wrong on moral rather than scientific grounds.

I disagree with Cato on its position on climate change, and I wish they’d stop putting resources towards campaigns like this, but I will continue to support them because of the work they do on many other important issues (e.g, police brutality).

Comment by nicholasbs — 7 Apr 2009 @ 11:03 PM

299. Is it necessary to support Cato in order to work on other important issues – police brutality, etc? Aren’t there common sense-based organisations to work on those issues?

Comment by Patrick 027 — 8 Apr 2009 @ 11:48 AM

300. No, but there are a few rare sense-based organizations; try the ACLU for civil liberties, the EFF for surveillance and privacy, and your local volunteer fire department and city council for appropriate use of government in your community.

Support those that don’t think the answer to police brutality is to get rid of the police or hire private police forces to protect yourself, eh?

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Cato_Institute

Freedom wasn’t invented to support corporations.
Corporations weren’t invented to support freedom.

“We the People ….” is not a government conspiracy to suppress freedom. It’s how freedom was invented.
________________
“Follette direct” — ReCaptcha’s AI is getting a deeper sense of history; must be all that reading.
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/326297/Robert-M-La-Follette

Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Apr 2009 @ 1:51 PM

301. This view compels them to argue against expansions of executive power, illegal wiretapping, torture, xenophobia, police raids, foreign adventurism and war-mongering. I suspect I’m not the only one here who holds that torture is wrong on moral rather than scientific grounds.

And Stalin loved his daughter. The fact that they oppose torture does not absolve them of lying about science when accepting science might lead to political consequences they’re opposed to.

Comment by dhogaza — 8 Apr 2009 @ 2:07 PM

302. About Cato, and other think tank dishonesty: many of the things they make pronouncements on are things that most of us have no intimate knowledge of, and we have no way of seeing that they are making it up as they go. When they happen to say something on a matter we are informed on, it’s like we’re being offered a precious “peephole” into what they really are like.

I had this experience quite some while ago as a Linux user and aficionado, catching the Heartless Institute lying through their teeth. Their foray into climate mendacity thus didn’t take me by surprise… just another business opportunity.

Treat the peephole as a learning experience, not as something to try to ignore. It’s a feature, not a bug.

…and amplifying on Stalin #301, Hizbollah does great social work in Southern Lebanon. The metaphor of a broken clock showing the right time twice a day comes to mind.

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 8 Apr 2009 @ 2:57 PM

303. I’m a little confused about Patrick Michaels’ background. Can someone help? He claims to be on the faculty of the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Virginia, but he’s not on their web site. He also claims to be a member of the IPCC, but that was news to two members of the IPCC at Stanford. Does anyone know? He wrote a reply to a commentary I wrote in the Naples News on April 12. (see http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2009/apr/16/letters-editor-april-17-2009/)

Comment by Anne Hartley — 23 Apr 2009 @ 3:42 PM

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Close this window.

0.751 Powered by WordPress