RealClimate

Comments

RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. This makes my speech to the class of 2099, now on video on the link by clicking on my name here, all the more important. Sigh.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=channel_page&hl=en&v=n-wnrm2jE-E

    Comment by Danny Bloom — 6 Apr 2009 @ 8:25 AM

  2. At the end of one of the nightly news shows last night (either ABC or CBS – not sure which channel I was on), the announcer covered this story and followed it up by saying that temperatures in the Antarctic had risen by 4 degrees. Is that correct? I thought parts of the continent had risen, other parts cooled, and on average the change (in Antarctica) was essentially within the noise. Thanks in advance.

    [Response: Long term trends are positive over the whole continent, but much smaller than 4 deg. Almost certainly the announcer was referring to the Antarctic Peninsula warming which is where the Wilkins ice shelf actually is (and I'm going to guess F rather than C). - gavin]

    Comment by FM — 6 Apr 2009 @ 8:41 AM

  3. How far out of the bounds of normal climate variability is this event? It seems to me as a non-scientist that ‘normal climate variability’ is more a function of ‘speed of change’ rather than ‘events differing from the immediate past’. Sir Nicholas Stern said that the Earth has seen temperatures 5 degress C above pre-industrial. So I don’t see that mere temperature increases above 2 degrees C that scientists now say we need to stay below is the real issue. But how quickly we are getting there, along with the chemical blanket of GHG that might take temperatures beyond anything the Earth has EVER seen.

    [Response: "Natural variability" encompasses everything from Snowball Earth to the extreme mid-Cretaceous hothouse. So nothing is going to happen that is completely unprecedented over Earth history - but if that was your benchmark, you would consider climate change nothing to worry about until sea level was 100 meters lower or higher than today. Possibly a little late to address it... As for Wilkins, the estimates are that there has been an ice shelf there for about 10,000 years. I think that's pretty significant, but YMMV. - gavin]

    Comment by Jeff from Ohio — 6 Apr 2009 @ 9:05 AM

  4. Quick question: how significant is it that there have been a series of collapses like the ten mentioned in the story. Is this noticeably different in pace and scope from the recent (last few hundred years) pattern?
    I partly ask this to help educate people who I direct to your site. My own educated guess is that this pace is accelerating. Am I right?
    Thanks.

    [Response: Yes. You are right. - gavin]

    Comment by Steve Missal — 6 Apr 2009 @ 9:29 AM

  5. Seems to be time for my indispensable Mercer quote:

    Mercer, Nature, 1978, v271 pp.321-325
    “One warning sign that a dangerous warming is beginning in Antarctica, will be a breakup of ice shelves in the Antarctic Peninsula just south of the recent January 0C isotherm; the ice shelf in the Prince Gustav Channel on the east side of the peninsula, and the Wordie Ice Shelf; the ice shelf in George VI Sound, and the ice shelf in Wilkins Sound on the west side.”

    Wilkins was the last one mentioned. The rest are gone.

    http://www.iitap.iastate.edu/gcp/sealevel/ross.html
    Smith et al. Antarctic Science, 19(1), pp131-142 (2007)
    http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs17-02/fs017-02.html

    “A dangerous warming” has begun.

    Comment by sidd — 6 Apr 2009 @ 10:01 AM

  6. But should the “pace” remain consistent? Not hardly.
    So while it may be convenient to assume this event is somehow attributed to AGW that remains to be merely an assumption without enough science to signal causation or correlation.

    [Response: Yep. It's undoubtedly just a coincidence.... - gavin]

    Comment by Dawn — 6 Apr 2009 @ 10:05 AM

  7. The ice shelf collapse is a local event, I assume, as are some of the local “cold” events occurring in the other hemisphere (record snows, this spring’s Arctic T’s, etc.). RC will be and has been very careful to note that local events are “weather” and to be ignored in the larger scheme of things. I can anticipate some criticism being levied (it’s probably already out there) along the lines, “As long as the local event is hot, it’s AGW, but if it’s cold then it’s either a natural effect or a temporary anomaly,” something along those lines. What is the distinction, and, please, this is a straight-up question, not a rhetorical one.

    [Response: Ice sheets/shelves are great integrators of changes over a long time scale (whereas a weather event is not). And it is not an isolated event - ice shelves up the Peninsula have been collapsing, as have those in the high Arctic (e.g. Wordie). And it's hardly a counter-intuitive result.... Having said that, there are a number of dynamical factors which make the Peninsula region a little special (the increase in the SAM which is impacting local sea ice cover and the winds for instance) - but they are likely anthropogenic too. - gavin]

    Comment by wmanny — 6 Apr 2009 @ 10:32 AM

  8. PBS NOW is doing a series on the effects of Global Warming that is more than convincing.

    On April 17 NOW will air a special hour long edition on how mountain ice is receding. That will make for tough going in late summer when glacier fed rivers run dry. Pack the kids up soon to visit Glacier National Park—the prediction is that its ice will be gone by 2021—9 years sooner than predictions 5 years ago. About the time when the renewable portfolio standards in states other than Montana are saying we should produce 20% of our electricity with renewables—too late to save Glacier. You can view a preview at
    http://www.pbs.org/now/on-thin-ice-preview.html

    You can catch last Friday’s report on how sea level rise is affecting island nations at
    http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/449/video.html

    What global warming is doing to the seas
    http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/449/video.html

    April 10th NOW will address whether there is such a thing as clean coal.

    Comment by Russ Doty — 6 Apr 2009 @ 10:50 AM

  9. The Wilken’s ice shelf is about 16,000 km^2 compared to a total over 1,500,000 km^2 of ice shelves in Antarctica. That makes it roughly 1% of the total and these types of break ups do not happen every year. Obviously, it will be a while before there is a substantial reduction in the amount of Antarctic ice shelves.

    When ice shelves float into the ocean, they eventually break up into smaller pieces. Initially several hundred meters thick, they become thinner and cover larger areas. So, is the breakup of ice shelves a significant contributor to the extent of sea ice?
    Notice, that in contrast, the Arctic has relatively few ice shelves. Over 90% of those that were in existence a hundred years ago have long since broken up. Consequently, the breakup of ice shelves can no longer be a significant contributor to sea ice in the Arctic.
    Are there any papers published in peer reviewed science journals that offer up an explanation for the trend in Antarctic sea ice?

    Thanks

    Comment by Andrew — 6 Apr 2009 @ 10:54 AM

  10. Dawn,

    If you hold a ball over your head, let go, and the ball strikes your head, was that a causal relationship, or was it just a coincidence that the ball found your head?

    Wmanny,

    Rain is weather. A hurricane is weather. Turning forest to desert is climate. The breakup of a 10,000 year old ice sheet is climate.

    Think “transient” versus “persistent.”

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 6 Apr 2009 @ 10:55 AM

  11. In response to wmanny at 10:32 AM: The reason why this collapse is an important indicator of warming and not merely a local event is that for an ice shelf to collapse, it takes a consecutive series of warm years to progressively weaken the shelf. It does not merely happen overnight. If these shelves stood for at least 10000 years, and are now collectively collapsing in a geological blink of an eye, then this is a strong indication of a warming trend. This trend is even more strongly demonstrated if we take into account all of the other shelf collapses, both in the Southern and Northern Hemispheres, as well as the strong reduction of summer Arctic Sea ice.

    Comment by Catch22 — 6 Apr 2009 @ 11:17 AM

  12. Dawn:

    I wanted to ask you a question based on your own…if this is not attributable to AGW, especially considering that it is now the tenth ice shelf to ‘disembark’, to what, exactly, would you attribute Wilkins? You imply in your remark that there are other means for such an event to happen. If your skepticism is to have legs, then give me a plausible counter-explanation. You used emotionally loaded terms like ‘not hardly’ and ‘convenient’ in your post, which seemed to me to signal an inflexible, pre-existing opinion. Prove me wrong.

    Comment by Steve Missal — 6 Apr 2009 @ 11:20 AM

  13. Andrew, ice shelves and sea ice are 2 different beasts. Both atmospheric and sea surface temps have been increasing in the Antarctic.

    Antarctic sea ice:
    Author(s): Zhang JL
    Source: JOURNAL OF CLIMATE Volume: 20 Issue: 11 Pages: 2515-2529 Published: JUN 1 2007

    Pdf @ UW:
    http://psc.apl.washington.edu/zhang/Pubs/Zhang_Antarctic_20-11-2515.pdf

    Comment by Philippe Chantreau — 6 Apr 2009 @ 11:43 AM

  14. My last response to Walt and Gavin went missing but,

    Steve,

    Are you suggesting that because you cannot show how this is attributable to AGW I must therefore demonstrate it’s cause?

    Comment by Dawn — 6 Apr 2009 @ 11:48 AM

  15. steve missal (12),
    it could be ice-eating fish nibbling away at the bottom of the shelves, or hank’s “global expansion” theory, whereby the glaciers and ice sheets are being “lifted” above the water thus causing faster glacier flow toward the water and collapsing of the rising ice sheets. it could be.

    Comment by walter crain — 6 Apr 2009 @ 11:58 AM

  16. “merely an assumption without enough science to signal causation or correlation.”

    Uh, so what is the effect of the trillions of tons of extra CO2 humans have managed to put out over the last 100 years?

    Such a level of production could CAUSE ice shelves to break up.

    No, you got anything sensible to add, or just more hoping with your head in the sand???

    Comment by Mark — 6 Apr 2009 @ 11:59 AM

  17. Gavin,

    Many thanks for starting this thread (I wasn’t nagging earlier ..!). I have had a look at the ESA animation, and although it is rather bitty (swath coverage etc.), it’s certainly very striking how the ice margin on the lower main spur of the ice bridge develops an irregular, almost saw-toothed boundary, whilst the spur itself becomes densely cracked and creviced. At the same time, the crack running at about 2 o’clock from Latady Island seems to be getting more definite (deeper? wider?); not clear whether the latter is an image processing effect or some other artefact, though. If the ice boundary along that bit of the shelf develops a similar, saw-tooth pattern, that could well indicate major changes to follow. It’ll be interesting to see if the encroaching Winter down there can stall further changes until next season: it could be a close run thing.

    Regarding isostatic effects, I was wondering whether sudden de-shelving at the margin can lead to development of a positive feedback between ice slope and ice velocity. It might seem a bit counter-intuitive, but if the coastal ice (not really coastal, but I can’t think of a better word) melts, this area should start to rise from the effect of the unloading (i.e. where this ice had hitherto been resting on the sea floor). On the other hand, areas still well iced over will also start to sink a bit in compensation, through the leveraging the rebound generates. Thus, where the ice is still resting on the sea bed, it depresses slowly into deeper water, increasing the upthrust and reducing friction along the bed plane. In absolute terms, the movements are fairly small to begin with, but where the resistance to sliding is close to a threshold, a small change can have a big effect. Be interesting to hear from anyone who has looked into this.

    Comment by Nick O. — 6 Apr 2009 @ 11:59 AM

  18. A lay question. As I understand the position, precipitation in Antarctica occurs mainly as snow. As the snow builds up, it compresses to ice, and gravity causes it to flow (very slowly?) towards the coast, and then on to the sea as iceshelves. So we are perhaps looking at a dynamic system, with snow being added to the system, compressing to ice and flowing towards the ocean, pushing out onto the sea, and eventually breaking up.

    Is this accurate? Do we have a good understanding of the process? How can we tell whether the breakup of iceshelves is just part of a natural ongoing process as described above, or is it to do with warmer ocean currents affecting the coast, or is it to do with AGW?

    Comment by herbert stencil — 6 Apr 2009 @ 12:29 PM

  19. Andrew, try Google Scholar for your question about the trend in Antarctic sea ice. Start with the general question, then narrow it down as you come across possibilities.

    Here for example, your original question brings up observations of physical changes — the water around Antarctica is less salty.

    So there’s one possibility — less salty water will freeze at a slightly higher temperature than brine.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/297/5580/386

    Seriously, make some effort to look these things up and think them through, you’ll find a great many papers, none of us have time to read them for you, but if you read them and then ask questions about them someone who actually knows the area may reply.

    Most of us here are just readers like yourself.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Apr 2009 @ 12:35 PM

  20. Why 3/27 and 3/28 show the ice shelf intact?
    Did it refreeze?

    [Response: Some of what you are seeing is sea ice, not ice shelf (the large blocks). - gavin]

    Comment by Dawn — 6 Apr 2009 @ 12:41 PM

  21. I’m asking these questions to help me explain all this to average citizens as part of my volunteer organizer work with 1Sky.org. So the ’2 degrees above C’ ceiling proposed by scientists (preferably below according to James Hansen and Dr. Ware from Pottsdam) has more to do with ‘climate range conducive to human existence w/o massive thirst and starvation given our current population and ability to feed it, and to prevent extreme weather events/temperatures harmful to humans like above-average summer temperatures for longer periods of times, than what has happened before in the history of the Earth?

    Comment by Jeff from Ohio — 6 Apr 2009 @ 12:54 PM

  22. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-03/ps-wai031709.php

    [Response: Your point? - gavin]

    Comment by MH — 6 Apr 2009 @ 12:58 PM

  23. Philippe & Hank;

    Thank-you very much for the help.

    In my own words, Zhang’s paper shows how a stagination of the oceans around the continent could lead to less heat transport from lower in the ocean and a greater volumn of sea ice.

    Also, it may be due to simply lower salinity of the water, thereby greater formation of ice despite rising temperatures.

    However, along my original line of thought. The Wilkens shelf is probably about 300 meters thick. Sea ice around the continent averages about 1.5 meters. So, the 15,000 km^2 shelf will eventually break up into about 3,000,000 km^2 of sea ice. That is a lot of sea ice and of course it will also lead to lower salinity and reduced salt rejection, enhanced thermalhaline stratification and weakened convective overturning.

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

  24. Andrew, the first point to make is that the trend in Antarctic sea ice is not statistically significant. If you look at the plots and compare them with those for the Arctic you can sea that there is much more year-to-year variation in Antarctic sea ice.

    This isn’t surprising when you consider the geography of Antarctic sea-ice surrounding a continent, whereas in the Arctic it is the other way around – consequently sea-ice in Antarctica exists at lower latitudes and is more prone to being blown about and compacted, or not, by the winds.

    I’ve also read that the ozone hole has had an effect on the Antarctic circulation, which is why Antarctica is the part of the globe that has warmed least [or not at all]. If the ozone hole recovers as expected, one would consequently expect to see particularly rapid Antarctic warming in the 21st century.

    [Response: It's quite useful to look at the trends as a function of space. You will easily see that sea ice is way down on the west side of the peninsula in the region of Wilkins during March (sea ice minimum conditions). - gavin]

    Comment by Timothy — 6 Apr 2009 @ 1:21 PM

  25. Well, I reckon it’s down to Urban Heat Island effect…

    Comment by Jaydee — 6 Apr 2009 @ 1:21 PM

  26. plus this

    http://www.grist.org/article/2009-04-03-arctic-ice-free-30-years/

    should get you scientists considering the potential of the planets shift in rotation to achieve a new position of dynamic balance.

    the boxing day tsunami shifted the earths rotation.

    [Response: Not in any climatically important way. - gavin]

    Comment by dennis baker — 6 Apr 2009 @ 1:23 PM

  27. Herbert asks
    > How can we tell… or is it to do with AGW?

    First you need to understand how much of current change is pushed by fossil fuel use, how much “A” in the current “GW” or you can’t understand the question you’re asking. That’s in Spencer Weart’s book, first link under Science.

    Then you need to understand rate of change — how fast is the change now compared to previous warming events.

    And you need to understand what sources you can rely on to tell you the truth about the research.

    Try your question first in Google Scholar, then compare what you get in ordinary Google. You’ll find the science papers documenting the research answer your questions. And you’ll find the difference with ordinary Google is a lot of the old familiar sources teaching uncertainty and doubt.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Apr 2009 @ 1:30 PM

  28. Ross Ice Shelf in the Antarctic expands with the average speed 2.5 meters a day. Assuming no iceberg breakage how long would it take to reach New Zealand?

    [Response: It doesn't expand. Ice flowing in is in rough balance with the calving at the edge. -gavin]

    Comment by Tegiri Nenashi — 6 Apr 2009 @ 1:45 PM

  29. “How can we tell whether the breakup of iceshelves is just part of a natural ongoing process…”

    The Wilkins Ice Shelf was around for ten millennia. So this breakup was not an ‘ongoing’ process.

    “is it to do with warmer ocean currents affecting the coast”

    Yes.

    “To the extent that the ocean warms, and that warm water reaches beneath the ice shelf, it’s very likely to increase the rate of melting near the grounding line in particular. That could have a number of effects,” Jacobs said.

    From their observations, the researchers estimate that for each rise in ocean temperature of 0.1 degree Celsius (0.2 degree Fahrenheit), the melting rate near the grounding line should increase by 1 meter (39.37 inches) per year.

    Scientists have already detected a 0.2 degree C (0.36 degree F) increase in recent decades. This rise is large enough to explain the rapid thinning observed for ice shelves in some parts of Antarctica, and the acceleration of the glaciers that nourish them, according to the researchers. ”

    From an interview
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3077456/

    “is it to do with AGW?”

    Hansen has estimated an energy imbalance of 0.85 W/m^2 from anthropogenic forcing.

    The oceans are warming:
    ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/PUBLICATIONS/grlheat08.pdf
    The flux of heat necessary to cause this is 0.36 W/m^2.

    I do not see any other heat input of these magnitudes apart from AGW.

    sidd

    Comment by sidd — 6 Apr 2009 @ 1:54 PM

  30. The Climate Progress site has what looks to be an informative article, with a number of links to related scientific papers and mainstream news reports:

    Q: How much can West Antarctica plausibly contribute to sea level rise by 2100?

    A: 3 to 5 feet — contributing to an increasingly likely total sea level rise of more than 5 feet by 2100, a rise that will be all but impossible to stop if we don’t sharply reverse CO2 emissions trends within a decade or so.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 6 Apr 2009 @ 1:56 PM

  31. The public focus has been on when will the bridge collapse. However, given the clearly untenable nature of the narrow connection ot Charcot Island, the more important question is how far back into the Wilkins ice Shelf does instability exist. Humbert and Braun have noted for this ice shelf and Scambos and Shepard for Larsen the importance of rifting which show pre-conditioned weaknesses. It is evident that south and east of the precarious bridge an extensive rift system has been expanding. A comparison of the November 2008 image which dates the time of rift formation below the narrow and unsound bridge. http://www.esa.int/images/asar200904022_H.jpg
    Humbert and Braun have annotated rift development dates.
    Compare this to the April 2, 2009 image. Focus on the rift just above the word Wilkins in this image. This rift has become even longer and wider. The ice shelf beyond this rift is effectively unstable.

    Comment by mauri pelto — 6 Apr 2009 @ 1:58 PM

  32. There has been discussion of active volcanism around the Wilkins ice shelf.

    Any insights?

    [Response: That's about as thin a straw as the ice bridge to Charcot Island. Do the maths on how much heat is involved. - gavin]

    Comment by Stormy — 6 Apr 2009 @ 2:17 PM

  33. About the age of the Wilkins shelf – I’ve seen references for Larsen B (~10 ky – discovered after the fact by examining sediments, IIRC), but are there references for Wilkins? Thank you in advance.

    Captcha: LOVER move

    Oh my.

    Comment by Deech56 — 6 Apr 2009 @ 2:18 PM

  34. > Focus on the rift just above the word Wilkins

    Very clear, now that you point it out. Thank you Mauri.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Apr 2009 @ 2:18 PM

  35. Re comment #2:FM says:
    “the announcer covered this story and followed it up by saying that temperatures in the Antarctic had risen by 4 degrees. Is that correct?”

    This can’t be in degrees C. In an article in the May 1,2008(p.13) issue of “Nature”, Tim Naish,a project leader at the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences in Lower Hutt, New Zealand,says “That(the rapid and substantial melting of the West Antarctic ice Sheet and the Ross Ice Shelf, raising global sea levels by up to ten metres) happened at a time when it was three to four degrees(C) warmer than today,owing to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, which we will very likely reach again soon,”…..

    The article goes on to state that David Pollard, an ice sheet modeler at Pennsylvania State Univ.,presented simulations that western Antarctica can lose almost all of its ice at temperatures just three to five degrees higher than todays.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 6 Apr 2009 @ 2:25 PM

  36. 7. Gavin, thanks, and some logical questions arise: do climate theorists/modelers believe SAM or AGW is the greater factor here? How well understood, for example, does the IPCC believe SAM to be? (I could find no reference to it in AR4, Sec. 4, – though NAM is mentioned – but I’m probably looking in the wrong place.)

    If I recall correctly (low odds) SAM is a relatively recent observed phenomenon (40’s?, 50’s?) whose forcings are theorized to be aerosol/ozone based? As you can tell, I’m out of my depth and curious.

    [Response: there's a discussion around fig 10.17. - gavin]

    Comment by wmanny — 6 Apr 2009 @ 2:36 PM

  37. sidd,
    You need to get current.
    The oceans are not warming.

    The only way to cling to the AGW theory and that this ice Wilkins Ice shelf change is related is for one to ignore the many contradictions.

    Such as while humans are pumping out more CO2 than ever the oceans are cooling.

    http://www.examiner.com/x-1586-Baltimore-Weather-Examiner~y2009m1d21-Oceans-are-cooling-according-to-NASA
    “Two separate studies through NASA confirm that since 2003, the world’s oceans have been losing heat.”

    Until a number of the fatal flaws and contradictions are dealt with AGW should not be attributed to this event or any other.

    [Response: Oh please. Read the original story. - gavin]

    Comment by Dawn — 6 Apr 2009 @ 2:53 PM

  38. I wonder if anyone has looked into the the effects of warming caused by the asphalt and black roofing shingles used on houses. In the summer on a roof covered in black shingles, the temperature in NC can be 95f and on the roof it is roughly 105-130f depending on cloud coverage and wind.

    Comment by Matt T — 6 Apr 2009 @ 2:56 PM

  39. Hi Dawn:

    You’ve answered a question with a question. My query was pretty straightforward. You expressed doubt, so I would like to know what you might suggest as an alternative. That’s all. There are numerous supporting studies viz AGW and Antarctica that can be found on this site and elsewhere…I just wanted to know how these iceshelf collapses might occur other than AGW. Do you have a theory, or could you summarize someone else’s theory that that is contrary to AGW concerning the Wilkins topic?

    Comment by Steve Missal — 6 Apr 2009 @ 2:56 PM

  40. Thanks, and glad my memory wasn’t utter crap. One could interpret the 10.17 discussion as implying the Wilkins collapse has more to do, then, with 20th-century ozone depletion than it does AGW trends. That appears to be the IPPC read at any rate.

    Comment by wmanny — 6 Apr 2009 @ 3:11 PM

  41. Dawn 37 quoted: “Two separate studies through NASA confirm that since 2003, the world’s oceans have been losing heat.”

    Your reference sucks as you can read from this link:
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/OceanCooling/printall.php

    You know, it is called science, when you correct systemic errors in your measurements.

    Comment by Petro — 6 Apr 2009 @ 3:12 PM

  42. The news pictures showed a “road” cut along the ice bridge to Charcot Island. Fracture Mechanics would treat this as a “notch” which, according to Griffiths theory, would enormously weaken the structure. Have we just seen man-made destruction of a different kind from melting?

    Comment by Derek Smith — 6 Apr 2009 @ 3:33 PM

  43. Re: Ocean warming

    Dawn writes: “The oceans are not warming.”
    And then cites a Baltimore newspaper article.
    Which references the old Lyman paper. Which in turn was shown to be in error dues to flawed sensor data.

    Please see the link that I already posted, from the Levitus paper in Geophysical Research Letters, 2008, that performs the corrected analysis.

    ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/PUBLICATIONS/grlheat08.pdf

    The oceans continue to warm.

    And with all due respect, trusting the “Baltimore Weather Examiner” for climate science is as bad as trusting Wall Street bankers with tax bailouts.

    sidd

    Comment by sidd — 6 Apr 2009 @ 4:08 PM

  44. Dawn said @37: “The oceans are not warming.”

    At what point does repetition of long refuted talking points become deliberately spreading disinformation?

    Captcha: aided alernately

    Comment by Jim Eager — 6 Apr 2009 @ 4:08 PM

  45. Dawn 37: ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/PUBLICATIONS/grlheat08.pdf (figure S9) shows that the newest estimates of ocean heat content actually show a (small) rise in temperature since 2003, but it also shows that there remain disagreements in the ocean heat content community about appropriate interpretations of the data.

    Comment by Marcus — 6 Apr 2009 @ 4:11 PM

  46. re: #38 Matt T
    re: roofs:
    Yes, people have looked into it, which is why Google: california cool roofs
    will show you many hits.

    However, while such is very important in some areas, where it can substantially reduce air-conditioning load and bad interactions with local pollution, painting Antarctic roofs white is not likely to offer major benefits.

    Comment by John Mashey — 6 Apr 2009 @ 4:23 PM

  47. RE: 15

    Hey Mr. Crain,

    Actually, Hank’s expansion might not be quite as far out as it might seem at first. If as the GRACE satellite package indicates, the Antarctic ice mass is being reduced, there could be a portion of uplift (rebound) near the coastal regions that could be contributing to the fracturing of the sea borne ice floes. Combined with the 1990s higher SSTs over topping the regional sea currents suggests both events could be part of the driver of the recent events on the Western Peninsula.

    This of course would return us to a discussion of the amount of heat energy content of the Sea Surface and the causes. (For this we will have to defer to the experts.) However, if as has been indicated there is some continental warming in association with an increase in solar insolation that there is sufficient drivers to increase peripheral seasonal melt and move the melt perimeter closer to the pole.

    (Note: The reduced land ice mass could also be playing a part in the rapidity of the change. It might even help suggest why the land ice appeared to be slowing in 2005/06. (If the slope is reduced then the slide towards the sea could slow and not have anything to do with “cooling” of the region or changes in precipitation.)

    The end result would likely reflect Hank’s theory that there could be an “expansion” of sorts… As always folks I enjoy reviewing the banter. (BTW, Dr. Schmidt, I am pleased to see that counter opinions are getting a little more play.}

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by ldavidcooke — 6 Apr 2009 @ 6:36 PM

  48. “interpretations” indeed.

    You folks know what the problem here is don’t you?
    Too much interpreating, correcting and estimating and not enough accurate, calibrated measuring. And way too much pretending they are one in the same.

    The same problem exists with other surface temperatures.
    The inability to make reliable measurements over time diminishes the ability to gather accurate observations.

    ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/PUBLICATIONS/grlheat08.pdf

    “We provide estimates of the warming of the world ocean for 1955-2008 based on historical data not previously available, additional modern data, correcting for instrumental biases of bathythermograph data, and correcting or excluding some Argo float data. The strong interdecadal variability of global ocean heat content reported previously by us is reduced in magnitude but the linear trend in ocean heat content remain similar to our earlier estimate.”

    [Response: Did you read that reference? Did you notice that the long term trends in ocean heat content are all up? Did you notice that this was an independent analysis from Willis? or Domingues et al? Perhaps you would prefer that problems not be addressed? Or that unless everything was perfect ahead of time we can't use it? - gavin]

    Comment by Dawn — 6 Apr 2009 @ 6:38 PM

  49. These collapses are like canary’s in coal mines.If we don’t mitigate our burning of fossil fuels, there’s a possibility of very serious melting in the Antarctic with equally serious consequences.

    If the rate of increase of CO2 into the atmosphere increases even to 1% of present value to about 4ppm per annum, how long would it take to double present values of about 390 ppm?
    The calculation is straightforward. If a quantity increases by some fraction,f, of itself per unit time, in a small time interval dt ,the increment of the quantity dQ= fxQxdt or dQ/dt=fQ. The solution is given by Q(t)=Qoe^ft=Qox2^t/T where T is the doubling time and Qo is the present of Q. T=ln2/f. The percentage increase per annum is p=100f. Then T=100ln2/p ~ 70/p, in years. Then if the amount of atmospheric CO2 were to increase by 1% per year, it wil double in 70 years! That’s well within the lifetime of most of today teenagers! We really have to change our ways. Business as usual is not an option.

    Also,who says the oceans are cooling?! Where do these people get their information from, K-Mart?

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 6 Apr 2009 @ 7:09 PM

  50. I guess I won’t be getting that optional theory after all. Perhaps I’ll be surprised, though. I’d still like to hear an actual theory from Dawn or any other skeptic. Something other than armchair stuff. I doubt sincerely that there is anything substantive that would fill the bill, but now is the opportunity to have at it and show me I’m wrong..
    I’m pretty sure that Dawn or whomever else is a doubter will read this. This is it. Your golden opportunity. Really, I’m not being rude. Just direct. Give it a go and let’s take a look at some data substantiated alternative reason that might explain these types of events.

    Comment by Steve Missal — 6 Apr 2009 @ 7:13 PM

  51. Re: #45

    Marcus (or others),

    What might explain the relatively anomalously large spike in world ocean heat content in 2001-2002? The long-term trend is quite clear but there seems to be a fair amount of short-term noise that doesn’t seem to follow the noise in the surface records.

    Comment by MarkB — 6 Apr 2009 @ 7:19 PM

  52. 3 Jeff from Ohio: How badly extinct did you want to be? Life has been on earth for ~3.8 Billion years and 99+% of all species that ever lived are extinct. Those climate changes caused several major and many minor extinction events. After an extinction event, new species evolve to fill the empty niches. The total number of species rebounds to a sort-of “normal” after many millions of years but the extinct species are extinct forever. The Great Dying [End-Permian or Permian-Triassic event] 251 million years ago was the worst. The End-Permian was caused by CO2 from a super-volcano. The paleontoligists say that sulfur bacteria in the warm oceans made H2S, a poison gas. H2S turns into H2SO4 in your lungs and the H2SO4 causes a very painful death.
    Smaller climate changes cause the rain to suddenly fall far from its previous location. Archaeologists have documented about 2 dozen collapses of agriculture and civilization so far that were caused by climate changes of a fraction of a degree. Death by starvation isn’t my idea of fun either. 99.99% of the population die in a typical collapse. 0.01% manage to travel far enough to find food elsewhere. Read “The Long Summer” by Brian Fagan, “Collapse” by Jared Diamond and “Six Degrees” by Mark Lynas.
    You should be terrified indeed by climate change.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 6 Apr 2009 @ 8:07 PM

  53. I actually think it’s sort of neat. The other sides of the continent have plenty of ice and growing, well above average according to the NSIDC. It’s just a natural event. [edit]

    Comment by Jarad Holmes — 6 Apr 2009 @ 8:09 PM

  54. We can argue about whether humans are causing it until the cows swim home… Climate “deniers” aside, the globe is warming, and whether humans are causing it or not, we have a responsibility to try to slow it – or we will face a scenario something like that in my book – “Mai Shangri-La” – available at Amazon. Spread the word

    http://www.amazon.com/Mai-Shangri-Robert-J-Rubis/dp/1434861627/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239066051&sr=8-1

    Comment by Robert J. Rubis — 6 Apr 2009 @ 8:11 PM

  55. Dawn: “You folks know what the problem here is don’t you?”

    Scientist: “No, really. Do tell.”

    Dawn: “Too much interpreating, correcting and estimating and not enough accurate, calibrated measuring. And way too much pretending they are one in the same.”

    Scientist: “Golly. Gee willickers. And exactly how much ‘accurate, calibrated measuring have you done in your life, Dawn. Would you even recognize a real measurement if it were about to bite your little tuckus off?”

    [Silence, crickets chirping...]

    Scientist: “Dawn? Oh Dawn? Fascinating, yet another sighting of homo trollus.”

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Apr 2009 @ 8:15 PM

  56. How many iceshelves have grown or come into existence over the past few decades? 10 ice shelves not merely shrunk but broken up sounds like a trend to me and the abundance of evidence of a warming trend – surface air temps, glacial retreats, ocean heat content rise, phenological shifts – all reasonable expectations in the presence of a warming trend and not requiring GCM modelling to predict (except to try and narrow the range of such expectations). But it might be some other cause – with a glaring absence of evidence of other causes is not a genuine argument in the presence of well documented causes. Such argument seem predicated on presuming climate scientists are blind, ignorant and don’t know anything about Earth’s climate. Of course such arguments aren’t aimed at climate scientist but at people who are blind, ignorant and don’t know anything about Earth’s climate.

    Comment by Ken Fabos — 6 Apr 2009 @ 8:28 PM

  57. Dawn might want to take a look at this site for long term measurement of actual mud layers.

    Of interest to anyone wanting a collection of papers of interest on ocean cores going back into deep time.

    http://www-odp.tamu.edu/publications/

    ODP Final Technical Report (PDF; 47 Mb; November 2007)
    … publications summarize the scientific and technical accomplishments of each Ocean Drilling Program cruise.

    To view Integrated Ocean Drilling Program reports and publications go to

    http://www.iodp.org/scientific-publications/.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Apr 2009 @ 8:31 PM

  58. MarkB writes
    > ocean heat content … 2001-2002?

    What report are you looking at, MarkB? Something from a blog, or a paper?

    One of these?
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&lr=&safe=off&q=+world+%22ocean+heat+content%22+%222001-2002%22&btnG=Search

    One of these?
    http://www.google.com/search?q=%22ocean+heat+content%22+%222001-2002%22

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Apr 2009 @ 8:36 PM

  59. One man’s troll is another man’s advocate.

    Dawn is not a troll. Dawn is a misinformed advocate. As such, she presents a teaching moment.

    Dawn, I would suggest that you lose the tone that says “you’re all in on the conspiracy” and the rest of you, empty those stones out of your pockets.

    Dawn, as I’m sure you know, measuring climate is a tricky thing. If you picked the wrong points to measure, you might get the trend backward. If you don’t calibrate correctly, you might produce fictitious trends. If your sample is too small, you might not cancel out variability. If something happens once then almost sort of happens twice, is that a possible trend or simple variability?

    A contrarian can scoop up any 5 or 6 facts and mix them into, if not proof of a point, proof that the other person’s point has flaws.

    And in the end, you can accept no theory, because no theory can pass that test. Anything that we know well enough to be certain about, needs no further exploration. In other words, it’s the uncertainty that makes us explore.

    Now, if you have not read Weart’s “The Discovery Of Global Warming” then you simply must. Advocate or contrarian, you at least have to have your facts straight.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 6 Apr 2009 @ 8:45 PM

  60. I know this is way, waaaay OT, but I’m not sure where else to go to get the goods on this “scientist” cited halfway down this article….. gee, i wonder why the folks at Fox News would want to make this molehill into a mountain?

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,512835,00.html
    –halfwayish down

    is this guy claiming to predict earthquakes with radon a fortune teller or a scientist?

    captcha: obvious

    Comment by A.C. — 6 Apr 2009 @ 8:49 PM

  61. I’ve just seen this posted as a comment to an article on the shelf collapse on independent.co.uk:

    “The average temperature over all Antarctica has actually fallen by one degree fahrenheit.

    According to NOAA GISS data winter temperatures in the Antarctic have actually fallen by 1 degree fahrenheit since 1957, with the coldest year being 2004 and all the while CO2 levels have been going up. Antarctic sea shelfs regularly break up this being a normal process but this fact is never reported by the media like The Independent. Also you fail to mention that the average monthly temperature in Antarctica in 1958 was -48.92C and 50 years later the average monthly temperature in Antarctica was -48.96C. Statistically identical. These temperatures were recorded at The Amundson-Scott South Pole Station.

    Antarctic Sea Ice for March
    —–Extent————Concentration
    2009 5.0 million sq km 2.9 million sq km
    1997 3.8 million sq km 2.2 million sq km
    1980 3.5 million sq km 2.0 million sq km

    The above data indicates a 43% increase in sea ice from 1980. This 43% increase of sea ice is Highly Significant for sea ice is caused by COLDER TEMPERATURES, not by increased snow fall. This newspaper has failed to report this dramatic increase in sea ice, this ice over the ocean. WHY?

    In Antarctica severe low temperatures vary with latitude, elevation, and distance from the ocean. East Antarctica is colder than West Antarctica because of its higher elevation; Antarctic Peninsula has the most moderate climate.”

    Can someone explain to me what’s going on here? Can these data be refuted at all?

    Comment by Xavier — 6 Apr 2009 @ 9:11 PM

  62. Is there a projected time where there will be enough data available to map a graph of the overall warming trend in the entire antarctic region?

    Comment by RT — 6 Apr 2009 @ 9:34 PM

  63. I’ve watched this ice bridge with fascination for months, always assuming that the likely break point would develop at the narrowing segment that has been obvious for so long. Instead, the much broader section has fractured longitudinally while the narrow point persisted. Does this suggest an anchor point below the attenuation?

    Comment by Nick — 6 Apr 2009 @ 9:37 PM

  64. Another point on ocean warming – can anyone do a mass balance for ice loss versus sea level rise that doesnt require ocean warming for the numbers to add up? Ie. Add up water loss from land to ocean. Look at amount of sea level rise you get. I dont think you can get the measured figure without also having some thermal expansion from ocean temperature rise.

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 6 Apr 2009 @ 9:49 PM

  65. #53 Jarad Holmes

    On what basis do you think this is a natural event? If I understand your point… you are missing the point.

    The growing of the ice in Antarctica is expected. All you need to do is consider the basics.

    Warmer oceans, due to AGW, increase water vapor in the atmosphere.

    What goes up must come down.

    If its warm, it comes down as rain; if its cold, it comes down as snow.

    If you increase a regional temp by say a half a degree, and the winter average temp is well below freezing, then you will get more snow.

    Antarctica is a giant 2.5 mile thick chunk of ice. Biggest freezer in the world.

    It will grow as anthropogenic global warming increases until it also hits a tipping point and then…

    You are using facts out of context and facts out of context are worthless. If you rely on facts out of context, the likelihood of you being wrong, as you are in this case, is quite high.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 6 Apr 2009 @ 9:52 PM

  66. As it appears that the problem with ice shelves breakup is that they allow the grounded ice/glaciers to increase speed, there seems to be three more positive feedback mechanisms we may need to consider in the simulations that I haven’t heard mentioned so far.
    Increased flow would lead to an increase in friction generated heat at the base.
    Increased flow would lead to pressure induced lower melting point at the base.
    These both increase lubrication at the base.
    Also increased flow leads to increased smoothing of the surface that the glacier flows along. Due to less time to elastically deform around obstacles. This again allows a speed up.
    I apologise if these are already included, but if not they may need considering.
    I hate the way every thing seems to be speeding up, apart from our response.

    Comment by Bogey — 6 Apr 2009 @ 9:59 PM

  67. I like what Walt said in #59. I’m not out to make enemies, but I am frustrated with the reliance on ‘gee whiz common sense’ and cherry-picked facts that constitute much of the skeptic debate side. I don’t know Dawn, and have no idea is she represents herself, some group, or is in fact someone posting under a pseudonym. However, she did set herself up a bit by dismissing the scientific consensus rather airily. Ultimately, there was no answer to my question about a viable alternative theory robustly supported by data. This is because it doesn’t exist.
    I’m a lifelong teacher. If my students dodge a question asked two times in a row, I conclude that they don’t know the answer. I’m almost always right. It’s like a Cops episode: the suspect is asked a question by the policeman, and to buy time, asks the question right back.

    Comment by Steve Missal — 6 Apr 2009 @ 10:10 PM

  68. Are there any estimates in the scientific literature as to the age of the ice shelf?

    Comment by Ken Miles — 6 Apr 2009 @ 10:17 PM

  69. A.C., just paste your question into Google Scholar. You don’t need a climatologist to answer that.
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=predict+earthquakes+with+radon

    Xavier, paste some chunks of that guy’s comments into Google; it will bring up a bunch of blogs making that same claim. Did you ever wonder why they’re using Fahrenheit? They might be talking about the ozone balloon measurements — that’s a situation where temperature falls, in the upper atmosphere, in the winter. They might be talking about a guy named Ross Hays whose name comes up a lot, Google for that too.

    There’s really no telling what they’re talking about if they can’t cite a source. Posting claims without cites to blog threads is an example of the pony theory of climatology — they bring the load to your door, dump it, and assure you that if you get the scientists to look at it they will find you a pony in it somewhere.

    Good luck hunting it down. ReCaptcha says:

    “Times source”
    if that’s any help

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Apr 2009 @ 10:44 PM

  70. Where is that data from, Xavier?

    This paper references data and has various graphs and tables showing very different trends than yours for both temperatures and sea ice:

    http://psc.apl.washington.edu/zhang/Pubs/Zhang_Antarctic_20-11-2515.pdf

    This graph does not show anything like a 40% increase.
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.area.south.jpg

    I know that NSIDC does not show anything like this either. Where is your data from?

    Did you stop a second to think that IF there was anything like this actually happening, the “skeptic” blogs would spread nothing short of an epidemic of apoplexy over the internet? Since it’s not happening, perhaps your data is questionable.

    Captcha Esquire steps

    Comment by Philippe Chantreau — 6 Apr 2009 @ 10:52 PM

  71. MattT back in 38 wondered aloud if anyone had ever ….
    Here, Matt, “albedo” is the word you needed to do a useful search:
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=albedo+warming+white+black+roofing+shingles+houses

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Apr 2009 @ 10:52 PM

  72. In response to Xavier-#61. As far as the Antarctic cooling, I found in a matter of seconds on this web site, three articles discussing the warming of the Antarctic. Have a nice day!

    Comment by Steve Ramone — 6 Apr 2009 @ 11:33 PM

  73. “# Walt Bennett Says:
    6 April 2009 at 8:45 PM

    One man’s troll is another man’s advocate.

    Dawn is not a troll. Dawn is a misinformed advocate. As such, she presents a teaching moment.”

    If you read the thread you must come to the conclusion you are incorrect, Walt. Many teaching attempts were made and none were responded to in a way that indicates Dawn wishes to learn. She makes excuses, yes. Obfuscates, yes. Etc. What she doesn’t do is say, “Ah! That’s interesting!”

    Uninformed:
    Informer: What is 2+2, Dawn?
    Dawn: Don’t know.

    Misinformed:
    Informer: 2+2=5, Dawn.
    Dawn: Cool!

    2nd informer: Uh, no, 2+2=4. Here, use these blocks to check it.
    Dawn: Cool! That makes much more sense!

    Denialist:
    Informer: 2+2=4, Dawn.
    Dawn: No, it doesn’t. I read it in a blog.

    Informer: Here’s the real data.
    Dawn: No, this isolated quote proves the overall conclusion is wrong!

    Informer: Here’s more data that supports the previous data. Lots of it.

    Dawn: Science isn’t good enough to do that. You can’t do that. You can’t claim it means what you say it means.

    Informer: Have you any evidence to support your claim?

    Dawn: Why? I said your data is wrong. You’re wrong. What do I need to prove?

    “Advocate or contrarian, you at least have to have your facts straight.”

    Absolutely, but Dawn shows no sign of being a true contrarian, which implies unbiased inquiry.

    I think we are well past the time when such people as Dawn, behaving as she is, are treated as if they are wondering, wandering innocents.

    Cheers

    reCAPTCHA: slope central.

    Indeed. The slope of the trend, it is. Temps up, Arctic sea ice down.

    Comment by ccpo — 6 Apr 2009 @ 11:47 PM

  74. Oh, Xavier, maybe what they’re going on about is this:
    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/
    An increase estimated at 4.7 percent,
    with an uncertainty of plus or minus 4.4 percent.

    So that number is (most likely) an increase of somewhere between 0.3 percent and 9.1 percent — that’s the uncertainty of the estimate.

    Some of that increase is area that used to be covered by ice shelves, that is now open ocean and, in winter, covered instead by annual sea ice. How much?

    Look at this though — did you hear anything from the usual crowd about the minimum back in February, when it dropped below the longterm 1979-2000 average?
    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/S_timeseries.png

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Apr 2009 @ 11:50 PM

  75. Antarctic Sea Ice for March
    —–Extent————Concentration
    2009 5.0 million sq km 2.9 million sq km
    1997 3.8 million sq km 2.2 million sq km
    1980 3.5 million sq km 2.0 million sq km

    Can I play? Look here:

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

    Pay attention to 1980, 1990, 2009.

    Clear downward trend.

    I love cherries.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 6 Apr 2009 @ 11:55 PM

  76. Sorry, Xavier, if you want to know what he thinks he’s relying on, you’ll have to go ask the guy WTF he’s quoting from, or wait for someone cleverer than I at finding the pony. I’ve looked.
    I can’t find anything to match the claim.

    Try this:
    http://nsidc.org/sotc/images/arc_antarc_1979_2007.gif
    “Arctic and Antarctic Sea Ice Extent, 1979-2007: Although Arctic sea ice extent underwent a strong decline from 1979 to 2007, Antarctic sea ice underwent a slight increase. The Antarctic ice extent increases were smaller in magnitude than the Arctic increases, and some regions of the Antarctic experienced strong declining trends in sea ice extent. See the Arctic Sea Ice FAQ for more information. Image provided by National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder.”
    http://nsidc.org/sotc/sea_ice.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Apr 2009 @ 11:59 PM

  77. Can I make a suggestion. It would be really handy if RealClimate had a section that listed useful climate datasets and data representation available on the internet.

    [Response: In the meantime. - gavin]

    Comment by Craig Allen — 7 Apr 2009 @ 12:02 AM

  78. PS, Xavier, for a sanity check, compare that guy’s claimed numbers –3 to 5 million square kilometers of ice — with the annual variation.
    March would be around the low point in the Antarctic, end of summer. Where’s the huge increase he claims happened? Dunno where he’s looking.
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.area.south.jpg

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Apr 2009 @ 12:11 AM

  79. Does anybody know where to get global temperature data for the last couple of decades (plain text /table format)?
    I’ve found plenty of graphics but…..

    [Response: Here for a convenient list. - gavin]

    Comment by isotopious — 7 Apr 2009 @ 1:00 AM

  80. Dawn:

    For those who are concerned about the inherent variability of air temperature and the possible effects of urban heat islands, we have measurements of water temperatures of lakes and oceans and, in addition to estimates of arctic sea ice, there are longterm data on the duration of ice cover on lakes. Water temperature can easily be measured to the nearest 0.1oC, although measurements old measurments may not be as accurate. Moreover, few of these estimates are impacted by localized warming due to human dwellings.

    Water temperature and its effects on ice cover are excellent integrators of temperature change. These kinds of data are measured very accurately and show very strong trends (upward temperature and shorter ice cover) in lakes around the world over the last 30 years. These results can be found in Google scholar–try typing “climate change and lake temperature” or “climate change and lake ice cover”

    Comment by Bill DeMott — 7 Apr 2009 @ 1:15 AM

  81. Re 25. I’ll second Jaydee on his assertion: ‘t must be the urban island effect which is causing it all.
    Seriously, here in the Fiji Islands, my friends from the Kiribati or Tuvalu, who ==know== how fast coral grows, well, not very fast, and how close their atolls are to being submerged, are not amused.

    Comment by François Marchand — 7 Apr 2009 @ 2:07 AM

  82. In the main article Gavin wrote:

    The imagery from ESA (animation here) tells the recent story quite clearly – the last sliver of ice between the main Wilkins ice shelf and Charcot Island is currently collapsing in a very interesting way (from a materials science point of view).

    Neither an expert in mechanics, materials nor engineering, but…

    What really strikes me as odd about the series of images is how the ice bridge fragments longitudinally at the both the left and right edges first, not the center. Normally I would expect it to be weakest at the center due to the principle of leverage. I mean after all, if you want to break a window, you hit it at the center, not the edges.

    At the same time, I can imagine a wave coming through in a latitudinal direction with the crest aligned longitudinally. This may put stress on the edge of the ice bridge that it encounters first, and if the bridge held together temporarily would cause the the bridge to twist about its longitudinal axis, putting the greatest stress upon the left and right edges due to buoyancy on the edge being pushed down and weight on the edge being lifted up — with the center surviving longest due to it experience the least vertical motion. Repeated waves along these lines would lead to the fracturing process that we see.

    Alternatively, if warm water were eating away at the bridge, it would thin and weaken the bridge most at the edges that it encountered first — and the edges would once again be more susceptible to waves.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 7 Apr 2009 @ 2:12 AM

  83. Re Xavier 61

    Trends in temperature in the Antarctic are fairly dependent upon where you are measuring them. For example, the West Antarctic Peninsula is warming more rapidly than just about anywhere else in the world. In contrast, there has been a strong cooling near the center of the continent due to ozone depletion cooling the stratosphere and strengthening of the Antarctic Polar Vortex with the resulting temperature differential.

    They are strongly dependent upon the season during which you are measuring the trends. And they are strongly dependent upon the beginning and ending point of trend measurement.

    However, that said, it would appear that for the period from 1960 to 1998, winters have experienced a fairly strong warming across nearly the entire continent. A bit different from what you read in the Independent. Now this isn’t the trend for winter from 1950 to present, but it was the closest I could get on short notice.

    You can see it here:

    Antarctic temperature changes during the observational period
    project funded by the University Courses on Svalbard (UNIS) 2001-2005
    Ole Humlum, UNIS, Department of Geology, Svalbard, Norway
    http://www.unis.no/studies/geology/ag_204_more_info/ole/AntarcticTemperatureChanges.htm
    *
    As for trends in sea ice, yes, of course more recently sea ice has been trending up. This could be the result of the freshening of water due to loss of glaciers along much of the coastline. However, sea ice has been trending up slowly and it has by no means made up for the loss of sea ice earlier in this century from 1960 to 1978 or thereabouts.

    Please see:

    Sea Ice, North and South, Then and Now
    October 8, 2007
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/10/08/sea-ice-north-and-south-then-and-now/

    Overall, based on latitude (with the strong exception being the rapidly warming West Antarctic Peninsula), we expect the most rapid warming the at the closest to the North Pole and slower warming the further south one moves, at least in the short-run. The reason is that ocean warms much more slowly than land given the thermal inertia of ocean (which is partly the result of circulation), the fact that the northern hemisphere contains far more land than the southern hemisphere, and the Arctic Sea is surrounded by land.
    *
    In the near-term, however, we expect the ozone hole to continue to heal. In the long-run, however, polar amplification is expected at both poles as various feedback mechanisms kick in — including increased poleward circulation, the effects of carbon dioxide insulating the world more or less evenly while solar insolation is stronger the closer one moves towards the equator, and of course there is the albedo effect as ice is lost at both ends.

    I hope this helps.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 7 Apr 2009 @ 3:05 AM

  84. CORRECTION to 62

    Looking at it again, the fracturing appears to be on one side, not the other, although there is a great deal of longitudinal fragmentation on the other side prior to the event. Using Google Map and locating both Charcot and Latady Islands, it appears that the side that fragment longitudinally is the side which is further from the Peninsula.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 7 Apr 2009 @ 3:34 AM

  85. What’s going on there Xavier is two classic versions of the “lying by assumption”.

    Antarctica is a big place. Saying its average temperature went down is rather silly. This ice sheet is not over the entire antartic, so the state of eastern antarctic doesn’t change what this shelf of ice is seeing. They’re hoping that you’ll ASSUME that the temperature over the entire antartic is relevant. It’s only slightly more relevant than the record temperatures in Australia. Slightly.

    And the antarctic is a dessert. They’re assuming you don’t know that.

    Now, what doesn’t happen often in a dessert? Rain. Antarctica in its center doesn’t see snow because it’s too cold to hold much moisture and what little it sees falls over the coastal areas.

    But if the air warms, the amount of water it can hold increases markedly.

    But if it’s warmed 10C it doesn’t mean it’s too cold for snow: it just means that instead of -50C it’s -40C. Still plenty cold enough for snow.

    And more snow means more snow on the ground.

    And so the ***extent*** of ice can increase because it’s warming.

    That includes another lie by assumption: that the ice extent is relevant. It’s not. It’s the amount of ice.

    We could lose ice from 100% of the glaciers on the planet instantly and see no change in sea levels. As long as it’s only the top 1mm. But that’s a change over 100% of the extent of the ice on this planet! All I have to do is not tell you about the 1mm depth bit and you’re told 100% of the ice is melted. Just don’t look at the detail.

    Comment by Mark — 7 Apr 2009 @ 3:40 AM

  86. “Dawn is not a troll. Dawn is a misinformed advocate.”

    And if Dawn refuses to educate herself, what’s the difference between a troll and a deliberately uninformed advocate?

    Comment by Mark — 7 Apr 2009 @ 3:41 AM

  87. “The other sides of the continent have plenty of ice and growing, well above average according to the NSIDC. It’s just a natural event.”

    Yes it’s natural. We aren’t shooting heat-beams at the ice to melt it unnaturally.

    Of course the warming effect of CO2 is natural, which is the cause of the melting. And extra CO2 is a natural result of burning trillions of tons of Carbon over a 100 years. And so it’s all natural.

    However, by not burning so much fossil fuel, the natural result is a reduction of CO2. The natural result of that is that the atmosphere doesn’t remain so warm at the surface of the earth. And the natural result of that is that ice doesn’t melt as quickly and may build up again.

    PS I had some mashed potatoes yesterday and some gravy. Lovely. But the odd thing was it seemed to be created!!! How? Well I had a big ladle of mash and a cup of gravy. The ladle was about 3″ across and the mashed potato was the same size. But after I plopped the mash on my plate, it was AT LEAST 4″ across! I’VE CREATED MASHED POTATO! Merely by moving it on to my plate.

    The gravy likewise but to a much bigger extent. 2″ across in the cup but after pouring, it was nearly as big as the plate!!!!

    I thought only Jesus could create food from nothing, but I seemed to do it without knowing yesterday.

    Astounding, eh?

    Comment by Mark — 7 Apr 2009 @ 3:48 AM

  88. “The paleontoligists say that sulfur bacteria in the warm oceans made H2S, a poison gas. H2S turns into H2SO4 in your lungs and the H2SO4 causes a very painful death.”

    Just wondering, how many ppm was the H2S? Less than 380ppm?

    Maybe this would show how silly an argument by “it’s a fraction of a percent, so how can if affect the weather?” is.

    Comment by Mark — 7 Apr 2009 @ 3:50 AM

  89. Jeff from Ohio, get someone else to write your talk. Really. Your post didn’t make any sense on first reading and even on the fifth I don’t know what you’re asking.

    If you give a talk like that you’ll only prove to people that there’s no clear signal.

    2C is a limit below which the changes seen will not be catastrophic. As long as the methane off the coast of america remains where it is and the permafrost in russia doesn’t let go of too much of its stored methane.

    2C will see many people move from the tropical regions and maybe even many sub-tropical to the northern hemisphere, but the number of people affected would at least be theoretically manageable. Politically, maybe not.

    Comment by Mark — 7 Apr 2009 @ 4:01 AM

  90. “You folks know what the problem here is don’t you?
    Too much interpreating, correcting and estimating and not enough accurate, calibrated measuring.”

    Why does your thermometer need calibration? How is it done? By interpreting the volume increase of mercury as an increase in temperature.

    What happens when your thermometer is calibrated? It’s errors are corrected. Expansion of mercury is not linear, and the gas the liquid is pushing aside is pushing back.

    And how is the real temperature asserted? After all, you can’t use a thermometer to calibrate a thermometer, can you. All you’d be proving is that the second thermometer now reads the same as the first. Oh, that’s right, the effect is estimated. Maybe even modeled.

    So how is your demand to be met?

    Comment by Mark — 7 Apr 2009 @ 4:06 AM

  91. #18 “Is this accurate? Do we have a good understanding of the process? ”

    Yes (in the same sense as “the ground is flat” is when building a house) and yes (in the sense that if that explanation is accurate, we must necessarily be understanding the process to explain it so well).

    Comment by Mark — 7 Apr 2009 @ 4:09 AM

  92. LOL, this site is now filled with the deniers and incredulous types. Volcanoism under the Antartic, this is the same as the volcano under the Arctic last year when something else was sliding into the sea.

    The amount of additional energy required to be gradually chipping away at WAIS and Greenlands ice sheets plus the annual summer additional melt of the Arctic sea ice is telling us that AGW theory is quite right scientifically speaking. Nothing else is answering the question of where has this additional heat come from ?

    Comment by pete best — 7 Apr 2009 @ 4:12 AM

  93. Hi Gavin,

    Just a few very simple questions. What is the life cycle of an ice platform like the Wilkins? Doesn’t it grow and grow and grow until it collapses because of the pressure the sea puts on the ice which is not resting in the continent? Don’t all the ice platforms break at some point in time? If the Earth was cooling instead of warming, or even if just the Antarctic Peninsula was cooling, wouldn’t the Wilkins be going to separate from the continent anyway? Or is there a rule that says that a platform cannot separate from the continent with a temperature just 1C lower than what it is experiencing now?

    Comment by Nylo — 7 Apr 2009 @ 4:35 AM

  94. #61 Xavier: this is called a cherry-pick. You can’t derive a trend for an entire continent from one weather station. If you look at all the data sets at British Antarctic Survey, you’ll see some stations are up, some down, some steady.

    Some recent science shows that the Antarctic could be warming more than previously thought: http://antarcticsun.usap.gov/science/contenthandler.cfm?id=1686

    As for the sea ice numbers, it’s more interesting to review summer minimum than the winter maximum numbers because hotter summers have a stronger feedback effect and eventually add to the warming trend. Summer minima have hardly shifted, interesting in view of the upward trend of winter maxima. This would seem to indicate hotter summers to some extent being masked by the energy absorbed by melting the extra winter ice (if I remember rightly, the latent heat of melting of ice is 80 times the energy needed to heat water by 1°C). The loss of the ice shelves is consistent with significant warming (again, remembering that energy going into melting ice is that much less energy left to increase temperatures). The only thing inconsistent with warming is the increased winter ice, and it would be interesting to get a fuller explanation.

    To me this seems a gap in the theory or observations rather than a fundamental contradiction.

    Here are some articles of interest on the Antarctic:

    http://nsidc.org/sotc/sea_ice.html
    http://nsidc.org/seaice/characteristics/difference.html
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1178
    http://antarcticsun.usap.gov/science/contenthandler.cfm?id=1401

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 7 Apr 2009 @ 5:01 AM

  95. Hi Xavier,

    I was wondering about the increased sea ice as well. My first thought was that it must be due to decreased sea salinity but when I checked out the long term data I noticed that the sea ice has been growing for several decades. This long term trend would tend to exclude the salinity theory – unless someone else can offer a plausible explanation ?

    You can see the data nicely in the below link. NH has been decreasing at the same time the SH has been increasing.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/nsidc-seaice-s/from:1979/mean:12/normalise/plot/nsidc-seaice-n/mean:12/normalise

    My personal view is that the increased southern vortex may have contained cold air closer to the pole.
    This could explain the increased warming at the peninsula and increased sea ice elsewhere.

    Gavin, any thoughts ?

    Comment by Jonas — 7 Apr 2009 @ 5:10 AM

  96. Xavier,

    Instead of using nighttime temperatures and March ice extent, try average daily temperatures and annual average ice extent. Ice extent is highly variable, which is why you have to pay attention to the trend and not to spectacular outliers.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Apr 2009 @ 5:24 AM

  97. “Don’t all the ice platforms break at some point in time?”
    Well, yes. But there has to be a reason other than “well, it;s bound to happen SOMETIME”.

    And the reason is it’s getting warmer.

    Comment by Mark — 7 Apr 2009 @ 6:42 AM

  98. Xavier, there is a post directly relevant to your question at the Skeptical Science website.

    John Cook explains how, counter-intuitively, rising ocean temperatures around the Antarctic can cause increased sea ice.

    [Response: Actually his bottom line is probably more apropos - Basically, the southern oceans and Antarctica are complex environments that are both poorly observed and subject to multiple different factors (affects of GHGs, ozone loss, ice dynamics etc.). - gavin]

    Comment by Craig Allen — 7 Apr 2009 @ 6:53 AM

  99. OK, so the data for cooling has been adjusted for errors in earlier readings. (Numerous posts)

    And I have briefly looked at the links suggested here that shown the adjusted figures.

    _But_ do folk relise that leaves sypathetic outsiders like me(non scientists) feeling a bit unhappy. In my local rural newspaper today there is a letter saying that the Wlkins Ice Shelf can’t be to do with global warming – sea temperatures are falling. So how do I reply? “Dear Sir, in reply to Joe Boogg’s letter today, Joe is out of date as NASA have changed its figures. Of course Joe should have checked the latest science rather than relating on something published a couple of years back which, _at the time_, was seen as gospel truth……yada, yada.” (?)

    I forget the details, they are all here somewhere on Real Climate, but when satelite temperature readings did not comply with the models,again the readings were adjusted.

    The cynic in me (sometimes) says “…and would they ever revisit the data if it came out the way expected? Like showing heating?.

    One set of errors is OK. Two sets of errors looks sloppy. third set of errors would … well, look damn stupid. Four would look like a conspiracy.

    [Response: Don't be an idiot. There are hundreds of errors/mistakes/data gaps that have been addressed by dozens (hundreds?) of scientists around the world. These fixes have had both signs of effect (i.e. correcting for UHI and accounting for bucket vs. inlet temperatures in SST both reduce long term trends). Your myopia, driven perhaps by a focus on what the propagandists consider 'news', does you no credit. As we have always said, all science is preliminary and none of it is 'gospel truth' (where has anyone said that here?). Please - leave the conspiracy theories to the wingnuts. - gavin]

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 7 Apr 2009 @ 6:53 AM

  100. Gavin, last year, in August, an enormous ice shelf off northeastern Greenland broke up, and for the life of me I could not find any mention of it. Further, it was a decided buttress to a large glacier’s outflow.

    I have never been able to find a really good map of Greenland, so I will give the google coordinates.

    The shelf went from roughly: 81° 20′ N, 11° 30′ W
    down to about: 77° 10′ N, 18° 16′ W

    The end of the tongue of the glacier is currently at about:
    79° 32′ N, 19° 28′ W

    The removal of the buttress appears to have had a very large effect upstream deep into the ice sheet.

    I have been just really surprised that I haven’t seen any talk about this. Everything was all about the Petermann’s glacier at that time.

    And not to mention all the outflow going on at 72° 10′ N, 51° 20′W on the west coast. No one is talking about that either, at least not in view of the general public.

    Greenland just seems to be going to hell in a hand basket.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 7 Apr 2009 @ 7:04 AM

  101. 82 Timothy Chase

    I studied Materials Science and Engineering about 25 years ago, we didn’t study ice and I haven’t really touched the subject since so take this with several pinches of salt.

    First, I suppose you could say breaks occur when energy is transmitted to a place where the energy holding things together is less.

    Second the direction of the force on the bridge is unclear to me but from the position of the islands, I would guess it was along the length of the bridge in tension or compression.

    Third the ice in the sheet seems (to my eye) to have a “grain” (possibly more than one), it is not homogeneous so the morphology of the break will be complicated.

    To extend your window analogy, imagine a stack of long microscope slides on edge and then start stressing them. Where will the breaks occur? Hard to say…

    All guess work really.

    Comment by Jaydee — 7 Apr 2009 @ 7:12 AM

  102. Comment #62

    RT,

    I can’t believe you asked that question — this was beautifully mapped by NASA-GISS and all over the news.

    See Figure 2 in this article by Andrew Glikson:

    http://webdiary.com.au/cms/?q=node/2725

    And while I’m here — Gavin, please define the terms SAM and NAM, I am more clueless than usual.

    [Response: Sorry. Northern Annular Mode (aka Arctic Oscillation ~ NAO == North Atlantic Oscillation); SAM= Southern Annular Mode (aka. Antarctic Annular Oscillation) - basically the first mode of variability in the sea level pressure or geopotential height fields. Positive phases are associated with an increased strength of the mid-latitude jets (i.e. increased westerlies). - gavin]

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 7 Apr 2009 @ 8:05 AM

  103. OK , im an A level student of history , i barely scrapped a C in GCSE Science , Two questions what does this breaking up of the Wilkins Ice shelf mean in the grand scheme of things and now for quite a broad question on the business of climate change in general , when is it generally scienfically accepted that we the general population will start to see stark effects of climate change on humanity , so if this seems like an idiot question .

    Comment by Thomas Hariman — 7 Apr 2009 @ 8:53 AM

  104. Nylo @#93, the Wilkins hasn’t detached from the mainland; that’s no way to describe what can easily observed in the satellite record. It has experienced episodes of retreat during the last decade at least, while the shrinking remainder remains attached to land. It is not behaving like a water droplet breaking off under its own weight,on reaching some critical mass. If the shelf was in a stable state,it would show calving and advancing at ideal locations between pinning points and the open sea.

    Comment by Nick — 7 Apr 2009 @ 8:57 AM

  105. ccpo (73), me thinks you are confusing unbiased inquiry with bending over…

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Apr 2009 @ 9:05 AM

  106. Lawrence Brown wrote: “These collapses are like canary’s in coal mines.”

    Now, now. While a buildup of toxic fumes in the coal mine may increase the likelihood of canary deaths, it is wrong to attribute the death of any one canary to the buildup of toxic fumes.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 7 Apr 2009 @ 9:49 AM

  107. re #106, yeah, canaries died from natural causes thousands, even millions of years before we humans brought them down into mines.

    Pfft.

    Comment by Mark — 7 Apr 2009 @ 10:15 AM

  108. “when is it generally scienfically accepted that we the general population will start to see stark effects of climate change on humanity”

    Well, now.

    If you’re in certain areas, you are seeing it now.

    Being an affluent country, we in the UK haven’t seen much effect since we can just spend our way out of the problem or wait until it bites someone else HARDER because we ought to have done something but didn’t.

    California has seen a lot of problems in rainfall pattern changes, mind, as has Australia. Changes that affect some humans (a long way away) and are a result of climate change. Innuit are seeing massive changes, but they don’t have the money to be “important”. And so on.

    Now.

    Comment by Mark — 7 Apr 2009 @ 10:17 AM

  109. Thomas Hariman says

    when is it generally scienfically accepted that we the general population will start to see stark effects of climate change on humanity

    See, for example, “Changes in Precipitation and Drought Patterns” and “Melting Glacial Ice” here and judge for yourself when that might be.

    Comment by P. Lewis — 7 Apr 2009 @ 10:20 AM

  110. Re: Greenland ice shelves/Ellesmere island.

    Recent breakups, in no particular order: Ward Hunt. Ayles. Markham. Serson.

    Comment by sidd — 7 Apr 2009 @ 10:47 AM

  111. Mark: we’re seeing it alright.

    Australia’s greatest river continues to die in the ass (literally, but the rot is now creeping through its guts as well).

    >> Murray flows lowest in a century.

    >> Murray River ecosystem on the brink of collapse

    We are now at the point with this and many other south-eastern river systems where fish and crustaceans are being collected from the last few pools where they are found, and transferred to aquaculture in order to stave off extinction.

    Talk of ecosytem triage is starting to seem optimistic.

    Meanwhile coastal New South Whales and Queensland have just coped a 1 in 100year flood several months after a previous devastating flood – go figure!

    Comment by Craig Allen — 7 Apr 2009 @ 10:59 AM

  112. Thomas, I could help you up to the point that you use the word “stark” –at that point it becomes a matter of opinion. What do you care about?
    If it’s your grandchildren, then “stark” is something that will affect them when it happens.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Apr 2009 @ 11:05 AM

  113. Thanks all for your interesting responses! I didn’t expect to receive such a flood of replies. By the way I’m not a denialist – just curious. I can see from the NSIDC site that ice concentration is both growing and decreasing depending on where you look around the Antarctic. Is this likely to be to do with how the ocean currents circulate around the continent?

    Comment by Xavier — 7 Apr 2009 @ 11:17 AM

  114. #31 – Mauri, regarding the potential rift nr the word ‘Wilkins’, heading roughly at 2 o’clock from Latady Island, I was wondering about this myself (#17); indeed the whole of that stretch must be a bit suspect now. With Winter approaching fast, we may not see further changes this season, though.

    #82 – Timothy, would the wave effect also explain the way we see development of a saw-toothed appearance on the lower fragmenting edge? I’m just trying to work out whether this results from internal pressures from the bridge, or external ones being applied to it, or maybe some awkward combination of the two. Could also be related to spatial variations in the bed form.

    Comment by Nick O. — 7 Apr 2009 @ 11:35 AM

  115. This article really got me going.

    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/westview/obamas-emission-cuts-pragmatic-suicide-42572987.html

    A 90% loss of population? Is that possible?

    [Response: A bit excessive, I'd say.... -gavin]

    Comment by Jack Roesler — 7 Apr 2009 @ 11:38 AM

  116. Walt Bennett,
    Dawn has yet to pass the Turing test, let alone show promis of having a positively sloped learning curve.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Apr 2009 @ 11:40 AM

  117. Re: #58

    Hank Roberts,

    I’m looking at the study posted in #45. Figure 1 on page 17:

    ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/PUBLICATIONS/grlheat08.pdf

    Comment by MarkB — 7 Apr 2009 @ 12:17 PM

  118. More for Thomas Hariman — as an A student in history, do you study how people perceive change over time? I recall reading years ago that changes on the order of three percent per human generation have simply been imperceptible, as long as people relied on what their grandparents remembered. Do you know of anything currently being studied by historians about rates of change?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Apr 2009 @ 12:23 PM

  119. Jaydee wrote in 101:

    Second the direction of the force on the bridge is unclear to me but from the position of the islands, I would guess it was along the length of the bridge in tension or compression.

    Third the ice in the sheet seems (to my eye) to have a “grain” (possibly more than one), it is not homogeneous so the morphology of the break will be complicated

    A grain? Like wood does.

    Of course with water there will be no preferred direction, but with ice, once it starts to form, some directions will be preferred over others — like a snowflake. But in this case it is probably more the result of a limination of layers, one year after the next.

    Given the preferred directions, the substance will be more vulnerable to forces in some directions relative to others. Case in point, graphite has a book-like structure where sheets lie on top of one-another. Push down on the front of the book and it is quite sturdy. But push at a right angle to this and sheet after sheet (or perhaps bunches of sheets — never tried such a ghastly experiment) will peel away. As such in one direction graphite is stronger than diamond.

    Then there is steel. The strongest steel is typically very finely-grained. Like the high carbon Damascus steel made by the Arabs in the Middle Ages (relative to Europe — as the Moslem world was going through a renaissance at the time). But high-carbon steel normally forms very large grains. This was one of the major problems with the hull of the Titanic. It was high carbon, and large crystals lent a grain to the hull such that once a crack began it tended to continue along the length of the hull, leading to flooding in four of five compartments — if I remember correctly.

    This is at a right angle from what I had initially thought, but I think you might be on to something here — and it would be exactly the sort of thing that Gavin might find “interesting.” Basically this reminds me of a piece of wood which is compressed at a right angle to the grain. It would tend to splinter — along long longitudinal lines.

    But why would it be compressed? Because the ice is expanding — due to higher temperatures. Of course one could also argue that there are torosional forces where the ice is being twisted by incoming waves — which would also cause it to splinter along the grain But my “bet” (for whatever it is worth) is on compression due to expansion.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 7 Apr 2009 @ 12:45 PM

  120. How much of an effect are rising sea levels having on the loosening and breaking up of sea-borne ice shelves that are attached to land? Or has anyone looked into this factor?

    To me it seems that if we are loosing an island nation in the pacific, upward presure, from rising oceans, on ice that is locked to static land positions would have as big an impact on the ice shelves’ integrity as the water’s temperature.

    Comment by Tim Bagnell — 7 Apr 2009 @ 1:33 PM

  121. Re: #85
    Mark,

    It is a small point but Antarctica is not a dessert. Baked Alaska is a dessert. Antarctica is a desert.

    Comment by Phillip Shaw — 7 Apr 2009 @ 1:35 PM

  122. ref #52 “The End-Permian was caused by CO2 from a super-volcano”

    I am a bit perplexed how this hypothesis has gained so much traction that people speak of it as fact instead of one of several hypothesis. This is especially perplexing when it is taken into account that it relies on a huge amount of volcanism such has never been seen since. We do know that an incredible amout of acid rain must have occurred. We do know that light was blocked and the earth would have suffered from sudden cooling. We have observational information of a much, much smaller but similar in composition eruption from Laki that showed the dramatic effects on life this eruption caused. Certainly there is evidence of dead zones which could be caused by warming oceans, but as we know from the dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico these can also occur as a result of nutrients being added to the waters and volcanoes release a considerable amount of nutrients. We have evidence that methane was released but disrupting the earths crust to this extent could certainly cause release of methane and could cause water level changes which also can release methane. We have isotope evidence but first it is from creatures that were alive at the time and biological processes do not always use isotopes in the same ratio they are available and we have little if any real knowledge of the processes by life forms from hundreds of millions of years ago. Then of course the isotope composition can be affected by the environment after the life form itself dies. I would say yes, co2 is one of many hypothesis that are waiting to be disproved and, considering the age of the evidence, will remain that way until the end of our days.

    Comment by steve — 7 Apr 2009 @ 1:47 PM

  123. Potato, tomato.

    :-P

    Comment by Mark — 7 Apr 2009 @ 2:10 PM

  124. Jack Roesler wrote: “A 90% loss of population? Is that possible?”

    Of course it is possible. For example, the Himalayan glaciers that provide much of the fresh water supply for southern and eastern Asia are melting away. When they are gone, a billion or more people will be without fresh water. Without fresh water, they will die.

    At current levels of warming — even without any further warming — the melting away of those glaciers appears unstoppable and irreversible. With the additional warming that is almost certainly locked in given current accelerating rates of CO2 emissions, they are only going to melt away sooner.

    And that’s just one of many problems. There will be similar huge losses of glacier-fed fresh water elsewhere, such as in South America or California. And the widespread, intense droughts that we are already seeing will only spread and intensify, with consequent large scale failures of agriculture all over the world. And oceanic fisheries on which billions of people depend for protein will disappear.

    It is hard for me to envision any plausible scenario in which there will not be a very substantial die-off of the human species by the end of this century.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 7 Apr 2009 @ 2:11 PM

  125. MarkB, the FTP site you’re pointing to is a copy of the Levitus paper, much discussed. Look it up.

    If you search for that FTP link you’ll see the question you’re asking has been passed around from one blogger to another, with none of them finding the prior discussions. See those for the context.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=Levitus+realclimate

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Apr 2009 @ 2:23 PM

  126. Comment #110

    Dear sidd,

    Thanks, but I am not talking about anything near northwest Greenland or Ellesmere Island — those little breakups were widely publicized.

    Please look at the coordinates — they are for north-northeast Greenland, not northwest.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 7 Apr 2009 @ 2:25 PM

  127. Tim Bagnell, 120, asking about whether rising sea level makes ice shelf separation more likely — I asked about it earlier, here’s a bit from that. You can probably bring this up to date by searching on some of the key terms and following up cites:

    ——-
    — Sea level rise can exert huge leverage, bending ice sheets along the grounding line where they fracture.

    Consider the leverage the whole floating area of an ice sheet exerts along the fulcrum line when the floating part is lifted a quarter inch above the prior average.
    http://www.igpp.ucsd.edu/PDF/research/2006/IGPP_Annual_Report_2006_lo.pdf.

    “Ice shelf rifting: In 2005-06 … study rifts at the front of the ice shelves. … little is known about the processes involved in rift propagation, and we do not know how these processes will respond to climate change. …. [rift] propagation is faster in the summer than in winter (Fricker et al., 2005a). …. rift propagation is episodic and occurs in discrete events separated by approximately 2 weeks. [highest lunar tides? -hr]

    “… ICESat data to study the vertical structure of rifts and the mélange which fills them, revealing that mélange accounts for about 30% of the entire ice shelf thickness (Fricker et al., 2005c; Figure 1). …

    “… In 2005-06, … CESat data to map the grounding zones of the ice shelves – the dynamically-active transition zones between grounded and floating ice. ICESat can “see” the tide-forced flexure zone between fully grounded continental ice and fully floating ice shelf ice, identifying the landward and seaward limits of ice flexure …..”

    http://scrippsnews.ucsd.edu/article_detail.cfm?article_num=685

    “… glaciologists believe areas called ice “shelves,” floating slabs of ice that extend from the coasts of the Antarctic Ice Sheet out to sea, may be the first indicators of how climate change is affecting the Antarctic continent because of their direct contact with the ocean and their sensitivity to air temperature warming. Some ice shelves are located in conditions that are close to the melting point of ice, and are therefore more sensitive to changes in atmospheric temperature.

    “… ice shelf “rifting”-ice fracturing that cuts through the entire thickness of an ice shelf and represents the first stage of the process in which icebergs eventually break away from the main ice mass-on East Antarctica’s Amery Ice Shelf.

    “… One paper describes the behavior of the ice shelf rift over a nine-year period, while another paper describes changes over time periods as little as seconds.”

    ——-
    From comments and questions in the thread at:

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/climate_change/001004less_than_a_quarter_.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Apr 2009 @ 2:30 PM

  128. “I am a bit perplexed how this hypothesis has gained so much traction that people speak of it as fact instead of one of several hypothesis.”

    What are these other hypotheses, and how does the data support them steve. It’s just as easier (even easier, if anything) to say “there are several other possibilitis” especially when you don’t mention them.

    “This is especially perplexing when it is taken into account that it relies on a huge amount of volcanism such has never been seen since.”

    Well yes, animals who lived during a mass extinction level event like that tend not to tell people what they saw. Being dead and all.

    Look at the Deccan traps.

    Look at Yellowstone.

    Do you think these volcanoes dozens of miles across never blew up???

    Comment by Mark — 7 Apr 2009 @ 2:31 PM

  129. Re: #105

    “ccpo (73), me thinks you are confusing unbiased inquiry with bending over…

    Comment by Rod B — 7 April 2009 @ 9:05 AM”

    I teach English for a living. You can’t get what you claim from what I wrote unless either joking or a denier.

    Which is it?

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 7 Apr 2009 @ 2:51 PM

  130. 115 Jack asked, “A 90% loss of population? Is that possible?”

    It is extremely unlikely. When it’s geoengineer or die, well, the choice is blatantly obvious. Anyone who thinks that we won’t brimstone the atmosphere is as clueless as the skeptics. Carrying on the discussion as if it won’t happen is dishonest. Ocean acidification and climate selection are the real issues. The time when AGW could be solved “naturally” is past.

    Comment by RichardC — 7 Apr 2009 @ 2:55 PM

  131. yikes! no glaciers in the himalayas… secularanimist’s glacier/freshwater thing sounds like crazy talk, but that’s only because we have been distracted from thinking about (and planning for) the effects because we’re still arguing over whether it’s happening.

    Comment by walter crain — 7 Apr 2009 @ 2:58 PM

  132. re 101
    Jaydee, when I studied materials science ice was included , indeed, when I studied mineralogy , it was included too. So both you and hank Roberts should be aware that since its modulus is a couple of orders of magnitude lower than that of an average silicate rock, a landward ice sheet flowing at tens of meters per year under its own weight will respond to local isostasy raising the land at a rate of millimeters per year by bending easily under the strain , not cracking off like a cleaved diamond.

    If you want stiffer ice, try dispersion hardening it with particles ( colloidal silica, sawdust, penguin feathers, whatever,) that will interfere with grain boundary and dislocation motion – even at arctic temperatures ice is within 100K of its melting point and so prone to several different creep mechanisms- try googling ‘creep maps ‘ for a diagram of their time-temperature curves.

    Comment by Russell Seitz — 7 Apr 2009 @ 3:02 PM

  133. re 124: “There will be similar huge losses of glacier-fed fresh water elsewhere, such as in South America or California.”

    Actually, in the case of California, it’s water is provided primaarily by the yearly replenishment of its snowpack, and not from glaciers. The problems we’re experiencing now – a 30% drop in snowpack content from the norm, a trend that has continued over three years now – is part of the ongoing decline of precipitation in the Western States.

    But even that 30% decline is deceptive – where the snow fell is of equal importance. As I understand it through folks I know in the Forest Service, the northeastern part of the state is much worse off than the mountians to the south. As one person who works that area described it, NE California really never had a winter this year. Word has it that they’ve been calling in teams a month early to prepare for what is expected to be a rough fire season…the third in a row.

    Another poster mentioned California as an example of a place where the effects of AGW are apparent. If you want to meet a group of people that are pretty much sold on this idea, you should talk to the people who fight the fires. I think you’ll find a lot of believers.

    My apologies for wandering a tad off-topic…

    Comment by J.S. McIntyre — 7 Apr 2009 @ 3:09 PM

  134. ref #128 Mark, the Siberian Flats covered an area the size of Australia.

    volcanism, impact and tectonic plate shifts are all competitive hypotheses, I seem to remember reading
    others before but they seemed a bit far fetched and I don’t recall what they were called. I seem to remember one that said it was soil erosion as a base cause.

    I think I covered volcanism well enough. The other two have similar arguments. Some combine two or more such as impact causing volcanism.

    Comment by steve — 7 Apr 2009 @ 3:19 PM

  135. RichardC wrote: “When it’s geoengineer or die, well, the choice is blatantly obvious. Anyone who thinks that we won’t brimstone the atmosphere is as clueless as the skeptics.”

    And anyone who thinks that the human species has the ability to geo-engineer its way out of global warming needs to present some evidence of such capabilities.

    So far — based on thousands of years of history and tens of thousands of years of prehistory — the only demonstrated ability for large-scale modification of ecosystems that human beings have shown is the ability to wreck them. Which we have done over and over again.

    The idea that we will learn, within years or decades, how to “manage” the entire planet’s climate and biosphere — including ongoing, perpetual “fine-tuning” of the chemical content of the atmosphere — seems extremely implausible to say the least. Nor have any large-scale geo-engineering schemes been presented so far that give any confidence that they would work, or that they would not have hideous unintended consequences.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 7 Apr 2009 @ 3:19 PM

  136. Russell, did you read the Scripps papers?

    I realize that theory and observation often differ. That seems the case here. The people who went to the ice describe behavior that you say is impossible.

    What does one do in such circumstances? Arguing with me won’t help, because I’m simply quoting published work.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Apr 2009 @ 3:22 PM

  137. PS, Russell, this may be helpful. All I have is the abstract, but you may have access to the full text if you’re at an academic institution. Let us know?:

    Earth and Planetary Science Letters
    Volume 280, Issues 1-4, 15 April 2009, Pages 51-60
    doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2008.12.027

    Ice shelf disintegration by plate bending and hydro-fracture: Satellite observations and model results of the 2008 Wilkins ice shelf break-ups

    Abstract

    Satellite remote sensing observations of three break-up events in 2008 for the Wilkins Ice Shelf (28 February to 6 March, 27 May to 31 May, and 28 June to mid-July) provide unprecedented detail of ice shelf calving during rapid break-up. The observations reveal that the Wilkins break-ups occur through a distinctive type of shelf calving, which we term ‘disintegration’, as well as more typical rifting and calving. Here we focus on the disintegration process, which is characterized by repeated rapid fracturing that creates narrow ice-edge-parallel blocks, with subsequent block toppling and fragmentation forming an expanding iceberg and ice rubble mass. We use these data to develop and test a model of floating ice plate disintegration in which ice plate bending stresses at the ice front arising from buoyancy forces can lead to runaway calving when free (mobile) water is available. High-resolution satellite images and laser altimetry of the first break-up event provide details of fracture spacings, ice thicknesses, and plate bending profiles that agree well with our model predictions. We suggest that surface or near-surface meltwater is the main pre-condition for disintegration, and that hydro-fracture is the main mechanism. Brine layers from near-waterline brine infiltration can support a similar process, but this is less effective unless regional ice stress patterns contribute to the net stress available at the crack tip for fracturing. A combination of brine-enhanced fracturing and changing internal net extensional stresses was the likely mechanism behind the latter two Wilkins events.
    _______
    “operation hurting” says ReCaptcha

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Apr 2009 @ 3:29 PM

  138. P.S., perhaps the theory and observations do agree. Russell Seitz wrote:

    “… a landward ice sheet flowing at tens of meters per year under its own weight will respond to local isostasy raising the land at a rate of millimeters per year by bending easily under the strain , not cracking off like a cleaved diamond.”

    That would describe the tide coming _in_, bending the ice up.

    Perhaps something different happens when the tide goes _out_?

    “… , the ocean tides that flow underneath ice shelves can push them up and down by several feet over the course of a day”
    http://scrippsnews.ucsd.edu/pressreleases/fricker_iceshelves.cfm

    from the Scripps link above:
    http://scrippsnews.ucsd.edu/pressreleases/images/fricker.heli_over_loose_too.jpg
    “… helicopter is shown flying low over a rift area”

    “ice shelf “rifting”-ice fracturing that cuts through the entire thickness of an ice shelf and represents the first stage of the process in which icebergs eventually break away from the main ice mass-on East Antarctica’s Amery Ice Shelf.”

    As a doctor I knew long ago used to say, “In theory, theory and practice are the same, but in practice, they differ.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Apr 2009 @ 3:39 PM

  139. Any bets on which ice shelf will go next?

    Comment by Sabahan — 7 Apr 2009 @ 3:45 PM

  140. Just to posit some different ideas: the Circumpolar Vortex is more intense in recent decades; it draws up deep water at a greater rate; it pushes surface water more intently as a fairly permanent “storm surge”; being more intense, wind induced ocean currents are stronger.

    The photos of Wilkins breaking up reminds me of fault block landforms; Wilkins going downslope on the changed currents.

    Just suggestions; feel free to blast way.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 7 Apr 2009 @ 4:12 PM

  141. Mark (#55/#117): I don’t have any privileged information about ocean heat content, but my guess would be that given an underlying trend plus random fluctuations that the upward fluctuations will often look quite dramatic. In addition to 2001 to 2004, there are ’93 to ’97 and ’72 to ’75 which also have somewhat large increases. The other issue is that you don’t always expect ocean heat content changes to mirror surface temperature changes: in fact, in years when ocean heat content increases dramatically, that might be due to larger than usual oceanic heat sink effects, such that ocean heat content increases will sometimes be coupled with slower surface temperature increases.

    It could be interesting to look at coupled ocean-atmosphere models and see if that hypothesis holds: eg, where there are long periods without temperature rise in a high forcing scenario, are there larger increases in ocean heat? Mind you, there are other reasons for changes in heat accumulation: changes in cloudiness (which will force both oceans + surface temperatures), changes in mixing from deeper than 700m, volcanic eruptions, etc.

    Comment by Marcus — 7 Apr 2009 @ 4:51 PM

  142. David, that fits the abstract, I think:
    “… bending stresses at the ice front arising from buoyancy forces …” in the presence of “surface or near surface meltwater” to make the fractures persist.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Apr 2009 @ 5:08 PM

  143. SciAm:
    “We expect in the next few days and weeks, that the northern ice front will lose between 800 and 3700 square kilometres of ice,” says Angelika Humbert of Münster University, Germany, who has been using ESA’s Envisat probe to monitor the events.”
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16918-giant-mass-of-antarctic-ice-set-for-collapse.html

    More detail here for anyone who reads German:
    http://www.uni-muenster.de/Physik.GP/Polargeophysik/Wilkins-Schelfeis.html

    This image in particular may be more detail on the cracks that Mauri mentioned earlier in this thread
    http://www.uni-muenster.de/imperia/md/content/geophysik/polargeophysik2/bilderfotos/28nov2008_large.pdf

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Apr 2009 @ 5:36 PM

  144. Hank Roberts (142) — Sort of, but that requires ice melt. Which brings up the other major change caused by the intensification of the Circumpolar Vortex; it tightens poleward, exposing the Antarcttic Pennisula to more of the weather northwards, significantly warming Wilkins et al.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 7 Apr 2009 @ 5:46 PM

  145. In examining the extent of rifting on Wilkins ice shelf, and noting that the rifts are signs of pre-conditioned weakness. it is important to note that the rifts extend south from the bridge. But that there is no sign of rifting south of the rifts that extend toward the northeast corner of Latady Island. On the face of it this may suggest that the remaining Wilkins Ice Shelf at that point is not pre-conditioned yet for rapid collapse. I would suggest the collapse will unfold more like the Wordie Ice Shelf than the Larsen Ice Shelf B. Take a look at its disintegration from 1974-1992. Note it had some key pinning points as well. http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs17-02/fs017-02.html

    Comment by mauri pelto — 7 Apr 2009 @ 5:56 PM

  146. steve, #134.

    What?

    You didn’t seem to say anything there.

    You say that the theories are (apart from supervolcano eruption)

    Siberian traps (assume Deccan traps in siberia) (Supervolcano)
    Volcanism (assume vulcanism) (Supervolcano)
    Impact (subduction, I assume, to get eruptuins) (volcanoes and a lot of them)
    tectonic plate movement (same as impact)
    Soil erosion ???? Maybe as a sequestering of CO2 in weathering, not a source

    But nothing about how they fit the data nor how they differ from Supervolcanoes which you said you found strange was taken as right.

    Please try again.

    What could be an alternative explanation for the PETM that isn’t a supervolcano and how does it fit the data better?

    Comment by Mark — 7 Apr 2009 @ 6:01 PM

  147. Russel, #132.

    You seem to have missed out that no matter how slowly it moves, or how bendy it is, there’s a maximum curvature it can manage to hold before either departing from the contour or breaking.

    So if it drops off a 1ft ledge, it either breaks within the bulk or leaves an air gap. With a million tons of ice over it? That last option doesn’t seem really to be an option.

    Similarly if it goes off out to sea.

    I’m not sure how well that maximum curvature can be applied to a glacier, since it’s definitely not homogeneous. But I do know it exists. Each time I break my plastic card to destroy an old one, I use that fact to rip it.

    Comment by Mark — 7 Apr 2009 @ 6:06 PM

  148. Secular Animist wrote in relation to coal mines- ” it is wrong to attribute the death of any one canary to the buildup of toxic fumes.”

    Okay, maybe I should use another analogy. It’s like the ground shaking and cracking before an earthquake,or like seeing an approaching shark’s fin,while swimming. It’s time or even past time to take some action in these cases to haul your (self edit)out of the path of danger, no matter how you slice it.

    The breaking off of ice shelves that hold land ice,falls into this category.The shelves keep the land ice from flowing into the sea could well bring a non-linear response leading to dramatic changes. It’s time to do something. Don’t forget that even if we stopped all anthropogenic forcings right now, we are still committed to a number of decades of warming as the planet comes to equilibrium with present forcing. These forcings are still “in the pipeline”.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 7 Apr 2009 @ 6:10 PM

  149. In the interest of conserving energy (human, electrical, and otherwise) I suggest we save this post and associated comments to recycle in 7 months (with minor edits) when we’ll be talking about near-record minimal Arctic ice extent and Arctic Circle ice sheet failures. Those too will be due to volcanos, natural variation, UHI effect, cosmic rays and wacky models, and the deny-o-sphere will again blame the problem on climate scientists who have a s3kret agenda, fail to understand basic math, measure the wrong things, don’t understand the difference between weather and climate, and talk funny or act superior.

    Just trying to help.

    [ and the oracle says: "declared spiciest"! I wins! ]

    cougar

    Comment by cougar_w — 7 Apr 2009 @ 6:55 PM

  150. Ah, here are the high resolution images:
    http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMYBBSTGOF_index_0.html

    Most recent, April 4, where you can see “the disintegration process, which is characterized by repeated rapid fracturing that creates narrow ice-edge-parallel blocks”

    http://esamultimedia.esa.int/images/wilkinsarctic/pub/images/ASA_IMM_1PNPDE20090405_115601_000002422077_00481_37108_311_100m_img.jpg

    Including many more cracks back into the body of the remaining ice shelf.

    Well, I guess this is going to increase the total area of sea ice reported for the coming Austral winter season!

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Apr 2009 @ 6:59 PM

  151. Er, most recent is April 5, my typo.
    For anyone fond of accidental stereo photography, try using the last two images from that page (fiddle with the size til you can parallel view them, or print them and use a stereo viewer (make one with a pair of simple magnifying glasses, like
    http://www.anchoroptics.com/documents/download.cfm?id=35

    I don’t know if the apparent slight difference is the sun angle, the satellite angle, or what, but they do read as a stereo pair; to me, some of the cracks in the ice jump into stereo when I get fusion.

    http://esamultimedia.esa.int/images/wilkinsarctic/pub/images/ASA_IMM_1PNPDE20090405_052222_000002522077_00477_37104_3010_100m_img.jpg
    http://esamultimedia.esa.int/images/wilkinsarctic/pub/images/ASA_IMM_1PNPDE20090405_115601_000002422077_00481_37108_311_100m_img.jpg

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Apr 2009 @ 7:10 PM

  152. 135 Secular, I don’t have terribly much issue with anything you wrote, but you’re thinking in current terms and I’m thinking in holocaust terms. Mistakes will be made. People will die. Species will go extinct. But even if a billion people die, it’s a mere 14% of the population. Are you proposing that we just let the whole planet bake? If not, then what ARE you proposing? The CO2 genie is out of the bottle and the CH4 genie is coming soon. Given the multitudes of jurisdictions all wanting somebody ELSE to not emit CO2 (There’s no way to reconcile the developed world’s “We emitted it before so WE should be the ones allowed to emit it in the future” with the developing world’s “One human, one carbon allotment.”

    Comment by RichardC — 7 Apr 2009 @ 8:04 PM

  153. Re: Gavin “Don’t be an idiot”,

    So much for emptying the stones from our pockets. Certainly such rudeness only encourages rudeness in others.

    Gavin, you owe that poster a redaction and an apology, and then you owe one to the group for representing the exact behavior that does the greatest disservice to any meaningful discussion of climate.

    Bad boy. Bad, bad boy.

    [Response: I would be much happier dealing with intelligent critiques rather than points that are logically incoherent. But sometimes you reach a limit. -gavin]

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 7 Apr 2009 @ 8:13 PM

  154. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yqres.2008.11.005
    Quaternary Research
    Volume 71, Issue 2, March 2009, Pages 190-200
    The sediment infill of subglacial meltwater channels on the West Antarctic continental shelf

    “… Here we present new swath bathymetry from the western Amundsen Sea Embayment, West Antarctica, showing meltwater channels eroded into acoustic basement. Their morphological characteristics and size are consistent with incision by subglacial meltwater. To understand how and when these channels formed we have investigated the infill of three channels….”

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2008.04.005
    A meltwater origin for Antarctic shelf bedforms with special attention to megalineations

    “… The geomorphology of troughs crossing the Antarctic shelf is described and interpreted in terms of ice-stream hydrology. The scale of tunnel channels on the inner shelf and the absence of sediment at their mouths are taken to infer catastrophic drainage. Drumlins on the inner and outer shelves with pronounced crescentic and hairpin scours are also interpreted as products of catastrophic flow. Gullies and channels on the continental slope and turbidites on the rise and abyssal plain point to abundant meltwater discharge across the shelf. Attempts to explain this morphology and sedimentology in terms of release or discharge of meltwater by pressure melting, strain heating, Darcian flow, or advection in deforming till are shown to be unrealistic. We suggest that meltwater flow across the middle and outer shelves might have been in broad, turbulent floods, which raises the possibility that megascale glacial lineations (MSGL) on the shelf might originate by erosion in turbulent flow. This possibility is explored by use of analogs for MSGL from flood and eolian landscapes and marine environments. An extended discussion reflects on objections that stand in the way of the flood hypothesis.”

    Keywords: Drumlin; Tunnel channel; Megalineation; Meltwater; Ice stream; Analogy

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Apr 2009 @ 8:41 PM

  155. #146 Mark, I’m not sure exactly what you think I said but my argument was that volcanism was a direct cause and effect of the mass extinction as opposed to releasing co2 which then caused the extinction. the others I mearly listed because you expressed doubt that there even were any other hypotheses out there.

    Comment by steve — 7 Apr 2009 @ 9:05 PM

  156. So, let me get this straight. Most posts here are referring to the age of the Wilkins Ice Shelf as 10,000 years old.

    Unlike almost all other ice shelves, the Wilkins is in-situ formed over what was once open ocean. It is ringed by one large island on two sides and 4 small islands on the other two sides. Almost all other ice shelves are glacier fed, continuously extending further and further out over the seas until the end “suddenly!!!” breaks off (like such events ever happen slowly).
    If the Wilkins is 10,000 years old, then the Wilkins archipelago was open, unfrozen, sea 10,000 years ago. More likely, the Wilkins is less than 7,000 years old, following the Holocene Maximum (when temperature was greater than now) and then Wilkins archipelago seasonal sea ice failed to melt, thus allowing continual buildup from snowfall. Again, the Wilkins is not glacier fed.

    Studies of the age of the Wilkins have not been done. Why??

    Comment by Gary P — 7 Apr 2009 @ 9:14 PM

  157. oh, and the Deccan Traps are in India

    Comment by steve — 7 Apr 2009 @ 9:18 PM

  158. On the day I read this latest news about the demise of the Wilkins ice shelf, I got the March 2009 issue of Forbes Asia. (I subscribe not because it’s good, but because it’s cheap and I like to get the view from the right!). In an editorial entitled “Human Deniers”, editor-in-chief and consistent climate change denialist Steve Forbes says:
    “The fact that the Earth’s average temperature has risen less than one degree Celsius over the past century and that ice masses in various parts of the world are actually expanding seems to have escaped their [modern Malthusians'] notice”.

    “With all thy getting get understanding” it says at the top of the Forbes Fact and Comment section. If only Steve would follow his own advice.

    Comment by Gerry Beauregard — 7 Apr 2009 @ 9:30 PM

  159. !38
    hank, the reason creep maps are useful is that they define the limits of plastic flow , and afford insight into mechanisms of crack propagation as well.

    The disparity between post glacial isostatic rebound at millimeters per year, and ice shelf tidal strain at tens of centimeters an hour is an obvious one, but creep maps differentiating processes like Herring-Nabarro flow from, for example, Coble creep in solids may help understand what’s _not_ likely to be causing ice fracture , and narrow the search for what is. I’d look to to Mike Ashby of Cambridge, or the U.S. Army cold climate lab for deeper bibliography on ice creep regimes.

    Comment by Russell Seitz — 7 Apr 2009 @ 9:33 PM

  160. It seems that humankind has really done it. Hard to imagine that this planet will have 9 billion humans within fifty years. I expect a population collapse to occur long before 9 billion is reached.

    The climate catastrophe combined with the Sixth Great Extinction promises to drive our species to extinction … the final victims of humankind’s recklessness, the Homo sapiens.

    Fortunately life does go on without us. Nature is four billion years old because it is quite capable of surviving catastrophes. It has suffered and recovered from worse catastrophes in the past and will do so again this time.

    I doubt that the Earth will produce any more paleontologists in the future to marvel about our fossils and wonder about our fate as we do about the dinosaurs.

    http://www.flickr.com/dmathew1

    Comment by David Mathews — 7 Apr 2009 @ 9:59 PM

  161. Dave, spare us the weepies. Our situation is serious, but your doom and gloom is certainly not helpful.

    Despair is not adaptive.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 7 Apr 2009 @ 10:23 PM

  162. Steve, as Mark says, just waving your hands and suggesting one of the great extinctions was caused directly by a “supervolcano” lacks something — citation, that’s what’s missing; evidence, found and published, for some physical process by which it could occur. Do you think a supervolcano could _directly_ heat the atmosphere, versus causing atmospheric change from emitting CO2 and sulfur? You’d expect some indication in the strata of a heat change in the absence of the chemical change, associated with volcanic dust, a layer in the strata worldwide identifiable by location. Well there are layers, as Peter Ward points out — he’s off on an island somewhere now picking at one of them. But they’re not volcanic. Evidence furthers discussion.

    Russell, yes, ice bends and flows. Mauri has described that as well, as filling gaps under glaciers in the wintertime. You can predict certain things will occur due to creep.

    But it doesn’t seem to fit the prediction quoted above, SciAm:
    “We expect in the next few days and weeks, that the northern ice front will lose between 800 and 3700 square kilometres of ice,” says Angelika Humbert of Münster University, Germany, who has been using ESA’s Envisat probe to monitor the events.”

    Gary P, you assert above that studies of the age of the Wilkins have not been done,
    and then you ask “why??”

    You’re wrong. Why?? Where did you look? Or are you relying on someone somewhere who misinformed and misled you? Who, and why, if so? And will you trust your source again, or find better information?

    Think. How do you find the age of an ice sheet? You look at the mud under it.

    Try this: pasting your question into the search box for Google Scholar:

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=How+old+is+the+Wilkins+ice+sheet%3F

    Finds, among other information, this:

    Geology; September 2001; v. 29; no. 9; p. 787-790;
    DOI: 10.1130/0091-7613(2001)0292.0.CO;2
    First survey of Antarctic sub–ice shelf sediments reveals mid-Holocene ice shelf retreat

    What can you tell from just the title? First survey; sediments. 2001. Not the last, the first.
    What’s been learned since?

    From the page there, click on one of several links to find citing articles:

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=link:http%3A%2F%2Fgeology.geoscienceworld.org%2Fcgi%2Fcontent%2Fabstract%2F29%2F9%2F787

    Who is this Connolley fellow — coauthor on the very first citing paper?
    Look at the right hand sidebar.
    Look up the other authors and their subsequent work as well.

    Kids, this is how it’s done. Go to your library. Ask your reference librarian for help learning for yourself. Don’t rely on some guy on a blog to tell you things, no matter how much you trust your sources for whatever reason.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Apr 2009 @ 10:53 PM

  163. Several times before I’ve seen a theory of feedback due to post glacial rebound, i.e. the fact that when gravitational loading from a ice sheet is removed, the area begins to rebound. I think the time scales involved are too long. After a near instantaneous elsatic response (probablt pretty small), we have to wait for plastic flow of material in the upper mantle to replace the material pushed away during the time the ice sheet was there. That takes tens of thousands of years, significant rebound rates of areas covered by (or nearby areas) are still ocurring from the end of the ice age. Maximum uplift rates in the northern hemisphere are estimated at about 4mm/year. Note that that is very comparable to the current rate of sea level rise. On the time scale of human induced climate change, this is too slow to have more than a minor effect.

    Comment by Thomas — 7 Apr 2009 @ 11:09 PM

  164. David Benson, found one field study on circulation under that ice shelf; this may be relevant to your suggestion; posted mostly for the point that there are field studies out there to find, just happened on this.

    http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=1408944

    Antarctic Science (2007), 19:497-506 Cambridge University Press
    Copyright © Antarctic Science Ltd 2007
    doi:10.1017/S0954102007000697

    EARTH SCIENCES
    Sedimentological signatures of the sub-Amery Ice Shelf circulation

    “… Lithology, 14C surface ages, absolute diatom abundance, and the diatom assemblage are used as indicators of sediment transport pathways beneath the ice shelf. The transport pathways suggested from these indicators do not correspond to previous models of the basal melt/freeze pattern. This indicates that the overturning baroclinic circulation beneath the Amery Ice Shelf (near-bed inflow–surface outflow) is a more important influence on basal melt/freeze and sediment distributions than the barotropic circulation that produces inflow in the east and outflow in the west of the ice front. Localized topographic (ice draft and bed elevation) variations are likely to play a dominant role in the resulting sub-ice shelf melt and sediment distribution.”
    (Online publication October 01 2007)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Apr 2009 @ 12:20 AM

  165. Xavier, not to worry, if we all thought you were a denialist, you wouldn’t get so many detailed responses. I am not an expert either, but happily post my best effort at responses here because I know there are good people here who correct errors, as a result of which we all learn.

    Your post, asking for clarification on something strange posted elsewhere, is very different from what denialists do, posting deliberate falsehoods in the hope that they will stir up anger that they can use as an indication of how irrational their opposition is.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 8 Apr 2009 @ 1:29 AM

  166. The muppets that are going on constantly about how the oceans are warming please look at this link to the NASA website which is as pro AGW as they come but still shows a cooling trend!!!!!!

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2008/Fig2b.gif

    [Response: Ummm...that shows a warming trend.... - gavin]

    Comment by Global Cooler — 8 Apr 2009 @ 3:46 AM

  167. #79

    Thanks

    Comment by isotopious — 8 Apr 2009 @ 3:49 AM

  168. You guys are wasting your time arguing with, uhem, “Dawn”.

    The aim is not to find the truth, but to confuse, to obfuscate, and to delay. That’s why the contrarian arguments keep shifting; as one is disproven, they just move on to another, which is in turn disproved, and then another, and another; and then they start again at the first disproven argument as if it were as fresh as rain.

    I fail to see the point in engaging interlocutors such as this.

    Comment by Steve051 — 8 Apr 2009 @ 4:07 AM

  169. The problem with the entire edifice of AGW is that someone who the media thinks is in the know who says something that seems confrontational or anti AGW gets media column inches.

    http://orangepunch.freedomblogging.com/2009/04/07/another-global-warming-oops-moment-3/8269/

    The other people who abound around here who are scientifically inclined to side with AGW can only post stories of future problems a long way off (2050 onwards as no one presently is prepared to commit any single weather act to AGW – that just not science now is it?) and todays weather is not AGW influenced.

    Science has the abilty to really tie itself in knots in realtion to the media. Science is carried out by scientists, humans who are trained in a very conservative manner, making no claims and being totally objective in their nature. Science cannnot be anything else but what it is, a slow process and one not really set up to deal with global issues that might ruin the lives of a few billions come BAU for another 50 years.

    Fortunately the IPCC goes further in its scientific assessment and is forced to plot the course of the future in a new light. For some reason though the media and the political right is exposing this side of the debate which will never end I am afraid.

    Comment by pete best — 8 Apr 2009 @ 4:47 AM

  170. RE Gary P 7 April 2009 at 9:14 PM

    Studies of the age of the Wilkins have not been done. Why??

    From what I can gather, the age of the Larsen B shelf was determined after its collapse, and was done by examining sediment under where the shelf was. I haven’t come across any real data on the age of the Wilkins shelf yet (still looking).

    Comment by Deech56 — 8 Apr 2009 @ 4:51 AM

  171. Gary P @ #156, can you present some evidence for your claim that “..the Wilkins is not glacier fed.”? Are there no glaciers entering from Alexander Island? I think there is pretty clear evidence from MODIS imagery that there are.

    Comment by Nick — 8 Apr 2009 @ 5:16 AM

  172. steve: “I’m not sure exactly what you think I said but my argument was that volcanism was a direct cause and effect of the mass extinction as opposed to releasing co2 which then caused the extinction”

    Well, OK.

    But sulphur compounds last how long in the atmosphere?
    NOx?
    Particulates?

    Decades, tops. Most gone in a few short years.

    Long enough to kill so much life?

    How long does CO2 last?

    Most of it hundreds of years.

    Plenty of time to affect the climate.

    And you still haven’t shown a shred of evidence how your idea of other exhausts fit the data better than CO2 from volcanoes being the cause.

    Please do so, else your incredulity is all the proof you have, and we all know that is no argument.

    PS I thought the Deccan Traps were in the south of the USSR. Not quite that far south.

    Comment by Mark — 8 Apr 2009 @ 5:59 AM

  173. “Studies of the age of the Wilkins have not been done. Why??”

    Do you know that for a fact? If you know what you said and have proof of its validity, why is that not proof that people have studied the age of the Wilkins?

    And on human terms, the difference between 10,000 and 7,000 years is naff all.

    PS if you like, you can jump on the Gravy Train and get a grant to do the study. After all, it pays so well, there’s thousands of scientists all lying their arses off to get a chunk, AND enough to outspend the entire petrochemical industry.

    LOADSAMONEY!!!!

    So join in and fill your pockets!

    Comment by Mark — 8 Apr 2009 @ 6:02 AM

  174. “Nature is four billion years old because it is quite capable of surviving catastrophes. It has suffered and recovered from worse catastrophes in the past and will do so again this time.”

    Uh, no, that’s like saying my granny survived a heart attack because her son is still alive.

    Comment by Mark — 8 Apr 2009 @ 6:03 AM

  175. Lawrence: “Secular Animist wrote in relation to coal mines- ” it is wrong to attribute the death of any one canary to the buildup of toxic fumes.”

    Okay, maybe I should use another analogy.”

    Secular Animist was being facetious. The canary did die, but if you approach that cause/effect like an AGW denialist, there is no proof the canary died from a buildup of toxic fumes: it could have died because a cosmic ray exploded its brain. It may just have died after a heart attack. And anyway, canaries have been dieing for thousands of years, there’s no proof that toxic gases will kill canaries.

    If you approached it like an AGW denialist.

    Comment by Mark — 8 Apr 2009 @ 6:07 AM

  176. Re #155

    steve, there is increasing evidence that the major extinctions of the past several hundreds of millions of years are associated with long lived events following major tectonic disturbances that result in release of greenhouse gases, with associated global warming, ocean anoxia etc.

    For example the early Jurassic extinction is associated with events (greenhouse gas induced warming) lasting 200,000 years:

    Svensen H et al (2007) Hydrothermal venting of greenhouse gases triggering Early Jurassic global warming Earth Planetary Sci Lett 256 554-566

    Abstract: “The climate change in the Toarcian (Early Jurassic) was characterized by a major perturbation of the global carbon cycle. The event lasted for approximately 200,000 years and was manifested by a global warming of similar to 6 degrees C, anoxic conditions in the oceans, and extinction of marine species. The triggering mechanisms for the perturbation and environmental change are however strongly debated. Here, we present evidence for a rapid formation and transport of greenhouse gases from the deep sedimentary reservoirs in the Karoo Basin, South Africa…….”

    likewise comprehensive analyses shows a coincidence of major tectonic events, and resulting elevation of greenhouse gas levels, are associated with several of the major extinctions of the last 300 million years. Note that CO2 isn’t the only player. Methane is implicated in several of these events (see especially the PETM below) and sulphurous oxides and their effects on ocean acidity and oxygen content are also implicated:

    Wignall P (2005) The link between large igneous province eruptions and mass extinctions Elements 1, 293-297

    Abstract: “In the past 300 million years, there has been a near-perfect association between extinction events and the eruption of large igneous provinces, but proving the nature of the causal links is far from resolved. The associated environmental changes often include global warming and the development of widespread oxygen-poor conditions in the oceans. This implicates a role for volcanic CO2 emissions, but other perturbations of the global carbon cycle, such as release of methane from gas hydrate reservoirs or shut-down of photosynthesis in the oceans, are probably required to achieve severe green-house warming. The best links between extinction and eruption are seen in the interval from 300 to 150 Ma. With the exception of the Deccan Trap eruptions (65 Ma), the emplacement of younger volcanic provinces has been generally associated with significant environmental changes but little or no increase in extinction rates above background levels.”

    R. J. Twitchett (2006) The palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology and palaeoenvironmental analysis of mass extinction events
    Palaeogeog., Palaeoclimatol., Palaeoecol. 232, 190-213

    concluding paragraph: “Mass extinction studies have enjoyed a surge in scientific interest of the past 30 years that shows no sign of abating. Recent areas of particular interest include the palaeoecological study of biotic crises, and analyses of patterns of post-extinction recovery. There is good evidence of rapid climate change affecting all of the major extinction events, while the ability of extraterrestrial impact to cause extinction remains debatable. There is growing evidence that food shortage and suppression of primary productivity, lasting several hundred thousand years, may be a proximate cause of many past extinction events. Selective extinction of suspension feeders and the prevalence of dwarfed organisms in the aftermath are palaeoecological consequences of these changes. The association with rapid global warming shows that study of mass extinction events is not just an esoteric intellectual exercise, but may have implications for the present day.”

    Notice that greenhouse environments are associated with the very delayed (millions of years) recovery of biota following these extinctions;

    Fraiser ML et al. (2007) Elevated atmospheric CO2 and the delayed biotic recovery from the end-Permian mass extinction Palaeogeog. Palaeoclim. Paleoecol. 252, 164-175

    Abstract: Excessive CO2 in the Earth ocean-atmosphere system may have been a significant factor in causing the end-Permian mass extinction. CO2 injected into the atmosphere by the Siberian Traps has been postulated as a major factor leading to the end-Permian mass extinction by facilitating global warming, widespread ocean stratification, and development of anoxic, euxinic and CO2-rich deep waters. A broad incursion of this toxic deep water into the surface ocean may have caused this mass extinction. Although previous studies of the role of excessive CO2 have focused on these “bottom-up” effects emanating from the deep ocean, “top-down” effects of increasing atmosphere CO2 concentrations on ocean-surface waters and biota have not previously been explored. Passive diffusion of atmospheric CO2 into ocean-surface waters decreases the pH and CaCO3 saturation state of seawater, causing a physiological and biocalcification crisis for many marine invertebrates. While both “bottom-up” and “top-down” mechanisms may have contributed to the relatively short-term biotic devastation of the end-Permian mass extinction, such a “top-down” physiological and biocalcification crisis would have had long-term effects and might have contributed to the protracted 5- to 6-million-year-long delay in biotic recovery following this mass extinction. Earth’s Modern marine biota may experience similar “top-down” CO2 stresses if anthropogenic input of atmosphere/ocean CO2 continues to rise.

    The lesser extinction associated with the Paleo-Eocene-Thermal Maximum (PETM)55 MYA is probably the best characterised (not surprisingly since it’s the most recent!) example of massive tectonic processes (the opening up of the N. Atlantic as the plates seperated) associated with enhanced atmospheric greenhouse gases, ocean acidification etc.:

    M. Storey et al. (2007)Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum and the Opening of the Northeast Atlantic Science 316, 587 – 589

    abstract: “The Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) has been attributed to a sudden release of carbon dioxide and/or methane. 40Ar/39Ar age determinations show that the Danish Ash-17 deposit, which overlies the PETM by about 450,000 years in the Atlantic, and the Skraenterne Formation Tuff, representing the end of 1 ± 0.5 million years of massive volcanism in East Greenland, are coeval. The relative age of Danish Ash-17 thus places the PETM onset after the beginning of massive flood basalt volcanism at 56.1 ± 0.4 million years ago but within error of the estimated continental breakup time of 55.5 ± 0.3 million years ago, marked by the eruption of mid-ocean ridge basalt–like flows. These correlations support the view that the PETM was triggered by greenhouse gas release during magma interaction with basin-filling carbon-rich sedimentary rocks proximal to the embryonic plate boundary between Greenland and Europe.”

    And even the end-Cretaceous extinction (that did for the dinosaurs) seems to have had at least a significant component from massive flood basalt events (that resulted in the Deccan Traps in what is now India). In fact there is increasing evidence that the impact that resulted in the Chicxulub crater in the Yucatan post-dates the onset of the extinction by several 100,000′s of years, and the extinction is associated with global warming (including a sudden contribution from the impact into limestone-rich deposits that vapourized massive amounts of carbonate (limestone) back into CO2):

    Keller G (2005) Impacts, volcanism and mass extinction: random coincidence or cause and effect? Austral. J. Earth Sci 52 725-757.

    Abstract: “Large impacts are credited with the most devastating mass extinctions in Earth’s history and the Cretaceous – Tertiary (K/T) boundary impact is the strongest and sole direct support for this view. A review of the five largest Phanerozoic mass extinctions provides no support that impacts with craters up to 180 km in diameter caused significant species extinctions. This includes the 170 km-diameter Chicxulub impact crater regarded as 0.3 million years older than the K/T mass extinction. A second, larger impact event may have been the ultimate cause of this mass extinction, as suggested by a global iridium anomaly at the K/T boundary, but no crater has been found to date. The current crater database suggests that multiple impacts, for example comet showers, were the norm, rather than the exception, during the Late Eocene, K/T transition, latest Triassic and the Devonian-Carboniferous transition, but did not cause significant species extinctions. Whether multiple impacts substantially contributed to greenhouse worming and associated environmental stresses is yet to be demonstrated. From the current database, it must be concluded that no known Phanerozoic impacts, including the Chicxulub impact (but excluding the K/T impact) caused mass extinctions or even significant. species extinctions. The K/T mass extinction may have been caused by the coincidence of a very large impact ( > 250 km) upon a highly stressed biotic environment as a result of volcanism. The consistent association of large magmatic provinces (large igneous provinces and continental flood-basalt provinces) with all but one (end-Ordovician) of the five major Phanerozoic mass extinctions suggests that volcanism played a major role. Faunal and geochemical evidence from the end-Permian, end-Devonian, end-Cretaceous and Triassic/Jurassic transition suggests that the biotic stress was due to a lethal combination of tectonically induced hydrothermal and volcanic processes, leading to eutrophication in the oceans, global warming, sea-level transgression and ocean anoxia. It must be concluded that major magmatic events and their long-term environmental consequences are major contributors, though not the sole causes of mass extinctions. Sudden mass extinctions, such as at the K/T boundary, may require the coincidence of major volcanism and a very large Impact.”

    Beerling DJ et al. (2002) An atmospheric pCO(2) reconstruction across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary from leaf megafossils Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 99 (12): 7836-7840

    Abstract: “The end-Cretaceous mass extinctions, 65 million years ago, profoundly influenced the course of biotic evolution. These extinctions coincided with a major extraterrestrial impact event and massive volcanism in India. Determining the relative importance of each event as a driver of environmental and biotic change across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) crucially depends on constraining the mass of CO2 injected into the atmospheric carbon reservoir. Using the inverse relationship between atmospheric CO2 and the stomatal index of land plant leaves, we reconstruct Late Cretaceous-Early Tertiary atmospheric CO2 concentration (pCO(2)) levels with special emphasis on providing a pCO(2) estimate directly above the KTB. Our record shows stable Late Cretaceous/ Early Tertiary background pCO(2) levels of 350-500 ppm by volume, but with a marked increase to at least 2,300 ppm by volume within 10,000 years of the KTB. Numerical simulations with a global biogeochemical carbon cycle model indicate that CO2 outgassing during the eruption of the Deccan Trap basalts fails to fully account for the inferred pCO(2) increase. Instead, we calculate that the postboundary pCO(2) rise is most consistent with the instantaneous transfer of approximate to 4,600 Gt C from the lithic to the atmospheric reservoir by a large extraterrestrial bolide impact. A resultant climatic forcing of +12 W(.)m(-2) would have been sufficient to warm the Earth’s surface by approximate to7.5degreesC, in the absence of counter forcing by sulfate aerosols. This finding reinforces previous evidence for major climatic warming after the KTB impact and implies that severe and abrupt global warming during the earliest Paleocene was an important factor in biotic extinction at the KTB.”

    and so on…

    Comment by chris — 8 Apr 2009 @ 7:03 AM

  177. pete best, #169. Worse, the media want two sides to talk about something, one for, one against. It’s easy to arrange, easy to control and simple for a media studies graduate to do and ***appear*** unbiased. They also want people who say definitive statements, not ones that acknowledge uncertainty. Makes for a punchier “debate”.

    Science knows there’s vastly more than one side. It knows that all knowledge is dependent on reality and our measurement of it. There is no definitive statements unless you’re thinking as a media studies graduate rather than a science graduate.

    And not having to have any theory beyond “they are wrong” it’s a lot easier for denialists to appear in the media as better debaters. They aren’t worried about lying, they’re starting off from a lie. So they are free. After the first lie, the rest are much easier. Genuine scientists (and this includes those who thing AGW has problems and want them fixed) are trying not to lie. That makes it hard to counter lies from “the other side”.

    Comment by Mark — 8 Apr 2009 @ 7:04 AM

  178. # 172

    The Deccan Flats are in west-central India. It is estimated it released about 500,000*3 kilometers of material.

    Yellowstone, the other super volcano you mentioned, is believed to have released 2,500 km*3

    The Siberian Flats is estimated to have released 3,000,000 km*3 over a period of about a million years. The Siberian Flats are located in Russia.

    Mount St. Helens only released 2.9 km*3 for a comparison.

    I believe in my initial comment I covered all the points raised in support of co2 being the cause of the extinction and why they are not definitive. Perhaps you would like to point one out you disagree with? It is obvious from the million years of eruptions that time is not a serious issue.

    Perhaps to understand my reasoning better you should read what happened at Laki in the late 1700s. This is a well documented event from a volcano of similar composition which discharged only 14 km*3. I read the results of this eruption and compare the size and duration to the Siberian Flats and conclude that one should first get past the obvious cause of the extinction before they go on to less obvious ones. Don’t forget volcanism is by far the older hypothesis and has yet to be disproved. Can you disprove it?

    Comment by steve — 8 Apr 2009 @ 7:32 AM

  179. ref #176 yes Chris, thank you, I believe I have read at least two of those. Interesting papers.

    Comment by steve — 8 Apr 2009 @ 7:48 AM

  180. Steve051 @ 168

    “I fail to see the point in engaging interlocutors such as this.”

    Note that the ‘tactics’ you attribute to Dawn have been employed by Creationists for decades. Understanding that, review the history of Kitzmiller v. Dover, or Edwards v. Aguillard, or the current and ongoing efforts in places like Texas and Louisiana where school boards and legislative bodies are under pressure to promote a non-scientific, pro-creationism agenda, and I think you’ll find an answer to your question.

    What Dawn represents is a movement that is inherently anti-science and should be addressed, particularly in a country where science education is far from first class…

    Comment by J.S. McIntyre — 8 Apr 2009 @ 8:01 AM

  181. People here seem to like analogies. My analogy to global warming causing extinction events after tremendous volcanism events would be like finding a dead man in burnt house and deciding the house fell on him and killed him before determining the smoke or the flames did not. The Siberian Traps would almost certainly have been episodic, but the amount of discharge would be equivalent to turning Mount St Helens on and leaving it on for a million years.

    Comment by steve — 8 Apr 2009 @ 8:15 AM

  182. Re #177 http://global-warming.accuweather.com/

    Indeed watch this debate at the bottom of the page in two parts, its just the perfect republican way. For anyone studying the subject in the media as well as the science we all know the tactics which is what they are for the attempted discrediting the science, its baloney but the media trumps science when you need to do something about it in the short term anyway.

    The recent (this week) sea ice data is becomming harder and harder to refute though, its surface area is ok although lower than the benchmark and its longevity is not good either now and hence it thickness demonstrates that its health is under question. 1 year ice now represents 70% of the ice and 1-2 year old stuff another fraction making 3-5 year old ice only around 10%.

    Ok so natural cycles, PDO etc are influencing the problem more than GW but its a resonance that could accelerate the Arctic sea ice demise regardless of who is right to what is responsible for it.

    Comment by pete best — 8 Apr 2009 @ 8:18 AM

  183. chris,
    very nice post.

    Comment by walter crain — 8 Apr 2009 @ 8:40 AM

  184. The larger point with regard to Dawn (who, by the way, removed herself as a strawperson; why is she still being bashed?) and other “idiots” is that, for the foreseeable future, there will always be people all along the learning curve. Gavin’s tired of dealing with them? Then he’d better just quit this blog, because not only are they not going away, there will be more of them.

    And calling them “idiots” is not the way to engage them and bring them along.

    My hope is that Dawn went off to read “The Discovery Of Global Warming”, as I suggested. If she didn’t, then maybe somebody else read that suggestion, and did.

    If we are right, do we really need *everybody* to agree with us? In other words, need we vent with much apoplexy every time somebody gets something wrong and is a wee bit too self-assured about it?

    I have abhorred such rolling in the mud for a very long time.

    As regards the news, here is what Yahoo (based on an AP report) said about the Arctic ice sheet:

    “Arctic sea ice thinnest ever going into spring”

    Really? Thinnest EVER? In the entire history of the planet?

    Almost assuredly: False.

    And we just keep loading the obfuscators’ guns for them…

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 8 Apr 2009 @ 9:26 AM

  185. Re #175: “Secular Animist was being facetious. The canary did die, but if you approach that cause/effect like an AGW denialist, there is no proof the canary died from a buildup of toxic fumes: it could have died because a cosmic ray exploded its brain. It may just have died after a heart attack.”

    Okay Mark, I felt he was saying what he did with tongue in cheek, but I missed the comparison to the nit picking reasoning of many denialists.Should have picked that up. Thank you for pointing it out.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 8 Apr 2009 @ 9:43 AM

  186. In 2008 there were several small earthquakes associated with
    weakening of the wilkins ice sheet. If these were harmonic in
    nature, then magma may ber moving to the surface under the ice
    sheet. what is the current state of seimic activity in this area
    now and in the recent past?

    jim steven

    Comment by jim steven — 8 Apr 2009 @ 9:52 AM

  187. Walt Bennett @153, Where is it written that we must suffer fools gladly? Pray, what purpose does it serve to be nice to the willfully ignorant? On your blog, you ask what if we have 30 years, rather than 15. First, if we are wrong, it’s much more likely that if we are wrong, it’s much more likely that we have 10 years, rather than 30. Second, whether we have 10 years or 15 or 30 is irrelevant, because we have just wasted 20 years, and we still have yet to address the problem in any substantive way. Your contention that we are focusing too much on countering denialist arguments is also misguided. First, until the denialists have been disarmed to the point where they cannot influence policy, they constitute a significant threat not just to the climate, but to science itself. Second, if you look at the peer-reviewed journals, climate science is continuing to advance by leaps and bounds. Nobody in the mainstream climate community is emphasizing policy at the expense of the science. You need to get out of the blogs and look a bit at the peer-reviewed literature.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Apr 2009 @ 9:58 AM

  188. I posted a longer response last night but don’t see it, though it may pop into the sequence above later on. Briefly in case it doesn’t, re age of Wilkins, Deech is right (8 April 2009 at 4:51 AM), it’s done by studying the sediment underneath; it was easy to find the first (2001) study in Google Scholar. Can anyone find the source for this misinformation that it hasn’t been studied?? Someone’s wrong on the Internets!

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Apr 2009 @ 10:00 AM

  189. RichardC wrote: “Are you proposing that we just let the whole planet bake? If not, then what ARE you proposing? The CO2 genie is out of the bottle and the CH4 genie is coming soon. Given the multitudes of jurisdictions all wanting somebody ELSE to not emit CO2 …”

    I am proposing that we reduce CO2 emissions to near zero as quickly as possible and rely on reforestation and organic agriculture to re-sequester the accumulated excess atmospheric CO2 that is already causing dangerous levels of warming.

    As I understand it, you think it is implausible that the various “jurisdictions” of the world will agree and cooperate on an effective plan to quickly phase out CO2 emissions — something that we know very well how to do, and can do relatively easily using today’s technology, if we so choose.

    And yet you seem to suggest that the same jurisdictions will be able to agree and cooperate on some kind of gigantic, global geo-engineering scheme by which to manage, forever, the chemical makeup of the atmosphere, using technologies that have not really even been identified yet, let alone being well-understood, let alone being tested and proven effective and without catastrophic “side effects”.

    Seems to me that pinning our hopes on geo-engineering is far less realistic than pinning them on emissions reductions.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 8 Apr 2009 @ 10:03 AM

  190. To add to Pete Best in #182

    This from the CC with Walt Meier NISDC and Ron Kwok NASA/JPL last Monday:

    Current multiyear ice is 9.8%
    That is a record low since 1981
    That is 66% lower that the 1981-2000 average

    It is quite clear that the multiyear ice is in serious decline.

    The Arctic loses multiyear ice at about 10% per year. In my opinion the stability of multiyear ice in the past year is likely associated with natural variation leaning in negative phase.

    It is reasonable to see based on forcing, and expected changes in natural variation, that the 2008/09 stability of multiyear ice is short term.

    Loss of the Arctic ice in the summer melt is reasonable to expect in the near future though no one is going to pick the year. My guess is that we will see it within 10 years but 5-6 years seems to be an approximate target barring a tropic high ejecta mass volcanic event.

    #182 pete best

    I would agree that current conditions can accelerate the demise of Artic ice. I would not characterize that PDO is more the GW (AGW) rather say that it is natural variation on a different path.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/natural-variability

    In this case a path of warming.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 8 Apr 2009 @ 10:28 AM

  191. I didn’t go anywhere, I have tried to reply without success.

    Apparently the host is selective on what gets posted.
    I am very informed and have been civil so I can’t imagine what the problem is.
    I’ll have to imagine that the more germane and well said arguements a skeptics posts the least likely they will show up.

    [Response: Actually it's the complete opposite. Try posting without the attitude and without tiresome links to long debunked nonsense. - gavin]

    Comment by Dawn — 8 Apr 2009 @ 10:38 AM

  192. Re #190, I wonder if the two are resonating (hence enforcing I might suggest) although that is a hunch and does not relate to anything measured or real. Resonances in nature are quite common, especially in chaos theory as I understand it.

    Comment by pete best — 8 Apr 2009 @ 10:45 AM

  193. Dawn wrote: “I’ll have to imagine that the more germane and well said arguements a skeptics posts the least likely they will show up.”

    You are not a skeptic. It’s very clear that you are ready to unskeptically accept any fake, phony, ExxonMobil-scripted, pseudo-scientific denialist bunk that is branded as “conservative”.

    When you start to demonstrate some actual skepticism of that rubbish, instead of unquestioningly and uncritically accepting it, and dogmatically refusing to even look at any information that might contradict it, then you will be on your way to earning the right to call yourself a “skeptic”.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 8 Apr 2009 @ 10:55 AM

  194. Ray,

    I’m quite comfortable with my knowledge of the relevant literature.

    None of what you write justifies a science blog author referring to a commenter as “an idiot.”

    Why must we suffer rude know-it-alls gladly?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 8 Apr 2009 @ 11:01 AM

  195. The latest picture is up showing significant movement over the last couple of days.

    http://esamultimedia.esa.int/images/wilkinsarctic/pub/images/ASA_IMM_1PNPDE20090408_052759_000002622078_00019_37147_6171_100m_img.jpg

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 8 Apr 2009 @ 11:01 AM

  196. “My analogy to global warming causing extinction events after tremendous volcanism events would be like finding a dead man in burnt house and deciding the house fell on him and killed him before determining the smoke or the flames did not.”

    Then please tell us where the burnt house is.

    You have said NOTHING about what you think exists in explanation of the PETM that works better than climate change from CO2 emissions from those volcanoes.

    To use an analogy, you’re saying that the house may have fallen down because it had been burned down and so the man died from something else (but you don’t know what), but haven’t said why it looks like it burned down, and haven’t even asked if the man was inside the house rather than next to it when it fell.

    Comment by Mark — 8 Apr 2009 @ 11:04 AM

  197. #192 pete best

    I would say that resonances certainly can reinforce or defeat each other depending on the scope of influence of the particular resonance. But there are so many resonances and getting them understood/well modeled with clear signal above noise is certainly challenging. That is why I was very interested in a systems/chaos type view as suggested by the idea presented in the Swanson/Tsonis paper (recently discussed).

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/03/with-all-due-respect/

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 8 Apr 2009 @ 11:06 AM

  198. #191 Dawn

    I take it you are using the bludgeoning with irrelevance technique of copying and posting irrelevant tired old arguments.

    If you want to be relevant, try this.

    Take a point you want to make, research it on climate related government, institutional and real climate for responses; in other words, check to see if the argument has already been reasonably argued. Look at the references links to the science and the basis of the arguments.

    If it has already been reasonably explained/debunked. Then don’t post it.

    There is an old saying: Never try to teach a pig to sing, it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Translation: Don’t waste your time with arguments that will waste everyone else’s time in this blog. Do your homework using reason. Just parroting the silly garbage that you find on sites that are ‘guessing’ about climate based on limited scope ‘opinion’, facts out of ‘context’, or simply belief, is a supreme disservice to intelligence and reason.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 8 Apr 2009 @ 11:09 AM

  199. in 178:

    “I believe in my initial comment I covered all the points raised in support of co2 being the cause of the extinction and why they are not definitive”

    in #122:

    “ref #52 “The End-Permian was caused by CO2 from a super-volcano”

    I am a bit perplexed how this hypothesis has gained so much traction that people speak of it as fact instead of one of several hypothesis.”

    Now is there ANYTHING in between those two posts by you that explain why CO2 being right is not definitive?

    I can’t see any.

    You’ve said there were other volcanoes.

    You’ve said that they put out stuff other than CO2.

    You haven’t said why this other stuff is what could have caused the extinctions and you’ve not said what data supports them being enough to do so.

    Not
    a
    piggin’
    thing.

    Do you want to try again?

    Comment by Mark — 8 Apr 2009 @ 11:10 AM

  200. Re #186:

    Jim Stevens – You have made a completely unsupported assertion that there were earthquakes in 2008 associated with the Wilkins Ice Sheet. Please provide your source for that factoid.

    And then you build upon that claim to where you are hypothesizing that there may be magma moving beneath the ice sheet. That’s a big load for one unsupported claim to carry.

    I’m afraid that without some serious supporting evidence your post falls into the ‘not even wrong’ category.

    Comment by Phillip Shaw — 8 Apr 2009 @ 11:28 AM

  201. #191 Dawn

    I have an idea, if you are not worried about being stalked or have any other work related problems, etc. with posting your full name. Go ahead and post it.

    I find that people that post their full name are more likely to do research before they post something. Not all the time, but it seems to lean to the positive.

    You see, if your just Dawn, then it does not matter what you say, no accountability.

    But if you post with your real name, then you may be more likely to not want to look unreasonable, or unsubstantial, or irrelevant with your posts. Like I said, in most cases that is a motive factor, not all. Some are fully willing to post conjecture and unsubstantiated opinion devoid of reason and relevant contextual fact.

    It is easy to think one knows what one is talking about. I have fallen into that trap in the past as well. It’s just one of life’s lessons that we, as humans, sometimes need to be reminded of.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 8 Apr 2009 @ 11:38 AM

  202. Wow,
    I see the attitude is entirely acceptable when it comes from the appropriate direction.

    I had several posts declined that addressed specific responses but they are gone now.

    Really this attitude excuse is obviously subjective but I’ll try again an earlier post without a link and whatever was deemed to be “attitude”.

    Gavin,
    I asked earlier you if you were reading something into the corrected ocean temp process. There is nothing conclusive in that reevaluation. Barely any confidence either.
    There’s obviously a significant amount of guesstimating and presumption involved with correcting the problems with the instrumental biases and Argo float data.
    At this point they are only offering loosely derived indication of some continued warming. And the justification is vague at best.

    Is it attitude to then ask “How do you possibly treat that with such high confidence and certainty?”
    I really want to know.

    Lawrence,
    The ocean sensors said the oceans have been cooling. The temperatures have since been “corrected” as stated above.
    IMO without a satisfactory basis or explanation. Frankly I don’t know why anyone would view this treatment of the ocean temperatures as reliable.

    Steve Missal,
    How is that you are waiting for special delivery of an “optional theory” when you cannot point to any meaningful data which substantiates the AGW cause?

    I suggested we be consistent.
    5 or 10 years a long term trend does not make. Neither does a 30 year trend.
    And neither does faulty sensors and corrected readings.

    If the overriding interest is valid science then how can you trust the current approach to “official temperature record”?
    Additionally, if you want to simply choose to treat the ocean temperature trend and Antarctic ice shelf-AGW connection as reliable and conclusive go ahead.
    But I see neither any reliability or anything conclusive.
    To borrow a line [edit--no cherry-picked, out-of-context, and misleading quotations of our colleagues please]

    SecularAnimist,

    Nice attitude.

    It is not “my accepting any fake, phony, ExxonMobil-scripted, pseudo-scientific denialist bunk” that leaves me skpetical. It is the repeated absence of sound science to link AGW to observations as demonstrated in this discussion of ocean temperature trends and Wilkens Ice shelf.

    Moreover I have never “dogmatically refused to look at any information that might contradict my skepticism.
    That’s why I am here.
    From my perspective it is you et al who refuses to look at the extensive information that calls into question many of the methods that attribute observations to AGW.

    Let’s face reality. You must acknowledge that there are many claims being made that have no substantiating basis in science at all.

    In contrast to the presumption that the Wilkens event is a sign of AGW is a thorough explanation over at icecap but I am not allowed to post a link.

    And we should try and be friends with some standards in seeking the truth.

    [Response: Ah I see. Because people working in a subject you know nothing about have, after many years, corrected the data to deal with obvious inconsistencies that have been discussed in many papers (none of which you appear to have read), we are supposed to simply throw up our hands and declare that we know nothing and that since it wasn't perfect first time round it must be useless now. Got it. (And you think this is a substantive argument? Oh dear.) - gavin]

    Comment by Dawn — 8 Apr 2009 @ 11:41 AM

  203. I think there are natural cycles on this planet that our models are incapable of capturing. There are feedback mechanisms yet to be discovered. IPCC predictions for global temperatures are off at least 1 standard deviation. This does not prove that CO2 does not cause the warming but it does prove that the existing models lack predictive merit. Using the Wilkins collapse as an indicator of AGW is cherry picking.

    Comment by Eric — 8 Apr 2009 @ 12:14 PM

  204. Dawn says, “I’ll have to imagine that the more germane and well said arguements a skeptics posts the least likely they will show up.”

    Ooh! A testable hypothesis! Try posting something germane and cogent. Just once. Pretty please!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Apr 2009 @ 12:24 PM

  205. Dawn, please either visit me at realskeptic.blogspot.com or email me at wbennettjr@yahoo.com and send me what you tried to post.

    I’m interested in discussing it with you.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 8 Apr 2009 @ 12:31 PM

  206. Walt, To contend that finding errors in data and correcting them is somehow an indication of incompetence or conspiracy is simply ignorant and irresponsible. Every data set has errors. More than half of science is estimating and modeling errors. It is normal. It is expected. If one does not understand this or cannot communicate it, one isn’t ready to try to communicate scientific results to the world.

    Climate science is progressing just like any other science does. People investigate what they don’t understand, posit and test theories, argue a lot and eventually reach a consensus about what works. In terms of the science, the whole climate change debate is a sideshow. It barely registers. Climate change is merely an inescapable consequence of the portion of the science that is settled. If you don’t understand that, you don’t understand the situation.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Apr 2009 @ 12:42 PM

  207. Hank Roberts (#125) and Marcus (#141),

    Thanks for the background info and discussion.

    Comment by MarkB — 8 Apr 2009 @ 12:44 PM

  208. #194 Walt Bennett

    For perspective, I for one have no problem with what Gavin said, especially in consideration of his knowledge, understanding and the context involved.

    For example, here is what I consider rude. Coming to a blog that is dedicated to science and spouting garbage that is scientifically un-substantiable and claiming it is relevant.

    That is rude… Calling a person an idiot for doing so, that is not rude, that is relevant reasonable assessment and virtually fact.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/idiot

    1usually offensive : a person affected with extreme mental retardation
    2: a foolish or stupid person

    In other words, if the shoe fits…

    By extrapolation, one can clearly see that the application of the word ‘idiot’ in the context and use in question, is reasonably applicable.

    But hey, that’s just my opinion and I can be an idiot too once in a while… call me human. In my world, we should try not to be offended, but rather considerate of our potentials either way, at any given point in time.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 8 Apr 2009 @ 12:44 PM

  209. Accelerated ice discharge from the Antarctic Peninsula following the collapse of Larsen B ice shelf

    E. Rignot,1,2 G. Casassa,2 P. Gogineni,3 W. Krabill,4 A. Rivera,2 and R. Thomas4,2
    Received 7 June 2004; revised 9 July 2004; accepted 12 August 2004; published 22 September 2004.

    Interferometric synthetic aperture radar data collected by ERS-1/2 and Radarsat-1 satellites show that Antarctic Peninsula glaciers sped up significantly following the collapse of Larsen B ice shelf in 2002. Hektoria, Green and Evans glaciers accelerated eightfold between 2000 and 2003 and decelerated moderately in 2003.

    http://pubs.usgs.gov/imap/2600/B/

    For an overview of anthropogenically driven polar warming:

    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/~nathan/pdf/ngeo338.pdf

    “Attribution of polar warming to human influence, Gillett et al. Nature 2008″

    Comment by Ike Solem — 8 Apr 2009 @ 12:46 PM

  210. Ray, what was your comment in #205 in reference to?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 8 Apr 2009 @ 12:48 PM

  211. #176; also #179 and similar posts, worth also looking work by Peter Mayhew, York University (U.K.), and his assessment of extinction rates and biodiversity in response to palaeoclimate change. He’s a good speaker and presenter, by the way, if you ever get a chance to attend one of his talks, and the results are very striking.

    # 145 – Mauri – interesting comments, particularly contrasting Wilkins with Wordie etc. What do you make of the features extending at about 2 o’clock from Latady (using ESA images as the ref. frame)? Anyone actually out there at the moment measuring these things (depth, width etc.), or likely to do a fly-by for more detailed photogrammetry? Presumably the form and fabric/till structure of the bed will be a major factor in what happens and where.

    Comment by Nick O. — 8 Apr 2009 @ 12:53 PM

  212. JPR, way OT and not very important either, but that hair up your butt that gives you the obsession with full names ought to be cut out. You’re saying 99% of blog posts are worthless. That’s silly and tiresome. Find better ways to chastise folks that disagree with you.

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Apr 2009 @ 12:57 PM

  213. John,

    Why bother defending rudeness?

    Were you on the high school debate team?

    And did I catch you using Gavin’s position and acclaim as a justification?

    Really?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 8 Apr 2009 @ 12:57 PM

  214. #190 John P. Reisman

    John, you are an idiot sometimes.

    You posted: “Current multiyear ice is 9.8%”

    but you forgot to give it context ;)

    So here:

    Current multiyear ice >2 Years Old is in contrast to the evidence of ice >2 Years Old from between 1981 and 2000

    I stand corrected by myself :)

    Okay, maybe I’m being hard on myself, maybe I was just sloppy, or inconsiderate of the context at the moment, but I don’t want to rule out my potential for idiocy.

    BTW, I’m ignoring other related factors to this for the sake of economy.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 8 Apr 2009 @ 1:21 PM

  215. #200 Philip
    A magnitude 5.8 quake hit Antartica on Sunday, November 4, 2007. See link at
    http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Rare_earthquake_strikes_Antarctica

    Here is another link to the USGS regarding earthquakes in Antartica. http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learning/faq.php?categoryID=1&faqID=138
    Here is a link to an explanation about “glacial” earthquakes caused by ice movement. http://www.livescience.com/environment/080606-glacial-earthquakes.html
    Here is a link to a Nov 3 2007 Antartic earthquake
    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-11/03/content_7003963.htm

    Here is an article about an Antartic glacier moving 2 feet a day in a earthquake like pattern linked to tides.

    http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=111647

    Based on a cursory reading of what is found on google, there is a lot to be learned regarding, volcanos, earthquakes and the movement of ice sheets in Antartica. Can anyone state definitively what the causation was for the collapse of the Wilkins Ice Sheet? Based on my reading of the news reports I have not seen a cause attributed to the collapse just speculation.
    Thanks
    William

    Comment by william — 8 Apr 2009 @ 1:21 PM

  216. Walt, can you see if you can get “Global Cooler” straightened out about seeing trends at your site?
    That same NASA link is posted a lot of other places on the Intartubes, you can search for it — by people making the same mistaken claim about it.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Apr 2009 @ 1:26 PM

  217. Ray,
    It is germane to point out the lack of substantiating scientific support for a theory. In this thread it is the supposed theory that the Wilkins Ice shelf event is related to AGW.

    Also the notion that ocean temperature readings that showed cooling have been corrected lacks substantiation as well.
    Yet, as I stated above, the “correction” is being accepted as reliable. Why?

    IMO you mischaracterized, to Walt, the concern about the errors in data and how they are handled.
    I am not, and I suspect Walt too, so ignorant or irresponsible as to contend either incompetency or conspiracy. Rather I am pointing out that the corrections were made with some pretty vague and unsubstantiated assumptions. That’s what I am reading in the report that describes those corrections.
    If you see some specificity that I am missing please point it out.
    Obviously “Every data set has errors.”
    Who doesn’t understand “estimating and modeling errors”?
    But both the errors and the corrections must be adequately and accurately identified with an acceptable level of confidence.

    My pitch here is that you and yours are granting that level confidence when it is NOT deserving.

    And all the while you appear summarily dismiss most if not all opposing and contradictory considerations.
    Yes “Climate science is progressing just like any other science does”.
    But for some reason you broad brush all contributing skeptics as lacking understanding.
    Despite this approach of yours there are abundant skeptics with expertise and extensive scientific work in this progressing field of climate science.
    IMO you are neglecting to consider a vast portion of this “sideshow” debate.
    Attempting to sweep it all under the rug with your own declarations about what Climate change ultimately means is no substitute for inclusive and objective study.
    Now try and be nice.

    Comment by Dawn — 8 Apr 2009 @ 1:43 PM

  218. Re:#191 states in part-”I’ll have to imagine that the more germane and well said arguements a skeptics posts the least likely they will show up.”

    I don’t see that that’s the case- People on the other side of this issue post here constantly, and are welcomed, otherwise we’d have a pretty dull time of it constantly nodding to each other in agreement. It’s poaaible to learn from opposing views if the arguments are well substantiated.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 8 Apr 2009 @ 1:50 PM

  219. ref #199 No Mark I have no interest in trying again. I am confident that volcanic eruptions release aerosols. I am confident these reflect light. I am confident that plants require light for photosynthesis. I am confident that so2 released by volcanoes cause acid rain. I am fairly confident that adding nutrient rich soil to water causes anoxia. I am fairly confident that volcanic discharge is nutrient rich which would explain why it is sold as fertilizer. I am confident that volcanic eruptions cause global cooling.

    I am also fairly confident that if an objective person takes the discussion on Laki from J. Gratten: Lithos 79 2005 and instead of saying what if for an entire year said what if for a million years they would see that the preponderance of proof lies with those who do not believe that volcanism was the primary cause of the Permian extinction:

    Fissure maintained its peak output for an entire year,
    the environmental consequences would have led to an
    environmental crisis. Rather than most of the damage
    to the environment being confined to a brief period
    between June and July, acid rain and aerosols would
    have been deposited repeatedly. Between June 8th
    1783–June 8th 1784 stable high-pressure systems
    dominated the weather of Europe on 11 separate
    episodes totalling 147 days, during which volatile
    gases and aerosols could have been delivered to the
    surface. Assuming the intensity of each episode to be
    comparable to that which actually occurred in 1783,
    severe acid damage to the environment could be
    predicted on 10 further occasions with inevitable
    intense modification of ecosystems.
    Taking the climatic and environmental modifications
    together, it is plain that a single CFB lava flow
    over a single year would be a powerful environmental
    forcing mechanism. It is clear from the actual
    events which occurred in 1783 that such volcanic
    activity may wield a direct influence on distant
    environments on at least a continental scale. This
    350 J. Grattan / Lithos 79 (2005) 343–353
    influence is severe and includes the impacts of
    extreme weather and climate plus acid deposition.
    Taking the impacts of these processes upon plants
    over several years, we may predict a severe reduction
    in their range and an impairment of their ability to
    reproduce themselves, there would be an inevitable
    further impact upon the animals which relied on
    them. The lesson which the Laki Fissure eruption
    may contribute to CFB studies is therefore one of
    sudden, extreme impacts of acid fallout and contamination
    over a wide area, which would be repeated
    throughout the life of the flood basalt eruption over
    many thousands of years. Inevitable in such a
    scenario critical environmental thresholds would be
    crossed, from which recovery would be limited and
    significant long term environmental change could
    ensue (Skiba et al., 1989; Smith et al., 1993

    Comment by steve — 8 Apr 2009 @ 1:59 PM

  220. Raw temperature data is all that is required to prove or disprove the AGW theory. All this stuff about glaciers and iceshelves is not proof, it is more of an overused distraction, and for some, a deception.

    AGW alarmists still haven’t come close to proving that global warming will be apocalyptically detrimental to mankind. The mild warming of Earth, most strongly felt in the higher latitudes, will probably benefit mankind.
    The Atlantic Chronozone, Medieval Warm Period, and even the Eocene give examples of what Earth will be like, were some of the more extreme predictions for AGW to be realized. We certainly have sufficient time to absorb negative GW effects, given the gradual nature of the change.
    I see that some of the President’s top advisors are thinking of geoengineering to fight AGW. More research should be applied to this, but also for preventing catastrophic cooling, such as a new glacial period, which would be far worse than GW.

    Comment by MiltonFyke — 8 Apr 2009 @ 2:12 PM

  221. Walt and John Reisman: I would also note that there is a difference between calling someone an idiot and saying “Don’t be an idiot.” I think I can safely assume none of us considers Theo to be an idiot, but that to imply conspiracy or incompetence based on finding errors in data is not a defensible position.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Apr 2009 @ 2:14 PM

  222. #212 Ray Ladbury

    Good point, gives better context.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 8 Apr 2009 @ 2:40 PM

  223. Regarding Dawn et al, is there some reliable diagnostic available for the purpose of distinguishing intellectual laziness vs. garden variety stupidity vs. disingenuity?

    As a case in point, Dawn’s presentation is a confusing mixture of defects. Some of her beliefs appear anachronistic, frozen and insusceptible to improvement, other things she explains to us appear wholly organic and even original while always wrong, yet at the same time she shows a strong tendency to parrot demagogic spouting she’s apparently been able to memorize.

    All that being the case, it’s hard to tell if Dawn is truly ignorant and simultaneously too shiftless to grow, is congenitally incapable of forming an useful understanding of the topic of climate change, or is having a bit of fun at everybody’s expense.

    Other than pegging Dawn as boring friction, what can we reliably say about her that is helpful to the debate?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 8 Apr 2009 @ 2:56 PM

  224. #213 Walt Bennett

    I am not defending rudeness, I am defending relevance.

    I did not mention Gavin’s position, but neither would I rule it out as a factor. He is a respected scientist. He has heard, by now, so many silly arguments and is, in my opinion, extremely tolerant with people that simply don’t understand the relevant contexts, and scientifically well understood evidence.

    So my justification is the context of his (in my opinion) exceptional management of this blog, his tremendous efforts and time spent here, and his willingness to keep this blog relevant and avoid tired, old, out of context, or irrelevant arguments from wasting everyone’s time, including yours.

    Ray’s point is sound, imo. I can be an idiot sometimes, but that does not mean that I am an idiot. I can’t imagine going through life and never doing something idiotic.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 8 Apr 2009 @ 3:17 PM

  225. Steve #181 (following #178):>>”The Siberian Traps would almost certainly have been episodic, but the amount of discharge would be equivalent to turning Mount St Helens on and leaving it on for a million years.”

    Wrong by a factor of about a 1000!

    The main Plinian eruption of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980 lasted about 9 hours. If “turned on” in the Plinian phase for an entire year, it would have ejected 2,285 km3 (assuming the 2.9 km3 you cited occurred entirely during the 9-hour climactic Plinian eruption phase). The Siberian Traps volume of 3M km3 would be reached in 1,062 years at this ejection rate.

    Comment by Brian Brademeyer — 8 Apr 2009 @ 3:20 PM

  226. Dawn: “Also the notion that ocean temperature readings that showed cooling have been corrected lacks substantiation as well.
    Yet, as I stated above, the “correction” is being accepted as reliable. Why?”

    A number of us do try to note that the science of ocean heat uptake is still in flux, and the figure that I personally cited does include all 3 recent ocean heat content reconstructions to show the continuing differences.

    However, your original statement on ocean heat content, stated: “You need to get current. The oceans are not warming.”

    This statement had two problems: one was that it was based on a short term trend (2003 to 2008). The second was that it was based on a news article from the Baltimore Weather Examiner (not the best of scientific sources). This news article cited an article on “Correcting Ocean Cooling” featuring the research of Josh Willis. The news article included a couple of figures from the article: of course, these figures were the “before” figures, and, as the article title might suggest, Willis was correcting his previous analysis that had suggested Ocean Cooling as the figures from the 2nd half of the “Correcting Ocean Cooling” article showed.

    So effectively, neither you nor the news article writer was “current”.

    Now, having come in with a “definitive” statement that was proved wrong, you are attempting to defend yourself by noting that there are still uncertainties in the science – and yes, there are, but that doesn’t make your original, very clear statement any less false.

    Comment by Marcus — 8 Apr 2009 @ 3:22 PM

  227. dawn,
    forgive them dawn. the reason they get frustrated is they’ve heard all the buzz words you use and the standard skeptic criticisms. they have looked into them all. the criticisms have all, so far, been addressed to the satisfaction of almost all climate scientists. see if any of these sound familiar: http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

    Comment by walter crain — 8 Apr 2009 @ 3:22 PM

  228. > some reliable diagnostic available
    > for the purpose of distinguishing

    There is, as Dano pointed out long ago, no ‘Wisdom’ button on the Internet. Having said that, teh Google can sometimes be helpful in this, if you study the return and sort out who might be who and who isn’t.

    You can of course search within results* to sort’em:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%2B%22Dawn+said%22+%2Bclimate+%2Bwarming+%2Bcooling

    _________________
    *This suggestion added after I was reminded:
    “taketh recounts” says ReCaptcha

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Apr 2009 @ 3:29 PM

  229. Doug,

    That’s quite the attitude.
    Your psychoanalyzing leaves me almost feeling violated. But not quite.

    I think you could have done a much better job of pointing out how my impressions of the Wilkens event and cooling ocean corrections had you simply stayed with climate science.

    Perhaps you are working on that part now that you’ve vented?

    I find this debate interesting despite the occasional tantrums.

    And thank you Gavin for clearing my way to contribute.

    Comment by Dawn — 8 Apr 2009 @ 3:32 PM

  230. if all of antarctica’s ice melted what would we find? any interesting mountains? canyons? volcanos? how much of it would remain above water if the ice all melted (initially, and “after full rebound”)? hhmmm…

    Comment by walter crain — 8 Apr 2009 @ 3:38 PM

  231. ref #219 obviously my statement should have said “the preponderance of the burden of proof” but I felt I should correct this least it come back to haunt me

    Comment by steve — 8 Apr 2009 @ 3:39 PM

  232. > what can we reliably say

    Rely on the journal articles, not on the ‘icecap’ blog, for credible information you can check for yourself.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Apr 2009 @ 3:42 PM

  233. “they’ve heard all the buzz words you use and the standard skeptic criticisms. they have looked into them all.”

    And seemingly never heard.

    If they’d been heard, these old hashed out memes would be dead.

    But they aren’t.

    Comment by Mark — 8 Apr 2009 @ 3:50 PM

  234. #225 oops! valid point Brian my error

    Comment by steve — 8 Apr 2009 @ 3:54 PM

  235. “Raw temperature data is all that is required to prove or disprove the AGW theory. ”

    How raw is raw?

    The readout count from the CCD, unaltered for any element? The raw GPS signal, before corrections are made to turn it in to position? The laser gyroscope readings before they are turned into angle position?

    HOW RAW IS RAW?

    And if raw data about sea ice isn’t proof of AGW, what are you expecting from this raw data? That it too will not be proof of AGW?

    You have that horse so far behind the cart, they’re on different continents.

    AGW theory says that the amount of CO2 production from human sources should create a larger and increasing change upward in the world’s average temperature.

    That’s all.

    One result of this is that glaciers melt.

    Having seen glaciers melt, this is corroborating evidence (note, not proof, but nobody outside of a media journal says it’s proof).

    But answer how raw is raw?

    Comment by Mark — 8 Apr 2009 @ 3:56 PM

  236. “ref #199 No Mark I have no interest in trying again”

    What do you mean “trying again”. You haven’t tried the first time, yet.

    “I am confident that volcanic eruptions release aerosols. I am confident these reflect light. …”

    Yup, I’m confident these do them too.

    But are they enough to kill off all the plants and animals?

    You seem oddly confident they are, despite having NO EVIDENCE of it. Heck, you have NO EVIDENCE you’ve even looked seriously.

    Try a FIRST time, then you can say “I’m not going to try again”.

    Comment by Mark — 8 Apr 2009 @ 3:59 PM

  237. “It is germane to point out the lack of substantiating scientific support for a theory. In this thread it is the supposed theory that the Wilkins Ice shelf event is related to AGW.”

    Well, here’s the link:

    AGW means climate temperatures will go up.

    When temperature goes UP, ice near the melting point will warm and melt.

    Here we have a lot of ice that is melting.

    See the connection?

    No?

    Comment by Mark — 8 Apr 2009 @ 4:01 PM

  238. “Can anyone state definitively what the causation was for the collapse of the Wilkins Ice Sheet? Based on my reading of the news reports I have not seen a cause attributed to the collapse just speculation.”

    I can answer this one: melting.

    Ice melting is the cause of collapse.

    Comment by Mark — 8 Apr 2009 @ 4:02 PM

  239. “You’re saying 99% of blog posts are worthless.”

    That’s probably an underestimate, RodB.

    But as Pauli said: the best way to get good ideas is to have lots of ideas.

    Unfortunately, without people knowing which ideas are yours, the best way of having lots of ideas is to have lots of stupid ones. You don’t have to sweat thinking then.

    Comment by Mark — 8 Apr 2009 @ 4:05 PM

  240. > if all of Antarctica melted
    You can look it up.
    Google can become your friend.

    When you want a picture, use the Image Search link:
    http://images.google.com/images?q=if%20all%20of%20Antarctica%20melted

    Then look at the results til you see a good one, like this one
    http://www.ig.utexas.edu/outreach/wiredantarctica/lessons/sci_lessons/meltant.jpeg

    You’ll find that a little ways down this page:

    http://www.ig.utexas.edu/outreach/wiredantarctica/lessons/sci_lessons/lesson6s.htm
    (the other pictures there are likely to interest you also)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Apr 2009 @ 4:06 PM

  241. Hank Roberts — Thanks for the info. Yes, I’ll posit increased basal inflow helped promote Wilkins breaks.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 8 Apr 2009 @ 4:08 PM

  242. “Raw temperature data is all that is required to prove or disprove the AGW theory. All this stuff about glaciers and iceshelves is not proof, it is more of an overused distraction, and for some, a deception.” – MiltonFyke

    On the contrary, as has been pointed out in this thread, glaciers and iceshelves are excellent integrators of climatic effects. The consilience of the temperature data (never, of course, raw) with the retreat of glaciers and collapse of ice-shelves greatly increases climate scientists’ confidence that rapid warming is happening. What grounds have you for your claim of deception?

    “AGW alarmists still haven’t come close to proving that global warming will be apocalyptically detrimental to mankind. The mild warming of Earth, most strongly felt in the higher latitudes, will probably benefit mankind.”

    Well of course, benevolent aliens could come and save us, or the sun could suddenly cool very sharply. You really ought to take a look at the IPCC AR4 WGII report on impacts – it might disabuse you of your complacent illusions. At anything above 2 degrees C above pre-industrial temperatures, the effects will almost certainly be strongly negative – and even below that, there will be serious problems for the billion and more people dependent on glaciers and snowpack for their water supply, and for low-lying areas.

    “The Atlantic Chronozone, Medieval Warm Period, and even the Eocene give examples of what Earth will be like, were some of the more extreme predictions for AGW to be realized.”

    No, they don’t. Of these, only the Eocene had temperatures anywhere near the 6 degrees C above pre-industrial levels that are predicted by many if BAU continues – and it may have escaped your notice, but at that time there was not a human civilisation of several billions adapted to current temperatures, sea-level, and water-availability patterns.

    “I see that some of the President’s top advisors are thinking of geoengineering to fight AGW. More research should be applied to this, but also for preventing catastrophic cooling, such as a new glacial period, which would be far worse than GW.”

    I stand to be corrected by experts, but it seems to me geoengineering against cooling would be much easier than against warming: release quantities of a highly-effective greenhouse gas such as one of the HCFCs.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 8 Apr 2009 @ 4:10 PM

  243. #236 Mark, in case it has escaped you the extinction event happened 250 million years ago. There is limited evidence to support any hypothesis which is why there are still so many in play. The volcanism hypothesis does have one advantage over the others and that is that it has a test case in Laki. Now I am done with this conversation and will gladly declare you the winner. congratulations

    Comment by steve — 8 Apr 2009 @ 4:31 PM

  244. Re: Phil Felton at #195

    I’ve made a (crude) animation of the two most recent ESA images here. It’s clear that with the “pin” gone, a very large area of ice is on the move — mainly northwards.

    Comment by Gareth — 8 Apr 2009 @ 4:50 PM

  245. Say, Gavin, back to the original topic — you mentioned the interesting thing about this collapse from a materials science point of view. I haven’t heard anyone comment who’s working on this, have you any pointers to published work while we wait and hope for visitors to comment?

    The sequence is documented

    http://www.esa.int/images/wilkins26nov2008timeline_H.jpg

    The shape of the breaks has been described a bit (find “disintegration” earlier).

    I don’t find any maps of the underlying seabottom, but I wondered if there’s a shallow stretch underlying the former ice bridge. I’ve noticed in puddles that where water rises and falls under ice, or where ice freezes and melts and refreezes, the area that is in close contact with the bottom seems to ‘jack itself up’ a bit with each freeze, maybe ratcheting up and down as the frozen part grounds out while the floating part doesn’t. Just speculating.

    [Response: Well, I think it interesting that most of the faults were either parallel to the bridge or orthogonal implying a mechanically induced failure rather the surface melt induced collapse seen at Larson B. It should be a good case study for ice modellers in the future. - gavin]

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Apr 2009 @ 4:50 PM

  246. #242 Nick Gotts

    I think it’s pretty well established that you don’t need to resort to fluorines, just burning fossil fuels is sufficient to stave off cooling for the the near future up to an including possibly 20k yrs, possibly more, but as I’ve heard in the past, it’s not nice to upset mother nature :)

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 8 Apr 2009 @ 4:58 PM

  247. How does the collapse square with the latest NSIDC data which shows an increasing Antartic ice coverage?
    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/s_plot.png

    Jim N

    [Response: Look in the region where this is happening. - gavin]

    Comment by Jim Norvell — 8 Apr 2009 @ 5:08 PM

  248. Mark (#239):

    <But as Pauli said: the best way to get good ideas is to have lots of ideas.>

    You paraphrase, perhaps accidentally, what has been said of Churchill during the war years: He had hundreds of ideas every day, and, most days, one of them was good.

    Comment by Chris Dunford — 8 Apr 2009 @ 5:13 PM

  249. John@246,
    I was envisaging some completely unexpected and drastic drop in solar output – or at any rate, the amount reaching Earth – due to, say, a thick dust cloud enveloping us. Sure, fossil fuels could do it, but they have other nasty effects, principally acidifying the ocean. AFAIK, HCFCs don’t – they don’t damage the ozone layer much, and are non-toxic. I’d assume there are many other possible candidates.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 8 Apr 2009 @ 5:20 PM

  250. walter crain asked: “if all of antarctica’s ice melted what would we find?”

    Hank Roberts replied: “You can look it up. Google can become your friend.”

    Well, that’s more practical than my suggestion which would be to read H.P. Lovecraft’s novella At The Mountains Of Madness:

    I am forced into speech because men of science have refused to follow my advice without knowing why. It is altogether against my will that I tell my reasons for opposing this contemplated invasion of the Antarctic – with its vast fossil hunt and its wholesale boring and melting of the ancient ice caps. And I am the more reluctant because my warning may be in vain.

    Doubt of the real facts, as I must reveal them, is inevitable; yet, if I suppressed what will seem extravagant and incredible, there would be nothing left.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 8 Apr 2009 @ 5:23 PM

  251. Steve Missal (#50):

    <I’d still like to hear an actual theory [of why the Wilkins disengaged] from Dawn or any other skeptic. Something other than armchair stuff.>

    This is so obvious. I can’t believe you so-called “scientists” missed this.

    It’s polar bears. They held a conference. They identified the problem: not enough ice. They came up with the solution: go get some from the other end. It’s just that simple.

    Comment by Chris Dunford — 8 Apr 2009 @ 5:26 PM

  252. Re: Ocean Heat Content Data and corrections:

    To those who have objections to the corrections. It is quite clearly laid out in th Levitus(2008) paper and others. Please do read these and post your objections. Let us discuss the science.

    Comment by sidd — 8 Apr 2009 @ 5:50 PM

  253. I know where the Wilkins Ice Shelf is. I don’t see how this collapse potends anything catastrophic.

    Jim N

    [Response: If you know where it is, then you also know that sea ice declines have been very large in that region. That is the answer to your original question. Who said this was catastrophe? (except in the technical sense of a catastrophic failure of the ice which it clearly is). - gavin]

    Comment by Jim Norvell — 8 Apr 2009 @ 5:52 PM

  254. Gavin replied inline:
    “a mechanically induced failure rather the surface melt induced collapse”

    Hm — may I speculate further?
    On Wilkins the ice sheet was halted by contact with the islands, sat there moving up and down. It would get those straight cracks where ice flexed in the water alongside its grounding lines, and I’m guessing it had a grounding line on the shortest distance where that long persistent ice bridge. So it’d have parallel fractures on either side of the shallow area I”m imagining, with the persistent ice bridge over it.

    On Ross the ice was being extruded slowly into the bay, and flexed at the grounding line as it extruded across that linear feature. So it’d have a different pattern of cracks reflecting a different pattern of flexing.

    Just, again, trying to empathize with the ice sheet…. and tempt those reading who have done the science to comment.

    I wonder if there are other places this might also play out.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Apr 2009 @ 5:53 PM

  255. Jim Norvell: Another difference between general Antarctic sea ice and the various ice-shelves is that the ice-shelves are hindering glacial land-ice flow. Therefore, collapse of ice shelves may have an impact on sea level rise in a manner unlike other sea-ice changes.

    Having said that, the same conditions which lead to large Antarctic sea ice extent would seem to me (perhaps naively) to make it unlikely that there would be simultaneous persistent mass loss from Antarctic ice. But I also don’t expect the Antarctic sea ice extent to remain larger than average for more than another decade or two, while it does seem like loss of Peninsula ice shelves is becoming a trend. But that is more speculative, and I am not an Antarctic expert.

    Comment by Marcus — 8 Apr 2009 @ 6:40 PM

  256. Ok, interesting stuff out there on structure:

    http://voxel.tamu.edu/publications/iceshelf_stru.pdf

    8/8/2005
    Structure of Eastern Antarctic Peninsula Ice Shelves and Ice Tongues from Synthetic Aperture Radar Imagery

    ______excerpt_follows_____

    Examination of synthetic aperture radar data collected over the southeastern Antarctic Peninsula shows that features sometimes mapped as ice shelves are more likely composed of numerous ice tongues interspersed within a matrix of fast ice and icebergs. The tongues are formed by the seaward extension of numerous small mountain glaciers that drain from the Antarctic Peninsula. Once afloat, the tongues intermingle with a matrix of fast ice and brash. Examination of 1997 Radarsat-1 image mosaics shows that southeastern Antarctic Peninsula composite-ice-shelves covered an area of about 3500 km2. Similar to ice tongues around the rest of Antarctica, these features are highly fragmented and likely to be susceptible to mechanical failure.

    Mercer (1978) postulated that Antarctic ice shelves would be the component of the Antarctic glacier system most responsive to “greenhouse” warming. He predicted a southerly retreat of ice shelf margins starting with the ice shelves in the Antarctic Peninsula (figure 1). His ideas seem especially prescient given the rapid disintegration of the Wordie Ice Shelf during the 1980s (Doake and Vaughan, 1991), retreat of the Wilkins and George VI ice shelves (Luchitta and Rosanova, 1998), and retreat and catastrophic collapse of Larsen A Ice Shelf in 1995 (Skvarca, 1993; Rott and others, 1996; Vaughan and Doake, 1996) and the Larsen Ice Shelf B in 2002
    (MacAyeal and others, 2003) …
    —–end excerpt—–

    This was the search:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?sourceid=Mozilla-search&q=Antarctic+ice+sheet+crack+pattern+Ross+Wilkins+floating
    Lots more.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Apr 2009 @ 6:45 PM

  257. Elijah, the prophet visited our table this evening, drank of his goblet of wine, and went on to innumerable other supper tables, to partake of same,but before departing he did some prophesizing to me about the fouling of our nest.

    He prophesied that our species will rise up against the vested interests, and stop polluting and defiling our land, sea, and air before it’s too late. That we will stop our profligate use of scarce resources, our thoughtless burning of products that have as a necessary bi-product CO2 and other GHGs, in time to save ourselves. That we’ve done too much harm already- genug! enough! basta!.Its time to start taking action. I may not get there get there with you(I’m about James Hansen’s vintage,…and then some!) but we as a species will get there. I hope I wasn’t just hearing things or indulging in wishful thinking.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 8 Apr 2009 @ 7:22 PM

  258. Milton Fyke says: “Raw temperature data is all that is required to prove or disprove the AGW theory.”

    Great, we’ll await your thesis in the peer-reviewed literature. Do get back to us when it comes out.

    [crickets chirping]

    The Oracle of ReCAPTCHA refers to the unmasking of yet another anti-science idiot: outing Stein (Ben, I presume.)

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Apr 2009 @ 7:24 PM

  259. Dawn asks “Who doesn’t understand “estimating and modeling errors”?”

    Uh, well, you, evidently. The mechanism of the errors was understood. The rough magnitude of the errors was understood. Why, under those circumstances, would you not make the correction?

    Dawn, there is a veritable mountain of evidence favoring anthropogenic causation. It dates back all the way to the 1820s–nearly 2 centuries. Anthropogenic causation of the current warming epoch is an unavoidable consequence of the consensus theory of Earth’s climate. You simply cannot come up with a climate model that gives Earth-like behavior that won’t predict warming if you increase greenhouse gasses. So, every aspect of paleoclimate or modern climate that climate science can explain provides support for that model, and so for anthropogenic causation of current warming. Don’t like that conclusion? Great, come up with with a better theory that doesn’t require CO2 sensitivity of 3 degrees per doubling or so. Go ahead. We’ll wait.

    [More crickets chirping]

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Apr 2009 @ 7:38 PM

  260. Walt Bennett, I presume you refer to the post now numbered #206. Theo’s post contended that having found 3 or 4 errors could only be explained by incompetence or fraud.
    You have contended here and elsewhere that climate science is more interested in defending its position than advancing understanding. That is incorrect. The portion of the science that implies anthropogenic causation is simply not under threat. It has been established for decades. The state of the art in climate science concerns paleoclimate, the roles of clouds and aerosols, etc., none of which is likely to overturn the role of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses. If you concentrate only on the political controversy between scientists and denialists, you are watching the side show while the interesting stuff is primarily happening in the main ring.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Apr 2009 @ 7:48 PM

  261. Dawn:

    “I think you could have done a much better job of pointing out how my impressions of the Wilkens event and cooling ocean corrections had you simply stayed with climate science.”

    I assume you intended to include somewhere in that sentence a clause indicating I thought you were wrong? No matter, it’s irrelevant to me what you believe.

    As to sticking with science, here’s a gratuity: you’re not actually “debating” science. You’re spewing pointless entropic noise, like a broken machine that can’t be fixed. As I said, boring friction, all too familiar for anybody that checks into this site on a regular basis. Look back in the archives: examples abound of ill-prepared and poorly equipped self-styled “skeptics” latching onto some spurious talking-point and then working it absolutely beyond the bitter end, making fools of themselves in a way we’ll be able to read about and laugh at for years to come. Yet even as you’re unable to discern this, you’re helping to provide the sort of diagnostic I mentioned.

    Also, it’s “Wilkins”, not “Wilkens”.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 8 Apr 2009 @ 7:50 PM

  262. > other places
    Maybe; nice illustration here, crediting NSIDC:
    http://www.eoearth.org/media/draft/d/d5/Moa_iceshelves.jpg

    From the commentary — much, much more available:
    http://www.eoearth.org/article/Climate_change_and_the_cryosphere

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Apr 2009 @ 7:52 PM

  263. 230 Walter asks, “if all of antarctica’s ice melted what would we find?”

    East Antarctica is mostly above sea level and West Antarctica is a group of islands. Here’s a map:

    http://members.cox.net/pyrophyllite/bedrock.html

    Comment by RichardC — 8 Apr 2009 @ 7:56 PM

  264. 242 Nick, actually geoengineering against warming is easier because the agent (sulphur) is fairly benign in quantities needed and is short-lived. This means that one doesn’t have to get it perfect the first time. It also means that different areas of the globe can be targeted to somewhat customize the cooling effect. Squabbles will arise, lawsuits will flourish, and all the wonderful ways of mankind will make this task far more difficult.

    Comment by RichardC — 8 Apr 2009 @ 8:08 PM

  265. Somewhere I found two clear, color pix of Wilkins, one March 31, the other April 6. From the drift of sea ice between the two pix, it seems clear there was a wind/current drift to the right (and slightly up). Maybe this helps explain the form of the ice bridge collapse.

    [reCAPTHCA does not agree: "designer fertilizers".]

    Comment by David B. Benson — 8 Apr 2009 @ 8:12 PM

  266. A Twain quote for Dawn: “You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Apr 2009 @ 8:17 PM

  267. Jim N wrote in 247:

    How does the collapse square with the latest NSIDC data which shows an increasing Antartic ice coverage?
    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/s_plot.png

    Gavin inlined:

    Look in the region where this is happening.

    It really is the darnedess thing…

    The growth rate in the Ross Sea is 4.8% per decade — which is by far more than anywhere else. The most after that is in the West Pacific Ocean at 1.2%. However, the growth rate in the Bellingshausen Sea is -5.3% — so the sea ice in that region is actually dropping.

    You can see it here:

    Regional changes in Arctic and Antarctic sea ice
    http://maps.grida.no/go/graphic/regional-changes-in-arctic-and-antarctic-sea-ice

    *

    If you place a round clock with the hands — not the digital kind — face up at the South Pole with the West Antarctic Peninsula at roughly 11-1, the Bellingshausen Sea will be at 10. The West Pacific Ocean will be at about 9, and the Ross Sea will be at roughly 7-8. More or less.

    It also looks like water circulates in two directions there. Warm water circulates clockwise. That is on the outside. It’s called the West Wind Drift.

    You can see it here:

    Great ocean conveyor belt
    http://www.geology.iastate.edu/gccourse/ocean/images/image2.jpg
    … from 1-10: Ocean Structure and Circulation
    … by Eugene S. Takle
    http://www.geology.iastate.edu/gccourse/ocean/ocean_lecture_new.html

    However, if you look a little more closely, cold water circulates counterclockwise. That is on the inside. It’s called the East Wind Drift. And what separates the two is called the Antarctic Divergence.

    Please see:
    Antarctic Ocean Surface Currents…
    … from Antarctic Surface Water
    Antarctic Surface Water at http://www.eng.warwick.ac.uk/

    So the Bellingshausen Sea is sticking out there along with the West Antarctic Peninsula and the warm West Wind Drift. The West Pacific Ocean is along continental West Antarctica and gets the cold East Wind Drift. However, the Ross Sea is almost like a bay between West and East Antarctica.

    *

    Looks like the West Pacific Ocean and Ross Sea might be getting some fresh water from all the melting along the West Antarctic Peninsula. You also have to wonder how things will change as the storm tracks move south.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 8 Apr 2009 @ 8:19 PM

  268. A wide variety of data point to a steadily warming Antarctic Peninsula climate, of which the collapsing ice shelves are just one:

    March 19, 2009
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090312140848.htm

    “Over the past 50 years, winter temperatures on the Peninsula have risen five times faster than the global average and the duration of sea-ice coverage has decreased. A warm, moist maritime climate has moved into the northern Peninsula region, pushing the continental, polar conditions southward.”

    “As a result, the prevalence of species that depend on sea ice, such as Adelie penguins, Antarctic silverfish and krill, has decreased in the Peninsula’s northern region, and new species that typically avoid ice, such as Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins, and lanternfish are moving into the habitat.”

    or, try this, 2006:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061016105739.htm

    Lead author Dr Gareth Marshall from the British Antarctic Survey said, “This is the first time that anyone has been able to demonstrate a physical process directly linking the break-up of the Larsen Ice Shelf to human activity. Climate change does not impact our planet evenly — it changes weather patterns in a complex way that takes detailed research and computer modelling techniques to unravel. What we’ve observed at one of the planet’s more remote regions is a regional amplifying mechanism that led to the dramatic climate change we see over the Antarctic Peninsula.”

    Comment by Ike Solem — 8 Apr 2009 @ 8:39 PM

  269. Re #202
    Dawn,corrections are made to raw data very frequently. Way back before the ships that map our coastal areas were part of NOAA, we made corrections to our fathometer(depth) readings for temperature and salinity. Without these modifications, we would have given nautical chart users faulty information.

    These corrective procedures are not unusual and in fact are necessary for consistent and,more importantly, accurate results. These are not heretical procedures in order to fudge things to bring about predetermined results. Scientifically based corrections need to be applied to field measurements in a great many cases.
    Check into your source of info and be sure whether or not this applies in the case of the ocean sensors.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 8 Apr 2009 @ 8:54 PM

  270. Mark (post #90) I guess you didn’t pay much attention to your high school chemistry class. I do not need another thermometer to calibrate a thermometer. By definition the boiling point of water at STP is 100 deg C and a mixture of ice and water constantly stirred at STP is by definition 0 deg C. Thus I immerse my thermometer in boiling water mark the maximum rise of the column, then immerse the thermometer in a stirred mixture of ice and water and mark the minimum point. Divide the distance between your two marks into 100 evenly space divisions. My son calibrated thermometers in 7th grade science. A simple google search finds a host of elementary school lesson plans for the same exercise. Please do your homework first

    Comment by your mommy called — 8 Apr 2009 @ 9:57 PM

  271. Re: #215

    William,

    Do you understand the difference between earthquakes, which may be tectonic or volcanic in origin, and icequakes which are caused by rifting and movement within ice such as glaciers or ice shelves? And do you understand that only volcanic quakes could even conceivably involve magma?

    It only took a few minutes to check Google Scholar and learn that no earthquakes have been recorded in recent years near the Wilkins Ice Shelf, and that the icequakes which have been recorded are entirely consistent with the breakup of the 200 to 250 meter thick ice shelf. The speculation that the ongoing breakup could be the result of volcanic activity doesn’t have a shred of data to support it.

    So for you or Jim Steven to conflate unrelated seismic phenomena is either disengenuous, flatly dishonest, or completely mistaken.

    Comment by Phillip Shaw — 8 Apr 2009 @ 10:22 PM

  272. > geoengineering against warming is easier
    That’s treating a symptom, but not the only symptom or even the most urgent one. You know this, right?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Apr 2009 @ 10:26 PM

  273. I would say geoengineering to make it warmer is a bit “easier” in theory. That’s much like what we’re doing now (the industrial revolution!), only one could find a “better” greenhouse gas than CO2 if we wanted to intentionally make it warmer quickly, particularly some gas which didn’t have overlap with other infrared absorbers and was at a very low background concentration.

    The problem with the injection of aerosols (to offset anthropogenic warming) is that we’d have to commit to it on timescales equivalent to the CO2 lifetime (i.e, centuries to millennia), since our ancestors will get a huge warming effect if CO2 keeps rising and aerosols all of a sudden drop. Talk about abrupt climate change! Once we get to very high CO2 concentrations, continuing to keep up with aerosols is pretty impractical (costs, pollution, etc), global offsets don’t imply regional offsets, ocean acidifcation still an issue, etc. Of course, playing these kind of games with the climate system probably isn’t the best idea in the first place

    Comment by chris colose — 8 Apr 2009 @ 11:06 PM

  274. 269 Lawrence Brown,

    I don’t know how I can be any more clear than I was upthread.
    I never said anything or indicated that I didn’t grasp that
    “corrections are made to raw data very frequently”
    I must repeat that is obvious.
    I am not disputing the decsion to make corrections.

    I am challenging the reliability and confidence level of the perceived erros and the corrections made.

    I am not saying corrections should not be made when errors are suspected to have occured.

    However, I didn’t gather there was much certainty about the errors.
    How many sensors were giving false temperature readings and to what degree appears to be unknown.
    That’s why I suggested they were guesstimating.
    Assumptions were made. In the corrections additional assumptions were made.

    Two reports showed ocean cooling and in the aftermath

    “correcting for instrumental biases of bathythermograph data, and correcting or excluding some Argo float data”

    warming appeared.

    This does not translate into a very high confidence level IMO.

    It’s quite possible that there is no warming, very little warming or even cooling.

    Yet many here are certain the errors and corrections which moved the reported cooling to continued warming is entirely sound.

    OK.

    I don’t.

    I am not saying assumptions should not be made. If errors are detected or suspected “corrective procedures” should be taken.
    Accuracy varies.
    There’s margin of error.
    There needs to be some measure of confidence.

    In the full spectrum between heretical procedures in order to fudge things to high level of scientific control and measurement lies the ocean sensor errors and corrections.

    So I am inquiring as to how scientifically based the corrections were. My take is the field measurements and the corrections may be no better than somewhere in the middle.

    I could have missed something but in all of these comments I didn’t see anyone offer anything to alter that.

    [Response: Again, based on nothing better than your take, are we supposed to assume that the corrections were not scientifically based? Why not read the actual papers? In particular, those of Wijfels et al 2007 and Domingues et al 2008 and references therein. Then tell us why these scientists don't know what they are doing. Your hunch/gut feeling/take/opinion is not the basis of any useful discussion. (PS. No one has claimed the data sets are perfect, so drop that particular strawman). - gavin]

    [edit]

    Comment by Dawn — 8 Apr 2009 @ 11:53 PM

  275. Dawn, are you still reading the old Pielke web pages and Examiner.com articles on “cooling of the global oceans?” Those are not very reliable sources. There really isn’t much evidence that supports your claim, other than one published paper (Lyman et al. with the cooling claim due to bad Argo float data). See previous discussion:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/08/ocean-heat-content-latest-numbers/langswitch_lang/de#comment-18235

    Limited data from the Arctic and Antarctic (the regions that are expected to warm the fastest and the earliest) means that warming in these regions could have offset the rest of the reported trend. The fact that the cooling trend is reduced when the ARGO data is excluded seems to support this notion.

    - but perhaps you are overworked, so let me help you out by providing you with the full-scale denialist argument, as seen on TV.

    First, you want to start with something a little bit authoritative.

    http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2008-231

    Media contact: Alan Buis
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

    There you go – scientific ‘proof’ that the world is cooling due to a negative phase of the PDO. Or is it a big La Nina? Maybe an amplification of the AMO? The Iris effect in action cooling the ocean, as Lindzen predicted… though that would require a drying of the tropical atmosphere, not a moistening. (P.S. Always use acronyms – it makes you sound more authoritative)

    Here’s some more on our cooling world:

    http://climatesci.org/2006/09/29/the-lyman-et-al-paper-recent-cooling-in-the-upper-ocean-has-been-published/

    “As repeatedly stated on Climate Science, the concept of global warming promulgated by the IPCC and others requires a more-or-less continuous accumulation of Joules. For the last several years this has not occurred.”

    See – no joules, no warming. Now, cite some random web sites:

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2009/03/the-ocean-really-is-cooling/

    http://seekerblog.com/archives/20060908/ocean-cooling-confounds-climatologists/

    Those are not as good as respected media outlets, however. Try Andrew Revkin at DotEarth, NYT on the issue:

    http://community.nytimes.com/blogs/comments/dotearth/2009/03/11/no-doubt-about-energy-gap.html?permid=60#comment60

    Revkin: “This came by email from Don Easterbrook. I’ll be setting up the images he alludes to a bit later this week:

    Easterbrook: “Notice that cool water in the Pacific that extends from the equator all the way up the west coast of North America into the Gulf of Alaska is still firmly entrenched. This is the cool water phase of the PDO and it isn’t going to change for at least 2-3 decades (at least it never has in the past) and it is unaffected by atmospheric CO2 as shown by the three PDO switches this century that occurred before atmospheric CO2 increased significantly.”

    There you have it – Easterbrook’s proof, delivered with a smile by Andrew Revkin, no questions asked… but what do the people at JPL have to say about it?

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/01/ocean-cooling-and-global-warming/

    Willis: “The real debate is not over whether global warming exists, but how we as a society will address it. The climate system is already committed to a certain amount of warming from carbon dioxide emissions of the past, but the worst effects of global warming can still be avoided. It only requires the will to look toward the future and to curb our addiction to fossil fuels. That’s not alarmist, it’s just common sense.”

    Revkin: “Now that last line on policy might be read by some folks as a bit of rhetorical cover to keep Dr. Willis in good standing with his colleagues. I know him and a lot of his peers, and I doubt very much he’s worried about appearances. But that’s just my perception.”

    Yes, any scientist who says that we have to quit fossil fuels is just engaging in political correctness, out of fear of offending the hive mind… scientific authoritarianism at its worst – just ask Roger Pielke Jr. at the Breakthrough Institute, aka the Rockefeller Financial Services front group:

    http://www.thebreakthrough.org/blog/2009/02/the_political_philosophy_of_ja.shtml

    Hansen’s scientific authoritarianism becomes largely incoherent when he accuses political leaders of “tricking” their citizens when they say that climate policies include plans for the future development and implementation of carbon capture and storage from coal plants.

    Try and get the NYT or Washington Post to talk about the International Renewable Energy Agency, or about subtropical drought – that’s always fun. Not an acceptable subject for the U.S. media – but you can read about how the PDO is cooling the world.

    Here is the only U.S. media outlet to have published even a passing mention of the International Renewable Energy Agency:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bianca-jagger/yes-we-can_b_181542.html

    For rare decent reporting on the wide variety of issues impacting water supplies in the Western U.S.:

    http://www.sacbee.com/topstories/story/1754416.html

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090401182835.htm

    Hope that helps, Dawn. By the way, do you ever worry that propaganda itself is a greater threat to human civilization than either nuclear weapons, biological warfare, or global warming?

    Comment by Ike Solem — 9 Apr 2009 @ 12:00 AM

  276. Whoever that was above tried to lecture Mark writing:

    > By definition the boiling point of water at STP is 100 deg C …
    > Thus I immerse my thermometer in boiling water

    At STP — that is, at standard temperature and pressure.

    And you’ve checked that you’re at standard temperature and pressure.

    How did you do that?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Apr 2009 @ 12:09 AM

  277. And you’ve checked that you’re at standard temperature and pressure.

    How did you do that?

    With a mercury barometer. Assuming that local gravity g is what you think it is. And that the density for mercury found in the handbooks is indeed in SI kilogrammes per SI cubic metres, traceable back to Paris or wherever it is nowadays.

    Metrology. Measuring something is never trivial. Every measurement result contains an implicit model. Sometimes several.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 9 Apr 2009 @ 2:29 AM

  278. Hank, there’s also a big problem:
    “> By definition the boiling point of water at STP is 100 deg C …
    > Thus I immerse my thermometer in boiling water”

    That would get you a single point. That doesn’t calibrate. You need two to work out how much of a change would make a 1C temperature difference.

    And “Ice freezes at 0C” has a problem that this is only true for pure water.

    Comment by Mark — 9 Apr 2009 @ 3:42 AM

  279. “I am challenging the reliability and confidence level of the perceived erros and the corrections made. ”

    And you know so little about how they are effected, you would be unable to work out whether they were appropriate or not.

    So you’d have to rely on someone else to tell you.

    Rather like the peers who reviewed the changes.

    You didn’t believe THEM, why would we think you’d believe anyone else unless they said what you want to hear them say?

    Comment by Mark — 9 Apr 2009 @ 3:45 AM

  280. Oh, and to your mommy, how do you work out -200C? How about +5000C?

    Look up metrology (spelling is correct). There’s a lot there about temperature measurements. It’s nowhere near as simple as you think it is.

    But if all you know is 7th grade physics, I guess you don’t know much physics, do you.

    Comment by Mark — 9 Apr 2009 @ 3:49 AM

  281. “It’s polar bears. They held a conference. They identified the problem: not enough ice. They came up with the solution: go get some from the other end. It’s just that simple.”

    You have it SOOOO wrong.

    It’s the penguins. They want to invade the artic and have heard that polar bears don’t eat penguins and wish to find a new food source since we’ve taken all the bloody fish.

    This is their Invasion Force Platform.

    Be Afraid.

    Comment by Mark — 9 Apr 2009 @ 3:54 AM

  282. Re: Timothy Chase #82

    I guess in nearly 200 posts someone has already mentioned this…It is easier to break a window by hitting it near a corner (if it has one). Stress concentrates at geometrical discontinuities like right angles, changes in section, holes etc.

    Comment by jr — 9 Apr 2009 @ 3:56 AM

  283. “#236 Mark, in case it has escaped you the extinction event happened 250 million years ago.”

    I am aware of this fact. Why dost thou repeat this item?

    ” The volcanism hypothesis does have one advantage over the others and that is that it has a test case in Laki”

    And extinction by rapid climate change has several test cases, one of which is going on now.

    But you STILL HAVE NOT put what evidence shows that your hypothesis is a better fit than the mainstream one.

    YOU HAVE TO DO THAT to get your hypothesis taken as a better one than the mainstream one.

    Still haven’t done it.

    So much effort put into nothing, too.

    Shame.

    Comment by Mark — 9 Apr 2009 @ 3:59 AM

  284. Dawn writes:

    How is that you are waiting for special delivery of an “optional theory” when you cannot point to any meaningful data which substantiates the AGW cause?

    First of all, it isn’t a “cause.” It’s a scientific theory. Here’s the meaningful data:

    1. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. This was shown in lab work by John Tyndall in 1859. No one knowledgeable disputes it. And nowadays we have a quantum mechanical explanation as to exactly how greenhouse gases work.

    2. CO2 is rising. This was proposed on logical grounds by Arrhenius in 1896, commented on with references to preliminary evidence by Callendar in 1938, and finally proved by Keeling et al. with observations from 1958 onwards. These observations have been repeated all over the world since Keeling et al. started their program at Mauna Loa.

    3. The new CO2 is primarily from humans burning fossil fuels. This was demonstrated from its radioisotope signature by Hans Suess in 1955. Fossil fuel carbon is so old all its carbon-14 has decayed away, whereas carbon from the ocean or the soil would have the normal complement of carbon-14. There are also clues from the 13C/12C ratio. And invetorying how much fossil fuel is being burned, and knowing how much is going into sinks, the numbers match what we get from the radioisotope analyses.

    4. The world’s temperature is rising. This is shown by land surface temperature readings, sea surface temperature readings (no urban heat islands there), borehole readings, balloon radiosonde readings, satellite readings, and effects such as melting ice caps and glaciers, tree lines moving toward the poles, earlier hatching dates for eggs of fish, frogs, insects, and birds, and earlier blooming dates for flowers and flowering trees.

    5. When I regressed NASA GISS temperature anomalies against ln CO2 for 1880-2008, I got 76% of the variance accounted for. That means all other causes of temperature variation for that 129-year period, including other greenhouse gases, caused no more than 24%. Volcanoes had a small effect (about 2%), and sunlight had no discernable effect–and I measured the sun’s influence four different ways, TSI, sunspot cycle, years since maximum, and years since minimum.

    6. The signature of greenhouse warming by carbon dioxide is that the stratosphere should be cooling while the troposphere warms. All the observations say exactly that is happening. Some of the stratospheric cooling is due to ozone depletion, but not enough to account for all or even most of it.

    Which of the above observations do you dispute?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Apr 2009 @ 4:18 AM

  285. MiltonFyke posts:

    AGW alarmists still haven’t come close to proving that global warming will be apocalyptically detrimental to mankind. The mild warming of Earth, most strongly felt in the higher latitudes, will probably benefit mankind.

    Among those benefits:

    * Increased drought in continental interiors. Ask the Australians. In the 1960s, about 20% of agricultural lands around the world were in drought at any one time. Now it’s more like 30%. Would a massive collapse of our agriculture be beneficial?

    * More violent weather along coastlines. Ask the inhabitants of New Orleans. The destruction of infrastructure due to such events has been climbing exponentially for years, or so say the insurance companies.

    * The disappearance of glaciers which provide fresh water for a billion people in Asia and some in Latin America.

    * The eventual loss of trillions of dollars of infrastructure, and some whole countries (like Bangladesh), due to sea level rise.

    * The creation of hundreds of millions of “climate refugees” from the above conditions. Consider how well the USA is accepting Mexican immigration right now. Then multiply the problem by 100.

    The Atlantic Chronozone, Medieval Warm Period, and even the Eocene give examples of what Earth will be like, were some of the more extreme predictions for AGW to be realized.

    The MWP was largely confined to Europe and was not warmer than today. And what is “The Atlantic Chronozone?” Something to do with Atlantis?

    We certainly have sufficient time to absorb negative GW effects, given the gradual nature of the change.

    See above.

    I see that some of the President’s top advisors are thinking of geoengineering to fight AGW. More research should be applied to this, but also for preventing catastrophic cooling, such as a new glacial period, which would be far worse than GW.

    The next ice age would be at one of the coming Milankovic cycle “stades,” in 20,000 years and 50,000 years, though the first might be too mild. It will certainly not happen now, as our raising amb-ient CO2 by 38% will prevent it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Apr 2009 @ 4:27 AM

  286. Re #270, 276

    Also it assumes that the expansion of the thermometer liquid is linear. The (only?) way to check that assumption is to use another thermometer.

    Comment by Mike Atkinson — 9 Apr 2009 @ 4:43 AM

  287. Mark wrote in 90:

    Why does your thermometer need calibration? How is it done? By interpreting the volume increase of mercury as an increase in temperature.

    What happens when your thermometer is calibrated? It’s errors are corrected. Expansion of mercury is not linear, and the gas the liquid is pushing aside is pushing back…

    Nameless… wrote in 270:

    I do not need another thermometer to calibrate a thermometer. By definition the boiling point of water at STP is 100 deg C and a mixture of ice and water constantly stirred at STP is by definition 0 deg C. Thus I immerse my thermometer in boiling water mark the maximum rise of the column, then immerse the thermometer in a stirred mixture of ice and water and mark the minimum point. Divide the distance between your two marks into 100 evenly space divisions.

    Hank Roberts wrote in 276:

    At STP — that is, at standard temperature and pressure.

    And you’ve checked that you’re at standard temperature and pressure.

    How did you do that?

    I definitely wouldn’t want to create a scientific thermometer using even spacing:

    The thermal expansion of mercury is given by V(t) = V(1 + 1.82 x 10-4t + 7.8 x 10-9t2), where t is in °C, and V is the volume at 0°C.

    Properties of Mercury
    http://mysite.du.edu/~jcalvert/phys/mercury.htm

    … and as both you and Mark have pointed out, there are other problems with simply assuming you have standard pressure, the fact that the extra space in the thermometer will contain some gas that will push back, they are assuming that the water is pure, or even simply assuming that the non-linearity is small enough for the purpose of a home thermometer rather than doing some sort of scientific study or making recourse to a model or theory that might have to be abandoned at some later point. There was a reason why they didn’t quote what they were responding to.
    *
    Oh, and there are two more things worth noting: smoke rises and it doesn’t matter how big they are — fires typically don’t cross oceans.
    *
    Captcha fortune cookie: resent investigation

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 9 Apr 2009 @ 5:14 AM

  288. Dawn: Seems to me that it would be a good idea to spend an hour or two reading carefully through the paper in
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/OceanCooling/printall.php

    It explains in great detail how sea temperature errors (both high and low) were detected by comparisons of different measurement systems. It also explains how experimental scientists work. As in all work of this nature, redundancy is the key.

    There were three models of ARGO floats of different designs plus two fundamentally different ways of measuring the ocean levels(classic in-situ gauges and satellites), large numbers of expendable instruments dropped from research ships and navy vessels, recoverable temperature sensors in sea water sampling probes,radiation balance instruments onboard satellites. As is stated:

    “We need multiple, independent, overlapping sets of observations of climate processes from space and from the Earth’s surface so that we can create long-term climate records—and have confidence that they are accurate. We need theories about how the parts of the Earth system are related to each other so that we can make sense of observations. And we need models to help us see into the future.”

    Eventually a hardware calibration problem was found and was corrected.

    Redundancy is what is needed, and that is what exists also. No single system of measurement is reliable enough over the long term. It is also a well established wisdom that if a new measurement system (such as the ARGO floats) disagrees rdically with an established theory and an array of earlier sensors, is is a good idea to verify the new measurement system. Once more demonstrated here.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 9 Apr 2009 @ 5:58 AM

  289. #284 Barton Paul Levenson
    You neglected to mention that CO2 only provides 5-15% of the “greenhouse effect” and that the great majority is provided by water vapor and a few other gases. There seems to still be some disagreement in the science community as to the whether water vapor and cloud cover are positive or negative feedbacks. If they are negative then increases in CO2 does not push global temps up much past +.6. All the GCM’s assume them as positive feedbacks which makes them all consistent but also possibly all incorrect.

    [Response: Wrong. CO2 is about 20% of the natural greenhouse effect (after accounting for overlaps). The rest is made up of water vapour (~50%), clouds (25%) and ozone/aerosols/etc. There is no scientific debate about whether water vapour is a positive feedback - it is. Specific humidity increases with surface temperature all the way to the tropopause. There is continuing discussion about cloud feedbacks which are more complicated (depending on altitude, location, type etc.). Finally, GCMs do not "assume" positive feedbacks - these are results that emerge from the interplay of all the physical assumptions (about evaporation, cloud formation, advection, convection etc.) that go into the model. - gavin]

    Comment by william — 9 Apr 2009 @ 8:05 AM

  290. #276.

    Hank, I’m not convinced it’s even worth replying to ill educated comments like this. Even allowing for a typo of “at STP is 100 deg C” when “at standard pressure is 100 deg C” was meant, the poster has clearly no idea that no thermometer is truly linear unlike the ideal gas laws and most are highly non-linear (e.g. PRT PRT)

    Of course, the ideal gas thermometer is linear by definition (pV=nRT), the two points need to define the kelvin scale being absolute zero and the triple point of water (273.16K). In 1954 the definition of the Celsius scale was changed to match this (absolute zero -273.15C, triple point of water 0.01C)

    Comment by tim — 9 Apr 2009 @ 8:08 AM

  291. “Oh, and there are two more things worth noting: smoke rises and it doesn’t matter how big they are — fires typically don’t cross oceans.”

    Hmmm.

    Smoke only rises if the air is rising and brings the smoke particles with it. Otherwise it will layer itself with a low scale height (the denser the smoke particle, the lower the scale height).

    Comment by Mark — 9 Apr 2009 @ 8:12 AM

  292. How thermometers are calibrated at NIST: http://ts.nist.gov/MeasurementServices/Calibrations/Lab_thermometers.cfm

    Laboratory Thermometers (31010C-31100C)

    This service provides for the calibration of a variety of thermometers covering the range from -196 °C to +550 °C (-321 °F to +1022 °F). Thermometers belonging to the large and varied group which may be classified as laboratory, or “chemical,” thermometers are regularly accepted. These are of the liquid-in-glass type with either solid-stem or enclosed scale. Ordinary household or meteorological thermometers will not, in general, be accepted unless the scale is graduated on the glass stem itself and the thermometer can be readily detached from its mounting for insertion in a liquid bath. Every thermometer submitted must be uniquely identified by a serial number and must pass a preliminary examination for fineness and uniformity of graduation; for cleanliness of the mercury and the capillary bore; for freedom from moisture, gas bubbles, and cracks in the glass; for adequacy or omission of gas filling where needed; for insufficient annealing; and, for misnumbered graduations. When these or other serious defects are found, the thermometer is returned untested.

    The thermometers to be calibrated are placed in a constant temperature bath along with a NIST-calibrated standard platinum resistance thermometer (SPRT). The SPRT maintains calibrations traceable to the International Temperature Scale of 1990 (ITS-90), with a maximum expanded uncertainty of 0.7 mK. (See Table 6.2)

    Table 6.2. Calibration Uncertainties for Total Immersion Thermometers (omitted table)

    OMG, they have errors!

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 9 Apr 2009 @ 8:30 AM

  293. #284/285 BPL

    You neglect to mention that other things may be heading poleward as well as tree lines. I’ve already posted here about Bluetongue in Sweden (a disease that prior to this century never occured north of the Mediterranean region), but see also:

    http://maps.grida.no/go/graphic/climate_impacts_and_tropical_diseases_in_colombia

    “When temperatures increase, especially in combination with more precipitation, vector borne diseases like malaria and dengue fever increase in frequency and distribution. In particular, areas where the minimum night temperatures increase provide the best conditions for the growth and spread of Anopheline spp. and Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.”

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/296/5576/2158

    “Many pathogens of terrestrial and marine taxa are sensitive to temperature, rainfall, and humidity, creating synergisms that could affect biodiversity. Climate warming can increase pathogen development and survival rates, disease transmission, and host susceptibility.”

    http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0074-02761999000700071&script=sci_arttext&tlng=en

    “Curto de Casas and Carcavallo (1984) studied the southern dispersion of Triatominae species and concluded that the critical climatic factor is the number of days with temperatures above 20oC”

    Comment by Chris S — 9 Apr 2009 @ 8:34 AM

  294. The paper “Recent Bottom Water Warming in the Pacific Ocean” was pretty interesting. Thanks to Gavin for pointing it out. My question would be isn’t this a reflection of surface temperatures haven risen for so long and shouldn’t the temperatures in the deep oceans eventually show a leveling out as the sea surface temperatures have done?

    As a side note I did notice they used the phrase “small but significant”. I believe a great deal of the disparity between the percentages of scientists that believe AGW to be significant and the percentages of non scientists to believe AGW to be significant relies on how small it can be before it becomes non significant.

    Comment by steve — 9 Apr 2009 @ 8:40 AM

  295. #289 Gavin
    Kiehl and Trenberth do not seem to agree with your percentage breakout unless you are stating only the “cloudy day” contribution of water vapor. See link at
    http://www.atmo.arizona.edu/students/courselinks/spring04/atmo451b/pdf/RadiationBudget.pdf
    Thanks
    William

    [Response: They didn't do the full calculation - partly because they are using a single reference profile and very simplified cloud structure. My calculations are more appropriate, and ~20% is what you get (though I should write this up more formally). - gavin]

    Comment by william — 9 Apr 2009 @ 8:50 AM

  296. Oh, yeah, and besides all the other thermometer stuff that high school assumed, marking the boiling point and the freezing point then adding a hundred divisions between them on the outside of the glass — they also assumed a perfectly even diameter hole inside the glass.

    Perfection — start with that and you don’t have any problems.

    The political theory that disallows any human effect on global environment is like that — perfect by definition, individuals operating for their own immediate profit without knowledge beyond what they want are the ultimate measure. So anyone who thinks otherwise has to be conspiring against them.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Apr 2009 @ 9:11 AM

  297. [Response: Wrong. CO2 is about 20% of the natural greenhouse effect (after accounting for overlaps). The rest is made up of water vapour (~50%), clouds (25%) and ozone/aerosols/etc. There is no scientific debate about whether water vapour is a positive feedback - it is. Specific humidity increases with surface temperature all the way to the tropopause. There is continuing discussion about cloud feedbacks which are more complicated (depending on altitude, location, type etc.). Finally, GCMs do not “assume” positive feedbacks - these are results that emerge from the interplay of all the physical assumptions (about evaporation, cloud formation, advection, convection etc.) that go into the model. - gavin]

    Would you provide some reference to the claim water vapor is a positive feed back. I have seen data that is in opposition to this I.E. relative humidity is decreasing at upper altitudes. From what I have read there is a big difference of opinion on weather cloud feedback is positive or negative.

    Jim N

    [Response: You're kidding, right? (April 1st is long past now). -mike]

    Comment by Jim Norvell — 9 Apr 2009 @ 9:27 AM

  298. “and shouldn’t the temperatures in the deep oceans eventually show a leveling out as the sea surface temperatures have done?”

    Why? Energy coming in has to go somewhere.

    More wind? More water vapour? Seen any of that? All else has to go as temperature somewhere.

    Maybe deep ocean is getting much warmer quicker and pulling out heat from the air. This would mean the air temperatures are going up slower (note: there is no leveling of temperatures in the atmosphere. The rate of increase is still positive) but unless the air starts sucking heat out of the deep ocean (how?) it doesn’t mean there will be a leveling of deep ocean temperatures.

    Unless you mean “leveling” as in “it’s not going up as fast as it has before, but is still positive”.

    Which isn’t really “leveling” at all.

    Comment by Mark — 9 Apr 2009 @ 9:32 AM

  299. According to the most recent NASA research, if we are concerned about warming at the poles we should forget about C02 and worry instead about aerosols.

    “We will have very little leverage over climate in the next couple of decades if we’re just looking at carbon dioxide,” Shindell said. “If we want to try to stop the Arctic summer sea ice from melting completely over the next few decades, we’re much better off looking at aerosols and ozone.”
    See link at
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090408164413.htm
    thanks
    William

    [Response: Wrong. All that Drew is pointing out here is the well known 'commitment' problem. The residence timescale of CO2 in the atmosphere once it has been emitted is such that there is little we can do to lower the trajectory of CO2 concentrations over the next one to two decades with our current actions. That trajectory was pretty much locked in by our emissions over the past several decades. We have far more leverage *on the decadal timescale* with aerosols and other greenhouse gases that have shorter residence times. The CO2 we emit, in the meantime, will come home to roost in future decades. To argue that this is somehow a cause for less stringent controls on CO2 emissions is to profoundly not understand the nature of the problem. -mike]

    Comment by william — 9 Apr 2009 @ 9:42 AM

  300. mark wrote in 291:

    Hmmm.

    Smoke only rises if the air is rising and brings the smoke particles with it. Otherwise it will layer itself with a low scale height (the denser the smoke particle, the lower the scale height).

    Of course. And being a tropospheric aerosol it will tend to get rained out — with a half-life of a week to 10 days.

    I like it!

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 9 Apr 2009 @ 9:56 AM

  301. steve@294,
    Sea surface temperatures have not shown a “leveling out”.

    The phrase “small but significant” is used by Johnson et al. in the context:

    “Thus, abyssal Pacific Ocean heat content variations
    may contribute a small but significant fraction to the
    earth’s heat budget.”

    This does not appear to give any support to the belief you express in your last sentence: they are saying, in effect, “Don’t neglect variation in the deep Pacific when calculating how much the Earth has heated up”. Usually, when “significant” is used in scientific papers it means “enough for us to be confident it is not due to sampling error”, not “important” – although it is not clear Johnson et al. are using it in that sense in the passage quoted. However, when it is used in the statistical sense, it should be coupled with a probability that such a difference could arise from sampling error in the absence of a real difference (a “level of significance”); when that is done, the only possible sources of disagreement are whether the appropriate statistical test and level of significance have been used.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 9 Apr 2009 @ 10:03 AM

  302. @Barton Paul Levinson
    #284

    You wrote:

    snip

    4. The world’s temperature is rising. This is shown by land surface temperature readings, sea surface temperature readings (no urban heat islands there), borehole readings, balloon radiosonde readings, satellite readings, and effects such as melting ice caps and glaciers, tree lines moving toward the poles, earlier hatching dates for eggs of fish, frogs, insects, and birds, and earlier blooming dates for flowers and flowering trees.

    snip

    A good point, for as clearly the birds and bees are not yet chasing grant funding, nor are they yet embracing a political agenda, I am prepared to take their word for things.

    Are there any commonly quoted references for this earlier breeding and flowering?

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 9 Apr 2009 @ 10:11 AM

  303. #296 Thank you for the polite response Nick.

    As I read it, it seemed to me that in that particular passage they were not refering to significant as a reflection of measuring technique although I could be mistaken.

    I am confused that you state the SSTs have not shown a leveling out. I look at the SSTs from the GISS web page for ocean temperatures and they appear to be leveling out to me. One could argue that the leveling is temporary and the long term trend is up. But I don’t see how one could argue that the recent temperatures don’t show a leveling off.

    Comment by steve — 9 Apr 2009 @ 10:27 AM

  304. Re: #260,

    Ray, I have speculated – and the evidence is in full bloom in this thread – that certain segments of CS have fallen into a pattern of defending the case for AGW to the detriment of actual science, the examination of the unknown and the search for sound theories.

    In other words, the unknowns are being buried beneath a PR blitz.

    There is no doubt in my mind that this is occurring.

    By the way, I consider it perhaps more likely that AGW will advance much more rapidly than the “best projections” and is likely already past maaningful tipping points vis a vis permanent ice.

    I was roundly bashed here last year for discussing geo-engineering as the only possible actual “solution” to avert massive sea level rise.

    I see now that Obama’s climate team is seriously discussing that approach.

    Beware insularity!

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 9 Apr 2009 @ 10:28 AM

  305. re 301 and other mentions of the pursuit of research grants.

    I find it interesting this talking point even comes up when you consider what has happened to funded science research over the past few decades.

    In the October, 2007 issue of Discover there was an article written on the state of science research funding in the U.S.

    Quote: “In 1965, the federal government financed more than 60 percent of all R&D in the United States. By 2006, the balance had flipped, with 65 percent of R&D in this country being funded by private interests.”

    http://discovermagazine.com/2007/oct/sciences-worst-enemy-private-funding

    Frankly, given the ever shrinking research grant pie being handed out by the government, and the increasing influence of private interests in not only funding research, but in cases dictating research, it makes one wonder why the denialist camp even brings this up.

    This is not a peer-reviewed publication, of course, but the reporting in this case seems rather sound. Regardless, if you want what appears to be a decent overview of the current research funding picture, and how it is often being manipulated to the advantage of private interests, this might be a good place to start.

    Comment by J.S. McIntyre — 9 Apr 2009 @ 10:37 AM

  306. “and the evidence is in full bloom in this thread – that certain segments of CS have fallen into a pattern of defending the case for AGW to the detriment of actual science,”

    Wither ist thine evidence, knave?

    If mere accusation is enough, I have noticed that you will clutch at ANY straw, make up ANY allegation and uncritically accept ANY rhetoric if it manages to promote the lie that AGW is false.

    The evidence above shows you’re in the pay of Phillip Morris.

    Comment by Mark — 9 Apr 2009 @ 10:38 AM

  307. Is the process “simple”? No there is a a whole branch of science called metrology (not meteorology) devoted to instrument calibration as has been correctly pointed out. The point is however that calibrating a thermometer can be done with VERY simple easily obtained standards (boiling water, ice water). If you really want EXTREMELY high accuracy, you would have to use the reference standards at NIST to calibrate your thermometer. On the other VERY GOOD accuracy can be obtained in a high school chemistry or physics lab. I would expect a group of scientists to argue whether the value of g at latitude 39 should be 9.80616 meters per second squared or 9.80665 meters per second squared. There are well known correction factors to account for the evaporation of mercury into the top of the column, there are correction factors to account for not being at STP while the thermometer is being calibrated, no the scale isn’t exactly linear from 0 deg C to 100 deg C. As a teacher I going to ask how large an effect will any of these corrections have on a thermometer that has an scale that can be read to +-0.25 deg C?

    The original point that appears to be missed is that you don’t need a thermometer to calibrate a thermometer

    Comment by your mommy called — 9 Apr 2009 @ 10:40 AM

  308. “Of course. And being a tropospheric aerosol it will tend to get rained out — with a half-life of a week to 10 days.

    I like it!”

    In the UK, probably closer to a half-life of fifteen minutes…

    :-(

    Comment by Mark — 9 Apr 2009 @ 10:40 AM

  309. “Would you provide some reference to the claim water vapor is a positive feed back. I have seen data that is in opposition to this”

    And I have seen Bigfoot.

    Comment by Mark — 9 Apr 2009 @ 10:42 AM

  310. #301 Theo Hopkins

    “Are there any commonly quoted references for this earlier breeding and flowering?”

    I don’t know about commonly quoted but here’s a few for you (note this is only really scratching the surface, there is a huge, and growing, amount of evidence for this):

    European trees: Response of tree phenology to climate change across Europe: Chmielewski and Rötzer: Agricultural & Forest Meteorology 108

    “Since the end of the 1980s the changes in circulation, air temperature and the beginning of spring time were striking. The investigation showed that a warming in the early spring (February–April) by 1°C causes an advance in the beginning of growing season of 7 days. The observed extension of growing season was mainly the result of an earlier onset of spring.”

    Hoverflies: Changes in phenology of hoverflies in a central England garden: Graham-Taylor, Stubbs & Brooke: Insect Conservation & Diversity 2

    “first appearance in spring has become significantly earlier for three species and flight period longer for a different set of three species.”

    Birds: Climatic change explains much of the 20th century advance in laying date of Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus in The Netherlands: Both, Piersma & Roodbergen: Ardea 93

    “In The Netherlands, eggs of Lapwing have been collected for consumption for ages, especially in the province of Fryslân, and as the finding of the first egg of the season has been an important social event till today, first egg dates are archived. Here we present data on the dates at which the first egg of the season was found in Fryslân, in 1897–2003. Somewhat to our surprise we found that the advance in the first egg date was primarily explained by increasing spring temperatures. Lapwings also laid earlier after wet winters, with little variance remaining to be explained by habitat changes.”

    Plankton: Impact of climate change on marine pelagic phenology and trophic mismatch: Edwards & Richardson: Nature 430

    “Using long-term data of 66 plankton taxa during the period from 1958 to 2002, we investigated whether climate warming signals are emergent across all trophic levels and functional groups within an ecological community. Here we show that not only is the marine pelagic community responding to climate changes, but also that the level of response differs throughout the community and the seasonal cycle, leading to a mismatch between trophic levels and functional groups.”

    Mediterranean species: Phenology and climate change: a long-term study in a Mediterranean locality: Gordo & Sanz: Oecologia 146

    “reports long-term temporal trends of several phenophases of 45 plants, 4 insects and 6 migratory insectivorous birds. Dynamic factor analyses performed with plant phenophases showed that most of those events occurring at spring and summer had common trends toward the advancement, especially since mid-1970s. However, during these last decades, insect phenology showed a steeper advance than plant phenology, suggesting an increase of decoupling of some plant–insect interactions, such as those between pollinators and flowers or herbivorous insects and their plant resources. All trans-Saharan bird species showed highly significant temporal trends in all studied phenophases (some of them covering most of the last century). In two species, the duration of stay is increasing due to both earlier arrivals and later departures. On the other hand, two wintering species showed a significant advancement in their arrival dates, while an opposite pattern were found for departures of each one.”

    Wisconsin species: Phenological changes reflect climate change in Wisconsin: Bradley, Leopold, Ross & Huffaker: PNAS 106

    “A phenological study of springtime events was made over a 61-year period at one site in southern Wisconsin. The records over this long period show that several phenological events have been increasing in earliness; we discuss evidence indicating that these changes reflect climate change. The mean of regressions for the 55 phenophases studied was −0.12 day per year, an overall increase in phenological earliness at this site during the period. Some phenophases have not increased in earliness, as would be expected for phenophases that are regulated by photoperiod or by a physiological signal other than local temperature.”

    Globally: A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems: Parmesan & Yohe: Nature 421

    “Causal attribution of recent biological trends to climate change is complicated because non-climatic influences dominate local, short-term biological changes. Any underlying signal from climate change is likely to be revealed by analyses that seek systematic trends across diverse species and geographic regions; however, debates within the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reveal several definitions of a ‘systematic trend’. Here, we explore these differences, apply diverse analyses to more than 1,700 species, and show that recent biological trends match climate change predictions. Global meta-analyses documented significant range shifts averaging 6.1 km per decade towards the poles (or metres per decade upward), and significant mean advancement of spring events by 2.3 days per decade.”

    And the very long term: The response of species to climate over two centuries: an analysis of the Marsham phenological record, 1736-1947: Sparks & Carey: Journal of Ecology 83

    “An appraisal of the historical response of flora & fauna to climate was made and allowed us to predict changes in species performance due to climate change in the future. If commonly used climate scenarios are accurate we predict that most or all of the indications of spring noted in the Marsham record will occur earlier in the calendar year.”

    Also look out for the Kyoto cherry blossom festival (900 years of recording the flowering of cherry trees indicating a very rapid recent change in phenology).

    Comment by Chris S — 9 Apr 2009 @ 10:54 AM

  311. “The original point that appears to be missed is that you don’t need a thermometer to calibrate a thermometer”

    No, you can use a computer model or a scientific theory to make a calibration.

    Then again, that’s just a consensus and you already know how Dawn doesn’t trust that…

    Comment by Mark — 9 Apr 2009 @ 10:57 AM

  312. Doesn’t the NIST have a blog where people can go to discuss thermometer calibration? Remember too, that when water and ice are melting, the temperature doesn’t change, even though the energy content of a kilogram of ice vs water, the “heat of fusion” being about 330 kilojoules per kilogram of ice… which is part of the reason that big ice sheets and thick sea ice serve as a thermal buffer. Other local effects include the high albedo of ice and the insulating properties (preventing the ocean from warming the atmosphere). On top of all that, you have the poleward energy transport to take into account – and the models have been underestimating the Arctic summer response, but doing pretty well everywhere else.

    #294, “steve” says: “shouldn’t the temperatures in the deep oceans eventually show a leveling out as the sea surface temperatures have done?”

    What “leveling out”? Polar warming means warmer ocean SSTs, and more areas of open ice mean more air-ocean energy exchanges (which is what SSTs influence). Consider the situation in the Arctic:

    Arctic sea ice decline: Faster than forecast, Stroeve et al. 2007 GRL

    This paper makes three points: (1) if the IPCC AR4 multi-model mean time series properly reflect the response to GHG loading, then both natural variability and forced change have been strong players in the observed September and March trends, with the latter becoming more dominant during 1979 – 2006; (2) given evidence that that the IPCC models as a group are too conservative regarding their GHG response, the GHG imprint may be larger; and (3) there is more consistency between models and observations regarding much smaller sea ice trends in the Antarctic.

    This conclusion has been supported by the radical thinning of Arctic sea ice and the loss of perennial sea ice.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081027200309.htm

    By the way, I just came across what looks like an accurate climate blog at csmonitor:

    http://features.csmonitor.com/environment/2009/04/06/arctic-sea-ice-fights-losing-winter-battle-again/

    For his part, Dr. Meier is reluctant to estimate the time when the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free in the summer.

    “I certainly wouldn’t want to put money on a [given] year,” he says.

    Ice-free summers by 2013 or 2014 “seems fairly unlikely,” he continues. “But it’s not totally outside the realm of possiblity.”

    That’s a change from five years ago, he adds. “Such a suggestion would have been laughed out of the room. Now I think you have to say: ‘Well, that’s really unlikely to happen; but if things happen just the right way, it could.’ ”

    It doesn’t seem to be “leveling out”, in any case.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 9 Apr 2009 @ 10:58 AM

  313. #256: Hank R. – thanks for this post, very interesting, esp. Mercer’s prediction; almost a bit eerie how right this is turning out. Did you happen to see anything amongst those refs dealing with the fabric of the sea bed, or the submarine topography? (I ought to look into this myself, but I’m up to my ears in a difficult hydro. modelling problem at the moment).

    Also, re. your post #254, and comments by others here e.g. Timothy Chase #62 etc., I am still wondering about this saw-toothed edge effect, noticeable on the ESA imagery, and to what extent the bed topography is interefering with or even driving the pattern of the fracturing and later break up.

    Mauri, if you’re reading still, any thoughts?

    Comment by Nick O. — 9 Apr 2009 @ 11:09 AM

  314. “I am confused that you state the SSTs have not shown a leveling out. I look at the SSTs from the GISS web page for ocean temperatures and they appear to be leveling out to me. One could argue that the leveling is temporary and the long term trend is up. But I don’t see how one could argue that the recent temperatures don’t show a leveling off.” – steve

    A few years’ measurements simply aren’t enough to justify such a statement; nor are your (or anyone else’s) eyeballs sufficient grounds to make it. Such a statement requires statistical support to be valid.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 9 Apr 2009 @ 11:10 AM

  315. #274 Dawn

    Please present the basis for your challenge. In other words present your model and evidence that proves what your saying. Show the evidence in the natural system. Explain with how in a cooling world, glaciers worldwide are melting, the Arctic ice is in virtual freefall, WAIS is showing signs of weakening. Explain how all this works in a cooling world as you claim, scientifically.

    Please understand, your opinion is irrelevant. The opinions of others are largely irrelevant, without well reasoned evidence. Show the evidence that you have? Sometimes even my opinions are irrelevant if not based on substantive reasoning associated with evidence.

    One other question, can you even in the slightest degree, understand how irritating it is when someone like yourself comes into a science site, and these very busy scientists have to spend energy and time explaining things (that not only already explained but well explained and understood) to someone such as yourself and others who bring completely irrelevant points into the conversation, and claim they are relevant based on nothing more than ‘you say so’ because ‘you read it somewhere’…

    Geez, I’m amazed they tolerate me in here, let alone you, and the likes of you.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 9 Apr 2009 @ 11:10 AM

  316. #289 william

    Don’t forget that it has been warmer in the past. This throws a big monkey wrench (no offense to monkeys) into the Lindzen hypothesis. If, as he apparently expects the magic cloud albedo will save us as the world warms, then where is the paleo evidence that shows, or even indicates that the world never got much warmer than today, associated with the constraints that solidify his hypothesis?

    Science is about measuring, modeling, testing, falsification and reasoning, it’s not a guessing game (pardon my oversimplification).

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 9 Apr 2009 @ 11:12 AM

  317. #297 Jim Norvell

    Wow

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 9 Apr 2009 @ 11:14 AM

  318. John Reisman addressed Dawn: “One other question, can you even in the slightest degree, understand how irritating it is when someone like yourself comes into a science site, and these very busy scientists have to spend energy and time explaining things …”

    To a troll, the whole point is to be irritating and to get people to waste their time.

    So far, Dawn’s comments have given no indication that she has any other intention than that.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 9 Apr 2009 @ 11:26 AM

  319. I fairness to Jim Norvell, there is data showing specific humidity declines at altitude, it just is not very good data, and usually involves re-analysis products which are not useful for determining long-term trends on water vapor, precipitation, clouds, etc. The perspective article in Science by Dessler and Sherwood summarizes well the current status on the topic, and is in line with the best scholarship.

    [Response: Yes, but that isn't even remotely tantamount to a plausible challenge against the positive nature of the overall water vapor feedback. The links to Dessler's site provided up thread and to Dessler and Sherwood given above) are must-reads for anyone confused about the difference. - mike]

    Comment by Chris Colose — 9 Apr 2009 @ 11:31 AM

  320. #302 Theo Hopkins

    This gives me an idea. If anyone spots relevant government of university study links pertaining to seasonal shift, please drop them into my contact form.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/contact-info

    I just added a TOC to the page

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/links

    and a new section for seasonal shift

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/links#section-21

    If anyone feels inspired, please send relevant links pertaining to seasonal shift, latitudinal shift, or related and I will try to organize them here.

    Fire, Hurricanes, Agriculture and such will apply here.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 9 Apr 2009 @ 11:41 AM

  321. ref #312 the link to the Stroeve paper didn’t seem to work for me. I tried to repost it for you but all I could get to show up here was the http address. Thought I’d let you know in case you wanted to repost or perhaps it is a problem limited to me. I’m not sure.

    Comment by steve — 9 Apr 2009 @ 11:50 AM

  322. Re #310

    Chris S,

    Thank you for that fascinating (and rather scary) post. I appreciate your effort to illuminate a topic I, for one, know little about. I’m motivated by your post to learn more.

    Regards – Phillip

    Comment by Phillip Shaw — 9 Apr 2009 @ 11:59 AM

  323. > Antarctic … sea bed, or the submarine topography?

    There are abstracts from the 2008 AGU that turn up in Google Scholar, nothing I can quote usefully just from the abstracts, but enough to convince me there is a whole lot of study going on. I’m guessing much of the International Polar Year work is still making its way through the journals’ slow processes.

    I hope someone’s doing large-scale tomography down there, to get some really fine-detailed images of the ice sheet (whether radar, acoustic, or whatever).

    This is kind of like the ice core work — I imagine most of the researchers are working frantically to get the data collected before their subject goes away, and analysis probably lags.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Apr 2009 @ 12:06 PM

  324. For a take on water vapour and negative feedback, see Andrew Dessler’s site

    Comment by P. Lewis — 9 Apr 2009 @ 12:09 PM

  325. Walt Bennett contends: “In other words, the unknowns are being buried beneath a PR blitz.”

    Really, I haven’t noticed any PR blitz in Science, Nature, JGR… That’s where the science gets reported. Just what scientific journal is this PR blitz taking place in?

    So, precisely what unknowns are being buried? It’s about evidence, Walt. Got any?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Apr 2009 @ 12:11 PM

  326. re Secular Animist in #135 above:

    You have put in a few short sentences what I taught (as a Biology and Earth Science Instructor especially enamored with Systems Ecology at the high school and college level) for forty years. I found it extremely hard to maintain a positive outlook (necessary if students are to remember and take action) when I could see every one of the outcomes you mentioned as not only possible but probable, and much of that within the lifetime of my students and certainly their children.

    Our earth cannot support the lifestyles of western economies for much longer. Climate change is the inevitable result of our hunger for the energy provided so conveniently by fossil fuels, and that hunger is generated by population growth.

    In my view, we are already seeing some consequences of global warming: butterfly populations migrating up mountains to maintain preferred temperature regimes, severe and worsening droughts in areas predicted under AGW, the plight of the polar bears – and many, many more examples such as glacial melt and Wilkins cracking.

    The biota of the planet will certainly change over the next few hundred years, and we will feel the effects. Overall, I predict humanity will shrink to a sustainable one-half to one billion people over the next two hundred years.

    Like I said, it has been really hard to remain positive with all this in my head.

    Comment by Robert Bergen — 9 Apr 2009 @ 12:15 PM

  327. Correction: I pulled post 135 from memory – should have referred to post 124.

    Comment by Robert Bergen — 9 Apr 2009 @ 12:22 PM

  328. Dessler:
    http://www.grist.org/article/Looking-for-validation

    Discusses the articles linked earlier in this thread.
    Begins:

    “I have a paper [PDF] in this week’s Science discussing the water vapor feedback. It is a Perspective, meaning that it is a summary of the existing literature rather than new scientific results. In it, my co-author Steve Sherwood and I discuss the mountain of evidence in support of a strong and positive water vapor feedback.

    Interestingly, it seems that just about everybody now agrees water vapor provides a robustly strong and positive feedback. Roy Spencer even sent me email saying that he agrees.

    What I want to focus on here is model verification. If ….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Apr 2009 @ 2:13 PM

  329. Re: #325

    Ray,

    I’m entitled to my opinion and I intend to stick to it. You ask me to identify unidentified unknowns. Your arrogance knows no bounds, and it is just that arrogance that condemns climate “science” to the sort of mockery it receives.

    Scientists do science, they don’t set out to prove a case.

    It’s not the scientists with whom I take issue, for the most part; it is those such as you (and the vast majority of those who post and comment here) who take the science and run with it.

    You won’t understand a single word I just wrote. You are blinded.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 9 Apr 2009 @ 2:19 PM

  330. Science is by definition SKEPTICAL.

    Did that sink in?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 9 Apr 2009 @ 2:21 PM

  331. But, Walt, there’s usually some evidence if there’s something missing.

    Look at the guy I asked you to help out earlier, who’s looking at a chart and thinks he sees a trend one way, but the statistics say there’s a trend the other way.

    THat’s clear evidence of something missing. Were you able to help him find the missing information?

    Take the classic example: law of gravity.
    It says, in paraphrase, the Earth sucks by 1g.
    It’s certainly possible the universe sucks by some countervailing force, say 0.5g, which would mean that gravitational theory is wrong and the Earth has to actually suck by 1.5g for the theory to be modified to match the observations.

    In fact that’s the case if you look far enough out into space and time, at the edge of the universe, where it appears to be true.

    So — what’s the problem with climatology that you see? Where’s something like the red shift difference to show that there’s some hidden force operating?

    You’re not just saying there has to be some power operating in the gaps, because you believe in one, are you?

    Seriously, show us how you help the guy looking at that chart — which has been posted in lots of blogs lately all misreading it by eyeballing it.

    Give an example of showing someone where the missing information is?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Apr 2009 @ 2:54 PM

  332. Hank,

    What I have been saying for months now is that “AGW Theory” {CO2 is a greenhouse gas; doubled CO2 will lead to initial 3*C(/-1.5*C) global temperature rise) has been absolutely stretched to the breaking point with all of the “evidence” which is summarily stapled to AGW Theory as though each new data item carries the same certainty as the very limited definition I give above.

    Balderdash. Each new data item is evidence of *something*, but just because it seems to conveniently fit AGW theory, much of the new data is instantly assumed by many to have the complete legitimacy of the theory itself.

    Balderdash!

    And another thing: all contrary evidence (evidence which does not seem to support AGW theory) is just as instantly dismissed, or cloaked in very careful language.

    All evidence needs to be treated equally. I feel sorry for some poor scientist out there who just wants to do his work and not worry how well it fits a theory which has grown to ridiculous proportions.

    And then there is my absolute irritation at the simple fact that the AGW science community continues to live in an ivory tower where they get to say things such as “stop burning coal.”

    We won’t stop burning coal, and it’s not science’s job to tell us to. Those are social issues which must be informed by science but must operate in reality, where people freeze if you don’t burn coal.

    If we speak honestly about these things, we can at least honestly inform policy.

    I’ve said this all before. Absolutely nobody listens.

    [Response: Possibly because no one is actually saying any of those things. Perhaps you could show us where any contributor to this site has said that all ideas are as solid as the basic issue you mention above, or where we have trivially dismissed inconvenient data, or that anyone has said that we should 'stop burning coal'. If you want discussion, you need to start from a what is actually being said, not a typecast exaggeration. - gavin]

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 9 Apr 2009 @ 3:39 PM

  333. Quick question: Is it correct to read satellite anomalies as how out of whack the temperature is from “normal”. Like, I’m building a right web site that makes fun of Obama but I want to have the science straight… it’s hard to be a denier when you know how to add.

    The fun part is that I’m going to be tracking monthly Mauna Loa CO2 and the RSS lower tropospheric monthly anomaly, as if a ten year goal of having the CO2 down to 280ppm. Now, to do that, I’m assuming that the temperature anomaly of 0C, is a good baseline for planetary success. Is that correct? Like, if we had 0 or lower anomaly from RSS for five years, is that a sign of victory? If not, then what is the number?

    Comment by Todd Bandrowsky — 9 Apr 2009 @ 4:02 PM

  334. Walt Bennett Says (9 April 2009 at 3:39 PM):

    “…people freeze if you don’t burn coal.”

    Really? So all of the non-fossil CO2 emitting energy sources, from woodstoves to nuclear reactors, don’t actually work? It’s either burn coal or freeze in the dark? And of course it doesn’t help to use insulation so you burn less coal, either?

    Comment by James — 9 Apr 2009 @ 4:16 PM

  335. #330 Walt Bennett

    Of course science is by definition (nature) skeptical.

    That is why it is not too difficult to understand that this global warming event is human caused… and have a decent idea of where this is going; because of the rigorous science being performed.

    That’s why the confidence is so high at this point, that we are warming outside of the natural cycle; and it is human cased.

    Unlike what you seem to be saying, which is ‘very’ opinionated based on an apparently limited scope/view, probably based on reading too much pulp climate fiction.

    Since you are apparently into guessing, what do you think is the likelihood of you finding any mistakes reasonably outside the error bars of the current GCM’s?

    Look again – We are on a different path due to global warming.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/natural-variability/overview/image/image_view_fullscreen

    You apparently have no idea of the context and relevance of what you are looking at, either on denial sites, or on real science sites.

    Did that sink in?

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 9 Apr 2009 @ 4:42 PM

  336. Todd, use ocean pH instead, it’s the more serious immediate problem.

    http://co2.cms.udel.edu/images/OcAcid_image001.jpg
    “The upper panel in the figure shows anthropogenic (from human activity) carbon emissions; they are modeled to reach a maximum by 2100 and then decrease. The middle panel shows atmospheric CO2 concentrations; which would peak in 2300 at about 1900 ppm (contrasted to the present day level of 380 ppm). The x-axis (horizontal) shows time, starting before the Industrial Era (1750) and then extending into the future until the year 3000. The bottom panel of the figure shows the pH in ocean waters from the surface to 4.5 km depth (4500 meters, about 15,000 feet) for the same time period.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Apr 2009 @ 4:49 PM

  337. I’ve said this all before. Absolutely nobody listens.

    Sometimes when people don’t listen, it’s because you’re not saying anything worth listening to.

    Comment by dhogaza — 9 Apr 2009 @ 4:58 PM

  338. Gavin wrote: “Perhaps you could show us where any contributor to this site has said … that we should ’stop burning coal’.”

    James Hansen is not a contributor to this site, but he has pretty clearly said that we should stop burning coal.

    In a 2007 essay posted at Grist.org, Hanson wrote “The most important time-critical action needed to avert climate disasters concerns coal … the only practical way to keep CO2 below or close to the ‘dangerous level’ is to phase out coal use during the next few decades, except where CO2 is captured and sequestered.”

    Since effective CO2 capture and sequestration technology does not exist and is unlikely to ever exist, that amounts to a call to stop burning coal.

    And this past February, in an essay published in the UK newspaper The Observer, Hansen wrote: “A year ago, I wrote to Gordon Brown asking him to place a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants in Britain. I have asked the same of Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, Kevin Rudd and other leaders. The reason is this – coal is the single greatest threat to civilisation and all life on our planet … The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death.”

    Of course the purpose of this site is to discuss climate science, not energy technologies. And I appreciate the reticence of climate scientists about speaking out specifically on energy technology issues, since in many cases they have no expertise in that field.

    For example, Hansen himself has promoted “fourth generation nuclear reactors” as an important and essential solution to reducing CO2 emissions, which I regard as an unfortunate suggestion based on ignorance, both about the nuclear technology he advocates, which has no chance of making any timely, significant contribution to reducing emissions, and about wind and solar, which can do the job faster, cheaper and with none of the severe problems of nuclear.

    But with regard to coal, Hansen is absolutely correct. We need to stop burning coal. We need an immediate moratorium on the construction of any new coal-fired power plants, and we need a deadline and an aggressive plan to phase out all existing coal-fired power plants in no more than ten years.

    Fortunately, as US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently said, “The idea that wind energy has the potential to replace most of our coal-burning power today is a very real possibility. It is not technology that is pie-in-the sky; it is here and now.” Salazar pointed out at a public forum on offshore energy development that according to estimates from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, wind has a gross resource of 463 gigawatts of power in the mid-Atlantic area alone, whereas current US total production of electricity from coal is 366 gigawatts.

    [Response: Hansen is on record, in many places, as calling for a moratorium on new coal powered stations without CCS. That is not the same as demanding that all coal burning cease forthwith. You are exaggerating for rhetorical effect, but this is not a fair assessment of his policy proposal. A long term (or even medium term) phase out of all non-CCS coal burning would be necessary for many emission cut plans on the table, but there is a big difference in a phase-out over 10/20/30 years and cessation tomorrow. - gavin]

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 9 Apr 2009 @ 5:03 PM

  339. Is there a high school (US) or secondary school (UK) level physics lab experiment to show that CO2 is a greenhouse gas?

    How did Hadley originally experimentally confirm his idea? His name often comes up in newspaper discussions/articles here in UK as evidence of CO2 trapping heat, but no one takes it further.

    (This post inspired by post that was talking about high school lab calibration of thermometers, and numerous references on RC to Hadley as “Father of Global Warming” – so having the Hadley Centre called after him)

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 9 Apr 2009 @ 5:05 PM

  340. The fun part is that I’m going to be tracking monthly Mauna Loa CO2 and the RSS lower tropospheric monthly anomaly, as if a ten year goal of having the CO2 down to 280ppm.

    If you do, you won’t be making fun of Obama, you’ll be making yourself look foolish. No one is talking about a goal of having CO2 down to 280ppm over the next decade. Lampooning Obama on this basis would be nothing more than a strawman attack.

    Comment by dhogaza — 9 Apr 2009 @ 5:15 PM

  341. re 332, 9 April 2009 at 3:39 PM
    Perhaps if you look at what you just wrote with just a little bit of editing, you might understand why people aren’t buying what you are trying to selling:

    =================
    Balderdash. Each new data item is evidence of *something*, but just because it seems to conveniently fit Evolutionary theory, much of the new data is instantly assumed by many to have the complete legitimacy of the theory itself.

    Balderdash!

    And another thing: all contrary evidence (evidence which does not seem to support Evolutionary theory) is just as instantly dismissed, or cloaked in very careful language.

    All evidence needs to be treated equally. I feel sorry for some poor scientist out there who just wants to do his work and not worry how well it fits a theory which has grown to ridiculous proportions.

    And then there is my absolute irritation at the simple fact that the Evolutionary science community continues to live in an ivory tower where they get to say things such as “Intelligent Design is not science.”

    We won’t stop promoting Intelligent Design, and it’s not science’s job to tell us to. Those are social issues which must be informed by science but must operate in reality, where people need to be taught the controversy.

    If we speak honestly about these things, we can at least honestly inform policy.

    I’ve said this all before. Absolutely nobody listens.
    ===========================

    And I didn’t need to substitute Evolution for AGW theory – I could have easily said Quantum Theory or some such.

    The real point is, once once looks at what you are complaining about in terms of this discussion, you aren’t making any sense – you are being inadvertantly selective (ignoring that you could likely say the exact same thing about ANY scientific theory – and likely would not), and in so doing, essentially engaging rhetorical flourishes (rhetoric the anti-evolution crowd has used for years now.)

    IMHO (not as a scientist – I’m not – just someone who recognizes real balderdash when I see it) if no one is listening it may be because you aren’t really saying anything bearing a resemblence to a consistant and honest approach to how science operates.

    Comment by J.S. McIntyre — 9 Apr 2009 @ 5:17 PM

  342. Hank, isn’t 1900ppm that you cite getting pretty close to flat out CO2 poisoning? I mean, forget what melts, aren’t we getting at not being able to breathe?

    Comment by Todd Bandrowsky — 9 Apr 2009 @ 5:29 PM

  343. Theo, Google.
    http://www.google.com/search?q=physics+lab+experiment+to+show+that+CO2+is+a+greenhouse+gas

    This could be the start of a wonderful friendship.
    Just one example from the results — click on the above link and see what else you find there.

    Experiment – The Greenhouse Effect

    The blue series in front shows the course of temperatures in the right vessel. … The fraction of carbon dioxide in the air is acting as an greenhouse gas. …
    http://www.espere.net/Unitedkingdom/water/uk_watexpgreenhouse.htm

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Apr 2009 @ 5:30 PM

  344. Oh, and, Theo –Hadley? Where’d you get the idea it was Hadley? Who are you relying on for that?

    Look in the right sidebar under Science, first link:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm
    “… A few years after Arrhenius published his hypothesis, another scientist in Sweden, Knut Ångström, asked an assistant to measure the passage of infrared radiation through a tube filled with carbon dioxide. …”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Apr 2009 @ 5:37 PM

  345. “Is there a high school (US) or secondary school (UK) level physics lab experiment to show that CO2 is a greenhouse gas?”

    Yes, the original experiment can be carried out with high-school level equipment.

    I don’t know of any place that does, mind.

    Comment by Mark — 9 Apr 2009 @ 5:39 PM

  346. “Science is by definition SKEPTICAL.

    Did that sink in?”

    Didn’t need to. That was already internalised.

    However what you’re doing isn’t skepticism. It’s nihilism.

    You don’t have an alternative (or none that you’ve been SKEPTICAL of yourself) and the current theory fits the data well.

    But, being skeptical, if someone comes up with a better idea, we’ll look at it (skeptically) and if it does seem to fit the evidence better, move over.

    Got anything better?

    Comment by Mark — 9 Apr 2009 @ 5:43 PM

  347. Theo Hopkins (338) —
    “My kid’s science class did a very simple experiment: they took two clear glass bottles, added some CO2 to one of them, dropped a thermometer in each one, closed them, and put them outside in the sun. After a few minutes, the CO2-enriched air was hotter than the “normal” air. It’s about that simple.” — Chris Dunford, Maryland
    from a comment on DotEarth

    Comment by David B. Benson — 9 Apr 2009 @ 5:43 PM

  348. Er, Theo, one more thing:

    Where are you reading a version of RC in which you see ‘numerous references on RC to Hadley as “Father of Global Warming” ‘please? How do you find that?
    I tried the search box here, and found none.

    Then I thought I’d check for the newspaper story references you remember seeing.
    http://news.google.com/archivesearch?um=1&ned=us&hl=en&q=Hadley+CO2+greenhouse+gas&cf=all

    “I have no idea what you’re talking about … so here’s a bunny with a pancake on its head.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oolong_(rabbit)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Apr 2009 @ 6:07 PM

  349. How did Hadley originally experimentally confirm his idea? His name often comes up in newspaper discussions/articles here in UK as evidence of CO2 trapping heat, but no one takes it further.

    Hadley didn’t [show that CO2 is a greenhouse gas -- which seems to be your implication]. He was a C17-C18 amateur meteorologist. I’m not even sure that Hadley would have known about CO2, as it was discovered towards the end of his life.

    As to school experiments, this one gets close IMHO. At least it seems closer than the two-bottles experiment you see sometimes. What might be interesting is to extend the experiment to CH4, N2O and a CFC.

    Comment by P. Lewis — 9 Apr 2009 @ 6:36 PM

  350. For Todd B. — before you set up a public web site making fun of anyone or anything, it will be good to get comfortable looking up facts yourself.

    If you just take what others tell you and paste it up on the web, you can be really made a fool of by people who are putting out PR instead of helping people learn to think for themselves. Seriously.

    Google Scholar is going to be more reliable than Google for this. As Coby Beck has often pointed out there is no “Wisdom” button on the Internet.

    And you won’t get credibility if you attribute what you believe to something written by some stranger on some blog somewhere.

    For example, you ask about the toxicity of CO2 and say that you suspect that 1900ppm is toxic.

    Where did you get that idea? Why do you consider that source to be one you can rely on for good information?

    How can you check it yourself?

    Try it out.

    See if you can find support for this statement — call it a challenge to exercise your skepticism and figure out if this is any more credible than what you think now:

    “At 1% concentration of carbon dioxide CO2 (10,000 parts per million or ppm) and under continuous exposure at that level, such as in an auditorium filled with occupants and poor fresh air ventilation, some occupants are likely to feel drowsy.”

    Who says so? Take your question to Google, or Google Scholar, paste it in and see what you find out.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Apr 2009 @ 6:59 PM

  351. David B. Benson…simple experiment: they took two clear glass bottles, added some CO2 to one of them, dropped a thermometer in each one, closed them, and put them outside in the sun. After a few minutes, the CO2-enriched air was hotter than the “normal” air.

    I’m very skeptical of that experiment, since glass is not transparent beyond about 2.7um. If there is an effect from CO2 at shorter wavelengths, it has no significant relationship to the greenhouse effect since the earth is not warm enough to emit much energy there.

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 9 Apr 2009 @ 7:03 PM

  352. Here is a high-res image of Wilkins Sound obtained via National Snow and Ice Center:

    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/gallery/?2009096-0406/WilkinsSound.A2009096.2010.250m.jpg

    In this April 6 image, it appears that the wind (and maybe current) is from the right.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 9 Apr 2009 @ 7:06 PM

  353. I’m a little confused as to what is the primary contention here, by Walt Bennett and earlier posts by Jim Norvell, dawn, etc.

    Those arguing against the basic foundations of climate science are only showing that they have no faith whatsoever in physics. “AGW” cannot really be called a theory in any sense; that is, AGW is not an organizing principle of climate theory, but rather it emerges from the theory. The essential basis is,

    – All objects with a temperature above 0 K emit radiation according to the Planck law

    – energy is conserved

    – The fundamental boundary condition which constrains the global climate is the TOA energy balance determined by the incoming solar irradiance, planetary reflectivity, and atmospheric greenhouse structure and vertical temperature profile

    – CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and thus absorbs/emits infrared radiation. At current, terrestrial conditions it makes the planet completely opaaque to infrared in the 14-16 micron window (and some distance away from those edges as well). Increasing its concentration allows the mean altitude of emission to be shifted to colder layers of the atmosphere where the influx of energy then exceeds the output, and the planet must warm.

    – The role of the greenhouse effect is essentially to make the surface temperature 33 K (59 F) warmer than the effective temperature maintained by equilibrium with the incoming sunlight and an albedo of 30%

    – Of the 33 K greenhouse effect, roughly 20% of the infrared opacity is due to CO2. Roughly 75% of the infrared opacity is due to water vapor and clouds, although water is condensible at Earth-like conditions, and because its variation is responsive to temperature, this means that the non-condensible greenhouse gases (CO2, methane, ozone, etc) provide the supporting framework for the atmospheric greenhouse effect (where water vapor then provides an amplicative factor of roughly three). Removing all of the CO2 and other non-condensible GHG’s would result in a most of the water vapor and cloud effect precipitating from the air, and a consequent collapse of the terrestrial greenhouse effect. The corresponding change in surface albedo would likely make the planet much more reflective and thus colder than the 255 K baseline temperature.

    – On the other hand, specific humidity climbs in a warmer world (essentially following Clausius-Clapeyron) which forces a strong positive water vapor feedback, predominant in the tropics and higher altitudes. Most of the water vapor feedback is caused by enhanced infrared opacity, although water vapor also absorbs solar radiation which becomes important at the polar areas where it can absorb upwelling photons in the visible. Decreases in ice cover lower the surface albedo, and thus provide a mechanism to enhance warming. Decreases in the vertical temperature gradient from an atmosphere following a moist adiabat essentially reduce the strength of the greenhouse effect providing a partial negative feedback.

    Much of this was known a century ago, with many of the key developments happening earlier in the century, mainly in the form of observational evidence of climate change (e.g., rising CO2 levels from Keeling, better radiation experiments and carbon cycle understanding). The key uncertanties now do not relate to the reality of AGW, but in the general response to the terrestrial biosphere and climate system (including the ice sheets, sea ice, and possible thresholds for “tipping points” within the system).

    Any objections to the above physics should take the form of a real, competing synthesis which better describes not only the 20th century warming, but the basic structure of the entire climate record as we know it, as well as models built on physics and osbervation.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 9 Apr 2009 @ 7:29 PM

  354. Walt, Ah, I see, it’s the unknown unknowns. Well, how shall we approach those unknown unknowns in a scientific manner? Could we ask how large a contribution they are making? Can we ask if we see evidence of them in the paleoclimate? Can we ask what other plausible forcings there might be? Can we ask how it could simultaneously warm the troposphere and cool the stratosphere.
    See, Walt, I just don’t know how to do science if you make the assumption that there’s some invisible, unmeasurable, undetectable unknown out there that messes up our theory and leaves no evidence. I think that when you start talking about things like that, you’ve left the scientific domain.
    Science requires having the courage to advance a hypothesis and allow it to be subjected to falsification. Asking you to do that is not arrogance. It’s how the game is played. Wanna advance one or is science too scary for you?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Apr 2009 @ 7:37 PM

  355. No one is talking about a goal of having CO2 down to 280ppm over the next decade

    I know, but his advocates cannot say that, as during that time the country is going to spend about hundreds of billion dollars in CO2 taxes and a reduction in lifestyle designed to lower CO2. It’s to force an examination of the cost of this proposed solution to provide the right with a way in. It’s time for the right to actually engage this problem as there’s plenty of political differences as to how to solve it. If you will, its an argument for developing technologies to clean the air and to also begin a massive nuclear power program.

    Comment by Todd Bandrowsky — 9 Apr 2009 @ 7:46 PM

  356. Dawn #274:

    It’s quite possible that there is no warming, very little warming or even cooling.

    How about more warming than the data shows?

    If you distrust the data and the error handling methodology, why do you insist that the errors must all be on the warmer side?

    That’s not skepticism, that’s bias.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 9 Apr 2009 @ 8:08 PM

  357. Todd Bandrowsky #341:

    isn’t 1900ppm that you cite getting pretty close to flat out CO2 poisoning? I mean, forget what melts, aren’t we getting at not being able to breathe?

    You need to worry when concentrations in air reach 2%. That’s 20,000ppm. At 2% you will start to feel ill effects; 5% starts to become toxic. Asphyxia risk starts at 10% (100,000ppm).

    1900ppm would cause serious enough consequences though, so that we needn’t worry about asphyxiation or poisoning is not much cause for comfort.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 9 Apr 2009 @ 8:40 PM

  358. Steve Reynolds (351) — Thanks. What about the experiment linked in comment #349?

    Comment by David B. Benson — 9 Apr 2009 @ 8:44 PM

  359. > I know, but his advocates cannot say that,

    Oh, nonsense, Todd.
    Who’s paying for this website you’re building?
    Are you free to provide facts?
    Are you setting up a PR outlet?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Apr 2009 @ 8:55 PM

  360. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) Says:
    9 April 2009 at 11:41 AM

    “#302 Theo Hopkins

    This gives me an idea. If anyone spots relevant government of university study links pertaining to seasonal shift, please drop them into my contact form.”

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=earlier+breeding+flowering+climate+change&hl=en&lr=&btnG=Search
    “about 26000 hits”
    Two from PNAS, two from Nature, one from Proceedings of the Royal society on the first page. I think that the problem won’t be finding authoritative studies, but rather too many of them to sort.
    Add “phenology” to the search reduces the hits to a more manageable “about 4,630″. I guess the AGW conspiracy not only involves Climate Scientists but Biologists as well.

    recaptcha says “two griff” (almost grift &;>) I have a theory that much of the indecipherable junk email floating around on the internet is in fact the infant babbling of a nascent AI having spontaneously arisen from viruses, trojans, and all the other wildlife on the net. It’s trying to learn to communicate, as all babies do, by imitation.)

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 9 Apr 2009 @ 9:29 PM

  361. Todd Bandrowsky Says (9 April 2009 at 7:46 PM):

    “I know, but his advocates cannot say that, as during that time the country is going to spend about hundreds of billion dollars in CO2 taxes and a reduction in lifestyle designed to lower CO2.”

    You know, you’re wrong on two, and perhaps three, major points in that one sentence.

    First, AFAIK neither Obama nor anyone else in government is seriously talking about trying to lower CO2 concentrations. Even the most extreme only talk about trying to stabilize at some high value; the majority just about slowing the rate of increase.

    Second, about that “reduction in lifestyle”. How exactly is that supposed to happen? I started putting CFL bulbs in my house a decade and more ago: I have better light and pay less. Doesn’t that improve my lifestyle? I upgraded insulation & heating so I need very little fossil-fuel heat, and zero A/C. I spend less, and am more comfortable. Isn’t that a lifestyle improvement? I reduce my driving by telecommuting & biking, which saves time & money, and keeps me in good physical condition. Aren’t those lifestyle improvements? When I do drive, it’s in a car that gets 70 mpg – $4/gal gas didn’t even affect me, unlike some of my neighbors. Again, a lifestyle improvement. In a few years, I hope to be able to replace it a Tesla, Apera, or some other electric or PHEV car, which again is a distinct lifestyle improvement. And so on down the list: it seems as though darned near everything that reduces my CO2 footprint also improves my quality of life.

    Third (and I apologize for a very brief digression into the political), I’m a pretty long way from being an Obama advocate, since I disagree with his policies on most issues. Including CO2: I don’t think he’s nearly serious enough.

    Comment by James — 9 Apr 2009 @ 10:31 PM

  362. Brian Dodge wrote: “I have a theory that much of the indecipherable junk email floating around on the internet is in fact the infant babbling of a nascent AI having spontaneously arisen from viruses, trojans, and all the other wildlife on the net. It’s trying to learn to communicate, as all babies do, by imitation.”

    Hank says not to paste nonsense–but this is lovely, poetic, Arthurian (as in Clarke) nonsense! Beautiful.

    (And Captcha says, “talking of.”)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 9 Apr 2009 @ 11:00 PM

  363. I know, but his advocates cannot say that, as during that time the country is going to spend about hundreds of billion dollars in CO2 taxes and a reduction in lifestyle designed to lower CO2. It’s to force an examination of the cost of this proposed solution to provide the right with a way in.

    In other words, you plan to lie on your website, for ideological reasons. Thanks, I knew that from your first post, but confirmation is … comfortably confirming. Most RW liars aren’t willing to confirm their intent to lie in public like this.

    Can we quote you?

    Comment by dhogaza — 9 Apr 2009 @ 11:09 PM

  364. Todd, how about we cross-reference your two posts earlier in this thread over to the Advocacy thread so we can talk more about them there? That’s:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/04/advocacy-vs-science/langswitch_lang/spthread?

    They’re relevant to that one, and not to this on the Wilkins ice sheet.

    You’ve got some clear goals about making fun, and some very odd ideas about the science, to go on this website you’re setting up. Whoever’s having you build it might not be giving you good information to start.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Apr 2009 @ 11:14 PM

  365. #338 “Hanson wrote “The most important time-critical action needed to avert climate disasters concerns coal”

    I was privileged to hear Jim Hansen speak today at the University of Colorado in Boulder (the event sponsored by UCAR).

    His message was urgent while being delivered in his usual deliberate way…lots of charts and graphs and very convincing.

    He brought up the current “cooling” being linked graphically with La Nina.

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 10 Apr 2009 @ 12:07 AM

  366. Will there be a reaction posting to the DEC 2008 NOAA attribution paper?

    Comment by steve — 10 Apr 2009 @ 12:09 AM

  367. Gavin,

    Thank you for the inline; at least there is some engagement from within. That is a first for me with regard to this rant.

    Allow me to say I can find quotes where Dr. Hansen says we must immediately stop building coal plants that do not CCS. That idea is politically dead on arrival, and Dr. Hansen has no place even saying it. What he should be saying is something like: “All of the science work I have done, supported by the work of many others, indicates that if we continue to burn coal and allow the CO2 emissions to escape into place, we are going to need even more radical solutions which will have even greater unknown consequences.” And then policy makers will have decisions to make. Instead, he comes out against coal, and coal comes out against him, and on we go with the political stalemate. I’m sure you agree that not near enough political progress is being made, and the prospects for a binding agreement with any potential ameliorating effect are dim at best. We are at least a decade behind; where is the political will to catch up?

    As to the divination of agreeable science, this very post is Exhibit A, and all of your best friends have shown up to serve as the Greek Chorus. You all have been talking to each other for so long, that you do not realize how insular (cult-like, in fact) you have become.

    No sense of humor; no sense of irony; no sense of cuation; no sense of balance.

    Here is the point, I suppose: the current warming is within the bounds of variability, and while it is true that the ice shelves were there for thousands of years, and while it is likely that global warming caused their disintegration, that is not the same as saying “It’s AGW” and it’s not the same as saying “This means things are getting a lot scarier in Antarctica.”

    It may mean those things, but come here and all you’ll learn is that “Of course it is AGW, you blankety blank, now go back to your coal-sponsored hole in the ground.”

    I’m something of a pessimist in the first place. I know how next to impossible it is to get anybody on either side to look at something that competes with their firmly held view. I realize that stalemate equals loss. I see no hope of avoiding stalemate, and thus loss. I believe that means my children and especially their children are condemned to live on a planet where things will become quite unstable in all meaningful ways.

    But when I survey the landscape to identify those who are to blame, sites like this do not escape blame. Not by a long shot.

    I’m still somewhat stunned that you actually called somebody an idiot, that nobody other than me objected, and that several came rushing to your defense.

    I guess none of you can see that it just doesn’t matter.

    So to wrap all this up: we need scientists to do science and quit trying to sell a case. IPCC is bad enough, placing all sorts of correlated conclusions on individual work. Let’s not devolve to a practice where all climate science is judged by how well it supports AGW.

    If you can’t see the peril in that, I don’t know how to make you.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 10 Apr 2009 @ 12:20 AM

  368. Re #37 Comment by Gavin,
    I have noticed that quite a few denialists are very confident with their “gut feel”. My “gut feel” is the AGW is 100% correct! Did you ever notice my comment when the “Ocean cooling” subject was first raised on this site? See: – http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=337#comment-17807

    Cheers,

    Comment by Lawrence McLean — 10 Apr 2009 @ 12:25 AM

  369. I want to add a “third” to the suggestion above for using Google Scholar. I am not sure why, by now, people do not try Google Scholar before saying (on a blog) “how can I find documentation on ___?” or “why hasn’t anyone considered ___?” In my case, after never publishing on climate change, I found myself part of a study showing a three month advance in seasonal phenology due to an indirect effect of climate change on the availability of a refuge from predation. I typed “seasonal phenology and climate change” into Google Scholar and the Walther et al (Nature 2002) paper was listed first with over 1000 citations. I downloaded and read this paper as well as a few of the other general reviews and decided that the Walther et al. (2002) paper was a good one to cite as a general review in the introduction of my paper. The Walther paper is very easy to find and is, I think, a free download for everyone. Of course, many papers have been published since 2002, but this paper gives a nice overview to anyone wondering about the nature and extent of the evidence on seasonal phenology shifts.

    It seems to me that using Google Scholar needs to be emaphsized in high school and university science classes, as well as in journalism schools. I am making sure that my undergraduates are well aware of this tool.

    Comment by Bill DeMott — 10 Apr 2009 @ 1:28 AM

  370. #360 Brian Dodge

    Thanks, I should have googled…

    but I think I have a brain cloud, which may be a positive feedback caused by the level of inanity added to the atmosphere in here by those that can’t see the deforestation through the lack of trees. Of course this supports Lindzen’s hypothesis as it seems to have a negative feedback on my ability to think clearly due to the increased fog levels from the atmospheric additions herein-above mentioned.

    However, I don’t have a sufficient time series to determine if I am heating up or cooling down due to the increased hyperbole combined with the increased fog levels and the internal bias of my cherry picked view, combined with my lack of acceptance of relevant modeled analysis. In other words, I’m using the raw data unadjusted for urban hubris island effect, so I can prove in my own mind that my perspective represents all perspectives possible, based on my view of the data.

    Luckily my wife is doing diligent measuring of my tolerance levels and comparing them to my known past behavior, other involved individuals, and those that are blissfully ignorant of the atmosphere (mentioned herein-above) as a control. And though she says I’m becoming less tolerant, I choose not to believe her because I claim that while it may seem obvious to her, based on her long term experience with my historic behavior, I won’t believe her until she can prove it by my being arrested for going over the top.

    Guess we’ll just have to wait rather than apply science or reasoning. We wouldn’t want to make any hasty decisions about my condition. So if I go crazy, which based on her views and the comparative data against the controls and other studies, seems likely due to the path she claims I am on, and if there are negative impacts, such as a lot of damage attributable to the imbecilic atmospheric overload from external forcing elements, then everyone can talk about how maybe we should have been more reasonable and done something to prevent this based on the evidence that was knowable before the event manifested to such extent?

    er, I’m sorry, did I say that out loud ;)

    … and I will try to pick some cream off the top of the search.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 10 Apr 2009 @ 1:38 AM

  371. In defense of Secular Animist (338), he did quote Hansen (correctly I believe) as saying that we should
    “… phase out coal use during the next few decades, except where CO2 is captured and sequestered.”
    In the following, Sec. An. made clear that he doesn’t believe that CCS will ever make a contribution to decreasing CO2 emissions, whereas Hansen does.

    Chris (353): Very nice review of the basic cornerstones of climate science and their place in the ‘discussion’.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 10 Apr 2009 @ 2:51 AM

  372. “Dawn,
    You folks know what the problem here is don’t you?
    Too much interpreating, correcting and estimating and not enough accurate, calibrated measuring. And way too much pretending they are one in the same.

    Dawn I do not study climate, but I do study mathematics. There exists a mathematical reason for climate scientist and other types of scientist to make revisions. The revisions are necessary due to the limitations of mathematics or the Theorem of Incompleteness. In a basic nutshell, no mathematical model can be complete and consistent at the same time. To put it into the words of George Box, “All models are wrong but some are useful.” This little theorem encompasses just about all of science. It’s also the reason why physicists cannot construct a theory of everything.

    In a basic nutshell, modern day science is statistical. Some areas may have variations, but it’s the over all trend that is useful for information. If you expect a certain precise method, I’m afraid it’s not possible to do mathematically for the reason stated above. In respect to global warming: All statistical trends point to a planet that is warming.

    When scientist attempt to link the power of a storm to global warming, I would agree that they are abusing science; however, the link of melting ice to a warming planet doesn’t seem to be far stretched in my opinion. Not only is it logical, it seems to be a part of a cascading effect.

    Onto Another Topic:

    I see two clear implications from the collapse of the ice shelf. The first being reduced reflection of sunlight, and thus increased irradiation being absorbed by the environment. It’s likely that we will see an increase to the acceleration of warming in the arctic down the road. It’s also likely to increase slipping of glaciers, for obvious reasons.

    This brings me to a question, do you believe it’s possible to intervene? Quite frankly, I don’t see humanity changing anytime soon (I’m a pessimistic person). Even if humanity does change, I’m not too sure that it will make a difference.

    Comment by EL — 10 Apr 2009 @ 2:55 AM

  373. Jim Norvell writes:

    Would you provide some reference to the claim water vapor is a positive feed back.

    Google “Clausius-Clapeyron relation.”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Apr 2009 @ 3:40 AM

  374. Theo: Try

    http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/animals_plants_already_feeling_effects_of_global_warming

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Apr 2009 @ 3:45 AM

  375. Re David B Benson

    I think any bench-top school experiment is only going to be an approximation and you are going to run into the well-known glass-greenhouse analogy shortcomings. You need to explore/explain the shortcomings of the various set-ups as part of the exercise. You could replace normal glassware with UV/vis/IR-type spectrophotometry cuvettes I s’pose.

    The other tack, and probably beyond most schools, would be just to replicate the measurements that make up the HITRAN database, or utilise the HITRAN database itself for CO2, N2O, …, and then discuss the implications. But that’s probably not as exciting as actually doing a hands-on experiment, unless you’re a budding theoretician that is, where experiments are largely anathematical/a waste of your time ;-).

    Comment by P. Lewis — 10 Apr 2009 @ 3:50 AM

  376. Thanks to all the scientists that post here from an informed person who knew little about climate science but is well versed in the scientific process of discovery. I have learned more than you might have guessed about your science and appreciate your dedication and time spent spreading your knowledge to those who are not in your field. As for the ‘dawns’ out there, you are known by your utter lack of science motivation and your rather transparent neocon arguments to be only here to spread your political agenda. You should have learned [but did not] from the last two elections that the time of politically inspired attacks on science is over. again thanks to all the scientists that patiently explain your scientific knowledge to us of lesser knowledge.

    Comment by Corvus — 10 Apr 2009 @ 3:52 AM

  377. Steve Reynolds writes:

    I’m very skeptical of that experiment, since glass is not transparent beyond about 2.7um. If there is an effect from CO2 at shorter wavelengths, it has no significant relationship to the greenhouse effect since the earth is not warm enough to emit much energy there.

    CO2 has strong absorption bands from 1.9 to 2.1 and 2.6 to 2.9 microns. Technically, though, its “greenhouse effect” should be about the infrared it absorbs. The CO2 would also have been absorbing IR from the warm walls of the jar.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Apr 2009 @ 4:01 AM

  378. “Since effective CO2 capture and sequestration technology does not exist and is unlikely to ever exist” – SecularAnimist

    On what do you base that claim? It is not shared by the IPCC; and I refer you to http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/apr/08/first-carbon-capture-power-plant-lacq.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 10 Apr 2009 @ 4:27 AM

  379. E #357: Lifetime exposure toxicity threshold of CO2 (as well as almost anyhing else) is not well known.

    The sources you cite concern short term and/or periodic exposure of presmably healthy adults. The numbers are based on experimental work done to establish requirements for submarine crews, extrapolations and estimates derived from those data.

    The life cycle exposure needs to include impacts on developing embryo, the growing children as well as the sick and elderly, eventually combined with numerous other environmental stress factors.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 10 Apr 2009 @ 5:02 AM

  380. ““Since effective CO2 capture and sequestration technology does not exist and is unlikely to ever exist” – SecularAnimist

    On what do you base that claim? It is not shared by the IPCC”

    I suspect based on 17 trillion kilos of carbon needing sequestration and storage.

    That’s a lotta carbon.

    Effective == gets rid of it and stops it being a problem.

    IPCC is more

    Effective == helps

    Comment by Mark — 10 Apr 2009 @ 5:26 AM

  381. “I’m very skeptical of that experiment, since glass is not transparent beyond about 2.7um. ”

    And why is that?

    Because glass is a strong absorber at that range.

    Now, a thought experiment:

    If you made the glass thinner and thinner, the effect would reduce, would it not? Like very thin china is translucent but thick china opaque.

    Now what happens if some of that IR that would have been blocked by glass were instead blocked by CO2?

    Same as if it were thicker glass, yes?

    Comment by Mark — 10 Apr 2009 @ 5:29 AM

  382. “Here is the point, I suppose: the current warming is within the bounds of variability”

    And you’ve worked this out how?

    Where is your statistical mechanism, the data and the results that shows this.

    Because it seems that all the people who HAVE done that seem to disagree. The warming is well outside the bounds of variability.

    Unless you’re talking about “less than the difference between, say, day and night temperatures”.

    The September-November average is well outside the variability of the pre-industrial revolution September-November average.

    Comment by Mark — 10 Apr 2009 @ 5:35 AM

  383. Nick #378, Laq is a gas not coal plant. There is a significant difference because gas creates the possibility of pumping the CO2 back where the gas came from, where there is at least some reassurance that another kind of gas was previously stored there for a very long period without leakage. Coal is a different case. Coal-fired plants are often positioned near a coal mine, and not that often positioned near a depleted gas field. So you have a problem as to where to put the CO2. Shipping it in high volume over long distances is seriously risky, as is pumping it underground anywhere that a leak is possible.

    Even so, a depleted gas field has another problem. It may have been free of leaks before it was tapped, but you have to be pretty sure that the process of extracting gas has not introduced potential for new leaks. CCS is widely seen as an excuse not to pursue renewables because so many projects have been started and stopped before making much progress. We’ll have to see if Total keeps this one going long enough to be plausible.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 10 Apr 2009 @ 6:14 AM

  384. Barton Paul Levenson #284 writes

    “5. When I regressed NASA GISS temperature anomalies against ln CO2 for 1880-2008, I got 76% of the variance accounted for. That means all other causes of temperature variation for that 129-year period, including other greenhouse gases, caused no more than 24%. Volcanoes had a small effect (about 2%), and sunlight had no discernable effect–and I measured the sun’s influence four different ways, TSI, sunspot cycle, years since maximum, and years since minimum.”

    Correlation does not prove causation, as I’m sure you know. Both ln CO2 and GISS temperature anomalies have risen over this period and so they must show a correlation. You would also find a correlation between the temperature anomaly and any other increasing parameter, such as the price of a bus ticket.

    Comment by Swann — 10 Apr 2009 @ 6:30 AM

  385. #115, 124, 130 (Jack Roesler, Gavin, SecularAnimist):
    the potential 80-90% reduction in global population was mentioned recently by John Schellnhuber at the Copenhagen Climate Congress. See slide 43 of his presentation there:
    http://climatecongress.ku.dk/speakers/schellnhuber-plenaryspeaker-12march2009.pdf/

    Of course James Lovelock has also been speaking in these terms. I hope they’re wrong, or simpy being too excessive, like Gavin said, but i wouldn’t count on it.

    Comment by Lennart van der Linde — 10 Apr 2009 @ 6:46 AM

  386. In 2005, Nature wrote about a study “If their estimate of the ice erosion rate is correct, within 100 years Larsen C will be close to the thickness at which Larsen B broke up.” (sorry I don’t have the full paper, just this : http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22within+100+years+Larsen+C%22 )

    In 2008, http://cires.colorado.edu/science/pro/irp/2008/scambos/ wrote : “The work will compare the present Wilkins break-up with similar past break-up events, and also those of the Larsen A and B Ice Shelves in 1995 and 2002 respectively. Further south, Larsen C has thinned and continued warming could lead to its breakup within the next decade. Can we forecast break-ups based on sea ice and climate anomalies?”

    Larsen C breakup would be a huge event – and would release huge amounts of ice currently “trapped” behind it. Wilkins is gone, now it’s to monitor the remaining ones…

    Comment by Fred34 — 10 Apr 2009 @ 7:13 AM

  387. Walt Bennett, While I am more than content to engage in a flame war, I would suggest that that might not be the most advantageous use of bandwidth. I find your post #367 interesting, as you are suggesting that a scientist must speak only in very measured tones.
    First, I would point out that Dr. Hansen and others have been speaking in precisely such measured tones for over 20 years, with the only result being that we have lost 20 years during which we could have been addressing this issue. In fact, all Hansen and his colleagues got out of the exercise were subpoenas and accusations of fraud. I’m wondering why you would expect a different outcome now, or is your goal to forestall meaningful progress for another 20 years?
    Would your admonitions also pertain to dissidents like Lindzen and Spencer, who regularly distort scientific results ex cathedra, as it were, to lay audiences, or is it only the 97% of climate scientists that support the consensus model who should have their first amendment rights curtailed?
    Is it only climate science where such restrictions apply? Should scientists be prevented from advocating for or against nuclear power? Should doctors be forced to speak in soft, measured tones when urging patients to stop smoking?

    You have asked for “balance”, and yet when asked for peer-reviewed papers that raise significant questions about the consensus model of climate or evidence that poses significant problems for that model, you have provided nothing. Are we to assume you have no such papers or evidence? If so, how can we as scientists give much consideration to the dissenting view?

    As to the evidence favoring warming, I believe you are mischaracterizing the situation. Nobody (at least nobody responsible) is saying that the collapse of the Wilkins ice shelf is proof or even evidence of global climate change. But the collapse of Wilkins, Ross and others, coupled with unprecedented loss of ice in the arctic, coupled with 3 decades of rising global temperatures, coupled with shorter winters, coupled with a cooling stratosphere, coupled with… The fact that a single mechanism favors all those disparate developments is surely strong evidence that we are outside of normal variability. The tremendous successes of climate models at reproducing the general trends of paleo- and modern climate have to count as well. And then you have the fact that none of the 2 dozen or so professional and honorific science bodies that have looked at this issue dissents from the consensus position.

    Look, I wish this issue had not become politicized, but it has. The gloves are off, just as they are for stem cells, evolution, the ozone hole, smoking and cancer, the big bang and on and on. Like it or not, science itself is under attack here. It has to defend itself.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Apr 2009 @ 7:55 AM

  388. Mark@380,
    Where does your “17 trillion tons” of carbon come from? No one technology is going to solve the problem. I quote from the IPCC’s 2007 report on CCS (p.12 of the Executive Summary):
    “In most scenarios for stabilization of atmospheric
    greenhouse gas concentrations between 450 and 750 ppmv
    CO2 and in a least-cost portfolio of mitigation options,
    the economic potential of CCS would amount to 220–
    2,200 GtCO2 (60–600 GtC) cumulatively, which would
    mean that CCS contributes 15–55% to the cumulative
    mitigation effort worldwide until 2100, averaged over a
    range of baseline scenarios. It is likely that the technical
    potential for geological storage is sufficient to cover the
    high end of the economic potential range, but for specific
    regions, this may not be true.”
    Now this could be quite wrong – I’m not claiming any expertise here – but it merits something more than dismissal unsupported by argument.

    Philip Machanick@383,
    There are other places than depleted gas fields that could be used for sequestration (e.g. deep saline formations, depleted coal beds); and the Laq project is specifically designed to look at possible leakage problems. Given the rate at which both gas and coal-fired power stations are being built, particularly in China and India which both have large reserves of cheap coal, it seems to me very unwise to dismiss CCS out of hand, although it is certainly not my preferred option, and I do share the concern that it can be used as an excuse.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 10 Apr 2009 @ 8:12 AM

  389. If you have been watching http://webservices.esa.int/wilkinsarctic/wilkins.php?type=full
    you would have seen that since the 4/4/09 the ice bridge has been collapsing. Have a look at it now..the last image was from the 8/4 and it shows the complete and utter destruction of the ice bridge linking charcot to latady. What this shows me is that the wilkins ice shelf is now so brittle, thin and impoverished that it cannot any longer withstand the usual glacial forces pushing outwards. This is what a sustained raise of 2.5C will do to ice. To the naked eye not much is happening but within the crystalline structure major changes are taking place. The oxygen bubbles within the ice are expanding thus fracturing the surrounding homogenous water ice and turning what was once hard and smooth into mush. If this is what a 2.5C raise will do can you imagine what a 5.0C increase will spell. It will then rain far more more frequently on the antarctic mainland turning the millenium old continemtal ice mass into swiss cheese and a geologically instantaneous and catastrophically deadly increase in sea level. I really hope the senseless and utterly ignorant capitalism of the past is dead or we will be before much longer. We need an earth and ecology based system of finance that puts our planetary home as first and formost. Sharing of sustainable resouces, sustainable and non polluting energy and the end of the use of fossil fuels. If this criteria is not met immediatly we will perish. There is no doubt!.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 10 Apr 2009 @ 8:48 AM

  390. @Swann,384: “Correlation does not prove causation, as I’m sure you know.”

    Good thing, then, that there is a physical theory that explains CO2 causes warming through radiative absorption and re-emission.
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/08/the-co2-problem-in-6-easy-steps/

    Comment by Ron Broberg — 10 Apr 2009 @ 8:54 AM

  391. @Ron Broberg:
    Indeed, that was a particularly ridiculous comment by Swann, since the quoted paragraph was point 5 in Barton’s post, where points 1-3 were a summary of how causation is established (and points 4, 6 provided other, non-statistical evidence).

    And they wonder why people don’t take them seriously ….

    Comment by JBL — 10 Apr 2009 @ 9:11 AM

  392. Ref #387 Ray says “Would your admonitions also pertain to dissidents like Lindzen and Spencer, who regularly distort scientific results ex cathedra, as it were, to lay audiences, or is it only the 97% of climate scientists that support the consensus model who should have their first amendment rights curtailed?”

    From Gavins one response to me I had already determined there was animosity towards Lindzen here but I wasn’t aware the animosity extended also to Spencer. Does the animosity also extend towards Christy and Pielke? It would be nice if my tax dollars were going to people that could get along long enough to meet and discuss these issues in a civilized manner. And of course this criticism is not aimed at anyone in particular nor at one side in particular.

    Wouldn’t anyone that believed there was a green house affect or an urban heat island affect, or a land use affect also be included in the 97% of climatologists that believed humans had a role in warming the planet? Which climatologists might I have heard of in the debate over AGW would not also fit into the 97%?

    Comment by steve — 10 Apr 2009 @ 9:32 AM

  393. Ray,

    If there is a flame war, it’s one-sided. Ranting and flaming are not the same.

    There is no solution to the problem. Politicized science ceases to be science.

    You correctly state that twenty years later, Hansen’s 1988 warnings have had little effect. You seem to be saying that he now has no choice but to proverbially chain himself to a smokestack.

    I not only disagree, I disagree with all the vehemence I can muster.

    If you cannot see what a horrible (and horrifying) development that is, I don’t know how to explain it to you.

    I note that you did not attempt to dissuade my pessimism. Perhaps in your more honest places, you see it too.

    So – where has all this advocacy gotten us?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 10 Apr 2009 @ 9:45 AM

  394. David B. Benson: “What about the experiment linked in comment #349?”

    That looks like a much better experiment, but I think I see a flaw that may dominate the temperature increase: The container with pure CO2 would have a faster temperature increase even without any IR absorption, just due to the lower heat conductivity of CO2 relative to air (because of CO2′s higher molecular weight).

    Maybe that could be fixed by mixing enough helium into the CO2 container to equalize the heat conductivities.

    Comment by Steve Reynolds — 10 Apr 2009 @ 9:48 AM

  395. OT, but maybe useful to others: I received this email on the OSS site yesterday and thought I would reply here as well. Anyone, please feel to correct anything I may be wrong about and/or add to the context for relevance:

    Some denialists are touting this chart as proof that human adjustments to data is the sole cause of rapid warming. I’m not sure how best to respond to them? http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/ushcn/ts.ushcn_anom25_diffs_urb-raw_pg.gif Thanks

    There are multiple problems with such a claim.

    HCN 1
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/ushcn/ushcn.html

    HCN 2
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/ushcn/ 

    Read carefully all the modeling and the reasons for the modeling, as described for HCN 1 & 2. Then you will know how to answer them.

    1. They need to stop eating spoon fed junk science and start doing their homework.
    2. One chart, from a single data set is a cherry pick.
    3. Out of context, if you compare, for example the raw vs. modeled in the example of ‘HCN 1′ you can see that using raw data is patently insane. Anyone that makes a judgement on global temps based on raw data from a cherry pick is equally insane, within the context.
    4. The modeled data shows less warming than the raw data in some/many circumstances, so if they want to support their claim of less warming, relying on the models might help them more (cherry pick dependent).
    5. The USHCN does not represent the GMT (it’s a regional temp. not a global temp.).
    6. Those “denialists are touting this chart as proof that human adjustments to data is the sole cause of rapid warming” have a serious case of ’confirmation bias’ that no amount of Preparation H can cure. Ironic that those most afflicted with confirmation bias are so enmeshed within its lure, and use it without substantiation. Using a cherry pick to support a holistic claim falls directly into the category of facts out of context, thus irrelevant.

    The reality is that measurements (raw data) have to be modeled with method to eliminate problems that reduce the reliability of the overall data-set: like UHI, TOB, MMTS, trimmed means and standard deviations in comparison with surrounding stations to identify suspects (> 3.5 standard deviations away from the mean) and outliers (> 5.0 standard deviations), SHAP & FILNET. Without modeling the ‘raw data’ you simply can’t get reasonable results, and that is what science is about, getting reasonable results.

    If we relied entirely on raw data without modeling to reduce errors, we might be showing global warming at much higher a temperature than what we have at our well understood +0.7C, or maybe lower depending on cherry picking or not, but either option would be more wrong than right in the degree of error.

    For some reason denialists just keep getting everything backwards.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 10 Apr 2009 @ 10:08 AM

  396. gavin wrote: “A long term (or even medium term) phase out of all non-CCS coal burning would be necessary for many emission cut plans on the table, but there is a big difference in a phase-out over 10/20/30 years and cessation tomorrow.”

    Yes, there is a big difference, but a 10-30 year phaseout and “cessation tomorrow” are both accurately described as “stop burning coal”. The only difference is how long we take to stop.

    My understanding is that CO2 is already at “dangerous” levels and that we need to reduce emissions as quickly as possible.

    Coal-fired power plants are a major source of emissions. Replacements are available now — as I referenced above, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar points to NREL studies showing that the gross offshore wind energy resources of the mid-Atlantic region alone exceed the entire output of all existing coal-fired power plants. Other studies have found the same for the offshore wind energy resources of the Northeast alone. Other studies have found the same for the wind energy resources of only four midwestern states. Other studies have found that baseload concentrating solar thermal power plants built in the Southwest could supply all the electricity consumed in the USA. Solyndra, a manufacturer of cylindrical PV collectors, calculates that fully exploiting the solar energy potential of existing commerical rooftop space could generate 185 gigawatts of electricity.

    Al Gore’s organization has put forth a detailed plan for the USA to get all of its electricity from clean renewable energy within ten years. I believe that is eminently doable.

    Meanwhile, CCS for coal-fired power plants does not exist — except as a coal-industry propaganda campaign to justify building more coal-fired power plants without CCS, which can be marketed as “CCS ready”, which means nothing.

    And by the time that a hugely expensive research program to develop reliable, industrial-scale CCS for coal could yield an hugely expensive technology that could actually be implemented, there should be no need for it, since by then, at far lower cost, we can be producing more electricity than we know what to do with from wind, solar and geothermal.

    Bottom line is that (1) we need to phase out — i.e. “stop burning” — coal as quickly as possible, and (2) we can do so, pretty easily, if we choose.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 10 Apr 2009 @ 10:26 AM

  397. #367 Walt Bennett

    Walt, I have no problem with what Dr. Hansen is saying. And besides, be reasonable, If we stopped building coal plants right now, America will not fall apart. The easiest target is consumption reduction of energy.

    I think Dr. Hansen is saying pretty much what you are saying he should be saying:

    “All of the science work I have done, supported by the work of many others, indicates that if we continue to burn coal and allow the CO2 emissions to escape into place, we are going to need even more radical solutions which will have even greater unknown consequences.”

    But he does say more, and with good (excellent) reason. Too many people, such as yourself don’t seem to comprehend the ramifications of human action with respect to GHG output.

    #393 Walt Bennett

    You have yet to understand that when the food and water gets short, the peasants often react. History should be your guide on this one. The reactin to the peasants reacting has in the past often been draconian in nature. This warming event will/is causing climatic zonal shift.

    To quote a rather famous phrase: “It’s the economy stupid”.

    Once folks wake up on oceanic thermal inertia and atmospheric lifetime of CO2, I’m sure there will be outcries of why didn’t the government see this coming, not unlike those that said the same regarding our most recent bubble.

    But some did see it. Heck I even wrote about it, but not many thought it important at the time. Same apparently as you now. I don’t pretend to know all your contexts, but it is fairly clear you do not understand the science.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 10 Apr 2009 @ 10:31 AM

  398. There are folks that, without any professional background or experience in climatology, can do better than professional climatologists, just by being smart individuals in their free time with the courage of their convictions. And then there are folks that, without any special experience in science outreach, think they can do better than those scientists that, by the side of their proper jobs, have practiced this difficult art for many years.

    I have news for you Walt Bennett. Read up on the Dunning-Kruger effect. Stop blaming victims. Stop being a concern troll (you’re not Pielke under a pen-name are you?). And stop being a blathering [edit]!

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 10 Apr 2009 @ 10:41 AM

  399. If there is a flame war, it’s one-sided. Ranting and flaming are not the same.

    Bull. Easily proven to be bull by a brief perusal of sites like WUWT and CA, where on a daily basis the climate science community is accused of scientific fraud, of making up data, of lying about what data tells us, etc. In addition, as Ray mentioned, people like Hansen have been hauled in front of Congress and have been publicly accused of such behavior. People like Lonnie Thomson have been subjected to attempts to get their university employers to take action against them because of supposed scientific fraud, etc.

    Comment by dhogaza — 10 Apr 2009 @ 10:53 AM

  400. From Gavins one response to me I had already determined there was animosity towards Lindzen here but I wasn’t aware the animosity extended also to Spencer.

    Spencer’s guilty of outright lying about the science. How should people feel about him?

    Don’t you find it just a bit offensive that an established scientist would do so?

    Comment by dhogaza — 10 Apr 2009 @ 10:55 AM

  401. Walt Bennett, you’re missing two things by thinking that what’s happening is within natural variation.

    1) the physics of adding CO2 to the atmosphere, trapping heat
    2) the rate of change, far faster than anything in the past short of an asteroid impact

    You’re saying everything has happened before. True.
    It’s been hotter and colder on Earth.
    CO2 has been higher and lower.

    No previous event has burned carbon as fast as we’re doing.
    No previous warming has happened anywhere near this fast.
    The exceptions to natural rates of change are catastrophes.
    So is the present rate of change.

    Asteroid impacts or flood basalts caused the past catastrophes.
    Human fossil fuel burning is causing the present catastrophe.

    Catastrophe — as in math — meaning you can’t back up and simply reverse the course of events.

    You don’t like the fact that people can’t see what’s happening.

    Can you do anything for ‘Global Cooler’ who can’t see the trend in a chart? There are far more people like her or him out there who need your help.

    Reality, as P.K. Dick said, is what’s still here when we wake up, what doesn’t go away when we quit beieving in it.

    The rate of change is real.
    Address it please.

    ______________________________
    “CURSE WPIX” says ReCaptcha. ?
    Yes, in all caps.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Apr 2009 @ 11:03 AM

  402. Theo Hopkins #339:

    Is there a high school (US) or secondary school (UK) level physics lab experiment to show that CO2 is a greenhouse gas?

    Wouldn’t John Tyndall’s original experiment do? I seem to remember (but cannot now find any link) that he did demonstrations for the general public. He was famously a great popularizer.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 10 Apr 2009 @ 11:07 AM

  403. It would be nice if my tax dollars were going to people that could get along long enough to meet and discuss these issues in a civilized manner.

    I guess you missed that thing called the first amendment to the Constitution to the United States of America.

    My suggestion to you is to read that document, and if you don’t like what it says, go ahead and try to amend it.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 10 Apr 2009 @ 11:19 AM

  404. Steve, the objection to the approach of Lindzen is that he publishes his diatribes not in the peer-reviewed literature, but in forums frequented by unsophisticated laymen–e.g. on blogs and in the editorial pages of various rags. Spencer, to his credit, does still publish technical papers (albeit not influential ones). However, there is a distinctly more militant tone in his nontechnical pieces. This has hurt his credibility pretty severely in the eyes of serious scientists.
    It certainly is not essential to agree with the consensus to be a well respected member of the community. Hell, look at Einstein and quantum mechanics. However, if you treat the consensus view dismissively, this will hurt your credibility.
    Back in Grad school, I had a prof who didn’t believe in quarks. He was still respected for his contributions and taught graduate classes, but he was not allowed to teach particle physics or modern physics courses. It doesn’t matter which subdiscipline of science you are in, there are ways of doing things in science, and preaching your pet theories to a less sophisticated audience is a good way to diminish the esteem in which you are held.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Apr 2009 @ 11:22 AM

  405. Walt Bennett wrote: “Allow me to say I can find quotes where Dr. Hansen says we must immediately stop building coal plants that do not CCS. That idea is politically dead on arrival, and Dr. Hansen has no place even saying it.”

    First of all, I am not so sure that a moratorium on building new non-CCS coal-fired power plants is “politically dead on arrival”, or if it is, that it will long remain so. There is growing, widespread opposition to building new coal-fired power plants (and the non-CCS ones are the only kind that exist right now) and some proposed plants have been canceled due to that opposition.

    Nor is there any need to build them, for example in the USA, given the rate at which wind power is being built. Indeed, the dubious economic viability (i.e. profitability) of new coal-fired power plants may contribute more to a de facto moratorium as will the political opposition, as has been the case with nuclear power plants.

    Second, who are you to say what Hansen’s “place” is, or what he as a profoundly well-informed citizen can or cannot say about this issue? He understands the science, and the danger, better than most, and has every right, and even the responsibility, to advocate the proposals that he thinks are needed to address the problem.

    As I mentioned above, I strongly disagree with Hansen’s advocacy of “fourth generation nuclear power plants” as a useful or needed investment for reducing emissions, and given the opportunity I will happily argue why that’s a wrong-headed idea, but I would certainly never say that it is “not his place” to advocate them.

    When scientists are talking science, they should scrupulously stick to the science. But they have every right — just as anyone else does — to talk about other things, including their ideas about what we need to do to deal with the realities that science has revealed to us.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 10 Apr 2009 @ 11:39 AM

  406. Walt Bennett asks, “So – where has all this advocacy gotten us?”

    Well, people are actually discussing meaningful action now, including cap and trade, increased funding to alternative energy, conservation and so on. What is more, Hansen may be right. It may be that CO2 sensitivity is toward the upper range of the 90% CL, as he believes. It may also be that there are tipping points not currently included in the models. It may be that the consequences of 1.5 to 2 doublings would be catastrophic–perhaps the end of human civilization. In that case, it would be irresponsible not to call attention to the threat. Certainly, this view cannot be precluded given current uncertainties. In fact it is a lot more likely that would be a universe in which CO2 sensitivity is below 1.5 degrees per doubling. If we look at it from a risk mitigation perspective, it is a severe-consequence outcom with nonvanishing probability, so we can’t ignore it.
    If you think that science does not involve advocacy, you are naive. The thing is that usually the advocacy is confined to scientific meetings. On some occasions, though, science has important consequences. Doesn’t the scientist then have a duty as a citizen to call attention to those consequences and advocate the policy most likely to lead to the best outcome. Why should a scientist stop being a citizen?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Apr 2009 @ 11:55 AM

  407. Hank Roberts: “No previous warming has happened anywhere near this fast.”

    I think the warming rate during the thawing of Snowball Earth should have at some time been faster. Not really relevant to the current situation, but no one ever seems to consider this when making such sweeping statements.

    Comment by Greg Simpson — 10 Apr 2009 @ 12:36 PM

  408. Re: steve #392

    Ray Ladbury wrote in 387 in response to Walt Bennett:

    Would your admonitions also pertain to dissidents like Lindzen and Spencer, who regularly distort scientific results ex cathedra, as it were, to lay audiences, or is it only the 97% of climate scientists that support the consensus model who should have their first amendment rights curtailed?

    Trying to take advantage of the disagreement between Walt Bennett and Ray Ladbury, the gentleman known only as steve writes in 392:

    From Gavins one response to me I had already determined there was animosity towards Lindzen here but I wasn’t aware the animosity extended also to Spencer. Does the animosity also extend towards Christy and Pielke? It would be nice if my tax dollars were going to people that could get along long enough to meet and discuss these issues in a civilized manner.

    Well, it really isn’t your money which is at issue. It’s Exxons. Just given the names that you’ve mentioned (specifically, Christy, Lindzen and Spencer) and the organizations with which they are directly associated, I put the total at $4,800,000 since 1998.

    Here is a map.

    Here are the three individuals I am focusing on, the organizations they are directly associated with and the roles that they play — then links to further information…

    John Christy: Competitive Enterprise Institute – Contributing Writer; Cato Institute – Conference Speaker; Indepedent Institute – Panel on Global Warming; George C. Marshall Institute – Author; Heartland Institute – HeartlandGlobalWarming[Dot]org Expert
    SourceWatch | DesmogBlog | ExxonSecrets

    Richard Lindzen: Annappolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy – Member of the Science and Economic Advisory Council; Cato Institute – Contributing Writer; Techn Central Science Foundation – Contributing Writer; George C. Marshall Institute – Author; Heartland Institute – HeartlandGlobalWarming[dot]org expert
    SourceWatch | DesmogBlog | ExxonSecrets

    Roy Spencer: Tech Central Science Foundation – Roundtable Member; Heartland Institute – Contributing Writer; George C. Marshall Institute – Author; Interfaith Steward Alliance – Co-Author
    SourceWatch | DesmogBlog | ExxonSecrets

    … and here I have listed each organization, the amounts given to them by Exxon since 1998 (from the ExxonSecrets site), as well as links to further informaton:

    Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy
    $973,500 since 1998
    DeSmogBlog

    CATO Institute
    $125,000 since 1998
    SourceWatch | DeSmogBlog

    Independent Institute
    $85,000 since 1998
    SourceWatch | DeSmogBlog

    Competitive Enterprise Institute
    $2,005,000 since 1998
    SourceWatch | DeSmogBlog

    George C. Marshall Institute
    $840,000 since 1998
    SourceWatch | DeSmogBlog

    Heartland Institute
    $676,500 since 1998
    SourceWatch | DeSmogBlog

    Tech Central Science Foundation
    $95,000 since 1998
    SourceWatch | DeSmogBlog

    Given all the money involved, the Union of Concerned Scientists has complained that Exxon is waging a tobacco-like campain of disinformation with regard to global warming.

    Please see:

    Scientists’ Report Documents ExxonMobil’s Tobacco-like Disinformation Campaign on Global Warming Science
    January 3, 2007
    http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/ExxonMobil-GlobalWarming-tobacco.html

    I believe some weight is added to their claims by the fact that the CATO Institute, the Independent Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute and Heartland Institute were all involved in the defense of smoking.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 10 Apr 2009 @ 1:04 PM

  409. “Where does your “17 trillion tons” of carbon come from? No one technology is going to solve the problem. I quote from the IPCC’s 2007 report on CCS (p.12 of the Executive Summary):”

    OK, it was 17 trillion kilos.

    Comment by Mark — 10 Apr 2009 @ 1:05 PM

  410. #403 Thomas

    I’m sorry I didn’t mean to say they should all be sent to the gulag if they couldn’t get along. I meant to say it would be nice if they could. I have no desire to trample on anyone’s first amendment rights.

    Comment by steve — 10 Apr 2009 @ 1:07 PM

  411. ref #408 Timothy that argument is just plain lame. It is as lame as the argument that people are corrupted by grant money. I will ignore both thank you. Until someone can actually prove otherwise I will assume that people mean what they say and aren’t being bribed to say it. Also, out of curiousity, how many people that agree with you recieve money from energy companies and why do they get any if they aren’t properly responding to the bribe?

    Comment by steve — 10 Apr 2009 @ 1:14 PM

  412. ref #404 Ray, I understand your point of view. The entire situation has become entirely too personal. I read their blogs and everyone here is manipulating data, liars and fools. I read the same sort of things here about them. At some point in time the animosity has to start getting ratchetted down.

    Oh and Timothy, I have decided to use only my first name because I have a practice to run and would prefer that the level of animosity shown on the web does not find it’s way to my office door.

    Comment by steve — 10 Apr 2009 @ 1:26 PM

  413. On a lighter note I have read portions of the last NOAA attribution and find what I have read to be quite compelling, mainly because it matches closely to my preconcieved opinions. Is this going to be a topic of discussion here?

    Comment by steve — 10 Apr 2009 @ 1:31 PM

  414. “On a lighter note I have read portions of the last NOAA attribution and find what I have read to be quite compelling, mainly because it matches closely to my preconcieved opinions.”

    Not unless you say what your preconceived notion was. And why you arrived at that before receiving confirmation (else wmanny will shiv you for confirmation bias).

    Why? Because your past history of posting hasn’t shown much critical thinking. People don’t want to waste time trying to work out what you’re saying. It didn’t help much in the past. So to rectify that, be clear, concise and explicit.

    Comment by Mark — 10 Apr 2009 @ 1:54 PM

  415. Greg, got any source on an estimate of a warming rate at the end of a ‘snowball Earth’ event? I looked but didn’t find one. I know there are suggestions the onset was rapid, e.g.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0012-821X(03)00197-3

    (nothing like the return to 280ppm in 10 years someone wanted to claim in the other thread).

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Apr 2009 @ 1:54 PM

  416. PS to 408

    I knew there was something I was forgetting. (My apologies — it was a spur of the moment sort of thing.) Each organization should have had a third link beneath it making available the following information…

    Exxon Secrets Factsheets on Organizations

    Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=13

    CATO Institute
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=21

    Competitive Enterprise Institute
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=2

    George C. Marshall Institute
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=36

    Heartland Institute
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=41

    Independent Institute
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=46

    Interfaith Stewardship Alliance
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=142

    Tech Central Science Foundation (aka Tech Central Station)
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=112
    *
    As for Roger Pielke, I am still trying to figure that one out.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 10 Apr 2009 @ 1:56 PM

  417. I’m sorry I didn’t mean to say they should all be sent to the gulag if they couldn’t get along.

    I didn’t say they would, and I didn’t say you said they would. That happens to be the first thing that comes to your mind though, why would that be? Your prejudices are easily discerned through their thin veil of rhetoric.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 10 Apr 2009 @ 1:58 PM

  418. Greg, I don’t think so. Looks like the termination of the snowball may have coincided with an evolutionary surge of photosynthetic plankton, but that takes longer than a century or so.

    Try this source; he refers to:

    “… Quaternary cyclic high-amplitude orbital solar forcing (on a scale of 40 to 100 Watt/m/2 June insolation at latitude 65 deg. N)—triggering glacial albedo decline from melting ice sheets and CO2
    -feedback effects from warming seas—resulting in glacial terminations. Lately a new factor emerged—a carbon-emitting warlike mammalian species. Since about 1750 305 Gigatons carbon (GtC) were combusted, compared to 750 GtC in the atmosphere, about 10 percent of the known global fossil fuel reserve of 4000 GtC, and about 12 percent of the terrestrial biosphere. The reserve compares with the release during the K-T impact event 65.10e6 years ago of 4600 GtC to the atmosphere, associated with mass extinction of species. Since the 19th century, and in particular from the 1970s, the growth rate of atmospheric greenhouse gases and global mean temperatures exceeds those of Pleistocene glacial terminations by one to two orders of magnitude. …”

    http://www.zeroemissionnetwork.org/files/MILESTONES_19-6-07.pdf
    1
    MILESTONES IN THE EVOLUTION OF THE ATMOSPHERE
    WITH REFERENCE TO CLIMATE CHANGE
    Andrew Glikson

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Apr 2009 @ 2:03 PM

  419. The gentleman known only as “steve” wrote in 411:

    Oh and Timothy, I have decided to use only my first name because I have a practice to run and would prefer that the level of animosity shown on the web does not find it’s way to my office door.

    How odd… I don’t seem to have to worry about that sort of thing.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 10 Apr 2009 @ 2:03 PM

  420. Chris S (310): Outstanding post.

    A more recent global synthesis:
    Rosenzweig, C. et al (2008) Attributing physical and biological impacts
    to anthropogenic climate change. Nature 453:353-

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 10 Apr 2009 @ 2:04 PM

  421. I read their blogs and everyone here is manipulating data, liars and fools. I read the same sort of things here about them.

    One side submits their “manipulated” “fraudulent” data to the peer review process, the other doesn’t.

    Why? Which do you think is more likely to yield fruitful results?

    Comment by dhogaza — 10 Apr 2009 @ 2:07 PM

  422. PS to the above

    Just so you know, steve, I am just having fun with you — about the last name at least. I wouldn’t want others here to necessarily have to reveal their last names — particularly when they may have good reasons not to. And actually for a while I was a little concerned that someone might show up where I live. But as they say, to live is to risk.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 10 Apr 2009 @ 2:17 PM

  423. THe Wilkins collapse fascinates because temperatures have not increase hugely, if a relatively small surface temperature boost with respect to average weather temperatures in the Peninsula gives this result (according to RC http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/01/state-of-antarctica-red-or-blue/langswitch_lang/po, +0,5 C), it would be nice to know by how much. I believe there is something else at play as well, in the Arctic, thinner ice appears to give warmer air, just above the surface, I am documenting this fact by using the sun as a fixed sphere of reference. If there is a better way to measure lower upper air temps over a wide area, I dont know it, and Arctic results show
    without much of a doubt, a significant relation between thinner ice and warmer lower upper air….

    Comment by wayne davidson — 10 Apr 2009 @ 2:52 PM

  424. 367. Walt, because it goes without saying that the use of “idiot” should have been handled with an immediate apology, perhaps that is the reason others have not said so. Perhaps also because it appears Gavin did apologize in his way. -Walter

    Comment by wmanny — 10 Apr 2009 @ 2:56 PM

  425. John,

    It’s pretty clear that you made no sense whatsoever of my posts.

    I assure you, to zero avail, that I am in sharp grasp of the science.

    Most of you are not.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 10 Apr 2009 @ 3:04 PM

  426. Hank,

    We’ve both been here for several years. Surely you know by now that I accept basic AGW theory and that I consider much of the science to be well done. I have very little doubt that the planet is warming rapidly, due in part to human activity. Without human activity, the planet might be cooling. Hansen has said there will not be another ice age as long as man rules the planet. I believe that.

    I believe that the evidence shows that some change is happening more rapidly than consensus projections have suggested. I believe that the IPCC process has produced conservative projections, especially as regards sea level rise.

    None of that matters anymore, does it? We must begin the process of developing strategies that do not rely on reducing fossil fuel emissions, because that strategy was not embraced when it would have held off catastrophic warming. The place we are in now is being represented dishonestly, or perhaps ignorantly, by those who advocate cap and trade and other such schemes.

    Such schemes will accomplish several things: 1) they will constitute a massive power grab by the political left; 2) they will dramatically increase the cost of energy, which will have severe economic consequences for many millions of humans; 3) they will cause a large shift of wealth from developed to developing nations; 4) they will create winners and losers. The losers will be those nations which apply the restrictions, and the winners will be those who don’t; 5) based on (4), nations will enter trade wars with each other, and everybody loses.

    In other words, am a “warmer” and I want nothing to do with restricting carbon emissions. I suspect that greater quantities of atmospheric CO2 will have diminishing effects anyway, and I suspect that market forces will, within twenty or so years, accomplish much of the same thing. There is no way I can foresee this being solved via public policy at this late date.

    It is correct to begin the process of determining where to place public resources, and it is clear to me that the conversation must include mitigation, adaptation and geo-engineering strategies. As scary as that sounds, to me it sounds insane to plan for CO2 reductions and land management as successful strategies.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 10 Apr 2009 @ 3:19 PM

  427. ref #416 Thomas, If I didn’t say that then I would suggest that you bringing up the constitution in reply to my remark was a bit melodramatic.

    Comment by steve — 10 Apr 2009 @ 3:21 PM

  428. From the original post:
    “This is the tenth major ice shelf to collapse in recent times.”
    That says it all. The rest is conversation.

    You still think nothing’s happening? What the #$%@*&* are we waiting for- another 10 ice shelves to collapse,followed by the land ice they hold back? More low lying land to be swallowed by the sea? More mountain glaciers receding or disappearing altogether? Mankind has to get off its collective backside asap. The time for pontification and naval contemplation should cease.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 10 Apr 2009 @ 3:33 PM

  429. #413 Mark my past posts were not only not devoid of critical thinking they were also not very clear and concise causing you to miss my meaning. For instance in this last post I had no intention that my opinions be the topic but rather the paper itself. I would like to see professional discussion on the topic. I will say things to bring up topics that I don’t always intend to be the primary participant in. Perhaps you would feel less frustration with my posts if you chose to ignore them?

    Comment by steve — 10 Apr 2009 @ 3:39 PM

  430. “Since records began, 50 years ago, mean annual temperatures on the Antarctic Peninsula have risen rapidly [Turner, et al., 2005; Vaughan, et al., 2001; Vaughan, et al., 2003]. A total increase in mean annual air temperatures, of around 2.8 °C makes this the most rapidly warming region in the Southern Hemisphere – comparable to rapidly warming regions of the Arctic.”

    from
    http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/bas_research/our_research/topics/climate_change/our_world/antarctic_peninsula.php

    Comment by David B. Benson — 10 Apr 2009 @ 3:57 PM

  431. #419 I have respect for the peer reviewed process especially when data bases and methods are available for scrutiny.

    #421 Timothy, perhaps I am being too careful but you’d be amazed at how personal people take differing opinions on this topic. Or perhaps you wouldn’t.

    Comment by steve — 10 Apr 2009 @ 4:19 PM

  432. Regarding Lindzen’s Dishonesty, Part I

    steve wrote in 411:

    ref #404 Ray, I understand your point of view. The entire situation has become entirely too personal. I read their blogs and everyone here is manipulating data, liars and fools. I read the same sort of things here about them. At some point in time the animosity has to start getting ratchetted down.

    dhogaza responded in 420:

    One side submits their “manipulated” “fraudulent” data to the peer review process, the other doesn’t.

    Why? Which do you think is more likely to yield fruitful results?

    Well, let’s see what some of the “animosity” is all about, why don’t we? I will consider Lindzen…

    Richard Lindzen wrote:

    Looking back on the earth’s climate history, it’s apparent that there’s no such thing as an optimal temperature—a climate at which everything is just right. The current alarm rests on the false assumption not only that we live in a perfect world, temperaturewise, but also that our warming forecasts for the year 2040 are somehow more reliable than the weatherman’s forecast for next week.

    By Richard S. Lindzen
    Special to Newsweek
    April 16, 2007 issue
    http://web.arc hive.org/web/20070415102103/http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17997788/site/newsweek

    When he states, “The current alarm rests on the false assumption not only that we live in a perfect world, temperaturewise,” this is clearly a strawman argument. We know that the current Holocene era of the past 10,000 years has been particularly stable compared to past eras, that this is the time during which humans developed agriculture and that human civilization arose. We know that this is what current populations, species and ecological systems are adapted to. And we know that it was during this time that all of our cities and current infrastructure was built. If the climate system changes a great deal, and particularly if it changes rapidly it will be a disaster the likes of which we have never seen.

    When he states, “The current alarm rests… [also on the belief that] that our warming forecasts for the year 2040 are somehow more reliable than the weatherman’s forecast for next week,” he is equivocating between weather prediction (which is concerned with what is happening on a particular day in a particular place) and climate prediction (which is concerned with the statistical behavior of the climate over broad periods of time and over wide regions). He is deliberately omitting the fact that climatology can be more accurate given the law of large numbers. He omits the fact that it has been shown to be fairly accurate with projections two decades into the future (e.g., Hansen 1988). He ignores the fact that it has done quite well at modeling earlier periods of climate change which we know by means of the paleoclimate record.
    *
    Regarding Lindzen’s statement:

    Ten years ago climate modelers also couldn’t account for the warming that occurred from about 1050 to 1300. They tried to expunge the medieval warm period from the observational record—an effort that is now generally discredited.

    By Richard S. Lindzen
    Special to Newsweek
    April 16, 2007 issue
    http://web.arc hive.org/web/20070415102103/http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17997788/site/newsweek

    Gavin and Mike have said:

    It’s remarkable that Lindzen is able to pack so many errors into two short sentences. First of all, doubts about the global scale of warmth associated with the “Medieval Climate Anomaly” date back well over a decade and certainly precede any known attempts to use climate models to simulate Medieval temperatures [e.g. Hughes and Diaz (1994), …

    17 April 2007
    Lindzen in Newsweek
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/lindzen-in-newsweek/#more-435

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 10 Apr 2009 @ 4:23 PM

  433. Regarding Lindzen’s Dishonesty, Part II

    Regarding Lindzen’s pattern of dishonesty, Ray Ladbury wrote a while back:

    The best example I know of in recent memory is his implication in the public debate with Gavin et al. that warming on Earth is coincident with warming on Mars, Jupiter and Neptune–implying that the cause of warming on Earth must be extraterrestrial. This is so patently and transparently false that a scientist of Lindzen’s intelligence could not possible believe it. Now keep in mind that he was thus misrepresenting the science in a public forum in front of a lay audience Quite honestly, it was at this point I realized Lindzen had lost interest in the truth.

    21 November 2007 at 11:33 AM
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=496#comment-69889

    *
    Once you have identified a pattern of dishonesty, I believe it is entirely appropriate to turn to the question of its motive.

    I wrote a while back:

    [A]s I understand it, identification always takes precedence over evaluation. One should always begin with the evidence. However, once one has carried this process to its logical conclusion, one can identify what is wrong with arguments which were demonstrated to be unsound. One can also identify patterns of argumentation on the part of various participants. One can identify the level of their understanding. And one can also ask whether a given a given bit of illogic was honest or deliberate.

    Obviously we cannot know others in quite the same way that we know ourselves. However, we can judge their intent. We do so all the time. When you read my words you are identifying my intent, what it is that I wish to convey. Likewise, we identify intent when we form expectations regarding how someone will behave, for example, when I expect my boss to pay me for two weeks of work.

    And one can identify the degree to which someone is being honest or dishonest. Typically one cannot do this without also engaging in a process by which one judges the level of their understanding. But together with an estimate of their level of understanding, a pattern of the misrepresentation of the evidence and of the conclusions one should properly draw from such evidence, one can and should make such judgments — as warranted by the evidence.

    21 November 2007 at 8:07 PM
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=496#comment-70007

    *
    Now Lindzen’s article includes the following disclaimer:

    [Lindzen's] research has always been funded exclusively by the U.S. government. He receives no funding from any energy companies.

    By Richard S. Lindzen
    Special to Newsweek
    April 16, 2007 issue
    http://web.arc hive.org/web/20070415102103/http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17997788/site/newsweek

    However, Gavin and Mike point out:

    Richard, one thinks thou dost protest too much! A casual reader would be led to infer that Lindzen has received no industry money for his services. But that would be wrong. He has in fact received a pretty penny from industry. But this isn’t for research. Rather it is for his faithful advocacy of a fossil fuel industry-friendly point of view. So Lindzen’s claim is true, on a technicality.

    17 April 2007
    Lindzen in Newsweek
    Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/lindzen-in-newsweek

    Lindzen is deeply involved in Exxon’s campaign against the science of climatology — and has been for some time — and as I have indicated in posts 408 and 415 above, this has been extensively documented.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 10 Apr 2009 @ 4:28 PM

  434. If the topic is honesty, why are we still discussing emissions reduction as a potentially successful strategy?

    Why are we discounting the risks and the unintended consequences?

    Do you really, faithfully believe that the AGW community owns the patent on truth in this debate?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 10 Apr 2009 @ 4:53 PM

  435. PS to 431

    In “Regarding Lindzen’s Dishonesty, Part II,” I quoted Ray Ladbury towards the beginning, who said:

    The best example I know of in recent memory is his implication in the public debate with Gavin et al. that warming on Earth is coincident with warming on Mars, Jupiter and Neptune–implying that the cause of warming on Earth must be extraterrestrial. This is so patently and transparently false that a scientist of Lindzen’s intelligence could not possible believe it.

    21 November 2007 at 11:33 AM
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=496#comment-69889

    Now in all fairness to Ray, I believe this was covered earlier in the discussion he was participating in at the time, however, it isn’t entirely fair to others to imply that there is a problem with what Lindzen was trying to imply which is so obvious for anyone with Lindzen’s education that he couldn’t be honestly suggesting it — and not mentioning what that problem is. It is basically this: for there to be a significant warming in the outer planets (as far away as Neptune or Pluto — depending upon who you are talking to) and for this to be the result of increase solar irradiance, given the inverse square law as it applies to solar radiation, the increase in temperature on earth would have to be so great that we would already be wiped out as a species.

    As we are still here, we know that an increase in solar radiation isn’t what is responsible for any significant change in temperature on either Neptune or Pluto.

    In fact, Neptune is warming as the result of a highly elliptical orbit, where it has been entering its summer — and the same applies to Pluto, if I remember correctly. Mars on the other hand has experienced some global warming due to darker dust being kicked up into the atmosphere due sand storms. Meanwhile, but for the quasi-periodic ups and downs of the solar cycle, solar irradiance on earth was flat to slightly declining from 1950-present — right through the modern period of global warming from 1975 forward.
    *
    Captcha fortune cookie agrees with the logic of my first two paragraphs, stating “survive known.”

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 10 Apr 2009 @ 5:33 PM

  436. #423/424 Walt Bennett

    My apologies for you clearly have a grasp of ‘some’ relevant things here. But I content that your contexts are not, or may not, be as relevant as you seem to think. Also the idea that you would ‘stick’ to an opinion is odd. In science or in life, I don’t think sticking to an opinion in the face of contravening evidence that is reasonable, or even overwhelming, is wise.

    It falls apart for me when you say things like “I want nothing to do with restricting carbon emissions.”

    The reason is the future costs of not restricting/reducing carbon emissions. There is an economic lag to the lag effect of CO2 in this case. Waiting for market forces to handle everything merely makes it more costly.

    It also fall apart for me in your grasp of the relevant when you say things like “And another thing: all contrary evidence (evidence which does not seem to support AGW theory) is just as instantly dismissed, or cloaked in very careful language.”

    Scientists don’t just dismiss things unless they have already been reasonably dismissed.

    Your contention of understanding also weakens in my view when you say things like “All evidence needs to be treated equally. I feel sorry for some poor scientist out there who just wants to do his work and not worry how well it fits a theory which has grown to ridiculous proportions.”

    and

    And then there is my absolute irritation at the simple fact that the AGW science community continues to live in an ivory tower where they get to say things such as “stop burning coal.”

    We won’t stop burning coal, and it’s not science’s job to tell us to. Those are social issues which must be informed by science but must operate in reality, where people freeze if you don’t burn coal.

    We clearly need to reduce coal burn in order to reduce CO2 output and this has tremendous economic advantage to it. In the process of doing so we need to learn to be more conservative and less wasteful. this also has advantage to it economically and in quality of life.

    You seem to overgeneralize in some of your statements without reasonable context. So, while you admit global warming is happening, I’m not confident you fully comprehend the ramifications, unless of course you are arguing that humans won’t do anything until the world begins to fall apart? But that is not what you said, you are just against stopping burning coal as you have clearly stated. So in that respect I don’t think you clearly grasp the science, ramifications, economic needs and policy requirements to achieve a healthier economy and future.

    I think I’ve made some sense at least of your posts, but I don’t think everything you say makes sense. I’m sure you feel that same about me though and I doubt I make sense all the time anyway.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 10 Apr 2009 @ 5:40 PM

  437. If I didn’t say that then I would suggest that you bringing up the constitution in reply to my remark was a bit melodramatic.

    Since apparently you aren’t yet aware of it, our constitution represents the LEGAL BASIS of our nation, and provides US with the ABSOLUTE RIGHT to criticize your beliefs as harshly as we desire. That indeed is quite a melodramatic concept. I suggest you inure yourself to it, because I find your reference to free speech gulags to be revealing at the very least, particularly with respect to open and free expression in the areas of science and government, and revolting at best. Nobody here is questioning your right to express your demonstrably trivial skepticism on this forum, on the contrary, at least my patience for civility is beginning to wear thin.

    Civility is not a requirement for good science, on the contrary, uncivil debate often enhances it greatly, especially when it sieves out the nonsense that wastes the valuable time of people who really care about issues and easily recognize the motivations of those who don’t.

    On any other forum, I would verbally eviscerate you.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 10 Apr 2009 @ 5:51 PM

  438. Hank Roberts: “Greg, got any source on an estimate of a warming rate at the end of a ’snowball Earth’ event?”.

    The Earth went from being covered in ice to being super tropical, all with carbon dioxide estimated as 350 times (per Wikipedia) the current level. At some point in that process, the Earth must have been in a similar situation to today, but with a much larger greenhouse effect. It’s hard to see how that wouldn’t mean faster warming.

    Comment by Greg Simpson — 10 Apr 2009 @ 6:17 PM

  439. Greg, As with any main-sequence star, the Sun has gotten significantly brighter as it has aged. So, I don’t think you can take for granted that we’ve ever seen faster warming.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Apr 2009 @ 7:26 PM

  440. Walt Bennett (434) — Yes.

    As for risks and unintended consequences, roughly speaking the past provides some guidance if emissions cease and net (intensional) sequestration begins. The risks and unintended consequences of continued and increases emissions are less well understood, but all signs are towards a globe with significantly less agriculture.

    [reCAPTHCA agrees, entoning "and remedy".]

    Comment by David B. Benson — 10 Apr 2009 @ 7:36 PM

  441. Walt Bennett, perhaps you can be more specific as to which mitigation and geo-engineering strategies you would favor. Certainly, conservation is a mitigation strategy, as it decreases CO2 emissions and buys time. How about increased use of renewable energy resources? Nuclear power? Certainly, these must happen in any case eventually, as fossil fuels are a finite resource.
    At present, I know of no geo-engineering strategies I would term feasible. It seems to me that development of mitigation and geo-engineering strategies will take time, and I don’t see how we will buy time without serious conservation measures in any case.

    As to CO2 reduction efforts causing a shift of power to the left, it would seem to me that that would depend on whether the right continues to be in denial. Or do you think there is something about this problem that makes it particularly immune to market-based solutions? As to a shift of money, increased costs, etc., again, that is not obvious to me in the medium or long term. I think it is distinctly that the new energy infrastructure could be cheaper as well as cleaner.

    It is certainly not new to assert that we could screw up development of any new infrastructure, but at the same time, I would not say it is a foregone conclusion that we have to screw it up. Could it be that I have more confidence in markets and democracy than you do?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Apr 2009 @ 7:50 PM

  442. From today’s New York Times, and directly relevant to the issue of honesty:

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/10/rich-poor-divide-still-stalls-climate-accord/

    BONN, Germany — Little concrete progress was achieved at the climate talks that ended here this week, but the fault lines that will divide the world as its attempts to negotiate a new climate treaty by the end of this year became vividly clear in the corridors of the Maritim Hotel Conference Center.

    A host of developing countries, from China to Bolivia to the Philippines, took to the podium to insist that developed countries cut their emissions very rapidly by far more than they had planned. Most said the appropriate figure would be at least a 40 to 50 percent reductions compared to 1990 levels by 2020.

    “The U.S. talks about ambitious targets and we would have liked to see a reduction of at least 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 –- we think it is possible,” said Amjad Abdulla, the lead negotiator from the island nation Maldives.

    South Africa’s plan must have had a number of industrialized countries squirming: It proposed specific emissions reduction targets for 41 industrialized countries for the periods 2013-2017 and 2018-2022. For example: the United States should drop 76 percent during that first period, Ireland by 79 percent, Australia by 82 percent.

    The United States did not specify any target for itself at this meeting, which saw the debut of the Obama administration in climate negotiations ( to applause). But President Obama has previously only mentioned returning to 1990 levels by 2020. The European Union is committed to reductions of 20 percent by that time, but has said it might go up to 30 percent.

    Negotiators from developed countries tended to dismiss the steep emissions reductions demanded by poorer nations as a negotiating strategy — and also absurd.

    But delegates from poorer countries were adamant and united on the issue, aggressively collaring reporters in the hallways to say that huge reductions were required, fast. They talked about the “carbon debt” they were owed by the industrialized world.

    “Developed countries have over-consumed their share of the atmospheric space –- they ate the pizza and left us the crumbs,” said Ambassador Anjelica Navarro Llano of Bolivia, hoarse because she had talked about the topic so much over the 12 days of the conference.

    She added: “Developed countries have a historical debt – a historical responsibility. The more they pay now they less they pay later.”

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 10 Apr 2009 @ 7:55 PM

  443. John,

    The simple fact is that you (and many others here) are trying to have yesterday’s conversations. Remember when Gavin famously made that point about Lindzen? It was certainly true.

    Well, what to make of those who believe that public policy can reign in atmospheric CO2? I would have thought that one or two of you would find it interesting to critically examine the simple question, how much of a fallacy is such a belief as that?

    But what we clearly see is that anybody (so far) who has engaged me on this topic sticks to his talking points and refuses to critically examine.

    Who does that remind you of?

    So you see, it’s the insularity that’s the problem. So busy making a case, too busy to make sense of new information.

    You keep thinking you have to pound “It’s really happening!” into my head, which is why you can’t seem to hear what I’m actually saying.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 10 Apr 2009 @ 8:07 PM

  444. Timothy Chase #408: The link between tobacco and anti-AGW science is tighter than most realise, as revealed by George Monbiot. I put some direct links to tobacco archival documents showing these links on my blog, from his book Heat. If anyone doubts there is a conspiracy behind this, read the sources.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 10 Apr 2009 @ 8:27 PM

  445. Walt, If you look at the “about” button, you will see that Realclimate is devoted to “the science” not the politics. Did it ever occur to you that folks are here mostly to learn the science? I agree, it would be nice to have a place to engage in policy solutions, but Gavin et al. provide the expertise here–they make the rules.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Apr 2009 @ 8:41 PM

  446. [edit]
    I will post this link to evidence that we are we not undergoing some unprecedented temperature change event.

    Apparently posting this and commenting that statements, on this site, that say that the current observed warming of less than 1c in the 20th century is unprecedented in Earths history are ‘questionable’ to say the least,[edit]

    http://www.ethlife.ethz.ch/archive_articles/090216_Nature_dryas_haug/index_EN

    [edit]

    Alan

    [Response: Try not to be tiresome. We've done lots of posts on the Younger Dryas or D-O events. What does this have to do with the radiative effect of CO2? - gavin]

    Comment by Alan Millar — 10 Apr 2009 @ 8:44 PM

  447. Re: #426 :”I suspect that market forces will, within twenty or so years, accomplish much of the same thing.”

    The question, Walt,is can we afford to sit around whistling Dixie for the next twenty years? Ya think! Sure there will be dislocations, but there is disagreement on whether energy costs will necessarily
    rise. Power companies don’t own the Sun, the wind,or the tides(which may be part of the answer to their resistance to renewables). Once capital costs are covered, the “fuel” is free.

    Look at what’s been happening in recent decades. .Since you’re familiar with the latest IPCC report. Check ,again, the section on Direct Observations of Recent Climate Change in the Summary For Policy Makers:”Eleven of the last 12 years(1995-2006) rank among the 12 warmest years in the instrumental record of global surface temperature (since 1850).” ……”The linear warming trend over the last 50 years (0.13C{0.10C to 0.16C}jper decade)is nearly twice that for the last 100 years.” Do you have reason to believe that this going to mitigate in the coming decades? Waiting around for the next 20 or so years,for the so called manic hand of the market, is a chancy way to approach this. There are too many danger signs,not just in simulations but in the actual observed data.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 10 Apr 2009 @ 8:58 PM

  448. If we truly get runaway AGW in two or three centuries, ocean clathrates or permafrost methane releases en masse, and if rainfall patterns subsequently become too unpredictable or too weak to permit agriculture, which do you guys think is a more assured reservoir of freshwater with which to Eden civilization?:
    1) Lake Baikal.
    2) Eastern Antarctic Ice Shelf.

    Comment by Phillip Huggan — 10 Apr 2009 @ 9:04 PM

  449. Walt, you’re at a science site.
    You want to talk politics, apparently with climate scientists?
    Is there a site that addresses policy discussions you recommend?
    One that isn’t politicized but is interested in science policy?

    Anyone else?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Apr 2009 @ 9:39 PM

  450. Walt, how about: http://www.climatepolicy.org/
    Got a better idea? That’s the American Meteorological Society’s policy blog:
    “ClimatePolicy is a commentary that explores aspects of climate change that relate to our policy choices. Policy choices will likely serve the interests of society most effectively if they are grounded in the best available knowledge and understanding. Therefore, we will promote objective understanding of climate change related issues rather than specific policy options.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Apr 2009 @ 9:44 PM

  451. Greg, one of the hardest notions for people to grasp is just how deep geologic time really is. Past climate change has been slow and fast in geologic time terms.

    If you are just saying you don’t understand how current rates of change could possibly be different — what have you read about this?

    Any of these?
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=rapid+cooling+events+paleo+time

    David Archer’s book? Link in the sidebar.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Apr 2009 @ 10:08 PM

  452. #437 Thomas, valid point. Your previous posts were not melodramatic. Now that post was melodramatic.

    ref #432 #433 Timothy, I know enough about climate science to know I don’t know enough to tell if an expert in the field is purposely being dishonest. I do now see that the dispute is much deeper then I had anticipated and you and everyone else here can hold me to my word that I won’t bring it up again.

    Comment by steve — 10 Apr 2009 @ 10:16 PM

  453. Latest image of Wilkins:
    http://esamultimedia.esa.int/images/wilkinsarctic/pub/images/ASA_IMM_1PNPDK20090410_123916_000001512078_00052_37180_7982_100m_img.jpg

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 10 Apr 2009 @ 10:47 PM

  454. Walt – I, among others do hear what you’re saying, but “how much of a fallacy is such a belief as that” (public policy can reign in atmospheric CO2) seems to be too representative – not is it a fallacy but how much – shouldn’t you start from the neutral position you espouse?
    if public policy can’t accomplish anything, nothing can, but it does seem the only possible approach, and as you claim to “believe” in AGW, maybe you should start advocating for action rather then for inaction

    your 5 points above objecting to mitigation (a do nothing proposal really) missed wildly on the last – the result will not be trade wars (history already), but military wars, well started now, with the USofA building massive medieval defenses along its southern border, the direction climate change/economic refugees will be (are) arriving from, not to mention pirates holding wealthy nations to ransom

    somebody said: The measure of life is change, and the measure of intelligence is the ability to adapt to change … let’s get on with it

    Recaptcha: respect :)

    Comment by squeeze — 10 Apr 2009 @ 10:50 PM

  455. (well this thread has gone far from ice, so):

    Timothy Chase:
    Good summary of funding… but be really careful of focusing on ExxonMobil to the exclusion of the others. If anything, I speculate that more money has actually flowed from the foundations and other entities:

    For example, according to Sourcewatch, CATO is also funded by, among others:

    American Petroleum Institute

    Charles G. Koch Foundation & Claude R. Lamb Charitable Foundation
    [Koch Industries, i.e. Oil+gas]

    Scaife Foundations […Richard Mellon Scaife … i.e., heir to Gulf Oil (=>Texaco=>Chevron)

    Each of those have their own page at Sourcewatch (although of course: caveat, Wiki).

    It is very difficult to know exactly how the money flows from the original funders (companies or foundations), through associations (like API), to/through thinktanks, and finally to individuals.

    Comment by John Mashey — 10 Apr 2009 @ 11:06 PM

  456. Greg, look, the one possibility you will find for extremely rapid change is tipping point situations — this, for example. This is not reassuring:
    http://www.searchanddiscovery.net/documents/2009/50160kraus/ndx_kraus.pdf

    Get as far as the fourth page where the chart shows a rapid event, comparable to what we may do if we do our worst. Caption reads:

    “dramatic global warming
    Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum or PETM
    Short-lived: Only ~150,000 – 200,000 years
    Warming was rapid – analog for modern”

    The cooling afterward appears equally rapid — one or two hundred thousand years.

    Compare that to what’s happening now, eh?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Apr 2009 @ 11:20 PM

  457. #430 Thanks Much David, even if the Peninsula has a similar surface warming to the Arctic, the Lower Troposphere is key, if the lower Upper Air is equally or more warmer year round, it would affect the land based glacier higher up, the physics of warmer mega ice fields vs temperature is a worth while study. Greenland Glacier calving has apparently never been so voluminous, the mean surface and lower Upper air temperatures are warmer, and so should eventually Antarctica’s Glaciers.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 10 Apr 2009 @ 11:34 PM

  458. Philip Machanick wrote in 444:

    Timothy Chase #408: The link between tobacco and anti-AGW science is tighter than most realise, as revealed by George Monbiot. I put some direct links to tobacco archival documents showing these links on my blog, from his book Heat. If anyone doubts there is a conspiracy behind this, read the sources.

    Thank you — that may come in handy for something I’m thinking about.

    You might also be interested in the following…

    The American Denial of Global Warming
    by Naomi Oreskes, Ph.D.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T4UF_Rmlio

    About 42 min 10 sec into the video, she points out that the essential strategy, even how it was described, was essentially the same, that is, “to keep the controversy alive.” Shortly after she goes into the connection between Frederick Seitz and RJ Reynolds which started in 1979, and then about 47 minutes into the video describes how S. Fred Singer had attacked the scientific consensus for the affected industries regarding secondhand smoke, acid rain and CFCs — in addition to global warming.

    As for the funding of denialist organizations by Exxon, in the writeups on the individual organizations, Exxon Secrets includes links to pdfs of various Exxon documents, including their:

    IRS 990 (2000): Return of Private Foundation
    http://research.greenpeaceusa.org/?a=view&d=4390

    Exxon Worldwide Giving Report (for various years)

    Exxon Education Foundation Dimensions report (for various years)

    I find it amazing just how much is known about all of this — and is out in the open — and yet so much of the media still takes these jokers seriously.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 11 Apr 2009 @ 1:50 AM

  459. John Mashey wrote in 455:

    Timothy Chase:
    Good summary of funding… but be really careful of focusing on ExxonMobil to the exclusion of the others. If anything, I speculate that more money has actually flowed from the foundations and other entities:

    For example, according to Sourcewatch, CATO is also funded by, among others:

    American Petroleum Institute

    Charles G. Koch Foundation & Claude R. Lamb Charitable Foundation
    [Koch Industries, i.e. Oil+gas]

    Scaife Foundations […Richard Mellon Scaife … i.e., heir to Gulf Oil (=>Texaco=>Chevron)

    Understood.

    Scaife and Koch are also heavily involved in the funding of the Religious Right. Oftentimes they are funding some of the same charitable foundations as Dominionist Howard Ahmanson who was the big sugar daddy for the Discovery Institute — and who has been funding creationist organizations even in the UK.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 11 Apr 2009 @ 2:29 AM

  460. This has really been an interesting and informative discussion. Thanks everyone, and keep up the good work!

    Comment by Richard Palm — 11 Apr 2009 @ 2:51 AM

  461. re #299 and Drew Shindell’s (NASA GISS) work on aerosol contribution to (particularly) Arctic warming, see:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090408164413.htm

    It looks like the popular right-wing press are picking up on this. Eg. the UK Daily Mail puts across the misleading message that Shindell’s results show that it is “laws created to preserve the environment [that] are causing much of the damage” with respect to Arctic warming and that, “The revelation shakes the theory that greenhouse gases, in particular carbon dioxide, are the main problem in the fight to steady the planet’s climate.”

    See under the headline, here:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1169007/Climate-change-goal-Laws-combat-acid-rain-DRIVING-Arctic-warming-claims-Nasa.html?ITO=1490

    I wrote a polite rebuttal but so far after several hours it has not been published.

    Comment by Slioch — 11 Apr 2009 @ 4:17 AM

  462. Swann writes:

    Correlation does not prove causation, as I’m sure you know. Both ln CO2 and GISS temperature anomalies have risen over this period and so they must show a correlation. You would also find a correlation between the temperature anomaly and any other increasing parameter, such as the price of a bus ticket.

    When I perform Cochrane-Orcutt iteration on the temperature-CO2 regression, I still wind up with 60% of variance accounted for when the autocorrelation coefficient stabilizes.

    No, correlation isn’t causation. But in this case we have a physical reason to expect such a correlation, and the evidence bears the theory out. What more do you want?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Apr 2009 @ 4:37 AM

  463. “#413 Mark my past posts were not only not devoid of critical thinking they were also not very clear and concise causing you to miss my meaning.”

    Steve, not all your posts were devoid of critical thinking. However, it’s a huge waste of someone’s time to throw an idea out and then tell people they should check it out.

    YOU check it out.

    If you can’t, listen instead.

    We have two ears but only one mouth (and that’s a multi-purpose opening).

    Comment by Mark — 11 Apr 2009 @ 4:49 AM

  464. Walt Bennett, apparently channeling Exxon-Mobile and Consolidated Coal, writes of cap-and-trade:

    Such schemes will accomplish several things: 1) they will constitute a massive power grab by the political left;

    That was what they said about the acid rain restrictions on sulfates which worked exactly the same way.

    2) they will dramatically increase the cost of energy, which will have severe economic consequences for many millions of humans;

    Wrong. Fallacy of composition. They will increase the cost of FOSSIL-FUEL-DERIVED energy. The prices of wind power, solar, geothermal, and biomass will remain exactly the same, but will now have a competitive advantage — and THAT is what the fossil fuel industry is desperate enough to try to prevent at all costs. Desperate enough to lie and commit fraud. For all I know, I wouldn’t put it past them to try assassination eventually. Hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake.

    3) they will cause a large shift of wealth from developed to developing nations;

    Well, God forbid that should happen.

    4) they will create winners and losers. The losers will be those nations which apply the restrictions, and the winners will be those who don’t;

    Not when those who don’t get their trade embargoed.

    5) based on (4), nations will enter trade wars with each other, and everybody loses.

    See above.

    In other words, am a “warmer” and I want nothing to do with restricting carbon emissions.

    That’s a nonsensical statement.

    I suspect that greater quantities of atmospheric CO2 will have diminishing effects anyway,

    You suspect wrong, pal.

    and I suspect that market forces will, within twenty or so years, accomplish much of the same thing.

    Like they got rid of smoking and child labor?

    There is no way I can foresee this being solved via public policy at this late date.

    Been reading Ayn Rand?

    It is correct to begin the process of determining where to place public resources, and it is clear to me that the conversation must include mitigation, adaptation and geo-engineering strategies. As scary as that sounds, to me it sounds insane to plan for CO2 reductions and land management as successful strategies.

    Good Lord, no. I mean, land management has never worked anywhere before, has it?

    Shorter Walt Bennett: “It sounds insane to plan for actually doing anything effective about the problem.”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Apr 2009 @ 4:55 AM

  465. “because it goes without saying that the use of “idiot” should have been handled with an immediate apology”

    Why does it go without saying?

    If you’re being an idiot, if someone doesn’t CARE ONE JOT, they won’t point it out. Why? After all, it will just make that idiot attack you for being mean (look, everybody, feel sorry for me, he’s being mean!!!!).

    But if someone thinks you can get better, don’t mean to be an idiot or are so obviously one that it has to be pointed out in case someone else starts being influenced by the number of words being spouted, then they SHOULD call them an idiot.

    With any luck, they’ll change and not be an idiot.

    Or do you subscribe to all this PC BS that you can’t diss anyone because you must always be sensitive to someone else’s feelings? And if that’s the case, why are you not sensitive to the person who is so annoyed at your idiocy that they felt compelled to point it out?

    Comment by Mark — 11 Apr 2009 @ 4:58 AM

  466. Walt Bennett writes:

    If the topic is honesty, why are we still discussing emissions reduction as a potentially successful strategy?

    Because it’s the only thing that will work. Period.

    Why are we discounting the risks and the unintended consequences?

    Because they won’t be as bad as continuing to emit CO2.

    Do you really, faithfully believe that the AGW community owns the patent on truth in this debate?

    From all I’ve seen from 12 years of examining this issue, that would be a big yes.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Apr 2009 @ 5:00 AM

  467. @426
    Walt Bennett wrote:

    Snip.

    “Such schemes will accomplish several things: 1) they will constitute a massive power grab by the political left;”

    Snip.

    This concern about the political left is very much an American concern. And America is only a small part of this world. And I’m not in the USA. And you don’t speak for the rest of the world.

    The far left edge of the US political spectrum is well, well, well to the right of the European left spectrum and, actually, mostly to the right of our own mainstream rightwing political parties. The left is not the bogy you fear. If you visit Europe, Walt, you will find the vast majority of us are very happy – and probably slightly happier than Americans.

    (And IIRC, Jim Hansen was in London the other day, and suffered a mild heart attack. Apparently he was please with the emergency medical help he received. That care, being emergency care, would be through the state National Health system. He could have then transferred to the private medical system, which runs in parallel, if he so wished).

    Walt. Most of us don’t live in the States, and don’t care a tinker’s fart about the USA’s, often near religious, IMHO, worship of the free market system. But we do care about AWG.

    If AWG is to be tackled, the political reality is that, however this is done, will be by intergovernmental agreement, and that means working with governments that are nearly all “left” by US standards.

    Theo H (An Irishman living in the UK)

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 11 Apr 2009 @ 5:17 AM

  468. Hank Roberts: “If you are just saying you don’t understand how current rates of change could possibly be different — what have you read about this?”

    Of course the rates of change are different. There was a much larger greenhouse forcing then so it would have been faster. That conclusion seems perfectly obvious to me, but if you want a reference try this.

    Calculations by Raymond Pierrehumbert at the University of Chicago suggests that tropical sea-surface temperatures would reach almost 50 degrees Celsius in the aftermath of a “snowball” Earth, driving an intense hydrologic cycle. Sea ice hundreds of meters thick globally would disappear within a few 100s of years.

    And for Ray Ladbury: It doesn’t really matter what the solar constant was at the time. The mere fact that the temperature went from much colder than today to much hotter than today due to a high greenhouse gas level (and albedo feedback) is enough to show the sun was bright enough. Nevertheless, one reference I checked estimated the solar constant was 3% lower in the Cambrian, which is about the same time period.

    Comment by Greg Simpson — 11 Apr 2009 @ 5:23 AM

  469. “In other words, am a “warmer” and I want nothing to do with restricting carbon emissions. I suspect that greater quantities of atmospheric CO2 will have diminishing effects anyway, and I suspect that market forces will, within twenty or so years, accomplish much of the same thing. There is no way I can foresee this being solved via public policy at this late date.

    It is correct to begin the process of determining where to place public resources, and it is clear to me that the conversation must include mitigation, adaptation and geo-engineering strategies.”

    - Walt Bennett@426

    Walt, you’ve complained a number of times about others failing to understand your viewpoint. I think this is because your viewpoint is fundamentally irrational, and thus hard to understand, because people find it hard to believe you mean what you say. This irrationality in turn I think is a result of your ideological commitment to the magic of market forces. In the text I have quoted:
    1) It is irrational to accept AGW (indeed, you say you think warming is happening faster than the IPCC AR4 projections), and yet reject restrictions of carbon emissions, as these are the only way we have of slowing warming. You say you are sure that reducing emissions will not avoid disastrous climate change; but this certainty is not justified, and is not shared by the majority of relevant experts. Reducing emissions will at the least delay such change, giving more time for adaptation and geoengineering approaches to be developed.
    2) Your faith in market forces is completely irrational, as they cannot take externalities into account. They have done nothing to curb the growth in emissions in the past. While “peak oil” may have an effect via these forces in future, the market response may well include a large component of exploitation of low-grade sources such as tar sands and oil shales, and coal-to-oil; these would cause huge rises in emissions.
    3) “There is no way I can foresee this being solved via public policy at this late date.”
    The world is not necessarily constrained by what you can foresee. Certainly, reducing emissions is a problem beyond anything that public policy has yet achieved. However, we do have a precedent in the Montreal protocol (left to market forces, the destruction of the ozone layer would of course have proceeded apace); we do have an almost universal agreement among political elites that emissions reductions are essential; we do have an ongoing process intended to produce international agreements for reductions. I do not expect Copenhagen to produce adequate emission control measures; I do expect it to make a real start.
    4) “I suspect that greater quantities of atmospheric CO2 will have diminishing effects anyway”
    So does everyone else, as far as temperature change is concerned, as the greenhouse effect is to a first approximation proportional to the logarithm of the concentration of CO2 – so this statement makes me wonder how firm your grasp of even the basics of the science is. However (a) Emissions are currently rising faster than ever – or were until the credit crunch; and (b) This ignores ocean acidification.

    You can spend the next 20 years twiddling your thumbs if you wish, along with the rest of the dogmatic right. The rest of us have better things to do.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 11 Apr 2009 @ 5:48 AM

  470. http://www.ethlife.ethz.ch/archive_articles/090216_Nature_dryas_haug/index_EN

    “Try not to be tiresome. We’ve done lots of posts on the Younger Dryas or D-O events. What does this have to do with the radiative effect of CO2? – gavin]”

    Nothing!

    What it does have to do with is the numerous posts on here that state that the observed warming rate of the 20th century (0.6c) is unprecedented in all Earths multi billion year climatic history. Or perhaps these posts refer to the observed warming in the 21st century? Nope, I am pretty sure they don’t mean that!

    Alan

    [Response: Perhaps you could actually cite even one post (let alone numerous ones) on this site where anyone has said that the temperature rise in the 20th C is "unprecedented in all Earth's multi-billion year history"? I'm curious. - gavin]

    Comment by Alan Millar — 11 Apr 2009 @ 7:18 AM

  471. #463 Mark, even though I started the Permian conversation expecting to be able to support my remarks with citations since I have read such citations before, I was unable to find any in the clutter of global warming mass extinction hysteria on the net. True, I should have found the citations first and because I didn’t had a pretty weak argument. But don’t forget that even my weak argument lead to your aquiring the knowledge that the Siberian Flats existed so at least someone learned something. I will find my citations first should I decide to start a new conversation which would rely on them but to say that I only talk and don’t listen is an uninformed and presumptious position on your part. I have been reading this blog for well over a year on almost a daily basis and have only made comments on 3 or perhaps 4 days.

    Comment by steve — 11 Apr 2009 @ 7:39 AM

  472. Walt Bennett says “But what we clearly see is that anybody (so far) who has engaged me on this topic sticks to his talking points and refuses to critically examine.”

    Oh, you mean the science? Yes, well that is unfair, since you don’t have any on your side to support you. You can hardly blame us for not discussing policy as: 1)your accusations were initially quite vague; and 2)most people are here to learn about the science; 3)you were making rather wild, unsupported accusations that science was being subverted.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Apr 2009 @ 7:51 AM

  473. If Snowball Earth took place, and melted due to an ultra-CO2-driven albedo-positive-feedback mechanism, Greg Simpson is almost certainly correct that the warming rates reached higher than current levels. Maybe as high as 1K/decade. 10+% atmospheric CO2 will do that for you. But (a) it’s still a pretty weak hypothesis at the moment; and (b) it hasn’t happened for at least 600 million years: if it happened at all it was in utterly different circumstances, about as relevant to the modern climate as Lindzen’s invocation of Mars or Pluto.

    I think Greg’s original remark, in comment #407, was a joke. It certainly made me smile.

    Comment by Nick Barnes — 11 Apr 2009 @ 7:55 AM

  474. “Perhaps you could actually cite even one post (let alone numerous ones) on this site where anyone has said that the temperature rise in the 20th C is “unprecedented in all Earth’s multi-billion year history”? I’m curious. – gavin]”

    I am not referring to any posts you have made Gavin. I ampretty sure you would not make such sweeping statements. I refer to posts like that of Hanks at #401.

    “Walt Bennett, you’re missing two things by thinking that what’s happening is within natural variation.

    1) the physics of adding CO2 to the atmosphere, trapping heat
    2) the rate of change, far faster than anything in the past short of an asteroid impact

    You’re saying everything has happened before. True.
    It’s been hotter and colder on Earth.
    CO2 has been higher and lower.

    No previous event has burned carbon as fast as we’re doing.
    No previous warming has happened anywhere near this fast.
    The exceptions to natural rates of change are catastrophes.
    So is the present rate of change.

    Asteroid impacts or flood basalts caused the past catastrophes.
    Human fossil fuel burning is causing the present catastrophe.

    Catastrophe — as in math — meaning you can’t back up and simply reverse the course of events.

    You don’t like the fact that people can’t see what’s happening.

    Can you do anything for ‘Global Cooler’ who can’t see the trend in a chart? There are far more people like her or him out there who need your help.

    Reality, as P.K. Dick said, is what’s still here when we wake up, what doesn’t go away when we quit beieving in it.

    The rate of change is real.
    Address it please”

    Comment by Alan Millar — 11 Apr 2009 @ 7:59 AM

  475. Why the big focus on a trailing indicator like sea ice and shelf ice? Don’t the oceans control this process and doesn’t it lag actual climate trends by 4 to 7 years?

    Comment by Bill Hunter — 11 Apr 2009 @ 8:05 AM

  476. I would like to thank those who gave advice on high school/secondary school level experiments to confirm CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

    But some more advice please.

    (I’m somewhat busy right now, so I haven’t followed it all up, Easter holiday week, but I want advice while this particular discussion is still “hot”)

    I now want to do the experiment myself, using what I can find here at home.

    I have two 12 litre demijohns/carboys (home brewing), two certified food thermometers, coal dust to go in bottom of flasks as heat sink, polystyrene foam slab to insulate under flasks, and my mobile phone which has a timer. The heating source to be (around here) the infrequent sun or a couple of halogen security lamps.

    So far, so good – but what about the CO2?

    I don’t have CO2 around the place. I have considered my fire extinguisher (but that means breaking the seal and then having to buy a new one) and have rejected shaking a can of Coke. So I’m going for placing a burning bit of dry fungi (Daldinia concentrica. AKA King Alfred’s Cakes) in one flask. This will give me CO2 – plus water or water vapour. The nitrogen and some of the oxygen will remain.

    OK, Class. Pay attention!

    *Will the water/water vapour caused by the burning invalidate the experiment?*

    One of the reasons I would like to do this is a “warmist” was recently challenged by a “denialist” on the telly: “Have you ever done an experiment to prove CO2 etc, etc”. Non- scientist warmist had to admit he had not.

    If the experiment shows warming, I’ll send a paper to Nature and await the call from the Nobel Committee.

    If it fails, I will contact the Hartland Institute with view to a free trip plus accommodation at the next conference in NY.

    Theo H

    reCAPTCHA grerms April

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 11 Apr 2009 @ 8:29 AM

  477. Alan, The only posts like that have pointed to the fact that the rate of change of CO2 in the atmosphere is roughly 30 times as fast as anything ever recorded in the ice sheet CO2 bubbles, which provide a record for the last 800,000 years or so.

    Beyond that, you can get sediment record data on temperatures from stable isotope analysis – and indirect proxies for CO2. That gives us a picture of a world that was last ice-free a little over 3 million years ago, when sea levels were something like 5-20 meters higher than they are now, in this interglacial. That appears to be the world we are headed for, the only question being: how fast?

    The real problems for human civilization include loss of living space due to coastal erosion and sea level rise, serious damage to agriculture from more intense seasonal heat waves, droughts and floods, loss of biological diversity and habitat, and the spread of tropical infectious diseases into new temperate zones.

    It is true that the early Holocene (some 10,000 years ago) was perhaps as warm as it is now – but there was also a giant ice sheet stretching across all of northern Canada, the Laurentide, which acted as a thermal buffer – and we’re slowly but steadily melting off our thermal buffers in Antarctica and the Arctic.

    We’re already in for significant and serious changes to climate, some of which have begun to appear already – and the only thing that will slow the rate of change is the elimination of fossil fuel combustion.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 11 Apr 2009 @ 9:07 AM

  478. Water vapour is a variable to be controlled, for obvious reasons.

    An alternative production to CO2 is to heat sodium bicarbonate; about 70 or 80°C minimum IIRC (hotter will give a quicker reaction). Water and CO2 will be driven off. You could condense the water to give you a drier CO2.

    An alternative is to find someone who’s using dry ice (use gloves!).

    Comment by P. Lewis — 11 Apr 2009 @ 9:58 AM

  479. Hi Walt, you have very funny PR skills:

    Walt Bennett Says: #260, Ray, I have speculated – and the evidence is in full bloom in this thread – that certain segments of CS have fallen into a pattern of defending the case for AGW to the detriment of actual science, the examination of the unknown and the search for sound theories. In other words, the unknowns are being buried beneath a PR blitz.

    First, accuse your accuser of what it is you are being accused of, or, in playground jargon, “I know you are but what am I!”

    Second, use mush language that says nothing “actual science, sound science” – I believe the technical term is “Luntzspeak”, who provided this memo: http://www.ewg.org/node/8684

    It’s common knowledge that high-powered corporate lobbying interests and their allies in government use elite public opinion researchers to coach them on how best to mask their efforts with inoffensive language to advantageously slant public perception.

    However, it’s rare to actually get an under-the-hood glimpse of the formulation behind such propaganda.

    Yes… rare indeed. However, the specific issue of the current “PR Blitz” is mostly about making sure that Copenhagen in December doesn’t turn into a successful global agreement to reduce fossil fuel consumption and increase renewable energy generation – it’s simply a carbon-copy replay of the effort to defeat Kyoto-style legislation carried out in the 1990s. For most of the past decade, fossil fuel executives have sat in key policy positions in government, so such large-scale PR pushes were not quite as evident.

    The current PR push is coming out of two main areas:

    1) The coal mine-railroad-coal utility sector, which provides 50% of the electric power in the United States, and about as much of the corruption. It’s essentially a legal monopoly that views competition as destabilizing and innovation as disruptive, and uses fraudulent and dishonest tactics (FutureGen, environmental front groups, etc.) to maintain the status quo, which involves pulling 500 million tons of coal out of Montana’s Powder Basin every year and pumping it into the atmosphere. A key part of their strategy is the use of political leverage to ensure renewables are not allowed to compete. See “Americans for Clean Coal Electricity”: http://www.cleancoalusa.org/ – their director is a railroad executive.

    2) The unconventional fuels sector, which includes coal-to-gasoline processes, tar sand to syncrude, and shale oil production. Some of the producers of very heavy, dirty oil might also fit into this category. One barrel of Canadian tar sand oil burned in Kansas generates something like three times the amount of CO2, overall, as does a barrel of conventional Kansas oil (not that there’s much of that left). That’s using lifetime energy accounting, as is (sometimes) done when people talk about “energy budgets” and biofuels. Unconventional fossil fuels are incredibly dirty, but also expensive to produce, and they rely on high oil prices (>$60 barrel) to be profitable. Here, the approach is to hide the truth – for example, the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline is really the Tar Sand Development Pipeline, despite the claims of “supplying gas to the lower 48″.

    What’s interesting is who is not doing this as much: Producers of conventional oil and natural gas, who are now realizing that blocking unconventional fuels is good for their bottom line in a world of plummeting fossil fuel demand (so is keeping renewables and electric cars off the market in the U.S., however). When the Qatar oil minister says that “$50 a barrel oil is fine”, is he really saying “because at $60, we’d lose market share to tar sand oil”? In addition, some Arab countries are now becoming world leaders in renewable energy. UAE will host the International Renewable Energy Association, and Dubai is doing similar things: http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=38187

    Now, within the U.S. there is a massive PR blitz, designed to keep fossil fuel demand high, head off government regulations that would cap fossil fuel consumption, and prevent the rise of competitive renewables. Some examples:

    a) The American Petroleum Institution’s $100 million contract with Edelman PR to “improve the industry image”. Edelman is known for their “rapid internet response”, i.e. loading up comment sections with anonymous drivel. They keep dozens of bloggers on staff to do just that – it’s not a unique phenomenon, Burson-Marstellar, Hill&Knowlton, Rendon & Lincoln, they all use this tactic. The coal version of the API, the Edison Electric Institute, has a similar program – every time a provision calling for 15% renewables generation is introduced in Congress, it is defeated in the Senate – usually by votes like 85-15. Together, coal and oil rule the Senate, and exert only moderately less influence in the House – but often they exert even greater power in local and state politics, but only in certain regions.

    b) The $100 million deal between Stanford University, ExxonMobile, Schlumberger Oil Services and Toyota – Stanford’s GCEP, the “Global Climate and Energy Program.” Not much climate science, a little puff of hydrogen, some hot air and carbon capture – and, most interestingly, final decisions about which projects got funded were made by a 5-person committee in which “all partners were equally represented” – and not only that, the industry partners got the patent rights – “exclusive extendable 5-year licensing opportunities”.

    c) The entire DOE budget can be viewed as a propaganda operation, more or less. The DOE has become a distorted beast that successive political generations have taken turns dissecting and reinventing, a classic example of why scientific institutions should be kept separate from direct political influence. DOE’s role is unclear – nuclear waste cleanup is the largest single item in the DOE budget, but then there are the secretive National Labs, the nuclear warfare and biological warfare “defensive programs”, the large “carbon capture and sequestration program”, which has never shown any plausible method of doing so – in fact, it’s hard to say what if anything the DOE has accomplished since its inception. Solar PV and biofuel and wind turbine research are non-existent – believe me, I’ve looked.

    Now, tips on discussion:

    Topic a) is generally considered to be taboo for all newspaper editors and journalists, as well as politicians, many of whom have close relationships with PR firms. You won’t make friends with political figures and media by talking about that – but academics will enjoy it.

    Topic b) makes academics unhappy, as you are pointing to a kind of insidious hypocrisy in which university administrators exchange academic freedom and integrity for corporate financing. This will definitely lead to academic irritation, and is best avoided. The press and politicos don’t mind hearing about it, though.

    Topic c) is worth thinking about. The goal there is to take the DOE, have the military absorb the nuclear/biological warfare programs and evaluate what exactly they’ve been up to, and convert the rest of the DOE to a civilian science program set up along the lines of the NIH or the NSF or other successful independent peer-review based science funding institutions. A similar strategy is to have the most successful renewable energy program in the U.S. take over the DOE – that would be DARPA.

    http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/DARPAs-Vulture-What-Goes-Up-Neednt-Come-Down-04852/

    It’s not too surprising that the U.S. military is the largest developer of renewable energy in the country today – they have a more practical understanding of the dangers of drinking your own Kool-Aide than do the leaders of the U.S. energy industry, who have too much control over federal energy policy. In this situation, you can expect state governors and legislators and independent entrepreneurs to lead the way towards a renewable-based economy, while being handicapped by Congress and energy cartels at every step.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 11 Apr 2009 @ 10:56 AM

  480. #443 Walt Bennett

    You’ve made some broad statements that lack context, substantiation and specificity. When you say you don’t want anything to do with restricting carbon emissions, it indicates that you do not understand what is required to address climate change.

    When you say we won’t stop burning coal, and it’s not sciences job to tell us to, you are missing many points, which indicates that you do not understand the role of science. I would argue it is sciences job to do the research to help us (people and policy makers) understand what needs to be done based on the well reasoned evidence.

    This web site is dedicated to the science and you really seem to want to concentrate on the politics. Maybe Hank is right, and you should start your own blog to concentrate on the politics, oh you have a blog. Well discuss it there to your hearts content. In here the conversation does wander from science to politics, and that is not too bad but if you want to just have a political discussion, invite people over to your blog to discuss it.

    When you say why are we discounting the risk and unintended consequences, what do you mean? What is the context? My read on somethings you state is that you are discounting the risk sand unintended consequences.

    When you say things like:

    Such schemes will accomplish several things: 1) they will constitute a massive power grab by the political left; 2) they will dramatically increase the cost of energy, which will have severe economic consequences for many millions of humans; 3) they will cause a large shift of wealth from developed to developing nations; 4) they will create winners and losers. The losers will be those nations which apply the restrictions, and the winners will be those who don’t; 5) based on (4), nations will enter trade wars with each other, and everybody loses.

    It sort of just sounds like some sort of right wing paranoia born of rhetorical spin from the distinct bias of a view, as opposed to likely potentials.

    So from my perspective it still seems clear that either you have not attached sufficient substance to your statements as to enable them to be reasonable, but that you are merely making statements. Generally, it seems clear to me and maybe others here that you just are not making much holistic sense in such statements.

    In your #426 you state

    It is correct to begin the process of determining where to place public resources, and it is clear to me that the conversation must include mitigation, adaptation and geo-engineering strategies. As scary as that sounds, to me it sounds insane to plan for CO2 reductions and land management as successful strategies.

    But from what I can see, it is beyond insane to not plan for CO2 reductions. Since you claim you have a sharp grasp of the science, I am confused, because these statements herein-above of yours indicates that you don’t especially regarding the interrelationship of economy, environment.

    Or are you merely accepting that it is insane for public policy to reign in CO2?

    Well, what to make of those who believe that public policy can reign in atmospheric CO2? I would have thought that one or two of you would find it interesting to critically examine the simple question, how much of a fallacy is such a belief as that?

    Which of course is at least to some extent countered by your post in #442

    Yes, they are having difficulty with the reduction agreements, but they are making progress. Yes there are countervailing forces at work such as profit v. survival of % and quality of life issues, greed, hope, risk, food, water, etc.

    What is it you think people don’t understand in here?

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 11 Apr 2009 @ 10:58 AM

  481. http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2008GL037155.shtml
    Levitus, S., J. I. Antonov, T. P. Boyer, R. A. Locarnini, H. E. Garcia, and A. V. Mishonov (2009),

    Global ocean heat content 1955–2008 in light of recently revealed instrumentation problems,

    Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L07608, doi:10.1029/2008GL037155
    11 April 2009

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Apr 2009 @ 11:01 AM

  482. A quick search around the net reveals a couple of items that may be at your level of scientific sophistication :

    Greenhouse Gas Experiment

    Follow Up Post

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 11 Apr 2009 @ 11:08 AM

  483. #464 Barton Paul Levenson

    Barton thanks for that one. In summary, in my opinion even though I am a huge fan of Ayn Rand and my uncle George Reisman (Capitalism) used to hang out with her and, and, and… I believe that 99% of the people that read Atlas Shrugged to not understand the main premise is not about making money, but creating valuable exchanges devoid of waste of effort.

    It’s a hard sell, as most are hypnotized by the idea that it’s all about making money, getting rid of government, and beliefs that create artificial inflation components based on guilt as opposed to work that is productive in a utilitarian sense.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 11 Apr 2009 @ 11:12 AM

  484. Nick Barnes wrote in 473:

    If Snowball Earth took place, and melted due to an ultra-CO2-driven albedo-positive-feedback mechanism, Greg Simpson is almost certainly correct that the warming rates reached higher than current levels. Maybe as high as 1K/decade. 10+% atmospheric CO2 will do that for you. But (a) it’s still a pretty weak hypothesis at the moment; and (b) it hasn’t happened for at least 600 million years: if it happened at all it was in utterly different circumstances, about as relevant to the modern climate as Lindzen’s invocation of Mars or Pluto.

    600 million years?

    There wouldn’t have been any animal life on land at this point, and I suspect it was barren but for bacteria. Pretty much everything was still “happening” in the oceans. And even in the oceans, animal life was fairly primitive, at least by our standards. My ancestors would have been seaworms infested with perhaps a few retroviruses, if I am not mistaken. I am not even sure that whether they would have already flipped upside down in the way that distinguishes vertebrates from invertebrates at that point.

    Oh, those were simpler times…

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 11 Apr 2009 @ 11:14 AM

  485. #470 Alan Millar

    You seem to have a context problem combined with some sort of blockage. Either go see a doctor and see if it is curable, or do your homework. At the moment you are getting an F. Let’s see if we can get those grades up, we wouldn’t want you to end up working in a job beneath your potential now would we?

    For the sake of clarity, you have no idea what yo are talking about.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 11 Apr 2009 @ 11:21 AM

  486. #474 Alan Millar

    Your context problem revolves around time scale. Look carefully at this picture

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/natural-variability/overview/image/image_view_fullscreen

    read about it

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/natural-variability

    check the source link

    http://www.ncar.ucar.edu/research/climate/now.php

    Now, for Pete’s sake listen! No one is saying it has never been warmer.

    You need to understand that the forcing levels have changed due to human industrial output of GHG’s and aerosols

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/forcing-levels

    We know it is human caused

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/human-caused

    and that the causes are measurable

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/greenhouse-gases

    Greenhouse gases:

    * http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/index.html

    How do we know CO2 is a greenhouse gas?

    * http://www.espere.net/Unitedkingdom/water/uk_watexpgreenhouse.htm

    Major GHG’s (Greenhouse Gases)

    * http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/co2.html
    * http://www.epa.gov/methane/sources.html
    * http://www.epa.gov/nitrousoxide/sources.html

    Human & Global Impacts

    * http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/co2_human.html
    * http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/globalghg.html

    High GWP’s (Global Warming Potential) Gases

    * http://www.epa.gov/highgwp/sources.html
    * http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2008/oct/HQ_08-268_Greenhouse_gas.html

    The natural variation statement can reasonably be taken in the assumable context if one is rational.

    You are not being rational. You are being irrational.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 11 Apr 2009 @ 11:31 AM

  487. To those who say that this is a science site, I would say you are exhibiting exactly the insularity I have been describing.

    This is a blog, a gathering of voices. I’d venture that 90% of you have no formal training in climate science.

    Hank, I intend to check out the site you referenced. That blurb does sound fruitful.

    Now, how many references have been made to my views being bought and paid for? Those of you who wrote such things are the most confused of all. First, you ignore my obvious and repeated assurance that I am well grounded in the basic science of AGW and accept much of it as well done; thus, it is beyond futile to try to pin one of those labels on me. Second, is that all you got? Somebody disagrees with you and you start looking for ways to brand them? I laugh at such silliness, but it does also reveal just how insular – or just plain ignorant – many of you have become, or perhaps always were.

    You should know that when the first sentence of a comment mocks me, I never get to the rest of the comment, so you are writing such things only to amuse yourselves or the peanut gallery.

    I did catch where Bart wrote that emissions reduction is the only thing that will work.

    If he believes that, he represents exactly the delusion of which I speak.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 11 Apr 2009 @ 11:55 AM

  488. Re: #454

    Squeeze,

    How much more of a call for action can I possibly make? Discussing emissions reduction is EXACTLY the same as doing nothing, because either (1) it will never get past the talking stage or (2) it will get past the talking stage and STILL not solve the immediate problem. Thus, those of you who stick to emissions reduction as the grand strategy are the true inactivists.

    I have been, for over a year now, calling for allocation of resources into mitigation, adaptation and geo-engineering pursuits.

    That is MY call to action.

    Perhaps you haven’t noticed: the obfuscators won. We have to find a way to move the ball.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 11 Apr 2009 @ 12:03 PM

  489. Re: #447

    Lawrence, you make my case brilliantly, thank you. You do recognize how late in the game it is; from there it is a short walk to the realization that emissions reductions as a strategy for dealing with the immediate problem (ice sheet stability) is dead on arrival.

    Your own observations tell you that.

    Thanks again for assisting me in making that point.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 11 Apr 2009 @ 12:06 PM

  490. Nitpick, aside:

    “reign in” is a peculiar typo, most frequently seen from bloggers of a particular persuasion; it seems to come up from people who are claiming some societal action represents an infringement of personal property that — for “royal libertarians” at least — they believed they were granted forever and ever, inheritable by their descendants.

    Or else they just can’t spell, of course. There’s always that.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_metaphor
    _________excerpt follows_____________

    horses once played an important part in human activities, but nowadays few people in the West have experience of them. Despite this, modern English is riddled with equine metaphors: “holding the reins of power”, “trot it out”, “take the bit between one’s teeth”, “be saddled with”, “put him through his paces”, “ride roughshod over”, “flogging a dead horse”, “give the whip hand”, “hold your horses”, “long in the tooth”, “put out to pasture”, “getting his oats” and so on. … equine-related meaning is generally not appreciated by the contemporary user.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Apr 2009 @ 12:27 PM

  491. Walt Bennet said:

    “Such schemes will accomplish several things: 1) they will constitute a massive power grab by the political left…”

    I think you’re looking at it exactly backwards. If I can be forgiven a brief, non-partisian excursion into politics, I think you’ll find that historically political groups – left, right, or whatever – sometimes find their doctrines in conflict with reality. When that happens, and they persist in clinging to the doctrine, they lose power. Happened to the Church when it clung to geocentrism; happened to the Left in the ’70s and ’80s; now it’s happening to the Right.

    However, it’s not a “power grab” by the Left (though of course they use it). That a vocal part of the Right has decided, not just to ignore the reality of AGW, but to claim that it’s not happening, is effectively a voluntary cession of power. The solution is to change the doctrine to fit reality.

    Comment by James — 11 Apr 2009 @ 12:51 PM

  492. re #477 Ike Solem

    Dr Eric Wolff of the British Antarctic Survey speaking about the results from the 800,000 year Dome C ice core, reported in the UK newspaper “The Independent”, 5th September 2006 stated, “The core shows that carbon dioxide was always between 180 parts per million (ppm) and 300 ppm during the 800,000 years. However, now it is 380 ppm. … But the rate of change is even more dramatic, with increases in carbon dioxide never exceeding 30 ppm in 1,000 years — and yet now carbon dioxide has risen by 30 ppm in the last 17 years.”

    That would make the present rate of increase of CO2 about 59 times greater than at any time in the last at least 800,000 years.

    Does anyone know what the accepted maximum natural rate of increase in CO2 has been over the last c. one million years? Is Dr Wolff’s statement on the rate still regarded as correct?

    Comment by Slioch — 11 Apr 2009 @ 1:03 PM

  493. #479 Ike Solem

    That’s so funny. I thought the same thing re. “I know you are but what am I!”, re. Walt Bennett argument.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 11 Apr 2009 @ 1:26 PM

  494. Alan Millar (446) — Checking Vostok ice core data shows Antarctica did not participate in Younger Dryas. The rapid temperature swings then were in Greenland and the Nordic Sea; elsewhere, even in northern Europe (except maybe parts of Norway), the rates were moderated.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Apr 2009 @ 1:44 PM

  495. How bizarre Walt Bennett’s thought processes are. Basically he’s saying: the problem is very serious, therefore we should not take action (by reducing emissions) to prevent it getting worse. Weird.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 11 Apr 2009 @ 3:27 PM

  496. #488 Walt Bennett

    You directly contradicted your self. You say “Discussing emissions reduction is EXACTLY the same as doing nothing, because either” (which is largely the call to action) is fruitless, and then you say your have been for over a year now calling for allocation of resources into mitigation adaptation and geo-engineering pursuits (which is merely adding to the discussion that you think is fruitless).

    The pot calling the kettle black…

    There is something obtuse about your posts and the thinking you are apparently attempting to project???

    As to moving the ball? Which ball, you have already claimed that you don’t want to even discuss CO2 reduction. Maybe if we all just stop discussing it the climate will just settle down and the warming will stop?

    A relevant bumper sticker:

    “Maybe if we ignore the environment, it will just go away.”

    By reasonable accounts you are obfuscating the issues but you have won nothing and rightly so in my opinion.

    BTW, and Gavin, please feel free to edit me, you are being idiotic in these obfuscating assertions, hypocritical statements and vague statements that have little to now context or basis to what is relevant, in my opinion.

    You call to action is apparently don’t discuss action, just go out and do the action? What are you advocating, blowing up coal plants? So far all you have done is add to the discussion which you hate, so why are you in here discussing? What the hell are you talking about???

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 11 Apr 2009 @ 3:31 PM

  497. David B. Benson (#351:

    I see that my little middle-school science experiment report has made it over here from DotEarth. I’d like to add a couple of notes.

    First, my statement that “It’s really that simple” needs to be taken in context. Of course, it’s not really that simple (although I do think it’s instructive). But the “experiment” paragraph was part of a very frustrated response to an individual who was insisting that you can disprove AGW in its entirety by simply comparing the average temperatures in any two randomly selected years: if any year is cooler than any prior year, AGW is disproved, period. “In order for a scientific theory to be right, it must be right all the time.” Multiple attempts at polite explanation failed. Frustration and possibly some overstatement ensued.

    Second, my understanding (as a non-scientist) was that this very simple two-bottle experiment was pertinent. I’ve seen it several times, including in a Science Channel (I think) program on climate change. It does work, in the sense that the CO2-enriched bottle does indeed get warmer. But if this is actually demonstrating something other than the basic physics behind AGW, I’d welcome the correction.

    Comment by Chris Dunford — 11 Apr 2009 @ 4:05 PM

  498. Re #489:

    Walt, you’re welcome-I think. Yet,ice sheet stability,isn’t the only factor in the equation, and I fail to see how emissions reduction, can be anything but a helpful strategy in the overall problem.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 11 Apr 2009 @ 4:22 PM

  499. Slioch (492) — I don’t know of any CO2 records older than 800,000 years. A good, much longer, record of (deep ocean) temperatures at the millennial scale is the LR04 stack. Here is a graphic of temperatures for 65 million years:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:65_Myr_Climate_Change.png

    To me this implies slow changes to CO2 concentrations for at least the last 14 million years, despite

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

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Apr 2009 @ 4:24 PM

  500. Mr Bennett’s statements seem to be at step 3 of the progression

    1) its not happening
    2) ok, its happening, but its not our carbon emissions thats causing it
    3) ok, its happening, and its our carbon emissions thats causing it, but its too late to fix it by reducing our carbon emissions.

    the people screaming 1) and 2) for the last score of years are to blame for 3) if 3) were true.

    But of course, 3) is not true, it is just that some argue for 3) because they wish to persist in gluttony to the end.

    i had kinda expected 3) to make its appearance at some point. anyone seen this particular lie before ?

    Comment by sidd — 11 Apr 2009 @ 4:55 PM

  501. Chris Dunford (497) — It seems that the two bottle experiment is demonstrating some else in part; optical/IR properties of glass. There are two comments with links on this thread to better (but more complex) setups which come quite a bit closer to actual atmospheric properties.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Apr 2009 @ 5:08 PM

  502. @ Walt Bennett

    Snip

    “I have been, for over a year now, calling for allocation of resources into mitigation, adaptation and geo-engineering pursuits.”

    snip

    I fear you have the short-sightedness of the American right liberal free market philosphy. (That’s “One Dollar – One Vote”).

    Many in this world don’t have the money to “mitigate and adapt” and geo-engineering will be for the benefit of those who have the money to do it. That’s what the free market _insists_.

    Theo H

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 11 Apr 2009 @ 5:13 PM

  503. David B. Benson wrote in 499:

    Slioch (492) — I don’t know of any CO2 records older than 800,000 years. A good, much longer, record of (deep ocean) temperatures at the millennial scale is the LR04 stack. Here is a graphic of temperatures for 65 million years:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:65_Myr_Climate_Change.png

    To me this implies slow changes to CO2 concentrations for at least the last 14 million years, despite

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

    I realize you are much more of an expert in this area than I am, but I hope you won’t mind if I put together what I can regarding this…

    I can’t speak to the CO2 concentrations prior to 1,000,000 years Before Present, however, I notice that with the Columbia River Basalt Group we are speaking of flood basalt with an area of 163,700 km2 and volume of 174,300 km3.

    From the text:

    During late Miocene and early Pliocene times, one of the largest flood basalts ever to appear on the earth’s surface engulfed about 163,700 km2 (63,000 mile2) of the Pacific Northwest, forming a large igneous province with an estimated volume of 174,300 km3.

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

    Comparing this to the Deccan Traps in India, it appears that the Columbia River Basalt Group is only one tenth the area and one third or less the volume.

    Please see:

    Before the Deccan Traps region was reduced to its current size by erosion and continental drift, it is estimated that the original area covered by the lava flows was as large as 1.5 million km2, approximately half the size of modern India. The present volume of directly observable lava flows is estimated to be around 512,000 km3.

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

    And the Siberian Traps appear to have greatly dwarfed both:

    Vast volumes of basaltic lava paved over a large expanse of primeval Siberia in a flood basalt event. Today the area covered is about 2 million km2 and estimates of the original coverage are as high as 7 million km2. The original volume of lava is estimated to range from 1 to 4 million km3.

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

    However, size isn’t everything: there is also the question of location. Looking at the map provided for the Columbia River Basalt Group it would seem clear that little of the coastline was exposed. Perhaps 150 km. I may be wrong, but this suggests to me that not much lava made it to the ocean. The Deccan Traps? The lava flows appear to have been half the size of India, suggesting that a much larger portion of the coastline was exposed. The Siberian Traps? A map is provided, and the exposed coastline appears a little shy of 3000 km, about twenty times the length of exposed coastline in the case of the Columbia River Basalt Group.

    According to the calculations, presumably the carbon dioxide from the flood basalt lava (and burning of forests) wasn’t enough to cause the Permian-Triassic. You needed shallow-water methane hydrates along the continental shelves. Likewise, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum presumably cannot be explained soley the carbon isotope excursion, assuming that it consisted of carbon dioxide, nor even methane if one simply assumes the half-life that it currently has as the result of present day atmospheric chemistry.

    Instead it would appear that OH-radicals which are normally responsible for the breakdown of methane into carbon dioxide would have to be depleted as the result of the system being overwhelmed by the volume of methane being released.

    Please see:

    Atmospheric composition, radiative forcing, and climate change as a consequence of a massive methane release from gas hydrates
    Gavin A. Schmidt and Drew T. Shindell
    Paleoceanography, Vol. 18, NO. 1, 1004, doi:10.1029/2002PA000757, 2003
    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abstracts/2003/Schmidt_Shindell.html

    Once one takes into account the changes in atmospheric chemistry, it appears that the carbon excursion for PETM was more than enough to bring about those changes in atmospheric chemistry as well as the changes in climate temperature. The same I would assume applies to the Permian-Triassic. But given both the magnitude of the Columbia River Basalt Group and the limited exposure of the coastline, it isn’t that odd that we see no similar event around that time.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 11 Apr 2009 @ 6:02 PM

  504. PS to 503

    Actually these eruptions:

    Eruptions were most vigorous from 17—14 million years ago, when over 99% of the basalt was released. Less extensive eruptions continued from 14—6 million years ago.

    Columbia River Basalt Group
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia_River_Basalt_Group

    … this disruption:

    Middle Miocene disruption
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_Miocene_disruption

    … appear to have been at roughly the same time. And looking more closely, there is an ascending staircase of spikes in the projected temperature based on benthic δ18O equivilent to perhaps 2°C over that period.

    Please see the chart given by David B. Benson in 499:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:65_Myr_Climate_Change.png

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 11 Apr 2009 @ 7:01 PM

  505. Johm P. Reisman #485

    [edit]

    I am particularly interested in a couple of climate problems

    I am interested in what climatic factors stopped the rise in the Earths temperature much earlier in the Holocene, after they had reached higher levels than today, given the premise that the Earths response to increased temperature is to warm even further. I would then like to know what drove the temperatures down and then drove them back up again.

    I attach a graph to show the problem.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Holocene_Temperature_Variations.png

    I would also like you to explain to me what climatic factors drove a warming rise trend 75 times the current observed trend 12000 years ago. Details attached.

    http://www.ethlife.ethz.ch/archive_articles/090216_Nature_dryas_haug/index_EN

    Please don’t refer to me various hypothesis. As you have a good view of the settled science I would be grateful if you could be specific as to all the significant feedbacks and give a good estimate of the strength of their forcing effects as clearly atmospheric CO2 is not involved.

    [edit]

    If you are on a roll you can perhaps also finally explain and describe how the Milankovitch cycles causes the observed glaciation cycles. Scientists, including Milankovitch himself, have been unable to square this particular circle as the estimated changes appear to be too small to have this effect directly. No problem for you however sir I am sure.

    Anyway thanks Mr John P. Reisman

    [edit]

    Alan

    Comment by Alan Millar — 11 Apr 2009 @ 7:08 PM

  506. Responding to Walt Bennett, Theo Hopkins wrote in 502:

    I fear you have the short-sightedness of the American right liberal free market philosophy…

    You may have lost more than half your American audience right there. To them, “liberals” are generally those who believe in some government intervention in the economy. What you are describing is what they would call either a “libertarian” or “conservative,” although it might also fit in with what their history books refer to as “classical liberals,” the fellows who founded their country, deists who they will sometimes confuse with their more far more theocratically-minded predecessors, the pilgrims.

    In the US, “conservatives” are those who want to generally avoid government intervention in the economic sphere but would have it bear some responsibility for insuring standards in the social and particularly moral spheres. Libertarians, on the otherhand, view government intervention in either sphere as something to be avoided pretty much at all costs.

    However, if libertarians had to choose, they would appear to regard economic freedom as having precedence over other forms of freedom — given the fact that they are generally willing to go along with their more theocratic-minded “conservative” brethren in the pursuance of a lock-step “conservative” agenda. But this is presumably in exchange for “moral conservatives” cooperating where it comes to a defense of the free market — which is ok with them so long as it doesn’t interfere with their plans for the Rapture.

    I know all of this has been covered before, but I thought I might give it one more go.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 11 Apr 2009 @ 7:36 PM

  507. Walt Bennett #487

    To those who say that this is a science site, I would say you are exhibiting exactly the insularity I have been describing.

    [snip]

    You should know that when the first sentence of a comment mocks me, I never get to the rest of the comment…

    How about you take some advice from this, and start out your next foray with something that acknowledges the integrity of the audience you are trying to address?

    sidd #500:

    1) its not happening
    2) ok, its happening, but its not our carbon emissions thats causing it
    3) ok, its happening, and its our carbon emissions thats causing it, but its too late to fix it by reducing our carbon emissions.

    The classic case of this was the tobacco industry, that ended years of denial and obfuscation with blaming its own customers for believing what they had been told.

    Walt, perhaps you could add something constructive here by explaining exactly why mitigation and geo-engineering will work whereas emissions reduction won’t. Either way, you need massive government intervention in the economy to cover expenses that are unproductive except as offset against externalities, which will offend the political sensibilities of some, but they should have thought of that before supporting obfuscation of the issues when smaller interventions would have stood some chance of working.

    We are currently seeing massive government interventions to bail out failing banks and auto makers (whose stupidity is a direct part of the problem), and you have to wonder at the mentality of people who find that acceptable whereas saving the planet is contrary to the free market, therefore we should all carry on as normal and hope mainstream climate scientists are all wrong.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 11 Apr 2009 @ 7:39 PM

  508. Timothy Chase (503, 504) — The Columbia flood basalts made it to the ocean:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_Coast_Range#Geology
    but I rather doubt much connection with the Mid-Miocene events; the Wikipedia article lists some other possiblities. In any case, note
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miocene#Oceans

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Apr 2009 @ 8:14 PM

  509. Alan Millar says of explaining glacial-interglacial cycles in terms of Milankovich cycles: “Scientists, including Milankovitch himself, have been unable to square this particular circle as the estimated changes appear to be too small to have this effect directly.”

    Uh, dude, you do realize that you are arguing FOR strong feedback here, right? And that strong feedback means MORE WARMING per doubling of CO2, right? Sure you want to go down that road?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Apr 2009 @ 8:36 PM

  510. Are there any opinions on the *pace* of ice shelf breakage as an implication of a Rapid Climate Change Event? It is my understanding that we are at present embedded in a cooling RCCE, the Little Ice Age, and have been for roughly 600 years. Given the GISP record from the Arctic for an approximate 1,000+ year trend (Mayewski et. al.) I wonder what kind of feedback we have generated that could trump (a more temperature-unstable troposphere) the general natural static within a RCCE (a cool troposphere with general storminess in atmospheric circulation)? Also, as noted by Petit et. al. (in Nature vol. 399 p433) the Vostok record shows CO2 and CH4 concentrations as positive feedbacks to orbital forcing and albedo. My inclination is to say that in the context of half-million year records and rates of change, we’re seeing effects of inextricably linked GW and AGW that is forcing instability in a complex system. Hence, long term stability lost in ice shelves. Yes?…(I’d appreciate refutation, where necessary, with scientific literature)

    Re: #505 – “The Ice Chronicles” by Paul Mayewski and Frank White gives an enjoyable account of Holocene climate change factors (including the Younger Dryas, the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warming Period) from the Greenland Ice Core Project. It covers the Polar Circulation index, Solar & Celestial cycles, Ice Sheet Dynamics, and Ocean Oscillations. Lots of visual aids too, not just the highly complex science.

    Comment by Shauna — 11 Apr 2009 @ 9:16 PM

  511. Pettit interviewed here, with links.
    This paper? (Petit JR, et al., Nature 399[6735]: 429-36, 3 June 1999)
    http://in-cites.com/papers/Jean-RobertPetit.html

    —excerpt follows—
    Q: In this paper, one of your concluding remarks is that “Present-day atmospheric burdens of these two important greenhouse gases [carbon dioxide and methane] seem to have been unprecedented during the past 420,000 years.” Would you please elaborate on the implications of this statement?

    A: With industrial development and anthropologic activity, massive burning of fossil carbon as well as intensification of agriculture released exponential amounts of CO2 and CH4 over the last 150 years. Present atmospheric composition well surpasses all maximum concentrations from the ice records over the last 420 kyrs (30% more CO2, 300% more CH4).

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Apr 2009 @ 12:02 AM

  512. Re: #507

    Philip,

    There is currently no plan which has any hope of working. There is no geo-engineering solution in place, there is no viable CCS technology, and there is no political will to halt CO2 emissions in any near-term time frame. And you will never get the political will as long as the cost remains prohibitive. One may argue that the cost of fossil fuel is artificially low because it does not tax carbon in relation to carbon’s effect on climate. How has that argument been selling?

    I’d like to know if anybody actually believes we will emit less CO2 into the atmosphere in 10 years than we do today. Then remember that the goal is to emit less carbon in 10 years than we did in 1990. Then remember that developing nations are insisting on even deeper cuts.

    Does anybody believe that will happen?

    CO2 is going to continue to enter the atmosphere. We are probably already past the ice-stability tipping point, and we surely will be before CO2 emissions stabilize. So, who wants to explain to me why that is still the grand strategy?

    “But Walt,” you say in response, “surely if the amount we have up there now is BAD, then more of it will be WORSE.”

    Yes, of course. But the real question is, so what? Once the ice sheets are destabilized, we are in for a rough ride no matter how much warmer it gets. Does anybody want to assure me that it is worth the cost to prevent the planet from warming even more, once we pass that point? Does anybody want to assure me that we wouldn’t be better off investing those resources in strategies which will allow us to adapt to the changes that are “already in the pipeline”?

    What I continue to not understand is how anybody with a firm grasp of the science can go to sleep at night, sure in the belief that, if we can only get a meaningful climate treaty, we will save the planet.

    a) Such a thing is still a long way off;

    b) It’s probably already too late;

    c) We will need to adapt to climate change; we already need to do so;

    d) Mitigation strategies must of course include reducing CO2 emissions, but it is politically infeasible to reduce them drastically in the near term, therefore OTHER mitigation strategies will also be needed, and some amount of public resources must be invested in those areas as well.

    That’s my case.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Apr 2009 @ 1:33 AM

  513. Re: #500

    Sid,

    What if #3 is actually true?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Apr 2009 @ 1:39 AM

  514. Timothy @ 506

    American *liberal* free market

    Oscar Wilde once talked about (America, England) “Two nations devided by a common language”.

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 12 Apr 2009 @ 3:00 AM

  515. “Once the ice sheets are destabilized, we are in for a rough ride no matter how much warmer it gets. Does anybody want to assure me that it is worth the cost to prevent the planet from warming even more, once we pass that point?” – Walt Bennett

    Yes. The greater and more rapid the temperature increase, the greater the chances that disastrous events will be triggered. To give one example of each:
    1) If temperatures rise high enough, reduction in the temperature equator-pole gradient could slow ocean currents enough to render much of the deep sea anoxic, with resulting blooms of anaerobic bacteria, some of which produce large quantities of hydrogen sulphide.
    2) The faster the ice melts, the faster sea levels will rise. The faster sea levels rise, the harder it will be to relocate people and infrastructure in time.
    Similar points could be made with regard to shifting agriculture and/or producing new crop varieties to cope with changed conditions, the possible triggering of positive feedbacks such as the permafrost melting or release of methane from seabed clathrates, biodiversity loss, and so on pretty much ad infinitum. The more time we have before reaching each temperature, and the lower we can keep the maximum, the better chance we will have of avoiding complete disaster. This is so obvious, it strains credulity to believe you really can’t see it. Then of course there is ocean acidification, always ignored by denialists and – oh, what a coincidence – by Walt Bennett.

    “Does anybody want to assure me that we wouldn’t be better off investing those resources in strategies which will allow us to adapt to the changes that are “already in the pipeline”?” – Walt Bennett

    Mitigation and adaptation are, of course, both essential. I know of no advocate of reducing emissions arguing the contrary. You have been arguing strenuously that it is politically impossible to get emissions reductions (while of course doing your best to ensure that this remains so). What makes you think putting resources into adaptation to what is “in the pipeline”, i.e. hasn’t happened yet, is going to be any easier? Particularly if those arguing for it are also saying “but we’re going to let the problem get worse without any serious attempt to stop it or even slow it down”. How is that line “selling”? Who have you managed to convince? Not the denialists. Not those here who accept the scientific evidence. Who, other than yourself?

    “Mitigation strategies must of course include reducing CO2 emissions”
    And yet you’ve been arguing strenuously against any attempt to do so. Maybe you should get your “case” straight before accusing others of insularity, failure to understand you, etc. etc.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 12 Apr 2009 @ 3:39 AM

  516. “What I continue to not understand is how anybody with a firm grasp of the science can go to sleep at night, sure in the belief that, if we can only get a meaningful climate treaty, we will save the planet.”
    - Walt Bennett

    Can you actually point to an example of anyone saying that? Do you understand the difference between a necessary and a sufficient condition?

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 12 Apr 2009 @ 3:48 AM

  517. walt #513

    Re: #500

    Sid,

    What if #3 is actually true?

    It will never be finally true. There’s always worse to come. Such is the logic of exponentiality. If you thought three degrees was bad — consider six degrees. And if you thought six degrees was bad… no, forget that. Then we’re heading for civilization collapse, another logic of exponentiality. Then you are definitely, finally correct. But then we won’t need adaptation either.

    BTW how are you going to convince folks reluctant to invest in mitigation, to put money on the table for adaptation? Shouldn’t they first be made to see that there is a problem? Once you succeed in that, there will be money for both (and both are needed, cf. IPCC). Yes, it is frustratingly hard, but it’s the only way. The earlier we succeed, the smaller the damage. Defeatists like you should just get out of the way.

    To me (who thought these things through already in the 1970′s) your thinking on this appears very, very muddled.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 12 Apr 2009 @ 4:02 AM

  518. “Uh, dude, you do realize that you are arguing FOR strong feedback here, right? And that strong feedback means MORE WARMING per doubling of CO2, right? Sure you want to go down that road?”

    Ray, you’re labouring under the misapprehension that Allan Millar (we will not yet you go… sorry, got into a bit of a rhapsody there.) has a theory. He doesn’t. He merely wants people to believe scientists don’t know what’s going on.

    Anything that says “scientists do not know what’s going on” is sufficient. For those who are credulous, this is all that is needed.

    Comment by Mark — 12 Apr 2009 @ 5:11 AM

  519. Ray Ladbury #509
    Alan Millar says of explaining glacial-interglacial cycles in terms of Milankovich cycles: “Scientists, including Milankovitch himself, have been unable to square this particular circle as the estimated changes appear to be too small to have this effect directly.”

    Uh, dude, you do realize that you are arguing FOR strong feedback here, right? And that strong feedback means MORE WARMING per doubling of CO2, right? Sure you want to go down that road?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury”

    Well I agree that the Earth would seem to have to have a high sensitivity to some climatic factor to cause sufficient warming to bring it out of glaciation.

    However, due to the recorded time lag in its changes it is clearly not CO2 as this is not involved in this process whatever its role is later in the interglacial.

    Perhaps the Earth is more sensitive to changes in Solar influx than is currently postulated or modeled.

    Anyway I am waiting for that recognised (by himself at least) expert Mr John P. Reisman to solve the mystery.

    Alan

    Comment by Alan Millar — 12 Apr 2009 @ 5:32 AM

  520. Walt Bennett writes:

    I did catch where Bart wrote that emissions reduction is the only thing that will work.

    If he believes that, he represents exactly the delusion of which I speak.

    The problem is carbon emissions. The way to start to fix the problem is to reduce carbon emissions. What don’t you understand there?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 12 Apr 2009 @ 5:52 AM

  521. Alan,

    The Milankovic cycle effects due to redistribution of sunlight over the Earth’s surface are not enough to cause the swings of the ice ages, but they work if you amplify them with carbon dioxide feedback.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 12 Apr 2009 @ 5:58 AM

  522. Alan, you’re reposting stuff from the Western Fuels lobbying scripts.

    Either you haven’t read the responses to others who’ve done the same or you’re doing what Mark suggests, repeating anything suggesting uncertainty — without noticing that half the uncertainty points to higher climate sensitivity.

    “Perhaps” isn’t scientific argument, it’s just the next one on the list.

    You don’t need to go through the whole list — it’s recreational typing to echo it: http://www.grist.org/article/series/skeptics

    Ok, you like “writing” but don’t like reading about climate.

    Would you watch a little movie?
    http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/NorthH264.mp4

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Apr 2009 @ 10:26 AM

  523. Re: Nick and Bart,

    You want to talk about “necessary”. I am talking about possible, about feasible. I am trying to have the exact same conversation you are: how to “save the planet” (defined as, keep it looking much the way it has for the last 10,000 years).

    The problem as I see it is that your ideas will not accomplish that, and I have patiently explained why (read the 3 posts at my blog for a better understanding).

    I think the real problem is that too many AGWers are wedded to emissions reduction, and if they imagine backing off of that, they start worrying about being seen as denialist tools because of the state of the rhetoric these days.

    We have a theory; we have a lot of ancillary science which informs theory to some extent, possibly not to the extent we may think; and we have solutions proposals based on the first two items.

    Now all we need is a rational discussion of where we’re at with those things.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 12 Apr 2009 @ 10:42 AM

  524. #505 Alan Millar

    Alan, I am not an expert, I am not a scientist. I’m going to make an arrogant assumption about you. You are intentionally (though possibly unintentionally due to naiveté) attempting to build a straw-man in this post. You want me to say I don’t know what specifically the exact precise forcings were in the early holocene without using any hypothesis. I can assure you I was not present during the early Holocene, there fore I can not answer your question.

    As with many denialists, you would then take my answer and say all the scientists are wrong because John P. Reisman was not present in the early Holocene to make precise satellite measurements to deduce the forcings of the time.

    Your statements:

    I am interested in what climatic factors stopped the rise in the Earths temperature much earlier in the Holocene, … I would then like to know what drove the temperatures down and then drove them back up again.

    Please don’t refer to me various hypothesis. As you have a good view of the settled science I would be grateful if you could be specific as to all the significant feedbacks and give a good estimate of the strength of their forcing effects as clearly atmospheric CO2 is not involved.

    Certainly natural variation is at play within the earth climate system and possibly external forces as in solar or x-factor.

    I take it your a we don’t know what we don’t know kinda guy so you can not be satisfied due to your religious beliefs about the unsettled science.

    It is rather clear your are most likely getting your confirmation bias from junk science web sites.

    Junk science is bad for your health. If you eat too much of it you will get fat headed with junk.

    In general, instead of studying junk science arguments, study science arguments and consider the ‘known’ and ‘reasonably understood’ contexts.

    So for clarity, I can’t answer your questions with the specificity you desire, because I was not there, and even if I had been there, I don’t know if I could have explained it with cave paintings. There are likely some scientists studying the forcings in that period, try google scholar.

    Oh and stop building straw man arguments, they burn down to easily.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 12 Apr 2009 @ 11:04 AM

  525. #519 Alan Millar

    Just study the Milankovitch cycles. Go here and then read a little,

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/milankovitch-cycles

    then scroll down to the bottom and check out the links from NASA/EO, IPSS/UCAR, NCDC/NOAA, etc.

    Do you really need your hand held, probably

    Try this, Go to the search box on realclmate and type in Milankovitch, then read a lot.

    You might like

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/the-lag-between-temp-and-co2/

    to help you understand Co2 lag

    and feel free tow wander around

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths

    where I do some short summaries on the subjects you seem to lack understanding in.

    If you spend too much time on junk science rather than with relevant science you are bound to end up with the somewhat odd you seem to be taking.

    - Do you believe in Richard Lindzen’s magic cloud albedo?

    - Do you believe that science really does not understand the forcing capacity of the various trace gases in our atmosphere at least pretty well.

    - Are you waiting for the magic science fairy to tell you who is more right or more wrong on these issues?

    Be reasonable and read the well reasoned science. There are some very knowledgeable people here scientists and non scientists alike. They don’t believe in magic when it comes to climate, they found there perspectives on evidence and models that adjust for errors. There is nothing perfect about it and it will never be perfect.

    here read this, it may help you get some perspective on what I am attempting to communicate

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/what-we-dont-know

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 12 Apr 2009 @ 11:07 AM

  526. “The problem as I see it is that your ideas will not accomplish that, and I have patiently explained why (read the 3 posts at my blog for a better understanding).” – Walt Bennett

    No, you have repeatedly asserted your claims; you have not justified them. In addition, you have not explained what forms of mitigation you favour, you have not explained how you will persuade people to spend money and effort on a strategy that leaves out the most obvious approach – viz, to reduce emissions, you have not answered any of the points made, and you have spouted paranoid rubbish about the left. I conclude that you’re not really interested in a rational discussion.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 12 Apr 2009 @ 12:42 PM

  527. #512 Walt says:”CO2 is going to continue to enter the atmosphere. We are probably already past the ice-stability tipping point, and we surely will be before CO2 emissions stabilize. So, who wants to explain to me why that is still the grand strategy?”

    Walt, there are factors other than ice shelves, and you must know it. How could you not? Do the words ‘coral reefs’ or ‘ocean acidification’ mean anything to you? What about the term ‘sea level rise’? The latter takes place not when shelf ice melts. This ice is already in the water, and won’t cause a rise. It’s the ice on the land masses of Greenland and West Antarctica that you seem to have ignored.

    In an earlier post you refer to a ‘power grab’ by the political left. Heaven forbid! The radical right who’ve occpied the White House for the past 8 years,and gave us two unwinnable wars and a depression,among other things, is what this nation really needs.(Not!)

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 12 Apr 2009 @ 6:34 PM

  528. This is in response to Alan Millar, comments 505 and 519

    Bipolarity and Antipodes, Part I of II

    Alan Millar wrote in 505:

    I am interested in what climatic factors stopped the rise in the Earths temperature much earlier in the Holocene, after they had reached higher levels than today, given the premise that the Earths response to increased temperature is to warm even further.

    Positive feedback does not necessarily mean runaway feedback. Lets say that you have an initial change which prior to feedback results in an increase in temperature of 1 °C. Now lets say that the initial feedback (prior to the feedback to the feedback) is 0.5 °C. And lets say that each subsequent feedback to the feedback before it is half its size. Then we will have a convergent series where the initial (k=0) increase in temperature was 1 °C, and at each subsequent step k, the “running total” increase in temperature is 2-2-k — which converges at 2°C once you have included all of the feedback, that is, where k→∞.
    *
    Alan Millar wrote in 505:

    I would then like to know what drove the temperatures down and then drove them back up again.

    What drove them down? Well, the earth emitted thermal radiation, cooled off like a hot iron. But somehow I suspect you knew that already.
    *
    Alan Millar wrote in 505:

    I attach a graph to show the problem.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Holocene_Temperature_Variations.png

    That particular chart?

    Well, I am no expert — simply someone who is willing to learn, even when it means setting aside my political leanings. However, I suspect part of the problem is resolution. It’s not like we can set thermometers to measure temperatures in different time periods. We have to rely upon natural thermometers in one form or another, and no matter what we choose, they won’t be evenly distributed through time or space. Likewise, there may be changes in ocean circulation, resulting in one region becoming cooler, another warmer. It is factors like that which probably explain the little wiggles. Certainly worth investigating, but wouldn’t you prefer to see the big picture?

    I mean, take a look at this bigger chart:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Carbon-dioxide-temperature-plot.svg

    Your chart goes only from present to 12,000 years before present. My chart, on the other hand, goes from the present to 650,000 years before present. It is more than fifty times the size of the smaller chart, so it gives you a very big picture. It includes more things, too. Which might be useful.
    *
    In any case, now that we have the big picture a far more interesting question — at least for me — springs to mind: Why did it take so long for the earth to cool down after the temperature initially goes up?

    … and like the big chart, this is a fairly big question.

    I mean look at it: there is definitely a pattern here. The temperature rises quite rapidly, perhaps taking only 10,000 years to go from the depths of an ice age to the peak of an interglacial, but then takes perhaps 110,000 years to fall back down to the depths of a glacial.

    With simple orbital variations one would expect the chart to show temperatures falling as quickly as they rise. But they don’t.

    Why not? The answer is of course feedback, but in this case “slow feedback.”

    For example, with warmer temperatures, it doesn’t take long for ice sheets to disappear, at least not on a geological time scale of say 10,000 years. But it does take quite a while for them to build back up. When they are in place, they reflect much of the sunlight back into space, before it has a chance to be absorbed, but once they melt due to higher temperatures, more sunlight is absorbed, resulting in still higher temperatures. Thus even once you remove the initial cause of the warming (e.g., increased solar irradiation due to the orbit of the earth changing the angle at which sunlight hits the current distribution of the continents), for a long time the earth will tend to remain warmer than it was prior to the initial increase in temperature, and it will only gradually cool down with the equally gradual process of ice sheet accumulation.

    Likewise, with warmer water, it doesn’t take long for the ocean to give up some of its carbon dioxide. Roughly on the order of 800 years, not long on geological scales. Warmer temperatures reduce the ocean’s ability to hold gases. But the ocean doesn’t warm up all at the same time. But by human standards it takes a while for the heat to become distributed throughout all the various layers, roughly on the order of 1,000 years. As it warms, it gives up its “fizz” like a can of warm soda (actually the carbon dioxide which it can no longer retain due to the increase in oceanic partial pressure of carbon dioxide), and once the carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere, it absorbs thermal radiation, reducing the rate at which the earth is able to radiate thermal radiation to space even as it receives radiation at the same rate as before the initial increase in temperature.

    Why?

    Because carbon dioxide is opaque to thermal radiation. While it absorbs thermal radiation from the surface, it radiates thermal radiation as a function of its own temperature — in all directions, much of which makes it back to the surface. Therefore it reduces the rate at which thermal radiation makes it to space.

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

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

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

    More carbon dioxide reduces the rate with which radiation will carries energy out of the climate system. Given that energy continues to enter the system at the same rate (or at least roughly so — since the early 1950s — if one omits the ups and downs of the solar cycle) but escapes the atmosphere at a reduced rate, the temperature of the climate system must rise until the temperature to the power of four (thermal emission of radiation in accordance with Planck’s law) rises enough to compensate for the increased opacity of the atmosphere to infrared radiation, and the rate at which energy leaves the system is equal to the rate at which energy enters the system.

    This basically follows from the conservation of energy. So in this case — what we predominantly see in the paleoclimate record — the increased solar insulation is the forcing, carbon dioxide the feedback — and we would not be able to explain the extent to which the temperature rose simply by means of the increased solar insulation alone. And we wouldn’t be able to explain the extent to which it rose and the length of time it took for it fall if we didn’t include both the slow feedback of the ice sheets and the slow feedback of carbon dioxide.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Apr 2009 @ 6:42 PM

  529. Gavin—-from the link you referred Dawn to:
    Going to the original doesn’t clarify much. The following quotes from the article mention all the back and forth about the bad data—and triumphantly report that it was corrected, and then everything started to match up—but it’s all very vague about exactly what was wrong with the XBTs, and how it was ‘fixed’—exactly how they fortuitously got rid of the apparent cooling.
    If such vague and emotive narratives on such breakthroughs are supposed to allay any suspicions that data and findings are being forced into a fit, then they don’t really work—it leaves the reader wondering why Willis could find it useful and necessary to mention what he said to his wife, and his own feelings on the mismatch, but not to mention just what was wrong with the XBTs, and how the correction was made, and whether there was any dissent to those methods.
    His explanation:
    ‘ “Basically, I used the sea level data as a bridge to the in situ [ocean-based] data,” explains Willis, comparing them to one another figuring out where they didn’t agree. “First, I identified some new Argo floats that were giving bad data; they were too cool compared to other sources of data during the time period. It wasn’t a large number of floats, but the data were bad enough, so that when I tossed them, most of the cooling went away. But there was still a little bit, so I kept digging and digging.’”
    The digging led him to the data from the expendable temperature sensors, the XBTs. A month before, Willis had seen a paper by Viktor Gouretski and Peter Koltermann that showed a comparison of XBT data collected over the past few decades to temperatures obtained in the same ocean areas by more accurate techniques, such as bottled water samples collected during research cruises. Compared to more accurate observations, the XBTs were too warm. The problem was more pronounced at some points in time than others.
    The Gouretski paper hadn’t rung any alarm bells right away, explains Willis, “because I knew from the earlier analysis that there was a big cooling signal in Argo all by itself. It was there even if I didn’t use the XBT data. That’s part of the reason that we thought it was real in the first place,” explains Willis.
    But when he factored the too-warm XBT measurements into his ocean warming time series, the last of the ocean cooling went away. Later, Willis teamed up with Susan Wijffels of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Organization (CSIRO) and other ocean scientists to diagnose the XBT problems in detail and come up with a way to correct them
    “So the new Argo data were too cold, and the older XBT data were too warm, and together, they made it seem like the ocean had cooled,” says Willis. The February evening he discovered the mistake, he says, is “burned into my memory.” He was supposed to fly to Colorado that weekend to give a talk on “ocean cooling” to prominent climate researchers. Instead, he’d be talking about how it was all a mistake.

    The first payoff for finding and fixing the XBT errors was that it allowed scientists to reconcile a stubborn and puzzling mismatch between climate model simulations of ocean warming for the past half century and observations. The second was that it helped explain why sea level rise between 1961-2003 was larger than scientists had previously been able to account for.
    On another part of the mismatch problem:

    ‘What wasn’t consistent was several large bumps in the graph of heat content over time.
    Smoothing the Bumps
    In mid-2008, however, a team of scientists led by Catia Domingues and John Church from Australia’s CSIRO, and Peter Gleckler, from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, revised long-term estimates of ocean warming based on the corrected XBT data. Since the revision, says Willis, the bumps in the graph have largely disappeared, which means the observations and the models are in much better agreement. “That makes everyone happier,” Willis says.’

    Comment by truth — 12 Apr 2009 @ 6:50 PM

  530. Bipolarity and Antipodes, Part II of II

    Alan Millar wrote in 505:

    I would also like you to explain to me what climatic factors drove a warming rise trend 75 times the current observed trend 12,000 years ago. Details attached.

    http://www.ethlife.ethz.ch/archive_articles/090216_Nature_dryas_haug/index_EN

    Ah, back to the smaller picture. Well, perhaps not that small.

    Those would be Dansgaard-Oeschger events, often preceded by Heinrich events. Scientifically speaking, they are very good reasons for not upsetting the climate system. Heinrich events are where ice sheets calved into vast armadas of icebergs from the Laurentide ice sheet which as they melted appear to have dumped sufficient cold, fresh water into the ocean to alter ocean circulation.

    “Currently,” places like the East Coast and Western Europe are kept warm by the Gulf Stream. Likewise, the Japanese Current flows past the Phillipines and warms much of the Pacific Northwest. Both bring warmer waters to what would otherwise be colder climates.

    But ocean circulation is “deeply” affected by deep water formation where the higher density of cold, saline water causes the water to sink, circulating water to the ocean’s depths. If you reduce ocean salinity where deep water formation has been taking taking place, it may cease to form there and end up forming elsewhere. And as a result, ocean circulation changes, and places that were warm before suddenly become cooler, and places that were cooler suddenly become warmer.

    And there are your Dansgaard-Oeschger events. Generally speaking, the evidence strongly points towards a bi-polarity (mentioned in the above link — consisting of a detailed comparison of ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica) where temperatures in Greenland would warm while temperatures in Antarctica would fall and vice versa. Quite unlike the current situation where both hemispheres are warming, and both Greenland and Antarctica are losing their glaciers. While the rate of warming during a Dansgaard-Oeschger event is certainly severe, it is localized, affecting the two hemispheres oppositely and a given hemisphere unevenly, and as such cannot be compared to global warming — where as far as the rate of extinctions are concerned there is no place to run.
    *
    Alan Millar wrote in 505:

    Please don’t refer to me various hypothesis. As you have a good view of the settled science I would be grateful if you could be specific as to all the significant feedbacks and give a good estimate of the strength of their forcing effects as clearly atmospheric CO2 is not involved.

    Very little regarding a Dansgaard-Oeschger event has anything to do with “forcing” — which is roughly defined as “the change in net irradiance at the tropopause, where ‘Net irradiance’ is the difference between the incoming radiation energy and the outgoing radiation energy in a given climate system and is thus measured in Watts per square meter.” Forcing represents a change in the rate of the net flow of energy across tropopause. On the other hand, a Dansgaard-Oeschger event represents the redistribution of heat within the climate system as the result of changes in deep water formation and consequent changes in ocean circulation.

    And yes, much of climate science is settled — at least in terms of the basics. Greenhouse gases absorb thermal radiation. We can measure it in terms of their spectra. We can observe it from space. Raising the temperature of the ocean will increase the rate of evaporation and the absolute humidity, roughly doubling the rate of evaporation and the level of absolute humidity for every 10°C. And large body of evidence points to a climate sensitivity of between 2-4.5°C. Mechanics, chemistry, gravitational theory, fluid dynamics, radiation transfer theory — these are all fairly well established sciences, and they form the foundation of climatology.
    *
    Alan Millar wrote in 505:

    If you are on a roll you can perhaps also finally explain and describe how the Milankovitch cycles causes the observed glaciation cycles. Scientists, including Milankovitch himself, have been unable to square this particular circle as the estimated changes appear to be too small to have this effect directly. No problem for you however sir I am sure.

    The initial forcing appears to have been the result of periodic changes in the orbit of the earth resulting in an increase or decrease in the amount radiation reaching the major landmasses — given their positions on the earth at the time and the tilt of the earth’s axis. The rest was feedback. Please see above.
    *
    Responding to Alan Millar’s 505, Ray Ladbury wrote in 509

    Uh, dude, you do realize that you are arguing FOR strong feedback here, right? And that strong feedback means MORE WARMING per doubling of CO2, right? Sure you want to go down that road?

    Responding to Ray Ladbury, Alan Millar writes in 519:

    Well I agree that the Earth would seem to have to have a high sensitivity to some climatic factor to cause sufficient warming to bring it out of glaciation.

    If you are speaking of climate sensitivity, it pretty much has to be the same regardless of the forcing. A forcing raises the temperature of the surface by means of radiation. Whether that radiation comes from the backradiation due to higher levels of carbon dioxide or from increased solar irradiance, to a first approximation, the climate system pretty much doesn’t care. The surface has to warm up until the rate at which energy leaves the top of the atmosphere is equal to the rate at which it enters the atmosphere.

    But there are some differences. “Fingerprints,” if you will.

    Increased solar irradiance would warm both the troposphere and the stratosphere. Increased opacity of the atmosphere to the earth’s longwave, thermal radiation will warm the troposphere but initially cool the stratosphere. We have witnessed a cooling of the stratosphere while the troposphere has warmed. The trends have been in opposite directions.

    Increased solar irradiance would warm the days more rapidly than the nights. Increased opacity of the atmosphere to the earth’s thermal radiation will warm the nights more than the days. We have witnessed the nights warming more rapidly than the days. Increased solar irradiance would warm the the tropics more rapidly than the higher latitudes. We have witnessed the opposite. And all three were predicted effects of enhanced global warming.
    *
    Alan Millar writes in 519:

    However, due to the recorded time lag in its changes it is clearly not CO2 as this is not involved in this process whatever its role is later in the interglacial.

    True — there has been a lag of perhaps 800 years — for the past 650,000 years — where temperature went up first, only to be followed by carbon dioxide some time later. But it hasn’t always been that way.

    Low isotope carbon excursions occured at the time that a supervolcano errupted in India, forming the Deccan Traps. From what we can tell, the flood basalt lava resulted in the release of methane from shallow water methane hydrates along the continental shelf. Carbon dioxide went up first, followed by temperature — resulting in Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum 55.8 million years ago and mass extinctions.

    But perhaps the best example is from 251 million years ago with the eruption of a siberian supervolcano. This raised the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to around 3000 ppm, driving up the temperatures, and the result was the greatest extinction found in the paleoclimate record, wiping out perhaps 96% of all marine species and 70% of all land species. In fact, by the time in was finished, the good majority of the biosphere had been converted to atmospheric carbon.

    This is what is known as the Permian-Triassic Extinction, but sometimes it will simply be referred to as the Great Dying. For a while the dominant life form on land appears to have been fungus. Even among surviving species, generally more than 99% of their populations were wiped out. The biosphere didn’t really begin to recover for several million years.
    *
    Alan Millar writes in 519:

    Perhaps the Earth is more sensitive to changes in Solar influx than is currently postulated or modeled.

    A high climate sensitivity to solar irradiation will almost certainly imply an equally high climate sensitivity to the carbon dioxide. Either way, there is an imbalance between radiation entering the atmosphere and radiation leaving the atmosphere — and when the imbalance is due to less radiation leaving the top of the atmosphere than is entering it, the only way that this can be corrected is for the surface to warm until it emits enough thermal radiation to compensate for the forcing. Moreover, but for the usual quasi-periodic solar cycle, solar irradiation has been flat since about 1950. This cannot explain the beginning of the modern era of global warming at about 1975. And it can’t explain the fingerprints of an enhanced greenhouse effect. (See above.)

    Like me, John Reisman is no expert. He is however someone who chose to learn despite his political leanings. He chose to out of his adherence to the principle that identification precedes evaluation — and the recognition of the often devastating consequences of doing otherwise.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Apr 2009 @ 6:58 PM

  531. Walt Bennett writes:

    You want to talk about “necessary”. I am talking about possible, about feasible.

    If emissions reduction is not possible, is not feasible, then WE’RE ALL SCREWED. Got it? We have to make it possible, because WE HAVE NOTHING ELSE. We have to start massively reducing fossil fuel use NOW. RIGHT NOW. If we aren’t emitting less CO2 than we are now ten years from now, we are in deep, deep feces.

    We are very close to tripping the geophysical feedbacks that will make global warming much, much worse than it already is, and it is already bad — ask the French, ask the Australians. Everyone on this blog is probably used to being able to walk into a store, if you have the money, and emerge with food — junk food, fast food, groceries. To eating in restaurants, at least once in a while. Do you understand that within your lifetime it may become next to impossible to do that any more? That news stands will no longer sell candy, McDonald’s will be out of business, and groceries will be rationed?

    That’s what we’re heading for if we don’t control global warming, and we can’t control global warming if we don’t reduce CO2 emissions. If you’re right and we can’t convince the population to support emission reductions, our civilization will be destroyed.

    I don’t want that to happen. I think it probably will happen, but I’m going to go down fighting, even though you and the rest of the go-on-burning-oil-and-coal-at-all-costs will very likely win.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 12 Apr 2009 @ 7:04 PM

  532. Walt Bennet (523) — Over on the “Spring” thread I have some comments pertaining to mitigating excess CO2 via biochar sequestration. You may wish to review these to discover the scale that would be required if we continue to burn fossil fuels at the current rates.

    Timothy Chase (528) — Regarding the cryrosphere transitions, hysteresis is sometimes invoked, as in Ray Pierrehumbert’s

    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/ClimateBook/ClimateBook.html

    Comment by David B. Benson — 12 Apr 2009 @ 7:40 PM

  533. Alan, the point is that you don’t seem to realize that your own example would seem to imply a higher CO2 sensitivity. Nobody has said CO2 is responsible for the onset of warming at the end of an ice age, nor even for the feedback. The changes in insolation also change albedo and eventually cause outgassing of CH4 and CO2, prolonging and intensifying the warming.

    Likewise, denialists who insist on a global medieval warm period do not seem to realize that they are also arguing for a more sensitive climate.

    When will you guys realize that ignorance is not your friend–hell, it’s not anybody’s friend. The known threats posed by climate change are daunting enough. If the scientists are right, we may just barely get by with only slightly more cost and effort than would be needed to transition from a petroleum-based economy. If they are wrong–and the odds favor their being wrong on the conservative side rather than the catastrophist–we could be utterly screwed.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say: Nice own-goal, dude!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Apr 2009 @ 7:46 PM

  534. Timothy Chase @ #528

    Thank you, Timothy, for your extensive response to my posts.
    I feel that your approach and attitude is to be applauded and should be what this site is all about.

    I will respond later as I am still recovering from the Masters golf and an excess of the ‘Good Stuff’!!!

    Cheers

    Alan

    Comment by Alan Millar — 12 Apr 2009 @ 8:06 PM

  535. ‘truth’, fill in the information in the article you read.
    Take the key words you want to learn more about;
    paste them into Google, and into Google Scholar.
    Compare and contrast what you get; lean toward the science:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=willis+XBT+cooling+data

    From the first page of hits on that from Google:

    In Situ Data and Ocean Heat Content Estimates
    File Format: Microsoft Powerpoint
    A correction to “recent cooling”. Ocean Heat Content from 2004 to 2006. From Willis et al., GRL, in prep. XBT data is biased warm. from Wijffels et al., …
    http://www.clivar.org/organization/gsop/synthesis/mit/talks/willis.ppt

    Ocean Cooling: A Science Lesson …
    When Willis removed the data from the bad floats most, but not all, of the cooling went away. Next he looked at the XBT data. It turned out that when one …
    http://www.celsias.com/article/ocean-cooling-science-lesson-denialistsdelayers/

    Jennifer Marohasy
    Nov 13, 2008 … Apologies to Josh Willis: Correcting Global Cooling (Part 3) … “The XBT data were not changed to fit the models. …
    jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2008/11/apologies-to-josh-willis-correcting-ocean-cooling-part-3/

    Look on further down to see the usual denial sites still repeating the claim Marohasy is apologizing for making.

    Then do the search in Google Scholar. Well, look at that–the first two hits are to “junkscience” and they have dozens and dozens of citations.

    Anyone at Google know the difference between junkscience and science?

    Hello?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Apr 2009 @ 10:04 PM

  536. David B. Benson wrote in 532:

    Timothy Chase (528) — Regarding the cryrosphere transitions, hysteresis is sometimes invoked, as in Ray Pierrehumbert’s

    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/ClimateBook/ClimateBook.html

    Hysteresis — Bi- or multi-stability? Seems like it would have to be the case.

    Stefan Rahmstorf has also looked into it in:

    Rahmstorf et al, (2005) Thermohaline circulation hysteresis: A model intercomparison, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol 32, L23605

    However, I find it interesting that there is apparently a 1,500 year quasi-cycle to the Dansgaard-Oeschger events. Reminds me of the quasi-periodic behavior of “The Chaotic Dripping Faucet.” Or the bi-state, quasi-cyclical behavior you find in various climate oscillations. Or the way that nearly evenly spaced storm fronts will sometimes sweep though one after another. Self-organization under far from equilibrium conditions, organization through space and time, or so it would seem.

    In any case I will check it out. Thank you for the suggestion.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Apr 2009 @ 10:31 PM

  537. Lawrence Brown Says (12 April 2009 at 6:34 PM):

    “The radical right who’ve occpied the White House for the past 8 years,and gave us two unwinnable wars…”

    Despite the temptation, I’ll avoid digressing into political subjects such as the difference between giving and receiving, and just point out that the concepts of basic arithmetic, such as the distinction between one and two, can help bring clarity to all sorts of discussions :-)

    Comment by James — 12 Apr 2009 @ 11:34 PM

  538. “The Early Eocene Arctic Ocean Basin was largely enclosed following uplift of the Greenland Mantle Plume, with elevated temperatures, evaporation and precipitation leading to increased runoff and the development of extensive surface freshwater layers. These were colonised in the earliest Middle Eocene by floating mats of the opportunistic freshwater fern Azolla, which persisted for up to 800,000 years as a series of repeated cyclical events. Modern Azolla is one of the fastest growing plants on the planet and draws down large quantities of carbon and nitrogen. Calculations of carbon drawdown combined with the large potential areas of Azolla development in the Arctic, plus the 800,000 year time frame indicate levels of CO2 sequestration that are easily sufficient to shift the world from Mesozoic-to-Early Eocene greenhouse towards the modern icehouse world.
    The model also indicates the deposition of potentially widespread petroleum source rocks across the Arctic due to the massive carbon drawdown.”
    Dr. Jonathan Bujak, presentation at the Houston Geological Society North American & International Joint Dinner Meeting Monday 28-Apr-08
    http://www.hgs.org/en/cev/?838

    “This year, ice older than two years accounted for less than 10% of the (Arctic Ocean) ice cover at the end of February. From 1981 through 2000, such older ice made up an average of 30% of the total sea ice cover at this time of the year.” http://www.nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    I apologize for posting off topic (at least it’s about ice melting – some wags might say “polar opposite” &;;>) but I was wondering if some of those “widespread petroleum source rocks” might have contributed to larger methane hydrate reserves than are fully known in areas vulnerable to melting ice like the East Siberian Shelf? I’m sorta thinking that the Azolla blooms may have concentrated carbon into the arctic basin in forms that make it more vulnerable to warming today. It’s postulated that CO2 emitted by the Greenland Mantle Plume, heat from the plume that decomposed biogenic carbon sediments releasing more CO2, climate feedbacks shifted the balance of biospheric processes toward the release of more CO2, and methane hydrates that were decomposed by warming (climatologic or volcanic) caused the rapid spike in temperature at the PETM. (Beyond methane: Towards a theory for the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum John A. Higgins and Daniel P. Schrag Earth and Planetary Science Letters May 2006). Given that methane is a very potent GHG, if a small (~5%?) amount of the atmospheric CO2 from the PETM has been converted to methane and sequestered as hydrates in the arctic, we may be closer to a big tipping point than we know. Just a thought, with no evidence (or modeling) to support it.

    I have a picture in my mind of (surviving) Republicans at their 2080 convention sitting in the restaurant at the Halliburton/Exxon/Mobil Holiday Inn Tropical Resort and Drilling Platform in the Barrow Archipelago, Alaska, enjoying dwarf Angus steaks from the Cheney Ranch in the Yukon(“The oldest known fossils of most of the modern orders of mammals appear in a brief period during the Early Eocene. At the beginning of the Eocene … Dwarf forms reigned.” http://www.palaeos.org/Eocene), watching the sunlight highlighting the famous Arctic red tides (“Taken together these observations point to environment very similar to modern red tides, when wide distribution of dinoflagellates, including toxic ones, caused extremely unfavorable conditions for other organisms.” MICROFOSSIL AND SEDIMENTOLOGICAL CHANGES ACROSS THE PALEOCENE/EOCENE BOUNDARY IN THE NE PERI-TETHYS, E. Shcherbinina, Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 6, 01355, 2004) and saying to each other “We knew global warming wouldn’t be a disaster – too bad the India-Pakistan water wars went nuclear, though. Bet the Greens & Democrats try to pin that on us.”
    (“No sense of humor; no sense of irony; no sense of cuation; no sense of balance.” Really?)

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 13 Apr 2009 @ 1:32 AM

  539. #528 Timothy

    Well done. Good effort.

    In response to Allan’s question, “I am interested in what climatic factors stopped the rise in the Earth’s temperature much earlier in the Holocene” it is worth bearing in mind that levels of atmospheric CO2 during all of that time, and indeed during at least the previous 800,000 years (probably much longer), never exceeded 300ppmv. During the depths of glaciations levels were as low as 180ppmv.

    CO2 is currently c.387ppmv. Hansen (Target CO2) recommends a level of 350ppmv, but no-one is suggesting that we need to get it below 300ppmv because no-one considers that the kind of runaway warming to which Allan appears to allude will occur with CO2 at that level.
    In other words, increases in CO2 during warmer periods (from 180 to nearly 300ppmv) in the previous 800,000 years were enough to augment warming somewhat, but never high enough to constitute a risk of runaway warming.

    Comment by Slioch — 13 Apr 2009 @ 1:52 AM

  540. David B. Benson Says:

    It seems that the two bottle experiment is demonstrating some else in part; optical/IR properties of glass. There are two comments with links on this thread to better (but more complex) setups which come quite a bit closer to actual atmospheric properties.

    Yes, I saw those. They are indeed more complex to set up (and probably beyond the capabilities of most middle school science classes!), but they still seem to come down to “see what happens when light shines on CO2 in a bottle”. If that is a valid analog of how GHGs affect atmospheric temperatures, then it seems to me that the original, very simple experiment must be generally illustrative, if not something that one could use to make numeric estimates. You could conclude “The CO2 gets hotter,” but not “The CO2 gets N times hotter.”

    Comment by Chris Dunford — 13 Apr 2009 @ 6:20 AM

  541. Anyone here want to talk about Wilkin’s Shelf. Has there ever been a study in the area measuring the glacial flow rate vs the calving rate? Anyone have any data on the ice sheets feeding it?

    Comment by Eric — 13 Apr 2009 @ 8:47 AM

  542. There are new images up for the 11th and 12th.

    http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMYBBSTGOF_index_0.html

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 13 Apr 2009 @ 10:03 AM

  543. Chris Dunford Says:
    13 April 2009 at 6:20 AM
    David B. Benson Says:

    “It seems that the two bottle experiment is demonstrating some else in part; optical/IR properties of glass. There are two comments with links on this thread to better (but more complex) setups which come quite a bit closer to actual atmospheric properties.”

    Yes, I saw those. They are indeed more complex to set up (and probably beyond the capabilities of most middle school science classes!), but they still seem to come down to “see what happens when light shines on CO2 in a bottle”. If that is a valid analog of how GHGs affect atmospheric temperatures, then it seems to me that the original, very simple experiment must be generally illustrative, if not something that one could use to make numeric estimates. You could conclude “The CO2 gets hotter,” but not “The CO2 gets N times hotter.”

    The trouble is that these high school experiments all work in the visible and near IR which is not the GH effect. To do it properly you need a container transparent to IR out to ~20μm, i.e. Irtran and do it at night, no longer a HS expt. (expensive).

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 13 Apr 2009 @ 10:11 AM

  544. “The trouble is that these high school experiments all work in the visible and near IR which is not the GH effect. To do it properly you need a container transparent to IR out to ~20μm, i.e. Irtran and do it at night, no longer a HS expt. (expensive).”

    It does, however, prove the greenhouse effect.

    In much the same way as rolling a log proves both rotational inertia and classical newtonian laws of motion.

    Then you can discuss why that near IR is causing it.

    It is merely then an obvious result that any other part of the spectrum will elicit the same response under similar conditions.

    Rather like mathematical proofs prove that function F holds for one value of x, therefore it holds for all values of x.

    Comment by Mark — 13 Apr 2009 @ 10:56 AM

  545. To whom it my concern, look at the daily bases photos for Wilkins, you can see the last few days, the day it broke and how it is happening.

    http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMWZS5DHNF_index_0.html

    Comment by Felipe — 13 Apr 2009 @ 12:35 PM

  546. Re: #531

    Bart, we should probably move this to the Spring thread, but let me just say I love your passion, truly. Going down fighting is a succinct way to put it.

    Let’s assume your pessimism is justified. My point is, don’t be afraid to stare at that reality, because that’s your rational mind at work. You are almost certainly correct: emissions reduction is a failed strategy for preserving ice sheet stability.

    Just take that one next step: where does that leave us? As you put it, “in deep feces”. So what do we do about it? Start digging.

    We must have other, better solutions than the ones we have today. We must have recognition of this at the highest levels of government, because they control the priorities and the purse strings.

    You with me on that?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 Apr 2009 @ 1:03 PM

  547. P.S.

    I’m starting to feel a little like Henry Fonda in “Twelve Angry Men”.

    :-)

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 13 Apr 2009 @ 1:06 PM

  548. @541

    Eric said -in a delightflly short post:

    “Anyone here want to talk about Wilkin’s Shelf. Has there ever been a study in the area measuring the glacial flow rate vs the calving rate? Anyone have any data on the ice sheets feeding it?”

    (I’m as happy as anyone else to go off topic) but the question in my pea-sized non-scientist brain come back to the basic ones:

    1. Is the split-off of the Wilkins Ice Shelf something that is expected of ice shelves, or this particular one, at this moment in time in view of past behviour?

    2. Or is it something that is unexpected?

    3. And if unexpected, what does this tell us about (A)GW, or is it to do with something else?

    4. If it is to do with (A)GW, then how do scientists reject the other plausible reasons?

    5. And as a layman, how would I write about the Wilkins split-off as evidence of (A)GW in a 400 word letter to a local/regional newspaper? (Or is the word count too short for something of such complexity?)

    Theo H

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 13 Apr 2009 @ 1:42 PM

  549. Right now, 120 environmental acivists have been arrested in Nottingham, UK.

    It seems like they wanted to close down a coal-fired power station.

    I think this will bring a lot of media attention to the Wilkins Ice Shelf as their defence in UK law will be – roughly – “one can commit a minor offence to stop a disaster or major offence”. So, eg, one can smash the window of a building (“criminal damage” in UK law) to enter it to, say, stop a murder. So Wilkins Ice Shelf is evidence of the greater problem than, criminally, closing a power station.

    Theo H

    (And it’s not your usual “rent-a-mob activists on welfare” – today is a public holiday in the UK)

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 13 Apr 2009 @ 1:59 PM

  550. Jsmes you say in part: “I’ll avoid digressing into political subjects such as the difference between giving and receiving..”

    Harry Truman had a sign on his desk, that said-”The buck stops here.” Where does it stop during Junior’s watch? I hope not with me- I had nothing to do with the preemptive strike on Iraq. :>)

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 13 Apr 2009 @ 3:51 PM

  551. Lawrence Brown Says (13 April 2009 at 3:51 PM):

    “I had nothing to do with the preemptive strike on Iraq. :>)”

    I’m trying really hard to avoid getting further into politics, so I would just suggest investing in a dictionary & some English lessons in addition to the ones in the fundamentals of arithmetic. Then you can look up the meaning of the word “preemptive”.

    Comment by James — 13 Apr 2009 @ 5:25 PM

  552. “5. And as a layman, how would I write about the Wilkins split-off as evidence of (A)GW in a 400 word letter to a local/regional newspaper? (Or is the word count too short for something of such complexity?)”

    When you lose one ice shelf, it can be considered an accident.

    When you lose 10, it’s carelessness.^W AGW.

    Comment by Mark — 13 Apr 2009 @ 6:10 PM

  553. “I’m starting to feel a little like Henry Fonda in “Twelve Angry Men”.”

    With the rather important difference that Henry Fonda’s character was asking for evidence. Here we’re asking you.

    Comment by Mark — 13 Apr 2009 @ 6:11 PM

  554. “so I would just suggest investing in a dictionary & some English lessons in addition to the ones in the fundamentals of arithmetic.”

    That’s a tall order,James. Rather than do that, I’m going to bask in ignorance and be grateful that science is taking the upper hand after the preeminence of dogma in our government over past two terms. It isn’t easy to leave ideology out of the picture, since the original post that I responded to was the use of a leftist takeover by an earlier poster.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 13 Apr 2009 @ 6:26 PM

  555. A note of appreciation to Gavin and many others on this site.

    Keeping up with the site’s multiple threads is difficult and time consuming, but worthwhile. I am a relatively uninformed ex-physicist who accepted the IPCC reports without much thought until two months ago. This site has informed me greatly on the controversies which still rage in some newspapers, the Rush Limbaugh travesty, and other anti-AGW sources. Lots of material here to write about for my Rico (Colorado) paper. And I am much better equipped to respond to colleagues and friends who have swallowed some of the anti-AGW garbage.

    I don’t have to be a “climate scientist expert” to understand that one side here has (almost) all the facts and the other side most of the rhetoric! I am encouraged to see that the facts seem to be winning!

    Again, appreciation.

    Burgy

    Comment by John Burgeson — 14 Apr 2009 @ 11:19 AM

  556. A question on the “Oregon Petition”.

    This is somewhat off topic, but the core of this discussion – Wilkins Ice Shelf – seems to now have run out of steam. So I feel it’s OK. (?Moderator)

    I’m in England. However, the petition is widely quoted here as evidence of no climate change.

    There is a lot on the web for and against the petition, but it is all about the second paragraph, that deals with climate change. I am aware of these arguments.

    However, the first paragraph is a rejection of the Kyoto Protocol – a petition to the US government not to sign up to Kyoto. This is the first part of the petition. I have not seen anything about this first paragraph. By being set first, can I assume that this is the intended core of the petition?

    Can I then reasonably assume that many of those who signed were perhaps more concerned with not signing up to Kyoto – rather than the second paragraph which was about no catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere? Were people, essentially, signing up to a political position rather than an environmental one?

    Theo H

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 14 Apr 2009 @ 1:47 PM

  557. Theo, the Oregon Petition is not very well-respected.

    Here is one view of the matter.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 14 Apr 2009 @ 2:36 PM

  558. Theo,

    The entire point of the Oregon Petition (much like the Inhofe 400 and others) is to create the impression of reasonable debate, and thus to delay action against climate change. To many people, the idea that 31,000 scientists disagree with something is quite impressive, regardless of who those signatories really were, or more importantly, if anything of scientific quality really backs them up. Really, it’s an appeal to American’s democratic sensibility.

    I have taken the time to sample 60 names (choosing 54 of the alleged phD’s on the list) at this link, and in the process I have found no one with qualifications or a publication record in climate science. I have found intelligent design researchers, bridge designers, engineers, lots of medical people, smoke alarm makers, deceased people, geologists from world war 2, and many other things. From this, I cannot conclude that OISM represents any reasonable opposition to the consensus that is clearly laid out in the literature, in statements by the National Academies and other scientific organziations, etc.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 14 Apr 2009 @ 2:44 PM

  559. >> I’m starting to feel a little like Henry Fonda in “Twelve Angry Men”.

    More like Walter Brennan in “Support Your Local Sheriff”, where James Garner stymies him simply by putting his finger in the end of his six-gun.

    You’ve been shooting blanks (bald unsupported assertions) for some time now.

    Comment by Brian Brademeyer — 14 Apr 2009 @ 3:28 PM

  560. Theo, the Oregon petition is ***given*** as an example of evidence of no climate change.

    However, even if it were genuine, it would not be evidence of that, just evidence that 31,000 people didn’t think it was a problem.

    Heck, the monster raving loony party get more votes than that in election. Is this evidence that we’re all monster raving loonies? Or just that there are many people who will vote for them?

    And it isn’t genuine. All it is really showing is that something like 31,000 people will sign up to anything.

    Mind you, slashdot recently had a story about Ponzi schemes on YouTube getting over 500,000,000 hits. So getting 31,000 votes on this isn’t all that solid either.

    Comment by Mark — 14 Apr 2009 @ 3:38 PM

  561. @ Chris
    #558

    Thanks for the post, Chris. You have done some interesting work there. Certainly the hard evidence to demolish the petition. Fact, not supposition.

    And thanks to others too.

    But I still have a question.

    I guess in my earlier post I didn’t want to ask (in UK law, at least) what’s called a “leading question”.

    But I will ask it anyhow.

    Is the Oregon Petition designed and set up to get the “votes” of the right in US politics, and specifically, Republican “votes”? Especially as Kyoto would tie the US into international treaties – something your previous president seemed reluctant to do.

    Would Democrats and independents be likely to sign up to it?

    So is it a political document?

    Anyway, the petition comes up a lot in op-ed writing and letters to the (local) press in the UK. In letters to the press I think these are people who genuinely believe GW and/or AGW don’t exist. The petition is also being championed by _some_ of the more rightwing newspapers in the UK. In letters to the press, it is a regular appearance. That there are PhDs signing the petition impresses a lot of folks, mostly because they don’t understand how common they are and that having a PhD sometimes doesn’t mean much beyond a very narrow band of some very specific science. (My UK girlfriend did her post-doc stuff at Oregon State University; that meant I spent a lot of time in the Oregon as I was teaching in UK and had long holidays. Thus I know about the wacky sorts of folk who have institutes in remote red-neck towns, as does the OISM. But I love America, BTW).

    Sad fact is. The Oregon Petition is doing what, I assume, was expected of it, and it is commonly quoted in the UK. So for OISM, it’s a clear winner.

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 14 Apr 2009 @ 5:14 PM

  562. My brother is one of the 31,000 “scientists”. He is far right. When I try to discuss climatology with him, his canned response is “they just don’t know for sure”.

    And he does not qualify as a scientist. He is an engineer who helps design industrial complexes, where CO2 abatement might be considered unwanted overhead.

    I lurk here to read and learn. I’ve learned a lot. Keep it up.

    And I happen to live in Salem Oregon, and got my undergrad from Oregon State University. (Red neck country)

    Comment by Pete W — 14 Apr 2009 @ 11:19 PM

  563. #528 #530 Timothy Chase

    Thanks, that was a great read :)

    As far as Alan Millar saying I think I am an expert, as I have stated previously, I know the tiniest fraction of what is knowable (and probably even less). I’m just looking at the evidence that is scientifically well understood and trying to piece the picture together.

    That picture tells me we have huge challenges ahead of us that will strain our economy if we don’t diligently address it in rapid fashion.

    Thank you for your work on the early Holocene, I personally had not read much about it.

    Captcha: Winter recalling

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 15 Apr 2009 @ 12:08 PM

  564. We could lose ice from 100% of the glaciers on the planet instantly and see no change in sea levels. As long as it’s only the top 1mm. But that’s a change over 100% of the extent of the ice on this planet! All I have to do is not tell you about the 1mm depth bit and you’re told 100% of the ice is melted. Just don’t look at the detail.

    Comment by Bhutan Havayollari — 16 Apr 2009 @ 3:48 AM

  565. @Bhutan Havayollari 16 April 2009 at 3:48 AM

    But of course it’s not 1 mm, and its not instantly, but about 273mm every year, and it’s increasing.

    “How glaciers’ contribution to sea level is computed

    Global mass balance data are transformed to sea-level equivalent by first multiplying the ice thickness (meters) lost to melting by the density of ice (about 900 kilograms per cubic meter), to obtain a water equivalent thickness, and then multiplying by the surface area of these “small” glaciers (about 760,000 square kilometers). This provides an annual average mass balance of approximately -0.273 meters for the period 1961 to 2005.” http://nsidc.org/sotc/sea_level.html

    See also http://www.grid.unep.ch/glaciers/img/5-9.jpg

    So who’s “not telling” the details? The scientists, or the deniers?

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 16 Apr 2009 @ 10:22 AM

  566. Brian, I think Bhutan was saying that only saying half the situation, you can get whatever you want.

    Denialists use the small increase in water level as proof that the ice isn’t melting (and mention that glaciers are increasing in extent, again missing out “a very few” from that).

    cf the lack of a cooling signal in the upper troposphere. All you have to do is miss out that the errors in the measurement mean you cant tell if there’s a signal or not.

    At least that was what *I* meant when I said it.

    Comment by Mark — 16 Apr 2009 @ 12:22 PM

  567. I’m going to start posting this reference on a regular basis:

    Dunning-Kruger Effect

    “The Dunning-Kruger effect is an example of cognitive bias in which “people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it”. They therefore suffer an illusory superiority, rating their own ability as above average… “DK: 1) Incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill. 2) Incompetent individuals fail to recognize genuine skill in others. 3) Incompetent individuals fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy. 4) If they can be trained to substantially improve their own skill level, these individuals can recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill.” — Wikipedia

    link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning-Kruger_effect

    IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Point #4 is why we all keep doing this.

    cougar_w

    Comment by cougar_w — 16 Apr 2009 @ 1:55 PM

  568. Is there any data on how other Ice shelves are faring this year? Sea Ice extent is increasing rapidly. It seems counterintuitive that the shelves would continue to collapse while ice extent trends look like this.

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/s_plot_hires.png

    [Response: it's not counter-intuitive at all if you look at the spatial distribution of sea ice trends. On the west side of the peninsula sea ice is way down. - gavin]

    Comment by Eric — 17 Apr 2009 @ 7:48 AM

  569. I’ve been scanning the popular press for news reporting on the Wilkins Ice Shelf. Fox News online reprinted a fair Times of London article with a March picture showing the bridge intact.
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,512715,00.html

    There was a section at the bottom of the page –
    “PEOPLE WHO READ THIS…
    Also read these stories:

    Knights Templar Hid the Shroud of Turin, Vatican Says

    Scientists Race to Prevent ‘Catastrophic Disaster’ in Space
    (scientists race to stop space ‘catastrophe’, space junk invaders)

    Navy Chemist May Have Rediscovered ‘Cold Fusion’

    Giant ‘Hand’ Reaches Across Space
    (massive ‘hand’ reaches across space, hand of god?)

    An ‘Embarrassed’ Carrie Underwood Apologizes to Matthew McConaughey Over Sexual Reference in Acceptance Speech”

    Reality recapitulating a George Carlin “news” routine.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 17 Apr 2009 @ 1:45 PM

  570. Hank Roberts (#522): “Would you watch a little movie?”

    This is very worthwhile. I learned a lot from it. But — and this is just a nit — I would not call it a “little movie”, since it’s a slide show and lecture by Dr. Gerald North, which lasts an hour and five minutes.

    Comment by Chris Winter — 18 Apr 2009 @ 2:25 PM

  571. Eric wrote in 568:

    Is there any data on how other Ice shelves are faring this year? Sea Ice extent is increasing rapidly. It seems counterintuitive that the shelves would continue to collapse while ice extent trends look like this.

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/s_plot_hires.png

    Check 267,268 above. The first is a response by me to what was essentially the same question. The second is an update by Ike Solem.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 18 Apr 2009 @ 4:09 PM

  572. I love your website. I don’t know whether you’ve noticed but this weekend’s edition of The Australian newspaper goes to town with the denialist point of view, using the new book by geologist Ian Plimer – Heaven and Earth: Global Warming – The Missing Science. There is an interview with Plimer here http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25348271-11949,00.html and an article by Greg Roberts throws in Antarctic cooling here http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25349683-601,00.html. All the usual arguments but given the influence The Australian has in the educated Australian middle class it would be great if you offer a response, either letter or article.

    Comment by John Ransley — 18 Apr 2009 @ 7:58 PM

  573. John Ransley:

    given the influence The Australian has in the educated Australian middle class

    Whatever educated class of Australians The Australian influences, it’s certainly not those educated in science.

    Comment by Chris O'Neill — 18 Apr 2009 @ 9:19 PM

  574. Another qualitative view:

    End of the ice age process is just a demonstration of one type of tripping point.

    When melting of continental ice sheets in Eurasia and North America was complete, a marine based process became dominant in the Arctic. Arctic Ocean is a rather circular feature, limited by the 70th parallel.

    Another tripping point will be when the slowly expanding tropical belt meets West-African and NW Australian E-W oriented coasts. Marine based processes will be replaced by quite different continental ones.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 19 Apr 2009 @ 3:10 AM

  575. Johm Ransley. I did a very quick layman view of why the article should be treated with extreme skepticism in response to someone else’s post of the write-up about that book.

    It’s on another thread, but you should have mailed the site owners rather than plop it on a thread since the site owners can make sure that only one copy is made and only one thread to go to for it. What you did either means you don’t get a response or work has been doubled. Neither good news.

    Comment by Mark — 19 Apr 2009 @ 6:06 AM

  576. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25349683-601,00.html. All the usual arguments but given the influence The Australian has in the educated Australian middle class it would be great if you offer a response, either letter or article.

    What exactly is it that you disagree with in this article?

    Comment by John Finn — 19 Apr 2009 @ 6:14 AM

  577. # John Finn Says:
    19 April 2009 at 6:14 AM

    What exactly is it that you disagree with in this article?

    ++++++++++++++++++

    Well, the result doesn’t say that GW is wrong or reversing.

    (an aside: how is it that data on a fifteen shrinking ice sheets isn’t proof of AGW but one growing area is proof AGW is wrong?)

    Antartica isn’t the one station.

    Ice depth they are measuring is the one-year-old annual ice. This depends on the WEATHER of that season, not the climate the season is falling under.

    Thickening ice requires more moisture to be precipitated out. That only occurs when the air is warmer.

    And so on and so forth.

    Comment by Mark — 19 Apr 2009 @ 8:18 AM

  578. John Ransley:

    There is an interview with Plimer here http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25348271-11949,00.html and an article by Greg Roberts throws in Antarctic cooling here http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25349683-601,00.html. All the usual arguments but given the influence The Australian has in the educated Australian middle class it would be great if you offer a response, either letter or article.

    Harry Clarke covers the interview with Plimer.

    The second Australian article, Revealed: Antarctic ice growing, not shrinking, talks about sea ice, ice shelves, and ice sheets as if trends in one sort of ice automatically imply trends in other sorts of ice. The real world is not so simple.

    Extensive melting of Antarctic ice sheets would be required to raise sea levels substantially, and ice is melting in parts of west Antarctica.

    Some confusion here. Extensive melting of Antarctic ice sheets is not required to raise sea level substantially, as there is plenty of easier to melt ice in Greenland. Enough to raise global sea levels by about 6 meters.

    East Antarctica is four times the size of west Antarctica and parts of it are cooling.

    True, but cherry-picked. On the whole, over the long run, Antarctica is warming. (See also here .) But much more importantly – AGW will serious consequences even with no significant melting of the East Antarctic ice sheet, and very little melting of the West Antarctic ice sheets. In fact, there is already a continent in the southern hemisphere somewhere which is suffering severe long-term droughts, heat waves, and fire seasons, likely exaberated by AGW.

    Last week, federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett said experts predicted sea level rises of up to 6m from Antarctic melting by 2100, but the worst case scenario foreshadowed by the SCAR report was a 1.25m rise.

    I tried to google up the supposed comments by Peter Garrett. I tried several variations, and got nothing but the Australian article. Sea level rise of 6m by 2100 is extremely unlikely, whatever it’s source. If Garrett said what the Australian claims he said, he’s wrong. But given the Australian‘s history of misquoting people, I don’t think there’s any reason yet to believe them this time.

    Ice core drilling in the fast ice off Australia’s Davis Station in East Antarctica by the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-Operative Research Centre shows that last year, the ice had a maximum thickness of 1.89m, its densest in 10 years. The average thickness of the ice at Davis since the 1950s is 1.67m.

    A paper to be published soon by the British Antarctic Survey in the journal Geophysical Research Letters is expected to confirm that over the past 30 years, the area of sea ice around the continent has expanded.

    If the issue is that Antarctic sea ice is expanding (not a big surprise), why confuse the issue with so many paragraphs about ice shelves and ice sheets? Why choose a title that gathers together different sorts of ice in such a clueless fashion?

    Given the Australian‘s long record of pretending global warming is either not real, or good for everyone, I think they’re trying to portray the soon to be published BAS findings as a rejection of previous reports that the West Antarctic ice sheet is losing mass, of the recent collapse of the Wilikins ice shelf, and so on. But sea ice is far more subject to short-term variations than ice sheets or ice shelves.

    Interested folk may wish to keep an eye on Tim Lambert’s blog, deltoid . He has a long-running series called ‘The Australian’s War on Science’ which has addressed many grossly inaccurate Australian articles in the past.

    Comment by llewelly — 19 Apr 2009 @ 11:07 AM

  579. #568,

    “it’s not counter-intuitive at all if you look at the spatial distribution of sea ice trends. On the west side of the peninsula sea ice is way down. – gavin]”

    I’ve been mulling over a question lately, as to whether thinner ice is also incorporated in GCM’s??…

    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=3260093

    AS to whether they lack this feedback or not? Ice extent is one thing, thinner sea ice has an important heat component as well. With respect to Wilkins, and other ice shelves, it may be all about warmer air not so well factored……

    Comment by wayne davidson — 19 Apr 2009 @ 5:06 PM

  580. A response to llewelly, Part I of II:

    llewelly quoted a misleading article in the Australian:

    East Antarctica is four times the size of west Antarctica and parts of it are cooling.

    … then states in 578:

    True, but cherry-picked. On the whole, over the long run, Antarctica is warming. (See also here.)

    Even earlier data suggested that the “cooling” or “warming” is largely dependent upon the starting and ending dates as well as the season.

    In an earlier post I wrote:

    However, that said, it would appear that for the period from 1960 to 1998, winters have experienced a fairly strong warming across nearly the entire continent. A bit different from what you read in the Independent. Now this isn’t the trend for winter from 1950 to present, but it was the closest I could get on short notice.

    You can see it here:

    Antarctic temperature changes during the observational period
    project funded by the University Courses on Svalbard (UNIS) 2001-2005
    Ole Humlum, UNIS, Department of Geology, Svalbard, Norway
    http://www.unis.no/studies/geology/ag_204_more_info/ole/AntarcticTemperatureChanges.htm

    *
    llewelly wrote in 578:

    The second Australian article, Revealed: Antarctic ice growing, not shrinking, talks about sea ice, ice shelves, and ice sheets as if trends in one sort of ice automatically imply trends in other sorts of ice. The real world is not so simple.

    Agreed. As I pointed out in one post:

    Antarctica is losing ice — and it is now losing ice at roughly the same rate as Greenland.

    As for sea ice, it would appear that the increase in sea ice in Antarctica is occuring largely in one area. Quoting from another recent post of mine:

    It really is the darnedess thing…

    The growth rate in the Ross Sea is 4.8% per decade — which is by far more than anywhere else. The most after that is in the West Pacific Ocean at 1.2%. However, the growth rate in the Bellingshausen Sea is -5.3% — so the sea ice in that region is actually dropping.

    You can see it here:

    Regional changes in Arctic and Antarctic sea ice
    http://maps.grida.no/go/graphic/regional-changes-in-arctic-and-antarctic-sea-ice

    There I mention that a large part of the reason why we are seeing increased sea ice in the Ross Sea would appear to be due to increased fresh water from the melt taking place along the West Antarctic Peninsula. Ike Solem points out in the very next post that the warm maritime air is gradually moving south along the peninsula. And naturally enough, the melting follows with it. For example, the Larsen B disintegrated in 2002. That was 5°N of the Wilkins Ice Shelf. The ice bridge protecting the Wilkins Ice shelf disintegrated only a week or two ago. And only 5 °S of the Wilkins Ice Shelf the West Antarctic Peninsula ends and the main continent — as well as the West Antarctic Ice Sheet begins.

    Oddly enough, nearly the whole of the Southern Ocean would appear to be warming:

    Antarctic Temperature Trend, 1982-2004
    http://rst.gsfc.nasa.gov/Sect16/antarctic_temp-AVH1982-2004.jpg

    from:

    Evidence for Global Warming:
    Degradation of Earth’s Atmosphere; Temperature Rise; Glacial Melting and Sealevel Rise; Ozone Holes; Vegetation Response
    http://rst.gsfc.nasa.gov/Sect16/Sect16_2.html

    Moreover, the increase in sea ice in the past two or three decades is after dropping precipitiously in the earlier part of the Twentieth century. We still aren’t back to where we were during the early 1970s — and the decline prior to the 1970s appears to have been rather dramatic.

    Please see:

    Sea Ice, North and South, Then and Now
    October 8, 2007
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/10/08/sea-ice-north-and-south-then-and-now/

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 19 Apr 2009 @ 5:44 PM

  581. A Response to llewelly, Part II of II

    Increased fresh water results in the growth of more sea ice in atleast two different ways. First of all, fresh water freezes at a higher temperature than sea water. Secondly, fresh water is less dense than sea water — which leads to a stratification rather than overturning of water layers, insulating the surface from the warmer, saltier water below.

    This may prove problematic in terms of deep water formation.

    As I stated in an earlier post:

    But ocean circulation is “deeply” affected by deep water formation where the higher density of cold, saline water causes the water to sink, circulating water to the ocean’s depths. If you reduce ocean salinity where deep water formation has been taking taking place, it may cease to form there and end up forming elsewhere. And as a result, ocean circulation changes, and places that were warm before suddenly become cooler, and places that were cooler suddenly become warmer.

    The Arctic Ocean and Southern Ocean are where a great deal of deep water formation takes place. The Arctic Ocean is near Greenland — and may in the long-run be considerably affected by the melting taking place there. Likewise, the Southern Ocean will be strongly affected by the melting taking place in West Antarctica. Rapid climate change — with the shift in deep water formation and ocean currents — is a possibility, although perhaps not a great one in this century. However, since rapid warming is taking place in both hemispheres at once (unlike the Dansgaard-Oescher events), another possibility would seem to present itself: the breakdown of general ocean circulation. In any case, ocean circulation is changing along continental shelves in a way that is consistent with what models at least predict (due to the more rapid warming one continents than in the oceans as the result of oceans having greater thermal inertia) — already leading to giant algae blooms off the Oregon and more recently Washington coasts — and periodic, giant dead zones below due to conditions of anoxia.

    Furthermore, at least in the Arctic, if there is a reduction in the circulation of warm ocean water from the depths with colder surface water below, this will tend to reduce the oxygenation of the ocean as a whole. Moreover, at least in the Arctic regions it may put the shallow water methane hydrates which are known to exist (at least along the Siberian continental shelves) at greater risk. And since ocean productivity is largely a function of oxygen and the capacity to carry oxygen increases with colder temperatures, the Southern Ocean naturally enough has supported more life than in other parts of the ocean — and as methane is produced by organic decay, I would expect there to be sizable methane hydrate deposits along the shelves of Antarctica.
    *
    In any case, your post brings to mind another recent article — one that emphasizes the instability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet…

    According to this article, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has the ability to raise sea levels by five (rather than six) meters:

    Understanding how Antarctica’s ice responded to past climate swings will help us to predict how it will react as temperatures rise in the coming decades. The mighty ice sheet covering West Antarctica could unleash enough water to raise sea levels by 5 metres were it to melt.

    Driller thriller: Antarctica’s tumultuous past revealed
    13 April 2009 by Douglas Fox
    New Scientist article

    According to ice cores, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is much more unstable than people had thought:

    Andrill’s results reveal a breathtaking picture. They show how the West Antarctic ice sheet has collapsed and regrown at least 60 times in the past few million years. Andrill predicts that it could once again tip toward collapse by the year 2100.

    “There seems to be a lot more variability in the ice sheet than anyone pictured,” says Robert DeConto, a glaciologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “That’s what’s so exciting about this. But it’s also kind of scary.”

    It would appear that conservatively we are looking at a future in which the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is gone:

    Compare the climate conditions of the Pliocene with those predicted for the next few decades and the implications are unmistakable. “We know that CO2 was around 400 or 450 parts per million in the atmosphere, and there was no ice sheet on West Antarctica,” says Naish. “That’s where we’re almost at now. So it’s a really important window into what we’ll be facing in the next 100 years.”

    ibid.

    Conservatively, the rate at which this will take place is on the order of one to three millenia:

    According to the Andrill cores, each collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet happened over 1000 to 3000 years, seemingly placing any crisis far into the future. But even that slow collapse could translate into 10 to 50 centimetres of sea level rise per century. Combine that with increased ice loss from Greenland and the sea level could rise to 50 or 100 centimetres by 2100 – the same amount predicted by another group at a climate change conference in Copenhagen last month.

    ibid.

    However, nature may have some surprises in store for us:

    They’ll soon run their model into the future and they expect it to predict more rapid ice loss than previous models have. “I think that the numbers over the next 100 years or so are going to raise a few eyebrows,” DeConto warns.

    ibid.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 19 Apr 2009 @ 5:46 PM

  582. Timothy:
    A convenient way of tracking the sea surface temperatures is provided by the U.S. Navy map:
    https://www.fnmoc.navy.mil/ncoda_web/dynamic/ncoda_1440x721_global_anom.gif

    A particularly “hot” band running between southern tips of Australia, Africa and So. America has persisted for some considerable time, though it might presently be cooling somewhat.

    Also No. Atlantic might be cooling a little, at least in my opinion. At times one might suspect a splitting of the Golf Stream, a southern branch pointing towards Britain/France.

    These changes are rather slow.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 19 Apr 2009 @ 9:49 PM

  583. Thank you, Timothy. Some of your earlier comments I had missed and others I had forgotten.

    Comment by llewelly — 20 Apr 2009 @ 12:34 AM

  584. It seems once tipping points are reached ice melt and sea level rise may speed up considerably, not to say catastrophically, according to new research published in Nature. This research suggests about 2-3 meters of sea level rise in 50 years has occurred about 121.00 years ago:
    http://climateprogress.org/2009/04/15/nature-sea-level-rise-global-warming-reefs/

    How plausible is this, and would this be possible again later this century/the coming centuries?

    Comment by Lennart — 20 Apr 2009 @ 6:24 AM

  585. llewelly wrote in 583:

    Thank you, Timothy. Some of your earlier comments I had missed and others I had forgotten.

    Honestly, I wasn’t trying to turn my post into “Timmy’s Greatest Hits,” although I believe it may have come across that way. (In my view, that would be a fundamental mistake. I myself lean towards the belief that there is a selflessness to true self-actualization — since it is reality-centered rather than self-centered — as consciousness is primarily about something other than itself.)

    However, unlike when I am debating someone, I felt a little more comfortable just linking to some of my earlier posts when engaging in a little discussion, and I like to show how things are interconnected. So I link — and make available other earlier material of mine which I know will also have links.

    It is easier to link to my own material since I will better remember the content and even some of the words which I can search for — if I haven’t repeated those words too many times in my more recent posts. But if you have the time to look up posts by others (along the same topic as what you are currently posting on) rather than your own, there are fairly important benefits to doing this — and I sometimes made a point of it at DebunkCreation. And it takes more time — as you will tend to have a better memory of what you wrote as you actually went through the process of writing it. Everything else being equal, writing is a bit more intensive a process than reading — and as a result tends to form better memories. (Additionally, my response was too extemporaneous — and too disorganized.)
    *
    In any case, I have had a few more thoughts in the interim. First, the biological productivity of the ocean will obviously be more plant than animal — as biomass must necessarily be arranged in ascending order from carnivore to herbivore to plant. (In fact, if I remember correctly, carnivore to herbivore is typically on the order of 1 to 100. Something similar no doubt applies in the ratio of herbivore to plant biomass.)

    That being the case, the carbon dioxide suspended by the colder waters will be more important than the oxygen in terms of the generation of biomass and consequent decay into methane and the formation of methane hydrates. Second, one can easily point out to the public that warmer tropical waters are clearly less productive than polar water — because the water is much clearer in the tropics — assuming the topic comes up.

    Likewise, one can point out that the oceans will be less biologically productive as the ocean waters warm. However, as the result of the seasonal upwelling of ocean water and nutrients along the coasts due to the more rapid warming of land than water, algae at least will do better for a while. And rather than being carried out to sea, the algae will remain closer to the coasts where we will have the giant algae blooms and consequent seasonal organic decay when the blooms die for the year — which results in dead-zones as oxygen is used up by that decay.
    *
    Finally, there should be an important feedback due to ocean stratification in the polar regions, at least in the case of West Antarctica. With warmer ocean water below, there should be more melting near the base of the ice — and as such ice will tend to more easily be freed from the surface to which it is attached — at least in the case of ice shelves — and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet when it becomes vulnerable as its base is below sea level. And as more ice is set free, this will lead to more fresh water at the surface, and thus more stratification, further insulating the saltier, warmer ocean water below from the colder polar atmosphere above.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 20 Apr 2009 @ 11:11 AM

  586. Wilkins ice shelf collapse continued: And an other (small) part of the shelf into fragments. See website ESA, image 20 April, north-east of Latady Island.

    Comment by Johank — 20 Apr 2009 @ 12:20 PM

  587. PS to 585

    To llewelly — in any case, my apologies. My response to you was a little rushed and not as well thought out as it should have been. With the other things going on in my life I am sorry to say that I was a bit distracted.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 20 Apr 2009 @ 2:21 PM

  588. According to an article in the New Scientist, part of what is driving the warming along the West Antarctic Peninsula and cooling in the Ross Sea is the ozone hole:

    By running an atmospheric computer model with and without the ozone hole, Turner and his colleagues found that the depletion of the ozone has intensified the winds of the roaring forties and furious fifties. The net result has been to draw more warm air in from Chile – which has warmed the Antarctic peninsula and caused the collapse of several ice shelves – and generate stronger cool-air storms around the Ross Sea.
    *
    Captcha fortune cookie: have caveat

    Why Antarctic ice is growing despite global warming
    17:50 20 April 2009 by Catherine Brahic
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16988-why-antarctic-ice-is-growing-despite-global-warming.html

    However, the ozone hole is beginning to heal, and so presumably the trend in Southern Ocean sea ice growth should reverse itself in about ten years:

    “Over the next 50 to 100 years, the ozone hole will heal,” says Turner. “At the same time, greenhouse gases will rise. In next decade or so we should see sea ice plateauing and then decreasing massively if greenhouse gases continue to increase.”

    ibid.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 20 Apr 2009 @ 3:07 PM

  589. Um, problem here is that the photo being used dates to 2006 when the wilkins ice shelf collapsed, and it appears from satellite photos that it collapses regularly every year. So please explain how this years collapse is important.

    [Response: Every year it collapses a little more. The most recent change was the collapse of the bridge between Charcot Island and the rest of the shelf. This pretty much completes a process that has taken a couple of years to play out. - gavin]

    Comment by Mike Lorrey — 20 Apr 2009 @ 6:51 PM

  590. Somewhere it was mentioned above that this (or another) ice shelf had been in place for 10,000 years. I know from another part of this website of a glacier in the tropical Andes with ice that had been intact for 1000 or 1500 years that is now being disturbed by melting. I vaguely recall reading that Kilimanjaro has had some ice continuously for 10,000 years. I also remember some Arctic ice shelves (not sea ice) that had recently broken up.

    Is there a listing of the ages of various bodies of ice that are now or may soon be melting or disintegrating? (PS understanding that going back thousands of years, ice formation in the low latitudes will shift in latitude with the precession cycle).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 20 Apr 2009 @ 7:14 PM

  591. Patrick 027 wrote in 590:

    Somewhere it was mentioned above that this (or another) ice shelf had been in place for 10,000 years….

    Is there a listing of the ages of various bodies of ice that are now or may soon be melting or disintegrating?

    I don’t have the list you are seeking. However, the Larsen B had existed for 10,000 years.

    Please see:

    Using sediment core and oxygen isotope analysis, researchers have recently proved that Larsen B — which disintegrated in 35 days in 2002 — had been a stable ice shelf 200 metres thick with a surface area of 3,250 square kilometres for at least 10,000 years. By contrast the Larsen A Ice Shelf, which broke up in the 1990s, was absent for a significant part of that period and reformed beginning about 4,000 years ago, according to the study.

    Ice shelf disintegration threatens environment, Queen’s study
    Public release date: 3-Aug-2005
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-08/qu-isd080305.php

    The Wilkins Ice Shelf is old…

    In an article at the BBC, it states:

    Professor David Vaughan is a glaciologist with the British Antarctic Survey who planted a GPS tracker on the ice bridge in January to monitor its movement.
    He said the breaking of the bridge had been expected for some weeks and much of the ice shelf behind was likely to follow.

    “We know that [the Wilkins Ice Shelf] has been completely or very stable since the 1930s and then it started to retreat in the late 1990s. But we suspect that it’s been stable for a very much longer period than that,” he told BBC News.

    “The fact that it’s retreating and now has lost connection with one of its islands is really a strong indication that the warming on the Antarctic is having an effect on yet another ice shelf.”

    Page last updated at 07:13 GMT, Sunday, 5 April 2009 08:13 UK
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7984054.stm

    .. but not any where near as old and appears to have been less stable in the past:

    But the Wilkins Ice Shelf is a different breed in the way it forms, explains Dr. Vaughan.

    Although it’s been stable for as long as scientists have been able to reach the continent and study it, the shelf scientists see crumbling today appears to have formed either between the Roman era and the Medieval Warm Period or with the onset of the Little Ice Age. Indeed, he adds, “it’s kind of a come-and-go ice shelf” compared with the other vanishing shelves, which have been stable far longer.

    Scientists say the breakup is a harbinger of what’s to come if the region continues warming
    By Peter N. Spotts | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
    posted March 28, 2008 at 4:30 p.m. EDT
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0328/p25s10-wogi.htm

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 20 Apr 2009 @ 10:24 PM

  592. What is the current state of the Wilkins platform?

    [Response: Here, - gavin]

    Comment by Nylo — 21 Apr 2009 @ 3:01 AM

  593. (And when will “collapse” finally mean “detatch from the continent and melt”, as it is suggested every time these news are around?)

    Comment by Nylo — 21 Apr 2009 @ 3:04 AM

  594. “And when will “collapse” finally mean “detatch from the continent and melt”, as it is suggested every time these news are around?”

    When it detatches from the continent.

    Which happens to the end of a glacier all the time.

    Or do you mean “the entire shelf” well, again, that ice is being replaced, so what was the end that was detatching is now half way down and the end that was the head of the shelf is no longer the same bit.

    Comment by Mark — 21 Apr 2009 @ 3:51 AM

  595. Mark: #594

    http://nsidc.org/data/iceshelves_images/wilkins.html

    Choose Wilkins MODIS Images from various times over the past seven years or so. You may have to adjust the zoom level in your browser.

    I’m no expert but it doesn’t look to me like the routine calving off the end of a glacier, if only because it’s not a glacier. The whole thing appears to be disintegrating in quite a spectacular fashion.

    (My apologies if this is a repeat – software issues.)

    Comment by Garry S-J — 21 Apr 2009 @ 5:15 AM

  596. I was explaining how “when will “collapse” finally mean “detatch from the continent and melt”, as it is suggested every time these news are around?” was a silly bleegind question to ask, since you have to define what is meant by several of those terms.

    And it even depends on what the ASKER means by “detatch from the continent and melt”, since what bit detatching will not constitute what the OP was complaining about having been talked about before.

    The incredibly bad wording is partly because we have poor definitions.

    Again showing that the OP had a bad request.

    Comment by Mark — 21 Apr 2009 @ 9:45 AM

  597. Re 591 – Thanks

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 21 Apr 2009 @ 10:50 PM

  598. Spectacular disintegration continues.

    Comment by Gareth — 22 Apr 2009 @ 5:41 AM

  599. Can A boundary layer meteorology expert explain what happens whit to the air (in winter and summer) immediately above
    the ice when the it is thinner? Or when there is no ice as with Wilkins case, compared to when there was some very thick ice?

    Comment by wayne davidson — 22 Apr 2009 @ 9:44 AM

  600. #599- To continue why I ask, I’ve noticed an increase in same date NIR satellite warm ice signatures around Greenland’s glacier walls, from the 80′s when it was sharp white (very cold) to now, much more grayish (warmer)), this may be happen as well around the Wilkin’s Glacier. We all know that Greenland’s glacier’s are calving more and more faster. If there is a model simulation of warmer air profiles, due to thinner or no ice, next to glaciers, it would be interesting to see the difference in profiles, as also a means to explain direct warmer air impact.

    Some of My most recent sun disk observations are a bit complicated by the advent of thinner sea ice, which appears to have increased the number of micro-inversion layers near the horizon (Alastair should be interested!), from what I gather, the lower atmosphere radically changes in colder air when there is an extra influx of thermal IR from thinner ice. Looking at model profiles would help understand these changes, the key issue being inversion heights with respect to the astronomical horizon, earlier sunsets seems to indicate that inversion heights are rising (model confirmation???). And the smaller isothermal layers within, infer a complicated interchange of heat. What I am seeing is a cross between summer temperate zone sunsets, and real cold ones, they are so complex as to baffle. There seems to be reason behind this madness.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 25 Apr 2009 @ 1:16 PM

  601. Today The Independent (UK) informs that a piece of ice the size of New York has collapsed. However it also informs that (I copy literally) “The loss of ice shelves does not raise sea levels significantly because the ice is floating and already mostly submerged by the ocean”. Is this true? I never heard of it before. It also warns that there is a risk of sea-level rise anyway because “their loss will allow ice sheets on land to move faster, adding extra water to the seas”. However the Wilkins is not a glacier-fed ice shelf. How much and how fast would that effect be felt?

    [Response: The almost negligible impact of floating ice shelf collapse on sea level is well known (the only reason it is not zero is because of the fact that the ice is fresh and the sea water it displaces is salty). However, the acceleration of the upstream glaciers after a collapse has only recently been observed and happens relatively quickly. After Larsen-B collapsed, the feeding glaciers sped up by about 400% (see here). But why do you think the Wilkins ice shelf doesn't come from a land based glacier? It definitely does - you just don't get that thickness of ice from in-situ formation. Here is an old (pre-collapse) image showing the upstream glaciers on Alexander Is. - gavin]

    Comment by Nylo — 28 Apr 2009 @ 11:45 AM

  602. Gavin, about what leads me to think that it is not glacier-fed, look at this paragraph from http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/WilkinsIceSheet (it’s a NASA site, I separated parts of the link on purpose for it to pass posible spam filters, you only need to join them):

    “The Larsen Ice Shelf is “typical” in that it is primarily fed by a land-based glacier. The Wilkins Ice Shelf is somewhat unusual in that only the southern end of the shelf appears to be fed by land-based ice; the rest of the shelf may have formed from accumulation of sea ice that held fast to the coastline through many seasons, as well as snow cover. Glaciologists estimate that the part of the Wilkins Ice Shelf that formed from sea ice may be 300 to 400 years old, and the part that is fed by glacier flow is older, perhaps up to 1,500 years old. Because the Wilkins Ice Shelf is only marginally fed by glacier flow, however, its collapse was not expected to have the same impact on sea level rise as the collapse of the Larsen B potentially could”.

    As you see, it does claim that you can get “that thickness of ice from in-situ formation”. Actually, it says that you can get it in only 400 years (this means, I suppose, that it would have started to happen more or less at the Little Ice Age). And appart from that, do the parts of the Wilkins Ice Shelf that are disintegrating belong to the Southern, glacier-fed part of the shelf? Because if they happen to belong to the Northern part, it seems to me like there would be nothing to worry about at all, with no glacier ice accelerating anywhere.

    Best regards.

    [Response: Ok, in the absence of any more detailed info, this seems to be correct. I am nonetheless surprised that you can get 300m thick landfast sea ice, maybe someone who knows more about the details can comment. - gavin]

    Comment by Nylo — 29 Apr 2009 @ 3:01 AM

  603. Just speculating:
    “… may have formed from accumulation of sea ice that held fast to the coastline through many seasons, as well as snow cover” sounds like no one has reported on a core through that ice. I started looking, but can only see abstracts without heading out to a library. Anyone know for sure?

    I found mention of increasing snow accumulation generally, not specific to Wilkins:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2007GL032529.shtml
    A doubling in snow accumulation in the western Antarctic Peninsula since 1850
    “… medium depth (136 metres) ice core drilled in a high accumulation site (73.59°S, 70.36°W) on the south-western Antarctic Peninsula during 2007. The Gomez record …”

    and investigation of the ice using remote sensing:

    “… Examination of synthetic aperture radar data collected over the southeastern Antarctic Peninsula
    shows that features sometimes mapped as ice shelves are more likely composed of numerous ice
    tongues interspersed within a matrix of fast ice and icebergs. The tongues are formed by the
    seaward extension of numerous small mountain glaciers that drain from the Antarctic Peninsula.
    Once afloat, the tongues intermingle with a matrix of fast ice and brash. Examination of 1997
    Radarsat-1 image mosaics shows that southeastern Antarctic Peninsula composite-ice-shelves
    covered an area of about 3500 km2. Similar to ice tongues around the rest of Antarctica, these
    features are highly fragmented and likely to be susceptible to mechanical failure….”

    which includes mention of a prediction:

    “Mercer (1978) postulated that Antarctic ice shelves would be the component of the Antarctic
    glacier system most responsive to “greenhouse” warming. He predicted a southerly retreat of ice
    shelf margins starting with the ice shelves in the Antarctic Peninsula ….”

    8/8/2005
    Structure of Eastern Antarctic Peninsula Ice Shelves and Ice Tongues from Synthetic Aperture Radar Imagery
    http://voxel.tamu.edu/publications/iceshelf_stru.pdf

    But didn’t turn up any specific reference to ice core drilling on the Wilkins. Someone who actually knows the science might be able to Survey article:
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/u52n45201t383m4r/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Apr 2009 @ 1:40 PM

  604. Sorry about the bad line breaks.

    Closest drill site I could find (would at least give snowfall info) is mentioned here:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7326011.stm
    Those folks would know what else is available; no mention of actual cores drilled through the Wilkins.

    There’s a map — that makes clear the Wilkins doesn’t have a vast area of glacier feeding it; it’s tucked in among islands.

    Gavin earlier remarked on the odd fracture pattern; if the ice accumulates but is broken (by tides?) and infilling with snow to recreate a flat surface, year after year, that would fit the radar result mentioned earlier

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Apr 2009 @ 2:07 PM

  605. Hank Roberts, Why would a core drilled through the Wilkins Ice Shelf tell much about the forces responsible for the thinning of the ice bridge and the eventual break, followed by increased instability and breakup?

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090428154833.htm

    ScienceDaily (Apr. 29, 2009) — Satellite images show that icebergs have begun to calve from the northern front of the Wilkins Ice Shelf – indicating that the huge shelf has become unstable. This follows the collapse three weeks ago of the ice bridge that had previously linked the Antarctic mainland to Charcot Island.

    Prior to the breakup, many other fracture zones were created throughout the ice shelf, and the icebergs are breaking off at those zones.

    There are two possible reasons for the breakup, one better understood than the other:

    “The Antarctic Peninsula has experienced extraordinary warming in the past 50 years of 2.5°C, Braun and Humbert explained.”

    That’s well documented – but the ocean looks like it played a role as well:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2005/2005GL024042.shtml

    We demonstrate here, for the first time, that the adjacent ocean [to the WAP] showed profound coincident changes, with surface summer temperatures rising more than 1°C and a strong upper-layer salinification. Initially driven by atmospheric warming and reduced rates of sea ice production, these changes constitute positive feedbacks that will contribute significantly to the continued climate change.

    Thus, it seems pretty clear that atmospheric and oceanic temperature increases were primarily forced by CO2 from fossil fuel combustion, and that’s what lead to the breakup of the Wilkins Ice Shelf.

    I don’t think anyone will be able to pin that on ‘natural variability’.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 29 Apr 2009 @ 3:44 PM

  606. I guess that they think about in-situ formation because of the on-land ice sheet near the Wilkins not moving at all, not pushing the shelf. But I wonder if a drill hole could give more information as to how the ice initially formed. After all, even the ice carried over by a glacier was snow in the beginning, so it mustn’t be very different from the ice we would have under in-situ formation. The drill hole would need to show proof of some kind of stress suffered by the ice while being pushed by the glacier, and I doubt that such a thing can be learnt from a drill hole. But I know very little about this procedure anyway…

    Comment by Nylo — 30 Apr 2009 @ 6:31 AM

  607. Attributing the causes of various warming/cooling events is becoming an increasingly complex science.
    While arctic ice melt and the wilkins collapse are caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases, it seems the 100,000 sq km per decade increase in antarctic sea ice is linked to the ozone hole (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090421101629.htm) and, presumably, human CFC emissions.

    I’d almost forgotten about CFCs and ozone depletion. I wonder if aerosols will make a comeback soon.

    [Response: Oh yes, we'd forgotten about those. Please try to pay attention. - gavin]

    Comment by John Finn — 30 Apr 2009 @ 7:58 AM

  608. Wilkins Ice Shelf is recognized as being dominantly fed by surface accumulation with basal melting the principal source of mass balance loss, except for the rapid calving events. Radio echo sounding of WIS from the 1970′s indicates much thicker ice feeding the southern portion of the ice shelf from Haydn Inlet and Schubert Inlet. Further ice velocities from SAR interfertometry indicates strong flow from Schubert Inlet and from the Lewis Snowfield, which is just west of Schubert Inlet. There is a marked change in ice thickness north of a line running roughly from Charcot Island-Burgess ice Rise to Petrie Ice Rise to Dorsey Island. North of this line both thickness and velocity are much reduced. This suggest that the southern sector which is clearly fed by the aforementioned is not feeding the northern section of the ice shelf significantly. The aforementioned rise and islands direct flow more westerly. The flow into the northern sector of the ice shelf from Gilbert Glacier and Haydn Inlet is hard to discern. Whether the ice shelf to the south began as landfast sea ice or not the key process of basal melt and surface accumulation that dominate the mass balance would remove the evidence of the origin. An ice core would penetrate the brine saturated melting base of the ice shelf. How would the original ice have persisted? Because we have two substantial feeder glaciers from Haydn and Gilbert it is not unlikely that greater flow would have fed WIS more significantly in the past.

    Comment by mauri pelto — 30 Apr 2009 @ 8:44 AM

  609. Re: #

    I’d almost forgotten about CFCs and ozone depletion. I wonder if aerosols will make a comeback soon.

    [Response: Oh yes, we’d forgotten about those. Please try to pay attention. - gavin]

    Yes, Gavin, thanks. It was, in fact, a joke(or obviously not). I’m well aware that several of your most recent posts have been on aerosols.

    Comment by John Finn — 30 Apr 2009 @ 10:27 AM

  610. Re 608: Thanks Mauri for that information, do you have any references?

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 1 May 2009 @ 11:24 AM

  611. Another question for Mauri — this abstract:
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2008GL036765.shtml

    Can you (or anyone with expertise in the area) interpret the last sentence? Are they saying that according to their calculations, 98% of the lakes on the Greenland ice sheet have enough water in them to force cracks down through the ice? Or are they saying that a single lake large enough to force cracking of the ice would contain 98% of the total water in all the lakes? Sorry, all I can see is the abstract and I can’t figure it out.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 May 2009 @ 12:15 PM

  612. Hank Roberts (611) — Here is the conclusion from the paper:
    “Our calculations show that lakes that are only ~250–800 m across and 2–5 m deep contain a sufficient volume of water to drive a water-filled crack to the base of a 1 km-thick ice sheet. Lakes that are smaller may also be drained, however it requires fractures that are fed by multiple basins. This range in lake sizes represents the majority of supraglacial lakes in the ablation zone along the western margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Thus we propose that a large fraction of the melt water produced in the summer (on the order of several cubic kilometers) could rapidly reach the base of the ice sheet via this mechanism.”

    Comment by David B. Benson — 25 May 2009 @ 2:29 PM

  613. Thank you David.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 May 2009 @ 8:04 PM

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Close this window.

1.386 Powered by WordPress