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  1. (Note: There are some infelicities in phrasing above, e.g. “proof… that GCR affect [sic] the low clouds” and “only give support this hypothesis” — have somebody proofread. Don’t mean to nitpick, this is a good, comprehensive review of the paper.)

    I’m thinking these guys must have tried a number of correlations and picked out the ones with the highest R^2; the fact that the different effects all happen at different times makes this look an awful lot like cherry-picking.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 1 Aug 2009 @ 3:29 AM

  2. Gee, if there was a nova in the galactic neighboroughood, we could shoot dry ice or silver iodine to the sky. But maybe I got this wrong. I just had to begin the thread.

    Comment by jyyh — 1 Aug 2009 @ 5:46 AM

  3. Is this commentary longer than the GRL paper itself?

    Comment by Jeffrey Park — 1 Aug 2009 @ 6:49 AM

  4. Only marginally on topic, but I was interested in the author’s rather high-handed and self-satisfied assertion that “It’s typical of non-experts not to place their ideas in the context of the bigger picture.” So, experts automatically have access to the Big Picture?

    Well, that’s definitely not my experience. I was a not-very-successful scientist who moved into a different field because I lacked my colleagues’ ability to completely ignore the bigger picture and focus on a very small problem area. As my old biology teacher used to say decades ago, “an expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less until he knows everything about nothing.” And I can sort-of see what he means in today’s climate science.

    As an example of a “bigger picture” guy, can I respecfully offer the example of a “climate scientist”? Not a qualification from any of the well-known universities (as far as I know), the climate scientist is a jack of all trades, with all that implies, who maybe knows a bit about modeling and computer programming too. The true scientist is maybe flattered that his or her area of expertise is being acknowledged in climate science, but do they have the context, the bigger picture, to know how it interrelates with a myriad of other areas of expertise? I very much doubt it.

    Comment by Alex — 1 Aug 2009 @ 6:52 AM

  5. Are CWC (or CLW), cloud liquid water content, and LWCF, liquid water cloud fraction, the same or similar quantities?

    Regarding CWC or CLW:
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/satellite/ssmi/ssmiclw.html

    “Use of the 85 GHz measurements allows for the retrieval of extremely low amounts of CLW. It should be noted that there is considerable uncertainty in the retrieved amounts of CLW due to the lack of ground truth. However, the CLW product clearly indicates cloudiness patterns and relative magnitudes.”

    Regarding LWCF, it would be nice to know which one of the many MODIS
    atmospheric data products was used. See:

    http://modis.gsfc.nasa.gov/data/dataprod/index.php

    Are apples being compared to apples? Are there other studies that use these two (MODIS & SSM/I) data sets? In general, do we know how well correlated MODIS and SSM/I data are with AERONET data?

    Comment by Bill Sneed — 1 Aug 2009 @ 7:12 AM

  6. I’m a bit confused by this – could the lags come from some sort of feedback process, like the CO2/temperature lag in ice cores?

    Comment by FredB — 1 Aug 2009 @ 8:00 AM

  7. Sorry, I just can’t help myself. Following BPL-

    “the paper did not communicated (communicate?) well why 340 nm and 440 nm should (be?) the magic numbers…”

    Also “And is this accounted for in the Monte-Caro (Carlo?) simulations…”

    Otherwise a great analysis! Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 1 Aug 2009 @ 9:04 AM

  8. BPL: “proof… that GCR affect [sic] the low clouds”

    Affect here looks right to me, as in the GCRs change the clouds. Effect, as in creates the clouds, doesn’t seem as apt to me.

    I agree with Steve Fish about “communicated”.

    Comment by Greg Simpson — 1 Aug 2009 @ 12:03 PM

  9. Well one thing is for sure, the authors of the reviewed paper a least bothered to do a proper proof read. [an attempt at irony? -moderator]

    Comment by David Harrington — 1 Aug 2009 @ 12:30 PM

  10. From Webster
    usage Effect and affect are often confused because of their similar spelling and pronunciation. The verb 2affect usually has to do with pretense . The more common 3affect denotes having an effect or influence . The verb effect goes beyond mere influence; it refers to actual achievement of a final result . The uncommon noun affect, which has a meaning relating to psychology, is also sometimes mistakenly used for the very common effect. In ordinary use, the noun you will want is effect .

    Comment by Paul — 1 Aug 2009 @ 2:14 PM

  11. perhaps the CLOUD9 at CERN will shed some light.

    Comment by Cloud9 — 1 Aug 2009 @ 2:33 PM

  12. If one compares the sunspot number (as a proxy for GCR) to global temperature(HadCRUT3 global mean) by Fourier analysis, there is no “bump” in the temperature spectrum that corresponds to the solar cycle.
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1900/mean:20/scale:0.002/fourier/magnitude/to:50/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1900/mean:20/scale:1/fourier/magnitude/to:50
    Since Svensmark sees clouds respond rapidly (~1 week lag) to GCR changes, and clouds influence radiation budgets & temperature over even shorter timescales (diurnal or less), it’s hard to imagine a process that would suppress GCR influence on an eleven year timescale, and yet amplify their effect to a level that would influence climate on 50+ year timescales.
    I would also like to point out that the notion of a static, unchanging cloud cover is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. A cloud is an observable manifestation of part of the the continuous process of water evaporation, condensation into clouds, re-evaporation, and precipitation. Condensation nuclei(CN) aren’t always the limiting process in the hydrological cycle. The large spatial variations in temperature; humidity; other competing sources of CN besides GCRs; winds, turbulence and convection which participate in the transport of water and energy that are integral parts of the hydrological cycle; and variations in the regions where GCRs create CNs will limit the global extent of and mask the visibility of the effects of GCRs on clouds and the climate. Only if you look really hard, as Svensmark or Kristjansson did, can you even find statistically robust evidence for even limited, local effects.
    I would speculate that when GCR CN aren’t the rate controlling part of the hydrological cycle/cloud formation, a hypothetical step change in GCR that lasted many months (a “Dodge Event” &;>) might result in a transient effect at the beginning that had a time course similar to that seen by Svensmark with Forbush Events.
    It is also possible that the Lindzen Iris Effect, which is postulated to increase clouds with increased forcing like increased solar output, combined with the Svensmark GCR effect, which increases clouds with decreases in solar output, would cancel each other out, so that the Lindzen-Svensmark net effect is zero.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 1 Aug 2009 @ 2:37 PM

  13. The point is that forming ions is the easy part, it’s growing them to CCNs that is limiting.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 1 Aug 2009 @ 2:48 PM

  14. “For a claimed ‘FD strength of 100 %’ (whatever that means) the change in cloud fraction was found to be of the order 4% +-2% which they argue that is ’slightly larger than the changes observed during a solar cycle’ of ~2%.”

    Does the cloud cover uncertainty in this paper overlap the uncertainty in measurements obtained over the solar cycle? Elsewhere Svensmark has attributed a 3-4% change in cloud cover to the solar cycle, here 2%.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 1 Aug 2009 @ 2:48 PM

  15. FredB,

    The difference is we expect changes in climate (and therefore biogeophysical boundary conditions) to affect CO2 levels, but we don’t expect changes in climate to affect the sun or cosmic rays.

    I still wonder how well we really understand the fate of these “pre-CCN” and where they go, mostly on longer timescales.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 1 Aug 2009 @ 3:04 PM

  16. “proof… that GCR affect the low clouds” is correct in this instance, because GCR is plural – Galactic Cosmic Rays. If GCR were singular, then it would be “GCR affects the low clouds”. In both cases, the use of the verb affect is correct.

    I’m not sure how constructive it is to criticise someone whose first language is not English, though.

    Comment by CTG — 1 Aug 2009 @ 3:50 PM

  17. 4 Alex says: I was interested in the author’s rather high-handed and self-satisfied assertion that “It’s typical of non-experts not to place their ideas in the context of the bigger picture.” So, experts automatically have access to the Big Picture?

    A little basic logic would help here. Alex complains about the author’s “high-handed” tone while engaging in high-handed rhetoric himself. And the Ignoratio Elenchi and Strawman of his conclusion could scarcely be more bald-faced. Indeed, it is unclear to me in what respect it could be more obvious that that conclusion does not follow from the premises.

    Comment by Gary Herstein — 1 Aug 2009 @ 3:51 PM

  18. RE: Time delay between arrival of the cosmic rays and the formation of clouds. If most of the cosmic rays penetrate the Van Allen belt, but a few spawn secondary, tertiary, etc. ion showers from the belt, these would perhaps be much more slow moving than the original cosmic particles. Perhaps the delay could be accounted for in this manner?
    RE: Long term variations in cosmic rays: The solar system moves in relationship to other bodies in the galaxy, and this might cause variations in cosmic radiation that we have not even begin to measure and understand because of the short length of time during which we’ve even known such particles exist. Of course, that leads to the observation that NO ONE yet has enough data on this to draw any conclusions with much confidence.

    Comment by Geno Canto del Halcon — 1 Aug 2009 @ 6:36 PM

  19. I’ve updated my page on Svensmark with a bit (just above the summary) about this new item.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/henrik-svensmark

    I highlighted the lack of connection between clouds that live (typically) in spans of hours, in relation to the considerations of days as pointed out so well by Rasmus.

    As always, if anyone spots relevant inaccuracies or context problems, please let me know through the contact link on the site.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 1 Aug 2009 @ 7:27 PM

  20. 17 Gary Herstein:

    Gosh, high-handedness seems to be endemic around here! Motes and eyes ….

    Comment by Alex — 1 Aug 2009 @ 7:28 PM

  21. The physics of the GCR hypothesis is interesting–but it’s interesting as physics. There is simply no way it could account for very much of the warming we have seen over the past 40 years. The rather ad hoc nature of the delays, offsets, etc. in the analysis merely highlights the primitive nature of our understanding of the role of cosmic rays. In contrast, the basics of the role of CO2 have been known for over a century. Which you gonna believe?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Aug 2009 @ 7:29 PM

  22. #13 Eli,
    good to see you posting again… and absolutely succinct, on topic and even more important: right!

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 1 Aug 2009 @ 7:38 PM

  23. When the mainstream is attacked, a common mantra is “correlation is not causation” – when we have an established theory of GHG warming behind the correlation that’s under attack. Here we have a much more tenuous link between temperature and an physical effect (GCR), with a significantly less robust statistical basis for claiming a link. Does “correlation is not causation” apply here?

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 1 Aug 2009 @ 8:38 PM

  24. I tried to post this earlier, but some sort of SW glitch just gave me a waiting for ever signal.
    Even if GCRs have a real (and large enough to matter) effect, if they are modulated on a time scale much longer than the silicate weathering thermostat operates, shouldn’t any signal be damped out. Assuming the thermostat works efficiently one wouldn’t expect to be able to find a signal.

    Comment by Thomas — 1 Aug 2009 @ 9:30 PM

  25. From memory I recall that maritime air contains about 1 million CCN per liter, land-based air 5 to 6 millions per liter. How many CCN per liter can GCRs generate? Aren’t there many factors that can limit or promote cloud formations that are much more significant?

    Comment by Philippe Chantreau — 2 Aug 2009 @ 2:08 AM

  26. Chris #20, thanks for this – I was thinking of feedbacks within the supposed nucleation mechanism. But my real point was simply that a lag is not necessarily a problem, although it would require investigation. Obviously a lead would be far more problematic.

    Comment by FredB — 2 Aug 2009 @ 2:46 AM

  27. I wasn’t talking about affect versus effect! “GCR affect” should be either “GCRs affect” or “GCR affects.” Singular versus plural!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 Aug 2009 @ 3:46 AM

  28. ” Does “correlation is not causation” apply here?

    Comment by Philip Machanick ”

    The answer to that may be found here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/07/the_agw_denialists_rules_for_d.php

    Comment by Mark — 2 Aug 2009 @ 4:41 AM

  29. “but a few spawn secondary, tertiary, etc. ion showers from the belt, these would perhaps be much more slow moving than the original cosmic particles.”

    Which will still have lots of energy and therefore be moving quite fast and they don’t have very far to go.

    And if they decay, moving slower than near-lightspeed means they decay to something else.

    “The solar system moves in relationship to other bodies in the galaxy, and this might cause variations in cosmic radiation that we have not even begin to measure and understand”

    But then these movements must be far too slow to cause the changes we CAN see, measure and understand.

    Comment by Mark — 2 Aug 2009 @ 4:44 AM

  30. #18, how would you get a lag of several days from any speed differences between particles that move at relativistic speeds, across a distance of considerably less than one light second?

    Comment by CM — 2 Aug 2009 @ 7:19 AM

  31. If GCR is short for galactic cosmic rays, then affect is correct.

    Comment by Paul — 2 Aug 2009 @ 10:39 AM

  32. Rasmus raises a lot of questions about this paper. A few of them are easy to answer from a better knowledge about Svensmarks research, like:

    ”why 340 nm and 440 nm should the magic numbers for the remote sensing data and the Angstrom exponents “ The reason for choosing these wavelengths are that small aerosols scatter violet light. Screening the sky for a reduction of these wavelengths = screening for a reduction in small aerosols.

    For a claimed ‘FD strength of 100 %’ (whatever that means) The percentage refers to the modulation of a full solar cycle. Thus 120% should be understood as a 20% bigger change in cosmic rays than you would see in a full solar cycle.

    Svensmark discussed these findings in a debate arranged by the Swedish Research Council in May this year. If you can cope with Svensmarks appearance and accent you get a lot of information about this paper by watching the presentation (in English of course!) here:

    http://www.vr.se/webdav/files/Webbtv/VET0010/Player/default.htm?http://www.vr.se/webdav/files/Webbtv/VET0010/Ondemand/090511/cue_0004.asx&http://www.vr.se/webdav/files/Webbtv/VET0010/Ondemand/090511/

    Comment by Bengt A — 2 Aug 2009 @ 12:06 PM

  33. Well, if nothing else, this article and its reply thread prove that scientists today are no more curious and open-minded than they were 100 or 200 years ago. I can see you guys in prior lives vigorously defending Phlogiston and Ether. If you have cognitive dissonance, please deal with it constructively. The truth always comes out in the end.

    Comment by Chuck Cardiff — 2 Aug 2009 @ 12:15 PM

  34. Wow, a self described “not very successful” science student decides this failure/ignorance is bliss and goes and joins the denialosphere. There the solid rubber brain can bounce continuously between assertion and self-satisfaction, fueled by extensive materials from the ever-evolving industry and political PR and well financed pseudo think tanks.

    No amount of wide-ranging multidisciplinary work by thousands (millions?) of scientists over many decades will ever make a dent in this kind of smugness. The big picture they have access to is ever so much more reliable than that of those who do the work to gain and enlarge knowledge.

    I probably should have resisted the temptation to pen this, but it makes me so angry because it endangers not only their posterity but ours.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 2 Aug 2009 @ 12:21 PM

  35. Re 33 – but should we be so open-minded to devote much time to reconsidering Phlogiston and Ether?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 2 Aug 2009 @ 12:42 PM

  36. Search on chuck+cardiff+climate

    Postings debunking climatology on blogs dedicated to astrology, freakonomics … my, there certainly are a lot of postings under this name about climate.

    [Response:avoid double quotes - gavin]

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Aug 2009 @ 12:58 PM

  37. > avoid double quotes
    This might help. I won’t bug you further about it.

    http://coffee2code.com/wp-plugins/wpuntexturize/
    Last update:04 April 2008

    “Description: Prevent WordPress from displaying single and double quotation marks as their curly alternatives…. does NOT prevent wptexturize() from making any other character and string substitutions.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Aug 2009 @ 2:51 PM

  38. PS, paste into Google: “chuck cardiff” +climate (about 136 hits)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Aug 2009 @ 3:13 PM

  39. for future benifit: What about double quotes? What happens?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 2 Aug 2009 @ 5:43 PM

  40. Re “The paper doesn’t provide any proof – at best – that GCR affect the low clouds, but can at most only give support to this hypothesis”

    couldn’t the same be said about any paper on climate? What would constitute a “proof” of this or any other climate hypothesis?

    I firmly believe the evidence in support of AGW is overwhelming, but I have never seen a formal “proof” of it (and never expect to). It seems a little strange (and hypocritical) to be asking for “proof” of (potentially) competing hypotheses.

    Comment by jt — 2 Aug 2009 @ 8:12 PM

  41. Chuck Cardiff August 2009 at 12:15 PM

    That was a remarkably opaque comment. I -think- what you’re trying to say is, Rasmus’ article is part of an unwarranted pile-on?

    It might help you to understand that Svensmark has volunteered to publicly overstate the power of cosmic ray induced cloud nucleation to explain certain features of our climate.

    While so doing, Svensmark did not just stick to making apparently exaggerated claims about the predictive power of his research output but also has taken the opportunity to assert that his work nullifies the findings of a considerable number of other scientists.

    By not only inflating the importance of his own work but in so doing putting an unwarranted boot in the faces of his colleagues, Svensmark’s credibility has been somewhat damaged in the scientific community. This means that everything he now publishes is going to be scrutinized with extra diligence so as to make sure whatever claims he’s making are grounded in fact.

    It’s probably also true that Svenmark has aroused sheer ire; many of his critics are likely now taking a simple kind of delight in poking holes in his arguments. Human nature says that if you’re going to be needlessly combative you’d better gird yourself with good armor because you’re going to find a lot of arrows headed in your direction. That’s especially true if you mount an attack for specious reasons. Fortunately for Svensmark he seems to have a very thick skin indeed.

    Review of Svensmark’s book for the layperson, with some specific collegial complaints laid at his feet:

    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/print/30103

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 2 Aug 2009 @ 10:11 PM

  42. JT – I too cringed a bit with the “The paper doesn’t provide any proof” line. Except for mathematical proofs, surely support for a hypothesis is all a scientific paper can ever hope to achieve. Some better than others obviously and some not at all. I also will provide the disclaimer that I genuinely respect and accept the massive body of evidence supporting the theory of AGW and the expertise behind it. It’s just that ‘proof’ word kinda freaked me out a bit as I normally only encounter it in arguments made by denialists who don’t even know what science is.

    Comment by Dr.Harry Borlsachs — 3 Aug 2009 @ 12:39 AM

  43. The physics seems rather dubious. Has anyone ever seen particle tracks in clouds? I think not. Particle tracks are only seen in human-made cloud chambers. Charged particle interactions with ordinary clouds are hard to believe. We should be seeing lines appearing suddenly in fog if it really is happening.

    A mass ejection from our sun’s corona usually causes an aurora if it hits Earth, which is a lot more than the usual number of particles hitting our upper atmosphere. The only interaction between cosmic rays and a coronal mass ejection would be an electromagnetic one, the gas densities being about the same as vacuum in outer space, as usual. A frozen-in magnetic field would make charged particles spin around and apparently follow the larger mass of the coronal mass that was ejected. Gamma rays and uncharged particles would not be affected.

    Please run both the physics and the astrophysics by your local department of physics and astronomy. This whole thing could be cleared up there.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 3 Aug 2009 @ 2:02 AM

  44. “couldn’t the same be said about any paper on climate? What would constitute a “proof” of this or any other climate hypothesis? ”

    It could. But it would be wrong.

    The GCR paper fails to show how it does what it needs to do to have the effect required.

    It just says that it waits X days to form clouds. The only reason why it waits X days is because without that, it doesn’t work. No proof as to what scientific fact demonstrable in the lab or repeatable in the real world makes it do so.

    Unlike CO2 as a GG: it shows a warming based on the basic science. That it interrupts IR passage through it can be demonstrated. The effec of adding more CO2 to our atmopshere can be shown by mathematics based on the model of the atmosphere being a continuous fluid, which model can be tested to see how close it is to reality.

    Comment by Mark — 3 Aug 2009 @ 2:53 AM

  45. It’s just that ‘proof’ word kinda freaked me out a bit as I normally only encounter it in arguments made by denialists who don’t even know what science is.

    “Evidence” would be a better choice…

    Comment by dhogaza — 3 Aug 2009 @ 7:50 AM

  46. Mark,

    You would be wrong as well.

    AGW has not passed your own test.

    There’s no proof as to what scientific fact demonstrable in the lab or repeatable in the real world makes elevated CO2 cause the needed increase in water vapor neccessary for AGW to be valid.

    CO2 can only be shown to be a minor GG. The alarming levels of human caused warming can only be shown based on the presumption that levels of water vapor are increased enough to do the real warming and without the negative effects of additional cloud cover.

    Are you really claiming this CO2 up=water vapor up=alarming climate warming theory has been proven?

    Because that would be headline news.

    People are cringing at “The paper doesn’t provide any proof” line for good reasons.

    The hypocricy is freaking them out. Especially after dismissing the denialists scientists who know what science is and how it does not prove the AGW warming theory that relies upon the water vapor component.

    Comment by Howard S. — 3 Aug 2009 @ 8:43 AM

  47. Mark,

    You would be wrong as well.

    AGW has not passed your own test.

    There’s no proof as to what scientific fact demonstrable in the lab or repeatable in the real world makes elevated CO2 cause the needed increase in water vapor neccessary for AGW to be valid.

    Nonsense, the mechanism for CO2 to raise temperature has been adequately demonstrated in the laboratory as has the increase in water vapor pressure with increasing temperature (Clausius-Clapeyron). In contrast Svenmark has failed to show why there should be a delay in the action of CCN following CR.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 3 Aug 2009 @ 9:17 AM

  48. On a first glimpse i can think of cosmic weather, but nevertheless this makes it even more importend in the prospects of the contribution to climate forcings we have under control.

    Comment by savegaia — 3 Aug 2009 @ 9:18 AM

  49. You are wrong Howard.

    “There’s no proof as to what scientific fact demonstrable ”

    Stream-of-consciousness babbling shows you have no clue what you’re saying.

    Here’s how it goes:

    The absorption spectra of CO2 can be found in a lab.
    The IR from the earth at ~300K can be set against that absorption spectra and the dimming for a given amount of CO2 can be calculated. A lab experiment can prove your calculations correct.

    You seem to want to include H2O and the increase of saturation content of air with increasing temperature can be ascertained and its absorptive effects likewise calculated.

    “CO2 can only be shown to be a minor GG.”

    It’s the second biggest GG.

    Minor????

    “based on the presumption that levels of water vapor are increased enough to do the real warming”

    And such effect can be worked out in the equations of radiative balance and tested against lab experiments.

    “and without the negative effects of additional cloud cover.”

    Incorrect. The “alarming levels” are calculated WITH cloud cover.

    Remember: cloud cover can increase warming or reduce it, depending on whether it is low or high cloud.

    “Are you really claiming this CO2 up=water vapor up=alarming climate warming theory has been proven?”

    Yes.

    Are you saying it hasn’t? Oh, of course you are, but it’s easy to say that, rather harder to prove it, which is what you HAVEN’T done.

    “The hypocricy is freaking them out.”

    Them? Who is “them”?

    “Especially after dismissing the denialists scientists who know what science is ”

    No, they don’t. Or if they do, they are ignoring it in return for mucho din ero.

    Comment by Mark — 3 Aug 2009 @ 9:20 AM

  50. http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008GL035333.shtml
    http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/dessler09.pdf

    See the author’s blogging report on it at:
    http://www.grist.org/member/view-all/posts/1595

    —-excerpt—-
    I have a paper [PDF] in this week’s Science discussing the 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 you read the blogs, you’ll often see people say things like “the models are completely unvalidated.” What they mean is that no one has produced a 100-year climate run with a model, then waited a hundred years, and evaluated how the model did. There are many practical problems with doing this, but the biggest is that by the time you determine if your model was right or not, it would be too late to take any meaningful action to head off the problem….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Aug 2009 @ 9:35 AM

  51. Roy Spencer does not agree

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/07/new-study-in-science-magazine-proof-of-positive-cloud-feedback/

    Comment by Howard S. — 3 Aug 2009 @ 10:19 AM

  52. “Roy Spencer does not agree”

    And why does that matter?

    He is quite willing to debase the science merely because it clashes with his religious beliefs.

    Which leaves it trivially simple for him to do the same if the science goes against his political beliefs.

    Comment by Mark — 3 Aug 2009 @ 11:24 AM

  53. Re “proof” vs “support for hypothesis”, I cringed with #40 and #42 (with the same disclaimer). But I do understand where it comes from.

    As Doug Bostrom noted above (#41), Svensmark has a record of exaggerating in press releases and popularizations the conclusions that can be drawn from his research. An egregious example from his “Cosmoclimatology” article:

    During the past 10 years, considerations of the
    galactic and solar influence on climate have pro-
    gressed so far, and have found such widespread
    applications, that one can begin to speak of a
    new paradigm of climate change. I call it cosmo-
    climatology and in this article I suggest that it is
    already at least as secure, scientifically speaking,
    as the prevailing paradigm of forcing by variable
    greenhouse gases.

    By these standards the press release for the recent article is almost restrained, but it does claim the new research “validates 13 years of discoveries that point to a key role for cosmic rays in climate change”. The point in the post, I think, was to point out that this body of work does not amount to the solid theory its author claims.

    The Svensmark et al article under discussion does not, I think, so much validate their argument as try to patch a hole in it, a hole left by the absence of significant cloud response to Forbush events in the Slo*an/Wolfendale and (with local exceptions) Kristjánsson et al studies.

    Comment by CM — 3 Aug 2009 @ 12:39 PM

  54. Howard S. (#51), Spencer does not agree with what? If you are referring to the Dessler paper referenced in #50 (the only time Spencer’s name has come up in the thread), that’s not the one Spencer discusses in the post you linked to. Read before you paste?

    Comment by CM — 3 Aug 2009 @ 12:47 PM

  55. Phil. Felton
    8/3 9:17 AM

    To “nonsense”:

    a) “The amount of moisture in the atmosphere is expected to increase in a warming climate (Trenberth et al., 2005) because saturation vapour pressure increases with temperature according to the Clausius-Clapeyron equation.”

    b) “The water vapor feedback was first proposed by Manabe and Wetherald (1971). They noted, using a one-dimensional model, that keeping relative humidity fixed led to a doubling of the response to increasing CO2. The point was that the same relative humidity at a higher temperature meant more water vapor, given the Clausius-Clapeyron Relation. However, the Clausius-Clapeyron Relation refers to the saturation vapor pressure, and the atmosphere is not saturated. Nevertheless, existing models behave as though relative humidity were, indeed, fixed.”

    I have left out the attributions, trying for a moment to stay away from the ad homs. Here comes a non-rhetorical question: What are we to make of these competing arguments?

    [Response: What competing arguments? - gavin]

    Comment by Walter Manny — 3 Aug 2009 @ 12:50 PM

  56. Mark, ‘he’s religious therefore’ isn’t a good science argument. Let’s look at the published science, not focus nearsightedly on the people pointing to the science.

    Of course the blog headline (” … proof …?”) exaggerates the blog text (“… The authors cautiously speculate that this might be evidence of positive cloud feedback. …”).

    But again it’s easy to get distracted.
    Ignore the man’s religion, for the moment.
    Ignore his semi-pro denial blog, for the moment.
    Sure you can attack based on those. But it ain’t science.

    Look at the paper in Science first. Spencer does provide a link to the whole paper as published there as a PDF, which lets people like me without journal access read it.

    Let’s read it, eh?

    Then look for comments by scientists who understand it.

    _Then_ blow it all off authoritatively.

    Just sayin’. The exercise of going through all the steps in order is a good example to set for the next reader.

    Otherwise you sound like you’re dismissing what he’s pointing to because of his religion.

    Look! The moon, not the finger pointing at the moon.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Aug 2009 @ 1:02 PM

  57. I need help with a denier argument. What’s the fallacy here?

    “We know that the dry adiabatic lapse rate stands at 9.8 °C per km. You can use your search engine and look it up if you wish.

    That would mean that if our atmosphere was the same thickness as that of Venus we would see a temperature increase of (9.8°C/km*48km) without any greenhouse effect.

    That means that the Earth would be 470.4 °C warmer just because of the increased mass of the added 48 km of atmosphere.

    That would get us to 758.4 K at the surface, which would be high enough to melt lead. “

    Would an atmosphere without greenhouse gases be non-adiabatic? The equation for adiabatic gamma is just g / cp, which wouldn’t be much different in a 100% oxy-nitro atmosphere than it is now. Why wouldn’t a 90-bar nitro-oxy atmosphere on Earth result in a much hotter surface through this mechanism? I know there’s a fallacy here but I can’t put my finger on it. Help!

    [Response: It's putting the cart before the horse. The key constraint is what the emitting temperature is (not dependent on CO2) and at what level it is at (very dependent on CO2). From that you can use the adiabat to estimate what the surface temperature should be (assuming a well-mixed troposphere). For instance, with no greenhouse gases, it doesn't matter what the mass of the atmosphere is because the surface is the emitting level and thus will be close to the blackbody temperature. - gavin]

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Aug 2009 @ 1:48 PM

  58. Roy Spencer does not agree

    Well, let’s all go over there to his site and engage him in healthy scientific debate …

    Before doing so, though, can someone tell me what

    Comments are closed.

    means?

    Comment by dhogaza — 3 Aug 2009 @ 1:48 PM

  59. To: “What competing arguments? – gavin”

    “…saturation vapour pressure increases with temperature.”

    vs.

    “However, the Clausius-Clapeyron Relation refers to the saturation vapor pressure, and the atmosphere is not saturated.”

    “Competing” may not be the right word. “Contrasting”, perhaps.

    [Response: Both statements are true. I still don't get your point. - gavin]

    Comment by Walter Manny — 3 Aug 2009 @ 2:14 PM

  60. “Mark, ‘he’s religious therefore’ isn’t a good science argument”

    No, it isn’t.

    Which is just as well that I didn’t MAKE that argument, isn’t it.

    Try reading it again.

    Someone who is willing to set aside the science if if goes against their beliefs is not being a scientist.

    Comment by Mark — 3 Aug 2009 @ 2:16 PM

  61. “It’s typical of non-experts not to place their ideas in the context of the bigger picture.” You flunk right there. 0/20

    Comment by Steve (Paris) — 3 Aug 2009 @ 2:19 PM

  62. > comments closed
    It means they’re open elsewhere. The Clement et al. paper has already been much commented on. Have a look:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=Clement+Science+cloud+feedback+pacific+2009

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Aug 2009 @ 2:34 PM

  63. There is a rebuttal to your recent paper on solar signature in the temperature record at Pielke Sr:

    http://climatesci.org/2009/08/03/nicola-scafetta-comments-on-solar-trends-and-global-warming-by-benestad-and-schmidt/

    Would be interested in your comments, there is an invititation for reply

    Comment by rainwater — 3 Aug 2009 @ 3:09 PM

  64. Hank #50
    I think Lucia does a good job of explaining how GCM’s can be invalidated during a time period much less than 100 years.
    I encourage you to go to the “blackboard” at http://rankexploits.com/musings/ if you are confused on how that can be true.
    Thanks
    Ed

    Comment by Edward — 3 Aug 2009 @ 3:29 PM

  65. Walter,

    It is true that Clausius-Clapeyron only tells you the maximum saturation pressure allowed, which is why people are so concerned with the constancy of relative humidity. If R.H. is constant, then water vapor increases scale linearly with Clausius-Clapeyron.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 3 Aug 2009 @ 3:55 PM

  66. BPL, the surface temperature from the greenhouse effect is Ts = Te + (lapse rate)*(emission height). The emission height is not anywhere near 48 km, and it doesn’t even make sense to use the dry adiabat over the whole Earth, or to multiply a value that serves good in the troposphere by the depth of the entire atmosphere.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 3 Aug 2009 @ 4:06 PM

  67. Chris, thanks.

    So, what’s your take on, “Nevertheless, existing models behave as though relative humidity were, indeed, fixed” and the inference that it is not fixed. Is the constancy of relative humidity in the climate well understood in your opinion?

    Comment by Walter Manny — 3 Aug 2009 @ 5:32 PM

  68. Edward, sorry, Lucia hasn’t convinced people like Tamino who know a lot more about statistics than I do. That’s my criterion, because . As an amateur reader, I’m far too easily fooled if I take stuff on blogs to be reliable. If it’s publishable, it’ll be published, after hard argument.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Aug 2009 @ 5:38 PM

  69. By the way, the definition of “proof” refers to “validation”, while the definition of “validate” refers to “proof”, the congruence of the words depending on the context of their use.

    Read this and see how it scans:

    “The paper is based on a small selection of events and specific choice of events and bandwidths. The paper doesn’t provide any validation that GCR affect the low clouds– at best -, but can at most only give support to this hypothesis. There are still a lot of hurdles that remain before one can call it a validation.”

    Svensmark claimed that his recent article has validated (proved) his earlier claims, while Rasmus says he has not proved (validated) that. Nothing to cause hyperventilation, surely; the word “proof” was clearly not being used in a mathematical context.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 3 Aug 2009 @ 7:16 PM

  70. Proof:
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/proof
    Use meaning 1a, 1b or 3.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 3 Aug 2009 @ 8:17 PM

  71. Walter (# 67),

    //”So, what’s your take on, “Nevertheless, existing models behave as though relative humidity were, indeed, fixed” and the inference that it is not fixed. Is the constancy of relative humidity in the climate well understood in your opinion?”//

    The constancy of relative humidity is not an assumption, it’s an observation and emergent property in model results (see Soden et al 2002 concerning the Pinatubo response; Soden et al 2005 on satellite observation. Also check the discussion by Dessler and Sherwood 2009 and references therein). Some work suggests very slight declines in R.H. (e.g., Minschwaner et al. 2006, although this analysis is confined to a small area over the whole troposphere and not averaged over a broad layer) but it is not very much to overwhelm the Clausius-Clapeyron influence which makes water vapor feedback both positive and significantly so.

    There is now considerable evidence that the water vapor feedback is being assessed pretty much correctly in state-of-the-art AOGCM’s and that observational results are not compatible with a neutral or only slightly positive water vapor feedback. As such, your questions, as stated, are hypothetical.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 3 Aug 2009 @ 10:21 PM

  72. Have you guys seen the propaganda at ilovemycarbondioxide.com? They get C02 p-chem wrong, they get thermodynamics wrong, they consider C02 w/o considering water vapor, they get the paleoclimate half wrong and they dismiss real experimental data.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 3 Aug 2009 @ 10:51 PM

  73. Just FYI – one of my trips to Scripps in the past year revealed in discussion that the relative humidity was still around 80%, even though moisture in the atmosphere was increasing. I thought it was interesting.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 4 Aug 2009 @ 12:06 AM

  74. “Nevertheless, existing models behave as though relative humidity were, indeed, fixed”

    Well, mine would be it really doesn’t get all that much different from 80% here in the UK even if it’s raining.

    Convective lift will remove water from a moist adiabat. Orographic lift will do the same.

    I guess that these effects ensure that humidity never gets close to 100% very long. But then again, there’s a lot of water about on the surface of the earth, so it’s unlikely to get lower than, oh, 30% anywhere either. Not for long, anyway.

    re your post in #59, they are not contrasting: as temperature goes up, the available H2O content goes up, but the possible containable H2O content before saturation goes up too.

    Hence they do not contrast or compete.

    Comment by Mark — 4 Aug 2009 @ 2:47 AM

  75. This paper demonstrates an effect on low level clouds due to GCR, whilst it doesnt “prove” anything, it highlights the need for further research. We should be open minded and give the theory credit. Surely if GCR do effect clouds this needs to be incorporated in GCM’s to try and ascertain this impact of this natural effect.

    I also note from the IPCC reports that cloud behaviour is an area of great uncertainty in GCM’s and we dont even know the sign of cloud feedbacks (some papers suggest negative, some positive). Hence there is room for everyone to work together here. Its not about predicting large warming and blaming it on man, its about science and understanding the climate correctly and replicating the natural effects correctly, so any anthropogeic influence can be correctly measured.

    I note the comment about GISS apparently replicating cloud behaviour reasonably, however, If I recall correctly, that paper also highlighted none of the other models replicated cloud behaviour correctly. So the models are still a long way off being correct in this area. If there was one model that was right, why do we need all the others?

    Comment by rainwater — 4 Aug 2009 @ 3:19 AM

  76. Link to full paper for those interested:

    http://docs.google.com/gview?a=v&q=cache:k3yiHsNVc1cJ:www.wzforum.de/forum2/file.php%3F0,file%3D11877

    Comment by rainwater — 4 Aug 2009 @ 3:22 AM

  77. Re #63, Nicola Scafetta has posted here before and has been spoken to by RC, they were less than impressed with the work. Any reason to change that impression I wonder?

    [Response: No. Stay tuned. - gavin]

    Comment by pete best — 4 Aug 2009 @ 3:44 AM

  78. Howard S. writes:

    There’s no proof as to what scientific fact demonstrable in the lab or repeatable in the real world makes elevated CO2 cause the needed increase in water vapor neccessary for AGW to be valid.

    First, google “Clausius-Clapeyron relation.” Then read these:

    Brown, S., Desai, S., Keihm, S., and C. Ruf, 2007. “Ocean water vapor and cloud burden trends derived from the topex microwave radiometer.” Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium. Barcelona, Spain: IGARSS 2007, pp. 886-889.

    Dessler AE, Zhang Z, Yang P 2008. “Water-Vapor Climate Feedback Inferred from Climate Variations.” Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, L20704.

    Philipona, R., B. Dürr, A. Ohmura, and C. Ruckstuhl 2005. “Anthropogenic greenhouse forcing and strong water vapor feedback increase temperature in Europe.” Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L19809.

    Santer, B. D, C. Mears, F. J. Wentz, K. E. Taylor, P. J. Gleckler, T. M. L. Wigley, T. P. Barnett, J. S. Boyle, W. Bruggemann, N. P. Gillett, S. A. Klein, G. A. Meehl, T. Nozawa, D. W. Pierce, P. A. Stott, W. M. Washington, M. F. Wehner, 2007. “Identification of human-induced changes in atmospheric moisture content.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 104, 15248-15253.

    Lastly, stop talking about “proof.” Mathematics or formal logic deals in proof, not science. Science is induction, not deduction. It deals in evidence and its findings are always, to some extent, provisional. But when a theory has the vast mass of evidence behind it that AGW has, it becomes perverse to withhold at least provisional assent.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Aug 2009 @ 5:00 AM

  79. Edward writes:

    I think Lucia does a good job of explaining how GCM’s can be invalidated during a time period much less than 100 years.

    Lucia used an “IPCC trend” which the IPCC itself didn’t use, used two small a standard deviation, and “proved” a straw man argument was incorrect, using the wrong (inappropriate AR(1)) model to handle autocorrelation in the residuals. It did nothing to “invalidate GCMs.”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Aug 2009 @ 5:37 AM

  80. Gavin, Chris, thanks. That helps.

    But in a 90-bar nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, what would the temperature be like? I assume the ground (for purposes of argument, let’s assume no clouds and an albedo of 0.306 at the surface) would be at 254 K. But cp for nitro-oxy would still be about 1004 J/K/kg, g would still be 9.80665 m/s^2, and thus the adiabatic lapse rate would still be about 9.8 K/km. Persisting at that level would take the air temperature to absolute zero at an altitude of 26 km in an atmosphere that might be 50 km or so high. Obviously that’s impossible, so the lapse rate must change somewhere, but why? What would it actually be? I’m sorry if I seem obtuse but I’m still not getting something. I need to understand this to argue against this guy’s posts convincingly.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Aug 2009 @ 5:41 AM

  81. Hank #68
    It’s not up to Lucia to convince Tamino, it’s up to the data to support the predictions of the models. It won’t take 100 years to see if the models are “validated”. Recent data does not seem to be matching up with the model predictions.

    Comment by Edward — 4 Aug 2009 @ 7:43 AM

  82. Barton Paul Levenson
    (sorry for my english but your answer is very interesting)
    to get the real lapse rate equal to the adiabatic lapse rate, the atmosphere must be stirred.
    There must be convection to stir the atmosphere.
    And to get convection there must be heat loss in the upper layer of the troposhere.
    For such a thing there must be emitted IR towards the space.
    And when we speak about IR , we speak automatically about greenhouse effect.
    In another way, the greenhouse effect is the traduction of cooling rate of the atmosphere.
    This cooling rate participates to the instability of atmosphere which favours convection, and dry adiabatic or moist adiabatic in the case of Earth.
    Without cooling rate I think there is a very weak convection.
    To resume I think that an 90 bars N2/O2 atmosphere should be very stratified and with a very weak lapse rate.

    Comment by pascal — 4 Aug 2009 @ 7:43 AM

  83. add to 82

    When I said “cooling rate”, I wanted to say “radiative heating rate”.
    In the case of greenhouse effect, the term “radiative heating rate” corresponds to a cooling.

    Comment by pascal — 4 Aug 2009 @ 8:38 AM

  84. Sorry, Edward; Barton sums up the problem. The point is to do work that’s publishable. It’s easy for somebody with a blog to convince others reading the blog that they’ve overthrown contemporary science. But most such claims won’t survive even the low bar of editorial review. Some will! We know it’s easy to get stuff published, somewhere, if not in a good journal then E’n'E.

    —-

    Anyone looked at this one? The wavelet tools seem to be getting a lot of use; I don’t pretend to understand the analysis.

    http://indico.nucleares.unam.mx/getFile.py/access?contribId=1165&sessionId=39&resId=0&materialId=paper&confId=4

    “… It seems then that GCR are modulating in some way both the AMO and SST (e.g. Fig. 3), and these in turn modulate in some way hurricanes as it can be seen from the Coherence wavelet analysis (e.g. Figs. 1-2) which confirms the conventional statement of hurricanes to be linked to warmer oceans. This is to a certain extent confirmed by the good coherence between GCR (10Be) and the number of hurricanes of magnitude-4 (Fig. 4). In contrast, the indicator of closed solar magnetic field (via SS) presents, within the COI, a lower and attenuated coherence with the terrestrial phenomena. It should be emphasized that we have put in evidence, for the first time from a Coherence wavelet study, the existence of fluctuations in the flux of GCR in the frequency of 30 ± 2 years, through the study of historical data (10Be). On the other hand ….”

    30TH INTERNATIONAL COSMIC RAY CONFERENCE
    On the trend of Atlantic Hurricane with Cosmic Rays

    Proceedings of the 30th International Cosmic Ray Conference
    Rogelio Caballero, Juan Carlos D’Olivo, Gustavo Medina-Tanco,
    Lukas Nellen, Federico A. Sánchez, José F. Valdés-Galicia (eds.)
    Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México,
    Mexico City, Mexico, 2008
    Vol. 1 (SH), pages 785–788

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Aug 2009 @ 9:15 AM

  85. I think the short answer is the temperature profile would be that which sustains the air pressure.

    After all, if the atmosphere were to cool more than that which maintains the difference, it would collapse and heat up by that constriction.

    Just like the pressure of the solar atmosphere.

    I suspect such a planet would have wind problems similar to Trenco in the Lensman series…

    Comment by Mark — 4 Aug 2009 @ 9:22 AM

  86. “The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more, suggesting that an observed absence of warming of this duration is needed to create a discrepancy with the expected present-day warming rate.”

    This is from “The State of the Climate 2008″ Special Supplement to the “Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society” vol 90 no 8 AUG 2009

    This would seem to me the statement that 15 years of no warming would cause the models some statistical problems. I could be reading this wrong of course and perhaps someone can point out where I am making my error.

    [Response: Discussed in our last piece about what the IPCC models actually show. - gavin]

    Comment by stevenc — 4 Aug 2009 @ 10:30 AM

  87. > Trenco

    Good suggestion!

    That’s one Ray Pierrehumbert could add, if he ever extends his article:
    Science Fiction Atmospheres. R.T. Pierrehumbert. The University of Chicago. October 11, 2005.
    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/papers/BAMS_SFatm.pdf

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Aug 2009 @ 12:03 PM

  88. Barton, you would have a smaller or no lapse rate. It’s convective heat flow that produces (is sustained by) a lapse rate, and when all heat transport from surface to space is radiative, who needs convection? The stratosphere starts from ground level.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 4 Aug 2009 @ 12:26 PM

  89. //The constancy of relative humidity is not an assumption, it’s an observation and emergent property in model results//

    Thanks again, Chris, and would a fair paraphrase be that relative humidity is a strictly observed, macroscopic (regionally varying) property?

    Why, then, do I see mention [below] of theoretical understanding and predictions? {I am not trying to contradict you, to be clear, but asking what I imagine to be a naive question.)

    “Theoretical and modeling studies predict that relative humidity will remain approximately constant at the global scale as the climate warms.”

    “However, observational evidence has been harder to come by, and the effect has been controversial. Much of that controversy can now be laid to rest, thanks to new observations and better theoretical understanding.”

    And, perhaps asking too much for one post, do you have any concerns that:

    “To date, observational records are too short to pin down the exact size of the water vapor feedback in response to long-term warming from anthropogenic greenhouse gases.”

    Comment by Walter Manny — 4 Aug 2009 @ 1:07 PM

  90. re #88:
    “Barton, you would have a smaller or no lapse rate”

    Uhm, isn’t the dry adiabat a result of PV=nRT?

    And the moist adiabat a result of condensation of H2O (which would occur for ANY vapour that has a gas transition within the temperature/pressure range in that atmosphere) dumping latent heat into the atmosphere if it is forced to rise without reducing the vapour pressure of its constituents.

    And the tropopause is the result of O3-O2 transitions dumping energy. Not the height at which optical depth=1 in the IR. I’m pretty sure that that information is under the “start here” list of items to read up on.

    It’s like we have turned back time here… Anyone remember reading this site before??

    The effect of IR gas trapping is to make the earth warmer than it would be.

    And that warmer earth would have a warmer surface temperature with the adiabat dropping temperature with height because of PV=nRT up until Ozone (or equivalent process) dumped a LOT of energy without needing a lot of material to soak it up as thermal energy, making the tropopause.

    Being warmer, the air up until reaching that stasis would be at a greater height, so in so far as that generally warmer air is concerned, the IR trapping makes the atmosphere thicker, but in no significantly different way than the tropopause at the equator is higher than it is at the poles because the air is colder at the poles.

    Weather results would be that the nighttime would be MUCH colder than daytime therefore the 500mb height (to give a level) would be much higher on the dayside than the night side.

    Since the height difference of the 500mb height is cause for a thermal wind which is attempting to equalise the height of that pressure by moving air into it, you’d get terrible hurricanes.

    But you would NOT get no lapse rate. You would have a stratosphere at whatever level the chemistry says UV light gets to dump lots of energy in (which may not happen: if O2 was much less common, there would be no stratosphere because where there is enough O2 to make O3 and absorb UV would happen where the atmosphere is dense enough that there would be no chance of an extra O+ coming along before losing the opportunity).

    I *am* digging back to A level physical geography (~20 years old) and the work I’ve done since then to educate myself on what a weather model is modelling, but that’s pretty much what I remember the science being. And some of that is on this site under “start here”.

    And Walter, RH at surface level is a common metric recorded. What that section is on about is anybody’s guess. But I would suspect you of quote mining there since it doesn’t match what I know to be true.

    Comment by Mark — 4 Aug 2009 @ 2:13 PM

  91. “Persisting at that level would take the air temperature to absolute zero at an altitude of 26 km in an atmosphere that might be 50 km or so high.”

    BPL, there’s no need to get to absolute zero.

    At some density, the gas laws break down: either because the molecular constituents are not point sources at high density, or because the mean free path and collision chances are too remote to make thermalisation a likely proposition (cf the “temperature” of a vacuum tube fluorescent compared with the 4000C “optical temperature” of a white light fluorescent).

    So your 26-50km height is impossible but isn’t a feature of such an atmosphere, therefore is moot.

    Comment by Mark — 4 Aug 2009 @ 2:58 PM

  92. #79 Barton
    I’m not clear what you are referring to as “IPCC trend” but Lucia was testing AR4 (not AR1) against the AR4 future projection for this century, she tested by merging the 5 major measurement groups (which Tamino did not to adjust for autocorrelation). Her result was falsification of the AR4 projection of 2C/century for the current decade. I agree with you that this does not “invalidate” CGM’s, however another 6-7 years of data might as Steve C puts it “cause the models some statistical problems”.
    See discussion at link:
    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2008/erhmm-its-the-ipcc-ar4-projections-that-are-falsified/
    Thanks
    Edward

    Comment by Edward — 4 Aug 2009 @ 5:45 PM

  93. How long will it be before this new natural phenomenon of the ocean and atmosphere being irreversibly at thermal equilibrium occurs?

    Comment by Gregori — 4 Aug 2009 @ 7:55 PM

  94. … unless there’s a Yellowstone or Toba (re last part of 92) …

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 4 Aug 2009 @ 8:54 PM

  95. (PS I was not speaking precisely – not to imply that a smaller eruption would not also make a dent, or that 6 to 7 years is the magic number, or that the past decade’s trend is whatever)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 4 Aug 2009 @ 8:56 PM

  96. Barton–
    Your description of what I did is incomplete. I tested various temperature trends individually. (That is, GISSTemp alone, HadCRut alone etc.) Omce the data from individual runs became available, I tested the multi-model mean from the projections against the observations. Here’s a discussion of how long the multi-model mean has been outside the 95% confidence intervals using the method Santer used when rebutting Douglas’s paper on tropospheric tempeature trends.

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2009/model-mean-trend-rejecting-since-2001-for-a-year/

    You can feel free to repeat it. All the data are available at the climate explorer.

    Comment by lucia — 4 Aug 2009 @ 10:09 PM

  97. The issue is not about a single clouds life time, this just distracts from the issue. It’s an effect on the cloud formation process, not a cloud itself. Hence it can have an effect over days, or even years.

    If GCR were to allow low level clouds over the equator to form earlier each day (i.e. at lower temperature / humidity to norm), than the effect over time would lead to a reduction in SST and, in turn, a drop in average temperature. If the amount of incoming energy at the equator was reduced over a prolonged period of time, this would of course result in a reduction in global temperatures.

    This supports the potential for a valid mechanism, and the solar cycle has been observed in base flows of large river catchments and flood frequency so there is certainly some effect on the climate other than simply changes to TSI, though exactly what effect this has is the key question. I also recall a recent paper that claimed (using climate models) the sun influenced ENSO, PDO etc…

    Comment by rainwater — 4 Aug 2009 @ 11:51 PM

  98. Mark #90: but there would be no convection. An equithermal atmosphere would resist any packet of air from rising very far, even when heated by the ground. The atmosphere would be stable, like in a nighttime inversion. Dominant heat transport mechanisms would be conduction/diffusion, and any residual exchanges with the am-bi-ent radiation field. And that would maintain equithermality at around the black-body temperature.

    If your picture were correct, it would produce a “refrigerator planet” ;-)

    The ozone stuff doesn’t come in (assuming more than traces of oxygen, questionable as a planet without H2O and CO2 would be sterile) until very high up.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 5 Aug 2009 @ 1:17 AM

  99. “For a claimed ‘FD strength of 100 %’ (whatever that means)”

    The FD strength metric is plainly described in Section 2 of the paper.

    Comment by Molon Labe — 5 Aug 2009 @ 2:19 AM

  100. #92 Edward :

    Lucia did not falsify any projection for this century since this century has barely started. Another 6 or 7 years of data “might” lead to “some statistical problems” but might just as likely not. Time will tell. If it doesn’t, will the projection have been “dis-falsified” according to Lucia’s statistical methodology? Obviously not. “Falsification” on this basis is nonsensical.

    Comment by cugel — 5 Aug 2009 @ 2:47 AM

  101. Edward (#92), that’s AR(1) as in “autoregressive model”, not “Assessment Report”. (Sigh.)

    Comment by CM — 5 Aug 2009 @ 3:32 AM

  102. If one compares the sunspot number (as a proxy for GCR) to global temperature(HadCRUT3 global mean) by Fourier analysis, there is no “bump” in the temperature spectrum that corresponds to the solar cycle.

    I don’t know how that Fourier proxy stuff works, but when I compare US Temps 1880-1999 to the Umbra/Penumbra ratio or even to Whole Spot area, I get a fairly decent match. Sunspot numbers are a counting system, not a measurement.
    When you want to know how much money is in your wallet, you don’t count the number of bills. You add up the denominations at face value. Sunspots also come in denonimations…area. That’s why Greenwich went to so much trouble for 102 years measuring photos.
    I’m just a layman here. How come scientists can’t measure any more?

    Comment by Robert Bateman — 5 Aug 2009 @ 5:39 AM

  103. Edward writes:

    I’m not clear what you are referring to as “IPCC trend” but Lucia was testing AR4 (not AR1) against the AR4 future projection for this century,

    I wrote AR(1) (autoregressive model with one-period lapse), not AR1. I’m fully aware what she was “refuting.”

    she tested by merging the 5 major measurement groups (which Tamino did not to adjust for autocorrelation). Her result was falsification of the AR4 projection of 2C/century for the current decade.

    No, it wasn’t, because that was not the prediction. They did predict an increase of exactly 0.2 K every decade. That was the expected mean. There were big fat error bars which Lucia ignored. The decade was not out of line with an overall trend of 2 K per century, as Tamino ably pointed out. Lucia was wrong. Deal with it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Aug 2009 @ 5:41 AM

  104. Sometimes I wish there was a site where ordinary folks can talk about the things we are
    being warned about by science without the bickering theorists dominating the conversation
    at the Greek Heiroglyphic level.

    Comment by Robert Bateman — 5 Aug 2009 @ 6:02 AM

  105. Something tells me you wouldn’t be convinced if there was a one mile thick glacier covering the northern hemisphere. Not only that, you have turned the process of science on its head. You have to convince me that CO2 plays a significant role in climate, not the other way around. And as Carl Sagan often said, extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof. You haven’t come close to that standard.

    Comment by realist — 5 Aug 2009 @ 7:46 AM

  106. “You have to convince me that CO2 plays a significant role in climate, not the other way around”

    No, nobody has to convince you.

    You have to show the evidence.

    And the proof of CO2′s effect on IR radiation is laughably simple to do.

    Therefore you have to prove that this effect has no effect on the atmosphere.

    Comment by Mark — 5 Aug 2009 @ 9:09 AM

  107. “Sunspots also come in denonimations…area.

    Comment by Robert Bateman”

    But the spot itself (the area of the spot) is cooler than the rest of the sun. This is why it is dark.

    So please prove that the total area of the surface of the sun is a reliable measure of the radiation from the sun the earth receives.

    Comment by Mark — 5 Aug 2009 @ 9:11 AM

  108. “Mark #90: but there would be no convection.”

    Yes there would.

    There would still be thermal energy transfer by collision from the ground to the air.

    Therefore there will be warming of the ground level air beyond the normal for an ideal gas with no energy input.

    And within the air molecules themselves, there will be collisions causing thermal redistribution.

    Unless the atmosphere is cold enough to freeze or condense out, you will still have PV=nRT. Therefore a lapse rate, since the pressure of the air at a layer is equal to the weight of the air above it.

    And that would be half the weight of the pressure at the surface when you’re at a height that half the atmosphere is below.

    Ergo, at that height, the temperature would be half.

    Comment by Mark — 5 Aug 2009 @ 9:15 AM

  109. realist, it’s unclear who the “you” whom you address is meant to be.

    However, given that Tyndall was able to draw the relevant climate inferences as soon as he had measured the radiative properties of CO2 almost 150 years ago; that Arrhenius was able to model the global effects of CO2 changes via manual calculation over 100 years ago; that Plass was able to vastly extend that model, using updated spectral data and calculational technology more than 50 years ago; and that their early work is still in pretty good agreement with an increasingly intense (and expensive) international research effort carried out ever since–how can you possibly characterize the proposition that “CO2 plays a significant role in climate” as an “extraordinary claim?”

    If you are willing to be convinced, then read the literature. If not–?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 5 Aug 2009 @ 9:15 AM

  110. “This supports the potential for a valid mechanism,…

    Comment by rainwater ”

    Good. Now do some research to show that that mechanism operates.

    After all, an alien heat ray from Proxima Centauri also gives a potential for a valid explanation.

    As does the reduction of Pirates causing His Noodly Appendage’s wrath to be visited upon us.

    So see if that mechanism exists.

    Then see if it operates in such a way as to explain the changes.

    WITHOUT just fiddle factors (making up a self-referential feedback look that gives a 15-fold increase in the effect because without that, the forcing isn’t enough).

    Comment by Mark — 5 Aug 2009 @ 9:18 AM

  111. > Something tells me you wouldn’t be convinced if there was
    > a one mile thick glacier covering the northern hemisphere.

    Don’t listen to those voices you’re hearing.
    They are not giving you good information.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Aug 2009 @ 10:19 AM

  112. Mark,

    The following causes be to lose all hope of productive discussion:

    ,blockquote>“You have to convince me that CO2 plays a significant role in climate, not the other way around”

    No, nobody has to convince you.

    You have to show the evidence.

    And the proof of CO2’s effect on IR radiation is laughably simple to do.

    Therefore you have to prove that this effect has no effect on the atmosphere.

    EVERYBODY knows that CO2 has an effect on IR radiation. With no feedbacks I believe it is estimated to be about 1.2C / 100 years. I learned about it from Patrick Micheals (of all people!) No one should respond to anyone that claims it doesn’t.

    The issue is the MAGNITUDE of expected warming from CO2 due to expected feedbacks. The person you were responding to used the word “significant”. He should be more clear and acknowledge the known effect of CO2 and address his concerns to feedbacks or climate sensitivity.

    AGW proponents should stop trying to make it look like all skeptics deny the basic science of CO2′s effect on IR radiation.

    WIth that out of the way, maybe (probably not) we could move on to some substantive discussion.

    Comment by BillBodell — 5 Aug 2009 @ 10:35 AM

  113. “The following causes be to lose all hope of productive discussion:”
    “No, nobody has to convince you.”"

    Well, lets say that you aren’t convinced about something.

    Does reality change to accord yo your disbelief?

    No.

    Does it change if you are convinced?

    No.

    Reality does what it does whether you believe it or not.

    “EVERYBODY knows that CO2 has an effect on IR radiation. ”

    OK, so prove that this effect is cancelled out in a real atmosphere.

    “The issue is the MAGNITUDE of expected warming from CO2 due to expected feedbacks.”

    But that there IS an expected warming is the proof.

    If you don’t like the MAGNITUDE, then prove your value is correct.

    Comment by Mark — 5 Aug 2009 @ 10:56 AM

  114. realist wrote: “And as Carl Sagan often said, extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof.”

    Well, that’s certainly the worst thing that Carl Sagan ever said, since the judgment as to whether any particular claim qualifies as “extraordinary” is entirely subjective, as is the judgment as to whether any particular “proof” is sufficiently “extraordinary” to meet the demands of any particular claim.

    In your case, it seems clear that you are making the entirely subjective judgment that any claim that contradicts what Rush Limbaugh, George Will, Fox News, the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal, and various ExxonMobil-funded propagandists tell you about climate change is so “extraordinary” that no amount of evidence — e.g. the accumulated evidence from over a century of climate science — is sufficiently “extraordinary” to convince you.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 5 Aug 2009 @ 11:21 AM

  115. So please prove that the total area of the surface of the sun is a reliable measure of the radiation from the sun the earth receives.

    I’m not a scientist and I don’t prove anything. The White-Light Faculae are the conterpart to the Sunspot Area. They quit measuring those too. Now they measure Ca-K line, most of which cannot be seen as they blend into the glare. The ratio of that also changes compared to Sunspot area according to SFO.
    Here’s your data: http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/DeepSolarMin6.htm
    Compare the Greenwich Unbra/Penumbra/Faculae vs US Temp. Compare whatever you like on that page.
    Like I said, I’m not a scientist.

    Comment by Robert Bateman — 5 Aug 2009 @ 11:35 AM

  116. #105 realist

    The naive realist does not have proof that Co2 plays a significant role, how funny. Does the anonymous realist realize that with out the tiny fraction of Co2 in the atmosphere the planet would be a frozen ball in space?

    I think not.

    To the naive realist I suggest an experiment. Try sleeping in your freezer for one night, just to get a feel for how insignificant Co2 is with regard to climate.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 5 Aug 2009 @ 11:41 AM

  117. EVERYBODY knows that CO2 has an effect on IR radiation.

    No, actually, you still see far more people insist it doesn’t than one should rationally expect. Something tells me realist may well lie in that camp.

    Comment by dhogaza — 5 Aug 2009 @ 11:42 AM

  118. Mark,
    The dry adiabatic lapse rate (on Earth) is derived by assuming local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) with no heat loss. True, PV=nRT helps to relate the state variables P,V, and T, but by itself, this equation is insufficient to determine the adiabatic lapse rate. The problem with determining the dry adiabatic lapse rate on Venus is that the atmosphere is no longer an ideal gas, and PV=nRT cannot be used. On Venus, because of the small intermolecular distance, LTE should still apply, BUT . . . you still need to have adiabatic upwelling to generate a temperature profile that is governed by an adiabatic lapse rate. Given the large atmospheric gas densities and lack of any diurnal temperature change, it is hard to see how adiabatic upwelling will occur.

    Comment by Jeff — 5 Aug 2009 @ 12:02 PM

  119. Speaking of unconvincing, has David seen this yet? I don’t know whether it will make him laugh or cry: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ef800581r (via one of the usual suspects)

    Comment by thingsbreak — 5 Aug 2009 @ 12:14 PM

  120. 1) The Pierce and Adams paper cited simply says that using the current CGM assumptions about ion and aerosol behavior, cosmic rays can’t be that significant. It is not immediately clear that this is a criticism of Svensmark or an admission of defect in the prevailing assumptions incorporated

    2) I would not expect a reference to the Erlykin paper since there is no temperature link in this Svensmark paper. It is narrowly focused on cloud formation without a claim of any temperature correlation.

    3) You cite two really interesting works by Harrison to support a criticism of the long time frame (days) suggested by Svensmark but the second Harrison paper mentions a periodicity in the thicker cloud formation that is over a year. It would appear to that there are multiple processes at work which processes do not share the same timetables.

    I don’t know enough to decide whether Svensmark is on the mark (I am resistant to single-factor reductionist climate theories of all kinds) but I am persuaded that the state of knowledge regarding cloud formation as reflected in our current models is not exactly an invincible lasting scientific paradigm.

    The contentment that you and Gavin Schmidt share regarding GCM performance with respect to solar forcing within “large uncertainties” over a relatively short time frame would be relevant if the issue were merely our comfort levels with respect to climate theory orthodoxies of the moment. Without a better handle on cloud formation, the models will always carry a whiff of hindsighted jury-rigging when the issues clearly deserves better treatment.

    Comment by George Tobin — 5 Aug 2009 @ 12:47 PM

  121. So-called “realist”–All you accomplish by claiming we don’t understand the role of CO2 is establish your ignorance–not to mention laziness–of the science. The basics of the role of CO2 have been know since the mid 1800s. Feedbacks have been understood more or less since the early 1900s. Yes, our understanding of the climate continues to improve, but nothing in our improved understanding has decreased the urgency of the situation.

    Quit pretending. Learn.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Aug 2009 @ 12:57 PM

  122. “The problem with determining the dry adiabatic lapse rate on Venus is that the atmosphere is no longer an ideal gas, and PV=nRT cannot be used.”

    OK, don’t know if that density IS a problem, but Hank’s original query (was it hank…? it’s a long way back) was “what if we had an N2 atmosphere, hence no IR blocking.

    And that doesn’t have to have high density to be true, does it.

    Comment by Mark — 5 Aug 2009 @ 1:12 PM

  123. thingsbreak, Good lord, how does this crap get published? The CO2 ain’t going away for a long, long time. We already know that. How can these people just ignore mountains of evidence and pretend they’re doing science?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Aug 2009 @ 1:40 PM

  124. I don’t know much about this topic, but apparently the cosmic ray guys are ultimately trying to link GW to cosmic rays. And what does it mean if they eventually do so? It only makes the situation worse, since we already know GHGs link to GW. So I’d guess that if we get some cosmic ray scenario that increases the warming, that would be on top of the GHG-caused warming, and it would really make things much worse than just the GHG-caused global warming.

    And what would that mean for us and policy-makers, who presumably would want to protect life on planet earth? Since we cannot control cosmic rays, but we can control our GHG emissions, it would mean we have to reduce our GHG emissions all the more, way way down, much further than if cosmic rays were not also enhancing the warming.

    So let’s not take any chances on this, just in case the cosmic ray theory does eventually pan out. We need to start now by redoubling our efforts to reduce our GHGs. We’ve got to at least double the cuts that are currently being proposed by various governments as a run up to Copenhagen.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 5 Aug 2009 @ 1:42 PM

  125. For Robert Bateman — thanks for the wonderful photographs.
    Weaverville, nice location for astronomy.

    I hope you’ll update the solar cycle charts; it’s been interesting since January, if only because it’s been continuing unusual.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Aug 2009 @ 2:09 PM

  126. There isn’t a whole lot new about the weather or the climate changing, just that it is happening to us instead of in the past:

    Saturday, June 4, 1884 “Weather – never was there so many showers known in this portion of California as there have been in the present Spring. During the past week we have had a shower every evening. Old Settlers here inquire ‘Is our climate changing’? It appears so.
    June 14, 1884 rained every day last week.
    June 20, 1884 one inch of ice in water buckets.
    And so it went, year after year. Right up until the 1920′s, when it all changed again.
    And now, the incessant winds are back, coincident with the lackadaisacal sun.
    You have to look out for #1, nobody is going to do it for you.
    After Katrina, people should know better.
    If you don’t know the history of climate change in your own area going back 150 years, you had better start looking. Hotly debated science issues and political winds won’t save you.
    It’s every man for himself.

    Comment by Robert Bateman — 5 Aug 2009 @ 2:10 PM

  127. “Without a better handle on cloud formation, the models will always carry a whiff of hindsighted jury-rigging when the issues clearly deserves better treatment.

    Comment by George Tobin”

    Why?

    Without a good model of how turbulence forms, all aerodynamics engineering would likewise have a feeling of “hindsighted jury-rigging” if that statement of yours held in a rational sense.

    Aero engineers were designing fixed and rotary winged aircraft that people had NO PROBLEMS with putting their LIVES in their care WHILE AT THE SAME TIME, those same engineers knew bees couldn’t fly.

    That people say they think climate models jury-rigged with hindsight because clouds are not 100% well modelled is happening, but not because of rational thinking.

    Comment by Mark — 5 Aug 2009 @ 2:11 PM

  128. Mark (113), et al, except that the magnitudes were for the most part determined from the observations, not the other way around. As we went round and round before, I think the incremental (far from me to use “differential” ;-) )magnitude determination is far less than “proven.” That, of course, is added to the fact that proof is logically up to the accuser or the declarer, not the questioner — as has also been kicked around to death.

    Comment by Rod B — 5 Aug 2009 @ 3:57 PM

  129. Ray (123) re thingsbreak’s reference. Do you have some info that ACS publishes junk or the author has no credentials or credibility? The abstract offered some interesting thoughts for anyone still with open eyes — even though at first read some ideas sound like a bit of a stretch. How do you (or anyone else) KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt the residence time of CO2 with various isotopes of carbon? What happened to the canard that nothing and nobody counts unless they publish something in peer-reviewed journals? Is that now extended to include publishing stuff you don’t believe?

    Comment by Rod B — 5 Aug 2009 @ 4:25 PM

  130. Do you have some info that ACS publishes junk or the author has no credentials or credibility?

    You tell us if the author has credentials relevant to climate science:

    “Essenhigh is a professor of mechanical engineering whose main focus is in the area of combustion.”

    The journal in question is “Energy and Fuels”.

    Along with being my primary source of information on climate, I will also consult it to determine whether or not I need to take prophylactic antimalarial medication before going to Costa Rica this coming fall.

    Comment by dhogaza — 5 Aug 2009 @ 4:48 PM

  131. Essenhigh has a history of disproving AGW, for instance this essay in another well-known climate science journal, “Chemical Innovation”, back in 2001.

    Enjoy!

    Comment by dhogaza — 5 Aug 2009 @ 4:55 PM

  132. This commentary on the 2001 piece may provide entertainment, as well.

    RodB, I’m disappointed that you haven’t applied your unbiased skepticism to this guy’s work.

    Comment by dhogaza — 5 Aug 2009 @ 4:59 PM

  133. #129 Rod B

    Peer review is important, but not essential… remember?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/peer-review-a-necessary-but-not-sufficient-condition/

    Whether or not a paper survives peer response is more important. We all know junk can get published. Also, as we now know, some will publish a rehash of what is already known just to be able to say they have recently been published, i.e. Bob Carter. That does not increase his relevance though.

    Yes, a paper can have interesting material in it and still, in consideration of the whole, fail to be relevant.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 5 Aug 2009 @ 5:09 PM

  134. Rod B asks :”Ray (123) re thingsbreak’s reference. Do you have some info that ACS publishes junk or the author has no credentials or credibility?”

    There is now!

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 5 Aug 2009 @ 5:21 PM

  135. http://arjournals.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.energy.32.041706.124700

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Aug 2009 @ 6:28 PM

  136. Mark,

    Well, I screwed up the blockquote, so the first part was a little tough to interpret. My bad.

    My point is that a discussion that goes like this (and I’ll use negative labels for both sides to be even-handed):

    Denier: “The expected warming from CO2 will not be significant”

    Alarmist: “You idiot, the effect of CO2 on warming is settled science”

    Is a less than fruitful way to advance the discussion.

    How about:

    Denier: “I understand that CO2 leads to warming. But I believe that feedbacks are overstated and the result will not be Catastropic AGW, but something that we can handle via adaptation”

    Alarmist: “I believe you are wrong. The feedbacks are known to be substantial because of blah and blah and if nothing is done there will be a catastrophe”.

    Now that would be a debate I’d be interested in following.

    Comment by BillBodell — 5 Aug 2009 @ 6:46 PM

  137. Where, on the other hand, is a single verifiable instance of a climate denier being silenced by the authorities? They have yet to produce one. But it suits them to cry wolf. They love to imagine that they are important enough to censor. The claim chimes with their paranoid invocation of a great conspiracy – involving most of the world’s scientists, most of the world’s governments, most of the world’s media and a few hundred million others – to suppress the truth about global warming.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/jul/30/climate-change-deniers-monbiot

    Comment by savegaia — 5 Aug 2009 @ 6:53 PM

  138. [work pointed out in 119] – that’s a piece of Holly-l digestive asteway product! (it had to be said)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 5 Aug 2009 @ 7:23 PM

  139. I’ve just been looking at the Atlas of the Global Water Cycle published by Wee Ho Lim Michael L. Roderick of the Australian national University. It is a compendium of mapped and plotted rainfall and evaporation outputs from the various IPCC climate models. It has both global and Australia only versions of each map and plot.

    The really notably thing (as evident in the plots and discussed in the summary) is that few of the model runs accurately predict Australian rainfall. Many are wildly off, some with huge variations between different runs of the same model. And some runs predict an increase in rainfall whereas others predict a decrease. (Although the summary in the end does not separate northern Australia where rainfall is generally expected to increase from southern Australia where it is expected to decrease.)

    I would be great if RealClimate could provide a run-down of where we are at with the models including some estimates of how far off we are from having models that produce meaningful regional forecasts.

    Comment by Craig Allen — 5 Aug 2009 @ 7:53 PM

  140. Rod B., Essenhigh’s article is pure unadulterated bull pucky from word one. What he’s proposing doesn’t even make sense. Not only should it never have been published, it could be used as fodder for a judgment of noncompis mentis. Think about it Rod. Nearly half the CO2 we produce is still going into the oceans–we are producing more than enough CO2 to account for the rise in CO2 levels. What is more, we know by isotopic composition that the carbon going into the atmosphere is from a fossil source. This Idjit proposes no credible “natural” sources. For God’s sake man, if you are going to claim to be a skeptic, could you at least try to not look so damned gullible!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Aug 2009 @ 8:00 PM

  141. dhogaza (130), are you then stating that ACS publishes junk? Do you think knowingly? Wouldn’t you think a PhD specializing in energy conversion knows something about CO2 processing?

    If you read my note (better if eyes open…) you might notice my skeptical comment. I think he has the credentials to discuss CO2 lifetimes and shouldn’t be discarded Pavlov style. While I didn’t and can’t explore it further to verify, his foray into climatology in this paper struck me as dubious.

    To be clean “thingsbreak’s reference” didn’t imply thingsbreak supported it.

    Comment by Rod B — 5 Aug 2009 @ 8:13 PM

  142. John P. Reisman (133), the moderators of RC are pretty objective in their thoughts on peer review. Other posters here though are not, and peer review published history is a requirement for even opening one’s mouth and is often the concluding debate point.

    Comment by Rod B — 5 Aug 2009 @ 8:20 PM

  143. Robert Bateman 5 August 2009 at 2:10 PM

    [pointless anecdotes redacted]

    “You have to look out for #1, nobody is going to do it for you.
    After Katrina, people should know better.
    If you don’t know the history of climate change in your own area going back 150 years, you had better start looking. Hotly debated science issues and political winds won’t save you.
    It’s every man for himself.”

    Because it’s so incoherently scrawled I’m not 100% sure, but I think in this I’m hearing a classic Libertarian message of romantic buckskin-clad survival of the fittest.

    The reality is that even the toughest Davy Crockett is not going to thrive when his enemies act from a distance, invisibly to him, individually unidentifiable and unaccountable to him, immune to any form of defense or retribution by him. He and perhaps more importantly his children and grandchildren will be the more miserable for trying to live governed only by personal virtue in a sentimentally appealing fantasy world not accessible to real persons.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 Aug 2009 @ 10:37 PM

  144. I have heard that Real Climate bans or ignores anyone but pro-AGW scientists. Obviously, that is not true.
    Thank you for putting up with me.

    Comment by Robert Bateman — 5 Aug 2009 @ 10:54 PM

  145. Mark (127), you say, “Without a good model of how turbulence forms, all aerodynamics engineering would likewise have a feeling of “hindsighted jury-rigging” if that statement of yours held in a rational sense.
    Aero engineers were designing fixed and rotary winged aircraft that people had NO PROBLEMS with putting their LIVES in their care WHILE AT THE SAME TIME, those same engineers knew bees couldn’t fly.

    What’s your point here?

    You’re obviously schooled enough to know the relationship between an analogy and proof in an argument, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what you’re trying to do with this one, or why you’d even consider it a reasonable analogy in the first place?

    And please explain what you mean by a “rational sense”?

    Ron

    Comment by Ron — 5 Aug 2009 @ 11:32 PM

  146. dhogaza (130), are you then stating that ACS publishes junk?

    Since they published one piece of junk, the answer’s obvious: yes.

    Do you think knowingly?

    Given that the Journal in both cases have nothing to do with climate science, in some sense, you could say “no”. What this means, though, is that they’re too effing stupid to differentiate gold from junk in this field, and hopefully will cease and desist.

    So here we have what is essentially an engine-building engineer publishing in an engine-related journal disproving climate science wrong, and RodB does a muff-dive in appreciation.

    If a climate science journal published a paper by Mann showing that IC engines don’t work, would RodB react with the same earth-bowing, boot-licking respect?

    nah..

    Wouldn’t you think a PhD specializing in energy conversion knows something about CO2 processing?

    No. AGW theory isn’t based on CO2 combusting.

    If you read my note (better if eyes open…) you might notice my skeptical comment.

    Nothing skeptical in that comment.

    I think he has the credentials to discuss CO2 lifetimes and shouldn’t be discarded Pavlov style.

    Then why doesn’t he even begin to discuss the carbon cycle? The atmosphere isn’t an IC cylinder igniting fossil fuel and emitting CO2, it interacts with the biosphere, earth and sea.

    Comment by dhogaza — 5 Aug 2009 @ 11:33 PM

  147. I will add … this exchange is more proof that RodB is a denialist, not a skeptic. He really thinks this mech engineer really has an excellent chance at overturning all of climate science.

    Hopefully he’s right, so this mech engineer can continue to design ever more powerful IC engines, which is, after all, the fruit of his labor.

    Comment by dhogaza — 5 Aug 2009 @ 11:36 PM

  148. And, RodB,if this guy is right, oceans are now (and have been for decades) a net source, rather than net sink, for CO2.

    Can you point me to where this crank references observational data to show that this is true? Or where he conclusively shows that observations that oceans are currently a net sink are wrong?

    This stuff he impresses you with falls apart unless there’s observational evidence that strongly contradicts the observational evidence that the oceans are net sinks of CO2, now.

    And he cites nothing of the sort.

    Where’s your skepticism, RodB?

    Comment by dhogaza — 5 Aug 2009 @ 11:44 PM

  149. My take is:

    Denialist: “The expected warming from CO2 will not be significant”

    Alarmist: “Prove it”

    Comment by Mark — 6 Aug 2009 @ 1:59 AM

  150. Of course, you’d prefer:

    1, Denialist: “CO2 warming is not significant”
    2, Alarmist: “Prove it”
    3, Denialist: “No, I don’t have to, since you are the one making claims”

    See #1

    Comment by Mark — 6 Aug 2009 @ 2:02 AM

  151. You’re wrong RodB: “Mark (113), et al, except that the magnitudes were for the most part determined from the observations, not the other way around.”

    The magnitudes were taken originally from the first person to use a computer powerful enough to do the calculations: Gilbert Plass, in 1956.

    Increasing CO2 alone produces about 6C warming per doubling.

    A GCM produces less than that because it includes cloud feedbacks and a change in the adiabatic lapse rate which Plass’s computer wasn’t designed to answer. It was designed to answer just “Does the effect of CO2 plateau because of Beers Law operating?” and the answer was “no”.

    Comment by Mark — 6 Aug 2009 @ 2:05 AM

  152. I admire Svensmark for his creativity and willingness to test new theories that go against the grain. Scientists willing to work against the dominant paradigm ensure that science progresses even when the masses might happen to be partly or wholly incorrect. I also think that the correlation between cosmic rays and cloudiness (and to a lesser extent, that between solar cycle length and temperature when the right averaging length is applied) is just compelling enough for me to reserve an ounce of skepticism regarding the *magnitude* of anthropogenically-induced global warming, which I consider to be theoretically obvious (how could absorption and re-emission of terrestrial radiation but transmission of solar radiation possibly not cause at least some degree of warming?). The recent 2003-2008 temperature drop could have been due to La Nina alone, or perhaps to some combination of factors that included the low solar activity, if the amplification mechanisms are true. The arguments against his theory are, in my mind, no more convincing than his arguments in its support. I remain undecided and unconvinced. However, the following is certain. The fact that the transient July 2009 upward spike in mean global, satellite-induced temperature is approaching record territory *despite the lull in solar activity and the presumed increase in cosmic ray intensity* does NOT work in his favour. The satellite trend is really starting to look more and more like continued AGW warming with noise introduced by oceanic effects! I’m nearly back to being pro-AGW… but I’m a born skeptic.

    Comment by lulo — 6 Aug 2009 @ 2:10 AM

  153. George Tobin writes:

    Without a better handle on cloud formation, the models will always carry a whiff of hindsighted jury-rigging when the issues clearly deserves better treatment.

    The latest evidence is that cloud feedback is positive:

    Clement, A.C., Burgman R., and J.R. Norris 2009. “Observational and Model Evidence for Positive Low-Level Cloud Feedback.” Science 325, 460-464.

    So cloud feedback can’t save the denialists after all.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Aug 2009 @ 6:16 AM

  154. Lulo says of Svensmark: “The arguments against his theory are, in my mind, no more convincing than his arguments in its support.”

    Well, other than the fact that GCR fluxes have not changed appreciably in 60 years–precisely the period when we saw the greatest warming. Oh, and then there’s the fact that he doesn’t have a convincing mechanism. Now maybe, just maybe there’s an effect there. It’s very interesting if there is. It just won’t save our sorry asses.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Aug 2009 @ 7:50 AM

  155. Ray Ladbury says:

    “Oh, and then there’s the fact that he doesn’t have a convincing mechanism. Now maybe, just maybe there’s an effect there. It’s very interesting if there is. It just won’t save our sorry asses.”

    In the normal progression of science the next step will be to find the mechanism. Have you read the paper? Does he not address the supposed issue of unchanging GCR flux? Here we have a scientist who is developing a possible theory on the influence of GCRs on climate. Each step builds on the last and each step may lead to an explanation or to a dead end. That’s real science.

    BPL – “The latest evidence is that cloud feedback is positive:”

    The Clement et. al. paper is no slam dunk so I wouldn’t hang my shingle on it.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 6 Aug 2009 @ 9:37 AM

  156. 114 – SecularAnimist – And GE is not putting out their own AGW agenda?

    127 – Mark – How many aero engineers do you know? Having been involved with these engineers in modeling and designing helicopter blades, on hybrid and digital computers, we were all aware bees could fly. According to one aero drag equation, drag increases to infinity at Mach 1, but bullets didn’t have a problem breaking the sound barrier. We also were aware of that.

    Comment by J. Bob — 6 Aug 2009 @ 9:37 AM

  157. Dhogaza (146+), I don’t necessarily fully agree, but your answers to my publishing questions have some basis.

    I don’t remember any muff dive or boot licking; I don’t even know what an earth bow is. I did not express any “appreciation” in the grand sense.

    You answered, “No. AGW theory isn’t based on CO2 combusting” which is probably accurate (or maybe not..??) but has no relevance to my question.

    You said, “Nothing skeptical in that comment” which proves my assertion that reading with eyes open is better.

    You ask, “Then why doesn’t he even begin to discuss the carbon cycle?” It might be more complete in the full study, but the abstract does hint at that all too briefly and loosely.

    His conclusion that CO2 lifetimes are likely considerably shorter than generally assumed is based in part on observation and supported by numerous other studies (which I can’t verify), and by uncertainties expressed by the IPCC. I think that is deserving of further thought and analysis despite it countering the AGW dogma. His further conclusion on the direct effect on AGW is short on credibility.

    I’ve said thousands of times that I do believe in the holocaust.

    Comment by Rod B — 6 Aug 2009 @ 10:34 AM

  158. Mark, other than one can not prove a negative by definition…

    I will now claim that the Sun will rise in the NNE 100 years from now. Either accept that or prove I’m wrong. The onus is yours.

    Comment by Rod B — 6 Aug 2009 @ 10:39 AM

  159. Denialists are not going to cross your eyes and dot your t’s if you step out into the public and start telling them that clouds are going to boil the seas and fry the land. Everyday people are likely to cause you bodily harm after their intelligence has been insulted, given the misery that the last “we must act quickly” call has caused them.
    Don’t try that in the local bar. Really.
    Forget about the denialists being saved.
    The public is growing largely denialist as they think you are tyring to pull the wool over thier eyes.
    And they are growing agitated over the 24/7 media blitz that every weather event is Global Warming.
    Take the public litmus test, if you don’t believe me.
    They react just as badly to warnings of Deep Solar Minimum.
    They don’t want to hear it any more.

    Comment by Robert Bateman — 6 Aug 2009 @ 11:38 AM

  160. Denialists are not going to cross your eyes and dot your t’s if you step out into the public and start telling them that clouds are going to boil the seas and fry the land

    Good thing climate science makes no such claims, then.

    The public is growing largely denialist as they think you are tyring to pull the wool over thier eyes.

    Or perhaps because they’re being lied to about climate science, just as you did above …

    Comment by dhogaza — 6 Aug 2009 @ 12:08 PM

  161. BillBodell wrote:

    Denier: “The expected warming from CO2 will not be significant”

    The observed warming from the observed anthropogenic increase in CO2 is already “significant”.

    Indeed, the observed warming from the observed anthropogenic increase in CO2 is already “alarming”.

    Your hypothetical Denier doesn’t merely need to support his assertion that warming “will not be significant” — he needs to explain what he thinks is going to reverse the significant warming that has already occurred, which is already having dangerous effects on the Earth’s climate, hydrosphere, cryosphere and biosphere.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 6 Aug 2009 @ 12:16 PM

  162. Robert Bateman wrote: “Everyday people are likely to cause you bodily harm after their intelligence has been insulted, given the misery that the last ‘we must act quickly’ call has caused them.”

    What in the world are you babbling about? What “call”? What “misery”? What “insult”?

    What a lot of nonsense.

    If you have something to say, please say it, and desist with the too-clever cutesy obscurities.

    And why should anyone give the slightest credence to your assessments of public opinion?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 6 Aug 2009 @ 12:19 PM

  163. Robert Bateman 6 August 2009 at 11:38 AM

    The picture you paint sounds akin to some of the uglier phases of human history, such as the later period of the English Reformation. Certainly today we’ve got some unholy alliances in play featuring the deepest forms of cynicism exploiting the gullible in order to preserve the existing arrangement of cash flow, a feature in common with parts of the Reformation.

    Your dark imaginings of bar brawls and an agitated publics’ strained patience on the verge of erupting into flames are something entirely new for me to read here. By any chance, are you yourself harboring deep resentment verging on violence, and if so why?

    We live in a time when rhetoric found in our mass media is flirting with monstrous impulses, again in order to preserve the status quo. One needs to be very careful not to end up as a foolish foot soldier; the authenticity of one’s state of mind is worth pondering.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 6 Aug 2009 @ 12:26 PM

  164. J. Bob wrote: “And GE is not putting out their own AGW agenda?”

    No, in fact, General Electric is not propagandizing the public about the reality of anthropogenic global warming. They are certainly not spending many tens of millions of dollars to fund propaganda mills disguised as “conservative” think-tanks to deliberately and elaborately deceive the public with blatant lies and phony-baloney pseudoscience, as ExxonMobil has done for decades and continues to do to this day.

    What General Electric is doing — along with Intel, Google and plenty of other corporations — is recognizing that there is plenty of money to be made from the clean energy, efficiency and smart-grid technologies that will drive the post-fossil-fuel, new industrial revolution of the 21st century. And they are aggressively working to be part of that revolution and make a lot of money from doing so.

    Fossil fuels are the past. Clean energy is the future. Cast your lot where you will. ExxonMobil’s strategy of obstruction and delay won’t work forever. Their obsolescence is inevitable.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 6 Aug 2009 @ 12:27 PM

  165. re #155

    with respect to your comment (my italics):

    In the normal progression of science the next step will be to find the mechanism. Have you read the paper? Does he not address the supposed issue of unchanging GCR flux? Here we have a scientist who is developing a possible theory on the influence of GCRs on climate. Each step builds on the last and each step may lead to an explanation or to a dead end. That’s real science

    It sounds like you’re praising the paper without having read it Richard! We can answer your question “Does he not address the supposed issue of unchanging GCR flux?” , with a straightforward “no, he does not address the issue of unchanging GCR flux, which, by the way , is not “supposed”". It’s a simple answer. He doesn’t address that question. The unchanging GCR flux (since 1950) is real and not “supposed”:

    http://ulysses.sr.unh.edu/NeutronMonitor/Misc/neutron2.html

    So there’s no influence of GCR on climate with respect the period of very marked warming of the last 30-odd years. We can extend the absence of evidence of a GCR effect on climate back through the last 1000 years.

    It would be unfortunate if we were taken in by nonsense in press releases and on dodgy web sites, when the putative “CRF-climate link” is irrelevant to our present circumstances, however interesting it might be to study this…

    Comment by chris — 6 Aug 2009 @ 12:43 PM

  166. For Robert Bateman, you wrote

    > clouds are going to boil the seas and fry the land …
    > their intelligence has been insulted …
    > misery that … “we must act quickly” call has caused …
    > they think you are tyring to pull the wool over thier eyes.
    > … the 24/7 media blitz that every weather event
    > is Global Warming.

    See, the serious posters here object to that crap just as much as the folks up in the mountains with their shotguns.
    There’s no limit to nitwittery and it shows up out at the edges of every political dimension.

    But ask yourself — where did you read all these claims?

    Earlier you posted that you’d heard [somewhere] that RC censored everyone but scientists something-or-other.

    That was wrong, as you said you’ve found from your own experience.

    So — What sources are you relying on?
    And why do you trust them?

    This is a serious question. There is a whole lot of bad information, a whole lot of PR spin, and very few people who both understand the science and try to explain it even-handedly.

    Some of those folks are available here. You can read their publications in the sidebar, in the science journals.

    _Most_ of us here are just readers like yourself, no more to be relied on than any other guy in a bar until they’ve established some track record for reliability at honestly reading and discussing the science.

    Remember — if you write polemics that attract flamers and net-wits, they’ll show up here. They aren’t ‘censored’ either, not til they prove themselves consistently useless.

    So — think about where you were getting your information.
    Question _every_ source and look for primary references.
    Ask, thoughtfully.

    This will help.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Aug 2009 @ 1:01 PM

  167. Re Rod B. (although I went off on a tanget here that applies to some others more than you):

    “Mark, other than one can not prove a negative by definition…”
    What’s a negative and a positive here? A numerical predicted relationship based on paleo-evidence for that relationship and laws of physics

    (PS as a system of equations to be solved, it is in some respects overdetermined – fewer variables than equations, unless we get too specific in our predictions (by predicting many dimensions) – of course with so many constraining relationships and so many possible variables to solve, such neat categorizations get a bit blury, so we end up with ranges of uncertainties rather than overdetermined vs underdetermined vs… and of course some contraints are actually inequalities… so never mind)

    could be ‘falsified’ in varying amounts with two different signs possible for each dimension, and in fact some error is expected (for example, our best prediction might be 3.00 deg C per doubling of CO2 from 300 to 600 ppm given the present arrangements of continents and ice sheets and extant species etc., but we might also predict with large confidence that it will not be 3.00 deg C exactly).

    The existence of any relationship – a boolean quantity – could be falsified out right but of course the mere existence of a relationship was long ago made almost necessary by basic physics – the only way out of it is some very precise counteracting mechanism that has yet to be discovered and this appears to be falsified by mountains of data.


    “I will now claim that the Sun will rise in the NNE 100 years from now. Either accept that or prove I’m wrong. The onus is yours.”

    Depends on latitude. With precession being quite slow with respect to 100 years, 100 years from *now* will be on the Northern Hemisphere summer side of the equinoxes, so the sun will rise north of east and set north of east everywhere that it rises and sets, but in many places this will be NE or ENE; at some latitudes NNE, at one latitude the sun could be said to rise and set in the same instant at due N, and north of that latitude the sun will neither rise nor set for a range of days centered about the Northern Hemisphere summer solstice.

    That is of course a prediction that depends on several assumptions, including that most of us are not hallucinating most of the time, that what we have identified so far as the laws of physics are indeed laws of physics and not some 13-billions-year coincidental correlation that will stop soon, etc, and on the less esoteric side, that the Earth is not struck by some very large asteroid able to change rotation, tilt, and trajectory significantly, etc…

    PS to whoever asked about science and burden of proof: Relationship of CO2 to temperature without feedbacks besides blackbody radiation feedback already firmly established, would feel comfortable betting life’s work on it.

    Some immediate feedbacks established to varying degrees.

    Thus the burden of proof mainly rests mainly with any claims that either shift the climate sensitivity in either direction from where it is now thought to be, or narrow the range of uncertainty from where it now stands.

    And so on for what climate change means to ecosystems, economies, etc.

    PS somewhere above I think someone implied that a dry adiabatic lapse rate would have T inversely proportional to p as in the ideal gas law for constant V – but V is not constant; the actual relationship is harder to derive because an adiabatic lapse rate has constant s (specific entropy), while v, p, and T change; the relationship is T/T0 = (p/p0)^exponent, where I believe (off the top of my head, here) ‘exponent’ is R/cp, (ratio of ideal gas constant to specific heat at constant pressure, the later being the coefficient of temperature in the formula for enthalpy (internal energy is cv*T, enthalpy is cp*T, the difference is the work done by expansion at pressure p; cp = R + cv for ideal gas). (T0 is the temperature at p = p0, and for p0 = 1000 mb, T0 = ‘theta’ = potential temperature).

    An adiabatic process is isentropic (constant entropy) and thus is reversable. A moist adiabatic process is also isentropic and reversable when the entropy is that of the entire parcel of air including all phases of water, so long as their is no mixing or sorting – it ceases to be adiabatic upon precipitation (removal of water from the air), upon evaporation from water that was not part of the air before (from precipitation from other air or from wet surface), or when two air masses of different properties are mixed.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 6 Aug 2009 @ 1:29 PM

  168. Iulo writes:

    I also think that the correlation between cosmic rays and cloudiness (and to a lesser extent, that between solar cycle length and temperature when the right averaging length is applied) is just compelling enough for me to reserve an ounce of skepticism regarding the *magnitude* of anthropogenically-induced global warming, which I consider to be theoretically obvious (how could absorption and re-emission of terrestrial radiation but transmission of solar radiation possibly not cause at least some degree of warming?)

    WHAT correlation? Take a look here:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Sun.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Aug 2009 @ 1:42 PM

  169. Robert Bateman writes:

    Everyday people are likely to cause you bodily harm after their intelligence has been insulted, given the misery that the last “we must act quickly” call has caused them.
    Don’t try that in the local bar. Really.
    Forget about the denialists being saved.
    The public is growing largely denialist as they think you are tyring to pull the wool over thier eyes.
    And they are growing agitated over the 24/7 media blitz that every weather event is Global Warming.
    Take the public litmus test, if you don’t believe me.
    They react just as badly to warnings of Deep Solar Minimum.
    They don’t want to hear it any more.

    And what relevance does ANY of that have to whether AGW is really happening or not? “I am losing interest in this” cannot by any logical means lead to “This is not true.”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Aug 2009 @ 1:44 PM

  170. oops.. I posted this in the wrong place: It ought to be here Not being an advocate of either the anthropogenic or the sceptic side, as I think both need to formulate convincing methodologies and experiments, there’s a lot of talk about the discovery of the heat trapping properties of c02, which supposedly is the ancestry of the modern consensus. However, in trawling the internet on “19th century c02 science”, I also came across this. The Woods experiment

    http://neighbors.denverpost.com/blog.php/2009/02/04/greenhouse-theory-disproved-a-century-ago/

    Comment by Peter Wilson — 6 Aug 2009 @ 4:13 PM

  171. Peter Wilson 6 August 2009 at 4:13 PM

    The Roof Only Limits Loss.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 6 Aug 2009 @ 5:22 PM

  172. Re 170,

    If you keep looking you’ll find opinion blogs with an ignorance level way beyond “Woods proves there’s no such thing as global warming”. At some point you’ll come up against howlers such as “the 2nd law of thermodynamics proves there’s no such thing as global warming”.

    Comment by spilgard — 6 Aug 2009 @ 6:21 PM

  173. I’m only interested in the bandwiths of c02 and their saturation point. If for example two equal chambers were subject to the same temperature of 30C for the same duration such as half an hour, one containing 380ppm of c02 and the other 600ppm, the chamber with 380ppm should, under present climate theory, remain at around 30C whereas the one with 600ppm should reach a temperature of 34C, since the notion says that extra c02 increases temperature. The question is: Where does the extra 4C come from, given that the sourse of radiation is fixed at 30C?

    [Response: This is rather confused I'm afraid. There is a good description of the greenhouse effect at Wikipedia. Read that and then come back if you still find something confusing. In your example you have confused the concepts of 'temperature' and 'radiation'. - gavin]

    Comment by Peter Wilson — 6 Aug 2009 @ 6:33 PM

  174. Re 170.

    You do realise that the term “greenhouse effect” is a metaphor, right? It doesn’t mean that the atmosphere is actually a greenhouse – there isn’t a big layer of glass all around the planet.

    Have a look at this to see the difference between a greenhouse and the atmosphere.

    Comment by CTG — 6 Aug 2009 @ 6:37 PM

  175. Re 170 – kudos to you for not ‘choosing’ before you know more. To help you know more:

    I don’t know exactly what the Woods experiment is, but to cover the bases:

    1. ‘greenhouse effect’: the basic idea is that when energy going into and leaving a system is of two different forms, the properties of a system can affect the energy inflow and energy outflow differently; for a greenhouse effect, the energy outflow is a loss of heat energy from the system in some way – radiative, convective, or conduction, or some combination. Depending on specifics, heat tends to flow spontaneously from higher to lower temperature (specifically, this is the ‘net’ flow of ‘heat’ energy), and in some way proportional to the difference in temperatures. If the energy inflow that adds heat the system is different than the heat outflow, the system must be gaining or losing ‘heat’ energy, and outside of phase changes and chemical reactions (or in extreme circumstances, nuclear), this tends to result in a change in temperature, which will tend to change the heat outflow to reduce the imbalance in energy fluxes. Thus, if the properties of the system are changed to reduce the loss of heat for a given temperature distribution, then the temperature will tend to rise within the system until balance is restored between the energy fluxes.

    In the broad manner,
    a.
    putting on a coat in the winter to stay warm (reduces conduction and convection (including perspiration), and radiation, from the skin to the cold air for a given temperature difference, so that the same metabolic rate and blood flow will result in a higher equilibrium skin temperature),
    b.
    using a greenhouse (allowing a large fraction of solar energy in but inhibiting convection out (and maybe radiation, or not – depending on glass properties, perhaps?),
    or
    c.
    adding CO2 to the atmosphere (increasing optical thickness with greatest effect in a range of wavelengths between about 12 and 18 microns, so that the cooler upper layers of the troposphere become more visible from above at the expense of the visibility of the warmer surface below, and the cold darkness of space is less visible from all levels within the atmosphere and at the surface, so that for the same temperature distribution over height, there is a reduced net upward longwave radiant flux, so that the troposphere and surface system as a whole will tend to gain ‘heat’ energy – PS stratospheric cooling occurs at the same time because it recieves less radiation from below and also radiates more strongly to space due to increased visibility (which comes at the expense of the visibility of the layers below as seen from above)
    -
    these all follow the same pattern and the term ‘greenhouse effect’ makes sense even though there are differences among the phenomena.

    2.
    With notable variations over latitude, time of day, time of year, etc, the general tendency is for radiative forcing by itself to make the surface+lower atmosphere unstable to convection; thus, convection occurs (not everywhere at all times, but heat energy is stored over time, and heat transported vertically can also move horizontally – air at high latitudes may carry heat from lower latitudes that came from the surface at lower latitudes). Air expands and cools as it rises to levels of lower pressure (dry adiabatic lapse rate)- less rapidly if water vapor is condensing due to release of latent heat (moist adiabatic lapse rate). Thus, when the air temperature decreases with height faster than the dry adiabatic lapse rate, the air overturns, and this happens so effectively that no such ‘superadiabatic lapse rates’ occur on large scales – they can be found in particular at the surface in the daytime (or over a warm ocean current with cold air blowing over it, etc.) because the surface slows convection (air has to stop in the vertical direction and spread or contract horizontally). Convection tends to maintain a lapse rate that is of neutral stability – within the troposphere, this tends to be a moist adiabatic lapse rate (except below cloud bases, where that applies) because water vapor evaporates from the surface and condenses and precipitates. Convection cannot penetrate to any and all levels of the atmosphere (because of cooling with height) and certainly cannot carry significant energy into space; ultimately the heat energy escaping to space must be almost entirely in the form of radiation. Convection does couple the various vertical levels of the the troposphere and surface so that the temperature at all vertical levels tend to shift together in response to changes in net radiative heating of the whole surface-troposphere system (which is proportional to the radiative forcing at the tropopause level) – although the rate and structure of convection may change depending on exactly how the radiative heating/cooling is distributed within the system. There are some latitudinal, regional, seasonal, and diurnal variations, etc, in this pattern, due to patterns of atmospheric circulation and feedbacks – for the present climate state, in any global warming forced by something not too idiosyncratic (so that the similarities in feedbacks are more important), the general tendency is for the mid-to-upper troposphere to warm more than the surface in the lowert latitudes due to the decrease in the moist adiabatic lapse rate with an increase in temperature (because the saturation water vapor pressure is roughly exponentially proportional to temperature, so at saturation (as in a cloud), there is more condensation per unit decrease in temperature at higher temperatures); at higher latitudes, the air tends to be more stable to convection because the air is heated from horizontal convection from lower latitudes – this is especially true in winter – and the snow-ice albedo feedbacks occur at surface level, so the greatest warming within the troposphere at higher latitudes tends to be near the surface, and the greatest warming is also in winter (though the seasonal timing mechanism is complicated – summer sea ice loss allows greater storage of solar heat in the water but without much temperature increase – the temperature increase occurs in the cold season because the water has to lose more heat before freezing can occur).

    3.
    You may have heard that the CO2 radiative effect is saturated. It is true that, at any given wavelength, except when temperature variations are over shorter distances, adding the same additional longwave optical thickness has a decreasing effect on net longwave fluxes when the starting opacity is greater. The effect of additional CO2 is less than it would be if there were less CO2 to start with, or less cloud cover (especially high cloud cover) or less water vapor (especially upper tropopsheric water vapor) (PS I’d expect CO2-water vapor overlap has a smaller effect on additional CO2 for tropopause level radiation than for the surface, because water vapor is concentrated near the surface). However, there is some small but nonzero opacity for CO2 outside the 12 to 18 micron band. The general tendency is for the range of wavelengths of significant CO2 opacity to expand in proportion to the logarithm of the CO2 amount.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 6 Aug 2009 @ 7:26 PM

  176. SecularAnimist –
    “And they are aggressively working to be part of that revolution and make a lot of money from doing so.” Sounds like evil Exxon, only they (GE, etc.) are formulating a revolution.

    GE is like any other company, they want to make profits. Do you think that GE does not have a vested interest in wind turbines, power generators, nuclear reactors, etc. and is lily white? Check your pension fund, it may have significant shares of Exxon, BP, Chevron, Marathon, etc. Why? Because they pay good dividends to retired teachers firemen, police, retired government employees. That’s where a significant amount of their profit goes.

    Comment by J. Bob — 6 Aug 2009 @ 9:54 PM

  177. Patrick 027 (167), We’re talking of proving a negative concept, not that one mathematical part of the concept is incorrect. If I claimed the rise per doubling is NOT 3 degrees +/-, then that burden of a “negative” proof would be mine. But in maintaining the logic I would actually have to prove another positive, like say the rise is 2.4 degrees +/- to “disprove” the 3 degree rise. A concept doesn’t require numbers. We skeptics are being asked to prove that AGW kinda in its entirety is not and never will happen. That can not be done. It does not matter if the argument/evidence for AGW is zero or infinite. Like you can’t prove that the sun will NOT rise on the NNE horizon.

    There are however where the charge is over a specific piece. In the example where the theory is unassailably shown. e.g. CO2 absorbs IR radiation to some degree, the onus is back on me to prove that it doesn’t, if I so claim. But in areas of specificity where it is not unassailably shown (the solid belief by some in it not withstanding). e.g. the specific degree of IR radiation by CO2 in certain circumstances, I would retain some burden of evidence or proof of its negative. But, lacking that, could reject and would not have to accept (and would be scientifically correct) the positive premise until it is finally shown to be unassailably correct.

    This was much simpler when I was sparring with Mark! ;-)

    Interesting post. (yours!)

    Comment by Rod B — 6 Aug 2009 @ 10:15 PM

  178. I’m not disputing the logic of the observations, Patrick. The way laymen like me understand the climate is that shortwave heat from the sun hits the earth, landmass, oceans and then longwave re-radiation leaves the earth and gets progressively cooler on its upward/outward transit. Some of this is intercepted and re-transmitted by c02 then heads back into the atmosphere, oceans, landmass etc.

    Here’s where it gets tricky for me. In order for the hypothesis to be valid, the 3rd point of heat transfer – the greenhouse effect – would have to be at least as warm as ground based temperatures in order to cause global warming, or to increase the temperature above what it would be if there was less co2. yet surely optimum temperatures are already achieved from incoing shortwave radiation..

    Comment by Peter Wilson — 6 Aug 2009 @ 10:57 PM

  179. Peter, the Woods experiment is irrelevant to the AGW hypothesis because the actual mechanisms are different in each case. A physical greenhouse works by confining the air heated by the solar radiation; the atmospheric “greenhouse effect” works essentially by raising the effective altitude (and hence lowering the temperature) from the atmospheric layer which radiates IR to space. Simplified, the CO2 slows down the rate of cooling.

    In your thought experiment you don’t characterize the “radiation” to which each is subjected, nor the chamber walls. But if the radiation were IR of the correct frequencies, and if the chamber walls were transparent to that IR, then the 600 ppm chamber would indeed warm faster. Note however that the characterization of the radiation is not specified in degrees!

    But your two chambers would cool equally well from a given temperature, I think, because the cooling rate is going to be determined mostly by the chamber walls, not the gaseous content. And if they were both subjected to 30C temperature–*not* the same as radiation, as Gavin says!–for long enough, they would both end up at 30C. Period.

    (You could “subject them to the same temperature” by, say, placing the chambers in a bath held at precisely 30C. Heat would then be transferred by conduction, not radiation.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 6 Aug 2009 @ 10:57 PM

  180. in other words – i’m still trying to understand where the increase in temperature from more c02 comes from. I accept there’s a greenhouse effect – just not sure where increasing temperatures from this greenhouse effect takes place.

    Comment by Peter Wilson — 6 Aug 2009 @ 11:00 PM

  181. Rod B – “A concept doesn’t require numbers. We skeptics are being asked to prove that AGW kinda in its entirety is not and never will happen.”

    Well, not quite. There is much evidence to back up the mainstream/consensus positions on AGW. It cannot be proven in a mathematical/philosophical sense – what can (besides math and logic itself ??- or not)?

    The ‘skeptics’ we seem to be dealing with are not simply saying – “well, that’s where the science is now, but it could change, though we shouldn’t bet on it” – instead, they are making claims that either we can bet a lot on the slim possibilities and expect all to be okay, or that the current understanding in the mainstream *IS* wrong – with evidence and/or theory that is either: 1. part of the same that actually supports AGW (for example, evidence that constrains climate sensitivity to being between 0 and 6 deg C per doubling CO2 does not at all conflict with other evidence that constrains climate sensitivity to being between 2 and 4 deg C per doubling CO2; for 100 different groupings of evidence that each have a 5 % chance of being misinterpreted or erroneous, we can expect that some of those groupings would not by themselves lead to the correct answer; etc.), or 2. wrong – mistaken, based on some poorly written document that is easily recognizable as such, drawn from thin air, from whole cloth, or in violation of the laws of physics that are firmly established (claims that AGW violates the laws of thermodynamics generally require violations of those same laws).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 6 Aug 2009 @ 11:27 PM

  182. “*IS* wrong ”
    and furthermore, is wrong in one particular direction.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 6 Aug 2009 @ 11:30 PM

  183. Proof? Isn’t this a question about evidence and the weight of it? Tell me one thing that is proven. Probabilities are everything.

    Comment by Justin Anderson — 7 Aug 2009 @ 1:27 AM

  184. Hank Roberts, some Greek hydrologists had a go at validating a range of climate models. See “On the credibility of climate predictions”, D. KOUTSOYIANNIS, A. EFSTRATIADIS, N. MAMASSIS & A. CHRISTOFIDES, Hydrological Sciences–Journal–des Sciences Hydrologiques, 53(4) August 2008…..

    Comment by Philip Petch — 7 Aug 2009 @ 3:36 AM

  185. Peter Wilson writes:

    In order for the hypothesis to be valid, the 3rd point of heat transfer – the greenhouse effect – would have to be at least as warm as ground based temperatures in order to cause global warming, or to increase the temperature above what it would be if there was less co2.

    This is the “back-radiation violates the second law of thermodynamics argument.” It’s based on a misconception. Check here:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/JJandJ.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Aug 2009 @ 3:37 AM

  186. @180 Peter Wilson:

    It is really rather simple: Sunlight comes down to earth in UV and Visible spectrum, gets absorbed by the ground & the water. The consequence of this absorption is that these items heat up. Heating up produces infrared radiation which is sent back up.

    However, while CO2 is transparant to visible light and lets it through, it absorbs infrared radiation.

    So the energy from the sun comes down onto the planet, but cannot get out again –> this is where the warming comes from.

    In the experiment with the two chambers, if you put a lamp emitting visible light outside the chamber, and a dark object inside the chamber, then that object will absorb the light, then re-emit it as infrared light. If the chamber contains more CO2, more infrared will be absorbed by the gas in the chamber and it will heat up more than if it contained less CO2.

    This is essentially an experiment which could be done in the 19th century and which is the basis of the concept of the “Greenhouse effect”

    Comment by Bart Declercq — 7 Aug 2009 @ 4:56 AM

  187. Peter, the key concept you are looking for, I think, is the idea of the energy budget. (This is the part of the science that goes back to Fourier, ca. 1824.)

    Consider Earth and its atmosphere as one big system. When the system is in equilibrium, the energy coming in from the sun will equal the energy radiated away in all directions into space from the “top of the atmosphere” (TOA).

    The greenhouse effect works by affecting the cooling rate of this system. With higher concentrations of greenhouse gases, IR is effectively emitted from higher (=cooler) altitudes. Since cooler temperature means lower rates of emission, the outgoing IR energy is now a bit less than the incoming shortwave energy–currently, by about .9 Watts per meter squared. Over time, this extra energy warms the overall system, raising emission rates again, and eventually bringing the system back into equilibrium at a slightly higher temperature. An elegant feedback loop.

    This is highly simplified but I hope the real experts here will correct anything that’s too misleading in this brief explanation. I hope, too, that it helps!

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 7 Aug 2009 @ 7:17 AM

  188. Barton, nice explanation, as always.

    It occurs to me that maybe J & J learned their thermodynamics from Flanders & Swan. You know,

    “Heat won’t pass from a cooler to a hotter.
    You can try it if you like but you’d far better notter.”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 7 Aug 2009 @ 7:24 AM

  189. Rod B., your entire argument is predicated on the proposition that if you express your doubts sufficiently vaguely (e.g. “the specific degree of IR radiation by CO2 in certain circumstances,”), then there is no way you can be shown to be wrong. The thing is that there are worse things than being wrong. Wrong can be corrected. That is why Pauli said of one particularly confused paper, “This is so bad, it’s not even wrong!” Being wrong at least takes the courage to take a position. Being vague is simply cowardly.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Aug 2009 @ 7:35 AM

  190. WRT my earlier comment: For those readers who have not yet reached a certain age, you can hear Flanders & Swan on thermodynamics here.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 7 Aug 2009 @ 8:45 AM

  191. J. Bob wrote: “GE is like any other company, they want to make profits. Do you think that GE does not have a vested interest in wind turbines, power generators, nuclear reactors, etc. and is lily white?”

    I have no problem with either GE or ExxonMobil wanting to make profits. And certainly General Electric has engaged in and continues to engage in industrial practices that are environmentally harmful — the massive pollution of the Hudson River being a good example, and a case in which GE did in fact engage in a campaign of denialist propaganda in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to avoid being held to account for the cost of cleanup.

    However, it so happens that among GE’s business interests are some — wind turbines, energy efficiency and smart grid technologies, for example — that are among the key solutions to the problem of reducing the CO2 emissions responsible for anthropogenic global warming. If GE can turn a profit while helping to avert catastrophic climate change, more power to them.

    However, you specifically asked “And GE is not putting out their own AGW agenda?” — implying that GE has engaged in a campaign of deliberately, elaborately deceitful propaganda to frighten the public with exaggerated fears of global warming, comparable to ExxonMobil’s generation-long campaign of denialism and obstruction.

    And the answer is no. There is no evidence that GE has done any such thing. On the other hand there is a voluminous record of ExxonMobil’s multi-million-dollar campaign of deceit, their funding of denialist pseudoscience from cranks and frauds and other denizens of phony “think tanks”, and on and on.

    This idea that global warming is not only a “hoax” perpetrated by “liberals” and “environmentalists” in concert with hundreds of climate scientists and dozens of major scientific organizations from all over the world, but is actually being funded and directed by General Electric and other clean energy manufacturers, seems to be the latest meme popular with the pseudo-ideological Ditto-Head denialist echo chamber — and it’s about the most absurd conspiracy theory I’ve heard yet.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 7 Aug 2009 @ 10:27 AM

  192. Patrick (181), Evidence has a sliding scale. So what they “know”, or more accurately the degree to which they know also has a sliding scale. The burden of proof also varies between the arguing parties and is probably different for every specific aspect of AGW theory. the more complete the evidence the more the burden falls on the skeptic; the less complete the evidence the more the burden falls on the supporters — even if that evidence is none-the-less based on reasonable science.

    My example is my claim that the evidence for a specific (within a narow range) temp increase per a doubling of CO2 at higher baseline concentrations is far from complete, even though it is based on a reasonable scientific projection. Now it would be neato if I could prove my contention. But I don’t have $millions of dollars of lab equipment, access to high-level libraries, or $millions of dollars for nor access to supercomputers. That does not make the supporters correct by default. As long as I’m not just flailing randomly, my contention is proper. In the general case. until the evidence is ironclad there is uncertainty on a sliding scale ranging from insignificant to monumental; making that evidence ironclad is primarily the onus of the supporters.

    epilog: to head off a strawman argument that usually comes now, none of the above suggests that the supporters need to abandon their current position. They have to go with their best estimate and should not alter their position because Rod B has a problem. On the other hand they should not lose sight of the uncertainty and continue to work on it while simultaneously pushing what they currently think.

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Aug 2009 @ 10:29 AM

  193. Ray (189), that’s just plain unfair (O.K. Wrong.) My example statement was crafted to be more specific (while still not taking a whole page), not vague. It was an attempt to confine my example to a specific area so others don’t try to deflect my assertion by arguing against a more general point that I didn’t make. Though I’m partly at fault as I intended to say, ” the specific degree of IR radiation absorption by CO2 in certain circumstances” — could’ve have been confusing.

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Aug 2009 @ 10:47 AM

  194. Peter Wilson (180), I don’t know if you are looking the this basic level or not, but:
    1) Infrared radiation emits from the earth surface, going the only direction it can — up, and cooling the surface in the process.

    2) CO2 (or other GHGs) absorb some of that IR radiation. As this IR energy is stored in a molecule’s “internal energy”, this does not increase the temperature of the atmosphere.

    3) The CO2 molecule then collides with another molecule (most likely O2 or N2) and transfers its internal energy to translation energy of the collidee. Translation energy is the energy of the whole molecule zipping through space and is the 1/2MV^2 that determines temperature. Ergo the O2/N2 molecules have a higher temperature. Ergo so goes the atmosphere.

    4) The option other than collision is the CO2 emits IR radiation like that (but not the same — different photon) it absorbed. If it radiates upward and (let’s say) escapes the atmosphere the only total effect is the initial cooling of the surface; the temp of the atmosphere does not change. If it radiates downward and (let’s say) hits the surface, the surface is re-warmed; the temp of the atmosphere still does not change.

    There’s a lot of other stuff going on that others have addressed here, but this is the basics.

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Aug 2009 @ 11:18 AM

  195. Rod B. says, “It was an attempt to confine my example to a specific area so others don’t try to deflect my assertion by arguing against a more general point that I didn’t make.”

    Except you don’t specify the conditions, the degree, or anything else that would be needed to address your contention that there is any significant degree of uncertainty about how CO2 behaves in an atmosphere. If you want to learn, you can’t be afraid of being wrong. You can’t be afraid to have others take issue with you. If they misunderstand then add detail and refine your expression. Vagueness is the enemy of understanding.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Aug 2009 @ 12:29 PM

  196. Rod B 7 August 2009 at 10:29 AM

    May I suggest that once you’ve narrowed your point of inquiry to the point where it is sufficiently constrained as to be amenable to numeric analysis using uncontroversial facts, uncertainty may be reduced to relative insignificance?

    Regarding “…evidence for a specific (within a narow range) temp increase per a doubling of CO2 at higher baseline concentrations is far from complete…”, perhaps it would be helpful to look at the subject through a slightly different prism and identify which real-world factors you believe would render numeric predictions less reliable. These could probably be prioritized as to the level of uncertainty they introduce. This approach has the advantage of showing a way forward in reducing uncertainty, and might also eliminate some redundant discovery effort.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Aug 2009 @ 12:41 PM

  197. RE 194 – “As this IR energy is stored in a molecule’s “internal energy”, this does not increase the temperature of the atmosphere.”

    To be clear, the ‘internal energy’ just mentioned is the kinetic + potential energy of excited rotational and vibrational states, and sometimes electronic states, and in extreme conditions, nuclear states.

    This is distinct from the ‘internal energy’ that is (per unit material)equal to cv*T; this internal energy includes translational energy in addition to the others.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 7 Aug 2009 @ 2:34 PM

  198. Ray (195), what you say here is correct. However the discussion wasn’t about my specific example per se, but more the process of skepticism (for lack of a better description). I was not looking for a scientific explanation for the specifics of my example; other than confine it to a specific area, there was no reason to explicitly define it.

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Aug 2009 @ 3:22 PM

  199. My take would be

    1, Denialist: “CO2 warming is not significant”
    2, Alarmist: “Cite relative wikipage with an example (contains scintific sources).”
    3, Denialist: “Uh, oh … blah blah”

    Comment by savegaia — 7 Aug 2009 @ 3:39 PM

  200. Doug Bostrom (196) says

    …once you’ve narrowed your point of inquiry to the point where it is sufficiently constrained as to be amenable to numeric analysis using uncontroversial facts, uncertainty may be reduced to relative insignificance…

    I think that is correct. I might prefer a term a bit stronger than “uncontroversial”, bit I’ll go with it for now.

    Maybe the specifics of my example will help, though bear in mind, as per my last post to Ray, I’m not trying to actually scientifically resolve my concern here, just discussing the process of proof and skepticism. My skepticism: The current accepted estimate is that CO2 concentration going from 400 to 800 ppm will add 3.708 watts/m^2 forcing [5.35ln(800/400)]. I think the science supporting that projection from that level of concentration is sufficiently weak to warrant reasonable questioning.

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Aug 2009 @ 3:39 PM

  201. Patrick (197), true. I thought that was a level of detail that wasn’t necessary and probably unhelpful to my basic explanation.

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Aug 2009 @ 3:43 PM

  202. I think the term proof is a good word choice, as it is a single event, or series of more causal events as opposed to AGW which of course is highly correlated with confidence greater than 95%. AGW has many more components and time series of well correlated events and a good physics exposition of the process of equilibration. GCR, on the other hand needs more direct proofs, through observations; of course this may end up becoming a slippery slope for sometime, but as well attributed as AGW is, it is not “proven,” in the most standard way of thinking of something as proven.
    Yet this GCR business can be shown to be true or not true just like obeserving melting sea ice can be looked at directly (irrespective of attribution). Of course with such high level of confidence in the AR4 report and the more recent Climate Change and Water report, there is really little (if any) doubt AGW is a real phenomenon and is in a trend. Of course there is NO doubt humans affect climate; this is 100% certain. Just look at Asian cloud (spanning from China to Pakistan) which is destroying crops due to lower temps for a land mass which contains more than 50% of the world’s population. Of course the WMO’s definition of climate (not just Gavin’s) is 30 years, but of course we can look at 10 year changes, especially due to human activity directly and ascertain a climate modification. The WMO and NASA–NOAA acknowledges it is helpful to also look at “climate, for less than 30 years too.
    I am interested in seeing more research and blog posts from RC in GCR,, of course, as there may be a smaller % contribution from this FD phenomenon, but I can see why the word proof is being maintained even after posters pointed it out. I think all these issues of GCR, FD, SOI, ENSO are important, (as do the mods here at RC) but that faulty research misplaces emphasis on them in regards to GHG forcings.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 7 Aug 2009 @ 3:43 PM

  203. #200 Rod B

    Just add water and stir.

    If you want to argue with the principle physics, you better show up with something more powerful than your opinion.

    For me, I will accept the principle physics unless of course you can prove them wrong, get it peer reviewed and have it survive peer response. However, I would point out that any such attempt would likely be akin to proving that earth does not have a gravity at this point.

    Good luck, and remember to use a tether next time you step outside… you wouldn’t want to risk floating off into space.

    I’m not a math guy, so I will just have to watch in shock and awe of your superior skills in proving the science wrong on the subject.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 7 Aug 2009 @ 5:43 PM

  204. Rod B 7 August 2009 at 3:39 PM

    “The current accepted estimate is that CO2 concentration going from 400 to 800 ppm will add 3.708 watts/m^2 forcing [5.35ln(800/400)]. I think the science supporting that projection from that level of concentration is sufficiently weak to warrant reasonable questioning.”

    Ok, fair enough. Pursuing my earlier suggestion about identifying and prioritizing uncertainties, what part of the supporting science would you choose as the greatest liability to the accepted prediction of forcing?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Aug 2009 @ 5:47 PM

  205. Many of the comments here seem bizarre from the perspective of scientific integrity. Svensmark in his paper is showing what he believes to be valid empirical evidence in support of his hypothesis of the existence of a postulated physical phenomenon, namely that the level of GCR can affect cloud formation. There may or may not be consequences in the event that this hypothesis is valid, particularly with respect to the existence of Savir’s “amplification factor” on TSI as a control of climate change.
    However, the appropriate intelligent response should be to comment on the validity of the demonstration of the physical phenomenon.
    Cann we please all recall that at present the entire argument for CO2 causing dangerous global warming rests on a single proven demonstration of a physical phenomenon – namely that CO2 is a very effective absorber and emitter in certain LW bands. Everything else is an extrapolated deduction.

    Comment by Paul — 7 Aug 2009 @ 5:48 PM

  206. Rod B. – if you say the burden of proof is on those who say it is 3.708 +/- 0.001 W/m2, then I guess that’s fine. But 3.7 +/- 0.3 W/m2 (or something like that) is much more solid – the burden of proof is on you (or whoever) to show otherwise. Anyway, the uncertainty in radiative forcing itself is not much of an issue for CO2 or greenhouse gases in general.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 7 Aug 2009 @ 6:37 PM

  207. “Everything else is an extrapolated deduction.”

    Like how the sun’s mass was determined by planetary orbital characteristics was an extrapolation?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 7 Aug 2009 @ 6:39 PM

  208. “I don’t know how that Fourier proxy stuff works, …” Comment by Robert Bateman — 5 August 2009 @

    “Beginning with work by Joseph Fourier in the 1820s, scientists had understood that gases in the atmosphere might trap the heat received from the Sun. As Fourier put it, energy in the form of visible light from the Sun easily penetrates the atmosphere to reach the surface and heat it up, but heat cannot so easily escape back into space. For the air absorbs invisible heat rays (“infrared radiation”) rising from the surface. ” http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

    “Joseph Fourier’s contributions to modern engineering science are so critically important and so pervasive that he is rightly regarded as the father of modern engineering.

    Fourier’s contributions, many of which are presented in The Analytical Theory of Heat (1822), include:

    • The original and still globally accepted view of dimensional homogeneity—the view that natural phenomena can be rigorously described only by equations that are dimensionally homogeneous—i.e. equations that are dimensionally identical.

    Fourier’s view of homogeneity required the creation of contrived parameters such as electrical resistance, heat transfer coefficient, and material modulus. These parameters, and the myriad others like them, are the engineering tools now used to describe and to analyze natural phenomena. They exist only because of Fourier’s pioneering view of homogeneity, and they have all been contrived in the manner pioneered by Fourier.

    • The original and still globally used concept of “flux”—of a flow of something per unit area and unit time.

    • The original and still globally accepted sciences of convective heat transfer and conductive heat transfer.

    • The original and still globally used concepts of heat transfer coefficient and thermal conductivity.

    • The original and still globally used solution of “boundary condition” problems by matching the flux at the boundary.

    • Many original and still globally used contributions in pure and applied mathematics widely used in modern engineering. ”

    and
    “Lienhard [1983] summarizes Fourier’s contributions in pure and applied mathematics presented in his 1807 memoir on heat transfer:

    Fourier submitted a new 234 page manuscript to the Institut de France in Paris in 1807. In it he did something more important than determining how to formulate the laws governing the flow of heat in a solid. He did something beyond updating Bernoulli’s trigonometric series to solve the equation. He actually provided us with the strategies that would be basic to the entire field of continuum mechanics, of which heat conduction and convection are a major part. These are the identification of field differential equations and boundary conditions, the technique of separation of variables, and the idea of representing solutions in the form of series of arbitrary functions.”
    http://memagazine.asme.org/web/Fourierthe_Father_Modern.cfm

    “This method, later known as Fourier’s Theorem or Fourier series, was revolutionary in that it could also be applied to any recurring, oscillating motion… Using Fourier series, it is possible to reduce any complex, periodic wave form into a series of simple, sine waves whose sum produces the original complex wave. The use of Fourier series in this manner is called harmonic analysis.” http://www.bookrags.com/biography/jean-baptiste-joseph-fourier-wsd/

    “In signal processing, the Fourier transform often takes a time series or a function of continuous time, and maps it into a frequency spectrum. That is, it takes a function from the time domain into the frequency domain; it is a decomposition of a function into sinusoids of different frequencies; in the case of a Fourier series or discrete Fourier transform, the sinusoids are harmonics of the fundamental frequency of the function being analyzed.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourier_analysis; also see; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourier_transform and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrete_Fourier_transform

    “Figure 2A displays the correlation between 10Be concentration and sunspot number at sunspot minimum, This shows the remarkable result that the GCR intensity exhibits a well defined dependence upon the minimum sunspot number. … Figure 2A therefore conveys the important result that the sunspot number is providing a proxy for the magnetic conditions over a substantial region of space…” http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-iarticle_query?bibcode=2003ICRC….7.4031M&db_key=AST&page_ind=1&data_type=GIF&type=SCREEN_VIEW&classic=YES

    “We have tested the use of sunspot area as a long-term proxy for solar irradiance change, using observations made at the Coimbra Solar Observatory, from which we obtain both statistically weighted sunspot numbers and sunspot areas over the period 1980-1992. These are both correlated with solar irradiance values measured from Nimbus-7 spacecraft over the same time period, …”
    Comparing Sunspot Area and Sunspot Number as Proxies for Long-term Solar Irradiance Variation
    S. D. Jordan (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD), A. G. Garcia (Coimbra Solar Observatory, Coimbra, Portugal)
    AAS 200th meeting, Albuquerque, NM, June 2002 Session 57. Living with a Star

    I was too curt with my previous statement regarding the lack of correlation between GCR and global temperature, and didn’t explain my reasoning adequately. Since the woodfortrees site doesn’t have a GCR dataset that can be used, one must use a proxy or stand-in for such a set. As can be seen from the references above there is a high correlation between sunspot number and GCR(as well as sunspot area and solar irradiance), so sunspot number, though perhaps not ideal, can be used as a proxy for GCR. We also(well, the woodfortrees site) has sunspot number data that extends back to 1900, well before data on GCR was measured. E.g.,”Cosmic ray measurements in Oulu started in 1964 in a wooden barrack with a standard 9-NM-64 neutron monitor (NM) consisting of three units each of three counters.” http://spaceweb.oulu.fi/projects/crs/. If one selects two data sets with periodic variations(in this case annual) http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/from:1980/scale:1/mean:1/offset:-310/plot/nsidc-seaice-n/from:1980/scale:1/mean:1, and then we use the Fourier transform tool to convert from time domain to frequency domain http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/from:1980/scale:1/mean:1/offset:-337/detrend:47/fourier/magnitude/from:1/to:100/plot/nsidc-seaice-n/from:1980/scale:0.5/mean:1/offset:-10/fourier/magnitude/from:10/to:100 we see correlated peaks in the frequency spectrum corresponding to the annual variation, plus the first harmonic since the variation isn’t strictly sinusoidal, of both sea ice and CO2. When we make the same analysis of sunspot number (which we have seen to be correlated with and a proxy for GCR) versus global temperature, there is a peak in the sunspot spectrum that corresponds to the well known solar cycle.
    “Although noted astronomers such as LaLande and Wm. Herschel observed the Sun and recorded the presence of sunspots, it wasn’t until 1843 that Heinrich Schwabe noted that the number of sunspots varied with a period near 10 years. ” http://www.mtwilson.edu/hk/ARGD/Sunspot_Cycle/
    There is no corresponding peak in the temperate spectrum. Since global temperature can vary significantly over periods much shorter than the time for a sunspot cycle(e.g., the 1998 record temperature), and also shows significant variations and trend over longer periods of time, if the solar cycles were influencing temperature to a significant degree, there would be a peak in the frequency spectrum of temperature changes corresponding to the peak we see in the sunspot number spectrum.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 7 Aug 2009 @ 11:44 PM

  209. Re #205

    Well yes, scientific integrity is the issue Paul. In my experience as a scientist, we work hard to raise research funds in areas we consider interesting/important, do careful experiments/analyses and publish the results, generally without much fanfare. We are careful to place our results and interpretations in the context of any wider issues. If Svensmark (and Shaviv) did that, then the CRF-cloud-climate issue would be just another element of climate research to be considered in the wider conext according to a careful and honest consideration of the evidence . We could be clear, for example, that however interesting any potential CRF-cloud relationship might be, we know rather categorically that this can have little significance for the very marked global scale warming of the last 30-odd years. There simply hasn’t been a secular trend in the CRF since the early 1950′s at least, when the CRF began to be monitored in great detail. We could examine the climate/temperature data for the last 1000 years and conclude that the balance of evidence opposes any significant role of CRF in temperature variation during this period too.

    Unfortunately scientific integrity over this issue has taken a battering. For some reason a very small number of scientists have participated in a circus in which any potential significance of these data are vastly overblown. According to the press release associated with Svensmark’s paper, Forbush phenomena are:

    “…events that reveal in detail how the Sun and the stars control our everyday clouds.”

    Shaviv accompanied his (very likely terminally flawed) hypothesis about CRF effects on earth temperature through the Phanerozoic with the assertion:

    “The operative significance of our research is that a significant reduction of the release of greenhouse gases will not significantly lower the global temperature”

    …and the web is simply crawling with overblown statements encompassing gross misrepresentations of this science:

    “A systematic effect on the clouds – e.g. one of the cosmic origin – is a nightmare for the champions of the silly CO2 toy model of climatology because the cloud variations easily beat any effect of CO2. …”

    None of this seems to be a concern for the advocates of this hypothesis. The unfortunate thing is that there are many scientists working pretty diligently on these issues (CRF effects on cloud formation) and their evidence is pretty uniformly un-supportive of the CRF-cloud-climate causality. Unfortunately, the causal reader wouldn’t know this since these contrary analyses are pretty uniformly ignored on the blogosphere.

    Of course one may have a sneaking admiration for the ideas of Paul Feyerabend and his “anything goes” picture of science, in which scientific argy-bargy, cherry-picking of data, and overblown self-promotion of one’s notions are basic elements of the progression of research fields in the real world! As scientists with access to the full range of evidence on these subjects, we can make a pretty informed interpretation of the likely significance of any CRF-cloud causality in relation to climate variation and its relevance to current concerns of greenhouse-induced warming….unfortunately Joe Public is confronted with a false picture of the subject in any investigated s/he might make via the web, or from the TV “documentaries”, that have also disgracefully massacred this topic. As you suggest, this is all tied up with issues of scientific integrity.

    Comment by chris — 8 Aug 2009 @ 5:47 AM

  210. Paul, it’s hardly true that “all else is extrapolated deduction.”

    The deduction and calculation WRT AGW operate upon vast volumes of real-world data, obtained at considerable effort and expense, and parsed very carefully indeed. The observed responses of the various climate systems let us know that the “deductions” are largely correct.

    For example, the ice albedo effect feedback–which is part of what makes the CO2 forcing “dangerous”–is not just deduction; it is also a matter of empirical data, obtained by researchers setting up camp and taking measurements under rather uncomfortable circumstances. (See, eg., Hanesiak et al 2001, “Local and regional observations of Arctic first-year sea ice during melt ponding.”)

    Similar points obtain for atmospheric and oceanic circulation, etc., etc. There is an amazing amount of (perhaps inadvertant) dismissal involved in this idea that “all else is deduction.”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 8 Aug 2009 @ 7:42 AM

  211. John P. Reisman (203), you miss the point. You’re just reiterating the well-stated line of reasoning that I am arguing against. What’s new?

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Aug 2009 @ 11:56 AM

  212. Doug Bostrom (204), fair question. Kinda in rough priority: 1. the coefficient of the log (ln) relationship is mainly based on past numerical observations with little scientific support for its projected extrapolation. 2 (tie). The log relationship itself is to a large degree based on past observations with the same problem as #1 — though it has more scientific support than #1. 2 (tie). the mathematics and science of band spreading which keeps the concentration from saturating, IMO, is lacking beyond a good projected hypothesis level.

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Aug 2009 @ 12:10 PM

  213. Patrick 027 (206), what makes 3.7 +/- 0.3 W/m2 a more solid (supported) forcing than 3.708 +/- 0.001 W/m2 in going from 400ppm to 800ppm CO2? If it’s due to the wider stated margins, what is the margin where it becomes solid? Why +/- 0.3? Why not +/- 0.6? 1.0? 3.7?

    [Response: I don't know what your hyper small error bar is from, but it is rather misleading. The 10% uncertainty in radiative forcing is related to the background climate - cloud, temperature and water vapour distributions for instance - identical radiative transfer codes will give a different global mean number as a function exactly where the clouds are etc. There is no way we know the current climate well enough to reduce that uncertainty to 0.003%. - gavin]

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Aug 2009 @ 12:19 PM

  214. Rob B(212). Re. your 1.2, May I suggest you pick up a Physical Chemistry book. This is hardly new science!

    Comment by Richard C — 8 Aug 2009 @ 12:41 PM

  215. Rod B 8 August 2009 at 12:10 PM

    Tractable I’m sure but not for me because I lack the necessary training.

    To my naive ears it sounds as though 1 & 2 are closely related; a resolution of one question might eliminate the other. Though I can’t wade through the details without a repurposing of my life, I suppose a (though not the only) next logical question might be, “What would cause a breakdown of the previously observed behaviors we’re using as part of the basis for projections?”

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 8 Aug 2009 @ 12:46 PM

  216. Rod, look at Gavin’s answer.
    Then look at Robert Grumbine’s site, which is aimed at high school level understanding.

    You’re asking why the error band is 0.3 out of 3.7 watts per square meter, rather than 0.001 or 0.003.

    The error band is the uncertainty _in_the_data_available_.

    See Robert’s several threads on how to determine trends — it’s the same statistical issue, you look at the data, look at how much it varies, and figure out (_see_his_site_ for this) how much uncertainty you have.

    You can find this. You can understand it.
    Just repeating oh noes, how can anyone possibly know, gets tedious.
    You do better than that when you want to.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Aug 2009 @ 1:08 PM

  217. PS, Rod, James has just posted a pointer to two pages with good explanations of the same issues:

    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2009/08/on-statistical-significance.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Aug 2009 @ 1:31 PM

  218. 208 – Brian
    The folloing graph shows how Fourier spectral analysis can be used to compare sunspot activity, with variations in temperature. The temperature base was the English long term series. The bandpass filter only passed frequencies in the 0.06 – 0.12 cycles/year range.

    http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/t_est_03-0KLEO.gif

    Comment by J. Bob — 8 Aug 2009 @ 1:35 PM

  219. “This is distinct from the ‘internal energy’ that is (per unit material)equal to cv*T; this internal energy includes translational energy in addition to the others.”

    My bad. Actually it’s the integral of cv*dT if cv is not constant (and it generally is not). But changes in internal energy can be approximated as cv* changes in temperature over ranges where cv is approximately constant. And so on for enthalpy (cp*T), etc.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 8 Aug 2009 @ 1:56 PM

  220. http://www.springerlink.com/content/n57121r735134233/ Frank Arnold “Atmospheric Ions and Aerosol Formation” Space Science Reviews Volume 137, Numbers 1-4 / June, 2008 10.1007/s11214-008-9390-8

    http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/31/75/93/PDF/angeo-23-675-2005.pdf
    A. Kasatkina and O. I. Shumilov:” Cosmic ray-induced stratospheric aerosols “30 March 2005 Annales Geophysicae, 23, 675–679, 2005: 1432-0576/ag/2005-23-675

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2000/2000GL012164.shtml
    J. P. Abram; et al, “Hydroxyl Radical and Ozone Measurements in England During the Solar Eclipse of 11 August 1999” GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 27, NO. 21, PAGES 3437–3440, 2000

    Comment by claudio costa — 8 Aug 2009 @ 4:05 PM

  221. Rod B. – your comment 212 is very inaccurate.

    PS I’m not actually sure that the ~(?) 95 % confidence interval – if that’s what we want to go by – is +/- 0.3 W/m2, but Gavin didn’t correct us on that so it’s probably not far off (and I didn’t think it was far off before or I wouldn’t have mentioned it).

    But anyway, generally such a transition from flimsy to firm will be graded, as you seem to imply, but the farther away you get from the range of reasonably expected values, the stronger the evidence supporting the claim that you will be wrong, and thus the more extraordinary work you will need to show otherwise.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 8 Aug 2009 @ 4:12 PM

  222. … If you claimed that the forcing is between 0 and 6 W/m2, you’d technically be correct, but needlessly vague.

    … If you claimed that the forcing was 2.0 +/- 0.3 W/m2, or 5.5 +/- 0.3 W/m2, you’d have a lot of work to do to back it up (which I’d bet could not be done).

    … If you claimed that the forcing was 3.708 +/- 0.001 W/m2, you’d also have a lot of work to do (and I might still bet against it because it could so easily be 3.702 or 3.711, etc.).

    … So imagine how hard it would be to argue that it is 1.001 +/- 0.001 W/m2.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 8 Aug 2009 @ 4:19 PM

  223. I’m still having difficulty in understanding how c02 traps heat in the atmosphere. It doesn’t have heat capacity itself, but transfers heat that would otherwise escape back to earth. Yet the atmosphere isn’t supposed to have heat capacity either and if it does, its far less than c02, so its assumed that the greenhouse effect is only on oceans, landmasses, and other non atmospheric matter. So if incoming radiation heats something to an optimum temperature, say 20C, then how does extra c02 convert this optimum to a higher temperature? Are there any experiments in this? It was fascinating to read someone’s earlier post about bricks and their heat capacity, obviously greater than that of the atmopshere. However, how does a smaller temperature from longwave re-radiation increase an optimum temperature that results from shortwave radiation?

    Comment by P.Wilson — 8 Aug 2009 @ 5:25 PM

  224. What’s your source for this, P. Wilson?
    > … the atmosphere isn’t supposed to have heat capacity either …

    Says who, and why do you consider your source reliable on this?
    Reasoning from that belief leads you completely astray.

    You can look this stuff up. Here for example:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=atmosphere+heat+capacity

    If you don’t check the assumptions, you’re just inviting a lot of guys hanging out on the blogs to tell you what they think — which is often recreational typing and often comes with a lot of confusion and a lack of sources for the information. Try the first few hits from that search, then redo your question if you’re still having trouble. I think it’ll make sense.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Aug 2009 @ 5:55 PM

  225. More for P. Wilson — this is a quote from an article you can find here at RC as a topic; this is the author’s revised version. This is by Spencer Weart; click the first link in the right sidebar under Science for more.

    — excerpt follows—-

    … We understand the basic physics just fine, and can explain it in a minute to a curious non-scientist. (Like this: greenhouse gases let sunlight through to the Earth’s surface, which gets warm; the surface sends infrared radiation back up, which is absorbed by the gases at various levels and warms up the air; the air radiates some of this energy back to the surface, keeping it warmer than it would be without the gases.) …

    — end excerpt —-
    http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/200810/weart.cfm

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Aug 2009 @ 6:04 PM

  226. Brian Dodge (208) — You might care to read Tung & Camp (2008) for a recent determination of the temperature changes over the course of solar cycles.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 8 Aug 2009 @ 6:08 PM

  227. “#
    “The folloing graph shows how Fourier spectral analysis can be used to compare sunspot activity, with variations in temperature. The temperature base was the English long term series. The bandpass filter only passed frequencies in the 0.06 – 0.12 cycles/year range.”

    Comment by J. Bob — 8 August 2009 @ 1:35 PM

    I suspect that you are not such a moron that you are unaware that if you bandpass filter noise before frequency analysis/Fourier transform, you will get a peak in the frequency spectrum. But then again, you may have learned all you know of data analysis from McLean & Carter. If you are actually not so ignorant, what is the point of posting nonsense? Are you learning anything?

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 8 Aug 2009 @ 6:42 PM

  228. Its a theoretical question: I received an email from the MET Office here in the UK asking them why the temperature plummeted during the solar eclipse. If greenhouse gases are more powerful tan the effects of solar energy, then given all the c02 emitted from India and China, the temperature should have stayed the same, or nearly the same during the eclipse.

    They replies that “C02 doesn’t retain heat, as it doesn’t have heat capacity. It is its ability to trasfer heat to the atmosphere that warms the atmosphere. The fall in temperature is in line with what we would expect during such an event” .

    They also explained that you didn’t need an eclipse to verify how cooler the temperature is, as it can be observed between day and night. (OK, pretty obvious). So what gets me now: Where is this heat stored, if c02 doesn’t hold it? Oxygen? nitrogen? Or does non atmospheric mass absorb it?

    Comment by P.Wilson — 8 Aug 2009 @ 6:48 PM

  229. # 211 Rod B

    Just add water and stir.

    That’s my point. It’s hard to tell exactly what you are stating or asking sometimes, due to the various degrees of ambiguity noticeable or the more specific manner you use that is oft out of context.

    You may be missing my point however. As we add water (moisture) to the atmosphere (yes, I know water was more of a joke though) we will be amplifying the feedback effects so if you limit your consideration to only Co2 forcing, you will always miss the point.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 8 Aug 2009 @ 7:29 PM

  230. Re #223, P. Wilson,
    The heat capacity of gases is listed on the site:
    http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/spesific-heat-capacity-gases-d_159.html

    I do not see 0.000 listed for any of them!

    Comment by Lawrence McLean — 8 Aug 2009 @ 8:02 PM

  231. P. Wilson, you seem to be getting all wrapped around the axle based on incorrect understanding of terminology. Heat capacity is merely the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of a mole of the material a given amount (e.g 1 degree). So, of course the atmsophere has a heat capacity. You seem to be thinking of energy as purely thermal energy, but electromagnetic waves (including IR light) are energy, too.

    Hold your had in front of a heat lamp. Why does it heat up? It is because the water in your hand absorbs the IR and the resulting vebrational and rotational energy transfer to other molecules in the skin. The atmosphere is not as insubstantial as you think–there are nearly 10^22 CO2 molecules in every column of air with base area 1 square cm. That can stop a lot of radiation–and therefore a lot of energy.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Aug 2009 @ 8:59 PM

  232. P.Wilson (223), I’ll jump in again. 1) Like Hank said (though maybe not as nicely ;-) ) gases and atmosphere most certainly do have heat capacity. In the technical sense that heat capacity is less than earth water, bricks, but all this means is that it takes less energy to heat atmosphere the same number of degrees (all else being equal, of course.)

    I’m not sure what you mean by the sun heats the earth to an optimum temperature. It heats it to whatever temperature follows thermodynamics math. As best as I know, if there was no LW radiation (an impossibility, but a helpful thought process), while I’ve never done the math, my guess is the Sun, given enough time, will heat the earth theoretically to near infinite degrees — well, at least very very hot. Likewise the LW radiation is only indirectly related to the solar heating. Find out what the surface temperature is and you can determine what the LW radiation is without knowing anything about the solar heating (though it helps in understanding the whole enchilada.) Finally, the only thing that keeps the temperature of the earth below infinity is the LW radiation.

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Aug 2009 @ 9:14 PM

  233. John P. Reisman (229), In response to someone’s clarifying question, I was simply explaining one (probably the largest) of my areas of skepticism and trying to properly define and confine it. I wasn’t stirring the AGW ocean, so to speak… ;-)

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Aug 2009 @ 9:22 PM

  234. > why the temperature plummeted during the solar eclipse

    Same reason it plummets when a big cloud obscures the sun for a while. This was a huge area entirely blocked from all sunlight.

    Besides losing the direct heat from the sunlight, when that happens you may also get moisture condensing. Last solar eclipse I saw long ago was through thin low cloud in western Oregon, and there was a spattering of rain moving right along with the shadow line.

    Nobody’s saying CO2 has zero heat capacity; it’s a molecule, it can spin and bounce around among other molecules transferring energy like any other; if you cool it down enough you get a solid form (and under the right temperature and pressure conditions a liquid too). It has that heat capacity.

    It also has the added feature, like H2O and chlorofluorocarbons and methane and other greenhouse gases, that those molecules will pick up infrared photons, turn the energy into vibration/rotation/stretch/wiggle/bump, and emit another infrared photon (unless they first collide with some other molecule and transfer some energy away in the collision).

    Any gas has heat capacity; as Lawrence points out, look them up.

    Point people have been trying to make is that CO2 isn’t acting like little tanker trucks cruising around soaking up energy and getting filled up with it.

    Think of it — CO2 is a trace gas. Look through a sheet of window glass — it looks clear. Look crosswise through the length or width, and it looks dark greenish. There are some impurities in it, absorbing some of the light. Well, you’re looking through a hundred-odd miles of atmosphere, with a trace of CO2 in it, going on 400 parts per million.

    Double the CO2, or double the impurities in the sheet of plate glass, and much more of the light that’s absorbable by that material does get absorbed.

    Dang. Recreational typing. Look this up, you can find better clearer explanations. You will find Spencer Weart very helpful and clear.

    And he will make the point that you cannot understand this just from questions and answers on blogs. You need the math.

    Without the math, physics is poetry — at best. I know I’ve said that before.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Aug 2009 @ 9:52 PM

  235. re David B. Benson — 8 August 2009 @ 6:08 PM
    Fom Camp & Tung 2007 – Surface warming by the solar cycle as revealed by the composite mean difference projection.
    “There have been thousands of reports over two hundred years of regional climate responses to the 11-year variations of solar radiation, ranging from cycles of Nile River flows, African droughts, to temperature measurements at various selected stations, but a coherent global signal at the surface has not yet been established statistically.”
    Which means that one has to dig really hard(or creatively, in a good way like Camp & Tung, not like “The bandpass filter only passed frequencies in the 0.06 – 0.12 cycles/year range.” ) to see the solar signal in the temperature record.
    Unfortunately woodfortrees doesn’t have the NCEP data that they use, but if one uses the same start time (1960), and the woodfortrees composite temperature index
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/from:1960/mean:30/detrend:0.7/fourier/magnitude/from:1/to:20/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1960/mean:30/scale:0.002/fourier/magnitude:1/from:1/to:20
    a correlated frequency peak appears. (Don’t tell J Bob or Manacker – they’ll accuse me of cherrypicking in my earlier reference.&;>)

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 8 Aug 2009 @ 10:14 PM

  236. #227 – Brian – Nothing was said about band passing noise before the Fourier transform. The band pass was the Fourier transform, mask and inverse. The posting was a simple example of what one can do with Fourier convolution. As far as learning Fourier methods, my instructors were Blackman, Tukey and Cooley, and the posting was similar to an example they used.

    Comment by J. Bob — 8 Aug 2009 @ 10:14 PM

  237. P Wilson, you may find a Gen Chem book useful; the only thing I would add is heat capacity is an extensive property and specific heat is an intensive property.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 8 Aug 2009 @ 10:46 PM

  238. P. Wilson – it’s not a matter of greenhouse gases ‘retaining’ heat in the atmosphere as a thermal mass. Adding anything to the atmosphere will raise its heat capacity (unit of heat energy per unit temperature change) by changing the mass even if specific heat (heat capacity per unit mass) is the same – Since CO2 and H2O are triatomic molecules, I’d expect adding CO2 and the resulting H2O vapor feedback to increase the specific heat as well as mass of the atmosphere as a whole (although with the uptake of some of the additional CO2 from the atmosphere by the ocean that results from increased CO2 partial pressure, the net effect of fossil fuel combustion + oceanic uptake of CO2 is an atmospheric gain of CO2 but a greater molar loss in atmospheric O2).

    *HOWEVER*, this is a very minor effect that can be neglected; resulting changes in atmospheric heat capacity are up to a point negligable.

    What is very important is that greenhouse gases and other agents contribute opacity to the atmosphere at some wavelengths in the longwave (LW) part of the spectrum – wavelengths longer than roughly 4 microns, where radiant energy fluxes are dominated by emissions from the Earth’s surface and atmosphere – as opposed to shortwave (SW) wavelengths dominated by solar radiation (at most wavelengths within these two intervals, the dominance is great – the solar and terrestrial emissions are only similar near the cutoff wavelength).

    Opacity can take different forms. Opacity can involve scattering radiation, as clouds and aerosols do a great deal to SW radiation; on the microscopic scale, this can involve reflection, refraction, and diffraction. Absorption followed by reemission of the same photon energy is effectively scattering. There is also absorption followed by fluorescence or phosphorescence. There is reflection off of a surface, such as with a sheet of aluminum foil (some forms of scattering are reflections off of rough surfaces or from a broken-up material). Then there is absorption and conversion to enthalpy or internal energy. (Absorption and conversion to chemical energy will generally lead to either conversion of chemical energy to enthalpy, or conversion of chemical energy to radiation, so in net can be described as a combination of the above).

    Any one of those forms could be used to construct a radiatively-forced greenhouse effect, but:

    1. fluorescence and phosphorescence are not generally important processes in planetary atmospheres, at least regarding the energy budget of the bulk of the mass of the atmosphere and whatever lies beneath it – these occur when the energy of absorbed photons is not thermalized sufficiently rapidly relative to the time scale of subsequent emission. When energy is thermalized rapidly (by molecular collisions) relative to the rate of photon emissions, energy is redistributed toward an equilibrium distribution among various states of the population of molecules characteristic of local thermodynamic equilibrium (*LTE*). Phosphorescent aerosols are not a common thing – maybe on some interesting alien world (?).

    2. A planetary atmosphere generally won’t have a solid or smooth fluid reflective surface within it.

    This leaves scattering and absorption within the atmosphere and at the surface, with maybe some (quasi-)specular reflection at the surface as well (such as is seen with SW radiation reflected off of calm water).

    Under Earthly conditions, scattering plays a minor role in LW radiation fluxes.

    Aside from those forms of radiation that can be emitted in conditions not in local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE), Materials emit radiation as a function of their temperatures and emissivities, and at LTE, at any one wavelength, emissivity = absorptivity. A perfect blackbody has an emissivity of 1; at any one wavelength (and polarization, when that matters), at any given direction along a given path over some distance, the fraction of radiation absorbed from a direction (the absorptivity) is equal to the emitted radiation as a fraction of perfect blackbody radiation (the emissivity) toward that direction. Blackbody radiant intensity (flux per unit area normal to the direction, per unit solid angle of directions, and per unit wavelength interval (or frequency interval) if different wavelengths are being counted seperately)) increases with increasing temperature in a nonlinear fashion – the fractional increase is very large at shorter wavelengths but approaches a linear proportionality at very long wavelengths, and the emission spectrum has a peak in intensity at a wavelength that is inversely proportional to the temperature (this is why solar and terrestrial radiation can be approximated as being divided into SW and LW radiation – the sun’s effective surface (optically) is several thousand Kelvins while the Earth’s surface averages around 288 K and the atmosphere is mostly colder).

    The net radiant intensity along any path at any point is the difference between intensities in opposite directions. Opacity reduces the distribution of distances over which photons can travel between emission and absorption (scattering does this by redirecting photons so that some are absorbed nearer where they were emitted than otherwise). The net radiant intensity increases if the temperature variation between emissions and absorptions for photons in one direction (reverse for photons in the other) is larger (though it also is larger if both temperatures are larger by the same amount without increasing the difference). If the opacity increases, then, unless there are temperature fluctuations on a spatial scale that is significantly smaller than the distances between emission and absorption, the net intensity decreases because, from any point, the photons passing by are coming from and going to points closer and at more similar temperatures. Thus, the net radiant energy flow is reduced.

    (Integrating the radiant energy intensity in different directions, weighted by the cosine of the angle from vertical, over a hemisphere of solid angle symmetric about the vertical axis, gives the radiant energy flux across a horizontal surface, per unit area of that surface.)

    If the net upward LW radiation is decreased while the net downward SW radiation (total downward minus scattered/reflected radiation coming back up) remains the same, then there is an increase in the net downward energy flux. A net downward energy flux will tend to increase the temperature below that point, which will tend to increase the upward LW flux, so that the temperature distribution changes until there is a radiative equilbrium – except when convection is also involved (see above comment about the importance of radiative forcing at the tropopause level, with this clarification: regionally, the upper atmosphere above the tropopause can be disturbed from radiative equilibrium by motions that are forced by kinetic energy supplied from the circulation in the troposphere (which converts heat energy into kinetic energy – motions can convert heat energy to kinetic energy when warmer air rises as colder air sinks; the reverse motion can convert kinetic energy back into heat energy) As I understand it, most of the kinetic energy produced in the troposphere is converted by to heat within the troposphere and at or just below the surface, and with an increase in entropy so that it cannot be effectively recycled back into kinetic energy. The flux of kinetic energy out of the troposphere is (at least globally) a fraction of the total kinetic energy generation which itself is small compared to radiative energy fluxes, so the global average tropopause level radiative forcing is still a key value).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 8 Aug 2009 @ 11:02 PM

  239. P. Wilson, you wrote: “If the greenhouse gases are more powerful tan the effects of solar energy, then given all the c02 emitted from India and China. . .”

    A couple of misconceptions here are messing you up. First, the greenhouse effect does slow down the cooling rate, which means that during an eclipse today it will cool a bit more slowly that it would have during pre-Industrial times. However, greenhouse gas forcings are something like 1.6 Watts per meter squared, while solar input is something like 340 Watts per meter squared! So it’s still going to cool plenty. But the big point is that solar input is important to the greenhouse effect; it’s not a case of two completely independent factors.

    There’s a term that I think may have fallen out of favor as more sophisticated concepts prevailed: you would hear it said that CO2 “thermalized” radiation. It’s maybe not a bad image even now, though; you could think of CO2 as converting solar radiation (Shortwave band) into infrared radiation (heat radiation, more or less.) This radiation then heats up pretty much anything around, as Ray described the heat lamp doing. Air, soil, trees, people, and especially water.

    Second–and this is more of a nit-pick, but not without significance–by far the greatest proportion of the anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere today was emitted by the First World, and especially the US. If you were to liken national total CO2 emissions to a horse race, China would be the fastest horse on the track today–and the US wouldn’t be much slower–but China would be pushing from a long, long way back. India wouldn’t even be in it.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 8 Aug 2009 @ 11:07 PM

  240. See specific heat capacity of C02 here: http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/carbon-dioxide-d_974.html

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 8 Aug 2009 @ 11:11 PM

  241. … to put that last point more clearly – while the upper atmosphere above the tropopause is not actually in radiative equilibrium, it is close to radiative equilibrium in a global horizonally-averaged basis, as I understand it.

    And of course, seasonal and diurnal and other fluctuations will prevent actual instantaneous radiative equilibrium or even radiative-convective equilibrium from occuring; the point is that a tendency to remain near equilibrium time-average is a prerequisite for a stable climate and time-averaged disequilibrium will cause climate change.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 8 Aug 2009 @ 11:12 PM

  242. This
    > I received an email from the MET Office here in the UK asking them why

    That sounds like you got it third hand from someone who corresponded with them?

    Are you sure you’re quoting exactly from the original? Or have you got the original? Could it be whoever sent the text to you was paraphrasing?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Aug 2009 @ 11:25 PM

  243. J.Bob I’m not following you – the caption on the graphics you presented said “Filtered Temperature(Bandpass + Lowpass Filters)”. Are you saying that the unfiltered temperature signal isn’t noisy? Or that the peak in the power spectrum that your graphics shows isn’t the result of filtering?

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 9 Aug 2009 @ 1:52 AM

  244. http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/9/10575/2009/acpd-9-10575-2009.html.

    B. A. Laken and D. R. Kniveton “The effects of Forbush decreases on Antarctic climate variability: a re-assessment” Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 9, 10575-10596, 2009

    “In an attempt to test the validity of a relationship between Galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) and cloud cover, a range of past studies have performed composite analysis based around Forbush decrease (FD) events. These studies have produced a range of conflicting results, consequently reducing confidence in the existence of a GCR-cloud link. A potential reason why past FD based studies have failed to identify a consistent relationship may be that the FD events themselves are too poorly defined, and require calibration prior to analysis. Drawing from an initial sample of 48 FD events taken from multiple studies this work attempts to isolate a GCR decrease of greater magnitude and coherence than has been demonstrated by past studies. After this calibration composite analysis revealed increases in high level (10–180 mb) cloud cover (of ~20%) occurred over the Antarctic plateau in conjunction with decreases in the rate of GCR flux during austral winter (these results are broadly opposite to those of past studies). The cloud changes occurred in conjunction with locally significant surface level air temperature increases over the Antarctic plateau (~4 K) and temperature decreases over the Ross Ice Sheet (~8 K). These temperature variations appear to be indirectly linked to cloud via anomalous surface level winds rather than a direct radiative forcing. These results provide good evidence of a relationship between daily timescale GCR variations and Antarctic climate variability”

    [Response: One needs to be careful citing discussion papers - this one was withdrawn following the discovery of errors in the calculations and a lack of "statistical rigour". - gavin]

    Comment by claudio costa — 9 Aug 2009 @ 3:18 AM

  245. P. Wilson,

    There’s a brief explanation here:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Greenhouse101.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Aug 2009 @ 5:34 AM

  246. Svensmark does not deny effects of greenhouse gasses. He just offers an explanation to anomalies in temperature, which cannot be explained by CO2, CH4 or other greenhouse gas effects.
    If you doubt the assumption, that cloud formation and development is a matter of days – please look at your local tv-weatherforecast! There will be satellite pictures to assure you!

    Kindly
    Carsten Brinch

    Comment by Carsten Brinch — 9 Aug 2009 @ 6:18 AM

  247. Carsten, why do you think they’re connected? Who are you trusting about “anomalies .. which cannot be explained” — Please point to your source.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Aug 2009 @ 7:36 AM

  248. Robert Bateman states:
    “I’m not a scientist and I don’t prove anything.”

    You do if you want to have a theory considered.

    Without proving YOUR point, you HAVE no point.

    Comment by Mark — 9 Aug 2009 @ 8:18 AM

  249. “And please explain what you mean by a “rational sense”?

    Ron

    Comment by Ron ”

    I mean “not irrational”, a statement based on reason and not rhetoric, “gut feeling” or lack of knowledge.

    And the analogy is a good one, which may be why you want to “not get it” (like the nasty guy in “Big” with Tom Hanks, using that to get back at Tom’s character…).

    Comment by Mark — 9 Aug 2009 @ 8:22 AM

  250. “127 – Mark – How many aero engineers do you know? ”

    Read it in the same newspapers that you read JBob.

    Ones that say “Engineers can now prove Bees can fly”.

    It wasn’t all that long ago.

    And we’ve been flying complex jet planes for MUCH longer than that.

    All without a scare that these doofuses who think bees can’t fly will design a jet plane that won’t fly either…

    Comment by Mark — 9 Aug 2009 @ 8:26 AM

  251. “I will now claim that the Sun will rise in the NNE 100 years from now. Either accept that or prove I’m wrong. The onus is yours.

    Comment by Rod B”

    You made the claim. Prove it.

    But claiming that AGW is caused by GCR’s requires proving of that statement.

    But Rod B, you’re being deliberately obtuse.

    Comment by Mark — 9 Aug 2009 @ 8:28 AM

  252. “Denialists are not going to cross your eyes and dot your t’s if you step out into the public and start telling them that clouds are going to boil the seas and fry the land.”

    And only you’ve said that, Bateman.

    No climate scientist investigating AGW.

    YOU.

    Comment by Mark — 9 Aug 2009 @ 8:29 AM

  253. “I’m still having difficulty in understanding how c02 traps heat in the atmosphere. It doesn’t have heat capacity itself, but transfers heat”

    P Wilson, why do you think that CO2 has no heat capacity?

    Every other gas does.

    Comment by Mark — 9 Aug 2009 @ 8:40 AM

  254. “Its a theoretical question: I received an email from the MET Office here in the UK asking them why the temperature plummeted during the solar eclipse.”

    If it’s a theoretical question, then why did you have them answer it with “CO2 doesn’t have heat capacity”?

    If they really answered that question with that, it isn’t a theoretical question, it’s a real one and I’d have to ask why you got the email asking the Met Office why it gets cooler when there’s an eclipse.

    And if CO2 had not capacity for heat, it would be much colder with the sun out of the way than it is.

    Comment by Mark — 9 Aug 2009 @ 8:43 AM

  255. #243 – Brian – The purpose was to show a simple example of how Fourier methods can be used to do some pretty good filtering, or extract information from a “noisy” signal. In this case, looking at certain frequencies (such as temperature)in a time series, and compare it visually with another signal (sunspots). You can also use these methods for correlation analysis, but that’s another story.

    One of the nice things about Fourier convolution is that it reduces “phase delay” that many filtering methods introduce (Butterworth, Chebushev, etc.), and can work better at the end points, then say moving averages. However the best is to use a variety of tools, so as to cross check the results.

    So in the example presented, the English data from 1659-2008 was converted to the frequency domain (via the Fourier transform [FFT]), ( after detrending and checking for “pre-whitening”). It was then filtered through a “mask” or “kernel”. The mask removed the freq. below 0.06 and above 0.12 cycles/year. The signal was then converted back to the time domain, using the inverse Fourier transform. The resultant graph shows the filtered temperature data about the 0.1 cycles/year area, as compared to sunspot activity. The spectral plot shows the + frequency content of the filtered temperature.

    The Bandpass in the caption refers to the mask between 0-0.06 cycles/yr, while the lowpass refers to mask above 0.12 cycles/yr. And yes I would say the original data has some noise in it.

    Does that help?

    Comment by J. Bob — 9 Aug 2009 @ 9:49 AM

  256. There’s a P.Wilson posting many long debunked claims about physics over at:
    http://www.spectator.co.uk/the-magazine/features/3755623/meet-the-man-who-has-exposed-the-great-climate-change-con-trick.thtml

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Aug 2009 @ 11:05 AM

  257. @ Carsten Brinch — 9 August 2009 @ 6:18 AM

    Svensmark PR said “Our team at the Danish National Space Center has discovered that the relatively few cosmic rays that reach sea-level play a big part in the everyday weather. They help to make low-level clouds, which largely regulate the Earth’s surface temperature.”

    Or “The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change by Henrik Svensmark and Nigel Calder” which reportedly claims “that the individual water droplets that make up a cloud form mostly where ions (charged particles) have been created by passing cosmic ray particles”which offer “plausible explanations of the history of the Earth hundreds of millions of year ago.” and “can explain warming without invoking man-made CO2.” Which has become a mantra for denialists.
    http://www.grassrootinstitute.org/system/old/GrassrootPerspective/ChillingStars.shtml

    Svensmark doesn’t just offer an explanation to anomalies in temperature, but a whole new theory for Climate Change, with a lot of hyperbole* along the way.

    *Definition: exaggeration Synonyms: PR, amplification, big talk, coloring, distortion, embellishment, embroidering, enlargement, hype, laying it on thick, magnification, overstatement, tall talk. http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/hyperbole

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 9 Aug 2009 @ 11:14 AM

  258. FYI, everybody, BobFJ has been spamming me with “back door” copies of exchanges with the moderators. I have asked him to stop.

    I am tired of his evidently inflated sense of self-importance, and plan to avoid doing anything that feeds it–which at this point includes responding to any of his posts.

    Just me.

    Let’s talk about something else.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 9 Aug 2009 @ 12:44 PM

  259. PS – the idea that aerodynamics says bees can’t fly:

    The aerodynamic formulas that say bees can’t fly are approximate formulas that are quite innacurate on the scales of bees, though they apply well to airplanes. Different processes and factors come into and go out of dominance as scales change – a small vortex like a tornado can be in approximately in cyclostrophic balance, whereas large scale atmospheric motions tend to be in approximately geostrophic balance to a first approximation. Useful approximations are important but do not apply universally as would the full physical laws.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 9 Aug 2009 @ 1:31 PM

  260. re #246

    Svensmark does not deny effects of greenhouse gasses. He just offers an explanation to anomalies in temperature, which cannot be explained by CO2, CH4 or other greenhouse gas effects.

    which particular “anomalies in temperature which cannot be explained by CO2, CH4 or other greenhouse gas effects” were you (and Svensmark) thinking of Carsten? Presumably they’re ones that also cannot be explained by solar irradince variations, volcanic effects, ocean circulation, etc. or some combination of these..

    ..can you give some examples?

    Comment by chris — 9 Aug 2009 @ 1:47 PM

  261. Mark (251), my point exactly…

    Comment by Rod B — 9 Aug 2009 @ 1:59 PM

  262. Patrick 027 — 7 August 2009 You wrote:”Like how the sun’s mass was determined by planetary orbital characteristics was an extrapolation?”
    Kevin McKinney – 8 August 2009 You wrote:”The deduction and calculation WRT AGW operate upon vast volumes of real-world data, obtained at considerable effort and expense, and parsed very carefully indeed. The observed responses of the various climate systems let us know that the “deductions” are largely correct.”
    The estimation of the sun’s mass is a good example to consider in terms of the “canonical form” of scientific process. Observation: (Newton) This apple has just hit me on the head. (Brilliant) hypothesis: Gravitational attraction is proportional to the product of masses and an inverse square relationship with distance. A mathematical model for gravitation. Test: Extensive laboratory experiments with capacity to falsify the hypothesis in good Popperian fashion. Astronomic observations which (along with other Newtonian mechanics) generalised Keppler’s third law. Result: no falsification of the hypothesis from observations in the lab and celestial data, and hence the acceptance of a model which would be considered valid and useful for several hundred years. The fact that Newtonian mechanics were shown to have limited validity as one approached SOL in no way detracts from the beauty and utility of Newton’s laws of motion and of universal gravitation. Since this mathematical model passed the critical test of being compatible with all observations, then its application to a calculation of the mass of a planetary body is a scientifically credible “extrapolated deduction”.
    Now, let us compare the canonical form of the validation of (Patrick 027’s example of) Newtonian mechanics with that of the hypothesis: “manmade CO2 causes dangerous global warming”. Observation(s): CO2 is an effective absorber and emitter of LW in certain wavebands. An increase in CO2 should therefore inhibit radiative cooling and hence cause an overall rise in tropospheric temperatures, and a decrease in stratospheric or TOA emission temperatures. The surface temperature has been getting warmer since the early 18th century, and a lot warmer since the 1970′s. Hypothesis: Manmade CO2 causes dangerous global warming. To avoid hair splitting, and to permit falsifiability of the hypothesis, I will define here “dangerous” to mean more than 1.2 deg K per doubling of Co2, (an arbitrary definition which can certainly be challenged, but one intended in context here to consider whether in reality we see positive or negative feedback relative to a K&T clear skies radiative calculation for CO2 on its own). Test: Because of the complexity of the system, vertical radiative calculations are parameterised into GCM’s. GCMs (generally, although not true of all elements for all models) assume a constant relative humidity, a neutral or positive feedback from cloud formation, an aerosol level during the decades from the 40s to the 70s which is used as a matching parameter to explain the observed temperature decrease over that period, and that the only variation introduced by the sun is via direct radiative forcing due to variation in TSI (no accounting for any amplification affects due to GCR or increased stratospheric absorption of UV) . OK so far. From these models, it is concluded that the hypothesis is validated.
    Now a necessary condition for validating any numerical model is that it matches the observed data. Kevin Mc Kinney argues that this has been done. With the greatest respect to Kevin Mc Kinney, I have been looking for this now through scientific papers for about 4 months, and have not found it. On the contrary, I see (a) constant relative humidity assumption is validated only at surface levels (where one expects it to be because of primary model match to surface temperature and near-surface availability of water ). Mid and upper tropospheric levels appear to show a flat or declining trend. Since most of the positive feedback effect on CO2 comes from water vapour, this appears to be a critical failing in the argument for large positive feedback and needs to be resolved, (b) several papers have reported on the fact that mid- and upper tropospheric tropical temperature measurements are significantly different from the increased rate of rise predicted by the AR4 GCMs relative to surface temperature measurements, (c) one well-researched paper has seriously examined regional predictions from GCMs – which have negligible correlation to observed measurements – and has questioned whether one can sensibly believe an aggregate result from such models (d) Antarctic cooling and increased ice extent does not match model projections (e) the recent post-2001 cooling trend was not predicted by any of the AR3 models and there is still no good explanation of why we see simultaneously a cooling trend and a flat or declining total ocean heat content over a period where there was a step change increase in manmade production of CO2 and no volcanic activity to provide an aerosol explanation of the short-term temperature decrease, (f) ERBE data strongly suggests that all of the GCMs are underestimating the actual level of outgoing longwave radiation (surely a critical primary matching parameter??) (g) Lindzen (2009) uses the ERBE non-scanner data to deduce a negative feedback (h) stratospheric cooling is a necessary but not sufficient condition for validation of the hypothesis, and there has been a cooling trend observable over the last 30 years; however, examination of the trend is disturbing, since it reveals a series of step changes associated with volcanic events. If the temperature trend is broken down naturally into periods of cooling/flat/heating, rather remarkably from a statistical perspective even, there are very few occasions when we have seen simultaneously a decrease in stratospheric temperatures and an increase in SST, as predicted by the GCMs.
    I would have to conclude from this that the statement: “The observed responses of the various climate systems let us know that the “deductions” are largely correct.” Is a triumph of optimism over the reality.

    Comment by Paul — 9 Aug 2009 @ 6:46 PM

  263. Re 256 – “Spectator” – is this the UK version of Washington Times? Holy @$%@! I’m on the verge of thinking there’s no hope for these people – education would be a lost cause. We’ll just have to keep enough of a political majority and steamroll over them.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 9 Aug 2009 @ 7:19 PM

  264. P. Wilson if you feel focused and adventerous, read the intro here:Elements of Physical Chemistry By Peter Atkins, Julio de Paula, and then peruse chapter 19, (and I do mean peruse, it gets complex at this pont, but the qualitative nature is explained too with some simple numerical data, as well)perhaps after reviewing chapter 1 as well, which is the properties of gases chapter. Then pick up a good physical or world geography book and review the atmosphere, oceans and coupling of the two. Robert Christopherson is excellent. Oh and see here: http://www.fas.org/spp/military/docops/afwa/ocean-U1.htm for an excellent overview of water bodies covering of course, evaporation, conduction, convection, salinity, radiation, specific heat, and heat capacity among other integral topics.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 9 Aug 2009 @ 9:13 PM

  265. Re: #262 (Paul)

    When you say things like “the recent post-2001 cooling trend” it reveals that when it comes to trends, you’re clueless.

    When you further suggest that this is evidence that computer models are inadequate, it reveals that you’re similarly clueless about models. They show exactly the kind of variation we’ve observed since 2001. It’s not a trend, it’s noise.

    All you’ve done is construct an elaborate fantasy that enables you to deny the reality and danger of global warming. Pity.

    Comment by tamino — 9 Aug 2009 @ 10:53 PM

  266. Paul –

    You are quite incorrect on several fronts.

    Much more is known than you think. There is the paleoclimatic record. GCMs do not assume approximate relative humidity, etc. – those are results of GCMS. Water vapor does seem to be increasing in the upper troposphere. Then there is the snow/ice albedo feedback. Recent trends are within the range of what is to be expected given interannual variability. That’s not necessarily all, but I’ve got to go now.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 9 Aug 2009 @ 10:59 PM

  267. … And I should point out that the greenhouse gas absorption spectrum’s effect on Earth’s radiation to space can be directly observed with satellites.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 9 Aug 2009 @ 11:01 PM

  268. Paul #262: There is no “cooling trend,” post 2001, as this is not a long enough time period to constitute a climate trend.Relative humidity is not just an “assumption,” as water vapor levels do tend towards equilibrium, so while it is true that air can “hold” (not exactly true, as it is not holding per se; see here:hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/HBASE/Kinetic/relhum.html)more water vapor, this does not equate to either an immediate “run away” effect, or an equilibration that leads to zero net warmign effect either.There is ofcourse equlibration, and specific humidity does go on the incline and decline within obervable paramaters in most cases, and some GCM’s do include flucuatng SH as well. However, you must also consider adiabatic processes in saturated air.

    For more detailed info see this: Physics of climate By José Pinto Peixoto, Abraham H. Oort; starting on page 54 on Google Books; the aforementioned Peter Atkins reference and Robert Christopherson references would also serve you well (Atkins, 2009 is on Google books, but Christopherson is not found in good previews).
    More recent: The Earth’s Atmosphere By Kshudiram Saha (2008) starting on page 44. There are later chapters covering this in more detail; try your habd at a few calculations and concepts, then if you have time we can discuss. The whole book is well written and accurate, so enjoy what you can.(Also chapter 3.3 takes a look at the specific heat of gases).
    This a brief response, but I wish to continue this discussion with you as I think you are inquisitve, but lacking crucial data and uderstanding. Linzdzen has time and again been falsified as well, but we will hold off on that aspect of this discussion, if you choose to accept.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 9 Aug 2009 @ 11:08 PM

  269. Paul # 22, see my #264 post first before the latest installment addressed directly to you. Those references are helpful for you too.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 9 Aug 2009 @ 11:11 PM

  270. Off-topic but I though RC readers might get a kick out of this

    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2009/08/09/victorian-paleontologist-challenges-climate-change-and-is-letting-the-aps-know-about-it/

    Comment by Chris Colose — 9 Aug 2009 @ 11:12 PM

  271. Paul # 262, not 22…

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 9 Aug 2009 @ 11:17 PM

  272. Paul, you say that you’ve been looking for 4 months for climate papers; what did you find?

    Give us a list of the reading you’ve done that you found and how you found it; that will help make sense.

    (So would more paragraph breaks, but citing your sources is the main thing you can do to be distinguishable from the people who just post beliefs here).

    Does this describe one of the papers you found?
    http://www.grist.org/article/Looking-for-validation/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Aug 2009 @ 12:10 AM

  273. PS to paul — sometimes a useful exercise: take the terms used, and search

    First Google

    failing+”large+positive+feedback”+humidity+climate

    Recognize any of the top hits that you get there?

    (actually put double quotes around the string “large positive feedback” when you do the search; that breaks the link so you can’t click on a search that includes a quoted string; apparently a WordPress bug.

    Well, then do the same with Google Scholar

    Interesting difference, isn’t it? You find you’re in a different ballpark.

    Now try the exact same search with Google Image Search
    q=failing “large positive feedback” humidity climate

    Do you find you’re back in the first ballpark again? Recognize the same blog names as from the first Google search?

    So it’s interesting to know what your sources are and how you find them; that often determines your view of what’s out there to be found. The same people who pop up in the ordinary Google search also really completely dominate the image search.

    Innarestin’ innit?

    Rely on Scholar to start with.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Aug 2009 @ 12:19 AM

  274. re 255 J. Bob — 9 August 2009 @ 9:49 AM
    You mean like this?
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/noise/from:1900/to:2000/fourier/low-pass:11/high-pass:6/inverse-fourier/offset:-0.1/scale:2/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1900/to:2000/scale:0.001/fourier/inverse-fourier/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1900/to:2000/fourier/low-pass:11/high-pass:6/inverse-fourier/offset:-0.1

    “You can also use these methods for correlation analysis, but that’s another story.”

    I downloaded the numbers using the “raw data” link at the bottom of the woodfortrees page, plugged them into a google docs spreadsheet, and ran the correlation.

    sunspot number to noise correlation = -0.126
    sunspot number to temperature correlation = 0.063

    Not exactly a Tung & Camp level of significance.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 10 Aug 2009 @ 12:43 AM

  275. I probably shouldnt ask, but please may I have citations from Mr. Paul illuminating his loooong screed discrediting CO2 forced global warming ?

    the closest thing i see to a citation is Lindzen(2009) which i sincerely hope is not a reference to Lindzen’s address to the ICCC confederacy of dunces…

    Comment by sidd — 10 Aug 2009 @ 2:01 AM

  276. re 259, that’s the point, isn’t it, though. Despite having a system that could not have bees flying, the models used WERE good enough to make aeroplanes and helicopters that *could* fly.

    Comment by Mark — 10 Aug 2009 @ 2:01 AM

  277. “#243 – Brian – The purpose was to show a simple example of how Fourier methods can be used to do some pretty good filtering”

    But filtering merely fits a pattern to a set of data.

    Rather like the fitting of solar activity to the temperature data. Works when you find it (because you’re looking for a pattern and if it’s not there, you’ll look for a different pattern) but doesn’t predict anything.

    Your fourier analysis is “interesting” in so far as it exercises fourier analysis.

    It is completely uninteresting when it comes to what’s going on in the climate.

    Comment by Mark — 10 Aug 2009 @ 2:05 AM

  278. Hank and others called for answers and references. I sent it (should have had number 255), but the moderator obviously didn’t find it worth publishing. Which I absolutely do not understand.

    Kindly
    Carsten Brinch

    [Response: sorry. I think Imay have deleted that by mistake. repost if you want. - gavin]

    Comment by Carsten Brinch — 10 Aug 2009 @ 2:06 AM

  279. RodB 261, that may be your point, but it has nothing to do with anything else on this thread.

    Someone here says that GCR’s are a cause and doesn’t think it needs them to prove it, just say it.

    So your “point” applies to THEM: they make the statement and must prove it. the current CO2 AGW theory DOES explain what’s going on and IS proven. If the GCR is doing it, they have to prove it, not just go “I’m not going to dot your i’s and cross your t’s”. Because neither are we. We aren’t going to dot Svenmark’s i’s or cross his t’s. And he hasn’t done it either. And we do not see him having proven anything, just fitted curves and made some assumptions with no reason behind them other than “we need to fit this curve”.

    If someone wants to support Svenmark’s paper they need to dot the i’s and cross the t’s for that paper. Without that, the idea is unproven and unphysical.

    Comment by Mark — 10 Aug 2009 @ 2:09 AM

  280. Re 262 Paul.

    I assume the length of your post was an attempt to put as many inaccuracies into one post as possible.

    I’ll just deal with one, as I’m sure others will be along soon to pick apart the rest of your diatribe.

    You say “GCMs assume a constant relative humidity”

    From the RealClimate model FAQ:

    “Do models assume a constant relative humidity?

    No. Relative humidity is a diagnostic of the models’ temperature and water distribution and will vary according to the dynamics, convection etc. However, many processes that remove water from the atmosphere (i.e. cloud formation and rainfall) have a clear functional dependence on the relative humidity rather than the total amount of water (i.e. clouds form when air parcels are saturated at their local temperature, not when humidity reaches X g/m3). These leads to the phenomenon observed in the models and the real world that long-term mean relative humidity is pretty stable. In models it varies by a couple of percent over temperature changes that lead to specific humidity (the total amount of water) changing by much larger amounts. Thus a good estimate of the model relative humidity response is that it is roughly constant, similar to the situation seen in observations. But this is a derived result, not an assumption. You can see for yourself here (select Relative Humidty (%) from the diagnostics).”

    If you have spent 4 months researching this, but can still only regurgitate long-debunked sceptic talking points, it doesn’t say much for your research abilities. Took me all of 30 seconds to find that.

    Comment by CTG — 10 Aug 2009 @ 5:47 AM

  281. @262 Paul, now that was just sad. First, anthropogenic causation of warming is not a “hypothesis”. Rather, it is a consequence of what we know about climate. Constant humidity is not an “assumption.” Rather, it is a consequence of the physics and will be true on average. Finally, you claim that because you haven’t been able to find validation of the models, the models are falsified. OK anybody want to help Paul spot the logical fallacy in this argument.

    You know, Paul, when you get tired of beating up on your little straw men, the science will be there for you. So will reality. Amazing how well they coincide.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Aug 2009 @ 7:31 AM

  282. Paul, #262–I’ll just mention one point: the ocean cooling thing mentioned in your point e) didn’t work out. Instrumental bias. . .

    Here’s the actual paper; there’s a nice account of the story on Earth Observatory.

    http://oceans.pmel.noaa.gov/Pdf/hc_bias_jtech_v3.pdf

    Abstract:

    “Two significant instrument biases have been identified in the in situ profile data used to estimate globally integrated upper-ocean heat content. A large cold
    bias was discovered in a small fraction of Argo floats along with a smaller but more prevalent warm bias in eXpendable BathyThermograph (XBT) data. These biases appear
    to have caused the bulk of the upper-ocean cooling signal reported by Lyman et al. (2006) between 2003 and 2005. These systematic data errors are significantly larger than
    sampling errors in recent years, and are the dominant sources of error in recent estimates of globally integrated upper-ocean heat content variability. The bias in the XBT data is
    found to be consistent with errors in the fall-rate equations, suggesting a physical explanation for that bias. With biased profiles discarded, no significant warming or cooling is observed in upper-ocean heat content between 2003 and 2006.”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 10 Aug 2009 @ 7:45 AM

  283. RE: #265 (Tamino)

    We’ve now had ~10 years of non-increasing temperatures. How much longer would this need to continue before the upward trend hypothesis programmed into the models is abandoned? Would another 10 or 20 years of no upward trend do it?

    Comment by Rene — 10 Aug 2009 @ 8:48 AM

  284. Rene #283

    Do you really think an “upward trend hypothesis (is) programmed into the models”?

    Take a look here;

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/embarrassing-questions/

    Tamino’s good at stats, but I would be surprised if the “trend” doesn’t point skywards with a vengeance by 2015 (I’ll lay odds it will only be another year or two).

    Comment by DavidK — 10 Aug 2009 @ 9:46 AM

  285. Ray Ladbury says:

    “@262 Paul, now that was just sad. First, anthropogenic causation of warming is not a “hypothesis”. Rather, it is a consequence of what we know about climate. Constant humidity is not an “assumption.” Rather, it is a consequence of the physics and will be true on average.”

    1. Anthropogenic warming IS a hypothesis. There has been no study to date that has advanced it to the theoretical stage let alone to fact.

    2. It is likely that humans have had an impact on the climate. Not by the production of small amounts of GHGs compared to nature but by the act of modifying the landscape through land clearing, agriculture, the building of large cities etc.

    3. You talk about water vapour feedback and constant humidity being a consquence of the physics as if that puts paid to any contrary view. However, the current level of understanding of how the physics actually works in a complex and dynamical system such as the climate system is not fully understood. If it were, there would be no further need for climate research. The fact is that what may be an easy explanation by theoretical physics may be a more complex and dynamic problem in the real world.

    [Response: We don't know everything so therefore we must know nothing. Brilliant. - gavin]

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 10 Aug 2009 @ 10:16 AM

  286. OK, so after two more years you would begin to ask questions, and after six more Tamino would.
    What are other> people’s timelines?
    And does the IPCC have one?

    Comment by Rene — 10 Aug 2009 @ 10:21 AM

  287. 274-Brian
    That’s basically the idea. I assume the harmonic numbers are the cut off freq. I’ve not spent the time at wood4trees as I would like, but Paul and I have discussed using Fourier methods with phase compensated recursive filters to tease more information out of some of the raw data sets. It looks like you can “detrend” the data prior to applying the transform, to reduce potential errors. It would be good to look at the spectral plot, if possible, to note any significant frequncies.

    I assume the red chart is just filtered random noise.

    No it’s not the best of correlations, nor is a single data set. It would be fun to toss in some other items like the NAO.

    Comment by J. Bob — 10 Aug 2009 @ 10:32 AM

  288. Rene, see Robert Grumbine’s answer to your question about how long it takes to detect a trend:
    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/01/results-on-deciding-trends.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Aug 2009 @ 10:37 AM

  289. “We’ve now had ~10 years of non-increasing temperatures.”

    Except they HAVE been increasing.

    the last 10 years average is 0.2C warmer than the 10 years previous.

    Comment by Mark — 10 Aug 2009 @ 10:40 AM

  290. RodB stated:
    “His conclusion … is based in part on observation and supported by numerous other studies (which I can’t verify)”

    Indeed, Rod, can you ever verify anything, except occasional quotes on the articles you do understand a zip?

    There is no straw that thin there is a denialist hanging on it.

    Comment by Petro — 10 Aug 2009 @ 10:50 AM

  291. #274 J. Bob

    I have a general question for you. Since the world is now cooling according to many sources on the internets:

    - Why are we losing ice mass in the Arctic?
    - Why is there global glacial mass loss?
    - Why has the temperature been observed to rise 1.2 degrees F

    Rather than getting lost in the noise, let’s just hear your explanation for these three.

    I don’t think you realize it (or maybe you do), but you, and many others, are nitpicking at things that are not relevant to the recognizable signal, separate from the noise.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 10 Aug 2009 @ 11:27 AM

  292. Gavin says:

    “[Response: We don't know everything so therefore we must know nothing. Brilliant. - gavin]”

    Gavin. I said nothing of the sort. Please be mindful that we actually do know very little about the natural world. That is why we become scientists. To learn and understand.

    Having said that there is the common quote that “it a wise man who knows enough to know that he knows nothing.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 10 Aug 2009 @ 11:41 AM

  293. Petro (290), how on earth could I be able to verify someone else’s sources? How on earth could you? Or what possible difference could it make? Talk about your strawman!

    Comment by Rod B — 10 Aug 2009 @ 12:13 PM

  294. Steckis — there is? Where?
    Quote the string and paste it into Google.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Aug 2009 @ 12:34 PM

  295. #285 Richard Steckis

    Huh, you’re a scientist?

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/theory

    Gravity IS a hypothesis:

    3 : the general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art

    AGW IS a theory:

    1 : the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 10 Aug 2009 @ 12:46 PM

  296. Richard Steckis:

    There is a lot we don’t know, of course. But:
    1. some of the most useful portions of our bodies of knowledge are useful approximations (in fluid dynamics in particular – different density, viscocity, electromagnetism, corilis effect, space and time scales bring various different patterns of behavior into dominance; for some purposes, radiation can be ignored for weather processes over the course of hours or days, but radiation is essential for longer term climate conditions; you need General Relativity to describe two neutron stars in a tight orbit, but Newtonian mechanics works just fine for designing buildings; the curvature of the Earth is not so important for local maps).

    2. Even if/when what we know is a drop in the bucket compared to what there is, it can still be plenty for some purposes. Consider that we have been able to rely on computers without experimental confirmation or falsification of superstrings for quite some time.

    There are mountains of data on climate. A lot is known. How much more do you need to be convinced?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 10 Aug 2009 @ 12:57 PM

  297. “Please be mindful that we actually do know very little about the natural world.”

    We do?

    Please tell us how wide our lack of knowledge is.

    Can’t, can you.

    Arguing from personal incredulity.

    Comment by Mark — 10 Aug 2009 @ 2:40 PM

  298. Richard Steckis (285) — Here is how BPL briefly puts it.

    Barton Paul Levenson:
    1. CO2 is a greenhouse gas (Tyndall 1859).
    2. CO2 is rising (Keeling et al. 1958).
    3. The new CO2 is mainly from burning fossil fuels (Suess 1955).
    4. Temperature is rising (NASA GISS, Hadley CRU, UAH, RSS, etc.).
    5. The increase in temperature correlates with the increase in CO2 (60–76% for temp. anomaly and ln CO2 for 1880-2007). See
    http://bartonpaullevenson.com/Correlation.html

    Looks soundly established to me. Also, I recommend you to read “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    Comment by David B. Benson — 10 Aug 2009 @ 4:58 PM

  299. Carsten Brinch says:
    10 August 2009 at 2:06 AM
    Hank and others called for answers and references. I sent it (should have had number 255), but the moderator obviously didn’t find it worth publishing. Which I absolutely do not understand.

    Kindly
    Carsten Brinch

    [Response: sorry. I think Imay have deleted that by mistake. repost if you want. - gavin]

    That’s ok Gavin. But in the country where I live – it’s called Denmark – we don’t usually copy posts, before we send it. We treat each others words/notes with respect. I have never experienced a note being deleted by mistake here. And I have contributed in public debate for more than 20 years. In several countries.

    You’re not wrong! We’re not wrong. We’re just different. And that’s ok. But I can’t repost what’s gone! It’s a sort-of laid back attitude, that I do not quite understand. So I must try harder.

    Kindly
    Carsten Brinch
    (Therapist)

    Comment by Carsten Brinch — 10 Aug 2009 @ 5:05 PM

  300. Paul, it seems you have plenty of reading material and posts to read. If you have further questions or comments, this is where to good data and papers.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 10 Aug 2009 @ 5:11 PM

  301. Rene #286

    What I said was: “I would be surprised if the “trend” doesn’t point skywards with a vengeance by 2015″. This is what statistical analysis is telling me.

    However, I would not be surprised if it kicks in earlier – I am assuming you know that natural variations are masking the AGW component.

    Now, can you please answer my question to you:

    Do you really think an “upward trend hypothesis (is) programmed into the models”?

    Comment by DavidK — 10 Aug 2009 @ 5:32 PM

  302. Good online textbook series: http://www.learner.org/courses/envsci/unit/text.php?unit=2...

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 10 Aug 2009 @ 5:36 PM

  303. Adding to David B Beson’s post # 298:
    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/ClimateBook/ClimateWorkbook.pdf
    which I found from links from the guest post from Spencer Weart here at RC back in 2007.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 10 Aug 2009 @ 6:24 PM

  304. Thank you for your various responses to my posting #262. I had not expected to stir up such a hornet’s nest. I cannot address all the responses in one post, but I will happily take them in order:

    #265 Tamino If you have a point to make on the science, I will address it. All of the main temperature datasets show a post 2001 cooling trend. [edit]

    #266 Patrick 027 You wrote: “GCMs do not assume approximate relative humidity, etc. – those are results of GCMS. Water vapor does seem to be increasing in the upper troposphere.” I believe that you are wrong on both counts. Can I suggest that you read Chapter 8 of IPCC AR4 WG1 “Report Climate Models and Their Evaluation” pp 629-633? And also take a look at the data from NASA here: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=4312
    There are better presented sources of this data, but it does indicate, as NASA states, that the amount of water vapour entering the atmosphere is less than that predicted in GCMs, and that relative humidity is decreasing in the critical mid-upper troposphere.

    #267 Patrick 027: You also wrote: “And I should point out that the greenhouse gas absorption spectrum’s effect on Earth’s radiation to space can be directly observed with satellites.” That was exactly my point when I stated that if one compares the outgoing longwave radiation measured by ERBE with GCM outputs, the GCMs systematically show lower OLW than actually measured. Conclusion is that the GCMs are somehow overestimating the cooling effect of GHGs or adding in positive feedback when it should be negative.

    #268 Jacob Mack: You wrote: “There is no “cooling trend,” post 2001, as this is not a long enough time period to constitute a climate trend.Relative humidity is not just an “assumption,” as water vapor levels do tend towards equilibrium, so while it is true that air can “hold” (not exactly true, as it is not holding per se; see here:hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/HBASE/Kinetic/relhum.html)more water vapor, this does not equate to either an immediate “run away” effect, or an equilibration that leads to zero net warmign effect either.” Thank you for your response, Jacob. Firstly, if you check my posting, I did not mention a climate trend. I merely pointed out a cooling trend. With respect to relative humidity, my answer to your comment is similar to my answer to Patrick 027, namely that (a) constant relative humidity IS an assumption built into the GCMs as part of the governing equations. Variation in SH is part of a calculation procedure based on this assumption. My point on this issue is simply that the results of the models do not match observations in the mid- to upper troposphere. It does not matter whether this is a failure in the assumptions, the governing equations, the characterisation or numerical error. The fact remains that this calls into question the validity of any “extrapolated deduction” from the solid observation that CO2 is an effective absorber of LW. I don’t understand your reference to a “runaway effect”, which doesn’t appear to be related to anything I wrote. More to follow…

    Comment by Paul — 10 Aug 2009 @ 7:58 PM

  305. Paul, there is no cooling trend, and this is my point; the time period for the warming pause has not been long enough to diminish the warming trend which is ling enough to call climate according to the World Meteological Association, and many climatologists. Also the past decade is still the hottest deacde on the instrumental record. Okay, regarding constant relative humidity, it is actually a fact of physics/physical chemistry in the system and empirical observations, that relative humidity remains almost constant and when it ia averaged, it actually is constant, so the GCM’s input this factual data to consider such aspect fo water vapor levels.
    As far as observations of the mid to upper trposphere; there are several well documented observations of this, but I did find some abstracts and preliminary papers regarding alternate methods to observe RH in these atmospheric regions and every paper I found stated the method should be used with great “caution.” (their word not mine) The ongoing papers go on to make mention of greater uncertainties that may distort the findings altogether.

    I made reference to runaway effect, as many skeptics make mention that such events should have taken place based upn so called RH “assumptions, so I was merely stating the fallacy in such logic before you may make mention of it. If you take the time to read the references I gave you before replying again, you will see why I made mention of it.
    I have these papers and other references, but I suggest you start with the references I gave you in addition to what other posters gave you as well.
    David Benson also made mention of Spencer Weart as well, and I suggest you read those references which explains the physics of C02 in the upper atmosphere clearly.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 10 Aug 2009 @ 8:36 PM

  306. Paul, it’s not hornets, it’s wannabe reference librarians.

    Did you look up anything since that 2004 NASA page, which has been very popular with people who find it at Warwick Hughes’s website?

    What do you make of, for example, this paper:
    http://www.atmos-meas-tech.net/2/379/2009/amt-2-379-2009.pdf

    “… 6.2 Precision validation
    The results of our simplified 2-analysis seem a bit ambiguous. ….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Aug 2009 @ 8:49 PM

  307. Re 304. Paul, you still do not understand the difference between “assumption” and “result”. Go away and read some more, and come back once you understand this distinction. Until then, everything you say will be ignored.

    Comment by CTG — 10 Aug 2009 @ 9:17 PM

  308. Re: #304 (Paul)

    All of the main temperature datasets show a post 2001 cooling trend.

    As I said, when it comes to trends you’re clueless.

    NONE of the main temperature datasets show a post-2001 cooling trend. Example: for UAH TLT data, the trend estimate since 2001 is -0.013 +/- 0.039 deg.C/yr. Note the “+/-” part. That means the trend could be as low as -0.052 or as high as +0.026 (95% confidence). And that means: there’s no evidence of a cooling *trend*, in fact there’s no reliable evidence that the trend is any different than it has been throughout the entire UAH TLT record. Really: the *only* thing we can learn from UAH TLT data post-2001 is that 9 years isn’t nearly long enough to discern what the real *trend* is. Exactly the same condition applies to RSS TLT, NASA GISS, and HadCRUT3v data.

    It’s obvious to everybody except yourself that you really don’t know what a trend is and what it isn’t. It’s equally evident that you still feel entitled to come here and spin an elaborate yarn about the mistaken nature of global warming.

    If you really want to know about global warming, you must first accept the fact that at the moment you’re in WAY over your head. Somehow I don’t expect that to happen.

    Comment by tamino — 10 Aug 2009 @ 9:53 PM

  309. Gavin, CTG, and others, it’s always good to check what people will find if they put the question into ordinary Google in a naive way. Have a look:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=difference+between+%E2%80%9Cassumption%E2%80%9D+and+%E2%80%9Cresult%E2%80%9D+climate+model

    and the image search:

    http://images.google.com/images?q=difference between “assumption” and “result” climate mode

    May I suggest a pointer to an explanation from a journal or reliable source would be appropriate, to reduce the cloudiness of Google’s result?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Aug 2009 @ 9:58 PM

  310. Urk. I’ve been quotewhacked. Again:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=difference+between+assumption+and+result+climate+model

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Aug 2009 @ 10:00 PM

  311. For those who are here to learn, here’s an illustration of what’s going on.
    When someone posts an old paper and makes a factual claim — as with humidity from the old 2004 page above — keep looking. Post questions if you think your question might tempt a working scientist into taking a few minutes to explain. Remember, most blogs aren’t worth the trouble, they’re overrun by people blathering and driving away anyone waiting quietly to learn.

    So, humidity, what’s going on out there? Well, I went poking with Scholar and eventually came across a site that pays a lot of attention to what can be learned about humidity from satellite work — clearly they don’t assume, they’re working out how to measure it. That’s the site for the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. I’m sure there are many others; this is just the one I stumbled upon.

    Who are they? http://www.ecmwf.int/

    “We are an international organisation supported by 31 States. We provide operational medium- and extended-range forecasts and a state-of-the-art super-computing facility for scientific research. We pursue scientific and technical collaboration with satellite agencies and with the European Commission.”

    And what kind of instruments are they using?

    All of them.

    And what are they able to say about humidity in the atmosphere?
    There’s a huge database there, many bulletins and summaries.

    But just to make the point that humidity is a question being answered, in detail, improving over time — not a fixed assumption — here’s a little bit from a recent report on their site. Again it’s just an example of people working in areas I didn’t know existed.
    http://www.ecmwf.int/about/special_projects/interim_reports_2009/UK_ONeill_SP-GBDARC_interim_report_2009.pdf

    Reporting year
    July 2008 to June 2009
    Project Title: Assimilation of retrieved products from EOS MLS

    They’re talking about new instruments coming available and how they take the new information and bring it into useful form along with the previous information, and what they can do with it.

    —— Brief excerpt follows ——

    The Kalpana VHRR (Very High Resolution Radiometer) water vapour channel is very similar to the water vapour channel of MVIRI (Meteosat Visible and Infrared Radiation Imager) on Meteosat-7 and both satellites observe the Indian subcontinent. Thus it is possible to compare the performance of
    VHRR and MVIRI in NWP models. … Using Kalpana WV radiances instead of observations from Meteosat-7 improves the fit of radiosonde data; in particular … low-middle level moisture. ….

    In the future, a sounder with several additional channels in the visible, infrared, and water vapour bands will become available on the Indian INSAT-3D satellite, to be launched by ISRO. The information of three humidity and more than seven temperature sounding channels of the INSAT-3D
    sounder will provide more vertical information – useful for the definition of the humidity and temperature fields. …

    —– end excerpt —–

    Ya know, when someone tells you that some assumption is built into the models rather than being a result from research being looked at by the scientists, and improved as the tools get better, you ought to ask — persistently — where they are getting their bad information.

    And, of course, you can look it up. Make the effort.

    Again, I post this kind of stuff just to show what an utter amateur can turn up in a few minutes’ time.

    The site raises _lots_ of interesting questions, because “medium to long-range weather” research is certainly accumulating a lot of information at a level of detail more than could be just poured into a climate model.

    Perhaps hearing from some folks like that would be an interesting topic?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Aug 2009 @ 10:23 PM

  312. Paul -

    H2O feedback: aside from the date on your source, you might be mixing up specific and relative humidity. If the climate model results are constant relative humidity (PS obviously there are regional variations from that, of course), and the actual result is a decrease in relative humidity, what kind of error is that? If it is a small decline, the change in specific humidity may still be an increase, and it may not be so far off from the model results.

    LW emission to space seen by satellites – I don’t know offhand what the error is for climate models, but you seem to be suggesting that any overestimate of the greenhouse effect makes the greenhouse effect much weaker than we think. Suppose the climate model result is off by 10 % (I’m not saying this is true or false). This does not mean that any change in the greenhouse effect that is less than 10 % cannot be simulated well by a model. What is suggests is that perhaps the model’s simulated changes due to some addition of CO2 is off by 10 % and then perhaps the temperature changes might also be off by 10 % (in addition to or cancelation of other sources of error), starting with an assumption of linearity of error in proportion to value – which could be wrong, but likely not by a lot with that kind of thing.

    The satelite measurements clear show that CO2, water vapor, and clouds (and smaller contributions from CH4, O3, …) take sizable chunks out of what would otherwise be the LW radiation from the surface to space.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 10 Aug 2009 @ 11:16 PM

  313. PS by the way, it’s not like we’re trying to use GCM’s + paleoclimate, etc to land on the moon. Even if climate model ensembles were shown to be off by 30 %, there would still be useful information, and the implication would be similar – adding CO2 will have an effect 70 % or 130 % of what we thought it would. Consider what this might mean for policy – in the case of reduced warming, that we could allow ourselves to emit a little more CO2 + etc, or we could justify a reduced emissions tax, or that we have a little more time to build some aqueducts and move some people and things(although some greater regional precision+accuracy in climate models would be helpful for such infrastructure projects) and develop new crops, etc, or we could still use the policies we were going to use and be happy that the resulting climate change is even less, or some combination of those…

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 10 Aug 2009 @ 11:27 PM

  314. David B. Benson #298 says:

    “Barton Paul Levenson:
    1. CO2 is a greenhouse gas (Tyndall 1859).
    2. CO2 is rising (Keeling et al. 1958).
    3. The new CO2 is mainly from burning fossil fuels (Suess 1955).
    4. Temperature is rising (NASA GISS, Hadley CRU, UAH, RSS, etc.).
    5. The increase in temperature correlates with the increase in CO2 (60–76% for temp. anomaly and ln CO2 for 1880-2007).”

    1. No dispute
    2. No dispute
    3. There is no substantial work that has unequivocally shown this to be true. It is a hypothetical. There is no empirical evidence that expressly verifies it (including stable isotope and radioactive isotope work).
    4. True but not necessarily in synchronisation with GHGs. And not necessarily in a linear fashion.
    5. That is a correlation which is NOT cause and effect.

    By the way. Do you get a commission from Weart? I have seen you recommend his book at least 20 times over the course of the last year.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 11 Aug 2009 @ 12:12 AM

  315. re: 301 (DavidK)
    I am assuming you know that natural variations are masking the AGW component.
    I am aware that the claimed AGW component is small relative to natural variation, yes. That still does not mean the claimed AGW component is as large as alarmists say it is (which is presumably what is programmed into the models, to answer your other question).

    Now, can you please answer my question to you:

    Do you really think an “upward trend hypothesis (is) programmed into the models”?

    Comment by DavidK — 10 August 2009 @ 5:32 PM

    Comment by Rene — 11 Aug 2009 @ 1:01 AM

  316. “Petro (290), how on earth could I be able to verify someone else’s sources?

    Comment by Rod B”

    The same way you check the sources of, say, Hank here.

    Checking the sources.

    Or myself: google search and check the results, checking for sources of what I say.

    Simple.

    Comment by Mark — 11 Aug 2009 @ 2:28 AM

  317. Richard Steckis writes:

    Anthropogenic warming IS a hypothesis. There has been no study to date that has advanced it to the theoretical stage let alone to fact.

    It is a theory, not a hypothesis. Tyndall showed CO2 was a greenhouse gas back in 1859. CO2 is rising (38% since the Industrial Revolution began). Temperature should be rising as a result, and it is. The temperature increase correlates closely with the CO2 increase (r = 0.87 for 1880-2007). No other major inputs have changed significantly for 50 years. What more do you want?

    It is likely that humans have had an impact on the climate. Not by the production of small amounts of GHGs compared to nature but by the act of modifying the landscape through land clearing, agriculture, the building of large cities etc.

    A 38% increase is not “small.”

    You talk about water vapour feedback and constant humidity being a consquence of the physics as if that puts paid to any contrary view. However, the current level of understanding of how the physics actually works in a complex and dynamical system such as the climate system is not fully understood. If it were, there would be no further need for climate research. The fact is that what may be an easy explanation by theoretical physics may be a more complex and dynamic problem in the real world.

    Empirical evidence shows the water-vapor feedback is happening and is positive:

    Brown, S., Desai, S., Keihm, S., and C. Ruf, 2007. “Ocean water vapor and cloud burden trends derived from the topex microwave radiometer.” Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium. Barcelona, Spain: IGARSS 2007, pp. 886-889.

    Dessler AE, Zhang Z, Yang P 2008. “Water-Vapor Climate Feedback Inferred from Climate Variations.” Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, L20704.

    Philipona, R., B. Dürr, A. Ohmura, and C. Ruckstuhl 2005. “Anthropogenic greenhouse forcing and strong water vapor feedback increase temperature in Europe.” Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L19809.

    Santer, B. D, C. Mears, F. J. Wentz, K. E. Taylor, P. J. Gleckler, T. M. L. Wigley, T. P. Barnett, J. S. Boyle, W. Bruggemann, N. P. Gillett, S. A. Klein, G. A. Meehl, T. Nozawa, D. W. Pierce, P. A. Stott, W. M. Washington, M. F. Wehner, 2007. “Identification of human-induced changes in atmospheric moisture content.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 104, 15248-15253.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Aug 2009 @ 4:34 AM

  318. “3. There is no substantial work that has unequivocally shown this to be true.”

    Fossil fuels have a different isotopic signature.

    It shows that point 3 is unequivocally true.

    “4. True but not necessarily in synchronisation with GHGs.”

    Why would it be in lock-step? That would only be true if CO2 was the ONE AND ONLY cause of temperature increase. Only denialists like yourself use that idea and then as a strawman to “prove” AGW is wrong.

    “5. That is a correlation which is NOT cause and effect.”

    But it shows that the causation is having the effect. Remember (of course you won’t), that not only does there appear a correlation the magnitude of the change is within the realm of valid attribution to CO2.

    It is also a supporter of points 1-4 before it, not the whole point in and of itself.

    Else the planets have no orbit because that was just correlation with a theory that the planets have elliptical orbits…

    Comment by Mark — 11 Aug 2009 @ 5:57 AM

  319. Steckis (314):

    3. The new CO2 is mainly from burning fossil fuels (Suess 1955). Your response:

    There is no substantial work that has unequivocally shown this to be true. It is a hypothetical. There is no empirical evidence that expressly verifies it (including stable isotope and radioactive isotope work).

    See Nitrogen and Water Requirements of C3 Plants Grown at Glacial to Present Carbon Dioxide Concentrations, H.W. Polley, H.B. Johnson and H.S. Mayeux, Functional Ecology, Vol. 9, No. 1 (Feb. 1995) pp. 86-96. Here is a quote from their paper:

    Photosynthesis by enclosed plants depleted the CO2 and increased the ratio of 13CO2 to 12CO2 in air as it was moved by a blower from the air intake to the outlet of the chamber.

    If you have access to JStor, you can view this paper. Regarding C-14, do you dispute that fossil fuels are low in C-14, or do you dispute that burning them will dilute C-14 in the atmosphere? I really don’t understand what your objection is, because this seems self-explanatory.

    5. The increase in temperature correlates with the increase in CO2 (60–76% for temp. anomaly and ln CO2 for 1880-2007).” Your answer:

    That is a correlation which is NOT cause and effect.

    Radiation physics provides a cause and an effect. Look up Beer’s Law.

    Last of all, Spencer Weart has spent years researching the history of global warming, and has compiled this information in a freely available book, written in a style that is easy to comprehend. To suggest that Gavin gets a commission from Weart is insulting, to say the least.

    Comment by Jeff — 11 Aug 2009 @ 9:53 AM

  320. #291- Hello John it’s been awhile. Quite a plate, but let’s give it a whirl.

    I base my sea ice info on some of the following sources:
    Sea Ice:
    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/ice-area-and-extent-in-arctic

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/daily.html

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/
    Arctic temp:
    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

    coupled with a longer term perspective as seen in paper “Arctic Long Term Ice Data” by Smolyanitsky, etc.. Taking into account the opinion that the sea ice data can have a error of +/- 10-20%, depending on who you believe. Add to the mix ocean currents, the analysis is not necessarily hard, but it is tedious. And that is just surface are. To get ice mass, you have to know the volume and density, which is a big guess Let’s just go with sea ice area, at least we are on firmer ground. Looking at Smolyanitsky’s work and current sea ice surface area, I’ll go with:
    Prior to 2000, TOTAL sea ice are was flat. There was a trend down in total sea ice from 2000-2007 years, but now looks like a upturn recently. The interesting item in Smolyanitsky etc.’s work is that it shows those pesky ~50 cycles that showed up in my posts, this spring. Here I used the 1659-2008 central England data, and Fourier analysis.

    Glacier Changes:
    From the limited reading I’ve done on glaciers, a lot depends on who you read and believe. Some glaciers advance, others retreat. Here is a recent item on those in the Himalayan.
    http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/aug102009/309.pdf
    that states that glacier change is not due to “global warming”. My opinion in this area is, I don’t know enough to comment.

    Temperature Change:
    John you say 1.2 F. rise. I’m not sure from when to when. However is we look at some of the longest records from;
    East Anglia 1659-2008 – Up ~1.2 C.

    http://rimfrost.no/
    Uppsala 1722-2008 – Up ~1.5 C (1770-2008)
    Minneapolis-St. Paul 1819-2006 – Up ~1 C.
    Paris 1757-2009 – Up ~1 C.
    Berlin 1761-2009 – Flat

    From these long term records their average increase is about 1 C., over a span of over 200 years. So I don’t see human involvement in the process. No major changes, except for Uppsala from 1984-2008, which is contradicted by the Stockholm-GML 1756-2005 as far as a recent rise.

    Comment by J. Bob — 11 Aug 2009 @ 10:22 AM

  321. “Let’s just go with sea ice area, at least we are on firmer ground.”

    No, let’s not, since that doesn’t tell you what ground you’re standing on.

    Sea ice extent depends on how much sunlight there is much more than the temperature. And it is more variable because of that to boot.

    But the thickness depends on the rate of melting vs the rate of creation which is more dependent on the average temperatures.

    Comment by Mark — 11 Aug 2009 @ 12:10 PM

  322. “From these long term records their average increase is about 1 C., over a span of over 200 years. So I don’t see human involvement in the process.”

    So what has changed over the last 200 years enough to explain the differences?

    Pixie dust?

    Comment by Mark — 11 Aug 2009 @ 12:47 PM

  323. J. Bob says “Some glaciers advance, others retreat.” Nope, not even close. Most glaciers are retreating and/or losing mass.

    http://www.nichols.edu/departments/glacier/cum%20bn.jpg
    from http://www.nichols.edu/departments/glacier/global%20glacier%20mass%20balance.htm
    “The World Glacier Monitoring Service annually compiles the mass balance measurements from around the world. From 2002-2006, continuous data is available for only 7 glaciers in the southern hemisphere and 76 glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere. The mean balance of these glaciers was its most negative in any year for 2005/06. [1] The similarity of response of glaciers in western North America indicates the large scale nature of the driving climate change.”

    from one publication, Ice and Climate, the WCRP/SCAR Climate and Cryosphere Newsletter Number 9, June 2007:

    “…the ongoing rapid and perhaps accelerating trend of worldwide glacier shrinkage, on the century time-scale, is of a nonperiodical nature and may lead to the deglaciation of large parts of many mountain ranges within the coming decades…” Worldwide Glacier Monitoring – Present State and Current Challenges, Zemp et.al.

    “Recent studies indicate that 67% of Himalayan glaciers are retreating, presumably because of climate change, although other factors may be involved” Climate Change and Water Resources in the Himalaya
    Haritashya et. al.

    “Mass balance measurements in Western North America from 1984-2005 indicate a declining trend in glacier mass balance: all of the glaciers are out of balance, and some will disappear.
    Western North American Glacier Mass Balance 1984-2005, Equilibrium or Disequilibrium Response? Mauri S. Pelto

    “In the shorter term (2000-2003) our repeat DGPS surveys show the glacier terminus has retreated on average 63 m. Average surface lowering was 3.3 m a-1 below 400 m a.s.l, and nearly 2.0 m a-1 above 600 m a.s.l., equating to a continuing glacier-wide surface ice loss of 8.0 ± 1.3 x 106 m3a-1, or more than double the 1947-2003 average rate.” Glacier Response to Climate Change on Heard Island, Southern Indian Ocean Thost & Truffer

    “…a recent study (Chinn et al., submitted) estimates a net ice volume loss of 17% over the period 1977-2005, mainly due to calving into forming proglacial lakes…” Glacier Changes and Monitoring in New Zealand, Hoelzle et al

    A few glaciers have positive mass balance “Surprisingly, the results of repeated airborne altimetry (Bamber et al., 2004) indicates a growth of the Austfonna ice cap (centred at 79.7Ў N -24.0Ў E) in NE-Svalbard. Previous estimates (Hagen et al., 2003; Pinglot et al., 2001) indicated that Austfonna was in equilibrium, whereas most other Svalbard glaciers were retreating.” Austfonna (Svalbard, Norway) during IPY, Schuler et al, but that occurrence is so rare as to be noteworthy.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 11 Aug 2009 @ 5:50 PM

  324. Richard Steckis (314) — I’ll assume you were attempting to be humorous, but to be definite, no, there is no commission. By the way, have you read it? First link in the science section of the sidebar.

    First, regarding point 3. It is settled science as if it wasn’t perfectly obvious that people are burning fossil carbon. More information may be obtained from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at ORNL.

    But most important, there is a fundamental point about the scientfic method which seems to escape you. John Tyndall’s experiments, refined later by others, establish beyond the shadow of a doubt that CO2 is a global warming (so-called greenhouse) gas. It is even known what amount of warming CO2 alone would provide. But what is not so certain, because of feedbacks, how much warming CO2 in the atmosphere provides. First look at the dacadal averages from the HadCRUTv3 global temperature product:
    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/10yave.jpg
    By eye or with a transparent straightedge, estimate an overall trend line. It goes up with wobbles both above and below the trend. Too a modest approximation that is the global warming gas forced temperature increase effect.

    But we can do more (without substantial effort) and BPL did it; determine the correlation between ln(CO2) and temperature anomaly. Since we already know causation exists, this just indicates how much of the data variation from a flat line is explained. As BPL shows, at least 60%; the rest is the wobbles above and below the trend line.

    To be clear, this is a completely reasonable thing to do given we know causation exists. Of coure, to be more precise one needs some form of AOGCM and better attribution methods. But just to show the approximate magnitude these simplier methods suffice.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Aug 2009 @ 7:54 PM

  325. 319 Geoff Says:

    “Photosynthesis by enclosed plants depleted the CO2 and increased the ratio of 13CO2 to 12CO2 in air as it was moved by a blower from the air intake to the outlet of the chamber.”

    This describes the behaviour of photosynthetic use of co2 by plants and the effect on delta 13C in a growth chamber. What we are talking about is not photosynthesis but potential respiration, decomposition and other carbon releasing processes whereby the carbon produced thereby is depleted in 13C. All biogenic carbon is depleted in 13C.

    also:

    “If you have access to JStor, you can view this paper. Regarding C-14, do you dispute that fossil fuels are low in C-14, or do you dispute that burning them will dilute C-14 in the atmosphere? I really don’t understand what your objection is, because this seems self-explanatory.”

    No. I do not dispute that 14C is depleted or non-existent in fossil fuels. What I am saying is that atmospheric 14C can be quite variable due to the influences of solar activity and GCRs. The origin of 14C in the atmosphere is primarily from cosmic processes. The flux of 14C in the atmosphere is also heavily influenced by those processses. You do not need fossil fuel burning to register significant declines in atmospheric 14C.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 11 Aug 2009 @ 9:52 PM

  326. 319 Geoff also says:

    “5. The increase in temperature correlates with the increase in CO2 (60–76% for temp. anomaly and ln CO2 for 1880-2007).” Your answer:

    That is a correlation which is NOT cause and effect.

    Radiation physics provides a cause and an effect. Look up Beer’s Law. ”

    I am familiar with the Beer-Lambert’s Law. The relationship between radiative absorption of co2 and gas concentration is logarithmic and not linear. Beer-Lambert’s law in no way contradicts what is said about correlation not being cause and effect.

    As to the comment re: Weart’s book, that was directed at David Benson, not Gavin and was with jocular intent. Any offence is regretted.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 11 Aug 2009 @ 10:10 PM

  327. Noting the ten or so years of of non-increasing temperatures, I earlier asked how many more years of this would be needed before people begin to start questioning AGW.
    The only answer was DavidK’s, who said by 2015. Am I to take it this means everyone else will cling to it no matter what?

    Comment by Rene — 12 Aug 2009 @ 12:04 AM

  328. Richard Steckis writes:

    3. The new CO2 is mainly from burning fossil fuels (Suess 1955).

    3. There is no substantial work that has unequivocally shown this to be true. It is a hypothetical. There is no empirical evidence that expressly verifies it (including stable isotope and radioactive isotope work).

    Suess, H.E. 1955. “Radiocarbon Concentration in Modern Wood.” Sci. 122, 415-417.

    Revelle, R. and H.E. Suess 1957. “Carbon Dioxide Exchange between Atmosphere and Ocean and the Question of an Increase of Atmospheric CO2 During the Past Decades.” Tellus 9, 18-27.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 12 Aug 2009 @ 6:01 AM

  329. “Noting the ten or so years of of non-increasing temperatures…”

    Except that there HAS been an increase in temperature over that time.

    So when it STARTS going down, THEN you can start asking “for how long will this have to happen?”.

    M’kay?

    Comment by Mark — 12 Aug 2009 @ 6:38 AM

  330. “Beer-Lambert’s law in no way contradicts what is said about correlation not being cause and effect.”

    And F=ma was proven by noting the time taken to pass marked points of an air puck going down an inclined slope.

    However, you would argue that F=ma is NOT proven since this is merely correlation and not causation.

    Comment by Mark — 12 Aug 2009 @ 6:40 AM

  331. Richard Steckis writes @314: “By the way. Do you get a commission from Weart? I have seen you recommend his book at least 20 times over the course of the last year.”

    He keeps recommending it in the vain hope that you might actually read it and familiarize yourself wit the ~200 years of climate science already in the bag.

    Here’s the deal Steckis: This is science. Science is about explaining the world around us. Climate scientists have found that they can explain an astounding amount of climate, but only if CO2 is a significant contributor to warming. There is lots of empirical data that support this contention. An unfortunate consequence of this is that it means we are changing the planets climate in ways that will have severe adverse consequences. If you disagree, great. Find some evidence. Construct a theory that accounts for as much of Earth’s climate as the consensus model but has a low CO2 sensitivity. If you do, you’ll be famous. Until you do, you aren’t doing science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Aug 2009 @ 7:26 AM

  332. This isn’t the first time or place that Richard Steckis has questioned the fact that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is due to burning fossil fuels.

    He did so on my blog. He even attempted to support the idea by referring to a post by Roy Spencer on WUWT. It was child’s play to show how Roy Spencer’s post is so foolish, it isn’t even wrong.

    This is a test. The idea that increased atmospheric CO2 isn’t due to burning fossil fuels is dumber than a bag of hammers. Those who believes this aren’t skeptics. They’re crackpots.

    Comment by tamino — 12 Aug 2009 @ 7:27 AM

  333. > It’s at this point that his analysis goes horribly wrong.
    > He detrends the CO2 and 13CO2 data, then estimates their rate of change ….

    That sounds like something I’ve heard somewhere else recently.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Aug 2009 @ 9:29 AM

  334. #321, 322 – Mark, if you’re into Pixie dust, go for it. Sea ice depends on more then just the sun. It’s an interaction between the sea and air temp, along with the energy from the sun AND energy radiated back into the sky (atmosphere). Other factors include ocean currents and wind.

    Comment by J. Bob — 12 Aug 2009 @ 9:45 AM

  335. Tamino says:

    “This isn’t the first time or place that Richard Steckis has questioned the fact that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is due to burning fossil fuels.”

    And it won’t be the last time or place. And Tamino. Questioning is good. Questioning is how science is done.

    Ray Ladbury says:

    “Here’s the deal Steckis: This is science. Science is about explaining the world around us. Climate scientists have found that they can explain an astounding amount of climate, but only if CO2 is a significant contributor to warming.”

    [edit of irrelevant strawman - focus on the actual question you have raised]

    I know a bit about science Ray. Done a bit and will do more.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 12 Aug 2009 @ 9:48 AM

  336. Tamino,

    What is really dumber that a bag of hammers is to not question and to just follow a putative consensus. I would rather question conventional wisdom and be wrong than have a closed mind to possible alternatives.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 12 Aug 2009 @ 9:53 AM

  337. “There is no substantial work that has unequivocally shown this to be true.” “unequivocally” means so bleeding obvious that all denialists are forced to accept it. Some denialists don’t accept that the isotopic signature proves that the rise in CO2 comes from fossil fuel burning. Therefore, “There is no substantial work that has unequivocally shown this to be true.” QED

    I wonder how many fifth graders can see the silliness in this argument?

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 12 Aug 2009 @ 10:16 AM

  338. “I wonder how many fifth graders can see the silliness in this argument?

    Comment by Brian Dodge ”

    Not unequivocally…

    :-P

    Comment by Mark — 12 Aug 2009 @ 10:56 AM

  339. “I would rather question conventional wisdom and be wrong than have a closed mind to possible alternatives.

    Comment by Richard Steckis”

    Why would you want to WASTE TIME arguing conventional wisdom is wrong?

    This would be like responding with “what salt?” when someone asks you to pass the salt.

    Your mouthings are no noble cause.

    Your mind is so open, your brains have fallen out.

    Comment by Mark — 12 Aug 2009 @ 10:58 AM

  340. “Sea ice depends on more then just the sun.

    Comment by J. Bob ”

    Read again and take your blinkers off:

    “Sea ice extent depends on how much sunlight there is much more than the temperature.”

    How is that saying that it ONLY depends on the sunlight?

    Bring out your straw!

    Now, how does the wind or current depend highly on temperature, therefore making the sea ice EXTENT a good analogue for temperature like you want to make it?

    It DOES NOT.

    Hence the point: No. Let’s not use sea ice extent.

    Using it is no firmer ground, just an easier value to measure which hardly makes it a BETTER measure.

    Comment by Mark — 12 Aug 2009 @ 11:01 AM

  341. Richard Steckis wrote:

    This describes the behaviour of photosynthetic use of co2 by plants and the effect on delta 13C in a growth chamber. What we are talking about is not photosynthesis but potential respiration, decomposition and other carbon releasing processes whereby the carbon produced thereby is depleted in 13C. All biogenic carbon is depleted in 13C.

    No, we are talking about carbon isotope fractionation as a result of photosynthesis. The Suess effect has been documented by sampling cellulose matter in juniper and pinyon trees, matter that is created through C3 photosynthesis. Decreased respiration as a result of closed stomata during drought conditions will cause the cellulose to become isotopically heavier (less negative del C13 values), which trends in the opposite direction from the Suess effect. Thus, pinyon and juniper del C13 values may be viewed as a minimum estimate of the Suess effect. For reference, del C-13 values range from -19.5 (minimum) to -18.5 (maximum) during 1700 to 1750, and for a similar 50 year span, from -21.8 (minimum in 1985) to -19.9 (maximum in 1935). I encourage you to plot Leavitt’s tree ring data yourself http://www.ltrr.arizona.edu/~sleavitt/SWPinyon-d13C.htm.

    Regarding your comments on C-14, I am not aware of any process that produces a monotonically decreasing C-14 signature in the atmosphere as a result of decreased cosmic ray flux. Sure, cosmic ray abundance will vary with the solar cycle, but this is cyclical. Do you have a reference for a cosmic ray flux that decreases with time?

    I’m sorry I got on my high horse regarding Weart’s article. As someone who teaches Physics, I rather enjoy Spencer’s writing style — perhaps I am being a bit protective!

    Comment by Jeff — 12 Aug 2009 @ 2:17 PM

  342. #320 J. Bob

    Do you know what the term ‘cherry pick’ means?

    As to .7C I was referring to the GMT assessment from the IPCC (I did not look it up but I believe it is referring to the period from 1880 through around now.

    Did you ever look at the NCAR chart and the multiple attribution analysis. you think 1C is not a major change? But the attribution is very clear in the analysis?

    I am having a hard time understanding why you have not looked at the global meant temp and connected analysis and continue to cherry pick your data from hear, or there as you deem fit.

    Mark in #322 has nailed it actually, something had to change. We were around thermal equilibrium before the industrial age and now we are experiencing a positive forcing.

    We are past perihelion on the obliquity cycle, so we should be on the long slow path of cooling and knitting sweaters for the next ice age, if we were in the natural cycle, in the next 15-20k yrs. Unless of course you have actually figured out the alternative reason for the forcing and associated temperature trend change?

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 12 Aug 2009 @ 3:02 PM

  343. Stock delineation of pink snapper and tailor from Western Australia by analysis of stable …

    JS Edmonds, RA Steckis, MJ Moran, N Caputi, … – Journal of fish biology, 1999
    … The 18 O/ 16 O and 13 C/ 12 C ratios in the otolith carbonate of pink snapper …

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Aug 2009 @ 3:13 PM

  344. #336 Richard Steckis

    Are you saying that the additional Co2 is not from burning fossil fuels, even though it does not have the same C 14 signature?

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 12 Aug 2009 @ 3:24 PM

  345. “I know a bit about science Ray. Done a bit and will do more.”

    That is essentially irrelevant re: CO2,fossil fuels and AGW. You are not a climate scientist. The idea that you somehow know something about climate science that literally thousands of climate scientists around the world and every major climate science professional society agrees upon through conferences and published literature is the height of arrogance.

    Comment by Dan — 12 Aug 2009 @ 3:34 PM

  346. #320 J. Bob

    Regarding the error of 10 to 20%

    Please, please, please, with sugar on top, read this comment by Walt Meier from the National Snow and Ice Data Center:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/07/summer-sea-ice-round-up/comment-page-10/#comment-132627

    and for extra credit

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/07/summer-sea-ice-round-up/comment-page-11/#comment-132804

    And please, please, please, try not to forget that ice extent ins hardly as important as ice mass loss when discussing things and as always, context is Key.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 12 Aug 2009 @ 3:41 PM

  347. Richard Steckis – “You do not need fossil fuel burning to register significant declines in atmospheric 14C.”

    Generally speaking, up to a point, yes – C-14 dates are calibrated by tree rings to convert to calendar dates to correct for C-14 variability (presumably a function of both cosmic rays and variations in the C cycle (less CO2 in the air would lead to a higher C-14 abundance as a fraction of atmospheric C).

    HOWEVER

    The half life of C-14 is over 5000 years. Supporting evidence of anthropogenic fossil fuel contributions to the C cycle largely pertain to the last two hundred years, mostly more recently than that.

    If the atmosphere were an isolated system, even if C-14 production went to zero, there would be little change in C-14/C ratio over a century or two. Allowing some C input from biomass – well, most of that just came out of the atmosphere recently. What is the C-14 abundance of the upper ocean, and the C-14 ratio of CO2 released from upwelling deep water? These things matter a lot to measuring the ages of deep sea creatures, but I don’t think they would allow atmospheric C-14 to sharply decline so much in a century (but I haven’t gone through all the math – maybe I’m wrong – but then again, maybe the studies that verify anthropogenic fossil fuel contributions take these things into account).

    (What I remember from a diagram about C fluxes, the upper ocean (1000 Gt C) would exchange most of it’s C with the atmosphere on a time scale of ~10 years (annual fluxes back and forth around 90 Gt C). Of course, this should keep the C-14 age of the upper ocean relatively young. If the ocean cycles through the upper ocean every 1500 years (or is it 10,000 years -?), and there is ~ 40,000 Gt C in the deep ocean, that’s about 13 Gt per year, which could age the atmosphere toward 1500 year C-14 age on a time scale of around 50 years, if C-14 production actually ceased. That’s still slower than the rate of C-14 aging by fossil C emissions.

    Furthermore, with C increasing in the ocean, atmosphere, and biomass (except for deforestation …), where else is C being depleted to make up for this, except for anthropogenic emissions?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 12 Aug 2009 @ 8:32 PM

  348. “That’s still slower than the rate of C-14 aging by fossil C emissions.”

    Oops, I forgot to account for C-14 aging by fossil C mixing into the ocean and biomass (so fossil C alone would not age the atmosphere so fast, but it would age the biomass and ocean as well as the atmosphere). But presumably these things have also been studied, so no fatal flaw here. It’s just really hard to conclude otherwise than anthropogenic emissions have caused almost all the CO2 increase in the last two centuries.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 12 Aug 2009 @ 8:36 PM

  349. A sincere thanks to – Patrick 027, Jacob Mack, CTG, Ray Ladbury – for pointing out my error in stating that “constant relative humidity is an assumption”. I foolishly took this from my working notes on the IPCC AR4 WG1 report, instead of opening the 6mb to check the source. I posted the response to Patrick 027 without seeing the later responses, so I will also accept the head banging from CTG #307. My statement was inaccurate. I should have said “GCM assumptions lead to a constant relative humidity to a first approximation”.

    Comment by Paul — 12 Aug 2009 @ 9:43 PM

  350. Re 342 – not to be too nitpicky, but:

    1. there is no perihelion of the obliquity cycle (but it’s obvious what you meant from context).

    2. Timing of the next ice age – maybe 30,000 years from now, maybe 50,000 years from now, without AGW. With AGW, maybe not for 100,000 years (?). See my comment here: http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?p=2&t=69&&n=36#2768 (in the meantime, the precession cycle will continue to affect low-latitude monsoons, but with reduced effect in the next _0,000 years from reduced eccentricity relative to the most recent past).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 12 Aug 2009 @ 9:46 PM

  351. Okay, besides tree rings, there are these rings in the otoliths of sea animals. See the above link for the 1999 et al. and Stekis paper mentioning them. Here’s a more recent paper also mentioning those measurements:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0022-0981(03)00096-0

    Can you find the same trend in isotopic ratios of C12/C13, in both the tree rings and the otolith layers, over time?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Aug 2009 @ 9:48 PM

  352. …”which could age the atmosphere toward 1500 year C-14 age on a time scale of around 50 years”…

    Actually greater than 150 years, because it mixes into the atmosphere + upper ocean + biomass C.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 12 Aug 2009 @ 9:49 PM

  353. #346 John, you use mass and concentration interchangeably, they are different. If you mean ice concentration, then the next time be more specific. It will save both of us wasted time.
    As far as “cherry picking” I used the longest temp series available, to get a better perspective.

    Comment by J. Bob — 12 Aug 2009 @ 10:59 PM

  354. Hank Roberts says:

    “Can you find the same trend in isotopic ratios of C12/C13, in both the tree rings and the otolith layers, over time?”

    I am not sure what you are asking. I have thought of looking at the stable isotope changes in individual otoliths over time in long lived fish. Such species as orange roughy, tropical snappers, emperors etc would be amenable to such a study. The hypothesis being that as each layer is laid down in the otolith, it will record the isotopic signature of the surrounding water at that time and therefore, the prevailing environmental conditions. Carbon is problematic for animals as the isotopic signature is also related to the metabolic activity and dietary ration of the animal.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 12 Aug 2009 @ 11:05 PM

  355. ““Can you find the same trend in isotopic ratios of C12/C13, in both the tree rings and the otolith layers, over time?”

    I am not sure what you are asking”

    He’s asking “Can you find it”.

    Can you?

    It seems you haven’t even looked.

    Yet despite your “skeptical” attitude, you seem infazed by not having even checked.

    Comment by Mark — 13 Aug 2009 @ 2:53 AM

  356. Richard Steckis writes:

    What is really dumber that a bag of hammers is to not question and to just follow a putative consensus. I would rather question conventional wisdom and be wrong than have a closed mind to possible alternatives.

    Questioning it is fine. Questioning it and refusing to listen to the answers is dumber than a bag of rocks.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Aug 2009 @ 6:08 AM

  357. No, seems pretty level to me, in contrast to the decades before.

    Comment by Rene — 13 Aug 2009 @ 6:42 AM

  358. Richard Stekis, your name appears to be on one paper talking about distinguishing the origins of different fish populations based on isotope ratios (because they feed differently). Other papers use the same technique more recently. It looks like it’s done using bone collections from the past, now that the otoliths can be analyzed. Is that right? And not looking at one individual otolith in a long-lived species but at collections from the past, to sort out their origins?

    It sounds like you assume a priori that there’s no change in the stable carbon isotope ratio due to climate changeover the past century, right? If so, what’s the chance that assumption, if wrong, may affect your fish research by detecting isotope ratios that differ not due to source but to the time the bones were collected?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Aug 2009 @ 8:01 AM

  359. What is really dumber that a bag of hammers is to not question and to just follow a putative consensus. I would rather question conventional wisdom and be wrong than have a closed mind to possible alternatives.

    Great! Go jump off a high bridge without a parachute, then.

    Question all consensus, especially science, specifically physics…

    Comment by dhogaza — 13 Aug 2009 @ 8:35 AM

  360. http://freenet-homepage.de/fboehm/co2_iso.html
    Is a new link updating a pointer on isotope ratios, see discussion in this topic: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/how-do-we-know-that-recent-cosub2sub-increases-are-due-to-human-activities-updated/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Aug 2009 @ 8:53 AM

  361. 358 Hank Roberts,

    “Richard Stekis, your name appears to be on one paper talking about distinguishing the origins of different fish populations based on isotope ratios (because they feed differently).”

    My name is actually on several papers Hank. No. We don’t distinguish the origins of fish populations because they feed differently. We primarily use delta 18O for stock identity (determining different populations). The theory being that the stable isotope of oxygen is taken up in equilibrium with water temperature. Water temperature changes with latitude and therefore geographical location.

    You mention that people are looking at otoliths and bones of animals collected at different time in the past. This is also a powerful tool but has it’s problems as stable isotope readings can be affected by how the sample is treated post mortem. Part of the study that I proposed to you was to look at historical otolith collections however, those collections do not go back that far. If you are looking at using stable isotopes for paleoclimatological purposes I would probably be more inclined to look at speleotherms.

    “It sounds like you assume a priori that there’s no change in the stable carbon isotope ratio due to climate changeover the past century, right?”

    In terms of carbon, there is more change in the stable isotope ratios due to metabolic effects than climatic effects. For oxygen, latitudinal changes would have greater effects on the ratio than climate over the life of the fish. So, no, it would not seriously affect the use of stable isotopes in fisheries research. For instance with tailor (bluefish), the range of the species off Western Australia is from Shark Bay with an average SST of about 22C to the south coast with an SST of about 17C. That is a range of five degrees C. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that average SST has varied by that amount in any one location over the last millenium, let alone 50 or 100 years. In summary, location and metabolic effects have a greater influence on stable isotopic signatures than climate change over the last 100 years.

    Having said that, nature is full of surprises.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 13 Aug 2009 @ 9:28 AM

  362. Actually Dhogaza #359, more accurately your argument is a logical fallacy.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 13 Aug 2009 @ 9:46 AM

  363. Ok John shall we start over, and let’s be clear on the terms. We can use ice “extant” or “area”, but let’s be clear what we are using. The following ref. has a good definition of these terms.

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/ice-area-and-extent-in-arctic

    ijis uses extent, arctic-roos uses both, while cryosphere uses area.

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

    Also ijis uses a upper error of 10%. Cryosphere has a paper of this year comparing ice area with visual observations and satellite data.
    http://www.the-cryosphere.net/3/1/2009/tc-3-1-2009.html

    So shall we start over again on sea ice? Pick the parameter.

    And now for Mark. You say:
    #321-“Sea ice extent depends on how much sunlight there is much more than the temperature. And it is more variable because of that to boot”.

    #340-“Now, how does the wind or current depend highly on temperature, therefore making the sea ice EXTENT a good analogue for temperature like you want to make it?”

    Now Mark, nothing was said about wind & currents being subject to temperature, only you assumed it. Your words speak volumes.

    Here is what the above referenced paper says about sea ice:

    Sea ice in both hemispheres is expected to respond sensitively to climate change. Sea ice insulates and influences the heat transfer, mass, exchange of gases and interaction between the atmosphere and ocean. The Antarctic pack ice is a region of highly variable ice responding to winds, air temperatures and ocean currents. Ice motion causes floes to collide and deform while at the same time creating areas of open water between floes, quantified as either the open water or ice concentration fraction. In winter, cold air temperatures drive new ice growth at the highest growth rates in the open water areas, while in summer, these areas of open water of low albedo absorb solar radiation and warm up, enhancing the ice melt (Hunke and Ackley, 1998; Nihashi and Cavalieri, 2006;

    Comment by J. Bob — 13 Aug 2009 @ 10:36 AM

  364. In re, time delays.

    It’s worth noting that while the speed of light is a pretty big number, the total distances involved are far longer than a single light second (or less, from the top of the atmosphere to the surface …). Sun-to-earth is 8 minutes (My house to the grocery is about 2 minutes — doesn’t mean I’m moving at relativistic speeds …). Likewise, some of the events (like CMEs) don’t travel at relativistic speeds, or happen at point-instants in time.

    What we do seem to know is that quiet periods in the sun’s life are somehow associated with cooling periods, while active periods are somehow associated with warming periods. Something is causing the “pause” in the otherwise upward march in temperatures. While the paper may not be convincing based on flaws in the science, there’s still this matter of a very quiet sun (33 days without a spot, flux around 72, least active cycle in a century) and a 10 year pause in new record high years. Until the climate scientists come up with an explanation for that pause, I’m putting my money on the big orange ball of fire.

    Part of science is having models that have predictive abilities. Whether it’s GCRs and CCNs, or whether it’s some other mechanism, the predictability of the existing “quiet sun” versus “active sun” model does have a better track record right now than “more CO2 equals more heat”. Doesn’t mean things aren’t going to roar back in with a vengeance (where I think the smart money is) when SC25 or SC26 rolls around, just means that SC24 is a really interesting time to be alive.

    (And having mentioned SC25, it’s worth noting that there are some who are so in denial about the SC23 / SC24 transition that they are claiming SC24 is “over” and SC25 is “starting” just because SC23 refuses to die.)

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 13 Aug 2009 @ 10:42 AM

  365. #363 J. Bob

    Ok J. Bob shall we start over and let’s be clear on terms.

    Ice extent/area is NOT the same as ice mass.

    Ice extent/area

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/arctic/200800904_Figure5.png/view

    Ice mass

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/arctic/200804_Figure4.png/view

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/arctic/20070822_oldice.gif/view

    If we are going to look for the best indicator regarding AGW ice mass loss is a stronger indicator. It is just weird when I hear people like John Coleman or Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh say things like hey the ice grew back again this winter so what’s all the fuss about global warming.

    You of course are concentrating on discussing ice extent/area and error ranges. Why? What is your point? Why do you think that point is relevant in the context of AGW?

    Context gives you relevance.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 13 Aug 2009 @ 11:18 AM

  366. OK John, I’ll take a look at “ice mass”, but a couple of things.
    #1 – If you are talking mass, then you must know the volume & density. One can approximate the volume by surface area and depth. Now how do you get density? If you have ever seen blocks of ice during “ice harvesting”, they are not uniform, and have variable density. If you assume each specific year has a certain density, then you are adding another uncertainty into the mix, to errors in area/extent and ice depth.

    #2 – Do you have any plots (since 1979) of polar ice “mass”, to evaluate?

    Comment by J. Bob — 13 Aug 2009 @ 5:40 PM

  367. #350 Patrick

    Yes, thank you for the correction. I meant NH leaning toward the sun of course (brain glitch on my part).

    As to your second point. I’m not studied enough to have a clearer picture but I have seen 20kyrs as the most likely number even though there is not precise year for entry but rather a decline in temps entering icier age.

    As to with AGW, that is an interesting question?

    If human capacity to mitigate is reduced or eliminated and negative aerosol effects diminish exposing full positive forcing, associated feedbacks, and atmospheric lifetimes of GHG’s included… well, that is an interesting question.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 14 Aug 2009 @ 12:37 AM

  368. 249 Mark

    Mark, thanks for your reply, but after your explanation of “rational sense” my curiosity about your meaning has been increased.
    First, a quick restatement of your definition of a “rational sense”:
    1-“not irrational”,
    2-a statement based on reason
    3-a statement not based on rhetoric,
    4-a statement not based on “gut feeling”
    5-a statement not based on lack of knowledge.

    For starters you say that by rational you mean “not irrational”. I checked four dictionaries; all were in agreement. I’ll only quote the briefest. According to Websters’s New World, College Ed., irrational =“1 lacking the power to reason 2 contrary to reason; senseless; unreasonable; absurd…SYN irrational implies mental unsoundness or may be used to stress the utterly illogical nature of that which is directly contrary to reason…. ” This seems to imply that by your define “rational” could be a synonym of “sane”? Then you go on to say, “That people say they think climate models jury-rigged with hindsight because clouds are not 100% well modelled is happening, but not because of rational thinking.” Are you not then implying that no sane person would suggest that climate models may be juri-rigged…etc?

    As to your word “rhetoric”, it should be kept in mind that while rhetoric can suggest more emphasis is placed on the form of expression than on the matter, rhetoric can also refer to the art of using words effectively while presenting reasonable, well thought out material. (Often this effectiveness is the result of well constructed analogies.) But, I am aware of nothing in general experience or research to suggest that “rhetoric” can be used as a synonym of irrational (as you appear to have defined it). If, however, you want to insist on it, go ahead. But consider that many of your posts appear to use analogies.

    And while those “gut feelings” may well be “irrational” when they are the feelings of a pathological nut case, as far as I know gut feelings themselves are certainly not, by definition, irrational. Also consider that you applied a gut feeling of yours regarding my motives.

    As to your equating “not rational” with a lack of knowledge, it seems to me this is simply wrong. None of my dictionaries nor Roget’s 2 come even close to this. The usual word to refer to a deficiency of knowledge is “ignorance”. This word would therefore be appropriate relative to your claim of my wanting to “not get it”; after all, you can have no knowledge whatsoever about my real motives or mental states and processes. (Regarding your Tom Hanks metaphor, sorry but I’m not a movie fan, so that allusion went right by me.)

    So, considering your imagined reason why I question the point and value of your analogy is based on something occurring within your own mind (maybe a gut feeling) not part of any objective reality you can possibly know at this time, and considering you employed a rhetorical flourish (a simile) related to some fictional movie character, what part of your answer passes your test of statements holding in a rational sense?

    Not to discount the above, and in the spirit of your hectoring others to carefully read something before commenting, why did you simply assert , “And the analogy is a good one,” when I DID NOT say it wasn’t. Because I could not see any clear point what I asked was, “why you’d even consider it a reasonable analogy ….”

    Finally, it was my original intent to offer an analysis of your analogy to demonstrate why I was having difficulty discerning your point, but instead I’ll put this aside and ask again what thought ( or point) are you trying to convey? If you want to go further and explain why it’s a good metaphor rather than a bad one (e.g. “my wife is analogous to our fence—they’re both 5 foot 6” is a bad one because the parallel is trivial in the extreme). But no movie metaphors please. To make the strongest case I can that you should try again to answer my question about the point or purpose of you analogy I’ll paraphrase your own words, taken from your reply to Robert Bateman in 248. “Without proving [your analogy works to make] YOUR point, you HAVE no point.”

    Ron.

    Comment by Ron — 14 Aug 2009 @ 12:54 AM

  369. #366 J. Bob

    Please click on the links when I provide them so I don’t have to repeat myself. This is an animated gif image of ice mass from 1981 to 2007:

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/arctic/20070822_oldice.gif/image_view_fullscreen

    The ice thickness is derived from satellite measurements but there have also been measurements from submarines and direct observations as well.

    Please read the articles and view graphs/images before responding:

    http://icesat.gsfc.nasa.gov/
    http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMTGPRTKMF_index_0.html
    http://ilrs.gsfc.nasa.gov/satellite_missions/list_of_satellites/graa_general.html
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GRACE/
    http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/prrl/2009-19.html

    Plot Antarctica
    http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2006-028
    http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/grace/grace-20060302-browse.jpg
    Image Antarctica
    http://grace.jpl.nasa.gov/news/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=18

    Plot Greenland
    http://grace.jpl.nasa.gov/news/index.cfm?NewsID=6

    http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2005-176
    Image
    http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/grace/grace-sea-20051220-browse.jpg

    Arctic News
    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/icesat-20090707r.html

    Images
    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/arctic/20090406_Figure5.png/view
    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/arctic/20090406_animation.gif/view
    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/arctic/20080924_Figure3.jpg/view
    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/arctic/200804_Figure6.png/view

    Simply put, the cryosphere is just getting started to disintegrate.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 14 Aug 2009 @ 1:00 AM

  370. FurryCatHerder writes:

    the predictability of the existing “quiet sun” versus “active sun” model does have a better track record right now than “more CO2 equals more heat”.

    No, it does not. Do the math. I can give you the time series data if you want it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 14 Aug 2009 @ 5:01 AM

  371. BPL #370,

    “No, it does not. Do the math. I can give you the time series data if you want it.”

    Which time series are you referring to? There are about a dozen of different aspects of Solar Activity available. e.g. Sunspots, TSI, Magnetic Flux, Solar Wind etc. etc. etc.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 14 Aug 2009 @ 8:19 AM

  372. #369 J.P. Reisman:

    1. Your referenct to a plot on NASA’s web site is to a plot of 3 years of data. That could be more about noise than signal (just ask Tamino)

    2. The Greenland plot is of 5 years of data. Better. But still in the realms of noise?

    3. Pretty much all your Arctic images mean nothing. Of course multi-year ice depleted in 2007-2008. That is not to say that it will not recover. It depleted because of localised weather conditions forcing ice into the Atlantic. NOT because it melted away.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 14 Aug 2009 @ 8:29 AM

  373. #369 J.P. Reisman:

    Actually John, the multi-year ice loss has been going on since the 1980s. See:

    http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2008/09/the_other_arctic_sea_ice_loss.php

    The site has a pretty good time-series graphic that clearly shows multi-year ice being transported from the Arctic Ocean to the Atlantic between Greenland and Iceland.

    [Response: Hmmm... a decreasing trend in the average thickness of arctic sea ice... I wonder what might be driving that?- gavin]

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 14 Aug 2009 @ 8:44 AM

  374. #372 Richard Steckis

    The very first image in the list of links was 1981-2007, did you miss that?

    The short term data/news items were there to add to the long term trend described in the other links. Remember, you are a scientist, so you are allowed to add things together and figure out what it means… or are you not that kind of scientist?

    This link also shows the difference between the 1981 and 2007

    So add the 1981 through 2007 trends and then add known attribution, level of forcing, cause of forcing, thermal inertia and any other relevant components. All in, the reasonable conclusion is AGW.

    You did say you were a scientist right?

    As I have said before, I am a generalist, so I look at all the different little pieces of the puzzle and when viewed together, it all paints the picture rather well. But still, you should be able to figure this stuff out too.

    Instead you relegate things to the noise rather than place it in context to see if it is all fitting a bigger picture. That makes me wonder about you a bit.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 14 Aug 2009 @ 9:18 AM

  375. “Response: Hmmm… a decreasing trend in the average thickness of arctic sea ice… I wonder what might be driving that?- gavin”

    How about the intrusion of warmer Atlantic water into the Arctic Ocean causing a melting of the underlying ice? That is not atmospheric temperature causality but changes in wind driven oceanic currents.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 14 Aug 2009 @ 9:41 AM

  376. #374 John Reisman:

    “#372 Richard Steckis

    The very first image in the list of links was 1981-2007, did you miss that?”

    I did actually. However it is the same graphic I alluded to in my html link. It says a lot about Geostrophic wind and current movements and little about atmospheric warming due to AGW.

    “Instead you relegate things to the noise rather than place it in context to see if it is all fitting a bigger picture. That makes me wonder about you a bit.”

    Wrong John. I do actually do attempt to piece the puzzle together and have come under intense criticism at times for doing it (particularly from Tamino).

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 14 Aug 2009 @ 9:47 AM

  377. #375 Richard Steckis

    Are you saying that the northern hemisphere is not warming? Remember, the sea ice extent is also indicating that it’s warmer in the Arctic, the temperature readings are showing it’s warmer, and you are willing to commit to saying “That is not atmospheric temperature causality but changes in wind driven oceanic currents.”

    You really think this is only wind? On what basis?

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 14 Aug 2009 @ 10:05 AM

  378. #369 John, thank you for the references, and I’ll hang on to some of them. A major problem I have is the few graphs presented are short term charts. Hence we don’t know if this is a natural cycle, or not. So for the current time, I guess we have to go with the sea ice area/extent. Personally I would like to get rid of the term mass, and use 2nd, 3rd, etc. ice volume, in that it conveys a more accurate description of the sea ice, but whatever. As long as we are clear on the terms.

    Comment by J. Bob — 14 Aug 2009 @ 10:28 AM

  379. > we don’t know if this is a natural cycle, or not.

    How do you distinguish a snowfall from an avalanche?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Aug 2009 @ 11:23 AM

  380. Re 377 “You really think this is only wind? On what basis?”
    Remember, denialists don’t have to have a consistent or realistic model of the world. The only thing that matters is that it can’t be warming caused by CO2.

    So of course it can be wind. Probably caused by all the hot air from the UN assembly in NY drifting up the NE coast or something.

    Comment by CTG — 14 Aug 2009 @ 3:36 PM

  381. Richard Steckis writes:

    Which time series are you referring to? There are about a dozen of different aspects of Solar Activity available. e.g. Sunspots, TSI, Magnetic Flux, Solar Wind etc. etc. etc.

    I have used Lean’s and Svalgaard’s TSI reconstruction, sunspot number, years since minimum, and years since maximum, and none of them show a major contribution. Note, also, that a lot of the proxies you mention correlate closely with TSI.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 15 Aug 2009 @ 5:59 AM

  382. re #368.

    What are you yibbering on about, boy?

    rational. with a reason behind it.

    And why did you feel the need to write a small essay on the definition of rational?

    Comment by Mark — 16 Aug 2009 @ 8:31 AM

  383. “Now Mark, nothing was said about wind & currents being subject to temperature, only you assumed it.”

    Nope, re read the entire work. you’re putting words in my mouth

    “Your words speak volumes.”

    No, it doesn’t. That you want to egg it on to speak volumes says a lot for your need to avoid the truth.

    “So shall we start over again on sea ice? Pick the parameter.”

    OK. Have several times, but here goes again:

    Sea Ice Volume.

    That you avoid accepting Sea Ice Volume speaks volumes for the “firm ground” you wish you start from.

    Comment by Mark — 16 Aug 2009 @ 8:34 AM

  384. “In terms of carbon, there is more change in the stable isotope ratios due to metabolic effects than climatic effects.”

    That sentence means nothing.

    Nothing was made about ***climate*** causing an isotopic change.

    It merely had to be part of the climate. Which require it to be accessible to the ecosystem.

    E.g. plants.

    Doofus.

    Comment by Mark — 16 Aug 2009 @ 8:36 AM

  385. More to the point:

    > “In terms of carbon, there is more change in the stable isotope
    > ratios due to metabolic effects than climatic effects.”

    Citation needed.

    As an amateur reader, I pointed to one of the sources discussed at RC earlier quantifying the change in the stable carbon isotopes due to fossil fuel.

    Please point to a source you’re familiar with that has the numbers observed in fish otoliths, your area of expertise.

    If you’ve assumed there’s been no global background change in the ratio of stable carbon isotopes, and that all the variation observed is due to environmental conditions specific to the fish, this might be time to revisit the research

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Aug 2009 @ 12:37 PM

  386. Hank Roberts #385:

    Try These

    Ashford, J. and Jones, C. Oxygen and carbon stable isotopes in otoliths record spatial isolation of Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides)
    Geochimica and Cosmochimica Acta (2007) 71(1): 87-94

    M. Huxham*†, E. Kimani‡, J. Newton§ J. Augley*. (2007). Stable isotope records from otoliths as tracers of fish migration in a mangrove system. Journal of Fish Biology. 70(5): 1554-1567.

    Kalish, J.M. (1993). Fish Otolith Chemistry. Science. 260(5106): 279

    Kalish, J.M. (1991a). Oxygen and carbon stable isotopes in the otoliths of wild and laboratory-reared Australian salmon (Arripis trutta). Marine Biology. 110(1): 37-47.

    Kalish, J.M. (1991b). C-13 AND O-18 ISOTOPIC DISEQUILIBRIA IN FISH OTOLITHS – METABOLIC AND KINETIC EFFECTS. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 75(2-3): 191-203.

    http://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/61/2/243#B22 (Good source for references)

    Hope this helps.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 16 Aug 2009 @ 9:39 PM

  387. Sorry Hank.

    First reference should be Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 16 Aug 2009 @ 9:40 PM

  388. #384 Mark says:

    ““In terms of carbon, there is more change in the stable isotope ratios due to metabolic effects than climatic effects.”

    That sentence means nothing.

    Nothing was made about ***climate*** causing an isotopic change.

    It merely had to be part of the climate. Which require it to be accessible to the ecosystem.

    E.g. plants.”

    [edit]. I suggest you read up on the stable istopic disequilibria in fish otoliths.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 16 Aug 2009 @ 9:45 PM

  389. RS, are fish otoliths climate forcing systems?

    No?

    Then they too are not climate changers of Carbon isotopes.

    Please show where these fish get their sequestered fossil fuel carbon from. Do they walk^Wswim about wearing miners helmets and carrying pickaxes? If not, how do they get to digging out millions of tons of earth to get to the coal seam?

    Comment by Mark — 17 Aug 2009 @ 1:58 AM

  390. #389 Mark:

    Your argument is a logical fallacy. I postulate their potential use as a measure of environmental change. Nothing more.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 17 Aug 2009 @ 9:07 AM

  391. #389 Mark,

    I think I see where you are getting confused. I stated and you challenged:

    “In terms of carbon, there is more change in the stable isotope ratios due to metabolic effects than climatic effects.”

    That statement meant changes in the isotope ratios of the fishes otolith, not the climate or the atmosphere.

    Perhaps if you had followed the discussion between myself and Hank Roberts more closely, you would have understood this.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 17 Aug 2009 @ 9:28 AM

  392. Right, we have to measure isotope levels in otoliths, because, well, because. . . wait a sec, I know there’s a good reason here somewhere. . .

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 17 Aug 2009 @ 10:31 AM

  393. Mark, he’s right; he’s published in the area; you can look up the papers.
    My question was whether scientists using these ratios have been assuming a constant background — or whether they factor in the known change over time from fossil fuel use.

    That change happens in the atmosphere predictably. It won’t happen so evenly in the oceans, as mixing is very different. So it may not be an answerable question. I just asked, have they thought of looking into it.

    It’s a focused question. Just reading for me will take weeks at least to see if it’s answerable from the literature, starting from no knowledge and a few cites. Richard can probably answer without hesitation, it’s from his own field, if he decides to engage on this technical issue.

    Reward good behavior wherever you find it. Opportunity may be rare.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Aug 2009 @ 10:40 AM

  394. “Mark, he’s right; he’s published in the area; you can look up the papers.”

    I don’t know that this is what I asked.

    RS seems to want to use climate forcing for biological cycling. I want to make sure that RS isn’t conflating the two.

    RS: “Perhaps if you had followed the discussion between myself and Hank Roberts more closely, you would have understood this”

    I did: Post 361

    ““It sounds like you assume a priori that there’s no change in the stable carbon isotope ratio due to climate changeover the past century, right?”

    In terms of carbon, there is more change in the stable isotope ratios due to metabolic effects than climatic effects.”

    It seems that either you don’t understand what you’re talking about or you can’t communicate it.

    Comment by Mark — 17 Aug 2009 @ 11:46 AM

  395. OK, going back to #361, I’ve missed some crucial info, and I need to apologize for an unnecessarily snippy post. (#392.) Obviously, the otolith measurements have utility for biology.

    But this discussion is about climatology. We’ve got data over about 50 years now on the seawater itself, plus a bunch of paleo stuff, where each sample of foraminera or whatever is specific to a particular location. How do the otoliths add utility to the data already available?

    Put otherwise, what is the relevance for our larger discussion here?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 17 Aug 2009 @ 2:31 PM

  396. Details, details ….

    > change in the stable carbon isotope ratio
    – in the atmosphere (we know that one, already cited)
    – in the ocean, at various places
    – in prey species
    – in predators’ otoliths
    > due to climate changeover the past century, right?”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Aug 2009 @ 2:59 PM

  397. PS, I was asking not about a change “due to climate change” but rather whether the fish scientists are looking at any changes thta would be due to emission of fossil carbon to the atmosphere. Does _that_ change propagate into biology, per se.

    There’s more to ask, e.g.

    Whether there’s further change detectable in any of the measurable sites or structures, and whether that would occur due to changes the background level from fossil carbon, or changes in in temperature, rainfall, or biological preference for one isotope — is a followup question or two.

    This is way more than enough (as Blake says, “you never know what is enough, until you know what is more than enough” — I think that’s one of the Proverbs of Hell).

    Open question, revisit in a year or two?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Aug 2009 @ 3:02 PM

  398. Mark, #394,

    No doubt Steckis is working hard to conflate the 2. Meantime with the total body of fish severely depleted, he might have an opinion (which is none science/research based speculation) on the effect of reduced fish dung on the surface water CO2 solubility and where that specific CO2 might go versus that of plankton skeletal bound CO2. There’s been a paper out on that some months ago. Everything is connected and some things are weighing in much heavier than other things humans have changed and are changing.

    Comment by Sekerob — 17 Aug 2009 @ 3:11 PM

  399. #397 Hank Roberts:

    “PS, I was asking not about a change “due to climate change” but rather whether the fish scientists are looking at any changes thta would be due to emission of fossil carbon to the atmosphere. Does _that_ change propagate into biology, per se.”

    Hank. That is something that I am interested in investigating. As far as I know, no one is looking into how climatic changes might be reflected in otolith isotope fractionation nor how changes in atmospheric stable isotope fractionation might be reflected eventually in fish otoliths. We know from other research that 14C from atomic testing in the 1960s is reflected in fish otoliths and therefore have been used for age validation of certain fish species.

    see: http://www.marinebiodiversity.ca/otolith/english/Abstracts/Campana%201997.pdf

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 17 Aug 2009 @ 9:02 PM

  400. Of course 14C is a radioactive isotope.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 17 Aug 2009 @ 9:03 PM

  401. Danger– OT, but I think, worthwhile.

    Richard Steckis, in order to further education here I think it would be interesting to all for you to explain what otoliths are, what their fishy functions are, and why they are hard enough to survive beyond the decomposition of a dead fish (like shark teeth). Many folks don’t even realize that fish have ears.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 17 Aug 2009 @ 9:24 PM

  402. re #400

    And how does biology change the isotope ratio, RS?

    Especially in such a way as to mimic the extraction of isotopic-poor carbon from fossil fuels…

    Comment by Mark — 18 Aug 2009 @ 2:20 AM

  403. #401 Steve Fish:

    Hi Steve,

    Rather than go into a lengthy posting on otoliths, I recommend the readers visit the wikipedia site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otolith. It is a good summary of otoliths and their role in hearing and balance.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 18 Aug 2009 @ 4:54 AM

  404. Try using 108 as the years… the data between 1900 and 1950 are interesting and show an increasing curve. However, when you extend the time scale from 1900 to 2008, the Svenmark correlation between sunspots and global temperature DEFINITELY shows. The data clearly shows a LEADING sunspot growth correlation… [edit]

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1900/mean:20/scale:0.002/fourier/magnitude/to:108/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1900/mean:20/scale:1/fourier/magnitude/to:108

    Great website link though, very useful if you know how to…

    Comment by To Brian Dodge — 18 Aug 2009 @ 11:38 AM

  405. “Try using 108 as the years… the data between 1900 and 1950 are interesting and show an increasing curve. However, when you extend the time scale from 1900 to 2008, the Svenmark correlation between sunspots and global temperature DEFINITELY shows. The data clearly shows a LEADING sunspot growth correlation… [edit]

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1900/mean:20/scale:0.002/fourier/magnitude/to:108/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1900/mean:20/scale:1/fourier/magnitude/to:108

    Great website link though, very useful if you know how to…”

    That doesn’t match at all!

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 18 Aug 2009 @ 12:58 PM

  406. Re To Brian Dodge

    The peak you see in sunspot number near 10 doesn’t represent “LEADING” but a different frequency from the (smaller) peak in the temperature spectrum offset to the right; I will hazard a SWAG(scientific wild ass guess) that the higher frequency peak in the temperature spectrum is weakly related to PDO (& maybe ENSO, but woodfortrees doesn’t have this)
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/jisao-pdo/from:1900/mean:20/scale:0.2/fourier/magnitude/to:40/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1900/mean:20/scale:1/fourier/magnitude/to:40/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1900/mean:20/scale:0.002/offset:-0.05/fourier/magnitude/to:40

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 18 Aug 2009 @ 6:07 PM

  407. #402 Mark:

    “And how does biology change the isotope ratio, RS?”

    Please read the references I posted. They will help you to understand the dynamics of isotopic fractionation in biological systems.

    Be mindful that fossil fuels are NOT isotopcially poor. Fossil fuels are depleted in 13C as a ratio of the total isotopic composition. They also have no 14C (a radioactive isotope). But they have lots and lots of 12C.

    Fossil fuel carbon is biogenically derived and therefore depleted in 13C. All biogenically derived carbon is similarly depleted. You cannot, with certainty, differentiate fossil fuel stable isotopic composition from other biogenic sources such as from plants.

    With fish, the carbon in the otoliths (which is calcium carbonate in a protein matrix) is taken from both the water and the food which the fish is feeding upon. About 20% (this amount varies) of the carbon derived is from metabolic activity with the remainder being the dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC)from seawater. The isotopic ratio of the carbonate being laid down varies depending on the carbon isotopic composition of the prey and the DIC of the water body.

    see: http://pubs.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/rp/rppdf/f05-200.pdf for an example with juvenile rainbow trout.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 18 Aug 2009 @ 10:08 PM

  408. Re: 262 Paul and 275 response: Lindzen (2009) is making the rounds of the climate skeptic and uber-Christian websites right now. Here’s a link to the GRL preprint: http://www.leif.org/EOS/2009GL039628-pip.pdf

    I’m no climate scientist, but I have taken a few classes in Lindzen’s department. 1985 through 1989…? Take a look, please:

    “The observed data used in this study are the 16-year (1985–1999) monthly record of
    the sea surface temperatures (SSTs) from the National Centers for Environmental
    Prediction, and the earth radiation budget from the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment
    (ERBE) [Barkstrom, 1984] nonscanner edition 3 dataset. Note that the ERBE nonscanner
    data are the only stable long-term climate dataset based on broadband flux measurements,
    and they were recently altitude-corrected [Wong et al., 2006]. The data can provide
    reasonably reliable evidence of fluctuations in the anomalies of SST, OLR, and reflected
    shortwave radiation (SWR) from the tropical means (20°S–20°N); the anomalies are
    deseasonalized by the monthly means for the period of 1985 through 1989 for the
    purpose of comparison with climate models [Wielicki et al., 2002a, b].”

    Comment by Helen — 19 Aug 2009 @ 2:02 AM

  409. Mark at 382 says:

    “re #368.
    What are you yibbering on about, boy?
    rational. with a reason behind it.
    And why did you feel the need to write a small essay on the definition of rational?”
    ———————————————————–
    Mark, you may be the smartest person on earth, but when you write stuff such as, “rational, with a reason behind it.”, it would seem your parting shot in 394 at Richard Steckis, in which you say, “It seems that either you don’t understand what you’re talking about or you can’t communicate it”, is much more appropriate to your remark quoted above.

    You may think it a trivial point, but why should anyone take you seriously on any matter when you don’t take your own writing seriously? In other words, “rational. with a reason behind it.”, makes you look plain stupid; and as Dean Wormer (Animal House) said to Blutarsky, “…stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

    It now seems evident you have no intention of defending your analogy—which was the real point of our exchange. As you were recently pontificating in a discussion of a point of law on another blog, I’m sure that you recognize that no defence is a concession. Therefore I accept your agreement that you no longer hold your analogy was a good one. Thank you. (No further reply is necessary.)

    Ron

    Comment by Ron — 22 Aug 2009 @ 1:51 AM

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