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  1. Okay, here’s a general question, especially for those who are professional climate scientists:

    What, in your opinion, are the 2 or 3 biggest unknowns currently out there in the study of the climate? Things that if they were known, could have some impact on global climate models. As you list these, maybe you could give some idea what you think their maximum impact could be in terms of climate forcing.

    [Reply: (1) Clouds (2) How much coal is really down there and recoverable? (3) Will we have the fortitude to leave any of it unburned? If I’m allowed four, I’d add: (4) Could the present terrestrial carbon sink turn around and become a source, leading to a PETM style carbon release adding to the fossil fuel carbon we add to the atmosphere directly? With regard to consequences, there is a very slight chance that clouds might make climate sensitivity low, but an almost unbounded prospect for clouds to make things very, very bad, perhaps even to the point of making much of the world uninhabitable outdoors for mammals — especially if there really is 5000 gigatonnes of coal and we wind up burning it all. –raypierre]

    Comment by R. Gates — 2 Jul 2011 @ 10:26 PM

  2. James Hansen on conditions inside the government:

    “TreeHugger: Under the Bush administration you experienced pressure and threats at times when you were talking about climate change. How has the Obama administration been different?

    James Hansen: Well, it’s different in the sense that there’s no one trying to check on what I’m talking about and censor it. But basic problems remain. Namely that the public affairs offices are headed by political appointees who tend to feel that their job is to make the administration look good. I just think those offices should be headed by career civil servants who cannot be pressured to try to present what amounts to propaganda.

    Also, government scientists, when they testify to Congress, must have their testimony approved by the White House, by the Office of Management and Budget. And again, I don’t think that makes sense. Government scientists are paid by the public, by taxes, and they should be allowed to give their best opinion without having it reviewed prior by the administration.
    So those basic processes have not been corrected. But personally, I feel that, in this administration, that I’m allowed to say what I think is right.”


    I don’t know if treehugger is any good, but I have heard some bad things about how scientists are being treated these days. I don’t remember the reference, but somebody said words to the effect that if scientists are receiving threats, the opposition must be desperate. I am retired now and when I was working, my job did not include communication to the outside world, so I would like to hear comments. My impression of politically appointed agency heads has been negative.

    Office of Management and Budget [OMB] is the vice president’s domain.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Jul 2011 @ 11:12 PM

  3. Read Mark Bowen’s account in his book, “Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James hansen and the Truth of Global Warming” Plume book published by Penquin Group 2008 for a tale about the Bush administration successful attempt to halt any action on this crisis.
    Not sure of the current administration. Also Dr. james hansen writes a bit about it in his own book, “Storms of my Grandchildren”
    Really makes one angry.

    Comment by Vincent Kosik — 2 Jul 2011 @ 11:56 PM

  4. R. Gates: Known Unknowns?

    Comment by Tony lynch — 3 Jul 2011 @ 1:28 AM

  5. Looking for blog post dedicated to “Geomorphological Response” and “Methane Status Updates – Projections and Estimates”

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 3 Jul 2011 @ 3:57 AM


    leads to:

    Universities “seriously concerned” by death threats against climate scientists

    Scientists hit back amid fresh death threats

    Study says majority believe in climate change

    “The research found less than 6 per cent of Australians are true climate change sceptics.”
    There we have the reason for desperation on the part of denialists. Rich coal company stockholders stand to loose their shirts. Can a wealthy 6% control Australia’s government? Are the police willing to arrest the rich?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 3 Jul 2011 @ 6:23 AM

  7. For anyone in or near Allegheny County, PA. I will give a lecture on global warming to the Parsec science fiction club on 9 July 2011 at about 2 PM. Location: Squirrel Hill Carnegie Library, corner of Murray and Forbes Avenues.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Jul 2011 @ 6:28 AM

  8. R. Gates, imho the big questions are:

    1. How long will we keep burning carbon like there’s no next generation?
    The answer is blowing in the wind. The political wind.

    2. How harmful will climate disruption become, and how soon?

    Those two are the really serious issues.

    3. The size and speed of various feedbacks –
    a) Arctic amplification (Arctic warms fastest) was predicted [calculated] over a century ago, but it keeps running ahead of model projections.
    b) Cloud feedback: “the great white hope” of the subject. Alas there is no sign that a negative feedback from clouds is going to save us, and paleoclimate also says don’t bet on it (or on any other unknown savior). There is slight evidence of a positive feedback from clouds.
    c) Methane: this one is still blowing in the wind. But it can only hurt, not help.

    4. How to make good regional projections.
    Sub question: keep making global models with smaller grid size, or make specific regional models? The US Navy uses an Arctic regional model and supercomputers. No one has the resources to do that for every region of the earth though.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 3 Jul 2011 @ 6:38 AM

  9. What Eli said.

    Quoting a recent essay by Alan Betts in EOS:

    Earth scientists face a profound ethical challenge. Humanity is an integral part of the Earth’s ecosystem, but the waste from our industrial society is now driving rapid global climate change. What is our responsibility as a community of scientists? Is it simply to follow tradition and explore and discuss in our own world, largely isolated from the broader community, the many interesting facets and complexities of the transformation of the Earth’s climate system and then to publish our results in our private jargon in copyrighted journals that are not freely available to the public that is funding us? Surely this is for us just “business as usual,” an integral part of the problem, not the solution.

    I suggest it is time to reconsider our responsibilities to society and to the Earth. Humanity will be unable to deal with climate change, in terms of both mitigation and adaptation, until a broad spectrum of society is fluent in discussing the issues and the choices we face. Changing the direction of our global society from its present unsustainable path is a moral and ethical
    challenge as well as a scientific one.

    However, broad understanding of the limits imposed by the Earth system is essential. Clear, open communication and discussion are needed at all levels of society, along with research directed at clarifying the limits for decision makers in local communities. The contribution of science, honest communication of the state of knowledge, is needed to inform and counter the
    simplistic ideologies that are common in politics. I conclude that scientists need to
    become more deeply embedded in society.

    We all face the essential task of reducing human impacts on the Earth system ….

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 3 Jul 2011 @ 7:13 AM

  10. I was perusing web articles when I stumbled onto this one, called “An Inconvenient Fallacy.” With a title like that I really couldn’t resist so I opened it up and I found these assertions in the article…

    “Fact 1. A mild warming of about 0.5 degrees Celsius (well within previous natural temperature variations) occurred between 1979 and 1998, and has been followed by slight global cooling over the past 10 years. Ergo, dangerous global warming is not occurring.

    “Fact 2. Between 2001 and 2010 global average temperature decreased by 0.05 degrees, over the same time that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels increased by 5 per cent. Ergo, carbon dioxide emissions are not driving dangerous warming.”


    Does anyone even know where they come up with these figures?

    Comment by Nick — 3 Jul 2011 @ 11:08 AM

  11. R. Gates says:
    2 Jul 2011 at 10:26 PM
    Okay, here’s a general question, especially for those who are professional climate scientists:
    What, in your opinion, are the 2 or 3 biggest unknowns currently out there in the study of the climate?

    Once science is prepared to accept non-professional climate scientists the ‘known unknowns’ may become ‘known knowns’ as it is the case here:

    [Response:Those who have something meaningful to contribute can do so at any time. The problem is that doing so is generally a lot more demanding and not nearly so easy or simplistic as those non-professionals think.–Jim]

    Comment by vukcevic — 3 Jul 2011 @ 11:39 AM

  12. To Pete Dunklenberg at comment 11.
    This is an “Opinion piece”in a Major Australian Newspaper, “The Sydney Morning Herald” written by a Mr. Bob Carter a well known Australian denialist who has just lately come back into prominence after a spell out to pasture so to speak. The reason being that the Australian Government is in the process of introducing a diluted form of Carbon tax into parliament. This has aroused all the usual suspects into a frenzy of activity.Mr Carter has form. Check the list to be found on the “Smog Blog” Rouges gallery
    Regards, David Kidd.

    Comment by David Kidd — 3 Jul 2011 @ 12:34 PM

  13. @Nick @11

    Bob Carter’s piece has been completely demolished. It’s based on standard denialist tropes. The “cooling for ten years” trope comes from the fact that 1998 was a monster el nino year, and thus was much warmer than average and depending on how you count, the warmest year on record (2010 is very close or higher depending on which global temperature series is used). Of course, if you compare over a longer time period, you see that the 00’s were on average significantly warmer than the 90’s. More thorough demolitions of the Bob Carter piece can be found at the two links below:

    Comment by Paul from VA — 3 Jul 2011 @ 12:41 PM

  14. There is an atmospheric pressure sea-saw operating in the North Atlantic (NAO) controlling the winter temperatures oscillations in the wider area.
    Both sides engaged in the ‘climate trench warfare’ may find it of some interest.

    Comment by vukcevic — 3 Jul 2011 @ 12:52 PM

  15. > Nick says:
    > 3 Jul 2011 at 11:08 AM
    > I was perusing web articles when I stumbled onto this …
    > …
    > Does anyone even know where they come up with these figures?

    Google found 519 different blogs with those fake numbers copypasted.
    Now 520 since they’re reposted here. Try searching and reading some of the copies Google finds and you’ll see how they they make this stuff up wholesale. Repetition works because people come to believe stuff they see repeated. It’s a tool. Don’t let them use you by repeating their fiction.

    No such numbers found by Google Scholar.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Jul 2011 @ 1:09 PM

  16. Hello again Vukcevic,

    Over at Tamino’s blog you did a similar drive-by.
    I asked you how you came up with your NAP index, you offered your email address, and I declined a private chat favouring the open forum and benefit of other’s opinions and observations.

    Now in addition to your NAP (North Atlantic Precursor) Index, you offer a PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillation?) Driver index…

    It strikes me that if your ideas have merit, history shows they will win through. However it’s damn near impossible to work out the basics, like your NAP index from the pages you offer. Without understanding the basics it’s impossible to evaluate the merits of whatever evidence you may have.

    Comment by Chris R — 3 Jul 2011 @ 1:39 PM

  17. @11:
    The opinion piece is written by Bob Carter, which may tell you all that you need to know about the general direction and reliability of it. Here are specifics about the points you mentioned.
    Carter is cherry-picking endpoints to arrive at his declines; start at the year 2000-2009 instead of 2001-2010 and 3 out of 4 datasets show a positive trend. Speaking of time periods, 10 years is such a short time in climate that year-to-year variations and short-term cyclical events can swamp signal in noise. Over 15, 20, or (best yet) 30 years, real long-term trends are more visible in the data. This leads to why his last sentence in Fact 2 is totally ludicrous.

    He’s also cherry-picking datasets: if he had used NASA’s GISTEMP record, which attempts to describe the Arctic, there would have been a positive trend over 2001-2010 rather than negative. He’s likely using HADCRUT, which shows the .05 degree “decline” from 2001-2010 but doesn’t cover the Arctic region at all, which is where much of the warming is taking place. It’s amusing because he had previously tried to paint the Hadley researchers as duplicitous and fraudulent, so his reliance on their data NOW is pretty telling. John Cook concludes that this is because the last two years have been the hottest on record, so it’s much harder for Carter to claim that global warming “stopped in 1998″ as he so loves to do.

    So even if we take his 2 statements as barely factual (and his claim about CO2 is clearly not), they are not exactly compelling arguments because they rely entirely on cherry-picking small points in isolation rather than viewing the bigger picture.

    Comment by Wheels — 3 Jul 2011 @ 1:53 PM

  18. Scientists need to follow the late Stephen Schneider’s example, and work hard to explain to the public what the climate data means. Schneider and Hansen are about the only ones who understood that communicating the evidence about climate change to the public is far more important than perfecting it.

    Instead, this critical task has been outsourced to floundering reporters and the occasional political leader such as Gore, who are taking a lot of heat due to scientists’ retreat from the public dialogue.

    Key knowledge includes responsibility. About 30% of Americans have been persuaded by the media that global warming is some kind of hoax, which is all the cover our oil owned politicians need.

    Time to wake up and attack, climate scientists. Set up booths on the Capitol Lawn. Organize teach ins, including in places like Dallas and Gillette, Wyoming. Show little patience for liars and prostitutes. Do the right thing for all of the earth, and commit yourselves to it.

    [Response:Scientists haven’t retreated from the public dialogue. Notwithstanding the loss of Steve, there are more scientists trying to educate the public on the issues than ever, in various venues, such as this one. However, I agree that there aren’t enough doing it, and we need a lot more to do their part. But then, that’s a general problem with society as a whole, not scientists specifically–it’s always a small minority that stands up for principle, at least initially. As for the science, it’s not about “perfecting” it, whatever that means. There are still all kinds of important uncertainties that need to be understood much better than they are if there is going to be an rational effective response to the problem. Climate change effects chief among them.–Jim.]

    Comment by Mike Roddy — 3 Jul 2011 @ 1:53 PM

  19. @Nick (post 11),

    I don’t know where they’ve got those exact figures from but ‘Fact 1′ is just the usual ‘no warming in x years’ lie (meme is too forgiving a word). We know that there has been warming over that period – the timescale is too short to state that it is statistically ,significant to 95%. Extend the start point back and we can confidently state that it was statistically significant.

    ‘Fact 2′ appears to be just plain wrong given that 2010 was a join record high anomaly. I would suggest that the figure may come from one of the satellite records… Again it’s a cherry picked duration as well.

    Comment by Mike McClory — 3 Jul 2011 @ 1:56 PM

  20. Chris R
    I did post an answer two times but it was blocked, email was posted in order to respond to your question, since I thought it was impolite to ignore your request.
    The answer is simple, I have collected lot of historical data dispersed through various institutions, all publicly available some on line some in various printed publications, put it all together and developed two data sets one referring to the N. Atlantic and one to N. Pacific.
    This is a purely personal effort, at personal expense, so I am under no obligation to release details for time being, since I am preparing a more extensive publication.
    I think it may require some assistance for presentation from an academic institution or some other establishment, but that is not priority at the moment.

    [Response:The better course of action, by far, is to publish first and blog second. Once you start making public statements, you’re obligated to defend them. Nobody will take them seriously until you do.–Jim]

    Comment by vukcevic — 3 Jul 2011 @ 3:54 PM

  21. Can someone tell me how sea levels are determined?

    Such a what do people do when it has just rained heavily on the sea, which, surely, must give a higher level until this rain has either evaporated or flowed away(?)to a lower level sea?

    Comment by Urban Leprechaun — 3 Jul 2011 @ 4:39 PM

  22. Pete Dunkelberg, 3 July, 06:38.

    So our knowledge of the sun’s effect on climate is so well understood that it doesn’t make your list in response to R. Gates?

    I do hope you’re buying shares in that Canadian port being built to exploit the NW Passage. When Maunder II strikes, and it’s buried under the ice, it’ll stand as a monument to the hubris of the Global Warming industry,

    Comment by Brent Hargreaves — 3 Jul 2011 @ 5:11 PM

  23. Reading various responses to Bob Carter’s latest outpourings, I’ve realised that I have two ideas in my head (don’t laugh, it’s more than some people have) that seem to be in conflict:

    1. El Nino / La Nina and other oscillations don’t actually change the temperature of the globe; they just move the heat around.

    2. Global temperature was exceptionally high in 1998 because of an extreme El Nino.

    I know that’s a grossly oversimplified way to talk about it, but it’s the level I’m at and I’m a long way ahead of many of the people I talk to. Is there an equally simple way to express how these things are both true – if they are?


    Comment by Susanne — 3 Jul 2011 @ 5:58 PM

  24. Susanne

    Here is my attempt at an answer – others may do better.

    During a La Nina event the thermocline which divides warm surface water from colder deep water is depressed on the western side of the Pacific and rises elsewhere. As a result you get a relatively deep warm pool on the west of the Pacific and relatively cooler surface water elsewhere. The net result is a reduction in average surface temperature.

    Comment by Paul Pentony — 3 Jul 2011 @ 7:07 PM

  25. We have raised atmospheric CO2 by a large amount (about 40%) but my understanding is that the amount by which we’ve raised the total amount of carbon in the entire climate system is still relatively small (I calculated it to be about 2% but could be well off).

    Conversely though, atmospheric CO2 could decline quite quickly if we drastically cut emissions, because of absorption by natural sinks, whereas the total amount of carbon in the climate system only changes very very slowly – perhaps 10,000 or 20,000 times slower than the rate at which we’re increasing it today.

    I think that means that although we’re not stuck with 390ppm or more of atmospheric CO2, we *are* stuck with the raised total amount of carbon in the climate system for any conceivable future (hundreds of thousands of years at least).

    What are the implications of this? I think it means that we have permanently and irrevocably changed the climate system because there is no way we’re ever going to remove the trillion tons or more of carbon that we’ve put into the climate system in the last 250 years… but just how big a change does that imply? If we miraculously dropped emissions to zero today, what’s kind of climate would we end up with, by the time everything equilibrated? Have we already made it impossible for the planet to continue with the ice age / interglacial cycles of the last million years or so? Have we committed the climate to going back at least to, say, an Eocene climate regardless of what we do now?

    Comment by Icarus — 3 Jul 2011 @ 7:09 PM

  26. Susanne (no. 23): I would say that ENSO does change the temperature of the globe but only on short timescales of several years, and the change is positive for a while and then negative for a while or neutral for a while, so that the *net* change over a much longer period is about zero. Also, while an El Niño may be warming the atmosphere because of upwelling and spreading warm water in the Pacific, it’s actually cooling the oceans (because the heat from the oceans is escaping through the atmosphere to space), so in reality the total heat content of the climate system declines even while the atmosphere is warmer. I think if we could measure the heat content of the entire climate we would find that it was actually getting cooler in 1998 because of the El Niño, not warmer – it’s just that we are biased towards taking the temperature of the atmosphere rather than the whole planet, of which the oceans are by far the largest repository of heat.

    Comment by Icarus — 3 Jul 2011 @ 7:19 PM

  27. Re 23 Susanne –

    The key is vertical heat transport in the ocean. Generally, the upper ocean is warmed and cooled by radiation and sensible and latent heat transfers between it and the atmosphere, just like the land, but also, the upper ocean is supplied with a heat sink by upwelling (or upward mixing?) deep cold water, and also acts as a heat source in some regions where water becomes cold enough to sink back down into the deep ocean (salinity is also quite important, and in some previous geologic time(s), from what I remember reading, that the depths of the ocean were filled more with warm but sufficiently salty water to sink).

    Upwelling cold water can be pulled up to the surface in spite of it’s density by the wind-driven currents causing surface water to move out of the way – once at the surface, it may be out-of-equilibrium with local radiative and atmospheric conditions and tend to gain heat. Without upwelling cold water reaching the surface, I would guess it could also return to the upper ocean by getting mixed into the upper ocean from below(the upper ocean is mixed by winds, and also by the vertical distribution of solar heating relative to evaporative cooling and evaporative salinity increases at the surface – although precipitation or melting of ice (or runoff from land) at the surface would/do tend to stabilize the water by freshenning surface water (temperature effects aside)). (Tides and plankton also play a role in mixing the ocean – tides also have an effect on mixing the deep ocean, I think, but I don’t know a lot about that.)

    (If the upper ocean were losing mass from continued formation of deep water and not gaining mass from upwelling or mixing, the layer would get thinner, which would bring deeper water closer to the surface and perhaps make it easier to mix it into the upper ocean from below or otherwise make it easier for winds to spread the warmer water apart to bring cold water to the surface. But different conditions in different places help determine where water is sinking, mixing, or upwelling.)

    Anyway, it is possible for changes in oceanic circulation to ‘hide’ cold water from the surface or ‘reveal’ more of it without any uptake or loss of heat from the ocean. This will lead to warmer or cooler surface conditions and thus warmer or cooler atmospheric conditions – which will, interestingly, tend to lead to global heat loss or gain. In an El Nino, more cold water is kept hidden from the surface (in a particular region of the Pacific where it usually upwells), and so the global average surface temperature, and tropospheric temperature, rises, and this increases outgoing radiation to space, causing a heat loss. In a La Nina, the reverse happens. (Together this mode of varibility is called ENSO, and it also includes changes in atmospheric circulation. There is some positive feedback between changes in the wind and changes in the sea surface temperature, which, I would guess, would help explain ENSO’s prominence as an important mode of variability.)

    (If either condition were held for a sufficient time period, the globe would lose or gain heat to return the surface and atmospheric climate toward equilibrium (assuming the equilibrium climate, in terms of average global surface temperature, is not too sensivite to whether there is an El Nino or La Nina), while the ocean would now have a net loss or gain of heat.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 3 Jul 2011 @ 7:55 PM

  28. and also acts as a heat source in some regions where water becomes cold enough to sink back down into the deep ocean
    – it’s a heat source because the water has to lose heat in order to become cold enough to sink. Evaporative cooling also increases salinity which is also important in making water dense enough to sink.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 3 Jul 2011 @ 8:01 PM

  29. Re 21 Urban Leprechaun – that’s actually an interesting point. To a first approximation, sea level forms a sphere, as it is a geopotential surface (constant gravitiational potential energy, perpendicular to the gravitational acceleration) and large objects tend to form spheres as gravitational potential energy is minimized, thus the gravitational field has spherical symmetry.

    However, the rotation of the Earth makes geopotential surfaces oblate – they bulge at the equator. This affects the crust and ocean (and mantle, and core, to varying extents depending on centrifugal force and gravity).

    Tides also distort the geopotential surface, introducing an oscillating component to gravity that makes the Earth oscillate – the response of the ocean is different from the crust (there are natural frequencies involved – Kelvin waves, etc.), so we can have water level rising and falling relative to the land (we wouldn’t notice tides (without sensitive scientific instruments, etc.) if they rose and fell together). Sea level isn’t generally in equilibrium with the tides, so the water level won’t actually conform to the geopotential surface at any moment. But it should in a time-average – except, see below.

    Also, The time-averaged Earth deviates from even the simple oblate spheroid as there are density variations in the mantle and crust, pressure variations in the atmopshere, and mountain ranges and oceanic trenches. Sea level dips over a trench, for example

    Aside from all that, sea level can deviate from the time average geopotential surface because:

    1. as you point out, there are uneven sources and sinks of water (evaporation, precipitation, runoff), requiring flow for balance, and flow requires a pressure gradient (either to drive it against friction or else balance the coriolis acceleration that occurs when there is flow, or else to drive acceleration of the flow when conditions are changing), which would either come from atmospheric pressure variations at the surface or density variations in the water, or sea level variations.

    2. the wind itself applies force on the water and drives motion, which can result in piling up of water or thinning of water in various places (which causes pressure gradients in the water which drive other motions, etc.)

    3. water can be fresher or saltier, warmer or colder, and so density can vary. In order to have a particular horizontal pressure gradient at one level, a different horizontal pressure gradient must exist at another level if there is a horizontal density gradient in between. If warm or fresh water were dumped on the surface, it would tend to spread out; it will also add weight to the column of water and cause water below to spread out, which thins the layer of denser water beneath, which lowers the pressure. Aside from atmospheric pressure, the pressure at depth is uniform when the total mass of water above is the same, but a layer of fresh water requires greater thickness to achieve this, so at the surface it would form a dome. Why wouldn’t it spread out evenly to cover the globe? As it spreads out, the coriolis force acts on it to turn the flow; geostrophic balance can be achieved when a pressure gradient remains with a proportionate flow perpendicular to it. So you can end up with a high pressure at the surface (associated with a dome in sea level) and a low pressure at depth (associated with the greater water column thickness not balancing the decreased density). (PS in order to achieve low pressure at depth in geostrophic balance, the water has to actually have flowed inward rather than outward, in consideration of potential vorticity (the conservation of angular momentum).)

    So with climate change, there are a number of factors that can lead to geographically and seasonally-varying trends in average local sea level (as well as short-period variations – waves and storms – but I don’t think tidal ranges should be affected much, unless sea level rise actually opens a new channel and … well, I don’t know about that one … )

    But in addition to that, there can be a global average change in sea level as

    1. the mass of the ocean changes (global net melting of land ice or ice in the water that is not entirely supported by buoyancy; over geologic time, geologic emission and sequestration of H2O, chemical reactions, H escape to space, etc.), and

    2. the density of the ocean as a whole changes (thermal expansion, also some freshening from meltwater (PS over geologic time this may also be affected from geological processes, such as in hydrothermal systems), minus the effect of (I think much much smaller) loss of fresh water from the increase in atmospheric water vapor), and

    3. isostatic adjustment of the crust (global tendency for oceanic crust to sink under added weight, local tendencies from loss of ice loading, also adding water loading on continental shelves (???), the effects of crustal rigidity… (???) – I think this has a fast and a slow component, by the way, but I don’t know a lot of details there.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 3 Jul 2011 @ 8:36 PM

  30. Re ‘pressure variations in the atmopshere’ – not the biggest effect on the gravitational field :), but would have a direct effect on deviations of sea level from geopotetial surfaces.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 3 Jul 2011 @ 8:40 PM

  31. PS James Kasting had an interesting paper awhile back on how geologic processes (hydrothermal activity) may act with a tendency to maintain some sea level over geologic time (negative feedback involved in the geologic branch of the water cycle) (I think relative to mid-ocean rigdes, so not necessarily relative to continents. Of course there have been geologic times when geologic changes pushed water up over vast areas of continental crust that are now exposed. From what I remember reading, this involves rates of sea floor spreading (cooling of lithosphere (or just crust?) when leaving mid oceanic ridges involves sinking via isostatic adjusment; rapid spreading widens the ridges, increasing there volume. Rifting apart of continents tends to spread out continental crust, displacing water by removing volume of elevated land (erosion with sediments transported to the sea does the same thing); coninential collisions raise up a volume of rock above sea level, making space for ocean water to spread out.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 3 Jul 2011 @ 9:17 PM

  32. #10 , The source of the disinformation was Australia’s Bob Carter.

    Comment by john byatt — 3 Jul 2011 @ 9:18 PM

  33. I am tied up with other things, but people with time, and especially acadmemics. might want to visit a blog at Chronicle of Higher Education and read Bottling Up Global Warming Skepticism” by Peter Ward, President of National Association of Scholars, which might be labeled as NAS* to disambiguate vs another NAS.
    If you happen to comment, *please* be polite and perhaps seek more information from Peter.

    Apparently, he disliked this, sorry, paywall.

    Comment by John Mashey — 3 Jul 2011 @ 9:40 PM

  34. Susanne, you already have some good if not always brief answers. But to go directly to your question: “Is there an equally simple way to express how these things are both true – if they are?”

    The clarification you need is to distinguish the temperature of the whole globe (your idea 1, based on conservation of energy) and the globe’s surface temperature.

    And as mentioned by others there is the wrinkle that during a “cool” La Niña year (now as warm as El Niño used to be) the earth retains more of the incoming energy and vice versa, so that ENSO adds an oscillation to the rate of warming.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 3 Jul 2011 @ 10:24 PM

  35. For those above discussing picking ten year periods for special effects, it is even more fun with eight years, although recent GISSTEMP downs are scarce.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 3 Jul 2011 @ 10:56 PM

  36. Brent Hargreaves @ 22, a new Grand Solar Minimum has been discussed by RC here and by Skeptical Science here. Those are the places to take your concerns for Canada. In view of the poor track record of predictions of global cooling you might also consider this.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 3 Jul 2011 @ 11:16 PM

  37. John Mashey @33: “If you happen to comment, *please* be polite ….”
    That’s going to be tricky.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 3 Jul 2011 @ 11:36 PM

  38. I read this blog a lot and love it, but I rarely post, as climate science is not my major field, and I feel I can learn more at this point by just reading. I now have an issue that some on this blog might be able to help me with. (I hope that this post is not considered under-the-sun dump material!).

    On August 10, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) is holding a public hearing about selling 25,000 acre-feet of water per year to a proposed coal-fired power plant (romantically called “White Stallion”) on Matagorda Bay. The LCRA controls the water in the entire lower Colorado River, which is the major water supply for central Texas, and particularly the city of Austin (my home town). Governor Rick Perry, a noted global warming denier, has appointed all of the members of the board of the LCRA and none are climate scientists, which is very scary. In the LCRA assessment (supposedly written by scientists) of whether there is enough water to actually sell to this project, the LCRA goes back no further than the middle of the 20th century for the “drought of record,” and does not even mention global warming in their future projections:

    The LCRA held a public hearing in June about this, at which I spoke and told them that it was hard to believe that they would base a water decision affecting millions of people while ignoring a major scientific consensus about future climate. The Texas Sierra Club commissioned what appears to me to be an excellent study by Dr. D. Lauren Ross using the LCRA’s own information that does mention global warming, and shows why they really do not have enough water:

    But the LCRA managed to pretty much ignore her, as she was the only scientist speaking, and her study was commissioned by an environmental organization. Many others spoke also (a few politicians and many concerned citizens), all against the sale except for one person. Since central Texas (actually, almost all of Texas) is now in the middle of an extreme drought, experiencing the second hottest June on record, the LCRA punted the decision down the road until August 10 (Hoping for some rain? Or hoping that “White Stallion” doesn’t get a TCEQ permit to release lots of black smoke?).

    Approving this sale would be very bad for Austin as far as water goes, and that’s not even considering all the CO2 and other pollution that will be pumped into the atmosphere by the “White Stallion.” What I believe we need on August 10 is more good scientific testimony from climate scientists (I have a doctorate, but not in climate science) about global warming, to force the board to at least address this reality. First, I would appreciate any helpful comments about the above links. And anyone who would like to come and give ‘em hell, it would be great if you would contact me in Austin (my contact information is easily available on the web). And keep posting all of this great information!

    Craig Nazor

    Comment by Craig Nazor — 4 Jul 2011 @ 12:44 AM

  39. It has been global weirding here in the Sacramento area the past few weeks. It was over 100 F on June 21st. A week later the high was 68 with a half inch of rain (a record, although it was cooler and over an inch of rain in Davis). Today is was back over 100. For several years now, we have had a prolonged wet and cooler spring running into late June. But never a rainfall event such as this (records for last Tuesday were set from Los Angeles (.02 inches) to the Oregon border.

    Comment by Jim Eaton — 4 Jul 2011 @ 2:50 AM

  40. @#25 I think that means that although we’re not stuck with 390ppm or more of atmospheric CO2, we *are* stuck with the raised total amount of carbon in the climate system for any conceivable future (hundreds of thousands of years at least).

    I think this is incorrect. We have a number of ways of reducing carbon in the active climate system. The fastest two that are “natural,” have multiple functions, and help us with other problems we face – and dicussed here in the past – are forests and terra preta. Terra preta is a very long-term soil improvement technique (creates soils as rich as you will find) and carbon sink. it will be broken down and released only very slowly, and the rate is such that the creation of terra preta is a carbon sink, so as long as you are making it, you are effectively reducing carbon in the active climate system.

    Additionally, this improves food production, both in quantity and resilience of the system. The soil is far less likely to wash away with rains and floods, e.g., and food production remains high for far longer without having to add additional nutrients.

    Forests are obviously massive carbon sinks. Hansen has suggested we can equal CO2 emissions with forest growth, thus ending the rise in CO2 even if we keep producing it. If we add in edible forest gardens, we can add far more forest and make the food supply stable, to boot. Of course, the gain in CO2 sequestration with forests levels out with the growth in forests, but whatever the number is, it is still essentially a permanent sequestration. If we actively manage the edible forest gardens, then we can continue the slow sequestration of CO2 as we increase the amount of organic matter in the forest floor, which also makes it more nutrient rich, thus making the forest essentially self-sustaining.

    Even if we max out forest growth and farmland production, we can continue to draw down carbon by using fast-growing trees for continued terra preta production which would either A. allow us to maintain more of the industrial base we now have (assuming energy supplies of whatever kind) and B. would give us a control knob for climate: we can choose to keep global CO2 within a given “ideal” range with nothing more than forests and food production.

    Occam’s razor says do it, do it now.

    Comment by ccpo — 4 Jul 2011 @ 3:38 AM

  41. At Bart’s

    We were discussing the use of the Tiljander proxies and possible problems trying to calibrate to the instrumental record because of contamination during the period of the instrumental record. Rather than not use the proxies completely, is there any value trying to ‘indirectly calibrate’ to a period where there is not believed to be any contamination ? (I know this is all pretty marginal anyway, but it seems a shame to throw out stuff if there is some meaningful signal there)

    That sort of brought us (via a roundabout route) to the Zorita opinion piece (which seemed to be suggesting an alternative approach to paleoclimatic reconstructions) :

    which suggested

    “Expert assessment to evaluate the signal of a particular record from a particular proxy archive (e.g., the lowfrequency skill of a new speleothem record) will be invaluable in trying to minimize ‘wrong figures’ being put into a large-scale reconstruction. It seems advisable at this point to use fewer, but expert assessed proxy records, rather than hundreds of proxy series, and hope that reconstruction algorithms will overcome the often huge noise components typical for many of the available time series”

    Any comments ?

    [Response: Good paper (lead author is David Frank, not E. Zorita) and good discussion over there at Bart’s. More in a bit from my viewpoint.–Jim]

    [Response: I’ll give mine, with specific reference to tree rings. The biggest advances are going to come from a better mechanistic understanding of the causes of growth rate changes in those trees typically used in dendro-climatic reconstructions (i.e. climatically stressed trees of various types). Statistics will only take you so far. On that point I unequivocally agree with the linked Frank et al. paper. This improvement must be accompanied by changes in field sampling techniques that have traditionally been used, which are not optimized to evaluate long term, low frequency climatic changes, but which were used extensively by workers in the 1980s (who collected much of the data used in recent reconstructions), before this issue was recognized. See for example this short white paper by Briffa and Cook. The cumulative, interacting, and complex effects of temperature, soil moisture, (both of which have seasonal considerations) carbon dioxide, and tree age/size, all need to be resolved, because they are all actually or potentially important to radial growth rate. Doing so will still leave unresolved some process-generated noise relating to things like the uncertainty in relating measured precip levels–always at some distance away–to the soil characteristics at the tree sampling site, atmospheric effects (N deposition, ozone, acid rain, etc), and potentially changing inter-tree competition levels over time, for example. We can’t hope to remove all sources of uncertainty, but we can significantly reduce several.

    To answer your other question, yes it is possible to “indirectly calibrate”–if you have some independent climate measure that is trustworthy and you have the requisite understanding of the driving processes of both that will allow you to rule out certain wrong or artifactual relationships. It may also be possible to improve some proxy series, strictly via mathematical improvements, before you relate them to any climatic time series. Then when other proxies, or improved instrumental data, becomes available, you have a better response variable series to use. This can be important as well.–Jim]

    Comment by PeteB — 4 Jul 2011 @ 4:33 AM

  42. I’d like to ask for help with finding references for an economics paper I want to write. In a lot of climate change economics work the environment is represented by a damage function (so that utility flow is a strictly decreasing function of CO2), and a CO2 equation of motion that is of the form: dCO2/dt = Emissions(t) + DecayConst * CO2(t)
    where DecayConst is negative and this decay of CO2 levels is motivated by the observed absorbtion of CO2 by carbon sinks, especially the oceans.

    I think that this is nonsense and, to a first order, the DecayConst should be zero or positive. My basis for believing this is that my understanding is that warmer oceans will hold less CO2, so any anthropogenic CO2 release, if the system is given the time to respond, will (to 1st order) cause an additional CO2 release from the ocean rather than CO2 being absorbed.

    Are there any good references that I can cite to make this case very simply (this is just the introduction to my paper) to an economist audience?

    Thanks in advance for any help!

    [Response: There is no single ‘DecayConstant’ that makes much sense. Instead, use the multi-exponential approximation to the Bern Carbon Cycle model. This does not have an explicit carbon cycle feedback term, and so you need to add that in addition (i.e. add a term to the CO2_atm equation like gamma*Tsfc where gamma ~ 8 ppm/ºC and Tsfc is the anomaly over pre-industrial (perhaps with some delay). Note too that your equation needs to have an equilibrium point at the pre-industrial levels (not at CO2=0!). – gavin]

    Comment by dcomerf — 4 Jul 2011 @ 7:15 AM

  43. 40: on drawing down CO2.

    Wally Broecker advocates “scrubbing” the CO2 out of the air:–/dp/0809045028/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1309786614&sr=1-1

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 4 Jul 2011 @ 8:42 AM

  44. Re #21’s question on how the global sea level is measured. I’ve also wondered about this. The claimed sea level rise is about 2-3mm per year. With shifting land masses (there are villages under water off the English coast), how can any measurement to such a degree of precision be made? As remarked above, the ocean envelope is not even spherical.

    [Response: All sea level measurements at made with respect to the geoid (which is not spherical, or even oblately spheroid, but has many bumps and dips associated with topography etc.). Indeed, the accurate measurement of sea level change has been greatly improved because of greater accuracy in the geoid. The best global numbers currently come from satellite altimetry – using lasers to assess the distance between the satellite and the ground, and the accuracy is a function of a great deal of averaging over time and space. The satellite numbers are ground-truthed to a set of tide gauges around the world so that the satellite estimate of the changes at those specific points are the same as the direct observations. The altimeters obviously see anything that affects the distance (including residual tectonic motions/isostatic rebound etc.) and so that needs to be corrected for in assessing how much sea level is rising because of thermal expansion or ice melt etc. The site has a lot more info and references. – gavin]

    Comment by Jonathan Bagley — 4 Jul 2011 @ 8:51 AM

  45. Thanks Gavin, but embedding sophisticated climate models within economic models is what I want to argue against.

    My point is that uncertainty around climate projections (especially on the downside) probably dominates in terms of economic decision making. Putting a deterministic climate model within the economic model means that benefits of climate policy are equated with costs of climate policy exactly – which is an absolute nonsense given the uncertainties/threshold effects involved. Instead I want to advocate that specific recommedations are embedded in the economic model – like e.g. no coal post 2030, and the implied prices/policy-instruments conditional on this are the focus of interest.

    In order to make this case I want to argue against the CO2 equation of motion as currently embedded in economic models (see Nordhaus for most well developed example) (note also that CO2 is usually expressed as deviations from pre-industrial, so it is pre-industrial that is an equilibrium rather than zero concentrations). The major flaw that I think is baked in to this formulation is the structural negative feedback. What I want (if it exists??) is a good reference that says that the ocean carbon sink is actually a carbon source on the millenial timescale (I don’t even know if this is true – but it seems to follow from reduced CO2 solubility in warmer water?)

    I will investigate the Bern Carbon Cycle model with adjustments as you suggest – but I was hoping for more of a simplistic solution!

    [Response: The approximation to the BCC is the most simplistic solution that makes any sense. It is not in any sense a ‘sophisticated’ climate model (just a series of 4 exponential functions). This captures the first order behaviour that an increase in atm CO2 increases the flux at the air sea interface (you call this the structural negative feedback). What you want to be adding is a an additional function (as I outlined above) that increases atm CO2 as a function of temperature (the amplifying carbon cycle feedback). This gives a long-term equilibrium impact on atm. CO2 as a function of global temperature and is roughly 8 ppm/ºC (i.e. for a 2ºC rise over pre-industrial, you would expect a 16 ppm rise in CO2 over pre-I values. There is a lot of uncertainty in this number (see here) but this is the right ballpark. – gavin]

    Comment by dcomerf — 4 Jul 2011 @ 9:16 AM

  46. How about looking at the claims that the so-called Pacific Decadal Oscillation (like the AMO, of dubious physical reality) has entered a ‘cooling mode’?

    “The switch of PDO cool mode to warm mode in 1977 initiated several decades of global warming. The PDO has now switched from its warm mode (where it had been since 1977) into its cool mode.” – Don Easterbrook, 2008.

    How does that match the actual temperature trend in the N. Pacific?

    Other topics: drought in Texas, flooding on the Mississippi, wildfires in Arizona – all in line with various climate model projections, such as polewards expansion of the Hadley circulation, increased water vapor in the atmosphere leading to high precipitation in some regions, and the general trend of declining soil moisture in the U.S. southwest and what that means for forest fires and ecosystem changes (northward expansion of Sonoran desert conditions appearing highly likely?)

    Or, more importantly – the refusal of the corporate media and the corporate academic system to pay any attention to these issues. Is the Global Climate and Energy Program at Stanford University still raking in all those ExxonMobil & Schlumberger Oil dollars? Couldn’t be influencing the direction of academic research, could it? And the DOE’s Science Chief – yes, look’s like BP’s Chief Scientist is still in that position – and they’re still trying to push their fraudulent carbon capture and sequestration programs.

    Comment by ike solem — 4 Jul 2011 @ 10:46 AM

  47. Stefan-Boltzmann in the stratosphere:

    The Stefan-Boltzmann law says that the amount of energy radiated by a mass per unit time is proportional to its area times its temperature to the fourth power. Yet the cool upper troposphere radiates much more energy into space than does the hot stratosphere. Area seems to stand in for mass in the S-B law in a way. A small mass, even if spread over a large area, can not radiate as much as a larger mass. Evidently the mass must not be spread so thin that it is not well approximated as a continuous area for purposes of radiation. btw how would you even assign an area to the stratosphere? How can Stefan-Boltzmann be applied there?

    Clarification needed.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 4 Jul 2011 @ 11:44 AM

  48. Thanks again Gavin. Just one final thought: I think the implication of how you describe the BCC (I still haven’t looked it up) is that the oceans are a sink and that the increased partial pressure from higher atmospheric CO2 trumps the reduced CO2 solubility?

    My simple calc to get to this is: assume 3degree sensitivity to doubled CO2 and 50% initial absorbtion by oceans due to higher partial pressure of CO2. Period 1: emissions sufficient to raise CO2 from 280ppm to 840ppm i.e. emissions ~ 560ppm but 50% absorbed so atmospheric CO2 concentration at end of ‘emissions period’ = 560ppm.

    By next period, temperatures have equilibriated with new CO2 concentration so temperatures 3degrees warmer and we get another 24ppm of ‘emissions’ from the ocean. Total effect of the oceans is then to absorb 280 – 24 = 256ppm worth of CO2 emissions.

    Is this calc, ceterus paribus, on the right lines?

    [Response: BCC is for the non-climate change situation – i.e. there is no reduction of solubility (or change in respiration, or stratification or all the dozens of other factors that impact the CC feedback). The climate feedbacks need to be explicitly stated via the ‘gamma ‘ term. Your calculation is ok except that the transient emissions required to maintain your scenario are varying implicitly – better to calculate the atm CO2 explicitly as a function of emissions and BCC + feedback. – gavin]

    Comment by dcomerf — 4 Jul 2011 @ 12:56 PM

  49. Recently I was particulary struck by these incredible sculptures by Janet Echelman.
    In particular, there is one that is based on NOAA data obtained from a tsunami,is titled 1.26

    I was wondering if there was a particular set of climate data that might be transformed into such a sculpture that could serve as a medium to get across in a visceral way to the general public what dynamic climate change looks like.

    Perhaps this might be a way to cross pollinate art and scientific concepts to the benefit of a wider audience.

    Comment by Fred Magyar — 4 Jul 2011 @ 2:00 PM

  50. Re 47 Pete Dunkelberg –

    The Stefan-Boltzmann law applies to either a blackbody, which is a material that is non-reflecting, completely opaque (optical thickness = infinity), and at LTE, or to something which can simulate such conditions (a small hole cut into a box; as long as the box’s inside surface has less than 100 % albedo, a sufficiently small hole relative to the box’s dimensions will require that most photons entering such a hole would have to be reflected so many times that most end up getting absorbed before exiting, so the hole can act almost like a blackbody surface).

    A real material layer typically has finite optical thickness; for a given direction, the transmitted fraction of radiation incident on one side that comes out the other is equal to exp(-optical thickness) and, if reflection and scattering are zero (and if at LTE), the emissivity (emitted radiation / blackbody value)and absorptivity (absorbed radiation / incident radiation) are both equal to 1 – exp(-optical thickness).

    Except – that is only strictly true for one direction, and for a given frequency and polarization. If there is scattering or reflection, emissivity must still equal absorptivity for incident radiation being absorbed from a direction and emission back into that direction (although if optical properties have enough symmetry, or are isotropic, the same values apply to a direction and it’s opposite).

    When emissivity (and absorptivity) vary over the spectrum, it is necessary to use the Planck function, which describes blackbody radiant intensity at a given frequency. Radiant intensity is the flux per unit area per ‘unit direction’ (that is, per unit solid angle). Radiant intensity must be integrated over directions (over solid angle) to find a flux per unit area, and before integration it must be weighted by the projection of the unit area of interest onto the unit area that faces each direction (this is the cosine of the angle between the direction of the intensity and the direction the unit area of interest is facing).

    But qualitatively, holding optical properties constant, the emitted flux always increases with temperature, but the proportionality depends on how optical properties vary over the spectrum. Increasing the thickness of a layer, or increasing the amount of a substance (with isotropic optical properties) that absorbs or emits radiation, increases the optical thickness of that layer (in all directions, by the same percentage). If the layer is isothermal and there is no scattering/reflection and it is at LTE, then at each direction the emitted intensity is equal to the Planck function times the emissivity. If it is not isothermal than it is necessary to integrate along a line to find the radiant flux (see ‘Schwarzchild’s equation’, which simplifies to Beer’s Law when the temperature is too cold for significant emission).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 4 Jul 2011 @ 2:47 PM

  51. Craig Nazor @ 38,

    Coal is the worst thing to use in a new power plant. You don’t have to be a climatologist to become aware of the hazards of mining and using coal. The full costs of fossil fuels are not reflected in the “levelized cost of energy”. The harm extends from West Virginia through the local fishing hole all the way to China. Alternatives are available and constantly becoming cheaper.

    You might post at where the blogger is a Texan. Perhaps most important, the threatened coal plant is a stimulus to community organization. Look around for allies, they’re there. The dependence of the proposed plant on a large supply of fresh water is a danger to the community’s power supply.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 4 Jul 2011 @ 2:58 PM

  52. 51 Pete Dunkelberg: See:
    which leads to:

    The 4.6 MW solar array in Arizona is intermittent on a much shorter time scale than half a day. The graphs given cannot be expanded to show the rise and fall times, but the switching appears to take place in seconds. It looks like it could be much too quick to switch on and off the other standard energy sources. You would have to have a huge battery or an enormous capacitor to flatten out the intermittency. Another alternative would be a superconducting cable that would work without cooling so you could connect DC sources over the whole planet. That is another technology we don’t have.

    Craig Nazor @ 38: Can you create an on-line petition?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 4 Jul 2011 @ 3:40 PM

  53. 51 Pete Dunkelberg: The “lacklustre-colorado-solar/” project is getting only a few % of the energy expected. Super-quick intermittency could be solved by putting all of the solar heat into storage first. Then using heat from storage only.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 4 Jul 2011 @ 3:51 PM

  54. #46 Ike, this alleged PDO cooling is exactly what we should expose, especially before the same characters are propped up again coming up with another doubtful theory explaining global warming by any other reason than AGW. We fight this nonsense together, or the world will warm much further by letting medias propagate PR propaganda as science in silence. Their basic premise is quite flawed, during the 70’s world wide surface temperatures were much cooler than from 2000-2010 (the warmest). Right onto itself the PDO appears not directly linked with Global temperatures. From this simple point, PDO is either not measured properly or has no influence on GT’s, neither explanation satisfies me, I am sure there are some who could come up with a more reasonable assessment. But for those journalists out there check out:

    Before ever bringing out this alleged PDO and Global Warming/Cooling connection, there was a bright scientist at MIT (not Lindzen) who proposed that the seas have a “memory” and reflect a once upon a time climate.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 4 Jul 2011 @ 3:54 PM

  55. Nick @ 10, there was a stall in warming from 98 to 08. Just released paper in PNAS. Logical explanation and another bit of information in the climate puzzle. IMO a very well done paper.

    (Don’t mind the WUWT segment, this leads to the actual PDF of the paper, I’m just to busy to Hank it right now :) )

    Comment by DeNihilist — 4 Jul 2011 @ 4:02 PM

  56. Just curious if anyone else thinks that the potential mining of the Pacific Ocean floor, for rare earth metals, is not really a good thing to have happen?

    Comment by spyder — 4 Jul 2011 @ 5:09 PM

  57. Spyder, it depends. We need the rare earths to build the magnets and batteries for the new green economy, so for that point yes. The claim is that the nuclear component of this find is as little as a fifth of the conventional mines, so agaain yes. That they are in international waters could be a scrap waiting to happen, so no. Potential for mass pollution, so no. Size of the find could bve bigger then all known reserves, if able to mine cleanly and cheaply, then could be the thing that brings down the cost of windmills, hybrids, etc, then definitely yes.

    You get it, it has to be thought out and costed properly before a rational decision can be made.

    Comment by DeNihilist — 4 Jul 2011 @ 5:31 PM

  58. Re 52,53 Edward Greisch – Well, if it’s so hard to integrate CSP into a fossil fuel plant, maybe we should stick to having CSP power plants that may use fuel as a supplemental source, rather than the other way around.

    I’m a bit bewildered by something like this performing so poorly relative to expectations. I mean, was it cloudy all the time or something? You’d think somebody must have misplaced a decimal point or something.

    PS if you have enough dispersed PV power plants the high-frequency intermittancy will tend to cancel out to some extent. You don’t need superconductors. Small low level clouds are mesoscale. Our regional electric grids are similar to the synoptic scale, so it appears we do have the technology to redistribute power to respond to extratropical cyclone and hurricane cloud cover; why would cumulus and broken stratocumulus all line up over all the PV fields and roofs over a 100 km region or greater?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 4 Jul 2011 @ 6:19 PM

  59. Re 56 spyder – I don’t know, but at least you wouldn’t have well blowouts (?)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 4 Jul 2011 @ 6:22 PM

  60. Re Edward Greisch – and HVDC lines are an existing technology (PS they’re ‘undergroundable’ too!).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 4 Jul 2011 @ 6:23 PM

  61. John E. Pearson says:
    4 Jul 2011 at 8:42 AM

    40: on drawing down CO2.

    Wally Broecker advocates “scrubbing” the CO2 out of the air:–/dp/0809045028/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1309786614&sr=1-1

    Why in the name of [insert epithet/deity/construct] would we do that when we can just rebuild ecosystems we used to have and get more food out of it in the bargain?

    Principle: organic before mechanical/industrial.

    1. If there is a simpler, more organic solution, use it. 2. Maintaining a self-propagating ecosystem is a lot easier than maintaining a massive, man-made infrastructure made of of imperfect materials which will fail with time. 3. The resource limits we face are significant and are not limited to fossil fuels. There are many things we currently use that will eventually run out because they are not renewable. We must consider Liebig’s law of the Minimum, which Wally obviously cannot be doing to propose and support such a poor idea. When you hit one of those irreplaceable minimums, things break.

    Concept: Technology reaches a point of decreasing returns past which it affects society negatively. (Tainter.)

    Sequestration in unnatural ways has obvious disadvantages:

    1. We live on human time lines, but sequestration would have to occur on geological time lines. There is zero hope of maintaining such structures over such time scales. Please observe the obvious and note how many intact structures we have from 500 or more years ago. Maintenance alone would be huge. While we can choose to use our global resources in any given way, we have shown we are not able to coordinate this way as a modern version of our species. Any system that relies on human maintenance of the system is bound to fail. While one can argue a forest garden/forest also actually relies on human interaction, this is only if we choose/need for it to be productive. Even so, a day or two of chop-and-drop mulching per acre per year just isn’t much of a demand on humans and can be done by any human of at least, say 8 or 10 years old. 2. The economic system we use is not sustainable because it is based in the consumption of non-renewable resources. The money for expensive techno-fixes will not continue to be there. Can we prioritize such a scheme? Yes. Will we? No. Look to history.

    Principle: Care of the ecosystem.

    Everything is of the Earth. There is no way around that. it is finite, it is sensitive. i am not speaking of some Gaian voodoo, but about practical reality. Just as we are finding the climate is more sensitive to our actions than we thought, we are finding all ecosystems are, and that it is one ecosystem at the end of the day. Our first goal of self-preservation is the maintenance of the global ecosystem at an equilibrium that allows us to survive, as well as a minimum of variety within the “natural” world. This will not preclude a Siberian Traps, asteroid or some other unanticipated , but certain to occur event, but to the extent and for the time we are here, we need to live within the ecosystem, not dominant to it. At least, not to the extent we currently do. Even ancient societies affected their environment. We are finding that indigenous peoples in the Americas had a huge effect on the ecosystem. It turns out, e.g., there upwards of 5 million people living in the Amazon prior to European settlement, 90% of whom were killed by disease, not war, with settlements all along the Amazon and complex relationships among villages organized and laid out in specific patterns. (See: BBC unnatural Histories, 3 parts.)

    We have always terraformed. The world is no more natural (untouched by human influence) than my rear end, but we did used to know how to live within the limits of ecological services. We still can, but not in the way we do now. We are learning how to manage ecosystems in ways that leverages our intelligence into greater yields than the system would generate without human influence, but there are limits, and the role of technology must be very carefully applied. Consumption must fall overall.

    If it’s not renewable/sustainable, it’s not an option, regardless of technology. Until we can lasso asteroids and terraform other planets to serve this one, this is a truth we must all assimilate into our everyday thinking.

    Comment by ccpo — 4 Jul 2011 @ 6:41 PM

  62. (Con’t) Forgot to point out the even more obvious: Fracking is fracked. The CO2 is not going to stay where you put it. See previous on man-made structures and time, and I suggest some respect for the planet as a very active geological system that likes to chew up and spit out our puny human toys.

    Comment by ccpo — 4 Jul 2011 @ 6:47 PM

  63. DeNihilist says:
    4 Jul 2011 at 4:02 PM

    Nick @ 10, there was a stall in warming from 98 to 08. Just released paper in PNAS. Logical explanation and another bit of information in the climate puzzle. IMO a very well done paper.

    I wish they’d be more careful with their terminology. There was no cooling or pause overall, just in surface temperatures, but even that is not accurate: the decade 2000 – 2010 was warmer than the previous. That the heat was masked by ocean heating and the many energy exchanges causing the huge array of weather anomalies we’ve experienced is in no way an indication of cooling. Phrasing things this way just makes it easier for the denial machine.

    Haven’t the authors read the stories on ocean water temps in Greenland fjords and under Antarctic ice shelves, e.g.? How does one account the energy effects of massive floods, hurricanes, record snow storms, etc? Is there a mechanism for allowing for the exchange of energy caused by the Arctic oscillation or the melt or non-growth of sea ice?

    Comment by ccpo — 4 Jul 2011 @ 7:02 PM

  64. ccpo, as far as I can tell, the paper was about the surface temps only, and a logical explanation as to why the temps stalled for a bit. AFAIK this episode has been expected and is expected again. Natural forcings can be very large, but they seem to not last long. Whereas the CO2 hypothesis is that even though the effect from this gas can be overcome from time time, the inevitable march of upward temps will eventually win. Kinda like holding back water with a rake.

    Comment by DeNihilist — 4 Jul 2011 @ 8:04 PM

  65. > just released paper in PNAS

    >actual PDF
    The PDF file you link to at wossname’s has this cite in the footer:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Jul 2011 @ 9:14 PM

  66. The PDF file at wossname’s has a URL — click that and it says the paper has not yet been released.
    As of right now that link says the paper has not been released yet.

    Searching, I found a “not for redistribution” draft at one author’s website, and a file of supplemental info at the first author’s website.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Jul 2011 @ 9:17 PM

  67. @64 I wasn’t arguing the science. It would just be nice to see something in the paper acknowledging the energy went somewhere and is in the system, just hard to quantify. The basic equation of more coming in than going out doesn’t change because of geoclimatic interactions. I personally think it would be helpful to be explicit rather than implicit about this.

    Just sayin’.

    Comment by ccpo — 4 Jul 2011 @ 11:01 PM

  68. Re 58 Patrick 027
    There are a couple of key factors that may help explain the poor performance of that solar thermal plant.
    1) They cut back on insulation, to save on costs (and at 300ºC, losses from pipework could approach a kW per lineal metre)
    2) They didn’t wash the mirrors as much as required, to save on costs
    3) They tested a new mirror frame, which didn’t work out very well – this may have significantly reduced the collected energy.
    There doesn’t seem to really be enough information made public to fully evaluate the trial.

    Comment by Bern — 4 Jul 2011 @ 11:53 PM

  69. 58 Patrick 027: Read the article and the report for yourself and divide the actual by the expected for yourself. I get actual = 2% of expected.

    The article says: “That is, the actual performance was 2.2% of the predicted performance in terms of fuel savings, and 22% of expected in terms of CO2-e reduction.”
    The 4.5 million US dollar project seems to have been a bust.

    Fast fluctuations: The article says: “Note that this is from a solar PV farm in the Arizona desert — one of the best locations in the US for this type of facility. The associated commentary said:

    “Observed rapid and deep fluctuations at time scales of 10 seconds to several minutes may indicate that a component of the intermittency is due to low, scattered clouds with significant opacity. We observe a number of examples of output power rising above nameplate capacity before and after deep drops in power.

    This may be due to focusing of sunlight around the edges of low clouds. If PV becomes economically attractive enough to be deployed at large scale, intermittency is likely to be matched with dispatchable power, storage, and / or demand response”

    The implied ramp rates to compensate for these types of fluctuations will be challenging. Indeed, some form of large-scale battery energy storage seems vital to maintain quality of the electricity output.”

    “The Character of Power Output from Utility-Scale Photovoltaic Systems”

    Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center Working Paper CEIC-07-05
    The project had 3 tracking array sites in Yuma, Prescott and Scottsdale for comparison. “These data also imply that site diversity over a ~280 km range does not dampen PV intermittency sufficiently to eliminate the need for substantial firm power or dispatchable demand response.”

    If a solar PV farm doesn’t work in the Arizona desert, solar PV farms don’t work. It was a 44 acre site, which seems to me to be spread out enough.

    The solar PV farm has a 19% capacity factor. See: “Characteristics of Wind and Solar Power” by Jay Apt at:

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 5 Jul 2011 @ 12:16 AM

  70. Pete,

    The LCRA board is a political entity. The LCRA itself is supposed to be science-based, but as I have said before, no one on the LCRA board is a scientist. Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is a noted global warming denier, has appointed them all:

    To avoid this “dangerous” political topic, the LCRA manager stated at the last meeting that the use to which the water is being put (a coal-fired power plant) CANNOT BE CONSIDERED in the decision. This is obviously political poppycock, but the board shows every intention of ignoring any comments about the coal-fired power plant. Many people testified about the potential bad effects of a coal-fired power plant on Matagorda Bay, but I am afraid their testimony had little effect. However, the LCRA is required by law to care about water sustainability. This is something they can’t really ignore.

    What we need are a few (or even one) good climate scientists to call this board out on the fact that the LCRA is ignoring a scientific consensus that will have a huge effect on future water availability. Can anyone help? There will be press there, for those who could use some exposure (maybe not that good for a scientist). But Austin is a great city to visit (I know of a particularly spectacular Thai restaurant)!

    Edward – the online petition is a good idea, although I am not sure how heavily they will weigh the feelings of those who do not actually attend the meeting. However, I will work on it (I have some good connections in that area).

    Comment by Craig Nazor — 5 Jul 2011 @ 12:25 AM

  71. Re: #63 DeNihilist and #67 ccpo

    I agree that the paper can easily be used to support dodgy agendas. After all the authors did a rather extreme “cherry-pick” of a period starting with a huge El Nino (1998) and a strong La Nina (2008) to maximise a period of apparent surface cooling. And they seem to have used a temperature series (Hadcrut?) that minimizes accumulated warming in the Arctic. There’s no question that the Earth has warmed in the period since the late 1990’s to now, and if the authors were to have used the Giss surface temperature record, the evidence for a “hiatus” in warming is weaker. Likewise, if one were to consider the surface temperature change in the period 1999-2009 (rather than 1998-2008). I’m surprised that the authors didn’t choose the former (1999-2009) since it greatly minimizes that element of short term stochastic variation (ENSO) which unnecessary complicates consideration of the subject of the paper, which is largely about changes in external forcings (sulphate aerosols and solar effects) and longer term ocean fluctuations (PDO).

    On the other hand perhaps it’s reasonable that scientists are allowed to write papers without screening them to consider how these might be used to misrepresent the broader subject! In fact the broader implications of the paper are quite scary. Despite a very marked solar minimum, the slight downward drift in solar output since the mid-late 1980’s, a slightly cooling contribution from PDO and an apparent large increase in negative forcing from coal-sourced sulphate aerosols from Asia, 2010 was very warm indeed.

    I do find it odd ‘though that an equivalent period 1999-2009 wasn’t used in place of 1998-2008. No doubt we’ll have a post about this paper in due course…

    Comment by chris — 5 Jul 2011 @ 3:31 AM

  72. Embargo done, the BBC has it this morning:

    “Global warming lull down to China’s coal growth”

    “The lull in global warming from 1998 to 2008 was mainly caused by a sharp rise in China’s coal use, a study suggests.

    The absence of a temperature rise over that decade is often used by “climate sceptics” as grounds for denying the existence of man-made global warming.

    But the new study, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concludes that smog from the extra coal acted to mask greenhouse warming.

    China’s coal use doubled 2002-2007, according to US government figures.

    Although burning the coal produced more warming carbon dioxide, it also put more tiny sulphate aerosol particles into the atmosphere which cool the planet by reflecting solar energy back into space.”

    “But the new study, which uses statistical models that are very different from the models traditionally used to simulate the Earth’s climate, offers an alternative way of explaining the apparent halt.”

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 5 Jul 2011 @ 6:41 AM

  73. Chris @ 71, the paper Kaufmann_Kauppi_Mann_Stock_2011_pre-release_Reconciling_anthropogenic_climate_change_with_observed_temperature_1998–2008_.pdf

    is specifically a study of the period 1998-2008. They do not say this period represents the trend for 100 years. So, not a cherry pick, but a study of current interest.

    Given the widely noted increase in the warming effects of rising
    greenhouse gas concentrations, it has been unclear why global
    surface temperatures did not rise between 1998 and 2008. We find
    that this hiatus in warming coincides with a period of little increase
    in the sum of anthropogenic and natural forcings. Declining solar
    insolation as part of a normal eleven-year cycle, and a cyclical
    change from an El Nino to a La Nina dominate our measure of
    anthropogenic effects because rapid growth in short-lived sulfur
    emissions partially offsets rising greenhouse gas concentrations.
    As such, we find that recent global temperature records are consistent
    with the existing understanding of the relationship among
    global surface temperature, internal variability, and radiative
    forcing, which includes anthropogenic factors with well known warming and cooling effects.


    Nevertheless, at the current GH forcing the oceans accumulate heat (it takes years for the oceans to come to equilibrium with a changed forcing) and this causes problems.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 5 Jul 2011 @ 6:56 AM

  74. #67, ccpo – I briefly read the paper and it seems to me their conclusions are that there was actually a change in radiative forcing over this period such that less energy was accumulating in the system.

    They point to the rapid increase of coal consumption in China as a source of sulfur emissions that affect albedo, and the drop in TSI along the solar cycle. They suggest these factors largely cancelled out greenhouse gas forcing over the period.

    Comment by Paul S — 5 Jul 2011 @ 7:10 AM

  75. #71, chris – I think the period 1998-2008 and HadCRUT dataset were chosen because the combination are commonly cited in cherry-pick pieces by ‘skeptics’. They wanted to address an extreme example with their approach.

    I’d agree that the lack of discussion or even mention of differences between Gistemp and HadCRUT seems like an oversight.

    Comment by Paul S — 5 Jul 2011 @ 7:24 AM

  76. Paul S says:
    5 Jul 2011 at 7:10 AM

    #67, ccpo – I briefly read the paper and it seems to me their conclusions are that there was actually a change in radiative forcing over this period such that less energy was accumulating in the system.

    They point to the rapid increase of coal consumption in China as a source of sulfur emissions that affect albedo, and the drop in TSI along the solar cycle. They suggest these factors largely cancelled out greenhouse gas forcing over the period.

    As stated, I am not quibbling with the science, but with the presentation. This paper is specifically written to debunk a denialist talking point: no warming since 1998.

    But first, I actually do have a quibble, hopefully not an example of my own ignorance. To wit, it is contradictory to say there had been no warming between ’98 and ’08 when the years ’00 – ’08 are warmer than the years ’90 – ’98. There obviously was warming. Yes, I get they are attempting to debunk a very specific talking point, but am not sure I see the efficacy of the approach taken. Since this is not the final version, maybe they will do some editing to make it more effective.

    I see no harm to their debunking if they point out that if looking at discreet measurements one can be lulled into thinking there was no rise from ’98 to ’08, but, in fact, the overall temps for that time period WERE higher than the previous comparable time period, thus, the planet was warming. I think this should be stated explicitly to help clarify 1. why the cherry pick is bogus on it’s face and 2. bogus even if you do cherry pick, as the paper demonstrates as written.

    This will help avoid 1. confusing lay people, who, due to the nature of addressing the cherry pick, this paper is actually aimed at (as opposed to the more typical audience of the scientific community), and 2. make it harder for the cherry pickers to spin this specific paper, and 3. serve as a lesson in not using discreet points to discuss things more accurately represented by trends.

    Anywho… it’s not like anyone listens to me rant. My teacher persona gets the best of me.

    On another topic, I am doing a quickie look at the Arctic Sea Ice, specifically the Northwest Passage and more generally overall expectations for this summer’s minimum. Not finished, but if you’ve someone who is a neophyte on the topic, it’s a simple intro to the topic.

    Comments and links to help tighten it up would be appreciated from any and all. Please make any suggestions here rather than on the blog since i will be editing before generally letting people know about the post.

    Comment by ccpo — 5 Jul 2011 @ 9:19 AM

  77. Watts got a high Google rank by releasing the paper during the embargo period.
    Clever of him.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Jul 2011 @ 9:19 AM

  78. This may be it:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Jul 2011 @ 9:24 AM

  79. PS, to track appearances of blog copies of the text, search for a quoted string including a typographical error — e.g.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Jul 2011 @ 9:30 AM

  80. #76, ccpo – Sorry, just responding to your line: ‘It would just be nice to see something in the paper acknowledging the energy went somewhere and is in the system, just hard to quantify.’ The point is they’re actually arguing the energy isn’t in the system, that there is less warming because there is less energy coming in.

    00-08 being warmer overall than 90-98 doesn’t necessarily mean ‘warming’ took place between 1998 and 2008. Think about an upward sloped line, which is then connected at the raised end to a flat horizontal line. The flat line is on average higher than the sloped line despite being flat. In fact the second line could decline slightly and still be higher overall.

    Comment by Paul S — 5 Jul 2011 @ 9:57 AM

  81. Using Swanson’s dates from his article on an interruption in global warming:






    Comment by JCH — 5 Jul 2011 @ 10:27 AM

  82. Patrick 027 @ 4 Jul 2011 @ 6:19 PM:

    maybe we should stick to having CSP power plants that may use fuel as a supplemental source, rather than the other way around


    Comment by Ron R. — 5 Jul 2011 @ 11:39 AM

  83. Re 69 Edward Greisch – (PS did read the article, or at least some of it, enough to recognize what you quoted)…

    1. I wonder how CO2eq savings could have been, in proportion to expectations, ten times as much as fuel savings. Anyway, I wasn’t so much doubting the math of the article, although if I had the time that would be a worth-while double check, but I was also thinking also that somebody ELSE may have misplaced a decimal point.

    Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center Working Paper CEIC-07-05
    “These data also imply that site diversity over a ~280 km range does not dampen PV intermittency sufficiently to eliminate the need for substantial firm power or dispatchable demand response.”

    But it does dampen it, right? And this is from only three sites? So what if there were 10 or 20? Over 400 km? No matter what the spacing, too small a number of sites will still leave larger and less predictable varibility.

    If a solar PV farm doesn’t work in the Arizona desert, solar PV farms don’t work. It was a 44 acre site, which seems to me to be spread out enough.

    Define ‘doesn’t work’ (rhetorical, please don’t bother, you know what I’m getting at).

    44 acres is less than a tenth of a square mile. I’m not suggesting we need larger PV farms per se (maybe we’ll have to have those, though), but we need greater distribution of sites – not just a few large plants spread out from each other, but many distributed plants. In order for a single power plant to smooth out such variations it has to be substantially larger than the typical cumulus or stratocumulus cloud/cell.

    And maybe some larger PV farms, because of their nature as concentrated large sources, should have some battery or other storage for smoothing out the high-frequency variations. This would only require storage capacity for … whatever time it takes for complementary power sources or longer-term storage facilities to ramp up power, or to make it easier for the aggregate power supply to be smoothed, and/or whatever the needs of the wiring and transformers, etc. are (capacitance and inductance may be issues, I’d guess).

    If you have y PV farms, it’s unlikely (to some acceptable probability) that some more than a net value of x farms will experience a cloud-sun transition

    (you could have x + n experience a transition in one direction with n experiencing the opposite transition within the same time period. Of course we’d have to weight this by each plants’ capacity and the capacity factor difference for the transition, but for sake of simple illustration let’s stick with assuming all transitions are of equal power magnitude for now)

    the time period within a t time period, so you’d only need storage of t*x/y times the aggregate PV capacity (well, less than that if some power is still produced under cloud cover) to smooth things out on a t time scale, right?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 5 Jul 2011 @ 12:12 PM

  84. And this is from only three sites?

    Sorry, I shouldn’t have assumed that they only just took three sites and looked at what they could do with only that. Perhaps they extrapolated to n sites and y km. I’ll have to read the article – but, if you already have, please share.

    Of course one could also look at satellite imagery for guidance…

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 5 Jul 2011 @ 12:17 PM

  85. In order for a single power plant to smooth out such variations it has to be substantially larger than the typical cumulus or stratocumulus cloud/cell.

    well, longer anyway. So maybe a lot of long thin power plants? Aligned east-to-west, casting long shadows on the snow in winter where sunlight can otherwise reach in summer to feed the crops…

    It may not be a significant effect (?) but one could consider the local climatology of cloud-street orientations (shaped by wind shear and gravity waves, etc.).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 5 Jul 2011 @ 12:23 PM

  86. Gavin, Thanks again.
    ¿Could you please say something on the paper in the Proceedings of
    the National Academy of Sciences quoted today by Reuters to claim
    that “Asia pollution (is to be) blamed for halt in warming”?

    Cheers, Antonio

    [Response: The headlines do not do justice to the study. I read the paper and came away with conclusion that the biggest factor was the ‘internal variability’ (i.e. ENSO), which is neither surprising nor novel. Increases in Asian aerosols are real, but they are poorly quantified – both in extent and in effect. It’s conceivable they played a role, but in looking at trends over short time periods – even if you factor in ENSO – there is still a lot of unforced variability. The uncertainties are such that short periods do not provide strong constraints either on net forcing nor climate sensitivity, and so focusing on them is not particularly insightful. – gavin]

    Comment by Antonio Sarmiento G — 5 Jul 2011 @ 12:36 PM

  87. JCH — if you overlap the years selected, the continuous curves will make sense for someone just eyeballing the result, e.g.:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Jul 2011 @ 1:02 PM

  88. Paul #80: You are still describing warming. If more energy is absorbed over that period, it’s warming (eventually). It is exactly my point that it is the warming overall that matters, and there is an opportunity to reinforce that and help people think in terms of trends and comparative averages.

    Also, I’m not convinced there was no warming. I find it far more likely, given the empirical evidence, we just aren’t very good at measuring short-term energy additions to the system. It’s too fine grained. We do a great job of overall tracking of energy flows, but the shorter term stuff, not so much. Given the surprising readings of ocean heat content in unlikely places, all the wacky weather, etc., I’m voting for we just don’t know how to track the energy very well on such short time frames.

    I make the argument weakly as I am likely wrong, though for a non-scientist I’ve got a great track record. So far. I’m almost ready to call new minimums in ice extent and mass for this summer. Almost.

    Comment by ccpo — 5 Jul 2011 @ 1:27 PM

  89. Nonsense about this lull, the sun disk vertical measurement maximas (2002-2011) utterly reject this. There are cooling periods largely driven by exotics, ENSO and Stratospheric polar vortex behaviors being the main culprits that come to mind, but the trend is for warming, relentless warming. As I write on my blog and website, warming does not absolutely mean it felt on the surface, nor consistent, warming causes great floods (cooling may be felt by clouds), wider snow extent, more moisture more snow, greater kinetic energy, need not be explained especially lately, unusual Arctic heat anomalies trigger the PSV
    to cool returning a feedback which may appear as cooling. Anyways, we can mangle graphs all we want, but the sun disk size is available for all to see every day. BBC does goof at times. But I still like to watch their programs.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 5 Jul 2011 @ 1:29 PM

  90. 83, 84, 85 Patrick 027: Another paper linked from the BNC paper is “RENEWABLE ENERGY – CANNOT SUSTAIN AN ENERGY-INTENSIVE SOCIETY.”
    by Ted Trainer. University of NSW, Kensington.

    I haven’t read the whole thing yet, but Trainer makes some good points regarding renewables:

    “There are times when the wind is calm everywhere.”

    ““Synoptic” weather patterns often apply to large regions.  Sharman points out that Europe can experience long periods of very cold, calm and cloudy weather in winter.”

    “Thus it should be clear that the common statement, “…the wind is always blowing somewhere…” fails to grasp the problem.  If we assume that the wind is always good in Morocco, or Kazakhstan or Siberia or Western Europe, then if we are to have a system that always reliably meets demand from one or other of these regions, we would have to build four entire systems each big enough to meet demand.  We would also have to build several costly 4,000-5,000 km transmission lines to Europe (losing perhaps 15% of energy generated.) 

    Note that most of these regions are well to the East of Europe so it will be night time there when European demand is highest, during the day.  Winds tend to be low at night.

    Czisch (2004) estimates that long distance transmission might add 33% to electricity cost.  The IEA (2010, p. 336) estimates that the average (mostly short distance) transmission cost adds 25%.”

    Not to switch subjects to wind, because solar has the same problem. Spreading solar out over 280 kilometers isn’t far enough. Either solar or wind or both have to be spread over the whole globe. We don’t know if ” four entire systems each big enough to meet demand” is really enough. The electric generating companies have plenty of evidence to strongly avoid investing/wasting any more money in wind or solar.

    The electric generating companies will build nothing but coal fired power plants because they know that coal works and at what cost. They build wind and solar experiments because they are forced to by law. The coal industry has a cash flow of $100 Billion/year. That is a lot of political clout.

    “Perhaps they extrapolated to n sites and y km”
    Perhaps if they covered the earth with solar cells. At some point, you have to realize that the project is over. There isn’t an infinite amount of money to invest in your obsession. The electric generating companies are in it for the gold. That is all they care about. In the opinion of the electric generating companies, renewables do not work. Renewables do not generate gold.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 5 Jul 2011 @ 3:35 PM

  91. Patrick, I think it’s clear that there’s something wrong with the data or the way the test was run. Even Brook calls it “potentially nonsense data” later in the thread.

    I agree that some of the data looks suspicious – I was just reporting what was in the the Final Report…. This rings alarm bells for me – but that is what the report says.

    It pretty ridiculous for people, eager to jump on anything negative about clean alternatives, to use this one, early and questionable report as proof that “If a solar PV farm doesn’t work in the Arizona desert, solar PV farms don’t work”.

    There is a mountain of evidence that solar is quite valuable as an energy resource. But again some of the drop off in transmission efficiency could be mitigated by making solar much more “local”, meaning everyone that can having their own right at the source.

    My 2 cents.

    Comment by Ron R. — 5 Jul 2011 @ 3:47 PM

  92. There is a mountain of evidence that solar is quite valuable as an energy resource. But again some of the drop off in transmission efficiency could be mitigated by making solar much more “local”, meaning everyone that can having their own right at the source.

    My 2 cents.

    Make that 4 cents, totally distributed solar is the route, quit asking the gubmint and the coal barons to supply and suffle around your electricity. And quit falling for to EG’s “nothing works but nukes” slight of hand.

    Comment by flxible — 5 Jul 2011 @ 4:00 PM

  93. Re 90 Edward Greisch

    – (Am I any more obsessed than you?)

    “There are times when the wind is calm everywhere.”

    Okay…(and is it also dark everywhere, and dark and calm at the same time, and dark and calm and cold at the same time, and dry as well, with no geothermal activity, and no stored biofuels?) well, that’s what AA-CAES would be for – by the point that we’d need it. Not that we shouldn’t plan ahead, but why stop adding renewables when we haven’t reached the point of having a problem with them?

    we would have to build four entire systems each big enough to meet demand.

    But those four systems would then on average meet more than Europe’s demand (and the grid would then include that much more in solar, hydropower, etc.). (Nobody forgot the capacity factors are substantially less than 100 %; that’s factored into the planning, cost, CO2eq, etc.). In times of surplus over the whole grid, electricity might be stored either to be regerated or in some other way (fuel production)…

    We would also have to build several costly 4,000-5,000 km transmission lines to Europe (losing perhaps 15% of energy generated.)

    The grid we have loses ~ 10 % already – not an excuse to lose more but it’s worth keeping in mind that 15 % is not comparatively awful. And it’s only the electicity that is transmitted over long distance which suffers larger losses.

    transmission cost… okay…(I’ve gotten a different impression, but whatever.)

    The electric generating companies have plenty of evidence to strongly avoid investing/wasting any more money in wind or solar.

    But with appropriate policies, would the investment make sense?

    They build wind and solar experiments because they are forced to by law.

    If the law is justified, what’s the problem?

    (You would be in favor of a CO2eq tax or something like that, right? Well we can’t have it for awhile yet, because we live in a democracy and so we have to put up with a lot of stupidity (whereas if we lived in a dictatorship we’d have to put up with a lot of stupidity, unless of course (whoever is reading this) was in charge. So in the meantime, we need another law, less effective and efficient than the ideal, to get the job done (because many of those who hate government inefficiency also hate government efficiency)).

    The coal industry has a cash flow of $100 Billion/year. That is a lot of political clout.

    Are you saying we shouldn’t do it, or merely that we can’t because the villains won’t let us?

    Perhaps … At some point, … the project is over. … infinite … money … your obsession.

    I’m only obsessed with renewables as much as you are :)

    In the opinion of the electric generating companies, renewables do not work.

    According to what survey?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 5 Jul 2011 @ 5:15 PM

  94. Perhaps it should not be surprising that when pro-nuclear nonsense was declared off-topic that certain parties would replace it with anti-solar nonsense.

    In any case, it sometimes seems that discussions about solar power here take place in a vacuum, carefully insulated from knowledge of what is actually happening in the real solar industry in the real world.

    According to the US solar industry trade group, the Solar Energy Industries Association:

    New US solar electric installations in 2010 totaled 956 MW.

    The total value of US solar installations grew 67 percent from $3.6 billion in 2009 to $6 billion in 2010.

    Grid-connected PV installations in the first quarter of 2011 reached 252 MW, a 66 percent increase over the first quarter of 2010. US production of PV modules in Q1 2011 increased 31 percent over Q1 2010.

    Cumulative grid-connected solar electric capacity in the US has reached 2.85 Gigawatts.

    A total of 1,100 MW of concentrating solar power (both PV and thermal) is now under construction in the USA, with signed power purchase agreements for 2.4 GW.

    Meanwhile, some people insist that the reason that solar energy is the fastest-growing industry in the USA is that “solar doesn’t work”.

    Go figure.

    [Response: I don’t really know why people insist on arguing about energy technology on climate science blog. You’d think they’d go somewhere where it was at least a little on topic. And so to forestall yet another off-topic thread derailment, this is the last word on this – so please, no more solar, hydro, nuclear, fracking etc. etc. – take it somewhere else please. – gavin]

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 5 Jul 2011 @ 5:25 PM

  95. To complement #89 comment is this:

    How on Earth can there be a lull in temperature rising when Arctic sea ice is doing the exact opposite, in tandem with sun disk observations? The amount of cognitive disconnect is scandalous. We are in a great period of warming as exemplified by sea and glacier ice disappearing in front of our very eyes, to the credit of the guys at Nasa who saw it coming in the 80’s. This warming is overwhelming, compelling and without a lull.
    Those who favor this lull thing are basically huddled around the wrong sources of information, overconfident about the wrong conclusion and are nothing but playing contrarian musings.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 5 Jul 2011 @ 8:09 PM

  96. With all due respect, Gavin, we are getting well beyond the point where these topics can be constructively discussed in isolation from one another. It makes sense to insist discussions be clearly connected to climate, but it makes none to isolate the two. You don’t want energy here, The Oil Drum doesn’t want climate there, so the two best places on the the web for discussing the two primary legs of the problems we face choose to exacerbate the problem by insisting they not be discussed systemically.

    What hope have we, then?

    reCAPTCHA: arbitrary ndiafect

    [Response: The problem is that informed moderation and interjection are key to having productive discussions on such topics. If repetitive point scoring is all that is wanted, then no progress is possible. We can provide such guidance on climate science topics, but not on energy ones, therefore those conversations tend to spiral out of control, dominated by the more strident or vociferous opinions and adding little to any readers understandings. I see great benefit in being able to disaggregate different issues – the radiative forcing of CO2 is independent of whether you think solar or nuclear is the energy of the future. But continually having to talk about nuclear energy when discussing water vapour feedback is simply distracting. There are links between policy options for energy and climate impacts (i.e. via the full emissions profile, impact on surface roughness, etc.) but these are best discussed a specific topics, not as the automatic adjunct of every open thread. – gavin]

    Comment by ccpo — 5 Jul 2011 @ 8:16 PM

  97. Two questions (ok, the second one is really lots of related questions):

    1) Isn’t one answer to post #1 the exact effect of aerosols?

    2) Why is “The Keeling Curve” called a curve? In most representations it looks pretty linear. Is it a curve? If so, what kind of curve? Has it been described mathematically? Are there good places to go that discuss the mathematics of that curve? Whether it is a curve or linear, it certainly does not seem to match the steep curve of increased use of fossil fuels. Why is that? Is there a sink that has become more efficient as CO2 levels have increased? Ocean? Plants? Aren’t oceans supposed to become less not more efficient as they heat up? Has the Keeling Curve been steepening recently? If so, why? Are we really burning ff at that great of a rate of increase? Are the sinks not keeping up? Is it from tundra melt, burning forests, or other such feedback?

    (Sorry to dump so many question out in that second item. Someone on another forum referred to CO2 increases being linear, and trying to figure out how to reply, I bumped into all these questions I hadn’t thought of before. Thanks ahead of time for any light anyone could throw on my confusion.)

    [Response: Increases is temperature and [CO2] forcings on the carbon balance–both oceanically and terrestrially–oppose each other. Temperature is increasing but so is [CO2]. The terrestrial carbon balance is further complicated in that precipitation is also critical, as is land use. The rate of atm. [CO2] increase is increasing because the rate the sinks are filling does not keep pace with the ever increasing rate of fuel burning. That is, the ocean and terr. pools are being forced at rates faster than their inherent time lags of absorption can handle.–Jim]

    Comment by wili — 6 Jul 2011 @ 12:41 AM

  98. Dr. Jim,

    Will you be doing more on the Pine Beetle or maybe the use of the dead wood for bio-generation? Really enjoyed your last venture there, until of course the topic got hi-jinxed :(

    [Response: Your kind words are greatly appreciated. Yes, I’m still hoping to extend the tree mortality episode into a 2nd or even 3rd post. Thank you for the link also–Jim]

    Was reading a supplement to the Vancouver Sun newspaper this weekend about the newer pulp mills that have been built in Germany and now B.C. Don’t know if you saw this, but I found it very informative.

    Comment by DeNihilist — 6 Jul 2011 @ 1:12 AM

  99. Pete Dunkelberg/Paul S

    Yes fine but it’s a very odd way of addressing the issue of surface temperature and its recent determinants. The abstract starts with the sentence:

    “Given the widely noted increase in the warming effects of rising greenhouse gas concentrations, it has been unclear why global surface temperatures do not rise between 1998 and 2008.”

    But surely that question shouldn’t be raised without the obvious and uncontroversial information that the surface temperature of 1998 was temporally boosted ~ 0.2 oC above the trend by the strongest El Nino of the 20th century, and that 2008 temperatures were lowered relative to the surrounding trend by ~ 0.1 oC due to a significant la Nina.

    That wipes out 0.3 oC of apparent cooling leaving in both NASA Giss and Hadcrut a surface warming (e.g. between 1999 and 2009, or between 1997 and 2007). There’s absolutely nothing “unclear” about that whatsoever.

    I would have thought that should be stated at the outset! Then the authors/readers can get down to addressing the essential element of the analysis which is why there has been a short term slow down in warming beginning around 2002 (or maybe 2005 in the NASA Giss analysis). It is that period that has been most impacted by the prolonged drop of the solar output to an extended minimum and the apparent rise sulphate particulates from Asian coal burning (and a bit of a PDO contribution).

    It really seems like an odd way of framing the study with a sort of unaddressed red herring in the opening pages!

    Clerarly if one is reasonably knowledgeable about this subject then the essential elements of the contributions to 1998-2008 surface temperature variation can be extracted from the paper (which is in a multidisciplinary journal that gets lots of coverage in the media – embargoes for press release and so on)…if I’m a little bemused by the presentation then I expect quite a lot of other people may be more than a little confused..

    Comment by chris — 6 Jul 2011 @ 7:05 AM

  100. Gavin inline@96:

    I really sympathize that it is difficult to keep discussions on energy alternatives under control, particularly given the passionate adherence nearly all posters have toward one camp or another. There are few true agnostics in the debate. The fallacy that most often leads technically competent minds into the denialist camp is the argument from consequences–they see no hope of weaning civilization off of fossil fuels, so they begin to look for holes in the physics.

    Moreover, as the Kaufmann study on Chinese aerosols shows, current energy policies can also mask warming and give the denialists a fig leaf to cover the nakedness of their lies. Might it be possible to get someone with some energy expertise who could serve as moderator for this subject, and perhaps establish some ground rules to ensure things don’t go off the rails entirely? I say this not as a frequent poster on energy-related subjects, but as an interested observer.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Jul 2011 @ 7:54 AM

  101. Re: #97 (Wili)

    You’ll find answers to #2 here:

    Comment by tamino — 6 Jul 2011 @ 8:01 AM

  102. #97, wili – It’s not easy to see the curve in the CO2 data but it is there. Try doing an eyeball linear extrapolation from the first ten years of data and you only get to about 350-360ppm by now.

    A better way to look at the data in this context is to plot annual growth rates. You can see the growth rate has gone up from ~0.8ppm/yr at the beginning of the record to ~2ppm/yr at present. That represents a 250% increase in annual growth over the last 50 years.

    By happy coincidence the World Bank website holds CO2 emissions data over roughly the same period. Emissions have increased by ~300% from 1960 to today but it was only ~250% up to 2002. Atmospheric CO2 concentration does lag emissions so it could be that the CO2 record does show a reasonable match to your expectations.

    You can also see the relationship in the relative flattening of growth rate in both datasets over the 80s and 90s. Unfortunately that’s now been followed by record emissions increases over the last seven years.

    Comment by Paul S — 6 Jul 2011 @ 8:27 AM

  103. #99, chris – I basically agree with much of what you’ve said but I think some of the confusion can be cleared up by considering their conclusions (although it seems my reading of the conclusions may be different to Gavin’s, so perhaps not?).

    They essentially argue that the flattening of total net radiative forcing (due to both solar and anthropogenic sources) set the scene for ENSO to dominate the pattern. That is, if the 00s had seen similar net radiative forcing to the 90s there probably would have been a clear warming trend between 1998-2008, regardless of ENSO swings.

    Comment by Paul S — 6 Jul 2011 @ 8:56 AM

  104. Chris, (#99) don’t forget to add the solar minimum. 1998 was pretty near a solar cycle maximum, 2008 a low. I forget the exact effect, but iirc it’s in the .05 – .1 oC range.

    Comment by David Miller — 6 Jul 2011 @ 9:47 AM

  105. As one of the “guilty” parties, I have to say that I agree with Gavin. It is just ridiculous to have practically every discussion monopolized and sidetracked into an argument about sources of energy generation. Its gotten very old, especially as most of the points discussed have been repeated ad infinitum. As I’ve said before, I actually find the topic exceedingly boring, about as interesting as going to a city council meeting and listening to strident conversation about funding the installment of parking meters. I loathe politics but find myself arguing it because the issues are important to our future.

    Having said that I don’t think it’s fair to cast all sides as equal in this debate. For one thing I’d say a disproportionate percentage of these arguments have been instigated by one individual. For me it’s been like arguing with a determined skeptic. When someone is obviously set on misinforming and on refusing to acknowledge glaring errors in their oft-repeated arguments, and I think that’s been shown time and time again, on an important subject in a public venue like this I feel the need to correct them.

    Maybe the solution is an ongoing side thread (linked to from the sidebar) where these issues can be fought with a ban on their discussion in any other thread including open threads. If so I wouldn’t be interested in taking part (except maybe to post occasional news) as I’m thinking that ‘never the twain shall meet’. Another option is to be more aggressive, as are other sites, and simply ban the troublemakers without apology.

    It is too bad when certain people can cause the otherwise important discussion of energy issues to cease for all. Kind of like the way drunk drivers force all of us to have to go through sobriety checkpoints. It’s unfair to everybody else which is the majority. Energy production IS peripheral to climate.

    Once again, my apologies for my part in the debate.

    Comment by Ron R. — 6 Jul 2011 @ 10:33 AM

  106. gavin wrote: “I don’t really know why people insist on arguing about energy technology on climate science blog.”

    Because we recognize the urgent necessity of phasing out coal-fired electricity generation as rapidly as possible, hence the acute interest in alternatives.

    In a sense, it’s a consequence of your effective communication of what climate science is telling us about our situation.

    I appreciate the topic boundaries and will better respect them going forward.

    But having said that, isn’t it really more annoying when people “insist on arguing” about climate science — given that most if not all of those “arguments” are bogus?

    [Response: I prefer that people discuss rather than argue, and I like to think that the discussions here on climate science are a little above the arguments seen elsewhere which, as you correctly observe, are often bogus. Since there are not many places to have moderately serious discussions on the topic, having a focus on that topic in the threads here is sensible, lest even this be swamped with generic arguments that go nowhere. I fully appreciate that many people want to talk about energy futures (even me sometimes), but this is not the place to do it. – gavin]

    [Response: We want to avoid bogus arguments (for sure!), but we want at the same time to promote good discussion of real, unresolved issues. The degree to which the “science is settled” varies widely from topic to topic. I know people get frustrated when they raise a good question–like several in this very thread–and there is no response. Keep raising them anyway–it’s important. It gets people thinking–Jim]

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 6 Jul 2011 @ 11:44 AM

  107. Thanks, tamino and Paul S. That was useful.

    And just my two cents on the other issue–Energy production IS NOT peripheral to climate change, as long as the vast majority of our energy comes from fossil fuels–that is by un-sequestering carbon.

    But either stricter control of trolls/adnauseum commenters or a separate thread seem like reasonable approaches. I generally ignore eg, but it does get annoying when nearly everything on current on the site seems to be either his distortions of the data or other people’s vain attempts to point said distortions out to him.

    Can we steer a line between turning the site over to trolls and making the discussion so silo’ed in CC science narrowly construed that it becomes another example of the lack of peripheral vision that, imvho, is a major part of what got us into these predicaments?

    [Response: OK, I have a real problem with what you just said there. There is no such thing as “CC science narrowly construed”. You cannot possibly find a science topic that is more wide ranging, more interdisciplinary, than climate science (let’s call it “earth system science” in order to make that point). What is exceedingly aggravating for some of us, is how the enormity of interesting–and societally relevant and important–topics in this field get over-run, either by those who want to talk about energy production, or by those who want to say “the science is settled, nothing much more to say”. Wrong!–Jim]

    Thanks again, for the answers and for the site.


    Comment by wili — 6 Jul 2011 @ 12:19 PM

  108. Ok, let’s discuss the Younger Dryas!

    Didn’t think so.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 6 Jul 2011 @ 12:22 PM

  109. Well, following up on my previous comment, here is a possible topic of discussion regarding climate science, which also relates to the motivation behind discussing alternatives to fossil fuels:

    The news from climate science is ALL BAD.

    Indeed, the news is VERY, VERY BAD, and just keeps getting WORSE.

    Am I wrong? Are there any exceptions? Is there even any prospect that climate science will have any good news for us?

    Or is it (as it seems to me) the case that all climate science has in store for us — as a result of the long, hard, diligent, challenging work of the world’s most dedicated and brilliant scientists including those who host this blog — is an increasingly refined, accurate and reliable picture of horrific disaster bearing down on us?

    In truth, one reason that I personally turn to thinking and talking about solar energy (for example) is that there is some good news there — there are real prospects for phasing out fossil fuels in a surprisingly short time frame. It gives me a sense of hope.

    But when I turn to climate science, it is hard to find anything that sustains hope. It just keeps getting worse and worse, faster and faster, and it increasingly looks like it is too late to avoid unspeakable PETM-like disaster.

    It seems as though it’s just a matter of waiting for the “climatic Pearl Harbor” that some folks talk about — not in the sense of a dramatic event that will shock the world into action, but rather a scientific study or relatively obscure observation that will shock those of us who already follow the science closely into the realization that it’s “game over”.

    Is the idea that we still have time to solve the problem really a form of “denial”?

    [Response: It’s certainly not good news, and I fully agree that we need to think about what the solutions to the problem are, and we need to be inspired by the fact that there are, in fact, real solutions. If it takes thinking about those things to keep going psychologically, do it; better yet, work towards making them happen. Hope is an *extremely* important psychological force. I for one do not like alarmism in the least, and is why I sometimes jump on people who make exaggerated or unsupported statements. I view it as a psychological tactic to scare people, and I detest psychological tactics, nor do I like having people be scared. Beyond the necessary step of making oneself aware of what’s going on, there’s no psychological benefit to telling oneself how bad things are, getting worse, etc. None. Is all the climate science bad news? No, not all of it. There may be, for example, some shifts in agricultural production that are decidedly good for some regions, for some period of time. There may be climate envelopes that move outside of the optimum range of some disease vectors or insect pests. The carbon dioxide fertilization effect represents a negative terrestrial C cycle feedback that helps some–although the eventual magnitude of this is definitely uncertain. There may turn out to be a geo-engineering stop-gap measure that turns out to be tolerable, for a while, while we get our act together (and I am not an advocate of relying on geo-engineering, at all).–Jim]

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 6 Jul 2011 @ 12:50 PM

  110. Ray, you beat me to it. Alternatively, I wonder if RC – or anyone/anyplace else – would be willing to provide server space for an all-in forum? I call my blog A Perfect Storm Cometh because I see the interplay of the whole system dynamic as completely unavoidable and the need for comprehensive discussion about this, to the point, someday, of neighbors discussing such things standing on porches and street corners discussing the issues of the day, as absolutely necessary.

    I’ve been thinking about this since Gavin’s post (and thank you for your reply). I like the idea of a forum with a news feed directly from the high quality sites, such as RC, TOD, Energy Bulletin, Skeptical Science, etc., as part of it. Hopefully, regulars at the various sites would voluntarily link/move the discussion to the new forum when discussions at the topical sites gets too far afield.

    I’d be happy to be involved in hosting/moderating such a site. I’ve always intended to have one at APSC, anyway, but probably cannot afford the bandwidth.

    Comment by ccpo — 6 Jul 2011 @ 1:20 PM

  111. Hey, can we put this false dichotomy to rest?

    “organic before mechanical/industrial.” (comment above)

    First, organic chemistry was more or less built on fossil sources, a central example being the creation of dyes from coal tar residues in the 19th century. Later advancements in high-pressure organic chemistry lead to synthetic coal-based fuels, for example the H2 + CO reactions (CO and H2 being provided by coal-water gas) developed by Fischer and Tropsch in Germany, along the same technical lines as the Haber process for synthetic ammonia (H2 + N2 reactions).

    Now, it’s entirely plausible that one could use these organic/industrial methods to create fuels via an artificial photosynthesis process, and quite a few labs around the world are developing this system, much to the horror of the fossil fuel industry, from Saudi oil princes on down. You take atmospheric CO2, pop off an oxygen, leaving CO. You take water, and do the same thing, creating H2. These processes require an investment of energy, to be provided by electricity from solar and wind platforms.

    So, now you have your H2 and your CO and you run them through the 100-year old Fischer-Tropsch process, developed and mastered by organic chemists and chemical engineers in the pay of the fossil fuel barons, somewhat ironically. Now you’ve converted sunlight, air and water to a hydrocarbon fuel suitable for use in jet airplanes, diesel ships, gasoline engines (depending on reaction conditions, you can make any fuel you like, as well as waxes and any other ‘petrochemical’).

    One major benefit of this particular strategy (in a world sure to see major agricultural impacts due to global warming) is you save agricultural land for food production. You could, for example, set up square kilometers of solar panels on desert land next to the ocean, and there’s all the water and sunlight you need.

    Oh, yes, this is an expensive process – but probably a good deal cheaper than nuclear energy. You can be pretty sure that this will be common in the future.

    [Response: You’re not paying terribly close attention are you?–Jim]

    Comment by Ike Solem — 6 Jul 2011 @ 2:10 PM

  112. @ #1 and #8

    The fossil fuel supply and usage will be determined by economics. If it becomes unattractive to use because it costs too much then another energy source will emerge as the mainstay.

    Comment by Eric — 6 Jul 2011 @ 2:34 PM

  113. [edit OT]

    Comment by Ike Solem — 6 Jul 2011 @ 3:13 PM

  114. Pardon, Jim, I will attempt to keep this in guidelines.

    Ike, due to the guidelines I cannot fully respond, but the false dichotomy is yours, not mine. It is a preference, not a law. If there is an organic, sustainable to a given problem, it should usually be used before a mechanical one, as the mechanical is almost certain to be more resource intensive, along with other issues that might come up depending on the specific problem and the milieu in which it occurs.

    If, however, you have an organic, non-sustainable and a mechanical, sustainable choice, you would obviously go with the latter.

    What I expressed is a principle, not a law, and taken out of context, loses it’s meaning. Sustainable solutions are, and must be, highly localized. In this way, we are careful not to disrupt local climatic conditions and can create mitigation and adaptations that maximize return from the local environment.

    The suggestion you make above for example, immediately leads me to think, “is it not better to design so airliner fuels are not needed?” if we work outside principles of sustainability, we come to different conclusions than if we work within them. Thus far, working outside them has been a disaster, so perhaps we can give the planet a break and try things the other way round for a bit.

    Comment by ccpo — 6 Jul 2011 @ 3:51 PM

  115. Re off topic stuff – not to steal any audience from here but there are the occasional posts on ‘you-know-what’ at Skeptical Science. Deltoid has the occasional open thread. (Next time I say PV here, I hope I’ll be talking about potential vorticity. Speaking of which, it would be interesting to see a plot of PV sources and sinks and average distribution in the atmosphere (maybe a zonal average height cross section) and also how they would change with AGW. Presumably the data exists to do this; I guess they figure only somebody with the computational resources to do it would be interested, though.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 6 Jul 2011 @ 7:15 PM

  116. SecularAnimist at 12:50 PM.

    I was thinking something similar last night after reading yet another story about how far world governments, including the US, are to doing anything substantial about CC. I thought, we can hone the science all we want, write the best papers, have lots of discussions and meetings, etc, etc. And yet if governments still aren’t willing to take the issue seriously what’s it all for? Just a footnote to history.

    CC is only one serious environmental issue facing us, though a large one. There are a panoply. We’ve really dug ourselves into a hole, especially since the beginning of the industrial revolution and particularly since the 1950s, probably the real beginning of the oil/consumerist/expansion era. I agree with Jim about his revulsion for alarmists. He said I view it as a psychological tactic to scare people, and I detest psychological tactics, nor do I like having people be scared. Indeed there seems to be no shortage of “doomers” out there financially benefiting from spreading fear. On the other hand that feeling hesitancy can cause us to not see things we should be seeing. To be slow about sounding the alarm. I hate that cretins like Rush Limbaugh have made knowledgeable people shy about expressing concern for this planet. That to care for it is now tantamount to “extremism” and even “terrorism”. That we should feel embarrassed about calling ourselves environmentalists. What a sly turn of events big business has wrought.

    I think I understand climate scientists predicament. What if they are wrong about how bad the effects will be? It would be held to their account by dishonest interests that care nothing for the good of the world. The way I look at it, climate scientists are doing the best they can with what they’ve got. And as someone else recently so well said here (and darn if I don’t remember who it was) fixing climate is a win/win all around.

    Seems the least we can say is that it’s going to get hot. Uncomfortably hot, and lots of species, already on edge will be pushed over it. I’m saddened and angry when I think of all the obscenities that selfish people are doing to our planet. Polluting the ocean, radiazing the atmosphere, ripping out forests. When I think of all of the evolutionary struggle that went into making all of the 10 to 15 million species out there all thrown away just so one species can live in temporary luxury I am ashamed of my own kind.

    Comment by Ron R. — 6 Jul 2011 @ 8:57 PM

  117. When I look at the earth from space and see that razor thin layer of atmosphere protecting all known life on a singularly beautiful planet I feel like many astronauts who have spoken of their fear of what The Human Experiment is doing to it.

    Some astronaut quotes:

    “You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an
    intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion
    to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international
    politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of
    the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, “Look
    at that, you son of a bitch.”

    — Edgar Mitchell

    “If somebody’d said before the flight, “Are you going to get carried
    away looking at the earth from the moon?” I would have say, “No, no
    way.” But yet when I first looked back at the earth, standing on the
    moon, I cried.”

    — Alan Shepard

    “The Earth was small, light blue, and so touchingly alone, our home
    that must be defended like a holy relic.
    — Aleksei Leonov

    “Oddly enough the overriding sensation I got looking at the earth was,
    my god that little thing is so fragile out there.”

    — Mike Collins

    “A Chinese tale tells of some men sent to harm a young girl who, upon
    seeing her beauty, become her protectors rather than her violators.
    That’s how I felt seeing the Earth for the first time. I could not
    help but love and cherish her.”

    — Taylor Wang

    “Before I flew I was already aware of how small and vulnerable our
    planet is; but only when I saw it from space, in all its ineffable
    beauty and fragility, did I realize that human kind’s most urgent task
    is to cherish and preserve it for future generations.”

    — Sigmund Jähn,

    “On the one hand, we can see how indescribably beautiful the planet
    that we have been is, but on the other hand, we can really, clearly
    see how fragile it is,” “The atmosphere when viewed from space is paper thin, and to think that this paper thin layer is all that separates every
    living thing from the vacuum of space and all that protects us is
    really a sobering thought.”
    — Ron Garan

    “For the first time in my life I saw the horizon as a curved line. It
    was accentuated by a thin seam of dark blue light—our atmosphere.
    Obviously this was not the ocean of air I had been told it was so many
    times in my life. I was terrified by its fragile appearance.”

    — Ulf Merbold

    “This planet is not terra firma. It is a delicate flower and it must be
    cared for. It’s lonely. It’s small. It’s isolated, and there is no
    resupply. And we are mistreating it. Clearly, the highest loyalty we
    should have is not to our own country or our own religion or our
    hometown or even to ourselves. It should be to, number two, the family
    of man, and number one, the planet at large. This is our home, and
    this is all we’ve got.”

    — Scott Carpenter

    “The Earth reminded us of a Christmas tree ornament hanging in the
    blackness of space. As we got farther and farther away it diminished
    in size. Finally it shrank to the size of a marble, the most beautiful
    marble you can imagine. That beautiful, warm, living object looked so
    fragile, so delicate, that if you touched it with a finger it would
    crumble and fall apart. Seeing this has to change a man.”

    — James Irwin

    “I left Earth three times and found no other place to go. Please take
    care of Spaceship Earth.”

    — Wally Schirra, 1998

    “To fly in space is to see the reality of Earth, alone. The experience
    changed my life and my attitude toward life itself. I am one of the
    lucky ones.”

    — Roberta Bondar

    “What was most significant about the lunar voyage was not that man set
    foot on the Moon but that they set eye on the earth.”

    — Norman Cousins

    “We came all this way to explore the moon, and the most important thing
    is that we discovered the earth.”

    — William Anders

    “When we have a moment to look down [at Earth], the beauty is the
    three-dimensional effect and the beauty of the planet is capturing our
    heart … capturing my heart.”

    — Roberto Vittori

    And this beautiful poem from astronaut Alfred Worden:

    “Quietly, like a night bird, floating, soaring, wingless
    We glide from shore to shore, curving and falling
    but not quite touching;
    Earth: a distant memory seen in an instant of repose,
    crescent shaped, ethereal, beautiful,
    I wonder which part is home, but I know it doesn’t matter . . .
    the bond is there in my mind and memory;
    Earth: a small, bubbly balloon hanging delicately
    in the nothingness of space.”

    Comment by Ron R. — 6 Jul 2011 @ 9:06 PM

  118. Thanks to those who responded to my question in post #1. I think your answers are very educational for those like me who study these topics as non-professionals. I am curious as to why no one really said much about the temperature changes of the deeper oceans (below 700m) as being an area of they’d see as a top unknown. It seems that the potential exists for a great deal of Trenberth’s “missing heat” to be going here, and so some way of getting a good reading of heat at deeper ocean levels would seem to be useful. For example, I would like to know how the temperature and speeds at various points at the deeper levels of the global ocean conveyer have been changing over time. Would this not be useful?

    I do agree with the statement about methane release. It would be nice to know how much methane is really being released from melting permafrost and how that has been changing over the past few decades. This potential positive feedback certainly has some nasty implications, and one only needs to look at Permian-Triassic extinction event to see the worst that could happen if all the land and ocean floor methane began to release. That this kind of event could happen, no matter how unlikely, is one more reason it seems a good handle on how much heat is going into the deeper oceans would seem helpful. Without this data, how can we really know the likelihood of ocean floor clathrate instability caused by added heat?

    Comment by R. Gates — 7 Jul 2011 @ 1:34 AM

  119. Cherry in the pie

    Just about the most predictable event of the week was the tempest of opinion created by the analysis of global temperature changes published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on Monday.

    Whether the conclusions of the study are right or wrong, the argument goes, you’re stepping into factually shaky ground – and the belief-systems of your “opponents” – if you start from the argument that temperatures haven’t risen since 1998, the strongest El Nino year on record.

    Concern was exacerbated by the wording of the PNAS press release, whose first sentence read: “The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide increased steadily between 1998 and 2008 even as the Earth’s temperature declined…” – a line that reporters unfamiliar to the issue might not have seen fit to question.

    The next few paragraphs will be so familiar to anyone who follows this stuff that I almost apologise for including them… but the point about it is that if you want to deduce the underlying trend, you have to remove the annual bumps caused by things such as ENSO.

    A common method of doing this is to use a “moving average” (aka “running mean”), where – for example – each year’s data point is the average of the 10 years around that year.

    And when you do that, you see clearly that the underlying trend of temperature rise continues.

    This has been the standard approach of mainstream scientists – and their standard response when challenged that 1998 remains, depending on your dataset, the warmest single year on record.

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 7 Jul 2011 @ 5:25 AM

  120. Jim replied to me (#109): “There may be, for example, some shifts in agricultural production that are decidedly good for some regions, for some period of time.”

    Now that’s the kind of thing that I’d like to see discussed here, for two reasons:

    1. As far as I can tell, even at this early stage of AGW, the effects on agriculture all over the world (e.g. from heat, drought and floods) are already disastrous. Food prices are skyrocketing, which is already contributing to social and political upheaval, and the effects of AGW are clearly a contributing cause, if not the major cause. Barton Paul Levenson’s idea that widespread agricultural failures leading to global famine and the collapse of civilization could occur by mid-century begins to look optimistic. So if there is in fact any evidence that “shifts in agricultural production that are decidedly good for some regions” could offset these detrimental effects, I’d like to hear about it.

    2. Modern industrial factory-farming practices are a significant contributor to AGW, while at the same time, it is known that organic agriculture practices can actually sequester significant amounts of carbon in the soil over time. There is also the issue of the disproportionate AGW impact of meat production vs. plant-based diets.

    I note that the discussions of potential solutions here seem to focus almost entirely on electricity generation, which is appropriate given the major contribution to AGW from coal-fired power plants (and fossil fueled vehicles which could potentially be replaced by electric vehicles). But agriculture is discussed much less, even though it is simultaneously a cause of the problem, and potentially catastrophically vulnerable to AGW effects, and a potentially valuable part of the solution.

    Moreover, all three of those points, relating to the interaction of agriculture with climate change, are perhaps more on-topic than electricity generation.

    [Response: Thanks for these points. I’m quite interested in agricultural issues–even aside from, and before, climate change issues were added to the mix–and I hope that we can address some of them. I agree strongly with your 2nd, and your last, points. On your first, I’m not sure what to say. Addressing climate change, food production and the potential for famine is a major undertaking and needs to be done with real care, because there are socio-economic and technology elements to food production that are hard to predict. Food prices respond to a whole number of factors. We can also be certain that there is a whole cadre of “critics” waiting to pounce on what turn out to be inaccurate predictions regarding climate effects on agriculture, no matter how minor or peripheral to the global trend or likely expectation based on first principles they are. One more point: it’s one thing to talk about climate/weather events and crop failure, and translate those to issues of human nutrition and health–that’s something scientists can tackle. It’s another thing to talk about the “collapse of civilization”. What does that mean exactly? How do we evaluate and model that? These loaded terms are problematic, and thus best avoided. Barton Levenson has made some rather bold predictions and he will have to defend them. Notwithstanding all these things, I fully agree that the general topic needs to be addressed here and elsewhere. Like so many things in earth system science, I have a lot of self education to do on the topic before I’m able to do so.–Jim]

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 7 Jul 2011 @ 10:24 AM

  121. R. Gates says:
    7 Jul 2011 at 1:34 AM

    …I am curious as to why no one really said much about the temperature changes of the deeper oceans (below 700m) as being an area of they’d see as a top unknown. It seems that the potential exists for a great deal of Trenberth’s “missing heat” to be going here, and so some way of getting a good reading of heat at deeper ocean levels would seem to be useful…

    I do agree with the statement about methane release. It would be nice to know how much methane is really being released from melting permafrost and how that has been changing over the past few decades… Without this data, how can we really know the likelihood of ocean floor clathrate instability caused by added heat?

    One of the papers by K. Walter, et al., found thermokarst lakes had tripled in size over a period of well less than a decade. Another paper has found that current seeps from the Siberian clathrates equal the total from the rest of the ocean. As to deep water, the Siberian continental shelf is only 50m deep, so this point is moot for that area. Since clathrates are kept in place by a combination of temperature and pressure, the clathrates there are especially vulnerable, which is, I assume, why we are seeing such high levels of methane there.

    While it would be nice to have all the energy clearly accounted for, in terms of policy-making, it’s not information we need: the situation is well beyond bad enough to do something about it.

    Comment by ccpo — 7 Jul 2011 @ 10:56 AM

  122. Thanks Prokaryotes, how nice indeed to read a very well written article (good old BBC!).

    I find the Kauffman et al paper so odd that I can’t help commenting a bit more. Condensed down to essentials it doesn’t add much we don’t already know (only the analysis of Asian-coal-derived sulphate aerosols is new to me).

    And yet the paper was embargoed (tantalizing!) and then press released (oooh!) clearly with the purpose of making a bit of a splash. To justify the fanfare the authors seem to have sexed it up by framing it within a silly red herring (cooling from 1998-2008!), and using a temperature analysis that is ambiguous to their message.

    I like PNAS – it’s an excellent journal. I think they’ve been slightly taken advantage of in this case with a paper that borders on misrepresentation. That this is a justifiable interpretation can be seen in the entirely predictable manner in which the paper is on the one hand lauded by individuals that rather like the misrepresentation (see dismal yawnworthy effort by Christopher Booker in the dreary UK Daily Mail), and on the other hand rather easily critiqued by those that consider one should make an effort to write clear, careful science that properly represents the subject (e.g. the excellent article by Richard Black that prokaryotes urled above at 7 Jul 2011 at 5:25 AM).

    Comment by chris — 7 Jul 2011 @ 10:58 AM

  123. I am with ccpo @ 6 Jul 2011 at 1:20 PM (currently #110), and Ray as cited there.

    I don’t want RC’s mission damaged, and it’s counterproductive to stretch RC moderators too far beyond their expertise. I would love to have a forum, with some needed moderation, where energy issues could get their due.

    As readers here know, climate has a core cadre of credentialled researchers who improve each other’s science. (The credentials ultimately grow from the interaction, disagreements, corrections, and building within this evolving group.) The core changes over time, and has fringes, but a center is identifiable.

    I think our problem with energy is that the area is so sprawling that there is no comparable core of expertise. A huge mix of history, science, economics, and politics, too diffuse and ramified to easily agree on whom to trust.

    Comment by Ric Merritt — 7 Jul 2011 @ 11:58 AM

  124. Jim, thanks to your response, most of which I agree with. I would just point out that energy production is now a major part of the “earth system” you intend to study scientifically. As broad as climate studies already are, human dynamics are now so involved in earth dynamics, they cannot anymore be usefully separated. Perhaps a new term is needed for this even broader perspective?

    For the record, I do not think discussion of climate should be ‘overrun’ either by discussions of energy production or anything else, especially when these are monopolized with one or two people with very narrow and very obvious agendas. I would just add the observation that even if all energy were ff free, given what industrial society has used most of the energy made available to it for in the past, increasing or even holding steady the amount of even ‘clean’ energy available to it seems ill advised at best. What we mostly have to do at all levels, especially in the developed world, is massively scale down pretty much everything by something like 95%. What is left should be able to be sustainable with a slight increase in renewables.

    Is anyone else finding recaptcha harder to read? I had to flip through about ten before I got what I hope is “defines heishinu.”

    Ron, thanks for the quotes. As McKibben has pointed out, though, it has been since the first pictures of earth from space were taken and publicized that the major assault on the living systems of the earth has really gone into hyper-drive. To say the least, that image has not had the riveting effect on the humans of the planet that some of us hoped it might have.

    Comment by wili — 7 Jul 2011 @ 12:13 PM

  125. I’ll just chime in to reiterate that the scientific community presents a range of possible changes to climate over time depending on handling of greenhouse gases. To be sure, it’s a range that apart from the numbers can be characterized as rising from not so good and going to pretty damned horrible with a rapidity that depends somewhat on your disposition; but it’s not a single scenario, and in that sense the possible effects of AGW can only be described collectively in the vaguest terms. Mind you the more we dawdle, the more we wander toward outcomes that can only be described as pretty damned horrible by even the most sanguine pontificators.

    It’s hard to talk timeliness to people whose sense of time is fluid to begin with and is dependent on so many personal or political exigencies. On top of that try to get people out of whatever rut they’re somewhat familiar with and the reaction tends to be a knee-jerk blast of irrationality; and that’s only if they don’t choose to simply ignore you.


    The clock is ticking, the consequences suck, policy makers need good executive summaries, and they need to be reminded that the clock is ticking, the consequences suck, and they need to be given even better executive summaries, and they need to be reminded…

    Comment by Radge Havers — 7 Jul 2011 @ 12:15 PM

  126. 94, gavin:I don’t really know why people insist on arguing about energy technology on climate science blog.

    I have from time to time recommended that you focus on climate science and eschew all other topics. However, repeatedly someone articulates the view that the fossil fuel part of the developed world’s energy economy has to be replaced, everywhere, and quickly. That naturally leads to questions of what technologies can be deployed, how quickly, and at what cost. Cost includes calculable dollar costs and difficult to calculate costs of other risks.

    It’s a very straightforward progression. It’s your blog, but if you want to discuss energy strategies at all, why not be thorough?

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 7 Jul 2011 @ 1:16 PM

  127. 120 Jim: “It’s another thing to talk about the “collapse of civilization”. What does that mean exactly? How do we evaluate and model that? These loaded terms are problematic, and thus best avoided.”

    “Collapse of civilization” is well defined in anthropology and archaeology. I have mentioned “The Long Summer” by Brian Fagan and “Collapse” by Jared Diamond several times. When agriculture collapses, civilization collapses. Fagan and Diamond told the stories of something like 2 dozen previous very small civilizations. Many of the collapses were caused by fraction of a degree climate changes. In some cases, all of that group died. On the average, 1 out of 10,000 survived.

    The model is simple. It happens the same way every time. When there is no food in the grocery store, people will not go to work any more. That includes the police. There is no more law. People drop their tools wherever they happen to be and wander away in search of food. Few or none find food. Those who do not find food, die of starvation. It is that simple.

    Collapse is horrific: Armed gangs wander around the streets taking food violently from anybody who has any food. When there is no more food, cannibalism happens. The story on that is in “Collapse” by Diamond.

    Barton Levenson is not alone in his prediction. He is just the only one who has predicted a date.

    We model collapse as an infinite cost. Collapse of civilization must be discussed because “policy makers” and people in general must be motivated to take action that is sufficiently strong to avoid collapse.

    [Response: Edward, I think the topic is far more intricate, contingent, and unpredictable than what you have stated here. The world of today is not the world of the past. This does not help our understanding–Jim]

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 7 Jul 2011 @ 4:30 PM

  128. #122 Though with all the jazz going on, it might be sometimes hard to spot the seeds of doubt. The fast paced media buzz, the denier tactics and amount of data might cloud the senses to trick some to overlook critical details or make us prawn to own bias.

    Example, here is another message from the past, which again highlights how our and public perception is skewed from the every day live we sustain currently.

    Man cannot at his pleasure command the rain and the sunshine, the wind and frost and snow, yet it is certain that climate itself has in many instances been gradually changed and ameliorated or deteriorated by human action. The draining of swamps and the clearing of forests perceptibly effect the evaporation from the earth, and of course the mean quantity of moisture suspended in the air. The same causes modify the electrical condition of the atmosphere and the power of the surface to reflect, absorb and radiate the rays of the sun, and consequently influence the distribution of light and heat, and the force and direction of the winds. Within narrow limits too, domestic fires and artificial structures create and diffuse increased warmth, to an extent that may effect vegetation. The mean temperature of London is a degree or two higher than that of the surrounding country, and Pallas believed, that the climate of even so thinly a peopled country as Russia was sensibly modified by similar causes. – 1847, George Perkins Marsh

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 7 Jul 2011 @ 7:36 PM

  129. Jim: “The world of today is not the world of the past. This does not help our understanding.”

    Indeed, the world of today is far more complex than any past inhabitants of the planet could imagine. However, complexity is not necessarily a virtue in surviving increasing stress. We are on the hairy edge of food insecurity again in much of the world. We have only managed to avoid it the past 40 years because we’ve learned how essentially to eat petroleum by turning it first into corn and soy beans. Earth’s current human population could easily be a factor of three more than it can carry sustainably. Add in environmental damage to oceans, aquifers, forests and the planet generally due to climate change, and 1% survival cannot be dismissed with sanguinity. That is not a prediction, but I don’t think we’ve bounded the damage sufficiently to dismiss it.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Jul 2011 @ 8:26 PM

  130. wili says at 12:13 PM

    To say the least, that image has not had the riveting effect on the humans of the planet that some of us hoped it might have.

    Yeah. :-/ Maybe it’s a ‘you had to be there’ kind of thing.

    And thanks to RC for letting me post them. I find the words themselves moving.

    Comment by Ron R. — 7 Jul 2011 @ 8:43 PM

  131. 120# SecularAnimist “fossil fueled vehicles which could potentially be replaced by electric vehicles”

    People tend to forget that with around 1500-3000$? + battery (Incentive) you can convert *any* vehicle to run on electricity.

    120# SecularAnimist “But agriculture is discussed much less, even though it is simultaneously a cause of the problem, and potentially catastrophically vulnerable to AGW effects, and a potentially valuable part of the solution.”

    Yes, we have do adopt BECCS and biochar technology to replace petrol fertilizer and enhance crop yields and prevent soil erosion. The future food chain is programmed to be crippled and open for retardation through climate weirding/shifting weather patterns. Worldwide governments should start to build food farms (underground and indoors).

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 7 Jul 2011 @ 9:04 PM

  132. Jim: “The world of today is not the world of the past.”
    Ray: “…I don’t think we’ve bounded the damage sufficiently to dismiss it.”

    Dueling understatements.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 7 Jul 2011 @ 9:54 PM

  133. Runaway global warming is the main issue which is the next step following Arctic sea sun ray reflecting ice curtain melting to ocean, so when Arctic sea ice appears weak, teetering on the verge of total meltdown, about to vanish a whole lot more, its sst’s which need be watched next, for on the bottom of warming Arctic seas are common deposits of methane hydrates Based on the evidence at hand, there is much to observe:

    look at Arctic sea surface temperatures, largely reflecting record warm temperatures up there right now, warmer sea surface temperatures coincide over frozen bottom hydrates. No need to panic though, since contrarians propagandize Global cooling, as it can be clearly not seen.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 7 Jul 2011 @ 10:36 PM

  134. > Yeah. :-/ Maybe it’s a ‘you had to be there’ kind of thing.

    Live video available might do.

    We could have known by now, but alas:

    I’m amazed that Google hasn’t offered to launch the global observatory satellite, in return for owning the live video from it.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Jul 2011 @ 11:13 PM

  135. Continuing to read “Living in Denial” by Mrs. Dr. Kari Marie Norgaard. My interpretation of the last pages I have read so far is that “Morality” = tradition = political correctness = the right thing to do = groupthink. Science is, by definition, immoral. Science is tolerated only because the rich find science profitable. When science becomes anti-profitable, science is doubly bad. Technology that is too “sciencey” is bad. Norgaard analyzed an extremely tradition-bound small town in Norway.

    Climate science therefore gets the double whammy. RealClimate needs to push the values of the enlightenment: Free thinking is good. Groupthink is bad. Science trumps all else.

    127 Jim: “This does not help our understanding” What would? The social sciences are rarely mathematical. I would like to read an RC article [or several] on the subject of the impending collapse. My own opinion is that a near future collapse would be the same as past collapses, just global. Certainly the predictions made by most people [“those poor people over there”] will be wrong.

    The topic is indeed intricate, contingent, and unpredictable at the local level. It is also wordy rather than mathematical. And it is terrifying and horrifying. I understand anybody’s not wanting to confront it. How should we deal with it, because we must? If we don’t, there is no motive to mount a “mobilization as in WW2″ level of effort to change anything. A lesser effort will accomplish nothing at this late date.

    [Response: Edward, wtf? Go drink a beer–Jim]

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 8 Jul 2011 @ 12:11 AM

  136. Hank Roberts 7 Jul 2011 at 11:13 PM:

    I’m amazed that Google hasn’t offered to launch the global observatory satellite, in return for owning the live video from it.

    You could suggest it. As indicated by wili though I’m not sure it would work.

    Comment by Ron R. — 8 Jul 2011 @ 1:15 AM

  137. Connecting the Dots: Climate Change drives Earthquake / Seismic activity

    [Response: you need to be very careful here. Just because there is seismic fingerprint of ice melt/ice flow (nettles and ekstrom, isostatic rebound etc), that does not mean that ‘earthquakes and tsunamis’ are being caused by climate change. Most such events – and almost all the big ones – are tectonically driven and occur near plate boundaries – they have nothing to do with modern climate change. Everytime someone – even inadvertently- mixes these things up they fall into a rhetorical trap that makes their claims instantly mockable and reinforces the stereotype of the unthinking activist. This is not useful in elevating the seriousness of the conversation. – gavin]

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 8 Jul 2011 @ 2:10 AM

  138. SecularAnimist @ 109,

    But when I turn to climate science, it is hard to find anything that sustains hope. It just keeps getting worse and worse, faster and faster, and it increasingly looks like it is too late to avoid unspeakable PETM-like disaster.

    If you think the news coming in from climate science, is BAD, then you really don’t want to look at things like human population dynamics.

    On our current path, it seems that the vast majority of humanity, is already FUBAR! Oh, and climate change is but one minor aggravating factor on that path.

    Hope, being an *extremely* important psychological force, notwithsatnding, especially false ‘HOPE’!

    Hint, we keep pushing the infinite growth paradigm, The solution to all our problems is always more growth, We need to produce more food to feed the next couple of billion humans being added to our already strained global resources. Which just leads to evermore mouths to feed. Thinking like that is the quickest path to going over the overshoot cliff!

    The classic example of that backward intuition was my own introduction to systems analysis, the World model. Asked by the Club of Rome—an international group of businessmen, statesmen, and scientists—to show how major global problems of poverty and hunger, environmental destruction, resource depletion, urban deterioration, and unemployment are related and how they might be solved, Forrester made a computer model and came out with a clear leverage point: growth.1 Not only population growth, but economic growth. Growth has costs as well as benefits, and we typically don’t count the costs—among which are poverty and hunger, environmental destruction, and so on—the whole list of problems we are trying to solve with growth! What is needed is much slower growth, different kinds of growth, and in some cases no growth or negative growth.

    The world’s leaders are correctly fixated on economic growth as the answer to virtually all problems, but they’re pushing with all their might in the wrong direction.

    Donella Meadows, Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System

    Comment by Fred Magyar — 8 Jul 2011 @ 8:28 AM

  139. Question: I see on the NSIDC website they show air temperature anomalies for the arctic. Does anyone know what the actual temperatures are?

    [Response: Link?]

    Comment by Consumer — 8 Jul 2011 @ 8:57 AM

  140. IF accepted:

    First: Thank you for a seemingly serious (and, in many ways, touching) web site. I have read (nearly) all of the 137 comments in this thread (and perhaps all of them connects to this post).
    To the point.
    — I am aiming at the comment no95, wayne davidson.
    Many skeptics (Christy, Lindzen) touch the same issue, and many deniers probe its presence, typically »CO2 raises but no further global warming». The present scientific community cannot silence these opposing waves, tending to build up more and more. Voices also appear in public of the type ”politics has infected science, and we don’t know who to trust anymore”, Kathleen McKinley 13Jun2011 TexasSparkle, and the like. That is the bad news.

    — In this light, observing the need of comprehensiveness, comment no95, wayne davidson — also connected to the introductory content of this web page,
    ”climate science topics that don’t fit neatly into ongoing discussions”
    — this appeared on my table:

    — Not so fast wayne davidson. Please.

    — Our climate history at the present period 2000-2040, and further, is predicted, as you can see for yourself in this synoptic compilation made from already well know sources (NASA, World Industry Fossil Carbon Emission Statistics, Sea Periods [Joseph D’Aleo (2008), partly unmapped])

    with exactly the same affirmative validity as all the NASA/CRU/GISS-recordings in collection from 1860. Doubt the dotted — doubt the measured. (Different versions exists depending on averaging period, this is just what appears from the most simple component match). The values (dotted) on nowYEAR-base are calculated

    t(NASA) =
    + (1.765)[1–1/(1+[(YEAR–1815)/212.7]^4)]
    + 0.0653(0.9[(2cos pi(YEAR–1880)/31.48)+0.5(cos 3pi[YEAR–1880-0.1]/31.48)])
    — you can follow it yourself, day by day and check that it holds

    This »simple AGW-math» explains, by equally matching components (as in 3=1+2, or other proponents), and apparently except these not at all, that

    (the NASA/CRU/GISS-curve) =
    + SeaPeriods

    The central Industry curve features a temperature-energy function responsible for AGW;
    its integral explains Carbon-Dioxide concentration with a 98% match to measured values (US SOUTH POLE RESEARCH, Mauna Loa);
    its derivative explains the actual AGW-effect (power in W/M²) corresponding to the ocean heat content (apparently matching [2005] the already well known values [ca 0.85 W/M²] from Hansen et al 2005 and others [B. Lin et al 2010, direct matching curves from model simulation]). Doubt the dotted — doubt the measured.

    The »lull» being aimed at (also from many skeptics), is apparently and hence at present in a similar period comparable to the one 1935-1975:
    — It is real. It has apparently a direct, obvious, provability record;
    IF so accepted:
    — Relatively small net changes will appear 2000-2040, practically nothing at all.
    — 29 more years to go with a »lull». Doubt the dotted — doubt the measured.
    — The deniers community will KILL the established academic community on that one, even within five years, absolutely (my interpretation), unless shown to be fraudulent.
    (It means, as far as my view has solidity, that RC, the whole scientific community, is standing, right now, on the brink of an abyss).

    NOTE that the three well connected integral-derivative functions described above [Sea, Industry, CO2] also include the Arrhenius’ functional curves (logarithmic|SeaHeat and exponential|IndustryIntegralCO2) as (very) close approximations, provided given appropriate offsets. Yes. Indeed. See image of compiled overview of the 3 AGW + 2 Arrhenius’ mathematical expressions in

    The »simple AGW-math» obviously explains — contains — the entire complex by »easy to understand mathematics». No modeling needed. Inclusive. Not exclusive.
    — This is just a beginning.


    Comment by Gwinnevere — 8 Jul 2011 @ 9:25 AM

  141. Jim wrote: “The world of today is not the world of the past.”

    It’s true — past civilizations facing collapse due to anthropogenic environmental degradation did not have nuclear weapons at their disposal.

    [Response: OK, that’s it. All future comments mentioning the “collapse of civilization” , by anyone will be deleted.–Jim

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 8 Jul 2011 @ 10:01 AM

  142. In light of the demise of the News of the World as a result of a phone tapping scandal, I have found myself thinking, “Well, journalists still can do their job…at least when they want to.”

    In this case we have seen the journalists latching on to the scandal like a pitbull onto a rib-eye steak. Nothing could shake them, and when their initial efforts were blunted, they came back months later to finish of the bad actors. This is journalism as it should be–comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.

    So why is it that the were able to follow through in the case of the phone-tapping scandal, while largely giving climate denialists a pass–at best–and a sympathetic ear at their worst. Why not go after The Telegraph or the Wall Street Urinal or Forbes? Why pick on Rupert the Evil and give the Koch brothers and Blankenships a pass?

    Why do they ignore the story even now that John Mashey has tied it up in a nice bow and served it to them on a silver platter cut into easily chewed pieces?

    Why, when we can see that they can still be journalists, do they choose not to be, even though the stakes are much higher than a mere cable network?

    Somehow, this makes me angrier at the Gruniad and other mainstream media than I was before. How do we deal with journalists who choose not to do their jobs?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Jul 2011 @ 10:03 AM

  143. Ray Ladbury wrote: “… we’ve learned how essentially to eat petroleum by turning it first into corn and soy beans …”

    And in the USA the vast majority of the fossil-fueled, heavily subsidized, factory-farmed corn and soybeans are turned into animal feed for the production of cheap, factory-farmed meat, resulting in the loss of up to 90 percent of the original protein content of the corn and beans, and producing even more GHG emissions — not to mention costly epidemics of entirely preventable degenerative disease.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 8 Jul 2011 @ 10:06 AM

  144. [Response: … Most such events – and almost all the big ones – are tectonically driven and occur near plate boundaries – they have nothing to do with modern climate change. – gavin]

    Gavin, I’m sure you’re right, but I repair acoustic guitars, which are made out of plates of wood that have joints. Anything that changes the size of those plates (usually lack of humidity,) can result in a catastrophic event: either a glue seam separates or a plate fractures. I’ve read a couple of papers about deep ocean warming, and I’ve been curious if such warming could expand plates.

    [Response: No. Orders of magnitude different. – gavin]

    Comment by JCH — 8 Jul 2011 @ 10:09 AM

  145. I was thinking this morning, wondering how an ongoing set of Public Service Announcements would do. A list of the serious environmental issues affecting the earth slowly rotating upscreen. A quick view of the other (for all intents and purposes) lifeless, uninhabitable planets in our solar system and the factoid that the closest, possibly habitable planets that we know of, Gliese 581 d&g are about 120 trillion miles away. Then short snippets showing our earth from space. Finally a quote from an astronaut such as those above.

    Course 20% of Americans still smoke despite a vigorous anti-campaign. Still the fact that 80% don’t is pretty good. You’re never going to convince everyone no matter how strong the evidence of self-destructive behavior. And it would be immoral to try to force people not to do something self-destructive (so long as that behavior doesn’t affect other unwilling people or the environment at large). If they want to kill themselves that’s their right; they just don’t have the right to harm others, which is what CC deniers are doing. But we shouldn’t be shy about doing all we CAN do to protect our planet.

    Then maybe a series of television programs on the issue. Finally a campaign for environmental ethics classes in public schools. And real action on environmental issues at the legislative level. Just thinking.

    Comment by Ron R. — 8 Jul 2011 @ 12:29 PM

  146. Rather dramatic pictures of a rather large dust storm “haboob” in Phoenix AZ the other day (July 5th). I read it was one mile high. Looks like Venus. Climate related?

    Comment by Ron R. — 8 Jul 2011 @ 1:15 PM

  147. RL @ 142

    Phone-hacking scandals have been around for several years. The issue seems to have reached critical mass when hacking potentially interfered with a sensitive murder investigation–made all the juicier by ties running into the Cameron administration. In other words, it entered the obsessive phase of the news cycle when it became easier to sensationalize.

    Journalists won’t become obsessive about anything related to climate change until a beautiful blond climatologist with ties to the Kardashians is kidnapped by the Taliban while sitting on a Senator’s lap at an exhibition of water-skiing squirrels.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 8 Jul 2011 @ 1:25 PM

  148. @Gwinnevere (140): You can fit any curve arbitrarily well by choosing the appropriate set of interpolating functions. That doesn’t mean that the resulting functions predict how the system underlying the fitted curve will behave in the future. To do that, you need to model the system itself. Hence climate models use data (e.g., insolation, albedo, emissivity) and physical laws (e.g., magnitude of blackbody radiation as function of temperature & emissivity, ideal gas law, etc.) to help us understand the climate system.

    BTW, if curve fitting had the power you ascribe, you could be the richest person in the world inside of a week by applying that “knowledge” to the securities markets.

    Comment by Meow — 8 Jul 2011 @ 2:22 PM

  149. @Gwinnevere (140): You can fit any curve arbitrarily well by choosing the appropriate set of interpolating functions. That doesn’t mean that the resulting functions predict how the system underlying the fitted curve will behave in the future. To do that, you need to model the system itself. Hence climate models use data (e.g., insolation, albedo, emissivity) and physical laws (e.g., magnitude of blackbody radiation as function of temperature & emissivity, ideal gas law, etc.) to help us understand the climate system.

    BTW, if curve fitting had the power you ascribe, you could be the richest person in the world inside of a week by applying that “knowledge” to the securities markets.

    CAPTCHA: onalves forced

    Comment by Meow — 8 Jul 2011 @ 2:22 PM

  150. Thanks all, as usual, for interesting discussion and sidelights, especially Wayne Davidson (@133 currently) who always makes me sit up and take notice. Those red areas (5C) of anomaly in the far north are rather predominant. The poetic quotes are also good mind food. (much earlier, possibly from another topic)

    I also thank Gavin (reply @137 currently) for stating as clearly as can be the difficulties attached to exaggeration and overreaction. Though we need to be assertive and clear about our real world, and separate it from realpolitik, which is both unreal and real, overdoing it is unwise. Many of us are so uncompromising that nothing can be done. Not sure compromising works either, but it’s necessary nonetheless.

    Not sure what’s up with gwinnevere, but her conclusion labels her comment suspect. RC does not, despite denialati assertions, censor most comments, as long as they are honest and not repeat offenders who refuse to look at information provided by knowledgeable people who post here. I don’t think science is more at the abyss than human habitation on our planet is, quite the reverse. “Disproving” with specious detail from doubtful disciplines and sources the valid work of observant and intelligent researchers who have given their lives to the hard work of understanding and studying phenomena is not part of the solution, it is part of the problem. It takes time to respond and a great deal of politeness and patience goes into the effort. If people were to regard blog hosts as hosts, by whose courtesy they post, some balance might be restored to the conversation.

    ClimateCentral is doing a fairly good job of summarizing a lot of hot topics and today’s is no exception, providing perspective, for example, on the dust storm. The PNAS kerfuffle is well covered here at RC in a new article, thanks grandma.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 8 Jul 2011 @ 3:04 PM

  151. Re Gavin in #137

    The statement of the Royal Society here makes a robust case about the situation.

    >>> Periods of exceptional climate change in Earth history are associated with a dynamic response from the solid Earth, involving enhanced levels of potentially hazardous geological and geomorphological activity. This response is expressed through the adjustment, modulation or triggering of a wide range of surface and crustal phenomena, including volcanic and seismic activity, submarine and sub-aerial landslides, tsunamis and landslide ‘splash’ waves glacial outburst and rock-dam failure floods, debris flows and gas-hydrate destabilisation. Looking ahead, modelling studies and projection of current trends point towards increased risk in relation to a spectrum of geological and geomorphological hazards in a world warmed by anthropogenic climate change, while observations suggest that the ongoing rise in global average temperatures may already be eliciting a hazardous response from the geosphere.

    And then we have the PETM, which was marked by a sudden rise of methane. And we know about all the past active volcano areas around Greenland or Siberia for example. What are the mass calculations suggesting, how much gravity modulation will occur?

    I too can imagine that plate tectonics will stay as Epi centers “plausible” – pre-disposition is likely to remain. But the entire weathering process of the earth is affected, hence the response. The question is how fast, how pronounced …

    Somewhere i read that the mountains loose their “glue” through climate change and then we have uptake in precipitation, synergetic effects which considerably enhance soil erosion and, hence more landslides. When James Hansen says that the emission scenario today is considerable higher, and weathering process occur today 10.000 times faster then in past earth history.

    >>>The lithosphere is broken into tectonic plates. The uppermost part of the lithosphere that chemically reacts to the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere through the soil forming process is called the pedosphere.

    The concept of the lithosphere as Earth’s strong outer layer was developed by Joseph Barrell, who wrote a series of papers introducing the concept.[2][3][4] The concept was based on the presence of significant gravity anomalies over continental crust, from which he inferred that there must exist a strong upper layer (which he called the lithosphere) above a weaker layer which could flow (which he called the asthenosphere). These ideas were expanded by the Harvard geologist Reginald Aldworth Daly in 1940 with his seminal work, Strength and structure of the Earth[5] and have been broadly accepted by geologists and geophysicists. Although these ideas about lithosphere and asthenosphere were developed long before plate tectonic theory was articulated in the 1960s, the concepts that a strong lithosphere exists and that this rests on a weak asthenosphere are essential to that theory.

    The lithosphere provides a conductive lid atop the convecting mantle; as such, it affects heat transport through the Earth.

    >>>Weathering is the breaking down of rocks, soils and minerals as well as artificial materials through contact with the Earth’s atmosphere, biota and waters. Weathering occurs in situ, or “with no movement”, and thus should not be confused with erosion, which involves the movement of rocks and minerals by agents such as water, ice, wind, and gravity.

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 8 Jul 2011 @ 3:18 PM

  152. Here’s a paper that you might want to discuss:

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 8 Jul 2011 @ 4:00 PM

  153. I wonder if the RealClimate folks would have any comment on this study:

    Geologic constraints on the glacial amplification of Phanerozoic climate sensitivity
    Jeffrey Park, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Yale University
    Dana L. Royer, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Wesleyan University
    American Journal of Science, Vol. 311, January 2011, P.1-26; doi:10.2475/01.2011.01

    As I understand it, the study suggests that in the conditions of the current glacial interval, the most probably climate sensitivity is 6 to 8 degrees Celsius for a doubling of CO2 concentrations above preindustrial levels, rather than the more widely estimated 3 to 4 degrees.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 8 Jul 2011 @ 4:19 PM

  154. RonR@146 – Weather related. Mile high and 100 miles wide. I grew up in Phoenix in the 50’s/60’s, haboobs happen every summer, always very dramatic but we just called them ‘dust storms’ – the latest was a particularly bad one, but you know that doesn’t make it climate change related.

    Comment by flxible — 8 Jul 2011 @ 4:19 PM

  155. RonR@146 – Weather related. Mile high and 100 miles wide. I grew up in Phoenix in the 50’s/60’s, haboobs happen every summer, always very dramatic but we just called them ‘dust storms’ – the latest was just a particularly bad one, but you know that doesn’t make it climate change related.

    Comment by flxible — 8 Jul 2011 @ 4:22 PM

  156. ccpo 40: Forests are obviously massive carbon sinks

    BPL: Billions of trees are dying around the world thanks to incursions of insects due to climate change. Wood borer beetles in the western US and Alaska, for instance. Cold winters used to kill them off. Not any more.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Jul 2011 @ 5:30 PM

  157. “There are times when the wind is calm everywhere.”

    BPL: Not true. Apparently this guy doesn’t live in a mountain canyon, or on the shores of Lake Erie.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Jul 2011 @ 5:52 PM

  158. > Secular

    Looking at the abstract, seems to me that Park is talking about _very_ long time scales — the abstract says “For a climate sensitivity {Delta}T2x that is uniform throughout the Phanerozoic, the most probable value is 3° to 4 °C”

    But — at the scale of thousands of years, as ice ages to come and go — “if {Delta}T2x is amplified by at least a factor of two” the number will be sometimes higher and sometimes lower.

    The usual climate sensitivity numbers assume one single pulse of greenhouse gas, and then waits for the temperature to quit rising — not counting an ice age starting or stopping. Park’s added in the ice ages, I think, to that.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Jul 2011 @ 6:12 PM

  159. SA 152,

    Those are two different sensitivities. The short-term “Charney sensitivity” of about 3 K is the sensitivity with the so-called “fast feedbacks” figured in. The long-term sensitivity, when the Earth settles back to equilibrium, is more like 6 K.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Jul 2011 @ 6:15 PM

  160. Re the Park and Royer paper: it is about long term sensitivity, not the short term sensitivity we usually discuss. This Royer page links to the pdf. This discussion mentions other papers that find a high long term sensitivity, including a paper with G A Schmidt as a co-author. Long term sensitivity is influenced by slow feedbacks. Since we are producing CO2 so fast, some slow feedbacks may not be so slow.

    Meanwhile as Alley says here

    The abrupt-climate-change story remains interesting, though. Today, the salty north Atlantic waters sink before they freeze in the winter. The data indicate that at times in the past, the north Atlantic was fresher so the waters froze before they sank. The resulting wintertime cooling in the north Atlantic was rather severe, and the influences far from the north Atlantic included a general southward shift of the tropical circulations and drying of monsoonal and northern-tropical regions where billions now live. The IPCC gives >90% chance that the melting of Greenland’s ice and other changes in the future will not be fast enough to trigger such a discontinuity over the next century, ….

    But the models tend to underestimate Arctic amplification ….

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 8 Jul 2011 @ 7:00 PM

  161. Re 135 Edward Greisch
    “Living in Denial” by Mrs. Dr. Kari Marie Norgaard. My interpretation of the last pages I have read so far is that “Morality” = tradition = political correctness = the right thing to do = groupthink. Science is, by definition, immoral. Science is tolerated only because the rich find science profitable. When science becomes anti-profitable, science is doubly bad. Technology that is too “sciencey” is bad. Norgaard analyzed an extremely tradition-bound small town in Norway.

    Perhaps being a bit nitpicky here, but I think you were correct to write “Morality” = … in quotes; I think you should have likewise put “immoral” in quotes in the following statement.

    …(Because you are of course obviously not stating that science is truly immoral (you earlier gave science the credit for figuring out actual morality – which of course I disagree with though would agree that scientific knowledge is a moral good (in that it can be used to increase the moral desirability or decrease the moral undesirably of outcomes; not to imply of course that it always is used that way; it is a decision-making resource, not a decider)to or that actual morality is mere groupthink (while it seems it should follow from your stance on the link between science and morality and the disconnect between science and group think, I must emphasize that people (scientifically literate or not) will sometimes make an effort to think about what is good and bad).)

    Climate science therefore gets the double whammy. RealClimate needs to push the values of the enlightenment: Free thinking is good. Groupthink is bad.

    Doesn’t everybody already know that? (well, no, but people who think groupthink is good may not be likely to bother free thinking about what we say here…) Science trumps all else. That it would every trump. Which wouldn’t be math or logic, etc.

    Re civilization collapse –
    You might be interested in “Earth 2100″ – it was shown as a TV movie/graphic novel on ABC (US, not Australian) back in 2009. The website for it had footnotes or something like that; I think maybe citations. Then again you might not find what you don’t already know (about the topic of civilization collapse); I’m not sure. I wouldn’t say the death toll portrayed was anywhere near as high as 99.99 %, but it was horrific nonetheless

    …(much of it from disease, so perhaps past analogues would be the black death ((?)except maybe for a modern epidemic’s or pandemic’s impact on trade, and thus on food availability – or was that a factor in the past too (on the local level, where ancient farmers apprehensive about bringing food into town and catching something?)) (PS a hypothesis – I’m not sure how certain people are about this – is that the bubonic plague first infected humans (if I am remembering this correctly) during a short climatic fluctuation caused perhaps by a volcanic eruption in Indonesia (maybe Krakatoa) around the time of (if I recall correctly, and according to the legend or something) King Arthur’s death (bet you didn’t expect that to come up at RC!) (the plague’s infection of Celts could have contributed if not caused the shift toward Anglo-Saxon domination of England, if I recall correctly; the climate change itself, and the plague, have been suggested as a cause of some other historical events/migrations, (actually my understanding is that the plague is known to have been a contributing factor (via a depopulation making room for others to come in) to the spread of a particular religion)…

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 8 Jul 2011 @ 8:47 PM

  162. #160 “But the models tend to underestimate Arctic amplification ….”

    Nature has a new article about this problem.

    State-of-the-art climate models are largely untested against actual occurrences of abrupt change. It is a huge leap of faith to assume that simulations of the coming century with these models will provide reliable warning of sudden, catastrophic events.

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 8 Jul 2011 @ 10:01 PM

  163. 161 Patrick 027: Yes, I intended to say that some people who are not scientists think science is immoral. “Immoral” should have been in quotes. Like the pope that Galileo dealt with. I am a scientist and I think that science is the most moral thing. I meant that, for certain tradition-bound people, this is the way they think. Most people are tradition-bound to one degree or another. Remember, Norgaard is doing sociology on a small town in Norway. All of the houses are the same size and shape and are decorated identically. There are only 3 choices of house color. In small towns, people are not allowed to think their own thoughts. A cousin of mine committed suicide because his small town in New York state would not permit him to think his own thoughts. Math and logic are part of science, but truth is experimental.

    “science the credit for figuring out actual morality”
    See theBrights project on morality or look up “Sociobiology” at the Library of Congress web site. It started with the book “The Genetics of Altruism” by Lumsden and Wilson. The biology department is indeed saying that morality is something that evolved and that is instinctual in all humans who are not psychopaths or sociopaths. The biologists are indeed deducing an ethical standard based on the average human.

    “Doesn’t everybody already know that?”
    Almost everybody who is not a scientist or philosopher “knows” the exact opposite. THAT is the problem. THAT is why none of the climactic events we have witnessed so far have been bad enough to be the “Pearl Harbor” event. THAT is what RC is up against. THAT is why nothing has been done about GW.

    The black death isn’t it. The black death didn’t kill enough people. The Israelites were the survivors of the collapse of the Canaanite empire. 100% of the Vikings on Greenland died of starvation.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 8 Jul 2011 @ 11:20 PM

  164. #140 Gwinnevere, I find your math argument intriguing, but as exciting as this may be, it seems you don’t understand, Arctic sea ice volume is the result of daily integrated Arctic weather, on to itself the Earth gives you this result daily, no computer model seems to catch up with Natures sea ice results yet, consider the Earth a giant computer model expressing its result by colours as seen from space. Nothing , absolutely nothing suggests a lull in warming as demonstrated by the Earth. PLease be more clear, and explain how rapidly recent disappearing sea ice volume:

    matches a certain temperature lull. Further to the temperature record, either surface based or Upper Air,
    the sun appears to be expanding vertically, slowly but certainly, refraction is proportional to air density.
    Take my word, or come back and see me after making a few thousand observations.

    . As far as Christy and Lindzen are concerned, you see them unable , unwilling and uncaring to explain this, at least you try to debate, even though, you are off base, not from my opinion, the Earth itself plainly shows you that there is no lull. If you want to explain that a lull produces less ice, please elaborate.

    Thanks Susan, poetry involves us with the words, and gives a better visualization in some cases.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 8 Jul 2011 @ 11:43 PM

  165. Yep. Anyone who’s read in this area for a year or so won’t be surprised by the conclusion in that Nature piece, but it bears repeating for those who have it backwards and think the scientists worry too much:

    “If anything, the models are underestimating change, compared with the geological record. According to the evidence from the past, the Earth’s climate is sensitive to small changes, whereas the climate models seem to require a much bigger disturbance to produce abrupt change. Simulations of the coming century with the current generation of complex models may be giving us a false sense of security.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Jul 2011 @ 11:46 PM

  166. flxible 8 Jul 2011 at 4:19 PM

    Ok. Thanks for the info.

    Comment by Ron R. — 9 Jul 2011 @ 1:22 AM

  167. Patrick027, responding to Edward Greisch:

    >> Groupthink is bad.
    > Doesn’t everybody already know that?

    Yes, we all totally think so!

    Comment by CM — 9 Jul 2011 @ 4:28 AM

  168. #160 “But the models tend to underestimate Arctic amplification ….”

    Nature has a new article about this problem.

    State-of-the-art climate models are largely untested against actual occurrences of abrupt change. It is a huge leap of faith to assume that simulations of the coming century with these models will provide reliable warning of sudden, catastrophic events.

    Hank Roberts says:
    8 Jul 2011 at 11:46 PM

    Yep. Anyone who’s read in this area for a year or so won’t be surprised by the conclusion in that Nature piece, but it bears repeating for those who have it backwards and think the scientists worry too much:

    “If anything, the models are underestimating change, compared with the geological record. According to the evidence from the past, the Earth’s climate is sensitive to small changes, whereas the climate models seem to require a much bigger disturbance to produce abrupt change. Simulations of the coming century with the current generation of complex models may be giving us a false sense of security.”

    For as long as I’ve been tip-tapping away on the internet on these topics (5 years), I’ve been pounding away at the complacency, whether real or perceived by me, of most: not just deniers, but laypersons and scientists, too, and is why I used to push so hard here advocating more activism by scientists. Heck, I’ve had discussions with scientists stating what was already unequivocally false: methane hydrates are stable and **can’t** melt for at least a hundred years. I think I’ve had that discussion here with Gavin, in fact. Sadly, that does not seem to be the case. Now, the scientists will argue that the degree to which the clathrates/permafrost is destabilizing, and whether or not the rate is increasing over natural amounts is still an open question. Technically, they are right. And maybe they are right that serious melt of those deposits is 90 years away, but a the risk is too high to act on that assumption. We have to act on the assumption they could blow at any moment. (Thermokarst lakes tripling in size, Atlantic water up fjords and into the Arctic Basin, e.g.)

    The point being,this Nature article is, for me, a case of, “You needed a study for that?” It was obvious from basic observation: climate is non-linear/chaotic (depending on whom you ask) and is thus inherently unstable. Not to mention, lots of abrupt changes in the climate record, plus, we are forcing the planet faster than it has ever been forced… I mean, c’mon… of course abrupt change is a big hazard. It’s obvious. And, of course GCM’s can’t show it. There are at least two reasons why, one simple logic, the other… simple logic.

    1. GCM’s have been lagging what we have been observing since IPCC IV came out, so obviously they haven’t developed well enough. One would expect this to also be true of sudden jumps because 2. that is the nature of both non-linear and chaotic systems: it’s almost impossible to predict the phase changes. That is, we are asking the climate models to do the impossible. The takeaway? This is a human issue, i.e. a policy/risk assessment issue, not as scientific one.

    However, I am wanting to repeat a theme: perhaps it’s the place of policy, but I think at this time in history, when the stakes are so high and the process of change decades behind where it needs to be to have avoided rapid, massive changes to avoid potentially massive, rapid catastrophe, at least in terms of risk, the scientists are going to have to speak out to an ever-increasing degree and with an ever-increasing urgency. There have been some nice changes in this regard, including here at RC, but I see a need for more.

    Perhaps I am reading the situation incorrectly, but I have framed it in the past as intuition being downplayed in scientific circles despite intuition having been such a huge aspect of scientific discovery in the past. I suppose it could be as simple as what is said in Vegas stays in Vegas. We hear via anecdote from reliable sources and from anonymous surveys that at least some scientists are scared, to the extent some are making doomerish preparations.

    Perhaps their preps could be avoided if they spoke out more?

    Anywho… No surprise the GCM’s aren’t capable of producing rapid changes.

    On chaos and climate:


    If the comments are to be believed, climate is chaotic:

    This paper explicitly states climate is chaotic, but not every constituent of climate behaves chaotically, per se:

    Can’t find either of the two papers on tipping points showing identification of patterns that present just prior to or at the time of tipping points…

    Ah, here’s one, but it says can’t be identified, or, rather, nearly impossible to:

    However, this new research says, hold on, we CAN predict these things!

    There is another study I can’t yet find that was about climate fluctuations that found the same pattern of increasing wobbles or amplitude in variance, but also found they happened to close to the time of phase shift, so weren’t practically useful, iirc. This problem holds with the above study. A year in advance is decades too late to engage in meaningful adaptation or mitigation if the change is at all significant. (I refer you to the Hirsch Report, which is not about climate, but energy, but replace the conceptual framework and the dynamics are the same.)

    So… brings us back to the risk assessment: Make changes. Make big changes. Make them now. (But to do so we actually have to state the seriousness of the situation and be real about what it means for quality of life, lifestyle, etc.)

    reCAPTCHA: conceived onsuago. If that means, “in the mass of goo purported to be ccpo’s brain,” reCAPTCHA is rockin’.

    Comment by ccpo — 9 Jul 2011 @ 8:55 AM

  169. Regarding the hypothesis that increased sulfate aerosols from China suppressed warming, wouldn’t that effect be more pronounced in the northern hemisphere? As I understand it, and unlike a well-mixed gas like CO2, sulfates can produce regional effects but not global. I think it was a paper by Wigley that I read that described the northern and southern hemispheres as decoupled with respect to aerosols. (Sorry, I don’t have the cite).

    If this is true then wouldn’t we expect to see an unmasked AGW signal in the southern hemisphere in spite of a depressed signal (calling it “cooling” is a little silly given the carefully chosen time frame) in the north? If the above is correct, wouldn’t that make any sulfate connection a dubious possibility?

    [Response: The rise in aerosols from Asia is not an exclusively Chinese issue – and compared to the increase in aerosols earlier in the 20th Century from the US and Europe, is happening much closer to the equator. Thus the hemispheric contrast is likely to be less pronounced. But you have to be careful about statistical attributions like this in any case – I’d be much happier looking at the GCMs that are actually driven by the emission changes to say anything about the spatial patterns of change expected. – gavin]

    Comment by Pachygrapsus — 9 Jul 2011 @ 9:34 AM

  170. Iteresting article from the FT about the met office, where a forecaster “admits” that the sun’s variation can have up to 50% effect on the near term weather/climate.

    OK, here is my analogy;

    there is a small trickle of water that almost constantly drops through an opening on a side of a cliff. This trickle hits an outcrop on its way down. Overtime there may be rain events that overwhelm the catch basin and water flows over the top and crashes onto the outcrop below. Other times the source of the trickle dries up and no water hits the outcrop.

    After a milennea, the outcrop is very worn from the near constant trickle. Not so much from the occasions of overflow or drying.

    CO2 is/will be a constant driver, while these natural effects can overwhelm its’ signal, the longish effects, i.e., the erosion is caused by the small steady driver.

    Sound reasonable? I would take it that this solar effect would not be part of the sensitivity of the climate to the CO2 forcing?

    [Response: Solar forcing is an independent factor that might affect climate and it’s presence or absence does not affect how the climate reacts to CO2. The way the climate reacts to both though involves the same basic feedbacks and so sensitivity to solar forcing or CO2 forcing (of the same magnitude) will be similar. However, going back to the Scaife comment, I do not think that is justified by the literature so I’d be curious as to what he is referring to (or if he has been misquoted). – gavin]

    Comment by Leo G — 9 Jul 2011 @ 10:24 AM

  171. This is a Scripps podcast on the MOC. A new, more detailed model that includes higher resolution for eddies shows the flows are greater between the northern and southern Atlantic than previously understood.

    Their models indicate additional fresh water in the Arctic, as we know, might slow or shut down the MOC, but the time frames are more accurate, they believe, and indicate changes are more likely to be on decadal time frames than previously thought. Also, the window of similarly fresh water between the two parts of the ocean can also increase the speed of the MOC if it gets bigger instead of smaller.

    Comment by ccpo — 9 Jul 2011 @ 11:17 AM

  172. 159 Barton Paul Levenson: Those are two different sensitivities. The short-term “Charney sensitivity” of about 3 K is the sensitivity with the so-called “fast feedbacks” figured in. The long-term sensitivity, when the Earth settles back to equilibrium, is more like 6 K.

    How is it known that the sensitivity is constant? I was thinking of two possible modifiers.

    1. When the climate is warm enough and wet enough to support foliage, doesn’t a vast quantity of plant life reduce the sensitivity by providing lots of ground cover and transpiration?

    2. In the tropics and other places there are daily rains, or near daily rains in some seasons: mornings have clear skies, then mid-day has the accumulation of thick clouds, then late afternoon has torrential rains. Don’t the clouds transport much heat away from the surface, and don’t their upper surfaces reflect much radiation? Wouldn’t these processes be amplified at higher temperature that produce more moisture in the air, and change the sensitivity?

    I have missed your comments. Welcome back. Don’t ago away.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 9 Jul 2011 @ 11:54 AM

  173. I have a question about what we might expect as far as global CO2 atmospheric concentrations in the next couple years.

    The May low end of the yearly fluctuation was a bit above 193 ppm. The annual fluctuation can be as high as 9 ppm. We have had a number of record forest fires in North America this year already. Does this mean we are likely to get the high end of this fluctuation and we could hit 400 later this year or next year? (I know that 400 is just another number, but round numbers do have an effect on most human’s perception of things.)

    Comment by wili — 9 Jul 2011 @ 12:03 PM

  174. Re 163 Edward Greisch

    Re tradition – not to go against your point but just for clarity, tradition can be nice, too. It can give comfort; which is generally a moral good. Also, sometimes good moral ideas have been packaged into tradition, although they may be misapplied in novel situations (the kind of scenario I have in mind here is analogous to the errors that arise using F = G*m1*m2/r^2 in a relativisitic situation – people might not bother to think why something is good in one context and thus apply it to the wrong situation)… But of course being bound to tradition has problems, I agree.

    The biology department is indeed saying that morality is something that evolved and that is instinctual in all humans who are not psychopaths or sociopaths. The biologists are indeed deducing an ethical standard based on the average human.

    Yes of course human behavior has been shaped by biological evolution as well as cultural/environmental effects (viewed over long enough time obviously they all impact each other). But there’s a difference between cataloguing how people tend to behave and prescribing how they should behave. Of course a scientific investigation may be done to figure out how people have come to have their moral instincts and why they are what they are, and detective work may also do this on the level of an individual person (psychology, neurology, etc.), but to make any judgement about whether they should tweek their ideas about morality, requires the input of moral ideas itself. The only way this can be done without bringing in some externally-supplied moral code is to either just agree with the people being studied (groupthink) or look for logical inconsistencies in the moral system being studied – and figure out the least amount of change required to bring the system into logical consistency, which itself still implies a level of acceptance of things as they are.

    We probably shouldn’t carry on this conversation any farther here, though; so that’s the last I’ll say of it here.

    Almost everybody who is not a scientist or philosopher “knows” the exact opposite. THAT is the problem. THAT is why none of the climactic events we have witnessed so far have been bad enough to be the “Pearl Harbor” event. THAT is what RC is up against. THAT is why nothing has been done about GW.

    1. I think a lot of people do philosophize (is that a word?) on some level at times. People think. There are varying degrees with which people may be able to judge their own group.

    2. People who have the right idea regarding morality can still be led astray with misinformation about the science of climate change. This website (ahah! I’ve found a way to bring this back on topic!) provides a moral good by counteracting misinformation, but those who can’t tell which is real and which is fake are not necessarily being evil. Nobody is omniscient, or has infinite time. Of course we do suspect from time to time that somebody does have that ability and is choosing not to use it because of temptations or vices.

    On the other hand, some deniers/contrarians/skeptics like to accuse those who’ve accepted real science as being guilty of groupthink. Whether they believe this or not, this suggests some recognition of the concept of groupthink and why it can be a problematic behavior (a person could know groupthink is a problem and just not recognize it themselves, or percieve it falsely in others; or an evil person could be aware that groupthink is bad and still lead the group, so to speak).

    Re 167 CM – good one!

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 9 Jul 2011 @ 12:29 PM

  175. replying to SMatthew post 172

    You are correct to hypothesize that the warming sensitivity is not constant. Earth’s climate state changes as greenhouse gases change, so the responses should change too. However, the question is whether the sensitivity variation is practically important. Most model estimates of DT_2x (CO_2 doubling sensitivity, see the Park and Royer 2011 paper referenced up the thread) involve ranges of responses, not a single value, and paleoclimate estimates that lead to a single value have error bars. In Park and Royer (2011) we plot a Bayesian PDF for DT_2x. If the “true” warming sensitivity lies within the error bars or within a sigma of the PDF mean, then it doesnt make too much sense to formulate a variable DT_2x. The slow-feedback amplification of DT_2x seems obvious after you do the work to verify it, but at the start it was still a hypothesis to be tested.

    Good question.

    Comment by Jeffrey Park — 9 Jul 2011 @ 1:01 PM

  176. 142 Ray Ladbury 8 Jul 2011 at 10:03 AM


    “Somehow, this makes me angrier at the Gruniad and other mainstream media than I was before. How do we deal with journalists who choose not to do their jobs?”

    Ray the uncovering of disgraceful behaviour at Murdoch’s dismal News of the World, was largely down to persistent investigative efforts of Guardian reporters, especially Nick Davies.

    IMO the problem is not down to “journalists who choose not to do their jobs properly”, but rather to the particular corporate media ownerships that promote a somewhat different level of disgraceful practices. If proper science journalism was encouraged at say the UK Telegraph or dismal Daily Mail, we wouldn’t have had, for example, ludicrous full page misrepresentations of the science by Monckton (Telegraph) or contemptible articles by Delingpole (Telegraph) or Christopher Brooker (Mail) etc. etc. ad nauseum…

    There is excellent (UK) science journalism out there (e.g. Richard Black at the BBC; Ben Goldacre at the Guardian). Proper journalism is promoted and encouraged at media outlets like the BBC and Guardian that retain considerable independence. The problem isn’t the journalists – good science journalists simply don’t have a place at the Telegraph or Daily Mail (or the now deceased NOW).

    Not sure how we deal with this other than to strongly support good journalism when we encounter it. Perhaps the NOW debacle will see a tiny shift away from the degrading influence of corporate vested influence on public understanding of science in the UK…

    Comment by chris — 9 Jul 2011 @ 1:05 PM

  177. I must say , after years of fending off idiot News International propaganda about climate, its very refreshing to find British people wising up to their dirty tricks. It gives hope at least that a news chain utterly dedicated to stupid science is getting a serious look over. Hugh Grant should give us a hand with AGW as he is doing a great job as a undercover reporter.

    We need all the help we can get! I Google climate issues often, and the subject is mercilessly attacked, so one good google post is often buried by 10 bad ones. Somehow we need to expose more the infantile and often below contempt reporting about climate change. We are still a long way in doing so.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 9 Jul 2011 @ 1:49 PM

  178. errors that arise using F = G*m1*m2/r^2 in a relativisitic situation – well, I’m not sure now if there is an error there; I’m a little rusty with relativity. Sticking to what’s more familiar, another example is applying the quasigeostrophic approximation to tornados. Or the approximations in the aerodynamics of airplanes to bees (bees don’t break the laws of aerodynamics, but they can’t be adequately described by the simplifications that can be used for airplanes).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 9 Jul 2011 @ 1:53 PM

  179. [edit OT ranting. You are patently not respecting the request at the top of this post or the wishes of the moderators. All further will be deleted.]

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 9 Jul 2011 @ 2:59 PM

  180. no148-149 Meow:

    @Gwinnevere (140): You can fit any curve arbitrarily well by choosing the appropriate set of interpolating functions. That doesn’t mean that the resulting functions predict how the system underlying the fitted curve will behave in the future.
    — Yes. I agree, absolutely Meow. But any ”appropriate set of interpolating functions” does not render an explaining set of derivative-integral functions aligned with measured quantities: Sea, Industry, CO2. Only one, unique, set will do. Meaning: Only those components will do, that explain already observed variations. We are only interested in the observed global warming energy equivalent, not type »Fred Flintstone» Saturday entertainment cartoons. But please, excuse me. Perhaps this response crosses the border of the aim of the content of this web page.
    (If you are eager to discuss mathematical-numeric theory with me, this is not the page for it. But if you insist, and have the appropriate open discussing place for it, please say where, and I will answer whatever I can in connection to and concern of AGW-math).


    Comment by Gwinnevere — 9 Jul 2011 @ 3:28 PM

  181. no150 Susan Anderson :
    ”Not sure what’s up with gwinnevere, but her conclusion labels her comment suspect.”.
    — Perhaps if addressed more in quest, a chance of response might uncover the proposed obscurities?
    ”I don’t think science is more at the abyss than human habitation on our planet is”.
    — The appeal perhaps would seem different if we fast forward to 2040? I don’t know, Susanne. I just read the thermometer.
    No. Please (Susan), if there is something you wonder about my presentation (or any claim in it) on the AGW-subject, please be (more) specific and address me with a question, and I will respond to whatever I can to satisfy your interest in »the science of AGW», and as far as of any value. Thank you.


    Comment by Gwinnevere — 9 Jul 2011 @ 3:30 PM

  182. no164 wayne davidson:

    #140 Gwinnevere, I find your math argument intriguing, but as exciting as this may be, it seems you don’t understand, Arctic sea ice volume …

    Nothing , absolutely nothing suggests a lull in warming as demonstrated by the Earth. Please be more clear, and explain how rapidly recent disappearing sea ice volume [LINK] matches a certain temperature lull.
    — Thank you, wayne davidson.
    I will try to enlighten you — completely:
    First (to clear any doubts): I do not oppose the Arctic temperature measurements you advise. I support them.
    — The NASA-temperature curve, which we take as the only proof we have of an ongoing global warming, is seen by the ”intriguing” AGW-math expressions exactly as the NASA-measure says: land-marine measurements. No higher atmospheric layers are involved. The — intriguing, as you say, wayne davidson — AGW-mathematics also calculates this land-marine surface altitude to only a maximum of no more than h=60 meters above all Earth solid-liquid surface. This result, same as the one scaling the sea heat content, the industry energy driving curve and its resulting CO2-concentration, excludes any higher lying atmospheric measures or aspects.
    — The Arctic sea ice portion you mention, wayne davidson, its connection to the general, averaged AGW-described results (in the no140-post from Gwinnevere) as a matching equally describing (dotted) NASA-curve, is INCLUSIVE in the general curvature. Of course.
    — It does not mean that a local OTHER average is excluded, of course not — but it surely means that any a local aspect of increase (or decrease), Arctic or other whatever, is not representative to the entire trend thrown out from denialists and skeptics — showing the actual »lull»: 2000-2040 IF correctly apprehended and no flaws present.
    — To be specific, wayne davidson: I do not oppose your claim that Arctic data show what you say it shows. But if you mean to claim that (for example) Arctic warming data are to be apprehended as global averaged data, you are, as I see it, in deep oceanic trouble due to the actual NASA-curve and its derived (dotted) component equivalents: There will be a flat period up to 2040. That is what the entire AGW-math shows.
    — Another way to satisfy you, wayne davidson, perhaps would be this:
    — The GLOBAL TREND of the LULL is composed of the natural down going sea period 2000-2040 together with the global warming up going ocean warming temperature-Energy-curve from AGW math, including warming Arctic regions and hence proving ice melting in the Arctic as well as elsewhere, by showing an average global net change of naught, what we may name a lull, a period of quiet or tranquil.


    Comment by Gwinnevere — 9 Jul 2011 @ 3:32 PM

  183. Gwinnevere:

    But any ”appropriate set of interpolating functions” does not render an explaining set of derivative-integral functions aligned with measured quantities: Sea, Industry, CO2. Only one, unique, set will do. Meaning: Only those components will do, that explain already observed variations.

    Curve-fitting is descriptive, not explanatory.

    Comment by dhogaza — 9 Jul 2011 @ 3:56 PM

  184. Gavin, on your response to 170, I think Scaife is talking specifically about causes of variability in UK climate, rather than globally. The surrounding passages are about how the UK has cold winters during El Ninos and that periods of low solar activity have been concurrent with El Nino-like patterns in the region.

    I was thinking the quote might have some link to the findings of a Drew Shindell paper from 2001, on which you were co-author: ‘Solar Forcing of Regional Climate Change During the Maunder Minimum’

    I’m not really sure if this context makes his statement any more justifiable in terms of year-to-year variability.

    [Response: I was an author on Shindell et al and we did not conclude that 50% of the interannual variability was caused by solar. We didn’t discuss interannual variability at all in fact. The lockwood papers are perhaps the closest to the analysis you would need, but the correlations aren’t anything like that high. – gavin]

    Comment by Paul S — 9 Jul 2011 @ 4:59 PM

  185. Gwinnevere:
    “(If you are eager to discuss mathematical-numeric theory with me, this is not the page for it. But if you insist, and have the appropriate open discussing place for it, please say where, and I will answer whatever I can in connection to and concern of AGW-math).”

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 9 Jul 2011 @ 5:04 PM

  186. 175, Jeffrey Park, thank you.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 9 Jul 2011 @ 5:17 PM

  187. Hansen and Sato have a revised paper on arxiv

    Figure 9 is a remarkable depiction of the cooling effect of rapid ice sheet collapse. In 2080 the temperature rise in the A1B scenario is moderated from 2.15 C to 0.84 C, together with sea level rise of 1.44 m

    I fully expect the denialist howler monkeys to leap on this, shrieking, “See! It will fix itself! Not so bad!”


    Comment by sidd — 9 Jul 2011 @ 5:22 PM

  188. I have been observing the climate changes, trying to make sense of them and I would like to share my ideas with the hosts and commentators here to see how that stand up (or get shot down). Firstly the observations: I have notice where I live and have read, that the biological indicators of global warming are strong, to me, much stronger than the recorded temperature changes seem to indicate. The average recorded temperature changes seem to be quite small (in the order of 1 degree). In this Winter for example, the minimum temperature anomaly, accord to the figures is around about average (see The dam on my property however, has not frozen over on any night this winter. As recently as 4 years ago the dam would freeze over regularly, in the order of 10 times per winter.

    The way I figure it, it seems that the daily temperature change profiles are changing much more significantly than the temperature ranges. To me, that wold explain the biological changes and the changes in the freezing behavior that I have observed. Has anyone put together data that either confirms or dismisses my idea?

    Comment by Lawrence McLean — 9 Jul 2011 @ 5:34 PM

  189. Gwinnevere,

    Your writing style is very hard for me to follow, but you seem to be saying, to put it simply, there will be little or no measurable rise in global temperatures for the next 30 years. Your argument, if I follow, is based on current math and recent trend, I assume partly based on the solar minimum, perhaps the coal particulate issue recently raised, etc.

    The problem I find – bearing in mind I am a math idiot – is that you are relying solely on the math. You do not mention any observable phenomena that might alter the math. Given the temperature record is a record of the physical changes and not the other way around, this seems a bit short-sighted.

    While there has been some discussion of an extended period of low solar activity, it is not a guaranteed. Even if it were, the calculated change over the next 90 years is perhaps -0.3C, I believe. Since that effect will be front-loaded to the next 30 years or so then amortized over the rest of the century, I suppose the shorter-term effect may present as a higher fracrtion, which i have no ability to calculate. What, 0.5 or 0.6C? (Hopefully someone out there has some idea.) This would definitely have the potential to keep temps significantly lower than otherwise.

    The problem we have is climate changes are coming exponentially faster in some cases. Hansen, et al., believe Greenland melt may be doubling each decade, for example. The Arctic Sea Ice is on a current trajectory of a roughly (80%) ice free Arctic within the next five years. Deforestation, natural and man-made (though all man-made by extension) is continuing apace, changes in oceans (jellyfish are certainly an unexpected surprise and huge carbon problem) are on-going, including warm water infiltration into the Arctic, Antarctic and Greenland areas of sea ice and ice shelves, etc.

    To assume that a trend in the math trumps geophysical changes has got it backwards. Are you considering these things?

    Comment by ccpo — 9 Jul 2011 @ 5:44 PM

  190. Gwinnevere, a flaw in your logic otherwise well presented…

    “Another way to satisfy you, wayne davidson, perhaps would be this:
    — The GLOBAL TREND of the LULL is composed of the natural down going sea period 2000-2040 together with the global warming up going ocean warming temperature-Energy-curve from AGW math, including warming Arctic regions and hence proving ice melting in the Arctic as well as elsewhere, by showing an average global net change of naught, what we may name a lull, a period of quiet or tranquil.”

    Everything is interconnected on Earth, the seas cant go down in temperature while the Arctic goes up. That is impossible, namely ENSO proves the case quite readily, when El-Nino throttles full blast the Arctic becomes much warmer, when La-Nina cools a great chunk of the Pacific, the Arctic blue skies dominate. One region may show anomalous behavior systemically related to Omega blocks or some rare but not uncommon planetary wave feature. Over all heat injected to the world system is readily shared, the equator being a much larger area has a huge influence everywhere else, particularly with clouds on the upwards. To your claim: warmer Arctic colder oceans, this is equally impossible,colder oceans give off less cloud seeds, when this happens the Arctic goes into a deep freeze especially during the long night, this deep freeze exceeds well onto June! However, each major system, Polar, Oceanic and Continental have their own independent thermal dynamic engines going, the link between them are clouds, no clouds occur when no moisture and nucleation particles. The only way the Arctic warms is when the South is loaded with kinetic energy especially from the seas, or for a brief Arctic summer moment warmer by no clouds when the oceans are colder, but as you know the Arctic has no sun rays for months and this warming is dwarfed by the long night filled with auroras and star light.

    I leave it up to Gavin to explain the Nasa bit.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 9 Jul 2011 @ 5:48 PM

  191. no183 dhogaza:
    Hello dhogaza;
    FAST EXAMPLE (I am in a little bit of a hurry):
    — Place an object at the edge of your desk.
    Giving it at push, the resulting physics — curvature, naturally evolving process — shows (describes, explains) a (basic) two component equivalent curvature (as in 3=2+1):
    1. a linear velocity taken by a straight curvature (straight line);
    2. a linear acceleration (as in an ideal free fall in a Galilean force field, same acceleration everywhere) by another (ideal) straight line of extension;
    — If this is accepted as a more elegant and concrete practical example paralleling the AGW-equalities under question, would you, dhogaza please, develop more in detail what is meant by your comment
    ”Curve-fitting is descriptive, not explanatory” (because as scientists, we must always specify a frame of REFERENCE).
    — As far as I know, nobody will be able to make a clear distinction between the resulting curve describing, and explaining, the two components by equality. These form an unbreakable unity (what we call an equality — a certified identity — between sum and parts).
    — However, if »you are the man» to present another view, and the subject is accepted, please fire off.


    Comment by Gwinnevere — 9 Jul 2011 @ 6:03 PM

  192. — If this is accepted as a more elegant and concrete practical example paralleling the AGW-equalities under question

    Of course it’s not accepted, because in your physics based example you’re not fitting an arbitrary curve to match observations. You’re starting with physics, and use that to predict the path of the object.

    Your “AGW-maths” is curve-fitting, pure and simple, not at all the same thing.

    The fact that you don’t see the difference is … telling. Tells us that further discussion is probably a waste of time.

    Comment by dhogaza — 9 Jul 2011 @ 7:03 PM

  193. Gwinnevere says:

    — The NASA-temperature curve, which we take as the only proof we have of an ongoing global warming, is seen by the ”intriguing” AGW-math expressions exactly as the NASA-measure says: land-marine measurements. No higher atmospheric layers are involved. The — intriguing, as you say, wayne davidson — AGW-mathematics also calculates this land-marine surface altitude to only a maximum of no more than h=60 meters above all Earth solid-liquid surface. This result, same as the one scaling the sea heat content, the industry energy driving curve and its resulting CO2-concentration, excludes any higher lying atmospheric measures or aspects.

    I’m having a really hard time parsing that paragraph, but the first sentence seems to express a belief that the only evidence we have of warming temperatures is NASA guesstimates.

    Gwin, that’s just plain wrong. You need to add all the other signs, like:

    retreating sea ice
    melting land glaciers
    number of new record high temperatures vs record lows
    migrating species of plants and animals (poleward or to higher elevations)

    Global warming emerged from the noise several decades ago. Pretending the only sign of it is NASA’s temperature analysis would be childish.

    Perhaps I simply misunderstood your statement.

    Comment by David Miller — 9 Jul 2011 @ 7:19 PM

  194. Given the widely noted slow warming from 1998 to 2008, it has been unclear why arctic sea ice melt accelerated during that period.
    I propose that the transient increase in energy going into the oceans as a result of ENSO/PDO and other mechanisms* slowed the increase in air temperatures but increased ice melt from below.

    *The top ~5 meters of the ocean have as much heat capacity as the atmosphere. How big an increase in the flow of the Gulf Stream would be required to carry away enough joules to balance the increased forcing from CO2 between 1998 and 2008? Are strong ENSO cycles associated with changes in ocean currents that could carry large amounts of energy, and perhaps persist long enough to influence the amount of global warming for a decade?

    The comments about %50 percent of the variability in weather due to sunspots probably comes from the paper discussed here. Its only England(analysis was based on CET), its only 0.5 degrees C change from min to max solar cycle, and natural variability swamps the signal, unless you have a large dataset amenable to statistical analysis -“The winter of 1684 was the coldest in the whole record,” says Lockwood. “But the very next year, when solar activity was still low, was the third warmest.” Hence the use of CET.

    Why is “The Keeling Curve” called a curve? Because calling it a “hockey stick” is considered politically incorrect.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 9 Jul 2011 @ 7:48 PM

  195. Re 191 Gwinnevere – okay, place an object at your desk, and push it at a constant rate (could be a constant force equal to the friction force). Fit a curve to the evolution of position as a function of time. Now predict what happens. If you only extrapolate the curve, this implicitly assumes that you continue to push it at a constant rate. But if you pushed harder or took your hand off of the object at some time in the future, the motion would be different, and your prediction would have failed. What if the object reaches the edge of the desk? What if it bumps into something affixed to the desk and you can’t push hard enough to keep it moving? What if somebody spilled coffee or glue on the desk? What if part of the desk has grooves on it and the object starts to wobble as it is pushed? What if you sneeze? What if lightning strikes nearby and you are startled and jerk and the object flies right off the desk? You could predict some (not all) of these things if you only looked at the desk, or considered what you are planning to do with your object pushing. You can’t necessarily know all you need to know to make predictions if you only look at the trajectory of the object over a limited time period.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 9 Jul 2011 @ 7:54 PM

  196. Gwinnevere, I noticed the difficult writing format and your conclusions, which if true, would be worldshaking. There was also your leading assumption that you would be banned, which comes from a certain quarter where rumors don’t always match facts. There was your condescension, particularly in your attack on Wayne Davidson, who actually does science in the far north and belongs to a somewhat rarified group therefore. Then there’s your chosen identification, which references a certain romantic ideology.

    However, I did get a little above myself, letting my nose for fake skepticism (real skeptics are not so eager to find fault with one side and hold up the other) and instinct tread beyond my knowledge. I hope you will pay attention to the people here, who are taking the trouble to work with you, and pursue the evidence honestly. I am not a scientist, though I have multiple associations with science and spent a brief while studying biochemistry at MIT and a much longer time there teaching scientists how to draw. I’ve studied climate hard and watched the evidence, intently for the last decade, but will never be a physicist.

    I had resolved to behave myself since I’m sinning above my station here, but your odd presentation was too tempting and I blew it again. Mea culpa, somewhat, and not just to you.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 9 Jul 2011 @ 8:15 PM

  197. > Regarding the hypothesis that increased sulfate aerosols from
    > China suppressed warming, wouldn’t that effect be more pronounced
    > in the northern hemisphere?

    I recall (but haven’t rediscovered) mention several years ago that there are clear differences in the photochemistry depending on the distance from the equator — it was a discussion of the difference between how coal-burning in England and Europe’s early days differed from the current coal-burning by China and India much closer to the Equator. Different sun angle, different solar spectrum impinging on the material emitted, different day lengths, different temperature.

    Perhaps someone recalls where that’s been written up.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Jul 2011 @ 8:48 PM

  198. Australia Carbon Tax announced, one small step for Australia,
    The main points:

    Initial carbon price of $23 per tonne of carbon pollution to be paid by the 500 heaviest emitters and increasing by 2.5 per cent in real terms.
    A transition to a market-based emissions trading scheme in 2015.
    $9.2 billion from the revenue stream to help businesses and workers impacted by the plan.
    Tax cuts and pension increases to protect people from higher prices.
    A $1.2 billion Clean Technology Program to improve energy efficiency in manufacturing and to support research and development.
    Australia’s most polluting electricty generators will be closed and replaced with gas-fired units by 2020.
    A $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation to fund new clean energy technology.
    An Australian Renewable Energy Agency to manage a $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation to fund new clean energy technology.
    An Australian Renewable Energy Agency to manage a $3.2 billion clean energy budget.
    A target of 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020.
    Agriculture excluded from paying the carbon price.
    80% reduction by 2050

    all in vain as the opposition, conservatives will tear it down when they gain power in a few years time after a massive anti-science campaign

    Comment by john byatt — 9 Jul 2011 @ 11:19 PM

  199. I had resolved to behave myself since I’m sinning above my station here, but your odd presentation was too tempting and I blew it again. Mea culpa, somewhat, and not just to you.

    No need to apologize, unless you’re upset that you misidentified a crank for a denialist.

    Comment by dhogaza — 9 Jul 2011 @ 11:26 PM

  200. Patrick 027 …

    You’re giving him too much credit by assuming he was talking about curve fitting in his example.

    He’s talking about flicking something off a surface and computing the track of the object as being a function of the two vectors describing its initial velocity with the accelerating downward vector that results from gravity.

    And suggesting this is somehow equivalent to/support for his curve fitting exercise.

    Assuming I understood his english (at which he sucks, as he does at trying to describe his thoughts mathematically, so maybe I’m wrong).

    Comment by dhogaza — 9 Jul 2011 @ 11:31 PM

  201. #194 Brian; “Given the widely noted slow warming from 1998 to 2008, it has been unclear why arctic sea ice melt accelerated during that period. I propose that the transient increase in energy going into the oceans as a result of ENSO/PDO and other mechanisms* slowed the increase in air temperatures but increased ice melt from below.”

    If that were true Montreal summer sun disk diameters would be repeatable at the same size and show no expansion trends, there would be no frequent incursions of cyclones from to South penetrating all the way to the North Pole during darkness, and the oceans, particularly Atlantic SST’s wouldn’t be at all time high temperatures. There is a lull if sun disks remain the same size year after year, the ocean temps remain stable and the Arctic Sea ice trends average melts.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 10 Jul 2011 @ 1:04 AM

  202. Brian Dodge: 9 Jul 2011 at 7:48 PM

    There’s a new study out which in the essence identifies that increased FYI melt [with higher salt content] causes it to sink and push up the warmer layers below, which amplifies the melt again. A few guys did a long distance track from Ellesmere to Baffin and measured water temps at 200 meters depth and found it was colder than before, so they went to look for a mechanism that could have caused this.

    Comment by Sekerob — 10 Jul 2011 @ 3:42 AM

  203. Gwinnevere, further to what David Miller said, here are no less than ELEVEN completely different climate indicators that all show a strong trend signalling global warming.

    They are:

    Land Surface Air Temperature
    Sea-surface Temperature
    Marine Air Temperature
    Sea Level
    NH (March-April) Snow Cover
    Tropospheric Temperature
    Ocean Heat Content (0-700m)
    Specific Humidity
    Stratospheric Temperature
    September Arctic Sea-Ice Extent
    Glacier Mass Balance

    NOAA have supported these trend assessments with 55 datasets. NASA’s GISS is just one out of these 55 datasets.

    These 11 indicators aren’t even the limit of what we have, they are just the most unequivocal, unarguable records, going back decades (and in many cases centuries).

    Comment by Didactylos — 10 Jul 2011 @ 4:54 AM

  204. Oh, and Gwinnevere – I don’t want to pile on, but you have made a couple of errors:

    1) The NASA and CRU temperature products are not the same. You seem to attribute your “curve” to both.

    2) Your “simple AGW math” is wrong. Your model is actually rather complicated, and you have fallen into the common trap of over-fitting. Over-fitting is a problem distinct from the issue already explained (at length) about the lack of predictive power from curve fitting.

    I wish you luck in your future exploration of statistics.

    PS: You twice reference as a secondary source. You should be aware that they are not reliable. Go to the primary sources.

    Comment by Didactylos — 10 Jul 2011 @ 5:15 AM

  205. Chris@176,
    Oh, I agree that corporate policy can increase incentives for journalists, but there is something to be said for “doing the right thing” simply because it is the right thing–independent of incentive or cost.

    The Gruniad has been utterly AWOL when it comes to reporting on the smear campaign against science. Indeed, they’ve piled on when the opportunity arose. Likewise the BBC, NPR and on and on.

    The News of the Weird incident merely shows that they COULD actually find their tuckus with both hands and a GPS on the most important issue of our time if trivialities like avoiding massive human suffering mattered to them.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Jul 2011 @ 6:49 AM

  206. Didactylos,
    Yeah, that’s what I love about denialists–they live in such a simple world. They think all they have to do is find a single error–or even a single perceived error–in a single data set and the entirety of reality will come tumbling down. One wonders if stupidity and tunnel vision come so naturally to them or if they work at it.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Jul 2011 @ 9:25 AM

  207. Leo@170. I think your erosion example isn’t a good one. For the most part erosion rates are controlled by the extreme events, not the steady trickle. This is a consequence of the fact that the instantaneous erosion rate rapidly increases with flow volume.

    172 There is a good argument to be made that long term climate sensitivity depends on the strength of feedbacks in a given regime. During times when the planet had little snow/ice i.e. most of the time before the iceages, the ice/albedo feedback mechanism was unimportant. There are probably also feedbacks based upon vegetation versus albedo as well, but these are harder to understand.

    Comment by Thomas — 10 Jul 2011 @ 9:44 AM

  208. Got it I think. Certain things like solar and Co2 are primary causes, whilst others like water vapour is a secondary cause.

    If this is right, then in places like the Arctic or the Sahara, where the atmosphere is quite dry, is there a lesser effect from CO2 forcing? i.e. is the sensitivity less?

    [Response: Well the small increase of water vapour in dry situations can actual give a bigger temperature response than an increase in already wet situations, but the nature of the regional response is not generally easily broken down like this – there are circulation issues, albedo changes, clouds and water vapour to worry about (at least). – gavin]

    Comment by Leo G — 10 Jul 2011 @ 10:19 AM

  209. 183: dhogaza said: “Curve-fitting is descriptive, not explanatory.”

    As usual I am out of context, but this is a sticky wicket with which I largely disagree. I would probably agree with a statement that curve fitting with no prior constraints on the “interpolating functions” is not explanatory, but there is huge difference between fitting with the “wrong” functions and the “right” ones.

    Here’s an example.

    What if careful consideration of physics dictates that a given function ought to be a rational function of x, f(x), with f(0)=0, and f(infinity)=1?

    Let’s say you don’t give the physics just consideration and fit with exponentials:

    f(x) = 1 + b1 exp(-.1 x) + b2 exp(-.2 x) + … + b_N exp(-N .1 x)

    The resulting fit will not shed much light on the object of study even though the discovered function f(x) might do a bang up job of fitting the data.

    Fitting with

    f(x) = Poly(x) /(1 + Poly(x))

    where Poly is an arbitrary order polynomial in x (with Poly(0)=0) might well yield insight.

    Both functions have the same general shape. Let’s say that fitting to data yields Poly(x) = x^2 to a high degree of accuracy. I would argue that uncovering the simple functional form f(x) = x^2/(1 + x^2) would be considered “explanatory” by a reasonable person, whereas the curve generated by the exponential fit might look arbitrarily close to the rational function, but provides no illumination. In particular it hides the simple functional form.

    Here is a snippet of mathematica code that illustrates.

    a = 0.1;
    data = Table[ {a i, (a i)^2/(1 + (a i)^2)}, {i, 1, 1000}];
    b = .1;
    Nfunc = 25;
    funcs = Table[Exp[- b x]^i, {i, 0, Nfunc}];
    line = Fit[data, funcs, x];
    LogLinearPlot[{x^2/(1 + x^2), line}, {x, .01, 10}, PlotStyle -> {{Thick, Black}, {Thick, Dotted, Red}}]

    The two curves are virtually indistinguishable. One is simple and low dimensional and the other is complicated.

    To summarize: in a given circumstance, physics can force the proper functional form used in fits and the resulting fits probably qualify as “explanatory” in that they illuminate mechanisms involved in the process being studied.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 10 Jul 2011 @ 10:49 AM

  210. Thank you, all of you, for showing such an enthusiastic interest in posting (so many) arguments to my posts. I really appreciate your calls, and I will try to meet them, one by one, and by the time and ability I have. Please be patient.
    To be continued.


    Comment by Gwinnevere — 10 Jul 2011 @ 11:05 AM

  211. So no one wants to make a prediction about when we will hit 400 ppm? Responding endlessly to curve-fitters appears to be more fun. Oh well.

    Comment by wili — 10 Jul 2011 @ 11:08 AM

  212. no193 David Miller:
    Oh David. You are absolutely correct.
    — Of course the items you mention are the most central besides »dry mathematical curves». I apologize for being such a clumsy functional nerd. However, the mission is to kill the denialist side and get to the point of a cure by strict mathematical physics (as I see it — energy for a cure). Thank you for reminding me.


    Comment by Gwinnevere — 10 Jul 2011 @ 11:09 AM

  213. no185 Pete Dunkelberg:
    Hello Pete.
    — Your post addresses me by a quote that belongs to a post from no148-149 Meow (and a suggested link with no further contextual description).
    — Excuse me Peter Dunkelberg. But if you have something on mind to be drafted, you would have to be more specific as to the onset of your subject. I can already say here, I will not travel around different links without described context. Please give a context in a readable sentence, so that I (and others) can follow your intention and argument. Thank you for sharing.


    Comment by Gwinnevere — 10 Jul 2011 @ 11:11 AM

  214. no192 dhogaza:
    — I would agree with you ONLY if the AGW-values were »arbitrary».
    But how is it, dhogaza?
    — I would not say that a 98% match of measured and calculated is an »arbitrary» — the integral part of the industrial fossil carbon emission giving the CO2-concentration, certifying for the rest (utilized energy on the level of T22 J, T for 10^+, ocean heat content ca 0.85 M/M²) that the three-functional set of curvatures (Sea, Industry, CO2), with the Industry curve as the central component to and in the NASA-measure, is genuine and trustworthy. Please.
    — Please try again, dhogaza. Only if you can show that observations do not match calculations, I will convert to your position. AGW holds. You are absolutely welcome on my account to try to convince me otherwise. Thank you very much.


    Comment by Gwinnevere — 10 Jul 2011 @ 11:12 AM

  215. no189 ccpo:
    Hello ccpo.
    ”… you seem to be saying …”.

    — No. Please excuse me, ccpo. As I said before to Susan Anderson:
    — I’m just reading the thermometer. Doubt the dotted, doubt the measured.
    IF I am wrong, so is the dotted — and, at least, the part 1860 to now 2011, also »wrong».
    — I am just defending what I see (trying, possibly, to show the others).

    ”based on current math”:
    — No. Based on current measure. Doubt the dotted, doubt the measured.

    ”solar minimum”:
    Please, ccpo:
    — Solar — natural — variations has nothing to do with AGW-math. Variations in the Sun distributing energy lies besides the AGW-complex as a separate complex. It, the Sun by variation, has got nothing to do with the driving industry fossil carbon emissivity, which apparently is the only one genuine energy driving cause to the measured global warming, the NASA-curve.

    I would anyway say that your argumentation, nevertheless, to some extent, is plausible:
    — All variations give contributions, no doubt. But as you also might have observed (no direct link here), calculations in general show that the variation from or Sun, including its potential in generating influence from cosmic radiation, as such are to small by contribution to have any significance. These Solar variations do appear, of course, but they are minor compared to the general global warming effect. For this reason, the Sun is left out completely in the basic AGW-math. There is only the industry part — and a constant irradiative net power from the Sun roughly about 250 W/M² — that is the active, causing, agent in AGW. No Sun variation.

    Again, ccpo:
    — The only foundation I have to make a reference on and to in accord with my posting descriptions, is the NASA-curve measure, and without it, nothing. There is no »model» or »theory» in that. I see it just as a physical appearing phenomena, an ongoing process, that has to be explained, described, expressed as to cause and extension. Thank you for your interest. I am constantly looking for flaws in my own apprehension — you help. Thanks again (and for any further contribution).


    Comment by Gwinnevere — 10 Jul 2011 @ 11:16 AM

  216. no190 wayne davidson:
    ”Gwinnevere, a flaw in you logic …”.
    I heard that, wayne davidson. Thank you.

    I see what you mean.
    — But you also see, at least, a part of the already established ocean research (D’Aleo, 2008 and further):
    — Natural ocean average temperature is periodically changing (with about ±0.1 °C) within periods of (partly) a rough 20 year cycle and (partly) a 60-80 year cycle (with minor variations due to the average surface periods of roughly 5-10 years).
    — This is interesting, wayne davidson — very interesting, and only you will have the credit for exposing such an excellent spot of the matter, absolutely:
    ”The seas can’t go down in temperature while the Arctic goes up.”,
    ”That is impossible”.
    — You are absolute right, wayne davidson. Absolutely.

    What does it mean? Let us try this one:

    WHILE the general (average) global oceanic volume is on the falling edge of its NATURAL — as it was before the AGW-age — temperature trough, that is the down period (now 2000-2040, as mentioned by reference in post140) — the global warming, the actual AGW temperature-energy functionality from industry fossil carbon emissions, adds its contribution, of course. Then, again of course:
    — A general, all global continental oceanic warming appears, not only in the Arctic, and all together with a net averaging temperature readout of this type: same. No change. No average net changing temperature will bee seen 2000-2040, according to the Doubt the dotted, doubt the measured NASA-curve match.
    — AGW EATS the (falling edge of the) natural down sea period.
    — The down going natural oceanic cooling period is erased (precisely) by the up going global warming — warming all the oceanic content, not only the Arctic.

    Plainly, and hence, a minor misapprehension was seen flawing the computer circuits, wayne davidson:

    ”To your claim: Warmer Arctic, colder oceans”.
    — No, wayne davidson. Here is the clear misinterpretation, please. The measure shows:
    »Warmer Arctic, warmer oceans in general». There is no difference.
    — The average includes all areas, all volumes.
    — As the Arctic warms, so does the entire average oceanic volumes, of course.
    And you are perfectly right:
    — »The seas can’t go down in temperature while the Arctic goes up».
    — All of them changes simultaneously. Of course.


    Comment by Gwinnevere — 10 Jul 2011 @ 11:20 AM

  217. no195 Patrick 027:
    Hello Patrick 027.
    — And what if all of your — our — claims had no meaning?
    The philosophy of TRUTH is beyond this web page, if I am not misinformed, and too the way mathematics and physics connects to truth, its provability and the quests in concern of certainty and identity.
    — I hope you will understand that, Patrick, and that I am in no position of arguing with you on the part on your suggestion. I would like to though, but am not allowed to. Thank you.


    Comment by Gwinnevere — 10 Jul 2011 @ 11:23 AM

  218. no196 Susan Anderson:
    Thank you for the observation — I am not a troll, and I neither wear a camouflage for evil intentions, or a deniers or a skeptics dress. That type never attended to my nature.
    — On the other hand, Susan:
    — Information on »banned» and »rumors» and the like connected to PERSON, neither this web page is intended for, nor I will discuss with anyone. It has no connection to science, but belongs to journalistic gossip.

    As to the BANNED assumption and this WebSite Real Climate, and others, if appropriate:
    — There are alternative arguments in and of science, not necessarily from so called deniers and skeptics.
    But there are some web sites that does not allow certain »inconvenient opinions». While the general scientific community throws out denialists on their (repeated) arguments, the denialists camp do the same with type Gwinnevere who has set up the goal to kill all global denial — by knowledge. Until we have found out the status of this camp, Real Climate, the IF clause will stay put.
    — I understand (to some extent) your carefulness, and accept whatever excuses you have, if any. My interest is only of a pure scientific nature: erase denialist camp, solve for energy, great technology (fine art).


    [Response: With all due respect, I cannot make head nor tail of your postings, nor fathom what you are referring too. Regardless, please stick to at least moderate scientific issues and leave the rumours and conspiracies and the denialists out of the picture. – gavin]

    Comment by Gwinnevere — 10 Jul 2011 @ 11:27 AM

  219. Journalist culture as a whole seems to have declined to the point where it is adverse to dealing with the kinds of pressures from above combined with the campaigns of naked hostility and threats of violence that the climate community has had to put up with. They’ll do a story to the point that it stirs up controversy, but not to the point where they have to actually fight back against a significant portion of their well-armed customer base. It’s not like the old days when taking on all comers if necessary was part of the ethos. That was crushed in the aftermath of Vietnam and Watergate.

    No doubt there are journalists who are willing do the right thing; That’s in contrast to the profession as a whole which is now embedded in a culture that is part of the problem. It’s the profession that needs to move and it simply won’t step up until there are either structural changes or until society provides it the cover it feels it needs to treat these stories with the vigor they deserve. IMO.

    Won’t stop me from berating the bastards though. Eventually the message may seep in.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 10 Jul 2011 @ 1:11 PM

  220. 2015.

    Download Mauna Loa data:
    Take the average of the differences between annual amounts from 2000 to 2010.
    (389.78-369.4)/2.038 ~ 5.
    i.e. about 2015.

    Comment by Chris R — 10 Jul 2011 @ 1:14 PM

  221. Wili #209.

    …about 2015 based on last decade’s increases.

    Comment by Chris R — 10 Jul 2011 @ 1:15 PM

  222. What about adding memristive functions to climate models, in order to model nonlinearities?

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 10 Jul 2011 @ 1:22 PM

  223. To summarize: in a given circumstance, physics can force the proper functional form used in fits …

    It’s explanatory because it’s modeling (and is constrained by) the physics. Note that you’re saying the exercise “illuminate[s] mechanisms involved in the process being studied”, i.e helps with understanding of the explanatory *physics*.

    What “Gwinnevere” is not that …

    Comment by dhogaza — 10 Jul 2011 @ 1:23 PM

  224. 183, dhogaza: Curve-fitting is descriptive, not explanatory.

    Yet it can be useful, as in the calibration of measuring instruments. And it can be predictive, as in predicting the results of a long period of radioactive decay, or the proportional hazards modeling in accelerated life testing.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 10 Jul 2011 @ 1:27 PM

  225. Wili @ 209 – I’ll make a prediction on when CO2 levels reach 400 ppm. Doing some back of the envelope projections from the Mauna Loa data I predict that the monthly mean CO2 value will reach 400 ppm in March 2014, and the seasonally adjusted CO2 value will reach 40 ppm in September 2015. Both those predictions are plus or minus a month.

    But you understand, don’t you, that whether I’m right or wrong, nobody is a winner when we reach 400 ppm. This is like being in a leaky liferaft and predicting when all of the air will have escaped.

    Comment by Phillip Shaw — 10 Jul 2011 @ 2:04 PM

  226. Dr. Gavin @ 208,

    What I am getting from your response is that as I understand a bit more, I understand that I understand a hell of a lot less!

    So some ares of the earth can have a higher water vapour content then the Arctic, but the small increase of water vapour content in the Arctic, brought about by the rise in CO2 can have a stronger effect on the Arctic then say the tropics, where the water vapour content could be significantly higher then the Arctic???

    WOW! I won’t be quitting my day job to try to learn your day job!

    [Response: It’s not that hard… ;-) The impact from water vapour is roughly logarithmic (so each % change has the same effect). – gavin]

    Comment by Leo G — 10 Jul 2011 @ 2:59 PM

  227. #219 Radge, of all people, Hugh Grant set the example, if the medias are so irresponsible about AGW we must find a way to break their grasp on stupid reporting, its not done in one day, we must work at it, like this actor did, till we find something that sticks. I am amazed that 1 mile in diameter tornados didn’t frighten the willies out of the press, and especially didn’t draw much research as to how they have become much more lethal. Incompetent press reports always carry the scoop that not nothing can be proven as caused by AGW., which is correct, but fail to report that AGW enhances, adds higher octane to high energy weather. Most are stuck in a loop of defending the conclusion but adding the missive, looking like dotters, adding the dot on the i, instead of saying like Stephen Hawkins that the Earth may become a second Venus., as alarming as it sounds, who are we to call Hawkins incapable of seeing this happen? Then the contrarians use an inversion technique, calling AGW talk as alarmist, scare mongering, in order for proponents to use other words, this technique works. Somewhere down the PR effort for public minds, something will resonate and further the cause to fight AGW. My bet is the weather itself, 2 mile wide tornados, wide open seas at the North Pole, bees looking for flowers in January . When these events happen as they certainly will, what will we say? Will we be cautious and wait for the contrarian spin? Or will we be more direct, like Bill Mayer without the swearing.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 10 Jul 2011 @ 3:36 PM

  228. Yes, incredible news not reported but here:

    The NE passage is about to open, The NW passage will open again, Barrow strait never been so open in June.

    I say without hesitation as a result of well foreseen AGW effects.

    Now the interesting bit:

    In 2007 the Kara sea had a Multi year ice barrier, this blocked the Arctic Dipole from clearing the ice at the Pole. This year this barrier seems gone. Compare 2007 with 2011, there is a strong potential for 2011 having much less ice than 2007.

    Hurray for RC, me thinks the media would miss the end of the world for a good sexy piece of gossip about a rich undeserving actor.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 10 Jul 2011 @ 4:08 PM

  229. 223 dhogoza said:

    “It’s explanatory because it’s modeling …
    What “Gwinnevere” is not that …”

    I certainly wasn’t referring to anything that Gwinnevere said since I can’t understand a word Gwinnevere says.

    I do think the distinction between “curve fitting” and “modeling” is fairly subtle. Ptolemy was a dirty “curve fitter” and Copernicus (or perhaps Kepler) was a modeler? Kepler tried a lot of really crazy stuff (using nested platonic solids as “interpolating functions”, etc) before settling on elliptical orbits. I don’t think there was much physics to constrain his curve fitting at the time. Deriving Kepler’s laws from first principals must have made Newton sing from the roof tops. If Kepler’s results hadn’t been sitting there waiting for an explanation I suppose it would have taken longer for Newton to convince the world he was on to something.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 10 Jul 2011 @ 4:18 PM

  230. no203 Didactylos:
    Hello Didactylos. Yes. Thank you. I appreciate the fullness of your care.
    — As in the post from/to David Miller (no193), I apologize for leaving out these important indicators. However, my aim was, and is, just to underline the formulation of the process by mathematical physics. You are absolute right. Thank you so very much for the contribution.

    no204 Didactylos:
    — Seems the deniers will win this game, if we take it your way. Okay.

    1. The NASA-curve has SEVERAL (slightly different) versions: you are absolutely right.
    The NASA-curve (basic) I use is the first that appeared in my reference (2008-2009). It is no longer onSite, it has been replaced by other(s) [during two occasions].
    — However. The differences between the different versions all follow the same regular variation (check by transparently overlaying the different versions), and which I have accepted as an underlying theme of AGW due to different measuring data with different averaging intervals, and which I assumed also would be understood by persons familiar with the subject. That these curves vary (slightly) intermutually, makes nothing to the general picture; The central industry fossil carbon energy driving function DEFINES all variants (the remaining sea periods) by subtraction: you will, any way you see it, get a precise picture of the sea periods through any of the versions by subtracting the industrial fossil carbon part (as mentioned in post no140). No regrets.

    2. ”Your ”simple AGW-math” is wrong”.
    ”… lack of predictive power …”.
    — I am sorry to hear that, Didactylos. Such a stand-alone statement however is not sufficient in science.
    — As far as I know, measured values from CO2-concentration matching a 98% hit has no premise for a ”wrong”. And neither has a sentence like ”… lack of predictive power …”.
    — You are obviously misinformed as to the outcome of »the simple AGW-math». Also, basically, because it includes the presently adopted results from different research groups as (very) good approximations, as already mentioned by reference in the post no140.
    — It apparently means you are in a (quantitative, scientific) minority, any way you want it.
    — Perhaps you are going to fast, Didactylos (anxious to underline the presence of ignorance, I agree).
    — Measured values matching calculated within 98% is, normally, declared a (direct) hit.
    — But please, don’t let me interrupt. Show me what you mean by direct quantity.

    Your PS.
    If you have a reference, please let it show. If you have a link, please write it out so we can see what you mean by comparing references. (Otherwise it is useless).


    Comment by Gwinnevere — 10 Jul 2011 @ 4:22 PM

  231. no209 wili:
    Hello wili.
    ”So no one wants to make a prediction about when we will hit 400 ppm?”.
    — I’m on. (I mean, AGW’s on):
    400 ppm(v) [the additional (v) for ByVolume] will be reached (raw AGW-values)

    year CO2 ppmv
    2018 399.38
    2019 401.78

    The Mauna Loa values lie (at present) typically 8 ppmv higher than the raw AGW-values
    (partly due to possibly additional components, gradually on the increase, now adding more and more, we must eventually count on that, but as you already know, debates run high on what is and what is not accountable on that part).
    — Taking the +8ppm into account yields

    2015 392.43+8=400.43

    That would be the answer you are looking for, as far as the AGW-math is concerned:
    — 400 ppm(v) is reached year 2015.
    (CO2-function, AGW-values above, described by link in post no140).
    — I see other contributors reach about the same result
    (no221 Chris R @year 2015, no225 Phillip Shaw @year 2014 in March).


    Comment by Gwinnevere — 10 Jul 2011 @ 4:24 PM

  232. Re 208 Leo G – the distribution of forcings and feedbacks is uneven over space and time; adding CO2 (or any greenhouse gas in general, forcing or feedback) reduces the net upward LW flux at the tropopause by blocking radiation from below (replacing it with a smaller flux emitted by the more opaque colder atmosphere, or more opaque even colder upper atmosphere, depending on what the intial opacity was) while ‘blocking’ the cold black of space from above (increasing stratospheric opacity, thus, up to point, increasing the downward emitted flux). The effect is modulated by the vertical temperature profile and the preexisting amount of CO2 among other things – for example, when the atmosphere has more humidity or there are clouds, particularly high cold clouds that are not too thin, then there is less effect that CO2 can have on the upward LW flux.

    But the effects of radiative forcing become more apparent when they accumulate over time (it is a very large diurnal cycle in forcing that causes the diurnal temperature range, which isn’t found everywhere in the same amount vertically or horizontally). And over time, the accumulated additional heat is transported around while clouds and water vapor fluctuate with the weather. So the regional variations in temperature response will be spread out in some way relative to the regional variations in forcings. (There is a general tendency for vertical spreading of the temperature response as well, especially in the troposphere by convection (though not as much in some regions with stable air masses).)

    On the other hand, some feedbacks have particularly seasonal and regional patterns/behaviors, such that some aspects of the structure of climate responses to forcings, to some extent, will be similar even to forcings which have different regional/seasonal patterns – unless those variations are sufficiently strong, such as the orbital cycle forcing patterns. (Vertically, the difference in response to CO2 verses solar forcing is quite important in the stratosphere, whereas both should tend to have polar amplification at the surface (with seasonal dependence) and a ‘hot spot’ within the mid-or-upper troposphere at low latitudes. Orbital forcings are able to (when the Earth system is set up to respond to it) cause glaciations and deglaciations with relatively small global average forcings, but this is a much more idiosyncratic forcing and involves some long-term climate feedbacks including CO2 itself as well ice sheets. You could also mechanically force the climate by rearranging the continents and mountain ranges to affect ocean currents and wind patterns, etc.).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 10 Jul 2011 @ 4:29 PM

  233. The effect is modulated by the vertical temperature profile and the preexisting amount of CO2 among other things
    lest this be construed otherwise, yes, with sufficient CO2 the effect reaches saturation at least at vertical levels within the atmosphere, as the fluxes upward and downward approach the same value when the opacity gets sufficiently large. However, the spectrum of CO2 is such that when part is saturated, there is an interval where the effect is unsaturated but still significant. As CO2 is added this interval becomes saturated while another interval outside of that starts having a greater effect. The shape is such that each doubling of CO2 tends to widen the portion of the spectrum exceeding some level of opacity by roughly the same amount. Thus (for a range of CO2 amounts wherein the band center at ~ 15 microns is nearly saturated while other bands are too weak to have significance) each doubling of CO2 has, to a first approximation, the same radiative forcing (but if you start making really large changes, the variation of the Planck function over the spectrum can become more important, as could changing overlaps with other gases; also it becomes important to specify whether you are allowing the climate to adjust between doublings or making all the doublings at once, and whether you are making doublings or halvings, etc, because the forcing for a given compositional change depends on the climate itself, and feedbacks also depend on climate – the same change and it’s opposite will, absent hysteresis, go between the same two equilibrium climates, but the amount of radiative forcing and temperature response to forcing and the feedbacks will differ in compensating ways). Whereas at a given frequency, the approach to saturation will tend to be hyperbolic (each doubling would have half the effect of the previous doubling); while when sufficiently far from saturation or with sufficiently small changes, a linear approximation can be made (the same forcing per each increment in ppm).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 10 Jul 2011 @ 4:41 PM

  234. With all due respect, I cannot make head nor tail of your postings, nor fathom what you are referring too.

    Sounds like someone writing via Google Translate or Babelfish…

    Comment by Ron R. — 10 Jul 2011 @ 4:58 PM

  235. @John E. Pearson (228):

    I do think the distinction between “curve fitting” and “modeling” is fairly subtle. Ptolemy was a dirty “curve fitter” and Copernicus (or perhaps Kepler) was a modeler? Kepler tried a lot of really crazy stuff (using nested platonic solids as “interpolating functions”, etc) before settling on elliptical orbits. I don’t think there was much physics to constrain his curve fitting at the time.

    The distinction can be subtle, but Gwinnevere’s formula is not an example of that subtlety. We are not in Kepler’s position, since we know much of the physics that drives earth’s climate. Of course we can always know more, particularly about some of the important variables and systems like ocean heat transport, what it takes to destabilize clathrates, and so on. But fiddling with nonphysical variables like the number of years elapsed since 1815 doesn’t get us that knowledge. Such techniques can net, at most, an intimation that earth’s temperature might have some periodic drivers. But we already know that from observing the sun, Milankovich cycles, and so forth. And if all we want is intimations of periodicity, we’d do far better to FFT the data.

    CAPTCHA: tiationg escapes

    Comment by Meow — 10 Jul 2011 @ 7:07 PM

  236. Wayne Davidson@227,
    Unfortunately, the press has settled into its new role of reinforcing the prejudices and wishful thinking of the public–particularly the privileged. While I don’t know if climate change will result in human extinction or even the end of human civilization, we are, I think, seeing the way this will happen. People simply will not accurately asses risk and take action to address existential threats. We will waste trillions fighting wars that make us no more secure, but when confronted with true existential threats, humans will not have the courage to overcome their fears and face reality. There will always be the 10% who get it and do have courage, but their efforts will be nullified by the sheer overwhelming mass of stupidity that constitutes the bulk of humanity.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Jul 2011 @ 7:29 PM

  237. Gwinnevere, What you are saying makes no sense–quite apart from any difficulties of translation or languabe. There is no “AGW-math”. Hell, there is no “AGW Theory”. There is a theory of Earth’s climate, and anthropogenic warming is an unescapable consequence thereof. You seem to be taking issue with entities that do not exist. If you have an issue with the consensus theory of Earth’s climate–as accepted by 97-98% of publishing climate scientists–then state your differences clearly. Innuendo and insinuation are not conducive to science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Jul 2011 @ 7:36 PM

  238. Ray L @ 236,

    Me thinks that the events are unfolding too slowly to keep ones attention. Also, humans, for better or worse, can be quite optimistic even in the face of unspeakable horrors.

    Comment by Leo G — 10 Jul 2011 @ 7:50 PM

  239. Gwinnevere

    In the graph at the bottom of your link there is a period, the lull, from 2000 to 2040 with a note that 2008 is the 10th warmest year on record.

    Do you think it odd the coldest year in the warmest decade on record is a year from the warmest decade on record?

    Anyway, reconcile these with your “lull” (ALL of which appear to show your lull is off to a lullabyebye start):




    Comment by JCH — 10 Jul 2011 @ 8:08 PM

  240. Pearson:

    Kepler tried a lot of really crazy stuff (using nested platonic solids as “interpolating functions”, etc) before settling on elliptical orbits. I don’t think there was much physics to constrain his curve fitting at the time.

    Actually, it appears he made a pretty good intuitive guess about the physics, i.e. that the sun’s the source of the motive force that leads to planets orbiting around it and that it diminishes with distance from the sun. While there was no true understanding of gravity at the time, he would’ve known common stuff such as the fact that a the illumination from a point source like a candle falls off with distance, maybe even knew the inverse square rule regarding such phenomena, and extrapolation to the sun’s “motive force” or whatever he called it was reasonable.

    In fact Kepler moved on to this model after his purely curve-fitting efforts failed. The explanatory aspect of his successful effort lies in his intution regarding what was later learned to be the sun’s gravitational field. If wikipedia’s right, he didn’t work backwards using the fit of an elliptical orbit as an explanatory tool.

    This is nothing at all like Gwinnevere is doing, and while you’re ignoring this person, my five word response was directed at that poster. It’s short, understandable, and points out why what he’s doing is not, as he claims, explanatory and I’m surely not claiming that my curt response covers every shade of grey in the spectrum. Nowhere did I say that curve-fitters are “dirty”, and face it – Ptolemy’s machinations had no explanatory value regardless of his personal cleanliness.

    As Meow says, “The distinction can be subtle, but Gwinnevere’s formula is not an example of that subtlety.” Gwinnevere’s off the rails, and there’s no reason to be subtle with someone who’s so far off track.

    Comment by dhogaza — 10 Jul 2011 @ 8:21 PM

  241. @228 wayne davidson says:
    10 Jul 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Yes, incredible news not reported but here:

    The NE passage is about to open, The NW passage will open again, Barrow strait never been so open in June.

    I say without hesitation as a result of well foreseen AGW effects.

    Now the interesting bit:

    …Compare 2007 with 2011, there is a strong potential for 2011 having much less ice than 2007.

    Here’s my updated take.

    I’m going to be very surprised if both aren’t at least passable for Arctic-going vessels – in this case actually meaning able to remain in open water which may have enough ice to be dangerous within a week, maybe two, and perhaps open to any ship with a careful crew in the same time frame. If both passages are not clearly navigable by Aug. 1, I’ll be very, very surprised – allowing for the wind and currents simply pushing the ice to one side or the other.

    This is written simply for an audience who doesn’t know, nor care about, the math and the theories, so don’t give me any grief unless I have written something boneheaded technically. I want to add a companion on how the ice melts and why it matters… we’ll see.

    I rely on this site for most images:

    reCAPTCHA suggests nose bling? intranasal ringsiod

    Comment by ccpo — 10 Jul 2011 @ 8:44 PM

  242. Gwinnevere- After reading your comments, and considering the Turing test, I have to ask: are you a text generator?

    Comment by Rich Creager — 10 Jul 2011 @ 9:56 PM

  243. #241 by all means ccpo indulge in the math!

    #236 Ray the Bulk of Humanity simply wont listen to scientists the same way as nuclear war issue because the bombs are made by scientists who know how deal with Government leaders who have no choice but to listen and act to avoid catastrophes. In the case of AGW, the Governments don’t control Climate and so like everything they cant control they leave the issue alone. The bulk of humanity will be shaken by what is in store for them. I am astounded that 1 mile wide tornados didn’t make them think. Perhaps something bigger will, the huge floods in Pakistan shocked, the latest Mississippi flooding barely scratched a fright, Australians seem more incline to act after their recent great floods (cheers to them), but overall, natures ugliest hits are making people who would act, yawn, the Arctic is so badly misunderstood that even the North Pole free of ice will not seem a disaster. So we wait all while warning about further troubles ahead, not getting through very well, helpless until the next mega disaster. However Nature created icebergs, they are not scary until they are about to strike astern.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 10 Jul 2011 @ 10:22 PM

  244. Re: response to my question in #139.

    Here is the link to the NSIDC Arctic sea ice news page. Every month, they give the air temperature anomaly, but they never tell you what the “0” temperature is. I have no idea what Arctic air temperatures are in summer.

    Comment by Consumer — 10 Jul 2011 @ 10:45 PM

  245. I don’t know if this wonderful nothern hemisphere water vapor animation might be of interest to anyone, but can’t help thinking it ties a lot of things together visually, and is gorgeous to boot. Other satellite imagery is readily found; the site has a nice collection. I’d love to slow it down.

    voices of advice? classes atainall

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 10 Jul 2011 @ 11:40 PM

  246. re the prediction of when 400PPMV atmospheric CO2 will be passed.

    I downloaded the monthly CO2 data from Woodfortrees. I took the linear trend and superimposed the annual cycle by averaging each month from all years. The peak predicted by this method just breaks 400, by half a standard deviation of the peak values, at the annual maximum in May 2014. By April 2015, this predicts the value rising above 400ppmv CO2 by more than one std dev, graph here –

    This assumes we don’t do anything to change our anthropogenic CO2 emissions, (like the US defaulting on its debt, causing a worldwide depression and large decline in FF consumption), and that there aren’t any big natural changes(like the release of CO2 from thawing tundra).

    “I do think the distinction between ‘curve fitting’ and ‘modeling’ is fairly subtle.”
    One could make a bunch of measurements of the intensity of radiation of a black body versus its temperature, and note that the relationship appears nonlinear.
    On the other hand you could fit a curve to the results. Depending on your measurement errors, you could say “the emission of a black body varies with the 4th power of the temperature, plus or minus xx experimental error,” and if you were a bold, bright, and very good scientist, you might go out on a limb and say it’s probably the 4th integer power.
    On the third hand, you might, if you were very very bright, and had a deep understanding of how energy and temperature are related, you could derive an integer 4th power relationship from first principles.
    John Tyndall did the first.
    Josef Stefan did the second.
    Ludwig Boltzmann did the third.
    Max Planck analyzed how the spectrum of black body should vary with temperature. If you integrate the spectral curves he derived, to get the total output, you come up with T^4, not something close, so science is pretty damned sure that it’s T^4, not T^(PI()+(PI()*(LN(6)/6.666))), even though the difference is only 0.00007 between 273 and 288 Kelvin.'s_law_of_black_body_radiation

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 10 Jul 2011 @ 11:41 PM

  247. Ray Ladbury comment reminds me that I have observed that all three of the 6:30 pm network news weekday anchors “get it” about climate change and given half a chance would be able to do a much better job of it. Too bad they have no political ambitions!

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 10 Jul 2011 @ 11:46 PM

  248. #242
    The Gwinnevere flies WordPress, has a blog consisting of one post that has only one phrase. June start date

    Comment by john byatt — 11 Jul 2011 @ 12:38 AM

  249. > Consumer
    > … they never tell you ….

    Right. You have to _ask_ to find out.

    Here’s how. Look in the upper right hand corner of the NSIDC page you linked.
    See the rectangle with the words “Search NSIDC” inside it?
    Type the word “anomaly” (without the quotes) inside that rectangle.
    Then take your mousie thing and click in the oval just to the right of that place you typed, on the thing with the word “Search” in it
    This is the result:

    If you can’t take it from there, ask again.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Jul 2011 @ 3:44 AM

  250. Consumer @ 244, shows the temperature and allows comparison of different years. The Arctic Ocean surface temperature in summer stays close to the melting temperature of water. Any incoming heat goes into the internal energy that is needed to change the state of water from solid to liquid, and which that liquid retains as part of its state until it happens to freeze again. In winter the temperature varies with cloudiness, which in turn depends on clouds blowing in from elsewhere. When the sky is clear and cold there is not much water vapor in the air and infrared radiation from ice escapes into space. Clouds on the other hand intercept this radiation and re-radiate in all directions, including right back down.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 11 Jul 2011 @ 7:04 AM

  251. “Such a stand-alone statement however is not sufficient”

    And that’s the problem, Gwinnevere. Your statistical skill is not yet advanced enough to see the obvious truth, still less to do the analysis required to assess it objectively. Yet you are presenting your result with confidence that comes from not understanding its significance (or lack of significance).

    I suggest you ask for some help at Tamino’s blog. Or better yet, read some of Tamino’s past replies to curve fitters.

    You are right in one way: if your goal was to approximate the data using a curve that fits extremely closely, and you aren’t concerned with what the curve means – then in that limited sense you did extremely well. But your curve has no explanatory power or physical basis, so it is no more likely to predict the future than any other guess.

    So, if you think I am wrong and that you know exactly what you are doing, then go ahead and show us what happens when you withhold data from your model and recalculate the parameters – does it predict the withheld data to a significant degree? Compare your model to a simple linear model over the last 30 years. Which model has the most explanatory power? The “relative goodness of fit”? This is like an r^2 test, but it takes into account the number of parameters in the model.

    I could do this for you, I suppose – but what would you learn then? :-) If you need help, ask here or in Tamino’s open thread.

    Comment by Didactylos — 11 Jul 2011 @ 8:00 AM

  252. Pete @ #250, thanks so much for that chart. It looks like average temperatures are about 1 to 1.5C during the summer, which I would guess means that the 2C temperature anomaly is pretty significant. I wonder if that is pretty much the upper limit, as long as there is ice up there to keep it cool.

    Comment by Consumer — 11 Jul 2011 @ 9:43 AM

  253. No, +3.5C is not the upper limit, it’s quite common to have +10C degrees over snow or ice, warm enough air fowing on site warms the cold thin layer fast enough so it won’t get to the thermometer.

    Captcha neforea follows

    Comment by jyyh — 11 Jul 2011 @ 10:03 AM

  254. I think it’s hard for even the best intentioned people to truly wrap their heads around the fact that human activity can screw up the whole planet in a major way. Partly it’s a matter of non-intuitive scales, we’re not wired to think in those terms and need significant training to do so. Partly it’s habitual wisdom that s**t happens and when it does, as the legalism states, it’s “an act of God,” and thus who can fathom or dare to question such mysteries. Partly we just think we’re somehow exempt. There’s wonderful us, and then there’s everything else, put here for our benefit.

    On top of that, you see people responding to problems by trying to forcibly match items from a repertoire of stock responses to imagined patterns. That might not be so bad for starters were it not for an abuse of authority that keeps people boxed in and unable to move to a point where they can think effectively for themselves, perpetuating a clueless class as it were. Even if someone manages get it, sort of, it’s often too easy and expedient to fall back into a default position.

    It’s a jungle out there and up hill all the way.

    Susan @ 247
    Not political ambitions, ambitions of professionalism.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 11 Jul 2011 @ 12:12 PM

  255. Well, who would have thought it, Dr Roy Spencer is a rabid free-marketeer…

    Not content with laying waste to “warmists” arguments he is now set on putting Commie, pinko, Keynesian types in their place

    Is there no beginning to this man’s talents?

    Comment by Joe Cushley — 11 Jul 2011 @ 6:16 PM

  256. Winds too much for Chicago.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 11 Jul 2011 @ 10:26 PM

  257. Well, who would have thought it, Dr Roy Spencer is a rabid free-marketeer…

    Everyone? Seriously …

    [edit – too far OT]

    Comment by dhogaza — 11 Jul 2011 @ 10:50 PM

  258. Jagged focus:
    After removal of presumably major sources of noise, the adjusted surface temperature graph still has almost as much noise as before. Does anyone have an idea why? (I mean besides “noise happens”.)

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 12 Jul 2011 @ 10:25 AM

  259. too far OT

    Too far off topic for an open thread?

    Let’s talk about the Younger Dryas. The global warming thing is getting old. There isn’t much to talk about. It’s happening. There are positive feedbacks speeding it up, as well as anthropomorphic emissions slowing it down, but it’s still proceeding unabated, nevertheless. On the other hand, the Younger Dryas problem remains, unsolved and wonderfully controversial.

    Discuss, if you wish. Thanks in advance.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 12 Jul 2011 @ 12:16 PM

  260. Another geoengineering approach?

    Fighting global warming: The potential of photocatalysis against CO2, CH4, N2O, CFCs, tropospheric O3, BC and other major contributors to climate change

    (Full text is paywalled; you can see the outline at the link

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Jul 2011 @ 2:29 PM

  261. So, ah, how’s the “worst that can happen” list look nowadays? We should learn from the nuclear industry to to be overly optimistic.

    Does Peter Ward still hold the candle for worst case? That would require very unlikely events — major floods, pulse of sediment into the oceans from the rivers, large areas of the ocean surface along the continental shelves going anoxic, a good bit of sulfur reaching the surface, and an extinction event.

    So far I haven’t mention in the news of … Oh, wait …

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Jul 2011 @ 8:36 PM

  262. Improved information on precise CO2-quantities from AGW-math to no209 wili:
    General equation (referenced at post no140),

    CO2(ppmv) = (12.7576)*(((YEAR-OffsetYear)/121.41)^4.25)+286

    Note that this expression is a (very) close approximation to the actual integral solution (as yet, no available world source is able to give its algebraic form). It is limited to approximately year 2028 [by a proceeding tangent of ca 3.4]. Above that, we must use exact values from a numerical solution (Simpson Formula, or the »Hypo-series» formula).
    Preferences in the basic AGW-math accounts for an offset margin of ±5 years, mainly due to a (least) general surface ocean (0-500 M) period (see also note below).

    With respect to the available (from 1959) CO2-data from Mauna Loa at

    a shorter investigation (13Jul2011/Gwinnevere) on the AGW-math’s CO2 industry integral shows a nearly exact match by the horizontal scale OffsetYear = 1811:

    CO2(ppmv) = (12.7576)*(((YEAR-1811)/121.41)^4.25)+286

    With (MaunaLoa)/(AGW) the lowest up to the last MaunaLoa-value 2010 is 99.69%, highest 100.61%. That gives at most a ±0.7% deviation. These ±-levels are skittering (or sidestepping) to and fro in the table roughly but not exactly on a 5-10 year base, interval 1959-2010.

    To find the exact year by a given CO2-value is then calculated by

    1811 + (121.41)([CO2(ppmv) – 286]/[12.7576])^1/4.25 = YEAR
    With 400 ppm input (no209 wili), the precise AGW-answer is
    YEAR = 2014.26
    0.26×365=94.9 (-Jan31, -Feb28, -Mar31 = 90)
    (Phillip Shaw already did point out a similar value in post no225).
    = 4Apr2014 at 21:36 after midnight [9:36 PM]

    No extra CO2 besides the industrial contribution
    The presumption of an eventual CO2-addition from side-effects is effectively erased by the above clarification. That is, there is yet (2011) according to the given AGW-math no (direct observable) additional CO2 added in the atmosphere besides the part given through the AGW-math (precise) CO2-levels from the industrial fossil carbon emissions (as measured at Mauna Loa). That is (very) good news, in the middle of the bad ones.

    NOTE — precise ocean data are sparse.
    The only available public free sources seen on INTERNET as I have found prior to the AGW-math description, are the ones referenced by me in post no140 together with some information on
    Some older (primary) data from early investigations may be found in different books of reference in physics in general (in different countries), such as f.ex. the Swedish FOCUS MATERIEN Almquist & Wiksell 2:nd ed. 1975 p487col2b [surface period 5 years 0-500 M, polar ocean period ca 50 years].

    (If any of you should believe thath the AGW-math [post no140] is BASED on »D’Aleo-data» you are in deep delusion).

    — Due to the great difficulties of observation and general theory, no general agreement is yet (2011) found on ocean data.
    — Some persons here at RealClime might have the impression that the referenced ocean data from Joseph D’Aleo (2008) at post no140 should have been qualified as RELIABLE. That adjective has never been used by me in connection with ocean data. The word of description is: AVAILABLE. Together with the RealClime-reference above: There are no other publicly, free, available data for the average Internet user to access on ocean data, as far as I know. The rest is up to the measured NASA/CRU/GISS-temperature curves, and their equivalents by known — reliable — components.


    Comment by Gwinnevere — 12 Jul 2011 @ 11:46 PM

  263. no237 Ray Ladbury:
    — Hello Ray Ladbury.
    I was aiming at a confrontation with some PRINCIPLE argument on the AGW-quest. I think I have found one now.
    — By QUALITY: Of course there is nothing such as »AGW-math». It has no notation in the established academic community. That is also clear from the post no140: the present established »climate-math» is entirely referenced to Arrhenius math. As the post reference shows, however, this Arrhenius math ”as accepted by 97-98% of publishing climate scientists” as you say, is an approximation to the three derivative-integral functions that EXPLAIN current data (Sea, Industry, CO2), including Arrhenius math as a (close) approximation. To exemplify, your »AGW-math», not Arrhenius math, explains current CO2-measured (Mauna Loa) data. To be noted.
    — By QUANTITY, hence, the term »AGW-math» is appropriate in use to refer the actual connections, comparisons, results and presentations, and only as far as the quantities DO match observations from research. There is nothing else to it.
    (In »ancient science», such »formulae» we held to be »empirical»).
    I really appreciate your arguing. It just promotes the purpose. Thank you very much.


    Comment by Gwinnevere — 13 Jul 2011 @ 12:26 AM

  264. no239 JCH:
    — Hello JCH.
    First: You seem to be asking if I think 2008 was a year from the warmest decade?
    — I don’t know that, really, JHC. I have to pass it on.
    ”reconcile [»try to fit or match»] these with your ”lull””
    — The HADCRUT (global mean), GISTEMP (land-ocean global mean), UAH (lower trop. global mean) are not that easy to interpret on a now-basis — yet.

    Last averaged value in the last updated version
    ends at 2007.
    — To be honest with you, from my personal side JHC, I am unable to match not yet settled average data to the same general curvature as the one in the past (up to 2007).
    — For the record, we can exclude the UAH- data as these deal with atmospheric layers far above the one in concern of the AGW-math part (maximum h=60 M).
    — The other two, mutually showing the same picture, has a mean horizontal trend the period 1998-2009.
    — It is too early as I understand it, yet, to run to (general) conclusions. You seem to point out that HADCRUT and GISTEMP data would indicate the AGW-math-dotted continuing (from 2005 an on) to be erroneous.
    — In that case, JCH, you are at first perfectly right, the AGW-match is corrupt, and at second we are in exceptional trouble as to the possible change of the oceanic behavior.


    Comment by Gwinnevere — 13 Jul 2011 @ 1:11 AM

  265. no 242 Rich Creager:
    ”Are you a text generator”?
    — RealClimate WebSite is no exception in generating (unwanted) invitations to persons not interested in the scientific matter.
    — I have no whish to escape these individuals in their off-the-record-posts. I would like to meet them and share the arguing. However, as you already know, this web page is not intended for such discussions. Thank you for sharing.


    Comment by Gwinnevere — 13 Jul 2011 @ 1:22 AM

  266. no251 Didactylos:
    ”Your curve has no explanatory power or physical basis”.
    — I think I am awake in reading the above statement.
    Didactylos, a »model» connects to statistics, probability. Knowledge connects to certainty, which is an abstract concept for statistics. AGW has no connection to probability.

    How is it Didactylos?

    IF, as you say, the »AGW-math» would have zero accountability in any scientific sense, how is it that the top function — to exemplify — of the three power functions having the Arrhenius logarithmic/exponent functions as close approximations, the CO2-part, matches measured (Mauna Loa) values with a maximum deviation of ±0.7%?
    — You don’t find a finer qualitative match by a set of three power functions explaining the measured quantities (Sea, Industry, CO2) — the cause of AGW, its process and its extension.

    To me, that seems rather the opposite to your claim:
    »Your curve HAS explanatory power AND physical basis».
    — The authoritative recommendations you make at the end of your post, in the light of the actual quantities, seems to testify you are understanding mathematics as such in a principal erroneous (irrelevant) way. Thank you for sharing.


    Comment by Gwinnevere — 13 Jul 2011 @ 2:26 AM

  267. I’m trying to get a friend to reevaluate her scepticism on climate change. Her scpicism isnot ideologically based. Rather it comes from a combination of over generalization from her experience in her field and from getting her information from biased sources. Her work has been mostly in safety-critical computer systems.

    Now I remember seeing here and somewhere else a list of about five points comparing the sorts of models that scientists that are likely to understand climate change work on to the sorts of models that experience with predisposes someone to doubt it. It might have been a comment of John Mashey’s wrote or a response to one of his but I’m not sure. Con anyone direct me to it.

    Comment by Lloyd Flack — 13 Jul 2011 @ 8:15 AM

  268. @ 265, is that a “yes”?


    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 13 Jul 2011 @ 8:34 AM

  269. Gwinnevere: No.

    You’re not even wrong.

    Learn to walk before you try running.

    Comment by Didactylos — 13 Jul 2011 @ 8:37 AM

  270. Hi all,

    I have been lurking here for many years, and this is my first post. It’s not even directly about climate science, but more about statistics in general. I have had no formal training in statistics but I am interested in measuring the complexity of something (criminal trials). I have brainstormed and come up with about 20 variables that I would think would correlate somewhat with complexity of criminal trials. But I don’t think I need 20 variables to estimate complexity. Moreover I would guess that many of them correlate quite highly with each other (multi-collinearity?). So I am sort of stuck trying to decide which of the possible explanatory variables to use.
    My plan at the moment is to take a random sample of criminal trials (how many would I need? 30?), read the records, and then manually arrange them from least to most complex. I would then test my possible explanatory variables to see how well they correlate with the “expert ordering” and pick the one or two (or maybe three or four?) that show the highest correlation. Then I can use these explanatory variables to go back to the main data set and calculate complexity scores for the entire population.

    Does that sound reasonable? Are there better ways to do it?

    Thanks in advance.

    Comment by skg — 13 Jul 2011 @ 11:27 AM

  271. RealClimate-Questionability about the reliability of mathematical physics in the AGW-quest
    In mathematical physics, a triple power function unity by integral-derivatives is, as far as I know, considered one of the strongest structures that exist at all in this beautiful Universe of ours. It is to be understood as a reference of exceptional solidity, especially in communicating quantitative results.

    If any single one of the individual functions shows a clear and unmistakable mismatch to experimental observation, we can safely disregard the other two too: the structure is not the one we are looking for. Next.

    If on the other hand any single one of the individual functions shows a match, a correspondence, with experimental, measured, observation of the kind 99.3%, so the other two have to.
    — The AGW-quantities, here in strong question by several persons, are seen to correspond within 99.3%, as mentioned by the post connected to the CO2-question by wili in post no209.

    From that point of view, I find it really bizarre that some persons here at RealClimate »have the nerve» to sentence — erase — the entire complex with such finalizing power as, TYPE
    ”It is wrong”,
    ”You don’t understand statistics”,
    ”You are executing a primitive level of mathematical skill”,
    ”You need help” (my favorite),
    not to say other incitements of the kind not related to this WebSite.
    — The only way to »KILL» the AGW-math part, is to Find/GIVE REFERENCES by comparing quantities. As yet, I have seen none — but I would very much like to.


    Comment by Gwinnevere — 13 Jul 2011 @ 12:50 PM

  272. Re: #270 (skg)

    First, I suggest using far more than 30 samples for your model. You say you have 20 variables which might be useful, then there’s also a constant (roughly speaking, the “mean value” of complexity), so if you used all explanatory variables you’d have 21 degrees of freedom in the model and only 30 in your sample, leaving only 9 degrees of freedom for other variation (call it “natural variation). That’s very small!

    I suggest you use at least 100, and far more if you can. I know it seems like a lot of work, and it is. But that’s the price you pay — the more data you have, the better your answer, the less data, the worse.

    Your general plan seems reasonable: take a sample, fit a model, then apply it to the entire population. The question of how many explanatory variables to include is tricky. Too few, you don’t get as useful an answer as possible. Too many, you become susceptible to “overfitting” in which your model matches the randomness rather than the reality.

    There are strict ways to determine which variables to use. Perhaps most intuitive is stepwise regression. There are two versions. One is to start with no explanatory variables, then add one at a time, each time adding the one which gives the greatest improvement to the model. At each step you test whether or not adding a new variable gives improvement which is statistically significant. When it doesn’t, you stop.

    The other way is to start with all the explanatory variables, then eliminate one at a time, each time removing the one which causes the least degradation of the model. At each step you test whether or not the degradation is statistically significant. When it is, you stop.

    There are other approaches too. There are things called “information criteria” which evaluate model performance, accounting for both how well the model fits and how many parameters (explanatory variables) it uses. The best-known is AIC (Akaike Information Criterion) and its cousin AICc (corrected AIC, for small samples), also prominent is BIC (Bayesian Information Criterion aka Schwartz Information Criterion), and there are others too.

    There are also ways to reduce the number of parameters by combining explanatory variables. A good example is “principal component analysis” (PCA), which finds combinations of explanatory variables that account for most of the variability in your model. And there are other ways too.

    Frankly: the problem is an intricate one. If you can find a pro to help, that will make things go a lot faster and you’ll avoid the almost inevitable mis-steps.

    If you must do it yourself, the best advice is to use as much data as possible and try a heckuva lot of possibilities. More data = better answer.

    Comment by tamino — 13 Jul 2011 @ 1:11 PM

  273. Re: #271 (Gwinnevere)

    In mathematical physics, a “triple power function unity by integral-derivatives” is, as far as I know, a nonsense phrase. It sounds like a bunch of words you strung together but you don’t really have a clue what it means.

    Perhaps you should seek the help of someone who speaks English.

    Comment by tamino — 13 Jul 2011 @ 1:16 PM

  274. > skg

    What I learned from Statistics 101: consult a statistician first, before taking data. In all seriousness, that was the single thing our instructor wanted us all to take away from the lessons, after learning and no doubt forgetting the details.

    Nobody can give you a simple answer to your question; ask a statistician (not some guy on a blog; try your local college or university, you may be able to hire a few hours of a statistics grad student’s time quite reasonably to get you started)

    > AGW-math
    This appears to be a buzzword on the “INTERNET” but not to relate to anything coherent. Is it boring yet?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Jul 2011 @ 1:21 PM

  275. Thanks tamino.
    I can probably get my dean to agree to a little outside statistical consulting. So all hope is not lost.
    P.s. I follow your blog too. I swear I have learned more about statistics from it than from the statistics texts I have on my desk.

    Comment by skg — 13 Jul 2011 @ 2:12 PM

  276. A ‘gwinnevere’ shows up elsewhere discoursing on climate as ‘wkg/gwinnevere’ — this stuff may be coming out of an explanation of everything found at

    “… there is apparently a fixed pattern geometry for nuclear physics, like the Pythagorean theorem to the mathematics of geometry. But it is completely unknown in modern academia and science….”

    You read it there first.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Jul 2011 @ 3:03 PM

  277. (ps, that was a Google Translate version from the original Swedish)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Jul 2011 @ 3:04 PM

  278. Once again, Gwinnevere, you are fitting a curve to the data using variables that have no foundation in the applicable physics, then using the curve to extrapolate into the future.

    If I want to estimate atmospheric CO2 concentrations in some future year, I’ll want to start by understanding the existing CO2 content, how much CO2 is likely to enter the atmosphere, and how much is likely to leave it. That leads me to look up the existing (well-measured) content, then to try to understand the nature and magnitude of the processes that add CO2 (e.g., decomposition, anthro burning, land use changes, natural burning, oxidation of CH4, etc.) and those that remove it (e.g., biomass uptake, ocean uptake, weathering, etc.).

    Why do I do that, rather than just projecting a curve? Because those phenomena actually govern the concentration I’m trying to determine. A curve that fits some portion of the existing CO2 concentration record does not do that. While it might be usable for an off-the-cuff estimate good enough for blogs, it’s not going to catch, for example, the effects of a (hypothetical) economic depression that halves anthro burning input, or an (I hope hypothetical) study finding that clathrates’ decomposition is about to accelerate wildly. Why not? Because it isn’t based in the phenomena underlying the data it’s being used to extrapolate.

    If you want insight into climate, you should try to understand the phenomena that drive it. And those are things like heat inputs, outputs, and means of transport; concentrations of various gases in the atmosphere and solids in the oceans; absorptivities, emissivities, and reflectivities of various surfaces; and so on. Fitting a temperature curve tells you nothing about those phenomena, and thus nothing about climate.

    CAPTCHA: allimpe Habits

    Comment by Meow — 13 Jul 2011 @ 7:15 PM

  279. Re: #271 (Gwinnevere)

    In mathematical physics, a “triple power function unity by integral-derivatives” is, as far as I know, a nonsense phrase. It sounds like a bunch of words you strung together but you don’t really have a clue what it means.

    Perhaps you should seek the help of someone who speaks English.

    Comment by tamino — 13 Jul 2011 @ 1:16 PM

    Absolutely. Having taught EFL for years, I’m fairly skilled at deciphering Second Language text. I am completely lost with Gwinnevere’s samples. I believe you have hit on the solution. There is another option. Given her science chops, so far as anyone can tell through the mangled English, seem to be in trouble, too, she may want to stop posting altogether.

    It might be interesting to see what happens if the English is tidied up first, though. If Hank’s intel is right, maybe one of our Swedish friends can sort out what she’s trying to say.

    Comment by ccpo — 13 Jul 2011 @ 8:01 PM

  280. Hello (somehow I am mistaken for spam), I was wondering if there are any GCMs which deal with 21st century temperatures? (Is that the Hadcm3?) Obviously I am a layperson, so lay-explanations or websites would be appreciated. Thanks.

    [Response: Yes, all of them. There is a lot of information in Ch. 10 of the AR4 report, and you can download the raw data at climateexplorer for instance. – gavin]

    Comment by Rusty — 13 Jul 2011 @ 11:46 PM

  281. Answer from Gwinnevere on previous posts:

    — I have been trying to post answers to the previous comments from you, all. But they seem to have been lost — while still more commenting from you on the previous Gwinnevere’s posting continue to pop in.
    — Unless given space to answer, I am in no position to given appropriate arguments to any of you.


    [Moderator: there will be no more comments from or about you, until you have something constructive and sensible to say. Sorry.]

    Comment by Gwinnevere — 14 Jul 2011 @ 7:50 AM

  282. Can Bayesian networks be used to study sea level rise? If so, how?

    Comment by Hunt Janin — 14 Jul 2011 @ 8:07 AM

  283. With nearly and surely to exceed 5 million cubic kilometers of fresh arctic ocean ice gone,

    The greatest mystery of the modern world is not how the pyramids were made, nor is whether HARP is causing changes in weather patterns, the greatest mystery is how ignorant contrarians are, and how utterly devoid of cognition they suffer. The proper way to see this is amazement, ice vanishes fast clearly visible from space while they argue that there is a lull in temperature or the whole global warming thing is a hoax. I should have pity on them, but their influence is so negative and damaging, they should go away to unimportant oblivion like News International. But the outrage is for those who know, and we share poorly our opinions.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 14 Jul 2011 @ 10:48 AM

  284. [edit – enough is enough. Please take it elsewhere]

    Comment by Gwinnevere — 14 Jul 2011 @ 11:49 AM

  285. the greatest mystery is how ignorant contrarians are, and how utterly devoid of cognition they suffer.

    I’m still leaning towards the Younger Dryas rerouting and Lake Agassiz discharge hypothesis as the ‘big mystery’ myself. What’s your take, MacKenzie River and the Arctic as per Murton et al., or some mysterious and still unexplained Lake Superior discharge event through the Laurentide Ice Sheet across Lake Superior and the on through Champlain Sea as proposed by Rayburn et al.?

    Timothy Fisher once claimed the Lake Agassiz Moorehead discharge is not even correlative with the Younger Dryas, and so that’s even up for grabs. Feel free to change your hypotheses, your theories and your minds, often and dramatically, if necessary. Or perhaps Murton and Broecker finally have you convinced, even though they can’t seem to make up their minds either. In fact, looking over the literature, almost every single player here (besides the impact hypothesis crowd) have changed their minds at least once, and contradicted their own work with further newer work several times already. If that isn’t exciting, I don’t know what is!

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 14 Jul 2011 @ 1:22 PM

  286. I submitted a letter to the editor of The Toledo Blade, and it got published today. They condensed it down, leaving out much of what I wrote. One thing I wrote that was deleted was my statement that if the non-condensable GHGs were removed from the atmosphere, the surface temp would drop about 30 C, ending at about 4 F. I wrote that the planet would end up being a frozen ball of ice. I’m sure they couldn’t verify that, so it was deleted. Was I right? I guess I added something that wasn’t in the recent NASA study.

    [Response: The Lacis et al study showed an even bigger drop, but it is in the right ballpark. – gavin]

    [Response: Thanks Jack; these letters are important. Appreciated seeing yours, and the one before it, in the old home town paper that I used to deliver.–Jim]

    Comment by Jack R. — 14 Jul 2011 @ 2:08 PM

  287. #285 During summer, I study from still an island which was once amongst the sea of Champlain. I can see its shorelines of long ago daily. Climate science is ever evolving but some cant get the very basics, the clues are in the fossils, lots of work to unravel. Glacial monster lakes are of interest because of the similarities between fresh water dumping to sea, as we do have this in terms of millions of cubic kilometers from sea ice melts of now a days.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 14 Jul 2011 @ 2:46 PM

  288. Soil carbon and climate change: from the Jenkinson effect to the compost-bomb instability

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 14 Jul 2011 @ 6:30 PM

  289. The British Council decides to axe its highly successful climate programme.

    Authors and artists publish an open letter asking them to reconsider.

    “A group of some of Britain’s best-known authors and artists has condemned the British Council’s “extraordinary” decision to all but end its groundbreaking international work on climate change and demanded the decision be reconsidered.

    The move has also been criticised by Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) minister Jeremy Browne who, in a letter leaked to the Guardian, admonished the council’s chief executive for his apparent “termination” of one of the council’s “success stories”.
    The work has been praised as highly effective in fostering action on climate change by China’s ministry of education, as well as the NDRC, and by groups working in China such as the International Energy Agency and the Carbon Trust.”

    Perhaps some climate scientists could chip in?

    Comment by J Bowers — 15 Jul 2011 @ 6:42 AM

  290. Significance of climate science:
    Accurate projections of future climate provide an economic basis for taking action now.

    Administration Grossly Underestimated Carbon Cost, Says Study

    The “Social Cost of Carbon” and Climate Change Policy

    Comment by AIC — 15 Jul 2011 @ 2:14 PM

  291. Climate denier brandishes noose to scientist at climate conference

    That was Lyndon LaRouche of Australia’s Citizens Electoral Council.

    Comment by J Bowers — 15 Jul 2011 @ 7:01 PM

  292. Anyone hear about the CERN CLOUD project news?

    “The chief of the world’s leading physics lab at CERN in Geneva has prohibited scientists from drawing conclusions from a major experiment. The CLOUD (“Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets”) experiment examines the role that energetic particles from deep space play in cloud formation. CLOUD uses CERN’s proton synchrotron to examine nucleation.

    CERN Director General Rolf-Dieter Heuer told Welt Online that the scientists should refrain from drawing conclusions from the latest experiment.

    “I have asked the colleagues to present the results clearly, but not to interpret them,” reports veteran science editor Nigel Calder on his blog. Why?”

    It then goes on to quote Svensmark and Calder making disparaging statements. Anyway, I’m interested to see what comes out of this. I think it’s smart to not make interpretations from one experiment myself, even if the conclusions seem obvious, especially since the experimental conditions are so unlike anything done before. Oh course that isn’t what folks like Svensmark want. Anyone else have thoughts on this or more interesting news on it?

    [Response: The context is that people (specifically Svensmark and Calder) have been grossly overinterpreting the results from earlier experiments to the almost certain embarrassment of anyone sensible connected to the CERN project. The fact of the matter is that these experiments will not by themselves demonstrate the impact of GCR on climate however well they turn out. This is because it is not that the role of ionisation in creating aerosols that is disputed, but rather how modulations of that effect impact the overall growth of the much larger cloud-condensation nuclei and where this makes a difference to clouds (via an aerosol indirect effect). The demonstration of an ionisation source of aerosols doesn’t even tell you the sign of the impact on climate, let alone the magnitude. And furthermore, the trends in GCR have been flat for over half a century and so have no role to play in recent trends in climate, regardless of the size of the putative GCR-clouds link. – gavin]

    Comment by Shirley Pulawski — 18 Jul 2011 @ 9:58 AM

  293. Thanks for providing the context, Gavin. I’ve wondered for years now what, if any, dynamic existed between Svensmark and the research, because it’s been hard to find anything that doesn’t at least try to hint that the massively expensive facility was perhaps inspired by Svensmark’s work, no doubt because the rare times anything ends up in press about it, Svensmark gets quoted, and often the piece makes Svensmark seem linked to the research.

    On that note, it’s ironic that in the original article in German (thank you, Google Translate) the first question asked if there are other CERN projects that don’t get any attention because of the LHC, then when Heuer talks about anything else, the interviewer goes back to the LHC.

    It’s also interesting to see the way deniers language hasn’t evolved (no surprise). It’s nice the way Calder takes the translated “…make the results clear, however, not to interpret” and then further translates that into “forbids” which is what we learn in science classes to no do. Or at least what really good profs try to pound into our skulls.

    And thanks also for the graph. I was looking for something like that a while back so I’ve added that to my collection.

    Comment by Shirley Pulawski — 18 Jul 2011 @ 12:00 PM

  294. >> Climate denier brandishes noose

    > That was Lyndon LaRouche of Australia …

    When did Australia get their own?
    That one doesn’t much resemble the Lyndon Rouche of the USA.

    No, I’m poking fun; the noose-hanger is supposedly a club member of some sort, not the boss of them.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Jul 2011 @ 1:45 PM

  295. When you go far enough out any spoke of the political wheel, in any direction from the political center, you find you’re among people who went a little too far. Here’s another nutty noose:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Jul 2011 @ 1:52 PM

  296. I’ve noticed the heat wave in the Midwest/Plains is accompanied by some seriously high dewpoints, some in the low 80’s. A thousand miles from the gulf I might add. I wonder if all that corn (especially the genetically engineered variety) and associated evapotranspiration plays a role?

    Of course not. Humans can’t affect the atmosphere that way.

    Comment by Tom — 18 Jul 2011 @ 2:17 PM

  297. The heatpocalypse!

    Or, difficulties renaming things.

    Comment by Jeremy — 18 Jul 2011 @ 5:29 PM

  298. @ Hank Roberts 294

    I know. My bad :/

    Comment by J Bowers — 18 Jul 2011 @ 6:24 PM

  299. Mad sky panoramic interlude.

    Comment by J Bowers — 18 Jul 2011 @ 6:37 PM

  300. Does anyone care to comment ?

    [Response: Fruit loops. – gavin]

    Comment by Allegrement — 19 Jul 2011 @ 3:56 AM

  301. #300–

    Great logic:

    1) The greenhouse effect is like a greenhouse;
    2) Greenhouses don’t work the way some have thought;
    3) Therefore the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist.

    Boy, that sure shifted the earth. . .

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 19 Jul 2011 @ 5:40 AM

  302. Allegrement @ 300: The glass greenhouse effect impedes the escape of heat via convection. The atmospheric greenhouse effect impedes the escape of heat via longwave IR radiation. From basic physics (the Stefan Boltzman law) you may calculate the temperature of earth’s surface with no atmosphere or an atmosphere transparent to all wavelengths. It is about 30 kelvins colder than what we experience in our greenhouse gas laden atmosphere. Be glad the greenhouse effect works.

    @ 297 heatapocalypse – see various posts at Capital Climate.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 19 Jul 2011 @ 10:13 AM

  303. Re: Fruit loops above, wouldn’t it be better, under the concept that a lie/fruit loop is enhanced by repetition, to immediately relegate such fruit loopiness to the Bore Hole? Context being everything…

    Comment by ccpo — 19 Jul 2011 @ 10:32 AM

  304. That John O’Sullivan is in his own little world, and sometimes he is on the Kremlin-financed English-language satellite channel Russia Today.

    He claims he teamed up with CIA operative” Kent Clizbe, who claims to be retired from the CIA’s clandestine service; however, the CIA studies climate change.

    They just want gullible people to think that the CIA
    doesn’t accept climate change. The head of the CIA Center for Climate Change and National Security is named Larry Kobayashi, according to media reports. The CIA works with climate scientists so they will be able to anticipate how the changing climate will impact America’s national security. Clizbe seems to have stopped raving about Dr. Mann. Perhaps he found out he’s not on the same page as the CIA.

    I will be in Phoenix soon and will let you all know if there is a third dust storm (haboob in Arabic and “Phoenician.”

    Maybe someone could write about these dust storms. There was a news account that claimed that the recession contributed to the dust storm because many construction projects were abandoned and the plants on foreclosed properties are not being maintained.

    Comment by Snapple — 19 Jul 2011 @ 10:37 AM

  305. @296, 297

    One station is predicting a heat index temperature of up to 120 today here in Minneapolis, some of the highest in the country. Dew points have been in the high 70’s and even 80’s. We often have uncomfortably high humidity here, but this is ridiculous. Tomorrows raw temps will be around 100 F but the humidity may drop a bit.

    Which all makes me think about an article I saw about wet bulb temperature (if I am remembering the term correctly). At what point does this measure become life threatening? How is it estimated? Is it the same as the heat index?

    (reCAPTCHA: firmly andeclu)

    Comment by wili — 19 Jul 2011 @ 10:53 AM

  306. If the moderators will allow a cross-post from Open Mind, and one dealing with politics and society rather than the science–

    The recent Schellnhuber ‘noose’ incident was the last straw for me; collating a number of Deltoid’s posts with some other incidents in which (shall we say) the use of reason to settle ‘debate’ has been in abeyance, I wrote an article calling it like I see it. Don’t know if it was the ‘right’ thing to do–but I felt compelled. Judge for yourself:

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 19 Jul 2011 @ 11:19 AM

  307. @wili,

    Since I mentioned it I guess I’ll try to answer your question.

    The wet-bulb temperature is simply the temperature a parcel of air would saturate at by evaporating moisture into it at constant pressure. Dewpoint is strictly the temperature at which saturation/condensation occurs. If I remember correctly, more precisely it is a measure of the saturation vapor pressure, i.e. the partial pressure exerted by all the gaseous water molecules in the parcel.

    I’m not familiar with life threatening wet-bulb values but dewpoints in excess of 80 can be life threatening for some. Wet-bulb is especially useful for predicting frozen precipitation when a moist layer exist over a shallow, cold, dry layer near the surface. Also, the height of wet-bulb zero, the freezing value, is a decent indicator for hail.

    The heat index like windchill is really a measure of the body’s ability to evaporate moisture from the skin. To make the water phase change, energy is taken from the skins surface which lowers the body temperature. The more moist the air (dewpoint) the less efficient this process is. Thus the danger.

    I’ve often wondered why wind speed isn’t factored into the heat index since just a little wind would increase the efficiency of the evaporation. That’s the idea behind windchill.

    Hope that was in the ballpark of your question.

    Comment by Tom — 19 Jul 2011 @ 5:54 PM

  308. Typical TV meteorologist , on NBC news today, calling this recent US heat wave something from a Mad Max film, “Thunderdome” comes to mind, or “heat dome” as mentioned. If the greater part of the Arctic’s old ice is gone, if the Arctic again has record warm temperatures during summer. what is left to cool the South?
    …………….”Look North weatherman, look North”

    Comment by wayne davidson — 19 Jul 2011 @ 6:15 PM

  309. #292 Gavin comment

    Actually there were record cosmic ray intensities in 2009-2010.

    [Response: Fair point, but the couple of years at the last solar minimum don’t make a long term trend. I should update that graph though. – gavin]

    Comment by Jim Cross — 20 Jul 2011 @ 6:57 AM

  310. We’re seeing cockroaches above 7,000′ in Northern New Mexico. These are the first I’ve seen in 20 years. I’ve seen 3 this week. I am curious as to why they are showing up now.

    My perception of this past winter is that the temperatures were fairly typical for a La Nina year. It was cold and dry. The “dry” part in that equation is extreme, the driest on record. Is the changing climate here kinder and gentler to roaches? Could their appearance now be related to the largest forest fire in state history that burnt through two weeks ago? Would there have always been some small population of them in the forest and now with the fire/extreme dryness they’re opting for town life? The fire chief said that the moisture content of the fuel in the forest was the lowest on record (3%). Are there any entomologists who frequent RC?

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 20 Jul 2011 @ 8:13 AM

  311. >

    Interesting stuff, including
    “… Although the 2009 intensities were at a 50-year high level, measurements of 10Be deposited in polar ice cores over the last ~500 years (McCracken et al. Adv. Sp. Res. 34. 397, 2004) indicate that the space era has occurred during a period of very-low GCR intensity. Between the years ~1400 and ~1900 10Be production was typically ~40% to ~80% greater than in the early 1970s. It is possible that the near-Earth radiation environment is returning to more “normal” conditions. For more information, see the paper by Mewaldt et al. (2010). …”

    How much of a difference compared to the other forcings? (I realize this isn’t answered yet, but we have estimates for aircraft contrail clouds and volcanic clouds).

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Jul 2011 @ 5:32 PM

  312. Much better heat wave diagnosis from NBC News, different weather person, describing stagnant systems, very apt. But if there is more of a mix of cold and warm air throughout the Northern Hemisphere less stagnancy possible. So goodbye Mad Max hello more serious dialogue…. Well done…

    Comment by wayne davidson — 20 Jul 2011 @ 6:05 PM

  313. I’m now finishing up a book on sea level rise. To the best of my knowledge, this introductory-level study covers the subject matter adequately because I have used the best printed sources and best real-live experts I could find. However, the text as it now stands is perhaps too conservative. If you have any heretical but responsible opinions on sea level rise, please share them with me off-list at Thanks.

    Comment by Hunt Janin — 21 Jul 2011 @ 6:00 AM

  314. Meanwhile, back at the funny farm, S. Fred Singer has apparently attained a new degree in insanity…, claiming apparently that worrying about climate change is a “psychosis.”

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 21 Jul 2011 @ 7:02 AM

  315. Allegrement @ 300: Greenhouse cooling! “Greenhouse horticulture has experienced in recent decades a dramatic spatial expansion in the semiarid province of Almeria, in southeastern (SE) Spain, reaching a continuous area of 26,000 ha in 2007, the widest greenhouse area in the world. A significant surface air temperature trend of −0.3°C decade−1 in this area during the period 1983–2006 is first time reported here.”

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 21 Jul 2011 @ 1:13 PM

  316. Had quite the revelation tonight, with Montreal clouds being completely different, odd , more like clouds from further South , hundreds of cloud to cloud lightning, spectacular but unfamiliar. Also seen a whole lot of Cirrus, so much so there was starting from mid air red sun pillar at about 50,000 feet., usually I see them from the Arctic horizon. This brings me to wonder if other overheated US RC readers have noticed lazy cirrus clouds hanging over them more often than not, sort of shutting the door with the room having an air conditioner.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 21 Jul 2011 @ 9:15 PM

  317. Just wondering if you guys have done/are planning anything on Lindzen & Choi 2011? It seems to be the new darling of the blogosphere loons. Not so much the peer-review side of things which is fairly well documented.

    Comment by MattB — 21 Jul 2011 @ 10:01 PM

  318. #316 wayne: I’ve got a feeling that in Finland the amount of fractus-clouds (the ones with unclear edges under the normal (summer) clouds) has been increasing and possibly also those cirruses you mention. I’ve got no hard data though. Forecast for today is 28C, with humidity over 70%, but rather this than the -20 with wind chill of -35. Glad of not having to work outside, though. I really can’t understand those temperatures reported from US, unless they’ve released way more methane than reported from fracking and Deepwater Horizon that is ;-|.

    Comment by jyyh — 22 Jul 2011 @ 2:11 AM

  319. I’ve been looking at the recent Kaufmann paper and I don’t understand something. He estimates anthropogenic sulfur emission from industrial consumption and deduces that there has been a rise in sulfur emission, mainly from Asia. (Something I’d assumed for a long time). One popular denialist argument is to point to the GISS Stratospheric Aerosol Optical Thickness measurements at:

    These don’t seem to show anything particularly large for the post 1998 period – why is that? I can clearly see the effect of volcanic erruptions, so I assume this is not a good measure of sulfur emissions. Is there any similar direct measurement for sulfur which would capture the Asian increase? I’ve seen satellite measurements of aerosols and SO2 from volcanic eruptions so why doesn’t this work for industrial emissions?

    Comment by Scott — 22 Jul 2011 @ 7:36 AM

  320. Just picked up a copy of Ray Bradley’s new book “Global Warming and Political Intimidation”. The prose is polite and restrained, but you can tell that Bradley is hopping-mad. Here’s a paragraph where he lets Wegman have it with both barrels (and then reloads):

    As I read the Wegman Report, I must say I was impressed by how well this statistician had grasped the intricacies of paleoclimatology, and in particular, high-resolution studies of tree rings, ice cores, and corals. His section on the problems of using tree rings, and of the important points that one must take into account, struck me as quite brilliant — lucid and clear. It was only later that I realized that large sections of his report had been lifted verbatim from my own 1999 book on the subject, “Paleoclimatology”.

    Comment by caerbannog — 22 Jul 2011 @ 9:11 AM

  321. jyyh, Cirrus clouds are the real -not looking like – but as effective as a geodesic dome, maintaining heat particularly at night, a literal thunderdome from very active thunder clouds, likely from the entire world, boosted by impending El-nino becoming bigger still reaching even in Finland, I see in Montreal the same weird fracti form high altitude clouds likely more seen further South. I relate all on my blog, and also an explanation , quite visual, of the reason for this heat wave, with the help of Mad Max lingo, well applied this time….. Having friends from Finland I salute you!

    Comment by wayne davidson — 22 Jul 2011 @ 10:48 AM

  322. For Scott, did you look at Scholar? This may help:
    From a quick glance, it’s not simple to associate the changes in the wavelengths the satellites detect with whatever the actual events/chemicals/particles are of interest. Also there’s plenty of obfuscation on the subject — the first hit Scholar finds if you limit the above search to 2011 is from “PJ Michaels – Transportation, 2011 –”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Jul 2011 @ 11:18 AM

  323. Is there any evidence that man’s CO2 is responsible for this change or the increase in warming over the past 300 years since the LIA. If so, exactly what is the evidence ?

    [Response: Yes – though the role of CO2 specifically does not come out of the noise until the 20th C. Please see the IPCC reports, perhaps starting off with the FAQs. – gavin]

    Comment by Dr Burns — 22 Jul 2011 @ 4:35 PM

  324. Somebody PLEASE go tell them to shut up over at WUWT. They’re trashing this site once again, this time about comment deletion;
    If the owners of this site have any self respect, please use it now.

    [Response: There is really very little point. Their whole endeavour is a giant ad hom argument designed to shift discussion from substance and science to personalities. Treating it as if it was a serious discussion wastes everyone’s time and just increases the noise. Suffice to say they have no idea how much spam we get, or how Re-Captcha works. But the discussions here are moderated, and off-topic, tedious or abusive comments don’t make it out of moderation (though it is a small fraction of what they are claiming). This improves the signal to noise ratio and makes for more nuanced conversations – something that is all too rare in the blogosphere. Other people can run their blogs how they like, and if people don’t like one blog, they can go elsewhere or start their own. I am distinctly uninterested in playing games. – gavin]

    Comment by hank — 22 Jul 2011 @ 5:06 PM

  325. University sculpture upsets Wyoming coal industry

    Apparently Wyoming Republican lawmakers believe the purpose of a university is to flatter its funders when choosing its onsite art. How very medieval. No, I’m being too harsh on medieval people.

    The artist’s blog: Chris Drury – microcosm and macrocosm
    NYT: Coal-Themed Sculpture Annoys Lawmakers

    Comment by J Bowers — 22 Jul 2011 @ 5:45 PM

  326. > hank says: 22 Jul 2011 at 5:06 PM

    Disambiguation: not me.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Jul 2011 @ 7:31 PM

  327. It is speculated that Murdoch’s Neil Wallis, participated in the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit breakin, and sabotaged the PR job afterwards, much like an arsonist firefighter.

    It is known that Wallis, the News International Executive Editor who was in charge of their electronic break-ins was reporting back to News International at the same time he was ostensibly working for Scotland Yard on those break-ins. He was also the person hired by the University of East Anglia to handle PR in their e-mail break-in. Did he do it twice?

    Olbermann video: (the Wallis coverage starts at 5:57.)

    Olbermann transcript:

    Discussion by Joe Romm of ThinkProgress:


    Comment by The Raven — 22 Jul 2011 @ 8:46 PM

  328. Hank, WRT WTFUWT, why should we care what goes on within the walls of the asylum? These are people who think it snows CO2 in Antarctica, who think the entire scientific community is involved in a global conspiracy, who could not analyze or understand data if their collective single brain cell dependended on it.

    As Leonardo said, “As to my enemies, I pay no more attention to the wind that comes from their mouths than to the wind that comes from their anuses.”

    In the case of WTF, the latter wind contains more information.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Jul 2011 @ 6:04 AM

  329. #327 The Raven,
    I thought that the dates on some the files dumped by the hackers suggested that they were based on the North American East Coast.

    Comment by Lloyd Flack — 23 Jul 2011 @ 6:22 AM

  330. Wallis could after all hire hackers in North America. Or perhaps it was done through the News International New York office.

    [Response: I know people love to speculate, but these kinds of discussions go nowhere. Thanks – gavin]

    Comment by The Raven — 23 Jul 2011 @ 10:38 AM

  331. The only thing I’ll say on the Wallis subject here: Was he just a hired consultant at Outside Organisation, or he was an MD?

    Comment by J Bowers — 23 Jul 2011 @ 12:52 PM

  332. #324, hank, they have nothing better to say, its a good sign. They lost the science argument.

    Does anyone further South from Montreal explain a CB single cell giving off thousands of Cloud to cloud
    lightning. Some say 20,000 in one hour. From observations we called them summer night lightning. But from all accounts, no one from Montreal has seen so many. Is this a frequent occurrence say in Maryland, Kentucky? I suspect not only new species of birds migrating North… Will show a video on my blog when I can find the right wire.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 23 Jul 2011 @ 1:02 PM

  333. I think Hank #324 could benefit from reading this blogpost:
    which nicely exposes the enormous hypocrisy of WUWT.

    David Appell is far from the only person being censored by WUWT. Watts IS unique in his threats to those providing inconvenient comments (see also thefordprefect’s link)

    Comment by Marco — 23 Jul 2011 @ 1:50 PM

  334. de Freitas feeds his students sceptic propaganda

    But it gets worse. The last two slides on the next page of the workbook pdf (p3 of the hi-res pdf, p62 of the low res) include little inset graphs. The first of these is a graph of monthly global satellite temperatures with the increase in CO2 overlaid, prepared by US weatherman and noisy climate denier Joe D’Aleo. The last slide on that page includes a little inset graph that looked familiar.
    It took a little hunting, but I eventually tracked down the original4, from Christopher Monckton’s March 2009 SPPI Monthly CO2 Report at the web site of the Science and Public Policy Institute, the US lobby group that promotes many of Monckton’s activities:

    I can’t believe the university would be impressed with that. Aren’t these students paying fees for an education, not an indoctrination?

    Comment by J Bowers — 23 Jul 2011 @ 2:34 PM

  335. [Response: I know people love to speculate, but these kinds of discussions go nowhere. Thanks – gavin]

    Eh, given means, motive, opportunity and (alledgedly) a history of similar crimes, I don’t see how this is any wörse than betting on Arctic ice ;-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 24 Jul 2011 @ 7:54 AM

  336. This is an overview of a single CB cell exhibiting unusual lightning, apparently unleashing 20,000 strikes in one hour (source is from a news network).

    I have it from a different angle, none in Montreal have ever seen this before. Will post when I transfer it to computer.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 24 Jul 2011 @ 9:00 PM

  337. I must admit that I agree with many detractors:
    – CO2 is natural;
    – CO2 is absorbing IR;
    – CO2 marginal impact is decreasing as it increases;
    – Ice does melt: it is normal;
    – More melted water means more water;
    – We could even send Canadian icebergs to poor countries (if they have to melt why not give them…);
    – Lindzen position is that there is GW but not caused by us: fine with me;
    – Lindzen even agrees that CO2 molecules are vibrating: fine with me;
    – If people would only understand as much as Lindzen does: 95% would believe in GW;
    – If Lindzen could only see how intelligent he is, he could be a great asset in fighting GW;
    – It is just a matter of coincidence that we emit CO2 in massive amounts and the temperature increases;
    – CO2 accumulated during billions of years causing our planet to cool down are now back in the atmosphere;
    – A nuclear winter would be shortened with lots of CO2;
    – Between a snow ball earth and 10C more: my choice is clear.

    Point I am trying to make: resistance provokes persistance.
    From an Ericsonian (Milton Erickson) approach to communications, the more resist to deniers, the more we will have persistance.
    So the approach should be to support tham, become their fan… It would decrease the persistance…

    Going in the opposite direction seems counter intuitive but it is the answer.
    For example, some of the stuff guys like Lindzen is saying is really great stuff.
    This guy really knows is science (more than me at least).
    If you can not win against your ennemy, join them…
    Apply internal guerila among them (sending commandos).
    Make sure they loose support.

    All of this needs coordinated efforts.
    After all, those scientists have been accused of collusion: it is time to do what other are accusing them of doing.
    Build a collusion and go on Fox TV admitting to them there is a collusion with one first target: Fox (or anyone else).
    Unite and focus on one ennemy at a time: when a few will collapse, others might change their minds…
    Tough? no easy: just need unity and sharing a common target.
    Choose anyone and all focus on one guy: if you are living by the truth, that guy or company will fall.

    It is time for the scientists to spend some time together and get out of the labs.
    Can you imagine 1000 scientists around the global going after one target in press conference? in one week?
    How many scientists are working in GW? 10K? 100K?

    Comment by PAM — 25 Jul 2011 @ 4:34 AM

  338. Is it possible, in the worst case, that GW could be under-modeled?
    Is it possible that some very simple model could be the most accurate?
    Is it possible that some of these modelers are incousciously trying to lower the results because of fear:
    – fear of being used as scape-goat;
    – fear of the numbers they see: This can not be true…;
    How can someone be insensible with big oil putting all their efforts to keep their money flowing?

    Beside every problem I see opportunities…
    Petrol causes GW –> GW causes more need of clean energy;
    Peak Oil cause petrol to go up: economic crisis –> race towards cheaper alternatives;
    I am oversimplifying my tought process here but you certainly get the idea.

    Even for Oil companies: decreasing oil availability would give them more dollars per barrel.
    How come they do not see that decreasing oil availability increases their revenues and the duration of those revenues?

    Comment by PAM — 25 Jul 2011 @ 4:38 AM

  339. The Frontline Club is screening a documentary in London that we think people on Climate Debate Daily would engage well with, primarily due to the excellent Q&A after the film. “Up in Smoke” explores the environmental impact of slash and burn agriculture, such as global warming and deforestation.

    Filmed over a period of three years across the globe, Up in Smoke follows pioneering scientist Mike Hands as he attempts to change one of the most carbon-emitting practices in the world: slashing and burning rainforests for subsistence agriculture.

    Combining Hands’ scientific research with the lives of the impoverished farmers who depend on slash and burn agriculture for their livelihood, the film examines the real cost of carbon and the attempts to change environmentally damaging practices.

    The core of the film is Hands’ attempts to put slash and burn agricultural practices on the agenda at the 2009 Copenhagen Summit and draw global attention to the issue. Up in Smoke shows the desperate working conditions of the farmers in South America and addresses the complex moral questions about the demands of saving the planet for the future and protecting the livelihoods of people living today.

    The film is followed by a Q&A with the director, Adam Wakeling, and revolutionary ecologist Mike Hands, which should lead to a productive, informative, and essential discussion for any of those passionately interested in issues related to climate change.

    For more information, our screening site is here:—up-in-smoke.html

    Comment by Frontline Club — 25 Jul 2011 @ 6:10 AM

  340. 6th warmest june at GISS.

    Comment by jyyh — 25 Jul 2011 @ 8:20 AM

  341. I guess you have seen this… how it got past review beats me.

    An other curve fitting exercise:

    “A 21st Century forecast suggests that climate may remain approximately steady until 2030-2040, and may at most warm 0.5-1.0°C by 2100 at the estimated 0.66°C/century anthropogenic warming rate, which is about 3.5 times smaller than the average 2.3°C/century anthropogenic warming rate projected by the IPCC up to the first decades of the 21st century. However, additional multisecular natural cycles may cool the climate further.”

    [Response: I love the way that even the abstract compares two completely different things (the trend from 1950? and 21 st century projections) as if they were the same period. Maybe they think this is justified because there is a law of nature that says that linear trends have to continue indefinately…? This is just embarrassing. – gavin]

    Comment by Magnus W — 25 Jul 2011 @ 3:44 PM

  342. I have a video finally, more than 300 lightnings in 7 minutes from a single cloud, July 21 2011, 9 PM. As far as I know, no one from Montreal has ever seen such a thing. I am trying to figure out the media’s 20,000 per hour. But I got about 3000 per Hour from a single Cumulo Nimbus to the South of Montreal originating near the New York and Vermont border. Extraordinary to watch, in essence firing bolts from almost always the same spot. Will comment more on my blog when I get more info.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 25 Jul 2011 @ 10:54 PM

  343. Re: 341

    Magnus, the reason that the paper got through, uh, peer review might be found in the following links:

    [Response: They are also publishing completely garbage such as the latest missive from Gerhard Kramm on the “so-called greenhouse effect”. Oh dear. – gavin]

    Comment by Charles — 26 Jul 2011 @ 12:41 AM

  344. I can’t decide if this amuses or terrifies me:
    Climate change forecasters are wrong on CO2, new report claims

    And it says that while their research results add further evidence of global warming from a forecasting perspective, there is only limited evidence of a link between annual emissions of CO2 and the 10- and 20-year rise in global annual average temperatures

    Claims from competing interest groups have led to a decline in confidence in statements on climate change – particularly in the wake of allegations of manipulated data from the University of East Anglia, and incorrect projections on Himalayan glaciers.

    The Lancaster research aimed to make 10 and 20 year ahead climate predictions more accurate and trustworthy for policy-makers, and be the basis for more informed debate over the realities of climate change.

    Are we to have a balance between the Lancaster University Management School, a triple-accredited, world-ranked management school, and the claims of the IPCC?

    The IPCC use inadequate models, which obviously understate the dangers then there is a scaling down of the dangers by papers like that from LUMS.

    OK, modelling is hard, we cannot expect perfection but should we not publicise their defects.

    Who remembers the well modelled box girder bridges?

    They collapsed.

    But there are plenty of other brides to cross.

    Comment by Geoff Beacon — 26 Jul 2011 @ 2:24 AM

  345. > Kramm

    Bentham Science Publishers.
    “Author Pays” publishing model, ownership undisclosed.

    Happy to hear there’s something lower than E’n’E.
    “… I enjoyed hearing about your efforts to contact Bentham Publishers. I, too, have been curious about them. I looked at to check on whether Bentham has ISI-listed journals and how they are priced. lists 14 Bentham journals, 12 are classified as “bad values” in terms of price per article and price per citation, and 2 as “medium values”. It appears to me that they are an established publisher that has fallen into “bad hands”….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Jul 2011 @ 2:49 PM

  346. Tim DeChristopher sentenced to two years. The judge states that had he kept his mouth shut, he may have not been prosecuted at all.

    U.S. District Judge Dee Benson pointed to DeChristopher’s continued defiance and frequent assertions to reporters that civil disobedience is justified in fighting climate change. He mentioned DeChristopher’s speech after his March conviction, in which the activist implored others to buck the system.

    If not for that “continuing trail of statements,” Benson said, DeChristopher might not have faced prosecution, let alone prison.

    “The offense itself, with all apologies to people actually in the auction itself, wasn’t that bad,” Benson said.

    The Founding Fathers would be proud. How about that Rosa Parks, eh?

    Comment by J Bowers — 27 Jul 2011 @ 3:40 AM

  347. Geoff B

    If you can access it, it may be useful to read Keith Beven’s ideas on this issue:

    My interpretation of the LUMS work is that it is more aligned with Wally Broecker’s ideas of AGW uncertainty than the Heartland Institute’s

    Comment by Hasis — 27 Jul 2011 @ 4:34 AM

  348. I have linked , 2 recordings from different locations of July 21 single Cumulo Nimbus lightning phenomenon. Absolutely fascinating event, worth while to study and look at again and again. One from the North, the other further west. As more come through will link. Would be nice to have a Burlington Vermont perspective.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 27 Jul 2011 @ 10:34 AM

  349. Latest from Spencer. Any validity?

    Comment by Tom — 28 Jul 2011 @ 11:08 AM

  350. “Latest from Spencer. Any validity?”

    James Taylor of Heartland has written a Forbes piece claiming AGW has been crushed by it based on the paper. You just know something’s wrong.

    Looking forward to the rebuttals, I must say.

    Comment by J Bowers — 28 Jul 2011 @ 11:28 AM

  351. from 348, I have tentatively pinpointed the single cloud with thousands of lightning, it was near by, within 12 km. Yet no sound. Absolutely captivating. Lightning subject appears to be highly specialized, I have yet to find cogent explanation of a single cloud being so active when others near by were not.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 28 Jul 2011 @ 1:59 PM

  352. Given its criticism of current climate models, I suspect the following will soon become a favourite skeptic paper. Neither of the authors are climatologists (but that’s usually the case with skeptic papers). Does anyone have any comments?

    R. Fildes and N. Kourentzes, Validation and forecasting accuracy in models of climate change, Working Paper

    [Response: Actually it isn’t that terrible. They clearly spent more time trying to understand the science than previous forecasting researchers and they do a reasonably constructive job of trying to see whether you can improve on climate model projections. They slip up a little in mixing up decadal intialized predictions with the wider climate model enterprise but it is a reasonable first effort. (Published version is here). – gavin]

    Comment by Scott — 29 Jul 2011 @ 10:23 AM

  353. Spencer is at it again:

    Journal Reference:

    1.Roy W. Spencer, William D. Braswell. On the Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedbacks from Variations in Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance. Remote Sensing, 2011; 3 (8): 1603 DOI: 10.3390/rs3081603

    Maybe he’s right, but he doesn’t have an oustanding track record. I’ll leave it to the more saavy to figure out.

    Comment by Maya — 29 Jul 2011 @ 11:03 AM

  354. > fildes
    Scott, PielkeSr blogged about it a couple of months ago; Scholar doesn’t find anybody’s cited it; could they confuse climate models with forecasts?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Jul 2011 @ 11:06 AM

  355. Scientist toast, bears to roast? h/t Neven

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 29 Jul 2011 @ 11:40 AM

  356. Sadly, in addition to the Spencer distractionalist fakery (fakiry) mentioned above, this:

    Particularly good job of making the obvious obvious on the part of one commenter Wayne Kernochan.

    These two articles are being hawked by triumphalist fake skeptics everywhere they can broadcast it.

    Oh for reporters who could at least spot that the fix is in!

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 29 Jul 2011 @ 5:19 PM

  357. In addition, it appears that Dr. Monnett is one good scientist (those people we can ill spare) is being prevented from getting on with his job.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 29 Jul 2011 @ 5:21 PM

  358. After reading the transcript of the interview between Monnett and the investigators it seems to me, because there was no log of dead polar bears prior to 2004, and the assertion that there were no dead polar bears prior to then is based on the recollections of observers rather than a data entry “We saw no dead polar bears” (the investigators keep on that issue for quite a while with words like “Stretching it a bit”), the allegations could be that any assertion of no dead bears prior to 2004 is scientific malfeasance because it is not based on computer entries. But it’s enough that they make the accusation, the investigation happens, and the opportunity is given to smear the scientists involved.

    Comment by J Bowers — 30 Jul 2011 @ 7:11 AM

  359. After reading the transcript with Monnett, I’m reminded of the Abbot and Costello skit “Who’s On First?”. The interviewer had a tough time understanding the difference between 4 total dead bears sighted and the 3 used for the transects calculation. As far as not reporting not seeing drowned polar bears before 2004, why would they? Were they to report every animal they did *not* see drowned, along with the wind conditions at the time of each non-event? If there is a case against Monnett relating to scientific integrity, it sure wasn’t made in the interview. Maybe we should start calling him Charles M. in honor of the Kafkaesque character of this investigation os far.

    “CHARLES M.: What’s that mean, just that it’s not criminal or something?
    ERIC MAY: That’s correct
    CHARLES M.: Right, and you’re going to, you’re going to investigate, uh, the details of our science…
    ERIC MAY: Based on the allegations that we received. That’s correct.
    CHARLES M.: Okay, and, and just so I know how to put my answers, do you have scientific credentials of any sort?
    ERIC MAY: No, we’re criminal investigators.”

    Comment by Robert Murphy — 30 Jul 2011 @ 8:55 AM

  360. Scienceblogger Greg Laden has a couple of recent posts on AGW, e.g. On the Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedbacks from Variations in Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance. Deniers are spewing familiar nonsense in the comments, and the realists can use some help.

    BTW, I love the instant preview of my comment!

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 30 Jul 2011 @ 11:13 AM

  361. re Monnet suspension: Appears it’s not to do with “scientific misconduct” [political misconduct?] See this and links within

    Comment by flxible — 30 Jul 2011 @ 11:36 AM

  362. > 360 Mal Adapted says: 30 Jul 2011 at 11:13 AM
    > Scienceblogger Greg Laden

    You should read Gavin’s comment about Laden’s blog post rather than encouraging people to pile on:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Jul 2011 @ 1:44 PM

  363. Montreal July 21 lightning cloud without sound is probably going viral on the internet. Due to that, there are many videos available. Some are very close to it. Again most exhibit no sound just thousands of bolts. There is highly likely a very cool explanation for the lack of sounds, but the UFO sites are picking up on it.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 30 Jul 2011 @ 3:00 PM

  364. Ya I post the most interesting links, those with identifiable locations…. More to come…

    Comment by wayne davidson — 30 Jul 2011 @ 3:02 PM

  365. ‘Non-scientific’ integrity issues? The political nonsense continues.

    I find it very reassuring that government scientists are allowed and encouraged to speak and publish on whatever they want. For example, the nonsense that Spencer publishes is great confirmation that climate change science is strong and well-founded.

    Comment by Didactylos — 30 Jul 2011 @ 3:24 PM

  366. I don’t find this link posted previously at RC, though I think it’s been mentioned — current state of the oceans:

    Hat tip to:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 Jul 2011 @ 10:36 AM

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