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Friday roundup

Filed under: — group @ 13 July 2007

An eclectic round-up of the week’s climate science happenings (and an effort to keep specific threads clear of clutter).

It’s the sun! (not)

As regular readers here will know, the big problem for blaming the sun for the recent global warming is that there hasn’t been a trend in any index of solar activity since about 1960, and that includes direct measurements of solar output by satellites since 1979. Well, another paper, has come out saying exactly the same thing. This is notable because the lead author Mike Lockwood has worked extensively on solar physics and effects on climate and certainly can’t be credibly accused of wanting to minimise the role of solar forcing for nefarious pro-CO2 reasons!

Stefan was quoted in Nature as saying this is the ‘last nail in the coffin’ for solar enthusiasts, but a better rejoinder is a statement from Ray P: “That’s a coffin with so many nails in it already that the hard part is finding a place to hammer in a new one.”

TGGWS Redux

The still-excruciating ‘Great Global Warming Swindle’ got another outing in Australia this week. The heavily edited ‘new’ version dumped some of the obviously fake stuff that was used the first time around, and edited out the misleading segment with Carl Wunsch. There is some amusing feedback in the post-show discussion panel and interview (via DeSmogBlog).

RC Wiki

As an aside, this is as good a time as any to point people to a new resource we are putting together: RC Wiki, which is an index to the various debunkings of the contrarian articles, TV programs, and internet pseudo-science that is out there. The idea is to have a one-stop shop so that anyone who comes across a piece and wants to know what the real story just has to start there. For instance, the page on TGGWS has a listing of many of the substantive criticisms from the time of the first showing.

Editing the wiki is by invitation only, but let us know if you want to help out, or if you have any suggestions or comments.

The sweet spot for climate predictability

Between the difficulty of long-term weather forecasts and the impossibility of accurate predictions for economic conditions a century hence, there is a sweet spot for climate forecasts. This spot, maybe between 20 and 50 years out, is where the emissions scenarios don’t matter too much (given the inertia of the system) and where the trends start to be discernible over the noise of year to year weather. Cox and Stephenson have a good discussion of the point in this week’s Science and a great conceptual graphic of the issues.

One could quibble with the details (we’d put the sweet spot a little earlier) but the underlying idea is sound, and in judging climate forecasts, it will be projections in that range that should be judged (i.e. the early Hansen projections).


350 Responses to “Friday roundup”

  1. 201
    Dan says:

    re: 196. It is important to note that La Nina has not developed as strongly as expected so far, with essentially neutral conditions ENSO prevailing. So it would not be all that surprising to see the updated hurricane season outlooks (early August?) reduce the number of possible storms. A European forecast has already indicated fewer for this year. What is remarkable is how last year still ended up with an average number of storms in spite of the Sahel dust storms and the developing El Nino, which should have produced a well below-normal season. The fact that it turned out average is consistent with the idea that the baseline number of storms per year is increasing with the global warming trend. Of course one year does not make a trend so whatever happens this season is certainly a blip in the longer time trend.

  2. 202
    Hank Roberts says:

    There’s _much_ of interest in the latest round of AGU Geophysical Research Abstracts online. I’m eagerly awaiting hearing more from those among the authors who also post here (and who, sometimes, make full text available). Please say more about your work when you can.

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/current/gl/

  3. 203
    J.S. McIntyre says:

    re 183: “One possibility has been pointed out by others before: those are the scientists that do not have to please current climatology grant decision makers.”

    Really?

    Could you possibly cite some real-world examples? I mean, verifiable real-world examples, just so we’re clear.

    While you’re doing that, I might point out there is this wonderful argument used by Creationists to explain why so many biologists agree with Evolution. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?

    It goes like this: “They [the Biologists] don’t point out that Evolution is flawed/false because they do not want to upset the Evolution orthodoxy and thereby lose grant money for funding.”

    Interesting how similar these two “arguments” are.

    Regards.

  4. 204
    Nick Gotts says:

    Re #200. J.C.H.’s URL is to an article in The Observer (UK Sunday paper) about Chris Rapley, a physicist, and the new head of the London Science Museum, who is quoted as follows:
    “What I am saying is that if we invest in ways to reduce the birthrate – by improving contraception, education and healthcare – we will stop the world’s population reaching its current estimated limit of between eight and 10 billion. That in turn will mean less carbon dioxide is being pumped into the atmosphere because there will be fewer people to drive cars and use electricity. The crucial point is that to achieve this goal you would only have to spend a fraction of the money that will be needed to bring about technological fixes, new nuclear power plants or renewable energy plants. However, everyone has decided, quietly, to ignore the issue.”
    Improving contraception, education and healthcare is indeed a worthy goal, but will have much less effect on GHG emissions than Rapley supposes, at least in the crucial next few decades, first because of the time lags involved, second because the bulk of the population growth it would prevent will otherwise occur in countries where per capita GHG emissions are low. Moreover, since reducing birthrates in these countries is likely to increase per capita GDP and hence energy use, the effect will be further diminished unless efforts to reduce GHG emissions relative to GDP are also made. These population-related measures are indeed necessary, both for their longer-term beneficial effects on GHG emissions and for many other reasons (and it is simply a falsehood, though one often repeated as though it was a daring, “politically incorrect” insight, that “everyone has decided, quietly, to ignore the issue”), but they will not solve the problem: massive cuts in net per capita GHG emissions in countries with low and even negative population growth are required over the next few decades to do that.

  5. 205
    John Mashey says:

    re: #183 Steve Reynolds

    Since you brought this up:
    Can you give us your feel for the likelihood of the following two, and perhaps compare them to the similar situations in CFC-ozone hole, sulfates-acid rain, and tobacco-smoking:

    a) Scientists working for the government, or for universities, and who think AGW is real, say so primarily due to the skewing of the grant proposal mechanisms?

    b) Scientists working directly for fossil fuel companies, or paid by them indirectly via CEI, GMI, etc, and who say AGW is not real, say so primarily due to the source of their funding?

    In particular, which of a) or b) do you think is more likely?

  6. 206
    David B. Benson says:

    William Collins, et al.
    The Physical Science behind Climate Change
    Scientific American, August 2007, 64–71.

    An excellent, highly readable, authoritative account by five of the particpants in WG I of the 2007 IPCC assesment. Recommended.

  7. 207
    Nigel Williams says:

    Regardless of right or wrong I think that the normal response by humanity to increased stress is to breed faster. It happens before wars etc. Right now any human with an ear to what is going on in the world will have that same subcutaneous itch – that feeling that all is not well with the world. Ironically it may only be those with the intellect to understand and take responsibility for the consequences of our actions who may under-breed – the rest will go with the flow, as they always will.

    When push comes to shove its how many folk we have in our clan that is a major determinant of the likelihood of the survival of our genes. So look for a spike in population growth – regardless of the paucity of resources that may be available to feed the hungry mouths or the illogic of increasing populations in the face of the present set of global realities.

    These realities will sort the population issue (and hence comsumption and emissions) in due course.

  8. 208
    Steve Reynolds says:

    205 John Mashey> “Since you brought this up:
    Can you give us your feel for the likelihood of the following two, and perhaps compare them to the similar situations in CFC-ozone hole, sulfates-acid rain, and tobacco-smoking:

    a) Scientists working for the government, or for universities, and who think AGW is real, say so primarily due to the skewing of the grant proposal mechanisms?

    b) Scientists working directly for fossil fuel companies, or paid by them indirectly via CEI, GMI, etc, and who say AGW is not real, say so primarily due to the source of their funding?”

    Interesting question. While I’m sure there are some exceptions on each side, I think both of your alternatives are pretty rare.

    My experience is that people like to do work that they believe in and think is important. People who already think AGW is real and important are attracted to the field and seek government funding.

    Most people who already think AGW is insignificant will find a different field. A few of the latter group may think discrediting AGW is important and accept funding that is looking for that answer. Some others will work for no monetary compensation to avoid conflicts.

  9. 209
    J.C.H says:

    How true is this notion that a brilliant scientist who wants to do perfectly legitimate scientific research can’t get grant money unless he tips them off that his research will enhance the case for AGW?

    Thinking it happens that way sounds like a total con job to me.

    If a guy wants a grant to study Greenland ice, does he have to promise he’ll find it’s melting like ice on a gold tooth?

  10. 210
    J.S. McIntyre says:

    re 208 –

    “People who already think AGW is real and important are attracted to the field and seek government funding.”

    This is the second time you’ve made an inference regarding motive for going into climate research, this time citing government funding (earlier the criticism was directed at those who are in charge of the grant process).

    Again, how about showing us some verifiable information that shows this is a trend? Serious stuff, charts, studies, statistics, that sort of thing, not personal opinions or my-say-so arguments?

    You see, the problem I have with your argument – aside from the lack of anything substantive to back it up – is the rather veiled suggestion/inference that research, in the end, is dictated by funding to the extent that scientific inquiry is stifled.

    Frankly, what you are claiming is counter-intuitive to what I understand to be the nature of scientific inquiry, the idea that, if anything, scientists like nothing better than to prove other scientists wrong. Yet you are essentially suggesting that scientific research is dictated by desired results.

    Now I can provide you with real world examples of where this sort of process is employed – the Discovery Institute comes readily to mind, for example, or the treatment of science by the current administration in the White House.

    In fact, I’m sure Jim Hansen of NASA, who’s work is counter to the political position of the current administration re Global Warming, who has even had a “minder” assigned to him at one point in an attempt to ameliorate his public comments, would find your claim fascinating, particularly as he and his people are employed by that same government. If your claim had any substance, I would expect that his funding would have been cut off!

    But there he is. So what do you think this says about government funding and how it dictates research? Isn’t this counter to your position? Not that the government doesn’t try – and succeed. But it is obvious they aren’t able to shut everyone up.

    So where’s the beef? Where is your evidence that scientific inquiry is dictated by a desire to make the people who pay your way happy, specifically in terms of the scientists examining AGW?

  11. 211
    Mike Donald says:

    Hi chaps,

    Wanna make a fast buck? Looking through June 2007′s edition of Offshore Engineer I spotted the following from :-

    http://www.offshore-engineer.com/

    Michael J Economides is a professor at the Cullen College of Engineering, University of Houston, and editor-in-chief of the Energy Tribune. The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect OE’s position.

    QUOTE
    Third and here is where I come in. I have made my own calculations using the Steffan Boltzman Law and radiation and free convection heat transfer. Greenhouse gases do play a role, but the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from some 250 to 350 parts per million since the industrial revolution cannot come close to causing the presumably observed enhanced global warming. I am repeating here a standing offer I made to several publications and audiences without a single taker yet. I will personally pay $10,000 for just one paper in the peer reviewed heat transfer or thermodynamic literature that shows the causal relationship between increased carbon dioxide and enhanced global warming.

    I claim such a paper does not exist, in spite of the ‘scientific consensus’, but I am willing to be corrected and pay for it, no questions asked.
    UNQUOTE

    All together now – Arrhenius?

  12. 212
    Nick Gotts says:

    RE #207 “Regardless of right or wrong I think that the normal response by humanity to increased stress is to breed faster. It happens before wars etc.”

    Nigel, can you give any source for the claim in the second sentence I’ve quoted? I haven’t found anything suggesting this in a quick online search. The US birth rate certainly rose during WWII, but only very slightly before the US entry into the war, and that was during recovery from the recession – i.e. at a time of reduced stress. I think European birth rates fell during WWII. Certainly, birth rates in rich countries rose during the post WWII boom, and birth rates fell after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the post-Soviet states, a time of profound stress. There’s some evidence that psychological stress reduces human fertility through physiological mechanisms, although this is difficult to determine as infertility is also a cause of stress. Certainly severe enough economic stress does reduce fertility, as women become infertile if they are not getting enough to eat. Even a lesser degree of economic stress may lead couples to postpone having children, hoping they will be better able to afford it later. Overall, the determinants of human birth rates are complex, and any simple statement such as the one you make in the first sentence, dubious. Why do you think it’s true?

  13. 213

    Does anyone else find this message at the top of the page a bit ironic?

    Everything should now be back to normal but please let us know if there are any more anomalies.

    Uh, we’ve gotten more than a foot of rain in the last month. When are you going to make all this rain go away?

  14. 214
    Steve Reynolds says:

    210 J.S. McIntyre> Frankly, what you are claiming is counter-intuitive to what I understand to be the nature of scientific inquiry, the idea that, if anything, scientists like nothing better than to prove other scientists wrong.

    I tend to agree with you about the motivations of scientists, but that says nothing about the motivations of funding bureaucrats that may not want to have someone prove their past decisions wrong.

    >Where is your evidence that scientific inquiry is dictated by a desire to make the people who pay your way happy, specifically in terms of the scientists examining AGW?

    You are misunderstanding my point. I’m not claiming any scientists (on any side) are insincere. I’m just saying that funding sources attract people that already tend to believe in the same things as the funding source.

    Most government funding bureaucrats probably sincerely believe that their previous decisions that AGW research is very important were correct. They willl tend to fund scientists that have similar opinions.

  15. 215
    J.S. McIntyre says:

    re 214

    “You are misunderstanding my point. I’m not claiming any scientists (on any side) are insincere. I’m just saying that funding sources attract people that already tend to believe in the same things as the funding source.”

    Again, can you back this up? You’re offering an opinion-as-fact sans anything substantive to support it.

    My understanding of how science works is that belief in something is secondary to what you want to research. And that the results of your research trump whatever bias you hold, regardless of how uncomfortable said results are to your beliefs.

    Again, you are making a subtle but distinct argument that there is a desire to fit the research to the results.

    It is hard to take what you are saying any other way.

    “Most government funding bureaucrats probably sincerely believe that their previous decisions that AGW research is very important were correct. They willl tend to fund scientists that have similar opinions.”

    Again, funding comes down from the top. Your statement does nothing to address the very public and documented reality that the current administration has appointed people to positions that hold ideological positions that are counter to a support of AGW research. It follows then that THEY control who and what gets funded.

    Yet government scientists like Hansen still go on the record supporting addressing the problem of AGW. In other words, your position appears contrary to even a simple look at real-life examples.

    Regards,

  16. 216
    J.C.H says:

    “You are misunderstanding my point. I’m not claiming any scientists (on any side) are insincere. I’m just saying that funding sources attract people that already tend to believe in the same things as the funding source. …”

    I think your claim is wishful thing at best, and most likely false.

  17. 217
    harry? says:

    Can someone on the site answer a question for a simple man puzzled by it for some time. I mean I’ve got 2 science degrees, 20 years of energy conservation research work in a couple of universities and I cant figure out how to get a username and password for this site.
    But as I understand it, the global temperature rises for some reason, then feedback from increased water vapour, and forcing from CO2 released from the ocean sink cause a climate forcing raising the temperature still further in a positive feedback loop, higher temperature more CO2 more forcing…
    Since the ocean is a virtually infinite source of CO2 compared to other sinks and sources and since the records show that past temperature rises have always ended and returned to cooler periods with less CO2, what turns the positive feedback off ?. What mechanism is powerful enough to produce a negative forcing sufficient to overcome the positive forcing caused by all that extra CO2 ?.
    The by symmetry why is this mechanism not powerful enough on its own to account for the warming in the first place?

    Answer please

    [Response: You don't need a user id to comment. However, to answer your question, a positive feedback in climate is not a runaway effect - as long as the feedback is smaller than the original perturbation then the process will converge - and you can work out that for CO2/T it is a long way from being unstable. The principle negative feedback that forces this is that LW radiation to space which goes like T^4. In ice age cycles, the reason for the warming and then cooling is not due to feedbacks at all. It is due to the forcing from the changes in the orbit (Milankovitch forcing). It generally gets colder again when the amount of radiation in the NH summer starts to drop due to the precessional cycle. - gavin]

  18. 218
    Steve Reynolds says:

    J.S. McIntyre> Yet government scientists like Hansen still go on the record supporting addressing the problem of AGW. In other words, your position appears contrary to even a simple look at real-life examples.

    That seems to me to disprove your point, that “…the current administration has appointed people to positions that hold ideological positions that are counter to a support of AGW research. It follows then that THEY control who and what gets funded.”

    Bureaucracy, almost by definition, has a lot of inertia, so I do not expect it to be controlled by the current administration.

    BTW, I’m not claiming my opinions as fact; I was asked for my opinion back in 205. If you have any credible sources to dispute my opinion, I am interested in seeing them.

  19. 219
    T.D.W. says:

    Regarding Nir Shaviv’s blog response:

    motls.blogspot.com/2007/07/nir-shaviv-why-is-lockwood-and-frohlich.html

    And your comment:

    [Response: This is just grasping at straws. The response to a mid century rise will peak around 10 years afterwards and then slowly asymptote to a new level. There is no way that it will continue to accelarate 5 decades later. - gavin]

    Can you elaborate on this? (My apologies, I’m somewhat of an amateur in the field.) I’m not sure I fully understand the problem with Shaviv’s argument here. How do we know that recent upwards trends in temperature aren’t a response to the relatively higher spikes of solar activity since 1960?

    [Response: You can think of a simple model of the climate as something with a large heat capacity (due to the ocean). Thus when you turn up the sun, it will start to warm, but it will take a while to plateau since it takes time to warm the ocean. If you plot the temperature as a function of time, you'll see the maximum gradient of temperature (ie. the max warming) immediately after the sun gets turned up. Subsequently the rate of change slows (as T gets closer to the new equilibrium value), and it will asymptote after a couple of decades. What we have seen in the real world is that the faster rate of change has happened over the last couple of decades - not in 1960. Given that we know the sun has been stable over that time period, there is no way a simple forcing+delayed response argument fits the data. - gavin]

  20. 220
    J.S. McIntyre says:

    re 218

    You C&P’d the following: J.S. McIntyre> Yet government scientists like Hansen still go on the record supporting addressing the problem of AGW. In other words, your position appears contrary to even a simple look at real-life examples.

    That seems to me to disprove your point, that “…the current administration has appointed people to positions that hold ideological positions that are counter to a support of AGW research. It follows then that THEY control who and what gets funded.”

    *chuckle*

    All I offered was an example that suggested the opinion you offered was without merit. Would you care to elaborate as to why this disproves a point I wasn’t making?

    “Bureaucracy, almost by definition, has a lot of inertia, so I do not expect it to be controlled by the current administration.”

    Really? Are you suggesting the appointees placed by the administration such are thus running rogue? Or that they are too incompetent to manage their own budgets? Curious, to put it mildly. Again, you offer nothing but what amounts to a question beg.

    “BTW, I’m not claiming my opinions as fact; I was asked for my opinion back in 205. If you have any credible sources to dispute my opinion, I am interested in seeing them.”

    Selective memory, eh? Actually, this goes back to #183. where you remarked:

    “One possibility has been pointed out by others before: those are the scientists that do not have to please current climatology grant decision makers.”

    You offered this claim up as a possibility, but you have yet to offer anything remotely resembling a substantive argument to support your remarks after being asked several times to do so. You have avoided addressing the point that this is a common claim, one we see repeated by the Creationist/ID camp, as I pointed out in #203. Bluntly speaking, you’re argument was fallacious, and your defense of your comments non-existent in any relevant sense.

    So I’ll ask you again: Can you offer anything of a factual, supported nature that would suggest there is anything credible to your remarks, or should they instead be treated with the same regard as similar defenses made by Creationists against evolution?

    Regards

  21. 221
    Philip Machanick says:

    209 J.C.H Says:>
    I doubt very much that anyone has to write a grant proposal that says “I will definitely find evidence for AGW or I will give the money back”. Most grant mechanisms do not closely track results as a condition for releasing funds over the life of the grant. In Australia, for example, to get a new grant, you are judged on track record and the quality of the proposal. If you have published a lot of papers in good journals, that usually gives your maximum points on track record. If you win a grant and find the opposite to what you thought you’d find, you don’t lose that grant. The worst case, if the whole system is biased, is you get one grant, find the opposite to what you proposed, and the (for the conspiracy theoreticians) horrible biased reviewers trash your track record or research question next time around. If this was really happening at least a few climate scientists would have been awarded major grants, found contradictory results, then not been able to get further grants.

    The system in other developed countries is generally similar.

    I have never heard of this happening, so the conspiracy theoreticians either have to make stronger case by demonstrating that virtually all scientists who win competitive government-funded grants are unprincipled, or that there are examples no one has talked about yet.

    On the other side, tobacco used to be big funders of research, but they closed their own labs in the 1980s because all their findings were negative, and switched to funding shills and sowing doubt in the mass media. I don’t think climate science has quite reached this point yet. There are a few doubters with reasonable credentials, but the number is shrinking as the evidence mounts. I’ve been watching this field since the 1980s, and the general trend has been firming up of the evidence as error bars have shrunk, measurement has improved and bigger computer models have become feasible. Almost every scientist I spoke to 20 years ago couldn’t say there was a strong case for AGW: the errors were bigger than the predicted change.

    If greenies and lefties have taken over the science in this field to change the world, one would have to admire their persistence. Decades of hard slog before the results started to look convincing. Like most conspiracy theories, this one falls down on the implausibility of actually carrying it off, even if you don’t drill down to the science.

  22. 222
    Steve Reynolds says:

    J.S. McIntyre> Would you care to elaborate as to why this disproves a point I wasn’t making?

    OK, I will take it in small steps for you:

    JS>“…the current administration has appointed people to positions that hold ideological positions that are counter to a support of AGW research. It follows then that THEY control who and what gets funded.”

    Yet Hansen has not been fired or defunded, so why not, if THEY control…

    JS> Are you suggesting the appointees placed by the administration such are thus running rogue?

    You clearly do not understand the concept of bureaucratic inertia. Think about how long most of the funding deciders have had their jobs.

    JS> Like most conspiracy theories…

    You and Philip have not been paying attention to what I have written. My point is that there is no conspiracy, just sincere people doing what comes naturally.

    JS> Creationists against evolution…

    I will stop at that insult. You have convinced me that further discussion with you is pointless.

  23. 223
    Chuck Booth says:

    Re 214, 218, and others on funding of scientific research

    Government bureaucrats control the purse strings, that is, they decide how much money goes to the national scientific research funding agencies in their country, such as NSF and NIH in the U.S., NRC, NSERC, etc, in other countries). And sometimes they threaten to cut back funding if they don’t like the kinds of research being funded, or the results of that research (U.S. Senator William Proxmire was infamous for his Golden Fleece Awards). But, the actual allocation of funding in the form of research grants is done by panels of scientists who have proven track records of publishing in peer-reviewed journals. And, as Philip Machanick points out in #221, the key to winning a major federal grant is having a strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals and having a good proposal – usually that means something that is likely to yield important new data or insights – emphasis on new; bandwagon (or “matrix-filling) science is rarely funded. It’s possible that a contrarian might have difficulty getting a grant, but that is usually because he/she does not have a proven record of publication to support his/her “novel” ideas. I don’t know what the funding rate is in other countries, but in the U.S., only about 25% of new proposals are funded by the NSF, and its not much better at the NIH, which means the funding process is very, very competetive – only the best proposals by productive scientists, as judged by the panel of eminent scientists and based on confidential peer-review, typically get funded – not a perfect process, but its the best there is. A scientist who has a strong record of publication and compelling new data to support an hypothesis that the current models of AGW are flawed will almost certainly be able to find funding somewhere other than from the fossil fuel industry. If they can’t get funded, it is usually because they can’t put together a convincing proposal.

  24. 224
    Chuck Booth says:

    Re 214, 218 Steve Reynolds and alleged governmental funding biases

    “Think about how long most of the funding deciders have had their jobs.”

    OK, how long have they had their jobs? Any idea? Can you provide some data on this? (I’ll help you here: At the U.S. National Science Foundation, NSF, most program officers are drawn from universities, and serve only a couple of years -very few P.O.s are full-time NSF employees. And the scientists who serve on the review panels are also mostly from universities, and they also serve for only a couple of years, or a couple of grant cycles – they are not government employees. As a result, there is a continual turnover of the scientists who make the actual determinations of who gets the grants, and who does not; this helps prevent the kinds of biases you keep suggesting are prevalent.) Do you have any information that is contrary to this? If so, please share it with us.

    Here is the description of one of the NSF grant programs dealing with climate science:

    Division of Atmospheric Sciences
    Climate and Large-Scale Dynamics (CLD)
    PROGRAM GUIDELINES

    SYNOPSIS

    The goals of the Program are to: (i) advance knowledge about the processes that force and regulate the atmosphere’s synoptic and planetary circulation, weather and climate, and (ii) sustain the pool of human resources required for excellence in synoptic and global atmospheric dynamics and climate research.

    Research topics include theoretical, observational and modeling studies of the general circulation of the stratosphere and troposphere; synoptic scale weather phenomena; processes that govern climate; the causes of climate variability and change; methods to predict climate variations; extended weather and climate predictability; development and testing of parameterization of physical processes; numerical methods for use in large-scale weather and climate models; the assembly and analysis of instrumental and/or modeled weather and climate data; data assimilation studies; development and use of climate models to diagnose and simulate climate and its variations and change.

    Some Climate and Large Scale Dynamics (CLD) proposals address multidisciplinary problems and are often co-reviewed with other NSF programs, some of which, unlike CLD, use panels in addition to mail reviewers, and thus have target dates or deadlines. Proposed research that spans in substantive ways topics appropriate to programs in other divisions at NSF, e.g., ocean sciences, ecological sciences, hydrological sciences, geography and regional sciences, applied math and statistics, etc., must be submitted at times consistent with target dates or deadlines established by those programs. If it’s not clear whether your proposed research is appropriate for co-review, please contact CLD staff (listed above) or the potential co-reviewing program staff (including but not limited to)

    Eric Itsweire (Physical Oceanography), eitsweir@nsf.gov
    L. Douglas James (Hydrological Sciences), ldjames@nsf.gov
    Thomas Baerwald (Geography and Regional Sciences), tbaerwal@nsf.gov
    Tom Russell (Applied and Computational Math), trussell@nsf.gov
    Rong Chen (Statistics), rchen@nsf.gov
    Penny Firth (Ecological Biology), pfirth@nsf.gov

    http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=11699

    Can you point out the institutionalized bias in favor of AGW in this program?
    If you go to the web page for this program (using the URL I provided above), you will find a link to abstracts of recent proposals funded under this program. I encourage you to look over the list, browse through some of the abstracts, and come back and tell us how the research is biased toward reinforcing current models of AGW, as opposed to generating important new information about climate systems operating on the earth.

  25. 225
    J.S. McIntyre says:

    re 222

    JS>“…the current administration has appointed people to positions that hold ideological positions that are counter to a support of AGW research. It follows then that THEY control who and what gets funded.”

    Yet Hansen has not been fired or defunded, so why not, if THEY control…

    Um … you do realize you are begging the question again, a rhetorical fallacy. I brought up Hansen to point out your argument regarding the awarding of government grants was flawed. I am not speculating one way or the other why he keeps his job, only that he does.

    Your response does nothing to address the point that, were your argument true, Hanson and his colleagues would likely not have the funding they do, given the well-reported ideological slant the administration employs regarding science.

    Are you suggesting the appointees placed by the administration such are thus running rogue?

    You clearly do not understand the concept of bureaucratic inertia. Think about how long most of the funding deciders have had their jobs.>>

    Ah … but we’re not discussing “bureaucratic inertia”. We’re discussing your claim scientific research (re, the rewarding of grants) is unduly influenced:

    ==============
    183:
    J.S. McIntyre> More important, IMHO, is the oft-remarked criticism re Why is it critics of Global Warming Theory and Prediction rarely have a background in Climatology, and further, why those that do tend to be out of date in terms of their current expertise to evaluate the work of people working in the field today.

    You: One possibility has been pointed out by others before: those are the scientists that do not have to please current climatology grant decision makers.

    ==================

    Like most conspiracy theories…

    You and Philip have not been paying attention to what I have written. My point is that there is no conspiracy, just sincere people doing what comes naturally.>>

    I’m sorry, but I didn’t make the conspiracy theory remark, Phillip did, and you could at least have the good manners to acknowledge this instead of attributing your cherry-pick to me.

    Your point was, my good man, to infer there IS a subtle operation where the science is subject to the desired results, essentially making a similar argument to the one the Creationists are fond of using when they want to “prove” that there are lots of biologists who don’t believe in evolution but keep their mouths shut for fear of losing grant money.

    This is a rhetorical fallacy, a question beg, one you have yet to provide a single bit of substance to support. Instead, you play the “Everyone knows such-and-such” fallacy re . In short, the Question Beg:

    “begging the question, also called assuming the answer (e.g., We must institute the death penalty to discourage violent crime. But does the violent crime rate in fact fall when the death penalty is imposed? Or: The stock market fell yesterday because of a technical adjustment and profit-taking by investors — but is there any independent evidence for the causal role of “adjustment” and profit-taking; have we learned anything at all from this purported explanation?)”

    From The Fine Art of Baloney Detection” by Carl Sagan

    http://rucus.ru.ac.za/~urban/docs/baloney.html

    Creationists against evolution…

    I will stop at that insult. You have convinced me that further discussion with you is pointless.>>

    It is a valid point, not an insult. If you wish to run away from it, more power to you, but nothing has changed. You made an unsubstantiated remark. It was pointed out to you by more than one party why it was flawed, for a variety of reasons (Chuck Booth’s very detailed response to you perhaps the best of the bunch, far beyond my own humble ability to communicate). In response, you have done NOTHING to support your position, when one would think that, if your claim were truthful, it should be child’s play for you to support it. Instead, you’ve have put up a series of posts that, for all intents and purposes, tend to avoid actually addressing to initial points you made.

    And now you suddenly take umbrage at something I have remarked on more than once, as if I have said it for the first time, and declare you will no longer discuss the “issue”, as it is suddenly “pointless”.

    Speaks volumes.

    Regards,

  26. 226
    J.S. McIntyre says:

    re: 206 –

    William Collins, et al.
    The Physical Science behind Climate Change
    Scientific American, August 2007, 64–71.

    An excellent, highly readable, authoritative account by five of the particpants in WG I of the 2007 IPCC assesment. Recommended.

    Comment by David B. Benson
    ================

    Thank you. I picked it up yesterday.

    As you correctly characterized, excellent read. Concise and to the point and, IMHO, very accessible.

    Regards,

    J.S. McIntyre

  27. 227
    Chuck Booth says:

    Re 206, 226 Scientific American article on climate change physics

    The Scientific American web site has some supplemental information related to that article: http://www.sciam.com/ontheweb/ (scroll down the page about half way).

  28. 228
    Hank Roberts says:

    Got soot?
    http://climateprogress.org/2007/07/24/more-of-nasas-james-hansen-on-old-king-coal/#more-1033
    http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB118470650996069354-buQPf_FL_nKirvopk__GzCmNOq8_20070818.html?mod=tff_main_tff_top

    http://scrippsnews.ucsd.edu/Releases/?releaseID=761
    SCRIPPS OCEANOGRAPHY NEWS
    What Happens Once Global Warming is at Full Power?
    One of the parameters that allows Earth to sustain life is its ability to reflect solar radiation, but to this day there is no existing theory that explains how the planet’s “albedo,” or reflectivity, is achieved or maintained. …

  29. 229
    Chuck Booth says:

    Re 227 Scientific American article on climate change physics

    The supplmental info I mentioned above includes a description of how the IPCC reports were developed – it is worth reading in light all the criticisms of the reports by non-climatologists:
    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleId=C016D6A1-E7F2-99DF-3F52F5F87A54C813

  30. 230
    Hank Roberts says:

    A request — discussion, or pointers to serious discussion (heck, this is the place I’d expect it) of Peter Ward’s new book “Under a Green Sky” please. Specifically — he writes about the gap between deep time study (up to about the beginning of the last round of “glacial cycles) and climatology (mostly since the end thereof). As I read his book he first sets out the evidence of what was happening at each of the past great extinctions, then points to a pattern I’ve not seen discussed here.

    Maybe it’s not modeled yet? That being, if I understood it, not a _halt_ to the thermohaline circulation but a rearrangement of it such that the surface water being sunk to the deeps is warm water low in oxygen, rather than very cold and oxygen-rich water.

    We’d still, I think, see the water flowing at depth — it wouldn’t be the rate it’d be the temperature and oxygen level.

    It’s early yet. But — Is anyone reading deep ocean oxygen levels? Modeling that possible change? I know there have been some changes in deep ocean temperatures reported (and this is way earlier than expected) — it was a Japanese transect across the Pacific, I’ll hunt for the cite, but it was not a small local effect, it was a small effect all the way across the deep Pacific.

    I may well have missed a major point of the book, got to reread it and read the notes. (Nitpicker caveat, so far I noticed three typos, I’ve sent them to Smithsonian Press, who welcomed the report; hoping they publish an errata page). Hoping for more on it.

  31. 231
    Philip Machanick says:

    J.S. McIntyre #183 taking umbrage at mention of conspiracy theory … sorry if my bringing that up (not, by the way, responding directly to anything you said) offended you — but ignore that and I will happily ignore your heavy-handed attempt at explaining “begging the question” (assuming anyone who disagrees with you is semi-literature is a poor debating technique) — and let’s stick to the fundamental point. The funding mechanism does not prevent everyone who comes up with a contrary result from publishing (even if you are right and it would damage their chances of getting further funding).

    Cite the cases, please. Otherwise you are arguing that everyone who has ever accepted AGW funding is dishonest. If the evidence doesn’t stack up at least _some_ researchers who’ve accepted this category of funding must have done sound work refuting it. Even researchers working for tobacco companies came up with negative results for their clients (before they closed their labs in the 1980s).

  32. 232
    Lawrence McLean says:

    I would be interested to know from any of the climate scientist if the particularly cold weather that has occurred in Peru, in Tropical Australia and in Argentina this winter fits with the climate change models or that there is an understood mechanism that explains it.

    My own naive understanding is that extremely hot weather in certain areas results in cool air being sucked up from higher latitudes resulting in unusually cooler conditions in other areas.

    Note: I am not interested in any comment from AGW skeptics. I have noticed that the weather events that I have mentioned has fueled those goons on other web logs.

  33. 233
    J.C.H says:

    WSI, a private forecasting outfit, recently altered their hurricane forecast.

    William Gray wrote the following in the WSJ today:

    http://tinyurl.com/2gmrqt

  34. 234
    J.S. McIntyre says:

    re 231

    Good morning, Phillip.

    No, did not take “umbrage” with your comment, only the other individual’s attribution of making it to me instead of you.

    Further, I believe you really need to go back over the posts I wrote. I not once EVER said anything that remotely suggested that people were prevented from publishing for any reason, or that funding was denied because of their “stance” on a subject. Perhaps you read it in something I quoted as opposed to my comments on the quote, which would explain your evident confusion.

    As for being “heavy-handed” re discussing question begging, I’m sorry, but that was the game Mr. Reynolds was playing, something I’ve seen a lot from Creationists and Intelligent Designers and now more and more from Climate Skeptics/Denialists, and I stand by my comments/criticisms regarding the tactic. It is disingenuous, to be polite, and deserves to be called out.

    Finally, please be a little more specific: where in the world did you somehow come to the conclusion that if someone disagrees with me they are being semi-literate? Quite bluntly, I assume no such thing and I think your attempts to provoke in that direction are ill-informed (though in keeping with your confusion regarding what I did or did not say) and impolite. Regarding this specific instance re Mr. Reynolds comments on funding and how it works (though, as I pointed out, he never actually provided anything credible to support those comments), I will offer that I find our culture in the U.S. is producing a population of people who seem to believe that rhetorical fallacies are legitimate to use when discussing issues, learned no doubt from the manner in which popular media’s talking heads tend to comport themselves during debates. If I came off as condescending, I apologize, for what it’s worth, for the manner, but not for the argument itself.

    I post here intermittently, and tend more often to read what others write as opposed to say much because, quite frankly, I am not formally educated in science (I am a middlin’ writer and artist), let alone climatology (and have been rather upfront about my lack in this regard) but instead have come to science more by means of studying on my own, spurred by the understanding that if I were going to be able to keep up with what my child was studying in high school I needed to “brush up” on the subjects accordingly. From that fresh exposure has come a renewed interest in the sciences, in particular the politicization of it, something I can address with some authority as opposed to the intricate workings of the science itself. So when I do comment, it is either offering an opinion, to ask for a question, or as in the case of Mr. Reynolds unfortunate remarks, to point out an obvious error based on my own experience in discussions with people who tend to use them.

    “Cite the cases, please. Otherwise you are arguing that everyone who has ever accepted AGW funding is dishonest.”

    Once again, I suggest you reread the chain of postings before you berate me for something I did not say. Start at 183, then read on to 203, 210, 215, 220, 225. You’ll see a pattern emerge that has nothing in common with your characterization of my position on this.

    Regards.

  35. 235
    harry? says:

    Thank you Gavin for your kind reminder (in 217) that good ole Stefan-Boltzman is there stopping us running away with ourselves, at least in respect of GW and that Milutin Milankovitch is still considered to be playing his part.
    However there does seem to be some contradiction between your reply to me
    ” In ice age cycles, the reason for the warming and then cooling is not due to feedbacks at all. ”
    and this highlighted item on this site – What does the lag of CO2 behind temperature in ice cores tell us about global warming? :-
    ” So CO2 during ice ages should be thought of as a “feedback”, much like the feedback that results from putting a microphone too near to a loudspeaker.
    In other words, CO2 does not initiate the warmings, but acts as an amplifier once they are underway. From model estimates, CO2 (along with other greenhouse gases CH4 and N2O) causes about half of the full glacial-to-interglacial warming. ”
    Confusing all this is, Joda, is there a consistent hypothesis yet or is it changing all the time? ,
    I guess I’d better get out my slide rule and start doing some sums myself, if I haven’t lost too many brain cells in my retirement.

    [Response: Where's the confusion? CO2 is not the *initial* reason for the warming (or cooling), but once it starts to react, it's a feedback making it warmer or cooler (depending on whether it's increasing or decreasing). - gavin]

  36. 236
    Hank Roberts says:

    If you consider going to videos for the U-tube generation members who don’t read or write much — but may still vote — this could be boiled down into useful bits: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sun/dimm-nf.html

    (Found while looking at some history on Dr. Ramanathan’s work, see the Scripps news release I posted a couple of responses back — the man’s been doing amazing work for decades and his current work is big news)

  37. 237
    Jerry Steffens says:

    Re: #235 The confusion appears to concern the use of the word “cause”. The problem with a feedback loop is that the concept of causation tends to be blurred: The proper answer to the question, “Do changes in CO2 cause temperature changes or do temperature changes cause changes in CO2″ is “yes”.

  38. 238
    Dan says:

    William Gray is at it again re: hurricane trends. Again, via the Wall Street Journal (but of course not a peer-reviewed scientific journal). See http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB118541193645178412.html

    Among other things, he subtly switches from discussing the trend of the total number of Atlantic hurricanes to the much smaller subset of US land-falling hurricanes in the fourth paragraph. Which is not the point.

  39. 239
    vk279 says:

    T/CO2/Sunspot graph Wiki:
    It is my understanding that the temperature rise from 1900-1940 is primarily due to solar forcing and the temperature decrease from 1940-1970 is due to air pollution changing Earth’s albedo.
    The graph shows solar activity rising from 1900-1980.

    (Ignoring pollution) It seems reasonable to me to expect to see solar forced warming occur in the 1940-1980 period that is similar in magnitude to the 1900-1940 warming.
    After the pollution starts decreasing at ~1970 I would expect to see solar forced temperature first return to 1940 levels and (perhaps) then increase by the ‘masked’ 1940-1980 amount.
    This would occur without a trend in solar activity after 1970 and, since the increase depends on gradually decreasing pollution levels and not a solar peak, temperature would not appear to be responding to a solar change and would not behave as gavin describes in #219.

  40. 240
    Vernon says:

    RE: 239 Where did you find evidence that sulfides increased between 1940 – 1970 and that they have decreased since then. I have been unable to find any studies that support that position. I have seen it as conjecture supported by GCM models to explain the mid century cooling, but I have not seen where anyone has actually measured the aerosols to support this hypothesis with empirical evidence.

    [Response: I'm pretty sure that no-body is saying the aerosols have decreased globally since then. In the US and Europe they may have, but globally I doubt it. There is some evidence of a very slight decline since about 1990 (see recent Michenko et al paper in Science), but it's very unclear that that would be large enough to have a notable global climate impact. The issue with the 1940-1970 period is not that aerosols were high then and then decreased, but that the rate of change was large enough to overwhelm the rate of increase of GHGs. Subsequently, GHGs have continued to increase at a faster rate, but aerosols have not kept up - mainly because GHGs accumulate, while aerosols concentrations are a very strong function of present emissions. - gavin]

  41. 241
    tidal says:

    >

    Bill Chameides, at Environmental Defense blogs, has a decent rebuttal to the Gray WSJ piece – “Gray’s Hypothesis Doesn’t Hold Water” – here http://environmentaldefenseblogs.org/climate411/2007/07/26/grays_hypothesis/

    By the way, the Environmental Defense “Climate 411″ blogs have a rich series of posts… and there is also and outstanding Webcast on the basic science of Climate Change they made to Tennessee teachers – here: http://www.environmentaldefense.org/climatechangeworkshop/part1/SupportingFiles/ViewerWM7.html
    It does an excellent job of walking people through the basics, and works through many of the main denier points on route. I would suggest that the RealClimate folks take a look and consider this for addition to the “Start Here” post. Some people do not relate well to absorbing these concepts by being told to “read this report”. For those that prefer a different medium, this is excellent.

  42. 242
    Hank Roberts says:

    Vernon in 240 writes:
    > RE: 239 Where did you find evidence that sulfides … I have been unable to find any studies that support that position.

    You’re looking for the wrong word, Vernon. You won’t find what you’re looking for.
    Tell people _where_ and _how_ you are searching. Tell people what you find.

    I’m assuming you searched for what you said. You’d find nothing. So try this:

    – Look for “sulfates”
    – Read a few dozen of Google Scholar’s references here (click “web search” if you can’t get the papers, or ask your local library to get you copies of the journals — any reference librarian will be very helpful to you and will teach you how to find these things).
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?sourceid=Mozilla-search&q=global+dimming

    Also — see the Search box at the top of the main RC page. Try “sulfates” or “dimming” there.

  43. 243
    Vernon says:

    Lets try this again. Lockwood made some very basic mistakes which even I as a non-climatologist can recognize and I am surprised that no climatologist have noticed it here.

    Basically I see two problems with his paper, the first is that he does not address the latency between driver and effect. For example, the highest intensity of sunlight is at noon but the highest temperature is a few hours later in the afternoon. In the NH June is the month when the most sunlight is received but the hottest days generally do not happen till August. The same is true for same is said for CO2, if were to stop producing CO2 now, what is going to happen in the next 50 years would still happen due to the lag between cause and effect. Lockwood did not take this into account and for this reason most of his argument is flawed.

    Second, even though he says that there are no upwards trends for solar influences, his own charts show that this is not true and some things have tended upwards.

    For these reasons, it is not possible based on this paper to say that there is no solar effect.

    [Response: This is truly clutching at straws. The lags - which everyone acknowledges exist - do not cause an increasing trend with time. No measure of solar activity is higher now than in ~1960. How can a ramp up almost 50 years ago cause an acceleration in warming in the last decades? -gavin]

  44. 244
    Vernon says:

    Well Gavin, I cannot say I really know, but how is CO2 changes now going to cause problems 100 years from now? Your saying it applies to CO2 but not other drivers?

    [Response: There are at least three time constants that matter: the first is the thermal lag of the oceans (which we mentioned previously - a decade or two), second is the lag from changes in emissions to changes in concentrations - that varies for each component - very short (weeks) for aerosols, a decade for CH4, and from 5 years to 300 years (and longer) for CO2, and finally, there is the lag in human infrastructure. Things being built now (power stations, urban sprawl, highways) are going to be in place for decades. That means that decisions made today will affect emissions for decades, which will still be leading to changes in CO2 in 50 years time which will still be affecting climate in 2100. It is the lifetime for atmospheric perturbations for CO2 that mark it out for special treatment. - gavin]

  45. 245
    Timothy Chase says:

    Vernon (#244) wrote:

    Well Gavin, I cannot say I really know, but how is CO2 changes now going to cause problems 100 years from now? Your saying it applies to CO2 but not other drivers?

    Gavin wasn’t speaking of increasing temperatures, but of an acceleration in the rate at which temperatures. It is the third and last sentence of what you were responding to:

    How can a ramp up almost 50 years ago cause an acceleration in warming in the last decades?

    We saw the acceleration in the rate at which temperatures increased begin around 1979 and the rate of acceleration actually increase after that. If I understand things correctly the lag for the sun would be at most a decade due to the feedback from water vapor.

  46. 246
    John Mashey says:

    re: #242 Vernon: climate science includes chemistry.

    For at least part of the story on this:
    1) Start with emissions of *sulfur dioxide* , by reading the following paper, especially looking at Figure 3 on page 12 (Global sulfur dioxide emissions by meta-region) of Smith, Andres, Conception, Lurz,
    “Historical Sulfur Dioxide Emissions 1850-2000: methods and results”,
    PNNL-14537, 2004.
    http://www.osti.gov/bridge/servlets/purl/15020102-hnrUiC/15020102.PDF
    (or several other places). Alternatively, see
    David Stern, “Global sulfur emissions from 1850 to 2000″,
    http://www.rpi.edu/~sternd/Chemosphere2005.pdf, which slices the data in some additional ways.

    You can see a steep rise from mid-1940s to the peak ~1975, as Europe and N. America turned sharply down.

    Further chemical processes are described in:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfur_dioxide
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfate

    So, the SO2 further oxidized into H2SO4, i.e., *sulfate* (or sulphate if British) and eventually falls as acid rain.

    Unlike big volcanic eruptions, which blast SO2 into the stratosphere, where it spreads around for a few years before falling out, anthropogenic SO2 stays in the troposphere, in more localized plumes, and falls out fairly rapidly.

    Put another way, you might expect to see anthropogenic sulfates in Greenland or the Himalayan glacier ice-cores, but not much in Antarctica … and that’s what is seen. (Big eruptions show up somewhat everywhere).

    The simplest accessible chart I’ve seen of this is from Ruddiman’s “Plows, Plagues & Petroleum” book, page 157, Figure 15.2, which shows the mid-1970s spike in Greenland. For something more detailed, see Legrand, “Ice-core records of atmospheric sulfur”, 1997, http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?artid=1691926&blobtype=pdf

    This is not hard to find, but as Hank says, hunting *sulfides* won’t help.

  47. 247
    Timothy Chase says:

    PS to #245
    (response to Vernon regarding solar output versus greenhouse effect due to carbon dioxide)

    If solar output had remained constant at 1960 levels, the temperatures would have plateaued at 1970. Of course if you reach for water vapor as a means of creating a lag between increased solar activity, you are already buying into the greenhouse effect with respect to water vapor – and your denial of the importance of carbon dioxide becomes incoherent.

    Solar output has actually been falling since, therefore if solar activity were the driver of increasing temperatures, those temperatures would actually have been falling after 1970. And this is even giving you the benefit of a greenhouse effect due to water vapor.

    QED Solar output is not responsible for the current rise in temperatures.

    Solar activity was the main driver of temperature increases in the earlier half of this century, although it wasn’t the only driver, and it has not been the primary driver since 1970. But the rate at which temperatures increased took off around 1979, and that rate has actually increased since then. We are continuing to emit carbon dioxide the rate at which we have been emiting carbon dioxide has actually increased. The temperatures have followed. And we continue to emit more carbon dioxide, much of which will remain in the atmosphere for centuries to come.

    *

    This is the evidence in terms of the trends, but it is not the strongest evidence. What we are talking about are fundamental principles of physics. The absorption and re-emission of longwave radiation by CO2. This knowledge is grounded in quantum mechanics, which has been tested to a level of accuracy unmatched by any other branch of human knowledge.

    Consider:

    1. We understand why CO2 has the properties which make it a greenhouse gas.
    2. We have been aware of these properties as the result of lab experiments over a century ago.
    3. We have performed spectral analysis and know the specific parts of the spectrum in which it act.
    4. We know why it acts in those parts of the spectrum as the result of its structure and excitations.

    Admittedly, the link between the specific trends for a given year or decade are less clear than the fundamental physics – this is due to the complexity of the climate system. And the exact magnitude of the effect isn’t something that automatically follows from the fundamental physics – it requires a knowledge of how that climate system is structured. But we know that it should be there and that it will be roughly the magnitude that we see.

    The direct effect of carbon dioxide in the neighborhood of 1.2 degrees Celsius is as predictable as the time that it takes for an object to fall when you release it from your hand. The indirect effects due to various feedbacks adds another 1.6 degrees Celsius. Given the complexity of the climate system, this is not something that we know by means of fundamental physics, but it is some we are able to demonstrate by looking at the paleoclimate record.

    *

    This isn’t a question of what we may not know. We know. This isn’t a question of winning or losing an argument. If truth is your standard, that has already been decided. This is a question of everyone losing big time in the real world for centuries to come.

  48. 248
    Vernon says:

    RE: 246 per the IPCC water (clouds), sulphates, black carbon, orgianic carbon, biomass burning, mineral dust, aviation, land use, solar all at the low to the very low level of scientific understanding. Then saying we know greenhouse gases real well and since we don’t know the rest we will assume that green house gases are driving everything and we will assume that the climate is very sensitive changes in greenhouse gases since we know squat about the rest of the drivers.

    UC Irvine did a study that shows that 35-94 percent of all warming and melting in the Arctic is due to black carbon and other aerosols. If the high end is correct, then CO2 next to nothing to do with Arctic warming, sea ice melting, and Greenland. It is only one study, but to say we know one thing and from that we can guess, because we scientifically have low to very low knowledge of the effect of all most all the other climate drivers seems very disingenuous.

    No one, per the IPCC knows a signification amount about how the sun interacts to affect the climate. Lockwood’s ignoring the many possible solar drivers that are just starting to come to light does not prove anything. Saying that we know that CO2 remains in the atmosphere for x amount of time and since we do not know the latency for solar drivers, we can ignore it is also disingenuous.

    That is why I say that Lockwood has problems and I am surprised that climatologist would not stand up and say, nice though but you did not discuss x,y, and z.

    It is like blowing off the fact that the proxies show that we are not warming now have not been for a while even though the instrumented readings say we are. Part of the problem is that what is claimed about now is based on the proxies and if they are not right now, why were they right then?

    Anyway, Timothy, that is why I say so what if we know one piece of the puzzle when we don’t know the other pieces and we are only, and this includes all GCM’s making a best guess based on fit for all the drivers that we do not understand. If we actually knew all the drivers then we would not be having this discussion, but we don’t, so we are.

    Wonder if this post is also going to be ignored.

  49. 249
    Jeremy Dawes says:

    Having read this site avidly for the last few months, one thought that struck me is how well the denialists have put AGW into the “orthodoxy” camp and the placed themselves into the heretic camp. The denialists then use this to infer that the orthodox camp do not want to listen to the “truth” about the lack of AGW, and build all their arguements from there.

    If you look at the way the majority of us behave, the orthodoxy is actually that AGW does not exist. I don’t think I am much different from an average inhabitant of the western world. I drive a car, use fossil fuel to heat my house, fly to foreign holidays, etc. If AGW was the othrodox view we would all put substantial efforts into removing fossil fuel use from the way we live our lives (rather than just talk about it).

    PS provoked by the blatent misinformation in TGGWS, I did the research and am now slowly starting to make some of changes necessary, but it is a painful process.

  50. 250
    Timothy Chase says:

    RE #248

    Vernon, please permit me to explain to you some relatively basic principles and then identify some of their applications…

    1. An exacting knowledge of the underlying physical principles does not require an exacting knowledge of how those principles apply to the specific spatial and temporal distribution of the effects as they exist within the climate system.

    2. The uncertainty regarding the specific forcings is principally almost entirely one of spatial distribution, their distribution with regard to latitude, longitude and altitude. It has no effect upon our understanding of the physical principles that are involved.

    3. The existence of other causal factors and uncertainty with regard to the extent to which they are “responsible” for a given effect generally has a negligible effect upon our understanding of the effects of other causal factors.

    4. Even if we are fairly uncertain of the exact consequences of various causal factors within a given year, we can state with near certainty the general direction and near magnitude of the trajectory that the climate system will take as the result of these factors within forty years.

    5. The justification for a given conclusion which is justified by multiple independent lines of investigation is generally far greater than the justification which it would receive from any one line of investigation in isolation from the rest.

    6. Bald assertions on the part of someone who refuses to understand a given scientific discipline or who is unwilling to name his sources in no way undermines the evidence and justification which exists for this branch of human knowledge.

    7. The refusal of one or of a great many to understand any or all of this in no way reflects upon the current state of our scientific knowledge of the phenomea which is shaping our climate.

    8. An exacting knowledge of the human devastation in terms of its exact magnitude and spatial and temporal distribution is in no way required in order to know its order magnitude and near timing.

    9. Identification precedes evaluation.

    10. Reality is, and is what it is independently of anyone’s choice to recognize it or refusal to do so.

    Given your time here, by an rational standard you should be aware of these principles. Assuming that you are willing to grasp them now that they have been explicitly stated, I will explain to you a few of their applications.

    1. Even if we were unaware of whether increased solar activity from before 1960 were partly responsible for the trends we have seen since 1979, this would detract very little from our understanding of the role of carbon dioxide. To give you just one of the many reasons why, the only scientifically credible reason why would be amplification by means of one of the known mechanisms of such amplification, and this would in all likelihood be through water vapor feedback.

    2. However, as I have already pointed out, if you accept the role of water vapor feedback, you have no logical basis for denying the role of carbon dioxide in the greenhouse effect. Our knowledge of the efficacy of both is based upon our understanding of how they interact with infrared radiation which is grounded in some of the most exacting human knowledge which exists.

    3. Even were increased past solar activity partly responsible for the current temperature trends, this would in all likelihood mean that greenhouse gases are more effective, not less – since it would suggest that they were able to amplify the effects of this past radiation into the present. You find this absurd? The absurdity lies not in the basic causal efficacy of greenhouse gases but in the assertion that the causal efficacy of solar activity from before 1960 extends into the present. The only reason why honest scientists continue to perform investigations of this is a matter of public relations to counter propaganda.

    4. Lets consider for a moment the instance of black carbon in the Arctic. What is the reason for our uncertainty regarding the extent to which the melting of the ice has been due to black carbon? We do not know the exact distribution of this black carbon – and the indirect effects of it upon the ice. But we do know that carbon dioxide has been raising temperatures in the arctic, rendering such ice more vulnerable to whatever effects might push it over the edge – including black carbon.

    5. The effects of black carbon are a mutually exclusive alternative to the greenhouse effect that is due to carbon dioxide – but something which works in conjunction with the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide. When that study which you refer to suggests that black carbon may have been responsible so far for perhaps the majority of ice which has melted so far melting this simply means that if you were to remove the black carbon so much ice might not have melted so far. But by the same token, remove the increased temperature due to the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide and the very same results could and perhaps in all likelihood would occur.

    6. Regardless of the specific short-term causation, given the paleoclimate record, we know what the long-term effects of carbon dioxide are – the evidence which we have regarding its short-term efficacy simply adds to this justification we have for such knowledge, and what little uncertainty might exist regarding the short-term efficacy in no way diminishes our knowledg of these long-term effects.

    7. Remove the global dimming effects of aerosols from a few decades ago and the black carbon and it is quite likely that Arctic summers would be free of sea-ice altogether. Remove the black carbon which is present from the past several decades and from now and the future and in all likelihood the Arctic would be free of sea-ice would still be gone a few decades from now as the result of increased levels of carbon dioxide if we were to continue on our current course. The same would apply to the role of an entirely hypothetical increased solar activity were this currently a factor.

    8. Even when we assign a forcing to a particular factor, the uncertainty of the forcing is not due to our understanding of the physical properties of that substance under laboratory conditions but of the distribution of the substance within the column.

    9. While we are uncertain to some degree regarding the extent to which carbon dioxide is responsible for the trend that a particular decade takes, this has little to say regarding our knowledge of the trend that will result in four decades. And what knowledge we claim of its effects four decades from now is – given the effects of the various positive feedbacks – almost with near certainty conservative in its estimation.

    10. The supposed undesirability of having acknowledging the role of carbon dioxide in climate change cannot be decided without knowing what that aspect is. You simply cannot evaluate it – and the belief that such an acknowledgement is undesirable is incoherent. If anything, it simply means that you are blindly following along a path to a destination which you are ignorant of. But the failure to take the right course will have the very same effects upon countless individuals that it would if one were to deliberately choose the course that you take with full knowledge of the results of consequences of any given course.

    Now if you look closely, I believe you will see that I have responded to you quite well. However, I hold out little hope as you appear not to have done this any of the times people have responded to you in the past.


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