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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. 1
    Steve Bloom says:

    Thanks for taking these excellent steps! They’ll make RC much more accessible and effective.

  2. 2
    Robert Bergen says:

    I like very much the cocept of the Friday Roundup. Keep it, please. And the entry in Wikipedia is nothing short of brilliant, in view of your own self-given mandate to spread the word. I have used your site many times to (try to) educate both the uninformed and the naysayers, with, of course, mixed results. But you are the authority, and hard to deny. Keep it up!

  3. 3
    Brian says:

    RC continues to get better…thanks.

    As an aside, I very much enjoy reading the progression of comments for various posts. Although you guys likely get frustrated much of the time, another way to look at it is that all this attention, scrutiny, debate, debunking, etc. is so great for the progress of climate science. Yes, there are certainly misunderstandings and setbacks that result from all of this, but in the LONG VIEW, I think all this brouhaha is beneficial.

    Keep up the good work.

  4. 4
    Jim Eager says:

    Re TGGWS Redux
    Thanks for the link to the Tony Jones interview with Durkin. He sure is a piece of work, dodging and sputtering to downplay his truncating of the graphs and claiming that the more recent data record is “moot”.
    What an [expletive deleted].

  5. 5
    SteveF says:

    From the Durkin interview:

    Tony Jones: “Why didn’t you continue the [solar] graph from 1980 to now with more up to date data?”

    Martin Durkin: “Well it was a historical part of the program where we talked about key discoveries in the recent history of climatology.”

    Tony Jones: “Why weren’t we told that temperature and solar activity diverges sharply after 1980?”

    Durkin: “It’s a very moot point what happens after 1980.”

    In todays Grauniad, Durkin has a letter in which he describes Lockwood’s work as “feeble”. Interestingly, in view of the above exchange, he says:

    “However, according to the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (as used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), global temperature peaked in 1998 – the warmest year in the last decade. The temperature then fell. It did not change at all from 2001 to 2005 and then fell slightly, again, in 2006. In short, according to the IPCC’s own figures, the global temperature has been static or else slightly declining for several years. The satellite data confirms this picture. Why is this happening when increasing CO2 levels are meant to be driving the temperature up? Could it be because solar activity has waned?”

    Hmmmmm

  6. 6
    Timothy Chase says:

    From the essay:

    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.

    Great idea!

    Although I am not that fond of coding wiki-pages (I am more of an old-fashioned custom-your-own-html kinda guy), they do have their benefits, and it may complement the blog quite well. However, besides the coding, there is also the tendency to create cob-webs. I saw that sort of thing with another wiki not too long ago.

    It may just be me or perhaps the way my mind works, but I prefer good hierarchical structures – with cross-referencing between distant branches. Back in my old Mac days I wrote a program in HyperCard with two navigation listboxes: branches and bridges. The first entry in the branches was the parent of the current location – which was followed by the children. The structure was dynamic so that you could cut and graft a branch to anywhere else in the structure. This is something which wikis don’t encourage – but which is certainly still possible. (Incidently, the program “BrainStorm” ended up being spread out across a good number of files and including all my notes and technical papers with over 2000 pages of type-written information. I guess you could say I found it useful.)

    … but I can see that you already have a little of that going already.

    Quick note: just so you know that I am not stealing your idea – I have been working on a wiki of my own. I got started last weekend. I was going to keep it a surprise, but… what the hay!

    Anyway, it isn’t ready for show as of yet, but I am hoping that it may be something of value in a bit. And yes, this is what has been keeping me busy. I want to do something to try and make a difference. Besides, I figure I will learn a bit in the process of putting it together. We will see what happens.

  7. 7
    Neil B. says:

    I would like to see more commentary on the change in average dew point over the centuries and recently. The data may be hard to pin down for below 19th century (and, is it really so much harder to estimate than temperature?) However, it could be more revealing than temperature. I expect dew points to have risen more than temperature, from increased evaporation. It could impress people more for PR. Also, the temperature changes are raw averages, but isn’t the rise in nighttime temperatures much more? More often warm at 3 am. etc., and maybe dew points then too even worse increase.

    Also, I get the observational impression that temperatures have risen more than the reports of maybe 0.5 degree or so C (?) in recent decades. Here in SE Virginia, in the 60s, I remember well it snowed rather often. Now, it hardly ever does. Maybe there is another explanation, but people from all around tell me similar stories. What do you know or suspect?

  8. 8
    Dylan says:

    One notable exception from the GGWS post-show discussion was Ian Plimer. I had greatly admired Ian in his years tirelessly battling the small but persistent creationist movement in Australia.
    But his views on AGW are baffling – having fought creationists on their ideology, he now appears to falling under the same trap; as an associate of the “free market” think tank I.P.A., he apparently believes that there is no justification for governmental intervention into our economy in order to keep emissions under control.
    One of his points I don’t understand at all – he claims that there are ~10000 earthquakes a year, and that the associated CO2 release is not included into the GCMs or properly researched as far as their effect on the climate. In fact, I can’t find any numbers on just how much CO2 is released by earthquakes (or other non-volcanic seismic events), but even if we had those numbers, would it really make much difference?

    [Response: None whatsoever. There is less CO2 in the atmosphere than we have put into it. We know therefore that the carbon cycle is on average taking away human CO2, not adding more of it's own. - gavin]

    [Response: To correct Gavin slightly: he should have said less additional CO2. Concentration has risen from 280 to 380 ppm, which is an addition of 200 GtC, raising the atmospheric CO2 content from 600 to 800 GtC. These 200 GtC we added is 57% of the fossil carbon we added to the atmosphere. -stefan]

  9. 9
    viento says:

    The conclusions by Lockwood are based on the fact that sun output does not display a positive trend since 1985 or so. However, a couple of years ago Waple and Mann showed that there is a lag of about 20-40 years between solar irradiance and global temperature. Therefore, according to both papers, the effect of solar output on Earth’s temperature should be peaking now.

    [Response: If 1985 were really the peak. However, you can take the analysis back further and find that solar hit its peak in 1960 or so and any response from that would be well damped by now, yet the last decade is the warmest yet and the rate of warming is increasing. - gavin]

  10. 10
    Nick Gotts says:

    Re #5 Just a note for non-UK (and probably younger UK) readers. “Grauniad” is a nickname for “The Guardian” (mildly liberal – or in US terms extreme left :-) – daily newspaper). The nickname was coined many years ago by the satirical magazine “Private Eye”, because of the number of misprints appearing in the newspaper.

    On another point, the “Friday roundup” is an excellent idea.

  11. 11
    viento says:

    #9
    Well I am reading the paper again, and I see in several places that the last grand maximum was 1985. Concerning the ‘rate’ of warming, it is not very clear that it is increasing. The trend in global T and, in particular sea-surface-temperatures in the last 10 years is not as large as in the 90s, though positive indeed – with the uncertainties in determining a 10-year trend.

  12. 12
    Hank Roberts says:

    The rate of earthquakes hasn’t changed much over time. No reason to think that the rate of CO2 coming out from earthquakes has changed much over time either. And this stuff is studied a lot: http://www.osti.gov/energycitations/product.biblio.jsp?osti_id=891824

    Now, if the Atlantaeans and Lemurians had an extensive project of carbon sequestration — some quantum stringer found a way for them to sequester their excess CO2 by pumping it into a parallel universe (ours), and it’s just now rising up close enough to the surface to all start bubbling out since 1970 or so, we’re in trouble.

    But as Gavin said, there’s no change in the natural background. We know how much fuel we’ve burned; we know how much CO2 has been produced; and we know not all of it’s still in the atmosphere: “the carbon cycle is on average taking away human CO2″ — not keeping up with what we’re adding, but taking care of some, and the excess shows up as the big change since 1880 or so that got bigger after the 1970s.

    The increase is from us.

    And for the other argument, you can imagine a free market because there’s a functioning ecology. As long as there is room in the economics for the free ecological services they can’t get a price put on them and at some point made worthless.

    We blew it with the air and oceans. They can’t be “free” any longer. We sunk expenses into them — all the excess CO2 is in the air and oceans, and the bill’s got to be paid sometime. So the “free market” suddenly has to cope with a price on what used to be free —- no avoiding it, the commitment is already made. We’re just arguing over who picks up the check and whether we can postpone the decision til our children have inherited our seats.

    Some markets are trying to be perennials — others are trying to be one-=shot annual weeds that extract everything they can use and let the rest burn or erode, making conditions worse for the perennials and better for the next generation of annuals that thrive on disturbance.

  13. 13
    Ron Tuckwell says:

    On Thursday 12th July at 8.30pm [South Australian time] the Australian Broadcasting Corporation [ABC] aired Martin Durkin’s “The Great Global Warming Swindle”. This was an edited version, which, for example, did not contain any of Carl Wunsch’s input. Tony Jones, who hosts the ABC’s current affairs program “Lateline” travelled to Britain prior to the airing to interview Martin Durkin. This interview was played after the airing of the documentary[?mockumentary?]. This was followed by a panel [members described on this website http://abc.net.au/tv/swindle/panel.htm and audience discussion. Tony Jones’ hardhitting interview with Durkin dismembered his position and exposed his fraudulence. The panel clearly answered all of the arguments of the sceptics in a clinical fashion. Yet, I note this morning that an internet poll showed that 48% accepted human involvement in global warming while 47% did not. I wonder whether that will change as there is more opportunity to hear the real facts.

  14. 14
    Eric (skeptic) says:

    The Lockwood paper seems to dismiss the decrease in cosmic rays and 20th century warming as “context” because the correlation broke around 1985. Obviously there are other factors, but ignoring the long term correlation because there is no short term or cyclical correlation seems cavalier.

  15. 15
    Lawrence Brown says:

    Congratulations on the addition of RC-Wiki. Hope the Friday roundup becomes a regular feature.It will be another reason for TGIF.

    Here are a few comments by Sir John Houghton about “The Great Global Warming Swindle” concerning previous comments on Solar and Volcanic activity:

    5. Volcanic eruptions emit more carbon dioxide than fossil fuel burning � NOT TRUE. In fact, none of the large volcanic eruptions over the last 50 years feature in the detailed record of increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

    6. Changes in the sun influence climate � TRUE. They cited the Maunder Minimum in the 17th century when no sunspots were observed, as a probable example. Solar influences are the main driver of global average temperature in the 20th century � NOT TRUE.

    Changes in solar output together with the absence of large volcanoes (that tend to cool the climate) are likely to have been causes for the rise in temperature between 1900 and 1940. However, the much more complete observations of the sun from space instruments over the past 40 years demonstrate that such influences cannot have contributed significantly to the temperature increase over this period. Other possibilities such as cosmic rays affecting cloud formation have been very carefully considered by the IPCC (see the 3rd Assessment Report on http://www.ipcc.ch) and there is no evidence that they are significant compared with the much larger and well understood effects of increased greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.

    Sir John Houghton was co-chair of IPCC Scientific Assessment working group 1988-2002, and Director General of the UK Meteorological Office 1983-1991.

  16. 16
    David B. Benson says:

    I encourage frequent, not necessarily weekly, Friday roundups. Only when there is something to roundup, that is…

  17. 17
    Craig Allen says:

    Following up on the playing of the Great Global Swindle on Australia’s ABC, there is a good interview with Professor Carl Wunsch here on the ABC’s Lateline show. A segment distorting Professor Wunch’s views was pulled from the version shown on the ABC, at his request. He puts his case every well in this interview.

  18. 18
    Ben Kalafut says:

    I’m surprised that nothing is said in this wrap-up about the unscientific sophistry put out by a group of people advocating strict adherence to certain rules-of-thumb (among them, such stupidity as “avoid nonlinear models” and “don’t use fits to estimate parameters”) when making predictions. Now that the Sun is dead it’s the new refuge for my favorite reflexive denialists.

  19. 19
    ray ladbury says:

    Eric, What decrease in cosmic rays? There has been none in 30 years according to satellite measurements; none in >50 years according to neutron fluxes. And even if there were such a decrease, how do you take a driver that is 5 particles (mostly protons) per square cm per second and turn it into a 1 degree rise in global temperature? I’ve seen nothing to date beyond handwaving about clouds. Meanwhile we are dumping gigatons of a known greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. Ever wonder why you guys can’t get any scientists who actually understand climate to support your position?

  20. 20
    Stu says:

    Re 8 – Ian Plimer may have been missing from the TV debate, but he did get a say on the ABC’s Science Show earlier in the week when they were discussing global warming ahead of TGGWS. I had a very comprehensive look at what he had to say at http://www.frogworth.com/stuart/blog/?p=88

  21. 21
    Mark A. York says:

    Damn good! The most annoying thing about critics is they keep repeating the same disproven crap as if it’s Day One, and they’ve had an epiphany no one else is privy to. It’s just soooo wrong on every human level. And stupid!

  22. 22
    Alan says:

    I watched the GGWD and was delighted that Tony Jones had been chosen to rip Durkin apart. But my favorite part was when one of the panels “skeptics” (who had been strugling to say something impressive) interupted Robyn Williams. Williams was quoting a well known scientist when the “skeptic” blurted out “I know him” in a way that insinuated Williams should be carefull what he says.

    Williams has hosted ABC radio’s science show for 32yrs and has interviewed thousands of top scientists. He turned to the skeptic and said “Do you? He’s a good freind of mine I called him last night to check my quotes. Matter of fact his father was a guest on the first science show”. He then continued on with what he was saying without batting an eyelid.

    Having said that, I was dissapointed with the wacko’s in the audience. One appeared to be a creationist ranting about C14 in coal, another rejected the validity of statistics as a tool because of something Keppler once said, I can’t remember what the third nut-job was banging on about but you get the idea.

    And although Tony seemed somewhat confused when all the scientists on the panel started calling themselves skeptics, he did a fine job of genuinely skeptical science reporting.

  23. 23
    Steve Bloom says:

    Re #16: Sure, although the volume of significant papers and news lately has become such that I doubt we’ll be seeing any lack of material. Even if there is no material, or more likely if the RC authors are too busy, an “empty” open post would still help keep the topical threads uncluttered.

  24. 24
    Julian Flood says:

    Re 12

    quote But as Gavin said, there’s no change in the natural background. We know how much fuel we’ve burned; we know how much CO2 has been produced; and we know not all of it’s still in the atmosphere: “the carbon cycle is on average taking away human CO2″ — not keeping up with what we’re adding, but taking care of some, and the excess shows up as the big change since 1880 or so that got bigger after the 1970s unquote

    Had there been a time in the last 100 years when the carbon sink has managed to match or beat our outputs? I’ve seen one graph which suggests a four year period when sequestration was greater than production, but it’s on the internet and you know what that means for confidence levels.

    If there has been, I’d be grateful for guidance to a graph of isotope ratios for that period. I’ve not found that anywhere — and I’d also love to see a simple C isotope ratio graph for the last 1000 years. It has to be graphs, I’m a nurseryman of little brain and I need the pictures.

    JF

  25. 25
    Timothy Chase says:

    Ben Kalafut (#18) wrote:

    I’m surprised that nothing is said in this wrap-up about the unscientific sophistry put out by a group of people advocating strict adherence to certain rules-of-thumb (among them, such stupidity as “avoid nonlinear models” and “don’t use fits to estimate parameters”) when making predictions.

    The following is what I have been able to gleen so far:

    1. Reliance upon models based the actual physics involved betrays an amateurish lack of sophistication. Abstract rules of thumb which bear no relation to the physics are the basis for a truly modern scientific methodology.

    2. The fact that so many of the so-called experts are in agreement is regarded as a sign of the maturity of climatology as a science and as a reason for being confident in its projections – when in fact this good reason for considering its results highly suspect.

    3. Scientists try to take into account a large array of elements when making their predictions are under the illusion that such comprehensiveness makes their results more reliable. But what this actually suggests is that their methodology is entirely ad hoc and arbitrary – where any fit with the actual world is at best illusory and quite possibly a form of deception. A genuinely scientific theory would take into account as few elements as possible.

    4. A genuinely scientific forecasting methodology would be quite conservative, not make any claims about winter days tending to be colder than the days of summer if it couldn’t reliably predict how warm the weather will be on a particular day four weeks from now.

    5. It is appropriate to forecast on the basis of observed trends – if one avoids any of the messy complexity that might come into play if one were to attempt to explain those trends by reference to the subject matter. However, one should always assume that those trends will tend to become dampened over time such that things will return to normal.

    The conclusion should be obvious: Armstrong is clearly far better qualified to give climate forcasts than Hansen, Mann and all the other climatologists put together, the ranking of his website in the Google search engine for “forecasting” proves it.

  26. 26
    Bruce Tabor says:

    Re. #4, #5, #8, #13, #17, #20, #22
    I will repost what I put in the Greenland thread about the ABC’s GGWS show…

    The unusual audience comments/questions can perhaps be explained by this article on the LaRouche Youth Movement’s (LYM) US site. Interesting reading for us “warmers”. See:

    http://larouchepac.com/news/2007/07/12/australian-lym-raises-nazi-eugenics-roots-environmentalism.html

    ‘Australian LYM Raises the Nazi Eugenics Roots of Environmentalism
    July 12, 2007 (LPAC) At a live Australian Broadcasting Corporation debate on Global warming, with 15 Larouche activists present in the audience out of 80 attendees, the ALYM and Australian chapter members present got to ask 4 questions to the panelists, exposing the genocidal roots of environmental philosophy.

    The show was aired at 8:30pm, the two and a half hour broadcast on Australian TV started with a showing of the Global Warming Swindle documentary, then showed 2 interviews. The first was with the director of the documentary, Martin Durkin, in which he fended off attacks on his work. The other was with Karl Wunsch, the MIT oceanographer who has said that his contributions to the documentary were misquoted and misconstrued. After this, a live broadcast roundtable discussion was held with 5 “warmers” and 3 “skeptics.” Some notable panelists were Professor Bob Carter, (James Cook University), Australia’s most famous global warming skeptic, and Greg Bourne, CEO of the Australian branch of the World Wildlife Fund. The broadcast’s aim was to completely discredit the Global Warming Swindle documentary.

    It was at this live debate in the studio of ABC Sydney and broadcast on Australian national television that we intervened. Three organizers were kicked out on sight for “suspicion of being potentially disruptive,” while 15 activists, LYM and chapter members, made it in safely. Two of questions centered on the relationship between Nazi race science, eugenics, and environmentalism. One ALYM member, wearing a t-shirt that said “Anthropogenic Global Warming is a bigger fraud than your girlfriend’s orgasm!”, asked about statistical vs. dynamic analysis concerning the method in which the “warmers” gather their data. For the last question of the broadcast an organizer sharply asked if the panelists were for or against human populations. A more detailed report, including the reactions of the panelists to the questions, is forthcoming.

    The ALYM will stay in Sydney for a week in effort to force the Australian Government to investigate the BAE scandal. A full report on this campaign is also forthcoming.’

    OK, the quote is over so what you are reading should make sense now! The poll on the ABC site had about 900 votes by the next morning. In an attempt to prevent double counting, these were counted by giving the ABC your email address and then replying to an automatically generated email – in the manner of an online subscription. Given the relatively small number of votes it should not have been difficult for an organisation like LYM to stack the voting.

  27. 27
    Thomas Palm says:

    Given all the different kinds of “sceptical” positions that exist it might be useful to have a questionnaire that people can fill in. It is so confusing not to know what part of the established science the person you argue with accept. It would be even more useful if you could get the more known sceptics to fill it in, so that when someone points to, say, Jaworowsky you can point out how many other sceptics disagree with him.

    Kind of like:
    1. Carbon dioxide levels
    a) Carbon dioxide levels haven’t risen significantly recently.
    b) Carbon dioxide levels are rising, but for natural reasons
    c) The rise in carbon dioxide levels is anthropogenic

  28. 28
    Hans Vermeer says:

    Yesterday Dutch television broadcasted �The great global warming swindle�. It was introduced in comparison with �An Inconvenient Truth�. The broadcast was finished with a forum discussion. In the discussion sceptics equaled convinced scientists. The final conclusion was that a lot of uncertainty remained. But that there may be common ground on being careful with remaining resources.
    The next day several conversations showed me a glimpse of the effect, watching the programme may have had on interested but not deeply informed people. Renewed doubt. It seems to me that it is still hard to imagine that what we small creatures do, may have any noticeable effect compared to overwhelmingly present forces of nature, like that of the sun.
    If this is a relevant response in the minds of the public, it will take more time and effort to introduce appropriate measures of mitigation and adaption. An informed sense of urgency (see for example Hansen june �07) is constantly delayed. Scientists will need time to evaluate new information they harvest from this I.P.Y. But the public needs to be informed. Even if not everything scientists reflect on is proven, try to debate this in public. Speak up. We must react if a sceptic states bluntly that �the melt of the arctic sea-ice is not relevant� and the media lets him get away with it. (I guess he meant it in terms of sea level change, but he failed to inform the public why the loss of sea-ice has consequences broader than that).
    After putting this in words, I try to see the bright side here. Two years ago Dutch broadcasters wouldn�t have thought of giving this subject prime-time. So lets hold on to the momentum.

  29. 29
    ray ladbury says:

    Re: 18. Wow, That article is the biggest bunch of twaddle I’ve read since I…, well, since I tried to plow through something Bob Carter wrote at the request of a skeptic. So the gist of the paper is “don’t try anything hard ’cause you might make mistakes”? Did these guys even look at any descriptions of climate modeling? And I love the fact that it’s version 43–implying that it required substantial revisions even to meet the “rigorous” standards of Energy and Environment.

  30. 30
    John Finn says:

    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

    Not quite. The Lockwood paper shows a rise in all solar parameters up to around 1985 (more like 1987 actually) before a downturn. Unfortunately the paper doesn’t discuss any possible temperature lag nor does it consider papers such as Mischenko et al which shows measurements of AOT (aerosol optical thickness) have undergone a significant reduction in the last 15 years.

    A post on the Lockwood paper may be useful – particularly if you draw attention to the graphics on Page 9.

    thanks

  31. 31
    Bruce Tabor says:

    Further to my earlier post about the bizarre audience at the panel discussion of GGWS on Australia’s ABC.

    Crikey.com.au has footage of the audience question time in two parts.

    The story:
    http://www.crikey.com.au/Media-and-Arts/20070713-The-Swindle-rent-a-crowd.html
    Part 1:
    http://www.crikey.com.au/Media/video/MCRIKEY-Global-Warming-Part-1-01-d17cec26-2e1c-40ed-a198-250ca3b1ab46.wmv
    Part 2:
    http://www.crikey.com.au/Media/video/MCRIKEY-Global-Warming-Part-2-01-423af689-664f-411f-af99-c8a06608d30c.wmv

  32. 32
    SCM says:

    There were at least one or two Aussie LaRouchites in the studio audience in the discussion of TGGWS (they are known here as the Citizens Electoral Council). They came out with utterly bizarre conspiracy theories linking environmentalism to eugenics.

    Ah ha…I just checked their website and found:

    Australian LYM* Raises the Nazi Eugenics Roots of Environmentalism Increase DecreaseJuly 12, 2007 (LPAC) At a live Australian Broadcasting Corporation debate on Global warming, with 15 Larouche activists present in the audience out of 80 attendees, the ALYM and Australian chapter members present got to ask 4 questions to the panelists, exposing the genocidal roots of environmental philosophy…”

    This certainly explains the poor & bizarre quality of the studio audience questions/statements!

    *LYM = LaRouche Youth Movement

  33. 33
    Eric (skeptic) says:

    #19 Ray, you are right that there’s no decrease in 50 years (figure 4d in the Lockwood paper). That doesn’t mean there wasn’t some warming from the decrease before that. I think the cloud formation model is more than just hand waving despite Lockwood’s strawman handwave. The recent warming is not due to some hypothetical 50 year lag as Lockwood has recently pointed out. But some lag is possible although more likely to be a lag in cooling as cosmic rays increase.

  34. 34
    Alex Tolley says:

    When arguing with GW deniers/skeptics, my sense is that the argument is really “religious” at this point. The denier’s core belief is that the western (growth based) way of life is inviolate and changes to this cannot happen. Thus deny any evidence that we need to adapt. The arguments are mostly like those creationists use against evolution – i.e. try to find one piece of evidence that cannot be explained and assume that this brings the whole GW edifice down.

    Having said that, this website is by far the best resource I have to counter the GW deniers. One hopes that eventually rationality will win out.

  35. 35
    Bird Thompson says:

    I’m not a scientist but I know that the debate over AGW is over among scientists. I guess you guys are trying to figure out how best to con-vince the skeptics but I’d like to see more energy put into real plans to mitigate GHGs & to adapt to the ongoing catastrophe of climate change. Is there a website for such action?

  36. 36
    Philippe Chantreau says:

    Re 33: You know, Eric, you’re starting to sound kind of desperate. That’s a lot of hypothetical conditions: conveniently sized delay, effects that are not proven or without a clear physical process behind them and so on. If you’re willing to accept that, I wonder why you can’t accept something much clearer, with known physics and that has been quanitifed and correlated with the rest of the overall picture. Like say increased GH effect due to anthropogenic CO2 that can be measured and happens while tropospheric and stratospheric temps are diverging. It’s so much more plausible than your scenarios that, for a layman like me, you are beginning to appear as convincing as the LaRouche people, even though your scientific qualifications are better than theirs.

  37. 37
    Jack Roesler says:

    #35 Bird: Think I’ll take this opportunity to brag about what I’ve done over the last 15 yrs. Starting at where I’m at now, my equivalent CO2 emissions are about 8 tons/yr. 15 yrs ago they were at least 19 tons/yr. That’s when I got rid of an old energy hog refrigerator, and went vegetarian. Bought a used, 4 cyl Honda that got 52 mpg hwy. 12 yrs ago went vegan, thus no longer responsible for the emissions from animal ag. Then replaced my light bulbs with CFLs, and my 63% eff furnace with a 93% one. Then had the house(66 yr old wood frame, 924 ft2) walls insulated, added insulation to the attic, started wearing thermal underwear, and turned the stat down to 63 F in the winter. Then had the old windows replaced with high eff. ones. My old central AC is used on only the 5-8 hottest days of the summer. My starting CO2 load was considerably higher than the 19 tons, because that old refrigerator was a real hog. I can’t remember the numbers. I use my bicycle around town for the 8 rideable months in the Toledo, OH area, logging about 1000 miles/yr. Including a trip/yr to NJ, my total car miles are 4500/yr(I’m 67, retired, and don’t drive much). It’s a 4 cyl Corsica that gets 25 city, 37 hwy. I live alone, but if I get lucky, and find a woman, this household energy use shouldn’t go up much. The only thing I can do now is install solar panels in my backyard. Using net metering, I could actually make some money. If, that is, the PUCO can force First Energy into paying me their actual generation cost for the excess I pump into their grid, and allow me to pump as much as I want. If that happens, I can be carbon neutral.

    I’m sure most households can do what I’ve done, as the investments will pay for themselves in energy cost savings, and in the case of the vegan diet, health care savings. The furnace paid for itself in 5 yrs, and the windows and insulation will take no more than 10 yrs to pay for themselves. The furnace cost $2500, and the others, $4600. Finally, if I install the solar panels, I could buy an electric car, and recharge it with the electricity I make in my backyard.

  38. 38
    Stephen Berg says:

    Excellent work on the Wiki idea! It’s a very welcome addition to RC and is very easy to access.

    Thanks for all the hard work!

  39. 39
    Ike Solem says:

    RC continues to be the best climate science site on the web! Regarding the “sweet spot” for climate prediction:

    Weather prediction has a short future limit (1-2 weeks) but it’s entirely dependent on having comprehensive data about current conditions that are delivered by radiosonde and satellite. If we take the oceans as the major component of the climate system, and try to analyze climate as ‘the weather of the oceans’, than how far forward can one make reliable predictions of ocean weather? This would also rely on having the best data possible about current and past conditions in the ocean, which is why the current oceanic data collections systems still need much improvement. Is this notion of ‘short-term climate as the weather of the oceans’ too simplistic?

    Well, the cryosphere is also obviously important. My understanding is that ice sheet dynamics did play a large role in the abrupt termination of glacial events – it seems that at some point, ice sheets reach ‘tipping points’ where melting becomes a self-reinforcing phenomenon, due to albedo effects. As the oceans continue to absorb heat, the poles will warm. How fast will the poles warm, and how fast will the ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctic respond to the warming? That seems to be the question that will determine the rate of sea level rise this century. We will see the effects of the heat being absorbed into the ocean today decades into the future, in other words. How far into that pipeline are we? Again, if we had more comprehensive data about the oceans this would be a bit more certain.

    There do seem to be people in government who believe that no news is good news, however. The efforts to defund climate satellites and muzzle government scientists are well-documented, as is the lack of support for comprehensive oceanic data-gathering. There is also a noticeable failure to prepare for the expected and unavoidable short-term effects (heat wave planning, levee construction, etc.). It’s as if the US government doesn’t want to take any action at all, because that would unavoidably involve acknowledging that there really is a problem.

    The only solution to the problem is to replace all CO2-generating energy sources with CO2-neutral energy sources like solar and wind, as well as to use very efficient technology in all areas. The need for this was recognized decades ago, but efforts to actually move in that direction have been repeatedly shut down by the existing energy interests, even though the technology to make the transition already exists. The question is this: how do you get a multi-trillion dollar fossil fuel-based energy infrastructure to reinvent itself as a renewable energy supplier? There are a few web sites dedicated to this, such as http://www.greencarcongress.com.

    The only bright spot is that such a transition is indeed possible from a science & engineering viewpoint. The only barriers are political and economical, not physical.

  40. 40
    Florian Boehm says:

    Re 24 by Julian Flood:
    >Had there been a time in the last 100 years when the carbon sink has
    >managed to match or beat our outputs? I’ve seen one graph which suggests
    >a four year period when sequestration was greater than production, but
    >it’s on the internet and you know what that means for confidence levels.

    Depends on what time scale you look. On a seasonal scale atmospheric CO2 swings up and down with northern hemisphere winters and summers.
    On an interannual time scale there were a few years around 1940 in the ice core CO2 reconstruction of Etheridge et al. (1996; Journal of Geophysical Research, 101, 4115-4128) that showed slightly reduced values, i.e. a short decline of atmospheric CO2.

    >If there has been, I’d be grateful for guidance to a graph of isotope
    >ratios for that period. I’ve not found that anywhere — and I’d also
    >love to see a simple C isotope ratio graph for the last 1000 years. It
    >has to be graphs, I’m a nurseryman of little brain and I need the
    >pictures.

    The 1000 year data and a graph have been measured and published by Francey et al. (1999, Tellus Ser. B, 51B, 170-193). The short term variations during the 20th century, however, are very small and may partly be analytical artefacts.

    People blaming rising CO2 levels on ocean outgassing of CO2 or CO2 from the earth’s interiors appear to overlook that industrial CO2 is characterized by its isotopic composition. In addition it is formed from carbon and oxygen. So, an increase of CO2 in the atmosphere comes along with an equivalent decrease in atmospheric oxygen. Neither volcanic, nor “earthquake” nor ocean degassing CO2 show this effect.

  41. 41
    DocMartyn says:

    Comment by Florian Boehm
    “People blaming rising CO2 levels on ocean outgassing of CO2 or CO2 from the earth’s interiors appear to overlook that industrial CO2 is characterized by its isotopic composition. In addition it is formed from carbon and oxygen. So, an increase of CO2 in the atmosphere comes along with an equivalent decrease in atmospheric oxygen. Neither volcanic, nor “earthquake” nor ocean degassing CO2 show this effect”

    Are you suggesting that people have measured a decrease in atmospheric oxygen over the last fifty years?

    Are you suggesting that the isotopic ratio of subtetrainian CO2 is measurably different from CO2 generated by burning coal or oil?

    [Response: Yes and yes. - gavin]

  42. 42
    Hank Roberts says:

    >equivalent decrease in atmospheric oxygen
    I thought that was too small to measure?

  43. 43
    Hank Roberts says:

    Oops, my question was typed in before Gavin’s answer appeared; I was recalling that there’s no _worrisome_ reduction of oxygen because there’s so much more available from photosynthesis (someone had argued that if we had too much CO2 we had to be running correspondingly short of oxygen, which ain’t so).

  44. 44
    Florian Boehm says:

    Re 41 and 42, Decreasing oxygen:
    R. Keeling et al. published papers about declining atmospheric oxygen in the early 1990s, e.g.:
    Keeling, R. F., R. P. Najjar, M. L. Bender, and P. P. Tans (1993), What atmospheric oxygen measurements can tell us about the global carbon cycle, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 7(1), 37�68.

    The difference between carbon isotope ratios of CO2 from fossil fuels and “subterranean” (volcanic or metamorphic) CO2 is on the order of 1%. The first has much more light carbon (C-12). The typical analytical precision for measuring stable carbon isotope ratios is about 0.01%. That is a factor of 100 better than necessary to distinguish the two sources. So it is very easy to make that distinction.

  45. 45
    catman306 says:

    If there were some way of educating these people about the seriousness of the climate situation, alternatives to fossil fuel would be next week’s Big Thing.

    Rank Nation Number of billionaires
    1 United States 371
    2 Germany 56
    3 Russia 47
    4 India 36
    5 United Kingdom 34
    6 Australia 30
    7 Japan 27
    8 Turkey 26
    9 Canada 22
    10 Brazil 18

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_the_number_of_billionaires

    Although these people probably have more power than governments to change the way that the world uses energy, does business, and make the required changes quickly, they will resist the re-education. It might cost them their fortunes. But their present day business achievement won’t guarantee their grandchildren’s success in a world of difficult-to-predict extreme weather, failing ecosystems and rising sea levels. Their grandchildren are going to suffer, too.

    How does a planet, full of so many different kinds of living things, get 946 billionaires’ collective attention and get them to change the way they see the web of life that is Earth and get them to willingly change their behavior? What will it take?

  46. 46
    Jilm says:

    “there hasn’t been a trend in any index of solar activity since about 1960″

    This is not so.

    From Lockwood et al. 1999 (abstract):
    “Here we show that measurements of the near-Earth interplanetary magnetic field reveal that the total magnetic flux leaving the Sun has risen by a factor of 1.4 since 1964.”

    Lockwood, M., et al. (1999), A doubling of the Sun’s coronal magnetic field during the past 100 years, Nature, 399, 437-439.
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v399/n6735/abs/399437a0.html
    (Fig. 3)

    similar findings from:

    Solanki, S. K., et al. (2000), Evolution of the Sun’s large-scale magnetic field since the Maunder minimum, Nature, 408, 445-447.
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v408/n6811/abs/408445a0.html
    (Fig. 2)

    Even considering that 1960 occurred in solar max, and we are presently in solar min, there is nonetheless an upward trend in the aa index since 1960.

  47. 47
    Figen Mekik says:

    Hey catman306, I am very curious, where did you get those numbers? I’m from Turkey and am mildly surprised that Turkey is in the top ten with world billionaires :)

  48. 48
    Eric (skeptic) says:

    #36, Phillipe, I would say CO2 forcing is a lot clearer than the cosmic ray influence, but once you add water vapor feedback, things get cloudier although still clearer than the mechanisms hypothesized for cosmic rays. I am not at all desperate to disprove or prove anything, only pointing out that Lockwood did not comprehensively model solar factors in the past and present or analyze warming or cooling lag in any quantitative way.

  49. 49
    ray ladbury says:

    OK, now maybe I’m being dense, but can somebody explain to me how you get a time lag for solar forcing. Radiant energy is either there or not. Any putative GCR forcing–the ionization is either there or it isn’t–there is no persistent effect. I just don’t see a physical mechanism.

  50. 50
    Hank Roberts says:

    Jilm, you cite Solanki; did you read the previous discussion? Type that name into the Search box, top of page.

    The link you use is to a letter published in 2000 that refers to its reference 3 as supporting it — but that reference isn’t available unless you’re a paying subscriber. Do you know what it says that Solanki’s relying on?. Can you find a copy of it elsewhere? And who’s cited it since then in research publications?

    You might want to look at the earlier comments on Solanki before relying on that as your main source.
    This by Dano for example: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=228#comment-7296
    points to an online graph worth a look; http://www.astro.phys.ethz.ch/papers/fligge/solfli_rev.pdf


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