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BBC contrarian top 10

Filed under: — gavin @ 13 November 2007

There is an interesting, if predictable, piece up on the BBC website devoted to investigating whether there is any ‘consensus’ among the various contrarians on why climate change isn’t happening (or if it is, it isn’t caused by human activity or if it is why it won’t be important, or if it is important, why nothing can be done etc.). Bottom line? The only thing they appear to agree about is that nothing should be done, but they have a multitude of conflicting reasons why. Hmm…

The journalist, Richard Black, put together a top 10 list of sceptic arguments he gathered from emailing the 61 signers of a Canadian letter. While these aren’t any different in substance to the ones routinely debunked here (and here and here), this list comes with the imprimatur of Fred Singer – the godfather to the sceptic movement, and recent convert from the view that it’s been cooling since 1940 to the idea that global warming is now unstoppable. Thus these are the arguments (supposedly) that are the best that the contrarians have to put forward.

Alongside each of these talking points, is a counter-point from the mainstream (full disclosure, I helped Richard edit some of those). In truth though, I was a little disappointed at how lame their ‘top 10′ arguments were. In order, they are: false, a cherry pick, a red herring, false, false, false, a red herring, a red herring, false and a strawman. They even used the ‘grapes grew in medieval England’ meme that you’d think they’d have abandoned already given that more grapes are grown in England now than ever before (see here). Another commonplace untruth is the claim that water vapour is ‘98% of the greenhouse effect’ – it’s just not.

So why do the contrarians still use arguments that are blatantly false? I think the most obvious reason is that they are simply not interested (as a whole) in providing a coherent counter story. If science has one overriding principle, it is that you should adjust your thinking in the light of new information and discoveries – the contrarians continued use of old, tired and discredited arguments demonstrates their divorce from the scientific process more clearly than any densely argued rebuttal.


397 Responses to “BBC contrarian top 10”

  1. 101
    Larry says:

    NOVA show last nite stated 1/3 to 1/2 of American believed in creationism (and the earth is 4,000 years old?). Good luck explaining GW to them.

  2. 102
    Richard Ordway says:

    Timo wrote: “So far, the following conclusion 12 years back is still valid:”

    Timo, in my opinion, your thoughts scare me and are in my opinion flawed. You seem to think that science is locked in a time warp like Star Trek. It isn’t. It moves forward…and in the case of global warming at warp speed.

    Your thinking is locked at a certain past event in time. However, the time is 2007.

    Since 12 years ago the science has only become more clear, has answered the critics with hard evidence and the opposing science has no evidence left.

    Since twelve years ago, the IPCC, and other national bodies have issued ever stonger statements as the science has advanced.

    Even some traditional deniers are throwing in the towel: such as many big oil companies in the face of overwhelming evidence…and in the face of an extremely hostile (to GW) seven year Republican Congressional majority and administration.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18054970/

    As wikipedia states, “Dissenting statements:
    With the release of the revised statement by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, no scientific bodies of national or international standing are known to reject the basic findings of human influence on recent climate.”…except perhaps you.

    This does not mean that GW is not being legitimately scrutinized…only recently (Nov. 2007) a study came out questioning that clouds might affect GW more than we had thought (ie, slow it down)-but remember, one study is going to have to overturn a body of evidence built up since 1824. http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2007/2007GL029698.shtml

  3. 103

    Re #97 Dave Rado says:”Yes, but see here. It’s partly the fault of climate scientists communicating badly to the public, in my opinion.”

    Then instead of listening to the climate scientists, let them listen to Pogo Possum- “We have met the enemy and he is us!” Seriously, the general public can comprehend a lot when motivated, and the motivation for action is becoming more evident with each passing season. I can’t believe that people are incapable of understanding that only the models that include human caused effects are capable of reproducing the observed climate of the last three or four decades.

  4. 104
    Phil. Felton says:

    Re #95 rebuttal of Keith “Keith wrote: “I’d see the small scale earth experiment as being similar to an animal experiment […] From my perspective, we simply aren’t allowed to put a drug anywhere near a human until it’s been in animals.”

    And yet, we are presently conducting a full-scale earth experiment, in which we are injecting a “drug” (CO2) into the entire Earth’s biosphere, where it is affecting the biosphere’s “metabolism”, and thus every ecosystem and every living thing on Earth, in ways that we have every reason to expect will be severely harmful.”

    This was exactly the point I was going to make with the additional proviso that : the untested experiment is being carried out while warnings from the computer models suggest deleterious effects, the experiment continues and some of the predicted effects are observed, and still the experiment continues while further warnings emerge from the modelling!

  5. 105
    Imran Can says:

    Gavin – I completely agree that the purpose of the pT predictions is about long term trends (ie. 2100). And itsa shame the informations about the standard deviation isn’t stated on the graph (see page 34):
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pub/un/syreng/spm.pdf

    What is stated is “the grey region shows the range of results from the full range of the 35 SRES scenarios ….”

    Even my 8 year old daughter can plot the last 10 years on this graph and see that they fall below this range (below the grey area). So for the general public (who have access to this report) all they can see is that the scenarios all overestimated the problem – at least up to 2008. They don’t see ‘standard deviations’ – they don’t see the words that say ‘ignore the short term, – just look at the 2100 figures’. Can’t you see what the credibility problem is here ?

    And my remark about respected scientists is on people like John Christy – see recent news article ..
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7081331.stm

    Now when you combine all these elements, is it any wonder the general public just isn’t that worried …. ??

    [Response: a) the public are plenty worried, b) I’m very impressed at your eight year old, since she would need to squeeze the eight data points into less than a square millimeter on the graph on p34 and her ability to detect a significant difference would require a scanning electron microscope. The fact is that trends of ~0.2 deg C/decade were predicted even as far back as 1988, and have indeed come to pass – your 8 year old’s drafting skill notwithstanding. – gavin]

  6. 106
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Keith, You are not talking about scientific consensus. Scientific consensus deals with the question of how strong a statement one can make without outrunning the evidence. It is always conservative. Example: there is consensus that climate sensitivity is between ~2.2 and 4.5 degrees per doubling of CO2. That is supported by multiple lines of evidence and so is hard to dispute. There is no consensus about how climate change will affect hurricanes, even though there is evidence that suggests some increase in severity and many in the community believe this is a logical outcome. It is known that the IPCC forecasts of ice melting are too conservative, but no consensus can be reached yet as to how they should be corrected. This is not a case of a bunch of guys getting together over beers and saying, “So, what do you think?” Consensus is essential to the scientific method, because it is the only way to dilute subjective personal opinion. The way to measure scientific consensus is not to take a poll, but rather to look at what scientists are publishing–and alternatives to anthropogenic causation are nowhere to be found in peer reviewed journals. Another way to measure scientific consensus is to look at position statements by the national academies and by professional societies. With the new statement issued by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, there is now not a single professional or scientific society that dissents from the consensus that humans are changing climate–I will say that one again: Petroleum Geologists!!! Don’t you think that the evidence would have to be overwhelming to cause them to back down?
    I have noted this before, but in 18th century London, the ghost of Newton was so strong that it kept English scientists flailing away at Newton’s failed corpuscular theory of light while their counterparts on the Continent followed Huygens and his wave theory. The result was that optics in England lagged decades behind optics on the continent. In the mid 20th century, the most famous and influential scientist of the day, Einstein, bitterly opposed the indeterminacy of quantum mechanics. Yet physics marched around him and ultimately over him. The difference: by the mid 19th century, the importance of scientific consensus had been realized.
    When anti-science types want to attack science, consensus is where they attack. This is true on the right (climate denialists and creationists) or on the left (Paul Feyerabend and his scientific anarchists). Consensus is one of the keys to why science works, because at its core is the agreement by scientists to judge based on the evidence and not on their personal interest or preference.

  7. 107
    Pat Cassen says:

    We should all heed carefully Timo’s post #9. It is as clear and articulate an expression of a faith-based position as one can find, a position at the heart of many a sceptic’s view. As such, it is immune to scientific (evidence-based) argument, and is probably assailable only by the impact of contradictory circumstances experienced at a very personal level, such as those presently encountered by Arctic dwellers (or perhaps by falling in love with someone of the opposite view).

    I would no sooner argue against Timo’s faith than I would argue against his or her religion. Nevertheless, we are obligated to explain, in as straightforward and dispassionate manner as possible, the scientific basis of AGW, and why we believe that the scientific conclusions demand mitigating policy. And we should certainly continue to correct the abundant misrepresentations of the science, both faith-based and fraudulent. There are still plenty of folks out there, many in positions of authority, who value scholarly endeavor and respect the basic integrity of the scientific process, despite all its weaknesses.

  8. 108
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Imran Can, Maybe you shouldn’t rely on 8 year olds for you scientific understanding?

  9. 109
    EricM says:

    RE: 82

    Using your peer reviewed reference with a different (longer) time scale clearly shows the cyclical nature of temperature versus time, and picking any of the eight plots except one, clearly show past temperature peaks higher than today. http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Image:Holocene_Temperature_Variations_Rev_png

    I was not defending the particular chart used, which I agree is highly unscientific. The point I was attempting to make is that it is very difficult for highly educated, technically sophisticated experts, many of whom post here, to convince a goodly portion of the population that there is a problem, let alone a crisis, when all a contrarian has to do is pull out a simple long term temperature chart showing the earth has “survived” numerous warm cycles in the past.

    [Response: Please read the excellent text that goes along with that picture and think about how robust that graph actually is. Now think about where an extra 3 degrees or so of global warming by 2100 (under BAU) will put us relative to this previous ‘warm cycle’. Still complacent? – gavin]

  10. 110
    Ellis says:

    Here, Here to more substance. I, for one, would appreciate more on the science of AGW and less on the apparent stupidity of skeptics. I am pretty sure that the requirements for respectable scientists include abidance to logical infrences and skeptisism toward any result until such result has been verified by independent sources. As to consensus, this is a fallacy of logic, argumentum ad populum, and as Wiki says for fallacy, “A fallacy is a component of an argument that is demonstrably flawed in its logic or form, thus rendering the argument invalid in whole.” As for verifiable results, the lack of data archiving in the climate science field is astonishing and continues, for me, to be one serious stumbling block in accepting theory as fact. For any science to move foreward there needs to be transparency with data and results, especially for those trying to audit the work. It seems obvious to me that if a scientist is willing to publish papers on any subject that they are confident in their results and should want others to try to disprove any part of their hypothesis. The failure to disprove only adds to the robustness of the results.
    Which brings me to the failure of skeptics to disprove AGW. The theory of AGW rests only on one principle, as far as I can tell, that the warmth of the past century is outside the bounds of natural variability. Natural variability is the only axiom that any skeptic needs. AGW is a theory, and as such needs to prove departure from the axiom of natural variability. Thus, the burden of proof is on the scientists of AGW to provide facts in support of their conclusions, and not on the skeptic.

    [Response: This is a fallacy. Given that Snowball Earth and the Cretaceous hothouse clearly delineate the bounds of natural variability, your argument is equivalent to saying that nothing less dramatic than the freezing over of the oceans or the raising of the temperature by 10 deg C or so can possibly be attributed to any forcing. This is absurd. The issue is not whether any climate change was bigger or smaller than today’s – it is whether it can be explained, and whether that explanation has validity today. So while orbital forcings, giant volcanoes, asteroids, Heinrich events etc. have all caused dramatic climate changes in the past, none of them are relevant to today. Just because large forest fires have occurred naturally in the past, does that imply that arson cannot happen? Or that if we see someone walking away from a fire with an empty kerosene can and some matches, we can’t logically infer that he may have had something to do with it? – gavin]

    As far as the proof now presented for the departure from natural variability, we have temperature reconstructions and CO2 levels presented through ice cores. If we look at the spaghetti graph of IPCC 4 we find that the proxy data, not the observed temperatures that is superimposed over the proxies, remains within the structure of natural variability, with the understanding that most of the proxy data has not been updated to 2006. Perhaps, the updates would show the depature, maybe they would not, either way there is really no way to know until someone actually goes out and get their hands dirty, and publish the results, and archives the data. As to the ice core record of CO2 levels in the past I am very dubious, especially the wont of people to compare atmospheric levels to the ice below the firn. Ice dynamics, as is everything related to climate science, is a tricky thing to be sure of, and I for one will feel alot more comfortable in the proclimation of anomylous CO2 readings in the past hundred years once we can compare the results of Mauna Loa, since around 1960 with ice cores beneath the firn. I believe that information will be available within about 20 years from now and is much anticipated.

    As a postscript, I would like to add that in looking around for scientists that did not abide by logic and verifiable results I instantly thought of the cold fusion debacle of the late 80’s. I was ready to brand, Fleishman and Pons as scientists who commited fraud in their actions and deeds, only to stumble upon
    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/6.11/coldfusion.html?pg=1&topic=&topic_set=
    You would think upon reading the article that this would be an area of great intrest, especially now, with the search for alternative fuel. But, alas this work falls outside of the consensus and has very few avenues for funding and for publication.

    [Response: Indeed…. – gavin]

  11. 111
    James Linder says:

    The peptic ulcer scenario is interesting. Consensus was amongst doctors who believed ‘The Explanation’ even though it was wrong, not amongst scientists who believed by informed thought, test, models and theory.
    Also when Mss Barry J. Marshall and J. Robin Warren made their discovery they were not proclaimed heros, it took years to be accepted. Methinks that if AGW was found to have a fatal flaw then Gavin et al and most readers here would be at the front of the queue saying ‘Houston we have a problem …’

  12. 112
    Ray Ladbury says:

    EricM, you seem to have thought this about halfway through. According to any “periodicity” in the plots, we ought to be cooling. Instead, we are warming–SHARPLY! This suggests that we are moving outside of the conditions under which all of human civilization evolved.

  13. 113
    Dave Rado says:

    Re. #103,Lawrence Brown, you misunderstood my point. I was not suggesting that “people are incapable of understanding that only the models that include human caused effects are capable of reproducing the observed climate of the last three or four decades.” I was commenting on the Ray’s and Gavin’s point that many laymen think erroneously that the only strong evidence for AGW is the models and that if the models were to turnout to be unreliable the whole theory would collapse. They blamed this misconception on the so-called “sceptics”. I blame it at least partly on the fact that many climate scientists on TV and radio programmes, when asked how we know for sure that current warming is “man-made”, reply: “because the models do not match the observed data unless human-emitted CO2 is taken into account.” IOW they erroneously imply to the uneducated that that is the only strong evidence that we have.

  14. 114
    Steve Reynolds says:

    Does anyone here think most of this is money well spent (chiefly on ethanol)?

    “Between now and 2012, biofuel subsidies will total more than $92 billion, according to a recent report conducted under the auspices of the Global Subsidiaries Initiative.”

    http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9816534-7.html?tag=head

  15. 115
    Richard Ordway says:

    re “And my remark about respected scientists is on people like John Christy” –

    Errr, John Christy is respected? He has some questionable conflicts of interest and a history of ignoring published data in his findings:

    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/personfactsheet.php?id=903

    Please do a realclimate.org site search on John Christy and a Google search.

    The IPCC has Christy, in part, to include all, ahem, viewpoints…to the IPCCs credit.

  16. 116
    Steve Bloom says:

    Re #109 and reply: Just to add that EricM might want to also consider the state of the planet the last time things were that warm. The next graph doesn’t quite get us to +3C, although it does get us firmly out of the Pleistocene, all the way through the Pliocene and to the end of the Miocene. That should do for all of the ice outside the East Antarctic ice sheet (=> about 14 meters of sea level rise among other symptoms), and probably a bit of the EAIS as well, so call it 20 meters total.

    Going to the next graph, we can finally locate our +3C spot about 12 million years ago in the mid-Miocene. Notice anything happening just then? If we actually stabilize at that level, probably some of the EAIS will remain. It’s really hard to know exactly how much, so let’s split the difference and figure that our +3C gets us 50 meters (= about 160 feet) total sea level rise. Just a little warmer and that EAIS remnant goes, bringing us up to the grand total of 80 meters or so (= about 260 feet). Have a look at these maps for the consequences.

    Unlikely-sounding, you say? Well, bear in mind that the Pleistocene has been an almost uniquely cold era in the Phanerozoic (the era of complex life that started about 550 milion years ago, shown in this final graph), and that the planet has been free of significant permanent ice for something like than 80% of that period. I mention this last point not because it proves anything directly, but to observe that it’s unlikely that there’s some factor we don’t know about that will do us the favor of keeping the planet cold.

    Finally, I think it would be helpful for you (and anyone else who hasn’t) to read this article by Jim Hansen, who goes into the short-term risks and outlines some of the steps we need to take to avoid the worst of it.

    (PS — Many thanks again to Robert Rohde for producing these lovely and useful graphics.)

  17. 117
    EricM says:

    RE: reply to 109, 112, and 116

    From the (agreed) excellent text that goes with the picture:
    …it should also be noted that the 2004 measurement is from a single year (see Image:Short Instrumental Temperature Record.png for comparison to other years). It is impossible to know whether similarly large short-term temperature fluctuations may have occurred at other times but are unresolved by the resolution available in this figure. The next 150 years will determine whether the long-term average centered on the present appears anomalous with respect to this plot.

    Not complacent, no. Just not willing to call the current situation a crisis, nor willing to believe the earth is so fragile that it will be permanently “damaged” by the current rise in antropogenic GHG’s, thereby warranting immediate and drastic changes in lifestyle.

    I fully support efforts to continue the AGW research, and I fully support (and advocate for) taking realistic steps to reduce our carbon footprint and develop alternative energy sources. My biggest pet peeve with most advocates of global warming crisis theory is that any “acceptable” solution has to meet thier pre-concieved green agenda, and they refuse to consider viable existing solutions using current technology. If AGW is so potentially catastrophic, why aren’t we building nuclear and hydroelectric plants just as fast as we can? We could cut our carbon footprint by 40% in 10 years!
    However, I also support the right of countries like China and India to fully develop and use thier carbon based energy reserves to increase the standard of living of thier people. With a higher standard of living comes better health, better education, greater environmental awareness, and more political stability. I see those as very tangible global benefits that must be entered into the global equation as offsets to the negatives of AGW. Who knows, maybe the man who will finally develop the clean energy source that will replace fossil fuels once and for all is a peasant boy in central China who is just now getting electricity from the new coal fired power plant down the valley.

  18. 118
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    I’ve been spurred to write again after seeing an article about this years summer artic ice melt. It’s grown by 23% sinve 2005. Now ther’s only just over 4 mil sq kms of permanent ice and that’s getting weaker and more fragile by the day. I recommend this site be devoted to discussion on how to mitigate this imminent catastophe rather than bicker over the different fetaures of the deckchairs on this titanic.

  19. 119
    Mike Donald says:

    Just 10 contrarian debunks from the beeb? The skepticalscience link has a list of 47 contrarian debunks of them and pretty well explained IMHO.

    BTW realclimate’s excellent compendium pairs “John Cross” with Skeptical Science.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/

    Minor typo I think. Should be John Cook?

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

    #105 #115
    That Christy chappie. Wasn’t he in TGGWS? Hardly something he’ll put in his CV I daresay.

  20. 120
    John Mashey says:

    #89 Keith

    The point of my comments was:
    1) One can be an expert in a domain that uses modeling.
    2) One can have a very accurate opinion about the usefulness or lack thereof of modeling in that domain.

    3) But no matter how expert in one domain, over-generalizing to others is very dangerous. I really don’t understand repeatedly asserting the non-working of climate modeling by someone who doesn’t have relevant experience, and I’m sorry, but biochemical modeling isn’t the same, just like I said.

    4) “I would point out that planes and cars that are designed in a computer are subsequently tested in real life before being approved.”

    I’m sorry, that sounds good, but I suspect you haven’t worked closely with the people who do this, have you … and yet, you are *sure*. I don’t think anyone has been challenging your biochem expertise [I certainly haven’t], but you keep denying the expertise of people who are as expert in their domains are you are in yours. Why?

    As a matter of ACTUAL FACT, car companies routinely do crash simulations of numerous cases that they *never, ever* try in real life. Of course they all do some real tests, but they do far more simulations than real crash tests, and they make design changes based on the results, because the simulations have proven good enough. [And cars are *way* safer, by the way. Oddly, sometimes removing metal makes a car safer in some crashes.] Look up: virtual crash test dummy.

    They do all this in order to improve performance or reduce weight, which means retaining safety, but lessening over-engineering. Likewise, airplane companies simulate all sorts of things that they never test in real life.

    [This isn’t theoretical or something I read somewhere. At one point, almost every car company used computers I helped design to run crash codes, and I used to visit them regularly, as well as Boeing, and actually, a majority of the big pharmas, talking to people who did molecular modeling, so I had some idea of the differences in difficulty.]

    *PLEASE* go read that Kaufmann&Smarr book.

  21. 121
    Rikard says:

    Gavin, you claim that “…In merging the two records Ahluwalia multiplied one record by a factor to get a similar amplitude change but only over the period of overlap prior to renormalising. This makes absolutely no sense and all the trend is due only to that procedure.”

    Ahluwalia justifies his multiplication with a conclusion that there must be something wrong with the measurements from Yakutsk in solar cycle 19, as the data fit for cycle 20. If so, it seems more reasonable to truncate the series and not use the faulty data. But even if he would have done that he would still get trends in the data, but with less certainty (as the matching overlap would be reduced to some ten years. And if the Yakutsk series is taken at face value the GCR crew can still claim a strong correlation to recent cooling and warming. Don´t we have better arguments against the GCR-climate link?

    You further reply “… Finally, there is no evidence that the interstellar GCR spectrum has any energy dependent decadal variations….”. Shall I understand that as that we have evidence that the GCR spectrum does not have energy dependent decadal variations (in which case it is a nice torpedo against the hypothesis that GCRs are being responsible for recent warming) or do you mean only what you say (in which case it is reduced to an open question)?

    [Response: Two points, and now i’m starting to repeat myself so this will be the last time: No individual record shows any trend. Yakutsk does not show a trend. Cheltenham does not show a trend, Climax does not show a trend, etc. Taking systematic offsets and amplitude variations between them and creating a ‘trend’ is not a valid procedure. As to whether the interstellar background GCR has decadal variability that is independent in only the energies that we have no knowledge of and that fit a post hoc idea of what might affect clouds is special pleading on a galactic scale. I’m not an astrophysicist and so my knowledge of GCR sources is small, but as I understand they must emerge from very high energy events like supernova remnants and the like. That doesn’t allow much room for increases in one kind without increases in others. – gavin]

  22. 122
    CobblyWorlds says:

    #117, EricM.

    I agree, we’re not yet at a crisis point, but as we’re not at equilibrium with the temperature increase to be expected from our emissions so far. And the faster we emit, the longer we continue to emit, the longer we will have to reach equilibrium and the greater our warming commitment will be. For us to consider ourselves in control of the process we must bear in mind we’re operating with a latency between our reaction and the results of our actions.

    Yes the Earth will survive. But the Earth (biosphere) has survived the Permian Triassic extinction and the KT extinction – the Earth may survive such events, but they would be terrible for our species/civilisation. From my reading it seems to me that our best analogue for what we’re doing now is the Permian Triassic event, except we currently seem to be proceeding along that path much faster than when that event happened (i.e. the initial CO2 release from Vulcanism – that we’re now doing with our emissions).

    As our emissions have had such an impact on the carbon cycle that it’ll take hundreds of years to substantially reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere/ocean following a cessation of emissions (Archer). By the time we get to around 6degC global warming, (ocean thermal inertia allowing) we may be committed to continental shelf methane clathrate outgassing – which would cause a substantial further hike in temperature. We have only used less than 10% of the available fossil fuel reserves (mainly coal), in doing so we have caused an observed warming of around 0.8degC with a further ongoing warming commitment on topm of that.

    I agree that all people have the right to develop, we in the “developed” world are simply leading the way. Once I learnt enough of this science to form an opinion I realised my former scepticism was wrong, and that my former “Thatcherite with Fukyama sympathies” position was not sustainable in the face of evidence.

    These figures are a bit dated, but:
    UK emissions and per-capita.
    http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/emis/uki.htm
    US emissions and per-capita.
    http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/emis/usa.htm
    China emissions and per-capita.
    http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/emis/prc.htm
    India emissions and per-capita.
    http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/emis/ind.htm

    The US per capita emissions are about 5 tons Carbon per person. But lets leave that aside and look at the UK, which is only 3 tons C per person. I’m British and I have a good standard of living on only a modest wage.

    India (~1.2bn people) is rising towards 0.3 tons Carbon per person.
    China (~1.3bn people) is rising rapidly over 1 ton Carbon per person.
    So even if they only aim for 3 tons per person as opposed to 5 tons, it still implies a massive increase in overall emissions. Note that the UK seems to have got it’s emissions under control after the 1950s – before taking comfort in that, note also that we’ve “exported” much of our manufacturing base, which was once substantial. Note also that much of China and India’s emissions increase is due to industry – they still have a substantial body of the poor that can only aspire to emitting close to the national “per capita” figures.

    We can agree in principle that all have the right to the empowerment and personal health and comfort afforded by modern technology liberated by the free-market. But in face of the figures the path we are following as a species is not sustainable. I have no solution to that problem, I consider it insoluble. But I cannot ignore hard evidence to suit what I may wish for.

  23. 123

    Keith writes:

    [[What journal in climate research is the best ]]

    It doesn’t work that way. They concentrate on different things. If you want a sample of the top climatology journals, try the Journal of Geophysical Research — Atmospheres, the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, and the Monthly Weather Review (which, despite the title, publishes a lot on climatology).

    [edit]

  24. 124
    TonyN says:

    Gavin: Are you going to post on the Christy article also in the BBC pages on sceptics?

  25. 125
    Timo Hämeranta says:

    About Arctic sea ice please see:

    Morison, James, John Wahr, Ron Kwok, and Cecilia Peralta-Ferriz, 2007. Recent trends in Arctic Ocean mass distribution revealed by GRACE. Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L07602, doi:10.1029/2006GL029016, April 4, 2007

    “…The spatial distribution and magnitude of these trends suggest the Arctic Ocean is reverting from the cyclonic state characterizing the 1990s to the anticyclonic state that was prevalent prior to the 1990s. ”

    Nasa news November 13, 2007

    “The results suggest not all the large changes seen in Arctic climate in recent years are a result of long-term trends associated with global warming.”

  26. 126
    Timo Hämeranta says:

    Layman participants and readers of this blog have surely identified the Current State of Climatology:

    “The research found that the climate change discourse in the UK today looks confusing, contradictory and
    chaotic. For every argument or perspective, whether on the scale of the problem, its nature, seriousness,
    causation or reversibility, there is a voice declaring its opposite. The conclusion must be that the battle is
    not won: climate change is not yet an issue that is taken for granted. It seems likely that the overarching
    message for the lay public is that in fact, nobody really knows.”

    Ref: Ereaut, Gil, and Nat Segnit, 2006. Warm Words: How are we telling the climate story and can we tell it better? Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) publication, August 3, 2006

    False confidence we see all the time, but scientifically speaking uncertainty is the only sure thing.

    For 30 yrs policymakers are recommended to reduce GHG emissions, more precisely the developed countries should reduce their emissions in order the developing countries could rise their standard of living without reductions.

    The recent IEA World Energy Outlook 2007 has ruined this plan, if global reductions should be carried out.

    When I concentrate in the CO2 in the atmosphere, I have wondered how obsolete all these suggestions are.

    Whether or not CO2 emissions are dangerous in future please think again:

    Is it really necessary to leave unused the fossil energy?

    Is there really no other solutions(s)?

    Well, 30 years ago no, nowadays yes.

    And I’m not thinking geoengineering the atmosphere or pumping CO2 into boreholes.

    Human ingenuity has already solved this problem.

    With interest I follow when the newest innovations gain the publicity and support they truly deserve.

    Our Future is Bright.

    This is my final contribution to this blog.

  27. 127
    pete best says:

    Re #118, dont you mean its shrunk by 23% ?

    re #116, is the 2C threshhold 400 or 450 ppmv and is James Hansen telling us that 1 more degree from year 2000 levels (0.8 C) which means around 1.8 C come 2040 at 0.2 c per decade all that we can realisitically hope for ?

    It is going to take until 2040/2050 to have mitigated CO2 by 80% globally whatever solution(s) we use. This would mitigate 3C but not 2C. The other worrying thing is the sheer rate of CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere. Regardless of what has gone on before in previous ages and epochs noting compares to the rate of change being experienced today. This may prove to be a significant factor.

  28. 128
    Imran says:

    #105, 108
    Guys – thanks for the comments :) … indeed it does require a slight ‘zoom’ for an 8 year old to be able to plot the points …. but it can be done and the fact that its done by an 8 year old doesn’t detract from the observation … the points fall below the range shown in the report. Which is a credibility problem for the IPCC.

    But I do agree that over the last decades the temperature has gone up – although when I was doing some basic geometry calculations with my 12 year old daughter on the STEEPEST part of the slope during the last century (which was 1975-2005 if you want to double check) we could only get the data to support a 0.18 deg/decade. I guess its ok to round it off to 0.2 and call it a trend.

    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Image:Instrumental_Temperature_Record_png

  29. 129
    catman306 says:

    Stossel (20/20) serves up the contrarian message
    http://onlineathens.com/stories/111507/opinion_20071115003.shtml

  30. 130
    GlenFergus says:

    #105

    I’m rather older than 8, but I can draw graphs.

    Here’s the TAR SPM Fig 10b with HadCRUT3v through June 2007 plotted. I’ve zoomed in and shifted the temperature axis across for clarity. If anything, the IPCC 2001 predictions are looking a touch low, if anything…

    [Response: Note that the zero line on that graph is ‘1990’ – to avoid adding too much noise, I’d calculate the anomalies from the 1985-1995 mean (which is not the raw numbers in the HADCRU data). Regardless – I doubt that anyone will have drawn conclusions from such a exercise – 8 years old or not. – gavin]

  31. 131
    TonyN says:

    Timo #126

    Here’s another couple of quotes from the IPPR’s ‘Warm Words’.

    To help address the chaotic nature of the climate change discourse in the UK today, interested agencies now need to treat the argument as having been won, at least for popular communications. This means simply behaving as if climate change exists and is real, and that individual actions are effective. The ‘facts’ need to be treated as being so taken-for-granted that they need not be spoken.
    The disparity of scale between the enormity of climate change and small individual actions should be dealt with by actually harnessing this disparity. Myth (which can reconcile seemingly irreconcilable cultural truths) can be used to inject the discourse with the energy it currently lacks.

    This is great advice for UK politicians who really want to change the public’s attitude to climate change and they seem to be doing just what the IPPR suggest.

  32. 132
    Keith says:

    John. I hoped not to get pulled back into this but….

    I think you have misunderstood my point. I agree that it is not directly possible to transfer my knowledge of chemical and biochemical models to climate models. Directly. I’m not that stupid. However, cross fertilisation of ideas between disciplines is possible and desirable. I, personally, have found it immensely stimulating to try to get to grips with many of the topics discussed on this forum. All I was trying to do was suggest that the problems that we face in the med chem world may have some relevance in yours. It is always good to question your hypothesis. Which is what you are saying climate modellers do and I’m questioning whether that is being done sufficiently. That’s it. I am not disputing the current warming observations. I am not a denier. I am skeptical and have some legitimate questions. So far I have been met with a wall of “no our models are great. They predict really well”. Not one person has said “That’s an interesting observation, Keith. Let me think. Yes, an experiment is a idea but here are the problems and this is why the models are OK at this stage but yeah you make a fair point etc…..” It is a totally polar debate. There are many people, like myself, who have scientific expertise but who have doubts and queries and to be honest being ranted at doesn’t make me sympathetic to your views. It’s as bad as listening to outright deniers in fact.

    As for your car model discussion. I didn’t suggest that models weren’t used. One of my old buddies from my PhD days works (she’s a phys chemist) for Jaguar on this very thing, so I do have more than a passing knowledge but nowhere near that of yourself. They very rarely have to redesign a crash structure that worked in the computer but didn’t in an actual crash test. Relative to climate it’s a simple model and the training dataset is large and varied. So,a great model. But they STILL go and do the actual crash at the end. Just to be sure. So there we have an example of a model that works almost perfectly. We have models in pharma that don’t. So where is the experiemntal work to show where the climate model is? And that is my point, even if it seems to be unresolvable becasue the experiment can’t be done. That is why I am a little skeptical on the output of the models. But look on the bright side, I’m very close to being a believer. Just one experiment!

    I read the Kaufmann book during my DPhil. Hard going for me but interesting. My skills are tuned to taking a problem and working backwards to best figure out how to solve it from the start. We take the end result and figure out how we got there and then go do it. It seemed to me that the book (and modelling) was about the reverse (certainly in terms my sense of what that means, but retrosynthesis is something a lot of people just can’t get their head around) so it was tough going but valuable.

    It is shocking, however, that a field that should involve a number of disciplines seems to be so defensive / aggressive and so closed to the thoughts of others with different experiences outside that domain. Depressing all round really.

  33. 133
    TonyN says:

    Re #131

    The trouble is that scepticism is part of UK culture and it will be very difficult to dispel. In fact a recent MORI poll showed that only about 20% are totally convinced that anthropogenic climate change is happening. And it gets worse. There are people over here who mis-interpret what the IPPR are advising in the quotes above (#131). They think that what ‘Warm Words’ really tells the politicians is, ‘Don’t mention your doubts in front of the children, just keep on feeding them faerie tales’. They even question why the authors feel that it is necessary to put ‘facts’ in quotation marks.

  34. 134
    Hank Roberts says:

    Tony, you’re looking at “political science” — public policy research — from IPRR.
    Quotes like those make people think political science is an oxymoron.

  35. 135

    Re #113- Point taken. The general needs to know that the temperature record and proxies such as tree rings, ice cores,boreholes, and coral reefs are corroborating indicators of change, as well. The temperature record,itself, shows a steep rise in the last few decades of the 20th century.

  36. 136

    Re: Comment 81:

    Tamino,

    Interesting analysis. I would have supposed that a 16th order polynomial would have been over fit… I suppose the BBC reporter Richard Black could have used a 16th order polynomial as the basis for his statement, but I imagine that Gavin probably would have talked him out of it, as I would have hoped Gavin would have talked him out of comparing the 1979-2006 rise with the 1900-2006 rise since the post-1979 rise was more or less linear while the post-1900 rise was more complex and thus the comparison is out of context. One could just as well argue that the 1900-1945 rise accounted for more than half of the overall rise, but that would seem to produce a paradox…

    -Chip

  37. 137
    Charles Muller says:

    Concerning recent trends for global surface temperature, it’s hard to say there’s a huge warming. The question is not to compare with 1998, but to observe a stagnation in the past six or seven years. There may be many causes for that – for example natural variability, CH4 atmospheric stagnation since 2000, end of global brightening, etc. So, it’s not presently a real challenge for AGW theory (or for a strong component of anthropogeneic forcing in recent trend).

    But for sure, if surface temperatures were to stay as quiet as they are since 2001 for a decade or more, I guess this would require an explanation, because human forcings are growing each year, and with an increasing rate according to IPCC 2007. Knight et al. 2007 recently suggest (in Science) from a better-tuned short-term predictive model that half of the years after 2009 will be warmer than 1998 : we’ll see.

    Thereafter, Hadley Center data (I took them because there’re more congruent with UAH and RSS low troposphere trends, and with WMO annual statement, than Nasa Giss).

    Hadley data / Anomaly vs 1961-90
    2001 : 0.406
    2002 : 0.455
    2003 : 0.465
    2004 : 0.444
    2005 : 0.475
    2006 : 0.423
    2007 : 0,430 (9 months)

  38. 138
    Chuck Booth says:

    Re # 76 Ray’s response to Keith (# 11) ” There was little evidence to begin with establishing causation by H. Pylori. It took time to accumulate the evidence, so it took time to change the consensus.”

    Not only was there little evidence the bacteria might cause ulcers, there was very good reason to think they couldn’t possibly be the cause had anyone considered it: The high acidity (pH

  39. 139
    pete best says:

    http://environment.newscientist.com/article/dn12925-china-on-target-to-meet-renewable-energy-goal.html

    renewables increase significant but so does fossil fuel use due to increasing energy demand levels.

  40. 140
    dean_1230 says:

    Re #130

    One problem with the linked plot is that you’re extrapolating at the same rate that’s been experienced over the last 30 years. One thing this graph clearly shows is that such an extrapolation is clearly a risky thing to do. If the graph was truncated at the year 1940 and the same method was applied, then the resulting temperature rise would be well over 1°C. It’s not that it couldn’t happen as has been hypothesized, but that there’s evidence in the recent past of it NOT happening as proposed.

    Likewise, concerning the recent (100 yr) temperature data (using the HadCRUT3 plot earlier referenced), what was the forcing function for the time period 1910-1940? It is my understanding that the cooling of the 40s and 50s was due to volcanic activity, but what was the earlier temperature rise due to? It’s not, from what i understand, due to CO2 (at least the magnitude of temperature rise vis-a-vis the increase in CO2 levels doesn’t match current understanding).

    This plot also shows that the claim that the temperature is rising “faster than ever before” isn’t exactly accurate. From 1910 through 1941, the global temperature rose from approximately -.55°C to 0.03°C (0.58°C) or 0.0187°C/year. From 1976 to 2006, the temperature rose from -0.14°C to 0.45°C (0.59°C) or 0.0197°C/year. Ok, so it is slightly higher, but it is well within that which has been seen before and which is NOT being attributable to CO2 increases.

  41. 141
    David B. Benson says:

    Keith (132) — Have you explored the Start Here link at the top of the page? Have you read the AIP Discovery of Global Warming linked in the Science section of the sidebar?

    These ought to get you started understanding the actual experiments and observations which are then encorprated in modern general circulation models.

    Also, a paper by Abe-Ouchi/Segawa/Saito describes modeling the entire last ice age from the Eem to the Holocene. Quite a severe test, I should think.

  42. 142
    Marcus says:

    Keith: Part of the reason why people are reacting poorly is that you keep setting up strawmen and repeating the favorite arguments that denialists always use.

    For example, your first post claimed that consensus is “poor science” when in fact, science is built on consensus. Otherwise, every scientist would have to redo every single fundamental experiment done in the past century before they could move on to do even a simple new experiment. Occasionally the consensus is substantially wrong – but that is a rare event. Ulcers and plate tectonics are the two examples that everyone brings up as examples of consensus totally missing the boat. More often, the consensus just needs to be modified around the edges – eg, newtonian mechanics being modified by relativity. If you are an expert in a field, then you always keep an eye out for anomalous results, because proving the consensus wrong is an instant ticket to fame. But for fields where you are _not_ an expert, then it would be extreme hubris to assume that your intuition is superior to the consensus of experts in the field.

    To move on to your other point about models, there are multiple strawmen you pose: first, that AGW theory depends solely on models. This is in no way true – there is plenty of non-computational evidence, including predictions made in the 19th century. Second, that modelers assume their models are perfect: this requires ignoring the wide range of uncertainty demonstrating in every plot of model ensemble runs. And most modelers recognize that in addition to parameterizations that we can bound, there may exist surprises and feedbacks that we either do not have sufficient knowledge to model (eg, ice shelf collapse) or may not even know exist yet. However, these unknowns are as likely to be negative as positive, which the denialists who bring up uncertainty always forget to mention. Third, you claim that models are always tested by experiment: I will point out that no one will ever test an airplane that 9 out of 10 models claim will crash. In your own sphere, I will point out that the Mayo group at Caltech does a fair job at solving the reverse protein-folding problem computationally. And just as there are rare examples where consensus has been proved wrong, I will also point out that there are (also rare) examples where models or theory have proved more reliable than experimental data: the ozone hole is one, Marcus Theory for photosynthesis is another, and corrections to satellite temperature data is a third. Fourth, and finally, you claim that there are “no experiments” for our models, but there are a number of “natural experiments” which have been used, Pinatubo being the most well known example, but models are continually tested against historical datasets.

  43. 143
    Chuck Booth says:

    Got it: I was using an illegal symbol!

    Re # 76 Ray’s response to Keith (# 11) ” There was little evidence to begin with establishing causation by H. Pylori. It took time to accumulate the evidence, so it took time to change the consensus.”

    Not only was there little evidence the bacteria might cause ulcers, there was very good reason to think they couldn’t possibly be the cause had anyone considered it: The high acidity (pH 1-3) of the stomach contents and the near absence of viable bacteria in the stomach contents pretty much ruled out any likely role of bacteria (of course, some bacteria do survive the trip through the stomach – that is how we get food poisoning). It wasn’t until Robin Warren and Barry Marshall started looking at stomach lining biopsy samples (old published results and new samples) that they found H. pylori living in contact with the stomach lining (epithelium) under a protective layer of mucous (Warren, J.R. 1984 Lancet, June 4; Marshall B. 1984, Lancet, June 4). And the presence of H. pylori was correlated with the occurence of gastric ulcers. As it turns out, only an estimated 80% of gastric (peptic) ulcers are directly attributed to H. pylori, and excess stomach acid is considered the cause of some gastric ulcers (along with other contributing factors, such as decreased resistance of the stomach lining to acid; continued use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen; and smoking) (http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/aha/aha_gasulcer_crs.htm).
    So, the reason that Marshall and Warren were able to overturn the prevailing consensus view on the cause of stomach ulcers is that they were very observant and very persistent (and Marshall was very brave in drinking a bacterial culture). And the prevailing view wasn’t entirely wrong. That is why there is a market for proton pump inhibitors (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proton_pump_inhibitor).

  44. 144
    Marcus says:

    Dean_1230: Our extrapolation does not come from “extending a line” but rather from fundamental underlying physical processes resulting from understanding the likelihood of continued CO2 emissions, effects of the resulting increased radiative forcing, rates of ocean heat uptake, etc. The warming from 1900 to 1940 had a significant natural component (see Figure 4 from the Summary for Policymakers in either the 3rd or 4th Assessment Reports). There was no apriori reason to have expected said natural component to continue increasing (and indeed, it did not).

    On your 2nd point: Could you repeat your analysis using a 5-year moving average? Using the GISS dataset I get a rate of temperature increase from 1976 to 2004 that is double that of 1910 to 1941 when using such a moving average, which given year-to-year natural variability is much superior to taking single year differences (though I think the GISS dataset shows more recent warming than the HadCrut3 because of Arctic inclusion, so perhaps it is a dataset difference: indeed, looking at HadCrut3 the difference is only a 14% increase even with the moving average).

  45. 145
    John Mashey says:

    re: #132 Keith
    [I am of course not a climate modeler, although I used to help sell supercomputers to them.]
    =======
    To finish off the car issue: they certainly do real crash tests, but the real crashes they do are a minuscule fraction of the virtual crashes. For example, at one point in the design of some model of the Ford Taurus:
    a) If there was a crash at a particular narrow range of angles
    b) The virtual crash test dummy pitched forward
    c) then bounced back
    d) and at that point, the left roof strut collapsed in such a way as to smash its skull.
    If I recall right, they actually fixed this by removing metal. They gave us a terrific visualization of this. Of course, these days, they do a lot more, as the crash test dummies come in much more varieties, and are much better simulations of humans.

    ======
    From what I can see, from the literature, and from talking to people, climate science modelers are always talking about uncertainties and trying to bound them, and always talking about effects of different scenarios, and doing sensitivity analyses. When I was talking to people to NCAR or GFDL, or NASA, or… there were plenty of discussions of the form:

    1) We have some data, we feel good about X, we wish we had more of Y.

    2) We have rock-solid scientific knowledge HERE, and we’re sure of that, and we’re not so sure of THERE.

    3) For THIS, we already get good results from your computers, and the main issue is improving scientific understanding. For THAT, we desperately need more Gigaflops, and when can we get a Terabyte of main memory? I.e., for problems where better resolution is really needed to see the effects.

    Anyway, maybe some climate scientists trust models with no careful evaluation, but I just haven’t seen that.

    =====
    However, the likely problem you’re running into is, that if you go back to original post, you unfortunately came across as saying:
    – models don’t work in your domain, so they’re untrustworthy in general
    – consensus is usually wrong [and use an example often used by denialists:
    Google: scientific consensus ulcer climate

    And people hear this all the time, from a range of people from possibly-reasonable ones who are new to this domain, and those who are clearly denialists, paid or otherwise.

    I’m amazed that folks like Gavin are as patient as they are.

    Let me pick two theories closer to your domain:

    1) Evolution
    2) Smoking increases the risk of disease in humans

    Is there a consensus among bioscience/medical researchers that those are correct?

    Do you subscribe to them? Why? You wrote:
    “Sorry, but as a rule of thumb I’d say the scientific consensus is more
    often wrong than right. So I think we should very much put to bed the
    idea that scientific consensus has any scientific merit.”

    Has evolution (overall) been proved by a simple physical experiment? {well, I guess one could argue for Sabin vaccine as an example, maybe, but that’s about the same as seeing the absorption effects of CO2 in humid or dry air, which people have done.]

    How about smoking? As far as I know, nobody has done the simple physical experiment of taking two groups of 12-year-olds, telling one group to smoke for the next 40 years, predicting how many will get sick (much less which ones), and waiting to see. [Of course, they do their best with epidemiological studies to simulate that effect.]

    I would claim that the consensus on AGW among professionals is every bit as strong as those regarding evolution and smoking. Of course, in all 3 cases there are a few dissenters plus a strong contingent of outright denialists.

    Finally, here’s a very thoughtful piece of Naomi Oreskes on the general nature of consensus and proof in science, using this as an example:

    http://www.ametsoc.org/atmospolicy/documents/Chapter4.pdf

  46. 146
    Philippe Chantreau says:

    Re 132: the experiment is happening as we speak, Keith. Of course, by the time the results will all be in and duly analyzed, the available options may be quite limited. So what do we do?

  47. 147
    TonyN says:

    Re 134: Hank Roberts

    Hank: I really agree with you, although I’m not so sure about the ‘oxy’ bit. What worries me is that when you look at the Acknowledgments section of Warm Words (page 4) it appears that the project was funded by big oil. Can they be trusted?

  48. 148
    tamino says:

    Re: #136 (Chip Knappenberger)

    Interesting analysis. I would have supposed that a 16th order polynomial would have been over fit… I suppose the BBC reporter Richard Black could have used a 16th order polynomial as the basis for his statement, but I imagine that Gavin probably would have talked him out of it, as I would have hoped Gavin would have talked him out of comparing the 1979-2006 rise with the 1900-2006 rise since the post-1979 rise was more or less linear while the post-1900 rise was more complex and thus the comparison is out of context. One could just as well argue that the 1900-1945 rise accounted for more than half of the overall rise, but that would seem to produce a paradox…

    I said earlier that either you were confused, or you were trying to cause confusion. I see now that the latter is true, and the former may be as well.

    It doesn’t matter what smoothing method you use, as long as it has enough degrees of freedom to capture the actual signal on decadal time scales. The 16th-order polynomial suffers from minor overfitting, especially at the edges. However, trend analysis indicates that the correct polynomial order for this time scale is 8th-order. I also applied a low-pass filter, a “running polynomial” fit, and a wavelet transform. Also, 1945 isn’t really the peak mid-century year for smoothed GISTEMP data, 1943 is a better (slightly warmer) choice.

    For the 8th-order polynomial, 1900-1943 is only 26% of the 1900-2007 difference, while 1979-2007 is 64%.

    For the lowpass filter, 1900-1943 is only 40% of the 1900-2007 difference, while 1979-2007 is 56%.

    For the running polynomial fit, 1900-1943 is only 36% of the 1900-2007 difference, while 1979-2007 is 67%.

    For the wavelet transform, 1900-1943 is only 37% of the 1900-2007 difference, while 1979-2007 is 66%.

    In every case the 1900-1943 (or 1945 if you prefer) change is LESS than half the 1900-2007 change. In every case the 1979-2007 change is MORE than half the 1900-2007 change.

    Your attempt to characterize the relative warmings 1979-2007 (or 1900-1943) relative to 1900-2007 using a straight line or parabola is naive at best, disingenuous at worst. All you really have to do is look at the data to know that this is wrong.

    Your continued protests, in the vain hope of casting a pall over Gavin’s claim that “more than half the warming has occured since 1979,” is …

  49. 149
    Steven Marx says:

    As a teacher of a college course in argumentation and research focussed for several weeks on the issues of climate change, I refer students to your site for resources of information and persuasion. I also refer them to climate sceptic websites and require them to compare and analyze reasoning on both sides. As an organizer of Focus the Nation (http://focusthenation.org), I try to educate all members of my community about the seriousness of the problem and get them to take political action to do something about it.

    In both those capacities, the most persuasive and powerful of climate sceptics I’ve come across is Marlo Lewis. He’s an employee of the right-wing Competitive Enterprise Institute and a darling of National Review for whom he writes regularly and of the right-wing blogosphere. He seems knowledgeable and good humored and he doesnt write with the hysteria of many of his allies. He was apparantly sent an email last summer by the head of the Renewable Energy Institute that has been widely publicized as evidence of the effort of climate change activists to intimidate sceptics.

    Despite his prominence, a search of your site and of the web provides no discussion of his work or his role, other than to dismiss it because of the source of his funding. I find this an inadequate critique to present to students who are sincerely looking to find ways to make up their own minds.

    Has anyone associated with Real Climate read, analyzed and written about Marlo Lewis?

  50. 150
    CobblyWorlds says:

    #125 Timo Hämeranta,

    This year’s “weather event” that provoked the massive loss hasn’t been attributed to CO2 forcing. But that neglects the role of AGW in bringing about the conditions for such “weather” to “take advantage” of the ice cap state and precipitate rapid changes.

    That paper you cite is about oceanic mass – i.e. water. i.e. http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/jh/2007-04-16.html#two

    Rotherock/Zhang’s modelling work suggests an underlying trend of ice loss due to surface warming that precedes the “shift” in the AO.
    http://psc.apl.washington.edu/zhang/Pubs/rothrock_zhang_2004JC002282.pdf

    Rigor and Wallace find a role for changes in the AO in the rapid loss since the 1990s.
    http://seaice.apl.washington.edu/IceAge&Extent/Rigor&Wallace2004.pdf

    I thought the initial changes in the Arctic in the 1990s were attributed to the mode of the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and that Baldwin has reported a downward propagation of mode changes from the stratosphere. So I am puzzled as to what you mean with regards the ocean.

    Due to the loss of perennial ice (which by definition takes years to re-grow) and the underlying warming trend, the damage has already been done. Unlike many other climatic systems the ice-cap has a substantial multi-annual memory in the state of the perennial ice, which seems to me to best viewed as a damping factor. Lessen that damping factor and we see an increase in ice area loss rate under the influence of summer ice-albedo feedback.

    As an aside:
    I just cannot believe the equine flagilation to which the sun has been subject.

    To re-iterate Gavin’s assertion that there is no trend in neutron counts: http://cr0.izmiran.rssi.ru/clmx/main.htm
    Scroll down, select your period, and plot whatever periods you want. You can also go hunt around the other sites on the links. And if you’ve forgotten what the temperature has done over the period you’re looking at see my post 82 for links to graphics of the 3 main(only?) land/ocean datasets.

    Anyone know what the spikes are around 03:00-06:00 and 14:00-2100 28/02/55? You can get that in hourly resolution.


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