The global cooling mole

By John Fleck and William Connolley

To veterans of the Climate Wars, the old 1970s global cooling canard – “How can we believe climate scientists about global warming today when back in the 1970s they told us an ice age was imminent?” – must seem like a never-ending game of Whack-a-mole. One of us (WMC) has devoted years to whacking down the mole (see here, here and here, for example), while the other of us (JF) sees the mole pop up anew in his in box every time he quotes contemporary scientific views regarding climate change in his newspaper stories.

The problem is that the argument has played out in competing anecdotes, without any comprehensive and rigorous picture of what was really going on in the scientific literature at the time. But if the argument is to have any relevance beyond talking points aimed at winning a debate, such a comprehensive understanding is needed. If, indeed, climate scientists predicted a coming ice age, it is worthwhile to take the next step and understand why they thought this, and what relevance it might have to today’s science-politics-policy discussions about climate change. If, on the other hand, scientists were not really predicting a coming ice age, then the argument needs to be retired.

The two of us, along with Tom Peterson of the National Climatic Data Center, undertook a literature review to try to move beyond the anecdotes and understand what scientists were really saying at the time regarding the various forces shaping climate on time human time scales. The results are currently in press at the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, and Doyle Rice has written a nice summary in USA Today, and an extended version based on a presentation made by Tom at the AMS meeting in January is on line.

During the period we analyzed, climate science was very different from what you see today. There was far less integration among the various sub-disciplines that make up the enterprise. Remote sensing, integrated global data collection and modeling were all in their infancy. But our analysis nevertheless showed clear trends in the focus and conclusions the researchers were making. Between 1965 and 1979 we found (see table 1 for details):

  • 7 articles predicting cooling
  • 44 predicting warming
  • 20 that were neutral

In other words, during the 1970s, when some would have you believe scientists were predicting a coming ice age, they were doing no such thing. The dominant view, even then, was that increasing levels of greenhouse gases were likely to dominate any changes we might see in climate on human time scales.

We do not expect that this work will stop the mole from popping its head back up in the future. But we do hope that when it does, this analysis will provide a foundation for a more thoughtful discussion about what climate scientists were and were not saying back in the 1970s.

Update: Full paper available here.

243 comments on this post.
  1. Nick Gotts:

    Excellent! A really heavy mallet to whack that mole with!

  2. Joseph Romm (ClimateProgress):

    This is a very important post and BAMS article — since the cooling nonsense remains the most common attack on climate scientists I get when speaking or writing on the subject. Kudos to your work on it.

    I blogged on your work here:
    http://climateprogress.org/2008/02/22/another-denier-talking-point-global-cooling-bites-the-dust/

    I also think you may want to address the other pieces of “cooling” nonsense — that we are now in a cooling trend, either since 1998 (!) or, more recently, since last January.

    I discuss that here:
    http://climateprogress.org/2008/03/02/media-enable-denier-spin-i-a-sort-of-cold-january-doesnt-mean-climate-stopped-warming/

    Hansen has also debunked it:
    http://climateprogress.org/2008/03/03/hansen-throws-cold-water-on-cooling-climate-claim/

    Keep up the great work!

  3. Tom:

    Thanks for a great summary. I have been eagerly awaiting commentary on the recent hyping of a new sunspot minimum and ensuing Little Ice Age by the denial side. Any plans?

  4. Timo Hämeranta:

    Well, for media only bad news are good news. Back in the 70s it was the just coming Next Ice Age, nowadays it’s the just coming disasterous GW.

    What about the study

    Miskolczi, Ferenc M., 2007. Greenhouse effect in semi-transparent planetary atmospheres. Idojaras Vol. 111, No 1, pp. 1-40, January 2007, online http://met.hu/doc/idojaras/vol111001_01.pdf

    Quote from DailyTech March 6:

    “Runaway greenhouse theories contradict energy balance equations,” Miskolczi states. Just as the theory of relativity sets an upper limit on velocity, his theory sets an upper limit on the greenhouse effect, a limit which prevents it from warming the Earth more than a certain amount.

    How did modern researchers make such a mistake? They relied upon equations derived over 80 years ago, equations which left off one term from the final solution….”

    [Response: Runaway Greenhouse is a strawman. I'm sure someone will take the paper to bits properly. The obvious problem for it is to explain the ice age cycle -William]

  5. Patrick Henry:

    Instead of endlessly bringing up the past, how about concentrating on the failures of the current models?

  6. CobblyWorlds:

    Woo Hoo!

    It’s GW Sceptic Bingo time again!
    http://timlambert.org/2005/04/gwsbingo/
    :) :)

  7. Brian Schmidt:

    Someone should get Newsweek to revisit their 2006 revisit of their 1975 cooling prediction, defending it as an accurate depiction of the state of science at the time. RealClimate covered it once before:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/10/global-cooling-again/#more-363

  8. Nick O.:

    A useful and timely post.

    To sound a note of caution, however, stand by for the counter argument to shift to what scientists were ‘predicting’ in the 1950s and early 1960s. You may also kick off a ‘citation fight’, with people claiming certain articles are not in good enough journals, or some of the data or predictions in the published papers turned out to be suspect, or the paper was not reviewed properly, or there are plenty of papers you have not cited which put the cooling argument, and so on and so on.

    Well done, anyway, and I look forward to reading the paper!

  9. Pete Best:

    Cool!!

    Like you say maybe now we can lay this one to rest.
    Maybe a article on the 1940 to 1970 cooling may be in order and the reasons as to why?

    In future decades for example as humans clean up their pollution act how much warmer will it be? How much more additional warming will eliminating aerosoles create in w/m2?

  10. Alastair McDonald:

    William,

    Welcome back :-)

    Does this mean that we no longer have to worry about the THC stopping due to the melting of Arctic ice, and causing conditions to return to those of the Younger Dryas stadial?

    If so, then our British Government might like to know, since they are currently spending £10M on the RAPID project which is currently throwing hundreds of buoys into the Atlantic to measure the THC.

    Cheers, Alastair.

  11. Zane:

    Why did those 7 article gain dominance over the 44 in school texts of the time?

    [Response: It would be nice to find a school textbook from the time, to see what it said -William]

  12. Spencer:

    Congratulations on this important work. It would be interesting (but another and even harder job) to go through the popular-press accounts of the time. Many of the moles in need of a good whack are actually responding to what the magazines etc. are saying today, not what the scientists are saying.

    I am pretty sure that a study of the popular press in the 1970s (which I’ve only browsed through, not done up statistically) would find a substantial bias toward reporting predictions of cooling, since at the time “ice age coming!” would have been a lot more attention-grabbing than “warming.” Scientists of the time did worry that they were being misquoted. But I think such a study would also find that essentially all the journalistic accounts said it was all speculation and admitted that scientists had no consensus, indeed little understanding of climate, and were not making any kind of firm prediction–that is the most important difference from the current situation.

  13. Mark A. York:

    Well done. The whole sceptic argument rides on often repeated canards of which this has to be the top prize winner. Hopefully this much needed accounting and my upcoming novel will cement dispelling the myth of global cooling into poular culture.

  14. Jason Cosford:

    Keep in mind that the classic paper by Hayes et al (1976) showed that isotopic composition of forams in marine cores fluctuated on orbital time-scales in accordance with Milankovitch. This supported orbital forcing of the ice ages and led to speculation that another ice age was inevitable as the planet moved toward the corresponding configuration. Much of the talk about global cooling in the 70s related to these orbital time-scales and the cause of ice ages. So the science of the day was predicting cooling, but on a completely different time-scale.

  15. tico89:

    Those statistics make it look as if there’s actually more denial of warming going on now than there was then–when scientists were supposedly predicting an ice age!

    It’s always good to see that a typical denier argument has little or no basis. Although, by debunking this argument, you give it more strength. The response I always use is, basically, these days we’ve got an extra 30+ years of scientific investigation–surely the scientists have got a better chance of being right.

    As others have said, it would be interesting to see by what means the ‘ice age’ ‘prediction’ was the most noticed.

  16. jbroon:

    RE: #5 Patrick Henry said:
    “Instead of endlessly bringing up the past, how about concentrating on the failures of the current models?”

    Which current models, in your estimation, have failed?

  17. Hank Roberts:

    Alastair, see Peter Ward. Rearrangement, not halt, of the circulation looks likely to be what caused past anoxic events. The buoy system is appropriate to detect changes including rearrangement and to get a finer grained picture of a very complicated 4-dimensional process.

  18. SecularAnimist:

    This is helpful to know. However, since a high proportion of misnamed “skeptics” are in fact deliberate liars, who endlessly repeat assertions that they well know have been repeatedly shown to be false, it will probably have little effect on the fake, phony, Exxon-Mobil sponsored “debate” about anthropogenic climate change.

  19. Bob North:

    Spencer – Here is at least one group that has looked at the issue of media coverage. Regardless of what one may think of their purpose for this report or their likely position on AGW, I think there presentation of the wild swings in media coverage of changing climate is probably about right.

    http://www.businessandmedia.org/specialreports/2006/fireandice/fireandice.asp

    For most people who are not reading Science or Nature or other more specialized climatology journals on a routine basis, their understanding of the current state of the science comes from media coverage of the science. Therefore, even if many or most peer-reviewed articles were discussing climate warming in the 70s, what people remember is the coverage from the popular media.

  20. Steve L:

    I think this was good work and I don’t mean to devalue it here. But I think the entire argument, even if true, would be specious. I mean, let’s say the AGW-deniers were right and the science (not just Newsweek) said we were coming to a new ice age. A mere 10 years later that was a minority opinion and it’s only become increasingly in the minority over the last decades. Do folks making the argument really prefer the science of the 70′s to the advances in understanding that have occurred since computers, satellites, 30 more years of data, etc have come to bear on the subject? I can’t think of anything that natural science ‘believed’ in the 70′s that is demonstrably more accurate than what natural science ‘believed’ in the 90′s.

  21. Winnebago:

    RE: #19 The claims made in that ‘report’ about the popular press coverage have also been debunked. If you click through the links in the OP, you’ll quickly see that the newspaper coverage nearly always discussed the speculative nature of the science and was nearly always buried in the ‘filler’ sections of the paper. Applying denialist SOP, that report cherry-picks quotes and grossly misrepresnts the newspaper coverage.

  22. Steve Horstmeyer:

    Bob North #19 has a point. I clearly remember, though I no longer have the book, discussions in an undergraduate climatology class regarding the “Snowblitz” theory of climate change as written about by Nigel Calder in his book “The Weather Machine”.

    This pre-dated the Newsweek article of April 28, 1975.

    Let us not forget others that lead the way to the idea that an ice age was just around the corner.

    The “Science” articles of 1956 and 1958 by Ewing and Donn about rapid climate change were popularized in a “Harper’s Magazine” article by Betty Friedan in 1958 titled “The Coming Ice Age”.

    John Gribbin concluded that in the next few hundred years an ice age would be upon us in his “Forecasts, Famines and Freezes” (1976).

    Don’t forget the book “Ice or Fire? Surviving Climate Change” (1978) by D. Halacy Jr.where the author suggests spreading soot to melt polar ice. Does that sound like seeding the ocean with iron filings?

    [Response: I hadn't seen the Science articles of 56/8. But the "ice age" scare is usually supposed to be the 70s - sometimes the 60s - I've never heard of it in the 50s before. And a quick scan of those articles doesn't show much hint of predicting an ice age, or talking about rapid change. Which bits did you have in mind? "Snowblitz", as I recall, only appeared in the book and never in a paper (Calder did have a paper in Nature, but I don't think it had the SB in it) -William]

  23. Alastair McDonald:

    Hank,

    Nice to see that someone understood what I wrote :-)

    Is Peter Ward’s “Rearrangement” of the THC going to lead to a warmer or a cooler climate, and who is this Peter Ward anyway?

    OTOH, If you follow the link on the RAPID page to Will global warming make European winters colder? you will find that the oceanographers from the National Oceanography Centre at Southampton University are writing:

    “Luckily the new ice age from ‘The Day After Tomorrow’, is fiction, not future. But strange as it seems, global warming might bring colder winters to the UK and parts of North-West Europe. And if it happens, the change could take place over only a decade or so.”

    In other words, we could have an abrupt cooling in the next ten years!

    Cheers, Alastair.

  24. Hank Roberts:

    Alastair, here:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=%2B%22Peter+Ward%22+%2Bclimate
    Worth serious reading.

    For others, don’t confuse local cooling (like ‘Medieval Warming’) with the current big denial theme: new ice age when the coal runs out on the Sun. Or something like that.

  25. Hank Roberts:

    One more reference for Alastair:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21468803/

    (Proceedings of the Royal Society B, haven’t found a link)

  26. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Timo H. posts:

    [[“Runaway greenhouse theories contradict energy balance equations,” Miskolczi states. Just as the theory of relativity sets an upper limit on velocity, his theory sets an upper limit on the greenhouse effect, a limit which prevents it from warming the Earth more than a certain amount. ]]

    Yes, it can only warm a couple hundred more degrees if all the carbon in the carbonate rocks were to be released, which won’t happen for a billion years. But it doesn’t look like this guy actually understands what a “runaway greenhouse effect” is. He should look up the planetary astronomy data on the history of Venus, where it happened.

  27. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Zane says:

    [[Why did those 7 article gain dominance over the 44 in school texts of the time?]]

    What school texts? Can you give a specific citation?

  28. J. Althauser:

    #11 Zane writes:
    Why did those 7 article gain dominance over the 44 in school texts of the time?

    They didn’t. But the examples have been repeated for many years, often as a minor note to ‘confusionist’ editorials. Small bits of text are cherry-picked to ‘prove’ the points. George Will did this in 2006 with 3 famous papers. pdfs of articles that don’t require cheery-picking are stored, linked and reused by many.

    I hope William or someone can put copies of some of the other 64 articles on the web . . .

    The public remembers some of the puzzle (perhaps only Johnny Carson jokes). After encountering misinformation often enough, many people accept it uncritically as fact. Since it wasn’t, the difference is now ‘explained’ as scientists ‘tricking’ the public. Since that is a social taboo it causes the desired mistrust and rejection.

  29. mg:

    do any of the current GCMs predict global cooling modes?

    what sort of near-term scenarios are outputted when short-term (eg 10 year) GWPs are used instead of the conventional 100 year GWPs?

  30. Hank Roberts:

    mg, see the white rectangle, top right of each page?

    Good exercise here for how to answer your question:

    Pasting your question into it for Google.
    (Many of the hits you get are from PR sites, which are really emphasizing the notion of a new ice age this week, curiously)

    http://www.google.com/search?q=+current+GCMs+predict+global+cooling+modes%3F

    Now, try the same thing but use Google Scholar:

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?num=100&hl=en&lr=&newwindow=1&safe=off&scoring=r&q=+current+GCMs+predict+global+cooling+modes%3F&as_ylo=2007&btnG=Search

    See the difference?

    Scholar finds you the modeling results, including the Hadley that describes a brief flat temperature period this year from La Nina; simple Google gets you a wonderful melange of PR, denial, opinion, witnessing, and believers along with some science sites.

    You have to make up your own mind.
    First, about which tool you use, faith or science.

    Where do you start?

  31. Ike Solem:

    The history of the development of scientific knowledge vs. the misrepresentation of that history…

    In many ways, this is a strange argument for the last remaining denialists to raise. Would they also use “Back in the 1950s, scientists didn’t believe in plate tectonics” as a criticism of modern geological science?

    For the details about the history of the ice age theories, see http://www.aip.org/history/climate/cycles.htm.

    The chief culprit might have been Cesare Emiliani:

    Calculating how the cycle should continue in the future, in 1966 Emiliani predicted that “a new glaciation will begin within a few thousand years.” . . .

    In 1972, presenting more Caribbean cores, he again advised that “the present episode of amiable climate is coming to an end.” Thus “we may soon be confronted with… a runaway glaciation.” However, he added, greenhouse effect warming caused by human emissions might overwhelm the orbital shifts, so we might instead face “a runaway deglaciation.”

    Thus, the media articles about 1970s climate science should read “Scientists warned of runaway deglaciation in the early 1970s”, shouldn’t they? Or, maybe “Scientists were unsure of the direction of future climate change in the early 1970s”, perhaps?

    The modern picture seems to be that ice ages tend to end abruptly, but the onset of an ice age is gradual, driven by changes in sunlight across the northern land masses and decreasing atmospheric CO2 levels. So, we might have been past the warmest period of this most recent interglacial, and beginning a slow, multi-thousand year descent into a new ice age – until we changed the atmospheric composition.

    However, we’ve added so much fossilized carbon to the atmosphere that we’re now approaching double anything seen in the glacial CO2 record. The Mauna Loa record shows that we’re currently at 384 ppm, increasing at 2 ppm per year. This carbon may stay in the atmosphere for a very long time. This may very well put off the next ice age entirely:

    Next Ice Age Delayed By Rising Carbon Dioxide Levels

    Dr Tyrrell said: ‘Our research shows why atmospheric CO2 will not return to pre-industrial levels after we stop burning fossil fuels. It shows that it if we use up all known fossil fuels it doesn’t matter at what rate we burn them. The result would be the same if we burned them at present rates or at more moderate rates; we would still get the same eventual ice-age-prevention result.’

  32. John Mashey:

    Ike, if you haven’t read Ruddiman’s ,“Plows, Plagues & Petroleum”, it’s been out in paperback fro a few months, and bears on this, i.e., evidence of start of lonnnnng glaciation process possibly aborted by early CO2& CH4.

  33. Edward Greisch:

    Thank you for the nice mole-whacker. I will put it to good use.

  34. Danny Bloom:

    Important work, yes. Very good post. Let’s hope the mainstream media picks this research up and runs with it.

    In this regard, the newly-minted Vaclav Klaus Climate Joke Awards might be of interest to some of the posters here. Named after the right honorable CEO of the Czech Republic, who believes that “climate is a joke” to quote a recent AP story from the Heartland Con, the awards honor those on both sides of the aisle who make unsound remarks about global warming and climate change. See the carnage here, and feel free to nominate your nominees, with references and quote sources please:

    http://climatejokeawards.blogspot.com/

  35. erikG:

    Browsing though file from my youth I cam across a junior-high school paper I was made to write in the early 1980′s. The premis given to the class was that industrial pollution might lead to another ice age, and we were supposed to describe how this might affect mankind.

    I had forgotten all about it, but it certainly explains why I always had that “vague impression” about impending cooling. Does anyone else here have school age memories about cooling vs warming?

  36. Chris Squire [UK]:

    ‘ . . Inevitably June snowfall is a much rarer creature, but widespread sleet and snow showers did manage to affect the UK on 2nd June 1975, rudely and infamously affecting a cricket match between Derbyshire and Lancashire at Buxton where early afternoon snow covered the pitch with around an inch of snow (Markham, 1994, Eden 1995). Elsewhere, snow settled on hills just south of Birmingham (Eden 1995), whilst to the south and east Manley (1975) reports snow being observed in both Cambridge and London and another county cricket match, this time featuring Essex and Kent, being played in Colchester was interrupted by snow (Ogley et al. 1993). Meanwhile, sleet showers were observed in RAF Manston in eastern Kent, Hassocks, Sussex and Totton and Portsmouth in Hampshire (COL Bulletin 1975, Eden 1995, Ogley en al 1995).

    In his book Weatherwise, Philip Eden (1995) wonderfully describes this June snowfall as, “surely the most outrageous thing that June has ever done to us, meteorologically speaking”. It also seems that in recent times at least this is the latest in the season that such widespread snow has managed to affect southern Britain (Manley 1975, Eden 1995) and Manley (1975) suggests that the June 1975 snowfall was probably southern Britain’s latest snowfall since the turn of the nineteenth century.’ Snagged from: http://www.dandantheweatherman.com/Bereklauw/latesnow.html

    This freak event, observed by many, did much to fix the idea of a coming Ice Age in the popular mind in Britain in the late 70s. It was much more influential than any scientific papers published at the time.

  37. Robin Johnson:

    I remember the cooling prediction but all I remember was a book (and some brief media attention). Before that I had read science fiction novels and seen a couple of movies that predicted warming and melting… But anyway, after the cooling hypothesis came out (it certainly wasn’t impossible given that ice ages were cyclic), I decided to naively think up a mitigation strategy. So I asked myself, what in retrospect was a decidedly stupid question: What if we detonated nuclear weapons to melt the ice? After a bit of research I realized that the amount of heat (while awesome) was pathetically small and that, by comparing it to volcanoes, instead of warming we would get cooling from the dust throw up (this was before Nuclear Winter was put forward as a compelling reason against limited nuclear war).

    So I remember it – but I certainly didn’t think it was “scientific consensus” – it seemed like a plausible hypothesis. But I mean, goodness gracious, the scientists weren’t entirely sure what the Great Red Spot on Jupiter was at that time (the leading theory was a big storm but that was far from proven).

  38. Ric Merritt:

    In the AMS writeup linked in the post, page 3, I was amused to see CLIMAP decoded as the “Long-rage Investigation, Mapping, and Prediction project”. Freudian slip??

  39. William Astley:

    The following is the by month NASA planetary land-ocean temperature anomaly data. The base for the table is 1951 to 1980.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

    Planetary temperatures were colder in the 1960s and early 1970s. I believe newspapers and magazines ran articles that stated that the planet was cooling and could enter an ice age because of the cold weather at the time.

    Planetary temperatures were also much colder in the 1800’s and early 20th century, as per the NASA data. Climate in the 1800’s and early 20th century must have been significantly different from 1980 to 2007.

  40. Philip Machanick:

    Chris Squire (#36) — a decade or two back, it snowed in Cape Town, South Africa in December. It generally does not snow in Cape Town, and December is summer there (usually hot and dry). Freak events can always occur. This is why you should be leery of anyone who looks out the window and says, “Aha! I’ve spotted climate change.” But of course the press will pick up on these things, and we should call them to account when it happens. (When they pay attention: The Australian for example very seldom prints factual corrections of climate denial for example.)

  41. Slioch:

    re #22 Steve Horstmeyer.

    Thanks for reminding us that the “Snowblitz” theory of climate change was written about by Nigel Calder in his book “The Weather Machine”. This suggested that an ice age could be initiated within a few years by eg a volcanic eruption causing cooling that caused widespread snow cover, causing further cooling by reflecting sunlight etc.

    Nigel Calder is a prominent sceptic and made a pugnacious contribution to the Channel 4 “The Great Global Warming Swindle” film, just one year ago.

    So, one of those “scientists predicting a new ice-age in the 1970′s” that contrarians keep banging on about is himself now numbered amongst the contrarians!

  42. Philip Machanick:

    I should also note my considerable thanks to the authors of this paper for taking the time out of their busy schedules to do this comprehensively. That this should be necessary is a sad testimony to the effectiveness of the denialist disinformation campaign and the shabby standards of much of the press which reports this stuff without verification.

    Any plans to issue a press release when the paper is published?

  43. Martin Vermeer:

    Re #20 Steve L

    Do folks making the argument really prefer the science of the 70’s to the advances in understanding that have occurred since computers, satellites, 30 more years of data, etc have come to bear on the subject?

    Don’t think so… the real gist of the argument is IIUC that the climate science of the 70s was already pretty good — the fundamentals were in place. Since then it has only gotten better still. Climatology as a science has a long history. Sure climatologists get things wrong all the time — but not this badly wrong, not this late in the game.

  44. Lawrence Coleman:

    Good article…it would be interesting to see the same table 1 from 1980-2007 and see how it’s changed. Now infinitely more data has come to light from almost every earth science source. Were they using satellites in the 1970′s for climate study?

  45. MJ Sparrow:

    The global cooling argument is hitting hard again right now due to the recent chill. The standard response is of course La Nina but I’ve had several skeptics e-mail me this NOAA paper:

    “Conversely, above normal ice cover was associated with La Nina conditions which are accompanied by the Aleutian low moving westward of normal allowing higher pressure and colder conditions to move over the Bering Sea. However, since the regime shift, this correlation of ice with both the Aleutian low movement and with the SOI has reversed.”

    I haven’t seen this pop up on climate audit but someone is obviously parading this around.

  46. Lawrence Coleman:

    In regards to the possibilty of an ice age or period of noticable cooling for europe and north america I suppose that depends uopn the rate of slowdown of the north atlantic current. I saw the movie ‘The day after tomorrow’ two days ago..what a crock of #@$%!..I dont think anyone with half a brain or even quarter for that matter would believe the speed of the onset of the ice age portrayed there. Even if there was an sudden outflow of many gigalitres east of canada like there once was eons back..that still took up to a decade for that iceage to take effect. No one knows with any certainty what effect a moderate slowdown of the NAC would have..but I just cant see it triggering a snap ice age. The increasing rate of freshwater entering the atlantic from a greenland/arctic melt alone will no-doubt slow-down the NAC but to what degree?

  47. Thomas:

    2: Thanks for the links. I keep getting hit with this cooling/new iceage #$%^ and could use a good mallet to do some wacking of my own.

  48. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    I’ve been fighting GW for nearly 20 years now, reducing my GHGs substantially at financial benefit to me, and trying to get others to do likewise. And I didn’t really know the science of climate change well (and still don’t) or where we stood in geological terms (so it doesn’t take a climate or rocket scientist to reduce GHGs).

    Until recently when I’ve come up against these “ice-age” denialists, I’ve only been able to answer them with, “well science does advance over time, and now the scientists have a lot better understanding….”

    Only this past year I’ve come to understand we are at a climate high point, a sort of plateau, in the glacial-interglacial cycle. And if there were no anthropogenic GHG forcing, we might expect over a long geological (in human terms) timeframe that we would be heading into an ice age….eventually. So the “ice-age” scientists back then were not necessarily wrong. But with our GHG forcing, we may be triggering positive feedbacks and tipping into a much greater warming period, as has happened several times in the past (251 mya, 55 mya), using this high warm plateau as our launching pad into hysteresis.

    So now I answer the “ice-age” denialist argument (denialists usually trot out ALL their inconsistent & contradictory arguments) this way: I draw a sine-wave in the air with my hand, saying, yes, that the normal fluctuation over a long geological timeframe is to alternate between cold ice ages and warm interglacial periods, and that now we are right here in a warm interglacial period (my hand raised at the top of the wave), and if there were no human GHGs, then we would expect that over a long time frame we’d be sliding down into an ice age. However, there have been times in the past when other factors have kicked in, such as extreme vulcanism or as now with our tremendous GHG emissions, when instead of going back down into an ice age, it has gone into hysteresis (raising my hand higher) in which the warming spirals way up, causing mass extinction of life on earth — 95% of life died out in such an event 251 years ago. And now we may be causing the climate, out of it’s normal cycle, to go into just such an event.

  49. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    RE #46, Lawrence, I think the creators of DAY AFTER TOMORROW made it clear somewhere (?in the film’s beginning?) that they were greatly speeding up the process for dramatic effect. But I was also put off, especially by the ice chasing the kids in the library — it popped out of my suspended disbelief.

    So the real problem is how to make great movies about global warming, that captivate audiences. The nuclear issue was easy (CHINA SYNDROME, ON THE BEACH, etc); these were nuke movies that shook the world. Global warming is also a grave threat, but how to make it photogenic with the necessary “ticking time bomb” so people will watch and get inspired to mitigate. I’m sort of up to my gills in global warming documentaries, quite frankly, though we need them to keep coming out.

  50. Rando:

    …..supposed to be +1C today in Yellowknife – Northern Canada. That beats the normal -17. I recall from my early science classes that ice melts at 0 degrees (well it was +32F when I learned it). So much for the impending ice-age around here.

  51. Red Etin:

    It’s definitely warming here in Scotland – we never see polar bears here now. I think they may have moved up North. Here is an article about the remains of one in Scotland.

    http://news.scotsman.com/scotland/Secrets-of-Scotland39s-only-wild.3857597.jp

  52. David B. Benson:

    Ike Solem (31) & several others — From Archer/Ganapolski, A moveable trigger: Fossil feul CO2 and the onset of the next glaciation, available here

    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~archer/reprints/

    about 7th down, as well as other sources, the next attempt at a stade (massive ice sheets) will be in about 20,000 years. Even baring AGW the orbital forcing is rather weak and so this one might well be skipped. The next attempt will be about 50,000 years from now.

  53. Debra:

    Just dis information if you ask me, people that are in a state of fear are easily controlled.

  54. SecularAnimist:

    Lynn Vincentnathan wrote: “I think the creators of DAY AFTER TOMORROW made it clear … that they were greatly speeding up the process for dramatic effect … the real problem is how to make great movies about global warming, that captivate audiences … how to make it photogenic with the necessary ‘ticking time bomb’ so people will watch and get inspired to mitigate.”

    The problem is that a realistic portrayal of the arrival of catastrophic global warming would have to span years or decades, which presents a dramatic challenge (although a sudden world-wide mega-drought that led to a global collapse of agriculture and mass die-off from starvation within a year or two would be pretty dramatic).

    So, if I were developing a screenplay for a global warming disaster movie, I would probably finesse that problem by borrowing from the tradition of post-nuclear-holocaust dystopia movies, and set the movie after the worst effects of global warming had already occurred — say around mid-21st century. The drama would be in the struggle of the few remaining humans to survive in the harsh environment of a wrecked civilization and ruined biosphere. In other words more like Soylent Green than Godzilla.

  55. Tim McDermott:

    Slightly OT, but here is more evidence from the natural world the things are disturbed. NPR had an item this week about the expansion of phytoplankton regions of the ocean. They are increasing 1-4% per year. That amounts to 2.5 million square miles in the last decade.

    “Scientists studying climate change have predicted this kind of change. But the sea desert has been spreading 10 times faster than climate scientists predicted.”

    One more underestimate. They do offer the caveat that they may have just caught a particularly rapid period of change, and it may slow down again.

    The abstract from GRL is here.

  56. Hank Roberts:

    Good pointer, Tim; one important word missing, it’s low-phytoplankton or phytoplankton-desert areas that are expanding:

    “… vast areas that were once green with plankton have been turning blue, as marine life becomes scarcer …”

  57. Johan Gutermein:

    So technology ascends as the human condition declines.

    “History shows that every technical application from its beginning presents certain unforeseen secondary effects which are more disastrous than the lack of the technique would have been. Every successive technique has appeared because the ones which preceded it rendered necessary the ones which followed.”

    Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society

  58. D Price:

    The funny thing about the day after tommorow was that it seemed to say that global warming will lead to everwhere getting much colder. Is there any science to support this? Did the film’s makers think tropical heat is less scary?

  59. Russell Seitz:

    What shall we do with ” Torch “, the 1950′s Astounding Science Fiction short story about re-glaciation arisingfrom the ignition of a Siberian oilfield by a botched Soviet nuclear test?

    Is it a cautionary tale of the hazards of Zero-Dimensional climate modeling, the precursor of TTAPS and Roland Emmerich’s Crutzen-based dystopic aerosol film, Der Arkprinzep, or the great grand-daddy of Niven & Pournelle’s sci fi novel Fallen Angels,in which excess of zeal in suppressing AGW leads to a Snowball Earth?

    Then again, in 1932 The New York Times ran a ‘Fish Will Swim In Buckingham Palace’ story under the headline :
    “Next Great Deluge Forecast By Science”; CF:
    http://adamant.typepad.com/seitz/2007/04/the_hundred_yea.html

    The mole is the least of our whacking worries –it’s a regular Pandora’s Menagerie.

  60. Fred Houlihan:

    “…the old 1970s global cooling canard…” is hardly an accurate characterization. Many top scientists at that time bought into the “Ice Age Coming” hysteria, including apparently, James Hansen himself.

    Take a look at http://www.personal.psu.edu/fth/JamesHansen-predictsIceAgeNASA.html

    [Response: This is an appalling piece of reporting. Rasool and Schneider did not 'predict an ice age' in their paper, Hansen was not an author on the paper and his role (as mentioned in the acknowledgements was a piece of code that calculated Mie scattering for aerosols - equivalent to sharing code that does a fast fourier transform. How this rises to 'predicting an ice age' is impossible to say. This is just a drive-by smear, which IBD has a history of (see Deltoid for more). - gavin]

  61. Steve Bloom:

    Re #45: That’s an early paper referring to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), although the term isn’t used. The PDO is a multi-decadal climate cycle that is associated with changes in ENSO; in its positive phase there are more El Ninos and in its negative phase more La Ninas. The PDO has been in a postive phase since 1976 and ever since it was identified (in the ’90s) some of the less-informed denialists have been hoping that a flip to the negative phase will erase the recent warming trend. Their idea is that if one El Nino can result in a warm year then a series of them will make for an entire trend.

    What they neglect (among other things) is that what would be seen is an initial step followed by little or no further warming, and that the global trend looks nothing like that (but see below). A lot of them also seem to have the idea that ENSO cycles result in a real rather than an apparent heating or cooling, whereas what they mainly do is move heat around in the oceans (resulting in a change in ocean surface temperature that in turn affects the atmosphere).

    Slightly more informed denialists will pull out the example of the temperature trend in southern Alaska as proof of their idea. In 1976 there was indeed a large step increase in temperature in that region followed by little change since. Of course the problem is that the trend in one small region proves exactly nothing with regard to the global trend.

    The ENSO-sea ice correlation seems neither here nor there.

  62. Holly Stick:

    In THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, the weather special effects were great as long as you could suspend belief; but the ravening pack of wolves that conveniently showed up when the kids went outside was just lame.

  63. Richard Pauli:

    Here is an old video from 1958 –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lgzz-L7GFg

    The text of the message is very similar to today’s

  64. Timothy Chase:

    Another article from Peter Ward for Alastair, “Impact from the Deep” …

    The SciAm location:

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&colID=1&articleID=00037A5D-A938-150E-A93883414B7F0000

    … is down for maintanence at the moment, so try:

    http://www.chicagocleanpower.org/ward.pdf

  65. John Norris:

    re #9
    Pete Best Says:
    7 March 2008 at 11:41 AM

    “Maybe a article on the 1940 to 1970 cooling may be in order and the reasons as to why?”

    I have been curious about this as well. Has RealClimate written or linked to any info on why 1940 was warm, or why 1970 was cool?

  66. Ian:

    Just for fun, here’s another source. Back in 1982, did anyone reading this take it at face value ? A picture book showing “The Coming Ice Age” at http://www.paleofuture.com/2007/06/coming-ice-age-1982.html .

  67. Mitch Golden:

    In the caption of fig 1 of the paper, it says that in no year were there more cooling papers than warming. However, it shows 2 cooling and 1 warming in 1971. Does it mean to refer only to the cumulative number? It certainly doesn’t read that way.

  68. wayne davidson:

    #45, MJ. I don’t buy that hypothesis completely. they forgot the larger picture. Melting of a large chunk of old Polar ice in 07 has caused unknown after effects, one may be observed as already documented continuing Arctic clear air, this is a predominant phenomena now, there were a preponderance of Low pressure systems passing through Bering Strait, did see a few Highs as well, but the main cause of this continental cooling was born in North American Arctic , the window was open for simple surface radiation escaping upwards. Awaiting spring time cloud and fog bursts, however if unusual low cloud extent continues, there will be a transformation in the temperature scene towards greater warming, returning to the summer of 2007 main melting conditions.

  69. Martin Vermeer:

    Lynn, “Soylent Green” came actually close to what a realistic depiction of a worst-case aftermath would look like. It ought to be re-done in the light of the newest knowledge. (What stops you from doing this? Like George Lucas re-did Buck Rogers :-)

    (But the reality of failed nuclear states — famine decimating populations doesn’t promote good government, or friendly international relations for that matter — and an atmosphere carrying radioactivity from local nuclear war should be glossed over; we don’t want to completely scare off our audience now do we.)

  70. Lawrence Coleman:

    Re: 51 Red Etin..haha! That means you must be 18000 years old..geez! what health sups are you taking??? But seriously…read a bit about warming scotland..and the 3000ft mountains at the border of the cairngorm plateau’s which in years past always were covered in snow now for the past decade are now snow free.

  71. Ken Rohleder:

    Pg. 2 “By the early 1970′s…the notion of a global cooling trend was widely accepted.”

    Agreed. That’s the point — before scientists wrung their hands about GW, they were ringing them about global cooling. The article count doesn’t matter if you concede (correctly) that the notion of global cooling was widely accepted.

  72. S. Molnar:

    In his response to #60, gavin referred to Deltoid, but neglected to give a link. One can do worse than read Deltoid in its entirety, but here is the entry in question.

  73. William Astley:

    In reply to Ike Solem’s comment #31
    “The modern picture seems to be that ice ages tend to end abruptly, but the onset of an ice age is gradual, driven by changes in sunlight across the northern land masses and decreasing atmospheric CO2 levels. So, we might have been past the warmest period of this most recent interglacial, and beginning a slow, multi-thousand year descent into a new ice age – until we changed the atmospheric composition.”

    Ike, The data and analysis does not support your comment. Are there any papers or text books that support your statement? (I have Cronin’s “Principles of Paleoclimatology” and Bradley’s Paleoclimatology, “Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary”. Neither of those text books supports a gradual change from interglacial to glacial or glacial to interglacial.)

    In the 1990’s analysis of the Greenland ice sheet core (which was confirmed, by analysis of ocean floor sediment), showed that there are millennium separated, abrupt (not gradual) planetary temperature changes. (The Younger Dryas is an example.) The Antarctic ice core proxy data masked the rapid climate changes due to the polar sea saw where the Antarctic ice sheet initially cools when the planet warms and visa versa. The polar see saw effect is occurring now. The Antarctic ice sheet has cooled slightly while the rest of the planet has warmed.

    See Adam’s paper for a review of the discovery of abrupt climate change.

    ttp://ethomas.web.wesleyan.edu/adamsetal99.pdf

    The other problem with the theory of insolation changes driving planetary temperature change, is that some other forcing function over rides insolation in the Southern Hemisphere, to synchronous the cooling and warming of both Hemispheres. This forcing function does not seem to be GWG, however, as the change in GWG levels lags changes in planetary temperature changes by a thousand years, based on the data and the GWG mechanisms.)

    The recent discovery of synchronization of abrupt temperature changes between hemispheres (see link below) is new and was partially unexpected. (Cronin’s textbook notes this is an important question, as to whether Northern and Southern Hemisphere cooling is sychronized, as it sets a criteria for the forcing function.)

    http://www.news.wisc.edu/9557

    “We’ve been able to get quite precise ages directly on these glacial deposits,” says Singer, whose specialty is geochronology. “What we found was that the structure of the last South American ice age is indistinguishable from the last major glaciation in the Northern Hemisphere.”

    “…seem to undermine a widely held idea that global redistribution of heat through the oceans is the primary mechanism that drove major climate shifts of the past.”

    “The implications of the new work, say the authors of the study, support a different hypothesis: that rapid cooling of the Earth’s atmosphere synchronized climate change around the globe during each of the last two glacial epochs.”

    “Because the Earth is oriented in space in such a way that the hemispheres are out of phase in terms of the amount of solar radiation they receive, it is surprising to find that the climate in the Southern Hemisphere cooled off repeatedly during a period when it received its largest dose of solar radiation,” says Singer. “Moreover, this rapid synchronization of atmospheric temperature between the polar hemispheres appears to have occurred during both of the last major ice ages that gripped the Earth.”

  74. steve:

    Thanks for the relevant information with sources. GW opponents I can only assume are mostly under 40yrs of age. Anybody that age or older knows from basic personal experience that the climate has changed radically from what it used to be.

  75. dean:

    Has anyone watched “Assume the Position”, the documentary/comedy that Robert Wuhl did? He makes a very salient point about our society and it’s one that we need to understand. His main point is that facts don’t matter in the age of mass media. He points out several cases where fact was completely distorted by fiction and now fiction is what is commonly accepted as fact.

    He starts with a clip from “The Man who Shot Liberty Valance”:

    “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend”

    With respect to the coming ice age of the 70s, the public just doesn’t care anymore about it. They accept it as fact and no amount of scientific study otherwise will change that. Wuhl point out that most of the people think Columbus sailed west to prove the world was round and Oliver Stone showed the real conspiracy behind the JFK assasination when the overwhelming evidence shows otherwise in both cases.

    We must also realize that the press thrives on controversy. And while they don’t usually invent controversy, they do everything they can to play up even the smallest controversy. Saying that we’re about to dive into an ice age sells. Saying that 25% of the scientists surveyed think that there’s a 15% chance that the planet will fall into the ice age won’t sell anything. So it’s not likely that the press would ever pick up on it.

    A very current example was the NOAA release within the month that said that the main reason hurricane damage is up is because people have moved to the beach and NOT because of an increased number of hurricanes. The press didn’t cover it because it wasn’t controvercial. Likewise, we have record-breaking box office movies every year and yet none of these have ever approached the popularity of “Gone with the Wind” in terms of number of tickets sold. The press likes to sell the “new and improved” and they typically ignore “there is nothing new here…”

    Re #69, George Lucas didn’t redo Buck Rogers, Glen Larson did. Checking IMDB shows no connection between George Lucas and Buck Rogers.

  76. Neil B.:

    Right, just some climate thinkers espoused the cooling view, and the warming idea was usually orthodox since the famous Arrhenius paper of 1896 (!). (But that paper was soon criticized since CO2 and water vapor have such similar absorption bands, what’s up with that?) I have a Time-Life “Weather” book from 1965 which discusses global warming from CO2 as a danger. In any case, how goes the idea that a cooling Sun will comp. for global warming?

  77. mahatmakjeeves:

    i am reading an article about the coming ice age in 18,000 a.d. as predicted by british major general drayson in popular science monthly 1936. the article, by gaylord johnson, shows how anyone can do an experiment to show how the polar caps will extend as glaciers to new york , where they had once been the last time they made their 23 to 35 degree angle cycle ,between which we always rotate. so predictions of a new ice age go way back in the popular press.there does seem to be quite a difference in what is said amongst professionals and what gets out through the popular media.

  78. pete best:

    http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-5272939285909467574&q=hansen+warming&total=30&start=30&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=8

    Watch this, it states some of the popular press and statements at the time. It sure does seem to be reinventing the wheel with regard to the environmental message of imminent doom but how true is it ?

  79. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    RE#69, I actually contacted the author of the book on which it was based (the screenwriter has passed away) and asked if SOYLENT GREEN could be remade, with more of a global warming mention, and he said MGM had been considering doing a sequel, but chucked that idea. Then I wrote to MGM about them getting a professional screenwriter and doing a remake, but never heard back. I’m thinking even the original film could be slightly tweaked to mention global warming. That would be enough. Then re-released.

  80. Les Porter:

    re: #65, Re#9 – and – #4

    1940-143 = 1800
    1970-143 = 1830

    http://mb-soft.com/public3/co2hitv.gif

    As I mentioned to Hank Roberts, I tried to use bore hole data to reflect the curves. I think there is smear since the translation from air temp averaged over a year to sub-surface (bore hole)values might not be fine enough compared to the relationship of air temperatures and CO2 amounts, but otherwise I can’t see a relationship.

    From the bore hole stuff, there seemed to me to be a lot of normalization that could be hiding the weak correlation for the periods and the shift. I felt the bore holes should have shown a pattern, a depression that they did not show.

    #4
    Anyway, On the Runaway Green house and problems with the ice ages, I agree. I have been examining the paper, and so far it looks like Forenc Miskolczi has proven an identity. I am still examining the work in my slow way, so I could be “way off,” and I am not, the one to take it apart bit by bit by bit. Too many other things happening.

    0=0
    0!= 1
    1=1
    2=2

    http://met.hu/doc/idojaras/vol111001_01.pdf

    ================
    Runaway Greenhouse..?
    There is some work on the pacific warm pool, and NASA and 87F SST where a kind of “runaway” take-off starts but collapses. . . I also fault the above paper on failure to deal with Venus — because the Russians showed there was light aplenty on Venus’ surface. That is a semi-transparent planetary atmosphere with way over 1500 W/m^2 even when the sun was 500Million years old 4 Gya ===============

    Read the complete statement on the pacific warm pool and lots of water vapor here: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/news/releases/2002/02_60AR.html

    Also relevant: http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20040171753_2004168321.pdf

    Venus is a real situation and as Venus is, Earth will become.

    ====

    As for old text books. Denver Radio KOA “Weatherman Bowman” used to describe the jet streams and how they controlled the weather, moving large masses of air around — even in the late 50′s early 60′s — and was an early user of this information from aircraft, especially stratospheric Jet information on head and tail wind speeds and directions, etc. This was before we had an Air Force Academy.

    As for text books, nah. Meteorology has a long history, but the push to do real met science became possible after we sent the men to the moon. . .then the republicans and tricky Dicky flushed the space program except where the M-I complex could build cold war spy stuff.

    Weather became a priority when insurance could estimate risks and warnings of hurricanes. . .etc. But the early weather sat’s …

    I remember all these

    http://www.oso.noaa.gov/history/

    Also I was on a team to look for impact dust on the moon where and when we crashed our cameras. (That is a while back.) I read Fall of Moondust as published in The Saturday Evening Post and even though Clarke was one of my favorite writers, I did not think there would be any dust danger of significance by looking at the

    I remember Sputnik, and Laika, and I remember echo 1 and echo 2. I looked for them among familiar skies that now, global warming and local weather changes has destroyed. Oh yes, population is a problem we licked for a bit in the 1970′s when we were aimed at zpg.

    Met took off with NOAA and NASA investigations.

  81. Mark A. York:

    “So, if I were developing a screenplay for a global warming disaster movie, I would probably finesse that problem by borrowing from the tradition of post-nuclear-holocaust dystopia movies, and set the movie after the worst effects of global warming had already occurred — say around mid-21st century. The drama would be in the struggle of the few remaining humans to survive in the harsh environment of a wrecked civilization and ruined biosphere. In other words more like Soylent Green than Godzilla.”

    Hmmm. I handled it differently and in current time. I was in the last version of Godzilla. “Run but don’t step where the digital foot goes!”

  82. George Darroch:

    Of interest is this particular morsel – the Ecologist’s 1972 publication “Blueprint for Survival” predicted 379ppm by 2000, and suggested a doubling of CO2 would see 2 degrees warming. The “chicken little” earth is cooling myth is exactly that – even in the early 70s warming was a serious concern for many.

    SCEP points out that the trend towards depleting the remaining stands of original forests, such as those in tropical Brazil, Indonesia and the Congo, will further reduce the capacity of the ecosphere to absorb CO2 and may release even more CO2 to the atmosphere. The CO2 content of the atmosphere is increasing at a rate of 0.2 percent per year since 1958. One can project, on the basis of these trends, an 18 percent increase by the year 2000, i.e. from 320 ppmm to 379 ppmm. SCEP considers that this might increase temperature of the earth by 0.5°C. A doubling of CO2 might increase mean annual surface temperatures by 2°C. [See Table 3]

    http://www.theecologistdotinfo/page30.html

  83. Martin Vermeer:

    Re #69, George Lucas didn’t redo Buck Rogers, Glen Larson did. Checking IMDB shows no connection between George Lucas and Buck Rogers.

    dean, oops you’re right, I meant Flash Gordon.

  84. Philip Machanick:

    Ken Rohleder (#71): you quote the article as saying ““By the early 1970’s…the notion of a global cooling trend was widely accepted.” but left out the next 3 words, “albeit poorly understood”.

    I suggest if you read the paper again, you will realize you understood it poorly. The thing that was widely accepted is the temperature trend at the time, which appeared to be cooling. This is rather different from nonexistent widespread prediction of further cooling (as evidenced by the literature review), and was in fact an error which was soon after corrected.

    Further on: “A closer examination of Southern Hemisphere data showed that what appeared to be a global cooling trend was in fact dominated by Northern Hemisphere temperatures, while thermometers in the Southern Hemisphere seemed to be headed in the opposite direction”.

    #9, #65: 1940-70 cooling: I can’t find anything specific on realcimate though you would do well to read a few of the articles in the aerosols section (see sidebar). This one mentioned a while back http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/10/attribution-of-20th-century-climate-change-to-cosub2sub/#comment-19689 is interesting: http://www.stanfordreview.org/Archive/Volume_XXXVI/Issue_8/Opinions/opinions1.shtml
    and also: http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/03/what-about-mid-century-cooling.html

  85. Julian Flood:

    re 55 56

    I’m always chary of short-run information about global systems: the SeaWiFS stuff is only a decade long and needs more time to become significant. At the moment it’s no more and no less relevant than a couple of year’s cooling from a La Nina.

    However, there’s one detail on which I’d like more info. What is happening to the phyto populations at the edges of the expanding areas? I am on record as suggesting that starved phytos (I predicted the spreading of the ocean’s blue deserts) would switch to C4 metabolism, increasing the pulldown of heavier C isotopes and leaving a low atomic weight carbon signal in the atmosphere. Has anyone seen any research along these lines?

    JF

  86. pete best:

    I am now hearing, the ice has returned and a large part of the NH 2008 winter has broken records for coldness and snowfall. Apparantly AGW has stopped !

    What is realclimates answer to the ice returning and its being very cold in some of the NH this winter? La nina/ el nino cycle I have read. Would this be as good a explanation as any ?

  87. AdeV:

    [Response: Runaway Greenhouse is a strawman. I’m sure someone will take the paper to bits properly. The obvious problem for it is to explain the ice age cycle -William]

    Interesting response… surely you shouldn’t be looking to “take the paper to bits properly”, rather, it should be viewed as possible new information & a determination made as to whether it is a) accurate, and b) if so how it can be integrated into GCMs OR if not, why not?

    Part of the reason I have a problem with this whole Global Warming malarky is the bitter sniping from both sides which does nothing to move the science forward, and everything to create a snarky atmosphere & gosh-wow headlines. I do realise that science (any field) is competitive & some snarkyness is to be expected; but honestly all this does is turn agnostics (such as me) off the the whole thing. And since – like, I suspect, most agnostics – my default position is “don’t worry, be happy”, that ends up favouring the “AGW is not the end of the world” camp.

    So come on folks (and RC does have some of the world’s pre-eminent climate scientists as contributors), stop sniping & start analysing. Maybe an article would be useful? After all, this is not some News of the World (The Inquirer is, I guess, the American equivalent) article – this is a peer-reviewed paper.

    Thanks.

    [Response: There are far more papers published than anyone person can read. You have to be selective. A paper that speaks as that one does is off to a bad start in the shall-I-bother stakes. And I already raised one problem, which is that it would make the ice age cycle unintelligible. There are lots of genuine problems to work on in climate change; the basic radiative physics though are well known. There are two other filters people use for shall-I-read-this: is it in a major journal? - in this case, no; and has it been cited? - in this case, its doesn't look like it; even the skeptic blogs aren't endorsing it. -W]

  88. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Lynn,

    I’m pretty sure 95% of life didn’t die out 251 years ago. I assume you meant 251 million?

  89. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Ken Rohleder writes:

    [[Pg. 2 “By the early 1970’s…the notion of a global cooling trend was widely accepted.”

    Agreed. That’s the point — before scientists wrung their hands about GW, they were ringing them about global cooling. The article count doesn’t matter if you concede (correctly) that the notion of global cooling was widely accepted.]]

    You have acceptance by the public or the media confused with acceptance by the scientific consensus. There was never a scientific consensus behind global cooling the way there is now behind global warming.

  90. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Les Porter writes:

    [[I also fault the above paper on failure to deal with Venus — because the Russians showed there was light aplenty on Venus’ surface. That is a semi-transparent planetary atmosphere with way over 1500 W/m^2 even when the sun was 500Million years old 4 Gya =]]

    You’re confusing the Solar constant at Venus’s orbital distance with the amount absorbed by the Venus climate system and the amount that penetrates to Venus’s surface, all of which are different numbers. The Solar constant at Venus’s distance is about 2,611 watts per square meter (1500 or so early in Solar system history, as you point out). But the amount absorbed by the Venus climate system is:

    F = (S / 4) (1 – A)

    where A is the bolometric Bond albedo. The factor of 1/4 comes from the fact that Venus absorbs sunlight on its two-dimensional cross-sectional area but radiates on its spherical surface area. NASA gives the present albedo of Venus as 0.750, so we’re talking an absorbed flux of 163 watts per square meter — actually less than Earth gets (237 W m^-2). And of the 163, only 16.8 watts per square meter penetrate to the surface of Venus, the rest being absorbed by the cloud layers or the clear atmosphere. That’s enough light to read by, plus you’ve got some red glow from the rocks at 735.3 K, but it’s way less than 1500 W m^-2.

  91. MattN:

    Mr Fleck/Connelly:

    “Between 1965 and 1979 we found:

    * 7 articles predicting cooling
    * 44 predicting warming
    * 20 that were neutral”

    What criteria did you use to select the titles? You have 71 articles over a 15 year period. Certainly there were many hundreds more over that period that you did not select.

    Basically, was this a random selection of articles?

    [Response: No, it wasn't a random selection. The linked pre-print described the methodology -W]

  92. Hank Roberts:

    > I am on record
    Cite, please?

    > starved phytos … switch to C4
    Mechanism for this? (Is it in the source? population change? species change? individual organism change?)

  93. Rod B:

    Steve (74): Nonsense.

  94. Richard Ricardo:

    Hello all,

    I was curious about global warming and found this site through a Google search. I have a question, why is the warming of the earth so bad? It is hot in the tropics year round and life there seems to thrive. I read some place that the ice caps are melting, and that places like Florida adn some other coastal areas would be flooded,would not people just move further inland or adapt like the Dutch building dykes?

    Like I said I am pretty ignorant about the subject I just thought I could get some answers here.

    Richard

  95. Fred:

    Whether one believes in man-made global warming, man-made global cooling, or natural climatic cycles, the real worry that many people have is that some political body will dictate their perceived solution via punitive laws rather than allowing the free market to sort things out. Additionally, the hysteria to “do something now” ignores the immense ability for humans to adapt to wildly changing environmental conditions, and may cause the human race to take actions with unintended consequences which are more damaging to humankind than the climate change itself.

    Those who believe in man-made climate change would do well to back off from the ledge if you want the so-called “deniers” to believe you are credible. (And also, explain the lack of correlation between RISING carbon emissions and STEADY global temperatures since 1998, as well as the sharp decline in the average global temperature to pre- “global warming era” levels in the past year alone – which just happens to correlate better with the extended solar minimum!)

  96. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    RE #90, many hundreds? It’s really difficult to get articles published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. First you need to do years of study, then write up an article based on that, then if the manuscript is not outright rejected, you usually have to rewrite it, or even do some more study and rewrite it. The process from study to published article could take years.

    I also imagine at the time not a whole lot of climate scientists were specifically studying warming or cooling trends, or writing articles about them — not like today anyway. So I’d think 71 articles (averaging about 5 per year) sounds to me like the whole population of science articles in peer-reviewed journals dealing specifically with the topic at hand here.

  97. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    #87, yes, my mistake I meant to write “251 mya.”

  98. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    RE #86, I’m not too sure what the issue is here, but climate scientists are quite adament about not using the term “runaway warming” for the various climate scenarios in Earth’s past (& possibly to come in the future) in which initial warming causes nature to emit more GHGs (such as through carbon release from melting permafrost and ocean hydrates) & albedo decrease (from melting snow & ice), which in turn leads to greater warming, which in turn leads to greater GHG emissions/albedo reduction, and so on until it gets quite hot, but then after many millennia the process in reverse causes the earth to cool back down again. I’ve heard them use the term “hysteresis” for this process, which happened several times in Earth’s past — 251 mya & 55 mya, being 2 great warming periods connected to mass extinction.

    However, I think “runaway” is still a good term to help laypersons understand the process, as in “runaway horse” or “runaway train” — something eventually stops them, so it isn’t permanent runaway. I would then consider the situation on Venus to be a special case of “permanent runaway warming.”

    And I don’t completely share your view re “don’t worry, be happy.” I “expect the worst and hope for the best,” and keep paying my insurance premiums (tho I didn’t get onto the dental plan this year — bad mistake). However, I agree we should NOT waste time worrying; we should instead take up the challenge and reduce our GHGs as much as possible — and do it with a joy that transcends mere happiness.

  99. J.S. McIntyre:

    re 95: “the real worry that many people have is that some political body will dictate their perceived solution via punitive laws rather than allowing the free market to sort things out.”

    I don’t think the free market can sort it out. Every free market solution to a problem is based on response after something has affected them; it the case of AGW, many of the negative effects are 10 to 30 years out, by all accounts. Also, the free market is based to a large extent on accumulation of wealth – a credible response to AGW involves a counterintuitive response, the idea that no matter how we adapt, we’re going to be forced to give up things we take for granted.

    “Additionally, the hysteria to “do something now” ignores the immense ability for humans to adapt to wildly changing environmental conditions…”

    There is a credible argument that suggests there is an upward limit to adaptation. Too much of what we take for granted in the natural world depends upon the temperatures staying more or less stable. In a warming world, particularly if we hit 3 degrees, we might not be able to adapt.

    “Those who believe in man-made climate change would do well to back off from the ledge if you want the so-called “deniers” to believe you are credible.”

    No offense, but what you are asking for is akin to demanding that the king’s subjects acknowledge he has clothes when, in fact, he’s parading around in his skivvies…

  100. Les Porter:

    # 90

    Yeah Bart. Sorry. I should have clarified that. When the Sun ignited on main sequence 4.567 billion years ago, most solar models indicate it was only 70% as bright at it is now. (Sackmann, Boothroyd, Kraemer 1993 and subsequent).

    Since, This Real Climate blog “comments section” won’t let me post an HTML table, I’ll put the numbers here:

    Luminosity % ———–”Solar constants at top of atmosphere—–
    ——————————————————————–
    L sol % of now —— Venus W/m^2 —– Earth W/m^2 —- Mars W/m^2

    L 60% Sun 4.567Gya — 1568.3 ————820.6 ————-353.5

    L 70% Sun 4.567Gya——1833.7 ————959.4————–412.4

    L 100% Sun Present——2613.9————-1367.6————-589.2

    L 110% 1.1Gy future—–2875.3————-1504.4————-648.1

    L 134% 3.2Gy future—–3476.5————-1818.9————-783.6
    ———————————————————————

    OK. After the Sun main-sequenced (settled down) the models provide various scenarios of burn, but generally use a slow linear fusion growth rate for the Sun around 10 billion years long. Then it grows red giant, possibly pulses and lots of 1 solar mass end-life-kinds- of-things even the AGB era and helium shell burning flashes and lots of planetary nebula forming mass ejections. Earth(as a molten blob) may escape engulfment, pending the solar wind mass ejection timing and rate. The table above carries NONE of the Solar endgame, but does show earth-life endgame beginning 1.1 billion years ahead. Venus undenied ensues for sure around 3.4 Gya from now. Earth’s runaway greenhouse, ends.

    My point was that even when the Sun ignited at 70% present luminosity, the planet Venus had to begin with more than the Earth receives from the warmer Sun 3.4 billion years from now. Further, even when the Sun warms to its 3.4 billion years from now state, Earth will be at the terminus of any oceans, nearly all the available C in rocks (even) will be in the CO2 atmosphere of Earth which will have a ~101 atmosphere pressure, at the surface and the N2 will still be here at about 4% or so component part instead of 78% proportional part.

    The 1500 W/m2 is my slack-jawed reference to the Solar Constant at Venus even if the Sun was only 60% as bright as present. My contention is that VENUS never had OCEANS, EVER.
    I know those are bad words, but they would have been in lower gravity, etc. And Life never had a chance on the surface.

    Thanks “Bart” for digging that out, and I will not post when I can’t be clear.(I hope) (Next time, (after this one) I might have my wife read it. . . to be sure.)

    Oh… the promises we make ourselves. . .

  101. David:

    Those 7 articles predicting cooling apparently inspired at least 2 films that I remember being shown in Junior High School.

  102. Jim Eager:

    Re Richard Ricardo @ 94: “I have a question, why is the warming of the earth so bad? It is hot in the tropics year round and life there seems to thrive. I read some place that the ice caps are melting, and that places like Florida adn some other coastal areas would be flooded,would not people just move further inland or adapt like the Dutch building dykes?”

    Richard, the potential threat of global warming is two fold. One is what else will change as Earth’s atmosphere warms and by how much, two is the rate of that change.

    Under what else will change besides temperature, we have to consider, among many, many other things:
    - How will weather change as the atmosphere warms?
    - How will a warmer Arctic and Antarctic affect weather patterns across the rest of the planet?
    - Will severe storms become more or less intense or more or less frequent?
    - How will precipitation patterns change? Will precipitation during growing seasons remain dependable or will it come at the wrong time or all at once? A warmer, longer growing season will be of no use if there is less or no precipitation when it is needed.
    - What crops will it be possible to grow as climate zones shift, and where will climate zones suitable for our current crops shift to?
    - How much will it warm in areas that currently grow rice, for instance? Rice, the main food crop in some parts of the world, has an upper temperature limit above which it can not be grown.
    - Increasing CO2 does more than raise temperature, it can also make the oceans acidic, which would have a huge impact on the marine food chain, on which a large number of human depend.
    - We know the Greenland ice cap is becoming more unstable and that it has the potential to raise sea level by up to 7 meters. How much of it will actually melt and how fast, and how much will sea level rise and how fast? How much time will we have to move not just people, but infrastructure?

    How fast any of these changes take place compounds each of them and bears on your question about our ability to adapt to the changes.
    For example, think about the number of coastal cities, ports, power plants, refineries, grain terminals, etc world-wide that could be vulnerable to rising sea levels. Keep in mind, that they would not need to be completely inundated, just made significantly more vulnerable to storm surges. How rapidly could dykes be built or these facilities be moved inland, and how much would it cost?
    Now think of low-lying nations like the Netherlands or Bangladesh. Where, exactly, would their displaced populations move to? Think back to the last great migration that took place on the Indian subcontinent when India and Pakistan were partitioned.
    Now think of the wheat belt that stretches across the great plains of the US and Canada. What would happen should the climate zone suitable for growing wheat on an industrial scale shift northwards to lie in the area that is currently largely boreal forest and exposed shield bedrock by 2050, as some projections suggest? Cutting down the boreal forest is one thing, conditioning is acidic soils so that it can grow wheat is quite another, and in the shield soils are thin, lie in scattered pockets, or non-existent.

    You see, a changing climate means fundamental changes in just about every facet of human activity, and those changes will be world-wide and simultaneous. Moreover, if they happen rapidly, it could outstrip and overwhelm our ability to adapt. That’s why a warming Earth could be so bad.

  103. David B. Benson:

    Richard Ricardo (94) — At the top of the page there is a Start Here link. Start there. Then read The Discovery of GLobal Warming at

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    also linked on the sidebar, first under Science Links.

  104. Jim Eager:

    Re Fred @ 95: “Whether one believes in man-made global warming, man-made global cooling, or natural climatic cycles, the real worry that many people have is that some political body will dictate their perceived solution via punitive laws rather than allowing the free market to sort things out.”

    Exactly, for many people climate change is an ideological, political and/or economic issue having nothing what so ever to do with science or with what is actually happening in physical reality.

    Unfortunately for them physics has nothing what so ever to do with ideology, politics or economics. Perhaps that’s why they have such a hard time understanding the science of climate change and its ramifications, including the potential threat that some future political body will have no choice but to dictate solutions if nothing is done to address the problem until it’s presence is felt by even those who refuse to see what is in plain sight.

    As for Fred’s assertions that temperatures have been steady since 1998, and that there has been a “sharp decline in the average global temperature to pre-global warming era levels in the past year alone”, these have been rebutted here at RC repeatedly.

  105. Frank H:

    A friend forwarded me the “Washington Times” commentary ( http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20071219/COMMENTARY/10575140 ) that claims that since the past year has been cooler, there can’t be global warming. How can I best refute this garbage? HELP!

  106. Marcus:

    Lynn: I think that there is a distinction between standard feedback processes and non-linear events.

    Most climate scientists talk about standard feedbacks: this is the snow/ice albedo effect, the permafrost methane, etc. In most cases, the assumption is that every degree of direct CO2 induced warming has attached to it another 2 or 3 degrees of feedback. This is _not_ in any way “runaway” warming.

    You tend to talk about the extreme non-linear events, where by passing some (unknown) threshold, a major state change occurs. Eg, if at 3.7 degrees C warming suddenly a vast amount of methane hydrate destabilized, adding another 5 degrees C warming – _that_ could be labeled as “runaway”. But I don’t think the climate community thinks that these events are at all likely. Possible, they might agree with, but likely, no.

    “Hysteresis” is merely a term for a process that, when reversed, behaves differently. For example, the Greenland ice cap exhibits hysteresis under temperature changes: you need to warm the ice cap up a lot to get it to melt (say, 2.5 degrees C for a long time), because it is reflective and high altitude. But once it melts, you have to cool it down far below the point at which it melted to get it to refreeze, because now you have to form permanent snow and ice at a few meters above sea level, rather than a mile above sea level. But hysteresis is not only for huge events: if there is a one way road on the way to work, your commute would have hysteresis: you take the one way road to get there, but on the way back, you have to take a longer route.

    Just trying to help you understand terms, and why “runaway warming” in particular is not the right term to use for what we expect from the climate.

  107. Phil Scadden:

    #94 warming isnt bad. Its rate of change that bad. The concern here is not much whether climate is changing warm or cold but that its changing too fast to allow adaption.

  108. Phil Scadden:

    #95
    “(And also, explain the lack of correlation between RISING carbon emissions and STEADY global temperatures since 1998, as well as the sharp decline in the average global temperature to pre- “global warming era” levels in the past year alone – which just happens to correlate better with the extended solar minimum!)”

    Huh? Do you just get your information from people distorting the data.
    Try joining temp from 1997 to 2007. Still steady? Look around this blog and you will see more meaningful ways to analyse the data. And what makes you think that climate is only one factor? Sure the sun has a effort, so do aerosols etc. Every natural pattern is still operating but on top of this is rising CO2. Compare temps with last global minimum. Better still, read the IPCC “Scientific basis” for the gory detail.

  109. Ray Ladbury:

    Richard Ricardo, Do not confuse fetid with fertile. The jungles look green, but tropical plants actually produce little in the way of colories per hectare. Almost all of our most important crops require a period of cold to germinate and grow properly. Cold also kills off weeds, pests and disease. Moreover, “warmer” is not all there is to it. More energy in the system makes it less predictable. All the infrastructure of human civilization was developed during the past 10000 years or so of remarkable climatic stability. Now imagine trying to support 9-12 billion people as our agriculture begins to fail, our transport is washed out, our water sources dry up…

  110. Tom Fiddaman:

    Re 86

    I am now hearing, the ice has returned and a large part of the NH 2008 winter has broken records for coldness and snowfall. Apparantly AGW has stopped !

    Well, Bob Carter and the National Post say it’s so, so it must be so!

    Many of the records cited recently are just normal variation, or in some cases sloppy writing. The multiyear ice is not back.

    A look at the data should make it clear that news of the death of warming has been exaggerated:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/
    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/
    http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/chart_anom.php?ui_set=0&ui_region=nhland&ui_month=1
    http://www.remss.com/msu/msu_data_description.html#figures (last)
    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/info/warming/

    Tom

  111. robert:

    Re: (94): Hello Richard, welcome to Realclimate…

    Go to the top of the webpage and click the link “Start Here”. Many of the questions you have have been addressed in detail on this extensive website, and the “Start Here” link will help you to organize your thoughts and questions and find the related discussions that have already occured…

  112. Joel Shore:

    Re #95 (“Fred”): First of all, the worry “that some political body will dictate their perceived solution via punitive laws rather than allowing the free market to sort things out” is a rather confusing statement from the point of view of the economics of markets. It makes no sense to talk about the market sorting something out when externalities are involved…i.e., the costs of the CO2 emissions are not being borne by the parties involved in any given transaction but are instead borne by all the rest of us. In fact, a proper understanding of markets, rather than a blind faith in markets, tells us that this is exactly why one needs a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system!

    Your statement about “the lack of correlation between RISING carbon emissions and STEADY global temperatures since 1998″ is a strawman. The science of climate change does not say that the increase in temperature will be steady. There will be fluctuations as there always are in weather and in climate. In fact, climate models that are run with a steadily-increasing CO2 forcing show these same sorts of fluctuations. What the theory does say is that the trend over a large enough period of time that you get good “signal-to-noise” should be upward, as it has been for the last ~35 years.

    Next, your statement about the temperature declining to pre-global warming levels over the last year is wrong. It is true that January 2008 was the coldest month (anomaly-wise) in a fair while. However, I believe that all the temperature data sets still showed a net positive anomaly relative to their 1951-1980 base period, which means that the global temperature was still higher than the average during that 1951 to 1980 period (which itself was already warmer than the average temperature earlier in the 20th century). And, again, that was a fluctuation. It is likely that 2008 as a whole will have an even higher positive anomaly from the 1951 to 1980 base period than January alone did.

    Finally, your claim of the temperature being well-correlated with the solar cycle minimum is untrue. If you look at a plot of the two, they don’t look particularly well-correlated at all. It is much better correlated with a shift from weak El Nino conditions to pretty strong La Nina conditions, a shift that is understood to produce temporarily-cooler global temperatures, just as it did between 1998 and the following two years.

  113. Tom Fiddaman:

    Re 95
    the hysteria to “do something now” ignores the immense ability for humans to adapt to wildly changing environmental conditions, and may cause the human race to take actions with unintended consequences which are more damaging to humankind than the climate change itself.
    Funny how we’re so capable of adapting to climate, but we can’t handle a little carbon tax.

    explain the lack of correlation between RISING carbon emissions and STEADY global temperatures since 1998
    It’s called natural variability. In addition, there’s no general expectation of an emissions-temperature correlation, because of the intervening accumulations of atmospheric carbon and heat. Falling emissions would be perfectly consistent with rising temperatures, as long as emissions exceed uptake and the equilibrium temperature given forcing exceeds the actual temperature (as at present). The reverse is also true.

    as well as the sharp decline in the average global temperature to pre- “global warming era” levels in the past year alone – which just happens to correlate better with the extended solar minimum!
    Your sunspot-temperature rapid response theory would predict a regular 11 year cycle in temperature, and a hot year in 1957. Neither fits the data.

    Tom

  114. Ken Rohleder:

    Philip Machanick Says:
    10 March 2008 at 4:04 AM

    Ken Rohleder (#71): you quote the article as saying ““By the early 1970’s…the notion of a global cooling trend was widely accepted.” but left out the next 3 words, “albeit poorly understood”

    Which is precisely my point Philip — the notion was accepted but not understood. In ten years, the literature will likely disavow the current hysteria by saying, “By the early 2000′s…the notion of a global warming trend was widely accepted albeit poorly understand.”

    “Widely accepted and poorly understood” sums up the current state of climate science.

  115. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Richard writes:

    [[I have a question, why is the warming of the earth so bad?]]

    Because our agriculture and economy are adapted to the present temperature regime.

    [[ It is hot in the tropics year round and life there seems to thrive. I read some place that the ice caps are melting, and that places like Florida adn some other coastal areas would be flooded,would not people just move further inland or adapt like the Dutch building dykes?]]

    Sure — at a cost of trillions of dollars. Losing Miami, New York, San Francisco and New Orleans won’t be something we can compensate for cheaply.

  116. Barton Paul Levenson:

    fred posts, disingenuously:

    [[explain the lack of correlation between RISING carbon emissions and STEADY global temperatures since 1998]]

    You know damn well temperatures have not been STEADY since 1998, and you know it damn well because you’ve been on Tamino’s blog, “Open Mind,” where this has been discussed over and over for some time. You’ve had your arguments demolished there, and apparently your response is to come over here and repeat them again. Dishonest.

  117. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Frank posts:

    [[ claims that since the past year has been cooler, there can’t be global warming. How can I best refute this garbage? HELP!]]

    Point out that climate is defined as regional or global average weather over a period of 30 years or more, and that a sample size of one year tells you nothing. There have been lots of little jogs downward in the curve of rising temperature, but the trend is still up.

  118. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Ken Rohleder posts:

    [[“Widely accepted and poorly understood” sums up the current state of climate science.]]

    Speak for yourself.

  119. Jim Eager:

    Re Ken Rohleder @ 114: “In ten years, the literature will likely disavow the current hysteria by saying, “By the early 2000’s…the notion of a global warming trend was widely accepted albeit poorly understand.”

    How scientific. Sounds more likely that you’re whistling past the graveyard to me, not a wise basis for making decisions that will have a global impact. We might as well be reading tarot cards.

  120. pete best:

    Re #110, I know Tom but its good to see some data that clears it up.

    Re #112, Fred is obviously just another person who trolls looking for an argument.

  121. Ray Ladbury:

    Ken Rohleder, Wow, what an amazing use of double-speak. The entire point of this post is that the cooling risk was not widely accepted. Indeed, the only reason it was mooted is that some researchers had underestimated the magnitude of CO2 forcing. And you cannot speak of all of climate science as poorly understood. We understand greenhouse forcing quite well. Indeed, even our understanding of aerosols is markedly improved, or the climate models would not have nailed the effect of Mt. Pinatubo as they did. So, Ken, might I suggest to you that not everyone shares your ignorance.

  122. Ray Ladbury:

    Fred says in #95: “Whether one believes in man-made global warming, man-made global cooling, or natural climatic cycles, the real worry that many people have is that some political body will dictate their perceived solution via punitive laws rather than allowing the free market to sort things out.”

    Well, Fred, do you think we are more likely to get rational policy when we address this threat in the cold light of reason, using science as a guide, or do you think we ought to wait until we have an increase in national disasters so people can demand redress in a state of panic?
    You claim that humans have thrived under all manner of climates–and yet or civilization has thrived only under the current conditions of remarkable climatic stability. Indeed, no one really seriously thinks we can stop change from occurring. Rather, we are looking to buy time so that our economies and technology can adapt to the change with minimum disruption.

    Something I have noticed–see if it rings true to you. Homo Economicus understands enough about economics to realize that our models are not sufficiently well advanced to attempt social engineering. Homo Scientificus knows enough about climate models to see with virtual certainty that increasing CO2 is bringing about a condition of instability, but understands that there is insufficient knowledge to attempt geoengineering via any other variable than reducing ghg emissions. The analogy would be that we have realized that we are in a minefield and the minimum risk path out of it is via the way we came into it. However, Homo Economicus sees this as a tremendous disruption of our current economy, which depends on cheap fossil fuels to facilitate global trade (how else to explain why tropical fruits cost half what locally grown apples and pears do?). It seems to me equally fruitless to gainsay the laws of physics or the laws of economics, so perhaps the answer is to use the insights of both to plot a course leading to minimum disruption both short and long term.

  123. Hank Roberts:

    Hold on, folks, don’t assume one “Fred” is the same “Fred” as another “Fred” even when the poster is copypasting nearly identical stuff across multiple forums. The only ones able to tell are the hosts who have access to the logs, and then only if the IPs aren’t spoofed.

    You have to remember this is an election year, that disrupting conversations is both a longterm sport online _and_ a political tactic.

    We readers do not have file headers and weblogs are far easier to disrupt than the old Usenet newsgroups. Weblogs need more restraint from the readers because they’re so *ing easy to * up.

    When we see yet another iteration of the same old stuff attributed to some “Fred” repeatedly posted again and again, about all we can say is that someone is “Fredding” — might as well recognize it as generic trolling, whether it’s one sincere believer witnessing or an organized group doing the copypaste thing.

    http://www.faqs.org/faqs/net-abuse-faq/troll-faq/
    —–
    K) “Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker’s
    game because they almost always turn out to be — or to be
    indistinguishable from — self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time.”
    -Neal Stephenson, _Cryptonomicon_

  124. agent phyzx:

    Im not a scientist ,but Im very sceptical about AGW .My reasoning is
    that you have no evidence of the gasses involved causing what you
    suggest is going to happen ,actually doing it.Kraka Toa the largest
    volcanic eruption of our recent past belched out billions of tonnes of these gasses and cooling followed.Ok dust flew around for some years aiding cooling but when it settled the gasses were still there
    and no runaway greenhouse efect happened.Also the north American
    super volcano must have released much more pollution than man could ever do,no runaway effect there either.So I think a runaway effect is only a hypothosis ,not backed up by historical evidence.The cooling effect suggested in the seventies at least has a history of happening unlike the senario suggested by AGW. We have been told that things will just get hotter,how does this fit in with the latest NASA,GSS data that shows the sharpest global cooling ever recorded last year ,wipeing out a hundred years of global warming in one year ? http://www.dailytech.com/Temperature+Monitors+Report+Widescale+Global+Cooling/article10866.htm
    No one has the perfect model ,it just seems that who shouts loudest
    is the winner.Predicting the future is not science ,its fortune telling crystal ball territory.
    phyzx

  125. Trevor Williams:

    I’m not sure “Whack-a-mole” is the best analogy for dealing with climate change sceptics and dodgy reasoning. “Chew toy” would be better.

  126. Ellis:

    Any chance of letting us know what other search words you used beside global temperature, global warming and global cooling. Also, thats pretty fancy footwork disqualifing anything not centered on decades to centuries. Sure does bring down the total of reviewed papers predicting cooling, but completely skews the results. Ice cores in Greenland began in the 50′s, however, it wasn’t until the late 60′s-early 70′s that a useful model was created by Willi Dansgaard, and Hans Oeschger to be able to understand what the ice was telling us. This of course led to the ability to test Milankovitch’s theory with actual data, which led to our present understanding of ice ages. And, yes if you were the first to see the ice core results, you to would have said that the Earth is due for glaciation.

    I have another problem with this kind of research as it is very subjective, for instance, I note Hoffert 1974 introduction,

    It is presently accepted that the burning of carbonaceous fossil fuels since the 19th century
    industrial revolution has resulted in measurable increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide
    on a global scale (SCEP, 1970; SMIC, 1971). Moreover, given the present state of energy
    technology and energy policy in the industrially developed nations this trend is likely to
    continue for some time, at least, and a growing concern has developed as to its potential
    consequences for the environment.
    This current interest in anthropogenically-generated CO2 centers on its relationship to
    the climate. As a strong absorber in the infra-red, the carbon dioxide molecule plays a
    major role in determining the amount of long-wave radiation from earth reflected back
    into space and the amount which is retained as heat in the lower atmosphere (the greenhouse
    effect). The idea that CO2 levels regulate atmospheric temperatures is not new, having
    been proposed independently by Chamberlin (1899) and Arrhenius (1903) over 70 y
    ago. But since then the status of the “climate modification” problem has become much
    more involved. It is now recognized that the radiative-convective energy balance over (say)
    a latitude zone is determined by a number of optically active constituents of the atmosphere
    including water vapor, clouds and aerosols as well as the reflectivity of the underlying
    surface; and that feedback mechanisms couple temperature and circulation changes
    induced by variations in these constituents back to the levels and distributions of the constituents
    themselves (SMIC, 1971).

    reads as contemporary as any paper today, but is not included. And yet, you include Wang et al 1976 which states,

    Thus we can anticipate that CO2 will play a major role in future trends of the earth’s radiation budget; perhaps it will have a dominant role, but it is certainly not possible to be categorical about that at this time.

    bold mine.

    This paper actually has almost nothing to do with CO2 and is basically a reply to the WMO that they should accurately monitor the global trends of minor constituents of the atmosphere. In fact, at the time, as reported by Wang, the WMO believed the N2O, CH4 and NH3 were present in such small concentration that their direct radiative effects are negligible and that those trace gasses could only have an indirect effect on the energy budget of the planet.

    By the way, Hoffert 1974 cites Rasool et al 1971,

    Let us see how this might work in the case of a carbon dioxide increase. It has been
    estimated that (neglecting a possible compensatory cooling trend by anthropogenic aerosol
    scattering) a doubling of atmospheric CO, levels would result in a climatologically significant
    increase of a few degrees centigrade in the mean temperature of the troposphere
    (Manabe and Wetherald, 1967: Rasool and Schneider, 1971).

    So was R&S 1971 talking about cooling or warming?

    In closing, do you really think by appealling to reason that you are going to change the opinion of any nitwit who believes that because they were wrong then they must be wrong now? If so, all the power to you, like they say, you can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. If not, than I will have to agree with my agnostic friend that this kind of propaganda is truly a turn-off.

    ps-the time to spring forward has past ;-)

  127. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    RE #106 & “the assumption is that every degree of direct CO2 induced warming has attached to it another 2 or 3 degrees of feedback. This is _not_ in any way “runaway” warming”

    As I did point out re technical climate science terminology.

    However, I still say “runaway” is a useful concept for laypersons, since they can understand the notion of a runaway train or horse — one that runs away from human control, but eventually stops on its own accord (runs out of energy). So from an anthropocentric POV, the idea of global warming which is caused by humans, and that which takes on a life of its own, beyond human control, and zaps us up much higher than where we would have been without the initial warming by humans — that is a distinction (the human part v. the “beyond human control” part) important for laypersons (at least for me), whereas it is totally unimportant for science….which doesn’t care where the GHGs or extra warming mechanisms (albedo loss) come from.

    So let’s say that general runaway warming is what is happening on Venus, and what might possibly happen here (and has happened several times in the past) is a limited runaway warming. Though I’d much prefer to consider Venus the special case of runaway, because “limited” sounds very tame and doable when in fact it could mean a great die out of a huge portion of life on earth.

    If we layperson truly understood the stakes (tho granted this hyperwarming scenario is not very likely), I think there would be more effort to reduce our GHGs…at least to reduce in ways that save us money. And I don’t see much of that happening. The U.S. has gone up 20% since 1990, when it could have gone down by at least 25% (perhaps a lot more, according to http://www.natcap.org) without lowering productivity or living standards.

  128. Chris Colose:

    AdeV, William

    I’ve had some time to go through this paper, and frankly was not impressed. The first half of it seemed to be going through well known relationships, but did not discuss the TOA energy imbalance associated with making the atmosphere more opaque to infrared, but over emphasized the surface energy budget. Not too sure about their comments on “optical depth” (e.g. pg 22), but they seem to jump on to the conclusion of low climate sensitivity rather quickly, and they compute the atmosphere like a single column. Any climate sensitivity less than the planck response, without very good justification for negative feedback should probably be viewed with a good amount of skepticism. Maybe if one of the experts wants to throw in more comments, but I was not convinced.

    Of also note, is some assumptions that were made in this paper that need more justification, such as that water vapor decreases when you add CO2. I fully doubt someone like Isaac Held or Brian Soden would read the one paragraph on that and say “oh yea, we all screwed up!!!”

    The more important criticism is obviously that a runaway effect does not contradict physics, since a runaway effect occurred on Venus. Falsification by example even prior to this being published is not a good start. Unless of course Venus is not bound by physics. Even with much less sunlight on its surface (high albedo), Venus manages to be the hottest planet in the solar system with oceans long evaporated. The ice ages are not the only other thing to explain; try the faint young sun times, the Cretaceous hothouse, the PETM. Try running a GCM today with no CO2 and not getting an ice age.

  129. Pat Cassen:

    Re #4, #80, #87, and William’s responses:
    I suspect that RC will have to deal with the Miskolczi paper sooner or later (link to paper pdf in #4, #80) . It presents an analytic solution (readily checked, although I have not done so yet) for the plane, bounded Milne problem in which there is no discontinuity in the long wavelength source function at the surface. Miskolczi then invokes this solution and a minimum energy (most efficient cooling) argument to draw his conclusions about climate sensitivity. This argument may be flawed (I don’t know), but the paper is generally well-written (despite some seemingly bizarre statements), with explicit derivations and comparisons with data. In any event, it should not be judged on the basis of what Daily Tech, etc. say about it. I see no evidence from the paper itself that its author is either a dilettante or a crackpot.

    If Miskolczi’s conclusions are incorrect (they are provocative, to say the least), it would be nice to know exactly where he goes astray.

  130. Jim Eager:

    Re phyzx @ 124: “My reasoning is that you have no evidence of the gasses involved causing what you suggest is going to happen, actually doing it”

    Does “it” mean greenhouse gasses make Earth’s surface and atmosphere warmer than it otherwise would be it if they were not present, and that adding more of them will make it warmer still?

    If so, then your reasoning is decidedly faulty, because the above can be and has been measured in the lab and in nature.

    phyzx: “Kraka Toa the largest volcanic eruption of our recent past belched out billions of tonnes of these gasses and cooling followed.”

    This is one of the most sophomoric arguments a climate change “skeptic” can put forward, and I have to say I haven’t seen it in some time now.

    I suggest that you check some actual references on the composition of volcanic gas emissions. If you do, you will learn that by far water vapor is the most abundant gas emitted by explosive volcanoes (it is in fact what makes them explosive), followed by carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide (SO2), and a host of lesser gasses. Of those three big ones, water vapor and CO2 are both greenhouse gasses, while SO2 is not. Because the amount of water vapor the atmosphere can hold is limited by temperature, volcanically emitted water vapor does not stay in the atmosphere for very long–mere days–before condensing and precipitating as rain or snow, so water vapor emitted by volcanoes simply does not add to the greenhouse effect. That leaves the CO2, but each year, on average, volcanic activity world-wide emits less that one percent as much CO2 into the atmosphere as humans burning fossil fuels does today. Even a massive eruption like Krakatau emitted less than a percent as much CO2 as humans do per year today. Meanwhile, the SO2 reacts in the presence of water vapor and sunlight to form sulfuric acid droplets, which reflect incoming sunlight. This, combined with the dust and ash of an explosive volcanic eruption, which blocks incoming sunlight, is what leads to the cooling for a few years after a large eruption. The bigger the eruption, the greater the cooling.

    Now, since you mentioned super volcanoes, if you really want an example of truly massive volcanic activity that produced enough greenhouse gas to warm the atmosphere, look up the end-Permian extinction of 251 million years ago, when the volcanic eruptions that laid down the vast Siberian Traps flood basalt lead to the largest mass-extinction in Earth’s prehistory. Or, look up the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum of 55-56 million years ago, when massive subsea volcanic activity and/or the massive release of methane hydrates led to another mass extinction. Either one of them kind of disproves your contention.

    Oh, and that “runaway” greenhouse effect you mention? It can’t happen. The increase is not linear, it’s logarithmic. To get the same amount of warming from doubling CO2 you have to double it again.
    And that nonsense about this winter’s cooling wiping out a hundred years of global warming in one year? It also can’t happen.

  131. Philip Machanick:

    Ken Rohleder (#114): Are contending that science never advances? If something was poorly understood 30 years ago, we cannot possibly understand it better today?

    If you would like another example, how about gravitation? The theory was widely understood among educated people until Einstein’s time. Then Einstein messed everything up by introducing a theory that was too complex for the nonspecial-ist to understand. In this sense, gravitation to the ordinary person is now “poorly understood” whereas to the physicist, although big questions were opened by Einstein, things are better understood in the sense of being able to make more accurate predictions than before.

    Climate science has advanced in a similar kind of way (better understanding by special-ists, harder for non-special-ist to grasp). To have a deep understanding, you need not only underlying sciences like physics and chemistry, but also a clear understanding of statistical methods for large, noisy data sets. Much of this is beyond the non-scientist, though not completely beyond the non-special-ist scientist. The statistical methods should not be beyond a good economist (what kind of economist would predict that the market would never grow, every time there was a downturn: you can bet these people have actually heard of moving averages, even if some of them turn ignorant at the sight of a squiggly temperature anomaly graph).

    What is happening today is that the clarity of the science is being obfuscated by people who do not or will not understand the scientific basis, and carp from the sidelines (including some like Bob Carter who should know better: “global warming stopped in 1998″ http://www.logicalscience.com/skeptics/bobcarter.html). I have no problem with anyone who genuinely questions the science. But I don’t see that happening much). I have no problem with anyone who genuinely questions the science. But I don’t see that happening much.

    Ken Rohleder (#114): Are contending that science never advances? If something was poorly understood 30 years ago, we cannot possibly understand it better today?

    In case anyone is worrying about the suprious hyphens, the spam filters catch special-ist without the hypnen as a containing a drug name…

  132. Hank Roberts:

    Miskolczi is coauthor on quite a few papers in recent past years (Google Scholar for F.M. Miskolczi). I’d imagine this recent solo paper will be cited in more familiar journals if it makes sense to those with whom he’s worked in the past. Keep checking for citations to it and see who publishes mentioning it.

  133. Lawrence Coleman:

    Re: 104 Jim Eager..excellent reply you gave to Richard. In regard to displaced populations..virtually every country will be facing their own difficulties..trying to adapt to the runaway train..and yes..it is a runaway train! One scenario in the movie day after tomorrow was that the population of the US would move into Mexico..all assuming the climate in Mexico is unchanged, but Mexico has an acute water shortage, one of the most acute in the world..It is impossible for that country to take on any more people, so then where do you go? the amazon basin perhaps?..think again..people need space so will need to clear vast amounts of forest..less tress..more CO2 and the situation keeps compounding. Packing up and moving to Canada sounds nice..think again..if the North Atlantic Current is sufficiently slowed down by artic/greenland meltwater it could cause the rapid onset of another iceage..So moving demographies is in most cases NOT the solution. Trying to adapt where you live is the only practical solution as far as I can see. I’m an Australian, my wife is from the Philippines, I have thought of moving at some later stage to the Philippines, but her country is even more vunerable than Australia Regards CC. So best to stay put and somehow by hook or by crook adapt. What do you guys think?

  134. PHE:

    Why there was far less global cooling science has a very simple explanation. Its a question of the length of the trend. If the ‘cooling’ had continued for a few more years, then the IPCC would have been established to assess the causes. Alongide, there would have been a proliferation of studies on the subject. The conclusion would have been, ‘global cooling is caused by man-made aerosols, it will cause extremes of weather, and thousands will die as a result of floods, colder winters, storms, etc. Al Gore would still have his Oscar and Peace Prize. This website would exist, And the same people would be on opposite sides of the debate, but with the sides reversed.

  135. amao:

    re 112

    Joel Shore said:
    “However, I believe that all the temperature data sets still showed a net positive anomaly relative to their 1951-1980 base period, which means that the global temperature was still higher than the average during that 1951 to 1980 period (which itself was already warmer than the average temperature earlier in the 20th century). And, again, that was a fluctuation. It is likely that 2008 as a whole will have an even higher positive anomaly from the 1951 to 1980 base period than January alone did.”

    OK but what I find difficult to explain is why the northern latitude area (64N-90N) is precisely the part of the world where (i) you will find no significant temperature trend on the 1920′s-2007 period and (ii) where the 1978-2007 average is indeed the highest value of the data sets but is still very close to the levels reached on the 1920′s-1950′s period. I guess that, according to the theory, this northern area should warm faster than every where else on the planet.

  136. Ray Ladbury:

    Agent Phyzx–No, you are skeptical BECAUSE you are not a scientist. You blithely make assumptions about gasses and dust from Krakatau (note spelling), and you don’t even have the mechanisms right. Good lord, man, it’s not that hard to do a little work and learn enough about the science to at least appear credible.
    First, volcanos produce cooling because they send sulfates into the atmosphere. Second, they produce much, much less CO2 than do humans. Do us all a favor and read Spencer Weart’s history of climate change linked through the front page.

  137. Nick Gotts:

    Re #122 [Ray Ladbury] “Homo Economicus understands enough about economics to realize that our models are not sufficiently well advanced to attempt social engineering.”

    Ray, “Homo Economicus” does not mean “a typical economist”, as you seem to think. It means, according to Wikipedia “the concept in some economic theories of man (that is, a human) as a rational and self-interested actor who desires wealth, avoids unnecessary labor, and has the ability to make judgments towards those ends.” Also, as I’ve pointed out a number of times, “social engineering” is undertaken whenever a law is passed, or an organisation (a firm, a political party, a chess club…) is founded. Your use of the term as a scare-word has no scientific justification whatever.

  138. Jim Eager:

    “The conclusion would have been, ‘global cooling is caused by man-made aerosols, it will cause extremes of weather, and thousands will die as a result of floods, colder winters, storms, etc. ….”

    More alternate universe tarot card reading, this time by PHE.

  139. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    RE #122 & 137, if anyone wants scary, here’s something that’s scary, the film CRUDE AWAKENING: THE OIL CRASH – http://www.oilcrashmovie.com . And it doesn’t even mention global warming, even once.

    The scariest part was the graph that linked the huge population boom of recent history to the discovery and use of oil to greatly increase agricultural production, and how our big world population will be grossly decimated by us running out of oil (even taking into consideration all the alternatives).

    This film bopped me back to the 70s when I first learned about peak oil and entropy, and how extremely dependent on fossil fuels, especially oil, we are. It’s when I first started conserving — not so much bec of the pollution, not at all bec of GW (of which I knew nothing), but bec fossil fuels are finite resources and we’d eventually run out. That’s when I started conscientiously selecting homes closer to work, and reducing my driving.

    Every time we house-hunted over the ensuing decades upon moving to a new job area I’d ask the realtor if any solar homes (passive and/or active solar) were available. They always said “no,” and I wondered how strange that was that people weren’t building them. Later I learned passive solar had been known about and practiced over over 2500 years — but not after the new (and soon to be over) age of oil. See the book Golden Thread: Twenty-five Hundred Years of Solar Architecture and Technology.

    We are NOT at all Homo economicus (rational, self-interested beings), but I can’t write here what we are or they’ll moderate the comment out. But the initials are H.s., and the “s” doesn’t stand for sapiens (wise one).

  140. Ray Ladbury:

    Nick,
    I think you misunderstand my intent. I am trying to explain why those of an economic/business bent seem more likely to challenge the science (which they do not know) or propose geo-engineering solutions, while those of us who understand the science are more likely to suggest changes that affect our current economy (despite the fact that we are not trained in economics or business).
    In my experience, there is a tendency for people to think that whatever they don’t understand is simple.
    To those who understand the science, anthropogenic causation of climate change is a lead-pipe cinch. It is also clear that the current understanding of climate is not sufficient to map out all the unintended consequences of proposed geo-engineering schemes (other than reducing ghgs). I am proposing that much of the opposition of the business-minded folks is because their theoretical understanding of the economy is insufficient to map out unintended consequences of drastic reduction of fossil fuel consumption.
    I also stand by my differentiation of homo scientificus from homo economicus, as the former seeks work, eschews wealth and does whatever possible to maximize time spent at the lab.

  141. Brian Schmidt:

    Minor correction: the preprint shows 42 warming abstracts, not 44.

  142. Johann:

    Great Discussion! Here are a few articles which address points of interest:

    On Ocean Currents and how GW can contribute to GC:
    http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0130-11.htm

    NASA Astrobiologist Peter Ward on the nasty effects which (inevitably?) follow our current contributions to GW:
    http://www.lacitybeat.com/cms/story/detail/?id=5816&IssueNum=214

  143. Johann:

    RE:#130

    Can you please provide links to studies/papers/research for this information about content of volcanic eruptions? Thanks

  144. Ed Pardo:

    I am skeptical about AGW (not climate change) and have read a recent hypothesis about solar cycles which is entirely different from past theories involving luminesence. Richard Mackey wrote a paper expounding the hypothesis originated by the late Dr. Rhodes Fairbridge. In it he states “The IPCC dismissed any significant link between solar variability and climate on the grounds that changes in irradiance were too small.” … “Short wavelength radiation (UV and Xrays) ionises the upper atmosphere and heats the middle atmosphere. As a result, atmospheric temperature varies in a nonlinear manner with the amount and type of solar radiation. The sun ejects enormous quantities of matter continuously in the form of the solar wind, or periodically as either a mix of high energy protons and electrons (Coronal Mass Ejections, (CMEs)), or as mostly high energy protons (Solar Proton Events (SPEs)). The earth’s atmosphere is more sensitive, and more reactive, to the CMEs and SPEs than to the sun’s short wavelength radiation, to which it is, in any case, highly reactive. The effect of the solar wind, CMEs and SPEs is to reduce the amount of ozone and as a result, warm the middle atmosphere. The overall effect on climate is more turbulence: stronger winds, more storms and greater precipitation.”
    How does Realclimate regard his paper “Rhodes Fairbridge and the idea that the solar system regulates the Earth’s climate” Journal of Coastal Research SI 50 955 – 968 ICS2007 (Proceedings) Australia ISSN 0749.0208 (2007).

  145. Sue:

    Thanks for the really interesting review of the research.

    One poster made mention of films he saw in high school that dealt with a cooling earth. I’m reminded of science fiction stories from the very early 60′s that did the same.

    another point: I’m sure Tom Fiddaman (#113) had his tongue in his cheek when he said:
    “Funny how we’re so capable of adapting to climate, but we can’t handle a little carbon tax.”
    But as a sociologist/anthropologist the adaptability of the human species to vast different climatic regimes is quite different from the adaptability of a single socio-economic system (modern, fossil fuel addicted industrial capitalism). A point that has been suggested by several posters(e.g., Levenson in #115).
    Which is all the more reason why it would be in the best interests of the very people most inclined to bury their heads in their profit and loss reports, to start planning now for changing resource and climatic patterns.

    There are some folks out there who are capable of following both the climate science and the economic science (although having put considerable formal study into the economics part of it, I’m convinced that most economists don’t really grasp the real world economy).

  146. Jim Eager:

    Johann, here are a few quick links that I just grabbed that have current or recent data on volcanic vs fossil fuel sources of CO2:
    USGS: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch/2007/07_02_15.html
    USGS: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/Hazards/What/VolGas/volgas.html
    USDOE CDIAC: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/by_new/bysubjec.html#carbon
    British Geological Survey: http://www.bgs.ac.uk/programmes/landres/segs/downloads/VolcanicContributions.pdf

  147. Ric Merritt:

    PHE (#134) really made me laugh–the only reason we didn’t have a mirror image world with the IPCC gravely explaining cooling and Al Gore sharing his Nobel with them was because the cooling didn’t go on long enough! You have to admit it’s slightly more original than the usual drivel. Only problem is, since PHE was not able to observe this fantasy world, to be convinced of its hypothetical validity we must necessarily depend on an extremely accurate model that encompasses not only physics and climate but also politics, social psychology, etc etc. Maybe PHE should write some sequels to Asimov’s Foundation trilogy. Alas, the evidentiary basis of PHE’s required but unexplained model is a tad flimsier than that underlying climate science in the real world.

  148. Lawrence Coleman:

    Re: 144 Ed Pardo, Solar flares producing spurts of CME’s and SPE’s by memory occur roughly..very roughy every 7-10 years. And the warming of the middle atmosphere probably does cause some climatic effects but AGW is based on very long term trends going back to the turn of the century and earlier..if you take ice-cores you can go back 1mil years. And the correlation between the gradual but increasing rate of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and the global air and sea temp rise over the same time frame is unequivical..absolutely unequivical. What do you think happens when you increase a major atmospheric gas CO2 by 30%..somethings gotta give..pure logic! What you are talking of is sporadic events which have occurred since time immemorial..what the IPCC is talking of is long term and in direct proportion to the levels of global emissions since the mid 1800′s

  149. Phil Scadden:

    #134 An interesting question is how does a viewpoint like this even arise? PHE would appear to have a worldview in which reality for scientists is constructed purely for funding/economic reasons. How much of the population thinks this way? This is post-modernist thinking which I think is seriously undermining political process. If people think that reality is only a social construct then political processes that are needed to deal a problem are hamstrung by an inability to accurately perceive truth. The 20th century has seen science understand that you cannot have certainty but at the same time post-modernism has hijacked this understanding to push the idea that science is merely one way among many other equally valid ways of perceiving truth. This is serious trouble.

  150. FurryCatherder:

    Re #99:

    And it’s for this reason that I maintain the solution to AGW is the current price of oil at $109 / bbl the last time I looked. I forget what it was when I first posted here, but it hadn’t made it to $100 yet.

    One thing is for sure in my mind — if we’re in a recession here in the States, when we come out of it, oil consumption will have been addressed. Oil shows up in too many places for us to NOT address oil consumption.

  151. pete best:

    Re #150, that probably explains why western oil companies have now turned to unconventional oil sources such as Canada’s Athabasca Tar sands. A gian deposit of carbon producing menace in the form of soil that requires enourmous quantities of water, natural gas and leaves behind pollution you would not believe. 1 Mb/d today climbing to 5 mb/d come 2015. This is a disgusting practise carbon emissions wise but these are not the only heavy oil sources either but the only ones of significant volume in friendly countries. If we are producing these oils then the peak is in sight and $200 a barrel is coming.

  152. Nick Gotts:

    Re #140 [Ray Ladbury]

    “Nick,
    I think you misunderstand my intent.”

    Yes, perhaps I did. If so, I apologise.

    “I am trying to explain why those of an economic/business bent seem more likely to challenge the science (which they do not know) or propose geo-engineering solutions, while those of us who understand the science are more likely to suggest changes that affect our current economy (despite the fact that we are not trained in economics or business).
    In my experience, there is a tendency for people to think that whatever they don’t understand is simple.”

    I agree, and I think to some extent it is something you do as well. Specifically, you appear to think that economics is much more like physics than it really is. For example, you refer to the “laws of economics”. If there are such laws, they are very different from the laws of physics (at least those of fundamental physics), having a much narrower domain of application and even within that domain, much wider possibilities for exceptions to arise. Even such a simple economic “law” as “If the demand for commodity x rises, so will the price” is only true in certain circumstances. Also, economics, and social sciences generally, still encompass multiple competing research programmes. You appear to accept uncritically the programme of neoclassical economics, which is in large part ideologically driven. In general, the social sciences are much more prone than the physical sciences to ideological “contamination”, because they have a much more direct relevance to political and moral issues.

    “I am proposing that much of the opposition of the business-minded folks is because their theoretical understanding of the economy is insufficient to map out unintended consequences of drastic reduction of fossil fuel consumption.”

    Possibly some is, but a lot is either simple self-interest (because the profits of many types of business would be adversely affected); or ideological conviction that markets should not be interfered with.

    “I also stand by my differentiation of homo scientificus from homo economicus, as the former seeks work, eschews wealth and does whatever possible to maximize time spent at the lab.”

    Yes, I like this! My previous post was prompted by irritation at the misuse of semi-technical terms (Homo economicus and social engineering). However, the very existence of “Homo scientificus” is a problem for neoclassical economics, which relies on the assumption that we are all “Homo economicus”, or at least, that any deviations from this picture of human motivation and reasoning can be ignored. Neoclassical economics (at least so far as its microeconomic foundations are concerned) has long been largely detached from empirical investigation of how people actually behave, devoting itself instead to the mathematical ramifications of its assumptions in ever-wider areas. Experimental economics, behavioural game theory and now neuroeconomics and agent-based simulation challenge this detachment.

  153. Ray Ladbury:

    Nick, I am really not a devotee of neoclassical economics. It’s yet another of the -isms I don’t believe in. However, I do think that there is a tendency of some in this debate to think making the economic changes needed to combat climate change will be easy. As such, I think that the neoclassical approach has some value in terms of challenging such assumptions. I believe that mitigating climate change is too important to tie the issue up with questions of how we remake society, etc. Establishing consensus on that is simply not going to happen, and any attempt to turn mitigation of climate change into an opportunity for social engineering will doom both to failure.
    I do believe some social change will be necessary–for instance that climate mitigation cannot be decoupled from economic development of the third world, since poor people will burn anything to keep warm, cook their food, etc.
    I also emphasize that whatever strategies we come up with have to work for humanity at its lowest common denominator. Homo Scientificus is by defintion exceptional. I also think that while altruism exists in humans, it, too, is exceptional. So we really cannot rely on the good well or common sense of humankind, since the average human possess neither.

  154. Nick Gotts:

    Re #153: “Nick, I am really not a devotee of neoclassical economics…I also emphasize that whatever strategies we come up with have to work for humanity at its lowest common denominator. Homo Scientificus is by defintion exceptional. I also think that while altruism exists in humans, it, too, is exceptional. So we really cannot rely on the good well or common sense of humankind, since the average human possess neither.”

    So if not neoclassical economics, what are your grounds for your pessimism about most people? And no, “just look at the news”, as you’ve said before, won’t do it – that assumes the people making the news are a fair cross-section, and to justify that claim, you would need a model of how social institutions work. It’s as naive as saying “Look – you can see the Sun goes round the Earth!”.

    And please, I beg you, stop using “social engineering” as a scare-word. It really is as silly as the things gusbob has been saying over on “A galactic glitch”. I suspect that what you mean is what Karl Popper, in Vol. I of “The Open Society and Its Enemies” (I have the 5th edition), calls “Utopian social engineering”, of which Pol Pot’s “Year Zero” would be a good example, and which he contrasts with “piecemeal social engineering” – setting up or altering specific social institutions with a view to bringing about particular ends, while recognising that we can’t change everything at once, that there is no place outside society from which we can operate, and that all our actions are liable to have unintended consequences. A carbon tax or market in carbon permits would be social engineering. An international agreement to transfer low-carbon technology would be social engineering. Changing the law to make it easier to build nuclear power stations would be social engineering. Setting up NASA was social engineering.

    I do believe that there are fundamental problems with capitalism that make it very unlikely we can solve AGW, let alone that plus all the other serious environmental problems we face, without changing it so much that by the end of this century, it would be doubtful that it should be called by the same name. I could be wrong, indeed in some ways I hope I am, because the capitalist world-system is very well entrenched. Fortunately, I don’t need to know whether I’m right or wrong about the necessary extent of social change to have a good idea of some directions we need to move in – such as reducing the power of particular interest groups, like the fossil fuel lobby, to pollute at everyone else’s expense; and investing more resources in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

  155. Ray Ladbury:

    Nick, Perhaps my pessimism has something to do with watching the evisceration of American democracy, or with watching the woefully inadequate response to the AIDS epidemic, or the backlash against the environmental movement or not just the utter failure, but the exacerbation of the racial divide in the US by well meaning attempts to remediate it. All of this has happened during my adult life.
    There are also the lessons of history. Ever read about the history of the British East India Company? It is a wonderful story of human folly–from the initial traders who tried to sell British woolens to Indian peasants to the final division of India and Pakistan. The thing is that the failure of the British Empire was not due to a lack of good intentions, but rather to the inability to carry them out in the face of incompetence, corruption and favoritism.
    You can also look at the history of the Belgian Congo…though there it really was the heart of darkness that cast it into hell.
    There is also the fact that what we are up against can’t be decided by a minority–really not even a majority. Since 10% of the human population could easily screw up any solution we come up with to climate change, a 90% score is not passing–especially if the 10% dissenters are influential.

  156. Nick Gotts:

    Re #155 [Ray Ladbury]

    Ray,
    As with your earlier references to the news, your historical examples are merely anecdotal – they tell us little or nothing about how most people have behaved most of the time, let alone about what might be possible under different institutional arrangements. I have indeed read about the British East India Company, and your belief that the British Empire was founded or run with “good intentions” is laughable: it was founded and run by, and for the benefit of, a small ruling elite. I also doubt whether most black Americans would agree with you that the racial divide in the USA is now worse than it was around 1960, let alone 1860. Leaving aside these specifics, for every instance of wickedness or folly you raise – and there is certainly no shortage – I could come up with instances of human solidarity, compassion, courage and rationality. Until we have much better models of how innate human characteristics interact with the physical, social and informational environment, it is unjustifiable, intellectually, and I consider also morally, to dismiss the possibilities for very considerable improvements in how people treat each other, other sentient creatures, and the world. We do know from historical and social science research that human behaviour has considerable plasticity, alongside some features that are much less modifiable. To give an example that shows both aspects, in every society studied (so far as I know), most serious violence is carried out by adolescent and young adult males. However, the frequency of such violence varies by orders of magnitude between (for example) the Baka and the Yanomami. Similarly, in practically all societies (there are some claims of exceptions, in my view dubious), men have had some degree of social dominance over women – yet the differences in this respect between, say, contemporary Sweden and Saudi Arabia are considerable. All societies involve both cooperation and competition – but again, the balance between the two varies enormously. You have, in my view, utterly failed to show any scientific or rational grounds for your pessimism. Do you only accept the relevance of such grounds within physical science? If not, how about following your own advice to gusbob, and learning rather more before about the systematic study and research that has been done in history and social science before being so dogmatic? You will not, of course, find nearly so much consensus as in the natural sciences, but that does not mean it is justifiable to take your personal observations for general, immutable truths. In the course of one of our earlier discussions on this issue, I asked whether you had read any of the references I had provided. Your reply (I paraphrase, I hope accurately), was that you had read some, would like to read more but hadn’t time, and anyway, for every article saying people were cooperative there was another saying the opposite. Can you really not see the resemblance to gusbob’s attitude? I do apologise for the comparison, as I have considerable respect for your intellect and (in the physical sciences) knowledge and rigor; I make it in the hope of shocking you into a reassessment.

  157. Ray Ladbury:

    Nick, You say, “Until we have much better models of how innate human characteristics interact with the physical, social and informational environment, it is unjustifiable, intellectually, and I consider also morally, to dismiss the possibilities for very considerable improvements in how people treat each other, other sentient creatures, and the world.” Would it not also be fair to say that until we have better models of human nature, it is irresponsible to insist on using climate change as an occasion for remaking society–for social engineering on a grand scale?
    You claim that I have failed to justify my pessimism. Perhaps, but I would contend that you have equally failed to present any grounds for optimism. And certainly, history gives us plenty of evidence that if the human learning curve has a positive slope at all, it is pretty damned shallow. As Mark Twain said, “The past does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.”
    As to the East India Company, I apologize for being unclear. I include also the British Raj, and there, we had no shortage of good intentions–in Parliament and even among local functionaries. The point is that the British Raj was no more effective in giving good governance to India than was the Company, despite the government’s good intentions.
    And as to the experience of African Americans, I in no way denied progress. I merely said that there had been a considerable backlash (both wrt civil rights and to environmentalism) that has slowed progress to a crawl. And now we have more young, black men incarcerated than at any time in the past. No, there is progress and society changes dramatically. But damned if people don’t stay the same. You act as if the drive for human improvement were something new. Hell, Nick, with all due respect to your research, can you produce something as insightful as the Dhammapada or the Mahabharata, or even something as unquestionably true as the Golden Rule of Jesus (also Rabbi Hillel and many others). We have 5000 years of religion, Utopian dreams, Millenarianism, workers’ paradises, new German/Russian/Chinese…men–at least. I find it hard to believe that there is anyone out there who can claim not to know right from wrong. Yet we insist on feeling good if we choose wrong and eschew “wronger”. Even science has freed only a handful of humans from our own irrationality. More people believe in angels than in evolution.
    Don’t get me wrong. I believe in progress. I think it’s wonderful that we’ve given up human sacrifice (mostly) and that slavery is in the past (well, mostly) and women have rights (in some places) and that we don’t burn witches (though I’ve seen the aftermath of 2 being killed myself).
    In the end, Nick, you’ll have the same problem of everyone else who has believed in the perfectability of human nature: How do you shift the distribution so that the bottom 10% of humans (choose your criterion–intelligence, altruism, judgement…) don’t invalidate what the top 10% achieve? You’re in great company–Buddha, Jesus, Gandhi, Marx,…. It’s just a pity you don’t have better starting material.
    In the mean time, if we are to have any chance of developing better models of human nature, we’ll have to build enough consensus to survive climate change, and for that, we’ll have to work with humans as they are now in their current environment.

  158. Tommykey:

    I apologize if someone already addressed above, as I did not read all of the comments. When I was 8 years old during the winter of 77/78, we had the worst winter that I remember here on Long Island. The trees and wires were encased in ice. We were without power for several days and had to heat our food with sterno cans. I think in that context, the media seized on predictions by a few scientists about a new ice age being upon us. I even have recollections of my mom saying “They say we are going into a new Ice Age.” If people believed such predictions back then, it was probably because the awful winter we had then made the idea seem plausible.

  159. Nick Gotts:

    Re #157 [Ray Ladbury] Ray, I’d like to continue our discussion, but perhaps we should take it offline. Is it OK to reply to your NASA email address? I’ll just note here a couple of points where I think you misunderstand my position, quite possibly because I haven’t expressed it clearly.

    1) I haven’t attempted, in this exchange, to give grounds for optimism, although some of the references I’ve given in earlier ones show, for example, how altruism can be selected for; and empirically, that the neoclassical picture of Homo economicus is too pessimistic where motivation is concerned. However, my main point is that we have a great deal to learn about human potential, of human individuals but above all of human societies; and in certain branches of social and cognitive science, we have made real progress, and developed some useful investigative tools for making more. These results and tools were not available (or in Gandhi’s case, those available were not of interest) to the religious figures you mention; nor in great part to Marx, whose thinking was also badly distorted by the heritage of Hegelian idealism.
    2) I don’t “insist on using climate change as an occasion for remaking society–for social engineering on a grand scale?”. I think large-scale social change will turn out to be essential, but given the great difficulty of the task, I’d be happy to be proved wrong; and it would in any case have to be incremental.
    3) I don’t believe in “the perfectability of human nature”. I don’t even know what that would mean.

  160. Ray Ladbury:

    Nick,
    Send email to my NASA address, and I’ll send you a more appropriate address to use–be sure to use the most current address (all NASA emails now must be of the form firstname.mi.lastname@nasa.gov. (That makes it raymond.l.ladbury@nasa.gov )

    For what it’s worth, I don’t dispute that cogtnitive and even social sciences have made progress. And while it is not my day job, I do try (in vain, mostly) to keep up with what is going on. I have a few friends who are psychologists who help. The thing is that often the results of these studies tell us what was already evident in the lives of the shrewder among our leaders–people such as George Washington, Napoleon, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, etc. And yes, I’ve looked into some of the studies on selection for altruism. However, most of those studies I know of either take a very limited definition of altruism–reciprocal benefit, perhaps–or find that there is no benefit to the group (and may even be a detriment) of having more than a small percentage of true altruists. And indeed, this is consistent with my own expereince–I find the concept of true altruism (e.g. benefiting those outside the family or group) is quite alien to most people. And that is the point I am trying to make. It is certainly possible for many individuals to realize greater potential–in intelligence, benevolence, choose your potentiality. However, you are ultimately left with the fact that societies cannot ignore the left half of the bell curve–and I have difficulty understanding how you appeal to the average watcher of professional wrestling at a level loftier than bread and circuses. If this group insists on Hummers to compensate for their perceived, um, shortcomings, GM will make Hummers unless we regulate what they can drive or GM can make. If we insist on regulation, there will be a backlash, and that will have consequences in our ability to do what is needed in a democratic society.
    The problem with climate change is that is precisely the sort of problem where people underestimate risks–as with cigarette smoking. They will be susceptible to messages that reinforce what they want to believe and what their intuition tells them. And we already know that there will be no shortage of folks whose solution to coastal flooding will be simply to buy up all the high ground.

  161. Ron Taylor:

    Ray said: “The problem with climate change is that [it] is precisely the sort of problem where people underestimate risks–as with cigarette smoking. They will be susceptible to messages that reinforce what they want to believe and what their intuition tells them.”

    Well said. Add to that the reality that any meaningful assignment of cost to carbon emissions will IMO impact the standard of living of Americans (which has been enabled by cheap energy and growing debt), and you have a perfect recipe for political paralysis. Where is the political will to come from? Americans have to be convinced to voluntarily agree to a lowering of their standard of living, that is, permit their government to take effective action. Maybe it will take something like the abrupt collapse of a section of the Greenland ice sheet to jolt people out of their self deception. Otherwise, we better hope for the election of a truly remarkable leader.

  162. Matt:

    Lotta comments on this subject!

    My issue is that the Arctic is working at over capacity to perform seasonal cooling, and the ice is growing and shrinking over a wider range than would be moral a hundred years ago.

    If we stop Greenhouse gases right now, this extreme oscillation would have a finite chance of catching in the icy condition with albedo effects causing solar reflection and the start of an ice age? Am I right here?

    If we include biosphere effects, then the main biospheric agents, us, would slow down economic activity and provide feed back, further pushing us into a glacial age.

  163. Nick Gotts:

    Re #162 [Matt] “If we stop Greenhouse gases right now, this extreme oscillation would have a finite chance of catching in the icy condition with albedo effects causing solar reflection and the start of an ice age? Am I right here?”

    I’m no expert, but I’m fairly confident in saying no, you’re not. In any case, I wouldn’t worry about it. Short of a nuclear war or an unprecedented pandemic, the chances of us stopping greenhouse gases “right now” are, to a very close approximation, 0.

  164. David B. Benson:

    Matt (162) — The swings between massive ice conditions (stades) and very little ice (interglacials) is controlled by the amount of sunlight recieved in the far north. This varies with changes in the earth’s orbit around the sun. These orbital forcings can be accurately computed for millions of years into the past and into the future.

    The next attempt at a stade is not for 20,000 years. This forcing is rather weak, so not much ice might form. The next, 50,000 years from now, seems likely to result in a stade, baring massive release of carbon into the active carbon cycle by burning fossil fuels, etc.

  165. Jim Eager:

    Re Matt @ 162: “the ice is growing and shrinking over a wider range than would be moral a hundred years ago.”

    Moral???? Did you mean normal?

    “If we stop Greenhouse gases right now, this extreme oscillation would have a finite chance of catching in the icy condition with albedo effects causing solar reflection and the start of an ice age? Am I right here?”

    No.

  166. erikG:

    Ray says:

    It is also clear that the current understanding of climate is not sufficient to map out all the unintended consequences of proposed geo-engineering schemes (other than reducing ghgs).

    Ray, I agree with your first point. But why do you feel so confident that we can map out all the consequences of reducing ghgs?

  167. Ray Ladbury:

    ErikG, re: 166, First, greenhouse gasses are among the forcings for which we have the most certainty. Second, while there is some limited evidence that positie feedbacks are starting to kick in, we are still close enough to the state of climate that has persisted over ~10000 years that there’s hope we could again approach it. In reality, I hold out little hope that we’ll actually stop or even significantly decrease ghg emissions in the foreseeable future. What I am hoping (perhaps vainly) for is that we will slow things down enough that technological, agricultural, social and economic progress can keep up with the changes. The realistic goal is not stability, but keeping positive feedbacks low enough that adaptation is possible, if just barely.

  168. David B. Benson:

    erikG (166) asks But why do you feel so confident that we can map out all the consequences of reducing ghgs? We have a good understanding of the major factors in the paleoclimate for the last 800,000 years and an excellant understanding of the role of global warming (so-called greenhouse) gases. So while we cannot predict all the consequences of reducing global warming gases, we can confidently predict the major ones.

    I am more optimistic than Ray Ladbury about eliminating net anthropogenic additions to the active carbon cycle, indeed going net carbon-negative, putting some back into the ground for the long term.

  169. Nigel Williams:

    Can someone whack this mole for me? I see lots of ‘events’ that suggest GW is coming along very nicely, but what is the consensus on the meaning of the main global temperature data sources over the last couple of decades?

    Temperature Anomaly Compared to Hansen A, B, C: GISS Seems to Overpredict Warming.
    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2008/temperature-anomaly-compared-to-hansen-a-b-c-giss-seems-to-overpredict-warming/
    Jan 13 2008

    Main Observation:
    When comparing Scenario projections A, B & C, to land-ocean type data, it appear Hansen et al. 1988 over-predicted the real world warming that occurred in years following publication of his paper.

    Personally I don’t think the graphs matter much – the planet doesn’t give a toss about the historic records and is happily melting glacier ice at 1.5m per year,
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7299561.stm

    and is spending the northern winter merrily disposing of the perennial ice in the artic well in advance of the summer melt season
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUKN1822988120080318

    and hey the droughts are still drying
    http://www.mdbc.gov.au/subs/river-info/weekly-report/current_wr.pdf

    and the reservoirs are still lowering,
    http://water.sam.usace.army.mil/acfframe.htm

    so there is enough going on for those with eyes to see, but I keep getting charts flapped in my face and its good to have some sensible rebuttal to hand.

    Thanks.

  170. Jon Sumby:

    I don’t know if anyone from realclimate reads the comments but just in case, here are some quotes from an Aussie conference held in 1975 that may be of interest or use. They came from a conference proceedings book that I found in a secondhand shop. J
    —-

    Excerpts from a panel discussion at a climate change conference sponsored by the Australian Academy of Science and held at Monash University, December 1975. The opening comments were by Prof. H. Flohn (Meteorological Institute, Bonn University). Note the comments about rapid ice loss in the Arctic, on the order of ten years (this was in 1975!), and the need to make ‘critical choices’ about energy (carbon) use and warming for 2025 and later.

    Prof Flohn: ‘It is a question of how much man contributes to the state of the climate we have. If one deals from the matter from the viewpoint of energetics one comes to the result that the sum of man-made interference with this system is of the order of 10% of the energy which is converted in the climatic fluctuations we have experienced in the last 100 or 200 years. The strange fact is that the sum of these man-made effects (perhaps this is a controversial matter) should tend, generally speaking, to warming the atmosphere, while natural effects result in both warming and cooling, giving rise to non-periodic fluctuations.

    Now if we allow man’s interference with climate to increase exponentially as it has done in recent years, we sooner or later come to a state where this 10% rises to 100%, resulting in continuous warming made by man superimposed on these natural fluctuations of cooling and warming. This would be a really dangerous situation in that the Northern Hemisphere we have this extremely sensitive area of the Arctic sea-ice. The few people who have dealt with these models of the sea-ice have the feeling that this is in fact an extremely sensitive system, which will reflect very early and very substantially any sizeable warming of the Northern Hemisphere. The lifetime of individual ice floes is five or ten years, certainly not more than ten years, and once the ice is removed the present situation would not allow the reforming of permanent ice cover as we have it today.

    My feeling is that if man’s interference with the climatic system is uncontrolled for some decades, together with the uncontrolled growth of energy use, sooner or later during the next century the warming will overwhelm the natural factors which usually produce cooling. Then the Arctic sea-ice would disappear rather rapidly, some models say in a period of ten years or less. This would cause the meridional temperature gradients between pole and equator to diminish greatly, to be necessarily followed by a shift of the climatic zones of the whole Northern Hemisphere and perhaps extending a bit beyond the equator.

    This is not an immediate danger, since certainly in the next few decades we cannot reach this level and man’s interference is more or less on a local or regional scale, rather than a global scale. But what will happen in 50 or 80 years [2025-2055] is uncertain and depends on the intensity of economic development, and on the options of energy production and energy use. In the future we will have to make critical choices.’

    The panel discussion ended with a comment from Prof. R. A. Bryson (Institute of Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin).

    Prof. R. A. Bryson: ‘We have heard forecasts in this meeting of what carbon dioxide will do, very confident forecasts that it will go up, and so I have used that kind of forecast in my model. We have no reason to believe that the population of the Earth in the next few years is going to change its ways, or that the population of the Earth will change its course … On this basis I can predict that the general climate for the next five years will be similar to the last five years. That is a very gloomy forecast, because at the beginning of the last five years, there were 400 million less people than now. At the end of the next five years there will be 400 million more. If we have the next five years like the last five, another 1972, another 1974, and assume nothing about going up or down, but just staying put, that’s a gloomy forecast.’

  171. David B. Benson:

    Nigel Williams (169) — When I was in high school, I read a little book entitled How to Lie with Statistics. I think it is still in print 50 years later.

    Your first main link appears to be a non-professional regarding statistics. Go read what Tamino does on his Open Mind blog, linked under the Other Opinions section of the sidebar.

  172. David B. Benson:

    Nigel Williams (169) — Or just follow this link:

    http://www.realclimate.org/images/Hansen88_forc.jpg

  173. Nigel Williams:

    Thanks for the mole-whacker David!
    Following on with Jon’s post, its interesting to see what the world’s population has done since then. Jolly hockey sticks!

    http://www.inconsoft.co.nz/WorldPopulationGraphICS.htm

    As Bryson said we do seem to be ticking along at plus 400 million every 5 years. But then we knew that. What has eventuated, of course, is that many of that 400M are now aspiring to enter the fossil-fuelled red-meat-eating economy with their rocketing standard of living while we in the ‘west’ stagnate – satiated; exhausted and virtually unable to consume any more if we tried. So we stand by like a Mr Creosote and watch the children-countries run lemming-like to their doom, dragging us with them! Somebody out there has to be laughing, eh!

  174. Alexander Harvey:

    Regarding the Miskolczi paper:

    I have had a little look on the web and I cannot find much in the way of a rebuttle for this paper.

    I find this a little surprising. At best it is a work of genius that is poorly explained. There do appear to be some “unexplained” gaps in the reasoning. That does not mean that they are specifically untrue but somehow I doubt that the reasoning is generally true.

    Firstly the appeal to Kirchhoff Eq(4): As far as I am aware the explicable result is that the return flux would lie between half and all of the absorbed flux in general. The result that they are equal may be specifically true but I could not see this being justified.

    More significantly the appeal to Hydrostatic equilibrium Eq (7): actually this it seems is largely an appeal to the conservation of energy. Eq (7) is, I feel not adequately justified as I cannot find any justification in the text.

    Without some adequate justification of this equation a good deal of what follows is unsupported.

    Finally the Virial Theorem: I have no problem with the theorem but the identification of the surface flux with either the surface atmospheric pressure or the gravitational potential of the atmosphere is not obvious. To begin with a flux is not easily identified with a reserve of energy without stating a relevant time constant and also the atmosphere was not the last time I looked supported by radiation pressure.

    Similarly the identification of Eu, the proportion of OLR, sourced in the atmosphere with the kinetic energy of the atmosphere may be specifically true but it is hard to see that it could be generally true. Such things may be the case but the identification of a surface or at least an effective surface effect, (radiation flux), with a mass property, (total kinetic energy) would require a lot of explanation in the general case. Once again it might be specifically true on this earth at this time but that surely is not good enough.

    Best Wishes

    Alexander Harvey

  175. Philip Machanick:

    A 2006 JPL paper reported unexpected ocean cooling 2003-2005, now put down to instrument error. That took a while to get all over the blogosphere and has found its way into the letters page of The Australian. Minus the correction, of course.

    I submitted a correction but wasn’t published.

    I do sincerely hope the ocean is warming; if not, the observed sea level rise would have to be almost entirely from glacier and ice cap reduction going much faster than predicted.

    The “skeptic” case would be stronger if it wasn’t based on disinformation; this is why I prefer to call it “denial”.

  176. gzuckier:

    Time magazine had an article on global cooling in 1974 which had some impact; still available at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,944914,00.html
    Note that the two authorities cited are Reid A. Bryson and Donald Oilman, both of whom are currently opponents of AGW theory. (Also quoted is Kenneth Hare, saying that if the current drought continues people will go hungry, with no reference to cooling.
    In fact, at the time Hare said re cooling: “The slow cooling trend in parts of the northern hemisphere during the last few decades is similar to others of natural origin in the past, and thus whether it will continue or not is unknown”.)

  177. Adam:

    Recently it appears that more ARGO data has been tossed about. If I’m correct the data suggests that there might be a trend of “slight cooling”. Any thoughts? This from NPR:

    “There has been a very slight cooling, but not anything really significant,” Willis says. So the buildup of heat on Earth may be on a brief hiatus. “Global warming doesn’t mean every year will be warmer than the last. And it may be that we are in a period of less rapid warming.”

    In recent years, heat has actually been flowing out of the ocean and into the air. This is a feature of the weather phenomenon known as El Nino. So it is indeed possible the air has warmed but the ocean has not. But it’s also possible that something more mysterious is going on.”

  178. Jim Bullis:

    I have a question for those knowledgeable on the climate models. It relates more to the capacity of the ocean to moderate changes using its deep reservoir of cold water. Maybe it is a longer term effect that would be hard to see in ARGO data??

    It is well known that temperature in the ocean is about 4 to 6 degrees C at depths below about 500 meters. It typically cools rapidly as depth goes from about 70 meters to 500 meters.

    As storms increase, as for example Katrina, we know that significant deep currents occur (we known that oil and gas pipelines were wrecked in some places). Such storms must have a significant mixing effect in general. Since something like 70% of the worlds oceans are greater than 3000 meters deep, it seems that the predicted increase in storm activity with global warming might make this a significant counter action to global surface heating. I do not see anything about this kind of process in the IPCC4 report. Is this in the climate models?

    The process does not hinge on catastrophic events such as Katrina. We know from underwater sound studies that the “mixed layer” is quite variable for much less intensive storm effects, so this process would be active on a very general basis.

    Could this be a process where temperature and storm activity eventually reach an equilibrium state? In the process I am trying to describe, global warming would cause an increase in ocean surface temperature which would cause an increase in storm activity. This storm activity would mix ocean waters whereby cooler deep water would be brought upward to cool the ocean surface. The cooler ocean surface would then cause reduced storm activity. In this way, the deep ocean would take the brunt of global warming effects. Does it not have quite a lot of capacity to do that?

    To take this one step further, the deep ocean temperatures would gradually increase so that it would take more storm activity to get cool water up in each successive year. One would have to study this to see this on a quantitative basis, but intuitively, it seems this would end up as a moderating effect.

    Has this been already included in the models?

  179. Hank Roberts:

    Yes, to some extent. I put relevant excerpts and a cite here:
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/03/26/recent-climate-observations-compared-to-ipcc-projections/#comment-15928

  180. Bill:

    Science magazine (Dec. 10, 1976) warned of “extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation.” Science Digest (February 1973) reported that “the world’s climatologists are agreed” that we must “prepare for the next ice age.” The Christian Science Monitor (“Warning: Earth’s Climate is Changing Faster Than Even Experts Expect,” Aug. 27, 1974) reported that glaciers “have begun to advance,” “growing seasons in England and Scandinavia are getting shorter” and “the North Atlantic is cooling down about as fast as an ocean can cool.” Newsweek agreed (“The Cooling World,” April 28, 1975) that meteorologists “are almost unanimous” that catastrophic famines might result from the global cooling that the New York Times (Sept. 14, 1975) said “may mark the return to another ice age.” The Times (May 21, 1975) also said “a major cooling of the climate is widely considered inevitable” now that it is “well established” that the Northern Hemisphere’s climate “has been getting cooler since about 1950.”

  181. Nick Gotts:

    Re #180 [Bill]
    Bill, if that was an attempt at an April Fool, the joke’s on you (a) because you’re supposed to play such tricks before noon and (b) because denialists pump out this sort of bilge every day of the year. Assuming it wasn’t, the joke’s still on you for being a nincompoop – that is, assuming you’re not just an ordinary, common-or-garden liar. Of the articles you site, exactly one, the first, is in a peer-reviewed journal. The rest are in popular magazines or newspapers. In assessing the state of scientific opinion at a particular time, THESE DO NOT COUNT – they are written by journalists looking to sell the next issue, not by scientists. For the Science article, the correct citation is: Hays, Imbrie and Shackleton (1974) “Variations in the Earth’s Orbit: Pacemaker of the Ice Ages”. Science 174 (4270):1121-1132. If you look carefully, there’s a hint in the title as to what the paper is about: the influence of variations in the Earth’s orbit on the occurrence of ice ages. The final words of the paper are:
    “A model of future climate based on the observed orbital-climate relationships, but ignoring anthropogenic effects, predicts that the long-term trend over the next several thousand years is toward extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation.”
    Take it slowly Bill, a few words at a time. What does “ignoring anthropogenic effects” mean? It means they are taking no account of anything people might do – like releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere for example. What does “long-term trend over the next several thousand years mean”? It means this is not about what will happen in our lifetimes, or our great-great-grandchildrens’.

    If you are capable of reading (I insert this since you clearly have not read the Science paper), follow the link to Tom Peterson’s paper online. If you have well-founded criticisms of that, do please post them.

  182. Ray Ladbury:

    Bill, Hmm, how many of your sources are peer-reviewed science journals? One, and I notice you provide no timescale. At the time, the question was whether aerosols might cause significant cooling. There was no consensus AMONG SCIENTISTS on that.

  183. spilgard:

    Re #180:

    Thanks for reinforcing the first sentence of Section 7 in the study cited in the main body:

    7. Media Coverage

    When the myth of the 1970s global cooling scare arises in contemporary discussion over climate change, it is most often in the form of citations, not to the scientific literature, but to news media coverage.

  184. Jim Bullis:

    re 179 and my question 178

    Thanks for your response.

    The exerpts and the cite seem to relate to a different mechanism than I was attempting to describe. The cited article indicates a reason why ice is melting in Antarctica, yet the whole effect is to cool the ocean surface. This is said to have been brought about by stronger winds over the last 40 years. This process is consistent with global warming statements that winds will be stronger due to a hotter atmosphere. But since the ocean surface is made cooler, will not that actually act to cool the atmosphere.

    The process I describe is only slightly similar to this, but not as complex. I refer to an old book, Physics of Sound in the Sea, Summary Technical Report, National Defense Research Council, 1946 p88, where is shown a typical temperature-depth curve. From this I can quickly estimate that if the mixed layer, which now goes down 70 meters, were further mixed down to 140 meters, the entire new mixed layer would be cooled by 1 degree C. We know from experience in underwater sound studies that wind has a strong effect on mixing to such depths. Using a Wikipedia supplied calculation, the top 25 meters of the new cooler layer would take on enough energy by warming 1 degree C, to the previous equilibrium temperature, to cool the entire atmosphere by 10 degree C. And then, the wind would be no longer so strong. Thus it seems that there is a control system type mechanism of sufficient strength to have a meaningful part in regulating the atmospheric temperature. On a general world basis, the warmer water in the deeper ocean could eventually impact ice formation.

    As I mentioned before, the kind of mixing caused by a storm like Katrina, would be very strong. In relation to the gulf stream, this would have a far reaching impact all over the North Atlantic. And it might explain why a very active hurricane season would be followed by a fairly quiet season.

    I gather from your response that the effects I describe are not in the major climate models. Is that right?

  185. Jim Bullis:

    RE 184

    I have looked at the CCSM POP (Parallel Ocean Model) in very superficial detail, but it seems that there is not provision for computing vertical mixing in the ocean on a regional level that would relate to real storm activity. There are variable fields provided in the program that enable calculations regarding mixed layer depth, and vertical temperature.

    I tend to conclude that broad and general winds are included from the statement, ” Wind stress (ws) and atmospheric pressure (ap) forcing don’t depend explicitly on the ocean state so the forcing terms in the equations are updated depending on the value of {ws,ap}_interp_freq. For example, with ws_data_type = ‘monthly-calendar’, ws_interp_type = ‘linear’, and ws_interp_freq = 24., the code will linearly interpolate monthly wind stress values at the beginning of each day and will use this interpolated value for one model day. ” This is from
    http://www.ccsm.ucar.edu/models/ccsm3.0/pop/doc/POPusers_chap3.html#POPusers3.8.8.1 .

    However, the fact that only long term average winds would be here accounted for seems to preclude effects of transient winds, though huge as in hurricanes. They seem to address the type of processes referred to by Hank Roberts, comment 179 above.

    I would appreciate any possible guidance in looking at this question. I also note that it must be quite a burden to keep up with questions, and am truly impressed with the efforts made by this community.

  186. Jim Eager:

    I just noticed today that Hadley Center has posted this disclaimer at the top of their HadCRUT3 and other temperature data pages:

    “We have recently corrected an error in the way that the smoothed time series of data were calculated. Data for 2008 were being used in the smoothing process as if they represented an accurate esimate of the year as a whole. This is not the case and owing to the unusually cool global average temperature in January 2008, the error made it look as though smoothed global average temperatures had dropped markedly in recent years, which is misleading.”

    Of course we here already knew this, but the all to obvious error didn’t stop the skeptic and denial crowd from seizing upon the bogus marked drop and proclaiming their ignorance to the world.

  187. Rando:

    My recollection of the state of ‘climatology’ in the 70′s was that the science itself was fairly immature to the point where there was still debate on whether climatology should even be described as an ‘applied’ science. In those days the field was really just evolving. Therefore, I’m not surprised at the lack of peer reviewed scientific literature on climate issues from that period – especially publications on climate-change mechanisms. The so-called experts at that time were few and scattered through-out various diciplines, and the subject still largely shrouded in speculation, rudimentary hypotheses, and tentative correlations. It’s no surprise that most references to 70′s cooling and impending ice-ages are found mostly in media publications of the time – this was good human interest stuff which sold magazines and newspapers. We believed at the time (and still do) that significant climate change had occurred in past, and that there were a number of potential ‘natural’ causes that could be identified as forcing agents, although these were poorly understood. Our knowledge gap has now narrowed to the point where the legitimate scientific community can now determine that human influences are affecting significant changes to global climate which are unprecedented in terms of intensity and time-of-onset. And we can do this with ~90% certainty.

    We’ve come a long way, baby!

  188. Ray Ladbury:

    Rando, I dispute your characterization of climate science in the ’70s as “immature”. Indeed, all the forcers we now find in climate models were known, albeit their relative magnitudes were still in dispute. And people even got the cause of the cooling pretty much right–sulfate aerosols. The science itself is over 150 years old. The fact that there are still uncertainties in no way detracts from the maturity of the science, nor from the certainty of what we in fact do know.

  189. Jim Bullis:

    Where can I ask a question without getting buried in a bunch of references on what was said in the 1970′s and assertions of authority or arguments about when stuff was known?

    Beginning with reference 178, there was a question followed by a partial answer 179 and an attempt at further clarification 184,185. This might have been an interesting technical topic, at least I think so, but this seems to have been lost in the useless acrimony.

    These discussions are not idle chatter for me. I am trying to understand enough of climate science that I can make sense of it in business planning.

    Notwithstanding the above, I want to be clear that I appreciate the public service provided on this information site. I also am sensitive to the frustration that must come from offering a public service in the face of irrational objections to your information. I hope that I am not on the irrational side, by your perception or in fact.

  190. Ray Ladbury:

    Jim Bullis,
    Although hurricanes are large and impressive, they and other impulsive events probably have less effect than the more steady forcers. One can treat them as Poisson events, and in general the effect of such events can be replaced with its average. It is like volcanos. We don’t know when they’ll happen or how big they’ll be, but we do know on average what their contribution is over the long haul.
    It is quite possible that you might see a significant effect over a short period, but that is the distinction between climate and weather. I don’t know if this helps you or not, but it is one way of dealing with such discrete, large events.

  191. Jim Bullis:

    190 Ray Ladbury,

    Thanks.

    I am reacting to statements saying that a result of global warming would be an increase in general storm activity. I used hurricanes as a particularly strong illustration where vertical mixing would be very significant. But we know from underwater sound research that a degree of vertical mixing occurs for much more moderate storm activity. Thus there would seem to be a feedback mechanism where such vertical mixing would serve to tap into the deep ocean reservoir of cold water. I am thinking of this as a more or less local process where wind causes waves that are directly capable of causing mixing.

    I think I understand in general how this could be handled on a probabilistic basis to allow for varying winds. However, I can not tell for certain from the description of the “Parallel Ocean Program” (POP) that goes with the CCSM program that this is currently part of this climate model.

    I asked my questions hoping someone would point me to the right place to look in the model description. Or perhaps it is done by some other modeling group.

  192. Carolus Obscurus:

    And guess what’s the breaking news in today’s Daily Mail?

    Over the past half-century, we have become used to planetary scares. In the late Sixties, we were told of a population explosion that would lead to global starvation. Then, a little later, we were warned the world was running out of natural resources. By the Seventies, when global temperatures began to dip, many eminent scientists warned us that we faced a new Ice Age.

    – from an essay entitled ‘The Real Inconvenient Truth’ by former UK Chancellor Nigel Lawson, author of the upcoming book ‘An Appeal To Reason: A Cool Look At Global Warming’

    The article is worth taking apart, sentence by sentence — does anybody feel like going to the trouble?

    See here:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=557374&in_page_id=1770

  193. John Quiggin:

    Way above here “Would they also use “Back in the 1950s, scientists didn’t believe in plate tectonics” as a criticism of modern geological science?”

    Absolutely they would and routinely do.

  194. Rando:

    Re: Jim Bullis
    Not that the topic of SST impact on storm charactistics and resulting feedbacks isn’t interesting, I believe the original post was in response to observed (percieved?) cooling in the 1970′s that gets referenced by some as evidence of dominant non-anthropogenic (or at least poorly understood) climate influences.

  195. Thomas Siefferman:

    Post 144 still has not received an adequate response. The onset of Solar Cycle 24 has arrived with a whimper, the solar ‘conveyor belt’ has slowed to a crawl, the continuing few spots have been from Solar Cycle 23 making it one of the longest solar cycles in recorded history. The resumption of ‘normal solar flare activity’ has twice failed to meet the ‘Consensus Panel’s forecast’ (I guess the sun just didn’t read the report) and the latest prediction has become the most open ended ‘CYA’ prediction in the history of Solar Cycle predictions (maybe July but it could be the first quarter of 2009).

    Us Global cooling ‘moles’ need two answers:
    [1] If we enter a Dalton Minimum at best (look up the years around 1815) or a Maunder minimum at worst (look up Little Ice-Age), how will the current ‘CO2′ levels help the USA and Canada feed the world as we currently do? Please show me the Climate model that is currently in existence that can retro-forecast the temps seen in those periods.

    [2] If we did every thing to shut down our current economies and stop all production of CO2 and it doesn’t help, and we enter a solar induced global cooling, where will you gather all your AGW theory papers so we can burn them for heat? ;-)

  196. alan packham:

    Hi,
    Wow, so many ineresting and informative articles. As a non scientific mortal who is striving to understand what is going on with climate change, I am more and more drawn to the theory that global warming/cooling has occured and re-occured for millions of years. I am sure however that our activities are hastening the process substantially and that it is essential that we take any action that we can take to mitigate this. Surel this must be worthwhile.

  197. Ray Ladbury:

    Thomas Siefferman [195]: Regarding your points–they have been dealt with previously
    [1] First, the current solar cycle is not yet outside of the normal range–the standard deviation on solar min is +/-1 years–we’re still within the 90% CL. Also, keep timescales in mind. Minima in solar activity (ala the Maunder Minimum) last of order decades. The effects of CO2 last on the order of centuries to millennia. That means that when solar activity again rises, greenhouse warming will kick in with a vengeance. As to whether CO2 will help during the minimum–keep in mind that the limiting factor is usually not “heat” but “light”.
    [2]I see no need to reply to your straw man. No one is talking abour “stopping economies”. Rather we are talking about devoting substantial effort to making economies more efficient and sustainable. Should you care to discuss reality rather than straw men, I’d be happy to comment.

  198. T Siefferman:

    195 [2] Was meant as a joke not a ‘Straw Man’, notice the winking smiley. To Point. Where has solar minimum been discussed?
    Little Ice Age was on the Order of 200 years (1650 -1850) with minor warming in between; Medieval Warm Period [MWP] was 500 years (800-1300) showed a temperature anomaly of 0.2C and Greenland was pretty much ice free in the southern extremes.
    If the 2004 data is true with a 0.4C temperature anomaly, then why aren’t we more ice free than during the MWP?
    What was the causation of the MWP?
    Can ANY of the current models being promulgated today retro-forecast the past weather extremes?
    Before we shut done CO2 production, hobble our economy based on theories presented here, show us the proof of your models. Otherwise this is just a bunch of banter without substance.
    If you want to convince the world of AGW then prove it by showing that your models match with the past.
    Otherwise avoid looking like fools and reject the fallacy of ‘consensus’ science and re-evaluate your theories as the world will not believe you.
    Based on CO2 alone your theories fail. They are too narrow a focus, lack explanations for the past data, fail to account for feedback and effects of other aspects of climate such as Solar Cycle, Cosmic Radiation and cloud formation, increased sequestration of CO2 by oceans in warmer climes, volcanic variations, etc.
    Plus they are based on invalid temperature recordings, they fail to account for heat island effects on temperature recordings when compared to the past recordings where there was virtually no heat island effects. The only way to “get rid” of global cooling moles is to account for the past better than you currently are.

  199. Ron Taylor:

    Re 198. T. Siefferman, you get the prize. That has to be about the most complete collection of utter nonsense I have read on these pages. If you made even a modest effort to understand the information available to you on this site, you would know that. As for the “fallacy of consensus science,” that just happens to be the way science is done.

  200. T Siefferman:

    #199 If you disagree with #198 state your disagreements, not a global slap of ignorance.
    There is no place for consensus of ‘opinions’ of scientists, there is however a place for agreement that the theory presented has validity and adequately predicts the past and has a high probability thereby of predicting the future.
    All the dates of climate variations listed above are agreed upon. Temperature monitoring stations have become surrounded by buildings and recordings of temperatures become suspect.
    No theory presented to date can account for the climatic variations listed (Little Ice Age nor Medieval Warm Period).
    All theories to date fail to include agreed upon factors that we know even today that affects day to day weather.
    AGW demands that we reduce CO2 production and prefer we stop without a sound theory that will have on climate but there is a known effect on civilization.
    Rethink you response and please respond with more civility.

  201. Hank Roberts:

    That’s 2, 4, 3, and 5

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-change-little-ice-age-medieval-warm-period.htm
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/surface-temperature-measurements.htm
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus.htm
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-models.htm

    You could start at the “Start Here” link at the top of the page:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/

  202. Ron Taylor:

    Re 200. Just follow the links Hank gave you in 201. For the last link, be sure not to miss:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    When you have finished, then, on the subject of civility, try rereading what you wrote in 198.

  203. T Siefferman:

    #201 I have read the skepticalscience sites and remain skeptical of AGW. Even the sites cited are full of suppositions as well they should. I don’t disagree with recorded data, yes CO2 levels are higher, yes there seems to be a disconnect from solar radiance and present warming which ‘could be explained’ by GHGs (remember H2O worse than CO2). Yes anybody would prefer to reduce CO2 production, but present solutions are unmanageable and unrealistic. Nuclear energy and breeder reactions (stamped out by Carter et al.) could have prevented many of our current coal power/ natural gas power CO2 emissions. Solar power use to use more energy to produce the cells than they make in their lifetime until ~2005, wind power great but variable and harmful to bird/insect life and ugly and noisy.

    My fear is what is happening TODAY on and in the sun. You can’t get warm if the sun is not putting out. ;-) AGW will be a hoped for dream if we return to Maunder Minimum. Talk about mass migrations from flood waters, how about humans moving south to get warm. Canada returning to its frigid past. The US bread basket returning to its tundra, snow covered past.

    I believe, as do many Canadian Solar scientists, we can talk about Global Warming all we want and we are not going to change a thing. But we need to know more about the Sun. SOHO is dying with no replacement on deck. The expected return of Solar flare activity has been postponed 2 times. Once more models don’t match reality.

    What I would like to know is what affect current CO2 levels will have on global temperatures if we return to a Maunder Minimum. Has anyone run those numbers and come up with a prediction?

  204. T Siefferman:

    #202 I don’t think I was trying to be uncivil, if taken that way I apologize. I am old enough to have been around for all the different theories since the 60′s and remember all the surety they had in those days and the AGW ‘consensus’ sounds so similar. Global climate change happens, we will see if AGW pans out, yes we should conserve fossil fuels, yes we need more nuclear energy and electric cars/vans, high speed mag-lev trains.
    I just happen to live in northern hinter lands and Global Warming looks pretty good after this winter! ;-) My Canadian family members are living a winter nightmare, Arctic Ice has returned thicker (granted only one year see this fun article http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/story.html?id=332289) and they are praying for spring. Talk in Canadian Scientific circles also concurs with AGW, but they are keeping a watchful eye on the sun.
    I guess my main point is without the sun there would be no Global Warming.

  205. Hank Roberts:

    effect.

    A cold spell, whether from significant vulcanism or the sun, would increase the rate of use of fossil fuel and the rate of change in ocean pH. Even increasing at the current rate of change, it’ll be good for the microbes, very good.

    http://www.wanfangdata.com.cn/qikan/periodical.articles/kxtb-e/kxtb2005/0519/051916.htm
    http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2007AM/finalprogram/abstract_127921.htm

  206. Jim Eaton:

    Re: #203 T Siefferman:

    “Solar power use to use more energy to produce the cells than they make in their lifetime…”

    What is your reference for this? The information I have seen concludes the opposite:

    http://www.csudh.edu/oliver/smt310-handouts/solarpan/pvpayback.htm

    Yes, windmills improperly sited can slice and dice birds. New windmills designs and proper siting cn mitigate this problem. But ugly? That is in the eye of the beholder. I’d rather gaze at a hillside with windmills than cooling towers reminding me of the perils of nuclear power.

    “Nuclear energy and breeder reactions (stamped out by Carter et al.) ”

    I’m sure you realize that Jimmy Carter did post-graduate work studying nuclear physics and reactor technology. President Carter was not ignorant of the dangers of nuclear power. On April 18, 1977, he outlined his energy policy. Among his many points were:

    “If we do not act, then by 1985 we will be using 33 percent more energy than we do today…

    “We will feel mounting pressure to plunder the environment. We will have a crash program to build more nuclear plants, strip-mine and burn more coal, and drill more offshore wells than we will need if we begin to conserve now. Inflation will soar, production will go down, people will lose their jobs. Intense competition will build up among nations and among the different regions within our own country.”

    If we had listened to President Carter and took his conservation measures to heart, we would be in less of a fix than we are today.

  207. Ray Ladbury:

    T Siefferman, your posts could be used as a summary of all the fallacies and misinformation flowing around the denialosphere in one place. First, you have completely ignored my point about the differences in timescales of solar minima and the effects of CO2. A solar activity minimum would provide at best temporary respite, and as Hank pointed out could actually exacerbate the crisis in the long term by increasing fossil fuel consumption.
    Your tirade against “consensus science” indicates to me that you have zero understanding of science. Do you advocate rejecting the scientific consensus on gravity, evolution, a heliocentric solar system, etc. as well? The best measure of scientific consensus that I know of is the amount of publication going on. When a theory/position becomes so infertile that its advocates cease to publish, then the consensus is against it. Papers that reject anthropogenic causation are rarer than hen’s teeth, and when published produce no follow up.
    Ignorance is 100% curable. Hank has vectored you to a good place to start your education. What you do with the pearls is up to you.

  208. T Siefferman:

    #207 Gravity theories have been tested and found to be accurate. A heliocentric solar system was once a theory, tested and later witnessed. So again both proven theories. Still not proven for AGW in my estimation, not an ignorance of the theories, just don’t think they meet the threshold for acceptance. Been a scientist for 25+ years.
    Reference on solar cells: http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20080301/fob5.asp as I said only recently have they become more efficient.
    The vectoring was to more theory sites and I am aware of those theories.
    Again what would a Maunder minimum (hundreds of years) not a solar minimum do to climate change. It would increase CO2 if we use fossil fuel over nuclear, it would probably decrease H2O vapor and CH4, also GHGs, what does AGW theory predict will happen then…my understanding is that that’s not included in the theory. And that is my fear.
    Just because someone doesn’t agree with AGW is not ignorance, just striving for the best theory to explain climate change.

  209. T Siefferman:

    Interesting how Dr Scafetta response was an excellent rebuttal of AGW being the sole cause of GW. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/03/solar-variability-statistics-vs-physics-2nd-round/

  210. Ray Ladbury:

    Thomas Siefferman, for a scientist, you are awfully cavalier with facts. See this reference for info on the Maunder Minimum:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maunder_Minimum
    Note the duration of ~75 years.

    More generally, see Usoskin’s recent paper “Grand minima and maxima of solar activity: new observational constraints”. Solar variability is a blip compared to what CO2 will do long term.

  211. Lawrence McLean:

    Thomas Siefferman, how do you explain the cooling stratosphere, in spite of the warming surface temperatures?

    Also, Carl Sagan reported that the climate models being used to understand AGW could accurately model climates on other planets. He had confidence in those models. Your criticism of the climate models seems to me to be along the lines of: “If you cannot predict the climate on the 13th of January 4172 BC at 12:45 pm then the models are rubbish! Can you quantify your problems with the models? Which models?

  212. Phil. Felton:

    Re #204

    “Arctic Ice has returned thicker (granted only one year see this fun article http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/story.html?id=332289) and they are praying for spring. ”

    As a scientist I would have expected a more authoritative source than that!
    Here’s some genuine information on the ice thickness rather than local cherry-picked anecdotes:
    http://www.nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/200804_Figure4.png
    http://www.nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/200804_Figure6.png

    And another on NH snow thickness for March showing near record lows!

    http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/chart_anom.php?ui_set=1&ui_region=nhland&ui_month=3

    “I guess my main point is without the sun there would be no Global Warming.”

    Wow, some real insight there!

  213. T Siefferman:

    I’m glad everyone has lightened up! :-) Nice to see discussion not put downs. The National Post article was not meant as scholarly work, just fun to see how quickly the Press confuse Climate Change Prediction with weather forecasting. The Ice thickness reduction is to be expected with any global warming, just like occurred in the Medieval Warm Period, (there still people up nord here who believe that’s how the Vikings made it to Minnesota ;-) ). Any scholar frowns upon Wikipedia so I don’t use that as a source, agreed Maunder Minimum is thought to have begun 1645 to 1715, however there was a prolonged period of minimal sunspot activity thought to have begun as earlier than 1600 and not rebounding to more conventional solar flare activity till 1730, but all of these numbers are really just speculation. I guess the confusion is I was overlapping thoughts/concerns between the ‘Little Ice age’ and the Maunder Minimum which occurred in the middle.
    Until we enter the ‘Gore Minimum’ as some of my joking solar scientist friends call it, we just really won’t know what will happen. We have been blessed to have grown up in an interglacial age with pretty regular solar variation but the 200year cycle is upon us.
    As to my problems with retro-forecasting the past, I would like to see current AGW proponents show us what temperature patterns we would have expected say in 1600-1750, or 800-1300 or 1930-1980, pick your range. I just haven’t seen it done with the accuracy they would make me want to severely curtail my current economic system.
    Scafetta’s article does agree with AGW if it would include more of a solar effect. Again my fear is not that AGW theories are right or wrong, rather that they be the most accurate they can be. THAT is the role of a scientist, not always accepting the current theory but to tweak it, improve it, throw it out and redo it, and I just don’t see enough of it. Consensus too often leads to intellectual laziness. That is what I stress to my students.
    #212, you would think that was heresy to think the sun might affect climate in some AGW camps. If AGW theories can’t be assistance in a global emergency like a Maunder Minimum, then I am afraid all the hard work on Climate Modeling will be for naught; non-scientists will throw the baby out with the bathwater! Please remain civil now when you tear my comments apart. :-0

  214. T Siefferman:

    An easier to view Arctic Ice diagram is
    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png

  215. Ray Ladbury:

    Thomas Siefferman,
    First, Wikipedia is as accurate as any other encyclopedia when it comes to science. See:
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v438/n7070/full/438900a.html

    The key wrt Wikis is that if a subject is popular, errors are more likely to be discovered quickly, while if it is obscure, they tend to persist.
    In any case, I also referenced Usoskin et al. I presume you have no problem with the credentials of those authors. And my point still stands–solar activity minima persis on a scale of decades, while the effects of CO2 last for centuries.
    As to the current “minimum,” I don’t know any solar scientists who are concerned just yet. We are still not really outside the norm for a solar cycle.
    I do fear that you are right about one thing: If there is a respite in the warming, the great unwashed will assume the crisis is over and that they can go on consuming as before. In actuality, this would be disastrous. Climate change could give the edge to renewable energy technologies and provide an impetus to really develop sustainable economies, whereas if “the heat is off” we can count on the 21st century being the century of coal, and the 22nd as being the century where civilization ends.

  216. Barton Paul Levenson:

    T. Siefferman writes:

    the 200year cycle is upon us.

    What 200-year cycle?

  217. T Siefferman:

    There are several cycles the sun goes through, the 11 year solar max to min, the 22 year reversal of magnetic field, due to the solar ‘conveyor belt’ http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/10may_longrange.htm
    It has been speculated that on an approximate 200 year cycle, not only do we get a reversal of magnetic activity, but such a dramatic slowing of this conveyor mechanism that we get a prolonged pause, this has been shown to lessened solar flares and hence irradiance. Originally this was ‘not suppose to occur till after Solar Cycle 25 around 2022′. What has people worried is it’s taking longer for Cycle 24 to get started and the conveyor has stopped early, so maybe the 200 year cycle is here early.

    [Response: Then it's not a cycle. - gavin]

  218. steven mosher:

    Gavin, when you run ModelE in the “forecast mode” do you assume
    a constant TSI ( as in average of the past) or do you feed the model a
    nominal 11 year cycle?

    By the way thanks for the link to the modelE results.

    [Response: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/solar.irradiance/ - gavin]

  219. T Siefferman:

    {Response to 217} In solar cycles the ‘solar conveyor 200 year cycle’ is a theory being promulgated to explain the appearance of prolonged solar minimums than seem to occur on a 180-220 year stretch. I’d love to hear a theory as to why it occurs, but is has been noted to occur on similar stars as it does on Sol. One of many problems is some in the solar physicists gang believed that Solar Cycle 24 would have already started because of this conveyor belt slowing, and were speculating that Cycle 24 would reach a higher maximum than even 23 (more fuel for global warming). In contrast another group believes the slowing of the conveyor in this period is occurring too fast and will lead to a Gore Minimum (I couldn’t help myself ;-) ). So just like in AGW vs GW Climate prediction circles, theories have been advanced and we will see who is right. I personally am praying for Solar Flares every day as I live in the friggin’ tundra where is was 65F today and suppose to snow Sunday!
    Just another “Minnesotan For Global Warming”…well at least up here.

  220. Timothy Chase:

    It appears we have solar cycle 24.

    Please see:

    What’s going on? Hathaway explains: “We have two solar cycles in progress at the same time. Solar Cycle 24 has begun (the first new-cycle spot appeared in January 2008), but Solar Cycle 23 has not ended.”

    Strange as it sounds, this is perfectly normal. Around the time of solar minimum–i.e., now–old-cycle spots and new-cycle spots frequently intermingle. Eventually Cycle 23 will fade to zero, giving way in full to Solar Cycle 24, but not yet.

    Old Solar Cycle Returns
    March 28, 2008
    http://www.physorg.com/news125930707.html

    … and:

    We saw a string of zero-sunspot days over the past couple of weeks, but this week saw a brief but significant sunspot that lasted only a couple of days. Sunspot 990 emerged as a tiny speck over April 14-15, but it was definitely a Solar Cycle 24 spot. Not only was the polarity of this region correct for the new Cycle, but it was far north above the Sun’s equator, which is what we expect for a sunspot from an emerging solar cycle. The only previous Cycle 24 activity was close to the solar equator.

    Sunspot numbers for April 10-16 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 11, 12 and 0 with a mean of 3.3. The 10.7 cm flux was 67.9, 67.1, 68.2, 69.3, 68.5, 69.2 and 69.5 with a mean of 68.5. Estimated planetary A indices were 8, 4, 11, 7, 2, 5 and 15 with a mean of 7.4. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 6, 3, 8, 6, 2, 3 and 9, with a mean of 5.3. Geophysical Institute Prague predicts quiet conditions April 18, quiet to unsettled April 19, quiet April 20, quiet to unsettled April 21, active April 22-23 and unsettled to active April 24.

    The K7RA Solar Update
    http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2008/04/18/10056/?nc=1

    With regard to claims of solar cycles greater than 11 years in length (200 years, 22 years, etc.), the following post might be worth reading:

    The original reference given for a 179 yr period in solar activity seems to be a study of sunspot numbers by Jose (1965, Astronomical J., 70, 193). Jose in fact identifies a period of 178.7 yr in the sun’s barycentric motion, then goes looking for the same period in sunspot data. To establish, it, he offsets sunspot data by 16 cycles, which is about 179 years. Then he notes that earlier and later cycle timings can be “paired,” giving this graph (click for a larger, clearer view, although the original isn’t very clear):…

    Cycles
    April 15, 2008
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/04/15/cycles/

  221. T Siefferman:

    We had one sunspot in correct polarity in January 8 and one very small one in April 14 (gone in a day+, visible only with magnetometer, not visual) and still 12 Solar Cycle 23 spots. The concern again is the slowness of return of solar flares (should have had 16 of Solar 24) their minimal nature, and every one keeps changing when and how the flares will return.
    The ’200 year cycle’ I was referring is related to the slowing to a crawl of the solar conveyor (since the Jose cycles were incorrect) and it was forwarded to explain the same periodicity of Oort, Sporer, Maunder and Dalton minimums. Unfortunately, humans always try to find cycles in random events, check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Carbon14_with_activity_labels.svg

  222. T Siefferman:

    I found the ‘correct name’ for the 200 year cycle is Suess or De Vries Cycle.

  223. FurryCatherder:

    Considering that we only have accurate observational data going back about 400 years, and the mid-to-late 1600′s and early 1800′s were both periods of minimal activity, we won’t know if there is actually some 200 +/- cycle for a while. What we could be seeing is a return to normally less active cycles as the last few have been above average in activity anyway.

    It’s undeniable that the last 5 cycles have been above average. So, it’s not clear that this is the start of the Gore Minimum, or a return to more normal values.

    (And I’m going to start referring to the delay in cycle 24 starting as the “Gore Minimum” ;) )

  224. FurryCatherder:

    “Failure to Warm” — (here)

    This is a worst-case scenario I’ve discussed before — solar activity dominates climate change, a decline in solar activity results in a short term cooling. From there, skepticism builds, CO2 reductions stall, sun returns to higher levels of solar activity, even more rapid warming down the road.

    If cycles 24, 25 and ??? are less active, the next 20+ years of cooling will lead to continued high levels of carbon-based resources and no decline in rate of increase in CO2 levels. When we exit the “Gore Minimum” in another 25 or 35 years, CO2 levels will be much higher, but instead of having sufficient resources to make the transition, we’ll be stuck in a carbon-based death-spiral as we consume all the fancy coal-to-something-else fuels we can in order to shift off of carbon-based resources.

    Comments?

  225. Philip Machanick:

    The Australian is at it again — publishing a claim that 2007 was 0.7°C cooler than 2006 and shock! Horror! We are heading into an ice age. Then repeating the claim in another op ed after it was thoroughly debunked.

    See my blog for detailed comments.

    For those worrying about recent months being cooler than average and thus harbingers of (solar cooling) doom, don’t worry. March is back up among the record highs. See the GISS 2007 global temperature summation for some numbers on solar effects on climate.

  226. A. Nony Mouse:

    “Those 7 articles predicting cooling apparently inspired at least 2 films that I remember being shown in Junior High School.”

    And…

    “Browsing though file from my youth I cam across a junior-high school paper I was made to write in the early 1980’s. The premis given to the class was that industrial pollution might lead to another ice age, and we were supposed to describe how this might affect mankind. … Does anyone else here have school age memories about cooling vs warming?”
    The hype du jour in my timeframe was the Sagan nuclear winter hypothesis.

    It’s clear based on the comments that there were in fact books, news storeis and popular treatments on the ‘coming ice age’ (eg, also a BBC show in 1974). We have 3 vectors: Real science, popularization of science in the media, and what is told to children.

    It should not surprise us that real science is more responsible, balanced and less prone to hype and unwarranted conclusions than popular media of

    Current the educational indoctrination action du jour is to subject schoolchildren to Al Gore’s AIT film. While his film’s viewpoint is supported here, but let me make point out that its got its share of dangerous simplification. Eg: Any responsible climate scientist should cringe when Al Gore in AIT points to Antartica and said “*If* this ice goes away”, sea levels will rise 20 feet. Nice if-based escape clause, but that’s preying on fears. Antartica’s ice is not decreasing and IPCC has made clear that it would take well over 10C heating in the antarctic to make that happen. It wont happen. Al didnt say how impossible it would be to make it go away. Its been there for millions of years, during periods when earth was much warmer, and will remain there even under extreme conditions. When you subject a grade-schooler to this, they pick up on the inflection “Oh, the south pole is melting” and not the caveats.

    Popular treatments/media and simplified explanations for schools take out the caveats and uncertainties. Thus they are more prone to irresponsibly creating incorrect impressions. Those treatments are what gets impressed on people’s minds, not the science.

    If the claim in dispute is that there was a scientific consensus about global cooling, its been put to rest here (but I havent heard that claim).
    If the claim was that there was media hype about a coming ice age in the 1970s, there was indeed some such hype.

    And in any case, isn’t a future ice age somewhat predictably expected, in say 5,000- 15,000 years, given the last million years of climate cycling (viz thread comments on drivers of Ice Ages)?
    So isnt the real story here one of taking a mundane truth (“a future ice age is likely in many thousands of years”) into a hyped-up fear (“we are all going to freeze!”) for the sake of selling readers/viewers?

  227. A. Nony Mouse:

    “Thomas Siefferman, how do you explain the cooling stratosphere, in spite of the warming surface temperatures?”

    What cooling stratosphere? Cooling from 1980 to 1995 but TLS seems to have flattened out since the mid 1990s:

    http://www.ssmi.com/msu/msu_data_description.html#msu_amsu_trend_map_tls

    [Response: These stratospheric trends: http://acd.ucar.edu/~randel/2007GL032218.pdf (Note that MSU4/TLS is responding mostly to ozone depletion so you expect it to be plateauing). - gavin]

  228. Jim Eaton:

    Re: 226 A. Nony Mouse Says:

    “Any responsible climate scientist should cringe when Al Gore in AIT points to Antartica and said “*If* this ice goes away”, sea levels will rise 20 feet. Nice if-based escape clause, but that’s preying on fears. Antartica’s ice is not decreasing and IPCC has made clear that it would take well over 10C heating in the antarctic to make that happen. It wont happen. Al didnt say how impossible it would be to make it go away. Its been there for millions of years, during periods when earth was much warmer, and will remain there even under extreme conditions.”

    Ice sheets in Antarctica have melted in warmer times, and sea level has been higher:

    “Sea levels during several previous interglacial were about 3 to as much as 20 meters higher than current sea level. The evidence comes from two different but complementary types of studies. One line of evidence is provided by old shoreline features (figure. 3). Wave-cut terraces and beach deposits from regions as separate as the Caribbean and the North Slope of Alaska suggest higher sea levels during past interglacial times. A second line of evidence comes from sediments cored from below the existing Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets. The fossils and chemical signals in the sediment cores indicate that both major ice sheets were greatly reduced from their current size or even completely melted one or more times in the recent geologic past.”

    http://abdulazeem.wordpress.com/2006/11/03/consequences-of-polar-ice-melting-rising-sea-levels/

  229. A. Nony Mouse:

    Gavin, Thx. Figure 4 of the Shine et al paper shows the observed stratosphere cooling trend from 1979-1997, but no 1995-present trend is shown. Is your comment wrt ozone depletion confirming that stratosphere temperatures have plateau’d since the mid 1990s?

    [Response: No. Lower strat temperatures are mostly controlled by ozone depletion which has plateaued. Mid strat and higher (up to the mesosphere) temperatures are still cooling. - gavin]

  230. Jim Bullis:

    In regard to:

    Rando Says:
    18 April 2008 at 12:51 PM
    Re: Jim Bullis
    Not that the topic of SST impact on storm charactistics and resulting feedbacks isn’t interesting, I believe the original post was in response to observed (percieved?) cooling in the 1970’s that gets referenced by some as evidence of dominant non-anthropogenic (or at least poorly understood) climate influences.

    I respond:
    Rando
    The post discusses anecdotes and what scientists said in the 1970′s regarding cooling or warming in the 1970′s, as you say, however I am more interested in whether or not there is an underlying physical process that would slow the changes in temperature due to GHG effects. And thus, make it more difficult to get a clear measurement.

    Warmer surface temperatures do cause increased storm activity. The effect of increased storm activity is to increase vertical mixing of ocean water. Vertical mixing will cool the ocean surface and this will cool the atmosphere. The effect of GHG should be looked for in the changes in deep ocean temperature gradients. This should also be part of the climate modeling programs. It does not seem to be. Although it seems to be a factor considered in the thermohaline circulation modeling, there seems to be a more direct link to the surface temperature that is missing.

  231. Hank Roberts:

    > This should also be part of the climate modeling programs.
    > It does not seem to be.

    How did you come to that belief? Did you look for yourself, or are you relying on some source for it? Why do you trust your source?

    http://www.google.com/search?q=%22climate+model%22+deep+ocean+temperature

  232. Jim Bullis:

    RE 231, Hank Roberts,

    Yes, I looked at the modeling programs in as much depth as I could, though this was limited to looking at the inputs and the data fields listed. This was in a description available on the Internet for the model used by the Boulder, Los Alamos people, as I recall. I also noted a statement that the “Parallel Ocean Program” was not significantly coupled to the main model. I also noted an instruction for running this main model that it was appropriate to “tweak” it to get alignment with past climate data. This gives some credence to the “curve fitting” assessment by Lindzen.

    I also got answers here at Real Climate saying the process I describe is accounted for as part of the thermohaline circulation calculations. It is my own experience and knowledge of vertical mixing effects on underwater sound propagation that suggests that the vertical mixing is much more powerful on a local basis, and as such is not adequately represented in the thermohaline circulation.

    I trust the Real Climate group for honest answers. I have found it takes some dialog to get to the bottom of things. I appreciate the Real Climate resource for making this possible.

    Thanks for the link. I have not plowed through all of what it turns up, but the first reference describes an analysis that does not account for wind driven mixing. The second references turns up a paper by Lindzen that indeed reports deep ocean warming. This, according to me, and maybe even Lindzen ( I have more to read), supports the idea that surface temperatures lag the trends predicted by the models due to the fact that there is an enormous reservoir of cold water that must be accounted for, and that may slow some of the global warming effects.

    I also looked at the thermohaline current discussion by the Berlin scientist, where then Atlantic Gulf Stream was discussed relative to the thermohaline currents. He said as I recall, the Gulf steam was only 30% driven by the thermohaline circulation forces, and the rest was wind driven.

    Thus, the response here at Real Climate, that the deep ocean cold water effects were coupled through the thermohaline circulation effects, seems to suggest that a lot of ocean dynamic effects are yet to be factored into the modeling predictions.

    And yes, I am not just imagining things. It has been some time since I was directly involved with underwater sound research with equipment at 2000 meters in the Atlantic, but I recall there was actual damage to such equipment as the result of hurricanes. It is only through oil company reports, but I fully believe it to be true that significant damages of deep water equipment at similar depths were incurred in the gulf as a result of Katrina.

    I hope no one thinks I am suggesting that global warming is not a serious problem. At most, I might be thinking that the ramifications could play out a little differently than some seem to be saying. I do not take lightly the idea that the deeper ocean would be warming to soak up heat due to our excessive use of energy. This will come to haunt us in ways not yet fully realized. Neither is it particularly attractive to think there would be an ongoing need for storms to cause the mixing to keep happening.

  233. Jim Bullis:

    Re my last 232

    The damage I spoke of had to have been related to proximity to land since waves in the deep ocean do not cause water motion that deep. Checking on this, I find that strong hurricanes in the open ocean could mix water down to about 300 meters. The mixing that could occur due to land proximity would not be as general, but it could still cause some vertical mixing.

    But ignoring land effects, open ocean water is generally about 8 to 10 degrees C at 300 meters. This is still cold enough to slow things down for a while since over 90% of the world’s oceans are this deep or greater.

  234. Hank Roberts:

    > damages of deep water equipment at similar depths were
    > incurred in the gulf as a result of Katrina.

    “… mud slides, especially during and after strong hurricanes that cause extreme currents.”
    http://news.mst.edu/research/2005/dunnnorman0905.html

  235. Jim Bullis:

    Re 234, and 130-233

    Thanks for the link. The extremely strong currents are not as deep as I had thought, and seem to be limited to proximity to land. However, it remains a meaningful question as to how far such currents extend to much deeper water as they dissipate.

    However, I am now thinking that the above mentioned land proximity processes are not the main issue.

    That main issue is vertical mixing due to the long wavelength, very large waves in hurricanes and lesser storms. These waves produce circular currents down to depths approximating their wavelengths. Very powerful hurricanes have reportedly generated wavelengths over 300 meters. The circular currents move in relatively small circles so as to move and mix water vertically. This 300 meters is large enough to be quite important in moving cold water upwards. I will look for a reference on this.

  236. Steve:

    Between 1965 and 1979 we found (see table 1 for details):

    * 7 articles predicting cooling
    * 44 predicting warming
    * 20 that were neutral

    Do we know what is the current ratio of articles is?

  237. Mae Frantz:

    Today in Climatology class our prof read us passages from “The Deniers” that summarized the consensus scientific view of global cooling in the 1970s, complete with quotes from Bryson and Fairbridge. Thanks for providing some balance. As a conscientious student, I appreciate this resource for fact-checking the one-sided argument presented in class.
    Next week we learn that the effect of human influence on climate change is minimal, and that if enhanced greenhouse forcing is occurring, the results of it are relatively benign.

  238. john:

    I didn’t read all of the comments, but I read enough. I like the responses to the statement made on scientific curricula of the 70′s; it being something along the lines of produce a text book that taught the coming ice age or it doesn’t exist. Fact is, I was taught that for years -and we had fearful class discussions of the impact on mankind by the coming ice age. The texts taught it, and the science teachers banged on the mantra. If you refute this with “produce a text book” you are 1. not old enough to have attended school in the 70′s, 2. you sklept during science class, were out those two weeks, or you were in remedial eduction classes, 3. you are being dishonest.

    The coming ice age was taught in American class rooms as fact in the 70′s, just as AGW is taught today. Produce a text book? Laughable.

    [Response: What's funny is that no-one has produced one. Not one! Are there no teachers still alive that taught it? Or libraries? Or second-hand bookstores? What's even funnier is that you seem to think we should just take you at your word that these 'books' existed, and not only existed, but were used everywhere, and yet no-one can remember the title, the authors, the publishers or the text. Not terribly convincing, I'm afraid. PS. I was in school in the 1970's and I don't remember any such thing. - gavin]

  239. spilgard:

    Re 238,
    And everyone from my generation distinctly remembers being at Woodstock, including the 99.99% of us who weren’t there.

  240. john:

    Harcourt Brace

    http://www.harcourt.com/bu_info/harcourt_school.html

    Ask for an old edition

    [edit]

    [Response: Of what? - gavin]

  241. Kevin McKinney:

    Re 238–I wasn’t taught any such thing in the 70s either. You can, however, get around memory issues by Googling the contemporaneous NAS statement on the subject, which says there is no basis to conclude that global cooling was imminent.

    Re 239–My understanding was that *only* those not there, remember being there. ;)

  242. Mark:

    It’s quite simple Gavin, all you have to to is go to the library and ask “Can I have a copy of an old book that john read that tells us that the world was going to freeze”.

    And then the librarian will tell you “I’m afraid we don’t have that in stock sir” and then YOU say “Can you please order it for me, then. Thanks”.

    Then she’ll say “Certainly sir.”

    That’s how you get an old copy.

  243. Jim Eager:

    Oh, spilgard, did you have to go and make me spit my tea all over my display?

    Maybe john was there and didn’t listen to the warning about not dropping the brown acid.