### Once more unto the bray

Filed under: — gavin @ 23 July 2008

We are a little late to the party, but it is worth adding a few words now that our favourite amateur contrarian is at it again. As many already know, the Forum on Physics and Society (an un-peer-reviewed newsletter published by the otherwise quite sensible American Physical Society), rather surprisingly published a new paper by Monckton that tries again to show using rigorous arithmetic that IPCC is all wrong and that climate sensitivity is negligible. His latest sally, like his previous attempt, is full of the usual obfuscating sleight of hand, but to save people the time in working it out themselves, here are a few highlights.

As Deltoid quickly noticed the most egregious error is a completely arbitrary reduction (by 66%) of the radiative forcing due to CO2. He amusingly justifies this with reference to tropical troposphere temperatures – neglecting of course that temperatures change in response to forcing and are not the forcing itself. And of course, he ignores the evidence that the temperature changes are in fact rather uncertain, and may well be much more in accord with the models than he thinks.

But back to his main error: Forcing due to CO2 can be calculated very accurately using line-by-line radiative transfer codes (see Myhre et al 2001; Collins et al 2006). It is normally done for a few standard atmospheric profiles and those results weighted to produce a global mean estimate of 3.7 W/m2 – given the variations in atmospheric composition (clouds, water vapour etc.) uncertainties are about 10% (or 0.4 W/m2) (the spatial pattern can be seen here). There is no way that it is appropriate to arbitrarily divide it by three.

There is a good analogy to gas mileage. The gallon of gasoline is equivalent to the forcing, the miles you can go on a gallon is the response (i.e. temperature), and thus the miles per gallon is analogous to the climate sensitivity. Thinking that forcing should be changed because of your perception of the temperature change is equivalent to deciding after the fact that you only put in third of a gallon because you ran out of gas earlier than you expected. The appropriate response would be to think about the miles per gallon – but you’d need to be sure that you measured the miles travelled accurately (a very big issue for the tropical troposphere).

But Monckton is not satisfied with just a factor of three reduction in sensitivity. So he makes another dodgy claim. Note that Monckton starts off using the IPCC definition of climate sensitivity as the forcing associated with a concentration of 2xCO2 – this is the classical “Charney Sensitivity” and does not include feedbacks associated with carbon cycle, vegetation or ice-sheet change. Think of it this way – if humans raise CO2 levels to 560 ppm from 280 ppm through our emissions, and then as the climate warms the carbon cycle starts adding even more CO2 to the atmosphere, then the final CO2 will be higher and the temperature will end up higher than standard sensitivity would predict, but you are no longer dealing with the sensitivity to 2xCO2. Thus the classical climate sensitivity does not include any carbon cycle feedback term. But Monckton puts one in anyway.

You might ask why he would do this. Why add another positive feedback to the mix when he is aiming to minimise the climate sensitivity? The answer lies in the backwards calculations he makes to derive the feedbacks. At this point, I was going to do a full analysis of that particular calculation – but I was scooped. So instead of repeating the work, I’ll refer you there. The short answer is that by increasing the feedbacks incorrectly, he makes the ‘no-feedback’ temperature smaller (since he is deriving it from the reported climate sensitivities divided by the feedbacks). This reverses the causality since the ‘no-feedback’ value is actually independent of the feedbacks, and is much better constrained.

There are many more errors in his piece – for instance he accuses the IPCC of not defining radiative forcing in the Summary for Policy Makers and not fixing this despite requests. Umm… except that the definition is on the bottom of page 2. He bizarrely compares the net anthropogenic forcing to date with the value due to CO2 alone and then extrapolates that difference to come up with a meaningless ‘total anthropogenic forcings Del F_2xCO2’. His derivations and discussions of the no-feedback sensitivity and feedbacks is extremely opaque (a much better description is given on the first couple of pages of Hansen et al, 1984)). His discussion of the forcings in that paper are wrong (it’s 4.0 W/m2 for 2xCO2 (p135), not 4.8 W/m2), and the no-feedback temperature change is 1.2 (Hansen et al, 1988, p9360), giving k=0.30 C/(W/m2) (not his incorrect 0.260 C/(W/m2) value). Etc… Needless to say, the multiple errors completely undermine the conclusions regarding climate sensitivity.

Generally speaking, these are the kinds of issues that get spotted by peer-reviewers: are the citations correctly interpreted? is the mathematics correct? is the reasoning sound? do the conclusions follow? etc. In this case, there really wouldn’t have been much left, and so it is fair to conclude that Monckton’s piece only saw the light of day because it wasn’t peer-reviewed, not because it was. Claims that the suggested edits from the editor of the newsletter constitute ‘peer-review’ are belied by the editor’s obvious unfamiliarity with the key concepts of forcing and feedback – and the multitude of basic errors still remaining. The even more egregious claims that this paper provides “Mathematical proof that there is no ‘climate crisis’ ” or is “a major, peer-reviewed paper in Physics and Society, a learned journal of the 10,000-strong American Physical Society” are just bunk (though amusing in their chutzpah).

The rational for the FPS publication of this note was to ‘open up the debate’ on climate change. The obvious ineptitude of this contribution underlines quite effectively how little debate there is on the fundamentals if this is the best counter-argument that can be offered.

### 536 Responses to “Once more unto the bray”

1. 451
manacker says:

Quick reply to Hank Roberts (445)

“Where do you find the idea that it was a revolutionary change?”

It represented a shift in the prevailing paradigm, and it came from scientists outside the normal scientific discipline (paleontology), just as molecular genetics shed new light on theories about the origin of human ancestors, again coming from outside the normal scientific disciplines studying this topic, that’s all.

Sorry about typo in Nassim Taleb’s first name. “The Black Swan” is worth reading. Describes many of the pitfalls of long range predicting.

Max

2. 452
manacker says:

More for Hank Roberts (445)

The James Martin “Risk in the 21st Century” series of lectures sounds interesting. Did you attend any? Here are two I am sorry I missed, that many posters on this site might also have found interesting (in particular the second one):

Didier Sornette, Professor on the Chair of Entrepreneurial Risks, ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)

Endogenous versus Exogenous Origins of Crises: catastrophic “kings” and predictability
Are large biological extinctions such as the Cretaceous/Tertiary KT boundary due to a meteorite, extreme volcanic activity or self-organized critical extinction cascades? Are commercial successes due to a progressive reputation cascade or the result of a well orchestrated advertisement? Are financial crashes due to external shocks or to self-organized instabilities? Etc.

Leonard A. Smith, Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford; Research Professor in Statistics, London School of Economics, and Director – Centre for the Analysis of Time Series

Model Error, Real World Risk: Probabilistic Pathways but Probably not Probabilities
Modelling climate risk today involves extrapolation with models that are known not to be empirically adequate given past observations. Can we constructively contribute to policy making and decision support, while acknowledging the limitations of our current ability to usefully simulate?

Or should we consciously oversell model output which we expect to have no empirical relevance as “best available information” and offer to “climate-proof” those who fund our research, or purchase commercial products based upon it? The shifting focus of climate science, from the broad brush questions of establishing that anthropogenic climate change was a reality to detailed questions of policy and decisions support, suggests the need for a frank and honest discussion of the current limits of the science in these new goals. All climate is local: What are the space and time scales on which we believe our current models have decision-relevant information? And how is that information best expressed?

This talk will touch on questions of real decision support (cables under the streets of london and new york; the kitchen in The George), ambiguity in existing models (the uncertainty of local change given global temperature change), the quality of the connection at the model/reality interface in the absence of empirical adequacy, and relevant foundational questions on the mathematics of complicated nonlinear dynamical systems.

While attempts to attack the problems discussed may prove rather technical, this talk will aim to pose the central difficulties in an intuitive, nontechnical way, without masking the fundamental difficulties involved.”

Interesting stuff.

Max

3. 453
Hank Roberts says:

Manacker, point, don’t copy the whole thing here, eh?
People can find it. The “All climate is local” idea is peculiar to economics and dubious there. Sornette is interesting but has been predicting market crashes for years yet missed the current one. Just pointed to this to say the thread here is on point about a major issue needing attention and beginning to get it many places.

4. 454
Hugh says:

# 4 degrees 449

Hi 4, I would suggest that although the Climate Change Bill final impact assessment only seems to mention ‘Dangerous Climate Change’ rather than any specified threshold, then as we are part of the EU then this Communication from the Commission will be our guide. Not forgetting of course that the 2 degree figure was agreed in Exeter

Climate change is happening. Urgent action is required to limit it to a manageable level. The EU must adopt the necessary domestic measures and take the lead internationally to ensure that global average temperature increases do not exceed pre-industrial levels by more than 2°C.

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/en/com/2007/com2007_0002en01.pdf

5. 455
Joseph O'Sullivan says:

From gristmill:
“For any fan of his work (or detractor, or curious passerby), Island Press offers a FREE download of our 1988 title, “The Challenge of Global Warming,” to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Dr. Hansen’s Congressional testimony introducing the issue to the Senate Energy and National Resources Committee.”

http://www.islandpress.org/challengeofglobalwarming

6. 456
Ian Forrester says:

Manacker said “The age and origin of human ancestors has experienced a similar paradigm shift when molecular genetics challenged previous knowledge gleaned by the “insiders” (the archeologists, paleontologists and geochronologists) from their fossil carbon dating” and “just as molecular genetics shed new light on theories about the origin of human ancestors”.

Both of these statements are wrong. The first is wrong because “fossil carbon dating” (I assume you mean C14 dating) doesn’t go far enough back to tell us anything about the origin of human ancestors. C14 dating can only give us information about recent activities of man, not man’s ancestors.

Your second statement is also wrong. Biochemists have studied protein sequences as a measure of evolution and dating of species divergence for over 40 years which predates the molecular biologists DNA sequence studies by at least 30 years.

7. 457
4 Degrees says:

Hugh (at 454)

The EU Communication linked is useful in that it does illustrate the awareness of the EU of the need for limitation (at 2 degrees C) and serves to propose some mechanisms for carbon reduction. However, there remains a legislative gap in that there are no statutory instruments operative either on or within the EU States. It is because of this gap that the proposed Climate Change Bill within the UK remains unearthed with targets that are floating. The legislative gap, both at EU and national levels, needs to be addressed for there is otherwise the potential for numerous breaches of duty of care, particularly as government bodies at EU and national levels are aware of the potential for dangerous climate change and the overiding necessity to avoid it and to avoid putting their citizens at risk of harm.

8. 458
Rod B says:

I’m all in favor of archiving this blog (thread) for posterity and historical reference… assuming it can be studied outside the glee club.

9. 459
Rod B says:

Mark (450), if you thought it irrelevant, why didn’t you and everybody else just quietly ignore it? (I know why.) The (one) answer to my question was not irrelevant. Neither, btw, were your alls answers to my non-question. Both just got tiring. News Flash: using linear regression to find trends is one form of “smoothing out”, which btw is done precisely to compromise the errors. Or, if I’m wrong, quickly go tell tamino, dhogaza, Hank Ray, et al.

(That loud thudding is my head banging the brick wall…)

10. 460
manacker says:

Message to Ian Forrester

Sorry, Ian, your post does not change the fact that “outsiders” to the specific scientific discipline involved in establishing the prevailing paradigm, have sometimes been exactly those that have challenged and eventually have broken the prevailing paradigm, thereby causing a “paradigm shift”.

Will Svensmark be such an “outsider” that challenges (and eventually breaks) the prevailing paradigm of AGW (due primarily to CO2)?

Who knows? You do not. I do not. Gavin Schmidt does not. Svensmark does not. We’ll all have to wait and see what comes out of CERN plus what happens to global temperatures now that the 11,000-year record period of high solar activity in the late 20th century has stopped and the sun has entered a very inactive phase, at the same time that global temperatures have plummeted.

It is an interesting time, Ian, and we will all learn a lot of new things as our knowledge of the Earth’s climate improves beyond the very primitive level where it stands today.

Reports like the latest IPCC AR4 WG1 and 2007 SPM can well be out-of-date before the ink dries, due to new discoveries, such as (just as an example) the discovery by Roy Spencer et al. based on physical observations, that cloud feedbacks with increased temperature are strongly negative instaed of strongly positive, as assumed in all the models cited by IPCC AR4.

And, Ian, be prepared for new information from outside the current “climatology herd” to break and replace the currrently prevailing paradigms of the herd.

It will happen, just as it has happened in many scientific fields before.

That’s the way that science works, Ian.

Regards,

Max

11. 461
manacker says:

Quickie to Hank Roberts

No need to copy the whole preamble by Sornette.

What I copied tells the story, particularly the Leonard A. Smith dissertation on the limitations of climate models, as expressed in the quotation, “Can we constructively contribute to policy making and decision support, while acknowledging the limitations of our current ability to usefully simulate? Or should we consciously oversell model output which we expect to have no empirical relevance as ‘best available information’ and offer to ‘climate-proof’ those who fund our research, or purchase commercial products based upon it?”

Smith has a valid point: These are basic questions that should be asked and answered before discussing any significant changes in policy, such as carbon taxes or cap and trade schemes to force a reduction of CO2 emissions.

Regards,

Max

[Response: Smith is making a far more subtle argument concerning short term decadal predictions than you appear to appreciate. It has very little to do with long term mitigation. – gavin]

12. 462
manacker says:

I believe John Mathon in his post #325 of 4 August did an excellent job of explaining why “rational skeptics” reject much of the hysteria surrounding the current scientific debate on climate change.

Add to this the recent evidence (from two completely different reports, both based on physical observations rather than climate model outputs) that the net SW and LW feedback from clouds is strongly negative, rather than positive (as assumed in all climate models) and you have a serious reason to doubt IPCC predictions of 2-4K 2xCO2 climate sensitivity, as John has pointed out.

Just taking the figures from IPCC AR4 of 1.9K including all feedbacks except clouds and 3.2K including all feedbacks including clouds, shows that the models have been programmed with an assumed strong positive feedback from clouds.

Now that we have physical observations that the net feedback from clouds is strongly negative, rather than strongly positive, we can conclude that the overall 2xCO2 climate sensitivity is probably below 1K.

As we have already experienced (at 380 ppmv CO2 today) around 45% of the 2xCO2 warming experienced from pre-industrial 1750 (280 ppmv CO2) to far-in-the-future 2100 (560 ppmv CO2), this means there is about 0.5K to 0.6K warming to be expected from CO2 from today to the year 2100.

John Mathon is right. As Shakespeare would say, all the current hysteria is really “Much Ado About Nothing”.

Max

[Response: This is an interesting comment – not in content, but in approach. True science is all about the uncertainty – quantifying it, reducing it, worrying about it. Yet, this comment takes a single apparently favorable result as gospel, ignores all other evidence for significant sensitivity and encourages us all to pack up are things and go home. No uncertainty there. Instead a dogmatic certainty that everything the scientific community has been worried about can be dismissed with a stroke of Roy Spencer’s pen. It must be a comforting philosophy – though not one that is likely to survive more frequent brushes with reality. – gavin]

13. 463

Mike Tabony writes:

Would it be too simplistic to say that we expect global warming to cause statospheric cooling because more of the heat that would be heating the stratosphere is getting trapped below in the troposphere by the increases in greenhouse gas levels there? Any heat trapped by the troposphere is not available to heat the stratosphere and only some of the additional trapped heat would be radiated to the stratosphere with the rest going to the surface including the biosphere. Hence the stratosphere would cool. Too simplistic?

Well, the troposphere blocking more infrared is certainly part of it. The other part is that temperatures in the stratosphere are the result of a balance between absorption of sunlight by ozone and radiation of infrared by carbon dioxide. The more carbon dioxide in the stratosphere, the quicker it loses heat, so more CO2 means, all else being equal, a colder stratosphere. There’s also an effect from ozone depletion, but it doesn’t account for all the data.

[Response: It’s only the tropospheric blocking of the IR at the CO2 bands that makes the absorption in the stratosphere lower (while at the same time emission increases due to higher CO2 there as well). Thus there is a net cooling from CO2 everywhere above the tropopause. – gavin]

14. 464
SecularAnimist says:

manaker wrote: “Will Svensmark be such an ‘outsider’ that challenges (and eventually breaks) the prevailing paradigm of AGW (due primarily to CO2)?”

No, because global warming caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions is not a “paradigm”, it is an empirically observed reality.

15. 465
4 Degrees says:

Adding to Secular’s point in post 464 about AGW being an empirically observed reality, it is worth noting that a sceptical administration set up a body in 2002 to review the validity of climate science before making any policy decisions. That body has recently reported:

According to the article: “AS THE Bush administration enters its final months, the US Climate Change Science Program has issued a report concluding that computer models do effectively simulate climate. It also accepts that the models show human activity was responsible for the rapid warming of the 20th century.

The report is the 10th of 21 due to be issued by the body, which the sceptical Bush administration set up late in 2002 to review the validity of climate-change science before making policy decisions.

“The evidence is pretty convincing that the models give a good simulation of climate,” lead author David Bader of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California told reporters last week.

Seems we may be on the verge of sort of mutation as AGW skeptics morph into …

16. 466
Chris Colose says:

manacker,

despite your assertions, no one has shown there to be a substantial negative feedback from clouds yet. Even if you don’t trust the quantitative analysis from paleoclimate reconstructions, just thinking intuitively about the large changes between glacial-interglacial cycles, the snowballs, the hothouses, etc (you know, the idea that “climate is always changing” we here from skeptics so much), it makes no sense to argue for a low sensitivity.

As for Spencer, he’s inferring what he calls a “feedback” from a specific form of variability that’s controlled by other things. It has nothing to do with the long-term climate feedback. All he’s seeing is the MJO (in the winter, it starts in the warm Indian Ocean or West Pacific with clouds, convection, and rain; it extends eastward past the date line to cooler regions where the clouds and rain diminish). The large-scale temperature anomaly reaches its peak as the effect of the original heating anomaly over warmer water is felt elsewhere. By calling this the peak of the MJO he’s going to associate drying with warming, but he’s just seeing a propagating wave move to a drier area of the world, and he excludes the land from his analysis where the convection is by the time the atmsophere has warmed.

Which was the second paper?

There are a lot of people working on this subject, and while the numbers for sensitivity may change slightly, the estimates in the IPCC AR4 report are in line with the best scholarship.

17. 467
Jim Galasyn says:

Rod says, News Flash: using linear regression to find trends is one form of “smoothing out”, which btw is done precisely to compromise the errors.

What?

18. 468
Mark says:

Rod B, #459.

I think the question you need to answer first is why did you continue to ask the question several times more after even you admitted it was irrelevant?

After all, if *I* think it irrelevant, I could be wrong. But if you’re not going to believe yourself, what are you doing here?

PS “smoothing out” removes the noise. Why is it important? Without them, you have no clue what the numbers MEAN.

Rolling a 1d6:

3
1
4
6
5
4

Was that dice kosher or not?

You take the numbers, see what the average is and if it’s not 3.5 it must be crooked?

3.83333

Crooked.

Oh, hang on, take the NOISE and find out what the standard deviation is.

1.7

So no way to tell.

If I’d smoothed it out, I would have something like:

3
2
3
4
4
4

Smoothed more:

3
3
3
4
4
4

Hey, look, my dice throws higher and higher numbers!!! IT MUST BE CROOKED!!!

To everyone else, I apologise for this junior-school level of statistics primer but Rod B seems to have skipped classes when younger.

19. 469
manacker says:

Hi Chris Colose,

Thanks for your input (466). It’s nice to have your opinion on the meaning of Spencer’s study, but I guess I have to give a bit more credence to Spencer’s opinion than yours, if you’ll pardon me.

He observes a strong negative feedback from clouds (rather than a strong positive feedback as assumed in all the GCMs cited by IPCC).

He explains why this is so: The physical observations show that warming cirroform clouds decrease with increased tropospheric warmth rather than increase as assumed in all GCMs. In his study he concedes that the time scales observed are relatively short (15 cycles measured over a 5-year period), but states that all climate fluctuations involving moist convection adjustment are short (water vapor, clouds, precipitation) and that their long-term behavior should be considered when testing cloud parameterization in GCMs used to project global warming.

In a fairly easy to understand later presentation, Spencer explains how natural variability causes errors in feedback estimates, how Lindzen’s “infrared iris” hypothesis works in nature and how his physical observations validated the negative feedback from clouds as hypothesized by Lindzen.
http://www.weatherquestions.com/Recent-Evidence-Reduced-Sensitivity-NYC-3-4-08.pps

The other paper that showed a long-term cooling feedback from clouds is
http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/presentations/Caltechweb.pdf

Ramanathan et al. concluded “the magnitude as well as the sign of the cloud feedback is uncertain”.

IPCC 2007 SPM conceded: “Clouds remain the greatest source of uncertainty”.

There is no physical evidence for a positive (warming) feedback effect from clouds as postulated by IPCC, and there are physical observations that actually validate the hypothesis of strong negative (cooling) feedback.

Enough said.

Regards,

Max

[Response: Not enough understood unfortunately. Take timescales – what is the timescale for Spencer’s correlations? What is the timescale for climate equilibration? Try mechanisms – what are the dynamics of Spencer’s oscillations (clue – look up MJO) and what do they have to do with ocean driven SST changes (another clue – nothing). There is a ton of evidence for significant climate sensitivity – which you have continued to ignore in each of your missives. Yet you are certain Spencer is correct – hmmm… I wonder why. – gavin]

20. 470
manacker says:

Hi Gavin,

Thanks for your interpretation of Smith’s argument (461).

“Smith is making a far more subtle argument concerning short term decadal predictions than you appear to appreciate. It has very little to do with long term mitigation. – gavin”

Guess I can say that I just do not buy your interpretation of his argument.

Let me requote Smith here, to make it easier for you to grasp his message, rather than getting wrapped around the axle of illogic by debating “short term decadal” versus “long term” simulations, which has absolutely nothing to do with the issue being discussed.

“Can we constructively contribute to policy making and decision support, while acknowledging the limitations of our current ability to usefully simulate? Or should we consciously oversell model output which we expect to have no empirical relevance as ‘best available information’ and offer to ‘climate-proof’ those who fund our research, or purchase commercial products based upon it?”

It is the “limitations of our current ability to usefully simulate” (i.e. the weakness of GCMs cited by IPCC to make robust and realistic projections) that begs the question, “can these be used to constructively contribute to policy making and decision support?”
Or (as he puts it) “should we consciously oversell model output which we expect to have no empirical relevance as ‘best available information’ (as IPCC is now doing) and offer to ‘climate-proof’ those who fund our research”?

Much deeper question than you seemed to realize, Gavin.

Regards,

Max

[Response: Ah, I see. If you just repeat the same thing over again, that imbues it with more context. Right. Perhaps you’d care to point me to the IPCC statement where the offer to ‘climate-proof’ funders is made? Perhaps you could link to the presentation that Smith actually made where he answers his questions? (my answers are “yes” and “no” for what it’s worth). Or is simply asking rhetorical questions your definition of a proof? – gavin]

21. 471
manacker says:

Message to SecularAnimist

To my question, “Will Svensmark be such an ‘outsider’ that challenges (and eventually breaks) the prevailing paradigm of AGW (due primarily to CO2)?”

You replied (464), “No, because global warming caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions is not a “paradigm”, it is an empirically observed reality.”

Let’s analyze that.

Greenhouse warming is an accepted hypothesis, as is the assertion that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. It is the accepted “paradigm” today.

The causation of 20th century warming from increased human CO2 emissions has not been directly validated by physical observations, but a viable correlation exists for the period since 1976, at least up until 2001, since which time temperature has cooled off slightly (rather than warm), despite all-time record CO2 emissions.

The period 1944-1976 also saw a slight cooling trend, despite rapidly increasing CO2 emissions, and the period 1910-1944 saw a larger linear temperature increase than the period following 1976 (the IPCC “poster-period”), despite much lower human CO2 emissions.

Svensmark has pointed out a similar correlation between solar activity and global climate, going back much further than the observed record. It has been pointed out that since around 1980 this correlation no longer seems to hold. This has even been referred to (by AGW proponents) as the “fatal flaw” in his hypothesis, which is now being tested on a large scale at CERN.

One could just as well cite the periods 1944-1976 or 2001-2007 as the “fatal flaw” of the AGW theory. Neither proves anything about either hypothesis.

So far we have only discussed greenhouse warming as defined by the hypothesis.

This can be readily accepted by most rational skeptics. More suspect are all the positive feedbacks which have been programmed into the climate models cited by IPCC to increase the 2xCO2 climate sensitivity without feedbacks (as specified by IPCC) of under 1°C to an inflated figure of 3.2°C.

This has nothing to do with greenhouse theory per se, but it has become part of the currently accepted “consensus” or “paradigm” on AGW. Recent studies have shown that some of these feedbacks (clouds) are not strongly positive (as assumed in IPCC models) but strongly negative, in effect canceling out all of the positive feedback warming effect and putting 2xCO2 climate sensitivity below 1°C rather than 3.2°C as assumed by IPCC.

Based on these recent observations of a negative cloud feedback and, more importantly, if CERN does, indeed, validate Svensmark’s hypothesis that changes in solar activity affect cosmic rays which, in turn, affect cloud formation in our troposphere, we have a whole new ballgame, and the current “paradigm” of predominantly human influence on climate resulting from CO2 emissions may be broken and replaced by a new “paradigm”.

Regards,

Max

[Response: No it won’t, for the obvious reason that the absorption of infra-red radiation by CO2 is an experimentally determined fact that has been known for over 100 years. No experimental result from CERN will change that. I have discussed Svensmark’s chutzpah in asserting otherwise many times. – gavin]

22. 472
Marcus says:

Max says “Smith has a valid point: These are basic questions that should be asked and answered before discussing any significant changes in policy, such as carbon taxes or cap and trade schemes to force a reduction of CO2 emissions.”

Smith says “The shifting focus of climate science, from the broad brush questions of establishing that anthropogenic climate change was a reality to detailed questions of policy and decisions support, suggests the need for a frank and honest discussion of the current limits of the science in these new goals.”

Hmm. I think it is pretty clear that Smith believes that anthropogenic climate change is a reality, and that the problem is not overselling _local_ predictions of temperature change for adaptation purposes, rather than _global_ predictions of temperature change for mitigation purposes.

Note that Smith has also said “Therefore, we must incorporate insights from our models as the best guide for the future.” And phrases like “Given only one planet, this option is not available to us.” suggest that Smith may in fact be quite worried about the consequences of our global climate change experiment.

Finally, I would argue that quotes such as “While I agree strongly with Gavin on the need to improve the communication of science” indicate that Smith and Gavin are already on the same wavelength (and are familiar with each other as colleagues), and therefore Gavin is much more likely to be able to interpret Smith’s writings correctly than you are.

Finally, on the cloud feedback issue: if cloud feedback was really as strongly negative as you claim, how do you explain past temperature changes such as the glacial-interglacial cycle?

23. 473
Hank Roberts says:

Manacker is just fondling, er, fond of the words at that announcement page. Manacker, you should try using the reference library, or your search engine.

Can we trust you to actually go get the journal articles, read them, think about them, and only then claim they are relevant? If not you’re just wasting our time and asking us to help you do your homework.

One more try. Let’s see if there’s a bit of a delay in the response to allow reading and comprehension (and checking footnotes and subsequent citations). If we get a comment that shows he’s actually gotten up to date on the science, well then.

24. 474
Mark says:

manaker #470

Is our inability to know 100% of everything an impediment to deciding? After all, we don’t even know if we exist or are just a construct of a hyper-dimensional being’s simulation.

your continued posting here of strange and unusual queries in the guise of asking for illumination begs the question of why you keep asking questions when you don’t want the answers. Is this because the simulation of this universe has a coding error? Is it because stray thoughts hit the wrong processing node in your noggin? Or is it that there’s no point talking to you because the only answer you’re looking for is confirmation that you are right?

Since you are unable to categorically answer these questions to my satisfaction, are you wasting our time? If so, where are you being paid to waste it from?

Of course, to answer that question we will need to see your bank statements, shopping bills and all other earnings and outgoings (including presents/gifts/training and anything else we can think of plus a few more). After all, if we don’t have the raw data, how can we know we have the truth?

25. 475
SecularAnimist says:

manacker wrote: “Greenhouse warming is an accepted hypothesis, as is the assertion that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.”

Wrong. “Greenhouse warming” and the “greenhouse effect” of CO2 specifically, are empirically observed realities. They are not “hypotheses”.

It is evident that you don’t know what “paradigm” means. It is also evident that you don’t know what “hypothesis” means.

manacker wrote: “The causation of 20th century warming from increased human CO2 emissions has not been directly validated by physical observations …”

Wrong.

manacker wrote: “… up until 2001, since which time temperature has cooled off slightly (rather than warm) …”

Wrong again.

It is increasingly evident that you don’t really know what you are talking about, period. You are making a lot of noise that makes no sense, throwing around words like “paradigm” that you clearly don’t understand but which sound impressive, you are making plainly false assertions, and you are hand-waving at “cosmic rays”. It’s the usual load of pretentious denialist rubbish.

26. 476
manacker says:

Sorry Gavin, you are (purposely?) missing the point again.

It is not whether or not the greenhouse warming hypothesis is valid, or whether or not CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it is whether AGW from human CO2 has been the predominant driver of climate, or whether it shares its driver role with a major contribution from the sun which has so far not yet been validated, which, if validated at CERN, would add more evidence for the exaggeration of the assumed positive feedbacks that multiply the impact of 2xCO2 as postulated by greenhouse theory by a factor 3 to 4. That was the point of the discussion, which you missed. 

Max

[Response: Unfortunately, it is again you who doesn’t understand. Feedbacks are a function of the climate system, not of the specific forcing. They occur in very similar ways to solar forcing, volcanic forcing (though in reverse), greenhouse gas forcing, and they would even with cosmic ray forcing should it be shown to be relevant. They have been determined empirically for LGM – which was not solely GHG driven, from volcanoes (no GHGs at all), from ENSO etc. The discovery of a new forcing doesn’t change any of that. In plain terms, climate sensitivity doesn’t depend on CO2. Maybe you missed that. – gavin]

27. 477
manacker says:

Hi Gavin,

To your assertion “There is a ton of evidence for significant climate sensitivity – which you have continued to ignore in each of your missives. Yet you are certain Spencer is correct – hmmm… I wonder why. – gavin”

I have seen no studies that prove that Spencer is not correct, have you?

Don’t refer me to AR4 WG1 – have already gone through that (groan!), but please provide links to “a ton of evidence” based on physical observations (not model studies) that validate the assumption of a strong net positive feedback from clouds, which raise the climate sebsitivity of 2xCO2 from i.9K to 3.3K, as asserted by IPCC.

Thanks.

Regards,

Max

[Response: By that logic every study that came out last week must be accepted as true because no papers have come out yet refuting them. That, as you well know is not how things work. There are no papers supporting him either. Instead, each new paper is judged on how it fits it to the existing literature – which is replete with studies showing that short term variations are not a good surrogate for long term sensitivity and plenty of papers showing that small values of the sensitivity are completely incompatible with the interglacial cycles, or the Pliocene or the Eocene or the 20th Century. So what is more likely: Spencer actually finding that short term perturbations due to the MJO etc. are surprisingly relevant and that all of that paleo data and previous work is wrong, or that Spencer is just overselling an irrelevant study? You don’t need to answer. – gavin]

28. 478
Rod B says:

Mark (468). more News Flashes: 1) I never said my question was irrelevant. 2) The Sun rises in the East.

Here’s a high school level definition that you (and possibly Jim G??) might find new and interesting: (btw, you could google a jillion similar examples.)

A Linear Regression (LR) line is a trend line that is drawn mathematically so that is represents the ‘best fit’ for the data points it passes through. The formulas use the least squares method to determine the line’s placement. This minimizes the distances between the data points and the trend line.

The algebraic expression for a straight line is: y = b * x + a where b is the slope of the line and a is the y-intercept. The linear regression formula calculate both the b and the a values.

Another idea. Try looking at a graph of a linear regression analysis. Check out the trend line. Then compare it to the data points. And here is where it gets fascinating, the trend line is kinda smooth! (Smooth — having a surface free from roughness or bumps or ridges or irregularities.)

29. 479
Ian Forrester says:

Manacker said: “Sorry, Ian, your post does not change the fact that “outsiders” to the specific scientific discipline involved in establishing the prevailing paradigm, have sometimes been exactly those that have challenged and eventually have broken the prevailing paradigm, thereby causing a “paradigm shift”.

I was responding to some utter nonsense that you posted. Your comments do not support your view about “paradigm shift”. One is complete garbage and the other just shows that as technology and scientific knowledge improves research from one area naturally migrates into another. Nothing earth shattering about that, it happens all the time.

For your information, since you do not seem to understand how science works, science rarely, if ever, makes a “paradigm shift”. This is a bogus term used by the mass media and scientists with over inflated egos. Which are you?

Thomas Huxley had it correct when he stated “So far as I can venture to offer an opinion on such a matter, the purpose of our being in existence, the highest object that human beings can set before themselves, is not the pursuit of any such chimera as the annihilation of the unknown; but it is simply the unwearied endeavour to remove its boundaries a little further from our little sphere of action”.

That is how science really works, just like a jigsaw puzzle, a little piece at a time.

30. 480
David B. Benson says:

Hank Roberts (473), Mark (474) & Gavin (469, 470, 471) — Max Manacker is here, IMO, to waste your time. He continues here his practice from other fora of saying the same ol’ stuff. He never seems to learn anything.

Just so you know. I don’t bother to his his manifestos anymore (but I always read patient Gavin’s replys).

[Capcha correctly states “99%o stung’.]

[Response: There’s definitely something to the delphic captcha thing…. – gavin]

31. 481
manacker says:

Hi Gavin,

To your point about the relative importance of Svensmak’s cosmic ray/cloud hypothesis as a major driver of our planet’s climate and whether or not a validation of this hypothesis at CERN could cause a “paradigm shift” in current climate science, you wrote:: “No it won’t, for the obvious reason that the absorption of infra-red radiation by CO2 is an experimentally determined fact that has been known for over 100 years. No experimental result from CERN will change that. I have discussed Svensmark’s chutzpah in asserting otherwise many times – gavin.”

Yep. I’ve read some of your blurbs on this. Interesting, but not very convincing.

I have not seen anywhere that Svensmark raises any doubt about the validity of the greenhouse hypothesis, or about the fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, have you?

On the other hand, most AGW proponents reject Svensmark’s hypothesis “a priori”.

I believe most AGW proponents fear that a validation of the Svensmark theory could, in effect, cause a shift in the current paradigm on the relative importance of CO2 (with all assumed feedbacks) on global climate, i.e. the current “consensus” view.

If you can find any reference where Svensmark raises a question about the validity of the greenhouse hypothesis or about CO2 as an infra-red absorbing greenhouse gas, I would appreciate if you could provide me the link.

Thanks, Gavin.

Regards,

Max

[Response: I have never rejected the GCR-climate link ‘a priori’ – it remains a theoretical possibility as was recognised by Bob Dickinson decades before Svensmark got on board. However, the evidence presented so far for it has been singularly feeble and often times manipulated. As a self-declared sceptic, I’m surprised you take the wild claims made in the Chilling Stars and various press releases without investigating their credibility. You (and he) appear to think of GCR and CO2 as opposed – but this is an opposition that exists purely in your imagination. Given a clear mechanism we would happily run both in a climate model and we’d see how big an effect they had separately and jointly. Only by incorrectly thinking that climate science has not progressed past the correlation function in excel would anyone think that evidence for one mechanism is evidence against another. It just doesn’t work that way. – gavin]

32. 482
Chris Colose says:

manacker,

It is strange that despite all the uncertainty, you are quite convinced that Spencer has found the gospel truth, and apparently you have not read and/or understood his paper.

33. 483
manacker says:

More to Hank Roberts (473)

Checked your cited reference in more detail. Believe this quote summarizes it pretty well:

“Climate models are large nonlinear dynamic systems which insightfully but imperfectly reflect the evolving weather patterns of the Earth. Their use in policy making and decision support assumes both that they contain sufficient information regarding reality to inform the decision, and that this information can be effectively communicated to the decision makers. There is nothing unique about climate modeling and these constraints, they apply in all cases where scientific modeling is applied to real-word actions (other than, perhaps, the action of improving our models). Starting with the issue of communication, figures from the 2007 IPCC Summary for Policy Makers will be constructively criticized from the perspective of decision makers, specifically those of the energy sector and the insurance/reinsurance sector. More information on basic questions of reliability and robustness would be of significant value when determining how heavily to weight climate model output in the decision process; one obvious example is the question of over what spatial and time averages modelers expect information in current climate distributions to be robust. The IPCC itself suggests continental/seasonal, while distributions over 10’s of kilometers/hourly is on offer. Our aim here is not to resolve this discrepancy, but to develop methods with which it can be addressed. This is illustrated in the context of using another physically based, imperfect model setting: using Newton’s laws in an actual case of NASA hazard evaluation. Our aim is to develop transparent standards of good practice managing expectations, which will allow model improvements over the next decades to be seen as progress by the users of climate science.”

Sounds good to me. Bring it on. “Transparent standards of good practice managing expectations” and “model improvements” are really needed here. Transparency is always a good thing. So are standards of good practice.

It will be interesting how this longer-term study works out “over the next decades”, and what final conclusions are reached concerning the climate models suitability for use in policy making and decision. Will the assumption be validated or refuted that they “contain sufficient information regarding reality to inform the decision”?

Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Regards,

Max

34. 484
manacker says:

Hi Marcus,

You wrote (472), “if cloud feedback was really as strongly negative as you claim, how do you explain past temperature changes such as the glacial-interglacial cycle?”

First, I do not “claim” anything. Spencer has suggested a strongly negative feedback from clouds based on physical observations over a 5-year period, which tend to validate Lindzen’s earlier “infrared iris” hypothesis of a natural negative feedback cycle.

Another independent study for which I provided the link also came up with a net cooling from clouds, based on satellite observations as well as surface observations of cloud types and altitudes.

As to “past temperature changes such as the glacial-interglacial cycle”, I find these proxy studies interesting, but far less convincing to me than today’s physical observations of the impact of cloud feedbacks on today’s climate.

Regards,

Max

35. 485
Hank Roberts says:

Ps, as you leaf through the citing articles, don’t neglect to actually read this one. Don’t just leap to the conclusion it’s on your side because of the title.
http://www.ams.org/notices/200804/tx080400481p.pdf

36. 486
ChuckG says:

Your wasting your time with Max. I have spent several hours searching the “tubes” and the below is a very brief summary of his droppings (Sorry Rabett).

http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2006/12/13/221054/33
Regards,
Max Anacker

by manacker at 9:42 AM on 04 May 2007
[[So manacker is Max Anacker]]

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article1615356.ece
… Letting the UN Security Council discuss and debate the “security implications of a changing climate” will just generate more hot air.

Max Anacker, Maienfeld, Switzerland
[[And he is associated with Maienfeld, Switzerland.]]

http://www.slashlegal.com/archive/index.php/t-104930.html
It’s pretty obvious to me that the IPCC Feb 2007 report is a lot of hot air,
fueled by the billions of dollars of research funds that go to the
scientists and activist groups behind the report writers.

The arrogance of saying man is causing climate change is only exceeded by
the stupidity of saying we can – and must – do something to stop it. This
whole hoax just goes to show how money makes the world go around..

max anacker, maienfeld, switzerland
[[And further confirmation plus an example of his Eric Hoffer The True Believer mentality. Which he will, of course, claim is the case for RC, Tamino, Rabett, Climate Progress, etc. and not CA and Watts.]]

Registered persons
Company:
Tehag Engineering AG
First name / last name: Max von Anacker
Residence: Maienfeld

[[And where he apparently works. What he does I know not. Well, yet at least.]]

http://209.85.171.104/translate_c?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.tehag.com/de/index.php%3Fnav%3D1&prev=/search%3Fq%3DTehag%2BEngineering%2BAG%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN&usg=ALkJrhhHMrGb19upInuoJ1PmXb0WkuUa7A
Welcome to the Tehag
Diesel emissions Management – Our core competence

[[And what Tehag Engineering AG does.]]

37. 487
Chris Colose says:

Since Svensmark and co. have not actually quantified this cosmic ray effect, nor is it based on any actual calculations of cloud microphysics, nor can they even tell you the sign of the effect…me thinks it very ironic that “skeptics” (this is an insult to the word) would suggest CO2 plays little or no part in modern warming, but changes in cosmic rays do…even with no explanatory or predictive power, and with no trend in cosmic rays.

And as Gavin says, you need to actually add the forcings together, not pick what you don’t like and “replace” that with what you do like. Read the first few paragraphs in raypierre’s it’s the physics stupid

38. 488
Mark says:

Rod B #478

Yes, yes you did say “I know this is irrelevant”. In a parenthesis. Go back and pick out your comments. You’ll see it.

Oh, and pick up a book on fifth-year maths. Your statistics education will start there.

39. 489
Mark says:

PS: Rod B, please forget “maths” and look at “statistics”. It is a branch of maths. You can’t use plain old maths and linear regression to find out if you’re on a dodgy game of chance (every frigging thing about an actual game of chance is flagged as spam, FFS Gavin). You can use statistics.

Likewise, you don’t use linear regression to find out if something is happening. You use statistics.

40. 490
Mark says:

Quotes from Rob B:

“This is all that I was asking about/questioning. You guys keep answering, in essence, ‘..but he’s a dork’, or ‘it’s meaningless’, or ‘it’s statistically insignificant or misleading’. I knows dat;”

“You all keep replying that his analysis is inappropriate (meaning an unacceptable margin of error) or cherry-picked. I don’t disagree or question that.”

“Maybe meaningless; maybe inappropriate; but accurate. Ray, Tamino am I correct (accurate) here?”

“It was a curiosity question, might not have any significant (or any…) relevance, and asked simply if his regression analysis from 2001 through 2008 was mathematically accurate.”

But from #178

“1) I never said my question was irrelevant.”

41. 491
Owen Phelps says:

Rod B: “I never said my question was irrelevant.”

Perhaps you didn’t actually say “irrelevant”, but you did say it “might not have (any) relevance”, referring to it as a “curiosity question”. And you also kept calling the original analysis you were asking about “meaningless”. Intended or otherwise, you certainly gave the impression your question didn’t really matter much.

Taken from three different comments of yours:

It was a curiosity question, might not have any significant (or any…) relevance,

a 5-6 year analysis is meaningless within the context of climate. I keep saying I know that and agree with it.

I AGREE WITH THE MEANINGLESS NATURE OF 5-6 YEARS ANALYSIS IN THE CONTEXT OF CLIMATE.

To answer explicitly (based on responses here, I haven’t confirmed it myself): yes, the original 5-6 year linear regression was calculated correctly. But no, it doesn’t mean anything, anymore than if he’d calculated the square root of the cosine for each year.

While curiosity is a perfectly fine reason in itself, I’m not sure what other relevance your question could have had. (Happy to be told otherwise, though).

42. 492

Ian Forrester quotes Manacker:

“Sorry, Ian, your post does not change the fact that “outsiders” to the specific scientific discipline involved in establishing the prevailing paradigm, have sometimes been exactly those that have challenged and eventually have broken the prevailing paradigm, thereby causing a “paradigm shift”.

You know, I can’t think of a single example offhand. Copernicus and Galileo had gone through the trivium and quadrivium of medieval and Renaissance higher learning curricula, including astronomy. Edward Jenner was a professional physician who understood the scientific method and experimented in order to find his smallpox vaccine. Darwin was thoroughly familiar with the biology of his time and was, in fact, a Fellow of the Royal Society years before Origin of Species was published. Einstein had taken and passed the college exams in the schools in Germany and Switzerland that he attended and knew what the vital issues of the day in physics were. J Harlan Bretz was a professional geologist, Stephen Jay Gould a professional evolutionary biologist. Who were these outsiders who changed a field?

43. 493

manacker writes:

Spencer has suggested a strongly negative feedback from clouds based on physical observations over a 5-year period, which tend to validate Lindzen’s earlier “infrared iris” hypothesis of a natural negative feedback cycle.

Except that satellite observations shot down the iris years ago.

Note, too, that the World Meteorological Organization defines climate as mean regional or global weather over a period of 30 years or more.

You can prove anything if you cherry-pick just five years that seem to suit your hypothesis. But it won’t mean anything.

44. 494

manacker writes:

As to “past temperature changes such as the glacial-interglacial cycle”, I find these proxy studies interesting, but far less convincing to me than today’s physical observations of the impact of cloud feedbacks on today’s climate.

Wow. You don’t believe there were ice ages? I think Louis Agassiz proved pretty conclusively back in the 19th century that there were.

45. 495
thingsbreak says:

Has anyone directed Max Anacker of Tehag Diesel Emissions Management to Tamino’s takedown of Spencer yet?

46. 496
SecularAnimist says:

I have seen a lot of self-described “skeptics” of anthropogenic global warming who are in fact obstinate denialists, but rarely have I seen such relentless, uncompromising determination to remain ignorant, combined with pretentious, haughty condescension towards those who actually know something about the issue, as is exhibited by this manacker person. He ought to win some kind of prize.

47. 497
Rod B says:

Mark, I wasted my time to search this entire thread a second time. Within this discourse you will not fine the word “irrelevant” in any of my posts until #459 where I was responding to your use, of nearly a dozen times, of the word. This is interesting only because typically you guys have spent most of this discourse desperately trying to convince yourselves that I said/asked something that I didn’t say/ask. My wild guess is you’re glomming on my agreement with your all’s assertion(s) that “[a trend line from 2002-2008 is statistically] meaningless”. If I’m correct, I’ll let you go to the dictionary yourself this time.

Whatdaknow. Should have read your (and Owen’s) later posts. Guess I am correct. “Irrelevant” does not mean any of those other words either. I did say once that it might not be relevant, which is still not “irrelevant”, and which, even so, was simply part of my trying and futile efforts to get you guys off your dogmatic obsession with ignoring my actual question. Owen, my question is eminently understandable to anyone who reads with their eyes open. Oddly, Jürgen didn’t bat an eye.

re the Monckton graph discourse: you get the last word. I’ve retired from it before (twice I think) and I can retire again. Other than for maybe something astoundingly egregious, I’m done with it. (I can almost hear the standing ovation ;-) ) I am willing (but not too enthusiastic) to continue for a bit on the subset of linear regression.

I’m not getting your linear regression assertion through all of the smoke. I assert simply that linear regression develops a mathematical trend line that by design and purpose is a smoother (actually straight!) line than the lines that connect the points being analyzed. Do you refute that? (I’d be interested in your answer to my question, not any question you might have wished I asked.) #2, what does your 5th grade textbook actually say about it? #3, then, one uses linear regression for what, exactly, if not for seeing past or future (mathematical) trends??

48. 498
Hank Roberts says:

Rod, are you aware of how wattsup at his blog has been beating on what sounds very much like this same drum? If not it’s worth a look. You know how to find it.
One example, among others:

To Tell The Truth: Will the Real Global Average Temperature Trend … Mar 15, 2008 … If they can use linear regression to claim that global warming is proceeding apace …. but anywhere in the past or future? If not, why not? …

49. 499
Jim Galasyn says:

Barton’s reply about heroic outsiders reminds me of a reckless post I made in my youth, when I Knew Everything. On Usenet, I casually made the assertion that “outsiders” were the ones responsible for scientific advances. That was my first real experience with being slapped down by the facts. Humility ensued.

50. 500
Mark says:

Rod B #497.

1) I have given cuts of your comments saying you did say it
2) Owen has given cuts of your comments saying you did say it
3) Owen in 442 said you did and, when you thanked him for defending you, you did not correct him on it

“None so blind as those who will not see” seems to be the phrase of the decade for you.