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Friday round-up

Filed under: — rasmus @ 24 April 2009 - (Español)

They knew all along?
A recent story in NYT: ‘Industry Ignored Its Scientists on Climate‘ has caught our attention.

Update: Marc Roberts’ take:

Latest skeptical song from Singer

This week, the annual European Geophysical Union (EGU)’s general assembly was held in Vienna. Friday afternoon, I went to one of the conference’s last talks to learn about the latest news from the climate skeptics (have to keep an open mind…). It was probably the talk with the smallest audience in the whole conference (see the photo, but note there were a couple of individuals who were not captured by camera), despite an unusually long slot (30 min) allocation.

singer.jpg And not much news, I’m afraid, apart from that SEPP plans to release it’s NIPCC’09 in May. I understand it will be a thick report (800 pages?). The main messages were (a) that GHGs were unimportant – allegedlly supported by Douglass et al. (2007), and (b) solar activity was the main reason for the recent global warming and the mechanism involved galactic cosmic rays (GCR).

I asked Singer how he could explain the most recent warming when there is no trend in the GCR-flux or other indices of solar activity since 1952. He countered by saying he was glad I asked him this question, and announced that he had done his thesis exactly on the topic solar wind and GCRs.

So I had to answer that I had written a book about solar activity and climate, and I repeated my question. He could not answer in the end – other than saying that we have to look at the data. I told him that we already have looked at the data (e.g. Richardsson et al 2002; Benestad, 2005; Lockwood & Frohlich, 2007), so I recommended him to read up on RC.

301 Responses to “Friday round-up”

  1. 51
    Doug Bostrom says:

    #45 Bill Hunter: Got ya covered, amigo. See #39.

  2. 52

    #45 Bill Hunter

    That’s the classic ‘Lomborg Copenhagen Consensus/Distraction’ argument:

    How can such an argument make sense in reality? It can’t/doesn’t.

    People need to get real about Real Climate.

  3. 53
    James says:

    Bill Hunter Says (25 April 2009 at 5:53 PM):

    “Love your analogy of fixing automobiles upon noting injuries to occupants. Thats how we should treat AGW.”

    Only a good analogy if you have millions of planets, and note that some of them get themselves in trouble due to increased intelligent-lifeform-created CO2. Or from the other direction, if you have only one car, it’s a little to late to think about the advantages of seatbelts (or better driving – the point is NOT to collide with other cars or stationary objects) after the crash which kills you & your passengers.

  4. 54
    Doug Bostrom says:

    #53 James:

    Possibly Bill is reasoning along the lines of “I’ve got ants in my roof and need to take care of the problem. I don’t have any better engineered ant control product that this 5 gallon can of gasoline in my hand. Meanwhile, I can’t ==prove== that soaking my roof w/gasoline is a catastrophically bad idea until I see actual flames, so I’ll just do it and hope that if anything goes wrong I’ve got a big enough fire extinguisher.”

    Unquestionably there’s some benefit to solving the immediate problem of the ants but the solution obviously entails large risks. Yet those risks are not immediately visible, unlike the ant problem, so caution is thrown to the wind in the interest of instant gratification.

    In children we call this sort of aborted reasoning a problem w/ “impulse control”. I don’t know the correct label for adults but all the it strikes me as infantile. In fact it’s so moronic compared to Bill’s apparent ability to put words together into sentences that I suspect Bill is just messing around and does not really believe what he wrote.

  5. 55
    Jim Norvell says:

    It is better to read the whole report than pick one quote out of context. The GCH’s have improved over the last 15 years or so.

    Jim N

  6. 56
    Marion Delgado says:

    Michael Tobis and I discussed how many things were positive feedbacks and how that wasn’t apparently reflected in the outcomes, but the inertia in the oceans should be explained more fully i think. They’re heating up. They’re acidifying, they’re heating up, they’re expanding, and ice is melting. Most of that is not immediately and directly reflected in air temperatures.

    The uptake of C02 in the oceans, the ice shelf breakups, etc. are about what I figured (and was told by the best science of the time) when Hansen became notorious in 1988. All the talk now about how x, y or z is “worse than we thought” is just wrong. It’s almost exactly as “we” thought.

    We should get a new model relating each degree of temperature to the energy to power riding lawn mowers or something.

  7. 57
    Lawrence Brown says:

    As far the diehards are concerned it’s always the Sun. Are you gonna convince them otherwise? Why let the facts get in the way of predisposed nonsensical ideas?
    Here are the facts from the British Met Office.

    Climate change facts
    Fact 1
    Climate change is happening and humans are contributing to it.

    Fact 2
    Temperatures are continuing to rise.

    Fact 3
    The current climate change is not just part of a natural cycle.

    Fact 4
    Recent warming cannot be explained by the Sun or natural factors alone.

    Fact 5
    If we continue emitting greenhouse gases this warming will continue and delaying action will make the problem more difficult to fix.

    Fact 6
    Climate models predict the main features of future climate.

  8. 58
    Lawrence Brown says:

    And Oh yeah- as far as cosmic rays are concerned:
    Myth 1 The intensity of cosmic rays changes climate

    “The mechanism by which cosmic rays might affect climate is as yet purely speculative and unquantified. While it has long been known that radiation could form ions and, in theory, ultimately lead to cloud formation, the importance of this process compared to all the other major sources of particles and cloud condensation nuclei has not been proven. Indeed, there is no evidence that the flux of cosmic rays has decreased over the last 30 years.

    “Even if cosmic rays have a detectable effect on climate (and this remains unproven), measured solar activity over the last few decades has not significantly changed and cannot explain the continued warming trend. In contrast, increases in CO2 are well measured and its warming effect is well quantified. It offers the most plausible explanation of most of the recent warming and future increases.”

  9. 59

    Still no posts of mine showing up at JoNova’s blog. And all my posts just happened to disagree vigorously, but politely, with the science illiterates posting there. What a coincidence. I wonder if, just by coincidence, anyone else who defends real science there also gets censored.

  10. 60
    Mike F says:

    There is a piece on the current solar minimum in today’s Independent, “The missing sunspots: Is this the big chill?” which you might want to comment on as it has a distinct denialist flavour.

    The author has previously written along the same lines in the New Statesman.

  11. 61
    Brian Klappstein says:

    “…measured solar activity over the last few decades has not significantly changed and cannot explain the continued warming trend…”

    (Lawrence Brown)

    If you look at the graph posted below #31, you’ll see that all the troughs in the neutron count coincide with a warming “pulse”. Well maybe not 1970, but then that was the “weakest” trough in the neutron count in the record shown.

    Also not everyone agrees that it’s still warming. The recent paper by Swanson and Tsonis postulated a climate shift to non-warming about 2001/2002. I’m aware of all the qualifiers they included in their conclusion, my point that is even if you believe in AGW as the dominant climate driver, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it’s still warming.

    As for the longer term influence of solar, the Lockwood and Frohlich 2007 paper linked above notes that the first half of the 20th century was influenced by solar variability amplified by some mechanism as yet unknown.

  12. 62
    Ike Solem says:

    Hank Roberts,

    Don’t you think a post titled “Friday Round-Up” would encourage rather wide-ranging discussion? Here’s a quick list of some of the climate research published over the past week or so, for example:

    The Season Of Ticks: Could Climate Change Worsen Lyme Disease?

    But, as the Yale team demonstrates, it’s the seasonal cycle of feeding for each stage of the tick’s life that determines the severity of infection in a given region. The researchers found that this cycle is heavily influenced by climate.

    Greenhouse Gases Continue To Climb Despite Economic Slump

    Two of the most important climate change gases increased last year, according to a preliminary analysis for NOAA’s annual greenhouse gas index, which tracks data from 60 sites around the world.

    Researchers measured an additional 16.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) — a byproduct of fossil fuel burning — and 12.2 million tons of methane in the atmosphere at the end of December 2008.

    Climate Change Means Shortfalls In Colorado River Water Deliveries

    Even under conservative climate change scenarios, Barnett and Scripps climate researcher David Pierce found that reductions in the runoff that feeds the Colorado River mean that it could short the Southwest of a half-billion cubic meters (400,000 acre feet) of water per year 40 percent of the time by 2025.

    In other recent news, regarding links between wildfires and climate change, see Nepal:

    For nearly six months, no precipitation has fallen across most of the country – the longest dry spell in recent history, according to meteorologists.

    World will not meet 2C warming target, climate change experts agree

    Even with a 2C rise, that looks likely to bring on megadroughts and more-or-less permanent shifts towards a more arid landscape throughout much of the subtropical zone – definitely ‘dangerous’. See the link, 90% of polled climate scientists believe we’re looking at 4-5C by 2100, given the steady rise in fossil fuel consumption.

    This calls for a more serious approach than cap-and-trade and bogus carbon sequestration schemes, wouldn’t you say?

  13. 63
    Lawrence Brown says:

    Re #61, by Brian

    Natural occurences alone can’t explain climate changes in the latter half of the 20th century. Only
    with anthropogenic use of greenhouse gases and aerosols
    factored in can the climate change of the past decades be explained.

    Also you say:”Also not everyone agrees that it’s still warming.”

    Everyone will never agree,but the consensus among scientists is overwhelming that warming is occurring. The argument now is whether it’s human caused or not. Some will never be convinced. There are great number of scientists in the world and getting 100% agreement would be next to impossible.

  14. 64
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    Good for you, Rasmus, for refuting skeptics wherever you find them.

    800 page “Report of the Skeptics” — that’s actually a tactic. In ancient India the village accountant would include figures on everything in his report to the king’s tax assessor — every chicken, every straw — so the eyes of the assessor would glaze over and he’d accept whatever summary the accountant gave him.

    I was surprized to see it work for me when I went in for a tax audit 20+ years ago. The auditor wanted to know the cost of our house as a basis for claiming a home office. I had a big cardboard box full of receipts which I dumped on her desk, and said, “We built our own house.” She just pushed the pile away, indicating I should put it back in the box, and told me, “I believe you.”

    So the unwitting person confronted with those 800 pages will just read the two-page summary, and figure it must be true and have very excellent support, since it is followed by 800 pages.

  15. 65
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    RE #60 & the sunspots article. Maybe I have it the wrong way, but are they claiming that lack of sunspots indicates a cooling earth?

    If so, then such lack of sunspots may be masking the true sensitivity of climate to GHGs (sort of the way certain aerosols might be doing). Which means we might have a much bigger global warming problem due to our GHG emissions on our hands than scientists can tell us now.

    And re the sun, my stock response to any “solar claims” is we can’t change the sun, but we can reduce our GHGs, so the idea that the sun may kick in and start increasing global warming is all the more reason why we need to reduce our GHGs way way down….not only to counteract our own anthropogenic GW, but also that caused by the sun.

  16. 66
    Chris S says:

    In response to the fish comments in the Shindell & Faluvegi thread.

    There is evidence that species are move into and out of the English Channel & North Sea in response to temperature changes. See, for example: Detection of environmental change in a marine ecosystem—evidence from the western English Channel: Stephen J. Hawkins, Alan J. Southward and Martin J. Genner (2003) The Science of The Total Environment Volume 310, Pages 245-256

    or this: Climate induced increases in species richness of marine fishes J. G. HIDDINK and R. ter HOFSTEDE (2007) Global Change Biology Volume 14 Issue 3, Pages 453 – 460

    I’d also suggest looking at F.P. Lima’s work in Portugal

    Captcha: Politics backoff: Nuff said really…

  17. 67
    Igor Samoylenko says:

    Brian Klappstein said in #61:

    As for the longer term influence of solar, the Lockwood and Frohlich 2007 paper linked above notes that the first half of the 20th century was influenced by solar variability amplified by some mechanism as yet unknown.

    Why don’t you provide the full quote from Lockwood & Frohlich, 2007 to see what they actually said? Here it is, p. 11:

    There are also some detection–attribution studies using global climate models that suggest there was a detectable influence of solar variability in the first half of the twentieth century and that the solar radiative forcing variations were amplified by some mechanism that is, as yet, unknown. However, these findings are not relevant to any debates about modern climate change. Our results show that the observed rapid rise in global mean temperatures seen after 1985 cannot be ascribed to solar variability, whichever of the mechanisms is invoked and no matter how much the solar variation is amplified.

  18. 68
    Russell Seitz says:

    I asked Singer last year about his failure to reply to the fisking of his output here , and he replied ;

    “I don’t read real Climate !””

  19. 69

    #67 Igor Samoylenko

    Thank you. An excellent example of facts out of context. Personally, I think Brian Klappstein should be ashamed to misrepresent information in such a manner.

    As I have said repeatedly, it is critically important to include context to facts and statements. Brian, your post #61, is in my opinion disgusting. You are irresponsibly destroying the relevance of a scientific perspective without basis in fact.

    You don’t work for S. Fred Singer, do you?

    Remember, facts out of context are irrelevant.

  20. 70
    dhogaza says:

    If so, then such lack of sunspots may be masking the true sensitivity of climate to GHGs (sort of the way certain aerosols might be doing). Which means we might have a much bigger global warming problem due to our GHG emissions on our hands than scientists can tell us now.

    You would THINK the denialsphere would understand that all this blather about a solar minimum coupled with a lack of any statistically significant cooling is not an argument in favor of a lower sensitivity for CO2.

    But they don’t. First of all, the denialsphere – at least this segment of it – is convinced that there’s a statistically significant cooling trend. Secondly, they think this coupled with the lack of sunspots means “it is the sun, after all!”. Thirdly, many of them don’t believe climate scientists aren’t even aware of the existence of the sun, much less that it shines on earth, so they’re “disproving the consenus!” :)

  21. 71
    Mark says:

    Brian, #61.

    Not everyone believes that the earth is round.

    Not everyone believes that our political masters are human rather than lizard aliens.

    Not everyone believes that evolution occurs (not even just that natural selection is how it’s done: that it happens AT ALL). Though oddly, these people still want immunisation from the latest swine flu…

    Heck, not everyone believes that 11/9 was the result of Islamic terrorists. Many think it a big coverup for Bush Jr to take lots of power and give lots of money to his friends.

    Does the fact that people believe this mean that 11/9 was a government conspiracy? Despite that most people believe that it wasn’t (whether there’s a coverup elsewhere, like the building codes being “forgotten” to make a nice profit for a friend, is still admitting that it wasn’t a coverup on the attacks themselves).

    Heck, a huge swathe of people believe the earth to be no older than 6000 years and that humans and TRex lived together in harmony, making any ice core data on past weather an illusion.

  22. 72
    David B. Benson says:

    The current protracted solar minimum is about as long as that which occurred in 1913 CE. Last calender year was tenth warmest of record. What rank was 1913 CE?

  23. 73
    Lawrence Brown says:

    #67 Igor says: Why don’t you provide the full quote from Lockwood & Frohlich, 2007 to see what they actually said?

    What!!? Why would those of us who are promoting the Sun as the culprit do such a radical thing! Selective quotations are the only way to mask what’s really happening, the bread and butter of blaming the Sun.

    Another tactic is to contradict ourselves, to wit: Brian says in comment 31 In #31:”The problem with the neutron count is that it has a 22 year cycle and the first data set starts in 1952. To calculate a trend you need a number of cycles and we only have 2 complete so far.”
    Got that-to calculate a trend you need a number of cycles, 44 years is too short, yet in comment #61 he says: “The recent paper by Swanson and Tsonis postulated a climate shift to non-warming about 2001/2002.” So now 7 or 8 years constitutes a trend, the period between 2001/2002 til the present!

    How else are you going to disregard the 0.7 degrees C average temperature of the planet over the past century? If you can’t dazzle people with your brilliance, then baffle them with your b–sh–.

  24. 74
    James says:

    Mark Says (27 April 2009 at 2:53 PM):

    “Heck, a huge swathe of people believe the earth to be no older than 6000 years and that humans and TRex lived together in harmony…”

    I just don’t know about that. I could just about stretch my suspension of disbelief far enough to consider the idea that humans & T. rex lived at the same time, but in harmony? Looking at those teeth, and the size of those jaws, it seems perfectly obvious that humans were created especially as dinosaur munchies.

    This would also explain why complete human fossils are so rare. Obviously the odd skull or jawbone is just evidence that some dinosaurs were particularly messy eaters :-)

  25. 75
    RichardC says:

    I wonder what folks’, especially the contributors’ opinion is. Is it possible to have an honest engaged skeptic with 125+IQ?

  26. 76
    RichardC says:

    65 Lynn, all true, plus the sun is at absolute minimum TSI now. The only possible future solar input is positive. I believe the deep solar minimum, along with Asia’s developmental cloud cooled the planet enough to mask the background warming, but not enough to bring it back to normal. An Anthro Global Cooling aided by the sun is a potent cooling combo, but still it only holds the plateau. When Asia cleans up their coal and the sun warms back up, the arctic sea ice dies and the fun begins.

    Captcha: jamb have

  27. 77
    dhogaza says:

    Looking at those teeth, and the size of those jaws, it seems perfectly obvious that humans were created especially as dinosaur munchies.

    We’re drifting totally off-topic, but believe it or not, the standard YEC explanation is that the teeth were used to crack coconuts, an important item in the dinosaur’s vegan diet!

  28. 78
    Brian Klappstein says:

    “…Selective quotations are the only way to mask what’s really happening…”

    (Lawrence Brown and Igor Samoylenko)

    True enough, it was selective but I am running on the assumption that at this site, the visitors are knowledgeable enough that they know that Lockwood and Frohlich (and Swanson and Tsonis) are supporters of AGW as evidenced by the qualifiers in their conclusions.

    My point is (and I’ll try to make it more clear) that for some scientists supportive of AGW theory, solar leverage on climate and recent climate shifts might modify but do not exclude AGW theory.

    As for the 44 years vs 7 years trend comment, you’re comparing apples to oranges. I stand by my comment that to determine a secular trend in the neutron count, you need more than one cycle and to me it looks like the full cycle of GCR modulation is 22 years.

    However, in case of the 7 year trend, that number follows from the Swanson and Tsonis hypothesis, not mine. However, I’ll take a detour to defend their concept.

    Let’s say Swanson and Tsonis notice a pattern which precedes a cooling spell. That pattern is the phases of various climate oscillations like the PDO. They also note that the PDO and other oscillations appear to flip on fairly predictable time periods.

    So if they interpret synchronized “flips” about 2001/2002, they’re not basing the hypothesis just on the last 7 years of oscillation indexes, they are basing that interpretation on the last 100 years of data, and when we might expect some climate index flips. So it’s not fair to say their new (7 year old) climate trend is based on only 7 years of data.

  29. 79
    rcrejects says:

    Re BPL posts #33 25th April and #59 27th April.

    Actually BPL, I see that JoNova did put up two of your posts on 24th April. Maybe you have been looking in the wrong thread. Your posts are up at

  30. 80
    Ray Ladbury says:

    James said: “I just don’t know about that. I could just about stretch my suspension of disbelief far enough to consider the idea that humans & T. rex lived at the same time, but in harmony? ”

    –for your mind-blowing pleasur–

  31. 81
    David B. Benson says:

    Brian Klappstein (78) — The various ocean oscillations are quite far from predictability. The only exception of which I am aware is a 3.6–3.8 year blip in ENSO and various temperatures due, I think, to a Kelvin/Rossby wave in the North Pacific.

  32. 82

    #75 RichardC

    I know someone that is very skeptical and lives in my house. He has an IQ of 160+ and is an honest engaged skeptic. What is your point? What do you consider honest?

    Do you mean someone that is IQ 125+ that reads lots of denialist sites and reviews facts out of context and then presents those facts out of context as evidence based on that persons limited scope view because some people signed a petition that disagrees with the well known, well reasoned science, because they feel that facts our of context are actually relevant?

    Or do you mean someone that is IQ 125+ that reviews all the science in context from reliable scientific sources, reads the peer reviewed work and the peer response work to see if the peer reviewed work survived peer response before he opens his/her big mouth to say they have relevant questions and/or evidence that refutes the consensus view of the well known drivers of climate?

    Which one?

    Or did you have someone else in mind?

  33. 83
    dhogaza says:

    My point is (and I’ll try to make it more clear) that for some scientists supportive of AGW theory, solar leverage on climate and recent climate shifts might modify but do not exclude AGW theory.

    No, it wouldn’t modify AGW theory, and they say so clearly.

  34. 84
    Hank Roberts says:

    > supporters of AGW

    God I get tired of this idiotic cant claiming that scientists are “supporting” the the information that they’re reporting.

    Like Pasteur supported smallpox, or Churchill supported the Axis.

  35. 85
    Doug Bostrom says:

    RichardC #75: In most cases not if we’re formal about using the label “skeptic”. Most of the “skeptics” visible here seem to be highly worried that they’ll be deprived of something, which means they’re not actually skeptics Pyrrho would recognize. Highly intelligent maybe, but not really “skeptical”.

    That being said, I’m sure there are a few highly intelligent folks who would not be worried by solid evidence of impending calamity whether it be by massive ET impactor or the hand of ExxonMobil. Real Skeptics they, unworried and apparently unconcerned about anything but what’s going on between their ears right at the moment. Self-contained as such true Skeptics are you likely won’t hear from them so if you think you’re engaging with one skip the arguments about climate and ask why they’re talking. Perhaps the topic at hand is so frightening it has penetrated aloofness and gone to the amygdala and they’re actually arguing with themselves.

    The other commonly accepted modern meaning of the word “skeptic” seems to encompass a mulishly stubborn nature combined with willful ignorance. Not stupidity, but things we’d recognize in a lot of stupid people. Some might say those attributes exclude the possibility of superior intelligence but that’s wrong; cantankerous behavior is entirely compatible with intelligence, it’s just more irritating than true dullness.

    So we sort of get lost in the weeds on that latter variety of “skeptic”. On the one hand it’s unfair to insist on complete “honesty” from somebody who does not know what they’re talking about for they’ll be unable to tell whether or when they’re actually recounting facts. On the other hand, intentionally ignoring facts requires being able to discern what facts to hide, which implies some sort of intelligence behind the power of discrimination. How to sort ’em out? Only by deadly boring repetition of a few basic themes.

    It would be very helpful to develop a complete taxonomy of the various forms of climate change deniers/non-perceivers/pathological debaters. I’m sure it would save a lot of wasted time and effort to be able to efficiently classify these folks.

  36. 86
    Mark says:

    re James and Ray on #80.

    Yup. Read it and weep for “Homo Sapiens Sapiens”. We’re more like Wiley Coyote (Genius).

    Lets take teeth that are no use for eating vegetation but are well coordinated to tearing flesh and put them in a veggie-eating dinosaur. Just in case we decide to throw those two punk kids out for eating fruit and want to turn it into a meat-eater.

    Note to self: make sure I don’t bury these bones in the same place I bury the dead humans, that’d be a dead give-away…

  37. 87

    Well, JoNova did finally post my messages. I take back all the horrible things I said about her.

  38. 88

    The similarity to tobacco propaganda is not surprising. Good to see George Monbiot involved again. His book Heat exposes the tobacco connection to climate change denial (the tobacco barons realised it would look suss if they set up a fake grassroots movement that only obfuscated the science of tobacco). I put up some links to his sources at my blog.

    Some will no doubt remember when things reached the stage of smokers suing tobacco companies for millions of dollars in damages, their defence was “but everyone knew smoking was harmful”. I wonder if any country’s laws would permit a class action suit against fossil fuel industries for deliberately causing delay in emissions reduction.

    On the positive side, The Australian has had an extraordiary run of denial drivel of late attracting the usual flurry of letters and token responses (1 rebuttal by a political scientist to at least 5 denial articles the previous week). The responses in the latest letter blog indicates the knowledgeable are fighting back.

  39. 89
    Nick Gotts says:

    “I blame it primarily on the culture of Political Correctness, and the assumption that one never has to get down in the muck. IMO, PCness has pretty much put us on the brink.” – ccpo

    Eh? There is actually a large overlap between climate change denialists, and those right-wingers who constantly whinge about “political correctness”.

  40. 90
    Mark says:

    “Eh? There is actually a large overlap between climate change denialists, and those right-wingers who constantly whinge about “political correctness”.”

    I’ve seen it a lot myself.

    Think about it: it’s absolutely 100% fine for the denialist to say that all climate scientists are for AGW because they want the research grants.

    That’s an insult to their integrity.

    But you call one of the denialists an idiot, and you’re mired in “you can’t say that!!!”.

    The right are ALWAYS whinging about PC but that doesn’t mean they won’t use it every chance they get.

  41. 91
    Lawrence Brown says:

    Re:78 by Brian- It’s true that the cycles of the Sun shouldn’t be compared with a sequence of yearly temps from 2001 thru 2007, but I don’t believe that, as you put it, “a climate shift to non-warming(took place in) about 2001/2002.”

    Here’s what Peter deMenocal says in Chapter 1 of “Climate Change- Picturing the Science”,p.34:
    “The warmest years globally have been 1998 and 2005,with 2002,2007 and 2003 close behind. The warmest decade has been the last ten years.”
    In addition AR-4 of the IPPC report states that “Eleven of the last 12 years(1995-2006)rank among the 12 warmest years in the instrumental record of global surface temperatures(since 1850).”

    Furthermore:”The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported today that because humans are altering the climate with greenhouse gas emissions:The ten warmest years on record have occurred since 1997. Global temperatures for 2000-2008 now stand almost 0.2 °C warmer than the average for the decade 1990-1999.” Source for this last quotation :

    All this doesn’t sound like a non-warming trend to me.

  42. 92
    Ike Solem says:

    A climate shift to non-wrming over two years is not possible because it seems to take around 50 years for the ocean to complete its response to the atmospheric changes.

    Imagine being cold, very chilled, and then wrapping up in a blanket – one feels warmer immediately, but it still takes a little while to warm up to your new equilibrium temperature – and the same is true for the oceans.

    Thus, if we think we have the radiative forcing right, then we are set to continue warming. There isn’t any uncertainty about that, any more than on the issue of being warmed by a blanket. A goosedown blanket is warmer than a cotton blanket – but that’s not the real uncertainty either.

    No, the biggest uncertainty in the climate question, by far, is human behavior over the next 50 years.

  43. 93

    On another issue:

    My geophysicist friend has told me that “The AGW crowd of course ignores geology and the Holocene.”

    I responded: “From what I see on RealClimate I don’t think this is true. Can you point me to a source (preferably on RealClimate) where they have said this?”

    His argument seems to be that since CO2 levels (and sea levels and temperatures) have been much higher in the past (the Holocene) that the present fuss is about nothing substantial. I assume the earth and humanity will survive; I also assume the dislocations from changes of this magnitude will result in rather widespread problems.

    For some reason, my friend (and he is a close friend of many years) will not post directly here; I have told him I would do this.



  44. 94
    Ike Solem says:

    There’s no such thing as “anthropogenic global warming” vs. “natural global warming”. If termites were responsible for global warming, would we say that it was “unnatural”?

    Are fossil fuels “unnatural”? Are human beings “unnnatural”? Natural means ‘part of nature’ – or, from a physical perspective, “that which exists”, either one’s system or one’s surroundings.

    From that perspective, an ‘environmentalist’ is anyone who is concerned with what goes on in their surroundings. Anything that exists within out Universe is ‘natural’ – and if we are talking about living creatures, than the science that describes their interactions is called ecology. For ecology, the question is, given certain physical limits, how do living creatures do what they do?

    Of course, in regular discourse, the words have been distorted. An ‘environmentalist’ is now defined as a wild-eyed lunatic chained to a tree. Ecology is some warm fuzzy concept, even though smallpox, anthrax, malaria, AIDS, TB – all have played very important ecological roles in the past – pretty horrific, but they have certainly affected human ecology, i.e. human history. Technically, the ecology of infectious disease is called epidemiology.

    The public relations and propaganda crowd tend to work off of one central theme – take complex matters, simplify them to the point where even a small child can understand them, and then repeat, repeat, repeat. For example, the only people who seem to use the phrase “AGW” in any context are PR folks hired by the likes of Edelman PR services.

    This is because real scientists understand that the trajectory of climate is due to multiple interacting factors, even if humans have radically altered several of those factors by (1) pumping many billions of tons of carbon out of deep geological reservoirs and into the atmosphere, and (2) radically changing the biomass cover by large-scale deforestation and wetland removal. Attempting to divide them into “anthropogenic” and “natural” is a waste of time.

    Edelman’s PR strategy is very curious. They seem to specialize in ‘plants’ – people who they assign to a web site such as realclimate, and who are instructed to ‘make friends’ with the blog owners and to generally go along with everything – until Edelman gets a contract on some issue or other – at which point, the ‘in place’ blogger then works overtime to get the message out. They have dozens of people on staff who do this. Edelman even talks about it in PR meetings.

    Notice that Edelman ran a very successful ‘secondhand smoke’ campaign, and that’s probably how they peddled their services to the American Petroleum Institute:

    With congressional Dems looking to take on the oil industry next year, the industry’s lead trade group, the American Petroleum Institute, is planning a $100 million PR “image and education effort,” National Journal reports.

    The campaign, “much of which will be coordinated by the PR firm Edelman, will include expensive television, radio, and print ads, tours of oil patch facilities for lawmakers and opinion elites, and financial contributions to sympathetic think tanks and industry-friendly organizations.” The API is asking other like-minded groups to ante up for the multiyear effort.

    As far as Edleman’s typical PR strategy, see this interview:

    “Eric: What will PR look like in 5 years?

    A: PR involved earlier on in the product life cycle: We’ll be a means by which a company can reach out to bloggers to affect prod development. Deconstructed press release. A more robust role in the corporate suite. . . .I don’t see that PR has to be a negative connotation, which it currently has. We have to be about truth, listening, learning. . . Five years from now, I hope PR people have the balls to say what they know. We need to give clients good advice. (We have thirty people blogging at Edelman. You learn by falling on your face.)

    Q: What’s the retraining process at Edelman like?

    A: It’s not easy. We have 30 people blogging. We probably have 15-20% who are regularly in touch with bloggers. That’s pathetic. I have to be tougher about it.

    Notice that the good Edelman blogger is not confrontational, but rather focuses on developing a ‘personal relationship’ with the blog owners in an attempt to influence coverage. In other worlds, this is called an espionage tactic.

    So, forget about “AGW’ and ‘NGW’. Instead, focus should go to eliminating fossil fuel combustion and halting deforestation – and there are many benefits to doing that, such as reducing carcinogenic air pollution and protecting rare species of plants and animals from going extinct.

  45. 95
    Brian Klappstein says:

    “…A climate shift to non-warming over two years is not possible because it seems to take around 50 years for the ocean…”

    (Ike Solem)

    I think Ike and myself have a different definition of climate shift. I would define a climate shift as a change in the radiative balance/circulation patterns of the globe.

    In that respect, the thermal inertia of the oceans cuts both ways: it masks a change to cooling or warming states. So it doesn’t matter if the last 10 years are the warmest on record, we could have passed into a cooling state.

    I think the best evidence to support this hypothesis are the upper ocean temperatures since 2001/2002.

  46. 96

    #78 Brian Klappstein

    I’m not sure I understand what you are trying to say but I’ll try to give this some context. Even if after a hundred years of looking at GCR’s, say 50 years from now) we see a pattern with distinguishable signal, how is it, relevant, or how relevant might it be? The current forcing is well explained quantitatively, so nitpicking at what may easily, or likely fall within the noise levels and possibly contribute some fraction of the total known forcing… what is it relevance to the large known forcing elements?

    Let’s say it is proven 50 years from now that GCR’s do increase stratospheric clouds sufficiently to induce stronger negative forcing, say enough to knock back at the positive forcing by say -0.1 or even -0.2 W/m2 ( or maybe -0.4W/m2?) Does that prove we are not warming? No. Just because natural variation does impact short term does not remove other components or the forcing that is slowly being absorbed in the oceans.

    Essentially you seem to be saying it’s not warming due to the short term trend. Well, let’s examine that.

    Did the 37 year cooling trend from 1880 to 1917 reverse global warming? No. Did the 33 year cooling trend from 1943 to 1976 reverse global warming. No.

    Let’s say GCR’s give us a bunch of stratospheric clouds that would normally produce a bunch of negative albedo, but the latitudinal shift keeps those clouds, er, latitudinally shifted, away from the equator, then how much relevance will that have? Think reasonably.

    I like to refer to Lindzen’s ‘magic cloud albedo’ because, from what I can tell, it is more supposition and less substance, simply because the climate has been warmer in the past. The paleo record speaks more to the probability that the ‘magic cloud albedo’ won’t save us.

    We need to address this from reasonability (science), not from magic and notion (opinion lacking evidence and reason).

    I am assuming we will know a lot in 50 years, but what does that have to do with what is well known right now?

    We know the major forcings
    We know the major attributions
    We know the quantities of GHG output
    We know how much infrared that should trap
    We reasonably know how much warming that should produce
    And the models are showing to match reasonably well to the observations… all these things that are well and reasonably known…

    So why nitpick over GCR’s in the context of AGW and the well known attributions v. the less well known ones (Is there a big hole in the attribution that is largely unknown in relation to known forcing levels?)? What is the relevance in the context of the problem of regional climate shift, oceanic thermal inertia, positive feedback, economic impacts due to regional climate shifts?


    P.S. Your point is wrong on the quote out of context. ALWAYS quote in context as best you can (try to include researching the context). Anything else is dishonest. Or are you saying you did not know the context and merely pulled the quote from a denialist site and did not read the paper?

    You said it yourself:

    As for the longer term influence of solar, the Lockwood and Frohlich 2007 paper linked above notes that the first half of the 20th century was influenced by solar variability amplified by some mechanism as yet unknown.

    Thus indicating you did not know the context. So your assumption that you were relying on everyone here knowing the context was something you apparently discovered after the fact, and therefore that assumption seems to have a degree of dishonesty in it.

    Not everyone that reads in here has read all the papers out there. I had not read the paper in question. ALWAYS QUOTE IN CONTEXT.

  47. 97
    Martin Vermeer says:

    Brian Klappstein #95:

    I think the best evidence to support this hypothesis are the upper ocean temperatures since 2001/2002.

    OK, Let’s have it.

  48. 98
    CM says:

    So “NIPCC 09” is on its way from Singer et al? I think that’s good (even if it does waste trees) as it’s easier to nail down than all sorts of statements diffused through the media or blog posts.

    You have to assume that, if denialists had any good arguments, they would put them in there.

    And if all they have is ravings against the IPCC plus arguments that have already been rebutted ten times, well… QED.

    In this regard the last NIPCC was very reassuring reading. Reassuring, that is, with regard to science of global warming, not so much with regard to the future of civilization.

    I am curious whether it will now be possible to state (in parody of their parody of the IPCC):
    “It is significant that NIPCC09 no longer makes use of the claim that the AR4 no longer makes use of the hockey-stick paper.”

  49. 99
    dhogaza says:

    Burgy’s friend …

    His argument seems to be that since CO2 levels (and sea levels and temperatures) have been much higher in the past (the Holocene) that the present fuss is about nothing substantial.

    Wikipedia tells us:

    ice melt caused world sea levels to rise about 35 m (110 ft) in the early part of the Holocene.

    resulting in

    Holocene marine fossils are known from Vermont, Quebec, Ontario, and Michigan.

    Back to Burgy’s friend

    I assume the earth and humanity will survive

    These are both strawmen arguments, Burgy, and you should spank him for them (not to mention his lie that climate science ignores geology, have you asked him why he insists on lying?). The Earth will survive, there’s not a climate scientist on the planet who’s saying the Earth will disappear from the solar system. There are great concerns about the impact of warming on human civilization but few claim that humanity will become extinct. I don’t know of any climate scientist – the particular group he is castigating – who claims that the human species will become extinct.

    On the other hand it’s pretty danged obvious that a 35 meter rise in sea level’s would cause a huge and extremely expensive and painful disruption in *modern* human civilization, regardless of what effect such a rise had on the much more limited human population back in the Holocene.

    It is your friend who is ignoring that there are just a few more humans living just a bit more extensively in planet earth than back in the Holocene. His outright lies, combined with strawmen arguments, and pretense that effects on today’s civilization would be minimal in the face of a sea level rise comparable to what was seen in the Holocene makes him a denialist, not an honest scientific skeptic.

    And the fact that he refuses to post here makes him an intellectual coward, to boot.

  50. 100

    #93 John Burgeson

    Can he show us evidence when during the Holocene the CO2 was higher than 387ppm.

    Can he show us evidence that the sea level was significantly higher during the Holocene?

    Here is the sea level rise during the current interglacial

    Here is the current Sea Level Rise during the modern industrial age

    He is likely referring to a different interglacial, not our current interglacial. Here is sea level for the past 450kyrs including forcings and temps

    If he wishes to participate in the relevant argument, he should brush up on the science first.


    Based on your question he doesn’t even know that the Holocene is recent, not a past interglacial. Has he studied the discussion and articles here on RealClimate? Has he looked into the the state of knowledge

    I also recommend the OSS site to give a more basic overview of the science and the contexts