RealClimate logo


Technical Note: Sorry for the recent unanticipated down-time, we had to perform some necessary updates. Please let us know if you have any problems.

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. 101
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Bergie, not only is your friend’s argumetn false, but spectacularly so. The holocene dates back only 11,700 years, and we know CO2 levels are higher than at any time in the last 600,000 years!

    As Dhogaza points out, there are a few more folks depending on the globe for sustenance as well. These are astounding error for anyone with a science background to make!

  2. 102
    PaulC says:

    I need to find someone who can quickly point me to real empirical evidence for the net positive effects that multiply the first order CO2 effects. I should be most grateful to anyone who can help. Thanks in anticipation.

  3. 103
    ccpo says:

    QUOTE: #82 John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) Says:
    27 April 2009 at 9:41 PM

    #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? ENDQUOTE

    Funny thing about intelligence: The highly intelligent can rationalize anything. This makes them vulnerable to scams, rather than the other way around.

    Naomi Oreskes’ piece, The American Denial of Global Warming, does an excellent job of showing the denialist agenda is ideological, thus political. It has virtually nothing to do with the scientific issues themselves.

    A highly intelligent ideologue is an easy mark, iow.

    ++++++++++++++++++++

    Re: #89 and 90:

    You two are talking about lying, I am talking about Political Correctness, not using PC to lie your butt off.

    How many times I’ve been blasted by fellow ACC (Anthro. Clim. Change) for calling out a denier, I couldn’t possibly count. They will exchange pleasant lies and BS – easily provable, I might add – all day long, but let me pipe up and say the denier is outright lying? I get slammed, not the liar.

    This is what I refer to, not cynical use of PC norms for the purposes of propaganda.

    Cheers

  4. 104
    CM says:

    Back on topic, I was wondering three things about Svensmark’s solar-GCR-cloud theory, and this seems like the right place to ask.

    What constraints are there on the possible time lag between Svensmark’s GCR-cloud forcing and surface warming, due to ocean heat storage etc.? There seems to be a lot of special pleading about this going around.

    (For the next questions, please humour me: ignore the lack of trend in solar/GCR since the 1950s, the lack of correlation with cloud cover since the early 1990s etc. etc., and let’s imagine that Svensmark might be right.)

    If the solar-GCR-cloud mechanism of Svensmark were responsible for most of the recent warming, would we expect to see stratospheric cooling? Is there any other signature one would expect to see? Could one run a GCM with Svensmark’s reduced low cloud as a given, to see whether it would have some kind of signature like that? Has anyone done it?

    Sl oan and Wolfendale (2008) objected to Svensmark’s ionization theory inter alia that the relative importance of the solar modulation of GCR flux, and hence the hypothetical link with low clouds, should vary by latitude according to the strength of the Earth’s geomagnetic field, but that that the fall in low cloud cover at the 1991 solar maximum did not vary with latitude in this way. Svensmark says he and his son computed that the cosmic rays that could play a role in low cloud formation are too energetic to be much affected by the earth’s magnetic field. (Not sure if they published anywhere.) He did that to deal with in objection based on the Laschamp event, not to respond to Sl oan and Wolfendale, but presumably if he is right, that specific objection falls? And does anyone know if he is right?

    (reCaptcha: “anoraks group”. I think that’s a little harsh.)

  5. 105
    Hank Roberts says:

    PaulC, looks like you’ve stumbled into a new popular phrase in that alternate universe. One of these?
    http://www.google.com/search?q=the+net+positive+effects+that+multiply+the+first+order+CO2+effects

  6. 106
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 94 – AGW vs NGW – the term anthropogenic global warming merely implies it is caused by humans, and says nothing of whether humans are natural or not. I’ve considered that one could say this whole thing is a natural feedback to the recent glacial interglacial cycles (shaping human evolution), etc… BUT it is very common for people to differentiate between human-doings and natural processes – even though they react to each other so that the boundary is … well, you get the point (you knew it already, I think) – but is this is an ‘artificial’ distinction if we make it, or is it ‘natural’ for a grouping of beings to consider themselves to be somehow special in the scheme of things. If we were termites, and a situation arose such that we became very ‘successful’ in the short term, we might (if we had the capability) start to be concerned with the consequences of all our tampering with nature via building mounds, eating wood, etc.

    In one perspective we are natural and everything we do is natural, but in another perspective we are distinct from other things, as are our doings, and these two points of view can coexist in the entirety of reality.

    Re 96:

    “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.”

    That reminds me – I actually came across a CATO document a few years ago with Lindzen’s testimoy to congress or some part of it – and he made some statement that the Earth has never been warmer or colder than … forgot the numbers, but a surprisingly narrow range!

    Re 61:

    “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.”

    IS that the same as this Tsonis et al:

    “Synchronized Chaos: Mechanisms For Major Climate Shifts”

    see:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/volcanoes-and-global-warming.htm#2813

    if so, the warming and cooling trends are linearly superimposed on a longer-term warming trend. Thus even if it is starting to cool, it is not necessarily going to do so in total – it could still warm, but less fast than it otherwise would. And then the warming will accelerate once some other point is reached…

  7. 107
    Brian Klappstein says:

    “…OK, Let’s have it…”

    (Martin Vermeer)

    “Cooling of the global ocean since 2003. Craig Loehle, 2009. Energy and Environment. Volume 20″

    [Response: Automatic fail. Sorry. Try someone who knows what they are doing i.e. Levitus et al, 2009. - gavin]

  8. 108
    dhogaza says:

    AGW vs NGW – the term anthropogenic global warming merely implies it is caused by humans, and says nothing of whether humans are natural or not.

    This whole A vs. N dodge has been used forever by industry types when arguing against conservation or environmental issues. “People are part of the natural world, therefore clearcutting with chainsaws is every bit a part of the natural world as an unmanaged forest”.

    Totally ignoring the universally accepted definition of “natural” as meaning “not caused by people” which you’ll find in any good dictionary.

    It’s just another diversion designed to make people waste their time answering bullpucky rather than addressing real issues.

  9. 109
    Lawrence Brown says:

    “So it doesn’t matter if the last 10 years are the warmest on record, we could have passed into a cooling state.”

    Now I’m at a loss. Since the next ten years will contain more atmospheric C02 and since the warming in the pipeline will also exert it’s effect, the coming decade will likely be warmer than the past one. Does that signify that we’ll pass into an even greater cooling state? Will this continue to go on and on decade after decade ad infinitem?

    This is all beyond my poor power to effectively grasp, but there is one who can respond to this line of reasoning- Lewis Carroll. His words may well become the mantra of the denialosphere: “Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe;All mimsy were the borogroves and the mome raths outgrabe.” From Through The Looking Glass.

  10. 110
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 108 – most of the A vs ‘N’ so far as I am aware, regarding AGW/NCC – is regarding (a manufactured controversy concerning) physical attribution – CO2,CH4,etc, vs solar, volcanic, orbital, various dark-horse candidates, internal variability; on that point, to be perfectly precise, it is pretty much always all of the above (we can’t say that changes in the distance to the moon have had precisely zero effect, but whether we could expect a discernable effect is another matter), but 1. the lion’s share of changes since the industrial revolution is from anthropogenic effects – via CO2, etc, and 2. the anthropogenically-attributable effects are becoming large compared to fluctuations on the same timescales that have occured and generally occur due to other factors.

    The other side of that coin that Ike Solem went into and then I went into is philosophical. Of course, if people are natural, clearcutting forests is natural, capitalism is natural, etc, HOWEVER, tyranny is natural, war is natural, death and disease are natural, hate is natural, AND YET love is natural, etc, AND government is natural, BUT ALSO learning from mistakes is natural, … if we develop policies to mitigate climate change, certainly that would be natural, since it will have happened.

    Bottom line: in the deepest sence of natural, the concept is of little or no use in guiding decisions.

  11. 111
    Igor Samoylenko says:

    Brian Klappstein said in #107:

    “…OK, Let’s have it…”

    (Martin Vermeer)

    “Cooling of the global ocean since 2003. Craig Loehle, 2009. Energy and Environment. Volume 20″

    [Response: Automatic fail. Sorry. Try someone who knows what they are doing i.e. Levitus et al, 2009. - gavin]

    Here is the abstract of the paper by Loehle (Loehle (2009)):

    Ocean heat content data from 2003 to 2008 (4.5 years) were evaluated for trend. A trend plus periodic (annual cycle) model fit with R2 = 0.85. The linear component of the model showed a trend of -0.35 (±0.2) x 1022 Joules per year. The result is consistent with other data showing a lack of warming over the past few years.

    Evaluating the last 4.5 years for trend whilst ignoring the last 60 years?

    Tamino might want to say something about that…

    More on ocean heat content here on RealClimate:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/06/ocean-heat-content-revisions/

  12. 112

    #106 Patrick 027

    I guess dinosaurs lived in much colder climate than we first assumed. Well, better start rewriting all those textbooks.

  13. 113
    Lawrence Brown says:

    This canard about the oceans cooling was exposed in the contribution on ‘The Wilkins Ice Shelf Collapse’,from a few weeks ago. Someone posting by the name of Dawn put it forth and many comments laid this false notion to rest. Corrections had to be applied to the raw data and when tha happened the oceans were found, as expected, to be warming in the same fashion as the atmosphere and the lithosphere. We seem to be going over the same ground as before.

  14. 114

    #103 ccpo

    To add to my point to RichardC, I consider myself an honest skeptic. I am highly skeptical about most things.

    That is why I dig, and analyze, and review lots of things before I figure I know even enough to think I might know something about something.

    In the case of AGW, I am quite convinced based on the reasonable science that this global warming event is human caused, and I have been for quite some time, actually decades as I have not heard anything scientifically to indicate otherwise (I was quite aware of spin even back in the 70′s).

    I also believe based on my understanding of economics that delaying action only increases cost with something like this and that the longer people choose to entertain silliness over reason, the worse it will be.

    But just because I am quite certain this global warming event is human caused does not mean my mind can’t be changed. If anyone can produce evidence that shows that the IPCC and GISS, NASA, NSIDC, NOAA, NCDC, etc. are wrong about the attributions involved in this global warming event, I will gladly change my mind.

    I’m sure a lot of the fine scientists working on this have other scientific interests and would like to explore those subjects as well.

    As yet, no one has produced any such evidence to change my views and the major forcings and attributions are well understood.

    What is an honest skeptic? In my opinion, an honest skeptic is one who openly examines the available evidence and reasoning and after such diligent review accepts the well reasoned results to the extent reasonable.

    Entia non sunt multiplicinda praetor nesecita(sp?) tatum – Entities should not be multiplied more than necessary… nor should things be oversimplified and Einstein pointed out. So between Ockham and Einstein, what I am trying to say is there is nothing wrong with honest skepticism. From my perspective that is what science is built upon, which produces a basis for sound reasoning.

    What I think we are mostly seeing in the denialosphere is ‘dishonest’ skepticism.

  15. 115
    PaulC says:

    105 Hank Roberts

    Thanks – I now see where the challenge comes from – can you point me to a suitable good answer though please. Thanks again.

  16. 116
    mike worst says:

    Gavin at 107 : Is is right to summarily dismiss? Why not tell us why?

  17. 117
    Igor Samoylenko says:

    Lawrence Brown wrote in #113:

    [...]many comments laid this false notion [of oceans cooling] to rest. Corrections had to be applied to the raw data and when tha happened the oceans were found, as expected, to be warming in the same fashion as the atmosphere and the lithosphere. We seem to be going over the same ground as before.

    Quite right, Lawrence. “Oceans cooling since 2003″ is indeed nothing more than a figment of contrarians’ fervent imagination. It was just amusing to see them again trying to analyse 4 years of data for trend. We should move on.

  18. 118

    PaulC,

    Google “Clausius-Clapeyron.”

  19. 119
    Steve Chamberlain says:

    As a “reader” here and a (very) occasional poster (not that what I post carries much weight), what strikes me is that despite the obvious erudition, commitment and willingness to engage with almost any viewpoint displayed by the great majority of people who post here, the tide of denialist bunk, disinformation and outright hogwash continues almost unabated. Witness this collection of claptrap word=processed by “Australia’s most talked-about columnist”, Andrew Bolt: http://tinyurl.com/c7dsal

    If anyone has the time or inclination (assuming there isn’t some paint drying somewhere that needs watching), they may care to peruse his previous utterances on climate change, which all follow a similar path. OK, so that’s bad enough, but what I find so dispiriting sometimes is the sheer number and cocksuredness of his many acolytes, and the unending, smug “refutations” of climate change theory. I mean, how many times is it necessary to reply to and (politely) refute the same old same old before one runs out of steam, patience, energy, time or lifespan?

    For those who can’t be bothered to chase the link, here’s a sample chosen at random from Bolt’s polemic:
    “IT’S snowing in April. Ice is spreading in Antarctica. The Great Barrier Reef is as healthy as ever.
    And that’s just the news of the past week. Truly, it never rains but it pours – and all over our global warming alarmists.
    Time’s up for this absurd scaremongering. The fears are being contradicted by the facts, and more so by the week.
    Doubt it? Then here’s a test.
    Name just three clear signs the planet is warming as the alarmists claim it should. Just three. Chances are your “proofs” are in fact on my list of 10 Top Myths about global warming…
    MYTH 1
    THE WORLD IS WARMING
    Wrong. It is true the world did warm between 1975 and 1998, but even Professor David Karoly, one of our leading alarmists, admitted this week “temperatures have dropped” since – “both in surface temperatures and in atmospheric temperatures measured from satellites”. In fact, the fall in temperatures from just 2002 has already wiped out a quarter of the warming our planet experienced last century. (Check data from Britain’s Hadley Centre, NASA’s Aqua satellite and the US National Climatic Data Centre.)

    MYTH 5
    THE SEAS ARE GETTING HOTTER

    Wrong. If anything, the seas are getting colder. For five years, a network of 3175 automated bathythermographs has been deployed in the oceans by the Argo program, a collaboration between 50 agencies from 26 countries.

    Warming believer Josh Willis, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, reluctantly concluded: “There has been a very slight cooling””

    etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.

    And people wonder why Australia went to Copenhagen with a proposed 5% reduction.

    reCaptcha: “bumming green”. Couldn’t have put it better myself…

  20. 120
    Simmuskhan says:

    Help me!
    My Dad just read this article by Australian Andrew Bolt:
    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/column_the_10_warming_myths/
    I shuddered a lot!
    What’s the appropriate thing to do? If I respond on his forum I don’t think I’ll accomplish anything?

  21. 121
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mike Worst @114: What, publishing in E&E isn’t sufficient reason to have serious doubts about the quality of the work?

  22. 122
    wmanny says:

    #64

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

    Good for Rasmus, I suppose, but hardly good for science. If skeptics are merely to be refuted wherever found, why have them? I am surprised there was no in-line response (unless I missed it) to what was intended as a compliment but reads like dogma.

  23. 123
    PaulC says:

    118 Barton Paul Levenson

    Thanks for your help – much appreciated

  24. 124
    PaulC says:

    The problem I now come across with the question I raised at 102 and with the solution suggested by Barton Paul Levenson at 118 is that the Clausius-Clapeyron equation doesn’t seem to hold up in real world observations in the upper troposphere as per this paper http://www.heartland.org/custom/semod_policybot/pdf/24891.pdf – is this right or wrong? (see esp. Fig. 8)Are there other empirical observations to which I can refer which show that the C-C equation holds in the upper troposphere?

    [Response: A bit of context is needed here. C-C only holds formally when air is saturated -and since most of the atmosphere is not saturated, a simple appeal to CC is an incomplete explanation. However, most processes that remove water vapour from the atmosphere are dependent on relative humidity, not specific humidity, and so the application of C-C in saturated regions (ie. near the surface and in moist convection), generally leads to a roughly constant relative humidity everywhere. But this is a rough guide only, and in some regions - particularly where there may be important micro-physical effects (i.e. evaporation of ice crystals, super saturation etc.) it won't be a great approximation. However, note that a positive water vapour feedback does not require constant relative humidity, only that specific humidity increases - which it has been every where we've looked. (N.B. Gray's paper that you link to is full of incorrect assumptions, misreadings of the literature and fundamental misunderstandings of the problem - it is not a reliable source.). - gavin]

  25. 125
    Mark says:

    “Good for Rasmus, I suppose, but hardly good for science. If skeptics are merely to be refuted wherever found, why have them?”

    Because they aren’t skeptics.

    As you can see from the “arguments” they make. Full of errors, old untruths and arguments from personal incredulity (there was probably a few non-sequitors like “All politicians are corrupt, therefore AGW science is wrong”.

    Peoiple, this is why we shouldn’t be using “skeptic” for these people. They aren’t skeptics.

    Neither is wmanny.

    They are denialists. Directed credulity means they accept without question anything that says “AGW is not happening” whilst DEMANDING more than 100% proof from AGW. The selectively credulous.

    Not skeptical.

    I wonder if I could get some of these people on my jury. They’d be INVALUABLE for the defense: “Yes, there were 15 people who heard him scream ‘I’m gonna kill ya!!!’ and saw a gun in his hand, saw him pull the trigger, heard a bang and saw the man’s head explode. BUT NOBODY saw the *bullet* leave the gun, did they? So poor old Mark may have shot blanks and some third party shot the victim in the head…”.

  26. 126
    Mark says:

    “MYTH 1
    THE WORLD IS WARMING
    Wrong. It is true the world did warm between 1975 and 1998, ”

    Myth1:

    The world is cooling.

    It is true that from 1998 to 1999 the world did cool, but it’s been warming since then from 1999 to 2008.

  27. 127
    Mark says:

    “Gavin at 107 : Is is right to summarily dismiss? Why not tell us why?”

    Because there’s no intelligence in the poster so none is retrievable from what they posted.

    What if someone posted http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/03/where_do_satan_et_al_publish_a.php

    about the geological record. What would be the only response?

    “It’s so wrong it’s not even worth bothering with”.

  28. 128
    SecularAnimist says:

    wmanny wrote: “If skeptics are merely to be refuted wherever found, why have them?”

    Skeptics — of anything — are not merely to be “refuted”. Their ideas should be given exactly the same consideration as anybody else’s. Maybe their ideas will be “refuted”, maybe not, depending on the results of empirical observation.

    But the AGW denialists are not skeptics. They quickly and dogmatically and most unskeptically embrace any cockamamie notion that they imagine “disproves AGW”.

    In general, they are just about the least skeptical people I have ever encountered, and the most gullible and ready to believe any old bunk that comes their way, as long as it agrees with their pre-existing, dogmatic and obstinate belief that AGW doesn’t exist (or isn’t caused by humans, or won’t be harmful, or is too expensive to prevent, or whatever other ExxonMobil-sponsored talking point they’ve glommed onto at any given moment).

  29. 129
    Hank Roberts says:

    PaulC, the trick in the wording is to get you arguing about what’s real and about the meaning of empirical, and say it’s all just a theory:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=warming+real+empirical+evidence

  30. 130
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Walter Manny, Jeez, you guys are hard to please. First, you complain that you aren’t denialists, even though you are in denial of the evidence, but rather are skeptics. Then when somebody refers to you as skeptics, you claim the martyr. OK, then, it’s back to denialists, as in:

    “Good for you, Rasmus, for refuting DENIALISTS wherever you find them.”

    There, fixed it for you. Happy, now?

  31. 131
    Hank Roberts says:

    Hate the sin, not the sinner –> “the septic end of the bogusphere”

  32. 132

    Well, on another topic, I just found this site on the ocean acidification issue. Seems like a good bookmark to use to keep up with the news on that front.

    http://oceanacidification.wordpress.com/

  33. 133
    PaulC says:

    Thanks again Gavin and Hank.

  34. 134
    SecularAnimist says:

    Lawrence Brown wrote: “… there is one who can respond to this line of reasoning- Lewis Carroll. His words may well become the mantra of the denialosphere: ‘Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe;All mimsy were the borogroves and the mome raths outgrabe.’”

    I can never read that any more without recalling Mad Magazine‘s parody of Jabberwocky as written by Madison Avenue ad men — which may be more in keeping with the spirit of AGW denialist propaganda:

    ‘Twas Brillo and the GE stoves
    Did Procter & Gamble in the Glade,
    All Pillsbury were the Tastee Loaves,
    And in a Minute Maid.

  35. 135
    wmanny says:

    “There, fixed it for you. Happy, now?”

    Ray, leaving aside the puerile nature of that closing remark, I am not “you guys”, and I am not a member of some denialist club. RC will continue to sustain its reputation (even among the proponents who steered me here to begin with) as a preacher to the choir at least so long as it finds nothing of note in what skeptics have to say.

    Of course there are ignorant skeptics, just as there are ignorant proponents, but “Skeptics are to be refuted”, a fair paraphrase, I believe, of the comment to Rasmus, is a close-minded statement that was not refuted by the moderator(s). I can’t say I have read every word ever written on this blog, of course, but nevertheless I find it striking for its lack of interest in opposing points of view. Walt Bennett’s mistreatment here, for example, is remarkable, and all he did was to stray off the reservation on policy grounds. When you shy away from opposing points of view, dismiss them out of hand, or assume there must ipso facto be a ready refutation, you leave the impression, fair or otherwise, that there is something to be feared in those views. It’s a tough sell, for me at any rate, to assume that anyone who chooses not to see it RC’s way must by his very disagreement be wrong.

    Walter

  36. 136
    Brian Klappstein says:

    Gavin:

    [edit]

    And what exactly is wrong with the Loehle 2009 paper? Josh Willis created a graph showing essentially the same thing (ARGO only data) which Pielke Sr. posted. Are they both wrong?

    Regards, BRK

    [Response: Short term trends in noisy data coupled with over-extrapolation of conclusions. Long term trends are clearly positive and tying the ARGO data to the rest is still a little unclear (witness the difference between Levitus and Ishii). Loehle adds absolutely nothing. - gavin]

  37. 137
    Lawrence Brown says:

    Igor Samoylenko saya in #117: “It was just amusing to see them again trying to analyse 4 years of data for trend. We should move on.”
    I second the motion. Also I like Secular Animist’s Jabberwocky takeoff as probably more pertinent to AGW denial.

  38. 138
    Mark says:

    Great stuff here. It’s so important we do something to turn our environment around.
    I saw some pretty good videos at Tomorrows World:

    http://www.tomorrowsworldcompetition.com/

    These students wanted to stir some awareness on climate change and water efficiency. Lets help their voices be heard! Pass the videos along to a friend!

  39. 139

    Twas cooking in the slithering mind,
    Did strawman build in heartland prose;
    All mindless were denialist droves,
    And lost became sniveling swine in throws.

  40. 140
    Ike Solem says:

    Quote: “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.” – Brian Klappstein

    Would all of Edelman’s bloggers please raise their hands? Considering that Edelman is under contract to the American Petroleum Institute for $100 million, it would be a serious breach of their contractual agreement if they did not maintain a presence on realclimate – you’d have the API director calling up every day, asking why not, right?

    You know, if the Triana space observatory had been launched back in 1999 or so, we’d already have a ten-year record of direct radiative balance measurements – but the lack of such a record doesn’t change much, because:

    1) We have the local satellite record of atmospheric temperature increases, via the MSU measurements.

    2) We have very good estimates of global radiative forcing from atmospheric constituents.

    3) We have the agreement between climate models and observations on important test issues like polar warming, tropical tropospheric warmins, the expansion of the subtropical dry zones and resulting increases in drought frequency, and the melting of high mountain glaciers. Also, the water vapor feedback is also behaving as predicted, isn’t it?

    4) We have all the Pinatubo eruption – ocean temperature response studies. That was a rare ‘natural experiment’ in that Pinatubo injected aerosols into the stratosphere, and the predicted effects were in line with observations, right? That gives further confidence to global projections.

    In particular, you might want to look at this:

    Church et. al 2005 Significant decadal-scale impact of volcanic eruptions on sea level and ocean heat content, Nature (pdf)

    For the Mt Pinatubo eruption, we estimate a reduction in ocean heat content of about 3 times 1022 J and a global sea-level fall of about 5 mm. Over the three years following such an eruption, we estimate a decrease in evaporation of up to 0.1 mm d-1, comparable to observed changes in mean land precipitation

    Nevertheless, as the article points out, sea level rise and the warming trend recovered immediately afterward, at even greater rates than before – if we had been on the verge of a cooling trend, Pinatubo-forced cooling would not have been a transient event. It is interesting in that you can imagine that if Pinatubo had happened at the very end of an interglacial period, it could have greatly aided the initiation of glaciation – but against the current CO2-forced global warming trend, the effect was strictly temporary.

    That’s more of a mechanical approach, for the statistical debunking try tamino.

    Given that model predictions are fairly reliable, we can conclude that the costs of global warming are far greater than the costs of switching the energy base of the entire global economy to renewables. That’s a theme that the PR industry carefully avoids, because they know very well they lose on the costs question.

  41. 141

    I like the clarification between denialist and skeptic in the context or the debate.

    Definition 2a (below) is a good basis for scientific endeavor to accomplish more well reasoned results. 2a appropriately leaves room for discovery of new knowledge and understanding and simultaneously allows for the possibility of virtual certainty.

    Definition 1 has some basis in reason but is more circumstantial and definition 2b is not scientific, but tends toward the unreasoned or ‘dishonest skeptic’ to which I refer.

    I submit for interrogation:

    denialist = dishonest skeptic
    good scientist = honest skeptic
    skeptic = an adherent or advocate of skepticism

    skepticism
    Main Entry: skep·ti·cism Listen to the pronunciation of skepticism
    Pronunciation: \ˈskep-tə-ˌsi-zəm\
    Function: noun
    Date: 1646

    1: an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object
    2 a: the doctrine that true knowledge or knowledge in a particular area is uncertain
    2 b: the method of suspended judgment, systematic doubt, or criticism characteristic of skeptics

  42. 142
    Mark says:

    “Of course there are ignorant skeptics, just as there are ignorant proponents, but “Skeptics are to be refuted”, a fair paraphrase”

    Not when the person who says it meant the ignorant and not skeptics.

    It is a fair paraphrase of what YOU want to read into it.

    But since you didn’t say it, you don’t get to interpret it and have YOUR personal interpretation taken as gospel.

  43. 143
    SecularAnimist says:

    wmanny wrote: “I find it striking for its lack of interest in opposing points of view.”

    My observation is that the scientists who run Real Climate have an appropriate lack of interest in so-called “opposing points of view” that consist of nothing more than rote regurgitation of long-ago debunked denialist talking points.

    On the other hand, they show an appropriate interest in “opposing points of view” that actually offer something of substance to discuss, and have devoted lengthy, serious, detailed articles to examining, analyzing and critiquing substantive work from so-called “skeptics”. You may be unhappy with the conclusions of RC’s scientists, who more often than not find such work flawed, but it is simply not the case that they have shown a “lack of interest” in it.

    As for Walt Bennett’s “mistreatment”, my impression is that readers, including myself, became frustrated with him because he repeatedly and dogmatically asserted that (1) emissions reductions are doomed to fail and (2) therefore only geoengineering can save us, and then basically refused to respond to questions and criticisms of these pronouncements, except by repeating them.

  44. 144
    dhogaza says:

    When you shy away from opposing points of view, dismiss them out of hand, or assume there must ipso facto be a ready refutation, you leave the impression, fair or otherwise, that there is something to be feared in those views.

    Wmanny, this is *exactly* what creationists say. EXACTLY. “If you dismiss our claim that the earth is 6,000 years old out of hand, or assume ipso facto that there’s a ready refutation of that claim …”

    EXACTLY the same argument.

    As do other kinds or baramins of science denialists. You’re reading right out of the denialism playbook.

    Why?

  45. 145

    Thanks to several on responses to my question. It does seem peculiar, though, that among geologists, only 47% accept the IPCC findings. I don’t know how to explain this small a number.

    I see “7 feet” and “35 feet” both mentioned as possible results if the IPCC recommendations are not followed. What are the best numbers to use (both would be catrostrophes, of course).

    Burgy

  46. 146
    Rod B says:

    John P. Reisman (114), you say, “…an honest skeptic is one who openly examines the available evidence and reasoning and after such diligent review accepts the well reasoned results to the extent reasonable.”

    I have a hunch what you may be trying to say, but your literal words, to me, says an honest skeptic is one who is no longer a skeptic: a no-op that defeats all purpose. Is that what you meant? I think a skeptic can draw some different conclusions, or at least maintain some reasonable questions that does not follow all of the myriad of conclusions drawn by the proponents.

  47. 147

    #145 Rod B

    I would say always be skeptical about that which reasonably warrants skepticism to the degree of skepticism warranted by the well reasoned evidence available, or lack thereof.

    I will attempt to be more literal on ‘honest skeptic’. One who remains reasonably skeptical where warranted, and reasonably accepting of evidence as warranted by the scope of the well reasoned evidence, including reasonable potentials and probabilities.

    oh hell… how about: just use reasonable sensibility based on the evidence available and try not to get caught up in details that can be reasonably excluded from greater relevance based on the context of the individual and overall evidence available…

    hmmm…

    Ok, how about this… try to reasonably keep things in the relevance of their appropriate context.

    I wouldn’t want anyone to have the impression that an ‘honest skeptic’ is no longer a skeptic. There is always something new to learn, but that does not preclude what may reasonably fall into the category of virtual certainty pertaining to the context at hand.

  48. 148
    Marcus says:

    Burgeson (#145): Technically, the IPCC does not make “recommendations”. However, under business as usual, we expect significant sea level rise: the IPCC estimated on the order of 20 to 60 cm by 2100 but didn’t include non-linear Greenland or Antarctica responses (in fact, I believe that assumes that Antarctica actually _grows_ over that time period due to increased snowfall in the interior). More recent studies seem to indicate that more than a meter of sea level rise by 2100 is not implausible.

    Now, if _all_ of Greenland melts, that is 7 meters of sea level rise. And if the West Antarctic peninsula melts, that adds another 5 meters or so. Combined, that’s the 35 feet you are referring to. No one expects that these will melt away in 100 years – it will take several centuries, at least. The question is at what temperature do we commit to melting these.

    Also, having looked at your geologist’s friend’s website: he’s jumped the shark, I’m sorry to say. Pretty much anyone who seriously considers the possibility that “much of the increase of CO2 is natural” has lost it in my book. Not to mention which he doesn’t understand how to use or understand temperature record data, sea level rise data, glacier data, or any of a number of other things.

  49. 149
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 135 wmanny – “but nevertheless I find it striking for its lack of interest in opposing points of view. ”

    If there were no interest in opposing points of view, these blogs would have virtually no commentors – they might not even exist. The climate is a complex thing and there is much to learn. That doesn’t mean every possible assumption that one could make will turn out to be true…

  50. 150
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Walter Manny, My irritation with your post stems from the fact that you are taking Lynn to task for being rather more nice and defferential than the likes of Singer et al. deserve. In my opinion there is absolutely no way Singer merits the title “skeptic”. He doesn’t even merit denialist. I’d suggest “shill,” since he doesn’t even care about the truth.

    There is certainly room for skepticism on climate change. CO2 sensitivity could be 2 degrees per doubling, rather than 3 degrees per doubling without having to be in denial of the evidence (note it could equally likely be be 4.5 degrees). There is room for doubt about potential consequences of warming. There is room for discussion of the best mitigations or proper risk analysis. Beyond that, it’s awfully difficult to see how you remain “skeptical” without ignoring the mountains of evidence.

    If you want to see how skeptics are treated among scientists, first you’ll have to find me an actual skeptic–not an ignoramus who doesn’t understand the science, not an ideologue who rejects the science because of its political (or religious) implications, not a crank arguing his own pet theory and not a washed up has-been desperately trying to stay in the limelight. Find me a true skeptic whose skepticism projects through 4 pi steradians, not like a laser beam on GCMs. I guarantee, a true skeptic, if you can find one, would be valued here.

    As to Walt, I think that if you go back and read his early posts, you will find them a bit confrontational. Not a good way to make friends.


Switch to our mobile site