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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. 251
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Go with the blanket metaphor instead
    > of pop-radiative transfer. – gavin

    Clear.

  2. 252
    Hank Roberts says:

    Or even better:

    “…like a blanket.” And for a better explanation, see
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/Radmath.htm

    Extra credit, find the typo on the page.

  3. 253
    Ray Ladbury says:

    I am afraid that when you are talking about radiant energy, any “simple” analogy you use will be faulty. First, remember photons are bosons–they are identical, indistinguishble particles whole number is not even conserved, so it doesn’t make sense to follow the path of a single photon.

    I think it is accurate to say that the outgoing IR photon is absorbed by a greenhouse gas molecule and prevented from escaping to the inky blackness of space. However, it is what happens to the resulting excited CO2 molecule afterward that is interesting. Because the excited molecule has a significant amount of energy in a mode unexcited in most of the cool CO2, the most common decay is collisional, resulting in that energy being shared (and converted into kinetic energy) with other molecules in the air. If relaxation were predominantly radiative, you’d still wind up with about half the energy outgoing.

    So if you are looking for a simple way of describing it, I would say the greenhouse gas blocks the energy from escaping and thermalizes it.

    Gavin, please correct me if I’m woefully wrong.

  4. 254
    Hank Roberts says:

    Krugman says:

    “… think about how hard it would be to verify whether China was really implementing a promise to tax carbon emissions, as opposed to letting factory owners with the right connections off the hook. By contrast, it would be fairly easy to determine whether China was holding its total emissions below agreed-upon levels….”

    Is he assuming, what, that we will have satellites that can identify emissions by source? Or what, anyone know?

    Though he’s got a point, who’s more trustworthy, a satellite or a sales tax auditor?

    Empirical question, I guess.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/18/opinion/18krugman.html?hpw

  5. 255
    Rod B says:

    John P. Reisman (248), everyone would like no ambiguity. Unfortunately ambiguity is an unassailable reality is some things. For example, the best I can do is to say that I believe that its greater than 50% chance that most of the global warming the past two centuries is anthropogenic (partly based on my lack (so far) of a rigorous analysis of this aspect.) I am not versed enough to dispute it, but don’t buy it completely either, though I lean somewhat that direction. However I absolutely would not accept 100% chance of human cause. Or put maybe a better way that 100% of the temperature increase is human caused. I don’t think even the protagonist climatologists say that. I agree the less ambiguity the better; but also exactness is not the same as truthfulness.

    The context of my “significant uncertainty,” in this discourse, is tied only to the forcing factor from GHG concentrations. (I thought I was quite clear about this context…) Though I admit “significant” can have a range of meaning, I deem it significant because deviations from the current formula can possibly have a significant effect on the projections. I think there are other areas of climatology where there is noticeable uncertainty, but, as I stand now, I don’t know if they all are “significant” or not.

  6. 256
    Rod B says:

    Mark, I did and do think that thermalization of the absorbed IR depends mostly on inelastic collisions.

  7. 257
    Nigel Williams says:

    234 jyyh. You’re right. There is indeed something rather strange going on in the Artic.

    So c’mon guys humour me! What’s going on at the north pole right now is something outa the box isn’t it? Who before has seen the melt start on the 0-180 longitude running right through the north pole?

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/NEWIMAGES/arctic.seaice.color.000.png

    And check back a few frames to watch it develop. ??Tipping point, anyone?

    [Response: As in almost everything, it’s probably better to wait and see how things develop rather than jumping to conclusions. – gavin]

  8. 258
    Mark says:

    Which is kind of my point, Ray (253).

    It then comes down to what makes the story. Like teaching kids, you start off with the easiest explanation, then expand that explanation as the knowledge of the student expands.

    This doesn’t work so well when someone WANTS to deliberately not know, so as long as you’re clear, you might as well write for the ones who’d like to know, not those who resist.

  9. 259
    Mark says:

    re 253: How about the IR radiation leaving the earth warms the atmosphere which likewise warms the earth it sits upon, like an electric blanket.
    ?

  10. 260

    Mark writes:

    The answer isn’t wrong, though.

    Yes it is. CO2 does not reflect infrared. To say it does is wrong. Not simplified, not a good summary, just plain [edit] wrong.

    I don’t blame JB for this, he was trying his best and it was a natural misconception. And he’s not stubbornly defending that wording. You are, despite the fact that you know better. I think sometimes your urge to argue with people overtakes your common sense.

  11. 261
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mark, In my experience, when you are trying to explain something very technical, you have to be very careful with metaphors. People often feel they are drowning in such discussions and will grasp onto a familiar word or phrase and attribute much more meaning than it warrants. I believe it is best to remain strictly accurate if somewhat vague rather than stretching the truth to capture it with a metaphor.

    The thing is that most people really don’t want a thorough understanding of a phenomenon. Those that do, hopefully will ask questions, and you can then expand your explanation for the curious.

  12. 262
    Mark says:

    re 261, but you can’t just give them the raw deal. And any simple picture as you said will be wrong to some degree.

    What you do depends on what the discussion is for. Here on RC there’s enough knowledge to understand and want the real deal.

  13. 263
    Mark says:

    re 261, is John trying to explain something very technical: the radiative transfer model, or something very technical: how the earth can be warmed by a gas?

    If the former, then “reflection” is wrong. If the latter, reflection is no more wrong than most of the other suggestions that didn’t get a “you’re hopeless” style comment.

  14. 264
    Mark says:

    BPL, 260, it’s no more wrong than your attempt to explain it as returning IR. There’s almost no chance of an excited CO2 atom within a few MFP lengths of the earth’s radiating surface will last long enough in that excited state before undergoing an inelastic collision. Therefore, IR radiation is lost in thermal excitations.

    “It’s just plain wrong” is no answer.

  15. 265
    Hank Roberts says:

    Mark, all metaphors are wrong.
    Some metaphors are useful.
    Use a more useful one.
    Poets do love their word choices, and outside the math it’s all poetry.

  16. 266
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mark, I am going by my experience of writing and making presentations of highly technical material. All I know is that when I speak metaphorically, there are some in the audience who take the metaphor literally, while missing the intent entirely. I have found that it is better to state things in a strictly correct but vague manner than to use imagery that can convey an incorrect image.

    Saying that ghgs prevent escape of outgoing IR is correct.

  17. 267
    Mark says:

    re 265.

    Yes.
    Yes.
    Why? In what way is it needed to be “more useful”? In what way is that one “not useful enough”?

  18. 268
    Hank Roberts says:

    Parsimony: an explanation should answer more questions than it raises.

  19. 269
    Phil. Felton says:

    jyyh Says:
    17 May 2009 at 1:23 AM
    I’m presenting an image, I found through Anthony Watts’ site, in spite the questions arising from it might make me sound a bit too alarmistic…
    http://iabp.apl.washington.edu/maps_daily_track-map.html
    It appears the Beaufort Gyre has turned on it’s heels and is now rotating anticlockwise, my questions regarding this are
    Is this currently a seasonal phenomenon or irregular as it used to be? As there is the ACC (Antarctic circumpolar current), can the northerly motion of Arctic low pressures generate a similar current to the arctic basin? What are the relative strengths of North Atlantic Drift and the drift through Bering straits? Does this mean we’ll have a giant accumulation of loose ice near the north pole rotating anticlockwise during future summers (and winters, for that matter)? It also appears in the image that all ice reaching the norther tip of Greenland is swept along east coast of Greenland and subsequently melted, does this mean all multiyear ice is doomed to disappear from Arctic, specially regarding that NW passage has opened in recent years? Will Europe experience more cold surges from Greenland in future during winters (rather than Siberia)? Are arctic currents irregular in their changes like ENSO or are there some projected permanent changes?

    The pattern of ice movement varies significantly as you’ll see from the images below, if you want a detailed view of those patterns you can find more data at http://cersat.ifremer.fr/data/discovery/by_product_type/gridded_products/psi_amsr_drift

    http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn107/Sprintstar400/Drift.png
    http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn107/Sprintstar400/Drift-1.jpg
    http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn107/Sprintstar400/20090309-20090315.png

  20. 270
    Mark says:

    re 266, so have I. And your point merely means that you can’t just say “that metaphor will be abused”. Since it’s true of any metaphor.

    Hank, 267, way to not answer the question.

  21. 271
  22. 272

    On another subject — I was driving home from my volunteer job with a food pantry and tuned in a particularly loud talk show host by the name of Shawn Hannity (may have misspelled his name). For 15 minutes he ranted on how “most scientists rejected AGW, how efforts to reduce CO2 emissions was going to bankrupt the country, and a great many related arguments.

    Nothing he said made much sense, but I understand that he and Rush Limbaugh, who he referred to several times in favorable terms, do have a wide audience here in the USA. He took, at one time, a phone call from Michael Steel, who is prominent in the Republican party, and the banter between them was too much for my tender ears to handle.

    Some things were said that I believe are flatly not true. But the listeners are going to think they are true.

    Sigh.

    Burgy

  23. 273
    dhogaza says:

    Burgy – welcome to the Republican war on science.

    It’s sad. I remember when the Endangered Species Act, ban on DDT, Clean Air Act, National Forest Management Act, National Environmental Protection Act etc etc passed with Nixon’s signature.

    Today Nixon would be labeled a RINO – other than for having authorized the Watergate break-in, of course.

  24. 274
    Pekka Kostamo says:

    #269 Phil or anyone: Wonder why IFREMER Arctic ice drift maps are limited to wintertime only? It seems to be a quite routine product and I assume the summertime interest would be acute.
    ftp://ftp.ifremer.fr/ifremer/cersat/products/gridded/psi-drift/quicklooks/arctic/amsre-merged/

    [Response: The drift calculation tracks features in the ice – I imagine that gets more difficult as the ice breaks up and if there are frequent changes in surface properties due to melting. – gavin]

  25. 275

    dhogaza Says:
    19 May 2009 at 4:44 PM
    Burgy – welcome to the Republican war on science.

    I’m not sure it is a “Republican” war — but there does seem to be a large number of far right Republicans that are driving the party these days. I have one Republican friend, an elected representative in Colorado, who is trying her best to get the party back to what it once was and there do seem to be some voices of adulthood left in the party. Here and there.

    I once was a proud Republican, casting my first vote for Eisenhower in 1952. In the Nixon debacle, I left the party and was an independent for many years. After the 2000 election theft, I grudgingly joined the Democratic party. But it, too, has extremists on the far left, and that makes me uncomfortable.

    But it is nice to have the adults again in charge in Washington!

    Burgy

  26. 276
    Mark says:

    re 275.

    It could be the far right are being noisier.

    When you’ve been in power for a while, you want the *comfort* of power. And you’ll do nearly anything to get that quiet. So you listen most to the noisiest people.

    When you’ve *recently* been kicked out, you dare not show a fragmented front, so you must appease anyone who would speak out from your group.

    It doesn’t help that debating points are easier if you’re WELL out on left field (or right field, as per personal preference) and that “Bullet-point Journalism” (made that up myself, folks!) wants a story easy to SAY rather than accurate.

  27. 277
    Mark says:

    PS on 275: “But it, too, has extremists on the far left, and that makes me uncomfortable.”

    Uh, you do realise that in US politics centre-left would be considered mainstream right elsewhere and that far-left would be more moderate left.

    Again, it’s (IMO) the result of the AGRESSION that is the thirst of the media (makes a good story!) and the people who’d rather not think (for good reasons, some times: it’s better to KNOW you know nothing and rely on others than to THINK you know and talk rubbish).

  28. 278

    “Sean Hannity” & “truth” do not, in my experience, exhibit a high correlation factor. Particularly on climate-related issues.

  29. 279

    #275 John Burgeson on extremists on the left
    #16 #39 #54 #85 Doug Bostrom on how to appropriately act

    John, I am only a few years behind you and have similar sentiments. I describe many climate talkers as zealots and many more as cheerleaders. They actually put a woman on TV the other night who said she could actually see the sea level rising. It is easy to get put off by the sixth grade science level that seems to be the common denominator of public discussion. And this seems to breed zealots who will jump on amazingly bad projects. Unfortunately, this seems to be the level from where political action is motivated.

    To try to get past the sixth grade science level, it helps to identify the real scientists, though I am not sure how many there really are. The heros of this world are the ones who actually wrote the equations that describe the CO2 effect on IR radiation.

    This is where it is possible to sort out just how definite the science really is and how concerned we should be. Knowing the heat trapping mechanism, and the not hard to catalog fact of industrial CO2 emissions, leaves us with a significant incremental change to the world heat balance. The rate of heat accumulation due to this incremental effect seems also to be well in reach of computational methods and thus inescapable knowledge. After this though, if I understand Martin Vermeer #196 correctly, it is reasonable to discuss further the various ramifications to world systems, including all the natural or engineered processes that might or might not mitigate the CO2 effect, though I think Martin would be quickly annoyed by many of the poorly thought out expectations.

    At the risk of boring everyone, I think the problem through as follows to prevent myself from lapsing into unwarranted optimism:

    It is inescapable that the levels of CO2 are rising as an integral of the emission rate and that emission rate is an integral of the number of power plants and cars, it is hard to believe that we will be magically rescued by any such natural processes. They were fully loaded a hundred years ago.

    Mitigation would have to actually stop the increase in rate of CO2 emissions (meaning no more cars and power plants); then it would have to stop the accumulation of CO2 that is now happening due to the present rate of emissions (meaning elimination of cars and power plants), then we might imagine that natural processes could cope to reduce the level of CO2. Only then would the rate of heat accumulation decrease. And we still have not taken away any heat. However, IR radiative energy will escape at an increased rate due to increased earth temperature. That temperature will come up to a steady equilibrium point only if the CO2 level is fixed (that was at the point we had eliminated enough cars and power plants).

    And we still have not cooled anything, so there will have to be a certain amount of ice melting or deep ocean water upwelling to bring things down. (It looks like the ice will go first.)

    OK — End of my boring mental process. But some might acknowledge that it is not a simple business here, and if it goes like some of my conversations with friends that listen to Faux commentators, it will not be easy to get wide political consensus on taking action that is seems likely to be unpleasant.

    No wonder the Waxman Markey bill turned into a silly nothing. And still the sixth grade mentality is cheering it as great progress.

    Bringing it all down to my domain, the much acclaimed auto economy standards seem doomed to a similar fate. There will be much talk followed by chicanery to pretend that plug-in cars accomplish the goal if simply added to the production mix of each manufacturer. And of course, we will continue to operate as if a kWhr of electric energy equals a kWhr of heat, so great imaginary multiples of efficiency are possible.

    But Doug, even though there is a crisis and action is very important, I still agree we should not actually burn the house down to solve it. Neither should we jump on every promoter’s scheme that pretends at a solution. If we do not take just enough time to actually analyze proposed solutions, real solutions will get lost in the flood of nonsense.

  30. 280
    Mark says:

    “I describe many climate talkers as zealots and many more as cheerleaders. They actually put a woman on TV the other night who said she could actually see the sea level rising.”

    It could be true.

    If you live on a small island that is close to the sea level, it only has to rise a little to remove a lot of land. All it takes is 30-50 years, if that. Easily within living memory.

    Similarly, Innuits who live near the edge of the northern coasts will see within their lifetimes their lifestyle (based on sea ice extending to their lands) change dramatically within the last 20+years.

    And ignore the people: does someone being a cheerleader mean that CO2 no longer has a penchant of absorbing IR radiation? No. So check the science, if you don’t like the people.

  31. 281
    Mark says:

    “Mitigation would have to actually stop the increase in rate of CO2 emissions (meaning no more cars and power plants);”

    Why would that mean no more cars and power plants?

    Do solar plants not work if you have no coal fired stations online? Do electric cars only work while petrol cars are being sold?

    Oracle asks: think sharper

    I think you should listen to it.

  32. 282

    #281 Mark

    Who is Oracle? No doubt I could think sharper. But–maybe not just me.

    Backing up:
    Solar plants work all the time they can. They do not now and will not for many years to come carry the whole load (along with wind and hydro and nuclear). If no coal fired stations are online, as for example due to a complete ban on such, then natural gas will be the only remaining option. The most efficient of these will be set up to run on a schedule to meet the expected loads and these can vary somewhat to meet slower load changes, with peaking plants being minimized in the planned mix and available to carry the unexpected loads.

    Ok, now if coal stations are allowed, they will be set up to run on that schedule to meet those expected loads. These are set to provide as much of the load as possible since that is the economically sensible thing to arrange. If natural gas is cheap enough and capital cost considerations are (maybe possibly) relevant, these are run as well. Where natural gas systems are set up to operate as cogeneration stations, where heat is also produced for gainful use, then these beat coal and run flat out. There is not a lot of this, but it is enough to see on the schedule. (See the Ontario Power Schedule for actuals.)

    But the reason that coal is the source is that the car charging load in general is factored into the load planning, which maximizes the scheduled use of coal plants. For actual opertions, for a hypothetical example, lets say there is a new car just plugged in the first night of its use, and the plan does not account for this new load. The conglomeration of phase locked generators would suffer an infinitessimally small drop in voltage, similarly small phase lag of the conglomeration, field adjustments, and some fuel adjustments. Probably the easiest fuel adjustment would be at a peaking plant, but again due to economic rules, the added load on the peaking plant would be taken over as soon as possible by more slow to respond coal systems. Maybe there would be some combined cycle natural gas systems involved in the brief transition. But after the adjustment time, the coal systems would get up to the job. Maybe it would be possible for you to explain how this would not happen under obvious economic rules?

    A reference that supports the economic rule is the EPRI-NRDC reference at http://www.miastrada.com/references . The early discussion by EPRI states the market selection rule for power system operation.

    Next point:
    I am not sharp enough to understand the connection between electric cars working and petrol cars selling.

    Next point:
    I opened up a possibility of misinterpretation by saying “no more cars” which meant exactly that, but in common usage it sounds like it means that “there will be cars no more.” I might have said, “no cars more than are now in operation.”

  33. 283

    #281 Mark

    She spoke as if she could see it as she stood there.

    She said “I can see it rising.” Not, “I can see that it has risen.” Maybe she meant that.

  34. 284
    Doug Bostrom says:

    #279 Jim:

    “To try to get past the sixth grade science level, it helps to identify the real scientists, though I am not sure how many there really are.”

    All scientists step forward. Arrwk! I’m not moving…

    “No wonder the Waxman Markey bill turned into a silly nothing. And still the sixth grade mentality is cheering it as great progress.”

    Think of it this way: We’ve had no serious policy consideration let alone response from our legislature on climate change until this moment. Now we’ve got what most of us would call a major bill– a significant legal acknowledgment, at least– passed and about to become law, not stuck as a neuter resolution or still-born having failed even to gestate in committee. Sure, the sausage arriving on Obama’s desk is bruised and a bit whiffy but all the same we’ve reached a significant inflection point.

    A tiny, wee mite of courage and honesty has appeared, surely cause for a raised glass and a murmur of encouraging words from the table.

    What does this get us?

    I can guarantee you that public awareness of climate change will have changed and likely improved, just by the presence of the bill on the senate and house floors followed by a televised signing ceremony. Some of us actually do tend to go along with this sort of thing and look to the response of government for guidance.

    Think of leaded gas for a past example, a pretty large technological upheaval inspired by a largely invisible threat but with the public embracing the required changes when our law spoke.

    Meanwhile, 2454 is imperfect one way or another to nearly all constituents, a cliche situation for legislation of this scope. That’s ok, Waxman-Markey is not the last word on climate change from the Hill, it’s only the first. Legislators will see there are no horseheads in their beds or burning effigies on their lawns after passing this. Instead, they’ll detect some faint vibrations of approval for their work. Better, hearing about climate change in committees will no longer seem pointless or abstract. Climate policy can actually be made and given teeth, or at least a velvet lash. Amazing.

    Between this and the “Californiafication” (?) of auto emissions and consumption standards, this week was pretty huge. Imagine 2 years ago, what you’d have said if somebody told you these things had dropped in your lap.

  35. 285

    #284
    Doug

    I am always glad to have my cynical streak balanced by a more optimistic view.

    Still, Waxman Markey or any other limit on CO2 emissions with any real teeth in it has never been politically possible, especially in the face of the grim economic situation. I am hoping for some sort of financial boost which might get acceptable if some real alternatives came with it.

    I see some real possibilities, though new, strange, and hard to sell, in transportation and power generation. It is clearly going to be a long haul.

    My qualifications in any area are vague and indefinite, though when I think I understand something I am willing to get on the war horse. This has worked from time to time, and maybe it still is possible.

  36. 286
    Mark says:

    re 283.

    Look up the words “metaphor”.

    When you were 8, did your auntie not say “You look more grown up each time I see you!” or similar? Does this mean she thought you grew 5% a week?

  37. 287
    Mark says:

    282: it is the Captcha. Sometimes it seems to be oracular in its powers.

    Hence the RC meme of, when the Oracle seems to Know, of mentioning what It says.

  38. 288
    Mark says:

    “For actual opertions, for a hypothetical example, lets say there is a new car just plugged in the first night of its use, and the plan does not account for this new load.”

    Read up on the fuzzl law of large numbers, Jim.
    There are a large number of cars. And most people aren’t night workers.

  39. 289
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Here’s a fun opinion piece from the SF Examiner:

    How climate change activists shoot themselves in the foot
    Thomas Fuller

    …Some prominent skeptics of global warming as crisis actually are climate scientists. Richard Lindzen, Patrick Michaels, John Christy, Roy Singer, to name a few, and some of the leading lights of the activist movement are not–think Al Gore, and even James Hansen. But the response from global warming activists has been to insist that skeptical climatologists are all in the pay of big oil–that they are corrupt. The environmental websites have special sections that hold the ‘truth’ about all the skeptics that are featured in the press. These sections of the website are copied and pasted into discussions about climate change by advocates of major change to cope with climate change. …

    Funny how he doesn’t mention the “evil climate scientist conspiracy” we hear so often form the “skeptics.”

    [Response: Jim Hansen isn’t a climatologist? And who is Roy Singer? Doesn’t bode well for the factual content in the rest of the article… – gavin]

  40. 290

    A final post on the article I asked you all (that’s Texas talk) for help with. I took Gavin’s advice to use the “blanket” metaphor and profited much from the other comments.

    The article will run this week in the RICO BUGLE — a version of it can be viewed on my website at

    http://www.burgy.50megs.com/climate.htm

    Thanks guys.

    Burgy

  41. 291

    John,

    CO2 doesn’t reflect infrared light. It absorbs it. It radiates more infrared light.

  42. 292

    Yes. That’s why I included a link to your site’s explanation in the article.

    Burgy

  43. 293
    Dan says:

    Be advised that the libertarian Heartland Institute is at it again, recycling TV meteorologist (now there’s climate science credibility…not!) Anthony Watts’ thoroughly discredited “surfacestations.org” non-peer reviewed piece from a year or two ago as a supposed new report “Is the U.S. Temperature Record Reliable?” to all “Environment and Climate News” subscribers.

    Some classic lines include:
    “No wonder the U.S. temperature record shows warming during the twentieth century – it’s measuring the temperature of air conditioners, parking lots, and wastewater treatment plants, not the real-world temperature!”

    “The entire case for government action (ha! now we get the heart of the matter!) to stop or slow global warming could be unraveled by these new paragraphs. The likelihood of error in the temperature record exceeds by a wide margin the purported rise in temperature of 0.7 C (about 1.2 F) during the whole twentieth century (gee, can you say “cherry-picking”?).”

    And, it is being distributed to “elected officials, educators, journalists, civic and business leaders, and influential people like you”!

    Let’s see how long it takes before the denialists post here without checking to see that surfacestations.org has been thoroughly discussed in the past. And how they will then parrot the claim that there is “new” information to discredit the US surface temperature record. As if that is even relevant to the global record or the numerous other temperature proxies that exist. And let’s also see if they apply as much of their supposed skepticism to Watt’s non-peer reviewed piece as they do to the thoroughly peer-reviewed IPCC science. I’d say the over/under is about two days. :-)

  44. 294
    Hank Roberts says:

    Barton, have you considered adding before your step something (my sketch below is far too wordy, but how simple can it be and still be understood)? You know what I’m getting at. Just thinking John B’s readers will need to grasp this part:

    > 6. The warmer greenhouse gases radiate IR themselves.

    Like
    — greenhouse gases bumble into other molecules and warm the nitrogen and oxygen and other gases in the air around them; that’s how a few of them in the atmosphere will share whatever heat they accumulate with all the air around; and

    — an individual greenhouse gas molecule, once it accumulates enough energy from collisions and from absorbing infrared, will emit an infrared photon losing some of that energy, in a random direction

  45. 295
    Martin Vermeer says:

    Mea culpa. It seems that “pressure broadening isn’t well understood” is a somewhat alive denialist meme. Google, e.g., for “denialism pressure broadening”. Up comes a posting from the Wabbit on precisely that.

    I should have known. But then, I prefer to study natural science, not the botany of denialism. What Rod B “studies”, and what for, I know now. Without my help from this day on.

  46. 296
    dhogaza says:

    Be advised that the libertarian Heartland Institute is at it again, recycling TV meteorologist (now there’s climate science credibility…not!) Anthony Watts’ thoroughly discredited “surfacestations.org” non-peer reviewed piece from a year or two ago as a supposed new report “Is the U.S. Temperature Record Reliable?” to all “Environment and Climate News” subscribers.

    Actually it’s newly released, in this format, at least, so technically they’re not recycling, it’s the first of the “we’ve done 70% of the stations so can now conclude …” reports.

    Supposedly, eventually, they’ll back up the “warming is an artifact” conclusion with some Real Analysis, but don’t hold your breath.

  47. 297

    I would like to propose to fellow RC readers a link between Arctic Cloudiness :

    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/data/satellite/hrpt_dfo_ir_100.jpg

    and ENSO

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1233

    as with during La-Nina lesser clouds extent and El-Nino more Arctic cloud extent.

    I will elaborate more on my website… If El-Nino occurs during this summer
    a greater Ice melt may be spared, because there is more clouds. Despite the world wide temperature increase associated with an EL-Nino event.
    I would be delighted to hear comments with respect to this hypothesis.

  48. 298
    Mark says:

    re 294. You should also ask how a solid gains heat in the bulk when a photon of visible light hits it.

    After all, if emission == absorption the ground should emit a photon of visible light, shouldn’t it?

    And the same effect is taken when thermalising the IR radiation from the earth into the cooler atmosphere.

  49. 299
    Rod B says:

    Mark, emission does not equal absorption; emissivity does equal absorptivity. In general Hank’s 294 is good. (Sorry if I got your point wrong.)

  50. 300
    Mark says:

    I know, RodB.

    However, that doesn’t stop someone putting out a statement saying that, does it.

    That’s one of the “reasons” why the radiative balance equations are wrong according to Gerlich, Monkton et al. They use the words interchangeably with no qualm.


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