Monckton’s deliberate manipulation

The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential for a human impact on climate is based on well-established scientific fact, and should not be denied. While, in theory, human activities have the potential to result in net cooling, a concern about 25 years ago, the current balance between greenhouse gas emissions and the emissions of particulates and particulate-formers is such that essentially all of today’s concern is about net warming. However, as will be discussed below, it is still not possible to accurately predict the magnitude (if any), timing or impact of climate change as a result of the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations. Also, because of the complex, possibly chaotic, nature of the climate system, it may never be possible to accurately predict future climate or to estimate the impact of increased greenhouse gas concentrations.

This is a curious claim, since the passage is pretty much mainstream. For instance, in the IPCC Second Assessment Report (1995) (p528):

Complex systems often allow deterministic predictability of some characteristics … yet do not permit skilful forecasts of other phenomena …

or even more clearly in IPCC TAR (2001):

In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible. The most we can expect to achieve is the prediction of the probability distribution of the system’s future possible states….

Much more central to the point Revkin was making was the deletion of the sections dealing with how weak the standard contrarian arguments were – arguments that GCC publications continued to use for years afterward (and indeed arguments that Monckton is still using) (see this amendment to the original story).

Monckton’s ironic piece de resistance though is the fact that he entitled his letter “Deliberate Misrepresentation” – and this is possibly the only true statement in it.

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513 comments on this post.
  1. OLympus Mons:

    Hi Gavin,
    Could you explain why Dr. Roy Spencer is to be ignored? Thanks.

    [Response: Ignored? No. But there needs to be substance behind the rant. He has not made public his supposedly devastating-to-the-mainstream paper, and so what are we supposed to comment on? – gavin]

    Secondly and most important: How come real climate is not tackling what is posted today on Dr. Pielke web site today? Devastating to you, personally, because your name is in there. — That weblog by William dipucci either is devastating to you and AGW (especially because is backed by Dr. Pielke himself) or is it just lousy science. What is it?

    Thanks you

    [Response: I wouldn’t like to speculate on why Dr. Pielke publishes what he does. It’s his blog. The paper in question stands on it’s own. I do like the way I was promoted from 14 out 15 authors to third though. – gavin]

  2. thingsbreak:

    @92 (gavin)

    I didn’t attend, but it sounded like the usual demonization of parameterization generally without any specific complaints or explanation as to why parameters magically disqualify models from giving useful information from a policy perspective. He seemed particularly focused on clouds, but also named as “fudge factors” (his pet term for parameterizations) “evaporation, condensation, soil effects, & vegetation.”

    David Biello [] was covering it via Twitter.

  3. Mark:

    re 99, Is there any evidence that Gavin doesn’t?

    All you’re doing is throwing muck and hoping something sticks. Failing that, falls in his mouth.


  4. OLympus Mons:

    Thanks Gavin for replies.
    However regarding the negative feedback coming out of CERES data it’s devastating stuff. Do you believe it’s bogus, or you just don’t want to comment?

    [Response: “devastating” eh? What are you actually referring to? Have you seen this mysterious paper perhaps? Unlike some, I don’t comment on studies that I haven’t read. We’ll just see. – gavin]

    I’m pretty sure if it were wacko stuff it would be apparent because he just presented is work … to the NASA CERES team, themselves. you do not need publication to assert such a thing right?

    [Response: Is his presentation online? Presenting at a workshop is not the same as publishing a paper – and I’m certain that the NASA CERES team are a polite bunch. – gavin]

    Increase in water vapor has to organize itself in some system and if by doing that you have such a negative feedback out of Cirrus forms, it has a big impact on your models. Or not really?

    [Response: Not clear what this means. – gavin]

    Thanks again for your time.

  5. RichardC:

    44 RodB claims, ” tobacco was never addictive until the pols and FDA (and others that smelled money) chose to dumb down the accepted definition in the 90s.”

    riiiighhhhttt. You just pulled a Monckton.

    [Response: No more on nicotine – I mean please, can’t we discuss something where there actually is a debate? – gavin]

  6. dhogaza:

    Just as it seems to be that this year’s Arctic ice extent will not even worry the BBC (although they are unlikely to report on it if it turns out to be a record-build).

    Really? A “record-build”? Extent has been below the 1979-2000 average all year, and area is about where it was last year (second lowest minimum on record).

    Just because Stephen Goddard, at WUWT, describes this as being a “trend reversal”, doesn’t mean it is.

  7. J. Bob:

    As far as comparing land and satellite global temps, just go to
    Click on the Global temp tab, and go down to the composite global temp data from 1979,to current. This graph includes GISS, UAH, RSS etc. From the graph, I would guess that the temp has stabilized, or trending down.

    As far as bashing Monckton, in comparing him and Gore, I find Monckton far more interesting. Even if he, Monckton, didn’t invent the internet.

    P.S. One item from the evil, money grubbbing Wall Street Journal. Seems in the April 30th issue, some significant natural gas deposits have been found (not in Washington D.C.) but in deep shale formations. These are primarily in northern LA, and the Appalachian mountains. From the above mentioned graph, we may need it.

  8. dhogaza:

    Looking at the graph of global temperatures for the past 20 years I cannot for the life of me see what worries some people here. With some predictions of a strong link with the PDO comes forecasts of falling temperatures for the next 20 years. The caveat is that these are yet again – guessed, just as alarming warming was. So far that ‘warming’ guess has turned out to be incorrect.

    That ‘warming’ “guess” (sic) has been proven out to be incorrect by the last twenty year’s data?

    Are you sure?

  9. walter crain:

    that eli rabett is a funny (and clever) bunny.

  10. Theo Hopkins:

    Climate sceptics commonly quote “The science is settled” when they want to say it is not. You all know what I mean.

    But who, if anyone, actually did say “The science is settled”?

    Or in other words, to who can I attribute this quote that goes around and around? Or was it a number of people?

    Or is the quote actually an imagination-figment of the coolists?

  11. Hank Roberts:

    > Spencer
    “… URL:
    Description: One of the nation’s foremost climate research scientists, Dr. Spencer’s website is devoted to sharing …”

  12. Martin Vermeer:

    Re #101 Olympus Mons, the issue doesn’t exactly sound new. See

    One can only wonder why Pielke Sr (!) wanted to have this warmed over. Me having now read at the blog post you referred to, I would recommend Gavin to do something useful instead ;-)

  13. Theo Hopkins:

    Walter Manny wrote:

    “Al Gore owes his Oscar and Nobel Prize more to the denialism of the right than to his understanding of the science.”

    From where I sit on the European side of the Atlantic, Al Gore’s Oscar is one of the worst things that could happen. I have seen his film, esentially a documentary, and as a documentary it really is a second level bit of TV. Hollywood should not consider that their endorsment of Gore’s film would go down well anywhere outside America – from here in the UK it actualy makes him look stupid. Next, Tony Blair on quantum? Madoana on evolution? Oscars cheapen and reduce his standing.

    And why a Nobel? He did no original science.

    [Response: It was the Peace Prize, not a science prize – gavin]

  14. CM:

    I’ve watched the video in #77 and looked up the AR4 list of expert reviewers to see that the presenter, Mr Zagoni, really was in there (“part winner of the Nobel Prize” indeed). I trust the good folks here who tell me the theory is pure nonsense. But what’s the story on this guy? And should I worry about the IPCC review process?

    [Response: The guy is pushing Miskolczi’s theory, and since anyone can be an IPCC reviewer (it’s an open process), you don’t have to worry. Dumb comments are generally given short shrift. Perhaps someone would like to search through to see what comments he made? – gavin]

  15. SecularAnimist:

    Barry Foster wrote: “However, it seems to be (based on current evidence and not computer models) that alarming climate change is a myth.”

    In fact that is the exact opposite of reality, as you would be aware if you knew even the slightest thing about ongoing empirical observations of the effects of anthropogenic global warming.

    In fact all — without exception, ALL — the “current evidence” indicates that climate change is far more “alarming” than mainstream scientists thought even just a few years ago.

    The rest of your comment is, with all due respect, incoherent rubbish.

  16. dhogaza:

    From the graph, I would guess that the temp has stabilized, or trending down.

    Noise masking the signal.

    As far as bashing Monckton, in comparing him and Gore, I find Monckton far more interesting. Even if he, Monckton, didn’t invent the internet.

    Noise masking no signal.

  17. Mark:

    What is it with this “computer models are not science”?

    Has a SINGLE ONE of them said why a computer model isn’t science?

  18. Mark:

    JBob “From the graph, I would guess that the temp has stabilized, or trending down.”

    Would you like to supply more than a guess? Statistical significance. You’ve done signal processing so that should be a cakewalk.

    PS why are you using weather data when discussing climate data? Weather is ~30 years and in between it depends on what you’ve taken care of.

  19. dhogaza:

    Olympus Mons, how can you take seriously someone (Pielke, Sr) who posts this graph (in his most recent post today):

    And then says:

    “For example, the global average lower tropospheric temperatures have not increased for at least 7 years, and indeed, show a recent decline.” as though this is of any importance whatsoever, when anyone with eyeballs in their head can see that while trivially true, it’s also happened several other times IN THE GRAPH HE PRESENTS and that despite this, the trend he’s computed (and kindly presented on the same graph) is RELENTLESSLY UP.

  20. John Mashey:

    Nicotine & climate (less off-topic than it seems)

    While we usually cite:
    tobacco companies $=>(fronts&thinktanks) versus medical science
    as a parallel to
    (FF companies & family foundations) $=> (fronts&thinktanks) versus climate science,

    there is at least one more parallel, as seen in silly arguments.

    It is silly to think that nicotine addiction is a binary “it is addictive… no it isn’t” effect, and that if you know anhyone who has stopped smoking, it must not be addictive.

    That is akin to thinking that global warming requires yearly monotonic temperature increase everywhere on the planet, so that if one can find a place on the planet that got colder … global warming doesn’t exist.

    1) Susceptibility to nicotine addiction varies widely by individual, with at least some of this being biochemical differences.

    2) Addiction varies in strength. I’ve known people who were intelligent, educated and determined, but spent decades trying to stop. Some people have to go cold turkey and stay away from cigarette smoke, or they restart, others can have an occasional cigarette and stick with that. Some people read the reports and stopped cold (a lot of doctors did after the 1964 report).

    One who stopped for health reasons in the 1940s was John Hill, of the big PR firm Hill&Knowlton. Later, he created the strategy of front organization and obfuscation for the tobacco industry: see Allan M. Brandt’s “The Cigarette Century”.

    3) If someone *wants* to create addiction, the “best” way to do it is to wire it into the brain during the rapid period of brain development normally associated with teenage years (although of course, the exact timing varies by person).

    If people start smoking at 25, they are likely to be able to stop. If they start at 12, and smoke regularly through 19, it’s likely to be much harder. See study:

    “Age at initiation of smoking was a significant factor for continuation of smoking. Men who started smoking before 16 years of age had an odds ratio of 2.1 (95% confidence interval: 1.4–3.0) for not quitting smoking compared to those who started at a later age. These findings emphasize the need for prevention program targeted to children below 16 years of age.”

    See WHO on youth smoking.

    4) Is it possible that cigarette companies didn’t know this? Are they the dumbest marketeers on the planet, or among the smartest?

    Cigarette companies of course have known this for decades.

    Future tobacco profits depend heavily on addicting children to products that would often cause lingering, miserable deaths, but, only after they’ve bought many cigarettes.

    See 6-page 1981 RJReynolds memo on importance of younger adults:

    “Younger adults are the only source of replacement smokers . Repeated
    government studies (Appendix B) have shown that :
    • Less than one-third of smokers (31%) start after age 18 .
    • Only 5% of smokers start after age 24 .

    Thus, today’s younger adult smoking behavior will largely determine the
    trend of Industry volume over the next several decades. If younger adults
    turn away from smoking, the Industry must decline,”

    They continually discuss the importance of the 18-24-year-old market segment. Of course, the game is given away early:

    – 31% of smokers start after 18
    – less than 5% start after 24

    Does anyone think RJR was under the illusion that the 69% of smokers that didn’t start after 18 started *at* 18″?

    RJR of course is the creator of candy-flavored tobacco cigarettes (not candy cigarettes) like Twista Lime.

  21. ccpo:

    The fear of anthropogenic global warming is based almost entirely upon computerized climate model simulations of how the global atmosphere will respond to slowly increasing carbon dioxide concentrations.

    Is this not blatantly false? The science begins with the observations of the natural world, if I’m not mistaken. That’s followed by experimentation and/or analysis, right? Only then is that information fed into a climate model, correct?

    Scientific debate has all been shut down. The science of climate change was long ago taken over by political interests, and I am not hopeful that the situation will improve anytime soon. But I will continue to try to change that.

    That Spencer repeats this Red Herring is a good indication of his intent, imo. There is no need to fudge the facts if you are right. The fact is, the only politicization of climate science there is abundant evidence of is from the denialist/Right. G.C. Marshall Institute? Right. Heartland? Right. Global Climate Coalition? Right. Science being muzzled, edited? Bush/Cheney… Right. We even have their own internal documents to prove this.

    Can anyone present the same regarding ACC activists?

    Momma taught me to watch what people do, not what they say. Spencer is distorting the truth. Let him make all the claims he wants. Let him talk. His actions speak louder than his words.


  22. Mark:

    Thanks for that John, but you did stay off the climate side in the latter half.

    You drew the parallels between them in the first half and could easily have stopped there with the information needed in plain view.

    I don’t mind but if Gavin gets a bit narked, I can understand why too.

  23. Mark:

    re #118 the tagging stuffed it up.

    Should say “weather is &lt ~5 years and climate &gt ~30 years” The bit between the brackets got interpreted as “silly HTML” and was killed horribly.

  24. Theo Hopkins:

    Rip Science @ #100 wrote:

    “Just as it seems to be that this year’s Arctic ice extent will not even worry the BBC (although they are unlikely to report on it if it turns out to be a record-build). ”

    Seems to be a bit of BBC bashing here. Of which there is much, much, much of on the popular right in UK.

    But interestingly, and perhaps in respose to the large number of people who say the “debate is still on”, the BBC now adds a qualifier many times when it discusses increases in CO2 or plans to reduce emmisions. So they will now say ” … blah, blah, CO2 – the gas considered to be a contributor to/the cause of/ associated with global warmming, blah, blah and so on”.

    Could that Neanderthal Throwback Monkton be starting to win? Perish the thaught!

  25. Mark:

    Gavin, one current meme I’m seeing about relates to your response to CM in post #114.

    There if you say that the IPCC is reviewed and that it isn’t a political report but a report to politicians (and laymen, you can get it yourself, no need to be a politician!) they’ve responded with “You cannot trust a review that is done by cronies all singing from the same hymn sheet”.

    (NOTE: this isn’t insulting since they don’t actually name anyone they are calling corrupt. though it sounds like a weasel way of getting out: if anyone complains they say “I didn’t mean YOU”.)

    So maybe another myth to bust is the “ince stuous” nature of peer review in the IPCC and its contributing papers.

  26. Igor Samoylenko:

    Barry Foster said in #100:

    Looking at the graph of global temperatures for the past 20 years I cannot for the life of me see what worries some people here.
    As I cannot remember anyone 10 years ago telling me that by 2009 the global temperature would have fallen by 0.03 degrees C (that’s what my calculator says)[…]

    So, I presume you were here at RealClimate last year with your calculator telling everyone about the apparent alarming rise of 0.96ºC in the global mean temperature over the period 1993 – 2007 (at the rate of 6.7 ºC/century!)? I presume you were also asking questions about why no one predicted this enormous “jump” in global temperature in 1990s, models underestimating this apparent temperature “trend” etc etc?


    And see the full post by Tamino with a few more examples of meaningless “trends” produced by cherry-picking start and end dates:

    The post also clearly shows the trend in the global mean temperatures when the data is smoothed to remove unforced variation. Which is clearly UP almost linearly since ~1970s, uninterrupted by the recent “cooling trend”.

  27. Svet:

    In the webpage discussed above (by Adam Gallon and others), Roy Spencer makes the following statements about Climate Models.

    No, the main reason the models produce so much warming depends upon uncertain assumptions regarding how clouds will respond to warming. Low and middle-level clouds provide a ‘sun shade’ for the Earth, and the climate models predict that those clouds will dissipate with warming, thereby letting more sunlight in and making the warming worse.

    [High-altitude (cirrus) clouds have the opposite effect, and so a dissipation of those clouds would instead counteract the CO2 warming with cooling, which is the basis for Richard Lindzen’s ‘Infrared Iris’ theory. The warming in the models, however, is now known to be mostly controlled by the low and middle level clouds – the “sun shade” clouds.]

    Can someone at least confirm that that is the way Climate Models work or is Spencer wrong in his understanding? As a layman, I come to RealClimate to get such basic information but it can be maddeningly difficult sometimes.

  28. Dean:

    I also went and glanced at Pielke Sr’s entry today (Realclimate does kink to his blog, after all). He seems to be complaining that the climate models aren’t predicting the weather. He mentions, for example, that they failed to predict the cold winter in the upper Midwest this year. He also mentioned their failure to predict some droughts during the 20th century.

    Unlike some others out there, it’s hard to imagine that Pielke Sr doesn’t understand the difference between weather and climate, and that climate models aren’t trying to predict the weather. Go with that where you want.

  29. MarkB:

    Re: #67

    While contrarians have been good at confusing the public (which is their primary goal), Rasmussen Reports is a very conservative pollster with dubious methodology on general polling questions.

    In a recent WSJ poll:

    “Pollsters asked half the respondents: “Let me read you a series of proposals that President Obama has suggested since he was inaugurated. For each one, please tell me whether you approve or disapprove of this proposal.” One of the proposals: “Charging a fee to companies that emit greenhouse gases, which might results in higher utility bills, and using the money to provide tax cuts for middle-income Americans.” ”

    Approve: 58%
    Disapprove: 35%

    “Would you approve or disapprove of a proposal that would require companies to reduce greenhouse gases that cause global warming, even if it would mean higher utility bills for consumers to pay the charges?”

    Approve: 53%
    Disapprove: 40%

    Recent ABC News / Wa Post poll:

    “On another subject, do you think the federal government should or should not regulate the release of greenhouse gases from sources like power plants, cars and factories in an effort to reduce global warming? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?”

    A slim majority–54%–said “Should strongly.” Another 21% said “Should somewhat.” 12% said “Should not strongly,” and 9% said “Should not somewhat.” 4% percent had no opinion. ”

  30. MarkB:

    I have to ask: why in the world is Lord Monckton seem by anyone as an authority on this topic? Why should he even be worth addressing? What are his credentials? Now I know that some will respond and ask the same question of Al Gore. The key difference is that Gore is not doing “original research”. He’s reporting on the mainstream scientific view, and other than a few reasonable contentions, he’s done a pretty good job in the process. Monckton is simply making up stuff.

  31. dhogaza:

    I have to ask: why in the world is Lord Monckton seem by anyone as an authority on this topic? Why should he even be worth addressing? What are his credentials?

    Maybe we Americans are suckers for his lordly English accent?

    I could never understand why people paid attention to William Buckley, either, with his insistence that school segregation was perfectly reasonable given the superiority of the white race, etc. Had to be the sophisticated accent, no?

  32. John Mashey:

    re: 123 Mark Thanks for the reminder
    Well, this had gotten off onto various side topics, and I waited to see if the moderator would leave nicotine in … but I had to run out for an errand, and I omitted the last paragraphs (for post #120) that wove the threads back together.

    6. Cigarette advertising has been paralleled by such things as the early 1990s campaign described in the second half of Naoimi Oreskes, You CAN Argue with the Facts, or Clean Coal, 2007, the Clean coal carolers or (for parody clean coal.)

    Of course, society does need energy, unlike the tobacco case, but this still has the general form where profits are privatized and costs are socialized, the kind of business that especially needs PR agencies, lobbyists and thinktank fronts. It’s cheaper to pay for this than for R&D, like into actually trying to make CCS work.

    7. Just as many people say AGW has been invalidated by {reason of the month, no matter how often debunked}, people (sometimes the same people) say that cigarettes aren’t that bad, although it’s been a long time since the 1964 Surgeon General’s report.

    For instance, Frederick Seitz (George C. Marshall Institute) was famous for both.

    One may compare Heartland on global warming and Heartland on tobacco.

    There are of course, many other intersections, as well as the AGW impact of deforestration for growing & curing tobacco.

    8. Conclusion:

    1) Suppose someone can manage to ignore the overpowering evidence that cigarettes cause disease, that the only way cigarette companies stay in business is by addicting children, and that tobacco companies have known all this for years.

    2) Then, ignoring the evidence for AGW and causing doubt about it is *easy* in all dimensions.

    3) In his open letter to Senators Snowe & Rockefeller, the Viscount rejected their comparison of FF tactics to those of tobacco. I think he doth protest too much.

  33. Hank Roberts:

    Thanks John Mashey, that’s a better summary than I’ve seen anywhere. And that 6-pager is devastating. If you read the papers and then read the citing papers, you’ll be brought around to research on research and funding of research and policy, including climate policy.
    Put your summaries all somewhere findable, please?

  34. Thomas Donlon:

    The response to question 81 asserted, “it takes a doubling of CO2 each time to produce the same forcing. i.e. the forcing from 2xCO2 (560ppm) is ~4W/m2, and you need a further doubling (to 1120ppm) to get to 8 W/m2.”

    That isn’t true. If you put two identical color camera filters on a camera to filter a certain type of light – they don’t filter out twice the amount of light. In some parts of the spectrum all of that wavelength is absorbed by CO2. Additional CO2 won’t make a difference at that wavelength . Additional CO2 only absorbs more heat at the wavelengths in which CO2 has limited absorption abilities.

    Two red filters on a camera aren’t going to filter out double the amount of blue. A strong red and a strong blue filter on a camera would filter a great majority of the light coming into the camera.

    [Response: You appear to think that your metaphor is a better match to the real world than the real world is. Curious. – gavin]

  35. Rod B:

    John Mashey (120), your 3rd parallel is logical, but it’s not one that quit, it’s tens of millions.

    Addiction has always been degreed, but in the old classic clinical addiction it did not vary widely – as it does today – all part of the dumbing down.

    I though the rest of your post was quite good, though not relevant to this off-topic discussion. :-P

  36. Rod B:

    PS, but then you have to go and fall off the cliff in 132, John. ;-)

  37. J. Bob:

    118 – So you didn’t like the
    the global composite temp to current, saying that’s weather.
    So how about if we filter the 350+ Hadley English temp below, with a 50 year filter, below?
    Does that qualify for climate?

    Does that last ~50 year wave kind of resemble the climate4you composite plot and the peaking in the early 2000 period? Seems that Temp_est_12 plot does a better job with matching the climate4you composite plot, then the computer models. And it also seems more realistic then Tamino’s projections into the 2000+ era.

    There is more then one way, besides statistics to look at problems. It is always a good idea to look at a problem with all available tools, and not be fixated on just one.

  38. walter crain:

    i saw that poll too, and another here earlier in the “lies, damn lies…” post. i took the rasmussen poll to mean it’s getting worse. i didn’t really notice any “push polling” or suggestive questions on the rasmussen one. on the other hand, people don’t always answer a series of poll questions logically/consistently. this all relates to the oreskes study (and what she talked about in john mashey’s great post above) – how poorly-educated we are.

    there are plenty of scientists posting and commenting here on realclimate (and tamino’s site) and so by studying the science at my shallow layman level AND by noting the tactics of the deniers i “believe in” the science and the scientific consensus.

    but most people out here don’t “follow it” that closely. most of us don’t blog about global warming…. most of us are pretty stupid about science in general and the specific science of global warming. most of us “believe in” global warming on a hot day and curse it’s absence on a cold day… that’s how it’s possible that anywhere from 40-60% of us (depending on the poll, apparently) don’t “believe in” global warming. we’re pathetic…

  39. dhogaza:

    Two red filters on a camera aren’t going to filter out double the amount of blue

    Then why are red filters offered in differing intensity of filtering?

    (slaps forehead!)

  40. Thomas Donlon:

    Hi Gavin,

    Here is a link to something informative on spectral absorption.
    (The recently launched satellite that crashed over the Arctic was to monitor three different spectral ranges.)
    Here is some information on how they planned to monitor the different spectrums.

    From NASA
    “The three spectral ranges measured by the observatory’s spectrometers are in the near-infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum, invisible to the human eye. Each provides a critical piece of information. One provides precise information about changes in the amount of carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere, while the others show just how much of the atmosphere is being measured. ‘We need all three of these measurements to do the job,’ said Crisp.

    One spectral range absorbs carbon dioxide relatively weakly, but it measures carbon dioxide the most precisely, especially near Earth’s surface.

    The second spectral range absorbs carbon dioxide much more strongly, so much so that almost all of the light in this part of the spectrum is absorbed completely as it traverses the atmosphere. Adding more carbon dioxide produces little additional absorption, so this wavelength is less useful for showing changes in carbon dioxide amounts. However, it does provide needed information about the pathway the light has taken. It helps determine whether the observatory is looking at light coming up all the way from the surface, or if clouds or aerosols, such as particles of smog or smoke, have gotten in the way and reflected the light back to space before it can be absorbed by carbon dioxide.

    The third spectral range shows how much oxygen is present in the light’s pathway, another way to determine how much atmosphere the light has passed through.”

    So the truth is somewhere between what you stated and what someone quoted Monckton as saying. My statement was not “a metaphor” – but dealt analogously with light and wavelength absorption. Camera filters better absorb different types of light. A redundant or extra filter will be absorbing from an already decreased amount of radiation. I have even read this on sites that strongly believe in AGW. Additional CO2 has increasingly less effect.

    If by the “real world” you were talking about something other than energy absorption please explain. It is my turn to be curious :)

    [Response: The forcing caused by increasing CO2 is an integral affect over many lines, which vary widely in the degree to which they can absorb more IR and are affected by pressure broadening and the like. The sum total of these effects causes the CO2 forcing to be logarithmic at near current concentrations (say 100 to 1000 ppm). This is an empirical result determined from the highest resolution, line by line calculations and has been independently replicated many times (see Collins et al, 2006). Using inappropriate metaphors to prove this can’t be true is just bizarre. – gavin]

  41. dhogaza:

    An addendum … anyone who has worked in a color darkroom is

    1) knowledgeable and
    2) old enough

    to be at risk of dying from laughter-induced cardiovascular arrest at your comment.

  42. Hank Roberts:

    Thomas, outgoing infrared isn’t behaving like incoming visible light.
    Spencer Weart explains that pretty well in the admittedly difficult section on radiation transfer.

  43. Hank Roberts:

    The old classic chemical definition of addiction led to new products that didn’t qualify as addictive, in fact could cure people of their addictions.

    This is one:

  44. Nicolas Nierenberg:


    I’m probably being dense, but could you provide a reference to the data you used for those charts? I couldn’t find it in a quick read through AR4 chapter 10.

    [Response: They are the 55 model simulations downloadable from PCMDI (you can also try Climate Explorer or Dapper at PMEL for somewhat easier access). – gavin]

  45. James:

    John Mashey Says (5 May 2009 at 15:51):

    “Nicotine & climate (less off-topic than it seems)…”

    I’ll try to avoid using the N-word, but I have to ask: what’s your point? I dare say that I could, with a bit of effort, construct a similar screed on the health effects of a fast-food diet. Would you then think I could justify a claim that food, or even a particular diet, is addictive rather than a matter of habit, convenience, and culture?

    Or to carry things to what I’d think was a ridiculous extreme if I hadn’t seen the words myself, how about the concept of sex addiction? In the light of that, do you care to continue to argue that contemporary culture hasn’t trivialized the idea of addiction to the point that any habit has that label applied to it, freeing its possessor from any responsibility for their own behavior?

  46. Hamish:

    can anyone provide links to papers or websites discussing the impact, if any, of climate change on some of the fundamentals of science – namely, does a trending climate change the basis of (m)any scientific assumptions? i’m struggling to find a pithy way of describing this question, which has thus far hindered my rather modest efforts to research it.

  47. Mark:

    “If you put two identical color camera filters on a camera to filter a certain type of light – they don’t filter out twice the amount of light.”

    Uh, the change from 1 to 2 filters is a doubling. A change from 0 to 1 is infinite.

    Hammer time: BREAKDOWN!

  48. Mark:

    In asnwwer to #130: “I have to ask: why in the world is Lord Monckton seem by anyone as an authority on this topic? ”

    He’s considered an authority by those who wish to believe or to have it believed that AGW is false.

    For some, if you know about climate and work in it, there are two kinds:

    1) Those who say AGW is real. These are in the pay of evil politicians bent on world domination. Or eco fanatics wanting a new stone age. Or wanting to take all the grant money. They don’t know why, they just know one of these is true

    2) Those who say AGW is false. They are “doing a Galileo” and are being hounded by those scientists from #1 and being denied put in respectable papers by the AGW conspiracy.

    And then there are people who don’t know climate science. There are two types of them:

    1) Those who agree with scientists in group 1. They are misled
    2) Those who agree with scientists in group 2. They are authoritative sources unbiased by any grant or money reward (though who pays for their speaker circuit..?)

  49. Mark:

    re 127.

    And that shade can act to keep things warm.

    A nice blanket will shade you from the sun. And at night keep your warmth in.

    The only difference is that during the daytime, you have it high overhead and at night snuggled close to you.

    That he only takes one side is why he isn’t ***technically*** lying as in “saying an untruth) if you take JUST his statement about the clouds, he’s lying by omission and that omission is explaining how clouds can also cause warming.]

    If you owe me £5 and I owe Fred £5, if I take a fiver off you but don’t pay Fred, can I say “we’re all sorted out”? Well, if you say no, I’ll say “I meant just between you and me!!!”. And then refuse to pay Fred because you accused me “falsely” of lying.

    Beware of the half-truth. And call them liars when they use it. Lying by omission is still lying. It gives an additional weasel-way out of the accusation.

    One recently is someone saying “Adding CO2 causes insignificant changes in temperature”. I tell him that 40% isn’t insignificant and this is ignored, a repeat of the earlier lie is forthcoming. When I say that he says there is no change in temperature when adding CO2, he says “I never said there was no change”. I reply with “the difference between zero and insignificant is insignificant (by definition)”.

    Half truth can be worse than a lie.

  50. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Olympus Mons writes:

    will you hold Al Gore in the same standards you seem to demand of Monckton? in this case how does he, Al Gore, rates on it?

    1. Al Gore was one of Roger Revelle’s students in the ’60s. He has actually studied some climate science, which Monckton has not.

    2. Al Gore doesn’t make stuff up for his presentations. Monckton does.