But it gets worse, what solid peer reviewed science do they cite for support? A heavily-criticised blog posting showing that there are bi-decadal periods in climate data and that this proves it was the sun wot done it. The work of an award-winning astrologer (one Theodor Landscheidt, who also thought that the rise of Hitler and Stalin were due to cosmic cycles), a classic Courtillot paper we’ve discussed before, the aforementioned FoS web page, another web page run by Doug Hoyt, a paper by Garth Paltridge reporting on artifacts in the NCEP reanalysis of water vapour that are in contradiction to every other reanalysis, direct observations and satellite data, a complete reprint of another un-peer reviewed paper by William Gray, a nonsense paper by Miskolczi etc. etc. I’m not quite sure how this is supposed to compete with the four rounds of international scientific and governmental review of the IPCC or the rounds of review of the CCSP reports….

They don’t even notice the contradictions in their own cites. For instance, they show a figure that demonstrates that galactic cosmic ray and solar trends are non-existent from 1957 on, and yet cheerfully quote Scafetta and West who claim that almost all of the recent trend is solar driven! They claim that climate sensitivity is very small while failing to realise that this implies that solar variability can’t have any effect either. They claim that GCM simulations produced trends over the twentieth century of 1.6 to 3.74ºC – which is simply (and bizarrely) wrong (though with all due respect, that one seems to come directly from Mr. Gregory). Even more curious, Carlin appears to be a big fan of geo-engineering, but how this squares with his apparent belief that we know nothing about what drives climate, is puzzling. A sine qua non of geo-engineering is that we need models to be able to predict what is likely to happen, and if you think they are all wrong, how could you have any faith that you could effectively manage a geo-engineering approach?

Finally, they end up with the oddest claim in the submission: That because human welfare has increased over the twentieth century at a time when CO2 was increasing, this somehow implies that no amount of CO2 increases can ever cause a danger to human society. This is just boneheadly stupid.

So in summary, what we have is a ragbag collection of un-peer reviewed web pages, an unhealthy dose of sunstroke, a dash of astrology and more cherries than you can poke a cocktail stick at. Seriously, if that’s the best they can do, the EPA’s ruling is on pretty safe ground.

If I were the authors, I’d suppress this myself, and then go for a long hike on the Appalachian Trail….

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801 comments on this post.
  1. Warren Hoskins:

    CBS “News” has an all-aghast kind of report of this “suppression” written by Declan McCullagh, who obviously does not understand environmental science OR peer-reviewed studies. The day is too short to track down all the idjits who weigh in whenever there is potential for a flap–thank God for you guys!–and it occurs to me that if I post this here and he ever Googles himself, he might learn something. Or at least learn where to look for better analysis and a more cogent understanding of the facts and issues.

  2. Ron Crouch:

    To elaborate on Gavin’s response to #96

    “The fallacy would be thinking something was true purely on the basis of who said it.”

    Oh so true.

    “Thinking that people who study something are more likely to know something about it is perfectly logical.”

    But not always a good assumption either. Myself being a case in point.

    In 2004 the Regional Chief of Ophthalmology told me plainly that there was nothing that could be done for my condition, that I would be blind for the rest of my life.

    Funny now in retrospect. I got another opinion. After back to back operations in 2006, viola! It’s now 2009, 20/25 and 20/30, far from the >20/600 and still going strong.

    So the old adage is correct. Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see.

  3. imapopulistnow:

    Gavin, obviously one of my personality flaws is that I have a trigger temper. I have a strong belief that the end should never justify the means. Perhaps I have violated this myself in what I wrote above (which I have since moved to the end of this post). I am not going to delete it because I know that, if you think through my comments, you will understand there is an element of truth to them.

    I do not know what you see as being your role and the role of your blog in the AGW debate.

    If it is political – to keep enthusiasm within the ranks of the true believers while Cap & Trade and EPA regulations are being debated, then your approach is succeeding, however it is a political, not a scientific or professional approach.

    If it is professional – to further the understanding and acceptance of AGW, then your approach is not succeeding because it does not give those who question any better understanding of the issues or whose who are wavering any reason to return to the fold.

    I sincerely wish that your site would be the AGW equivalent of the WUWT site and that the public could toggle between the two sides and reach reasonable conclusions with respect to AGW.

    But perhaps that is not your objective.


    [Response: Why people feel the need to speculate on my motives is strange because I frequently express them: The context for most climate science discussions in the media and on the web is mostly missing. I (and my co-bloggers) try and improve that by expanding on what is being discussed and giving insights into what scientists who are actually working on this stuff think. While this is may be ‘political’ in that any public speech is political in some broad definition, it is not partisan, and I don’t opine much on specific policies or legislation. I would like to improve understanding of the science, and your claims notwithstanding, I mostly do – (at least the readers of my book think so!). As for being the counterpart of WUWT – banish the thought from your mind. We are not going to descend to name-calling, or to demanding that people be fired for exercising their rights to free speech; nor will we campaign against legislation because of some imagined existential threat to the republic, nor undertake an investigation into the boiling point of water because we don’t understand a phase diagram, nor focus endlessly on warm weather stories, nor insist that gases that are heavier than air can’t mix into the atmosphere, nor fixate on noise in the climate system in lieu of signal, nor immediately scream fraud whenever something goes wrong in an automated data stream etc. Unlike you, I have no desire to be a populist, nor even popular, and if you don’t like my style, don’t read my posts. – gavin]

  4. dhogaza:

    Funny now in retrospect. I got another opinion. After back to back operations in 2006, viola! It’s now 2009, 20/25 and 20/30, far from the >20/600 and still going strong.

    So the old adage is correct. Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see.

    Did you get another opinion from another doctor?

    The worst of the denialists are saying essentially … don’t believe your doctor when he says the condition of your eyes is what is causing your blindness. It’s not that the regional chief of opthalmology was wrong – the reality is ALL OF MEDICINE IS A FRAUD. Therefore, ask your postman to fix your eyes for you.

  5. John Burgeson:

    cHRIS cOLOSE POSTED: “I cannot offhand think of a more obvious, yet such a successful disinformation campaign as climate change denial.”

    So very true. And in response to Jim Eager and Hank Roberts, that is why I posted the text of the silly article from Lehr (it is now on the Heartland web site). 1000s of people will read it — and believe it. Perhaps just one or two will follow a Google link to this thread and get educated.

    In the meantime, how can we best answer Chris. My posting is one attempt to do this. Obviously not the best one. What suggestions do you guys have?


  6. Steve Reynolds:

    Fran Barlow: “It’s hard to escape the conclusion that much of the contrarian position simply reflects the desire to fight what they see as a culture war against anything that smacks of human (as opposed to ‘market’) control over policy.”

    But the free market (at least if external costs are accounted for) is control by the aggregate of human decisions over policy.

    From another viewpoint, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that much of the warmist position simply reflects the desire to fight what they see as a culture war against anything that smacks of ‘market’ i.e. aggregate human (as opposed to elitist) control over policy.

    Even worse is the corrupt political control we are now getting with monstrosities like Waxman-Markey.

  7. sidd:

    May I plaintively repeat my request for more discussion of the peer reviewed literature and fewer refutations of flat earth theories ? Realclimate.org has unique strengths in the former area, and I submit that minute examination of excrement spewed by deniers is a terrible waste of resources and time of the many fine climate scientists who write here.

    [Response: You are correct – expect more science soon.. – gavin]

  8. Peter:

    As I write this, Larry Kudlow is getting his callers riled
    up on WABC (NYC) using this “suppressed” report that he purports
    shows the Sun is the culprit…as the Stranglers sang long ago
    “it’s always the Sun” ;)

    Is WABC immune from legal action ? Why is it that WABC/Kudlow
    can get away with spreading lies on the public airwaves ?

  9. Rod B:

    MarkB (89), “acknowledging” is a slippery term that conveys little of substance. It certainly does not convey understanding. Congress is in fact crafting a bill that 1) is done with the “cut and paste” that you all berate skeptics for doing, and 2) shows little serious comprehension of the problem (and I’m referring to the climate science aspect of it.) Nay, Waxman admits he doesn’t even know what’s all in the bill (though this is common in our legislative process), let alone have solid comprehension of it.

    How is it you know the negative side of the economics of the bill is “erroneous” when all of the economists have little agreement let alone consensus? I would say a 50% increase in my electric bill (determined without knowledge of the many last minute changes), as a single example, while maybe by itself is not necessarily sufficient to turn the freight train, is a negative side that is no where near erroneous.

  10. Steve Reynolds:

    gavin: “We are not going to descend to name-calling…”

    Some words from this post:
    astroturf anti-climate science lobbying group
    just boneheadly stupid
    a ragbag collection, an unhealthy dose of sunstroke, a dash of astrology

    While I think RC has a lot of good points, completely avoiding name-calling is not one of them.

    [Response: Well in my defense, the first is an accurate description, the second concerns an idea, not a person, and the rest is a colourful précis of the points at hand. I do not recall ever calling anyone a “jerk”, nor telling anyone to “b****r off” which is the kind of name-calling I meant. – gavin]

  11. Jim Bouldin:

    Steve Reynolds states:

    Even worse is the corrupt political control we are now getting with monstrosities like Waxman-Markey.

    So true. It really is pathetic the way, even very watered down, it barely passed, thanks to various political games and lies of the powers that be. Hopefully the Senate will have the guts to make it the much stronger bill that it needs to be.

  12. Hank Roberts:

    Gavin’s very careful in his choice of words; I’d add a hyphen. It’s an

    astroturf anti-climate-science lobbying group.

    Otherwise, he’s pulling his punches carefully. If you don’t know science, you don’t know science education, and you can’t imagine how ignorant and uninformed people are kept by the PR used every day.

    Fuller’s of that ilk. He’s channeling the PR. It’s very sad.

    Read some science. It’ll discourage you, and stir you to action:



  13. John Mashey:

    re: #110

    Well, here I must (very) slightly agree with Steve.
    I didn’t see any obvious trace of astrology in the Carlin/Davidson document, even if it referenced the climate pseudo-science of astrologer Landscheidt. I suppose I could have missed it.

    The rest seemed accurate, if perhaps understated (British-background tends to do that :-)).

    Why understated?

    *We* (in USA) pay these guys’ salaries, and this is the “work” that we get for it… Why do we pay people to do anti-science?

  14. Hank Roberts:

    PS, from the latter search, this looks worth reading in full if anyone has access to the full text. Talk about turnaround:

    Climate change after denial: Global reach, global responsibilities, and public relations

    “Taking climate change as the 21st century’s major global threat, this paper considers three significant public relations challenges arising from it. The first is how the field can engage with the social equity and ecological dimensions in ways that might enhance rather than diminish the profession’s public reputation. The second is how the discipline adapts to deal with the radical perceptual shifts accompanying the meteorological transformations and possible geopolitical fallout, and the third is the issue of trust – interlinked with emotions, economics, ecology, and neuroscience – as the strategy of eco-catastrophe denial becomes less and less tenable. The paper also considers possible responses to these challenges.”

  15. Doug Bostrom:

    109 Rod B:

    Any chance you could point out a source for your “50% increase in my electric bill” remark a la Waxman-Markey? CBO estimates $175/year by 2020 for the average American family, that number encompassing not only residential utility costs but the whole enchilada. If you don’t mind, please skip trashing CBO as I’m not interested in personal opinions, just steer me to a more authoritative source, if you can.

    87 Fran:

    “It’s hard to escape the conclusion that much of the contrarian position simply reflects the desire to fight what they see as a culture war against anything that smacks of human (as opposed to ‘market’) control over policy.”

    It’s regulation they don’t like, plain and simple. Climate science and consequent policy responses are a target because here we have an archetypal situation where individuals cannot be relied on to make choices that will avoid harming the collective good.

    Would we have an equal population of “skeptics” if the science did not lead to the requirement for legislation? No, because it’s not science or improving human understanding of the world that drives these people. Instead, the prospect of legislation ignites silly, romantic libertarian resistance to rule of law combined with old-fashioned greed and fear of loss of material wealth.

  16. Hank Roberts:

    “The human imagination does not do well with large numbers.”

    Robert Haas, quoted at:

    “… if the rest of the world is any indication, now might be the time for U.S. politicians to re-engage on the science. One thing for sure: They won’t be alone.”

    Last sentence of a column otherwise copypasting long-debunked PR talking points, quoting Plimmer, claiming the whole world has quit thinking that global warming is a problem, except a few US scientists. That notably delusional claim from a WSJ ‘opinion’ at:

  17. Susan Anderson:

    Thanks for the update. Unfortunately, the level of denial, professional and otherwise, is often understated. You mention the 27th time, but the number of repetitions of denialist talking points runs into hundreds if not thousands, and has gone on for decades. As soon as any reasonable rebuttal can be assumed to have been forgotten, the point is brought up again (sometimes the next day). When a good point is made, it is carefully recrafted to mean the opposite of what was said. For example, the “true believers” are now claimed to be all on the scientific side.

    There is a current uptick in activity all over the internet. With the right in disarray, they have more time on their hands and as you said, the current debate in Congress makes it urgent. All those millions the fossil fuel industry has on hand due to its excessive profits are being well spent. The spending is sometimes sneaky; supporting “research” by entities like CEI. These “think tanks” were once called “booking agencies” and the requirements of the press keep the demand for fringe “experts” high. It’s like crafting a press release; if it’s well written, it will just be pushed through.

    Richard Feynman had a circle of friends in Cambridge during his final years, of whom I was one. It is appalling that his statements are frequently cited by denialists. I have a pretty good idea of where he stood (we had many a late night beer) and he would not appreciate being used in this way.

    The denial cohort had the gall to claim that this claim was false because I could not call on him in person. Sick-making!

  18. Hank Roberts:

    Also worth another look:


    brief excerpt follows:

    “You can see it with your own eyes – a quick history of global warming news stories.

    Google Search is a tremendously powerful tool for online research. Google engineers devised a way to display search results in a timeline layout. This


    is a great way of visualizing a search term across time. …. the news media – mostly newspapers, have been stuck in relative ignorance for decades, or it suggests that advertiser interests and paid professional PR challenges to science has been wildly successful. It is as if we are stuck in the 1980’s….”
    End excerpt (link added)

  19. dhogaza:

    Monica Hughes has pulled the same trick Tom Fuller pulled – is this a new tool in the denialist bag of tricks or have I just missed it in the past?

    By “same trick” I mean posted some nonsense here, got an inline response by Gavin, and then rather than attempt to hold a rational conversation here has gone over to her own blog, castigated the OP and Gavin’s response to her post, and is running with the “climate scientists are mean therefore …” train of thought.

    Oh, well. The bill passed yesterday, eat it, denialists.

  20. Hank Roberts:

    John Mashey pointed to Fuller’s recent columns and reminded us that he’s not someone likely to listen to the scientists.

    Those of you outside the SF Bay Area may think the “SF Examiner” is still a newspaper, and so assume that Fuller is a journalist.

    It’s not. The Examiner does print a very small paper edition, which lacks only perforations to be widely useful on a daily basis.

    Mostly now it’s an online blog-for-dollars opportunity site.

    Can you draw a lot of attention online from the kind of people* the advertisers would like to reach? Pick your area of, many are available (sigh):

    “… reasons to write for Examiner.com
    1. Extend the reach of your writing to millions of visitors.
    2. Earn money** generated by your articles….”

    Fuller today has the #2 popular article there. He’s got that niche:

    Why the EPA should have listened to Alan Carlin on global warming
    by: SF Environmental Policy Examiner

    Caveat lector.
    *they read advertising and believe what they read
    ** the more attention they draw, the more they get paid

  21. Mark:

    re 106 : “But the free market (at least if external costs are accounted for) is control by the aggregate of human decisions over policy.”

    No it isn’t.

    For example, the claim against Exxon for the clean-up bill and punishment for the disaster caused by criminal negligence was reduced on appeal because it was too much.

    Yet Jammie is being done for $1.9Million for sharing 24 tracks, costing 99c each in iTunes.

    If Big Oil had to pay their externalities AND DID SO, then maybe the public collective could be used in a Free Market machine to produce policy.

    But this isn’t possible.

  22. Deech56:

    RE #119; # dhogaza 27 June 2009 at 13:22 Says:
    “Oh, well. The bill passed yesterday, eat it, denialists.”

    This is a beginning, but it ain’t over yet. The fight is now in the Senate, and there is a chance for the special interests to influence or kill the bill. I would urge all posters in the US to contact their Senators, write LTEs and make clear the urgency of action, NOW!

    A couple of questions arose about the purpose of this blog, and a recent post invited reader comments. I would say that the unique qualifications of the hosts point to three types of posts: in-depth look at recent, important literature, explanation of difficult concepts and refutation of the most visible “contrary” writings.

    The President and Congress are working to do something to reduce carbon emissions. The political process can only succeed with a sound scientific foundation and RC is helping to give the rest of us insight into the scientific literature that provides that foundation, but success also depends on the rest of us speaking out. The special interests have a voice, but so do we.

  23. Jim Galasyn:

    Hank enlightens us about the Examiner: Mostly now it’s an online blog-for-dollars opportunity site.

    So I’m basically feeding the troll. Damn. Thanks for the heads up, guess I’ll move on.

  24. JCH:

    Valdez payments by Exxon:

    Immediate payments – $300,000,000.00
    direct cleanup – $2,200,000,000.00
    reimbursement to State of Alaska and Federal government – $1,000,000,000.00

    Within one year of the Valdez spill – $3,500,000,000.00 (three and one-half billion dollars) spent.

    The lawsuit judgment that was reduced was for punitive damages.

    captcha – Michael Criteria

  25. Tom Fuller:

    Well, now that I know what Bubkes means, I guess I can relax about not being called names.

    I guess the fact that I studied journalism and worked for accredited newspapers and magazines for most of my adult life isn’t as important as contributing to citizen journalism. Some of you might not have realised that the older model of journalism isn’t producing much in the way of employment opportunites these days.

    dhogaza, I didn’t realize you identified so strongly with the Dark Side. Good to know. By the way, I didn’t continue debating here because it’s not convenient–your moderation policy and uncertain Captcha operations make it difficult to have anything like a real time discussion.

    Some of you seem like perfectly reasonable people. Some of you don’t. Amazingly, I find the same on the skeptic blogs. Hmm.

  26. dhogaza:

    Those of you outside the SF Bay Area may think the “SF Examiner” is still a newspaper, and so assume that Fuller is a journalist.

    It’s not. The Examiner does print a very small paper edition, which lacks only perforations to be widely useful on a daily basis.

    Mostly now it’s an online blog-for-dollars opportunity site.

    Huh, and for 90 cities, not just SF. Interesting business model, sign up a bunch of unknown freelancers, throw their shit at the wall, and that which sticks makes some advertising revenue.

    They have a portland “edition” – didn’t even know it exists. Not likely to be too influential, I guess.

  27. dhogaza:

    This is totally off-topic, but to give you some idea as to how open-minded (to the point of falling out) this “publication” is, the “Portland UFO & ET Examiner” has a great piece up, Why the 4th of July is important to extraterrestrials.

    So I’m basically feeding the troll. Damn. Thanks for the heads up, guess I’ll move on.

    Yeah, more or less, Jim. Might be entertaining to take on the UFO guy, though!

  28. Ike Solem:

    For the next RC post, how about debunking the notion that the Earth is flat?

    No rational newspaper or person would pay any attention to it at all. Instead, why not post an article on the carbon cycle, and how it relates to schemes to capture carbon from fossil fuels? I mean, beating up on CEI is like a bully taking candy from an infant. You could go back and debunk their “CO2: We call it life” campaign, but why bother? It’s obviously ridiculous.

    As far as hurricane issues, the consensus now is that hurricane intensification forecasts are best done on the basis of subsurface temperatures. Hurricanes that miss those warm cores tend not to intensify, those that do hit them intensify. If global warming warms the oceans, you’ll get more and deeper warm pools (no, it is not due to the “AMO cycle”):


    (They have really good graphic displays)

    This also feeds into the recent post about “globally decreasing winds”, not that it seemed very well supported – but if wind shear is decreasing globally, that would also tend to increase hurricane formation. I wouldn’t bank on that prediction, however, as it is highly uncertain.

    And as far as the Examiner? That would be examiner.com, some coal-oil-rail billionaire’s pet project, isn’t it? They are notable for parroting claims that the oceans are cooling and locked into a “negative phase of the PDO” – but let’s be honest, they picked that up from NASA’s JPL folks…


    That’s a far more interesting topic to discuss, I think – especially since you’ve got mainstream reporters like Revkin at NYT parroting the claims as well:


  29. Tom P:

    Where can I read the bill as it was finally passed by congress?

  30. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.:

    Re #72 Hank Roberts,

    Thanks for the comment, but yes, there is something in particular. I have not been able to find an answer in the vast amounts of information. Spencer Weart’s post with Raymond Pierrehumbert of 26 June 2007 is not clear on the basic calculation process referred to by raypierre in the 24 Novermber 2005 post that I mentioned in my previous question. However, I had looked into this some time ago, and it was my conclusion then that the temperature calculation did indeed assume a balance, so limiting my question to a very particular issue:

    Referring back to 24 November 2005, raypierre describes the overall assumption of the radiative process analysis that concludes with a surface temperature output, saying that the radiating temperature “has to stay the same, since the planet still has to get rid of the same amount of energy absorbed from incident sunlight.” He also makes this the condition at equilibrium, which seems consistent with the balanced condition. However, when there is a lot of ice melting is it possible to reach equilibrium?

    I am aware that I am asking a favor with such a question, and would appreciate whatever response is convenient.

  31. Philippe Chantreau:

    Tom Fuller says: “Some of you seem like perfectly reasonable people. Some of you don’t. Amazingly, I find the same on the skeptic blogs. Hmm.”

    Ah, yes but on skeptic blogs you’ll find these seemingly reasonable people who think it’s legitimate to debate whether or not it’s cold enough in Antarctica ot make CO2 snow out of the air. And that’s the science blog of the year, mind you. Perhaps you want to check and see how nonsensical that is and then have a good laugh when exploring that thread. There are objective reasons why Gavin says that blogs are not a good avenue to debate science.

    But then, would you expect people here to have any kind of respect for that kind of nonsense? As was pointed to you earlier, there is a lot in science that is not a matter of opinion, or point of view, or whatever nice name the mind manipulators of the world want to use. Nonsense is nonsense. If you can be swayed by nonsense, indeed there is no dialogue possible, or even desirable with you.

  32. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.:

    Re #76 L. David Cooke,

    Thanks for the suggestion about a more casual forum. I will look.

    However, when it looks like there is a disconnect between analysis assumptions and the problem at hand, I am inclined to hang in there (at Real Climate), at least for a while.

    Being dismissed to go study the “basic stuff” is a little like being told that a needed answer in electromagnetics is fully covered by Maxwell’s Equations. (Maxwell’s Equations do indeed cover everything in electromagnetics, but almost never are they actually useful by themselves.)

    Actually my question seems to be at the heart of the “basic” stuff.

    At the same time, there is no real reason why anyone should bother to answer my question. That is up to them. And also at the same time, it is up to me to figure out what that means.

  33. Doug Bostrom:

    #125 Tom Fuller:

    “Some of you might not have realised that the older model of journalism isn’t producing much in the way of employment opportunites these days.”

    More de-employment opportunities, particularly at “ancillary desks” producing cultural features including science coverage. Science journalism in the mainstream press is undergoing a massacre.

    While it’s true that coverage of policy-related science is infected with the same fake balance degrading other areas of journalism it would be folly to say that firing or reassigning reporters devoted to science coverage thereby does not matter. The public is daily confronted by pressing science-related public policy issues and needs information to take with them to polling places.

    Meanwhile, mysteriously, the fewer resources available for the diminishing pool of journalists to perform their work, the more “balance” we get. These days, “balance” in journalism is a one-word code for “we can’t afford to do it right so we just have to take everybody’s word and let the public try to sort it out”. This is not a good way to add quality of the kind people are willing to pay for.

    Voluntary self-imposed degradation has been overlooked in seeking explanations for the rapid demise of print journalism. Perhaps if publishers had not opened their own veins by focusing entirely on profits newspapers would still be fully staffed, meaning fact checking could be performed, meaning less fake balance would appear on newspaper pages. Perhaps newspapers would then have been remained sufficiently unique and compelling to survive assaults by relatively shoddy online “journalism” and the loss of classified advertising.

    Once again we’re treated to witness a triumph of the invisible hand of the market, in this case a demonstration of auto-lobotomy.

  34. Jim Galasyn:

    Tom, before you cast stones:

    By the way, I didn’t continue debating here because it’s not convenient–your moderation policy and uncertain Captcha operations make it difficult to have anything like a real time discussion.

    That three-character spam system you have at the Examiner fails very frequently, slowing things down greatly.

  35. sidd:

    Re: Mr. Bullis, ice melting and heat balance

    GRACE shows a few hundred cubic kilometers coming of Greenland and Antarctica every year. 100 cu. km. of ice melting, with a latent heat of 80cal/g gives a deltaQ = 1e21*80*4.2=3.4e23 Joule

    This is small compared to total incident solar radiation. On the other hand, by comparison from Levitus(2008), heat content of the ocean has increased by approx. 1e23J over the last 20 years.

    I hope this adds some illumination, and I also hope I have done my multiplications correctly…

  36. Hank Roberts:

    Jim Bullis, an amateur reader reply:

    During the period of time after an equilibrium begins to change due to a change in a forcing (huge fast CO2 release for example), the planet is not in equilibrium; it is changing until the new equilibrium is reached.

    There are fast feedback changes in some things (e.g. sea ice), and longer-continuing changes in other things (e.g. the Antarctic cap ice; ocean circulation; plankton species frequency and distribution; ocean pH; terrestrial rainfall and erosion). All these have their own time scales and courses.

    Eventually a new equilibrium is reached: the warming trend stops — energy in and energy out balance. That’s assuming nothing else unusual happens after the one forcing change that put the system out of its prior longer term equilibrium.

    Like I said, amateur answer:

    I started with the terms I recalled (which you ought to find in the Start Here and the Weart book):

    Then from those results tried searching

    This result includes many links you may find helpful:



    “Paleoclimate data show that climate sensitivity is 3°C for doubled CO2, including only fast feedback processes. Equilibrium sensitivity, including slower surface albedo feedbacks, is 6°C for doubled CO2
    for the range of climate states between glacial conditions and ice-
    free Antarctica.”

    Try the RC thread and “sensitivity” in the Search box at top of page.

    This is also a good recent presentation of the various estimates of climate sensitivity and of the amount of uncertainty associated with them — found by doing a Google image search on the terms:


    You know those people who put long lines of standing dominos out and then tip one and watch the whole string topple in smooth series? This isn’t like that. Imagine filling a gymnasium with one of those long lines of dominos, and then replacing some of the dominos with a mousetrap loaded with a couple of pingpong balls that would fly out into the room and maybe set off another part of the pattern.

  37. EL:

    Tom Fuller,

    “I guess the fact that I studied journalism…”

    Did you not learn about evaluating sources in journalism class?

  38. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.:

    Re #135 sidd,

    Thanks. As someone once said, “When you have numbers, you actually start to know something about a subject.”

    Sure 3.4e23 is probably a lot less than incident solar radiation, but it seems to be meaningful relative to the difference between solar radiation and exiting radiation. Isn’t that the issue?

    OK, so when the ice is gone, should we not expect 4.4e23 Joule (1 + 3.4) in a subsequent 20 year period. That would seem to represent the heat accumulation when there was no ice to counter the difference between incident radiation and exiting radiation.

    Did you mean to exclude Arctic ice? Or is that already included as part of the ocean?

    That illustrates my point, which is that present changes in surface temperature is not a good indicator of what we should expect in the future, and as such, it is not a great idea to make the debate about the observed ocean temperature.

  39. sidd:

    Re: Mr. Bullis, ice melting and heat balance

    I should have mentioned that

    1) total absorbed solar radiation on the order of 1e27J/yr from total incident radiation times (1-bond albedo)

    2)Hansen estimates total imbalance of 0.86+/-0.15W/m^2 for the energy imbalance, which agrees with Levitus estimates for ocean heat increase (Hansen et al., Science, v308, pp1431-1435, 2005)

  40. dhogaza:

    I guess the fact that I studied journalism and worked for accredited newspapers and magazines for most of my adult life isn’t as important as contributing to citizen journalism. Some of you might not have realised that the older model of journalism isn’t producing much in the way of employment opportunites these days.

    And, after all, blogs are where the cutting edge of science is done today, too. Blogscience and blogjournalism, together, such an improvement over the older models.

  41. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.:

    Re #136 Hank Roberts,

    Before I completely follow up on your helpful directions, I want to say thanks.

    Immediate reading seems to be that the “equilibrium” concept is a bigger thing than I had understood it to be from the raypierre discussion. If that is the case, it all gets taken into account in the end. However, on that basis we are on a long transition to equilibrium. This would also support my contention that shorter term temperature trends are not much good for indicating the future problems.

  42. Mark:

    El asks: “Did you not learn about evaluating sources in journalism class?”

    Yeah, but that’s like, hard work, man!

    He already KNOWS what the answer is. He just has to find the proof!

  43. Mark:

    JCH, Jammie paid 80000 times the cost of the product.

    80,000 times the 2.2Bn cleanup job is…?

  44. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.:

    #135 and #139 sidd

    I see I missed the 20 year part, so the ocean heat content should thus be increasing by 1e23 / 20 Joules per year? Does this fit with your intended meaning?

    So your additional information on “total absorbed solar radiation” is interesting, but not necessary to the discussion?

    Now we have the question of how does Hansen treat the ice melting part. If that is handled like Hank Roberts seems to suggest, this might all fit together. It is just that the state of “equilibrium” would occur after the transition to the point where all the ice melted. And the ocean heat increase as reported by Levitus would include the ice effect.

    And once again, if all this is right, we should not expect immediate evidence of global warming in measurements of surface temperatures. They will lag the buildup of CO2 by quite a long time.

  45. Jim Bouldin:

    Tom P:

    For all legislative info of any kind, the definitive source is the Library of Congress’ THOMAS database.

    It’s House Resolution 2454, found here:

    It still has to pass the Senate mind you. A second battle looms.

  46. Rod B:

    Doug B (115), the CBO by design and their admission did not cost out the “whole enchilada.” Their latest assessment was of accounting and not economics; they explicitly excluded potential reductions in the economy (GDP) or negative effects on the labor market (read losing jobs) for example. I’m not bashing CBO which is generally pretty good; they did what they were asked. It’s all of the cherry-picking ballyhoo outside the CBO that I quarrel with.

    Actually I’m the source of my estimate, which is broad brush and back of the envelope. But I’ll briefly go over it to explain it and give you an opportunity to point out any major errors. It also could be off from being based on the bill early in the week which was significantly modified by the end of the week.

    $28 allowance charge for each ton ($30.80/tonne) of CO2 emitted. Current coal costs about $2.30 per million BTUs for average high burning coal, or about $65.50/tonne. (Even though a tonne of coal burned puts out about 2.9 tonnes of CO2, I did some fancy (maybe dubious) calcs regarding the efficiency and requirement to turn coal into electricity and left the emission of CO2 at one tonne for each tonne of coal burned.) I then simply assumed that burning coal is the only cost of providing electricity. So what now costs the utilities $65.50 will later cost them $65.50 + $30.80 = $96.30, pretty close to a 50% increase, to produce the exact same amount of electric energy. The average residential bill in my parts is about $150. Plus $70 to pay for the CO2 charges is roughly $220/month or $840 more per year. And that’s just one piece.

  47. Charles:

    “I would advise playing the ball, not the man.” But that is precisely what Gavin has done, and your failure to notice how effectively Gavin has played the ball has me doubting your ability to understand the science of climate. That you would mistake Gavin’s efforts as ad hominems only furthers my doubts.

    “Your ‘team’s’ failure to engage with skeptics and your insistence that the issues are all settled is killing you in so many ways, that if I were truly a skeptic I would keep silent and watch you continue.”

    Not from where I sit, Mr. Fuller. Your insistence that this is so puzzles me.

    “… and as a journalist I’m trying to be fair to both sides.” It is difficult for me to reach that conclusion from an examination of your recent posts in the Examiner.

    “… I find it truly bizarre that you (or one of the skeptic blogs) has not yet realized that weblogs are the absolutely perfect mechanism for conducting a proper debate on an issue like climate change.”

    Huh? I think RealClimate has provided yeoman’s service in educating the public. Beyond that, science is properly debated by scientists in the forums created for that purpose: the peer reviewed, scientific literature and reviewed conferences. Gavin and other climate scientists have to put up with repeated attacks by those who think they know more than they actually do. I am not at all surprised they do not put up with repeated nonsense for very long, and I applaud them for their perseverance and patience—and the occasional terse response. Gavin’s posting here is to my mind wonderfully effective: only mildly snarky, if at all, but successful in laying these tired claims to waste in short order.

    As far as I can tell, Gavin is entirely right: that draft report contains a number of basic errors that anyone with any credible standing in the climate science community would recognize. You write in your recent column, Mr. Fuller: “Since the ‘warmist’ position seems to be that the discussion cannot be reopened at all costs, it leads to an impasse where the ‘warmists’ tend to look truculent and arrogant, while the skeptics look reasonable and rational.”

    This is not how it seems to me. First, the discussion is taking place in two different arenas. It has been going on in the arenas of science—peer reviewed literature and conferences—for decades, leading to an overwhelming consensus. In spite of that consensus, dissonant views, such as those held by Spencer, Grey, Pielke Sr., and other such scientists, are given a place. The discussion is also going on in the public arena, such as the blogs you mention, and from my vantage point as an academic in the field of education, the scientists of RealClimate are doing an admirable job. The blogosphere has a dismal signal-to-noise ratio, something not found in the above-mentioned academic forums. Frankly, I worry about the number of journalists commenting on climate who appear to have little understanding of the science. I agree with sidd that RC is at its best when it highlights and comments on the science but it also serves a purpose in indirectly exposing the fringe elements as simply pedaling bubkes, especially when such material gains prominence in the media.

    Mr. Fuller, you wrote: “I guess the fact that I studied journalism and worked for accredited newspapers and magazines for most of my adult life isn’t as important as contributing to citizen journalism. Some of you might not have realised that the older model of journalism isn’t producing much in the way of employment opportunities these days.”

    It may not be, but you are not producing much intelligent commentary on climate science, and your defensive comments do not serve you well. Rather, it seems to me you are allowing yourself to be misled, and, sadly, I don’t see much quality journalism in what you are producing. Sorry to be blunt. You also claim that climate scientists are saying “the debate is settled,” as if to say they are claiming all matters about climate change are settled. To echo Gavin, I challenge you to produce any such statements.

  48. Hank Roberts:

    Jim — yes.

    Aside to Contributors — as Jim’s read both Dr. Weart’s book and the Start Here sections and still missed understanding the lag time, perhaps another look at those texts would help the next reader along.
    It’s one of those concepts so basic that it may have dropped off the simple explanations yet still needs to be part of them. I can’t recall how long it took me to learn this (no doubt watching a pot slowly coming to a boil on the kitchen stove when I was very young). But it’s not intuitively obvious to everyone.

    Jim, common search strings here; it’s often helpful to compare the results from the different search tools (to understand what others may be seeing):



    http://images.google.com/images?q=“global warming” %2B”in the pipeline”

    http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=“global warming” %2B”in the pipeline”

    Personal recommendation (and recommendation to Contributors, unless you have a better explanation in the basic list): Start here:

    the latter points to: http://www.pnas.org/content/105/40/15258.full
    ReCaptcha: utopian PR
    Sorry Barry! the AI needs more convincing, it appears

  49. Hank Roberts:

    Jim, here’s the kind of interaction that makes it impossible to calculate this as a simple number, from basic physical principles, for a complicated planet:


    Journal reference:
    Lenton, A., F. Codron, L. Bopp, N. Metzl, P. Cadule, A. Tagliabue and J. Le Sommer. Stratospheric ozone depletion reduces ocean carbon uptake and enhances ocean acidification. Geophysical Research Letters, 20 June 2009

  50. Doug Bostrom:

    #146 Rod B:

    “…the CBO by design and their admission did not cost out the “whole enchilada.” Their latest assessment was of accounting and not economics; they explicitly excluded potential reductions in the economy (GDP) or negative effects on the labor market (read losing jobs) for example.”

    Boiling that down, what I hear that instead of imagining how things might go, CBO ran the numbers. They did actually mention economic dislocation in their discussion of transitional effects but did not attempt to speculate their way to a numerical conclusion.

    Your original assertion was that your electrical bill would rise some 50%, not that you imagined some undefined harm would befall the economy, but I understand that you were trying to characterize CBO’s work as opposed to bin it.

    “I’m the source of my estimate…”

    I admire that you stand behind your post, but I have to say I’m more impressed by CBO’s report, which contradicts your claim and analysis. For starters, your calculations are too simple. For instance, you overlook that it appears over 80% of allowances will be cost-free to industry even in 2020; in 2020 83% of allowances will be given away, 17% paid for.

    For the curious, CBO report here: