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Friday round-up

Filed under: — group @ 24 July 2009

Two items of interest this week. First, there is an atrocious paper that has just been published in JGR by McLean, de Freitas and Carter that is doing the rounds of the denialosphere. These authors make the completely unsurprising point that that there is a correlation between ENSO indices and global mean temperature – something that has been well known for decades – and then go on to claim that that all trends are explained by this correlation as well. This is somewhat surprising since their method of analysis (which involves taking the first derivative of any changes) eliminates the influence of any trends in the correlation. Tamino has an excellent demonstration of the fatuity of the statements in their hyped press-release and Michael Tobis deconstructs the details. For reference, we showed last year that the long term trends are still basically the same after you account for ENSO. Nevermore let it be said that you can’t get any old rubbish published in a peer-reviewed journal!

Second (and much more interestingly) there is an open call for anyone interested to contribute to setting the agenda for Earth System Science for the next couple of decades at the Visioning Earth Science website of the International Council for Science (ICS). This is one of the umbrella organisations that runs a network of committees and programs that prioritise research directions and international programs and they are looking for ideas. Let them know what your priorities are.


533 Responses to “Friday round-up”

  1. 51
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Steve Reynolds 24 Jul 2009 at 10:41 pm

    That safe harbor of “it’s a conspiracy” or “they’re corrupt” is always available if your ideas are bankrupt and you have no other recourse.

    Of course when that accusation is incorrect you’re committing a mild form of slander. Did you notice that RC’s proprietors permitted you to recklessly trash them? You just got a free shot at your own credibility and hit your target square. Congratulations!

    If I were running RC I’d maintain a public /dev/null area where deleted or edited posts are preserved in their entirety, for all to see, with poster attributions. At the same time, from my perspective as a member of the peanut gallery who has occasionally gone a little too far in my responses, I’d have cause to be unhappy with such a feature.

    A matter of “be careful what you wish for”.

  2. 52
    John Mashey says:

    The McLean, et al paper reminds me of some thoughts occasioned by the Monckton APS/FPS fiasco last summer. The FPS newsletter still has Letters arguing about positions on climate change. If one reads the FPS Newsletters from July 2008 through July 2009, without knowing the internal story, it easily might not be clear how wrong the Monckton article was and how thoroughly refuted it was elsewhere.

    The same effect reoccurs as in Best of the worst @ Rabett. It might be useful to peruse those articles, and assess the extent to which they are refuted *at the publishing journal* as opposed to elsewhere.

    We know real junk sometimes slips through, and eliminating 100% of them is pretty hard, and probably not a good tradeoff. In the “old days” of monthly/quarterly journals, often with publication lag times of many months, one could expect to see:

    a) A bad article in issue N.

    b) In N+1, or maybe N+2 (depending on lag), a letter or two complaining, with a reply. A letter column is a fairly constrained format for serious rebuttals.

    c) Then, maybe 1-2 years later, if someone wants to bother, a real article appears refuting the first article.

    Meanwhile, now, the article may well have been refuted thoroughly, within a day of publication, as tamino has done with the McLean article… But if someone gets directed to such an article, and isn’t familiar with all this:

    a) It may take much work to track down the comments and evaluate them.

    b) There is no discussion thread attached to the article. Letter constraints really hamper serious discussion, just as they do in LettersToEditor in newspapers.

    c)Even though, with electronic publication, the articles are often online anyway.

    Traditional scientific publishing timescales and mechanisms sometimes still seem overly geared to paper.

    Here’s a wish I’ve had more than once. Maybe someone has someone has better ideas, and maybe some journals do this already…

    1) Given that articles (or lat least abstracts) are posted online anyway

    2) And given that real review always requires much more input from the community than can possbily be provided by an editorial board or peer-reviewers

    3) I often wish for an article/abstract to have a public, tightly-moderated blog thread attached, i.e., requiring comments of “letter” caliber, replies from authors, further comments, etc. Hence, if an article gets instantly refuted, that would be clear.

    Summary: I don’t want to bypass normal science processes, but it seems like we should be able to do a little better using electronic mechanisms that already exist.

  3. 53

    43 JB. John, I rather like ‘abusmal’. Abysmal + Abusive to one’s intellect + Amusing in a bitter/sad/tiresome sort of way. I can think of a lot of posts that can be used to describe: “An abusmal posting by …!!” Nice one! Print it! And avoid it!
    Nigel

  4. 54
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Wow. Inflammatory headlines and treatment, fascinating photos.

    “Graphic images that reveal the devastating impact of global warming in the Arctic have been released by the US military. The photographs, taken by spy satellites over the past decade, confirm that in recent years vast areas in high latitudes have lost their ice cover in summer months.

    “These are one-metre resolution images, which give you a big picture of the summertime Arctic,” said Thorsten Markus of Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Centre. “This is the main reason why we are so thrilled about it. One-metre resolution is the dimension that’s been missing.

    The latest revelations have triggered warnings from scientists that they no longer have the funds to keep a comprehensive track of climate change. Last week the head of the US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Professor Jane Lubchenco, warned that the gathering of satellite data – crucial to predicting future climate changes – was now at “great risk” because America’s ageing satellite fleet was not being replaced.

    “Our primary focus is maintaining the continuity of climate observations, and those are at great risk right now because we don’t have the resources to have satellites at the ready and taking the kinds of information that we need,” said Lubchenco, who was appointed by Obama. “We are playing catch-up.”

    Even before her warning, scientists were saying that America, the world’s scientific superpower, was virtually blinding itself to climate change by cutting funds to the environmental satellite programmes run by the Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Nasa. A report by the National Academy of Sciences this year warned that the environmental satellite network was at risk of collapse.”

    The rest of the story:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jul/26/climate-change-obama-administration

  5. 55

    Thanks for the support, I will be in the mountains for a week… but will take up the Nordell thing again after that.

  6. 56
    John McLean says:

    From J. D McLean, C.R. de Freitas, R.M. Carter
    25/7/09

    The paper by McLean et al (JGR, 2009) does not analyse trends in mean global temperature (MGT); rather, it examines the extent to which ENSO accounts for variation in MGT.

    The research concludes that MGT has for the last 50 years fallen and risen in close accord with the SOI of 5–7 months earlier and shows the potential of natural mechanisms to account for most of the temperature variation.

    It is evident in this paper that ENSO (ocean-atmosphere heat exchange) is the primary driver of MGT (i.e. El Ninos cause global warming and La Ninas cause global cooling). The reason given is Hadley circulation (which affects convection, clouds etc) linked to changes in sea surface temperature (ocean heat supply) and the Walker Circulation (i.e. ENSO). These processes might be significant factors in affecting net solar heating as well as the transfer of heat from Earth to space.

    Since so much of the criticism in the blogosphrere to date is about the failure of the McLean et al paper to detect trends, which was not the aim of the paper, these critics may be interested in a research paper that does.

    Compo and Sardeshmukh (Climate Dynamics, 32:33-342, 2009) state: “Evidence is presented that the recent worldwide land warming has occurred largely in response to a worldwide warming of the oceans rather than as a direct response to increasing greenhouse gases (GHGs) over land.”

    Further regarding trends, the warming trend from 1965 to 2000 is the same as the pre-CO2 warming trend of 1900-1940. It is clear from this the climate models promoted by the IPCC have been tuned to extra warmth associated with ENSO as is apparent in the Mclean et al paper.

    P.S. Personally I am offended, but accept it as a sign of your diligence, that in your opening sentence you fail to spell my surname correctly. Of course the incorrect spelling would have implications for your Search utility, would it not?

    [Response: We're happy to be corrected on our spelling. One presumes that you have no more serious points to make. Since no-one was in ignorance of the impact of ENSO on the global temperatures (and haven't been for decades), I'm a little puzzled as to why you think that is the relevant point of contention. Rather, you should be looking to your own press releases and the throwaway lines about trends in your paper. I take it you will be publicly contradicting your co-author's statements? (PS. the C+S paper you cite has nothing to say about attribution because they built in the trend in the SST to start with). - gavin]

  7. 57
    Aaron Lewis says:

    Re 33: I bluntly disagree with most of what is said on RC. Yet, RC has let me post. I rant off topic and fail to cite references, but they still do not lock me out. RC is patient and courteous beyond all reason.

  8. 58
    Dave Werth says:

    Burgy, I like it. Abysmal abuse in one word.

  9. 59
    dhogaza says:

    Since it does not match your personal experience and you seem unaware of the experience of many others, I guess you cannot assume that. You might be well served to check the facts before casting aspersions on me though. I have personally had many comments ‘moderated’ away (maybe some for good reason, but most not, IMO).

    Oh, gosh, cry us a river …

    Then provide us with evidence.

    That would include evidence that you’ve been censored for trying to post something sensible, rather that tired old denialist crap.

  10. 60

    Re: #56: Well, there we have it. The principal author has just stated unequivocally that the paper in question

    “…DOES NOT ANALYSE TRENDS IN MEAN GLOBAL TEMPERATURE.”

  11. 61
    Martin Vermeer says:

    …and also de Freitas is spelled wrong…

  12. 62
    Martin Vermeer says:

    John Mashey #52,

    I seem to remember that somne EGU Copernicus publications, like Annales Geophysicae, work that way.

  13. 63
    Chris Dudley says:

    Hank (#44),

    You ask if they think the only radiation from the Earth to space is from warmer parts of the Earth.

    I’m not clear on this from reading the paper. But, I think, since they want to store up the energy historically produced from fossil fuels, they may be thinking that the energy can hide once it is at the surrounding temperature. They presume that the channel of energy flow out of the Earth is completely clogged with solar energy, perhaps, so that the energy from fossil fuels is trapped because it can’t squeeze past the solar energy. I don’t know.

    But, even granting such a thing, it is pretty trivial to show that the warmer Earth will radiate away all of the energy ever derived from fossil fuels in less than a year once we allow the temperature to increase as must be done to allow the fossil energy to attempt to account for warming. So, fossil fuel use has no chance of maintaining the higher temperature and we are faced with reductio ad absurdum.

  14. 64
    Mark says:

    Burgy, maybe the 5% chance of being wrong is “we’re wrong: it’s much worse than we thought”.

    Ever considered that?

    Or is the ONLY WAY “wrong” can go is in your favour?

  15. 65
    gp2 says:

    Gavin in response to 56 says:
    “(PS. the C+S paper you cite has nothing to say about attribution because they built in the trend in the SST to start with).”

    And someone else already did the attribution:
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008GL035984.shtml

  16. 66
    Mike Smith says:

    Dear John McLean, regarding your comment (#56).

    “the warming trend from 1965 to 2000 is the same as the pre-CO2 warming trend of 1900-1940.”

    I was shocked in your reply that you cherry picked a couple of time series from the past. Why not use 1880-1920 as your ‘pre-CO2′ for example?

    As a side note, your statement doesn’t even appear true (i.e. warming from 1900-40 looks about 0.25K, while 1965-2000 looks about 0.45K [1]).

    Real Climate: How do you know this was written by the people who wrote the paper? Arguments like the ones in comment #56 look like the same that get trotted out on the comments pages of AGW-skeptic blogs.

    [1] on wikipedia (sorry not bothered looking for a stronger ref)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Instrumental_Temperature_Record.png

  17. 67
    bigcitylib says:

    FWIW, very similar “climb down” as in #56 appears in the comments of WUWT, attributed to De Freitas.

  18. 68
    Wiman says:

    For those here who are not aware, the authors of this paper made comments in a press release that claim that their paper accounts for most of the warming trend of the 20th century.

    “‘The surge in global temperatures since 1977 can be attributed to a 1976 climate shift in the Pacific Ocean that made warming El Niño conditions more likely than they were over the previous 30 years and cooling La Niña conditions less likely’ says corresponding author de Freitas.”

    “‘When climate models failed to retrospectively produce the temperatures since 1950 the modellers added some estimated influences of carbon dioxide to make up the shortfall,’ says McLean.”

    “Bob Carter, one of four scientists who has recently questioned the justification for the proposed Australian emissions trading scheme, says that this paper has significant consequences for public climate policy.
    ‘The close relationship between ENSO and global temperature, as described in the paper, leaves little room for any warming driven by human carbon dioxide emissions. The available data indicate that future global temperatures will continue to change primarily in response to ENSO cycling, volcanic activity and solar changes.’
    ‘Our paper confirms what many scientists already know: which is that no scientific justification exists for emissions regulation, and that, irrespective of the severity of the cuts proposed, ETS (emission trading scheme) will exert no measurable effect on future climate.’”

  19. 69
    Jeffrey Davis says:

    It’s beyond obvious that GHGs contribute to Earth’s temps. If there were none, we’d be a rock warmed only by the Sun. If there were more, we’d be hot like Venus. The energy contribution of each trace gas can be calculated from elemental physics and summed. That energy goes somewhere. Where does it go if it doesn’t warm the oceans and atmosphere?

  20. 70

    RealClimate,

    You seem to have deleted the comment by one of theo paper’s authors, McLean, in which he stated unequivocally that the paper was not about trends.

    [Response: No we didn't, but I'm playing with paged comments, and so it may no longer be on the page you were looking at. - gavin]

  21. 71
    Steve Reynolds says:

    51.Doug Bostrom: “Of course when that accusation is incorrect you’re committing a mild form of slander. Did you notice that RC’s proprietors permitted you to recklessly trash them?”

    It is interesting what does and does not get through moderation. By definition, it is not possible to have a fair discussion of that topic here.

    Care to suggest a neutral site? I find rankexploits to be pretty fair.

  22. 72
    CL says:

    John McLean #56:
    [quote]Further regarding trends, the warming trend from 1965 to 2000 is the same as the pre-CO2 warming trend of 1900-1940.[/quote]

    What is this based on? Hadcrut3 shows a 50% higher trend fom 1965-2000 (1.650/decade vs 1.065/decade).
    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcrut3/diagnostics/global/nh+sh/annual

  23. 73
    Hank Roberts says:

    Go see Andy Revkin, folks:

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/24/a-postcard-from-the-pleistocene/

    “… the Kolyma in eastern Siberia. It is the largest river in the world that is completely underlain by permafrost. The region, like most of the Arctic, has seen substantial warming, and the expedition, among other things, is aiming to measure how much carbon dioxide and methane could be liberated if the permafrost thaws in a big way. About 30 researchers and students from the United States and Russia are traveling the river on a barge. I invited them to send a “postcard” to Dot Earth. Thomas Lin of our Web unit set up the slide show above with audio provided by Andy Bunn of and photographs taken by Chris Linder.Below you can read a note from Andy Bunn, who teaches at Western Washington University, including impressions of several student participants. If you have questions for the team, post them here and he and the students will reply ….”

    (Clickable links at the original page)

    Very wonderful job by Andy Revkin to make this interaction available.

  24. 74
    Hank Roberts says:

    Those of us who read forget that many don’t. Phil Plait has a good blog post on podcasts worth, er, reading:
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/07/25/user-driven-skeptical-podcast/

    Lots of clickable links there both to professionally done skeptic podcasts and to a site making it easier for amateurs to do theirs.

  25. 75

    Since the derivative of a linear function is a constant, I wonder why this paper chose this methodology. If the authors weren’t looking to establish a trend as stated in comment #56, then they only affirmed what was already known about ENSO and global mean temperatures.

  26. 76
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Steve Reynolds, we hear a lot of calumnies against RC mods, but I’ve seen little evidence to support this claim. I have found one case in which the charge is provably unfounded; RC has the post in its entirety, but Landshape never removed the accusation of censorship.

  27. 77
    Jeff says:

    I really like the look of the “paged” comments in the link you provided, Gavin. It would be nice if this format were implemented. I take it that preview is gone for good? That was a nice feature to make sure that hyperlinks and HTML tags were implemented properly. On the other hand, having no Captcha is nice.

  28. 78
    tamino says:

    The “links” bar on the right-hand side of the page is now nearer the middle of the page and obscures much of the text of the post.

    Also, if you’re going to use the paged-comments format, I suggest that in addition to a “newer comments” link there should also be a “newEST comments” link. When comments span a dozen pages, the present format would require hitting “newer comments” a dozen times to get to the most current recent (especially with the “Recent Comments” list not working).

  29. 79
    Jim Eaton says:

    Gavin, using Safari, the brown box on the right side of the window has migrated left to cover some of the blog text. It does work OK in Firefox, though.

    [Response: I'll look into it, thanks - gavin]

  30. 80
    Ike Solem says:

    RE Steve Reynolds past comments:

    “Even the IPCC has doubts about cost/benefit of mitigation at any CO2 level” – Steve Reynolds quote.

    I doubt that’s the IPCC view, just Steve’s respinning effort. However, let’s consider the question:

    The cost of eliminating fossil fuel combustion as an energy source is equivalent to the cost of building similar-scale global renewable energy projects, which would then replace fossil fuels entirely.

    For example, the Desertec Africa solar project, when completed, is estimated to cost $500 billion – less than the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, perhaps 1/2 the cost of the Iraq war and oilfield occupation, and comparable to the estimated value of the global fossil fuel infrastructure ($10-15 trillion?). It is expected to supply 20% of European electricity demand. The costs are indeed high – so what about the benefits?

    The baseline benefits include energy independence, which helps with food production and associated costs, and reduced fossil CO2 emissions and associated pollution, which helps maintain the stability of the overall ecosystem features, water and temperature being the most critical. This kind of large-scale economic activity generates jobs as well as providing an energy base for all other economic activity – and it is also ecologically rational.

    The best hope now is to hit the lower range of possible global warming outcomes, as we’re already over the edge and in a state of thermal disequilibrium that will continue for another 50 years or so, at the very least.

    Steve, I suppose if you are in the employ of a fossil fuel magnate, or reliant on such cash flows, then the cost-benefit analysis looks different, at least if you refuse to look further into the future than next quarter’s returns.

    Just to help convince you that there really is a problem , here is the latest data release from spy satellites on polar ice cover:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jul/26/climate-change-obama-administration

    And how about that Central Texas drought? Is it just La Nina, as the fossil fuel PR machine has been claiming for many months? Or is it now due to El Nino? Or maybe the global-warming associated expansion of tropical circulation, in conjunction with rising land temperatures and decreasing soil moisture in continental interiors, as generally predicted by climate models?

    The Sahara was also a green paradise at one point, with surface water, greenery, and human habitation – 6,000 years ago or so. It gradually dried out over the course of several thousand years. We seem to be inducing similar-scale changes on the scale of a century or so – don’t you think that is just a little sobering?

  31. 81
    Ike Solem says:

    P.S. for a discussion of how El Nino affects CO2, from ΜcPhaden 2006 ENSO as an integrating concept in earth sciences:

    “Year-to-year variability in global atmospheric carbon concentrations is dominated by the ENSO cycle. The equatorial Pacific is the largest natural oceanic source of carbon to the atmosphere, outgassing about 1 billion metric tons of carbon in the form of CO2 per year. The source of this carbon is the equatorial upwelling which brings water rich in inorganic carbon from the interior ocean to the surface.”

    “During El Niño, equatorial upwelling is suppressed in the eastern and central Pacific, significantly reducing the supply of CO2 to the surface. As a result, the global increase in atmospheric CO2, which is primarily driven by anthropogenic sources, notably slows down during the early stages of an El Niño. However, during the later stages of an El Niño, global CO2 concentrations rise sharply, reflecting the delayed response of the terrestrial biosphere to El Niño-induced changes in weather patterns.

    Thus, during the pre-industrial era, ENSO would have resulted in global-scale CO2 fluctuations around a mean – what you now see is global scale CO2 fluctuations superimposed on an increasing trend, just as with ENSO-related temperature variations.

  32. 82
    David Horton says:

    #79 This is a function of screen size in Safari 4.0.2 (ie on a big screen it sits well on screen, but as you close the window down the brown box migrates with it while the blog text stays fixed), so the script needs to be set as a proportion rather than fixed size?

  33. 83
    Doug Mackie says:

    A New Zealand Parliamentary Select Committee is currently reviewing an Emissions Trading Scheme. The following is cut and pasted from the submission by John McLean. (Submissions are public).

    [begin cut and paste from McLean]
    3. The IPCC’s evidence is very weak

    (a) “temperatures have risen” – is certainly not true for the last 10 years, despite the increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide during that time

    (b) “the temperature increase correlates with increases in carbon dioxide” – but
    correlation is not proof of causation (e.g. there’s a strong correlation between autumn leaves fall from trees shortly after children return to school, but there’s no direct link)

    (c) “not internal variability” – denies any possible solar forces (but NASA continues to discover forces that it says might influence our climate), or forces such as the El Nino- Southern Oscillation (ENSO) which are poorly understood.

    (d) “patterns of warming are not consistent with models” – but meteorologists and climatologists can’t agree if a proposed key component of heat distribution, the midlatitude Ferrel Cell circulation, even exists, so is it included in the models or not?

    (e) “climate models need to include a human influence to be accurate” – but including alternatives such as global population, urban population and the influences of the unpredictable ENS0 would likely have produced very similar results.

    (f) and scattered through the IPCC report we find many instances of “estimate”, “understanding”, “reconstruction”, “simulation” and “model”, which are all terms that reflect uncertainty about the accuracy and validity of the IPCC’s claims.
    [end cut and paste from McLean]

    ’nuff said

  34. 84
    JBL says:

    Re: Jeff @ 77 If you click on the post title (rather than the comments pop-up link) the comments are currently in paged format.

    Re: tamino @ 78 I agree that having a “newest posts” link would be helpful, but it’s not acutally necessary to click “newer posts” n times to get to the (n + 1)th page — just change the URL directly. (It’s easy enough to see which number should be changed to jump to your desired page.)

    Also, I’d like to add my vote to the “bring back post preview” crowd.

  35. 85
    Doug Mackie says:

    A New Zealand Parliamentary Select Committee is currently reviewing an Emissions Trading Scheme. The following is cut and pasted from the submission by Bob Carter.

    [begin cut and paste from Carter]

    • Global temperature warmed slightly in the late 2oth century and has been cooling since 2002; neither the warming nor the cooling were of unusual rate or magnitude.

    • Humans have an effect on local climate, but, despite the expenditure of over US$50 billion looking for it since 1990, no globally summed human effect has ever been measured; therefore, it must lie buried in the variability of the natural climate system.

    • Global average temperature has declined since 1998, at the same time that atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased by 5%. This is a direct test of the dangerous warming greenhouse hypothesis, which it fails.

    • We live on a dynamic planet; change occurs in Earth’s geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and oceans all the time and all over the world; no substantive evidence exists that modern rates of environmental change (e.g., ice volume; sea-level) lie outside historic natural bounds.

    • Cutting C02 emissions, be it in New Zealand or worldwide, will likely result in no measurable change in future climate, because extra increments of atmospheric C02cause diminishing warming for each unit of increase; at most, a few tenths of a degree of extra warming would result from a completion of doubling of C02 since pre-industrial time.

    [end cut and paste from Carter]

    makes ya fink, dunnit?
    I read all the submissions but I often had to take a break and wash the stupid off.

  36. 86
    Lab Lemming says:

    In Firefox, your right-hand beige margin overlaps the main text, making it unreadable.

  37. 87
    CTG says:

    Re #83

    “correlation is not proof of causation” – and yet McLean is happy to use correlation between ENSO and temperature as proof of causation due to ENSO.

    LOL. You can’t make this stuff up!

  38. 88
    caerbannog says:

    Well, it looks like the latest “Client Denial Crock of the Week” youtube video has become a casualty of an Anthony Watts DMCA takedown action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcxVwEfq4bM [edit for shorter link]

    [Response: I find this quite amusing since Watts regularly uses images for his posts with no attribution or permission. Maybe someone should look into that... - gavin]

  39. 89
    Steve Reynolds says:

    80Ike Solem: “RE Steve Reynolds past comments:

    “Even the IPCC has doubts about cost/benefit of mitigation at any CO2 level” – Steve Reynolds quote.
    I doubt that’s the IPCC view, just Steve’s respinning effort.”

    From the IPCC SPM page 22:

    “Limited and early analytical results from integrated analyses
    of the costs and benefits of mitigation indicate that they
    are broadly comparable in magnitude, but do not as yet permit
    an unambiguous determination of an emissions pathway or
    stabilisation level where benefits exceed costs. {5.7}”

    Ike: “We seem to be inducing similar-scale [Sahara] changes on the scale of a century or so – don’t you think that is just a little sobering?”

    One prediction I’ve seen is that warming is likely to re-green the Sahara.

    But yes, I am very concerned about the long term effects of AGW and do think we should start doing some of the lowest cost mitigation now. However, most everything being seriously considered by politicians almost certainly has unfavorable cost-benefit characteristics.

  40. 90
    dhogaza says:

    I agree that having a “newest posts” link would be helpful, but it’s not acutally necessary to click “newer posts” n times to get to the (n + 1)th page — just change the URL directly. (It’s easy enough to see which number should be changed to jump to your desired page.)

    Yeah, like that’s going to pass usability standards. That’s known as an excuse, not a cure.

    And what’s so hard about getting the “recent” stuff back up on the right-hand panel?

    [edit]

    [Response: The issue is excessive CPU usage associated with our site. We've been trying a number of things to bring that down (including upgrading the software, our theme, the design, content delivery, caching, compression etc.). Changing everything has created some incompatibilities and still has not really solved the problem. Since this is only a part time effort, it is taking longer to deal with than one would like. Sorry about that, but we would request a little more patience. - gavin]

  41. 91
    dhogaza says:

    “correlation is not proof of causation” – and yet McLean is happy to use correlation between ENSO and temperature as proof of causation due to ENSO.

    No, worse, correlation between ENSO and temperature divergence from trend.

    Leaving the trend all alone there, shouting … “I’m a trend! I’m a trend! You’ve forgotten me!”

  42. 92
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Steve Reynolds 26 July 2009 at 10:07 AM

    “It is interesting what does and does not get through moderation. By definition, it is not possible to have a fair discussion of that topic here.”

    By definition, we can’t know if your claim of mistreatment has any foundation. To me, in the face of contrary evidence accusations of cogent arguments being thrust into the bit bucket ring a bit hollow, smell of being conveniently not subject to test. I’ve heard a number of claims to the effect that posts are unfairly moderated, yet I see plenty of evidence that much utter c–p is allowed to leak onto the site’s discussion threads.

    “Care to suggest a neutral site? I find rankexploits to be pretty fair.”

    Then go there, though why you’d be asking me for a suggestion is a mystery. You may be looking for pistols at dawn or some other entertaining melodrama but I’m not.

    Rankexploits appears to be the climate science equivalent of Joyce’s “Ulysses”, except with an even lousier SNR. Teasing useful information out of the fractal noise on that site should keep anybody occupied for endless hours, possibly happily. If you’re so inclined, enjoy it while remaining safely insulated from poisoning the rest of the world with the degrading side effects of the denial hobby.

    Compared to RC, rankexploits seems more suited to the sporting life. Conversely, this site gives every appearance of being about actual climate science, being run as it is by practicing, published scientists engaged in the field who actually care enough to spend some of their time with us punters. When RC is invaded by factually challenged dilettantes who insist that everybody adopt their hobby, everybody has to sniff the glue of self-deception whether we want to be intoxicated or not.

  43. 93
    Michael Tobis says:

    re #78, #79, css bug, to me it appears independent of safari (3.2.1) vs firefox (3.0.12) but dependent on window width.

    [Response: Indeed! Thanks. - gavin]

  44. 94
    He Flips says:

    If this is too OT, feel free to delete or respond by email. My post at Deltoid:

    OK, Greenman3610′s Climate Denial Crock of the Week is my favorite series on Youtube (He or AronRa). Well his last video “Watts up with Watts?” just got DMCA’ed by Watts.

    From Youtube: “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Anthony Watts Surfacestations.org”

    Watts was asked about fair use on his site, replying with:

    ” I don’t care to discuss my reasons here as they are private and unrelated to this discussion. Google agreed that complaint was valid and removed the video. – Anthony”

    Ha, well don’t make a compliant that is publically announced by Google. Also, as anyone familiar with the DMCA problems on YT knows, they remove videos after all complaints. That doesn’t imply agreement.

    In the vid, Greenman talked about Watts’ “publication” “Is the US Surface temperature reliable?” while showing the cover picture. Let’s hope Greenman files a counter complaint. It was a great video about the publication and Watts prefered publication outlet, the Heartland Institute.

  45. 95
    Richard Steckis says:

    Barton Paul Levenson #36 says:

    “We know the new CO2 is coming primarily from fossil fuel burning by its radioisotope signature.”

    No. We do not. We know that it is coming from a biogenic origin (therefore the depletion of delta 13C). That does not mean ipso facto that it is anthropogenic in origin. There are natural sources of CO2 that can have a similarly depleted isotopic signature such as plants, animals and plankton.

    [Response: "radioisotope" means 14C - and fossil fuels have none (unlike other sources of biogenic carbon. - gavin]

  46. 96
    Mark says:

    CTG, they are denying AGW is real. They do not want or need a consistent theory since they have no theory except one that AGW is wrong.

    So whatever message says “AGW is wrong” is accepted. If that later turns out to harm that message, it is forgotten.

  47. 97
    Mark says:

    “• Global temperature warmed slightly in the late 2oth century and has been cooling since 2002″

    But if that were true, then adding up the last 10 years and taking an average would be giving a colder average than taking the 10 years before that. After all, the previous 10 years includes 1998, the warmest year, whilst the last 10 years only includes 1999, 2000 and 2001 as the only ones, according to Bob, are not cooling.

    But the difference is about 0.2C per decade.

    Compared to the PETM, even, this is fast.

  48. 98
    Mark says:

    “• Humans have an effect on local climate, but, despite the expenditure of over US$50 billion looking for it since 1990″

    Compared to the $30Bn spent on oil subsidy each year, $7Bn on subsidies for nuclear, $11Bn on coal and similar on gas, EACH YEAR, $50Bn over 20 years is peanuts.

  49. 99
    Mark says:

    “(a) “temperatures have risen” – is certainly not true for the last 10 years, despite the increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide during that time”

    How about a counter:

    Despite reduced solar activity and an extreme El Nino/La Nina sequence, currently reducing the energy available to heat the atmosphere, temperatures have not gone down significantly over the last 10 years.

  50. 100
    Curious says:

    Regarding McLean et al’s paper, Dr. Grumbine shows the response function to illustrate that, even taking into account just the variability, the filtering inflates the correlation:

    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-not-to-analyze-climate-data.html

    Cheers.


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