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Still not convincing

Filed under: — rasmus @ 1 August 2009

cloud In a new GRL paper, Svensmark et al., claim that liquid water content in low clouds is reduced after Forbush decreases (FD), and for the most influential FD events, the liquid water content in the oceanic atmosphere can diminish by as much as 7%. In particular, they argue that there is a substantial decline in liquid water clouds, apparently tracking a declining flux of galactic cosmic rays (GCR), reaching a minimum days after the drop in GCR levels. The implication would be that GCR can affect climate through modulating the low-level cloudiness. The analysis is based on various remote sensing products.

The hypothesis is this: a rapid reduction in GCR, due to FD, results in reduced ionization of the atmosphere, and hence less cloud drops and liquid water in low clouds. Their analysis of various remote sensing products suggest that the opacitiy (measured in terms of the Angstrom exponent) due to aerosols reaches a minimum ~5 days after FD, and that there is a minimum in the cloud liquid water content (CWC) minimum occurring ~7 days later than the FD. They also observe that the CWC minimum takes place ~4 days after the fine aerosol minimum (the numbers here don’t seem to add up).

The paper is based on a small selection of events and specific choice of events and bandwidths. The paper doesn’t provide any proof that GCR affect the low clouds– at best -, but can at most only give support to this hypothesis. There are still a lot of hurdles that remain before one can call it a proof.

One requirement for successful scientific progress in general, is that new explanations or proposed mechanisms must fit within the big picture, as well as being consistent with other observations. They must also be able to explain other relevant aspects. A thorough understanding of the broader subject is therefore often necessary to put the new pieces in the larger context. It’s typical of non-experts not to place their ideas in the context of the bigger picture.

If we look at the big picture, one immediate question is why it should take days for the alleged minimum in CWC to be visible? The lifetime of clouds is usually thought to be on the order of hours, and it is likely that most of the CWC has precipitated out or re-evaporated within a day after the cloud has formed.

In this context, the FD is supposed to suppress the formation of new cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), and the time lag of the response must reflect the life time of the clouds and the time it takes for new ultra-fine molecule clusters (tiny aerosols) to grow to CCN.

Next question is then, why the process, through which ultra-fine molecule clusters grow by an order of ~1000 to become CCN, takes place over several days while the clouds themselves have a shorter life time?

There is also a recent study in GRL (also a comment on May 1st, 2009 in Science) by Pierce and Adams on modeling CCN, which is directly relevant to Svensmark et al.‘s hypothesis, but not cited in their paper.

Pierce and Adams argue that the theory is not able to explain the growth from tiny molecule clusters to CCN. Thus, the work by Svensmark et al. is not very convincing if they do not discuss these issues, on which their hypothesis hinges, even if the paper by Pierce and Adams was too recent for being included in this paper.

But Svensmark et al. also fail to make reference to another relevant paper by Erlykin et al. (published January 2009), which argues that any effect on climate is more likely to be directly from solar activity rather than GCR, because the variations in GCR lag variations in temperature.

Furthermore, there are two recent papers in the Philosophical Transactions A of the Royal Society, ‘Enhancement of cloud formation by droplet charging‘ and ‘Discrimination between cosmic ray and solar irradiance effects on clouds, and evidence for geophysical modulation of cloud thickness‘, that are relevant for this study. Both support the notion that GCR may affect the cloudiness, but in different aspects to the way Svensmark et al. propose. The first of these studies focuses on time scales on the order of minutes and hours, rather than days. It is difficult to explain how the changes in the current densities taking place minutes to hours after solar storms may have a lasting effect of 4-9 days.

There are many micro-physical processes known to be involved in the low clouds, each affecting the cloud droplet spectra, CWC and the cloud life times. Such processes include collision & coalescence, mixing processes, winds, phase changes, heat transfer (e.g., diffusive and radiative), chemical reactions, precipitation, and effects from temperature. The ambient temperature determines the balance between the amount of liquid water and that of water vapour.

On a more technical side, the paper did not communicate well why 340 nm and 440 nm should the magic numbers for the remote sensing data and the Angstrom exponents, calculated from the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET). There are also measurements for other wavelengths, and Svensmark et al. do not explain why these particular choices are best for the type of aerosols they want to study.

For a real effect, one would expect to see a response in the whole chain of the CCN-formation, from the smallest to the largest aerosols. So, what about the particles of other sizes (or different Angstrom exponents) than those Svensmark et al. have examined? Are they affected in the same way, or is there a reason to believe that the particles grow in jumps and spurts?

If one looks long enough at a large set of data, it is often possible to discern patterns just by chance. For instance, ancient scholars thought they found meaningful patterns in the constellations of the stars on the sky. Svensmark et al. selected a smaller number of FDs than Kristjansson et al. (published in 2008) who found no clear effect of GCR on cloudiness.

Also, statistics based on only 26 data points or only 5 events as presented in the paper is bound to involve a great deal of uncertainty, especially in a noisy environment such as the atmosphere. It is important to ask: Could the similarities arise from pure coincidence?

Applying filtering to the data can sometimes bias the results. Svensmark et al. applied a Gaussian smooth with a width of 2 days and max 10 days to reduce fluctuations. But did it reduce the ‘right’ fluctuations? If the aerosols need days to form CCNs and hence clouds, wouldn’t there be an inherent time scale of several days? And is this accounted for in the Monte-Carlo simulations they carried out to investigate the confidence limits? By limiting the minimum to take place in the interval 0-20 days after FD, and defining the base reference to 15 to 5 days before FD, a lot is already given. How sensitive are the results to these choices? The paper does not explore this.

For a claimed ‘FD strength of 100 %’ (whatever that means) the change in cloud fraction was found to be on the order 4% +-2% which, they argue, is ‘slightly larger than the changes observed during a solar cycle’ of ~2%. This is not a very precise statement. And when the FD only is given in percentage, it’s difficult to check the consistency of the numbers. E.g. is there any consistency between the changes in the level of GCR between solar min and max and cloud fraction and during FD? And how does cloud fraction relate with CWC?

Svensmark et al. used the south pole neutron monitor to define the FD, with a cut-off rigidity at 0.06GV that also is sensitive to the low-energy particles from space. Higher energies are necessary for GCR to reach the lower latitudes on Earth, and the flux tends to diminish with higher energy. Hence, the south pole monitor is not necessarily a good indicator for higher-energy GCR that potentially may influence stratiform clouds in the low latitudes.

In their first figure, they show a composite of the 5 strongest FD events. But how robust are these results? Does an inclusion of the 13 strongest FD events or only the 3 leading events alter the picture?

Svensmark et al. claim that the results are statistically significant at the 5%-level, but for the quantitative comparison (their 2nd figure) of effect of the FD magnitude in each of the four data sets studied, it is clear that there is a strong scatter and that the data points do not lie neatly on a line. Thus, it looks as if the statistical test was biased, because the fit is not very impressive.

The GRL paper claims to focus on maritime clouds, but it is reasonable to question if this is true as the air moves some distance in 4-9 days (the time between the FD and the minimum in CWC) due to the winds. This may suggest that the initial ionization probably takes place over other regions than where the CWC minima are located 4—9 days afterward. It would be more convincing if the study accounted for the geographical patterns and the advection by the winds.

Does the width of the minimum peak reveal time scales associated with the clouds? The shape of the minimum suggests that some reduction starts shortly after the FD, which then reaches a minimum after several days. For some data, however, the reduction phase is slower, for others the recovery phase is slower. The width of the minimum is 7-12 days. Do these variations exhibit part of the uncertainty of the analysis, or is there some real information there?

The paper does not discuss the lack of trend in the GCR of moderate energy levels or which role GCR plays for climate change. They have done that before (see previous posts here, here, and here), and it’s wise to leave out statements which do not have scientific support. But it seems they look for ways to back up their older claim, and news report and the press release on their paper make the outrageous claim that GCR have been demonstrated to play an important role in recent global warming.

A recent analysis carried out by myself and Gavin, and published in JGR, compares the response to solar forcing between the GISS GCM (ER) and the observations. Our analysis suggests that the GCM provides a realistic response in terms of the global mean temperature – well within the bounds of uncertainty, as uncertainties are large when applying linear methods to analyse chaotic systems. The model does not include the GCR mechanism, and the general agreement between model and observations therefore is consistent with the effect of GCR on clouds being minor in terms of global warming.

As an aside to this issue, there has been some new developements regarding GCR, galaxy dynamics and our climate (see the commentary environmentalresearchweb.org) – discussed previously here.

409 Responses to “Still not convincing”

  1. 101
    CM says:

    Edward (#92), that’s AR(1) as in “autoregressive model”, not “Assessment Report”. (Sigh.)

  2. 102
    Robert Bateman says:

    If one compares the sunspot number (as a proxy for GCR) to global temperature(HadCRUT3 global mean) by Fourier analysis, there is no “bump” in the temperature spectrum that corresponds to the solar cycle.

    I don’t know how that Fourier proxy stuff works, but when I compare US Temps 1880-1999 to the Umbra/Penumbra ratio or even to Whole Spot area, I get a fairly decent match. Sunspot numbers are a counting system, not a measurement.
    When you want to know how much money is in your wallet, you don’t count the number of bills. You add up the denominations at face value. Sunspots also come in denonimations…area. That’s why Greenwich went to so much trouble for 102 years measuring photos.
    I’m just a layman here. How come scientists can’t measure any more?

  3. 103

    Edward writes:

    I’m not clear what you are referring to as “IPCC trend” but Lucia was testing AR4 (not AR1) against the AR4 future projection for this century,

    I wrote AR(1) (autoregressive model with one-period lapse), not AR1. I’m fully aware what she was “refuting.”

    she tested by merging the 5 major measurement groups (which Tamino did not to adjust for autocorrelation). Her result was falsification of the AR4 projection of 2C/century for the current decade.

    No, it wasn’t, because that was not the prediction. They did predict an increase of exactly 0.2 K every decade. That was the expected mean. There were big fat error bars which Lucia ignored. The decade was not out of line with an overall trend of 2 K per century, as Tamino ably pointed out. Lucia was wrong. Deal with it.

  4. 104
    Robert Bateman says:

    Sometimes I wish there was a site where ordinary folks can talk about the things we are
    being warned about by science without the bickering theorists dominating the conversation
    at the Greek Heiroglyphic level.

  5. 105
    realist says:

    Something tells me you wouldn’t be convinced if there was a one mile thick glacier covering the northern hemisphere. Not only that, you have turned the process of science on its head. You have to convince me that CO2 plays a significant role in climate, not the other way around. And as Carl Sagan often said, extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof. You haven’t come close to that standard.

  6. 106
    Mark says:

    “You have to convince me that CO2 plays a significant role in climate, not the other way around”

    No, nobody has to convince you.

    You have to show the evidence.

    And the proof of CO2’s effect on IR radiation is laughably simple to do.

    Therefore you have to prove that this effect has no effect on the atmosphere.

  7. 107
    Mark says:

    “Sunspots also come in denonimations…area.

    Comment by Robert Bateman”

    But the spot itself (the area of the spot) is cooler than the rest of the sun. This is why it is dark.

    So please prove that the total area of the surface of the sun is a reliable measure of the radiation from the sun the earth receives.

  8. 108
    Mark says:

    “Mark #90: but there would be no convection.”

    Yes there would.

    There would still be thermal energy transfer by collision from the ground to the air.

    Therefore there will be warming of the ground level air beyond the normal for an ideal gas with no energy input.

    And within the air molecules themselves, there will be collisions causing thermal redistribution.

    Unless the atmosphere is cold enough to freeze or condense out, you will still have PV=nRT. Therefore a lapse rate, since the pressure of the air at a layer is equal to the weight of the air above it.

    And that would be half the weight of the pressure at the surface when you’re at a height that half the atmosphere is below.

    Ergo, at that height, the temperature would be half.

  9. 109

    realist, it’s unclear who the “you” whom you address is meant to be.

    However, given that Tyndall was able to draw the relevant climate inferences as soon as he had measured the radiative properties of CO2 almost 150 years ago; that Arrhenius was able to model the global effects of CO2 changes via manual calculation over 100 years ago; that Plass was able to vastly extend that model, using updated spectral data and calculational technology more than 50 years ago; and that their early work is still in pretty good agreement with an increasingly intense (and expensive) international research effort carried out ever since–how can you possibly characterize the proposition that “CO2 plays a significant role in climate” as an “extraordinary claim?”

    If you are willing to be convinced, then read the literature. If not–?

  10. 110
    Mark says:

    “This supports the potential for a valid mechanism,…

    Comment by rainwater ”

    Good. Now do some research to show that that mechanism operates.

    After all, an alien heat ray from Proxima Centauri also gives a potential for a valid explanation.

    As does the reduction of Pirates causing His Noodly Appendage’s wrath to be visited upon us.

    So see if that mechanism exists.

    Then see if it operates in such a way as to explain the changes.

    WITHOUT just fiddle factors (making up a self-referential feedback look that gives a 15-fold increase in the effect because without that, the forcing isn’t enough).

  11. 111
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Something tells me you wouldn’t be convinced if there was
    > a one mile thick glacier covering the northern hemisphere.

    Don’t listen to those voices you’re hearing.
    They are not giving you good information.

  12. 112
    BillBodell says:

    Mark,

    The following causes be to lose all hope of productive discussion:

    ,blockquote>“You have to convince me that CO2 plays a significant role in climate, not the other way around”

    No, nobody has to convince you.

    You have to show the evidence.

    And the proof of CO2’s effect on IR radiation is laughably simple to do.

    Therefore you have to prove that this effect has no effect on the atmosphere.

    EVERYBODY knows that CO2 has an effect on IR radiation. With no feedbacks I believe it is estimated to be about 1.2C / 100 years. I learned about it from Patrick Micheals (of all people!) No one should respond to anyone that claims it doesn’t.

    The issue is the MAGNITUDE of expected warming from CO2 due to expected feedbacks. The person you were responding to used the word “significant”. He should be more clear and acknowledge the known effect of CO2 and address his concerns to feedbacks or climate sensitivity.

    AGW proponents should stop trying to make it look like all skeptics deny the basic science of CO2’s effect on IR radiation.

    WIth that out of the way, maybe (probably not) we could move on to some substantive discussion.

  13. 113
    Mark says:

    “The following causes be to lose all hope of productive discussion:”
    “No, nobody has to convince you.””

    Well, lets say that you aren’t convinced about something.

    Does reality change to accord yo your disbelief?

    No.

    Does it change if you are convinced?

    No.

    Reality does what it does whether you believe it or not.

    “EVERYBODY knows that CO2 has an effect on IR radiation. ”

    OK, so prove that this effect is cancelled out in a real atmosphere.

    “The issue is the MAGNITUDE of expected warming from CO2 due to expected feedbacks.”

    But that there IS an expected warming is the proof.

    If you don’t like the MAGNITUDE, then prove your value is correct.

  14. 114
    SecularAnimist says:

    realist wrote: “And as Carl Sagan often said, extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof.”

    Well, that’s certainly the worst thing that Carl Sagan ever said, since the judgment as to whether any particular claim qualifies as “extraordinary” is entirely subjective, as is the judgment as to whether any particular “proof” is sufficiently “extraordinary” to meet the demands of any particular claim.

    In your case, it seems clear that you are making the entirely subjective judgment that any claim that contradicts what Rush Limbaugh, George Will, Fox News, the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal, and various ExxonMobil-funded propagandists tell you about climate change is so “extraordinary” that no amount of evidence — e.g. the accumulated evidence from over a century of climate science — is sufficiently “extraordinary” to convince you.

  15. 115
    Robert Bateman says:

    So please prove that the total area of the surface of the sun is a reliable measure of the radiation from the sun the earth receives.

    I’m not a scientist and I don’t prove anything. The White-Light Faculae are the conterpart to the Sunspot Area. They quit measuring those too. Now they measure Ca-K line, most of which cannot be seen as they blend into the glare. The ratio of that also changes compared to Sunspot area according to SFO.
    Here’s your data: http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/DeepSolarMin6.htm
    Compare the Greenwich Unbra/Penumbra/Faculae vs US Temp. Compare whatever you like on that page.
    Like I said, I’m not a scientist.

  16. 116

    #105 realist

    The naive realist does not have proof that Co2 plays a significant role, how funny. Does the anonymous realist realize that with out the tiny fraction of Co2 in the atmosphere the planet would be a frozen ball in space?

    I think not.

    To the naive realist I suggest an experiment. Try sleeping in your freezer for one night, just to get a feel for how insignificant Co2 is with regard to climate.

  17. 117
    dhogaza says:

    EVERYBODY knows that CO2 has an effect on IR radiation.

    No, actually, you still see far more people insist it doesn’t than one should rationally expect. Something tells me realist may well lie in that camp.

  18. 118
    Jeff says:

    Mark,
    The dry adiabatic lapse rate (on Earth) is derived by assuming local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) with no heat loss. True, PV=nRT helps to relate the state variables P,V, and T, but by itself, this equation is insufficient to determine the adiabatic lapse rate. The problem with determining the dry adiabatic lapse rate on Venus is that the atmosphere is no longer an ideal gas, and PV=nRT cannot be used. On Venus, because of the small intermolecular distance, LTE should still apply, BUT . . . you still need to have adiabatic upwelling to generate a temperature profile that is governed by an adiabatic lapse rate. Given the large atmospheric gas densities and lack of any diurnal temperature change, it is hard to see how adiabatic upwelling will occur.

  19. 119
    thingsbreak says:

    Speaking of unconvincing, has David seen this yet? I don’t know whether it will make him laugh or cry: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ef800581r (via one of the usual suspects)

  20. 120
    George Tobin says:

    1) The Pierce and Adams paper cited simply says that using the current CGM assumptions about ion and aerosol behavior, cosmic rays can’t be that significant. It is not immediately clear that this is a criticism of Svensmark or an admission of defect in the prevailing assumptions incorporated

    2) I would not expect a reference to the Erlykin paper since there is no temperature link in this Svensmark paper. It is narrowly focused on cloud formation without a claim of any temperature correlation.

    3) You cite two really interesting works by Harrison to support a criticism of the long time frame (days) suggested by Svensmark but the second Harrison paper mentions a periodicity in the thicker cloud formation that is over a year. It would appear to that there are multiple processes at work which processes do not share the same timetables.

    I don’t know enough to decide whether Svensmark is on the mark (I am resistant to single-factor reductionist climate theories of all kinds) but I am persuaded that the state of knowledge regarding cloud formation as reflected in our current models is not exactly an invincible lasting scientific paradigm.

    The contentment that you and Gavin Schmidt share regarding GCM performance with respect to solar forcing within “large uncertainties” over a relatively short time frame would be relevant if the issue were merely our comfort levels with respect to climate theory orthodoxies of the moment. Without a better handle on cloud formation, the models will always carry a whiff of hindsighted jury-rigging when the issues clearly deserves better treatment.

  21. 121
    Ray Ladbury says:

    So-called “realist”–All you accomplish by claiming we don’t understand the role of CO2 is establish your ignorance–not to mention laziness–of the science. The basics of the role of CO2 have been know since the mid 1800s. Feedbacks have been understood more or less since the early 1900s. Yes, our understanding of the climate continues to improve, but nothing in our improved understanding has decreased the urgency of the situation.

    Quit pretending. Learn.

  22. 122
    Mark says:

    “The problem with determining the dry adiabatic lapse rate on Venus is that the atmosphere is no longer an ideal gas, and PV=nRT cannot be used.”

    OK, don’t know if that density IS a problem, but Hank’s original query (was it hank…? it’s a long way back) was “what if we had an N2 atmosphere, hence no IR blocking.

    And that doesn’t have to have high density to be true, does it.

  23. 123
    Ray Ladbury says:

    thingsbreak, Good lord, how does this crap get published? The CO2 ain’t going away for a long, long time. We already know that. How can these people just ignore mountains of evidence and pretend they’re doing science?

  24. 124
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    I don’t know much about this topic, but apparently the cosmic ray guys are ultimately trying to link GW to cosmic rays. And what does it mean if they eventually do so? It only makes the situation worse, since we already know GHGs link to GW. So I’d guess that if we get some cosmic ray scenario that increases the warming, that would be on top of the GHG-caused warming, and it would really make things much worse than just the GHG-caused global warming.

    And what would that mean for us and policy-makers, who presumably would want to protect life on planet earth? Since we cannot control cosmic rays, but we can control our GHG emissions, it would mean we have to reduce our GHG emissions all the more, way way down, much further than if cosmic rays were not also enhancing the warming.

    So let’s not take any chances on this, just in case the cosmic ray theory does eventually pan out. We need to start now by redoubling our efforts to reduce our GHGs. We’ve got to at least double the cuts that are currently being proposed by various governments as a run up to Copenhagen.

  25. 125
    Hank Roberts says:

    For Robert Bateman — thanks for the wonderful photographs.
    Weaverville, nice location for astronomy.

    I hope you’ll update the solar cycle charts; it’s been interesting since January, if only because it’s been continuing unusual.

  26. 126
    Robert Bateman says:

    There isn’t a whole lot new about the weather or the climate changing, just that it is happening to us instead of in the past:

    Saturday, June 4, 1884 “Weather – never was there so many showers known in this portion of California as there have been in the present Spring. During the past week we have had a shower every evening. Old Settlers here inquire ‘Is our climate changing’? It appears so.
    June 14, 1884 rained every day last week.
    June 20, 1884 one inch of ice in water buckets.
    And so it went, year after year. Right up until the 1920’s, when it all changed again.
    And now, the incessant winds are back, coincident with the lackadaisacal sun.
    You have to look out for #1, nobody is going to do it for you.
    After Katrina, people should know better.
    If you don’t know the history of climate change in your own area going back 150 years, you had better start looking. Hotly debated science issues and political winds won’t save you.
    It’s every man for himself.

  27. 127
    Mark says:

    “Without a better handle on cloud formation, the models will always carry a whiff of hindsighted jury-rigging when the issues clearly deserves better treatment.

    Comment by George Tobin”

    Why?

    Without a good model of how turbulence forms, all aerodynamics engineering would likewise have a feeling of “hindsighted jury-rigging” if that statement of yours held in a rational sense.

    Aero engineers were designing fixed and rotary winged aircraft that people had NO PROBLEMS with putting their LIVES in their care WHILE AT THE SAME TIME, those same engineers knew bees couldn’t fly.

    That people say they think climate models jury-rigged with hindsight because clouds are not 100% well modelled is happening, but not because of rational thinking.

  28. 128
    Rod B says:

    Mark (113), et al, except that the magnitudes were for the most part determined from the observations, not the other way around. As we went round and round before, I think the incremental (far from me to use “differential” ;-) )magnitude determination is far less than “proven.” That, of course, is added to the fact that proof is logically up to the accuser or the declarer, not the questioner — as has also been kicked around to death.

  29. 129
    Rod B says:

    Ray (123) re thingsbreak’s reference. Do you have some info that ACS publishes junk or the author has no credentials or credibility? The abstract offered some interesting thoughts for anyone still with open eyes — even though at first read some ideas sound like a bit of a stretch. How do you (or anyone else) KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt the residence time of CO2 with various isotopes of carbon? What happened to the canard that nothing and nobody counts unless they publish something in peer-reviewed journals? Is that now extended to include publishing stuff you don’t believe?

  30. 130
    dhogaza says:

    Do you have some info that ACS publishes junk or the author has no credentials or credibility?

    You tell us if the author has credentials relevant to climate science:

    “Essenhigh is a professor of mechanical engineering whose main focus is in the area of combustion.”

    The journal in question is “Energy and Fuels”.

    Along with being my primary source of information on climate, I will also consult it to determine whether or not I need to take prophylactic antimalarial medication before going to Costa Rica this coming fall.

  31. 131
  32. 132
    dhogaza says:

    This commentary on the 2001 piece may provide entertainment, as well.

    RodB, I’m disappointed that you haven’t applied your unbiased skepticism to this guy’s work.

  33. 133

    #129 Rod B

    Peer review is important, but not essential… remember?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/peer-review-a-necessary-but-not-sufficient-condition/

    Whether or not a paper survives peer response is more important. We all know junk can get published. Also, as we now know, some will publish a rehash of what is already known just to be able to say they have recently been published, i.e. Bob Carter. That does not increase his relevance though.

    Yes, a paper can have interesting material in it and still, in consideration of the whole, fail to be relevant.

  34. 134
    t_p_hamilton says:

    Rod B asks :”Ray (123) re thingsbreak’s reference. Do you have some info that ACS publishes junk or the author has no credentials or credibility?”

    There is now!

  35. 135
  36. 136
    BillBodell says:

    Mark,

    Well, I screwed up the blockquote, so the first part was a little tough to interpret. My bad.

    My point is that a discussion that goes like this (and I’ll use negative labels for both sides to be even-handed):

    Denier: “The expected warming from CO2 will not be significant”

    Alarmist: “You idiot, the effect of CO2 on warming is settled science”

    Is a less than fruitful way to advance the discussion.

    How about:

    Denier: “I understand that CO2 leads to warming. But I believe that feedbacks are overstated and the result will not be Catastropic AGW, but something that we can handle via adaptation”

    Alarmist: “I believe you are wrong. The feedbacks are known to be substantial because of blah and blah and if nothing is done there will be a catastrophe”.

    Now that would be a debate I’d be interested in following.

  37. 137
    savegaia says:

    Where, on the other hand, is a single verifiable instance of a climate denier being silenced by the authorities? They have yet to produce one. But it suits them to cry wolf. They love to imagine that they are important enough to censor. The claim chimes with their paranoid invocation of a great conspiracy – involving most of the world’s scientists, most of the world’s governments, most of the world’s media and a few hundred million others – to suppress the truth about global warming.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/jul/30/climate-change-deniers-monbiot

  38. 138
    Patrick 027 says:

    [work pointed out in 119] – that’s a piece of Holly-l digestive asteway product! (it had to be said)

  39. 139
    Craig Allen says:

    I’ve just been looking at the Atlas of the Global Water Cycle published by Wee Ho Lim Michael L. Roderick of the Australian national University. It is a compendium of mapped and plotted rainfall and evaporation outputs from the various IPCC climate models. It has both global and Australia only versions of each map and plot.

    The really notably thing (as evident in the plots and discussed in the summary) is that few of the model runs accurately predict Australian rainfall. Many are wildly off, some with huge variations between different runs of the same model. And some runs predict an increase in rainfall whereas others predict a decrease. (Although the summary in the end does not separate northern Australia where rainfall is generally expected to increase from southern Australia where it is expected to decrease.)

    I would be great if RealClimate could provide a run-down of where we are at with the models including some estimates of how far off we are from having models that produce meaningful regional forecasts.

  40. 140
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Rod B., Essenhigh’s article is pure unadulterated bull pucky from word one. What he’s proposing doesn’t even make sense. Not only should it never have been published, it could be used as fodder for a judgment of noncompis mentis. Think about it Rod. Nearly half the CO2 we produce is still going into the oceans–we are producing more than enough CO2 to account for the rise in CO2 levels. What is more, we know by isotopic composition that the carbon going into the atmosphere is from a fossil source. This Idjit proposes no credible “natural” sources. For God’s sake man, if you are going to claim to be a skeptic, could you at least try to not look so damned gullible!

  41. 141
    Rod B says:

    dhogaza (130), are you then stating that ACS publishes junk? Do you think knowingly? Wouldn’t you think a PhD specializing in energy conversion knows something about CO2 processing?

    If you read my note (better if eyes open…) you might notice my skeptical comment. I think he has the credentials to discuss CO2 lifetimes and shouldn’t be discarded Pavlov style. While I didn’t and can’t explore it further to verify, his foray into climatology in this paper struck me as dubious.

    To be clean “thingsbreak’s reference” didn’t imply thingsbreak supported it.

  42. 142
    Rod B says:

    John P. Reisman (133), the moderators of RC are pretty objective in their thoughts on peer review. Other posters here though are not, and peer review published history is a requirement for even opening one’s mouth and is often the concluding debate point.

  43. 143
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Robert Bateman 5 August 2009 at 2:10 PM

    [pointless anecdotes redacted]

    “You have to look out for #1, nobody is going to do it for you.
    After Katrina, people should know better.
    If you don’t know the history of climate change in your own area going back 150 years, you had better start looking. Hotly debated science issues and political winds won’t save you.
    It’s every man for himself.”

    Because it’s so incoherently scrawled I’m not 100% sure, but I think in this I’m hearing a classic Libertarian message of romantic buckskin-clad survival of the fittest.

    The reality is that even the toughest Davy Crockett is not going to thrive when his enemies act from a distance, invisibly to him, individually unidentifiable and unaccountable to him, immune to any form of defense or retribution by him. He and perhaps more importantly his children and grandchildren will be the more miserable for trying to live governed only by personal virtue in a sentimentally appealing fantasy world not accessible to real persons.

  44. 144
    Robert Bateman says:

    I have heard that Real Climate bans or ignores anyone but pro-AGW scientists. Obviously, that is not true.
    Thank you for putting up with me.

  45. 145
    Ron says:

    Mark (127), you say, “Without a good model of how turbulence forms, all aerodynamics engineering would likewise have a feeling of “hindsighted jury-rigging” if that statement of yours held in a rational sense.
    Aero engineers were designing fixed and rotary winged aircraft that people had NO PROBLEMS with putting their LIVES in their care WHILE AT THE SAME TIME, those same engineers knew bees couldn’t fly.

    What’s your point here?

    You’re obviously schooled enough to know the relationship between an analogy and proof in an argument, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what you’re trying to do with this one, or why you’d even consider it a reasonable analogy in the first place?

    And please explain what you mean by a “rational sense”?

    Ron

  46. 146
    dhogaza says:

    dhogaza (130), are you then stating that ACS publishes junk?

    Since they published one piece of junk, the answer’s obvious: yes.

    Do you think knowingly?

    Given that the Journal in both cases have nothing to do with climate science, in some sense, you could say “no”. What this means, though, is that they’re too effing stupid to differentiate gold from junk in this field, and hopefully will cease and desist.

    So here we have what is essentially an engine-building engineer publishing in an engine-related journal disproving climate science wrong, and RodB does a muff-dive in appreciation.

    If a climate science journal published a paper by Mann showing that IC engines don’t work, would RodB react with the same earth-bowing, boot-licking respect?

    nah..

    Wouldn’t you think a PhD specializing in energy conversion knows something about CO2 processing?

    No. AGW theory isn’t based on CO2 combusting.

    If you read my note (better if eyes open…) you might notice my skeptical comment.

    Nothing skeptical in that comment.

    I think he has the credentials to discuss CO2 lifetimes and shouldn’t be discarded Pavlov style.

    Then why doesn’t he even begin to discuss the carbon cycle? The atmosphere isn’t an IC cylinder igniting fossil fuel and emitting CO2, it interacts with the biosphere, earth and sea.

  47. 147
    dhogaza says:

    I will add … this exchange is more proof that RodB is a denialist, not a skeptic. He really thinks this mech engineer really has an excellent chance at overturning all of climate science.

    Hopefully he’s right, so this mech engineer can continue to design ever more powerful IC engines, which is, after all, the fruit of his labor.

  48. 148
    dhogaza says:

    And, RodB,if this guy is right, oceans are now (and have been for decades) a net source, rather than net sink, for CO2.

    Can you point me to where this crank references observational data to show that this is true? Or where he conclusively shows that observations that oceans are currently a net sink are wrong?

    This stuff he impresses you with falls apart unless there’s observational evidence that strongly contradicts the observational evidence that the oceans are net sinks of CO2, now.

    And he cites nothing of the sort.

    Where’s your skepticism, RodB?

  49. 149
    Mark says:

    My take is:

    Denialist: “The expected warming from CO2 will not be significant”

    Alarmist: “Prove it”

  50. 150
    Mark says:

    Of course, you’d prefer:

    1, Denialist: “CO2 warming is not significant”
    2, Alarmist: “Prove it”
    3, Denialist: “No, I don’t have to, since you are the one making claims”

    See #1