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Something Is X in the State of Denmark

Filed under: — rasmus @ 29 November 2009

We received a letter with the title ‘Climate Change: The Role of Flawed Science‘ which may be of interest to the wider readership. The author, Peter Laut, is Professor (emeritus) of physics at The Technical University of Denmark and former scientific advisor on climate change for The Danish Energy Agency. He has long been a critic of the hypothesis that solar activity dominates the global warming trend, and has been involved in a series of heated public debates in Denmark. Even though most of his arguments concern scientific issues, such as data handling, and arithmetic errors, he also has much to say about the way that the debate about climate change has been conducted. It’s worth noting that he sent us this letter before the “CRU email” controversy broke out, so his criticism of the IPCC for being too even handed, is ironic and timely.

Update – the link in the letter is now fixed. -rasmus

353 Responses to “Something Is X in the State of Denmark”

  1. 151
    Richard Steckis says:

    “Response: Not true. They were the numbers that were derived from the ERBE experiment in the 1980s, and have been confirmed very closely by the CERES measurements. Much better than ‘guesstimates’! – gavin]”

    I stand corrected on the derivation of the figures. But my comment on the complexity of cloud dynamics stands.

  2. 152
    mauri pelto says:

    On the lighter side but informative side NASA just released a new music video that is quite appropriate to this discussion. sun song

  3. 153
  4. 154
    Richard Steckis says:

    “Response: Yes, yes… but how many millions of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons were displaced when that happened? How many cities were deluged? How many agricultural societies floundered? … None. – gavin”

    how many human societies were displaced during the last glacial (bearing in mind that we are still in an ice age)? My parents are from Lithuania which was lying under 4km of ice during the last glacial as was Scotland and most of the rest of northern Europe. Believe it or not Gavin there were human societies (albeit hunter gatherer) that were displaced by the glacial.

    Climate change whether natural or man-made has a habit of displacing some societies.

  5. 155
    Majorajam says:

    Gavin’s response in post 48 is both pitch perfect and as yet not on offer in a mainline post. I think that’s a mistake. Clearly, this whole CRU email hack episode is disturbing on a multitude of levels, and the desire not to dignify the accusations or worse- the integrity starved charlatans and abuse merchants championing them- with a direct point by point response has got to be strong. You all didn’t ask to be at ground zero of what has become such a politically and ideologically divisive issue, nor to find yourself up against the business end of moneyed interests’ dirty tricks, of course. But it’s where you are, and your choices should reflect that reality.

    The bottom line is that people are looking to RC for the definitive explanation of all of that out of context innuendo being paraded across the web and public sphere, and the two posts on the subject to now give the matter short shrift, even as the inline comments are rich with terrific information and rebuttal. If you could do a post featuring something like 48, followed by a detailed point by point explanation of each oft cited blurb of text (and code, e.g. 98)- not just what the correct interpretation was, but ‘significance to work’ context- that would be the type of definitive response that would start to draw a line under this whole episode, insofar as such things ever happen…

    Speaking of more context, a nice close for such a post would be a simple high-level explanation of why nothing that’s been discussed could possibly matter to the science of human influence on the climate under any interpretation, no matter how ungenerous- something akin e.g. Barton’s posts in 105 & 106- and that anyone who intimates otherwise is lying (blunt language as per Dr. Laut’s advice). My 2¢, for what it’s worth.

  6. 156

    I am still looking for those 20,679 Physicians who say that smoking Lucky Strikes is less irritating. And that more doctors smoke Camels.

    The sin is willfully promoting disinformation for profit or gain in a way that endangers others in the world. Our legal system cannot seem to stop this kind of language; that we fail to curtail this sort of speech is another.

    This is not flat earth, or plate techtonics, or evolution deniers – this denialism directly harms the future for all. If I was in an airplane and heard speech saying that the air pressure inside is the same as out and why don’t we just open a window… such speech would be very worrysome. But perhaps not illegal.

    This AGW denialism speech is designed to prevent any limitation to the use of carbon energy. “We don’t know for sure that nicotine causes global warming”

    If we regard the limits to tobacco advertising speech as instructive, then all carbon fuel advertising should be banned immediately – and warnings should accompany all sales of carbon fuels.

    How much more insanity are we willing to tolerate?

    I think I got this link from RealClimate It really is illuminating.

  7. 157
    Ike Solem says:

    Science is a process of fact-based consensus, not legislative enforcement – and how would “misinformation act” apply to the DOE and energy research?

    For example, what about coal carbon capture and sequestration vs. atmospheric carbon capture and sequestration? I often wonder if the authors of realclimate really understand the carbon cycle – if they did, I think they’d work more to emphasize the large difference between these two approaches.

    Carbon, after all, is (like mercury) and element. It cannot be broken down here on Earth, and once you inject it from stable geological reservoirs into the atmosphere, it just keeps cycling around, as mercury does. The only removal process is the slow, slow one of burial in sedimentary accumulation zones – and that is largely negligible on any human timescale.

    Take for example the ongoing effort to boost clean coal:

    “The research by scientists at Columbia University means that millions of tons of CO2 could be prevented from entering the atmosphere and instead used to turn coal, biomass and municipal waste into cleaner fuel.”

    This ignores the central difference between biomass and coal – biomass carbon was recently in the atmosphere, while coal carbon was previously in deep in the ground, where it would have stayed for millions of years.

    Such deep scientific misunderstanding might seem strange in a professional news organization like CNN – but that’s what happens when you fire your entire science and technology news team for reporting accurately on climate and global warming.

    What CNN is really doing is following along with the coal-to-gasoline program that is so heavily supported in the U.S., by the DOE, and even by Senator Barak Obama – although he now doesn’t talk about it. Southern Illinois is deeply invested in coal-to-gasoline schemes, and the FutureGen plant really appears to be a disguised coal-to-gasoline plant (FutureGen is a coal gasification demonstration project, supposedly aimed at demonstrating carbon capture and sequestration – but after the demonstration, it is to be sold off in parts to private industry, and those parts are identical to those in coal-to-gasoline plants.)

    So, if you want to talk about fraud in science, you want to stop looking at CRU emails and start looking at clean coal schemes. As far as CNN, well this is just pure propaganda:

    “This remarkable double hit is based on a well-established process called “gasification” that is already used to clean “dirty” fuels by heating them with steam and turning them into a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, known as syngas. In turn, that is then burned in power stations or used to create transport fuels.

    But until now this process has demanded very large amounts of energy and water, and produced substantial CO2 emissions. However, the Columbia researchers have shown that by actually adding CO2 into the mix and replacing some of the steam, the reaction becomes dramatically more efficient and much cleaner.

    How does it become cleaner? You are still dumping all that CO2 into the atmosphere, and the sulfur and arsenic and mercury doesn’t vanish – it gets spread round in the air and water and soil, and from there makes it into the food chain, and hence to your plate. Nothing has been cleaned – except the IMAGE. All we have here is an example of prototype-free hype based on some isolated lab result – yet CNN decides to cheer it? As noted…

    What is really needed to solve the problem is a politically independent DOE restructured along the lines of the NIH or NSF. Otherwise, you’ll just continue to see more fraudulent DOE claims on coal and fossil fuels – they have huge departments dedicated to that PR line. What’s remarkable here is that so many scientists who do know better are willing to go along with the nonsense – because it means their grants are funded. Oh, they know it’s nonsense – but with the DOE dumping billions into it, anyone who wants to keep their scientific career intact knows better than to come right out and say it’s nonsense.

    Some would say that this represents a complete failure of core academic and media institutions in the United States and Britain – and I would agree with them. I think the phrase that fits is “Lysenkoism” – total obedience to the corporate fossil fuel agenda will be rewarded with tenure, perks and personal advancement. Science? The role of science is to support the state, I mean the corporate, interest – not to cause problems for big coal-to-gasoline and tar sand plans.

    Pathetic, isn’t it?

  8. 158
    Sepilok says:

    Lawrence Coleman #114
    There are estimates of how much CO2 was released during the 97/98 fires – check out Susan Page’s work (University of Leicester).

    As to your question:
    Question..why does the IPCC not incorporate this into their computer modelling? I’ve known about this for years! You always hear about fossil fuel combustion/ forest clearing and burning etc but barely a mention about the large global effects of uncontrolled peat march combustion. Could this be a major ‘x’ factor the IPCC needs to get their c modelling on track? Tackling every conceivable CO2 source is vital if we are to going to eventually bring a degree of decelleratoin to the world’s CO2 graph.

    I assume Peatswamp emission are factored into emission estimates for forest clearing/burning. I’m not a climate modeller, but I’m not aware that any X factor is required to get the C modelling on track.

    As to doing something about – we are.
    The problem is that a) there isn’t a lot of money floating around in tropical countries for conservation/restoration work or research (I’m currently between paided post-docs and working as a volunteer in this area), b) we are competing with other more profitable land-uses which drives the deforestation/burning c) it takes time.

  9. 159
    David B. Benson says:

    TheGoodLocust (141) — That has been answered many times here on RealCLimate and might even be in a FAQ somewhere. I’ll just give one piece of evidence; stratospheric cooling. Predicted and observed.

  10. 160
    Theo Hopkins says:

    Exactly _who_ is this George Ortega bloke?

  11. 161
    Theo Hopkins says:


    Ortega is a troll.

  12. 162
    Geoff Wexler says:

    It is clear that George Ortega’s proposal has no support here. In the highly unlikely event that a majority of MP’s or Congress-people might implement it, then it would create a fashion for lawyers and judges to arbitrate over scientific issues.

    I should like to try out another idea which is still half baked but might perhaps be improved. In other areas of science, Jan Hendrik Schön’s work on semiconductors and Hwang Woo-suk’s on embryonic stem cells were officially condemned as fraud and sanctions were imposed. These decisons were not described as an unjustified curtailment of free speech or bullying by a scientific elite. It was not seen as a matter of opinion but of intentional deception. So would it be possible to set up a scientific court to deal with cases of deliberate deception in climatology? The judges would have to be scientists and well informed in the subject. The main sanctions would consist of loss of reputation.

    This suggestion might be criticised because it could lead to more politically motivated hockey-stick-type enquiries or alternatively to persecution of scientific rebels. These risks cannot be avoided altogether, but could perhaps be minimised. The existing reviewing/refereeing system is designed to filter out mistakes and bad science. In contrast, this court would concentrate on exposing and publicising cases of deliberate deception.

    Nigel Lawson has been saying that the reputation of British science is in danger of being tarnished by the Email leaks. Anyone reading these threads will see no evidence for this. But the premise is partly right for a different reason. World science is in danger of having its reputation damaged because it has not got the institutions to defend itself aggressively enough. It is not sufficient for the existing institutions to issue warnings about human caused global warming. They also need to counter the misinformation campaign against science and the scientists.

  13. 163
    Doug Bostrom says:

    The lack of support for George Ortega’s proposal in no way precludes the opportunity for an enraged public with a belatedly crystal clear retrospective to go after PR folks pursuing the current campaign of carefully crafted confusion, and especially those paymasters funding that PR effort, who cannot see past current quarterly results let alone look down the road at the future misery and chaos they are sowing.

    The folks at the end of the “climate skepticism” dollar trail should =pray= that, despite all evidence to the contrary, the bought-and-paid-for fictitious reality they are promoting somehow turns out to be factual. We’re -still- prosecuting and jailing 90+ year-old concentration camp guards; past a certain threshold of monstrously pyschopathic behavior the public memory and will for vengeance becomes very competent indeed.

    Presumably carbon executives have their future legal strategy figured out. Will it be good enough?

  14. 164
    Wally Woolfenden says:

    Back to cosmic rays and the sun Any comments out there about M. Ram, M.R. Stolz, and B.A. Tinsley, “The Terrestrial Cosmic Ray Flux: Its Importance for Climate”. EOS Vol. 90, No. 44, 3 Nov. 2009? I don’t have the background to assess it adequately.

  15. 165
    Michael P. Copeland says:

    From the current debate, one gets the impression that climate science researchers have switched roles and become environmental activist. Accordingly, many people suspect that they have lost their objectivity and are now akin to intelligent design “scientist” who search only for evidence that confirms their theories, while ignoring (and supressing) any data that might dispute it.

  16. 166
    George Ortega says:

    Ray #118,

    I understand your concerns, but consider the implications of what you are saying. It’s not just a matter of people being smarter, people would need to be far better educated in climatology in order to properly assess who is right and who is wrong in the debate; a huge and insurmountable problem. That is why media corporations need to be restricted in what they publish to climate change conclusions derived from the peer-review process.

    Society has a long, long tradition of relying on experts in areas where the public cannot be relied on for informed and intelligent decisions. That is why in the U.S. we leave decisions regarding the safety of food ingredients and chemicals to the FDA. We don’t allow corporations or private citizens to weigh in on matters as important as food safety.

    Combine together all of the various other matters for we limit free speech to select professionals and they would not equal the importance of the matter of climate change and the threat global warming poses to civilization. That is why we need to apply similarly strong free speech limits on the climate change debate.

  17. 167
    George Ortega says:

    Rod #125,

    You are making a straw man argument. I have never come near wishing to “throw all skeptics in prison.” When you resort to arguing against statements never made, you merely weaken your case.

    Please do not minimize the long standing precedent of many, many laws prohibiting many, many forms of speech, because such speech was, through a democratic process, deemed either hurtful or dangerous. By doing so, you advocate against the right of society to protect itself from harm, and against the Constitution that gives us the right to enact such protections. You seem to advocate anarchy over law.

  18. 168
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    Boy! George Ortega took a pinata to a hornet’s nest on that issue didn’t he. Ok! a hefty degree of compromise is needed..I can’t see too much at fault by making illegal the blatant lies told and spread through vested interest groups if the larger community is going to benefit. I would always support the pricipals of democracy if things were stable and predicatable but we now live in unprecedented climatic times and the ‘pre-industrial’ glacial pace (pardon the pun) of the democratic system might not be sufficient to inact urget CC mitigation measures on a global scale. You’re not a heritic for carefully considering this point..just a concerned global citizen!

  19. 169
    Hank Roberts says:

    George, has this _anything_ to do with Denmark?
    Don’t you have a blog of your own for this hobbyhorse?

  20. 170

    George, that’s so quaint and so colloquial – free speech anarchy in America.

    You want anarchy? Consider this. An entire terrestrial planet subject to nearly unrestricted open atmosphere industrial strength chemical processes, the effluent poured into our waters, whole primordial forests felled and burned and entire mountaintops moved and reservoirs exhausted to power it.

    And you’re worried about someone yelling ‘fire’ on a crowded planetary surface. Anarchy is what we have. We’d like to use our voices and our minds to reverse that trend, and restore science and rationality to its rightful place. You’ll just have to excuse us if we exercise our uniquely American right to free speech to replace a REAL anarchy with a little verbal anarchy.

  21. 171
    George Ortega says:

    Hank #126,

    I don’t recall where I made such a statement, but what about “praying for the power of censorship” do you find so funny? Just curious.

    Thanks for the head’s up on “innumerate.” You presumably knew that I meant “enumerate.”

    Inhofian refers to the making of outrageous claims that, for ideological reasons, opt for the non-peer reviewed conclusions of a relatively minute number of scientists over a strong and discipline-wide peer-reviewed consensus. My proposal for climate change misinformation legislation is actually and strongly anti-Inhofian.

    Rod #127,

    I think you are gravely mistaken by referring to the issues relevant to the climate change debate as “political ideas.” They are clearly scientific ideas, which is why they should be left to the expertise of scientists and the peer-review process.

    Rod #128,

    Yes, attempting to pass a climate change misinformation act would very likely evoke such massive opposition from both sides of the political spectrum that it would place the issue of global warming so squarely at the center of media coverage and public debate that the public would finally be focused enough for a long enough time to understand the gravity of the global warming threat. And if that were the effect of simply threatening such legislation, you can imagine how much better the public would understand this threat if they were legally protected from the non-science that now has them so thoroughly confused.

  22. 172
    Jesse says:

    @THeGoodLocust (#141)

    Some ways AGW would be falsified:

    — If a set of ice cores showed no correlation between CO2 content of the air and temperature

    — If the artic ice were expanding in extent over the last several decades

    — If the glaciers in the Alps, Kilimanjaro, and the Andes were increasing in mass and extent

    — If global temperatures had shown a marked and continued decrease over the past, oh, 20 years or so.

    Those are just a few.

    It isn’t just about one equation or one phenomenon. Read the FAQ here. But understand that the fact that CO2 raises temperature is well-understood and beyond any doubt. Mars, for instance, should be a lot colder than it is but it has a thin blanket of CO2.

  23. 173
    Mike of Oz says:

    re #151

    Actually, those with the closest tactics to the ID crowd in the climate change debate seem, to me at least, to be quite a number of the sceptics. When asked “well if you disagree that’s fine, but what is your alternate theory to explain these observations?”, they often just say “muvvanaturediddit”. No need to explain how, why, or by what mechanisms. Of course, I assume Mother Nature also planted the evidence which appears to suggest anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions could be a contributing factor. Naughty old girl! ;)

  24. 174
    Ken W says:

    Re: 150
    “Accordingly, many people suspect that they have lost their objectivity and are now akin to intelligent design “scientist” who search only for evidence that confirms their theories, while ignoring (and supressing) any data that might dispute it.”

    You have your roles mixed up there. The AGW deniers are akin to the Intelligent Design “scientists”. Remember, it’s mainstream science that accepts both evolution and AGW. It’s only the ideologue driven (religious or political) minority that keeps looking for any method (honest or not) to make mainstream science look bad.

    The ID community (like the anti-AGW group) does no real science, but spends all their time taking potshots from the side-lines.

  25. 175
    Doug Bostrom says:

    BTW, outrage such as is implied by Ortega’s proposal is fairly easy to understand if one is presented with a litany of facts and history on the professionally operated and and coldly calculated efforts to delude the public on anthropogenic climate change, as encompassed by Hoggan and Littlemore’s “Climate Cover Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming”.

    There’s a review of Hoggan and Littlemore here on RC:

    The book describes in detail how the envelope of what is commonly understood to be tolerable corporate behavior has been exploded by the operatives running the commercially motivated deception campaign swirling around climate science.

    Corporations are explicitly motivated by and fashioned around objectives having only coincidental connections to public welfare. Numerical results describing the success or failure of a corporation have nothing directly to do with what is good or healthy. It is no surprise that corporate actions frequently resemble the behavior of psychopaths, on a grand scale.

    Hoggan and Littlemore’s book describes corporate misbehavior run amok on a scale almost unparalleled in history, except perhaps by certain players in the armaments industry.

  26. 176
    Steve Fish says:

    George Ortega:

    You are barking up the wrong tree. You are not getting any traction with your idea. Your persistence with repeated long tracts saying the same thing over and over again in response to an accumulation of negative replies is telling. Your actions of presenting this topic, in this way, in a thread on a science topic, are the tactics of a common troll attempting to sidetrack a blog.

    Don’t feed the Trolls.

    There have been several requests for information from the knowledgeable regarding Svensmark’s response to Laut and on a Ram, paper. I am also interested in these on-topic questions.

    Also Lie Detectors are pseudoscience. Steve

  27. 177
    Ken W says:

    Re: 141

    “Since science is supposed to be falsifiable then what conditions would be necessary to falsify anthropogenic global warming?”

    I can think of a few possibilities that would certainly weaken it:

    1) A 30 year trend where global temperatures are decreasing and CO2 levels increasing or vice-versa

    2) A historic period where CO2 levels were significantly higher and temperatures were significantly lower, while all other contributing factors were close to current conditions (i.e. you can’t compare apples and oranges).

    3) A chemical analysis of the atmospheric CO2 that demonstrated the source wasn’t from human activities.

    4) A decrease in atmospheric CO2, while human emission levels remain constant.

    5) A significant increase in measured solar energy received by our planet.

    “If everything can be blamed on global warming, even contradictory things, then how is this hypothesis falsifiable?”

    You seem to confuse things said in the popular press or asserted by denier bloggers with what actual climate scientists say. Not everything is blamed on global warming, but anomalous weather situations (both hot and cold, wet and dry) fit perfectly with the theory of AGW and are expected to increase in frequency and/or magnitude. There’s nothing contradictory about that.

    “And if it isn’t falsifiable then it surely isn’t science.”

    Ah, but it is.

  28. 178
    George Ortega says:

    SecularAnimist #136,

    You assert that the legislation I am proposing has no possibility of being enacted into law, but provide absolutely no supporting argument or evidence for the assertion.

    Here’s why I am very, very confident that climate change misinformation legislation will be enacted into law within the next few years.

    To avoid catastrophic and irreversible global warming, in 2007 the IPCC recommended an 80 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. 80 percent of 1990 levels translates to over 90 percent of 2010 levels, and the global population in 1990 was 5.2 billion while the estimate for global population in 2050 is 9.2 billion.

    The IPCC’s 2007 recommendation was based on the understanding that 450 parts per million of atmospheric CO2 concentration was the catastrophic threshold limit, however in late 2008 James Hansen and others published a more robust non-model generated analysis concluding that our atmospheric CO2 concentration threshold is actually 350 parts per million, or less. That change in our understanding means that rather than reducing yearly CO2 by over 90 percent of our current 2010 level by 2050, we are now faced with the daunting challenge of, by 2050, reducing CO2 THEORETICALLY by as much as 150 percent or more of the current 2010 level (which I imagine would involve major sequestration), or PRACTICALLY by as much as – what? – 90 percent of 1980 levels? (perhaps one of the scientists here could do the math.)

    In addition, we continuously run the risk of abrupt global warming that could occur at any time, and the longer we delay action on global warming the greater that risk becomes.

    We simply do not have the years or decades that it might take via the free public debate route to convince the public and politicians to take those actions in a timely manner. That’s the simple reality we face. I refuse to believe we will opt for protecting the right of a few misinformed, ignorant, and/or irresponsible corporations to spout their nonsense over the potential entire collapse of human civilization over the next several centuries. Self-preservation will always trump both pseudo and genuine free speech rights, and that is why a climate change misinformation act will be passed within the next few years.

  29. 179
    Anand Rajan KD says:

    This is a really funny thread. ‘Ortega’ is an obvious Internet troll. A fact missed by so many bright people. Maybe it was the cosy confines of familiar company…

  30. 180
    George Ortega says:

    Russell #138,

    Orwellian refers to totalitarianism. Limiting media empires like Fox News to reporting peer-reviewed findings on climate change by no stretch of the imagination amounts to totalitarianism. You’re relying on the “slippery slope” scare tactic, however, democracies have proven themselves quite capable over the last two hundred years of protecting their citizens from various dangers without resorting to the totalitarianism you believe climate change misinformation legislation amounts, or will inevitably lead, to.

    Adam #144,

    Just imagine what would happen if we allowed drug companies to, at will, challenge any and every decision of the FDA, under the guise of free speech rights. Imagine what would happen if we allowed anyone at all to practice medicine or law without a license. Imagine what would happen if we allowed anyone at all to freely publish our national security classified information. Imagine what would happen if we allowed product manufacturers to make any claims they wished, regardless of how truthful they were. What I am getting at is various curbs on free speech are, and have been, part of the American legal system for over two hundred years. Notwithstanding, the free speech you refer to seems to be alive and well enough.

    If it were OUR world we were destroying by opting for unlimited free speech over climate catastrophe, perhaps your “Live free or fry” ideology might be more convincing. But what you are saying is that you want corporations to have the right to say whatever they want regardless of how it affects people who are not even born yet. Faced with the world those people will encounter if we fail to act quickly, strongly and boldly enough on global warming, I doubt that even a single one of those unborn souls would agree with, or even understand, your preference for a free speech that only has meaning to the extent that one is alive to enjoy it.

  31. 181
    Brian Dodge says:

    “Is it irrational to postulate that the sun has an influence on earth’s climate?”
    What I find irrational is for Svensmark to claim that :
    “The long-term change in the average flux is as large as the temporary variation within one solar cycle.” [1]
    “The 2% change in low cloud during a solar cycle, as seen in figure 3, will vary the input of heat to the Earth’s surface by an average of about 1.2 W/ m^2, which is not trivial.” [1]
    “The speed and efficiency with which the electrons do their work of stitching molecular clusters together took us by surprise.”[1]
    “Cloud water content as gauged by the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) reaches a minimum ~7 days after the Forbush minimum
    in cosmic rays…”[2]
    “Here is prima facie evidence for suspecting that much of the warming of the world during the 20th century was due to a reduction in cosmic rays and in low-cloud cover cover.”[1]

    but he hasn’t noticed that the temperature and the solar trend are going in opposite directions – see
    The temperatures are (noisily, lots of internal process variation) going up, despite the sun getting dimmer and the postulated GCR/cloud coupling (Svensmark effect?) amplifying that cooling effect. My conclusion is, if Svensmark is right, the temperatures should be going down, but the CO2 is driving temperature up despite that, and that it’s worse than we think. Maybe we’ll get lucky and have a “maunder minimum” save our butts from the worst consequences of dumping a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere. Or the sunspots & TSI will recover, and we’ll find ourselves is really deep trouble.

    Another thing that puzzles me is why the GCR/cloud interaction happens on short enough time scales to be observed after Forbush events, and the long term changes which supposedly account for global warming are the same size as the cyclic variation, but there isn’t any cyclic variation in temperature at the same frequency as the sunspot/solar cycle.

    [1] SVENSMARK: COSMOCLIMATOLOGY A&G February 2007 Vol. 48

    [2] Svensmark et al, Cosmic ray decreases affect atmospheric aerosols and clouds, GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, draft

  32. 182
    George Ortega says:

    CM #135,

    I’m not sure I understand your point. In order to address the mass public confusion about global warming we need SOME authority on climate change. The peer-review process is as reasonable a criterion as we have for distinguishing real science from pseudo science. If Svensmark’s work were to make it through that peer review process, it could be reported on by media corporations. If not, it could not. Perhaps the legislation is not as perfect as it could be, (and that is where scientists would come in to refine it as deemed necessary), but it would be a million times better than the anarchy that is causing so much climate change confusion among the public today, and preventing us from getting on with the actual task of fighting global warming.

  33. 183
    jyyh says:

    For me, to falsify anthropogenic climate change would take 3 things:
    1)Show that the measurements of the activity of the sun are wrong, i.e. show that all the observations of the sun’s radiation since 1950 are systemically wrong.
    2)Show that the developments in 13C/12C -ratios in oceans and atmosphere can be explained some other way, i.e. prove a mechanism that produces excess of 12C present and that this mechanism hasn’t been active before 1950s, alternatively prove there has been a change in the way plants sequester 12C/13C after 1950s.
    3)Show that subatomic particles from cosmic rays and their specified effects can be observed on macroscopic level after 14 days (the average time it takes to precipitate) (Svensmark proved true), additionally explain how this is linked to the ‘iris effect’ proposed.
    For me, it’s much easier to doubt the exact amounts of warming the additional CO2 causes, since there are some ecological responses that may have something to say with that f.e. enhanced carbon sequestration on the bottom of the ocean (fe. by the iron-fertilization from some previously unexplained geologic process (MnFe-nodules released?)) or the general enhancement of the plant growth in some trheshold level of CO2 (plant genomes aren’t fully explained), pretty slim hopes, I admit. These, however have not happened (as we understand it) during the time humans have traversed the earth, so ‘m afraid that unless back in 350ppm in (idontknowinwhattime, shortly), the human race will see a planet with conditions warmer that He has never before seen (slipping to religious talk, sorry). No doubt the conditions during the ice age (especially near the ice sheets) were harder but then there was an abundance of animal life to feed a small population. This problem of AGW, I think, is linked to the question “what it is to be a human?” and accordingly, pondering that, one may find things to like and things to not-to-like of oneself.

  34. 184
    Tim Jones says:

    There’s something dusty in the state of Texas.

    There is a smidgeon of hope despite the fulminating denialists out there howling “look at me, I’m an idiot.” Huge compilations of news reports on current findings as well as deep pockets resistance to legislation are regularly found in Environmental Health News.

    We’re seeing the American Dream turning into the American Nightmare, with the rest of the world trying to catch up to the conspicuous consumerism we’re ruining the world with. Thanks in part to RC and folks willing to submit thoughtful and informative responses we’re seeing light shed on some of the grim realities.

    If so-called skeptics think this is just more enviro-alarmism I suggest they come out to central Texas where a dry spell has turned into a couple of years of exceptional drought, to many worse than the 1950’s drought of record and tell people who work the land we have global cooling.

    Sure, right now the coming El Niño rains have busted the drought for awhile. But then what? The 1998 El Niño was followed by a pronounced worldwide temperature spike. I suspect next year the ’09/10 El Niño will put an unmerciful end to talk of global cooling. But I think I’d rather have the baloney than the dead Cedar Elms and old Texas Oaks all over the place. In summer the last few years we’ve had to fill our rainwater harvesting cisterns with well water. Now we wonder about the river running dry and the well silting up.

    “El Niño-driven sea surface temperatures are soaring. Forecast: Hot and then even hotter.”

    I could go on… like with the ragweed stems that look like the trunks of small trees with their responding to the increased CO2 in the river bottoms. The butterflies I used to photograph are mostly disappeared this year. I saw not one of the otherwise ubiquitous red wasp nests on the place. Insect life was largely wiped out this year. The armadillo that used to live under the porch probably staved to death.

    According to the climate models this is the way of it. And it’s going to get worse. I so hope the models are wrong myself. I fear they aren’t. I’m leaving the rest of my views on AGW denialists to your imagination.

  35. 185
    David Wright says:

    Does GISS use any data, raw or edited, from CRU?

    [Response: No. GISTEMP uses the GHCN data directly. – gavin]

  36. 186
    Brian Dodge says:

    M. Ram, M.R. Stolz, and B.A. Tinsley, “The Terrestrial Cosmic Ray Flux: Its Importance for Climate” appears to be only available to insiders to the global warming conspiracy – I get

    “AGU’s Online Services Log-in

    This is your log-in for any password-protected part of the AGU Web site.”

    when I try to access it. We need to get a few hundred activists to file FOIA requests, or maybe a hacker can get a copy to McIntyre to audit it.

    The abstract sorta indicates that the electrical conductivity increase caused by CRF ion production, rather than the ions per se, are the mechanism which amplify solar variation. Is there an AGU member or someone not as cheap as me who has bought a copy that can summarize the article?

  37. 187
    matt says:

    Hate to ask you to do this. But I’d like to see a more organized version of all of these supposed “fudging claims” and then their appropriate rebuttal with annotations (like you have provided in the comments). I suspect its a lot of work, but I think its well worth it. I’m sure there is exhaustive data about this…and you have other pressing needs.

    Perhaps you can snag a web developer or two as well and do a proper job of this and flood us with the data and cross analysis. I know this is a serious project, but I think its time the scientists figure out how to communicate with the public. It seems as if most of the suspicious activities had to do with concerns of sending the public the right information.

    When the dust clears from this incident, nothing will change and AGW will be even harder to dispute. Even still, its time to hold everything up to the light and examine it…and its not bad to do a last minute look back especially with all of the public skepticism.

  38. 188

    I must say that repeatedly allowing posts by Mr. Ortega through moderation shows a remarkable new tolerance on this site for completely off topic, and nonsensical comments.

  39. 189
    George Ortega says:

    [edit – enough on this. It’s now officially OT]

  40. 190
    gigel says:

    #108. Barton Paul Levenson

    It’s really great to know what the consensus is, but the fact is that science doesn’t care about consensus.

    How was what you say tested?

    And models don’t count as “tests”, by any imaginable means, no matter how sophisticated they are.

    And what about the effect that greenhouse gases have on clouds? How do you test that?

  41. 191
    Sean says:

    George Ortega is nothing but a clever* troll, stop taking the bait!

    *I stopped reading his first post at paragraph 3 and decided he was either trolling or on mushrooms.

  42. 192

    More on Peter Lauts work for the Danish Energy Agency can be found here:

  43. 193
    Edward Greisch says:

    Did Evensmark, Lassen and Christensen try to measure solar output from the ground in Denmark? NASA has so many spacecraft making measurements continually above the murk of the atmosphere; as RC’s previous post listed. Looking elsewhere doesn’t make sense. It was all a mathematical error? That doesn’t make sense either. Didn’t NASA already analyze and graph the data for them? Why wouldn’t anybody just use the data as processed by NASA? For that matter, why would a journalist not ask NASA for the correct information, unless correct information wasn’t what they wanted? I subscribe to SpaceWeather, a NASA web zine, to keep track of what the sun is doing. I know more depth is offered by NASA. Why would anybody do otherwise? Being a government agency, NASA is unbiased. I can say that as a retired Federal employee.

    Question 2: Why would people prefer that something beyond our control be the agent of our demise? Since the real culprit is us, we can fix it and live. Their attitude makes no sense. Can anybody explain the strange psychology please?

  44. 194
    Richard Steckis says:

    Re: your comment to #123

    Gavin. Many Agricultural societies and advanced civilisations have been displaced by natural climate change. Just look at Mesopotamia and the Moche Indian civilisation to mention only two.

    And these occurred in the current interglacial.

    [Response: Of course. But you are missing the point I was trying to make. The commenter was claiming that since sea level rise had happened before, anthropogenic sea level rise couldn’t possibly be a problem. That was logicaly incoherent. – gavin]

  45. 195
    Edward Greisch says:

    Woops! I must distinguish between the output of NASA scientists and political appointees. They are 2 different things. NASA scientists give you fair and unbiased data. Political appointees are a different story.

  46. 196
    donald moore says:

    during the 1980’s at an interview with the e.p.a. in melbourne i was told that they had been given 1 million dollars to study climate change by bob hawk.They said that there were’too many variables’ to come to any reliable conclusion but since they had been given 1 million dollars they would be doing it anyway.There is an element of this in the current debate and scientific analysis of climate change where a lot of money is being thrown at it at both sides of the debate.Integrity and a pure search for truth is the hardest thing in this situation but the most neccessary.

  47. 197
    Harald Korneliussen says:

    “George Ortega” : For these purposes, consider a Poe a troll employing disgusting arguments for “the other side”, trying to

    1. cast them in a bad light
    2. get them to pick up (or even argue reasonably about) his arguments, so that “his side” can point to it as proof of their depravedness.

    If you aren’t a Poe, you sure look like one. Your calls for authoritarianism, earnest or not, are rejected by everyone here. Please go away.

  48. 198
    Anne van der Bom says:

    30 November 2009 at 10:36 AM

    If a big comet was detected to be on a collision course for Earth, would you oppose action saying: “The earth has survived millions of comets in the past. Without comets, dinosaurs would still roam the earth and us mammals wouldn’t be here. Let it hit the earth!”

  49. 199
    Mike M says:

    okay just looking for a simple answer to a very simple question. Hopefully this wont end up like the chaos question which appears unanswerable for some odd reason.

    Did your climate model predict the cooling since 1998? A simple yes/no will suffice with a reference to the data showing the cooling.

    Thank you.

  50. 200
    Silk says:

    #141 “Since science is supposed to be falsifiable then what conditions would be necessary to falsify anthropogenic global warming? ”

    I’m a scientist, but not a climate scientist (so I may be wrong), and I was thinking about this the other day.

    Increased CO2 in the atmosphere leads to increased temperatures. I don’t think anyone can deny this (why is the surface of the moon colder than the surface of the earth – answer “there is no atmopshere on the moon”). However “how much does temperature rise as CO2 increases is the relevant question. If the answer is “not much” then there isn’t a problem (or rather, there isn’t a temperature problem. We might still kill a lot of life in the seas through acidification).

    Of course, the statement “CO2 absorbs infrared radiation” and “an atmosphere containing IR absorbers will heat a planet” are falisifiable. But true. So that bit is scientifically rigourous.

    Tp prove that climate sensitivity is low (i.e. that 550ppm CO2 doesn’t raise temperature above ‘safe’ levels) you’d have to do the following

    First, you’d have to start by demonstrating how the range of temperature measurements and proxy reconstructions (tree-rings, bore-holes, corals etc.) are consistent with a low value of climate sensitivity.

    There’s an excellent post (and paper) that sets out very clearly why Climate Sensitivity is 3 degrees (give or take)

    This is clearly falsifiable. One can do temperature reconstructions and work out the value of climate senssitity yourself. If you got enough data that showed it was lower than, say, 1 degree, that would deal a fairly fatal blow to efforts to significantly reduce CO2. But I wouldn’t waste my time. A lot of research has gone into this and the result is robust. (But falisfiable, so ‘proper’ science)

    I was going to go on about models here, and why you can show not that they are ‘right’ but at least that they are ‘wrong’ (in that a model that can’t accurately recreate climate in the 1980s is not going to reproduce climate in the 2030s.) But I have some work to do.

    Barton Paul Levenson has some very good stuff on the skills of models, and their ability to reproduce observed climate phenomena. Suggest you take a look there.

    #151 “From the current debate, one gets the impression that climate science researchers have switched roles and become environmental activist. ”

    Which researchers? How many authors on the IPCC report? How many of these are ‘activists’? What %age is that?

    Could you give specific examples (Hansen aside) of researchers getting involved in activism?