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CRU Hack: More context

Filed under: — gavin @ 2 December 2009

Continuation of the older threads. Please scan those (even briefly) to see whether your point has already been dealt with. Let me know if there is something worth pulling from the comments to the main post.

In the meantime, read about why peer-review is a necessary but not sufficient condition for science to be worth looking at. Also, before you conclude that the emails have any impact on the science, read about the six easy steps that mean that CO2 (and the other greenhouse gases) are indeed likely to be a problem, and think specifically how anything in the emails affect them.

Update: The piece by Peter Kelemen at Columbia in Popular Mechanics is quite sensible, even if I don’t agree in all particulars.

Further update: Nature’s editorial.

Further, further update: Ben Santer’s mail (click on quoted text), the Mike Hulme op-ed, and Kevin Trenberth.

1,285 Responses to “CRU Hack: More context”

  1. 701
    Timothy Chase says:

    CM wrote in 691:

    Timothy Chase (#682), I think you meant carbon-13, not carbon-14 (though fossil fuel emissions should decrease the 14C ratio too).

    You are right. Thank you for the correction.

    The plots for carbon dioxide and oxygen can be found here:

    pg. 138, AR4-WG1 Chapter 2, Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radiative Forcing, available at:

    Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis
    IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4)
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_ipcc_fourth_assessment_report_wg1_report_the_physical_science_basis.htm

  2. 702
    MR SH says:

    Gavin@691,

    Thank you for correcting my expression. The “outlayers” or “heavily disturbed” end-effects have been reduced to yield estimates, as is already noticed.

    I will circulate your points whenever I have the opportunities.

    Thanks

  3. 703
    dhogaza says:

    This bears repeating:

    Why? Because I’m writing a program, not creating a product. A program is something that works if you get the inputs just right and know how to use it; a product will still do something sensible no matter what inputs you give it and no matter what you do to it at each step.

    It is poor engineering (in the sense of not optimising resource use) to put the effort required into making a product when all you needed was a program because a product easily costs ten times as much to create.

    Jason gets it. Also …

    Quite frankly, even in the cases where source code was available, I would prefer to implement it myself because it is often faster to write my own implementation of the published algorithm than to try to figure out what their source code is doing. This is because the former is targetted towards a human audience, while the latter is written for a computer, and may be written in a language or for a target environment that is different to yours.

    If I write my own implementation, I’ll likely gain a deeper understanding of the published algorithm.

  4. 704

    hi: I hope I can get this question answered by someone. where can I find the best response to the “trick” and “hide the decline” comments? In one place. The reason I ask is I’d like to write a letter responding to T. Friedman’s recent article on climate where he lends credence to the massaging the data charge and appears to conflate the “trick” and “decline” issues–as in the data was massaged by a trick to hide the decline.

    from what I’ve read, he is confused. But if I’m going to write a letter to clear things up in our local paper, I don’t want to be confused.

    thanks,

    g

  5. 705

    Max,

    You should read Lewis’s letters in his last few years, where he recanted his “hard words” against the National Health because he saw how it was helping poor people in England. He voted Conservative but he wasn’t an idiot about it, and he always respected science and scientists. (The frequent charge that he was a creationist are dead wrong; when he said once that he thought “scientists may be contemplating a complete retreat from the Darwinian position,” he was talking about the rival evolutionary theories current when he was in school in the ’20s.)

  6. 706

    I tried to post on working code versus commercial code, but kept getting blocked by the spam filter. C’est la vie.

  7. 707
    Hank Roberts says:

    > “The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it”
    > C.S. Lewis

    Hard to believe a Briton who lived through WWII felt that way.
    Did he write that? When? Was he referring to religion, perhaps?

    The quote’s posted over 400 times recently–not once that I found with a cite to date or source.

  8. 708
    Karen Landers says:

    Gavin–I just want to send you and all the scientists working on our behalf some LOVE! I can’t believe what the media is bringing down on you because they are too lazy to become informed or have pollution industry involvement. I’m thankful for your appearance on CNN yesterday and your tireless moderation of this blog. I’m only halfway through all the posts. So, my prince, hugs and kisses to you and all the scientists who don’t deserve to be humiliated by these contrarians.

  9. 709
    SecularAnimist says:

    I understand the fears of “libertarians” about government action to address climate change. I worry about the government controlling my life, too.

    I know that when I take advantage of federal and state tax breaks & rebates and feed-in tariffs to install solar panels on my roof so I can generate my own electricity from free sunlight, and get a check each month from the local utility rather than a bill, I am going to feel SO oppressed by big government.

    And when government mandates — and more tax breaks — enable me to buy an electric car that I can charge from my solar panels, and reduce my gasoline cost to zero, I will be like SO totally downtrodden by Big Brother.

    And when I take that tax credit for re-insulating my attic and installing a high-efficiency heat pump and refrigerator to even further cut my energy costs, well I’ll really be feeling the jack boot of world liberal government, won’t I?

    And when households and small businesses and family farms and community-owned municipal utilities all over the country are generating their own electricity from solar energy rather than buying it from giant corporations, well, that will be just like living in Soviet Russia, won’t it?

  10. 710
    Richard says:

    Re 657 from KenW

    Ken, it’s not the individual points but rather the totality. The statements taken separately each have, in theory, alternative explanations that depart from the apparent meaning. But as I asked Galvin, and did not really get an answer, just how many strained explanations must we listen to before the sheer volume itself indicates an issue? The list of quotes I provided is only a partial one. I haven’t even mentioned the FORTRAN source-code comments that are now being uncovered.

    The one (rhetorical) question you asked that I object to was “What would you do if you received dozens of requests for data (each, which would take significant time away from your already busy work schedule) by people you knew only intend to misrepresent your work and are seeking more ammunition to attack you with?” The correct answer is quite simple: obey the law. Freedom of Information laws don’t exist to satisfy friendly requests, in fact, they exist for quite the opposite reason. They are meant to provide access to public (or publically funded) information to those whom governments and their agents would prefer NOT to have access to the data.

    Try as they might, CRU cannot keep their research, and its underlying data, safely within the echo chamber. Openness improves the entire process, even when it’s inconvenient to scientists with “busy work schedules.”

    Regards,

    Richard Grath

  11. 711
    Tobias says:

    @551 Barton Paul Levenson

    Yeah, Big Finance is a myth… if only.

    Now you tell me, in social terms, the most fundamental unit of evaluation… that would be °C or °F, right?

    @573 Bruce Williams

    “The ones that messed it up suffer the same problem you do – to much ego, and not enough sense or long term commitment.”

    And that from someone who asks me to accept his ludicrous ideas now being forged into who knows what, policy-wise.

  12. 712
    Frank Brunner says:

    @gavin:

    [Response: I challenge you to publish 13 years of your email and have it be subjected to examination by hordes of hostile parties and then defend every single joke, ambiguous word choice or out of context quote they come up with. Unless you are some kind of saint, you would have just as many or more examples of things that can be spun to make you look bad. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. – gavin]

    Nothing in the hacked emails was out of context. As you point out, there are 13 years of context there.

    More important, and more wrong, is your idea that other people routinely make the same sort of crass, exclusionary, demeaning comments that you do. Other scientists do not do what you did.

    If other scientists did in fact behave as you do, the release of your emails would not have made international headlines.

    It doesn’t take a saint to behave better. It takes a professional.

    [Response: Let me know when you’ve put your emails out there and I’ll have a look. In the meantime, forgive me for not taking your sanctimony too seriously. -gavin]

  13. 713
    JLS says:

    John Mashey,
    on your (469)

    Your high regard for Pournelle’s writings mirrors mine. Your view of his social context as a predictor of values and orientation in this issue is much stronger though. One may well have good reason to be skeptical of persons who regularly relate with persons identified as part of proscribed factions, but it might be considered that this is not necessarily evidence of professional or confessional affiliation. It’s easy enough to present an association, but are there grounds for you to suspect more?

  14. 714
    manacker says:

    Gavin

    Your comment (667) to the 23 studies I linked from all over the world, which you “snipped”:

    [“20 studies? Gosh. Which have ‘warm periods’ at different times. And all the other studies that don’t show it? You are falling into the same wishful thinking trap as Soon and Baliunas – only looking for what you want to see. (NB. Please do not spam the site with links). – gavin]

    If you check the studies you will see that the time period of all studies lies within the overall time frame of the MWP.

    Don’t belabor me with “wishful thinking”, Gavin. Either show me that all of these studies are wrong and why or accept them for what they show, i.e. a global MWP slightly warmer than today.

    Max

    [Response: Please try and think for yourself. How many studies do you think there have been that cover this time period? Possibly more than 20? Now why would only those twenty be on the co2-science website? Hmmm… let me think. So what would it take to say something about climate at that point in general? I know, let’s try and put all the studies together! Oh…. but they are all measuring something a little different. Hmmm…. let’s see if we can calibrate them to the instrumental temperature record then and see to what extent they actually reflect temperature. Then maybe we can put them on a level playing field and see what a reconstruction looks like! We should probably check that they have good enough age control and that the reconstruction matches some data that we didn’t use in the calibration as well though. I wonder what that would produce…? – gavin]

  15. 715
    manacker says:

    Secular Animist (675)

    You wrote:

    “Anthropogenic causation [for late 20th century warming] has been empirically confirmed.”

    Please provide sources and links.

    Max

  16. 716
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Here’s a bit more context for the CRU hack:

    “The world’s oceans are becoming acidic at a faster rate than at any time in the last 55m years, threatening disaster for marine life and food supplies across the globe, delegates at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen have been warned.

    A report by more than 100 of Europe’s leading marine scientists, released at the climate talks this morning, states that the seas are absorbing dangerous levels of carbon dioxide as a direct result of human activity. This is already affecting marine species, for example by interfering with whale navigation and depleting planktonic species at the base of the food chain.

    Although oceans have acidified naturally in the past, the current rate of acidification is so fast that it is becoming extremely difficult for species and habitats to adapt. “We’re counting it in decades, and that’s the real take-home message,” said Dr John Baxter a senior scientist with Scottish Natural Heritage, and the report’s co-author. “This is happening fast.”

    The report predicts that the north Atlantic, north Pacific and Arctic seas a crucial summer feeding ground for whales – will see the greatest degree of acidification. It says that levels of aragonite, the type of calcium carbonate which is essential for marine organisms to make their skeletons and shells, will fall worldwide. But because cold water absorbs CO2 more quickly, the study predicts that levels of aragonite will fall by 60% to 80% by 2095 across the northern hemisphere.

    Congressman Brian Baird, a Democrat representative from Washington state, who championed a bill in Congress promoting US research on ocean acidification, said these findings would help counter climate change sceptics, since acidification was easily and immediately measurable.

    “The consequences of ocean acidification may be every bit as grave as the consequences of temperature increases,” he said. “It’s one thing to question a computer extrapolation, or say it snowed in Las Vegas last year, but to say basic chemistry doesn’t apply is a real problem [for the sceptics]. I think the evidence is really quite striking.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/10/ocean-acidification-epoca

    Max Anacker is good at synthesizing words of comfort even when handed data that would make a normal person cringe. Max, can you help us to understand how this news dovetails with the CRU imbroglio in a way that should make us feel good? Should an invasion of “whistleblowers” get hold of the primary data behind this report and post it in Tomsk?

  17. 717
    manacker says:

    Lee A. Arnold (678)

    ExxonMobil paid $30 billion corporate income tax in 2007 alone.
    http://seekingalpha.com/article/63131-exxon-s-2007-tax-bill-30-billion

    You wrote: “ I think most tax economists would say that the “net flow of money” is actually going to the energy companies, out of other taxpayers’ pockets.”

    Do you have any supporting evidence to support your statement that taxpayer funding to ExxonMobil exceeds $30 billion? Please elaborate.

    Max

  18. 718

    Max (692)

    Your H.L. Mencken C.S. Lewis quotes reflect just the sort of values I was talking about. People deeply distrust various flavors of politics and politicians, and will act on the distrust rather than the science.

    Most people here have scientific values, rather than political values. For most here it might seem to be enough that the science is valid. I don’t believe it will be. A serious change in culture would be required to minimize impact on the biosphere, and political values don’t shift without a major catastrophe that shows the old values are clearly wrong in a an emotional way.

    Humans are not Vulcans. Logic and science is not apt to be sufficient.

    We’ll just see what comes out of Copenhagen. Maybe I’ll be wrong…

    JBowers ( 698 & 699 )

    Thanks!

  19. 719
    RaymondT says:

    Re: 678 Philip Machanick, Thanks for your message. I will read the paper by MacLean et al. AND the paper by McLean et al. You climatologists are actually changing my thinking. Because I do modelling of enhanced oil recovery processes I am used to thinking that models are tested by whether or not they can predict oil production. In a way, reservoir engineers think like meteorologists in that they test whether or not the model predict the temperatures within a few weeks. As Goethe used to say “we see what we know”. Climatologists look at phenomena on a much longer time scale so even if the temperature was overpredicted in the 21st century it’s really the underlying signal of the CO2 radiative forcing that you are looking for. Extreme skeptics (which I am not one of) will say that the fact that you underpredicted the temperature means that the models are not good. I am starting to understand the time and volume scales you guys are working on. Thank you for changing my thinking.

  20. 720

    Max aka manacker #692, I met a hard-core libertarian at a protest against internet censorship and conversation turned to global warming. His attitude? Any government intervention is wrong. So what if the science is right and we’re all doomed? That’s what evolution is for.

    Tell us you don’t subscribe to that view.

    Unfortunately we can’t apply evolutionary pressures selectively to looney-tunes libertarians, otherwise I would tell him to go for it.

  21. 721
    manacker says:

    Gavin

    When I posted quotations from H.L. Mencken and C.S. Lewis (692) you scolded me with:

    “Be careful Max, your true colours are showing”

    Hmmm… Do you find these quotations distasteful or not pertinent today?

    I find them very incisive.

    Max

    PS Sorry for falling into the trap set by Robert Butler (670) and getting into an OT discussion about politics, rather than the topic of this thread. will keep my discussion out of politics in the future.

  22. 722
    manacker says:

    BPL (705)

    Agree that Lewis had many opinions on politics that went beyond that one quotation I cited.

    Same is true for Mencken.

    But those quotations were in response to a question about the merits of “big government” (in the “Big Brother” sense).

    Max

  23. 723
    manacker says:

    Hank Roberts (707)

    As requested, here is link to Lewis quote:

    http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/33029.html

    Max

  24. 724
    manacker says:

    SecularAnimist (709)

    You wrote:

    :when households and small businesses and family farms and community-owned municipal utilities all over the country are generating their own electricity from solar energy rather than buying it from giant corporations, well, that will be just like living in Soviet Russia, won’t it?”

    Are you kidding? Were you ever in the USSR? I was there many times. None of that existed there: no small businesses, no family farms, no local community-owned utility companies, etc.

    It was a centrally planned and run economy, run by an all-powerful big government.

    But hey, SA, we should get off of the topic of politics and get back on topic before Gavin throws us off the thread.

    Max

    [Response: Max, stop talking things so seriously. The comment was satire…. – gavin]

  25. 725
  26. 726
    Didactylos says:

    Please provide sources and links.

    Why do people have so much difficulty finding the IPCC reports? It’s not like they are hard to find! Just Google it already!

    That’s step one. Step two involves actually reading the report(s). The third step, understanding, may present more of a challenge. Consequently, people who are struggling with step three rather than step one are likely to get much more respect and assistance here.

  27. 727
    SecularAnimist says:

    manacker wrote: “Please provide sources and links.”

    Why? So you can ignore them and/or lie about them as you have consistently ignored and/or lied about all the other information that has been presented to you on this thread?

    Timothy Chase in comment 683 has already addressed (some of) the empirical evidence for anthropogenic causation, and you are already busily ignoring that.

    You have demonstrated very thoroughly that you are (1) dishonest and (2) out to waste people’s time by getting them to respond to your drivel.

  28. 728
    caerbannog says:

    #712

    More important, and more wrong, is your idea that other people routinely make the same sort of crass, exclusionary, demeaning comments that you do. Other scientists do not do what you did.

    Other scientists haven’t been subjected to a continuous barrage of dishonest attacks on their competence and integrity. Other scientists haven’t had to put up with harassment (from hate-filled emails to barrages of frivolous FOI requests).

    If you had to put up with the crap that Gavin and his colleagues have, I’ll bet that you’d be a lot less of a gentleman than Gavin has been.

  29. 729
    Kate says:

    Dr Mann,

    Some commenters of mine have questions about whether “Mike’s Nature trick” is considered grafting or not. Are the post-1960 real temps for Briffa included in the final graph as part of the Briffa data set or part of the instrumental record? If they are part of the Briffa set, is it specified anywhere that the proxy data stops in 1960?

    I’d really appreciate a response – hadn’t even heard of grafting until today :)

    If you need more context, the comment thread is here: http://climatesight.org/2009/12/07/peter-sinclair-when-we-need-him/

    Thanks
    Kate

  30. 730
    David B. Benson says:

    manacker (714) — Start with what was already established 30 years ago:
    http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12181&page=1

  31. 731
  32. 732
    Didactylos says:

    Hank Roberts said:

    > “The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it”
    > C.S. Lewis

    Hard to believe a Briton who lived through WWII felt that way.
    Did he write that? When? Was he referring to religion, perhaps?

    The quote’s posted over 400 times recently–not once that I found with a cite to date or source.

    Hank, you are a victim of manacker’s odd quotation style. The quote is by H. L. Mencken. Mencken was a satirist. Quoting him is a double edged sword indeed, particularly given some of his other views.

    C. S. Lewis, however, said “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair”. manacker would do well to take note of this.

    “There is wishful thinking in Hell as well as on Earth.”

  33. 733
    Doug Bostrom says:

    I’d like to know Professor Anacker’s opinion on the MAP (Medieval Acidification Period).

  34. 734
    MR SH says:

    I wonder why the newspapers, TVs and internet medias do not touch upon the “divergence problem”, the lower reliability of reconstructed data after 1960, as Gavin popinted out at first. The meaning of “decline” where the reconstructed data tends to show lower than the actual temperature is often talked about as if “true temperature declined after 1960.” Without clarifying these two, the discussion would go somewhere.

  35. 735
    manacker says:

    Doug Bostrom (733) asked for my “opinion on the MAP (Medieval Acidification Period)”.

    The Medieval Acidification Period gets 17,700 Google hits including a study from Sweden, about medieval sulfur emissions principally from mining operations.
    http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1579/0044-7447-31.6.460

    Curiously, the study concludes:

    “This early excess sulfur deposition in southern Sweden did not cause surface water acidification; on the contrary, it contributed to alkalization, i.e. increased pH and productivity of the lakes. Suggested mechanisms are that the excess sulfur caused enhanced cation exchange in catchment soils, and that it altered iron-phosphorus cycling in the lakes, which released phosphorus and increased lake productivity.”

    Looks like Nature stepped in to solve the acidification problem, but I have no opinion on this whatsoever.

    Max

  36. 736
    manacker says:

    Secular Animist (727)

    No sources? No links? (Also could not find any in Timothy’s 683, which you cited as evidence).

    Makes all your statements sound pretty hollow, SA.

    Max

  37. 737
    manacker says:

    Didactylos (732) and Hank Roberts

    The first two quotes are from H.L. Mencken.

    The third quote is from C.S. Lewis.

    Here is link to Lewis quote:

    http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/33029.html

    Max

  38. 738
    manacker says:

    Philip Machanik

    We are drifting OT here, but I will respond to your post.

    Of course all government intervention in our lives is NOT wrong.

    There are many things that must be done by local and/or central governments.

    Infrastructure investments.

    Defense against external attack, including that from terrorists.

    Provide public education.

    Provide protection against crime.

    Enforcement of real pollution control and abatement.

    And many more.

    But in a representative democracy it is important that the government does those things which the population wants it to do and does NOT do those things, which the population does NOT want it to do.

    I would not label this view as “libertarian”, I would label it as “democratic”.

    How about you?

    Max

    PS We are at risk of getting tossed off by Gavin, as we are drifting far from the topic here.

  39. 739
    Hank Roberts says:

    Results … about 18,100 for “The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it”

    My that’s gotten more popular in the last couple of days.

    Well, well, well:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=Mencken+World+War+II

    Mencken’s Dark Side
    The Washington Post | December 5, 1989
    The previously secret diary of writer and social critic H.L. Mencken reveals virulent antisemitism, racism and pro-Nazi leanings, shocking even the sympathetic Mencken scholar who edited it.

    The diary, typewritten on 2,100 pages between 1930 and 1948, was sealed on Mencken’s instructions for 25 years after his death in 1956. When a ruling by the Maryland attorney general opened the door to publication four years ago, it was said the diaries would reveal “the worst of Mencken” and his “dark side.”

    The newly published pages do exactly that, the Evening Sun reported yesterday. …
    ———-

    Sounds like he was describing himself, and his favorite political movement, and assuming everyone else was as bad.

    That fits — we see a lot of people who think anything a scientist finds is actually a political tactic in disguise.

  40. 740
    GlenFergus says:

    John Mashey at #682

    All good John; including this advice, which you might have given yourself a while back, when sprouting about civil engineering:

    “… you seriously may want to consider the idea that some other posters here just might have a bit broader experience and even know what they are talking about.”

    ;-) G.

  41. 741
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Comment by manacker 10 December 2009 @ 8:21 PM

    “Looks like Nature stepped in to solve the acidification problem, but I have no opinion on this whatsoever.”

    Good old Mother Nature, always there for us when we foul our nest. Almost magical, really.

    So you’re pretty much focused on temperature records to the exclusion of any other broad effects of increases of C02 in the atmosphere? You don’t have any argument with the acidification finding? How about the GRACE measurements? Are those ok, too?

    How about this: Make a list of direct and indirect C02 measurements and knock-on effects you have no argument with. Now make another list of those you find a problem with.

  42. 742
    Timothy Chase says:

    manacker wrote in 736:

    Secular Animist (727)

    No sources? No links? (Also could not find any in Timothy’s 683, which you cited as evidence).

    In 683 I stated:

    If carbon dioxide is anthropogenic — due to the burning of fossil fuel — the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 will increase over time.

    Falsifiable? Yes. The result? The ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 has increased over time, strongly suggesting that it is anthropogenic in origin.

    If carbon dioxide is anthropogenic then the ratio then the percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere should be decreasing over time.

    Falsifiable? Yes. The result? The percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere has been decreasing over time, strongly suggesting the carbon dioxide is the result of the combustion of fossil fuel.

    CM corrected me in 693:

    Timothy Chase (#682[changed to 683]), I think you meant carbon-13, not carbon-14 (though fossil fuel emissions should decrease the 14C ratio too).

    I thanked him for correcting me then wrote in 701:

    The plots for carbon dioxide and oxygen can be found here:

    pg. 138, AR4-WG1 Chapter 2, Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radiative Forcing, available at:

    Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis
    IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4)
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_ipcc_fourth_assessment_report_wg1_report_the_physical_science_basis.htm

    … and I believe that is the reference that Secular Animist meant to refer you to.

    Actually I believe the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report has been recommended to you previously. Have you gotten around to reading it yet?

    Now regarding greenhouse gases and their ability to reduce the rate at which the earth is able to radiate away heat, consider…

    For any wavelength that the atmosphere is optically thick to at sea level, there will be a height at which the atmosphere goes from being optically thick to optically thin. This is the principle that underlies our ability to perform infrared imaging of the atmosphere and its constituents at various altitudes. For example, here is carbon dioxide (a wavelength of 15 μm, I believe) at an altitude of 8 km:

    NASA AIRS Mid-Tropospheric (8km) Carbon Dioxide
    http://www-airs.jpl.nasa.gov/Products/CarbonDioxide/

    You will notice the plumes rising off the heavily populated east and west coast of the United States. We are able to image things at that altitude for that wavelength because most of the photons of that wavelength are absorbed below that altitude, but at that altitude or higher, once they are emitted, they will generally escape to space without further absorption.

    To the extent that greenhouse gases reduce the ability of the earth’s climate system to radiate away heat in the form of thermal radiation but the rate an which energy in the form of sunlight enters the system at the same rate as before the earth must heat up until in accordance with Planck’s law the temperature of the system rises enough that it is radiating energy into space at the same rate that energy enters the system. This is called “radiation balance theory” but I prefer to think of it as the principle of the conservation of energy.

    At one point a while back you seemed to have difficulty with the idea that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas — not to mention the fact that reflective aerosols emitted during the period from 1940 to 1975 might have a cooling effect by reducing the amount of sunlight that reaches the surface, or that the effects of accumulating greenhouse gases is cummulative, but that over the short term natural variability in the form of climate oscillations may swamp the effects of what ever additional greenhouse gases are added to the atmosphere over that period, but where an oscillation more or less by definition cannot result in any long-term trend. I hope at least that if the issue of greenhouse gases reducing the rate at which thermal radiation escapes the climate system is still a problem for you that the link to NASA above helps.

    Now lets consider two hypotheses regarding global warming… If the climate system is warming due to increased solar radiation, then the stratosphere and the troposphere should warm simultaneously. If the climate system is warming due to an enhanced greenhouse effect, then this will reduce the rate at which thermal radiation escapes the troposphere and warms the upper stratosphere. Furthermore, increased carbon dioxide in the upper stratosphere increases the rate at which the stratosphere is able to radiate what thermal radiation reaches it. This being the case, with an enhanced greenhouse effect the stratosphere should cool as the troposphere warms. This is a “falsifiable” prediction. (Note: there is a slight caveat at the bottom of this post regarding the principle of falsifiability.)

    The result?

    Please see:

    The second effect is more complicated. Greenhouse gases (CO2, O3, CFC) absorb infra-red radiation from the surface of the Earth and trap the heat in the troposphere. If this absorption is really strong, the greenhouse gas blocks most of the outgoing infra-red radiation close to the Earth’s surface. This means that only a small amount of outgoing infra-red radiation reaches carbon dioxide in the upper troposphere and the lower stratosphere. On the other hand, carbon dioxide emits heat radiation, which is lost from the stratosphere into space. In the stratosphere, this emission of heat becomes larger than the energy received from below by absorption and, as a result, there is a net energy loss from the stratosphere and a resulting cooling.

    Stratospheric cooling
    http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/enid/20c.html

    … and the chart on the same page.

    Note: the lower stratosphere is also cooling but this is due to ozone loss as ozone is essentially a greenhouse gas that absorbs ultraviolet (and infrared) radiation — prior to ultraviolet radiation reaching the earth’s surface.

    Finally, if you still wish to argue for example that cooling during the period from 1940-1975 in the northern hemisphere (where statistically significant cooling took place in the southern hemisphere for only a single year and statistically significant global cooling took place only from 1944 to 1951 — odd that the cooling took place almost exclusively where we would expect anthropogenic reflective aerosols — mostly sulfates and sulfides — to be produced) somehow falsifies “greenhouse gas theory,” then please consider: no one ever argued that greenhouse gases were the only source of radiative forcing in the climate system. (Please see Hemispheres regarding the cooling.)

    Furthermore, even if they had, bringing in an additional hypothesis that “saves the theory” is ad hoc if and only if it cannot be independently tested. If it can be independently tested — as in the case of aerosols and the cooling taking place almost entirely within the northern hemisphere, not the southern — then it is an auxiliary hypothesis. For more on that please see:

    A Question of Meaning, Part 9 Section 3: The Refutation of Karl Popper
    http://axismundi.hostzi.com/0/033.php#3

    I hope this helps…

  43. 743
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Also, Max Anacker, I pulled the term “MAP” (Medieval Acidification Period” out of my ___. There is no such thing, actually. Google does not actually return hits on that term, it returns conflated results as a result of coincidental mention of those three words in the same documents.

    I guess I should tone down the sarcasm.

  44. 744
    Hank Roberts says:

    > in a representative democracy it is important that the government
    > does those things which the population wants it to do

    You have missed an important civics lesson, Max. Representatives are elected to make informed choices, not to be puppets of whatever idea is most popular momentarily.

    And that’s why any representative democracy has divided powers–to moderate the short-term notions that can arouse people to do stupid and execrable things. That’s why people create governments, in part — to do better by each other cooperatively than we might do to each other as unrestrained individuals.

    Mencken knew better, Max.

    Do you know when Mencken wrote this?

    “I give up the Germans as substantially hopeless. All sorts of authorities report that they are in an exalted and happy mood. If so, it is the kind of euphoria that goes with acute infections …. and his followers imitate, plainly with his connivance, the monkey-shines of the American Legion at its worst.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/1990/02/04/books/l-the-diary-of-h-l-mencken-610290.html

  45. 745
    Timothy Chase says:

    manacker wrote in 738:

    But in a representative democracy it is important that the government does those things which the population wants it to do and does NOT do those things, which the population does NOT want it to do.

    This comes close to my view:

    Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.

    DesmogBlog: Revealing the Climate Cover-Up (right column of home page)
    http://www.desmogblog.com

    Of course we could argue about absolute majority rule vs. constitutional republics, whether a majority has the right to vote a minority into slavery, market externalities that extend beyond the borders of a democratic nation and so on — but you are right: we are drifting off topic.

  46. 746
    Rod B says:

    Lee A. Arnold (679), In 2006 Exxon-Mobil had $378B revenue, net income of $39B, paid $28B in income taxes — roughly 42% of the estimated $67B income before income taxes, and paid over $100B in total taxes.

  47. 747
    JBowers says:

    Manacker said: “PS Sorry for falling into the trap set by Robert Butler (670) and getting into an OT discussion about politics, rather than the topic of this thread. will keep my discussion out of politics in the future.”

    Fat chance, Max. Your pretension of being non-political is betrayed by your previous posts. And, your posts elsewhere (You know where I’m talking about)

  48. 748
    Rod B says:

    Mencken also rabidly supported evolution theory. How bad can one guy get???

  49. 749
    manacker says:

    BPL (705)

    Yes, there is no question that Lewis cannot be defined by a single quotation alone, and I am sure that both his interest in religion, as well as his science fiction books, are of special interest to you. I’ve not read any of them, but may do so over the holidays. Which one would you recommend for a C.S. Lewis beginner?

    Max

  50. 750
    manacker says:

    Hank Roberts

    Of course, the elected representatives in a democratic republic are not merely robots of the voting populace. But they must represent their wishes (or they will not be re-elected).

    The people as a whole generally do not do “stupid and execrable things” any more frequently than their elected representatives.

    The point made by both Mencken and Lewis (in a slightly different way) is that a government which uses fear to motivate its people is doing so for an ulterior motive, i.e. to consolidate its power or gain support for an agenda, which it may honestly believe is in the best interest of the people it represents.

    I think you will agree that many regimes have frightened their populations with the fear of attack by an outside (or inside) enemy, in order to justify an action.

    To conjure up 7 meter waves swallowing NYC is not that different from frightening people with the “mushroom cloud smoking gun” of WMD in the hands of a hostile and brutal dictator.

    In neither case do the ends justify the means, as far as I am concerned.

    But that is just my opinion, and yours may be different.

    Max